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A change to what?

Written By: - Date published: 11:35 am, May 17th, 2008 - 192 comments
Categories: election 2008, polls - Tags: , ,

As we all know the latest Fairfax poll has shown a huge lead for the National Party. Now I’m of the opinion it’s probably a rogue poll and we could argue that point (and methodology, and trends, etc) until the cows come home but I’m interested in something else. If this poll was hypothetically the final count on election day it would mean National would have a clear mandate to govern alone.

This surprises me because National has provided very little policy and hasn’t distinguished itself much in terms of anything but “time for a change” rhetoric. In fact the bulk of the reasons I hear people claim they want a National government is because they don’t want a Labour one and outside of unfounded rhetoric I don’t hear much reason why.

We have a lot of intelligent and thoughtful rightwing commenters on this site and I figure they might be able to elucidate something for me. If you are one of these commenters what I want you to tell me is this:

You’ll be voting for National come election day. What will you be voting for them to change and what have you seen from them that leads you to believe they’ll make that change?

And I’ll say again I’m not interested in banal mutterings about “Klark” and “Helengrad”. I want to know what you will be voting for, not against.

192 comments on “A change to what? ”

  1. As mentioned in an earlier post, and subsequently lambasted here, I have been a labour voter all my life. No longer. As the latest polling confirms (and this is a long term trend now) middle New Zealand (of which I am part) is fed up to the back teeth of the procrastination on tax cuts and the like. I do not qualify for any of the advantages that Labour has introduced other than the Student Loans package, of which National will now carry on with anyway.

    It pains me to say this, but I’ll probably be voting for National based on tax cuts and a move away from the overtly intrusive Labour social polices of the past three years in particular. Theres a small chance I may toy with a party vote for the Greens (on environmental issues only, not social) if Key fails to deliver substantial policy soon though.

    It is time to take a step closer back towards the center, maybe even back towards the center right so this country can find its confidence and balance again

    National will have a hard term in office as much of the news is worsening economically at present. For Labour to return in 3 years it will need to have a wholesale change in personnel from the top down to regain my vote again in the future.

  2. Lew 2

    I don’t buy the line that this is a rogue poll. It’s showing an acceleration of the trend of the past year, that National is whittling away Labour’s base.

    I’d say the rail buyback is mostly irrelevant to this poll as well. The economy and job markets (Fisher & Paykel, Oringi, Kopu), the recent (slight) unemployment rate rise, inflation and interest rates are all mid-term issues for which the effects are already being felt, rather than the rail buyback and China FTA, which are very long-term issues, the effects of which won’t be felt for some time.

    As far as National’s reluctance to reveal policy goes, that’s a fair election strategy. They’re focussing on building an intuitive impression of John Key as a moderate, pragmatic, financially sober, approachable politician and that’s striking a chord with a lot of people in Labour’s base. It’s a dangerous strategy, because he’s running the risk that people who’ve voted on the basis of this intuitive idea might be a bit surprised when they begin enacting policy,

    So I, too, am curious what people think is in store for them, under National.


  3. r0b 3

    Excellent question IB! I’ll be fascinated to see the responses, I hope many righties choose to post here and share their expectations for a National government.

    As for me, well I survived Muldoon, I survived Thatcher, I suspect that (come the worst) I’d survive Key. Big wheel keeps on turning.

    In haste…

  4. NX 4

    I agreed with Irish Bill that National won’t make huge changes (why does this seem to grate you?). What I want to see want to see is a change in style. No ‘rich prick’ vitriol from Cullen, and no ’empty space’ arrogance from Clark. I never, ever want to hear Key say he’s a ‘victim of his own success’.
    I want to see more of an emphases on personal responsibility. No more wedge politics using social welfare i.e. here’s money for you because you have kids … but none for you even though you earn bugger and trying to save to have a family. Like in Australia, I want to see the first $10K tax free.
    Owera 1 was in response to the government’s policies on race. Although I agree with the speech, I never want to see a government foster conditions where such a speech gains traction.
    I want a National led government to be socially liberal, but not consumed or obsessed by it. Social cause can often by damaged when extreme advocate groups are perceived to be pandered to.
    I don’t want Heather Simpson running the show behind closed door – she is NOT elected. And I want political neutrality restored to the public service.
    ^just a few ideas Irish Bill.

  5. IrishBill 5

    ZB, interesting. How has Labour policy intruded on your life and if Labour introduce tax cuts before the election would you still vote National? If so why?

    Lew, if you want to discuss the poll please do so in the poll thread.

  6. IrishBill 6

    NX, the idea of National making no real change doesn’t grate me. What concerns me is that they will get the numbers to govern alone without a policy mandate. Given the fact the front bench comprises the same ideologues that enacted policy in the 90’s I can’t trust them not to make serious change in that direction.

    I’m interested to see you talking about your dislike of particular figures. Have you ever met them in person? Does this mean that a significant part of your voting decision is based on projected personality?

  7. AncientGeek 7

    NX: You’ve defined what you are against – what are you for?

  8. higherstandard 8


    As a rightie (the term is as meaningless as leftie) I’ve already posted on the previous thread.

    But for clarification I’ll tell you what I’d like to see from National or indeed what I’d have liked to see more of from Labour if they were to win at this election.

    Sound economic management through the next tough few years.
    More money in the taxpayers pocket – via increased ability to claim rebates and tax deductions or straight cuts is irrelevant from my perspective.
    Tougher on crime.
    Less bureaucracy and more accountability in the central Public service.
    Ministers and a caucus who accept the buck stops with them and don’t put up with lies, corruption and spin to protect their colleagues and themselves (I wonder if this will ever happen in NZ)
    Retrenchment of the DHBs to far fewer governing bodies in the Health Sector.
    A move to incentivising healthy behaviour rather than the current centralised social marketing we see from government.
    Increased investment in Primary and Secondary education.
    Continuing the ongoing effort in securing additional FTAs.

    Once again I stress this is what I’d like to see what the each voters will make their decision on is probably as different from my reasons as mine is from yours.

    I could on regarding the health area as working in that sector it is my obvious area of most interest.

  9. IrishBill 9

    HS, that’s what you would like to see but what evidence have you seen that this is what will happen?

  10. higherstandard 10


    I’ve met both Helen Clark and John Key both thoroughly pleasant people.

    While it will never happen it’s probably true that between National and Labour you’d probably just scrape together enough competent MPs to have a pretty good intelligent caucus and good Ministers for all portfolios if everyone could leave the party dogma and ideologies at the door.

  11. higherstandard 11


    There can be no evidence until after National have been in power for a term.

  12. NX 12

    Irish Bill, what you are talking about is a ‘secret agenda’. While some on the right hope that to be the case (while you dread it), John Key would pay the price in 2011.
    Labour came to power in 1999 promising not to raise taxes – obviously that hasn’t been the case (people have drifted into higher tax brackets). A secret agenda perhaps..? If so they’re paying the price now.

    Re: projected personalities – yeah it does factor heavily. If you turn off your ideological blinker & which Cullen and Clark in parliament, it’s hard to find them appealing. They are blatantly nasty i.e. ‘didums’ ‘little Johny boy’ etc etc. Sure, I hear Cullen is personable in real life, but all I have to go by is how they behave politically.

    I want a change in style.

  13. Billy 13

    …the bulk of the reasons I hear people claim they want a National government is because they don’t want a Labour one…

    I think this is dead right IB. National has become the place to go if you don’t like Labour, and it seems that lots of people don’t like Labour. National have attracted all of them because they have frightened no-one by coming out with no policy.

    When they do (which may even be after they are elected) they will inevitably lose a lot of this support.

    They are also going to have problems explaining why people still leave to live in Australia after they are elected.

    I am not qualified to answer your excellent question because, despite being thoughtful and intelligent, I won’t be voting National, for exactly the reasons you have highlighted: they stand for nothing.

    And I won’t be voting Labour because of what they stand for. I want a government that will accept it has a limited role, that there are some things it should not change and that there are a great many more things it cannot change (and by trying will probably make worse). I want them all to leave me alone.

    But I accept that, in this, I am close to being on my own and whoever forms the next government certainly will not leave me alone.

    I wouldn’t get too frightened, though. Being in power seems to be an end in itself for the National Party. So I expect nothing much to change when they are in government. Sadly.

  14. AncientGeek 14

    NX: Ignoring the obvious errors.

    You’re voting for a change in political personality style? In what way do you think the style will be different. For instance Bill English is just as vitriolic in parliament as Cullen from what I see.

  15. NX 15

    Bill English is very nut’n bolts on issues… but he sure hammers away. He’s not quite in the same vein as Cullen.

    I want a government more concerned with growing the cake rather than being obsessed with portioning it.

  16. Sam Dixon 16

    NX – The economy has grown faster under Labour than under National. Something like 1% a year faster on average. The Standard had a graph on it a while back http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=1832

    That needs to make your grow the cake/cut the cake dichotomy look flawed.

  17. burt 17

    Perhaps the biggest problem the red team have is the EFA. It’s a dogs breakfast and looking back on it now it’s hard to imagine how the anonymous authors on this blog could have supported Labour during the process of ramming it through. So little public consultation and the myopic “must stop the EB” mentality has had major unintended consequences and now all you can do is suck it up.

    Clever Trevor was warned about his election advertising van, in February I saw him standing next to it and I told him he needed to have his residential address and he laughed at me and scoffed under his breath something like “idiot” or “ignorant”. Well….

    Next big problem for Labour is that the govt are rich and the people are poor. People struggling to pay their power bill and buy basic food items take a pretty dim view of the govt paying hundreds of millions of dollars over book value to buy the railways. Sure there are plenty of people who like the idea that it’s in public ownership, but when the effects of fiscal drag, high house prices and rampant food prices are hurting the idea that the govt could throw such much money at ideology makes people shudder.

    It’s time for a change, the red team are dim-bulbs and Cullen is possibly one of the least respected people in politics.

  18. Good post Bill – and I will accept your challenge!

    I first voted in 1975, and have generally voted National – generally, but not exclusively. I am concerned at the agenda of this government. As I indicated to Ancient Geek on the gay marriages thread, I am socially conservative, but not to the point where I opposed the legal recognition and protection of relationships provided by the Civil Unions legislation. However as I Christian, I am opposed the legalisation of gay marriage – you can see my justification over there.

    When Cullen said recently “This is a contest about power in New Zealand”, he wittingly or unwittingly spoke what many were already thinking – that the Labour government has become obsessed with power, and pursues power as an end goal, rather than the betterment of every New Zealander. As a non-custodial parent, I receive no benefit from WFF. As an employer, I have added burdens imposed on me without consultation – Kiwisaver employer contributions especially. My wife and I are generous to our staff already – we pay significantly above “market” rates to our trained, qualified staff, but we do resent having additional costs imposed on us unilaterally. The cost and time commitment of business compliance increases seemingly by the week – I have a pile of work to do today, which will in all probability spill over into tomorrow, and my wife regularly works 15 hour days. We have chosen to be business owners, but at times we question the wisdom of it. At times, it is only my wife’s passion for quality ECE that sustains us. I believe that a National government will provide a much friendlier business environment.

    Lastly, I am bitterly disappointed that Labour has wasted so many years of economic growth. His legacy will be a bloated public service, and a rusting railway. The backdown on the “chewing gum” tax cuts of 2005 was telling. As I said earlier, I receive no benefit from WFF despite having paid Child Support faithfully for 15 years, and despite supporting my children in a wide variety of ways. Sure, working families are supposedly “better off”, but what about the rest of us?

    Anyway, thanks for the opportunity to put fingers to the keyboard! And heck, I didn’t even get as far as the EFA, and Labour’s contempt for anyone who dares to challenge them!!

  19. Hey Irish – nice question. I’m also concerned about National gaining total control of government benches with no stated agenda and considering this place hosts some of the staunchest supporters of National I’m a little surprised nobody has offered any evidence of why they think National will be better.

    NX – Labour said they would put a 4th tax tier in. I can tell you that when I voted Labour in 1999 (the only time I ever have) I did so knowing exactly what they were going to do and I watched them fulfill that agenda. In fact this is the only government in the last 24 years that has done what it said it would do.

  20. burt 20


    So did you know Labour would keep the 1999 tax thresholds in place for 9 years to gouge thousands of dollars from hard working low income NZ people to run their redistribution agenda?

    Or is that just something you support because Labour are good and National are bad?

    The only govt that has done what it said it would do… Was that fix health and educations – NO. Was that move NZ up the OECD ratings – NO. Was it ensure people earning under $60K won’t pay a cent more income tax – NO. Just what have Labour done that they said they would do ? I don’t remember them promising to introduce retrospective legislation to let them off the hook for breaking the election spending laws.

  21. Burt and IV2 – both of you have done little but say what you don’t like about Labour. The question is what do you think National would do for you and what do you base that on – I reckon neither of you have managed to answer that. I know what party I’m going to vote for, what policy they want to implement and why I will be voting for them. You guys only know you’re gonna vote against Helen. I wouldn’t expect better than that from burt as he’s not the sharpest knife in the draw but I would have thought you’d do better IV2. What have National said they would change that makes you want to vote for them???

  22. burt 22


    The concept that there are not only two political parties is wasted on this blog. The Labour good – National bad mentality makes it pointless to discuss anything other than how good Labour are and how bad National are. There is no point telling you (again) that I’m not a National supporter because it’s a message that never gets through.

    I guess if you love FPP politics and “Two ticks Labour” then it’s no surprise that you can’t get it that I’m not a National supporter.

    [we’re well aware there are more than two parties. In fact, as we have stated repeatedly, various authors of this blog support various parties and they have all come in for criticism, not least of all Labour. You’re confusing Robinsod with the authors again. SP]

  23. erikter 23

    You can put the blame for this bad poll (and the ones to come) entirely on Michael Cullen.

    The Minister of Finance comes across as an arrogant “know-it-all”, and his reluctance to address the issue of tax cuts (see the % in the latest poll on that question) will signal Labour’s demise at the next election.

    He’s the main culprit, but what’s also incredible is Clark’s inability to see the obvious: Cullen should be replaced soon, although it might be already too late.

  24. Steve: You’ll be voting for National come election day. What will you be voting for them to change and what have you seen from them that leads you to believe they’ll make that change?

    The reason I will be voting for National is not only what they will do, but what they wont do.

    They wont tell Private shareholders who they can or cannot sell their shares to.

    They wont automatically believe every paper that comes out of a university on Climate Change.

    They wont automatically bail people out who have made the wrong decisions.

    They wont be as anti American as the Government we have now.

    Their crime policy also seems to take a harder approach than the usual “Well its society’s fault” mantra of the Government.

    They wont suck up to the Greens or the vile Unions.

    They will be more supportive of the Police.

    They wont wave off youth crime as a minor problem.

    A bigger tax break.

    The list goes on and on.

  25. In that case Burt – why will you be voting National Front.

    erikter – would this be the “culprit” that has overseen the highest level of employment and growth we’ve seen for decades? Yeah bro, he really needs to go…

  26. burt 26


    Thanks for proving my point, the very idea that I don’t vote Labour and don’t vote National is something you can only makes jokes about. You might get it one day, the simple reality that one size never fits all and the concept that big govt is not good govt. It’s a leap from place where you stand seeing only good in Labour – enjoy the journey, from where you stand it could take many years.

  27. Afternoon ‘Sod!

    National has promised tax relief. Labour promised tax relief in 2005, then welched on it. I believe that in will get to keep more of my income under a National-led government.

    National has promised to repeal the Electoral Finance Act and start again, with cross-party consultation. Labour introduced a malicious, insidious peiece of legislation which was full of holes – as they were told at the time – but they knew best, and now we are stuck with legislation that has the potential to make a joke out of this year’s election – as Trevor Mallard found out during the week.

    Those two promises alone are attractive. But Annette King has admitted that the battle against P is being lost – National doesn’t accept that, and will try a different approach. I abhor drugs and drug-taking, which is rife in the community where I live – there’s a tinny-house a few doors down the road, and a house almost straight across from where I live was until a couple of years ago a gang pad. I’m prepared to let National have a go to take on this scourge.

    There’s three.

  28. Brett –

    They wont tell Private shareholders who they can or cannot sell their shares to.

    Do you mean they’ll weaken the rules on foreign investment?

    They wont automatically believe every paper that comes out of a university on Climate Change

    I’m assuming you mean the massive international scientific consensus?

    They wont be as anti American as the Government we have now.

    By which you mean they would take us to into the next iraq war?

    Their crime policy also seems to take a harder approach than the usual “Well its society’s fault’ mantra of the Government.

    Last time they were in they were a lot softer on crime than the current govt.

    They wont suck up to the Greens or the vile Unions.

    That would be the only party that has a real concern for our environment and the only organisations that democratically represent working New Zealanders.

    They will be more supportive of the Police.

    The only time I’ve seen the police protest was during the last National government. During that time the police force was underfunded and understaffed. Oh and high profile National candidate Stephen Franks has gone on the record as claiming the police are corrupt – hardly what I’d call supportive…

    They wont wave off youth crime as a minor problem.

    Again youth crime skyrocketed under the last National govt.

    A bigger tax break.

    I suspect that your desire to be bought off is about the only factual thing you’ve mentioned.

    The list goes on and on

    No it doesn’t. This is the kind of thing people say when they’ve run out of ideas.

  29. RedLogix 29

    I believe that in will get to keep more of my income under a National-led government.

    That’s fine. You are perfectly entitled to wish for that. But your wish comes with some logical consequences:

    Q1. How much of a tax cut would make a difference to you?

    Q2. How much do you think this would reduce total Govt income by?

    Q3. Which Govt activities would you be happy to go unfunded (or run on borrowed money) as a consequence?

    Vague wishes do not cut it. You may vote for them, but that will not prevent the inevitable consequences from roosting.

  30. Arvo IV2 – so what you’re saying is you will vote national for:

    More money (isn’t this called an election bribe?)

    The repealing of an electoral act that has had no impact on your life and will probably never do so?

    And some tough-talk on crime from a party that did nothing about it when they were last in? (as opposed to Labour who have increased sentences and the number of people locked up).

    We have one of the highest rates of incarceration in the western world and have seen more police under labour as well as the hardening of drug laws. While I think all of these facts are a damn good reason not to vote Labour (except maybe the increase in police) I can’t see how someone of your political ilk can think otherwise. Oh and I think the way to stop crime is to increase wealth and decrease wealth disparity. Something no National government has ever done.

  31. MikeE 31

    I guess I could be described as “right wing” although I hate the term as it lumps with with some of the nutbar conservatives that haunt kiwiblog.

    Personally I think the only reason why the Nats are getting votes at the moment is because they haven’t announced any policy. The problem with National is they don’t stand for anything except “what labour’s doing, but better” there is no differentiation.

    People are feelign the bite of 9 years worth of labour policies, but they don’t understand any alternatives, and national isn’t offering an alternative direction, but a change of face, which to the average kiwi, is attractive because its a “change” wihtout it being a change.

    A pure national government really worries me, because I see National running economic policy very similar to labour, with conservative social policies, which is like taking the worst parts of both parties.

    I like labour most of the time when it comes to social policy (drugs is where they have become more conservative and I tend to disagree with them, but by and large labour get social policy right most of the time…) Nats on the other hand scare the shit out of me when it coems to social policy with social conservative busy bodies such as Jacqui Dean, Paul Hutchison etc… And the rest of the caucus just bends over and takes it from them.

    Now if the nats actually had some rational economic policy (which is where they *should* have done well, but haven’t, and took a few pages from labours book socially, I’d think there would be a better outcome government wise…

    Hence why I still vote for ACT.

    And if ACT wasn’t around, I’d probably (shock! horror!) vote for Labour or the Maori Party… as quite frankly I think they are more rational than the Nats. (NB: this doesn’t mean I like labour, just that I have very little faith in the current crop of Nats except for one or two)…

    Hope that makes sense.

  32. Nice distortion ‘Sod – even Labour thought tax cuts were an issue at the last election, although they are still to deliver. So no, it’s not an election bribe, nor am I particularly motivated by money. I am however motivated to vote for a party that will make tax more equitable. Labour came to power in 1999 on a pledge that the top tax rate would apply to the top 5% of taxpayers – now it’s more like the top 20% – is that fair?

    BTW – love the ears! Self-portrait?

  33. Robinsod:

    I meant what I wrote, not your meaning of it, but nice try.

  34. So interest free student loans was a bribe and a tax cut isn’t? I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree on that one. But what about crime? You’ve not said anything about that…

    Oh and it’s not a self portrait but I’m flattered you could assume my talent matched that of Goya:


  35. Brett – so you meant to write a whole lot of factual incorrect drivel?

  36. Dave 36

    Id vote for National because its leader is better looking than Labours leader and has a better smile. That’s if I voted National.

    This post is a bit silly. You should be aware that if a majority of the population dont like a government more than they like another party, they dont vote for anything, its a protest vote. Ive never voted National since at least 1990, but if I did it would be to repeal the EFA, and to have a government that does not lie as much, but works for the contry`s interest instead of MPs arse-covering in Parliament all day long and breaking laws and promises they make.

  37. burt 37

    Tax cuts can’t be an election bribe, well not when Labour given them. Sure if it’s a National party tax cut it’s an election bribe but we all know that Labour only ever do what is good for NZ. Feeling like a Tui ?

    Oh I forgot, Labour tax cuts don’t cause inflation because under Labour govt spending isn’t inflationary. It must be the possibility of a National govt that has seen a trolley full of basic food items increase 28% over the last year – either that or it was the National govt of the 90’s.

    You need to take a long hard look at the shit you spout sod, it’s just dopey Labour good National bad shit – a total waste of bandwidth.

  38. You’re then only one talking about student loans – I don’t think I’ve mentioned them! But since you asked, I have mixed feelings – although the fact that Inventory Junior is now in receipt of one might have an influence!

    Crime eh – yes, Labour has increased sentences, but the parole-at-one-third rule negates some of that. I’m fortunate in that I haven’t ever really been the victim of crime – nothing serious anyway. But as I said earlier, I’ve seen first-hand the damage that drugs can do to people, and to the people around them. And I don’t believe that the Police have yet been given sufficient powers to take on the P industry. I pass daily the house where Jhia Te Tua was shot last year, I live in the Black Power part of town (as opposed to the Mongrel Mob part), and each day when I get the mail, I see young BP guys, stoned out of their skulls, hanging around and doing nothing when they could and should be working. A Black Power leader has been to our church a few times, and we’ve had some pretty interesting discussions. If National reckon they have some policies to take on the gangs, and to tackle P, it’s worth a go – especially when they are endorsed by the Police Assn.

  39. Paul Robeson 39

    IV2 It is nice to get a sincere conservative on this forum (or any blog forum for that matter!) since often the foamy flecked ones mouthed ones make an effort to discuss these things.

    (I wonder if the standard will apologise for some ruder things said about Fran O’S at the Granny after she published an article lauding Clark’s diplomatic work in Asia…)

    but back to your post- I don’t believe the government has ‘wasted’ the good years. In fact they have prolonged them, and not messed them up with tinkering. The country has consistenly had good credit ratings. Would the proposed borrowed for National tax cut have left the country in better economic shape?

    To be direct- you say issues with child support not being included in Working for Famillies and the treatment of small business by such things as kiwisaver.

    What is National proposing to do that would improve your situation?

    And would Key be as compotent a leader of our country really? Clark is exceptionally hard working, measured and for those who claim she is not visionary- we are looking at FTA’s with China, Japan and Korea…

    If you are going to criticise the EFA, which admittedly is a poorly written dog, you must also deal with the consequences of big money running free in an election campaign.

    Were the Brash billboard’s any less patronising or insulting to the electorate? If you were to print such inaccurate advertising for your business you could be looking at misleading advertising.

    You think that Michael Cullen is nasty? Politics is in general- but the Nats have Gerry Brownlee, Allen Peachy, Judith Collins etc etc Brownlee of the charming ‘can you think of a ‘c’ word to describe Helen Clark speech’.

    Cullen and Clark are genuine nationalists, where as the previous National party have not always been, and the current National party has not declared itself.

  40. Burt – I think Labour’s tax cuts are an election bribe as well. In fact given how lightly we are taxed by international standards I’d say there is no reason fro tax cuts at all. Bracket adjustment is another issue though and I think that we need to see that done. Oh and burt? Don’t be such a friggin retard…

    Dave – I’m glad to see you admit you don’t cast your vote based on policy.

    IV2 – the 1/3 parole policy is only that prisoners should be automatically considered for parole at 1/3 of their sentence. Not that they should be paroled. When crime rates are dropping and the prison population is increasing I’d say there’s a good chance we’re seeing a government getting tough on crime. I don’t think National will do much more and I do think they’ll carry out policy that creates the conditions for increased crime.

  41. Robinsod:

    Whats incorrect about giving my reasons for voting?

  42. burt 42


    Bracket adjustment is not tax cuts now… Ummm interesting.

    So if we are really lightly taxed then how come when I compare how much tax a person pays on $35K, $50K and $120K between NZ & Aussie I find NZ higher on all three numbers? Could it be, just possibly, that you are are full of shit and the only reason we appear lightly taxed on OECD ratings is because we are all so poorly paid? Another thing that 9 years of Labour tax and spend govt hasn’t managed to do anything about.

    Having a average wage low enough to be below our $38K threshold is nothing to be proud of – unless of course it’s a Labour policy and then it’s always good.

    NZ needs change, it needs flatter taxes, welfare benefits ONLY for the real needy and incentives to work harder and smarter – not incentives for low paid families to drop to one income and have lots more children. Social engineering a population bulge in low socioeconomic households will lead to tears in years to come – if everyday folk can see this why do the govt think they can ignore it?

  43. Fair enough Brett – when I look back on your reasons the only factually incorrect ones are in relation to crime and the police.

  44. QoT 44

    Not entirely relevant to the question posed, but both the people in my house will be voting for minor parties because we don’t see positives in either a Labour or National government next term, and we both want our personal favourites to continue to have a voice in Parliament moderating/checking on the party in power.

  45. burt 45

    Brett Dale

    It’s not the reasons that Robinsod thinks are valid. Robinsod won’t listen to anything you say as he’s incapable of seeing past “Labour good National bad”. If you say you don’t support National and don’t sing the praise of the Labour-led corruption manifestation of power at any price then he’s confused so he just shoots the messenger.

  46. Burt – you are a rightwinger. You also continually make statements that are just plain wrong, have them corrected for you with suplimentary evidence and then make them all over again. That makes you an ideologue who would rather believe his own stupid superstitions than reality. It’s likely this refusal to engage with reality is one of the root causes of your alcoholism also.

  47. OUR PLAN
    1. Halting the Growth of Bureaucracy
    • Cap the number of core bureaucrats in the first term
    of a National Government.
    • Grow overall government spending at a more
    measured rate.
    • Restore a sensible balance over time between
    the number of bureaucrats and the number of people
    delivering frontline public services.
    2. Focusing on the Front Line
    • Direct future government spending to the delivery of
    frontline services.
    • Grow the numbers of doctors, nurses, teachers, social
    workers, police and other frontline staff.
    3. Lifting Quality and Professionalism
    • Restore the political neutrality of the public service.
    • Back public servants who want to get on and make
    New Zealand a better place.
    • Seek better value for money from government
    • Make improvements to the public service through the
    normal business of government. No more radical
    restructuring of the state sector.
    For more information about our policies, please visit
    http://www.national.org.nz or email our State Services
    Spokesman Gerry Brownlee at

  48. ‘Sod – surely you meant “supplementary evidence”?

  49. burt 49


    Burt – you are a rightwinger.

    How many times have I told you sod, I’m an X-Labour voter. I’m a social liberal in about the same place on the political compass as Labour claim to be. I’m not a current Labour supporter because I’d don’t agree with tory party policies like means testing benefits. I like the Labour philosophy of universal benefits but since we don’t have a “Labour” govt i’ll take flatter taxes and benefits only for the needy as a trade off.

    Keep up sod, I know I don’t fit your perfect pigeon hole of a National party voter but this is something that requires you to change, to understand and accept, not something that requires me to change to fit your “way it must be”.

    I’m also not an alcoholic, I was raised in a house with alcoholics, violent abusive unemployed (or minimum wage) alcoholics, so not much chance of me going that way. If you want to shoot the messenger at least shoot the one that’s carrying the message you don’t want to hear not just any that carry messages you can’t understand.

  50. I meant “damn” that in relation to IV2 picking up my spelling mistake.

    Burt – just otta interest who will you be voting for?

  51. Damn. I meant “outta”. I’m off to get drunk.

  52. No worries ‘Sod – I know that you,like me, have a “thing” about good grammar, spelling and punctuation.

  53. randal 54

    the polls keep some people busy..new zealanders are comitted to a liberal sane scoiety and not some rightwing vision of how they would like it to be to extract maximum personal pleasure out of it. It is no good arguing that these propensities do not exist becasue they do. adm smith said so and I beleive him before I beLieve any pasty faced panty waste witha post modern diploma in recondite ingnorance and blinding arrogance any day.

  54. Pinetree 55

    It’s a interesting question, and one which tests guys like myself….so, a couple of points….

    I’d say I sit right of centre, if such a distinction is valid these days. In my younger days (book learned, no life experience) I’d have said I was well and truly economically right….but time, family, living/working offshore and the realities of running a business and employing people have tempered some of the more “extreme” views (viz economic, workplace relations, social justice etc)….

    I’d probably copnsider myself more poltically active that Joe Average, but not nearly so aware as some on these pages and that of the Kiwiblogs etc. So, what keeps me voting Nat has more to do with a philosophical position than detailed policy, to be frank I’d be voting largley on the basis of potential versus any overwhelming substance on matters policy. Superficial huh, but probably many just like me, arguie either way whether than makes me fit and informed but there we go, democracy at work.

    I’m expecting more from John Key in due course, and will be dissapointed if he does me (and others) the disservice of dumbing it down. If that’s the level of polictical discourse necessary to convince your electorate then it probably speaks more to your point about a vote for National being a vote not for Labour.

    We’ll see.

    As for Helen and Labour, I’ve got massive admiration for her as a Leader and Politician, but not so much for the general direction and handling, part of that is philosphical, part of it is me reacting to issue-based politics (EFA, anti-smacking, economic stewardship, manufacturing/export sector etc)….trust me, I want to know more of what National stands for these days, but not knowing that wont stop me voting that way…

    I’ll be voting on the potential behind the change, as much as my vote will also be a reflection of the encumbents (in my view) not really having “walked the walk they talked”…

    Good question, thanks for thre chance to throw a few views out there….little less rabid here than over at Dave Farrar’s place (though politically pretty robust !), and always much more fun reading the views of those who hold countering views to your own….

  55. Policy Parrot 56

    If people are voting for Key because he is Labour lite, they will get a shock come 2009.

    While it is not indebted to the same degree as in 2005, National will still have many favours to repay to its interest groups, and more reliable voting constituencies, before it offers anything to those wishing simply to loosen the “embrace” as they term it, of this Labour Government.

    Policies I believe National will implement if elected.
    – Privitisation of ACC (to appease insurance industry)
    – Speed up RMA approval (thwarting progress made against leaky home builders)
    – Implementing the Mapp 90-day no fault sacking bill on wages, except that they’ll probably attempt to extend the period to 6 months.
    – No lifts in the minimum wage rate (except maybe in 2012).
    – Cap the employer contribution for Kiwisaver at 1%
    – Slash jobs from the public sector, making bureaucracy slower and harder to interface with (if you are a member of the public).
    – Indefinitely postpone “stick approach” action on climate change while in power.
    – Attempt to reimplement bulk-funding for schools, under the nom-de-plume of “choice”.
    – Do absolutely nothing on crime, since its cry for tougher sentences was simply hollow rhetoric.
    – Farm out essential public services to the private sector, under the guise that in public hands they are “under the control of Labour flunkeys”.
    – Will not conclude a FTA with an Obama administration.
    – Not stop the flow of migrants to Australia, but accelerate it.
    – Be a one-term government

  56. burt 57

    Policy Parrot

    Privatisation of ACC – Delivering lower premiums and better cover to 80% of NZ workers. Imagine high rish (high paid) jobs having substantially higher premiums than lower paid lower risk jobs – wow – that’s not robbing the poor to subsidise the rich is it, can’t have a situation where we are all equal can we….

    Speed up the RMA approval – A bit like Labour were going to do for the AKL stadium ? Let me guess – speeding up the RMA approval process is only something that is required for politically motivated public funded projects ?

    Implementing the Mapp 90-day probation period (note I didn’t spin it to make it sound really really bad). OK, so they will let people who create wealth for themselves and others decide who works for them and who is a good fit for their business rather than the current situation where hiring somebody is like playing Russian roulette with the ERA. Still the ERA has made a lot of money for a lot of employment lawyers – perhaps this is Labour version of trickle down – take money from low paid people with difficult disputes and put it into the hands of highly paid lawyers.

    Cap the employer contribution for Kiwisaver at 1% – Do you mean cap the minimum contribution an employer must make or is your myopic Labour mentality unable to get past the one size fits all mentality on employer subsidised super. Interesting that Kiwisaver is not as well subsidised as the parliament super scheme – why is that?

    Slash jobs from the public sector… Great idea, but it appears the easy way to go about this is to identify the ones with strong Labour affiliation and check their qualifications.

    No lifts in the minimum wage rate – I don’t know where you get that from, but one thing is for sure, a $20K tax free threshold will give these people a pay increase much bigger than Labour will ever offer them. Remember Labour won’t let the doctors have a pay rise of the same scale as they have had themselves every year sine 1999. Labour cannot take the high ground on wage increases while they (the MP’s) have had bigger pay rises than any other sector and they continue to deny similar pay rises for specialist staff that are in short supply.

    Indefinitely postpone “stick approach’. Stick approch – you mean taxation to force everybody into welfare dependency and Labour voting ?

    Attempt to reimplement bulk-funding for schools – Allow schools to pay good teachers more than mediocre or bad teachers – shameful – we are all the same. It’s ironic that one of the biggest challenges of teaching is to cater for the slow learns and the fast learns yet teachers all want to be treaded as if they are all equal.

    Do absolutely nothing on crime – And home detention is working because it saves us bungling the building of prisons… Unbelievable you can even try this line, what a muppet.

    Farm out essential public services to the private sector – a bit like HB-DHB did using that good old Labour friend Hausmann ? Or have you got something else in mind ? Labour introduced specific legislation to allow more involvement of the private sector in PPP arrangements – a tunnel under thye PM house springs to mind. Perhaps I’ve missed your point but all I see is spin that’s trying to deflect attention from Labour mismanagement. Please explain.

    Will not conclude a FTA with the US. Ummm, interesting – and Labour would have what chance of this ? Two things – Cockroaches and Helen Clark springs to mind when we consider the standing of Labour in the eyes of the Americans.

    Not stop the flow of migrants to Australia – What’s driving them away at the moment ? Taxation and an interfering govt…

    Be a one-term government – That would be long enough to see Clark and Cullen shafted from the party and consigned to the dustbin of Labour past – so 1 term would be better than none.

  57. mike 58

    Labour will be voted out for many reasons.

    For mine they are not listening to the public who they serve. Anti-smacking – and I do not smack my children, just do not like being told how to raise them.

    National stands for personal responsibility, labour want to run your life for you.

    lolly scamble politics will not work for labour this time as it did in 2005.

  58. RedLogix 59

    Frack…Another gutless kiwi who believes he has the RIGHT to hit his children.


    And what a deceitful cowardly argument Mike. If you REALLY do not hit your children, then what concern was the repeal of S59 to you?

    Here is what is going on Mike. You are deceiving yourself. Either you really DO hit your children, or more likely, you like the idea of being able to do so if you felt so inclined one day.

    The reason you feel this way is simple. Like most men you actually experience a lot of powerlessness in your life. You get pushed around at work, your life is one endless treadmill of bill paying, chores, and a handful of dullard “pleasures” allowed to you. Your dreams turned to dust years ago. The last time you hit someone your own size was probably in primary school, and if your partner gives your grief with endless lip you know better than to give her the biff. Hell your not even allowed to kick the fricken cat without some nosy do-gooders like the SPCA poking their nose in.

    But until Sue Bloody Bradford came along you could always take it out on the kids… couldn’t you? Well you didn’t do it too often, but I’ll bet you anything you like you lost your tit with them once when no-one else was looking and really laid into one of them. You were ashamed of it afterwards… but Christ it felt good at the time didn’t it?

    Of course I expect you to deny it, but I can tell this is the truth, because you have covered it up with an evasive and cowardly self-justification… “just do not like being told how to raise them”.

    Ha. My arse. Come out and tell us the truth Mike. You really want to be able to hit them…

  59. burt 60

    Policy Parrot

    Do you have an opinion on WTF is going through Cullen’s mind when he won’t entertain a tax free threshold for all workers?

    Given that a zero rated portion of earnings delivers significant benefit to low paid people it would seem to be a natural ‘Workers party’ policy.

    If it’s a “we all must contribute something” mentality then WFF flies in the face of that. If it’s a “it benefits the rich” then denying a rich prick $50/week is a high price to pay for not delivering $50/week to somebody on $300/week.

    If, as I suspect, it’s because having a tax free bottom end diminishes the states ability to play fairy god mother with other peoples money – then that in my opinion is all the more reason to do it.

  60. Ruth 61

    Irish Bill – I will be voting National for my party vote. One of the reasons is because Key enabled the S59 amendment. He is a decent man.

    Politics doesn’t affect my life much – like most my life will be unchanged no matter who wins power.

    Few people are truly interested in politics – the internet paints a false picture. For many it’s just time for someone else to buy the beer, no matter how little the policy changes. And that’s ok.

  61. Janet 62

    An an observer of the comments on this site I have made the assumption you are mostly young males with good incomes. So those anti Labour contributors have probably not benefitted from many of Labour’s policies which have made big changes to many of us such as Working for families, cheaper doctors visits and prescription costs, paid parental leave, free pre-school education, higher pay for teachers and nurses, increases in the minimum wage etc etc.

    But if you are in the younger male demographic you are probably very vulnerable to the plans for privatisation of ACC will are likely to follow soon after a change of government (and which will be called choice). Currently quite small ACC levies mean we can all access a no fault comprehensive care and rehabilitation system with income compensation for life if required. Over a lifetime this can cost millions of dollars following something like paralysis following spinal cord injury, a condition which most commonly happens to young males. A large fund has been built up with reserves by ACC for these payments. However, if if it was changed to a voluntary fault-based system as in other countries like Australia, where only about half the population has any kind of accident insurance (and with more expensive premiums than our ACC levies), there would have to be lengthy court cases in order to get any compensation.

    My question is – are you National voters happy to see these changes?

  62. Billy 63

    Mike may not have needed an example of how the left are always telling everyone else how to run their lives. But RedLogix with his smug little know-it-all sermon just gave him one anyway.

  63. IrishBill 64

    I seem to recall the last National Party Prime Minister did a pretty good line in telling us how to live our lives too, Billy. Being sanctimonious (and most other personality traits) are not the strict preserve of the left or the right (he says sanctimoniously).

  64. burt 65


    I don’t see the govt stepping in with ‘homogenised’ life insurance policies spreading the risk more equally between smokers and non smokers, young males and middle aged woman etc. I find it intriguing that simply because it’s status quo to retain it that it’s a assumed it’s a sensible and equitable thing to do.

    When ACC was privatised by National my personal levies went down and the levies of the two companies I was running also went down. I was not alone in this situation, all the staff on my payroll had reduced premiums as well. Sure some sectors did see steeply increased levies which were removing the distortions (smoothing effect) that maintaining political popularism demands. I don’t see why a solo mum doing a companies books in the evenings at home should be subsidising the funds required to fund mountain biking accidents when we apparently have a free public health system. Yes she should be insured against paper cuts or stapler mishaps but that’s about it.

  65. Hillary 66

    Redlogix, I am glad you feel the repeal of s.59 is worth contributing to losing the next election. Despite that it is not going to make a BLIND BIT OF DIFFERENCE to children’s lives. Poverty is the biggest issue facing children. So when National get elected and child poverty increases, as it inevitably will under National, what the hell use will it be to them that their parents are at risk of being prosecuted for smacking them? Labour got too far ahead of middle NZ with the repeal of s.59 on top of prostitution law reform and the civil union leg.

    The repeal of s.59 reminds me of U.S politics – fighting over abortion and gay marriage while the poor go to hell in a hand basket.

  66. burt 67


    Is it flip flop de-jour now to acknowledge the under class?

    However I agree with you that family violence and poverty are strongly correlated. I wouldn’t say that poverty is causal for family violence for two reasons;

    a) It exists in all strata of society
    b) It’s not universally present in poverty situations

    Removing people from poverty will however not eliminate family violence and making all smacking illegal will make no difference to people who bludgeon their children to death. However making smacking illegal sends a mixed message and mixed messages always have interesting consequences. One portion of the message is ‘zero tolerance’ and the other is ‘keep it out of sight’. The devil is in the latter.

  67. RedLogix 68


    All you have done is repeat Mike’s gutless evasion with the same creepy self-delusion…”an example of how the left are always telling everyone else how to run their lives.”

    Do you want the right to hit your children .. or not?

    And if you do believe this, then why can’t you just crawl away and hit your children in private, in places where the bruises don’t show, and stop trying to justify yourself in public.

  68. Occasional Observer 69

    I’d like to see National transferring all state assets into the Cullen Fund, and individualising accounts. I’d like to see Government taking a welcoming approach to foreign investment. I’d like to see the Government introduce bulk funding for all schools, as a means to break the ridiculous strangle-hold that unions have over our education system. I’d like to see vouchers in education. I’d like to see half of the civil service scrapped. I’d like to see tax cut by 50%. I’d like to see the government move out of the housing market. I’d like to see incentives for private healthcare, to take into account the reduction that consumers of private healthcare make in the health system.

    I’d like to see the DPB limited to two years at a time, with a maximum of five years’ DPB in a woman’s lifetime. I’d like to see mothers of children on the DPB required to name the father of the child. I’d like to see all fathers with children on the DPB pay the full cost of their children’s welfare. I’d like to see working for families scrapped. I’d like to see a maximum of six months’ unemployment benefit within every five years for an unemployed person. I’d like to see Working for Families scrapped.

    I’d like to see ACC privatised. I’d like to see the employment contracts act reinstated. I’d like to see the Government spend twice as much time reducing regulation and red tape as it does creating it.

    There’s a few thoughts. Regrettably, I doubt National has the balls to do any of that this term. Over three or four terms, I expect they will build the constituency and the political mandate to do all of it. It’s no wonder that you Labour supporters are so upset.

  69. I too, like 56% of the NZ public in this poll (I suspect the poll may over-estimate support for National, and believe the true level of National support to be around 50% and Labour at around 37%) support National and plan to give it my Party vote on election day (although I have not definitely made up my mind).

    I will be voting primarily to get Labour out, and voting more out of a very strong dislike of Labour, than a love of National.

    The first thing I hope to see changed is the repeal of the Electoral Finance Act. I want to be very clear on this. I strongly believe that any-one who not only deliberately steals $800 000 of taxpayers money, despite three warnings in advance from the chief electoral officer that doing so was illegal to win an election, and after that (possibly stolen) election, manipulate electoral laws for partisan political gain (and in doing so placing onerous restrictions on free speech) is unfit for public office.

    Given keys public statements in this area, and National’s voting and speaking record, I believe this to be a realistic expectation.

    I also have serious reservations about Labours social liberal agenda on moral issues (i.e. abortion, civil unions, prostitution, smacking ban). Although I acknowledge that National is unlikely to make any changes in this area, judging from its voting record on these issues, as well as its historical record of avoiding such issues since the 1970s, it would be surprising if National were to introduce more legislation that goes against my moral values, and further if such legislation was introduced it would more likely to be conservative legislation than liberal legislation on these issues. The same can not be said of Labour. Judging from all available evidence, Labour took the positions it did on these issues because of genuine conviction, and did so despite some of measures, particularly the smacking ban, being deeply unpopular with the public. I commend Labour for its principled position on these issues, even though it is not a position I agree with. I do not commend Labour for being dishonest in the way it promoted the legislation, particularly the claim the Smacking ban was not about banning smacking, when the law changes removed all legal defences for smacking, and Labour rejected an amendment proposed by Chester Borrows to allow smacking, while banning all child abuse (and I do not consider smacking child abuse). I worry that if re-elected Labour may introduce more socially liberal legislation, particularly in the area of euthanasia. I do not feel any public statements from Labour in this area can be trusted, given what Helen Clark said on Radio Rima in 2005 denying her intention to introduce a smacking ban.

    Further, I agree in principle that the role of the government in the economy and personal affairs of its citizens should be kept minimal. Judging from previous National Party policies on issues such as tax cuts, bulk funding of schools, and its record of governance in the 1990s, National appears to share my beliefs. Although some policies in this area have been compromised in order to gain public support, any new policies this election, and decisons made in government will reflect its (and my) ideological views in this area. Labour, judging from its record over the last nine years, does not share my views, and instead appears to hold socialist ideological views, and its policies and actions reflect those views.

    For the above reason, I will not vote for the Labour Party with my Party vote, or support any Labour Party electorate candidate this election. I hope you are satified with this answer to your question.

  70. Hillary 71

    Burt, I did not say that poverty and violence against children are linked, just that poverty has a bigger impact on children’s lives than smacking does. Although in terms of the more extreme cases of abuse eg the Kahui twins, Delcelia Whittaker etc, there certainly does seem to be a link.

    I’m pretty sure I remember reading that the Otago Medical School longitudinal study found that children who were not smacked had a slightly increased incidence of mental illness compared to those who were smacked.

  71. RedLogix 72


    That’s a fairly decent and pragmatic argument. You may well be proven right.

    At the same time it is worth recalling that almost ALL of our Parliament voted for the repeal of S59 because the alternative of not doing so was morally indefensible. A whole array of respected organisations and individuals all deeply involved with child welfare equally came out and supported the repeal. In a sane world the repeal would have been a no-brainer, done and dusted within a week.

    But for most people emotion trumps reason everytime. And this emotional response was cynically exploited by a powerful lobby of fundamentalist Christians who firmly believe in their divine right to hit their children. It is these people who have funded and organised the opposition to the repeal. It was them who framed the debate as the “anti-smacking Bill” (when it was not), and then hidden their real agenda behind it.

    It wasn’t middle New Zealand that we got too far ahead of…it was a bunch of noxious extremists who have manipulated the issue. This is proven by one simple observation. The Prostitution Reform and Civil Unions issues, although they generated heated debate and strong opposition from the fundamentalists, failed to get much traction because middle New Zealand was not really directly affected.

    But lots of people have children, and almost all parents have insecurities, fears and guilts about their role. This is the hook that has been manipulated, and why almost a year after the repeal of S59, so many New Zealanders are still locked into sqwarking chicken little about it.

  72. Policy Parrot 73

    Voters must remember, its not simply about changing the colour of the party lightbulbs from red to blue – its far more than that.

    While Key may seem centrist, many of his caucus frontbenchers are not, some of whom willingly participated in national sabotage against the New Zealand economy.

    What’s to stop them rolling Key like they rolled Bolger in 1997 – and replacing him with a hardliner? These are the same people described as “nice” in contrast to “nasty” Clark and Cullen.

    If it is reelected, Labour must make some hard decisions on issues it has not dealt with yet, especially LAQC tax avoidance and other unproductive uses of capital, because if this election is lost it will be in spite of the right, not because of it.

  73. RedLogix 74


    I’ll give you points for an honest attempt at answering the question. That was an interesting post… thanks. But I’m not letting you off the hook totally:

    I do not commend Labour for being dishonest in the way it promoted the legislation, particularly the claim the Smacking ban was not about banning smacking,

    The law relating to adult assault more or less removes all legal defense to ANY intentional and unwanted physical contact… no matter how slight.

    Yet no-one has ever called it the “anti-touching Bill”… have they?

    The kind of light smack that you have in mind was always going to fall below the threshold of legal interest. You know this is true, and the past 12 months since S59 has been repealed has proven this to be so.

    My question is to you, Mike and Billy… exactly what are you so worried about?

  74. RedLogix 75


    Actually the LAQC is not tax avoidance. Residential rental property investment is treated almost EXACTLY the same as all other business taxation.(The only difference is that residential rental business is zero rated for GST.) It only looks like avoidance because it has exposed so many New Zealanders to just how many tax deductions that business owners in general can claim.

    If the LAQC was abolished all that would happen is that the business’s tax position rollup would be delayed until the end of the tax year. In other words an LAQC is really just a cash flow smoothing mechanism that allows the tax position to be corrected every PAYE period, rather than once per year. It does not “avoid” any tax over and above the normal deductions available to any other business.

  75. burt 76


    The results from the Otago Medical School longitudinal study are interesting, perhaps it suggests the obvious – that being that when the ‘short sharp sting’ of a smack is removed from the parents corrective ‘bag of tricks’, the use of mental manipulation (and subsequent damage) increases. I’m sure some naval gazing was done on that statistic by the research teams.

    Personally I agree with the general intent of repealing the law, however there is an genuine element of the law being against human nature. Perhaps we should simply make it illegal to bring up a child with mental health problems and nip the society into our perfect shape that way.

  76. milo 77

    Hmmn. Lot’s of reasons to need change, just as there was in 1999. But as you are asking a positive question, for me it boils down to three things:

    – Higher standards of public sector and ministerial accountability.
    – Better management of the government sector.
    – The promotion of a culture of personal initiative rather than a culture of dependence.

  77. lprent 78


    Robinsod won’t listen to anything you say as he’s incapable of seeing past “Labour good National bad’

    Just as a point of interest, burt. When exactly has the ‘sod ever gone off and said that Labour (as in the party) is good?

    If I’d had to bet, I’d have picked him as being from further left or more green than the NZLP. Even when he does say almost nice things about the NZLP, he usually qualifies it with saying that they could have gone further.

    I notice it because I do support the NZLP. Sounds to me more like you expect everyone who doesn’t support the right as being in Labour, which I can assure you is not the case.

  78. RedLogix 79


    – Higher standards of public sector and ministerial accountability.

    Sounds good. Look forward to you applying this whole heartedly if you get the chance to apply it to a Nat govt.

    – Better management of the government sector.

    What does that mean? What would “better” look like to you? Or is this just code for selling off/slashing everything you can lay your hands on?

    The promotion of a culture of personal initiative rather than a culture of dependence.

    Meaningless buzz. Or is this just code for “we’ll slash all benefits as well”?

    As Janet put it very well above, most of you seem like priviledged young men who have never had to deal with any real adversity in your lives.

  79. lprent 80

    It is amazing what an almost free weekend does. I don’t have anything immediate to do, which is highly unusual. Which leaves me time to do things after the moderation and sysop tasks.

    I just realized that I’ve probably put more comments in here today than I have for a few months. It helps that there are a few interesting threads running – like this one.

    captcha: Mischief months
    it is really uncanny

  80. r0b 81

    Goodness – what’s with the place today! Weekends are usually kinda quiet. Not this time. Catching up some:

    Burt: Perhaps the biggest problem the red team have is the EFA.

    No Burt, that’s just your own personal particular fetish (well – you and Nicholas O’Kane). The biggest problem the red team have are the price of cheese, bread and petrol (and the public’s boredom with a third term government).

    I sometimes ponder that the next government may be picking up a poisoned chalice. If petrol and food keep going up, if the international economy stays wobbly (if there’s more war, if extreme weather events step up) – there’s lots of scenarios where the next government could be facing a pretty hard time. I’d much rather have a Labour led government in office to face those challenges, because I think they’d do a much better job, but whichever government it is, it could end up wearing the backlash of a lot of public pain and anger.

    mike: Labour will be voted out for many reasons. For mine they are not listening to the public who they serve. Anti-smacking –

    Blah blah blah, I guess you’re not voting National either, since they voted for the repeal of Section 59 too.

    Ruth: Politics doesn’t affect my life much – like most my life will be unchanged no matter who wins power.

    Spare a thought Ruth, maybe, for the people who’s lives are affected by politics?

    Overall, my dear Right Wingers, I am disappointed in your ambitions for a National government. I see moaning about the public service. I don’t see vision. Here’s what I’d like to see from a Labour led government (including this one – hello!):
    – free education
    – make NZ energy independent (renewable sources)
    – massive investment in public transport
    – get serious about Kyoto / carbon
    – growth programs to alleviate the economic impact of above point
    – stay out of American wars
    – raise benefits back to pre 1991 levels
    – prison for everyone who disagrees with me.
    (Just kidding about that last one. Har Har.)

  81. lprent 82

    “Goodness – what’s with the place today! Weekends are usually kinda quiet. Not this time. Catching up some:”

    Winter would be my main guess. Remember that this site started in late August last year as a test site to see how hard it would be to run. It didn’t really start getting running on its feet until October/November. So it has always run in summer.

    The weather is colder, so more people start spending time at home during the weekend.

    The radio programme is probably helping as well. Plus some interesting posts to comment on.

  82. sean14 83

    A change to what?

    A change to anything but Labour. National do indeed have a vacuum where their policy and principles should be – the latest poll seems to literally be a case of “let’s take a chance on the devil we don’t know rather than stick with the devil we do know”.

    In saying that, did voters really vote pro-Labour in 1999 or was it simply an anti-National vote? It was certainly an anti-National vote on my part, given the unholy alliance they’d stitched up.

    Labour and their shameless arrogance have to go.

  83. r0b 84

    Winter would be my main guess.

    I dunno, according to the weather map it was pretty good over NZ today. Mighty fine and sunny in my little corner of paradise.

    I bet you’re right come the real winter though, nothing to do but stay in, stay warm, and argue…

  84. r0b 85

    Sean – it’s an old saying that oppositions don’t win elections, governments lose them. That said, it is certainly the case that Labour in 1999 clearly articulated what it stood for as an alternative, while it looks like National in 2008 avoid doing so at all costs. Which does make me suspicious!

    Labour and their shameless arrogance have to go

    Nice – was there a bulk discount at Slogans-R-Us?

  85. lprent 86

    It was sunny, but the chill is starting to bite in. When I went out for lunch down ponsonby road, I had to return to pick up a sweatshirt.

    I was perfectly happy sitting on the sofa with a laptop playing. Had a play with the tinyMCE and a couple of other javascript libraries. Interspersed with backlogged management and science papers that I hadn’t read. I even managed to read back several months on my Economist subscription.

    I looked over the logs of the site since the hardware upgrade. It is running perfectly.

    A throughly pleasant day. Tomorrow is another matter. I have some MySQL that I need to seriously optimize the database queries on. Then back to c++ and xlib on monday.

  86. RedLogix 87

    Labour and their shameless arrogance have to go.

    That’s just rhetoric. What exactly do you mean by “shameless arrogance”… and do you think you can come up with any examples where I cannot demonstrate identical or worse behaviour from National?

    The fact that the right wing cannot stand is that this Labour led govt have been competent political managers who have rebuilt this country after almost being beggared by the National disasters of the 90’s. Not beig able to attack this govt on anything issue of substance, they have latched onto emotive dreck like the S59 repeal, or hysterical distortions of the EFA.

    Like r0b above, I’m deeply dissapointed that you guys really cannot come up with anything other than ephemeral tripe, or dreams of drowning govt in a bathtub.

    A nation stands or falls on its social cohesion. For me the Labour/Green vision builds our capacity as a people to take our place in a rapidly changing world. From the Right all I detect is selfishness dressed up as “personal responsibity”.

  87. burt 88

    Labour and their shameless arrogance have to go.

    Immigration Scandal-Update 14- It gets worse

    Just rhetoric – I think not.

    captcha: the damaged

  88. milo 89

    RedLogix: sigh.

    No, I don’t particularly want to see lots of privatisation. No. I don’t want to slash benefits. No, I’m not a privileged young man. And I’ve had plenty of adversity to deal with, thanks.

    In fact, your rhetoric exactly demonstrates the problem of the government. You know all the answers, without even taking my questions seriously. You leap to write off as “meaningless buzz” a well-thought through and genuinely held philosophical position.

    So let me add something else: another objective would be to get people with your brand of shallow political thinking further away from the centre of government. I would like a government that respects it citizens, and regards differing positions as something more than an awkwardness to be rhetorically nuked.

  89. r0b 90

    Burt – do you get your slogans at the same shop then? (Actually, I guess you do come to think of it.)

    Anyway, this Immigration Service thing looks like a mess, but hardly an example of “Labour’s shameless arrogance”.

    No, shameless arrogance would be for example trying to silence an organisation representing more than 40,000 working Kiwis:

    Nats’ attack on union hits High Court

    or using political connections to silence a journalist:

    Journalists react to attack on media freedom

    or promising $200 Million to your mates in corporate welfare in a deal that could put NZ’s export market at risk:

    Key: pay cuts for you, backhanders for my mates

    To get slightly back on topic, here’s something I would like from the National Party / a National government. Tell us your policies. Keep your word.

  90. milo 91

    Oh come on r0b. Labour didn’t campaign on it’s policies. Can you show me the radical social manifesto anywhere on the pledge card ?

    And what about the thuggery, lies and corruption that we’ve seen from a whole raft of Labour cabinet ministers and officials? Under the circumstances, it’s no surprise to find that the Immigration service is a nest of vipers. They are merely following “best practice”.

    I thought this was a genuine thread, with a genuine question. Silly me. But of course, you lot are your own worst enemies. Standard supporters are exhibiting exactly the behaviour that has driven Labour down to 29%.

    Negative campaigning works, huh?

  91. milo 92

    And speaking of “Tell us your policies. Keep your word.” Could you please give me an update on:

    – Getting to the top half of the OECD
    – Closing the gaps
    – Being Carbon neutral

    How are those promises going then? Or were they all “non-core” promises?

  92. r0b 93

    Can you show me the radical social manifesto anywhere on the pledge card ?

    Milo – what? What radical social agenda would that be, the repeal of Section 59 also supported by National? Is the Prostitution reform bill really “radical”? I can imagine a pretty radical social agenda milo, and this hasn’t been it.

    And what about the thuggery, lies and corruption that we’ve seen from a whole raft of Labour cabinet ministers and officials?

    Pretty similar to the thuggery lies and corruption in the last National government, and the next National government, and so on. Meanwhile, international surveys rate NZ as the second least corrupt nation in the world. Amazing.

    I thought this was a genuine thread, with a genuine question.

    It is, or it was, until sean and burt started in on their rent-a-slogan stuff.

    Negative campaigning works, huh?

    Sadly, it does, yes, just ask John Kerry. Which is a pretty depressing statement about democracy really.

  93. r0b 94

    And speaking of “Tell us your policies. Keep your word.’ Could you please give me an update on:

    Alas that the Labour led governments haven’t yet achieved all that they set out to do. But slow progresa towards some goals is not the same thing as saying that you’ll do one thing and then doing the opposite – say for example committing to not privatise assets during the election campaign, and then doing it when in office.

    Getting to the top half of the OECD

    Progress, but far too slow.

    Closing the gaps

    Ditto, though not under that particular name.

    Being Carbon neutral

    A little too early to tell, but not looking good at this point.

  94. milo 95

    r0b – The radical social agenda is the civil unions and the prostitution reform bill, as well as the appointment of women every senior position at every opportunity. In fact I support all these moves, and think they are excellent (as is the amendment to section 59). But the point is that they are core policy for Labour, and they didn’t campaign on them. I don’t object to this, unless people start accusing National of similar “hidden agendas”, in which case I cry “Consistency please!”.

    But I’ve got to call you on the “least corrupt” meme. Does that then excuse:

    – Philip Field
    – the current immigration service scandals
    – the pledge card rort
    – the cynical breach of the spending cap at the last election
    – the corruption of confidential MFAT minutes
    – the assault by a cabinet minister in the precincts of the debating chamber
    – the serial lies from Labour party officials about their funding.
    – and the lies and filth that spew forth from senior ministers at question time, including threats, attacks on mental health, homophobia, and god knows what else?

    That is all okay because we are relatively uncorrupt? I really don’t think so.

    I’m not demanding that you change your views. But anybody who accuses me of shallow right wing thinking can expect to have some of these inconsistencies forcefully pointed out. To be fair, that was Redlogix more than you – so sorry, in answering your questions, you’re getting a bit of a residual load!

  95. IrishBill 96

    No milo, I am genuinely interested to see what the fuss is all about and I’ve found parts of this thread illuminating. What I have not found illuminating is the rhetoric about corruption. I’m assuming from your comments that you are not a young man so I’ll take a walk down memory lane with you.

    I recall massive protest and loss of social cohesion at the end of the Muldoon government, I recall the same at the end of the fourth Labour government and at the end of the last National government. Each time there was a palpable anger at what was being done to the country. Rob had the tour. Roger and David had the decimation of the party. Jenny had people burning effigies of her and her ministers in the streets.

    This time around there is a series of minor scandals which would have never even have made it to the media in the old days (you may have forgotten the days of import licenses under Muldoon and the days of insider privatisation under Douglas, Bolger and Shipley but I have not) and some empty rhetoric about it being “time for a change”. While I am not a labour voter I still recognise the fact that they have governed extremely transparently and proficiently and yet are being rejected by an electorate in favour of a party that has no stated values or policies.

    I find that very odd to say the least and I have seen nothing concrete about National on this thread to dissuade me of the unsettling feeling that the mandate to govern this country is going to be provided to the party with the best marketing campaign. If that’s your idea of democracy then fine but I like the idea that politicians need to do more to earn the right to govern my country and my life than engage in the best branding exercise.

  96. IrishBill 97

    Just as an aside, I hope National realise the bar they have set for “scandal” will be the bar they have to meet if they become government. But I really don’t think they have thought that far ahead.

  97. r0b 98

    IB – well said on all counts. I was just going to thwack milo with my copy of The Hollow Men, but I think I’ll go to bed instead.

    This has been one of the most interesting threads that I recall on The Standard, and I share your rather unsettling conclusions. Perhaps tomorrow there will be further constructive contributions from the right that will shed a bit more light on the subject. Or perhaps not. Goodnight.

  98. lprent 99

    IB: I’m uncomfortable with running the National standard of what is a scandal. But now that the Nats have started down the path of attempting to make everything a ‘scandal’, there is only one real way of making sure it gets removed from the political landscape. That will be to keep running it to the point of pointless absurdity.

    I’m thinking specifically about Bill English running with a story about this site being funded by labour. It was one of the most stupidly ignorant things I’ve ever seen a politician do. He didn’t bother to check his facts. Didn’t contact anyone about it. And he has never bothered to retract his statement. By the sound of it, he just believed a bunch of wingnuts making up conspiracy theories.

    The simple truth as was stated at the time, was we were running around using free server space where ever we could find it. It simply doesn’t take that much resource to run a site like this. It takes some skills, especially in writing the posts. But it isn’t a career. Some of the best sites around are like Media Law Journal, Brian Eastons, and the visible hand in economics where people are just putting up commentary on the area that they work in, or material they’ve previously written. It is cheap to do.

    It was a action of a obnoxious dickhead. I’m afraid that the only way to treat someone with that low standard of behavior is to repeat the same behavior on them. Otherwise they will never learn from their mistakes.

    IrishBill says: I can’t believe I’m making a moderator comment in one of Lynn’s comments but here goes: there was never any need for Bill to do research when he attacked us because the facts didn’t matter. What mattered was Bill saw the Standard as a medium that was damaging National’s credibility by busting their spin and he moved to inoculate it by smearing it as “Labour funded”. I suspect Bill knew it was a wingnut conspiracy theory but it was a story that suited his ends. If anything it’s a microcosmic example of exactly what is wrong with the political discourse and specifically with the National party’s approach to it. In this case it backfired on them.

  99. milo 100

    Irish Bill, r0b, thanks for your comments, and yes I’d welcome more constructive comments on another day. You do make a fair point Irish. For food for thought on that other day, I’d offer two points for consideration:

    – r0b: On the Hollow Men; Remember Marilyn Waring’s foreword, where she said it was probably typical of any major political party, but extraordinary to have it revealed. That has since been overlooked.

    – On corruption; I don’t really want to imply that Labour are corrupt, so apologies if I got a bit carried away. I would say that there are individuals who have behaved corruptly. I think Labour need to pay a political price for having tolerated too much poor behaviour from such ministers and officials. Philip Field and David Benson Pope have now gone, but they were protected by the leadership for a very long time. The officials linked to the pledge card rort and cynical breach of the electoral spending cap are all still there. Don Brash isn’t. I’m pleased to see Don Brash gone. I’m pleased to see Philip Field and David Benson-Pope gone. Labour still have more of a price to pay, in my view.

  100. IrishBill 101

    While it is too late to get engaged in a argument of relative ethics and the ends versus the means I have a real concern that we are heading down a path in which minor scandals are allowed to usurp important political issues to the point where governments of either political persuasion become paralysed by them. I’m certainly not saying actions such as falsification of qualifications by a senior civil servant should be tolerated but with a public service numbering tens of thousands these things are going to happen and they should not be focused on at the expense of more significant political discourse.

    Interestingly Darren Hughs’ comments on the dangers of youtube are particularly applicable here: politicians are people and as such they are fallible. My fear is that the expectation is that they are not and that the muckraking capacity new technology and increased transparency allows for will mean an increasing political exploitation of this fallibility.

    Unfortunately I can’t see this changing because as lprent points out (in the short term at least) fire has to be met with fire and as far as I can see this will only lead to a race to the bottom which potentially able and competent people would be mad to engage in. The problem is these are the exact people we need in the house of representatives.

  101. illuminatedtiger 102


    As pointless as it may be have you attempted to get a retraction from Bill English?

  102. Ag 103

    I would have thought that it comes down to Labour having been in power for three terms and the general drift to the right given perceived economic uncertainties. The Labour Party in Britain seem to have similar problems.

  103. lprent 104

    it: I left a message on Bill English’s blogsite which was never responded to. You can still see it there last time I looked.

    IB: That is the scenario I’m concerned about as well. But historically whenever new technology comes to bear on the political process this happens each time. Typically within a couple of decades after its introduction.

    Newspapers – the 18th century broadsheets were rather notorious.
    Even in NZ if you look at the introduction of illustrated papers in the 1890’s and 1900’s, you can see it there as well. Papers Past

    Radio – there was a hell of a squabble in NZ in the 30’s and 40’s.

    TV – well I always remember the really gross ads from the 1975 campaign.

    And now the net. It allows people to wind up an issue really fast. The MSM are straining to run as fast to stay on top of the news. So no real judgment or consideration is made. You notice that they’re starting to fizzle out very fast as well. Part of that is better damping and control. But a lot of it is people trying to find the next issue so they can be on top of it as fast as possible. It is a never ending race.

    I suspect it is just matter of wearing the issue to the death to achieve a new balance. But it cannot become the preserve of one side or the other. Thats why the posts here and at other left leaning sites are important. Basically MAD has been reinvented yet again.

    In the meantime, the delay that usually happens on the posts here is probably useful. Then there is time to find out about the issue without the breathless excitement that is showing in the MSM and on the news clipping sites.

  104. ak 105

    Best thread ever. Thanks rOb and IB (and even you honest righties)- you’ve restored this old critter’s faith in the glorious interweb.


    Current poll reflects “Anti-Labour” rather than “Pro-tory” sentiment:

    “Anti-Labour” sentiment impossible to justify rationally.


    Current poll result of general “opinion” in 10-12% of voting public.

    Primary “opinion” shaper = Mass media(papers and TV news).

    Mass media = advertising businesses.

    Business = entity inherently favouring right-wing ideology.


    From the luxury of a gigantic poll cushion, even the formerly rabid rightists above concede that Labour has performed well and that National is essentially vapid on alternate policy. The only credible explanation for this poll lies in the political interpretations foisted on the (largely apathetic and volatile) voting public by the media (eg the Herald campaign and Colin Espiner’s “stench of death” comments this week).

    No easy answer for the left, save another fortuitous expose of explicit corruption. Which reminds me, ever wondered why Brash’s Orewa One speech gained such traction? (especially when essentially the same message had been pushed to no avail by Bill English not too previously).
    Here’s a hint (and a reminder to anyone who remembers the editorials and coverage) from “The Hollow Men”, (p.88) email from Brownlee to Brash: “Orewa was a huge success…because the work was done over a three week period to prime the media up into a state that forced them to write positively about the topic.”

    “Work was done” eh? – that “forced them to write positively…”

    Being old enough to claim immunity from the fear of paranoia, I’d love to know what “work” is being done now to force such “positive” writing from the press….any journos out there with sufficient cojones to cough up for the sake of our future?

  105. lprent 106

    IrishBill says: I can’t believe I’m making a moderator comment in one of Lynn’s comments

    I had a very unusual free weekend. So I made some comments for a change.

    In this case it backfired on them.

    Amongst other things it got me seriously annoyed. In the short-term, that meant I allocated a lot more time to this project to help ensure its success.

    In the longer term, well, lets say that it is a family trait to find solutions to structural problems regardless of how long it takes. We don’t talk much – we just change systems and move ground rules.

  106. expat 107

    Just take a look at the behaviour of the labor administration and gummint department machine. An ongoing saga of incompetence, corruption and graft. Thats why labor are getting creamed in the polls.

  107. lprent 108

    expat: If you look at the post, what IrishBill was asking is what are you voting for – rather than what are you voting against.

    What has been noticeable is that the supporters of the right in this post were articulate about what they were voting against. They were considerably less articulate on what they were voting for. Most of what they were said they were voting for is not currently part of National party policy. A high proportion IMHO is unlikely to make it into their policy when they eventually announce it, if they want to be in the center ground.

    I haven’t seen anything that would indicate that the nats have any policy that would prevent the types of little ‘scandals’ that they have been nit-picking over the last few years. The same kinds of things showed up in the 90’s. They just weren’t blown up so strongly out of proportion.

  108. expat 109

    Let me rephrase; I will be voting for change because of the ongoing incompetence, corruption and graft that has marred the last labour term.

    I will be voting for national (and I have voted for labour in the past – so you should not feel ashamed if you feel the urge, and want to come out of the red shed, so to speak 😉 )

    National offer the hope of the type of change thatthe ocuntry needed at the time Hulun and Co were voted in after that woman shipley. A change from the tired ideas rut that we are in now.

    The world has moved on markedly, its time for all New Zealanders to come to terms with this.

    Will Key be a magic bullet? Probably not but he comes with fresh ideas and a strong pedigree for sucess against the odds – isn’t this what New Zealand used to be about?

  109. Pinetree 110

    ….exellent debate, enjoying it.

    On matters of “scandal” – little of what I’ve seen results in anymore than a vicarious tarring of the Govt, naked politics, nice little media byline….all it is….leave aside an indivdual’s actions (Filed, Mallard etc) and the Nats would likely have faced the same….and will again I’m sure…perception is reality and all that…

    Lprent – “They were considerably less articulate on what they were voting for….”

    I mentioned earlier that I’d rather not have the dumbed down version of a National election campaign, but again, politics at work.

    However, I don’t think we should take any (perceived, or otherwise) lack of policy position at this stage as indication of anything other than campaigning strategy

    It might well backfire on them, for example, that ole saying about “leaving a vacuum, someone will fill it” – eg, some of the comment in here insinuating sinister corporate links, social slash/burn, selling off the famil jewells (did someone mention “slogans r us”)….

    …..but more likely it’s a case of them recognising that despite the good and bad of the current Labour regime people are seemingly keen for a change and want to vote for it, and this in spite of the fact that (if the argument holds, and I doubt it) that the Nats “don’t stand for anything, or have some shady agenda”

    I believe the latter “change” driver speaks more about the current Government, and those on the left need to be asking themselves some very hard questions as to why that is the case after a solid 3 terms in the driving seat….what is it that is picking up swing/issues voters and driving them “rightish”….whether it’s policy substance or a “vote against the left/vote for change” they are valid positions, and those votes will count….

  110. expat 111

    The punters dont connect with the labour ‘face’.

    Who can connect with Hulun, Mikhael, Trev, Parker, Benson-Pope, King, (Smarmy, Taito, Dover)…et al.

    They simply arent ‘of the people’.

    Key has managed to dispel his ‘rich prick’ albatross, English has worked hard to lose his whiny 2nd tier presence and the Nats have picked up some talented heartland young turks.

    And lets be real, the Nats are minutes / seconds of seperation from Labour, not degrees – a smart unionista would be negotiating terms and conditions now.

  111. stanb 112

    Re Latest Fairfax Poll.

    Go to the site

    This site has over 12,000 hits since Jan.
    You will find the many reasons why mainstream NZ has dumped the Labour Gvt.

    Tax cuts
    Law n order. The Huge Murder Stats.
    Anti smacking Bill
    Civil marriages
    Palmerston North Clock Tower
    Mallard punching an MP in the house
    Corruption issues
    Purchase of BMW Limo’s
    The mass migration across to Australia
    The sheer arrogance of Labour and its ianability to listen to voters.
    Air NZ & the Railway buy back scandal.


    [lprent: Depends what ‘hit’ measure you’re talking about. But 12k in over 4 months sounds very low to me. People aren’t that interested?]

  112. RedLogix 113


    Your list is revealing:

    Myth: Tax cuts
    Fact: New Zealand is actually a relatively low tax country. What is the rational for trying to be even lower?

    Myth: Law n order. The Huge Murder Stats.
    Fact: Our crime rates are either stable or declining.

    Myth: EFA
    Fact: Based on UK legislation, and similar to Australian and Canadian rules. Circmstances meant that it has been rushed into place and will need some wrinkles ironing out.

    Myth: Anti smacking Bill
    Fact: Not one parent has been prosecuted for “smacking” a child in the last 12 months.

    Myth: Civil marriages
    Fact: Which predjudice are you running here?

    Myth: Palmerston North Clock Tower
    Fact: Never heard of it.

    Myth: Mallard punching an MP in the house
    Fact: Bad show. Mallard took the consequences. Henare evaded his.

    Myth: Corruption issues
    Fact: They get dealt to. Clark does not leap to hang people on flimsy evidence, but she acts when she has solid facts.

    Myth: RMA
    Fact: Gives ordinary people some say in what happens around them. Needs some refining to prevent the cynical abuses that occur, usually by well-healed business interests.

    Myth: Purchase of BMW Limo’s
    Fact: A perfectly sensible choice of vehicle to serve a range of govt needs.

    Myth: The mass migration across to Australia
    Fact: A few fractions of a percent is NOT mass anything.

    Myth: Air NZ & the Railway buy back scandal.
    Fact: You can tack the word “scandal” onto absolutely any govt action, but surely the far bigger scandal was the gross private sector incompetence and theft that lead to both AirNZ and Railways needing to be re-purchased. (Or would you prefer public funds to have gone into propping up private companies?)

    Myth: The sheer arrogance of Labour and its ianability to listen to voters.

    This one stands on it’s own. I presume you mean, that Labour does not listen to YOU.

    What really interests me Stan is that you have presented a list of ephemeral, even trivial issues. You have allowed yourself to be suckered into opposing this govt on a shopping list of matters and questions of very little import. It’s called distraction Stan. The showman is pulling your attention to his meaningless handwaving, while at the same time hiding actions that will later take you by surprise. (And then use that surprise to justify doing something you would have never otherwise agreed to… but that story will keep for later.)

  113. IrishBill 114

    Stan, instead of linkwhoring your site and having a wee moan about the government how about you explain what you expect national to change and why.

  114. sean14 115


    I wrote that all by myself, I didn’t even have to look at a National Party press release. Imagine you not being the only person on this blog capable of independent thought.

    Whether it is objective reality (whatever that is) or not, my perception is that the government is shamelessly arrogant, and I’ll wager that a large portion of voters feel the same way. Labour won in 1999 because they weren’t National. Were you complaining then?

    Given that the best you can do is denigrate me for so-called sloganeering, it seems that you are right at home in the Labour party.

  115. r0b 116

    Ahh well done then sean. Doubleplusgood.

    my perception is that the government is shamelessly arrogant, and I’ll wager that a large portion of voters feel the same way.

    I’m sure you’re right on both counts. Since time immemorial it has been popular sport to hate politicians in general (and the government in particular). I used to do it myself when I was young and foolish, before I realised what a superficial, easy, facile habit it was. Then I decided to get involved, and see what the political process was really like. And it turns out that politicians (of all stripes) are mostly just people.

    Given that the best you can do is denigrate me for so-called sloganeering, it seems that you are right at home in the Labour party.

    Careful, you’ll get a good telling off from higherstandard for “shooting the messenger”.

    (Captcha: “humanity the” – Oh!)

  116. burt 117

    The lefts entire defense of Labour’s low standards of accountability, continual cover ups and general disregard for the law is to wheel out of list of similar things National have done in previous terms.

    That’s it folks – they did it too! The six year old’s have just justified themselves stealing lollies from the shop because their mates were doing it as well. Move on!

  117. lprent 118

    burt: It is more a case of what will the Nat’s do about it?

    They haven’t said. The current government has steadily proceeded to work to close the problem areas and to make sure the issues do not reoccur. Pointing out the previous history of the national party indicates their track record where fixing the problems did not appear to be a high priority.

    I have to say that the national party after 8 years in opposition has finally managed to become an effective opposition party. But they have done it by being nit-pickers rather than offering a clear alternative.

    I’ve never noticed nit-pickers in any area as being very effective in actually running things – have you?

  118. r0b 120

    Have you read this thread at all Burt? There is some very thoughtful stuff above about what constitutes “scandals”, and how each wave of new media focusses more and more attention on what are often largely trivial topics. This trend will no doubt continue no matter which party leads the next government. What a depressing thought.

    Anyway Burt, my usual response to your particular opening gambit is not a “they did it too” list. My response is to point out that only one recent leader has been forced to resign due to the public outrage at the corrupt behvaiour of that party – and that party is National. An actual real genuine scandal, not an overexcited beat up. Thwack.

    But why must we go round this loop again and again and again? Sometimes I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. I think perhaps I’d better go for a walk in the fresh air before I get a sudden urge to start taking piano lessons.

  119. burt 121


    There is no “what will the Nat’s do about it” as such, it’s a matter of what will the voters do about it.

    Labour might have been able to get away with using the juvenile defense that they were not the only corrupt and bad ones for a while but when they need to start reminding the public of things 18 years ago it starts to loose it’s effectiveness.

    Similarly National can only dine out on the scandal banquest Labour have arrogantly and shamelessly laid out for them.

    After 9 years of National people will have forgotten Taito Field and when National try and justify the actions of a current day MP by saying what are Labour going to do about it people will laugh at them then as well.

  120. lprent 122

    Pinetree: “did someone mention “slogans r us’)”

    Personally I find that endemic in the political area. All sides do it. But I suspect it isn’t the election winning strategy that it once was under FPP. You have to win across the whole country wide electorate.

    One of the things we try to encourage around this site is that slogans get challenged. The results of that are quite revealing. There has been a tendency to find that people relying on slogans for their argument usually have little else.

  121. burt 123


    There is some very thoughtful stuff above about what constitutes “scandals’, and how each wave of new media focusses more and more attention on what are often largely trivial topics.

    Yes I agree, a few generations back we use to ignore the sounds of children being given the strap in the house next door, some silly bugger decided to focus on it and now it’s friggen illegal.

    Come on get with reality, claiming the scandals are the making of scurrilous journalists is simply saying we would rather that sort of thing went on un-reported.

    Society evolves and shit that was acceptable a few years ago is not today, the laws evolve to deal with that and we all get on with it. Apparently not so in parliament where they have the power to simply ignore the laws they don’t like and introduce retrospective legislation to bail them out when they really get caught f##king up.

  122. lprent 124

    burt: I suspect you miss my point.

    Drawing attention to problems is a threefold process. You show the problem, and then you make suggestions about how to fix the problem, and finally you implement.

    Otherwise problems will just reoccur over and over again.

    For instance national has been making a big play about the problems with the EFA. But they haven’t said what they’d replace it with. They put the original 1993 Electoral Act through which had considerable problems under the MMP environment. The EFA fixed a number of those problems, and probably caused others.

    At this point I have no idea what the national party keep, throw out, or change – do you?

    Anyway, got to do some work. I’m dropping back to sysop role again.

  123. Janet 125

    I have followed this thread with interest but hardly anyone has actually answered the original question about what those who want a change of government will be voting FOR.

    There have been many comments about what people are voting against and even some cynicism that a change of government will actually change much. But a common theme is that many people (I presume males) really fear, dislike and cannot cope with having a woman as Prime Minister. So is it basically sexism? Would those who dislike Helen Clark so much have been any less likely to vote for National under Shipley than under Bolger or Brash? One of the most powerful and ambitious people in the National Party is Judith Collins who is right out of the Richardson/Thatcher mould and would be hovering closely in any future leadership coup, and could even be leading the party by the 2011 election.
    So people might just have to get used to the idea that women are here to stay in politics, and in leadership positions.

  124. burt 126


    But they haven’t said what they’d replace it with.

    What twaddle, they said right from the start a cross party process with broad public consultation was required. Exactly what Labour refused to do. You are sounding like a Labour apologist refusing to acknowledge the process (arrogant and self serving) is the root of the problem with the EFA. Most warnings that were dismissed as “scare mongering” about the EFB are now showing themselves to be real and valid concerns. Labour certainly seem as incapable of applying the law of common sense as any other party.

    Perhaps Labour want to win the election in court, perhaps Owen Glenn has deeper pockets to fight a court battle than the EB so it’s a valid strategy when power at any price is the priority.

    [lprent: They wanted to send it to a committee. That is a process not a position.
    What would they as a party be pushing for in that committee?]

  125. milo 127

    Burt – the fact that they are reduced to spinning on a blog comments thread shows how desperate and out of touch Labour supporters are.

    More generally, New Zealand is going backwards. People are leaving. Labour has few answers, except to bribe the electorate. And anybody who doesn’t like it (like me) is branded as a national party supporter, and written off.

    When a government sees 50% of the electorate as partisan meanies, you know it’s a death watch.

  126. higherstandard 128


    I don’t give a damn if the Prime Minister is a woman or a man the converse of your argument is to look at how many female voters vot for the current Prime Minister because she is female sexism works both ways.

  127. burt 129


    I can’t speak for others but I personally make no gender distinction with regard to employment positions. In my first job (some years ago now) my father told me I had to resign immediately when he found out I had a female boss, my refusal to do so contributed to my moving out of home earlier than I had originally planned.

    Yes I’m guilty of being a male, I’m not guilty of being young, I’m certainly not young enough to know everything – I leave that position to the James Sleep’s of this world. I’m not from privileged background by any means, quite the contrary actually, however I have been moderately successful in my work so I may half tick one of your boxes in your list of generalities.

    Robust debate is good.

  128. burt 130


    You are sounding like a Labour apologist refusing to acknowledge the process (arrogant and self serving) is the root of the problem with the EFA.

    Your response:
    [lprent: They wanted to send it to a committee. That is a process not a position.
    What would they as a party be pushing for in that committee?]

    Yep, the National party process would be flawed wouldn’t it – and the Labour party process – well it’s a Labour party process so there is nothing wrong with it. Thanks for proving my point about Labour apologists.

  129. lprent 131

    But it went through select committee with public consultation. It had debate in parliament and amendment in parliament. The only other valid legal process would probably have been to run it through a royal commission, which takes years.

    Surely you’re not suggesting that it should have been done in some kind of secret deal between the major parties? That would not have been transparent.

    The EFA was proposed to fix the obvious flaws that showed up in the 2005 election. It went through the normal process for any bill. Despite the spin of its opponents, it didn’t fundamentally change the basis of the 1993 Act except in the length of time that was considered to be campaign period.

    We are probably 5 months out from an election now. It looks like a lot of electioneering going on out there now to me. I’d say that change reflected the political realities under MMP.

    But my primary point stands. The national party has been saying that the act has to be changed – but hasn’t said how they would want to change it. You don’t know what you are wanting to vote FOR.

  130. Billy 132

    Nice one, Redlogix. I accuse you of being a condescending smug know-it-all and you start your defence by calling me “Billyboy“.

    People like r0b have pointed out that you can be a social democrat and not be for full on communism. In the same way, you can consider it OK for a child to receive a light smack without condoning child abuse. The two things are completely different in much the same way that social democracy and communism allegedly are (I may still need to be convinced that the last two are actually different).

    You do not seem stupid enough to miss this difference. So I guess you are being dishonest. And then trying to cover your tracks with your aggressive hectoring.

    In answer to your disingenuously phrased question: I think parents should have the right to give their children a light smack. Nothing more. I know you will consider this an invitation to call me a child molester, but before you do, consider the company that I used to keep in holding this view. Something about “defying human nature”?

    Disagree with me all you want. Even launch into one of your condescending little rants about thrashing children in private. But we both know this is a million miles away from a light smack.

    That’s the other thing I don’t get: you proudly point out that no-one has been prosecuted for a light smacking and yet seem to think that anyone who would do so is a monster. On your tortured view of the world, shouldn’t we be prosecuting these evil-doers? You can’t have it both ways.

  131. Billy 133

    Robinsod said: So interest free student loans was a bribe and a tax cut isn’t?

    Yes. You can’t be bribed with your own money.

  132. burt 134


    The only other valid legal process would probably have been to run it through a royal commission, which takes years.

    The Labour party process took two years!

    But it went through select committee with public consultation.

    Yes it did and it the arguments against it were largely ignored and it was passed under urgency. Some consultative process – although Labour got what they wanted so I guess the ends justifies the means.

    But my primary point stands. The national party has been saying that the act has to be changed – but hasn’t said how they would want to change it. You don’t know what you are wanting to vote FOR.

    A bit like in 2005, we didn’t know who was spending what and therefore didn’t know who we were voting for. We had no idea there was an EFA on the way then, but as you keep pointing out – Labour dropped that surprise on us so it’s just fine. Labour policy on the fly is fine but National policy is bad. Got that.

    John Key has said he will repeal the vile malfunctioning piece of shit designed to allow Labour to legally do the things that were illegal in 2005 while making it illegal for others to do things that were legal in 2005.

    The EFA is possibly Labour’s biggest problem this election, that’s the comment I first made in this thread and the partisan defense of the EFA and the process it was passed under just shows how out of touch, arrogant and desperate Labour and their supporters have become.

  133. higherstandard 135

    ‘The EFA was proposed to fix the obvious flaws that showed up in the 2005 election.’

    Come off it – the initial bill, before it went through amendments, was a self interested piece of legislation which had everything to do with skewing the odds in the incumbent government’s favour and having a vindictive swipe at the Exclusive Bretheren.

    What came out the back end of the process was little better

  134. lprent 136

    hs: That is why we have a process for passing bills into acts. So they can be discussed, have submissions on, amended, changed, and fixed. Seems to work.

    These days the MMP parliament ensures that legislation goes through that process and the government whip does not rule the roost.

    Do you have a suggestion for a better process to be put into law about how laws get passed?

  135. lprent 137

    burt: I think that the royal commission on electoral reform took over 10 years to go from inception to the act being passed and an election under that act.

    Is that the process you’d want to follow?

  136. higherstandard 138


    There’s little point arguing this with you as we come from polar opposites on the EFA suffice to say that I am agreement with Burt when he points to ..

    ..arguments against it were largely ignored and it was passed under urgency. Some consultative process – although Labour got what they wanted so I guess the ends justifies the means.

    Still the weather’s beautiful today and there’s better things for us both to be doing than arguing about politicians and their foibles.

    PS those captchas are getting blurry again

    [lprent: I’m afraid that there isn’t much I can do about the captchas. Use the circle arrow icon to get a readable one. It serves its purpose. Tou would not believe the numbers of spammers that try to leave stuff here]

  137. Lew 139

    Burt is right on the money here: the EFA and the circumstances under which is was passed is and were legitimate: the government followed the strictly correct legal process for it, but there’s a popular belief they should have done more, and failure to do more seems to have pissed off a fair hunk of the electorate. Anyone who disagrees with the act or its passing, or feels that their views weren’t heeded during the consultation process has their recourse on a Saturday in a few months from now, but to some people that’s cold comfort.

    In this light, if it does turn out to be the election-turning issue (I’m not convinced it will) the act and the process of its passage isn’t so much wrong or anti-democratic as it is stupid. Governments who want to remain in office shouldn’t put themselves in this situation. It’s doubly stupid given the fact that the government could have neutralised almost all of this backlash by conceding the Human Rights Commission’s suggestion that the effective period be restricted to 90 days.


  138. lprent 140

    hs: agree to disagree area I suspect.

    L: The HRC was wrong. The last election campaign ran from about April onwards. This years campaign has been running for a while now.

    Last time all expenses outside of the 90 days weren’t counted. National did almost all of their expenses outside that period. Just think what that billboard campaign in 2005 cost. If they didn’t extend the period, then the expenditure restrictions in the 1993 act didn’t make sense.

    That was the critical element of the of the EFA in my opinion.

    The timing was constrained. They waited until they had the Auditor-General’s report about the election. That was october 2006. Then they had to put the bill through before the election year. There wasn’t a lot of time.

  139. RedLogix 141

    In answer to your disingenuously phrased question: I think parents should have the right to give their children a light smack. Nothing more.

    Now what exactly do you MEAN by a “light smack”. Hand only or can I use a hairbrush or wooden spoon? On what part of the body? How often? Can I do one good hard one, or six lighter ones? Can I leave a red mark, and have I committed an offense if I leave a slight bruise? How many times per week? At what age? Different standards for boys and girls? … I could go on.

    The point is that it is quite wrong in PRINCIPLE to even attempt to define an acceptable level of hitting a child. What we have done is treat assault on children exactly the same as an assault on an adult. ie ALL touching is potentially an offense, but in PRACTISE we leave it to the legal system implement a minimum threshold below which it takes no interest. Which is exactly what has happened.

    That’s the other thing I don’t get: you proudly point out that no-one has been prosecuted for a light smacking and yet seem to think that anyone who would do so is a monster.

    Now you and I may well be able to reach a consensus on what an acceptable light smack may be, but we both know that NZ has a long history of parents who have given children shocking thrashings… and nobody ever did anything about it because the law gave a quasi-excuse for it. And we would BOTH agree that these people are monsters. And not all of them belong in our past. There are still plenty of parents in this country who for either twisted religious or backward cultural reasons fervidly believe in their RIGHT to hit their children.

    Now you may wish to persist in claiming that you to have the right to hit your children, because you know how to tell the difference between a light smack and a thrashing. But be aware that in principle it puts you into the same camp as those who cannot.

    The two things are completely different in much the same way that social democracy and communism allegedly are (I may still need to be convinced that the last two are actually different).

    So you have trouble distiguishing between social democracy and communism. OK…so what was the difference between a light smack and a thrashing again?

  140. Lew 142

    Regarding scandal, there’s the perception that both major parties are playing dirty at the expense of the things they ought to be doing: running the government and being a loyal opposition. I think a game theoretic approach is useful here, due to the EFA’s influence on the result.

    I’ll just ignore for the purpose of this discussion the merits of either side’s claims: presume that both National’s allegations of corruption and scandal and Labour’s counter-allegations of big money support, flip-flops and politicking by focus-group are about evenly matched and justified. It’s probably not so, but that’s another argument.

    Both parties have been playing a tit-for-tat strategy (one could argue it’s been a grim trigger too), which, without forgiveness, as IB has mentioned above inevitably leads to a race to the bottom. The only way to normalise relations between the two main parties is for one or other to forbear from attacks long enough for the other to, without losing face, cease attacks and move on. It’s too late for either party to change to a strategy including forgiveness now before the 2008 election; in Labour’s case it would be seen as conceding, and in National’s it would be seen as a sign of softness. I think it’s fair to say that National are responsible for introducing this strategy, though both parties have clearly continued it. Labour’s attempts to forgive and `move on’ have with some justification been seen as them not wanting to dwell on their own failings, and have made National even more strident.

    I think forgiveness will naturally come into the game only if Labour loses the coming election. In that case National would be focussed on raising the standard of debate, much of Labour’s front bench would retire, and both sides would begin to negotiate a new equilibrium based on their new positions. It gets really ugly if Labour wins this election, however. Labour would be inclined to forgive, but that would be short-lived since National would not. Ordinarily National would in this case concede gracious defeat and work on rebuilding, as they did in 2005; but in this case it has the EFA to blame for the defeat, and the bitterness of the loss would make party leadership extremely reluctant to forgive, especially given that they’d have just three short years before another election under the EFA.

    Therefore, there’s an irony here: National is the party who `started it’ and the party most responsible for continuing it, but if one’s main concern in this election is simply ending the bickering about scandal, one should vote National because a National victory is the only way of assuring forgiveness and a return to normality. My instinct is that a fair chunk of the electorate understand this on some intuitive level, and this explains two major aspects revealed in this thread: first, the strong swing to National from Labour; and secondly the difficulty those people have in quantifying exactly why they’re changing, and their resort to talking points.


  141. Billy 143

    But be aware that in principle it puts you into the same camp as those who cannot.

    It just doesn’t.

    So you have trouble distiguishing between social democracy and communism.

    You weren’t to know, but this is the subject of a running gag between myself and a couple of the lefties here who are blessed with a sense of humour, and who don’t take themselves too seriously. I recommend you give that a go, it’ll make you more likable.

  142. mike 144

    Redlogix – you were obviously beaten or abused as a child (judging by your very bitter spat at 5.20pm on Sat)
    While this is sad it does not excuse pidgeon holing everybody to fit your distorted, sick view on life.

  143. RedLogix 145


    Yes it does.

    (That’s a great rebuttal… a masterly “stroke” that wins all arguments. You should use it more often, it could become a running gag.)


    Ahhh… the dependable old adhom; faithful tool of rightwingers everywhere. I love it when you trot them out, because they are a reliable psychometric diagnostic informing me that I’m pretty damm close to target.

    Still want us to believe that you don’t hit your own children?

  144. higherstandard 146


    Despite your belief otherwise not everyone who disagrees with you is a childbeater.

    It would interesting to poll those commenting for and against s59 on this site to see who in fact even have their own kids perhaps that would be somewhat enlightening.

  145. Ruth 147

    I have 3 kids and fully support S59. I could not agree more with Red’s 5.20pm comment.

    There is no reason on this green earth to use pain as punishment. A good parent does not hit their kids. Human rights – the right to live without violence – do not stop at the door of the family home.

    I would be interested to poll those commenting for and against s59 to see who had been hit as a kid themselves. That would be more telling.

  146. RedLogix 148


    I’ll try one last time with a neutral analogy.

    You’ve unintentionally taken a ballpoint pen home from work, and the next day this is discovered by some means. Technically you’ve committed theft and your employer would be within rights to terminate you and get the police to lay charges.

    Mad eh. All sane people would think that your employers has grossly overreacted.

    Now imagine instead it was not just one pen that had lain forgotten in your briefcase, but it was a whole boxful of them. Moreover it turned out you had a whole stash of them at home which you had purloined over many months. Almost everyone would now agree that you had committed theft.

    So where is the dividing line in law? How many ballpoint pens do you have the RIGHT to take home, and how often? The answer is of course… none. There is of course no such threshold defined in law… and for obvious reasons. In reality the very FIRST pen that you unintentionally took home was in fact technically theft; you had no defendable right in law to take it.

    (In the real world you would likely have a defense under employment law for unreasonable dismissal, but that has nothing to do with the potential theft charge.)

    Moreover you could not stand up in Court and claim that you had a RIGHT to steal one pen; it would put you in exactly the same camp as someone who had stolen hundreds.

  147. RedLogix 149


    Despite your belief otherwise not everyone who disagrees with you is a childbeater.

    I’ve made it perfectly clear that I am 100% happy with the idea that the law implements a minimum threshold below which it takes no action. The very common case of the children getting the odd smack or two is of no public interest to prosecute.

    But the moment someone claims that they have a RIGHT to hit their children (no matter how moderately), it puts them into the same category as the real childbeaters… for the reasons outlined in my 7:13 post above.

  148. AncientGeek 150

    rl: Good analogy. That is exactly the way I understand the criminal law. It doesn’t matter what is the scale. What matters is if the prosecuting authority and the courts consider it to be significant.

    The problem comes when you try to put a bar on it. That was exactly the problem with ‘reasonable force’. What in the hell does it mean? That is what both the police and the judges were asking.

    It is like trying to say in the law that the barrier between petty theft and serious theft is defined at 1 shilling and sixpence. Something like that used to be in one of the old crimes acts – after decimalization of the currency and a lot of inflation since the dawn of the 20th. From memory it was still there until the last couple of decades.

    What is reasonable force? A ‘light smacking’ or a thumping with a piece of alkathene. You say what you think it is, I say you’re wrong, and next thing we’re in the supreme court. That is the problem in law with vacuous phrases like ‘light smacking’

  149. RedLogix 151


    My instinct is that a fair chunk of the electorate understand this on some intuitive level, and this explains two major aspects revealed in this thread: first, the strong swing to National from Labour; and secondly the difficulty those people have in quantifying exactly why they’re changing, and their resort to talking points.

    A very nicely constructed argument. Persuasive even. Even though your conclusions likely quite hard to prove, it has a resonance because it’s premised on the electorate’s emotional reactivity, something that trumps reason every time.

    Its more than just “talking points” thats going on here. Look at how often rightwingers are resorting to terms like: “shamelessly arrogant”, “telling me how to run my life”, or Billy’s great line “condescending smug know-it-all” just above.

    This language has one common underlying trope, the obstinate dullard’s grudging resentment of all intellectual endeavour. It’s the same fat underbelly of anti-intellectualism that Massey’s WW1 govt exploited to shutdown anti-war concientous objectors, and a tool the right has depended on ever since.

    By discrediting and marginalising informed debate, by shutting down and debasing the role of the intellectual in public life, the right has been able to frame the debate in purely emotional terms…terms on which it is child’s play for dark actors hidden in PR and advertising firms to manipulate outcomes.

  150. milo 152

    This government has been extremely anti-intellectual.

  151. ak 153

    Yes, excellent analogy red. As usual, the standard conservative reaction to social progress is flawed and based solely on fear of change and fear of losing power.
    I remember many years ago discussing the concept of rape within marriage with an intelligent pillar of society who was genuinely incredulous that such a concept could be even considered and predicted the end of civilisation if it were ever taken seriously.
    More recently (and pertinently) similar fears surrounded the abolishment of corporal punishment in schools. As time goes by and fears fail to materialise, acceptance comes and countless lives are enhanced thereon.

    Lew: verrrry interesting theory (ie swing voters motivated by a desire to end “political bickering” – anti PB!), you could be right on the money. Certainly would explain the current polling, which (a reading of this thread would seem to strongly suggest) has surprised even National.

    Certainly the high degree of apathy and disdain for politics (eg 70% refusal rates for polls, huge unawareness of election) supports your thesis: depressingly, it’s quite conceivable that around 10% of voters could be motivated by nothing more than a (conscious or subconscious)desire for peace and stability at the top.

    How often do we hear; “Aaah, fockin politics. They’re all the fockin same, makes no difference who gets in, why don’t they just have the election tomorrow and get it all over with.” A very short jump to “Who’s in the lead now. They’ll do”.

    As you say, National is the party who `started it’ and the party most responsible for continuing it.
    This is the obscene irony that galls so deeply: a flip-flopping party bereft of principle profitting from the very muckraking and scandalmongering of which it accuses Labour. The corrupt screaming corruption.

  152. RedLogix 154


    The sad reality is that a huge chunk of the electorate will vote for National because “John Key is such a nice looking man”.

    There is an old saying that goes “Just because you take no interest in politics, does not mean that politics will take no interest in you”. Yet I’ve always been aware that those of us willing to treat politics as a serious and important endeavour are a rahter small minority. Most people have an exceedingly shallow and facile grasp of what is really happening in govt, resorting to cheap slogans and emotive gut responses as a substitute for informed participation. (Just as your one-liner above is a poor substitute for an actual argument.)

    You have to ask yourself why. Personally I think it’s because it suits one particular political lobby to have as few people involved as possible. I’ll leave it to you to figure out which one.

  153. r0b 155

    This government has been extremely anti-intellectual.

    On the face of it that seems like a very odd claim milo. Care to explain?

  154. mike 156

    “Still want us to believe that you don’t hit your own children?”
    Yep, you make a comment about old nanny state Gov and get labelled a childbeater. Vintage spiteful lefty crap.
    You got the bash alright Red and are a perfect example to people why they should not smack there kids.

  155. Billy 157

    Just when I tought I was mastering basic HTML (God, I wish I were a genius).

    I will fix that, because it offends my sense of order.


    Reasonableness is a test used in many contexts in the law. Surprisingly infrequently does it cause problems.


    the obstinate dullard’s grudging resentment of all intellectual endeavour.

    So that’s why you’re behaving like such a prig. And using words such as “trope’. You are casting yourself as the intellectual tortured and misunderstood for his enormous brain. Anyone who disagrees with you obviously does so because he or she lacks your genius.

    Which makes it like debating a religious fundamentalist. You are trying to be the left’s answer to Ian Wishart, aren’t you, RL?

    Your ballpoint pen example is fatuous. In the first example I would not “dishonestly and without claim of right, tak[en] any property with intent to deprive any owner permanently of that property or of any interest in that property’. So I would have committed no crime at all.

    Your point seems to be that there are some laws the trivial breach of which will not result in prosecution for pragmatic reasons. If that’s the case, why do you and all your mates refer to anyone who thinks it is OK for a parent to occasionally give a child a light smack as a “child beater’?

    [lprent: removed dud copy]

  156. RedLogix 158

    So that’s why you’re behaving like such a prig. And using words such as “trope’. You are casting yourself as the intellectual tortured and misunderstood for his enormous brain. Anyone who disagrees with you obviously does so because he or she lacks your genius.

    I thought you would come back with an anti-elitist line like that. Here is my response.

    Do I consider myself an intellectual. No. I cannot claim to have the education, experience or talent to place myself into the ranks of those first-rate individuals with the authentic academic background and genuine ability to shape the ideas and movements of our world.

    But theirs is a tradition I deeply respect, and standard that they have set which I attempt to follow as best I can. I’ll not apologise for that.

    But if you think this merits your contemptuous sarcasm I say, go for it. You are after all, generously providing a real-time example of the point I am making.

  157. RedLogix 159


    Your rebuttal is cute, but irrelevant. You have argued that no crime was committed because there was no intent to permanently deprive the owner of the property or interest in it. That is a fair enough defense if the ball-point pen could be returned with no loss to the owner. But what if it you could not? What is you had in fact lost it, used it up or sold it on Trademe?

    But how do take back a “smack”? You cannot. Therefore as a rebuttal it fails.


    Way up above you stated:

    – and I do not smack my children, just do not like being told how to raise them.

    There are only two logical consequences from this statement:

    1. You do not smack your children, but you want the right to be able to do so if you feel like it.

    2. You really do smack your children, but you’re just too gutless to admit to it in public.

    Either way Mike I’m not here to be “likeable” to you. I’m just going to keep on metaphorically kicking you in the gonads until you crawl away.

  158. Billy 160

    Do I consider myself an intellectual. No.


    I thought you would come back with an anti-elitist line like that.

    But part of an elite, obviously. And an elite which is so clever, it can guess my next move.

    Fcuked if I know why we’re still talking about ball point pens, but since you’ve asked: if the pen could not be returned to its owner no crime would still have been committed. If I had not exercised reasonable skill and care (see, AG) then I would be liable in negligence for the cost of the pen.

    I’m just going to keep on metaphorically kicking you in the gonads until you crawl away.

    You really rate yourself, don’t you? Please do not take this as the obstinate dullard’s grudging resentment of all intellectual endeavour. ‘Cause one way or another, we’ve established you’re not an intellectual: just an elitist.

  159. r0b 161

    Billy: Reasonableness is a test used in many contexts in the law. Surprisingly infrequently does it cause problems.

    So Billy, is this conversion to common sense recent? Like, since January, when you said: Jesus, Lynn. Sounds like a mess. Hopefully everyone understands that “law of common sense’.

    DPF takes the moral highground

    I certainly hope it’s a conversion Billy, I’d hate to think you were merely opportunistic in your beliefs.

  160. ak 162

    red: I’m just going to keep on metaphorically kicking you in the gonads until you crawl away.

    Power to your thighs red! (in a purely metaphorically non-violent way of course – though judging by the size of the metaphorical target, I’m sure any damage will be trifling and inconsequential 🙂 )

  161. RedLogix 163


    But part of an elite, obviously.

    Next move. You accuse me of being “elitist”. Normally you guys avoid this explicit term, because:

    1. It places your emotive agenda in plain sight.

    2. It’s a rationally weak argument and risky to use because it is so easily rebutted.

    The mad irony is that it is the big money interests secretly backing the Tory right who are the real elitists. Read the “Hollow Men” again Billy. The power brokers who run the party you support, have nothing but contempt for the likes of you.

    By contrast the Greens (who are the only NZ party with anything close to an authentic intellectual tradition) are deeply committed to grass-roots participation; an exact antithesis of elitism as you would figure it.

    Wake up Billy. You are not a stupid man or you would not be here, but you are constrained to act like one because you have been conditioned by the anti-intellectual agenda to fear and scorn the notion of “elitism”.

    You are only acting predictably because you acting to type.

  162. Billy 164


    Sorry to disappoint. Unlike reasonableness, there is no tried and tested legal concept of the law of common sense.


    I am not anti-elitist. I just wonder about people who grandiosely claim to be part of it.

  163. Billy 165

    And who says I am a man?

  164. RedLogix 166


    if the pen could not be returned to its owner no crime would still have been committed. If I had not exercised reasonable skill and care (see, AG) then I would be liable in negligence for the cost of the pen.

    But you cannot “be liable in negligence” for a smack either, as there is no way to offer any meaningful recompense. Therefore it continues to fail as an analogous rebuttal.

    And besides it totally evades the main point. Even if we do accept that it might have a defense for the loss of one pen, it would still fail as a defense for the loss of hundreds. The law does not define a threshold for how many pens can be lost and be defendable as “negligence”.

    Neither does it, nor should it, define what is an acceptable “light smack”. It relies on prosecuting authorities, judges and juries to do that.

  165. Billy 167

    But you cannot ?be liable in negligence? for a smack either, as there is no way to offer any meaningful recompense.

    Admit it. You’re making this up as you go along. You cannot be liable in New Zealand for negligence causing personal injury because of the ACC regime. You could be in other jurisdictions. In those jurisdictions, the legal systems consider money to be “meaningful recompense“.

    The law does not define a threshold for how many pens can be lost and be defendable as ?negligence?.

    Negligence isn’t a defence to a crime. It is a tort.

    You are new at this being part of the elite. Right?

  166. RedLogix 168


    1. Money would never be considered a meaningful or acceptable recompense for hitting a child in the NZ juridiction, regardless of the ACC regime or not. Distraction.

    2. Yes you are correct. Negligence is a tort, so why did you introduce it as a “defense” for the theft in the first place? Distraction.

    You have still totally failed to address the question of substance, relying on irrelevant red-herrings instead. Try and focus.

    You are new at this being part of the elite. Right?

    The Standard had an open position for “pompous self-absorbed pillock”… so here I am 8)

  167. Lew 169

    Between all the pointless speculation and accusation about who beats their kids, there are still some interesting comments up in here.

    RedLogix: “it’s premised on the electorate’s emotional reactivity, something that trumps reason every time.”

    This is pretty much the point of propaganda, and why I study symbolic politics.

    [Talking points are] “the obstinate dullard’s grudging resentment of all intellectual endeavour. It’s the same fat underbelly of anti-intellectualism” …

    I’ve done some research on populist insider anti-elitism (that is, anti-elitism promulgated by elites to appeal to non-elites), and it’s an ugly business. But pre-prepared talking points like this aren’t the preserve of the right; similar sorts of things are routinely employed by people of all political factions. Using the word `workers’ instead of `union members’ when referring to participants in industrial action is one example; I could list others but I’m sure you’ll know ’em when you see ’em.

    ak: “How often do we hear; “Aaah, fockin politics. They’re all the fockin same, makes no difference who gets in, why don’t they just have the election tomorrow and get it all over with.’ A very short jump to “Who’s in the lead now. They’ll do’.”

    I listen to a lot of talkback, so yeah, I hear this a fair bit. Ironically I’m at least partly of the view that there’s some truth in it: the difference between Labour and National is in absolute ideological and policy terms very slight; it’s really more symbolic than anything.

    “This is the obscene irony that galls so deeply: a flip-flopping party bereft of principle profitting from the very muckraking and scandalmongering of which it accuses Labour. The corrupt screaming corruption.”

    I figure that if National is found (if they win) to be genuinely is principle-free, policy-light and planning on governing by focus group, they’ll suffer terribly at the hands of an electorate demanding a strong response to a recession. If they stray too far from the moderate pragmatism which even National fans criticise as Labour-lite, I think they’ll suffer bait-and-switch backlash. So I think the only course open to them is to pursue those Labour-lite policies, at least for now.

    Then again, I may be misoverestimating the depth of despair with Labour; it may be that Key can do no wrong. But we’ll see.

    milo: I’m also keen to hear a justification ofr your statement that Clark’s government is anti-intellectual. It’s roundly criticised as a government run by academics which rests on empty philosophy and suffers from a disconnect from the average kiwi battler. If you believe that, then it seems you’re trying to have it both ways; and if not, well, that’s interesting too. I’m curious.


  168. Billy 170

    Negligence is a tort, so why did you introduce it as a “defense’ for the theft in the first place?

    Didn’t. I was pointing out that, while there was potential for legal action of some sort, no crime had been committed. You misunderstood what I was saying.

    The Standard had an open position for “pompous self-absorbed pillock’ so here I am

    At last, a sense of humour.

  169. National disgrace 171

    When even Paul Henry on Breakfast this morning derides Bill English as ‘atrocious’ on yesterday’s Agenda, for being ‘unable to give a single straight answer on policy’ you do have to wonder what the right whingers are voting FOR. From this whole thread, I still have no idea how a National government would make my, or anyone’s life better. A $50 to $92 a week tax cut (JK this morning on Sunrise) perhaps? If you believe that, you’ll believe anything! The luxury of being in oppositon, and being able to say anything you like. If the Nats do win, there’ll be some howling in 2009!

  170. mike 172

    I have written a letter of complaint to TVNZ for Paul Henry’s disgusting, blatant bias towards Labour on this morning show.

  171. Lew 173

    Add Paul Henry to the list of journos who are pissing off hacks in both camps. Maybe he does have some chops after all.

    Yeah, nah.


  172. milo 174

    r0b, lew

    The government has starved the University sector and public science. Here’s a reference for the University sector. I couldn’t find it, but there are similar problems with the Marsden fund for blue sky research.


    The universities have been forced to take many more students at a lower funding rate, been subject to drastic price controls, and forced to meet standards that private providers do not have to meet. Meanwhile, much tertiary sector funding get siphoned off to low value polytechnic courses.

    Now Labour is not alone in this. National were also bad. I think New Zealand in general is anti-intellectual. It’s seems to be part of the tall poppy syndrome, but also part of Labour’s desire to focus on the worse off. They don’t seem to think a lecturer should be paid more than a teacher or a nurse. Whether it’s the ministers or the officials, the university sector seems to have been overseen by people who have a low opinion of academics. To me, that is anti-intellectualism.

    The PM saw that a vibrant society requires a vibrant arts sector. It also requires a vibrant University sector.

  173. r0b 175

    Milo, you sometimes have good points, but you lose them in your foolish rhetoric. What you said was: “This government has been extremely anti-intellectual” – and that is foolish rhetoric.

    Could the tertiary sector and public science in NZ use more funding – well of course it could. But the government is moving in the right direction (too slowly as usual). Here’s snips from press releases from AUS (university staff union):


    14 December 2007
    Tertiary education reforms on right track, say university staff

    University staff have welcomed today’s announcement by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) that high-quality tertiary education is vital for New Zealand’s economic transformation and social development goals, and that universities will be expected to provide a broad mix of education.

    The TEC today released the details of new, three-year, planning and funding arrangements for tertiary education organisations, which will see universities receive an additional 5.4 percent, or $60 million, in funding next year.

    Professor Haworth said that the AUS has long argued for an integrated approach to national university provision, which should replace the competitive model currently driving university decision-making. A co-operative model in tune with academic endeavor and national needs is needed, adding that the reforms announced today should go some considerable way to achieving this.


    31 October
    University staff welcome Hodgson into tertiary education role

    Professor Haworth expressed his appreciation of the role played by the outgoing Minister, Dr Michael Cullen. He said that Dr Cullen had made a dynamic contribution by taking tangible and productive steps to reform the tertiary education sector. This included his active participating in developing a process to address salary and funding problems.


    20 September
    International report shows more investment needed in tertiary education

    The latest edition of the annual OECD report, Education at a Glance , shows that New Zealand consistently ranks around the middle of the thirty OECD countries compared across a variety of measures in what is described as a compendium of international education indicators looking at the quality, quantity, equity and efficiency of education systems.

    Professor Haworth also said that, although the Government has increased expenditure on tertiary education, it still had further to go.

    So Milo, that’s about a million miles from “This government has been extremely anti-intellectual” – don’t you think?

    I think New Zealand in general is anti-intellectual.

    A bit maybe. People tend to cite academics (that agree with them) in awed tones, and rubbish academics (that disagree with them) as out of touch ivory tower fools who don’t have to work for a living. I do agree that there is far too much of the latter. I suspect that any academic who posted openly in blogs would get the latter response frequently, which is a bit pathetic really.

    It also requires a vibrant University sector.

    At least we are 100% agreed about that.

  174. Phil 176

    “People tend to cite academics (that agree with them) in awed tones, and rubbish academics (that disagree with them) as out of touch ivory tower fools who don’t have to work for a living.”

    Does the same go for economists, r0b?

  175. r0b 177

    Everyone tends to cite those that they agree with Phil, and disparage those they disagree with. But I do think that there is a particularly formulaic and empty way of writing off academics with opposing views (as described above).

  176. milo 178

    r0b, that’s an announcement from Labour’s ninth year of government, which still doesn’t address the “chasm” with Australia. What about the first eight years?

  177. r0b 179

    Oh come on Milo, do your own homework.

    Do you still claim that – “This government has been extremely anti-intellectual” – or were you just ranting?

  178. milo 180

    It’s an announcement r0b. Labour are very good at announcments – like getting into the top half of the OECD, delivering tax cuts, and going carbon neutral.

  179. r0b 181

    Don’t run from the question milo, do you still claim that – “This government has been extremely anti-intellectual’ – or were you just ranting?

  180. milo 182

    Yes, I do claim that r0b. Based on performance, not promises. Fairly small promises, at that.

  181. r0b 183

    Well good on you for at least answering the question. But Milo, you’re way out in lala land here. You claim that the government is “extremely anti-intellectual”, your only “evidence” is that the funding for universities could be better, and you are in direct disagreement with the union representing academics. Seriously Milo, that dog ain’t going to hunt.

  182. burt 184

    I agree with Milo actually, the govt talks the talk on quality outcomes from educational institutions and sure if you are “Labour good” in your outlook it’s easy to claim they are doing a great job, but initiatives likes Dr. Cullen’s course funding based on govt policy requirements is certainly a major step backward in the pure intellectual sense. State funding for the state – provision for the public service elite paid for by the masses – no thank you DR. Cullen.

  183. r0b 185

    Threads are like Rorschach ink-blots, everyone reads into them what they want to see. Lord knows what Burt sees.

  184. milo 186

    We’ll agree to disagree I think r0b. But I do value your contributions.

  185. r0b 187

    r0b, they only acknowledge the concerns of New Zealanders if you accept that Labour knows best.

    So you have to sign a loyalty pledge to get your tax cut? I don’t think so Milo. You go so far as to accuse this government of being “extremely anti-intellectual”, so I think it’s pretty safe to say that you aren’t actually willing or able to think clearly about them.

    But “trust us we know best’ just isn’t a very good election slogan

    I quite agree, but given the absence of policies (other than Labour Lite) it does seem to be National’s stance.

  186. r0b 188

    Lynn – sorry – posted the above comment in the wrong thread – it could be deleted here.

    Milo, Likewise I’m sure, Goodnight.

  187. jbc 189

    I’m a newbie here (as of today). Hope no-one minds I add my 2c.

    I consider myself a pragmatist rather than a “right or left” and I have been called both based upon facets of my views. I’ll accept that pragmatist probably puts me as a “righty” by the masters of this blog.

    I’ll be voting National by default – after crossing out all of the less compatible options. If NZ first ditched Winston and their xenophobia (and probably more) then they might get a second look (but then I guess there would be an empty husk).

    “A change to what” you ask?

    For starters I get the impression that the present government is not just indifferent to those who it deems rich, rather it finds them abhorrent (if they commit the crime of holding views different to their own as many of them do). The language of the Labour party is loaded with this idea. An exception is rich donors to their own party; they are saints.

    I also get the impression that the government has ignored the views of those that are not “rich” as it assumes it has them on a chain (ie: they’re not going anywhere).

    So I’d like to see a govt that recognises those that contribute to the revenue of the country at the top end of the scale just as much as it recognises those at the other end of the scale. No more, no less. That might seem like a subtle point but for me it is important.

    I’d like to see more choice in publicly funded services. I don’t like the “it’s jellimeat or nothing” stance. If I don’t like jellimeat then at least let me offset the price of the jellimeat you are prepared to give me against my rice. [excuse the metaphor] Longer term I’d expect this to improve the quality of public services.

    At present the concept of risk/reward is of Satan. Like being paid on performance it just goes against the ideology of the govt. I’d like to see that change to become a basic tenet of policy to drive NZ forward (reward for risk taken).

    On the magnitude of tax cuts I don’t really care. It is the thought that counts. Labour’s tax cuts are nothing more than a false pass. A decoy for voters. Whether or not they are given is nor important for me for either party as both have made their positions abundantly clear over the past decade.

    Overall I feel that Labour is looking towards the poor and attempting to tilt the field to the advantage of those who are less financially successful. While I think this is a noble gesture and deserving of some credit I also think that the country will naturally veer in the direction that the govt is looking. Focus on low income earners and those are what you will keep. Others will look elsewhere.

    Oh, and I’d like to see a carrot for every stick that is waved.

  188. r0b 190

    I’m a newbie here (as of today). Hope no-one minds I add my 2c.

    Of course not jbc, welcome aboard.

    I’ll be voting National by default – after crossing out all of the less compatible options.

    I think that’s a pity. This whole thread is about the idea of voting for something, it shouldn’t be about just the lesser of the evils.

    For starters I get the impression that the present government is not just indifferent to those who it deems rich, rather it finds them abhorrent

    Can I ask you where that impression comes from? Please don’t quote Kiwiblog or other vested interests, I’d be interested in the words / actions of the Labour government that gives you this idea. (Cullen’s stupid “rich prick” comment to Key is the obvious one, a personal attack not an attack on the rich in general).

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  • 2021 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #41
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    7 days ago
  • The Night of Parmenides: accepted
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  • The Virus, the Politician, and the gang member
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  • Rapid kits, responses, and openings: watch motivations, or catch something worse with Covid…
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    1 week ago
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    1 week ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 8 October 2021
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  • Introducing Mr Stick.
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  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #40, 2021
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  • Standing on one leg is a sign of good health – and practising is good for you too
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  • Schrödinger’s Wraith: The Status of the Witch-King of Angmar, 15th-25th March, T.A. 3019.
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  • Gordon Campbell on Korea’s march to global cultural domination, plus a K-pop playlist
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  • In a lockdown, where does work end and parenting begin? Welcome to the brave new world of ‘zigzag...
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  • Using Rapid Antigen Tests to Improve COVID-19 Control in Aotearoa NZ
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    1 week ago
  • NZ Politics Daily: 7 October 2021
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    1 week ago
  • Bryce Edwards: Political Roundup – Will electoral and political finance law reform succeed this ti...
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    1 week ago
  • Will Jacinda Stand? Or, Has She Already Fallen?
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  • Climate Change: The CCR was a huge waste of money II
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    2 weeks ago
  • Celebrating Women in Space
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  • COVID Clusterfuck
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    2 weeks ago
  • Unsurprising
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  • Bond, Wokeness and Representations in Cinema
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    2 weeks ago
  • The Virus, the Bubble, and the Trap
    . . . . . References National Party: Open the Trans Tasman Bubble Now (archived) Twitter: National Party – Sign the Trans Tasman bubble petition Twitter: Judith Collins – Sign the Trans Tasman bubble petition RNZ: Tourism New Zealand forecasting billion-dollar economy boost if trans-Tasman bubble opens Stuff media: Crack ...
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    2 weeks ago

  • New Zealand Ambassador to France announced
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    2 days ago
  • Govt welcomes nurses’ pay settlement
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    2 days ago
  • Judge of the High Court appointed
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    2 days ago
  • Kiwis to have their say on plan to reduce waste
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  • Next steps in action plan for indigenous rights kicks off
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    3 days ago
  • Iwi-led housing solutions build homes for the future
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    3 days ago
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  • E whakarite ana Te Kāwanatanga i ngā tūāpapa mō twhakamaumahara ki Te Petihana Reo Māori ka t...
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  • Government green lights rapid antigen testing
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  • Government lays foundations as Māori Language Petition commemorations take shape for 2022
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    3 days ago
  • Additional Funding for Foodbanks and Social Agencies
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    4 days ago
  • Generating a new generation of guardians
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    4 days ago
  • Parts of Waikato, Northland staying at Alert Level 3
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    4 days ago
  • New courthouses for Tauranga and Whanganui
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    4 days ago
  • Speech on the launch of the consultation on the development of the Emissions Reduction Plan
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  • Opportunity to shape NZ’s first Emissions Reduction Plan
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    4 days ago
  • Convention on Biological Diversity COP 15, Virtual High-Level Segment
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    4 days ago
  • Government books show resilient and strong economy
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    5 days ago
  • ​​​​​​​Health system is ready for assisted-dying law
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    5 days ago
  • Taking a lead in threat to curious kea
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    5 days ago
  • Government provides certainty to working holiday and seasonal visa holders and employers for summer
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    5 days ago
  • Lower card fees good for businesses, consumers
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    6 days ago
  • Mandatory vaccination for two workforces
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    6 days ago
  • Fund allows more Pacific community led vaccinations
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    6 days ago
  • Small business at heart of economic recovery across APEC region
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    1 week ago
  • Restrictions on abortion medication lifted for health practitioners
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  • Record day for Māori vaccinations
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  • Statement on Joint Cooperation in Agriculture between Ireland and New Zealand
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  • Northland to move to Alert Level 3 tonight
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  • Prime Minister's Christmas Card Competition
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  • Speech : Pacific Public Sector Fono – Friday 8th October 2021
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  • Pacific Public Sector Fono – Friday 8th October 2021
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  • Ruapehu social housing pilot, providing value for generations to come
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  • New Children’s Commissioner Appointed
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  • More support for business available from today
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  • Compelling case made for modernising local government
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  • Judge and Associate Judge of High Court appointed
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  • Firearms licence extensions granted to those affected by COVID-19 delays
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  • Extension of Alert Level 3 boundary in Waikato
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