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Just what do the Conservatives & National agree on?

Written By: - Date published: 7:12 am, November 28th, 2013 - 108 comments

Everybody is talking up the Conservatives as a partner for National after 2014 to save Key from being the least successful National PM ever. But there’s one problem: they don’t agree on anything. The Conservatives are reactionaries, the Nats are neo-libs. Here’s a list of things that Colin ‘Crazy’ Craig believes in and his policies compared to the Nats’.

Troubling double-standards from police

Written By: - Date published: 9:30 am, November 26th, 2013 - 40 comments

The Police investigations into both the teapot tapes and the GCSB’s unlawful spying on Kim Dotcom came down to the same section of the Crimes Act, 216B. That makes it a crime to intentional intercept a private communication without lawful excuse. In both cases, the issue hinged on that word ‘intentional’ but the Police used very different definitions, and investigative tools.

Shedding the deadwood

Written By: - Date published: 9:50 am, November 1st, 2013 - 48 comments

The resignation announcements of National MPs are coming thick and fast. It shows that National knows that it’s going to have fewer MPs are the next election. If it doesn’t want all its seats clogged with MPs that are going nowhere, they need to retire at the election. For the Left, it’s good confirmation that National knows its losing. It’s smart politics from National, though, and something Labour could emulate.

The only response needed

Written By: - Date published: 10:31 am, October 28th, 2013 - 162 comments

The final Fairfax poll before the last election had National on 54%.

Update: the Colmar-Brunton poll today directly contradicts the Fairfax poll despite being taken on the same days.

Asset sales: Key’s scorched earth tactics will backfire

Written By: - Date published: 9:14 am, October 25th, 2013 - 60 comments

Granny supported little Johnny’s plan to go off to market and sell the family’s cash cow. But even she’s furious that what he’s come back with amounts to nothing more than a hill of beans. As Granny Herald notes, the Nats’ determination to push ahead with the remaining sales regardless is all about ideology, and the knowledge that they’re going to lose the next election.

The two legs of Banks’ defence trip each other

Written By: - Date published: 8:17 am, October 17th, 2013 - 28 comments

John Banks is to stand trial for knowingly submitting a false electoral expenses return. He’s charged, thanks to the private prosecution after the Police failed to act, with breaching s134(1) of the Local Electoral Act. Let’s take a look at the two lines of defence Banks has argued, and how they contradict each other.

At the Rubicon

Written By: - Date published: 8:11 am, October 8th, 2013 - 91 comments

As the US federal government shutdown drags on, an even more crucial point is approaching. The US government will hit its debt ceiling in ten days. If that happens, the results will be cataclysmic. But the Republicans who control congress hardly seem to care. Having gone nuclear already over Obamacare by shutting down the government, they can’t back down over the debt ceiling.

Dom protecting its favoured mayoral candidate

Written By: - Date published: 7:27 am, September 19th, 2013 - 58 comments

Did you know that Wellington mayoral candidate John Morrison told an audience at an arts awards ceremony that he would see a body-painted model in the shower later? Did you know he’s engaged in voter suppression of young voters? Did you know at a recent debate he told Celia Wade-Brown to be quiet, saying ‘the men are talking’? If you do, it’s not from reading the Dompost.

Labour leadership contest a fantastic innovation

Written By: - Date published: 7:32 am, September 16th, 2013 - 132 comments

Well, didn’t that work well? For the past three weeks, Labour has dominated the political news with three contenders show-casing its values. There was remarkably little aggro – witness Tracy Watkins’ desperate scratching for any time conflict story. David Cunliffe has emerged with the legitimacy of a democratic victory, and a much stronger-than-expected mandate.

Reviewing the media coverage of the leadership race

Written By: - Date published: 9:20 am, September 11th, 2013 - 67 comments

The Labour leadership race has been remarkably well-behaved and it has led to a larger party that is pledged to unite behind its first democratically-elected leader… much to the chagrin of many in the press gallery. Where’s the bloodbath that they promised themselves? Where’s the deepening disunity? They’ve tried to talk it up, they’ve tried to gonzo it. It hasn’t happened.

Enough for us all, but they want it all for themselves

Written By: - Date published: 7:37 am, September 2nd, 2013 - 180 comments

The howls of outrage from the Right elite were predictable. Robertson and Cunliffe promising a living wage for all government workers, are they crazy? Decent pay for cleaners? That’s not what their granddaddies fought for. It was predictable but it still makes you angry. These are the same people who cheered when the elite got billions in tax cuts. These are the people we have to throw out of power.

Is high-fiving schoolgirls a parliamentary purpose?

Written By: - Date published: 7:21 pm, August 27th, 2013 - 72 comments

It’s all drama today as Patrick Gower discovers that Labour’s leadership candidates are using their parliamentary flight allowance for the debates. As if selecting the leader of a parliamentary party isn’t  a parliamentary purpose. If you’re going to play crusader, Mr Gower, how about looking at how much of John Key’s $650,000 travel budget goes on trips to high-five schoolgirls or play in toy boats?

The rule of law

Written By: - Date published: 6:58 am, May 23rd, 2013 - 113 comments

In the 50s and 60s, two eminent jurists,Hart and Fuller, debated what makes a legal system. Hart said a legal system is a legal system if people call it one and act like it. Fuller said you need the rule of law to have a legal system. Otherwise, you’ve just got a bunch of bullies doing what they want and saying its OK. Do we have the rule of law in New Zealand?

Frozen meat

Written By: - Date published: 10:33 am, May 20th, 2013 - 92 comments

The Right’s fairytale machine makes a lot of Key’s supposed ability to charm foreign leaders and open doors for Kiwi trade. Well, the door slammed shut for meat exports to China at the end of April. National managed to keep that secret until after the budget. No wonder, it exposes the failure of Key’s international relations style.

Diplomacy, you’re doing it old school

Written By: - Date published: 11:53 am, April 13th, 2013 - 34 comments

Have you noticed that we have very few visits from leaders of major countries to NZ these days? I was thinking about that watching Key give himself ’10 out of 10′ for his trip to China and reading Audrey Young’s piece, which basically asks ‘what was all that in aid of?’ Key’s junkets always seem to be ‘goodwill’ visits with no real goals or diplomatic outcomes.

Climb the mountain of conflict

Written By: - Date published: 6:57 pm, April 8th, 2013 - 54 comments

North Korea is playing nuclear brinksmanship at the moment. Its leadership probably doesn’t want war but the constant threat of war is how it get concessions from the West, gains mana, and keeps its people in line. The West is trying to defuse this situation by talking down the prospects of war, while showing its readiness. Into this delicate, high stakes game stumbled John Key.

Against the tide

Written By: - Date published: 7:45 am, March 27th, 2013 - 30 comments

I’ve been reading the Law Commission report that proposes a News Media Standards Authority to, voluntarily, cover all news agencies, including blogs. They want to make you pay to join a ‘voluntary’ privately-owned organisation, which will be the gatekeeper for who gets the news media’s legal rights. Bringing a complaints process to the blogs would be an unworkable farce.

Who was then the gentleman?

Written By: - Date published: 12:24 pm, March 21st, 2013 - 36 comments

When Adam delved and Eve span, Who was then the gentleman? From the beginning all men by nature were created alike, and our bondage or servitude came in by the unjust oppression of naughty men. And therefore I exhort you to consider that now the time is come in which ye may (if ye will) cast off the yoke of bondage, and recover liberty.

Assessing Labour’s frontbench

Written By: - Date published: 11:29 am, November 4th, 2012 - 166 comments

The failure of Labour to fire isn’t limited to the leadership team. A big part of Labour’s front bench simply aren’t doing their job. Comparing them to the winning Labour team in 1999 really hammers home how awful our guys today are.

End game in Syria?

Written By: - Date published: 10:44 am, July 20th, 2012 - 190 comments

In the dictatorship game, you know that you’re in trouble when you’re shelling your own capital. That’s what Syria’s Assad has been reduced to as the rebellion rolls on. Initially, it appeared the fighting in Damascus could have been a repeat of Homs – drawing the rebels into a head to head fight and giving them a pasting. But, now, it looks different.

Protest in the smartphone age

Written By: - Date published: 1:34 pm, June 2nd, 2012 - 31 comments

There’s a lot of analogy between how a guerrilla movement succeeds against a superpower or a state in the era of mass communication and how protest movements can do the same. Unable to win head-on, losing becomes winning as long as the cameras are rolling. It’s about being seen as having a legitimate cause and just as importantly being seen as the victims of disproportionate force and abuse of power.

China

Written By: - Date published: 9:40 am, March 13th, 2012 - 19 comments

There’s been much wailing and gnashing of teeth over Pengxin Shanghai’s attempt to buy the Crafar farms. Justified too. I want to take a step back and look at the strategy that China is executing and the imperatives behind it. Like any successful organisation, China is seeking to perpetuate its power. That requires securing access to resources. And China’s sitting on the low-cost cash to do it.

After Homs

Written By: - Date published: 11:04 am, March 5th, 2012 - 39 comments

In my previous post I laid out the reasons why a NATO/US intervention in Syria is unlikely, even though the alternative will almost certainly be defeat of the freedom fighters and even more mass murder by the regime. There’s no strategic gain from the Right’s perspective and many on the Left would rather see a massacre than US military action. Homs has fallen. So, what next for the rebels?

Iran

Written By: - Date published: 9:20 am, March 4th, 2012 - 107 comments

Israel and the US have both been ratcheting up their rhetoric against Iran in the past few months and an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities looks highly likely. Just the other day, Obama told Iran to stop its nuclear programme or else adding, “I don’t bluff”. I really, really hope he’s bluffing. Because Iran’s ready to make an attack on it cost the world big time.

Syria

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, February 24th, 2012 - 146 comments

In a perfect world, we would all live free, in some kind of ideal democracy. We’re not there. But what we and the rest of the developed world have is a hell of a lot better than what the people of Syria have: despotic rule by the murderous son of their former murderous despot. The Syrians are trying to overthrow their tyrant, should the world help?

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