Written By: - Date published: 8:57 am, July 17th, 2017 - 77 comments
Categories: class, climate change, don brash, Donald Trump, election 2017, greens, Jeremy Corbyn, labour, making shit up, marama fox, Media, national, nz first, Politics, polls, same old national, Shane Jones, winston peters - Tags:
What a weekend …
First there was the attempted splash on Labour suggesting that the latest UMR poll had seem its support drop significantly. While this may be true the Roy Morgan poll released at the same time showed a significant increase in support for Labour. And both polls suggested that National has shed 5% points of support in the last month and is now at 42-43%. The headline should have been that National’s support crumbles. Making it a Labour problem when the evidence was much less clear was weird.
Then the Greens had the opportunity to get their campaign running and boy did they take that opportunity. Saturday was all about climate change and New Zealand’s insipid response. The world has at most a decade to do something meaningful about climate change. New Zealand’s next Parliament has a huge job to do.
And Sunday was a revelation, possibly the most significant political event since Don Brash’s Orewa speech. The Greens came out with a brave policy to essentially reverse National’s benefit cuts imposed by the mother of all budgets in 1991. They also propose removal of financial penalties and excessive sanctions, ameliorating abatement rules and a reduction in the bottom tax rate. And the policy that will make National fume? A new top tax bracket of 40% on income over $150,000.
The aspect that has caught much of the media’s attention is Metiria Turei’s acknowledgment that in the 1990s she lied to WINZ so that she could receive sufficient to feed her child. This eptomises the importance of an adequate benefit. Our future lawyers and politicians may need help at a stage of their life to get through a hard time and this is why the benefit should be set at a liveable level.
The right have climbed in and demanded that she be prosecuted. There is an offence under the Social Security Act 1964 of making a false statement to continue to receive a benefit. There is a 12 month limitation period which starts after WINZ finds out about the alleged fraud.
There is also the Crimes Act offence of fraud for which charges can be filed at any time.
There are two problems with the right’s demand. Firstly the specific dates would have to be established and currently the dates are t0o vague. Secondly the allegation is far too old. I cannot imagine any court wanting to deal with any claim and would dismiss any prosecution because undue delay has occurred. Besides we all have things in our past which we may not be proud of.
And the claim is extraordinarily facile. People should be respected when they front up and say that they have done something wrong. And Bill English received significant advantage by claiming an occupation allowance when he should not have and Todd Barclay’s refusal to cooperate with the police allegation into his alleged bugging of his staff suggests that National’s desire to cooperate with authorities into inquiries involving National MPs is low.
Good on Metiria and good on the Greens. They have presented brave principled policy that I am sure Jeremy Corbyn would agree with.
Meanwhile Winston Peters was also making a splash, while at the same time making the thought of a Labour-Green-New Zealand First Government very unlikely.
He has announced two bottom lines, binding referenda on reducing the size of Parliament to 100 and binding referenda on ending the Maori seats. He better talk to Shane Jones about the latter policy as Jones has very recently stated that the seats should be retained. Immigration would also be slashed.
Peters’ policy received a big tick from Don Brash and a big cross from Maori Party’s Marama Fox. The policy presents the possibility that the Maori Party may be prised away from the National Party if Peters holds the balance of power and follows through with the proposal. Interesting times …
If the Greens adopted the Jeremy Corbyn uplifting campaign style then Peters is clearly borrowing from Donald Trump. The trouble for National is that I suspect they will lose the most votes from Peter’s proposals whereas the Green’s welfare policy is likely to get more people voting which is exactly what Labour and the Greens need.
Whatever happens the 2017 election campaign has well and truly started. And it looks like Labour-Green verses National-NZ First. We have just under 10 weeks to change the Government.