At the Alexandra Park racecourse for the NZ First conference.
Just listened to Paddy Gower in his interview with Winston Peters. The interesting bit was the questioning about Winston standing in East Coast Bays if Steven Joyce/John Key make a deal with the conservatives and Murray McCully stands aside. That will be interesting, and I suspect under those circumstances that he’d get a lot of votes. It is hard to see the people of East Coast Bays warming to Colin Craig. However I can see them getting charmed by a bellicose Winston Peters. But in any case, the publicity every day would be hell for National.
I’ll keep updating this post through the day. Cool media room. Overlooking the racecourse.
An early morning tea: It isn’t true that you get blinded by the sheen of light shining off the silver tops and balding pates. There are younger people than me here.
A lot of them look like MPs and list candidates with that characteristic semiprofessional charming laugh. There are a few young Firsts clustered together in a protective group. But there are others. Compared to a Labour or Greens meeting of any kind, everyone without exception appears overdressed. Not a pair of jeans seen except for the odd journo.
10:55: Looking at the elections site about candidates and the enrolment dates.
Individual electorate candidate nominations
Nominations for individual electorate candidates open on Thursday 21 August 2014 and close midday on Tuesday 26 August.
To be nominated, two voters enrolled in the electorate can nominate a candidate by lodging an individual nomination paper with the Returning Officer for the electorate. You cannot nominate yourself. You cannot stand for more than one electorate. Nominations for electorate candidates will open on 21 August 2014. Nominations cannot be accepted before then.
Individual nominations must be lodged with the Returning Officer no later than noon on Tuesday 26 August 2014. Returning Officer contact details will be available here from 4 August 2014. A copy of the form for individual nominations can be found here.
Classic move by Winston. He can keep the speculation going about this for most of the next month.
See also Dim-Post: “Nah“. NZ First party vote in the East Coast Bays electorate in 2011 was 1,657. The Conservatives got 1,254. Neither stood a electorate candidate. It does pale against National party vote of 21,079 and Murray McCully’s 21,094 electorate vote. Hard to read anything into it.
11:42: Standup with Winston. In the background, there is a big 21.
Pretty standard for Winston, up until the speculation by media about East Coast Bays, post-election, Dover Samuels, and avoiding giving his opinion about John Key. Emphasing policy, like extra police. Reacting strongly against getting questioned about their opponents.
See also Adam Bennett at the NZ Herald – “Peters won’t rule out East Coast Bays”
14:30: Been listening to the public discussion of remits. Quite familiar to anyone who has spent considerable time in Labour conferences. People speaking for remits. People speaking against them. And of course people saying why in the hell are we discussing this? It is already in the manifesto/policy – do you want to change it? About the only differences are that the conference is smaller and the people speaking are less doctrinaire.
For all of the reputation of NZ First as being vehemently nationalistic and populist, the remits are quite moderate, thought through, and well argued. I could imagine easily them in Labour conference.
15:20: Reports by NZF MP’s. I’ve just been noting down the interests of the various MPs. It won’t be comprehensive. Just impressions
Tracey Martin talking about the ‘fun’ of learning the basics of becoming an MP. Getting private members bills drawn, in her case the suuport for grandparents raising their grand-kids. People banging down their doors now compared to 2011.
Andrew Williams talking about his pile of portfolios. Quite a lot of work on veterans, local government, and energy options. Emphasising that in many of his areas, NZF are the only people really working on some of these areas. Slags off the media for not being interested in most of the areas that NZF has been working on.
Richard Prosser started with pointing out he’d been very good this year. Emphasis on police and corrections. Nice story on his observer status on some of the other select committees about the Food bill in pushing for the primacy of food safety. Helping get recreational fishing support. The policy on the Castle policy about liability on injury of intruders in the home.
Barbara Stewart on being the party whip (and now having a stock whip). Described various issues on health including a drawn private members bill to give free doctors visits for gold card holders. She seems to have been looking at a pile of health issues and is quite passionate about it.
Denis O’Rourke started talking about the problems with the Christchurch earthquake derived issues. In particular the red zone outcasts who were only offered 50% of the value of their properties and the Port Hills people sitting in limbo. Has the housing portfolio which the National government managed to do nothing about over 5 years, and still hasn’t managed to get any houses built still. Wants the government to stop flogging off responsibility for social housing and state houses. Transport. A bit of Justice.
Asenati Lole-Taylor says that she spends a lot of time as a pasifika on immigration issues. She mostly works in South Auckland. A lack of jobs is major issue plus the working poor with lousy wages. Worried about prostitution / drugs and its effects on society and especially on kids. Has a private members bill drawn, but is worried about a deal between National and Labour.
The emphasis for all of the NZF MPs has been the workload. Pretty clear that they want more MPs to get into the house to help out with the workload.
Adam Bennett: “NZ First to announce ‘game changing’ policies”
Hamish Rutherford: “Peters silent on who he’d back”
Occasionally erudite: “Winston Peters & East Coast Bays – National’s nightmare scenario”