The language of electioneering

Written By: - Date published: 6:30 am, July 23rd, 2017 - 127 comments
Categories: democratic participation, election 2017, political education - Tags:

Just saw this in an article about Gareth Morgan possibly standing for Epsom,

Morgan indicated the party would sit on the cross benches and give their confidence to whichever party could take on the most of TOP’s policies.

So, nice and clear now. Nevermind the language on TOP’s website about not seeking ‘to be the government’ (notable is lack of the word ‘in’ in that statement).  It’s almost certain that TOP would give Confidence and Supply to either Labour or National. No more pretending that ‘cross benches’ means not supporting a 4th National term. TOP would trade C & S for policy gains, and then most likely be bound into an agreement on that.

I’m not sure why political language in NZ is so imprecise. All that hooha about the Greens ‘working with’ National. Which meant they would work on policy, it didn’t mean ‘they would support National on C & S or go into a coalition with them’, but even after all these years some people are still confused about it.

And look at that clunky sentence that I now have to write out each time because ‘supporting National’ is apparently unclear too.

Fuck it, I’ll just blame Hooton, Farrar and co, and all the people who would rather have power than democracy and thus are happy to mess with the public and language for political gain.

But it does behoove us to make the effort to be explicit if we want to be understood, with even more onus on political parties to   s p e l l   i t   o u t.

 

 

127 comments on “The language of electioneering”

  1. Gristle 1

    Is Act to be dumped for TOP? Gareth stands in Epsom. “Cup of tea,” a wink and a nod sees the National voters in Epsom being told how to vote. From National’s perspective Active v TOP may not matter much except TOP’s party vote might be sufficient to grab another MP or two.

    • dukeofurl 1.1

      No hes not going to stand in Epsom to win

      Its just close to the main TV studios and radio HQ in the Auckland CBD.

  2. Hongi Ika 2

    Smart move by the Cat Killer.

  3. Ad 3

    This is the most useful thing Mr Morgan has done so far in politics.

    Act will still be important to a future National government. Just one MP vote will be real important.

    Giving a centrist alternative to Act that a National voter can turn to even when nod-winked to get them a coalition partner, may just split that National vote just a little more – and that may be enough to kill Act.

    So that mildly fuzzy language is exactly what is needed.
    It’s the right signal to the right voter.

    • RedLogix 3.1

      On the money Ad. Mildly fuzzy imprecise language is what MMP is all about, for the simple reason that until the votes are counted no-one knows what is possible and what is not. Nailing yourself down to a fixed position before-hand is idiotic.

      There’s no issue with stating your preferred positions, but making them bottom line non-negotiables makes no strategic sense at all.

      Because I guarantee you this; if the numbers fell out that National need C&S from the Greens to get over the line … it would happen.

      So think about this. Given TOP have signalled they are open to working in govt with anyone, and that in many respects TOP and the Greens have a lot of policy objectives in common (ok so they disagree about how to achieve them) … what would be so weird about a Nat/Grn/TOP coalition?

      It would be a more palatable alternative to that worst of all outcomes … Nat/NZ1/ACT.

      • weka 3.1.1

        “Because I guarantee you this; if the numbers fell out that National need C&S from the Greens to get over the line … it would happen.”

        That’s ridiculous. The Greens have ruled out helping National form government and have done so categorically.

        Even if you think Turei and Shaw are lying, the party can’t do coalition or C and S with National that against the wishes of its membership, and the membership has repeatedly and unequivocally taken the position of not supporting National.

        Disappointing to see some lefties still pushing this RW meme that is designed to undermine the Greens.

        • Ad 3.1.1.1

          Hold your breath until the election results.

          The Greens are going to have to get into government at some point: they can have all the principles they like, but the principles get stale real fast when faced with FOUR consecutive terms achieving nothing.

          • weka 3.1.1.1.1

            Nevertheless, when they’ve categorically stated no, and the members have said no, how would it happen that they do a 180 on that post-election? I think technically the exec can override the party but I can’t see how they could do that over this without destroying the party.

            Most people think the leadership decides. They don’t, that’s written into the GP rules for very good reasons.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.2

            Except that they actually achieved a bit over the last three terms.

            • RedLogix 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Yes … by working constructively with National where it was politically possible. Sighs.

            • Carolyn_nth 3.1.1.1.2.2

              They’ve also brought in some young and very promising MPs, getting valuable experience for future governments.

          • Sara Matthews 3.1.1.1.3

            They aren’t principles if you can abandon them at a whim, the Greens will not go with or support National.

        • RedLogix 3.1.1.2

          The Greens have ruled out helping National form government and have done so categoricall

          Fixing their political location firmly to the left of Labour is one of the two or three main reasons why after all these years the Greens are still stuck under 20%.

          And just to be clear, my preferred outcome would be a Lab/Grn/TOP coalition. That would work very nicely thank you.

          And what Ad said. I WANT to see the Greens have some policy wins.

          • weka 3.1.1.2.1

            Sure, but criticising that political strategy is a different thing than saying that the Greens could or would support National govt this election when they’ve said they won’t and there’s virtually no process way it could happen.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.2.2

            Fixing their political location firmly to the left of Labour is one of the two or three main reasons why after all these years the Greens are still stuck under 20%.

            No, that would be the people voting Labour who still think that Labour are a Left-wing party.

            • RedLogix 3.1.1.2.2.1

              OK but most voters will have a simple little mental map that goes from left to right: Green – Labour – NZ1 – National – ACT.

              And that’s not going to change in a hurry.

        • RedLogix 3.1.1.3

          Even if you think Turei and Shaw are lying,

          I don’t think they are lying. They’re doing exactly what they need to be doing which is energising their base to maximise their vote.

          But put it this way: if the Green leadership turned down an offer from National to form a govt, and the Nats went with NZ1 instead …. just how do you think the Green membership might really feel about that?

          Because on all environmental and social issues the Greens really care about, NZ1 is absolute poison.

          Edit: Here is Geoff Simmons on exactly this point:

          In short, National’s ‘do the bare minimum’ combined with NZ First’s policies from the past would be a disaster for the environment and society.

          http://www.top.org.nz/progressive-environment

          • weka 3.1.1.3.1

            “if the Green leadership turned down an offer from National to form a govt, and the Nats went with NZ1 instead …. just how do you think the Green membership might really feel about that?”

            It doesn’t work that way. The Greens are bound by their own rules to take the decision to the members first. They can’t make a decision without the members.

            If you are asking what would the members decide, based on their position in the past several elections I think they would support the Greens being in opposition rather than supporting National. I’d certainly be arguing for that.

            The Greens in a National govt would damage them massively, because of the membership and because their values would be compromised. If it’s a policy issue, they can have more effect being able to speak honestly from opposition than they could gaining a few trinkets and being bound by the coalition agreement not to condemn National at every move (because let’s face it, National’s every move is worthy of condemnation).

            • RedLogix 3.1.1.3.1.1

              Firmly fixing yourselves to the left of a Labour party that’s unlikely to crack 40% again in our lifetimes … which is the ONLY coalition partner you have realistically allowed for … then under those constraints the Greens will NEVER become part of any government.

              You really need a better plan.

              • weka

                The Greens don’t need Labour above 40%. In fact having them below 40% is better for the Greens in the long term 😉

                • RedLogix

                  Basically your plan is to grow the Green vote, diminish Labour’s vote, and yet keep their combined total over 50%. All the while keeping the Green party positioned firmly to the left of a decaying Labour party.

                  Is this right?

      • Because I guarantee you this; if the numbers fell out that National need C&S from the Greens to get over the line … it would happen.

        Doubt it. If that were to happen then the flip side is that Labour has enough support to actually get over the line.

      • mauī 3.1.3

        Not sure about this National-Green coalition stuff RedL. That’s exactly what the tories want to give themselves some credibility. The Greens are plenty big enough to stand on their own two feet and bide their time until they have the numbers so they can make some good change.

        • RedLogix 3.1.3.1

          I don’t think it all that likely the numbers will fall that way. Most likely it will be a Nat/NZ1/ACT govt. It will need something fresh and challenging to upset that.

          I really don’t see Labour/Green dramatically increasing their share of the vote. Depending on which opinion poll you believe, that block needs another 5-10% to form a solid govt with a healthy majority. A tough ask.

          The only other option is for TOP to get over 5% (or win Epsom) AND pull 2 -5% off both National and NZ1. That’s also tough, but from where they have smartly positioned themselves, they’re more likely to do it than the Lab/Grn bloc.

          • weka 3.1.3.1.1

            Corbyn’s just shown how to do it.

            • RedLogix 3.1.3.1.1.1

              Labour assassinated the nearest thing they had to a Corbyn (and even Cunliffe wasn’t all that close).

              Maybe Turei has been inspired a bit by Corbyn’s example, and if so good on her. Wish her luck.

  4. marie 4

    TOP intend to prop up National. Misguided left leaning voters will help put them in a position to do that.

  5. ianmac 5

    “Sitting on the cross benches” has been a Winston call in the past.

  6. tc 6

    True colours finally from the property speculator supreme. No surprise to see DP players hoots, the penguin etc get a mention here.

    Gareth Morgan is about as revolutionary as a career public servant and a serious threat to a break from the nact cycle of economic and social destruction.

    Like Craig he’s full of himself, loaded and easily led it seems or the kickbacks we can’t see are commensurate with the exposure he’s subjecting himself to.

    Ultimately it’s all about Gareth, people need to remember that.

    • Ad 6.1

      TOP is a whole bunch more policy-coherent than most.

      There is nothing wrong with a political party being centered around the personality of the founder. In fact it’s near-essential.

  7. Wainwright 7

    Wouldn’t have to be so precise and clear and legalistic abotu your language if parties would take clear stands on government. The Greens are especially bad for this. Say they have an MOU with Labour, then break ranks to support part of National’s latest budget, and every election plays the little dance about ‘working with National in government’. Of course people get confused, and when the only rtesponse they get is a huffy ‘just read the policy, idiot’ they get turned off voting for a party which doesn’t seem to value being honest and forthright when it sees a chance at grasping a bit of power.

    If the Greens want to stop looking shifty, they should stop acting shifty and expectging their supporters to ride out and defend them with technicalities and ‘well actually what we meant was /..’ Or at the very least, they better not ever criticse the Maori party ever again.

    (The response to THIS of course will be ‘but you’re technically wrong, read the whole policy’ and that’s exactly the problem).

    • KJT 7.1

      It suits the right wing, and National for the Greens to be portrayed as the “shifty/Loony” party, but it is far from reality.

      News Jonalists talking about the Greens supporting National is simply fake news designed to turn off Green voters.

      Both TOP and Greens would have to compromise their basic principles too much to support National. Greens would lose 9/10’s of their members.

      TOP, Yet to be seen. Most of Morgans policies are incompatible with making the rich richer, National’s reason for existence, however.

      • RedLogix 7.1.1

        The reality is that National will be the largest party. It gives me zero pleasure to say that, but that’s fact. And this puts them firmly in the driving seat when it comes to forming a govt. So look at it from their pov.

        They’ll have a choice of potential supporting parties in likely order of size: NZ1, Grn, TOP, MP, ACT, maybe even UF.

        NZ1 comes with Winston, and he’s a massive political problem because of the ‘Winnie for PM’ effect. That leaves the next two cabs off the rank. TOP has made it clear they can work with them, and while I agree the Greens would have a lot of internal stress … if they saw some real policy gains in specific, well defined areas it just might work.

        The usual problem for minor parties is their identity is subsumed into the dominant one. But a Nat/Grn coalition is a special case; the two parties are so very different the Greens would be just fine. Some of their membership would toss their toys, but I doubt it would be 90%.

        The comparison that comes to mind is one from architecture: when joining a new addition to an old structure it’s almost always easier to get a durable result if the two have very contrasting materials and styles.

        • Ad 7.1.1.1

          The last National government was so centrist, so high-spending, and honestly so similar to whole bunches of Labour policy, I could easily see a German-like coalition which National and Labour form the government.

          Otherwise there’s a fair number of MP’s who have been in the Labour caucus in who won’t have been able to achieve a damn thing for twelve very long years. It would be tempting.

          Labour itself is simply offering ‘A fresh approach’.
          No major shifts. A fresh approach.
          If Angela Merkel can do it, Little and English can.

          • RedLogix 7.1.1.1.1

            Yes … we never say it out loud but Nat/Lab is a real possibility. We may not like National, but we should never underestimate their ability to move when they have to.

            • Bill 7.1.1.1.1.1

              I distinctly recall Jenny Shipley made a public comment that National and NZ Labour should govern together. The reason I remember it is that it sailed by with not a single follow up comment from media.

            • weka 7.1.1.1.1.2

              Nat/Lab is only slightly more a real possibility than Nat/Green.

              • RedLogix

                Only if you’re stuck on the obdurate polarisation of tribal politics.

                • weka

                  lol, nah, I’m in the party that is breaking free 😛 We want change not power :mrgreen:

                  • RedLogix

                    Coolio. But sadly it would seem I really have wasted my vote this past four elections.

                    I want results not wishes.

                    • weka

                      I don’t know who you vote for, but the Greens have been massively influential on NZ society.

                    • RedLogix

                      I’ve mentioned it several times at least. Most recently just a few days ago:

                      Consider this … you know I have never had a bad word for the Greens, that I have voted for them the past 4 elections at least and they carry a very fond spot in my heart.

                      Open Mike 18/07/2017

                      Yes the Greens have had a ‘massive’ 15% influence on NZ society. But if you want change you need legitimate political power.

                      Anything else really just makes them a vanity party.

          • The Chairman 7.1.1.1.2

            “I could easily see a German-like coalition which National and Labour form the government.”

            I’ve been wondering if the Greens somehow (i.e. if Labour were to lose more votes to NZF & the Greens) win the majority vote (between Labour and the Greens) if Labour would then turnaround, push Peters aside and help National form a Government?

            • alwyn 7.1.1.1.2.1

              “I’ve been wondering if the Greens somehow (i.e. if Labour were to lose more votes to NZF & the Greens) win the majority vote (between Labour and the Greens) if Labour would then turnaround, push Peters aside and help National form a Government?”

              Can you please have another try at expressing this sentiment?
              With the best will in the world, and having read it through about five times, I haven’t the faintest idea what you are trying to say.

              • weka

                If the Greens get more MPs than Labour, might Labour form a coalition with National instead of the Greens. No, parsing the grammar still doesn’t make it make any political sense.

                • The Chairman

                  Thanks, re paraphrase.

                  “Still doesn’t make it make any political sense.”

                  It was merely a hypothetical.

                  I vaguely remember reading somewhere that Labour voted more with National than it opposed. Suggesting they are rather well aligned.

                  Perhaps you also read this?

                  • McFlock

                    A labnat coalition has been a tory wet dream since at least Dunne mentioned it in 1999.

                    It’s even more unrealistic now than it was then.

                • alwyn

                  That I can understand. I don’t think it is terribly likely to happen but at least I can follow what is meant.

              • Muttonbird

                He’s accusing Labour of being right wing. Even to the right of National I expect since he never criticises National on their policy, only Labour.

                • The Chairman

                  “He’s accusing Labour of being right wing”

                  They are rather well aligned with National.

                  “Even to the right of National I expect since he never criticises National on their policy, only Labour.”

                  No, not to the right of National.

                  And the reason I seldom criticises National is I don’t expect them to take it on-board and move left.

                  Moreover, I’ll be expressing my dissatisfaction with National at the polling-booth.

          • Incognito 7.1.1.1.3

            Yes, this will be a possibility in 10 years or so.

            The political ‘maturity’ in Germany, and the Netherlands for that matter, is much further advanced compared to NZ. That is the environment that Merkel operates in; she’d not be the same effective leader here in NZ.

            I think that often these comparisons with overseas ‘developments’ are taken too far out of all-important context.

            We’re barely out of the FPP mind-set and there are still a few ‘remnants’ from a bygone political era.

            People still rake up Sir Roger’s treachery, for example, or HC and her nanny state.

            NZ is too retrospective and introspective for its own good; we need to be more outward and forward looking IMHO.

          • Stuart Munro 7.1.1.1.4

            The problem is the core voters – something like a third of these party’s support bases. They would reject the party if they allied with their traditional opponent. A Nat/Lab coalition is the love that politically dare not speak its name. And if it somehow happened the struggle for the comfy chair would quickly become murderous.

          • red-blooded 7.1.1.1.5

            Ad, you need to understand the difference between a slogan and a slew of policies in order to see how facile and misleading this statement is.

            Labour can’t afford to alienate voters from the centre, but the policy platform offers a considerable shift towards a more socially inclusive, fairer society.

            • Ad 7.1.1.1.5.1

              National’s tax shifts for the low income people is a big shift leftwards.
              Their tax-and-spend programmes are only different to Labour’s in priority to health and housing.

              Labour have 8 weeks to make the case beyond the slogan, and then decide how much they want to be in power.

        • Sara Matthews 7.1.1.2

          What is the go there, is it the largest party gets the opportunity to form government first?, or can any group of parties form a government if they have the numbers, excluding the largest party of course?.

          • RedLogix 7.1.1.2.1

            In principle if say a dozen minor parties combined to get over 51% they could form a govt. That’s the rules of MMP.

            But reality is that if there was one other party on 49%, the general perception is that they should get first chance to negotiate with one or two of the minor parties.

            There is a fairly pragmatic argument in favour of forming govts with the smallest number of moving parts. In many ways it’s a hang over from FPP thinking, but there is a dash of common sense about it as well.

          • Ad 7.1.1.2.2

            First one to make their case to the Governor General, and deliver a speech from the throne.

            • alwyn 7.1.1.2.2.1

              If you expect to “make your case” to the Governor0General you are going to have to satisfy him that you can guarantee you have the confidence of the House.
              He didn’t come down in the last shower of rain and if you were to tell him you had the support of parties A, B and C he is very unlikely to just take your word for it.

              • Incognito

                Has Dame Patsy undergone one of those operations alwyn?

                • alwyn

                  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
                  Shows how much influence she has had, at least on me. Ten months and it still hasn’t sunk in.
                  I just have very slow reflexes as far as this sort of change goes.
                  Remind me again. Is that nice Phil Goff still going strong as leader of the Labour Party? And isn’t that chap Rodney Hide doing a great job as the ACT leader.

  8. Sabine 8

    they don’t want to govern.

    they want to make money.

    they want their share of tax payers funds.

    and that is all they want.

    • alwyn 8.1

      Was this meant to be in reply to some other comment Sabine?
      I am quite unable to work out which party you are referring to.
      I look at the four statements and when I try to work out which party they apply to I am forced to conclude that the answers are.
      “want to govern” – ALL of them
      “make money” ALL of them
      “share of funds” ALL of them
      “all they want” ALL of them
      Sad isn’t it?

  9. mauī 9

    I can’t see National taxing farmers, landlords, making parliament more democratic and giving young people free money. So TOP is with a left block I reckon if they can even make it over 5%.

    • weka 9.1

      I see them as similar to NZF. Will go either way depending on what is expedient at the time, so there’s a risk for lefties voting for them. People assess that risk in different ways, but it’s still there.

      Don’t forget that UBIs are neoliberal inventions originally. I can totally see Morgan’s UBI model being modified to suit National. This is why I keep banging on about a NZ UBI needing to be designed from a social perspective not an economic one.

      • RedLogix 9.1.1

        Don’t forget that UBIs are neoliberal inventions originally.

        [Citation needed]

        • Pat 9.1.1.1

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Paine

          …neither left nor right but rather it would seem a typically conflicted questioner of everything.

        • joe90 9.1.1.2

          Friedman’s negative income tax proposal and latterly, Roger Douglas and his guaranteed minimum income.

          Preceded by the late 18th century Speenhamland system.

          http://www.pieria.co.uk/articles/an_experiment_with_basic_income

          • RedLogix 9.1.1.2.1

            Friedman and Douglas were just coat-tailers. The original ideas are much older and more interesting:

            http://basicincome.org/basic-income/history/

            However you do have a point. The idea of a UBI has a history of support from across the political spectrum. Right wingers tend to emphasis a fiscally nuetral modest UBI and flat taxes, while left wing supporters add in social objectives and more redistribution.

            The hallmark of an enduring political idea is one that both conservatives AND progressives can work with.

            • Bill 9.1.1.2.1.1

              UBI promotes equal opportunity. Social security seeks to ensure equitable outcomes.

              Those two basic themes (opportunity and equity) are worlds apart.

              • RedLogix

                To be honest, like most kiwis I think I lean more towards the ‘equal opportunity’ end of the spectrum. With a fat dash of equity thrown in.

                It’s not a binary choice.

                • Bill

                  No. It’s not a binary choice. It’s two priorities that sit on the opposite ends of a spectrum. Plenty of room for “third way” and “triangulated” mashes.

                  I see “equal opportunity” as being dishonest and toxic, because unlike a focus on “equitable outcomes”, it ignores the systemic nature of oppression inherent to capitalism…which then presents the potential for government and society to walk away from the likes of the homelessness and poverty that capitalism will always produce. (ie, equal opportunity implies personal responsibility)

                  • weka

                    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/74/22/7b/74227b24b165189809127463f205fc03.png

                    Left to right, TOP, Greens, Bill and co (although I think the Greens would be happier if they could do the right hand one).

                    • Bill

                      Aye. But “opportunity”, is where everyone is provided with a crate, that isn’t positioned at the fence, and that they may or may not be able to maneuver… which is where NZ Labour and TOPs are at to a greater and lesser degree. The National Party thinks crates just magically appear 🙂

                    • weka

                      I think National think that 10% should have their own crate, and the others should have a few crates between them that they can share. But yeah, if the 90% don’t have enough crates, they didn’t try hard enough with the magic.

                    • RedLogix

                      It’s two priorities that sit on the opposite ends of a spectrum.

                      Big failure of imagination there Bill. In real life the crates are sized somewhere between the absolute Equality and absolute Equity panels.

                      The right-hand panel implies a naive utopia where no-one ever strives for anything and all lunches are free; it’s not an option this upcoming election.

                    • Bill

                      Big failure of imagination where?

                      “Opportunity” is about the setting of initial conditions.
                      “Equity” is about achieving a suite of end results.

                      Nice move to throw one comment into the criticism of another one though.

                      Now, about those crates and their placement in a scenario geared towards ensuring “opportunity”…yup, nothing to add. Did you really miss the fact I wasn’t referring to that linked graphic in terms of equality and equity?

                      The third panel (love it or hate it) can’t ever be achieved via parliamentary means – not any more than a snake can swallow its own tail.

        • Bill 9.1.1.3

          I thik I’m right in saying that Hayek and Freidman were both keen proponents of a UBI. It may just have been one or the other of them. Would have to google search to verify.

  10. So, nice and clear now. Nevermind the language on TOP’s website about not seeking ‘to be the government’ (notable is lack of the word ‘in’ in that statement).

    I’ve been thinking lately that we need to get rid of ‘the government’. It’s parliament that rules after all.

    No more coalitions. No more confidence and supply. No more whips.

    Each bill would pass only on it’s own merits and not because of some shady back-room deals.

    • alwyn 10.1

      What a lovely dream.
      That was the belief system of the people who wrote the US Constitution.
      I guess you could say it lasted through the Presidency of George Washington and into the second Presidents term.
      Party Government took over by the time the third President, Thomas Jefferson came along though and has stayed there ever since.
      I’m don’t think we ever had anything like it in New Zealand, even in the very earliest days.
      Can you imagine 120 people each writing their individual version of the tax system? They would be like the fabled group of Economists. You could lay them end to end and they would never come to a conclusion.

      • That was the belief system of the people who wrote the US Constitution.

        Not really. The people who wrote the US constitution wanted to create an aristocracy but they had a heap of armed peasants who’d just thrown out one and didn’t want another and so they went for a representative democracy that could easily be controlled by the rich.

        I guess you could say it lasted through the Presidency of George Washington and into the second Presidents term.

        Pretty much inevitable in a representative democracy else the people have far too many ideas to choose from.

        Can you imagine 120 people each writing their individual version of the tax system?

        You do understand that they’re supposed to talk to each other and create a single tax system don’t you?

        • alwyn 10.1.1.1

          “to talk to each other”.
          That is quite true. Many politicians though only listen to what an opposing politician says in order to reply “I am opposed to that”.
          Look at Andrew Little with the flag referendum, the change to Super age and so on.

          The main problem I see with the idea that a Parliament of Independents is that the writing of laws that work has got so damn complicated and most of our MPs would be quite incapable of actually writing the law.
          The current method basically only has one law being initially drafted and then that proposal can be examined and fine-tuned,

          If you were to start from scratch you really would get everyone offering alternatives. It would either be that or you would have committees with large staffs who would write proposed laws in each area and then it would only really be the most senior member of each committee that had a proper say.

          In terms of expenditure bills the only things that are going to get through are those where a majority group of members agree on them. This will, of necessity become a case of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. We will be straight back into a Party system.

          Like it or not I think Party Government is here to stay.

      • In Vino 10.1.2

        Alwyn, when you quote George Bernard-Shaw ( a Fabian Socialist) you should have the grace to acknowledge him.

        • alwyn 10.1.2.1

          Did Shaw say in first?
          You will note that the way I quoted it made it quite clear that I wasn’t claiming it as an original comment on my part.

          • In Vino 10.1.2.1.1

            True, but I want you to know that you were quoting a Socialist.
            (Quelle horreur!)

            • alwyn 10.1.2.1.1.1

              My dear chap.
              I spent a great deal of time learning about, and practising as an Economist.
              That included studying Karl Marx’s work.
              If you think that Shaw should make me blush with shame what would you say about Marx?
              And no, I didn’t read it in German. I used the English translation which was produced and sold, very heavily subsidised, by the Government of the USSR.
              I should warn you though. It was incredibly boring. If you want to read well written economics by a leading theorist stick to Keynes.

  11. Bill 11

    So the question is where does the broad sweep of TOP policy sit in relation to the policies of National, NZ Labour and The Greens?

    As far as compassionate liberalism goes, they’re arguably to the humane side of NZ Labour. That’s a fair distance away from National and quite a few steps towards the Green Party.

    May prop up a National government? Sure. But highly unlikely.

    And sitting on cross benches only means not seeking positions in government. That was stated by them at the time of their inception. A party on the cross benches offering some form of “confidence” vote to a government is simply par for the course when and where it’s required (ie – a minority government).

    Meanwhile, is the suggestion that people panic on the grounds that opposition to National is less effective than a troupe of broken down, erstwhile wind up tin monkeys that can’t bang on their drums any more? And is the follow on from that the prospect of a Clintonesque blame game should they fail to cross the line?

    If that’s the underlying mood, motivation or implication of anything that might be identifying itself as “left”, then it’s not any kind of a “left” I’m going to be associated with. And I reckon I’ll be far from alone in putting as much distance as possible between myself and such hopeless clap-trap.

    Vote for who you’re going to vote for. If your vote isn’t guided by some sense of humanity or common good, then we’ll get some heinous government. Otherwise, assuming the party you vote for is in honest accord with your own underlying sense of humanity and desire to promote the common good, then hey.

    And just in case that’s taken as meaning there’s no point in debate, I’ll point out from way up here in my own arse, that just like everyone else, I’m obviously more right than everyone else, and that I’m happy enough to help everyone see the truth of that so that everyone can then vote accordingly and achieve some small self-congratulatory forward step in their journey of self improvement.

    Such is the way of religion politics. 🙂

    • Sara Matthews 11.1

      Saw a interview with Morgan on QnA or the Nation recently and he said that socially he was with the left but economically with the right. I think it’s very risky voting for him if you want a change in government, you’re far better off to vote for a party who has and will always be on the left.

      • KJT 11.1.1

        Well. That removes Labour from consideration.

        • Ad 11.1.1.1

          Really.
          There’s plenty in the Labour caucus who would describe themselves the same way.

          • weka 11.1.1.1.1

            Yes, that’s why so many lefties don’t vote for them (part of it anyway).

            • Ad 11.1.1.1.1.1

              But it makes for a far more nuanced MMP environment in 2017.

              There is very, very little Prime Minister Bill English says that could not come out of the current Labour Party. English is the most leftie National PM since Muldoon – maybe moreso. The big distinction so far between Labour and National is housing policy.

              A Labour-Greens coalition would have pushed for full pest eradication of the Auckland Islands, just as Maggie Barry did today. And National would easily have formed a national cancer centre, as Labour announced today.

              The social compact between the Clark government and the Key one is going to be continued no matter who is in government:
              – Kiwisaver
              – NZSuper
              – Welfare system
              – Transport spending; road, rail, and cycling
              – Rebuilding cities
              – Unemployment low
              – Immigration skill settings about the same

              There’s enough differences to choose and vote, but the settings are similar.

              • Bill

                Nuanced or homogenised?

                Way I’m reading your comment, you just put up the basis of a “NZ Labour = National lite” argument. And sure. That offers a number of choices, but…well, you know the rest.

                • Ad

                  There are plenty of differences.
                  Quite a lot of it comes down to: who funds them?
                  And you can figure it out from there.

      • Craig H 11.1.2

        That’s almost the exact opposite of NZ First…

  12. Adrian 12

    I know a lot of Nat voters and this time their support is quite soft.
    Some of them surprised me with their candour, it is quite similar to 1999 with a lack of confidence in the Nat leadership and distaste for the backtracking and fudging of position.
    I think there is a real chance of only 37-38 % Nat vote more like historical numbers.

    • alwyn 12.1

      That’s all right Adrian. I know a lot of Labour voters and they tell me they are very unhappy with the current Labour leadership.
      Some go as far as to say they can see New Zealand First coming out ahead of Labour this year. I suppose that would mean a Labour vote of about 18%, at best.

  13. Cinny 13

    Hiring fierce right winger Sean Plunket to run the TOP show is a clear indication to me of their intended direction.

    Noticed TOP ad’s popping up on the youtube last night.

    • RedLogix 13.1

      Plunkett is employed as their ‘Communications Manager’. While it’s clear he will have a fair bit of visibility, it makes no more sense to say he’s ‘running the show’ than to say Matt McCarten was ‘running Labour’.

      And given that TOP’s best strategy is to attract votes off National and NZ1, having Plunkett in the loop makes a lot of sense. Isn’t that what you’d want?

      • Cinny 13.1.1

        Fair point RedLogix, but Plunkets’ involvement as the spin Dr for TOP has put me right off them.

      • weka 13.1.2

        Sure, and Plunket expressing views like you shouldn’t have kids if you can’t afford them, in reference to someone who’s already had a child, places TOP’s communications manager squarely in some of the more reprehensible politics in NZ. Think Slater and Farrar’s crowd.

        • Incognito 13.1.2.1

          So, is Plunket just for hire or does he align with TOP’s policies? It might be a bit of both which just might be a bit of a problem for some. If it is just (cynical) ploy to lure voters from the Dark Side over to the Light I’d feel even less at ease – call me paranoid.

          • weka 13.1.2.1.1

            I would have thought that given the role he’d keep his mouth shut for a few months so as not to conflate his own opinions with those of TOPs. In which case I’m inclined to think this is at least tacitly condoned by the party organisers.

            • Graeme 13.1.2.1.1.1

              Or it’s all going to fly to bits in spectacular fashion in a months time. Can see that bike getting the speed wobbles once they hit 4%, too many divergent personalities.

  14. Penny Bright 14

    The ‘2 ticks’ strategy IMO, is NOT strategic voting!

    To give your electorate vote to a Green Party or Labour Party candidate where they have NO realistic chance of winning is going to WASTE a LOT of votes.

    IMO – the sensible thing to do is to take each electorate separately, one by one, and ask the simple question.

    Which candidate has the BEST chance of removing the National MP or the National Government political ally?

    Then ‘GANG UP’ – as it were!

    Whatever political party you support – give them your PARTY vote – but give your ELECTORATE vote to the candidate that has the best chance of winning.

    That’s what worked in the Northland by-Election!

    Use your brains folks.

    Think for yourselves.

    Remember – stay focused if you want to remove this National-led Government from power?

    🙂

    Penny Bright

    • Ad 14.1

      You have not made any point.

    • Incognito 14.2

      All good advice but a by-election is very different beast compared to a general election: it’s just one electorate and only one vote for a candidate and no party vote.

  15. Karen 15

    I doubt very much if TOP will get 5% (or even 4%) and certainly will not win an electorate seat. As a result, anyone giving their party vote to TOP is helping National stay in power.

    To get rid of ACT Green and Labour voters need to vote for the National candidate in Epsom. At the last election the Green and Labour candidates both suggested their supporters do this and ,while many did, too many did not. Having Morgan standing is likely to ensure that Seymour wins

    Morgan could have carried on financially supporting research in order to influence the decisions of political parties but he chose to start his own party because he hates it when people (parties) don’t do what he says. I remember 4-5 years ago he got extremely angry with the Green party because they didn’t want to go into coalition with the Nats. A lot of the research he has funded is valuable but his autocratic refusal to accept any criticism of some of his ideas means it is going to waste.

    The fact he has employed the obnoxious, sexist, right wing Sean Plunkett should tell you everything you need to know about Morgan.

    • weka 15.1

      “Having Morgan standing is likely to ensure that Seymour wins”

      How so Karen?

      • Karen 15.1.1

        Epsom is a National stronghold. Have a look at this:

        http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2014/electorate-12.html

        There aren’t a massive number of ACT supporters if you look at their party vote, but there are a lot of Nat supporters who do what they are told and support Seymour as a way of propping up National in government.

        If the Green and Labour supporters all held their respective noses and voted for Goldsmith then Seymour would be gone. The reason that Morgan standing will help Seymour is the Nats who obeyed Key and voted for Seymour last time will do so again. They understand the game. If Morgan stands he is likely to take some votes from Nats, Labour and Greens voters and the ones he gets from Goldsmith will ensure Goldsmith can’t win.

        • Stuart Munro 15.1.1.1

          While that’s certainly something to be aware of, TOP is likely to appeal to the voters who find current ACT offerings stale and the leader immature. Epsom voters probably don’t see themselves as the Gnat’s nodding dogs, but as people who choose smarter options. Seymour is clearly not the smartest guy in the room and may well lose ground because of it.

        • weka 15.1.1.2

          So Morgan would get leftwing votes that should go to National’s candidate? tbh I’m happier about that than them getting party votes, but then I’m not sure if there is much chance of Seymour losing his seat if Morgan doesn’t stand.

          • Karen 15.1.1.2.1

            I think there is a much better chance of getting rid of Seymour this time than last because more NATs will be anxious at their lower polling and will be more likely to do 2 ticks this time.
            Always interesting to look at how people split their votes.

            http://archive.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2014/elect-splitvote-12.html

            Act only got 1000 party votes and 24% of them didn’t vote for Seymour! He got 60% of the Nats however. That only has to drop 50%, plus some more Labour and Green supporters giving Goldsmith their candidate vote and Seymour is gone. That would also be the end of Act.

  16. jaymam 16

    A new party like TOP will not get over 5% or win Epsom.
    I don’t think the Nat supporters are as clever as Karen thinks they are. I’m hoping that Morgan will pinch enough of Seymour’s votes that Goldsmith could win.
    So it is essential that in Epsom, Green and Labour and NZ First supporters all vote for Goldsmith. I don’t want to see ANY votes for the candidates of those parties.
    This is very important, and could decide whether National is in power or not.

    It would also help if everyone in Ohariu votes for the Labour candidate and NOT the Green candidate or anyone else. Do you want to get National out of power? Then do as we are asking, please.

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