UK Election

Written By: - Date published: 8:24 am, May 7th, 2015 - 45 comments
Categories: uk politics - Tags: , ,

The UK votes tomorrow. On The Guardian front page:

Preliminary results of final Guardian/ICM campaign poll shows Labour and Conservatives tied at 35% each

A hung Parliament is predicted, and the UK enters uncharted warters, guided only by a cabinet manual. Essential background reading from The Guardian:

General election 2015: Britain heading for hung parliament
What happens if no one wins the election?
David Cameron’s best hope is that SNP MPs constitutionally evaporate

From the SNP piece:

A campaign that never promised a winner has dragged itself to a climax. David Cameron looks done for on the numbers but in the atmosphere of stalemate and bravado in these last days, that does not seem to mean he will leave No 10.

He is being urged to hole up in there, like the hero of a Hollywood siege, no matter what the voters decide. For his anxious backers, the prime minister is a man born to rule and born to stay.

Add England to the list of countries that needs to get used to the idea that the “biggest” party (by whatever margin) doesn’t necessarily form a government.

45 comments on “UK Election”

  1. Sanctuary 1

    Labour will do a deal with the SNP and rule easily. No crisis, unless Milliband thinks the SNP will roll over and join the Oxbridge old boys club like the Lib-Dems did for the Tories. Labour with the SNP actually has a chance to be the most radically left wing government since Harold Wilson’s in 1964. The question is do they have the foresight and fortitude to seize the opportunity to roll back Thatcherism (and save the union in the process), or will they try and defend neoliberalism, collapse the coalition, and almost certainly drive Scotland (and possibly even parts of Northern England) out of the UK?

    • higherstandard 1.1

      “The question is do they have the foresight and fortitude to seize the opportunity to roll back Thatcherism (and save the union in the process), or will they try and defend neoliberalism, collapse the coalition, and almost certainly drive Scotland (and possibly even parts of Northern England) out of the UK?”

      Anyone who can remember the basket case that was the UK prior to Thatcher is unlikely to want to return to those days.

      ‘…in early 1979 James Callaghan and the rest of the Labour cabinet to discuss whether the national situation had deteriorated so seriously that troops should be brought onto the streets and a State of Emergency declared.

      Nurses and ambulance drivers were on strike. Old people’s homes and schools were closing. The railways were not running. The electricians’ union marked the approach of Christmas 1978 by taking both BBC One and BBC Two off the air. The country was left with just ITV, to watch (the electricians waited until August 1979 to switch off ITV for 75 days).

      More seriously, rubbish was piling high in the streets, creating a health hazard. The most potent metaphor of national decay was in Liverpool. There, a factory was being turned over to storage space for the dead because members of the GMWU union were picketing the cemeteries. Contingency plans were made to bury the city’s rotting corpses at sea.’

      Sure argue over the changes that were made and whether they went too far without the necessary social welfare supports but don’t hold up the UK pre Tatcher as any kind of ideal.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/did-margaret-thatcher-really-save-britain-8566596.html

      • dukeofurl 1.1.1

        Looks like the cloth cap socialists from pre 80s UK ended up here.

        • higherstandard 1.1.2.1

          I hardly expect Seumas Milne to have anything polite to say about Thatcher… that aside unless you were living/working in the UK when Thatcher was voted in you probably can’t envisage what a shambles it was.

          The voters endorsement for change was strong and inevitably after the power went to her head and her reforms got more draconian towards the end of her time as leader she got rolled and the voters opted for change.

          Regarding the pedophile rings in the UK I agree disgraceful cover up/looking the other way from all involved the whole lot of them should’ve been shot.

        • Murray Rawshark 1.1.2.2

          And there are people who think the name Tory shouldn’t be used for FJK’s party.

      • DoublePlusGood 1.1.3

        And Thatcher improved the situation in the UK for workers how exactly? I don’t seem to remember seeing any films made about how well Thatcher was treating the workers…

      • DS 1.1.4

        You are aware that had Callaghan called an election for October 1978, rather than waiting an extra year, Labour would have won, and Thatcher would have never come to power?

        Britain’s nadir during this period was 1974-1975; by the late 1970s, the economy was on the mend, notwithstanding the Tory folklore about the Winter of Discontent (and it is folklore – Callaghan never said “crisis, what crisis”). A Labour Government in the 1980s would not have wasted the wealth of North Sea Oil on unemployment benefits and tax cuts like Thatcher did.

  2. DoublePlusGood 2

    If they had a fair proportional system like MMP, there wouldn’t be a hung parliament, and Salmond would be preparing to be deputy prime minister.

    • Bill 2.1

      Salmond would first of all have to win in Gordon and then replace Angus Robertson as the leader of the SNP in Westminster to be deputy.

      The first bit is, hopefully, only 24 hours away. The second bit? Nah.

      • DoublePlusGood 2.1.1

        My apologies, wrong leader. Still recalling Scotland failing to become independent.

    • dukeofurl 2.2

      Rubbish, total rubbish.

      Even with around 55% of the vote in Scotland that would giveSNP say 24-27 seats. A lot less than what some are predicting under FPP ( 50+)

      UKIP would get 95-98 seats and they would put the tories back and be be deputy PM if there was proportional voting

      • Alethios 2.2.1

        Though it’d be a completely different scenario and there’s no telling how it might turn out. SNP would probably get a lower number of seats, but perhaps not as much as you suggest. After all, voting for the SNP is currently limited to those living in scottish constituences – which presumably wouldn’t be the case under MMP (recall all those queries regarding whether people could vote for SNP after the sturgeon debate). The Green Party, and UKIP as you point out, would likely have a significantly higher number of seats. Then there’s all the strategic voting that’d unwind, and there’s no telling how that might turn out.

  3. Michael 3

    I really liked this short video from Owen Jones: http://gu.com/p/483k4/stw

    “With the future of Britain at a crossroads, Owen Jones makes an impassioned plea for people to vote on Thursday. He urges the electorate to blame the people with power, not those without it. Change rarely comes from the generosity of the powerful but is fought for from below, he says. Now is the time to take action, he concludes.”

    I thought that it was an important message – democracy is important, and it is important not to scapegoat the powerless: for example immigrants or people on benefits, for problems caused by the powerful. (i.e. UKIP voters) Solidarity is much more important than adhering to politics of ‘divide and conquer’.

  4. Paaparakauta 4

    The UK election may have implications for NZ housing policy given the slavish tendency of our elites to follow ideas from Mother England in selling off public housing, beginning with Tauranga and Invercargill.

    The results are exposed in a withering documentary by the BBC’s Adrian Goldberg which describes “dead zones” mainly in the Midlands and Scotland where commercial developments are consented with provisions for mixed tenants which – if built at all – are not put on the market.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/podcasts/series/5linvestigates

    Affordable Housing & STI Catch Up 22 Mar 15
    Sun, 22 Mar 15, Duration: 48 mins

    It’s never been more difficult to get on the housing ladder, but we reveal the ten cheapest places to buy a house in the UK. The number of affordable homes has fallen by almost a third in the last three years. We examine why so few are being built ..

    Downloadable audio podcast in mp3 format

    • Bill 4.1

      I’d go further than that. If Labour stop fucking about and talk to the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens, then neo-liberalism in the UK will be dead and buried. That knocking onto the NZ political scene will be worth watching out for 🙂

      • Murray Rawshark 4.1.1

        I don’t know much about UK Labour since the war criminal neoliberal Blair. Have they changed enough that they would want to get away from the rule of the bankers? Our LP certainly hasn’t.

        • DS 4.1.1.1

          When Ed Miliband was elected Labour leader in 2010, the comment by Neil Kinnock (leader 1983-1992) was “we’ve got our party back.”

  5. dukeofurl 5

    Here is an election focussed website with a lot of information about nationwide and marginal seats polling

    http://www.may2015.com. Its backed by New Statesman

    Interestingly they say eve of election national polls have a very poor record

    http://www.may2015.com/featured/election-2015-how-accurate-have-eve-of-election-polls-been-in-the-past/

  6. Bill 6

    Owen Jones has a fairly prescient piece in The NewStatesman. As he points out, the formation of government is fairly straight forward. Give a Queens Speech that gets 50%+ support. End of story. Except…

    We are sleepwalking into a dangerous moment. If there is a left-of-centre, anti-Tory majority in parliament then the Tories must fall, however many seats they have won. Left-wing parties will have won the election and a left-of-centre government led by Labour must take office. And yet it would be deemed “illegitimate” by the Tories and most of the media. That really would be a situation with few precedents in an advanced democracy: where the opposition and media refuse to accept the democratic legitimacy of the national government.

    (my emphasis)

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2015/05/owen-jones-if-tories-get-more-seats-labour-get-ready-very-british-coup

    It’s worth reading the whole piece and bearing in mind the increasingly rabid reaction to Scots by swathes of the electorate in England.

    • alwyn 6.1

      The arguments about what is a “legitimate” government for Britain seem to get more and more irrational, and are being brought up from all sides.
      The SNP are equally foolish with their claim that a Government would be illegitimate unless it had the support of, seemingly, a majority of the Scottish based MPs.
      Nicola Sturgeon seems to be claiming that gaining a majority in the House of Commons is not enough. In addition it must also have a majority in Scotland, and Wales, and presumably in Northern Island and I suppose the Isle of Man.
      I wonder if she would be willing to accept an argument that a Government would have to have the support of a majority of the English MPs or be classed as a collection of bastards?
      https://commonspace.scot/articles/1243/nicola-sturgeon-uk-government-without-scottish-support-will-be-illegitimate
      I suppose we should bring in a rule in New Zealand that to form a Government you must hold a majority of the electorate seats in the South Island. That seems equally (ir)rational

      • Bill 6.1.1

        That’s not what she’s arguing at all. All she is saying is that the British Parliament should reflect the will of the British electorate…that there is no place for deliberately excluding the sentiments of Welsh, Scottish, or Northern Irish voters.

        Would the UK establishment have considered, even for a second excluding Scottish mps if those mps had belonged to the Labour Party?

        • alwyn 6.1.1.1

          You don’t seem to be making any sense.

          The Government is formed from any group of one or more parties that can command a majority in the House of Commons. At the moment that is a coalition of the Conservatives and the Lib-Dems. If they can form a majority they do reflect the will of the British Electorate.
          Of course the Government has excluded all the Labour MPs, and all the SNP MPs. It doesn’t matter which party they belong to. If they won’t support the Government they can’t be part of it, can they?

          If the same coalition that we have now can form a majority after the election they will be a completely legitimate Government. They clearly wouldn’t include any SNP MPs in such a Government. After all the SNP has announced that under no circumstances will they support a Conservative led Government.

          The views of the MPs other than these two parties wouldn’t be excluded from the Parliament. Unless of course they were like some of the Northern Ireland MPs of years ago who won in the election but then refused to take their seats.

          Would you suggest that no Government in New Zealand should be allowed to do anything that is not supported by Peter Dunne, on the grounds that they cannot do anything that is not supported by the people of Ohariu?

          • Bill 6.1.1.1.1

            Olwyn. The Tories and idiot sections of the Labour Party have been saying that the largest party forms the government and that’s an end to it.

            Sturgeon and others have pointed out that the government doesn’t belong to the largest party, but to the largest bloc.

            But since Labour seem hell bent on excluding the SNP and Plaid Cymru from any input into that largest bloc that they would be a part of, then Labour may capitulate to a Tory led government by refusing to put a Queens Speech together on the basis that the Tories won more seats in England. (Presumably, Labour, alongside the Tories, would vote down any Queens Speech by any other party in that scenario)

            The point is, it would essentially entail ignoring the expressed will of the British electorate in favour of elevating the will of the English electorate.

            • te reo putake 6.1.1.1.1.1

              “… then Labour may capitulate to a Tory led government by refusing to put a Queens Speech together on the basis that the Tories won more seats in England.”

              Not going to happen in a million years. The only thing less likely is a Labour UKIP coalition. Politicians want to be in Government. Nobody in the Labour leadership is going to seriously consider knocking back the chance to govern because of a pedantic philosophical debate over legitimacy.

              Labour spurning the nationalist parties is good electoral politics, designed to reassure southerners and to minimise the damage in the north. Whether or not that stops a complete rout in Scotland, who knows? The SNP et al are in the same place mana were in before the last election. Everyone knows they aren’t going to back the Tories, so Labour have no need to do a deal pre-election. It might be a different story when the post-election haggling starts though.

              • Bill

                Well yes and no. You’re ignoring that Miliband has basically said ‘Not going to happen in a million years’ in regards to working with the SNP and Plaid Cymru…in the process, pissing all over the electoral will of many thousands of people in advance of the vote and pissing them off no end into the bargain.

                Now sure, you can say that was all a part of electioneering, but he over did it and painted himself into a corner. If he does seek some kind of accommodation/rapprochement , the press (most of it) and the Tories will be over him like flies on shit.

                The comparison with Mana doesn’t quite stack up. With Mana we were looking at a few seats, not 40 or 50. and the clout that carries. And with Mana we were also potentially looking at Confidence and Supply or other such arrangements to secure government. That’s not necessary in the new UK context…meaning, incidentally, that if NZ had a similar Fixed Term, then Labour or who-ever wouldn’t have to worry themselves about the integrity of any potential fellow travelers or how they might reflect on any government they formed – just a thought.

                • Good analysis, Bill. However, pissing off people who aren’t going to vote for you anyway is not much of a problem and nor is being battered by the Tory press if Miliband does do a deal despite the earlier assurances. The msm are going to be going all out to destroy Miliband anyway, so no change there.

                  You’re right that the mana comparison is not perfect. Different systems, different politics and different personalities. But the nub of it is correct; mana and the SNP/PC/Greens were/are already known to be voting against the Tories and their only realistic alternative option is to support or at least not block, Labour. UK Labour will pick up way more southern seats by rebuffing the SNP than they can possibly get by cuddling up to them. So the maths says reject the SNP and others, build Labour numbers up, and see what the voters deliver.

                  Ps, I’m picking Labour to get 8 Scottish seats. A thumping, but not a total disaster. I have a hunch that the small minority of Scottish voters who usually support the Tories or the Lib Dems are going to tactical vote in the marginals to keep the SNP wins down.

                  • Bill

                    “…pissing off people who aren’t going to vote for you anyway…”

                    But, many of those people voted for Labour the last time around and, presumably, Labour would be looking to win them back at some point in the future? Can’t see that happening now.

                    Miliband should have staunchly defended the notion that British elections are about Britain and spoke of Scotland as an integral part of Britain instead of alienating Scotland, it’s voters and their preferences as ‘other’.

                    Is it not ironic that the SNP have had a far better UK wide and mature perspective this campaign than either of the two main parties who, it seems, have bent over backwards to resurrect the Independence referendum and all of the ‘Project Fear’ that went with it?

                    On predictions. There are Holyrood elections next year. I’m picking a sizable upswing in the Scottish Green vote (they’re entirely separate from the English Greens btw) to the extent they will be the largest party at Holyrood bar the SNP. Of course, there could be a mass exodus from UK Labour and the formation of a separate Scottish Labour Party, but….time.

                • dukeofurl

                  Since you have never run a political party you dont understand basic electoral maths.

                  You dont support a different party that takes YOUR votes.

                  Happens here for greens and the parallel is NZ First who takes votes from national and you do support.

                  In the UK there is only ONE vote for for local candidate, the labour leader has to be more catholic than the pope over this and ALLWAYS say vote labour. You cant have labour by voting for SNP.

                  SNP as a proportion of GB has under 5% of the total votes. Its a minor party and will be treated as such- ie take it or leave it.

                  • Bill

                    Has anyone said that Labour should have suggested people vote SNP? Nope.

                    But to tell a party of potential fellow travelers, who are bringing maybe 50 seats to the table, to ‘piss off’ when you know you can’t form a majority on your own is beyond stupid.

                    Finally, Yes, it’s true that voters won’t get Labour by voting SNP. That’s the point. What voters want – those who have the option before them in FPP – is to have Labour hauled and pushed outside the economic parameters of neo-liberalism by progressive parties (Plaid Cymru, Greens, SNP)…ie, an end to austerity – investment in services and infrastructure to boost the economy and tax take to then less painfully pay down debt instead of cuts and more cuts and more cuts…

                    • Clemgeopin

                      “But to tell a party of potential fellow travelers, who are bringing maybe 50 seats to the table, to ‘piss off’ when you know you can’t form a majority on your own is beyond stupid”

                      If Labour shows that they support or endorse SNP, Labour vote will collapse and SNP and Tories will get stronger.

                      Same way, if the Tories endorse UKIP, it will harm the Tory vote and strengthen UKIP.

                      Similarly, in NZ if Labour does pre-election deals with the Greens, Labour will lose more votes and prop up the Greens and National.

                      That is why Clarke said that the Maori party would be the last cab off the rank for coalition and National rejected NZ First before the 2008 election. That helped National vote further and got NZF out of parliament then.

                      Each party likes to get the most votes for themselves and not siphon them before the election to other parties in the same/similar block.

                      The time to seek support or coalitions or abstention is AFTER the election, not before.

                    • Bill

                      I agree that all discussions or absence of discussions should have left until after the election. But then along came Miliband…

                    • Clemgeopin

                      @Bill :“I agree that all discussions or absence of discussions should have left until after the election. But then along came Miliband…”

                      In my opinion, Milliband (Labour) was politically smart and astute in taking the stand he (they) did. I know you think otherwise.

            • alwyn 6.1.1.1.1.2

              It is alwyn by the way. There is another commentator called olwyn.

              Most of this comment I can go along with. It is only your interpretation of Sturgeon’s stated opinion that I have any problem with. She, and others in the SNP, seem to me to be arguing that if their policies are not implemented, and they are not part of the Government that Government has no legitimacy.
              The people with rather more of a valid complaint would actually seem to be the UKIP. The Conservatives seem to treat them, reasonably in my view, as if they carry the plague. According to the final Guardian Poll they have 11% support while the SNP have only 5%.
              http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/may/06/general-election-2015-britain-heading-for-hung-parliament

              As far as your third paragraph I don’t believe it at all. Ed, like all politicians, might make remarks like “not in a thousand years” about it happening but if it will make him PM you will find that he will do a deal tomorrow.
              After all remember the words of Psalm 90, one translation of which says “For in Your sight a thousand years are like yesterday that passes by, like a few hours of the night.”
              Not in a thousand years today, by tomorrow morning, after the election he’ll want to deal.

              A link with the SNP would, I think, kill the Labour Party though. The SNP don’t want to keep the UK together. They want an independent Scotland and they won’t rest until they get it. As Lange said about Douglas. “He is like rust. He never sleeps”. Such is the case with the SNP Whatever Miliband offered will never be enough. Like Oliver they will say “I want more”. Labour will never get back Scotland and will start to lose England if they try and govern with them.

              • Bill

                Sorry Alwyn…my bad.

                Sturgeons comments have to be seen in the light of what they were a reaction to – that the largest party forms government.

                The SNP aren’t actually over bothered as to whether they are a formal part of a Labour led government or not. As Sturgeon has pointed out, they enjoy more clout if they operate on an issue by issue basis.

                As for independence, well, that’s what the SNP stand for. But they seem capable of walking and chewing gum. They want the pre-referendum ‘vow’ honoured. They want an end to austerity.

                They don’t want another referendum unless there is a fundamental change in UK political realities (eg – an in/out Euro referendum where the English vote to leave but Scots vote to stay).

                The Labour Party in Scotland are already essentially dead. They did that to themselves. If the choice for UK Labour is to talk to the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens, or to allow the Tories to form a minority government, which option do you reckon will be seen as unforgivable by the English electorate?

                Finally. Independence will happen. I don’t think anyone considers there to be any ifs or buts about that now. Knowing that it’s going to happen means Scots can be fairly relaxed about it. No rush 😉

  7. Clemgeopin 7

    Nate Silver inspired result prediction, updated for 6 May.

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/interactives/uk-general-election-predictions/

    Nate Silver says this in an article : [Link below]

    “Nothing that I learned changed my forecast of the U.K. election, which will be held May 7. That’s partly because I, personally, don’t have a forecast of the U.K. election. Instead, after a less-than-brilliant performance going at it on our own in 2010, FiveThirtyEight has partnered with the three U.K.-based academics behind electionforecast.co.uk, whose forecast you can find here.

    But my visit did help me understand more about why the polls behave as they do in the U.K. and why the three academics behind our forecast — Chris Hanretty, Ben Lauderdale and Nick Vivyan — designed their model as they did. It also helped me understand more about the differences between the U.S. and U.K. election systems — and why this U.K. election is so hard to call.
    Some people still think I’m a “magic nerd.” I gained a lot of notoriety in the 2008 and 2012 U.S. presidential elections by forecasting that Barack Obama was quite likely to win even though many media accounts portrayed the races as being too close to call.

    I’m glad my predictions turned out right. But partly as a result, I’m now sometimes known as the guy who can make highly confident and precise predictions in the face of what everyone says is impossible uncertainty.

    The irony is that U.S. elections are really the exception and not the rule. Because of a fairly unique set of circumstances — the pathologies of the American political media on the one hand, and the simplicity of the two-party system on the other hand — it’s often prudent to bet fairly heavily on the favorite.

    But far more often, as I describe in the book, experts are too confident in their predictions. (This tends to hold whether they use statistical systems to make forecasts or just wing it instead.)

    And consider the challenges this year’s U.K. election presents:

    There’s still the possibility of a late polling swing, especially given the multi-party nature of the contest [etc]

    Read his fascinating and interesting article here about polls and ‘predictions’:

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/six-lessons-nate-silver-uk-election/

    Also, some other interesting articles are here:
    http://fivethirtyeight.com/uk-election-2015/

  8. Clemgeopin 8

    Just like the National’s dirty politics here, see how the same Crosby Textor spin machine is advising the Tories, lying and manipulating the public opinion against Labour in this UK election.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/europe/68345429/how-the-uk-election-mirrors-new-zealands-poll

    • Bill 8.1

      I do find it amusing that outside of Scotland, no-one is suggesting the Labour Party in Scotland is as good as dead because of… the Labour Party. Nope. It’s all a nefarious and so far successful plot hatched by the Tories 🙂

  9. Stuart Munro 9

    If Ed refuses to cut a deal with the SNP & forces another election – maybe the SNP should launch a cadet branch – the ENP – to give the poor wee Sassanachs something to hope for.

    • RedBaronCV 9.1

      I think there be plenty in regional england who would like that idea devo- max- max

  10. millsy 10

    Im still picking a narrow victory for the Tories. But we will see.

    To be fair, Labour may not be as left as we would all like it to be, but there will probably be a few things that make it through that wouldnt have made it through under Blair/Brown. Plus most of the arch-Blairites have retired.

    • Clemgeopin 11.1

      The numbers above (before they get constantly updated) are:

      Cons 278
      Labour 267
      SNP 53
      Liberal Democrats 27
      DUP 8
      Sinn F 5
      Pld Cym 4
      SDLP 3
      Greens1
      UKIP1
      UUP1
      Other 2

    • hoom 12.1

      So far those BBC commentators come across as more of a right wing circle jerk than you’d get if you put Hosking, Henry, Hyde & Hooton in a room together.

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