An important conference for NZ First as it braces for the prospect of a painful year ahead

Expect  the  old  campaigner Winston  Peters to be at  his belligerent  best as he   gears  up for another election.  He’s kept his party alive for 27 years  and  he  shows  no sign  of quitting.

The  omens  may be  bleak—polls  this week  showed  his party below  the  5% threshold– but  Peters  insists   NZ  First’s  own polling puts the party  “comfortably  in the  zone”  to do well.  He told   Radio NZ the  party   is getting  “enormous  support” in the provinces  and  he’ll use  the   conference  to  outline a winning  strategy.

As  for  those  political commentators  who say NZ  First  won’t make it back  into Parliament,  they are   “moronic”.

Yet  even  when  Peters  fires   up,  as  he  did  in  that interview,  the  odds   are stacking up against  NZ  First.    He  can brush off the polls, dismiss  leaks of  sensitive party documents  pointing to questionable  internal administrative issues,  and  assert   his  party  is  key to  the  coalition’s   success: yet  NZ First inevitably  will cop  some of the blame generated by adverse headlines  as in  the  NZ  Herald  on  Thursday – “Dire Shortfall in  State Housing”. Continue reading “An important conference for NZ First as it braces for the prospect of a painful year ahead”

Refurbished TOP defies Stuff analysis and shows it was not toppled by 2017 election result

The opening sentence of a report by Stuff reporter Thomas Coughlan – consistent with modern-day notions of good news reporting – was a blatant expression of  opinion. 

Shut out of Parliament and minus it’s multi-millionaire leader, The Opportunities Party (Top) should be calling it quits right about now.

Who says it should be calling it quits?

Not the party’s leaders because Coughlan – in the next sentence – delivered the news that TOP is relaunching “with a jokey campaign as part of a wider rebrand designed to put aside the bruising memories of the 2017 election and look forward to 2020”.

And why should it be quitting about now, so many months since the 2017 election?

Then came some background: Continue reading “Refurbished TOP defies Stuff analysis and shows it was not toppled by 2017 election result”

Labour Party in disarray – and the flow-on to the PM

The once-proud NZ Labour Party was in a sorry shape this week. Its president Nigel Haworth handed in his resignation, the PM Jacinda Ardern was looking rather bedraggled, and several of her senior staff stood accused of a cover-up, in the wake of the scandal involving allegations of sexual assault against a Labour staffer said to be working in the Beehive.

Stuff reported earlier this week that a 19-year-old woman was allegedly assaulted on two occasions by a staffer with “strong influence” in the party.  It took a year after the second alleged assault before the party eventually launched an investigation into multiple complaints. But in spite of the young woman meeting with Labour Party officials including Haworth to seek help, the party contended the allegations did not include sexual violence.

Continue reading “Labour Party in disarray – and the flow-on to the PM”

Race-based politicking at Ihumatao is condemned – by a socialist critic who is batting for the Maori working class

Who would have imagined it?

The carry-on at Ihumatao is being exploited by Maori nationalist parties for – wait for it – race-based politicking purposes.

A bloke named Tom Peters, from an outfit called the Socialist Equality Group, disapproves.  We suspect Hobson’s Pledge and Don Brash might agree with him – but only up to a point.

Peters has posted an item on Scoop in which he examines the occupation led by Maori activists protesting against a proposed property development at a historic archaeological site on the Ihumātao Peninsula in South Auckland.

He writes: Continue reading “Race-based politicking at Ihumatao is condemned – by a socialist critic who is batting for the Maori working class”

Bishop is given a chance to make an impact in National’s reshuffle

Look deeper than the  headline   moves in  National’s  reshuffle  to  find  the  longer-term  significance.  Those moves included Paul  Goldsmith winning the   prize  of  being   Opposition   Finance   spokesman  and  Gerry Brownlee in taking  on  Foreign  Affairs, not  just  because  he has the capacity  to deploy a  bit of  humour  in  needling  Foreign  Affairs  Minister  Winston Peters,  but  because  he is  signalling  he  is   up  for  another  term.

Insiders   point to  the  leap   through the  ranks   of Hutt South MP Chris Bishop  from  the cross benches.  Still only  36,   but   in his  second term,  Bishop  has converted the   once  traditional  Labour  stronghold  of  Hutt  South   into a National  seat.

In Parliament  as  Opposition  spokesman  on  Police  he has  been effective  in  puncturing  the  government’s   promises on  building up  police numbers by  1800.      Generally  he  has  kept   Police  Minister  Stuart   Nash  on his toes  and kept police   issues  close to   top of the political  agenda—something  that   some of  his seniors have  been able to do in their  areas of  responsibility. Continue reading “Bishop is given a chance to make an impact in National’s reshuffle”

David Seymour’s Herculean challenges: getting 14 MPs into Parliament (really?) and flattening the tax rate

A Flat Tax: The Good, the Bad and Why It Probably Won’t Happen was the headline on an article published in Money Talks News – pitched at an American audience – in 2014.

Act leader David Seymour, who included a flat tax among the policies he unveiled at the weekend, should take note.  Even if he was to get 14 MPs into Parliament (anyone putting money on that very, very long shot?), all the other Parliamentarian will vote to stick with a progressive income tax system.

But that’s no reason for a debate to be stifled.

The article in Money Talks News took the complex US Federal tax code into considerations (the code comprised 73,954 pages in 2013 and included seven tax rates, four standard deductions and at least a dozen tax credits for individuals. Then there were exemptions, itemised deductions and the special tax rules.

Why not eliminate all those hoops and simply tax everyone using the same percentage?

The answer was that it depends on who you ask. Continue reading “David Seymour’s Herculean challenges: getting 14 MPs into Parliament (really?) and flattening the tax rate”