Posts Tagged ‘ Labour Party ’

Rankin appointment inspired

Christine with her baubles of office...

Christine with her baubles of office...

National’s appointment of Christine Rankin to the Families Commission is inspired.

This is going to be a win/win for them no matter how it goes. 

While Christine is no doubt passionate about ‘families’ – whatever the hell that is nowadays – she’s also become a bit of a talk show circuit celebrity. The reason she’s so good on talk-back, or National Radio, is that she’s  good for ratings always going to say something bordering on insane and is guaranteed to get hand wringing liberals frothing at the mouth and the lines running hot.

Christine is divisive, and it you had a Commission that would make you look heartless and Tory by ditching, hell, keep it on, just stack it with your cronies. This is what the thing was set up (by Labour) for, a nice harmless place to give your political mates a juicy paid position to keep them out of your hair.

If Christine and Co turn the whole thing into a circus, National can wind it up, claiming it’s dysfunctional. If, on the other hand, they make something out of it, National can claim it was sensible to put her in.

And in the mean time, if the hand wringers and trough gorgers keep resigning in protest, then that’s achieving something useful as well.

As I said, inspired!


Student Loan Pork Barrel Election Bribe

There have been a lot of reasons given why Labour’s cynically blatant election bribe is bad.

The economy is headed into recession and the books have been opened to show just how fiscally responsible Cullen really has been (not very, it appears) and as everyone is doing some belt tightening out comes Labour with universal student benefits.

No one whom this policy is aimed at, students and their parents, is going to turn down a free lunch, self interest is too strong.

I personally think the reason this is a dreadful policy is because it creates a culture of dependence on the state. Once again we are bringing up people with a sense of entitlement that will be near impossible to shake in the future.

In a country that struggles to house and feed the poor and disadvantaged, has waiting lines of people waiting for quite basic operations and struggles with major infrastructure needs, Labour think it’s smart to finance the privileged few through university into above average wages on the backs of the majority of tax payers who don’t enjoy such advantages, is this meant to be fair or equatable?

If Labour thinks that having a degree somehow confers instant success on individuals, then maybe we could just shortcut the process and the Government could print out and issue degrees en mass. 

These sorts of policy miss the point, and attempt to hide the reality of the inescapable bell curve. If everyone has degrees then the value of said degrees and the affect on someones earning power reduces. The more people the government shoves through university by dumbing down requirements and making it ‘free’, the higher the number of graduates and the lower the value employers will put on the degrees. It’s also painfully obvious to employers that the bit of paper with “degree” printed on it doesn’t mean that the person applying for the job is literate, intelligent or of a standard that a graduate would have been 20 years ago.

It’s already apparent in the real world. As student numbers have increased and the numbers of people flooding into the work force with degrees increases, so the average salary and job status of graduates has reduced. A degree is seen as a standard requirement for lots of pretty mundane jobs with salaries of $35-45,000 pa. Hardly a good return for your substantial student loan.

So the solution is to reduce the level of borrowing but pouring tax payers dollars into the mix. The obvious affect will be that more students will make that decision and be less choosy about the courses and the likely employment options at the end of it, because you and I are paying for it, not them.

These students will develop a sense of entitlement and dependency on the state, that somehow they are not required to take financial responsibly for their choices and that the ‘government’ (i.e. you and I as taxpayers) will come along and finance them through University into a nice, highly paid job.

A cynical person might look at such a irresponsible policy and think that Labour were trying to create themselves a long term voter base – those, along with public servants, ‘teachers’ and health professionals, who will be beholden to Labour’s largess.

Tape Gate

I thought that Nick Smith’s observation that the covert taping of MP’s at functions after asking leading questions would lead to a less relaxed contact with party activists, and that this was bad for democracy, had some truth to it.

In the fuss and blame (and counter blame) that has seen this indident blown out of proportion, that rather thoughtful point was lost the the white noise.

I thought it was actually a very interesting observation and not because it was aimed at the Labour Party who are being blamed for the setup, presumably in retaliation for the same thing happening to them.

When I first got involved in politics way back when I was first elegible to vote I remebered being quite impressed that I was able to meet and often very briefly, chat to politicians (one of them being our current PM). As a young political ‘activist’ that made a big impression on me, I had joined the party and here I was being able to talk to the people who lead the country.

As politicians have become more unpopular, and political parties not a very cool thing to be involved with (if indeed it was ever cool), it becomes more important that to attract the interest of young people and the influx of their ideas and views into politics. Whether it is of the Left or Right easy access to elected officials is a very important part of maintaining a participative democracy.

Anything that erodes the appeal of politics and involvement in political parties surely must be a bad thing long term.

Nick Smith is right. I should imagine now that if a reasonably high profile MP or Cabinet Minister was approved by some young bright eyed activist and quizzed about that parties more ‘hard line’ policies, that MP is going to be very reticent to have a very deep discussion about it.

The tricky thing is that I’m not sure that now that ‘genie’ is out of the bottle, that there is any going back. A code of conduct for how MP’s and political parties conduct their campaigns is not going to work and there have always been dirty tricks. I just it’s just a sad progression that eventually these things will happen and each time it will erode the relaxed attitude our politicians have to the public and their supporters.

Whether or not the latest ‘tape gate’ episode will affect National’s election chances (and I don’t think it will make a difference or that the supposed revelations were very enlightening), it has achieved one thing, and that will be a subtle change in the way MP’s interact with the rest of us. And that can’t be a positive thing.

Is National ‘Labour Lite’?

Labour Lite?

I have to agree with Rodney Hide that the only thing that Labour and National disagree on is who should be Prime Minister.


Labour have played a clever game, they can claim that such and such policy will be dumped by National leaving it’s beneficiaries disadvantaged and it is the cold heartless right wing National party that will do this as part of it’s secret agenda to gut social welfare provisions and other social benefits introduced by Labour.


This puts National in a position where it has to deny this, and then support whatever policy it is being accused of planning to cull, and then National outlines how it will actually improve the policy, usually by appending more money on it…


Who’s the winner with this strategy, well Labour, because it means they are calling the shots. They also don’t have to announce any new policies (notice there is nothing new from them, just calls for National to release policy) Labour in effect wins endorsement for its policies and this leads to National looking like Labour Lite.


National can’t risk releasing policy too early, previous elections they have and it has cost them dearly as it has allowed Labour to spend months picking holes in them and forced National into damage control, by the time the dust settles Labour as assimilated the policy and can claim that National is weak and useless with no thought out policies.


I guess this shows what a formidable team Helen and Mike are, they have been in the game a long time and whether you like them or not, you have to agree they are smooth operators often running circles around the Nat’s.


National needs to take control of the debate and relying on polls isn’t going to do it. Maybe National needs to shift the debate away from specific policies and focus on other issues all together, issues that do set National and Labour apart… and one way would be to use the Peter’s fiasco to their advantage.


Most people are sick and tired of Peters, the majority of voters think is a clown. National could take the moral high ground and say they want to clean up politics (maybe take a leaf out of Obama’s book) and they won’t be doing business with Winston Peters. This would for a change put Labour in a difficult position where it would have to start explaining itself for a change.


Until National shows it has the skills to gain the high ground in the political debate and can start to clearly demonstrate to the public how it is different from Labour, then the label of Labour Lite is going to stick, and that will have voters starting to wonder why they would bother with a team that is inexperienced and only different from Labour in style rather than substance.





One poll National can afford to ignore

National is under mounting pressure to start rolling out substantive policy soon as a new poll suggests rising impatience with its refusal to show its hand too early.The Fairfax Media-Nielsen survey found 55 per cent of voters want to see policy from National now, against 35 per cent who are happy to wait.

National has learnt something from last election. If were running the show I’d be studiously ignoring any calls that rushed them into releasing policy this far out from the election. The fact that Labour is getting shriller about this issue shows that it is hurting them. labour probably thought it was going to be able to run a repeat of last election, incredibly this appears to be plan A, B and C.

It’s a bit surprising that the public have such short memories, we only have a three year term so it wasn’t that long ago!

Whether you agree with National’s policies or not, clearly the ‘slow burning fuse’ is a much better strategy.

Last election Labour systematically scare mongered on the policy that they could and adopted the rest. When you’re dealing with such a ‘fexible’ opponent the best strategy would be to keep your powder dry.

Labour tactic now seems to be to try and persuade the public to put the pressure on National so they can run a repeat of last election. Key and the new crew seemed determined to run their campaign to their timetable, not Labours. So far Labour don’t seem to have released any policy and their entire campaign seems to be built on personal attacks on Key and blowing huge amounts of our taxes on re nationalising sectors of the economy.

In any case, with Labour in it’s current state I suspect National figures that if you give them enough rope, they’ll end up hanging themselves.

The good ideas start to flow

Australia’s biggest provider of work-for-the-dole programmes, Mission Australia, says it is keen to move into New Zealand if an incoming National Government puts such programmes up for tender here.

My, haven’t the National Party been busy! If they can sustain the flow of new(ish) ideas for dealing with old problems until the election then they might win on merit rather than by default.


This, kids, is a record player, it was what people used to play music on. A relic... like the Labour Party

This is such a tidy idea and one operated by city missions. The idea of giving missions a greater role in helping with disadvantaged people is not new, but one worth looking again and it’s refreshing to see that the Nat’s have actually been thinking about some solutions to our problems.

Even though the policies so far are been a fuzzy purple colour, that hasn’t stopped Labour bleating on like a broken record about National wanting to privatise everything. Heard Marion-oneway-Street accusing National of wanting to privatise ACC this morning, really all she had to say was that they were privatising it, privatising it, privatising it… oh, and did you know, they’re going to privatise it?

For gods sake Labour, smell the coffee guys, if all we’re going to hear about over the coming months is about how National are “going to privatise it” then your’e toast.

Apologise for Vietnam ????

WTF, sometimes I am really torn about MMP, on one hand it allows small parties a bit of a voice and people don’t feel they’ve wasted their vote (then again, possibly they do), on the other we are subjected to this kind of rubbish…

Turia is a class A fringe dweller who lives in a strange world far far away from the rest of us. This is made worse by the rarefied atmosphere of her current environment that you and I fund through our taxes.

It’s shameful enough that Labour have dragged their feet over the whole Vietnam vets situation, if you were cynical you would almost think they hoped that they would all die off and the problem would go away. It must be pretty tough for someone like Klark to have to offer such an apology… .

I guess it’s been a quiet month for the Maori Party, and hey, an election is coming up, so making daft statement like this is one way to get some coverage. On the other hand not surprising that a socialist would want the government to appologise for a war that was part of the battle against the spread of communism.