The Jackal
 


8 Nov 2020

Donald Trump loses

Former US President - Donald Trump

What on Earth was America thinking? Four years of a Trump administration has brought the country to its knees. Civil unrest, particularly during the bungled COVID-19 response that cost hundreds of thousands of lives, looked set to escalate into full-blown anarchy.

A legacy of increased environmental degradation and economic conflicts are also major ticking time bombs. But perhaps the most damaging aspect of Trump’s failed presidency is the United States’ international credibility, which is now in tatters.

Not only did the 2016 Trump presidential campaign collude with Russian Intelligence Officers in order to damage their political opponents, over the last four long years they've also undermined their own democratic system from within, which in my opinion is tantamount to treason!

Of course the Don hasn’t admitted to playing any part in the underhanded affair. That’s because Trump cannot admit to ever doing anything wrong!

Trump mocks disabled reporter Serge Kovaleski

Even now, with Pennsylvania flipping and nearly every news agency calling it, Trump is on Twitter claiming that he’s won the 2020 election. There is of course no doubt that he’s lost. Over 4 million voters are now in favour of Biden with Georgia and Arizona on the cusp of adding to the incoming Presidents considerable electoral vote tally.


Today, New York Daily News reported:


Adios, Donald: Trump loses, Biden wins, and America has a precious opportunity to rebuild

Finally, our long, national nightmare appears to be ending.

Though tight margins in some swing states may trigger some automatic recounts, and we all know that the president may try to cry foul, for now it seems as though Joe Biden has done it. He’s ousted Donald Trump from the White House to become the next president of the United States — and he’s brought with him the first Black woman vice president.

Man, it feels good to write that. After the four years of corruption, incompetence, division, racism, sexism, nepotism, cronyism, nihilism and nationalism that Trump foisted on the American people, often against even the will of his own supporters, we can hopefully go about the business of restoring some semblance of normalcy, decency and calm to American life.

 

The final result will likely be Biden on 305 to Trump on 229, which should be considered a decisive victory for Joe and the Democrats. In fact we should consider it a victory for the entire World as well.

However the fact that millions of Americans did vote for an evil lunatic is terribly concerning. I mean if a President can openly encourage people to inject chlorine as some sort of treatment for COVID-19 and there still be no widespread questioning of his legitimacy, you know that things aren’t at all well in the US of A. 



6 Nov 2020

Utter devastation for National

Debbie Ngarewa-Packer - Maori Party co-leader
If the preliminary 2020 election results were bad for the blue team, the final results are entirely devastating! The National Party, with the unlikable Judith Collins in charge, has lost another three electorates after special votes were counted.

Labour has picked up Northland with Willow-Jean Prime winning a slim majority, which is significant because Labour hasn’t won there since 1938, and list MP Debbie Ngarewa-Packer joins Rawiri Waititi in Parliament to issue in a resurgent Maori Party.

The news gets even worse for National in another two blue seats that used to be considered safe. Maungakiekie and Whangarei have also flipped, meaning National has had a comprehensive defeat in terms of overall electorate losses.


Today, RNZ reported:


Special votes: National loses two MPs, one each to Labour, Māori Party 

The National Party has lost another two MPs on the final election result - with Labour and the Māori Party picking up an extra seat each.

Results on election night had Labour at 64 seats, National at 35, ACT at 10, the Greens 10 and the Māori Party with a sole electorate seat, but the counting of what was estimated to be nearly 500,000 special votes has delayed final results until today.

Labour's Priyanca Radhakrishnan has won Maungakiekie off National's Denise Lee by 635 votes.

Northland Labour candidate Willow-Jean Prime has beaten National's incumbent Matt King with a majority of 163 votes.

In Whangārei, Labour candidate Emily Henderson has beaten National's Shane Reti by 431 votes, but Reti stays on in Parliament making it in on the list.

All other electorate candidates leading on election night have been confirmed as winning their seats.

Overall seats in Parliament have changed with Labour picking up one - the seat filled by Henderson. National loses two with both Lee and King being tipped out of Parliament.

The Māori Party picks up one more seat, which goes to co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer who comes in on the list.


There really is no question that Judith Collins must now step aside. Even her deputy leader Gerry Brownlee is calling it a day which is a clear sign that he, like many other National Party MPs, have no confidence in their current leader.

The problem for National however is that there’s nobody likeable or competent enough to take Crusher’s place. How exactly are they meant to rebuild when the few MPs who remain are largely unknown or entirely incompetent?

It’s not as if the significant divisions within the party have miraculously been fixed either. Clearly things have now become even harder for the National Party to rebuild. In fact it's patently obvious that they're incapable of mounting any semblance of an opposition to a formidable Labour led Government who look set to win in 2023 as well.

24 Oct 2020

National’s electoral slaughter

Judith (Crusher) Collins
We all agree that the 2020 general election was a complete disaster for the National Party. Not only did the blue “team” receive only 26.8 per cent support, the results also left those who did unwisely back the National Party with a lingering bad taste in their mouths.

In fact the more time National takes faffing about with reviews into why they polled so terribly, the more voters will perceive that National is in complete disarray. Despite this fact, National doesn’t seem to realise that time is of the essence and wasting more of it naval gazing isn’t going to fix things. As well as creating even more resentment within the party towards the current leadership, this will ensure National’s voter base continues to dwindle.

But don’t take my word for it. Here’s what some National Party MPs have been saying about the causes of their defeat and their current divisive and disingenuous leader, Judith Collins.


Today, Stuff reported:


Election 2020: The 'complete disarray' of National's campaign that led to electoral 'slaughter'

Throughout September and October, Judith Collins and Jacinda Ardern flew into at least one region on each day, visiting local businesses, shaking hands and capturing selfies.

But as Collins criss-crossed the country, chasing ever dwindling poll numbers, she too fell victim to the Cunliffe curse.

“If I had her in my electorate, it was actually a net negative for me,” one National MP confided.

“I’m capable of locking in our National supporters myself. But I need to appeal to the centre voters to get our party vote up, and Judith doesn’t appeal to the centre. She’s our Cunliffe.”

Her colleagues found it hard to stomach pleas for loyalty. “She’s destabilised three leaders. She did John Key in 2014, she completely destabilised Simon Bridges, and she was behind the coup with Todd Muller,” one MP fumed.

Another raged: “It is pretty hard when two months earlier she put out a book bagging John Key. That woman held a grudge for six years! She needed to lead by example.”

A few days later, Collins was hobbled by a catastrophic own goal: Goldsmith was forced to admit multi-billion-dollar errors in his budget. The first overshadowed Collins’ campaign launch and National lost its best weapon – economic credibility.

There were few people to blame. The leadership team gave candidates little notice of the economic plan, which included a controversial pitch to cut taxes, despite Collins previously ruling that out.

“Policy was a disaster zone,” one incredulous MP said. “All we saw at the start was big spending – whether it was Bishop [on infrastructure], Willis on education, or Reti on health.

“They were coming up with big numbers and that was a massive mistake because it made us indistinguishable from Labour.”

The tax cuts confused voters, the MP believes. “[Finance Minister] Grant Robertson made the best point of the entire campaign: we’d fallen into some sort of economic Bermuda triangle. We were going to spend everything, but we were also going to be better on debt, and provide tax relief.”

“It evolved from the low energy into the Crusher,” an MP explained. “But ... because it hadn’t started that way, it was confusing and inauthentic.”

Another MP disliked the straight-from-the-heart, unscripted style. “The second [Newshub] debate really put a line under it. The one where she just went a bit crazy … she went very shouty, talking to herself and giggling to herself.

“The whole thing fell apart. Gerry and her fundamentally started disagreeing on issues and she apparently had a huge blow-up at the campaign team because she felt they were trying to make her too soft.

“She started to harden up, and become the Crusher again. They were trying to keep her on message, with a softer face to try and appeal to the middle voter ... And middle New Zealand switched off her completely.”

From the inside, the campaign careered off the rails. Two weeks out from the election, one MP complained to Stuff: “If you think it looks bad, it’s even worse.”

“The central campaign was a disaster,” a National MP sighed. “Candidates were getting collateral [advertising material] very late, we saw collateral go out there with wrong spelling, graphics had our numbers wrong.”

There was frustration that the new team entirely shut out Paula Bennett, who’d amassed and absorbed a treasure trove of data over months.

“For a good year, [Gerry] was critical of Paula,” one seasoned MP said. “They didn’t get on personality-wise, he was clear in his head that he could do much better. Then he got there and didn’t know what to do.

“He has certain skills but an organisational brain to run a campaign just isn’t one of those areas.

The cracks become obvious. On October 5, an email emerged in which first-term MP and Auckland Council spokesperson Denise Lee criticised Collins for not consulting her about a new local body policy.

“All of the experienced MPs from the John Key and Bill English governments, we know what discipline is,” a departing MP said. “[Judith] made that decision and that is the leader’s prerogative.

“Let’s be honest about the class of 2017: they have been the bane in National’s life. There has been nothing but leaks, a sense of self-entitlement and real arrogance … Is it any wonder this email was sent and leaked, was it written to be leaked?

“That was our demise. I believe Judith when she said it probably took about five points off us.”

She digressed into fat-shaming, accused Jacinda Ardern of lying, goaded the Labour leader to sue her, and then accused her rival of name-calling. There were attacks on the media, and an incautious explanation of how, as a tax lawyer, she used to help people avoid inheritance tax.

“What typified the whole campaign for me was we had [Brownlee], our deputy leader and campaign manager in the media, explaining that he is responsible for his own obesity,’’ one MP said. ‘’How mad is that? How off-topic is that?”

Another explained: “None of them were talking to each other. Judith would say what she wanted at the media standups because there wasn’t anyone else giving her clear direction, certainly in the last two weeks.”

Others don’t accept that analysis. “Gerry and Judith both share fault in this. It’s galling to see them portraying themselves as reluctant heroes, who it was thrust upon.

“Judith crawled over broken glass for a decade to get this job, she isn’t some Joan of Arc figure. Sadly, when she got there, there was nothing. She didn’t even have an A4 of a plan.”

Another said: “She has had her day. She is from a bygone era. She’s brittle, I don’t believe she is the face of National and she definitely won’t be the leader going into ‘23.”


So at what point does Judith Collins stop making excuses and put the party ahead of her own self-interest? In my opinion she must take responsibility for National’s resounding defeat by stepping down to let a more capable and credible leader take her place.

Let’s also not forget Crusher’s previously held belief that anywhere below 35 per cent in a general election should trigger a change in National's leadership. But now that she’s assumed command Collins has reneged on her own stipulated cutoff mark.

Crusher has also said that she won’t go willingly. So it’s up to the National Party to oust her. This must happen if New Zealand is to have an opposition that actually works, which is required in order for our democracy to properly function. Because if Crusher is allowed to stay on we will simply see a continuance of the same disorganisation exhibited over National's disastrous 2020 election campaign.

19 Oct 2020

Labour Party landslide - 2020 Election in review

Jacinda Ardern - Prime Minister of New Zealand
The 2020 General Election has been one of the most interesting in New Zealand’s political history. Not only did we have voters provide the Labour Party with a stratospheric 49.1% mandate to govern, the results also delivered National with a crushing 26.8% defeat that they will have a great deal of difficulty rebuilding from.

There are a number of reasons for the Labour Party's victory, including the careful political approach and star like qualities of their leader, Jacinda Ardern. But there are also numerous reasons for National's defeat, a monumental 17.6% downfall in support that the current leader, Judith Collins, must ultimately take responsibility for.

Collins may have worked hard during the campaign to attain the medias attention, but the topics she often chose to run on weren’t usually relevant to a majority of undecided voters. Instead of promoting any properly budgeted and targeted policy initiatives, Collins spent much of her time insulting people's intelligence, directly attacking the Prime Minister or reacting badly to the latest National Party controversy. Crusher's mask often slipped during interviews and debates, which is never a good look when you want voters to forget about Dirty Politics.

However the biggest difference between the two political parties was their divergent strategies on COVID-19. While the Labour led Government was busy keeping New Zealand safe with effective restrictions and lockdowns, National was arguing for an opening up of our borders, which has been proven disastrous for other countries. This stark contrast, which concerned whether people lived or died, was perhaps the most influential difference for voters at the ballot box.

Instead of understanding that their criticism of the Government’s successful COVID strategy was detrimental to their campaign, a fact that was highlighted by various pundits and underscored by pre-election polling, the National Party is continuing to blame the Prime Minister’s COVID updates for their resounding loss. However most Kiwis weren’t seeing things from such a prejudiced position. The consensus is that the general public was simply being kept properly informed about a deadly virus that is still claiming numerous lives overseas.

Judith Collins - National Party leader

Likewise, instead of realising that promoting policy on the fly isn’t a good strategy, Collins is doubling down and claiming that disloyalty within the party is the problem. The truth of the matter is that Crusher is simply too arrogant to accept that she's responsible for National's drubbing, a resounding defeat that should make her resignation a fait accompli.

So not only did we have most Labour MPs being diligent and disciplined, particularly when it really mattered in the closing weeks of the campaign, we also had National being washed along in a tide they themselves largely created. We shouldn’t however lament the decline of the National Party, because this could result in the most progressive Government New Zealand has ever seen.

Many commentators have expressed the opinion that Labour no longer has the handbrake of NZ First restricting its transformative policy ideas. What will restrict large-scale social and economic progress however is the worldwide financial crisis that has only just started to bite. Grant Robertson, who ran rings around his National Party counterpart Paul Goldsmith, will perhaps have the toughest job in Government if he becomes Finance Minister again. Balancing people's expectations with what can be achieved is never an easy thing.

As for NZ First, they only have themselves to blame. Attacking a Government they’re a part of is one thing, but having a perceived slush fund and being embroiled in a donations scandal has ultimately resulted in their early retirement from politics. NZ First voters don’t tend to like corruption, even if it’s only alleged and not yet proven. By claiming that the NZ First Foundation was only following in National's footsteps, Peters hasn’t done himself any favours in allaying people’s concerns about his honesty. This truly was a rare misstep by one of the great political leaders of our time.

Not only does Labour have to wind up the bad investments within the provincial growth fund without providing ammunition to the opposition, they also need to show significant advancement on their 2017 promises and closure for things like the Pike River mine over the coming three years. Housing still remains a major dilemma for New Zealand that undoubtedly requires more Government intervention. Their problem here is that most of the centre-right voters they've attained from NZ First and National won’t want any significant change to the status quo. Many are property investors and have provided Labour with support precisely because of the Prime Minister’s promises regarding a Capital Gains Tax.

Jacinda Ardern’s ability to progress change in a way that appeases the Greens while not spooking those centre-right voters will be a significant factor in Labour's chances for re-election in 2023. The issue here for Labour is that the Green Party, whether in Government or opposition, is clearly a force to be reckoned with. Although their social media campaign slowed towards the end, mainly because they went a bit possum in the headlights over polling concerns, Chlöe Swarbrick’s Auckland Central win will be remembered as one of the most significant victories during 129 years of political history in New Zealand.

Chlöe Swarbrick - Green Party MP for Auckland Central
The Green Party has obviously been rewarded (in your face Bomber) for their achievements in Government. Not only are they the most diverse and disciplined party within Parliament, the Greens, like the Labour Party, now have a strong mandate and substantial support that will ensure social and environmental progress is achieved in New Zealand for the foreseeable future.

Their political nemesis of course is the Act Party. David Seymour ran a strong social media campaign, which was in no small way helped along by a compliant mainstream media. Attaining support from both disgruntled gun enthusiasts and right-wing extremists, the Act Party will find it difficult to retain these voters or keep a lid on their nine new largely unknown MPs during the next three years of progress.

This brings us to Advance NZ and the New Conservative Party, both of which failed to get over the 5% threshold. Despite considerable and questionable funding sources, it’s good to see these cults collapse at the last hurdle. Not only are many of their policy ideas dangerous, both of these parties promoted some terrible disinformation during the campaign, which was in most instances designed to undermine the left-wing of the Coalition Government. It’s a testament to some of our fourth estate and a working political system that their and the National Party’s dishonest electioneering entirely backfired.

15 Oct 2020

Crusher fails to resonate

Judith Collins - National Party leader
You can tell the National Party is in damage control mode most of the time these days. Instead of being able to provide any valid alternative to a Labour led Government, Judith Collins is going out of her way to be controversial just to get media attention. It’s a tactic that works well in the US, but is destined to ultimately fail here in New Zealand.

One of Crusher’s more recent PR disasters was when she claimed those suffering from obesity are personally responsible, which not only exhibited an astounding amount of ignorance on the subject by somebody who should know better, but also showed that Crusher favours vested interests over a very large body of scientific evidence.


On Tuesday, 1 News reported:


Judith Collins says obesity is ‘generally’ a weakness, urges personal responsibility over blaming the 'system'

Massey University researcher Cat Pause, who describes herself as a fat studies scholar, labelled Collins’ attitudes to obesity “heartless” on Newstalk ZB yesterday.

"It fits in line with a larger neoliberal project, which is about positioning individuals as being solely responsible for their own health and well-being, and suggesting neither the larger society nor the state has any role to play,” Pause said.


What on earth was Crusher thinking? Not only has she directly insulted around 40% of the population with her fat shaming remarks, the current leader of the opposition is also coming across as a spiteful politician that most people will want to avoid.

Combine this nastiness with Crusher flailing about at Jacinda Ardern because she’s obviously jealous of the Prime Minister’s popularity, and it’s pretty clear that National won’t gain any traction or resonance with undecided voters in the final days of the election.

But if all that wasn’t enough of a hint that National is panicking because they're going to get a trouncing, a recent poll has also shown that Crusher’s photo op at a church didn’t strike the right chord with voters either.


Today, the NZ Herald (pay walled) reported:


Exclusive election poll: Judith Collins' displays of Christian religiousness - will it woo voters?

Collins has brought up her Christian faith during the campaign, and was photographed praying in a church. Poll participants were asked how her public statements about being a religious person would influence their vote.

Twenty-seven per cent said it would make them less likely to vote for National, compared to 8 per cent, who said they'd be more likely to support her party.

 

Crusher’s blatant publicity stunt could have therefore turned a further 19% of voters off from supporting National, which combined with their other campaigning errors (including Crusher insulting Aussies today) has ensured National MPs will continue to occupy the opposition benches for the foreseeable future.

But what I find most remarkable about National's shambolic electioneering is that many commentators and journalists who would normally lean towards supporting the right wing are now speaking out against Crusher's divineness. They can clearly see the writing on the wall for the beleaguered National Party, and Judith Collins’ controversial and likely very short tenure as leader.

It’s patently obvious that Crusher will be out on her ear not soon after the 2020 General Election results are in. What else can one conclude when National MPs are actively criticising and undermining their leader while voters are still going to the polls?

8 Oct 2020

Hamish Price loses Auckland Central

Hamish Price - right wing propagandist
We all know that Hamish Price is a complete fool who spends most of his time tweeting easily refuted rubbish on twitter. He is perhaps the right wings biggest clown, which is really saying something considering there’s such stiff competition at the moment.

So it’s incredibly surprising to see the idiot being employed as a campaign manager by National Party candidate, Emma Mellow. Perhaps the political newcomer wasn’t aware of Price’s extensive murky history. But there can be no such excuses for National’s current leader, Judith Collins, who obviously isn’t some sort of ignorant newbie.

That’s what makes Crusher’s Ponsonby walkabout disaster so astounding. Trying to trick the media into believing that Price and his accomplices were just bystanders is stupid enough, but check out Crusher's face and listen to Price and Mellow trying to explain away their daft and badly executed ruse.



Many on the right also dislike Hamish Price, with dirty politics practitioner Simon Lusk saying he was a "nasty, offensive and divisive self-important fool of a man that should be avoided at all costs by any candidate".

It’s a pity Emma Mellow didn’t listen to this advice, because there’s really no coming back from such a monumental blunder. That’s why I’m picking National will lose the Auckland central electorate, thanks to Hamish Price. Let’s hope they employ him again next election.

Couple this campaigning gaffe with Crusher being turned away from Ponsonby shops and the jellybean poll showing hardly anybody liking National and it's not looking good for the blue "teams" hopes for reelection. In fact on current polling many of National's MPs and employees will be looking for new jobs. But given this latest performance, not even the circus would want a copy of Price's resume.