The Jackal: August 2017

31 Aug 2017

The pile on has begun

You know the National party is in real trouble when ardent right wing propagandists like Matthew Hooton and Mike Hosking start criticising Bill English’s policy announcements.

Hooton and Hosking are perhaps the biggest National party apologists around. Their bias is legendary.

So when they turn against their party this close to an election you know the tide has definitely turned. Not wanting to be the last rocks standing, the pile on has begun, and if National isn’t careful they will be swept out forever with a growing tide of populist support for Labour’s Jacinda Ardern.

Here’s Hooton commenting on the leak of Winston Peters’ private pension details, which almost certainly came from someone high up in the National party.

On Tuesday, Bryce Edwards tweeted:

Pretty strong words there from a right wing hack! But he’s not the only ardent John Key fanboy to voice a negative opinion about the National party recently.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

Mike Hosking: I feel used and want to take a shower

National's parental leave deal yesterday to me smacks of cold, hard bribery. National has been dragged kicking and screaming into this debate. They have not been willing participants.

Every move they have made has been a result of private member's bills and/or opposition pressure and promises. This is not a natural policy for them, like tax cuts or roading infrastructure or paying debt or creating jobs. And yet there they are handing it out like candy.

All of a sudden with the polls tightening, and their prospects on a knife edge - nothing is out of bounds.

I have to disagree with Hosking about National creating jobs and paying down debt. They’ve also taken tax cuts off the table because of a slowing economy. But otherwise his rant is pretty spot-on.

Policy should at least in part be driven by genuine belief and desire, not a corrupt retail exchange. I know I sound like someone who's just emerged from a cave - where the hell have I been? This is politics and these are politicians.

But it's just this time it seems or feels like any decorum, any philosophical standing and belief is out the window and replaced by Voter Idol and prizes for anyone with a hand out.

The problem for National is that they haven’t released any detail about how they intend to pay for their lolly scramble. I hate to admit it but Hosking is right, English is on the back foot and announcing policy willy-nilly in order to attract swing voters. In doing so National look terribly desperate!

Bill English’s current schedule seems more governed by what the media is currently focused on, what Labour has announced and what they think will gain public support rather than any concrete belief in their policy ideas. That lack of conviction will likely mean the National party won’t actually enact many of their policy promises if allowed a fourth term in government.

The fact that National is embroiled in another scandal and making unaffordable promises off the cuff makes it clear to even their core supporters that the writing is on the wall.

With the Labour and Green parties presenting better social and economic policy initiatives, that are actually affordable, there really isn’t any other choice but to change the government at this election.

Winston Peters leak points to National

The issue of who leaked information on Winston Peters’ pension overpayments to the press has dominated headlines for the last couple of days. But despite all the attention, the leaker hasn't yet been clearly identified.

Some of that lack of disclosure has to do with the press themselves, who won’t want to out a potential source. However most of the lack of insight comes from the National party itself, who despite a number of investigations being launched, are clearly stonewalling for time.

Yesterday, the Otago Daily Times reported:

Peters claims he is victim of 'filthy politics'

NZ First leader Winston Peters has claimed he is the victim of "filthy politics'' and is considering his legal options as three investigations began into how his superannuation details were leaked into the public arena.

Mr Peters is pointing his finger at the National Party as the possible "leak” to the media of the news he had to repay overpayments for his superannuation since 2010, saying it was an attempt to destroy NZ First.

That followed revelations that two ministers - Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley - were briefed on the overpayments by Government department heads under a "no surprises” policy.

National leader Bill English said he did not believe the leak had come from National and was assured by Ms Bennett and Ms Tolley they had not passed on the information.

There obviously needs to be some harder questions being asked about National’s involvement.

For instance, why was Anne Tolley briefed in the first place about somebodies private pension details? After the PM's Chief of Staff, Wayne Eagleson, apparently decided to withhold the potentially damaging information from English, Tolley then held a second meeting specifically about Winston Peters' overpayments.

Both of these briefings breached the Privacy Act, so why hasn't Tolley been interviewed yet about the leak? Why did the leaker give specific details to the media about the overpayment that were clearly designed to damage Peters’ credibility if it wasn't politically motivated?

Why was the ‘no surprises’ policy again abused when Paula Bennett was briefed on the matter? She has stated there would be no benefit to National if they had leaked the information to media, ignoring the fact that if NZ First was damaged some of their support would go her way. Why did Bennett lie to Jack Tame yesterday about National's political motivation to leak information on Peters to the media?

Why did the State Services Commissioner, Peter Hughes, also ignore best practice and the ‘no surprises’ policy in order to brief Paula Bennett about information she could potentially use to damage one of National’s political opponents?

Why was a decision made to not brief the Prime Minister? We’ve seen leaks from the Prime Minister’s office before when Wayne Eagleson was John Key's Chief of Staff, leaks that were designed to damage political opponents and journalists.

Why should we trust the National party to tell the truth when they have a track record of lying? If dirty politics has taught us anything it’s that the National party is highly motivated to damage their political opponents by any means necessary.

Why did the head of the Ministry of Social Development, Brendon Boyle, interpret the ‘no surprises’ policy incorrectly in order to release damaging information to National about Peters? How extensive is this information gathering on political opponents and does it extend to other government departments and people outside of parliament?

Despite some media trying to blame the breach of privacy on an incorrect interpretation of the rules, the 'no surprises' policy is relatively straightforward. To provide information to a Minister, a responsible government employee must:

Be aware of any possible implications of their decisions and actions for wider government policy issues.

Advise the responsible Minister of issues that may be discussed in the public arena or that may require a ministerial response, preferably ahead of time or otherwise as soon as possible.

Inform the Minister in advance of any major strategic initiative.

The problem for the National party, their employees and the Chief Executives involved is that the issue wouldn’t have been discussed publicly if proper procedures were followed. If the MSD and SSC had adhered to the governments ‘no surprises’ policy, there would have been no leak to Newsroom and Newshub. The timeline of when National was provided with the information and when the leak occurred makes that patently clear.

It’s pretty obvious some heads must roll because of the breach of Peters’ privacy. It’s also clear that National party staff members and Ministers had a vested interest in leaking the potentially damaging information to the media.

The highly questionable decision by Eagleson to not inform English in order to provide him with plausible deniability, especially after Bennet and Tolley were provided with potentially scandalous information, also needs further scrutiny.

Considering English’s dishonesty over the Todd Barclay affair, is the claim that he wasn’t informed about the damaging information on Peters, when everybody else was briefed, even plausible?

Who inside National would benefit from English being left out of the loop while Bennett and Tolley were implicated in leaking private information about Winston Peters?

The potential for a complete meltdown within the National party because of how this scandal developed and was handled is clearly there. However it’s likely to occur after the election, especially if the Labour party under Jacinda Ardern forms a coalition government with the Greens and NZ First.

30 Aug 2017

Does Barclay have something on English?

The Todd Barclay affair is odd because normally his type of misconduct would see an MP ousted from the house. Sure, the National party with their slimmest of majorities needs Barclay to be able to pass legislation. But that’s coming at a considerable cost to their credibility and subsequent hopes for reelection.

Bill English in particular is looking decidedly dodgy by attempting a cover-up.

First he lied about his knowledge of the issue and then he stupidly said he didn’t think secretly recording someone was illegal. English then claimed the recording might not exist, after providing a Police statement on the matter. He also confirmed that National had paid a considerable amount of hush money after saying there was nothing to hide.

Now we learn that a National party advocate, likely chief of staff Wayne Eagleson, successfully pressured the Police into withholding information from the press about the PM's involvement.

That last one is where English has likely come unstuck.

Yesterday, Radio NZ reported:

Ombudsman investigating police over Barclay saga

The Ombudsman is investigating complaints over the police handling of the Todd Barclay affair.

Police first investigated the case last year but decided they had insufficient evidence to prosecute Mr Barclay, who had refused to be interviewed.

If this were an opposition MP, the Police would have found the required evidence.

Documents released under the Official Information Act show someone on behalf of the Prime Minister asked police early this year not to publicly release text messages between Mr English and the electorate chairman at the time, Stuart Davie.

The requests continued and a month later the police said neither Mr English's statement to police, nor any texts, would be released to the media.

Ombudsman Peter Boshier said there were complaints about how the police handled information requests and he was investigating.

Police re-opened their investigation into Mr Barclay in June. The case was closed last year when police concluded they had insufficient evidence to prosecute Mr Barclay.

The fact that the Police re-opened the case shows that they mishandled it in the first place.

The IPCA decided not to look into the police handling of the matter after it received a complaint in June. It said it was satisfied there was no misconduct or neglect by police investigating the case.

Which is no surprise really. The IPCA is simply a mechanism to try and limit Police accountability and prosecutions.

The Ombudsman on the other hand has some real powers to find out exactly what has gone wrong with the Police investigation, and perhaps even shine some more light on why English is at pains to protect a little scoundrel like Todd Barclay.

Could Barclay have something on English that means the PM will risk National’s reelection prospects in order to keep it secret? What exactly is on the illegal recordings and 450 text messages sent between English and former party staffer Glenys Dickson?

Let’s hope this scandal blows wide open to show just how corrupt the Prime Minister really is before voters go to the ballot boxes on September 23rd.

Hold your noses Epsom

There's an elephant in the room of New Zealand’s politics, and it’s called the dirty deal. Dirty deals are when a party asks voters to support a different parties candidate, in order to game the MMP system.

One particularly bad dirty deal is in the Epsom electorate, where Act party leader David Seymour is holding on by the skin of his teeth. If he loses his single seat at this election, Act will be gone from Parliament, probably forever.

It hasn’t been easy for the Act party, who’ve been plagued by a number of controversies over the years.

So how likely is it that they will survive?

At the last election Act received a mere 0.69% of the party vote and their electorate vote was similarly pathetic as a percentage of the total. More recently, in the last few Culmar Brunton polls the Act party gained only 0.3% or 0.4% support. The average for the last six polls has the unpopular party on just 0.5%. If the 0.69% to 0.5% decline is reflected in the Epsom electorate, the Act party will be goneburgers.

On 0.5%, the shift away from the Act party would put Seymour on approximately 32% of the electorate vote. This isn’t enough to keep Seymour in the seat. Last election he gained 43% of the electorate vote, because of the dirty deal.

Combine that swing away from Act with the possibility a Labour and Green’s voter block in Epsom will vote more tactically this time round, and things are looking pretty bleak for the incumbent.

The Act party hasn’t been doing themselves any favours either.

Despite the mainstream media providing Seymour with a disproportionate amount of airtime, he's failed to gain any real traction in this election campaign. One reason is there are too many major scandals going on for a minor sideshow like Seymour to gain any attention. Another reason is Act’s policy ideas simply suck!

Even the Christians are wary of the barking chihuahua.

Yesterday, NZ Catholic reported:

Act now to oppose Act Party leader's euthanasia push, bishop urges

Palmerston North Bishop Charles Drennan has encouraged his flock to voice their opposition to Act Party leader David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Bill.

In a pastoral letter dated July 13 published on the diocese’s website, Bishop Drennan listed his observations against the bill which he described as “unkiwi, unethical, and unprogressive”.

“Please let your voice be heard, and indicate to your MP your opposition to this backward bill,” he stated.

Couple those issues with active hostility between Seymour and Steven Joyce as well as some old Act MP’s recently being in the news for all the wrong reasons, and Epsom certainly could be the big upset on election night.

However there’s other factors that will likely mean Seymour fails to make the grade.

Yesterday, the Daily Blogger reported:

The electorates to watch this election

Seymour holds onto Epsom because National voters let him have it. If Green and Labour voters who waste their electorate vote on their local candidate instead used it to tactically vote for Paul Goldsmith,  then National would accidentally win Epsom and Seymour would be kicked out of Parliament. Seymour’s strong support of Euthanasia has put him offside with the electorates Asian community. Where the large Conservative Party vote goes to will also impact things.

Although not as strong in a seat like Epsom, the Jacinda effect needs to be taken into account. A small degree of swing towards Labour will likely occur in this conservative electorate, being that Ardern has widespread appeal. A majority of Asian and Christian voters will also be looking for alternatives to the Act party.

How that translates for the electorate vote in Epsom is yet to be seen, but it’s certainly worth Labour’s time to encourage their supporters to tactically give their electorate vote to Paul Goldsmith. I would encourage all Green and Maori voters to hold their noses and do the same.

29 Aug 2017

Mother of all scandals backfires

The Winston Peters super overpayment scandal is interesting not because the NZ First leader managed to quell any real damage by front footing the issue, but because a government department is leaking information to intentionally damage an opposition party in the lead up to an election.

When Newsroom editor Tim Murphy first tweeted on Saturday that the #motherofallscandals was about to drop on Monday, many people thought it might be related to Paula Bennett’s questionable history that has been hushed up by the threat of court action.

However, the truth of the matter was far less controversial. In fact it was rather disappointing to say the least when the Peters media beat-up was pointed out as the scandal.

So Peters was overpaid, likely through no fault of his own, because a form wasn’t filled out or entered into the system properly. It’s no wonder he didn’t notice either, being that his substantial income means such an overpayment over seven years would be relatively insignificant. Clearly the bigger story is how and why such private information is being made public, especially considering we’re less than a month out from a general election.

Perhaps it was a coincidence that political insider, Richard Harman, had written about how the National party planned to target NZ First prior to the Winston Peters "scandal" breaking.

Yesterday, Politik reported:

National sees path to victory

National is now going to target Winston Peters and NZ First in the hope of winning one or two per cent of his vote back off him.

They believe that will be enough to hold on to power.

This week will see the Prime Minister campaigning in Peters’ Northland seat --- an unusual move in a seat which up till recently National freely conceded it could not win.

So who knew what and when? Thankfully journalist Tracy Watkins had her eye on the ball.

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

Winston Peters, scandal and a recipe for revenge

Someone is playing in a very dirty and dangerous pool with the latest bombshell dropped on the election campaign.

But that still leaves some very big unanswered questions about how details of Peters' confidential tax records made it into the public arena. The last election was dominated by allegations of dirty politics. Is this shaping up as dirty politics the sequel?

It certainly looks that way, just without as much hacking this time round.

The story broke when Peters issued a statement late on Sunday admitting he received superannuation overpayments and saying he had paid the money back.

But social media had been going crazy all weekend after news organisation Newsroom started touting a story that was "the mother of all scandals". Newshub had also heard about Peters' overpayments and had approached him earlier - an approach he rebuffed.

It appeared that Newshub actually got the drop on Newsroom.

But were there others in the know? ACT leader David Seymour had earlier referred to Peters as a "charismatic crook" on the The Nation's multi-party leaders debate.

Former Inland Revenue Minister Peter Dunne had tweeted after Peters' statement came out "Lets see how the superannuation overpayment story looks 24 hours from now" - which was cryptic, but could be read as meaning he knew more, though Dunne now insists that was not the case.

That tweet in particular makes it look like Peters was being set up.

Others including right wing lobby group the Taxpayers Union also appeared to be primed.

That puts this into a very different category to the Metiria Turei benefit scandal - Turei went public off her own bat, to add some weight to the Greens' policy on welfare.

In Peters' case, details of his tax or MSD records appear to have been leaked, which is extraordinary and almost unprecedented for a political leader.

How, or who, was behind that may be beside the point.

Personally I think it's the mother of all points. This appears to be a right wing conspiracy to undermine Winston Peters. Clearly the key people involved should be identified and perhaps even vilified through the media.

It would not be out of character for Peters - who thrives on conspiracy - to put two and two together about English's timing.

So National will have to walk a very thin tightrope and remain above the fray on the pension controversy.

I think National has lost their footing. I very much doubt that a MSD staff member for instance could inform Tim Murphy, Lloyd Burr, Peter Dunne, David Seymour and perhaps even the Taxpayers’ Union without the National party hierarchy knowing all about it.

The story may or may not knock Peters out of the race if it damages him with his core constituency, the grey vote. There has to be a strong suspicion that was the intention behind the leak.

But if it doesn't, in a tight election like this one where Peters might be king maker, it could make or break the case for whether it's Bill English or Jacinda Ardern that occupies the ninth floor of the Beehive after September 23.

In her opinion piece, Tracy Watkins has cleverly highlighted the main issue, that the National party has just shot themselves in the foot. Peters is a smart cookie and will easily deduce who the people are behind the information leak, a leak that was designed to destroy his political career.

Because of their dirty tactics, the chance of a National and NZ First coalition deal is now effectively zero. It seems Bill English incorrectly and arrogantly thought that such a move would cut Peters out of the picture. The problem for National is that they always decline in the polls heading into an election. They also lack effective coalition partners, so trying to undermine the King or Queen maker, Winston Peters, is one of the dumbest political moves I've ever seen.

Such underhanded tactics by the right wing have clearly backfired, and National is in real danger of losing much more support if the real scandal gains legs.

Update: MSD told National Minister Anne Tolley about the Winston Peters' pension overpayment three days before media were anonymously informed.

28 Aug 2017

Pro bono case beckons for Bomber

It simply astounds me that the Police have once again abused their power by illegally searching somebody who reported on the Dirty Politics saga. This time it’s blogger Bomber Bradbury, who has had his bank accounts riffled through for information on the hacker Rawshark.

Not only did the Police harass Bomber by unlawfully gaining access to information because of their deluded hunch, the banks have also acted incorrectly by allowing that unlawful access to cause a reduction in the bloggers credit rating.

Today, the NZ Herald reported:

Hunt for Rawshark sees police rapped again for 'unlawful' search of banking records

Police have again been caught unlawfully harvesting private banking information in the search for the hacker behind the Dirty Politics book.

This time it is activist and journalist Martyn Bradbury who has been drawn into the police investigation.

And this time police inquiries are said to have had an awful impact, leading to two suicidal episodes.

There is clearly a case for damages here.

Bradbury told the NZ Herald he uncovered the police probe after being rejected for credit by his bank.

He said he became suspicious because the "extensions of credit weren't extravagant and the manner in which the declines occurred just seemed odd".

When Bradbury sought information through the Privacy Act, he discovered that detectives working on the Rawshark case had made a request for his records saying they were investigating "computer fraud".

Detectives did so quoting a section of the Privacy Act allowing those holding data to ignore people's privacy if there are "reasonable grounds" to believe it would help "maintenance of the law".

Help the maintenance of law? Help the National party and their attack blogger Cameron Slater more like... by impeding the finances of one of their strongest critics.

The stupid thing here is that Rawshark had stated, and there's no reason to not believe them, that they undertook the hack on Slater because he had attacked one of their friends.

This narrows it down to around a million people, so why the Police singled out Bomber in this instance is particularly questionable.

The ruling from Privacy Commissioner John Edwards found police gave Bradbury's bank no information to make an assessment of whether the request was "reasonable".

Edwards rejected police submissions that the request only lacked supporting information for the bank to make a proper decision.

Even if police had provided the information, Edwards said detectives "were not justified" in asking for the banking records without a legal order from a judge.

That’s why a claim would be successful. So if there are any lawyers out there who would like to provide Bomber with their legal services and do the New Zealand justice system a favour by ensuring this type of corrupt policing doesn’t occur again, why not put your hands up?

26 Aug 2017

The Jacinda effect is real

A month ago the Labour party chose a new leader and turned the September election upside down. It’s pretty obvious the right decision was made, because Labour immediately gained 9% in the Reid Research poll.

There is no question that the people of New Zealand want to see and learn about Jacinda Ardern. This has meant publishers are improving their ratings wherever she’s in print. But more than that, people aren’t just interested in selfies with the new Labour leader; they want to know what Ardern actually stands for as well.

This positive campaigning effect has obviously come as some surprise to certain journalists who thought Ardern’s popularity would wane within days. Almost a month later and her star continues to rise.

The new leader has performed exceptionally well because she genuinely believes in Labour’s traditional values. Those values were clearly evident when Labour upstaged National's Dunedin Hospital announcement last week, where Bill English was chased out of the building by around twenty or so protestors.

It was a totally different story when Ardern came to town.

Yesterday, Radio NZ reported:

Ardern raises stakes over Dunedin hospital

A Labour government would start building a new hospital in the centre of Dunedin in its first term, the party says.

Ms Ardern was confident her party could build the hospital faster than the National Party's seven to 10 year estimation.

"Simply by not having a PPP means we have much greater control over it. We also believe from the conversations that are being had locally that it is possible to deliver it sooner.

"The other [reason] is the start time. This government isn't even committing to starting it during their first term."

Ms Ardern also said public-private partnerships didn't work for some of the country's prisons and should not be used to build hospitals.

A Labour led government would build a new publicly owned Dunedin Hospital faster and for less money than National. With policy like that, it’s no wonder the good people of Dunedin turned out in droves.

Today, the Otago Daily Times reported:

Ardern pledges quick hospital construction

National's plan, announced a week ago, promises a new hospital by 2027.

Several hundred people turned up to see the Labour leader yesterday. About 200 of them could not fit into the University of Otago Hunter Centre, and listened outside on loudspeakers.

On her way in, Ms Ardern gave those outside an impromptu address. Apologising for the lack of space, she promised to visit Dunedin again before the election on September 23.

The large crowd was noticeably mesmerised by Jacinda Ardern. But more than that, Labour’s message is actually being picked up by the media and is getting through to the public.

Voters aren’t just there to meet the next Prime Minister either, they’re there to learn about what Labour really stands for.

Contrast that excellent policy announcement with Bill English on the same day letting people know that National would charge tourists twice as much to walk on some of our tracks. Around ten people attended what by most accounts was a very mundane experience.

The campaign is clearly being won by Labour and their new leader. It's not just Kiwi's who want to know about Jacinda Ardern either. Labour's messaging has gone global with a number of well-known international publications picking up on the Jacinda effect... a real effect that should enable a change of government after the election.

25 Aug 2017

Key should pay for illegal spying

The illegal spying and legal then illegal raids on Kim Dotcom and associates by the GCSB always looked highly questionable. That was especially the case when then Prime Minister John Key claimed the GCSB had authority to surveil NZ residents.

It looked even more questionable when the National led government moved to change our laws to make unrestricted spying on all New Zealanders legal. However we now learn that all the government’s legal maneuverings have amounted to nothing.

Today, Radio NZ reported:

Spy agency's Dotcom surveillance illegal, court rules

The High Court has ruled a government spy agency's entire surveillance operation against the internet businessman Kim Dotcom and his associates was illegal.

The court decision from December last year has been released today.

The High Court found the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) operation in 2011 fell outside the scope of its legislation at that time.

Kim Dotcom, Bram van der Kolk, Matthias Ortmann and Finn Batato are appealing against extradition to the United States to face charges of money laundering and copyright breaches.

The ruling said: "The circumstances of the interceptions of communications are Top Secret, and it has not proved possible to plead to the allegations the plaintiffs have made without revealing information which would jeopardise the national security of New Zealand.

Clearly any evidence gained through the GCSB’s illegal surveillance and raids cannot be used in the extradition case against Dotcom or his associates. The case for extradition should therefore be thrown out before any further taxpayer money is wasted.

"As a result the GCSB is deemed to have admitted the allegations in the statement of claim which relate to the manner in which the interceptions were effected."

Grant Illingworth, the lawyer representing Mr Ortmann and Mr van der Kolk, said the court ruling brought the whole operation into doubt.

It showed the extent of the GCSB's abuse of power, he said.

Exactly! Not only does this ruling again show that the GCSB was practicing well outside of its parameters, their illegal spying means the remaining proceedings against Dotcom and his associates cannot proceed further.

But what I would really like to know is can we hold those who’ve instructed the GCSB to undertake illegal spying to account? It was their decision to intentionally breach the law that has caused the case to soak up court time and large amounts of taxpayer dollars.

The National party and in particular John Key should be held to account for this waste of money at the taxpayers expense. If justice was really being served, the National party would be made to pay financially and at the polls this coming election for their continued unlawful arrogance.

John Banks - Asshole of the Week

What is it about the Act party that they attract a very low form of political life form? Could it be that one of the party’s founders, Roger Douglas, wasn’t exactly an upstanding citizen and his devious mentality has simply continued to pollute the party in his absence?

Even Act’s current so-called leader is a dishonest and mealy-mouthed fool! David Seymour, with his campaigning akin to fingernails scratching a chalkboard often tries to make political capital by obnoxiously attacking positions other parties don’t actually hold.

It’s a pathetic form of politicking that only survives because of National’s dirty deal in Epsom.

Gaining just 0.6% in recent polling, the Act party is clearly desperate for public attention and will do anything to get it. However the only notice people are presently paying the rogernomes is because of Seymour’s bad fucking language and their former leader, John Banks, being in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.

On Wednesday, the NZ Herald reported:

Paternity case: John Banks urged abortion and helped source the drugs - claim

John Banks urged the mother of his illegitimate child to have an abortion and then supplied drugs to make her miscarry and pressured her to take the necessary dose, court documents allege.

The woman, who says in a sworn affidavit she became pregnant after having sex with Banks in a Hamilton motel, claims she refused to take the pills and the two-term Auckland mayor ended their relationship.

She also claims he encouraged her to form a new relationship then pretend her next sexual partner was the child's real father. She subsequently did - perpetrating the lie for three decades, she says in a sworn affidavit.

I have no doubt at all that these allegations are true.

When Shaw finally tracked him down in an Auckland courthouse last year, Banks allegedly was reluctant to speak to him. An aide blocked Shaw's path then told police Shaw was "mad and stalking John", it's alleged.

The Herald was granted exclusive access to court documents relating to the paternity case, including sworn affidavits by Mayes and Shaw.

They allege Banks admitted to having fathered Shaw when he was a travelling salesman for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals and that he wanted to meet his illegitimate adult son.

But the documents allege he refused to undergo a DNA test on the advice of his QC lawyer, and wanted the situation kept "under wraps" due to his public profile and fears the story could be leaked to a woman's magazine or broadcaster Paul Holmes.

Even though Banks is still denying that Shaw is his son and refusing a test, you really don’t need DNA to see the truth of the matter.

What makes this all the more sickening is that John Banks was a Member of Parliament for 33 bloody years. Of course he didn’t want this damaging and shameful story to leak out because it would have ended his political career. In my opinion that’s 33 years too long in parliament where Banks received taxpayer money he wasn’t entitled to.

That’s why the immoral John Banks wins this week’s Asshole Award. As well as paying child support and being awarded against, he should be made to pay back the taxpayer for all those years he was employed under false pretences.

24 Aug 2017

James Shaw - Hero of the Week

Green party leader James Shaw was perhaps, until recently, one of New Zealand’s most underrated politicians. He appears as an easy going, well-spoken and approachable kind of guy. But make no mistake; Shaw has a burning desire for political change.

What made Shaw stand out for all the right reasons was his forthrightness during one of New Zealand’s most controversial political episodes. Despite weeks of continuous attacks on then co-leader Metiria Turei by the right wing and their media accomplices, the Green party remains relatively unscathed and climbing in the polls because of Shaw's steady and commendable stewardship.

At every turn he said exactly what was required to ensure the Green party’s worthwhile environmental and social policies weren’t entirely lost in the brouhaha. Clearly Shaw was exactly the right person to stare down the barrel of the media gun and display a level of cool headedness and loyalty rarely seen in politics, loyalty to his party and friend that makes Shaw a cut above.

It’s not easy being a Green party co-leader either.

On Sunday, Stuff reported:

Anatomy of a Meti-crisis: Green leader James Shaw's candid account of 'the longest week of all time'

In Christchurch on 7 August, Shaw was at a debate with other senior MPs. But his eyes kept darting towards Green MP Eugenie Sage, who was sitting in the audience, texting furiously. After a while, she left the room. Shaw knew exactly what had happened. His MPs, Kennedy Graham and Dave Clendon, had walked.

"These are two people who I've been close to for a very long time," says Shaw. "I had seen them at lunchtime that day, and I was exasperated. I was like, 'Come on! Can you not see how this is going to play out?"

When the news broke, Shaw flew back to Wellington. A taxi whisked him to Parliament, and at 9.30pm he stepped onto the black and white tiles in the foyer, where the TV cameras were positioned. He was calm, but there was fire in his eyes. He spat out the word "betrayed". He wanted to expel both men from the party. But by the next morning, Shaw had changed his mind.

"I had realised that these guys had taken what they saw as a principled stand. Everybody disagreed with them, and it was painful. But who are we if we just say, 'Okay, you did a bad thing; now we're gonna screw you over?'"

The party made peace with its rebel MPs. They would leave caucus, and Turei would stay on as co-leader. But just as the dust was beginning to settle, another scandal was brewing. Media had been contacted by a member of Turei's extended family, who claimed she had made herself out to be poorer than she really was.

You can tell how well a left wing politician is performing by how spiteful some right wing blogs, journalists and politicians get towards them. Judging by the vitriol directed at James Shaw he was and still is performing exceptionally well. His assuredness in trying times clearly makes Shaw the type of politician we need to lead New Zealand in the 21st century.

Amongst other work and within 24 hours, James Shaw attended the political panel at the Pasifika Business Network, gave a number of good interviews on Green policy and position, provided a great political pitch at Villainesse, attended the Massey University and Stuff’s opportunity gap election debate, presented the Green party vision for a net zero, low-carbon economy at the Business NZ conference and attended the Maori Television’s first leaders debate where he highlighted a number of issues including the fact that the National party failed to attend. This is a blistering pace that will likely result in the Green party gaining much needed support on election day.

That’s why the Green party leader wins this week’s Hero Award. Let’s hope the Labour party also recognises James Shaw’s considerable abilities and provides him with a ministerial position in any centre-left coalition Government that forms after the next election.

PM threatens to remove Charities Board

When John Key was Prime Minister he used to say some pretty dumb shit that often got him into trouble. However he would usually perform well for the media spotlight, often making political capital from his mistakes. They didn’t call him Teflon John for nothing.

The current Prime Minister however doesn’t have the same cunning. When Bill English tries to copy from Key's ploy book he just looks awkward and evasive. Take for instance the slow burning Todd Barclay affair where English was simply dishonest. Take for instance his reaction when the National led government was caught in the complicit act of illegal spying on Greenpeace.

It’s relatively easy to trap English in his lies, as was evident again when Family First reported on the PM speaking his mind at one of their events.

On Monday, the NZ Herald reported:

Family First stripped of charity status

The Charities Registration Board said in a decision today the reason was "because it does not advance exclusively charitable purposes".

This is great news. Family First isn’t a charity by any stretch of the imagination. They’re barely a functioning lobby group. Clearly the bigots at Family First were disappointed that the Charities Board had made the correct ruling against them. It also appears that the non-charity was upset with the Prime Minister for not coming to their rescue.

Yesterday, Scoop reported:

"Charities Board Should Be Removed From Public Service" - PM

Family First NZ says that the Prime Minister Bill English at their recent Forum on the Family in July has challenged the basis of the Charities Board’s intent to deregister Family First.

In response to a question by National Director Bob McCoskrie: “For some reason (the Charities Board are) gunning for us because we believe things like marriage is one man one woman. Do you think that is right?”, the Prime Minister responded:

“Well if they were gunning for you on that basis, then the people doing that would of course have to be removed from the public service because the law is not anything to do with what the advocacy is…”

So the PM gave his opinion that public servants, who essentially work for him, should be fired because they apparently don’t believe in traditional marriage. WTF!

Family First has instructed its lawyer to file an immediate Notice of Appeal in the Wellington High Court against the Charities Board’s formal decision to deregister Family First NZ because our views about marriage and the traditional family “cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable”.

I certainly do hope Family First has submitted an appeal based on what the Prime Minister said. That would be a very foolish and costly mistake on their part. Let’s hope the Judge leaves the door open so we can once again hear a fool whining about money.

Mr English went on to say;

“You've come up against this legal argument as I understand it about advocacy versus actual good works and the charitable definition is focused around good works... Until or unless that law changes, then the people overseeing it have to administer it without fear or favour or any colour to the political argument, the political position that people take… 

Good god man! Arguing against marriage equality and LGBT rights isn’t good work. The fact that the Prime Minister has made such a statement about why a law should be changed to allow what is essentially a hate group the ability to avoid paying their fair share of taxes is an affront to our democratic system, not to mention an insult to the people Family First targets.

In one breath English says the public servants working for the Charities Board should be removed because he agrees with Family First’s argument, and in another he says the Charities Board shouldn’t fear administering the law.

This is clearly another good reason to not vote for Bill English or the National party this coming election.

23 Aug 2017

Who profits from state evictions?

It was pretty clear that the National party intended to sell off New Zealand’s state houses when they started evicting long-term tenants in their first term and then parachuted their former MP Tau Henare into the Housing New Zealand Corporation's board of directors. What wasn’t so clear was the sheer audacity of National’s plan to rip the taxpayer off.

Before people start getting the wrong idea, I'm not racist. In fact quite the opposite. I think a diverse culture is one of the best deterrence to war and it should therefore be encouraged in every country. However that doesn't include selling state assets to a private company in what looks like one of National's worst abuses of power ever.

Yesterday, Voxy reported:

Mt Albert state housing land now in Chinese hands - NZ First

Why did a Mt Albert Housing NZ development end up in the hands of a Chinese company?

"New Zealand First is asking questions as to why Housing NZ sold land in the Mt Albert electorate to a developer who under the Special Housing Areas (Hon Nick Smith’s plan) the developer received government and council housing incentives to provide accommodation for Auckland residents, which is exactly what didn’t happen," says New Zealand First Leader and Member of Parliament for Northland, Rt Hon Winston Peters.

Hold the phone Bill.

"The evidence that we have shows that the houses concerned went to China Southern Airlines people from China and not to ease the housing shortage for Auckland residents.

"New Zealand First wants to know why the SHA scheme was abandoned despite the National Party boasting for years how critical it was to meet the Auckland housing crisis.

"Meanwhile, at least 14 families were kicked out of the old Housing NZ houses for this development to take place," says Mr Peters.

It appears that the National led government evicted Kiwi families, demolished their state houses, sold public land to a private company and then helped pay for private housing to be built to accommodate people involved in China Southern Airlines.

China Southern Airlines is an entirely Chinese state-owned company, and therefore National has essentially evicted New Zealand families for the Chinese government.

Using taxpayers’ money to help build houses for a company with ties to the Chinese government is bad enough, but evicting New Zealand families to do so is even worse.

Personally I don’t like seeing cases like this in the news. Therefore I won’t be voting for the National party or its candidates this coming election. I would encourage all my Chinese friends to do the same.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

Winston Peters accused of 'race-baiting' attack on Chinese air crew

National list MP Melissa Lee, who is based in Mt Albert, said the statement was "typical Winston Peters race-baiting".

"He doesn't understand housing developments or special housing areas and is simply firing out ill-informed press releases when he sees the word 'Chinese'," she said.

Housing NZ confirmed that it sold the land in April 2013 to a private developer for a reported $8.76 million.

The property was given Special Housing Area status in May 2014, allowing fast-track consenting with a requirement that 10 per cent of the homes must be "affordable" - priced below 75 per cent of the median Auckland house price.

Auckland Council said at the time that 33 new homes would be built on the land, replacing 19 former state houses.

However the special housing areas were disestablished when the new Auckland Unitary Plan came into force last September.

None of those properties need to be “affordable” now because there’s no proper provision provided for that in the Auckland Unitary Plan. Instead, affordable housing is just listed as a challenge Auckland faces.

Peters said he wanted to know why the special housing areas were abandoned "despite the National Party boasting for years how critical it was to meet the Auckland housing crisis".

"Meanwhile, at least 14 families were kicked out of the old Housing NZ houses for this development to take place," he said.

Which is the crux of the matter. National can scream until they're blue in the face about racism but it doesn’t change the fact that they sold state owned land that was being used to house low income New Zealander's, property that ended up belonging to a company that has ties to the Chinese government.

The National party must be held to account for depriving Kiwi's of affordable housing. Let’s see some hard questions being asked of Bill English and Nick Smith this election campaign over what is clearly an abuse of power. Let's see the media question National about the homelessness crisis they have caused.

This will be the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the National led government's secret deals to privatise state-owned assets… an iceberg that looks set to sink National’s hopes for re-election.

National no friends

The Prime Minister of New Zealand has recently been travelling the country trying to gain support for the National party at the upcoming election. It’s obviously hard going and English looks tired, perhaps because there's a marked lack of interest by the public in what National is once again proposing.

The photographs are portraying a very lonely Bill English who appears in interviews to be sick of faking the supposed positive aspects of National's policy announcements. It’s no surprise really, being that National now has a lack of coalition partners to chose from and the policy impetus is almost entirely with the Labour party.

It will be highly concerning to National that they may find themselves without any coalition options after the election, a fact that has clearly not been lost on the unelected PM. The United Future leader Peter Dunne unexpectedly quit and Act party leader David Seymour is looking very shaky in Epsom.

Combine those facts with NZ First leader Winston Peters once again going on the attack over the sale of state-owned land to a Chinese company and the Maori party saying they would rather work with Labour and the Greens, and it could be all over rover for the National party this September.

Clearly their leader is underperforming and failing to promote the right wings' business case properly, so National and their propagandists have gone very negative with attacks on the Labour party over their proposed taxes on water and capital gains, two policies that according to recent polls have a large majority of voter support.

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

National goes after Labour in new attack ads - but not Ardern

National have released a Facebook attack ad seeking to needle the Labour Party on tax, on the same day the party unveiled a new-look TV ad.

The National Party ad features Housing spokesman Phil Twyford talking about Labour's tax plans. It follows another recent attack ad on Grant Robertson.

Both are hashtagged "#LetsTaxThis", a play on Labour's actual slogan: "Let's Do This".

The spanner in the works as always for the left is a compliant media mixing Labour’s messages and providing a lopsided view on some very worthwhile policies, an advantage to National that will be their only help with traction this campaign cycle. Otherwise they're spinning old tires with some very worn out tread.

Even the Green party, despite a number of controversies, appears to have constructive cut through for their policy announcements, especially online.

There is clearly a stark difference between Ardern’s positive approach and National’s negative tactics while English re-hashes old policies most people are tired of hearing about. Combine those campaigning differences with the leader’s diametrically opposed personality traits and it’s clear that National isn’t just in trouble, they’re getting caned hard.

22 Aug 2017

Kill Seymour’s Bill

The end of life choice Bill presented by Act party leader David Seymour might seem like a good idea at first, especially for those who’re suffering a terminal illness. But really it stems from a belief that if a person has no further productive value to society, they should be discarded, or at least encouraged to stop being a burden on the taxpayer.

Sure, there are cases where the punishment of a person who has assisted a family member or friend to take their own life is disproportionate to the crime, and there certainly should be changes made on compassionate grounds to the law. More leeway could also be provided to a judge on how they interpret the current legislation.

However the euthanasia bill doesn’t propose to do any of that.

Instead, the End of Life Choice Bill (PDF) contradicts itself on the first page where it outlines what circumstances would make somebody eligible to legally end their own life.

Those circumstances are:

• that the person making the request must be mentally competent,
as attested by 2 medical practitioners:
• that the person suffers from a terminal illness which is likely to
cause death within 12 months, or from an irreversible physical
or mental condition that, in the person’s view, renders his or
her life unbearable:

How can a person be diagnosed as mentally competent if they have an irreversible mental condition? This proposal is like a can of worms. Seymour seems to envision that a psychiatric patient could be diagnosed as mentally capable of deciding to end his or her own life. With mental capacity being a contestable issue, this makes the proposed law change unworkable.

The Bill is specific that a person can be mentally competent enough to draw up a registered End of Life Directive that would allow assisted death because of their mental condition. For those who know what the Act party really stands for, such a law that would easily allow the disposal of mentally ill people is something that should start alarm bells ringing.

The fact that an end of life patient won’t have to consult family or a psychiatrist before their decision is acted upon by doctors is another serious failing. Effectively two doctors can determine if a mentally unwell person who isn’t likely to improve is able to decide to die.

Consider also the advances in pain medication and better palliative care and there’s really no question that this Bill should fail to pass its next reading. Furthermore, two similar Bills have already been unsuccessful in New Zealand, while there have been large advances in medical treatments in the interim. This is another good reason to vote this Bill down.

Of course most doctors are very level headed and wouldn't dream of even using the proposed law. However there are exceptions and those people already make thousands of incorrect decisions that cost New Zealand millions of dollars each year.

In April, Stuff reported:

ACC treatment injury claims tally $5.1b and many are preventable

ACC claims for injuries caused during medical treatment have ballooned by 66 per cent in the past five years – costing taxpayers  $418 million for last year alone.

"About half of these injuries are considered preventable," ACC board chairwoman Dame Paula Rebstock said.

Claims are increasing too, with the docket for the future costs of all treatment injuries tallied at $5.1 billion as of mid-2016.

Treatment injuries happen when people suffer personal injury during treatment from a registered health professional. The injury must have been caused by treatment, but not be a necessary part, or ordinary outcome, of the treatment.

Clearly the health system is already failing to ensure that many people are diagnosed and treated properly. There is no question that such failures would continue in an end of life choice scenario.

Is New Zealand really ready to hear stories of people’s lives being taken because they were misdiagnosed?

Our justice system already fails to value certain people’s lives properly by often imposing light sentences for manslaughter and murder. However, misdiagnosis that leads to a person’s death under this proposed law won’t even go through the courts.

The Bill specifically states that doctors and family members assisting the death are protected from civil or criminal liability. Is the government therefore ready to pay families millions of dollars through ACC where misdiagnosis occurs?

How many deaths under this proposed legislation is New Zealand willing to accept because of misdiagnosis each year? I would contend that it is none, and therefore this Bill should fail.

Dunne leaves National in the lurch

The announcement yesterday by Peter Dunne that he’s quitting politics before he loses his Ōhāriu seat to Labour candidate Greg O'Connor is one that should send shock waves through the right wing.

After all, Dunne’s single vote was often the only thing passing National's socially and environmentally destructive policies.

It’s not just about Bill English losing a coalition partner either. The strengthening Jacinda effect will likely mean that National's inexorable trend downwards in the polls continues.

Despite these facts, Bill English has claimed that he’s not worried about National's election prospects.

Yesterday, the NZ Herald reported:

PM Bill English downplays impact of United Future leader Peter Dunne quitting politics

National has already directed its supporters to vote for Dunne, and its candidate Brett Hudson has included this message on his campaign leaflets.

English and Hudson had both written personally to the electorate, asking them to vote for Peter Dunne in what is termed a dirty deal.

English denied that this put National in an awkward position, saying that it was easier to correct "one letter in one electorate" than change billboards across the country as Opposition parties had done in recent weeks.

Two letters, campaign leaflets and a televised and published request for the people of Ōhāriu to vote for the now defunct United Future party candidate.

"It's not a circus. Peter Dunne's made an unexpected decision, Brett Hudson is a well-known candidate, and he'll be fighting hard to win that seat."

It’s likely that Dunne’s support in Ōhāriu of around 34% will split pretty evenly between Labour’s candidate O’Connor and National's unknown Brett Hudson. That would put O’Connor on approximately 65%, or double that of Hudson's vote.

He was not worried about the loss of a support partner, saying National still "had a lot of voters".

English shouldn’t just be worried; he should be packing his daks! On average, National is polling lower leading into this election on 43% than in 2008 (50%), 2011 (55%) and 2014 (51%). With the loss of a coalition partner also hindering their chance of re-election, I'm almost tempted to call it.

On Sunday, Newshub reported:

Election tightens as National drops 3 percent in new poll

A new poll has National only three points ahead of Labour, and the Greens on steady footing, according to a report.

Polling by UMR for Labour has the resurgent party on 37 percent, and National 40 percent, NZME reports.

At 40%, National would be on the opposition benches, probably next to David Seymour.

There's also good news for the Green Party - UMR has it on 8 percent. That's lower than the mid-teens the party registered in some polls following Metiria Turei's welfare speech, but well above the 4.3 percent it registered in the TVNZ-Colmar Brunton poll earlier this week.

NZ First remains the kingmaker, on 9 percent.

If Winston Peters had a choice to form a Labour and Greens coalition, he's likely to change the government. Winnie has been brutal with his scathing attacks on the National party this election campaign. But never say never.

NZME noted the UMR poll traditionally has a lower result for National than other polls, but the decline - from 43 to 40 percent - mirrors that of the TVNZ-Colmar Brunton poll, in which the party fell from 47 to 44 percent.

The trend is all downwards for the National party. It’s not only Dunne who’s read the writing on the wall, over the weekend the Maori party declared their preference to work with Labour and the Greens.

However if the Maori party leader Te Ururoa Flavell loses Waiariki to Labour candidate Tamati Coffey, and there's apparently only 1.5% in it, they too will no longer be in parliament.

English can give the pretence that he’s calm, but behind the scenes the National party will be very concerned that their election bribes are failing, Peter Dunne has quit, the Maori party has jumped ship and the Act party has gone rogue.

All of a sudden, National's dirty deals are looking very messy to an electorate already hungry for change.

21 Aug 2017

Whale Oil is bad for your political health

We should all know by now, and especially after Dirty Politics lifted the lid, that the blog site Whale Oil Beef Hooked is a poisonous cesspool of rumormongering and outright lies. But there’s one underlining stench that pervades the right wings attack blog… a hatred of woman.

Cameron Slater's misogyny is legendary, and stems from him seeking attention but not getting it. He, like most other sexists believe that it’s OK to denigrate a woman’s body and make false claims about their abilities, false claims that are often designed to damage a persons credibility.

Clearly the practice of bigotry isn’t very appealing to most people. It’s even less appealing when candidates standing for office practice it. But there’s one thing that needs to be highlighted… politicians are clearly putting their careers at risk by reading and repeating Whale Oil prejudices.

Yesterday, The Opportunities Party’s leader tweeted:

Today, Gareth Morgan stupidly followed up with:

Like Morgan’s 'only whores' tweet, his latest sexist insult has received a lot of criticism. But it’s worthwhile keeping in mind that his juvenile mentality isn’t exclusive to the TOP party.

In July, Act party leader David Seymour tweeted:

H/T The Spinoff

The clear implication was that Jacinda Ardern is inexperienced because she’s a woman. That puts Seymour in the dirty laundry basket with all the other sexist idiots who’ve attempted to promote their bigotry through politics.

Seymour obviously realised this wasn't a good look, and has deleted his sexist tweet in the hope that the Internet will simply forget that the Act party is one of the most bigoted in New Zealand’s short political history.

The sexist and racist bile from Cameron Slater being regurgitated all over the Internet isn’t worth a damn thing, especially to a politician trying to promote their policies. The attention received isn’t going to result in votes, because the New Zealand public is intelligent enough to spot sexist idiots like Morgan and Seymour from a mile away.

Take note politicians, reading Whale Oil is bad for your political health. You only need to look at Act and TOP’s recent polling to see that repeating such prejudices does your party no favours at all.

Jacinda Ardern raised the roof

The Labour party's campaign launch yesterday at the Auckland Town Hall was, by all accounts, a resounding success.

Not only did new leader Jacinda Ardern cause the venue to fill to capacity, she also announced a number of great policy initiatives that have already received international attention.

Even the New Zealand journalists attending gave Labour praise, in particular everybody’s favourite reporter to hate, Patrick Gower.

Yesterday, Newshub reported:

Jacinda Ardern is Labour's 'new hope'

Jacinda Ardern delivered one simply exceptional line in her speech today, calling the fight against climate change "my generation's nuclear-free moment".

It is catchy, credible and has cut-through. It is a great line. It is an absolute banger of a line.

At this rate Steven Joyce will have to buy Gower a whole cheerleaders wardrobe.

But there’s one remarkable overseas article in particular that indicates we’ll have a much-needed change in government after the next election.

Yesterday, Rueters reported:

New Zealand opposition leader launches campaign for 'brave' tackling of inequality

New Zealand has been buoyed by some of the strongest economic growth among advanced countries in recent years.

But Ardern said, for many, pay rises were not keeping pace with a rising cost of living and the gap between rich and poor was getting more entrenched.

She said she would never question the importance of a strong economy but the difference between the major parties was what “we use as the signs of success”.

“I will always maintain that a successful economy is one that serves its people. Not the other way around,” she said in Auckland.

“And that means judging success differently.”

The Labour party will account for the number of children lifted out of poverty in each budget, as a measure of economic success.

This is perhaps one of the best measurements to ensure economic success isn’t just determined by factors that have no impact on our unacceptable rate of impoverished children.

Strangely though the article doesn’t even mention the National party’s policy announcements. In fact it barely even mentions New Zealand's unelected PM, Bill English.

Her opponent in the Sept. 23 election, Prime Minister Bill English, took the reins last December when John Key announced his surprise resignation after eight years in the role.

Only a single paragraph about English taking over from John Key doesn't exactly inspire confidence. Perhaps the authors realised that after a number of favourable polls it’s likely Labour will win the election.

Ardern had an immediate impact in the polls upon becoming opposition leader, with her party jumping 9 points to 33.1 percent, its highest level since 2014, just days after her appointment at the beginning of this month.

Polling commissioned by the Labour Party and released ahead of her campaign launch put the party three points adrift of the incumbent National Party.

The UMR poll had Ardern’s favorability rating at 70 percent, compared with 57 per cent for English. Ten percent viewed her unfavorably compared with 37 percent for English.

This weekend the Maori party also announced their preference to work with Labour and the Greens, signalling their intent to change the government.

National's other coalition partner, Peter Dunne, will likely lose Ōhāriu to Labour's Greg O'Connor and the last rogernome, David Seymour, is also looking shaky in Epsom.

The National party are therefore in serious trouble, especially since attempts to regain public attention with election bribes and policy re-announcements have failed to find much cut-through.

Combine those PR disasters with Labour's momentum from the Jacinda effect burning brightly and it’s little wonder we’re seeing such a large shift in the polls.

To get a sense of the Let's Do This positivity, read Jacinda Ardern’s fantastic speech here.

20 Aug 2017

Amy Adams goes boom

The housing crisis in New Zealand doesn’t look like it will end anytime soon, especially with the Prime Minister telling the reserve bank to put a halt to loan-to-value limits. Bill English also said he wouldn’t allow any further measures to curb lending for property, an instruction that has been widely criticised by the government's opposition and various economists alike.

The only hope for the many thousands of Kiwis now locked out of home ownership is for a change of government. The National party has clearly indicated that they don’t want wages to rise, house prices to stabilise or foreign investment into our already over-inflated housing market to be curtailed.

That’s because Bill English believes their core supporters will vote with consideration to the increased value of their properties, even if that value is just numbers on paper. National believes (incorrectly I might add) that their core supporters don’t want to see their children able to afford to purchase a home off their own backs, and has determined that fiddling around the edges is the best course of action to be re-elected.

Instead of proposing any type of proper policy to increase affordability and remedy the housing crisis, National is trying to mislead voters into believing the free market is already providing. They're claiming the amount of houses required to address the problem are already being built, and it's the biggest boom ever.

On Saturday, Scoop reported on the Nation:

Adams: And I’m answering the question. There is absolutely evidence that all of the indicators are now tracking the right direction. We have the biggest building boom ever underway. We have 100,000 new houses and apartments.

The claim by National’s Minister for Social Housing is patently wrong, a fact that was pointed out by Labour Spokesperson for Housing and Auckland Issues, Phil Twyford, and later by economist Bernard Hickey on Twitter.

This graph clearly shows that despite the huge increase in immigration into New Zealand over the last few years, the number of residential building consents is well below those seen in the 50s, 60s and 70s.

Of course the National party had to come up with some sort of argument, being that they've lost the debate and need to try and save some face. Their supporters only need a semblance of an argument to justify their selfishness after all.

The problem for National is Amy Adams' statement was categoric. She didn’t say the claim only related to consents from 92 onwards. She said ‘We have the biggest building boom EVER underway’, which even after accounting for the Christchurch rebuilding is a complete lie!

The other problem for National is the number of dwelling units consented nationally for each of their nine long years in power is less than those recorded in 2004. Stupidly, the National party has provided a graph showing Adams was entirely wrong!

Perhaps those in the National party trying to argue against reality haven’t been getting enough sleep, because it really wasn’t their day for statistical evidence, which should form the basis of any good government’s policy direction.

Yesterday, another well-respected economist, Shamubeel Eaqub, also tweeted.

Oh dear National! Not only did Adams completely fail to provide proper evidence based numbers, she blatantly lied about the number of houses being built.

Even some of National’s core supporters won’t like such obvious dishonesty from a Minister about such an important issue... the property speculators however will love it.

If you're not a soulless property speculator, vote for a party that will help more New Zealander's into their first homes... vote to change the government.

19 Aug 2017

Who's to blame for Barnaby Joyce?

We all know that there are two sides to a story. But in the case of the Barnaby Joyce citizenship scandal there appears to be three.

First we had the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop, trying to lay blame on the Labor and Labour parties in order to shift the focus off of Barnaby Joyce and their hypocrisy. Then we had the National party also trying to blame Labour’s Chris Hipkins for daring to even ask some generalised questions about citizenship.

However a third and correct side of the story is now being uncovered.

Today, 1 News reported:

Aussie journos had answers on Barnaby Joyce's citizenship nearly two weeks before Kiwi MP's inquiries

In a bid to set the record straight about who knew what about Australian Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's Kiwi citizenship, the New Zealand government has released an official timeline of questions it received about the issue.

It confirms Australian reporters had answers on the matter nearly two weeks before a member of New Zealand's Labour Party even inquired.

Despite this fact, Bill English and Steven Joyce used the opportunity to attack Labour.

On Tuesday, Newshub reported:

Bill English condemns Labour's Chris Hipkins in Aussie citizenship saga

Prime Minister Bill English has criticised Labour's Chris Hipkins for interfering in Australia's constitutional crisis by looking into Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's background.

How much political capital National has made from such obviously incorrect accusations is anybody's guess. It’s probably not much being that most New Zealander's know that English is a bit of a fool!

It was pretty obvious the PM was in the wrong after the Minister of Internal Affairs, Peter Dunne, also made statements on the matter that contradicted the Prime Ministers.

Mr Dunne says it was questions from Australian media, not Labour's Chris Hipkins that led to the revelation, but Mr English says it's up to MPs to make sure they don't get embroiled in the politics of another country.

"I can't remember a time when an MP has done something like that that involves the politics of another country. It's just another misjudgement about what is actually a serious issue," Mr English told reporters.

It was a misjudgement of the National led government to think they could simply keep the fact that Barnaby Joyce is also a citizen of New Zealand a secret.

But what makes this all the more ridiculous is the Australian government attacking the Labour party over something that they also must have known about.

On Wednesday, Stuff reported:

Aussie foreign minister says she won't be able to build trust with a NZ Labour government after citizenship row

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop: "Should there be a change of government, I would find it very hard to build trust with those involved in allegations designed to undermine the government of Australia".

Hopefully there will be a change of government in both countries, because at the moment National as well as the Liberal Party of Australia are both looking rather dishonest.

Bill English really needs to stop blaming Labour for everything that goes wrong in government, including when things they've tried to keep secret are revealed.

The best way to ensure the blame game comes to an end is to vote National out. Vote to change the government this election.