The Jackal: October 2020

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.

7 Oct 2020

National Party imploding

Judith Collins - National Party leader
You could almost guarantee that the National Party was going to become even more fractured under the leadership of Judith Collins. She is perhaps the most divisive and toxic politician currently in Parliament, and has been involved in some of the nastiest political hit jobs New Zealand has ever seen.

So it’s little wonder the wheels are coming off. What is surprising however is that National are disintegrating this close to the election. One can only assume that the resentment felt towards Crusher is overriding any sense of duty National MPs feel towards their own party.

The current leader certainly isn’t doing herself any favours by failing to quell dissent. In fact Crusher’s arrogance and grating style, along with the realisation that they’re going to badly lose the election, has likely stoked the fires of rebellion, which couldn’t have come at a worse time for the beleaguered blue “team”.

Today, Newshub reported:

Leak: Some in National say the writing is on the wall - they'll lose the election

ANALYSIS: Newshub has been told by some in the National Party there’s a sense the writing is on the wall; that National is going to lose this election. 

Newshub was told if that happens, Judith Collins being rolled is a case of when, not if. So although she says she wants to stay on, some in National feel very differently.

There’s growing frustration in the caucus. There’s a degree of pre-positioning for the next leadership contest, but the fact it’s happening now - so close to an election rather than afterwards - is about as bad as it gets.

Contrast Collins’ shambles of a campaign with the Labour Party leader's excellent electioneering. On the back of some well executed policy announcements and the lifting of Auckland’s COVID lockdown to alert level one, Jacinda Ardern has made a comprehensive argument for reelection at the Press Leaders’ Debate. By my count this makes it two debate draws and a win to Ardern, who is clearly now taking things in her stride.

In my opinion, there’s simply no contest to decide who should lead New Zealand for the next three years. The National Party under the jackboot of Judith Collins is anything but a team, while the cohesive Labour Party is continuing to build on their previous successes through competent leadership.

6 Oct 2020

Crusher loses control

Judith Collins - National Party leader
Over the past year or so, it's been somewhat surprising to see the numerous leaks that plagued Simon Bridges and Todd Muller while they were leaders of the National Party, leaks that immediately stopped after Judith Collins assumed command. It was almost as if there was a concerted effort to undermine the National Party from within so that Crusher could take control.

However, the disunity of the blue “team” hasn’t entirely ended with another change in leader. For instance, when Paul Goldsmith admitted last week that he’d got their alternative budget horribly wrong, Crusher was still trying to say that the mistakes were inconsequential, clearly showing that National MPs are failing to communicate properly with each other about how they should spin things.

But just in case you needed anymore convincing that the National Party isn’t fit to govern, they’re once again leaking to undermine their own faltering leader right before the election.

Yesterday, Newshub reported:

Leaked email: National MP criticises Judith Collins' 'highly problematic idea' of reviewing Auckland Council

Newshub has been leaked an email showing National MP Denise Lee criticising leader Judith Collins' plan to review Auckland Council as a "highly problematic idea".

Collins announced on Monday a review of Auckland Council to the surprise of her Auckland Council spokesperson Lee.


Actually, Collins initially announced an inquiry, not a review, into the Auckland Council.

Lee described it as a "highly problematic idea" in an email to her caucus colleagues. She also panned it as "another working group" and said it would be "a nightmare".

In the email, Lee says bypassing her altogether was "incredibly poor form and displays a shockingly bad example of poor culture".

Collins sighed when asked if the policy had been made on the hoof, and said it had been planned for weeks, despite Lee knowing nothing about it.

Lee is a former Auckland Councillor and the National Party spokesperson for Local Government, so really should have been informed.

Lee is not the only MP upset by it - another National MP contacted Newshub saying it is consistent behaviour from Collins that she is "making up policy on the hoof" and "creating division".


Collins’ silly idea to have an inquiry into the Auckland Council was obviously made up on the spur of the moment. In fact that’s Crusher’s game plan, to make as many controversial statements as she can in order to stay in the media spotlight.

Unfortunately for the blue “team” the execution of their lacklustre campaign with Crusher in charge isn’t going very well. She is coming across as arrogant and a bit neurotic, which are both traits that will turn many voters away from her shambles of a political party during this election.

5 Oct 2020

Maori better off with Labour

Jacinda Ardern - Labour Party leader
We’ve all heard the claims by the right wing that poverty and homelessness have increased under the Labour led Government. And yes! On face value a few statistics look to have worsened over the past three years. However it’s not until you dig a bit deeper into the data that the truth is revealed.

By way of an argument, WINZ hardship grants are often held up as evidence that struggling Kiwis are now in greater need. However, the only thing this really shows is that more beneficiaries are getting what they’re entitled to. Despite the title, the number of grants being provided isn’t a proper indicator of increased hardship for those on low incomes.

The same can be said about the increasing number of clients on the Housing New Zealand waiting list. What the right wing wilfully ignores is that when the National Party was last in power they removed half of those requiring affordable or emergency housing from the waiting list, saying they no longer met the revised criteria. This decision was largely reversed under the Coalition Government, which has of course led to an increase of people on the waiting list. The current increase merely better reflects the depth of need in New Zealand for state housing, a need that didn’t suddenly change in 2017 with the incoming Government.

The right wing also likes to endlessly criticise Kiwibuild as some sort of monumental failure. However what they intentionally ignore here is that the scheme has helped over 700 Kiwi families into new homes. Overall, the Coalition Government’s house building programmes have built more than 6,000 homes, with another 4,000 currently being construction.

These achievements are in stark contrast to the 40,000 Kiwis who became homeless while the National, Act and Maori Party’s were last in power. The main contributor to this social degradation was John Key deciding to sell 6,000 state houses (many under dubious circumstances), which clearly contributed to the worsening housing crisis and dramatically increased the difficulty for those seeking safe and affordable accommodation through official channels.

Then there’s the Coalition Government's child poverty reduction and wellbeing legislation to consider. This policy has helped to ensure that less New Zealand families and their children are or will be subjected to long-term impoverishment. Because of this kind of policy, we've seen an improvement to seven out of nine child poverty indicators during Labour’s first term in power.

Jacinda Ardern has also invested in healthy lunches for school children, increased paid parental leave and implemented and then doubled the winter energy payment during the COVID pandemic...just to mention a few more worthwhile left wing policies that have been achieved to date. Such socially beneficial initiatives will likely also help tackle New Zealand's stubborn and unacceptable material deprivation statistics in the not too distant future.

But wait, there's more. Healthy Homes Standards are also going to pay even more health and wellbeing dividends with Labour announcing an extra $39 million investment into the already successful scheme.

Yesterday, RNZ reported:

Labour targets rheumatic fever with new Healthy Homes pledge 

The Labour Party is promising to kit out more homes with insulation, heaters and bedding if re-elected, saying the prevalence of rheumatic fever in New Zealand is a "national shame".

The party has pledged to pump an extra $39 million over four years into the Healthy Homes initiative, which has been running since late 2013.

The scheme assesses homes in at-risk areas and co-ordinates support to make them warmer and drier.

The funding would expand the initiative from 11 DHBs to all 20. Labour would also roll out 40 more rental inspectors to ensure landlords are meeting required standards - at a cost of $16 million.

There is of course a lot more to be done, but a big difference between the two main political rivals is that Labour, unlike the National Party, will ensure that incomes for those living on the breadline will increase over the next term of their governance.

In the likely event of Labour's re-elected to the front benches, the incoming left wing government will also look into the high price of food and building materials, which was initially promised but not implemented by Winston Peters.

But what cannot be overstated is that the achievements of the Coalition Government has already caused long lasting improvements, particularly for Maori families, measurable progress which should in my opinion be allowed to continue indefinitely.

2 Oct 2020

National fact-checked as mostly false

As politics in New Zealand becomes more of a blood sport and less about policy initiatives, it’s easy for the public to lose sight of what really matters. Elections are now often run around a cult of personality where scoring cheap political points with catchy soundbites is the name of the game.

However the 2020 election in New Zealand seems to be slightly different. The mainstream media appears to finally be concerned that our political system is becoming too much like the train wreck we’re currently witnessing in the US, and they’ve begun to push back slightly against politicians who make unsubstantiated and/or entirely false claims.

Here are just a few recent examples of the mainstream media fact-checking the National Party’s misleading statements:

On Sept 21, AAP reported:

Has NSW weathered the impacts of COVID-19 better than NZ?

AAP FactCheck Investigation: Does NSW have fewer COVID-19 deaths than New Zealand, as well as a booming economy and fans attending rugby matches?  


AAP FactCheck found the statement that every Australian state bar Victoria has had fewer COVID-19 deaths than New Zealand to be false.

NZ Ministry of Health figures at the time of publication showed the NZ death toll from COVID-19 to be 25, while 53 people had died in NSW over the same period.

Ms Collins also misrepresented the state’s economic situation, with NSW in a technical recession along with the rest of Australia.

Mostly False – The claim is mostly false with a minor element of truth.

Last week, Newshub reported:


Judith Collins' claim 100 percent renewable electricity would increase power prices fact-checked as 'mostly false'

Will transitioning to 100 percent renewable electricity generation increase power prices in New Zealand?  


The verdict

AAP FactCheck found the statement that the Government's plan to make New Zealand's electricity generation 100 percent renewable by 2030 would significantly increase prices to be mostly false.

While a report did find electricity prices could increase significantly under certain scenarios, the Government is investigating using a pumped hydro storage scheme which experts predict will reduce electricity prices.

However, there is a level of uncertainty about how the pumped hydro storage will affect prices and how it will be paid for as investigations into the scheme are still in the early stages.

Mostly false - the claim is mostly false with one minor element of truth.

Also last week, Newshub reported:

National MP's claim ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration increased power prices fact-checked as 'mostly false'

Has the New Zealand government’s ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration resulted in an increase in energy prices and a rise in the consumption of imported coal? 


The Verdict

AAP FactCheck found the statement that the government’s ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration resulted in an increase in energy prices and a rise in the consumption of imported coal to be mostly false.

Some electricity prices have risen while others have fallen, and fuel and gas prices have also experienced a mixture of increases and decreases. Coal imports have increased significantly but coal consumption has dropped slightly.

Energy industry experts and government reports indicate the oil and gas exploration ban was unlikely to have had a short-term impact on prices or coal consumption in the past two years. Other factors such as drought, gas field outages and global markets are likely to have been the main influences on price.

Mostly False – The claim is mostly false with one minor element of truth.

Last Wednesday, 1 News reported:

AAP election fact check: National overstates benefit of NZ tax cut plan

AAP FactCheck Investigation: Would New Zealanders earning between $50,000 and $70,000 be $3000 better off under National’s proposed tax cuts? 


AAP FactCheck found the statement that people earning between $50,000 and $70,000 would be $3000 better off under National’s tax policy to be mostly false.

Those earning $50,000 and $60,000 a year would get less than $3000 in tax savings under the policy. A person would need to earn more than $62,640 to get a $3000 benefit.

Mostly False – The claim is mostly false with one minor element of truth.

Yesterday, Newshub reported:

National Party's claim it increased renewable energy 'misleading', AAP factcheck finds

Did the proportion of renewable electricity generation increase faster under the previous National government than the current Labour leadership - and was National responsible for this? 

The verdict

AAP FactCheck found that Mr Brown's statement was misleading. While he quoted correct figures showing renewable electricity generation increased from 65.4 percent to 81.9 percent under the previous National government, and by only 0.5 percent under the Labour-led administration, experts say these changes have largely been independent of government policy.

An MBIE report said renewable generation was down recently due to drought, while historic figures show New Zealand has at times received more than 90 percent of its electricity from renewable sources before either the most recent National or Labour governments took power.

Misleading - The claim is accurate in parts but information has also been presented incorrectly, out of context or omitted.

Today, RNZ reported:

Fact check: Are tourists and international students still contributing to the NZ economy?

Has the New Zealand economy lost a combined $21 billion in exports from tourism and international students? AAP fact checks National leader Judith Collins' statement. 

The verdict

Based on the latest available data, AAP FactCheck found the New Zealand economy has not lost $21 billion from tourism and international students.

The border closure has severely impacted the two industries, but figures for the June quarter show spending by international students and tourists was only down 50 percent and had not evaporated in its entirety.

False - The checkable claim is false.

If these articles are anything to go by, the National Party is again trying to rely on disinformation to attract ill-informed voters to their banner. Whether this is through intentional dishonesty or sheer ignorance, whatever the blue "team" says obviously should NOT be taken at face value.

In fact everything the National Party claims these days should be taken with a very small grain of salt. This is especially the case when considering their current leader, Judith Collins, who seems intent on misleading voters whenever possible.  But I guess when you’ve got a track record as bad as hers, lying to the public is really your only option.

Cannabis should be legalised

The cannabis referendum, where Kiwis will get to vote on whether they want to legalise what is essentially a medicinal herb, has been well contested with both sides of the debate having pretty equal time in the media spotlight to express their various opinions.

However there has unfortunately been some comment from the vote no campaigners that could mislead voters into making an ill-informed decision.

So just to clear a few things up:

Legalising cannabis will not cause more work place impairment.

There will also be no significant, if any, increase in consumption rates.

In some countries where cannabis has been legalised, youth consumption has declined.

Of course cannabis already causes less harm than alcohol, which is legal.

Legalisation means people will be more likely to seek help for any drug dependence.

It would mean less young Maori being disproportionately targeted by Police.

Legalising cannabis will also mean there’s quality controls in place to reduce harm.

It would mean less people being put into danger when trying to purchase cannabis.

A regulated cannabis market could also generate $490 million in tax revenue per year.

Given these facts, there are no prizes for guessing how I will be voting in the Cannabis referendum. But for even more factual information, please visit:

The Jackal: Legalising/Decriminalising Marijuana

Drug Foundation: Vote Yes: Cannabis Control Bill

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