Update US Election 2016. Are you about to #FeelTheBern

I said in August of 2015 that Hillary Clinton was going to walk away with this election and the GOP knew she was. I actually think in February of 2016 that is still the most likely scenario, but it’s not quite as clear cut as it was, and it’s certainly not what is best for America, but then again what is best for American may shock some Americans (unless you’re under 35).

Bernie Sanders is a septuagenarian politician who is resonating with Millennials/GenY population of the US. He is a Democratic Socialist and wants kids in American to be able to have access to free tertiary education and thinks that to have free access to health care is a human right that everyone should be entitled. He is the candidate, Democrat or Republican, who has the most consistent track record over 40 plus years of his political ideology and he would bring a revolution to the US should he get over the line and be the Democratic nominee…and there is a chance that may happen.

One of Bernie Sanders’ biggest issues is that as a ‘Democratic Socialist’ he has been tarred with a narrative from his opposition that he is un-electable, however polls are showing again and again that he is probably more electable than Hillary Clinton.

head to head

These are a series of polls by Quinnipiac University, a reputable source of polling, and shows that in a head to head race Hillary Clinton loses to 4 out of the 5 GOP candidates (even Bush who is no longer there) and only beats Donald Trump by one point whereas Sanders beats all 5 GOP candidates, two of them with double digit leads. Now ‘yes’ this is just a poll and we all know that the only poll that matters in on electron day, but the trend is showing Sanders’ support increasing and Clinton’s decreasing to a point where the votes are looking very 50/50 in most of the foreseeable primaries.

What the American population needs to understand that what this ‘far left’ oft called ‘Socialist’ candidate is promising them is what the rest of the world calls ‘business as usual’. In NZ Sanders would be on the centre-left, swinging to the left on some of his ideas, but he wouldn’t be seen as extreme in his views. In the UK it’s just been pointed out the Sanders is very much like their Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. I would like to see an interview with our ‘Right Wing’ Prime Minister asking him where he stood on some of Sanders’ ideas and you’d find that he would likely agree with a good portion of them. Say that to an American conservative voter and their head would explode.

Looking specifically at this election, the numbers are clear, that if Bernie Sanders is the Democratic nomination he is the favorite to be the next President, however the institution set up around the political world of corporate money, advertising dollars, SuperPac influence do not want Sanders to get the nod and whether he can overcome that is the biggest question. Clinton is weak in areas that appeal to the voter for Sanders, she takes money from SuperPacs, she earns from Wall Street (millions in fact from speeches she and Bill have given) and she doesn’t want to upset the apple cart with small manageable goals versus Sanders calling for a revolution. Clinton has chinks in her armor that a GOP nominee could exploit whereas they don’t have that opportunity against Sanders. She is still under a cloud with the FBI investigating here email server issue and questions around how money is being used in the Clinton Foundation, if either of those blew up during the presidential run, well I don’t want to alarm anyone, but you could well be saying “Hello President Trump.”

What both the Democrats and GOP need to understand is that, if not this election, then the reign of the institutional politician is coming to an end. If Clinton get’s over the line this time, then by the end of an 8 year reign that Millenial/GenY population will be late 20s to mid 40s and a very powerful voting block possiblly even having nominees running for President themselves.

I would love to see a President Sanders and yes I am prepared to say that whilst I think the odds are still with Clinton, the best thing for America would be to #FeelTheBern and put Sanders in the Whitehouse.

Why the Government, the Opposition and the Media may help Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail walk

On the weekend when the story broke of the diplomat invoking diplomatic immunity to flee potential charges over a sexual assault I was amazed and concerned as to the tone of the reporting, and the comments made by many as to the alleged incident. Notice I used the word alleged there, I did that on purpose and it’s what many who have spoken publicly have not done, which now may be a genuine defence for Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail’s lawyers.

We have a think in our justice system called Sub Judice where “it is generally considered inappropriate to comment publicly on cases sub judice, which can be an offence in itself, leading to contempt of court proceedings.” This is also linked quite closely to the legal requirement for a court case that all accused are “innocent until proven guilty” but in a more basic way it’s all about not speaking publicly about a case that may influence the jury, and therefore the outcome of that case. It applies only when charges have been brought so I acknowledge this technically isn’t in breach of that convention, but I would argue that there has already been an atmosphere created that may not allow Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail to get a fair hearing. If someone cannot get a fair hearing…they walk.

Some specific comments that I would point to.

John Key

“Our hands are effectively tied, but we still expect justice for the victim”
“we will do everything that we possibly can to make sure this person is held to account”

David Shearer

“…justice is not done for the victim here and we don’t see that that person is brought properly to justice”

Now these statements (which are a couple of many, many public comments made by politicians, talkback hosts, bloggers, commentators etc…) paint a picture of justice needing to be done for a victim, If there is a victim there is a crime and they are associating that crime to the diplomat. They are saying he committed the crime and needs to face justice for the victim.

A quick Google on the subject around the time the news broke shows many headlines that talk in the affirmative of a crime being committed and linking it to the diplomat.

HeadlinesNow this post is in now way a support of the diplomat, or a defence of attacks on women so please don’t see it that way, I am purely looking at how this may, or may not proceed in a legal sense. I am left wondering, due to the environment flamed by John Key, Murray McCully, David Shearer and all in the media who have inadvertently, or blatantly, convicted Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail of committing a crime, have now also given his lawyer the ability to argue that his client cannot get a fair hearing.

And I think he may have a point.

Please can we stop talking up ‘election bribes’

Key and Cunliffe handing out the presents at election time

So today Labour has promised to eliminate school donations by giving “an annual grant of $100 per student for schools in lieu of voluntary donations” to finally make primary education free in New Zealand. I like this policy, I applaud this policy, I endorse this policy however, as you well know, I fight for politicians to be consistent.

Just 2 days ago, or “aggggges ago” as it is seen in the world of politics, both Russel Norman and David Cunliffe were deriding John Key for offering election bribes in the form of roading projects.

Can we please settle this once and for all and can I ask you politicians to stop looking like idiots, they are either all ‘bribes’ or none of them are. You decide and move forward accordingly.

John Key you cannot go on Larry Williams or Duncan Garner this afternoon and call ‘free education’ a bribe unless you accept that your roading projects are as well, and Mr. Cunliffe you must acknowledge your offer of $100 per student to families is a bribe or Nationals focus on two lane bridges are not.

Simple ah?

Well that’s the end of David Cunliffe

It has just been revealed that David Culiffe either has had a memory lapse that John Banks would be embarrassed by, or he has lied to the people of NZ.

Labour and David Cunliffe has been hammering National over various issues surround businessman Donghua Liu and now it appears that while slamming National’s connection to ‘money for access’ and Maurice Williamson’s resignation over contacting police about an assault claims against Mr. Liu, all the while Mr. Cunliffe had ‘forgotten’ that he had written a letter of support for Mr. Liu to Immigration NZ. You can see the letter here.

Even up until yesterday the memory failed Mr. Cunliffe

From stuff.co.nz

Asked yesterday if he was concerned Liu was granted permanent residency – against official advice – Cunliffe said: ”Look I am not familiar with the circumstances of that decision. and I don’t think it is appropriate for us to go back and try and re-visit every single immigration decision that has ever been made.

”As far I am aware it was before my time as minister and it was certainly years before there was any suggestion that he made any donations.”

He said there was ”no evidence” of a donation for Liu.  ”It’s historical and it’s purely an allegation.”

Cunliffe couldn’t recall meeting, and when asked if he advocates for residency, responded: ”No, I did not.”

Asked if he was aware it was granted against the recommendation of officials he said: ”Not to my recollection.”

It will be interesting to see what comes of the press conference at 2.45pm, but at first glance you have to think this is the end for David Cunliffe. If not officially, then certainly in the polls and the eyes on NZ.

John Key must be laughing his arse off.

Should he step aside? Probably yes. Will he step aside? Probably no. What will the Labour Caucus do? Probably start in all seriousness to look to 2017.

John Banks might be the reason for the early election

At 2.20pm this afternoon when I heard the breaking news that John Banks had been convicted of  falsely declaring an electoral report I had a thought, it was the first time I had this thought…but I pondered it all the same.

Assuming that John Banks is now no longer an MP as statute says if a sitting MP is convicted of a crime that could result in a two year or more prison term, and this conviction is that, then they must resign as an MP AND assuming there is no time for a by-election then from now until Thursday 14th August when Parliament is dissolved the Government must go to the Maori Party to pass any legislation. Even if Mr. Banks stays in Parliament through that period as he has not been sentenced yet, it will be wise for Mr. Key not to use his vote to pass legislation as that would open him up to significant, and justifiable, criticism from the opposition using the vote of a convicted criminal to pass law.

If the election date had of been the usual end of November, then Parliament would have dissolved at the end of October and National would have had to go cap in hand to the Maori Party for another two months.

I just wondered today is John Key took the ultimate gamble and, rather than Government business at the end of the year, he was worried that John Banks may have been convicted and would have had a lame-duck Government for longer than was desirable.

I know it may seem a little conspiracy theory, but if it was one of the contributing factors to the election date you’d have to say, whether you agree with his politics or not, it was a genius move by the Prime Minister.

As a side note, if a by-election is called in Epsom John Key will no longer be able to call any referendum driven by the left as a waste of money, because a by-election weeks out from an election would be the singular biggest waste of money of recent time.

What’s Kim Dotcom’s end game here?

SCCZEN_167514604_620x310

I find the idea of Kim Dotcom forming a political party a fascinating plot in this years drama that is the 2014 election.

I want to know what Kim’s end game is, and I wonder if there is a chance that his involvement with the election this year will aid National in being re-elected, so I ponder again what his end game is.

I see now that Russell Norman has asked the same questions as it was revealed on Newstalk ZB yesterday that he twice approached Mr. Dotcom asking him not to form a party as it would split the vote on the left. An astute observation by Dr. Norman who is fast becoming one of the more enlightened MPs we have in parliament.

There is such an interesting sub-text here that will only be revealed if the questions are put to Mr. Dotcom himself.

  • Why are you bankrolling a political party when you cannot be elected to parliament?
  • What are you main ambitions behind the party?
  • Are you wanting a change of government?
  • If so are you not concerned that your party will take votes away from the left, especially some of the Greens youth vote?

Comedian Chris Brain pondered at the end of 2013 during the year in review episode of The Slightly Correct Political Show why the left has held up Kim Dotcom as a hero saying it strange that they would hold up someone as a poster boy who is ‘a free market capitalist who doesn’t believe particularly in protecting intellectual property.’ Think what the left has stood up for in the past term with protests against legislation around movie making, Helen Clark’s famous connection to the art and grants has intertwined the artistic community with the left. That on top of his connections with the right via John Banks and ACT makes this, to me, a salacious part of the political year.

I think it pretty fair to assume that no one from the right of the political spectrum will be voting for the Internet Party, which means that in the very likely scenario that the Internet Party doesn’t make 5% (and they likely won’t) that Dr. Russell Norman is completely correct, it will be youth votes, that would normally be associated with Mana and the Greens and maybe to a lesser extent Labour that will become non-votes perhaps making it easier to allow John Key to get a third term as Prime Minister

So again I ponder what is the end game here. Kim Dotcom has apparently surrounded himself with talented, albeit far far left, political consultants like Martyn ‘Bomber’ Bradbury, who is talented and smart (and a nice guy all in all) but has an overwhelming dislike for the right and is an ideologue and a zealot whose perceptions sometimes clouds his judgements. ‘Bomber’ is someone that John Key could rightfully label someone with a ‘far left agenda’ and my boggle is to see how that can possibly work to oust the incumbent government.

So if we agree (and you might now) that the Internet Party will attract young left voters, and if one of Kim Dotcom’s ambitions is to see a change of government then the stars do not seem to align…so is it that I am wrong thinking the Internet Party will fall short, is it that the Internet Party is deluded in what they are thinking, or is it that Kim Dotcom has an ulterior agenda with his apparent right wing, free market, connections.

Full disclosure. I connected with Vikram Kumar and Finn Batato about helping Mr. Dotcom with some ideas and they’ve obviously chosen to go a different way which is fine…but they way they are now travelling is…confusing…to say the least.

I just don’t know what’s going to happen from here…but I am intrigued!

“Yes to Colin…and mmmaybe to Winston” says Mr. Key

John Key will signal in a speech in few minutes that if the people of NZ want to continue with the status quo he’s happy to oblige. Mr Key will say that “given the right electoral circumstances, his preference would be to continue working with the current three partners to the Government, which are ACT, the Māori Party and United Future.”

Mr. Key also sees a scenario where the Conservatives could be an option even though he’ll acknowledge that they have “policy differences” it doesn’t mean they also couldn’t find some common ground.

Unsurprisingly the Prime Minister will rule out Labour, The Greens and Mana as potential coalition partners however with regards to NZ First there is the hint of a slight softening. Mr Key will say that a “relationship was very unlikely” but ultimately he will not rule out the possibility entirely prior to the election.

See the full speech from JohnKey.co.nz below

Prime Minister John Key today set out his decision on which parties National will consider working with following this year’s General Election.

“MMP makes it likely that every election will be a tight contest,” Mr Key says.

“That means it’s also likely that following the election we will need to work collaboratively with other parties to form a stable Government.

“First and foremost, National will be campaigning hard for every party vote it can win, because that puts us in the best position to continue the positive policy direction New Zealand is on.

“Put simply, the higher National’s party vote, the more options we have.

“I know that post the 2014 election, National will almost certainly need to work constructively with other political parties to form a stable Government.

“Since November 2008, we have shown that we can lead a stable Government with other political parties involved, even when those parties have different outlooks and policies.

“Looking ahead, it is most likely that the nature of these working relationships will be via Confidence and Supply Agreements, as these have worked well in the past two Parliamentary terms.

“In the end it is the public who largely determine the make-up of the Government by voting in parties to Parliament,” says Mr Key.

Mr Key says that given the right electoral circumstances, his preference would be to continue working with the current three partners to the Government, which are ACT, the Māori Party and United Future.

“I believe there is also a scenario where it would be possible to add the Conservative Party to this group.

“While National has of course had differences with ACT, the Māori Party and United Future, together our four parties have formed a stable and successful Government since late 2008,” Mr Key says.

“We also have policy differences with the Conservative Party, however it is likely that there would be enough common ground to work with them in Government.”

In terms of other parliamentary parties, Mr Key ruled out working with Labour, the Greens and Mana on the basis that there is insufficient common ground to achieve a stable and successful working relationship.

“These parties represent a far left wing agenda that we do not believe is good for New Zealand,” says Mr Key.

With regard to New Zealand First, Mr Key said that he believed a post-election working relationship was very unlikely; however he would not rule the possibility out ahead of the election.

“In 2008 we ruled them out because we were unable to reconcile some of their statements on the Glenn donation matter. Six years has passed and, should New Zealand First be returned to Parliament, we would not rule out a discussion after the election.”

Colin Craig ready to jump into bed with John Key…who’s ‘too gay’ now?

12 months ago the Conservative party sent a newsletter out to residents of John Key’s Helensville electorate citing a local’s opinion that John Key was ‘too gay for Helensville’.

Colin_Craig_pamphlets

The political posturing around the Conservatives and National at the moment is interesting but it seems that while Mr. Craig may endorse the view that Mr. Key to too gay for Helensville, it’s now obvious that Craig is just gay enough to jump in bed with the Prime Minister.

We all know how MMP works and if the Nats ‘get into bed’ with the Conservatives it’s the start of a new era of ‘any partner for power’.

John Key has described himself as ‘fiscally conservative and socially liberal’ in an interview I did with him a few years ago and went on to say that if you keep the purse strings tight you can then spend in areas of social need. Whilst I think his record is not quite as ‘generous’ as that you have to say that in the areas that National has been socially liberal like the ‘anti-smacking’ law and marriage equality there is deep division with the Conservatives.

Whilst this would not normally be a problem between parties who focus is things like the economy and ‘jobs for New Zealanders’ this is not the case with the Conservatives. Turning over the anti-smacking law is Colin Craig’s number one objective in politics. Opposing marriage equality is also right up there so whilst there is a lot of generous spirit at the moment and acknowledging that ‘we need to work together’ you have to remember that for the Conservatives it comes back to a couple of big social policies, that they disagree with National on, and those policies are what the Conservatives are built on…they are their core beliefs.

I was at Conservatives HQ in the last few months and suggested to Colin Craig’s press secretary that he’d have much more a chance at the next election is he moved publicly away from these kinds of conversations, there was a wide eyed look of shock to that suggestion and I was told in no uncertain terms ‘but that’s Colin’s passion‘.’Okay, but who is here to counter Colin’s passion for political balance or even just another perspective, for example who is on the board who supported Sue Bradford’s law reform?‘ The answer was ‘No one‘.

I have no issues with people who oppose either of those social policies, that’s your right as a citizen and voter, however when they are ‘your passion’ and you are being touted as the person who will hold up the next politically right Government it is likely a concern to some.

The one other issue about the Conservatives is that should Mr. Craig get elected to a seat in Auckland I wonder if the question will be asked, “is this the first parliamentary seat that has been purchased outright in NZ politics?”

Colin Craig is a wealthy businessman which I congratulate him on, his success in the world of business is admirable, the success has given him access to vast sums of money. He has spent millions of his own money on his campaigns and protest marches to this point. The only reason there is a Conservative Party is Craig’s own personal $1.6 million donation at the last election…then there is the ‘March for Democracy’ ($400,000) and his Mayoralty campaign. If it wasn’t for Colin Craig’s personal wealth, there would be no Conservative Party, no TV interviews, no chance of winning a seat. I wonder how many will be uncomfortable with the idea that should he be elected, Craig’s wealth has been the main reason he is now in politics as without the wealth, no one would have had the chance to vote for him.

If we are potentially in a new era of ‘any political partner so long as we stay in power’ I wonder what the voter will do? Will the voter support that view and just to keep their party in charge they will open the door to anybody else to make up the numbers, or will the vote decide that it’s safer not to allow these one policy ponies in with unknown consequences.

The art of the political ‘flip flop’

We all know what it is about, we know all politicians do it, I’m pondering if in the next election cycle will our media serve us in demonstrating which politicians and political parties are flip-flopping for what some would say is political expedience.

A couple of examples that I have come across recently.

The much publicised flip-flop by Prime Minister John Key on Winston Peters

Key in 2008

“It’s a matter of political principle. We just do not find NZ First acceptable”
“Mr Peters will be unacceptable as a minister in a government led by me.”

Key in 2011

“I want to lead a positive aspirational government and I don’t believe a Winston Peters government does that.”
“If Peters is the balance of power it will be a Phil Goff-led Labour Government.”

Key in 2013

“I think partly it reflects that the country doesn’t want to see Labour and the Greens in office. And so if it means having to deal with New Zealand First – a lot of our supporters would prefer to see that situation.”

And here is a less known, perhaps unknown flip-flop I cam across in my archives.

We interviewed Colin Craig from the Conservatives in 2008 and when asked about Gay Marriage he said the following

Yet this year I think it is safe to say that the Conservatives have made it quite clear that they oppose ‘Gay Marriage’ and have spoken with pride (‘scuse the pun) about being the only party ‘arguing against it‘.

From the Conservative website

Conservative Press Release

Seems the Conservatives are no longer ‘uncomfortable’ with making this a focus

The US media is brilliant at showing politicians changing their position for political expedience. The Daily Show makes a living off showing these clips back to back on a nightly basis.

I only hope that somewhere in the media in the lead up to next years election we will see clarity and long memories from our media to demonstrate these inconsistencies in our politicians and give us a fair look at who we are voting for.

A not so happy Gilmore

gilmoreI have been fascinated with the vitriol surrounding National Party MP, Aaron Gilmore.

Let me make it clear, I think the way Aaron Gilmore acted in Hamner Springs is abhorrent. He is an egotistically boof-head, a doosh, an idoit, and someone who I think was described beautifully this morning on talkback as ‘the kind of guy who played two minutes for the First XV.’ He is the kind of person who then claimed the rest of his life to have been in the top team at college.

Aaron Gilmore has already had situations in his politically career, he…ahem… massaged his CV and was forced to change it and in this current incident has gone from bad to worse when he first apologised for the behaviour of the whole group, to the have John Key label that group as ‘boisterous‘ only to have a member of the group, lawyer Andrew Riches, then speak out pointing out it was only Gilmore who made a scene. Further to that statement the PM re-stated that he wouldn’t be calling for Gilmore to step down but did offer for the staff in Hamner Springs to complain officially, and if they did there would be an investigation. Full wrap here.

The first thing is that the PM is if he ejects Gilmore, and Gilmore doesn’t step down he becomes an independent, which could leave National in the position of giving the balance of power to the Maori Party (assuming Gilmore then voted against them…and he seems to be the kind of smarmy twonk that may do that out of spite) the second thing though is that I have been intrigued with the opinionated outpouring by the media over this.

Being very blunt, Aaron Gilmore has been a dickhead…but is that a sackable offence?

To hear on numerous talkback show over the last 24 ours, 100% of the hosts calling for ‘him to go‘…is intriguing to me. The reason it is mostly intriguing is that many of these media outlets have homophobic, arrogant, racist, bigoted, entitled, egotistically and in some case criminally convicted people working for them…many of their traits I would find much more severe that Gilmore’s arrogant dickishness…but they  are calling for him  to go.

Hello kettle, this is pot…you’re black.

I don’t support Aaron Gilmore in this post, I think by the numerous use of synonyms here for being a nob is testament to that but if the media, of all groups of people, are going to call for someone to be removed because they are a tosser…if that is the yardstick for removing someone from a position…then I’d be interested to see who’s left on air, on our screens, or in a newsroom once that yard stick is applied across the board.