Time for the big broom

21 months ago I made a prediction that Labour would win the 2014 election. I was wrong.

I am shocked though, to look back over the last 18 months and see what a dive Labour has taken since David Cunliffe took over as leader. In my post calling the election for Labour I also made this point.

Cunliffe is liked by many in the left of Labour, but not the centrists and not the public. Going with David Cunliffe would gift the next election to National.

Maybe I wasn’t so wrong in that post overall.

Here are some graphics from TVNZ from the last poll of 2012

Under David Shearer this was the Party Vote in December 2012.  A win to the left block

Labour polls 2012

Under David Shearer, PM John Key is not quite so popular

preferred PM 2012

What this means is that under David Cunliffe Labour has grown their support down 10% and lost the election in, as David Shearer said this morning on Q&A, tragic fashion.

I don’t think I’ve ever said this before, but I agree with Matthew Hooton, if Labour had stuck with David Shearer there would be a Labour led government today and that’s the problem.

Labour is broken and needs fixing, Labour may well have just lost the 2017 election, Labour may need to grow there nut even smaller though resignations and by-elections, to look to 2020 if they have have any chance of becoming the power they once were.

The solution for Labour.

Well I think there are solutions for Labour, but the first thing to acknowledge is what a horrific state they are in. Here are some statistics for you that are accurate minus the special votes.

National’s overall vote 1,010,464 beats Labour on 519,146

Labour won 21 General Electorate seats (plus 6 Maori seats and 5 list ‘seats’). Of those 21 general seat, National won the party vote in 16 of them and in Dunedin North Labour only has a party vote majority of 24.

That’s right in…

  1. Christchurch East
  2. Dunedin South
  3. Hutt South
  4. Mana
  5. Mt Albert
  6. My Roskill
  7. Napier
  8. New Lynn – David Cunliffe’s electorate!
  9. Palmerston North
  10. Port Hills
  11. Rimutaka
  12. Rongotai
  13. Te Atatu
  14. Wellington Central
  15. West Coast/Tasman
  16. Wigram

Voters put in a Labour MPs, but voted for National to run the country.

To break it down further let’s look at Mt Albert, Helen Clarke’s old electorate now occupied by David Shearer. Shearer won the seat comfortably by over 9,000 votes, but National received 3,000 more party votes that Labour. Aunty Helen would be rolling in her…comfortable UN office lounger.

So this tells us that the public of NZ can get to like and trust an individual Labour MP, but they don’t want Labour to run the country…and that’s the question Labour needs to ask themselves right now…why?

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?

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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!