Posts tagged: National

John Key goes to the rugby while oil pollutes the Bay of Plenty

YouTube video: The last thing I need is a ship on a reef


Mission On is off

Without any fanfare, or it would seem, media interest SPARC have decided to discontinue the Mission On initiative.

The Mission On website received many column inches of bad press in the lead up to the 2008 election when John Key criticised the expenditure on the website. SPARC, due to the political nature of their funding were ‘prevented’ from defending the program. Afterall, there was a high probability that they would be cap in hand to a National government.

And so it came to pass.

Unless I am mistaken there was nothing written about the website being removed. There one day, gone the next. Many thousands of hours reduced to absolutely nothing. The government, while accusing SPARC of wasting money on this website, have performed a greater sin in removing it.

The 28,268 children (as at May 13, 2009) who regularly visited the site, and played the games that taught them about how to play outside and build vegetable gardens and eat properly are left with nothing except the promise of new sporting equipment. A rugby ball or basketball is useless unless there are people available to teach children how to use them – in our decile 10 school there is no-one. I’m guessing that the National Party initiative will be as ineffective as they claimed the Mission On website to be.

It’s a tragic waste of money.

Read my original post here.

And here’s the notification on the SPARC website – a wonderful understatement.

Disclosure: I worked at the agency (but not on this account) that brought the Mission On website to life. I know the many many hours of research and focus grouping that went into ensuring the website would be a success for the young people that interacted with it.

National, All Blacks, Labour, France

Young low-ranking sumo wrestlers at the Tomozu...
Image via Wikipedia

I’m half way through reading Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner‘s book Freakonomics. The book is tagged with the line “A rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything”.

Levitt poses the weirdest questions, which he already knows the answers to, such as:

  1. What do schoolteachers and sumo wrestlers have in common?
  2. How is the Ku Klux Klan like a group of real estate agents?
  3. Why do drug dealers still live with their moms?

I can’t help thinking he would be able to provide a great answer to this question:

What do National (and the Mt Albert bi-election) and the All Blacks have in common?

Here are my attempts:

A: The points differential between the All Blacks and France nearly represented the percentage of the vote that Melissa Lee won as a National candidate for Mt Albert.

The 5 points difference divided by the 27 points scored by the French equals 18.5% which is close to the 17% that Melissa Lee scored in Mt Albert. Whether this is relevant is a moot point but I feel clever having made the calculation.

A: Quoting from Stuff “…The All Blacks’ inexperience was also badly exposed. As ever they were rusty in their opening hit-out of the campaign, but they made numerous errors and never showed the composure needed to withstand the sort of assault the French dished up.” Swap every instance of All Blacks with Melissa Lee, and every instance of ‘French’ with Labour and the Mt Albert story is identical.

Perhaps the only difference between the National Party experience of the bi-election and the All Blacks experience at Carisbrook will be that tomorrow morning Graham Henry will front up and defend his team (without making excuses) whereas John Key will try to ignore and bury the fact that he hand picked Melissa Lee and that he left her high and dry with no support.

Graham Henry revved his team up at half-time. That was never the case for Melissa from John Key. He coached in absentia. You will never win a game like that.

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Rodney Hide and a National Government

Rodney Hide - Leader of ACTIs anyone worried about Rodney Hide?

I watched him on Sunday tonight – what an arrogant and demanding man. No grace, no poise – this is what we want and this is what we’ll get. John Key stared blankly back. I’d live to know what was going on in his mind…

Compare Rodney’s performance to Pita Sharples of the Maori Party. Pita did not make one request of John Key. He said they had a ‘portfolio’ that they would present to Key on Tuesday, but other than that they would wait and see where the negotiations headed. He even avoided the question of whether they would accept a seat at the cabinet table.

Contrast that with Rodney Hide who sat there bulldozing John Key with demands he implement the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy as well as cutting government spending and scrapping the Emissions Trading Scheme.

  • Key has already announced he’s making a big spending promise with the April 2009 tax-cuts
  • National opposed the ETS but has expressed interest in reforming the current scheme, so there will still be one
  • And it remains to be seen how staunch National will be on law and order, but likely not to be as staunch as ACT would like.

So, can National and ACT work together? If National invites the Maori Party in (and the Maori Party accept) then they don’t need ACT.

Close of business Tuesday will reveal all.

New Zealand Election Results 2008

The election result is panning out as the media has been predicting – a victory for National.

Winston Peters is delivering his concession speech – beaten resoundingly by the young Simon Bridges (majority of 10,862 to national with 89.5% of the vote counted). Winston delivered a gracious speech congratulating Tauranga for voting in a young and vibrant politician. It seems that Winston and NZ First are now out of politics. It remains to be seen if they can maintain momentum as a party without any representation in Parliament. Peters has been there for 30 years – he left the stage saying that was his last word.

Darren Hughes (Labour) has lost Otaki to National’s Nathan Guy by a margin of 1422. Josie Pagani of Jim Anderton’s Progressive polled 206 votes. Keep an eye out for her in 2011.

Wellington Central is proving to be a closer fight – Grant Robertson is winning by a margin of 1,384 over National’s Stephen Franks.

John Campbell is interviewing Roger Douglas who finds himself back in Parliament. What sort of influence is he likely to have in John Key’s government? He’ll likely be hard to keep in line, and poor old Rodney is going to have a hard job keeping control over the man who started the party.

Grant Robertson wins Wellington Central with majority of 1,511.

Praise the lord – Peter Dunne has only himself for company – and he thinks that he is going to make a difference. Except that if National has the majority it currently has then it can afford to ignore Dunne entirely. Dunne’s majority reduced from 7,500 to 1,171.

John Key is currently on a 17,666 majority in Helensville.

National win Auckland Central meaning that Judith Tizard is likely to be tossed out of Parliament because she’s a long way down on the party list.

Jeanette Fitzsimons is delivering her speech at the Hopetoun Alpha in Auckland. With 6.5% of the party vote the Greens have added two extra MP’s into the house. While they were expecting to get 8% or more this is a good outcome. Jeanette says this gives the Greens a stronger voice in Parliament, but will John Key need to listen to them?

West Coast Tasman has been won by National with a majority of 975.

Parekura Horomia wins Ikaroa Räwhiti against Derek Fox, who the Maori Party was convinced had a good chance of winning. Horomia’s majority is 1,609.

Annette King wins Rongotai with majority of 7,845.

Helen Clark’s parents leave her house. It is expected that Clark will give her concession speech to Key in five minutes or so. The swing to National is 5.7%, to ACT 2.2%, away from Labour 6.9%. Overall a swing to the right.

10,666 people voted for the Bill and Ben Party – firm proof that there are 10,666 very stupid people.

99% of the vote is counted and projected seats are:

  • National 59 seats
  • Labour 43 seats
  • Green 8 seats
  • ACT 5 seats
  • Maori 5 seats
  • Jim Anderton Progressive 1 seat
  • United Future 1 seat

John Key has the current biggest majority of any candidate leading Helensville by 18,404.

Helen Clark leaves her house to go to Labour Party HQ. No doubt she has already called Key.

Helen Clark arrives at Labour HQ. The party faithful whistel and cheer as she walks into the building. A sea of red on the stage. There’s only one man on stage – Helen Clark’s father.

She knows her people – she greets them all in their native tongue.

She congratulates John Key. There are tears in the audience as she declares that Labour will not be going away. She takes responsibility for the loss. She acknowledges the Labour Party achievements over the last nine years.

This is a time for re-building. There will be around 12 new Labour members of parliament. She thanks departing members and hopes that all Labour’s achievemnts don’t go up in smoke under a right-wing government.

Helen Clark declares her intention to stand down as leader and hopes that Labour can appoint a new leader before Christmas (please please let it not be David Cunliffe). She leaves the building.

A gracious speech, she looked like a weight had been lifted from her shoulders. And to stand down shows great maturity in politics.

John Key leaves his $6.8 million mansion in Parnell to drive to Sky City as the newly elected Prime Minister of New Zealand. The man who always wanted to be Prime Minister has realised his boyhood ambition.

Matthew Hooton on TV3 made a good point in that Helen Clark has chnaged the face of the National Party. Helen Clark reveals it was always her intention to step down if National won. She reveals the polling was different to their own internal polls and that they had expected a different result (but perhaps still not a win). She wouldn’t reveal what Key had said to her.

John Key arrives at Sky City. He looks as pleased as punch – like a grinning school boy. He is completely surrounded by security detail who lock arms to escort him into the auditorium.

John Key is on stage. He hugs his children.

“Today NZ has spoken…they have voted for change…and I can tell you there will be a new National led government in NZ…thankyou for your support and thankyou for your trust…they voted for hope, they voted for action, they voted for results…this is not as good as it gets…yes, we face challenges and we will rise to them…we must make the most of our advantages…the road ahead may well be a rocky one…what will determine success will be a unity of purpose…and the success of individuals…now is the time for working together…if we work hard…we will make NZ prosperous as we all know NZ can be…tonight you have my pledge…it will be a government that values individual achievement…a government we can all be part of…tonight I want to thank Helen Clark…she was most gracious with her comments…we share a love of this country…as PM of NZ she has always ensured our small voice was loudly heard…for that I say thankyou…I sopke to ACT leader Rodney Hide…and Peter Dunne…and while future details are yet to be resolved they will lend their support to establishing a new government in NZ…”

Seems to be this is the speech of the campaign…if he had done speeches like this for the last 5 weeks more might have voted for him.

So we have a new government. We shouldn’t expect any miracles. Roger Douglas will be a problem. Rodney is going to have his hands full managing that problem, and so will John Key by association.

John Campbell interviews John Key. “We’re going to deliver on all our promises…”

“There’ll be a rocky road ahead…we can get through this together…moderate pragmatic government…that’s exactly what we’re going to do…it’s a close run thing…there’s a majority there but it’s not huge…great feeling but a nerve wracking night as well…”

Given the mood of the nation and the mood of the National supporters in the Sky City hotel it’s quite obvious that the pundits who believed John Key would be rolled by Bill English in his first term are wrong. This is John Key’s night – it’s John Key’s party – it’s John Key’s success that got National the win. Having Bill English take the leadership just can’t and shouldn’t happen.

As I prepare to finish this the NY Times sends me an update with news that unemployment is at a 14 year high in the US.

John Key has become Prime Minister at a terrible time, or a great time if he really, really likes a challenge.

Good luck.

National and their not-so-secret conversations

National continues to try to out the person who did the secret taping at the National Party conference last weekend.

I can’t work out why.

Is it because they want to prosecute the person responsible? If that were the case surely they’d be laying a complaint with the police who would then be able to secure any and all footage of the conference.

Or is it because they are desperate for the interloper to be a Labour Party member. This would then let National put the heat back on Labour, and give them the satisfaction of saying “I told you so”.

Or is it because they are affronted that someone (not one of their own) caught them (mainly Bill EnglishLockwood Smith and Nick Smith were an added attraction) telling it how it actually is inside the National Party machine?

The fact that Bill English read from a carefuly prepared press statement declaring that he didn’t mean anything that he said in that not-so-secret conversation adds credence to the fact that what he said IS National Party policy…I would have thought if Bill was so admanant that he had been maligned he wouldn’t need a script to make his point.

TV3 did themselves no favours milking the story all week though. By the time the Nick Smith revelations came along it was all looking a bit thin, and weak.

Now National don’t know when to shut up. If it’s revealed that the person in question is NOT a Labour Party activist then we’re back to square one. Labour can continue to spin the ‘hidden agenda’ message til election day.

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