NZ POLITICS DAILY: Economic ideologies under scrutiny
Economics is likely to dominate the political discourse between now and the general election. All political parties will be seriously evaluated in terms of what they will do for the economy. In the weekend, the Greens received a harsh assessment of their economic credentials and capabilities from political journalist Hamish Rutherford, who examined the party’s response to the Government’s rescue package for Solid Energy – see Greens rush to judgement. Spokesperson Gareth Hughes is taken to task for his questionable characterisation of the deal, with the suggestion that this indicates his party is economically illiterate. A similar point was made by Maria Slade in her more positive piece about Green MP David Clendon and how he is one of the more business friendly faces of the party – see: Greens need to talk business sense. But should the Greens even be concerned with being business friendly and mainstream? Danyl Mclauchlan suggests not, in his blog post The dubious strategic value of the corporate group hug.
But the days of the Greens being outliers in terms of economic ideology are over. The increasing conformity of the party is evident in just how much policy the party shares – not just with Labour - but also with National. The latest example is the party complaining that National has adopted its housing policy – see Newswire’s Govt stole our housing policy – Greens. Such complaints – increasingly frequent in New Zealand politics – serve to show just how ideologically convergent the parties still are in that they can all so easily swap policies. This is reminiscent of the remark once made about policy stealing in New Zealand elections by political scientist RS Milne: 'Each party is mortally afraid that the other will steal its clothing, mainly because the clothing is not distinctively marked with the party's name'.
Labour and the economy
It’s widely assumed that Labour is currently veering to the left under the new leadership of David Cunliffe. The retention of David Parker as the finance spokesperson is said to have limited any such radicalism, whose mild approach is on full display in Matt Nippert’s interview/profile of him – see: David Parker, details man.
On the political left, there is an in-depth debate going on about the economic direction of the Labour Party. The most analytical component of that debate is a blog discourse started by John Moore’s The left's new love for Labour. This prompted Chris Trotter to reply with What’s Love Got To Do With It? Moore responded with Unrequited love – Chris Trotter and the Labour Party, earning a further defence of Labour in Trotter’s post The Goal and the Movement. Meanwhile, Steven Cowan has chimed in with The Empty politics of Chris Trotter and Doing a hatchet job on Rosa.
For another leftwing critique of Labour see Matt Robson’s A Labour-Led Govt Must Reform Its 2007 Immigration Act. But for a defence of the party leader from questions from the political right, see Scott Yorke’s parody: Ten questions for David Cunliffe.
John Armstrong argues that Labour and National have a lot of common ground in terms of the housing affordability issue, but that Labour’s increasingly critical stance towards the Reserve Bank reflects Cunliffe’s ‘intention to give Labour a more bolshie image’ – see: Parties play politics over housing crisis. This earns him a withering response from The Standard blogsite – see: All hail RBNZ independence! – Armstrong.
Labour continues to show its support for the Living Wage campaign – see TVNZ’s Labour would put pressure on businesses to pay living wage. And now Len Brown has announced his support too – see Jane Luscombe’s TV3 item, Mayor commits Auckland to living wage. His mayoral campaign opponent John Minto is not, however, convinced about Len Brown’s sudden love for a Living Wage.
The rise in concern about economic inequality will certainly play a strong role in next year’s election campaign. In the last few days there have been plenty of headlines focusing on the wealth at the top – see Tim Hunter’s Bosses' pay rises outpace workers, Bernard Orsman’s $800,000 salaries for top city staff the market rate, says mayor, Shelley Robinson’s Vote on $91k pay rise for acting Chch City Council, and Ben Heather’s Surge in rich gaining NZ residency.
Some recent statistics relating to economic inequality are highlighted in the No Right Turn blog post Going backwards. And for a very full analysis of inequality and some potential solutions, retired judge Edmund Thomas is giving this year’s Bruce Jesson Lecture on the topic of Reducing Inequality – A Strategy for a Cause at the University of Auckland on 30 October.
Local government elections
There are only a few more days to go in the local government elections and during the weekend there was plenty of analysis of the apparent low voter turnout. Perhaps the strongest opinion came from Matt McCarten – see: Democracy dies with lazy voters. And following on from my Friday column – Why you shouldn’t vote – I had a short feature in the Herald on Sunday, Cancel the elections and start again?
Some of this relates to the woeful administration of the local government elections – as made apparent in items such as Lynley Bilby’s Voting paper gaffes mar local elections and TVNZ’s Christchurch election pamphlet bars migrant voters.
Blogger No Right Turn has also pointed to problems with the local government system in the blog post Apathy. And some current government reforms are discussed in Chris Morris’ Local govt to be 'squeezed in both directions'. Also very good on the topic, is Kerry McBride and Katie Chapman’s Low turnout linked to lack of connection.
If you’re interested in the more eccentric voting options, watch Torben Akel’s 14-minute TV3 item, Meeting the unorthodox mayoral candidates. The eccentric details are reported in Matthew Backhouse’s Big promises in local body elections. Similarly, see Sophie Lowery’s Hamilton: Serious issues, not-so-serious candidates.
Other items of importance or interest today:
Are New Zealanders political prudes? Has the ‘nanny state’ gone too far? That’s the debate relating to a supposed ‘ban’ on a breast cancer awareness advertisement – see Newswire’s No nipples please, we're Kiwis. Various opinions are expressed in Sean Plunket’s Is NZ squeamish over breasts?, the Southland Times’ editorial, A little white lie and Brian Edwards’ Is New Zealand TV suffering from thelephobia*? The most considered and informative item is Steven Price’s Nipples of discontent.
Matthew Hooton has produced his recommendations for John Key’s next Cabinet reshuffle – see his paywalled NBR column, The five ministers who should be sacked. According to Hooton, under-performers who should be considered for axing include Tony Ryall, Murray McCully, Hekia Parata, Nick Smith, Amy Adams, Nathan Guy, Craig Foss, Chris Tremain (if he hadn’t already gone), and perhaps even Jonathan Coleman. Hooton recommends promotions to the front bench for Simon Bridges and Nikki Kaye and believes the next Cabinet intake should include ‘Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, Paul Goldsmith, Todd McClay, Louise Upston and Maggie Barry’.
Government information sharing continues to be a hot topic, and so Nicholas Jones’ investigation into this will be of interest – see Govt is watching you and Big brother knows all your personal details.
Two major institutions involved in the Christchurch recovery and rebuild receive some critical appraisal today – see Jarrod Gilbert’s Cera not Christchurch's 'moral authority' and Martin van Beynen’s Tremors exposed Earthquake Commission.
John Key is on an extended world tour of summit meetings at the moment. Is he actually achieving anything in all these meetings? Peter O’Neill of the Timaru Herald satirically summarises Key’s meeting with the new Australian Prime Minister in Howdy bro, or is that cuz? And Grant Duncan explains to an Australian audience why New Zealanders want a better deal from them – see: Where’s the choice, bro: Kiwis in Australia get a raw deal.
The Prime Minister also comes in for some scrutiny over his support for Team New Zealand in Hamish Rutherford’s PM a 'Johnny come lately' when it came to America's Cup fever. And Toby Manhire offers some advice on future coalition partners – see: Key needs a new partner.
With the Maori seats being discussed at the moment, TVNZ’s Marae Investigates had an interesting 6-minute video item about the existence and number of Maori seats, together with the future of the two Maori parties – watch Should the Maori and Mana Parties unite? Related to that is the 9-minute video Hone Harawira sets the agenda for a united Mana Maori Party.
The Government is currently considering legislation relating to the Maori Council. Blogger Morgan Godfery asks Is it past time to abolish the Maori Council? And for a background item on Morgan Godfery, see the very interesting Native Affairs profile on him and his family – see the 14-minute video: The Godfery Gang.
Green MP Gareth Hughes says It is time to change Parliament’s prayer. He suggests widening it out to other non-Christian religions and incorporating Te Reo. David Farrar also prefers retaining it as a ‘general spiritual prayer’ but he lists three different options – see: The parliamentary prayer.
Last month the Government announced its decision to ignore the Law Commission’s recommendation on merging the various media regulators. Media Law expert Steven Price analyses that decision and labels it ‘irresponsible’ – see: No one-stop media regulator.
There’s currently some ongoing debate on the future of public broadcasting, sparked by the recent appointment of Kris Faafoi as Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson. Chris Trotter examines the issues in his blogpost, The Opinion of the People: Some Thoughts on Labour’s Non-Existent Broadcasting Policy. And Martyn Bradbury makes The case for RNZ 2.
Finally, Ben Uffindell lampoons one of New Zealand’s most well-read bloggers – see: Cameron Slater takes rare break from watching Whale Oil site traffic.
Local government elections
Lynley Bilby (Herald): Voting paper gaffes mar local elections
Matt McCarten (Herald): Democracy dies with lazy voters
Gil Simpson (Stuff): Voters should be given extra option
Dr Bryce Edwards (Herald): Cancel the elections and start again?
Jane Luscombe (TV3): Mayor commits Auckland to living wage
John Minto (Daily Blog): Len Brown’s sudden love for a Living Wage
Kerry McBride and Katie Chapman (Stuff): Low turnout linked to lack of connection
Jesse Peach (TV3): Turnout poor in local elections
Torben Akel (TV3): Meeting the unorthodox mayoral candidates
No Right Turn: Apathy
Matthew Martin (Daily Post): I was gagged, says councillor
Jono Galuszka (Stuff): And the winner is . . . apathy
Henry Cooke (Stuff): E-voting? That's choice
Nelson Mail: Editorial – Right intention, poor execution
Max Christoffersen (Stuff): Has Hamilton lost its collective voting minds?
Chris Morris (ODT): Local govt to be 'squeezed in both directions'
Debbie Porteous (ODT): Community boards ever more worthy
David Williams (NBR): Close exit poll suggests huge protest vote against Len Brown - academic
Matthew Backhouse (Herald): Big promises in local body elections
Dominion Post: Editorial: If you don't vote, don't complain
Ele Ludemann (Homepaddock): Do we blame postal voting?
Bernard Orsman (Herald): Election heads for low vote count
Mathew Dearnaley (Herald): Candidate blames punctuation
James Dann (Rebuilding Christchurch): Tin-pot dictatorship update
Russell Blackstock (Herald): Palino narrows gap on Brown
John Roughan (Herald): Grass an ideal election issue
Edward Rooney (Herald): Angry ratepayers seek SuperCity referendum
Lois Cairns and Rachel Young (Stuff): Bob Parker's challenge for city
Herald: Watson feels wronged by claim
Bernard Orsman (Herald): Super City elections 2013: Mayor accused of pokies u-turn
Vaimoana Tapaleao (Herald): Super City elections 2013: Young locals eager to shape city's future
Grant Duncan (Policy Matters): I voted...!
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Should Len Brown be worried about berms and how to increase participation?
Ideologically Impure: Have you voted yet?
Ele Ludemann (Homepaddock): Booklet botch-up update
Brian Edwards (BEM): Won’t you lay me down in the tall grass and let me do my stuff.
Cameron Slater (Whaleoil): Councillors Flip Flop
No Right Turn: Who to vote for in Palmerston North II
Housing and the Reserve Bank
Anna Cross (Newstalk ZB): English says home buyers must think ahead
NBR Staff (NBR): Labour would change LVR policy
Matthew Dallas (Manawatu Standard): Lame response from Govt on housing
NBR Staff (NBR): Housing Minister eases up on Reserve Bank
Bernard Hickey (Herald): Tax game rigged for property investors
John Armstrong (Herald): Parties play politics over housing crisis
The Standard: All hail RBNZ independence! – Armstrong
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Armstrong on Labour and Reserve Bank
Audrey Young (Herald): Food scare tops Key's chat with Xi at Apec
Vernon Small (Stuff): Key travelling to China
TVNZ: Key to replace Obama
Jane Luscombe (TV3): Obama's absence felt at APEC meeting
Audrey Young (Herald): Free traders wait for Japan to fall into line
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Best deal ever
TV3/RadioLIVE: Key downplays Obama's APEC absence
Audrey Young (Herald): Absent Obama held ransom – Key
Audrey Young (Herald): Key steps in as Obama's substitute
Audrey Young (Herald): Milk scare tops Key's agenda with Chinese premier
Vernon Small (Stuff): PM gets face-to-face with China leader
TVNZ: Key to replace Obama
Nathan Smith (NBR): TPP talks close to finalisation, but not close enough
Matt Nippert (Stuff): David Parker, details man
John Moore (liberation): Unrequited love – Chris Trotter and the Labour Party
Steven Cowan (Against the current): Doing a hatchet job on Rosa
Matt Robson (Daily Blog): A Labour-Led Govt Must Reform Its 2007 Immigration Act
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Cunliffe’s first 100 days
Lyle Skipsey (Indian Weekender): New Labour Leader’s Rise to Power is One Great Contradiction
Law and order
Andrew Koubaridis (Herald): Alarm sounds over country's lack of judges
Radio NZ: Judges voice concern over court workload
Belinda Feek (Stuff): Court slow-down feared by lawyers
Radio NZ: More restorative justice meetings
Taranki Daily News: Denying rights for Kiwis not fair dinkum
Radio NZ: No plan to change NZers' welfare rights
Matthew Dallas (Manawatu Standard): Life in paradise without the perks
Michael Timmins (Daily Blog): John Key and Tony Abbot resolve Syria!
Hamish Rutherford (Stuff): Greens rush to judgement
Newswire: Labour wants Solid Energy investigated
Hamish Rutherford (Stuff): State miner loses $335m, more bad news on way
Adam Bennett (Herald): Writedowns see miner's value plummet
Hamish Rutherford (Stuff): Annual loss for Solid Energy
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): The pitfalls of public ownership
Keeping Stock: Rutherford fisks Hughes
Inequality, poverty, employment
Tim Hunter (Stuff): Bosses' pay rises outpace workers'
University of Auckland: 2013 Bruce Jesson Lecture: Reducing Inequality - A Strategy for a Cause
Julie Moffatt (Newstalk ZB): Support for living wage
Matthew Backhouse (Herald): Ministry of Health unlawfully refused to pay carer
Laura Walters (Stuff): Strong demand to push wages up
Radio NZ: Labour pledges change to employment law
John Sargeant (Stuff): Welfare reform of benefit to all
No Right Turn: Going backwards
No Right Turn: "The market rate"
Catherine Delahunty (Frogblog): Payment for family carers
Newswire: Greens push people power
Tim Dower (Newstalk ZB): Labour calls for more control over the price of electricity
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Rutherford exposes Greens financial illiteracy
Lesley Deverall (Newstalk ZB): Greens launch policy at solar energy conference
Stacey Kirk (Stuff): 'Significant' rise in disconnections – Labour
Greg Presland (The Standard): The many and varied problems with the Ruataniwha Dam proposal
Michael Fox (Stuff): Dam coverage draws complaint
Newswire: Opposition wants RNZ complaint withdrawn
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): The case for RNZ 2
Martin Hawes (Stuff): Meridian shares are not for all
Rod Oram (Stuff): Turbulent waters ahead for Meridian
Tamsyn Parker (Herald): Some Mighty River share notices were sent to email junk folders
Dominion Post: Editorial: Time for Rena owners to clean up
Anthony Hubbard (Stuff): Rena row still raging
Breast cancer awareness
Sean Plunkett (Stuff): Is NZ squeamish over breasts?
Southland Times: A little white lie
Newswire: No nipples please, we're Kiwis
Steven Price (MLJ): Nipples of discontent
Brian Edwards (BEM): Is New Zealand TV suffering from thelephobia*?
Vernon Small (Stuff): Injured carpenter laments 'profit-driven' ACC
Kerre McIvor (Herald): $3b windfall was no accident
Newstalk ZB: NZ's first cannabis museum opens
Radio NZ: Cannabis museum 'for public education'
Alastair Bull (Newswire): Govt will back another Team NZ challenge, America's Cup
Michael Fox (Stuff): Key urged to speak up for Kiwi activists
Matthew Theunissen (Herald): Stars join fight to free Kiwi activists
Government information sharing
Nicholas Jones (Herald): Govt is watching you
Nicholas Jones (Herald): Big brother knows all your personal details
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): A confused story
Martin van Beynen (Stuff): Tremors exposed Earthquake Commission
Jarrod Gilbert (Stuff): Cera not Christchurch's 'moral authority'
The Press: Insight on our reshaped city
Amanda Snow (Herald): Census data to be revealed
Rebecca Quilliam (Herald): Public opinion sought on proposed changes around funerals
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Burial laws
US Government shutdown
Mai Chen (Herald): US breakdown gives us a reminder
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): The US Government shut down
Matthew Hooton (NBR): The five ministers who should be sacked
Danyl Mclauchlan (Dim-Post): The dubious strategic value of the corporate group hug
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Goodbye Nikki Kaye? Will National & Greens face a Party vote backlash in Auckland?
Ben Uffindell (The Civilian): Cameron Slater takes rare break from watching Whale Oil site traffic
Stephen Keys (Unframed): Have the New Zealand Green Party become banal?
Rodney Hide (NBR): Welfare addiction: The latest health hazard
Peter Aranyi (Paepae): Echo chamber? Or seeing the world as one wants it to be?
Chris Trotter (Listener): Radical ends by moderate means
Newswire: Maori electorates to be announced
Cameron Slater (Whaleoil): Self-righteous Goff continues to “fight” for transparency
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): Colin Craig’s hot milo in Rodney or a drink driving charge with John Tamihere in Waitakere?
Clare Curran (Red Alert): The right to know: John Banks
Clare Curran (Red Alert): The right to know: Chris Tremain
Michael Laws (Stuff): A week to go of smacking season
Rodney Hide (Herald): Climate panel leaves me cold
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Another charter school
Caleb Harris (Stuff): Transport boss twice drink and drive limit
John Drinnan (Herald): More breakfast listeners tune in to talk radio giant
Isaac Davison (Herald): NZ sending ambassador to tiny island in Caribbean
Grant Duncan (Policy Matters): Do we stick to our principles?
NZ Parliament: Tours of Parliament receive Travellers’ Choice award
Scott Hamilton (Reading the Maps): Fiji, democracy, and superpower politics: a conversation with Maikolo Horowitz
Amy Maas (Stuff): Animal welfare laws in spotlight
Newswire: Three things Helen Clark is scared of
Alan Papprill (The Standard): Will DunnoKeyo Lead National into Next Year’s Defeat?
Radio NZ: Customary law changes spurred by Govt
Mark Hubbard (Life Behind the Iron Drape): Maryan Street’s Euthanasia & Iain Lees-Galloway's Drink Drive Bills' Redux. The Barbarity of Fortress Run Lives.
Anna Leask (Herald): Youth Court sentences at 20-year low
Peter O’Neill (Timaru Herald): Editorial: Save us from ourselves
Ben Heather (Stuff): Surge in rich gaining NZ residency
Vernon Small (Stuff): Bronagh Key's stepmother dies
Martyn Bradbury (Daily Blog): The Empire Will Strike Back – waiting for Key to call Crosby/Texter