It’s unprecedented. All the parties in Parliament – from Act to Mana - have ganged up on National to block it overruling the Commerce Commission’s decision to lower broadband pricing. But it still leaves the problem unfixed, which is why Paul Brislen’s column today, Chorus: 6 options for the govt is a must-read for anyone interested in the issue. He outlines six options: Do nothing, Give Chorus more money directly, Go back out to market, Provide bank debt assurance, Nationalise Chorus, or Cancel the UFB.
Many are painting this latest development as a huge loss for the Government. However, Hamish Rutherford reports otherwise in his article, Parties oppose overruling ComCom. He says: ‘One Beehive source admitted that the Government had been blindsided by the co-ordinated statements by some of its support parties today, but there was a degree of relief. Legislation had not been ruled out up until now, but now the highly controversial option of over-ruling the commission had effectively been taken out of its hands’. Of course, while that may be so, National has only itself to blame for allowing overruling the Commerce Commission to ever be considered an option. A real winner is Matthew Hooton’s Exceltium, which has taken some corporates and the Government head on and delivered for its clients (mostly competing corporates) with lower mobile phone termination rates, stopping a carpark tax and now lower broadband prices.
There’s plenty of speculation about what form National’s machinations might take in terms of shoring up coalition support and Colin Craig’s Conservative Party. The most interesting recent theory is Rob Hosking’s speculation that John Key might be simply using the Conservatives to drive down support for New Zealand First: ‘So: is Mr Key talking up Mr Craig as a way of blocking Mr Peters? The numbers are chancy but they are there: what if Mr Craig hauls away enough of Mr Peters’ vote to pull NZ First below the 5% threshold but National does not “gift” him an electorate seat and the Conservatives also fail to reach 5%? Suddenly you have a wasted vote of around 9.2% from those two parties alone. And, suddenly, it looks a lot easier for National. The party got a little more than 47% of the vote at the 2011 election (and 59 seats) and it will no doubt lose some of that vote next year’ – see: Why John Key won't gift Colin Craig a seat at the next election (paywalled).
For some interesting insight into Colin Craig and his party, see the guest blog post on The Standard: The Right Conservatives. Another post asks: Just what do the Conservatives & National agree on?
For a defence of Craig and the Conservatives, see Steve Baron’s Craig should be taken seriously. Also to be taken seriously, according to Rachel Smalley, is the leadership challenge against the Greens’ Russel Norman – see: Fascinating battle on the left.
“After the Roast Busters saga, should there be a new criminal charge: ‘Drunk in charge of a vagina?’” That is one of the satirical questions in this month’s Metro magazine, and it has earned Metro some negative feedback – see Simon Wilson’s On Satire and Rape. Wilson has also written his editorial on the Roastbusters issue – see: The Best and the Worst of Auckland. Other political items in this month’s edition include Steve Braunias’ Bevan Chuang: Little Princess, and a Best of Auckland feature which names the ‘10 Best Political Types’ as well as the Best new thing (Generation Zero), Most inspirational (Louisa Wall), Biggest winner (David Cunliffe), Best stayer (John Key), The Destructor (Paula Bennett), and Aucklander of the Year (John Campbell).
From a very different perspective on media issues, see Wayne Hope’s The 150 years the New Zealand Herald didn’t want you to see, and Chris Trotter’s Getting Serious About Media Reform.
A thoughtful analysis of the final stage of the ‘digital turnoff’ in TV broadcasting is made by David Beatson in his blogpost, Digital Television’s “little issues” are beginning to bite. He says that ‘Of the 20 regional channels licenced to operate five years ago, only 10 are operating on Freeview today. Eight of those 10 Freeview regional channels are only accessible in the 27 percent of digital TV households in their home regions that are equipped with a DTT receiver. That’s a high casualty rate for a digital switchover “with little issues”.’
The annual report by AUT’s Centre for Journalism, Media and Democracy on the state of the New Zealand media is out – download Merja Myllylahti’s New Zealand Ownership Report 2013. Myllylahti emphasises the rise of new media, and says ‘it is good to see that the New Zealand media is looking for new ways to raise issues, and bloggers are gaining in prominence’. For a summary of the report, see Teuila Fuatai’s Whale Oil is New Zealand's most popular blog. Also, an academic focus on Maori media has just been published in the form of the book The Fourth Eye: Māori Media in Aotearoa New Zealand.
The rise of casual jobs ‘has been a major feature of our labour market over the past 20 years’ and ‘has major implications for a society’ – see Peter Lyons’ Casualised labour no production panacea.
The re-election of the Government next year will be highly reliant on the state of the economy. So National will be very happy with news that ‘Business confidence is surging across the board, nearing a 15-year high, pointing to strong economic growth in the year ahead’ – see: Business confidence bullish. Note also that the Statistics New Zealand’s triennial household economic survey results are out – see Brian Fallow’s Average house income hits $85k.
What could happen to John Banks? While we’re waiting to get the court’s ruling on his case, read Graeme Edgeler’s Q&A: John Banks' judicial review.
The major policy debate of the moment is about deep sea oil drilling. For the most insightful discussion of the issues, see Tim Watkin’s two blogposts, Deal or no deal? New Zealand's oil & gas choice offers great risk & reward, and Deal or no deal II: The economic arguments aren't all pro-oil.
Other very interesting items on the issue include Herald’s If we've got oil under our oceans, we need to find it, No Right Turn’s Deep-sea drilling: Risks and arrogance, Pattrick Smellie’s Collective silliness reigns on deep-sea oil drilling, and Matthew Hooton’s Greenpeace doesn’t speak for me (paywalled).
The Labour Party’s position on deep sea oil drilling remains ambiguous, which is very well summarised and examined in Pete George’s blog post, Labour on drilling – Yeah, Yeah-Nah, Nah.
Healthcare is a debate bubbling away under the surface at the moment. One of the best writers on health issues is Olivia Carville – see her very good features, Big shakeup coming for Chch hospitals and Call to measure unmet health need. See also Brian Gaynor’s Forget Obamacare debate - focus on NZ and Helen Harvey’s Health system 'is not working'.
The downfall of Alan Titford has led to some interesting debate about ‘race relations’ in the last week. The best overall item on this is Simon Day and Adam Dudding’s Bittersweet vindication for iwi. Paul Moon also intelligently discusses The Titford fallacy, while Titford’s own political party, 1 Law 4 All is somewhat embarrassed by their former poster-boy – see Liam Hyslop’s Party distances itself from Titford. And as an interesting aside, Andrew Geddis discusses the fact that ‘At the same time as he was sitting in jail awaiting sentence for his various crimes, Titford's name was on the ballot papers for Northland's mayoralty at the October local body elections. And, perhaps helped by the fact he still had name suppression’ – see: Now in the second year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign. Meanwhile, John Minto argues that others in the ‘race relations’ debate should be tarred with the same brush – see: Call it what it is – “Doing a Titford”.
The latest Treaty-related debate concerns property rights and development in Auckland – see Cherie Howie’s Maori history undermines home renovations.
The Maori Party is arguing for the Maori electorates to be smaller – an argument refuted by No Right Turn in the blog post, Maori, large electorates, and representation.
What do Gerry Brownlee, Clayton Cosgrove, Peter Dunne, Damien O'Connor, and David Carter have in common? Glen Conway says that ‘All five sitting MPs attended St Bede's College in Christchurch's north-east - a record thought to be unequalled anywhere in New Zealand political history’ – see: Leading lights in red and black ties.
The police have announced that they’ll be issuing tickets for lower speed violations over summer. Colin Espiner records his dissent in Lowering speed tolerance targets wrong drivers.
With the asset sales referendum currently on, it’s worth debating whether such referendums are worth it. Philip Temple says ‘no’ and wants them abolished – see: Voice of the people falling on deaf ears. Also on the topic of asset sales, see Adam Bennett’s Have we got a deal for you ....
Finally – it’s the Christchurch East by-election tomorrow. For the latest overview of the campaign, see Vernon Small’s By-election a ho-hum affair. TV3’s Brook Sabin has been providing colourful coverage of the campaign and some wider issues – see In-fighting kicks off among National's partners and Colin Craig admires Sarah Palin. But for an even more whimsical item, see the 1-minute video of the Prime Minister campaigning in Christchurch: John Key's Answer To Mystery Of The Fox.
Adam Bennett (Herald): Surf's up: Higher data caps, lower broadband bills on way
Adam Bennett (Herald): Minor parties revolt on Chorus intervention
Paul Brislen (Stuff):What to do about Chorus
Hamish Rutherford (Stuff): Minor parties rebel on wholesale broadband price
Hamish Rutherford (Stuff): Parties oppose overruling ComCom
Newswire: Govt can't enforce Chorus copper pricing
The Standard: Axe the Copper Tax wins
No Right Turn: So much for the copper tax
Guest Post (Kiwiblog): A Chorus of one
Tom Pullar-Strecker (Stuff): Chorus: UFB delay not to pressure govt
Christchurch East by-election
Vernon Small (Stuff): By-election a ho-hum affair
Barry Soper (Newstalk ZB): Dalziel territory no longer
Brook Sabin (TV3): In-fighting kicks off among National's partners
Peter Wilson (TV3): By-election poses unique problems
Guest Post (Kiwiblog): Voter Apathy in Christchurch East
Matthew Backhouse (Herald):Dotcom search warrants 'woefully, ineptly handled'
Deep Seal Oil drilling
Adam Bennett (Herald): Labour split on deep sea drilling
Tim Watkin (Pundit): Deal or no deal II: The economic arguments aren't all pro-oil
Chris Trotter (Bowalley Road): Holly Folly
Adam Hollingworth (TV3): Northland mining protest annoys some
Pete George (Your NZ): Labour on drilling – Yeah, Yeah-Nah, Nah
Electorates and Election 2014
Rob Hosking (NBR): Why John Key won't gift Colin Craig a seat at the next election
Rob Salmond (Polity): Key's Conservative maths problem
Laura McQuillan (Newstalk): Dunne set to face fresh competition in Ohariu
Laura McQuillan (Newstalk): Good news for Labour in latest internal polling
Cameron Slater (Whaleoil): Skullduggery in Upper Harbour
Frank Macskasy (Daily Blog): What if they gave an election and no one came?
Rob Salmond (Polity): 300,000 asset sales votes already
Matthew Grocott (Manawatu Standard): Editorial: Patients' needs top priority
Helen Harvey (Stuff): Health system 'is not working'
Stuart Nash (Daily Blog): What are communities worth?
Listener: Editorial: undue influence
Jane Kelsey (Herald): TPPA end game can only come from dirty compromises
Audrey Young (Herald): NZ education facing a bad report
Stacey Kirk (Stuff): National Standards 'doesn't make much difference'
John Armstrong (Herald): Parata feeling her way toward a winning policy
Rob Salmond (Polity): Education rankings to drop
Stacey Kirk (Stuff): Funding boost for Maori schools
Herald: The Insider: Final hurdle
Mike Joy (Dom Post): Intensification benefits untrue
Toby Manhire (Herald): Climate asylum claim sign of things to come
Eric Crampton (Offsetting Behaviour): Housing crises and public choice
Rebecca Macfie (Listener): Big bang theories
Isaac Davison (Herald): Police too busy for MP's visits
RadioLive: Millions spent on scrapped court system
Dominion Post: Editorial: Road safety needs support
David Beatson (Daily Blog): Digital Television’s “little issues” are beginning to bite
Teuila Fuatai (Herald): Whale Oil is New Zealand's most popular blog
Peter Lyons (Herald): Casualised labour no production panacea
Southland Times: Editorial: Pay laws aren't all that patient
Stuff: Business confidence bullish
Matt Nippert (Stuff):Name rings a bell, says PM
Mai Chen (Herald): Super-Auckland showing the way
Brian Fallow (Herald): Average house income hits $85k
Rob Salmond (Polity): Debating topic poorly chosen
Ian Anderson (Waikato Times): Gareth Morgan's millions are a hospital pass
NZ Parliament: Women, the vote and the 1893 election
Karl du Fresne (Dominion Post): The mysteries of a modern life
Chris Keall (NBR): Why donate $50K to John Banks in the first place? Dotcom camp explains
John Drinnan (Herald): Radio NZ ripe for revamp
Steve Braunias (Metro): Bevan Chuang: Little Princess
Simon Wilson (Metro): The Best and the Worst of Auckland