NZ POLITICS DAILY: National's secret minutes leaked

When parties and governments start leaking from within it is usually a bonanza for journalists and political commentators.

National will be worried that minutes from a recent top-level board meeting appear to have been leaked widely.

Of particular interest is a report by senior whip Michael Woodhouse about a "disturbing discussion that he has had with Simon Lusk that highlighted his motivations and a very negative agenda for the party".

Lusk has worked as a campaign adviser for National and other rightwing local body candidates, has been linked to Don Brash’s takeover of Act, and recently ran two National Party candidate schools with Cameron Slater – see: Duncan Garner’s Secret minutes reveal split in National’s ranks and Andrea Vance’s Nats get niggly over the Right stuff.
 
The Standard speculates that the leak is a continuation of the Judith Collins vs Steven Joyce faction fight to succeed John Key – see: Nat Civil War: ceasefire breached.
 
They also speculate the Collins faction doesn’t want a close relationship with the Conservative Party because it inhabits the ideological terrain where Collins and co want to take National itself, preferring an ACT-like coalition partner.
 
The more socially-liberal Joyce faction is looking to work with the Conservatives, allowing National to retain a more liberal political position.
 
Trevor Mallard, who apparently also received the minutes, reveals that it was agreed at the board meeting that Lusk "represents a serious risk to the Party and this issue will be followed up with a further meeting between the President and the Whip" – see: Nat Board has a no Lusk policy.
 
The story is worth following up, according to Scott Yorke, but he advises Mallard to leave it to journalists rather than reducing Labour to the status of muckrackers – see: Keeping It Clean.
 
Meanwhile, David Farrar acknowledges that the leaking of the minutes is a serious issue and even suggests they should undertake secret tracking measures in future to identify the source – see: National Board documents
 
Internal debate about Labour’s leadership is not being aired in public at the moment but Chris Trotter still thinks Cunliffe is carefully positioning himself with the party faithful as the next Labour leader – see: Cunliffe primed for gorilla warfare.
 
Cunliffe’s manoeuvring is obvious, according to John Moore, but he says that Cunliffe’s rebranding as a Left-wing leader is "tenuous and opportunistic", pointing to his previous support for Public Private Partnerships as evidence of his centrist political tendencies – see his blogpost, The Cunliffe Conspiracy
 
Shearer’s leadership has recently been supported by Fran O’Sullivan (Ditch Shearer now? You must be joking), John Roughan (The face of the next Government) and David Farrar (The Shearer defence), but as Robert Winter points out, friends like this won’t actually consolidate Shearer’s position within the Labour Party – see: David Shearer: the type of support you don't want
 
Radio New Zealand’s political judgement has been called into question by Chris Trotter in Right versus ... Centre Right?! where he questions their choice of Labour’s Josie Pagani as the representative of the left.
 
National has opened a huge ideological can of worms by deciding to introduce free contraception for welfare beneficiaries. Talkback radio and public comments are in overdrive.
 
Politicians, Churches, moral conservatives, family planning groups, feminists and welfare advocates are all having their say as well, but it’s interesting that the battle lines are not strictly left and right.
 
Colin Craig’s Conservatives, Catholic bishops, and libertarian Peter Creswell are siding with the Maori Party, Mana, Green Party, Labour, political commentator Morgan Godfery, Auckland Action Against Poverty, Christchurch's Beneficiary Advisory Service, Mangere Budgeting and Family Support Services and academic feminist Deborah Russell.
 
Meanwhile, broadly in favour of the government’s policy are the New Zealand Herald (Contraception plan suffers by association), the Dominion Post (Contraceptive plan makes sense), Nelson Mail (An offensive jab? Well, not really), Family Planning, the Medical Association, Women's Health Action Trust, and the Auckland Single Parents Trust.
 
The two main issues are how the funding is targeted at just female beneficiaries and the involvement and potential power of WINZ case workers over what many see should be a strictly medical and personal issue.
 
For more, see: Kate Chapman and Shabnam Dastgheib’s Beneficiary birth-control plan 'gives women choice', and Claire Trevett’s Contraceptive plan criticised. Toby Manhire also surveys the strong responses to Colin Craig’s ‘promiscuous young women’ remarks. 
 
The Government gets some support today for its partial privatisation agenda – see: Fran O’Sullivan’s The State goes capitalist, Rob Cameron’s Why mixed ownership model matters, and Jamie Gray’s Floats bring a new buoyancy.
 
What is interesting is that the arguments largely ignore the main reason given by the Government for the sale: to reduce public debt, and instead focus on the benefits the sales will have for New Zealand’s struggling capital markets.
 
While this may have appeal in the financial sector, selling government assets to boost private investment companies is likely to be seen as an example of corporate welfare, particularly given the suggestion that getting the highest possible price shouldn’t be the government’s main priority.
 
If the champions of free markets want to use public assets to pump up investment funds then maybe Treasury should investigate the corporate equivalent of an IUD to prevent future generations of state dependent investment bankers.
 
The original reduction of debt argument has been challenged by economist Raf Manji at a select committee heariing – see: Michael Berry’s Partial privatisation numbers 'don't add up'
 
Other important or interesting political items today include:
 
 
Bryce Edwards

 

Today’s content:
 
National
Andrea Vance (Stuff): Nats get niggly over the Right stuff
Trevor Mallard (Red Alert): Nat Board has a no Lusk policy
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): National Board documents  
Scott Yorke (Imperator Fish): Keeping It Clean
Peter Aranyi (The Paepae): Simon Lusk in the headlines again!
 
Labour
Chris Trotter (Press): Cunliffe primed for gorilla warfare
Chris Trotter (Bowalley Road): Right versus ... Centre Right?!
John Moore (liberation): The Cunliffe conspiracy
Michael Field (Stuff): Labour faces Samoan ire in Mangere
Fran O’Sullivan (Herald): Ditch Shearer now? You must be joking
John Roughan (Herald): The face of the next Government
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): The Shearer defence
Robert Winter (Idle Thoughts): David Shearer: the type of support you don't want
Scott Yorke (Imperator Fish): A Speech And An Interview: How They Fared
Andrea Vance (Stuff): Shearer speaks
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): The Shearer defence
 
Contraception for beneficiaries
Claire Trevett (Herald): Contraceptive plan criticised
Kate Chapman and Shabnam Dastgheib (Stuff): Beneficiary birth-control plan 'gives women choice'
Martin Johnston and APNZ: State pressure worries beneficiaries
Morgan Godfery (Maui Street): Controlling Maori reproduction
Deborah Russell (A Bee of a certain age): Making those slappers cross their legs
Danyl Mclauchlan (Dim Post): Talkback bait
 
Urewera case
Tracy Watkins, Charles Anderson, Blair Ensor and Michael Field (Stuff): Urewera police focused on spying, says lawyer
Yvonne Tahana and Herald Online staff: Urewera Four: Iti suspects surveillance
 
Public broadcasting and TVNZ7
Simon Cunliffe (ODT): Death of public service TV
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Throng on TVNZ7  
 
Economy
Grant Cleland (Parliamentary Library): Monthly Economic Review: May 2012
Brent Sheather (Herald): Financial repression coming our way?
 
Mfat leaks
John Hartevelt (Stuff): Rebstock to investigate MFAT rejig leak
 
Asset sales
Fran O’Sullivan (Herald): The State goes capitalist
Jamie Gray (Herald): Floats bring a new buoyancy
Rob Cameron (Herald): Why mixed ownership model matters
 
Foreign investment
Fran O’Sullivan (Herald): Time to tackle opaque investment rules
Matt Nolan (Ideolog): Rethinking our stance on land sales
 
Student loans and allowances
Keith Ng (On Point): Student Loans are Loans (Duh.)
Grant Robertson (Red Alert): Answering questions on loans and allowances
 
Electoral law and opinion polling
Adam Bennett (Herald): Pollsters meet to decide on code
Martyn Bradbury (Tumeke): Sack the Electoral Commission Now
 
John Banks and Act
Michael Cummings (Manawatu Standard): Wealthy Conservative ready to replace ACT
Mike Williams (Pundit): Banks, Whaleoil and two corpses
 
Cigarettes and alcohol
Isaac Davison (Herald): New MPs dilute alcohol bill backing
Eric Crampton (Offsetting Behaviour): Alcohol and social choice
 
Other
Holly Walker (ODT): Lobbying for transparency
Jane Clifton (Dom Post): John Key gets Parliament's rules wrong
William Mace (Stuff): US firms to control NZ legislation?
Kate Shuttleworth (Herald): Confusion over education league tables
Adam Roberts and Bill Moore (Stuff): Talley rebuffs workers' rally
David Chaplin (Herald): Donors take nothing for granted
Brian Rudman (Herald): Cringe: 4 years of WWl flashbacks

 

 

 

 

 

 

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3 Comments & Questions

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Something is Rotten in the State of NZ's parliament. 'Whistle-blowing' I can accept, when something is hidden which should be released or investigated, but leaking info that will be released shortly, or minutes which participants believe are confidential, so they can be frank, is frankly wrong. Should lead to instant dismissal.

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Another good reason for all Senior Civil Servants to technically resign on Election Day Eve, and wait to see if they are restored by the incoming government.

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If they did, it would be a step towards their justifying their 'banker' level salaries and packages.
Yes, let's do it please.

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