Sunday, September 21, 2014
Mike Butler: Moment of truth for Harawira
Dotcom launched the Internet Party in March of this year, and entered an agreement with Harawira's Mana Party under which the parties could demerge six weeks after polling day. Dotcom donated $3-million to the Internet Party, and shortly after former Alliance Party leader Laila Harré was announced leader.
Harawira could presumably get the Internet Party into parliament without the latter having to reach the five percent threshold, and as part of a left-wing government could be well-placed to have a Justice Minister block Dotcom’s extradition.
Once the election campaign got under way it quickly degenerated into a sustained personal attack on Prime Minister John Key. First there was Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics book based on emails stolen from blogger Cameron Slater. Next, the daily “whale dump” email releases aimed to destroy Justice Minister Judith Collins.
Ultimately Dotcom’s so-called “moment of truth” on Monday night at the Auckland Town Hall to force Key’s immediate resignation turned into a fizzer, with little of interest revealed. A so-called incriminating email released earlier in the day was quickly spotted as a fake.
The orchestrated attack on New Zealand’s elected prime minister during an election campaign, led by Dotcom as a German resident of New Zealand facing extradition, enlisting the support of two other foreign fugitives, Wikileaks editor Julian Assange, and Edward Snowden who leaked classified information from the United States National Security Agency, with the co-operation of the entire New Zealand political left, and using stolen information, was only going to work if New Zealand voters were stupid.
Stupid we are not. So at 9.10pm on Saturday, September 20, 2014, Hone Harawira stood there blinking at the camera while refusing to accept defeat, a good moment in New Zealand politics. Labour’s Kelvin Davis took Te Tai Tokerau and Internet Mana attracted only 26,539 votes, a share of 1.26 percent.
Aside from the murky haze of dirty politics from the Left, here are details of the leaders, parties, policies, and provisional results of election 2014.
John Key and the National Party achieved 48.06 percent with 1,010,464 party votes, 41 electorate seats, 20 list seats, yielding 61 seats in a 121-seat parliament, and could govern alone.
The centre-right National Party, founded 1936, is the nation's second-oldest political party that traditionally attracts country and upper middle class voters by advocating the private ownership of production, distribution and exchange.
Because New Zealand could only become wealthy by selling more stuff to other countries, National Party policy focuses on a quality free trade agreement under the Trans-Pacific Partnership, investing in the primary sector, growing tourism, and following a prudent policy of “living within our means”.
The Nats would start paying off debt to 20 per cent of GDP, keep generating new jobs, reduce taxes when there is room to do so, investing $22.5-million over five years to plant new forests, and recognise excellent teachers.
David Cunliffe and the Labour Party achieved 24.69 percent of the vote, with 519,146 party votes, 27 electorate seats, 5 list seats, yielding just 32 seats.
The left-wing Labour Party was formed in 1916, making it New Zealand's oldest political party. Although its origins lie in the British working class movement, it appears currently pitched to unionists, urban academics, media workers, gays, and feminists. As a democratic socialist party the Labour Party wants state ownership of production, distribution and exchange.
Current leader David Cunliffe is the third leader in three years. Phil Goff and Annette King stepped down in December 2011, replaced by David Shearer and Grant Robertson. Shearer resigned in August 2013, replaced by Cunliffe.
The Labour Party does not have a clear idea of growing the pie but has many ways of taking from those who accrue wealth through diligent effort to give to those who don’t.
The Labour Party wants a new, progressive top tax rate of 36 percent on income over $150,000, a capital gains tax of 15 percent on investment property, farms, businesses, everything except the family home, wants to raise trustee income tax to 36 per cent, and remove any tax loopholes that may encourage property speculation.
Russel Norman, Metiria Turei and the Green Party achieved 10.02 percent of the vote, with 210,764 party votes, 0 electorate seats, and 13 list seats.
Another left-wing party, formed in 1990 out of the remnants of the Values Party, the Green Party contested the 1993 and 1996 elections as part of the Alliance with the Democrats, Liberals, Mana Motuhake and NewLabour Party.
Although identifying as an environmentalist party, the Green Party wants state ownership of production, distribution and exchange, and policies include a capital gains tax, levies on the commercial use of water, possibly new eco-taxes, and a Tobin tax on international currency movements to provide capital for poor countries to improve their social and environmental wellbeing.
They want to build 3000 state houses a year for the next three years, increase benefit levels, end compulsory work-testing, and extend Working for Families payments to beneficiaries.
Winston Peters and NZ First increased their result by achieving 8.85 percent of the vote, with 186,031 party votes, 0 electorate seats, and 11 list seats. In 2011 Peters won eight seats.
A centrist party, NZ First was founded in July 1993, following the resignation of its leader and founder, Winston Peters, from the then-governing National Party. Peters has formed governments with both National and Labour parties.
Although he describes himself as centrist, Peters leans to the state-controlled side of the spectrum and policies include state support for the primary sector, a managed exchange rate, process New Zealand fish here, and set a minimum domestic log price to discourage the export of raw logs.
Peters would ban sales of New Zealand assets to foreign ownership, wants comprehensive compulsory savings, he wants the New Zealand Superannuation Fund to buy shares in New Zealand infrastructure companies, and he wants to buy back SOE shares at purchase price. He would also raise the minimum wage to $17.
Without an electorate accommodation with any party Colin Craig and Conservatives had to achieve the five percent threshold to get into parliament. Unfortunately for them, after sustained ridicule by media commentators and a last-minute resignation by their media person who was peer-pressured out by smarmy so-called media friends, they attracted 86,616 votes achieving a 4.12 percent share – not enough.
Conservative Party policy was simply no tax on the first $20,000 of earnings. His other policies are simply tougher penalties for criminals, make referendums binding, and enact one law for all.
Conservative candidate Garth McVicar, who had built a high-profile through his Sensible Sentencing Trust, managed to split the conservative vote in Napier, although the numbers show Labour’s Stuart Nash would have won the electorate whether or not McVicar was there.
The Conservative party probably drained votes from ACT, which achieved one electorate seat in Epsom through a deal with the National Party, but only attracted 14,510 votes or just 0.69 percent.
Te Ururoa Flavell of the Maori (sovereignty) Party won just one Maori seat, being Waiariki. With the departure of both Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia, Labour took both Tamaki Makarau and Te Tai Hauauru, reflecting the reality that the Maori Party has run out of ideas and most of the 228,718 voters on the Maori roll have returned to their Labour Party roots.
The existence of Maori seats briefly became an issue question through the fog of dirty politics, with Key warning of "hikois from hell" if the question was not left for Maori to decide.
But Maori voters make a decision on this after every census when they can choose which roll to go on. With just 55 percent of Maori voters on the Maori roll, and if Maori should decide, it appears the sun is setting on the Maori seats.
With 26 Maori MPs in the current parliament, it's hard to argue that you need Maori seats to ensure Maori MPs are in Parliament. In fact, compared to their share of the adult population, Maori MPs are over represented by eight percent.
at 12:11 PM