Sunday, September 21, 2014

Mike Butler: Moment of truth for Harawira

Former MP Hone Harawira blinking while refusing to admit defeat was probably the standout moment in election coverage last night. Harawira’s performance was pivotal for Kim Dotcom, the "billionaire" German internet entrepreneur facing extradition to face copyright infringement charges.

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.


Brian said...
Reply To This Comment

Good clear analysis of the election Mike.
Which has shown that "Books on Dirty Politics" leaves the writers hands just as stained as its contents.
Another case of the danger of throwing the proverbial stone in a glasshouse!

There are always mistakes in elections, which of course makes them interesting, instead of merely boring.

No 1 Hone's flirtation with Dotcom that has shown a breakdown in both the fast and slow internet process.

No 2 was National's backing of Act, when the Conservatives, a new unstained party gained so many Party Votes. Yet has failed to get a representative in the House while Peter Dunne with the minor of minor parties retains his seat.

Still when you get an undemocratic system like MMP what can you expect?

Especially when minor representation is equal to major representation? Just what do you do.....

Change the Flag!!!!


paul scott said...
Reply To This Comment

Yes, Mike, it was a moment of triumph for all ordinary New Zealanders . I am in Bangkok, and I waited it out till 6pm here, your time 11pm, we went out to eat and I felt strangely good, I came home to our little place at 6pm, and I checked in. I just gulped and my eyes goggled, open. My wife said are you OK, I said yes, this is a landslide.
And I am going to build on this
I want New Zealand to be prosperous and I will see another centre right Government in an historic 2017 win. I repeat I will see it.
Those people told us we were crap, we were, in the words of Chris Trotter " spiteful and willfully ignorant" . And now they say the election was rigged.
The good thing about the left is that we can utter the fact that socialism is dead a simple truth and they do not see it . 2017 we win gain this time Conservative 5%

Anonymous said...
Reply To This Comment

I agree it will be Colin Craig's time in 2017.

andywilson said...
Reply To This Comment

It was the lesser of two evils that people voted for, so National retained its power over Labour;but the majority have had a gutsful of this crony govt. More votes would have gone to the minor parties but John Key two days before the election orchestrated automated telephone electioneering, explicitly asking kiwis not to vote for the minor parties; at the same time Key was rolling out sticker tape across the 1000's of National election posters telling voters to give their party vote to National. It will be another 3 years of NZ sliding backwards & more rapidly downwards. Two days after being re-elected & despite promises of cutting back debt Key announced yesterday he's advancing a 6 milliondollar referendum on changing the flag despite the fact NZ is up shit creek with a 60 Billion dollar debt & an earlier Herald digipol finding the vast majority of Kiwis don't want to change the flag. Normal behaviour for Key,we can all expect worse to come .

Anonymous said...
Reply To This Comment

Hone Hawarera is a hardcore racist. It's long overdue that NZ was rid of him and all others like him.

Dave said...
Reply To This Comment

My faith in Mr average Kiwi has gone up a couple of points, despite the media obsession with Dot Com and Hone, people voted with a sense that thank God restored some sanity to the country. The big disappointment was the conservatives not quite getting 5%. Put that down to once again a left leaning media who from the start set out to ridicule anything Colin Craig did. He was somewhat successfully portrayed as a 'crazy' when in fact he and his party had some very good policy's that attracted nearly 100,000 Kiwi's votes. Key missed an opportunity to back the Conservatives, instead backing the burnt out brands of United Future and Act. If the Conservatives has got into parliament it would have bolstered Nationals support and kept them 'honest'. It will be the Conservatives and Nationals, opportunity in 2017.

Donald said...
Reply To This Comment

Don't be overly hasty, the specials are not counted yet & he did well from specials last time round.
I have heard the special vote numbers, exceed K.Davis' majority, so he may do a Lazurus, if that happened, he would bring that rabid socialist Laila Harre with him, who may take a National held seat.We will need to wait 2 weeks from election

Albert Lane said...
Reply To This Comment

My wife and I are at present visiting the UK. In the past week, we have experienced three joyous events. 1. Scotland saying NO THANKS to win the referendum that otherwise would have seen it break away from the UK. That was on Thursday. 2. And then on Saturday, John Key and the National Government surged ahead to convincingly win the election, leaving the Labour Party gasping for air. 3. And my third joyous event? Hone Harawira and the Internet party consigned to the rubbish bin of history (hopefully). I'm glad we were not in Scotland on the day of the referendum, as emotions there were highly charged, and I'm glad we were not in NZ through the election campaign, although we have been following it closely on the internet by listening to ZB and Radio Live morning talkback, and by reading the NZ papers on-line. It was a dirty campaign. An ad hominem campaign - if you can't argue the policies of National, attack the individuals personally. A dirty tricks campaign. And I was worried that this might work. Yay !! It didn't. What a week !!! What a marvellous week !!!

Anonymous said...
Reply To This Comment

I would like to know when Hager will be prosecuted for profiting from the proceeds of stolen goods (e-mails)or is this deemed acceptable nowadays. And when do we get to export Dotcom? He shouldn't have been let in the country in the first place!

Anonymous said...
Reply To This Comment

Aw gee Mike, Hone wasn't just blinking, he was sending a message to the rotund one by morse code for help.

Anonymous said...
Reply To This Comment

Yes I was also amazed that NZers were not as stupid as I thought a lot of us were. I hope that Key continues steering the ship in the right direction and forget about the flag but concentrate on cleaning up all the dirty crime we are faced with.

Anonymous said...
Reply To This Comment

Since when has KDC been a billionaire? Was this just a typo or yet another example of the credulous, breathless attitude to KDC in the NZ media?

Post a Comment

Thanks for engaging in the debate!

Because this is a public forum, we will only publish comments that are respectful and do NOT contain links to other sites. We appreciate your cooperation.

Please note - if you use the new REPLY button for comments, please start your comments AFTER the code. Also, the Blogger comment limit is 4,096 characters, so to post something longer, you may wish to use Part 1, Part 2 etc.