Saturday, 24 October 2020

pn571. NZ Labour's One Chance

Former United Future Ohariu MP Peter Dunn argues that Labour, despite —or perhaps because of—  its huge election victory, is "hemmed in" and limited to policies of "incremental" rather than "transformative" change.  His reasoning is that Labour must not lean too left towards the Greens or it will lose the new support it has gained from the right, from those who previously voted National. 

There is, of course, merit in this argument but what Dunn does not say is

Friday, 23 October 2020

pn570. Weekend links and snippets

A mix of long and short pieces to make your long weekend. Click on link and then on redirect page link.

1. Why government should not invest in Auckland Light Rail: lessons from overseas.

2. Who decides a teacher is or is not performing well? It's not like picking the best first five, Mike Hosking. A quick read. 

3.This is not a democracy (with comments on Maori action).  A long and  thoughtful piece, ideal weekend reading.

pn567. Keeping West Papua on the agenda

By Dan McGarry in the Lowry Institute's  The Interpreter.

For some background on West Papua which has been ruled by Indonesia for nearly 60 years, click here, and from Wikipedia here.

When Vanuatu’s Prime Minister Bob Loughman addressed the UN General Assembly last month, he echoed a concern that has often been expressed by his predecessors, not about the Pacific directly, but about alleged human rights abuses in West Papua.

“The world is taking a selective approach” Loughman said about investigating claims of human rights violations in the province.

Last year, leaders from the Pacific Islands Forum respectfully called on the Indonesian government to allow the United Nations Office of the Human Rights Commissioner to visit West Papua province. To date, there has been little progress on this plan. I therefore call on the Indonesian government to please heed the previous call of Pacific leaders.

Thursday, 22 October 2020

pn569. No Evidence National Voters voted Labour to keep Greens Out

Henry Cooke in Stuff says there's  no evidence  that a significant number of National voters voted Labour to keep the Greens out. The article shows how journalists' opinions often becomes news, and how fact is sometimes supposition.

Election 2020: There is no evidence National voters backed Labour to keep the Greens out 

OPINION: One of the problems with being a pundit or reporter is the fundamental impossibility of understanding why millions of people do what they do.

We are all mostly stumbling around in the dark, with occasional illumination in the form of polls or election results.

But because it is boring to only talk about these scientific measures of society, we latch on to individual anecdotes.

pn568. Why National Collapsed by Bryce Edwards


Political Roundup: National's catastrophic collapse and fraught rebuild

The National Party’s defeat has been so comprehensive that few in the party seem optimistic they will recover anytime soon. Falling from 47% in 2017 to just 27% (which might drop as low as 25% once special votes are counted), is one of the most severe collapses in New Zealand’s electoral history. And there are so many other election statistics that paint a picture of a party in crisis. The fact that National came second in the party vote count in 68 out of 72 electorates, and losing electorates such as Ilam, New Plymouth and Rangitata shows something extremely serious has gone on amongst National’s traditional support base.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

pn566. Be thoughtful not timid: Economist says Tax Reform needed now


Auckland University economist  Susan St John says government needs to act now on tax reform if NZ's  housing problems  — the source of much of our inequalities — are to be resolved. She offers a number of suggestions on how.
For example, "Policies are needed to extract more tax from the undertaxed owners of expensive real estate and residential land, both to restrain price rises and to provide a secure revenue stream. But the government has ruled out introducing any new tax. 
"One fruitful approach is to revive the narrative of comprehensive income tax. Using our existing tax system we can expand the base of what is captured under an income tax. The persuasive narrative is that income earned from holding assets in whatever form should be treated the same."
P.S. Please sign up to receive future postings (see sidebar, follow by email)  and tell your friends and colleagues about the blog. 
P.P.S. If you're wondering what pn566 before the title means, it stands for post number 566. (Note, there is no gap between pn and 566). If you want to return to this post at any time, just type pn566 in the Search box in the side column. All postings have a number.  NOTE that you can also comment, record your reactions, post the blog to others, follow and subscribe and tag a topic to look for other postings with similar content. See at the end of posting.

pn565. The Greens in Government: In, Out or In-between — and the New Parliamentary Mix

 Opinions vary on how the Greens may be —and should be—  involved in the new government line up. 

Tova O'Brien (Newshub)
says there will be no formal Labour-Greens alliance; Labour doesn't need them, and the Greens have no bargaining power.

Former Green MP Keith Locke (Daily Blog) warns the Greens could be muzzled by inclusion. They need to be able to apply pressure for an independent foreign policy, especially about leaving the US-led Five Eyes military-intelligence alliance, and on climate change issues far beyond where Labour is likely to go.

pn564. Why Maritime Zones Matter for the Future of Our Blue Pacific

Wed Oct 07 2020. Cook Islands News.
Tuesday October 06, 2020 Written by Dr Andrew Jones, Director of Geoscience, Energy and Maritime at the Pacific Community (SPC) Published in Editorials
Pacific leaders have committed to a collective effort to finalise the delimitation of maritime zones. SPC/20100509 Pacific leaders have committed to a collective effort to finalise the delimitation of maritime zones. SPC/20100509 
OPINION: Pacific people are leaders on the global stage, connected by our vast Blue Pacific in a way that land-based continents can never be. 

The coconut that falls in the ocean in Fiji will wash up on the shores of French Polynesia. The tuna that are born in Papua New Guinea will swim to Kiribati. We are thousands of kilometres apart and yet completely connected.

Our maritime boundaries reflect this connectedness across our Blue Pacific continent. Our ocean space accounts for 42 million kilometres2 home to more than 42 million people spread across 24 Pacific Island countries and territories. 

There are 48 places in our Pacific Ocean where two countries share a maritime boundary. Almost 75 per cent of these boundaries have been negotiated and the Pacific is leading the globe on this process with only around 60 per cent of the rest of the world’s boundaries being at the same level of completion. This underpins our role as global leaders in the ocean space.

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

pn563. Pasifika MPs should make themselves heard

 Click on this link to read the full  article.  As Pasifika MPs old and new head to Parliament following the general election, Mariner Fagaiava-Muller is urging them to make themselves heard.

#Pasifika, #NZpolitics 

pn562. Tuesday, a second day of Mondayitis: Further reflections on the elections

The consensus among journalists seems to be that Labour will have difficulty in meeting the expectations of  (a) the former National supporters who voted for it and expect it to "do little" and (b) those Labour stalwarts who want at least some transformational change. 

With Jacinda saying she will govern for all New Zealanders, Labour seems to have signalled it will stay centre to right of centre, and probably won't enter into ANY formal agreement with the Greens. (I thought it instructive that former PM Helen Clarke, possibly as an advisory on the Greens, spoke of politics being about long term relationships. Not to strengthen the Labour-Greens relationship may bode poorly for Labour at future elections.)

Monday, 19 October 2020

pn561. Mondayitis: Doubts and Caution about Labour's "Transformational Changes"

UPDATE. Gordon Campbell   warns the Greens about being part of the government.
With the 2020 election as good as over and only special votes to be announced in ten days time, many people with be wondering what substantial changes the Labour (or possible Labour-Greens-Maori party) government will make on environment, poverty and other issues.

I'm sorry to dampen your weekend good spirits with the Labour-Greens-Maori Party and Bledisloe Cup wins, but many in the media-ocracy are arguing: not much.

Here's extracts from what six columnists — David Hall, Martyn Bradbury, Danyl Mclauchlan, Chris Trotter, Jennifer Lees-Marshment and Max Rashbrooke —  think:

Sunday, 18 October 2020

pn560. The effects of the 1987 coup on Indo-Fijians in Labasa

By Ireen Manuel. 
The 1987 coup immediately had a huge negative impact on the people of Labasa, and more so on the Fiji Indian community. All of a sudden, I realised that I did not belong and I wasn't a child of Fiji even though this is where my grandparents were born. I am a fifth generation Fijian Indian. Many of my extended families and other farmers lost their homes and sugarcane farms. The i-Taukei owners had moved into the homes and chased many Fiji Indian families out of their homes. Thousands of Fiji Indians were again displaced, a history that kept repeating itself on the Fiji Indian communities. The livelihoods for many Fiji Indians was gone within a blink of an eye. The relationship that existed for decades between the villagers and the Fiji Indian communities was torn to shreds overnight.

pn559NZ Election Result: Is it really a Transformational "Red Tide"?

... or a Red Dawn? 
See also Martyn Bradbury's excellent post.
Labour won an incredible 49.1% of the vote  with 98% of the votes counted, enough to govern alone without the support of the Greens who won 7.6% of the vote or the Maori Party that won the Waiariki constituency.  

On the right (or wrong) side of the spectrum ACT won 8% which will give them 10 seats in the new Parliament, up from the single seat they previously held, and National won 26.8% of the vote (well below the Colmar Brunton poll prediction of 31%, see previous post), losing many previously held blue seats, including  rural seats which usually vote National. 

Friday, 16 October 2020

pn558. The latest Colmar Brunton poll


The latest Colmar Brunton poll conducted last week gives Labour a clear majority and makes a coalition with the Greens increasingly likely.  

Support (%) ± Changed

Seats in Parliament


46 - 1



31 - 1



8 n/c



8 +2


Labour does not quite have enough to govern alone. They will need the support of the Greens. No other party looks likely to enter Parliament.

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

pn557.. Labour's Full Manifesto -- and the need for "deeper" prison reform

UPDATE. READ THE TURIKI REPORT ON WHICH NO ACTION WAS TAKEN.  Has Labour been afraid to act in case it gives National an opportunity to turn the election into a "crime and punishment"  election? 


I have just read the full NZ Labour Party manifesto. It covers almost everything I can think of and provides links to more detail on some issues.   It's essential reading for those of us who want to see where Labour is coming from and where it promises to go if it's  returned to government on Saturday.

National says Labour is a party of unfulfilled promises, repeating ad nauseum:  the plight of Kiwibuild and the Auckland rail link to its airport. Read the manifesto now and file the link to look at later to see whether Labour really does fulfil on its promises.

 The one issue I singled out for closer scrutiny was criminal offending and prison reform.  Few would question the actions proposed but there was, I think, one glaring omission: preparing prisoners for a life after prison; helping them— while they are still in prison—  to reintegrate with the wider community on their release and lead a useful life without reoffending. 

Monday, 12 October 2020

pn556. Samoan Minister proposes inmates-led building contractor

Here's an idea.  Not legally possible in NZ but it does have some merit:

The Minister of Police and Prisons, Tialavea Tionisio Hunt, is considering seeking approval for the establishment of a building contractor group made up exclusively of low-risk prisoners.

Friday, 9 October 2020

pn555.. The Latest Colmar Brunton Poll 8 October, and some comments on polls

 Have you ever noticed, when percentages are used in the print media in reporting political polls, that they almost never add up. 

I think this is due to three practices: 

  1. only some of the results are published, 

  2. Don't know/Refused to Answer are seldom published or included in totals, and 

  3. the effects of "rounding.  

This would not happen if the media used tables to show percentages, and  if Colmar-Brunton which conduct polls for 1News and Reid for Newshub immediately released the poll. Instead, they wait 48 hours after the media has published the results.  

 So, use tables.  They would show the complete results, and in most cases be easier to understand than the efforts of journalists to report them in text alone. Here's a topical example Note especially note 2.

Thursday, 8 October 2020

pn554. PNG PM Warns Against Autonomy and Independence Calls

 Prime Minister James Marape has publically warned provinces not to ask for, or talk about self-autonomy, referendum or independence, to do so will be an act of sedition once a law is passed in Parliament.  

 Last year a referendum resulted in 98% of Bougainvilleans voting for independence from PNG.The referendum was non-binding but the PNG will find it difficult to ignore, despite the PM's warning.  It may, however, limit independence calls to Bougainville and stop further calls from the other 23 provinces (see map) for more autonomy or independence. The final outcome on Bougainville is not expected anytime soon.

 Click here to read more

Wednesday, 7 October 2020

pn553. Fiji all for Bula Bubble


We are still in discussions with NZ: PM

Oct 05, 2020 09:26:51 PM. Fiji Live. 

We are still in discussions with NZ: PM Fiji is still in discussions with development partners regarding Bula Bubble, says Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama.

He said contrary to some recent media reports, they have indeed expressed an interest to New Zealand to resume regular travel between the countries.

"Given that Fiji is COVID-Contained, given we have gone over 170 days without a new case of the virus, given the exemplary job we have done at managing our border, and given the economic urgency of resuming flows of two-way trade and tourism, we are keen to see those discussions advance past the exploratory phase and onto practical progress as soon as possible," he said.

By Reginald Chandar

Monday, 5 October 2020

pn552.. Entertainment not Political Debates


Debate etiquette calls for adequate time to present an argument for both sides, limited interjections, no name calling and finger pointing, and appeals to fact not emotion. Both of our debates so far have broken these rules.  

And that's before mentioning the role of the TV organizers who, like the chair persons, should be impartial. But in the first TV1 debate the camera showed Judith Collins face-on speaking to you in the audience and Jacinda side-on in shadow speaking to someone off stage, and in the  TV3 debate Judith Collins had 18% more camera time.  What's that they say about one picture and a thousand words?

In both debates chair persons  John Campbell and Patrick Gower spoke  (after ad time is deducted)  for an incredible  20 and 30% of the time, and the "average uninterrupted speaking time in the TV3 debate was less than  10 seconds." (Mark Boyd, Stuff). The TV1 debate was a little better at 20 seconds, but who can possibly develop an argument in even that time? Sound bites, and one off lines, yes, but not a coherent argument about policy.

Interjections, name calling and finger pointing  were also over the odds. Judith Collins interjected 13 and 26 times in the two debates (I didn't count name calling and finger pointing) and Jacinda Ardern 6 and 14 times. The chair persons did nothing to restrain them, and the media applauded. They made the debates more entertaining —as if that is their purpose.

In the first debate Judith Collins was almost in tears when she spoke of the poverty her husband grew up in, and in the second of her brother-in-law being diagnosed with cancer.  Both comments were spposed to be in response to Labour's only partially successful promise to reduce child poverty, and impaired  medical access during Covid. 

She then  outdid herself yesterday by praying  in church on camera as she went to vote.

I hope the next two debates will be better. More likely, the public will be no better informed when they ended than they were when before they started.

Vote Mickey Mouse. Vote Alice in Wonderland. Vote Tarzan with his apes in the jungle. Vote Kiwi 2020. Our media is so fair and helpful!
-- ACW