BIG NEWS: 05/01/2011 - 06/01/2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

The 2011 referendum on the electoral system

Here's a few thoughts on the referendum on the electoral (voting) system.

At the general election there will be a referendum giving you the chance to have your say on the voting system. The Electoral Commission has been working on its publicity campaign and is to post out information on each electoral system starting today.

On election day you`ll be given two voting papers. One will be the standard voting paper, the other one will be a purple voting paper and you`ll be asked two questions:
• The first question asks whether you want to keep MMP (our current voting system) or whether you want to change to another voting system.
• The second question asks which of four other voting systems you would choose if New Zealand decides to change from MMP.

The four alternative voting systems you can choose from are:

First Past the Post (FPP) - the person with the highest plurality of votes in each of the 120 electorates wins – i.e. a candidate can win if he gets fewer than half of the votes, provided he gets more than the others.

Preferential Vote (PV) - the person with the highest majority of votes in each electorate wins, as the candidate must get over 50 percent of the votes to be elected.

Single Transferable Vote(STV) MPs are elected by receiving a minimum number of votes (called a quota – based on the number of votes in each electorate and the number of MPs to be elected in each electorate).

Supplementary Member (SM) - Candidates in 90 electorates are elected the same way as in First Past the Post. The remaining 30 seats in the 120-member Parliament are called supplementary seats. MPs are elected to these seats from political party lists, the same way list MPs are currently under MMP.

If at least half of voters opt to keep MMP, the second question is irrelevant and the Electoral Commission will review MMP in 2012 to recommend, with public input, any changes that should be made to the way it works.

If more than half the voters opt to change the voting system, Parliament will decide if there will be another Referendum in 2014 to choose between MMP and the alternative voting system that gets the most support in the second question in the 2011 Referendum.

The following outlines the split of electorates under the different systems – and how each system compares with the others:
Under MMP we’d have :
16 South lsland electorates
47 North Island electorates
7 Maori electorates
The remaining 50 will be list MPs proportionally allocated from closed political party lists.

Supplementary Member will lead to more North Island, South Island and Maori electorate MPs as there will be fewer list MPs. There are:
21 South Island general electorates
60 North Island general electorates
9 Maori electorates

Once all candidates who receive the highest number of votes are elected, the remaining 30 seats in the 120-member Parliament are called supplementary seats. MPs are proportionally allocated these seats from closed political party lists and are likely to be called List MPs. This system is sometimes called First Past the Post “in drag” as the government outcome is almost identical - and is why many politicos who support National like this system

First Past the Post and Preferential Voting will have even more North and South Island electorate and more Maori electorate MPs as there are no list MPs. We’d have:
•27 South Island general electorates
•81 North Island general electorates
•12 Maori electorates

So given that under FPP and PV, we’d have the same number of electorates in each island and the same number of Maori electorates, what’s the difference between the two systems?

The difference is in the way each MP is elected.

Under FPP, the person with the highest plurality of votes in each electorate wins; under PV, that MP must get over 50 percent of the votes to be elected– and here’s how they do it.

Candidates are preferentially ranked ( 1,2,3 etc) and a candidate who gets more than half of all the first preference votes (that is votes marked "1") wins – as would happen under the other electoral systems..

But it is where no candidate gets more than half the first preference votes that things change. If that was to happen under FPP and MMP, that candidate with the highest number of votes will be elected. However under PV, as candidates are ranked, the candidate with the fewest number of “1” votes is eliminated and their votes go to the candidates each voter ranked next.

This process is repeated until one candidate has more than half the votes.

The Single Transferable Vote system will have the same spread of MPs as FPP and PV but fewer electorates as follows:
• About 6 South Island general electorates with a total of 27 MPs
• About 18 North Island general electorates with a total of 81 MPs
• About 4 Maori electorates with total of 12 MPs

So each electorate will have between 3-5 constituent MPs as, with FPP and PV, there are no list MPs.

Where STV differs with the other electoral systems is that there are fewer electorates ,but up to five people can be elected in each electorate, and parties can have two candidates elected from the same electorate, so if you are a National supporter in a Labour constituency you may not appreciate ending up with two Labour MPs, a Green MP and a NZ First MP. Like PV, voters still rank individual candidates ( 1, 2, 3, etc) , but MPs are elected by receiving a minimum number of votes (called a quota).

Candidates who reach the quota from first preference votes are elected. As there are electorate seats to fill after first preference votes are counted, a two-step process follows.

First, votes the elected candidates received beyond the quota are transferred to the candidates ranked next on those votes. Candidates who then reach the quota are elected.

Second, if there are still electorate seats to fill, the lowest polling candidate is eliminated and their votes are transferred to the unelected candidates ranked next on those votes.

This two-step process is repeated until all the seats are filled.
So, if the country wants to keep MMP, then all we need to worry about is how to change it – i.e whether the threshold remains at 5%, whether MPs who lose their seats can come in off a safe list seat, whether list MPs should also stand as candidates for a constituency etc. If voters decide to change to another electoral system it’s a long drawn out process which will then need electorate boundary divisions quickly drawn up once we know what system is chosen.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Some people are happy most of the time

Today's NZ Music Month track is by a group called The Bats. A great Flying Nun band, although primarily from Christchurch, they released over15 albums and EPs, none which made the top 50.

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Why some campaigners prefer Supplementary Member over any alternative to MMP

Stuff has reported that the Right has MMP in its sights, and has named National - linked bloggers David Farrar and Cameron Slater as part of the discussions. ACT has yet to decide what electoral system it supports, but it's leader Don Brash publicly supports SM ( Supplementary Member).

Cameron Slater ( aka WhaleOil) does not particularly like list MPs, and does not like First Past The Post (FPP). He prefers the Preferential Voting (PV) system. He was pleased that Maggie Barry won her selection for National on the North Shore on the first ballot ( meaning she got more than 50 percent of the vote), using a similar system to the preferential voting system. [update: the difference to PV is that the lowest polling candidate is dropped and rather than the candidate with the fewest number of votes being eliminated and votes reallocated, the lowest polling candidate is dropped and a new ballot held until a clear winner emerges].

David Farrar calls the campaign a pro SM campaign. Farrar prefers the SM system over FPP, thinks PV is too complicated ( despite telling a select committee of his desire for a preferential ballot to rank electoral systems on the upcoming referendum on the electoral system). He thinks SM and STV (Single Transferable Vote) have some merit">. But he prefers a run off between MMP and SM to decide our electoral system, despite considering that SM is "significantly disproportional".

So both Farrar and Slater, along with campaign leaders have discounted STV and PV as they are complicated and difficult to explain. They don't want to got back to FPP as they quite like that people such as Don Brash can get into Parliament without winning a constituency. So if any electoral system is to run off with MMP (if a majority of voters do not want MMP), it should be the Supplementary Member System .

Hence the campaign - to get that run-off.

Tomorrow or the next day, I`ll be looking at the five electoral systems in more detail, for those who think SM, STV ,FPP,PV and MMP are just strange groupings of letters.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

My phone scammer experience

David Farrar from Kiwiblog has been rung by the same phone scammer that has rung me. We have been rung at least 10 times by this lot, and I answered three of these. I had a good conversation with the Asian scammer. She told me my computer was infected, and she needed to get inside it. They were from “Windows”. I knew they were scammers so I asked if they meant my laptop or my computer.

She said my computer was able to be turned on, but they needed to get inside it to fix the infection. As it happens my laptop is working fine but my desktop computer needs to be fixed as it is stuffed and wont boot up.

So she told me in order to see through the “windows” I’d need to turn my computer on. I feigned innocence and asked them to tell me where the button was to turn the computer on. She said it was on the bottom of the computer and all I had to do was press it.

After a wee while she asked me if they I could see my “Windows”. I told them that I could see the Windows perfectly well, here in the kitchen, and asked him if she could see though her Windows. She told me she was looking at her Windows now. I told her I couldn’t see much through my Windows as it was dark. But the Window itself was fine, and perhaps I may be able to see through the Windows a little better in the morning, and could she call back then.

I asked her what was supposed to be around the “Windows” and told the girl I had a nice white frame around mine. She didn’t know what a window frame was.

She said I had some damaging files on my computer and they needed to get into it. But she wasn't sure what kind of damaging files I had. I asked her if she wanted to get into my laptop, but no, she just wanted to get into my computer. After discussing Windows and whether she could break hers if she struck it hard enough, she eventually gave up and hung up on me.

Anyway, since we had been rung so many times I complained to Telecom, who have informed me that they have had tons of complaints and that Internal Affairs has been doing an investigation on this crowd, but as they were not from New Zealand, they couldn’t do that much. Apparently there was a story in the media about this crowd earlier in the year.

I now have my referees whistle next to my phone. If they ring again, I’m going to give them a blast.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I've a couple of friends and they're both called Dave


This NZ Music video is near impossible to find on YouTube in a way it can be embedded, due to record company restrictions. But Ive found it. Its the Headless Chickens song Gaskrankenstation, with a guest appearance by newsreader Anita McNaught.

Yay for NZ Music Month.

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Monday, May 23, 2011

Tapu Misa on our agnostic Prime Minister

NZ Herald columnist Tapu Misa has some Christian friends. And they`re Not Voting John Key Anymore.

Why?

Well apparently, it's because they've just found out that he is as godless and agnostic as Helen Clark. Misa told them after church last Sunday. They were horrified.Spoiled their Sunday completely.

But we all knew that Key was agnostic. He told Salient in 2007 just after becoming National Party leader:
If you define God as some supreme being that when you die you go through the pearly gates, then I don’t believe in it. But I`ll argue that it depends on how you define religion. I’m not deeply religious, and I don’t believe in life after death.
But Key was seen as the “embodiment of family values”. And, apparently, if Misa is to be believed, conservative Christians have only just found out that he isn’t, and he is actually agnostic – and that makes his support by conservative Christians at risk.

Furthermore, just after appearing at the Christian Parachute Festival, Key appeared at the Big Gay out, and Misa said it felt “ like a betrayal by some”.

Oh yeah? Betrayal by whom? Gays, Christians, gay Christians or some of Tapu Misa’s homophobic Christian friends? I thought it was fantastic he appeared at both.

Misa wants to give the impression that support for Key has changed among Christians and inserts an old 2007 media quotes from a National card-carrying Catholic as an example of the initial support. Support may well have adjusted, but Misa's column is a Big Fail because it says nothing new except that she has been talking to a few of her Christian friends but won’t say what they told her.

Misa needs to get out more. Perhaps she could also have quoted some of the “Christians I know who voted for National in the last election because they liked the look of John Key (but) have changed their minds”.

I wouldn’t be surprised if some of them still vote National. Perhaps that’s why they weren’t quoted.

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Saturday, May 21, 2011

the Chills: Oncoming Day

Today's song is from a band that has more lineup changes that any other band I know -but still the same singer right through. Here's the Chills.Great song, shame about the video..

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Friday, May 20, 2011

Budget forces employers to pay more for employees’ savings, while the unemployed lose out

If I have read correctly, Treasury has predicted a 4 per cent wage growth for about six years. In order for that to happen people need to be working and to have wage rises. To have wage rises employers need to pay employees more money. To spend more money on wages, employers have to spend less on other things or to grow.

Despite Treasury being wrong about many things in the past, it could be right, this time. Perhaps wage rises will be funded by cuts to budgets less the increase in KiwiSaver contributions employers are forced to make. Contributions which will now be taxed to give the Government a cut, meaning you have to pay more in your KiwiSaver account, but get proportionally less back.

How can that possibly happen, you ask? Surely you have to have more money to pay higher wages. Perhaps it won’t happen. Perhaps wages won’t grow. Perhaps public money will go into MPs’ superannuation increases to compensate them for losing the $10 a week KiwiSaver employer subsidy the rest of us also miss out on?

Perhaps it is better to give the rich tax cuts so that people like the Westpac Chief Executive can continue to get a tax cut to pay for 500 low paid workers who lose their weekly $10 government contribution to KiwiSaver. That’s the “zero” part of budgeting.

The other part is the real thing: it doesn't jut provide for zero spending it reduces spending by $1.2bn over the next four years. . How do we know? It's in the budget - it contains $4bn spending over the next four years, but identifies savings of $5.2b.

How's that predicted 4 per cent wage growth looking now?

What will happen if a prospective employee starts work. They`ll be offered the opportunity of Kiwi Saver if they don’t have one. They`ll start on a low income and as a result will get more Working for families payments than they otherwise would – but these payments will not compensate for the lower salary that employers offer as they have to put more into their new employee’s Kiwi Saver account.

If employers can’t afford to keep their staff on they`ll be made redundant and the worker will pay less tax but have increased WFF payments with his tax-payer funded benefit, if he has kids. If that former worker wants to go to university to retrain to do a couple of papers, he`ll not only forgo extra employer KiwiSaver contributions, he’ll also have to take a bank loan to fund his studies other than tuition costs, which he can get a loan and pay back later.

Perhaps this budget means the rich - who have had tax cuts - are better off - and the moderately poor, who didn’t get much tax relief and are about to lose some WFF payments are not much worse off – but the poor are permanently poor, can’t afford KiwiSaver, can’t afford to study, and have increasing costs for food and bills.

Their biggest source of income, if they have a few kids and manage to get a part time job for $180 - could be their working for families payments if they don’t want to study on a student allowance.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

I don't like the poor

Well its been a long day - budget day, and here's today's NZMusic Month track from Jeff Simmonds called " I don't like the poor". Live. Unedited.In black and white. And with Murray Hewitt on drums.

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Budget hits students hard

In Treasury's latest forecasts government funding for Tertiary education will fall every year from 2009-2014. Most of this reduction is due to a tightening in eligibility for student loans, but it also includes falls in funding for tuition and other tertiary education spending.

Yet more are entering tertiary education – some in order to stay off the dole, others to retrain. When in government, Labour wanted more to study instead of going on the dole, but National wants more to get jobs now that they are fully qualified tertiary students, and restricting others from getting student loans.

In the budget policy statementBill English said:
We will need to become more effective in moving young people from education and training into the labour market, and also in utilising the skills of others such as older workers, part-time workers, migrants and women with dependent children who may want to work more

But what about those already in the labour market - perhaps women with dependent children - who want to study? Thousands study part time, but will no longer be able to borrow any money through the student loans scheme for course –related costs. Now for the average Victoria University student that may not be such a big deal, for the average Massey student living in Palmerston North doing one paper with no contact course it may not be such a big deal – but what about a person in Oamaru who has recently lost his job and is doing four papers through Massey and has to travel to contact courses in Palmerston North for three of them?

That student will now have to pay for his air fares – after paying for books. Or fail his paper if he doesn’t turn up. And what happens if his laptop breaks down- he can’t go to uni to use their computers – he lives in the sticks. He cant borrow from the student loan scheme to get money to fix it. And if he is 55 or older he won’t be able to borrow for living costs either. The only other options are a bank loan or borrow off friends.

If he is in a partnership and gets a job earning $200 a week, he may be entitled to an abated student allowance, but, due to the nasty abatement regime, if he and his partner earns a combined $700 a week, that family would get less net income than if they earned $400 - income that will have to be used to pay for the air fares and accommodation to the student’s contact course or to fix a computer - both of which would be needed to pass a course of study if the contact course was deemed "absolutely compulsory" to attend.

Getting an education just got harder for some students who don’t want to hitchhike.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

LMNOP

A band named after five letters of the alphabet is the NZ Music Month band today - Elemeno P, with its top 10 single Verona. The song is about a café / bar on Karangahape Road






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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Remember Rombus?

This NZMusicMonth video is kinda cool, Clav Dub by Rhombus.The Rhombus sound is a seamless blend of hip-hop, soul, funk, dub and bass roots-reggae, spliced together with socially conscious lyrics

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Do you want to be educated? Educate yourselves first

Before the election National pledged to increase education spending every year, above what was already committed. At the same time it criticised Labour's pledge card.

Now, the Government may effectively cut education spending. It also wants to ensure that people borrowing for studies were likely to find work that would give them enough income to repay their loans.

To do that the Government has to ensure two things: that work is there to be found and that it pays enough.

Instead, what it is doing is to limit the numbers of students who take out a loan so that fewer of those who earn crap incomes don’t have to spend it on student loans to pay back living costs. It is also cutting eligibility for students over 55 as they are not likely to get jobs as a result of their study that will repay those student loans. This move may contravene the Bill of Rights but the Government has shown it is quite happy to pass laws that are in contravention to the Bill of Rights.

Even if some do get jobs, the Government is telling people to do more with less and praising those who do so by lying about the amount they do have.

Just recently the Government used the Napier Kindergarten Association as an example of being able to “do more with less”. by quoting budget figures before funding cuts were implemented. Meaning they are only doing “more with less” by increasing fees.

Fees, in some cases, that are paid by students who have to put their kids in childcare so they can study.

The amount saved every year by restricting access to student loans will be up to $60m a year.

I think the Government would like more couples to go on the student allowance, particularly if they have an earning partner. Most couples -say, with two preschool children - on the student allowance earning $406.00 a week actually get more than they would if they earned $700.00 - due to the sharp abatement rates. Meaning many of those earning over $407.00 a week are paying more tax( some on secondary tax) but getting less net income - but feel they are getting more net income as they are working more.

With the over 55’s, 70 per cent of money borrowed is not paid back – so that means much of the living costs loaned to over 55’s is treated as a student allowance and as less is to be loaned to these students money will be saved.

How much will be saved by reversing the tax cuts? I`ll give you a clue, if we just reversed tax cuts for those over $70k we’d save $1.625 bn. We could ensure the retention of the $20 tax subsidy for all KiwiSaver members, increase access to education, make ECE free, and still have money left over.

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Sunday, May 15, 2011

Is it any wonder the streets are dark?

Todays NZMusic Month track is apt. We had Rain last night.

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ACT and Mana votes increase in Horizon poll

Last week a Horizon Poll asked respondents
If a New Zealand general election were held tomorrow, which party would you vote for, or which do you have a preference towards at the moment?
Despite ACT’s recent difficulties, it’s polling has gone up every poll since February, now polling 5.3 per cent, up from 3.7 per cent last month.

The Mana Party is polling 2.3 per cent which is quite high for a party that is not even registered with the Electoral Commission. Horizon says that a third of these votes are coming off the Maori Party - a party which was on 2.4 per cent last month but has not lost a third of its vote.

Horizon also says that more than a sixth of the Mana Party vote is coming off the United Future vote, which has dropped from 1.1 per cent to 0.9 per cent.

But the Maori Party vote only dropped to 2.1 percent, meaning that if a third of the Maori Party vote went to Mana, others must have declared support for the Maori Party that did not vote Maori Party in 2008.

Those others must have come from either the undecided vote, or from other parties. My view is that some came from NZ First, whose vote went from 7.4 per cent to 6.8 per cent .

More than 11 per cent support parties that are not currently, or won’t be, in parliament after the election. Additionally, the “don’t knows” went from 8.4 per cent to 4.9 per cent – a big drop. Some former “don’t knows” are now propping up National and Labour’s support –compensating National for some votes it lost to Act. Labour’s vote increased and National’s slightly reduced.

Additionally the margin of error is 2.3 per cent – the same as the Mana Party.

So what does all this mean? Nothing much, really; ACT’s supporters prefer Don Brash and, along with Mana and the Maori Party, have gained some supporters at the expense of NZ First - and the undecided voters will decide the election. If a significant number of the undecided were to support minor parties they`ll have more influence on which of the minor parties decides who governs.

With an undecided vote slashed in half, but not greatly affecting the Left/Right support, NZ First on 6.8 per cent is starting to look rather troubling.

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Kiwi music weekend

Well, blogger as down worldwide yesterday so couldn't post any NZ music on the blog. It was a pretty black Friday for blogger - and it was Friday 13th so here's an appropriate song - One Black Friday by the Mockers


Today song is from an interesting band that some say are needed like you need a hole in your head. They're called Head Like a Hole. These maestros of schlock rock didn't like clothes much.

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ACC admits 44 per cent of reviewed elective surgery decisions were wrong

ACC has said that too many ACC decisions rejecting elective surgery have been “overturned on review”, after being declined due to the injury apparently displaying substantial aspects of degeneration.

The report of a review on ACC elective decision making is here [PDF].

What ACC should have said was that too many more claimants have been handed down incorrect decisions in the first place and there are many more that could have been overturned had the claimants bothered to go to review.

About 10,000 fewer elective surgery ACC claims were paid than the same period the previous year. Between July 2010 and March 2011 an average of 44 per cent of surgery decisions were overturned at review – meaning they shouldn’t have been made in the first place. Of those that had their request for surgery declined, 53 per cent believed ACC had not provided a clear explanation as to why they were declined.

That doesn’t sound all that good.

ACC maintains it was applying the legislation strictly. In reality it was using the review process to determine tough decisions –and riding roughshod over those who didn’t review decisions they disagree with.

This is not strict application of legislation, its blatantly incorrect application of legislation in attempts to control spending on elective surgery. So spending controls on elective surgery are administered by a hope that few would go to review, and those that did go to review have the decision upheld due to dodgy medical opinions that would say the medical condition was caused by degeneration. All at a cost of several thousand dollar for each review.

About 800 claimants apply to review ACC decisions each month. In recent times 4000 people have complained to the NZ Herald about elective surgery review alone. In the year to March, millions of dollars were spent defending ACC decisions that should never have been made in the first place – but could have gone to things like, well… elective surgery, perhaps.

When a case goes to review, ACC should really be revisiting the decision in line with s65 of the ACC Act to see if it should be overturned before review. It appears that this is not being done at all.

ACC appears to be, in the words of Beattie J, too quick to “ seize on that identified state of affairs ( i.e. degeneration) and use it as a reason for declinature".

And he should know, he presides over cases that are upheld at review that go to Court. Overall, around 40 percent are overturned. In fact, as an example, in October last year, of 25 decisions 10 were overturned, meaning ACC and its subsidiary, Disputes Resolution Services, each make many incorrect decisions that are not rectified for some months - even years - later.

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Thursday, May 12, 2011

In the DomPost today

First time I've done this - ran a letter published in the Dominion Post. But this one is a particularly good one

There he goes again. Labour MP Pete Hodgson has been trawling tirelessly through the murk to find a scandal or slur of some sort to pin on Prime Minister John Key - this time it's about a blowout in diplomatic protection squad expenses, being attributed by "trawler" Pete to Mr Key's growing ego.

Unfortunately, it was an own goal. Apparently, he didn't realise that the blowout arose from changes introduced during the last term of the previous Labour government, which are emerging progressively in this term. It's a bit scary that a former minister didn't understand what his own government put into effect only a few years ago.

However, it does reinforce why that generation of Labour politicians should never, ever be allowed near government again.

I guess Mr Hodgson has nothing better to do with his time. After all, he has signalled his retirement at the end of this year. Perhaps he could put himself, and us, out of further misery by advancing his retirement to May 27, thus avoiding another by-election, and doing something more constructive with his life.

IVAN HOSHEK

Camborne
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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

So cold in the desert tonight

This NZ Music month track brings back memories. Coconut Rough only lasted two years but this song is a classic and made the top five in the New Zealand singles charts.

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Dunne plays his hand

This has been a pretty good week so far for United Future’s Peter Dunne.

On Monday he addressed his Ohariu electorate committee with a speech warning against the extremities of Act, declaring that anyone who stands with Hone Harawira is “is someone asking to be burnt”, and referred to Labour as a cot-case and “not a viable, functioning alternative” (to the present government). He also said that parliament has been more honourable for Winston Peters’ departure at the last election.

While his views will have support from both the left and the right of politics, it is clear Dunne sees himself aligned to National in 2011 after he retains his seat.

On Tuesday Phil Goff’s response to the speech was, “I think Mr Dunne will be irrelevant at the next election, I don't think he'll be in Parliament."

Dunne has more chance of being in Parliament after the election than Goff has of being Labour’s leader during National’s second term.

Goff believes Charles Chauvel will become the MP for Ohariu after the election. Chauvel has tried to be elected by the people, Labour has stood him in several elections since 1990, but voters wanted someone else. This year Chauvel is going to run a time for a change campaign. He says “I`ll be satisfied with having my voice heard on the things that matter to me”.

Those in Ohariu want to have candidates voices heard on things that matter to them.

Chauvel has got a campaign caravan emblazoned with his website, www.charles2011.co.nz, a website that is not publicly available, but merely a diversion to his Facebook page that has grammatical and spelling mistakes. Time for some changes, indeed. Not a particularly good start.

Today Dunne put out a media release that will have support from both the left and the right. He called on John Key to assure New Zealanders at he would not allow Maori activist Titewhai Harawira to be his escort at next year's Waitangi Day celebrations due to her unruly behaviour at past hui.

Dunne has called the election for National and says voters need to decide which party should support National after the election. I still think Dunne will win his seat with an increased majority – the question is will he bring anyone else in with him.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

You're just too obscure for me

This track is one of my favourite Flying Nun tracks. Death and the Maiden by the Verlaines. It can't possibly be left out of a NZ Music month roundup .The Verlaines were led by songwriter and vocalist/guitarist Graeme Downes who is currently an academic at the University of Otago teaching contemporary music.

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Monday, May 09, 2011

Pretty Girl, can I take you home on a bright and sunny morning

Continuing on the NZ Music Month theme, here's today's song, Hogsnort Rupert's Original Flagon Band with their number one song of 1970.In fact it was the best selling single in New Zealand for 1970 (and winner of that year's Loxene Golden Disc Award). And, of course, it offers a chance for hear Alec Wishart performing his immortal line "Come on, my lover. Give us a kiss." This will have to do, the original video is unable to be embedded.

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Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mana Party could be good for Labour

Some within the Mana Party are getting excited with a recent Horizon poll that shows that the Mana Party could win 12.5 percent of electorate and 15.1 percent of party votes cast by Maori. But around double that (28 percent) are undecided.

Yet most of those indicating they may join the Mana party – that’s 42.5 percent of those who voted the Maori Party in 2008, and 30.5 percent of Maori nationwide – have indicated they’ll vote other parties. Horizon’s summary is here., showing that the Mana party will split the Maori vote and Labour could be the winner.

Also, a full 53 percent think the by-election – if it happens, and I think it probably will no matter what the people of Te Tai Tokerau think - is a waste of money, but two-thirds want the Maori Party to stand a candidate. Wonder if Hone Harawira will listen to that?

The other trouble for Hone Harawira and company is that, according to the poll, the Maori Party will get even more votes than Mana – and the Labour Party will get more still, with 22.6 per cent of party votes. The party vote will cause the Maori Party no problems, unless that is a reflection of a drop in electorate candidates' votes, as it is reliant on the electorate vote for its members. However the Mana party will be more reliant on the party vote to get more than two members in the House.

Of those who voted for the Maori Party in the Maori electorate, just under 40 percent would vote for them in 2011, and just a third would re-cast a party vote for the Maori Party. And 15.1 percent of around 17 per cent of the population won’t cut it, making the Mana party politically irrelevant.

The survey was conducted through recruitments to a new panel, where Maori participants went into a draw to win $1000 cash and a Wi-Fi iPad2.

In this survey Labour was seen as most likely to advance Maori on employment (52 percent, Maori Party 50.6 percent, Mana 42.4 percent). The Maori Party is ahead on advancing Maori education (60.1percent , Labour 50.3percent, Mana 42.9 percent) and health (62.3 percent, Labour 47.8 percent, Mana 43.8 percent).

One wonders how Mana Party supporters have an idea of Mana policy on health, employment and education when its policies are to abolish GST, and replace with a "Hone Heke" tax, nationalise all monopolies and duopolies (I wonder how many Mana Party supporters know what a duopoly is), and effectively bring back compulsory union membership.

The poll also found that of those who would consider becoming a member of the Mana party, less than half would vote for the party on either the electorate vote or the party vote on election day. The survey didn’t ask why a participant would consider becoming a member. Wonder what they would most likely say: "because I can, bro", or "because I *really* like the policy on duopolies"?

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Home Again

Well I've been away for a few days and now I'm Home Again. So what better NZ Music Month tune to feature today than a Wellington track called Home Again by Shihad .This is the live version live at Aotea Square ( starts 4:40).

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Friday, May 06, 2011

Today' Kiwi track: Maybe in our next incarnation

Not many will have heard this one.Today's song is a great little track by by Jeff Simmonds with the video filmed in his home town of Raumati. It really is good stuff

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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Todays Kiwi music track

Goodshirt always has good videos. Here's a one shot wonder backwards video to a song that doesn't have many lyrics. The following is the entire lyric of this song:

Blowing dirt off the footpath/Leading by example is passed/Like the rest of it/Ahhh/Speeding up but slowing down/More/The less the better/But not I/Broken make up here/The weight on your shoulders isn't mine/

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Rights and privileges of British subjects

The English translation of Article III of the Maori version of the Treaty of Waitangi says this:
For this agreed arrangement therefore concerning the Government of the Queen, the Queen of England will protect all the ordinary people of New Zealand and will give them the same rights and duties of citizenship as the people of England
.The Maori version states:
Hei wakaritenga mai hoki tenei mo te wakaaetanga ki te Kawanatanga o te Kuini-Ka tiakina e te Kuini o Ingarani nga tangata Maori; katoa o Nu Tirani ka tukua ki a ratou nga tikanga katoa rite tahi ki ana mea ki nga tangata o Ingarani.
Act leader Don Brash, commenting on Article III of the Treaty of Waitangi has said that it is “totally unclear from the Treaty whether Maori have different rights from others."

This year he told the ACT party conference that “Article III of the same Treaty makes it crystal clear that all New Zealanders should have equal rights under the law, with no special privileges… for any race.

So, just to recap, does Brash think Article III is “crystal clear”, or “totally unclear” with regard to Maori privileges and rights under the Treaty of Waitangi?

Also, does Brash believe that having to consider any tikanga apart from Pakeha tikanga is according that group a special privilege?

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Wednesday, May 04, 2011

No more buddy buddy, no more messing around

Here's todays NZ music track, Flying Nun band Snapper with Buddy.The song was an ugly little pop song that took you by the lapels, slammed you against the wall, and asked if you liked hospital food; no messing around.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Why Don Brash supports the Supplementary Member electoral system

New Act leader Don Brash today announced his support of the Supplementary Member (SM) electoral system - and no one should be surprised. It's the only electoral system that gets him what he wants.

Although he doesn’t like MMP much, he doesn’t want to go back to First Past the Post either. Entry to Parliament via the list is effortless if you have party backing for a high list place, as Brash did under National. He thinks Supplementary Member should be able to let smaller parties be represented in Parliament, and likes the fact that the list has let people like himself into parliament, but prefers that there are fewer list place. He welcomes under SM, that there will be fewer places, and that minor parties on the Left would get disproportionately fewer of them.

That is because under SM, only the list seats are proportional, and the electoral system guarantees a huge majority for a party that wins both a lot of electorates and a large share of the party vote. MMP is a proportional representation system.

Brash does not support proportional representation, or the recommendation of the Royal Commission on the Electoral System in 1986, that rejected supplementary member. While he wants to see limited and disproportionate power of minor parties in Parliament, he is aware that, under current polling, changing to SM won’t make too much difference to Act if it wins Epsom.

Not so the Greens. If Act were to win Epsom under SM, it would have about the same number of list MPs under SM and MMP, whereas if the the Greens were to get 10 percent, they'd have a proportionately bigger reduction of MP numbers under SM compared to MMP.

Brash also noted that it was not fair that in 1981, Social Credit got 21 per cent of the vote but only two seats. It is also not fair that Social Credit would have got proportionally fewer list seats than other parties under Supplementary Member. Of course, the electoral system is a factor on how people vote, so the 1981 vote may have been slightly different under a MMP or SM electoral system.

Actually, in both 1978 and 1981, the winning party, National, got more than half of the seats with less than half the vote and that was the catalyst behind the electoral system change to MMP.

Here's an illustration from The Standard blog that compares the MMP vote to what the SM vote would have been in both 1999 and 2008.
As you can see, the number of Alliance MP's would have halved under SM in 1999, and the Greens,while having a higher share of the vote in 2008, would have the same number of seats after both elections.

According to the Greens, had the 1996 election been held under Supplementary Member with 100 seats, the 35 list seats would have also been unevenly distributed, National and Labour would have had about the same number of seats they would have in a 120 member parliament, to the detriment of the smaller parties, who overall would have had proportionally fewer. NZ First elevated its share of the vote due to its hold on the Maori seats.

Don Brash wants to reduce Maori representation – which will be less under SM and FPP - and then scrap the Maori seats.

That’s why Brash likes Supplementary Member and wants the Maori seats gone. Under First Past the Post he would never have been an MP as he admitted he would not have resigned from the Reserve Bank to be selected as a candidate.

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Smashproof - Brother

Today’s kiwi song broke a 23 year old record by clocking up the longest consecutive run at number-one by a Kiwi on the NZ single chart, and stayed on the charts for 29 weeks.

The song's lyrics concern the January 2008 killing of alleged tagger Pihema Cameron by Bruce Emery.


Smash proof ft gin - brother by

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Monday, May 02, 2011

Aotearoa music month: Today's song

As it's NZ Music Month I'm going to attempt to post a NZ Music track every day this month. The songs will be some of my personal favourites. Here's Minuit with Aotearoa.

The video is made up archive pictures and footage from the band's past as well as photos sent in by friends, family and fans.

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Sunday, May 01, 2011

It's Hon. Hone now

from the brand new Mana Party website.

MANA, movement of the people, is Aotearoa’s newest political force, led by Hon Hone Harawira, Independent MP for Tai Tokerau.
He is actually the MP for Te Tai Tokerau, not the Hon. Hone Harawira. Not a particularly great start for a new political movement that is after the "intelligent" Maori vote.
Candidate Annette Sykes estimated there were 700-1000 people at the party's launch yesterday. The media more accurately said 300, as you can see from the photo.

Apparently the Mana Party has 600 paid members, so it can now be registered as a political party.

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Nothing to lose

May is NZ Music month. A good way to start NZ Music month is to plug the newish single from The Adults. The Adults is a new project from Jon Toogood (Shihad) and his mates. Expect an album soon.

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Will the Mana "party" get increased taxpayer funding?

It is quite clear that Hone Harawira has every intention of breaking his agreement with the Maori Party not to stand any candidates in Maori seats. Furthermore he wants to get as much money as possible to contest the general election.

That’s why he announced yesterday that he is having a by-election, after lying about it by denying it earlier that day, at a cost to the taxpayer of $500,000. It’s got nothing to do with getting a mandate. It’s to do with getting the $100,000+ leaders budget and other perks in parliament to set up his new party. Whether he succeeds is another matter. I think he is somewhat misguided.

If I was Act leader Don Brash, I'd contest the by-election for the publicity.

Having missed out on the deadline on election broadcasting funding, Harawira is trying to scrape together 500 people to quickly register his party so he can have “Mana” (instead of independent) on the ballot paper and have more money for the general election. An unregistered parliamentary party will not be able to get a leaders budget if it is not recognised as a parliamentary “party”. There is some information about that, here. All registered parties are recognised as parliamentary parties if they have an MP in the House - and the MP was elected on that party banner.

Election candidate Annette Sykes has been asking for 1000 people to support the party by today, so that it can quickly register – even though only 500 are needed. She is also calling on people to enrol on the Maori electoral roll. Once enrolled on the Maori roll, these voters can only vote for candidates on the Maori seats – the seats that Harawira earlier agreed he will not contest. She is talking up the numbers at the weekend’s hui that launched the Mana party, claiming that “more like 700 to 1000” people were there. The media reported 300.

So why are people like Sue Bradford and Matt McCarten behind the Mana Party, when they don’t particularly like Maori nationalism? I believe it is because they see this party as the only party that will threaten John Key’s leadership for the benefit of the Left as Labour is no threat, even with union backing. With the assistance of the unions, they consider this support can increase the party vote beyond five per cent after the election – and perhaps take a few MPs away from the National-supporting Maori Party.

Anyway back to the leader’s budget. If Harawira resigns on Monday he won’t be getting paid as an MP from the day he resigns until the day he is elected - which could be as late as July. And he`ll lose all his parliamentary responsibilities. I’m wondering if there will be much difference between the money Harawira loses between resignation and election in unpaid salary and perks compared to the money he gains as a parliamentary party leader between the by-election and the General election - and to what extent he and his party are aware of this.

Graeme Edgeler has an pretty good post on the numbers, detailing the perks, what Harawira loses when he resigns, as well as providing more information on how the various instruments outline the status of political parties.

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