Sunday, 26 December 2010

Return of Prebble's rebels?

Deborah Coddington writes in today's Herald on Sunday, arguing for the return of Richard Prebble to the leadership of the Act Party. Coddington says that this will revive the party's flagging luck.

Prebble's three elections as Act leader certainly were electorally more successful than Hide's 2005 and 2008 efforts. Moreover Prebble gave Act more coherence politically - he was very good at articulating their position. However, he never had to lead the party in any sort of post-election support arrangement, save for backing the Shipley Government in its dying days (1998 - 1999). Hide has, and his problems as leader should be ranked against that.

Hide's real problem goes back to the rise of Don Brash following his infamous Orewa Speech. By moving the National Party to the right, Brash took a significant portion of support off Act. In fact National's 2005 election result could be attributed largely to votes taken off minor parties - Act and United Future in particular. Hide has failed to capitalise on Key's leadership of the National Party, which has seen the party move back to the centre.

While this is clearly a failure of leadership, it's difficult to see how bringing back Prebble is going to change this. Coddington's column might get talking heads talking, but it really offers little substance to the future survival of Act or its leadership.

Friday, 24 December 2010

State of the economy by bullet points

Thursday, 16 December 2010

"Tax cuts don't cause growth"

...actually, it all depends on how you cut taxes, and what you raise. By raising GST at the same time as cutting income tax, the government effectively killed off any growth in consumer spending and hence immediate growth in the wider economy. Raising GST was politically one of the toughest decisions this government has made so far.

By doing so they've given New Zealanders reason to save. The same journalist The Standard quotes also called for a GST rate of 20% just last week (compare that with Roger Douglas' proposed rate of 17.5% in 1988).

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Who's it gonna be Botany?

So, Pansy Wong has done the honourable thing and resigned from parliament before causing the institution further damage. Now for the by-election in Botany next March (which, by the way, essentially confirms the Prime Minister will call the next general election for November).

As with the Mt Albert and Mana by-elections for the Labour selections, the Botany by election will largely be determined by the National candidate selection. Expect their party membership to increase. So the names put forward to be the National candidate matter most. Jami-Lee Ross has just announced his candidacy. Aaron Bhatnager announced yesterday.

Whaleoil provides some analysis. Personally I think this battle is between Aaron and Jami-Lee, and I think Aaron is the favourite - for want of a better word, he's "ethnic", an experienced city councillor and seasoned campaigner. However, Jami-Lee could swing things with his assurance that he will step down as an Auckland Councillor, albeit that will force another council by-election.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Lists of things

Not so many posts this weekend. Weather is good.

Lists to think about:

Monday, 6 December 2010

Put New Zealand First. Don't vote for them.

The Standard has an interesting analysis of what a National win in 2011 might look like. I think the most likely outcome is a National minority government dependent on the Maori Party for support. Act will most certainly be humbled.

But the real problem for the country in 2011, in my mind, is the potential return greatest raconteur of recent New Zealand political history: Winston Raymond Peters. If there's anyone in politics who stands for personal advantage over national interest, it's Peters. I hope the Prime Minister once more rules out doing a deal with him, as was the case in 2008.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Māori electorates by numbers

Some useful facts...
  • 437,400 - voting age population in Māori electorates
  • 174,842 - Electors on general roll who declared Māori descent (39.9% of voting age Māori)
  • 229,666 - Electors on Māori Roll (52.5% of voting age Māori)
  • 404,508 - Total Māori enrolled to vote (92%)
  • 143,334 - Total votes cast by electors on Māori Roll (62% of electors on Māori Roll, 35% of total Māori enrolled)
  • 642,900 - Estimated total Māori population in 2008 (14.8% of all New Zealanders)
This is why the Māori electorates will eventually be dissolved - not Don Brash, not the Māori Party - but simple demographics. 

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Let the foals thrive

So says the New Zealand Herald on the SOEs. While Labour's change of policy on privatisation is a good thing, (if politically bizarre - as The Standard correctly points out, it takes away their strongest differentiation from National, one they played up in 2008) they might not be serious or take their finance spokesperson seriously. Nevertheless, it's cleared the way for a sensible privatisation process from National. The aim should be:
  • Apply the Air New Zealand approach to the existing SOEs;
  • In other words, make them all listed companies subject to Securities Commission oversight;
  • This would allow for the abolition of CCMAU (Crown Company Monitoring and Advisory Unit).
The other option is as the Capital Markets Advisory Group has suggested, which is share floats whenever SOEs or their subsidiaries (for example, KiwiBank) need money to expand, they can list ordinary shares on the NZX. Either way, Mark Weldon wins.

The other way would be to create one uber SOE with all the others as subsidiaries. Kind of like a New Zealand zaibutsu.