Tagged: Helen Clark

Attack – and be attacked

Recently ACT has launched some scathing attacks on both Labour and National, in the hope of tarring both with the same brush and showing ACT out to be the only option for something different. To take just one example, from last week: It’s clear to us that the problem for New Zealand is economic as well as financial. It’s also clear that the political response from John Key and Michael Cullen has been both woeful and irresponsible. Their policy promises will make tough times worse. ACT can keep chipping away on these attacks, but its capacity to be heard is...

TV debates: MMP, not FPP

News that Helen Clark and John Key are refusing to debate each other with other party leaders has understandably been received with anger by Rodney Hide. Television debates are a major platform for small party leaders to put forward their case to voters. Excluding leaders other than from National or Labour devalues votes given to small parties and only encourages the mistaken view that New Zealand has a presidential system, rather than a proportional, MMP environment. Hide performs well in debates and will be annoyed that he will be robbed of a potential opportunity to swing voters from National in...

Is it Worth trying to face up to Hide online?

A few weeks ago an e-mail came across my inbox from Facebook. This is not remarkable in itself – even fellow occasional social networkers like me will be aware that the form e-mails advising that person XYZ “has added you as a friend” come along as regularly as the sun rises and sets. But this time the person adding me as a friend was no-one other than Richard Worth, National’s candidate (and former Member of Parliament) in Epsom who is again standing, this time to try and unseat Rodney Hide as the local MP. My first concern was to wonder...

Time warps, Peter Dunne and ACT

This a “well-strained” post (given that it relates to a comment on a Kiwiblog post about an interview at the Scoop website) but I couldn’t help chuckling at a particularly sharp reader comment about a party which is faring even worse in the polls than ACT: Peter Dunne’s United Future: United Future – the personality cult without a personality. The interview is classic Peter Dunn[e] isn’t it. Sounds oh so reasonable but actually the sum is meaningless. I remember the 1980’s: yes [Sir] Roger [Douglas] was dynamic and exciting. Peter Dunn[e] can never been accused of that….. even then. I...

Populism on the rise again – an opportunity for ACT?

Populism seems to be on the rise again in New Zealand politics. Today we had Helen Clark declaring a virtual war on tagging with draconian, yet ineffective policies to deal with spray-paint vandalism. The chances of this sort of policy, which includes banning the sale of spray-paint to youths under 18, actually working hover slightly above nil. But it’s a popular policy to push to the electorate: 1. Tagging is a bane of the (mostly white) middle class. It gets people riled in a way that banging on about “sustainability” never will. Tagging is emotional, as it gets to the...

Summer speeches 2008: Hide has knives out for Clark – but kid gloves for Key

The reaction from ACT to the speeches given this week by John Key and Helen Clark is extremely interesting. Soon after each leader had given his or her speech, ACT had a press release from Rodney Hide on its website – a rarity in itself these days, when one is more accustomed to seeing a digital stack of issues of Heather Roy’s Diary. First up, Hide commented on Key. It was the traditional “good, but not far enough” argument from ACT. Hide “welcomed” the “good” speech. Key’s “youth entitlement” was a “good” policy. The only problem was that the speech...

Rodney Hide on Radio Live and owning up to being a right-wing party

Today I was fortunate enough to tune into Radio Live just after the 1pm news to hear that Rodney Hide was going to be hosting the afternoon slot (1-4pm) solo. Last week reports to this blog said that he had been paired with Willie Jackson in a left-right battle. I was able to listen until 2 o’clock and I have to say that Radio Live made an inspired choice. It’s hard to imagine any other sitting MP being offered the chance to host his own programme for three hours, although having said that I recall Radio Live hired John Tamihere...

Summer theatre

Bad news. My “prediction” of just a couple of weeks back about John Key announcing a National-ACT deal in his Burnside speech has been dealt a bitter blow (to keep it in TV speak). There won’t be any Burnside speech. According to a report in today’s Dominion-Post, Key will in fact be giving his New Year speech at Ellerslie, with Helen Clark snapping on his heels the next day. Now if it had been Epsom, not Ellerslie, we might have been cooking. But while National and Labour will soon be full of oratory, ACT won’t be. As far as I...

US election 2008: Mike Huckabee and social conservatism – contrasts with ACT

It’s timely to remember that there will probably be two elections interesting New Zealanders this November. Although the election date here has yet to be announced and could be earlier, it seems likely that PM Helen Clark will want to go a full term before calling an election, which if so would come in late November. But one election already has a certain date: on November 4, 2008, US citizens will go to the polls to elect a new president for the first time in eight years. This week, the focus in the US has been on the Iowa caucuses,...

Dual citizenship restrictions on MPs

This week in Melbourne I attended a lecture at which I learnt that here one is barred from standing for parliament if he or she is a dual citizenship holder. This means that every MP in the Australian House or Senate in Canberra is an Australian citizen only. As far as I know, no such rule applies in New Zealand, although the Harry Duynhoven case in 2003, in which a special law was passed to allow Duynhoven to continue as an MP despite breaking the Electoral Act by reapplying for his Dutch citizenship, while still an MP. The Christchurch Press...

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