Helen Clark abandoning voters

As I predicted the day after the election last year, Helen Clark is abandoning all the people who wanted her as their MP for Mt Albert, because she didn’t win the election.

When on the campaign trail last year I met many Labour voters who voted that way specifically because they liked Helen Clark. She is a very popular politician, although I may disagree with her policies. I personally feel that abandoning the voters who have stood by her in this way is poor form.

A former Prime Minister retiring after losing the position, forcing a by-election, is nothing new of course. Jim Bolger did the same thing.

On the other hand, Jenny Shipley retired eventually, but stuck round long enough to not force a by-election. In the National government at the moment there are Bill English and Don Brash, both former leaders of the opposition, and Bill English and Roger Douglas, former finance ministers, all of whom have stayed in parliament after being ousted from their high positions, unlike Helen Clark and Michael Cullen.

By contrast, Helen Clark:

  • Retired from the leadership voluntarily, unlike Bolger and Shipley, before choosing to retire from parliament.
  • Announced her retirement from the leadership (setting the stage for her leaving parliament) on the election night, completely different to Shipley.

Rather than thanking her voters for electing her, she set the stage to abandon them as soon as she learnt the election result. Furthermore she chose to do this herself rather than being toppled in a coup.

And now she moves to the UN, where she can continue to promote her views to yet more people but without having to be as accountable to voters.

Helen Clark is a well-respected NZ politician. Her views on many issues, although not my own, are supported by many New Zealanders, who elected her because of them.

I feel that by leaving like this she will damage Labour’s reputation with many voters, making Labour look like they are about power rather than policies. Although not a National voter myself, were I Joe Bloggs average swinging voter, usually choosing between Labour and National (the voters that ultimately decide every election result) I would be far more likely to pick a party whose MPs tended to stay to promote their policy regardless of what position they held, rather than retiring as soon as they lose the top job.

Although I disagree with her policies, I feel it is a shame to see her go, and can only harm Labour and upset her many supporters.

She has however done very well managing to become the head of the UNDP, so I must congratulate her on that.

Herald poll: Willie Apiata greatest living NZer

The Herald has had a poll for the greatest living New Zealander – and it apparently showed Helen Clark to be the greatest. Now that doesn’t really make much sense, sure she’s been PM for a while but that hardly earns her the title. On further analysis, it would actually have been nearly mathematically impossible for anyone else to come out on top, regardless of who really is the greatest.

My reasoning is: Out of the top 6, who got over 1000 votes each, the average voter would be familiar enough with 3 names to consider voting for them (they may recognise others but not be familiar with what they have done). But every single voter would be familiar with Helen Clark, as her name has been all over the media for 9 years.

So what would happen if everyone voted at random for someone they were familiar with, assuming everyone is familiar with Helen Clark and 2 other names?

Person                    Random   Actual
Helen Clark              3559        3163
Willie Apiata             1424        2645
Sir Murray Halberg    1424        1467
Peter Jackson            1424        1340
Peter Snell                1424        1041
Colin Meads              1424        1021

Note that:

  • The random values are remarkably close to the actual votes – maybe people just did pick a name at random…
  • Helen Clark actually did worse than would be expected if people had just voted randomly.
  • Willie Apiata stands out as the only person who gained far more votes than would be expected if votes were randomised – he is therefore the winner of this poll in my mind.
  • Even if you assume people are familiar with 4 rather than 3 names you get a similar result.

The fact is that the true “greatest living New Zealander” is probably someone none of us have ever heard of, and probably will never hear of.

Hat tip: New Zealand Conservative

EDIT: I am very encouraged by Apiata’s excellent result in this poll, as it shows that despite the fascination with sportspeople in our culture, people still recognise that courage under fire is of far greater worth than an ability to throw a ball well.

UK Police to ignore public sex

At the moment the UK is a few steps ahead of NZ in terms of the destruction of morality, here is an example of what we have to watch out for here:

Public homosexual activity in parks and public bathrooms must not be impeded by law enforcement officials except as a last resort, says a new set of draft guidelines for UK police.

Deputy Chief Constable Michael Cunningham of Lancashire Police, who drew up the 21-page report, titled “Guidance on Policing Public Sex Environments”, wrote, “In any event it is not for the police to take the role of moral arbiter.” Rather than arresting those who have sex in public, the police should instead guard the “human rights of those people who frequent open spaces” to seek anonymous copulation partners, an activity known as “cruising.”

Basically, as far as I can gather, people who don’t want to be known as gay but still want to have homosexual sex are gathering in parks to do it, in some cases so they don’t have to let their wives know (although the wording is so painfully PC you have to read it twice to figure out what they are really talking about). And the police are being told that it is a “human right” to do this and they can’t be stopped.

There is a big difference between doing something behind closed doors and doing it in public. You should be able to go for a walk in the park without seeing that sort of activity. The police should be policing what occurs in public land, not being told to ignore it. Disgusting.

Watch out NZ, Helen Clark has seized control of our police force, we need a change of government urgently.

Hat tip: Semper Vita

November 8 Election

The election will be held on the 8th of November. Helen Clark spouted a load of waffle about how great they had been for families, and how terrible and untrustworthy National are, but eventually got to the point. Parliament will be dissolved on October 3.

No surprises.

Helen Clark seizes more control

Further to my previous post on Labour making constitutional changes, we just had another major one pushed through. Labour has passed the Police Bill (hat tip: Tumeke!), a bill which is probably well intentioned and has a lot of stuff the police certainly like the sound of.

BUT, this bill also:

  • Lets the Prime Minister appoint the Police Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner
  • Places the Minister of Police under the authority of the Prime Minister

As Bomber says:

Meaning the Police are answerable to the Prime Minister and the Prime Minister hires and fires those who run the policy, it is a closed relationship that does as my co-blogger points out “invites political manipulation, under-performance and ultimately corruption”.

Once again this seems a minor change to law. What is really wrong with the Prime Minister being in charge of the Police? Someone has to and she is democratically elected after all. But when this Act is passed by a Prime Minister who has been investigated by the Police more than any other Prime Minister in the history of the country, who each time have declined to prosecute claiming it is “not in the public interest”, it becomes a bit suspicious.

When it comes at the same time as Labour is planning to abolish the Serious Fraud Office (currently independant of the police and not under the control of the Prime Minister), which is currently investigating the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and move its powers over to the Police (where they would be under the direct control of the Prime Minister now), it becomes still more suspicious.

When it comes after a long string of questionable constitutional changes by Labour, and is rushed in before they leave office, it becomes very worrying.

Now if the Prime Minister were to do something illegal or undemocratic, whether minor (say, speeding or blocking handicapped parks), moderate (such as financial fraud, such as what Mr Peters is currently accused of), or major (such as deciding we aren’t going to have an election after all), who could do anything about it?

  • The Police and the SFO, who could investigate, would be under her control.
  • The court system is under her control (through judicial appointments), and may be unlikely to rule against her.
  • The Governor General would probably not interfere, they are ultimately controlled by the PM.
  • The final safeguard, which you never wish to need, is a military coup. But the military is small and poorly equipped.

I am not suggesting that the current PM will choose not to call an election this year. But we have safeguards around the government for a reason. The more these safeguards are eroded, the more risk we have of some PM, sometime, doing something like this. Hitler was democratically elected, and should be a strong reminder of the need for these safeguards which Labour is systematically removing.

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