The New Government

National’s agreements with Act, the Maori Party and United Future have been released, and in general they look pretty good. They are discussed in detail on Kiwiblog here (Act, UF, Maori). I am going to look at a few points that relate to families, and Family Party policy.

Act:

  • Reduce and align personal, trust and company tax rates at 30% as a medium-term goal. Excellent.
  • Various measures to reduce bureaucracy and core government expenditure. Excellent.
  • Delay the ETS so it can be reviewed in the light of the current economic situation etc. It is unfortunate that they aren’t dropping it, but reviewing it is something. Not as good as the Royal Commission would prefer but it is still slightly hopeful.

United Future:

  • National will support a bill on Income Splitting to the first reading. So we won’t necessarily get income splitting (it will just be considered by parliament), and it won’t be for married couples (as our policy is) but rather for however Peter Dunne wants to define a family (which could just be for people with children, who knows). But it is a granny-step in something close to the right direction.
  • Greater use of private hospitals to reduce waiting lists. Excellent.

Maori:

  • Review foreshore & seabed legislation.
  • “The two parties both have policy priorities and there are areas of commonality and other areas of difference. The National Party and the Maori Party will work together to progress these priorities as and where agreement can be found.” Basically a wishy-washy way of saying they’ll be cooperating without saying what they’re planning to do.

Act and United Future agree to support National’s 11 policy priorities and post-election action plan (the Maori party will only support individual policies on a case-by-case basis, but National still has a majority without them), so this should all happen. These policies include:

  • Tax cuts. Good.
  • Cap bureaucrats, focus on frontline services. Good.
  • No parole for the worst repeat violent offenders. Good.
  • National standards in literacy and numeracy. Sounds a great idea, but it better come while cutting another piece of teachers workloads to compensate, they have enough paperwork already.
  • Maintain WFF and Kiwisaver. Good for families already reliant on WFF. It would be nice however to see a long-term plan where WFF was phased out in favour of equivalent tax cuts, there are plenty of problems with WFF.
  • Keep interest-free student loans & provide a 10% bonus on early repayments. Bad, in my opinion. And I have a student loan myself. More incentive to borrow big, as now not only do you not have to pay interest, you now don’t even have to pay off all the principal.
  • “Instruct that a full 12-month course of Herceptin be publically available”. Very bad, as it establishes a terrible precedent of state interference in Pharmac. Pharmac’s decisions can mean life or death for some people. It must therefore be able to decide where to allocate limited state resources based on expert opinion, not based on political interference, as politicians are more likely to be swayed by emotive marketing campaigns for drugs that may not be the best use of state money. Note there is not even a guarantee to increase funding to cover it, Pharmac may be expected to take money away from other drugs to cover National’s whim. Effectively, the government may be deciding who lives and who dies, based on how well drug companies can market their products – we really don’t want that.
  • Repeal the EFA. Excellent.

There’s loads of other stuff in there, it’s mainly good.

Rodney Hide, Heather Roy, Peter Dunne, Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia will all be Ministers. It is odd having Peter Dunne as a Minister, considering he only contributes one seat and National doesn’t need him to govern, but I expect Key is looking to the future and getting in his good books in case UF has more seats next time round.

Act has not negotiated anything with regards to the smacking law, but we can expect them to be strongly pushing for National to honour the will of the people in the upcoming referendum. So hopefully that will go eventually.

All up this is a positive direction for the country. But there are a few negatives in it, state interference in Pharmac being one notable point. It is better than what we’ve put up with for the last 3 years however.

Electorate analysis – East Coast Bays

The primary focus of our campaign this year was to take either Mangere or East Coast Bays, to bypass the 5% threshold. I have discussed the Mangere result here. The main results for East Coast Bays (parties gaining over 100 votes) are below, full results are here.

Parties Candidates
Family Party 435 ADAMS, Paul FAM 3,275
Green Party 1,210 BRADFORD, Sue GP 1,969
Labour Party 6,855 GOLDSMITH, Vivienne (Viv) LAB 5,628
HUTTON, Toby NCAWAP 258
New Zealand First Party 944 JONES, Dail NZF 683
ACT New Zealand 1,844 KRONFELD, Tim ACT 1,149
National Party 19,617 McCULLY, Murray NAT 18,428
United Future 234 McINNES, Ian UFNZ 200
Libertarianz 21 ZAMORA, Elah LIB 50
Jim Anderton’s Progressive 196
Mäori Party 110
The Bill and Ben Party 124
Party Informals 95 Candidate Informals 247
TOTAL 31,889 TOTAL 31,887

East Coast Bays turned out to be our best electorate, and Paul Adams took 10.3% of the candidate vote here. Although this was not enough to take the electorate, he did gain far more votes than Sue Bradford (Green), and the Act candidate. Paul was the third highest polling candidate, after National and Labour. Unfortunately, although we had been pushing the “2 for 1″ message very heavily here (vote for Paul Adams, get both Adams and McCully as McCully would be in on the list), most voters still went for McCully.

In 2005, McCully took 17,213 votes, the Labour candidate took 9,927, and Paul Adams (standing as an independant) gained 5,809 votes (full results are here). In 2002, McCully took 12,134 votes, the Labour candidate took 10,600, and Paul Adams (standing for United Future) took 2,872 (results here). So this is the third election running that Paul has been the third highest polling candidate, above the candidates from any other minor party – which is an excellent achievement in itself. This year there was not so much a major swing to National, as National’s votes remained at about the same level, but rather a swing away from Labour. Many voters seemed to stay at home, with the turnout dropping from over 37,000 in 2005 to less than 32,000 this year. There was a swing towards ACT, and towards the Green party (presumably disgruntled Labour voters). But the biggest change was the number of voters who stayed at home.

It is disappointing that despite a heavy campaign Paul actually polled lower this year than in 2005, but can probably be best explained by the number of voters who stayed at home. There is also the possibility that a few voters may have been put off by his association with the Family Party for some reason. However this is unlikely because Paul polled higher this year, standing for us, than he did when he stood for United Future. So I think the fact that McCully won by a landslide is simply due to the nationwide swing towards National.

Overall, taking over 10% of the candidate vote is an excellent achievement, and certainly something that could be built on in future. McCully is a formidible opponent, as he has been the incumbant there for so long, but he is always high enough on National’s list for there to be no point voting for him, unless you are a Labour voter specifically wanting to shut out a right-leaning minor party such as ourselves. The strange thing about the MMP 5% threshold is that it means it can be best to vote for the opposition sometimes.

Election result

Great result for the country, we finally have a change of government.

It was very interesting to see Clark announce she is standing down, it isn’t surprising she would decide to do that but it is surprising she would announce it immediately. Talk about trust, all these people who voted Labour because they like Helen Clark (and I have found many people in that category while campaigning) will be very disappointed. They obviously couldn’t trust her to stick round and do what she felt was best for the country, rather she just wanted the top job and when she didn’t get it she was gone. Now she’ll force a by-election in her electorate just because she didn’t get quite what she wanted (she is hardly going to stick round as a lowly MP), she obviously has little regard for all the people who voted for her wanting her as their local MP. We don’t always get what we want, and most of us were taught that when we were young with a good smack on the buttocks.

It is good to see National could rule with just Act, and although they may involve Dunne and the Maori Party too, having just the two parties would make for a simple government.

The result was disappointing for the Family Party, but the change of government helps to soften that disappointment. As I said earlier, we don’t always get what we want, but I have no intention of quitting like Clark just because things didn’t go quite how we wanted. It is very hard for parties outside parliament to get in, and this just reinforces that fact. I would like to thank Jerry Filipaina especially for the excellent work he put into Mangere attempting to take that seat, it is very disappointing that that did not eventuate. Paul Adams also did an excellent job in ECB, being our highest polling candidate, but unfortunately missing out too.

I received 441 electorate votes, which I am very pleased with for my first time standing, far higher than the United Future and Kiwi candidates and close behind the Act candidate and Bill Woods. Although this was of course not anywhere near enough to take out the electorate, considering I never actually asked for electorate votes in my campaign (apart from possibly off-hand at one “meet the candidates” event), only asking for party votes, and was standing for a party most people had never heard of, I am very pleased with the result. It is a very encouraging level of support that I should be able to build on in future years should I stand again.

I would like to thank everyone who voted for me or any other candidate, or for the party, for your support. Unfortunately we didn’t gain enough support this time round, it is hard to get your message to enough of the country in your first election, but there’s always another election – try convince your mates to vote for us as well next time!

This new government will not solve the most serious issue in our country today, which in my opinion is our abortion-on-demand culture. We can lobby them for improvements, but to really fix this we’ll need more conservative representation in the next election. So the result is far from perfect, but is a massive improvement over the current situation.

With National in government, more representation from Act, and Helen Clark stepping down, I am certain we can look forward to a better country over the next three years.

Electorate votes

As I said previously, this election will be decided by electorate votes in a few key electorates. Peter Dunne has now announced he will support a National-led government. National needs as many friends as possible, and Labour as few as possible, if we are to have a change of government. So updated electorate recommendations for a change of government are:

To ensure representation from Act, United Future and The Family Party:

  • Epsom
    • Rodney Hide (Act)
  • Ohariu-Belmont
    • Peter Dunne (United Future)
  • Mangere
    • Jerry Filipaina (Family Party)
  • East Coast Bays
    • Paul Adams (Family Party)
  • Manukau East
    • Papali’i Poutoa Papali’i (Family Party)

To ensure NZ First does not get in:

  • Tauranga
    • Simon Bridges (National)
  • Rimutaka
    • This is more debatable. Probably the National candidate, Richard Whiteside, as many Labour voters will probably vote strategically for Ron Mark, giving Whiteside a chance. But it is a Labour seat currently.

The party vote is where you decide which party policies you support. But the electorate vote can be used strategically under MMP, as it makes a big difference to which minor parties are represented in parliament and which are not. Sometimes this may mean voting for someone whose policies you disagree with – I have recommended candidates from four different parties here. But that is the nature of MMP.

This election, strategic electorate voting is absolutely essential if you want to change the government.

Right to Life survey

The initial results of the Right to Life candidate survey on pro-life issues are available here.

As expected, both the Family Party and Kiwi Party candidate responses are a sea of green and yellow (pro-life positions).

The response from the major parties was very poor, with only 4 from National, 5 from Labour and 3 from Green, so it is hard to know how representative these are. But if we assume they are representative, the other parties in order from pro-life to pro-death(?) are something like:

  • National
  • United Future
  • Act
  • Labour
  • Green

Alan Liefting of the Green party is the only candidate to have a full line of red dots as his answers – I have talked to Alan a bit in the past at university and this doesn’t surprise me at all. We must get rid of the Green party.

It is interesting that National looks better than United Future on a cursory glance, but there are few responses to judge them by. This does confirm why the Family Party will find it much easier to work with National than with Labour.

Hat tip: Right to Life New Zealand

Christian Vote 2008

Andy Moore has put together an excellent website analysing which party is best for Christians to vote for this election. He backs up everything he says with facts. His overall conclusion is:

  • Best choice: The Family Party
  • Close second: Act
  • Not recommended, but better than nothing: National
  • Not worth considering: United Future and Kiwi

Putting Kiwi and UF so low may surprise some readers, but as I said he backs up what he says with facts so I would encourage you to read the entire page.

I would add to his electorate recommendations however so it stated:

  • Mangere – Jerry Filipaina
  • East Coast Bays – Paul Adams
  • Manukau East – Papali’i Poutoa Papali’i
  • Epsom – Rodney Hide

Remember that these electorate votes are vital in MMP, both Family and Act need to take one electorate each to be represented after the election. Andy recommends National in other electorates, but I would disagree as electorate votes make little difference to the outcome for either National or Labour. Vote for whoever would do the best job in your opinion in other electorates. But Mangere, East Coast Bays, Manukau East and Epsom are vital to vote as recommended above to ensure we have a decent government after the election.

Check out his other websites too: Don’t Vote Labour and Don’t Vote Greens.

Poll puts The Family Party above United Future

The Herald One Man Poll was published today, and is great for The Family Party. This poll is of 600 people, interviewed on the streets around the country. The results aren’t online, so I’ll put the full results here:

  • National                         43.8%
  • Labour                           35%
  • Green                            8.4%
  • Maori                             4.8%
  • NZ First                         2.7%
  • Act                                 1.7%
  • Progressive                    1.4%
  • The Family Party       0.8%
  • Kiwi Party                       0.4%
  • United Future                 0.4%
  • Alliance                           0.2%
  • Pacific Party                   0.2%
  • Socialist Party                0.2%

This is pretty impressive. The Family Party is polling twice as high as United Future.

There is a lot of error of course, and the Progressive party is polling unusually high, maybe he spent a bit of time in Wigram on his way through? But it is still a good result for us this early in the campaign.

The arrogance of Labour (and National)

I had a very interesting time at Cafe Conversations on Sunday. This was a “meet the candidates” meeting in Christchurch East, but not all of us candidates were standing in that electorate. Candidates there were:

  • Lianne Dalziel – Labour (current Christchurch East MP)
  • Aaron Gilmore – National
  • Mojo Mathers – Green
  • Dr John Pickering – United Future
  • Matthew Gardiner – ACT
  • Nick McIlraith (I think, lots of names to remember though) – Democrats for Social Credit
  • Myself – Family Party

Lianne Dalziel seemed a nice woman but came across as extremely arrogant in one question. We were asked how our party would deal with “powerful self-interest lobby groups”. Ms Dalziel launched into a spiel about the Exclusive Brethren, and went on about how we needed state funding of political parties to ensure parties didn’t have to listen to such groups. Hang on a minute – did she really say that? Do they want state funding so they don’t have to listen to lobby groups like Family First, Federated Farmers, Greenpeace, even Unions? Can you get more arrogant, a politician wanting state funding so they don’t have to listen to the will of the people?

I said we would listen to what they had to say, as they know the needs of those they are representing better than we do, and would weigh it up against Christian principles and the level of apparant public support for the group. The National candidate (Aaron Gilmore) agreed with me. I really don’t see how any other view could be anything but arrogant. We must get rid of Labour this election.

However, Aaron Gilmore did himself no favours on the issue of National funding Herceptin for 12 months. The audience immediately saw through this for what it really is – state interference in Pharmac and politicians deciding which people get health treatment and which don’t (Pharmac has limited resources to allocate) – and he was seriously booed. I was quite surprised at this, because National is obviously taking this position as an emotive issue to buy votes, not scare people away. He then accused everyone who didn’t want Herceptin to be funded for 12 months of being in favour of letting women die – at which point he was shouted down by the entire room and Dr John Pickering (United Future, a medical researcher) stormed across the room and nearly came to blows with him! Matthew Gardiner (ACT) put it best when he said something like “you can’t accuse everyone who disagrees with you of wanting to kill puppies”. Whatever the merit of funding herceptin for 12 months may be, Mr Gilmore needs to rethink how he promotes it!

Dr Pickering (UF) came across as a very likeable man, with very wishywashy policies. I already knew Mojo Mathers (Green) previously, and she came across as very sincere, it is unfortunate that she supports a load of nutty Green policies, otherwise she’d make a good MP. She is profoundly deaf and does an excellent job of speaking to a crowd for someone with that disability. Matthew Gardiner (ACT) came across as a sensible guy who was prepared to listen to the point of view of others.

The Democrats for Social Credit candidate (I think his name was Nick McIlraith) didn’t really come across at all. No-one could understand what he was talking about. Instead of answering the questions he would launch into a long-winded spiel about the evils of the money system which lost everyone after 5 seconds. I felt rather sorry for the guy, as far as I could gather he thought we would be better off under hard-line communism, and I would have been interested to know why he thought communism was such a good idea, but he didn’t manage to convey this at all. Very confusing. People aren’t interested in the money system, they want to know how policies will actually affect them, and he didn’t answer this for any question at all.

After some initial scepticism from some of the audience about my stance on global warming, I got some excellent applause for our environmental policy – once I had explained that the ETS would actually do absolutely nothing for the environment yet cost an arm and a leg to do that, points that Ms Dalziel and Mrs Mathers had conveniently neglected to mention when they had spoken just before me. There also seemed to be support for funding following the child, based on the amount of nodding heads. I also got a great response when I was unable to give a straight answer to a question (that we have no policy on yet) and bluntly said so while pointing out that no-one else had given a straight answer either because we were all politicians!

I had some good discussions with people who had come along afterwards, it was a great afternoon. The food and drink looked and smelt great but I spent so long talking I missed it… My 3-month-old son James was very happy, squealing away down the back, until Sarah had to take him out and walk up and down the road with him because he was so happy he couldn’t contain himself!

Colmar Brunton Poll Sep 08

I have been reporting the Colmar Brunton poll for the last couple of months, as it is the only poll that actually reports the minor party results, other polls sticking them all into an “other” category. For the last two months the Family Party has been sitting above the Progressives, at a similar level to or just below United Future, and Kiwi has hardly been registering at all. But there is a massive amount of error at these low percentages, and this latest poll shows how things can jump around at this end of the poll!

Colmar Brunton Poll Sep 08 Minor Parties

  • Christian Heritage                 0.5%
  • ALCP                                     0.2%
  • Kiwi Party                               0.1%
  • One NZ Party                         0.1%
  • Alliance                                  0.1%
  • Democrats for Social Credit  0.1%

United Future, Family Party, Progressive, Libertarianz and Destiny, all of whom have been registering in the poll over the last two months, got no votes at all. This is a massive turnaround, showing that you can’t place too much faith in these polls! As a 1000 person poll, 0.1% means just 1 person picked that party, so you can see where the error comes from.

However, in previous polls I have been summing the Christian Heritage + Destiny + Family Party votes to get an indication of where we might stand. This is because Christian Heritage and Destiny don’t exist any more (although some voters haven’t realised yet), but we are the closest replacement for these voters to move to. This comes to 0.5% this poll, holding rock steady – it was 0.5% in both August and July. Once again, this is higher than United Future, Kiwi and  Progressives – three parties with current MPs. So although the poll result looks odd compared to previous polls, on closer analysis it isn’t bad at all for the Family Party.

I am keeping a running tally of poll results here.

Broadcasting allocations

The Family Party and the Alliance are currently contesting the broadcasting allocations for the election. There has been some discussion of this on Kiwiblog, where David Farrar has rightly pointed out that minor parties already receive a higher allocation per voter than the major parties, according to current polls.

The problem is not that the Family Party wants more free money, as some have suggested. The problem is that you cannot spend more money on broadcasting than your broadcasting allocation, to quote the Elections website:

Registered parties may only use funds allocated by the Electoral Commission to advertise for the party vote, together with any free time allocated for party opening addresses and closing addresses.

This means that the Family Party allocation of $10,000 is also the limit as to what we can spend on broadcast advertising, which is a major impediment in campaigning. By comparison:

  • Act, Progressive and United Future can spend $100,000 each
  • Green, Maori and NZ First can spend $250,000 each
  • National and Labour can spend $1,000,000 each

All of which is paid for by the taxpayer. As you can see this places the Family Party at a major disadvantage to, for example, Progressive, even though we are polling higher than them. And National and Labour’s massive allocations will ensure they have a much better chance of doing well this election than anyone else, regardless of whether their policies are any good. Each of these two parties has a similar allocation to that of EVERY minor party put together.

In a completely fair system no party would receive state funding, and there would be no limit on spending. This would put all parties on a level playing field, rather than subsidising the incumbents. However we must work within the system we have, and so we must seek a higher allocation if we wish to spend more on broadcasting.

Hopefully the judge can see the logic in this position and will favourably consider our application for more funding, comparable to those parties we are currently polling at a similar level to (Progressive, Act and United Future).

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