The Labour sense of humour

I had an interesting exchange today when I tried to sign up to the newsletter of my commie opponent in Selwyn, David Coates. On his website you can sign up for the Selwyn Standard, a newsletter for “members, supporters and friends of Labour in Selwyn” As I am quite happy to be his friend, I figured I may as well get his newsletter, but it wasn’t as easy as it sounds!

Upon emailing his agent to sign up, I received this response:

I am afraid that the Selwyn Standard newsletter is only for supporters and members of Labour in Selwyn. If you require information about David or the campaign, please feel free to contact him directly or check the website for updates.

Oh, so I can’t be a friend? How disappointing! My reply:

I wasn’t expecting that response. There must be a hidden agenda I’m not supposed to find out about!

But maybe Labour staff lack a sense of humour:

I think it is quite reasonable that as an opposing candidate you are not privy to where and when we plan to carry out campaign activities, what help our campaign might require from supporters or other matters of a sensitive nature, just as you would not expect to be allowed to attend our committee meetings or read our internal documents.

To which I could only say:

I was speaking in jest about secret agendas, your MPs are continually joking about them in the house and I presumed the humour would not be lost on someone interested in current politics.

I expect it will be an interesting campaign, but possibly not as amusing as I was hoping. It would be extremely easy for anyone to give false details and obtain their newsletter, so if they are offering a sign-up link for it on his website they can hardly consider it secure. Stooping to the level of Trevor Mallard and obtaining other parties internal documents like this is a bit low however, especially for a candidate for a Christian party. I have decided to set a better example, this election is about “trust” after all. But if anyone else receiving the newsletter finds anything in it I may be interested in, feel free to pass it on!

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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!

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.

Cafe Conversations this Sunday

If anyone is in the Christchurch area and would like to meet me, I will be speaking on Sunday at:

Cafe Conversations

Casting a Christian Vote – Candidates Panel

Sunday 14 September

2:30 – 4:30pm

Board room corner Beresford st and Union st

Cafe Conversations is run by the New Brighton Combined Churches. There will be a number of candidates there from different parties, so it should be an interesting afternoon. Make sure you say hi if you come, it would be great to meet the faces behind the blogs.

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).