Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Leaders Debate Update and the conduct of the Political Left

Expanding on two of Andrei’s links in Today’s Election Campaign Coverage, which I think reveal deeper issues about honesty in the election and the possible rise of extremism in New Zealand politics.

“Goff Turns the Worm”

It seems Goff, or at least Labour, really was turning the worm. The worm panel was meant to be made up of undecided voters to give an unbiased impression about the impact of the speeches by both leaders. BUT as shown by Kiwi Blog it seems that a number of Labour activists and diehards were part of the worm panel, no doubt cranking it up to high for Goff and turning it down low for Key.

This was also picked up by the Whale Oil blog who managed to get a copy of the email used by Roy Morgan research to gather panel members. The Roy Morgan email as quoted from that website:
“Hi Everyone,

We are inviting people to attend the TV3 leaders debate on 21st November in the studio in Eden Terrace. I have blind copied this email to ensure your privacy.

We are putting together an audience from a range of backgrounds to attend the debate. It starts at 5.45 pm and finishes at about 8pm. All those attending get $70 to cover travel costs and any expenses incurred.

Refreshments will be provided and I am sure it will be an interesting evening for those who go.

If this sounds like something you would like to do please send me a reply with the best day time phone number to contact you on and I will give you a call in the next day or so.

If you have friends you think would like to go to this please feel free to forward this email to them.

All the best”

Random? Nope. Undecided? Not likely. Orchestrated and manipulated by political activists…you bet.

Even if these well-known Labour people were undecided on what party they would be voting for, ultimately they would be supporting a leftwing party in a political partnership headed by Labour; so will be pro-Goff, anti-Key.

Ultimately I think “The Worm” needs to go as it does have the ability to influence votes, but is far from an accurate indicator.

“You know what really gets me”

Labour has little creditability as in my opinion as they are continuously dishonest.

Labour’s major issue this election is opposing Nationals plans to partially sell state assets but maintain majority control: of course Labour is presenting it as complete asset sales- a gross misrepresentation. Of course most people do not fully understand the policy and Labour is pointing to polls that say 67% of New Zealanders are against the sales so National should not ‘force’ the people into such an unpopular policy.

EXCUSE ME!?! Phil Goff was one of the top ministers in the last Labour government which legalised prostitution, brought in civil unions, outlawed smacking for disciplining of children etc with the full knowledge that the vast majority of New Zealanders were against these things (by more than 67%).

How dare Phil Goff play the man of the people when he forced so much unpopular policy for the social engineering ends of Helen Clark’s Labour-Green government. Remember there was neither popular demand nor referendums calling for these policies; an ideological minority in these parties drove them through. Phil Goff has forced plenty of unwanted things on New Zealanders.

Indeed the passing of these policies, and National ignoring the referendum saying 82% of voters did not want smacking criminalised, show democracy is in a poor state in New Zealand. Our representatives don’t actually represent us.

Of course there are also Labours attack ads which point out over the last 3 years 100,000 New Zealanders have moved to Australia, the rise in living costs due to inflation and how high unemployment is, which is again in my opinion hugely dishonest. We are experiencing a global recession caused by systematic flaws in the global finical markets and Labour is trying to blame National for this? Ultimately Labour seems to have nothing of substance to say, which does not mean people will not be sucked in.

Leftwing extremism?

The second link is to do with Maggie Barry, a well know former TV presenter and National party candidate, being spat at while campaigning on the Northshore, and being asked to leave a café as it was meant to be “Red” i.e. in support of the Labour party (although it turns out this was from mere customers and the cafe owner was quite shocked as it turned out she is a National supporter).

In the article it said she was surprised at the aggression; although should any of us be?

New Zealanders are a pretty well laid back people, indeed so laid back sometimes we can be virtually horizontal. That makes us exposed to what is called “the politics of presence”, which is very much the more active and vocal a group is the more influence it has; even well beyond its numbers. So a small militant movement can push over the passive majority who will complain but that’s all.

I have travelled right across Auckland super city and up north and noticed by far and away those billboards that have been vandalised have been National’s (especially a campaign which attached stickers with slogans negative to National that were designed in such a way to look part of the billboard to discredit them). A visitor to New Zealand might get the impression that the government was unpopular, a view not supported by National might be able to govern alone and John Key being the most popular political leader. The only example of a Labour billboard being vandalised I can think of is one of Jacinda Arden, the Labour candidate for Central Auckland, having “You’re sexy” written on it (and she is, although that’s another matter entirely…).

The leftwing in politics has plenty of activists: from unionists, environmentalists to Maori activists-all know to use extreme tactics in protests. For example the Unite Union, which is very political, has one of its slogans “help us fight Fascism” with a picture of a fist smashing a swastika. Seriously this is New Zealand, where are these Fascists meant to be that threaten our society? Another example is ex-Green Party MP and Mana Party candidate Sue Bradford who used to storm Work and Income offices, which in some instances got very violent.

Do we see this on the rightwing of New Zealand politics? I would say not so much. Indeed it is debatable if we really have a real political right in New Zealand. The last Labour government passed a number of bills, which were unpopular and/or leftist policies, and the centre-right National party has kept them. This is true even in the case of the anti-smacking referendum, which gave a mandate for the government to drop it. Nationals main political partner the Act party, although economically right is almost as socially liberal as the Green Party (due to its libertarian influence). It’s like rightwing parties in Scandinavia; sure they are right of centre but the centre is firmly rooted in the left wing, so they are in worldwide terms still leftwing.

The main point is we do not see any great ideological crusades on the right, on the Left we see militant environmentalism, Maori sovereignty, radical feminism and some unions which can be positively Marxist in their belief in class struggle.

Don’t get me wrong I am a conversationalist, I do believe there are wrongs that need to be righted in regards to Maori issues (although I oppose the grievance industry), a big fan of women and actually believe in unionism but we are not talking about whether an issue is good or not; we are talking about extremes which are always bad.

To wrap up I don’t think John Key was scare mongering when he said if the left can pull off a victory this election, yes the centre-left Labour party would head it but it would rely on a strong Green party which would have great influence and probably key ministerial roles, the Mana party and New Zealand First if it made it in- there could not be a more unstable government in a time we need stability.

We face the problem on the right of centre were ACT looks like it is facing extinction, so who will be National’s political partner to get the support to form future governments? As for the left of centre Labour will always be doing business with parties like the Greens who are not palatable to most New Zealanders.

All of us have to think long and hard about what the future of the country is coming to.

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