Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

ACT's The Letter

The Letter

WIDE OPEN

A significant political realignment has occurred during the parliamentary recess. The NBR poll has National with a significant lead at 40.3%. Labour has fallen to 37%. The Maori party's support is 2.7%.

National: Polling as the country’s biggest party means that Orewa was not a flash in the pan. Brash's law and order speech has been effective. Labour is in real trouble.

Labour: In NZ, governments never increase support during an election campaign. Last election Labour lost 10% from 51% to 41% in just four weeks’ campaigning.

Maori party: 2% plus for a Maori party is an extraordinary performance. The Maori party’s present polling equals 55,000 votes. Last election Labour won all seven Maori seats combined with just 66,726 votes. As electorates are FPP and Labour has lost votes to the Maori party, Tariana has more than enough votes already to win all seven Maori seats. Possibly making her parliament’s Kingmaker, or should we say Queen.

The Greens: 6% is a good poll result and the Greens look likely to do well.

NZ First: Peters has lost his Maori vote.

United: Despite campaigning against gay marriage, the party has not won the Christian vote. Next election United faces challenges from the Christian right, the Christian Heritage party and the Destiny church.

ACT: Rodney is running a strategy that National cannot form a government to carry out any of Don Brash's promises unless ACT is there.

WHERE TO FROM HERE?

Helen Clark's strategy was to win the Maori vote by funding Maori programmes while publicly not being seen to do so. All the high profile apologies and marae visits had been delegated to Michael Cullen and Margaret Wilson. The challenge from the Maori party has forced Helen Clark to appear on Sunday night TV news apologising to Maori. Her claim that she had been visiting that particular marae regularly for 10 years comes as a surprise to the electorate, the reporters, and to the marae itself. The new strategy is a losing one. It reminds the electorate that there are two laws in NZ and, with the success of the Maori party, gives no one a reason to vote Labour.

LABOUR'S SPIN

Labour's spin is that it can still govern even if the Maori party wins all Maori seats. The government argues (convincingly) that it is hard to see Tariana supporting a Brash-lead government. The problem with this argument is the dilemma Helen Clark faced last election – voters have two votes and look to see likely coalitions when voting. Helen Clark used voters’ nervousness about the Greens to win middle NZ voters over to Labour. Next election all Don Brash has to do is mention the possibility of a Labour /Green / Maori government to see a stampede to the centre-right.

THE COURT OF APPEAL

The Letter has had time to study the Court of Appeal judgement. While all the judges were careful to say the court respected parliament’s right to organise its own affairs, in effect the judgement criticises the actions of MPs and imposes on parliament the political views of non-elected judges. Article 9 of the Bill of Rights 1688 is one of NZ's oldest laws and states, "The freedom of speech, and debates or proceedings in Parliament, ought not to be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Parliament." The judges have done just that. The court adopted Donna Awatere Huata’s lawyers' claim that it wasn't she who altered the proportionality of parliament by voting against her party, but the ACT party and the Speaker by reacting to her conduct. As the dissenting judge put it, "So the rugby player sent off for foul play can be said to have 'acted in a way' that reduced his team to 14 players even though it is equally true to say that it was the referee who sent him off".

Parliament’s Standing Orders are binding. Party leaders are required to advise any changes in party numbers. The Speaker is required to declare an MP who has left their party to be an independent. Implicit in the court’s finding is a claim that the Standing Orders are a voluntary code and the Speaker did not have to declare Donna an independent. The judges also decided that voting against your party doesn’t alter proportionality in parliament! Indeed the court went so far as to decide that Maori broadcasting was not an important issue to the ACT party. This is despite ACT voting against taxpayer provided Maori broadcasting at every single stage. Last election, one law for all was a key policy. The court, in order to reach its ruling, had to rely on a number of statements by Labour MPs in parliament. The court acknowledged there were opposing views but these were dismissed on the grounds they were not the "majority". It's hard to see how the judges could have interfered or questioned the proceedings of parliament to a greater extent. It is now one all between the High Court and the Appeal Court.

It looks like a decider is needed.

AN APPEAL?

Media commentators have wrongly concluded an appeal is now a matter for ACT’s new leadership. The case is still in the name of Richard Prebble and Ken Shirley. Donna originally sought the injunction primarily against the ACT party so the ACT party’s lawyers argued the case. The case against the ACT party has been dropped. Richard Prebble is considering bringing an appeal to the new Supreme Court and conducting the case himself. He regards the case as quite simple – ACT party voters voted for nine MPs and now have only eight.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Last week we asked your views about the PM's choice of allies. 6% of respondents thought Helen was right to align us with Hamas. Most of you do not like it. This week's question, "Should Richard Prebble appeal to the new Supreme Court to have Donna Awatere Huata removed from Parliament?" http://www.act.org.nz/poll - We'll pass on your views to Richard Prebble and Ken Shirley.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Decision Day: Peters Chooses Labour

Winston Peters says he will form a Government in coalition with Labour and the Greens giving confidence and supply.

Peters said he had been offered the position of Deputy Prime Minister and a number of other ministerial posts would go to his colleagues

He said economic and monetary policy changes were needed to face a coming economic downturn.>>>More

Reaction

Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome

 

Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…More>>

ALSO:


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>

ALSO:

Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>

ALSO:

Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>

ALSO:

Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>

ALSO:

Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election