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Clark threatens myxomatosis for the party hoppers

Clark threatens myxomatosis for the party hoppers and reveals her true colours

Upton-on-line is not given to lurid pronouncements and rampant scare-mongering, but still feels it necessary to label Labour's proposed anti party-hopping legislation as "Trotskyite".

It is, we are told, the first thing she would do if she won the election. MPs who wish to leave their party, for whatever reason, would be forced to leave Parliament.

It sounds reasonable, perhaps, after our recent experience of those who have hopped from party to party cynically.

But, upton-on-line reminds readers, those people will be judged by the electorate on 27 November. And it seems likely that in most cases they'll pay the price.

Helen Clark is not prepared to rely on the verdict of the voting public. And in insisting that party members toe the line, she is falling in with old, hard-line views about ideological loyalty that run deep on the left. Leaving a party, on whose coat tails an MP has run for office, is not a step to be taken lightly. But there will be times when differences are so profound that to demand loyalty or ejection from Parliament would amount to an unconscionable guillotine on dissent.

It was that dissent that drove Jim Anderton from Labour in the late 1980s. The voters judged his stand to be principled and he stayed on in Parliament to fight another day. Helen Clark should think again. How can this be her number one priority? What's the hurry? Is she already worried about murmurings in the camp?

MPs must be free to follow their consciences. The National Party has always defended that right. Voters will decided whether it has been honourably exercised. There are times when we need MPs to stand up to their party leaders. Honest dissent struggles to survive when instant liquidation hangs as a threat.


OECD rankings:

As promised, upton-on-line did the necessary research yesterday to trace New Zealand's progess in the OECD rankings. Readers will recall that in an interview with Jenny Shipley, Linda Clark had tossed in the comment that New Zealand had fallen from fifth to twentieth in the rankings (implying that this was somehow the present government's fault).

According the OECD's National Accounts, 1998, (on the basis of Per capita GDP), New Zealand's ranking runs like this:

1962 5th
1966 8th
1970 9th
1974 7th
1976 11th
1978 17th
1980 19th
1984 18th
1988 19th
1990 19th
1994 19th
1998 20th

From this we learn that the most dramatic relative decline for the country occurred between 1975 and 1980, when we were overtaken by a large number of European countries (at the same time as we were shut out of many EEC markets).

Since 1980 we have more or less held our own. If anything, it shows just how difficult it is to climb our way back, positioned as we are at the last bus stop and without immediate access to the world's largest and richest markets.


The morning papers:

Upton-on-line is stunned at the credulity shown by the Herald, Dominion and Christchurch Press in their slavish reporting of Steve Maharey's "WINZ-scandal-up-his-sleeve". You have some information, keep it till 5 days out from the election and the papers parrot all your spin (with a couple of paragraphs from the government tacked on the end of the story as a sop to balance).

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