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AGENDA: Political Satire + Rodney Hide IV


AGENDA Presented by Lisa Owen - Political Satire + Rodney Hide IV

©Front Page Ltd 2007 provided thanks to TVOne and “Agenda”

MEDIA BACKLASH
Challenging the ban on political satire

LISA Yesterday the major television networks including TVNZ and TV3 pledged to partially defy parliament's ban on broadcasting images which satirise, denigrate or ridicule MPs. The new rules were passed by the Standing Orders Committee which includes three MPs from the National Party, however National Party Leader John Key has now said that the rule banning satire should be revisited. We approached four members of the Standing Orders Committee but National MP Anne Tolley was the only member who would front on the issue, she joins me now from Gisborne.

To begin with can you tell us a little bit about what went on in that select committee, I mean how vigorously was this issue debated?

ANNE TOLLEY – National MP
Good morning Lisa, look I think the intention was clear, we wanted to open up parliament with the screening of the whole of parliament, we wanted to loosen up the rules that had been quite restrictive. The general feeling in the National Party is it's all about open democracy, people have a responsibility if they come to the debating chamber of parliament they need to behave themselves, if they come down and make obscene gestures like Ron Mark or they lose their temper and use foul language like Steve Maharey then people have a right to see that and they have to take the consequences. There was concern and a great deal of discussion about how you then control what happens to the images from then on, and I think that’s where we've got ourselves into a bit of trouble. What the concern is about where you have someone taking images from parliament and putting them together in a way that actually misrepresents what's happened. Say for instance there's a tragedy, it's been discussed in the House and then images are mixed in with the announcement of that tragedy that shows people laughing and jeering, that totally misrepresents what actually happened and that’s where the major concern was around what happens to those images later on.

LISA So there was pretty fulsome discussion there, where your caucus was fully informed about where things were headed?

ANNE Oh yes as the senior whip I distributed the rules throughout the caucus, I had several conversations with colleagues about the – it was mainly around how we loosened up those rules so that we could now have shots of parliament from a wide angle, we could have shots of interjections, of reactions.

LISA So you gave that to the leader of your party, so John Key had all that information, you had that conversation with him as well.

ANNE Yes, everyone had that.

LISA So why now has he decided to do this turnaround and when did he inform you that that was his position?

ANNE Well I think it was made very clear in that last week of parliament when the notice of motion went on the order paper and the media then read it through and started expressing some concerns about some of the fine print, and I mean I had a discussion with Verne Small, I know Gerry Brownlee had a number of discussions and also went and talked with the Speaker and when the notice of motion was debated on Thursday Gerry Brownlee made it clear in the House then you know it wasn’t our intention, if we've got it wrong then let's sit down, find a way to make it right and put it right, and in his speech to the House he made it clear that we had sought an urgent meeting of the Standing Orders Committee when parliament resumes and we want to readdress that issue.

LISA But in saying all of that you still voted for it?

ANNE Yes that’s right because parliament goes live when we return on July 17th and we wanted to have the new rules in operation, we wanted the cameras to be able to show a much wider and broader picture of parliament and so the agreement was that we supported the rules going into place but we came back to the Standing Orders Committee to have a look at the concerns that the media have raised.

LISA But why couldn’t you have done that under the existing standing orders?

ANNE Well there are no orders for the broadcast of parliament other than question time at the moment so we wanted the rest of the debating that goes on in parliament to be shown, to be able to be shown and in order to do that we had to pass the notice of motion, so we wanted to put into place what's there because most of it I understand the media are very happy with, there's one or two issues that we want to go back and re-debate and John of course was overseas when that happened so he's just made that assurance that in fact that will take place.

LISA There was a recent column in the UK newspapers in the Independent written by Simon Carr and it basically said faced with the same difficulties that we're having here, the media will take parliament more seriously when parliament takes itself more seriously. He in fact said that 90% of the time when parliament's open for business the chambers of the Commons are 90% empty, I know he's talking about the British parliament but isn't that the same situation here in New Zealand?

ANNE Yes and people often comment on that, the fact that not everyone is in the House all the time, in face I think probably the main time that you see all the MPs in parliament is at question time, they're off – there's meetings happening, there's other work happening and normally only people are in the debating chamber who are involved in that particular debate. Most of our debates are very structured and you only have a certain number of speakers are able to take part in that debate and normally you have your debating team there, one or two often come to give their colleagues a bit of support, some people come down and sit because they're genuinely interested in the debate, but you don’t often see during general debates a lot of MPs in their seats.

LISA Okay well let's take a look at MPs the way that they would like people to see them and this is a little extract from John Key's video diary, I think it was posted yesterday and it's on U Tube, let's have a look and listen.

John Key: 'Here we are outside the White House, it's Friday afternoon we get back to New Zealand, we've had a pretty busy schedule up here but …on Capital Hill and the White House, yesterday we were in the White House in the west wing, it's much smaller than the TV show I must tell you, but anyway it was a pretty amazing experience to be in there, went down to the Pentagon, there's ….our defence staff there US Agricultural the State Department of US Trade, so it's been a very extensive tour.'

LISA Okay on that note let's bring our panel into the conversation, going first to Richard Long.

RICHARD LONG – Columnist
Well ANNE correct me if I'm wrong but it looks to me like John Key has sort of come back from abroad and taken one look at this row and done the Mr Sensible John Key act like he did on smacking and said look let's sort this out, is that roughly what happened?

ANNE Yeah I think that he's made it clear that we're happy to sit down with the media and find a way through all this, it's certainly not National's intention to try and restrict what the public can see about their MPs, and yes he's just shown a bit of leadership.

RICHARD One thing I couldn’t quite understand with your comments earlier, I mean if people start cutting material and inserting it into other pieces then there's a complaints process which can deal with that, were MPs not aware of that?

ANNE Yes, yes and when you look closely at the rules that we brought in last week they do have to – everything has to comply with broadcasting standards, so perhaps we misunderstood the wording because I think the clerk did get a lot of that from other jurisdictions, we looked at Australia in particular and how they manage their broadcasting and we understood that that would be under the normal broadcasting standards. Now if that’s not right then let's have another look at it.

LISA Okay let's go to Chris Trotter.

CHRIS TROTTER – Political Commentator

Well I was reminded of something that the late Warren Berryman said to me in regard to politicians and the news media he said you know they should never pick quarrel with people who buy printer's ink by the barrel, and I really was reminded of that quip when this whole you know contretemps broke out this week, but I do have a certain degree of sympathy for the MPs because I think the people who are in the political world do feel that the rest of the country sees them as liars crooks and villains of every shade and is only too happy to present them in that way to the rest of the world.

LISA The question is why do they see you in that way?

CHRIS
Well I think actually there is quite a serious debate to be had on this question, I think that there is a trend which you can trace over the last ten or twenty years of trying to say that politics is a demeaning, certainly not a noble profession, and if you were to go back 50 years you'd find that there was a very difficult attitude to our political leaders.

LISA Let's get Anne's response to that.

ANNE Well I certainly hope that no one thinks that I'm a liar or a crook, and I think – I know that most of the people that are in parliament with me are genuinely wanting to make a change for the better of the country, they work hard, they are responsible and National certainly believes that you are judged by the way you behave, so you know you have to take responsibility for your own behaviour and if that is seen to be by the public whether it's on television or in any other form of media to be irresponsible and demeaning then you deserve to be judged that way.

LISA Thank you very much for joining us this morning National MP Anne Tolley live from Gisborne.


NICHE POLITICS
Keeping on the radar

LISA Hullo again, this weekend is the Act Party's Wellington Regional Conference. Languishing in the polls the party's last conference in Auckland attracted just 30 people, this only serves to highlight the importance of Leader Rodney Hide's Epsom seat, but where do his political and personal priorities lie? Hide's appearance on the television show Dancing with the Stars initiated a health and fitness kick which has culminated in a soon to be published book My Year of Living Dangerously. Rodney Hide says he's a changed man and a changed politician, he joins me now. Why did you feel the need to write a book?

RODNEY HIDE – Leader, Act
Oh I think it's important, I think politics is about ideas and that you need to set down your ideas and what you want for the country and so I had an opportunity to do that so that’s what I did this year, and one of the things that was interesting was everywhere I went people were asking me about Dancing with the Stars and its impact on me and so that’s how I motivated the book.

LISA Other people did Dancing with the Stars and they didn’t experience this great sort of revelation or epiphany so what happened to you?

RODNEY I'm not sure that’s true in fact everyone that I've spoken to that did Dancing with the Stars it was a big impact on their life, so but I think for me it was you know particularly so because for ten years I'd just been a politician, I'd worked 24 hours a day literally seven days a week at being a politician and we had a very bad election result in 2005, we went from nine MPs to two MPs, I took that very hard, because you know I stand up for the ideals of the free market, of free enterprise and personal freedom and those the greatest ideals in politics I believe that there are, and so I felt that I'd let them down by doing so poorly in the election, we won in Epsom so I was committed to working hard in Epsom but it forced a bit rethink about my whole you know what I was doing and I felt au fait and when I was asked to go on the show it was the scariest thing that had ever been put to me and I thought well if I say no I'll feel a wimp as well as a failure and so I decided to do it and I decided to do it to the best of my ability, and it was quite amazing because I have never been so terrified, and I don’t know why you'd get so scared dancing because I mean nothing's going to happen particularly, but I think we're so scared of humiliation and because dancing is putting yourself right out there particularly if you can't dance, and what I discovered was I was moving around the country doing the show, the dancing show and people were crossing the street to encourage me to be positive and it sort of gave me the confidence to go again next week, and so it just was a reminder of New Zealand without politics, of what it was to be growing up before I went to parliament.

When I went back to parliament after dancing I got a shock, because essentially I think I'd been institutionalised, I'd been sitting in parliament for ten years, turned up there not knowing anything, learning how it works, and of course a lot of parliament is designed to undermine your confidence, to be nasty, to knock the other person and I'd learnt that really really well and had been quite good at it, and I thought actually we can do so much better than this and we should, we should be more positive for the country, and I thought well if I can get on TV in the cha cha outfit and dance in front of a million people on TVNZ then surely I can work in parliament in a much more positive and constructive way.

LISA But why did it take Dancing with Stars to teach you that, because at the leadership election that was one of the issues that was raised by people that perhaps you needed to soften your image, move away from the nastiness the perk busting, why did it take Dancing with Stars, why didn’t you listen to your colleagues in that.

RODNEY I think there's an interesting thing here, you know how people are telling you sort of, you know like your mother, telling you something and you sort of hear it but don’t really listen and you need a bit of a jolt and Dancing with the Stars was that jolt for me you know and I guess I turned up to parliament not knowing a thing and I worked out you know how it worked and I tried hard to do it well, then when I went dancing it was a real jolt and it brought me up and so I think I needed not just the words I actually needed the jolt to get there and I have to say it gave me a lot of confidence which I think in politics often the bombastic nature of politicians is actually hiding our lack of confidence and I mean my sort of thing now is nothing – coming on your show doesn’t terrify me now because you know it's not as bad as trying to dance here in the studio.

LISA Tell us something that we don’t know about that’s going to be in this book, tell us something from the book.

RODNEY Oh there's quite a bit that’s new because you know I go behind the scenes of parliament and politics and I go behind the scenes of Dancing with the Stars, and I also talk about you know what we can do in New Zealand to make such a difference because you know it's quite frustrating, I think New Zealand can do so much better it's a great country but I think if we had a better politics, if we had a politics that was more open and transparent, if we got taxes down, if we used private enterprise more, gave people more competition and choice we'd be a richer more prosperous and actually a happier country.

LISA Now I take it from this new change in you that you don’t dump on anyone in the book?

RODNEY No, and there's a reason for that, I actually don’t think you should use a sort of position of privilege to sort of get an advantage on people, I have done that and I've always felt bad about it afterwards, so you know you can write a book and put your spin on things, so it's not a book about dumping on people, having the last word, it's a book about what motivates me, it's a book about the jolt that dancing gave me, it's a book about my early life which I think will be interesting to people and also my vision of the future, I've also got a bit in there about health and fitness, because now think of this all my adult life basically I've been a fat guy and I went dancing and I was so sort of terror stricken by it I forced myself to get my weight down and I came out of that and I thought well what's gonna happen now is I'm just gonna balloon back up again and in fact if experience is anything to go by I'm gonna get even fatter than I was because that’s what I found I could sort of diet and exercise, get down, and then I'd relax and go booph and I'd be … balloon.

So I went and got professional help and I thought well if I can get a good dancer to teach me how to dance maybe I need help on exercise and nutrition. I did that and I mean hey presto I'm no longer constantly hungry because you know even though I was fat I was eating poorly, so it's been a big lesson to me that proper nutrition has made such a difference. It's actually even made a difference to my memory and actually to the way I feel during the day.

LISA Let's bring you back to the politics, you're gonna give a speech later on today and in that you say with just two MPs our ability to be an effective opposition is severely compromised. On the political front then why did you go off and dance, why did Heather Roy go off and play at soldiers when you acknowledge there that it's tough enough when there's only two of you in parliament?

RODNEY Well there's a good reason for that. One of the things that happened after 2005 election was we went down to two MPs, I made a commitment that my job was to be the best MP Epsom has ever had and so I work very very hard in Epsom. When you go across to parliament your question time, your speaking time is all dictated by how many MPs you have, so I mean I get one supplementary question a day where we used to get eight or nine, and so just the speaking time and question time is limited. If you can only get one supplementary question a day you can't be a very effective opposition MP, I guess the National Party get 36, 38, and so what I then did was I thought well okay this is an opportunity to get out amongst New Zealand, to get around the country to talk to people and so sort of rebuild …

LISA So it was like being on the campaign trail almost?

RODNEY Well no, better than that, because when you're on the campaign trail you're basically telling people what you're gonna be doing, what this was was getting out and finding out where New Zealanders were at and then bringing that back and reinvigorating the Act Party, and what I discovered was, actually it was the same lesson I learnt door knocking in Epsom, is that yes people want to see, there's a bit desire to see more private enterprise, free market, you know dropping taxes right down to 20 cents in the top, to getting on top of government waste, to cutting red tape, but what they also want to see is politicians being positive and talking about their ideas and again that’s what the book is about.

LISA So why then are you now talking to Labour, explain that to us. If those are all your principles why are you talking to someone who might not ….?

RODNEY Again after the Dancing with the Stars I thought the way to improve parliament is actually to get around and talk to the other political parties and to be honest in a caucus of two you know we sort of have quite quick meetings, so when you have nine or ten or 48 MPs or 50 MPs I imagine you're quite busy just with them, with two MPs it's sort of all done over coffee. So Heather and I said well let's talk to the other political parties, so we started talking to the Maori Party, to the United Party and to the Greens and to the New Zealand First MPs.

LISA But Labour though.

RODNEY No let me just go through this. We spent a year doing that and we've worked out where we agree where we disagree, we've started to work together, we disagreed with the Greens on the anti smacking bill which I thought was a silly bill but I never abused them, and we worked through that process coming up with a code of conduct, then we took ourselves off to see John Key and the National Party and I basically said this, listen I'm working as hard as I can to be the best MP Epsom's ever had, we are going to be committed as the free enterprise party, as the flat tax party, as you know cutting out government waste party, as getting rid of the red tape party - I understand that you're gonna move closer to Labour in terms of policies but just understand where we are, and he said yeah I've got that, I said we are working with the other parties, and then I went across to see Helen Clark and I said the same thing I wanted to explain where Act was, and I said and Prime Minister I've been working very very hard, I don’t attack your Ministers any more, and she said I noticed that it's sort of halved our workload, and I said but I've been working hard on this bill to cut red tape but I need your support and she said well she'd have a look at it, I said well that’s great, and she said would you mind looking again at the Therapeutic Goods Act, and I said well we've looked at that and didn’t like it it's too much bureaucracy, restricts competition and choice, and she said well I understand there's been some changes made, and I said look I'll have a look at it and I've been doing that.

LISA Before the break we were talking about your new found friendliness with Labour, I know Richard Long wants to ask you some questions about that working relationship, let's go to Richard.

RICHARD One question I had on that Rodney was what good is that going to do you in Epsom?

LISA Oh to be honest people in Epsom didn’t want an opposition gunslinger as their MP, that was very clear when I was campaigning in 2005, they wanted someone that was positive for the country, they certainly favour less taxes, they certainly favour the free market, but they didn’t want someone that was just negative attacking the government, and so I think Epsom people appreciate having the MP that says here's what I stand for, here are the principles, I haven’t compromised the principles, but like I say I'll talk to all the socialist parties including National because it seems to me that National is basically now with John Key, and I can understand this because the politics are such that in order to win the votes he's moved right over and shifted the National Party that their policy position is very identical to Labour's and so there's me standing there with Act, yes we stand four square for the free market and free enterprise.

CHRIS I just want to pick up on that because I think listening to your chat with Lisa before what became very clear to me was that there really has been something of a shift in parliament and I think probably John Key has led it by moving his party as you say towards the centre of the political spectrum, I wonder too of that’s in a way a reaction to what happened last year because I don’t think I've ever seen parliament as antagonistic as it was during the whole pledge card issue for example where really you know it was hard to see you know how more antagonistic and vituperative it could have become, and I just wonder because you know your own response talking to Labour seems to reflect that change of mood.

RODNEY Let me quickly summarise, it wasn’t the most antagonistic I've seen parliament, it was up there with 96 to 99 which was very antagonistic parliament, I think what was different is that with Don Brash he articulated a completely different vision for New Zealand to the Labour Party one, a completely different path, a different set of policies, and of course they were very Act like, you know it was free market, free enterprise. Now what John Key's done is he's taken National back to being a conservative party, a party if you like of the middle, of a party that’s saying you know there's not that big a difference between us and Labour but we'll be more competent if you like. Now that’s opened up a big opportunity obviously for Act because now we are the only free market free enterprise party and I think it's fair to say that Don Brash basically you know took that part of the spectrum from us…

CHRIS In that case looking at the effect of Don Brash's conduct in 2006 for you to be more abrasive rather than less?

RODNEY Well there's two things, one is policy position and the second is style, so the policy position that we want for Act is one that’s absolutely committed to the principles of free enterprise, the second thing is style and what we're working for with style is to say look, yes we can talk to all the political parties and what are we trying to promote, we're trying to promote competition and choice, we're trying to promote free enterprise but we talk to them.

CHRIS Rodney, don’t the people who back that hard line private enterprise stance want to see you laying about those turncoats with a large stick?

RODNEY No I think they actually want to see a better New Zealand and if they just want to see a politics where it's Rodney Hide bashing someone up well that might be quite good entertainment but it actually ain't going to make a difference to the lives of our kids, it ain't going to make a difference to New Zealand, it's just going to be part of the fluff of the daily news. What I want to do is for example I've got before the Commerce Committee my Regulatory Responsibility Bill which is you know going to make a big difference in terms of making parliament and our politicians more transparent and therefore more accountable when they pass law and make regulations and so it's going to actually work to stop red tape.

CHRIS Do you sense more give on that from Helen Clark and …

RODNEY Well that’s exactly what happened because I mean we didn’t do a deal that she would vote for my bill and I'll vote for my bill, we did a deal where sort of she'd look at it and I'd look at hers sort of thing, and I mean that’s the way I think politics should work, and so what happened was, I mean no one in socalled opposition has got a big bill before a select committee before, well there's me with just two MPs, I've got a big bill and it is a big bill, I mean people say it's up there with the Fiscal Responsibility Act in terms of its significance for parliament and for New Zealand, and I mean I've got it through to a select committee with 108 votes to six, now you don’t do that by going along being an abrasive fellow, you actually do that by going along talking to the political parties, explaining your bill, setting up a bit of trust, and that’s what I said to Helen Clark I said at the end of the day we have trouble with the Therapeutic Goods Bill because it's anti competitive and anti choice, it's overly bureaucratic, we've made some recommendations which I've sent through to the Minister and we may not be able to vote for it at the end of the day, but I'm prepared to look at it, but the most important thing to me is that we do this with good faith with good trust.

CHRIS In a way it's contradictory within the system that we've inherited from Westminster, because the parliament itself is constructed as an adversarial chamber opposition versus government, and yet MMP forces people into this kind of well I'll look at it and you'll look at mine and we'll see what we can do, and so you’ve got two traditions bashing up against one another.

RODNEY Absolutely, our whole parliament is set up as there's a government and there's an opposition and that doesn’t make sense because under MMP what does it mean to be in opposition, you know are the Greens in opposition, is Act in opposition, is Winston Peters in opposition. The nature of MMP is quite a different arrangement to be one party in power the other party in opposition, and we still have a bit of a carry over of this and just you know again I make the point there's a big difference between sticking to your principles and voting accordingly with your principles and also talking to all the political parties, it's not to sell out your principles, actually what that’s trying to do is get your principles understood and implemented.

LISA Let's bring Richard in here because he's interested in your bill and would like to see it go the distance.

RICHARD The Regulations Responsibility Bill yes frankly I think Rodney deserves great kudos for getting it this far, I don’t know frankly how you managed to do it as you say as a two members party and it does rack up there with the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Reserve Bank Act and viewers may not know but what this would do would be simply to …

LISA Cut red tape.

RICHARD Well stop the government from imposing regulations on us every day at huge cost which they do at the moment.

LISA So what are your chances though of going the distance with it?

RODNEY I think they're very very good and I mean everyone's sort of against red tape, what they're not sure about is what to do about it and what this bill does is it just actually makes the politicians in parliament have to tell people how a bill's going to affect their fundamental rights, their rights to contract, their rights to their private property and what the bill is intending and it actually forces a review of all existing legislation as well, so it's far reaching and I think it's got a good chance.

What's important now is I've got it to the Commerce Committee with the support of parliament, I haven’t got it beyond that but now that gives an opportunity for members of the public by August the 10th to make a submission and they can write in and say look we're concerned about red tape, we support this bill, or here's my experience of red tape, you know here's how it's affected me when I tried to build a tree hut for the kids I had all this sort of hassle, and I mean it's gonna be over to the public now because my concern is if the public don’t make their concerns heard to parliament through the select committee process parliament will conclude that red tape isn't a problem which would be a mistake, so the goal now is to get the public aware of this bill, to be making submissions, have a good hearing in the committee, have the committee say gee whiz we can fix up this bill in a few ways, put it back to parliament and let's vote to clean up our red tape.

LISA We're gonna have to leave it there, thank you very much for joining us this morning Rodney Hide.


FINAL THOUGHTS – GUEST COMMENTATORS

LISA Let's go to our panel for their final thoughts. We had Rodney Hide on before playing nice in the sandpit but as parliament what do you make of that Chris Trotter, why are they talking so nicely together?

CHRIS I mean I was just blown away by that interview, it's just not what we associate with the Rodney Hide of yesteryear, but I do think it is symbolic if you like of the way MMP is changing our political institutions and it's about the necessity of you know bringing coalitions together on quite distinct quite discreet issues and this latest example I think you know is a classic case because we've really got the government, a social democratic party reaching up you know to the absolute end of the political spectrum from their perspective, you know to mount a majority for a bill that they're having trouble with.

LISA But Richard would you say it's a sign of desperation, I mean there you are saying we've got third-term-itis there, you'd be friends with anyone if you can get a vote.

RICHARD Well there is a sign that Helen has to talk to everybody but at the risk of being a bore I'd like to actually go back, forget about Dancing with the Stars and everything else, go back to what Rodney has achieved this far with the Regulations Responsibility Bill. Now look I mean this is, the Institute of Accountants estimate that the New Zealand economy is dragged down to the extent of 25 billion a year with regulation, now okay some of that’s good regulation and helps the economy run, but much of it's not, and you’ve got the picture of this economy ramping around the racetrack dragged down by all these lead weights, if we could cut a few of them well not only does the economy perform better but we want to pay less in tax, less in local body rates and all the rest of it and a classic example would be dog bites child, everyone gets upset, cabinet minister or MP says right we'll microchip dogs, what a good idea everyone says, no one addresses whether the microchip will stop dog biting child or how much it will cost everybody in terms of rates.

LISA But if he wants to get that bill through that’s why he has to be friends with everyone.

RICHARD Exactly well he's got it this far and that’s the amazing feat, and frankly as the accountants do say, they say it stands up there with the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Reserve Bank Act and it would be a great third prong to have if it could be got through.

CHRIS I think you should stop talking now because every leftist in the country is going mmm, mmm.

LISA How is this new sort of friendly conciliatory kind of image going to go down in Epsom do you think?

CHRIS Well I was trying to work that out myself, if I was a voter in Epsom looking at Rodney this morning I'd be thinking 'he's my MP eh, mm.'

RICHARD That’s a problem in Epsom.

CHRIS Yeah and I was only being slightly facetious when I said that you know Act is at the end of the political spectrum as far as the parliamentary parties are concerned on the right, there's a huge space that has opened up between Act and National with John Key leading it into the centre. I mean I think Act would be able to you know make some real ground up if it did take to National with a stick.

RICHARD Well I don’t know about that. The right I think, far right, the only way to get rid of Labour is to go with National, so Act has really lost all it's …

CHRIS Yes I think there's a growing sense among people on the right that to get rid of Labour at any cost may not be in the end you know the victory that they were seeking because if to get rid of Labour you have to adopt virtually all of Labour's positions then what in fact is the point of taking part – unless Richard you're going to welch on all your promises after you’ve got the votes.

RICHARD It may not be the absolute that they want but it's probably better than the alternative which is a fourth term Labour government, that’s the way they’ll think.

CHRIS` Yes well these are the calculations we all make.

LISA So how is Act and National going to slot in together then Richard, is he gonna get a free hit in Epsom, Rodney Hide?

RICHARD I don’t know, I mean they must be thinking about that.

CHRIS Why would they, why would they, I mean they're not even rating at 1% in the polls, I mean National can just roll that seat up it seems to me and put it away.

RICHARD And the problem is with National giving away all its blue ribbon seats over a period what does National end up with you know, you know you give away too many of these seats and you become a real rump party, they can't do it.

LISA Alright thank you very much for joining us this morning.

ENDS

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On 19 June the Sunday Star Times published my column on the relationship between the Labour government’s stewardship of Aotearoa New Zealand’s health system and the outcome of the next general election expected to be around September-October 2023: Is the health system an electoral sword of Damocles for Labour... More>>


The First Attack On The Independents: Albanese Hobbles The Crossbench
It did not take long for the new Australian Labor government to flex its muscle foolishly in response to the large crossbench of independents and small party members of Parliament. Despite promising a new age of transparency and accountability after the election of May 21, one of the first notable acts of the Albanese government was to attack the very people who gave voice to that movement. Dangerously, old party rule, however slim, is again found boneheaded and wanting... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Predictable Monstrosities: Priti Patel Approves Assange’s Extradition
The only shock about the UK Home Secretary’s decision regarding Julian Assange was that it did not come sooner. In April, Chief Magistrate Senior District Judge Paul Goldspring expressed the view that he was “duty-bound” to send the case to Priti Patel to decide on whether to extradite the WikiLeaks founder to the United States to face 18 charges, 17 grafted from the US Espionage Act of 1917... More>>


Dunne Speaks: Roe V. Wade Blindsides National

Momentum is everything in politics, but it is very fragile. There are times when unexpected actions can produce big shifts and changes in the political landscape. In 2017, for example, the Labour Party appeared headed for another hefty defeat in that year’s election until the abrupt decision of its then leader to step aside just weeks before the election. That decision changed the political landscape and set in train the events which led to Labour being anointed by New Zealand First to form a coalition government just a few weeks later... More>>

Digitl: Infrastructure Commission wants digital strategy
Earlier this month Te Waihanga, New Zealand’s infrastructure commission, tabled its first Infrastructure Strategy: Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa. Te Waihanga describes its document as a road map for a thriving New Zealand... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Leaking For Roe V Wade
The US Supreme Court Chief Justice was furious. For the first time in history, the raw judicial process of one of the most powerful, and opaque arms of government, had been exposed via media – at least in preliminary form. It resembled, in no negligible way, the publication by WikiLeaks of various drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership... More>>