Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Madness in Mt Albert

329 Responses

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  • Gary Rawnsley,

    Yeah, Wellington Central would be a better shot, demographically... but the incumbent Labour MP has only just been elected.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    As a counterweight to the PA Popular Front's doom n' gloom, it should be added that getting out to vote for change (unspecified) and voting to say "thank you" require very different levels of motivation.

    I'd suggest National's 2008 party vote is softer than my third chin.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 784 posts Report Reply

  • Caleb D'Anvers,

    There's nothing wrong with sympathetic campaigning and highlighting your ability to work closely with another party in coalition. But note that in 1999 this did not extend to the Alliance meekly bowing out and clearing the field for Labour 'so the left could win".

    That's what I have a problem with, and its what some labour supporters seem to be implicitly demanding.

    Well yeah, but I'd wager that the support bases of Alliance and Labour intersected a lot more closely in 1999 than those of the Greens and Labour in 2009. There are some fundamental aspects of the Greens (marijuana policy and Sue Kedgley, for instance) that just aren't that attractive to a lot of Labour supporters.

    East Greenwich • Since Mar 2008 • 433 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    I'd suggest National's 2008 party vote is softer than my third chin.

    This is very true. The vote bit, I have no solid view on your chin.

    If the widely held belief that the 2008 election was about "change" is even partly true, then those people have their change and won't be interested in the Mt Albert byelection. The Labour/Green turnout could conceptually be much higher.
    Anyone have stats on turnout strength for byelections compared to general election?

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'd suggest National's 2008 party vote is softer than my third chin.

    Fair point. And I do expect Labour to run easily the best campaign on the ground -- they're strong and organised at the party level.

    Of course, we haven't factored in the candidate. I can see that both Shearer and Bates have appeal. And if 24 year-old Bates was selected and did win, it would be absolute gold for Labour. The press would be all over her.

    But Judy's point upthread is well made: the Labour grassroots really should try not to destroy itself over the nomination. That would be bad.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    There are some fundamental aspects of the Greens (marijuana policy and Sue Kedgley, for instance) that just aren't that attractive to a lot of Labour supporters.

    I'll have one but not the other ;-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I'll have one but not the other ;-)

    "Russell Brown declares desire for Sue Kedgley." PAS Shocking News!

    Since Nov 2006 • 6207 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    I'd have both.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    It probably make senses for Labour to help gift the Greens an electorate to try and get the latter an insurance policy akin to Act's Epsom. Perhaps Rongotai when Annette King retires?

    Or they could let the voters decide...

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1661 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    Well yeah, but I'd wager that the support bases of Alliance and Labour intersected a lot more closely in 1999 than those of the Greens and Labour in 2009.

    Primarily because the Alliance was built around people who felt abandoned by Labour during the 80's...

    There are some fundamental aspects of the Greens (marijuana policy and Sue Kedgley, for instance) that just aren't that attractive to a lot of Labour supporters.

    Yeah, and Phil Goff and pandering to the "hang 'em high" brigade probably aren't that attractive to the average Green. But despite those differences, there is still tremendous common ground they can work together on. And maybe one day they'll get the chance.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1661 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Yeah, Wellington Central would be a better shot, demographically... but the incumbent Labour MP has only just been elected.

    I'm anything but impartial on this as I volunteered for Grant. I'd've thought the assessment of which seat might be winnable for the Greens depends on where the Greens are heading since that's going to change through this parliamentary term amd under new leadership. Either way, I still don't know why a seat is so essential (though you're right, of course, to remind me the Greens got up in 1999) since they've increased their party vote each year since 1999?

    So that would be 1827 votes that presumably went to Helen Clark from Green Party voters.

    The gap between Labour (14,894) and National (12468) was 2426.

    You can see how it's getting a bit dicey for Labour ...

    This information from Russell serves only to reinforce the concerns about Mt Albert.

    I'd suggest National's 2008 party vote is softer than my third chin.

    Point well made (but I also know nothing of your chin).

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    There are some fundamental aspects of the Greens (marijuana policy and Sue Kedgley, for instance) that just aren't that attractive to a lot of Labour supporters.

    The latter is not very attractive to people with a sense of humour. And brains.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7386 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    if we send in private troops instead of public one's I don't see how we can sensibly claim not to have privatised something.

    Totally agree - but that's not been called for by Shearer or anyone.

    I might suggest you read his articles. That is very much the undercurrent of some of Shearer's thinking, moreover, he notes that it is already happening in some respects around the world:

    At times, therefore, the UN will need to act forcefully. This in turn implies ‘a willingness to accept the risk of casualties on behalf of the mandate.’ But that is the key reason why western states in particular, refuse to send their forces into messy, brutal civil wars – why more are willing to monitor a more straightforward peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, for example.

    Instead, the emerging picture is of a third world army of peacekeepers, paid by the west – a scenario ‘where some people contribute the blood and some contribute the money,’ as Colum Lynch put it in The Guardian last year. But that too is unlikely to be sustainable. One of the reasons why the highly professional Indian and Jordian contingents pulled out of Sierra Leone was their reluctance to carry the burden for the west.

    Despite the moral arguments, we are some way off privatised peacekeeping forces … But like it or no, we may be heading inexorably down that path anyway. Future troops being offered to peacekeeping forces might well come from private companies than states. The US firm Dyncorp, for example, provided the US share of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe monitors in Kosove. Dyncorp is now training Colombian solider in its drug was. Another company, MPRI, also recently in Colombia, continues to train the Bosnia army in sophisticated US weaponry.

    Private security companies – those protecting private interest – are a booming business in countries where there is instability. Fine for those who can afford it. But these more benign security tasks are a different order form their military cousins. Rather than offering protection only for those who can pay, military companies are hired to influence the overall strategic situation – to protect the public or end the war regardless of ability to pay.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3009 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    This information from Russell serves only to reinforce the concerns about Mt Albert.

    .... from the Labour party

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 346 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Rawnsley,

    Anyone have stats on turnout strength for byelections compared to general election?

    The last by-election in NZ was Taranaki-King Country in 1998 (after a vacancy created by another resigning former Prime Minister). 20,225 people voted in that by-election, compared with 27,387 people voting a year later in the 1999 general election. So, turnout was around a quarter lower for the by-election as compared the general election.

    If a similar drop-off occurs in Mt Albert, we can expect something like 26,000 people to cast ballots in the by-election.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Llewellyn,

    Judging from my own personal samples and canvassing of opinion from round the 'hood (predominantly middle-class, between 30 and 50), I'm fairly certain that this by-election will be almost completely won and lost on the local issues.

    For many, the national political situation has already been well and truly decided in the sense of change, so here is an opportunity to have local political issues - particularly SH20, New North Road, St Lukes, etc - front and centre.

    Mt Albert • Since Nov 2006 • 399 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    I might suggest you read his articles.

    And I might suggest you drop the condescension as I have.

    From my reading, his point is much more about "countries DON'T SEND troops because of the messiness, so the UN needs to look elsewhere to find them", not "countries that do send troops can replace them with private contractors".

    He wasn't talk about running an engagement currently staffed by state peacekeepers with a private force. At best, he was saying "look this already happens and if we want to put a peacekeeping force in at all in the future this may be the only option, so we might want to put controls around it". That's not "I want to privatise the army"

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant,

    The last by-election in NZ was Taranaki-King Country in 1998

    I guess Te Tai Hauauru just doesn't count then...

    (though it is hardly comparable - there was really only one candidate, the major parties didn't run, and so turnout was an appalling 28%...)

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1661 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    .... from the Labour party

    Glenn, fair point, but referring back to what Mikaere and Russell said (and Lynn Prentice too) were the local issues, they are not issues the National candidate will campaign on are they? If not, then it matters to both Labour and the Greens who might win surely?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Rawnsley,

    I guess Te Tai Hauauru just doesn't count then...

    Oops, my bad... I meant to write "the last *competitive* by-election in New Zealand".

    For the record: turnout was 80% in Mt Albert last year. A one-quarter reduction would mean something like a 60% turnout in the by-election. (It was 62% in Taranaki King-Country.) I'd be surprised if it were that high, though: by-election turnouts tend to be driven by discontent with incumbent governments.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    Anyhoo Graeme, I agree with DPF's point that "OMG privatisation" is thrown around far too loosely and I think Key's done exactly that (just like people went "PRIVATISING THE ARMY!!!!" when Roy mused about selling defence land).
    It's used as a negative by default, and I suspect if it hadn't been tossed out like that in this case I'd have agreed with your privatisation take on it.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Gareth Ward,

    And thanks Gary and I/S for the response

    Auckland, NZ • Since Mar 2007 • 1721 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    Glenn, fair point, but referring back to what Mikaere and Russell said (and Lynn Prentice too) were the local issues, they are not issues the National candidate will campaign on are they?

    SH20 - National are offering to complete this quickest.

    St Lukes - National will say they are in favour of increasing job opportunities in Mt Albert.

    Supa-City - rates, rates, rates and possibly rates may enter into this debate at some point. And Maori seats, which is always interesting in non-Maori electorates.

    So yeah National will be campaigning on the issues.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Rawnsley,

    Oh, and going further back, the Selwyn by-election (held after Ruth Richardson's resignation) achieved an incredible 78% turnout - as voters turned out in droves to almost deliver a generally secure National seat to the Alliance (whose John Wright came within 418 votes of upsetting David Carter - Marian Hobbs, with over 2000 votes, was the left-wing spoiler on this occasion)...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    At best, he was saying "look this already happens and if we want to put a peacekeeping force in at all in the future this may be the only option, so we might want to put controls around it". That's not "I want to privatise the army"

    This may be the only option and it's better than doing nothing might not be an ideological argument for privatisation, but it's not an uncommon argument for it ... see for example statements of the type that argue 'ACC is effectively bankrupt, if we don't open it up to competition it will be gone'.

    From the news article:

    He said he was still supportive of using private security forces for peacekeeping as a last resort.

    “If you have got a situation where thousands of people are being mutilated and it’s your only option, then your first priority is the protection of women and children.”

    And the Journal:

    When people in the world’s conflict zones need protecting, it is the United Nations which is most frequently charged with ‘doing something’. Often short of soldiers, it should be given another option, to call on professional military companies to provide human security - for a fee.

    This goes way beyond "this may be the only option, so we might want to put controls around it". It's not as simplistic as "I want to privatise the army," but it seems very close to "if it's the only option, I'm prepared to privatise the provision of military services historically provided by government military forces."

    Is it that some people recognise that he's right, but have an objection to "privatisation" so want to avoid calling it that?

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3009 posts Report Reply

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