Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Democracy Night

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  • BlairMacca, in reply to Stephen Hill,

    All the talk about ‘huge majorities’ is making me wonder whether I can’t see the numbers on my screen properly. A quick analogy – Key scores 48 points for his side (Nat, Act, UF) to take them to a total of 49.7 points (51 if you add in the Maori Party) while the other team (Everyone else) scored 50.3 (or 49). That’s great individual result for Key but …

    Im not making excuses, my guys got routed. But, the government as a whole, actually lost seats. National gained 2 seats, Maori lost one (two if you count Hone), Act lost 4. Thats a net loss for the government of 4 seats. Plus on specials National, after all that could only gain 1 seat.

    The difference being this time is the wasted vote is very small with NZ First being back. Sure its a strong government, but if National drops back over the next term (very likely) things will get whole lot harder for them.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 201 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lucy Stewart,

    Any government being able to do whatever they want without having to consult anyone else is a recipe for Very Bad Things.

    And our system lacks most of the checks and balances that other nations have, like an upper house. Weak opposition and media means little effective constraint on the executive.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Lilith __,

    Plus the turnout was only 74 percent.

    Yes, the trend of declining turnouts for local body and general elections is a worry. But it doesn’t make the outcomes any less legitimate. Which, for the record, is what I said to certain folks on the right vapouring that Len Brown had a “weak mandate” after winning a plurality of mayoral votes off a 50% turnout. Oh, Boo-fragging-hoo, you sooks.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Greg Dawson,

    the bold opinion that 48% of the vote means you can do whatever you like

    An angle pushed heavily by Michelle Boag in yesterday's Q&A show. Entitlement central.

    Naturally none of the panellists meant to offer counter perspectives mentioned those recent opinion polls showing that the vast bulk of New Zealanders still oppose asset sales.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    it’s been terribly painful

    I'm sure Cantabrians don't need us Aucklanders speaking for them, and certainly not painting them as victims.

    ah, snap

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Hill, in reply to Sacha,

    How do go about putting together a citizen's initiated referendum (on asset sales)? Anyone have some spare time before Christmas?

    Palmerston North • Since Mar 2008 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Turning on the radio to hear the Prime Minister again apparently not knowing what words mean was vaguely dispiriting this morning.

    Speaking of words, what the hell is "cellarellerised"?

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I wish Nikki Wagner would stop saying the result is, in large part, some shining endorsement of National's post-#eqnz actions

    That comment raised my hackles -- trying to leverage off the earthquake is abhorrent. National did do well as government in its handling of the disaster response, but Labour would have done equally as well. Where National have done appallingly, and Wagner damn well knows it, is the secrecy and non-negotiability of Brownlee's strategic decision-making. A dead heat result in a near-marginal seat (boundary redraw and demographic shift ensured that by 2008)when a large chunk of the voting electorate has buggered off is hardly a ringing endorsement.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    the result is, in large part, some shining endorsement of National's post-#eqnz actions

    Sadly somewhat true though. If citizens and their representatives felt strongly otherwise they could have organised and voted accordingly. They didn't.

    I tend to agree about the tastefulness of mentioning it, however.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to 3410,

    cellarellerised

    Cindarella-rised, with slurring.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    National got 48% of the votes cast, but it only got got a third of the votes of those eligible to vote. This isn’t to minimise Labour’s defeat, but rather to highlight the collapse in democratic participation that has been going on for a while now and is accelerating under Key’s watch. The National party political strategy – refuse to be accountable, refuse to engage, abuse urgency to ram through changes before they can be discussed and rely on building a cult of celebrity around it’s leader – has in my opinion had a direct impact on voter turn out by rendering politics as a disembodied sideshow to brand Key. But it is more than that.

    to draw a longer bow, a lot of voters increasingly see replicated in the style, language and behaviour of our elite cadre main political parties the culture of their own workplace, where processes to ensure consultation and empowerment are cynical charades of going through the motions. How easy then to transfer the sense of disempowerment felt at the hands of the authoritarian lip service of the boss class to an assumption the professionalised political class is just the same? After all, if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck…

    The rapidly falling turn out should be the main story of this election and the shocking voting statistics from Saturday should be framed and hung over every politicians and journalists desk to serve as the mummy at the feast. But of course it won’t be the biggest story, or even covered that much except as a hand wringing exercise soon forgotten. And that is because the most common affliction of any elite is the dangerous failure for it to recognise it’s own tendency to error. To address the falling turn out would be to address the errors of our elites, with all that implies.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1811 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Stephen Hill,

    How do go about putting together a citizen's initiated referendum (on asset sales)?

    Needs a strong integrated campaign, not something that's easy to ignore like a referendum. Labour has a chance to atone by devoting some energy to that, along with all the other major organisations and movements (including Winston First which should put a firecracker up Labour's clacker).

    Needs to be like the (temporarily successful) campaign against mining in national parks, which will also need to reactivate within the next year as the govt gets even more desperate for dirty revenue.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    to draw a longer bow

    from the figures I've seen, more National voters stayed home than the others.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I'm also geo-blocked from saying

    sorry, I missed that one earlier.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Sacha,

    I’m sure Cantabrians don’t need us Aucklanders speaking for them, and certainly not painting them as victims.

    FFS, Sacha, is it OK if I suggest Burns stop blaming people who’ve left the city for finding himself in a dead heat? Clayton Cosgrove seems able to do it. So does Meagan Woods, Lianne Dalziel and Ruth Dyson who, I’m sure, would prefer their majorities were a little more comfortable.

    And last time I looked, Burns is a sodding Member of Parliament. I thought we were big on expecting MPs to own their words around here? I found it tone deaf on Burns' part, and obviously plenty of folks agree to disagree. Fair enough - but I don't think it's fair, or welcome, to act as if a clear expression of personal opinion was "speaking for" anyone in Canterbury.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Wow. Even if he's right (and I don't know if that's the case), one might think it's a little tone deaf to be talking about red flight. (One could also note with some asperity that Lianne Dalziel & Ruth Dyson are taking their still-healthy-but-reduced majorities well. Also would have picked Megan Woods' majority in Wigram being larger than it turned out, but still.)

    Apples and pears Craig. Chch Central was emptied out in parts, Chch East (Dalziel) was buggered in much of it but people are still there, ditto Port Hills. Megan Woods did well given Wigram was Jim's personal vote.

    Burns is right to cite flight as a reason, The less you have (business, home, family, roots and networks) the easier it is to leave. I seriously question myself at least once a month whether it's worth staying, particularly for the children's future. I have all of the above and its a hard call; so I would surmise that small-c conservatives (which I am not) would be less likely to leave.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Sacha,

    the result is, in large part, some shining endorsement of National’s post-#eqnz actions

    Sadly somewhat true though. If citizens and their representatives felt strongly otherwise they could have organised and voted accordingly. They didn’t.

    I can assure you that a good many of them did. Gerry Brownlee had the numbers, and correctly calculated that the severely disadvantaged could be safely ignored. You may recall the Avonside Blog post linked to earlier that drew some sobering parallels with the Occupy movement and the plight of those disadvantaged by the quakes:

    So far the Red Zone protests have stuttered, and failed to gain momentum. Fortunately for politicians what underlies the protests is not widely understood. As with the financial crisis, the issues of public versus private good, and of private profit and public loss have not raised their heads sufficiently, or widely enough, to ignite a critical mass of criticism or objection.

    Brownlee didn’t bother to campaign this past election. Apart from appearing in consumer mode at the City Mall reopening, he’s been too busy. It’s worked like a dream.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 3559 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Bugger the polls.

    Many polls before Saturday showed strong public opposition to sales.

    "I utterly reject that," Mr Key told the Herald, in a clear indication of his intention to forge ahead.

    "An election campaign is all about the contest of ideas. One of the most hotly debated issues was the mixed ownership model and the contrast between that and increasing New Zealand's debt. And in Government we lifted our party vote."

    He acknowledged that some New Zealanders were anxious about the mixed ownership model.

    "But I think we got a mandate."

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    the issues of public versus private good, and of private profit and public loss have not raised their heads sufficiently, or widely enough, to ignite a critical mass of criticism or objection.

    Note the passive language. Issues don't raise themselves, though I understand how little resources the movement had to draw on in the absence of proper support.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    playing the victim card on behalf of others gets tiring.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Sacha,

    Sadly somewhat true though. If citizens and their representatives felt strongly otherwise they could have organised and voted accordingly. They didn't

    Too tired, too busy. Everyone here is bone-weary tired in a way I have never experienced before ( and I had twins in middle-age). Everyday life takes longer because the locals just aren't there: no supermarket, no dairy, no Post Office, no local pool, you get the picture. And when you've found the PO that licenses the car (miles and miles away) it's off to the mechanic to replace the shock absorbers from the sinkholes in the road, the air filters from the dust, and it goes on.

    We don't have the energy, and most families I know are keeping going, just, hanging on until the Christmas holiday.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2608 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    As does seeing someone shape messages without adequate public push-back.

    Mr Key said the Christchurch vote, which saw National outstrip Labour in the party vote in every electorate, was an endorsement of the Government's response to the earthquakes.

    "I always thought we had a lot of goodwill in Christchurch. I am constantly stopped in the street and thanked for the support in Christchurch."

    While a series of challenges needed to be resolved, from insurance through to EQC, "I think everyone who is living there is quite conscious of the enormity of the challenge".

    It also reflected the work that Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee had done, said Mr Key.

    "He has copped a lot of flak along the way but that is because people have genuine frustrations ... but for the vast bulk of Cantabrians they can see he is doing everything he can."

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16771 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock,

    Took my two-year old daughter to the polls for the first time, just to show her what this democracy thing is all about, but mostly for the amusement value of putting an 'I've voted' sticker on her. Those stickers really were awful - only stayed on about 30 seconds (which admittedly is around 27 seconds longer than the lifespan of the joke).

    I'm mildly troubled by the papers unequivocally calling it for Key two days in a row (HoS, SST, today's Herald) - it seems like once the specials are in, there's some room for an upset in the negotiations. Or have I missed something.

    I'm also troubed by the spin around the asset sales: Key is spinning the increased percentage of the National vote as a mandate. But that ignores the decreased turnout/overall numbers of voters. I've not crunched the numbers, but if the overall number of National votes is less than 2008, that's not exactly a ringing endorsement. Anyone enlighten me?

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Sacha,

    Weak opposition and media means little effective constraint on the executive.

    Which is why on election night my hope is always for a divided parliament, for a minority government that is forced to compromise to achieve changes. Sadly kiwis seem easily frightened by the possibility.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3420 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Sacha,

    Note the passive language. Issues don't raise themselves, though I understand how little resources the movement had to draw on in the absence of proper support

    The community groups have been hammered; their HQ in town was lost, most have been working under severe constraint physically and are still doing so and resources are at an all-time low. Meanwhile the disaster relief funds accumulate while those who help those without have nothing to work with.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2608 posts Report Reply

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