Friday, March 01, 2013

ACT's problem

PRIMARY VOTENationalLabourGreenPartyNZFirstMaoriParty*ManaParty*ACTNZUnitedFutureConservativesOther

General Election, July 27, 200220.941.3710.4n/an/a7.16.7n/a6.6
General Election, September 17, 200539.
General Election, November 8, 200844.9333.996.724.072.39n/a3.650.87n/a3.38
General Election, November 26, 201147.3127.4811.066.591.431.081.070.602.650.73

I was pondering the latest Roy Morgan poll results and this table in particular.

Thinking about the minor parties, it struck me that ACT has nothing going for it.

Greens have environmentalism.

NZ First has a charismatic leader.

The Maori party has race.

Mana has extreme disaffection.

United Future has religion, though losing it to the Conservative Party.

But what does ACT have?

Freedom isn't it. Because all of the people who fall into the above categories would consider themselves primarily interested in freedom. Freedom is highly subjective.

Capitalism? Business people are pragmatists and will vote for a likely, safe result. And most don't actually mind government being significantly involved in the economy.

ACT has no brand. It has nothing for people to emotionally identify with.

This isn't an attack on ACT. It's just my explanation for why they poll so poorly. ACT is going to have to do something very radical if they want to survive the 2014 election.

I'm not much of a marketer but I'd go back to basics and hammer personal responsibility hard. Get spokespeople outside of parliament making statements that make National look wishy washy.

When New Zealanders took responsibility for themselves, their families, their friends we had a stronger economy, more social cohesion, less inequality, less crime. But it can't be a backwards looking campaign. In many ways the country is a much better place to live in today than in the 1950s and 60s. Women in particular play a much bigger role in the economy and have much more autonomy. But there is a group of women (and their children) shut out as a direct result of diminished personal responsibility. ACT needs to keep consistently showing that individual responsibility is paramount. For example, a child failed by a parent can never be fully compensated by other minor players in their lives. They need to be brave enough to say things that will be unpopular in parliament and with the media but will resonate with a large, non-vocal section of the population. BUT they need more voices.

Unfortunately John Banks may be an impediment to gathering those voices.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Husbands and Wives

I received the following press release from my friend Bob McCoskrie:

‘Husband’ and ‘Wife’ To Be Removed From Family Laws

Family First NZ says the Select Committee report on the same-sex marriage bill confirms that the terms ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ will be removed from 16 pieces of legislation as it seeks to redefines marriage.

I sent this quick e-mail:

This pisses me off. I have always held the terms wife and husband dear. I don't refer to my husband as my partner because  it's too ambiguous.

So what is left after husband and wife, 'marriage partner'? You know that I support same-sex marriage but this is an encroachment on my 'culture'.

What has the response been like to this revelation?

Update: Kiwiblog has a post clarifying the situation. "So no the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill does not remove the term “husband and wife” from the law books. It doesn’t remove it from the Marriage Act. It doesn’t introduce the term spouse into the law as a replacement – the term is already used in 136 Acts of Parliament. This issue is a red herring."

Truth column Feb 7-13

The Truth site catching up quickly now. This was my column for Waitangi Day:

In 1987 I left New Zealand. Returning in 1992 two new things struck me: Japanese imports and The Treaty of Waitangi. Asked at a petrol station if my borrowed car was a Japanese import, I drew a blank. Apparently it was. Once alerted, I started seeing cheap imports everywhere.
Next, a friend asked what I knew about the Treaty Principles. The what? 


No work-tests for almost two thirds of beneficiaries

The following is an exchange during parliament's question time yesterday:

6. Peseta SAM LOTU-IIGA (National—Maungakiekie) to the Minister for Social
Development: What impact have the Government’s welfare reforms had to date?
Hon PAULA BENNETT (Minister for Social Development): The Government’s welfare reforms are seeing real gains for New Zealanders. Future Focus, implemented in September 2012 as a precursor to our current major reforms, introduced clear obligations and greater fairness to the benefit system. Since Future Focus started, more than 171,000 benefits have been cancelled because people found work, which is a good result in spite of a tough local market and a global economic recession. Over the last 2 years benefit numbers are now reducing by 165 net every week, on average, which equates to about 34 people every working day.
Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga: What changes has she seen as a result of the annual reapplication requirement?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: One simple policy change requiring unemployment beneficiaries to reapply if they remain on the benefit after a year has seen more than 21,400 people come off that benefit, with savings of more than $74 million to the taxpayer.
Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga: What results have there been to date by increasing expectations and obligations for those receiving benefits?
Hon PAULA BENNETT: Prior to National’s Future Focus changes, 79 percent of beneficiaries had no work-test obligations at all. Because of Future Focus, it is now around 64 percent and will reduce further with the changes coming through in the second welfare bill. There is no doubt at all that expectations mean that we see better results for people.

On current numbers that's 217,000 working-age people with no obligation to become self-supporting.

At least the percentage is reducing.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Quick international comparison

Statistics NZ has just issued this handy table. NZ isn't top or bottom in any category except % population under 15 years old. Ours is highest (due to the Polynesian population):

International comparisons with our top five visitor source countries