Thursday, October 20, 2011

How does Labour hope to get back in? Easy vote for National!

Here’s the thing, this election may already be over…but, if Labour is to have any chance I think two things need to happen.
  1. Winston Peters needs to be back
  2. ACT needs to disappear

There is not much that Labour can do to get Winston Peters back, but for the other necessary action to happen, maybe Labour can help that along a little bit.

ACT seems to be somewhat imploding with not too many people seemingly happy with the coup d'état that Don Brash pulled on Rodney Hide and since doing so even fewer people seem to have been impressed with his performance as leader of the party. For a party, who is always ‘tough on crime’ to have a leader who wants to decriminalise marijuana seems erroneous at best, hypocritical at worst.

ACT seem to be doing a pretty good job at taking themselves out of the running however the voters of Epsom, of whom 70% voted for John Banks in the Mayoral election, will likely come to the conclusion it’s better to have a Mr. Magoo type operation and still have John Key as Prime Minister, than to risk having Phil Goff in the top job. It is likely that as it stands right now Banks will win Epsom, even with two recent polls saying otherwise.

Labour needs to double bluff.

Labour needs to get around the constituency quietly and get all their supporters to vote for National’s Paul Goldsmith.

Goldsmith in the last two polls has been leading John Banks by 17% and 14% respectively however as the election comes closer and the National supporters see their parties ratings drop somewhat, many are like in Epsom to put in this dysfunctional party ‘for the greater good.’ But what is all the Labour supporters voted for Goldsmith as well…for the greater good.

In the latest poll National’s Paul Goldsmith was on 37%, John Banks on 24% and Labour’s David Parker 17%. If that 17% went and supported Paul Goldsmith on Election Day his numbers could jump enough to nullify the difference those that pull support from him to keep ACT in. A ‘double bluff’ worthy of the ‘reality’ TV series Survivor.

In theory Labour supporters voting for a National Party candidate in Epsom, could help them bring down one of the most popular parties in recent times. In theory.

Now come Election Day, National could have a majority, they may have enough votes to get there with the Maori Party alone…or no matter what happens ACT could romp home in Epsom, but Labour is stuck in a situation where they need to have either strong coalition partners themselves, or they need to remove National’s partners if they are to have any show. 

Little Paul Sheehan throws his toys over the Wallabies exit

So Paul Sheehan from the Sydney Morning Herald thinks we should see the back of the haka, especially looking at the ‘throat slitting action.

Well let’s look at the technical side of things first. In Maori culture that action means to draw of the breath of life into the heart and lungs…but to be honest I don’t care about that. I could care less if it meant, “I’m going into battle against you and you can expect to have your head removed (metaphorically) by the end of this game!” I’d be fine with that…has anyone ever watched a game of rugby, it’s a violent, vicious, confrontational battle. Off with their heads I say!

Paul Sheehan has done the classic ‘sore loser’ thing where he has come out and lambasted the haka as intolerable and unacceptable…neither of which he would have stated publicly is Australia had of won in the weekend, or if we were playing them in the final this weekend. Paul Sheehan is a bad sport.

Sheehan states of Kapa O Pango, “"If some of the All Blacks persist in ending this latest version of the haka with a throat-slitting motion, they will be using a very big stage to remind people the Maoris once engaged in unspeakable conduct, which we don't discuss any more.” So I can only assume, if Mr. Sheehan is a man of consistency, that he would also support removing Advance Australia Fair from the start of Australian games, as it also celebrates ‘unspeakable conduct’ committed by settlers to Australia on the indigenous people…you remember the stories, the lost generation, the advertisements in the papers in the late 1800’s looking for volunteers to go and hunt the natives out of existence.

Here is a version of Advance Australia Fair that some Australians adhere to.

Advance Australia – Unfair

Australians all should be ashamed
For we are not all free
They killed the blacks and stole the land
And lock up refugees
The land is raped by profiteers
The Murray­River died
History’s page
Denies the rage
Because historians lied. 
In prison cells how can we sing 
Advance Australia fair? 
...from Breaking Free – loosening the shackles of colonialism: the road ahead (2007)

Now this may only be the view of some….but equally Mr. Sheehan’s view is only that of ‘some’.

Paul Sheehan goes on to talk about how the RWC is not really that important to Australians, or the world stating, “Thankfully Australia's hopes and passions are spread across multiple sports. We have already moved on from the World Cup. New Zealand must live and die with its All Blacks.” Really? Moved on? That’s not what twitter is saying of your Wallabies

James Horwill "Feel truly gutted. Hard to find words to describe the feeling. The AB's were too good and deserved to win. Good luck to the AB's next week"

James O’Connor "Speechless, cld be worst feeling ever. absolutely gutted! Ab's jst too gd tonight-played gr8 rugby n deserved the win"

Quade Cooper "They say everything happens for a reason. So we are ready for everything you can possibly throw at us now. You can't make us feel any worse"

Seems to sting those that were on the field a little more than Mr. Sheehan is saying. Most Australians handled themselves with decorum and grace over the Wallaby loss, Paul Sheehan is not amongst that group.

And onto the point that Australians have plenty of sports to support right now…again…really? Sure lots of sports are played in Australia, but you have to be honest…currently on a world stage…there ‘aint that much to crow about.

England ranked number one in test cricket (Australia number 4), Kiwis World Champions in Rugby League, All Whites vastly out performed Soceroos at recent Football World Cup, All Blacks (said confidently) about to be World Champions at Rugby…so really what is there to support?

Paul Sheehan has done the classic ‘little boy’ thing of tossing his toys, picking up his bat and ball, and walking home. Except this time the world doesn’t need his bat and ball…in fact we got rid of his last weekend and we can use out own…onto another World Championship.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Don Brash withdraws from Treaty debate...why?

Dr. Don Brash has pulled out of a debate on Treaty issues to be held on TV3's 'The Nation'. The ACT Party and Dr. Brash have been asking TV3 for logistical and editorial details about the debate. It would appear they have not received what they wanted so Dr. Brash was pulled.

I interviewed Dr. Brash for 40 minutes on Saturday along with Jeremy Elwood my co-host on The Slightly Correct Political Show, and on the issue of the Treaty I found Dr. Brash lacking in the depth and knowledge to be making such bold claims as those expressed in ACT's 'one law for all' policy.

I am no expert in the area of the Treaty, but one thing I think would be prudent is that if one was going to comment, legislate and rally against and area in society then they should have in depth knowledge of that area...from both sides of the debate.

Let's look at it like this, if you or I moved into a foreign culture, a culture where we didn't understand the language, customs or history, then it would be prudent for us to learn about that culture before we comment on it. To understand the nuances of the language before we speak out how we disagree with them. Surely to disagree with something you first need an understanding of it. In the case of the Treaty, Dr. Brash does not have that understanding.

When asked about the main three areas of contention between Maori and non-Maori interpretation of the treaty, Kāwanatanga , Rangatiratanga and Taonga Dr. Brash responded "I can't answer that question, I'm not an expert on the Maori language" and when asked again Dr. Brash said "I can't interpret the Maori language nor do I know what that meant at that time"

This is the area of most concern to me. We need to know what was signed at the time, what was agreed to at the time, and how we bring that into 2011 New Zealand.

Dr. Brash was a nice man, but as a politician to me he seemed out of his depth. The 'one law for all' rhetoric has not given ACT the 'bounce' it gave National in 2004 and I think that ACT are going to move it more to the background over the next 7 weeks and focus on the economy.

Are there issues around the Treaty that we need to address, "Yes!" Are the Treaty settlements running without controversy or people trying to abuse the system, "No!" But it saddens me that this kind of politics still happens in NZ, the kind of 'populist' policy to appeal to one sector of society (in this case the much mentioned 'red-necked' section) when there is no substance or depth to the conversation.

Don Brash was found wanting yesterday in The Slightly Correct Political Show and he didn't want to be seen to be foolish in front of a bigger audience, so he withdrew from The Nation.