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August 16, 2014

It's almost election time again

So a roundup of the political parties:

National: AKA the Cult of Key, is the current government. Chances are they'll win the election, but who knows what will happen before then. We've already had Nicky Hager's book come out throwing light on the grimy tactics National has been using to smear the opposition, and Kim DotCom is planning more revelations closer to the date. Certainly John Key seems to be able to shake off most controversy and still poll well. Without him as its head, the National Party would not being doing nearly so well.

Labour: haven't really done anything to distinguish themselves as candidates for government. David Cunliffe lacks Key's charisma and they've basically been overshadowed by National Party antics such as Gerry Brownlee creating security breaches at airports, along with the minor parties doing more to undermine National than Labour is. If they win the election, like National's victory in 2008 and Tony Abbott's win in Australia, it will be more down to the incumbent party not winning.

The Green Party: Doing the best out of the minor parties, but any minor party has a struggle to overcome the two-party system.

The Maori Party: Its influence seems to be waning since the Mana party split. It's unclear how well they'll be doing post election, but I think they'll pick up a seat or two.

Mana/Internet Party: Key kinda created a beast when he tried to have Kin DotCom locked up. The partnership between Mana/Internet will likely ensure the Internet Party will have representation, where they might not have managed it on their own, though their influence will be minimal...

And the "It's that guy!" parties:
Winston Peters: New Zealand First will likely get back in again.
Peter Dunne: Likewise Peter Dunne will likely get back in, though his fortunes apparently depend on National bending over.
ACT: So far the last two ACT candidates have been disgraced out of parliament, but if the people of Epsom opt to be Key's puppets once again, I guess the ACT candidate will get in.
Conservative Party: It's unclear why the media keeps humouring Colin Craig when he's in no danger of winning an electorate seat and his party isn't polling high enough on its own. I'm hoping this election is the last we hear of them.

Posted at 4:54 PM | Comments (0)

May 4, 2011

Why NZ's new internet law sucks

Recently John Key took some time off from flying around the country in helicopters so he could organise the NZ government to, well, basically bend over and take it from US copyright trolls. Starting in September, we'll have a law whereby the entertainment industry can accuse someone of copyright violation and have them cut off from the internet, guilty until proven innocent.

But don't take my word for it, Christopher Wood goes into it in more detail in 13 reasons why the Infringing File Sharing Act is bad for you.

I'm so glad the New Zealand government is spending its time on important things.

Posted at 6:45 PM | Comments (5)

April 23, 2011

It's election year!

At least here in New Zealand it is. So what are the political polls saying at the moment as regards the political mood?

"Well, sure, under National our troops hand Afghan prisoners over to known torturers, our economy is on the verge of collapse, and John Key takes personal rides in Air Force helicopters at the taxpayers expense, but that Phil Goff fellow is a bit boring, so I'm voting National!"

I note that Labour have done little to capitalise on the situation, what with their own petty infighting and midnight antics. If NZ wasn't so set into the 2-party system and we had a third party which wasn't just a one-man party or one-issue party, we might have an alternative.

Posted at 12:37 PM | Comments (2)

October 19, 2009

Hypothetical question

So the NZ government has made a right hash of things supporting various bids for the screening rights for the rugby world cup. After toing and froing between various people, it's decided that TVNZ, TV3 and Maori TV will essentially share the rights and games will be broadcast on all three channels. After all this, hypothetically, the All Blacks are knocked out in a shock result in the first round by Tonga.

How funny would this be on a scale of 1 to 10?

Posted at 7:42 PM | Comments (3)

August 22, 2009

Result of "Anti-Smacking referendum"

The results of the "Anti-Smacking referendum" were published in the paper this morning. Summed up, they are:


  1. Sue Bradford thinks New Zealanders are stupid and were confused by the question.

  2. Jonkey is going to have another coffee and let a committee consider the ramifications.

  3. Oh, and one bunch of idiots wrote abuse on the ballots, which would have only been read by the electoral counters who had nothing to do with the referendum in the first place.

Another triumph for democracy!

I'm not saying it was a total waste of time, as it does prove once again that politicians only care what the public thinks if it's an election year.

Posted at 10:20 AM | Comments (4)

July 9, 2009

Behold BURGERTRON!

So Burger King, though they have the Revenge of the Fallen toys here, haven't introduced the BBQ Double Stackticon. Luckily my favourite burger chain Burgerfuel have come to the rescue with BURGERTRON.

A burger, oh yes!

The primary ingredients are a 1/3 pound Optimus Prime beef patty, Philadelphia cream cheese, mango, and prosciutto. I'm... not quite sure what those ingredients in particular have to do with Transformers, but what the hey. They're tasty.

Posted at 9:27 PM | Comments (2)

May 29, 2009

Smoking up

According to a news story on TV3 news tonight, smoking rates are up, despite the government spending money on trying to encourage smokers to quit. Tariana Turia, Associate Minister of Health, says that the government doesn't care about the revenue from tax on tobacco, as the health costs are outstripping revenue from same taxes.

But hey, then she's talking about increasing the taxes on tobacco to encourage people not to smoke. Because that worked sooooo well last time.

Here's an idea: BAN TOBACCO! If the government really doesn't care about the taxes from it, then ban the stuff.

Turia herself says in her speech that she wishes tobacco was a relic of the past, yet she doesn't seem to have considered making the stuff illegal at all - surely a vital first step.

BAN TOBACCO!

Posted at 7:10 PM | Comments (0)

May 26, 2009

Slow news day?

Two of the stories on the front page of the Dominion Post are about how Palmerston North has an obscure bylaw which makes house numbering skip the number 13, and about how the winner of last weekend's Lotto jackpot bought Chinese takeaway for dinner.

I mean, kudos to whoever managed to spin the latter out to a couple of hundred words, but how did that make the front page? Are they trying to take our minds off the looming recession or something?

Posted at 7:53 AM | Comments (2)

November 9, 2008

2008 election results

So, perhaps spurred by the massive change in American politics, New Zealand has also swung massively, though in this case it swung from left to right.

Former Prime Minister Helen Clark: Gone!
Finance minister Michael Cullen (no relation): Gone!
Mischief-maker Winston Peters: Gone!

In the latter case, Winston's party, NZ First, didn't reach the 5% vote threshold or win any seats, so they got no MPs in, unlike ACT, United Future, The Jim Anderton Party, and the Maori Party, who all got fewer party votes but won electorate votes. You can see the complete party votes and MP tally on TV3's Decision '08 site.

Much as I don't like Winston and was actually quite pleased he didn't get in, it somehow seems unfair that NZ First's party vote should theoretically have gotten them 5 MPs in parliament but didn't due to the 5% threshold. I can't argue with the results though.

Though politics may be a bit more boring for the next three years, I hope this allows the government to actually get something done, rather than messing about trying to keep Winston in line.

Posted at 6:07 PM | Comments (1)

November 4, 2008

Elections

No, not the American ones, though they've started voting today.

We're only a few days out from the NZ general election and predicting a winner is not as clear cut as it once might have been. National isn't polling high enough to form a clear majority, and neither is Labour, so if the votes follow the polls, ultimately they'll have to rely on the support of minor parties. At the moment this looks like it may be down to whoever the Maori Party is willing to team up with, so at the moment both Helen Clark and JohnKey* are trying to outdo each other with platitudes in the hope of making their respective party a more attractive prospect.

I'm still largely undecided on who I'm going to vote for. I'll probably decide on the day (if I bother at all).

*One thing I have decided on is that "JohnKey" should be pronounced the same way as Donkey from the Shrek movies.

Posted at 4:38 PM | Comments (4)

March 20, 2008

China Free

Yeah, another political post. This will be the last one for a while, hopefully. I hate politics.

Recently the NZ government has been working towards a Free Trade deal with China. A bunch of people, including the Green party, have said the Trade deal should be thrown out due to the way China keeps killing Tibetans, and their crumby human rights record in general. Also, there's talk of boycotting the upcoming Beijing Olympics.

Leaving aside the fact that the Olympics are actually nicely bringing attention to Tibet (and I'm sure some of the athletes will defy the ban on mentioning Tibet), I point you to Statistics New Zealand's External Trade Statistics page.

In 2005, New Zealand imported 3.67 billion dollars worth of stuff from China. In 2006, it was 4.44 billion, and the projected total for 2007 is listed as 5.28 billion. For contrast, in 2006 we exported only 1.74 billion dollars worth of stuff to China, and in 2007 the projection was 1.88 billion. So we're already dropping a fair amount of money into the Chinese economy, and whether or not we get a free trade deal with them isn't likely to change that. We'll go on buying their stuff and giving them money, and they'll go on doing what they're doing.

Or is there something I'm missing?

Posted at 8:59 PM | Comments (2)

March 13, 2008

Predicting the election outcome

No, not the US elections, the New Zealand ones. For while the Americans try to decide whether they want Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, or John "Dubya II" McCain as president, New Zealand is gearing up for the 2008 elections. Unlike the US elections we vote all at once, so the buildup is purely campaigning.

Last election I posted about the current political parties so I guess it's time I did so again...

Continue reading "Predicting the election outcome"

Posted at 11:19 PM | Comments (2)

February 7, 2008

Yeah, Right

[yeah, right]

Why is the focus necessarily on cutting personal tax rates. If they took some of the tax off petrol, or necessary food items such as bread, they could probably help a lot more...

Posted at 6:24 PM | Comments (1)

January 16, 2008

Phone Box

[phone box]

A thing of the past - this old-style NZ phone box graces Post Office Square in Wellington. I took this picture on Saturday, after the book launch for Newtons Sleep.

I should start a photo blog category, really.

Posted at 7:07 PM | Comments (0)

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