Thoughts: NZ Governance

With all the Jacinda conversation in the last 24hrs, I got to thinking. I have no idea how New Zealand’s governance succession works.

Let’s say a sitting Prime Minister got hit by a Wellington bus whilst crossing the street. (One of the security detail didn’t make it, sadly). The injured Prime Minister is then unable to work. The Deputy Prime Minister steps in, and is sworn in, to the top role, and the governing Party selects a new Deputy, yes?

Is there provision in New Zealand law (constitutionally) for the former Prime Minister to return straight back in to their formerly-held PM role, replacing the successor? Or do they simply get to return to Parliament and have to be chosen as Leader by their Party again?

In the case of maternity leave, does the above apply? Or is it covered by Employment Law that the Prime Ministerial role needs to be kept open for the return of the new mother?

Does anyone know?

^SD

 

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Thoughts: Local Government Elections

It’s all over bar the shouting. I’ve found this election interesting and not for the usual reasons.

Firstly, I’d like to acknowledge the passion and desire of those who stood for office. Secondly, it was nice seeing friends of my youth get a Mayoralty, achieve Council and Board positions. (There’s something special seeing people get ahead when you feel like you’re standing still, eh?).

I didn’t get to vote. (And yes, I could have made a supreme effort to cast a special vote, but I wanted to see how this played out). 

Let me explain. I registered online with my address details at both the Elections website and also updated my RealMe profile. I received acknowledgements that all was good in the world. Did my voting papers arrive? They did not. I checked my details a week out from deadline, they were all correct. Days passed. Still no papers. 

Saturday came and went.

At 9:30am on Sunday (today) we received a knock on the door by a guy from the Electoral Commission to tell us that there were no registered voters at this address… A little too late one would think.

Given my experience, and indeed the experience of the residents of Crummer Road, Grey Lynn, I suspect that the organisation of this Electoral cycle was FUBAR.

Aside from the technical difficulties experienced, I was also interested in the people standing, and how they presented themselves. I’m usually a Centre-Right voter, and I have to say that the options I had to choose from were poor. I can’t believe how badly organised the ‘Right’ was. Labour was organised at the grass roots and succeeded, but National clearly took their eyes off the ball. 

I heard several of the Candidates speak. And I wasn’t impressed. Yes, they were keen on being elected. And yes, they were putting themselves out there. But there was a lack of depth to their thinking (in my opinion of course) and they were really talking in soundbytes, making unaffordable promises, and in some cases bagging people who worked hard to deliver on the promises of the preceding Leaders. 

Still, Auckland now has a Mayor that I probably would have voted for, given that he at least understands bureaucracy and political BS. The others simply weren’t ready.

Thoughts: The US Presidential Elections

I love the business end of the US electoral cycle. It’s so fun. Tribalism, machinations, manipulations. It’s a goldmine.

I recognise that as a New Zealander my opinion has no bearing whatsoever on the outcome, but I’m loving the show.

When Trump put his hat in the ring, I noted the public outcry. There was a definite predisposition across the Media and various commentators that it was Hillary’s game. Trump was a distraction.

I begged to differ.

Trump is not playing politics. The idea he’s sticking to is that if you’re in the game and the rules aren’t favourable, change them. 

I also have a long held opinion based on years of conversations, observations and interactions with Americans, that Trump may be, in fact, precisely what America needs right now.

My rationale is that America has been operating as an Empire for quite a few decades and as such has over-extended itself. In terms of territory, influence, people and finances. Trump’s language has been about refocusing on America. It will be interesting to see what happens should he get the top job.

Hillary is also interesting. She is no longer a shoe-in. Yesterday’s collapse and resulting media coverup (many news channels have edited the clip so they show the wobble but not Hillary going down). I don’t believe she’s well at all. More than ‘pneumonia’. 

Which of course creates many other interesting possibilities. Will she withdraw? Who will the Democrats replace her with? Can the election be postponed?

And more importantly, if this occurs, what do the American people have to say about it? Will they be presented a new candidate as a fait accompli? Bypassing the democratic process? 

Very interesting times indeed.

Thoughts: Protest

I’m a fan of protest. I think we live in a fairly benign country and are a race of people that are pretty relaxed.

So when we get agitated, things get real.

However. We don’t protest well these days. Back when the Springboks were here in the apartheid era (1981? Was it?) I remember my normally passive family members putting passivity aside and protesting. It was a strange and scary thing.

The anti-TPP protest in Auckland? Silly. Many didn’t know what they were protesting about or for. Some did, for sure, but I suspect they were in the minority. Blocking motorways and disrupting the lives of fellow citizens, to my mind, is somewhat counterproductive.

Throwing a dildo at Joyce? Achieved nothing. She shouldn’t have gotten away with it in my opinion. Kind of a dick move.

But what has inspired this post is the dumping of muck on Gerry Brownlee at a remembrance service. I’m outraged at this. It’s disgraceful. Friends of mine died on that day. It’s disrespectful and again, counterproductive.

I get that people are aggrieved with the current government. I get that the rebuild isn’t going as quickly as some think it should be (my expectation is that it’s a 20 year project actually). If you’re going to protest, and you have an absolute right to, make sure you think through the outcomes properly. You want the masses on your side. Dumb shit like this just pisses people off.

Thoughts: Auckland House Prices and NZ Labour

Ok. I’ve been thinking about this for a few days.

My position is that we do need to be, as a country, a little more attentive about non-resident foreign nationals buying up our housing stock, which is clearly constrained. Simple economics dictates that there is a supply and demand issue at play. How can we adjust our requirements without breaching FTAs that are in place? That’s worth exploring in detail.

I note that these same non-resident foreign nationals are also investing in farms and turning them around (refer Crafar). They’re buying Commercial real estate, and leasing. It’s an investment.

(Note: Housing is not expensive in the Regions of NZ. But how do we get people to move to those places.? Jobs? lifestyle? It’s worth having a think about.)

My issue with this issue is the inept way that Labour has gone about highlighting it. 

In my opinion there absolutely was racial profiling at play. Against the Chinese. A people group that Labour of old defended mightily. Not so now huh? If they pulled stats on Jewish names? Indian names? Outcry. It wasn’t needed at all. Their analysis of the information was woeful. 

Now, The leaked personal and private information. There will be a lawsuit. It’s not whistleblowing on any level. Whistleblowing is where illegality is highlighted. Twyford needs to take responsibility for causing someone to lose their job. He has made Labour and Little look ignorant, stupid. (My opinion of course).

I work with many businesses and their data is sacrosanct. I would never consider releasing it to third parties.

I think this was an extraordinarily ill-judged play. It shows how today’s Labour is but a shadow of the Labour that Helen Clark oversaw. I didn’t agree with Clark’s politics. Make no mistake. But what I’m seeing today annoys me. 

Good government comes from a strong Opposition. We don’t have one. We have a highly-paid clusterfuck doing dumb shit for headlines. I desire an Opposition of talent. Who works hard, and challenges the Government accurately. It shouldn’t be that hard.

A new flag?

 

NZ Flag

 

There has been a lot of discussion about the flag of New Zealand. And with the PM flagging (see what I did there) it being on the table shortly, I thought I’d put some thoughts down.

I like our current flag. Yes, it’s close to the Australian flag and foreigners struggle to tell the two apart. Yes, it’s tied to Mother England. But it’s ours.

Our forefathers fought under and died for this flag. Would it be disrespectful to their memories if it were consigned to history? Perhaps.

There have been many suggested alternatives. Personally, I can’t stand those that incorporate green. The colours don’t work for me and the designs lack gravitas.

There’s been a push for something along the lines of this:

Fern

I like this idea as will. Stark. Simple. Recognisable. And very trademarked.

 

My position on the flag debate is this:

– retain the current flag. Use this flag for ceremony/government function etc. Revisit the design if/when New Zealand becomes a republic and is no longer tied to England.

– resolve the trademark issues and have an official ‘alternate’ flag as above. This would work in the sporting/NZ representative arenas. It would work for those on their OEs. It would be easier to tattoo.

 

Just as we recognise English, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language as ‘Official Languages’, lets recognise a primary and secondary flag. (Note: I’ve deliberately not included our military ensigns in this discussion!)

 

 

Thoughts on the Labour Party

Yes, I am a Centre-Right voter but this doesn’t prevent me from considering the current Labour Party leadership situation.

I maintain that an effective Government requires an effective Opposition to hold them to account. And this hasn’t happened for many years now.

To the topic. We are seeing people putting their hands up to Lead. This is a good thing. However, it is my opinion that putting your hand up to Lead is folly when you don’t have any idea what it is that you’re standing for, and who it is that you’re leading.

My take on it is that Labour needs to work out first and foremost WHO it is representing in Parliament. Then they can work out Policy – what is it that those they represent actually need?

Whilst they’re doing this, perhaps they shouldn’t have a ‘Leader’. They could have a spokesperson for Media. Have a Leadership Representative in the House. Don’t damage the Party further by factional infighting.