Newsletter 13

11 May 2014

The mongrel mob

Politics is tough and dirty. Telling untruths and monstrous misrepresentations is just part of their trade. This week Labour showed its mongrel when it dragged the Minister of Immigration into their campaign to damage National with ‘donation for access’ allegations.

The insinuations of cash for immigration favours from wealthy Chinese is plainly absurd, but that in itself does not matter when it comes to politics. What matters is that the allegations and insinuations are reported by the media and become “perceptions” that influence voters.

In our view it’s no coincidence that Labour’s playing dirty follows the appointment of Matt McCarten as their Chief of Staff. McCarten is an old-school street brawler from the left; no rules, just win the scrap. Last week Labour won the scrap.

The difficulty for National is that if it too descends into the cockroach pit with Labour, public confidence in politics and politicians will plunge to even greater depths than it already is. McCarten won’t care about that, so the prospect is for more dirt from Labour.

MMP and money

Still on the subject of mongrels, MMP showed its lack of pedigree again this week. NZ First has inserted a new rule into its constitution that would, as reported by TV3, require an MP to quit their seat in Parliament within three days of resigning or being expelled from NZ First, or pay the party $300,000.

The rule is in response to the Brendon Horan situation, whereby he has become an independent MP even though he was elected (or more accurately, appointed) on the NZ First list. The action by NZ First is understandable given the bizarre situation where a list MP could become an independent and vote against the Party that brought them to Parliament. What we find interesting about it is that the rule change confirms that in practice, if not in principle, 51 of the 121 members of Parliament are there by appointment and answerable to their Party not the public.

MMP promised a number of things, but political appointments was not one of them.

NOTA vote

This week India has gone to the polls. Unlike our elections, voting in the world’s largest democracy takes some 36 days! That’s not because their voting system is outdated – voting itself is done at the press of a button on an electronic console. The reason is their elections are carried out under Police supervision and there are simply not enough Policemen to do the job on one day!

An interesting aspect about their voting is the “NOTA” button on the voting console, which stands for “none of the above”. That gives the voter the choice to reject any of the candidates on offer. A number of countries have this as an electoral option, but it is new to India. In September last year the Supreme Court of India forced the hands of politicians by ruling that NOTA should be included on the ballot papers.

So what if NOTA wins? Various approaches are taken around the world: the office can remain vacant, the position could be filled by an appointment, another election could be held, or it may have no effect, as is the case in India where the highest polling candidate is declared the winner. In some countries where politicians have refused to include NOTA, NOTA parties have been formed to give voters that electoral option.

This week our poll asks: As a matter of principle, should New Zealand include a NOTA (none of the above) option on its ballot paper?

To take part in the poll visit the 5PM website and look on the sidebar.

Local council salaries come under pressure

A remarkable thing is happening within local councils – CEO salaries are going down!

Auckland Council’s new chief executive is receiving 18% less than his predecessor (but still $630k). According to the NZ Herald, Auckland’s new CEO said, “He accepted his lower salary was designed to send a political message, which he believed was part of a mood shift by the Government and councils to keep chief executive pay in check.”

In Christchurch the new CEO of the City Council will receive a salary package of $395k, 27% less than the former CEO.

The Christchurch council has total assets of $8.2b, and Auckland $38b.

It may well be time for all councils to review their CEO’s salary so they can become part of the “mood shift” to keep chief executive pay in check.

Any council that increases that salary of their CEO should be asked to front up to ratepayers and explain themselves – given that the new norm is for salaries to go down.

Interestingly the pressure on CEO salaries is also being felt in the banking sector where reductions of 20% are not uncommon.

5PM polls

We had a huge response to last week’s poll which asked, “Do you believe non-Maori don’t vote for Maori because they are Maori.”

84% of respondents said “No”, 16% “Yes”. Here are some comments:

  • If that were the case, how then does NZ First get so many party votes with Winston as leader, even if he is only 50% Maori, still a lot more Maori blood than most agitators. – Owen
  • If Maori activists weren’t promoting racism and separatism then non Maori voters may think differently about placing their votes. – Barry
  • I would vote for any candidate who stood up and showed themselves honest, trustworthy and worthy of my vote. This, sadly, precludes most politicians from my vote, but has nothing to do with Race. Last local body elections, my vote went to a Maori candidate. – Charles
  • They don’t vote for Maori because Maori are always after more for Maori. – JD
  • It is not the colour of their skin that matters it’s the calibre of their thoughts. – Theo
  • I vote on the basis of ability, skills, commitment and what a candidate states that they stand for. – Peter
  • Why would a talented Maori be overlooked if he can make a worthwhile contribution? I have supported W. Peters in the past. – Barry
  • I’m non-Maori and have voted for one particular Maori for years because he is the right person for the job! His race has nothing to do with his policies! – Prue

This week we are asking: As a matter of principle, should New Zealand include a NOTA (none of the above) option on its ballot papers?

To take part in the poll visit the 5PM website and look on the sidebar.

5PM Voting Booth

Many thanks to those who have voted in our current policy proposals which are:
*Resignation of a Mayor: Should 5PM support the amendment of local government legislation to include the right of citizens to demand a binding referendum to remove their mayor from office?

*Foreign Ownership of Land: Should foreign entities and foreigners (individuals who are neither New Zealand citizens nor permanent residents) be taxed 10% of the value of New Zealand property purchases with the funds raised being offered as low interest loans to NZ resident first home buyers?

Clear indications are emerging but we will keep the voting booths open for a little longer so everyone has an opportunity to have their say. Votes may be cast at the Voting Booth on the 5PM website HERE.

The Five Principles Movement

5PM is a grassroots people’s movement. As a movement outside of Parliament our strength is the quality of our ideas and the enthusiasm of our supporters in helping to spread the message. Our objective is to convince the public, political party candidates, Members of Parliament, the media, and other opinion leaders that the policies we are promoting would have a very positive impact on New Zealand.

But we need your support to spread the message!  That’s why we encourage supporters to promote 5PM principles and policies as widely as possible through speaking to others, writing letters to the editor, calling talkback radio, and engaging with social media.

As a people’s movement we also encourage everyone to become involved in the policy development process – you can vote on policy proposals and suggest new policies HERE.

Our key policies are:

  • Tighten the Citizens Initiated Referendum Act and make it binding.
  • Bring back the local to local government through binding referenda.
  • Re-introduce one law for all by repealing section 19 (2) of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990 that allows privilege based on race, gender etc.
  • Cap government spending at 29% of gross domestic product. (In Hong Kong the cap is 20%, and in Singapore the government sector consumes 19% of GDP.)
  • Cap government debt at no more than 25% of GDP.
  • Amend the Resource Management Act to introduce fair-value compensation for the loss of property rights.
  • Replace sole parent welfare dependency with support based on work.
  • Get tough on violent offending by cracking down on gangs and drugs.

For all 5PM policies see HERE.

Frank and Muriel Newman

P.S. Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to others!