Newsletter 17

8 June 2014

Score: Dotcom 2, John Key 0, John Banks -1

Mr Dotcom has scored two victories. The first, making the Internet Party relevant by forming a coalition with a party with a safe electorate seat. In some ways it was an own goal for National because they rejected making changes to MMP that would have removed the coat-tailing provisions and prevented such a blatant abuse of the MMP system.

The second victory was of course the decision by Justice Wylie finding John Banks guilty of filing a false electoral return. That ends the long political career of John Banks and is another blow for ACT. This, and the herculean task it faces of rebuilding its severely damaged credibility, raises a question mark about ACT’s ability to muster sufficient voter support on 20 September to aid National. Although we believe ACT can win Epsom, the party and National will no doubt will be polling Epsom voters to see if the Banks matter has reduced party support.

A disappearing ACT is not the only problem National faces. There is also some doubt that the Maori Party will survive the general election, and should it do so, whether it will continue to support National.

The Maori Party holds three seats: Te Ururoa Flavell’s seat of Waiariki in the Bay of Plenty, Pita Sharples seat of Tamaki Makaurau in Auckland, and Tariana Turia’s seat of Te Tai Hauauru in Wanganui. As a party, it has never been more vulnerable, since both Sharples and Turia are standing down at this election and Flavell has yet to make any impact as the new co-leader. There is also a mood within Maoridom that the Maori Party has represented an iwi elite rather than the Maori grassroots.

Taking the three Maori Party seats will no doubt be part of the Internet-Mana campaign strategy, and a share of the $3m fighting fund put up by Mr Dotcom will be used for that purpose. Annihilating the Maori Party would elevate Mana and shut the door on Maori having anything more to do with National. Hone Harawira would probably see the historical significance of using an arsenal provided by a German multi-millionaire to engage in warfare against the Maori Party – 21st century Maori wars!

National therefore has at least two areas of concern from Internet-Mana; the destruction of yet another coalition partner, and the influence that a $3m fighting fund can buy.

$3m worth of influence

$3m is serious money for an election campaign. It buys a lot of media coverage and a lot of influence. To put this into perspective, party spending at the last general election was:

  • National $2.3m
  • Conservative $1.8m
  • Labour $1.7m
  • Greens $779,000
  • ACT $617,000
  • NZ First $155,000
  • Maori $72,000
  • Mana $60,000

Mana now finds itself with $3m instead of $60,000 and better funded than the National Party at the last election! While funding does not always translate into votes, even a six-week old Conservative Party with $1.8 million to spend was able to muster 2.65% of the vote, which would have given them at least three MPs had their party votes counted.

What we do know about Mr Dotcom, other than the fact that he’s got a lot of money, is this: he is pretty smart strategically, he comes across as being credible (at least in the eyes of Justice Wylie), he knows a thing or two about the power of the internet and social media, he’s daring, and the media have a magnet-like attraction to him. That makes for a formidable election campaign. While National may want the economy to be the key issue – the Internet Mana Party is likely to be a key focus of media attention.

Council insanity

As if we needed another example of bureaucratic and cultural insanity, the Auckland Council has provided it! According to the NZ Herald the Auckland Council “wants to prevent people from scattering ashes in any public place – including beaches and reserves – unless they have written approval from the council or Wahi Tapu Maori Kimiti (a Maori committee that oversees sacred areas).”

This is a vile piece of bureaucratic nonsense. Why should anyone have to ask a local council for permission to scatter the ashes of their loved one in a public place? And even worse, what’s it got to do with Maori? Is it now the view of the Auckland Council that all land and the seas are sacred to Maori?

It’s time local and central government stopped imposing spiritual Maori nonsense on others. If Maori want to believe in spirits and taniwha then so be it, that’s their right – just as it is the right of any person to hold religious beliefs, or any child to believe in the tooth fairy and the Easter bunny. Imposing spirituality onto others is absurd, and it shows just how absurd the Auckland Council is to let this happen. If you want to express your views to Auckland’s ratepayer representatives their email addresses are:

North Shore,;,
Waitematā and Gulf,

Perhaps it might be worth asking them if they support the proposal – so you will be a in a better position to judge who to vote for at the next election!

5PM polls

Last week we asked: Do you think MMP should be abolished and replaced with First Past the Post?

94% said YES, 6% NO.

That’s a clear indication so we have shaped your views into a new 5PM policy. “That MMP be abolished and replaced with First Past the Post.

Votes may be cast at the Voting Booth on the 5PM website HERE.

Here are some of your comments about MMP and FPP.

  • I was one of the many who voted MMP in, I had no idea we’d have the problems this system has resulted in. I honestly think it’s time New Zealand reintroduced FPP. Brent
  • First Past the Post is certainly a better option than MMP. MMP allows a few radicals, who not many people have voted for, to have too much power and therefore is very undemocratic.  Lynette
  • Nobody should be in Parliament that has not been voted in by an election. It is ridiculous for a party to decide who runs the country not the people. Alister
  •  Both systems have faults, but First Past has fewer faults. Myles
  • Every person that is a MP should be elected not become an MP by being appointed because they are on a list. These people can become a MPs without ever receiving any truly democratic vote. Bryan
  • MMP has been abused and the past and the Internet/Mana charade has got to be the ultimate debasement of what was originally conceived to be an opportunity for supporters of minor parties. Anon.
  • FPP is by far the best system for a small country like OURS. Also 80 MPs are plenty with no Maori seats at all. James
  • As much as I like ACT I would like to get rid of MMP and the Maori sets much more. Colin

This week we ask: Do you think that John Banks being found guilty of filing a false electoral return will harm ACT’s chances of retaining the seat of Epsom at the 20 September election?

5PM Voting Booth

Many thanks to those who have already voted in our current policy proposals which are:

“That MMP be abolished and replaced with First Past the Post.”

 “That Section 19ZB of the Local Electoral Act 2001 be amended to include the public’s right to demand a binding poll where a council is proposing to grant voting rights to unelected representatives.”

“That a NOTA (none of the above) voting option be included on ballot papers in local and central government elections, with the effect that should NOTA gain the most votes, the election nominations would be re-opened and another election held.”

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?”

Votes may be cast at the Voting Booth on the 5PM website HERE.

The 5PM Facebook Page

We have posted all of your comments in last week’s MMP poll on the 5PM Facebook page HERE. You are more than welcome to share your views on the Facebook page.

Please don’t forget to help us spread the message about 5PM!


Frank and Muriel Newman
P.S. Please feel free to pass this newsletter on to others!