Newsletter - Partnership Schools

Partnership Schools: The Path to Quality Education
November 11, 2014

You may find this recent newspaper article on Partnership Schools of interest.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/10716336/Charter-schools-claim...

I did, and for this simple reason.

The article fairly presents the difficulties some schools are having in this early establishment phase. As common-sense would suggest, and as recent research shows, the average quality of schools improves over time (e.g. see the US National Bureau of Economic Research: The Evolution of Charter School Quality). Rome was not built in a day.

The article also fairly presents some of the undoubted successes so far in New Zealand.

For many students these schools are proving truly transformative, turning around lives, rescuing them. It is profoundly moving to read of this, even more so to be privileged – as I have – to witness it.

In my Maiden speech in Parliament I mentioned a visit to one of these schools where, as I chatted to the students about their experiences in other schools compared with their experiences at their new Partnership School, one young girl said “I didn’t know I was smart until I came here”.

Who could fail to be affected by that?

Now, consider these accounts of lives being transformed, and weigh that enormous positive against some of the negative comments in this article and elsewhere by opponents of these new schools. For opponents to describe Partnership Schools as part of an “ideological drive to disestablish public education” is not just wrong, it’s childish and daft. Most of our public schools provide excellent educational opportunities - just not to all children.

I am sure these opponents are good people, committed educators, but some of their attitudes are appalling.

Fancy giving parents options; giving them choices which might dramatically improve their children’s chances in life. We should be doing everything possible to facilitate this, not block it.

The opposition to Partnership Schools reflects politics and ideology. Opposition political parties would close down these schools no matter how good they might be. And just tough luck for the kids caught in the crossfire of politics.

That can reasonably be described as an extreme ideological view, one that is hard to defend on any moral or fair-minded basis.

Would those politicians be prepared to visit these schools, and tell the children and their parents, face-to-face, that they intend to close the school? And tell them why.

David Seymour
Leader, ACT New Zealand

Newsletter - Stocks and Flows

Social Housing: Stock and Flow Confusion
November 7, 2014

This is the first issue of what will be a regular newsletter, commenting on and reacting to political and other issues. On this occasion, the topic is the debate over social housing reform, one where opposition politicians and many commentators seem hopelessly confused over what is, and is not, important.

It’s been interesting watching the responses to National’s planned reform of social housing. The political responses are not just steeped in ideology, but almost drunk on it. Nobody seems interested in debating the real issue – of how best to provide for the housing requirements of those most in need.

One tactic is to try and frame it as a case of asset sales, as if that is some sort of gotcha – pretty feeble from an ACT perspective, of course.

Governments are always selling things – used cars, old office equipment, farms, and even surplus houses – so it’s hardly a big deal; and of course governments are always buying and investing in things, typically far more than they should.

But secondly, and most importantly, nobody seems to have a clue about the distinction between stocks and flows; between assets and their income flow (or financing cost).

For example, your term deposit is a stock; the interest income is a flow. If the term deposit interest rate is 5%, and I promise to give you five dollars a year for ever, you are in the same position as if you had a $100 of your own to deposit.

When you reach retirement age and start receiving NZ Superannuation payments, you receive a “flow” of income for the rest of your life. Instead, and equivalently, the government could borrow and give you a one-off (a “stock”) payment sufficient for you to buy an annuity giving the same flow of income. Either approach has exactly the same expected outcome.

Stocks can be converted to flows, and vice versa.

It’s the same issue in housing. The government can buy a house (it will be borrowing a “stock” of cash to do so, to buy the asset) and let you live in it at a subsidised rate, giving you a “flow” of rental subsidy.  Or the government could sell a house it already owns (an asset that is effectively funded by a “stock” of debt) and just pay you a “flow” of rental subsidy to rent from some provider on the market, whether a purely commercial or a social provider.

What matters is access to the housing: whether that is done via government owning a stock of assets or funding a flow of rental subsidy is entirely a second order consideration, essentially just a financing decision.

Another confusion that springs from not understanding stock and flow distinctions is to argue that the cash from any houses that are sold, should immediately be spent. Absolutely not. Selling the stock and spending that as a flow would be wildly irresponsible. Spending just the flow equivalent of that stock (roughly the interest income, or debt servicing cost of it) would be broadly neutral.

The real issue here is how to get the most effective structure of social housing assistance to those most in need.  To start shifting from a system overwhelmingly dominated by the government owning a massive stock of houses, and move at the margin to increase the proportion funded by a flow of rental income support, seems like a total no-brainer.

A healthy system is one where we try lots of approaches, where there is experimentation, competition and a range of options.  That is why markets are so effective, because it is a relentless process of experimentation to find out what works best.

We need more of this in social housing, in education (which is why partnership schools are so important) and in the health sector.

When you see responses to these social housing proposals that focus obsessively on whether or not they represent asset sales, you know that the response is entirely ideological – that person is not thinking, not interested in the real issues.

The same applies when people complain that a property developer might make a profit out of building or providing social housing.

That represents another form of ideological ignorance – in fact one even worse than not understanding stocks and flows.

Businesses are funded by a mix of debt and equity: the business pays interest to the owners of their debt (that might be to a bank, or to those who have purchased the business’s bonds in the debt markets); and it distributes profit (the residual, high risk part) which is paid to the owners of the equity in the firm.

Would you seriously expect people to provide equity for no return? Profit is just the label for that highly uncertain return, just as interest is the label for the more secure (because it gets paid before equity owners see anything) stream of interest income from a business.

The proposed reforms show that the government is doing some serious thinking about how best to provide social housing to those most in need. It’s time opposition politicians started thinking too.

 

David Seymour
Leader, Act New Zealand

Submissions needed for reduction of red tape

Dear members and supporters,

One of ACT's goals is the reduction of "red tape" in local and central government. I recommend that all members complete the questionnaire in the following Government post on the internet.

https://www.govt.nz/browse/housing-and-property/renovating-and-building/rules-reduction-submissions

Kind regards,
John Thompson
President

Open letter from ACT President John Thompson

To all members and supporters,

Today, Parliament opens and the new Government gets down to work. We will be providing confidence and supply to the new Government, in return for their support for our policies in education and regulatory reform. We will be working to persuade the Government to also support our other policies on the economy and on law and order.

While we are disappointed that we couldn't get Jamie Whyte into Parliament, we held Epsom, and have David Seymour as an ACT MP in Parliament, and as Undersecretary for Education and Undersecretary for Regulatory Reform. David will also be a member of the important Finance and Expenditure select committee and a member of the Appointments and Honours committee. We are confident that David will be promoted to Ministerial rank in the not too distant future.

Within the Party, the Board has appointed David as Leader, following Jamie Whyte's resignation from that position. Understandably, Jamie has to focus on his career and family now that he will not be in Parliament. However, he intends to remain involved with ACT and I am sure he will continue to make a valuable contribution to the future of the Party.

We will also be working hard to continue rebuilding the ACT brand and the Party, lead by David Seymour. We have recently held a major candidate forum and will shortly begin member forums on what we can learn from Campaign 2014, and our strategy going forward to 2017 and beyond. We will be continuing our support for members and candidates in your electorates as we work towards a more successful outcome in 2017.

Thanks for your support with Campaign 2014, whether as a candidate, a volunteer, or a donor. As result of your efforts ACT is in good heart and we are not going away. We want to earn your continued support and we encourage you to contribute to candidate and member forums in the coming months, and help us to regroup and rebuild for the future.

Regards,
John Thompson
ACT Party President

David Seymour's Maiden Speech

David Seymour will be making his maiden speech as an MP on Tuesday, 21 October at about 4.45pm during the Address in Reply debate in Parliament. David's maiden speech will be broadcast from Parliament on the following digital television channels:

Freeview 22
Sky 86
Vodafone 86

It can also be accessed as a webcast and a choice of audio via the Parliamentary website: http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/about-parliament/see-hear/ptv

The Letter - 4 August 2014

12.5% company tax rate
http://client.minervamail.com/images/act/linesmall.gif
Cutting the company tax rate to 12.5% will boast GDP growth by 1%.  As New Zealand’s best estimated long term growth rate is 3% this is a huge increase.  It is close to an economic silver bullet.  It is the best new idea any party has come up with for years.  Jamie Whyte and ACT’s policy team have reviewed the international research.  There is now case after case showing firstly how damaging high company tax rates are to growth.  A high company tax rate discourages investment.  Lower investment results in less employment.  New Zealand’s relatively high company tax rate is a large part of the reason New Zealand’s real wages are low.  When the company tax rate is reduced investment increases, (projects that were uneconomic become viable), increased growth leads to increased employment.  The higher real wages come largely because the increased investment leads to a productivity improvement making higher real wages viable. 

 

It is a global economy
http://client.minervamail.com/images/act/linesmall.gif
New Zealand is competing for capital against the world.  When we have a high tax on investment the capital just goes elsewhere.  It is not just Ireland that has shown the economic benefit of a low company tax rate. Ireland’s present woes came from an unrestrained banking sector, property bubble and poor public financial management, yet the country’s low company tax rate is helping its rapid recovery. We can observe how high company tax rates damage growth in federal systems, such as USA and Canada. Conversely, examples from those countries show how cutting the Company Tax rate increases growth, jobs and real wages. French economic growth is stunted by a complex, high tax regime.

 

ACT has published the research
http://client.minervamail.com/images/act/linesmall.gif
Jamie Whyte has released the international research that supports cutting the Company Tax Rate.  It is on ACT’s website and is worth a read www.act.org.nz . ACT has also put out how to fund it. Company Tax does not raise very much. Eliminate all corporate welfare, which is just crony capitalism, politicians picking ‘winners’, and get rid of the ETS, which even the Greens admit is having no effect on global warming – just gesture politics.       

 

TV debate tonight Native Affairs Maori TV 8.30pm

http://client.minervamail.com/images/act/linesmall.gif
Jamie Whyte has been issuing a series of background papers most of which have been ignored by the media.  A proposal that we should have equality before the law, posted three days after the speech was given to no media coverage, has produced a media storm.  Jamie Whyte has not retreated and has shown he is made of strong stuff.  Jamie tells The Letter that many of the journalists who have rung him clearly have not read the speech.  Not having read the speech is the only charitable explanation for the Race Relations Conciliator’s intemperate personal attack.  Nowhere in the legislation Dame Susan Devoy is paid $220,000 a year to administer does it say it is part of her job to publicly attack a candidate for office who having said he is against racial discrimination.  Dame Susan is debating Jamie Whyte tonight on Native Affairs Maori TV at 8.30pm and we look forward to hear why equality before the law is wrong.

 

Media bias
http://client.minervamail.com/images/act/linesmall.gif
We have had a look at what the journalists attacking Jamie are saying.  Very few address what he has said.  The Australian Fairfax group has resolved the issue by pretending it has not happened.  (Print media blackouts used to be effective, but now, in the age of Facebook and talkback radio, newspapers  are just made to look irrelevant or biased.  Not one commentator has defended the example of discrimination Jamie gave.  AT our universities today there are students from state house backgrounds who have been refused a place on courses in favour of students from privileged private schools because the state house student’s parents are the wrong race.  We are also waiting for a media outlet to publish what Jamie Whyte actually said.  We said to one journalist who was attacking Jamie as a racist “Have you read his speech?”  Answer “No.  I do not read what racists write”.  Have a read yourself and you be the judge www.act.org.nz    

 

Epsom is the key
http://client.minervamail.com/images/act/linesmall.gif
The reason John Key said last week “I am encouraging Epsom voters to support he ACT candidate” is because in the latest Roy Morgan poll ACT winning Epsom makes John Key PM.   It is the same reason Internet Party leader Laila Harre and John Minto have urged their supporters to vote National to defeat David Seymour.  After wondering why John Key has not done a deal with the Conservatives, Colin Craig  then tries to help Labour in Epsom.  John Key did look hard at an accommodation with the Conservatives but decided the fruit loops are unelectable. If Colin Craig had door knocked on 10,000 doors in East Coast Bays, like David Seymour has done in Epsom, the answer might have been different.  If Colin had not told us all that it is a “no brainer” Christine Rankin would stand in Upper Harbour against Hon Paula Bennett, then we might not think it is brainless for her to stand in Epsom.  By Writ Day she will be the candidate for Mangere.   

 

A Labour MP in favour of productivity

http://client.minervamail.com/images/act/linesmall.gif
Last week Parliament heard a record number of valedictories.  The best was from someone many MPs had never heard give a speech, the long serving assistant Speaker Ross Robertson, MP for Manukau East. Being working class and socially conservative Ross would never be selected by today’s Labour party.  It is years since the whips have let him ask an oral question.  While overlooked in this country for promotion MPs around the world elected Ross the chairman of their international association.  Ross’s speech covered issues no Labour MP talks about: the importance of productivity, ethics and why the Official Information ACT should be extended to Parliament and MPs’ spending.  Readers interested in a fine example of Parliamentary speaking should view the YouTube clip.  We will never see a speech like that from a Labour MP again. Go to http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/debates/debates/drafts/50HansY_20140730/draft-transcript-wednesday-30-july-2014

 

Please feel free to forward this letter to your friends and colleagues

If you get this letter from a friend, you can Click Here to Subscribe to The Letter.

The Letter - 4 August 2014

12.5% company tax rate
http://client.minervamail.com/images/act/linesmall.gif
Cutting the company tax rate to 12.5% will boast GDP growth by 1%.  As New Zealand’s best estimated long term growth rate is 3% this is a huge increase.  It is close to an economic silver bullet.  It is the best new idea any party has come up with for years.  Jamie Whyte and ACT’s policy team have reviewed the international research.  There is now case after case showing firstly how damaging high company tax rates are to growth.  A high company tax rate discourages investment.  Lower investment results in less employment.  New Zealand’s relatively high company tax rate is a large part of the reason New Zealand’s real wages are low.  When the company tax rate is reduced investment increases, (projects that were uneconomic become viable), increased growth leads to increased employment.  The higher real wages come largely because the increased investment leads to a productivity improvement making higher real wages viable. 

 

It is a global economy
http://client.minervamail.com/images/act/linesmall.gif
New Zealand is competing for capital against the world.  When we have a high tax on investment the capital just goes elsewhere.  It is not just Ireland that has shown the economic benefit of a low company tax rate. Ireland’s present woes came from an unrestrained banking sector, property bubble and poor public financial management, yet the country’s low company tax rate is helping its rapid recovery. We can observe how high company tax rates damage growth in federal systems, such as USA and Canada. Conversely, examples from those countries show how cutting the Company Tax rate increases growth, jobs and real wages. French economic growth is stunted by a complex, high tax regime.

 

ACT has published the research
http://client.minervamail.com/images/act/linesmall.gif
Jamie Whyte has released the international research that supports cutting the Company Tax Rate.  It is on ACT’s website and is worth a read www.act.org.nz . ACT has also put out how to fund it. Company Tax does not raise very much. Eliminate all corporate welfare, which is just crony capitalism, politicians picking ‘winners’, and get rid of the ETS, which even the Greens admit is having no effect on global warming – just gesture politics.       

 

TV debate tonight Native Affairs Maori TV 8.30pm

http://client.minervamail.com/images/act/linesmall.gif
Jamie Whyte has been issuing a series of background papers most of which have been ignored by the media.  A proposal that we should have equality before the law, posted three days after the speech was given to no media coverage, has produced a media storm.  Jamie Whyte has not retreated and has shown he is made of strong stuff.  Jamie tells The Letter that many of the journalists who have rung him clearly have not read the speech.  Not having read the speech is the only charitable explanation for the Race Relations Conciliator’s intemperate personal attack.  Nowhere in the legislation Dame Susan Devoy is paid $220,000 a year to administer does it say it is part of her job to publicly attack a candidate for office who having said he is against racial discrimination.  Dame Susan is debating Jamie Whyte tonight on Native Affairs Maori TV at 8.30pm and we look forward to hear why equality before the law is wrong.

 

Media bias
http://client.minervamail.com/images/act/linesmall.gif
We have had a look at what the journalists attacking Jamie are saying.  Very few address what he has said.  The Australian Fairfax group has resolved the issue by pretending it has not happened.  (Print media blackouts used to be effective, but now, in the age of Facebook and talkback radio, newspapers  are just made to look irrelevant or biased.  Not one commentator has defended the example of discrimination Jamie gave.  AT our universities today there are students from state house backgrounds who have been refused a place on courses in favour of students from privileged private schools because the state house student’s parents are the wrong race.  We are also waiting for a media outlet to publish what Jamie Whyte actually said.  We said to one journalist who was attacking Jamie as a racist “Have you read his speech?”  Answer “No.  I do not read what racists write”.  Have a read yourself and you be the judge www.act.org.nz    

 

Epsom is the key
http://client.minervamail.com/images/act/linesmall.gif
The reason John Key said last week “I am encouraging Epsom voters to support he ACT candidate” is because in the latest Roy Morgan poll ACT winning Epsom makes John Key PM.   It is the same reason Internet Party leader Laila Harre and John Minto have urged their supporters to vote National to defeat David Seymour.  After wondering why John Key has not done a deal with the Conservatives, Colin Craig  then tries to help Labour in Epsom.  John Key did look hard at an accommodation with the Conservatives but decided the fruit loops are unelectable. If Colin Craig had door knocked on 10,000 doors in East Coast Bays, like David Seymour has done in Epsom, the answer might have been different.  If Colin had not told us all that it is a “no brainer” Christine Rankin would stand in Upper Harbour against Hon Paula Bennett, then we might not think it is brainless for her to stand in Epsom.  By Writ Day she will be the candidate for Mangere.   

 

A Labour MP in favour of productivity

http://client.minervamail.com/images/act/linesmall.gif
Last week Parliament heard a record number of valedictories.  The best was from someone many MPs had never heard give a speech, the long serving assistant Speaker Ross Robertson, MP for Manukau East. Being working class and socially conservative Ross would never be selected by today’s Labour party.  It is years since the whips have let him ask an oral question.  While overlooked in this country for promotion MPs around the world elected Ross the chairman of their international association.  Ross’s speech covered issues no Labour MP talks about: the importance of productivity, ethics and why the Official Information ACT should be extended to Parliament and MPs’ spending.  Readers interested in a fine example of Parliamentary speaking should view the YouTube clip.  We will never see a speech like that from a Labour MP again. Go to http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/debates/debates/drafts/50HansY_20140730/draft-transcript-wednesday-30-july-2014

 

Please feel free to forward this letter to your friends and colleagues

If you get this letter from a friend, you can Click Here to Subscribe to The Letter.

The Letter - 23 June 2014

 

No he can’t but the left still will

David Cunliffe cannot win from here.  He cannot tell the country that  Judith Collins, Maurice Williamson and Michael Woodhouse, should all resign and say that in a ministry he led they would all be gone.  He cannot say, "forgetting is no excuse".  And then have it revealed that he himself lobbied on behalf of the very same businessman.  His defences just make it worse, “a staffer wrote the letter”, “I was not lobbying I was only asking how the application was going” – the Maurice Williamson defence.  Forgetting was an explanation that he has told Parliament repeatedly is not acceptable in a government he seeks to lead. Cunliffe is discredited but that does not mean the left will not win the 2014 election.

 

It is a knockout

If failing to remember he had lobbied for the infamous Mr Liu was the Leader of the Opposition’s only mistake he might recover, but it is not.  David Cunliffe has built his whole case for a change of government on a narrative that National is corrupt.  He has produced no evidence except that some Chinese businessmen have donated to National.  In David Cunliffe’s narrative, that is corrupt.  It now appears Labour itself has sought and received donations from Chinese businessmen.  After eight months, David Cunliffe has only managed to score one knockout on himself.

 

He has got it all wrong

Cunliffe must be the most inept Labour leader ever, despite strong competition.  First he told the caucus that David Shearer could not win – oh what they would give for Shearer’s polling.  Then he said the missing one million are all Labour voters so the party could go left.  No they are not, many are ACT voters.  Then he decided he could make the case that National was corrupt.  National may be a lot of things but the party is not corrupt.  National is the least corrupt governing party in the world.  Labour in contrast has been found by the Auditor-General to have repeatedly misused taxpayer money to fund its campaigns. Remember the "pledge card" debacle? A leader with some ability to reflect would have thought, “Before I throw this mud could it boomerang?”

 

Will they?

If Labour wants to salvage something from the wreck then they need to replace Cunliffe now.  The Australian Labor Party, the most successful Labor Party in the world, would not hesitate.  Any party that claims to be able to govern should be able to replace its leader.  If David Cunliffe really is their best MP, what does that say about Labour? David Cunliffe is so bad half the caucus would be better.  David Shearer or Phil Goff or Annette King, if they want experience, Grant Robertson who was the caucus choice in the primary, or David Parker or Andrew Little if they want someone new.  Labour will still lose to John Key but not so badly. A real leader is the person who is willing to take over as captain of the Titanic after it has hit the iceberg.  Has Labour got a real leader?  If we were in the caucus we would go for Annette King.

 

Demoralising

The Labour caucus morale is zero.  They tried to tell David Cunliffe that a dozen MPs had accepted donations from Chinese businessmen.  Labour MPs also know that there is more to come.  National is in no hurry to drop the next bombshell.

If elections are about ideas, the sort of country we are, whether we are more free enterprise or more socialist, then the Left have already won the 2014 election.  David Cunliffe was right when he said “Labour wrote this year’s election budget”, a budget that is the government’s manifesto for the next three years.  We cannot think of a single policy in this year’s budget that could not have been in a Michael Cullen budget.

 

National is the reason New Zealand is a socialist state

Jamie Whyte made an observation about Labour’s proposal to make the KiwiSaver scheme compulsory that is truly profound.  Labour can only make its proposal to use the force of the state to oblige young people to contribute to low return savings schemes, with an average historical return of 3%, against repaying a mortgage, with an average return of 6%  because National has continued with Labour’s KiwiSaver Scheme. Jamie points out that National has continued with all of Labour’s poor quality spending.  We still have a Labour government, only the name and the personnel changed. 

 

What is National’s excuse?

We expect Labour governments to propose collectivist compulsory solutions, it is what they believe in.  What is National’s reason?  National MPs say they need to be centrist to win elections.  Follow this logic and we end up with Muldoonism again, a National government that is even more Labour than Labour.  National’s other line is if you do not vote National you will get a Labour government.  Well that line has just lost its power to scare.  Voters can now start to ask the question National cannot answer, which is, “What is the point of voting National if what you get is Labour policies?”   

 

Only way to make a difference

Jamie Whyte is absolutely correct when he observes the only way not to get Labour policies is to elect a number of ACT MPs.  Jamie Whyte’s blog on why he opposes compulsory super is worth reading: http://www.act.org.nz/?q=posts/labour-engages-in-schoolyard-behaviour

The Letter - 23 June 2014

 

No he can’t but the left still will

David Cunliffe cannot win from here.  He cannot tell the country that  Judith Collins, Maurice Williamson and Michael Woodhouse, should all resign and say that in a ministry he led they would all be gone.  He cannot say, "forgetting is no excuse".  And then have it revealed that he himself lobbied on behalf of the very same businessman.  His defences just make it worse, “a staffer wrote the letter”, “I was not lobbying I was only asking how the application was going” – the Maurice Williamson defence.  Forgetting was an explanation that he has told Parliament repeatedly is not acceptable in a government he seeks to lead. Cunliffe is discredited but that does not mean the left will not win the 2014 election.

 

It is a knockout

If failing to remember he had lobbied for the infamous Mr Liu was the Leader of the Opposition’s only mistake he might recover, but it is not.  David Cunliffe has built his whole case for a change of government on a narrative that National is corrupt.  He has produced no evidence except that some Chinese businessmen have donated to National.  In David Cunliffe’s narrative, that is corrupt.  It now appears Labour itself has sought and received donations from Chinese businessmen.  After eight months, David Cunliffe has only managed to score one knockout on himself.

 

He has got it all wrong

Cunliffe must be the most inept Labour leader ever, despite strong competition.  First he told the caucus that David Shearer could not win – oh what they would give for Shearer’s polling.  Then he said the missing one million are all Labour voters so the party could go left.  No they are not, many are ACT voters.  Then he decided he could make the case that National was corrupt.  National may be a lot of things but the party is not corrupt.  National is the least corrupt governing party in the world.  Labour in contrast has been found by the Auditor-General to have repeatedly misused taxpayer money to fund its campaigns. Remember the "pledge card" debacle? A leader with some ability to reflect would have thought, “Before I throw this mud could it boomerang?”

 

Will they?

If Labour wants to salvage something from the wreck then they need to replace Cunliffe now.  The Australian Labor Party, the most successful Labor Party in the world, would not hesitate.  Any party that claims to be able to govern should be able to replace its leader.  If David Cunliffe really is their best MP, what does that say about Labour? David Cunliffe is so bad half the caucus would be better.  David Shearer or Phil Goff or Annette King, if they want experience, Grant Robertson who was the caucus choice in the primary, or David Parker or Andrew Little if they want someone new.  Labour will still lose to John Key but not so badly. A real leader is the person who is willing to take over as captain of the Titanic after it has hit the iceberg.  Has Labour got a real leader?  If we were in the caucus we would go for Annette King.

 

Demoralising

The Labour caucus morale is zero.  They tried to tell David Cunliffe that a dozen MPs had accepted donations from Chinese businessmen.  Labour MPs also know that there is more to come.  National is in no hurry to drop the next bombshell.

If elections are about ideas, the sort of country we are, whether we are more free enterprise or more socialist, then the Left have already won the 2014 election.  David Cunliffe was right when he said “Labour wrote this year’s election budget”, a budget that is the government’s manifesto for the next three years.  We cannot think of a single policy in this year’s budget that could not have been in a Michael Cullen budget.

 

National is the reason New Zealand is a socialist state

Jamie Whyte made an observation about Labour’s proposal to make the KiwiSaver scheme compulsory that is truly profound.  Labour can only make its proposal to use the force of the state to oblige young people to contribute to low return savings schemes, with an average historical return of 3%, against repaying a mortgage, with an average return of 6%  because National has continued with Labour’s KiwiSaver Scheme. Jamie points out that National has continued with all of Labour’s poor quality spending.  We still have a Labour government, only the name and the personnel changed. 

 

What is National’s excuse?

We expect Labour governments to propose collectivist compulsory solutions, it is what they believe in.  What is National’s reason?  National MPs say they need to be centrist to win elections.  Follow this logic and we end up with Muldoonism again, a National government that is even more Labour than Labour.  National’s other line is if you do not vote National you will get a Labour government.  Well that line has just lost its power to scare.  Voters can now start to ask the question National cannot answer, which is, “What is the point of voting National if what you get is Labour policies?”   

 

Only way to make a difference

Jamie Whyte is absolutely correct when he observes the only way not to get Labour policies is to elect a number of ACT MPs.  Jamie Whyte’s blog on why he opposes compulsory super is worth reading: http://www.act.org.nz/?q=posts/labour-engages-in-schoolyard-behaviour

The Letter 16 June 2014

16 June 2014

 

The ‘Missing’ 100,000


What happens to the last election’s non-vote may determine this year’s election.  David Cunliffe won the Labour primary promising to take Labour to the left to mobilise the “one million” non-voters to turn out.  Like much of David Cunliffe’s rhetoric it was careless.  There were not a million non-voters, 800,000 is closer to the mark.  In a usual election, around 500,000 do not vote.  Of the extra 300,000 non-voters, it turns out many are from Right/centre voting electorates.  Labour’s vote was down 180,000, so the other 120,000 voters came from somewhere else.  ACT in its 6 elections has averaged 95,000 voters.  In 2011 ACT’s vote collapsed. Getting the ACT non-vote to the polling booth grows the Right/Centre vote.  Last election the 120,000 non-voting Right/Centre supporters almost gifted the election to Phil Goff. If they had all voted, ACT would have had six seats and National would not need to rely on the Maori Party.  

 

Where is the Evidence?


New Zealand does not allow exit polls on Election Day. Even exit polls taken a day later are notoriously unreliable.  Oddly, people quickly convince themselves that they did vote - and  voted for the winner too. Only marked rolls let you know who really did and didn’t vote, and they are sealed after counting. So we do not know for sure who the non-voters are.  The evidence that 95,000 are ACT voters is a) ACT’s vote collapsed, so those who voted for ACT in the previous 5 elections went somewhere else, b) non-voting increased the most in electorates where ACT is strong, c) anecdotal evidence from ACT supporters that they did not vote last election, and d) the results we’ve received this year from our extensive polling.   

 

The Right/Centre thinks National is Labour-lite


In ACT’s 2014 voter poll of the views of the Right/Centre in Epsom, around 17 percent of the electorate reveals that they feel betrayed by National: “What is the point of voting National, if what you get is Labour policies?”, is a frequent observation. This group will only vote National to stop a Labour government. Last election they were sure John Key was going to win. This year they also think John Key will win.  If the election was tomorrow, 100,000 (maybe more) would stay at home. Is ‘good vibe’ complacency a trait of the Right/Centre? If so, getting 100,000 potential ACT voters to use the ballot box is vital in 2014.

 

Only ACT


The National 2014 election year budget was brilliant politics; it allowed National to grab Labour voters. But it also convinced Right/Centre voters that National is Labour-lite. Only Jamie Whyte has a chance to motivate the missing 100,000 Right/Centre voters to go to the polls. ACT’s polling reveals that Right/Centre voters have not only a favourable view of Jamie Whyte but they have an unfavourable view of John Key, who they regard as being pale pink. Jamie has his job cut out for him, as Right/Centre voters think the job of being ACT Leader is a very tough job and they are not sure if anyone can do it. If there is a silver lining to the John Banks court case, it is that it proved Jamie Whyte can take tough decisions.

 

He Can Pick Issues Too

When he became leader Jamie Whyte had to pick the issues to highlight without the benefit of any polling.  Jamie chose to highlight the 120,000 burglaries that occur annually and to float a solution - 3 strikes for burglary then 3 years jail. The media commentators were universal in their derision. ACT’s polling subsequent to Jamie Whyte’s election shows he was spot on. The Right/Centre is angry that National has frozen the Police budget, that burglary is out of control and that burglars have nothing to fear when they are caught – many professional burglars have double digit convictions and records of offending during parole.  Since National was elected, over 750,000 people have been directly affected by a burglary.  Jamie then produced a detailed and accurately-costed alternative budget. Showing how by cutting middle class and corporate welfare, the tax rate could be lowered to 24 cents was also inspired. Tax rates may not appear as an issue in public and media polls but that is because most people who are polled pay no tax in net terms; They receive more in benefits than they pay in tax. But 20% of the electorate - including the missing 100,000 ACT voters - are real taxpayers and they hear Jamie’s lower and flatter taxes message and like it. Jamie Whyte is the only person who may be able to motivate the Right/Centre non-vote to go to the polls.

 

Internet-Mana Party

I-Predict is now forecasting that the leader of the Maori Party, Te Ururoa Flavell, will lose his seat to Internet-Mana candidate Annette Sykes.  The Letter thinks so too.  Flavell destabilised the Maori Party to get the leadership from Pita Sharples and then has had no idea how or where to lead the Maori Party.  Just being in government is not enough.  No approach has been made to the party’s largest donor.  We see no sign of electoral activity.  Annette ran a vigorous campaign last election on no money. With a four million dollar war chest she can out spend Flavell with some ease. The irony is that if Annette wins on current polling, the Internet Party leader Laila Harre, who has the top list place, will miss out.  Electorate seats are deducted from the Party list seats and Internet-Mana now needs over 2% to get a list seat.

 

Don Nicolson for ACT

ACT has selected former Federated Farmer’s President Don Nicolson to run for the Clutha-Southland seat. During his time as President of Federated Farmers, Don was a strong advocate of property rights and led the campaign against the Resource Management Act, a piece of legislation that has devastated the viability of many farmers.  Regrettably, Federated Farmers present leadership thinks property rights are a lost cause and have instituted a policy of appeasement. Putting it boldly, appeasement did not stop Hitler and it will not stop the environmental Nazis. Don’s selection sends a clear message that ACT is the only Party willing to say no to the environmental Nazis.  In rural New Zealand, and going by the reception he received at Field Days, Don’s selection is big news.  

 

Sunday Series

We are often asked “What is Jamie Whyte like?” Jamie has recorded a Sunday series of YouTube clips that are on www.act.org.nz . He is speaking in his own way and the results are quite revealing. We think he has got what it takes. Judge for yourself.  

 
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