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February 23, 2008 | by  | in Online Only Opinion |
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The Week in Politics Feb 18 – 23

New Zealand
Latest polls show that National and their leader John Key have swung away to a large lead over labour. The Dominion’s head line “poll-axed” did not make much sense either and something like “Key kicks Clark” would have been better. The results give National 55% of the party vote, 23% above Labour. With the Greens the only other party to break the 5% threshold.

This result reinforces my opinion that polls cannot be trusted. Not because National has a large margin, but because smaller parties are not tracking so well. The media also portrays polls as election results. There is only one poll that matters and that is the general election.

Chris Trotter of the Dominion was reported to say that Labour’s only hope was to ditch the Clark and put the Goff in. This political commentator thinks that Labour should live by the Clark and die by the Clark. Changing Leaders now would be political suicide for Labour.

Owen Glenn continues to hobble around with one foot in his mouth. Shut up why don’t you already. I will offer Owen a couple of my socks to shove in there, please provide a postal address to jackson@salient.org.nz. This furore continues to dominate media attention. Lets face it Glenn isn’t exactly a Bob Jones. Let him be. No one really cares.

The anti cluster munitions conference kicked off in Wellington this week. 500 delegates from 120 countries gathered to draft a treaty on the use of cluster bombs and other such discriminate weapons. Good to see NZ continuing to support worthy causes.

New Zealand’s health system was in the heat lamp again with the release of DHB statistics into accidents, and inadequacies in the Ambulance service. Health Select Committee chair and Green Party spokesperson for Health, Sue Kedgley day tripped it out to Otaki to highlight Saint Johns only having one driver.

The Bolshevik-Terrorist Alliance occupied (and by occupied I mean, there were 10 people, one of which was a child waving a Maori Sovereignty’s flag on top of a phone booth, and the other 9 were emo’s) Manners Mall. They were calling for the charges to be dropped against the Ruatoki accused, the repeal of the Terrorism Suppression act. VUWSA President Joel Cosgrove and former VUWSA president turned bus driver Nick Kelly, were spotted at the protest picking their noses and eating it.

Australia
A Kevin Rudd cardboard cut out is passed around Australian Parliament after the new Labour government made a decision to withdraw all ministers from the house on Fridays, probably so they could enjoy a quiet Fosters. One Liberal MP had to be escorted out of the chamber, and another was asked to leave for bringing the cardboard cut out in. Anna Burke, the Deputy speaker eventually had to suspend the sitting. What is the point of having Question time on a Friday if the people who answer the questions are not there? Rudd is this one of your schemes to have a 4 day working week?

A former Mayor of Darwin was arrested for stealing a refrigerator, woman’s underwear and a Darth Vader voice distorter. Sounds a bit too much like something Michael Laws would do.

United States of America
McCain has denied accusations that he did a ‘Clinton’ and slept with/had relations with a lobbyist. This comes as a blow (heh heh) to his high ethical standards. Not that I blame him, she is quite foxy.

Nader is considering running again.
Hillary is on  1250 delgates
Barak is on 1319

Non English Speaking Countries
Stuff gets blown up in Kosovo, US embassy attacked, UN police in Kosovo beaten up by angry Serbs.
Turkish troops have entered Iraqi territory chasing some Kurds (and Whey), even though the US has asked them to stop doing so in fear of sparking a wider conflict and calls for separation of a Kurdish state from eastern Turkey, northern Iraq and west Iran.
Iran continues to violate UN sanctions, and supposedly is manufacturing weapons grade radioactive materials.
President Bush visits Liberia, the place where  they booted out all the slaves when owning them became illegal.

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The editor of this fine rag for 2009.

Comments (5)

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  1. Chris Trotter’s remarks in that Dom Post “poll-axed” article (and Tracy Watkins’ companion “Measuring the Mood for Change” feature) take the cake for the most naive, head-in-the sand political comments of the year. The “replace Clark with Goff madness” you draw attention to is perhaps his most outrageously dumb claim, but there are at least two more:

    1. Trotter wonders how Labour would attract the votes of those “who are pissed off with us for everything from anti-smacking to civil unions.” Hang-on: you WANT Labour to appeal to voters so homophobic that they do not believe gay couples should be granted ANY of the privileges given to straight couples? Trotter, you really believe pandering to such incredible bigotry is the way for Labour to go? That way lies New Zealand’s past. If Labour want to stay in power, they must look to the future. Shame on you, Chris, for pimping yourself so readily to the polls. You clearly have no principles left.

    2. “If she can persuade those working-class battlers – particularly the Maori and Pacific working battlers – if she can win them back with something like the tagging, or other policies which are clearly going to benefit them, then I think she’s fine.”
    Yes, I agree that many Maori and Pacific “battlers” were turned off by the anti-smacking furore. But to argue that they will return to Labour because of an anti-tagging policy which will criminalise their children, and place them in debt because of the 1000% higher fines – this is moronic. Even the shopowners interviewed by Campbell Live who were sick of tagging said the law would have no effect, so neither the taggers nor the shopowners from their community are behind this law. You don’t win parents’ votes by punishing their children based on their social problems, you win votes by improving their children’s opportunities.

    The fact that Trotter says such naive things yet is still regarded as NZ’s foremost Left columnist is indicative of the atrocious level of debate in NZ newspapers.

  2. Really, trying to win back voters by tempering or parsing contraversial policies will not win it for labour. Labour’s battle is as it always will be, grabbing the middle voter. The poll, and it is a single poll seems to raise a few questions:

    1. How accurate is the polling, are they just picking up the angry national voter, and while the embarressed Labour voter avoids the pollster?

    2. If accurate, then it may be the first time we have seen since maybe 1999 where the poll jump is more about voters wanting John Key than Helen Clark. If this is so, Labours job got a hell of a lot tougher…unless the can find a “blindside” policy: one that reasonates with voters, but is nowhere near anything contraverisal to the party (like having to fight on Health, Police, Justice: areas where they have to fight not just the value of new approaches, but defend the failures as accused by National). Interest Free Student Loans was the one of 2005

    3. Could Labour’s suppport erode further, as National did in 2002, with people trying to keep the likely Government “honest”. If this happens, I expect to see NZF and UF jump quickly soon. Perhaps even the Greens.

  3. Chris de Lisle says:

    I suspect the polls may become a self-fulfilling prophecy as voters abandon labour because the polls say it is going to lose. Suspicions that National has an easy victory might inspire people to vote for the minor parties, however.
    I note that the media is getting very anti-labour of late- Tv3 made Clark’s visit to Australia a story about how she is going out of office. Which seemed strange.
    I can’t understand why the media wants a National government- Labour seems to be generating far more controversy, and controversy is good for their business.
    The Electoral Finance Bill isn’t, I suppose.

    The Kosovo thing seems to be being taken by everyone as ‘very important’. As far as I can see it’s just making official what was already the status quo, but it’s got Russia up in arms as Putin tries to reignite the Cold War (…Do you ignite a cold war?) and every seccessionist movement in the world declaring ‘us too!’
    I don’t know. More countries might be a good thing.

    I feel sorry for poor Iran- they don’t seem to actually be making any form of nuclear weapon, and they are still being told off by the countries with nuclear weapons

  4. Jackson Wood says:

    Yeah: polls = shite.

    The media always picks on the underdog, the nature of the sensationalised beast.

    The Kosovo thing has been totally underplayed in the media. I thought it would be quite big after the troubles of the early 90’s bombings, Clinton legacy coming back to haunt, general hate of the US.

    Poor Iran? They have lots of oil… RICH Iran.

  5. Chris de Lisle says:

    Well, they do have oil. But, they are also sanctioned- and one is not yet convinced that they aren’t going to be engulfed in the instability which surrounds them.

    Iraq on one side, Afghanistan and Pakistan on another, territorial dissagreements to the south… A hostile international community…
    It can’t be easy being Iran…

    Of course, it’s probably easier than being ruled by Iran….

    I suspect the Kosovo thing has been underplayed because as yet very little has actually happened. There were a few explosions in northern Kosovo (But those happen every weekend anyway… I guess), a riot in Belgrade, and a whole lot of talk about how this might or might not mean something. Once other movements start doing things it might get more coverage?
    If stuff does start to happen it seems likely, to me, that this will be in Srpska (In Bosnia)- which is already making some noise about dismantling Bosnia in order to secede. That’s another small state in the Balkans, so it probably still won’t be newsworthy….

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