Posts by Dennis Frank

  • Speaker: The crisis is all around us,…,

    "How do we stop politicians and other powerful interests interfering in news organisations?" Treating this as a non-rhetorical question, the obvious answer is via acts of parliament. A generic design would be ideal. I suspect the reason everyone considers this goal impossible to achieve is the binary nature of the status quo. Media ownership is either public or private.

    Just to focus on broadcasting (including websites), legislation that authorises all providers to operate only in the public interest would be resisted by private operators who want to broadcast for the benefit of sectional or sectarian interests only. I wouldn't be surprised if the judiciary were to support their antique right of favouritism.

    So the Supreme Court deciding in favour of traditional private property rights is likely to defeat a generic design. Even in regard to public property rights, the judiciary could determine that this notion is so novel as to be revolutionary (so obviously the left would never support it).

    Perhaps the best we could hope for is contract clauses that bind all media professionals to provide a public service by means of a broad definition of our common interests. Rather than our traditional binary left/right strait-jacket, it could spell out that contemporary society is multidimensional because it is multicultural, and that politics now includes all of us who are neither left nor right.

    Although our media tends to be inclusive nowadays, the pressure from the powerful to exclude participation they don't like remains. Organisational charters and contract clauses must incentivise equity of participation via our right of free speech. For instance, although climate change threatens human survival, those addicted to fossil fuels have a natural right to advocate their addiction in our media.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 154 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Government lost the election, in reply to BenWilson,

    I don't see that it's MMP's job to make them more cohesive and powerful than they already are.

    I share that sentiment. I was endorsing the agreement of Labour/NZF because I believe it is more important that the new government succeeds.

    If, at the end of the electoral cycle, it can be seen by fair-minded voters to have served the public interest via genuine collaboration, that will set an excellent precedent for the future. I believe that common good currently outweighs any potential downside.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 154 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: All Change,

    Since Russell posted this six days ago it has become increasingly evident that our new government is indeed 'all change'. Perhaps except a couple of features of the last two governments: neoliberalism and financial discipline.

    Jacinda hasn't declared any rejection of neoliberalism, so I believe she just wants to tweak it as per the agreed policy prescription. In regard to that, someone reported in the media that there's a 39 page document which will be made public. What has been reported so far is merely the gist of that (key points simplified).

    Whether Grant Robertson proves capable of reaching the standard set by Michael Cullen remains to be seen. The public must be bemused that our economy will be supervised by someone with no financial qualifications, track record of successful management of financial systems, or any relevant experience whatsoever. Expect the right to liken his appointment as Minister of Finance to hiring an Afghan immigrant drain-layer as neurosurgeon.

    The demeanour of Winston & Jacinda at the initial press conference impressed me. You can always read the chemistry between people via body language, and the relaxed rapport evident bodes well for the new government. I watched the swearing-in late this morning via the live stream. Normally wouldn't bother, but having spent five years working to establish the Greens as a viable operation in the early nineties, I wasn't going to miss seeing the fruits of that labour finally show up as three Green MPs entered our government for the first time. This is the foundation stone for the sustainable society to come. Better late than never. Very satisfying.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 154 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Government lost the election, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    Not according to this capsule review:

    However you may have a point here. It's in our common interest that this new govt survives its term & delivers suitable results as specified in the coalition agreement. The coalition, if we choose to see the Greens as part of it, is potentially as stable as a three-legged stool. I remember when those were a standard part of household furniture: people who sat on them didn't fall off (unless drunk). Jacinda will prioritise demonstrating the stability of the design to get a mandate for a second term, so waka-jumping legislation is obviously necessary - to ensure that history does not repeat itself!

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 154 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: The Government lost the election,

    We need to wait until the text of the coalition agreement gets published. All we can say at this stage is that we have a center-left government in the process of emerging (like a butterfly from a chrysalis).

    Leftists celebrating what seems to them a win (I share the relief & anticipation) ought to beware framing it as a victory for the left. The electorate actually rejected both the left (43%) and the right (45%). The new government has been made possible by a centrist.

    I'm intrigued that Jacinda responded to the question about immigration numbers by saying she's adhering to Labour policy. Is she implying that NZF agreed to their much higher number? What will the agreement actually say on this? Also, she's refrained from rejecting neoliberalism. Blog commentators are tending to interpret Winston's comment that "capitalism must regain its human face" as a rejection of neoliberalism, but I suspect this govt will merely copy Helen Clark's. Neoliberalism with sufficient greenwash to keep leftist greens happy and enough reversion to socialist intervention to keep Labour traditionalists happy.

    If enough regional development is tossed into the mix, with enough immigration reduction, Winston will be happy. However, he's shrewd enough to know that those slippery leftists must be corralled by the explicit requirements of the coalition agreement so it can function as a contract between the two parties. Once a lawyer, now a wordsmith, so let's see how well he's done in the draughting process...

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 154 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Election 2017: the no…, in reply to tussock,

    A similar historical analysis has today been published here:

    Worth considering this from the author: "voters appear to treat the threshold as a measure of viability. Below this, the risk of a third party losing their seat seems to deter voters: if the party’s electorate is lost, a party vote for them will be wasted. This may be a recognition that winning electorate seats are a tenuous position for third parties, as they depend on the candidate winning cross-over support from voters of different parties... the difficulty of getting into parliament, and of sustaining their support if they can’t crack 5%, helps explain why 2017 saw the fewest third parties ever under MMP."

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 154 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Election 2017: the Special…, in reply to Stephen R,

    Thanks, Stephen. If he has no local ties and didn't spend much time campaigning locally that would explain it.

    Thanks also Hilary: that would incline many voters to view him as lacking empathy for those victims, and some to conclude that his political judgement was sufficiently flawed to make him unsuitable as a local MP. If I was a Rongotai voter and knew he'd opposed inquiry into state care abuse it would indeed suffice to make me reject him.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 154 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Election 2017: the Special…, in reply to izogi,

    Why criticise the voters of Nelson, or the Labour or the Green parties, for failing to irritate voters by withdrawing candidates who'd show up to meetings and campaign for their respective party votes, and perhaps whom those voters might really want to vote for?

    Yeah, sometimes playing devil's advocate is a helpful role in the commentariat insofar as it highlights the way significant portions of the electorate think. Remember we tend to operate from the perspective of urban liberals, many of whom see the views of centrists as incomprehensible rather than pragmatic.

    Consciousness-raising has always been a fundamental part of Green political culture. Some would argue that it has always been a part of leftist political culture but I would respond by pointing out that, while partly true for progressive folk generally, leftist political culture has historically been based more on deceit than trying to upskill everyone to get them onto the same page.

    Labour can redeem themselves via genuinely collaborating with the Greens rather than just pretending. I accept that Jacinda seems sincere, and her policy signals may indeed produce political actions that bring about Green results. If/when it happens, it'll be the first time Labour has walked its talk for as long as most folk can remember. We'll no longer be able to dismiss them as a bunch of hypocrites.

    A sustainable society in Aotearoa as a model for the world is feasible if leftists as a whole embrace the goal and commit to working together towards it. The Greens do have the option of trying to get rightists on board with that project, but National's addiction to the growth economy is even deeper-rooted than Labour's, so the prospects of success via the alternate route are currently too dim to consider. As climate change kicks further in, it's bite will start to make the bluegreens realise that fiddling ain't enough, that they need to get real serious fast. When we see evidence of that change in the Nat's political culture the alternate route will become viable. Watch that space!

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 154 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Election 2017: the Special…,

    Hayley Holt looks to be the second-highest polling Green candidate after Matt Lawrey, presumably due to having a high public profile as television presenter & sportswoman. She got 18% of the candidate vote in Helensville (National 57%, Labour 20%, NZF 6%).

    Party vote there was N 56%, L 25%, G & NZF 7%, TOP 2%. So a big personal endorsement for her over & above the party vote. Ranked #14 on the list, she's almost certain to rank higher next election and enter parliament.

    Another likely to do so is Teall Crossen, currently #15 on the list. She's an environmental lawyer specialising in climate change law, has represented Pacific countries at the UN. She got 15% of the candidate vote in Rongotai (L 51%, N 25%, TOP 4%, NZF 2%). The Rongotai party vote ran Labour 44%, National 28%, Green 18%, TOP 5%, NZF 4%. Seems quite a hefty bias here against the cabinet minister Chris Finlayson. Have the locals have been irritated by all those treaty claim settlements he has masterminded resolution of? Peculiar. Why punish someone who is righting all those historical wrongs? A hotbed of racism?

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 154 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Election 2017: the Special…,

    In Waiariki the party votes went as follows: Labour 58%, Maori 19%, NZF 7%, National 5%, Greens 4%, TOP 3%, ALCP/Mana/informals each 1%. I've been rounding off to the nearest whole number and the sum here is 99%, yet there's a notable discrepancy when we look at the candidate vote.

    Just two candidates ( with Labour at 51% & Maori Party 44%: totalling 95%. Informals are shown at 574 but that still leaves around 1300 votes unaccounted for. Looks like these people showed up & voted for their party of choice, looked at the two candidates & said to themselves "Nah, I'm not voting for those two guys."

    Both Tamati Coffey & Te Ururoa Flavell have been on national television umpteen times & come across as likable, so that substantial voter aversion is puzzling. And Flavell's personal support as candidate being more than double that of his party confirms the Maori king's mana not producing any political consequence here too.

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 154 posts Report Reply

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