Peter Dunne says next year the Government may learn the hard way that more of the same is no longer a winning electoral formula, no matter how positively it is promoted

Peter Dunne says next year the Government may learn the hard way that more of the same is no longer a winning electoral formula, no matter how positively it is promoted
Ian Lees-Galloway's judgement appears to have been found wanting again, says Peter Dunne. Illustration by Jacky Carpenter.

By Peter Dunne*

There must be consternation within the upper ranks of the Labour Party at the performance of some of the Ministers in the coalition government.

Every time the government looks like making some positive progress, one or other of these errant Ministers can be relied upon to upset the applecart. No sooner had the Prime Minister returned from her latest overseas trip where she was lauded once more by the international media, and followed that up by honouring her promise to meet Tonight Show host Stephen Colbert at Auckland Airport and show him around the city when he arrived here to film a few programmes, than serial offenders Ministers Jones and Lees-Galloway were up to their old tricks.

Both forced the Prime Minister to abandon the warm smiles and adopt the grim countenance once again as she had to first explain then defend their behaviour. It all had a sad look of déjà vu about it.

In the Jones’ instance her defence was predictable: she “absolutely” would not have used, let alone allow herself to have been photographed, using an automatic weapon of the type now banned in New Zealand, and she urged the Minister to read again those provisions of the Cabinet Manual relating to acceptable standards of Ministerial behaviour. And that was it – as it has been on so many other occasions in the last two years – no censure, no discipline, just the usual wet bus ticket slap.

So too with the different case of Lees-Galloway. What seems, on the face of it, to be another judgement-lacking use of his Ministerial discretion on an immigration residency case, has been given the Prime Minister’s full support as perfectly appropriate.

It may well be valid – given the person’s protected migrant status – but in the absence of any explanation, however generalised, by the Minister of the background, it just looks like another case of his judgement being found wanting, and his ineptitude overlooked again. The upshot is that any political benefit to have emerged from the Prime Minister’s recent international sorties has been quickly forgotten.

Of course, the Prime Minister’s colleagues will point out that in the instance of Jones, as a New Zealand First Minister, the Prime Minister cannot move to discipline, demote or even dismiss him without the backing of the Deputy Prime Minister, the Leader of New Zealand First. They are right to do so – and the reality is that Jones and his New Zealand First colleagues will exploit that to the hilt as a way of differentiating themselves within the Coalition. That is understandable too, but it is arguably an excuse that is starting to wear a little thin.

The Lees-Galloway situation is different. He is a Labour MP, so the Prime Minister can discipline, demote or even dismiss him, as she sees fit, without reference to other parties.

That she has done none of those things now, or at the earlier time of the Soubrek case is a commentary on her leadership style, and the perceived lack of talent in the remaining non-Ministerial ranks of the Labour Caucus to replace him.

Where all this begins to matter a little more is that we are coming to the stage of the electoral cycle where voters start to focus less on the government’s specific individual actions, and more on what the government’s overall impact – positive or negative – has been on them and their families.

Quite simply, with just on a year to go until the next General Election, they are beginning to weigh up whether the government is worth re-election.

In the end, it will be the perennial question, “is this as good as it gets, or is there more to come?” that determines any government’s fate.

This government is, by virtue of its composition, unusual, and therefore somewhat more difficult to categorise in terms of its performance. Previous multi-party governments have had more coherence – either the centre-left, and the centre; or, the centre-right, the right, and the centre working together. This government brings together the left, the centre-left and the centre-right, meaning immediately that the compromises needed for its survival were greater than those within any of its predecessors under MMP.

 So, the fact that the Prime Minister is effectively hamstrung over the performance of New Zealand First Ministers should come as no surprise – it was virtually guaranteed this would be the case from the day the government was formed.

Nor should it be any surprise that the Greens have been steadily pushed to one side – again, it was inevitable that there would be a contest amongst the smaller parties for the major party’s prime attention, and that New Zealand First would play much harder ball when it came to that.

While these relationships and tensions were all known from the outset, what was not fully known was how they would play out when it came to deciding policy.

The fear that some expressed then that it would mean that New Zealand First would have an effective veto on policy has proven largely to be correct, meaning that Labour governs at the pleasure of New Zealand First, rather than with its support. It is doubtful that voters wanted or anticipated that a Party with just 7% of the party vote would call all the shots this way.

Now, when it comes to deciding whether the coalition government merits re-election next year, all these factors will come more strongly into play than specific policies.

In assessing the government’s overall performance, voters will be deciding whether the increasing perception that not a lot seems to have happened under this government (remember this was supposed to be the year of delivery) is because its very composition is a block on progress, which needs to be rectified, or whether the issues it says it is dealing with are really so complex that they cannot be resolved in one three year term.

The recent widespread protests here and abroad against a perceived lack of commitment to addressing climate change, and the results of the some of the local elections here last week, show that voters are becoming increasingly impatient with politicians who appear either to be blocking necessary action, or to be moving at too slow a rate. Nor are they afraid of making radical political change, if they think that is required.

If, as seems more and more likely, what we have now is as good as it is likely to get under this government, the next year is likely to be a very painful one for it. It may learn the hard and bitter way that more of the same is no longer a winning electoral formula, no matter how warmly, empathetically and positively it is promoted. Just ask the former Mayor of Wellington


*Peter Dunne is the former leader of UnitedFuture, an ex-Labour Party MP, and a former cabinet minister. This article first ran here and is used with permission.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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"It is doubtful that voters wanted or anticipated that a Party with just 7% of the party vote would call all the shots this way."

For the 7% of voters that voted for that party, they couldn't be happier.

Voters of other parties can't really do anything about it, except hope that their own party adopts policy positions amenable to those 7%, so that at future elections that party doesn't make it back into government.

The opposition problem remains, as always, a crappy leader and no viable coalition partners. Neither are likely to change ahead of the election, so Labour - Greens are a shoe-in to win next time.

"The recent widespread protests here and abroad against a perceived lack of commitment to addressing climate change, and the results of the some of the local elections here last week, show that voters are becoming increasingly impatient with politicians who appear either to be blocking necessary action, or to be moving at too slow a rate. Nor are they afraid of making radical political change, if they think that is required.

If, as seems more and more likely, what we have now is as good as it is likely to get under this government, the next year is likely to be a very painful one for it."

Conclusion doesn't follow from the premise. Voters impatient for action on climate change are hardly going to vote for National or Act. They'll vote for the Greens, increasing the likelihood of a Labour - Greens coalition, or if NZFirst joins the government again, making them swap places with the Greens as the smaller member.

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And Dunne's percentage of the vote while he backed the neoliberal failure that left us in this predicament?

Disingenuous, I'da thought.

definitely,peter did not contribute much when he was inside the tent but now he provides a steady stream.

The Peter Principle?

(Also applying to other Peters in parliament...)

Then why are NZF they persistently polling in the 2-4% range since going with Labour? Peter's obviously lost a lot of support right then, and it hasn't come back. Also looks like his blustering over the wrongful pensions payments is about to come back and bite him with a Judge now ordering him to answer some questions regarding his claimed single status for superannuation which he has been stonewalling - why not answer if it was a genuine mistake and his actions are consistent with his claims? Seems likely to indicate that he has been playing for time on something he does not want to come out.

NZFirst usually poll less than 5% outside of an election year.

I learnt conclusively in the last election that Winston Peters cannot be trusted by anyone . Winston looks after Winston and no on else

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I can't agree that the 7% of voters that voted NZ First "couldn't be happier". A party that consistently runs on a slowing-down-immigration platform has manifestly not slowed immigration, even when in a position of power.

You make a good point. I'm looking there a party that is concerned about the quality of immigration, not slowing or speeding up but improving. Who should I choose?

I think I need to make NZers to think harder.

NZ's prosperity, for foreseeable future, will depend on the prosperity of primary sector, tourism sector, international education sector, and any sectors that depend on migrants and their wealth directly injected into the economy.

So, any political party's election campaign will be undeliverable promises or just lies if they propose to do sabotage the sectors mentioned above.

depend on migrants and their wealth directly injected into the economy

I'd argue that Labour and NZ First are more pro-wealthy migration than National; the latter had an exploitation-based programme with the aim of feeding volumes of low-skilled migrants to prop up low-value industries.

The current government has taken the talent employment visa requirement from a meagre 55k to 1.5x median wage (80k). Migrant couples wishing to move their parents to NZ need to make 3-4x median wage.

Under the proposed change to work visas, Immigration NZ shall compare offered wages to median wage of the occupation before allowing employers to recruit migrants in the 5 cities and high density urban areas, unless employers pay 2x median wage.

Post-study work visas for non-degree, non-PG courses are restricted to one year.

This government only passes this immigration policy changes.

The proposal and feasibility study of this policy change have been done during National period. National would pass them as well if in office.

It would seem that they also have some imperative to address the issue of worker exploitation which has resulted from low skilled migration..

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/116616273/tougher-penalties-for-rogue-e...

Worker exploitation was clearly proved by prof Christina Stringer's report in Dec 2016 which no one has ever disputed. It is also supported year after year anecdotally by comments on fairly reputable websites like this one. The response has been appalling: either sweep it under the carpet (Nats) or set up a working party to discuss financing more labour inspectors (Lab). If both sides of politics can't see this is a moral issue then we should be worried about the ethical qualities of the people we are electing.

PD has nailed it - the Gubmint is squirming on the hooks that were baited and waiting from day one. The Greens haven't helped themselves over the latest anti-terrorism proposal - where's the Precautionary Principle when ya need it? Labour, in thrall as always to the Unions (or whatever's left of 'em), are seen as having failed Der Woikers on all fronts, from housing to FPA's. And NZF is having a wonderful time, alternately throwing rocks under the Wheels of the Delivery Vanette, and bribing potential voters with $3 billion of Our Munny.

It's gonna be an Interesting 12 months.....bring popcorn.

The change in Wellington's Mayor is a mixture of the poor performance of Justin Lester and the push for change. A lot of people were communicating the need to change the Mayor and Councillors. There were too many incumbent do nothing Councilors, and they were stupid enough to believe the Mayor's claims that the Green Party would abandon the Government over transport decisions. Claims that the Green Party has denied publicly.

Perhaps there is a mood for change across the entire country but the election in Wellington was a local issue.

Excellent piece.
Labour need to get moving urgently or they are gone-burger. And rightly so.
As I said the other day, there is a serious talent deficit in this government.

And the other side of the house?

Spare us.

Yes they are awful too.

Labour are still much less worse than National, a party with Simon Bridges as leader and Paula Bennett a deputy? how can anyone take the National party seriously with that? and now Bridges has decided he does actually want semi auto rifles to be allowed.

I take Simon Bridges a lot more seriously than Jacinda Ardern, and I suspect I'm not the only one.

Paula Bennett is also streets ahead of Kelvin Davis.

Not sure you you started on the right foot with that comparison.

Gee, Simon's rehabilitation efforts are going well then.

Still seems like the majority of commentary I see has not bought it, however, finding his most authentic moment to have been his "one Chinese, one Indian" phone call.

He can bumble all he wants - he will always be superior to a leader who is afraid to make decisions, who talks and talks but never walks the walk. Whose time in opposition was marked by nothing of substance whatsoever, whose prior experience amounts to working in a chip shop.

Simon Bridges credentials as a lawyer who attended LSE and Oxford blow her smiles and waves out the park.

While you're on nothing of substance John Keys 9 years was pretty much nothing of substance, other than causing massive issues for other to have to try to fix up.

He needs to figure out what he actually stands for, to start, and show he has ethical standards.

It's good to see a bit more esteem for university qualifications / experience from the right though.

Yeah I particularly like the one where National flood the country way more people than our housing can take, with 100k plus mass migrants per year, then the Paula's special solution was the taxpayer has to start paying people them $5K each to move out of Auckland because they caused such a housing crisis.
Paula she's a real crack up.

Don't agree on Bridges, but I agree Bennett is superior to Davis, who has been MIA.

I for one would go for TOP this time, not that I support their policies fully but I don't dislike them that much either. I think if enough of nzer just pull a rebellion vote just to show the establish parties that we hate them, then change will come. Throwing in a blank vote works too but I would prefer to have someone in parliament to shame them all lol.

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The other side is a one-trick pony, the trick being headline GDP growth. Whether that is achieved at the cost of migrant abuse, selling of critical assets to foreigners, cramming our infrastructure with those seeking economic refuge or a drastic fall in our living standards is irrelevant - 'growth at any cost' is their motto!

Don't forget redefining the definition of swimmable for rivers.

The only one-trick pony is Jacinda being a one term show pony .............

There may be a policy deficit, but National beats Labour every day of the week when it comes to talent and competency.

Jacinda Ardern
Kelvin Davis
Phil Twyford
Ian Lees-Galloway

These people are just in no way competent enough to be in the positions they've found themselves in.

And you're telling me the pony tail pulling, three way handshaker was good? what an embarrassment to the country he was.

"pony tail pulling, three way handshaker"

That's it. That's all you have to discredit the man. Pathetic.

That's what he's most memorably known for, since he didn't achieve any lasting impact on NZ aside from tax cuts for the rich and selling off assets.

No Kiwisaver, Kiwibank, Working for Families, Interest Free Student Loans or anything else Helen achieved.

He lambasted Working for Families as "communism by stealth" while in opposition, then did nothing when elected (as with the on again off again housing crisis).

But yes, even the general opinion on NBR pages seemed to be "Well, he came, he saw, he dithered, he left".

John Key was the BEST PRIME MINISTER in our entire history .

He guided us through the GFC
We saw unprecedented economic growth
We saw unemployment at its lowest level in history
We had and still have interest rates at the lowest level in my lifetime
He gave Kiwis their taxes back when he did not need the money leading to prosperity for all of us who have a job
We had an economic boom , which Labour has inherited
Key ensured we could and did measure school kids performance and progress
In spite of the GFC he got us back to surplus
He turned around the stream of young people voting with their feet and moving to Australia
He increased infrastructure spending to levels not seen since the 1940's
Key identified important roads to be built
He set up and ran a ROCKSTAR economy
We all felt more confident

What more could we have asked for ?

This post is almost Trumpian. Little resemblance to reality.

I wasn't his biggest fan, and didn't agree with much of his policy, but I think he was a credible PM. And I think a far better 'manager' than Jacinda.

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Labour, National, Labour, National, Labour, National, Labour, National, Labour.... time we tried National again.

More of the same as a non solution applies to both parties. More of the same as a non solution applies to economic growth, "wealth" creation, price "growth" of everything.

“When I was a young man, growing up in New York City, I refused to pledge allegiance to the flag. Of course, I was sent to the principal's office and he asked me: "Why don't you want to pledge allegiance? Everybody does." I said: "Everybody once believed the Earth was flat but, that doesn't make it so." I explained that America owed everything it has to other cultures and other nations and that I would rather pledge allegiance to the Earth and everyone on it. Needless to say, it wasn't long before I left school entirely. I set up a lab in my bedroom. There, I began to learn about science and nature. I realized then that the universe is governed by laws, and that the human being, along with society itself, was not exempt from these laws.

Then came the crash of 1929, which began with what we now call "The Great Depression." I found it difficult to understand why millions were out of work, homeless, starving, while all the factories were sitting there, the resources were unchanged. It was then that I realized that the rules of the economic game were inherently invalid. Shortly after came World War II, where various nations took turns, systematically destroying each other. I later calculated that all the destruction and wasted resources spent on that war could've easily provided for every human need on the planet. Since that time, I've watched humanity set the stage for its own extinction. I have watched as the precious, finite resources are perpetually wasted and destroyed in the name of profit and free markets. I have watched the social values of society be reduced into a base artificiality of materialism and mindless consumption. And I have watched as the monetary powers control the political structure of supposedly "free societies."

I'm 94 years old now and I'm afraid my disposition is the same as it was 75 years ago: this shit's got to go."

- In loving memory of Jacque Fresco (1916 - 2017)

Brilliant.

yes, it is amazing how people seem to think the rules don't apply to them. Generation after generation we are able to convince ourselves that somehow we are exempt from the consequences of our actions. Even today from the most trivial to the significant it is always someone else's fault or they made me do it..... Utterly lacking in maturity and integrity.

When will we get a truly transformational government?
Probably only after things have got really bad...

I would say when we vote away from red and blue ? The perspective that voting anything else is a wasted vote needs to go. For me, a wasted vote is one that keeps us on the same shitty trajectory, give or take.

Yes, the main reason why people vote red or blue is all to do with tribalism that requires minimal thinking and effort when attaching oneself to the tribe of choice. It's pretty much the same across the Anglosphere. Now, I understand that most people are too busy to pay too much time to what are quite complicated issues and problems. That's why people like the Hosk exist. They're able to filter the issues down to appeal to people's emotions and sentiment (positive or negative). Edward Bernays (the ('father of public relations') should be a household name. If people actually understood how they're being played, things might actually change.

Like I said above vote anyone other than the establish party just to show we hate them. We just have to believe that enough of us will do the same to have some effect. The wasted vote thinking is what kept us in this washy light hearted political environment.

May not have long too wait.

It's really light weight set of behaviours.

The words games regarding 1,800 police officers included!

Meanwhile the spreading gang driven drug culture & business following out to the region's and rotting communities and young festers.

Look over in Oz to see rural and region areas have their guts ripped out!

I would suggest the rotting and festering is what is spreading the gang culture - not the other way around

I think what would secure the election for National from here is a more conciliatory tone... "We have listened to NZers"... "We have taken to heart the loss in 2017".... "We have taken the three years to understand where the electorate felt we were coming up short".

And I mean doing this sincerely. Acknowledge some underspending in health, infrastructure... acknowledge housing.

But then remind the voters that National has the experience to actually implement solutions. Bridges could even go as far as to acknowledge Labour's efforts in highlighting where there is work needed... but its now time to hand it back to a party that can deliver... rather than just talk inspirationally.

Health spend went up about 10% in real per-capita terms under National and all the measurables like waiting times dropped - and they managed this while turning the economy around from deep structural deficits inherited from Labour to surplus. Housing: prices didn't start to rise till 2012 in Auck and 2013 in rest of country, and stopped 4 years later, wasn't even seen as a problem until 2013-4ish, and takes 5-10 years to grow building industry - can't just turn on overnight. Hard for govt's to control a bubble. Infrastructure: Earthquakes absorbed massive resources, but still many major motorways (Warkworth, Transmission Gully, Takanini, Northwestern, Waterview and others and had many more planned (cancelled by Coalition) + City rail loop. The National years were nearly so bleak as some try to portray - though fair enough if you didn't like their immigration policies.

Nevermind what happened in Christchurch with the botched recovery or the mental health crisis everywhere that they did nothing about.

"and takes 5-10 years to grow building industry - can't just turn on overnight"

Funny, 'cause ahead of the 2008 election John Key said there was a housing crisis in NZ and that National would fix it. If they actually meant it, then that 5 year period would have been right around 2012-2013 when the prices started soaring.

wasn't even seen as a problem until 2013-4ish

It was certainly seen as a problem earlier, and John Key ran on that problem and his solutions to it:

Home ownership

We also want to ensure that every young New Zealander who works hard and is disciplined about saving can expect to own their own home and thereby have a real stake in the economic future of this country.

Today, I want to talk in some depth about the declining rates of home ownership in New Zealand.

It has relevance to you, not only as an industry that interacts closely with the building and construction sector more generally, and as the mums and dads of a generation coping with this issue, but also because you are key voices in the debate about resource management law and compliance costs in this country.

It’s those aspects of the home affordability crisis that I want to concentrate on today.

But first, let’s take a minute to look at the enormity of this problem.

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0708/S00336.htm

But National still think they did a great job, even though they made a complete mess of the country, you'd need your head read if you want to go back to National again.

As opposed to the pixies and fairy dust attitude of the current mob of simply wishing for things to be better?

No they've actually done meaningful things that make a difference, like stopping foreign buyers of residential houses, National were never going to do that, their main source of being funded would be cut off, pretty disturbing situation that.

And if they are returned to power they will reverse that, and I wouldn't mind betting they will try to close the loophole that allowed the govt to do what they have done to stem that gaping wound. Anyone who was concerned about that, thinks they might vote National, need to think about that

You are dead right!

I really wish that Gareth Morgan didn't stop financing TOP. They could of been a new Kingmaker (troublemaker) and impose some changes within any of the two main party. I like Geoff Simons but he doesn't have the charisma like a Key or Arden needed to sell the ideas. As we know doesn't matter the ideas really as long as you have a good salesman. With a bit more financing and some serious marketing they could do well at the next election

"As we know doesn't matter the ideas really as long as you have a good salesman."

Well that was the whole philosophy TOP was railing against from the beginning. But without Morgan's money they can't make a go-er of it. Pity really.

7% was a cheap price for Labour to pay to get power

JC wasn't a sales person, she was a pretty face. Or, better looking than Andrew Little anyway. She was a hit & hope, and it worked. For a while. Now we all know who she is there is nowhere to hide. Winnies just smiling, that wry camera smile he has. Good point about National being humble however. It's always nice when the young ones admit they got it wrong, or, are still learning. Like a genuine thank you, a little bit of humility can go a long way. No popcorn for me. Crisps, wine & cheeses. Bring it on.

Wow one thing we can say for Kiwis is some have an incredibly short memory.
Remember, Tea tape scandal, the Novapay mess, Judith Collins resigning her portfolios after being involved in a string of scandals including Overivida, John Banks is convicted of filing a false electoral return in 2010, the National party using Cameron Slater for their black ops and as an attack dog, Murray McCully being involved in the controversial setting up of a sheep farm in Saudi Arabia in partnership with Saudi businessman Hamood Al-Ali Al-Khalaf, seemingly to negate the risk of Al-Khalaf suing the New Zealand government.[40][41], Todd Barclay being accused of making a clandestine recording of a staff member. More recently the mess with Jamie Lee Ross where he exposed first hand that the National party has been accepting overseas donations and breaking them down to get under the threshold so they don't have to declare them, and again even more recently being found to be accepting donations from China but not declaring them as from overseas hiding under a technicality.
It amazes me that people would actually want to go back to these guys, the level of deception from them over the years is very disturbing.

.

Add to that Nick Smith, ACC and Bronwyn Pullar....that ended up with Smith being sacked because of Ministerial interference!

All acknowledged and I'd still prefer National over Labour. For everyone of your issues you raise about National over the last 9 years we have a similar list this Coalition have amassed over the last two years...... and achieved nothing.

Bringing up the Jami-Lee Ross issue? which seemed to be more about him lashing out at being accused of harassment and then recording Bridges to set him up ... the area of harassment is not an area where Labour want to compare their performance. Haven't we just lost the Labour party president for trying to cover up harassment?

Clearly you missed the point completely on Jamie Lee Ross, he was exposing Nationals tendency to do quite dishonest and disturbing things.

Uh huh, National is teh evil. TBH I am very unhappy with Nationals cosiness with the PRC - even if I can understand how desperately they need the money for campaigning, BUT when I compare that to the horrendous corruption the coalition is creating in the form of NZF provincial growth (AKA the buy a seat for Jones) fund and soliciting donations from recipients of said money and seemingly hiding all their donations as 'loans', the very dark goings on in the PM's office with regard to promoting a guy who they knew had numerous allegations of bullying and sexual assault against him and the coverup that is going on over it, Curren's lying, Soubrek fiasco which looks dirty, Genter's threatening to bring down govt if Lester didn't stop building roads in Wellington. Tell me who exactly are the good guys in NZ politics?

Soubrek, National was also involved in. Bit of a whoopsie from Simon on that one.

Re the harassment allegations, they did a poor job of handling them for sure. However, they also advised complainants that allegations of sexual assault should be handled by the police as appropriate.

Regarding harassment allegations, you compare a mishandled process with JLR's statements that Bridges and Bennett were threatening to weaponise harassment complaints against him...yet then these complaints just went away and weren't handled when he toed the line. What sort of treatment of the complainants is that?

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/politics/2018/10/jami-lee-ross-four-women...
Prepared to promote (a point you raise) an apparent serial harasser if he fell in line: https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/political/370205/bridges-on-new-leak-discussi...

How serious are Bridges and Bennett about protecting women complainants if the complaints can come and go as needed?

As for kowtowing to the CCP...they should represent New Zealanders, not the wishes of a foreign government.

What is more amazing to me as that people are so good at seeing the shortcoming of whoever they do not like yet are absolutely blind when it comes to who they prefer. All your points are correct off course. I add Jenny Shipley selling her soul to China to your list. But what about absolute lies (100k houses, reducing immigration, solving child poverty etc) that Labour gave us to assume power? Lies about sexual harassment cases, lies about Lester not being a Labour candidate, Lies about budget hack and the list goes on and on.

lies are lies and liars are liars. NZ needs better than bunch of liars and it does not matter if they wear blue or red. No politician should feel safe to lie. But in real life most people vote because they like someone, not becuase they objectively assess their credibility, their honesty, ability or competence.

There is a school of thought that says that we instinctively seek good liars ie 'charismatic' people as out leaders, as they are the best to have representing you in negotiations. I personally don't like domineering charismatic leaders like Muldoon or Clark or Trump, as they bully their peers into policy that shouldn't be. Better the studious bookish pragmatic types who listen and build a consensus for action based on advice and evidence.

Wow. Two years in with multiple examples of non delivery the tribal left here (and some that vow they have voted National in the past) still believes it's backed the right horse.

We simply have to get rid of these incompetent fools masquerading as a Government as soon as possible