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Peter Dunne says the 52nd term of Parliament has been dramatic but in recent weeks the focus has been more on what many would describe as farce

Peter Dunne says the 52nd term of Parliament has been dramatic but in recent weeks the focus has been more on what many would describe as farce

By Peter Dunne*

The 52nd Parliament is hurtling towards an inglorious end. It will finish in just over two weeks and will be dissolved shortly thereafter on August 12 in preparation for the September 19 general election. It has been a dramatic term – dominated by huge tragedies, from the Christchurch Mosques massacres, to the Whakaari White Island eruption, and now Covid-19.

But in recent weeks the focus has been more on what many would describe as farce. The revelations concerning the personal conduct lapses of a number of MPs that led them to stand down have raised many questions about the culture of Parliament, the stresses placed upon MPs, and the responsibility of political parties. But while inappropriate and unprofessional conduct by MPs should never be condoned, no matter their status, the current situation needs to be kept in perspective.

The present number of 20 MPs (at last count) standing down at this election is not out of line with the numbers retiring at previous elections. Historically, New Zealand has had a relatively frequent turnover of MPs – the average length of service is just over six years. Of the MPs elected at the 2014 election, 53 have now either retired or been defeated. Only 26 of the MPs elected at the 2011 election are seeking re-election this year.

So, the turnover of MPs is not the problem – indeed, many would argue that a frequent turnover and refreshing of the House is no bad thing. Others argue for term limits to stop MPs serving for too long, although just as many are surprised to learn that very few MPs serve for more than ten to fifteen years, let alone longer.

Also, the average age of MPs has been dropping over the years, meaning that, consistent with patterns in the wider workforce, MPs are more likely to move on to do other things, as part of a range of career experiences. If anything, the turnover rate for MPs is therefore likely to increase in the years ahead.

But the unusual thing about this year’s crop of Parliamentary departures is the number where the decision to stand aside has been brought about by circumstances relating to personal conduct. During this term, National has been rocked by the scandals involving Jami-Lee Ross (now running as an independent and unlikely to succeed); Hamish Walker and Andrew Falloon. But the problem is not solely related to National. Labour has lost two Ministers for personal conduct lapses: Meka Whaitiri following an altercation with a staff member (although she is seeking re-election as an MP) and now Iain Lees-Galloway, as well as others for incompetence.

Most of the cases have been clear-cut, but there are some aspects of the Lees-Galloway case that are curious. He had been a controversial Immigration Minister, and there had previously been calls for his resignation, especially in the wake of his decision to grant residency to the convicted Czech drug smuggler Karel Sroubek, who had a lengthy criminal record in both the Czech Republic and New Zealand. Had the Prime Minister dismissed him at the time of that incident, there would have been little argument, given the lapse of judgement involved and his admission that he had not read the full file before making his decision.

Yet she did not, and instead backed him strongly. All of which makes the decision to get rid of him now because of a consensual affair with a staff member that ended some time ago and was apparently widely known a little puzzling. It leaves unanswered questions about whether, for example, he used his Ministerial position to the advantage of the staff member. The Prime Minister’s call – after the sacking – for Ministerial Services to investigate whether any official resources had been misused during the affair is also bizarre. Normally, the evidence is gathered first in a serious matter like this, not called for after the event.

Overall, it raises the suspicion that Lees-Galloway’s dismissal was based more on getting shy of a potential embarrassment ahead of the election than a judgment on his personal conduct. The Prime Minister may also have felt she had no alternative, given both the way in which the Leader of the Opposition had raised the matter, and had the previous day dismissed Andrew Falloon. Whatever the reason, it will have further eroded confidence in a political system reeling after recent events.

Nominations to stand for Parliament at this year’s election close on August 21. With dark rumours still swirling from both sides of politics, and the mentality of “gotcha politics” that has become an unwelcome aspect of New Zealand politics in recent years, the daunting reality now is that more scandals coming to light before then cannot, unfortunately, be ruled out.

*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.

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Interesting times!

No mention of SFO investigations though? Every significant party implicated there too. Maybe too level a playing field and not news any more?

Not what was expected, indeed. With a homepage headline of "Hurtling towards an inglorious end" I initially assumed an autobiographical piece.


An old adage - With regard to Lees-Galloway, Jacinda Ardern is reaping the reward of putting off till tomorrow what she should have done last year. "Don't postpone that what you can do today"


Exactly what Collins should have done with Woodhouse but she demoted him and praised him at the same time. His stench probably still reverberates around parliament.
In relation to Dunn's comments about parliamentarians moving on, National has had a large number transfer to occuping seats on Chinese Company Boards, but if course he didn't mention that in this article because of his arrangement with National.

Got some proof of the "large #s" lt

Now ACT’s got in on the act, so to speak. Mr Seymour (see less when it suits him) obviously hasn’t heard about pots and kettles.

Hook - see below
Read - Scoop Independent News - Gordon Campbell on National's Cosy Relationship with China (2019).
I counted Five Ex-National MP's on the Bank of China's Board, alone........

Perhaps so Logic, still hardly a large number though is it? Besides having some NZ influence on a large offshore financial institute may actually be no bad thing

They sit on so many other boards as well Read the article. Being to close resulted in poor negotiation from National with China. One example was the locomotives deal that Key arranged from China were an absolute disaster - they never fitted on our tracks and when we changed the tracks they were a maitenance nightmare. Prior to this, he got rid of all the kiwi technical people from NZ Rail Builders based in the lower part of the South Island. I think they all now work in Australia while the locomotives are parked on a rail line going nowhere. I think the cost was of the units was $350 Million. Good deal from your perspective, I guess.


His sacking did seem weird, given that Jacinda has let so many others in her clan get away with incompetence and worse without sacking them.

Open your eyes mate. She dropped him ( and pushed Clark) because of the timing. Doesn't need media attention on the wrong/incompetant behaviour.

What is the point of the three yearly election?

NZ's economy will depend on agriculture, immigrants, tourism, and education no matter who is in charge.

NZ's economy will be increasingly depending on China no matter who is in charge.

Most of promised policies will not be delivered no matter who is in charge.

So, what is the point?


Yeah, might as well just stop having elections.


Policies may come and go, many may fail to be implemented, but someone has to feed the beast that is the Wellington civil service. The election is really just deciding to what extent the rest of the country will be burdened with supporting the cardigan-wearers, who (unlike the rest of us) are immune to reductions in pay, restructures or redundancy.


By the way, what did happen to that pay reduction the PM was going to take, along with other ministers, staff etc..I have heard nothing since we were told there needed to be a law change or some such thing to allow it to happen!

Funny that, how the headline mattered more as soon as the opposition started getting traction on it and then the actual execution slipped off the radar. Most uncharacteristic of this Government!

Next Year

Dead right to them there is little difference between pre covid and post covid, the only difference that many can now work from home, and borrow cheap money to buy houses knowing their jobs are safe.


The point is we get the chance to turf out those who aren't working in what is perceived as the best interests of the country as a whole. Unlike the CCP.....

It's called democracy Xing. You know, something like the REAL power of the people not some pretence that has no meaning or substance. This is when the Government truly becomes accountable to the people.

Really M86?? You actually believe they're accountable? When was the last time any MP or Prime Minister actually paid any sort of meaningfull price for their screwups or missteps

It's the opportunity. There is of course, no guarantee that the voters will actually do that. We often see on this forum people of one ideology or the other blaming the other party for their faults, and utterly blind to the faults of their own. Then there is the issue of the quality of choice too. For the main parties, I suspect that any candidate must pass inspection/vetting by the party first before they get to election, thus the ideological corruption is already embedded. So how many independents do we see, and how easy it it for them to actually get a seat? The list system works against independents have much if any influence, and besides the ordinary voter tends to be blinded by ideology too. So a no win situation at the end of the day. But the opportunity still exists. (PS I well remember Pam Corkery's comment about Jim Anderton's New Labour and what new MPs have to put up with; (Bend over, here it comes .....!"))

Well, I respect your views and agree with the points you raised however you didn't address my point regarding accountability or lack thereof. As an aside, when we have people like Corkery and Barry eligible for and successful in selection then that shows how dysfunctional and shallow the process is

Accountability comes at the election Hook. The problem you identify is one of my greatest concerns with our version of democracy. There is no way for the public (in toto or by electorate) to sack a MP or Government outside of an election. So the three year cycle becomes even more important. Add another flaw - party candidates are chosen by the party, not the electorate (which will puzzle most people as to what I mean), but the core issue is the choice voters are offered at an election. An easy explanation is the last presidential election in the US and the Dems selection of their candidate. Many continue to believe they would have a Democratic president today if Sanders had been chosen over Clinton. So yes accountability is addressed, but it is a fairly big discussion.

Yeah, you are right- Brownlee should still be apologising for his Stuff Ups in Christchurch.

Fat chance!

More and more I am coming to the conclusion that xingmowang is really Bill Smith from down the road just having a laugh. He sure knows which buttons to press.

Because we get to freely vote in New Zealand for the party who most thinks that the CCP are just a loud-mouthed bunch of bad tempered little schoolboy bullies in need of a good spanking.

Its called Democracy X..look it up. Imagine a new China - freedom to vote out those corrupt souls you bow down too?


I am partly with Xing on this, we have successive caretaker governments that don't really change policy.

I would very much advocate for a 5 year term instead of 3 years. For a start, we basically have 3 term governments anyway, lasting 9 years, so 10 years isn't much of a stretch, with an election in the middle to shake things up. The biggest problem with caretaker governments is they never think long term. They only think about short term sugar hit fix policies which are often detrimental long term. As such, we have failing, bit part infrastructure and are missing obvious things like long term economic development plans or long term immigration goals. Instead we just get "keep house prices high or we will get turfed out!" and short swings to the left and right. No plan to fix tax systems, no plans to improve productivity (which is a long term game). NZ has a whole series of retarded policies impacting our lives so badly, which require long term thinking to fix. And with elections every 3 years, nobody thinks long term, so nobody will fix them.

I like ineffectual government. I want the government small and impotent.

I don't mind them being incompetent on a small scale, it's when they get large and incompetent that I get annoyed. Like now.

Longer terms undermine democracy Blobby. If there were to be longer terms, there would need to be a means for the people to sack a Government outside of an election. Politicians the world over have proven that they are fundamentally untrustworthy, especially if they are not accountable to the people. What we have seen here in the last few weeks is likely more to do with this being an election year than any of the parties trying to set and maintain a high standard. If that had been the case, most of these instances would have been dealt with well before now.

Agreed. Given we have now swallowed a huge dead rat and admitted delivery on actual policy doesn't matter (at least to the point where your mates in the media won't realllly hold you accountable for not delivering it), giving MPs even longer to not do what they said they would seems like rewarding a child for throwing a tantrum.

Maybe when we get a competent government capable of executing. But only then.

That's fine, but never, ever complain about any of the long term problems that our short term election cycle causes. Which is pretty much every major issue we have these days (minus COVID). Climate change/housing/health crises, all of them.

The biggest reason why China, for instance, is soon to be the next super power and has become an economic powerhouse is because they think long term. 5/10/20/50 year plans that are executed slowly but surely. It provides long term internal economic stability which then benefits most people. Sure they aren't the best when it comes to human rights, but that is a tightrope they walk with an all powerful leadership.

IMO, a 5 year term would allow execution of longer term policies. Right now they spend only 2 years of their terms doing it, the rest is settling in and preparing for the next election. 2 year plans are basically useless.

Yes agree. China can make real decisions that are followed through. In a democracy everyone is pulling in different directions.

They can certainly follow through better than others, but what they decide on with no accountability to their own people, is far more of a problem than the inability of our admittedly weak democracy to think and act long term.

Clearly said by someone who hasn't lived in China before and doesn't understand the place.

The CCP fear one thing the most - social instability. Everything they do, they do to try and benefit the majority of their population. Yes, they will sometimes trample on minority groups, particularly those that have expressed violent tendencies. But to say "they aren't accountable to their people" is totally incorrect. They do everything they can to further their own peoples goals. Yes, some of them are corrupt as well, some of them are power hungry idiots. But they are exceptions, not the rule.

I would challenge anyone that holds this view with a simple question: If China is such a terribly run place, why is it number 2 in the world economically (soon to be number 1) and why is it such a generally peaceful and stable society?

Most people argue this point with Westernised views of liberty, freedom and democracy etc and they pick some small minority group who has been treated badly as an example of how everyone is treated badly (which of course is incorrect). Most people have no understanding of how another culture with different values can work and clearly does. Most people cannot think outside their own little world view.

blobbles ++++++++

This is the kinda truth that only people like blobbles, myself or whoever lived in China long enough to understand and appreciate.

many commentators here see and hear China only from a pair of totally distorted leans which is the mainstream western media.

Nailed it. It is simply low level racism born of ignorance and xenophobia,

Well said blobbles. The most salient point in your post was the last paragraph re:Most people argue this point with Westernised views of liberty, freedom and democracy. This view by western powers has destroyed many a stable culture which was quite functional before Westerners interfered and imposed their values (think Middle East) or found a puppet regime to do their bidding.

That is a very big assumption for you to make about my background and experience. You have no issue stating that the CCP do everything they can to further their own peoples goals - doing no justice at all to the complexity of the issue. What are those goals exactly? Economic prosperity? The people can have no goals that the CCP would not wish to further? Are their people allowed to freely express differing opinions on this, without being treated as a threat to a 'peaceful and stable' society? They cannot handle even the minor criticism of people outside their system. You are clearly willfully ignorant of why people look at China and still find far more to condemn, than their own admittedly very dysfunctional democracies.

The CCP cares so much, they are furthering their peoples goals right here.

“People in the Chinese community don’t feel safe, they’re being intimidated by Chinese government officials..”

Couldn't agree more. Well said.

Thank you for proving my points so saliently.

Disagree in part, when a new Government accepts a law that is in place and wrong, but takes no action to change it then they too become culpable for it's consequences. There are plenty of examples to demonstrate this point. the problem is our Governments have become an all or nothing idea. None of them seem to want to say the intent of a law was good, but it needs tweaking. They will never give the other credit. Instead it's just repeal and replace, hence things never seem to get done. The issue here is the Westminster party political system which undermines democracy

You understand how long policy changes take right? Remember every government has only about 1 year to make changes, because the process of getting real policy changes into law takes so long to actually do. Hence why the Resource Management Act hasn't been reformed. Hence why every political party that has come to power does virtually nothing. Hence why big changes (for example the legalisation of cannabis and euthanasia legislation) are considered too hard and they can't address it in one term, so it gets proposed and pushed to a referendum.

If you want ineffective governance with caretaker parties that are incapable of making any real change, advocate for 3 year terms. But do it knowing there will be zero movement on major policies. We will continue to have a housing, immigration, infrastructure, health and climate crisis, because all that a party can do is fluff around the edges in the short time it has to act. If you want to actually change these things, they simply won't happen under 3 year term governments as evidenced by the previous... 6 to 10 governments...

But major policy changes do happen. Yes they take time, but when a significant review is done properly with all evidence considered and the ideology weeded out, then cross party support is generally gained. Quite frequently a change of Government will still see sound policy implemented that was initiated under another Government. The argument IMHO is specious.

Xing's trolling method is "fire-and-forget". He has no response. The CCP is indefensible.


i am responding.

I think your're just trolling. Nothing more, nothing less. It's not funny or interesting. It's tedious.


Well no, you never actually respond with reasoned arguments to support your unremittingly pro CCP statements.

Looking a bit further out, China faces increasing problems, in part due to the 1 child policy. As the population ages, so the workforce will shrink and the health and social security issues will grow. It has often been said that China will grow old before it grows wealthy. Furthermore, it like Japan and others, faces a demographic time-bomb within just a few decades. that of course, may make China more aggressive in the short-term.

A non-response is not a response.

While you're responding! : Why is the CCP loading blind-folded, shackled and shaved Uighur Muslims onto trains? Presumably to be sent for "re-education".

you were reading an article full of lies with a unsourced picture in it.

you may believe in it but it is still a lie.

Aye, there were a few of those sort of publications & photos about Dachau floating around in the late 1930’s. Adolf didn’t autograph those either.

What actually happened when one of the Nazi deathcamps was liberated by the Yanks was that the Yank general called in photographers, journalists and even movie people to document the condition of the inmates. "One day, people will say this did not happen" was his reason.

What is the propaganda story for these people?

“People in the Chinese community don’t feel safe, they’re being intimidated by Chinese government officials..”

Like my Chinese friends in China who had never heard of the Tianmen square massacre?

Don't upset Xing too much, he'll report back and imagine some time in the future when you have to do a stopover in HK.. Gone!

Man.... too much si-fi that you are watching.

Even Professor Anne-Marie Brady is more than welcome, can safely travel to China.

I bet she will change her tune after several visits with drinks for Mou Tai and Hot Pot for dinner.

I would hate to buy a second hand car from you Xing.. it's only done 30,000km, no accident ever and in mint condition!


What is the point of Emperor Xi?

China's economy will depend on fossil fuels, resource extraction and maltreatment of minorities no matter who is in charge.

China's economy will be increasingly depending on the rest of a now very mistrustful world market no matter who is in charge.

All of promised policies will be delivered no matter who is in charge and regardless of human cost via ubiquitous surveillance, fear and harsh punishments.

So, what is the point of living a life under such a regime?

Because they know no better, know nothing different. The CCP gained power in 1949. Those born around then, and thereafter, are now about 75 years of subjugation and brainwashing under the yoke of the regime. Judging by what millions on millions resort to having to eat, the air they inhale, the water they drink they couldn’t answer your question, simply because they hardly know that they are alive.

Some of them know better. They come to New Zealand for a better life and democratic values. They should be welcomed.

The issues with our high levels of immigration aside - I agree, people who come for those reasons and value them, should be welcomed

Hmmm.. waymad I think it will be interesting to see who actually needs who the most. China and the rest of the world are now so entwined they are symbiotic..

Dumb decision making

In December 2019 Chris Faafoi was caught up in an immigration conflict case involving a friend

Ian Lees-Galloway has his immigration commision terminated July 2020

Guess who is installed as replacement Minister of Immigration
You guessed it - Chris Faafoi

Chris Faafoi's new position is for policy only, not immigration decisions. I guess one of the associates is going to do that.

Faafoi has no good reason to be anywhere near immigration as a porfolio , we know this from his prior conduct .

Or perhaps he's the best person to be there because of his very close brush with being removed entirely as a minister. He'll ensure he stays squeaky clean.

The Labour party scraped the bottom of the barrel to get the current circus together, now they have officially scraped through the bottom of the barrel and are coming up with the *hit that leaked out of it.

The overall incompetence & after-hours fta television-type behaviour on show this parliamentary term has been both embarrassing & entertaining as it has been sad to watch. There is not much to recommend any of them for future duties other than perhaps a role in a tvnz farce on lessor wages. To be fair, the CoL was never going to be an easy thing to make work with its diverse & wacky range of policies & this has proved to be so. So ineffectual were they, that a global crisis was the only item on the agenda that they completed with a pass mark, & even then the disregard for the law (which changed daily) by their own cabinet leadership was what Chris Trotter might call, disappointing. On the other side of the house they have some real issues with depth of talent. Being a right of centre party you might expect there to be something of value in many of the individuals that still pull enormous salaries, even though they do nothing. Unfortunately this has not proved to be the case, with slippery & slovenly MO's evident all over the place, they do not look like a govt in waiting.
To September, now just round the corner, & with the Chinese exported pandemic still circling the globe, who knows what to do today, let alone tomorrow. Surely someone will stand up & tell it like it is? Surely?
I won't be holding my breath.

For the “gotcha politics” I blame our lightweight MSM, if you spend your time reporting on petty lightweight issues important (contract tracing app) they become important and politicians who spend their time on these issues because they don't feel competent to deal with the big ones are rewarded. For example Jack Tame in charge of Q&A and Tova O'Brien attending important press conferences are choices editors and producers in the MSM have made, thinking its good journalism. Maybe if COVID gets bad enough the public will find a way to demand better from the media.
If we can kick out the ineffective careerer politicians then maybe we some good ones that don't have time for all the stupid games on the side.

The farce behind the scenes is nearly as bad as those up front.
If this plot thickens any more, no one would believe we are led by sane people, down the Garden path and up sh--creek.
I trust no one with a hand in the till to ever get things right,,,especially when they are as nutty as a fruitcake...cannot achieve a simple stated objective and screw around playing at being diplomats with your money.
The mind boggles.
If this was a movie, no one actually believe anyone is acting....Sensibly.!
Billions at stake and we are all waiting for the next episode in a long line of failures, to vote for later this year. Not a pretty picture.
New Zealand is getting older by the minute. Idiots are at play.
Unfortunately they are using your ticket to their empire of roads and planes to nowhere, rails and tracks for bikes, not engines to play with and a little housey housey to while away your years in the fantasy you all made.....impossible.
Old New Zealand was actually better.
They actually achieved some reality.
No electric money....just plain hard work. And not an Aussie Bank thief, allowed to clip yer ticket....with a film over yer....eyes.
While robbing you...all blind.
And so stupidity...prevails.


And so secretly, furtively in cash strapped Christchurch, their airport authority spends $45 mill on bare land in Central Otago in order, based on the advice of some “aviation expert” to one day build a modest airport to service Wanaka and surrounds, and somehow too Queenstown even though that is a difficult drive through a gorge, and already has an international airport. But ratepayers are told nothing of this project involving their city’s funds. Instead they are told you have to pay more rates and new rates because the coffers are bare and otherwise you will lose basic services. Since when has an airport in the middle of Otago been seen as a basic service to Christchurch. There is no advice no consultation with ratepayers on this. Who is responsible? Who is accountable? Grandiose schemes, vainglorious projects, squandering of other people’s money, its running completely out of control.

I agree. The lack of public consultation and approval, especially for such a project as this, is really appalling. But while people will complain a little, hardly anyone is really willing to make enough fuss about it to get this changed. We need more people demanding this, not just talking about it with disgust at home and in our workplaces.

With reference to Lees-Galloway. I can't remember, did the Nat sack Jamie Lee on the spot?

The clowns have taken over the circus and rebranded it as a pornshop .

But we have known that since the last election

Do you wear a patch over the other one?

If there are no politicians worth any sort of salary, then maybe it is time to sack them all and have some form of direct democracy. Since the party system is not producing competence lets abolish parties. It is time for the people to step up . I once asked an election official why we cant have a box that says no one on this ballot deserves to be elected. He turned pale and stuttered. All we get is vote for this or that worthless party and individual.

Iain Lees-Galloway did nothing any different to Bill English. All those early morning text messages to a staffer, the non-disclosure agreement, Todd Barclay who suddenly got a cushy job in the UK and yet Bill English remained the leader. It meets the bar to get rid of a Labour MP but not a National MP.

Perhaps this is a good time to look at the comedy moments after the last general election. Here's a link to Bill English's victory speech after winning the last election, but not actually winning because someone intentionally leaked Winston's private details about his Superannuation payments killing any deal.

Remember how National went on about Skynet as the reason for amending Section 92 of the Copyright Act only to end up on the receiving end of legal action from Eminem for ripping off this song for an election ad.

Perhaps we could get some MPs that are dishonest hypocrites.

Maybe you've missed the memo, but that has literally nothing to do with this government or their chaotic, achieve-nothing approach to running the country. Anything to avoid scrutiny eh.

I think you've missed the memo that I'm not a part of the Government. If I was I would have work expectations set at a typical corporate level, which greatly exceeds the work done by any of the 120 MPs currently in Parliament.

National's problems date back a long way and they've done nothing to clear out the dead wood. Labour is full of the usual idiots that think being an MP would be a great idea. The Greens have no understanding of environmentalism and are just their for appearances along with the free food and drink. NZF are just a lazy cult of personality party. Outside of those lazy parties there are no other Parties worth mentioning. Does this statement meet your approval?

Perhaps you would be a strong addition then. I just get tired of the people who think talking solely about the failures of a National government led by people who are no longer in power is going to imrpove anyone's life today, when there's a whole brand new government that's incapable of anything that needs a major catastrophe every so often to muster the veneer of competence. I guess I'd just rather my time and energy on the ones who baited and switched on major campaign policy and who are in power now because of it, as opposed to the 'Look Ma, no Hands' idiots in team blue, who don't actually run things anymore and a good swathe of which aren't even MPs.

I'm very critical of National because they have a long running cultural problem going back 12 years that they never cleaned up. They also have the most seats out of any party in the house yet they have few MPs with any merit or are even noticeable.

One of the jokes I made after the last election was that Labour and National would form a Government with their 100 seats. My second criticism of National above also applies to Labour. They have 46 seats yet the party is primarily filled with incompetent muppets. How is it that out of 100 seats there are so few MPs that are even vaguely competent?

After the September election these people will get to talk about Nationals failures as I strongly suspect we're heading to a National/Act coalition.

I'm pretty wary of the current polling as it is never representative of the actual outcome. Winston manages to pull more votes out that what he should really get but he has a strong game in the weeks leading up to every election. I've also seen some discussion of strategic voting in Seymour's electorate but it's difficult to say if the voters in that electorate have enough brain cells to rub together to generate any significant action.

Can National hold onto enough of their seats to form that coalition? Do they even have any policies?

"Typical corporate level" - would that be the level of the privatised Air New Zealand, which had to be bailed out by the government? Or the level of NZ Rail, that after privatisation and asset stripping, had to be bailed out etc...or the numerous large building companies which become bankrupt, robbing their creditors? That sort of typical corporate level?

Certainly a convincing argument when your examples are a higher ethical performance than any of the Governments that NZ has had.

In the corporate environment I worked in it was not usual for executive to make bad decisions based on the word of a salesperson (numerous examples of poor software choices). Yet there was internal expertise that could have been used to provide advice and avoid poor decision making. This is typical idiocy in the corporate environment and it is a good minimum bar to set. A bar set above sending pornography to schoolgirls.

seemed somewhat appropriate.

Yes, and the next one up, Anthem, very poignant message as well!

“ many are surprised to learn that very few MPs serve for more than ten to fifteen years, let alone longer.”
That’s probably just enough to secure the generous pension and travel benefits. Or am I being cynical?

No you're not - witness the 2 Chinese recently departed...

Lots of angst about our politicians here. But as Winston Churchill observed, democracy (western at least) is a terrible system,....but all the alternatives are worse!
In my opinion part of the NZ problem, aside from our dreadful MMP (which has transferred power away from the voter toward party machines) is twofold.
Firstly the oft repeated view that it is the gummit which "runs the country",...a view perhaps favoured by socialists in particular, where running to mummy to fix everything is first choice. And secondly the trend for candidates to regard being voted in as our representative, as a carreer path, sometimes started as a parliamentary intern, followed by a paid secretarial role to eventual elevation to a good electorate or high list placing. Retiring after a parliamentary career to a sinecure position on some quango board must be the icing on the cake.
Little wonder that a good portion of our "representatives" have only a slight connection with real life.
One must also add that Geoffrey Palmer was a leading light in extending the parliamentary terms, something that I feel has favoured "life in Wellington" against our MP's immersion in "life in the electorate". Apart from the current evidence of "too much time away from home and family", the effect has become that they (our representatives) now represent Wellington and its wierd notions to their electors, rather than their electors' views and needs to Wellington.
Perhaps our casual electoral system and its modifications, are because we inherited a great constitutional we didn't do the hard yards to create it.