Opinion: Stephen Franks says National supporters need to understand that a vote for Goldsmith is a vote for Labour

Opinion: Stephen Franks says National supporters need to understand that a vote for Goldsmith is a vote for Labour

By Stephen Franks*

The NBR report of bad polling for John Banks could not be more blunt.

"Political commentator Matthew Hooton said that if Epsom voters didn’t vote for Mr Banks, Mr Goff would be able to set up a government with his Green, NZ First and Mana counterparts"


"A top National source said:  “We’re not stupid. We know that if people won’t vote for Mr Banks and instead vote for our guy [Paul Goldsmith], then John [Key] will be looking for a new job.”

How could a National preferring voter who knows he will get the promising Paul Goldsmith anyway, from the list, turn down the chance to have another National-supporting MP (capable and tough John Banks) to help avert a Labour coalition driven to governing in corrupt reliance on Winston Peters?

I've always been at a loss to understand Auckland voters. Their local government history suggests that collective hopeful stupidity prevails more often than pragmatic judgment.

A judge once told me, seriously, that we would eventually have to abandon the jury system because Auckland juries were coming to have too many members culturally incapable of finding guilt or innocence independently and objectively. They came from cultures with two extremes of attitude - either they automatically opposed authority, or they were anxious  to do only what they thought authority wanted.

If even Epsom voters cannot work out the compromises needed to secure the kind of government they want, their democracy is fragile indeed.

I'm an optimist, so I'll vote with faith that Epsom voters will not waste their electorate votes. Please do not make that hopeful stupidity.


* Stephen Franks is a commercial and public lawyer who represented the ACT Party in Parliament from 1999 to 2005 as its justice and commerce spokesman. He also stood for the National Party in the 2008 election as its Wellington Central candidate.

He writes his own blog at stephenfranks.co.nz.

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Maybe they have just had enough of John Banks when he was mayor and really just can't stomach him...I think Act screwed up big time when they selected him for Epsom.  They haven't gotten out of the self destruct mode they have been in for a few years now.

Exactly right Asher. Not to mention he is a bigot. I am Epsom and have voted  ACT  last 5 elections but  not this time Im forced to Vote National ( Libertarians a wasted vote) . They have really screwed up selecting him , might as well have got W. Peters or even Cullen.  I thought Brash would be far smarter than this. ACT are doomed

Agreed Asher.  And maybe they don't believe the scaremongering of Franks, Hooten, Farrar et al and instead realise a far more likely outcome is National governing alone or in conjunction with the Maori Party.

Stupid voters everywhere look at Peters support

Some people vote for Winnie because they like to watch him stirring the other parties and politicians. A vote for them is a completely wasted vote, whereas at least with Peters we get some entertainment value, which is more than can be said about anyone else in NZ politics.

Very expensvie entertainment his political blackmail has cost billions. He's a sespot

A "sespot"? Is that a cross between a "sexpot" and a "despot"?

But Winnie has not been any worse than any other politician of note. Look at the billions Key and his govt are costing the nation. Their Nat predecessors have never been any better. And look at the costs and damages Labour have foisted on us over the years.

John Banks promoted the Super City concept only because he assumed he would get the top job and could call himself "Lord Mayor". But that fell through, so now he wants to get a seat and a knighthood from Key and the Nats. It's little wonder that Banks and Paul Holmes are such good mates.

Buy one, get one free...is attractive to even the rich folks of Epsom..sure they will go for it.

It's more likely that Epsom voters are "clever" rather than "stupid" and are going to vote tactically to get the outcome that they desire. There are probably a lot of left-leaning voters who have decided to vote for Goldsmith to keep ACT out of Parliment. 

Goldsminth is part of the left????

"Their local government history suggests that collective hopeful stupidity prevails more often than pragmatic judgment"

Sums up voting nicely.

I can guarantee that it won't make any difference whoever wins.

Sure, Natl voters likely realise that a vote for Goldsmith is, in essence, a vote for Labour, but guess what, so do the supporters of all the parties......Shrug

Assuming that this election can potentially be won without Act, National will have a much better chance in 2014 if Act is extinguished now.

I'm really hoping that ACT will get the major dose of Epsom Salts that they so badly need this weekend - hopefully it will "cleanse" the entire NZ political system as well.

Lord knows Banks succeeds in giving me the sh*ts, strutting around like a malevolent, black-clad dwarf with those bad glasses and his shiny young acolytes...

Not totally off  this subject and the ability of politicians in general, is their inability or unwillingness to face the future. Sorry but they need to have a brain in gear and that would be too much  to ask for, perhaps.

For those who have access to the Business Herald today, just read what Richard Branson has to say and ask whether any of our wolly-pollys has a clue.

The article is not yet on the Herald website but deserves to be.

Why should politicians worry about the future when the majority of those who elect them don't worry about it either?

Who selected Banks? Who is Act these days? We see that Key now wants to change the party leader.  The whole Act party looks more like it has been taken over by a National party covert action.  Boils down to the effect that National seem to be standing two candidates in the same electorate.  If they are that dumb what can they expect from their supporters.

The tragedy of the inane declarations regarding what the Goldsmith polling "means" is that there is so little respect for what the people of Epsom may be thinking (how could more than two opinions exist in one electorate!?) or for the general public who suffer through the indignities of public broadcasting at a time when they have some serious thinking to do.

Epsom voters aren't stupid - they have been here before. This time they are sending our arrogant, bumbling politicians a message - treat us with contempt and see where it gets you.

I have had the following on my office wall for some years:

People are stupid

Politicians know this

Politicians are more stupid than most

People know this

Politicians never will

Thank you Stephen Franks for confirming the above.

Exactly ctnz. Ohariu Belmont as well.

Unfortunately your reply prevented me saving an edit. I will put it here:

Thank you Stephen Franks for confirming the above.

Regards your question as to whether you are stupid, I will point out that stupidity is relative. You have been an ACT MP, and National party candidate, so you are a politician. Collectively, politicians are likely to be relatively more stupid than collective Epsom voters - provided they bother to think about politics in some depth which it appears they may be doing. 

The answer to your question will be revealed tomorrow.

I hope the Conservative party does well. Given another 2 or 3 elections they could end up replacing the National party (hope, but some party needs to, and no others are in the offing), but to succeed in that they would need to study ACT from 1996 for how not to go about it (5 parliamentary terms to political oblivion despite help from National from the first to the last).

You have got to be kidding, have you listened to them? this isnt a conservtive party in the mold of Marget Thatcher.....this is a christian fundie loopy party mk3.....its a born again united future....its going to go no where.....you are dreaming that something as out there as this lot is going to be like ACT....and replace National.....Gorden Copeland FFS?



It may be a start. If it is like ACT and thinks its leaders have all the answers, then it won't go anywhere. But if it is smarter than that, then there is a huge space for a 'conservative' type party to evolve.

At the moment all we have are socialist parties (National, Labour, Greens) splitting hairs over tax, asset sales and who are the best liars.

Anyway, it is good see the fish rising to the flies.

Colin I have to agree with Steven on this they have nothing and will go nowhere! I was at the Epsom candidates meeting a few days back, None of the parties have anything to offer, they are controlled by the money men Party politics is the problem now, behind political corruption, the central banking cartels, and trojan horse prime ministers !
Colin Craig said the right things , but it simply is not reality. Now if he addresses the RBNZ fraud then we would be for real.

Fair enough. I am not in Auckland, and I have not been involved in this election - mostly just observing from a distance.

What it means though (much as expected) is that work on forming new political parties will need to start soon after the election.

I returned home a few weeks ago myself with the intention of getting stuck into what needs to be done.
Reform and accountability could be enough if the sheep can wake up from their enduced slumber
Parties answering to their electorate and politicians working for their country , not their money masters would be a very good start.
New parties or existing without reform = no chance!

It will be an iterative process. Existing political parties exist to defend the status quo, so there will be no reform from that source.

Significant reform is therefore only possible from new political parties. Most will not succeed, but the hope is one or more may.

The alternatives to forming new political parties don't look attractive.

Trouble is the conservative party are not a party like the UK conservatives.....they are more like United Future in drag.....a mix of fundie christians and othe rodd balls who want to tax a bottle of wine to $90 a go. (they expect to raise 2.3biilion via excise duty to pay for their spending proposals.



The likes of Gordon Copeland as a refreshing change? you jest sir.  Do you really think a group such as this support civil unions say? ie

Oh I try to support views across a multitude of social backgrounds, cultures and spiritual beliefs......what I find is many do not....take a look around and see how many in here actually have a very narrow focus IMHO....

hey my "cute descriptions" are my own opinions, nothing more....

In terms of conservatives, Baroness Margret Thatcher is my hero, thats how I voted in the UK (Ive never party voted Labour).  These guys labeling themselves is an afront to her IMHO.....A woman of great intelect and ability she was one formidable lady that got the UK out of deep doodoo.




You must be disgusted to see Thatchers legacy of a financial hub economy being torn appart.

Seriously, her manifesto is basically the ACT party manifesto, a.k.a its Rogernomics part II. I mean she had a large part in the UK financial sector getting to be so large to begin with. Surely your opinion would be different on this being a good thing now?

I wonder of JK's "promise" in the last leaders debate not to work with WP isnt back firing on him...NZF have surged in the polls....



Is the woefully bad Stephen Franks the best this website can do on election eve?

C'mon Bernard et al...... how about, say, a Mike Moore piece on globalisation in the 'Age of Decay'?

 Or a Bob Jones missive full of upper-cuts to both the Left & Right....

Anyone but a bespectacled weirdo like Stephen Franks!

Here you go Duke.

Same old same old won’t fix the economy - 25 November

A real change in economic policy is needed from whoever forms the next government say the New Zealand Manufacturers and Exporters Association (NZMEA).  It is clear that our policy framework has encouraged consumption fuelled by debt rather than savings and export investment; this must change if our economic decline is to be reversed.

NZMEA Chief Executive John Walley says, “All political parties agree we have to grow the real (traded) economy, what differs is how that will be done - the right argues that more of the same will fix it, but under the policy 'status quo' the real economy has been in decline since 2003.  In our view change is fundamentally necessary, and it is a triumph of hope over experience to anticipate better outcomes while changing nothing.”

Changenz.co.nz talks about the past and current decline and the required changes as we see them.  It is clear that Labour have adopted some of these positions - new policy targets for the Reserve Bank and a Capital Gains Tax.  It must be acknowledged that they have moved on from the economic position they held in the past.”

“On the other hand the minimum wage rise and further welfare commitments will undo some of those advantages and show a lack or understanding of where the world is today.  National’s don’t rock the boat strategy at least does not impose extra costs on businesses.  No party ticks all the boxes.”

Whatever happens on Saturday, for the real economy to grow faster policy settings have to be rebalanced.  We must borrow less through a mix of tax changes and spending cuts, and most importantly earn more by:

• Targeting monetary policy at non-traded inflation.
• Balancing the tax mix to include capital gains.
• Fiscal incentives to support traded sector investments.

“Sooner or later such changes will have to be implemented – our creditors will insist if we continue to ignore the traded economy.”



We hit peak oil, the economy will not be growing.....better to decide which bits are essential  and eviscarate the rest to feed them.



Nice one Les, I might not agree with everything in it but at least it has some meat to it...

We try Duke, we try.

vote for National, Labour, Greens, Act, etc.. = Stupid

Vote for Winne = you'll be in the pooh!

Go Maori Party..

LOL,  the ultimate on the public handout claim brigade...I think not.



The only "hopeful stupidity" is voting for someone that can't even have a cup of tea without messing things up.    Quite literally, a chimp wearing dungarees and drinking from the spout would have made less of a mess .  

And let's not forget that he and Brash ran a KiwiSaver scheme, which was almost entirely funded by public  money.   It was a slam-dunk, nothing-can-go-wrong model.  Yet Banks and Brash totally cocked that one up as well.        





That's Friday Gold.....

Reading the poll of voting preferances on this site, realise how out of kilter a lot of respondants are with the average bloke in NZ - the major parties are way under-represented and minor parties, esp the Greens, greatly over-represented.  If you want to get a good fix on what NZ'ers think, then don't read this site. Tomorrow's poll will tell the story, and despite what the poll here indicates, National and Labour will get 3 out of every 4 votes

The 'main' parties may be under-represented in commenters here because their voters are financially illiterate...

I'd be surprised if most of them even know how INTEREST actually works!


Certainly I would have suspected thats true of the left's supporters,  ive met few who even cared at all...however I would have assumed the right wingers more financially literate.....except they seem to swing very quickly into voodoo econimcs it seems....cant get past printing == inflation......cant seem to understand the liquidity trap / zero bound conditions/problem....hence the screams "inflation" and "hyper-inlfatio" for the last three years...where despite printing trillions we have inflation at 2% ish......and going no where....



Well its simple you dont talk for the average bloke.....


Really, the stupidity of all this is mainly due to MMP, which should now lead every smart voter to vote for the biggest dunce in their electorate to screw up the machinations of the parties and their current list selections.    And then the smart voter voting for the party they really want to win with the list vote (which is the only meaningful vote at all now).

A much more sensible and ultimately democratic system would be SM, but not the SM put forward by the politicians.  What would be ideal (imo) is 70 electorate seats - the same 70 that exist now, with 50 supplemental seats.  Then every 2% of the list vote would lead to one of the supplemental seats.    No nonsense resulting overhangs (could be six overhangs this time, according to some projections), and no nonsense tactical voting as exists now. 

All parties would then have incentive to pick the best person for each electorate - and all parties should then put their policies on the line in their supplemental list.



Yeah right....uh.....um......you seem to be rejecting MMP, then in the next paragraphs describe a MMP like system but call it your version of "SM"

Me no understand what you are saying...

SM is not very democratic, SM is a severe step back.....it favours parties who can get one MP and not a % of the population.....probably why ACT loves it, they'd get more MPs and remove the Green's and NZF.....so 15 to 20% of the voters get no representation but 2% get a handful....typical Brash/ACT. Still with a bit of luck Epsom will wipe out ACT....they liked Rodney it seems....and he was not a bad MP.....




Equally MMP can be adjusted to a 2% threshhold, and overhang seats gotten rid of.  And MMP still have the big advantages over SM (=FPP in drag); e.g.: everyone's (party) vote counts, parliament is more representative of society, and there has to be cooperation to govern.

Better than an FPP dictatorship anyday.

OK..  I am going to fax away my vote shortly for Epsom electorate.. 

Do I look fat and stupid? DON'T answer that..

hey Bernard

Are you allowing political statement on your webiste tomorrow?  I note that Trademe has asked everyone not to post political statements on election day

from Trademe "Just a quick reminder that there are some laws around the election which mean people could get into trouble if they post political statements on polling day that could influence how people vote on Saturday. For the full run-down, check out this page of the Electoral Commission's site: http://www.elections.org.nz/study/news/media-activity-on-ele

Chairman Moa

We're turning our comments off to ensure I don't have to pay a fine or end up in jail.

Details here




Wonder if Macrobusiness will have an article... 'NZ votes. No comment'. 


National have done a lousy job with the economy.

They've betrayed Christchurch, acting like dictators, denying rights, confiscating property rights.  It an abysmal disgrace.

All involved including Key need sent a message that they have not just been found wanting, they have failed abysmally on all counts.

They do not deserve re-election, and certainly not the right to govern alone.

(I write this as a former National party member, and active supporter.  This year I will not vote National on either vote at all, and dare I say it will vote for Brendan Burns (Labour) in Christchurch Central, because he's a reasonable bloke who's actually stood up and tried to do something to save ChCh from tyrannical lunatics who have no idea how property investors work unlike National's Nicky Wagner who has no idea at all about what is going on).

However as a right winger I can't bear the thought of Party voting for lefties, so my vote will go to Don Brash at least he can reign in the National stupidity if he gets back in.

John Banks and Don Brash are the two most decent and honest men in the race, they are not very charming but that does not mean they do not have the country at heart. Don is the only one who has said he will stop the Treaty gravy train so Act get my vote on that alone. Don also said that the Police waste resources chasing dope growers and he was right,  if it were legal the govt could tax that industry. Anyone who comes up with a good idea is shot down by the PC brigade and I did not expect that on this website.

I do not agree with the partial sale of public assets and I am going to campaign within the party to stop it. I think JK is starting to get that message though, he is now saying the sale will be limited to 10%.




Don is charming - but please don't group him with John.

Banksy is a good guy, he is a disiplinarian and a straight talker and a lot of people find that hard to understand, he did a great job of running Auckland City, he made everyone accountable. Unfortunately we now have a bunch of free spenders running the Ak council giving ratepayers money away to all sorts of causes, you should read the proposed future plan for Ak you will be horrified.

Vote for Banks he will keep them all accountable.

Valencia the fact you have used the angle of personalities to try and validate an argument means you are talking nonsense, and your comments indicate you have no understanding of people, finance , economics or politics.
So you go ahead and keep on being a Nact fan boy with a made up name.

Colin they are both bankers , there is nothing charming about Brash. Funny how people forget that J Banks should be facing charges over Hujlich fund management, and Brash replaced Banks after he left the Hujlich board. All the same guys trying to fool people with stories of adoptions and rough upbringings. Let's vote because of those stories shall we Nz. Colin your comments I've read over the past year indicate you understand reality.

Being charming is not entirely a character endorsement, but a number of women may disagree.

Brash has a history of failures including I think DFC, but he has been prepared to communicate some harsh political realities. That has some value. It doesn't mean he is entitled to lead a political party, but he does have a contribution to make.

I expect him to make that contribution for free. If he is not prepared to do so, then I agree with you.

You are going to campaign within the party - and you thought JK was talking about selling 10% of assets. Don't read so much do you Velentina ! http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/6017900/Access-denied-to-Treasury...

Maybe learn some basics before casting a vote, it's serious stuff !

He's a good man JB. Self made from poverty & family dysfunction.  Just the salaried liberal professionals can't stand straight shooting and conservative values ....

What makes you think Banks is conservative ? And why would you label people who are smart enough to read about Banks dodgy background , latest example being Hujlich. Following your lead of labels, people who see Banks as conservative and having values are naive, and foolish!

Really,  I just. like. the way. he talks. In staccato.   And treats. journalists like. simpletons.
Entertainment is important when watching the TV videobites.