A battle for the conservatives: How National is using drug reform and migration to cut NZ First's lunch

By Jenée Tibshraeny

Winston Peters strikes me as the kind of guy who’s mastered the art of ensuring he’s the giver, not the receiver, of headaches. 

Some of his Labour/Greens colleagues might say "migraines" is a more appropriate description, but that’s a different story...

During the height of the Jami-Lee Ross saga in October, Peters hit peak-smirk when he played a scrum of journalists the song, ‘Burning Bridges,’ by Mike Curb Congregation.

In another theatrical display of headache-distribution aimed at Simon Bridges, he in July mocked his accent in the House before calling him a “joke”.  

Peters was the kingpin while Jacinda Ardern was on maternity leave. While he struggled to remain “prime ministerial” towards the end of his stint, his presence in the House was so large it dwarfed even Gerry Brownlee’s attempts to knock him in order.

Fast-forward a few months and Peters should be wary Bridges is out to give him a potentially debilitating headache.

Bridges is a long way off sassing Peters in the House or in front of the media, but he’s nipping away at New Zealand First’s support base.

He is beelining for the conservative vote.

National’s lack of attempts (at this stage) to solidify friendships, make new friends, or create new friends, indicates it’s aiming to win the next election on its own, or with that Act Epsom seat.

So where does it take votes from?

Anyone so blinded by the word "tax" they struggle to see what's happening outside the four walls of their house? YES!

The Grey Lynn greenies who can afford to eat organic and spend time tending to their compost because of their corporate jobs? The numbers aren’t that huge, but there’s potential here.

People worried about more migrants blocking motorways, or half-baked youths dragging themselves off the couch to commit violent crimes or find P dealers? YES!

There’s nothing (other than housing) that strikes more of a chord with your average voter than migration, law and order.

Peters knows this. But needs to rein it in and toe the Government’s line to stay in government.

His characteristic, mid-electoral cycle drop in the polls reflects his good behaviour… And an opportunity for National.

There are two ways it has seized this opportunity:

  1. By creating a new role – a spokesperson for Drug Reform – ahead of the binding referendum on cannabis legalisation at the next election.
  2. By scaremongering further to New Zealand signing up to the non-binding UN Migration Compact.

Drugs

While the Drug Reform spokesperson job has been given to Paula Bennett – a Westie who’s down with the people, so can supposedly view drugs as more than just a law and order issue – National’s clearly drawn up the battle lines.

Watch this TVNZ interview with Bennett and the Green Party’s Chlöe Swarbrick.

Swarbrick sets Bennett up by commending her for acknowledging that drugs are a health issue, and highlighting the common ground she shares with the Greens.

But Bennett bites: “We do have some fundamental differences.

“I have some real issues with the number of drugs coming over our borders. I believe that we should be increasing the numbers of drug detection dogs in our ports, I believe that we should be going through our containers more than what we currently do.

“I think that we should be much tougher on gangs that do make a huge amount of money. It suits them to get young people addicted earlier. There’s a whole education component to this. I do believe in law and order.”

Bennett coats her argument with a whole lot of liberal talk that I haven't quoted, but her underlying message is clear – drug dealers are “scoundrels” that we need to be “coming down incredibly hard on”.

Migration 

Now to the second way National is dipping into conservative NZ First territory – its campaign against the Government signing a UN migration pact that's non-binding.

Countries sign meaningless agreements by way of virtue all the time. 

If you want your country to be part of the "international community," get air time at the likes Davos, and ultimately secure trade agreements, this is just something you need to do. 

Whatever is in the pact is not going to require every member country to give up their sovereignty and let someone in Geneva tell them how many migrants they need to allow into their country every year. 

National's harping on about this is nothing but an attempt to use fear to pull out the red neck in people; or should I say, NZ First voters.

The irony of course is that National is using migration to do so, having not so long ago relied on what to pump up the economy? Oh yes, unprecedented numbers of migrants.

There's still a lot of water to go under the bridge before the election. But for now, Peters best beware of Bridges... or maybe Judith Collins.

The question is, will the political gems Peters is undoubtedly stashing away be sparkly enough to entice the strays back to his camp in 2020?

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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78 Comments

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My understanding with the issue around the UN migration pact is precedence. Yes it’s “non binding” but when our courts make a decision and use it as a framework/guide then it gets entrenched in our law that way through precedence. Very Trojan horse-esque. I also doubt very much we need to sign it to be part of the international community and get trade deals.

Well said

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Surrendering sovereignty and moral authority of our citizens just to look good? Good grief.

Is it arguably a subtle form of treason?

The United Nations is a totally anti-democratic institution. Most of its members are merely the biggest gangster in their land. The UN bureaucracy itself believes that important decisions should be left to those that know best, ie people like them, bugger the vulgar deplorable masses.

This stuff is vitally important, why else is there such a failure of representative democracy here and elsewhere in the few reasonably democratic nations on the planet?

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You're switched on, because that's exactly what happened with the "Principles of the Treaty". Created by some court case in the 1980s and then slipped into every facet of New Zealand Government by stealth.

Migration is an important issue, but I'm sticking with NZ First on this one. National is a bunch of tired has beens' who have opened our boarded to the third world hoards. Winston Peters is the only one with any credibility on the topic.

Joke Canton really

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First its "non binding" then its "it wont change our way of life" then its "we need to change to assimilate with them" .

Winston's stance on the UN migration pact was very surprising, it's almost like you can't really trust him. I'd say this marks the beginning of the end of NZ First. I wouldn't vote for them again.

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That’s what worries me. The UN seems to have an agenda of supranational centralised leadership and migration is a massive part of that. The more migration and multiculturalism the weaker a nation/national identity gets and the more easily they can justify “one world governance” so to speak.

Are you too young to remember him being in government in 2003 with Helen Clark's government?

That was the last time we had very high immigration.

Also, do you remember him holding up a sign saying NO, when the answer was YES? And then being censured?https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/02/the_answer_is_no.html

All politicians lie, but this man lies more than any of them.

Good grief - you are harping back to an issue written by David Farrar without thinking about what has just happened in the Jamie Ross saga as one example. Memory may be wrong but I don't believe that Owen Glen's supposed large donation was ever proven so not relevant.

Good grief - you are harping back to an issue written by David Farrar without thinking about what has just happened in the Jamie Ross saga as one example. Memory may be wrong but I don't believe that Owen Glen's supposed large donation was ever proven so not relevant.

Great commentary Jennee!!

Conservative voters no longer see National as their natural or default party, after Dirty Politics, the Jamie Lee saga, Dirty Politics 2, and the slick John Key years of amoral obeisance to the global corporate sector.
If Simon Bridges just played a straight game without responding to the attacks on him from the Lusk camp (who want a modern version of Rogernomics type NZ) he might win back more conservative voters.

"the slick John Key years of amoral obeisance to the global corporate sector."
A nice turn of phrase, there, and probably spot on. But I still don't think he quite understood that it was going to turn out that way - he was 'got at' after that fateful spot on the Letterman Show ( "You don't get out of debt by borrowing more money!"). And I'd suggest Ardern is much the same boat. New Zealand doesn't stand a show of independent policy. We're just too small to be outside the tent, as it were, and if we dared 'do a Greece' and tried to set our own course, we have a recent template of the outcome. Britain is finding it hard enough to navigate Brexit - Brexit was never part of any plan - and they are big. We will do as we are told, no matter what or who 'we' elect.
Ardern or Bridges/Collins/Bennet? It doesn't matter really, does it.....

Exactly BW. We go, like flotsam & jetsam, in the tides and the wakes of what the big players do or don’t do. Think NZ’s economy equates to about the size of that of Phoenix AZ, we are a bit player at the far end of the world. Can remember how the oil crisis skittled Kirk’s Labour government, which until then, was shaping up quite well. All that can be done in reality is to navigate carefully through the troubled waters when they are encountered. Believe both Cullen & English did just that, quite competently.

I found it rather telling that Ardern, when she had a chance to speak with Google execs, talked about their breach of a suppression order - as opposed to their convoluted international tax avoidance antics;

https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/380869/ardern-raises-concerns-w...

This really says more about Jacinda Ardern than anything else to me.

They’re all full of it and traitors to the people. They’re going on about Trump and the wall, yet in 2006 Obama and Clinton voted for the same wall. They’re all a joke and only there to sell out to the highest bidder.

Your right Kate Ardern is only a Media Buff. All show no substance.

Foxglove. The oil crisis skittled'' the Kirk government. Having 'friends' in other nations made no difference at all at what happened. I believe we need to be far more nationalistic and hard nosed in our external negotiations. Trade deals are ok, but only if they really work for us.
The immigration UN agreement is one. What benefit do we get from that. I can't see any. for example immigration is used to keep New Zealand a low income economy, to improve GDP and growth. Why would be plan to keep New Zealanders in a low income status.

We need outside of the box thinking when it comes to the reeferendum.

There is huge commercial opportunities for us as a country, with NZ being one of the prime pieces of land in the world to grow it. That is something which isn't really acknowledged/understood, but our climate is perfect for it, to the point where it NZ could become a major player in an untapped international market.

The reality is the very places in NZ that are perfect for commercial operations are the areas with shocking social statistics, that are begging for jobs.

"National’s lack of attempts (at this stage) to solidify friendships, make new friends, or create new friends, indicates it’s aiming to win the next election on its own, or with that Act Epsom seat"

If that's the case, they have learned nothing form the last election when they had the most votes but failed to make it into government. National need some strategic thinking if they want to govern next term.
- 1 Will they be able to govern on their own vs Labour-Green and possibly NZF? It would be arrogant and unrealistic to think so.
- 2 Since it's unlikely they will be able to govern alone, they need a partner and they need to work on/with that partner NOW, not 6 months before the election

This is a personal message I sent to Melissa Lee on the 22nd Feb 2017:

Hi Mel, you must be busy with the upcoming election. Whether you will be in government will come down to 1 simple thing: can your boss convince Peters to form a coalition with you rather than Labour/greens. Neither you nor them will have a clear majority & Winston WILL be Kingmaker. If Bill is smart, he will approach Winston now. Good luck

They / she ignored your advice! Did the opposite in fact. Lol
Still, it’s probably better for the country to have had a change & let Labour have a go for a while. Otherwise our hospitals, universities, schools, Polytechnics etc would be in shutdown by now due to underfunding. In fact many of our public institutions are on the verge of bankruptcy right now as a result of Nationals 9 years of capping / underfunding.

Yes that is the crux, and Bill was not smart. Quite the opposite in fact. How else can you explain going after and broadcasting WP’s pension payments. How to lose friends and distance people in a nutshell! Even with Key at his popular best National could not win an election sufficiently to govern alone. In that regard MMP is working. Cannot see any remote possibility of that prospect for National next election and unless there is a spectacular disintegration of the current government, there will be no viable coalition partner in the offing for National either.

Yvil hindsight is a wonderful thing. Winston was never going to go with National all he has ever wanted was UTU. Think wine box and his previous fallings out with National

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but I wrote this months before the election.
I do believe in the art of negotiation and I don't accept that WP could not be brought over to National. Hypothetically if Nat said to WP you can be PM and we agree to every single term you want, WP would have gone with Nat, so it's possible. Of course Nat doesn't want that, so what terms are why willing to concede? Beginning of negotiation...

You didn't quite finish on the "debate" between Bennett and Swarbrick. Bennett took to waffling away about nothing toward the end after she came out with her bs numbers to try to hog what was left of the airtime (presenter should have shut this down) but eventually Swarbrick was able to get a word in edgeways, and when she did, she utterly annihilated Bennett.

I find your conclusion surprising given that my initial impression was that Chlöe initially assumed that Paula would not have any data to back up potential downsides to legalising narcotics (there are always reports that are going to go both ways when it comes to a topic such ass this), Paula then quoted statistics without citing the name of the report, Chloe then scores an own goal by naming the report that Paula quoted (thus lending it credibility). Chlöe goes on to claim that that report has been debunked without citing her sources ( No report I that I have been able to find has ever successfully “debunked” the report quoted by Paula, a couple offer alternative interpretations and explainations for data without demonstrating conclusively that their perspective is superior. Chlöe needed to add her extrapolations to swing viewers towards her point at this point). To me it looked like Chlöe is probably an average quality high school debater, whilst Paula is in a whole different league. Such a huge disparity in the quality of the debating parties makes it difficult to draw a conclusion With regard to the subject matter being discussed.

Looks like we watched two different things and it is pretty easy to find the debunking of the stats Bennett uses.

Hi sadr001 The sentence Chloe is probably an average quality high school debater sums up her input to the Interview. thank goodness we don't have too many Pocket Aces in NZ

PocketAces, what can I say BUT if you think Swarbrick annihilated Bennett then your IQ is questionable

Swarbrick beat her hands down, even though Bennett was trying to waffle on without drawing breath to the end of the segment to prevent her from doing so, I would question the intelligence of anyone who didn't see that one. A more experienced interviewer than Holt would have interrupted Bennett when she got on that tangent.

Oh and by the way, Bennet knew that Swarbrick had outwitted her.

MMP is a disaster. It just asks to be abused. Winston's role of effective President, able to form governments that do as he says, and spend taxpayers money as if were personal largesse, is a direct result of adopting a flawed system that looked good at the time. Winston's abuse of power is actually fairly mild, but the door is open for much more outrageous abuse and a highly polarised society.

The problem is not what you might think. It is that it hands excessive privilege to The Party. So candidate selection is in the hands of a small cabal, not in the hands of the local electorate office. It is a subtle flaw, but it means that each party's positions become more polarised and uniform, as candidates are selected for their conformity to Party Groupthink. This is a formula for turning into a South American republic. We have only been spared this logical fate because most kiwis, including Winston, are pretty decent, but it is a most dangerous turn off the Westminster road that we have innocently taken.

The middle road of constructive discussion is being destroyed as each party tries to adopt an ideology that is in maximum conflict with the other parties' positions. That leads to extreme positions, turmoil and eventually, civil war, ie a South American Republic.

Fair warning?

Yes in hindsight MMP has not out turned as most expected. Part of that is because at the time, the electorate was heartily sick of the behaviour of parliament in general and the referendum became a vote against FPP. MMP seemed somehow to be the only cab on the rank. The whole episode was not much better organised, in my opinion, than our silly let’s have a new flag debacle. The irony is that the MP’s at the time, ignored the Royal Cmmission’s finding that MMP would not need to increase the number of MPs. The thinking was, diabolically, that if they don’t like us now they won’t want more of us, Perhaps if we had stayed with 90 or so, things might have been more controllable and the calibre better.

I guess I've been looking for plausible explanations for why representative democracy is failing so badly across the world.

A lot of Americans strongly dislike both the groupthink of the Clinton Democrats and the bloodlusting Republicans, hence Trump gets elected. Clinton so despises ordinary people she openly calls them Deplorables.

In England, the conservatives promise a referendum on EU membership confident that people will vote to stay in, ie completely out of touch with the difficulties and concerns of the ordinary people they are supposed to represent.

In France, ordinary people find a way to express their disillusionment with the political process by standing about on roundabouts as NO ONE represents them.

In Germany, a group of professors innocently put forward some subjects for discussion and it becomes Alternative For Germany, and provides the only outlet for the difficulties ordinary people have suffered as a result of the political process failing them.

Each of these groups is demonised and put down as the vulgar masses having ideas above their station. The bright people should run things 'cos they know best is the basic belief of the politicians, the parties, and the bureaucracy. Ordinary people should not be allowed to decide anything more than what to have for their lunch. Extraordinary arrogance and completely anti-democratic. They don't seem to realise that they are advocating an autocratic state.

I guess I've been looking for plausible explanations for why representative democracy is failing so badly across the world.

That's easy - crony capitalism - the biggest named corporate entities in the 'free world' failing to pay their fair share of tax, while simultaneously being handed out the largest government subsidies (including all the means governments have deployed to depress wages for their exclusive benefit).

It's a long time ago that the military-industrial complex won out over democratically elected governments, and hence, the citizenry.

Yes Kate that is very large ingredient in the recipe for the mess that we are seeing. The old system of staff reporting to management, management to executive, executive to the board and the board to shareholders is busted well and truly and that entails as well, on too many occasions, scant regard for the law of the land. Indeed the courts are there to be manipulated it seems. Think Enron, RBS, AIG, Lehman’s just for a start. The corporate rules the waves and, over here Mr Key for example ,seemed to regard himself as Admiral of the Fleet for Corporate NZ until he found out that all the little shareholders (electors) counted for more at election time than corporates.

Look at the excitement over the arrival of IKEA into NZ
All the media are frothing at the mouth in ecstasy
Not one member of the media has delved beyond the headlines

IKEA is a multi-national tax avoider

"IKEA, is a charity registered in the Netherlands that pays no tax whatsoever in Australia. How is this fair, and how are we to encourage home grown entrepreneurs?”

https://www.michaelwest.com.au/ikea-pays-a-low-amount-of-tax/

I would argue that is an effect of the failure of representative democracy, not a cause.

I think that the two dovetail, but you can go back to Muldoon and the roundtable, Trotter,Davis, Cushing etc to see how government can get drawn into advantaging the big industrial players. Go overseas and same for example Tiny Rowlan and Lonrho, Kenneth Lay and Enron.

yes Roger. I would add it is also an effect of an ineffectual civil service. We pay these people and they can't work out how to tax IKEA, Google, Ali Barba etc.
Lets cut the Wellington civil service down to the effectual 500 people.

Any organisation tends to be run primarily for the benefit of those running it.

Representative democracy has been struggling as it has become less representative of those it purports to represent.

The world has changed dramatically and rapidly since the 1960’s. Speed of travel.Speed and ease of communication. Migration, voluntary and involuntary. If you took someone from 1900 and placed them in London in 1960, not much would have changed for them. More motor vehicles, more phones, some television, some jet setting. No personal computers though, and no pill. Politically, even the scandals, much the same conduct too. After that though things just got strapped to a rocket. Has this change outpaced our political and governmental systems to the point that the old basics are no longer viable and are now ineffective. Easy to say that. Not easy to say how to fix it.

More cars - well from counting on your fingers to counting in tens of millions. But the significant change was housework - no servants, washing machines, fridge, supermarkets - school leaving girls looking for work not marriage. I'd say the change from when rock 'n roll started (~1956) to the Beatles disbanding (~1969?) which lets me add the pill - that was transformation of society. Nothing much has happened since except the music got worse.

Nothing much? Well of late, cell phones, texting and the internet. All of which is fantastic when availed purposely and positively. Unfortunately the downside, porn, bullying for instance , has not enhanced the development of the relative generation(s) coming through. Hell for what my parents thought about the Beatles, well they were going to bring down society weren’t they, and Playboy magazine, well had to keep that hidden along with the James Bond books.

All very small potatoes when compared with the introduction of canals, then railways, then cars, but the biggest labour saving device is plumbing of drinking water to the house.

Apologies - rewrite that as "Nothing of comparable impact has happened since". To spell it out a dramatic widening of opportunities for 50% of society.
Porn and bullying are certainly not new phenomena but maybe it was easier to learn how to handle them in a society where kids grew up in larger families and spent most of their time outdoors playing/hanging out.

Perhaps Judith Collins should not have turfed the recommendations for changes to MMP in the bin after the 2012 review without so much as a by your leave. One thing is sure, we should never go back to FPP

Germany was the first country to adopt the MMP voting system. Why? Because they wanted to avoid another Hitler type, taking up power and destroying their country again. MMP is a good system because it keeps New Zealand from the risk of having a Dictatorship instead of a coalition government that works together.

Take your point but the sad irony is that if the Social Democrats and the Peoples Party had combined forces rather than fighting each other they could have easily ousted the National Socialists. The outcome was a classic divide and rule set up . You can certainly see the design of MMP as being a result.

The system is having interesting effects, it has denied the native population a voice, witness the AfD backlash and the upsurge in clothing with a large N on it (for Norsk, honest).
https://newrepublic.com/article/121199/germanys-thor-steinar-neo-nazis-f...

The Westminster system is imperfect. It has evolved over centuries as a mechanism to help resolve conflicts before they result in bloodshed. An evolved system is always sub-optimal, but it can adapt. I think MMP is far more dangerous than it looks as it encourages polarised standardised views. It means candidates are selected on the basis of their conformity to Party groupthink, the exact opposite of the local selection of a "decent, competent chap with a good head on his shoulders". That is, a competent man or woman of goodwill and sound judgement.

Oh that's funny, there seems to be polarized views everywhere in the world today, even, perish the thought, in countries who are not in their wildest dreams in a proportional system (USA). The cause of the polarization is this thing we are using right now to argue the toss with each other, the internet and open forums, the good old internet where you can even find proof that the earth is flat.

Good article but I think you are missing tax from the list. That could be a key battle front next election

why don't Labour and National reach an agreement and stay in power, locking the smaller parties out?

Like your thinking. They aren't that far apart politically.
Having said that, extremely doubtful that it would happen

they just haven't figured out whats in their collective interests, that and a few personalities are not cooperative but combative, they need to go.

Bad idea. Do you want the government to work for you? Or would you rather work, just to pay for the government salaries and have even less power?

* ‘Toe the line’

Signing up to agreements like the UN Migration Pact absolutely is not “just something you need to do.” Australia didn’t. The United States did’t.

And these agreements are not “meaningless”. If they were, they wouldn’t be tabled in the first place. There is an expectation that signatories will act in accordance with the spirit of the agreement. But more importantly, courts have an obligation to take these documents into account when making certain decisions, for example.

The fact alone that Winston chose Labour to form a coalition would’ve alienated a lot of his conservative base. Add to that the UN Pact and failure to do anything meaningful to reduce immigration (despite the fact that immigration is declining anyway). I think it will all come down to whether he supports the capital gains legislation that Labour has said its wants to pass before the 2020 election. If he can do that and still get above 5%, I take my hat off to him.

To my mind Peters has a clear position of being anti neoliberal relative to the other parties, I’m defining neoliberalism in terms of four points 1) government austerity, 2) privitisation, 3) pseudo free-trade corporate protectionism, and 4) deregulation.

Regarding cannabis. For goodness sake for the benefit of NZers, someone needs to take a clear stand against the deregulation and legalization of cannabis. Here is some ammunition as to why.

Adolescent synthetic cannabinoid exposure produces enduring changes in dopamine neuron activity in a rodent model of schizophrenia susceptibility
International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology (2018), 21(4), 393-403. DOI:10.1093/ijnp/pyy003

Genome-wide association analysis of lifetime cannabis use (N=184,765) identifies new risk loci, genetic overlap with mental health, and a causal influence of schizophrenia on cannabis use
Genetics (2018), 1-28 DOI:10.1101/234294

Adolescent exposure to Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol alters the transcriptional trajectory and dendritic architecture of prefrontal pyramidal neurons
Molecular Psychiatry (2018), Ahead of Print. DOI:10.1038/s41380-018-0243-x

Check out this last one - a meta analysis of meta analyses! cannabis use was clearly implicated

Risk factors and peripheral biomarkers for schizophrenia spectrum disorders: an umbrella review of meta-analyses
Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica (2018), 137(2), 88-97. DOI:10.1111/acps.12847

Since the beginning of time man, and other species as well, have sought out mind altering substances, it is just about as entrenched in our DNA as eating. There is almost zero point in keeping cannabis an illegal substance when you have right alongside it other illegal stuff that skips everything you've iterated there and jumps straight to you're dead.
If we do not separate marijuana from these other truly nasty substances then we will continue to have the illicit outlets pushing them as they are easier to obtain than marijuana, even though people have tried to obtain weed. At least with them separated we will save some of those who otherwise might end up on the streets, hopeless cases. I know which I prefer.
Actually, I would go full Portugal and treat the lot as a health issue. You have zero chance of fixing it otherwise unless you fancy a Rodrigo Duterte world. I don't.

Not everyone has the constitution of Aldous Huxley. Pavlov showed us that some people break easily. Based on the above studies I could conclude that an increase in adolescent cannabis consumption would, over time, lead to an increase in serious mental illness. We’re talking about devastating consequences for families and finances. Lifelong dependency on the state as sickness beneficiaries.

Best you start campaigning for the abolition of alcohol then

If I were a totalitarian ruler I would consider legalizing cannabis but only for certain sections of society. A GMI and subsidized narcotics would be an ideal combination.

There are many things totalitarian rulers can use against their people, what a silly argument.

Already happening in the UK. Just wait 20 years and it'll come here. Also no bacon for you.

White people tried and failed, why would brown people succeed? https://nzhistory.govt.nz/politics/temperance-movement

All of the most successful countries drink a lot of beer. Hard work and beer go hand in hand. Japan and China discovered this and only became truly successful after adopting beer.

The British Empire also used a lot of rum. After a hard day of exploring, pillaging, colonizing and conquering a few drams of rum was a welcome respite for many. I doubt they could have done it without it.

Synthetic cannabis is NOT in any way related to naturally grown cannabis! The former should be labelled as just SYNTHS because all it is, is a chemical concoction sprayed onto any number of types of plant matter and then just packaged and labelled as "Synthetic Cannabis" and fort his reason, the Synths got banned because they are killing their hosts!

I call them synthetic death

The more I think about Winston's stance on the UN Migration Pact the more I am astonished. You would think rejecting the pact would, politically, be an ideal position for an ostensibly nationalist party like NZ First and a safe one too as sensible folk like the Swiss had already rejected it. He even used it to attack the Alt-Right which barely exists in this country but many in his support base are likely to lean that way.

The document repeatedly uses the word obligation and stresses that concerted efforts need to be made to ensure its implementation.

I know its a bit overdone to mention Orwell's 1984 but it's like they use that book as a manual. The document appears to be written in Newspeak. There is no doubt in my mind that "non-binding" fully means "compulsory".

The Crown Law Office of New Zealand says the compact will not be legally irrelevant. Read that carefully!

I wonder if Peters actually bothered to read the text of the Pact before he endorsed it and used it as another pretext to carry on his vendetta against National.

Peters is full of bombast, lies, hypocrisy.

National being tough on immigration. Ba-dum tish.
In their 9 years they bought in more non-assimilating Chinese and Indians per capita than any other country. National enabled non-citizens to become MPs. They also have that Chinese SPY in their ranks. Even after the news that he's a spy!

All of the parties are a joke, National and NZF included. There is a definite void for a new party but the wasted vote combined with the 5% MMP bar is making a mockery of "democracy". Peter Done or Act can Gerrymander or coat tail through with 0.X% of the national vote but other parties have failed with 4%.

But it's not all bad because diversity is a strength. My wife's son agrees.

This is why the glorious emperor of China, President Xi, justifiably mocks the Western democratic system. When a party is in power it believes one thing when it is out of power it believes another thing, entirely based and negative to what the current party in power believes. This is our "system".

Winston is safe for the next election with daily stories of immigrants exploiting immigrants, he will go tough on lowing immigration again and point the finger at national for turning a blind eye
https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/110209337/era-makes-business...

Winston Peters is a professional politician. Politicians say one thing & do another. This is par for the course around the globe & true of our own version here in NZ Inc. The West has lost respect for its political leaders. This much is obvious. That's because the political elite do not respect the people. Again, this much is obvious. The West is in disarray with it's leadership showing the way. Everywhere you look it's the same. We caught up with our Dutch friends this weekend & it's amazing how similar their issues are to ours, all pointing to poor, inept & in places, corrupt leadership. And we're supposed to be the good guys!