Tag Archives: New Zealand

2013 Citizens Initiated Referendum

electmanThe bouncy orange condom man visited my mailbox today.

I really love the concept of Citizens Initiated Referenda but they have never lived up to their promise. I can’t think of one that was not muddleheaded even if I agreed with the general concept.

Here is this year’s effort:

Do you support the Government selling up to 49% of Meridian Energy, Mighty River Power, Genesis Power, Solid Energy and Air New Zealand?

This is another one of those run-on questions so beloved by petitioners. In their effort get the result they want they have conflated several concepts. With this wording even those who support selling 100% of the power companies along with KiwiRail, the Post Office, and the Chatham Islands should really vote no. A simple “Do you wish the government to stop selling assets?” would have served up a clearer message.

But this referendum is not designed to change the government’s policy (as if they could). By making people who actually support the asset sales (they exist) answer in the affirmative, the result will become a reed with which to whip the government. Turnout, not helped by the mouthful of a question, will be low so the opposition will be able to say that the asset sales are only supported by 15% (or whatever) of the population. Nevermind that only another 20% (or whatever) bothered to vote no.

There is another point, and sadly here I have to agree with David Farrar here. Ugh, I feel so dirty, but I will carry on.

For those who haven’t been paying attention, the last 2 elections went something like this:

2008:
NATIONAL: Vote for us. We think it would be just swell to sell some juicy assets but we promise hold off a while.
NZ ELECTORATE: Sounds good to us, have a plurality.

2011:
NATIONAL: Vote for us again. By the way, we are going to sell of a bunch of stuff including those plump, luscious power companies. So tasty, so ripe, all that gooey revenue, mmmmmmmm…. Oops, where was I? Oh yeah, selling things off just like we said. About 49% should do it.
NZ ELECTORATE: Sweet as, have an extra seat.

The electorate has already voted twice to sell assets, it was a big issue in both of the last two elections and nobody can act surprised about the government’s direction.

There is another general election next year. Objections should be raised then.

279 New Zealand Blogs

For the last few years Ken Perrott at Open Parachute has been compiling a monthly ranking of New Zealand blogs. His list has the pleasing side-effect of being a good way to discover random blogs you would not otherwise come across.

I decided it wasn’t visual enough:

Small montage of 279 blogs(click to view montage)

This little project used Paparazzi! to grab the websites, ImageMagick to wrangle the images, a few lines of Python, and an evening’s work.

John Banks Election Scandal

John Banks was given a very important job when government was formed after the November election, a position named Minister with Special Responsibility for Keeping His Month Shut for the Next 36 Months and Not Embarrassing the Government.

Would all of you who picked 26 weeks in the nationwide pool please raise your hands to claim your prizes. Judges will be around shortly to check your tickets.
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Full of Piss and Vinegar

I don’t usually pay much attention to the big NZ political blogs. At best, the usual suspects are occasionally insightful, but more often they suffer from varying degrees of simple minded egotism and/or outright vileness. However, like the million monkeys writing Shakespeare that they as a group resemble, every so often someone hits one out of the park:

It’s hard work at the best of times for political parties to attract good candidates. But it’s doubly so for the two main parties, because all the smaller parties are so quick to secure the urine-drinking bank-robbing identity-thieves, leaving National and Labour only the boring and sensible candidates to choose from.

Apart from the woman-bothering expense-rorting ones, those who end up in Parliament for the Nats or Labour often lack colour, but that’s probably because they’re not drinking their own piss

The rest of it is well worth reading as well.

This election is going to be like the Rugby World Cup – pretty much a foregone conclusion but the also-rans will provide much entertainment.