Colin Craig: I think National’s position here is that they have to give him a seat. It’s going to be a tight election, the Conservative Party won 2.65% of the vote in 2011, there’s no reason that won’t go down, and it will probably go up. At least some of those votes will come from National. If Craig doesn’t win an electorate but fails to reach the 5% threshold then somewhere between 60,000 to 100,000 right-wing votes don’t get counted.
Russel Norman is facing a leadership challenge from a Green Party list candidate! Many people who go into politics have leadership aspirations, but the trick is to convince other people that you’d make an astute leader. And challenging an incumbent the term after he’s co-lead the party to an historic electoral victory when you’re in a position of near-total obscurity is not a great way to demonstrate your political acumen.
It was the 50th Anniversary of the JFK assassination. Not sure if I’ve linked to it before, but my favorite short film about the assassination is Umbrella Man by Errol Morris. Favorite books: Libra and American Tabloid. Favorite feature movie is, naturally, Stone’s JFK. Many people struggle with the historiography; you need to look past that and just enjoy it as a masterpiece of paranoia. Consider the writing, performances and editing in this scene. My personal conspiracy theory? Kennedy was murdered by a small group of nutcases who were contracted to the CIA as part of their ongoing clandestine war against Cuba. The agency engaged in a cover-up after the assassination, for obvious reasons.
Should we drill for oil? Putting global-warming aside for a minute: if we were like Norway, and had a safe, well-regulated industry in which the profits went to the people of New Zealand then yeah, totally we should drill for oil. Sadly we’re not like Norway. We’re New Zealand! Regulation will be negligible, catastrophes are likely, profits will all go overseas. Combine that with the fact that extracting and burning that oil will contribute to the alteration of the atmosphere of the planet we live on and there’s not a lot in it for people who aren’t in the energy industry.
A theory I’d like to throw out there to explain National’s eagerness for partial-privatization and weird obsession with ‘Mum and Dad investors’. One of the goals of right-wing political parties for the last thirty years has been the idea of an ‘ownership society’. The theory is that you extend the ownership of capital to the middle-class and the experience of earning dividends and capital gains through shares, bonds etc turns them all into fervent free-market right-wing voters. There were other reasons for the sales – they got to give huge sums of taxpayer money away to the finance sector! - but I suspect National is bitterly disappointed that it hasn’t changed the political landscape by moving us towards an ‘ownership society’.