The Dim-Post

March 10, 2015

Deals

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 8:31 am
Tags:

Even though I kind-of hate the Labour Party and I genuinely hate New Zealand First, I just can’t get outraged about this alleged ‘deal’ that Andrew Little has made, in which he’s signalling for Labour voters to support Winston Peters. There’s nothing wrong with deals in politics. Politics is, basically, making compromises and deals. The reason the deal National makes in Epsom is so toxic is because it exploits a loophole in the electoral law. They give a safe seat to a fake party and get an extra MP and taxpayer funding for a gaggle of far-right nutters. That’s totally different to Labour reaching the conclusion that it can’t win Northland and signaling to voters that they should vote for someone who can.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the ring, National has made a pretty astounding deal with its Northland candidate. They’ve given him $70 million dollars of taxpayer money to spend on bridges in his electorate. Andrew Geddis has read the Northland Regional Council’s Land Transport Plan and discovered that the bridges are very low-priority projects.

I am being naive, or is this an unprecedented event in New Zealand politics. The government hands a candidate SEVENTY MILLION DOLLARS of the public’s cash to try and buy an election? This seems like a big deal to me.

36 Comments »

  1. WFF and interest free student loans. Mt Albert got an expensive motorway tunnel whereas every other suburb didn’t.

    When had an election not been about spending.

    National have supported the extension of the northern motorway and roading in general so it’s not like it’s out of the blue.

    Comment by NeilM — March 10, 2015 @ 8:38 am

  2. The thing with Labour’s arrangement with Peters is the denial. It’s also just more of Labours dance with Peters where for 99% of the time he’s an evil racist populist and closet Nat and the other 1% he’s s hero and saviour.

    Comment by NeilM — March 10, 2015 @ 8:42 am

  3. @NeilM,

    WFF and interest free loans were policy proposals that voters could evaluate and choose/reject accordingly – of course Labour wanted people to like them, but it’s the voters call whether the spending ultimately happens. This bridge announcement is money that is going to be spent as part of the Government’s budget, announced not by the Minister in charge of the portfolio but by the candidate who is seeking votes.

    It is different … and if we read about it happening in New Jersey, we’d be shaking our heads at the rampant corruption that taints overseas election (while smugly congratulating ourselves on our “second least corrupt nation” status).

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — March 10, 2015 @ 8:46 am

  4. Urk. Italic fail. Sorry.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — March 10, 2015 @ 8:46 am

  5. Reblogged this on Talking Auckland and commented:
    Sounds like Australian Federal and State Pork Barrel politics just about at its worst being applied by a flailing National Government here in NZ

    $70m?
    Heck that kind of money could have upgraded the North Auckland Rail Line between Swanson and Whangarei. You know an actual piece of infrastructure that links Northland back to Auckland unlike the Holiday Highway which even if it got to Welsford (and there is no indication it ever will right now) it is still 12km short of the Northland geographic boundary).

    After the NAL is upgraded there is more than likely some spare change to build the Marsden Point Branch Line to connect the NAL to the Marsden Point deep water port, the refinery and a future industrial area in the vicinity.

    Such two simple projects for $70m that give more economic benefits than Bridges trying to bridge Bridges that are low on the Council’s list of things to do, and Joyce’s Holiday Highway that would never touch Northland even if fully completed…..

    Comment by Ben Ross - Talking Auckland — March 10, 2015 @ 8:47 am

  6. I’m not terribly outraged by Little nodding and winking like he’s got the worse case of electoral Parkinson’s ever, but I’m awfully bored by him being cute about it.

    Comment by cranapia — March 10, 2015 @ 9:17 am

  7. @Andrew

    Yes, however WFF were designed to “buy” particular votes, which indeed they did.

    I’m not concerned by that. It’s part of politics to appeal to particular voter groups and that is often by promising resources.

    National appealing to rural voters with road funding is just an example of what happens all the time.

    Comment by NeilM — March 10, 2015 @ 9:19 am

  8. I’m not outraged by the deal, only at the way Willow Jean Prime is being misused.

    I think that Little’s flirtation with Peters is a strategic blunder which will taint him later on,it sends a negative message to his own ‘troops’ and will not succeed in ‘hurting’ National..

    Comment by Lee Clark — March 10, 2015 @ 9:20 am

  9. You make it sound like having a motorway beneath your suburb is a good thing, Neil. Need to do better to find any equivalent to this provincial porkfest. And even then. saying ‘but they did it too’ is not much of an argument, is it?

    Comment by Sacha — March 10, 2015 @ 9:21 am

  10. And the argument from Labour and NZF is that Northland has been economically neglected by National which implies a solution of extra govt money by those parties as well.

    Certainly that’s Winston’s position on the port.

    It’s easy enough to argue that there are more pressing needs elsewhere but it is a bye election where politicians are focusing on local issues.

    Comment by NeilM — March 10, 2015 @ 9:30 am

  11. Funny thing is that National canned the Waterview ‘Mt Albert’ traffic sewer immediately they took office, intending to build a surface version, probably just to piss off the Mt Albert electorate who always vote labour. Then they went back and did their sums (must be a first for National when it comes to motorways) and realised tunnel building was the cheapest way of achieving their plans to tarmac as much of Auckland as possible. Hubristically, National decided to shorten the tunnel, just a little bit, presumably to upset those Mt Albertans who failed to be mesmerised by the sticky charms of their leader Gutsy John and his sidekick, Novopay Steven. So, election bribe? Facts suggest otherwise.

    Comment by Christopher T — March 10, 2015 @ 9:34 am

  12. “…’m not outraged by the deal, only at the way Willow Jean Prime is being misused…”

    Thanks for your concerned trollery.

    It seems the flailing (flailing! What a great word!) right has been reduced to now condemning Andrew Little for being a politician.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 10, 2015 @ 9:36 am

  13. I demand the taxpayers onion condemn this pork barrelling! David Farrar? Where are you? Oh yes, blogging in support of the government.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 10, 2015 @ 9:39 am

  14. @NeilM,

    The conflation of all forms of “vote buying” is

    Comment by Flashing Light — March 10, 2015 @ 9:45 am

  15. Trying again … the conflation of all forms of “vote buying” is just silly. It’s a continuum, not a single unified practice.

    So, at one end we have pre-election promises to do something if re-elected: “Vote Labour for WFF”; “Vote National for tax cuts”; “Vote Peter Dunne for the Transmission Gully road”. This is what you have to have for elections to work – you need to be able to see what each side will deliver if you (and enough people like you) choose to give it your support.

    At the other end we have public money deployed directly to pay voters for their support – let’s imagine Bill English gave Mark Osborne $69 million in $50 bills that he could walk around Northland handing out to voters. I’m assuming that you’d accept that this is “bad” … that politicians shouldn’t be allowed to use their control over public finances in this way.

    So, the question then is, where does Osborne’s announcement (and note it was Osborne who announced this official government policy) that his party is going to use $69 million of public money to fix bridges in the electorate fit on that continuum? Is it more like the ordinary trading of policy promises for support, or is it more like the direct giving of money to voters to procure their vote?

    Comment by Flashing Light — March 10, 2015 @ 9:54 am

  16. And the argument from Labour and NZF is that Northland has been economically neglected by National which implies a solution of extra govt money by those parties as well.

    Let’s say on Saturday Winston Peters wins $69 million on a Lotto Powerball draw. He immediately sets up the “Winston Peters Northland Development Trust”, which any person in Northland with economic development ideas can apply to for financial support. He then goes on TV and announces that he’s making this gift to the people to Northland as a way of helping solve their economic development problems … and because there’s a by-election coming up, he also wants them to see that he puts his money where his mouth is in terms of supporting the region.

    Acceptable? If so, how is it different to bribery? If not, how is it different to what Mark Osborne did (with public money, not his own)?

    Comment by Flashing Light — March 10, 2015 @ 9:59 am

  17. To me the most significant difference here is that National’s in a very privileged position over other candidates.

    In a general election, commitments/bribes/whatever like this rely on a majority of the entire voting nation accepting the plan. But in a by-election like this one, it’s a case of National using its superior government resources, expressly unavailable to other candidates even if they win, to stay in power by gifting its candidate a guaranteed $70m promise.

    No other candidate in the Northland by-election has the ability to make that sort of commitment of everyone’s money.

    But I also have a short memory. Have there been any other recent cases in by-elections of the presiding governments offering to drop giant wads of cash onto that electorate?

    Comment by izogi — March 10, 2015 @ 10:12 am

  18. just to be a pedant – its not a deal in the first place – an admission? yes, a suggestion? of course – or message or whatever else you want to call it – but a deal requires two parties to have an agreement.

    and why the big media bun fight over little stating the bleeding obvious in an electorate where odds are they will gain nothing for themselves?

    Comment by framu — March 10, 2015 @ 10:33 am

  19. @Flashing Light

    Cullen was against the generosity of WFF and against interest free student loans. He thought they were financial irresponsible. He was over-ruled because Labour needed the votes those policies would bring in. I think that’s vote buying if anything is. Quite direct, quiet expensive.

    It’s true that the govt has an advantage but that’s always true and the opposition always has the advantage of promising things they might not have to wind up pay for.

    Comment by NeilM — March 10, 2015 @ 10:51 am

  20. @NeilM,

    Again, you’re conflating two different situations without bothering to actually address or answer the challenges put to you. That makes you a supremely uninteresting person to engage with.

    Comment by Flashing Light — March 10, 2015 @ 11:05 am

  21. @NeilM: “It’s true that the govt has an advantage but that’s always true and the opposition always has the advantage of promising things they might not have to wind up pay for.”

    Except in this case, opposing candidates\ obviously won’t be able to pay for a similar promise because they almost certainly won’t be in government, even if elected. So Cabinet is extending its guaranteed government resources to give Osborne a massive advantage over competitors and keep the government in power.

    Not to suggest this hasn’t happened to a similar extent in previous by-elections. But has it?

    Comment by izogi — March 10, 2015 @ 11:22 am

  22. I object to you describing stuff you don’t may not agree with as ‘trolling’ sanctuary, it hazards suggesting that I may have piqued your feelings so much that it has resulted in an inability to mount a coherent response.

    I’m not accusing Little of not being a politician, but rather being on this issue, an inept one. .I’ll leave it to your conscience to decide, if, I’ve indicated a trail of similar ineptitudes, you may describe my contributions as ‘trolling’.

    You described Little’s manoeuvrings as “astute footwork” a while ago, and appear to still hold that view, but I disagree, and think his actions have been short-sighted and potentially damaging to his longer-game..

    My observation was about Danyl’s post, relevant to the subject, and sought to qualify my own views about the situation. I’d like to consider myself able to converse or offer differing views without engaging in ad hominem distractions.

    Sometimes I fail, I know, but one day at a time, eh?.

    Comment by Lee Clark — March 10, 2015 @ 12:03 pm

  23. Well said. Danyl. I mean, it’s stating the obvious to say that Northland is not like Epsom, but sadly internet debate rules mean you have to say “2 + 2 = 4” sometimes, when people are shouting “2 + 2 = Orange”.

    Perhaps the proponents of “Epsom Horror: The Sequel” could take a moment to tell us who is now playing the parts of Hide, Brash, Banks, Whyte, Seymour, Garrett and the rest. What can those fevered imaginations come up with?

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — March 10, 2015 @ 12:39 pm

  24. I’d say the usual suspects are comparing apples with oranges. Key’s cup of tea with Banks was inked on paper. Andrew Little’s Northland musings are not.

    “I am being naive, or is this an unprecedented event in New Zealand politics. The government hands a candidate SEVENTY MILLION DOLLARS of the public’s cash to try and buy an election? This seems like a big deal to me.”

    No precedent as far as I can tell. I can’t think of any other recent by-election in NZ that has had such a blatant show of pork.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — March 10, 2015 @ 1:54 pm

  25. @izogi

    Although the Nats have said this funding for roading will occur whatever the election outcome. So that’s a bit different to – vote for us or no money.

    Not sure if it’s happened before but my memory is of parties trying to promise lots to locals during by-elections.

    I don’t object to it being called pork barrel politics but its not new and well, politicians are expected to address local concerns and spending money is one way of dealing with them. There’s a degree of just self-serving politics in that but then voters being listened to and their needs being met is how politics is supposed to work.

    Comment by NeilM — March 10, 2015 @ 2:01 pm

  26. Andrew Geddis: other pork barrels that come to mind are Japan’s Roads to Nowhere, courtesy of Tokyo’s cosy relationships with Big Construction; and the thankfully-cancelled Gravina Island Bridge in the US.

    America is still stuck with the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, though, and so too will the Aussies. It’s had massive budget overruns and criticism of its combat (under-)performance for similar reasons – and Lockheed Martin has inflated the number of jobs created from it. But it’s difficult to back out of it due to the fact that the F-35’s production is spread out over most of America’s 50 states. The rest of the military-industrial complex is a bit like it.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — March 10, 2015 @ 2:04 pm

  27. Apple – Key gives message to National voters not to vote for National but for another party that will give him a strategic advantage.

    Orange – Little gives message to Labour voters not to vote Labour but for another party that will give him a strategic party.

    There’s some differences but the central message and aim is the same. But Labour have, til now, made quiet a lot of always – on principle – supporting their candidate. I remember that was the case last year with Kelvin Davis in TTT.

    Comment by NeilM — March 10, 2015 @ 2:09 pm

  28. I genuinely hate New Zealand First.

    Same here.

    Comment by unaha-closp — March 10, 2015 @ 2:10 pm

  29. There’s some differences but the central message and aim is the same. But Labour have, til now, made quiet a lot of always – on principle – supporting their candidate. I remember that was the case last year with Kelvin Davis in TTT.

    Again with the false equivalence, NeliM!

    There way basically no upside to Labour having IMP in Parliament. It was a 1-1 tradeoff for the TTT electorate.
    In this case there is no chance that Labour will win the seat outright so denying a seat to the Govt. is the next best outcome.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 10, 2015 @ 2:42 pm

  30. Not sure if it’s happened before but my memory is of parties trying to promise lots to locals during by-elections.

    Or, in other words, you can’t actually point to any examples of anything remotely comparable to this happening in the past, but you’re sure Labour must have done it too because that’s all you seem capable of saying in your comments. Kind of like this guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDuMp2kDxos.

    Comment by Flashing Light — March 10, 2015 @ 4:38 pm

  31. There way basically no upside to Labour having IMP in Parliament. It was a 1-1 tradeoff for the TTT electorate.

    The thinking at the time was Labour steps aside gives IMP a seat and coat tails in one or two others giving Labour a shot at govt.

    Comment by NeilM — March 10, 2015 @ 6:12 pm

  32. I should add I supported Labour’s decision at the time in this forum and did so because I thought it was a principled decision.

    So I’m a not impressed now and I don’t think it’s a good strategic move.

    Comment by NeilM — March 10, 2015 @ 7:52 pm

  33. I think you must have been following another election, NeilM.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 10, 2015 @ 8:24 pm

  34. Accommodations, pork barrelling…. its all just politics for advantage in the imminent electoral event….. But bottom line here Labour are signalling they are happy to work with Winston and his cohorts. Thats clever politics with 2017 in mind. But what does it say to the Greens about how baules of office would be handed out by Labour in 2017 if National doesn’t have the numbers to form a government?

    Pork barrelling – next time you drive through the countryside see how many halls you see at crossroads out in the boondocks, pretty sure pork barrelling has been in NZ Politics forever….

    [Gregor W lets have a pint on the weekend to discuss, you can explain this from an anarchist viewpoint…..thats if the missus will let you out…]

    Comment by dave1924 — March 10, 2015 @ 9:52 pm

  35. NeilM, the motorway was built to complete the auckland network, I’m sure the residents of Mt Albert would be quite happy if it didn’t barrel through their suburb.

    Comment by Chris Bull — March 10, 2015 @ 11:04 pm

  36. Anyone remember Winston Peters negotiating with National to form a coalition government years ago, and one of his requirements was that a one-lane bridge to Tauranga be upgraded? National’s taken that cue and supercharged it – and got one back on Winston to boot.

    Comment by Ataahua — March 11, 2015 @ 1:47 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: