The Dim-Post

December 4, 2015

Notes on politics in 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 8:32 am
  • It wasn’t a very inspiring year. The most interesting/surprising thing was Winston Peters’ victory in Northland. But the circumstances around that by-election were very unusual – almost unique – so it probably doesn’t mean anything in terms of long term political trends.
  • In terms of polls I think that (a) the Conservative Party collapse has strengthened National and New Zealand First and (b) John Key’s declining popularity has sent some voters from National to Labour.
  • Andrew Little appears to be (another) uninspiring Labour leader. His last reshuffle showed that the endless factional wars within the Labour Party continue to grind on.
  • John Key’s role as Prime Minister seems to be mostly ceremonial. He follows the All Blacks around. He goes on More FM and talks about the All Blacks. He attends international conferences mostly, it seems, to get his photo taken with world leaders. None of this seems to promote New Zealand’s interests, or his own personal policy agenda, or do anything except generate positive publicity for himself.
  • The most significant political development of the year was the ‘Mediapocalypse’ – the ongoing collapse of serious journalism in New Zealand driven by challenges to the fundamental business model of the media industry. Those changes have been matched in state-owned media outlets. Maori TV shut down its investigative journalism show because it was exposing corruption among Maori elites. TVNZ has an infotainment show on every week night where the host gives a speech praising the government and attacking its critics.
  • The resignation of Murray McCully over the Saudi sheep deal should have been the biggest political story of the year. Back in 1999 when McCully was found to have acted illegally in his role of Tourism Minister he was forced to resign. This time the allegations were much more serious, but because of the decline in influence of mainstream media outlets, and the fierce competition between them – TV3 and the Herald largely ignored the scandal because it was broken by journalists at rival companies – the Minister simply dropped out of sight until it all blew over.
  • The appearance of Jacinda Ardern in the polls as preferred Prime Minister (at 4%) seems like the other major development this year. It is the first time a non-party leader has rated so high, and it is unrelated to any substantive political accomplishments. Ardern’s popularity, like Key’s (only more-so), appears to be driven by a high profile in soft media and social media.
  • This is going to have big implications for our domestic politics. The opposition is supposed to hold the government to account by breaking and developing stories like the Saudi sheep deal. But if half the media neglects to cover those stories and Ministers can simply refuse to front and refuse to resign, and the government suffers no loss in popularity, then the incentives are to do less of them. And if politicians can become nationally popular via non-political cover stories about themselves in soft media outlets then that’s where their energy will go.

 

53 Comments »

  1. Which half of the media neglected to cover the Saudi sheep deal? A quick google shows acres of coverage – by the tv channels, the NZ Herald, Stuff, private and public radio, the business press……

    Comment by robhosking — December 4, 2015 @ 8:57 am

  2. I thought the most significant thing was the Peters Party with the least talent showed itself more in tune with NZ Inc and most ready of the opposition parties to be in Govt.

    And of all the parties the best move came this week with Labour swallowing a self made dead rat on house prices by signalling the RMA as the biggest factor to attack.

    JC

    Comment by JC — December 4, 2015 @ 9:01 am

  3. The Herald’s coverage was minimal, and in various editorials and columns by Young, Armstrong et al explained that it was all a big nothing – just Murray being Murray. TV3 likewise. Like, they did some stories on it, sometimes, but not many, and I think Paddy actually said on twitter that he didn’t think it was a big story. Pretty sure it would have been if he’d broken it, but HDPA did when she was at TVNZ.

    Comment by danylmc — December 4, 2015 @ 9:03 am

  4. A couple of thoughts:

    * The collapse in Conservatives support has seen no increase in National support, or in NZF’s. The Conservatives support went somewhere…

    * The emergence of Kelvin Davis is a really significant factor, probably far more significant than Ardern.

    * The RMA remains a really interesting story, and points to the changed role that Peter Dunne has in this government.

    * I think your analysis of Labour needs some work. Labour has had a significant increase in support, and that needs explaining. They appear to have drawn support from all corners–from the Greens, certainly, from National and NZF, but also from the protest vote that went to the Conservatives. For my money, some of this is because Cunliffe is no longer leader, but the bigger story is about the lack of in-fighting. It’s not because they are sliding towards the right–which they are–because their policy is irrelevant to political support at this stage.

    * So you can look at the role of Annette King, who was supposedly an interim appointment, in getting cohesion in the party.

    * Your opinion of Ardern misses the work she does with activists and communities in Auckland, and her work on select committees.

    Comment by Onsos — December 4, 2015 @ 9:06 am

  5. Could the demotion of Cunliffe by Little lead him to doing an Anderton and creating a new “new labour”? There would be many of the very left wing of Labour that would welcome that , along with those who once supported Hone Harawira.

    Comment by dukeofurl — December 4, 2015 @ 9:12 am

  6. Every MP I’ve ever met can and will blag on at length about the amazing work they do on communities or select committee or their portfolio area, and some of them do do this work and some of them don’t, but none of them ever make it into the preferred Prime Minister rankings

    Comment by danylmc — December 4, 2015 @ 9:16 am

  7. I see a growing disconnect (for better or worse) between politics and the actual work of government. The actual work of government led by politicians such as Bill English is moving in a very modernist direction with a focus on evidence. Meanwhile, the political side, led by John Key is moving in a very post-modern direction where everything is about perspective, appearance and actually at the end of the day does anyone care statements.

    Comment by Sam — December 4, 2015 @ 9:47 am

  8. I’d actually add the Ombudsman’s review of the OIA to the list of events. It’s just in, but if left to stand, then long term its impact will be more far reaching than most other events of 2015 because of its impact in legitimising and enabling the abuse of the OIA to become permanent, and emasculating the media who rely on it to do their best work more than the public would realise. So I see it as a major hit to democracy in this country.

    The opposition might criticise it, but would they really reform it or act differently when in power? (I don’t mean that in an “they’re all as bad as each other sense” Crosby Textor sense btw). It’s too much of an advantage to be certain they would. It’s as if, the new rules of the game already clear in years before, but now cemented in 2015, are you stay in power by abusing the OIA and appearing in women’s mags. You can try to play the game differently, but that means being in opposition for 3 or 4 terms a time.

    Comment by Joe-90 — December 4, 2015 @ 9:47 am

  9. The actual work of government led by politicians such as Bill English is moving in a very modernist direction with a focus on evidence.

    How does that gel with the entirely appearance based assessment of English’s capability – dour, parsimonious Southlander – with English’s fairly average record of economic management and the vast effort employed to fake up a surplus for political soundbite objectives?

    Comment by Gregor W — December 4, 2015 @ 10:50 am

  10. Bill English has fairly aggressively pushed an evidence-based cost/benefit approach in the public service (I am not judging whether that is a good thing or not, just that it is a modernist approach and it is heavily promoted by Bill English). By comparision, John Key and some other Ministers seem indifferent to evidence and more interested in apperance and confidence. The clash between Gerry Brownlee and Bill English’s Treasury over the rebuild projects would be an example. Bill English’s Treasury (I know Bill later backtracked, but his office would have approved that report) just wanted to lay out the facts as they saw it. Brownlee was beside himself with rage that the Treasury was questioning his reality that the rebuild project were going really well.

    Comment by Sam — December 4, 2015 @ 11:44 am

  11. English has pushed the actuarial approach which Bennett is now tasked with applying across all of govt departments, along with transfer of responsibility to contracted providers. His aim is explicitly to shrink the size of govt in the economy to 20%. However the whole ‘surplus’ thing has just been sleight of hand.

    Comment by Sacha — December 4, 2015 @ 12:04 pm

  12. Could the demotion of Cunliffe by Little lead him to doing an Anderton and creating a new “new labour”? There would be many of the very left wing of Labour that would welcome that , along with those who once supported Hone Harawira.

    No.

    There aren’t many. Yes, some of them write for The Standard, but generally he’s hated among the party. Little doesn’t have universal warmth, but he’s acknowledged as competent. Same thing with Annette King. They’ll support them both until they prove they can be PM (and possibly deputy).

    Comment by Wurble — December 4, 2015 @ 12:18 pm

  13. Some of the bigger non-stories of the year.

    Cortex. The media have had their share of intelligence stories, and that’s fair. They’re difficult, and the PM just shrugs them off.

    The failure of the Government to manage the Canterbury rebuild (the rest of the country – left and right – no longer care at all, and fair enough).

    The colossal waste of money on roads with negative business cases. The Brownlee-Joyce-Bridges continuum seems to be a black hole for interest. They also seem to be immune to English’s prudent financial management.

    Waste in the private public sector. Various government departments are spending millions on private consultants, directed by Ministers. There’s little information because Wellington runs on fear.

    The demolition of news and current affairs at TV3. Concurrently, the turn towards visual media at RNZ. They don’t have the money to be an internet television station, but they’re setting up to do so. The next government (if it ever arrives) would do well to legislate their role and then give them hundreds of millions of dollars .

    I must say that I’m surprised that the economy is robust enough to take a collapse in the price of its major export commodity (how’s that diversified economy?), but tens of billions of inflationary property dollars have taken up the slack. Perhaps we could sell milk to the Indians next…

    Comment by Wurble — December 4, 2015 @ 12:30 pm

  14. How does that gel with the entirely appearance based assessment of English’s capability – dour, parsimonious Southlander – with English’s fairly average record of economic management and the vast effort employed to fake up a surplus for political soundbite objectives?

    I think it’s universally acknowledged that National’s fake surpluses are better than Labour’s real ones.

    Comment by Wurble — December 4, 2015 @ 12:31 pm

  15. The RMA remains a really interesting story, and points to the changed role that Peter Dunne has in this government.

    He’s the wiliest fucker in Wellington, by a long shot. Labour’s best hope would have been Justin Lester, who was setting himself up to take Dunne out, but he’s now running for mayor on the basis that being an opposition backbencher would be a waste of his time.

    Comment by Wurble — December 4, 2015 @ 12:36 pm

  16. Labour’s best hope would have been Justin Lester, who was setting himself up to take Dunne out

    Thankfully, Labour’s strategists are smarter than Labour’s activists. Ohariu is bluer than Navy. The last realistic shot Labour had at ousting Dunne was in 2008, before National’s supporters in the seat switched on to tactical voting.

    http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2014/electorate-36.html

    Comment by Phil — December 4, 2015 @ 1:06 pm

  17. “English has pushed the actuarial approach which Bennett is now tasked with applying across all of govt departments, along with transfer of responsibility to contracted providers. His aim is explicitly to shrink the size of govt in the economy to 20%”
    If he believes that than he should be a straitjacket as its delusional
    For OECD countries, their category of ‘general government expenditure’ which includes central, state, local gov and social security ( this is necessary as in some places local government pays for schools not central etc) , the lowest ranking country there is Korea at nearly 32%, even the US is 39%.

    While Im sure English doesnt really believe this, Its unfathomable that other people ‘think he does’. They have no idea what it takes to run a western style country. If you get below 40% the pips start to squeak.
    data.oecd.org/gga/general-government-spending.htm

    Comment by dukeofurl — December 4, 2015 @ 1:08 pm

  18. “If he believes that than he should be a straitjacket as its delusional”
    Hence (along with actions like suspending investment into the Cullen Fund, and increasing consumption tax when the economy is at a low point) the point that English’s public reputation for being sensible and pragmatic is really something of a mirage. He’s not a Richardson/Douglas-style zealot, but he hasn’t actually been a very good Minister of Finance.

    Comment by NBH — December 4, 2015 @ 1:17 pm

  19. Thankfully, Labour’s strategists are smarter than Labour’s activists. Ohariu is bluer than Navy. The last realistic shot Labour had at ousting Dunne was in 2008, before National’s supporters in the seat switched on to tactical voting.

    Virginia Anderson wasn’t that great of a candidate. She worked her butt off for a year however, and came within 700 votes of ousting Dunne, in a year when her party was doing terribly nationwide. A better candidate with a strong reputation, very good visibility and reputation and an ability to press hands as well as Dunne… quite possible.

    Unless National stands someone even less useful than Brett Hudson.

    Comment by Wurble — December 4, 2015 @ 1:19 pm

  20. NBH – thank you, that was pretty much my point.
    I suspect English’s “actuarial approach” is more myth than substance, to the extent that it’s underpinned by ideology rather than a sound fact base.

    Comment by Gregor W — December 4, 2015 @ 2:58 pm

  21. @Danyl: “(b) John Key’s declining popularity has sent some voters from National to Labour.”

    I’m largely confused with all this popularity stuff right now, but especially after your post last month, where’s the evidence that his popularity is declining?

    @Wurble: “Virginia Anderson wasn’t that great of a candidate. She worked her butt off for a year however, and came within 700 votes of ousting Dunne, in a year when her party was doing terribly nationwide. A better candidate with a strong reputation, very good visibility and reputation and an ability to press hands as well as Dunne… quite possible. Unless National stands someone even less useful than Brett Hudson.”

    I went to one of the candidate meetings and was very impressed by Virginia Anderson from what I saw. I hope that result isn’t the end of her. If she’d managed to win it, though, it’s probably reasonable to suggest that it could have been largely due to opposing votes being split. Despite Brett Hudson’s best efforts to do nothing except encourage people to vote for Peter Dunne, it speaks volumes that he ended up pulling 6000 votes!

    Comment by izogi — December 4, 2015 @ 3:01 pm

  22. You could definitely make the argument that while more fiscal prudent in the short/medium term than Labour (by keeping a cap on public spending), National is actually less fiscally responsible in the long-term (because of suspending contributions into the Cullen Fund as well as not wanting to touch Superannuation; the biggest fiscal threat to government).

    Comment by Sam — December 4, 2015 @ 4:02 pm

  23. “You could definitely make the argument that while more fiscal prudent in the short/medium term than Labour (by keeping a cap on public spending),”

    i would argue that that is more appearance than substance – does it include consultants, contractors and all down stream/unfactored costs?

    i think we all know that any MP worth their limo can make a reported figure look good by all manner of creative methods

    Comment by framu — December 4, 2015 @ 4:37 pm

  24. Also being fiscally prudent does not neccesarily equal competent economic management. One is a tool, the other is an outcome.

    I know what I’d prefer to see displayed by the MoF.

    Comment by Gregor W — December 4, 2015 @ 5:00 pm

  25. Maybe I am just being very jaded here. But it seems to me there is no purchase in caring about what really happens to people – and by that I mean all people – and the country as a whole any more, be it in politics, media or anything else. Of course compassionate journos, politicians, activists etc still exist, dotted all over the place. But it just seems as though you choose the ‘B’ track in life in life by actually caring, and that’s become very clear in 2015. Hopefully I am dead wrong.

    Comment by Dita De Boni — December 4, 2015 @ 5:33 pm

  26. “English’s “actuarial approach” is … underpinned by ideology”

    Yep, the same old ‘small government’ tosh we’ve been force-fed since he was a wide-eyed lad in Treasury. He’s getting away with pursuing it in exchange for tolerating Joyce and Key flicking billions to selected donors like the construction industry while patting themselves on the back for being such deal-making geniuses.

    Comment by Sacha — December 4, 2015 @ 6:11 pm

  27. “Maybe I am just being very jaded here.”

    That fits my own career trajectory perfectly. Do too much work motivated by caring rather than mammon and sacrifice more than we should have to. Your impassioned and realistic speech at the ‘Tell You What’ launch was appreciated, thank you.

    Comment by Sacha — December 4, 2015 @ 6:14 pm

  28. “while more fiscally prudent”

    Not when you run up public debt levels like that. Just shitting all over future generations.

    Comment by Sacha — December 4, 2015 @ 6:18 pm

  29. Regarding Hosking.

    Is it really worse than when NZ had three television channels, and one of them was a platform for Paul Holmes to spout inane reactionary nonsense every single day?

    We didn’t have the internet or Facebook or electricity or running water then either.

    Comment by Wurble — December 4, 2015 @ 7:38 pm

  30. We didn’t have the internet or Facebook or electricity or running water then either.

    While there’s been no lack of contenders, I’d suggest that we hit peak stupid a little short of three years ago.

    Comment by Joe W — December 4, 2015 @ 10:24 pm

  31. @Wurble: “Regarding Hosking. Is it really worse than when NZ had three television channels, and one of them was a platform for Paul Holmes to spout inane reactionary nonsense every single day?”

    I can’t speak for others. For me it’s not so much Mike Hosking that’s the issue as the collapse of credible journalism across multiple forms of media which seems to be occurring at around the same time, and which seems to be making more space for vacuous statements of opinion, including but not limited to those of Mike Hosking.

    Comment by izogi — December 4, 2015 @ 11:36 pm

  32. JC: “And of all the parties the best move came this week with Labour swallowing a self made dead rat on house prices by signalling the RMA as the biggest factor to attack.”

    Another factor is that Denise Krum, Dick Quax and Cameron Brewer et al claim to be in favour of a free market capitalist system… but the moment someone thinks out loud of doing a Manhattan or Dubai to fix the Auckland housing shortage, they suddenly turn a bit statist. That, my friends, isn’t free market capitalism, but something more akin to rentier feudalism that puts the old Telecom to shame. That’s one potential area of vulnerability for Labour’s new front bench to exploit if they can finally get their act together.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — December 5, 2015 @ 4:16 am

  33. With respect Danyl what planet are you on? I think it’s been an exciting year, politically.

    From memory, we had the near collapse of National’s internal support when it attempted to bail out the Auckland Sky City thing, and a by-election in Northland in which it was widely touted by ‘left-leaning’ as an example of Andrew Little’s strategic brilliance to throw his own candidate under Winston’s bus followed by the creeping realisation that Winston Peers might now hold the ‘balance of power’ (again) but essentially would shut out the Greens from a brokered deal with Labour, should they get a ‘tipping point’ of the popular vote?.

    I seem to recall Danyl himself saying he’d put a clipping of a headline over his computer (curious clash of technologies there) and there was a major frisson at ‘Tailgate’ which it was perceived would expose John Key as a closet misogynist with hidden ‘creepy man-child’ tendencies. What was that? Chopped Liver?
    Was this hot on the heels of the Rape-culture meme that underpinned some peoples’ consciousnesses about the the cover-up of a foreign sexual predator who attempted to escape justice under diplomatic immunity?

    What about the exciting news of the Green co-leader trouncing the ‘activist’ base and heralding a new era of ‘business-savvy’ Green strategies to build and consolidate support, accompanied of course by carefully place blog posts here to support Private Memebrs Bills relating to stuff like Refugee quotas? And who can forget the harrowing image of a dead toddler who subsequently turned out to be the (alleged) offspring of a people smuggler?

    I also recall a near deafening silence from the ‘opposition’ which greeted the news that a center-right government had raised benefits for ‘the deserving poor’ for the first time in about forty years, which was only over-powered by the resounding clatter of another party attempting to play the ‘race card’ to villify people who ‘sounded foreign’ in order to scratch together a few votes from some at the risk of alienating a solid section of their core historical constituencies.

    But the main reason it has been so exciting for me is in part down to the kinds of media I subscribe to: they deal in breathless predictions about new messiahs, crowd-control over strategic amnesia, misdirection about motives, salacious gossip and sudden shifts of perception for shorter-term political capital-gain. Irefer of course to every other blog but this one.

    Jeez if ths was a ‘boring year’ I tremble to imagine what kinds of stimulation you crave to liven up the political bedroom. This year only needed an eye-gouging to put it up there with ‘Sons of Anarchy’ IMO.

    Thank yo for the year Danyl. Happy Holidays people, and remember if a man in red suit asks you to sit on his knee, well, you know the drill.

    Comment by Lee Clark — December 5, 2015 @ 8:13 am

  34. What about the exciting news of the Green co-leader trouncing the ‘activist’ base and heralding a new era of ‘business-savvy’ Green strategies…

    3 cheers for James “Shiny” Shaw and red bloody peak!

    Comment by Joe W — December 5, 2015 @ 9:24 am

  35. now now, I care deeply about the fact that the government has stuffed up the Christchurch rebuild. I care about this because I predicted they would stuff it up, and being proven right is important to me (that’s how this politics thing works, isn’t it?)

    Comment by Can of Worms, Opened — December 5, 2015 @ 10:04 am

  36. Wurble wrote “I must say that I’m surprised that the economy is robust enough to take a collapse in the price of its major export commodity, but tens of billions of inflationary property dollars have taken up the slack.”

    This is the plan. export Auckland property to the Chinese.

    Comment by Can of Worms, Opened — December 5, 2015 @ 10:12 am

  37. I’m going to keep hammering this point. No one can ever say with even the *slightest* evidence, where changes in support come from or go to, *unless* that is actually studied. Which is *isn’t*, for the most part. Even if *nothing* changes in the polls, that still doesn’t mean it’s the same people responsible for the numbers.

    And yet *every* time there’s political predictions and polls there’s all the bullshit explaining what happened. REPEAT: There is not a shred of *real* *actual* *evidence* for any of this speculation. All you’re doing if you tell a story of this kind is telling a story. It could be a true story, but it’s got all the strength of fiction – someone’s intuitions telling a story that has a narrative they believe in. That’s not fact. It’s not even weak inductive evidence. It’s just ever so slightly more than nothing at all. It’s like science of the ancient world – theory without evidence.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — December 5, 2015 @ 10:54 am

  38. 3 cheers for James “Shiny” Shaw and red bloody peak!

    Oh yes, who could forget that 2015 was the year that the KOF rabble emerged into the sunlight.

    They brought with them a grab-bag of incoherent grievance (real, alleged, and conspiratorial) and the assumption of the the British Naval Ensign as the bastion against these. Adrift of a national narrative, their confusion makes some sense.

    The problem wasn’t that the Government spent $26m on the flag referendum. It was that it didn’t spend enough. If this had been done properly, there would have been a year between selection and referendum, in which the flags could be sewn and then shown in large and prominent display. Seeing each of these rotated on Auckland’s harbour bridge alongside the current flag – that would give New Zealand a measure of the change. Things look very different in the open air. Instead people feel that they’ve been rushed towards something without sufficient explanation.

    Comment by Wurble — December 5, 2015 @ 10:59 am

  39. Excuse me for butting in Danyl but I think this is an issue that everyone concerned with the slow demise of the right to freedom of expression should be concerned with.

    Thank The National Party for this atrocious abuse of process.

    Comment by Redbaiter — December 5, 2015 @ 1:47 pm

  40. Hey Lee, Danyl doesn’t do ‘exciting’ when he’s looking to be ‘inspired’.

    In fact he’s written a damn fine post at https://dimpost.wordpress.com/2015/12/04/notes-on-politics-in-2015/#comments You should read it.

    Comment by paritutu — December 5, 2015 @ 7:24 pm

  41. Thank yo paritutu, I think I was seeking to pursue the notion of what ‘inspired’ Danyl to take such an interest in stuff while it was happening, as opposed to what ‘inspired’ him to forget so much of it, or indeed select so much of it. I acknowledge that this is only possible if your readership is incapable of remembering what inspires them, for more than a week. So I guess in some respects, he’s doing a grand job. It wasn’t a personalised attack, against Danyl. It was more an observation about how using media to critique media can on occasion ignore the plank in its own eye while it describes the splinter in another’s.

    Comment by Lee Clark — December 6, 2015 @ 7:49 am

  42. … and yup, that goes for me as well. . . .

    Comment by Lee Clark — December 6, 2015 @ 8:31 am

  43. Excuse me for butting in again. I have deleted above mentioned post as I now believe this is not an issue that involves the Harmful Digital Communications Act.

    False alarm.

    Nevertheless, I do believe this atrocious Act will be so abused one day and I’ll reserve my indignation and outrage for the day it does actually happen.

    Comment by Redbaiter — December 6, 2015 @ 9:07 am

  44. You getting soft RB.

    Comment by Lee Clark — December 6, 2015 @ 11:11 am

  45. I work in the mainstream media and you are correct in your observations. The people get the media they pay for and these days they are not paying a lot.

    Comment by Robert — December 6, 2015 @ 9:13 pm

  46. Herald reporting Collins back in Cabinet for Police and Corrections.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11557122

    Comment by @simongarlick — December 7, 2015 @ 12:16 pm

  47. Groser quits Parliament after 10 years, without ever meeting a voter.

    (*although he did do lots of campaigning, just not in our elections)

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — December 7, 2015 @ 4:25 pm

  48. Groser quits Parliament after 10 years, without ever meeting a voter.

    He was a terrific Minister for Climate Change. Really pushed hard and got our emissions up.

    Comment by Wurble — December 7, 2015 @ 7:19 pm

  49. “The appearance of Jacinda Ardern in the polls as preferred prime minister (at 4%) … It is the first time a non-party leader has rated so high…”

    Helen Clark on 7-9% throughout parts of Goff’s leadership (and not just in the earlier phase).

    Key on 8-9% towards end of Brash’s leadership.

    Mike Moore led Prime Minister Palmer throughout much of 1990, before toppling him.

    And, if I remember rightly, both Muldoon and Winnie were ahead of Bolger in the Preferred PMs when the latter was Opposition Leader (late 80s).

    Muldoon also topped PM Holyoake and Deputy PM Marshall in late 60s.

    Then, again, maybe you just meant this year.

    In which case, forget everything I just said.

    Comment by swordfish — December 7, 2015 @ 10:30 pm

  50. ‘Mediapocalypse’ – the ongoing collapse of serious journalism, viz: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Screen-Shot-2015-12-09-at-7.01.15-pm.png

    Is there any other democratic country in the world which has such a brazenly unconscious Putinesque media environment?

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 12, 2015 @ 11:16 am

  51. “Is there any other democratic country in the world which has such a brazenly unconscious Putinesque media environment?”

    Maybe Russia? Or is that not a democracy?

    Comment by izogi — December 12, 2015 @ 1:49 pm

  52. I wouldn’t really call Russia a democracy anymore. It’s more a gigantic gangster state which has elections for appearances sake.

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 12, 2015 @ 2:14 pm


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