The Dim-Post

September 22, 2008

The Liberal Party

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 9:19 am
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DPF has a post up about the new ACT Law and order policy:

You read the story on ACT’s law and order policy and you get the impressions it is a policy to have more slogans. At first glance we have:

  • Will “turn back the clock”
  • zero tolerance for crime
  • a communities-first approach to policing
  • one law for all
  • harsh quick justice

None of which mean much to me.

ACT likes to pretend it is a classical liberal party but ‘turn back the clock’ does not seem like a very liberal sentiment. You’d also think a liberal party would be interested in some form of drug legalisation (‘get the dead hand of the state out of people’s private lives’) ect, but no such sentiment is to be found in the ACT law and order policy.

ACT leader Rodney Hide commented on David’s post

I am not an expert on law and order policy . . . That’s why I enlisted the help of Garth McVicar of Sensible Sentencing Trust and Peter Low from the Asian Anti-Crime Group. They have helped ACT a lot with policy.

Peter Low was last seen suggesting that he was going to pay triad gangs to protect Asians living in Auckland. Actually this does seem sort of in line with ACT party philosophy but the Sensible Sentencing Trust just seems like a plain old conservative ‘hang ‘em all’ outfit – they don’t seem remotely compatible with classical liberalism.

It’s always been the assumption that ACT would enter into a coalition with National in much the same way that Jim Anderton is a ‘coalition partner’ with Labour – but as ACT gets weirder it’s looking more like a liability than an asset.

UPDATE: As The Standard points out this raises questions about the independent status of the SST during the election campaign:

If Garrett is announced as fifth on ACT’s list then there need to be some serious questions asked about the connections between the SST and ACT and about the extent these “anti-crime” groups are involved in party political campaigning for ACT while refusing to register with the electoral commission.

September 16, 2008

No place to Hide

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 7:01 am
Tags: ,

Sky and Prime have launched a web site for their Campaign08 show. Colin Espiner blogs about it here

I went on the panel with Audrey Young from the Herald and Barry Soper from Newstalk/Prime, and we interviewed Rodney Hide with Bill Ralston chairing.

It went well, I think, and it was good to have some time to question a minor party leader on television. Hide gave a good account of himself, I thought, and seems to have grown more relaxed and confident this year. We quizzed him on his motives for becoming Winston Peters’ chief persecutor, and he was big enough to admit that it hadn’t hurt his profile – although of course Hide said that wasn’t the reason he was hounding the New Zealand First leader.

He batted away questions on Act’s 20-point plan and how it can possibly carve $5 billion from the public purse, and dealt effectively enough with why the party has a education voucher system that still allows school zoning (basically the reason is the house prices in Epsom would plunge if you removed zones).

But I thought Hide was a bit uncomfortable talking about Roger Douglas and what part he would play in a coalition government with National. John Key has ruled out having Douglas around his Cabinet table, alongside Winston Peters, who is also persona non grata.

Hide seems to think that Key will change his mind on Douglas, and welcome him into the fold. I’m not sure if he is deluded or just saying it to avoid upsetting his mentor, but I doubt Key would want to go back on his word on that one.

The video for the interview is on the web site. Its pretty good and hopefully the other party leaders will front up for the show.

In the midst of my despair about our major parties I occasionally consider voting for Hide; I disagree with his policies but he is the most effective opposition MP in the house. The Nats have been a bit more robust over the last term but for the first six years of the Labour government Hide was out there alone, the only one of about fifty opposition members who actually did any opposing. Needless to say I also admire his attacks on our former foreign minister.

However, some of Hide’s views are simply beyond the pale – his head in the sand approach to climate change (‘no such thing’) is unacceptable in a political leader who wants to be taken seriously.

But the deal-breaker for me is Sir Roger Douglas. What if Hide somehow gets enough seats to be able to broker a real deal with the Nats? Key will not have Douglas in his cabinet but that does not mean he would not be in a position to have real influence in setting economic policy.

The drones who attend ACT meetings greatly admire Douglas but the overwhelming majority of New Zealanders hate and fear him, with good reason. Putting him at number 3 on the party list might have been a hit with people who were going to support ACT anyway but it means I can’t even give Rodney Hide my protest vote.

August 27, 2008

PM sides with Peters over germ warfare allegations

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 9:08 pm
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Peters insists that his weaponised smallpox program is entirely for peaceful purposes

Mr Peters insists that his weaponised smallpox program is entirely for peaceful purposes

Prime Minister Helen Clark has confirmed she still has confidence in her Foreign Minister Winston Peters after revelations that the New Zealand First leader had developed his own biological warfare capability.

The explosive allegations were made during Parliamentary question time today by ACT leader Rodney Hide, who produced evidence of a vast and well funded program to develop cultures of deadly pathogens using recombinant DNA technology and animal-human disease hybrids.

The program is thought to include bubonic plague, smallpox, equine encephalitis and ‘ebolapox’ a en experimental hybrid of ebola and smallpox.

When questioned about the bioweapons program by National Leader John Key, Clark replied that she had discussed the issue with Mr Peters and had his assurance that his deadly arsenal of plagues was for peaceful, civilian purposes.

‘Mr Peters is a hard working and conscientious minister and I have complete confidence in him,’ Clark told the house. ‘I have faith in that member that he will use these weapons of our darkest nightmares in a safe and responsible manner.’

Mr Hide also produced documentation that he claimed linked Mr Peters with an organisation called ‘Kali Yuga’, a Hindu terrorist organisation devoted to the extermination of the human race. Kali Yuga are based out of the Indian holy city of Varanasi and are listed as a terrorist group by both the United Nations and the US State Department. The group believes that the annihilation of our race will bring about paradise on earth and is known to be intensely interested in obtaining both biological and nuclear weapons.

Mr Peters confirmed that Kali Yuga made several donations of $9995 to his 2005 Tauranga electorate campaign but denies that they are linked to his vast network of secret laboratories and doomsday plagues.

‘The Kali Yuga are passionate about the city of Tauranga and its future and that is why they supported New Zealand First,’ Peters told the house. ‘It is because they don’t want big business and the lazy, stupid media to sell the people of Tauranga down the river.’

‘Rodney Hide should be apologising to the Kali Yuga and not embarrass himself any further,’ Peters said.

Under standing orders Hide was prevented from presenting the Kali Yuga documents before the house. Peters also prevailed upon Speaker Margaret Wilson to prevent Hide from releasing documents he claimed were ‘critical to the survival of our race.’

‘These emails detail the New Zealand First plan to release the ebolapax virus into the general population,’ Hide said. ‘I seek leave to present these to the house so that the government can seal our borders and begin to evacuate all of our major urban centers.’

House speaker Margaret Wilson refused to allow Hide to present the documents after Peters pointed out that they contained numerous spelling and grammatical errors.

‘I note that the text of this doomsday plot consistently fails to use a possessive apostrophe,’ Wilson said. ‘And it uses an americanised spelling in which the letter ‘s’ is substituted for ‘z’. This is unacceptable and thus leave is not granted.’

Wilson instructed the officers of the house to confiscate Hides documentation and shred it and then burn the shreds.

Wilson called for the house to rise shortly afterwards, explaining that she felt she was coming down with a cold. ‘I’m sure it’s nothing,’ she told the house. ‘But you can’t be too sure. Also my skin feels kind of itchy.’

The house will continue to debate the matter tomorrow.

Animosity made ya speak what yo spoke

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 10:03 am
Tags: , ,

Can't we all just get along?

TV3 have posted the video of Speaker Margaret Wilson vs Rodney Hide yesterday; I don’t think the problem is that she’s partisan, so much as that she is still not capable of performing her job. She doesn’t think on her feet and is afraid of confrontation. She is intellectually intimidated by Cullen and Peters.

When conflicts do break out (mommy and daddy are fighting!) her instinct is to make them go away as quickly as possible – this will always benefit the government.

Of course she favors the Labour party and its coalition partners as well but I think her primary motivation is to avoid looking inadequate or foolish.

August 1, 2008

Hide & go seek

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 7:10 am
Tags: ,

ACT leader Rodney Hide has spent the week acting like an MP instead of a contestant on a bizarre reality TV show only he knows the rules to. Yesterday he cunningly contrived a way to ask Peter’s about his current crisis that tied in with his portfolio as minister of foreign affairs. From the Herald:

Mr Hide had sparked the exchange by asking how New Zealand could have any credibility advocating for openness and transparency in Pacific nations if Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr Peters “does not practise what he preaches here in New Zealand” by not explaining what happened to the money in the Spencer Trust.

It speaks volumes that National – who currently have a very large staff and 48 MPs to ACT’s 2 – weren’t able to make this connection and have effectively wasted the last two weeks trying to attack Helen Clark via Peters (and failing).

I suspect Hide had a little help himself though; yesterday he repeatedly tried to get Peters to answer questions about whether New Zealand First received donations from big business – something Peters has always denied in the past. The Dom-Post almost certainly has proof of corporate donations to Peters and they’re probably feeding Hide questions to try and trick the New Zealand First leader into misleading the house.

Unfortunately Peters is much smarter than everyone wishes he was and he’s not going to fall for such an obvious trap. He ain’t goin out like that.

At least Hide is trying though. I wonder if John Key is showing us a glimpse of what our new National government will be like? Super-cautiously ineffective could make for a slow three years.

July 20, 2008

Late November 2008

Filed under: media,Politics — danylmc @ 12:13 pm
Tags: , ,

INTERIOR. NIGHT. Ninth floor of the beehive, a DPMC meeting room. RODNEY HIDE and JOHN KEY are seated across the table from one another.

HIDE: ACT is the party of principle. We could not in good conscience support a National government unless it were willing to adopt at least some key ACT policies. Sir Roger Douglas MUST be made Minister of Finance, the National Party MUST introduce a school voucher system in the first budget. For us to concede anything less would be a betrayal of our voters and our own souls.

KEY: How does this sound? We give you nothing. You do everything we tell you to do and in return we’ll let you keep Epsom and won’t effortlessly destroy your party.

HIDE: Throw in another tray of those sugar-free muffins and you’ve got a deal!

There was a weird bolsheviks v mensheviks vibe to the Rodney Hide appearance on Agenda this morning. The two ‘commentators’ were National activist David Farrar and media village idiot Deborah Hill-Cone, both of whom are sympathetic to ACT ideology (if not the party itself). They grilled Hide aggressively over his failure to grow the party – much more so than any independent or left-wing analysts would have done.

Indeed, I almost felt sorry for Hide – then I remembered that his solution for how to organize an intensely complex modern nation-state is to simply dismantle the government. It disturbs me that even 0.5% of the population thinks this is a good idea.

And the fix appears to be in in regards to the Agenda book club, with the book on Jim Bolger being won by former Bolger staffer and Agenda commentator David Farrar! Highly suspicious!

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