On the campaign trail in Dunedin North with Victor Billot

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Archive for November 2008

How the dice fall

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Well, it has been a big few months. Last night’s result was a mixed one. It’s great news if you are a millionaire living in a gated community but bad news if you are a worker, student, or beneficiary.

An economic recession is on us, caused by the irresponsible actions of an unregulated global finance system, and we have elected one of these speculator parasites as our leader. Curious but true.

The result was no big surprise of course. Here’s my take on the parties:


Obviously a big deal in the middle class suburbs of Auckland but no one seemed to be celebrating in Dunedin. Key is as shallow as a bird bath and is a bad choice for Prime Minister. His background is based around self-interest and personal wealth accumulation, positive traits for a currency trader but not for a leader of a nation. They have benefited from a swing to the right, which brings us to  . . . 


The big surprise is Clark and Cullen packing it in. They neglected their core support, a party of the left has to rely on a sense of class identity amongst workers, and Labour were busy trying to dissolve this over the last nine years and appeal to middle class liberals.
The next stage will be blood letting as the careerists trample on each other to reposition themselves in a new Goff-led Liberal (Labour) Party.


A reasonable showing but their commitment to across the board income tax cuts and “resource taxes” indicate an essentially right wing approach to economics.
Jeanette and Russell always seemed to be saying we are not left or right, when I hear this I recall the old union saying “no politics is bosses politics.” 
The Greens have their place as an environmentalist niche party. However they cannot fill the need for a principled, democratic socialist party in New Zealand politics. 

New Zealand First, Jim Anderton Supporters Club, Peter Dunne, Douglas

Winston’s demise indicates the beginning of the end for his generation. Anderton and Dunne now look like men out of time, in the wrong century, and the return of Douglas is a freakish aberration that will harm ACT.
Minor parties based on personality cults have been the great weakness of MMP, but that is a poor reflection of our politics rather than our electoral system. In three years time, will any of these actors still be on the stage?

Maori Party

Politically all over the place, the Maori Party have entered a dangerous time as they position themselves to cut deals with the Nationalists. Could get ugly.

Where to from here?

The National Government in coalition with ACT will be forced to make a call on whether they reduce the tax cuts or honour their promise not to attack core social services. Of course as the recession starts to bite, they will return to form as the “bosses party” and protect the interests of the wealthy and powerful by simply reneging on their commitments as they did in the 1990s.

Those who suffer will be the most vulnerable – the young, the old, the working class in casual jobs, the ill, the poor.

The big question is whether this will result in a response of dazed acceptance and surrender, or whether the left can provide the leadership to focus and generate an alternative to the politics of greed and fear.

I believe we can and I look forward to being part of that movement.

More thoughts to follow!

Written by Victor

November 9, 2008 at 2:07 am

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Round up

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OK, that’s it. Remember to vote tomorrow. Remember to vote for the right people as well.

If you’re going to vote for the wrong people, don’t remember to vote. Stay at home and keep sleeping.

Written by Victor

November 7, 2008 at 3:32 am

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Octagon, Octagon, Octagon

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From 12 noon to 2pm tomorrow Friday 7 November (snowstorms depending), the Alliance will be in the Octagon handing out leaflets. Come down and say hi.

Unlike John Key, I promise I won’t call anyone an idiot, even if I disagree with them.

Written by Victor

November 6, 2008 at 7:05 am

Only Forty Miles to Saturday Night

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All Dunedin Alliance supporters and friends are invited to an election night get together at “Mojos” in Leith Street just off Albany St, from 6pm – midnight on Saturday 8 November election night.

We have not organized our own Alliance event this election – and instead are joining forces in a one off election night coalition get together on election night . . . Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Victor

November 5, 2008 at 11:57 pm

Back in two ticks

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I think this article from Alliance list candidate Sarah Campbell sums up the situation nicely.

Written by Victor

November 4, 2008 at 9:08 am

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Last stand at the OPOHO Corral

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Last night was the final election meeting in Dunedin and it went out with a bit of a bang at the always successful Opoho Church forum.

This is my last candidate review for the election season 2008 and to make a change from usual I will attempt to give each candidate credit for what I think is their strong suit.

In the interests of fairness I will not review myself, but comments are welcome.

Hilary Calvert (ACT): Hilary ended as she started with a reprise of her campaign themes and inimitable style. As always she began her speech telling the crowd they wouldn’t like what they were about to hear. My recommendation is a quick flick through “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie to fix this problem.
Once again the big themes were Government (hospitals, schools, roads etc) – it’s all bad – and students (they drink beer.)
To give her due, Hilary has been the most consistent of the candidates. No matter how unpopular, wild eyed or just plain wrong, Hilary sticks to the message. She is consistently opposed to any form of collective, social or community approach. For Hilary it’s down to the individual.

Mike Woodhouse (National): Mike has refined his patter over the campaign and has avoided problem areas for National (policy) in favour of winning hearts and minds by sheer bloody minded middle of the road blandness.
The whiff of ruling class paternalism comes through in his homilies about how he looks after “my staff” but in the main Mike has come to impressively embody the entire National Party campaign. Chameleon like, Mike is the reverse of Hilary, giving the audience what they want to hear and quickly figuring out which way the wind is blowing on any given occasion. Tonight he had some support in the form of Nick Smith MP and a pack of minders who turned up while in town. Shame they can’t vote in the local electorate.

Pete Hodgson (Labour): Pete has struggled to keep up with the form of old. The dry monotone rolls out pages of statistics, corrects audience members and occasionally bites back if contradicted. Sitting on a seven zillion vote majority, I suppose it is hard to get much enthusiasm up. However Pete is always ready with the data and plods away with scientific precision on any given topic, reducing the audience to a glazed silence in the process.

Metiria Turei (Greens): Metiria has given a strong performance in the campaign and managed to combine the social and ecological message in a way that is beyond most other Green MPs. However she continues to fudge economic questions by saying she is not an economist. I don’t accept this, any political figure in my view has to have a grasp of economic issues, and if they don’t have one, it’s time to get one.
At last tonight we managed to identify a core difference between Alliance and Greens. The Greens stand for resource taxes and the Alliance stands for progressive taxes. albeit with a small amount of crossover. In short this means the taxation system that pays for Green policies may be good for the environment but they will be bad for low income people.

Tonight’s debate was more lively than many with a better turnout. My impression about the campaign has been there is less energy and less interest from the public. Many meetings have been smaller than 2005 and the mood has been muted. Personally I think this is a bad sign for the Government, although this would probably have to be the worst time in fifteen years to be elected, given the financial outlook.

Mind you, it seems Dunedin with its left wing vibe is on a different track from our northern cousins. The Nationalists seem to have captured the wallets of the individualistic, self-obsessed middle class, and the polls may well reflect this. However, the incoming recession will soon create cracks in the current political-social scene and the next few years promises to be a very interesting time . . .

Written by Victor

November 2, 2008 at 5:58 pm

ACT Party caption competition

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Please send in your captions as to what the other candidates are thinking as ACT Party rep Hilary Calvert launches another random missile strike, this time attacking history students as the cause of society's ills. From left, Billot (Alliance) looks amused, Woodhouse (National) looks appalled at the prospect of being in coalition with Hilary, Turei (Greens) looks nauseous, and Hodgson (Labour) looks as if he has toothache.

Photo of the week

Send in your captions. What are the other candidates thinking as ACT Party rep Hilary Calvert sends another random missile attack flying and stuns an IPENZ forum with her claims that society’s ills are caused by too many history students drinking beer. Or something like that. 

From left, fellow candidate Billot (Alliance) looks skeptical, Woodhouse (National) looks appalled at the prospect of sitting around the same cabinet table as Hilary, Turei (Greens) looks nauseous, and Hodgson (Labour) looks as if he is sitting through a root canal without anaesthetic.

All of these responses are quite reasonable in the circumstances.

Written by Victor

November 1, 2008 at 4:16 am