A storm about political lobbying has been brewing in New Zealand (and elsewhere) for a few years now, and now the Green Party are seeking to make some political gain from it – see: Patrick Gower’s TV3 report, Greens to unmask influence of lobbyists (video). In fact the Greens have been eyeing up the issue of lobbying for some time now, and unsurprisingly they are proposing strong state regulation of this activity. Such a campaign follows on very consistently and naturally from the Greens’ lead on pushing for greater state regulation of political finance and electioneering activity – a campaign that fed into the highly flawed Electoral Finance Act of 2007. Unfortunately we’re now likely to see the same forces and logic at work with the new focus on lobbying. While a debate about the role of lobbyists in the formation of public policy and democracy is a welcome and valuable activity, such a debate is unlikely to take a very nuanced and sophisticated view of the public policy process, but can instead be expected to be a populist and simplistic discussion that is firmly embedded in the current hegemony of ‘more state regulation of political activity’. After all, the Greens have largely inherited the mantle of New Zealand First in this area, campaigning against dark forces, conspiracies, big business, and often with strong xenophobic overtones. It’s interesting that the Greens even seem to have the support today of Whaleoil – see: Agreeing with the Greens on Scum Lobbyists. Hopefully, however, in such a debate we’ll be able to draw on some of lessons from the sometimes futile and sometimes ridiculous attempts to regulate in countries like Australia and Canada. As we saw with the EFA, kneejerk and populist arguments about clamping down on politics can have some disturbing practical impacts. And today, David Farrar asks some basic questions about the Greens’ proposed legislation – see: Lobbyists.
The Te Tai Tokerau by-election is now in full swing, and we’re seeing some interesting debate occurring, and some interesting opinion polls released. The latest poll purports to show that Harawira has 41% support against Labour’s Kelvin Davis’ 40% - see: Claire Trevett and Yvonne Tahana: Labour MP breathing down Hone’s neck. But Harawira has rightly challenged the poll result’s methodology, saying that the Native Affairs Baseline poll relies only on household landlines and is therefore significantly unreliable and biased in an electorate like Te Tai Tokerau. As the Horizon polling company points out, there are major groups of voters – particularly young and poor (the target group for Harawira) – who don’t have landlines:
Horizon Research shows 6.4% of New Zealanders 18+ do not have a landline telephone at home. This rises to 19.6% among 18 to 24 year-olds; 18.8% for those earning $100,000 to $200,000 a year and 12.5% for those earning less than $20,000 a year. 12.9% of business managers and executives no longer have a landline at home, along with 17.2% of students and 14.6% of labourers, agricultural or domestic workers. 13% of those flatting and boarding and 11.6% of one parent families have no landline at home.
Crucially – 3 times as many young voters are without landlines compared to the general population and for poorer households it is twice as many. The issue is well known but polling companies have great difficulty dealing with it because of the expenses of calling cellphones and the difficulty of obtaining numbers - particularly for surveys like this where they need to target a particular demographic and area.
Nonetheless, as David Farrar points out in his Stuff column, Is it high noon for Hone?, a crucial issue will be whether Maori Party supporters collapse their votes into either Harawira or Davis’ vote now that it’s essentially a two-horse race: ‘Now as it becomes apparent that Tipene can not win, it is very possible that much of his support will transfer to one of the two leading candidates. My view is that is more likely to be Kelvin Davis.’
Also, note today that Victoria University’s Institute of Policy Studies and Māori Studies have today launched a very interesting new website, Post Treaty Settlements website: www.posttreatysettlements.org.nz There seems to be a diverse range of interesting debate there. [Continue reading below for a full list of the highlights of NZ Politics Daily]
Below are the internet links to all the NZ politics material from the last 24 hours that are either informative, insightful, interesting or influential. This list and the links are taken from a fuller document, NZ Politics Daily, which is emailed out, Monday to Friday, to various researchers, academics, journalists, MPs and so forth. The document is purely for research purposes only, and if you would like to be on the subscription list, please email: email@example.com
Claire Trevett and Yvonne Tahana (NZH): Labour MP breathing down Hone’s neck
David Farrar (Stuff): Is it high noon for Hone?
Danya Levy (Stuff): Hone Harwira dismisses close poll result
Imperator Fish: Byelection going down to wire
The Dim-Post: McCarten’s last dance?
Joshua Hitchcock (Maori Law and Politics): Kelvin Davis To Win Te Tai Tokerau?
Hone Harawira (Te Karere TV): Blog
Kelvin Davis (Te Karere TV): Blog
Solomon Tipene (Te Karere TV): Blog
Patrick Gower (TV3): Greens to unmask influence of lobbyists
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Lobbyists
NZPA and NBR staff (NBR): Green’s bill would out political lobbyists
Chris Keall (NBR): Lobbyist explains his swipe card into parliament
No Right Turn: Policy for sale
The Standard: SkyCity shows need to clamp down on lobbyists
Whaleoil: Sky City, Sneaky Len and Phil Goff
NZPA and NBR staff (NBR): National admits Labour data breach – but denies passing names to Whaleoil
Danya Levy (Stuff): Right-wing blogger comes under attack from Labour
Katie Bradford-Crozier: PM brushes off Labour website accusations
Tracy Watkins (Stuff): Labour says database use breaches privacy
Phil Quin (New Tasman): It’s not even close: Flatt must resign over security breach
Cactus Kate: "Politically Motivated Attacks"
Whaleoil: Labour Leaks – Go to the Privacy Commissioner
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Labour and the Privacy Commissioner
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Labour’s 0/100 for security
The Standard: Blown up in National’s faces
The Dim Post: Let’s not
Robert Winter (Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow): More on Labour’s security breach: is data theft theft?
James Meager (mydeology): The power of the Whale
David Chaplin (NZH): 380 million debt tricks - see how they work
Bryan Gould: We’ll never be No 1 with a bullet
Terry Hall (Dom Post): Small investors may flock to shares in SOEs
The Standard: Contact: a model of lost Kiwi ownership
Bill Rosenberg (Dom Post): Debate continues over minimum wage
Editorial (Waikato Times): Let’s give work to Kiwis
Angela Beswick (TV3): Govt still committed to Chch rebuild – Key
Gordon Campbell (Scoop): On yesterday’s quakes in Christchurch
Corin Dann (TVNZ): Corin Dann: Why shaky Chch needs wealthy farmers
John Hartevelt (Stuff): Questions over quake insurance cover
Chris Trotter (Press): Of dragons and taniwha: time for respect
Claire Robinson (Spinprofessor): Anyone who thinks the Darren Hughes story is about sexual transgression is mistaken
Danya Levy (Dom Post): Turei, Bradford in row over Greens' coalition stance with National (not currently online)
Grant Miller (Manawatu Standard): Goff seen as too eager to moan
Colin James (ODT): John Key, modest constitutional innovator
Colin James (Management magazine): Indigenous rights are serious business
Andrea Vance (Stuff): PM ‘totally satisfied’ over son’s safety
Audrey Young (NZH): PM defends son’s King’s school
Shabnam Dastgheib (Dom Post): School denies gay pupil bringing boy to ball
Dom Post: Politics briefs – Tuesday, June 14
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Green Party targetting disenchanted Labour voters
VUW Institute of Policy Studies and Māori Studies: Post Treaty Settlements website launched today
Steven Cowan (Against the Current): Media stunt