The Privileges Committee vote

Well I’m pleased and grateful to admit that I was wrong and the Privileges Committee did find against Winston Peters.  I only saw a portion of the evidence and being a frog rather than lawyer obviously did not weight it properly.

It was disappointing to see that the committee voted along party lines.  It would be nice to think that our leaders could sit down with legal advice and weigh evidence impartially, but their vote suggests not.  It’s interesting though that the three parties that are politically disinterested in the outcome, United Future, the Maori Party and the Greens, all voted the same way and, in the end, seem to have been the deciding votes.  To me Russell Fairbrother’s defence to Radio New Zealand this morning of Labour’s bloc vote on the committee was a weak one – further implications that Owen Glenn was lying, but without anything to indicate that to be the case.

It does make me wonder weather the Team LPG fanboiz should really be getting so grumpy at Green supporters for not wanting to declare our undying love to Helen Clark and Labour. Because it seems from its recent behaviour that Labour has already found its preferred coalition partner, and it’s Winston Peters, come what may. But then I guess Labour doesn’t have so much to gain from a internet campaign for Team LNZF?

41 thoughts on “The Privileges Committee vote

  1. Eredwen says: What is it that he has to offer this country?

    Eredwen…what he offers this country is a firsthand knowledge of how the international “money game” is played.

    No matter how much we wish it was so, NZ is not isolated from, or immune to the effects of the international business market.

    Unless of course you have no mortgage, and grow all your own food.

    Helen Clark and her associated hangers-on have created an idealistic atmosphere in NZ, which is unfriendly toward productivity.

    NZ cannot afford it any longer.

    We desperately need someone who will create a new terrain that is business-friendly so that there is turnover which can fund the welfare state.

    That is pretty much the only reason for considering John Key.

    However, there is still a huge number of people who see value in him.

  2. Sapient wrote:

    “toad,
    dont forget that new zealand was once, apparenlty, the most left country in the world; but then again that was before my time, but then again so was douglas.”

    It is hard to remember that Douglas was once in the Labour Party!
    (That he was, is a good argument against FPP and its resultant “major party only” voting!)

    While “not strictly on topic”, a bit of a ramble through history …

    The Labour Party became important during the “Great Depression” many idealists and academics joined it at that time. My parents, both university educated teachers in full employment, who came from “conservative” backgrounds, saw the poverty and its effects on families (through no fault of their own) caused by that Depression. My parents both joined the Labour Party and remained as lifelong, active members. Many current members of the Labour Party are similar idealists. (The First Labour Government was elected in 1935.)

    I was born in 1941, a month before “Pearl Harbour”. We lived in a new State House. In our street there were several Academics … one later became a Professor of English, another Principal of the then “Teachers’ College” … and various other professionals. State houses were part of the same idealism, in an “egalitarian” society.

    Then the “soldiers” etc came back from the horrors of WW2 and wanted “a better NZ” in which to bring up their kids …

    All of this is the time of the Labour Governments. I remember it a good time.

    The time of so called “INDIVIDUAL responsiblility”, inequality, and “wealth creation” etc came later when the strong lessons of the Depression and War had been forgotten by many.

    (Could someone please explain to me why we should admire a person (like John Keys for example) who amasses a fortune by buying and reselling “at the right price” … ie shifting money (created by other people’s ideas and efforts) to make a quick profit …

    What is it that he has to offer this country?

    As a contrast, we could look at the successful countries of Europe (for example) which have a strong “socialist” base … of medical care, pensions, etc etc (Don’t forget what these countries experienced, during and after war, in living memory) …

    Our MMP came from the Germans who set up a voting system to ensure that another Hitler could not rise again (Compare these with the so called “individual responsibility” attitudes of the USA at this current time … and what is happening there right now! …and they still have FPP voting, and … very doubtful “voting machines” …)

  3. timellis suggested that at The Standard

    Yet miraculously, all of the writers–with the exception of Lynn Prentice, declare their political affiliation as Green.

    That isn’t correct. There are about 12 regular contributors and probably another 8 who write occasional pieces. There are maybe three regular writers who have said that they would probably vote green.

    That is not the same as saying that their political affliation is Green. It is likely that they aren’t members of any party, and tend to move across the broad left and green areas of thought. Most people do on the left/green support base.

    For instance despite my strong affliation to Labour, I tend to support a large number of Green positions both inside the party and outside. Having done an Earth Sciences degree and continued on my reading over the last 30 years makes it clear that there are issues that need to be addressed.

    At The Standard, we aren’t concerned about what parties people are associated with, or who they vote for, or why they believe what they do. We’re interested in if they can write clearly, have an opinion, and share a general belief on progressive labour movement politics. In a lot of ways their defining characteristic is a dislike of conservative thinking.

  4. # eredwen Says:
    September 23rd, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    > In the last election, …Tactical voters, who would have given their Party Votes to Green, gave them to Labour instead, to ensure a Left-of-Centre occupation of the Treasury Benches.

    > The Green Party remains vulnerable to this type of decision.

    That usually doesn’t make sense under MMP as long as the Greens are safely over 5% of the vote. The only reason it did last time is because NZ First said they would support a government led by the party that got the most votes. That may not apply this time because (1) they might not be silly enough to do it again (it lost them votes too), (2) they may well not get back into parliament, and (3) Voters are aware that John Key might keep his promise of refusing to work with NZ First.

  5. BB, that is pure nasty. You an I have both discussed sharing a beer, despite our political differences, over a conversation about cricket.

    Now I am not so sure, becasue yours is a particularly vicious post based on no evidence. Winston Peters and John Key have been exposed for their corrupt practices – based on the evidence.

    But now you choose to tarnish another politician who is not of your political persuasion with the same brush, but cite nothing as evidence.

    If you have some, front up.

  6. Sue has said she would rather be dead than in a coalition with National. Well, sitting on the opposition benches, you may as well be dead. Try getting Green policy passed from there.

    That is an excellent point, Pat2. If National does win the election (which looks very likely), the Greens will have no influence on government policy post-election if they commit to sewing themselves to Labour at the hip prior to the election.

  7. Toad; you asked what we thought of your post.

    “But the difficulties I have with your approach that the Greens should just progress environmental policy and ignore social policy in negotiations are:

    1) It would be unprincipled and undemocratic, because Green policy is developed by the Green Party’s membership, rather than its leadership, and the membership expects some gains in social policy from a Green Party in Government.

    I guess what you are saying is that your current approach is one which reflects the feelings (democratically) of current membership. That is admirable in some ways.

    However, it came as a surprise to me to realise (after some months trolling these blogs) quite what that focus of the current membership was, as opposed to the specifically green approach I expected to find.

    I realise now I have no right to criticise the green party’s choice of policies, but I do have every right to express my disappointment at not having found the focus I expected.

    Although the CURRENT membership is being democratically represented, a much larger potential membership is not being represented by what they expected a “Green” party would have focused on.

    Who do you think should bear the cost of the economic restructuring necessary to address the massive environmental crises we face?

    Good question: I don’t see it as the huge restructure that others do.

    The biggest hurdle is not cost…it is education. If your arguments are convincing, the citizenry will make a choice to move toward them.

    The biggest criticism against Rogernomics was the pace of change.

    The same criticism will be labelled against environmentalists unless they choose a more glacial approach.

    Here are some policies that don’t involve huge and costly restructuring:

    Tax reductions for farmers who pollute less.
    Tax reductions for homeowners who install solar water panels
    Tax reductions for drivers of smaller cars…or…increased taxes on 4wds.
    etc etc etc

    These sort of things can be seen as a sort of miniature ETS, yet don’t have the elements of compulsion/destruction that the ETS will have.

    Generally, people will welcome small, incremental changes. They feel good about buying energy saving lightbulbs, but bad about the compulsion to get rid of incandescents. Softly softly is the way to go.

    A 50 year plan, not a 10 year plan.

    Some elements of compulsion are obviously still required, especially for heavy polluters, but again, a holistic approach, and a patient one, is the way to go. No point shutting down our farms because the cows fart.

    However, on the other hand, we DO have to force them to stop polluting our waterways. (Maybe a 30 year plan for this…not a 50 year plan)

  8. Well done Russell Norman.

    It is time for the Greens to unhitch themselves from Labour, and campaign as a completely independent party. At this point voters only hear the Greens talked about in the same breath as Labour.

    Sue has said she would rather be dead than in a coalition with National. Well, sitting on the opposition benches, you may as well be dead. Try getting Green policy passed from there.

    Russell has given the Greens a wonderful platform to present a fresh face to the electorate. Don’t squander the opportunity by consigning the Greens to one post-election option.

  9. Toad said:
    “Who do you think should bear the cost of the economic restructuring necessary to address the massive environmental crises we face?
    Those Roger Douglas decided should last time we had major economic restucturing, or those who can better afford it?”

    Like I said, we state that we’ll work with the party that best supports Green Policy in post-election negotiations. All things being equal, if the two majors were offering much the same re support for our environmental goals, we would go with party that also better meets our social goals — in the current climate of National desperately trying to claim the centre, that could realistically be either major party — and if we’ve got 15% of the vote we can see which major bends over the most to be in power (with us).

  10. toad,
    dont forget that new zealand was once, apparenly, the most left country in the world; but then again that was before my time, but then again so was douglas.

  11. I don’t think Maori are as poor a fit as they most certainly were with the Nats – I base this purely on what may or may not be media hype about ‘a growing Maori middle class’ though. I mostly have no idea what they stand for, but as a sometimes visitor to Bryce Edwards’ site, indeed it seems possible that the party could go with National – whether they actually represent ‘average’ Maori or not is way beyond me.

  12. StephenR said: …and maaaybe the Maori party, depending on what happens to the Maori seats…

    That may well depend on what they do after the next election. Supporting the National Party, which seems an increasing possibility from Maori Party statements, could be the death knell for them. Maori electoral support for National has been minimal ever since Maori got to vote.

    For the sake of the Maori Party, who I would like to succeed as I agree with the majority of their principles, I hope that they get one hell of a good deal if they do choose to support National. Otherwise they may not survive.

    Same goes for the Greens, BTW!

  13. Um, greengeek (and dickealy & big bro), what do you have to say in response to my post above?

    Who do you think should bear the cost of the economic restructuring necessary to address the massive environmental crises we face?

    Those Roger Douglas decided should last time we had major economic restucturing, or those who can better afford it?

    Most of the things that are described by big bro as “commo”, like a universal child beenfit, universal student allowances, benefit levels that people can afford to live on, wages at a level that allow a family to survive on one income) fell within the overall societal consensus of moderate social democracy until the Douglas revolution of the late 1980s and its increments under Richardson in the early 1990s.

  14. re: your first para timellis, I feel the same – I would add ACT though. It may take a decade or two, but I think it’s possible that eventually there will only be four parties – three with national constituencies (Labour, Nats, Green) and maaaybe the Maori party, depending on what happens to the Maori seats.

  15. dickealy Says:
    I just want increased public transport, clean waterways, clean energy, lower business tax/taxing dirty business…. more farmers markets, community gardening, open source software, public access to public space, waste minimisation… I couldn’t care less if that comes from a coalition with the left or the right. We need to go beyond this default anti-nat stance, let the two majors fight for the centre, and then let them both fight for our 15% support.

    I believe you are not alone. So many of us wish we could see such a focus from the Green Party, but stumble at the hurdle of other green party policies.

    BB expressed a similar feeling:

    I was well impressed by Russ in the house today…
    Sometimes he comes across as a bloke that I really do want to like.
    Its just the commo stuff that stops me.

    Congratulations Russ on showing a non-partisan approach.

  16. timellis said: the only way that the Greens can positively influence any and every government over the next twenty years, is to define clear environmental-based priorities (as opposed to social ones), and set out that the Greens will go into an honest negotiation with both Labour and National…

    Tim, one of my real-life roles, when I can tear myself away from the blogs, is as a Green Party strategist.

    And what you are suggesting is the position the Greens have taken so far, and we will indicate a Party or Parties we would prefer to negotiate with closer to the election when all policy and programme is revealed.

    But the difficulties I have with your approach that the Greens should just progress environmental policy and ignore social policy in negotiations are:

    1) It would be unprincipled and undemocratic, because Green policy is developed by the Green Party’s membership, rather than its leadership, and the membership expects some gains in social policy from a Green Party in Government.

    2) It would be unfair. We went through the experience under Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson as Finance Ministers of the cost of some much-needed economic restructuring (and some of it was ideologically driven, rather than needed imo) being borne by those in society who had the least capacity to bear that cost. Addressing climate change and peak oil will require economic restructuring of at least as great a magnitude as that. The majority of the costs of that restructuring should be borne by those best resourced to pay, not those least resourced to do so.

    In that regard, given what I have seen of National’s Employment Relations and Welfare policies to date, National will imo have quite a lot more dead rats to swallow post-election to get Green Party support to govern than Labour will.

    But nothing is ruled out at this stage.

  17. Toad,

    Those are interesting reflections.

    unlike NZFirst (and United Future for that matter) the Greens are a Party based on principles.

    Another major defining difference is that NZ First is a personality cult (and to that extent Peter Dunne’s party is a cult of non-personality). So too was Jim Anderton’s Party. The Greens most certainly are not. They should survive beyond Jeanette’s retirement. The same can’t be said of any of the other small parties in Parliament.

    We don’t just seek the baubles of office, but want to go into a Government only if we can make a real difference by getting substantial amounts of our policy programme implemented.

    This is a very reasonable and admirable goal. But there is a difference between getting ministerial posts and supporting a government. The Greens do support Labour on confidence and supply. As today’s vote on the Privileges Committee has shown, without the Greens the Government doesn’t have a majority.

    The Greens currently support this government. It begs the question: what are you getting in return, that Labour wouldn’t have done anyway? The ETS is a classic example. Labour were intent on passing it anyway. The Greens agonised over whether to support it. Just days before they were due to vote on it, the Greens went to the country on a consultation strategy. That was a Clayton’s consultation by any measure.

    The Greens didn’t receive any big, tangible changes. They ended up being bullied by Labour, succumbing to the threat that Labour would cannibalise the Greens’ vote at the election by making the ETS an election issue. The outcome of that is that the Greens didn’t want to make including agriculture and transport an election issue. I’m not alone in thinking that approach was cowardly, and that the consultation process was a sham.

    I agree that the Greens have been influential in this Parliament. Sadly, few of them are in the bedrock environmental area that the Greens should be championing.

    I suggest to you that if the biggest achievement that the Greens will be remembered for in this Parliament is an amendment to Section 59, and its biggest failure was its inability to dramatically convince Labour to introduce an ETS that would make a big difference, then the Greens have failed, and price that the Greens have paid for blindly supporting Labour has been too high.

    My view is that the only way that the Greens can positively influence any and every government over the next twenty years, is to define clear environmental-based priorities (as opposed to social ones), and set out that the Greens will go into an honest negotiation with both Labour and National, and only provide confidence and supply to whichever one of Labour or National that makes significant progress towards those environmental policy priorities.

    In my view, if the Greens did that they would cease being taken for granted by Labour. They would achieve real environmental progress and have influence and relevance in governments of any colour. They would attract support from both Labour and National.

    Until the Greens do that then I don’t think they’ve got any hope of becoming even semi-relevant on the political spectrum, let alone a “major party, one day competing with Labour and National”.

  18. I was well impressed by Russ in the house today, even when he was being attacked (sledged as we say in cricket) by the convicted liar Winston Peters he gave a damn good speech.

    Sometimes he comes across as a bloke that I really do want to like.

    Its just the commo stuff that stops me.

  19. timellis said: Compare this to the Greens, who have never had anything like the influence that NZ First has had.

    Tim, unlike NZFirst (and United Future for that matter) the Greens are a Party based on principles. We don’t just seek the baubles of office, but want to go into a Government only if we can make a real difference by getting substantial amounts of our policy programme implemented.

    Unlike NZF and UF, who are hangers on content to remain minor parties and get the occasional Ministerial portfolio that means little in policy terms, the Greens aspire to being a major party, one day competing with Labour and National to be the party to lead a government.

    And although I’m probably not objective in this, I think the Greens have got more Green policy implemented staying out of government over the last 9 years than NZF and UF have of theirs from sometimes being in government.

  20. One aspect of this, is the well meaning voters who vote for the Green Candidate and then give their Party Vote elsewhere.

    I am somewhat concerned that this will happen again in the 2008 Election, especially because we now have a Candidates in every Electorate.

    Yes, we are saying “don’t vote for me” but “Party Vote Green”.
    However, a considerable number of voters don’t “put their brains into gear” before they actually get inside that Polling Booth. Then they panic and vote “the wrong way around” from the Green point of view.

    I worked as the Green’s scruitineer in the last election and at that booth, the Green Candidate Vote was almost double the Green Party Vote
    … all those well meaning but wasted votes … (sigh!)

  21. In the last election, the Greens did not get enough votes to have the seats needed for the position of influence that we would have liked.

    Tactical voters, who would have given their Party Votes to Green, gave them to Labour instead, to ensure a Left-of-Centre occupation of the Treasury Benches.

    The Green Party remains vulnerable to this type of decision.

  22. I’d say Dunne and Peters refusing to do an arrangement with Labour if the Greens were involved might have something to do with it too…

    That is a good point Stephen, although I doubt that the Greens and NZ First would have had this negotiating power if the Greens hadn’t already locked themselves into Labour.

    NZ First has been in a unique position to have negotiated coalition agreements with both Labour and National. Each time they held the bigger party’s feet to the fire to get concessions for their members. Compare this to the Greens, who have never had anything like the influence that NZ First has had.

    The Maori Party no doubt have learned from this experience.

  23. “To my mind, the very reason for the Greens’ lack of influence, and Labour’s disdain for them, is that they insist on rolling over before an election, refuse to make environmental concerns as their negotiating bottom-line, and trade away all negotiating power by locking themselves into an arrangement with Labour.”

    I’d say Dunne and Peters refusing to do an arrangement with Labour if the Greens were involved might have something to do with it too…

  24. “While I’d like to see some of the social policy supported down the track, I wouldn’t necessarily want to see it in there as bottom line election negotiation policy — those policies, tactically, should focus on the environment, something we’re all worried about.”

    dickealy, this is the crux of the issue, of course. Would you deprioritise other issues to the point of supporting a govt whose goal is to actively work to their detriment? The Greens get accused of propping up Labour (even though they don’t) for doing things we don’t like. How should we then approach a National govt that past experience says would be far worse?

  25. I congratulate the Greens on showing some spine.

    I do find it interesting that Labour has gone to such lengths to protect Winston Peters. I suspect they have done it because they see NZ First as adding new vote to the mix–socially conservative, economic nationalist, illiberal votes that Labour would not have otherwise received.

    On the other side, the Greens are socially liberal voters that the Labour Party sees as rightfully their own. I suspect that has a lot to do with the disdain with which the Labour Party has treated the Greens over the last nine years. The Labour Party doesn’t want the Greens to exist long-term. If Labour failed to win government this election, they would want nothing better than to cannibalise the Green vote, as National has cannibalised its support parties.

    Labour sees the Greens as a thorn in their side. They see the Greens as taking a moral high ground on issues that they would like to claim as their own.

    Coupled with this has been an historical tendency by the Greens to allow themselves to be treated disrespectfully by the Labour Party. Despite the spin from the Greens’ leadership, the Greens didn’t hold the Labour Party’s feet to the fire over the ETS. They got minimal concessions. The Greens haven’t been able to effect a significant improvement in environmental outcomes under this Labour government.

    To my mind, the very reason for the Greens’ lack of influence, and Labour’s disdain for them, is that they insist on rolling over before an election, refuse to make environmental concerns as their negotiating bottom-line, and trade away all negotiating power by locking themselves into an arrangement with Labour.

    Frog, I especially enjoyed this comment:

    It does make me wonder weather the Team LPG fanboiz should really be getting so grumpy at Green supporters for not wanting to declare our undying love to Helen Clark and Labour. Because it seems from its recent behaviour that Labour has already found its preferred coalition partner, and it’s Winston Peters, come what may. But then I guess Labour doesn’t have so much to gain from a internet campaign for Team LNZF?

    This is one of the most prescient things I have seen on this issue. I have noticed that many of the people online who happily give up principle to defend Winston Peters–probably the most illiberal politician New Zealand has had in the last fifty years–are the very people who claim to be Green voters. The Standard’s attack lines mirror precisely the attack lines of the Labour Party. Yet miraculously, all of the writers–with the exception of Lynn Prentice, declare their political affiliation as Green.

    In my view, this is a deliberate attempt to hijack the Green brand. The real Greens don’t stand for cynical political manipulation over principle. Both the Standard and 08wire would like to present, for campaigning purposes, a happy and dynamic marriage between Labour and the Greens–but this is a Labour Party inspired plan to mix with the cool people.

    On the one hand, Labour activists are personally embarrassed by the thought of coalescing with Winston Peters, but are compelled to defend it. They present an illusion of an alliance of the Greens, while behaving without any principle in attacking core constitutional arrangements–such as the Privileges Committee and the independence of the SFO–to protect somebody who more clearly represents the antithesis of Green Party values than any other person in New Zealand political history.

    If I were a Green strategist, I would be standing up for principle, and saying: “Our bottom line in coalition negotiations are advancing these core environmental priorities. We will support either National or Labour if they advance them. National voters and Labour voters who care about these environmental and liberal values should vote Green to achieve them.”

    It will take a lot of backbone to do that, but in the process the Greens could become a genuine centre movement, rather than a far-left one, make genuine environmental progress, and ensure that neither political party has to deal with Winston Peters again.

  26. The result proves that the PM was right when she said that some parties entered into this inquiry with their minds made up.

    Those parties were Labour and NZF.

  27. The PM’s claim that the committee voted on party lines seems incredible unless she was talking about Labour and NZ First.

    After all, the yes vote came from five parties who represent widely different interests and views. Green, United Future, Act, National, and Maori. (Were there others as well?)

    They would hardly vote in unison on any other issue.

  28. StephenR, yeah, kinda why I bracketed environmental. While I’d like to see some of the social policy supported down the track, I wouldn’t necessarily want to see it in there as bottom line election negotiation policy — those policies, tactically, should focus on the environment, something we’re all worried about.

  29. dickealy, I agree with what you say there – “we should be saying that post-vote we will support the party that will best commit to our series of bottom line (environmental) policies”, but not all of the Greens’ bottom line policies are environmental policies! You yourself even mention “universal student allowances” and “open source software” in your last paragraph!

  30. As a minor aside, I completely agree with Tim’s comments in the 08wire post linked above: http://08wire.org/2008/09/17/a-grumble-directed-at-certain-greens/#comment-9869

    We should think very carefully about announcing alignment… I’m worried about saying which party (almost certainly expected to be Labour) the Greens will align with before the election. I’d say it could easily lose us at least 5-10% of the party vote by doing so. Instead we should be saying that post-vote we will support the party that will best commit to our series of bottom line (environmental) policies — then a vote for the Greens really is a vote for the Greens. And we’ll also have a much better chance of reaching the 15% of the vote that we should be getting, thereby putting us in a much stronger position to negotiate as we will have taken votes away from Labour AND National.

    Simply put, I’m suggesting we’ll lose 5-10% of the party vote if we announce an alignment with Labour (or National) before the election. Is that really what we want?

    I just want increased public transport, clean waterways, clean energy, lower business tax/taxing dirty business, universal student allowances, more farmers markets, community gardening, open source software, public access to public space, waste minimisation… I couldn’t care less if that comes from a coalition with the left or the right. We need to go beyond this default anti-nat stance, let the two majors fight for the centre, and then let them both fight for our 15% support.

  31. “It can always be spun both ways, but siding with Labour and NZF would have looked way more suspicious, no?”

    Mmyeah i’m talking about the ‘long game’ – peripheral to what happened here really – but would’ve thought the Greens would really be trying to nail Peters to the wall here, as he could be a concern at election time. Neither here nor there.

  32. A well done from me too.

    Labour is covered with shame both in the lead up to, during and after the committee’s dealings with Winston Peters.

    Be of interest the public reaction if (after parliament censure) Helen Clark ignores to committee findings and does nothing to remove Winston Peters from office.

    Which by the sounds of it she is going to do.

  33. “I would’ve thought the Greens would be politicaly interested in having Peters rotting in a jail cell in Guatemala, as it is preferable to the awkward situation of having to say whether or not they would go into a coalition/C & S with Labour if Winston was involved.”

    It can always be spun both ways, but siding with Labour and NZF would have looked way more suspicious, no?

  34. Thanks guys, we do appreciate your comments.

    “I’m always conflicted by you folks. Sometimes you act on with great principle. Other times you roll over and then pretend you acted with great principle.”

    I’m not trying to kick up another round of debate on this one, but want to say sincerely that from my experience, particularly the difficult decisions are always made on principle. I think the issue is often more about what the important principle at stake *is*. There is no better example than the EFA, where, believe me, Greens are not happy with the way things have gone, nor the process Labour followed leading up to passage of the bill. Some would like to have handled it very differently. But there are often conflicting issues at stake and hard decisions have to be made. After 2005, we did not think another election based on the old rules was tenable and still don’t. I’m not trying to convince you we’re right, only that we were following our beliefs on this one too, not pretending.

  35. Russ the muss!

    It’s interesting though that the three parties that are politically disinterested in the outcome…

    I would’ve thought the Greens would be politicaly interested in having Peters rotting in a jail cell in Guatemala, as it is preferable to the awkward situation of having to say whether or not they would go into a coalition/C & S with Labour if Winston was involved.

  36. Well done to the Greens indeed.

    I’m always conflicted by you folks. Sometimes you act on with great principle. Other times you roll over and then pretend you acted with great principle.

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