More Reflections on the Election

Opinion by political commentator Rupert Pye

Politics in the outdoors and environment is nothing more than “cause and effect”. It cannot be avoided. Anti-firearm laws arise from intense lobbying by anti-firearm advocates (e.g. Philip Alpers).
Anti-wild animal policies (e.g. tahr extermination) arise from intense lobbying (and infiltration) by Forest and Bird. Water pollution and depleted ever flows (e.g. Canterbury’s Selwyn Fiver) arise from intense lobbying by corporate farming. Failure to deal with fisheries management is due to corporate pressures and influence on decisions made by government (e.g. donations to political parties).
So love it or hate politics, it is involved in all threats by vested interests based on greed for money or furthering irrational ideological beliefs. 
In short dear reader, you need to take an interest in politics.
So here’s a few things to ponder over the tsunami election result. You might disagree – that is fine. You may agree – fine too.
Presidential Style
The move to US presidential style elections, due to television in homes, enabled Jacinda Adern’s personality to shine.
Carefully groomed, she was a political glamour girl, much the same as John Key was seen by many as the likeable, smiling State House kid who made monetarily good. They mobbed Key when he was Prime Minister and Adern the same. Never mind that Key’s tag around parliament was “the smiling assassin.”
The cult of the celebrity is alive and well. 
It has nothing to do with policies, even the party. 
People just go nutty with selfies with the celebrity.
I can understand Adern’s charisma, but sorry National die hards, Key did not do it for me. He was a salesman, slick, articulate and swift to shrug off any problem or probing question. He got away with it.
I suspect deep analysis might show National’s current woes were first conceived during the Key years. Environmentally Key and Nick Smith’s legacy is tarnished with the disgraceful state takeover of Environment Canterbury (ECAN) and the unbridled expansion of corporate dairying to the death of water quality flowing rivers plus massive 1080 drops.
In 2020 National floundered in the election campaign, the aftermath of Key’s legacy and in the last six months, with the musical leadership chairs antics and disloyalty. 
On the other hand Labour’s marketing was slick and astute. 
Recipe for Defeat
In contrast, National’s PR was often absymal.  National’s in-fighting, leaks and attempted undermining of leader Judith Collins was a recipe for defeat. In my humble opinion Judith Collins, despite being thrown a “hospital pass” performed well.
But National in making  Gerry Brownlee deputy made a major mistake. The “obesity” debate consequently put National at a disadvantage with interviewers homing in on the overweight Christchurch MP. 
National needed someone new, young and invigorating as deputy. 
Well think of when Jacinda Adern as a political fledgling before the 2017 election, was thrown in the deep end. She proved an adept swimmer. Labour were bold back then and National needed to be bold in 2020.
Labour also had the PR sense to keep weaknesses in the shadows.
Chris Hipkins competently took over health from the injudicious, hapless David Clark. Labour wisely kept David Clark and other under-performers Phil Twyford, and Kelvin Davis out of the spotlight. 
National need to shed the old guard who had failed. 
Electorate Defeat Message
Gerry Brownlee and Nick Smith are to continue – a big mistake. 
Talk to Christchurch people and Brownlee has not a good image – hence his electorate defeat. Nick Smith, feisty, not infrequently ill tempered and seen as arrogant was probably the worst Environment Minister ever – hence his electorate defeat.
He derided the concerned at filing river quality and with loud evangelical  sermons championed more and more 1080 drops.
Both Brownlee and Smith should have quietly left singing the Frank Sinatra standard “Softly as I leave you.” 
The duo are “past their used by date”.
Perhaps National should replace deputy Brownlee with new comer, ex-Air NZ CEO Chris Luxon?
Brownlee and Smith, were rejected by their electorates and are only back in parliament by the back door via the party’s list. If they both stepped down,  younger MPs and competent MPs like the West Coast’s Maureen Pugh, currently sitting on a knife edge pending special votes, would be in National’s ranks. 
National’s big defeat means big, big pressure to reorganise. The party has to rebuild from the ground up if it is to have any hope of being elected government again.
First step, jettison Gerry Brownlee and Nick Smith.
Where to for Labour?
Watch to see if Jacinda Adern and the astute Grant Robertson will merge with Greens, or will she offer James Shaw the Minister (outside of cabinet) for Climate Change?
Eugenie Sage
One problem during the government’s last term was enigmatical Minster of Conservation Eugenie Sage. She no doubt has a passion for the environment such as solving Canterbury’s severe water and river problem, but has irrational hatred tendencies about introduced species such as deer, tahr, chamois and trout. The tahr issue provoked demonstrations and justifiably so. 
I note in this morning’s paper DOC is sill blitzing the animals. The DOC exercise has little or no credible scientific justification but it is the methodology of living carcasses to rot and leaving kids motherless to die a slow death that is appalling.
Labour Needs
Labour should revisit its 2017 election promise to set up a credible inquiry into the corrupted sea fishing industry. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash reneged on that promise. Similarly Labour (and Adern) need to realise its panic-stricken undemocratic firearm law following the mosque massacre was a disaster. Don’t go down that track again. Instead Adern should be asking strident Police association president Chris Cahill, how did Australian Brenton Tarrant get granted a firearm licence.
Recreational sea fishing, hunting, shooting sports, trout fishing – the threats start with politics.
The rifle, rod and gun administrators and organisations need to shake up their political judgement. Fish and Game NZ ran a questionnaire to political parties but they did not ask all. Yet among minor parties the NZ Outdoors Party and New Conservatives had excellent environmental/outdoors policies.
The Council of Outdoor Recreational Associations (CORANZ) ran a questionnaire to all political parties. The top two were NZ Outdoors Party and New Conservatives. To their discredit, both National and Labour, despite given a reminder, did not reply said Andi Cockroft, CORANZ chairman.
Fish and Game NZ are not without its own internal hiccups akin to the National Party. 
But FGNZ owe it to its shareholders (fish and game licence holders) and to democracy to canvass all registered parties.
What do you, dear reader, think?
Care to comment.
Or will you walk away saying you don’t like politics?

© Political Donations are Corrupting Democracy

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16 Responses to More Reflections on the Election

  1. Nicholas Lorenz says:

    Reading Rupert Pye’s thoughts and the need to take an interest in politics nd vote, I am reminded of Abraham Lincoln who said “Elections belong to the people. It’s their decision. If they decide to turn their back on the fire and burn their behinds, then they will just have to sit on their blisters.”

  2. Joe Buchan says:

    I liked the cartoon. A major threat to democracy are corporations.The idea that each corporation can in its corporate action behave like a democratic citizen concerned for the environment and the world we live in is one of the great absurdities of today’s political scene. Governments are elected to serve the people, not corporations.

  3. Roger Dewhurst says:

    The low IQ elect the low IQ to represent them.

  4. Roger Dewhurst says:


  5. Theo Dixon says:

    The best argument against democracy is a five minute conversation with the average voter said Winston Churchill. Rupert Pye is right, the fishing and shooting public cannot afford to be ignorant about politics. So take an interest chaps and speak out. Stand up and be counted.

  6. Roger Dewhurst says:

    A good article. I have never met Brownlee but I have come across Smith at a public meeting. Brownlee appears as fat and happy, and reasonably likeable. But if his electorate sees him in a different light, so be it. Smith, I have always considered to be a dangerous idiot. Comrade Jacinda milked both the Christchurch shooting and Covid 19 for votes. Her continued appearance on TV talking about Covid 19 kept her in the public eye to considerable political advantage. Do not forget that she is a Marxist below the skin. She is a fan of Trudeau and doubtless approves of what Trudeau proposes to do in Canada. Of that the reader should inform himself/herself. Basically it means exploitation of Covid 19, control of all movement, imprisonment of those not complying with the new rules, and eventual expropriation of all property.

    There has been no enquiry into why the police let Tarrant have a licence. I do not think that there will be one. One thing is abundantly apparent, the event provided and excuse to expropriate many of our guns and rifles. I do not think that we have seen the last of expropriation. Maybe .303 rifles and similar caliber and larger will be next. The Greens, being Marxists too, will back her in any move in that direction.

    Currently, on face value, there is little separating Labour and National. National will have to develop policies distinct from those of Labour. Covid 19, climate change, immigration and firearms law are obvious choices. Collins’ character does not endear her to many of her fellow MPs, or I suspect, many voters. She must go but I do not see an obvious replacement.

  7. Dave Richardson says:

    I like the cartoon but the money man should be a Chinese as that is who is buying the votes. Policies never cut it this election and voters never researched the truth.

  8. Frank Murphy says:

    Not sure who Roger Dewhurst is? but his views stereotyping all the Greens does not impress me.
    while I did not actually vote for the greens, as one who leans towards some of their policy’s, such as clean rivers etc I am amused at being called a Marxist.
    “”” I am at heart a right Bloody little capitalist. “”” You could check with your God Father, Tony Orman? Frank Murphy ( ex Motu now a townie. )

    • Roger Dewhurst says:

      Read some history. Find out how the marxist movement migrated to the USA and how it infiltrated the Green movement. Ask yourself why the creator of the Green movement left it. Ask yourself why they are widely known as the watermelons. Green on the outside but red on the inside. If they are truly green they would be anti 1080; but they are not. You might like to find out what Trudeau is upto in Canada. Who am I? Someone, heterosexual white male, who has been around for eight and half decades and held gun licences and permits of one sort or another for seven decades, in a number of countries and states.

  9. Charles Henry says:

    And at the first parliamentary debate by these clowns…

  10. Francis Abutilon says:

    I liked the comment about John Key, the articulate second hand car salesman. Government knighted him too. So much for knighthoods.
    ACT got a lot of firearm owners’ votes but it was a single issue. The rest of ACT free market policies will not be so palatable. For example foreign ownership of land, corporatism, fishing monopolised by corporate companies and more neo-liberal nonsense. I could not find in ACT’s policies anything to say it would get rid of 1080.
    However it is great COLFO’s Nicole McKee is in parliament as ACT’s number 3. She is a fine person and should make a good, sound voice for the outdoors and firearm owners.

  11. Roger Dewhurst says:

    I took particular note of this sentence:- “Adern should be asking strident Police association president Chris Cahill, how did Australian Brenton Tarrant get granted a firearm licence.”
    There are questions to be answered with question 4 a key one.
    1. Why no enquiry yet why the licencing protocol was aborted for Tarrant?
    2. Did someone instruct the police to abort the protocol?
    3. If that happened who so instructed the police?
    The public deserve answers.
    4. Have the police who aborted the protocol, been disciplined?

    • Roger Dewhurst says:

      If the police who aborted the licencing process for Tarrant have not been disciplined it is fair to assume that they acted under instructions. It is of considerable interest to find out who instructed them and why.

      We must not forget that the events of Dunblane, Port Arthur and Christchurch were all followed by much more restrictive firearm laws. Remember also that an Australian federal politician said in Parliament several months before Port Arthur “There will be no change in firearm laws until there is a massacre in Tasmania”. Someone apparently took those words seriously. I doubt that it was Martin Bryant with the IQ of a twelve year old.

  12. Willie Holm says:

    There were also two other major NZ First blunders:
    1. DoC’s thar cull
    2. DoC’s anti-whitebaiting legislation

    NZF failed miserably to even register a meaningful protest against these naked attacks against outdoor sportsmen. NZF fully deserves the political oblivion they have received.
    If you look at the electorates where most of ACT’s party-votes came from – Selwyn, Rangitata, Waitaki and Clutha-Southland. All major firearm-owning electorates. Seymour better not make the same mistakes as Winston and Co., and turn his back on us. He’s not as popular as he thinks he is. He should profoundly thank Nicole McKee for providing him with the bulk of his new MP’s .

  13. Joe Buchan says:

    Yes for me NZ First betrayed me. Promised much, delivered little except to their corporate fishing mates like Talleys. Good riddance

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