A New Zealand Policy Party?

A Problem with Policy

I believe there is a flaw in the New Zealand* political system with the slim range of policy that gets enacted. We end up with a dominant party in Parliament due to the major issues of the the electorate at election time and lose the input of the other parties.

On the face of it, possibly this doesn’t seem to be a bad thing. But what happens is that one or two issues cause the election of a party and/or the failure of another party’s representatives politically .

If you look at the 2014 General Election in New Zealand these both happened. The National Party won the election due to the failure of Labours leader politically and the economy being the prime concern of the electorate due to the Global Financial Crisis.

Nearly all the policies of Labour, Green, and New Zealand First were lost in a single day. Not the major policies. That was after all what New Zealand decided on. We chose Nationals economic policy over Labours. But nearly all the other policies were lost.

To show you what I mean (and I admit this isn’t the best issue as it is usually voted in a conscience vote) a survey done by Massey University in 2003 showed that 73% wanted assisted suicide legalised if it was performed by a doctor. Another in 2015 showed almost the same level of support yet because this is not a National Party policy the Prime Minister stated,“There is no chance of it being a Government bill,”.

This seems insane. On an issue that seven out of every ten people agree on the government of the day will not enact legislation? Why? Because National was not elected on the entirety of its policies. It was only elected for one or two of them.

The same point could be made using the legalisation of cannabis, or the TPPA to a lesser extent. Policies that New Zealanders want are not being enacted due to the other objectives of the government of the day.

A Solution

There seems to me to be a simple solution to this. We need a party that doesn’t create its own policy but instead allows New Zealanders to vote for each parties separate policies and then is bound to back them in Parliament.

This party would only be on the “List” and would not stand in the electorates. It would in no way represent its own political views but would instead exist to enable a wider range of publicly backed policy to be entered into law.

Some Problems and Possible Solutions

What would happen if the public voted for two policies that conflicted such as increase tourism and protect the environment?

I would suggest in this case that the party should vote for both. If they are economically nonviable then it would be the job of the Finance Minister to “veto any parliamentary bill which would have a significant impact on the government’s budget plans”.

What would happen if this supposed party held the balance of power?

OK, this would be an incredible achievement for a party that doesn’t even exist yet but, I would suggest that they not enter into any agreements with any other Party (such as confidence and supply). If the election results in a hung Parliament then it will have to be held again.

If the government enacted binding referendum then wouldn’t that have the same result?

Yes, in some ways it would. However, referendum are only held a few times a year and only where the government of the day has been forced to hold them. They are also very expensive.

How would this party get any votes?

There is a position both the major parties try to hold in New Zealand. The centre. This is actually part of the problem as because everybody moves to the centre on a few major issues to get votes they appear to do so in order get enough power to enact their non central policies. The true centre of New Zealand politics isn’t just one issue though. It is a wide range of views that cut across party lines.

Isn’t making MP’s in this party just vote for other parties policy wasting input into Parliament?

In one way yes. They would have no other input into legislation except supporting what the party members had voted for. However, as up to 51% of the elections total set of policies may be rejected by the current government. This would hopefully improve the situation.

To further improve participation I would suggest that MP’s in the party should be able to stand for only one electoral cycle and should be taken from the ranks of the young in proportion with ethnicity and sex. It would be a good training ground.

*Your usage of New Zealand throughout this proposition was insulting

Possibly. It is reader dependant and I vacillated on it for a while and then decided to call it it’s European name instead of Aotearoa. Personally I don’t think of it that way. To me it is a series of landscapes and people…with a fair amount of mud at this time of year.

Your Views

This is a possible suggestion and would rely on peoples support. There would need to me at least five hundred members of any such party before it could register with the Electoral Commission and that, if it ever happened, would be a long way off.

I would like to ask for your views though and start a discussion about it so if you have any input or questions please ask them in the comments below. If you would like to support such a party, and you are registered to vote or can be,  then please email and if there are enough people interested I will take it to the next stage. at the website we have set up to investigate the viability and possible effects of a policy party.

http://policyparty.nz/

Parliament House New Zealand

Image provided by Michal Klajban under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.

 

 

Internet Party

So, the Internet Party is back again. Well, not really back. It never really left, but after the drubbing it got in the last election it appears to be making serious progress once more.

And drubbing it was. Approaching the last election  the Internet party was the darling of the media but the shine started to go of it in the week leading up to the “Moment of Truth” and post that…..well, all the media concentrated on Kim Dotcoms failure to to provide a smoking gun instead of concentrating on the New Zealand government spying on it’s citizens and being complicit in the deaths of civilians in Iraq.

It was after the last election I joined the party. The day after in fact. It didn’t matter to me that the media was attacking it. It didn’t matter that the general population thought they looked like a bunch of idiots. What mattered was that they were right.

The GCSB was spying on New Zealanders. Why? Well, you tell me. There have been five so called terrorist attacks in New Zealand. The Huntly rail bridge bombing (1951), the Vietnam War protests (1969-70), the Wanganui Computer Centre bombing (1982), the Wellington Trades Hall bombing (1984) and the Rainbow Warrior bombing (1985).

There had been no attacks worthy of the label ‘terrorist’ in New Zealand for almost 30 years and yet now, in the interests of security, the GCSB is able to spy on New Zealanders legally. No charges for the illegal surveillance of at least 85 people during the period of 2003 to 2012. No comeback on the department or the Prime Minister (At that point the Minister Responsible for the GCSB) over lying to New Zealand people from 2012 till 2013 as he said that the agency, “isn’t and will never be wholesale spying on New Zealanders,”

But I rant…..

That was only one reason to vote for the Internet Party. Their support of Education and Health care. Their rejection of the TPPA (Ratified by our cabinet and now being resurrected by them) being forced through. One of the few parties that rejected the destruction of democracy after the Christchurch Earthquake. They had a host of decent policies from saving the Maui dolphin to updating the health system. Policies that were based on fact where possible, hope where needed, and aspiration where applicable.

And now they are back. Some policies have stayed, some have been updated. New policy has yet to be announced. Some policies appear to have been dropped. I hope, however, that they will continue to stand for what is right and true instead of what is politically feasible. We need to stop being #labnats and stand up for what we are, and what we want to be.

 

Vaccination

vaccination

At 7:56 am on the 17th of May 2016 RNZ reported on Concerns that people are being coerced into being vaccinated by the ‘No Forced Vaccines’ group. All well and fine, but shortly afterwards (8:54 am on 17 May 2016) there was a rebuttal interview with Nikki Turner of the Immunisation Advisory Centre. Still all well and fine, but then up popped a rebuttal of the rebuttal not on RNZ but instead on social media and Youtube where the spokesperson of the ‘No Forced Vaccines’ group showed evidence via a series of slides while the interview played over the top.

It is this rebuttal that this post is about. According to the slides she was misquoted, Nikki Turner either ignorantly or wilfully mislead the public, and everything she had said had a sound reasoned basis to it. It turns out that isn’t true. 75% of the references lead back to one website run by James Mercola. An American who is, in his own words, running “The World’s #1 Natural Health Website” and in the words of his critics “Mercola publishes daily risk-based attacks by heavily syndicated “news” blogs which are frequently afterwards tied to his choice “safe” product alternatives to possibly heal a ill or risk promoted in his explanation articles.”

Vaccination Video

And here is my ten cents on the videos slides.

I will list the slides on the video by time.

0:44 Vitamin C proven to cure over 30 major diseases
The slide is of the Natural News website. A blog that well…read the wiki entry. The “Vitamin C proven to cure over 30 major diseases” entry is based on the clinical papers of Dr Klenner which were published in between 1949 and 1970. The scientific consensus is that while vitamin C dificiency will harm a sick patient there appears to be no papers I can find that regard vitamin C as a cure for measles. However, vitamin A is used in the treatment of measles. Vitamin C isn’t toxic though so it probably won’t hurt to try, but you should probably read this first.

0:48 Vitamin C the miracle treatment that cured man on the brink of death
An unnamed website. So I have googled it and found that it is a mercola.com. A website and company run by James Mercola. He is also listed on Quackwatch.

1:10 Unnamed website
After a quick search it turns out to be the Mercola website again. See above.

1:20 Do you need to be afraid of measles?

1:22 This is not true. Katherine Smith did not talk about herbal medicine.
Yes she did. She recommended people see a Doctor or a Naturopath. A naturopath is,”a form of alternative medicine employing a wide array of “natural” modalities, including homoeopathy, herbalism, and acupuncture, as well as diet and lifestyle counselling.” She also identified herself as a herbalist and stated that she had looked into it professionally.

1:30 Unnamed website
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.

1:34 The voice of Nikki Turner of the Immunisation Advisory Centre

2:07 Measles vaccine more dangerous than measles itself
Another screenshot from the Mercola website. See 0:48. I would suggest you read this. Especially this bit,”But in endemic areas in sub-Saharan Africa, the measles case fatality ratio often ranges from 5%–10%.”

2:28 Unnamed website
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.

2:36 Studies show measles vax spreads virus
The website is The Healthy Economist, there are links to the studies at the bottom of the page. It also says this at the bottom of the page.

“The number of measles deaths declined from 7575 in 1920 (10,000 per year in many years in the 1910s) to an average of 432 each year from 1958-1962.17 The vaccine was introduced in 1963. Between 2005 and 2014, there have been no deaths from measles in the U.S. and 108 deaths from the MMR vaccine.”

Which would suggest the vaccine is far safer with 1.8 deaths per annum vs 432 in the unvaccinated population in America.

2:49 Measles vaccine likely caused the death of four infants in Nepal, say authorities.
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.

2:56 Twins die minutes after measles vaccination
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.

3:04 Unnamed website
Probably this page on a website that advises,”*The information we provide access to is not intended, nor designed to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease.” Further reading on the website founder can be found here.

3:30 Alert recently vaccinated in individuals can spread disease
I was unable to find this slide anywhere.

3:41 Measles vaccine undeniably linked to autism
Which is another Mercola website. See 0:48.

4:04 Most pro-vaxxers have never even looked at a vaccine package insert
Suggested reading.

4:08 CDC whistleblower statement
He has also released another statement,”I want to be absolutely clear that I believe vaccines have saved and continue to save countless lives. I would never suggest that any parent avoid vaccinating children of any race. Vaccines prevent serious diseases, and the risks associated with their administration are vastly outweighed by their individual and societal benefits.” and the paper has not been retracted. Full statement is on here (sorry, I can’t find the original) and a wider discussion is here.

4:41 unamed website
Mercola again. See 0:48.

5:08 Inflammatory staged vaccine photo

5:16 The voice of Nikki Turner of the Immunisation Advisory Centre

In conclusion

My impression of this rebuttal is not good. Basically it is repeats the views of four websites; Natural News (1 time), Mercola (9 times), Greenmedinfo(1 time) and The Healthy Home Economist (1 time). The views of Mercola are reapeated 9/12 times or 75% as proof that Katherine Smith’s assertions (rebutal as least) are correct. To quote wikipedia,”In 2005, 2006, and 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned Mercola and his company to stop making illegal claims regarding his products’ ability to detect, prevent, and treat disease.” Further referenced reading on Mercola can be found here and here.

I mean really. If you want to back your views, this is not the way to do it and Mercola.com is not the company you should be referencing. All the anti vaccination lobby, that is really what the ‘No Forced Vaccinations’ group is a front for, need to do is to use their funding (which they get a lot of) to do some actual scientific air tight studies and when the study is criticised to take that critique on board and do an even better study instead of being the mouth piece of a company that appears to prey on peoples fears in order to make money.


It took me a long time to write the above. About three hours for a 6 minute clip is too long. The last paragraph still holds true though and you can go here to see a crowd funded anti vaccination group proposal.

My submission on the TPPA

TPP countries

I am deeply concerned by the stance the government has taken during the negotiations of the TPPA. There have been multiple clear breaches of the OIA, even after the ombudsman made sure Tim Grosers office was aware of their legal requirements.

I am concerned about any loss of sovereignty of our government, either directly, or indirectly from this agreement. The reason for having a country is to have the ability for a group of people (ie; the country) to make rules for themselves. Any change in this circumstance should be put to a binding referendum at the very least.

We currently face an unforeseen and unprecedented outcome of the form of capitalism which forms the basis of this document. Namely the threats to our planet caused by ‘business’. That this agreement seeks to further embed the very trade which is wrecking large (and small) scale havoc on our planet is blind to say the least. It ignores science and limits our options of environmental improvement in the future.

I oppose the costs to consumers by copyright extension. The taking of free goods and creating artificial scarcity in order to make money from them serves no public good. It should be remembered that the original reason for copyright was to encourage the creation of new works, not to protect the resale price of old works or the rehashing of old works into a new format. Copyright, as it is used at the moment, takes our culture and then makes us pay for it in order to participate in it. This is wrong.

The TPPA also serves to further undermine what freedoms still exist on the internet. It should be a warning to the negotiators that they seek to monetise something that was created freely. It is akin to poisoning the river in order to sell us clean water. That we should be spied on for profit and control is also disgusting. Note that those who use their scale to invade the privacy of others fiercely protect their own networks and databases.

Although the TPPA has provisions to protect the Treaty of Waitangi(ToW) it will be impossible for it to do so. Those covered under the ToW are but a small portion of the country. It will be impossible to say, “Well, 90% of you have to do this but 10% don’t”. Remember that the governments position on ToW is subject to change over time. Fifty years ago it was not even recognised.

I object to the undermining of our democracy. One of the keystones of democracy is an informed public. The TPPA cements in secret tribunals and secret negotiations for business. This does not allow the public to be informed.

Currently (at the time of writing) there is a suppression order on the release of the Serco Report. The TPPA would extent this ability to suppress financially sensitive information and take the decision to suppress information outside the New Zealand justice system. This is unacceptable. I do not support the amount of suppression given by the New Zealand justice system currently (re: Mike Sabin) and allowing extending the ability of business to extend suppression orders is unacceptable.

I object to the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in the TPPA (and in fact all other treaties signed with ISDS provisions). The government of New Zealand exists to benefit the people of New Zealand and can only achieve that by having the ability to freely make decisions that benefit the people of New Zealand. The ISDS provisions in the TPPA inhibit this ability. This is unacceptable.

The TPPA will effect the price and/or availability to public health and medicines adversely as well as diminishing our ability to react to future changes in medical science. This is unacceptable.

Finally I object to the amount of power the TPPA cedes (or reinforces) in either power or influence to corporate entities. The political process should benefit the people of New Zealand and they should decide as an informed public. Not as informed by one, or a small group of entities, but informed as a well and broadly educated public. New Zealand is currently failing at this, in my opinion, and the TPPA will exaggerate this ignorance.