On TV3’s ‘The Nation‘, host Lisa Owen set about discussing the Epsom-ACT-John Banks issue with Green candidate, Julie-Anne Genter; Labour candidate Michael Wood; ACT’s David Seymour, and a bag of flour standing in for National’s, Paul Goldsmith (the actual difference between the bag of flour and Goldsmith is still a matter for debate).
At first glance, Lisa Owen seemed hopelessly unable to extract straight answers from ACT’s David Seymour.
My mistake. She was allowing Seymour plenty of rope by which to hang himself, as he burbled on and on and on and… about how fricken marvelous he was, going from door to door. Evidently Seymour has knocked on 7,000 doors thus far? (Doesn’t he have a regular day job?)
The most illuminating aspect of the panel-discussion was that we gained insight into the three candidates.
Michael Wood – Labour
Probably a very nice guy but his Wikipedia entry has less content than a list of ingredients for vegemite.
Julie-Anne Genter – Greens
This woman oozes class, intellect, wit, and confidence. She ran rings around Seymour, giving Lisa Owen flanking support to handle the young ‘up-myself’ whippersnapper.
Ms Genter is the kind of politician New Zealand desperately needs – but doesn’t deserve.
Paul Goldsmith/Flour – National
Goldsmith refused to take part in the debate because, evidently, he was “out campaigning for the Party vote”.
Really? So appearing on a current affairs programme to promote your Party’s policies is not considered “campaigning”? Never mind. His stand-in – a bag of flour – made more sense than Goldsmith himself.
David Seymour – ACT
Unwilling/unable to answer a direct question.
Yelled over others who happened to be speaking.
Did not listen.
In short, a perfect Tory politician.
If this is what he’s like now – outside Parliament – what the devil will he be like as an actual MP?! Another Aaron Gilmore?
Listen to the panel yourself;
Listen at 3:01 into the interview. The big *sigh* you can hear, as Seymour drones onnnn and onnnn and onnnn, is probably Lisa Owen. If she’s thinking “My brain-cells are dying. God almighty, I don’t get paid enough to listen to this self-indulgent verbal diarrhea” – then I wholly sympathise. It was like listening to a blander, vanilla-version of Winston Peters. But at least Peters is entertaining. And often has a point to make.
Seymour could win Epsom outright by anaesthetising the entire electorate with one of his interminable, monotone speeches, and then winning with just one vote cast. His own. Cunning bunch, these Tories.
At 6:30, Seymour attempted to deflect attention from ACT and John Banks by referring to Green Party co-leader, Russell Norman’s meeting with Kim Dotcom. It was a pathetic attempt, and he was shot down when Julie Anne Genter pointed out the vain attempt at distraction. As she quite rightly pointed out, there is nothing illegal or untoward about elected representatives talking to New Zealand residents.
In fact, it is what MPs are paid to do.
Does Seymour plan not to talk with anyone should he be elected to Parliament? What kind of elected representative would that make him?
That attempt at evading the issue made Seymour look… dodgy. And god knows ACT has had plenty of dodgy characters within it’s ranks over the years.
At 7:50. Michael Wood refered to the dirty deal being done between National and ACT. At which point Wood brought out the bag of flour.
A bit tacky.
John Campbell did it with much more style last year when he used a cardboard cutout of Hekia Parata when the Minister (often) refused interviews;
But note Julie Anne Genter at 8:28. She all but took over as the host of the show by pointing out some salient facts about Paul Goldsmith’s strange absence.
Poor Seymour. His response was to try to “stay on message”as he burbled on about “low taxes and stable centre-right government”. He was hopelessly outclassed by a Green MP who has been battle-hardened in Parliament’s debating chamber since 2011.
His inexperience showed when he made a major faux pas at 8:55, stating,
“And they do not want their neighbourhoods intensified with eight story towers next to their homes…”
That was almost too easy, and again, Genter jumped in, highlighting the policy contradiction between Seymour’s ranting against “neighbourhoods intensified with eight story towers next to their homes” – and ACT’s new leader, Jamie Whyte, railing against the Resource Management Act;
“There are far too many powers currently being given to various times of groups and bureaucrats around the country to interfere with people and the use of their property.” – Jamie Whyte, 28 February 2014
“So we want to repeal the RMA and replace it with a law that addresses only real market failures, not fantastical injuries to Gaia or the sensitivities of people with no real interest in your land. It will be a very small law.” – Jamie Whyte, 1 March 2014
Perhaps Seymour hasn’t looked close enough at his own party’s policies – but allowing neighbourhoods to be intensified with multi-storey dwellings is precisely what would be allowed under ACT Party policy to do away with the RMA.
This ill-considered remark may come back to haunt him in the next three months of the election campaign. Epsom residents may be very interested to learn if ACT supports or rejects property rights when it comes to developing established urban land and neighbourhoods.
At 9:49, Lisa Owen asked the NZ$64,000 question;
“I’m wondering if National and ACT are going to buddy up, why don’t you guys [Labour and Greens] buddy up.”
“We’re running a principled campaign [shouted interuption by Seymour]… We’re running a principled campaign. We want this to be a straight out contest of ideas and of parties. But we have a situation in which the National Party and the ACT Party are manipulating the system. And of course Labour voters and Green voters in the electorate will think about their options as the campaign goes on [shouted interuption by Seymour]…”
Seymour attempted to deflect focus from the National-ACT Epsom deal by demanding to know from both Genter and Wood if they would be encouraging their supporters to vote for Paul Goldsmith, to lock out ACT from winning Epsom.
Genter attempted to remind Seymour that since 2002, the Green Party has always only campaigned for the Party Vote, not Electorate Votes. But Seymour was obviously not interested in listening and instead was more focused on deflecting focus from his own “arrangement” with National.
Wood responded with something less clear.
Several interesting points emerged from the panel discussion;
- Seymour is nowhere as clever as he thinks he is and Julie Anne Genter ran rings around the baby-faced Tory Toff.
- Who is Michael Wood?!
- Who makes better pancakes – an absent Paul Goldsmith or a bag of flour?
- No matter how much Labour tries to rise above “dirty deals” and “want this to be a straight out contest of ideas and of parties” – National/ACT will persist in tarring them with the same brush that has tarred Right as “dirty deal makers”.
With regards to #3 – it serves National/ACT’s purpose to throw as much mud around as possible – thereby increasing public cynicism and de-motivating voters to consider voting for a Left alternative. After all, what is the point of voters considering a Labour-led alternative if Labour, et al, are no different to the National-led bloc?
National does deal-making (whether one sees it as “dirty” or not) very well.
National wants to prevent similar deal-making between Labour; the Greens; and Mana-Internet.
National therefore has engaged in a covert strategy to paint all deal-making as dirty – even though they have no hesitation in doing it themselves in Epsom, Ohariu, and soon with the Conservatives. If the media questions this – they will deflect to Labour Greens, Mana, and the Internet Party doing the same thing. (Even though thus far only Mana-Internet have done any deals – two parties barely registering 2% between them in any given poll.)
National wants Labour to play by FPP rules – which certain Labour MPs have obliged (see: The secret of National’s success – revealed).
Meanwhile, National builds and supports deals with other parties as coalition partners for a post-2014 Third Term National-led government.
Meanwhile, the media focuses on perceived “dirty deals” by the Left, including Mana-Internet.
No wonder David Seymour kept banging on about alleged deal-making between the Greens and Labour in Epsom. That is the script he has been handed to read and speak.
The media dutifully oblige by repeating.
Just ask Patrick Gower.
Wikipedia: Michael Wood
TV3: The Nation
NZ Herald: Act wants Resource Management Act dumped
Previous related blogpost
The Daily Blog: The secret of National’s success – revealed
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes
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