TDB SPECIAL: 1 year out from 2017 election – Issues



With less than 10 months until the election, what will be the political issues and what will be the wild cards in 2017?


While National are still currently riding at unprecedented highs in the opinion polls, the shock resignation of John Key forces the question of how much of his popularity was National’s. While this question is being answered the Opposition finally senses a change and are now piling on more pressure. Can the Opposition remain focused and work together because that will become as big an issue in the voters minds as whether or not Bill English, Steven Joyce and Paula Bennett can keep National on track for a fourth term.

As the economic clouds of another global financial implosion build and interest rates are about to start hitting mortgagees in the pocket, voters will want to see a Government in waiting, not a splintered and fractured opposition.


Housing: I think that housing will continue to be a crisis in 2017. The speed with which National announce new social housing projects is matched by the speed of how many of those new social housing projects go belly up. The free market madness National have generated by opening the immigration and student/work visa floodgates to keep the property bubble growing can’t be switched off without damaging the Government’s fragile hold over the economy.

Immigration:Our false growth rate is bloated because of our vast unchecked immigration policy. Include the hundreds of thousands in the country using scam work/student visas and we have the perfect recipe for a backlash.

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The Neoliberal Welfare State: The surprise and anger that so many middle class voters who never ever have to use a social service feel at just how counter productive and damaging CYFs, WINZ, MoD, Probations, Corrections and Housing NZ actually are to the most vulnerable is only now gaining media attention. Expect this to explode when Auckland Action Against Poverty host their next beneficiary clinic in Auckland outside a WINZ office in 2017. This simmering fury by many beneficiaries at how they are treated by these supposed to help them has no political voice because Labour and the Greens are too frightened to anger the PSA, but the Maori Party and MANA Movement are perfectly placed to exploit that in a very populist way. Originally I thought TOP might be able to spark this populist revolt, but Gareth has had cold feet on a UBI so won’t be able to leverage that anger in a populist way.

Dirty Politics: Interestingly enough the first quarter of next year will be dominated by Colin Craig’s defamation action against John Stringer and Cameron Slater. No one was really punished for Dirty Politics and because many NZers personally liked Key, they didn’t demand any action on it, but now he’s gone, the appetite for someone to be held accountable for that will grow. Craig’s political future has been written off post the Jordan Williams defamation case, but seeing as the judge in that case has still not accepted the Jury verdict and could well over turn it, Colin could make the greatest come back since Jesus.


Of course nothing runs smoothly in politics and there are also outside events that can suddenly turn an election year on its head. Here are a few possibilities…


Global Economic Collapse: All eyes are on Trump, the UK pulling out of the EU, Italy and China. There is enough doubt and concern about the ramifications of the trillions that have been printed to avoid a meltdown in 2007-08 to suggest that any one thing could trigger a domino effect of collapses. The backwash would be extremely damaging to our economy.

Global Warming: While our politicians do bugger all actually prepare our societies for the massive changes facing us due to rapid climate change, the climate simply gets hotter and hotter. A series of weather events that are extremely damaging and can be connected directly to climate change will force voters to glimpse their future and it won’t be pretty.

Terror Attack: Another terrible mass killing like the September 11 attacks on a western nation will derail everything and change the entire debate.

Natural Disaster: Another huge earthquake or series of earthquakes could reset the political landscape.

Kim Dotcom Trial: The twists and turns of this are still on going.

Book coming out just before election: Imagine another political book bombshell coming out just before the election. Imagine if it was focused on John Key and the Panama Papers.




  1. “Book coming out just before election: Imagine another political book bombshell coming out just before the election. Imagine if it was focused on John Key and the Panama Papers.”

    Very interesting for people like us; equally unlikely to move the needle with the general public during the election campaign. I wish it weren’t so, but so it is.

    • Yes it would PATRICK, – as sure as shit sticks to a woollen blanket!!!

      So does the squeaky clean, God like image of John Key, begin to dull into a un-shinned brass button on a military grey coat I had to shine in the army.

      Then begins a cancer growing on the side of a doomed political party that placed it’s foundation on Key’s seemingly uncanny ability to be so popular.

      But when the shine comes off this so called “Teflon man” so will the doubts about the party come into question.

      As the saying goes, “Guilty by association” – remember?

  2. Economic growth and population growth are, by definition, unsustainable on a finite planet, and there are plenty of indicators that warn us both are about to stall, and then go into reverse.

    Global pollution, on the other hand, tends to be cumulative, and there of plenty of indicators that warn us pollution, especially atmospheric CO2, has passed a critical threshold.

    Therefore, expect present politicians attempting to hold onto their seats and candidates hoping to dislodge them to campaign on increased economic growth, population growth (large or not so large) and further conversion of fossil fuels into life-threatening CO2. This will be so because the entire system is insane, as are those who support it.

    • Worse still now is this,

      Scientists say they are concerned at the rate at which methane in the atmosphere is now rising.

      After a period of relative stagnation in the 2000s, the concentration of the gas has surged.

      Methane (CH4) is a smaller component than carbon dioxide (CO2) but drives a more potent greenhouse effect.

      Researchers warn that efforts to tackle climate change will be undermined unless CH4 is also brought under tighter control.

      “CO2 is still the dominant target for mitigation, for good reason. But we run the risk if we lose sight of methane of offsetting the gains we might make in bringing down levels of carbon dioxide,” said Robert Jackson from Stanford University, US.

      Prof Jackson was speaking ahead of this week’s American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco where methane trends will be a major point of discussion.

      With colleagues who are part of an initiative called the Global Carbon Project, he has also just authored an editorial in the journal Environmental Research Letters (ERL).

  3. No no no. Here’s what will matter (in my view.)

    1.Poverty in New Zealand. A New Zealand no one expected to see.
    What? Not as bad as Syria? Despair isn’t a competition. We can fix this if we choose to. Historically we always have. are we less compassionate that our parent or grandparents? (Probably we are, but this kind of rhetorical question will not elicit this answer from the complacent who look the other way in the face of long queues for Christmas largesse).

    The Nats are planning to proclaim a doctrine, through this new Ministry, that largely blames the victims. They say that children suffer because their parents are lazy, or addicted, or feckless, or mad, or violent, or all the above. They plan to identify the “at risk” kids before they are statistics. As if no one else need help. Ultimately cheaper, while pandering to the prejudice of their supporters.

    Research refutes this. (Ignore the Dunedin study’s determinist findings. Their sampling is long but narrow, statistically-speaking. The moment you try to identify any classification groups you are dealing with tiny numbers. Not enough for a meaningful conclusion. (It may indicate further study, but from reports they plan to use the tentative finding from this group of 1000 as definitive proof that targeting is appropriate). It is going to be used by the government to justify seizing individual children to prevent abuse before it happens. And thus create the very misery they are trying, wrong-headedly to avoid.) Poor parents are just as motivated to help their children as anyone else. They need to be supported, not judged. No wonder the Maori Party is so opposed.

    2.The second issue should be environmental. The plan to clean up our rivers as a top priority can animate heaps of people who cannot identify with urban misery.

    MMP says every single vote counts, whether in town or the country. In battleground States we saw that with Donald Trump. So it is a full court press on issues related to local population.

    3.Regional Development. Winston got that. Time the rest of us did.
    Regional tax inducements or relocation assistance for businesses to set up or shift has the double whammy of also helping the housing crisis.

    4.Health, wealth and wisdom for everyone. The big picture. For New Zealand to succeed we need EVERYONE. Not just minorities or workers or beneficiaries, or liberals or townies. EVERYONE. It’s time to get our hands out of our pockets and make a difference. We can’t get back to the kinder, gentler time David Lange once orated about, so let’s go forward to a better one. This doesn’t happen by itself. It happens because we dream it, then make it real.

    5.And, last but not least, a focus on our leaders to round them out as real people with 3-dimensional interests, understandings, sympathies and experiences. Smart, committed, communicative, generous, courageous. Be seen with all sorts of people in all sorts of situations. None of this may be in their wheelhouse. So it must become the very heart of their comfort zone. Without this last the rest tois likely sink with barely a ripple.

    (Note: tactically, to characterize Bill English’s efforts as back to the tin-eared failed leader of the nineties will eventually resonate with the Nats on condition that it is both pointed and relentless.)

    (For Paula, I suggest we patronize her like mad. (When she isn’t releasing private information in ad hominum attacks. This shows a nasty streak behind the bumbling incompetence). Suggesting she tries to keep up, but isn’t up to it, endlessly repeated should cover that one.)

  4. NZ has had a guts full of this lousy dictatorship government and next year they will be thrown out as the garbage they are for a cleaner more caring style of administration devoid of the deep corruption that now permeates this current lack lustre administration.

    So 2017 is the year of our salvation folks!

    I can feel it in my old bones!

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