A great few days for sexism in New Zealand

Team, I can’t.

But who needs feminism any more? Let’s just lean in, amirite?

If you haven’t been keeping a keen eye on the ongoing

I’m talking about this headline:


And the perpetual nudge-nudge joking tabloid tone taken in almost every headline about Colin Craig’s sexual harassment of a person who worked for him – “Colin Craig’s love poem!!! More love letters to press secretary revealed!!! Details of explicit text read in court!!!”

And then there was this (thank God once again for The Spinoff’s cutting snark):

Good news: The Chiefs scandal didn’t really even happen!!!

… There was an apparently rigorous investigation into the events of the evening conducted by the general counsel of New Zealand Rugby – a guy who loves his job and has been on the NZR team for over a decade. Which means that one branch of New Zealand Rugby investigated another branch of New Zealand Rugby and found that everything was basically okay.

This is a little bit like Colonel Sanders being put in change of an inquiry into the 11 secret herbs and spices and pronouncing them delicious. At a press conference today three blokes delivered the verdict: everything is fine, none of it really happened and wow isn’t fried chicken the best.

Look, ladies, it’s easy to stay out of trouble in New Zealand. Just don’t break up with men, don’t work for men, don’t call out men for assaulting you, and generally just don’t be in the vicinity of men. Especially if they’re someone you know, someone you loved, someone you worked for or a team of someones celebrated as the peak specimens of your country’s masculine prowess.

Now let’s all get back to overcoming sexism by asking for payrises. Or alternatively, listen to some good angry music.

[Content note: sexual violence]

It could be worth keeping an eye on the Conservatives

It might be nice to daydream about a world in which we never have to listen to Colin Craig opine about the promiscuity of Kiwi women or threatening The Civilian with legal action ever again. Unfortunately, as a nation which has suffered/triumphed in Winston Peters being on the political scene for nearly four decades, overcoming deathblow after deathblow, we may have to accept that he’ll be around for as long as he can keep funding a political machine.

Or not?

While everyone’s has been distracted by Winston’s big blue bus, the Lundy re-trial and our not-too-hot, not-too-cold deployment to Iraq, Andrea Vance has been keeping an eye on Colin. And it looks like things may not be going brilliantly for him:

Colin Craig insists his Conservative Party is not in turmoil, despite questions over his leadership and the expulsion of former MP Larry Baldock.

The party’s board met on Saturday and since then rumours have swirled about an attempt to roll Craig as leader and replace him with Napier candidate Garth McVicar, who quit the party after the general election last September.

Craig said he was not challenged and was unanimously reinstated as leader.

He was unaware a board member had asked McVicar to the meeting – an invitation that  was declined.

Craig said the speculation about his leadership was “intriguing”.

“I wonder who is trying to spread rumours,” he said.

Probably the person who’s thinking about rolling you, Colin. But who can say with an outfit as out there as the Conservatives? Maybe it’s all a grand plan to pique our interest by manufacturing some drama. Or maybe Garth McVicar, riding high on his successful campaign to split the rightwing vote in Napier and deliver the seat back to Labour, is using the Sensible Sentencing Trust as a decoy to hide his plans for parliamentary domination.

Three years is a long time in politics, and if the National Party keeps hitting roadblocks (Iraq, Sabin, Liu, etc) we may start to see more right-of-the-right voters looking for an alternative, and the Conservatives – who got 3.97% of the party vote compared to ACT’s 0.69% – may look like a viable alternative to them. The question is whether that’s with or without the man who got them that far.

Vote Key, get Colin

The latest Reid Research poll has the Conservatives a hair’s breadth away from being, officially, a necessary coalition partner if National wants a third term.

For a party which has been campaigning on a “let’s just keep skimming forward across a placid lake” narrative, this has to be seriously worrying for the Nats. The kinds of centrist voters who think John Key would be a nice bloke to have a beer with are not the kinds of people who want Christine “$235,000 for a management course” Rankin or Garth “abolish parole” McVicar at the table. And on 5%, they’ll also get Edward “young people commit suicide because we don’t smack them enough” Saafi.

Women voters, who received wisdom says John Key appeals to, aren’t going to be enamoured with Colin “Kiwi women are promiscuous” Craig. And when you think of a stable government, you probably don’t include parties whose leader’s press secretaries resign two days out from an election – without telling him.

Just today Bill English was comparing beneficiaries to cocaine addicts – so moderate voters can’t assume that National would be loath to lurch to the right if they had to. Right now, Key is doing his damnedest to distance himself from Colin and Friends, because he knows what a massive turn-off they are – but if it gets him three more years as PM, he’ll do it.

What kind of government would National lead?

The choice for NZ voters is becoming clearer in the last days of the 2014 election. The irony is that after John Key’s persistent scaremongering about the “five-headed monster” of the centre-left, the two most likely options we have are a three-headed coalition of natural allies versus a five-or-six headed hydra of extremists and sworn enemies.

David Cunliffe has signalled today that he only sees three parties around the Cabinet table in his government: Labour, the Greens, and NZ First. All three parties have a good number of policies set out, with obvious overlaps – there are clear differences of opinion, but coming to a mature compromise is a key part of how MMP is meant to work.

Meanwhile, John Key has been forced into opening the door to Colin Craig’s Conservative Party thanks to the abysmal polling of his preferred ally, ACT.

Colin Craig is talking a softer game as he sees his poll results edge closer and closer to the magical 5% threshold. But neither he nor Jamie Whyte are men built to compromise their passionately-held extremist beliefs. So what will each of them demand?

Is Colin going to get binding referenda? Or the abolition of parole? Or a curfew for the “most promiscuous” young women in the world?

Is Jamie going to get his wish of scrapping the RMA and OIO so overseas investors can buy up our land and poison our rivers, or abolishing all school zones except the one around Auckland Boys’ Grammar (and all building regulations except the ones that keep Epsom leafy)?

And how can any of this possibly be workable with middle-of-the-road Peter Dunne (if he wins Ōhāriu, and that’s not guaranteed), with “not crazy”-conservative Winston Peters (who can’t stand Whyte or Craig) and with the Māori Party (who may have a thing or two to say about ACT and Craig’s anti-Treaty ways)?

If NZ First and the Conservatives both get over 5%, it’s going to be impossible for National to get its long-dreamed-of governing-alone 50%. They’d have to pull together four or five coalition partners who hate each other, and their closest ideological friends are frankly bizarre.

As that becomes clearer it’s got to be a huge turn-off for the moderate voters who have bulked out National’s support for the past six years – and a Labour-Green-Winston coalition is looking rock-solid-stable in comparison.

The opening addresses of Election 2014

(Updated: more links to videos for your viewing pleasure)

Last night the opening party political addresses were broadcast on TV One, simultaneous with an All Blacks match and a live-tweeted crowd viewing of Labyrinth. So if you missed out (and don’t follow my every thought on Twitter), here’s my reaction!

(Screenshots nicked and cropped from Asher Goldman on Twitter.)

National: so corporate. Much artificial. John Key in a staged “interview” blathering about goals and targets and not changing horses midstream but really without any kind of concrete policy, while an increasingly-irritating Eminem ripoff plays. And lots of rowing. And a very clunky “Oh Bill English is a great asset FYI” line thrown in which makes me suspect succession signalling is underway.

National’s full video doesn’t seem to be available online but if you just watch the short version a few dozen times it has much the same effect. is now online here.

Labour: I loved this one. Yes, I’m biased. But the idea of getting the caucus out to do a community project, taking turns to discuss their own policy areas with real Kiwis, was genius. It was a huge contrast to National’s corporate one-man-band routine. And there were real, solid policies to work on, which is a bit of a bugbear of mine.

I actually want to help out at a community centre if it involves Andrew Little and Carol Beaumont making me cheese scones. They even got David Parker out of his suit.

You can watch Labour’s video here.

Greens: Didn’t grab me as much as Labour’s. Their focus was strongly and naturally environmental, Metiria and Russel did a great job of injecting their own stories and personality into it, but there wasn’t a strong narrative as there was with Labour’s.

You can watch the Greens’ video here.

nzfirstNZ First: Winston doing his best General Patton in front of a terribly CG’d New Zealand flag, and a diverse range of people asking rhetorical questions to camera. You may note Winston’s tie is red and black, so read into that what you will.

conservativesConservatives: Colin Craig hitting his usual talking points about binding referenda to a room of silent, bored-looking white people. He really is a charisma-free zone.

actACT: If you did not watch this, find it. Now online! Watch it! It’s the funniest thing broadcast this year and may have actually been made using Windows MovieMaker, it’s that budget.

internetInternetMana: cartoon futuristic hovercats. Enough said, really. You can watch it here.

dunnePeter Dunne: a few minutes of Dunne talking to camera about how reasonable and middle-of-the-road he is, while parroting Key’s lines about staying the course. Lacking his characteristic bow tie, which may bode poorly for him.

ALCP: Rate a mention because their video was approximately a hundred times more professional-looking than ACT’s.

Focus, Social Credit, and Brendan Horan’s outfit: Shrug.