The Answers to All Your Security Council Questions

John Key

John Key Addresses the UN General Assembly

New Zealand has been elected as a member of the United Nations Security Council for a 2015-16 term. The campaign for this election began in 2004 under the leadership of then Prime Minister Helen Clark, and has been a bipartisan effort. The lobbying our representatives have put in, and our independent reputation has seen us elected with a strong majority by the UN member states.

What is the Security Council?

The Security Council is the body of the United Nations which has primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security, so it has the power to authorise peacekeeping missions, military action and international sanctions. The UN Charter gives the Security Council the sole power to approve military action.

Security Council Chamber

The Security Council Chamber

How do you get elected to the Security Council?

There are five permanent members of the Council: China, France, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom. Another ten members are elected for two-year terms with rolling elections each year. The non-permanent members are elected on a regional basis (from the UN’s five regions). New Zealand forms a part of the “Western European and Others” (WEOG) group, which gets two seats, up for election when the term starts in an odd-numbered year.

Voting at the UN General Assembly

Voting at the UN General Assembly

New Zealand was up against Turkey and Spain for the two seats allocated to WEOG. To be elected, a two-thirds majority of the 193-member UN General Assembly was required. On the first round, New Zealand received more than needed – 145 votes. After a second round of voting, neither Spain nor Turkey had the two-thirds required. On the third round, Spain recieved 130 votes and was elected.

Angola, Malaysia and Venezuela were elected representing the African, Asian and Latin American groups for the 2015-16 term.

What happens now?

Jim McLay, a former Deputy Prime Minister, Attorney-General and National Party leader is New Zealand’s Ambassador to the United Nations, so he takes the primary responsibility for representing New Zealand on the Security Council, though the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign affairs may attend for major decisions or ceremonial occasions.

The Security Council will have to face issues like the threat of ISIS, the Ebola epidemic and others as they arise.

Jim McLay

Jim McLay – NZ’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations

Seven Things You Need to Know about the new Cabinet

This morning, John Key announced his cabinet for the upcoming term. There are some big changes in the portfolio allocations, with fresh faces in Cabinet and on the Front Bench. Some portfolios have been renamed – for example, the Minister of Women’s Affairs is now simply the Minister of Women.  Here’s what you need to know:

1. Maggie Barry is in Cabinet.

Maggie

Maggie Barry has been promoted into Cabinet. First elected in 2011, she has risen quickly. She is now Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage; Minister of Conservation and Minister for Senior Citizens.

2. Amy Adams is Minister of Justice.

Amy Adams is the new Minister of Justice. Adams is a qualified lawyer, and served as Minister for the Environment in the last term of Parliament,  which has been taken over by Dr. Nick Smith. Amy is on the Front Bench, also holding the Courts, Broadcasting and Communications portfolios.

3. Paula Bennett has new responsibilities.

Paula

Paula Bennett is now ranked Number 5 in Cabinet. She is Minister of Local Government; State Services; and Social Housing. She is also Associate Minister of Finance, giving her input into shaping the Budget for the next three years. She is no longer Minister of Social Development, with Anne Tolley taking over that role.

4. Jonathan Coleman takes over from Tony Ryall. The Health portfolio was left by Tony Ryall, who retired at the election. Jonathan Coleman, formerly Minister of Defence steps into his shoes. Gerry Brownlee has taken up the reins at Defence.

5. Nikki Kaye has been promoted.

Nikki Kaye

Nikki Kaye has been promoted  - she now serves as Minister for ACC, retaining her responsibilities as Minister of Youth, Minister of Civil Defence and Associate Minister of Education.

6. Some Ministers have new portfolios. Simon Bridges gets a promotion as Minister of Transport. He stays on as Minister of Energy and Resources. Sam Lotu-Iiga is now the Minister of Corrections, and is the Minister for Pacific Peoples (formerly Pacific Island Affairs). Michael Woodhouse becomes Minister of Police.

7. There are new Ministers Outside Cabinet.

Goldsmith

Paul Goldsmith, who chaired the Finance and Expenditure Committee is now Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs. Louise Upston, formerly the Government’s Senior Whip, is promoted to the Ministry as Minister for Land Information and Minister for Women. Te Ururoa Flavell of the Maori Party is Minister of Maori Development, and Peter Dunne of UnitedFuture is Minister of Internal Affairs.

For the full Cabinet list: http://nzyn.at/nzcabinet14

Four Things Labour Left in a Mess

Helen and David

This election is about who has a track record of delivering the results that matter to New Zealanders. Labour couldn’t do it when they were last in government, and they haven’t changed.

1. The Economy

The global economy boomed in the early 2000s. Despite that, in 2008 Labour left nothing in the kitty, and Treasury was forecasting massive increases in debt, and a decade of government deficits. New Zealand was consuming far more in imports than we produced in exports, with a trade deficit of $5.6 billion. Labour didn’t control government spending, so consumer price inflation was high, causing the cost of living to rapidly rise.

2. Health

While Labour was in charge, health services went to ruin. Between 2003 and 2008 waiting time for heart surgery in Auckland more than doubled. Overcrowding and delays in care caused as many deaths as the entire road toll. Hospitals were allowed to be on “code red” with more patients than they could handle.

3. Unsafe Communities

Labour left a legacy of crime and unsafe communities. They gave up, and admitted defeat in the war on P. Youth crime, and violent youth crime was rising. More people were being killed and injured in stabbings on our streets. Murders, youth violence and domestic assaults were increasing year on year. Prisons were places where inmates ran riot.

4. Education

Under Labour thousands of kids were allowed to leave school with no qualifications or prospects for a better life. A 2008 report showed that 150,000 pupils were failing at school, whilst thousands of teachers lacked necessary skills. In 2007, a third of students left without NCEA Level 2, and a fifth did not even get NCEA Level 1. Violence in schools was rampant. Businesses were not getting the skilled workers they needed out of the education system.

Last Night’s Debate: The Facts

John TV3

Yesterday’s debate was more fact heavy than the last two, so now the smoke has cleared we thought we would give you some more detailed (and verified) information about the issues that were discussed.

Minimum wage and employment

National has focused on creating jobs, and New Zealand has done remarkably well by any international measure in weathering the biggest global economic shock since the Great Depression. There are over 127,000 more people in work since National took office (between September 08 and December 13 quarters).

David Cunliffe believes you can artificially raise wages without effecting employment, he said that there was no evidence that raising the minimum wage increases unemployment, based on US studies.

The problem for Cunliffe is that the minimum wage in the US is much lower than New Zealand’s at $7.25 per hour. New Zealand’s is $14.25. Labour wants to increase it to $16.25 and the Greens will go all the way to $18.00.

Probably the best measure of how high the minimum wage is relative to our capacity to afford it is how high the minimum wage is as a percentage of the median wage. New Zealand does very well on that score with the minimum wage being the 3rd highest as a percentage of the median wage in the OECD (paragraph 19). That suggests that our minimum wage workers do very well comparatively, but also that if we radically raised the minimum wage it would place us in unchartered waters. That’s why the Department of Labour said that raising the minimum wage all the way to the living wage would cost 24,000 jobs (table 1). Treasury actually recommended that National not raise the minimum wage in 2014. National went against that advice by raising it by 50c.

Housing

Housing is a complex issue, but generally we know the reasons why house prices are increasing from the Productivity Commission report on Housing Affordability published in April 2012.

The first thing we know is that the tax structure is NOT a factor. The Commission concluded that the tax advantage of property speculators is “much smaller than often suggested”. This tells us that a Capital Gains Tax is unlikely to make housing more affordable.

What did the Commission suggest are the drivers? A lack of land for development, and a difficult consenting process were major factors. That’s why National has worked with local government to release land to build 18,000 houses in Auckland and redevelop or build 5,700 in Canterbury. National has also worked hard on RMA reform (which Labour played politics over and the Greens opposed) and has reduced the cost of building materials by eliminating tarrifs.

The problem with Labour’s ‘Kiwibuild’ Policy to build 100,000 houses (a big round number which works well in a headline, but isn’t realistically how development works) is that it’s a poorly targeted policy doesn’t address the actual supply constraints which experts have identified. As former World Bank principal planner Alain Bertaud said in Christchurch recently: “The solution is to increase the supply of land. I would not bother so much on the construction of the housing itself, I think that can be taken care of fairly easily by the private sector”.

Inequality

You often hear David Cunliffe talk about the ‘haves and the have nots’, implying that inequality is increasing under National. Put simply, it hasn’t. Brian Perry at MSD is New Zealand’s leading expert on inequality. Here is Brian in his own words. The full report is here:

“There is as yet no evidence of any rising or falling trend in the Gini [coefficient] in recent years.”

“The impact on incomes of the GFC and the associated downturn and recovery has led to some volatility in the index between the 2009 to 2012 HES. It will take another survey or two before the post-crisis inequality level becomes clear.”

5 Key Moments in The Press Leaders’ Debate

1.      Cunliffe has no idea on the capital gains tax

David Cunliffe tried to con us all with a CGT as 1 of 5 new taxes.

But he couldn’t tell us how it differs from the status quo. He refused to say whether a family home in a trust is subject to their capital gains tax. Labour’s website suggests it would be, and that would be a tax on at least 215,000 New Zealand families.

http://campaign.labour.org.nz/capital_gains_tax

When asked if New Zealand currently had a capital gains tax, he didn’t even know! Under National the IRD is targeting property speculators at a stronger rate than ever.

CGT

2.      National’s Economic Management

Cunliffe lost the plot on debt. He attacked National for running up $50 billion but pretended the Global Financial Crisis didn’t happen and ignored the support National has provided to New Zealanders, and that $15 billion of that went to Christchurch.

The fact is, the Christchurch recovery didn’t come cheap, and in 2008 Treasury projected 10 years of deficits had Labour hung around.

3.      The Labour-Green-IMP coalition

Labour misled New Zealanders claiming its policies wouldn’t put New Zealand in debt. They couldn’t even add up their costings – only counting the $18 billion (Cunliffe mistakenly said it was $16 billion)

FACT: Labour will only get into power with the support of the Greens and Internet Mana, who together are promising an additional $18 billion of spending. And that is based on numbers even the Greens don’t trust, they’re demanding Labour have their figures independently audited.

4.      Cunliffe the Preacher Man

If nothing else showed Cunliffe’s lack of Prime Ministerialism, about an hour in, Cunliffe knew he was losing and went for Destiny Church-styled preaching as wheels began falling off the wagon. Sadly for Mr Cunliffe, the audience wasn’t joining in this hallelujah chorus!

cunliffe angry

5.      Key understands what New Zealanders really want

John Key backs workers. In the midst of all of Cunliffe’s preaching and the media’s obsession with dirty politics Key punched out a great line which shows why he’s one of NZ’s best Prime Ministers ever. In response to Cunliffe’s plan for 5 new taxes, Key said, “I reckon NZers work damn hard for their money & they can spend it better than the Government”. Amen.

key quote

Everything You Wanted to Know About the PREFU

Bill English

Yesterday Bill English, Minister of Finance released the PREFU. NZ Young Nats Policy Chair Nick Cross explains what it is, and what it means:

In order to create open and accountable government in New Zealand, the Minister of Finance is required by the Public Finance Act to release the Pre-Election Economic and and Fiscal Update (PREFU) which sets out updated forecasts about key economic indicators. Yesterday Bill English released PREFU 2014

What does it tell us?

PREFU 2014 tells us that National is still very much the party of credible economic management. The economic growth forecast from March 2014- March 2015 has been revised down very slightly from 4% to 3.8%, still some of the highest growth in the OECD. The surplus as projected by Treasury is set to hit $300 million. Tax revenue is expected to rise from $61 billion this year to $77 billion by 2018.

Why did these changes happen?

Largely because of slightly lower than expected commodity prices in dairy and timber. However this fall is expected to be a short term fall in overseas demand as several countries look to reduce inventories and does not reflect any structural weakness according to Treasury Secretary Gabriel Makhlouf.

What does it mean?

It means that, on the latest figures, the economic recovery is still very much on track to take the New Zealand into strong growth. What I found most fascinating is how much new tax revenue this promises for the government, making Labour and the Greens new ‘tax the rich’ promises of $1billion more tax revenue seem insignificant. It suggests that business driven economic performance, and not new taxes which harm business, is the path to providing better social services.

National’s Cycleway Policy

Gerry and Bikes

John Key and Gerry Brownlee have announced National’s cycling policy today. $100 Million will be invested in urban cycle infrastructure in New Zealand’s main centres.

National recognises that commuting by bike has health benefits and takes pressure off other transport networks, but says cycleways in our largest centres are fragmented and offer varied levels of service.

“Many people cite safety concerns and a lack of infrastructure as reasons for not cycling, so we’re going to begin building cycleways to a standard that delivers real incentives for commuters to make a change.

“Building more comprehensive cycling networks will require new infrastructure to connect existing routes and expand the network into wider urban areas.

National is the party that is building the transport infrastructure to ensure people can reach their destinations quickly and safely. Better cycleways will mean that commuting by bike is a safer, more efficient option.

John Announcing

National Weekend of Action – How you can help.

Weekend of Action Cover PhotoB

This weekend is the Young Nats’ National Weekend of Action, a grassroots initiative by the Young Nats to get out on the campaign, make contact with National Party voters up and down the country and make sure we turn out the highest number of voters on September 20. We need to give John Key and our team at Parliament another three years to build a stronger, more confident New Zealand.

If you want to help, there’s going to be a range of different campaign activities on offer, in almost every part of the country. If you’ve subscribed to Young Nats emails in the past, you are sure to receive more information in your inbox, but here’s a summary.

Northern Young Nats will be visiting the Northcote and East Coast Bays electorates on Saturday [RSVP link], and Hunua and Papakura electorates on Sunday [RSVP link].

Central North Island Young Nats are road-tripping to Coromandel electorate to help Scott Simpson rally votes for National in Whitianga and Thames [RSVP link].

Lower North Island Young Nats will be campaigning in Rongotai on Saturday [RSVP link] and joining the movement for a Fresh Face for Hutt South, helping Chris Bishop on Sunday [RSVP link].

Canterbury Westland Young Nats will be heading into Christchurch Central, Waimakariri and Port Hills. To get the details, email sam.macdonald@national.org.nz

Southern Young Nats will be in Dunedin South getting out the vote for National and Hamish Walker, more information here [RSVP link].

Aussie Treasurer Envies Kiwi Economy

Joe Hockey

The Australian has reported that Joe Hockey, the Treasurer of Australia envies New Zealand for our falling jobless numbers.

Joe Hockey frequently admits he’s a little bit jealous of our cousins across the ditch, in an economic sense at least.

The treasurer’s green eye probably went an even deeper shade of emerald after New Zealand’s latest employment figures showed their jobless rate tumbled to a five-year low of 5.6 per cent in the June quarter from a revised 5.9 per cent previously.

Australia’s unemployment rate is at 6.4% and rising. Ours is 5.6% and falling Employment growth is faster here than across the ditch, and it’s down to the work done by John Key and Bill English.

The release of the NZ figures coincided with a speech by Mr Hockey to the national conference of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.

He said New Zealand has stolen the advantage from Australia during the past few years by combining domestic structural reforms with newly negotiated trade opportunities in Asia.

“As a result, they have falling unemployment, rising living standards and a budget that is coming into surplus,” Mr Hockey said.

Faced with a hostile Senate over his first budget, Mr Hockey also said he was “quite jealous” that NZ Prime Minister John Key has to deal with only one parliamentary chamber.

Even so, Mr Key and Finance Minister Bill English are showing the world how economic reform should be done.
And it has not been achieved through “luck or complacency”.

“There is no she’ll-be-right attitude,” Mr Hockey said.

 

Meet the Candidate: Jono Naylor

Jono Naylor

Jono Naylor is National’s candidate for Palmerston North. He has served Palmy as its Mayor for the last  7 years, and iPredict gives him even odds to take the seat off Labour. Before local politics, he was a social worker and a counsellor. He’s also a musician who once sung the national anthem at an international netball test match. We had a few more questions to ask:

What is your number one policy goal for your time as an MP?

Creating as many jobs for New Zealanders as possible, thereby improving the chances for New Zealand families to thrive.

You’ve been the Mayor of Palmerston North since 2007 – what’s the best thing about Palmy?

Across the spectrum of opportunity, affordability and accessibility, it is clearly the best place in New Zealand to raise a family.

Tell us something about yourself that we wouldn’t already know?

The band I have been a part of for the past year and half have just released an EP. You can download it at https://trulymade.bandcamp.com/

What made you want to stand for National? What would you say inspires you politically?

I am motivated by improving people’s well-being. To achieve this we need a good balance of economic and social development. The National Party is the only party that has the policies and people capable of delivering the kind of New Zealand I want to live in.