Peter Williams: Bill English will have to defy modern NZ political history to keep his job

Bill English will have to defy modern New Zealand political history if he's to keep his job as Prime Minister after September 23.

Not since Peter Fraser in 1943 has an incumbent Prime Minister who succeeded into the job during a parliamentary term won the next election.

Fraser, who became Labour leader and PM after the death of Michael Joseph Savage in the early months of World War Two, led his party back to the government benches in both 1943 and 1946.

The sequence set in.  The first National Party Prime Minister Sid Holland relinquished the job to Keith Holyoake in 1957 because of ill health, but Labour and Walter Nash narrowly won the election that year.

National, still led by Holyoake, were back in charge in 1960 and then won the next three elections. But in 1972 Holyoake stood aside for his deputy Jack Marshall.

Labour under Norman Kirk stormed to victory 55 seats to 32 with 48.4 per cent of the popular vote.

However, Big Norm, never the healthiest of individuals, died less than two years later and Bill Rowling became Prime Minister.

A resurgent National under Rob Muldoon swung the 1972 vote on its head and exactly reversed the state of the parties in 1975. Rowling had lasted barely 15 months as PM.

The next mid-term change of Prime Minister came in 1989.

David Lange, having led the Fourth Labour Government through the 1984 and 1987 elections, had an ideological fallout with his Finance Minister Roger Douglas and quit the job in August 1989.

Labour's then deputy Geoffrey Palmer succeeded into the job but only 13 months later, when it was obvious Labour would not win the 1990 election, he was replaced by Mike Moore only six weeks out from polling day.

It made no difference. National, under Jim Bolger, won in a landslide 67 seats to 29 (with one to Jim Anderton of New Labour).

Bolger kept his job as PM through the 1993 and 1996 elections. But the landscape had changed. We voted for MMP in 1993 and the so called Great Helmsman only kept his job in 1996 after intense coalition negotiations with Winston Peters and New Zealand First.

But only a year later, the King Country farmer had lost the confidence of his party and the caucus installed Jenny Shipley as the country's first female Prime Minister.

She had two years and two days in the role, including a spectacular falling out with Peters, but was steamrolled by Helen Clark and Labour in December 1999.

It was nearly 16 years before there was another mid-term change in the Prime Ministership when John Key unexpectedly flagged it away. 

So can Bill English do what Keith Holyoake, Jack Marshall, Geoffrey Palmer, Mike Moore and Jenny Shipley couldn't?

The polls tell us he has a reasonable chance, but he can't do it alone.

If those same polls are to be believed, then the numbers say English will only stay as PM if Winston Peters lets him.

But what price would Winston wish to extract to allow National to stay as the main governing party?

What about this scenario for 2017 - 2020?

"Mr English - you can stay as Prime Minister for now but I want a time in the big job before I finish in politics."

After being a National-led Coalition Treasurer and a Labour-led Coalition Minister of Foreign Affairs, is a 72-year-old Winston Peters going to settle for anything less than some time on the Beehive Ninth Floor?

Bill English might just to have to acquiesce otherwise he'll join the heap of post World War Two Prime Ministers who could not win an election.

The PM wants votes cast for ACT's David Seymour and United Future's Peter Dunne in their electorates.
Source: 1 NEWS

Scientists question advice to always finish antibiotic course

The normal advice around antibiotics is to finish the course even if you are feeling better, now that advice is being challenged by a group of scientists.

The scientists claim that taking antibiotics for longer than is needed can increase bacteria's resistance to them in the future.

Jodi Lindsay from St George's Hospital London University says: "That means when we get infected with those bacteria the antibiotics won't work anymore."

Not everyone agrees with the new findings though, with Dr Richard Medlicott the Royal NZ College of GPs Medical Director telling 1NEWS.

"If we told people to just stop your antibiotics when you feel better then some serious conditions like pneumonia or kidney infections might be under-treated and then bounce back."

As always the best advice for now is to follow your Doctor's orders.

A group of scientists say taking antibiotics longer than necessary is adding to the problem of superbugs. Source: 1 NEWS


Trump to urge Congress to crack down on immigration and violent crime

Trumpeting his administration's crackdown on illegal immigration and violent crime, President Donald Trump is traveling to Long Island to urge Congress to dedicate more funding to the fight.

Trump is set to speak Friday afternoon at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood, New York, close to where the ultra-violent street gang MS-13 has committed a string of gruesome murders, including the massacre of four young men in April in a Central Islip park.

Trump is expected to continue his tough talk on immigration and urge Congress to dedicate more funding to border enforcement and faster deportations in a speech in front of law enforcement officers and the family members of crime victims.

Trump has made cracking down on MS-13, also called Mara Salvatrucha, a top priority of his administration.

The gang, which is believed to have originated in immigrant communities in Los Angeles in the 1980s and then entrenched itself in Central America when its leaders were deported, is infamous for its violent tactics, including torturing victims and hacking them with machetes.

Its recruits are middle- and high-school students, predominantly in immigrant communities, who are said to risk violent retribution if they leave.

Authorities estimate the group has tens of thousands of members across several Central American countries and many U.S. states.

Trump's Justice and Homeland Security departments have made targeting the gang a top priority.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions has directed his department's law enforcement agencies and federal prosecutors across the country to prioritize their prosecution, as directed by an executive order Trump signed in February, among other measures.

"We're liberating our towns and we're liberating our cities. Can you believe we have to do that?" Trump said at an Ohio rally earlier this week, adding that law enforcement agents were rooting out gang members - and "not doing it in a politically correct fashion. We're doing it rough."

"Our guys are rougher than their guys," he bragged.

Since the beginning of January the Department of Homeland Security's investigative unit has arrested 3,311 gang members across the country in a number of targeted operations, said Tom Homan, the acting director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The agency could not provide numbers for a similar timeframe in 2016.

Trump's trip comes as Sessions is visiting El Salvador as part of a mission to increase international cooperation against the gang. Sessions met Thursday with his Salvadoran counterpart and members of an international anti-gang task force.

Congressman Peter King, who represents Brentwood and will travel with the president from Washington, said that Trump's appearance would send a signal to communities that have been shaken by the violent killings.

"It's absolutely devastating. And almost all of these killings have occurred in my district, within 20 minutes of my home," he said.

King said the gang is responsible for 17 murders between January 2016 and April 2017 in his district - but that the impact on largely immigrant communities has been larger because of the way the gang kills. In addition to torturing victims, King said, members have also sent video of gruesome crime scenes to their victims' loved ones.

"This gang's chilling motto is 'mata, viola, controla,'which means 'kill, rape and control,'" said Robert Hur, a top official at the Justice Department.

"They seek to live up to this motto through truly shocking acts of violence designed to instill fear: vicious machete attacks, execution-style gunshots, gang rape and human trafficking."

The Trump administration blames the gang's recent resurgence in certain areas on illegal immigration and believes policies like building a wall along the southern border and cracking down on so-called "sanctuary cities" will eradicate the problem.

Critics see the focus misplaced and argue resources could be better spent on other enforcement efforts.