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Amidst th’encircling gloom…

Written By: - Date published: 7:09 pm, December 23rd, 2012 - 222 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

I was going to do a retrospective, but changed my mind – the message of Christmas is one of hope.

Some indicators of better times in 2013 came in the Herald, today and earlier in the week: long-time leftie Matt McCarten (disguised as editorial on the website) makes Shearer his politician of the year, long-time righties Bob Jones and Rodney Hide go hard at Judith Collins for her unconscionable treatment of Justice Binnie, and in the middle Kerre Woodham winds up on Key’s failure to deliver:

National was voted in because they promised voters they had the answers. They’d be a breath of fresh air. They were business people who knew a thing or two about making money, not academics who’d spent most of their lives in ivory towers.Well, they may know how to make money for themselves but they don’t seem to have any answers when it comes to making the country richer. If, after four years of government, the best strategy they can come up with to produce a surplus is to raise the fuel tax, they are devoid of initiative and bereft of imagination.

Woodham’s piece drew plenty of supportive comments.  Reading them and comparing them with comments on this site, I thought back to when we started the Standard. I was in the room too; our aim was to set up a labour movement blog and offer a counter to Kiwiblog’s pro-National line; not to join Farrar in making the prospect of Labour government the principal target for attack.

I would not like to see the Standard become just another  echo-chamber for political pessimists.  I’m inclined to agree with some of the recent commenters here who are drawing attention to this in various ways. Perhaps in 2013 it will be time for a bit more balance.

But then I’m biased.

 

222 comments on “Amidst th’encircling gloom…”

  1. Colonial Weka 1

    “I would not like to see the Standard become just another echo-chamber for political pessimists.”

    I agree. One of the best things to happen this year on ts has been the rallying round the Labour Party membership issues. Very proactive and positive.

    The Standard’s place in the larger political blogosphere movement has also been very good. Ad talked about the potential here –

    http://thestandard.org.nz/2012-celebrity-pm-collective-action/comment-page-1/#comment-566178

  2. Andre 2

    Policy- Policy -Policy 2013

  3. RedLogix 3

    It’s going to be difficult to have a meaningful conversation Mike because you never engage in the comment thread of your posts. That’s your right, but unless you are willing to expand on and defend your position … all you are going to get is more of the ‘lack of balance’ you are unhappy with.

    But if you want The Standard to become just an echo-chamber for Labour Party ‘messaging’ in order to be “a counter to Kiwiblog’s pro-National line” .. then I’m afraid we ‘have a problem Houston’.

    Certainly the mjority of regular authors and commenters here are to some degree to the left of the Labour caucas and expecting this to change is unrealistic. At least not without you using your role as a trustee of the site to shut it down.

    This is not meant to be confrontational Mike. But the fact is that however you want to view events; there is a considerable tension between the current Labour Parliamentary caucas and it’s activist members and base. If you want balance … both sides are going to have to do some hard work to win each other’s trust again.

    • Saarbo 3.1

      spot on RedLogix!!!!!

    • Ed 3.2

      I don’t think it matters if posts are not the start of a conversation with the author – there are enough of us to have a conversation; but all to often we attack the messenger. I suspect many of hte posts take quite a bit of time to carefully word, or in some cases research; I am grateful for them regardless of other posts or replies to comments.

      You are right that activist members and caucus need to work together – and each needs to value and respect the others. One of the things that we sometimes get on The Standard that makes it particularly valuable is discussion on possible policy. There will seldom be a single “left” view of what a policy should be, but by shooting the messenger we often by-pass the opportunity for constructive discussion; or an explanation of why we should not come to definite conclusions at this time.

      I saw the Kerre Woodham article earlier today, and what struck me is that it is largely emotion, what facts are there have been well known to many for months or years, but which now seem to be “accepted fact” – at least with one journalist! We do need to balance the reality of the governments failure with the emotions that at times prevent those facts being understood.

      I have been critical of the ‘attack’ mentality of some posters to The Standard, which while small, does at times just make me at least get annoyed and skip the rest of a thread, or even skip the Standard for a while. With Labour / Green in opposition, there is a need to look longer term; but we need to make our points without alienating the audience.

      There have been a number of things that I would like to see discussed more – and I am sure some will be covered over the next few weeks. For example the hypocrisy of the manipulation of ACC levies. Second the problems of setting MPs pay – which does just reflect an appalling increase in inequality – while reducing the inequality of pay will resolve some of the problem, is the basis correct in the first place? I’d like to see an update on how neutral the ‘fiscally neutral’ tax cuts have turned out to be for example.

      I like the gossip, the stories about National’s incredible stuff-ups, and the speculation about who will get what positions in the government after National lose the next election; but I don’t want to have my enthusiasm dampened by continual internal warfare and sniping. As an occasional poster I try to show trust in both other posters and in our elected representatives – is that such a bad thing?

      • karol 3.2.1

        I do find many of the policy issues discussed here quite informative: economic policy (of which I can always learn a lot more); housing policies; environment/climate issues; social policies/WINZ/ACC; social security, unpaid work; local government, unions, etc, etc, etc.

        • Dr Terry 3.2.1.1

          I hope Mike (and others) are not interpreting valid criticisms as “attacks”. Many of the criticisms are positive, they are not necessarily “negative”. Sure you are biased Mike, but are not we all?
          Happy Christmas.

          • blue leopard 3.2.1.1.1

            Yes, ditto Dr Terry, well said. I don’t believe they are “attacks” either and it is a wee bit sad to see them being viewed as such.

            • David Viperious H 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Unfortunately the US vs Them meme has leeched into the Labour party, and they are looking to control what is said about them.
              How can you control the message ? when you have people like those on TS just shooting off in all sorts of random directions, saying what they like, it’s just not good enough.

              sarcasm /OFF

              Sometimes I really wonder if Labour want to be elected to power in 2014, they just seem to be enjoying the masochism too much.

              • GeoffCartwright

                Do you understand the cost it take to be a left leaning LP MP, the whole power structure of society is geared up and for the Tories, it takes years for a LP minister to get control of their ministry. Staffer come and go, usually burnt out.
                No wonder the Cuacus is entrenched and feeling a tad non aligned with the more vocal of it’s members.

              • @ David Viperious H

                “Sometimes I really wonder if Labour want to be elected to power in 2014″
                Yep, I sometimes wondered that after the 2011 election too.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.2

        I saw the Kerre Woodham article earlier today, and what struck me is that it is largely emotion, what facts are there have been well known to many for months or years, but which now seem to be “accepted fact” – at least with one journalist!

        Don’t kid yourself. Woodham still expects tax cuts and other right-wing policies to grow the economy. She’s just upset that National hasn’t implemented more of them.

        As an occasional poster I try to show trust in both other posters and in our elected representatives – is that such a bad thing?

        Far better to question and look up the facts from research. Don’t just believe what people say uncritically.

      • Morrissey 3.2.3

        I saw the Kerre Woodham article earlier today, and what struck me is that it is largely emotion, what facts are there have been well known to many for months or years, but which now seem to be “accepted fact” – at least with one journalist!

        Kerre Woodham is not a journalist in any accepted sense of the word.

        • Te Reo Putake 3.2.3.1

          You’re wrong, Moz. Like it or not, and like her politics or not, Woodham has been a professional journo for many years. And as far as I can tell, she knows the difference between fact and opinion, which is why she gets paid for what she writes and you don’t.

          • Morrissey 3.2.3.1.1

            You’re wrong, Moz. Like it or not, and like her politics or not, Woodham has been a professional journo for many years.

            Professional mouther of half-baked opinions, professional fronter of vacuous television programmes. That’s not a “professional journo”, that’s a talkback radio jockette.

            And as far as I can tell, she knows the difference between fact and opinion, which is why she gets paid for what she writes and you don’t.

            There’s the problem for you: “as far as I can tell.” You don’t know enough about her, and you have not thought about what she says.

            Look for my up-coming feature: WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KERRE.

            It’ll be up in the new year.

            Meanwhile, a merry Xmas to you, my friend.

    • tazireviper 3.3

      +1

  4. gobsmacked 4

    One problem with end-of-year retrospectives (across all media) is that they invariably focus on the more recent events. For example, “Zip it sweetie” is awarded the title of quote of the year (Stuff website), but what if it had been said in February? Probably long forgotten.

    And so it is with David Shearer’s leadership. Here’s a simple question for Mike Smith or any others who praise the Labour leader for his work over the last twelve months: What did Shearer do before the criticism started?

    There is a clear timeline here (and feel free to dispute it, but with evidence please, rather than empty calls to “rally round” or silly comments equating Shearer’s critics with Kiwiblog).

    First six months or so of 2012: Nothing. Labour had an invisible, ineffectual leader. So – inevitably – frustration grew. Labour supporters – yes, Labour supporters – began to voice their concerns. Shearer was either very poor in the media, or not in the media at all. Contrast the Greens and Winston.

    Then the speech that lit the fuse – the “bludger on the roof”. Shearer was wrong. His critics were right. We know this because he has never gone there again. He has not repeated the content or the message of that speech, his efforts to defend it were half-hearted, and it has been quietly dropped.

    But the anger didn’t go away. With one exception – the education speech in August – Shearer reverted to doing and saying nothing to inspire, to lead. That was until the party conference – or more precisely, the run-up to it, when the frustration came to a head, not least on the Standard.

    I repeat – if anybody believes that David Shearer, the Labour leader, was leading his party and supporters throughout 2012, please let us know when and how … in the ten months before the conference. Any examples would be welcome.

    Otherwise you should really just say “Thank you for waking him up – because without the criticism, Shearer would have ended the year as he started”.

  5. Crimson Nile 5

    Mike Smith is on Shearer’s paid staff now, is he not?

    • IrishBill 5.1

      That’s true but the implicit assumption is ungenerous – Mike’s not exactly in need of the money or the hassle that comes with working in the leader’s office. I imagine it’s more about him wanting to make a difference.

    • RedLogix 5.2

      I agree. I’ve met Mike Smith on a few occasions and anyone on the left should respect his experience and mana. (As a moderator I’ll not tolerate anyone attacking him personally on this thread.)

      At the same time I keep getting the feeling that anyone who spends too long in the Beltway has this unfortunate tendency to be captured by it.

      Perhaps the most honourable exceptions I can think of were Sue Bradford and Nandor Tanczos.

      • David Viperious H 5.2.1

        It would also help if he came and defended what he said. Or is it that indefensible?? That has been the 1 criticism that stands up, Mike post’s, but never defends. It’s nothing personal.

  6. IrishBill 6

    I think you’ve forgotten that back when we started the Standard we wanted a blog that espoused the left values that had been out-shouted by three decades of right wing TINA (perhaps because you’ve only been posting for a couple of years) As far as I’m concerned we’re here to clearly and loudly promote labour values, not labour party values (there shouldn’t be a difference but right now there is).

    I think we’ve done that to a certain extent – there are solid center-left, social democratic political policies and perspectives in the mainstream now that would have been considered fringe (in NZ) just a few years ago and I think a large part of the change in the discourse has come about as a result of the Standard’s challenging of right wing “truths”.

    When one of Labour’s senior economic spokespeople describes an award system (like the one Australia has) as “political suicide” or when Labour pledges hundreds of millions of dollars to subsidising middleclass housing but keeps its mouth shut about the clear need to build state-housing, then I think it’s our duty to push them harder.

    There’s no reason New Zealand’s political center should continue to be so rightwing by international and historical standards other than the fact that we’ve got one major party that espouses the rights of capital over all others and another that is too scared of its own shadow to challenge that. It’s not hard to sell egalitarianism to New Zealanders, hell you might even get back some of the 800,000 enrolled non-vote, but the current Labour party leadership seems incapable of the vision required to do so. And this at a time where the chicago school consensus has broken down everywhere else.

    I realise, Mike, that you’re a product of the managerial approach of the fifth Labour government and that a cornerstone of that government’s thinking was the electorate’s fear of significant change. And, after fifteen years of neoliberal revolution, that was probably true at the time. But times change and political nous is about reading those changes and running with them – what we’re seeing from Shearer et al is a leadership incapable of recognising that change and taking that opportunities that come with it. Don’t think the authoritarian right of national will make the same mistake.

    And don’t try to convince me or anyone else of the left that we should sit back and let that happen.

    • IrishBill 6.1

      Actually, do try to convince me. I’d be a pleasure to see you comment here more often – you’ve never been afraid to have a good political argument in all the time I’ve known you.

    • RedLogix 6.2

      IB,

      What I wish I could have said.

      • IrishBill 6.2.1

        Cheers. It’s mostly a distillation of what I hear from a lot of people from the left. Despite the belief that we’re all hating on the Labour party most of us want it to grow and gather the strength and vision and the support that is clearly available to it. It’s frustration members feel rather than anger but I don’t think that’s always clear.

        • lprent 6.2.1.1

          Definitely frustration as far as I’m concerned. But I finally figured that Labour wasn’t going to improve unless I (and others) expressed that frustration.

        • mickysavage 6.2.1.2

          I agree IB that we (collective term for lefties) are definitely not hating on the Labour Party and those in caucus who believe this really need to get their compasses reset.

          What we we (collective term for lefties) is for Labour to set out to achieve its historical purpose. It has achieved a great deal of good for many people over an extended period of time and we want that to continue.

          One thing that I will note about Mike’s post is his plea for “balance” that implies that commentators to the Standard are wrong because most of them have a particular view. The fact that this site resembles more a meeting of members than a Shearer fan club is something the caucus should seek to understand and work on, not condemn.

          And if Labour were ten points ahead of National in the polls (like in the UK) then Shearer would have deserved McCarten’s praise. But to name him as pollie of the year when Labour is still so far behind is a bit weird.

          • weka 6.2.1.2.1

            “One thing that I will note about Mike’s post is his plea for “balance” that implies that commentators to the Standard are wrong because most of them have a particular view. ”

            Maybe, but it’s not the only way to understand that comment. Bear in mind that the ts authors who support Shearer are obviously outnumbered. The numbers are better for the commenters, but still they’re outnumbered too. It’s not realistic for Shearer supporters to expect balance of numbers, but is there really a problem with them expressing how they feel about situation? Isn’t this also useful dissent? What would ts be like if Mike and r0b weren’t posting?

          • Puddleglum 6.2.1.2.2

            My guess is that McCarten is being a booster for Shearer because he imagines that will open space for a left wing party to soak up LP activists, members and supporters.

            That would ensure that any future ‘Labour=led’ left wing coalition has a very weak LP at its titular head, that acts as a kind of vague-Liberal electoral battering ram for a more progressive left government. That would help explain McCarten’s warning to Labour about the strength of the Greens around the Cabinet table and also his claim that Mana will annihilate the Maori Party. Notice that McCarten is, at the same time, talking up both a decidedly right-leaning Labour leader(ship) and the future potency of decidedly left-wing parliamentary parties.

            I can’t imagine that McCarten has lost all his political nous in awarding Shearer ‘politician of the year’. Let’s be honest, that award could not be based on Shearer’s political acumen, presentational skills or surety of left-wing ideological vision, so McCarten’s support for Shearer must be motivated by something along the lines I suggest.

            The supposed reason McCarten gives for his assessment – that he dispensed with his main rival and so looked ‘decisive’ – is very thin grounds for rating Shearer highly as a politician, unless by ‘politician of the year’ is simply meant someone who comes out on top in the little pool he swims in. It’s surely worth remembering that politicians are mere vehicles for more important matters, and should be rated in terms of how useful they are for those matters not how useful they are for their own political careers.

            In that context, it is not very wise for a loyal Labour Party supporter to enlist McCarten’s analysis in support of his Leader. McCarten’s aim, I think, is to have a strong left along with a weak LP whose main utility is to act as an electorally familiar bait.

            If I’m right, and that is McCarten’s strategic analysis, I actually think it’s mistaken.

            What the left needs is a staunchly left-wing Labour Party led by politicians who know how to present that kind of party effectively to the electorate as a sensible, humane option. What it does not need is a soft-Liberal, centrist party. Liberal Parties have always been recognised as obstacles to left goals, not means to achieving them.That option would be (is) very damaging for the left’s cause.

            That ‘left cause’ I take to be instituting structural change that prevents the kinds of inequalities and disempowerment of ordinary people that have been increasingly happening over the last 30-40 years. It is not simply to dispense ‘aid’ to the sufferers of the neo-liberal restructuring – that is soup kitchen stuff, not political strategy; fine but not what a Labour Party should have as its fundamental aim.

            After all, the main motive of ‘aid’ is to alleviate consciences while avoiding making the structural changes that would prevent the same thing happening again, to another cohort of powerless, ordinary people. The labour movement went beyond that well over a century ago. The Labour Party should not be reverting to the role of a 19th century Liberal Party – unless it votes to change its name, of course.

            I could be wrong. I’m not involved directly in party politics so I just read the tea leaves.

            • Olwyn 6.2.1.2.2.1

              Chris Trotter wrote something similar about Matt’s championing of a “centrist” LP and I have tried but failed to find the relevant piece on his blog. However, the thrust of it was that while Matt wants Labour to shift rightwards to make room for Mana on the left, a right-leaning Labour Party in fact robs the entire left of conceptual space. I think Chris was right. It is hard for the smaller left wing parties to gain traction if the major left wing party refuses to seriously challenge the status quo.

            • felixviper 6.2.1.2.2.2

              “It’s surely worth remembering that politicians are mere vehicles for more important matters, and should be rated in terms of how useful they are for those matters not how useful they are for their own political careers.”

              Yep, and from what I’ve heard of the regular discussions between McCarten, Hooton, Tamihere and Jackson the focus is almost entirely on the “career” aspect.

              Take for example – from the same segment last week – Jackson’s praise of Tariana Turia as one vof the best politicians of the year. His reason for her inclusion in his list? That she is beloved by maori wherever she goes.

              Having said that, McCarten is a smart guy and I think your interpretation of his praise for Shearer is probably accurate.

              • felixviper

                ps the other factor influencing McCarten’s endorsement of Shearer is that Matt and his little beltway clique of pundit mates have all bought into the inevitability meme, the idea that sooner or later the public will get sick of National, and Shearer will become PM by default, regardless of what he says or does, as long as he can remain leader of the Labour party.

                And once something is seen as inevitable it can be quite hard for political pundits – who like their predictions to be seen to be accurate – to resist getting behind it.

            • Jenny 6.2.1.2.2.3

              The main reason that Matt McCarten supports Shearer is because of the union movement’s distaste at any mention of climate change.

              The biggest private sector union and the leading political opinion shaper inside the CTU is the EPMU. The EPMU derives a considerable amount of its income and support from their members in the heavily unionised fossil fuel extractive industries.

              Any serious discussion of climate change will mean accepting that these industries will have to be seriously curtailed and in the case of coal the most dangerous source of emissions completely banned.

              That is if we as human beings are to have any chance of being spared from completely wrecking the global bio-sphere.

              Cunliffe a high profile politician who has taken the challenge presented by climate change seriously, is someone both feared and despised by the trade unions. His demotion and silencing is a cause for celebration by union leaders like McCarten.

              • Jenny

                P.S. To understand McCarten’s motives for supporting Shearer over Cunliffe, there is no need for speculation that it is all some hidden and overly complicated Machiavellian scheme to build up Shearer as the head of the Labour Party, so a more left party can replace them.

                For all those speculating about Matt McCarten’s motives, never forget Occam’s Razor.

                • Jenny

                  On the topic of McCarten’s list of best performing MPs. He has promised that next week he will publish his list of worst performers. I can’t wait. This will be an extremely interesting exercise.

                  Dare I make a prediction and guess that David Cunliffe’s name will not be mentioned by Matt McCarten at all, in any context, good or bad.

                  Like he never existed.

              • GeoffCartwright

                Well stated there Jenny…poor labour conundrum.
                Can’t be labour without being labour.
                A paradymial shift is needed for labour too.
                Any retro shift rearwards will kill labour and any hope for NZ
                And here we are bagging the middle and modern men and woman of labour.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.3

      But times change and political nous is about reading those changes and running with them – what we’re seeing from Shearer et al is a leadership incapable of recognising that change and taking that opportunities that come with it.

      Actually, what we have from Shearer et al is a complete denial of the need for change.

      • David Viperious H 6.3.1

        “Actually, what we have from Shearer et al is a complete denial of the need for change.”
        And the treating the rest of us like fools, and think that we are just going to tamely step into line. We have had 4 years of failure politics, to be followed by at least 2 more. The thing that I don’t hear from Labour is ANY policy to reverse the damage that has been done. Or to grow an Economy. And from what I am hearing and seeing there is very little difference between National and Labour at this time. So, why should I vote for a system that wants to impoverish me even more than I am at the moment, whils’t taking away any rights that I have for recompense or Reimbursement. I have a government that will do anything to achieve it’s goals, and a Labour party that seems complicit in these aims. Am I going to vote YES am I going to vote Labour NO for the first time in my life NO!

        • Oscar 6.3.1.1

          Its not about growing the economic pie. It’s about distributing the pie. People have forgotten this.

          • Jenny 6.3.1.1.1

            Indeed Oscar. While Shearer is prattling on about growing the pie. The party of the rich, National are well aware that due to several intractable global factors the pie is shrinking and they are doing everything to make sure that as much as possible it is redivided in their interests.

            • GeoffCartwright 6.3.1.1.1.1

              Now that is the truth…real net productive growth is flatlined rst from investment capitalism. Wealthy keyites use nothing to make money from nothing but borrowed money, borrowed from the rest of us poor savers or indebted loaners.

              Whole jack of cards is coming down or should but damned if we didn’t prop it up again and again.
              Long live PAX America

    • GeoffCartwright 6.4

      Yes IB bu if we put out. Afresh bold policy platform and we lose even when it’s our turn in the cycle, what then?
      New Zealand is in desperate need, it’s a cross point global event that is happening.
      We are broke can pay the bills borrowed heaps and indebt to the bankers.
      The LP needs to set up a continuum construct that captures the ecltrodate for more then three turns by energising at grassroots, branch and cross non party organisations…this is underway now.

      We have to look beyond organised labour and achedemia to other societal players that are trying to influences or educate the public.
      TS has a role to play in this as well, a forum for the dissemination of left and social idea’ s. we have a voice, it’s loud, and it has a ripple effect and outside influencers such as msm and indeed caucus.

      We need momentum, focus and a unified broad left front to succeed and sem the Tory tide.

  7. karol 7

    I would not like to see the Standard become just another echo-chamber for political pessimists. I’m inclined to agree with some of the recent commenters here who are drawing attention to this in various ways. Perhaps in 2013 it will be time for a bit more balance.

    It just might be that we are optimistic about different things. I thought my post today about collective action was pretty positive about some examples of collective action over the last year.

    I do currently lean more towards the Greens and Mana than the Shearer led NZLP. So I tend to be more positive about some of the initiatives by some of the Green MPs, and Mana people. However, I did include in my positive examples of collective actions the joint opposition party parliamentary inquiry into the manufacturing crisis, in which I perceive Shearer to have a significant role. I also am positive about the asset sales referendum, which all opposition parties have worked together on -plus some extra-parliamentary groups..

    McCarten’s top ten MPs just seems strange to me. Shane Jones, Judith Collins and Paula Bennett? Hone Harawira has matured and performed well. Peters continues to be a very good opposition MP. And not one Labour of Green Party woman in McCarten’s list, even though both parties have some very able women. Yet he has those macho-type National Party women? And I see people like Cunliffe and Sue Moroney as some of Labour’s most able people. Grant Robertson performs very well in the House – he’s a very good speaker. However, like Shearer, he is too far to the right for me.

    And, while I think the MSM like Russel Norman, I am more positive about other Green MPs. Daren Hughes has been very energetic this year. Julie Anne Genter has made a great parliamentary debut. And I’m pleased with the way Metiria Turei has stayed on the case of poverty issues. Her turn-around use of “Planet Key” started a whole new concept rolling this year.

    And I continue to see the way forward for the left as being to engage with the grass roots activist base. There’s some very committed, smart and energised people out there.

    I can only tell it as I see it.

    • Yeah, Its almost as though Mr McCarten’s top ten is an attempt at sarcasm. ?? Alot of questions. Is it really intended to be read seriously?
      I agree with your comments Karol +1

    • LynWiper 7.2

      +1 Very similar thoughts

    • Dr Terry 7.3

      Excellent comment Karol, as usual, thoughtful and thoroughly sensible.

    • Macro 7.4

      I see it pretty much as you see it Karol. For me; Collins would be at the bottom of any list – that is she would be tied equal with Key, Parata, Groser, and Joyce for last. Just what has gotten into Matt over the past few years??

  8. I keep trying to write up a comment here, but … nah.

  9. Mike Smith 9

    Thanks to all who have commented. When I wrote the above post, I certainly had it in mind to break my usual pattern and join the discussion. I’ll now follow another of my usual patterns, sleep on what I would like to say, and respond to all in full in the morning.

  10. jtuckey 10

    Piffle, pap and pointlessness pontifications.

    • quartz 10.1

      Oh you’re so jejune. I bet you were the cool kid at school. No, scratch that. I bet you wanted to be the cool kid at school but convinced yourself you were too cool to be the cool kid at school.

  11. Andre 11

    NewZealand deserves a party that has a modern outlook that tackles modern issues . Labour is the one that needs to give us a party that we can vote for ,new ideas for our new problems.But paradoxically with a figurehead with cut-through ,not another grey face. Get this right and you will be looking after our nation next election … Just a comment from a person with a vote in his back pocket,

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      Labour is the one that needs to give us a party that we can vote for ,new ideas for our new problems.

      Why when we have other left wing parties that are actually being visionary?

      • Andre 11.1.1

        Left wind right wing this is old …. Policy is what people want, the voter will choose on this. Its a new world out there. Good honest policy.

        • Crimson Nile 11.1.1.1

          The right wing don’t think that shifting the wealth of the entire nation to the elite few is old. They’re still doing it. Same old Tories.

          • Andre 11.1.1.1.1

            Exactly…. all those voters who stayed at home or made a bad choice need a reason to vote for equity, Good honest policy. Sounds naive but?

            • Crimson Nile 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Sure, once you understand that policy is 75% irrelevant to winning elections.

              • Andre

                Media that is self serving is a dent in my idea. But a leader /spokesperson could get around that maybe

                • Rogue Trooper

                  visited Dr. Feelbetter this morning; kicking ethanol for His birthday. Maybe i may help.(no milk, no alcohol; just cheese; circumcised i am; have to slice it off :) )
                  recovering Humility Moderation and Compassion. (that is where the power lays)

                  -Mellor (ing out) get the rhythm? ;)

    • bad12 11.2

      The problems are not ‘new’ and the answers to the current problems can be found in the way that New Zealand dragged itself from the ruins of the Great Depression in the 1930’s,

      Although what was great about it i can never figure…

  12. Ianmac from saltzburg. 12

    “I would not like to see the Standard become just another echo-chamber for political pessimists. I’m inclined to agree with some of the recent commenters here who are drawing attention to this in various ways. Perhaps in 2013 it will be time for a bit more balance.”

    Totally agree Mike. Under the guise of betterment some just sound like complainers and pessimists. Support the strengths and the fiddle with the means to improvements. Cannot do much from the Opposition benches!

    • karol 12.1

      This complaint about TS becoming pessimistic, is mainly being expressed by supporters of Team Shearer. To me there are a lot of positives here. The most depressing thing are the attempts, one way or another, to stifle dissent. It has me looking for an exit and pondering moving to a different forum.

      And it (the pessimistic complaint of TS pessimism) just reads to me as another attempt to suppress any criticism of Team Shearer or open democratic debate about the NZLP.

      This just seems like a rather soft and manipulative way to censor comments on the blog.

      However, I have strongly held concerns about the current Labour Caucus leadership, and fear the kind of government it would lead. A change to a NAct-lite government, and one that tries to suppress democracy, would not be the kind of government I could support.

      Sometimes democratic process and the route to negotiating differing views is difficult. I’m not here for some fairy-tale, cheer-leading for the NZLP no matter what it does.

      • mickysavage 12.1.1

        Agreed Karol. The premise seems to be that if we just stop complaining and celebrate the magnificence that is the current caucus then everything will be fine.

        Well damn it. We (activists) do not work on campaigns to preserve MPs their privilege. We get then elected so they can improve the plight of ordinary New Zealanders and so something about the serious problems that this world faces.

        The sooner they understand this the better.

        And they ought to realise that November’s constitutional changes were all about increasing the say of members and reducing the power of caucus.

        • the sprout 12.1.1.1

          well put ms.

          i personally think it’s not only a duty to not support the current labour caucus leadership, given their anti-democratic disdain for the membership, but also a duty to actively oppose them.

          suggesting that it’s somehow disloyal or at best counter-productive to left interests, to do anything other than cheerlead the current caucus of self-interested unreconstructed rogernomes is really quite offensive.

      • Bill 12.1.2

        It has me looking for an exit and pondering moving to a different forum.

        From where I sit, that’s really quite depressing Karol.

        I know there certainly has been some “fairy-tale, cheer-leading for the NZLP” on ts. Actually, to be more precise, I think I’m correct in saying that some really quite ludicrous and noble vocal defences have been mounted more on behalf of specific actors who strut their stuff in the parliamentary pantomime than on the behalf of the NZLP.

        Anyway. When I was asked to write here a couple of years back, it was well known that I was no fan of representative parliamentary systems of governance – never mind the NZLP. The left is broad. And the more ts can reflect the breadth of the left (including more conservative elements) the better imo.

        Anyway, the long and the short of it is that I sincerely hope you don’t exit and that you have done with the pondering. That would be a good xmas pressie. :-)

          • karol 12.1.2.1.1

            Thanks Bill and micky. I will keep posting here as long as they are welcome by the other posters and commenters.

            I am just copying some of some my drafts of posts-in-the-making to a blog of my own. If they start to be seen as too “negative” here, I will then publish them on my own blog.

            I’m uncertain where Mike is heading with this post of his. I think a few of us don’t have a lot of trust in the current Labour Caucus leadership.

            • weka 12.1.2.1.1.1

              Karol I value your posts here alot. You are a big part of making ts what it is, and it would be a loss for ts and the left if you stopped writing here.

              I’m not really following your concern. Apart from Mike’s post, and a few comments about there being too much anti-Shearer, where is the negativity? Have you had some directed at you?

              • karol

                weka. Yes I have some such comments under a fairly recent post of mine. And it seems to be indicated at the end of Mike’s post above:

                I would not like to see the Standard become just another echo-chamber for political pessimists. I’m inclined to agree with some of the recent commenters here who are drawing attention to this in various ways. Perhaps in 2013 it will be time for a bit more balance.

                See the comments here under my post from a week or so ago:

                http://thestandard.org.nz/whats-new-shearer-retrospective/comment-page-1/#comment-563903

                Also, given the history of attempts to silence LP members from making critical comments on TS, and the fact that Mike Smith is a founder of this blog. Mike’s post, especially the quoted comment above, seemed to be more than just providing his view on the current Labour Caucus.

                However, I agree, there hasn’t been a lot of negativity expressed on TS.

                • Napkins

                  Average surface temps are likely going to increase by 3 to 4 degrees centigrade in the next 40 years, right when we will be in an energy depletion crisis.
                  And our politicians are still talking TINA and neoliberalism.
                  So this isn’t about Karol or any other poster being negative or pessimistic, or even being sunny and optimistic. The key is to be REALISTIC, which frankly our representatives in Parliament are awful at.
                  John Michael Greer has recently written on this dumbing down of political rhetoric. How political players have turned political debate into word association games with either “warm fuzzy” feelings or “cold prickly feelings”, instead of debating the issues and options in detail.

                • Colonial Weka

                  Thanks for the link Karol. I tend to agree with other commenters there that it was a case of sock-puppetry. And IMO the attempt of various parts of the Labour Party to silence ts is not something we should be put off by. They don’t have much of a leg to stand on, and we should remember that.

                  • karol

                    Thanks, weka. I was also respecting the fact that Mike Smith is one of the founders/trustees for this site.

            • Saarbo 12.1.2.1.1.2

              “I think a few of us don’t have a lot of trust in the current Labour Caucus leadership.”

              I agree with you 100% on your post Karol, but particularily on the comment above. The changes that were made at the Conference would have provided a clever and perceptive leader with a cue to make changes in exactly the opposite direction than what the Labour Caucus Leaders did on the Tuesday after the Conference. As members we could finally make decisions that gave us a real stake in the Labour Party. This change could have been very powerful for the Labour Party, it could have rejuvenated the membership and led to huge increase in funding in the organisation. I for one was left buzzing after the Conference, I thought the Labour Party had finally got things back on track.

              But then on the Monday we had Labour Caucus members Cosgrove and OConnor on RNZ critisizing one of their colleagues, in my experience this is not good practice and a sign of weak leadership (Since when have we heard colleagues attack another colleague in such a way, unprecedented!). Then we got Chris Hipkins outburst, and after that I just felt that the Labour Party Caucus was just an undisciplined free for all, with no real leadership, and quite frankly a mess.

              David Shearer’s decision to demote Cunliffe on the Tuesday after the Conference actually killed the momentum that the Conference had so succesfully created. For the Media, it provided them with a justification for their story and so they embraced it. But for me, it was exactly the wrong thing to do, Shearer created a disenfranchised group within Labour, he pissed us off.

              For the sake of Labour and to carry on the momentum generated by the Conference he needed to take a very different action than to create an alienated group with in Labour. I am sure that had he taken a different action, Labour would be in a very different place than what it is in now. And that is why “I think a few of us don’t have a lot of trust in the current Labour Caucus leadership”…well when I discuss this with people I get the impression that it is more than a “few”.

              I think it is up to Shearer and the Labour Caucus leadership to win our support back. By nature, Labour people dont look kindly on people who use authoritarian power…so until the Labour Caucus leaders can win us back we can do two things. 1)Continue to voice our concerns on ts and 2) Cut off/reduce/minimise our donations to the Labour party.

              • GeoffCartwright

                Well I am all for freedom of speech as i stated to CC but…
                We, as members, have the mechanism to ensure caucus is aligned with the party but if our collective voices on TS and lack of support for the party organisation causes even one potential vote to be lost then the cost is too great.
                We need to win the battle in 2014, then we enlarge the field soas to win the war.
                Encircled ground we must fight but we need unity, focus and organisation to win.
                we are the vanguard for the people.

              • bad12

                There is a 3rd ‘thing’ that you can do, while acutely interested in the constitutional change made at the Conference, it’s relevance has now by the later actions of the leader and some of the Caucus come down to a lesson to the Party members on how that Caucus view you all,

                Rather than withdraw support from the Party i am of the view that Labour members unhappy with what ensued after the constitutional review,(the BS leadership challenge and later demotion) should in fact openly agitate for a strengthening of that constitutional change which on reflection i think failed to go far enough,

                My view is that the floor of the annual conference should hold by vote the trigger to the question of leadership, further to that it is my belief that democracy would also be better served if the conference floor by vote elected on a yearly basis the Cabinet,(shadow cabinet), and perhaps should even go as far by vote from the floor of the conference to allocate portfolios to the membership elected Cabinet,

                Under such a constitution the Labour Caucus would never dare usurp the wishes of the Party membership while in Government simply because the membership would control who was ‘in’ Cabinet and for how long they remained such…

            • the sprout 12.1.2.1.1.3

              your posts are definitely welcome here karol

        • Olwyn 12.1.2.2

          +1

          • bad12 12.1.2.2.1

            And here, +1, Karol don’t be deterred by any criticism expressed or implied, your posts are spot on as far as the concerns of a broad church ‘left’ goes,

            It is not for ‘us’ to change the values we have held over many generations, it is for the Executive to act upon those concerns,

            99% of what i read here on the Standard i can go to the Labour Party website and read as Labour Party policy, the disconnect (as criticism) does not therefor come from those who post and comment here, it appears to be a deliberate disconnect by the Executive from the membership and the Party policy,

            The glaring example of this ‘disconnect’ would be the recently announced Kiwibuild housing policy, where to avail oneself of such proposed largesse one need be able to service a 300+ grand mortgage,

            Labour housing policy has always been for the State to build such housing and rent it to those most in need for 25% of household income,

            This to me is simply a glaring example of the Executive usurping it’s role and imposing upon the Party policy inspired by the Executive whether the membership agree to such policy or not…

        • Rhinoviper 12.1.2.3

          +2

      • blue leopard 12.1.3

        Well said (again) Karol,

        If one ran a business and responded to complaints in the way that NZLP caucus appear to have, and some members of NZLP on this site have, the business would be frequented less and less. Let that be a warning to you all. Get with the programme, pull your finger out, and stop whinging about peoples’ response to your ineffectual approaches. Complaints need to be seen as opportunities for improvement.

        Fair enough to consider complaints off-putting when they get too vitriolic, however I don’t think that has happened on The Standard yet. Mostly there is a clear message of what the criticism is aimed at. I thought that the strength of democracy is the pooling of knowledge, from many walks of life and this involves criticism as well as positive reinforcement.

        If political parties want positive feedback, there is a very easy way to get it. Start representing more views. Its really not rocket science.

        Wouldn’t want to see you go either, Karol. Keep up the good work! :)

        • weka 12.1.3.1

          I think there is too much vitriol myself. And too much petty arguing. Those things are negatives for ts more than the criticisms of the Labour party IMO.

          • blue leopard 12.1.3.1.1

            Weka,
            It would be good if you would substantiate your claim, anyone can say “I think there is too much vitriol” however stating reasons why would be helpful

            Put it this way.

            We have had a year where there have been serious privacy breaches in numerous ministries, an anti-democratic move in a Canterbury area, dishonesty from at least one portfolio holder and serious international shenanigans re the spy/Kimdotcom to which our PM has responded by “doing a number” numerous times of “forgetting”, “as far as I can remember”, “I didn’t read it” signs of severe incompetence and the main opposition party’s main move of the year is to attack one of their own.

            Mr W Peters, the Greens and Mana have managed to get their points across numerous times regardless of the state of MSM and what have we heard of our main opposition party?

            I’m not an “inside” person in politics, nor are the people I know and commenting how useless the Labour Party is coming across (usually perceiving the weakness as Mr Shearer, however I do understand that it must be an issue with advisors as well as one personality) and what now? We have this message coming across on the Standard that the criticism being aimed at the Labour Party is “too vitriolic” (wee wee wee Mummy tell them to go away)

            If the Labour Party wish to become effective, they have to start listening to the feedback, not solely from their well paid (and clearly disengaged advisors), rather than crying about it and trying to shut it down in a very anti-democratic manner.

            So, yeah, please tell me, under these circumstances, how you feel that the criticisms are too caustic.

            Cheers

            • Colonial Weka 12.1.3.1.1.1

              Crossed wires, blue leopard. I was meaning too much vitriol on ts in general (rather than just aimed at the Labour party).

              But since you asked ;-) how about this from Rhinocrates.

              http://thestandard.org.nz/assessing-labours-frontbench/comment-page-1/#comment-542801

              A fine rant for sure, but IMO it crosses a line. It’s intent is to put the people down, seriously damage their mana. I’m not intending to pick on Rhinocrates here, and to be honest, the quality of the rant does make up somewhat for the tenor of the comment. It’s more that there is a level of abusiveness here that IMO precludes collaborative politics. I notice in myself that it is very easy to just be ruder and ruder (I often have to edit my posts to Jenny at the moment because it would be so easy to put her down instead of just focussing on the weaknesses in her arguments).

              I like a good argument, and if things were otherwise fine I’d be happy enough to just hang out here and argue, but things aren’t fine, they’re very bloody serious, and I sometimes feel that the combative nature of the debate here uses up alot of time and energy that might be put to better use in another way.

              • karol

                weka, I am not keen on things getting too combative as the discussions tend to be very unproductive. In that case, I usually just don’t engage and move on to something else.

                Except that some persistent right wing thread-jackers and diverters can bring combative responses on themselves.

                [RL: Thanks for the comment. Two problems; both lprent and I work full-time jobs 50 or more hours a week. One thing we do have in common is that we’re both speed-readers which helps a lot, but we’re not here as class-room monitors 24hrs. Besides that would kill the spirit of the place.

                Secondly I think we’ve traditionally allowed a fairly high level of noisy, robust debate. I realise that not everyone likes that. What we try to do is intervene on the extremes of behaviour and expect that most people will moderate themselves. Some people take more ‘learning’ than others. A few never do.

                Whether this approach will work indefinitely into the future is a good question. If The Standard were to double or triple to over 1000 comments a day, something would have to change.]

                • karol

                  My comment wasn’t a criticism of TS moderation. It works for TS to enable a broad range of styles of commenting. Some like the more “combative” style of discussion, I tend to use a different style.

                  I was just saying to weka, that I find it best to just move on and not engage with the kind of comments that I find I can’t respond to in a productive way.

              • @ Colonial Weka,

                You didn’t answer my question; you provided an example which you considered vitriolic, however my question was don’t you think that the vitriol directed at the Labour Party is in keeping with their failure this year? ….i forgive you on this occasion seeing as its Christmas and all :) …..maybe you’ve already been imbibing some Christhmath spirits

                I also know that there isn’t really a good answer you can give that would be in keeping with your argument.

                I find Rhinocrates comments very heartening to read, witty and often on the pulse. A bit of swearing forgiven in Rhinocrates case because of the message conveyed. I think the subjects of Rhinocrates comments have damaged their own mana, and Rhinocrates is simply pointing that out.

                As for “general” vitriol (which this post wasn’t about), yes, at times I find a certain type of vitriol off-putting; namely ad hominem attacks, usually this diverts a good argument; where debating the points is more interesting to me. However when conversations go that way I simply don’t bother reading them

                • weka

                  If you think the problem I had with Rhinoctrates’ comment was the swearing then you really have missed my point (and don’t know me at all).

                  Do I think that the Labour Party deserves to be severely criticised? Yes. Do I think it’s useful to do that by heaping personal abuse on individuals? No.

                • weka

                  btw,

                  “We have this message coming across on the Standard that the criticism being aimed at the Labour Party is “too vitriolic” (wee wee wee Mummy tell them to go away)”

                  This comment exemplifies what I am talking about. If you think it’s appropriate or useful to ridicule people by using a loaded taunt against men’s masculinity (and a tired old trope about the value of mothers to boot), then you deserve to have people like Mallard in charge. Personally, I think it’s fine for people to have feelings, and to not completely operate from the school of political hard knocks. I want some sensitive people in Parliament. And I want people who understand the value of respect in Parliament.

                  In my limited understanding of mana, it is something to be given to other people, and that the giving or not is also about the mana of the person doing the giving. It is possible to criticise the ABCs without resorting to destroying them as people. If you want to destroy them as people, then why should they not do the same to you or me or ts? In which case it’s just an unwinnable war. I don’t think we can afford that. I’m not advocating pacifism, I think it’s good to go hard against the ABCs. I just think there are some tactics that make the situation worse, on lots of levels.

                  • My comment only “exemplifies what you are talking about” because you appear to have severely misconstrued it. There is absolutely no “loaded taunt against men’s masculinity” I seriously don’t know where you get that from. (?) The comment was figuratively illustrating how puerile I find the complaining over well-founded complaints of the Labour party caucus’s behaviour.

                    Remember this?
                    http://www.3news.co.nz/Opinion-Why-does-Labour-hate-David-Cunliffe-so-much/tabid/1135/articleID/264472/Default.aspx

                    There was no apology, no addressing of “two senior members” approaching reporters to encourage publicizing the personal attacks of this member of the party. From an outside perspective this act was a poor show and displays seriously underhand tactics amongst colleagures. The silence from the leader on addressing this public “outburst” indicates a condoning of, if not involvement in the move. The backdrop being absolute oodles of fodder to attack the Government on, but hey, why do the much needed job of opposition party when you can simply publicize the disunity in your own party?

                    Hoping that it is not too disrespectful by providing a link to a very short description of a much involved concept:

                    http://www.maori.org.nz/tikanga/default.php?pid=sp98&parent=95

                    The mana a person is born with sets them off, but the way that they conduct themselves throughout life will either strengthen their own personal mana, and by that the mana of their tupuna, or weaken their own personal mana.

                    In my view these people have lowered their Mana, and that of their party and to criticise that is not “taking away” their Mana; it is giving them an opportunity to rectify it.

                    • weka

                      Please go and read my posts again. I am not saying don’t criticise. I’m saying that personal abuse is not a useful strategy.

                      “My comment only “exemplifies what you are talking about” because you appear to have severely misconstrued it. There is absolutely no “loaded taunt against men’s masculinity” I seriously don’t know where you get that from. (?) The comment was figuratively illustrating how puerile I find the complaining over well-founded complaints of the Labour party caucus’s behaviour.”

                      Really? Because I thought you were comparing someone’s behaviour to a little boy going crying to his mother. Sounds like a put down to me.

                    • Bill

                      I’d have thought that referring to some-one running off to appeal to an external authority was a reference to that persons negation of their own responsibility.

                      Couching it in terms of a wee boy running to their mum suggests immaturity alongside a failure to accept responsibilty. And, I just don’t see it as an attack on masculinity per se. The message or critisism strikes me as an appeal to “grow up” rather than “man up”. Besides, I don’t know that an appeal to “man up” in a patriarchical context would be altogether helpful or desirable.

                      And why ‘masculanise’ the comment anyway? There was no overt reference to a boy running to mummy. Since the reference is to the Labour Party and its immediate environment – and an interpretation of the nature of some perceptions/complaints about dynamics within that environment – why not an equally strong image of that perception as a little girl running off to mummy?

                    • weka

                      A girl running to her mummy doesn’t have the same put down potential as a boy ;-) I suppose I thought bl was referring to Mike Smith as one of the people saying don’t criticise the Labour party so much.

                      The wee wee mummy comment is, IMO, a personal put down, and again I don’t see how it’s helpful. Does anyone think that Shearer and Mallard or whoever are going to have some epiphany if they just get abused enough? In the macho culture that is parliament, I’m guessing that such behaviour just reinforces the things that we would like to see changed. Rhinocrates’ comment was classic. It implies that the only people that should be in parliament are the hardarses who can take such personal abuse, but the irony is that such people are unlikely to be swayed by such abuse anyway. I think that approach is wrong.

                      Likewise, if Mike Smith wants to post on ts that he thinks Labour should be supported not denigrated, then that’s fine. It sparks healthy debate. Calling him a child running to his mummy is petty and useless. By all means engage with the substance of what Mike has written and call him on that, but why bother putting him down? He’s part of this community too.

                    • I got caught up in a flurry of guests and extra work. Thanks Bill for understanding my comment and clarifying it so lucidly

      • One Tāne Viper 12.1.4

        Karol, please keep contributing.

    • Dr Terry 12.2

      Ifs. Why must you interpret these comments as so largely pessimistic? More often than not they are full of hope for “positive” renewal.

      • Crimson Nile 12.2.1

        Well, it would be the end of the familiar, certain status quo. Some people are not going to like that. No matter how positive it is for many others.

  13. Jenny 13

    The thing is Mike. That if you found a newspaper or blogsite you have to have something to say.

    Before agreeing to let The Standard be founded you should have looked to your own Party’s history.

    In the days before the internet, all attempts to maintain a newspaper by the Labour Party failed.

    #1. Because the leadership had nothing to say. (That was different to National.) So failed to attract any interest or readership.

    #2. Because it gave a forum for flaxroots members to have their say, which offended the pragmatists. So had to be closed down.

    But a blogsite is different..

    The biggest difference is that it is interactive and often takes the discussion down paths that the LP top table don’t want it to go.

    Unfortunately, other than the difficulty to control it. The other big difference, is the difficulty to shut it down once it has run out of the control of the leadership.

    This is for two reasons.

    (a) The ease with which all the posters and commenters can set up or transfer the discussion to another blogsite with hardly any fragmentation.

    (b) The inability to threaten and control the authors and moderators themselves, who find it more than easy to defy edicts from the top table. And so can often drift from the party line.

    Long live The Standard as it draws the debate further to the left.

    Good on you Mike for still being involved.

    • Jenny 13.1

      PS. I couldn’t make out the little picture at the head of your post, Mike. I have just worked it out. Is this how you see yourself and the Labour Party leadership, encircled and beset by all sides?

      If so, The way to break out of that encirclement, is by taking a strong stand one with one side, or the other.

      Just try to make sure that it is not the wrong side. That’s the trick!

    • karol 13.2

      I always understood that this was not a Labour Party blog, but one of the broader labour movement – one that was a forum for those on the left, whatever party they support, or don’t support.

      • Dr Terry 13.2.1

        Yes, precisely Karol. Should the Standard find only Labour Party comment acceptable, then, of course, some of us will be obliged to withdraw.

        • KJT 13.2.1.1

          The criticism of the, largely self selected, self serving incompetents we have in Parliament, on both sides of the house, is justified.

          The left should never be in the position of singing from the same propaganda songbook.
          leave that to the right.

          Dissent, democracy and argument are essential to finding the best policies. And the best leaders.

          I thought the standard was a blog for the broad left. Not an apologist for a Labour caucus’s ineptitude.

          And, I fully expect any competent subordinate to be after my job. If they weren’t they wouldn’t be any good.
          A competent leader should find that routine, and an incentive to meet a high standard, not threatening.

          • lprent 13.2.1.1.1

            I thought the standard was a blog for the broad left.

            It is. However the NZLP is also a big organised part of that broad left, so you find quite a few members of the NZLP both commenting and authoring here (including me).

            • KJT 13.2.1.1.1.1

              Labour is hardly, Left!

              • Te Reo Putake

                Actually, I am left, KJT. I am Labour. So is the secretary of my branch, all the members and the LEC as far as I can tell. Labour is not 3 dozen people working in Molesworth St, Wellington. Labour is left.

                • KJT

                  I will believe that when Labour apologises for the destruction of our society they started in 1984.

                  • Te Reo Putake

                    Whooooosh, point goes flying over KJT’s head.

                    • KJT

                      I think we have already established that those with the power in the Labour caucus, are anything but.

                      And they do not accept dissent from anyone who wants them to stick to Labour’s declared principles.
                      As we have seen with the vapours that started the viper attack

                      I accept that the majority of members may be “left”>

                    • fatty

                      over my head too Te Reo Putake

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Labour is not 3 dozen people working in Molesworth St, Wellington. Labour is left.

                  Not according to the people at Molesworth St, Wellington.

        • David Viperious H 13.2.1.2

          And then Dr Terry it will just become another Red Alert. Unused and shunned, because the ‘party’ uses it for underhanded purposes.

  14. VindowViper 14

    Mike … all credit for keeping the lines of communication open.

    The very best outcome would be this. Imagine if the Labour leadership actually engaged with people at The Standard … not on their controlled terms … but openly and honestly. Sure it would feel risky, and for certain there would things said people would prefer not said.

    But it would once and for all break the neo-liberal MSM stranglehold on the message. For once you would have a media on your side, not theirs.

  15. irascible 15

    Did anyone also notice this little treasure which demonstrates the ideological nopnsense that underpins the KeY policies of this NACTional government.
    http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2012/12/not-even-treasury-believes-in-charter.html

    A further piece of news that should give Labour more ammunition to destroy Parrota and, at the same time, further undermine the merry dance of the smile, wave, scuttle and run PM.

  16. Bill 16

    The easy and instant way to end the public stoush is remarkably simple.

    David Shearer could commit to holding a party wide vote in Feb regardless of any caucus vote of confidence. At the moment, whether you or he like it or not, there’s a widespread perception that pretenders are clawing onto vestiges of power. That fuels anger. But like I say, it’s easily mollified. Not holding my breath right enough and suspect the idea is to avoid a party wide vote in Feb.

    In which case the anger and the critisism will continue through March, April, May…and some incumbents will be running a real risk of losing their permission to stand as electoral candidates further down the track. (Or are those changes around selection not in place yet and able to be blocked or deferred?)

    • @ Bill
      I agree, and just a slight correction

      “In which case the anger and the critisism will continue through March, April, May…”

      Some criticism probably will continue, yet more likely people will start focussing on political parties that give them a vestige of hope that they will act to improve conditions for more people.

    • bad12 16.2

      I agree with that 100%, media commentators remarked at the time of Shearers demotion of Cunliffe that doing so was Shearer somehow making the ‘tough’ decision and showing ‘leadership’,

      I viewed that,(Cunliffes demotion), as exactly the opposite, had Shearer at the time left Cunliffe to His position and publicly stated that it would be He,(Shearer), who would trigger the Party wide leadership vote in February my opinion of Shearer would have risen markedly…

    • David Viperious H 16.3

      But there’s all these Dinosaurs in the LP Caucus that will resist change with every vestige of their old bones. So as good an Idea as it is Bill i’m afraqid that thats aqll it will ever be, until said dino’s are gone.

      • Bill 16.3.1

        So what exactly were the changes to the selection process that empowered members? And when are they meant to come into effect (if they aren’t already)?

    • Saarbo 16.4

      I agree 100% Bill.

  17. Quasimodo 17

    “I would not like to see the Standard become just another echo-chamber for political pessimists. I’m inclined to agree with some of the recent commenters here who are drawing attention to this in various ways. Perhaps in 2013 it will be time for a bit more balance.”

    Don’t do it, Mike. You would kill the very thing which brings us here. Life would be boring without ‘The Standard’ .. as it is.

  18. bad12 18

    Perhaps as both a post author and a person working in the office of the Leader of the Opposition the message you convey to us who comment on and read the Standard should be reversed and conveyed to that Leader???

    Is not the heart of Politics the engagement with as wide a cross section of those the Party supposedly represents??? and is not the Standard, it’s authors, readers and commenters a readily available ongoing audience and discussion of those politics,and should not the Leader and other Members of the Caucus be only too happy to engage with the Standard in an open and frank discussion…

  19. Descendant Of Sssmith 19

    Back in the 80’s quite a few of us concluded that National politicians infiltrated the Labour Party so they could be in power regardless of who was elected. That’s how it felt as working conditions, unions, wage levels and benefits were all attacked and dismantled, alcohol access was opened up to supermarkets, shops were opened up to all days of the week and so on.

    The disillusionment with Labour started back then. At times I had hoped for improvement and Clarks Labour government did much good work but never had the courage to roll back much at all and totally lost my support when they didn’t increase benefit rates significantly in 9 years.

    The difference in rates now between benefits and NZS is ridiculous and even more so when you take living alone payment into account.

    I’ve expressed my concerns to several local Labour and National MP’s over the years with little interest from either.

    I came across this site while doing research around the original standard.

    This gave me an option to reflect that from my perspective a view that seemed to have no other outlet – that we have moved so far to the right that things that were normal for a long long time in this country are now seen as extreme.

    It really does irritate me that Labour has the claiming of the 8 hour working day but no Labour politician let alone the party is willing to say that it’s time it was put back.

    Without delving into any other area of irritation let’s take that simple question Mike.

    What is the Labour Party’s position on re-instating an 8 hour working day 40 hour working week?

    You have it as a tenet of the Labour Party on your website – is it a historical tenet only or is it something alive and living today?

    And let’s not forget many workers still have that in their contracts currently – it’s about supporting those who do not.

  20. One Tāne Viper 20

    The message from team Shearer is consistent: “shut up.”

    Genuine criticisms probably cut a little deeper than the dreck Farrar et al serve up.

  21. Mike Smith 21

    I found the picture at the top of this post by googling “ray of sunshine.” I much prefer optimism; I remember a dear friend, a long-term beneficiary with a wonderful sense of humour, once giving me a favourite quote: “No-one ever went blind from looking on the bright side of life.” How true.

    Looking on the bright side politically, at the end of 2012 Labour and Greens are trending up in the polls, National is trending down. Combined Labour-Greens are at least level-pegging with National. What I want for Christmas is a win for Labour-Greens in 2014, two years away.

    I think the Standard should be more in the main game. For a long time we were; more recently it’s felt more like infighting. The right-wing trolls have disappeared; it’s as though they don’t need to bother with us any more.

    To me, that means seeing where the real enemy is. And not letting perceptions get in the way. Just to calm things down, I don’t want to shut the Standard down, quite the opposite. I think it could have a valuable role to play.

    And I’m not worried by debate on the left, ’twas ever thus; I’d just prefer it was less personal and less prone to sweeping judgments. I’ve lived long enough to have spent a great deal of time out of the “beltway” – although I was in Washington D.C. for three years in the sixties and seventies, and saw the effects of the 1968 race riots, well inside the beltway.

    I understand perceptions do matter. There may well be a difference between many on this site and where they perceive the Labour caucus to be. The best answer to that is to talk to each other, not consign others to fixed positions that may well not be true. People can and do change.

    David Shearer is a good example. Gobsmacked asks a simple question “What did Shearer do before the criticism started.” I’d say quite a lot actually, if you look at his track record before entering Parliament. I supported him from the beginning, for reasons I stated here. http://thestandard.org.nz/selections-i-have-known/
    I was also critical of his rooftop example here. http://thestandard.org.nz/dog-whistling/ When the crescendo grew against him before the Labour conference, I pointed out that two other Labour leaders had turned things around with one speech. http://thestandard.org.nz/dont-panic-2/ So did Shearer.

    To me after is much more important than before; maybe it’s time to let the anger go.

    So back to the future. I think there is a real opportunity for a change of government in 2014. And I think that Labour-led government is always better than National-led; they’ve never been perfect but they’ve always been better. Unions and beneficiaries learned that the hard way after the demise of the fourth Labour government – we got the Employment Contracts Act, the Mother of all Budgets, and a recession.

    And I think the next Labour-Green government will be much better. There’s been a seismic shift at the base away from the 1980’s consensus on monetary and economic policy, so much so that the old “no difference” critique is now well out of date. Social policy is work in progress, but again signs are it will be very different from National. It’s opportunity time.

    The left’s main problem has always been disunity; it’s why solidarity is such an important labour movement value. Again, I think it is important to focus on the real enemy. This National government is bringing back many of the same laws as underpinned the Employment Contracts Act, and mounting another attack on beneficiaries – they’ve just learned not to make it so obvious.

    People are waking up however, which is why Kerre Woodham’s article is an important straw in the wind. I think the Standard should help.

    • Blue Viper 21.1

      Mike, we would all prefer a Labour-led Government over a National one. We are on the same team, and we want the same thing.

      We just totally disagree about how we’re going to get there.

      That’s why the refrain from the pro-Shearer camp that the Standard is ‘negative’ and ‘helping National’ is so maddening.

      You, and the majority of the Labour Party caucus, for some unfathomable reason, think David Shearer is going to lead Labour to victory in 2014.

      Most of the rest of us think there is no way in hell that Labour will win in 2014 with Shearer as leader, and we believe that urgent action is needed or our country will end up suffering under a third term of a National Government.

      For that very reason, because we know how much there is at stake, we will not shut up.

      • karol 21.1.1

        Thanks for responding, Mike, and for your reassurances of continued open discussion on TS.

        Blue, even if the current LP leadership did lead a new government, it has moved so far to the right it will not stop the decline and rightwards shift of NZ. This current Labour Leadership has so far looked like the most right wing, male-dominated and undemocratic caucus leadership that I have seen for an NZLP in a long time. In power, it is unlikely to do little to move the country in the direction it needs to go for the future.

        It will be less destructive than the current government, with one or two positive but incremental changes. However, once the NActs return to power, there dismantling of the NZ welfare state will continue as if they’d never been away.

        Getting the MSM on side by sweet-talking and indications of no dramatic changes, is a dangerous game. Once in power the current Labour caucus leaders couldn’t do anything to left wing without being destroyed by their MSM “friends”.

      • Craig Glen viper 21.1.2

        +1

    • Bill 21.2

      I think the Standard should be more in the main game. For a long time we were; more recently it’s felt more like infighting. The right-wing trolls have disappeared; it’s as though they don’t need to bother with us any more.

      I’m not aware of any infighting at ts. But I am aware that the Labour Party has mps using interviews with major news outlets to slice and dice fellow mps. And it’s the Labour Party that needs to be ‘more in the main game’. It’s they who are out of touch with what people are thinking, not ts. And the right-wing trolls aren’t trolling because they don’t need to bother with the Labour Party any more. (Just read Mathew Hooten’s mischeviously supportive comments on various threads).

      To me, that means seeing where the real enemy is. And not letting perceptions get in the way.

      Gawd my head’s hurting! The advice being to close my mind to what I know and think (perceptions) for why? The ambitions of others? You do know it would be far more appropriate to give that advice to caucus and convince them to act on it, yes? ‘Cause you know, they are the ones who are meant to represent and act upon the views of others. Not me.

      I’m off to find some aspirin.

      • mike 21.2.1

        “And the right-wing trolls aren’t trolling because they don’t need to bother with the Labour Party any more. (Just read Mathew Hooten’s mischeviously supportive comments on various threads). ”

        Yep, when Matthew Hooten is posting here about how impressed he is with Shearer, you know it’s because he wants him to stay leader because he doesn’t think he can win.

        • KJT 21.2.1.1

          And even if he does, the policy settings will be only slightly to the left of National.

          David Cunliff gets it. We do not want our legs cut off, again! even if Labour offers anesthetic.

      • blue leopard 21.2.2

        Gees, Bill 21.1, thanks for writing so succinctly exactly the type of thing that was running through my mind!! (I think a lot of us might have the same headache)

    • Anne 21.3

      Mike, I agree with much of what you say and I also say thank-you for having the nous to keep the line of communication open…

      I haven’t time to detail my comment further except to say:

      I am an admirer of David Shearer. I think he has a great deal to offer NZ. But I also admire David Cunliffe. I think he, too, has a great deal to offer NZ. Do you not agree he was the victim of a set of circumstances created by the MSM (and used by a small group within Caucus) and that he has been unjustly treated? Does not the Labour Party believe in justice and fairness for all people and not just a selected few?

    • David Viperious H 21.4

      “To me after is much more important than before; maybe it’s time to let the anger go. ”

      After is more important, why? Because the pain of being lied to, and ignored, will all miraculously go away, because it’s all for the common good of the party?
      So then we should just shut up be good little boys, and let the labour party turn Blue?

      And after reading your reply Mike, leaves me to believe that you, and the rest in the ‘party’ have NOT listened, and have NOT taken to heart what the membership wants. SO therefore what does it take?? A complete disaster at the next election?? NO workers at the Next Election? So the message I would like to personally send is this.

      If you want my vote back you have to start to listen.
      You are NOT too big to be voted out.
      If Shearer is still the Leader of the Labour party, and they again ignore the wishes of the membership in Feburary, then the 800,000 that didn’t vote last time, will seem like a drop in the ocean compared to the votes that will desert them in 2014.

      I have already said that Labour will be a sad and sorry 3rd if he is still the leader, because it means the Dinosaurs are still in charge, and it will be a lost vote, to vote for them.

    • gobsmacked 21.5

      Gobsmacked asks a simple question “What did Shearer do before the criticism started.” I’d say quite a lot actually, if you look at his track record before entering Parliament. I supported him from the beginning

      As did I. See the various Standard threads on the Mt Albert by-election. I was excited by his candidacy. I was told I was a “cheerleader” for Shearer. Many of us were, back then.

      But then he did nothing to impress, after winning the by-election, and nothing again after winning the leadership. So I changed my mind. Based on evidence, not wishes.

      Mike, the fact that you need to invoke “his track record before entering Parliament” speaks volumes. I asked what he had done as Labour leader, and you – a loyalist and Labour man through and through – could not give a single example. Again, if anybody would like to, please do.

      Yet again, the timeline says it all (even though you choose to ignore it). First – Shearer failed. Then – people criticised. No amount of blurring and distracting will change the laws of time. Events A happened before Events B. This is historical fact.

      David Shearer will not become Prime Minister based on his life before politics. He has taken on a new job, and he has been found wanting. So essentially the debate comes down to … Has he changed? Will he change? Can he change? And … Does his caucus faction even care?

      My view is that he is not up to the job, and he could lose Labour the unlosable election. It is up to Labour and their leader to change that view. They cannot do this by demanding that we ignore the evidence of our eyes and ears. They can only provide better evidence. That’s their job for 2013, and it’s not going to change, even if the Standard disappeared tomorrow.

    • Colonial Viper 21.6

      After gaining first hand knowledge of senior Labour MPs spending tax payer paid for time, energy and effort trying to attack and undermine me, an ordinary non-office holding Labour Party member who has poured time, money and energy into the party, I must say that your call for “solidarity” and for The Standard to play it’s useful “role” seem like so much sea salt rubbed into wounds.

      Let me ask you, did you ever question those Labour MPs if they could see “where the real enemy is”, just like you are questioning us on The Standard?

      I would like to use more colourful language to describe the individual perpetrators involved of course, but I can do that with them over a beer some time.

      As for disunity, how about getting the well paid professional caucus to lead by example before you complain about disunity in the all-volunteer membership (and non-Labour voting Left in general). Do you really think that the media comments/leaks made by the caucus ABCs during and after conference are insignificant or have been forgotten so quickly?

      And I think the next Labour-Green government will be much better. There’s been a seismic shift at the base away from the 1980′s consensus on monetary and economic policy, so much so that the old “no difference” critique is now well out of date.

      Australia has long allowed its reserve bank to do much more than target inflation. Singapore heavily controls its forex movements through a non-transparent mechanism. Japan, USA, the EU and the UK have collectively printed over US$5T in new money since 2007. Argentina told foreign bond holders to wait in line and Iceland told the banks to go screw themselves. All over the world governments are putting in place steps to increase resource nationalism, particularly around fossil fuel reserves. The EU is debating a Europe-wide financial transactions tax.

      Compared to all of this activity, what leading edge positions or even discussion (not detailed policy) is Labour signalling in public? Any? Any at all? Come on Mike, give us just two or three actual examples of this recent “seismic shift” in Labour economic thinking that you are asserting has occurred. Shifts which mean that Labour is now truly political-economically distanced from National, and not just different on some points of fine print or theory.

      I hope you don’t think that a policy of $300,000 houses built by private corporations for shareholder profit, designed only for those with solid wages and salaries, but significantly subsidised by taxpayers is an example of Labour’s “seismic shift”.

      Now, about solidarity.

      To my dearest wingmen and women (and that includes those of you on the Right Wing too, you dudes were awesome!!!). I believe that you showed the NZ political blogosphere and MSM the real meaning of the word “solidarity”. I dare say that nothing quite like the spontaneous formation of The Standard Viper Squadron, with over 60 individual magnificent Vipers, has occurred before anywhere else in the political blogosphere anywhere in the world.

      Be very proud of yourselves Standardistas, I certainly am. Please enjoy your holiday break safely with the people you love, and know that in return you too are loved, both by people that you realise and also by some that you don’t.

      “So say we all”.

      CV, ever at your service.

      • karol 21.6.1

        So say we all! Well said!

        And you have a very good break too, CV. You have been missed.

        All this has happened before, and will happen again.

        PS: we have so many vipers now, many may not have noticed you slip in the door.

      • karol thrace viper 21.6.2

        And, in honour…. so say we all!

      • gobsmacked 21.6.3

        Happy holidays, CV.

        (note – I am a Viper name change in spirit, just too lazy/selfish to do it and then forget who I’m supposed to be …)

      • Rogue Trooper 21.6.4

        Brother. :) at your service (you remain behind Him obviously)

        -servant (only Christ keeps me out of jail in this god-forsaken country)

        (Wholly Other, Life, Agape, Freedom.) it is not the tenth commandment by a roll of the dice ;)

      • GeoffCartwright 21.6.5

        Well put my friend.
        When the trade unionist I have talked to state they want a green red coalition as next govt so the greens will keep labour honest and on direction then I know change is coming but I for one think our MP need our support.

      • David Viperious H 21.6.6

        Welcome back CV, you have been missed.

      • mickysavage 21.6.7

        Kia ora CV

        Good to see that you (or they) can’t keep a good person down!

      • blue leopard 21.6.8

        Yes, very good to hear from you CV. Utterly dreadful to think that taxpayers money is being wasted on trying to shut you up. One requirement that our MPs have is to adhere to democratic principles, so what’s this all about?

        My guess is, that it probably isn’t taxpayer money being invested in this anti-democratic b/s, it feels to me that NZ has got a lot of big money influences infesting the country at present; all planning what to do when Mr Key loses his shine. It appears that the Labour party are acting like a bunch of exited whores, when the sailors arrive. Got that frothing at the mouth vibe, ignoring reason that only money-whore-brown-nosing can bring out to this extent. And no, I’m usually not partial to conspiracy-style views, however this is getting to obvious to ignore.

        Why else would the main opposition party ignore their constituency to the level they have?

        • GeoffCartwright 21.6.8.1

          Because the members are hicks and they the academia know best..

          • blue leopard 21.6.8.1.1

            @ GeoffCartwright
            Your comment gives me some insight, thanks.

            …yet I am still left questioning why a caucus would ignore their support base-even if they are hicks; “hicks” votes still gets them into office.

            Either the caucus have (1) completely lost the plot, (2) are “professionally” suicidal or the (3) they know they have other sectors of the community whom will get them a win at election-time. I am presuming option 1 & 2 unlikely and so the 3rd option “other sectors” might be the go.

            This “unknown” sector wouldn’t appear to be the 800, 000 or so people who didn’t vote; there appears to be no targeting of these people nor types like those writing into the Standard (for example) concerned about a lack of and advocating policies that would assist improvement for the least well off, workers or even small business owners. Considering a majority of people would benefit from such policies, then what sector is left that would have the clout to discourage such policies and nous on how to “get around” delivering them, yet still achieve election success?

            • GeoffCartwright 21.6.8.1.1.1

              Hi blue leopard
              To connect to and get the nonaligned non voter, the young etc on board take a huge amount of operational effort and or political capital. Much better to go for the switch swing middle voter.
              I wonder if the LP organisational review and outcome will include better election airing techniques, more modern methods…. Same old same old doesn’t work.

      • Colonial Weka 21.6.9

        “To my dearest wingmen and women (and that includes those of you on the Right Wing too, you dudes were awesome!!!). I believe that you showed the NZ political blogosphere and MSM the real meaning of the word “solidarity”. I dare say that nothing quite like the spontaneous formation of The Standard Viper Squadron, with over 60 individual magnificent Vipers, has occurred before anywhere else in the political blogosphere anywhere in the world.”

        I feel priviledged to have been part of that. What would be cool would be if we did something with that next year. Not sure what, but there is magic and potential momentum in the formation of the squadron and how it came about.

      • Coronial typer 21.6.10

        You are a real Christmas present cv.
        This is family gathering round.

      • felixviper 21.6.11

        felixviper reporting in.

        Good to hear from you CV, hope you’ll be joining us regularly soon.

      • KJT 21.6.12

        :-)

        From Viperidae

      • the sprout 21.6.13

        hear hear cv

    • Draco T Bastard 21.7

      And I think that Labour-led government is always better than National-led; they’ve never been perfect but they’ve always been better. Unions and beneficiaries learned that the hard way after the demise of the fourth Labour government – we got the Employment Contracts Act, the Mother of all Budgets, and a recession.

      And what would have been different if the 4th Labour government had continued?

      Labour knew in 1987 that the country didn’t want to continue with the reforms that they had started but they got voted back in. Is it any surprise that they got voted out in 1990 after they continued their attack on the poor and the workers? National did, after all, promise not to continue the reforms which, of course, they did and then we spent another two elections trying to get rid of them.

      There’s been a seismic shift at the base away from the 1980′s consensus on monetary and economic policy, so much so that the old “no difference” critique is now well out of date.

      At the base maybe but we’re not seeing that at the caucus level.

      The left’s main problem has always been disunity; it’s why solidarity is such an important labour movement value.

      That I can agree with but there’s a difference between solidarity and being told to tow the line which Shearer et al don’t seem to understand.

    • Ianmac in Vienna 21.8

      I wish I could express my position as well as you Mike Smith. + 100%.
      Unity is strength. Undermining the leadership is fatal.

      • karol 21.8.1

        The most recent undermining of Labour Party unity was when the leadership moved response to the membership vote for more say in the party. It was against the main direction of signaled by the majority of members. The disunity has been activated by the leadership.

        They punished Cunliffe on the basis of false claims of an attempted coup at the conference, at the same time as Tamihere was doing some actual bad-mouthing of the party. At the samer time Tamihere negatively baited sections of the party and its supporters (women and gays). Then Tamihere was welcomed back into the fold.

        The disunity comes from the top. Enforced “solidarity” by the leadership is evidence of a weak leadership, and not the kind of unity that motivates and energises a group.

    • Jenny 21.9

      I couldn’t make out the little picture at the head of your post, Mike. I have just worked it out. Is this how you see yourself and the Labour Party leadership, encircled and beset by all sides?

      Jenny

      Thanks Mike for trying to explain your choice of photo to me.

      I found the picture at the top of this post by googling “ray of sunshine.”

      Mike Smith

      Amidst th’encircling gloom…

      However the above heading you gave to accompany the photo gives lie to your claim that you chose this sombre image out of a ‘preference’ for ‘optimism’. Mike, whether consciously or not you have chosen an image that conveys your sense of dread. Depicting as it does yourself (and your supporters) as a small island of light surrounded by a sea of darkness. As well as depicting your feelings about the situation, your gloomy photo and headline infer The Standard is part of “th’ encircling gloom….”

      I personally think a better image to convey the reality of the situation you and your colleagues find yourself in, would be of a reversed photo negative of the same picture.

      An all embracing sky, bathed in light, filled with debate, surrounding a dark central core, conservative, sullen, frightened and resentful, isolated and outnumbered, in the surrounding sea of light.

  22. mac1 22

    Well said, Mike. “Lead thou, kindly Light” indeed.

  23. Descendant Of Sssmith 23

    “The best answer to that is to talk to each other, not consign others to fixed positions that may well not be true. ”

    In the absence of Labour taking a position on most things talked about here you can only assume their position is egregious.

    Talking to each other is a two-way street.

    So back to my earlier question:

    What is the Labour Party’s position on re-instating an 8 hour working day 40 hour working week?

    I could add others such as increasing benefit rates but lets try and take one step at a time.

  24. Ad 24

    Mike clearly you are a messenger, so pop over to parliament and give them this one.

    A few things Labour’s caucus could do for us here to improve our relationship.

    1. Don’t presume you own us. Or can enforce your will on us. Or can control us. State clearly and publicly that they represent us, in fact that they work for us, not the other way round.

    2. Publicly denounce Claire Curran for seeking to hunt us dow. And apologise.

    3. Write policy pieces under their own name here. And when they do, expect debate. Because its fun.

    4. Poll better than 2008. In fact apologise here for the 2008 result. We don’t get paid for campaigning.

    5. Give us our leadership vote.

    6. Unite and be an effective opposition. Any time……….

    7. Release policy that alters the polls, every quarter to 2014.

    8. Demonstrate they can be a future government by publicly cooperating with coalition partners.

    9. Actively encourage and support this site, knowing its fast-growing power and MSM competitiveness.

    10. Win an election. Any time………….

    So far none of this has occurred.
    And if they’d like our help with that election, see above.
    This may help. We will let you know Mike.

    Merry christmas.

  25. GeoffCartwright 25

    Time to reflect.
    The people in the street need a left block vistory in 2014, its a must do or die event.
    How we get it or with whom as leader or which clique doesnt matter really AS long as we get a green labour holding the treasury benches.

    Firstly as a red left we cant scare the voters centre and non aligned with any extreme policy or provide the MSM with a focal message that would cist the election. i.e red under the bed syndrone.

    Our Caucus have elected an leader who has witnessed and actively relied against extreme poverty and is more a mangerial type of leader.
    Just what labour needs – a leader capable of bringing together various factions and grouping within the centre. left and even centre right….its called faciliation.

    Sweeping structural and organisational change is and will happen before the 2014 election, be Patient.

    TS must play its part in getting the message and debate out to the wider community and as such we need robust debate on issues and policy BUT the axe grinding and abuse is counter producive.

    Lets Win the elections at all costs then slowly change society.
    Ita not a left victory but a victory for the people who are suffering and will suffer more under theis failed tory idiology wich even treasury are failing to support on some of the suggested poliy coming from english and co.

    Time to unite and organise, time to stand up and fight now together or it will be too late.
    One last chance as over next ten years society is going to face too many system shocks

    So i suggest that we reflect on exactly what we need as commentators and left blcok supporter need to do to ensure a LP GP victory.

    • karol 25.1

      Lets Win the elections at all costs then slowly change society.

      Ah, there’s the rub. To endure a Lab-Green government that will deliver real change, we need caucus leadership we can trust – one answerable to the members. Not seeing that.

      • GeoffCartwright 25.1.1

        Karol – way i read it, there are sveral ‘triggars’ now available to the party to ensure that caucus is aligned with the party and its wider members.

        Just remember for a just, equal and fair social policy broad platform we need a fully functioning economic system. No available cash = no social policy room.

        Without a gradual and accepted economci system change, a transition if you like, we cannot bring about the desired social direction and poicy changes that is so needed.

        what your solution to no cash in the system….NZ is broke now and for the foreseeable future.
        Tory last ditch solution is asset sales, beg, borrow and even now impose tax hikes.

        I for one am or will do everything to organise my local electrorate this coming year with one objective.
        A LP GP victory in 2014. lets face the coming triple crunch with sussessive ten year plans

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 25.2

      Extreme policy?

      Examples?

      I don’t consider 8 hour working days, increasing benefit rates by $20 + per week, me as an income earner in the top 20% paying more tax, increased rights to strike, increased state housing and the removal of income tested rents, the reinstatement of Non income tested support for children, etc as extreme policies. They weren’t extreme when we had em and they ain’t extreme now.

      It’s just sad people younger than me don’t have em.

      • GeoffCartwright 25.2.1

        DES extreme is any policy that the MSM etc can twist and panic the wide wide middle voter

        How about no sunday trading to your list
        How about a target of 100% employment.

        im not worries about top ten% tax payer more like tope .1% the multi millionaires who rorte the system.
        All good valid ideals but at what cost?

        last friday i worked from 8am till 11pm no breaks 5.5 day weeks i am tired and have had enough so how about victory first, binding policy from the members next over ten year period and get real meaningful change from the signalled new direction.

        I want not something old. not something borrowed and broke, definetly nothing blue, i want something NEW..but a ransition period first where we prepare the electrorate for change..

        • karol 25.2.1.1

          Trouble is, Geoff, I’ve seen such promises before. It’s in the same box as trickle-down as far as I’m concerned. The promise of good things down the road never comes. Now is the time for real change.

          Yes the MSM is a problem. But it will continue to be so when the LP tries to implement real change. What you’re advocating is the Blairite, 1990s solution. And after Blair, comes Cameron and ruthless austerity.

          • GeoffCartwright 25.2.1.1.1

            actually noooo im not.
            We have had third way direction, its been around since gideon (re ) formalised it in the mid 90’s.
            Neo lib direction is dying. we are facing a coming crunch either we transit thru this period by unfettered post investment capitalism or something else i.e a red green brown NEXT WAY.

            Third way to a transitional way to the NEXT WAY and it better not be the tory way as people by then will be very very desperate.

            • karol 25.2.1.1.1.1

              But so far Team Shearer have given no indication of following a New Way, only the old Blairite, appeasing the MSM, third way, and autocratic and untrustworthy with it.

              • GeoffCartwright

                No use having a bold direction if the electorate voter doesn’t get it.
                First we need to reconnect, reorganise and restructure the party and focus on operations within the electorate. Grass root activists .
                Then win the damn election then slowly modify society to weather the storm and also to allow successful adoption of the new economic system that is so needed by the people.
                Neo lib neo capitalim is failing, social democracy third way is meaningless and socialism well it’s time came and went…
                Pax Roma is falling, the gloomy darkness is encircling from the west and east…time for a new construct.

        • David Viperious H 25.2.1.2

          “last friday i worked from 8am till 11pm no breaks 5.5 day weeks” So was it last friday you worked these hours? or is it everyday?? No matter, you should screaming for a union, because it is ILLEGAL to make anyone work 15 hrs with out a break, and I really don’t see how this can come about in anything other than a family business. As staff would be gone in a heart beat. So maybe you should come clean re the ‘8am to 11pm no breaks 5.5 day and fill us in on some of the details.

          • GeoffCartwright 25.2.1.2.1

            Retail sale hours no set or given breaks…eat on the run.
            Most people I know don’t stop for breaks these days, over worked under payed..it’s called life in new Zealand.im lucky to have a job in these tough tough times.

            • Oscar 25.2.1.2.1.1

              Illegal to not have breaks.

              Your employer is required to give you
              – 10 minute break every 3 hours
              – 30 minute (unpaid) “lunch” break every 5 hours

              If you worked 15 hours, you should be entitled to 1.5 hour lunch break and five 10 minute breaks. If your employer pays you for 13.5 hours for friday, you’re getting gipped.

              Time to enforce your rights under the law.

              http://www.dol.govt.nz

            • David H 25.2.1.2.1.2

              You are trying your bullshit on an Ex Fast Food store manager and believe me NO ONE, not even me the manager, did anywhere near those hours. So lets try that again.

              • GeoffCartwright

                I am not in the habit of lying my friend.
                I regular work thru lunch etc due to how busy stressed we are…fact of life.
                One I worked 3 month ten hour days no days off as manager due to staff issues.
                It called life well work…heaps of people work too hard for too long and for little pay or salary.

    • Socialist Paddy 25.3

      Just what labour needs – a leader capable of bringing together various factions and grouping within the centre. left and even centre right

      You mean the fellar that demoted the guy with the most talent in caucus for staging a coup that he did not actually stage?

      You mean the guy who survives only through the support of the ABC faction and refuses to promote talented MPs like Dalziel, Chauvel and Moroney because they are not in his faction?

      You mean the guy who bullied MPs into publicly revealing who they were going to vote for even though they have a constitutional right to refuse to do so?

      You mean that fellar?

      • Olwyn 25.3.1

        I do not think that Cunliffe was challenging the leadership at that stage, but even if he was, so what! A genuinely popular and authoritative leader is able to meet such challenges.

        The problem, Mike, as I see it, is that the relation between the membership and the controlling clique in caucus has the stench of bad faith bargaining. The membership may can have a say, but on condition that they say exactly what the caucus clique would have them say.

        To begin with, they involved the members in the leadership change, only to reject their choice. Then, when they were outvoted on the leadership trigger, they immediately set out to thwart an obvious candidate who did not suit their plans. Whatever agreements this clique has made with right wing commentators trump the concerns of the members, whom they appear to think must be “brought around” rather than heard. Honest dialogue and real concessions from the caucus to the members are the only possible way through this. But I am not holding my breath.

        • Anne 25.3.1.1

          I do not think that Cunliffe was challenging the leadership at that stage

          I was at the conference Fri.afternoon, all day Sat. and Sun., and I am certain Cunliffe was not attempting to challenge the leadership. That is why the actions taken immediately following that conference stunned me speechless for days on end. It still does to some extent.

          Perhaps I’m in denial, but I believe Shearer was effectively obeying instructions from his ABC backers. He fell for the line they had obviously been spinning him for the past 12 months, and thought he was taking decisive and appropriate action.

          I’m looking forward to him reversing his decision to demote Cunliffe sometime early 2013. If he doesn’t do so, then he will have betrayed me and many other Labour Party members. He – and the party – will eventually find they have paid a big price!

      • GeoffCartwright 25.3.2

        The LP needs unity, unity for a reason.
        Ever wondered what that reason is?
        Sometime unity come at a cost..

        • Socialist Paddy 25.3.2.1

          Geoff that makes as much sense as having to destroy the village to save the village.

          • GeoffCartwright 25.3.2.1.1

            Without unity, focus and direction the LP with face segmentation again or at the least a Rerun of 2011.

            Cunliffe doesn’t and will never have the numbers but he can be an important player.
            So in a way the small village must give way to enable all the people to be saved.
            Clearly it’s not cunliffes time…yet.

          • Socialist Paddy 25.3.2.1.2

            Cunliffe … can be an important player

            I agree but Shearer does not appear to believe so.

            Don’t you see the contradiction? You say Shearer is a uniter but it seems pretty clear from the evidence that he is not.

            Until he starts showing that ability Labour is going to continue to struggle.

            • GeoffCartwright 25.3.2.1.2.1

              CC tried to silence a commentator and the viper army was created, it made the msm and caused ripples, CC got a smack…
              Words have power.

              • David Viperious H

                “CC tried to silence a commentator and the viper army was created, it made the msm and caused ripples, CC got a smack…”

                And what she should have got (in all fairness) was a trip to the backbench to learn here p’s and q’s. Also someone needs to buy her a book, along the lines of Electronic Communication for Dummies.

      • The Al1en 25.3.3

        Or the fellar(s) advising him?

        One more aspirational fail bites the dust.

  26. Andre 26

    Seems to be a lot of toy throwing and no policy debate . 51% agreement, fine with me.

  27. Andre 27

    nz first has a whole hour on radio live to talk policy on now .1.38pm

  28. Fortran 28

    Coming down to earth on Christmas Eve and being being realistic there is every possibility and probability that in 2014 a Shearer led Labour/Green coalition Government will happen.
    Under MMP however amended the Nacts cannot get enough seats to form a Government.
    Only a small 2% swing will not give them the seats required.
    Therefore it would it not be positive go go to 2013 without some sort of combined policy for both Labour and the Greens to agree upon to get the Government roling immediately after the election.
    Winston will not make it this time, or be electorially impotent.
    The most important decisions to be reviewed is what the Greens will “demand” of Labour to activate the coalition.
    Most of their policies are too far out left to be really serious, and that is in itself dangerous.
    Some sort of agreement must be thrashed out – even behind closed doors.

    • karol 28.1

      I think the Greens should be free to be critical of Labour and not be subservient to them. The McCarten articles indicate a possible Team Shearer-Norman-MSM stitch-up that would not be very good for the left – and would/does possibly include Peters. The other MPs in the GP caucus have been relegated to the background, along with all their important policy and other work.

      I would rather have a democratic, transparent, more public debate of issues at this stage, with the GP free to critique Labour.

    • bad12 28.2

      You make the accusation,now please add the words to back up your view that most of the Green policy’s are too far out left to be really serious,

      Give us the list of exactly what you see these policy’s to be…

    • @ Fortran, ‘Green’s policies are too far left’ just like their policy for warming up homes
      for people who have community services cards and others, too left, for pointing out the
      waste of $14billion of taxpayers money on roads of ‘Nact’s importance’.
      On planet Key,he now claims the credit for warming up the homes project, the greens policy
      is an example of their foward and inclusive thinking.

  29. Andre 29

    Anybody ..What is the LP consensus on climate change mitigation ? Is there one?

  30. Mike Smith 30

    This post started out about optimism and pessimism, and I think that has been useful to clarify different views. It seems those like Blue and Gobsmacked are pessimistic about whether Labour can win in 2014 with David Shearer as leader, and those like Karol are pessimistic about whether even if David Shearer-led Labour won, that the ensuing government would be very different from National.

    As I said I’m an optimist. I believe Labour can win in 2014 with David Shearer as leader, and I also believe a Labour-Greens government will be very different from National.

    And I’m an optimist with history. I’ve been involved in all of Labour’s five general election wins in the past nearly thirty years, and the fight to get from the fourth Labour government to the very different fifth. For different reasons, they were all difficult wins. But I’d rather be an activist than a pessimist. One thing I do know, is that the first place you lose elections is in your head.

    I’m also not starry-eyed. I sat in Labour’s caucus as a non-voting member for eight years, and from time to time I had my say. As for policy, this year was the year of the manifesto – its here. http://www.labour.org.nz/about-us Next year will be where the detail gets done. Plenty of work for all.

    • karol 30.1

      Thanks, Mike.

      I did also say that I think we are optimistic about different things. I am more optimistic and positive about grass roots activism as leading the way forward for the future. I am also more positive about the Greens and Mana at the moment than about the Labour Caucus leadership..

    • David Viperious H 30.2

      And unlike you, Mike I have worked every election since 1970, and I have never been paid. Not even offered a beer after we won. And I have seen them come and seen them go and I’ll tell you this for nothing. Shearer will NOT win the 2014 election, no matter how positive you are. He also needs the respect of his colleagues. Shane Jones’s antics and the Media leaks in Caucus, shows how much his colleagues rate him. On top of all that I don’t trust him. He may as well have a ring through his nose for Mallard, King and co to lead him around.

    • Good thread Mr Mike,

      You appear to have hit the nail on the head with regard to where there is conflict amongst us posters and it is good to have it discussed.

      Well done and Merry Christmas

    • gobsmacked 30.4

      Mike, you’re right that my first concern is that Labour/Shearer will lose. But the nature of the “win” they want is also worrying.

      You say … I also believe a Labour-Greens government will be very different from National.

      I agree. It might not be Left enough for some on the Standard, but it probably would be OK for me. BUT do Shearer and his faction actually want a Labour-Greens government? We’re talking about a leader who deliberately avoids those words, who doesn’t even want to say “left” or “right”.

      If Shearer and co really want us to believe they represent change, then changing their attitude to their allies would be a good start. If Shane Jones speaks for Labour, then Labour don’t speak for me.

      (and … logging off for Xmas. Hope it’s a good one for all)

    • Anne 30.5

      @ Mike Smith
      I gather from your lack of a response to my question: what do you think about the dishonest and unjustified demotion of David Cunliffe?, that you don’t want to answer.

      This is the problem Mike. That disgraceful episode is indicative of the reason for the current impasse which exists between certain Caucus members and a significant portion of the membership. What’s more it is an impasse created by those Caucus members… not the Party members including those of us who comment here. If the Labour Party hierarchy don’t face up to this problem, they are never going to have unity and a strong, viable Labour-led alternative government.

      Perhaps you would like to pass on this message for us. Thanks.

    • karol 30.6

      I also don’t find it helpful to dismiss as “pessimistic”, those who have provided good reasons for disagreeing with you. Unfounded optimism can be more destructive than reasoned criticisms. And I have yet to see any evidence that a Shearer led government will take us in a positive and necessary new direction.

      But it is now time to take a breath and chill with those closest to us.

      Have a good holiday season, Mike, and everyone else.

    • RedLogix 30.7

      So I go to the “About Us” link Mike has kindly provided. What do I find about the 14th para down?

      The Fourth Labour Government (1984-1990), led successively by David Lange, Geoffrey Palmer and Mike Moore took difficult and long overdue decisions necessary for the modernisation of the New Zealand Economy.

      No mention of Roger Douglas, no mention of Richard Prebble, no mention of the neo-liberal madness and how it tore the LP apart. And no repudiation.

      Fundamentally this is the gap that remains un-bridged.

    • Descendant Of Sssmith 30.8

      It’s a pity you linked to the history and not the manifesto you refer to.

      The history simply re-in forces what has been lost.

      Following the link on the principles (which is another discussion) to the manifesto you do get information about where Labour management are coming from. I’d be interested from members how well this reflects members thinking.

      A few short comments before battery goes flat:

      ACC – I see a case this morning re the police who are one of several departments who I understand are no longer part of the ACC system as they look after their own claims through private providers. It’s a bit on the nose to say to the private sector privatisation will end and to still allow govt departments to not contribute into the scheme. Why won’t govt agencies be put back into the ACC scheme. Accredited employers scheme still remains and will apparently be improved?

      Elder care – someone like Ryman has massively increased profits in recent years to the point they are using NZ taxpayers money to build homes in Australia. If the principle is that the private sector is more efficient and can do it cheaper when they do it cheaper (as evidenced by increased profit) surely the state should then benefit by paying less to them the following year for the service. The principle of private sector efficiency then resulting in lower costs to government.

      What’s missing is anything ensuring staff are well paid and manning levels are sufficient. As the population ages you might like to consider things such as older people providing voluntary support in homes in return for discounted fees perhaps. I’m in no doubt in soe areas like Tauranga we will need older people to care for the elderly.

      Elder abuse policy skips over financial abuse of older people (relevant also to those with intellectual and other disabilities). Most agencies do not have policies in this area or their policy is not our business. A clear mandatory reporting to an independent government agency who can examine bank accounts etc to see if financial abuse is occurring is needed.

      Renaming of Invlads Benefit and increasing services to those who want to work with disabilities.

      The problem that was evident in the 80’s was that services you were offered depended on what benefit you were on not your needs e.g. Sole parents got stuff all support into work and NZES at time wouldn’t register them. I get the impression little has changed. I thought back then that removing benefit types would also remove that barrier and allow a focus on the individual and their needs. More staff with different skills would also be needed as well.

      Tax – I’ve noted elsewhere you’re giving me more tax cuts I don’t need.

      Manifesto link here:
      http://www.labour.org.nz/sites/labour.org.nz/files/2011%20Labour%20Party%20Manifesto.pdf

  31. Rogue Trooper 31

    one thing i frequently forget is to awhi the “posters”; you are all very generous people.

  32. No sense in the labour caucus crying in their beer or chardonay,the shearer faction of the
    caucus set the scene.
    Condemnation and some flicks around the ears may be aimed at commenters and bloggers
    on the standard,but in reality that would not be happening if they didn’t set the play and the
    main players.
    If the shearer faction dont want my vote, that’s fine, there are the green’s and mana,both
    left and both respectable in policy and in their approach towards their members.
    The caucus may try and pull some back into the fold,but it will take three things,
    1/ An announcement in the new year that there will be an honest leadership vote in Feb
    2/ An apology to Cunliffe for the disgraceful treatment he got at and after the conference.
    3/ Shearer standing down as leader.

  33. Mike Smith 33

    Happy Christmas to you too Karol, and to all others on the Standard. Anne, I certainly hope David Cunliffe plays a prominent role in the next Labour government. Red Logix, Prebble and Douglas repudiated themselves by forming ACT. Lange to his credit chucked them both out of Cabinet.

    • RedLogix 33.1

      True Mike. Unfortunately I can’t recall the LP simply saying what quartz said: We lost our way, we won’t do it again.

      I do however recall a conversation I had with Michael Cullen in about 2007. (I’ll have to confess to being a huge admirer of the man and how faithfully he served Labour and the nation.)

      He took the pains to explain to me in my naivety that governments can only operate within what is considered the acceptable ‘paradigm’ of the day. That some things were possible and others were a step too far at the time. (Like for instance a Capital Gains Tax).

      If we do get a Labour/Green government in 2014 it will be subject to the same constraints … unless it is able to begin the process of setting the acceptable framework now. That means coming out NOW and saying things that will get laughed or sneered at today, but will become ‘conventional wisdom’ in five years time.

      This is what Russel Norman has done by coming out and naming ‘quantitative easing’ for what it is … printing money. He’s setting his agenda not for today, but for tomorrow. Labour need to be clear about not just their policy details… but what their values are and to set the scene for them to be implemented as policy.

      “Polly speak” and “political platitudes” won’t cut mustard. That’s a huge part of John Key’s success; for while he’s become a bit of a David Brent parody … at the same time lots of Kiwi’s think he a ‘top bloke’ because he’s mastered the art of faking sincerity, he doesn’t sound like a politician.

      The quote I took from Labours own website sounds exactly like a politician speaking … weasel words that avoid saying what everyone knows should be said.

      And the best of the Season to you Mike. And to all of you here.

      It’s been five years now, and of the 500,000 comments or so I think I must have read 450,000 of them. Along the way I’ve learnt a great deal from you all.

      But above all there is one reason why this is my home on the ‘net; Lynn Prentice.

      Best wishes to you all, and I really hope Mike that what you are trying to do takes us all somewhere worthwhile in the New Year.

      • KJT 33.1.1

        The idea that Government can only follow the current paradigm is Bullshit.

        It didn’t stop Labour in the 80’s from adopting the neo-liberal paradigm, way ahead of any public support or knowledge.

        It was more like Brash’s ideas of. “Hit them hard before they figure out what is going on”.

        Research shows the majority of New Zealanders are strongly socialist. Even many who consider themselves right wing, and would object to being called socialist, do not oppose fairness in our society. Something even Key had to acknowledge.

        It is the politicians who are lagging behind, as usual.

        • KJT 33.1.1.1

          And. It is the Greens who are showing the leadership in reversing the neo-liberal memes.

          Labour is still so enmeshed in the memes, they adopted one as flagship policy last election, instead of explaining why it is part of the neo-liberal failed paradigm..

        • RedLogix 33.1.1.2

          I think what you have in mind KJT is ‘disaster capitalism’. Douglas only got away with what he did because in the last days of Muldoon’s government this country went bankrupt. (It was pretty much kept a secret, but quite a few people know.)

          In the aftermath of that, and a dramatic election Douglas was handed a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to break with the conventional wisdom.

          But for the most part governments are constrained within bounds of what is achievable at the time. It’s why for instance National was so coy about asset sales in 2008, but by 2011 they had set the agenda and could openly commit to them.

          • Crimson Nile 33.1.1.2.1

            Of course, the country wasn’t actually bankrupt. It may have virtually run out of foreign reserves (which is a related but quite different matter), but net government assets on the balance sheet were clearly positive.

            Insolvency is not equivalent to bankruptcy, in other words.

          • karol 33.1.1.2.2

            Excellent explanation, RL. And I agree the left parties need to be changing the paradigms now, not appeasing the mainstream as represented in the MSM.

            • Descendant Of Sssmith 33.1.1.2.2.1

              One would hope then that the level of debt the current National Government is getting us into doesn’t result in a Labour Government saving us with new harsh reforms.

              Certainly there seems to be an unwillingness by Labour to increase taxation except for the very very few at the top.

              I see from their manifesto though they are offering me a further tax cut by making my first $5,000 tax free.

              Spose I can pay my mortgage off a bit quicker.

              • GeoffCartwright

                My concern too.
                Can’t sweeze the bottom or wide middle as its tight tight very tight in the burbs.
                So what can labour do to get billions of cash?
                Print it instead of borrowing it maybe?
                Alter the tax thresholds
                Tobin investment taxes. Too long the smart rich have rorted the system.
                Let the SOE loose to invest and expand.

                What else – hopefully Parker and poor cunliffe have the answers and the party is willing to implement them.
                Perhaps time for the party and it’s new to be created policy hub to set the direction and let’s get going now.
                Can’t wait for the pollies as they are blind.

    • JK 33.2

      You have obviously forgotten, Mike S, that the then Labour caucus promptly voted Douglas back in again. That led directly to Lange’s resignation. The majority of caucus of that time (which included Goff Mallard, King, and others) were pro-Rogernomics. As an activist for as much of the same time as you, Mike S, I have to say I can’t see very much difference at the moment between the 4th Labour govermment and the current caucus. I’m hoping to see some changes come Feb 2013, but like others posting on The Standard that’s just a “hope” – I’ll be very surprised indeed if positive changes come about. On which non-cheerful note, I hope you all have a happy Christmas Day with your whanau tomorrow.

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    Transport Blog
  • Gordon Campbell on Rick Ellis as Te Papa’s new CEO
    The recent appointment of former TVNZ boss Rick Ellis to head Te Papa has copped a fair bit of criticism. Much of it has been inspired by the suspicion that Ellis has been hired to pursue the same purely commercial...
    Gordon Campbell
  • 2014 SkS Weekly Digest #47
    SkS Highlights President Obama's climate leadership faces the Keystone XL challenge by John Abraham attracted the highest number of comments of the articles posted on SkS during the past week. Coming in a close second was John Cook's Why we need to...
    Skeptical Science
  • Andrew Little as Labour Leader
    So Andrew Little is the new Labour leader. I don't particularly agree with him axing capital gains but entirely agree Labour should ditch raising the retirement age. Andrew needs to handle the members better. Cunliffe ditched some policies such as...
    Topical
  • Hard News: Music: Watching on Twitter from afar
    TV3's decision to broadcast the Vodafone Music Awards live to air was a great call. Not that I was able to actually watch it, but being able to read tweets both from Vector Arena and the living rooms of home certainly...
    Public Address
  • Sunday music: Talking Heads on cities
    A blast from the past: the Talking Heads’ ode to urbanity, “Cities”. This is from the band’s fantastic concert film Stop Making Sense: The Talking Heads emerged from 1970s New York. The city itself wasn’t doing so well at the...
    Transport Blog
  • Our social betters
    by Michael Roberts In a great new book, Billionaires: reflections on the upper crust (http://www.newrepublic.com/article/120092/billionaires-book-review-money-cant-buy-happiness), Darrel M West outlined various social surveys that show the richer a person is, the less likely they are to redistribute some of their wealth...
    Redline
  • More details on the Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr path
    Auckland Transport have released more details about the route for the Glen Innes to Tamaki Dr shared path that they and the NZTA are going to build over the next few years. The $30 million path will be built between 2015 and 2018 in four...
    Transport Blog
  • Headline of the week
    Original. To quote our very own Lamia, “Maybe the Maori Party should have included a history lesson in their confidence and supply agreement.”...
    On the Left
  • Who or What Was Onboard MH370, That Someone Doesn’t Want Found?
    239 people (including crew) were onboard MH370 when it mysteriously disappeared on March 8th this year.  Not one single piece of confirmed wreckage has ever been found, nor has a definite crash area been identified. I, like I am sure...
    An average kiwi
  • 2014 SkS Weekly News Roundup #47B
    Acid maps reveal worst of climate change Buffalo mega snowstorm tied to climate change? China will place a limit on coal use in 2020 Climate change investment falls for second year in 2013 Fossil-fueled Republicanism  House Republicans just passed a...
    Skeptical Science
  • For oil companies, our rights are just another obstacle
    Once upon a time fossil fuel exploration took place far away, out of sight and out of mind. But as oil and gas giants become ever more desperate for new reserves they’re prepared to drill in places that were previously...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • The Arctic Sunrise, her journey continues
    Last Saturday, the ecologically pristine area around the Canary Islands was the watery stage of the next chapter in the story of the Arctic Sunrise. Last year, she carried Greenpeace activists across icy waters North of Russia, where they protested...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • New Wynyard Hotel disappointing
    More details were released yesterday surrounding a new luxury hotel – to be known as Park Hyatt Auckland – that is going to be built on the waterfront, on the site that currently houses the Team New Zealand headquarters.   The...
    Transport Blog
  • Guest post: what should Andrew Little learn from Ed Miliband?
    John tweets at @mrduttonpeabody. A Labour leader being elected on the back of an election loss, through a system of weighted bloc votes, is familiar to anyone who follows UK politics. The 2010 UK Labour leadership election saw Ed Miliband...
    On the Left
  • October 14 Patronage
    October’s patronage results show Aucklanders are continuing to flock to buses and trains. It’s especially true for the rapid transit network which is seeing staggering growth, up over 20% compared to the same month last year. It’s showing that the public...
    Transport Blog
  • Hurray for “Hurray For The Riff Raff”!
     FIRST RATE AMERICANA came to Auckland's Tuning Fork venue last night in the form of the Alt-Country, Indie-Folk roots band Hurray For The Riff Raff. Led by Alynda Lee Segarra, the 27-year-old Peurto Rican singer-songwriter out of New Orleans via New...
    Bowalley Road
  • Capture: Movement
    It felt like we were overdue for a post, and when I took the time to look back at what had come before, I realised yesterday we turned three. So before we get into it, thanks once again for another...
    Public Address
  • Saturday playlist: new Labour leader
    It was difficult, but we managed to restrain ourselves from only posting songs with “Little” in the title … Add your (nice) suggestions below!...
    On the Left
  • Stuart’s 100 #57: Grow your own
    57: Grow your own What if supermarkets could grow their own? Supermarkets, like service stations, are in that category of activities that are of such necessity and ubiquity to our daily life that they cumulatively have a very large footprint...
    Transport Blog
  • The best of Neetflux (so far)
    A selection of our favourite Neetflux posters to date. Here’s to more awesome political satire to come! (Click through for full-size on Neetflux’s Tumblr)...
    On the Left
  • Chipping away at police unaccountability
    Traditionally, our police have enjoyed a wide discretion over who to prosecute and how. Sometimes, this is a good thing - it means that the time of the courts is not wasted on minor crimes. In other cases, its use...
    No Right Turn
  • South Auckland disadvantaged by new decile rankings
    New decile rankings have South Auckland schools at scores that show they are much more disadvantaged than the national average, says Labour’s Associate Auckland  Issues spokesperson Louisa Wall.  “As a measurement of disadvantage it is alarming that the average score...
    Labour
  • Sexism, rape culture and power
    Our discourse around sexual violence is complicated. All too often perpetrators are described as ‘monsters’, so when someone you know tells you the lovely man that you really like sexually abused them it’s hard to believe, because they’re not a...
    Greens
  • Time for an economy that works for all New Zealanders
    New Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says the challenge for the National Government is to support an economy that delivers good, sustainable jobs paying decent wages. “It’s time the economy delivered for all New Zealanders, not just the fortunate few....
    Labour
  • New faces, wise heads in bold Labour line up
    Labour Leader Andrew Little today announced a bold new caucus line up which brings forward new talent and draws on the party’s depth of experience....
    Labour
  • Plan for mega factory farm ruffles feathers
    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    Greens
  • National opens door further to Chinese property speculators
    National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today."As well, former...
    Greens
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens
  • National caught out on state house porkies
    Housing NZ’s annual report out today directly contradicts the Government’s claim that one-third of its houses are in the wrong place and are the wrong size, said Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The annual report states 96 per cent of...
    Labour
  • Damning report on Department of Conservation restructure
    The restructuring of the Department of Conservation (DOC) following National's severe funding cuts has been revealed as failure, the Green Party said today.The Taribon report has reviewed the new structure of DOC after 12 months. The restructuring, one of the...
    Greens
  • Greens welcome Xi, but human rights need to be on agenda
    The Green Party welcomes the visit to New Zealand of Chinese President Xi Jinping and wishes to congratulate him on his recent announcement regarding China capping emissions for the first time.The United States and China recently unveiled a deal to...
    Greens
  • Backing New Zealanders to get ahead
    New Labour Leader Andrew Little says it is an immense privilege to have been chosen to lead the party and to be given the task of ensuring it once again becomes a powerful force that backs New Zealanders in getting...
    Labour
  • Andrew Little Elected Leader of Labour Party
    “The Labour Party congratulates Andrew Little, who has been elected as party leader in a robust and highly democratic process,” says Labour Party President Moira Coatsworth. “Andrew’s leadership will have the full support of the whole Labour Party.”...
    Labour
  • Report into Brownlee security breach should be released
    The Government and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) should release the report into former Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee's airport security breach, the Green Party said today."The actions of a Minister of Transport breaching security at an airport are a matter...
    Greens
  • Brownlee must ask CAA to release the report
    Gerry Brownlee must ask the Civil Aviation Authority to release the report that finds he broke the law in breaching airport security, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It is inexcusable for any minister, let alone the then-Transport Minister, to...
    Labour
  • G20 climate comment increases pressure on NZ
    The G20 decision to include climate change in its communiqué despite Australia's attempt to ignore it, increases pressure on New Zealand to come up with a credible plan to cut emissions, the Green Party said today.The G20 Leaders Communiqué from...
    Greens
  • NZ joins G20 climate problem
    Confirmation this morning by John Key that his Government plans to do nothing to turn around NZ's rapidly rising greenhouse emissions means that New Zealand joins Australia as one of the problem children at the G20 meeting in Brisbane, the...
    Greens
  • IRD joins Corrections in Phillip Smith failure
    It is incomprehensible that IRD and Corrections were not able to stop Phillip Smith from rorting the tax system out of $50,000 until it was too late, given that he was a notoriously manipulative prisoner stuck in jail, says Labour’s...
    Labour
  • The Government has to listen to Olly
    When even hard boiled property investors like Olly Newland  say first home buyers have been shafted by Loan to Value Ratio lending restrictions, surely it is time for the Government to listen, says Labour's housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  "Auckland landlord...
    Labour
  • Key used GCSB for political ends prior to 2014 election
    New documents released to the Green Party show that Prime Minister John Key used New Zealand's intelligence services for the National Party's political ends a few days out from the 2014 election, the Green Party said today.Documents released to the...
    Greens
  • Government not meeting its climate target
    The Government must front up to the fact that its own advisors are now saying that New Zealand is off target in any transition to a low carbon future, says Labour’s spokesperson on Climate Change Nanaia Mahuta.  “A briefing to...
    Labour
  • Briefing reveals Defence facilities ‘increasingly unfit for purpose’
    The Defence Briefing to the Incoming Minister reveals a deteriorating state in Defence facilities that are no longer fit for purpose, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff.  “The briefing is heavily censored but still reveals that Defence camps, bases and...
    Labour
  • New projections show New Zealand missing climate target
    Briefings to Incoming Ministers released today reveal the Government's climate policy is failing with projected emission more than double what is needed to meet National's 2050 target, the Green Party saidProjections released by the Ministry for the Environment, as part...
    Greens
  • National’s highways far less efficient
    National’s new state highways have a far lower cost-benefit ratio than motorways built under the last Labour Government, making a mockery of the Government’s bluster that its road building will boost the economy, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “New...
    Labour
  • Governor points finger at National on supply
    The Reserve Bank Governor has admitted he had to keep loan to value mortgage restrictions in place because the Government’s attempts to increase housing has fallen ‘a long way short’, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The thousands of first...
    Labour
  • Did Collins cover up Slater’s OIA requests?
    Disgraced former Cabinet Minister Judith Collins must explain why she appears to have tried to hide Official Information Act requests she fulfilled for Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Labour MP Megan Woods says. “New documents obtained by Labour show Judith...
    Labour
  • Reserve Bank’s dairy warning must be heard
    The Reserve Bank’s warning that falling dairy prices are creating greater risks for the New Zealand economy must be taken seriously by Bill English and John Key, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “Dairy prices have nearly halved since February...
    Labour
  • National’s housing failure keeps LVRs in place
    The Reserve Bank’s decision to leave loan-to-value ratio mortgage restrictions in place is further confirmation of National’s housing policy fiasco, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Reserve Bank would have lifted LVRs if they had seen any increase in...
    Labour
  • Let’s see if it is plane sailing Mr Bridges
    Comments by Transport Minister Simon Bridges that Far North residents' anger over cutbacks to regional flights will be allayed by larger planes and cheaper fares out of Kerikeri, are just pure arrogance, says Labour’s Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis....
    Labour
  • Commerce Commission inquiry needed into building supplies monopoly
    The Commerce Commission must stop dragging the chain and urgently investigate the anti-competitive practices in the building industry that are driving up the cost of building materials, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Competition in the building materials market is...
    Labour
  • Air New Zealand grounds Far North
    The announcement by Air New Zealand to close services from Kaitaia to Auckland will be an absolute disaster for the Far North, Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis says.  “Air New Zealand is sending a signal to the...
    Labour
  • Pulling West Coast flights a savage blow
    Air New Zealand’s decision to withdraw its Westport service is another kick in the guts for an already struggling community, West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor says.   “Having been involved in the West Coast’s efforts to get Air Nelson to return...
    Labour
  • Air NZ cuts economic lifelines to neglected regions
    Air New Zealand’s plans to cut its Eagle Air regional services to already struggling regions is a hammer blow to Westport, Whakatane and Kaitaia, says Labour's Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The regions of New Zealand are being abandoned by this...
    Labour
  • Christchurch on the rent rack
    A jump of 20 per cent in weekly rents in the past year is a disaster for Christchurch, says Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Trade Me Property Rental Price index has rightly described the city as being a ‘...
    Labour
  • Past time to act on warnings about palliative care
    Health officials have been warning the Government about a critical shortage of palliative care specialists for years, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader and Health spokesperson Annette King says. A stocktake carried out for the Ministry of Health shows New Zealand’s end...
    Labour
  • Report must spur Government into action
    The soaring cost of domestic violence and child abuse highlight the need for the Government to prioritise and act on the issue, says Labour's spokesperson for Social Development, Sue Moroney.“Findings from the Glenn Inquiry that show the problem is estimated...
    Labour
  • Family safety paramount, then urgent review
    Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has some serious questions to answer over why a dangerous prison escapee, convicted of further crimes while in jail, managed to abscond while he was on approved temporary release, Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“Phillip...
    Labour
  • LVRs a failed experiment from Bill English
    Loan to value mortgage restrictions are a failed experiment from Bill English to tame Auckland house prices, that have caused collateral damage to first home buyers and other regions, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The possible end of LVR...
    Labour
  • Govt books getting worse as economy slows
    National’s economic credibility is under serious scrutiny with its search for surplus becoming harder due to an economy far too reliant on the dairy industry, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “National promised New Zealanders would get into surplus by...
    Labour
  • Kiwis in pain because of Government underfunding
    New research showing one in three people needing elective surgery are being denied publicly-funded operations shows the Government must properly fund the health sector, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “For almost two years Labour has been warning about the...
    Labour
  • National’s promised surplus looking doubtful
    Budget figures for the first quarter of the financial year released today by Treasury show the Government's goal of achieving a budget surplus is looking doubtful, the Green Party said today."National has staked its credibility on achieving a budget surplus...
    Greens
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Gambling Amendment Bill (No 3)
    I rise to give this speech on behalf of Denise Roche, who handles the gambling portfolio for the Green Party. This bill deals with class 4 gambling—pokies in pubs and clubs—and it is the result of changes that were suggested...
    Greens
  • Kevin Hague speaks on the Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    I would like to start off where the previous speaker left off, on the issue of balancing rights or balancing harms. All law is in some way a restriction of personal liberty. That is the point of law. When we...
    Greens
  • Joyce backs away from yet another target
    Steven Joyce has backed away from two targets in two days, refusing to acknowledge that his Government has an unambitious aim to get unemployment down to 4 per cent in 11 years’ time, says Labour Associate Finance spokesperson David Clark....
    Labour
  • Pacific peoples incomes and jobs falling under National
    The Minister of Pacific Peoples is attempting to bury the ugly facts of Pacific unemployment and income levels worsening since National took office in 2008, said Labour’s Pacific Affairs spokesperson, Su’a William Sio. “If the Minister doesn’t acknowledge how bad...
    Labour
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased is the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • The C Word
    It isn’t even December but the decorations are up and the ads are on the telly. I am a genuine Grinch come this time of year, so when the conversation at work turned to everyone’s holidays plans I may have...
    The Daily Blog
  • Honouring the Ampatuan massacre victims as fight for justice goes on
    A grim reminder of the Maguindanao, or Ampatuan, massacre on 23 November 2014. Photo: DanRogayan A TOP Filipino investigative journalist will be speaking about the “worst attack” on journalists in history and her country’s culture of impunity in a keynote...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – what are they afraid of: the erosion of democ...
    Today the Hamilton City Council has put on a big party to celebrate the 150th anniversary of European colonisation of the area.  There have been a series of events during the year to mark this event, including a civic ceremony. ...
    The Daily Blog
  • #JohnKeyHistory
    John Key has done it again. This week our lovely Prime Minister has showed us how little he knows about the history of the country he is supposed to be running. Apparently “New Zealand was settled peacefully”. Was it really?...
    The Daily Blog
  • G20 growth targets and growth model offer more problems than they solve
    At the recent G20 in Brisbane, member countries agreed to accelerate growth to an additional 2% on top of current trajectories. But ongoing public sector cuts, asset sales, and reducing workers’ rights indicate that at least part of the growth...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Bill Courtney – Charter Schools: The Shroud of Secrecy Contin...
    The Ministry of Education yesterday released another batch of information relating to the five existing charter schools and the four new ones proposed for opening in 2015. As we have seen before, the release of such information, often requested under...
    The Daily Blog
  • EXCLUSIVE: Campaign reflection, Laila Harré reaching out for radical minds
    Today I’ve announced that I will be stepping down from the Internet Party leadership in December. This will happen once options for the future have been developed for discussion and decision among members. My absolute focus in this election was...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Ebola crisis, capitalism and the Cuban medical revolution
    “Ebola emerged nearly 40 years ago. Why are clinicians still empty-handed, with no vaccines and no cure? Because Ebola has been, historically, geographically confined to poor African nations. The R&D incentive is virtually non-existent. A profit-driven industry does not invest...
    The Daily Blog
  • MEDIA WATCH: TVNZ Reveals Insane Deadlines For Māori and Pacific Island Pr...
    Last Tuesday, November 18th, TVNZ requested proposals from producers for the four Māori and Pacific Island programmes they will no longer be making in-house. Marae, Waka Huia, Fresh and Tagata Pasifika will keep their existing names, existing formats and existing...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Daily Blog Breakfast Club Ep. 1
    TDB Video, Live from Verona Cafe on K-Rd, Auckland – a weekly current affairs show with TDB Editor Martyn Bradbury. This week’s panel: Chris Trotter & Selwyn Manning.The issues: 1 – What now for the New Labour leader? 2 –...
    The Daily Blog
  • Performance-demonstration at Auckland’s High Court to demand justice for ...
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    The Daily Blog
  • IES vote may weaken defense of public education
    PPTA announced today that secondary teachers have voted to include the IES (Investing in Education Success) as a variation to their collective employment agreement with the government. At one level it’s an understandable decision by PPTA members because through engaging in a consultation...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZ History lesson on Planet Key – the lies white people tell themselves
    John Key’s bizarre claims about our ‘peaceful history’ comes across like the apartheid history of South Africa where white people discovered Africa first… New Zealand ‘settled peacefully’ – PM New Zealand was “settled peacefully” by the British, the prime minister...
    The Daily Blog
  • Universal Basic Income and Labour Policy
    On Radio New Zealand’s None-to-Noon on Wednesday (19 November), new Labour leader Andrew Little intimated that he would like to put Universal Basic Income (UBI) on his policy agenda (What policy changes will Andrew Little usher in?) Predictably Kathryn Ryan, despite being...
    The Daily Blog
  • The New Notes : They Ain’t Mint
    Hulk Queen Angry. Hulk Queen smash.   Yesterday, the Reserve Bank announced its new designs for our banknotes. Now, I’ve historically been pretty sketch about this entire process; variously feeling affronted that the government could find eighty million dollars to fund a...
    The Daily Blog
  • MSM under-mining of new Labour Leader already begun?
    . . It did not take long. In fact, on the same day that Andrew Little won the Labour leadership*, the first media reporter was already asking if he would be stepping down  if Labour failed to lift in the...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – invisible disability voices
    Today I am ranting. The Disability Advisory Group has been announced by Auckland Council. This is the body that represents the interests and views of people with disabilities in Auckland. Whilst I would not have applied this time as I...
    The Daily Blog
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Andrew Little...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why labelling Little as a ‘Unionist’ is a joke and how he beats Key in ...
    The line being used to attack Andrew Little as a ‘Unionist’ is just an absurd joke, and it comes from people who clearly don’t understand the modern NZ Union movement. Andrew ran the EPM Bloody U, they are easily one...
    The Daily Blog
  • 5AA Australia – Labour’s New Leader + China’s President In New Zealan...
    Recorded on 20/11/14 – Captured Live on Ustream.tv. 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.ISSUE ONE: The New Zealand Labour Party has elected its new leader, the vote going to a third round after no clear outright winner was found in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Did Roger Sutton think he was running the Rock Radio Station?
    Visible G-String Fridays? Full body hugs? Jokes about who you would and wouldn’t have sex with? Honey? Sweety? It’s like Roger thought he was running the Rock Radio Station, not a Government Public Service department set up to rebuild a...
    The Daily Blog
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog
  • Amnesty International – The conversation that needs to be had with China
    Caption: Police officer watching Hong Kong pro-democracy march, 01 July 2014 © Amnesty International    Yesterday’s edition of The New Zealand Herald features an open letter to all New Zealander’s from Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China. Along...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Patrick O’Dea – “Liar”
    LIAR! ‘Privatised social housing to benefit tenants’ English “Housing Corp was a poor performer and about a third of its housing stock was the wrong size, in poor condition and in the wrong place. That stock was worth about $5...
    The Daily Blog
  • Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over...
    THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond...
    The Daily Blog
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog
  • Little’s Shadow Cabinet
    Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins. The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was...
    The Daily Blog
  • A pilgrimage with my sister – Rethink the System
    We’ve both wanted to do a pilgrimage for many years. But, unlike many modern pilgrims, we wanted to be pilgirms in our own country and get closer to our communities, rather than seek greater distance from them. We are both...
    The Daily Blog
  • Lack of policy ambition is Andrew Little’s main problem
    I’ve met Andrew Little a few times and he’s a pleasant man who will make a reasonable job leading what the Labour Party has become in recent decades. He will preside over a much less divided caucus and will be...
    The Daily Blog
  • Journos, film makers, media freedom advocates join Asia-Pacific political j...
    A candlelight vigil for the 58 victims of the 2009 Maguindanao massacre – 32 of them media people. Still no justice for them today. Renowned investigative journalists, film makers, academics and media freedom campaigners from across the Asia-Pacific region will...
    The Daily Blog
  • And the new Labour Leader is ZZZZZZZZZZ
    The victory lap by Caucus over the members choice of Cunliffe has ended and the new leader of the Labour Party is Andrew Little. Yawn. The dullness and caution of the latest Leadership race will be served well by Andrew,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Allow the Facts to Get in the Way of the Neolib Stories
    One of the weaknesses of the political left in New Zealand over the last 30 years has been to allow the neoliberal storytellers to get away with lots of fibs and half-fibs. On TVNZ’s Q+A on 16 November, in a...
    The Daily Blog
  • Defending The Boomers: A Response to Chloe King
    THE BABY-BOOM GENERATION (49-68 year-olds) currently numbers just under a quarter of New Zealand’s population. Even so, there is a pervasive notion that the generation of New Zealanders born between the end of World War II and the mid-1960s exercises...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Waitangi Tribunal ruling enshrines Treaty as a living document...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key now says SAS will be needed to protect ‘trainers’ behind the wire
    Well, well, well. What do we have here? Government could send SAS to Iraq New Zealand’s elite Special Air Service (SAS) could be deployed to Iraq to protect Kiwi troops sent to train local forces. Prime Minister John Key confirmed...
    The Daily Blog
  • Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)
    Do You Want to Build a Meth Lab? (Frozen x Breaking Bad Parody)...
    The Daily Blog
  • Soft soap for the rich – harsh taxes for the poor
    It’s no surprise to see New Zealand has one of the world’s lowest tax rates for the rich and the superrich. A survey by the global accounting network UHY shows New Zealand’s highest tax rates are lower than even Australia,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Phillip Smith and the rehabilitation process
    The dominant media narrative in horrible murder cases is that the perpetrator is unlikely ever to be rehabilitated. When it appears the offender may get parole the media turns first to family members of the victim who commonly (and understandably)...
    The Daily Blog
  • The Nation review: Finlayson’s terrifying definition of who is on terror ...
    Terrifying Nation today on TV3. Chris Finlayson is on justifying the Government’s Muslim fear mongering and extension of even more surveillance powers. It was jaw dropping. Finlayson says ‘alienated people with a chip on their shoulder’ is the threshold to get...
    The Daily Blog
  • A brief word on The Block NZ
    Is it just me or did The Block manage to sum up everything that is wrong about our culture and economy? Fetishised property speculation as mass entertainment in a country of homelessness & poverty. I wonder if State House tenants...
    The Daily Blog
  • Waitangi Tribunal ruling
    That spluttering choking sound of a thousand rednecks being informed Maori still have sovereignty is a hilarious cacophony of stupid… Crown still in charge: Minister Chris Finlayson on Waitangi Treaty ruling The Waitangi Tribunal’s finding that Maori chiefs who signed...
    The Daily Blog
  • A brief word on Phillip Smith
    We can arrest student loan & fine defaulters at the airport – but not convicted child molesting killers? Before we ban manufactured ISIS ‘terrorists’ from having passports, how about we just manage to stop child molesting killers from fleeing first?...
    The Daily Blog
  • Free Me From Religion
          The meeting begins – or at least it’s supposed to begin – but someone interrupts proceedings. She wants everyone to pray with their heads bowed while she can “thank our Father who art in Heaven.” I close...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key capitulates on TPPA while big money NZ set up propaganda fund
    So Key has capitulated on the ‘gold standard’ of free trade deals… The primary objective for New Zealand at Apec was to see some urgency injected into the TPP talks and to keep leaders aiming for a high quality deal....
    The Daily Blog
  • The Warehouse & Noel Leeming Praised for Principled Stand
    Family First NZ is congratulating The Warehouse and Noel Leeming for reinforcing their ‘family-friendly values’ by removing R18 games and DVD’s from its shelves, and is calling on other retailers including JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman and Dick Smith...
    Scoop politics
  • PM’s Post-Cab on Iain Rennie, China and the Smith Inquiry
    In a press conference held today in Wellington, Prime Minister John Key answered questions regarding Iain Rennie’s potential resignation, the independent inquiry into the Smith/Traynor escape, and recent trade deals with China....
    Scoop politics
  • Safety Week 2014 focused on a safe summer
    ACC’s annual Safety Week kicks off today. With summer just around the corner, Safety Week this year is focusing on keeping safe when playing sport, enjoying recreational activities or drinking alcohol....
    Scoop politics
  • Safety focus during motorcycle month
    As the Central District Police annual Month of Motorcycles campaign cruises into its second week, the results so far have been positive with many motorcyclists playing their part to keep our roads safe....
    Scoop politics
  • Insane Law Perverting Course of Justice: SST
    Insane Law Perverting Course of Justice: SST The Sensible Sentencing Trust is slamming a decision which may acquit a Whakatane offender of serious dangerous driving charges....
    Scoop politics
  • Taranaki Base Hospital draped in white ribbons
    Taranaki Base Hospital draped in white ribbons to show violence towards women is never OK...
    Scoop politics
  • Family Violence Intervention Team uses social media
    Family Violence Intervention Team uses social media to say “no” to domestic violence Everyone has the right to feel safe at home. Many do not. One in three partnered New Zealand women report having experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner...
    Scoop politics
  • Smoke Alarms in Rental properties
    TPA says recent calls for mandatory smoke alarm installations in rental properties is an opportunity for all parties to come together to improve the safety and quality of rental housing....
    Scoop politics
  • CTU will not engage in Governments sham consultation process
    Today the CTU has sent a letter to Prime Minister John Key articulating serious concerns about both the content and the rushed process the Government has clearly signalled it intends to follow to progress the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation...
    Scoop politics
  • Job vacancies steady in October
    The number of skilled job vacancies advertised online remained steady in October across most industry groups and occupations, according to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s latest Jobs Online report....
    Scoop politics
  • 600 Slaves And Counting on New Zealand Soil
    The 2014 Global Slavery Index has just been released, and buried within its pages is New Zealand’s growing issue of human exploitation and slavery. When taken in conjunction with the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2014,...
    Scoop politics
  • Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and NZ
    Media Statement from Police Commissioners of Australia and New Zealand: Police Commissioners take a stand against violence against women and children...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ Police Commissioner makes a stand against Family Violence
    New Zealand Police Commissioner Mike Bush has joined with his Australian Police Commissioner colleagues at Parliament House in Canberra this morning to take a stand on violence against women and children....
    Scoop politics
  • Amnesty International campaigns for end to domestic violence
    Amnesty International will be making a donation of over $500 to Aviva (formerly known as Women’s Refuge Christchurch) at the conclusion of Tuesday’s inner city march against domestic violence....
    Scoop politics
  • Waka Hourua celebrates what’s working in suicide prevention
    On 19 and 20 November, Māori and Pasifika national suicide prevention programme Waka Hourua held its first national hui-fono in Auckland. The theme was Whakarauika Mai: Bringing Communities Together to Prevent Suicide in Aotearoa. ...
    Scoop politics
  • Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower
    Domestic violence problem bigger than Sky Tower SKYCITY’s Sky Tower in Auckland will be lit up in white on Monday evening Nov 25th at 10pm, on the eve of White Ribbon Day. The anti-domestic violence network SAFTINET (Safer Auckland Families...
    Scoop politics
  • State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little
    State Services Commissioner ‘unfit for the job’ says Little The new Labour leader Andrew Little has called for the State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie to be stood down after his handling of the Roger Sutton sexual harassment case. "The idea...
    Scoop politics
  • Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre
    Patrick Gower interviews Laila Harre Headlines: Laila Harre to quit as Internet Party leader by Christmas when the party has completed its review, but would love to return to parliament Says party considering options for its future including winding...
    Scoop politics
  • Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little
    Lisa Owen interviews Labour leader Andrew Little Headlines: Andrew Little says the shape of his front-bench for the 2017 election may not be clear until the end of next year Indicates next week’s appointments may be temporary: “So I may...
    Scoop politics
  • Phillip John Smith – statement
    Police and the New Zealand Embassy in Brasilia are aware of a decision from the Brazil Federal Court requiring the deportation of Phillip Smith within 10 days. Further assessment is required to ensure there is a full understanding of this...
    Scoop politics
  • Green’s ‘not speaking out about human rights abuses in China
    Right to Life challenges Russell Norman the co-leader of the Green Party to explain why, he was prepared to ask Prime Minister John Key to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping about human rights abuses in countries bordering China but...
    Scoop politics
  • Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election
    Goodfellow congratulates Key on IDU election National Party President Peter Goodfellow has congratulated Prime Minister John Key on his election today as Chairman of the International Democrat Union (IDU)....
    Scoop politics
  • Taxpayers’ Union Congratulates PM on IDU Appointment
    The Taxpayers’ Union is today congratulating Rt. Hon. John Key on becoming the Chair of the International Democrat Union , as former Australian Prime Minister John Howard retires from the role after 12 years. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director...
    Scoop politics
  • High demand for Consumer NZ’s “Do Not Knock” stickers
    Consumer NZ has distributed nearly 100,000 “Do Not Knock” stickers since the launch of its campaign to fight back against dodgy door-to-door sellers.The “Do Not Knock” campaign was launched on 3 November 2014. Free “Do Not Knock” stickers...
    Scoop politics
  • Phillip Smith decision still pending
    Detective Superintendent Mike Pannett is returning to Washington DC where he will continue to closely monitor a pending decision from the Brazilian authorities on the process to return Phillip Smith to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics
  • High Court demonstration to demand justice
    People outraged at the lack of justice in the so-called ‘Roast Busters’ case and 99% of other rape cases in this country are holding a visually powerful mass action at the Auckland High Court at 1 o’clock on Saturday. They...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ Society Wins Global Award For Fighting Animal Testing
    New Zealand banning animal testing of legal highs has been acknowledged with an award given in London. The New Zealand Anti-Vivisection Society (NZAVS) was awarded the 2014 LUSH Prize for lobbying against animal testing. The prize was given at the...
    Scoop politics
  • Poor govt advice to workers on petrol station drive-offs
    The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has raised concerns with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ('MBIE') regarding their reported advice to workers about the petrol station drive away issue....
    Scoop politics
  • New Ombudsman opinion
    The Ombudsman has published his opinion on a complaint concerning the Police refusal to release information about a charging decision....
    Scoop politics
  • Kindergarten support staff achieve pay rise in tough climate
    The valuable contribution of kindergarten support staff has been recognised with a pay increase, despite the significant funding cuts that the kindergarten associations are experiencing....
    Scoop politics
  • Democracy and Conservative Religion: The Case of Islam
    “Is Islam compatible with democracy?” is a frequently-asked question. Recent rethinking of secularism and democracy have opened up new possibilities to think about religion and democracy. This question is important particularly in the case...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ fiscal watchdog needed to guard the public purse
    New Zealand needs tighter fiscal rules and an independent watchdog to improve the quality of government spending and reduce the risk of a return to deficit spending as the country’s population ages, if not before....
    Scoop politics
  • NZSMI disappointed ANZTPA proposal shelved
    November 20, 2014: Consumer healthcare products industry body, the New Zealand Self-Medication Industry Association (SMI) says it is disappointed Government has once again shelved plans to create one medicines regulatory agency for both New Zealand and Australia....
    Scoop politics
  • Democracy Action Welcomes Tauranga Vote
    Responding to Tauranga Council’s unanimous vote not to establish separate Council seats on the basis of ethnicity, Lee Short, Democracy Action founder says: “The establishment of a Maori ward would have damaged the relationship between Maori and...
    Scoop politics
  • Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’
    Employer caught abusing new ‘teabreaks law’ to exploit workers The government passed the controversial ‘teabreaks’ legislation only a few weeks ago and already Unite Union has caught an employer using this law as an excuse for ill-treating their...
    Scoop politics
  • FGC response to Commerce Commission report
    The New Zealand Food & Grocery Council is not surprised by the Commerce Commission’s findings, given New Zealand’s current legal framework....
    Scoop politics
  • Bascand: Brighter Money
    Seeing people’s initial reactions to the new banknote designs is a heartening reminder of what an important role currency plays in our lives, and what a sense of pride and heritage our notes evoke....
    Scoop politics
  • RBNZ releases Brighter Money designs
    New Zealand’s banknotes are getting brighter and better, with the Reserve Bank today unveiling more vibrant and secure banknote designs which will progressively enter circulation later next year....
    Scoop politics
  • 25 years of children’s rights
    UNICEF and OFC celebrate 25 years of children’s rights with Just Play Sports Days On Universal Children’s Day (20 November) and as part of the Oceania Football Confederation’s (OFC) inaugural President’s Cup, UNICEF will celebrate 25 years of children’s...
    Scoop politics
  • Xiamen delegation to Wellington has business focus
    Stronger business, education and cultural ties with our Chinese partners will be the focus when a 20-strong government and business delegation led by Xiamen Mayor Mr Liu Keqing which visits Wellington tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday as part of the...
    Scoop politics
  • Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message
    Warriors promote White Ribbon Day message Shine and Orakei Health Services On Tuesday, the Vodafone Warriors will promote the White Ribbon Day message to the community at Eastridge Shopping Centre, Mission Bay. The Warriors are supporting their charity...
    Scoop politics
  • Superannuitants to protest unethical investments
    A delegation of Auckland superannuitants will deliver a protest-card petition and protest letter to the New Zealand Super Fund this Thursday afternoon to call on the fund to divest from companies which support the Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
    Scoop politics
  • Manukau job cuts ‘running the place into the ground’
    Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT) confirmed to its staff yesterday that 54 jobs will go before Christmas....
    Scoop politics
  • Newcore Looks Pretty Rotten for Ratepayers
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that the IT system commissioned by Auckland Council to consolidate the eight systems the Super City inherited from its precursor councils could be facing a budget blowout of $100 million, Taxpayers’ Union Spokesman Ben...
    Scoop politics
  • Accountability following quake response inquiry not achieved
    Lessons still need to be learned from the search and rescue efforts following the February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, a leading New Zealand lawyer, Nigel Hampton QC, says....
    Scoop politics
  • Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them
    Our kids say: We are failing in our duty to protect them More than a quarter of Kiwi kids say children’s right to be safe and protected isn’t being upheld in New Zealand, identifying protection from violence, abuse and murder...
    Scoop politics
  • PARS & Turuki Health Care collaborate on health and services
    Auckland-based PARS (People at Risk Solutions) have partnered with the Turuki Health Care Trust, to offer improved healthcare services to those in need. PARS works closely with former prisoners, providing mentoring, housing, and social services to ensure...
    Scoop politics
  • Children’s Plea
    A plea has been sent to all Members of Parliament, regardless of party affiliation, to accord urgency and priority to children's issues. These issues include vulnerability, safety and childhood poverty....
    Scoop politics
  • Treasury off track in search for sound policies
    Treasury is unlikely to find the ideas it is looking for to improve outcomes for children while its primary driver is cost-cutting, says Child Poverty Action Group....
    Scoop politics
  • Commission calls for answers on handling of CERA harassment
    EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue is deeply concerned about the way in which the State Services Commission has handled sexual allegations made against CERA chief executive Roger Sutton this week and is calling for answers....
    Scoop politics
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