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An Auckland view on Labour’s changes

Written By: - Date published: 8:46 am, July 20th, 2012 - 75 comments
Categories: david shearer, labour, Left - Tags:

Here’s a guest post from an Auckland Labour Party member with a different take on the constitutional changes. It’s interesting and challenging. Good food for thought.

Let us consider Labour’s proposed constitutional reforms in its moment. New Zealand’s progressives continue to splinter, just as conservative variation contracts. As the progressives splinter, they are also growing. Their speed and cross-activism is lithe and viral. Digital activism is finally fully contesting the print world – within the MSM only TV news can still lead public opinion.

David Shearer, Labour’s leader, understands very deeply and with serious scale how to form unity within analogue space; quieting military factions, brokering peace. The lack of precision, the refusal to attack, the actual kindness that his eyes betray, they are hallmarks of an intuitive negotiator and peacemaker. A broker less like the feline JK Galbraith or high chess player of Kissinger, more like a world-stretched social worker leading communities through years of hardship. The truth of his commitment shows in every wrinkle.

Labour’s constitutional proposals have responded to progressivist splintering within an analogue world, like a peacemaker. Without question they care, and they show it. Youth, women, and Maori have their places cemented. The instruments to reboot regional groupings of activists will, done with sensitivity, break down inter-regional factions. The moribund Electorate Committee structures are finally challenged.

However those new regional instruments don’t layer onto New Zealand’s actual structures. Auckland, for example, is structured by legislation as a single political organism. Its political power both by number of Members of Parliament and by Auckland’s Council are growing quickly to match its utter commercial dominance of New Zealand. Within Auckland, activism is increasingly digital and exceedingly rich. Auckland, like all the Australian cities, is turning New Zealand into a state dominated by one city. And it is not Wellington.

As New Zealand’s government shrinks, and policy agency to direct society or the economy also fades fast, so Wellington and parliament’s influence is weakening and Auckland’s social and economic domination increasingly define power. Not a good thing; a reality.

This is the first framing of the actual base contest of power within the constitutional reforms. It addresses factions, not structural shifts. Labour is more than Wellington. National shows this understanding quite baldly: Auckland’s money is the key to everything. Labour’s constitutional reforms don’t yet get the growing importance of the regions, or of Auckland particularly.

At base the reforms presume there is a beautiful pyramid of power, with the Leader in Wellington at the top. The constitutional proposals entrench the Leader so that even if they only have the support of 33% of caucus, no challenge to the leadership is possible.

Which is where the curiosity is amplified. The deep Left Melancholy experienced by New Zealand’s progressives after enduring two of the worst defeats they have ever had was entrenched by Labour’s leadership contest of November 2011. Activists were invited to feel like they had power once more. President of the Labour Party Moira Coatesworth let out this genie of democratization. The vast digital networks rang with enthusiasm. It was like the 99% was about to win against the 1%. It felt like Occupy. Digital palimpsests finally came out into the analogue light again to the many meetings.

Instead caucus made a resolute point of taking no notice whatsoever of the overwhelming view of Labour’s members.

That same line is drawn here.  There is a cold break between the effort to re-unify the splintering progressives and make regional structures more productive, and the caucus grip on power. The one-third of Caucus hold the leadership trip mechanism against the two thirds of caucus, and thus against the 40% Membership voice, and further against the 20% Affiliates voice.

Labour Wellington’s power may be shrinking in real life, but, like the contracting world of the 1%, power is here defined and held by fewer and fewer. This is unlikely to be Shearer’s doing – he is from the analogue peacemakers’ world. And the constitutional review at its lower orders is a way of making peace. Neither the growing power of regions, nor digital activist splintering, is addressed.

Instead the core of elected power, that shrinking analogue world of Wellington, is untouched unless over 67% of Labour’s Members of Parliament decide to revolt. 67% has never in Labour’s history been achieved before in a leadership contest. 67% was not required as a threshold of changing leadership even in the darkest days of Rogernomics. Why now? Why such a higher level of protection than any other New Zealand political party?

More pointedly, why does the core 1/3 of Labour’s caucus think they can make themselves insured from the reforms that all other aspects of the public service are going through? Why do they think they have an entitlement to greater job security than every other public servant? What makes this particular leader so important to protect that he deserves protection that neither Clark, nor Fraser, nor Kirk enjoyed?

The reforms seek to make Labour broader at the base, and much, much narrower and higher at the top. A pyramid. The existing structure is not just unchallenged, it is reinforced. But it is done kindly. It keeps peace with the splintered base, but leaves the structure intact and entrenched.

The structural reforms are generous within a wilful blindness to structural redefinitions of power in New Zealand; it is the very model.
of a Labour solution.

75 comments on “An Auckland view on Labour’s changes”

  1. Adrian 1

    One advantage of the new system, and this may well be deliberate, is that once an elected ( by the wider party ) leader is in place it would appear to be much more difficult for the pocketed media to destabilise him or her with innuendo and speculation.

    • Blue 1.1

      Not so. The media will have a field day with this. They’ll spread the rumours that the leader is deeply unpopular with their caucus but caucus can’t get rid of them because of the 2/3 rule.

      They’ll paint the picture of a broken, limping party that is hamstrung by its own rules and Labour will be be powerless to defend against that image.

      The caucus won’t be able to claim they have confidence in the leader, because no one will believe them. The media will just assume they’re lying and trying to make the best of it while the toxic environment within the hapless caucus poisons and strangles the party.

      The media will know exactly how to play this for all it’s worth.

      • Te Reo Putake 1.1.1

        Not so, Blue. This kills stone dead any ongoing gossip about caucus coups, because it effectively means they cannot happen. Any media beat up along the lines of ‘we would roll him, but …’ will be a two minute wonder. It’s a sensible decision that would have saved Phil Goff a lot of grief had it been in place last term and would have munted the msm campaign which so clearly contributed to Key retaining power.
         
        As to the post itself, its not only weakly written, and pretty much Pseuds Corner material in the digital/analogue waffle, it ignores the fact that this a proposal, not a done deal. The central thrust of the post is that this proposal entrenches caucus power and reinforces the current structure. It could hardly be more wrong. But the important thing is the proposal can be debated and amended democratically. It lifts Labour to the kind of inclusive party life the Greens have enjoyed since leaving the Alliance. That’s no bad thing.
         
        Anyway, it’s always good to hear from Aucklanders on how the rest of us should see things and particularly good to be reminded that Auckland is the centre of the universe. Can’t for the life of me think why the majority of NZers refuse to live there ;)

        • mickysavage 1.1.1.1

          Hehe

          Give me Wellington any day with its proximity to major earthquake faults, its incessant wind and its extreme cold …

          Much better than warm summers, West Coast Beaches and the Waitakere Ranges … 

          :smile: 

        • BillODrees 1.1.1.2

          “The central thrust of the post is that this proposal entrenches caucus power and reinforces the current structure. It could hardly be more wrong”.    WRONG 

          TRP:  we want a more inclusive and democratic party.   Every aspect of these rule changes is about removing power from the membership and concentrating it.  That ultimately leaves more power with the Caucus.  Moira, Mike Smith and good positive people like you have been mis-lead. 

          And this is not just an Auckland issue.  It is a democracy issue because the members are loosing much of their structure and voice. It is a confidence issue because our leaders promised one thing and in a blaze of hype sneaked through something a lot different.  We need a “pro-democracy” movement in the Labour party to support searing amendments to these proposed rules. 

           

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.3

          Not so, Blue. This kills stone dead any ongoing gossip about caucus coups, because it effectively means they cannot happen.

          That’s why Blue engineered a potential CT line that the majority of caucus might want a leader gone, but the 2/3 rule prevents any such action.

          To think that the media is going to simply shrug at that point and say its a non-story is a tad hopeful.

          • QoT 1.1.1.3.1

            I can already see the headlines and columns and God knows the W****O** posts about the poor silenced MPs who cannot speak out in the party’s own interests because a cadre of [pick your favourite: unionists, neolibs, queers, feminists] have just enough numbers to keep power.

            • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.3.1.1

              Yep. And in a scenario with 34 Labour MPs like we have now, twelve MPs is the ‘just enough’ you are referring to, which can block the remaining twenty two MPs from acting.

              There’s just no way that this wouldn’t be an ongoing news story. The undemocratic Labour Party etc.

      • Blue you should know that the media always has “a field day with Labour and Leftwing parties. When has the media given support to Labour over the last 10 or more years. The newspapers are owned and run by capitalists and National supporters . The Left just has to accept this fact ,However why do so many people believe the crap and propogander from these Crosby-Textor driven organizations, The new reforms about to happen are exciting and will make the Labour Party not only winnable but the most democratic party in Aotearoa .

    • Jim Nald 1.2

      Deliberate? Possibly.
      Advantage? Possibly not.

      Parliamentarians especially those contesting for higher office should, and need to, be made of sterner stuff. At the party political leadership level, the sport ought to be much more robust.

      A top cook makes it when she or he has been in the hottest kitchen and delivers. A top cook is not created by stopping the kitchen from getting too hot just to keep the cook in it.

  2. This is an interesting piece, thanks for it.

    I’d be interested to hear a few more specifics from the author about the regional organising proposals in the review, and how they will work in Auckland, and if you think it is a positive or negative.

  3. Craig Glen Eden 3

    The 67% vote needed by caucus for a leadership vote is a joke quite frankly. Labour is sadly going to slip further backwards with Shearer and this cynical leadership power grab. Personally I am almost getting to the point of absolute despair with Labour and its caucus that are nothing short of useless.

    It wouldnt matter so much ( Labours demise) but I care about NZs future. All the while our country is being rapped by the greedy Banker and Shearer does nothing much.Night after night I watch the Greens making comments on the issues of the day, Labour hardly ever seen and sadly when they are are often irrelevant.Labours caucus will be much smaller after the next election I predict unless Shearer does the decent thing and resigns.

    • Dr Terry 3.1

      Thanks Craig, somebody had to say it as it really is.

    • Peter 3.2

      I see a local party that is run by the same faces that ran the local party in the 1970s. Most younger people have been squeezed out, and there is no desire nor understanding of the grave generational issues that affect the party.

      In essence, I see a movement that has ran its historical course.

      But I also see huge loyalty, even amongst the disaffected.These people will never vote Green, let alone join. They will still party vote Labour on the day. The real question is, how to engage these people given that the leadership from the top of the pyramid isn’t capable of engaging them.

      In essence, I think the party needs a parallel structure, another organising focus. I’d call such a project Real Labour, to seperate it from what appears to be Treasury Labour – that faction around Shearer and Robertson that appears to be tightening its grip on Caucus and Labour’s ideology.

      That project may just be waiting to begin, with the right people.

      • Craig Glen Eden 3.2.1

        Interesting post Peter may I suggest if we need a separate wing that represents “true labour” then either it’s time the caucus changes it’s coarse and starts being the labour that represents labours values to the electorate or it’s time for a clean out.the easiest way to focus minds could be for real labour people to party vote green.three staunch labour in our house hold and all will be part vote green as things currently stand.

        • Peter 3.2.1.1

          It’s less about wings, and more about organisational pressure. I’ve been around the party a long time (10+ years) and know that the places it needs resourcing are generally the last places that MPs and party bosses like to look. Except at election time when they are scrambling to get someone to run a meeting or put up a hoarding. I don’t think their focus groups are telling them that they might have about 2 members to cover some vast tory blue spaces in the South Island for instance (spaces that Labour once covered well).

          So something well-resourced could just start to fill the looming gap. It may actually be natural. It could facilitate a “clean out” as you put it, although I’m not going that far yet. Our current MPs just need some damned membership pressure applied to them.

          The wider issue which is worth discussing is that the future will be far more Labour than Green. I say Labour in the traditional sense of a party made up of working people. Look at the trends – this is a depleting world, and the most resilient, reliable, and easy to produce resource we have is people. The stuff we currently get done by machine may have to be done by people again, or it’ll certainly be cheaper to do so.

          I don’t think the Greens get this – all my conversations with the many Green members I know are just as mesmerized by technology as most of Labour’s leadership are (except Cunliffe). They fervently believe – in the religious sense of the word – that some clean-teach miracle is just awaiting around the corner to solve our present plight. That view is as silly as it is wrong.
          Then there’s also the issue of decreasing environmental consciousness during what looks to be a permanent recession.

          With the right focus, all this is perfect ground for a proper grassroots Labour movement again.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.2.1.1.1

            The stuff we currently get done by machine may have to be done by people again, or it’ll certainly be cheaper to do so.

            Actually, doing something by machine is always cheaper than doing it with people. The human metabolism is less efficient than that of machines.

            They fervently believe – in the religious sense of the word – that some clean-teach miracle is just awaiting around the corner to solve our present plight.

            Well, I’m not a Green so don’t know what they’re thinking but the “miracle” I’m looking for is a rational power down of the economy reducing it to only produce what we need and to make it a stable state that exists within the environmental limits. In other words, sustainable. Labour still wants growth even though the evidence shows that growth is unsustainable.

            If anyone is being silly it’s Labour and all the other parties of the right.

            • Colonial Viper 3.2.1.1.1.1

              Actually, doing something by machine is always cheaper than doing it with people. The human metabolism is less efficient than that of machines.

              LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL

              Sure, if you completely disregard the large amounts of highly refined operating energy and vast amounts of embedded energy that high tech machine systems require in terms of fabrication, operation, reconfiguration, and maintenance.

              When an advanced machine breaks down, you better send for a million dollar part and an installation engineer from Sweden.

              When a worker breaks down, you give them a couple of days off, some TLC and chicken broth.

              Pre-1970’s machinery will still come in very useful though. The less electronics the better.

              • Draco T Bastard

                Sure, if you completely disregard the large amounts of highly refined operating energy and vast amounts of embedded energy that high tech machine systems require in terms of fabrication, operation, reconfiguration, and maintenance.

                Checked out how much farming costs recently?

                There’s also the fact that if you can get a machine to do something then a person can do something else that a machine can’t.

                • Colonial Viper

                  Exactly. Industrial farming is in its last 10-15 years.

                  There’s also the fact that if you can get a machine to do something then a person can do something else that a machine can’t.

                  This is an option now; it is not going to be an option in the future. When the Chinese made CNC machine breaks down and no one knows how to fix it, someone is going to have to go on the lathe and make the part by hand.

                  Will we still need machines? Certainly we’ll use them where we can, and where they still remain operable.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    We make hundreds of thousands of tons steel every year. Cut that down to what we actually need (probably less than half) and we actually have enough energy to make the other machines that we need. Once produced those machines will last 20 odd years.

                    Now, that scenario applies right across the economy because we use an economic system that fails at economics. An economic system that massively wastes our resources rather than using them economically. If we stop that massive waste we can maintain a high tech society very easily.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      You’re quite correct, but those machines should not be designed to require (and be reliant on) complex electronics and semiconductors from overseas.

                      We have to be able to completely design, manufacture and maintain them ourselves.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      We have to be able to completely design, manufacture and maintain them ourselves.

                      Which is what I’ve been saying for some time as well. As I pointed out the other day, our researchers are some of the leaders in 3D printing at the atomic level which is the next step along the road of complex electronics. Unfortunately, as it stands we’re more likely to sell that technology rather than use it ourselves.

    • Tom Gould 3.3

      Craig, you are proof that people tend to see what they want to see, and hear what they want to hear.

    • David H 3.4

      Thats why I am voting Green this time. I have had a guts full of the NAT elitism coming out from Labour. And now this. All it is, is the dinosaurs making it harder for us to get rid of them and also it makes it harder to get a REAL leader, and not some fancy poster boy for the Somali people. So the next election unfortunately could either be a GREEN/Labour or it will be Blue. And if it is Blue, then the Blame should be laid squarely where it lays with Shearer, Roberston, Mallard, etc etc should ALL go.

  4. My 2c worth is that the subregional hip idea may work for parts of the country but for Auckland it is a retrograde step.  The area has distinct subregional areas, North Shore is entirely different to the South side, which is kinda similar to West which has little in common with Central and the East.

    But at the same time there are vibrant regional groupings, including Pacifica, the various Ethnic groups, environmental groups, and trade unions.  By far the best way to engage with these groupings is on a regional basis and the current proposal is totally blind to this.

    I also have reservations about the two third vote by caucus to organize a leadership contest.  If a leader does not have majority support then you really have to think about if they should remain leader.

    Having said that I understand the need for stability and the need for a leader to have some protection.  

    The example may be raised is about a strong left leader that has overwhelming support amongst activists and the trade union movement but minority support in a right leaning caucus.  It may be argued that the two third rule is a protective mechanism but my response would be that if caucus is that out of sync with the membership as a whole that they are willing to risk an unpopular leadership change then the members of caucus are the ones who should be replaced.

     

  5. AmaKiwi 5

    25% of the caucus asking for a leadership vote is more than enough because:  1) if the challenge fails those 25% know they are dead meat; 2) if 25% are so dissatisfied they are willing to take that risk there must be widespread dissatisfaction in the party and caucus.

    The proposed number (two-thirds) is either a joke to get us riled up or an insult to the membership.

    • BillODrees 5.1

      AmaKiwi, it is about one thing and one person only. ABC. Shearer, a partlianmentary novice, won by 50% +1 of the Caucus.  Now he wants 33% of the Caucus to be abe to save him from a Cunliffe challenge.  That is the height of his ambition.
      Why are this faction afraid of membership power and of Cunliffe?  Unfortunately we have a small group of MPs who feel their possies are protected by Shearer/Mallard &co.  And they think that the next election can be won by saying bland things that Nat leaning people would like them to say.  
      Uninspired and uninspiring. 

  6. Ad 6

    Could The Standard become an Affiliate?

  7. Rich 7

    I’m not sure what this ‘power’ thing is, but it’s held by a few wealthy people in Hawaii, Remuera, Switzerland and Oriental Bay, not by the people of either Auckland or Wellington.

    In other terms, Wellington has a sustainable city, Xero, Cuba St, Lawrence of Arabia and (I hate to say it) Weta. Auckland has traffic snarl, Rod Petrevic, the viaduct, Annabel Fay and The OC.

  8. tracey 8

    at least its discussed…nationals internal machinations are as murky… dark back stabbing as ever

  9. The cynical Power factions have already started.
    It will not improve by this move.
    Labour could well break into different factions.

  10. AmaKiwi 10

    The NZ Labour Party is one election away from becoming a footnote in the history books.  If the disaffected lefties like me continue to be shut out, the party will fragment.  The Greens will become the largest left of center party.
     
    I was disgusted by the caucus’s refusal to replace Phil Goff when it was obvious to everyone he would lose.  We had a national roadshow to select the next leader.  Again, the caucus ignored the membership.
     
    My message to the caucus:  “We made you.  We can break you.” 

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      My message to the caucus: “We made you. We can break you.”

      Loud and clear.

  11. QoT 11

    Instead caucus made a resolute point of taking no notice whatsoever of the overwhelming view of Labour’s members.

    I think in addition to this – and I speak as a pretty public non-Labour leftie – the appointment of Shearer cemented the idea that Labour was not willing to do the hard yards and make the tough choices and truly, sharply change direction/regain its leftist cred/reject the Pagani-driven “just be more like John Key, and say you think Liz Hurley’s hot, Waitakere Myth loves that” – for those people who had already jumped ship.

    It seemed to say, and maybe I’m just speaking for myself here, “Nah. We’re sure that changing the wallpaper will make all the difference, because we deserve leftwing votes.”

    Shearer’s godawful Excalibur speeches have continued that message to me.

    Why such a higher level of protection than any other New Zealand political party?

    And, let’s be clear, a higher level of protection again, because on top of the 67% threshold you’ve got a smaller caucus. If National implemented the same policy, Key would need to keep 20 MPs on board to be safe. Shearer only needs 12. (As I note CV has already commented while I was typing this up.)

    • Blue 11.1

      +1

      The election of Shearer was a clear signal that Labour doesn’t really want to make the changes that it needs to make, and will consequently face another term in Opposition because of their reluctance.

      This ridiculous 2/3 rule is yet another example. Labour are trying to take shortcuts, and it isn’t going to work. The only surefire way to avoid coups is to have a popular leader who’s making ground in the polls.

      Labour have forgotten what good polling numbers look like, and rather than address that, they’re effectively banning coups.

      Always been a Labour voter, but I’m going Green at the next election. My party needs to sort their shit out.

  12. BillODrees 12

    What makes us differant from the Natz is that we want government power in order to bring about change.
    The Natz want power in order to maintain the status quo. That is why they are called conservatives.
    The current Labour leadership is not promoting any real change. That makes them conservative in my eyes.  
    To give the 500,000 ENVs, and those who voted  elsewhere, hope and motivation to vote we have to genuinely, convincingly and clearly show that Labour will make a change.  I’ve no confidence in the current Labour leadership’s understanding of what is needed to make a real change for Kiwis.  
    Labour membership bit their lip when the caucus narrowly selected and unknown untested Shearer.  He was certainly not the choice of those who saw him in the leadership debates.  Cunliffe was. 
    We have watched second rate performances  from Shearer, Jacinda, Grant and now the latest from the tragic hapless Parker.  If this continues Key will win a third term. 
    Like the majority of members, I want us to NOT repeat the mistake we made with Phil.  We didn’t “retire” Phil soon enough. We need a constitution that gives many platforms to the membership to have serious influence. The party is too important to be left to the caucus. 
     

     
    • QoT 12.1

      The Natz want power in order to maintain the status quo.

      By … selling assets, changing our tax system to benefit their mates, “toughening up” our justice system, demeaning Maori rights, running down our health and education systems, destroying our social welfare system?

      I mean, if we’re talking a wider “capitalist free market”-type status quo, then I’ve got to question the premise that Labour has even the slightest desire to really challenge that.

      • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1

        I mean, if we’re talking a wider “capitalist free market”-type status quo, then I’ve got to question the premise that Labour has even the slightest desire to really challenge that.

        They don’t. They’ll hang on to the status quo as hard as NACT does.

    • Craig GlenEden 12.2

      Could’nt agree more BOD but the problem with so many in this cauacus is they are so arrogant and so dismissive of members they literally dont give a rats what members think. I believe they will happily let the party go down the gurglar.

      Its time for a big clean out frankly I think we let them clutch to their power weights which will see them sink into a political grave. If we dont have a change in leadership in the next say 8 months we are stuffed.

  13. peterk. 13

    I look at John Key, then I look at David Shearer, then I look at both caucus benches, and well, there isn’t alot of difference between the two of them!! Labour once stood proud, would’ve rolled their sleeves up and got stuck in, now they want to know, where’s the dosh. Abit like John Key!!

  14. Olwyn 14

    Guest Post generously describes David Shearer as a peacemaker. If so, he is not a successful one, since the rumblings of discontent have not ceased since he took the leadership. The small amount of enthusiasm from the membership has been of the desperate, flag waving kind, while the only delighted hallelujahs have come from tory journalists. The thing is, even if Shearer is a good peacemaker, that is not what is needed at the moment. People were galvanised behind Clark’s government, whatever its faults may have been. Something of that remained and carried over to Goff, despite people’s misgivings about him. The last vestiges of it were killed off when they disregarded the membership and chose Shearer as their leader. Now they seem to think that they can court the tories against a background of mistrust and disappointment from their own party and get away with it. The big question is, how do we prevent them from getting away with it? I am held in the party by the slenderest thread of hope that things can change, but I will not be putting pamphlets in letterboxes for a duplicitous pack of neo-rogernomes.

  15. AmaKiwi 15

    To the caucus and Olwyn:  On the virtues of passing the buck.
     
    It is a time honored tradition to avoid being the target of people’s anger by passing the controversial decision to someone else, in this case the membership.  If the majority of the membership prefer Shearer or Cunliffe as leader, we accept the majority’s decision.  What we cannot accept is a tiny group dictating to everyone.
     
    To the caucus I say, “Get smart.”  Instead of incurring our wrath and tearing the party apart let us have an open competition.  If Cunliffe’s supporters lose in a fair fight, I predict they will promptly return to the fold.

    • Olwyn 15.1

      Yup. Even if some of them would not return to the fold, the majority probably would. And at the very least, the decision would be accepted as democratic rather than dictatorial.

      • QoT 15.1.1

        the decision would be accepted as democratic rather than dictatorial.

        This. I remember that one of the best arguments in favour of MMP over FPP was that hey, under FPP someone [some party] could win despite having less than 50% support. People tend to perceive “over 50% in favour” as a fair and balanced (sorry!) way of deciding things, and a two-thirds majority is usually reserved for Serious Business like constitutional changes or overriding US Presidential vetoes.

        • Olwyn 15.1.1.1

          The advantage of the 67% rule is that it gives a leader space to win back lost support, where they have made an unpopular move but think that their opponents will see the sense of it, given enough time. But you would think that a leader with less than 50% support over a reasonable period of time would find their position untenable and resign. And that the demanding business of having to take it to the members would counter instability, without need for the 67% threshold. It is hard to get away from the thought that, have inflicted a broadly unwanted leadership team and direction on the party, the “top team” now sees fit to lock it in. The endorsement vote will go by the old rules, so +50% of caucus will be needed. It is probably assumed that members will value their in-group status over the qualms of the membership, and that Shearer will head to the 2014 election with a silenced opposition.

          I also wonder, with the new rules concerning affiliates, who will have a say as to which affiliates are included. Without constraints it seems like an open opportunity for a moneyed-up right wing organisation to get its foot in the door, especially with a right leaning caucus at the helm.

          • QoT 15.1.1.1.1

            I disagree. We’ve seen how faffing difficult it is to put up a leadership challenge – getting 50%+1 MPs together and committed to rolling a leader doesn’t just happen overnight. And the time it takes to get a proper counter-movement together within caucus should be quite sufficient for any marginally-supported move to prove itself.

            On the other hand, now we’ll be in a situation where David Shearer could hypothetically say “Really, I think Key’s done a great job and we should let him ride the rest of the term out without making a fuss” and just because 12 MPs hate David Cunliffe and love their parliamentary perks enough to put up with it, he stays.

            • Olwyn 15.1.1.1.1.1

              If you read my post again, I think we broadly agree. I was simply putting forward a case for the 67%, without necessarily endorsing it. Shearer does have to face an endorsement vote in February 2013, under the 50%+ rule in caucus, under the old rules. However, your hypothesis might hold under these circumstances, if people love their perks enough, or see a career advantage in maintaining the status quo. I think that when that time comes we need to bombard them with emails, supposing there is a challenger, so that they are made to know that they are alienating a sizable number by endorsing the present status quo.

              • BillODrees

                Olwyn, if he fails the 50%+1 endorsement then it goes to Leadership vote and the 67% applies.  It does not matter what the Affiliates and the Members think and what 22 of the Caucus think, vote, add up or whatever.  Shearer just needs 12 and he locked into power until he loses in 2017 also.  

                Read the whole constitution.  Read the NZ Council’s proposals and you will see that this is Larceny on a Grand Scale. 

                • Olwyn

                  I asked that question on this thread, http://thestandard.org.nz/labours-review-a-good-job-well-done/ Bunji replied “This February’s vote remains a simple majority. But it is the last one at that level and it changes after that to 67%. Held within 3 months of each election AFAIK.” If Bunji is right, then it will apply to future leadership elections. From what I understand the changes are not to be ratified until November, so we have time to make submissions about them.

                  Two other things also concern me. One is the leadership endorsement having to take place within 3 months of an election. I think it should be 6 months. Caucus would have been far less comfortable overriding the members by choosing Shearer if the Ports of Auckland strike and the Talley lock out had been in full swing. My other concern is the inclusion of non-union affiliates, which without clear restrictions, potentially opens the door to party hi-jacking in a legitimised manner.

            • Hardie 15.1.1.1.1.2

              Except he would then face a simple majority vote in 2013, and lose that. And then whoever is elected will have the backing of the party, and will be safe from, say, a fractious majority of MPs who don’t wish to accept the verdict of the party.

              While I’d rather he didn’t, and I would be very angry if Shearer mucked around like that, I’m pretty willing to endure the chance of that in exchange for a leadership process that makes caucus listen to the party.

              Let’s try thinking beyond `is this good for my guy in the next six months’ a bit here.

  16. Hardie 16

    This proposal disempowers caucus, because it means that the leader *elected by the party* can only be unseated by 2/3rds of caucus. This is a perfectly decent rule, and in fact has to be so, because otherwise it would be too easy for an intransigent caucus to refuse to accept the will of the party.

    There’s a slightly awkward transition from one system to another, but that is inevitable.

    The machinations of the Cunliffe faction are pretty transparent, and quite unedifying.

    • QoT 16.1

      an intransigent caucus

      So you’d seriously rather have a leader who was potentially despised and constantly undermined by more than half of the caucus – who would be rightly frustrated if a minority of 12 people were standing in the way of deposing said leader – because “it gives caucus less power”?

      Since we can hardly assemble the entire Party every time there’s a question of leadership, the basic power of a majority of caucus to boot out someone who’s failing (as though they’ve shown any inclination to do that on a whim) hardly seems extravagant.

      On the other hand, you’ve then chosen to include a nice little smear tactic at the end, so I guess you’re quite happy as long as it’s the 12 MPs propping up the leader you like …

      • Hardie 16.1.1

        So you’d seriously rather have a leader who was potentially despised and constantly undermined by more than half of the caucus – who would be rightly frustrated if a minority of 12 people were standing in the way of deposing said leader – because “it gives caucus less power”?

        Not because it gives caucus less power. Because it gives the *party as a whole* more power.

        Honestly this really is one of the dullest, most obviously correct parts of the reforms. The party decides, and then at predetermined times, a majority of MPs trigger an election. In between those times, if a supermajority of MPs want, they can force another election.

        There will also be a simple majority vote in February 2013, before the general election.

        If caucus was still able to force a vote on a simple majority at any time, the party’s voice would be pointless, because caucus would be perfectly able to keep trying until they got the leader they wanted. (And various other nefarious tricks would be possible.)

        • QoT 16.1.1.1

          If caucus was still able to force a vote on a simple majority at any time, the party’s voice would be pointless, because caucus would be perfectly able to keep trying until they got the leader they wanted. (And various other nefarious tricks would be possible.)

          But that’s the current situation. And yet despite Goff performing abysmally, we saw no serious leadership challenges, nor “nefarious tricks”.

          The idea that this is all okay because in the run-up to an election, the time when a party must be least likely to want to appear unstable through changing leaders, is just silly.

          And it’s hardly a “dull” reform when, after a hotly-contested leadership change which many people are questioning, suddenly the current leadership are saying OH YES, let’s also just coincidentally make it harder for you to roll our man.

          • Hardie 16.1.1.1.1

            Er yes that’s cause by definition a majority of caucus backed Goff. We haven’t had a case where a majority of caucus backed a leadership contender that didn’t win. (I mean really, particularly obvious.)

            Practically speaking, they haven’t made it harder to roll Shearer. As scheduled, Shearer will face a simple majority vote in February 2013. He will win that vote. Shearer has the majority in caucus. It doesn’t matter if a challenger needs 1/2 or a 2/3rds, because they won’t get either.

            There will then be a GE. If he wins, he will as a formality win the subsequent simple majority leadership vote. If he loses, it’s likely that he will lose the simple majority caucus vote. Then, someone will win the party wide contest. They will then only be rollable by 2/3rds of caucus.

            Shearer (for this term) has a majority in caucus, so it simply doesn’t matter which rules we use, he wins under either. It’s only somebody who doesn’t have a majority in caucus that benefits from this change — that is to say someone like David Cunliffe. For it is after all Cunliffe that is the most likely to win a vote in the party and lose caucus.

            • QoT 16.1.1.1.1.1

              Er yes that’s cause by definition a majority of caucus backed Goff.

              Not really. Just that no one was certain enough of an anti-Goff majority to make any moves, or, what was your phrasing, “nefarious tricks”?

              But hey, clearly you’ve made up your mind, this is all fine, Shearer is the golden child and anyone who says otherwise is just a disgruntled Cunliffe groupie.

              • Hardie

                IOW practically speaking, majority of caucus backed Goff.

                You still haven’t explained how this rule changes helps Shearer, or even the anti-Cunliffe faction. The scenario laid out above makes it clear it doesn’t, as far as I can tell.

                • QoT

                  You presume too much to think I am solely focused on HATING SHEARER!!!!! and PRO-CUNLIFFE!!! (Sorry to lprent for the shouting)

                  The fact is, it’s fucking obnoxious for any leader to oversee a “reform” programme which coincidentally tightens his grip on power. Putting it into the current context, of course it’s advantageous to Shearer, who can already see very well how reluctant the Labour caucus is to roll a leader unless they absolutely have to, to make it harder for himself to be rolled.

                  • Hardie

                    But Shearer will face a simple majority vote in Feb 2013. If has the numbers then, the chances of anyone else getting the numbers to roll him between then and Nov 2014 are non-existent. And he does have the numbers in caucus remember, that’s the knock on him. With or without these rule changes, Shearer is safe until Nov 2014. They make no practical difference to his leadership.

                    Stop thinking of abstract `harder/easier’, and start thinking specifically.

                    The case these rules affect is one where the leader is more popular with the party than caucus, and they make that leader safer.

                    The paranoid reaction to this is pretty disgraceful.

            • Colonial Viper 16.1.1.1.1.2

              Shearer (for this term) has a majority in caucus, so it simply doesn’t matter which rules we use, he wins under either

              That’s one hell of an impressive crystal ball you have there.

  17. higherstandard 17

    Who gives a toss ?

    … another (and I suspect more representative) Auckland view on Labour’s changes

    • QoT 17.1

      (and I suspect more representative)

      Except when your audience is, you know, the audience of a left-wing blog which often discusses the inner workings and leadership of the Labour Party.

  18. Murray Olsen 18

    A conservative leader needs to play to vested interests and ill considered prejudices. A left wing leader needs to inspire hope and vision, especially among those who desperately need change. In my view, Shearer meets the first criterion, but none of the others. At best he’s a Tony Blair at a time when we need a Norman Kirk. Get rid of him asap.

    • Carol 18.1

      I think even Tony Blair was more inspirational for many than Shearer is. To me the current Labour leadership is lack-luster. Nothing there to attract me back from voting for another party – either the Greens or Mana.

    • Olwyn 18.2

      The thing is, Blair could say, well the market revolution happened under Thatcher and Major, so the job for Labour is to soften its harsh edges as the new system matures. You might not agree with him, but you can see room for such a case to be made. That room, however, has vanished. To be a Blairite now is simply to be a tory.

  19. AmaKiwi 19

    Three strikes and you’re out.

    1. 2008 – The CAUCUS picks Goff as leader.  Mistake!

    2. Nov. 2011 – Election disaster because for 2 years the CAUCUS did not replace Goff, even though it was obvious he had no hope of winning.

    3. 2012 – The party is torn apart because the CAUCUS botched the selection again (the Cunliffe/Shearer roadshow).

    4. July 2012 – We face a destructive party conference because the CAUCUS proposes a convoluted selection process reserving special powers for themselves.

    For whatever reasons of personalities, ideologies, its own rules, or whatever, the caucus system has proven beyond reasonable doubt it is the wrong tool for electing Labour Party leaders.  It cannot do the job.  My proposal: democracy.

    It costs $15 to join the party.  One member; one vote.  No specially weighted votes for MP’s or unions.

    One member; one vote.  End of story.
     

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      2. Nov. 2011 – Election disaster because for 2 years the CAUCUS did not replace Goff, even though it was obvious he had no hope of winning.

      Nah this is unfair. Who could have been selected as leader in 2010 or 2011 who could have done significantly better than Goff? He shone too late in the piece I agree, but Goff put in a stellar last 3-4 months in the election campaign. And he couldn’t undo the crappy decisions made at a strategic campaign level by himself.

  20. AmaKiwi 20

    Dear Colonial Viper
     
    The caucus SYSTEM failed.  Repeatedly.  Change the SYSTEM.
     
    I don’t care about the personalities.  No more groups jockeying for privileged voting power.  One member, one vote.
     
     

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    Labour | 13-11
  • 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 | 13-11
  • 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 | 12-11
  • 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 | 12-11
  • 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 | 12-11
  • 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 | 12-11
  • 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 | 12-11
  • 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 | 11-11
  • 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 | 11-11
  • 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 | 11-11
  • 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 | 11-11
  • 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 | 11-11
  • 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 | 11-11
  • 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 | 11-11
  • 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 | 11-11
  • 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 | 11-11
  • 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 | 10-11
  • 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 | 10-11
  • 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 | 09-11
  • 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 | 09-11
  • 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 | 06-11
  • 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 | 06-11
  • 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 | 06-11
  • 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 | 06-11
  • 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 | 06-11
  • 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 | 06-11
  • 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 | 06-11
  • The Block NZ doing a better job than Nick Smith
    Nick Smith should consider calling in producers of The Block NZ with participants in the TV series completing more houses in two seasons than the Government’s failed Special Housing Area policy, says Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Block NZ...
    Labour | 06-11
  • Meridian moves to kill competition from solar homes
    Big electricity companies are using their power to make it harder for families and businesses wanting to go solar and the National Government is doing nothing to help them, the Green Party said today. Meridian Energy announced today a 60-72...
    Greens | 06-11
  • Has John Key done all he could for Pike families?
    It will be forever on the conscience of John Key whether he did all he could to recover the remains of the 29 miners who died in Pike River, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says.  “The Prime Minister...
    Labour | 05-11
  • National further dashes hopes of new parents
    The National Government has once again shown its disdain for working parents by voting down proposals to extend paid parental leave, Labour MP Sue Moroney says.  “The Government vetoed an amended proposal that substantially reduced the cost of extending PPL...
    Labour | 05-11
  • 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 | 21-11
  • 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 | 21-11
  • 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 | 21-11
  • 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 | 21-11
  • 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 | 21-11
  • 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 | 21-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 19-11
  • 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 | 19-11
  • 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 | 19-11
  • US Politics
      US Politics...
    The Daily Blog | 19-11
  • 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 | 19-11
  • 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 | 19-11
  • 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 | 19-11
  • How to defeat child poverty
      How to defeat child poverty...
    The Daily Blog | 18-11
  • 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 | 18-11
  • 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 | 18-11
  • 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 | 18-11
  • 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 | 18-11
  • 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 | 18-11
  • 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 | 17-11
  • 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 | 17-11
  • 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 | 16-11
  • 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 | 16-11
  • 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 | 16-11
  • 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 | 16-11
  • 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 | 16-11
  • 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 | 14-11
  • 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 | 14-11
  • 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 | 14-11
  • 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 | 14-11
  • 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 | 14-11
  • 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 | 13-11
  • Why Phillip Smith is the least of our worries
    Well, it turns out Phillip Smith wasn’t half as clever as he thought he was, and he’s been arrested within a week. If the Prime Minister is through with making tasteless jokes, perhaps we can ramp down the media hysteria...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Constraining Credibility
      Most economists and members of the public – on both the right and the left – believe that economies are constrained by resource scarcity most of the time. In this view, economies are supply-constrained, and that the economic problem...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Migrant Labour, exploitation and free markets
    Once more we read about a horror story of virtual slavery for a migrant worker in a restaurant in Christchurch. The silver lining that in this case compensation should be paid is not assured. Often in situations like this the employer winds up...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • On baby boomers who give my generation unhelpful advice: JUST DON’T
    One of my mum’s colleagues recently told her that there is no money in what her daughter was doing; volunteering at a women’s refuge and writing on politics. This guy, dispensing all his pearls of wisdom, told my mother that...
    The Daily Blog | 13-11
  • Morbid Symptoms: Can Labour Be Born Anew?
    THE CHAIRS in the final meeting venue have been stacked away. All that expensive signage, commissioned for the benefit of the television cameras, no longer has a purpose. For the second time in just 14 months, Labour’s Leadership Contest is...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • What’s Small, White, and Having Trouble Attracting New People?
    If your answer was something intimately connected to the person of Peter Dunne … then you’d be right. Last night, P-Dunney decided to bring his comedy and/or hair stylings to the twitterverse; penning a potentially somewhat ill-advised tweet in which he compared...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • LATE at the Auckland Museum review – Slacktivisim: Its not just for Slack...
    Monday night is my yoga night. I’m not really very good it, I don’t really have the bendy, but I made a New Years resolution. This Monday however, I decided to put the yoga on prone and attend a gig...
    The Daily Blog | 12-11
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared
      This weeks Waatea news column – Nanaia Mahuta – the Princess who roared...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Real reasons to fear Government’s new approach to child poverty
    Now  I really am worried.  Selling state houses is bad enough but a taking a ‘social investment focus’ to deal with child poverty? “The Treasury will issue a Request for Information inviting submissions from people who work with vulnerable New...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • Power to the people!
    With all the huffing and puffing of the election out of the way and the right-wing still in ascendancy after 30 years of community-sapping neoliberalism it was a pleasure to attend a strike by workers at Carl’s Jr in Lincoln...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • EXCLUSIVE: OIA reveals WINZ trespassing 400 people a year
    W.I.N.Z is broken and it’s breaking my heart. Every year WINZ issues trespass notices to just under 400 people. 2008 / 418 2009 /  382 2010 /  347 2011 /  411 2012 /  373 2013 /  384 And this year...
    The Daily Blog | 11-11
  • So David Farrar and the Government were wrong on gangs after all?
    Oh the predictability of this… Ministers acted on inaccurate gang data Cabinet signed off tough new measures to tackle gangs on the basis of inaccurate information which over-estimated the scale of the crime problem. The briefing paper told ministers 4000...
    The Daily Blog | 10-11
  • 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 | 22-11
  • 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 | 22-11
  • 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 | 22-11
  • 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 | 21-11
  • 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 | 21-11
  • 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 | 21-11
  • 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 | 21-11
  • 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 | 21-11
  • 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 | 21-11
  • 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 | 21-11
  • 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 | 21-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 20-11
  • 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 | 19-11
  • 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 | 19-11
  • 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 | 19-11
  • 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 | 19-11
  • 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 | 19-11
  • 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 | 19-11
  • 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 | 19-11
  • 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 | 19-11
  • 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 | 19-11
  • 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 | 19-11
  • 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 | 19-11
  • Ashley Dwayne Guy v The Queen: Appeal Upheld
    The appellant, Mr Guy, was found guilty by a jury of a charge of sexual violation by unlawful sexual connection. After the verdict it was discovered that, by error, the jury had been provided in the jury room with two...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • Zonta Club to Take a Stand Against Gender-Based Violence
    During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence (25 November – 10 December), the Zonta Club of Wellington, along with members of the local community, will join nearly 1,200 Zonta clubs in 67 countries for the Zonta Says NO...
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • New UNFPA report links progress and power to young people
    A UN report launched today calls for investment in young people as they are essential to social and economic progress....
    Scoop politics | 19-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says: "Only in the public sector do you receive a payout for ‘resigning’....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ must not turn a blind eye to China’s human rights record
    Amnesty International is calling on New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key to raise China’s shameful human rights record during President Xi Jinping’s visit to New Zealand this week....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • The Resignation with the Golden Handshake?
    Commenting on the settlement the State Services Commission has reached with former CERA CEO Roger Sutton, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Treasury’s covert & extremely odd welfare consultation
    A report this morning that Treasury is ‘crowd sourcing’ ideas on welfare policy is news to Auckland Action Against Poverty, even though we are currently one of the most active groups in the area....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • NZ invites Pacific peers to review development cooperation
    New Zealand has volunteered to be the first development partner in the Pacific region to undergo a review of its aid programme by Pacific island peers. The review will focus on New Zealand’s development cooperation and will give greater insight...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • EPMU joins Pike River families to mark fourth anniversary
    Representatives of the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union are proud to stand with the Pike River families to mark four years since 29 men lost their lives. “This is a particularly solemn day given the recent announcements of Solid Energy...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • 2013 Assessment of New Zealand’s National Integrity Systems
    SPEAKER TUILOMA NERONI SLADE: Former Judge, International Criminal Court in the Hague, former legal counsel at the Commonwealth Secretariat, Secretary-General of the Pacific Islands Forum 2008-2014. Introduced by Helen Sutch, Victoria University Council,...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Green Party ignoring Waimea’s environmental benefits
    Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty has overlooked the environmental benefits the proposed Waimea Community Dam will bring the Tasman community, says IrrigationNZ Chairperson Nicky Hyslop....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Women’s use of violence in violent relationships
    More than 80 percent of women who live with a physically violent partner will not initiate violence when they are not being hit, according to new research....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health
    Poor credit rating linked to poor cardiovascular health A credit score doesn’t only boil down a person’s entire financial history to a single number and somehow predict their credit-worthiness, it might also be saying something about a person’s...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • State Services Commissioner on Roger Sutton Investigation
    State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie today said the investigation into Roger Sutton’s conduct was robust. Roger Sutton chose to resign as Chief Executive of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) yesterday....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Predator Free NZ project welcomed
    Federated Farmers and the conservation organisation Forest & Bird are welcoming the Predator Free New Zealand initiative as an ambitious but achievable project that will have real benefits for conservation and the economy....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Stock rustling set to continue under lax laws
    The theft and illegal slaughter of farm stock can only be expected to continue if tougher laws are not introduced, said ACT Leader David Seymour today....
    Scoop politics | 18-11
  • Visit of President Xi Jinping to New Zealand
    As president Xi Jinping of China pays short visit to New Zealand, of Friends of Tibet (NZ) has called upon Foreign Minister Hon Murray McCully and the Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key to raise the issue of Human Rights...
    Scoop politics | 18-11
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