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The democracy challenge

Written By: - Date published: 2:20 pm, November 24th, 2013 - 101 comments


I’ve been thinking about what next years’ election is going to be like. Not like 2011 that’s for sure. Labour was in the doldrums and ran a largely negative campaign. Let’s assume that Labour has learnt its lesson about running an effective campaign and ticks all the boxes. The secret weapon that Labour and the Greens have eschewed for as many elections as I can remember is actually working together.

Dear media….

Written By: - Date published: 8:50 pm, September 24th, 2013 - 9 comments

jen 2013

Just for the record, if you or any other idiot accuse me of homophobia, genocide, necrophilia, child kidnapping or just not being nice enough please use this photo; not the ones you used recently which make me look disturbingly like my mother – whom I love and admire dearly but she is, after all, 81. […]

Cunliffe passes my campaign litmus test

Written By: - Date published: 8:14 pm, September 6th, 2013 - 83 comments


I’ve just spent the last week on the road with David Cunliffe and his wife Karen. Campaigns are a handy litmus test to see people as they really are when under pressure and performing to grueling schedules. As a general rule I’m prepared to like most people but as friends who know me well will […]

No time for experiments

Written By: - Date published: 3:04 pm, August 22nd, 2013 - 158 comments


We all knew David Shearer was a good guy and he’s just proved how good – and noble – a man he is by resigning rather than forcing a messy and protracted leadership coup. Let’s hope that caucus, Labour members and the affiliates will be as clear headed. Now is not the time for another […]

Campaign heroics or hubris?

Written By: - Date published: 12:02 pm, June 6th, 2013 - 38 comments


I was impressed by this press statement from the Mana Party on the ground in the Ikaroa Rawhiti by-election reporting that they door-knocked over 1000 houses over the weekend and found that support for their candidate was over 70%.  As a political campaigner of many years experience, and I’m now running Labour’s by-election HQ in […]

Something missing from asset sales debate

Written By: - Date published: 7:28 pm, September 8th, 2012 - 38 comments

Something’s missing from Labour’s position on asset sales. It’s what it will do with the partially privatised companies (if the sales do go ahead despite Treaty issues and the dearth of economic rationale)  when  Labour is once more in  government.  I understand why it cannot promise to buy back the shares but why not make […]

Drug testing beneficiaries; yeah that’s the problem

Written By: - Date published: 2:49 pm, August 17th, 2012 - 65 comments


I could hardly believe my ears this morning when I heard about Paula Bennett’s plan to drug test beneficiaries and cut their benefits if they fail.  Yeah that’s the problem that’s preventing people from finding work.  Drugs.  Not the 6.8 percent unemployment rate (and it’s higher in the provinces).   It’s hard to imagine a […]

Bad behaviour puts Labour activists off

Written By: - Date published: 10:18 pm, August 13th, 2012 - 81 comments

I have spent the better part of 17 years  – eight  of those as a paid organiser for the Labour Party – practicing the ancient art of alchemy; turning supporters into volunteers, volunteers into members and members into activists.  I have recruited hundreds of union and Labour Party members. I have mentored and trained, supported […]

Tea ladies to be drug tested

Written By: - Date published: 10:13 am, May 11th, 2012 - 45 comments


 Minister of Labour Kate Wilkinson seems to be living  in an alternative universe, with her comment on Checkpoint yesterday that tea ladies in the adventure tourism industry could be drug tested: “The boss might be tested, it could be his turn or it could be the tea lady.” We’ll take it as a given that Kate assumes the boss […]

What would Wilberforce say?

Written By: - Date published: 3:51 pm, February 21st, 2012 - 33 comments

Consciences are uncomfortable things and mine’s been giving me a bit of trouble lately.   I’ve been on the horns of a dilemma (sorry for the cliche but who can resist the imagery?) about employment practices. We allow ourselves a handwringing moment, a short burst of outraged righteousness and then run off to buy  a pair […]

Wanted: more news like this

Written By: - Date published: 9:44 am, February 2nd, 2012 - 16 comments

A remarkably nice worker/boss story from across the ditch: Australian Ken Grenda may have sold his bus company, but his staff of almost 2,000 are smiling. Mr Grenda gave cash bonuses totalling A$15m ($16m, £10m) from proceeds of the sale to employees of his 66-year-old Melbourne-based company. The bonuses, averaging A$8,500, were based on the length […]

Setting up business: we’re prize winners

Written By: - Date published: 10:31 am, January 18th, 2012 - 35 comments

second place

Yesterday I officially set myself up in business.  As a GST registered independent contractor. It took about half an hour. Both IRD and ACC’s websites were easy to navigate and understand. I do admit I got a little befuddled trying to figure out the correct ACC classification for what I do (enthusiastic nagging, recruitment and communications at […]

1000 member challenge

Written By: - Date published: 11:06 am, January 11th, 2012 - 9 comments


My challenge (as part of my new life as expert communications / campaign / recruitment consultant to the stars) over the next 6 weeks is to encourage 1000 union members to bring their family into the union family for just $1 a week. That’s 1000 people who are already members of a union affiliated to the CTU to sign up their own family and whanau members to Together

Together: union security for $1 week

Written By: - Date published: 12:01 pm, December 22nd, 2011 - 74 comments


There’s a new union in town and who knows?  it might just prove to be the salvation of the union movement (so you can put money on  some hard-headed unionists opposing it for ideological reasons!) The concept  of Together is simple; if you currently belong to a union and you’ve got family members who work in places where there’s […]

The little I know about David Shearer

Written By: - Date published: 1:55 pm, December 3rd, 2011 - 134 comments

david shearer

I ran David Shearer’s campaign headquarters in the 2009 Mt Albert by-election. That gave me unique perspective to get a good hard look at a man in a pressure cooker environment. David arrived from the middle east literally a few short hours before the candidate selection speeches.  It showed.  He looked tired. But he went […]

Do the maths on massive public service cuts

Written By: - Date published: 2:36 pm, November 15th, 2011 - 37 comments

We finally get a glimpse of just how ‘small’ the government thinks small government should be. From the Sunday Star Times: It has slashed new spending provisions and put the public service on a belt-tightening programme for which, English warns, there is no end in sight.  The public services, he says, is only about a […]


Written By: - Date published: 5:02 pm, October 28th, 2011 - 39 comments

The Front Fell Off

Written By: - Date published: 1:21 pm, October 19th, 2011 - 7 comments


Clarke and Dawe on maritime disasters, all good build up to our own home-grown version…

Sleepover Bill in House tonight

Written By: - Date published: 4:10 pm, September 27th, 2011 - 48 comments

Where the fuck is Webb Ellis

Written By: - Date published: 12:36 pm, September 21st, 2011 - 3 comments

Very, very funny. Where the fuck is Webb Ellis? hat tip: Trevor Mallard at Red Alert

118 years on – what would Kate say?

Written By: - Date published: 4:15 pm, September 19th, 2011 - 15 comments

kate sheppard

118 years to the day when NZ became the first country in the world to give women the vote.  You can imagine how incredibly proud Kate and the sisterhood must have been. You can imagine them lifting their eyes to the future and seeing women standing shoulder to shoulder with their brothers, equal in political rights (and determined to […]

Are PPPs the best we can do?

Written By: - Date published: 2:47 pm, September 13th, 2011 - 8 comments

A good piece in the Herald by Max Rashbrook on the high costs of PPPs (public private partnerships) with the new Wiri prison costing over $21m before a single sod is turned or brick laid because of the complex contract negotiatons which have to cover every possible continency for the next 30 years. Earlier this […]

Human face of public service cuts

Written By: - Date published: 3:00 pm, August 30th, 2011 - 41 comments

Manuals Closed

Good human interest story in the DomPost today about the human costs of public service jobs cuts. A Wellington woman has written a letter to Prime Minister John after her 63-year-old mother learned last week that her position at the Agriculture and Forestry Ministry is to be axed. Staffing cuts after a merger with the Fisheries […]

What we owe policy wonks

Written By: - Date published: 1:35 pm, August 26th, 2011 - 21 comments


Yesterday William commented to Cuts and Consequences to the effect that who needs policy analyst and that big private companies don’t bother with them and so neither should government. I’m paraphrasing a little bit but it did strike me that many people (including it seems some very senior ministers in this government – but not – funnily enough […]

Cuts and consequences

Written By: - Date published: 12:10 pm, August 25th, 2011 - 21 comments

half of invite

The government reckons it can cut the number of public sector workers without cutting services. That wasn’t the experience of the 80s and 90s when vital institutional knowledge and expertise were lost in a frenzy of asset sales,  privatisation and brutal job cuts– when public service numbers dropped from around 85,000 public servants  to under  30,000 […]

PSA launches myth busting campaign

Written By: - Date published: 10:56 am, August 2nd, 2011 - 57 comments

The PSA is launching its election campaign this evening.   Our big challenge is to break through the government’s narrative (now reaching  mythic proportions)  that NZ is sinking under debt the likes of Greece  tooand the only solution is to cut public spending and sell assets. As the well informed readers of The Standard know, NZ’s […]

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