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Don’t panic

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 pm, November 11th, 2012 - 73 comments
Categories: australian politics, david shearer, uk politics - Tags:

Twice this year we have seen Labour leaders  turn around perceptions of them and their party with one speech. Ed Miliband did it at the Labour Party conference in Manchester in early November. Julia Gillard did it in the Australian parliament in October.

A year ago both leaders were considered total losers by many in their own party and by most pundits. Their Conservative and Liberal opponents thought they were riding high to inevitable victory at the next election.

In Australia, everybody had completely written off Labor’s chances in 2013. The ALP’s primary vote had dropped to the twenties. Julia Gillard had to withstand a challenge from Kevin Rudd, after a long campaign of white-anting in the caucus and attack from Labor strategists such as Bruce Hawker. The Murdoch-owned Australian sustained a long personal campaign against her, led by senior editor Paul Kelly.

In Britain, Blairites and David Miliband supporters were proclaiming in late 2011 “Ed Miliband is not a popular Labour leader.” Immediately prior to his Conference speech, the Conservatives were totally confident in victory at the next election despite the fact that they were currently behind in the polls because “we’ve got David, they’ve got Ed.”

Look at the situation now. In Australia, the ALP briefly led the Liberals on the two-party preferred vote, and are still within striking distance. Gillard leads Abbott as preferred Prime Minister. Instead of Gillard being the leader under threat, the blowtorch has been turned onto Abbott. In Britain, Miliband is now written up as ruling  the Commons. Cameron was completely and utterly upstaged at the Conservative conference by Boris Johnson.

A year ago in both Australia and Britain you would have got very long odds on Gillard or Miliband’s survival. Now it is Abbott and Cameron who are under threat.

Harold Wilson’s famous dictum that ‘a week is a long time in politics’, and David Lange’s equally famous comment about the “reef fish” in the Press Gallery come to mind. The Canberra Press Gallery was unanimously dismissive of Gillard’s speech, but it went viral on You-Tube.

Criticisms of Shearer on this site and others seem to come down to these. He’s not Helen Clark, who was master of every portfolio. True, but neither is Key. He lacks fluency, is not a good communicator. True, but so was Helen Clark before she sought and obtained media training. He doesn’t have the relentless negativity of a Leader of the Opposition. True; that was Goff’s strategy, and it wasn’t a good one.

Scott Yorke at least gives Shearer till after the Labour Party conference, and so do I. There is no doubt it will be important for him, and for Labour. The good news is that the spotlight will be definitely on Shearer. Miliband and Gillard show hitherto derided leaders can step up, and that one performance can make a huge difference to theirs and their party’s prospects.

I think that calling for David Shearer’s head now, in the week before the Labour party conference, is a sign of panic. Panic doesn’t make for good decisions.

It is also very destructive of good organisation, which will be the other focus of the conference, and arguably the more important.

73 comments on “Don’t panic”

  1. Jenny 1

    Don’t panic Mr Mannering

    • bbfloyd 1.1

      That’s mr Jones who’s the panic merchant(no relation to shane)… and it’s spelled Mainwaring….

  2. hush minx 2

    To be fair Mike, I don’t think people on this site will have written any of this lightly. No one likes to se this stuff written down – and given your influential role in times past I’m sure you more than most will understand the depth of feeling that sits behind it.

    And it’s also true that the list of concerns they have had regarding David Shearer as a leader are not new. The problem is that despite articulating them repeatedly little progress has been seen to be made. In addition there is an air of disengagement from the caucus – which was merely emphasised by the decision of 18 of them voting against the wish of the party membership in December last year.

    It’s not panic that is making this happen – it’s frustration that Labour setting up a third term of a National led government through the inadequacies of a set of MPs sitting inside caucus, and a party leadership that appears out of its depth.

    • Dr Terry 2.1

      Probably there are some signs of panic, but be careful not to “put down” all the commentators. Most of these people are intelligent and able to reason and discern the signs. “Miracles” can happen in politics, we hardly need reminding of that. Shearer might be transformed over night.

      Nevertheless, too much emphasis has been focused upon Shearer, where more weight should be placed upon the Labour team as a whole. Even if Key can run a government on his own, it is unfair to place that expectation upon Shearer or almost any other individual. Good team-work is the thing, and that is what we must be convinced about.

    • King Kong 2.2

      Nobody knows who the authors of these Shearer attack pieces are so it is impossible to know what potential agenda they are pushing.
      Going for the jugular a week before conference makes me think that they have a dog in this race or they may be driven by purer motives…who knows?

      [lprent: Ummm. And your explanation about my post that I wrote last night? What "dog" do you think that I have?

      Don't be a silly wee wanker and start violating our policy against attributing strange unsubstantiated motives to authors beyond what each of us state. It really doesn't matter if a handle is used or a "real name". If there is any actual hidden motivations then one or more of the other authors (starting with me) would start crying foul. In this case there had been some discussion running around the emails that authors were getting pissed starting several months ago and that has been reflected in posts. Eddie just wrote what he has been saying for months.

      We don't need input by a political moron who appears to have been missing the evident dissatisfaction showing up in comments and posts here for months. ]

  3. Pete 3

    If David Shearer doesn’t go now, it will be too late to replace him in this term while allowing the party to get its house in order for the 2014 election. That’s why there is an urgency about this. Media training is not going to cut it. The man was a teacher for four years. If we are seeing the same communication skills now as he subjected his classes to in the 80s, he mustn’t have been very good at it. The GCSB tape fiasco exhibited an extraordinary degree of political naïveté. The beneficiary bashing dog whistle sent the wrong signals. Labour is supposed to be the party of the marginalised in society, not holding them up to suspicion. And you’re expecting Labour supporters to hang around like some battered spouse making excuses for the poor standard of Shearer’s leadership.

    • Jackal 3.1

      In my opinion, the GCSB tape fiasco didn’t exhibited an extraordinary degree of political naïveté on the part of David Shearer, no matter how hard the right wing propagandists spun it. What it did show was just how callous and manipulative John Key can be in order to not tell the truth.

      Whether the roof painter debacle sent the wrong signals is also a matter of opinion, being that Labours polling improved immediately after this. This was because there was a disproportional amount of coverage given to what was largely a triviality. I’m not saying it’s a good strategy, just pointing out the reality of the situation. Those facts make your claims that Labour supporters only come from marginalized sectors of the community entirely wrong!

      However, marginalizing potential supporters is not an effective method to ensure widespread support. That’s what National does all the time with its beneficiary bashing, and in the end it will work against them. Labour needs to look at an inclusive plan that ensures all New Zealanders benefit, not just the rich or poor.

      Despite the various arguments against him, I think David Shearer could outstrip some peoples expectations and win the next election for Labour and the left wing. It just so happens that the majority of Labour MP’s agree with me, and that’s why Shearer is leader of the opposition.

  4. felix 4

    Panic?

    Yeah sure. Four years of slow, grinding, repetitive panic.

  5. Jenny 5

    The vast bulk of the Labour Party membership, (apparently), are for David Cunliffe’s leadership over David Shearer’s.

    This will need to be tested by an open debate followed by a vote.

    Any other course could be disastrous.

    If it is true that Shearer supporters are in the minority, then the only way Shearer could remain leader after the conference is through some sort of suppression of inner party democracy, either through some sort of a technicality or other bureaucratic maneuver.

    :However if such tactics are imposed on the conference there will be a cost. If the majority opinion is not allowed some sort of democratic expression at this time, then Labour Party organisation will suffer an internal wound, it may be hidden and glossed over and dismissed as trivial, but mark my words, the majority will, will find it’s expression in some other way at some other time. Probably at the worst possible time.

    Possibly in a lack of volunteers and doorknockers come election time, resulting from a slow sapping of enthusiasm in these same loyal volunteers as they go about their daily lives.

    • McFlock 5.1

      This I agree with.

      And I think it applies to every political party.

      The democratic advance made by MMP (which as a system I think is beginning to mature, if needing tweaks around the electorate/threshold issue) needs to be matched by democratic advances in political parties. Members need to be able to affect changes beyond the caucus door, and hold caucus to policy and the wishes of membership.

      Whether or not the Shearer/Cunliffe thing is a caucus problem, or an Auckland problem, or a media/blog problem, or a Shearer performance problem, or some or all of the above, the way to put a lid on it is to have clear membership support.

      • weka 5.1.1

        I thought the point was that the membership don’t get to choose the leader. Have the changes to that been finalised?

  6. Unfortunately Jenny that is exactly the plan. You need to take a very close look at the constitutional changes for leadership issues. Everyone has been focused on the rule that would give members and affiliates a share in leadership votes. What they haven’t focused on is the caucus trigger that is required before the wider vote can be held. Unless the threshold is less than the present 51% (67% is presently suggested) the Constitution is entrenching the current leadership. But the party hierarchy, including the LP Council have been persuaded there is too much risk of instability to have a lower trigger. The UK Labour Party has a threshold of 20%. So you would think there would be some comprehensive analysis and discussion of why the NZLP needs such a different 67%. I haven’t seen any discussion about that. Just an unsubstantiated fear of instability. Frankly, without a lower trigger THERE WILL BE NO VOTE for the members on leadership issues. The caucus controllers will decide when it best suits for Robertson to challenge or if there will even be a leadership contest. Look for them to do that dangerously close to the 2014 election. What the members are losing is an existing system where caucus would have (according to the caucus rules) had to decide in February whether they had confidence in the leaders. How about getting a pledge from Robertson that he will not challenge for the leadership until after 2014? Anyone think he’d sign up to that?

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    Mike.

    You used the examples of Gillard and Milliband as examples of how Labour Leaders can turn a listing Labour ship upright. Let’s assess what the standard set is shall we?

    Have you seen this video of Gillard taking down Abbott as a misogynist. She unleashes on him an utter 15 minutes of Opposition hell.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeGeooZOUdE

    How about Ed Milliband taking apart Cameron, Osborne and Clegg’s budget, earlier this year. 15 grand minutes of holding Tory feet to the fire.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmAv95OfTWI

    “wrong priorities, wrong values, out of touch, same old Tories”

    Just fraking brilliant, Ed’s speeches are usually damn good.

    • felix 7.1

      Yep, there’s the standard. Anyone seriously believe Shearer has that in him?

      And I don’t just mean the eloquence of the performances, I mean the guts to face the issues head-on and tear the tories to shreds.

      Side note: They really pack ‘em in at the HoC, don’t they?

      • I’d be astonished if he could manage it. If he does I’ll eat my hat and say he deserves a go. But if he’s going to convince Labour and Green supporters, he’s going to have to do it fast, before pressure mounts on him to resign.

        • QoT 7.1.1.1

          Somehow I feel certain we’d have heard if the entire Shearer speechwriting/comms team had been summarily sacked. And without any evidence he’s got a completely new team behind him, I rate the odds of his conference speech being a game-changer as approximately equal to those of a whelk in a supernova.

          Whereas David Cunliffe, just as a random example, has been turning out exciting, clear, engaging speeches all year. I would dearly love to believe that David Shearer can miraculously turn into a charismatic, inspirational leader in a matter of days, but signs and logic point to no.

          • Jackal 7.1.1.1.1

            Really? Would you perhaps like to supply some examples to show his exciting, clear, engaging speeches? Although I don’t like to raise the issue, here’s one example that turned up at the top of a google search. Didn’t the right wing propagandists have a field day with that one QoT. Charismatic or not, you don’t usually gain the treasury benches by appealing to minority groups.

            Now I can see why this might appeal to the more staunch Labour activist, and people like you and I. But how many staunch Labour activists are there? Some of the most staunch Labour activists are now questioning their association, somewhat because of supposed instability that has been promoted through websites like yours and The Standard. I think that if Labour fails to win at the next election, no matter who is leader, some responsibility will lie with those who have published work that clearly undermines Labour politicians. In my opinion that should be left up to the right wing propagandists to do, because without unity on the left wing, Labour will not win the next election, and the Greens will not be a part of the next government, no matter how many voters Labour sheds to them.

            Now I know I’m playing with fire, but the factional infighting that’s being published on left wing outlets isn’t particularly beneficial at all. Yes! The left wing is a diverse group of people that value free speech and differing opinions, but where the hell has the loyalty to the cause gone? You’re providing fodder for the right wing to use, which in the end will not help Labour to choose another leader, or help Shearer if the party decides to keep him. All it does is undermine Labour, and therefore reduces the chances of getting rid of National and their destructive neo-liberal agenda. Oh well you might say… My hit counter is going ballistic. Yay! But I damn well care, because its my business and lifestyle that will suffer if National propagandists foment division within the left wings usually cooperative team. It’s me who will suffer if left wing activists stupidly do the same thing as well.

            The fact of the matter is that Cunliffe’s style, like Phil Goff’s, isn’t going to appeal to the vast majority of the middle class voter, and if Labour wants to win the next election, simply relying on negative politicking won’t work. Cynical I know, but people like things they want to hear, which is perhaps why my blog isn’t particularly popular in comparison to those who purposefully stroke the over-inflated political egos of the right wing, and the factions they support.

            • QoT 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Gosh, Jackal, maybe you might consider that when I’m comparing Shearer’s speeches to Cunliffe’s, I’m talking about prepared speeches, not off-the-cuff protest remarks. And I’m not sure just how much of a “field day” “right wing propagandists” had with the comments in your link since I honestly do not remember hearing a single thing about them.

              How about any speech on this page? Pretty clear, covering the “issues that matter” according to everyone who wants the feminists and gays to go away and shut up, in relatable terms, and – comparing every recording ever of Cunliffe vs Shearer – delivered with some goddamned passion.

              Not to mention the fact he’s won New Lynn with increasing majorities – hardly an area known for its rampant hippie/radical demographics.

              But carry on, I can only assume you’ve set some personal goal for using the phrase “right wing propagandist” as often as possible and I’d hate to get in the way of that.

              • Jackal

                You didn’t hear anything about the right wing propagandists attacking Cunliffe over that speech? I find that hard to believe QoT.

                So it’s just prepared speeches that we should judge them on, something that Shearer and Cunliffe are OK at… We shouldn’t compare off the cuff responses with off the cuff speeches though. Something both Shearer and Cunliffe could do better at. Confusing!

                Thanks for the link btw. I don’t follow politics as well as I should, and Cunliffe’s speech seems pretty good. But the thing you like the most seems to be that he appeals to a minority group. As I said before, that’s not going to help Labour much in winning the next election. On the other hand he’s a bit more critical of the rich, which is a usable tactic. It was employed well by Obama in the US elections.

                Strangely, many New Zealand pundits are wanting our politics to emulate that media controlled and corrupt spectacle. Personally, I couldn’t think of anything worse. I hate personality politics, which is what we’re basically talking about.

                There’s no personal goal of mine in highlighting the fact that some left wing commentators are sounding a lot like right wing propagandists atm. It’s an observation… You’re welcome to disagree.

                • QoT

                  So it’s just prepared speeches that we should judge them on

                  Not what I said at all.

                  I made a comment comparing their relative abilities at prepared speeches.

                  You cited an unprepared speech.

                  I corrected what I assumed was mistake on your part.

                  But since you think it’s cool to accuse me of lying, go fuck yourself.

                  • Jackal

                    I doubt the referenced Cunliffe speech wasn’t totally unprepared. Although you’re right to make the trivial distinction about it not being a conference speech, you’re wrong that he shouldn’t be judged as a politician on it.

                    You also seem to be confused about the fact that I cast doubt that you were being truthful in your knowledge concerning the fallout from that speech, not about what kind of speech it was.

                    You see QoT, that was your opportunity to explain the inconsistency in your argument. But I suppose it’s just easier for you to resort to childish insults. How could you have missed this and this for instance, or are you of the crowd that just selectively chooses to read information that supports their beliefs?

                    Don’t get me wrong, I like David Cunliffe as well. In fact I preferred him at the time of Labours leadership debates. But Labour chose Shearer, and flip-flopping every time there’s a bad poll isn’t going to do Labour any favours.

    • Red Rosa 7.2

      Well said. Gillard’s speech justifiably went viral. We’ve never seen a shadow of that passion from Shearer. A nice guy no doubt, but in the wrong job.

      One of the very few times I’ve watched Parliament live was the DotCom tape affair. Utter humiliation.

      • Dr Terry 7.2.1

        I have to say it, I am utterly sick and tired of hearing that Shearer is “a nice guy”. How do we know that for fact, and does it need saying anyway? Through personal experience as a former constituent of his, I have my doubts. Are we trying to salve our consciences for opposing his leadership?

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    This is Ed Milliband being grilled by a tough interviewer over Labour’s own relationship to News Corp during the phone hacking scandal. She puts the screws in half way through the interview – tougher than anything you’ll see on NZ TV.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxQW9QPvBZc

    And here, Ed Milliband: highlights of his speech at Labour UK’s very recent conference, his delivery for about an hour was from memory and improvisation. (I guess the “One Nation” meme doesn’t have the same connotations in the UK haha)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XC3GIb0UWg

    • Pete Fraser 8.1

      Ed `these strikes are wrong’ Milliband. Yeah, he’s super slick. I mean ffs, he’s notoriously awkward and gets away with it by being fuck-off good, not by being a very good orator.

  9. Akldnut 9

    “Possibly in a lack of volunteers and doorknockers come election time, resulting from a slow sapping of enthusiasm in these same loyal volunteers as they go about their daily lives.”

    Good call Jenny – I and a number of activists I know, am becoming increasingly disenchanted with this current leadership as the days go by. If things don’t improve drastically and immediately I will look at the possibility of supporting another party and cease my payments into the century fund.

    We have already lost a lot of long term supporters over this and by not improving our leadership’s performance I am sure Labour will only lose more good people and slip further into a position of irrelevance.

  10. Jenny 10

    Politicians make up the bulk of the climate change faction, I call the Climate Change Ignorers, (CCIs). I predicted here that this faction won’t last long. I posited this because no matter the donations and bribes and all the other incentives and pressure politicians are put under by the Business As Usual lobby to look away, the change is so rapid and apparent, as to be unignorable, (that is, without making yourself into looking a a complete tool in public)

    For one American politician my prediction is coming true even as we talk.

    The world’ most prominent CCI and US politician David Rouzer is currently engaged in an arduous and “dispiriting” recount of votes in a desperate effort to retain his seat in congress which he has just lost by a mere 500 votes.

    Reality has the last laugh at the expense of North Carolina congressman David Rouzer

    Now ask yourself when it comes to the defining issue of our age, which politician of the two, David Shearer or David Cunliffe is a Climate Change Ignorer?

    I know that Cunliffe has given some speeches on this issue. (and damned good ones at that). Shearer, I don’t know. Can anyone inform me of any speech or policy or even a mention of any new climate change initiative coming from the Shearer camp. On these grounds alone, like David Rouzer and all other CCIs Shearer’s use by date has already passed.

    • muzza 10.1

      Ther are far gaver, more pertinent threats to people in NZ than CC Jenny.

      As benghazi (6) points out, most of you can’t see what the root problems are, you continue to focus on the issues which are not relevant!

      The con is so great, (nz’s destruction) you can’t even or don’t want to see it, and are sidetracked with issues like CC while children are abused, and starving, old people treated appaulingly, suicides of our young, education under attack, workers under attack, it goes on, and on.

      Yet you focus on other issues!

      • One Tāne Huna 10.1.1

        A loony can always manage to find something huge that no-one else can see.

        • muzza 10.1.1.1

          Shame, you were doing quite well today with your posts too, they made some sense, read well etc, then you just had take a shot eh!

          Which shows the following

          1: What a little mind you have
          2: That you don’t think there are more serious immediate issues in NZ than CC
          3: That because you can’t/don’t understand whats going on, no-one else can either

          • Te Reo Putake 10.1.1.1.1

            Your immediate leap to abuse marks you as rather shallow thinker, muzza. Jenny is right to raise climate change because it threatens all of us. You are right to raise local issues that need immediate attention, too. If only there was a pithy phrase that encapsulated the ability to think globally and act locally ;)

            • muzza 10.1.1.1.1.1

              Are you talking about my response to the thinly veiled insult below? Which was really the work of a small minded individual, who clearly as personal beef, given the content of what I had posted in my original comment.

              A loony can always manage to find something huge that no-one else can see

              If you are referring to my response to Jenny, it was not meant to be insulting in any way, simply that local issues are much greater danger to us than CC, and not to fall for the distractions.

              Shallow thinker, yup, illustrates nicely how little thought you put into your responses, and how little attention you pay to what people put up on here!

              • Te Reo Putake

                Two wrongs don’t make a right, muzza. I was talking about your response, not ignoring or excusing OTH’s comment. But, yeah, OTH could have phrased that more diplomatically, I suppose. However, you need to accept that some of your beliefs are loony, at least in the sense of being miles away from the mainstream. You can take some pride from that in that you are being genuinely contrarian (as opposed to the mildly conservative chap who posts under that name) and you have a good track record of sparking debate.

                Obviously, I indulge in a bit of childish abuse myself, from time to time, but I try to soften the blow by being exceedingly witty. And modest. Always modest.

                • One Tāne Huna

                  It makes me laugh – Muzza accusing Jenny of monomania! Is that a more diplomatic phrasing? :twisted:

  11. Sunny 11

    @ The Poster: We’re not in a panic…we’ve been saying since Shearer was foisted on us that he’s not a leader and most obviously, he’s not a Left leader and he can’t win an election.. That was after a total defeat, under Goff, another ‘good’ man, foisted on the party, who also was unable to win a (vital) election. So we’re not in a panic (projection on your part perhaps? ) rather we’re angry, frustrated, disbelieving, disenfranchised, despairing, sick at heart and right ready to be out of here if this garbage doesn’t stop. Now.

  12. Jester 12

    Mike, I assume you still haven’t quite got the numbers for a Robertson coup yet hence your attempt to quell the masses.

    Correct?

  13. One Tāne Huna 13

    Spare us the patronising bullshit Mr. Smith.

    It isn’t panic, it’s the desire to see an electable Labour leader.

  14. Descendant Of Smith 14

    From one Smith to another I don’t care who the leader is at this point.

    I’m looking for some policies such as increasing benefit rates, increasing the minimum wage, putting back the right to strike at times other than the expiry of a contract, re-instating good faith provisions after contracts have expired, increased taxation to reduce debt levels, lending Chch council money at interest free levels so they don’t have to borrow with interest to rebuild infrastructure, rebuilding state housing stock and a removal of market rents, universal family benefit instead of WFF so the state doesn’t require people’s financial information (and lets face it many wealthy get both WFF and a community services card anyway), investment in public education – I know what my local high school could do with the 2 million (and now more due to integration) that Whanganui Collegiate got, and so on.

    Whether it’s Shearer or Cunliffe or someone else is irrelevant as there’s little point of difference between National and Labour in terms of neo-liberalism (national are just both more honest in appealing to swing voters and dishonest in relation to their fascist tendencies about it) and little left wing about the Labour party these days.

    I still find it dishonest that Labour claims the 8 hour working day as an achievement on their website when they no longer believe in it. The modern Labour Party has so little in common with the old that they shouldn’t even use the name.

    They should change their name at this conference to something else that more accurately reflects their right leanings and change their colour to pale blue.

  15. muzza 15

    Lets get this straight first of all.

    Helen Clark delivered against NZ’s interests, which is why she has her job at the UN – Anyone who holds her up as some sort of examply needs to upper cut themselves, as well as examine the major policies which helped to strip NZ, which the the current lot have run with and extended.

    Shearer,Gillard, Milliband, all the same person, it makes no difference, and if you think that one speech is able to fool the sheep, then we really are in some strife.

  16. Craig Glen Eden 16

    Shit Mike is this the best you can do to try and reduce activist concerns to a “panic attack”?

    I have not posted over the weekend but have watched the posts with interest. Shearer was never up to the job a total bunch of looser’s stuck him in charge and they all deserve to go as well.

    The caucus played petty self interest politics they put themselves first and the party members views last. Well all those who voted for Shearer need to go as far as I am concerned the act of installing the bumbling inexperienced Shearer is not forgiveable. Any politician who thought Shearer was fit for the job showed what total bloody idiots they are. For the Parties sake Shearer and a number of others need to resign.

  17. kousei 17

    David ‘Roof Painter’ Shearer? Give us a break.

  18. Bill 18

    Disclaimer: I’m no devotee of parliamentary democracy. I’m under no illusions as to the limits of what that particular form of governance can deliver.

    Quickly. Because I’ve a lot of other things to do today….

    The Labour Parties in Australia and the UK are all tangled up in their neo liberal apologist bindings. So (currently) is the NZ Labour Party. And it has been that way for nearly 30 years. Through those years there has been the constant refrain of TINA in their policies. When in office, they do as the unabashed neoliberal Tories do. But they do it ‘nicer’. And they have, by and large, ‘cleansed’ their parties of all and sundry who don’t or won’t ‘get it’. Meaning that dissent has been silenced and people and ideas ostrasized. End result? The electorate get a choice between tweedle dee and tweedle dum fighting over a so called centre ground that has moved so far to the right that it’s just not funny.

    And so people stop voting. In their droves. Because there is nothing for them in the voting game. It’s disconnected.

    I’m not going to run through the policies that have come and gone through the years from the Nats and Labour where a cigarette paper could barely slip in the space between their positions. And I’m not going to run through the legislative ‘roll backs’ that only go in one direction, that are never reversed and that, at best, are stationary while the ‘nice guys’ of the TINA mantra excercise their managerial remit.

    So we have elections as personality contests now. Is anyone really surprised? Is there anyone who in all seriousness would argue that they don’t know why this is?

    Well, here’s a thing for all the managers, carreerists and neoliberal apologists who have occupied our electoral spaces. Neoliberalism is dead. It died with the global financial collapse and the rising stench of austerity would seem to be its decay. So it’s time for you to move on or step aside. We don’t need this stuff. We don’t need to be told (again) that we need to suffer a little pain to enjoy the gain somewhere off down the track.

    But what is the NZ Labour Party offering up beyond TINA? Well, obviously nothing. What could the NZ Labour Party offer up that was beyond the cruel defeatism of TINA? Well that’s the question!

    But it’s not a question we’ll ever know an answer to while David Shearer or any of the coterie of neoliberal apologists, carreerists or managerial types hold the reins of power in Labour.

    And that’s why they have to go Mike. It ain’t panic. It’s a matter of needing that question answered.

    • karol 18.1

      +1

      So we have elections as personality contests now.

      Exactly. It doesn’t matter to me who has the most marketable backstory, or most televisual face – it’s the political policies and direction.

      Who will take the bold moves needed to turn so-called “left wing” parties towards a solidly left wing position?

    • Dr Terry 18.2

      Bill, that is pretty good for something you wrote quickly! You are putting it to us, and we need to hear your voice.

    • xtasy 18.3

      Bill: “Refreshing” comment – and REAL in much of your assessment!

    • kousei 18.4

      Impressive comments Bill. You’ve summed up exactly how I feel mate. I voted Labour at the last election but until the Labour party can reply to the question you posed with a clear answer then I will not support them.

  19. Blue 19

    Panic? It’s not panic, Mike. It’s the result of watching Shearer flail and flounder for months, and asking ourselves if this situation is going to change.

    I am not Chicken Little, going around squawking for a leadership change at the first sign of low polls. I supported Phil Goff to the very end in his leadership despite many of my fellows calling for him to be sacked. I did so because I believed Phil had it in him, and right towards the end there he proved that he did. If he had had more confidence in himself, and the party had had more confidence in him (billboards…) things could have gone very differently.

    But I will not sit around wasting time on a leader who doesn’t have it, will never have it no matter how much media training he’s given, and is apparently too much of an egotist to admit he’s not up to the job and step down for the good of the party.

    Shearer has made an utter fool of himself, from his beneficiary on the roof speech, to his crying wolf over the GCSB tape, to his allowing Shane Jones to run riot, to his clunky, waffling, stumbling dialogue that has shown very little improvement despite a year of media training.

    To be blunt, Mike, he doesn’t have what it takes, in either political experience or natural talent, and pursuing this project further is a waste of time.

    • gobsmacked 19.1

      Blue +1

      It really grates to be told that it’s “panic”, as if we lived in a world without history, without memory. Without the ability to observe what happens before our eyes.

      “Panic” is what we would see from Labour after Shearer’s first debate or interview in Election 2014.

      You can write that script now: “We should have acted when we had the chance … it’s too late now!”

      But it’s not 2014. It’s not too late. Or too soon. It’s now.

  20. ‘Dont panic’ in Dad’s Army usually spells an iminent disaster happening.
    Dad’s Army could also depict the current labour party ministers,some working ok,
    then a faction where they are not working at all,mumbling,stumbling around trying
    to put some sort of cohesive/policy strategy together to present to the voters,members,
    followers.It ain’t working.
    I for one was shocked when Shearer won ahead of Cunliffe, Shearer showed then, that
    he wasn’t up to the job, tv appearances showed Shearer was not leadership material,
    why was Shearer even in the race ?
    His leadership has presented nothing for the voters,members,followers of labour,at
    a time when the nacts have left a smorgasboard of topics,which i am sure has labourites
    shaking their heads in disbelief and anger,why can’t this be seen by those who are in the
    inner circle, when it is bleedin obvious.
    I really,really,want labour to do well in the next election,for the sake of the country and
    myself and family,but i am despairing that if Shearer is still there we will be heading for
    a 22% at the polls.
    A change of leadership needs to happen now, not later.

  21. Tiger Mountain 21

    Parting is such sweet sorrow, the real parting required is that from social democracy with members at large and conference running the NZ Labour Party on the platform of “they” the bosses, “indeed not liking it up ’em”.

    ”it” being pounding taxes, SOES piss off, no more PPPs, or reserve bank, a massive reconstruction of this countries infrastructure, crushing carbon tax and an invitation for all the “knowledge wavers” to bugger off. Anything less and and this leadership level bollocks will return year after year.

    I am well aware the above is highly unlikely which is why I am sticking with Te Mana Movement.

  22. LynW 22

    And Tapu Misa’s view

    Tapu Misa: Labour should look hard at leader’s competence

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10846696

  23. Michael 23

    It’s time Shearer went and the identity of his successor should be a matter to be decided by every financial member of the Party, via secret ballot. It’s called democracy and the spectacle of Labour’s pampered, overpaid and underworked Parliamentary wing respecting it would galvanise the Party’s fortunes. So would the election of a leader with the political nous to connect with the people and convince them that Labour’s commitment to social justice burns just as brightly as it did back in 1916, 1935 and 1972 (we’ll overlook 1984).

  24. I agree partly, as calling for his head at the same time as the MSM (who clearly want to destroy Labour so their neo-liberal idol can return to power) could hurt Labour in the polls.

  25. kea 25

    “Twice this year we have seen Labour leaders turn around perceptions of them and their party with one speech.”

    Are you writing it, Mike ?

    [lprent: Yes he did. Please read the policy. ]

  26. KhandallaMan 26

    Mike, in your 537 word essay you yourself could not find anything positive to say about Shearer.  That speaks volumes.
    You ask us to forget one year of nothingness from Shearer (&Robertson) IF he make a single great speech!  Most of the bloggers here have jobs or businesses: would we survive 12 months  of non-performance by making one acceptable pitch? No . We would be out on our ear. 
    Shearer & Robertson were given a chance to prove themselves: the sceptical (ignored) membership bit it’s lip and gave the pair of them space.  They have failed to make the grade.  The whole party is now being tainted by this sad episode in our history. The sooner we bring closure the better.

    Let us get on with voting for the 40:40:20 and the 40% Caucus trigger. 

  27. Dee 27

    Mike, you remember Bill Rowling, well this is a similar situation. No one is panicking, what they are seeing are the results of months of watching Labour and its leadership and just feeling deflated. A leader has to speak well and David Shearer for all his good points, does not. The comment about a sickness beneficary stinks, considering many have invisible conditons and work in pain and exhaustion to do jobs in their homes. No apology either and it smacked of someone joining in the anti beneficiary bashing to win kudos…but with whom? Certainly not old time social justice voters like myself. If you want a good combination for Labour leadership — try Cunliffe and Moroney, who at least seem to stick to the original values of the party. My personal choice would be Parker for leader, but that is not popular with most Labour people. I hope we get some proper traction in the Labour party before many reluctantly de-camp to the Greens. Thank you.

  28. Anne 28

    I’ve been rapidly coming to the view that a tandem effort between Cunliffe/Parker is the best path to take if the wounds are to be healed inside the Party. They were competitors a year ago, but now they have a chance to bring the two sides together. The abilities of both have been clearly demonstrated, and if the Labour Party really wants to do the right thing for this country they would get in behind them in a big way.

  29. Jenny 29

    Twice this year we have seen Labour leaders turn around perceptions of them and their party with one speech. Ed Miliband did it at the Labour Party conference in Manchester in early November.Julia Gillard did it in the Australian parliament in October.

    Mike Smith

    Mike I would follow David Shearer to the ends of hell if he gave a tub thumping speech at conference saying that he will take serious steps to save the planet from the ravages of climate change. And that Labour under his leadership would oversee a Green New Deal program of government innovation and investment to create thousands of jobs to make New Zealand a destination for innovation and reverse the brain drain to Aussie.

    That a Labour Government would impose a moratorium on all deep sea oil exploration in all our territorial waters.

    That a Labour Government would refuse to issue permits for any new coal mines on New Zealand territory.

    That New Zealand would set world first in becoming the first nation in the world to put a ban on the international coal export and import market.

    That the $billions already put aside, earmarked for the Roads Of National Significance (RONS), will instead be switched to public transport.

    That a Robin Hood tax on scurrilous and reckless currency trading and risky financial speculation will be imposed on the banks and financial institutions to protect this country for the ravages of financial boom bust bubbles and financial collapses.

    That a huge investment in innovation in renewable technologies and Green tech. will be encouraged by inviting the world’s best and brightest angel investors and environmental leaders to become a part of designing a modern industrial economy better suited to the 21st Century than the creaky coal driven smokey oil soaked planet eating model being promoted by National.

    As we once were, New Zealand will be returned to it’s rightful place as a proud world leader by example, as we were in international suffrage, as we were on Social Welfare, as we were on nuclear proliferation.

    The sort of speech that lays out the minimum policies that all countries need to implement if we are not to see millions die and whole ecosystems to be wiped out.

    Do you think that David Shearer could give that speech Mike?

    You and I Mike will probably agree that he won’t.

    Is it possible Mike that David might give a speech somewhat vaguely in this direction?

    If he did he might still win my support.

    However barring a miracle and going on past form, David Shearer as leader, will give a sallow, uninspiring, thin on detail, steady as she goes, stick with our knitting, don’t scare the horses, Business As Usual, pale imitation of National Party policy, type speech which by turns, will either enrage or dishearten or alienate the majority of Labour supporters.

    Of course Davie will throw in a few John Key type aspirational Labour Party goals like a return to full employment and catch up with Australia and care for the environment, worker’s rights etc. but as there will be zero mention of how these aspirational goals are to be achieved even the faithful will be left to wander the conference aisles aimlessly trying to promote non existent policy to anyone they happen to bump into.

    And David may even weave in a few jokes into his miracle image resurrection speech if he is advised to by his makeover coach.

    To break the ennui let us hope that the buffet is something to look forward to at least

    • Jenny 29.1

      The crisis is upon us.

      What we have in Labour is a Chamberlain.

      When what we need is a Churchill.

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  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Bartlett case means Govt must act on equal pay
    The Court of Appeal victory for Lower Hutt caregiver, Kristine Bartlett demonstrates that both the Government and employers have been ignoring and not fully implementing equal pay law, the Green Party said today.The Court of Appeal today upheld earlier rulings...
    Greens | 27-10
  • Rotorua shift for Maori TV a bizarre move
    The bizarre idea to move Maori TV to Rotorua is either poor planning or possible political interference that adds to the perception of a service in crisis, says Labour MP for Tamaki Makaurau Peeni Henare. “Moving Maori TV to Rotorua...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Second rate deal a no go – Goff
    A second rate deal on dairy in the TPP would totally contradict the agreed purpose of the Pacific trade agreement, Labour’s Trade spokesperson, Phil Goff says. “Both the origin of the trade negotiations and leaders’ statements on its objectives emphasise...
    Labour | 27-10
  • Legal victory a boost for all working women
    Today’s legal victory for equal pay is a much-needed boost for working women at a time when the Government is pushing through reforms which will make it harder for them to get pay rises, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney...
    Labour | 27-10
  • National’s failed commodities export strategy exposed
    National's strategy to rely on commodities such as milk powder and logs has been exposed in the September trade figures released today, the Green Party said."National's strategy to hang all economic hope on exporting ever-increasing volumes of milk powder and...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Caution needed on calls to arm police
    There is no justification for routinely arming our police and doing so would change forever the way officers interact with their communities, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “As one of the few organisations distinguished by its unarmed status,...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Govt strains to get tea break law through
    The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.“National desperately...
    Labour | 23-10
  • How low can you go? Mining the depths
    The company says there will be economic benefits, which the EEZ Act says the EPA must consider, but even these benefits are in doubt. The royalties while not set will be tiny, the profits will flow offshore, and whatever phosphate...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Fed Farmers defend GE Agriculture
    Federated Farmers, which represents a minority of farmers, appears to be captured by a pro-GE clique hell bent on increasing unsustainable technologies for the benefit of the herbicide and patent controlling seed companies. That there are better more sustainable farming...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Government loses the affordable housing race
    Nick Smith is dreaming if he thinks he can deliver affordable housing to Cantabrians on his current figures, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Minister’s announcement that the Government will build 237 new homes, most of which will...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Labour’s thoughts with Canadians
    Labour has offered its sympathies to the family and friends of the Canadian soldier who died in what appears to be a premeditated and unprovoked attack while standing at guard at the Ottawa National War Memorial. “Our thoughts are also...
    Labour | 23-10
  • What next for TVNZ? Outsourcing the news?
    Television New Zealand’s decision to outsource Māori and Pacific programming is a real blow to the notion that our state broadcaster is a public broadcaster, says Labour. “CEO Kevin Kenrick has said today that TVNZ has ‘a very long and...
    Labour | 22-10
  • Green Party expresses sympathy for Canadian shooting victims
    The Green Party expressed its solidarity with Canadians and the Canadian Parliament today, offering its sympathy for family and friends of the soldier killed in the attack. "Our thoughts are with all those caught up in the shooting in Canada...
    Greens | 22-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • More Latté Than Lager: Reflections on Grant Robertson’s Campaign Launch.
    BIKERS? SERIOUSLY! Had Grant Robertson’s campaign launch been organised by Phil Goff? Was this a pitch for the votes of what few Waitakere Men remain in the Labour Party? Was I even at the right place? Well, yes, I was....
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • About Curwen Ares Rolinson
    Curwen Ares Rolinson – Curwen Ares Rolinson is a firebrand young nationalist presently engaged in acts of political resistance deep behind enemy lines amidst the leafy boughs of Epsom. He is affiliated with the New Zealand First Party; although his...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kelly Ellis
    Kelly Ellis.Kelly Ellis – As a child, Kelly Ellis didn’t so much fall into the cracks, but willfully wriggled her way into them. Ejected from Onslow College – a big job in the 70s – Kelly worked in car factories,...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kate Davis
    Kate Davis.Kate Davis – Having completed her BA in English and Politics, Kate is now starting her MA. Kate works as a volunteer advocate at Auckland Action Against Poverty and previously worked for the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. Kate writes...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Parker does a Shearer – oh for a Labour Leader who can challenge msm fals...
    Sigh. It seems David Parker has done a Shearer… Like a cult and too red – Parker on LabourLabour leadership contender David Parker says Labour borders on feeling like “a cult” and must look at its branding – including its...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • A brief word on the hundreds of millions NZ is spending on the secret intel...
    The enormity of the mass surveillance state NZ Government’s have built carries a huge price tag… Kiwis pay $103m ‘membership fee’ for spyingThe $103 million taxpayer funding of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies is effectively a membership fee for joining the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Invercargill
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Invercargill on Friday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Public now needs to have its say over new tolls
    “I welcome the likes of new tolls and fuel taxes going out for public consultation after these matters have been talked about for 20 years. However the timing is not ideal as it comes on top of the likes of...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis to fight back against TPPA ‘corporate trap’
    New Zealanders in at least sixteen different locations around the country are organising for an International Day of Action against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) on 8 November, co-ordinated by It's Our Future NZ. This is part of an international...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes NZ First MP’s Resignation
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming NZ First MP, Clayton Mitchell’s resignation from the Tauranga City Council, despite Party Leader Winston Peters' public comments in July that Mr Mitchell would do both jobs if elected to Parliament. The Union's...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Stopping unnecessary roading projects solution to transport
    Today Auckland Council released the Funding Auckland’s Transport Future report which claims Aucklanders need to choose higher rates, petrol taxes or tolls to pay for future transport projects, when the real issue is the prioritisation of unnecessary...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Fixing Auckland’s transport
    Today marks a critical step in the most important funding debate Auckland has ever had: whether or not Aucklanders are willing to pay for the transport system this city desperately needs to keep it moving, says Mayor Len Brown....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • The New Zealand Gazette Moves into the Digital Age
    On Monday 20 October, the New Zealand Gazette was published completely online bringing to a close 173 years as a purely printed publication. First published in 1841 as the official government newspaper, the Gazette website gazette.govt.nz , replaces...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • International report shows NZ struggling with child poverty
    A report by UNICEF International shows that child poverty rates in New Zealand have scarcely changed since 2008 – this stands in contrast to a number of other countries that managed to significantly reduce child poverty in this time, including...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Dunedin
    The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Dunedin on Thursday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting Meetings being held nationwide as...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF Report a Waste of Paper
    In response to the hysteria coming from the far left, Josh Forman of slightlyleftofcentre.co.nz writes the following:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Press Council opens doors to digital media
    The New Zealand Press Council, the body which handles complaints against newspapers and magazines and their websites, is offering associate membership status to news and commentary-oriented digital media including bloggers....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Tolls Should Be for New Roads, Not Old Ones
    The Taxpayers’ Union is slamming Auckland Council for wanting to introduce a motorist tax under the guise of ‘tolls’. Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Media freedom in West Papua: Protest at Indonesian embassy
    Today, Wednesday 29 October, there will be a peaceful protest at the Indonesian Embassy in Wellington to call on new Indonesian President Joko Widodo to honour his election promise to ensure greater media freedom in West Papua....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Lack of leadership blamed for decline in Gender Equity
    BPW NZ challenges NZ’s lack of leadership with the decline in Gender Equity Ranking...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Richard Falk visit to NZ
    Professor Richard Falk, who recently completed a six-year term as United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights, will deliver a public lecture in Dunedin on Monday 10 November....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Apprehension for meat workers as employment law bill passes
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill today will send a wave of apprehension through the workers in the NZ meat industry says the Meat Workers Union....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • “Yes to Children, No to Poverty” Says Commissioner
    Children’s Commissioner, Dr Russell Wills will describe impacts of poverty on children, with a focus on local solutions at the Tū Kaha biennial conference for Māori health for the central region DHBs at the Hawke’s Bay Racing Centre in Hastings...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF report card highlights need for action
    Unicef’s child poverty report released today shows that New Zealand needs to be more proactive in pursuing policies to protect our most vulnerable members of society....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Children of the Recession: NZ’s shame
    Children of the Recession : NZ’s shame Media release Wednesday 29 October 2014 “It is to New Zealand’s deepest shame that the latest Unicef report on children living in poverty ranks us 16th out of 41 developed countries. “Every day...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • UNICEF cautions NZ child poverty rates are “stagnating”
    An international report by UNICEF has found that child poverty rates in New Zealand have barely changed since 2008, despite similar sized countries significantly reducing child poverty during the recent recession....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • TPP Too Important for Compromised Finish
    The New Zealand dairy industry is urging Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) partners not to compromise on the quality of the deal to get it done quickly....
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • Labour leadership candidates in Nelson
    Labour leadership candidates in Nelson The four candidates for Labour Leader – Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson - will be in Nelson on Tuesday evening for a Husting meeting with members, as part of fourteen Husting...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
  • History is made. Equal pay not just legal but possible!
    The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) congratulates Kristine Bartlett and the Service and Food Workers Union: Ngā Ringa Tota on their historic win. Today the Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal from Kristine’s employer; opening the way for...
    Scoop politics | 28-10
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