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The Standard

Keystone coups

Written By: - Date published: 11:49 pm, November 19th, 2012 - 89 comments
Categories: the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags:

I’m reading “The Life and Times of Lyndon Johnson.” It’s in four volumes. It’s fascinating, beautifully written, a must-read for anyone with an interest in politics. I recommended it recently to David Cunliffe over lunch, and he told me soon after he had got all four out of the Parliamentary Library. But he obviously hasn’t read it yet. His supporters clumsy attempt to make the Party leadership the focus of last weekend’s Conference has  backfired on him and on others involved.

I’ve just returned from a wonderful family holiday in England. My first indication that something was up was the rising temperature of comments on the Standard, culminating with posts written under pseudonym days before the conference calling for Shearer to stand down. I don’t know if the posters are Labour members or not, but it now looks like an attempt to destabilise Shearer days before his first conference speech.

My response was to say look at what Gillard and Miliband have done to turn things around with one speech, and don’t panic.

The next intimation I had that something more was afoot was when I turned up at the Conference on Friday night to be told that the affiliates meeting had ignored the Party Council’s recommendation for what may trigger a leadership vote across the Party, and supported a motion from Northland and Te Tai Tokerau to turn the long-standing majority confidence vote, held at the start of each year, to an endorsement vote with a 60% threshold.

This was quite unexpected by the Party leadership but as became clear in the debate the following day, not unexpected by some in the unions, a few caucus members and some of the electorates.

While the rhetoric of the amendment’s supporters was about giving members a say in any future leadership change, that move was uncontroversial and supported by Leader and President. The actual issue under debate was about the trigger for a membership vote next February at the 60% threshold. This meant that a minority of the caucus could trigger another leadership vote across the party membership and the affiliates.  Member say became member say now. Cunliffe refused to rule out a February challenge. If it walks like a duck…

After an extensive debate, the amendment to the rules was passed on a card vote by a narrow margin, with a block vote from the affiliate unions, apparently on the basis of a resolution at their earlier meeting. If David Cunliffe or any of his supporters drew from this any expectation that unions would support a change of leader in February, I suspect they are likely to be disappointed once the implications become clear inside the unions.

And after Shearer’s speech, for which Audrey Young, Clare Trevett and John Armstrong have all given him 9 out of 10, any talk of leadership change has collapsed. Shearer rose to the challenge magnificently, as I expected he would.

Now perhaps we can get on with the real task, working hard for a change of government in 2014. I like David Cunliffe and it’s a pity he didn’t take the advice I gave him at that lunch,  and has had to learn the hard way that what was going on wasn’t doing him any good. Still a dose of humble pie will do him no harm; in fact it may be the best thing that has happened to him.

I think he  could still play a big part in that campaign if he chooses. So could his supporters.

89 comments on “Keystone coups”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    His supporters clumsy attempt to make the Party leadership the focus of last weekend’s Conference has backfired on him and on others involved.

    Give me a FUCKING BREAK

    Tell us Mike, which MPs were leaking to the media all through the weekend after the 40% vote was passed? And which MPs continued to raise up the media ante leadership stakes through last night and today?

    Not fucking Cunliffe was it?

    • Tim G 1.2

      Agreed. Good attempt at black smear, Mike. There is no hidden clique of Cunliffe’s officers here…

      Just a bunch of paranoid, panicking, ABC loons. Are you proud to now count yourself amongst them?

      Mallard and Shearer will be buying Chippie a beer for his strong showing on One News tonight, I’m sure.

    • One Tāne Huna 1.3

      CV: +1

      Shearer Patrick Gower’s sock puppet just squandered all the goodwill his speech performance generated.

      Labour will be unlikely to receive my vote in 2014 with him at the helm. The policies look good, I just think a mumblefuck “leader” with a talent for self-humiliation has little chance of implementing them.

  2. Galeandra 2

    And clearly you saw the exhibition on the TV news tonight from Hipkins et al.
    I’m glad I waited till now to make my membership decision which unsurprisingly remains negative.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      We need you. Please sign up – the ordinary membership finally have the tools to take back the heart and soul of this party from the neoliberals and careerists, its going to be a shitload of work, and every person counts.

    • rosy 2.2

      I renewed as soon as possible after the 60% remit was passed. Yes, there have been moments in the next few days that led to a bit of regret, but the main point still holds – the membership now has a say in the who leads the party and that, in the long run, trumps all. Shearer will be the last leader elected by a caucus that ignores the members of the Labour Party and you need to be in to take advantage of that. We have the opportunity for a decent say in the direction the party takes, and although it’s going to be slow going there is no turning back now.

  3. Member41 3

    Thanks Mike. Good to see someone here talking some sense!

    [RL: Start making an argument or you get ‘demoted’ for astrosturfing.]

  4. weka 4

    I’m confused. What did Cunliffe and cohorts actually do?
     
     

    My first indication that something was up was the rising temperature of comments on the Standard, culminating with anonymous posts days before the conference calling for Shearer to stand down. I don’t know if the posters are Labour members or not, but it now looks like an attempt to destabilise Shearer days before his first conference speech.
     

    There was only one anonymous post that week, and it wasn’t about Shearer –
     
    http://thestandard.org.nz/at-conference-vote-for-a-members-democracy/
     

    • QoT 4.1

      Um, very good point, weka. Mike … you wouldn’t by any chance be trying to play that wonderfully tired “ANONYMOUS BLOGGERS!!!!” card that the media love to bash us with, would you? In a post on the Standard?

      Thanks for basically proving me right, though.

      • Lightly 4.1.1

        also, Mike, everyone on this site has a name, so they’re not anonymous. If they’re not real names, they’re pseudonyms.

        • weka 4.1.1.1

          I’d disagree a bit there Lightly. It’s the use of a consistent name that makes us pseudonymous rather than anonymous. There is a recognisable identity to most people’s names here (and on all good web places of conversation and debate). This is why it’s not true that we don’t know who the TS authors are. We know their online identities, their online histories, and sometimes detail about their real lives. This is the point that people who don’t spend time relating online miss (MPs, journos) – that the web is full of people who are known through their online identities. No way is that anonymous in the digital age.

          • lprent 4.1.1.1.1

            I deliberately hide a lot of my real life from the net – try finding a picture of me there?

            Lynn Prentice
            lprent

            What you get is a few pictures of people with the same names, whaleoil being a dickhead, stuff that is in my posts, and my icon.

            People are able to know a damn sight more about what I deliberately share online than they will ever be able to find out about me in the flash – unless they happen to be one of the relatively few people I actually socialize with – which is a pretty small set because I am always short of time, and blobbing out with a book is rare luxury.

      • King Kong 4.1.2

        He doesn’t have to. He knows who you all are so can see the links and allegiances

  5. Jesus Wept 5

    And after Shearer’s speech, for which Audrey Young, Clare Trevett and John Armstrong have all given him 9 out of 10, any talk of leadership change has collapsed. Shearer rose to the challenge magnificently, as I expected he would.

    Thanks Mike
    That’s all you needed to say
    1 out of 10
    Go to bed, you’re old

    • Member41 5.1

      Well isn’t that just typical of the nasty vitriol that you guys like to throw around. Have some respect.

      [lprent: Read the policy. Robust debate means exactly that. You can express what you like within quite wide limits provided it has a point, doesn’t violate other proscriptions, and doesn’t cause the site unwanted legal problems. That is what JW did (and I watch for attacks on our authors that are personal or vitriolic).

      One of those proscriptions is to directly or even indirectly attack the sites policies on our site as you just did. You can do that elsewhere on the net where it won’t trigger flamewars. If you want to carry on in this vein, go to kiwiblog which seems to attract a lot of people banned for this reason and pour your heart out there. Here it is regarded as an attempt at self-matyrdom.

      This is your warning on this behaviour. ]

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        Fuck you’re funny. Trying to take the moral high ground, when the only source of talk about a leadership challenge has come from Beltway Labour, and certainly not from Cunliffe.

      • the sprout 5.1.2

        more jane austen m41, but you forgot ‘dastardly fiendish cad’ 😆
        he is pretty funny though, it’s quite cute really

      • Jim Nald - Once Was National 5.1.3

        Member41: 20 November 2012 at 12:38am

        Mmm, no thanks given what you have thrown around.

        • Member41 5.1.3.1

          Because I have been rude to you, you can be rude to Mike Smith?

          • Colonial Viper 5.1.3.1.1

            Fucking PC police. Who are you? Our Mum?

            • Member41 5.1.3.1.1.1

              Yes. I am your mother.

            • MrV 5.1.3.1.1.2

              A bit rich from the blog that has a nasty habit of bans isn’t it?

              [lprent: Read the policy and avoid doing things that get you banned. And blogs with large comment sections ban for behaviour. That is how we get to have large comment sections.

              If we don’t moderate then the comments descend to the lowest common denominator in society – when people were children. Adults will leave and comments will drop in length and quality (ie like yours) with a slow drop in quantity. If we ban excessively then we lose commentators both directly and as a result of avoidance.

              Steadily increasing numbers and length of comments over the last 5 years here should tell you how this site is doing. ]

    • xtasy 5.2

      Have another CLOSE look at the video, you will soon detect Shearer’s WEAKNESS! It is all too much of a “show case” scenario, where he felt confident before a “home crowd”. Try that in an election, he will be an utter EMBARRASSMENT!

    • North 5.3

      Snorer has woken from his slumbers…….in effect publicly caning his own arse with a misdirected internecine volley of unconvincing “hard man”.

      Meanwhile Dunnokeyo mocks and minces on. Choice !

  6. Blue 6

    Yet another attempt to marginalise any dissenting voices. Anyone who comes out and says that they don’t think Shearer is the man for the job right now gets branded as some sort of Cunliffe-backed conspirator.

    What planet do you live on? The reason for the disquiet over Shearer is because, up until his only decent speech ever, he was making a real mess of the job. And shock horror, people noticed.

    They asked themselves why we have an inexperienced, bumbling fool in the job up against the slick political machine that is Teflon Key. And they didn’t like the answer – that Labour is playing kindergarten politics with a bunch of dumbarse MPs ganging up on David Cunliffe.

    The posts on this site were all from longtime Standard posters such as Eddie and IrishBill and even LPrent. They weren’t Johnny Come Latelys on here for some agenda against Shearer.

    It makes me angry enough when we get this sort of bullshit from media idiots who don’t know any better. But when we get it from Labour people it is all the more galling.

    • seeker 6.1

      +1+1+1 Blue

      • Anne 6.1.1

        +4
        You’ve been out of the loop Mike Smith. David Cunliffe has had nothing to do with the comments, or tried to influence the posters and commentators on this site. We are individuals who are strongly independent in the way we see things, and no-one tells us what to think or say.

        The traitor in the Labour Party has turned out to be Trevor Mallard. Together with his little band of acolytes they are going to destroy a once proud and principled political party and that is very, very sad.

        • King Kong 6.1.1.1

          As far as I am aware Anne, you have no idea who most of the authors on this site are, their motives or what connection they may or may not have to David Cunliffe, where as Mr Smith does.

          Probably puts him in a better position to make statements on who has been stirring the pot on who’s behalf than you.

          Don’t hate on Mallard just because he has managed to outsmart and crush another underhand Cunliffe run at the title.

          • felix 6.1.1.1.1

            “As far as I am aware Anne, you have no idea who most of the authors on this site are”

            As far as you are aware, neither does Mr Smith. Don’t get ahead of yourself monkey boy.

            Also, on stirring the pot, this: http://thestandard.org.nz/on-loyalty/comment-page-1/#comment-551015

            • King Kong 6.1.1.1.1.1

              I can’t be fucked to find it for you but the other day lprent explained that him and Mike Smith are the site trustees and the only cats who know the true identities of all the authors.

              • lprent

                Correct. Although a number of the authors know who each other are.

                I wasn’t happy about Mike’s “anonymous” comment above. I’ve expressed that to him.

          • Anne 6.1.1.1.2

            As far as I am aware Anne, you have no idea who most of the authors on this site are, their motives or what connection they may or may not have to David Cunliffe, where as Mr Smith does.

            Your usual piffle. Mike Smith would have no more idea of the identities of most of the authors and commentators on this site than you or me. But the intelligent amongst us (most people here but certainly doesn’t include you) can recognise the independently minded personalities that lie behind the pseudonyms.

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      And the key (spit) thing is not to get angry at the inevitability of what is happening to Cunliffe tomorrow, that’s just the reality of Labour politics today. It is to ensure that membership and supporters up and down the country know that as of Saturday afternoon last, they have a very significant say in the future of Labour.

  7. gobsmacked 7

    I like David Cunliffe and think he could still play a big part in that campaign if he chooses.

    Mike, you might genuinely think that … BUT THEY DON”T.

    It’s no good constantly failing to address the basic problem. Cunliffe is much better at his job than Shearer is at his. Therefore, if Cunliffe contributes to the Labour campaign, as he has done all year, then he will be perceived as a threat simply by doing what he is supposed to.

    If Shearer is a secure and confident leader, tomorrow he will ask for a commitment from Cunliffe, and when he gets it, give him a top job.

    After all (according to you and the Shearer fans) there is no problem with Shearer’s performance, right? He gave a speech. He changed everything (apparently). So what does he have to feel insecure about? There’s no chance of the MPs or members opposing such a great leader.

    In good armies, generals promote good officers.

    In corrupt dictator’s armies, weak generals purge good officers, to eliminate the threat to themselves.

    Then the army loses the war.

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      You’re real good at this stuff. Can I offer you a membership form? 😎

      Don’t forget that initiating an ideological purge usually requires some trumped up circumstance and charges…seen any about in the last few days? Haha

      • Lanthanide 7.1.1

        Over the last few months I’ve pretty much agreed with everything gobsmacked has said, right down to the small details. It’s getting a little eerie. Has also saved me from having to reply myself, on occasion.

    • Member41 7.2

      If Cunliffe could offer that commitment then he would get a top job. Simple.

      • Colonial Viper 7.2.1

        If Cunliffe could offer that commitment then he would get a top job. Simple.

        Yeah, no.

      • seeker 7.2.2

        Cunliffe did commit, has never spoken disloyally since Shearer became leader and is still pilloried by his own disloyal supposed ‘brothers-in-arms fellow Labour MPs’. It must be awful for him – who can he trust? I know I don’t trust too many in the Labour Party just now – and certainly not the apparent weak leadership of Shearer. If he manages to do something strong, principled and wise tomorrow I might change my mind. Remember we have had 4 years of Key to know weakness and incompetence when we see it- not to mention manipulation.

        • Member41 7.2.2.1

          Yeah, yes. That’s why he was Finance under Goff and Econ under Shearer. Because they recognise his talents and thought he could be a part of the team. Trouble is – he has actively undermined them. Not in the interests of the Party, but in the interests of his own ambition. Hopefully for the last time.

          • RedLogix 7.2.2.1.1

            Trouble is – he has actively undermined them.

            In that case you should have no trouble giving us lots of examples. Convince us.

          • One Tāne Huna 7.2.2.1.2

            M41: “he has actively undermined them”

            Citation needed.

            I expect this sort of made up bullshit from Tories. Who told you you’re entitled to your own facts?

    • AmaKiwi 7.3

      “In good armies, generals promote good officers. In corrupt dictator’s armies, weak generals purge good officers, to eliminate the threat to themselves. Then the army loses the war.”

      You hit the nail on the head.

    • xtasy 7.4

      gobsmacked: Well spoken!

  8. AmaKiwi 8

    Selective memory, Mike.

    Dec. 2011 – the members are asked to participate in the leadership selection to replace Goff.
    By a wide margin the members want Cunliffe. He is popular. Shearer is not only a lame speaker, he is inexperienced (2 years in Parliament).

    Some in caucus character assassinate Cunliffe. A very successful MP for 12 years is suddenly said to be the devil incarnate. He was an excellent Minister of Health. As Minister of Telecommunications he unbundled Telecom. During Goff’s 3 years as opposition leader Cunliffe was a very able opposition finance spokesman. Suddenly they say he is a demon.

    Overturn the leader? NO! In February WE will to select the leader.

    My only surprise at the conference was to discover that the delegates were as furious as the bloggers on The Standard had been for a year. The Standard is not the crazies of the party. The Standard is mainstream Labour.

  9. seeker 9

    Well said Ama K

  10. xtasy 10

    LABOUR IS DEAD, MIKE!

    When the “leader” David Shearer threatens to demote Cunliffe and put him into the backrow, that is sign of weakness, not leadership.

    Your bit of justifications and criticism of posters on the Standard is ridiculous. Anonymous or not, persons commenting here have adopted identities and are commonly familiar and known. Do you not know that this is the largest, and only leading left wing forum of commenters and bloggers in this country?

    Do you want to rubbish commenters and writers on this forum for telling how it feels and is for far too many on the left, workers and those unable to work, for various justified reasons, be this unemployment, sickness, disability or force to look after kid(s) after a relationship break-up?

    We had Shearer a couple of months hold a speach to the “heartland”, rubbishing beneficiaries. Never was there any explanation or excuse forthcoming. He now had another speech-writer get another speech together for him sounding nice and passionate, even convincing. I read it and though, ok, but when I saw the video I thought, hang on, this man has a problem.

    He is NOT coming across in a convincing manner. He is artificial in that speech so many now think was good. He is not himself in that video of the speech. He talks and says all the things he and his promoters want the public to know, but I am not convinced that he really means it.

    He has now shown his weakness by lashing out at Cunliffe, as he cannot handle criticism and pressure. That is NOT a strong leader, that is a WEAK leader. Labour will not gain by keeping Shearer up there!

    You are dreaming yesteryear dreams. The future will be with the Greens, and possibly a new left party, which I expect to be founded very soon, largely by totally disillusioned former Labour supporters and members.

    Enjoy your fantasy Shearer!

    • geoff 10.1

      At the next conference the next constitutional change should be that the members get to decide the caucus!

  11. xtasy 11

    While we are at it “Mike”, what the hell are your Labour “soldiers” offering in the way of support in view of submitters who will shortly face the Social Security Committee to take a stand against the new draconian welfare reforms?

    What was bloody said and done during your so “great” conference in this regard, please?

    I hear and see bloody NADA!

    You have a leader who apparently, going by past comments in a major speech, frowns on people on benefits, possibly to pander to biased, negative sentiment amongst prospective “middle class voters”.

    That leaves me and thousands of others out of your support base, dear Mike!

    We feel treated with contempt and disgust by your party, we have NO reason to vote or support you and your pandering “leader” Shearer.

    There are by the way people driven to SUICIDE while not able to cope with unemployment, mental illness and other issues. NZ still has a very high suicide rate amongst young and not so young. So where is Labour on that? Where is the health policy, the decisive economic policy and else?

    We get served a half baked “housing policy”, but that will only help a selected few.

    There are increasing numbers of people furious, desperate and seeing NO future in this country, if they cannot leave to Australia, or somewhere else, they may choose crime, addiction, prostitution, or in the worst case suicide.

    I hold you and your useless opposition responsible for some of these problems. You have a bloody lot to answer to us, same as the rotten gang ruling the show now. NO sympathy with Shearer and your sorts!

    • Jenny 11.1

      We get served a half baked “housing policy”, but that will only help a selected few.

      xtasy

      Indeed.

      “Affordable” $300,000 homes.

      For a large number of the most severe housing need I don’t think so.

      State rentals are being demolished and replaced with “affordable homes” by this government now. Despite the huge wating lists for a state rental Housing New Zealand rental stock is being diminished but not a word was said about this.

      No wonder the right of the party when they heard about it, moved swiftly to withdraw Evonne Sainty’s invitation to address the conference.

      Shearer’s affordable housing as xtasy has pointed out will only help a selected few.

  12. RedLogix 12

    Cunliffe is not the problem.

    It’s Shearer who is:

    1. The darling of the right-wing media pundits who recognise him as one of their own.

    2. Cannot competently express sound Labour party convictions except in well-rehearsed set pieces. I’m thinking that this is because Shearer is conflicted between what he really believes and what he knows he should be saying.

    3. Is a weak leader under pressure who is lashing out at other people simply because they are doing their jobs well.

    4. Has demanded people reveal how they are going to cast their ballots in what is a constitutionally secret election. Thereby breaking the rules himself.

    5. Is demanding that the February election be reduced to a one candidate sham. Pure authoritarian arseholery.

    This man is a right-wing stooge cast from the same mould as Roger Douglas. The signs have been there for a while; they are now open and plain.

    Demoting Cunliffe today is the end of it for me. I would encourage all Labour party members to actively hand in their resignations en-mass.

  13. Jenny 13

    Demoting Cunliffe will only increase his mana.

    Leaders lead. That is what they do. They can’t help it. It doesn’t matter if they are stripped of title or rank.

    Just as being artificially promoted to high office doesn’t automatically make you a leader.

    To Cunliffe; Be yourself. Don’t be intimidated.

    A demotion to the back benches will set you free and be a liberation not a sentence.

    • One Tāne Huna 13.1

      “Leaders lead. That is what they do. They can’t help it.”

      And that is why I like Cunliffe and not Shearer.

      Cunliffe leads. Shearer fumbles.

  14. Jenny 14

    Remember this, Churchill was a backbencher (elected as an independent), before he was made leader of the British parliament to head the necessary wartime coalition of Tories Liberals and Labour.

    Only an outsider had the qualifications to do it.

  15. IrishBill 15

    Jesus Mike, you’ve jumped the shark on this one. If you think Cunliffe has control of teh blogz, the party, and the affiliates then you’ve been reading too many coup stories.

    It’s occam’s razor mate. If a whole host of people from across a broad and messy left are calling David Shearer on his poor leadership (and have been for months) it’s probably not because of some labyrinthine conspiracy. It’s probably because he’s a poor leader.

  16. tinfoilhat 16

    [deleted]

    [lprent: astroturfer ]

  17. KhandallaMan 17

    Sue Moroney and Louisa Wall are now threatened with punishment for backing the change of rules.  This was on RNZ at 7.00.

    Robertson (7.10 on RNZ) says those who do not support Shearer to declare themselves.  

    Does he want those who feel that Shearer has performed poorly all year and can not lead the party to a strong government to march down Lambton Quay and Queen Street?  

    • Jenny 17.1

      Sue Moroney and Louisa Wall are now threatened with punishment for backing the change of rules. This was on RNZ at 7.00.

      KhandallaMan

      But KM, who could possibly be promoted by the Shearer gang to replace them?

      Arise Shane Jones? (again?)

      I doubt it. Nobody could be that stupid.

      However; it will be interesting to see if the Shearer gang carry out their threat against Louisa and Sue. Personally I don’t think they would dare. Any Labour MP picked for elevation to the front bench at this time and this manner, might have cause for thinking that their sudden promotion may wind up a poisoned chalice.

      P.S. Can we have the link?

  18. Santi 18

    Shearer must demote Cunliffe today and continue as the strong leader he is.

    • Sunny 18.1

      @ Santi. By definition a leader needs to be out in front…and have people (willingly) behind him. Shearer’s got his own ‘forced march’ thing going on.

    • Draco T Bastard 18.2

      Santi, you’re a NACT voter so all we can assume is that you want the worst for the left.

  19. KhandallaMan 19

    Santi, 
    Shearer gave a good speech and the coaching and rehearsing seems to be working. 
    Can you list any other evidence of strong leadership demonstrated by Shearer since he was placed in the role?  

  20. Stephen 20

    The missing link here Mike is a clear connection between DC and the organising in support of the amendment.

  21. gomango 21

    “1. The darling of the right-wing media pundits who recognise him as one of their own.”

    Not quite. I think more that he is recognised as someone who will get flayed by Key in head to head campaigning. He is a bland NZ version of Mitt Romney – what are Shearers beliefs? Is there something fundamental there or is just whatever he thinks is necessary to remain in control. Latest attempted reinvention is the “I’m tough” version.

    Righties don’t like Shearer because of allegedly common beliefs, they like him because he is he Labour leader most likely to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. You think Goff’s “show me the money” moment was bad, just wait for Shearer to go one on one with Key.

    I’m not a party member of any stripe – libertarian probably if classified – but it is so obvious that the Labour caucus is at odds with what is best for Labour. They are apparently actively working the Nats medium term strategy because the economic and ego self interest of a few politicians is more important than the greater (left) political good. Add in the side effect of vitriolic civil war fracturing the party. Hilarious for the Nats.

    • kiwicommie 21.1

      Eh? John Key is our semi-version of Mitt Romney. He might not be homophobic, but he treats the ‘free market’ as his bible and digs into the 47% percent with his claws, raising taxes on the lower class while cutting them for the super rich.

      • felix 21.1.1

        “He might not be homophobic, but he treats the ‘free market’ as his bible”

        Well he uses the word “gay” as an insult, and he thinks pretending to be gay and mince down a catwalk is a good joke, so I think you’re dead wrong about him not being homophobic.

        But otherwise yeah, he’s our Mitt. He even goes as far as saying that he thinks Fox News is a reliable source of information from which other MPs such as the well educated David Parker “might learn something”.

  22. Fortran 22

    Trying to push the tide back whilst King Keynute Government keeps on keeping on at whatever it wants – there is no Labour opposition, all left to Norman and Peters.
    Nacts and Greenpeace are loving it right through to February at least.
    When is someone going to take charge ?
    Can we all wait for a golden summer ?

  23. Jenny 23

    I’m reading “The Life and Times of Lyndon Johnson.” It’s in four volumes.

    MIKE SMITH

    Hey! Hey!

    LBJ

    How many kids did you kill today?

    Everyone Else Not four volumes, just ten words. And tells all you need, to sum up Lyndon Johnson

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    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has called on the Government to rethink its controversial Special Housing Area in Māngere. Auckland Council is today meeting to discuss the development which borders the Otuataua Stonefield Historic Reserve. This project is to get… ...
    3 days ago
  • Figures suggest National deliberately excluded farming
    Figures showing the dairy industry would be categorised as high risk if there were a further five severe injuries within a year, strongly suggests National designed its flawed system to deliberately exclude farming, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    3 days ago
  • Bleak report on the state of our children
    A damning conclusion by the Children’s Commissioner today that ‘we don’t know if children are better off as a result of state intervention, but the indications are not good’ should make fixing CYFs a top priority for this Government, says… ...
    3 days ago
  • Dodgy data used to justify axing KiwiSaver kickstart
    National’s agenda to run down KiwiSaver has become even clearer from a scathing critique of the Government’s justification for axing the $1000 kickstart, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Since National came to power they have not only continually undermined… ...
    4 days ago
  • Unsecure website risks Ashley MoBIEson hack
    Experts have raised security concerns that vulnerabilities in MoBIE’s half million-dollar website could lead to a possible Ashley Maddison-style hack, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “The real issue here is not what data is immediately available, but what… ...
    4 days ago
  • Democracy still the loser in Canterbury
    The Government has demonstrated once again how arrogant and out of touch it is in denying Cantabrians the same democratic rights as the rest of the country, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Environment Canterbury Bill which has been… ...
    4 days ago
  • Waiver cost still a mystery
    The Government still has no idea what it’s going to cost community and voluntary groups to get a waiver from the fees police will charge to carry out checks on their staff and volunteers, says Labour’s Community and Voluntary spokesperson… ...
    4 days ago
  • China exports fall 27 per cent in a year
    Exports to China have fallen by 27 per cent over the last 12 months - showing that the looming economic slowdown should have been expected by the Government, says Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark. “The Chinese economic slowdown should… ...
    4 days ago
  • National should support all families for 26 weeks
    Families with multiple babies, and those born prematurely or with disabilities, are the winners from moves to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks but the Government must give all babies the same head start in life, Labour’s spokesperson for… ...
    4 days ago
  • National’s health and safety shambles puts school camps at risk
    Reports that schools are considering scrapping student camps and tearing out playgrounds highlights just how badly National has managed its health and safety reforms, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Schools have been left completely in the dark about the… ...
    4 days ago
  • National’s asset stripping agenda hits schools
    National’s fire-sale of school houses and land is short-sighted, mean-spirited, and will have huge unintended consequences that we will pay for in years to come, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. Documents obtained by Labour show the Ministry of Education… ...
    4 days ago
  • Takahe massacre supposed to get all New Zealanders involved in conservation
    The Minister’s claim that a  botched cull of one of New Zealand’s rarest birds was a way of getting all New Zealanders involved in conservation is offensive and ludicrous, Labour’s conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson says.  “An email from Minister Maggie… ...
    5 days ago
  • Serco circus rolls on with revelations of fight club practice
    Further revelations that a Serco prison guard was coaching inmates on fight club techniques confirms a fully independent inquiry needs to take place, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The Minister’s statement today that a guard was coaching sparring techniques… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government targets put ahead of students’ education
    The Government must urgently reassess the way it sets NCEA targets after a new report found they are forcing schools to “credit farm” and are undermining the qualification, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “A PPTA report released today says… ...
    5 days ago
  • ER patients in corridors as health cuts bite
    Patients are being forced to wait for hours on beds in corridors as cash strapped hospitals struggle to keep up with budget cuts, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “People coming to the emergency room and being forced to wait… ...
    5 days ago
  • Not too late to fix Health and Safety for New Zealand’s workers
    The Government and its minor party supporters are showing an arrogant disregard for workers’ lives by not agreeing to a cross-party solution to the botched Health and Safety bill, Opposition leader Andrew Little says. “Yesterday I wrote to the Prime… ...
    5 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Council of Infrastructure Development
    Tēnā Kotou Katoa. Thank you so much for having me along to speak today. Can I begin by acknowledging John Rae, the President, and Stephen Selwood, the chief executive of the Council for Infrastructure Development. ...
    6 days ago
  • Reserve Bank points finger at Govt inaction
    In scathing criticism of the Government’s inaction, the Reserve Bank says Auckland housing supply is growing nowhere near fast enough to make a dent the housing shortage, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Reserve Bank deputy governor Grant Spencer today… ...
    6 days ago
  • Chickens come home to roost on climate change
    The Government’s gutting of the Emissions Trading Scheme has caused foresters to leave and emissions to rise, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods. “The release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Facts and Figures Report for 2014 on the ETS… ...
    6 days ago
  • Website adds to long list of big spends at MBIE
    The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s $560,000 outlay on its new website is further evidence of excessive spending by Steven Joyce on his pet project super ministry, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says.  “Hot on the heels of… ...
    6 days ago
  • Brownlee warned over EQC repairs but ignored them
    Gerry Brownlee was warned that EQC’s underfloor repairs weren’t being done properly by industry experts, the cross party working group and in public but he arrogantly ignored them all, says Labour’s Earthquake Commission spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.  “Today’s apology and commitment… ...
    6 days ago
  • Serco wants in on state house sell off
    The Government must keep scandal plagued outsourcing company Serco away from our state housing after their disastrous record running Mt Eden prison, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Today it has emerged that at the same time Serco was under… ...
    1 week ago
  • Come clean on Pasifika education centre
    Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iinga needs to come clean and tell the Pasifika communities if he’s working to save the Pasifika Education Centre or shut it down, Labour’s Pasifika spokesperson Su’a William Sio says.  “I’m gutted the Pasifika Education Centre funding… ...
    1 week ago
  • Time for NZTA to work on alternatives to flyover
    The High Court decision rejecting the New Zealand Transport Agency’s attempts to build the Basin Reserve flyover must now mean that NZTA finally works with the community on other options for transport solutions in Wellington, Grant Robertson and Annette King… ...
    1 week ago
  • Shiny new system leads to record truancy
    Record high truancy rates shows the Government’s much-vaunted new attendance system is an abysmal failure, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Data released today shows truancy rates have spiked more than 15 per cent in 2014 and are now at… ...
    1 week ago
  • Woodhouse wrong about quarries
      The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse was wrong yesterday when he said limestone quarries were covered by the farcical Health and Safety legislation, says Labour’s Associate Labour spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “He said he ‘understood’ limestone quarries… ...
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers money spent on culling one of our rarest birds
    It beggars belief that four endangered takahe were killed by incompetent cullers contracted to the Department of Conservation and the Minister must explain this wanton destruction, says Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It must not be forgotten that there are only… ...
    1 week ago
  • Housing NZ must immediately move family
    Housing New Zealand must immediately move a Glen Innes family whose son contracted serious and potentially fatal health problems from the appalling condition of their state house, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Te Ao Marama Wensor and community workers… ...
    1 week ago
  • No understanding of the value of overseas investment
     The Government has now admitted it has absolutely no idea of the actual value of foreign investment in New Zealand, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “It is crucial that the Government starts to understand just what this overseas… ...
    1 week ago
  • Another bridges bribe from Simon Bridges
    Simon Bridges is embroiled in another bridges-for-votes controversy after admitting funding for a replacement bridge in Queenstown is “very much about… the 2017 election”, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Transport Minister is today reported as telling Queenstown locals… ...
    1 week ago
  • Saudi tender process reeks of SkyCity approach
    The tender process for the $6m investment in a Saudi sheep farm reeks like the SkyCity convention centre deal and once again contravenes the government’s own procurement rules, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker. “The $6m contract… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Maori Party should stand up for workers
    The Government’s proposed Health and Safety Reform Bill does not go far enough to protect those in specific industries with the highest rates of workplace deaths, says Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “We are told that Maori workers are more… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must explain budget blowout
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell must explain a budget blow out at Te Puni Kokiri, after the organisation spent more than 2.5 million dollars over their budget for contractors, says Labour’s Associate Māori Development spokesperson Peeni Henare.  “For the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Successful effort to raise the issue of GE trees in proposed standard
    Many thousands of people submitted on the proposed National Environmental Standard –  Plantation Forestry (NES-PF).  A vast majority of the public submissions were particularly focussed on the NES having included GE trees in its mandate. People want these provisions removed,… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Fair Share Friday – Thoughts and Reflections
    As part of our Fair Share  campaign, Green MPs have been doing a series of visits to community groups across the country to have conversations about inequality in New Zealand and what communities are experiencing on the ground. I visited… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Crucial Auditor General investigation welcomed
    The Auditor General’s decision to investigate the Saudi sheep scandal is important, necessary and welcome, Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Parker says. “The independent functions of the Auditor General are a cornerstone of the New Zealand system of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • KiwiSaver sign-ups continue to fall
    New KiwiSaver sign-ups in July were 45 per cent below the monthly average, despite John Key saying axing the kickstart “will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver”, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Contact bows to pressure
    Contact Energy’s decision to cut its pre-pay rates to be in line with its customers who pay monthly is good news and the company deserves credit for responding so quickly, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson David Shearer.  “Two months ago… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • I’m pushing for a ‘fair go’ for solar
    My Fair Go For Solar Bill was pulled from the Members’ Ballot last week and is set for a vote in Parliament. In this blog post I explain some of the background to the bill and how it aims to… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Key must explain why Health and Safety Bill pulled
    John Key must explain why his Government is delaying the Health and Safety Bill when Pike River families have travelled to Wellington specifically to register their opposition, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Yesterday afternoon John Key suggested the bill may… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Diving for sustainable scallops
    Last week, there were calls for scallop dredging to be banned in the Marlborough Sounds, following scientific report saying that 70% of the Sounds had been lost from dredging, trawling, and sedimentation from forestry. At the same time we see… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Backdown whiff in state house leasing option
    Bill English’s admission that the Government is looking at leasing large numbers of state houses to non-government providers has the whiff of a backdown, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This is an acknowledgement by Bill English that he has… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing crisis downgrade threatening banking sector
    The out of control Auckland housing market is now threatening the banking sector, with Standard and Poor’s downgrading the credit rating of our banks out of fear of the bubble bursting, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Today we have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Good money after bad for failed experiment
    The National government are throwing good money after bad with their decision to pump even more funding into their failed charter school experiment, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There are already major problems with several of the first charter… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National borrows Labour’s idea on urban development
    Labour's Associate Environment spokesperson Phil Twyford says he welcomes the Government's adoption of Labour's policy for a National Policy Statement on urban development, and has called on the Government to take up Labour's offer to work together on these issues.… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Toothless OIO never refused a single farmland sale
    The Overseas Investment Office has approved more than 290 consents from foreign investors to buy sensitive land in New Zealand, but has not turned down a single application says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Stuart Nash  “The Minister of Land information,… ...
    2 weeks ago

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