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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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    News today that Dunedin Hospital has lost orthopaedic training accreditation is a major blow and proves the Government’s prevarication is having devastating consequences, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Losing orthopaedic advanced training is serious. There is a knock on… ...
    4 days ago
  • $74,000 quarterly rise shows crisis out of control
    New figures out today showing Auckland house prices have spiked by a massive $74,000 in the past quarter is further evidence the city’s housing crisis has spiralled out of control, Labour’s “In spite of constant announcements and photo opportunities from… ...
    4 days ago
  • Democracy for Nauru now
    Murray McCully must send the strongest possible message to the Nauruan Government that New Zealand does not condone its actions given the disturbing developments there, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “Right now we are seeing Nauru stripped of… ...
    4 days ago
  • Recovery needs more than a rebrand
    Today’s announcement of new governance arrangements for Canterbury seems to be nothing more than a fresh coat of paint on the same old approach, says Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “The Canterbury Recovery has been too slow, with… ...
    4 days ago
  • Copper decision a victory for status quo, not Kiwi households
    New Zealanders hoping for cheaper copper broadband will be disappointed by the Commerce Commission’s latest decision in the long running saga to determine the price of copper, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “In an apparent attempt to appease everyone,… ...
    4 days ago
  • It’s time for hard decisions in the Bay
     The Ruataniwha dam project is turning into a huge white elephant as the economics fail to stack up, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.  “Ruataniwha simply doesn’t make economic sense when you look at other major irrigation schemes around the… ...
    4 days ago
  • More testing won’t lift student achievement
    Hekia Parata’s latest plan to subject school students to even more testing and assessment won’t do anything to lift the educational achievement of the kids who are struggling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “New Zealand school students are already… ...
    4 days ago
  • Bad week for NZ economy gets worse
    The bad news for the New Zealand economy got worse this morning with the 8th successive drop in dairy prices at this morning’s global dairy auction, again exposing the absence of any Plan B from the National Government, Labour’s Finance… ...
    4 days ago
  • System failing to protect women and children from family violence
    Last week we called for mandatory child safety investigations in domestic violence cases. This came after the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the west Auckland boys charged with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Backers banking on social bonds cash?
    The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A… ...
    5 days ago
  • Plastic Free July
    Today is the start of Plastic Free July. Since its inception in Perth, Western Australia four years ago, more and more people and organisations from around the world have joined the call to refuse single use plastic products. Nearly all… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    5 days ago
  • State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers
    The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The… ...
    5 days ago
  • Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools
    At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson… ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand needs a wise response to climate change
    Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country. Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    5 days ago
  • No alternative as waste scheme trashed
    Nick Smith must explain how he is going to prevent contamination of New Zealand’s ground and water with liquid and hazardous waste after scrapping the only monitoring scheme and offering no replacement, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Megan Woods. “From today,… ...
    5 days ago
  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    5 days ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    5 days ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    6 days ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    6 days ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    6 days ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    6 days ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    6 days ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    1 week ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    1 week ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    1 week ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    1 week ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    1 week ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    2 weeks ago

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