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Leaders under pressure

Written By: - Date published: 11:58 am, November 10th, 2012 - 37 comments
Categories: david shearer, john key, leadership - Tags: ,

Both Key and Shearer have been under pressure from various media commentary of late.

Duncan Garner has given Key a telling off on his government’s dismal economic performance:

Surplus target up in smoke

National must surely know its target to reach a surplus in the 2014/15 financial year is in tatters. When will it admit it? It can’t be far off.

Today Treasury confirmed the country’s accounts are $449m worse off in the three months to September 30. $449,000,000! That’s almost half a billion dollars less in the kitty than was forecast in just 3 months. The economy went tits up over winter. And remember what the surplus target is? Just $197m dollars in 2014/15. This result is a bad. The numbers look awful. The economy has flatlined.

Is our economy collapsing?

Are the latest unemployment numbers a winter blip or a sign of something much more serious? I think it’s the latter. Unemployment is at 7.3 percent – that’s a whopping 175,000 people unemployed which is an additional 13,000 more than just three months ago. That means $449 million less tax revenue in just three months. Companies aren’t hiring. People aren’t getting pay rises. We’ve got the wobbles and it’s not because we were speeding. Why?

… The Prime Minister’s optimism and ambition is to be applauded but it simply hasn’t happened. A reality check is needed and he got it yesterday.
He should not have been so “surprised” at yesterday’s numbers. To be surprised is simply not good enough. It doesn’t fit his political script or his sunny outlook.

Even the sycophantic Fran O’Sullivan is starting to sound a little panicked:

Time for Key to call an economic summit

Optimism and shock over dire jobs news no excuse for Govt inaction.

John Key was personally shocked by news that unemployment has ratcheted up to 7.3 per cent. It was writ large on the Prime Minister’s face when he stopped for an informal chat at a conference in Auckland on Thursday. The dreadful news was clearly counter to the advice the Government has received from the Treasury.

But instead of galvanising Key into action – through orchestrating a real Jobs Summit and incentivising employers to take on more workers – the Prime Minister waffled. … For Key to simply shrug his shoulders on this score doesn’t cut it.

Note the reference to a “real” jobs summit this time, not like the pretend one that Fran and others cheered for in 2009.

Key is on the defensive not only for his abysmal record, but also for his sloppy management and personal blunders. He sounds extraordinarily defensive in today’s piece from Audrey Young:

Key: ‘You are not going to change me’

Critics say John Key’s relaxed style is becoming a liability as he approaches the first anniversary of his re-election. But the Prime Minister tells political editor Audrey Young he’d feel like a fraud if he tried to change.

… Critics have suggested that he has become so comfortable in his role in his second term, he has let his guard down, forgetful of sensitivities (“I can ignore the Waitangi Tribunal”), forgetful about what he has heard (“I knew nothing about the GCSB being involved with Dotcom”) and lets his mouth run away with him when he is away from the prying microphones of the Press Gallery (that “gay shirt” he ribbed a DJ about, and describing David Beckham as being thick as bat/pig/goat/sheep shit).

… He is a little regretful at the latest couple of incidents over the shirt and the Beckham conversation. “From time to time I might push a little bit too hard and I have got to be a bit more careful.” But essentially he sees it as the media’s problem, not one that comes between him and the public. He hasn’t changed the way he behaves.

… “I came in as John Key and I’m going out as John Key. The media or our opponents will try and portray that as being too casual. I don’t agree with that.

Cue Ole’ Blue Eyes for a rousing chorous of “My way”. Young finishes with a helpful list of Key’s “Second-term blues”

• Foreign Affairs restructuring

• SkyCity Convention Centre-pokies deal

• John Banks’ election donations

• ACC/Bronwyn Pullar/Nick Smith’s resignation

• Retreat on class sizes budget

• Crafar farms sale approved

• Maori challenge to SOE sales

• Dotcom raids

• GCSB unlawful surveillance

• MSD kiosks privacy breach

David Shearer isn’t busy trashing the country, so he is less in the media spotlight, but still attracting his share of criticism on leadership style. Here’s another Duncan Garner stream of consciousness:

David Shearer has failed

Labour promised an exciting back story that would impress and a new front man to rival the Prime Minister. Sadly for Labour – they’re still looking for that person. David Shearer has failed. Labour’s lucky it’s not getting done under the law for false advertising.

Let’s be honest, Labour leader David Shearer doesn’t have it. He’s a nice, mild mannered, likeable, warm but a stuttering, incoherent mess that is the opposite of what an alternative Prime Minister should look like. And before you say ‘give him some time’, he’s had a year and I think he’s gone backwards – not forwards.

The well-informed Vernon Small reckons that a lot is riding on Shearer’s performance at Conference next week.

Shearer’s first conference speech may be his last

Just short of his first anniversary as leader, David Shearer delivers his first speech to a Labour Party conference next week. But as storm clouds gather over his leadership, it is shaping as possibly his last. Members, activists and unionists contacted for this article said over and over that the speech at the Ellerslie racecourse conference centre next Sunday was crucial to Shearer’s grip on the leadership.

His first priority is to convince the party rank and file that “he has what it takes” – and those grassroots members will be looking for a hard-hitting address taking the fight to the Government while outlining a clear and personal view of where he intends to take Labour

Unless he can carry that off, the groundswell in the party is set to break into the open with a push for a leadership challenge, most likely when the caucus meets in February – or even sooner, according to one business lobbyist in close contact with the party.

… Posts on the Labour-leaning Standard blog and pressure from commentators like Chris Trotter – fuelled by speeches and interviews by Cunliffe – have bagged Shearer and backed his main rival.

With respect Vernon, posts on the Standard have (and always will) expressed a range of views – I for one am backing Shearer!

A highly placed party source said: “He needs to deliver a gutsy speech. We just want to see him lead. Discipline someone [such as MP Shane Jones] without being too cautious. Take a position on JT [former Cabinet minister John Tamihere] coming back. Make a leadership speech not just a policy speech.”

… Shearer’s main problem is not that he is divisive or that he has made enemies in the caucus. In fact he is universally liked and respected. But he has failed badly as a communicator during a year when National has faced huge head-winds and when the gloss has come off Prime Minister John Key’s image.

And so on and so on.

Both Key and Shearer under under pressure. But Shearer’s problems are solvable (he can lift his game), Key’s are not (he’s locked in to the mess he’s made). Shearer’s recent speeches have been bang on target policy wise. I’m still in the camp that says give him time to get the communication skills right. I know that most of our active readers and commenters are frustrated and impatient – I am too! – but this has to be balanced by expectations that are realistic. Sudden shifts in popular opinion (like the Orewa speech) are very rare. It’s a slow, grinding process, and Labour under Shearer is making progress. My suggestion to impatient Lefties is to take a leaf from Nate Silver’s book. Never mid the irrelevant sideshows and opinions. Watch the numbers (thanks Rob Salmond):

Poll of Polls update: Volatility masks a slow-moving tide

Our poll of polls continues to show a slow drop in National’s fortunes, and an increasingly positive outlook for Labour and the left more broadly.

Patience Lefties, with luck and hard work, Shearer’s leadership will outlast Key’s…

37 comments on “Leaders under pressure”

  1. Blue 1

    Duncan Garner is just another one of the morons who swallowed Key’s bullshit hook line and sinker at the last election. No one really thought Key would get a surplus in 2014, except our apparently braindead fourth estate. Now they’re all ‘OMG! Keyz not going to get a surplus in 2014! Noes!’

    FFS. It was a pile of horseshit from the word go and instead of calling him on it the media blindly parroted his crap and revelled in his ‘show the me money!’ and ‘I know numbers!’ posturing. They let the public think that a surplus was a real possibility and that only Key’s government could get us there.

    Some wild speculation based on rosy predictions pulled out of someone’s arse and assembled into an official-looking spreadsheet and the journos go gaga about how Key is an economic saviour. Spare me.

    • aerobubble 1.1

      What gets me is Labour reluctance to hit back. Take mining. Pike River did not start producing coal until Key came to power. The GFC collapse would obviously put pressure on executives to choose between safety and bankruptcy. That deregulation worked when extra investment was easily available to cover safety needs because returns was so spectacular. And therein lies the problem, Labour inability to foresee the obvious counter attacks because its unwillingness to put a line under the GFC as a structural change to the global economy, that Labour believe the bullshit of National, that growth is just around the corner. Its basic physics, our world runs on non-renewable and once demand out paces supply the whole economic system shifts down a gear or two. That Labour is incapable of hitting home is staggering give how pathetic Key is becoming. He’s losing ministers left right and center, he’s dependent the three stooges, of Maori, UF and Act (see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil though Banks has so much of it). If National had a backbench with a backbone Key would be rolled by now, but that the problem with limiting parliament to 120 senators. We need a upper chamber, we need a good 300 MPs will substantial knifes in the back waiting for any flaw.

      • kiwicommie 1.1.1

        ‘Growth’ is not around the corner. New Zealand needs a stimulus, a big investment in education and infrastructure (especially broadband), and green jobs. Pushing austerity is not going to make the New Zealand economy grow or unemployment decline. National’s cut economy is a disaster, failing to intervene in the economy was pure stupidity and we are paying the price of it.

        • aerobubble 1.1.1.1

          Stimulate what? More oil usage. The problem globally is we locked in excessive oil incorporation in our very lifestyles. Growth is never the goal, its the result of good governance, and we haven’t gotten growth since the GFC (except inflation), so what is the goal?

          Well more diversity of exports, and that obviously means reducing existing investment as investment money isn’t going to be growing, i.e. reducing existing base resource exports, or raw materials and raw young skilled people exports and target global demand for different.

          And even if we do elect a competent govt, the same tools that drove us into the bankrupt state of affairs are still there waiting for another generation of a invincible-know-it-all-boomer-generation, too big for their egos, short on ability, and lost in the complexity; who will take over with another blather of stupid neo-neo-liberalism headed by uber investment salesman.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.2

        We need a upper chamber, we need a good 300 MPs will substantial knifes in the back waiting for any flaw.

        That’s got to be the worst suggestion that I’ve ever seen for fixing the house. Society works through cooperation. Make it all about competition and knifing people in the back and society will collapse – just like it’s doing at the moment.

    • Well said Blue (post 1)
      The media’s presentation of the issues has a lot to answer for.

    • Fortran 1.3

      Blue

      Right first time – he is a moron who is just trying to ingratiate himself in his own self belief that he is the only political hack who knows best.

  2. r0b 2

    I see that Eddie has just posted with a conclusion completely the opposite of mine. Just another working day at a leftie collective blog then!

    • PlanetOrphan 2.1

      It’s been on the cards for a while now.

      Always been a problem for the opposition parties in general, they have to wait for the next election.

      It’d be a mistake to pander to people, they need solid ground for people to climb up onto with them.

      Personally I think David Shearer is doing a great Job, He is responding to his critics with solid policy, that’s a lot more than most opposition parties have ever done.

      Keep up the great work David Shearer …. When the tough get going etc ….

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.1

        Personally I think David Shearer is doing a great Job, He is responding to his critics with solid policy, that’s a lot more than most opposition parties have ever done.

        I’m a bit mystified what solid policy you are referring to, unless it is previously released Labour policy?

        • PlanetOrphan 2.1.1.1

          Not a lot as yet I’ll grant you, but solid direction none the less.
          I’d like too see what he has in mind for health and education next.

          Cut and paste sorry …

          Jobs:
          Convert the dole into a subsidy for employers willing to take on one of the 84,000 young New Zealanders not in work or training as an apprentice.

          Introduce a ‘one in a million’ rule for companies awarded major government contracts to take on one apprentice for every $1 million of taxpayers’ dollars they receive.

          Make sure Kiwis have the first crack at jobs by asking businesses to prove they’ve exhausted all options before bringing in workers from overseas.

          Support the job-rich manufacturing sector by investing in innovation through a R&D tax credit and giving the Reserve Bank a wider mandate to tackle the high and volatile dollar.

          Take the tough decisions on the big issues holding our economy back like expanding KiwiSaver, making Superannuation affordable and reforming the tax system.

          I’d rather get young New Zealanders off the dole and into apprenticeships.

          Labour will require government agencies to do a wider economic analysis of major contracts to ensure they deliver the best price and quality as well as the maximum benefits of the NZ economy.

          What is policy CV if not the above ?

          • RedLogix 2.1.1.1.1

            But if Shearer cannot convert this excellent policy, and leverage his role as leader into something that a larger portion of New Zealanders believe in as Prime Minister … then it’s not enough. Sadly.

            I’ve no beef with Shearer as a person. I believe those people who say that in small groups, in person, he’s very good. I suspect he’d make a very good ‘chairman of the board’ style of PM … a bit like Jim Bolger.

            But that’s not enough. Eddie has nailed all the critical things Shearer falls short on … and crucially ….has not shown the innate talent or will to improve on.

            Put it this way. At some point in the next election campaign Shearer will have to front Key in a one-on-one debate. Result???

    • lprent 2.2

      Yep r0b. Exactly the point you made about the diversity of opinion amongst authors.

      Actually we do have an editorial policy. I think I can safely say we all hate trolls and most of our policy relates to them.

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    I agree with Small that a lot his riding on this Conference. Shearer’s speech, how he comes across as a leader, and what he reveals about a new direction for Labour is critical.

    We don’t have another 12 months to wait around to see if he can lift his game. He has to do it right now, starting at Conference.

    • David H 3.1

      No He’s had his 12 months and that’s long enough. The conference should be to anoint a new leader, and getting the direction the party needs to go in order to regain it’s lost support. Shearer is just Blah.

  4. bbfloyd 4

    There are good arguments for both shearers leadership style, and Cunliffes leadership style…

    The fact that there are “at least” two people cabable of adopting the leaders mantle, and discharging their duties, and responsibilities effectively, with intelligence, and foresight, should be a reason for celebration….

    But no… we have to get into a brawl over which one is the better to lead….

    The Labour party, the Green party, and New Zealand First, have already shown enough for us to see how effectively they can work together…..

    How would that translate into effective governance, One wonders? I Think it bodes well….

    So how many “great orators” did the first Labour govenment contain? not many from my experience…. yet the effectiveness of their policy implementation is still felt today….

  5. Chalupa Batman 5

    Patience Lefties, with luck and hard work, Shearer’s leadership will outlast Key’s…

    Seriously? You seriously think Shearer will lead Labour and/or the country longer than John Key?

    If Shearer wins the election he’ll be ousted in a coup, if he loses the election he’ll be gone before lunch time (so to speak)

    • bbfloyd 5.1

      Extremely facile bit of mis interpretation there batshit…….You do know that making such elementary mistakes in interpretation simply leave you standing on your own in front of those headlights…. don’t you??

  6. the sprout 6

    Shearer’s problems are no more surmountable than Key’s. And with each day of bumbling inaction Shearer becomes more complicit in the disaster of Key’s government.

    • @sprout
      You voice the issue as I see it. When the severe incompetence and disrespectful attitudes being shown by our current Government are met with the mildness that Labour are coming across with, the message it is giving me is that they don’t mind that much; and leads me to believe that they intend to do much the same when in Government.

      I’m unclear as to whether this is the fault of Mr Shearer or his advisors, I really question this aspect; they appear to have been taking a “gently gently catch the monkey approach” for 4 years now, and at what point, and how bad do the Government need to get before some clear and firm opposition is voiced?

    • fatty 6.2

      I agree with you the sprout…first impression counts for a lot, and Shearer’s first impression was a guitar strumming nice guy. Now he has to reframe his image as being someone who is competent, determined, and a leader. But its too late for that, Shearer is perceived as a nice guy, that is all.

      @blue leopard – “I’m unclear as to whether this is the fault of Mr Shearer or his advisors”

      Its both, it has been a pathetic strategy from the outset, and his advisors are responsible for that, but Shearer is the leader. Time to flush the dunny and move on

      • blue leopard 6.2.1

        …perhaps someone should check whether the advisors are still alive then??

        Perhaps they communicate by email, and it is simply an automated service or something and whoever was running the programme has quietly popped off?

        They have been following the same approach for years and expecting different results.

        This isn’t a small party, and they aren’t on small salaries. What is going on???

        [gnashing of teeth]

      • Rhinocrates 6.2.2

        I don’t even perceive him as a “nice guy”, just someone who thinks that he’s one… alright, wants to be seen as one… Look, Claire Trev…something… says he is … right, you bastards, if you’re not going to see me as a nice guy, I will have you flogged until you do!

        Insert these where you will:

        Um, ah, er, um, ah, um, er, I mean, some say that, ah, errrr, no that’s not true, well, [licks lips] I really mean, um, …, ah, no, I mean, ah, [licks lips] move ahead, ah, ah, um, ah, new, [licks lips] ah, painting his roof, ah… I was talking about perceptions, and I agreed with him, ah, um, no…

        • blue leopard 6.2.2.1

          Lol

          re lip licking
          When a dog is nervous and “knows” it has done something wrong it licks its lips and swallows while looking sideways from the corners of its eyes, (not directly at you) -similar body language from Mr Shearer a lot of the time.

          An indication of ulterior motives that he ultimately knows would not be supported if there was some transparency perhaps?

  7. One of the issues I see going on with Labours approach over the last few years and particularly at present is summed up by a quote from the I Ching:

    Modesty is not to be confused with weak good nature that lets things take
    their own course. When a man holds a responsible position, he must at times
    resort to energetic measures. In doing so he must not try to make an
    impression by boasting of his superiority but must make certain of the people
    around him. The measures taken should be purely objective and in no way
    personally offensive. Thus modesty manifests itself even in severity.

    We wish for “decent” politics which involves “fair-play” and where qualities of decency are valued and yet to follow such ideals without acknowledgement and counteraction to the underhand and manipulative tactics of the opposition (right-wing) we are currently facing is simply handing those with less scruples the “victory” on a silver platter.

    Appealing to people’s better nature does not appear to be working while opinion manipulation tactics are being indulged in, by right-wing strategists, tactics which involve appealing to people’s worst natures.

    Something is required to counteract such; it doesn’t need to be equal in immorality, however it does need to be equal in power.

    Believing “truth will prevail” is dear to my heart; however there is a point where this ideal, without discernment becomes unrealistic and naive. That point comes when the opposition’s tactics are seen too filthy to be acknowledged, “beneath us” and thereby are allowed to be applied unopposed. It must be noted also, that the truth may eventually prevail regardless of the power of opinion manipulation, however the issue of how much damage is being done, while people come to their senses arises too.

    I don’t consider Labour are striking the delicate balance between mildness and severity effectively at present.

  8. Ed 8

    Thanks you Anthony for a balanced post. It came as a shock to me to see Vernon Small quote the Standard as the source for much discontent with Shearer – and on looking to see that probably the most trenchant criticism of Shearer (possibly after Whaleoil) is indeed from The Standard. Yes there are plenty of posts attacking National as well, but to give an example there has been more in the last few days about why Labour needs to replace Shearer (including the later post from Eddie) than there has been about the reality of poor unemployment figures and other government disasters. There has been very little about options available to the government to do better, or about policies Labour has already put forward or could put forward in future. Now I know that the left do not want to end up just providing National with the answers he clearly lacks, but there should be able to be some discussion that is not internally focused. Where are the discussions that put current issues into a ‘Left’ framework rather than the “the free market knows best”, “government needs to let companies get on with it” framework of the Right?

    One area that perhaps we can take some lessons from National is in directing productive criticism (positive or negative) in the direction most likely to produce the result that we want. That is not to say debate should be stifled – one of the strengths of the left is that we are more prepared to openly discuss issues than National, and often that leads to better consensus, fewer surprises, better policies and better ways of expressing policies and intentions. That does not mean we have to pick up every troll or suggestion that attempts to destabilise the hopes of a left victory at the next election – sometime it would be better to address concerns directly to people in the Labour and Green Parties. Imagine what National would be like if every mistake of Key, or criticism of him, was analysed in one of the Nat-supporting blogs. No, they may mention it as proof that behind the genius is a real human, or more likely ignore it totally and either attack someone else, or talk about a different topic.

    And yes, Shearer will in my view last longer than Key – he is showing signs of being sick of it all – saying something like “I came in as John Key and I’m going out as John Key.” does sound as though that is in the process of happening right now. Do National have anyone who could be an acceptable face for the next election?

    • @Ed

      I think a lot of your suggestions are productive approaches that could be taken, I also see a lot of them are being pursued on The Standard (alternatives ways of addressing the issues we face are discussed a lot here).
      Your comment appears to miss a point of concern that, I believe, is causing the debate and criticism of Labour’s current approach and impact.

      This Government is failing on myriads of fronts. Last term they also were conducting dubious activities behind the scenes that were setting NZ up for failure, however, they were successfully managing a “fair and reasonable” face (largely by repeating these words ad infinitum) This term the failure, both moral and practical is entirely blatant and yet the polls are indicating that National’s popularity are not falling in the devastating fashion one would expect.

      I believe the criticism being expressed toward Mr Shearer, Labour (and the media) are all motivated by this anomaly. Opposition parties have a job to do when in opposition and that is to create alternatives to the approaches and activities of the current Government. It is my belief that the debate and criticism surrounding the Labour party is around the near complete void being provided by them in this duty and arises from trying to make sense as to why this is occurring whilst a Government as shoddy as the one we have in power currently, which would appear to make this duty as simple as anyone could hope for.

    • Huginn 8.2

      I love The Standard and I value it but it’s important to recognise that from time to time its strengths may also count as weaknesses.

      The Standard is very open to the diversity of opinion on the Left – contributors step up from a very broad base to take up and defend strongly held positions. It’s a transparent exchange, and that’s good, but it’s also easy for naive (or lazy) analysts to over-rely on it because it’s all they can see.

      Key’s in trouble. Big trouble. He’s limping and quacking and bleeding in the water all at the same time. Do you think we’re the only ones who have noticed that? Come on, this is politics!

      Key is surrounded by ambitious people who are undoubtedly thinking the same things that we are, that:

      – Key is a stupid liar, and that he has to lie because he doesn’t do his homework
      – he tailors his story to suit his audience, so he’s treacherous
      – there are big, unanswered questions about Key’s involvement with the GCSB’s illegal surveillance of Kim Dotcom and God only knows what’s going to come out next – or when and who is he going to take down with him?

      Not to mention the economy.

      And they’ll be thinking that if they have to do something about it soon, or risk going into another election with him. So in a few weeks they’ll be talking it over as they tend their summer barbecues and there will be plotting to roll him.

      We don’t see any of what must be enormous dissatisfaction and anxiety about Key because the Right doesn’t have anything like The Standard. And we have to learn to take that into account.

    • Jenny 8.3

      Now I know that the left do not want to end up just providing National with the answers he clearly lacks, but there should be able to be some discussion that is not internally focused. Where are the discussions that put current issues into a ‘Left’ framework rather than the “the free market knows best”, “government needs to let companies get on with it” framework of the Right?

      Ed

      My goodness Ed. Is this really the reason that Shearer and the parliamentary Labour Party have not been hammering the government? In that they think they might be providing National with they answers (he) clearly lack.

      On so many levels this sort of thinking is so WRONG!

      Morally, tactically, logically, politically.

      Morally: People are hurting now. And if you are withholding good solutions that might end their suffering because National might get the credit, then this shows a cynical and selfish sectarian approach that doesn’t care for ending peoples suffering at all, especially if ending that suffering affects the progress of the Labour Party. This approach shows a political party only interested in progressing a sectarian grouping. And the careers of the individuals within that grouping.

      Tactically: Well this one is obvious, and is happening now. The result – A completely silent opposition. If you have the answers you should be giving them. If you are silent because you are worried that the government would steal your ideas then your then your solutions can not be all that different to what the government are doing now, or will be doing in the future. And your silence communicates this.

      Logically: Politics – definition the struggle between left and right between rich and poor, between the powerful and the powerless. Left Wing Ideals and strategies, if they are truly left, by definition, cannot be expropriated by right wing parties. If they were then they would no longer be Right Wing parties. From those suffering under Right Wing policies it doesn’t matter which group of individuals put forward Left Wing policies, as long as they are put forward.

      The same with Right Wing Ideals, by definition they cannot not be expropriated by parties of the left because by doing so they would no longer be parties of the left.

      Politically: If any Labour MP still thinks that Labour should keep silent out of fear of giving National good ideas, then they are morally and tactically and logically lost, and have absolutely no bloody idea about politics and you should not be holding the position they have.

      It is not all about getting, or keeping, one sect or other in power, it is all about achieving the best results overall for the greatest number.

      And that goes for every political policy issue; relieving poverty, ending war, saving the environment.

      One side’s interests are not served by ending any of those things, and so they will not take up any solutions offered up by the other side that will do so.

      If you lose sight of that then you lose sight of what the political struggle is about.

  9. lefty 9

    When people started questioning rogernomics the likes of Prebble, Douglas, Goff and Basset blamed the problem on ‘not communicating well enough’ rather than accepting that many people now saw their policies as failures.

    Don Brash’s supporters always put his failure to win support down to his poor communication skills rather than his toxic history and policies.

    Key is now starting to say he is not communicating well enough rather than admit people are starting to want something more substantial than ‘Mr Nice Guy’ from him.

    Shearer loyalists blame his failure to gain any credibility on a lack of communication skills rather than accepting that if people want a beneficiary bashing political leader who wants more austerity, higher retirement ages and a continuation of neo liberalism they might as well stick with Key.

    It seems whenever the people start seeing through right wingers they and their supporters put it down to communication problems, rather than the fact they are not putting forward credible policies and people don’t want them anymore.

    Its not about the messenger. Its not about the msm (biased though it is). Its about being credible.

    Key may have worn his credibility out.

    Shearer has never managed to establish any.

    A good speech or two will not change that for either of them now.

    • karol 9.1

      Certainly, to me the message is more important than how it’s delivered, lefty.  And Shearer and Robertson are too much soft neoliberal for me.  Robertson delivers that POV better than Shearer.

  10. hush minx 10

    It occurs to me as I read this and those over at Eddie’s post there is general recognition, even from those who believe shearer is the right choice for Labour, is that if he is to succeed something new has to happen. There’s also a common theme that he is relying on advice from people who may also be regarded as not performing. Perhaps the scrutiny should also turn on them? They say the leaders office is studded with staff who have close ties to grant. Perhaps shearer needs to step out with his own people so that he can determine his own direction and future?

  11. Tracey 11

    ” The dreadful news was clearly counter to the advice the Government has received from the Treasury” Actually Fran it’s contrary to everything he is prepared to “see”. You don’t have to look around you much to see that NZers are in some trouble, unless you are in a sound booth doing talkback or playing golf in a chrity tournament… then everything looks just fine.

  12. Tracey 12

    “When people started questioning rogernomics the likes of Prebble, Douglas, Goff and Basset blamed the problem on ‘not communicating well enough’ ” That was a cover for we need to find a way to talk about this in a way that the punters won’t see what we’re actually doing cos we still think it’s right. A lesson this government learned so very well to our collective detriment.

    For example when Key is campaigning he puts away the “natural” John Key, the one who is disrespectful to others and can’t remember stuff. He came in as one kind of John key and performed as another….

    when was the last time he spoke of accountability and transparency…. his mantras of 2008, and “aspiration” his mantra from 2008-2010?

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  • Privatising CYF about ideology not care
    John Key’s suggestions today that Child Youth and Family could be privatized will be a terrifying thought for New Zealanders already dealing with the mess created in private prisons and plans to sell our state houses to Australians, Opposition Leader… ...
    1 hour ago
  • Govt must make most of Jetstar competition
    Government agencies should pledge to always buy “the best fare of the day” to maximise competition between Jetstar and Air New Zealand and ensure savings for taxpayers while boosting services to regional New Zealand, Labour’s Transport Spokesperson Phil Twyford says.… ...
    2 hours ago
  • Time for inquiry into petrol margins
    It’s time for an inquiry into petrol companies as margins are once again at the high levels that prompted concerns late last year, says Labour's Energy Spokesperson Stuart Nash. "Over the December January holiday period, petrol importer margins jumped to… ...
    3 days ago
  • More talk as Auckland congestion worsens
    The main impact of the Government’s agreement with Auckland Council today will be simply to delay still further decisions needed to relieve the city’s traffic congestion, says Labour’s Auckland Issues Spokesperson, Phil Goff. “Government has been aware for more than… ...
    4 days ago
  • Serco inquiry extended
    A two month delay to the Government investigation into prison fight clubs shows the extent of problems within the Serco circus, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “My office received a tsunami of complaints so I’m not surprised the terms… ...
    4 days ago
  • Truck Shops ignore consumer laws
    A damning Commerce Commission report out today highlights the failure of the Government to protect poor and vulnerable families from unscrupulous truck shops, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson David Shearer. “The report found that 31 out of 32 firms it… ...
    4 days ago
  • Taihoa at Ihumatao says Labour
    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… ...
    4 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… ...
    4 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… ...
    4 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… ...
    5 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… ...
    5 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… ...
    5 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… ...
    5 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… ...
    5 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… ...
    5 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… ...
    5 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… ...
    6 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… ...
    6 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… ...
    6 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… ...
    6 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… ...
    6 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. ...
    7 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… ...
    7 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… ...
    7 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… ...
    1 week 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… ...
    1 week 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… ...
    2 weeks 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… ...
    2 weeks 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

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