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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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  • Minister makes meagre effort to fix big problem
    Today’s announcement by Health Minister Jonathan Coleman that Budget 2015 will include $98 million for elective surgery over three to four years should be seen for what it is – a drop in the bucket in an effort to appease… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Treasury forecasts a deficit for next year too
    National has tried to get the bad deficit news out of the way before this year's Budget but Treasury’s warned next year’s books could also be in the red despite Bill English's panicked spending cuts late last year, Labour’s Finance… ...
    5 hours ago
  • OIA chaos in the Ministry of Social Development
    So it turns out yesterday’s story about WINZ cuts to dental care loans was wrong, and through no fault of Radio New Zealand who ran it. The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) has today corrected the Official Information Act release… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 hours ago
  • First state house sell-off will achieve little
    The first tranche of the Government’s state house sell-off will do nothing to fix the housing crisis or better the lives of vulnerable families, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Government has just announced the transfer of 1600 state… ...
    6 hours ago
  • Job figures show many missing out
    New Zealand’s “rock star” economy is failing to deliver either a surplus, real wage increases or job growth with unemployment stuck at 5.8 per cent,” Labour’s Leader Andrew Little says. “The Government trumpets the 3 per cent growth rate and… ...
    8 hours ago
  • Secret moves could undermine education system
    The Government must explain why it is pushing to open doors to multinational private education providers through a controversial international free trade agreement, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Documents leaked today show our Government is one of a handful… ...
    9 hours ago
  • Spotless must now end all zero-hours contracts
    New Zealand’s largest contractor of food, cleaning and hospital staff, Spotless, must now take action to end all zero-hour contracts, Opposition leader Andrew Little says. “Yesterday Labour asked questions of Parliamentary Service and the Speaker after we revealed nine parliamentary… ...
    12 hours ago
  • Are we even talking about welfare anymore?
    I’ve worked with children in the slums in India and that experience confirmed my sense of luck that I live in a small, naturally abundant country, which many years ago made the decision to share those resources so everyone had… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    23 hours ago
  • MPs warned off celebrations for fear of upsetting Chinese
    A leaked email that reveals the Government is warning MPs not to attend Falun Gong celebrations and that China will be spying on people who do has no place in a free society, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says.Advice… ...
    1 day ago
  • Labour stands behind Solid Energy miners
    Solid Energy miners will not be surprised at the company’s announcement today of further restructuring but any more job losses will be a shock for West Coast communities, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “I have my fingers… ...
    1 day ago
  • TPK unable to deliver on Whanau Ora
    The Auditor General’s report on Whanau Ora highlights what many people knew – Te Puni Kokiri was never designed to be a service delivery agency, said Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta and Whānau Ora spokesperson Adrian Rurawhe. “In the… ...
    1 day ago
  • Too many Kiwis waiting on waiting lists
    Waiting lists to get on waiting lists are the new norm for thousands of New Zealanders living with chronic health problems, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “The Government’s underfunding of the health sector is forcing district health boards to… ...
    1 day ago
  • Delays in spending damage Whanau Ora
    Criticism from the Auditor General that a greater proportion of Whanau Ora funds could have been directed to families rather than administration is something that needs to be investigated thoroughly, says Social Development Spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “To quote the report… ...
    1 day ago
  • Walking the talk on sexual violence
    Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis is putting election campaign promises into action, organising a hīkoi to raise awareness around sexual violence. The 17-day MASSIVE (Men Against Sexual Violence) walk – from the electorate’s southern boundary to the northern tip… ...
    1 day ago
  • Govt dumps infrastructure costs on Akld ratepayers
    The Government’s failure to invest in infrastructure to service its Special Housing Areas is dumping massive costs on Auckland ratepayers, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Auckland Council has declined to approve three new Special Housing Areas on the city… ...
    1 day ago
  • Labour reforms encourage bad employers to be bullies
    The Government’s changes to labour laws have created a climate that allows bad employers to bully their workers, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Tauranga worker Bertie Ratu was threatened by her employer Talley’s for asking her local… ...
    1 day ago
  • Parliament workers on zero-hour contracts
    The Government must take urgent action and insist the contractor who employs workers at Parliament on zero-hour contracts end these unfair work arrangements, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Speaker David Carter has confirmed in his reply to questions from Labour… ...
    1 day ago
  • RMA: We need to know
    Environment Minister Nick Smith needs to spell out to New Zealanders what they can expect from his substantial reform of the RMA, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods.  In an open letter to the Minister, Megan Woods has urged him… ...
    1 day ago
  • He Aituā! He Aituā!
    “Papā te whatitiri! Hikohiko te uira! Ka wāwāhia ki runga o Hikurangi maunga, o Waiwhetū kainga. “Kua katohia e te ringa kaha o Aituā i tetahi pou whakarae o te reo Māori. Nō reira kei hea taku manu tui… ...
    2 days ago
  • Stratoil – Iwis do what National will not
    Tomorrow, Far North tribal representatives for the Te Hiku o Te Ika tribes will be travelling to the head office of Statoil to discuss the opposition to its oil exploration program in Te Reinga Basin. Statoil have decided to begin… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 days ago
  • Mana whenua head North to oppose oil drilling
    It was good to hear the news that a mana whenua delegation is heading north, a long way north, to make their views known about the proposed  oil drilling off the Northland coast. The roopu will be representing iwi and hapu… ...
    GreensBy David Clendon MP
    2 days ago
  • Ministers must act on 111 failure
    Lives are being put at risk if the company contracted to manage emergency 111 calls can’t cope with increased numbers, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Saturday’s situation where people calling the emergency services were unable to get through and were… ...
    2 days ago
  • People trying to save lives don’t deserve abuse
    WorkSafe New Zealand staff trying to save lives on farms shouldn’t be subjected to a tirade of verbal abuse from a Member of Parliament, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Chester Borrows has labelled WorkSafe New Zealand officials… ...
    2 days ago
  • Action on laws needed in Privacy Week
    The Government must speed up promised law changes to reassure the public their private information is in safe hands as the country marks Privacy Week, Labour’s associate Justice spokesperson Clare Curran said today. “The previous Justice Minister Judith Collins announced… ...
    2 days ago
  • Māori Caucus call on iwi leaders support
    Labour’s Māori caucus has sent an open letter to iwi leaders around the country seeking their support for meat workers currently in employment negotiations with Talleys.  “We are aware that when Talleys locked out workers for a period of 89… ...
    2 days ago
  • National still splashing cash on charter school experiment
    New figures confirming that charter schools are still being funded at up to four times the rate of their state school counterparts shows just how desperate the National Government is to make its experiment a success, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris… ...
    4 days ago
  • Regions pay price for inaction on housing
    New figures put the cost of an average Auckland home at $800,000 and show large parts of the country facing stagnant or falling property values, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The QV data released today shows residential property values… ...
    5 days ago
  • Regions pay price for inaction on housing
    New figures put the cost of an average Auckland home at $800,000 and show large parts of the country facing stagnant or falling property values, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The QV data released today shows residential property values… ...
    5 days ago
  • PPP schools not at expense of community groups
    The Government must guarantee community groups will not be the losers out of its signing of a $298 million deal for four more public private partnership (PPP) schools, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Community groups will find it more… ...
    5 days ago
  • Surplus: The biggest broken promise ever
    Bill English has failed to deliver on his double-election campaign promise of a surplus by this year, instead delivering seven deficits out of seven budgets, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Government spent seven years and two election campaigns… ...
    5 days ago
  • McDonald’s serves up some McHappiness
    Unite Union and McDonald’s have given New Zealand a perfect way to celebrate May Day by reaching a settlement that strikes another blow against zero-hour contracts, Labour spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Earlier this week it looked like… ...
    5 days ago
  • Justice delayed and delayed and delayed
    Today we found out that the case of the prominent New Zealander  charged with indecent assault will retain name suppression until the case goes to court in about a year. Putting aside the appropriateness or not of granting name suppression,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • No golden age for books
    The ‘indefinite’ postponement of an initiative designed to encourage people to read Kiwi books will be a major blow to local authors, publishers and booksellers, Labour’s Arts, Culture and Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.News that the annual NZ Book Month… ...
    6 days ago
  • Cracks showing in economy of milk and houses
    Fonterra’s latest cut to its forecast farmgate payout confirms that an economic black hole of $7 billion is opening up that will seriously affect the regions, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The cut confirms the long term trend of… ...
    6 days ago
  • Human Rights – An Issue for Everyone
    This week, the issue of human rights has been everywhere in the news. We have seen John Key prioritise a free trade agreement with Saudi Arabia over all else with no guarantee of human rights clauses being included. We have… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    6 days ago
  • Govt inaction on housing keeping rates high
    The Government’s failure to rein in the housing crisis means the Reserve Bank Governor cannot lower interest rates despite inflation being at 15-year lows, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Inflation is below the target band and the economy has… ...
    6 days ago
  • What do our refugee policies say about us?
    It is my pleasure to share with you a blog from Hester Moore who is currently interning with the United Nations High Commission on Refugees in Cairo, after graduating from the Univeristy of Canterbury. Sometimes, as a nation it is… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    6 days ago
  • Tamaki state housing transfer risky and desperate
    The Government’s transfer of 2800 state houses to the Tamaki Redevelopment Company -- to be announced at 9am today -- shows it's desperation to off-load state houses and show some kind of action against Auckland's out of control housing crisis,… ...
    7 days ago
  • Tamaki state housing transfer risky and desperate
    The Government’s transfer of 2800 state houses to the Tamaki Redevelopment Company -- to be announced at 9am today -- shows it's desperation to off-load state houses and show some kind of action against Auckland's out of control housing crisis,… ...
    7 days ago
  • Woodhouse should close work visa loophole
    The Immigration Minister must revoke the work visas of temporary Chinese engineers working on KiwiRail trains and close the loophole that allows their employers to avoid New Zealand employment laws, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues, Iain Lees-Galloway. “New Zealanders… ...
    1 week ago
  • Job losses show folly of Chorus’ copper cuts
    Chorus and the Government are neglecting the copper broadband network, leading to 145 potential job losses at Transfield Services as well as poor services in the regions, says Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. “Steven Joyce and Amy Adams have made… ...
    1 week ago
  • National quietly ditches its surplus promise
    National has quietly dropped its long-promised return to surplus by this year by removing the date it will get the books back in the black from its online campaign material, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s pledge to reach… ...
    1 week ago
  • Even cheap houses now unaffordable
    New housing affordability data show that now even the cheapest houses in Auckland are unaffordable for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “The AMP360 Home Loan Affordability Report reveals Auckland's lower quartile house price has leapt to… ...
    1 week ago
  • Key’s careless chatter tips off Arabic media
    John Key has shown a frightening lack of judgement in disclosing to an Arabic media outlet that Kiwi troops are in the UAE awaiting deployment to Iraq, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “At the same time the Prime… ...
    1 week ago
  • Child poverty will not be solved by vouchers
    New Zealand has debilitating levels of child poverty, entrenched violence against women and children, and the ongoing effects of colonisation on Maori are brutalising communities. When we dwell on the statistics – which mostly we don’t because it all seems… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Simon Bridges spent over $6500 on Northland
    Transport Minister Simon Bridges spent over $6519 on travel and flights to Northland for the by-election – spending around $1000 a week, Labour’s Acting Leader Annette King says. “Simon Bridges’ desperate dashes to Northland got him in political hot water.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Firing squad deaths deplorable
    The execution of eight men by an Indonesian firing squad is deplorable, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. “New Zealanders do not support the use of the death penalty under any circumstances. ...
    1 week ago
  • Aged care workers need more than talk
    Yesterday AUT released the New Zealand Aged Care Workforce Survey 2014. The conditions of aged care workers are important for many reasons. We have an ageing population and people are going into care/requiring care later than before, so it’s critically… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Aged care needs urgent attention
    The Government must stop neglecting older New Zealanders and the people who care for them and give urgent attention to a sector that is in dire straits, says Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The lead author of the New… ...
    1 week ago
  • Passing the buck a disaster in the making
    Moves to overhaul the social services sector are nothing more than privatisation in drag and are a potential disaster in the making, Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni says. “A report from the Productivity Commission supports the Government’s push for… ...
    1 week ago

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