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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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  • Steven Joyce takes the scalpel to medical students
    This November access to the Student Loan scheme will be cut off at seven years seriously harming medical students. Studying to become a doctor takes years of hard work, dedication and intense study and it’s a blunt tool and… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 hours ago
  • Tolley must assure safety of vulnerable clients
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley must guarantee the safety of Relationships Aotearoa’s thousands of Māori clients – some of whom are very vulnerable – following the closure of the nationwide counselling service, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. Relationships… ...
    5 hours ago
  • ANZ has moral obligation to fully compensate farmers
      The ANZ Bank has a moral obligation to fully compensate farmers after the High Court today declared it breached the Fair Trading Act by misleadingly representing interest rate swap loans, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. The Commerce… ...
    1 day ago
  • Fairfax can’t use restructure to cut terms and conditions
    The restructure and upheavals at Fairfax should not be used as an opportunity to cut journalists’ terms and conditions, Labour spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Businesses have to adapt to new technologies and consumer demands and there is… ...
    1 day ago
  • McCully excuses unravel in Saudi sheep scandal
    Murray McCully has misled New Zealanders, Parliament and his Cabinet colleagues on the real reasons for paying millions of dollars in the Saudi sheep scandal – it’s time for him to clean, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David… ...
    1 day ago
  • Nats break health and education spending promises
    National has outstanding promises of almost $1 billion to be spent on health, education and agriculture from the Future Investment Fund but has only $536 million left in the fund, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “John Key and Bill… ...
    1 day ago
  • Manurewa youth leaders acknowledged
    The depth and breadth of leadership of youth throughout Manurewa, which has been recognized at the Youth Week Award ceremony held at Parliament this week, should make the community extremely proud, Manurewa Labour MP Louisa Wall says. “The 'Limitless Youth… ...
    1 day ago
  • Oi Auckland Transport: fare’s fair
    Auckland Transport should go back to the drawing board on its proposal to charge commuters for its park-and-rides, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “When we need to be getting people out of their cars and onto public transport, it’s… ...
    1 day ago
  • Is Nick Smith making it up as he goes along?
      Housing Minister Nick Smith must release the list of Crown land parcels which formed the basis of the Government’s Budget announcement, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “If the public is to have any faith the Government is not just… ...
    1 day ago
  • Norway moves first to dump coal investments
    The Green Party today called on the Government to secure cross-party support to sell its investments in coal mining companies.The Norwegian Parliament's finance committee agreed in a bipartisan motion yesterday to instruct the $1.2 trillion Government Pension Fund to sell… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    1 day ago
  • Fonterra payout $13b black hole over 2 years
    Fonterra’s dramatic cut to its forecast farmgate payout over this season and next will lead to a $13 billion black hole over two years, and shows the need for a plan to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant… ...
    1 day ago
  • Labour calls for select ctte inquiry into Rural Broadband Initiative
    Labour is calling for an immediate inquiry into the flailing $300 million rural broadband initiative, before companies and consumers are forced to pick up the tab for the new $150 million broadband tax, says Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran. “Rural… ...
    1 day ago
  • Public broadcasting takes big hit under National Government
    Public broadcasting funding has been cut by 25 per cent in real terms since the National Government took office in 2009, leading to the erosion of our once world-class news and current affairs culture, says Labour Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. … ...
    1 day ago
  • Hospital food plan hits another snag
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    2 days ago
  • Hospital food plan hits another sang
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    2 days ago
  • Wilkinson appointment wrong in principle
    The appointment of former Conservation Minister Hon Kate Wilkinson as an Environment Commissioner is wrong in principle, says Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker. “The doctrine of separation of powers requires judicial processes to remain separate and independent from the legislature… ...
    2 days ago
  • McCully doesn’t deny bribe in Saudi sheep scandal
    “In Parliament today I asked Murray McCully directly: Why is he the first Minister in history to back a multi-million dollar facilitation arrangement which in other jurisdictions is called a bribe? says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.… ...
    2 days ago
  • National must back our future doctors
    National must support our future doctors and agree to the calls from the Medical Students’ Association and the Young Nats to lift the arbitrary 7 year cap on student loans for medical and dental students, Labour’s Tertiary Education Spokesperson David… ...
    2 days ago
  • Taxpayer the loser after Government folds
    Steven Joyce today admitted the main exhibition hall at the New Zealand International Convention Centre is 19 per cent smaller than what was described at the time other bidders were edged out of the process, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David… ...
    2 days ago
  • Govt’s lack of ambition for women
    Yesterday, the Government put out a media release entitled “Number of women leaders continues to grow”. It was to inform us that the percentage of women on state-appointed boards has increased to 41.7%, up from 41.1% in 2013. Well, woo-hoo… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 days ago
  • Auditor-General exposes Key’s scapegoating of Council
    The National Government's blaming of Auckland Council for the city’s housing crisis has been exposed as scapegoating in the Office of the Auditor-General’s latest report, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Auditor-General says Auckland Council’s part in fixing the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Reform – not money – needed for meat sector
    The National Government continues to throw good money after bad at the meat industry instead of addressing the fundamental problem of its dysfunctional structure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The latest Primary Growth Partnership grant to the venison… ...
    2 days ago
  • Government cuts corners on school bus funding
    The safety of children – not cost cutting – should be the main objective behind the Government’s funding of school buses, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Buried in the detail of this year’s Budget are $19 million of funding… ...
    2 days ago
  • Women the losers under National’s cuts
    National’s poor performance in appointing women to state sector boards is set to get worse with funding cuts to the nomination service provided by the Ministry for Women, Labour’s Woman’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Minister for Women Louise Upston… ...
    2 days ago
  • Help sought by agencies now asked to help
    The organisation Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has tasked with setting up an emergency hotline for stranded Relationships Aotearoa clients has just lost a bid for a government contract to launch a new national helpline, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson… ...
    2 days ago
  • Wellington got loud again on climate
    On Monday night, in Wellington, I attended the last of the Government’s climate target consultation meetings. It was quite well attended with maybe 150 people, not bad for a second meeting with very little notice and, as far as I… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 days ago
  • Final nail in coffin for Solid Energy workers
    Today’s confirmation of job losses at Solid Energy’s Stockton and Spring Creek mines shows the urgent need for new economic opportunities on the West Coast, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our economy can no longer rely on… ...
    3 days ago
  • Ramadi proves Iraq deployment high risk, low benefit
    The fall of Ramadi and the collapse of the Iraqi Army proves Labour was right to be concerned about the deployment of our troops to Iraq, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “The fall of Ramadi brings IS fighters within… ...
    3 days ago
  • English admits new taxes on the cards
    Eight months after pledging “no new taxes” at the election Bill English today admitted he would bring in more sneaky taxes along the lines of the border tax, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Not only did National bring in… ...
    3 days ago
  • What the Dickens is going on at SDHB?
    Problems at the financially-strapped Southern District Health Board appear to stretch to its HR department with information obtained by Labour showing it still records staff leave entitlements using manual book-keeping methods. “The Board’s draft 10-year plan document forecasts a cumulative… ...
    3 days ago
  • Teachers turn backs on new professional body
      The fact that just 56 per cent of nominations for the Education Council came from registered teachers shows the profession has turned its back on Hekia Parata’s new professional body, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Answers to written… ...
    3 days ago
  • No spade work done on big building plan
      Only a quarter of the 500 hectares of Crown land the Government wants to use for new homes is understood to be suitable for building on, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This was National’s bold new idea to… ...
    3 days ago
  • National: Seven KiwiSaver cuts in seven years
    National’s campaign of KiwiSaver cuts has reached seven in seven years as it dismantles KiwiSaver block by block, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “KiwiSaver is critical to establishing a savings culture in New Zealand but National has taken a jenga-style… ...
    3 days ago
  • Tolley’s actions contradict reassurances
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has serious questions to answer following the forced closure of Relationships Aotearoa just days after her reassurances she was looking at ways to keep the service operating, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson Annette King says.… ...
    3 days ago
  • SkyCity downsize another broken promise
    The downsized SkyCity Convention Centre does not deliver on the promised iconic world-class centre and shows the true extent of Steven Joyce’s incompetence, Labour Leader Andrew Little said today. “New Zealanders were promised an iconic world-class convention centre that would… ...
    3 days ago
  • Te Arawa partnership model a step closer
    Councils around New Zealand have an opportunity to improve their consultation with Iwi Māori by following Rotorua District Council’s Te Arawa Partnership Model, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Rotorua District Council will today decide whether to adopt… ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour mourns Dame Dorothy Fraser
    Labour Leader Andrew Little said the party is today mourning the loss of the youngest person to join the Labour Party, Dame Dorothy Fraser, who went on to be a stalwart of the Dunedin community and tireless worker for others.… ...
    4 days ago
  • The ultimate scapegoat: PM blames fruit fly for new tax
    The Prime Minister has found the ultimate scapegoat for breaking his promise not to introduce a new tax – the Queensland fruit fly, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “John Key’s first policy upon taking office and assigning himself the… ...
    4 days ago
  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    6 days ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    6 days ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    6 days ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    6 days ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    1 week ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    1 week ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    1 week ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    1 week ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    1 week ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    1 week ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    1 week ago

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