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Polls and policies

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, July 28th, 2011 - 159 comments
Categories: election 2011, labour, phil goff, polls - Tags: ,

Much ado in the commentariat about the latest Fairfax poll which has Labour on 28%, with Phil Goff 6% for preferred PM (Edwards at Politics Daily has his usual good summary).  Yes it’s another bad result for Labour, no denying that.  But some of the commentary around it is even worse!  Take Danyl at DimPost for example:

The latest Fairfax poll has Labour on 28%, cementing the expectation that the main opposition party is heading for a bloodbath in November. …

My point is that there’s no downside to replacing Goff as leader, even at this late stage. The voters are adamant: they don’t like him. A leadership change is a signal that Labour are actually listening to what the voters are telling them.

Exactly wrong.  There us no upside to replacing Goff as leader.  It just looks like panic, and the electorate don’t like panic (see 1990).  Those who are obsessing about Goff’s personal rating don’t seem to know much history.  Consider the following, from a source that I don’t usually quote:

The preferred PM rating has little if any bearing on which party will win an election. Bolger in 1990 had a single figure Preferred Pm rating yet National won by the then biggest landslide in history. In 1999 Helen Clark trailled Shipley as Preferred PM right up until the final weeks of the campaign.

A year out from an election it is very rare to have anyone but the incumbent PM as the Preferred PM. As a measure it is not without some value in measuring trends, but the party vote question is a magnitude more important than Preferred PM.

Nor do I think that Danyl gives Goff nearly enough credit:

Labour’s MPs – especially those list MPs contemplating a sudden and unwanted year end career change  – will be convincing themselves that the polls will tighten once they enter the formal election campaign. After all, that’s what happened back in ’08.  The trouble with that theory is that Helen Clark was a very formidable, very experienced campaigner,and Phil Goff is . . . not. Goff’s leadership qualities (or lack thereof) are more likely to cost the party additional support during the campaign.

Goff has displayed, in some respects, more courage in leadership than Helen Clark ever did.  I’ve been truly impressed with the way Labour, under Goff, have prepared themselves for the election.  They have set out a true policy alternative, costed it rigorously, and stared down the supposed “electoral suicide” of capital gains tax in order to fund it.  Bold, clever, and compassionate.  Helen Clark was a brilliant leader, but I don’t recall her ever taking such a gamble.

In the important respects, Labour is doing everything right:

Labour knows what it’s doing, but hardly anyone seems to know what Labour is doing.  Fairfax’s first political poll, released this morning, shows the opposition is chasing all of the right issues.

Six out of 10 count the sale of state owned assets as important or very important and 83 per cent put the cost of living in that category. The state of hospitals and the education system, a traditional Labour policy stronghold, is the top priority of voters with 91 per cent rating it important or very important. And 59 per cent are exercised by the issue of income and capital gains taxes.

Labour is in full voice on all of the above. On paper, voters should be impressed that Phil Goff’s MPs are in touch with what’s worrying them and, in the case of living costs and tax, it has a clear set of new policy ideas to tackle the problem.  Yet still, Labour is getting thrashed.

At the same time Key is messing up everything he touches:

The past few weeks have been filled with political hiccups and blunders, but Prime Minister John Key’s informal manner and unpolished accent are still winning with voters.  His rebuttal of Labour’s capital gains tax was scatter-gun, his handling of the Israeli spy scandal clumsy and the immediate response to the Norway massacres premature.  But today’s Fairfax poll has Mr Key in front as preferred prime minister on 53 per cent – streets ahead of Labour leader Phil Goff’s 6 per cent.

If that does not, over time, move the polls, then nothing will.  If voters have decided that they’re simply not going to listen to Labour, then so be it – we were always going to be the underdogs in this fight.  But I remain confident that Labour is doing exactly the right things: setting out policy that is better for New Zealand, presenting that policy with a calm and united team, and trusting in the voters to make the right choice in November.

159 comments on “Polls and policies”

  1. tc 1

    The MSM focus on polls is another sideshow, much like our PM, saves them having to heaven forbid actually write something of substance……like that’s happening.

    Watching Oz news and as batshit crazy as Abbott his he still gets equal airtime to gillard which if that happened here the playing field would be a lot more level than spending it on ole smile n waves detracting behavior

  2. lprent 2

    Agree with everything that Anthony says. Labour is doing exactly what needs to be done to present a clear long term workable alternative to the bankrupting policies National is following. And you don’t have to look further than the US today to see where Nationals short term political thinking leads.

    I am actually surprised and pleased with Labour. Their CGT policies are precisely what is required to plug the idiotic investment loophole that has persisted through my working life and before. I would prefer it to do more, but even a start is better than nothing in this area. They are also looking at the revenue hole that National is pouring government debt into caused by Nationals fiscally irresponsible tax cuts.

    • Rob 2.1

      What, lets hold up here on the comparisons with the US. The biggest point of comparison I can see in recent time is the US decisions to dump two stimulous packages into the economy whilst our Govt held firm. There was incredible debate, even on this site, with may people claiming that the solution to recssions was by increased Govt spending and offering so called stimulous packages. Looking at the US now and also where Aus is going you would have to say these initiatives have not worked and its fortunate that we did do the same, because our position would be horrible.

      • KJT 2.1.1

        Giving money to bankers, and cutting it to everything else, is not a stimulus.

        Neither is borrowing to cut taxes, for those who spend most of their money on imports or speculation, a stimulus.

        Putting more spending money into the hands of ordinary people with real wages, benefits above starvation level and a decent minimum wage would be a stimulus.

        • mik e 2.1.1.1

          KJT The rich even end up with more under that policy the money ends up in their businesses at some stage unlike trickle down

      • AAMC 2.1.2

        Low taxes, Small Govt, Deregulation, Privatization, and undying belief in the naive fantasy of a benign self regulating market nirvana.

        Lets make comparisons between Nat’s & the US in the thinking that led to the GFC, not the response to it.

        I wonder what the world would look like now if the US had actually let the free market run it’s coarse, perhaps we may actually have learnt the lesson if they had let the banks fail rather than allowing them to collude in socialism when their neo-liberalism failed them.

        • Rob 2.1.2.1

          Yeah , whatever , if you do want to look at the similarities between the US and NZ prior to the GFC where all the stuff happened , then lets examine the actions of our Govt at the time, which if I understand correctly were Labour.

          • AAMC 2.1.2.1.1

            Yes, neo-liberalism / the Washington Consensus was pretty central to their thinking too. I think we all know that. But to keep pursuing the policy that our Antipodean hindsight allows us to see as having just failed?
            Electing a banker as Prime Minister at the very moment that the Bankers bankrupted the planet, we really are a country of simpletons aren’t we!
            And not to learn, to change tact, but to proclaim as saviours the policy that caused it all AFTER we’ve seen it’s effects. Surely competent leadership would learn the lessons that recent history teaches us, unless our ideology makes us blind!
            And correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Nationals campaign for tax cuts quite a step further down the neo-liberal path than the Labour Govt they replaced? Do you believe it was competent to lower tax’s at that moment in time Rob? In ight of the fact that our high tax’s were spin and in fact we didn’t pay more tax than Oz or UK or anybody other than the US. Or was it again a sign of ideology, just like we’re seeing from Republicans in the US as we speak. Cause money grows like magic from our free market, it’s just none of us ever get to see any of it.

          • mik e 2.1.2.1.2

            Rob they had put a stimulus package together that just didn,t benefit a few. But it was a tiring Helen Clark and a trying voter base that had had enough of the likes of anti smacking civil union. Not their Economic policies.

            • Rob 2.1.2.1.2.1

              Ok, this is what I know about the tax cut, from a personal level for myself and my family (2adults and 2 young children) it honestly could not have come at a better time. We needed it.

              • AAMC

                Do you think people on 150k needed it as much as you needed it?

                Do you think their – the top few % – tax cut is benefiting the economy as much as investment in something like R&D might?

                • Bart

                  Well, given that many families in New Zealand receive more in tax credits from WFF than they pay in tax, maybye it is time that the top 20% of income earners who pay 90% of the tax in this country DID get a break. I have three children, have no need for WFF, and get by quite nicely without it thank you. In the past, when I have needed extra income, I got a part time job! That’s not just putting your hand out, it’s called productivity, something WFF does NOTHING to encourage!

  3. ghostwhowalksnz 3

    The ‘preferred PM’ poll is a strange beast. Not used in other countries , they have a straight up or down approval rating for the top job.
    The reason why we have it is because of Muldoon. It was a way of giving him good numbers and its stuck around ever since

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      That’s a good point.

      Preferred PM is fundamentally a very different question from “is the PM doing a good job”. We sort of capture that with Roy Morgan’s “country heading in right/wrong direction” question which is then spun as approval for the government, which has always struck me as a bit odd.

      • felix 3.1.1

        Yeah, that “right/wrong direction” is so vague it’s meaningless.

        Consider this: If I had a sense that NZ had had enough and the Nats were going to be turfed out on their ear come November, I may well feel that the country was “heading in the right direction.”

        There’s scope for completely apolitical responses to be counted in there too.

        Utter bollocks I say.

      • Puddleglum 3.1.2

        The “right/wrong direction” question is worse than vague. The options are “heading in the right direction” versus “seriously heading in the wrong direction”. I have no idea why there is a difference in wording.

  4. burt 4

    In 1999 Helen Clark trailled Shipley as Preferred PM right up until the final weeks of the campaign.

    Then the tax payers forked out an undisclosed amount to produce pretty red plastic cards with a photo-shopped picture and a bunch on lies on them. Election funding laws be dammed – Labour had an election to win !

    • lprent 4.1

      Shipley didn’t really come even close to winning in that election. The crappy policies that National had been following came a real cropper in the “asian” financial crisis because they showed that National had left NZ’s economy in a increasingly fragile state. Everyone had had a gutsfull of politicians that didn’t do their primary job. There was a credible alternative so people voted for them.

      That is what Anthony thinks National is heading down that same failed route of not doing their job. Putting us into government debt. He thinks that Labour is putting up a credible alternative (and so do I). 

      What are you blathering about. Retrospectively saying that 1999 was won on a minor election expense?

      • higherstandard 4.1.1

        I thought the latest figures suggest that Labour’s current plan delivers more debt than the Nats ?

        Regardless I don’t think there’s much to choose between them the CGT appears to have more holes than a swiss cheese which will make it difficult to administer and collect and the Nats have little going on.

        If one could pick and choose a few policies from each party along with a competent small group of politicians and bureaucrats to implement them we might actually get somewhere.

        • mickysavage 4.1.1.1

          I thought the latest figures suggest that Labour’s current plan delivers more debt than the Nats ?
           
          Short term yes, long term no, and it means we can keep our power company shares.
           
           

          • Lanthanide 4.1.1.1.1

            It should also deliver more growth than National’s plan, because there are actual policies about creating jobs and growth, let alone giving tax cuts equally to almost everyone instead of mainly just to the few at the top (who spend it overseas anyway).

    • Oh Burt
       
      In the year 2035 I am sure that most of your posts will start with “but in 1999 Helen Clark used taxpayer money blah blah blah …”
       
      You do understand that all parties, National included, have budget that they spent on such items.  The rumour is that the iwi kiwi billboards in 2008 came from PS funds.
       
      Tell me did you jump up and down at the tories too?

      • WTF? 4.2.1

        Rumours are wonderful mickey, but evidence counts for a lot more. It’s also rumoured there was a second gunman on the grass knoll, but the evidence for it is non-existent.

    • Craig Glen Eden 4.3

      The pledge card was used at the start of the campaign burt and the issues on it were also. Labour smashed National as the electorate got totally sick of them even their rural vote took a hammering, funny thing is they had the same stupid polices then as now, nothing has changed for National except the Mps are now heaps more stupid. Oh how I bet they miss the likes of Simon Upton.

      Keep living in your dream world burt while the country goes back to the 90s.

    • mik e 4.4

      Burt The card didn,t have any lies on it , it had just very broad claims. Smart political move . Just like John Key Most of time he says virtually nothing but smiles. The voters were tired of Nationals yo yo economy by then .Tax cuts every 3years just six months before the election except when Winston Peters held them to account in 1998 that when the coalition nearly fell apart but was held together by a left winger who was bribed by Shipley. while borrowing Bill English borrowed his way to the election but didn,t have any money left for tax cuts, so they lost the election.

  5. Lazy Susan 5

    Agreed Anthony. Labour are doing a great job at mapping a clear way forward for the economy. It’s bold and sound and stands in stark contrast to NActs muddled neo-liberal policies that have failed in the past and if implemented will fail again.

    Policy takes time to resonate with the voters and as Labour’s vision is rolled out over the next few months I expect to see movement in these polls. The main criticism from the right is not a criticism of Labour’s policy but just pointing to the polls saying look Goff and Labour are trailing, the policy can’t be right. Much of the business commentary supports Labour’s economic policy.

    Leadership is not about responding to every little piece of noise off a poll, it’s about producing a vision, articulating it and winning the debate. If Labour can’t win that debate and NAct win a second term it will be disappointing and bleak for New Zealand’s future.

    Labour and the left should, and will I’m sure stand firm and present the electorate with a true alternative come Nov 26.

  6. lprent 6

    Warning: I have booted two comments out of here and to OpenMike that were about the fairfax poll. But they were off topic for this poll because they were concerned about more detail in a single poll. They were not on the strategy for Labour that the post was actually talking about. It appears that in their haste to write comments some haven’t been reading the posts.

    I’d suggest that people wanting to write comments actually read the post and comment to its topics and to the discussion arising from that. We provide OpenMike for people to raise topics of their own. I think I’m going to have to get somewhat more aggressive dealing with major diversions early in a post.

    Next person trying to hijack this post to a different topic is likely to lose their ability to post comments for quite a while.

  7. rosy 7

    I’ve given up talking about Key’s cringe-worthy antics to his fans in my family. I get more traction if I talk about vote Key, get Brownlee, Tolley, McCully and Bennett and now Brash and Banks.

    • Ms M 7.1

      I like your angle too rosy. I tell them people didn’t march in the Hikoi of Hope for the free scones; not telling them how to vote, just saying, the last National gov’ was an ugly time in New Zealand for a lot of people, and the Hikoi is worth the research.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        I’ve started to say to people that they need to vote Key in as a judge on NZ’s Next Top model, not PM. Startled looks…and then realisation and agreement what I mean.

  8. When Cameron Slater advocates for the removal of Phil Goff I know it is important to keep him.
     
    Phil has taken over as leader at the worst possible time.  A number of MPs I have spoken to say that the first term in opposition is the worst.  No one wants to talk to you and they all rally behind the new leader.  The process of opposition in the first term is to reestablish credibility and to chip away at Government performance.  This has been happening more and more.  As an example the CGT release was some of the best opposition politics I have ever seen.  It dominated political discourse for a couple of weeks and despite everything that was thrown at it the proposal is still standing and presents an alternative for people to choose. 
     
    There are a few other flagship policies Labour should support.  The Queen Street Rail Loop in Auckland is one.  It will allow them to present a stark alternative to National’s position.
     
    National has its own problems.  Without Key it would be in deep trouble.  And delaying its list selection to September is rediculous.  Obviously there will be some very disappointed MPs whose self assessment is way beyond their actual abilities.
     
    No doubt we will continue to have the same debate every time a poll comes out.  Labour would be better off debating its policies than the polls.

    • KJT 8.1

      I was not keen on Goff. But I have been pleasantly surprised lately.
      Labour have shown they have learn’t from the past.

      Labour has come up with some real alternatives.

      At last signs of an end to the lunatic Neo-liberal consensus.

      These may take time to filter through to the voters.

      Hopefully before November.

      A Labour/Green coalition to get rid of the economic radicals who have presided over 35 years of failures.

    • AAMC 8.2

      Clearly the media are obsessed with Key and proclaim endlessly the uselessness of Goff. The odds are stacked.

      My issue is that it felt to me like Labour resigned themselves to two terms in opposition the moment they lost the last election. That’s the message they sent me. This is further reinforced by the MSM narrative of coarse.

      What I want to see – and I acknowledge I’ve seen more of it in the last few weeks than the last few years – is some real leadership. I’m very tired of this era of focus group politics. I want Goff to have the courage to say, “fuck it, chances are I’m going to loose this election and we’re going to spend another term in opposition, so lets raise some real issues”, neo-liberalism, climate change, environmental decline, social fallout, bankers… why aren’t these issues being trumpeted loud and clear. Lead! Be prepared to discuss what is considered electoral suicide, inspire all of those apathetic citizens who truly feel helpless and believe there is no point in voting, in politics, in politicians.

      Because we have precious little left, and if we let the NACT govt become a reality without a genuine street fight, well, I’m not holding out a lot of hope for my children in this country. Next election isn’t good enough!

    • mik e 8.3

      Why would the slippery Slater advocate for Goff,s removal if he,s such an easy beat. you would think if he had any brain he would be saying stay Phil and do us a favor.With polls bouncing who knows whats going to happen.

      • lprent 8.3.1

        That isn’t a particularly compelling argument. Cameron isn’t exactly smart politically or otherwise. But anyone who remembers the various removals of leaders over the decades from inside a party is aware that it isn’t a good idea shafting leaders except after an election. It takes quite a lot of time to connect a new leader to the various parts of the community.

        In any case I think that Goff is doing a pretty good job overall when I look at previous Labour leaders starting including Helen. This isn’t the bloody National party after all – the party simply isn’t as shallow as they are. Labour just keeps doing what it does and we let the actual poll tell us how well we did.

        • Pete George 8.3.1.1

          Labour just keeps doing what it does…..and don’t see the problem with that.

          Hence the situation they’re in, it’s getting to late to do much different even if they woke up to the fact that multiplying negatives don’t suddenly turn positive.

          • bbfloyd 8.3.1.1.1

            don’t be silly pete, nationals campaigning since forever has been a mix of 90% negativity and scaremongering, with 10% worth of bribes pandering(blatantly) to greed and self interest…

            it works for them only because the fourth column refuse to actually do the job they are supposed to.

            when the labour party attempt to highlight the obvious deficiencies inherent in the shallow policies of national govts, the fourth column duly attacks them relentlessly, using, at best, less than credible arguments dictated by their editors, their political masters, and the corporate owners of the news media outlets. the same people who “own” the national party.

            this has been the status quo since before i was born. the fact that we get labour governments at all is remarkable considering what they have to go through to get their message across in any kind of coherent way..

    • Ten Miles Over 8.4

      “When Cameron Slater advocates for the removal of Phil Goff I know it is important to keep him.”

      You don’t think the whale is capable of simple reverse psychology?
      Personally I think the real reason for his advocacy is that he’s likely heavily invested on iPredict for Goff to go.

  9. just saying 9

    While your loyalty is admirable Anthony, I feel it is misplaced. Goff is as big a weapon in National’s arsenal as Key, if he had any loyalty to Labour he would have resigned long ago. This is not merely a media beat-up. I cringe at the thought of Goff in the limelight during the main campaign. He has had years to sort out his obvious psychological problems, he’d choke just opening a cake stall. Is Labour hoping for some miraculous recovery? Because it will be a bloodbath if Labour goes into the campaign led by Goff – just watch some footage, any footage! And we’ll get to watch it in slowly unfold (unravel) in the weeks before the election.

    I don’t think this is analagous to any other leader situation in the history of NZ politics. I think Labour desperately needs to heed what the public is saying here because there is a very real chance we are watching the death of the Labour movement and there is nothing big enough to fill the gap. It would mean open-slather against “ordinary New Zealanders” and the state – faster, meaner, and more lethal than we’ve ever seen it before.

    I may be wrong to want to slow down what looks like an inevitable decline of liberal mitigation in neo-liberal politics. Maybe it would be better in the long run for the left to let Labour fail. But too many of the people that I care most about are on the frontline in this battle, and they are already weakened, disadvantaged, and demoralised. I don’t want them to be collateral damage on some mythical path to the greater good. People are already hurting, struggling, falling by the wayside. Give us a few more years of liberalism (no matter how inadequate), it’s got to be better than nothing..

    Please stand down Phil

    • he’d choke just opening a cake stall.
       
      You have obviously never seen Phil campaigning.  I have been on a few campaigns and meet and greets with him.  He is personable engaging and comes across very well.
       
      Do not rely on Slater for your information.
       
       
       

      • just saying 9.1.1

        Do not rely on Slater for your information.

        Do I sound like someone who would frequent whaleoil, let alone take his advice on anything at all? Is this the best response you can manage ‘getting rid of Goff is playing into people like Slater’s hands’? When will you guys stop listening to the tories and just reacting all the time?

        Keeping Goff is playing into the hands of the right, and I’m sure they feel supremely confident that the situation will remain – Labour will continue to plug its ears and chant la la la.

        • mickysavage 9.1.1.1

          Sorry JS
           
          No you do not read like someone who would frequent WO, your comments are far too coherent!  But I do disagree with you about your comments on Phil’s campaigning ability and it is a meme that Slater and others are running.
           
          Funny really, if they believe what they are saying if I was them I would have my fingers crossed and hope the Phil would remain leader!
           
           
           
           

        • top bloke 9.1.1.2

          I have to agree with “just saying” – As a long time labour voter from a family of labour voters, we are all of the same mind. Sorry but Phil is just not up to the job.
          Nice fellow and all that but the TV camera just does not work for him, and that is the window most people look through to make their minds up.

          • infused 9.1.1.2.1

            National voter and I agree. We love having Goff around.

          • mickysavage 9.1.1.2.2

            top bloke

            Why?

            Why is it that you need to have a “decent bloke” as a leader but you do not care about the carnage that Key(s) is doing to the country? 

            So you think that because he does not perform for a tv camera he cannot lead?  Why would you think that? 

      • MrSmith 9.1.2

        Yes Micky, he may be all those things.
         
        But Labour seem to be putting up, as close as they have, a carbon copy of key, the voters want a chose and at the moment in the leaders race there isn’t one and so they will just stay in the broken down relationship they have.
         
        In saying all that, it’s to late to change now, so the rest of the team should be falling all over Phil and standing in front of him every chance they get.

        • mickysavage 9.1.2.1

          Not sure MrSmith but the next likely Labour leader, David Cunliffe could also be accused of being a Key clone.  I don’t see any female members of Caucus being leadership material in the near future although Jacinda Ardern will be I am sure in the medium future.

    • AAMC 9.2

      Agree, perception is reality.

      I personally don’t dislike Goff or consider him incompetent, but the media has made it’s mind up and the public have taken that on board. However competent he is, most if not all of the people I talk to, including life time Labour voters, are despondent and considering not voting at all because they have been led to believe there isn’t a credible opposition.

      This is the feeling out there, whether it is well founded or not.

      • bbfloyd 9.2.1

        if they(labour supporters) have been stupid enough to take anything they see on tv, and read in the herald, then they should be given a real hard shake and told to wake up…

        i don’t actually believe that’s entirely true though, as i know many labour voters, and can’t find a single one that believes the crap they hear from the msm..

        • AAMC 9.2.1.1

          I’m not saying I’m striking a belief in what the media says. I think most people with a left leaning who are active participants in looking for information, feel motivated to vote Labour.
          But people who have just voted Labour as a default: they’re conscious of and unhappy with Key, but are also just trying to survive and seek entertainment rather than information when they’re not working.
          There just seems to be an apathy towards the whole political exercise, nobody’s leading them. Sure, the MSM is an obstacle to motivating those people, but it’s the job of the opposition to break through that at whatever cost. A polite conversation on Q&A to those who weren’t actually out pissing it up trying to diffuse the week on Saturday night doesn’t cut it when this much is at stake.

          • bbfloyd 9.2.1.1.1

            aamc.. that apathy you speak of is palpable…but i believe, from bitter experience of past national govts, that what shows as apathy is a reaction to the disempowerment people experience as a consequence of nationals policies, and their philosophy of suppression towards the “masses’..

            the labour party needs to remind people that they still have choices.. how they do that with the monopoly control national has with news outlets is the answer i don’t have.

            • AAMC 9.2.1.1.1.1

              Agreed, the apathy is totally a reaction not only to National’s policy but a growing disconnect from politics.

              Maybe Labour The Greens and all of their supporters and activists have to embrace Facebook and Twitter, graffiti and public action and walk like Egyptians, commit like the Indignados in Europe!

              I have a habit of photographing protest, other than something populist like mining in National Parks, it’s always the most committed and the fringe who turn out, there seems to be a robust forum for debate now that we have blogs, but generally we’re preaching to the converted and being assailed by trolls, we would be better to also join those few who hit the streets. The protest about the zero budget up Queen St was woeful.

              If you can’t get the message out on Q&A, take to the streets, take to facebook, spread the word.

              • Colonial Viper

                Young people need to be politicised and they need to learn about NZ history, to learn about how good times can be – and how bad.

                • AAMC

                  I do think this is pertinent to the generation just coming of age as voters and wonder what effect this will have on election results.
                  At the last election, if you were 18, just starting to be aware of politics and your right to vote, you had lived your whole life since you were 10 or 11 with Helen Clarke as Prime Minister, you had also grown through the peak years of consumption and believed it to be a right. You watched as Bush lost to Obama’s message of “Change” and thought it all sounded good, we need a bit of change here too.
                  Gen Y was routinely lambasted for their laziness as employees and their Narcissism. I think the last few years; youth unemployment, GFC and their first experience under a National Regime will have seriously altered the voting habits and expectations of a lot of that part of the electorate.
                  On student radio during the last election, there was a silence in relation to politics, now there is a constant debate, seldom if ever in favour of National’s message. I think Gen Y have become more politicised.

        • Deadly_NZ 9.2.1.2

          Yeah but ALL you get in the MSM is Crap where has labours coverage been? Apart from Clare Curran outing Joyce as a bullshit artist nothing.

  10. Ms M 10

    I imagine there are more game changing policy announcements to come from Labour in the ensuing months and as such look forward to seeing other Labour and/left policies yanking ‘brand Key’ from the headlines like CGT did.

    • Craig Glen Eden 10.1

      No one thing/policy will bring down brand Key, just in the last week I have had two National supports saying they hope National can stay in. Which is a very interesting change of language/ sentiment. The third National voter ( at the last election) told me straight she was sick of Key doing nothing and was really pissed at the whole national standards crap. She admitted she had voted Labour on occasions in the past and said she thought she would give her party vote to them this time because National was out of control.
      Time will tell but if you think Key is your trump card I wouldn’t throw all your chips on the table.

    • uke 10.2

      The difficulty for Labour, though, is establishing “brand Labour” in the public eye when the MSM are so busy running interference at almost every opportunity.
       
      Furthermore – to paraphrase that wellworn political truism – I don’t think National have done enough yet to “lose” this election. That will probably happen next term, after the privatisation etc.

  11. There us no upside to replacing Goff as leader.

    There seems to be no upside to keeping him as leader.

    It’s debatable if there’s an upside to replacing him regarding this year’s election, but there’s the potential for a much better upside for 2014 if the rejuvenation of Labour begins now rather than next year.

    • bbfloyd 11.1

      why so obsessed with the leader? i have often wondered why it is that there is a large school of thought dominating discussion re the merits of various parties that seems to assume that whoever is the leader is the only consideration given…

      i’ve lost track of the statements made by all shades of political persuasion that concur that without key’s “saleability and charm”, the national party would be toast…

      so, if you go to war with untrained, inexperienced boys against trained, motivated soldiers, then a personable, likeable general is going to win it for you?

      i know there is experience a’plenty in the national party, but where do you find the talent, and motivation to do right by nz amongst them(one or two exceptions)?

      look at the talent residing in the labour caucus…

      which would you prefer? a mediocre team being propped up by the skipper,,or a tight motivated team marshalled and kept in focus by a skipper more in the McCaw mold who understands that it’s the hard yards that count… not the after match press conference.

    • Deadly_NZ 11.2

      Really and what about someone like say keys new mate Obama, He is an articulate man, I watched him campaign, that man can speak. SO as leader of the biggest democracy you’d think he was omnipotent. But he can’t even fix his own country’s problems and why not?? he is just another toothless president, crippled by the idiots in congress. Most who are Key’s mates who would happily cripple their country just to make a buck. SO stick the bullshit about leaders up your arse. Pete george senile rodent . because the Leader ain’t everything!

  12. hobbit 12

    Goff’s career so far –

    Went to school
    Went to Uni (Political Studies)
    Worked for a Union
    Went into Parliament

    I see nothing in the last 30 years which would allow him to have any connection with any ordinary Kiwi. He has never had to work for wages, and has never run even a tiny small business.

    Is it any wonder he can’t get his message across?

    • r0b 12.1

      I see nothing in the last 30 years which would allow him to have any connection with any ordinary Kiwi.

      I do!  He:
      Went to school
      Went to Uni (Political Studies)
      Worked for a Union
      Went into Parliament
      If you think that isn’t connection with ordinary Kiwis then it is your value system that is screwed, not Goff’s.

      He has never had to work for wages

      So working for a Union and for Parliament was unpaid was it?

      and has never run even a tiny small business.

      Not many people have.  (I have, just btw).

    • Draco T Bastard 12.2

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Goff

      By working as a freezing worker and a cleaner, Goff was able to fund himself through university…

      And presently owns and runs a small farm. Get your facts straight. He’s probably got a better connection to ordinary Kiwis than anyone in NAct.

    • The Voice of Reason 12.3

      Bullshit. Phil Goff meets and connects with ‘ordinary Kiwis’ every day. He put himself through uni by working at a freezing works, then worked for a union. He represents an electorate that has a high working class component and he is unbeatable in the seat because ‘ordinary kiwis’ in Roskill relate to him.
       
      Like others here who comment based on actual facts, I can tell you that Goff in person is very engaging, is empathetic with workers and focussed on improving the lives of ‘ordinary Kiwis’, not the rich here and in Hollywood.

      • Blue 12.3.1

        Come on Voice you could put a pig in a red ribbon in Roskill and they’d still vote for it, try putting him in a marginal and see how he copes with ‘real people’ – the “squeezed middle’ that are too difficult to address and therefore aren’t Labours constituency.

        • The Voice of Reason 12.3.1.1

          Roskill was once a marginal, Blue, which is evidenced by the fact that Goff lost the seat in 1990. He’s built it into a Labour stronghold through hard work over many years. And it is an electorate that very much reflects the ‘squeezed middle’ with a sizeable proportion of that segment in it as well. It’s quite a diverse electorate, with large numbers of beneficiaries and the working poor as well as plenty of first home families, classic second property rental investors and pockets of the truly well off as well.

        • lprent 12.3.1.2

          You are an political fool. Mt Roskill has been demographically marginal with similar boundaries to now when Phil got bounced for a term. Like Mt Albert it has been getting steadily less naturally Labour territory demographically over the last two decades. In both cases Labour has been holding them with good organisations and good MP’s.

          In both electorates it is increasing “squeezed middle” that are the increasing demographic ever since I was a kid on the border between the two electorates. They are now probably the majority of both electorates both because of demographic shifts and because of movement in the boundaries.

          Over that same time period, the Labour electorate organizations have gotten more and more skilled and effective, and there have been long standing MP’s being more and more effective. Which is why they have such good majorities. But it is largely the result of hard work and has little to do with a natural constituency.

    • QoT 12.4

      hobbit’s got a really good point, though. National is the party of people with solid real-life experience. Like Nick Smith. *headdesk*

      • felix 12.4.1

        And John Keys.

        His real world experience of currency spec for American banks and running a massive share portfolio is totes easy for ordinary kiwis to relate to.

        Which I guess is why he prefers us to focus on the “half pissed bigoted-but-loveable bbq dickhead” aspects of his personality.

        • Colonial Viper 12.4.1.1

          English is a career bureacrat, a so-called public service leach, as the ACTOIDs like to say.

          And Brownlee? Heh. Where’s Brownlee’s vaunted woodwork experience from?

        • just saying 12.4.1.2

          “half pissed bigoted-but-loveable bbq dickhead”

          Brand Key nailed.

        • Chills 12.4.1.3

          “half pissed bigoted-but-loveable bbq dickhead”

          :) summed him up nicely!

    • bbfloyd 12.5

      hobbit, you are sounding like a complete idiot now… how could working for a union not get him in touch with “ordinary” kiwis? or are only white collar and upper management the only people who have union membership now?

      wake up mate…… we aren’t that stupid.

  13. queenstfarmer 13

    There us no upside to replacing Goff as leader. It just looks like panic, and the electorate don’t like panic

    The electorate doesn’t like Goff. He is clearly the problem. Imagine if Labour had a young, dynamic, challenging new leader. Someone who might catch people’s attention (especially the media’s) and make a real impression.

    Get their name and face out during the upcoming election – they would of course lose, but they would not be blamed for that, and would gain massive publicity, be able to debate the PM, etc.

    Instead, there’s boring bland old Phil Goff who’s been there since Rob Muldoon’s time, who’s always going on about the same things, who everyone remembers was a middle manager in Helen’s govt, etc etc.

    • mik e 13.1

      The Allblacks haven,t won a world cup in 24 years but you won,t find many kiwis who won,t think we have good chance this time round just because Henry didn,t get us past the Quarter finals last time ,every body was baying for his blood so on his past record we should dump him and put a better coach in now would be the right wings answer.Whatever when the last 2 polls showed labour closing the gaps the Venal bloggers went quiet now they seem to be more worried about the labour party than Labour supporters themselves. IF Phil is that bad you would think they would be encouraging him to stay rather than change horse,s mid stream!Or maybe they secretly want to be a member .

  14. King Kong 14

    I think Labour and its supporters should adopt a policy of taking every opportunity to attack John Key personally no matter how petty and small minded it may seem. I know that this has been a tactic since 2008 but I think I am seeing real signs that it is working.

  15. Mac1 15

    Phil Goff is a decent, warm, empathetic man and I speak from personal experience. I’m now off to have a cup of tea with the man. :-)

    • King Kong 15.1

      Teabags paid for with illicit funds from the parliamentary services budget no doubt.

      [lprent: At a electorate office? Or at parliament? Both are offices run by parliamentary services.

      But sonny, this looks like simple and quite stupid trolling. Read the policy to find out what I feel about trolls and how I deal with them. If you can trace out the words enough to discern their meaning it may prevent you from attracting my anti-troll instincts again. You have had your warning.]

      • King Kong 15.1.1

        Apologies. It was an attempt at tongue in cheek humour. Though I can understand at 28% in the polls there is not much to laugh about

      • Mac1 15.1.2

        Actually bought my own coffee and muffin. Couldn’t allow any accusation by some less than generous soul of ‘treating’, could I? :-)

        And, at the morning tea meeting Goff spoke simply and well and clearly set out how important the next election is in terms of the further damage that a unfair NACT government could do in terms of asset sales, taxation and social inequity.

        He is a man who commands respect and attention from those who meet him with something approaching an open mind.

        Last week I attended an ACT political meeting at which Brash and Calvert spoke. Brash was not hugely impressive and tended to offer insubstantial examples for his arguments. A story he told of a young woman who served him and used the adding machine rather than do the mental arithmetic involved was not a convincing example of the failure of the education system, for example.

        Hilary Calvert, however, who has been vilified by some as crazy, impressed me with her cogent and well-expressed arguments pro MMP. She knew the arguments and laid them out clearly.

        A discussion yesterday with a retired psychologist friend covered why people are left/right wing, authoritarian or liberal. His take was that those of the right are far less capable of distinguishing between the message and the source of the message intellectually. I hope that I have demonstrated the opposite and contrast my reading of Calvert and her message to those of the rightwingers who have reacted churlishly (Pete George excepting) to my comment #15 about Goff.

    • Phil Goff is a decent, warm, empathetic man

      I believe that. The problem is it isn’t enough to revive and rebuild Labour, especially as it seems he doesn’t have enough decent empathetic support in the right places in the party.

    • queenstfarmer 15.3

      Phil Goff was one of the better ministers under Clark, and from what I can tell a thoroughly decent, smart, committed bloke (albeit still a politician like all of them…)

      The problem is that since he has become leader, he has just been reacting to everything and flailing around, and looking very much like an “old man in a hurry” who’s on his last throw of the dice. Whoever has been (mis)advising him on image has also done a terrible job, with his fixed smile, goofy walk, unnatural photo-ops etc.

      • r0b 15.3.1

        reacting to everything and flailing around,

        Except, you know, when he took control of the economic agenda with the boldest new proposals of a generation?

        • queenstfarmer 15.3.1.1

          That could be the exception, but the polls show that while a significant amount of people support (or don’t oppose) a CGT, they still don’t suppport Goff. Imagine what a new leader, say David Parker, could have done with the CGT.

        • just saying 15.3.1.2

          No he didn’t Rob – Cunliffe, and to a lesser extent, Parker did. Goff was inept.

          National will continue to campaign on Goff’s inadequacy. It’s a winning strategy, because it is not just a media beat-up – people can see for themselves. (Yes I know the media are biased against the left.)

          Goff is no Clark. Come the campaign, under the harshest spotlight, the carnage will not be pretty. Be bold Labour.

          • AAMC 15.3.1.2.1

            Except when he’s in debate with Key, who proved with his performance on Hard Talk and his recent comments from the US about Israeli spies and Muslim massacres is clearly not the intellectual equal of Goff.
            I think toe to toe, Goff should look strong.

            • WTF? 15.3.1.2.1.1

              Actually, when Goff and Key go toe-to-toe is when you should be most worried. I have no doubt that Goff will go into the debates well prepared with facts and figures. Unfortunately for him Key will go in with a few generalities and a couple of snappy on-liners. Who do you think the public in general will warm to? The boring drone who can repeat facts and figures ad infinitum, or the man who will define an entire term of policy in one or two simple sentences even the most retarded of voters will understand?

              The fact of the matter is that Goff may well look as if he has a stronger grasp of facts and figures during the debates, but person voters will remember is Key because he speaks the language of a simpleton – which by and large is the language of the average voter.

              • Colonial Viper

                Goff will stand his ground well as an articulate, informed leader.

                Look how Key did in his HardTalk interview. “The more I say we are 100% pure the more it is true”.

            • bbfloyd 15.3.1.2.1.2

              agreed… as long as he gets a fair crack of the whip. not holding my breath on that one.

  16. chris73 16

    Now some might think this is trolling (its not) but I spoke to an accountant the other day (yes I do know educated people) and he reckoned that there were so many holes in the cgt that any half-way decent accountant would be able to get around it, thats a worry

    Now I’m not against gct in principle but if there are so many holes (and there are, if you don’t believe me talk to an accountant yourself) in this then all that will do is help the people who can afford accountants in the first place and I’m guessing thats not strugglers on minimum wage

    Now if Labour can tighten up the rules, swallow a dead rat and agree with PARTIAL sales of SOEs then they might actually have something that will appeal to most voters (more mining might be a step too far but considering where the Labour party came from…)

    Otherwise you have a policy that only appeals to a minority of voters

    • Draco T Bastard 16.1

      Now if Labour can tighten up the rules, swallow a dead rat and agree with PARTIAL sales of SOEs…

      Why would they do that when 60%+ of the voting population oppose them outright?

    • Colonial Viper 16.2

      e reckoned that there were so many holes in the cgt that any half-way decent accountant would be able to get around it, thats a worry

      Since LAB has said that the detail will need to be codified by experts after the election, how is it this accountant already knows where the loopholes are?

      Otherwise you have a policy that only appeals to a minority of voters

      In that case you have nothing to worry about haha :)

    • bbfloyd 16.3

      you need to learn better basic listening skills chris.. try just reading a paragraph at a time, with rest breaks in between.. do that until you’ve finished the whole article outlining the proposals, and the process that will be followed before implementation….

      day 2; repeat the exercise again…

      day three; repeat day two….. and so it goes… shouldn’t take you more than a fortnight to get a basic understanding happening..

      i look forward to you contributions after that, because they will have started meaning something.

  17. Tom Gould 17

    This is not 1990. The electorate is way more commercialised. It’s a different world. This is the age of info-tainment news and reality TV. The celebrity rules. Visibility is credibility. Get with the programme, folks. Goff simply cannot compete in today’s political market. Key and his people are so far ahead of Goff and his hand-wringing caucus lefties, who hold all the sway, it is almost sad to watch. Like a toddler playing on a busy freeway.

    • ak 17.1

      Spot on Tom. And that infotainment/sound bite/photo op news is the sole source for the politically apathetic swinging voter. From incessantly repeated messages from that source she now she has three broad themes swirling about in the tiny sector of her busy life reserved for politics: the world’s economy is in dire straights, John Key is both humble and rich, and geeky Goff/Labour are miles behind in the polls.
      She’s going with the flow. The bland reassurances in the face of danger, the conditioned thrill of celebrity, and above all the peer-pressure of the polls. Back the favourite when money’s tight: all those others can’t be wrong.

      The privately-owned source won’t change its ways: the bombardment will continue and intensify. But she’ll read a well-worded leaflet. She did on mining, Mt Albert and the Lenslide. On yer bikes.

    • bbfloyd 17.2

      tom,,, when people give you gifts that they say reflect your character, do you get a lot of expensive saucers?

  18. Afewknowthetruth 18

    Getting elected and having policies geared to the long term good of the nation are mutually exclusive concepts.

    The vast majority of voters are ignorant of the facts and cannot be bothered to research them. Most voters support whoever promises to hand out the ‘lollies’ fastest and whoever puts the best positive spin on the dire predicament we are in.

    The reality is, we are on the brink of energetic, environmental and financial meltdown. People do not want to know. Most are utterly deluded and seem to have the philosophy:

    The Earth makes oil faster than we can use it.
    Climate change is a myth.
    Debts and deficits don’t matter.

    The Labour Party could try telling the truth for a change. But we know they won’t. Hence, Labour and National remain two faces of the same coin, just as is the case in all two-major-party western nations.

    And everything that actually matters will continue to get rapidly worse.

  19. mikesh 19

    The polls don’t show that people actually dislike Phil Goff, just that they prefer John Key. The case for a change in Labour’s leadership would be more pronounced only if someone like David Cunliffe was featuring in the preferred leader poll.

    • ChuckNZ 19.1

      That is a very good point, it is not that we have a “Star” waiting to take over.

      My only concern is that will we hold onto this policy platform after the election if Labour lose. I agree that CGT is a good idea but it will be forever killed as a platform if Labour decide to drop it because they believe it cost them the election. I think that more people will agree with this if it is keeped as a main labour policy and can be debated/reviewied through to the next election

      • mickysavage 19.1.1

        it is not that we have a “Star” waiting to take over.
         
        You have not seen David Cunliffe in action.  He is seriously smart, his grasp of policy and economics makes Key look like an amateur.  He speaks really well.  In a discussion or interview he has this uncanny ability to enter into a stream of consciousness and without notes make a totally coherent argument for what he is advocating for.  He also has that rare ability to describe complex ideas in very simple terms.
         
        He speaks really well and has a sense of humour.  He is a Harvard educated Fullbright Scholar who is from the working class and can relate to anyone.  If Phil does not get Labour over the line then David would be an extraordinarily good replacement.
         
         
         

        • ChuckNZ 19.1.1.1

          I know he has all the qualities of being a good leader but the point I am trying to make is that he and numerous other MP’s are all vying for the job (after the election) and there is no one standout individual. Where as when Key took over as Leader I believe that he was seen as the only choice because of “star” quality.

          So i can’t see any reason to change at the moment unless some one like Cunliffe was given more air time some voters could get use to him (and there is not enough time for that)

          • bbfloyd 19.1.1.1.1

            i feel the need to point out that nationals leadership stock has been very thin on the ground since muldoon was ousted. key is actually quite easy to see through.. i made my judgement of him in 2004, and nothing he’s said or done since has done more than reinforce that assessment..

            his only talent, apart from possessing no scruples whatsoever, is to have the backing of the people who actually make these decisions.. i;e, the sponsors… same way brash got leadership of both national and act.

            so who else was putting a compelling case forward? waiting……….waiting……..damn, keep falling asleep waiting for the answer…zzzzzz

          • mickysavage 19.1.1.1.2

            “Star quality”

            You mean like Paul Holmes or Paul Henry? 

      • queenstfarmer 19.1.2

        it is not that we have a “Star” waiting to take over

        Being a bit harsh there. I think most parties don’t have a “star” just waiting but do have people who can become stars one the mantle of leadership is seized (or shoved on them). Labour’s got lots of potential stars. I think David Parker could be a breakout leader. Grant Robertson is highly rated.

        [btw I am assuming “we” means Labour]

  20. outofbed 20

    Goff and Labour are simply not going to win
    I would love them to but is simply not going to happen
    Labour should be doing all it can to stop the asset sales.
    Running with Goff does nothing to stop that happening
    Obviously it is now too late to have a new leader
    We on the left now have to suck it up because Labour hasn’t had the balls

  21. ChrisH 21

    Let’s be aware of what Mike Moore said about “poll-driven fruitcakes.” And of course to be accused of being a fruitcake by MM means the charge is serious ;>.

    Let’s also remember that many great PMs and other leaders who were later renowned for the political virtue of ‘gravitas’ weren’t personally popular in opposition.

    Churchill for one, and also Peter Fraser, who as far as I am aware was never personally popular, but nevertheless respected for his competence. This is particularly important in times of world crisis.

    It’s also true that the skills required to win power aren’t always the same as the skill required to exercise it and win repeat elections once in office.

    Fraser won in ’43 and again in ’46 in spite of the fact that, as far as I am aware, there is no record of him ever cracking a smile or telling a joke.

    I would suggest that Key is a good case in point of the opposite end of the pole from Churchill or for that matter a manager-politician like Fraser.

    Ideally Labour should have somebody like Michael Joseph Savage to get them into power even if they have a manager-politican like Fraser (or Goff?) to implement the government’s reforms afterwards.

    Given that she was in somewhat better health than M J Savage, Helen should perhaps have voluntarily handed over the reins in 2006 or thereabouts, much as Holland did for his deputy Keith Holyoake—another manager-politician, who came within one seat of victory in ’57, and ruled the sixties after National got back in—so that Phil could have been out there as PM for a while to prove himself and gain a political second wind for Labour.

    But there’s no use crying over spilt milk now. The next best thing is for Labour to cultivate gravitas and seriousness and an appearance of competence appropriate to the present world crisis, which Key obviously can’t do.

    This is, perversely, a strength of a manager-politician of the kind that Goff is always accused of being (in the mould of such uncharismatic failures as Fraser and Holyoake in other words).

    Even though he’s not the perfect leader to get Labour back into power, I suspect that dumping Goff at this incredibly late stage and putting up somebody a bit better at smiling and waving and kissing babies might undermine the “project gravitas into the election” idea, even if in a perfect world Labour would, as I say, have the perfect leader.

    As Churchill used to say, we just have to keep on (or KBO more precisely).

    • mikesh 21.1

      [Given that she was in somewhat better health than M J Savage, Helen should perhaps have voluntarily handed over the reins in 2006 or thereabouts, much as Holland did for his deputy Keith Holyoake—another manager-politician, who came within one seat of victory in ’57, and ruled the sixties after National got back in—so that Phil could have been out there as PM for a while to prove himself and gain a political second wind for Labour.]

      Holland was a sick man when he handed over to Holyoake. And then Kiwi Keith went and lost his first election as party leader.

    • just saying 21.2

      Even though he’s not the perfect leader to get Labour back into power, I suspect that dumping Goff at this incredibly late stage and putting up somebody a bit better at smiling and waving and kissing babies might undermine the “project gravitas into the election” idea, even if in a perfect world Labour would, as I say, have the perfect leader.

      This perfectly sums up what Labour isn’t getting. It’s not about popularity or charisma, or competing in the smile and wave arena. Goff isn’t just unpopular he isn’t coping, and all you guys patting him on the back telling him he’s doing fine and that it’s all just the biased media aren’t doing him or Labour any favours. The public sees only too well what seems to be firmly lodged in Labour’s blind spot. Goff is waayyy out of his depth, he’s choking at the drop of a hat, and greater media attention will be disastrous

      • Colonial Viper 21.2.1

        Nonsense.

        Goff is tough, has the knowledge, and can argue a point with both insight and logic. Further, Goff has international credibility as a well respected former Foreign Minister.

        If the public thinks that the role of PM should go to John Key because he would also be a good judge on NZ’s Next Top Model who are we to argue.

  22. Afewknowthetruth 22

    Another problem with Goff is that he believes in consumption, free trade, globalisation and the international money-lender system, the very things that have been destroying NZ and destroying the planet we live on.

    So even if Labour were to pull some magic out of the bag and form a government, we’d still be screwed.

    • Draco T Bastard 22.1

      +1

      We really have to dump the profit driven economic system which is incentivised to use everything up ASAP and move to a resource based system where everyone has an equal say in how the renewable resources we have available are used.

      • Colonial Viper 22.1.1

        I had a quiet word to Goff about energy issues not long ago. It’ll take a while to shift the mindset of the Labour caucus, but some of us in the rank and file already get it.

    • mikesh 22.2

      This is true. Labour seems still to be under the influence of neoliberal ideas. They should be lambasting English for borrowing 380 million/week, and suggesting that he borrow instead from the Reserve Bank. This may be just as inflationary as borrowing overseas, but he at least would not have to pay interest, and he would not be imposing burdens on future generations of taxpayers.

  23. Bill 23

    Maybe a part of the disconnect with the electorate is that Labour is simply living in its own private universe.

    If they are going to offer prescriptions attached to economic health, then they have to explain something. How does a healthy economy afford the average person brighter prospects?

    Everybody knows, at least intuitively, that for the past 30 years or so (minimum) the average person has peddled backwards regardless of the state of the economy.

    Labour may hold fast to the faith based notion that a healthy economy automatically translates as an improving situation for all and sundry. But ‘all and sundry’ don’t so readily buy that line anymore. There is enough personal, intergenerational experience available that gives the lie to that supposition.

    During Labour’s last terms, the economy was okay. But the prevalance of poverty increased. (Unemployment may have been lower, but increasing numbers of those in work didn’t really ‘get ahead’). As a part ‘solution’ to this problem we got ‘Working For Families'; an employers subsidy that consigned non-workers to even deeper levels of comparative poverty. And yes, there were increases in the mion wage. But the timing of the increase was always delayed and the actual increase always less than what was considered necessary by those living on min. wages.

    And fine. Under National things will get much, much worse for the poorer and more disadvantaged. But the point Labour and all you Labour cheer leaders might need to consider is that Labour merely slowed the decline experienced by a hell of a lot of people.

    Over ten years Labour kind of fought a soft rear guard action for the main market protagonists. (Some might say they sought to appease everyone.) The replacement of the ECA was essentially a sop to employers. ( Yes, unions got to negotiate collectives, but strike action was still largely proscribed) Nurses had to launch a major industrial campaign to achieve a ‘pay jolt’. School workers missed out on their ‘pay jolt’ because Labour had, yet again, made the promise but delayed implementation into the future. (Unfortunately for school staff, beyond the election). Care givers continued on close to min wage levels and many (anecdotally) took off for Oz where wages and conditions in the sector simply didn’t compare. (Now they’ve had to take on a recalcitrant Nat government to get sleep-over payments…after 10 years of a ‘benevolent’ Labour government.)

    And it goes on. Labour didn’t look after its main constituences and totally abandoned others (the unemployed). And it did this while the economy was okay. So, why should those people flock back to Labour when all they are saying is that they have solutions for the economy? Where, if you are one of those people Labour took for granted, is the solution for you?

  24. battleheed 24

    Like it or not the preferred prime minister stakes are important. Helen Clark was very popular as preferred Prime Minister when she won elections because voters saw her as a true leader. She was very competent, it wasn’t anything to do about the likeability of the woman because she was quite polarising. Key has very good preferred PM scores because voters think he’s a very good leader, respect him and think he’s doing a very good job as PM.

    Goff is at 6% after three years in the job. It’s not as if people don’t know who he is because he’s been around for 30 years. It’s not because people don’t like him because unlike Clark he’s not very polarising. He’s quite affable really and doesn’t rock the boat ideologically, in fact history says he will go along with whatever is the ideological flavor of the day.

    Goff and Labour’s problem is that voters just don’t see him as a LEADER. They think of him as phil-in to take the hit this time until somebody better has the balls to step up. Those who want Phil to stay on as Leader don’t believe he’s going to win the election, they just want to shield the next guy’s brand from getting tarnished by losing this election heavily. That’s not a very compelling case to take to the electorate.

    • mikesh 24.1

      I’ve noticed over the years that incumbent PM’s always score better, in preferred PM polls, than the various pretenders.

  25. side show bob 25

    I have a heap of cyanide pills I use for possum control, given the latest poll numbers I would happily send you some if your readers feel that life is no longer worth living.

    • gobsmacked 25.1

      The latest poll numbers show strong support for MMP. So, life is definitely worth living.

      Battles are fought every three years, but the war … only once in a generation. The Right will lose the one they really want to win, and if Key gets a second term, they’ll guarantee their defeat next time – thanks to MMP.

  26. gobsmacked 26

    Every three years there’s a review of the previous election, published in book form by Nigel Roberts & co (Vic Uni?).

    It’s a good read because contributors from all the main parties write about their campaigns, and offer insights into what went wrong/right. Of course there’s an element of spin, but much less so than in the day-to-day media. I think Grant Robertson did the last one for Labour.

    I’m looking forward to reading the review of Labour 2011. I suspect the summary will be:

    “We were always up against it in the first term of opposition, after nine years in government, but … we took far too long to adjust to our new role, we behaved like entitled Beehive insiders, not the people’s outsiders, we failed in the basics of media/communications, we looked uninspired and uninspiring, and every time we started to get traction, we shot ourselves in the foot. We can talk about Key and the media and so on, but in the end, we must blame ourselves.”

    Obviously that can’t be said in public before Nov 26, but let’s hope that post-election, honesty will lead to change.

  27. Dan1 27

    Why the preoccupation with presidential-style politics? Goff is a personable and able fellow who gets a raw deal from MSM, who put down all of Key’s flaws as “human”, while Goff is flayed for being bland.

    When I line up the policies of a fair taxation system, a fair basic wage and a definite no to asset sales, Labour wins hands down. When I think of the last sales of AirNZ (saved from bankruptcy by Government) and electricity and rail, I get angry that English is pretending that it is for MUM and Dad investors. And the Nats want to sell Kiwibank, a bank that was built on the dissatisfaction of the sale of previous NZ banks!!

    It is not the fellow at the top that counts. Smile and Wave and Photo Op is a cover for a party very short on policies: tax breaks for the wealthy; hammer the benficiaries; bash the unions.

    Labour has done very well over the last month or so. They should keep up with the release of sensible policies, and they can win a very important election.

  28. randal 28

    The dompost has had three frontpage stories this week yapping on about the polls not being in Labours favour plus numerous small stories on the op-ed pages by vernon small and tracy watkins dishing Labour.
    All I can say is that they must be really scared if they are trying to skew the lelections this far out.The closer it gets to the election the less likely it is for national to win.
    And furthermore National is supposed to be the party of business so where is the new business?

    • Colonial Viper 28.1

      +1

      The yap yapping is very suspicious. National know that they are standing high – on quicksand. They are nervous.

      Economy is getting worse in the next few months not better.

    • The Voice of Reason 28.2

      Nicely put, Randal. I also wonder how much traction Labour will be able to build in the last weeks of the campaign when they get do their policy advertising and Goff and Key meet head to head in unfiltered debates. At the moment, we have the MSM’s version of Goff. The real thing, live and unedited, might actually go down well with the public, who only have the media version of the truth to go on at the moment.

      • Axle 28.2.1

        ‘…who only have the media version of the truth to go on at the moment.’

        And that’s a serious point TVR. Can you remember an opposition leader being given such a marginalised MSM allowance in the last 30 years? Just one I think, and let’s be fair – another the MSM had their uncritical soundbites already sown up on – English.

        • Colonial Viper 28.2.1.1

          Yeah, and something more serious could have been done with the pathetic state of NZ’s journalism, public broadcasting and media ownership over the last many years.

    • freedom 28.3

      Yesterday’s Stuff-Dompost was little more than a launch of the National Party Election campaign.
      Bannered with a large Faifax header that had not been used before, it screamed bias and even caused a friend to share with me (unprompted) that it had him questioning just what exactly was going on in NZ media. He is a self-admitted paid up Nat Party Member and i found this declaration very encouraging, because moments like that stay with people and helps them to openly question the final placement of their vote.

  29. Bored 29

    Between now and the election there are 5 months of:

    * financial crisis in US and Europe, soon to be China as a result…..
    * oil price hikes and drops to make us all very nervous…..
    * a high dollar to upset exporters, and Dairy prices crashing.
    * more financial failures (see St Terry the Soccer magnate got his accounts frozen today).
    * a Rugby World Cup with Quade Cooper giving us the heebies…
    * lots of other unpredictable stuff.

    Any one of the above could torpedo or lift Key.

    My take: chances are its going to be bad. I for one dont believe the gap is so big, the Horizons Poll seems a far more likely reflection. What I do know is that th above events will polarize opinions, they are too big for a photo-op or smile to overcome.

    • Colonial Viper 29.1

      Four months until elections! Almost to the day!

    • Chris 29.2

      Terry Serepiso’s accounts weren’t frozen, he got the accounts of someone in Switzerland or Dubai or something who basically stole a crapload of money off him frozen.

      On a side note it was extremely obvious that the whole thing was a scam so unsure how he fell for it.

    • ropata 29.3

      Canterbury needs to get rid of Brownlee for a start. He’s been pathetic, given a huge responsibility and now we have people freezing because of his uselessness.

  30. tc 30

    Imagine a world of equal time in the MSM between gov’t and opposition, the kind of coverage real public broadcasters give.

    It’s a masterclass in controlling the message via your media mates and compliant SOE’s that Joyce and co are handing out here, the way they run with these polls like it’s some vital piece of news says it all. RNZ especially guilty this morning…..it’s not news it’s just another poll.

  31. AAMC 31

    Maybe we need to follow Iceland’s lead and start a “Best Party”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/jun/19/iceland-reykjavik-mayor-best-party

  32. Anne 32

    I can’t be bothered to check all the comments, so my point may have been covered.

    After years of observation it is my view that Labour has always over-estimated the ability of the general public to understand party policy detail and their ramifications. Part of the reason is because they are not very good at listening to their own supporters. When they are out and about the public tend to tell them what they know the Party wants to hear. I don’t believe it always matches reality. When you try to tell them a glazed look comes across their faces. They don’t want to know.

    A good example is their campaign pamphlets. Instead of concentrating on simple bullet points they are invariably too wordy. The public does not read them. They have been warned about this by successive generations of supporters yet they still do it.

    • gnomic 32.1

      Where I live, over the past two or three months Labour has popped several postcard style leaflets in my letterbox backing up recently released policy. I can’t say what effect they are having on the voters, but they are succinct and to the point. Although somewhat pessimistic about Labour’s chances, I have been impressed by this aspect of their campaign.

      I am certainly hoping this current shower will be evicted from government as they richly deserve. I fear they will wreck this country beyond rescue given another three years.

      • Anne 32.1.1

        Have just seen the latest postcard style pamphlet and agree gnomic. Vast improvement on past endeavours. Fingers crossed they keep it up.

  33. Frederick 33

    “Goff will stand his ground well as an articulate, informed leader.”

    You are possibly right. Goff is an experienced debater – his major flaw is that his answers are just sooooo long that I find myself drifting off.

    However he will be pitting his wits against an accomplished debater in Key. Lets go back in history.

    2005 Key v Cullen in finance election debate. Holds his own against a very experienced Michael Cullen. Many judge him the star of the campaign and future leader.

    2008. Widespread talk that Clark will savage him just like the hapless Don Brash. First debate keenly contested with many giving a slight points win to Key. No matter how biased, no one unless they were seriously deluded could say that either had am emphatic victory. I judged the second and third debates about even.

    So Key held his own against one of the most accomplished debaters in NZ political history. Now if you think that Goff will better Key in the debates you are virtually saying that Goff is a superior debater then Clark. That’s just crazy.

  34. Carol 34

    To all those people who say Goff’s yesterday’s man, I’ll say two words John Howard. I’m no fan of John Howard’s politics, and am luke warm about Goff…. but having a past in politics that includes some dubious associations, doesn’t automatically count someone out in a new election campaign.

    As far as I’m concerned it’s the policies. And now’s the time to campaign on substance. The whole pro-marketting, neoliberal approach of promoting brand politics is nearing the end of its course. People are going to want more style over substance, and the left should be basing their strategies around that. Change the game, and move way from the propaganda approach to politics that became mainstream in the neoliberal era. It’s totally the National & Key approach, and it’s a house of cards.

  35. This makes for interesting reading.

    The figures are pretty much identical to the latest Fairfax poll for the two main parties. BTW, just being pedantic, but the figure for Labour was 29%, not 28% this time (as well as in the link).

    The simple fact appears to be that voters haven’t really changed their view from the one they carried into the polling booths last time. Personally, I still think National will be unable to govern alone, which sharpens the calculations.

    Labour’s approach from here on in should be to adopt the principled underdog voice a Bryce Edwards puts it. Acknowledge their polling is disappointing and simply keep on ramming home the point that “all we have are two things: policies that we believe will give New Zealanders the support and fairness so that we can all, in our own lives and communities, come up with our own solutions and weather the economic, energy and environmental crises the world faces; a team of people who are committed, hard-working and capable of making these policies work”. Steady, calm and work-a-day competent is what needs to be projected to the public. That does two things:

    1) It distances Labour from the 2008 perception that – rightly or wrongly – it had become ‘arrogant’, ‘out of touch’, or whatever. 
    2) It leaves a question hanging heavily in the air (without directly asking it) about just how substantive and able John Key and his government is.

    The public haven’t had to ask themselves that latter question because they don’t see an alternative; so they happily go along with Key all on the (so far) immovable assumption that ‘he can’t be as bad as Labour would be’. John Key’s abilities (and those of his ministers) have to become a point of public and media interest as the election approaches. Imagine a few articles in the press about Labour actually starting to look like a team of reasonable, capable Kiwis with some good ideas that may just help. That should be the aim, not just because of how it would reflect on Labour but, more importantly, how it immediately raises the question – is Key’s team as reasonable, as capable (as Kiwi) in their approach?

    • ak 35.1

      Excellent points Pudd. Labour also has a very sound heritage to fall back on – and a global situation that should be playing into its hands.

      Thanks to our disaster-tabloid fourth estate, Joanne Public is intensely aware of the GFC, the shambolic economic failure in both Europe and Uncle Sam, the massive rise and importance of China, and the parlous fragility of our own situation. She’s also got more than an inkling of how it all came about.

      Labour could do worse than robustly claiming credit for our relatively stable economic state (Cullen’s prudence and Joky Do-nothing’s me-tooing of Lab’s policies) and point the finger hard at Right-wing tax-cut vote-bribes and deregulation as the cause of the world’s woes (and our debt). Plenty of Nobel economists to quote.

      Confidence is what’s needed: Jim Knox, Norm Kirk confidence. If you build it, they will come. Celebrity is is a soft, short-buzz drug – ignore the current one-hit-wonder and especially his pushers. Stand firm on a century of progress and be relentless with the facts.

    • Agreed PG.  I thought Labour was doing it maybe but they need to be noisy about it.

      Underdog, underdog, underdog … 

      This needs to be the theme of the campaign and the acknowledgment of the MPs. 

      • Colonial Viper 35.2.1

        I think Labour need to come up with something better than a softer, gentler, fairer form of capitalism, however.

        The end of fiat currencies and bank-debt based cash is ominously close.

  36. Jenny 36

    “Underdog, underdog, underdog …

    This needs to be the theme of the campaign and the acknowledgment of the MPs.”

    Mickey Savage

    Underdog won’t do it. Though Bulldog might.

    Underdog just looks pathetic. Come on Micky, this is your strategy – to go for the sympathy vote.

    Get real.

    Labour needs to come out swinging.

    And swinging hard.

    Admit that there is a climate crisis and we need to do something about it.

    Scrap the rise in GST to 15%.

    Bring in a Financial Transactions Tax to plug the hole in the accounts and to reign in the speculators that crashed the world economy in ’08 and are gearing up to do it again.

    The rise in the polls after the CGT announcement are a sign that for Labour moving more leftward is a good strategy.

    After all, what have Labour got to lose?

    Reading this post and the thread it seems that most Labour supporters have resigned themselves to a Labour defeat this time and a victory in 2014.

    I say we can’t wait that long, the combined economic and climate crises are almost upon us.

    • Colonial Viper 36.1

      Climate change/crisis is not the relatively urgent issue. Energy depletion is.

      NZ has ten years to get ready for energy depletion, which will allow us to manage a sustainable, reasonably advanced and cohesive society going forwards.

      Waiting for the ten years after that before taking serious action, means that NZ will merely be able to adapt to and cope with the changes forced upon us.

      If we don’t even do that, and instead wait another 10 years after that to take serious action, means that the best we can do will be a very nasty shit fight with a lot of unhappiness to go around.

      (If we manage energy depletion right, we will simultaneously address all climate change issues).

      • Jenny 36.1.1

        If we manage energy depletion right, we will simultaneously address all climate change issues

        Colonial Viper

        Not if you are Solid Energy.

        Solid energy see the peak oil crisis as a money making opportunity. Plans are afoot to convert low grade lignite into diesel.

        It is like they deliberately set out to find the most polluting process they could think of.

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