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Signs of a more confident Labour

Written By: - Date published: 9:28 am, February 22nd, 2010 - 61 comments
Categories: labour, Parliament - Tags: , , ,

I’m been thinking about those two glorious moments in the House last week.

First, Trevor Mallard exposed how completely hopeless Anne Tolley is by the simple expediency of asking her to explain for inter-school moderation of national standards works.

Then, in the next question, Annette King showed Paula Bennett to be all puff and no brain when she gave a definition of Whanau Ora and asked whether Bennett whether she agreed it was an accurate definition. After Bennett agreed it was, King revealed it was the definition of a different programme entirely.

How confident did Labour have to be in the complete ineptness of these National ministers to try that on? They had to know that the ministers would take the bait and completely stuff up, or they would be left high and dry – looking dumb themselves while giving the ministers the opportunity to look competent.

Labour is a pretty risk-adverse organisation. The fact that they were certain enough of success that they could make these unorthodox plays on those two ministers, and that they did actually pull it off both times, shows that Labour has got the measure of Key’s drop-kick ministers and is feeling more confident in itself.

Good stuff.

61 comments on “Signs of a more confident Labour”

  1. agreed…but Key still has the measure of Goff and thats all that counts….agreed ?

    • sk 1.1

      for now, but the risk with John Key’s approach is ultimately the economy over 2010/11. What he was quoted in today’s Stuff saying lower confidence is realistic is complete bollocks. If people are getting more concerned about the economy, that is a huge risk. That should not be happening at this point in the cycle.

      Irrespective of what the polls say, the dismal state of economy and jobs market could be setting us up for an election night surprise a la 1978 or 1993.

      http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/3357749/Lower-economic-confidence-realistic-Key

      Whatever DPF may say, it always about the economy stupid, not polls two years out

  2. Cnr Joe 2

    well, they are drop-kicks after all
    now lets get Brownlee, Coleman, Wong, Key all tied up in knots – its all there
    captcha – education !
    oh – well done Trevor and Annette btw

  3. tsmithfield 3

    This article is so wrong its laughable.

    According to countless articles on this site, the Nat Government has been performing abysmally.
    If this is actually the case, then the only logical conclusion to draw from last night’s poll is that Labour are doing even worse in the public eye. That is hardly cause for confidence.

    • Bright Red 3.1

      So, you’re defending Bennett and Tolley? you’re proud that they are your ministers, that you got them in power when they don’t know the first thing about their flagship policies?

      politics isn’t all about elections, ts. At this stage in the cycle people should more worried about good government than polls, seems you’re not.

      • luva 3.1.1

        Don’t you think a poll might be a snap shot of peoples view on whether this is a good government or not?

        • Sam 3.1.1.1

          That depends on how good the poll is.

          • luva 3.1.1.1.1

            which one of the numerous polls we can pick on is not a “good” poll?

            • I dreamed a dream 3.1.1.1.1.1

              As a Labour voter, I have to admit that the consistency across ALL polls over the weekend mean that voters are still in love with Key and his government. That’s the reality. I, for one, am not going into denial mode. More important for me is how is the left going to counter Key and the Nats. Sure, many people say there’s still time to the 2011 election, but it seems to me that a difference of around 25% (between Nats and Labour) is a rather huge challenge to make up. My question then is: In the history of New Zealand politics and elections, has a trailing party ever made up such a gap two years out from an election and win it?

              • felix

                Oh look, a labour voter. Best take it seriously then, probably not a troll at all.

              • luva

                or you could answer the question

              • I dreamed a dream

                @felix, if you are implying that I may be a troll, I can probably understand that, because I am pretty new here. But I assure you though that I am taking it seriously, maybe I have been taking it too seriously :)

              • Clarke

                IDaD – To give you a kinda-indirect answer …

                There are some examples where significant leads have been eroded through a parliamentary term. However the applicability of these examples – such as Norman Kirk’s win against Jack Marshall in 1972 – is not always clear.

                For starters, most of these elections occurred under FPP and in a time when the polling approach and methodology was significantly different to today. However a common theme is that mid-term polling typically bears little resemblance to the eventual outcome, as there is a lot of water to flow under the bridge in voters minds. Even polls taken a few months out from an election can be more than 10% off the eventual result.

                It’s an old adage that oppositions don’t win elections; rather, governments lose them. Is there still ample time for National to throw away their current lead? Absolutely. And do they have the team – in the form of Key, Joyce, Brownlee, Tolley and Bennett to do exactly that? Absolutely.

              • Olwyn

                I have been unsuccessfully looking for poll results between 2002 & 2005, but within that period, National made a comeback from a dire election result after Don Brash was made leader, and then leapt dramatically in the polls when he gave a very divisive speech at Orewa. While they did not win the 2005 election they came very close, but were undermined on the last leg of their campaign by revelations about underhand dealing with the Brethren, doubts about Brash’s honesty and similar problems. Does someone else have the numbers to support this? If I am even roughly correct, then closing such a large gap within a single term is not unprecedented.

              • ParkDrive

                Labour wont win the election until they get their strategy right of “bottom up” rather than the current “top down” methodology that pervades the organisation at all levels.

                Change brings about change, but with a lot of supporters of Helen still running the place, it is increasingly unlikely that Labour will win 2011.

                National will win by a whisker of a margin, no matter the ineptitude of the ministers. At the moment, Labour are not giving voters a credible choice, nor are they articulating very well what they stand for.

              • Armchair Critic

                Olwyn
                “I have been unsuccessfully looking for poll results between 2002 & 2005″
                Try wikipedia, it has reasonably good summaries. There are links to previous and the subsequent election from here.
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_general_election,_2005
                “…doubts about Brash’s honesty and similar problems. Does someone else have the numbers to support this?”
                Well it’s an entirely different topic and there might not be much substance to it (we are yet to find out), but the Securities Office has the latest numbers that Dr Brash was involved with.
                http://www.thestandard.org.nz/a-rare-opportunity/

            • Armchair Critic 3.1.1.1.1.2

              “or you could answer the question”
              Or you could find the answers yourself. Try google. And maybe they still run night classes with a statistics component; you could go to one of them. Many of the commenters here are wanting to debate with you, not educate you.

              • luva

                AC, the left never want to debate

                They want to look down from their lofty intellectual heights and tell the masses what is good fo them.

              • I dreamed a dream

                @Armchair Critic — O.K. If the comments here are only for debate, then I should probably disappear from here.

              • Draco T Bastard

                luva, you’re an idiot who’s just projecting his own personality onto others.

                The political left wants people to understand what’s actually good for them. This requires education and access to the needed information. This is why, unlike the right, we tend to back up what we say with facts. The right just use wishful thinking and misdirection to get themselves into power so that they can then line their own pockets with the taxpayers cash.

              • Armchair Critic

                idad
                the comment about education vs. debate was meant for luva. No need to take it personally.

        • Armchair Critic 3.1.1.2

          Not really.
          It is a reflection of who people would vote for if they were put on the spot during dinner with the kids fighting and the tv blaring and without the persuasive influence of many weeks of intensive election campaigning. Which, at best, is interesting.

          • luva 3.1.1.2.1

            so when the polls turn,as they will do one day, and Labour gets into the lead I assume we wont read here from the fringe lefties that National is being rejected by the electorate??

            • Armchair Critic 3.1.1.2.1.1

              Assume whatever you want. I will comment as I see fit when that situation arises (i.e. we will cross that bridge when we come to it), with the good grace of the moderators.
              In any case I’m not a fringe leftie. I own a farm and, separately, run a small business and I easily meet the definition of “rich prick”, so I should vote National. Whatever else is said is, of course, up to the individual commenters and the moderators.

              • Olwyn

                Thanks for that Armchair Critic: National went from 21% of the vote in 2002 to 39% in 2005, 2% behind Labour. It is true that the gap is not quite as great, but the small parties were doing better then than they seem to be in the present polling. Also, Labour has not had the same erosion of its core support as National did in the 2002 election. As to Dr Brash’s latest adventure, well we have yet to find out, or not, as the case might be.

        • Bright Red 3.1.1.3

          “Don’t you think a poll might be a snap shot of peoples view on whether this is a good government or not?”

          Of course a poll can be that. Doesn’t mean that the government is doing a good job though. Doesn’t mean people shouldn’t criticise.

  4. Personally I think Goff is all over Key in the house, but this is not shown what we get is Key giving smart ares comments that he himself laughs at.
    Keys image and “whoa what a leader” has been generated by journalists and friendly media. He is hardly ever asked anything with any debt, certainly nothing tricky. He got away with this through out the election campaign, from a media who wanted a new personality to play with. Well they got their way and look what NZ has got a all promises and do nothing else Prime minister. Key is lazy and appears a lot in photo ops but thats it!
    Australia goes ahead with a Labor Government and we go backwards with National and the clown show.

  5. tc 5

    Crikey with this lot you could get a gov’t version of ‘Weakest Link’ going where they all get to comment on policy and numbers…..it’d be hilarious and depressing all at once so sits well alongside most dross TVNZ produce using taxpayer funds.

    I’m looking forward to Cunliffe nailing Blinglish who is such an arrogant tosser who knows this is his last hurrah…..failed as Leader/failing as finance minister but rorting all the way just to rub it in.

    There are many mis-matches but the trick is to pin it on them in such a way that it sticks and that’s the problem as the MSM looks the other way or gives the likes of Key/Blinglish a free ride everytime…..Q&A yesterday had Espiner doing a lovely doormat routine for Bills feet to wipe on.

  6. Anne 6

    Here’s an example of where I think things are at:
    Two close relatives of mine are young mothers with kids at primary and secondary school. I asked them what they thought of the National Standards? “Great” they said “it’s time there was standards in schools”. I told them there already are curriculum standards and they are working well. They didn’t know that. I asked them whether they were happy with the standard of their schools’ reporting systems and they said “Yes, it’s very good”. So why do you want a new system which is untried and might unravel the systems which already exist?” I asked. They didn’t answer.

    I think these two are typical of many, many thousands of voters who buy the lines fed to them by the Nact government and supported by a largely pliant MSM. One day they will wake up and Labour has to be in a position where they can take advantage of it. There are good signs that at last it’s happening.

    • lukas 6.1

      “So why do you want a new system which is untried and might unravel the systems which already exist?'”

      Oh, are you talking about NCEA?

      • Galeandra 6.1.1

        Bet you’re young enough, Lukas, to have stacked up your share of credits for napkin folding, so why don’t you wipe your chin?

        And there’s nothing wrong with NCEA, either, apart from the workload it generates, and the unintended consequences it supplies, such as some degree of dis-incentivisation.

        Captch clever, as in dick.

    • ak 6.2

      Spot on Anne. Like it or not, those of us interested in politics are in the minority – and the MSM panders with increasing desperation to the majority (and its right-wing owners) for its bread and butter.
      As far as Jane Public goes – her opinion derived solely from MSM snippets – Key basically promised to continue Labour’s policies and not rock the boat: i.e. promised to do nothing and is keeping his word. She simply hasn’t got the time nor inclination for details that don’t directly affect her – and has an automatic reflex to conflict avoidance.

      “Well he seems quite nice, doesn’t he. Even gets on with the mowries and so far he hasn’t done anything too terrible. Wee Sam got over his tummy bug yet?”

      So far. But Supercity, the budget and them mowries will produce some very entertaining snippets in the months ahead.

      (and for you tory poll-grippers: Morgan showed Left 45, Right 53: by my ‘rithmetic that’s only one Jane in 25 to swing and it’s game on. Put it away boys, it’s soft.)

      • HitchensFan 6.2.1

        Anne and ak

        Spot on.

      • Bill 6.2.2

        Notice how when Guyon rabbits on on TVNZ about how the honeymoon goes on and on as though it were a phenomena quite beyond his understanding, that the visual footage is all of a ‘jolly hockey sticks’ nature? (Key and cronies in vaudeville or music hall costume…ie a positively non-political context preserving the image of Key as nice guy next door who wouldn’t possibly be looking to bring harm on you or yours….)

        I think the party is over. But the mainstream are the bleary eyed drunks running around in the morning after draining the last of the champers in a desperate attempt to stave off the inevitable reality of a hangover from hell while trying to convince everyone that the party is yet young.

        There is only a moments hesitation in general perception, a brief suspension of disbelief because they have been quite popular….the media that is….

  7. Bright Red “So, you’re defending Bennett and Tolley? you’re proud that they are your ministers, that you got them in power when they don’t know the first thing about their flagship policies?

    politics isn’t all about elections, ts. At this stage in the cycle people should more worried about good government than polls, seems you’re not.”

    My post had nothing to do with defending anyone. It was just pointing out the illogical nature of the article.

    IF the poll is accurate and
    IF National is performing as badly as what is regularly claimed on this site
    THEN the only logical conclusion is that Labour is performing worse than National in connecting with the voters.

    Apparently this is the longest honeymoon period ever for a government. So, there is no reason to congratulate Labour the way the article above has.

  8. randal 8

    it aint no honeymoom tsmithfiled.
    people are just tired of the whole thing but when they collect their wits and realise what a nasty vindictive lot this government really is then they will act smartly.

  9. tsmithfield 9

    randal “it aint no honeymoom tsmithfiled.
    people are just tired of the whole thing but when they collect their wits and realise what a nasty vindictive lot this government really is then they will act smartly.”

    Sometime within the next 10 years or so Labour might get a few points swing back in their direction. However, that is not the point.

    The point is that the SUBJECTIVE OPINION stated in the article is that Labour is doing a shit-hot job. When the OBJECTIVE EVIDENCE (the polls) is that they are just doing a shit job.

    • Clarke 9.1

      How about the SUBJECTIVE OPINION expressed in a poll versus the OBJECTIVE EVIDENCE of 276,000 New Zealanders out of work and negative net growth for the time National have been in power?

    • lprent 9.2

      ts: The ‘article’ said absolutely nothing of the kind. Basically you’re making polls as being a requirement presumably because you want to look as much of a dork as Tolley and Bennett.

      There was NO mention of polls in the article.
      There was NO mention of the public in the article.

      The article was about Labour making two ministers look totally incompetent in the house. Of interest to political junkies and people concerned with these two areas. Maybe gets a mention on the idiot box.

      But eventually that flows into the MSM and the gossip mills. Longer term it may wind up in the polls, typically 3-6 months later unless it is a king-hit (and those are rare). Even those really don’t show up in polls for months and take months more before you can be confident that it simply wasn’t a statistical blip.

      This is the normal slow process of politics. You seem to want it to work at a P induced velocity. That is idiotic. By your reckoning in the above comments (as far as I can figure), something that happened last week should be reflected in polls taken weeks ago….

      At present Labour has managed to halt the decline in the polls for them that happened last year taken over 3 month blocks of polls. They’re starting to eat into the confidence in the government that was ridiculously high. The separation margin between ‘left’ and ‘right’ isn’t particularly wide, so I’d guess that the government is getting very sensitive about their screwup ministers.

      BTW: Trying to say that a post has stuff in it that it doesn’t is pretty risky…

  10. Doug 10

    Trevor Mallard wrote:
    So should Labour be calling for their resignation. Probably not. Ministers who are seen to be performing poorly are like rust it sometimes takes a long time to surface but eventually will wreck the whole machine.

    I asked Trevor if he was talking about Phil Goff.

  11. Daveski 11

    And there is lies your problem.

    Labour’s future is Goff, Mallard and King.

    Mind you, if Bernie from the eponymous weekend movie was in Labour’s front row, Marty and Eddie would still enthuse about Bernie’s performance.

    There’s no defence for poor performing Ministers. (For the uninitiated, this never happened under Labour in case you’re wondering.)

    The point is that Labour’s strength lies in its past. Much like many of the posters here.

    You need a step change to prepare for the future :)

  12. tsmithfield 12

    felix “Have I become massively smarter in my sleep or are there just more idiots around today?”

    If you mean people who blindly believe that Labour is doing a wonderful job in the face of direct contradictory evidence, then I guess there are plenty of idiots around today.

    • Pascal's bookie 12.1

      Polls are measurements of popularity. They provide objective evidence only of what peoples’ subjective opinions are.

      Your argument relies on the idea that if a government is popular, then they are therefore objectively doing a good job at governing. I think that that is self evidently false.

    • Take a look at your heroes performing in parliament, oh yeah National are real winners. They are consistently being torn apart. I have said it a dozen times the likes of Paula Bennett is thick and its only a matter of time before people realize having stupid people you thought you liked dosen’t help you pay the bills, keep gripping those polls tsmithfield all they reflect is what people feel they don’t represent any linkage to a politicians actual performance. Commentators are only just starting to realize Key does nothing and anything he says never happens.

  13. tsmithfield 13

    Pascals bookie: “Your argument relies on the idea that if a government is popular, then they are therefore objectively doing a good job at governing.”

    No it doesn’t. You clearly haven’t read my argument. IF National is doing as badly as you say, then it is self-evident that Labour is doing even worse as an opposition. Since it is the subjective opinion of people in polls and, ultimately, the election poll, that counts then Labour is obviously doing a poor job not a good one.

    • lprent 13.1

      Bullshit. See my point further up. Just at present you’re taking something that happened last week (the subject of the post), and trying to ask why it isn’t reflected in polls taken weeks and months ago.

      That simply makes you a fatuous fool in my book…

      The post was on Labour feeling more confident in the house this year. Only a political idiot would start looking at that and saying that the polls should reflect it…

    • Pascal's bookie 13.2

      Since it is the subjective opinion of people in polls and, ultimately, the election poll, that counts

      seems I read your argument just fine smitty.

      If you think that popularity is the measure for determing how well a government is doing, then your argument makes sense.

  14. Doug 14

    Iprent:
    I feel confident I’m going to have a good day but it all turned to shite.

    [lprent: I’m confident having a good day. Next person who veers too far off-topic in a post gets a holiday. ]

  15. tsmithfield 15

    Iprent “Just at present you’re taking something that happened last week (the subject of the post), and trying to ask why it isn’t reflected in polls taken weeks and months ago.”

    On TV3 news last night they said that their poll had been taken a week after the Nats floated the idea of raising GST. I wouldn’t call that months ago.

    • lprent 15.1

      Duh – what is the post about? GST?

      If you want to talk on another topic, then go and do it in OpenMike – that is what it is there for. Thread-jacking is something that we seem to have a little too much of at present. I think that purgatory for doing it is on the way.

      I wondered why your comments made zero sense in terms of the comments in this post.

  16. Doug 16

    Iprent This was from your post 12:43pm

    At present Labour has managed to halt the decline in the polls for them that happened last year taken over 3 month blocks of polls. They’re starting to eat into the confidence in the government that was ridiculously high. The separation margin between ‘left’ and ‘right’ isn’t particularly wide, so I’d guess that the government is getting very sensitive about their screwup ministers.

    • lprent 16.1

      So you’ve discovered why thread-jacking is a bad idea? A surprising level of intelligence that I hardly expected you to have…

      That was because I was explaining to ts that the polls he was raising in comments as being relevant weren’t relevant in the context of the post. Of course if ts hadn’t read the post to say what he wanted it to say, then that statement would have not been required.

      (Of course it could just be that the appearance of intelligence is just coincidence)

      • Doug 16.1.1

        (Of course it could just be that the appearance of intelligence is just coincidence)

        I would call that arogance no wonder Labour are so far behind in the polls.

  17. SPC 17

    Maybe people thought Labour was too big city too well educated and too urban liberal and they are happy with this dumb provincial government led by their King John and his band of English men.

    Thus the stupid time server Tolley in education and the brassy bully Bennett in welfare are more than just token appointments, they speak to both the governments lack of respect for public provision and the change that has occured.

    This government does not know better how to manage government, is not really trying to improve government, it is about diminishing government and building an associated loss of confidence in government capability – all to serve their only actual policy – loot the state and offer tax cuts.

    Paradoxically it’s claim, that we cannot afford adequate government, is only true if they diminish the ability of government to fund its programmes by handing out tax cuts and undermining the ability of the economy to find a secure sustainable growth path. So far they show some promise of realising their goals. They make F and R and their ilk look like children in a sand-pit.

    • Brett 17.1

      “Maybe people thought Labour was too big city too well educated and too urban liberal and they are happy with this dumb provincial government led by their King John and his band of English men.”

      Here lie Labours problem, the majority of traditional labour voters are not urban liberal intellectuals.

      • SPC 17.1.1

        But Brett National’s problem is that when they act they advantage those who are not traditional Labour voters – thus they will identify themselves as acting on behalf of some, but not all. Thus they will lose support every time they make a decision – the tactic of others raising more extreme options, so their decisions look moderate, won’t even last the first term – not when they bring out their second term manifesto.

  18. randal 18

    whatever.
    the facts are 72% of new zealanders do not beleive the prime minister.
    qed

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