Written By: Ben Clark - Date published: 11:42 pm, November 18th, 2012 - 27 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, david shearer, housing, housing insulation, labour, making shit up, Media, tenants' rights, tv - Tags: media fantasy politics
First and foremost: the Labour Conference was not ‘acrimonious’. The Labour Party was not ‘split’. A good time was had by members and most of the caucus – those who didn’t let the media ruin their day.
There was some passionate debate, but it didn’t split people – they were still good mates afterwards. The vast majority of policy and organisational review was agreed by (pretty much) everybody. Progressive policies were pushed forward. Voting from 16, buying back assets, compulsory availability of Te Reo at every school among others.
The media reports bore little resemblance to the actual conference as far as the attendees could tell…
Shearer’s speech was fantastic.
It set a bold new direction for Labour. We changed a lot of the policy to be more progressive before the 2011 election, but not the tone. Now we have the tone, as well as the fantastic new housing policy that will return New Zealand to a home-ownership society.
The speech mentioned change 32 times – often ‘big change’. There was a strong contrast between hands-on Labour vs hands-off do-nothing National government, with a real push on how active government will be under Labour, pulling the levers to improve life for Kiwi businesses, workers, families, communities.
No more can there be any doubt to the average voter about the difference between National and Labour. The policies and values were already different; now the discourse is too.
The housing policy won’t cost a cent in the long-term: the $1.5 billion “cost” is upfront cash to get the program going – it’ll get returned when the houses are bought.
But ‘open leadership bid’? If there is a contest it’s far from open; rather it’s incredibly well hidden…
The Party and its MPs tried to talk about its progressive policies and National’s failures – but the media were only interested in one thing.
Shearer can’t bring the February 2013 vote forward, regardless of what the media report – it is now written into the constitution of the Labour Party that it will happen – and happen then – with a 60%+1 trigger. Any other vote before 2015 will be by a simple majority (also agreed at the weekend). He also needs 22, not 21 MPs to express confidence in him at the February 2013 vote – that’s the ‘+1′ (which means 13 can topple him).
After today’s speech, I’d suggest all MPs back him.
And just because it annoys me in the comments: Shearer, Robertson, Parker, Ardern – the current top 4 – are not to the right of Cunliffe by any measure that I can tell; all are solid centre-left whose views chime well with Labour activists. For those commentators who want it, this is not a left-right fight, but purely one about who is best to lead, present Labour policy and attack the government – if the fight exists at all outside media fantasy politics.