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Strategy and opinion

Written By: - Date published: 8:21 pm, August 15th, 2012 - 149 comments
Categories: election 2014, labour, polls - Tags:

Thanks to Rob Salmond and Josie Pagani, it is now clear that Labour’s pitch to the  centre is an intentional strategy. That is helpful as now perhaps we can have a reasonable discussion about how well it’s working, and what else might work better.

Certainly in the internet age, the days when the campaign committee could  meet to plan Labour’s strategy under high secrecy have changed. I used to call it the “onion committee” – there was the inner layer, the inner inner layer, and the inner inner inner layer. I could be in any or all at any one time depending on events. Now just like having more say on the leadership, we can  all have a say on the strategy. And all in the open. How refreshing. There’s been a lot of good contributions already.

Rob Salmond offers us a few facts/factoids to help the discussion.

He says any focus group or survey-based analysis of the profile of non-voters is largely useless. I agree totally; which is why our database of non-voters in 2005 was comprehensive, not survey based, and was rich in information. What it enabled us to do, and what was crucial in our win, was  to communicate a personal message to previous non-voters that was relevant to their particular circumstances. Relevance was the key. Turnout went up. Labour won.

However in contrast to Rob I  think communication strategies based on surveys of ideological preference are equally useless. The conceptual gap between location on the scale and relevance of message is just too great. Planning becomes guesswork and messaging reactive.

Rob has a background as a poll analyst. In my experience of reading polls and listening to pollsters, which goes back to 1984, poll data is one thing, interpretation of its significance and more importantly how it may be used to shape political communication is another. The latter is far more important.

Talking of Labour’s centrist targets, Rob offers a few ways to “woo these folk.”

Labour can moderate its own policy, alter which policies it emphasizes in the political debate, try to alter voters’ perceptions of National, or try to convince centrists to change their issue opinions and even their ideology.  The last strategy, of convincing voters they are flat out wrong, is a favorite among activists of all stripes, because it requires change by others but no compromise or change on their own part. Among the issues that that strategy, however, is that it is very difficult to pull off on a large scale and in a short timeframe.

None of these  appeal. Neither are they likely to be successful. The most productive option by far is to have something relevant to say to voters. The great tragedy of Josie Pagani’s truck-driver anecdote is that she didn’t appear to have anything to say when he said “no-one is there for me.” But she was absolutely right about something else she said about the last campaign:

We didn’t sound aspirational, we sounded miserable. We were turning up on people’s doorsteps telling them their lives were gloomy. And anyone who has ever been poor knows the last thing you want is someone telling you your life is crap.

In my view, Josie’s drawn the wrong conclusions from her own experience. In what is presumably Rob’s moderating policy option, attacking teacher and beneficiary straw men isn’t aspirational. It’s telling them they’re all crap. And it’s no answer to the truck-driver’s challenge.

The trouble is Labour stlll sounds miserable. Using another of Rob’s options they seem to be trying to alter voters’ perceptions of National, by relentless oppositional criticism of what National’s doing wrong. The problem with this is that it creates the impression that they don’t know what to do about it themselves. National is doing a good enough job of getting it wrong all by itself. It doesn’t need a lot of extra help.

Rob makes a crucial  point about the importance of timeframes. The next election is now a little over two years away. At some stage Labour has to look and sound like an alternative government, with relevant policies and messages that resonate with the teacher, the truckdriver, and the beneficiary. Right now would be a good time to start getting it together.

149 comments on “Strategy and opinion”

  1. Sunny 1

    Can’t wait to hear Shearer’s speech to Grey Power when his Health (!) Spokesperson’s Private Member’s Bill promoting end of life ‘choice’ gets picked from the ballot…

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      I’m sure many people in Grey Power would want to have the choice to die with dignity were they to be faced with a terminal illness. People in Grey Power probably think about these sorts of issues more often than the rest of the population.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        I’m sure many people in Grey Power would want to have the choice to die with dignity were they to be faced with a terminal illness

        I know for a fact that they do.

        • Dr Terry 1.1.1.1

          While I agree that people, of any age, should be enabled to die with dignity, I must add that very sick people often continue to “live with dignity” and give a great deal to those close to them. Thus the question, better enable the ill to die with dignity, or to live a while longer in dignity (with adequate medical assistance)? We need much discernment here.

          • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1.1

            I can’t see what’s wrong with giving people the choice.

            • Olwyn 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Choice can become weighted in a particular direction, regardless of stringent safe guards. Suppose the choice of euthanasia allows the squeeze on aged and terminal care to tighten. This is not unlikely, since something is no longer deemed necessary if people can do otherwise. A person could find themselves excluded, for some reason or another, from terminal care, but have relatives who would be badly put out financially by having to care for them. Such a person, assuming she meet the safe guard standards, might well feel pressed to “choose” euthanasia out of duty, despite wanting to live on.

              That is one thing wrong with giving them a choice; once choice is legitimised, the board can be tilted in favour of the preference that bean-counters, etc. deem prudent.

      • Sunny 1.1.2

        My friend, we all face a ‘terminal condition’.

  2. Carol 2

    Labour do need to build a narrative about what they stand for, and it should be the platform for launching their policies, and not some superficial PR job. This needs to come from the heart, and shouldn’t be focused on some paint-by-numbers strategy, trying to second guess what will get more people voting for them.

    And, in my view, they shouldn’t be aiming for the crowded centre.

    The world has changed since Labour was last in government. The whole edifice of the cronyist, socially unjust form of capitalism the west has been intensely pursuing for the last few decades is crumbling.

    Labour should map themselves out a brave new direction.

    If they have their own agenda to pursue, they can still do what oppositions should do, and hold the government to account, strongly, critically, decisively and in a timely manner.

  3. Blue 3

    “The next election is now a little over two years away. At some stage Labour has to look and sound like an alternative government, with relevant policies and messages that resonate with the teacher, the truckdriver, and the beneficiary. Right now would be a good time to start getting it together.”

    Ummmm….yeah. That’s what we’ve all been asking them to do. What they should have been doing since the moment the leadership contest was over.

    So when are Labour going to start?

    Or are we going to do the whole ‘let’s pull all our policies out as late in the election campaign as possible when we’ve been thrashed in the media and the polls for three years and no one cares because they’ve already decided not to vote for us’ thing again?

    • KJT 3.1

      Insanity is doing the same thing again and expecting a different result.

      Didn’t work last election.

      • ak 3.1.1

        Didn’t work last election….

        ….except for the last four weeks – as reflected in results. The first time ever that many crucial swing voters saw some Lab MPs, and a committed team on target with fire in the guts. The pro-underdog fire of yore that every kiwi understands and respects.

        Mainly the fault of the now-blatantly and relentlessly pro-tory media. No easy answer there, but again there are lessons from recent history. Mining, Mt Albert, Lenslide.

        But for starters those lukewarm bellies need a torch: compulsory repeated viewing of the ’11 campaign launch film clip might stir whatever juice is left.

        And then take a tip from the marketing party and his slipperiness himself: permanent campaign mode.

    • Dr Terry 3.2

      When the pleasant Phil Goff was leader, were we not saying and asking much the same as we are now (and still!)?

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    I can’t wait for more market-led strategies and solutions from Labour.

  5. peterlepaysan 5

    I am not a National Party supporter, but why the hell would I want to vote for Labour?

    Maybe I should join the non voters and the “occupy” group.

    Labour has nothing on offer after nearly thirty years of receding relevance. I tore up my Labour Party membership card post 1987.

    Not much has happened in the last decade to make me want to rejoin.

    I have more success solving cryptic crosswords, sudoku and kenken than I do telling the difference between Labour and National

  6. saniac 6

    Yes, Labour can’t be in power to execute its policy without getting more people to vote Labour than currently do. But that doesn’t mean that we have to adopt centrist policies necessarily — it means that we should identify Labour policies that have broad appeal and recast them in terms that are broadly understood. That is quite different from parroting the platitudes of supposed centrists in the hope that they will identify with us.

    A futher problem is that in all this talk of values and branding and perception, the politics is actually lost. We don’t want power for its own sake. We want it to achieve aims. If there isn’t a programme underpinning the talk, people have to draw their own conclusions from the superficial choices of words and tropes. Perhaps it is unjust to draw the conclusion that the authors of the roof painter speech want to put the boot into the poor. But in the absence of POLITICAL talk — talk about power and policy, why we want it, what we will do with it — then the audience will have to assume that people who use the language of the Right share the aims of the Right.

    As an aside, purely from a pragmatic point of view about communicating in the modern age, people need to understand that you can no longer give a speech to an interest group, tailored for that group, and expect it to stay among a circle of friends. If you’re going to pander to the business community (we’re just like National! only nicer!) or conservative oldies (are the old really that prejudiced, by the way?) whatever you say will come and bite you.Someone outside the intended audience WILL hear and they WILL pass it on. The failure to foresee this furore speaks poorly of the nous of whoever put those words in Shearer’s mouth.

    • Galeandra 6.1

      ‘in all this talk of values and branding and perception, the politics is actually lost. We don’t want power for its own sake. We want it to achieve aims.’

      Well said.
      Funny how so many of the inner-sanctum don’t get this yet. No wonder they hate Cunliffe.

    • Bill 6.2

      Yes, Labour can’t be in power to execute its policy…

      What fucking policy!

      • Draco T Bastard 6.2.1

        The policy that they have to fuck over the electorate in service of the capitalists.

        • Colonial Viper 6.2.1.1

          But to do so in a nice comfy veneer of caring lefty polish. And you have to admit, life for the bottom half of the population would actually improve a bit more under Labour than it would under National. Surely that’s worth busting a gut for?

          • Descendant Of Smith 6.2.1.1.1

            Didn’t in 87 and most beneficiaries were worse off under 9 years of Labour – though they looked after superannuitants a little better.

            On a positive note they did at least reduce the numbers of those on benefit.

            Didn’t do a lot to empower unions.

            Overall I don’t think Labour better has that much going for it. There is no policy to judge them on moving forward. At least it’s much clearer what the greens and mana would do.

  7. Richard Christie 7

    The essential obstacle is that due to 30 years of Chicago School economic management the “centre” is now nowhere near where it was years ago.

    They won’t win me back with this strategy.

  8. BillODrees 8

    Thanks for your erudite exposition of the current strategy of the Labour Leadership, Mike.

    This has been the strategy since the 2008 loss. At least.

    You are too lenient. Asking the people who have failed so miserably for so long to change is pointless. Asking them to leave is the only option.

    You have just presented the best argument for an immediate succession into the leadership role for David Cunliffe. I’ll buy you a pint when we next meet.

  9. gobsmacked 9

    Message versus Messengers

    Even people who strongly disagree can discuss the message. It is much harder to deal with the messengers, because they are people, with egos (and salaries, and self-importance, and more).

    But there is no point pretending that any strategy will work, if it is implemented by the people who delivered failure. It won’t get buy-in from the activists, the ex-Labour voters, the media, anyone. It will be subject to constant suspicion and cynicism.

    Treating this as an abstract exercise won’t work. The old guard must own their defeats (plural), and leave. That is what should have happened under the new leader, but they wanted the illusion of change, not the reality of it. And the leader is too weak (or too close to the old guard) to do what needs to be done.

    If the choice of strategy is really an exercise in self-protection (“how do we keep our jobs?”), then it is a discussion in bad faith. If it is a genuine analysis (“how can we form a Labour/Green gov’t, with policies that we can believe in”), then it should start with half a dozen MPs looking down a camera lens and saying “Our time is up, we will hand over the torch, and we will get out of the way”.

    A few by-elections could kick-start the renewal, and be a great testing ground for innovative policies and modern campaigning. Labour’s energy and prospects could be transformed in no time.

    But I seriously doubt that this will happen, and until then, any discussion of strategy, while well-intentioned, is based on a false premise. The public will not vote for a warmed-over caucus corpse. And they won’t believe what they say.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      A few by-elections could kick-start the renewal, and be a great testing ground for innovative policies and modern campaigning. Labour’s energy and prospects could be transformed in no time.

      Well, that’s a fascinating idea you float there.

  10. McFlock 10

    I thought Labour’s strategists were supposed to be communication specialists.
         
    They want people who did not and will not vote Labour to vote Labour. Without making implying that the decisions to not vote Labour were not wrong.
         
    Maybe there’s another alternative they haven’t thought of yet: say what they will do for the truck driver. Maybe they think saying “eat the rich and Key is a fuckwit” is too negative to get votes. Fair enough. The “strategists'” current line seems to be ‘so pretend the rich give us manna from heaven and that Key isn’t a fuckwit, and proclaim that we agree that the poor and needy are whingers and bludgers’.
       
    There is an alternative: say “we will give you X, we will do Y, we will ensure that you get the fair go you deserve” without belittling anyone else. And keep it up for more than four months so that people know it’s not just a shallow election bribe that you’ll forget to pay. 
         
    But that means you need to have concrete policy, and (dare I say it) know where the money’s coming from, at your fingertips. That last bit is so you can tell the pub braggart to go fuck himself (but with nicer words than that).

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      That last bit is so you can tell the pub braggart to go fuck himself (but with nicer words than that).

      Na, if it’s the pub braggart if you’re nice he’ll just assume that he won the argument. Ram the facts down his throat and then actually tell him to go fuck himself. He probably still won’t change his mind but the look of surprise on his face should be good for a few laughs. :twisted:

      • McFlock 10.1.1

        The braggart I was thinking of has a penchant for yelling “show me the money”. And using throat-cut gestures in the House.

  11. QoT 11

    “Labour can moderate its own policy”

    Well, sure, I guess they could, but at this point it’s hardly an original strategy and I’m not sure how they could do it any more without literally copypasting National’s manifesto.

  12. AmaKiwi 12

    I speak from personal experience.

    My partner wrote Labour policy statements for two successive elections. In order to protect my partner’s privacy, I will not mention which policy it was. But it was MAJOR, not minor. There were some damn good innovations in those two policy statements.

    Once in power, the party policy meant NOTHING. The MINISTER decided EVERYTHING.

    Labour policy statements are pure, unadulterated bullshit.

    We are asked to compile and write them so we are kept busy between elections, lest we become leaders in some other community organizations and are not there to help with the next election.

    Labour is a TOP DOWN organization. Wake up!

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      Once in power, the party policy meant NOTHING. The MINISTER decided EVERYTHING.

      Yeah sounds about right. And most party members go on being nicely compliant and co-operative. Look what kind of party that has given us.

      • AmaKiwi 12.1.1

        It is also tragic. My partner is an expert in the field my partner wrote policy for. The ministers were not. What a bloody waste of talent.

    • mike 12.2

      Even if so, they are still the lesser of two evils compared to NAct. Not that that’s saying much.

      • Colonial Viper 12.2.1

        In the service of Her Royal Majesty, one must always choose the lesser of two weevils.

    • weka 12.3

      Go work for the Greens, it’s a much more egalitarian organisation, and it could do with some socialist lefties to keep it real.

  13. Matthew Hooton 13

    I hope you don’t mind me helping, but what an opposition should do is choose a high-profile and unpopular target, with which the government is associated and is required to defend, and attack it. The choice of the target should also define a positive message for the opposition.

    The best example of this in recent time is of course Don Brash and his infamous Orewa speech (which readers of the Hollow Men will know I opposed and which I give only as an example of the theory rather than suggesting Shearer follow the same policy path).

    Brash’s positive policy message was “One Law For All” but Bill English had been banging away on that for years. What Brash did was attack the unpopular treaty industry etc, the Labour govt felt obliged to defend it, the public decided which side it was on (National’s), and Brash would have become prime minister had he not been caught flirting with the loony Christian right.

    Note, this did not involve Brash going to the centre. National had a proud record through the 1990s on treaty issues under Jim Bolger and arguably Brash was going to the right. But, in fact, the issue was off the usual left/right spectrum and appealed to both much of the National Party base who had become disenfranchised with the centrism of English and to Chris Trotter’s Waitakere Man.

    Note also that Brash did not bother attacking Helen Clark and Labour in his Orewa speech. They were too popular. But by forcing them to defend the treaty industry he damaged their reputation.

    Similarly, in the early 1990s, when he was leaving National, Winston Peters attacked Fay Richwhite and others involved in the winebox. They were undoubtedly unpopular but National appeared to defend them by refusing to have an inquiry. Again, that worked pretty well for Peters and note that while his message was framed negatively – “Fay Richwhite are crooks” – there was also an underlying positive message: “Winston Peters will make the rich pay their taxes”.

    Earlier, on a bigger stage, David Lange followed the same path when he attacked nuclear ships. National and the US defended nuclear ships. Labour’s vote increased between 1984 and 1987.

    Another example was Helen Clark launching against Roger Kerr and the Business Roundtable when she first became prime minister. National said it was terrible she wouldn’t meet him. Guess who won that battle for hearts and minds.

    Or the Greens attacking biotechnology in 2002.

    Shearer did something of this earlier this year when he attacked Chinese investment in farms. That worked for him.

    Note, these initiatives were not timid – they didn’t involve cute stories snuck into speeches. Brash, Peters, Lange, Clark etc SHOUTED their message. The phone Mike Moore talks about was taken off the hook.

    Also note, the target can be anything as long as it is unpopular, bound to be defended by your opponents and says something about you by your choice of it. A National opposition can attack “overbearing unions” or “political correctness gone mad”. The obvious one for Labour is “big business”.

    But that’s enough help from me. I trust it is taken in the spirit intended. Our democracy depends on having a strong Labour opposition in the decades ahead.

    • Sam 13.1

      Why should the strong opposition you talk about be Labour?
      Seems to me that Labour is moribound, cannot get out of the quagmire it has created for itself.
      Meanwhile Russell Norman, the de-facto leader of the oppsition, is espousing new ideas, giving constructive crticism and targetting National’s follies very effectively.
      The way the Greens are going, they will usurp Labour as the 2nd largest party in parliament and become the strong opposition that is so sorely needed.
      Watch question time – Russell Norman sticks to facts, does not resort to personal attacks and in a lot of people’s eyes, he is the mainstay of opposition to the government.
      By contrast Labour is still just going after “the man’ and failing miserably.
      Labour must start espousing its positions, stick up for the working man and start spelling out where the new jobs will come from, don’t just attack the government on the rate of unemployment.
      Tell the people of New Zealand where the jobs will come from , that is aspirational and gives people hope and something to aim for.
      Real leadership is pro-active.
      Just being re-active to what the government is doing is not leadership.
      And then getting mired into the “same-sex” marriage and other irrelevant issues is so distractional, these issues are not high on the list of priorities in suburban and rural NZ and does not make people out there rush out and want to support Labour.
      Al this sort of Member’s Bill does is to prove to the general public that Labour is still not relevant to their hopes and aspirations.
      Party discipline should have seen that sort of Bill be held over till after winning an election.

      • Kotahi Tāne Huna 13.1.1

        Oh noes! It might make bigots uncomfortable!

        The vacuum does not have a queue of bigots waiting to fill it: they vote National, and in any case I think you are inflating their numbers. Projecting?

        The problems have been well articulated: wooing the centre means abandoning all pretence of left-wing policy. There is a vague cypher where the leader should be.

      • Colonial Viper 13.1.2

        And then getting mired into the “same-sex” marriage and other irrelevant issues is so distractional, these issues are not high on the list of priorities in suburban and rural NZ and does not make people out there rush out and want to support Labour.
        Al this sort of Member’s Bill does is to prove to the general public that Labour is still not relevant to their hopes and aspirations.
        Party discipline should have seen that sort of Bill be held over till after winning an election.

        Sam – I’m forced to agree with your analysis here. Imagine if the Bill was drawn 6 months before Election Day. National would have a ball using it as a distractor to throw Labour’s key election messages off course.

        • Carol 13.1.2.1

          Nah. If the opposition was standing up strongly for social and economic justice, the private members bills wouldn’t be a so-called distraction, but one plank in a raft of policies.

          The distractions are celebrity & (over-heated) sports “news”, crime etc being foregrounded.

          And here we have a Green MP private members bill drawn from the ballot today, focusing on income issues:

          http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10827366

          Green MP Catherine Delahunty’s members’ bill to extend the Working for Families’ in-work tax credit to beneficiary families will be considered by Parliament, after it was drawn from the members’ bill ballot.

          • Sailor Sam 13.1.2.1.1

            And is this Delahunty Bill not exactly the same as what Labour campaigned on before the last election?
            And look what happened there!
            I hope that Labour will side with the government and throw it out at the first reading.
            If they don’t I rest my case and Labour will stay irrelevant amongst suburban and rural working families.

          • Colonial Viper 13.1.2.1.2

            Nah. If the opposition was standing up strongly for social and economic justice, the private members bills wouldn’t be a so-called distraction, but one plank in a raft of policies.

            Oh I agree with you. Except at the moment we have one plank, and we are missing most of the rest of the raft.

      • Robert M 13.1.3

        Mathew the problem is simple and straightforward. All the parties are aiming their policy at securing the votes of dumb white men. That is why Orewa and the whole Sinclair/Long/ Brash strategy was hopeless. The real 30% of middle class people left in NZ are effectively disenfranchised in NZ.
        If NZ is too have hope it must return to strong support of USA foreign policy, expel Tim Groser, Move away from the growing orientation towards China and start building an unlimited 24hr society where noone listens to the interventionist do gooders and their anti drink, anti pokies, anti smokes chants.

        • Murray Olsen 13.1.3.1

          Sure thing Bobby. When will you be joining the US Marine Corps to show your strong support for US foreign policy?

    • chris73 13.2

      This advice is probably the best the Labour has received in a very long time but of course it’ll be ignored

    • ad 13.3

      Your general point about full-throated and concerted attacks is really good.

    • Anne 13.4

      You were doing well Matthew Hooton until you got to the last sentence. Had you been happy to stick with: our democracy depends on having strong opposition parties, I would have taken more notice of the rest of the post – despite a few questionable conclusions.

      Anyway, the opposition parties – including Labour – have already chosen a very high profile and unpopular target. It’s called Asset Sales.

      • Anne 13.4.1

        Oookay: I think your last sentence may have been ‘tongue in cheek’.

        Doesn’t alter the fact we’ve got a really cool target already mate. :cool:

    • Bored 13.5

      Matthew,Our democracy depends on having a strong Labour opposition in the decades ahead. reads to me like “I prefer National but Labours OK so long as they dont examine or change the broken mess that is our “democracy” and the corporate power structures that give me nurture”.

    • Lanthanide 13.6

      You can see the Greens have been doing this quite a lot recently.

      Attacking RoNS is one angle they’re working on.

    • newsense 13.7

      ‘big business’ or ‘big foreign business’ where foreign = the USA, cos for some reason nobody is allowed to be the least reluctant about big business from China.

      Also China = the future and Labour by signing the China free trade agreement was looking like the forward thinking, CGT, super debating , train supporting party, which the Nats are stealing.

      Key’s son playing little league, his achievement as tourism minister is that there are now more direct flights to Hawaii for the rich New Zealand tourists like him who want to live there and not here and he genuflects to Warner Brothers, changing our laws to suit them. The FBI using our police to raid dotcom, assets sales, and secret free trade negotiations. A government not for Kiwi Mums and dads, but for foreigners.

      actually the change our laws for big business- warners/TPCC and Sky City thing….(let alone no competition for Sky, but they’ll never be able to run that!)

      Matthew does seem to be advocating wedge politics is it?? And he didn’t charge anything for that advice….

      who is the Labour party strategist these days anyway?

    • Colonial Viper 13.8

      Thanks Matthew. Perhaps the Labour strategists can get some coaching sessions from you.

  14. Dr Terry 14

    I think certain words are well past their use by date, such as “äspirational” and “centrist”. At least Labour could begin to revise its vocabulary in the effort to speak more meaningfully. The word “äspirational” is, of course, very much used by, and identified with Key and it gives me the creeps. “Centrist” is a nebulous word, and hints at compromise with the Right (as Labour sometimes appears to be doing!) Let’s look for new words that mean something and serve to excite!

    • Bored 14.1

      A little bit of spade calling precision might be a good start, some things like “the poor” do exist.

  15. Rob Salmond 15

    Thanks for the post, Mike. I have mainly responded at pundit: http://pundit.co.nz/content/gently-worn-laundry

    But on one nit-picky point, I know about the database you created in 2005, and I think it was a good thing to develop. But I do not thunk it caused the turnout increase. As we have discussed before, I think some of the messaging the party sent on the basis of that database was harmful rather than helpful in terms of turnout. In my view the reason turnout increased from 2002 to 2005 was mainly that 2005 was close while 2002 was a walkover. There is a lot of political science evidence that close elections get higher turnout.

    • Bored 15.1

      I think expertise and “political science” an absolute waste of time. Labour lost. I’m commercial, when my sales people fail despite the buying signals being easily realised I fire them. They are of no use, merely a cost. Cruel, but I dont pretend to be a welfare organisation…(I fund that willingly through tax).

      There are over a quarter of all voters who did not “buy”. Nobody sold them a credible motivating vision, worked out what it would take to get them to make the effort to vote. Is what Labour are saying that those votes dont matter, that only those sitting in the “centre” can come to the table?

      • Rob Salmond 15.1.1

        Bored: I am not making the claim you suggest. Everybody’s vote matters, whether they voted last time or not. They just matter in different ways, depending on the voter’s previous choices. As for your view that expertise is an absolute waste of time, I respectfully disagree.

        • Bored 15.1.1.1

          Rob, you might note that I don’t think much of the strategy of picking off the easy wins individually, i.e centrist swinging voters. I note again it did not work for the last couple of elections, so ergo……..

          My criticism of expertise is deliberately sharp: experts I have heard defined as people who know more and more about narrower and narrower fields, until they know everything about nothing.
          In the case of economists enough said, in the case of political scientists and strategists I am seeing the same pattern emerge.

          I would contend that the issue with Labour (they are not alone) is that as an organisation they have deferred to “professionalism” and “expertise”. Both traits proscribe broad debate, both traits frame language, both traits use “method” rather than intuition, experience, and wisdom to make decisions.

          • Carol 15.1.1.1.1

            I don’t think the problem with Labour’s approach is the use of “experts” per se, but the kind of experts they choose, and how often they use them.

            There’s too much focus on polling & focus groups, and using this to try to second guess which demographics to target and how.

            Various kinds of experts can be more valuable and innovative if they are regular in communication with each other.

            This obsession with polling and focus-group is a market-derived strategy that became more prominent with the rise of neoliberalism.

            As many have said on this site, Labour needs to develop more heart-felt and substantive principles and values as part of a narrative and framework for developing it’s policies.

            • Bored 15.1.1.1.1.1

              Thanks Carol, I may be a little blunt: your strategy on how to use “experts” shows wisdom the “experts” might learn from..

          • AAMC 15.1.1.1.2

            “it massively devalued the role of politicians. In the face of this retreat from the dynamic idea of progress and changing the world, politicians became instead managers of society as it is, and they came to see their job as being to simply leave the world to go on as it is—with all its inequalities and imbalances of power. And in response to that, we, the electorate, began to turn away from the politicians and scorn them because we felt their loss of self-confidence.”

            Adam Curtis on “managerialism”

            http://www.e-flux.com/journal/in-conversation-with-adam-curtis-part-ii/

      • Colonial Viper 15.1.2

        I’m commercial, when my sales people fail despite the buying signals being easily realised I fire them. They are of no use, merely a cost. Cruel, but I dont pretend to be a welfare organisation…

        You evil capitalist :evil:

        Yeah, so I’d do exactly the same :P

    • just saying 15.2

      I don’t know if you will revisit this thread. If you do, I’d like to ask a couple of questions relating to the blog post you’ve linked to. I started to fill in the “paperwork” for commenting at the Pundit, but found it required much more individual information than I considered it wise to give.

      Were you a part of the strategy team, even as an informal consultant, for Goff’s tenure as Leader of the Opposition? The reason I ask is that, apart from proposing the opposition actually do its job and oppose, the path you are suggesting sounds very similar to the Goff strategy.

      Do you think that a centrist (third-way) path enacted by a future Labour government is likely to be the best response to the problems facing the country? Do you think that a centrist Labour government would probably be a reasonably good response? Do you think the NZ’s interests might be better served by a future Labour government enacting a greater degree of leftist social-democrat policies?

      What I’m wondering is do those encouraging Labour to turn rightward to where the centre has come to settle, believe that the resultant policies for a future Labour government are likely to be very, or at least a reasonably good way of dealing with the problems facing the country?

      • Kotahi Tāne Huna 15.2.1

        The problem with the “third way” is that it doesn’t exist outside of the minds of “strategists” (most of whom probably wouldn’t recognise a strategy if they fell over one). Keynes or Friedman? What “third way”?

        Sun Tzu said all that needs to be said about leadership and motivation four thousand years ago.

      • just saying 15.2.2

        I’m not as eloquent as some here. Maybe this question is clearer.

        Assuming some magical universe where Labour is gauranteed a majority that allows it to govern alone no matter what:

        How far from the “centrist” policy platform you think is strategically optimal for Labour to follow, are your personal views about the policies it would be optimal for Labour to follow – for the greatest benefit to the country, according to your own values and beliefs?

        What would be different?

        • Kotahi Tāne Huna 15.2.2.1

          What defines “the centre”? Why, it’s in between the left and the right, of course. To ask your question another way, how much influence should the failed, inhuman “policies” of the right have on the Labour Party’s position?

      • Rob Salmond 15.2.3

        just saying: (1) I did two days of volunteer work for the Goffice in Budget week 2009, and again for Budget 2010. And I published some supportive blog posts on pundit during the term. Other than that, no. (2) This question would take a long time to answer properly. The best I can do in blog comment form is: in some areas I personally think a more leftist approach is superior, in other areas I agree with the centrist sentiment.

        • just saying 15.2.3.1

          Thanks for answering Rob. I’d be really interested too, in hearing which areas!

          Another question, if you strongly disagreed that the path that you believe voters are most likely to vote Labour for, was in the best interests of the country would you still propose Labour follow it if you also believed that a National government might be a little bit worse?

          Do your recommendations for Labour’s strategy include consideration for the best interests of the party in the long-term or are they confined to the best interests of Labour leading the next government (obviously assuming that is a good thing)?

          Thanks Rob

          I do like and respect Pundit, I just don’t want to fill-in those forms.

          • Rob Salmond 15.2.3.1.1

            Happy to answer questions, just saying, but I can’t really go issue-bu-issue without going policy-by-policy, and I’m not about to write a blog comment manifesto! On your other questions: (1) I think getting elected is important, and standing for something real is important, too. So I do not think Labour should aspire to be epsilon to the left of National, because then it is basically useless. But I also do not think there is much virtue in being ideologically pure if you are always unable to deliver your platform. I would rather we deliver all of a generally good platform than none of a great one. (2) Yes, the long term good of the party is important to me, well beyond whatever political event happens to be next.

            • Colonial Viper 15.2.3.1.1.1

              It’s a well reasoned strategy, Rob, so how’s it working out for Labour so far. And who is going to put your hoardings up.

              • Rob Salmond

                CV: As I said in my pundit post, so far the left is up 5 points (4 for Labour, 1 for Greens) from the election. Not too bad, so far. And I think rumours of the permanent departure of Labour’s activist core are exaggerated.

                • Olwyn

                  Some perspective is needed here. Labour is where it has been for the past three and a half years; floating up and down within a width band around 30% that barely exceeds the margin of error. Within those years it has not, from memory, recaptured the giddy heights of 34%, when it lost the 2008 election. For most of them Key was the golden boy, so it was perhaps to be expected, but not any more. Yes, the Greens are doing well, but Labour can hardly take credit for this. And activists have neither unlimited patience nor unlimited flexibility regarding Labour’s positioning and policy.

                • Colonial Viper

                  And I think rumours of the permanent departure of Labour’s activist core are exaggerated.

                  This is a good sentence to examine closely.

                  • Bored

                    I think we might want to look at what a Labour activist of today actually looks like, who they represent, and more importantly what they represent.? Do they represent the guiding principles of Labour http://www.labour.org.nz/about-us first and foremost, or do they represent a specific interest group primarily and the principles as an afterthought? It might prove very revealing to go over the MPs and party hierachy from that viewpoint.

  16. Phil 16

    The issue for me is that the “Center” is now so far to the right that the political shape of NZ politics is incredibly skewed.
    Any attempt to identify with Labour values, and I mean true social democratic Labour values not the current neo liberal manifesto, leaves you adrift in a blank space almost a political void.
    Maybe we should Occupy the left rather than moan about our current cosy location.
    Anyway, if nothing changes we can at least blame our lack of progress on the Christchurch earthquake.

    • Carol 16.1

      The issue for me is that the “Center” is now so far to the right that the political shape of NZ politics is incredibly skewed.

      Agreed. And the left should be working to shift the dominant discourse leftwards. It should be building a narrative that is the framework for policies. That narrative should be attacking the international corporatocracy and supporting the interests of the (less powerful) majority of Kiwi communities and individuals: working and non-working people (the young, the elderly, the sick, disabled and unemployed).

      And this support should be in the form of stimulated fulfilling, satisfying, sustainable and affordable lifestyles.

    • Bored 16.2

      +1, the Labour guiding principles seem well at odds with their “advice”.

    • David H 16.3

      And don’t forget the other ‘good’ excuse the Nacts use. The global financial meltdown. Conveniently forgetting that it was Key’s banking buddies that were at the heart of it, and still are, what with the rorts still being exposed now.

  17. chris73 17

    Ok so I’m going to spell out to people here just how Labour could woo me to vote for them on the basis that even though its only my thinking chances are there are many (thousands?) who hold similar opinions to mine

    So at the moment my view of Labour is that its trying to be too inclusive, by this I mean its trying to appeal to the middle class, the working class and to those on benefits.

    The problem being that if benefits are raised then the lower paid workers will see their friends, neighbours etc etc being paid more for no extra work, if minimum wages are raised then the middle class will think employment will suffer etc etc

    So I think the Labour party is spreading itself to thin by trying to be all things to all people.

    Labour don’t seem to be able to share power, they had the greens and treated them shabbily, instead of shearing power and “giving” those on the benefits to the greens they kept the greens on a short leash (and are now reaping what they’ve sown)

    So if Labour were to go back to its roots and focus on the lower class working man and woman and let the greens look after those on benefits (after all they’ll both be in govt) it would be a tremendous start

    So concentrate on raising the minimum wage, state you’ll keep the 90 day bill, champion mining and stop suggesting WFF for the unemployed (let the greens suggest it)

    There are other issues, of course, but the other major one is that Labour has no teamwork which makes it hard to support.

    Had the Labour caucus supported Goff I think Labour would have won, hell if the Labour caucus had just not said anything Labour probably would have won
    (ie T. Mallard, C. Curran, K. Faaoi, C. Carter etc etc)

    Either support your leader or at the very least don’t say anything

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 17.1

      Who cares about attracting your vote? I don’t imagine for one instant you are sincere about it.

      Why would Labour keep a bunch of Tory policies to please a Tory, given that said policies are an abject miserable incompetent failure?

      • chris73 17.1.1

        “Who cares about attracting your vote? I don’t imagine for one instant you are sincere about it.”
        – I dunno, maybe a party that wants to be in power? Also consider that if I think this way maybe thousands of others think in a similar way as well

        “Why would Labour keep a bunch of Tory policies to please a Tory, given that said policies are an abject miserable incompetent failure?”

        – Raising the minimum wage is tory policy? The 90 day bill hasn’t caused the sky to fall in and I’m guessing the Labour party might have some links to mining

        Or failing that try listening to Josie Pagani

        • Kotahi Tāne Huna 17.1.1.1

          “Hasn’t caused the sky to fall in” – that’s the new benchmark is it? Funny, I thought it would make more sense to test it against the actions of employers.

          • Kotahi Tāne Huna 17.1.1.1.1

            PS: the many thousands of people who think the way you do are National supporters too. They respond to dog whistles and hate speech, not sound policy positions.

            • chris73 17.1.1.1.1.1

              PS That way of thinking is why Labour is not in power and is leaking votes to the Greens

              • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                Um, Labour up four points since election. Greens up 1. Are you sure of your facts?

                PS: I am not the Labour Party.

                • chris73

                  and whos in charge, Labour or National?

                  • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                    lol do you call what National are “in charge”? They had four years to implement their flagship policy and it’s a trainwreck, not to mention the rest of the incompetent shambles.

            • Sailor Sam 17.1.1.1.1.2

              I am not a National supporter anymore, looking for the alternative.
              So far NZFirst is a favourite, followed by the Conservatives
              If you go an like this and push non-Labour people away, you and people like you are the reason that Labour will lose again.
              Labour needs to become inclusive and make me want to support it.
              Labour needs me more than I need Labour.
              THus Labour needs to broaden its base again, not just rely on a few activists and focus groups.
              It needs to support the working people of this country, not the vocal minority.
              It also needs to promote job growth and spell this out with cold hard facts, not grandstanding for any particular audience, that does no longer work in the internet/social media age.

              • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                What is it about Winston First and the Conservatives that appeals to you?

                What makes you think that Labour should change to suit you? Should it also try to appeal to ACT voters?

                Oh, and which organisations of “working people” is it again that are affiliated to NZ 1st and Colin Craig? Remind us all which workers’ group has voting rights at the Winston and Colin Craig show…

                • Kotahi Tāne Huna

                  PS: Perhaps you should also include the following piece of info in your calculations: I vote Green as often as I vote Labour…

                • Sailor Sam

                  With comments like that you are not going to win over uncommitted voters, the very ones you need to become government again.
                  Shows how stupid you are, going once again onto personal attacks.
                  When will you ever learn, revelling in personal attacks, that is why theLabour party is rapidly becoming irrelevant.
                  Look at Russel Norman – in spite of being attacked personally by both Labour and National, he responds with sensible questions and answers on issues.
                  He does not rip people’s throats out, unlike you and others like you withing Labour.
                  You should be trying to win me over, that would be constructive.
                  But no – you don’t want me – that is fine – but rot in opposition then.
                  Pathetic and so utterly, utterly stupid!!

  18. KJT 18

    Does anyone at the top in Labour still believe this statement?

    “Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes that you can do these things.”

    It shows how much to the radical right that political discourse has shifted.

    That statement was made by a, Republican! US president. Eisenhower.

    Not too long ago these things were considered “the centre” even by conservatives.

    It is the Neo-Liberals who are radical.

    Trying to be a pale imitation of National is a total abandonment of principle and what Labour stands for.

    • just saying 18.1

      I remember former Whitehouse strategist Dick Allen saying that when he started out, the number of people who shared his (even-more extreme for the time) rightwing views could have met in a phonebox.

      NZ of course, now has the pleasure of Allen living in NZ for many months of the year at a one-percenter’s enclave outside Queenstown.

  19. aerobubble 19

    Family tax credits lower wages, since ‘middle NZ’ gets support.. So out comes the far
    right National party who works out that most NZ families pay no income tax, haven’t
    seen their figures, and it does not take into account GST, taxes on savings, etc and
    argue that businesses and high incomes (who benefit from lower wages) should get
    bigger tax cuts. National obliges, and borrows and raises GST, all to placate the
    freeloaders who are already gouging middle NZ, thanks to Labour family tax credits.

    So when you ask me can Labour win the next election, I say, will it matter. Well
    maybe, since we all agree the landscape has changed, oil ain’t getting cheaper.
    CGT is an example of this change, targeting the rent seekers capital gain tax free windfall.
    So yes, Labour are moving the right way, but no Labour haven’t got there head around it yet.

    Take ACT’s inspired policy of noise old cars that obviously make driving dangerous,
    a half dozen fly past my home from 6.30am onwards every so often, and I wonder
    how say someone on a moped, or even in another car, would actually be able to
    have their horn heard by the drivers in these very noisy engine noise vehicles. It
    was bad law, parliament without a separate upper chamber lets too much bad law
    onto the books, governments would not be held to ransom by one seat parties. Charter
    Schools for extremist would have proper teachers if reviewed by a upper chamber.
    So when I hear Banks and Dunne suggest that no back door for single electorate
    seeks to get list MPs will hurt democracy, you know it’ll be the opposite.
    There’s good and bad, there are good changes that make a system more stable,
    and good changes that make a system more unstable, there are bad changes
    that make the system more stable, and… I think you get it. Stability that crushes
    democracy should not be replaced with instability that lets one seat jokers hold
    government to ransom, as Banks and Dunne both are. That’s why we need a
    upper chamber.

    • weka 19.1

      Aero, any chance you can change the formatting of whatever you are writing your posts on so that the sentences scan properly?

  20. captain hook 20

    I am going to spell it out here that chris 72 is just an agent provacateur filling the net with interminable garbage to confuse and baffle people without actually saying anything.

    • chris73 20.1

      Nope sorry you got that wrong, try again.

    • fatty 20.2

      chris 72 just regurgitates what he/she reads on kiwiblog.
      chris 72 is Farrar’s stomach bile

      • chris73 20.2.1

        I know it may come as a surprise but there are people out there with completely different views to your own and if you listen to different opinions it actually improves your own view of things

        • fatty 20.2.1.1

          Cheers for the pep-talk.
          The fact that I’ve pulled you up on rehashing kiwiblog shows that I am aware of other opinions. It gets a little boring after a while…don’t be afraid to develop your own thoughts

          • chris73 20.2.1.1.1

            Then it may well surprise you to know that I don’t go to kiwiblog very often. The main blogs I go to are this and whaleoil but hey if you want to keep on believing it then good on you.

  21. gobsmacked 21

    Some welcome contributions from Matthew and Rob here (no, not sarcasm!).

    To respond – and develop my earlier comment, which of the following would Rob call “expertise”, or Matthew call a “strategy”? Would you describe these as the decsions of an “expert strategist”?

    – using the party’s blog to go on repeatedly about Simon Lusk, David Farrar, Cactus Kate, etc

    – arranging a bike race against a right-wing blogger, just weeks before the election

    – making something up about BMWs and an Auckland car dealer, which nobody believed

    – going on repeatedly about the number of bodyguards the PM has

    – selling tickets on TradeMe and generating a heap of negative publicity

    … and so on, and so on, for the past four years.

    How many votes were won? How many were lost? That’s what it’s all about, right?

    Abstract strategy discussions are meaningless, while the same “strategists” remain. If Rob Salmond wants to spend hours on detailed analysis, to develop a strategy, and then hand it over to proven failures who will fuck it up, then that’s his call. But life is short – so why bother?

    Mallard (and Hodgson before him) were Labour’s election strategists. There has not been one single word to acknowledge failure – and of course, nothing has changed.

    And nothing will.

  22. Michael 22

    Pete Hodgson’s strategies resulted in three election wins for Labour, including its best, in 2002. Even better, he didn’t descend into bigotry to win (cf the Orewa speech, etc, from NACT). Labour lost in 2008, and again in 2011, because it abandoned its base between 1999 and 2005, even though that base saved its arse in 2005, after its new middle-class friends deserted it as a result of being seduced by NACT’s promises of tax cuts.

  23. Blue 23

    @gobsmacked ” There has not been one single word to acknowledge failure ” Its no longer “failure” its “not acheived” :)

  24. F*#k'd Off 24

    Step 1. Get rid of both Rob Salmond and Josie Pagani!
    Step 2. Decide if the party is Left wing party or another middle of the road Chardonnay wishy washy middle class pandering party?
    Step 3. After determining which side you represent, you target the 880,000 people that didn’t vote or declare you’re no longer the Labour party!

    Do that before the end of 2012!!

  25. bomber 25

    When Labour Party strategists are shitting on the largest left wing blog in the country – you know there are deep problems with being able to identify the target – If I was running Labour Party strategy – http://tumeke.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/if-i-was-running-labour-party-strategy.html

    • blue leopard 25.1

      @ Bomber

      I suggest you get that invoice sent

    • Colonial Viper 25.2

      Speaking truth to Stupid*. Very nice.

      *Yes, stolen from The Newsroom, I know.

    • ad 25.3

      I don’t always agree with you but really appreciated the supportive comments. Which the NZHerald have picked up nicely.

    • gobsmacked 25.4

      Bomber wrote:

      If I was the Labour Party strategist, I would be on the phone to the Standard daily. I’d be touching base with Idiot/Savant once a week. Calling Morgan Godfery, Gordon Campbell and Julie Fairey for a fortnightly catch up and I’d be taking Russell Brown and Chris Trotter out for a monthly coffee!

      I’d like to suggest a simple blog post on the Standard – a quick round-up of left/liberal/anti-Nat blogs, and where they stand on the Shearer/Pagani line.

      An incomplete list, in addition to the names Bomber mentions …

      Critical (to put it mildly): Dim-Post, Imperator Fish, Brian Edwards, QoT, Twisted Hive, Bryce Edwards, KiwiPolitico, and no doubt others I’ve missed.

      Cheering: Um … Rob Salmond. Anyone else?

      So a large and varied group of people, who would disagree about many other things, have all independently reached the same conclusion. Shearer/Pagani have successfully united the left … against them.

      • QoT 25.4.1

        Shearer/Pagani have successfully united the left … against them.

        Shit, gobsmacked, I think you’ve hit on their real strategy. Piss off the entire spectrum of lefties and liberals and the centre will HAVE to come running back to vote for them!

        • KJT 25.4.1.1

          Pagani and co seems to want Labour to be the National party.

          Why don’t they just join NACT?

          Or. Is it just job security for something that quacks and his fellows.

        • Colonial Viper 25.4.1.2

          Sarcasm becomes you.

          The current beltway set seem intent on seeing how many times they can poke the Lefty wasp hive with a sharp stick. Before something very unpleasant (to them) occurs.

  26. AAMC 26

    This has very likely been covered in the posts above, no time to read them all, but, how exactly do we define center and does our morality play any part in this, or is it just a game where we compete for votes?

    Lets say the Nats continue their push towards challenging The Golden Dawn party for 1st place in the race to Right Wing extremism, and they continue to bring the electorate with them. Would Labour’s pitch to the middle continue, as it has, to move Right with them?

    Are there not core principles that override concepts of the center, messages that you proclaim proudly, in order to motivate the “center” to look in your direction? If you’re always chasing the center as defined by the National Party, they will always be leading you by the nose.

    When Edward Bernays made smoking acceptable to American women, he did so against the tide of prevailing norms, he drove the narrative.

    Lead if you want to inspire anybody to vote for you! If not at this moment in History, with Austerity pushing Europe and the rest of the World further into Depression, the platform for the narrative is being handed to you on a silver platter, when?

    • gobsmacked 26.1

      Lead if you want to inspire anybody to vote for you! If not at this moment in History, with Austerity pushing Europe and the rest of the World further into Depression, the platform for the narrative is being handed to you on a silver platter, when?

      Yes, yes, thrice yes.

      That’s why Labour’s people have to change – not just the strategy. Labour are stuck with the “spending our money” stigma, because they’ve failed to make the case for investment as a public good. Spending is seen as frittering – on themselves.

      Their own behaviour has contributed mightily to that perception. In an absurd role reversal, Key is seen as the “decent bloke” who gives his salary to charity*, and Labour MPs are seen as the ones who spend freely on porn and plane tickets. They (or at least, some of them) have a sense of entitlement which puts them firmly on the other side of the divide. Not surprisingly, the poor (working or not) see little connection between their own lives, and their MPs’.

      When the Socialists came to power in France recently, the first thing Hollande did was honour an election pledge – to cut the Cabinet’s salary by 30%. Can you imagine the NZ Labour caucus doing that? Can you imagine Shearer ordering them to do it?

      I am quite sure that Labour’s cosseted insiders have NO idea how much damage Mallard’s scalping did, out there among the struggling (ex) Labour voters. No policy or strategy can compensate for headline stupidity. They must GO!

      *never mind the absence of evidence for this, it’s widely believed

  27. captain hook 27

    politics in New Zealand at the moment is organised similar to lynch mobs but the Labour Party has to tell the country that it can create jobs and work.
    that is what people want.
    by aping the neanderthal tories and putting the onus onto the unemployed and cloaking employment in the weasel language of personal decision the party is evading its responsibility to the truth and well being of the people.

  28. Bob 28

    Mike, I think you will find it was the free shuttle to the voting booths in South Auckland with the lure of free KFC that helped labour to win in 2005, not to mention the case of the one property that had 26 labour voters, what are the chances? Why not just employ this strategy again?

    • Murray Olsen 28.1

      Even if what you say is true, how many votes would Labour have gained through this tactic? It can hardly be called a strategy. 
      I also don’t like the racism inherent in your stupid comment. Who decides on how they vote for a feed of KFC? NActional pays much better bribes anyway, but I suppose in your universe the rich didn’t vote NAct in exchange for tax cuts or cheap access to public assets. Come on, be upfront about it, be proud of your racist views. 

      • Bob 28.1.1

        Hi Murray,

        Before you start calling me a racist, how about you have a read through the Hansard for September 11, 2008 http://theyworkforyou.co.nz/portfolios/prime_minister/2008/sep/11/rt_hon_winston_peters#field_20 (my apologies, can’t access the official Hansard, I can only find this transcript, I also thought it was 2005), where it states “Hon Dr MICHAEL CULLEN: That indeed is what that email says, although, of course, Mr Glenn tried to claim to the Privileges Committee that he had no recollection of the context around the Auditor-General’s requirement of a $158,000 repayment—a claim about as credible as his statement that he paid Mike Williams large sums of money, apparently to buy KFC for hundreds of Pacific Island people in Māngere.”

        We all know Owen Glenn didn’t lie about his donations to Winston Peters, so why would he lie about this.

        I get the feeling that your own racial indefferences may have lead you down the garden path to calling me a racist a little too quickly there Murray.

        • Colonial Viper 28.1.1.1

          Second hand information about what Owen Glenn may or may not have said, and out of that what may or may not have been accurate. Fuck you are full of it.

        • Murray Olsen 28.1.1.2

          What on earth is a racial indefference?

          • Bob 28.1.1.2.1

            You attitude towards racial matters, seems you where very keen to label me a racist when I was quoting from historical records, perhaps your own racist stereotyping coming through?

            • Colonial Viper 28.1.1.2.1.1

              Sorry mate your choice of (dubious) quote and your pretense at not seeing the perpetration of stereotypes marks you out damn clearly as a racist.

              • Bob

                CV, you do realise that you are exactly the type of person Josie Pagani was referring too? What have I said that is remotely racist? Differing in view point to yourself , Yes, Racist, No. All we need is for me to get a lifetime ban and her entire point about this website would be complete in one short thread.

                • Colonial Viper

                  All we need is for me to get a lifetime ban and her entire point about this website would be complete in one short thread.

                  Bob, to be clear, you are an asshole, not a martyr.

                  CV, you do realise that you are exactly the type of person Josie Pagani was referring too?

                  :roll:

        • gobsmacked 28.1.1.3

          “why would he lie about this?”

          He may not have lied (because intent cannot be proved), but he was most certainly wrong.

          Buying KFC for hundreds of people, in order to get their votes, is a crime (“treating”). So if it happened, the following would be true:

          1) Hundreds of people would be witnesses, having received the bribe. Not one has ever been found, by any journalist or anyone else. I know for a fact that media enquiries were made – it would have been a huge news story, after all. But … Nothing.

          2) The crime would have been committed by the President of the Labour Party. If Labour’s opponents believed there was any chance that it was true, then a complaint would have been laid (just as Trevor Mallard laid the complaint about John Banks). National would have loved to nail Labour’s President, with huge political implications (“stolen election”, etc). They didn’t even need to do it officially – plenty of National/ACT proxies available, and more than willing to do it.

          3) Owen Glenn has – of course – since turned against Labour, and he had every incentive to back up his story with evidence (e.g. financial transfer, phone records, etc – as happened with the Peters donation). He has never done so, nor does he repeat the story any more.

          All this was pointed out at the time, but obviously it didn’t get past your wishful thinking, Bob.

          But you have defamed Mike Williams, so an apology is in order.

          • Bob 28.1.1.3.1

            Reposting what is already in public domain via a transcript of the Hansard is hardly defamation, should I say Murray Olsen has defamed me by calling me a racist?

            • gobsmacked 28.1.1.3.1.1

              See your comment at 12:26.

              And I note you cannot rebut any of the points made, so that ends the matter.

              • Bob

                1) Hundreds of party faithful that are recieving gift would hardly bite the hand that feeds them (literally and figuratively), what incentive is there for them to talk to the media? In the Hansard it shows that Taito Phillip Field had seen the story in the news, so they obviously had something to run with.

                2)The National party already had the Labour party on the ropes for illegal pledge cards and NZ First on the ropes for the $158,000 donation, maybe they got cocky, or thought it harder to prove than than the pledge card rort.

                3)Owen Glenn turned on Labour through this whole process, not before. Has anyone asked him about this since? No reason to repeat it on TV out of the blue without being prompted.

                • Murray Olsen

                  Why would party faithful need to be bribed? Party faithful tend to vote for the party come hell or high water. You’re not making any sense at all.

                  • Bob

                    Maybe they were starting to feel disenfranchised with the labour party, could be why they didn’t turn out last election as well.

                • gobsmacked

                  You’re very confused, Bob. Let it go.

                  The original comment by Glenn was made in a TV interview in 2008. Williams immediately denied it. This was before the 2008 election.

                  National did not need to prove it (again, see Mallard/Banks). A complaint would have caused major embarrassment, at the perfect time (pre-election). And anyone could have tried it. Nothing happened.

                  As for the “bribed” voters, given that Labour’s vote has fallen markedly from 2005 – 2008 – 2011, including in South Auckland, then many of those people would be disaffected ex-Labour voters. Again … not one has spoken. A shuttle bus, you said? For hundreds? To KFC? Not one employee, not one eye witness, not even a whisper to the media. Ever. Wow.

                  You have simply heard what Glenn said and assumed that because Glenn suggested it (let’s assume that’s true, though we can’t know), therefore it subsequently happened. That’s nonsense.

                  • Bob

                    Fair points Gobsmacked, it does seem implausible that no-one would come forward after all this time, it is just hard to see why Owen Glenn would make such a statement without some element of truth to it.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Yeah because taking a thin one liner and turning it into an entire meal is your speciality.

                    • Bob

                      CV, at least I have a premis to my claims, still waiting for you to point out where I was being racist………..oh that’s right, you just had no arguement so you went straight to insults, take some pointers from Gobsmacked, at least s/he puts a case forward to back up his/her comments.

                      Do you actually have any ideas yourself? I have just read through all of your replies above and they are simply one-liners either agreeing with a statement or attacking the writer (I am guessing that is your way of not agreeing), no actual ideas of your own to put out for the world to critique. Are you scared you will be alone in your thoughts? Or are you simply a troll living in a comfortable left wing blog?

            • Murray Olsen 28.1.1.3.1.2

              Say what you like. I find the idea that South Aucklanders decide their vote on how much KFC they get to be racist. You promulgated that fantasy, therefore I say that you have racist views. If you feel defamed by that, cry me a river.

              • Bob

                Murray, I don’t feel you have defamed me at all, I was simply using your statement as a reference to show Gobsmacked how precious s/he was being.

                • Murray Olsen

                  Gee, now I’m on your side. You’ve convinced me. I don’t like KFC but I’ll settle for a good feed of scallops or maybe even kina.
                  In fact, all you’ve convinced me of is that you’re a troll coming in here to try and get a reaction that you can talk about on some other blog to enhance your martyr complex. For some unkown reason, this happens a lot in the small hours.

                • gobsmacked

                  You have specifically alleged corruption. That’s serious.

                  You’re now suggesting that the National Party turned a blind eye to corruption. That they believed it happened, but did nothing. That’s also serious.

                  Either you believe a serious crime happened, or you don’t. Which?

    • Colonial Viper 28.2

      Mike, I think you will find it was the free South Canterbury bailouts with the lure of profitable quick flip power assets that helped National to win in 2011

      fify

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