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Supernumerary

Written By: - Date published: 3:50 pm, October 22nd, 2012 - 98 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, david parker, david shearer, Economy, election 2014, grant robertson, greens, labour, russel norman - Tags:

I’ve been thinking about what you might call a ‘good problem’ for the Left.. but it leads me to a ‘problem problem’. OK, so let’s say we win the next election – as the Left must do and should do given how unpopular the Nats’ policies are and, for the last year, how inept their political management has been. How do you share the economic portfolios out?

With neither Shearer or Robertson having any economic pedigree, getting the economic team right is vital. And it also means the places are limited – Finance and Economic Development (now really a prize worth having after the creation of the MoBIE super-ministry) are the two economic portfolios worth a damn. Finance has long been as powerful as the Prime Ministership in many respects, and Joyce has grown Economic Development into something approaching their equal.

Now, Labour’s never going to sign over Finance to the Greens in a coalition deal – not unless they’re something very close to equal in size. So, if Labour’s line-up stays as is, Parker would take Finance. That leaves either Cunliffe or Norman to take MoBIE, and you would have to think that goes to Norman along with the Deputy Prime Ministership.

Which, worryingly, leaves the Left’s strongest economic advocate out in the cold and only one of the Labour-Green Government’s top five (Shearer, Robertson, Parker, Turei, and Norman) with the ability to really communicate on economic issues.

Wouldn’t it be craziness to see Cunliffe left out of the picture entirely with some nothing portfolio. The guy most able to take the public with him on economics, left on the sidelines – it would be a terrible waste and a costly one. And wouldn’t it be asking for trouble (and unpalatable for Labour) if no-one but Norman in the senior team could effectively explain economic and fiscal issues to the public?

Like I say, that’s a ‘good problem’, when you’ve got power and you’ve got too many capable people for the positions available. It could be perhaps solved by giving Norman the Deputy Prime Ministership and a grab-bag of junior economic portfolios although I can’t see Robertson enjoying being sidelined.

Which brings me to the ‘problem problem’ for Labour. It is so important to get the economic portfolios right only because the leadership doesn’t bring economic credentials of its own.

No matter which way you arrange the economic portfolios, Labour has the problem, just as it had with Goff and King, that neither its leader nor its deputy have strength in the most important and hotly-contested area of modern politics. Key, English, and Joyce make National’s top three and they are all strong on the economy (no, not strong at running an economy, but perceived as knowledgeable on economic issues). Going against that team with leaders who couldn’t match them on economics cost Labour in 2011 – we all remember Key’s ‘show me the money’, it only worked because it played into pre-existing narratives.

Framing an economic alternative to National is going to be vital to winning in 2014. That work is already underway with the anti-asset sales petition/referendum and the manufacturing crisis inquiry but it will need to be led from the top. The leader of Labour, the next PM, needs to be able to articulate that alternative. I think that if Shearer were better able to handle economic issues then Labour present a single face as the Greens can, and we would be looking at Labour and National neck and neck in the polls by now.

The next election, like the last one and the one before, will be fought on the economy. Key has already shown he can make mincemeat of an opponent who doesn’t feel comfortable speaking the language of economics – so Labour’s leadership had best be ready by then (also, how would it look if the leaders’ debate is a three-way debate with Norman as well? Shearer could end up playing second fiddle).

So two problems. The first – that Cunliffe, the Left’s most able economic communicator, would be supernumerary post-election with the current line-ups, which would make governing a lot harder. And the second – how to have Labour’s leadership ready to foot it with Key, English, and Joyce on economics in 2014? The answer may be crucial for the Left’s election chances.

98 comments on “Supernumerary”

  1. gobsmacked 1

    I’m glad somebody’s thinking ahead.

    The answer is implied in JH’s questions. You just can’t have a double failure at the top.

    If Shearer stays (he won’t), he needs Cunliffe in Finance. When Shearer is replaced, leader Robertson should have Cunliffe, or leader Cunliffe can have Parker if he wants – it will matter less.

    The Right’s campaign lines are predictable — ‘Will scary Green bogeyman get Finance?”. The Labour leader could answer yes or no but he CANNOT say “Ooh … um … er … maybe …”.

    Anticipate the questions. Decide the answers. Communicate them clearly.

    Currently, Labour fail on all three.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      You underestimate the power of media training. /sarc

      • Jim Nald 1.1.1

        Thanks, James Henderson, for a very good piece for some strategic long-term thinking (waiting for Dunnokeyo to fark up even more & lose it for Natz, and then for Labour to just waltz in and think Labour/Greens can easily bring about meaningful change is not a plan and would be bound to end in tears & major disappointments).

        Shearer cannot demonstrate the ability to debate the economic issues fluently (still a lot to do there … and there should be a lot of time to work on this for – say – rather than 2014, try 2024). Hearing Shearer speak about economics and finance turns a listener into a snorer, while letting Parker speak would be a tad bit more of an improvement, perhaps turning a listener into just a snoozer. Robertson is not really an economics, nor finance, guy. He still has time and a few more terms will add more strengths to build up his leadership bid. If he is putting his ears closer to the ground, rather than sipping flat whites within the Beltway, he would not choose to run his leadership campaign with Ardern.

        Collectively, the three of them (Shearer, Parker and Robertson) would operate ok as a team, when led by someone much more skilled, to support and operationalise what will need to be done by a successful progressive Government to improve the economy.

        CV: Noted the sarc. If the messages and the mind that forms them are clear, cogent and grounded, media training would provide useful finishing touches.

        • Ad 1.1.1.1

          Key, English, Joyce.

          Vs

          Robertson, Ardern, Parker.

          Takers anyone? Which of those political Rugby teams would you want to be chosen for on the playground?

          Because the question is: is that the optimum political combination in Labour to best National and achieve power?

          Oh, wait. We can’t ever think like that because …. of a very fine majority in caucus seeking to protect their jobs. Goff. Mallard. Ardern. Shearer, etc etc.

          • Jim Nald 1.1.1.1.1

            Ardern will have political capital to negotiate for the deputy Labour leadership if and when she wins Auckland Central from Nikki Kaye.

          • muzza 1.1.1.1.2

            Roberston, Adern, Paker

            Useless, Lightweight, Parliamentarian for global order – in that order

            If you think these three are contenters, or will be good for NZ, you are deluded!

            Of them the only one with potential could be Adern, but that is some period of time off, when she is experienced, confident, and proven not to be corrupted!

  2. Ad 2

    Cunliffe himself can read these scenarios himself, and I bet he has. He knows he’d be on the cutting-room floor in any Greens-Labour coalition.

    But it has been crystal clear even before his failed leadership attempt in November 2011 that the majority in the Labour caucus prefer to suppressive him hard. After all he only lost at leadership by 1 vote. If you were Robertson or Shearer, you would too.

    What you consider in you post is absent of the political machinery of Labour. Check for example in the recent manufacturing summit: did the leadership involve Cunliffe at all? Nope. Yet it was his portfolio front and centre. Whereas Parker steps into Cunliffe’s economic development portfolio any time he wants.

    I could see a Robertson-Ardern leadership boxing Cunliffe even harder than now. They would rather give Finance to Winston Peters that anything meaningful to Cunliffe.

    After the next leadership challenge in February, Cunliffe should walk out the door rather than face more humiliation like this.

    No politician is indispensable. Cunliffe would be a loss. But so is Anderton, and he invented the Ministry of Economic Development.

    The best example is Simon Power. He had all to play for in 2014. But I bet he has more actual political and economic power, more real agency, running investment portfolios for Westpac than in Cabinet.

    A lesser example is Maharey, now staking out a solid field in tertiary education.

    When Cunliffe walks as Power did, and a Labour-Green Government needs to make a call the size of breaking Telecom, ask this: will Parker really do it? Does Shearer hold cold steel? Care to put Robertson up to nationalise Fonterra, or Norman to break up the Fletcher monopoly? Lovely people I am sure, but only Cunliffe has done it, or could do it.

    By neutering Cunliffe, Labour have chosen to neuter thmselves both now and in a 2014-2016 government.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      After all he only lost at leadership by 1 vote.

      Uh, 2 votes.

      • Ad 2.1.1

        A sufficiently tight margin, irrespective, to warrant giving Cunliffe a major portfolio in name only.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          Soz, I was really only nit-picking detail.

          One very pertinent point you imply: a Robertson/Adern pairing changes nothing you raise, but is still being considered by Labour insiders as a valid and distinct possibility. It’s dumbass on a monumental scale.

          • Ad 2.1.1.1.1

            It would be particularly melancholy for commentators like yourself or CB or Trotter or Hickey or Oram who favour a strong state willing to make strong market interventions. Currently Shearer’s control of policy is evidenced by letting Shane Jones piss all over it. There would be none of the big shifts made that you seek.

            But if it’s bad now it gets worse under the next shift of leadership.

            Anyone see Jacinda Ardern successfully staring doen Shane Jones in cabinet? She would be a snack. Robertson taking on John Tamihere? Result would be but splitting and Tamihere climbing up the next bully pulpit with his other iwi castles to cannon every known prejudice against the King.

            We are in for an exceedingly mild Labour under Robertson and Ardern. Far less courageous than now, and with absolutely no back story to fill in the absence of communicative skill or policy coherence within Shear.

            Robertson and Ardern, with Shearer’s current supporters, are Labour’s Hollow Men. And women.

            • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Cheers mate.

            • Jim Nald 2.1.1.1.1.2

              Ad: a suggestion for re-phrasing that

              ….. with Ardern and Shearer’s current supporters, they are Labour’s Shallow Men and Women.

              • Ad

                Well it was deliberate. Hagar could equally document the Left with plenty of lineage. Unfortunately that is left to Whaleoil and other sludge-dwellers.

                But Shallow is fine.

    • Olwyn 2.2

      I take it you are talking in terms of public profile, since I know that Cunliffe has played a large part in the EPMU/Manufacturers Assn efforts to get manufacturing back on track.

      • karol 2.2.1

        Good point.  I do think  Cunliffe is having some input.  And Cunliffe was at the EPMU job crisis summit – though so were a lot of other Labour MPs, and Colin Craig.
         
        I think Parker should go from the front bench, though – whatever way it’s looked at.  He’s a light-weight, and a neoliberal one at that.

      • Ad 2.2.2

        Indeed. Labour has been quite happy to use Cunliffe as a policy grunt, but oh no keep him well away from the actual media. Anyone need reminding of the only time Labour has allowed Shearer’s communication skills to be directly compared to Cunliffe’s?

        It was the November leadership contest. Every member could see what a compelling communicator might look like. One that could beat Key from right out the blocks.

        Instead caucus chose Shearer.

  3. fatty 3

    Shearer will not be next PM…if he is still around at the election he will get owned in the debates.
    Shearer’s performance over the last month has been good for a laugh, but that’s about it. NZ has no desire to listen to that muppet stumble over his words for 3 years. They’d rather watch Donkey smile and wave.
    I do feel sorry for the Greens…cause Labour are preventing them from making a real difference to NZ…all because of petty selfishness. Also feel sorry for Mana.
    But in the end we can only blame the public of NZ…Why are these morons so high in the polls? Nobody should even be considering Labour right now. We should all be voting Green or Mana until they give us the respect that we deserve.

    • Ad 3.1

      National has a leader far more popular than Helen Clark ever was. Yet even that is not saving them in consistent poll tracking. Labour continues to improve, and with Shearer as leader. Labour and Greens will most likely form the next government, even if Shearer is leader.

      Question then for you: if as is likely Shearer is dumped for Robertson and Ardern in February, would Labour fare even better, about the same, or worse than Shearer’ Labour is now against Key’s National?

      • karol 3.1.1

        If Labour went with Ardern/Robertson, wouldn’t it be better to have Turei/Norman as co-PMs?  Then the 2 parties could fight it out between them decide jointly as to who would be finance minister.

        • Ad 3.1.1.1

          Best of luck with that.

        • OneTrack 3.1.1.2

          It’s only natural that the Prime Minister-ship becomes a co-Prime Minister appointment with Grant Robertson (male/rainbow) and Metiria Turei (female/Maori). Anything else is sexist or homophobic, and not respecting our treaty partnership.

          • Colonial Viper 3.1.1.2.1

            Why is it sexist or homophobic?

            And what elements of the Treaty do you see at risk?

      • fatty 3.1.2

        True, Helen Clark was never that popular, but Labour’s policies were in the aftermath of the 1990s when NZ was sick of neoliberalism and Clark offered the third way alternative (apparently its an alternative)…its a very different environment now where both the blue and the red are third way (Nats are pushing back towards a more pure form of neoliberalism, but that is not registering with the average voter).
        In terms of pubic perception, there is little difference between Labour and National because Labour have been so inconsistent with their message. Therefore, the popularity of the leaders is now far more important than it was during the Clark era.

        If Robertson does replace Shearer then that could get them over the line. Because that would mitigate the effect of the pre-election debates where I see Labour losing around 10% due to Shearer’s inability to form a sentence. Although if it was Cunliffe instead, then Labour would probably win quite comfortably.
        With Cunliffe, Labour’s vision would be presented in a much more coherent fashion – perhaps Robertson could do the same.

        There is no way a change of leader could make things worse for Labour…National have handed Labour gift after gift, and it has been wasted.
        I also don’t see what Ardern has to offer Labour. After Shearer, Adern has been the biggest disappointment for me. She has been up against Paula Bennett and what has the result been? Paula Bennett has cruised through this year. That should be like shooting fish in a barrel.

        • Ad 3.1.2.1

          I am confident enough that Labour will form the next government.

          The question the original post leads to is whether it would be a transformational government, as it would be with Cunliffe. Or you get what you get now.

    • Pete 3.2

      Maybe he will be owned in the debates, if he reaches that point. But the political environment is such that silver and bronze can join forces and beat gold. I think we’d be fooling ourselves if we think National won’t be the largest party in parliament in 2014, even if it fails to hold the treasury benches.

      And don’t forget, Labour has been gaining in the polls. The fact 2014 is framed as a horse race rather than a foregone conclusion like last year may motivate a higher turnout.

    • David H 3.3

      Well this time I’ll vote Green. I will NOT vote for the fucking self serving shambles that Labour has become!

  4. Ad 4

    If one were Winston Peters within a Labour-Greens coalition, what position would one ask for?

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Lots of prestige, not much work.

      • Ad 4.1.1

        Minister of Hot Girls, Drinking, And Cigars. Crikey I think I’ll go for that one myself. :-)

        • Jim Nald 4.1.1.1

          A Minister of Points of Order?
          He would be good at that.
          [Sorry, Winston - couldn't resist that, just one for ole time's sake.]

    • Fortran 4.2

      Winston = Foreign Affairs – it previously kept him out of the country – best place for him in any government.

      • alwyn 4.2.1

        If, after the election, we have Labour 39, Greens 13, NZ First 9, Mana 1 and National 57, Maori 2, all of which would be in line with current polls, all the debate about who of Cunliffe, Parker or Norman will be Minister of Finance will become totally irrelevant.
        Winston will demand Finance, Deputy PM and a Knighthood. He will then support EITHER major party that will give him these baubles.
        He might even go as far as to insist there be no Greens in Cabinet. What, after all, can the Greens do about it? They have already cut themselves off from National and their supporters won’t let them do anything else but back Labour.

    • Fisiani 4.3

      Winston will never be in coalition with the Greens

  5. AmaKiwi 5

    Political parties go through cycles of idealism versus pragmatism (wanting to win).

    If Labour doesn’t make Cunliffe leader in Jan./Feb. 2013, they still have the death wish the Labour caucus had when they wouldn’t remove Goff and eventually pushed in Shearer.

    The Greens, on the other hand, have eased back from ideological purity in favour of a PR strategy to attract votes.

    If Labour doesn’t want to win, I’ll go with a party that does.

    Winning in electoral politics is the art of compromise, not flights of fancy by overblown egos trumpeting their personal ideologies. And winning is EVERYTHING because in opposition you are powerless.

    • Ad 5.1

      So just to argue against myself for a moment, Labour don’t need an ideological spine in the form of Cunliffe if they have the Greens.

      It would turn out like the Conservatives and the Liberals in coalition. Make the smaller coalition partner front the hard stuff, and watch them slowly get roasted by the public. Keeps your Labour brand safe for a term. Live to fight another day, using the Greens as cannon fodder.

      If I were Robertson, that’s how I would roll.

      • Colonial Viper 5.1.1

        But if the Greens pulled it off with aplomb, there is every chance that over the medium to long term they would supplant Labour in the minds of the public over the long term. Ending up level pegging with Labour, 20%-25% each in the polls.

        • Ad 5.1.1.1

          Been waiting for the last few elections for Greens to top even 15%, but appear to struggle even to that. Possibly a bit early, but I can see Labour squeaking to the late 30s, Greens 10-12%, NZ First 5%. No?

        • McFlock 5.1.1.2

          at which point the Greens would go all vanilla, maybe even with a hint of blue. Definitely less red.
               
          There is a reason that the Greens are a minor party: they have firm principles in an small area that other NZers disagree with, or that overshadows their ideas in other areas. This alienates some, and the fact is that no matter how they package their policies some miners, farm workers or other industries will view firm environmental policies as a threat to their jobs. I think we need a significant environmental advocacy party, just as we need advocates in parliament for workers/poor/Maori. But trying to make oneself look attractive to many involves de-emphasising those things that a few might really like.
               
          A populist sell out by any other name still has the same smell.  

          • Ad 5.1.1.2.1

            I hope you are not always right. New Labour did OK, Alliance even better, for a while. Better than bring a mere ideological wedge.

            Norman is holding a fine balance at the moment, keeping the rope-haired base and the haute-bourgeois food-shopping purists, sustaining over 10%.

            I think the Greens have a little more political elasticity than 10%, a little.

          • fatty 5.1.1.2.2

            “But trying to make oneself look attractive to many involves de-emphasising those things that a few might really like.”

            True…I’m a former Green voter that moved onto Mana. Not sure how many have ditched Greens. The post-Bradford/Nandor Greens is quite different now.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.3

          But if the Greens pulled it off with aplomb, there is every chance that over the medium to long term they would supplant Labour in the minds of the public over the long term.

          I’m thinking that’s going to happen anyway as, IMO, the young are looking for something different that neither of the two main parties are giving.

    • It is weird though Ama.  Shearer is the candidate of compromise.  Cunliffe is the candidate of principle.  Yet I have this disturbing feeling that compromising may be less successful than standing on principle …

      • Olwyn 5.2.1

        By my reading, choosing an inexperienced candidate of compromise at the time when many New Zealanders are effectively under siege was a dereliction of duty. As Ad suggested in his/her first comment, who among them is going to make the hard call, and actually implement it should it prove necessary? And by hard call, I mean real hard call of the kind Ad listed – not a PR construct, not a kick at those who can’t fight back, designed to be hailed as tough by the right wing media, and to draw hallelujahs from the middle class.

        • fatty 5.2.1.1

          “By my reading, choosing an inexperienced candidate of compromise at the time when many New Zealanders are effectively under siege was a dereliction of duty.”

          That’s a good point Olwyn…just last week a poll came out about Key being too relaxed. It is John Key’s relaxed, and non-ideological position that is his current vulnerability.
          Its a shame that Labour tried to promote Shearer as a guitar strumming good guy for so long…that is the opposite of what the voters were/are looking for.
          Strategic fail for Labour, again.

          • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.1.1

            Yep. Once the public got tired of John Key’s smile and wave easy as she goes superficiality they weren’t going to trade up for even more of the same.

            Incredible eh.

  6. captain hook 6

    I am sure that David Shearer and the caucus will allot the portfolios wisely and in the best interests of the country as a whole.
    sometimes the choice can be made against the grain and then the minister will have to work harder to master the intricacies.
    whoever gets what there can only be a 100% improvement over the National party botchup of giving Welfare to an out and out misanthrope like bennet or education to someone like Heka Paratai who cant even reed or rite.

    • Ad 6.1

      I would be confident of that I knew Labour’s Education spokesperson was better than theirs, or Social Welfare, or Health, or Police. Just as examples.

      But I haven’t seen Mahuta, Ardern, or Faafoi beat Parata, Ryall, or Collins at anything.

      Sure Labour has some good and competent ones. But thy can’t yet beat them in the ring, pound for pound.

      Nor can we be sure Labour policy would be better, because in too many cases Labour doesn’t know what it is. And when it does, has insufficient discipline to communicate it.

      It’s just not cut and dried yet.

    • handle 6.2

      “I am sure that David Shearer and the caucus will allot the portfolios wisely and in the best interests of the country as a whole.”

      MMP coalitions involve more than one caucus. There’s the first challenge.

  7. Anne 7

    I am sure that David Shearer and the caucus will allot the portfolios wisely and in the best interests of the country as a whole.

    I’m not so sure captain. Deals were done during the leadership battle last year and they have to be honoured…

    There is no question who should have the powerful Finance portfolio, and that is David Cunliffe. No disrespect to David Parker (or Russel Norman) but Cunliffe’s brilliance simply can’t be ignored. My biggest concern is that the tall poppy syndrome is still alive and well inside the Labour Caucus and when you add to that a few prematurely inflated egos and a peppering of political naivety, then there is no guarantee portfolios will be allotted in the best interests of the country as a whole.

    I passionately hope I’m wrong!

    • RedLogix 7.1

      Thanks for this Anne. I think we all hope you are wrong.

      I’m still of the opinion that Goff should have stayed on. In the weeks before the last election he fired and got on top of his game. It’s just bizarre to me that he had to ritually fall on his sword only to be replaced by someone who took the Labour leadership more or less back to ground zero again.

      Given time Shearer might fire as well. I really don’t want to be white-anting the guy; even though there are plenty here who’ve already made up their minds against him.

      Yet undeniably Cunliffe is the right man for the job, ready and able. This is very much a pivotal issue for the Labour caucas … because while us political junkies are happy to say what we think, there are plenty of voters out there who probably sense at some level that there is a faction within Labour who are putting their own personal interests and ambitions ahead of anything else.

      And they’ll vote on that intuition accordingly.

    • Chris 7.2

      If Cunliffe was to roll Shearer, who would he take with him? He is a bit of a one band man and will probably be every bit as polarising as key is turning out to be. I felt he was a lot of the reason that Goff was beaten as I did not see Cunliffe at any time support Goff in his bid. In fact his tepid responses in interviews regarding his support of Goff told a very damning story. He has a huge ego and while he is definitely brilliant at what he does he could also be a liabilitybecause of his ego. Nothing wrong with a little bit of humility!

      • Anne 7.2.1

        Cunliffe is the first to admit he rubbed some of his colleagues up the wrong way in the past and he talked of… needing to mend a few fences after the leadership race. That’s the words of a man who can do humility when it is required.

        I suspect fence mending is exactly what he has been trying to do, and I just hope his former adversaries have graciously accepted his contrition. :)

        It seems to have been forgotten that the reason Cunliffe’s support in the lead-up to the election was conspicuously absent, was because he spent the last week/ten days languishing in bed with a nasty bout of influenza – the same one no doubt which laid me up for two weeks a few months later.

        • Colonial Viper 7.2.1.1

          Now, there was once a Labour leader who went out election campaigning even when he knew his life was under threat from cancer…

          • Anne 7.2.1.1.1

            C’mon CV.

            Wildly fluctuating temperature? Can hardly walk to the bathroom and back? Congestion and headaches? No strength in your limbs. You’re saying… he should have been out on the hustings in that condition and risked ending up in hospital with serious complications? Add to that the number of people he would have infected and you have an exercise in stupidity.

            • Lanthanide 7.2.1.1.1.1

              Yip, cancer is generally not as debilitating as the ‘flu for the majority of it’s run. That’s why people end up dying from it – because when they find out anything is wrong it’s too late.

              • Colonial Viper

                Oh I was just sayin’. Didn’t mean nothin’ from it. Labour in 2011 had far bigger issues than Cunliffe’s sick days.

    • David H 7.3

      Thats the problem They are NOT interested in the whole country. Just in their own self serving interests.

  8. Rich 8

    Be more effective if they implemented a system with a lead minister and seniors and juniors (a bit like in the UK).

    Then they would need to take a wrecking ball to Treasury. Strip it back to the technical financial management side, and make all the economist positions redundant. Set up a separate advisory committee with non-neoliberal economists (mostly from overseas or outside government, I suspect, given our neo-lib monoculture).

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Interestingly, Steve Keen remarked that he got a better reception from our Treasury and Reserve Bank than he did from any other comparable central banking institutions around the world.

  9. Chris 9

    The last time I saw Parata wriggling on the end of a hook at Chris Hipkin’s questioning Lockwood handed her her APPARENT answer which she AND HE accepted. So this makes you wonder how anyone in Opposition can make any headway at all. A lot of the time Lockwood is the problem for Opposition and the answer to national’s so called winning a debate (so called)

    • David H 9.1

      And when Winston calls him on it he gets slapped down, But I think Winston has made a formal complaint about Lockwoods continual interfering and answering of questions.

  10. Chris 10

    I would also love to Sue Moroney on the front bench! She would be a match for anybody.

    • karol 10.1

      +1 Chris.
       
      Also, on the question of  National’s surfeit of economists/finance/business people in Key roles – well that’s the neoliberal way.  I think it’s time to rewrite the narrative, and put the genie back in the bottle.  A Labour-Green government should have the best finance minister available.  I see Cunliffe as that person.
       
      But the PM and Deputy don’t need to be as great on economics, in my view.   They need to show very good leadership, be excellent communicators to the general public, and good managers – and have clearly articulated policies that will take the country back in a genuine left wing direction.
       
      I just watched bomber’s Union Report on Triangle, with Sue Bradford and Chris Trotter.  I got a couple of important points from it.
       
      The Labour Party won’t change unless the grassroots join together and push them in a better direction.  For Trotter this means the unions need to reassert their influence over the Labour Party.  He reckoned it’s very important that unions do this over the next few weeks. 
       
      They talked about how neoliberalism had shifted public attitudes so people have an individualist outlook, and we need to spread the word and get back to the concept of action through solidarity. It was good to hear Bradford say that we need to understand that “workers” includes the unemployed, and it includes beneficiaries.  So she wasn’t just talking about people joining unions, but for beneficiaries in Auckland to join the Auckland Anti-poverty group.
       
       

      • Colonial Viper 10.1.1

        The unions can’t do it. The biggest unions left in NZ won’t get involved. Not quite solidarity, eh.

      • Anne 10.1.2

        The Labour Party won’t change unless the grassroots join together and push them in a better direction. For Trotter this means the unions need to reassert their influence over the Labour Party. He reckoned it’s very important that unions do this over the next few weeks.

        It’ll take a bit longer than a few weeks but couldn’t agree more…

  11. geoff 11

    So, hypothetically speaking, would Shearer have to step down or could he be shoved?

    • McFlock 11.1

      Could be shoved. But the harder the shove, the messier it gets and the more questions/innuendo can be raised about infighting, loyalty to new leadership, and numbers counting. And the bigger the hit in the polls at transition time as it all goes on – it might be 2 steps forward, three back.

  12. AmaKiwi 12

    Are you watching the greatest farce on earth? I mean the US election. If you can’t recognize it in your own country, see it in theirs.

    1. Successful politicians NEVER tell you what they really think because it costs too many votes. Example: Romney’s behind closed doors blunder about 47% of people don’t pay taxes.

    2. Successful politicians don’t discuss the paramount issues. Example: The US is in the economic crisis of its life but they talk about gay marriage, abortion, Afghanistan, gun control, etc.

    3. Wining is about image. The tv ads are negative because the game is to destroy your opponent’s image.

    I don’t know or particularly care what Cunliffe or Shearer will do as PM. I know whatever they do will be more to my liking than what the Tories will do.

    Conclusion: Get someone with an image who can beat the Tories. Right now that’s Cunliffe. He’s damn good at it.

    End of story.

  13. Chris 13

    End of story, not so sure. Am only speaking for myself but I am heartily sick and tired of the so called debating(histrionics) that now seems to be the most acceptable to the NZ populace. key and his ilk have taken away the gravitas of Parliament and turned it into a Punch and Judy show,never answering questions but diverting with stupid, irrational and a lot of times absolute lying answers and getting away with it, mostly with what I have seen the able assistance of the speaker. john key has been an abberation and hopefully soon we will see an end of him and a beginning of a resurgense of a Party that truly wants to see our country grow and prosper.If that is an amagamation of parties then so be it, but we cannot be any worse off than under this present (cannot think of a word).

  14. AmaKiwi 14

    @ Chris

    I agree with you. Key’s image in unraveling. Mr. Nice Guy is morphing into a shifty liar with convenient lapses of memory.

    I never hear Parliament discussing what MP’s on both sides know: we are falling into a financial black hole. Say that and the voters would shoot the messenger.

    Thanks for agreeing with me. It’s all about image.

  15. AmaKiwi 15

    Here’s my proposed “new image” Labour line-up.

    Sam Neill for PM. He’s handsome, modest, easy to trust.

    Russel “Gladiator” Crowe to dismember Crusher Collins in Papakura.

    Kim Dotcom to be Attorney General.

    Rachael Hunter takes on Maggie Barry and will become Minister for the Arts and Special Emissary to Hollywood.

    Could they manage the country? Probably not. But they’ll win in a landslide.

    • Jim Nald 15.1

      Not quite sure whether to laff or to nod approvingly because Rachel Hunter and Kim Dotcom may well carry out the Arts & AG responsibilities better than Chris Finlayson.

  16. central scutinizer 16

    All this is quite interesting. Only one problem. Before labour can win an election. They need voters. Example: All the brain dead couch potatoes who sit on their fat asses on polling day reciting the same inbred cliche ” Aw fuck! I’m not voting. They’re are all the same anyway”. Until those people vote. Labour has three shows of winning an election. A dog show, a shit show and no show.

    • fatty 16.1

      They don’t have to vote Labour…they could vote the Greens or Mana. But the real problem is that for many people there is little difference between National and Labour.
      What about a 50 year old beneficiary who has been under/unemployed for a number of years. Does it really make much of a difference? Maybe under National there will be a little less stigma, but in reality they will still be unemployed under either party. Still living on the edge, still excluded from society.

      I agree with you in that Labour need these people to vote, but its up to Labour to give them someone to vote for. That’s the problem with flirting with the centre, the marginalised continue to be marginalised and they don’t bother participating. Its a bit unfair to label it an ‘inbred cliche’…I’d say its a decision that they have come to – because of the inbred strategy from Labour.

  17. handle 17

    “and only one of the Labour-Green Government’s top five (Shearer, Robertson, Parker, Turei, and Norman) with the ability to really communicate on economic issues.”

    You’re under-rating Norman’s performance over the last couple of years.

    • karol 17.1

      huh?  Handle, I think the implication from the quote is that Norman is the best able to communicate economic issues – note, at the moment, Cunliffe is not in that top five at the moment.

  18. AmaKiwi 18

    My personal opinion: Norman is intelligent, thoughtful, considerate, but not a rousing speaker.

    That’s not good enough to win a general election.

    Just before the last election I saw Cunliffe at a multi-party candidate’s night in a National stronghold. This was NOT a Labour meeting. 2 Greens candidates spoke, 1 Conservative candidate spoke, as did speakers from several minor parties. No National candidate showed.

    Cunliffe ripped into National. He tore them to shreds. The audience stood up and cheered!

    That’s what wins elections.

    • David H 18.1

      And thats what the Stalwarts in Labour don’t want. They don’t want anyone to stand up and show them up for what they are. A bunch of lying, cheating, soulless fools, who only have one, and only one vested interest. And until you get rid of that, with some decent caring politicians. Then people will just stay at home on polling day.

      And yes I could list them but you know them, as well as I do.

  19. RedBaron 19

    Well if labour provide the PM then why not have co-deputy PM’s Russell & Meretai (with a large welfare portfolio) and even Winston could be at that level, as well as being Foreign Minister. He’s good at that- anybody would be better than Murray- and he doesn’t want to sell NZ. If legally they need only one deputy PM then that could be rotated around the three of them.

    Cunliffe needs to be Finance – someone has to get in there and sort out Treasury’s attitudes and he’s the dude. Parker IMHO and Russell are are more on the longer term strategic policy side and they could share out MObie functions between them. Mobie probably needs to be broken up anyway.

    Robertson under 1 PM 3 deputy PM’sstructure does miss out unless it is a group of 4 but in tandem with Meretai could be over looking the big welfare health education spending side of the equation.

    Most women vote on the left and they have taken a pounding under Nact so it makes sense to have a women high in the order and to have emphasis at the top on welfare needs. It won’t mean more money just reassurance of a better attitude.

    Actually I think we would be very well served as a nation by the top group of the two greens leaders, Winston, Cunliffe and Parker with Shearer keeping the peace. Nor would it be a mistake to have a significant female presence in the next row down .

    • Lanthanide 19.1

      Deputy PM in NZ is more of an honorific than anything. We don’t have succession like in the US where the deputy would become PM automatically if the PM should leave office. Deputy PM in NZ probably mostly boils down to “who gets to take the big chair when the PM is out of the country”, as well as being a nod to long-serving politicians.

      Having 3 co-deputy PM’s wouldn’t be accepted by the public (especially with one of them being Winston). Even having 2 would be difficult.

    • karol 19.2

      Most women vote on the left and they have taken a pounding under Nact so it makes sense to have a women high in the order and to have emphasis at the top on welfare needs. It won’t mean more money just reassurance of a better attitude.
       
      I tend to be one of those women.  And in the above quote you are, for me, pointing in the right direction.  However, there is a touch of tokenism there.  I think it’s not that women, and social policies should get a nod, they should be given much more importance.  Too much emphasis on money-stuff first, and the kind of society we want second.  It should be the other way around. 
       
      Following that, I agree we need to best person possible in Finance, to provide the best means of making the social policies work – and Cunliffe is that person, IMO.

      • RedBaron 19.2.1

        Oops quite right Karol and unintended. Too much post and run.

        Just for the record the more diversity at the top the better IMHO. I do not see Meretai as a token and there are a number of the other extremely competent women. I also find it interesting that Norman gets more “mentions” than Meretai despite their equal status. Having diversity does I think reassure various sectors that their interests are likely to be considered.

        WRT to the money I did not intend to infer that a token woman should be placed at the top as a distraction while social assistance and social policy spending was run into the ground or not reconsidered.

        The cupboard is going to be pretty bare I fear after the next election. I can also see the Nact’s signing up huge contracts for their RONS at the last minute to appease their mates and make sure the incoming government has to find the funds. I would love to see Labour & the Greens fire a few shots at this now by saying they will past legislation to void certain contracts unless they have been prefunded out of existing votes.

    • David H 19.3

      Well for starters there’s Julie Anne Genter for transport, she has ripped Brownlee a new one more than once this year

  20. Sue 20

    Two talented singers, singing an identical song, both technically correct, both polished and performance ready. – Yet, one will always stand out. – One has the x factor, the other doesn’t. I have seen this time after time sitting on audition panels.

    You can supply as much media/performace training as you like, it will not ultimately make a difference…………..between the two singers, or in this context the two David’s (or three)

    Cunliffe is the clear standout, he is the natural performer.

  21. Fortran 21

    But Wiston has not been included in the Power Game.
    It remains a possibility that he could hold the balance of power.

    As for suggesting Norman has economic credibility is ridiculous.
    He is pretty words, but no experience whatsoever in this area, but Greenpeace can advise him !

    • Colonial Viper 21.1

      As for suggesting Norman has economic credibility is ridiculous.
      He is pretty words, but no experience whatsoever in this area, but Greenpeace can advise him !

      wtf?

      Better than having a self-interested bankster in charge of the country.

  22. RJL 22

    Would MoBIE remain intact under a successor govt.?

    I doubt it, as the conglomeration only really seems to make sense if its point is to accumulate power and influence with Steven Joyce.

    A divided MoBIE would give a larger number of “important” seats to distribute amongst coalition members.

    • ad 22.1

      MED as an agglomeration of functions was helpful because it could at least start to challenge the pre-eminence of Treasury in budget prioritisaiton. While it had a functioning and Cabinet-backed Growth and Innovation Framework, that worked.

      These days however, Treasury’s Cabinet recommendations to the budget (ie raising new taxes and making everyone with a proposal jump through those Better Business Case hoops) remain primary.

      The new MoBIE has a better chance of challenging Treasury, without that overarching framework.

      With a new agglomerated MoBIE, Primary Industries, Minsitry of Social Development, and more to come in Justice and Corrections, among others, what amalgamation gives a Minister is of course more concentrated power. No Minister will unwind their own power, and delegate it out to some less-deserving political serf.

      Now, if there were a fund that could challenge the primacy of Treasury in funding allcoation and enable Cabinet to have an alternative policy lever, that would be worth a scrap over. For example, amalgamating the funds of EQC, ACC, and NZSuper into a sovereign fund that supports local exporters and enables them to grow …

      Labour-Greens have to think beyond the existing policy levers and start generating new ones as soon as they get in, or they will see quickly that the state’s instruments are now far weaker than even under the Clark administration.

    • OneTrack 22.2

      And that is the important thing. Plus we get to employ some more publc servants.

      • Colonial Viper 22.2.1

        Fire the private sector consultants, hire people to recharge our public services!

        • GregJ 22.2.1.1

          I’d agree – although in fairness quite a lot of them are former public servants made redundant and now getting their pound of flesh back from a system that threw them out in the first place. (grrr – can’t get angry face icon to work!)

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    Greens | 30-10
  • Ruataniwha Feds refuse to present a balanced view
    A bid to sell the Ruataniwha water project to Hawkes Bay farmers has turned in to an incredibly one sided affair, says Labours spokesperson on Water Meka Whaitiri.  “It’s being promoted as ‘Ruataniwha it’s now or never’ and it promises...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Worker’s rights dealt severe blow with Bill’s passing
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill is another blow to workers' rights in New Zealand, the Green Party said today.This afternoon, National's Employment Relations Amendment Bill passed with the support of Act and United Future."This bill will force...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Barriers to reporting sex crimes must go
    Both the Government and police need to take action to ensure that, in future, sexual abuse victims know they will be taken seriously, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “The young women involved in the Roast Busters case, and...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    Greens | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health on management of Katherine Ric...
    Is he satisfied that all conflicts of interest that arose by the head of Food and Grocery Council Katherine Rich being a member of the Health Promotion Agency were managed in accordance with the provisions of the Crown Entities Act...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Bennett parks numbers on social housing
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that well over 1000 families have been subsidised through the accommodation supplement to stay in the Ranui campground, somewhere she has previously described as not the right place for children to be growing...
    Labour | 30-10
  • 50,000 sign petition against anti-worker law
    More than 50,000 Kiwis have signed Labour’s petition against the Government’s scrapping of tea break entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “That’s the equivalent of five people signing our petition every minute for a week. It shows the...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Address in Reply Debate – Dr Kennedy Graham on UN Security Council- 2...
    In the Speech from the Throne last week the Prime Minister identified the usual domestic goals for his Government. I counted 17. They are not my subject today. I wish instead to focus on matters beyond our shores. In the...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • The Final Fifth: The Last Great Task for Progressive New Zealand.
    MOST OF NEW ZEALAND’S social problems are concentrated among those living at the margins of what is otherwise a relatively wealthy society. Recently released international data on child poverty has exposed an acutely stressed social strata encompassing roughly 20 percent...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Myth Busting Rape Boasters
    In just one week a case that galvanised a nation into discussing rape culture is now being reframed as mischievous teen hi-jinx. One year ago the Roast Busters case came to the attention of the media and the public. This...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • Workers rights weakened by new laws – fightback needed
    The government’s changes to the employment laws are designed to weaken workers bargaining power – at both the individual and collective level.   30-day rule The old law required an employer with a collective agreement in place to employ new...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Simon Buckingham – Where are Labour Candidates on disability?
    For the few people who know me (hello Mum), I am proudly New Zealand’s first Autistic Spectrum Lawyer, as well as being the very bottom Candidate on the Labour Party List. (64 out of 64). Being honoured like this is...
    The Daily Blog | 31-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Patrick Gower interviews Social Housing Minister
    Bennett says National could sell off “thousands” of state houses but Housing NZ will still be the “dominant force” in providing social housing in NZ....
    Scoop politics | 01-11
  • The Nation: Lisa Owen interviews Mike Moore & Chris Liddell
    Lisa Owen interviews NZ Ambassador to the US Mike Moore and corporate high-flyer Chris Liddell about the US midterm elections....
    Scoop politics | 01-11
  • David Parker event – the future of work, Sun 2 Nov
    Labour leadership candidate David Parker, an experienced lawyer and businessman as well as a former senior government cabinet minister in the Helen Clark Government, will join three prominent New Zealanders in a panel discussion on Sunday to address...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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