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That Lusk article

Written By: - Date published: 7:40 am, May 31st, 2013 - 69 comments
Categories: Judith Collins, national, Steven Joyce - Tags: ,

I’ve been meaning to write something on Andrea Vance’s very good piece on Simon Lusk. It tells us a lot that we already know: Lusk is the brains behind Slater; Lusk was involved in the demolition of Gilmore; and he’s very tight with the Collins camp. What’s interesting is why he has come out in the public light now. And the messages he is sending to National MPs. The leadership battle is heating up.

Ask yourself a question: why does a notoriously shadowy figure like Lusk suddenly agree to do a big, ‘this is me’ interview? Why come out of the shadows? Why now?

Lusk is a smart guy. This didn’t just happen. He didn’t get tricked into giving an interview. He was sending a message. What was it?

His comments about National players who aren’t considering “the future beyond this administration” let you know.

Even the title of the piece – Seriously happy to upset the status quo – gives you a clue.

This is Collins’ strategy man coming out and giving National’s backbenchers a warning – get on board or you’re in trouble.

He lists some the electorates of some MPs that Collins will need to get the numbers and suggests their seats are vulnerable:

“Hamilton West, East Coast, Napier, New Plymouth, Whanganui, Otaki, Wairarapa and Invercargill, they will have a chance of winning in 2014 . . . In 2017 I would expect Hamilton East, Rotorua and Tukituki to be in play.”

He then lays out the equation the MPs in those seats face, by saying what he would do with weak MPs if he was running Labour:

“If they refused to vacate Hamilton West and East Coast I would tell them they would be given unwinnable list positions, and ask them to review their decision.”

In other words, ‘you lot in soft seats, you better support Collins or when we win you’ll find yourselves with unwinnable list placings, and that’ll be the end of you.

It’s a typical Camp Collins approach – we’re going to win, so get on board or face the consequences. It’s a strategy that works by assuming enough of your targets will be scared into buckling down.

Ironically, (but, also typically, when you think about Slater/Lusk’s writing on Whaleoil) Lusk then turns around and says that Joyce is the one who is a bully to backbenchers: “Unfortunately for Steven, he has not chosen his staff wisely. Some of them lack grace when dealing with backbenchers. Treating those who vote for the leader like something unpleasant on the sole of your shoe is unlikely to see backbench votes fall in behind Steven”

So why now? Why is the cold war getting hot?

Because the trend isn’t looking good for Key. Bugger the recent round of msm polls. You look at the trend and its down. Key’s going more and more negative, because he’s got nothing else to give. Slater is openly talking about National losing the next election and it has become the operating assumption for MPs and media.

If Key loses the next election then the leadership of National becomes an open battle between Collins and Joyce. Neither camp is foolish enough to wait until then to start their maneuvering.

Lusk even hints that Key could be pushed before the election if it suits Collins’ purpose: “there is a simple playbook for replacing a leader” and “I act for individuals, not the party, which gives me the latitude to do what is best for them and the values we share, not what is best for the current party hierarchy . . . I am far more interested in advancing pragmatic, moderate, Centre-Right policy over the next three decades than I am helping any government cling to power.”

69 comments on “That Lusk article”

  1. rosy 1

    ” Key’s going more and more negative, because he’s got nothing else to give. “

    I thought he was going for more of the ‘soft’ sell rather than negative – trying to get back the women’s vote by showing he’s caring, e.g. school breakfasts last week, visiting teen mums and their babies in class this week. It seems to me he’s going back to his 2008 strategy of ‘we’ll do that too’ on all the caring stuff that middle-class women liked Labour doing.

    • Dv 1.1

      And get those soft woman’s day interviews with Gower on a soft lit sofa.

      • paul andersen 1.1.1

        soft womans day interviews with a soft gower on a soft sofa. I just about puked when I saw that on tv3. gower should hang his head with shame, what a complete wally, played like a fish. when is he going to cross over and take keys shilling?

    • RedBaronCV 1.2

      He’s still got to get over the “breeding for a living hurdle”, and the unfortunate impression that he’s the sort who goes “of course I’ll love you in the morning” – can’t remember who first said that back about 2008.

  2. Tigger 2

    Nice analysis, Eddie. Lusk is clearly smart, but blinded by ideology. Claiming the Left lack grace?Some do im sure but some people from the Right do as well – he is bonkers. I mean, that’s crazy talk from someone who should be looking objectively at situations.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1

      The Left, and Steven Joyce 😆

    • Hayden 2.2

      I mean, that’s crazy talk from someone who should be looking objectively at situations.

      Or someone who spends a lot of time with Cameron Slater.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      Straight talking isn’t graceful and so you need to question what the graceful people are hiding.

    • Tim 2.4

      It IS a nice analysis of Lusk.

      It’s sad though that the non-ABC club seem to have a ‘get-Lusk’ pre-occupation – perhaps generated from their perceptions of their own self-importance:

      “Certainly, Labour are fixated on this Right-wing bogeyman. Last year, the party’s chief whip Chris Hipkins lodged 259 written questions of ministers, asking about their communication with Mr Lusk. According to political lore, he was behind Don Brash’s unseating of ACT leader Rodney Hide.”
      Chris Hipkins – are we surprised?

      When will Labour realise that Lusk (and his chief cum-lickers Farrar, Slater and Hooten), though influential and with potential and amuntion to rock the entire NAct regime, IS, and SHOULD BE as irrelevant and utterly unsubstantial in the overall scheme of things IF Labour simply STUCK to its founding principles, and allowed the capable (such as Cunliffe) to challenge the discourse fed to us daily by the MSM.
      I mean…..FFS! Lusk…. Virgin Islands, reading daily the American Neo-lib/Chicago School/NRA hero worship/ boy I’d love a job acting as Donald Rumsfield’s bottom.
      FFS Labour – leave all that to Winston and get with the programme!

      Some of that ABC club think they’re too clever for their own good – worse still, for the good of the Labour Party.
      DAILY!!!!@#$%^&*(!!! – the missed opportunities this current bugger’s muddle of a Labour Party misses (granted having to push shit uphill with an unsympathetic MSM) just defy reason! They seem to have this idea that Hone’s and Greens and others is sufficient to counter a media’s misrepresentation of reality.

      Fuck worrying about Lusk! – Get on with challenging the daily opportunities that NActs hand to an opposition on a plate. E V E R Y D A Y! (IF you require some sort of faith-based raison d’etre to justify your existence as a ‘LABOUR PARTY representing its constituents’) – you’d be better off hoping Lusk will be the victim of a very tragic hunting accident – probably at the hands of a pistol shooting Collins (if she could get the wheel barrow out of the way in time); or a Farrar – pre-occupied with imagining himself on the next Jim Mora Panel ‘show’ – ditto Hooten – reciting to himself “I must not upset Kathryn, I must not upset Kathryn” and thinking about ways to keep his hissy fits in check the next time his ‘turn’ comes around on Natrad (Moik the Oik is quite obviously not going to be a problem) .

      I really don’t understand why we build up these totally irrelevant fuckwits (from what should be a Labour Party perspective) to the extent that we can no longer see the bleeding obvious.
      The MORE we buy into this SHIT – the more power we give the pathetic bastards.

      The only reason I’ve been able to explain it (to myself), is that there are some seriously egotistical, “I’ve paid me dues” and therefore entitled” munters trying to present themselves as a credible opposition.

      I watched various ‘left-wing’ media yesterday – including Citizen A, etc. All the participants were actually very kind to Shearer. He IS a nice bloke, with some quite obvious credentials that one might assume provide him with a compassionate outlook appropriate to NZ’s oppressed (the underclass). The participants were thoroughly decent people who’d concluded that ditching Shearer now wouldn’t be a go.
      Whatever though – it’s just NOT going to work!. There’s this overarching feeling that, BECAUSE of Shearer’s life experiences, NZ’s oppressed don’t know how lucky they are.
      Jeez – I could go on! Let me leave it there, but suffice to say that after a lifetime (and an extended family’s lifetimes) of a Labour bent, THEY WILL NOT get a vote(s), so long as they:
      – continue to embrace anything that resembles neo-lib, 3rd-way, undemocratic policy
      – piss on many within their own ranks who they can’t handle (whether because of superior intellect, self interest, jealousy, petty squables, holier-than-thou attitude and sense of entitlement).
      – continue to DAILY miss opportunities to challenge the obvious bullshit (probably because of their pre-occupation with the above).
      – fail to issue policy alternatives to the current junta’s master plan
      – …….etc.

      HOW did Labour get to this?!

      Thanks Simon L! (and Andrea Vance, for triggering my justification for giving that ‘once was Labour’ a miss next election)

      Oh …..fcuk it ……. “SUBMIT COMMENT”
      > RETURN

      (Still ain’t getting my vote, or about 20 others)

      • Peter 2.4.1

        The impression I got of Lusk was largely of a competent operator for his cause, as well as someone who probably has a wee bit of caring for the natural environment (he is a hunter after all).

        In other words, it’s quite likely his competence that scares others who are less competent, including those on the Left.

        But I agree, why Lusk should matter to the left is odd. Just get on with the job, of say, being a left wing party advancing decent solutions for NZ? Is it really that hard?

      • Murray Olsen 2.4.2

        I find it hard to argue with those well expressed sentiments. I go even further, and wonder if the interest in attacking Lusk and the authoritarian far right is actually to make common cause with those they see as sensibly centrist within NAct. The strategy of attracting swinging voters taken to extremes – attracting swinging NAct centrist MPs? I really think Mallard and co. are more worried by Mana and the left Greens than they are by Key.

        Maybe I’m totally wrong and just a deluded idiot, but time will tell.

  3. irascible 3

    The gloss on Key is fading if the responses to the latest Fairfax poll question on Key’s truthfullness andtrustworthiness are an indicator. According to reports the respondents had to take some considerable time to evaluate their answers to the question had their opinion of Key’s truthfullness and trustworthiness gone up or down or stayed the same.
    Hard core Nats, apparently, opted to say his truthfullness had declined but his trustworthiness remained steady… go figure.
    The Fairfax report of the poll results indicated that the general opinion of Key’s truthfullness and trustworthiness was in decline – if this is reflected in their internal polling no wonder Key has gone into hysteria mode with his devil beast hallucinations and general stridency in Parliament. No wonder he is appearing for every cynically posed feel good photo opportunity the Herald and MSM can give him. No wonder Collins, with Lusk in command, is preparing the guillotine…
    Trustworthiness and truthfullness have been severely lacking among all National-ACT caucus for many many years.

    • Watching 3.1

      Ireascribe your fading gloss comment on Key can be applied to anyone currently in power – take for example Hollande in France or Cameron in the UK who both seem to be in deep poo. Even Putin in Russia doesn’t seem to have that feel good factor with his constituency anymore.

      The life span we saw in Blair or Clarke or Howard as a political leader in power has gone forever.

      Regardless of whom in is power expect to see short term `popular’ leaders. In NZ terms this means 4-5 years at best.

      The only saving grace for leaders like Obama in 2012 and Clarke in 2005 is thethat the other side put up a donkey of a challenger.

      • DavidC 3.1.1

        The only saving grace for leaders like Obama in 2012 and Clarke in 2005 is thethat the other side put up a donkey of a challenger.

        Add Shearer in ’14 as the next donkey.

        • Don't worry be happy 3.1.1.1

          A bit hard on donkeys that comparision some are drawing with Shearer…At least donkeys have ‘the courage of their convictions’ (stubborn some may choose to call them) and when something is really bothering them they are impossible to ignore.

          No, to my way of thinking, Shearer looks more like a plant…

  4. Wow, way to spin Eddie.
    Steven Joyce will never be leader. He doesn’t want it.
    Key has preferred PM numbers that rival Clark in her pomp.
    You should really get on with fixing your own leader.

  5. King Kong 5

    Interesting insight into the Whaleoil blog.

    It appears that Lusk writes all the political stuff and Slater searches youtube to provide the hilarious clips of people getting hit in the nuts or powerfull guns blowing shit up.

    I bet the owners of the Truth aren’t too happy about being duped like that.

    • Russell 5.1

      Interesting insight into Eddie making it up more like. As somebody who has the misfortune to share an office with Cam Slater six days a week I can assure you that the overwhelming majority of his content is self sourced.
      Apart from the constant stream of calls from disaffected and spiteful labour politicians trying to rat each other out that is.
      You would all be astonished at the people who call him with tips.

      • King Kong 5.1.1

        The strange thing is that Slater has never denied the accusations of Lusk writing under his name on the blog.
        For a mental egotist like him not to claim ownership is pretty compelling evidence.

        • Russell 5.1.1.1

          Cam rarely confirms or denies anything, he is however laughing his tits off as I type this.
          Your definition of “compelling evidence” is the best example I have seen of why the jury system in this country must be a terrifying prospect for anybody in the dock and actually innocent.
          You would be better employed trying to figure out which labour MP sent Cam a photo of a sleeping and drooling David Cunliffe on the flight up from Wellington last night. he posted it this morning. You guys need to turn that rat cunning outwards, you might actually win one.

          • King Kong 5.1.1.1.1

            Fair enough.

            I will leave you to look for spelling mistakes in the Herald.

          • pollywog 5.1.1.1.2

            And what a great set of tits he has to laugh off.

          • Murray Olsen 5.1.1.1.3

            Cunliffe worked hard all week and fell asleep on the plane. Someone took a photo. So what? That’s just pitiful. I suppose a good MP would have been hassling an attendant for another drink and threatening to get them fired if they said no.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1.1.2

          Especially when ‘Whaleoil’ writes on obscure issues like dams in the backblocks of Southern Hawkes Bay, or the sewage scheme for Waipukaerau.

          Funnily enough Lusk has a minor orchard/vineyard just outside Waipawa so would be something that spins his wheels

      • Rich 5.1.2

        Hey, I hacked into your security system and downloaded this video of a typical morning in the Truth office:

  6. Interesting that he did not mention Maungakiekie as a vulnerable seat but there again Peseta Sam is apparently a paid up member of the Lusk support brigade.

    • Lightly 6.1

      yeah but it seems some people aren’t remembering who got them where they are to Lusk’s satisfaction and are distancing themselves from an increasingly divisive figure.

      Note the knife going into Tremain too. It was in 2005 with Tremain that Lusk cut his teeth as a successful campaign manager.

      • Kevin Welsh 6.1.1

        Even Lusk probably realises you can’t polish a turd.

        Tremain is the MP for Napier for one reason, and one reason only. His name.

  7. Tony Pomfret 7

    What about the elephant in the room, Hekia Parata?? She is being touted as a possible/ probable National leader when Key collapses out of office.

    • Lightly 7.1

      yeah, Slater’s been having a pre-emptive go at her.

      But seriously, can anyone she her as a leader? She has zero public credibility and she’s impossible to work for, she goes through staff at a shocking rate as she makes working for her unbearable – you can’t have that in a leader’s office, imagine the dirt that would come out.

    • Parata as National’s leader?!

      Oh, yes, please!!

    • jaymam 7.3

      National are stupid enough to put Parata as leader. Remember when they put Shipley in? They really have no idea how terrible some people can be in power and how much the public hate them.

  8. Grumpy 8

    I like this post, it makes a lot of sense…..

  9. tracey 9

    I think it is more likely that key has privately told some he is not staying after the election. He doesnt like when the going gets tough. Too hard work that he just doesnt need. Hes got the networks now. He has tge knighthood its time to move on… after tge 2014 election

    • Nordy 9.1

      Quite right Tracey. Key and the other ‘hollow men’ don’t do anything by chance or accident. The proverbial writing is on the wall and plans are being laid down now.

      Nice article Eddie…..I was surprised by the article and you have put it nicely in context, and added some backgroud and joined a few dots. Well done.

      • Tim 9.1.1

        Doug Graeme/Graham got a knighthood too. I reckon Key will eventually face the same problem (keeping it)

  10. Saarbo 10

    Well hopefully National take a lead from Labour:

    A) Choose the obvious successor, one that is experienced, clever and has the support of the Party Membership and then work like hell to make sure he/she does NOT become leader.

    B)Choose an inexperienced, bumbling candidate that lacks self confidence…work like hell to ensure that he/she DOES become Leader.

    C) Seek council from media commentators on the Left, maybe Bradbury, Trotter and McLaughlan as to who should lead National.

    D) Sit back and watch the polls.

    Seriously, Key is a shocker as Prime Minister, he is dishonest and just doent seem to understand due process when it comes to government, which is why he always gets in the shit. But what he is bloody good and consistently underestimated by the left, is campaigning and gaining public support. He is a adept politician…he wont go down without a fight. Unfortunately Collins, Joyce and Shearer wont get close to him.

  11. If Key loses the next election then the leadership of National becomes an open battle between Collins and Joyce. Neither camp is foolish enough to wait until then to start their maneuvering.

    Hopefully Collins wins, Joyce appears to be the architect/ruler behind the throne of most of National party policy.

    • Mike S 11.1

      I’d be happy with either of them.

      Neither have much charisma and neither appear to be very ‘likeable’. (sadly, personality is what seems to matter most these days.)

      Collins especially would be a hard sell to undecided and swinging voters.

  12. Ad 12

    If Lusk or anyone thinks Collins is ready they are mistaken – when everyone in National know in campaign terms it’s not the conomy that will get them there, but John Key himself. At his Marist Panmure 7am breakfast it was 600+ and standing room only. Fulsome support for all his Local Board candidates, and his local MPs. Still a pity the progressive side don’t have fixers as good.

    Key is making the good bet that the growth of the New Zealand economy will lift him above all damage to a third term. He will not retire until the right next job is confrmed within that 3rd term.

    It’s: Key’s leadership and economic growth V Labour’s coalition options.
    Way Still Too Close To Call.

    If they get a third term, National will be able to show delivery of:
    – RMA reforms/environmental evisceration
    – OECD first of getting public books back into black after GFC, so becomes new world model
    – Denniston Open Cast Mine in production (and probable absorbtion of Solid Energy assets into Bathurst)
    – Chatham Rise seabed mining
    – Partial privatisation of the 3 remaining generators, and the 90% of Air New Zealand
    – Massive acceleration of dairying
    – A broader sector of New Zealand self-interestedly watching the progress of the NZX
    – Pulling the remaining ‘nationbuilding’ mantle off Labour with the Christchurch rebuild
    – Next huge real estate boom with the Auckland/Christchurch housing programme acceleration
    – Construction of the SkyCity Convention Centre at no taxpayer cost
    – PPPs in Transmission Gully, Puhoi-Wellsford and PENLINK, Clifford Bay – and a fully aligned construction-banking industry
    – Completion of Waterview SH20 and Christchurch Expressway

    Not sure if any of the above will make the poor better off.
    But it would be a big set-up for a (record?) fourth term.

    I don’t even like Shearer – at all – but I’m still going to write cheques for Labour if the alternative is more of Key. But he is buying a lot of industries as his programme progresses.

    • kiwicommie 12.1

      Key is making the good bet that the growth of the New Zealand economy will lift him above all damage to a third term. He will not retire until the right next job is confrmed within that 3rd term.

      But that isn’t what voters are going to be thinking about, most are just tired of the same BS from National, and want something different. I am curious to see how National manages to create a ‘surplus’*, most likely it will be a deficit come 2014; as growth is still too slow, and tax revenue isn’t at great levels either – due to high unemployment especially.

      *However it is a false surplus even if achieved, as in order to create the surplus National has to borrow.

      • Mike S 12.1.1

        I think you’re giving too many voters too much credit. “thinking” surely isn’t something many of them do to any real level. There’s no other way to explain why Key has seemingly remained so popular, despite the weak leadership of Labour.

  13. Pascal's bookie 13

    TV3 has a big old bundle of papers written by Lusk, and Whale is claiming it was Gilmore who leaked them, and that they went to the Herald and DomPost as well.

    Looks like we might find out what ‘grace’ looks like in practice.

  14. tracey 14

    Ad. What do you mean public schools back in the black. You believe schools will be in profit???

  15. George D 15

    Two theories:

    1. The theory given above.

    2. Lusk is down on work having been frozen from the National Party, who seek to work with professional teams (ie. Crosby’s mob), and is casting for clients. It’s 3 years between elections. He’s also a man who thinks a lot about himself and likes having his ego fed.

    Which is more likely?

  16. emergency mike 16

    Another Lusk leak? Also, an unacceptable number of typos:

    “Moving National to the right

    “The Nation” has received a bundle of documents apparently written by Hawkes bay businessman and Naitonal Party member, Simon Lusk.

    The documents outline a proposal to replace existing National MPs with “fiscal conservatives” who could help move the aprty to the right.

    The plan would be assisted with finance from Americna conservatives.

    We have been in touch with Mr Lusk and he says he can’t say naything because he has lost his voice.

    And sitting Naitonal MPs who are involved with him have all refused to repsond to our requests for comment. We will name those MPs this weekend.

    But w ehave spoken to Prime Minister John Key about Mr Lusk and his reponse will be on the programme.”

    Lost his voice? What happened to his usual “I don’t comment on stuff” response?

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      The “lost his voice” is a classic line to let the game play on without his finger prints.

      • emergency mike 16.1.1

        Yes it does seem rather ‘tune in for the next exciting episode’.

        Also I see there is already a post about this latest episode of ‘The New Zealand Politics is Hilarious Show.” My bad.

    • Vagabundo 16.2

      Jesus, did the person writing that have a stroke?

  17. georgecom 17

    If the Nats want to install Collins as their next leader, please do so. I find it hard to see much that will endear her to the voting populace. She comes across as lacking humour or compassion, her public framing is flinty and cold (crusher collins). It’ll be a huge task for any Nat spin person to sell her to ‘middle NZ’. If the country was suddenly faced with a crime wave or terrorist threat maybe people would flock to support a strong leader Collins could appeal to. Business as usual political times, however, little chance.

    • Alanz 17.1

      Regardless of the political, financial or social climate, don’t underestimate the dead hands of Boag that will do all it takes to stop Collins from trying to be leader.

      • Colonial Viper 17.1.1

        The issue is that Collins doesn’t have the wit, the style, the presence or the charisma to make her a sure winner in an electoral contest.

        Further, it’s electoral suicide for the NATs to be publicly examining Key’s replacement at this time.

        And I don’t mean that replacing him in the near future is going to be electoral suicide (which it would be) but merely going through the teeth pulling process of considering alternatives now is going to totally undermine National’s chances next year whoever is leader then.

        Therefore it seems that National’s internal problems and leadership struggles are far deeper and more serious than we can see even now.

        Order me an extra big popcorn and large coke. It’s going to be a fun few months.

        • Mary 17.1.1.1

          We could argue about the level of support Collins might have with Nat voters, whether her hard line on everything is appealing to enough people etc. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but I think the real weakness with Collins would be a complete and utter inability to maintain unity within the party. One could say the same thing by describing her as a divisive force, but I think it’s more accurate to say that she doesn’t have a unifying bone in her body. If she did become leader it would be impossible for her sustain it for very long. It’s simply because that’s the sort of person she is and that no amount of training or effort on her part could ever shake.

  18. xtasy 18

    Wow, this thread gives this “whale” shit called “cameron slater”, or slotty stlather, whatever a voice, does it not? It seems some have not got their shit together. I would not even mention the name of a fat big face jerk, who is scaring little kids with his presence. I feel any party working with a sociopath, who once claimed depression, but who ran down others for the same, and who now shits on any sick and disabled, is not a party worth respecting. If that is the National Party, feel bloody ashamed, thank you. Whale is one misnomer, as the size of a body does not allow you to associate yourself with endangered species, no matter what your ulterior goals are.

    As for National, get a damned life, if Judith Collins is your future prospective leader, announce it, do not hide it. Key maybe a bit of a diiposaurus, but he is at least having a human face, that is even coming from a leftist like me, hey. Get a damned life, you losers, we will get some shit together soon, without useless Shearer, and then you will have to live up and take action, dear folk, watch out.

  19. phil 19

    Divisiveness will not work for Collins? Appeared to work for Thatcher. National is so ‘right’ it scares me where it is leading. Labour needs progressive policies that will make a real difference to alleviate poverty. Not just ‘feed a few hungry kids’. We need a government which actually governs, rather than the current position of the National government implementing big business interests. It’s called ‘corporatocracy’ – government by business interests. Can’t see the current ‘ soft labour’ making much difference.

    • Alanz 19.1

      Shearer is still looking for his misplaced tongue and his left brain. Give him another 6 months. And then Labour will be bloody good.

  20. Aaron 20

    “Ask yourself a question: why does a notoriously shadowy figure like Lusk suddenly agree to do a big, ‘this is me’ interview? Why come out of the shadows? Why now?

    Lusk is a smart guy. This didn’t just happen. He didn’t get tricked into giving an interview. He was sending a message. What was it?”

    Sorry Eddie, I knew Simon Lusk when he was 19, in his first year at university, and I would say this was a decision made by his ego. At 19 it’s pretty hard to hide your insecurities, but Simon found it harder than most to hide his desperation to be seen as someone important. I doubt that that deperation ever left him, although I’m sure he’s better at hiding it these days.

    For the record I’d be hard pressed to think of anyone else I’ve met in my life who should be kept away from the levers of power more than this guy, I remember him as being totally lacking in empathy and very quick to respond to the opportunity to put someone down.

    Makes me wonder how many other people involved in politics are like him – it’s an appalling thought.

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     The Ruataniwha dam project is turning into a huge white elephant as the economics fail to stack up, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri.  “Ruataniwha simply doesn’t make economic sense when you look at other major irrigation schemes around the… ...
    4 days ago
  • More testing won’t lift student achievement
    Hekia Parata’s latest plan to subject school students to even more testing and assessment won’t do anything to lift the educational achievement of the kids who are struggling, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “New Zealand school students are already… ...
    4 days ago
  • Bad week for NZ economy gets worse
    The bad news for the New Zealand economy got worse this morning with the 8th successive drop in dairy prices at this morning’s global dairy auction, again exposing the absence of any Plan B from the National Government, Labour’s Finance… ...
    4 days ago
  • System failing to protect women and children from family violence
    Last week we called for mandatory child safety investigations in domestic violence cases. This came after the coronial inquiry into the deaths of Bradley and Ellen Livingstone and the verdict in the trial of the west Auckland boys charged with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    5 days ago
  • Backers banking on social bonds cash?
    The Government is refusing to say what the $29 million it has set aside for its controversial social bonds programme is for, raising suspicions it is an upfront payment to the project backers, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A… ...
    5 days ago
  • Plastic Free July
    Today is the start of Plastic Free July. Since its inception in Perth, Western Australia four years ago, more and more people and organisations from around the world have joined the call to refuse single use plastic products. Nearly all… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    5 days ago
  • State house sell off Bill gives extraordinary powers
    The Government is about to give Ministers extraordinary powers to take direct personal control of selling state houses, exempting Ministers from normal legal requirements and leaving the sale process wide open for corruption, Labour's Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The… ...
    5 days ago
  • Cash for charter schools, mould for state schools
    At a time when state schools are struggling in old, cold, mouldy buildings and can barely make ends meet, the National Government is shovelling cash at charter schools which aren’t even spending the funding on kids’ education, Labour’s Education spokesperson… ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand needs a wise response to climate change
    Today in Parliament I got to hear from a group of New Zealanders who are concerned for the future of our country. Called Wise Response, the group is a broad coalition of academics, engineers, lawyers, artists, sportspeople and others who… ...
    GreensBy Russel Norman MP
    5 days ago
  • No alternative as waste scheme trashed
    Nick Smith must explain how he is going to prevent contamination of New Zealand’s ground and water with liquid and hazardous waste after scrapping the only monitoring scheme and offering no replacement, says Labour’s Environment Spokesperson Megan Woods. “From today,… ...
    5 days ago
  • Flawed system rates death traps as safe
    ACC Minister Nikki Kaye needs to come clean about what really lies behind the reclassification of 18 vehicles in her new motor vehicle registration system introduced today, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. "New Zealanders deserve the truth about the… ...
    5 days ago
  • Tiwai Smelter and 800 workers left in limbo
     Workers at Tiwai smelter and the people of Southland have once again been left in limbo over their future in the ongoing debacle over whether the plant stays open, says Labour’s Leader Andrew Little.  “It’s not good enough that after two years of… ...
    5 days ago
  • New twist in state house sell-off saga
    The Government has opened the door to buyers of state houses simply being landlords and not required to provide social services, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The Prime Minister said at his post-Cabinet press conference buyers would not “have… ...
    5 days ago
  • Government fees will hit charities hard
    National’s decision to ignore the concerns of charities will see the voluntary sector face hundreds of thousands of dollars in new costs if the Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill passes, says Labour's Community and Voluntary Sector spokesperson Poto Williams. “National’s… ...
    6 days ago
  • Four out of ten for Simon’s Bridges
    The Transport Authority’s decision to fund only four of the 10 bridges promised in National’s shameless Northland by-election bribe is a huge embarrassment for Transport Minister Simon Bridges, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “After one by-election poll showed they… ...
    6 days ago
  • Falling consents adding to Auckland housing woes
    Falling numbers of building consents being issued in Auckland will add to the city’s housing shortfall and fuel skyrocketing house prices, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford “The Productivity Commission found there was a shortfall of around 32,000 houses by the… ...
    6 days ago
  • So Mr English, do you have a plan?
    DIpping confidence about jobs, wages and shrinking exports are highlighting the lack of a plan from the government to diversify the economy and build sustainable growth, Grant Robertson  Labour’s Finance Spokesperson said. " Data released over the last week… ...
    6 days ago
  • Serious risks to tenants and assets in sell-off
    Overseas evidence shows there are serious risks around the Government's plan to sell off state houses to social housing providers, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “In the Netherlands – where community housing providers supply the majority of social housing –… ...
    6 days ago
  • Land of milk and money
    Kiwi families are paying over the top prices for their milk and someone is creaming off big profits, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson David Shearer. “In 2011 the Government told us high New Zealand milk prices were a natural result… ...
    1 week ago
  • MoBIE largesse doesn’t stop with TVs and hair-straighteners
    The number of MoBIE staff earning more than $150,000 has risen 23 per cent in just a year, Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark says. Documents obtained from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment show there are now nearly… ...
    1 week ago
  • English wants to flog state houses to Aussies
    Bill English’s admission that he would sell hundreds of New Zealand’s state houses to the Australians is the latest lurch in the Government’s stumbling, half-baked housing policy, Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Bill English should face reality and admit his… ...
    1 week ago
  • Exports continue to fall as Government fails to diversify
    The Government quickly needs a plan to diversify our economy after new figures show that exports are continuing to fall due to the collapse in dairy exports, Labour's Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Dairy exports fell 28 per cent compared… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government inaction leads to blurring of roles
    The Treasury wouldn’t have had to warn the Reserve Bank to stick to its core functions if the Government had taken prompt and substantial measures to rein in skyrocketing Auckland house prices, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The problems… ...
    1 week ago
  • Courthouse closures hitting regions
    The Government’s decision to shut down up to eight regional courthouses, some supposedly only temporarily for seismic reasons, looks unlikely to be reversed, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“The move has hit these regions hard, but appears to be a… ...
    1 week ago
  • A Victory for Te Tiriti o Waitangi
    This week my partner, who has a number of professions, was doing an archaeological assessment for a District Council. He showed me the new rules around archaeologists which require them to demonstrate “sufficient skill and competency in relation to Māori… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    1 week ago
  • Tough bar set for Ruataniwha dam
     Today’s final decision by the Tukituki Catchment Board of Inquiry is good news for the river and the environment, says Labour’s Water spokesperson Meka Whaitiri. “Setting a strict level of dissolved nitrogen in the catchment’s waters will ensure that the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister for Women and National missing the mark – part two
    The Minister for Women was in front of the select committee yesterday answering questions about her plans for women. Some useful context is that we used to have a Pay and Employment Equity Unit within the then Department of Labour… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Lavish penthouse spend confirms culture of extravagance
    At the same time thousands of New Zealanders are being locked out of the property market, the Government is spending up on a lavish New York penthouse for its diplomats, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says. News that taxpayers… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Television exodus cause for concern
    The shock departure of yet another leading journalist from the Native Affairs team raises further concern the Board and Chief Executive are dissatisfied with the team’s editorial content, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Annabelle Lee is an experienced… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Million-plus car owners to pay too much ACC
    More than a million car owners will pay higher ACC motor vehicle registration than necessary from July, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “During a select committee hearing this morning it was revealed that car owners would have been charged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill will restore democracy to local councils
    A new Labour Member’s Bill will restore democracy to local authorities and stop amalgamations being forced on councils. Napier MP Stuart Nash’s Local Government Act 2002 (Greater Local Democracy) Bill will be debated by Parliament after being pulled from the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister for Women again misses the mark – part one
    Yesterday I asked the Minister for Women about the government’s poor performance on it’s own target of appointing women to 45% of state board positions. I challenged why she’d put out a media release celebrating progress this year when the… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Banks enter Dragon’s Den in pitch for Government’s mental health experi...
    Overseas banks and their preferred providers were asked to pitch their ideas for bankrolling the Government’s social bonds scheme to a Dragon’s Den-style panel, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. Dragon’s Den was a reality television series where prospective ‘entrepreneurs’… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Mode bullying won’t stop people accessing content
    It’s disappointing that strong-arm tactics from powerful media companies have meant Global Mode will not get its day in court. Today a settlement was reached terminating the Global Mode service, developed in New Zealand by ByPass Network Services and used… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • More questions – why was the Former National Party President involved wit...
    Today in Parliament Murray  McCully said the reason Michelle Boag was involved in 2011 in the Saudi farm scandal was in her capacity as a member of the New Zealand Middle East Business Council. The problem with that answer is… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must explain Maori TV interference
    Te Ururoa Flavell must explain why he told Maori TV staff all complaints about the CEO must come to him – months before he became the Minister responsible for the broadcaster, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Sources have told… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • KiwiSaver takes a hammering after the end of kick-start
    National seems hell bent on destroying New Zealand’s saving culture given today’s news that there has been a drop in new enrolments for KiwiSaver, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “New enrolments for the ANZ Investments KiwiSaver scheme have plunged… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Straight answers needed on CYF role
    The Government needs to explain the role that Child, Youth and Family plays in cases where there is evidence that family violence was flagged as a concern, Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Arden says. “The fact that CYF is refusing to… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister confuses his political interests with NZ’s interest
    The Prime Minister’s statement in Parliament yesterday that a Minister who paid a facilitation payment to unlock a free trade agreement would retain his confidence is an abhorrent development in the Saudi sheep scandal, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • #raisethequota
    Last Saturday was World Refugee Day. I was privileged to spend most of my day with the amazing refugee communities in Auckland. Their stories have been inspiring and reflect the ‘can-do’ Kiwi spirit, even though they come from all different… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Dairy conversions causing more pollution than ever, report shows
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) released two reports on freshwater quality and management last Friday. The water quality report shows that dairy conversions are hurting water quality and says that despite great efforts with fencing and planting, large… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Employers want urgent action on health and safety
    Moves by National to water down health and safety reforms have been slammed by employers – the very group the Government claims is pushing for change, says Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Relations Iain Lees-Galloway. “The Employers and Manufacturers’ Association has… ...
    2 weeks ago

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