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The democracy challenge

Written By: - Date published: 2:20 pm, November 24th, 2013 - 101 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, election 2014, greens, labour, national, nz first, political parties, Politics, russel norman - Tags:

I’ve been thinking about what next years’ election is going to be like. Not like 2011 that’s for sure. Labour was in the doldrums and ran a largely negative campaign around asset sales that failed to fire, resulting in the worst election result in history. To be fair it did introduce a bank of new policies but without enough time for people have a proper conversation about them, raising the age of superannuation eligibility was brave (political euphemism for suicidal) indeed and David Cunliffe has sensibly pulled back from the initial position. The capital gains tax remains on the agenda – hopefully in a simplified version. Labour also campaigned on Keep it Kiwi but inexplicably failed neither to run a Party Vote campaign nor to feature leader Phil Goff on its billboards, which was frankly bizarre – the message it sent was ‘we don’t back him, nor should you’. Another wrong-footed aspect of Labour’s campaign was that it was a direct appeal to the centre, seeking to pick up National supporters instead of the 800,000 disenfranchised who are in the main struggling, brown and the young – leaving that space to the Greens and Mana.

From memory it seems like National barely campaigned at all. In fact I can’t even recall its campaign slogan. I know John Key was everywhere, and why not? He was and is the Party’s greatest asset. However a quick google search reveals that it campaigned on welfare reform, employer friendly (anti-worker) industrial reform, and asset sales…all promising A Brighter Future.

The Greens took a giant step away from its usual environmental platform and campaigned for a ‘Richer NZ’, annoying some of its members and supporters but effectively rebranding the Party as one with serious economic aspirations. Russell Norman has since solidified that position and is now sought for economic comment as often as is Labour.

So what’s going to change next year? Most importantly the Labour Green vote is neck and neck with National, a fact not lost on the government which is already in campaign mode. I see a hard fought campaign from National – no one hands over power without a scrap and certainly not those who believe they are entitled to rule. The economy is likely to be running in its favour with business and consumer confidence predicted to rise. The downside will be higher inflation and the continual battle over Auckland housing prices.

NZ First is a cert to be back in Parliament with a full contingent and could well be in Winston’s fav position as king maker. Te Ururoa Flavell is likely to keep the Maori Party alive for another term by holding on to Waiariki and who knows perhaps even bring in another MP.

And here we come to the rub. Let’s assume that Labour has learnt its lesson about running an effective campaign and ticks all the boxes: a compelling narrative that can be condensed to one or two sentences that reaches those 800,000 non-voters, quality candidates, clever advertising, good policies announced in a timely fashion, smart opposition research so National is NEVER let off the hook, unequivocal support for the leader, a great organisational campaign that utilises Labour’s rejuvenated membership, really good use of social media and leaders’ debates that frame Cunliffe as the natural choice for Prime Minister. And as few cock-ups as humanly possible.

That’s what Labour needs to do just to maintain the status quo. The secret weapon that Labour and the Greens have eschewed for as many elections as I can remember is actually working together. And that’s what some commentators are now calling for; that Labour, Greens and Mana should get together to use MMP strategically, just as National does with ACT, Peter Dunne and now Colin Craig (the man the Herald calls ‘troublingly dim).

The funny thing is that so many on the left see strategies like this as an affront to democracy. I couldn’t disagree more. I think to fail to act strategically is an affront to the millions of New Zealanders who are struggling to keep pace with the cost of living, who are subsidising the rich and powerful, who watch helpless as whanau and loved ones move across the ditch as more local jobs disappear and who surely deserve a ‘brighter future’ that only a united left can accomplish.

101 comments on “The democracy challenge”

  1. Treetop 1

    I would not rule out a new coalition partner for the government and this does not include Colin Craig.

  2. David H 2

    If Labour and the Greens work together to win then all is good. But if it’s like the last election then they won’t deserve to win. Labour has to work hard at winning seats, and maybe giving up a seat to the greens could be the price of winning.

    • lprent 2.1

      They really don’t need it. They have their own constituency that will push them well above the 5% threshold. But it isn’t concentrated enough anywhere to be enough to take an electorate.

      Actively campaigning for electorate votes rather than being a electorate candidate campaigning for party votes just confuses the situation for them.

      • David H 2.1.1

        But surely the goal of any political party, yes even the Greens is to win electoral seats. and there has to be some tactical voting, or there will be Labour and the Greens splitting most of the vote in marginal seats and the Nats win everytime in that scenario.

        • Gareth 2.1.1.1

          No! The goal of any political party is to win the party vote.

          Why do so many people not get this?

          Electorate seats are there for the politicians who can rabble rouse and energise and get out the vote.

          If you’re focusing on winning electorate seats over the party vote then you’re a minor party who’s dependent on the overhang.

          One of these days I hope someone chops it off.

      • Akldnut 2.1.2

        Labour donating all our votes and the Greens doing the same in a few electorates in places like Coromandel, Ohariu & Christchurch Central makes absolute sense to me.

        The candidates standing back in those regions would be purely on the list.
        Of course there would need to be a few cups of tea had, to make it happen.

  3. Tim O'Shea 3

    Labour is red, National is blue – if it forgets that again, it’ll be in the poo!

    We don’t need or want an opposition that is hardly discernible from “the incumbent” in respect to what it actually delivers, and the difference it makes for the majority of New Zealanders.

    When I take the wrapper off the ice block, I want to see bright red with a strong tinge of genuine green running all the way through it, rather than red on the surface and blue underneath.

    • Bill Drees 3.1

      +1000, Tim

      The flaw of the “article” is that is says Labour should emulate National’s cup of tea” politics.

      Any such behaviour would be 100% counter productive: Cunliffe and Labour are now successful because we have made the brand clear and strong: fire-engine RED!

      Labour badly weakened its brand by trying to be “soften” its image and go for various middle-grounds.

      FFS let us not repeat the mistakes of Jenny’s former boss, Shearer, and the rest of the retinue we just dumped.

  4. One Anonymous Knucklehead 4

    Strategy is one thing, ethics are another – just because the National Party has to enter into arrangements with the Colin Craigs, John Bankses and Graham Capills of this world doesn’t mean Labour and The Greens should follow suit.

    It’s a reason to repeal coat-tailing, for sure. Do that and the problem becomes moot.

  5. One Anonymous Knucklehead 5

    As for National, if they think it’s such a swell idea why don’t they stand aside in favour of the most racist/fundamentalist/Titford loony they can find in every electorate, and campaign for the party vote?

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 5.1

      I regret the use of the word “loony” in this comment. Mental illness is no joke. Right wing beliefs are driven by low intelligence, not psychoses.

      • weka 5.1.1

        Now you’re just insulting people with low IQs. For that the parts of National that think that Craig etc is a good idea, I would suggest the issue is one of moral bankruptcy rather than IQ or mental health status.

        Not all right wing people are morally bankrupt (although by this stage in the game they should be seriously questioning their value system if they want to vote on the right again).

  6. ghostrider888 6

    Nevertheless, a Very, very, well-written and challenging overview.

  7. Ad 7

    If you are selling something to people they have to know what it will do and what it’s made of.

    Labour’s brand is unstable, even moreso than the Greens. The leadership change to Cunliffe is far too late in the electoral cycle to start a kind of “united front” position. Which floor cleaner would you buy: one that only works if you buy a second product from a foreign company, or one that simply works? So to your first point: no, don’t campaign with the Greens.

    There’s a couple of broader points. National’s leader is still devastatingly good. This election will not be won along brand-identity points. Labour and National have been too similar (broadly) for too long. It will be won on whether Key loses or Cunliffe wins. “Show me the money” was enough to kill the whole tilt last time – not what anyone had on billboards. Helpfully Labour finally has a leader as good as Clark and as good as Key. The revolution will be televised.

    I wouldn’t sweat the campaign too hard. Cunliffe has signaled a long way out that for him it will be won targeting the Labour enrolled non-vote. Narrative, advertising, even policy etc, all those are great but the fact is it comes down to votes, and that’s his stated target. His strategy is clear.

    The one strength I would play to with Cunliffe is the same as in the current music business: the actual money is in live performances – big set speeches where he gets to unleash his Dad’s full Red Reverend with Tony Robbins stage persona. Elvis: The Comeback Special wasn’t as good.

    Labour also has The Mo': Christchurch East by-election, the assets sale referendum and impending policy reversal, the polling indicating outgoing tide, the lack of National coalition partners, the lack of National government policy delivery after 5 years, the corrosion of values people and commentators are seeing: don’t be presumptuous about victory, but equally enjoy the slow death of this government. It really is different this time.

    The main thing I would improve is David’s profile width. He’s a great policy fixer, but Helen Clark had the arts, Rugby League, tramping, Nordic Skiing, and as a result plenty of magazine soft stuff. There’s at least 8% Preferred Leader in that, and 3% Preferred Party in that. Broaden out, Mt Cunliffe.

  8. Blue 8

    As long as Trevor and Grant don’t run Labour’s campaign it should be fine. What I wonder is what National’s campaign will look like. For the last two elections they’ve gone with bland and boring because they didn’t have to try all that hard.

    Next year, they’ll have a full war chest and a tough fight on their hands. It will be interesting to see if they change their strategy.

  9. weka 9

    “The secret weapon that Labour and the Greens have eschewed for as many elections as I can remember is actually working together.”

    Yep. But what does that mean? Ad above seems to think that means campaigning together, but that strikes me as an unecessarily narrow idea of what is possible.

    I think much of this comes down to what extent Labour members and MPs believe that they have to steal votes from the GP in order to ‘win’ (not sure what win means in that context exactly).

    “The funny thing is that so many on the left see strategies like this as an affront to democracy. I couldn’t disagree more.”

    I don’t really understand the affront to democracry thing. Maybe someone who feels that way can explain?

    Can someone with a better political memory than me confirm or not that Labour did an informal concession early on under MMP so that Fitzimmons got Coromandel and thus ensured that the GP got into parliment?

    And wasn’t it Winston Peters, and other individual MPs, who early on set the tone for MMP coalitions and did so in a negative way? And so now we still tend to think in FPP, major-party-as-govt terms?

    • Ad 9.1

      Nope I wasn’t even proposing campaigning together.

      In general I think Jenny’s post is written too far in side the Labour Party and not from the perspective of citizen-consumers.

      • weka 9.1.1

        “Nope I wasn’t even proposing campaigning together.”

        Yes, I got that. My point was that you appeared to think that ‘working together’ = ‘campaigning together’. I think there are other ways that L and the GP can work together (ditto Mana).

    • Jenny Michie 9.2

      Go and have a look at the comments over at the Daily Blog where Martyn Bradbury expressed this view for a sense of ‘those on the left who feel working together is an affront on democracy’.

      And yes, you’re right about Coromandel, I’d forgotten about that. And the sky didn’t fall!

  10. karol 10

    I think Labour the Greens and Mana should communicate with each other.

    However, too often this “Labour and the Greens (and Mana) should work together strategically” comes across to me as Labour trying to tell the Greens what to do: as Labour trying to own the Greens, now that Labour’s slipped to a point where it absolutely needs the Greens.

    Maybe Labour people should get into a fair amount of discussion with the Greens before they start publicly telling the Greens what they should be doing?

    Nevertheless, Jenny points out some important ways that Labour would benefit from getting its own house in order.

    • Ad 10.1

      Labour and Greens are talking.

      Join a party and get into it.

      • Rogue Trooper 10.1.1

        Got those Hut Two Three Four, election is the Red’s toooo lose

      • weka 10.1.2

        “Labour and Greens are talking.

        Join a party and get into it.”

        I’m a long time GP member and I have no idea how L and the GP are talking. Needs to be more visible at some point. I agree with Karol’s general point – Labour have been shit to the GP historically, and from the outside it appears they have only wanted to use the GP when it suits them. That needs to change in fact and in appearance.

        • Ad 10.1.2.1

          Agree

          • Akldnut 10.1.2.1.1

            I’m a long suffering member of the Labour party and I see a lot more Green issues in our correspondence ie: Banners on Beaches had large numbers of Green and Labour members. I attended because it was drawn to my attention through Labour correspondence.

    • Red Rosa 10.2

      +1

  11. Sacha 11

    “The Greens took a giant step away from its usual environmental platform and campaigned for a ‘Richer NZ'”

    Kids, Rivers, Jobs seems pretty straightforward as an expression of our future. Struggling to understand richness is a mark of too long listening to neoliberalism.

    • Ad 11.1

      We were Green with envy at Labour.
      Was smart.

    • Jenny Michie 11.2

      Sacha, were you not there when the Greens rolled out its campaign? Many of the Green members around me felt that the Party had left its roots. I disagreed and still do now. It was a smart move that paid off. As I said, they are now a ‘go to’ party on economic issues. That wasn’t the case 5 years ago.

  12. Rogue Trooper 12

    “Come on people now, :) Smile on your brother, everybody get Together

  13. BM 13

    I think the key to Labour having any success at the next election is if the penny drops and Cunners realizes that no one wants some Mussolini clone running NZ.

    Not that there’s a chance of that happening, the Man thinks he’s ordained to lead NZ, a completely dis likable individual one could ever met.

    Problem with Cunners is that he was born about 2000 years too late, I could just see the guy laurel wreath in his hair, giving the thumbs down to some poor old prick begging not to be fed to the lions.

    • Paul 13.1

      Strawman argument intended to divert and distract.
      That the best you can do?

    • Ad 13.2

      To a degree they all get somewhat like that, up close, because they have to.
      They can smile, and murder while they smile. (Shakespeare, Richard iii)

      The basic difference – which everyone can see plain as day now – is whether a leader can do it with clear and open values intact. Pundits have sensed it and are writing exactly the same thing: Key is value-free and rudderless, Cunliffe knows precisely his own direction and means of evaluating decisions.

      This is the contest-ground of the 2014 election. Values.

      • Rogue Trooper 13.2.1

        wonder how that came ABOUT

      • BM 13.2.2

        I see Cunnliffe as being like some of old WW1 General.
        A lets throw another 100,000 poor souls to the machines gunners, surely their trigger fingers will eventually tire sort of guy.

        Compared to Key, who I see as being more modern, and has the ability to adapt to a changing environment, that’s his strength and the main reason why he’ll still be PM in 2015.

    • felix 13.3

      “Problem with Cunners is that he was born about 2000 years too late”

      Say the guy who backs crazy old (testament) Colin Cray-cray.

    • Tracey 13.4

      “Mussolini clone running NZ” isnt that role filled by key and joyce?

    • Francis 13.5

      I’m confused as to how people can feel that way about David Cunliffe, yet they don’t find anything wrong with the character of John Key.

      Key is an embarrassing, lying, “used-car salesman” type person, but I’ve yet to hear anyone criticise him for his character in the mainstream media, yet David Cunliffe gets those criticisms all the time…

    • thatguynz 13.6

      Yet with your blinkers on you don’t level precisely the same allegations at John Key. Interesting given the far more fascist legislation that he’s implemented than anything Cunliffe would ever consider..

  14. TightyRighty 14

    Jenny, name one economic call the greens have got right under wed wuss and metiria. Not a policy that they think will work, but one actual solid call that they got right?

    • Paul 14.1

      Is she really expected to debate with you when you use that tone?
      Agent provocateur.

    • Lanthanide 14.2

      Capital Gains Tax. The policy that Treasury, and pretty much every financial commentator, says this country needs.

      Your turn.

  15. Melb 15

    “no one hands over power without a scrap and certainly not those who believe they are entitled to rule.”

    Ha, is that why Labour sent Mike Williams over the Tasman to gather the “evidence” for their fizzer of a neutron bomb in 2008?

  16. Don't worry. Be happy 16

    Was the treatment that Len Brown experienced a shot across the bows for Labour? Look like winning and we know who you’re having on the side…..

  17. Draco T Bastard 17

    And that’s what some commentators are now calling for; that Labour, Greens and Mana should get together to use MMP strategically, just as National does with ACT, Peter Dunne and now Colin Craig (the man the Herald calls ‘troublingly dim).

    The funny thing is that so many on the left see strategies like this as an affront to democracy. I couldn’t disagree more.

    It is an affront to representative democracy but we should utilise it while it’s there. The lack of anything resembling morality on the right will mean that they won’t stop using it and so we need to as well.

    Then, once we have power, we change it so that it can’t be used again. Preferential voting in the electorate, with a minimum of three preferences, gets rid of such deals.

    • Francis 17.1

      Then, once we have power, we change it so that it can’t be used again. Preferential voting in the electorate, with a minimum of three preferences, gets rid of such deals.

      Agreed. Time to bring STV into the electorate seat votes…

      • Colonial Viper 17.1.1

        Easy as 1, 2, 3.

      • Lanthanide 17.1.2

        Seems like a sensible approach, but it may not be.

        There was a lot of confusion in the recent local body elections between the FPP system used for city council and the STV system used for the district health boards.

        The suggestion was that having a mix of voting systems, where in one you have a tick and the other you have numbers, was overly confusing for many people.

        I guess if this became the standard for general election voting, then there would be a heavy education campaign running, as well as people at the polling places who could help place votes, so may not too be much of an issue if rolled out.

        • Francis 17.1.2.1

          If, for the first few elections, at least, the counting officials considered a tick to be a 1 (and if the mistake is made the other way around, only the first preference in party vote would be counted as a tick), there wouldn’t be too many issues with people’s votes not being counted.

          One of the largest criticisms of STV in local-body elections (which I guess goes with FPP as well) is that there is often a large number of candidates, almost all listed “independent”, and people simply know nothing about them besides what’s written in the small booklet. In the case of general elections, almost all electorate candidates have an affiliation listed (which is what most people vote on), there are generally no more than 10 candidates, and the voters tend to know a bit about at least the first 3-4 candidates (and the rest can generally be ranked depending on party affiliations).

          Generally speaking, there isn’t much trouble when it comes to the STV system for single positions (eg mayoralty). It’s only when you get into areas with a lot of candidates and many positions that people get annoyed with it. While there would be a few issues in the transition process (as there are with any transitions), I can’t imagine it being too difficult, and certainly well worth it in the long run :)

    • Wayne 17.2

      Draco, you appear to be disconnected from political reality in suggesting Labour could introduce a new voting system. The nation voted by a compulsory referenda to keep MMP. That ain’t changing anytime soon.

      So, as you say, you just have to live with it.

      It is actually a good thing that the shape and composition of the two major political blocs is clear prior to the election. That helps voters when they come to vote.

      In fact it looks like the only party that will not align themselves will be NZF, and their voters seem to like that – balance of power and all of that.

      On referenda, I would note that a number of National voters may not like asset sales, but they still prefer National to Labour. The general political perspective of a party matters more than a specific policy. However, I do appreciate that this point is a bit off topic.

      • Lanthanide 17.2.1

        We voted to keep MMP, Wayne, Draco is not saying to get rid of it.

        He’s saying change the mechanism of how one of the votes is taken.

        I wonder if this is something that the electoral commission considered, or if it was outside of their scope.

        • Draco T Bastard 17.2.1.1

          It was certainly in my submission to them.

          EDIT: IIRC, they did consider it but felt that it was too confusing for the populace. I feel that this is BS.

      • lprent 17.2.2

        On referenda, I would note that a number of National voters may not like asset sales, but they still prefer National to Labour.

        Interesting. The last time I saw you commenting on asset sales, it was using the line that the election gave National a mandate from voters to sell everything in sight. What changed?

        I’ve been having fun ringing and messaging around people to tell them to vote.

        I figure that if we get million and a bit people voting “No” then we’ll be able to knock that silly “mandate” argument for a single policy line on the head. It was roughly what National got in their entire party vote last time – about a third of the eligible voters.

        But I figure that the *majority* of National voters are likely to vote “No” as well. The number of people who were ever in favour of asset sales appears to have been in the order of maybe 5-10% of the population. Some from various types of religious motivations like being libertarians, and others because they like thieving from the rest of the population.

        • Wayne 17.2.2.1

          Iprent,

          Of course I have said the Nats have a mandate. Thats what they campaigned on, and they got elected. But I also realize that some Nat voters were not keen on asset sales. However, for them the overall picture outweighed their objection. And they knew when they voted Nat they were going to get asset sales. And the Nats still seem to poll around the mid 40’s on average.

          By the way I reckon support for asset sales is more like 30%. But we will see what the referendum result is.

          Unusual for you to go for the cheap shot of “thieving”. In any event who is doing the “thieving”, the state perhaps, given the share prices.

          Next you will be saying John Key is corrupt and stole the 2011 election through voter fraud.

          • Rogue Trooper 17.2.2.1.1

            lol, Yep, the share prices are marketing miracles of their own.

          • Draco T Bastard 17.2.2.1.2

            Unusual for you to go for the cheap shot of “thieving”.

            Moving the commons into private ownership has always been theft as all it results in is a few people being better off while everyone else becomes worse off. Go back a few centuries and it was theft by force of arms, now it is theft by force of law.

          • JK 17.2.2.1.3

            Oddly enough Wayne, my neighbour – long time Nat voter, came across a couple of days after the 2011 election to say she had voted Nat, she’d always done so, BUT she didn’t really think the Nats would sell assets. And she was really upset that this would happen ….. as it has done. Just goes to show that Nat voters are like sheep – follow the leader, even if he takes you into a swamp ! Perhaps some Nat voters will stay home this time, because they’ve been betrayed by their “leader” ! wishful thinking….

  18. RedBaronCV 18

    Well, I’d happily trot around a neighbourhood with a handful of pamphlets (anybody but the right) and say to people ” What’s your main issues” and then point out the main party planks so they could choose. How do I get to do this? And are some electorates , areas more worthwhile for this than others. Lots of non voters or undecided. At the very least sharing intelligence and getting the vote out are common left wing aspirations.

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      do you have a Labour or Green MP based in your area? If so call on their office and tell them that you want to volunteer as a pamphlet deliverer. They will be thrilled. (Or they should be).

      Dunedin North Labour has got a very powerful volunteer delivery system which can get many thousands of pieces of hand delivered mail out a month. Not every electorate is as capably organised however.

      How do I get to do this? And are some electorates , areas more worthwhile for this than others. Lots of non voters or undecided.

      Doesn’t hurt to keep some voter registration forms on you while you are delivering for those Left leaning unregistered voters you might run across.

  19. Appleboy 19

    BM . That was the worst piece of rubbish you’ve given us yet. Are you in your own wee world, or you you hang out with people who actually think like that. You’re scaring us. I never drink before writing either, that can help.

  20. binders full of women 20

    Get that fecking CGT properly costed next time BEFORE the campaign (not some vague expert group will reveal all later) and make it no exceptions and include the family home and I might vote for your lot.
    Warning bells are however.. ‘Russell Norman’ and ‘Economics’ in the same paragraph, and any talk of quality candidates can’t then offer up the likes of Mallard, Curran, Moroney.

  21. Bill Drees 21

    Fucked in the head: this approach is so dumb and naive it indicated the writer is not a competent political analyst.
    Labour has a moral duty go fight to represent as many people as possible. Labour started green politics in Godsown.
    If Labour does anything other that plan and fight to win the maximum number of seats it will loose.

    • BM 21.1

      Labours given up on trying to represent the majority of kiwis.

      They see their future in trying to bribe the lazy useless dross out there who’s too fucking lazy and dumb to get of their arse and vote.
      Throw enough shit their their way and hopefully they may make the effort and vote, fuck everyone else though and the damage it does to NZ, power is what matters, fuck the cost.

      Says a lot about what labours about doesn’t it, sooner this party sinks into the oblivion of history the better, bunch of self serving arseholes.

      Ps. We’re getting a serious caching issue on fire fox, noticed it over the last few days, have to f5 all the time to get new posts to show.

      • fender 21.1.1

        So you’ve been offered a bribe, that’s serious and you should report it to the electoral commission. No wonder you are mad

      • Akldnut 21.1.2

        They see their future in trying to bribe the lazy useless dross out there who’s too fucking lazy and dumb to get of their arse and vote.
        Throw enough shit their their way and hopefully they may make the effort and vote, fuck everyone else though and the damage it does to NZ, power is what matters, fuck the cost.

        North of $50.00 sound familiar Big Mouth?

      • thatguynz 21.1.3

        I find it oddly ironic that YOU call non-voters out as “dumb” amongst a diatribe that could only be categorised as the same. I have much more respect for someone that doesn’t vote because they can’t find a party that they identify with than an unthinking sycophant who sees no wrong in their anointed leaders and looks down on everyone else.

        You sir, are a cretin.

  22. red blooded 22

    Labour has to respect the Greens and remember that they are not the enemy. They are not the ones attacking working people, selling our assets and mining our state parks. Frankly, I think the Greens have been very patient with Labour and over the years they have been shafted more than once as Labour has dealt with the likes of Peters and Dunne, afraid of being seen as a Left wing government. If this happens again I’m back to the Green Party.

    • Bill Drees 22.1

      Go to Green Party now and help them win as many votes and seats as possible.

      That way both parties will beat the Nats and be able to form a strong coalition.

    • Murray Olsen 22.2

      I agree. The way many in Labour carry on is putting the Greens in a more favourable light. Their behaviour seems more mature and, as far as economics goes, I trust them far more. I want to trust Cunliffe, but I think I need to see a public execution of the remaining Rogernomes first. At this stage, my vote would be Green for electorate and Mana for party.

  23. tricledrown 23

    Best Motivator around just keep posting Bowel Movement your trash talking got to be good for at least 1or 2% increased turn out for the left.

  24. Rich 24

    I’m sure many people (like me) vote Green because they aren’t Labour (or vote Labour because they aren’t the Greens). Aren’t both parties better off if people keep this choice?

    The best advice would be for both parties to be civil and respectful to each other.

    With MMP, the loss of electorates through vote splitting is of no consequence (outside anywhere National are trying to gerrymander, where there should definitely be an agreement – possibly the Greens to withdraw in Ohariu, both parties to withdraw in Epsom and advise a vote for the National patsy).

  25. Fisiani 25

    I laughed when I read that Winston First were a cert to be Parliament. Not according to any recent polling. If they lose just 35,000 votes then they cannot be. Winston will not even be a candidate in 2014 due to failing health. the Conservatives are eating into their vote and at least 20,000 have died or developed dementia in the last three years. Remember that if they get 110,000 votes they get no MP’s and National get approx. 47% of the wasted votes taking them to 49.4%
    Instead of plotting how to divvy up strategic votes between Labour and Greens it will be necessary to gift NZF tens of thousand votes to cobble together a Labour/Greens/Mana/NZF hydra.

    • Francis 25.1

      “Winston will not even be a candidate in 2014 due to failing health.”

      Interesting. That’s the first I’ve heard of it. Do you have a source?

      A year before the 2011 election, a lot of people thought exactly the same thing. Then, when the election came up, he had a sudden boost in the polls.

      It’s possible that he may not get in (anything could happen in the space of election year), but at this stage, I’d say he still has a reasonable chance. Of course if NZ First failed to make it in, their seats would be divided fairly evenly between National and the left bloc (Labour and the Greens), going by current polling. If it is the case that they don’t get in, the 1-2% lead of either party would be what wins them the election.

      • Lanthanide 25.1.1

        “Interesting. That’s the first I’ve heard of it. Do you have a source?”

        His deluded and diseased mind from an alternate reality. Pay Fisi’s ramblings no heed.

      • Fisiani 25.1.2

        Yes I have a source. A very reliable source. and a very private source.

  26. Sacha 26

    Another shared policy position like the electricity one would show voters the shape of a Greens-Labour coalition. Not that hard, surely, providing some egos are kept out of the room.

  27. Jenny Michie 27

    It’s worth remembering that the 5th Labour led government was formed in 1999 as a result of Labour and the Alliance publicly campaigning together – so the public knew exactly what it was getting, and Labour encouraging its supporters to give their electorate vote to Jeanette Fitzsimons in the Coromandel. But I do agree with many of the comments here that the Greens have, to one extent, been poorly served by Labour in the past, however its independence is undoubtably one of the reasons for its continuing success. Being a minority partner in government can be brutal and in politics one has to be careful of what one wishes for.

  28. Michael 28

    A good analysis there Jenny. I thought Labour’s policies in 2011 were pretty good, in the main. The trouble was that no one believed a word of them (including at least one member of the NZ Council, according to that person directly) or, more precisely, no one believed Labour would implement those policies if elected. So, many people who would normally vote Labour stayed at home (as they did in 2008 too). Until recent changes at the top of Labour’s parliamentary caucus, it appeared that it did not want to try and get these voters back. Instead, the caucus appeared more comfortable pandering to the fickle middle classes who deserted them in 2005 and never returned (the union movement turning out the working class vote saved Labour’s bacon that time, although campaign exigencies required ransacking the leader’s budget to pay for the pledge cards, as the right never tired of reminding the nation). In 2014, Labour stands a real chance of defeating National and forming a government, probably in coalition with the Greens and, maybe, Winston 1st. But Labour’s prospects are no greater than that. Another insurance company and a cumbersome bureaucracy to buy electricity from the corporations do not appeal to the party’s base. Time for some real policy development over the summer break or time to fold the tents and make way for a real alternative to National.

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