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The wrong conversation

Written By: - Date published: 9:57 am, August 15th, 2012 - 78 comments
Categories: activism, blogs, community democracy, david shearer, democratic participation, labour, uncategorized - Tags:

There has been a lot of discussion on the direction Labour  is heading and the direction it should go. There have been some very valuable contributions by Mike Smith, Rob Salmond, Jordan Carter and Josie Pagani.

I don’t have much to add to this other than, I think, they are having the wrong conversation. There are few votes in going left and few votes in pitching to the centre in the way we are doing now. People vote for a myriad of reasons that can’t be confined to a linear spectrum.

I hear activists tell me over beer after collecting signatures that we need to shift to the left to pick up the non-voters that stayed home. I am undoubtedly of the view that this is wrong. As Rob Salmond points out no one has produced any evidence to suggest that this would be a vote winning strategy or that those who stay home do so because our policies won’t help them or that their views differ from the “centre”. The act of voting or not is much more complicated than that.

However, similarly, I am adamant that there are no votes in pitching to the centre in the way Shearer is doing now and the way Pagani et al want. It is inauthentic and meaningless.

You can’t get people to think about policy unless they buy into the project. What is missing from Shearer at the moment is the articulation of Labour values. The articulation of a vision. The articulation of a narrative about where we are, where we are going and how Labour’s values best realise that. Only once you get buy in on that can you start getting buy in on how you get there. If approached this way- I think you will start seeing the centre and some of those who did not vote come with (note not to) Labour.

Without this, it’s just two products competing for an otherwise meaningless act in three years time. Voters want to know that we get them. We understand their struggles and successes; that we are part of their personal journeys; that we understand their lives. People don’t want silver bullets or lists of policies. Our voters just want to know we’ve got their back: that our future is their future, that our guiding values are theirs. Only a strong narrative can do that. Everything else is important: but only insofar as it contributes to the sense people have of you. Policies are important. But you can’t replace a narrative with lists of policies or dog whistles.

Labour needs buy in to the project. Not inauthentic sound bites to the perceived views of a entirely made up segment of the population. The centre is a very unhelpful construction; it’s really intelligent people with alot more to offer than a nod to the old beneficiary bash. “Centre voters” have very different and contradictory opinions on a range of issues pretending they are this homogeneous group to be placated by a few remarks just highlights how out of touch our leaders are.

78 comments on “The wrong conversation”

  1. King Kong 1

    Excellent. Another thread where I get to read just how crap the Labour party is…from its own supporters.

    • lprent 1.1

      I realize that openness is a hard concept for you to understand.

      But just think of the differences between the two ends of your alimentary canal. At one end you have your face screwed in knot as you spit out your latest inane bullshit at the left.. At the other you have the relaxation as you unpucker your bowels and drop some fertilizer.

      Openness is like that latter sensation – it is smelly, relaxing, but doesn’t cause ulcers, you die if you don’t do it, and ultimately fertilizes honest debate.

      Ah.. Ok honest debate – another concept you will have problems with. The difference between that and doing meaningless sniping is…..

      • King Kong 1.1.1

        I understand openness fine.

        However I also understand that if you had an unusual growth on your cock you might show it to your wife and doctors in the hope of fixing the problem.

        What I wouldn’t do is wap it out and head down to the high street showing it to strangers (which is what you guys are doing here)

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    Voters want to know that we get them. We understand their struggles and successes; that we are part of their personal journeys; that we understand their lives. People don’t want silver bullets or lists of policies. Our voters just want to know we’ve got their back: that our future is their future, that our guiding values are theirs. Only a strong narrative can do that.

    A vision for the future eh?

    Well, we should say something about green, sustainable growth, something about making the country better for the next generation, something about how important children are and educating them, something about giving people a hand up not a hand out, something about not spending beyond our means, something else about how its important to be a supporter of global free markets and wealth creation for all, and for the real coup de grace, a national plan for how we win hosting rights for the Rugby World Cup 2029.

    That’s a vision for the future we can all buy into and turn out to vote for. Huzzzah!

    Now a lot of it seems awfully familiar, I accept that, but if we can come up with some new packaging for the messaging, it could work very well. The internal polling we are doing tells us its the message people want. Now deliver it and show them leadership! (/irony)

    PS let me assure you as a future Minister of the Crown on $220K pa (+ package) I will never fell isolated from the plight of those trying to get by on $18K pa, and who have to fight uphill everyday against a political economic slope of financial capitalism that they do not even begin to understand.

    In fact, why don’t I just hang out with the Chamber of Commerce crowd, they hold much better evening functions than the Sallies.

  3. bad12 3

    Sounds like you might be talking about some ‘other’ Labour Party than the one that currently occupies the Parliament,

    Shearer ‘stands by’ His comment made to Grey Power about ‘the sickness beneficiary’, end of story really…

  4. just saying 4

    Aspirational “vision” speeches are meaningless without explaining how you propose to get there.
    Shearer has been producing little other than this kind of waffle.
    Why should anyone trust “values” rhetoric if it’s not backed up with a a clear map. And how can Labour counter National’s argument that Labour’s vision will bankrupt the country without hard facts?

    It’s just another patronising version of “trust us – we know what we’re doing”.
    But most people don’t trust Labour actually, and it will take substance to change the perception, not more waffle.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Why should anyone trust “values” rhetoric if it’s not backed up with a a clear map.

      Why should anyone trust anyone who suddenly starts spouting “values” rhetoric, after the longest time of doing and saying anything but? I would personally find it suspicious, you know like they suddenly want something from me…

      As you say, its little short of patronising.

    • Polish Pride 4.2

      Bang on this is exactly the problem. People have been lied to so often that they want to know the ‘how’. How are you going to do it. Show me the steps that common sense dictates you might be on the right path.

      When National came out with their vison or 12 goals or whatever it was earlier this year expecting the response to be all oohs and aaahs from an adoring public saying these guys are on the right track, they have goals. Thats not what happened. They got slammed all over the place with people saying thats nice but ‘how!’ how are you going to do it!

    • Pete 4.3

      Whenever I hear “aspiration”, I can’t help but think of Charlie Brooker’s thoughts on it (language NSFW)

    • Fisiani 4.4

      Shearer is the best Leader of the Labour Party for New Zealand

      • lprent 4.4.1

        From you as a ardent National brownnoser I guess that it means you think he will allow national another term. Yeah right.

  5. gobsmacked 5

    @Jimmy

    That is what Shearer should have done, when he became leader. He had every opportunity, with his early speeches, to articulate a vision.

    He didn’t, because there’s no vision, and he can’t articulate.

    It’s too late now. There was goodwill then, now it’s gone (and not just from Labour activists – nobody takes him seriously now). Any new “narrative” will be treated with suspicion. As you say, “inauthentic and meaningless.”

    I hope the next leader takes your advice, on day one. I hope that day is soon.

    • bad12 5.1

      I seriously think that Labour will contest the 2014 election with the ‘Leader’ they have now,

      I vote Green so thankfully don’t have to defend Him…

    • Polish Pride 5.2

      No its not too late – you get on with the job of determining it asap and the steps on how to get there. Then you announce it and when people ask why it took so long you say because it needed some serious thought to what it should be and we needed to talk to the people of New Zealand so that we can get back to the primary principle of a representative democracy that has been ignored for such a long time by both this National government and some previous Labour govts. The principle that we are your elected representatives here to represent you. We are here to ensure that NewZealand is a better place in the future for all New Zealanders.

      Here’s where we are today …. problems
      Here’s the vision… where we are going to be 3, 6, 10, 20 years
      Here’s how we are going to achieve it.
      3, 6, 10, 20 years

      You’ll wipe the floor with any other party that won’t have seen it coming and won’t have a clear vision. Then all you have to do is do what you said you would and listen to the people along the way.

      It will also provide a valid answer for those that want to discuss shearer being invisible for this long.

    • Matt 5.3

      “He didn’t, because there’s no vision, and he can’t articulate.”

      Precisely, it’s pointless for Labour to agonize over how to portray themselves when the problem is they don’t stand for anything. I wish they did.

  6. Jimmy canI suggest that the most important characteristics that a party leader must have are vision and passion? 
     
    Academic debates about the middle and working out how to triangulate issues is fine from an academic point of view but if a leader does not instil passion then the activists work a bit less and the swinging voters are more inclined to stay at home.
     
    Just think about the most successful leaders Labour has had, Savage, Kirk, Lange and Clark.  Each of them instilled passion and each had a strong vision.
     
    Lange may be the most telling example.  Despite leading a right wing Labour Government his oration gave his Government a veneer of left wing respectability and carried them through a most unusual election result in 1987.
     
    So however it happens the Labour Party needs to give activists and voters a reason to take note and engage.

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 6.1

      That’s it exactly. Goff started to show a little vision and passion during the election campaign: had he done so for his entire tenure as leader we would be having an entirely different discussion.

    • Jackal 6.2

      mickysavage

      Jimmy can I suggest that the most important characteristics that a party leader must have are vision and passion?

      I’m not so sure… While people are expecting Shearer to deliver a vision to give people the impetus to support and vote, much of what being an opposition party gets left behind. In my opinion, Labour need to engage with the public by having a clear and precise dialog that points out where National is going wrong, not deliver visions of the future that are met with skepticism from many on the left and right alike.

      One problem is that the current Labour party is being blamed for what Nationals neoliberal agenda is causing… A very clever manipulation that’s been employed by rightwing spin-doctors. Labour need to distance themselves from the current agenda, and the best way to do that is to go on the attack.

      • Colonial Viper 6.2.1

        Labour need to distance themselves from the current agenda, and the best way to do that is to go on the attack.

        Well, why not leave it to the Greens and Winston, they really do seem better at it. It was pointed out by someone that the Greens, Winston AND ACT got their party’s official responses to the MMP recommendations way faster than Labour did.

      • weka 6.2.2

        But only if they disagree with the neoliberal agenda.

        • Jackal 6.2.2.1

          There is that, but it would seem more probable that Shearer’s decision to not engage in so-called gotcha politics is sometimes leaving Labours ammo out of the gun. It’s not as if National isn’t giving them enough targets to shoot at either, it’s a conscious decision to try and appear like the nice guy, which in my opinion is just letting Nact off the hook. Politics isn’t about being nice, and choosing not to engage isn’t an effective strategy against Keys ever thinning Teflon exterior… It’s better for Labour to gain credibility by pointing out National has none.

  7. Polish Pride 7

    You can’t get people to think about policy unless they buy into the project. What is missing from Shearer at the moment is the articulation of Labour values. The articulation of a vision. The articulation of a narrative about where we are, where we are going and how Labour’s values best realise that. Only once you get buy in on that can you start getting buy in on how you get there. If approached this way- I think you will start seeing the centre and some of those who did not vote come with (note not to) Labour

    I think you are on the money with this. I spoke to an influential Labour MP and said the reason many don’t vote is that they are disillusioned with the system. It is not working for them. All they see is that we shift a couple of degrees to the Right and then a couple of degrees to the Left every few years but nothing really changes. The real problems facing society never get fixed or even close to being fixed. That there is no vision for people people to buy into.. and I don’t mean vote for us and we’ll make the world a better place. I mean Here’s our 3 year, 6 year, 10 and even 20 year plan. This is our vision and this is how we are going to get there and why it will work.
    Something that people can understand, buy into and believe in.

    To his credit he agreed people were disengaged from the system and were becoming increasingly of the opinion that politics is something that is done to them rather than something they are apart of. He did not think that a long term vision was required as most people were just focussed on the immediate problems.

    Great person but so short sighted.

  8. Mary 8

    “What is missing from Shearer at the moment is the articulation of Labour values.”

    Sure, but how can Labour articulate these when they don’t even know what they are? Labour’s more than lost on this front. Shearer’s sickness beneficiary blunder epitomises this. Until Labour accepts it must provide a voice for those who cannot participate in our wage-based economy and stop pandering to the unions’ ambivalence towards beneficiaries they will remain the most obvious coalition partner for the National Party which in practical terms means continuing as the Opposition followed by relegation to merely remaining in opposition.

  9. AmaKiwi 9

    Floating down that river in Egypt: Denial

    The Global Credit Crisis is alive and well. It is devouring people’s savings and jobs, laying waste to economies everywhere.

    People in the street KNOW it. Cunliffe knows it. He speaks about it often.

    Key, Shearer, and Parker are in denial.

    IMO this is not about Labour Party Left versus Right. It is about denial versus facing inconvenient truths.

    Yes, Grant Robertson, it is also about getting serious about the environmental crisis (Cunliffe) versus “Let’s not be environmental extremists” (Robertson).

  10. chris73 10

    I quite like the direction Shearers taking, it seems to me that for a very long time the Labour party has been lumping low-paid workers with the unemployed.

    By making a stake in the ground and saying we support low-paid workers and the sacrifices they make and will work hard to weed out the shirkers is a well needed change and will resonate with kiwis around the country

    As long as he sticks to his guns of course

    • Colonial Viper 10.1

      So you just implied the unemployed are shirkers. When in fact they are discarded workers.

      Fuck you man.

      • chris73 10.1.1

        Go fuck yourself big brave man behind a keyboard. They’re two separate paragraphs which means two separate statements which means I’m not saying all unemployed are shirkers, I’m saying that (hopefully) Labour will actively work to deal to the shirkers that are out there.

        Go have yourself another coffee and stop trying to frame someone elses viewpoint in a manner that suits you.

        Douchebag.

        • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1

          :roll:

          What you wrote is there for everyone to see my friend. Two separate paragraphs, one after the other, talking around the same idea.

          They’re two separate paragraphs which means two separate statements which means I’m not saying all unemployed are shirkers

          But you ARE saying that a good number of them are, right? And that was my point. Don’t get upset at me for highlighting it.

          • QoT 10.1.1.1.1

            CV, it’s like you’re in my head right now, stealing my thoughts. Fucking love how the “left” have started picking up the right’s “but I never said all [group] were [junkies/unfit parents/lazy/evil/bludgers], I just said some were! Over and over and over!”

            • Colonial Viper 10.1.1.1.1.1

              CV, it’s like you’re in my head right now

              I honestly can’t tell whether my uncontrollable laughter is due to surprised delight or abject terror.

        • tracey 10.1.1.2

          how come no mention of the need to weed out the dishobest company directors then chris?

      • Polish Pride 10.1.2

        ……And a by product of a system that has reached a level of technological advancement that can easily discard a worker but a system that has not evolved so that the discarded worker does not need to go and find another job.

        This is not the situation for all workers but none the less it is an serious flaw in the system that will only grow as we grow tecnologically.

    • Mary 10.2

      “…it seems to me that for a very long time the Labour party has been lumping low-paid workers with the unemployed.”

      It may have seemed like that to you but from 1999 Labour’s welfare policies have been indistinguishable from National’s, and in some cases more like ACT’s. Shearer’s finally confirmed nothing’s changed.

      • chris73 10.2.1

        Well it seems to me you’re probably right. The parties policies do tend to sound the same but I’m thinking maybe the implementation of the policies might be a point of difference?

        • Colonial Viper 10.2.1.1

          Yes its an improvement of sorts when you shaft beneficiaries with a friendly smile, instead of with a demeaning scowl.

      • tracey 10.2.2

        a recently as 2007 labour completed their intensive fraud investigation into benefits, a point lost on many when nats crow about targetting these so called offenders. The number of shirkers is actually tiny, but that wld make some people have to accept there is some societal respobsibility instead of blaming non existing bludgers.

        Need i remibd you all of my earlier story of wealthy family encouraging son to borrow full amount on student loan to fund a home for himself in three years. None so smug and self righteoys as the anti bene brigade.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.3

      By making a stake in the ground and saying we support low-paid workers and the sacrifices they make and will work hard to weed out the shirkers is a well needed change and will resonate with kiwis around the country

      They’re not shirkers but people who have been thrown on the scrap heap by a failing socio-economic paradigm.

      • adam 10.3.1

        A neo-liberal driven paradigm that says we must open our country to internationally deregulated competition so that our manufacturing sector eventually shrinks to below a 5% capacity to make anything at all, as it cannot compete without the reintroduction of tariffs and quotas so we could once again protect locally producing industry and the jobs and wealth that that would circulate throughout our economy.
        NZ is slowly becoming a social and economic wasteground of failed economic policies derived from neo-liberalism and put into effect through both National and Labour governments support of those policies that are cemented in via the IMF, WTO and the WB.

  11. AmaKiwi 11

    Mickey’s on spin cycle.

    ??? “we support low-paid workers” ???

    How about we are outraged at taking from low-paid workers and giving it to the wealthy?

    Low-paid workers pay a huge amount of their income in taxes: 15% GST, petrol taxes, rates (which landlords pass on), high ACC levies (which are a lot higher if you work with you body than sit at a desk), income taxes, etc.

    I’m going to Bastion Point this weekend, put my ear to the ground, and hear if Mickey Savage is turning over in his grave! He’s probably on spin cycle!

  12. Kaine Thompson 12

    “You can’t get people to think about policy unless they buy into the project. What is missing from Shearer at the moment is the articulation of Labour values. The articulation of a vision. The articulation of a narrative about where we are, where we are going and how Labour’s values best realise that. Only once you get buy in on that can you start getting buy in on how you get there. If approached this way- I think you will start seeing the centre and some of those who did not vote come with (note not to) Labour.”

    Of all the posts I’ve read, this one nails it for me. It articulates for me what the actual issue is. It’s not a case of build it and they will come but if voters have a clear sense of your principles, they will come to you with a tolerance for the fringes of your policies. I think that may be a little earnest, but as a basic, I can’t see any other way to start.

    Analysis of those who voted and those who didn’t, who is left, who is right, who is centre, what centre is – none of that matters if you can’t establish clearly, a sense within voters that they know who you are first. Labour must offer positive alternatives based on principle, not positions in the negative and for me the Grey Power speech was that low point.

    I don’t blame Shearer, I don’t blame anyone, for Labour’s current position because that’s pointless unless there’s a plan to fix it – fixing it for me, at least in the first instance, would see Shearer lead from the front and for him to trust his instincts and his own words rather than second guess himself.

    For all the gazing in to the future anyone can do, it must be… to do what you must do… with the world as it is now… and, for how you want it to be. It should not be about how you think it might be… and, then to try and get ahead of it. This post proposes that the conversation is not the right conversation, I agree. Of all the things I have seen here, the question of whether voters see themselves reflected in Labour is the important first-question.

    I think the answer is still “no” at the moment, but the solution is not in shifting to where Labour thinks the majority of them are because that is ever-fluid, it is to bring them to where Labour is. This to me is where the conflict is being created by some elements of the current approach, it’s simply that so many don’t know where Labour is.

    Labour must not only say what it wants to achieve, but how it will achieve it. The positive alternatives are missing such as in the Grey Power speech in my view. The things Labour says it will do have to be within reach of people, they have to be able to touch it, know it’s real and that it will make their life better. Importantly though, people need to trust Labour will work to do it.

    • Tom Gould 12.1

      @ Kaine, if I had a dollar for every time I have read over recent weeks mention of “Labour values” and “Labour principles” … Can you clearly articulate these for me, please, perhaps in the context of your call for “positive alternatives”. A few examples of these alternatives would be nice, too.

      • Kaine Thompson 12.1.1

        @Tom, don’t get me wrong, I’m not stargazing either… But, Labour’s values include inclusiveness for example, say what it means, say how that translates into what it is we want to achieve by being in government. I mean for me, the principles/values are there already but there’s a disconnect because the focus is on policies that resonate, rather than – by some views – demonstrate consistency with the principle/value.

        Positive alternative – an opposition must oppose, clearly. But by opposing something, there should be a clear plan of what the alternative is. “Tax Cuts for the rich”, what’s Labour’s alternative, be clear, be honest. “No Asset Sales”, what’s Labour going to do in response to those if it becomes government? “Where are the jobs”, what’s Labour’s plan to encourage job growth? “National is bad”, how’s Labour better?

        That’s where I was coming from… :)

        • Tom Gould 12.1.1.1

          @ Kaine, with respect, you have evaded the question. Can you please explain to me what are the “Labour values” and “Labour principles” you and others regularly refer to? You say they “are there” so can we see them please?

          • dancerwaitakere 12.1.1.1.1

            - Social Justice
            – Equality
            – Solidarity
            – Multiculturalism
            – Collective Responsibility
            – Compassion

            These are /some/ of the values, I believe, that Labour need to articulate.

            • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1.1.1

              And what kinds of things (not specifics) is Labour willing to do to enact those values.

              Hint: “incentivising market actors to consider those values from time to time as part of the pursuit of economic growth” is NOT going to cut it.

              • Kaine Thompson

                The only thing I would add to what Dancerwaitakere said is “inclusion” but off the top of my head, that’s a familiar list of things. Tom, the things I would point to include marriage equality, raising the minimum wage, trade training, broader student support, investment in R&D, capital gains tax, extensions to paid parental leave, mondayisation of public holidays, using dividends from state owned assets… these are all positive alternatives.

                If you’re asking me to come up with a list of new ones on my own, I’d say no one person has the answer and there would be better ideas than mine but reinvesting in the cullen fund, addressing inequality that came about through an increase to GST, redirecting resource in to trade training, taking advantage of clean technology alongside a programme to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and on and on.

                The broader package of policies though, have to be linked to a clear sense of why they’re important to Labour. Take National for example, you may not agree with them but their view is that low taxation allows individuals to make decisions about how to use their own money because they will make better decisions than government. I don’t necessarily agree and think there is a balance. Take the Greens, “Drill it, mine it, sell it, cut it” Clean Rivers, Safe Communities and on and on.

                If you have better ideas, then put them out but in saying we have heard enough about a demand for vision, all we are doing is criticising Labour for doing the same thing we choose not to do at the same time.

                It’s just my view and I accept it’s one of many, and like I said, I agree with the post and what it says. It resonates with me well, but without any collective sense of direction both in Parliament and amongst supporters (members or not), we may as well talk about the international space station as a solution to global warming.

                • Tom Gould

                  @ Kaine, thanks for the list of policies, but what I was after were Labour values and Labour priniciples. I guessed you could not articulate them. The Labour Party website says:

                  The Labour Party accepts the following democratic socialist principles –

                  
• All political authority comes from the people by democratic means including universal suffrage, regular and free elections with a secret ballot.

                  • The natural resources of New Zealand belong to all the people and these resources, and in particular non-renewable resources, should be managed for the benefit of all, including future generations.

                  • All people should have equal access to all social, economic, cultural, political and legal spheres, regardless of wealth or social position, and continuing participation in the democratic process.

                  • Co-operation, rather than competition, should be the main governing factor in economic relations, in order that a greater amount and a just distribution of wealth can be ensured.

                  • All people are entitled to dignity, self-respect and the opportunity to work.

                  • All people, either individually or in groups, may own wealth or property for their own use, but in any conflict of interest people are always more important than property and the state must ensure a just distribution of wealth.

                  • The Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of New Zealand and that the Treaty should be honoured in government, society and the family.

                  • Peace and social justice should be promoted throughout the world by international co-operation and mutual respect.

                  • The same basic human rights, protected by the State, apply to all people, regardless or race, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religious faith, political belief or disability.

            • newsense 12.1.1.1.1.2

              shared prosperity

            • Mary 12.1.1.1.1.3

              Yes, I couldn’t agree more, but they don’t, and more importantly, they don’t want to. Unless you’re a worker, of course.

  13. felix 13

    “Voters want to know that we get them.”

    But you don’t.

    “We understand their struggles and successes;”

    But you don’t.

    “… that we are part of their personal journeys;”

    But you’re not.

    “… that we understand their lives.”

    But you don’t.

    “Our voters just want to know we’ve got their back:”

    But you haven’t.

    “… that our future is their future,”

    But it isn’t.

    “… that our guiding values are theirs.”

    But they aren’t.

    Voters don’t want to hear any of that shit. What we want is for it to actually be true. So stop trying to figure out how we’d like our shit sandwich wrapped and get to work on making a better fucking sandwich.

    When we see you doing that – really doing it – we’ll come running to join you and you won’t need your meaningless platitudes and branding exercises.

  14. ‘Value speak’ is just bureaucratic bullshit.
    The only value of value is the value of the commodities produced by the working class.
    Whoever lives off the bulk of that expropriated value can pay all the toadies and hangers on to articulate conversations about spurious values while depriving said class of the value of its labour. 
    The Labour Party is misnamed, it is speaking for those who appropriate value not those who create it.

  15. Sanctuary 15

    I finally got around to listening to Josie Pagani on radio NZ from Monday, and she is full of nonsense, but a very particular nonsense that reflects the wider abandonment of socialism in Labour in favour of faction driven post-modern relativism. I think Josie Pagani (and by extension, certain advisors who have Shearer’s ear) is nothing more than a not very good post-modernist in a party founded on principles of modernity and that she is dimly aware her world view is instinctively hostile to. Socialism – a supremely modernist creation – believes science establishes facts, political theory establishes the social state, that secularism usurps religion, and in this country this expressed itself in our welfare state. Pagani implicitly rejects this rational approach as obsolete modernism in her ever so clever post-modernist world. This is why IMHO she is resistant to class based analysis – she has no time of the old paradigm of the rich, the middle class and the working class. She sees the world instead as the information elite, the middle class and an underclass. In her world, the information elite craft the message for the millions of individual middle class realities and the underclass are ignored. Gone for Josie is the simple socialist focus on the wants of the poor and working class complete with objective measures of their needs; Instead there is a kaleidoscope of competing interests and wants some of which – such as feminism and biculturalism – seek to reject as patriarchal or culturally inappropriate scientific fact they don’t agree with and want to replace class with cybernetics as an explanation of the organisation of society.

    The trouble is politics, like war, is defiantly anti post-modernist. Pagani’s belief that modern politics is fundamentally post-modern is simply wrong, and it is proven wrong every time it comes into contact with objective reality. Pagani sounds like an blathering idiot completely devoid of common sense because she is. When confronted by the unapologetic realpolitik of the economic/demographic divide and conquer politics of the hollow men she has no real answer, as Hooten showed when he wiped the floor with her. When confronted by the ugly intrusion of objective reality in the form of angry activists she retreats into the denial of cognitive dissonance.

    Stripping politics of innate meaning and reducing it to merely debating the semantics needed to frame a huge number of individual (middle class) realities is a form of political nihilism that is consuming Labour from the top down. It is why we don’t see an articulation of Labour values – Labour values are modernist, scorned by the post-modernists like Pagani – or a Labour vision, since a political vision is futile when it can be legitimately interpreted in as many ways as it has readers or listeners.

    In short, Labour needs to re-assert the fact it is modernist party committed to certain ideas and ways of interpreting the world. When the institutional culture again reflects the values that led to the party being created in the first place, the articulation of those values will come naturally and the vision will be the cause and the effect of policy.

  16. fatty 16

    Labour need to define inequality as the prime issue. They must start pointing out that rich people are the problem, not the solution. Its OK to denounce greed, Labour should not be encouraging greed. The Occupy movement put inequality into the mainstream discourse, now is an opportunity which has been provided by the people…Labour are watching the boat sail by.
    Accumulating resources such as housing is a burden on us all and should be prevented.
    Labour are afraid of the wealthy, Labour used to challenge them, now they allow them to thrive.

  17. Blue 17

    Or Labour could try being Labour again.

    Housing and jobs. As in, many people can’t get a decent job and can’t afford to buy a house.

    If Labour made a real attempt at tackling those issues, they’d be voted in with a landslide. But, just like National, Labour have some watered-down, piss weak tinkering around the edges crap passing as policy on these issues.

    Leaving it to the market to fix is a right-wing solution. The left wing solution is active intervention. The Government building houses and creating jobs.

    Labour bought the right-wing way of doing things, where the state is hands off and just tries to prod private enterprise gently in the guts with the tip of their pinky finger.

    • Peter 17.1

      Yep. Darkhorse had an interesting graph about the decline of the State and the subsequent rise in law-making, over the past 15 years. Whereas once a Minister would instruct the relevant agency of state to deliver something, now Parliament has to pass a law, invariably, a very badly written law, that in all probability, will hardly be used.

    • Draco T Bastard 17.2

      And what do you do if the jobs are disappearing faster than the government can create them?

  18. lefty 18

    If the present Labour Party wanted to truly reflect its values it would rename itself Capital.

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      The Capital Party

      I like it. Financial capital-centric, and Wellington-centric.

  19. Karen 19

    I think there’s way too much expectation that Labour can win more votes if only they can articulate their position more clearly. I think that most people who vote already know which side of the left/right divide they sit on. The reason so many people didn’t vote at the last election in my opinion is because they couldn’t be bothered thinking. The mainstream media guided those non-thinkers to believe that Goff was a loser and therefore anyone voting for Labour would be a loser by association. Just like McDonald’s advertising gets little kids to believe anything associated with McDonald’s must automatically be delicious, the MSM got people to believe anything associated with Labour is naff. Just before the last election I met someone who could be described as your typical ‘Waitakere Man’, not overly articulate, but skilled and reasonably intelligent. We got talking about the up coming election – he said he used to vote Labour but this time was voting for National. I asked him why, and he answered as though it was all perfectly logical …”Well you wouldn’t vote for Goff would you?”. I asked him why not and he just could not frame one single reason why not. Then I pointed out that voting for National would be a vote for asset sales. He was genuinely nonplussed at that, and said “but he (Key) wouldn’t go ahead if we didn’t want asset sales would he?” This guy simply could not join the dots because he’d been sold a message (“Key is cool, Goff is a loser”) and he hadn’t bothered to think further about it. Anyway, I met him again after the election and asked him if he voted for National. He said he didn’t bother voting at all in the end…

  20. Michael 20

    Labour, or whatever replaces it, must create solidarity among the working and non-working poor. After all, both groups live in poverty because of the defects of modern capitalism and both will benefit from its reform (not eradication, IMHO). Labour has managed to do this, very successfully, before (1935-1949) and intermittently thereafter. For a start, I reckon the bureaucracy must be overhauled (repeal the State Sector Act) so that the “poor” (not sure how to define the term but anyone earning less than me will do for now) can have some confidence that public servants will actually serve them, rather than themselves and the elite. Ministers must be accountable to the people for the performance of their officials and must be given powers sack or discipline those who won’t do what they are told.

    • Colonial Viper 20.1

      So you’re going to reform private sector capitalism by reforming the State Sector Act as a priority?

      I’d suggest if you really wanted to reform capitalism you would start by reforming the role of banks, money and credit in the economy.

  21. AnnaLiviaPluraBella 21

    A thoughtful piece today from Bryce Edwards  in the NBR
     
    “Should politicians lead political debate or follow it?
    Do political parties best serve democracy by ‘listening to the people’ or by articulating their own vision?
    These are two distinct approaches to the role of party politics, and it’s worth keeping them in mind when following the ongoing online discussion over Labour’s political direction.
    …..
    The different political approaches boil down, according to political scientists, to whether politicians and parties should be ‘preference-shapers’ or ‘preference-takers’. Much of the debate around the Labour Party – and all New Zealand parties – occurs within a mindset that assumes that political parties are ‘hostages’ of the fixed ideological preferences of voters. Rob Salmond epitomises this, as does the Pagani approach.
     ….
     ‘You can’t get people to think about policy unless they buy into the project. What is missing from Shearer at the moment is the articulation of Labour values. The articulation of a vision’ .”
     
    Have a full read on teh NBR.   

  22. newsense 22

    anyone else nostalgic for the golden days of Phil Goff ’11?

    • Colonial Viper 22.1

      Yeah man. Goff in the last 3-4 months put in a Herculean effort, against an unfriendly media and too many disloyal MPs; he could speak and hold a crowd then go outside and kick ass in front of the TV cameras. It was a mistake for him to step down as quickly as he did IMO.

      • KJT 22.1.1

        Yeah. Goff put up a good fight for three months. Pity it did not start in 2008.

        Almost made me eat my words about him..

        Unfortunately Goff was too nice, and probably too taken aback by Keys bare faced lies in the debates.

        Definitely much better than Shearer so far. From what we have seen a good Labour leader, from Nationals viewpoint!

        • Colonial Viper 22.1.1.1

          Definitely much better than Shearer so far. From what we have seen a good Labour leader, from Nationals viewpoint!

          I’m sure everyone here remembers everyone from Fran O’Sullivan to Hooten to Farrar praising the hell out of Shearer while discounting Cunliffe.

          Well, Labour got exactly what those people wanted.

          • felix 22.1.1.1.1

            Exactly. And there’s no real pleasure in saying “I told you so” but we all fucking told them so.

      • mike 22.1.2

        “It was a mistake for him to step down as quickly as he did IMO.”

        In the days after the election I expressed my disappointment here that sticking with Goff didn’t seem to be an option on the table. He really did step up for the election, and looked like he finally had Key figured out. It’s not easy to beat someone who doesn’t play by the rules, but with another 3 years he could have made that transparent tool his bitch. Maybe. Or maybe Shearer will learn by 2014, maybe, he’s not been so convincing so far.

        • jasper 22.1.2.1

          Emailed goff and told him that. Got a standard reply from his secretary. Finally rescinded my membership. Labour aint the party for me. Work full time. Got a house mortgage kids and a fulltime disability. No help from the state for the last year and I’m glad I got myself going again felon the depressive funk I was in.

          This blabour party under shearer sucks. It’s you either vote a shyster or a clam.

  23. Zola 23

    What Labour needs is someone who can speak from their heart, from their gut about things they passionately believe in. Disembodied men in suits prattling on something that they think the voters might go for turns off everyone. Let’s have some passion and anger, and some courage to make the real changes that are desperately needed. I’d follow them – boots an all.

  24. Alan Ivory 24

    “You can’t get people to think about policy unless they buy into the project. What is missing from Shearer at the moment is the articulation of Labour values. The articulation of a vision. The articulation of a narrative about where we are, where we are going and how Labour’s values best realise that. Only once you get buy in on that can you start getting buy in on how you get there. If approached this way- I think you will start seeing the centre and some of those who did not vote come with (note not to) Labour.”

    I agree and this is what Cunliffe has been doing in his recent speeches.

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  • 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
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • 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
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • 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
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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