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Why I’m In – a response to the disillusioned

Written By: - Date published: 7:39 am, August 10th, 2012 - 143 comments
Categories: activism, Deep stuff, labour - Tags:

There’s a fair bit of disillusionment out there at the moment re the divisive goings on within Labour. Choosing a representative voice at random, the post by Scott Yorke of Imperator Fish fame attracted a bit of attention, so I’ll use it as a prompt and context for framing a response to the disillusioned.

Why I’m Out

I’ve reached the point where I really can’t be bothered fighting for a Labour government any more. I don’t really know what the party stands for, and there is an immense amount of crap going on behind the scenes. It’s coming to the fore and it looks ugly.

I’m not impressed with these goings on either. There’s no quicker route to electoral oblivion than internal division. It’s painful to watch some of that going on with Labour right now. But I keep in mind two points, that such divisions exist in all parties of size n > 1 (e.g. the current factional fights within National), and that most of us are seeing this only through the excitable and unreliable lens of the media. Labour needs to get its house in order, but rumours that the house is burning down are just so much self-serving nonsense.

I also sense a leadership void at the top. I thought David Shearer was the answer to the party’s woes, but now I wonder. I don’t have any inside knowledge, but the perception is growing that he can’t control rogue members of his caucus team. A leader who can’t control his team doesn’t deserve to lead. I know Shearer’s new to the leadership role, but he has to step up. Maybe he will, and perhaps this latest crisis in Labour will bring out some previously unseen strengths in the man.

I think Shearer can be an excellent leader and an excellent PM, given time to grow in to the job. Whether the sensation-hungry media, and the nervous Labour caucus, give him the time that he needs, that’s an open question. But to the nervous I’d say – get a grip. Leader of the opposition is the hardest job in politics. They’re never going to be close to an incumbent PM in the (almost meaningless “preferred PM”) polls, and the bulk of the public doesn’t even begin to get to know them until election time. So every new leader deserves a shot at at least one election. Talk of leadership change now is nuts.

But I am no longer the optimist. When I hear David Shearer speak he sounds to me more like a National Party leader. I’m sure his advisers are telling him to chase the middle vote, but all we seem to be promised is a slightly softer version of what we already have, and without asset sales. Why is he off chasing the votes of business groups and rural voters, when the main reason why Labour did dismally in 2008 and 2011 is the failure of traditional urban Labour voters to get to the polls? They are typically the poor, the young, Maori and Pasifika. They don’t give a crap about the knowledge economy or reforming the Reserve Bank Act. Many of them have figured Labour just doesn’t care about them. I’d like to assure them they are wrong, but are they?

The day that I think that Labour doesn’t care about its traditional voters is the day I’ll be turning in my card. I believe that Labour does care, it’s in the DNA of the party, we’ll see that in the lead up to the next election (which, let’s remember, is still 2 years away). And yes, Labour does have to turn out its traditional voters to win, but I don’t think that it’s wrong to woo “the middle vote” as well. Labour has surely recognised two basic facts, that the political left is well supplied with viable parties, and that their next government will be in coalition with those parties. So to worried activists I’d say “think MMP”. Think about the next Labour led government rather than the Labour party in isolation. The next Labour led government will be thoroughly of the left, and if Labour can bring some middle voters to that coalition, so much the better.

I have a fine local MP in Phil Twyford, and I will continue to support him. There are also a lot of amazing and dedicated people within the party, many of whom are immensely frustrated by what they see going on. I admire their commitment and energy, and the huge amount of patience they have. Many of them remain fiercely optimistic in situations where I just fall into despair.

I’ve only been a member of the party for a short time, so I can perhaps be criticised for being naive. I’m not renouncing my membership, or anything as dramatic as that, nor do I mean this post to sound like a prolonged flounce. I’m just going to stop helping for a while. I have many other uses for the energy that party activism requires me to expend.

In my experience the risk of falling “into despair” is highest in the early years. Survive them and you take a longer perspective. Politics is a long, slow game, ruled by a natural cycle that is actually pretty hard to influence. Every now and again your favourite party will get the wobbles. It’s inevitable, it’s transitory, and it doesn’t matter much, as long as the heart of the Party is in the right place. And the heart of the party is not the leader, or the current crop of MPs, it is we the members. The party will be exactly as good or as bad as we make it. So for the moment, I’m in.

143 comments on “Why I’m In – a response to the disillusioned”

  1. oscar 1

    New national under key is far more palatable than old labour under shearer to the soma’d masses.

  2. And the heart of the party is not the leader, or the current crop of MPs, it is we the members.

    That heart won’t help headless chooks.

    But there seem to be a lot of broken hearts, and it’s up to the leader and the current crop of MPs to deal with and repair the heartbreak.

    If their hearts are in it.

  3. Craig Glen Eden 3

    Shearer is the current leader he needs to lead now not in 12 months or 2 years time now. Does a CEO get three years to grow into the job would any captain of and National team get three years to grow into the job no. Shearer wanted the job he’s got it, now do it. No more excuses for Shearer.

    • Akldnut 3.1

      I agree. Shearer needs to take center stage and do the job right now – not further down the track. He needs to take the wind out of “Shifty Snake Eye’s” sail and start instilling confidence in the members.

    • felix 3.2

      Damn right Craig. We already did this three years ago waiting for Goff to step up, didn’t we?

      Feels more like waiting for Godot tbh.

      • Lanthanide 3.2.1

        It’s a pity too, I really liked Goff’s performance in the last 6 months.

        • Colonial Viper 3.2.1.1

          So did I.

          All the Shearer Bearers in Labour were warned last year that Shearer was too inexperienced and WAS NOT READY for prime time leading a major political party.

          And what do you know, 8 months later.

        • felix 3.2.1.2

          Yeah Goff did well in the last few months, pity he didn’t start three years earlier.

          Oh hello.

          • rosy 3.2.1.2.1

            +1 lead me to think about actually joining the Labour Party. The current performance has sent me in a different direction.

  4. Carol 4

    I’m not a Labour Party member, but I won’t be voting for Labour while it has a leader that indulges in bennie-bashing, and in separating the “deserving” from the (allegedly) “undeserving” poor.

    I also won’t be voting for a party that has a leader that puts Parker into the shadow finance position rather than the more qualified Cunliffe. In my view, no left-wing leader worth his salt would choose the ineffectual, managerialist, neoliberal Parker as finance spokesperson.

    I can’t believe that Cunliffe has been labelled “lazy and sneaky”. To me it’s Parker that always seems lazy and sluggish in his responses – doesn’t have his finger on the pulse in the way Cunliffe does. And “sneaky”? – which Labour MPs went sniveling to right-wing journo Garner in a totally underhand way?

    • Olwyn 4.1

      “I won’t be voting for Labour while it has a leader that indulges in bennie-bashing, and in separating the “deserving” from the (allegedly) “undeserving” poor.”

      It is one thing to see the need to capture as many middle class votes as you can, and another to market yourself to them by buying into their prejudices. The traditional conception of “working class” applies to those without independent means who must sell their labour to live. In order to court the middle class Labour has re-defined the term to mean “those who have a buyer for their Labour” and are not reduced to begging (the dole, etc). You would think it would be possible for them to engage with both middle class and working class concerns, and to put themselves in the position to plausibly challenge the middle class contempt for the poor, rather than intimate that they share it.

      • Bored 4.1.1

        I’m with Carol. With regard to the centre, the so called “middle class” some clear thinking is needed.

        First, the economy is going down, down, down until further notice and with it the “middle classes” will be rejoining their grandparents as “working class”.

        Second, as importing from China etc becomes harder due to energy depletion goods will be made and serviced more locally…enter the reborn NZ manufacturing “worker”….ex middle class of course.

        Third: the newly ex “middle classes” will not go quietly, how they respond to losing “aspirations” and how that is addressed is going to be an electoral key.

    • Dr Terry 4.2

      Spot on Carol (fortunately I too belong not to the Labour party any more). The article above is bending over backwards to defend Shearer and numbers (not all) of his party. This is like waiting for the NZ cricketers to find form with bat and ball! How long will it take? If a “player” has not the basic ability required, no amount of wishful thinking will transform him/her in to sudden brilliance. Shearer’s main attributes seem to be long past “heroics”, and being a “nice guy”. Being a nice guy is fine, but it is not enough for the toughness required of a political leader, it is hardly a “credential”. Labour has been struggling over leadership not just since the advent of Shearer but for at least about four years now!! What Labour is doing (or not doing) must be gratifying to a terrible government such as Key is leading. Incredible opportunities are being let float by the whole time, with barely a whimper.

      Please stop defending the indefensible.

    • mike e 4.3

      Parker is a woos shearer is a woos
      National will call an early election if this pathetic Duo carry on being ineffectual .
      When Cunliffe got turned down I said give Shearer till Xmas this year to prove his worth.
      Labour continues to bleed to the greens and National .
      Parkers used by date has gone shearer is to woolly.
      Cunliffe has carisma intelligence and can take the Tories apart on economics.
      Parker has no authoruty in his voice likewise shearer.

      • Salsy 4.3.1

        Yes and poll afer poll show New Zealanders greatest concern is the economy.. . Sadly Bill English sounds more educated and believable in these matters than Parker…

  5. AmaKiwi 5

    New Zealand is an autocracy, not a democracy. The PM and cabinet wield unbridled power.

    Regrettably, every leading Labour MP is disdainful of direct democracy, a system in which all the citizens have an equal say in the decisions which affect their lives.

    NZ politics is limited to, “My Labour autocrat is preferable to your National autocrat.”

    For me, the struggle is direct democracy versus autocracy. Within the Labour Party this struggle is now between the caucus (the autocrats) who installed Shearer as leader, knowing Cunliffe was more popular with the members and public.

    This National government has made it painfully clear the public is impotent. But by publicizing autocrats’ failures and stupidities on the Standard, we increase the probability of direct democracy.

    Thank you to all of you who write and read here.

  6. I agree with you R0b but …

    IMHO caucus does need to get its act together.  This comment is going to be worded in a completely factionally neutral way but the party has had a series of feck ups in the past few years that have sapped support and morale.

    There is nothing more frustrating than spending huge amounts of time campaigning on issues, as I and many others have done over the past few years, but then watching that gradual increase in support being stuffed up by some idiot MP’s actions.  Chris Carter’s comments last year were an example.  

    Caucus needs to remember that they are there not through some inner ability or talent but because when they stand for Parliament they have “Labour” proudly stamped next to their name on the ballot paper.  The party is not there to provide them with privilege, they are there to further the party’s best interests.

    There is an increasing tension between Caucus and party members and I expect the current debate about reform of the party will bring these issues to the fore.

    • higherstandard 6.1

      Greg this is your best comment I’ve ever seen.

      “Caucus needs to remember that they are there not through some inner ability or talent but because when they stand for Parliament they have “Labour” proudly stamped next to their name on the ballot paper. The party is not there to provide them with privilege, they are there to further the party’s best interests.”

      This single paragraph is worthy of its own post so it can be discussed more fully in relation to MMP and whether the electorate MP is there to represent the party or their electorate.

  7. Bill 7

    I wonder how many people expounded the same opinion around ’84 Anthony? From where I sit, what is happening now is a lot more serious than a simple internal division. See, ‘caring’ isn’t in the DNA of the Labour party or any other organisation. Caring resides in the philosophy and politics of individuals. And if individuals within Labour have wedded themselves to a horrendously uncaring political philosophy and then manage to secure themselves in positions of power and control of the party, then the party will reflect their world view…not some notional world view based on what of members, voters or whoever believe the Labour party should be, ought to be or was.

    Helen Clark didn’t move the party away from the neo-liberalism that was grafted onto the party in the 80′s. Maybe she thought it wasn’t an option given the prominence of neo-liberalism in the ‘anglo-saxon’ world. But what have we now? In terms of mainstream legitimacy, neo-liberalism’s on the wane internationally. And yet a gaggle of political left-overs and ‘has beens’ from the 80′s/Clark years want to take a great leap backwards and raise that neo-liberal standard high and proud.

    If it wasn’t for the fact that neo-liberal prescriptions are going to be getting ever more vicious in the face of the capitalist crisis it has created, it might not matter too much. But that’s the point. It’s showing itself to be a very, very vicious ideology…civil society thought it got it bad in the 80′s and 90′s. But that will be as nothing to the evisceration of society and the lives and prospects of ordinary citizens should neo-liberalism be allowed to remain in the ascendency.

    And although Labour ought to be challenging the ‘self evident’ truths of neo-liberalism, the fact is that if a bunch of neo-liberal apologists control the party (be their front man Shearer or Robertson), then it ain’t going to happen. And we will all be very much worse off because of that.

    • AAMC 7.1

      +1

      “I don’t think that it’s wrong to woo “the middle vote””

      Surely the successful party needs to lead not woo the middle vote, by that thinking, if the prevailing consensus of an un or mis-informed public is neo-liberalism and the failed discipline of neo-clasical economics, are you suggesting we should acquiesce to those failed ideologies, because we want to woo those who believe the hype? Shouldn’t your job be to change and lead the narrative, it’s not like we haven’t got the biggest platform in history upon which to build a new one! The entire Global system is insolvent, austerity has failed, our economic system is based on the concept of “rational actors” and doesn’t account for Banks, Money or Debt in it’s models. This is stuff that the least informed can see as madness, “Economics doesn’t acknowledge banks? What?!” The problem is both the Labour and National parties are still running on Econ 101, 5 years to the day from the onset of the financial crisis, still promoting what brought us here. Have you people had your eyes and ears closed for 5 years? Why is this debate happening all around the world, in mainstream places like The Telegraph and The Financial Times, mainstreams Economists like Stiglitz calling for bankers to be hung in the streets, and here, nothing? Last week Bill English sends a tweet with a blog post calling for tighter regulation, they beat the Left to it, cause we’re too frightened of the “middle”. And so they outmaneuver you again, cause they’re not scared.

      “Politics is a long, slow game, ruled by a natural cycle”

      Seen the climate in the Northern Hemisphere this summer, Libor scandal, JP Morgan, MF Global, Bankia, Greek pensioners hanging from trees in local parks, shooting themselves on the steps of parliament? It’s time for urgency, for a street fight, not for the slow game your Political Science lecturer taught you about. The world is in crisis for f*$k sake!

      The problem is, there is no leadership in the dysfunctional pissing contest that is Representative Democracy, they’re all middle managers.

      “Does a CEO get three years to grow into the job”

      We’re not witnessing CEO’s, we’re witnessing their office juniors waiting obediently for orders, as the CEO’s grow the Corporatocracy and overtake the will of the people.

      • fatty 7.1.1

        Well said AAMC…wooing the middle is what Labour has been doing since the 80s and it has failed NZ. Its Pater Dunne logic. If Labour woos the middle and wins then we all lose again. Resist the hegemony and wait for Kiwis to wake up

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          The “middle” being the top quartile of the income earners and wealth owners in this country.

          Is there a political party which serves the interests of the bottom 3 quartiles.

    • Bored 7.2

      +1 Bill. I put a lot of blame on that “managerialist” Palmer who is said to have “redefined” political professionalism. Labour have been too caught up in managerial “method” and far too little in debate, communication and representation with their supporters.

    • prism 7.3

      Bill 7
      ++1

  8. Vivienne 8

    I do wonder why many cannot understand what is said.

    David Shearer in his speech this week was not talking about rural NZ. He was talking about Regional NZ. That is places such as The East Coast, Northland, Southland etc.

    These are the areas where people are leaving from, being hollowed out, as jobs have gone. Yes regional NZ includes rural NZ but there are cities and towns which act as rural service centres but also have educational facilities, industry and perform many other functions.

    The great New Zeland recovery from 1999 onwards during the Clark- Anderon years, the jobs machine, came from Regional NZ which fed into urban NZ.

    Yes the heart of the party is the membership, so please stay clear, listen carefully and remain focused on the fact that NACT has to go. Step out of petty internal games, which the media so wants. NACT is the enemy of New Zealand

  9. just saying 9

    I respect your faith and comittment Rob.

    I have a couple of good friends who are member stalwarts, and you couldn’t wish for more generous, community-spirited, compassionate, and wise team-Labour people. I try to be mindful of them and the many good people on here when I’m critical of the party, because the problem is definitely not the membership.

    For the first time I’ve even toyed with the idea of joining myself in the last little while, probably for much the same reasons as onetime arch Labour critic, Imperator Fish joined – because we need a mainstream left party now more than at any point in history, and because the vacuum where Labour should be frightens me. With the suggestion that the general membership might start to have more of a a say, I was thinking maybe I could be part of a movement that is some kind of a critical mass forcing those with the power to change into something deserving of, and more like the general membership.

    Except there has been no hint, not a whisper, that the right wingers who have made it to the top can be moved. This term is an exact rerun of the last with a single place-change of one face. Repeated abject failure of the course they are on seems to have only redoubled their determination. The new face of this group-think phenomenon may be changed for another interchangeable one, but nothing seems to be able to change the trajectory of Labour. The majority of the shadow-cabinet are obviously hermetically sealed against any penetration from the real world, and have been for so long that any kind of rehabilitation back into it must be considered extremely unlikely at best. They are like alcoholics with an unlimited supply of booze, and a rock-solid team of well-meaning enablers smoothing the way.

    You suggest that those who despair of Labour attacking the most vulnerable should remember that this is MMP, and imply that this is all part of some kind of grand game. Once in power, apparently Labour’s coaliton partners will be able to protect the “core constituency”, and in the meantime Labour just pretending to be a bully-boy tory party. That the end justifies the means. Unfortunately, that argument has infinite scope for abluse.

    • Akldnut 9.1

      ” because we need a mainstream left party now more than at any point in history, and because the vacuum where Labour should be frightens me”

      Damn straight, if Labours caucus would just read these posts and take on the concerns of their members and supporters.

    • gobsmacked 9.2

      They are like alcoholics with an unlimited supply of booze, and a rock-solid team of well-meaning enablers smoothing the way.

      +1

      It’s time for honest friends. The ones who lock the drinks cabinet, not the ones who pour you another.

    • Kotahi Tāne Huna 9.3

      Just Saying: caucus needs better leadership. There are caucus members who could provide it.

  10. urban rascal 10

    There is one thing I have come to F*#king despise the last few months.
    The constant calls and excuses for Shearer that “He needs time to grow in the role”. This is a bunch of dribble. We are talking about someone who essentially has the opportunity to run the country. If he isn’t ready to run his caucus and needs time to “grow” just piss off and let someone who is ready and prepared to lead take the role.
    Our country is in the grips of a mad cabal of crazies and some just insist on flogging a dead horse. Maybe ten years ago we could afford to “grow” into it, but in this environment we need a true leader, someone that knows from day one how to project confidence and be a foundation for the Caucus to grow not the other way round.
    Look at all the assh*#les in the front bench now. That’s the area that needs to growth, the leader should already be prepared to lead. Not taking damn lessons on it.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      Shearer is old enough and with enough experience that he should have been able to effectively lead from day one. The fact that this hasn’t happened is indicative that he never will be able to.

  11. Blue 11

    I can understand that some people will choose to be optimistic about the current situation with Labour. But the power of positive thinking can’t really bridge the worrying gaps we are facing.

    David Shearer, like Phil Goff before him, is failing to control the caucus infighting. The ABC vicious leaking to the media was going on under Goff and it’s still going on. The ABCs latest leak to Garner was just totally brazen. They didn’t deny that Shearer would be rolled if his numbers didn’t improve, and they said that Shearer didn’t trust Cunliffe. Clearly undermining Shearer on two fronts. It’s clear that the party is at the mercy of the ABCs and they will do whatever they want, totally disregarding Shearer.

    The lack of ability to say what Labour stands for is another real issue that can’t be swept under the carpet. No one knows what Shearer’s Labour stands for. He can’t articulate it and I’d challenge anyone else to make enough sense of his waffle to explain it. As I said yesterday, there are hardly any confirmed policy positions. Of course you don’t give it all away 2 years out from an election, but if you want to win people over then they do need to know what you stand for.

    The National-like noises Shearer and Parker are making don’t really help.

    Essentially at this point there’s only one thing that can save the party, and that is to hunt down and destroy the ABC faction. If Shearer can do that, then he will have my full support.

    But for obvious reasons I’m not holding my breath on that one.

    • You’re right. Shearer is not the core problem. He just happened to be the one plonked on top of an existing serious dysfunction, and can’t (or won’t) deal with it.

      Presumably Shearer has to take some responsibility for the content of his speeches – unless he is simply a puppet with an interesting back story.

      But too make any progress in recovery ABC has to be dealt to. Caucus is either too much ABC or too scared of ABC. Pressure will have to come from below. Like, major pressure. Try a mass membership resignation or something (you can rejoin if they sort their shit out).

      At the moment you’re simply being ignored.

      • Anne 11.1.1

        I had a communication yesterday with someone on the inside of the Labour caucus.

        You may be interested to know that the ‘rogue politicians’ who spoke to Garner came to the grand total of one. And even that appears to have been just a throw-away line or two, and not the dramatic version dreamed up by Garner. Even so, I’ve been told the culprit will be severely dealt to at the next caucus meeting.

        The consensus of opinion is that Garner extrapolated those few lines into a story that is short on facts and an awful lot of imagination… and were probably based on conversations going back six months or more to the time of the leadership contest. That sounds about right to me.

        There is an upside to this nasty episode. All Labour MPs have been given a very sharp reminder… be alert and vigilant around snoopy journos who are only after a chance to produce sensational crap for the political titillation of their viewers/readers/listeners.

        • Pete George 11.1.1.1

          It wouldn’t be surprising if the ‘rogue politicians’ is/are downplaying their role. I’d suspect somehwre in the middle of the versions is likely to be more accurate.

          I’ve been told the culprit will be severely dealt to at the next caucus meeting.

          If that’s what’s going to be done, good, but how does anyone on the outside know that it’s being dealt with? Do they really expect everyone to believe that silence means suddenly everything has become fine in caucus?

        • prism 11.1.1.2

          Anne 11 1 1
          Don’t you think that Labour should do a bit of playing off journos and defend their position publicly with a confiding interview about the strength and love within the caucus and their hopes for great things from the various stars? To hell with the severe words to be said in caucus – Labour do a Tongariro and emit some steam and a bit of flame and ash. Show everyone in kiwiland that you are bloody alive and pumping on all cylinders I say.

          • Anne 11.1.1.2.1

            Labour do a Tongariro and emit some steam and a bit of flame and ash. Show everyone in kiwiland that you are bloody alive and pumping on all cylinders I say.

            I agree prism and in recent years have said so – quite bluntly – at local Labour Party meetings.

            Haven’t always been very popular because of it, but that never stopped me saying it. :)

        • Olwyn 11.1.1.3

          I would rather it made them alert to the fact that their members and potential supporters are mightily pissed off and not at all happy with the direction they are taking. Even if Duncan embellished the story, it has brought a smouldering discontent to a head, which was already there with or without Garner’s detonating it. Members do not want a right wing parliamentary party, especially not one that hopes to dupe them into giving it their endorsement. And by and large they like Cunliffe a whole lot better than they like his detractors.

        • Sunny 11.1.1.4

          Who cares about Duncan Garner ? We want our party back! We’ve been patient way too long.

  12. tracey 12

    The last national loo made NO traction til they started peddling lies as policy. Dont make me recount the ways. If everyone wants a key-type as leader of labour then we deserve what we get.

    National pract means to an end politics which is sending nz to hell in a handbasket… Do two wrongs make it ok?

    Shearer has commented and strongly in support of cunliffe. He also passed no judgment on pm missing soldiers fuberals. That has some class to it.

    Tge pm is feeling very confidant to choose to bypass the photo op with the mourners unless national are scared it looks like hes happy to send our boys to their deaths?

  13. Scott 13

    Anthony, I have a lot of respect for Labour people like you who are prepared to hang in there and fight for a better party. It’s an option I considered, but right now I really can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. I sense a disconnect between the members and some in caucus, and I don’t detect any great urgency within the leadership to do anything about it. In fact, I don’t detect much leadership at all. It feels to me like the David Shearer we were promised and the David Shearer we got are two different people. I know it takes time for someone to grow into their role, but it isn’t as if the party did not have other leadership options, one of whom was ready to go.

    I’m not leaving Labour and I’ll still vote for them in 2014, but right at this moment I won’t be attending party rallies or telling people they should vote Labour, because if someone were to ask me what Labour stands for right now (as opposed to what it should stand for) I couldn’t give them a clear answer.

    I don’t honestly think Labour’s strategists have understood that the flogging the party got in 2011 was due to the party being irrelevant to a large group of traditional Labour voters. While David Shearer does his grand tour of the provinces and his finance minister tries to charm business leaders, traditional Labour voters (the young, the urban poor and working class, Maori, Pasifika etc) are turning away from the party.

    The party’s got some great talent, and some great MPs. Unfortunately the ship is sailing in the wrong direction.

  14. Kotahi Tāne Huna 14

    With the obvious exception of Mr. Irrelevant’s “contributions” this thread makes great reading.

    It demonstrates the health and strength of the NZ left, as does The Standard in general. I don’t think this strength is very well reflected by events of recent days, and it’s well past time David Shearer acted more as though he had that strength behind him.

    “Putting bad schools on notice” and ephemeral sickness beneficiaries who don’t vacuum the lawn? Give me a break.

  15. Peter 15

    I dunno. I used to think that politics was a long slow game, and that things would get better after the early years, but no, I just found that you witnessed a long, slow, decline of a once great party, which seemed unable to right itself.

  16. Stephen 16

    Danyl expresses exactly how I feel about those attempts to woo the centre voter:

    http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2012/08/10/shearer-and-the-roof-painting-benefit-bludger/

    Now, Labour “strategists” need to get that demonising beneficiaries is how the Nats scare middle class people who fear falling off the ladder, and how they drive a wedge between the beneficiaries and the next layer up who are the working poor. People who really buy view that will nod at Labour people who say it, and then go for the real thing and vote Nat anyway.

    The correct strategy is to remind the worried middle and working class that benefits are there for them too, when they fall sick, lose a partner, or lose their job, and that “beneficiaries” are not permanent underclass to despise but a tempory stage that many people honourably pass through and then out of again.

    • Jim Nald 16.1

      Cheers, Stephen.
      I have been wondering recently if there is no one else left in this country who feels and sees it this way.

      • gobsmacked 16.1.1

        A Labour leader’s speech:

        “Constantly in the courts … fraud … costing hundreds of millions … they’re called finance company directors … the collars are white … they are the true bludgers …” etc.

        If David Shearer is reading this, I’ll write it for you. No charge.

  17. AmaKiwi 17

    ABC and list MP’s

    My electorate Labour MP is not going to lose his seat. His LEC is too devoted to him.

    However, List PM’s are entirely dependent on their position on the list. If they have crossed Cunliffe in the past, their fear is Cunliffe will put them too far down the list to stay in parliament.

    OK, it’s a bit obvious. With a high list position you can return to Parliament even if Labour gets hammered at the next election.

    It’s very unhealthy for the party. List MP’s who may have upset Cunliffe care more about keeping Cunliffe out of leadership than about winning the next election.

    Many of those at the top of the caucus are list MP’s: David Parker, Andrew Little, Jacinda Arden, Shane Jones, and virtually all of the Christchurch Labour MP’s.

    How many ABC’s are List MP’s?

    Why do we have a Finance Spokesperson who is a pathetic speaker?

    • deano 17.1

      The leader doens’t choose the list

      • Colonial Viper 17.1.1

        with the changes in the org review, a much smaller group of people will be choosing the list. And that small group of people will have far more say than they do now in how they rank the final list.

      • AmaKiwi 17.1.2

        @deano, get real. No one has more say than the party leader.

  18. NZ Labour has run its course. Old Labour united the classes in the 30s around economic nationalism when state ownership/or regulation of production etc took full advantage of NZs comparative advantage.
    Then when the postwar boom ended NZ lost its comparative advantage. Old Old Labour deregulated in the 1980s and become a Blairite Party before Blair.  Labour renounced ‘socialism’ for the ‘third way’ not because Labour had lost its way but because the onset of economic crisis dictated it.
    So came the end of economic nationalism and the recolonisation of Aotearoa. NZ sovereignty was hollowed out. This left Clark/Blairite Labour straddling the ‘middle’ over a widening gap as the main classes polarise. Shearer is great for that role as he is the most plastic of Blairites. 
    Social Democracy can only last as long as the majority working class is prepared to be conned into paying Banskters bonuses. Greece offers some lessons. PASOK lost most of its mass base who deserted to SYRIZA.
    Labour is heading for a split. The sooner the better.
     
     
     

  19. gobsmacked 19

    Just briefly (busy) …

    We’re mixing up 2 different issues here.

    1) MMP is here long-term, therefore there will need to be a party that is broadly social democratic, centre-left, forming coalitions with others (e.g. Greens). That party should be Labour, because starting afresh would take a generation, and the result might not be so different (careerist politicians are an occupational hazard). So yes, if you’re already Labour it is fair enough to argue the case for staying in and fighting.

    2) But … “staying in and fighting”. Not staying in and pretending. It’s one thing to say you’re still committed to the party. It’s quite another to say you’re giving the leader and senior MPs credit they don’t deserve. The party is not the caucus, but the caucus IS the problem, and hoping they will suddenly act differently, without a giant kick up the arse, is just flying in the face of the evidence.

    Finally , this really irritates … apparently, “most of us are seeing this only through the excitable and unreliable lens of the media.”

    That is condescending and just plain wrong. The past few days has not been about the minimal media coverage (thank God for the Olympics!). It’s been about the anger of the base, and the silence from the leadership – except when making speeches that make it all worse.

    (Ok not so brief after all, sorry … But seriously, people are pissed off and it’s not going away … face up to that).

    • prism 19.1

      gobsmacked 19
      Well said and well thought. The way I see it is that the caucus is the pimple (going to a boil) on the face of Labour, and as all ads point out no party looks good with that sort of blemish.
      Patience is one thing, making excuses for gross mismanagement and loss of mission by Labour is another. Allowing pollies to continue with flabby excuses and undercover rustlings hiding their lack of steel is stupid.

      Someone ran or exerted themselves, in some sport in the Olympics, after feeling their leg or arm actually break yet continued because they didn’t want to let the team down. We NZs are the team for pollies and we are being let down. Let pollies make a similar effort to succeed and win not just the next election, but the race to do something intelligent and nation building before its too late to make a difference in this unhappy 21st century.

    • Craig Glen Eden 19.2

      Well said godsmacked.

  20. bad12 20

    Sorry, being fair according to David Shearer is to spit upon beneficiaries without actually having ANY personal knowledge of the supposed beneficiary He was spitting upon,

    Better according to the Shearer speech to Grey Power to get the gossip on individual beneficiaries from their neighbours, (sort of sounds like the old East German Stassi),

    Lucky us, the Greens are a viable option which means our votes for the left can be cast and counted…

    • Colonial Viper 20.1

      being fair according to David Shearer is to spit upon beneficiaries without actually having ANY personal knowledge of the supposed beneficiary He was spitting upon

      This is worth repeating

      • weka 20.1.1

        It’s worse than that. Shearer implies that he (and the man he is talking to) have knowledge that makes their judgement valid. He doesn’t deign to share that knowledge with us, which sets him up as ultimate arbiter of disability and no-one can argue with him (and in this he abuses his position of power as a Labour MP and leader). He (and other bigots) can now always say that the bene was a bludger because he, the man with the power, has established the facts without having to present them.
         
        In reality such judgements get made on the flimsiest of evidence, but the problem is the idea that the public have the right and qualification to make the judgement in the first place. They don’t.
         
        (I do have to say that TS authors and commenters have indulged in this shit on occasion as well.)
         
        In terms of the current debacle in Labour, Shearer opening his speech with this ‘anecdote’ says far more than the Garner affair. The shit that Garner was stirring was solvable. I vote Green and have been assuming that the only way to have a left govt again is a L/G coalition. I’ve been looking forward to seeing how that plays out. Now I’m flummoxed because if prejudice against disability and bene bashing is acceptable practice for the leader of the Labour party, we’re all fucking screwed.

  21. Sanctuary 21

    It is 12.18pm, and nothing on red alert about unemplyment rising, and the CTU was the main opposition on the radio this morning.

    See the problem? The current Labour caucus is full of lazy shitheads, being paid by taxpayers to do… not a lot by the look of it.

    As long as the cuacus is dominated by non-performing can’t be bothered do-nothings like Mallard, Dyson, Goff and King they’ll have trouble mobilising their base, let alone the issues of having an invisible leader getting terrible advice from the same senior staffers responsible for the 2011 electoral disaster and who seem hell-bent on going back to the failed ideas of 1990s Blairism.

    • xtasy 21.1

      What got me irate about King was to recently read another media comment in “Landlords”, a property investor publication, where it is claimed she wants to SCRAP the accommodation supplement, as it only serves as a “subsidy” to landlords.

      http://www.landlords.co.nz/read-article.php?article_id=4406

      Both Heatley and Bennett have been spreading misinformation about supposed “rorting” of the accommodation supplement, which is impossible, except if actual fraud is committed.

      It was raised to her by email that she is quoted as in that article, and she was challenged to make her position clear.

      What happened? NADA! No comment, no response, no press release and hence no trust she deserves. All I hear is the odd point scoring question coming from her in Parliament, but not actually challenging Heatley or Bennett on what lies they spread.

      With that and other things going on, who knows what to vote Labour for, it they cannot even do their jobs!

      Of further interest should be this story:

      http://www.landlords.co.nz/read-article.php?article_id=4420

      Why are neither Labour nor Greens raising this abysmal failure in regards to insulating homes that are rented?

      • Draco T Bastard 21.1.1

        Why are neither Labour nor Greens raising this abysmal failure in regards to insulating homes that are rented?

        Rentiers don’t pay out to improve what they’re getting free income from if they don’t have to and neither the Greens nor Labour are saying anything about it because they’re leaving it to the free-market.

        • weka 21.1.1.1

           

          The Green Party has a bill in the ballot that would introduce minimum energy efficiency standards for rental properties.

          • Colonial Viper 21.1.1.1.1

            I just wish someone would be brave and reconstitute the MoW. The NZ Government could build tens of thousands of houses using the latest innovations, meeting the highest energy efficiency standards and effectively set the market benchmark.

            Trying to control the markets via legislation – its too slow and the effectiveness of the approach is highly suspect.

          • xtasy 21.1.1.1.2

            There are countries in Central Europe, where the climate is in much of the year much colder than in NZ, but where legal standards bind landlords to ensure that a minimum temperature of about 18 to 20 degrees in dwellings must be achievable through installed heating and/or insulation.

            Hence homes in many European countries are warmer than over half the homes in more moderate, partly subtropical NZ.

            It is time to bring in a law to ensure that minimum temperatures in rental homes, in homes in general. Still now over half of NZ homes are not or poorly insulated, many damp.

            As we know many landlords will not bother, as it is just another “cost” to them to improve home standards.

            An enquiry with Housing NZ also revealed, that “sufficient heating” is not a minimum requirement a Housing NZ tenant can expect (like for instance flowing water and sewage installations). Bizarre that, since the Warming Home insulation program would let one presume they value warm homes.

    • David H 21.2

      It’s now 4:17pm and still nothing about it. Oh well at least now we know they don’t give a shit about the workers and are only interested in their own agendas.

    • Stephen 21.3

      Actually, there was this last night:

      http://www.labour.org.nz/news/government%E2%80%99s-hands-off-approach-costing-jobs

      Whether more could be done to get the news media to report Labour reaction, I can’t say.

  22. Dr Terry 22

    I am so utterly fed up with the plea that we “give Shearer (and some of his team) more time, and yet more time, then still more time”. Eventually, we are assured, hay will blossom! Instead of bending over backwards to defend someone who never had such great opportunities, please start listening to the people (as voiced in these comments, for starters).

    • I think many voters will see this too, and will be very reluctant to give Shearer and Labour time to figure out how to run a Government.

    • QoT 22.2

      I’m with Dr Terry on this one.

      Maybe under different circumstances, you can afford to be patient and let a leader progress towards greatness.

      But when you’ve already had a fucking dismal performance with the last guy, you’re down to your absolute unwavering core of voters, and your party seems to be having a full-on identity crisis … sorry. You need someone to step the fuck up and say “Don’t worry guys, I GOT THIS!”

      Instead, we got someone who either chose or relied on advisors who told him to choose to make some fucking waffley-ass statements about “visions being like Excalibur”.

      Shearer couldn’t do worse if his leadership strategy was entirely based on watching re-runs of The West Wing (certainly his speeches might improve).

  23. Descendant Of Smith 23

    And I will not believe Labour is left again until I see them believing again in an 8 hour working day and a 40 hour working week, a commitment to increase benefit rates and to make me pay more tax to support the country as a whole.

    I’ve previously posted a longer list but those are four simple pre-requested.

    Who the hell knows what Labour stands for? They proudly claim the 8 hour day on their website as if it is a badge of courage but in reality it is an ever present reminder of labour lost

  24. Dot 24

    Why I am in _
    The world was not made a better place by Whimps

    • gobsmacked 24.1

      Under the current Labour leadership, William Wilberforce would be making “the world a better place” by saying that “if slaves work harder, then – in terms – I mean – they could – need to be realistic – it’s not about ending slavery – freedom is a “nice to have” – it’s more – well, er – the number of whippings should – well possibly could – er, be reduced – over time – er, mangoes …”

  25. xtasy 25

    “I think Shearer can be an excellent leader and an excellent PM, given time to grow in to the job. Whether the sensation-hungry media, and the nervous Labour caucus, give him the time that he needs, that’s an open question.”

    Shearer would make an excellent minister for education or the likes, but he is not made of the stuff that makes for a true, strong and successful leader of a whole major opposition party, let along a prospective government.

    I am sorry to say, but I strongly disagree with the presumtion that Shearer will need more time to “grow into the job”.

    Also does the party as a whole need to truly return to its roots, or it will go down and soon be the number three in the political wilderness.

    I am afraid that Cunliffe may also have become very disillusioned, but does not openly tell the whole truth about it. He may be looking for a way out himself, looking at an alternative career.

    A new party on the centre left is needed, that also adopts the fair, social, progressive, best, pragmatic economic and other realistic policies of the Greens. It must be clearly different from the out of date overly free market, laissez faire and in social and educational areas extreme right wing policies that National stands for. Perhaps such a new party could merge with the Greens to become the true force of the future.

    The only alternative to that would be resolute shake up of the Labour Party, which though I presently cannot see happening.

    Increasingly I do not know who to trust and vote for.

    • Colonial Viper 25.1

      I am afraid that Cunliffe may also have become very disillusioned, but does not openly tell the whole truth about it. He may be looking for a way out himself, looking at an alternative career.

      I worry about this too. If the Tories have any intelligence, they’ll be putting very nice job offers under Cunliffe’s nose right now.

      A new party on the centre left is needed, that also adopts the fair, social, progressive, best, pragmatic economic and other realistic policies of the Greens.

      Well, it think the Greens are pretty good, but they miss several important marks by a margin. Hence the need for a different political position to the Greens :)

      The only alternative to that would be resolute shake up of the Labour Party, which though I presently cannot see happening.

      It won’t happen overnight, but it will…

      • weka 25.1.1

        Might be easier to get the Greens to change, although I think  it is healthier to have several medium sized parties than one big one. Out of interest, which areas are the Greens dropping the ball on?

        • Colonial Viper 25.1.1.1

          IMO their weaknesses are on
          - Understanding the severity and characteristics of the energy and resources crunch
          - Misprioritising climate change as the most pressing issue facing our civilisation
          - (Lack of) willingness to expend all effort and resource today to prepare for tomorrow
          - Buying into the current monetary and economic framework (making financial capitalism more tolerable and more sensible)
          - Explicitly and implicity believing that ‘green growth’ (in its various versions) is the answer

  26. deano 26

    Crisis averted?

    Lab+Green = 46% vs Nat 44% in the latest Roy Morgan.

    Confidence in Government continues to slide

    http://www.roymorgan.com/news/polls/2012/4810/

    It’s just a pity that every little set back has Labour’s ‘senior MPs’ sharpening the knives for each other.

    • gobsmacked 26.1

      The poll predates the “heartland” speeches that have dismayed so many. In this polling period, Shearer said virtually nothing, so said nothing wrong. Hard to keep that up for two years.

      The Greens are still doing the heavy lifting, and have continued their upward trend.

    • BernyD 26.2

      They all think they’ll win the next election if John Key votes labour next election.

      • Draco T Bastard 26.2.1

        Perhaps the Labour leadership are just waiting for a cup of tea at the local café…

    • Olwyn 26.3

      The crisis is not averted if a right wing LP is to be elected. And 32% is still in the yo-yo zone in which it has spent the last three and a half years.

  27. AmaKiwi 27

    ABC (Anybody But Cunliffe)

    Stuff.co.nz had a reader’s poll yesterday for preferred Labour leader. More than 1,000 replied. OK, it’s not scientific. But it is indicative.

    Cunliffe 28%
    Shearer 15%
    Robertson 6%
    and an assortment of others.

    So replacing Shearer with an ABC gives Labour a leader with at most one fifth of the support Cunliffe has.

    I would like to know how much of the ABC crowd are list MP’s. Not surprising they would be afraid of Cunliffe. He has some different ideas about who should be at the top of the party list. A hint: It’s not the old deadwood.

    • BernyD 27.1

      I don’t really follow individuals in politics.
      It’s not the “Leader” it’s the overall “Mission” statement that is heard through your speeches and responses.
      You can’t win over John Key, He’s never going to vote Labour.
      You have to “Leed by Example”, regardless of whether your in power or not.
      Don’t be the m”Opposition”, Be the leaders of Civilised New Zealanders.

  28. The DNA was put there by leaders that gave a damn for the impoverished mass,however
    that DNA has mutated into an infected look alike far removed from the original.
    The power grabs within labour are frustrating,the silence is deafening,the logic is
    missing in action,shearer continues to attack those he should be defending,ie beneficiaries
    asset sales etc,education,police,public service workers,in fact everyone who has been
    set upon by the money sponge Key,with absolutely no regard for how his vile policies
    will affect the human outcome,there is plenty to shout about for labour,but shsh we
    must be quiet, is the quietly spoken utterence.
    If most of those politicians who have served many years would resign that would bring on the new labour faces and some fresh ideas and better focus on the people again, out-going politicians will not be without monetry assistance as the tax payer will provide for them for life and also pay for holidays etc.
    Time for those long time labour politicians to step down for the good of the party.

  29. AmaKiwi 29

    News Flash!

    New political party forming as Labour splinters.

    The Beehive is buzzing with rumors that the two anonymous Cunliffe character assassins are joining John Banks to form a new party based on Machiavellian principles.

  30. gonzo 30

    Just received email from David Shearer – “first of my weekly newsletters….”

    Issue is picked up in second to last para. No where near strong enough IMHO.

    I have to conclude his advice is poorer than I suspected. Regardless of what his instinct is (consideration, cooperation, conciliation?) – good advice can make all the difference.

    Will respond directly to David Shearer tonight. Need some time to write a brief response rather than lengthy one.

    (I hope my link insert ok below – have not done before).

    David Shearer Friend Email Friday

    • hush minx 30.1

      Mmmm now doesn’t that make depressing reading – at the time when the party is imploding he says there are 100 weeks until the next election. I’m sensing a misalignment of the urgency factor here…

    • rosy 30.2

      Link works fine… ta for this.

      In terms of a newsletter I reckon it’s pretty good – says what they’ve been doing, is inclusive, alludes to last weeks issues, but does’t expand on them, states what they’re working on. As a dissection of Labour problems it’s pretty useless, but it’s not designed for that.

      I’d be happy to leave that on my table for non-Labour voters to browse. Newsy, positive and highlighting that they’re doing stuff, that’s what it’s designed for.

  31. Murray Olsen 31

    I want a leader who tells this story:

    Last year before the election, I was chatting to a guy in my electorate who had just got home from work. In the middle of the conversation, he stopped and pointed across the road to his neighbour.

    He said: “see that guy over there, he’s on a sickness benefit, yet he’s up there painting the roof of his house. That’s not bloody fair. Do you guys support him?”

    I replied “All of us who pay taxes support him, because he has satisfied a doctor that he has genuine medical reasons for being unable to work. I don’t see how you can be so unhappy to live in a society where we look after our neighbours unless you are a particularly selfish sort of scumbag. In fact, the sort of scumbag that probably manipulates their tax returns so as not to pay your share. That’s not bloody fair and to make you think about what’s fair, the IRD will be going over your last 7 years of tax returns with a fine tooth comb. Thankyou for bringing to my attention just what sort of vile dog you are, and don’t bother wasting my time any more, because my party does not want the vote of scum like yourself.”

    • rosy 31.1

      Haha all well and good, but look what happened to Gordon Brown when he got caught saying what he really believed about a voter’s opinion.

      Personally, I think he should have been given a medal.

      Shearer, seeing as he was silly enough to use an anecdote like that, could have used it for any number of useful political points. For me it would be to highlight disjointed health and social welfare practices (e.g. have drugs that fix a problem – said drugs are too expensive for pharmac because cost-benefit analysis are only health system – person with problem ends up on benefit).

      • Murray Olsen 31.1.1

        I think the problem is that Shearer said what he really thinks. I think he’s too honest to lie about it. His days as a charity worker probably convinced him that, compared to the deserving poor in the 3rd world, Aotearoa just has a bunch of undeserving bludgers.

        • rosy 31.1.1.1

          I guess that’s the line between supporting Labour/Shearer, or not. If the leader really does have a knee-jerk reaction that the guy painting the roof is a skiver then he’s leading the wrong party. They need to change him. The natural inclination of a leftie should be to give the guy a fair go.

          His knee-jerk reaction should have been ‘what’s going on here? Can sickness beneficiaries paint a roof?’ and then gone through the scenarios. I thought he was meant to be a smart guy – this should be his natural inclination. If he is a smart guy, then I reckon this was a dog-whistle line (that he would do that makes me feel ill, though).

          I remember reading back in the 90s some treasury boffin saying they didn’t just want to change the economy, they wanted to change the way people think (about the economy and the social contract). It worked.

          • Olwyn 31.1.1.1.1

            It looked to me formulaic, and the reworking of an anecdote that Josie Pagani put on facebook a few months ago, citing a similar experience from when she was campaigning, and suggesting that the Labour Party show more sympathy to those who hold such views. I see it as cheap, vulgar and lazy thinking, that serves to reinforce prejudices rather than broaden the base, and hurt those whom Labour is obliged by its principles to defend.

            • Colonial Viper 31.1.1.1.1.1

              Pagani. Perhaps I am being hasty, but she’s not really Labour. Someone pay for her National Party membership.

            • Sunny 31.1.1.1.1.2

              I’m betting that The guy on the roof’ never existed except in the imagination of some one in Shearer’s speech writing/policy team. He’s a dog whistle and Shearer is a fake, a front man. It’s happened before. It’s happening again.

        • prism 31.1.1.2

          Murray Olsen
          Thats a point that occurred to me. I have noticed before that someone serving overseas comes back and tells us we’ve never had it so good. Everything is so much better than Kosovo, Burma, Yemen … But we have evolved our political and economic system past theirs and want to keep it at that higher level which has its own set of conflicts.

      • Draco T Bastard 31.1.2

        There would be a difference between being nice to someone’s face while calling them a bigot/scumbag behind their back and just calling them a bigot/scumbag to their face. Any politician doing the latter and, as long as it’s justified, I’m sure a lot of peoples respect for them would go up.

        • rosy 31.1.2.1

          You’d think, wouldn’t you? But some how politicians are terrified of offending any voter, no matter how repulsive the views being spouted.

    • Draco T Bastard 31.2

      +1

      That’s exactly what needs to be said.

    • bad12 31.3

      10 outta 10 for that one, you should email it to the Labour leader and maybe advise Him that if He wants to make speeches worthy of the leader of ACT He should go join them….

    • Murray Olsen 31.4

      Or he could have said “No, of course it’s not fair that a sick man has to paint his own roof. Seeing that none of his neighbours want to help him, I’ll go and talk to him now. I’ll see if we can arrange a working group of party activists to come and help tomorrow.”

      I suppose he thinks stealing the ACT vote is more important.

      • R 31.4.1

        nah, he should have said ‘on my way out I threw away some mango skins, and when I looked back I saw that the guy had scrambled down from his roof to eat them. And that’s why I decided to get into politics.’

  32. ak 32

    The day that I think that Labour doesn’t care about its traditional voters is the day I’ll be turning in my card. I believe that Labour does care, it’s in the DNA of the party…

    Spot on to that point r0b, but as to the individual in question, the contrived and repeated benny “anecdote” can only have ejaculated from blue genes. Or blank ones in the hands of idiots or deliberate anti-party manipulators.

    Either which way, this and the Parker apostasy is utterly inexcusable: paticularly in the face of the recent (admirably-intentioned) “listening” tour of party activists – which I know for a fact delivered a message the polar opposite to what we saw delivered in the instances referred to.

    Slightly different to the Goff situation of 09 however: as you (and Roy Morgan) note, not the time for decapitation just now (and Roy also provides the answer as to why Garner was instructed to drop his wee bomb at this time).

    Last chance for change at the top, Dave, in either your head or hands. One month, tops: spit on the base again in this manner, and reap your desserts. The tragedy being, you’ll take tens of thousands with you.

    • mike e 32.1

      akak shearer needs to be more relaxed and exude confidence tonight on TV he stuttered his way through the interview when he needed to nail national.
      if he had it would have been a small victory instead it was neutral.
      no one listens to parker his voice sounds like a scared little school boy squeal.
      Cunliffe comes across far more credible at the very least he should be given his portfolio back.

    • prism 32.2

      ak
      Right and add to that these points from Olwyn 26.3

      The crisis is not averted if a right wing LP is to be elected. And 32% is still in the yo-yo zone in which it has spent the last three and a half years.

  33. r0b 33

    Thanks all for the comments here – too many points for me to have a hope of replying to – I disagree with some of it but I also share the frustration that drives a lot of it.

    I hope someone from Labour is hearing the message from the activist base…

    • hush minx 33.1

      Guess that’s why all eyes will be on the Party leader and Deputy next week (and the President and the Party Council as well). It’s these testing times that shows the what leadership is all about, and that’s really what we need right now. I can’t bear to think how happy John Key and Steven Joyce must be feeling as the next sitting week looms.

    • Colonial Viper 33.2

      Hi r0b,

      A simple comment.

      Go Ahead, Make Me

      “I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it.”

      Franklin D. Roosevelt
      Comment to a group of reformers. His point: Until they lead the way, they shouldn’t expect political leaders to follow

      In other words, it’s time to make the Labour caucus do the right thing.

    • Anne 33.3

      I hope someone from Labour is hearing the message from the activist base…

      Oh they are r0b – loud and clear.

      I have to say though there is some misinformation being claimed on this site and that is unfortunate.

      Something I learned years ago is that there is always two sides to a story. How about standardistas sit back a little now and let Labour tell their side of the story. I’m sure they will in due course.

      • Colonial Viper 33.3.1

        How about standardistas sit back a little now and let Labour tell their side of the story. I’m sure they will in due course.

        I am supposing that the Labour machine realises that if there is an information or opinion vacuum, it will get filled – either rightly or wrongly.

        So sometimes you have to act fast – perhaps through an intermediary – to make sure that the space is filled correctly before it gets filled for you.

      • weka 33.3.2

        That’s unfortunate about the misinformation. Can you point it out?
         
        I’m interested to see where Labour goes next with the leadership/caucus issue.
         
        But I won’t be sitting back until Shearer apologises for the beneficiary and disability bashing. Or Labour makes some other ammends. That’s going to be a very hard one for Labour to live down if they don’t address the issue.

        • Bill 33.3.2.1

          That’s unfortunate about the misinformation. Can you point it out?

          I’m sure that will happen “in due course”, Weka. Now why don’t you just sit back and stop being pesky?

      • Bill 33.3.3

        How about standardistas sit back a little now and let Labour tell their side of the story. I’m sure they will in due course.

        Is that code for ‘shut the fuck up, your opinions are not welcome’? I mean, there is nothing and I do mean nothing preventing any mp coming here and telling their side of the story.

        Maybe it should read ‘sit back and allow the cabal to shuffle Roberston in for Shearer’

        • Anne 33.3.3.1

          Is that code for ‘shut the fuck up,

          No it is not Bill. There’s no need to be offensive. I was only suggesting that we give them a chance.

          Oh and rhinocrates below… I think you are the one being patronising. Grow up!

          Crosby/Textor will be opening the champagne bottles as we speak!

          • Rhinocrates 33.3.3.1.1

            I was only suggesting that we give them a chance.

            We’ve been giving them a chance – for over four years now. How much longer are we supposed to “give them a chance” and “wait for him to grow into the job” like Goff? Shearer isn’t just being clumsy – his speech has shown that he has decided that it’s politically expedient to attack the vulnerable.

            Crosby/Textor will be opening the champagne bottles as we speak!

            Oh right, now we get the “don’t criticise the leaders, because that will give aid to the enemy – so surely you must be an enemy yourself.” No, they’ll be opening the champagne bottles as David fucking Shearing speaks, because he’s bought their message himself. He’s surrendered, run up the white flag, accepted that they own the debate.

            I don’t know if you’ve ever been on a sickness benefit, but I have, and a couple of friends of mine are, and for good reason. To have Shearer shit on us to score a cheap point is way beyond the line. If you want to defend that, go ahead, call yourself “mature” even. I can tell you this however: I’m not a liar and I’m not a parasite. Do you want to tell me that I am?

            Again, since you haven’t answered, what about the real other side of the story – that of the guy on the benefit, not some party hack’s “other side”? Does that matter?

          • Bill 33.3.3.1.2

            Give them a chance to what Anne? Cover their respective arses? Come up with some (probably not very convincing) spin? The only chance they need is the chance to account for themselves – and they have that through a variety of forums etc. But for the past (how many days?) they’ve behaved as though they are above and beyond accountability…not a squeek from the wee shits.

            Shearers offensive remarks aside…
            Who are the two senior mp’s who ‘joked’ they would like an internal travel fund to keep Cunliffe abroad?
            Who advised Shearer to demote Cunliffe?
            Who is ‘Shearers source’ who claims Shearer no longer trusts Cunliffe and is disappointed in him? (And what does Shearer actually think?)
            Who called him (Cunliffe) lazy and sneaky?

            Those questions take seconds to answer; not days. Will they be answered. Of course not! Should they be? Yes. Undoubtably.

            • Rhinocrates 33.3.3.1.2.1

              They’ve had chances, year after year. How much longer are we supposed to wait?

              … and why?

              You see, that’s the question: political parties exist to represent people. We owe nothing to them, no patience, not trust, no loyalty. They exist to exercise the will of the people in parliament. That is their sole purpose and they have no other. We don’t have to trust them, or hope that they’ll do better eventually, or follow them as we are supposed to follow flags into battle. They are a service, and if they fail, then they should be abandoned. If my local supermarket starts stocking poisons instead of food, why should I shop there? If my doctor starts prescribing leeches, why should I trust them? Because of their “brand”? No, if they betray me, then I owe them nothing. “The Left” is my cause but “The Labour Party (as led by Shearer)” is not.

          • KJT 33.3.3.1.3

            Given them a chance. 9 years then 4 years more recently. Still waiting.

            How much longer?

            • Colonial Viper 33.3.3.1.3.1

              And year by year, we bleed New Zealanders, our young are permanently damaged and stunted, more wealth shifts to the top, the corporate and banking sectors strengthen while the rest of society stumbles, and generational/individualist attitudes harden.

              Year by year Labour fades as a historic force in this country.

      • Murray Olsen 33.3.4

        Labour can do what they like. I’ll still be voting Mana. Shearer needs to learn that there are two sides to a story and that the guy painting his roof may have had a side worth listening to.

        • Rhinocrates 33.3.4.1

          that the guy painting his roof may have had a side worth listening to.

          Yeah, incredible isn’t it? “Labour’s side of the story”? Give me a break! What about this guy’s side of the story? There are no excuses for Shearer on this, none at all. This is exactly the sort of person Labour was founded to support, but now Shearer’s publicly stabbing him – and by insinuation, all beneficiaries – in the back to score a cheap point… except that it’s quite clear that he’s lost a lot of support as a result. I’ve had it with Labour. It’s over, that was the last straw and I’m not going back.

      • Descendant Of Smith 33.3.5

        Sorry Anne I’ve been consistent about what I expect from a left Labour party for many years now and have been clear about this for many years and well before discovering quite accidently this site a few years ago.

        I’ve been pretty consistent here as well.

        The last Labour government pissed me off no end with increasing NZS by $20-00 per week but not benefits (and no I’m not on a benefit) but they had nine years to fix that and did not.

        This Labour party has shown zero inclination to fix that either.

        I don’t care who their bloody leader is I want to know what their bloody policies are and want them to return to standing up for workers and those out of work and unwell by having policies that do this rather than platitudes.

        It’s a serious question as to whether the Labour party (members, leadership, caucus, whoever) actually believe in an 8 hour working day, 40 hour working week.

        Growing up in the 60′s that was a fundamental source of pride in Labour and the country as a whole.

        Are Labour seriously that far fucking right now that it’s not even a consideration.

        The historical ads last election and the mention of it on the Labour party website just piss me off more because it just reminds how far away from providing some basic decent workers rights they are.

        It’s a simple concept and it’s not hard to get. I talk to shop assistants about this and other low paid workers I come across. I haven’t found one yet who wouldn’t want this back – including young people who only know about it from their parents.

        • Draco T Bastard 33.3.5.1

          Are Labour seriously that far fucking right now that it’s not even a consideration.

          Yep, they are.

  34. Rhinocrates 34

    How about standardistas sit back a little now and let Labour tell their side of the story. I’m sure they will in due course.

    How utterly patronising – it is almost a parody of the complacent arrogance and ignorance we’ve seen far too much of these past four years. Should I file this alongside “Give him time to grow into the job” or just “STFU, we don’t want to hear from you”?

    • QoT 34.1

      I’m with Rhino on this one – and also feel compelled at this late stage of the thread to point out that The Standard, glorious as it is, is a blog run by volunteers. The Labour Party is a large political machine which can produce media releases, has its own blog, its own website, multiple senior MPs with active social media accounts, and if all else fails regular spots on radio and breakfast TV. Why the fuck aren’t they “telling their side of the story” NOW?

      I forgot speeches, too! Maybe David Shearer could make a speech to explain his side of the story – OH WAIT NO HE ALREADY DID. (Sorry for the shouting).

  35. Murray Olsen 35

    If Labour is ever to be taken seriously as anything but NAct lite again, they need a big infusion of socialist spine. Remember when Norm Kirk sent a frigate to Mururoa? Shearer would send a polite email to the Champs-Elysées.

  36. newsense 36

    Guess I’ve missed this thread, but.
    There’s looking at ideas nearer the centre (Whatever this means. It seems to mean more redneck ie Goffs attempted race-baiting etcetc to the Pagani-ites)

    and then there is simply victimising those who are doing it tough, and for a Labour leader being very offensive. Particularly in trying to compete with Paula Bennett in hypocrisy.

    See this comment from Susan St John below:

    http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2012/08/09/gordon-campbell-on-labours-recent-bout-of-mid-flight-turbulence/#comments

    By Susan St John on Aug 9, 2012 | Reply

    Shearer says
    “I was chatting to a guy in my electorate who had just got home from work. In the middle of the conversation, he stopped and pointed across the road to his neighbour. He said: “see that guy over there, he’s on a sickness benefit, yet he’s up there painting the roof of his house. That’s not bloody fair. Do you guys support him?”
    From what he told me, he was right, it wasn’t bloody fair, and I said so. I have little tolerance for people who don’t pull their weight.”

    Let’s have another go David- perhaps A true Labour leader might have said:

    “I asked him to refrain from judgement-he does not know the facts. The audit of sickness beneficiaries is already tight- there has to be a reason they cannot hold down a formal job and medical certificates are required. The payment is very minimal and very tightly targeted –We would not expect or want someone on a sickness benefit to stay in bed all day surely. It can be much better for people who are sick including mental illness to be active and that doing tasks such as this if they can—it is a part of full recovery—working around the house does not mean that person is capable of a paid job.
    I also asked him to consider whether a $204 single or $170 married rate a week sickness benefit that made it irrational earn extra over $80 a week because of the 89.5% effective tax rate was actually likely to be the life of choice. This neighbour might get almost nothing anyway if his wife is earning because of the draconian joint income test.
    Would he swap his job for his neighbour -including surveillance by WINZ and the gratuitous judgements of others ?
    Good on him for painting his roof- could be the best therapy.”

    This is what you would expect from someone who wants to lead Labour- a defence of the Labour tradition of NZ of helping the weakest in society, not stirring up unwarranted bullshit against them.

  37. just saying 37

    The idea that a person should only receive a sickness benefit if they are 100 percent incapacitated is a relatively new and particularly ridiculous idea. The same people who twitch at the curtains and point the finger would likely be even more outraged if sickness beneficiaries were provided with gardeners, handipersons and housekeepers as standard during their sickness, yet rage against those who can, doing what they can, to help themselves. Taking the idea to it’s logical conclusion, people should show up to work despite any kind of illness or injury unless they are completely unable to do anything at all and therefore require round the clock nursing care. Bosses would really love that I’m sure.

    Someone close to me had to have a hip replacement because of a work injury. In the two weeks following his operation, he hobbled around (very slowly and with lots of breaks) and relandscaped his garden complete with new terracing and retaining walls. Would anyone like to suggest that it is unreasonable to be on a sickness benefit for the two weeks after a hip replacement? He certainly wasn’t anywhere near 100 percent fit and capable of working at normal capacity at his job. He was in pain and may have reinjured himself, or at least hindered his recovery. It was unwise, but he hates sitting around. However, I’m sure that if he hadn’t had visible dressings and crutches, bigoted stickybeaks could just as easily have made the claim that he was bludging.

    Would people prefer that sickness beneficiaries do nothing to help themselves to keep themselves safe from ignorant accusations? Would this be a healthy way of recuperating?

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