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2017

Written By: - Date published: 7:48 am, February 23rd, 2017 - 130 comments
Categories: activism, election 2017, greens, labour, political parties, Politics - Tags:

Everyone’s had their own go at how Labour and the Greens can take back power, even with most of the economic, social, and political indicators going the governments’ way.

There’s no education in the second kick of a bull. Or indeed the fourth kick, which by about 50-50 is where we are headed in 2017. Losing four terms in a row would suck. it would alter the landscape, in ways that the left would find hard to recover from for many, many years. And winning will not be determined on whether we are “more left” or “more centre”.

To paraphrase Politico for four straight election cycles, Labour has ignored research from the fields of cognitive linguistics and psychology that the most effective way to communicate with other humans is by telling emotional stories. Instead, we have focussed on policy content and the cumbersome, awkward and broken relationship between what policies parties have and their attractiveness to the population.

I don’t think deep-left-dry, deep-left-moist-female, or centrist-moist-male recipes cut enough ice to swing elections unless any of those characters are good politicians. Good politicians carry their own story well.  Being able to credibly sing a good karaoke version of Jimmy Barnes’ “Working Class Man” is no winner either. Good politicians have credibility by being consistent and their method and their manner for years. Good politicians are people that you can believe in, irrespective of their political leanings. Good politicians, oddly, are people you project yourself on to, if that projection remains sufficiently clear and consistent.

None of that stands against many on the left of Labour and the Greens who consistently assert that there’s no point being in power if you trash the coalitions who have held you up – even at your lowest point. That’s true, but it’s not how you win.

After this many losses we are inclined to go with the optimum scientifically polled recipe. The problem is that science, by definition, requires controlling for a few variables in a way that can be replicated by others, allowing over time for findings to be validated and a consensus to emerge. Quantitative political science is an oxymoron. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton, and John Key beat Helen Clark, because they told their story better.

Obama recognised the problem. On the day after Donald Trump’s stunning, stinging victory over Hillary Clinton, President Obama surveyed the smouldering wreckage of the campaign in an interview with Rolling Stone. Obama recognised the problem when he highlighted the need for Democrats to “rethink our storytelling… [and] make it more entertaining and more persuasive.”

He’s right. We don’t have to worry about whether one kind of politics has more facts in it than the other. We are in the world of where politics always should be: the stuff that dreams are made of.

Again from Politico “Storytelling has been the most effective form of communication throughout the entirety of human history. And that is unlikely to change, given that the experts in neurophysiology affirm that the neural pathway for stories is central to the way the human brain functions. The human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor, as social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has written.”

“Make America Great Again”. Say that out loud, and try not to think of an elephant. Greatness revolves as its own sun.  The political brain is an emotional brain. It wants to see how you feel, and how your feelings relate to our own feelings. You do that by telling a story. These things called stories are a kind of rhetoric designed to make you feel, by taking your mind from one place to another. You get from where you are, to greatness, with “Make America Great Again.” Those four words are the story you project onto the candidate.

That story of greatness regained is the tree.  Issues are to a campaign what ornaments are to a Christmas tree.

As Emory University psychologist Westen said in “The Political Brain”: “You can slog it out for those few millimetres of cerebral turf that process facts, figures, and policy statements. Or you can take your campaign to the broader neural electorate collecting delegates throughout the brain and targeting different emotional states with messages designed to maximise their appeal.”

How can we get them to think differently about healthcare? Tell them about your own fight with cancer, and how the health system helped or hindered. Little got that right. He just needs to keep going: more emotional truth, more votes.

Good politicians that last the test of multiple elections, well, that’s a recipe known only to the political version of Colonel Sanders. You’re inclined to lick your fingers and come back for seconds. Don’t ask me for miracles other than retrospectively.

There’s one small thing I remember out of Andrew Little’s last speech: he had cancer. Oh wait one other thing: he has a 16-year-old son who plays Rugby. There was of course no new policy announced. There were very few abstract nouns about the the hope, the peace, the truth, the money, the love, the country, the hate, the vibe, or anything else like that in evidence. Just a good person dealing with life. A human being who was also a leader. Shorn of glasses, or tie, that’s what we got. Human.

Here’s how Labour and the Greens can actually win an election together. It’s a local story. Labour and the Greens totally swept the board in the Auckland Council’s Waitakere Ranges Local Board in 2013 and 2017. It’s a strange constituency on paper. Much of it is wealthy, decile 1 or 2. True Blue on paper. It is a highly networked environment, but also really low in public transport use. It has very few non-European types, if the western New Lynn and Helensville parliamentary demographic meshblock surveys are to be believed. And yet, National at a local level gets totally creamed, and the Labour-Green coalition win like they never have centrally.

The basic reason is there is a well networked group of activists, some Labour, some Green and some who refuse to join any political party, who have worked for years on achieving and maintaining protection for the Waitakere Ranges.  The Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act is a result of this activism.  Strong progressive networks have been formed and candidates who talk about this desire to provide meaningful protection and who are part of these networks are given a head start.

It’s a quiet success story that’s pushed over into the Henderson and Whau wards as well. Total Labour and Green lock. Anyone heard of that story? No? But it’s locked in long term. So there’s political lessons to be learned there for anyone attempting to have a go at altering the entire government. Nothing to do with data analytics, or how-deep-left-you-are politics, and all to do with relationships and values. It’s subtle, and the right have simply no answer. It’s overcome National booth dominance in constituency elections for decades.

Labour’s success in Mt Roskill and in Mt Albert, and New Zealand First’s win in Northland, are further examples of the appropriate approach to campaigns. They are won by outstanding characters, characters whose personalities resonate with strength, with appropriate charisma, and with their own story.

That’s why like Dave Gold I believe we would be better served if we paid less attention to quantitative political science or by how centrist or left you are and instead by promoting the kind of product we have to sell: outstanding politicians who are good at their job and campaigns based on values. Those people are beings who inspire with the art of storytelling, real emotionally true storytelling, with their own lives that communicate their own narrative construction and message framing. That makes them human, and that makes them true.

Here in New Zealand we don’t have the great kick-in-the-behind of a Donald Trump or a Steve Bannon. We don’t really have an alt-right to rally the old troops against, as they are now doing in the United States.  We simply have a stable society, led by a consistently mediocre government, who have never had a plan other than to react to events. We are a movement, grown slowly weaker, as Judy Dench (in Bond) quotes from Tennyson:

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

Labour and the Greens face about the same chance of changing New Zealand’s government this time as they did in 2014. Reframing their political dialogue and practise, rather than ideologically veering one way other the other, will give them a better chance of achieving government once more.

130 comments on “2017 ”

  1. Siobhan 1

    Its been unfortunate…and we don’t own a TV, so my sources are limited….but it seems the only time Andrew Little gets any real air time, and therefore the only time I get to hear his ‘passion’ on any topic, is when he engages in what I consider to be ‘personality politics’. ie comments on the Maori Party. And that kind of carry on is a big turn off.

    This is absolutely not his fault, but it leaves him looking ‘not like a leader’.

    So, if you can’t get the Media on board, which you can’t, you really have to rock an’ roll on both the internet, but more importantly, engage in some super human touring, meeting and greeting, holding babies, drinking cups of tea with old ladies.
    More than normal. Way more.
    That’s how Obama got there.
    And Bernie. The comparative lack of successful touring was a factor in Hilarys loss.

    So I hope that is whats going on out there.
    I hope you are all getting to go to a good number of public meetings, and I hope you are dragging your work mates along.

    (I’m in the Bay with the likes of Stuart Nash and Anna Lorke, so its probably best if i stay home)

    • Nope 1.1

      Andrew Little has done a whole series of public meetings. I went to one in Dunedin when I was down there a couple of weeks ago. There were 400 people there, biggest political meeting there in living memory.

      A quick google reveals another meeting in Gisborne but I understand there have been others too.

      http://gisborneherald.co.nz/localnews/2668455-135/labour-launches-coast-campaign

      • Cinny 1.1.2

        He came to Motueka last year and my kids were thrilled to attend, standing room only at the local cafe/restaurant.

        He’s very personable, and I was impressed at how he made the effort to go around and talk to all the people there, not just a few words, but he sat down and really listened and cared.

        Awesome. I didn’t interact with him, I didn’t need to, what I was more interested in was the vibe and how he interacted with others. Outstanding, made up my mind right then and there that he will be a wonderful PM. Interestingly, I did not get that vibe when I went to check out DC at last elections meeting in Nelson.

        Makes me happy that I’m not just backing some great parties this year, as well as an outstanding local MP, but I genuinely am totally backing Alpha, best party leader for the job of PM and for me that feels great, someone I believe in to lead the country, the ultimate motivator, someone you believe in.

      • Pete George 1.1.3

        “There were 400 people there, biggest political meeting there in living memory.”

        Really? Who’s living memory? It didn’t seem any bigger than Winston Peters last September.

        It was largely a repeat of his ‘state of the nation’ speech. It wasn’t very inspiring, and a lot of the time was downright boring. I was disappointed, I thought he might be better in person but he wasn’t. Nice enough but lacking in a lot of ways.

    • michelle 1.2

      Siobhan Loopy Trump won without the media its harder here we are a small country and most of our media are tory lovers

  2. Sanctuary 2

    “….when he highlighted the need for Democrats to “rethink our storytelling… [and] make it more entertaining and more persuasive.”…”

    What this whole post amounts to is a powerful argument for a candidate selection process capable of picking actually good politicians who are actually good at politics and actually come from somewhere recognisable to the average voter.*

    In the past, the left elected candidates that were representatives of the working class communities they came from and could tell powerful stories that were rooted in the lived reality of huge numbers of median and average income new Zealanders. No matter how worthy their intentions, a candidate selection process that favours horsetrading between identity politics factions largely made up of the professional-managerial class will simply produce candidates whose ability to be effective politicians is entirely incidental to why they were selected and it is entirely left to chance as to if they’ll prove to be anything but completely ineffective political duds (ladies and gentlemen, the first exhibit for the prosecution – Clare Curran) in parliament.

    Telling stories is easy, if you pick people who are good at telling them.

    *Trump and Key are incredibly rich members of the 1% elite – but both are also are/were highly effective politicians at pushing a version of the everyman dream. The middle classes aspire to wealth as status above everything else and the fairy tale of the self-made man or the sharp dealer is one they admire and it is story they can understand, so it doesn’t follow they discredit my argument.

    • invisiphilia 2.1

      So true! There is a real disconnect between the hierarchy and the constituents in some electorates. It is partly a problem of political structure I think as this passage from a book on the Anarcho-syndicalist movement in 1936 Spain by Bookchin indicates:
      “Charismatic Leaders at all levels of the organisation came very close to acting in a bureaucratic manner. Nor is the syndicalist structure itself immune to bureaucratic deformations. It was not very difficult for an elaborate network of committees building up to regional and national bodies to assume all the features of a centralised organisation and circumvent the wishes of the workers assemblies at the base.”

      I understand that there has to be a successful caucus of intelligent people managing political affairs and that that group needs to be unified in order to move forward, however, at the base the left are fragmented into people vying for their own interests. We must act collectively for the good of our constituents and not through tokenism.

  3. invisiphilia 3

    One problem for the left that we have is based on the fact that the neo-liberalist rhetoric has played on people’s desire for immediate and short term gains. Humans tend to react to ideas of scarcity in a dog-eat-dog manner, so images of people in poverty might not trigger feelings of empathy, but rather insecurity which makes us hold onto what we’ve got a little bit tighter.

    I note that in Bernie Sanders’ speeches he used the word “we” a lot – although this alone wasn’t enough to swing people it reflected the importance of inclusivity. The fact that he could appeal to youth like some sort of benevolent and well respected grandfather certainly would have sent some right wing political analysts back to their ipads in confusion. I was hopeful that progressives out West might be able to learn from this and use it to re-engage voters at the grassroots level.

    Sadly, I feel that the Labour Party will fail to engage voters across the board at the next election as the political game being played is still tarnished by liberal elitism. There are some excellent and charismatic candidates in particular electorates who will romp safely to the finish line but in the main we will fail to engage the missing millions….and National still gains a lot of party votes in electorates such as New Lynn.

    All politicians play to values…its campaigning 101. The problem is that being angry about homelessness et al aren’t grassroots values…we have to demonstrate real concern for our fellow human beings. Voters can sense inauthenticity a mile away.

  4. Brutus Iscariot 4

    Thoughtful and excellent piece – can we hear more from you?

  5. ianmac 5

    After hearing a political speech very little is remembered about the content. Ask those leaving the hall and the people go all vague. What is remembered is the enthusiasm of the speaker, his wit, his passion for people just like me. National has learned to go easy on policy because it is boring and sets the speaker up for criticism.
    So Andrew talk to me enthusiastically about things that matter on a personal level.

  6. slumbergod 6

    For me, Labour have not offered any concrete policies to fix welfare. As someone on the receiving end of the reforms, and battling mental health issues, my chance of getting work (let alone the help I needed) was almost nil. The govt destroyed the ability of vulnerable people at the bottom to live with dignity.

    Labour would have to promise to unwind the sociopathic reforms and restore hope to the people at the bottom. I’m sure they’ve alienated all of the desperate people struggling to survive by essentially ignoring us.

    And before the right-wing trolls in employment tell me I am lazy and go get a job, I gave up on NZ and moved to a developing country where poor people can still afford to live. Your “taxes” don’t pay for me any more but the consequence is that I detest Kiwi society now and would be happy to see all our politicians and greedy rich people dangling from gallows.

    And I am not alone in feeling this bitter resentment.

    Labour are just National in sheep’s clothing.

    • Carolyn_nth 6.1

      To me, slumbergod’s comment means that, attention- and emotion-grabbing stories are not enough for many people. And people won’t be swayed by such stories if they don’t match up with their own life experience.

      Trying to find the right stories to tell seems to me just another neoliberal marketing strategy.

      Authentic, committed engagement with struggling New Zealanders, within an economically and socially just system for all, is surely the only way forward for the left?

    • Nope 6.2

      I agree with you on the need to fix welfare. How do you think coming out with a strong focus on welfare will give Labour an electoral majority? Do you think it will win voters from National who used to vote Labour ten years ago?

      Far better I would have thought to focus on issues like housing and then deal with welfare issues outside the glare of an election campaign.

      • Carolyn_nth 6.2.1

        To be truly left, I’d have thought it was absolutely necessary to move away from the anti-social security, bennie-bashing attitudes.

        Sneaking support for welfare in under the radar, still tells the story that beneficiaries, and all low income people are second class members of the community.

        • Nope 6.2.1.1

          There’s a difference between supporting a change and making it a campaign priority. I’d argue the best course for the left is for Labour to be committed to better welfare policies (which it is) and not focus its election campaign communications on policies that while right are deeply unpopular with the people whose votes they need to switch to make any actual change happen.

          • BM 6.2.1.1.1

            That’s the stuff, tell the voters what they want to hear and once elected fuck them, we’re in power and we know best.

            Funny thing is this is why Left won’t get elected because that’s what people know you’ll do.

            Lack of trust is one of the major issues for the left.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 6.2.1.1.1.1

              🙄

              Keep projecting, trash.

            • Leftie 6.2.1.1.1.2

              “tell the voters what they want to hear and once elected fuck them, we’re in power and we know best.”

              That’s what National do, been elected into power 3 times. Go figure.

              • BM

                Like what?

                Nationals have been one of the most transparent governments I’ve seen.

                • Tricledown

                  Hollow men are transparent Boring Mindlessness.
                  Labour. Should haul out that rowing boat showing the slick National Party rowing down some Dirty Rivers and being grounded on empty rivers.
                  Promising a brighter future.
                  With Nick Smith being the cox he is.
                  Then move onto a bus and show homeless people this is the brighter future with Nick Smith housing minister driving this bus.

                • DoublePlusGood

                  They’ve pushed legislation through under urgency, without public consultation, far more than other governments. They aren’t remotely interested in transparency, as seen in their abuse of the OIA process.

                • Leftie

                  Lol Surely you jest, BM?

                • UncookedSelachimorpha

                  Like asset sales.

                  • BM

                    National campaigned on asset sales at the 2011 election, can’t get any more open than that.

                    • UncookedSelachimorpha

                      Depends whether you think a referendum on the explicit topic of asset sales, or an election campaign covering many different topics, gives the clearer mandate on selling our assets.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_asset_sales_referendum,_2013

                      ….But I have to agree, those who voted for the NActs had every reason to see it coming, and this discussion here is more about election promises than mandates.

                    • Skinny

                      And in 2014 Key lied by saying there will be no more asset sales.

                      Didn’t happen to be involved buying state houses did you BM?

      • Siobhan 6.2.2

        I never really understand this thing of trying to ‘win over’ National voters.
        Wouldn’t it make more sense to ‘win over’ the people who were historically considered as Labours base, and could benefit from a Labour Government – if Labour actually had the policies and did the hard yards to get those people to the poling booth?.

        Housing isn’t just about providing for people who consider $500,000 to be an ‘affordable’ option. And the need for State Housing is not some smaller issue just effecting those who are at the very bottom.

        There are plenty of people now who will work their whole lives, and manage to get by, so will never get anywhere near a state housing list, but will never own their own house. They face endless rent rises, and endless worry about when the landlord might decide to ‘cash up’. They have so much less ability to juggle their finances……
        No one is addressing what life time renting actually means for our economy, our communities, and the way we pay pensions in the future. Its a new idea, but its pretty clear, that we need to be planning for a whole new way of living for a large percentage of the population.

        The people who vote National are happy with their lot. So leave them to it.

        • Enough is Enough 6.2.2.1

          “The people who vote National are happy with their lot. So leave them to it”

          If we leave them to it, won’t they return National to government again?

          • Nope 6.2.2.1.1

            Yes you’re right. Elections are won by gilding an electoral coalition that makes a majority of voters. You simply cannot win without pulling voters off National. Anything else is wishful thinking.

          • Siobhan 6.2.2.1.2

            Not if you can get MORE people to vote Labour/Green.
            Remember 20-37% of registered Voters under the age of 50 don’t bother.
            There’s some room for improvement.

            By default, there will be some National voters who, if they see Labour as the answer to an actively more compassionate society, and see their policies as being NOTABLY different from National, will turn Left. I mean surely there are National voters who read stories like this..

            http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/89684708/Wheelchair-bound-woman-desperate-for-a-place-to-stay-with-dying-pet

            .and think, this will not happen in my name.

            • Tricledown 6.2.2.1.2.1

              Student loans and more help with apprenticeship’s
              That info needs to be on Facebook Snapchat Instagram now.
              National are already electioneering on these formats.

          • Tricledown 6.2.2.1.3

            Exactly only small numbers required to change govt.
            Latest polls say around 4%.
            Then ground workers getting non voters out.
            Working together with the greens on the ground as well helping turn out each others voters.
            The right work together the left are still fighting ie Maori and Mana are still at loggerheads with Labour. They need to cool down the rhetoric to show some sort of Unity.

            • red-blooded 6.2.2.1.3.1

              Since when was the Māori Party “left”? Whatever one thinks about their general kaupapa, they are in a C&S agreement with National and have been for a very long time. They vote with them approx half the time. That’s not “left”.

              It can be argued that they’ve won some concessions from Key and co, although only when it’s suited (which is not surprising given that they’re a small party). I don’t think it can really be argued that they’re a party of the left, though.

  7. Infused 7

    I don’t think it’s that at all.

    1. I think Andrew is a turn-off for many people
    2. Labour has some silly policies like the 50/50 male/female list
    3. I think they are failing to be relevant to today’s world

    Communication would be far down on my list of causes.

    You all boo’d Bill English being boring, but he’s pretty on to it. I went to a couple of his presentations about the economy where he explained Nationals policies. He was captivating; for over an hour. Far better than any of the events I went to with Key.

    Labour’s biggest problem is Andrew Little though.

    • BM 7.1

      Number one is a biggie,

      No one knows Andrew Little, he hasn’t built up any credibility because he hasn’t been around long enough.

      I don’t think Andrew Little is ready to be PM, he needs at least another 3 years in his current role before he can even be considered a serious contender and if Andrew was honest he’d probably admit that himself.

      • Enough is Enough 7.1.1

        He won’t get another 3 years. He must win now

        • BM 7.1.1.1

          That’s rather unfair on the man, Christ what do left-wingers expect, miracles?.

          He’s been on the job for less than a term and most of that has been spent trying to actually fix Labour and get some credibility back and if I was been honest compared to the cluster fuck Labours been he’s done a fairly good job.

          The next step in this process will be for Andrew Little to build his own brand, that is not an overnight job it will take time, probably another election cycle.

          If he gets the chop after this election, Labour will be back to square one.

          • Enough is Enough 7.1.1.1.1

            It has been 21 years since either National or Labour held onto a loosing leader.

            Both parties go into each election with the intention of winning. They do not go in expecting to lose and building for a fight three years down the road.

            So you may be right he would be more appealing in three years but I doubt he will have the chance should he lose.

            • BM 7.1.1.1.1.1

              It has been 21 years since either National or Labour held onto a losing leader.

              Who cares and just to show how wrong that thinking is, that person was Helen Clark who as you know won three elections

              Facts are, Labour’s been a Clown university for quite a period of time, you’ve finally got someone who can at least keep the factions together and you’ll bin him if he doesn’t pull of a miracle?

              Ridiculous.

              • Enough is Enough

                I’m not from Labour, and not disagreeing with you that it ridiculous. Just pointing out the realities of politics.

                You lose, you go.

                To keep the factions together you need to win, or have incredible leadership skills, i.e. Helen Clark.

        • Heather Grimwood 7.1.1.2

          The obvious need this morning for Andrew to be denigrated surely shows that his drive and integrity are feared by those doing the denigrating. In other words he is doing a good job as imminent leader of the next government

    • michelle 7.2

      don’t agree with you infused I have been listening to billy speak you can tell when he is telling porkies he starts stuttering and he really believes is own spin he isn’t a very good speaker. The media need to do there job and interview him properly when they start asking him the hard questions he falls apart and we see more bumbling and stuttering coming out of his mouth

  8. Anne 8

    No matter how worthy their intentions, a candidate selection process that favours horsetrading between identity politics factions largely made up of the professional-managerial class will simply produce candidates whose ability to be effective politicians is entirely incidental to why they were selected…

    Well expressed – thanks Sanctuary.

    Andrew Little has had to spend far too much valuable time dampening down this unfortunate experiment when he could have been out and about increasing his national profile. Instead he has been forced to counter the public displays of ‘hissy fitting’ coming from those who gained from the ‘horse trading’ but are now afraid their power and influence will diminish.

    • Yep Anne re Andrew spending too much time dampening down hissy fitters. My scoffing doesn’t extend to the labour party but I am guilty of verbally just scoffing at the antics of the likes of nick smith. I don’t know what I can actually do to wake the voters up, to my thoughts so I just scoff . Now consider if this site targeted say smith .Say a week of comments based purely on individuals thoughts of any of his failings/ strengths. Next week from such thoughts concentrate on possible measures targeted to remove him–or maybe encourage him as an asset to the left.–(oh god phew, I’m becoming a mad scientist)

  9. Nope 9

    Some good arguments here. Very similar to the points raised in this article:
    http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/02/data-driven-campaigns-democrats-need-message-214759

    • Olwyn 9.1

      This is the point in that piece that stood out to me: …data isn’t a replacement for a message; it’s a tool to focus and direct one. The same goes for story-telling. Shearer’s Rufus Painter story did not go down well, and for myself, whenever I hear a politician say, “A bloke I was talking to told me that…” I generally sigh. A story works when it illustrates just how a positive change might look, when it is told by a person who is firmly committed to making such a change. The message is the essence.

      • Ad 9.1.1

        I’d make a distinction there between anecdote and narrative there.
        Shearer did a couple of misplaced lines in a speech, which really jarred against what he really stood for longer term. He was an affable, rumpty, grammatically imprecise guy with a guitar, who worked all his life doIng good for difficult and damaged people across the world.

        That anecdote jarred precisely because it jarringly cut across that longer term narrative about himself. As well as being made up.

  10. Bearded Git 10

    This will do it.

    1. No infighting
    2. Good brave and imaginative policies
    3. Good candidates
    4. An honest leader

    Labour already has 3 and 4. 1 and 2 will swing it.

    • Heather Grimwood 10.1

      to Bearded Git at 10: And as so many denigrators of Labour ‘s so called lack of policy fail to see ( or don’t want to because it spoils their stance) is that Labour’s well- tuned policies won’t be announced in detail until campaigning begins in earnest.

  11. sable 11

    Labour needs to accept the MSM are not on their side but a bigger issue I feel is their inability to act like a Labour party. Talking about making voting compulsory and watering down the ugly 90 day law really looks a lot to me at leas, like right wing 2.0.

    Labor OZ did well in Melbourne state elections by getting off its arse and door knocking and enduring the stick and criticism that no doubt came with that effort. They probably learnt a lot about what people really wanted at the same time and were I’m guessing able to develop a platform that actually people liked and wanted. .

    Labour NZ needs to start looking and behaving like a GENUINE Labour party. Accept that the MSM is not their friend and start getting in front of real constituents door knocking and using tools like Twitter. How do you know what people want if you don’t ask?

    It also needs to adopt proper Labour policies not National lite BS that tracks well with some sections of the middle class (who I’m guessing vote National anyway) but is I’d say about as attractive as a glass of rat poison to working class voters who make up a big chunk of traditional Labour voters.

    Grow up Labour and accept that you have a job to do like everyone else. Do it well, get rewarded, do it badly and as Donald Trump would say “you’re fired” or at least not hired.

    • red-blooded 11.1

      Sable, Labour HAS been asking what people want. That’s been a really strong focus, and has seen some policies dropped since the last election cycle and others developed. And Twitter may be good for one-liners, but it’s not an ideal way to poll people on complex matters. It can be effective at pushing a message out into the world, but not so much when it comes to gathering in opinions of the wider electorate.

      As for the “National lite” comments, I think you need to notice how much watered-down Labour policy is being presented under the blue banner to make it look like the current lot do care and are doing something. It’s not enough to actually meet the need, but that’s not really the point, is it?

  12. Skeptic 12

    I think there is a lot in this article deserving of thought and reflection. Apart from Helen Clark, Labour hasn’t had a good leader since it was stabbed in the back by the founders of ACT who professed to be Labour then betrayed every one of Labour’s principles. Even Helen was hamstrung by her Min of Finance, Michael Cullen, who to all intents and purposes accepted the “reforms” of Douglas by doing nothing to reverse them – he could have started by wholesale sacking of Treasury and getting rid of all those gnomes from the Chicago School of Economics -and making progress from there – but he didn’t!
    Until we have a real left wing party prepared to stand up and denounce the current economic base which we’ve all suffered under since 1984, we won’t get change – and people won’t vote for Labour – period – full stop!! Helen got a lot of votes because she campaigned with her pledge card which essentially promised to undo the worst of Rogernomics, and she got re-elected because she’d made a start on doing so. Cullen and Treasury undercut and undermined her every step of the way. Voters deserted her and have stayed away ever since. Those are the bald facts people. The vast majority of those earning less than $50,000 – and that accounts for about 65% to 75% of the electorate – are sick and tired of ramblings about “minimum wage”. they know that to get back to 1984 wages the minimum hourly rate would have to be $33/hour. Until we have a left wing party that says “yes this is affordable and we will do it” and as the article explains – back that promise up with facts and figures – and adopts a slogan like “Making NZ Fair Again” – the Left in NZ won’t get back into power. So the answer is – lets stop pratting about trying to be “Center – Left” and let’s just be “Left” – stand up for the lower waged – make the rich bastards share their wealth – either through legislated wages rates or progressive taxes. Currently they’re getting a bloody easy ride and using their wealth to spin and bullshit their way through the media. Most lower waged people despair of anything good for them coming from Labour, so until they do start hearing something radical, they ain’t gonna vote – at all. That’s not good for Labour or the Greens. So wake up Standard readers and commenters – what do you stand for? and what are you going to do? and then what? Three quarters of the country are waiting to hear from you!

    • Red Hand 12.1

      Closed Shop workplaces with union and employer negotiated wage rates and a compulsory arbitration court.
      Progressive Income Tax with top rate 70% for incomes above the median annual cost of living.
      Inheritance Tax.
      A tax on the capital value of family trusts at the death of the settlor.

      • Skeptic 12.1.1

        1. Entrenched legislated Income Law where annual income survey of ALL sources of income mandatory disclosed and benefit/super rate set at 1/7 of top 10%, youth/apprenticeship rate set at 2/7ths, minimum wage set at 3/7ths – leaving the other 4/7ths to be divided between minimum supervisory rate, minimum management rate. etc.
        2. All areas involving administration of National and sensitive assets to brought back under strict government control and entrenched legislation preventing future privatisation.
        3. GST replace by turn-over tax.
        4. State administered free universal health and dental care. Private health care outlawed.
        5. Fully funded universal free education to tertiary level – training of recognised strategic occupations – eg, doctors, nurses, etc – to be bonded to govt service for set term (min 10 years).
        6. Fully integrated and supported career choice for all, initiated at Intermediate School level and developed over Secondary and Tertiary education periods.
        7. Fully funded State Building program based on annual demographic surveys and restored fully funded HCNZ with dual responsibility for 1st home lending and State Housing.
        8. Restored and enhance Regional, Local and Community Government with functions of Govt permanently tied to lowest level of government appropriate.
        9. Recreated Upper House to permanently over-watch House of Representatives.

        I could think of a few more given time.

  13. joe90 13

    Will data-driven storytelling cut it when it’s up against tailored propaganda?.

    By leveraging automated emotional manipulation alongside swarms of bots, Facebook dark posts, A/B testing, and fake news networks, a company called Cambridge Analytica has activated an invisible machine that preys on the personalities of individual voters to create large shifts in public opinion. Many of these technologies have been used individually to some effect before, but together they make up a nearly impenetrable voter manipulation machine that is quickly becoming the new deciding factor in elections around the world.

    https://scout.ai/story/the-rise-of-the-weaponized-ai-propaganda-machine

    • aerobubble 13.1

      Tailered propagandar works up to a point. Trump won because Clinton did not understand, imho, either connecting emotionally or its the economy aka Sandars. Tailored propaganda works when the left haven’t. i.e in an age of communication its easier than ever to put together panels of voters and while recording their responses gain a idea what works and what sends their people to sleep. Tired recitals of procedural doings, how they are workin great, etc. Sure Trump does it but he’s already connected and everyone gets that he’s mimicing the dog whistling as a finger to press. Press who still dont get him, that ypu raise the standard of your reporting to undermine Trump, not reaching for his level. That however wont happen as all major press is cheap lowest entertainment ad staging ninsense distraction.

      The left can win, just not with Labour. Vote change party vote Green.

      • Leftie 13.1.1

        Ummm Aerobubble, are you not a team player? … political reality check here, to change the government, you do need Labour though.

        Both Labour and the Greens want to change the government, as set out by the MoU.

        • aerobubble 13.1.1.1

          Republicians putup a range of wet squids, are you suggesting that they should have voted for them rather than for Trump? Its a problem i know, you lefty control freaks dont understand why PR is all about choice, Greens winning at the expense of Labour does not harm the left. Rather it says Labour should get fire in its belly and stop whining.

          • Leftie 13.1.1.1.1

            I am not talking about Republicans and Trump, clearly my response is referring to your last 2 sentences. Maybe you should follow your own advice Aerobubble.

            • aerobubble 13.1.1.1.1.1

              Labour or Green party vote doesn’t matter which does it? No, just different MPs. Now given talking about left issues is good, dismissing Nationals agenda, and have two different alternatives, that means disgrace of disgrace Labour gets a bit of dissent. Oh poor pooh

  14. saveNZ 14

    Totally agree. Labour and Greens need to inspire and create enough emotion in voters to tick them this election. Dry complicated policy announcements do not do that.

    The other trick from Helen Clark is that each election she chose a policy that would help a large sector of people WITHOUT significantly disadvantaging another.

    For example interest free student loans or working for families.

    Since Helen left Labour, Labour has instead tried to help selected sectors of people but by announcing policy that disadvantages large group of people or a policy so complicated and effecting significant amounts of people and you need to sit through 1/2 hour statements of all the rules of who it applies to and who it doesn’t and then get an accountant to work it out for you.

    In my view people either want a slow U turn, OR a u turn of real change that helps MOST people, not a few people at the expense of many, ambulance at the bottom of cliff like policy.

    Something like a debate on UBI, or something like an ISA tax free savings.

    A UBI would help the most people but the ISA would also have wide appeal like the UK – https://www.gov.uk/individual-savings-accounts/overview.

    A tax free savings policy does not help the most vulnerable who have zero savings, BUT is the sort of policy that kept Helen Clark in power for years because she steered a middle ground trying to make many Kiwis, more prosperous, AND more importantly kept National out of power from destroying social welfare and the environment and pitting corporate Maori against vulnerable Maori as the National party has done.

    I’d prefer a UBI or even a referendum on one to help everyone and that would certainly help the most vulnerable the most.

    • aerobubble 14.1

      Agreed. Labour hasn’t a clue, it will find good policy, yet does do the panel testing o get feedback on how to handle spin from National. Its like they all want to be leader, and so bash heads, and the rank and file aren’t in the loop. Take CGT they annouced it and then let key ur kick them to touch on it.

  15. Jenny Kirk 15

    Jeepers – yet another post inviting attacks on Andrew Little and Labour on The Standard.
    Wasn’t the Standard meant to be a place for discussion by leftwinger on matters of the day. Its just turned into a “bash Andrew Little” blog instead . Right from the tenor of the post above, and the majority of comments coming in from both left and rightwing posters.

    Can we get it clear : is this meant to be a blog for leftwing discussion ?
    Is this meant to be a blog which is opposed to the present government and would like to see it dumped ?

    Could someone answer that for me …… because I’m beginning to think I’m on a rightwing National love-nest when reading the crap that is being written about recently.

    • aerobubble 15.1

      Its crap alright, if your not listening. Little is PM material,and sure his keeping is gun silent, so its natural that people are stress get anxy, its all about manufacture passion for change, you dope. Let people stress a litle, fed them, engage them, bring them a little bit of the fruit at a time. Until someone stupid kills the conversation with a National love fest, the image of Brownlee and Joyce making out, its just not funny.

    • Ad 15.2

      The post could not have been more supportive of Andrew Little.
      Grow a skin.

      • Leftie 15.2.1

        How thick does the skin need to grow?

        • Ad 15.2.1.1

          Oh, it takes years. So many battles, trysts, losses, minor betrayals, drubbings, a few decades in opposition, a couple of sectoral splits, an affair or two, a divorce, a couple of ritual humiliations ….

          Failing that, just enough time to develop sentience and to think for yourself.

    • Leftie 15.3

      I’m with you Jenny, agree.

  16. Michael 16

    How about telling people they face a clear choice between the politics of greed and divisiveness (NACT) v social justice and the common good (Labour/Greens)? Of course, that would require Labour to rediscover its founding principles and demonstrate they remain relevant to the world of 2017. AFAICS, Labour shows no sign if wanting to do this, which is why I think it will lose its fourth election in a row (arguably, it’s fifth if you believe, as I do, that Labour really lost the 2005, after Brash blew the dog whistle in his Orewa speech the year before).

    • Jenny Kirk 16.1

      Maybe some posters here need to do a bit of homework – not just rely on anecdotal comment from each other – but look up Labour’s policies – they’re on the website, look up Little’s speeches – they’re dotted all over Google and Labour Facebook and website .

      And then have a think about what you have read before putting your feet in your mouths again, and pissing on Labour all the time.

      • Siobhan 16.1.1

        Have to agree there, its not like it takes more than a minute to read Labours plans to help out life time renters.

        • Leftie 16.1.1.1

          Not true. Nasty jab there Siobhan.

          • Siobhan 16.1.1.1.1

            Please do direct me to their policies in this area.
            No one would love to see them more than me, and I’ve spent hours searching for even a small glimmer of hope.

            • Leftie 16.1.1.1.1.1

              You don’t need directing, you already know what to do. Others have already addressed your comments in detail. I get the feeling that you don’t really want to know, and would rather just shout from behind the fence.

            • red-blooded 16.1.1.1.1.2

              Siobhan, I’m sure you know that Labour announced policy aimed at supporting renters about a year ago now.
              1) Reform of Housing NZ to put the focus back on meeting the need for social housing and to remove the profit requirement (which has flow-on effects for other renters because landlords are in competition);
              2) Warrants of fitness for all rental properties (warm, dry, safe and healthy living standards);
              3) More emergency housing.

              It’s not a panacea – I think there’s more that could be done (eg ensure tenants’ right until the end of the lease period if a house is sold tenanted), but other big issues like rapidly-increasing rents are covered by other aspects of the housing policy (like decreasing the pressure for rental properties by providing more affordable houses for purchase). Plus, if we can rebalance the employment relationship enough to lift wages above their really slow current rate of growth that helps to address the issue in another way.

      • Leftie 16.1.2

        Thank you Jenny.

    • Ad 16.2

      I’m not sure I agree that policies will win this election one way or the other. If that were the case, Labour would have creamed them term after term.

      I think it’s going to be on candidate issues and leadership issues – and which one New Zealanders really has a steady and credible leadership narrative behind them.

      • saveNZ 16.2.1

        “I’m not sure I agree that policies will win this election one way or the other. If that were the case, Labour would have creamed them term after term.”

        ???????

        Is that the policy of raising the age of Super that disadvantages most people under 67 or the capital gains that nobody could understand but knew it was something to do with owning a house???

        • Ad 16.2.1.1

          Overall Labour’s policy platforms are more comprehensive and coherent than National’s. The tea leaves of Labour’s 2014 loss are explained in Brian Gould’s report, if you need to go back there for a check.

          • saveNZ 16.2.1.1.1

            If you were right AD about the coherent policies of Labour then they should have won. They didn’t and lost significantly when they should have won.

            Was watching current affairs show about poverty in the US.

            It showed for many workers jobs and benefits have been cut to the bone. Minimum wage was $7.50, people working for Silicon Valley on contract lived in their cars and worked 17 hour days.

            Some people commuted 4 hours each way, cycling, train and then bus because they could not afford to live closer to their work and the transport links were poor.

            Part time university professors need government assistance and they could not even afford to keep working at universities but the universities had high fees but clearly it was not going on their professor’s wages.

            That is the rise of the ‘agency’ or ‘contract’ worker, or part time worker who has few rights, low wages, has multiple agencies taking a cut in-between, no benefits, and no job security.

            It is not just ‘blue’ collar workers being effected, it is also well educated and professional people being squeezed for wages.

            In short wages have not kept pace with the cost of things. They are effectively being lowered each year.

            So houses being built for teachers, professors and manufacturer workers 30 years ago are now unaffordable for them and new houses being built are larger and cost more and mean’t for other people.

            It is now considered acceptable for business to pay as little as possible and outsource as much as possible. Agreements like TPPA make that worse.

            This was also taking place under a Democrat government.

            In NZ we would have very similar if it was not for working for families and social welfare system and a low population that shielded many from what was really going on.

            The whole system is now broken where the taxpayers have to subsidise the wages of low waged but high profit businesses, like Countdown and Burger King as well as pay for health and education and everything else.

            If National gets in again, we will go into US style poverty because that is what they believe in, no regulation and to make sure they keep wages low and keep lowering them while increasing the population.

            But I don’t know if Labour have been able to convey that message of difference to the middle. It seems more like labour sometimes wants to take more from the middle to give to special interest groups to get the same level of service than we already experience.

            They also have not conveyed the risks to those who are below the middle who think that if they don’t vote or don’t vote Labour/Green/further left then they can ‘punish’ them into do what they want, instead of working out how much lower they will sink with another 3 years of Natz.

            Nat keeps a clear message of ‘tax cuts’ to the middle.

            Not every voter is sophisticated. So Labour and Greens need to get a bit more sophisticated because expecting the masses to work out what they are talking about seems difficult when many on this site don’t even seem to agree on what their policy currently is.

            • Ad 16.2.1.1.1.1

              God, if only policies won elections. I would love that.

              Your point about “convey that message of difference to the middle” has some traps, but I think it’s pretty right. I mean, if a political amateur and marketing genius like Donald Trump can do it ….

        • red-blooded 16.2.1.2

          Hey, the superannuation policy was never going to just kick in overnight, you know. And those intergenerational issues still exist, even if no-one wants to talk about them at the moment.

          As for the capital gains tax – most other countries manage to understand this just fine.

          You sound like you don’t want to understand policies, saveNZ. you also sound like you don’t want to understand this post. You’re a good illustration of Ad’s point – you bought into a couple of emotive stories, rather than grappling with the detail of the actual policies. Having said that, I’d like to believe it doesn’t have to be “either/or”. Yes, we need people who can light up the electorate’s hearts and imaginations, but there has also got to be a REASON to want to be in government; not power for power’s sake, but power to implement decent policies that can help support people to live in a caring, inclusive society.

          And, BTW, I think Andrew Little has always been a good thinker and a good organiser, and he’s getting stronger and stronger as a communicator. People who don’t believe that should go to one of his many public meetings around the country. Maybe you’d be surprised – maybe you’d even be inspired.

    • coffeeconnoiseur 16.3

      How about growing a pair.
      providing a vision of a future we all want to see and then providing a viable and believable path of how we can actually get from here to there!

      P.s. stop stressing the left will Romp home (with NZ first) the discontent in the provinces will see a swing from National just like in Northland.

  17. saveNZ 17

    BTW – I think Labour and Greens will win the next election. But they do need to be smart, organised, unified and strategic with themselves and other parties like Greens and NZ First aka Northland unity.

    I also think they should have a truce with Hone Hawawira. It just is not a good look if they don’t have a cordial relationship at the least.

    But most of all, Labour do need to tell that story and get emotional buy in AND not disadvantage large groups people by their policies.

    Even though I am not a fan of Willy Jackson, I felt I knew him better when his ex wife posted on TDB. Likewise Grey O’Connor’s post.

    That says to me, that Labour are actually getting the emotional buy in.

    Because many people do not trust Labour due to various events over the last few decades, so re gaining voter trust, is very important and that emotional connection.

    Voters need to ask, Do you trust National more than Labour?

    And vote accordingly. Labour are not perfect, but they are trying, and people are rallying around them and I think they will succeed.
    .

  18. Tamati Tautuhi 18

    Labour, Greens and NZF will have to think outside the square, as MSM will not do them any favours they are owned by big business, the bankers and the local and global elite.

    As for chasing National voters give up, they are happy with inflated house values and tax cuts, try getting the disillusioned 1.0 million voters off the couch and down to the polling booths.

  19. Cinny 19

    I’d like to see Labour/Greens get out and about to all the towns in NZ, public street speaking (with a PA system of course), at outdoor public locations during lunch times. connecting with the locals.

    Having stands at the local markets around NZ. Connect physically with the people.

    Speaking is a huge strength for Alpha and some of the others candidates in my two favourite political parties, use it. It works well, I promise you.

    Allowing public to ask questions as well. 2017 is a year of great change.

    Everyone likes to feel important and wants to be listened to and needs to be listened to, this can provide challenges via digital media, but old school street speaking easily makes this connection

  20. adam 20

    Ad please tell me if I’m off the mark. But one thing I took from you post was the cult of the leader. We need a shining light to win through to the public, and win the election.

    Trying to put aside my personal distrust with that idea. I think the left have a bit more chance of cutting through than you think in many electorates. Let me just give few examples.

    One is Carmel Sepuloni, the women was virtually demanded to stand as MP by the electorate. She is a very fine constituency MP, after set backs has dusted herself off, and got back up, then done a really good job.

    Actually thinking some more, I think both labour and the greens should talk about the importance of constituency work. The greens and labour are better than national in this area.

    Micheal Wood, has done a great job connecting with people. When I have people who have been disgruntled by politics and politicians for years, tell me what a nice man he is, and that like what he says. I’ve been blown away, these are some seriously cynical people.

    Another making great in roads, is Marama Davidson, for an MP to come in mid term, she has hit the ground running. She has also been on Māori media constantly.

    I’d like to see the greens and labour do confidence, drive and broad leadership. The ability to put up a leader on a issue when needed. Then step aside, and have another leader for the next issues that needs leadership. I think that is the way forward. Both parties, have a depth of talent, they should put it on display. If for no other reason, it will show people the utter lack of talent on the other side.

    • Ad 20.1

      Having an MP with opposable thumb and index finger is one thing.

      Having an MP with a sustained and credible story within the public mind, well, that’s a pretty useful step after that.

      Having an MP with a sustained and credible story within the public mind, who generates regular media stories that are good for their portfolio and consistent with their narrative framing, well, you’re on your way.

      Having all of the above, and the ability to express that for a whole people, well, there’s a trick you don’t see done well very often. That’s the notion of grand narrative, done well.

      Try this, from “On Paul Ricoeur: Narrative and Interpretation”:

      “Grand narratives are one of the ways in which the social imaginary of a people is instituted and becomes manifest; and grand narratives are ‘grand’ because what they narrate is the work of the social imaginary itself.”

      Not often you get that quality of leader, but I’d argue that the first year of Kirk, the first two years of Lange, and the first term of Clark, got pretty close.

      • adam 20.1.1

        I get what you are getting at, I just have a major personal distrust of it.

        Have more leaders, not ‘a’ leader. Is what I’m more comfortable with. Using charisma to motivate people towards a task, big fan. Using charisma to move a society, very uncomfortable with.

        An example is Andrew Little has been a unify leader for labour. He has done a great job. But do I want him to lead on disability issue, err no thanks. On violence towards women, err no thanks.

        It’s a ideological point I think we differ on, and I’m happy to differ with you on it.

        Good post by the way.

  21. coffeeconnoiseur 21

    Imagine a world where every single person could have their own home.
    Imagine only needing to work half the time you have to now and having more time to get out and to do the things you love.
    Imagine having the time to visit friends and family, the time to spend with loved ones.
    Imagine having the time and the ability to do the things you are truly passionate about.
    Imagine having the time to spend at the beach, the lakes and the rivers of this beautiful country of ours.
    Imagine our rivers being full of fish and clean enough to drink from.
    Imagine the future being better not only for us all but better for our children and for future generations.
    Imagine a future where we make the best use of the technology available to us for the benefit of everyone.
    Imagine having more time to actually live life the way you want to live it.
    Imagine having time again.
    Lets make it happen.

    • Red 21.1

      Smoke a joint and you will find this alternative reality

      • Leftie 21.1.1

        Stupid comment there Blue.

      • coffeeconnoiseur 21.1.2

        The technology is already in place to do this. People just need to be given the concepts so that they can imagine it for themselves and then shown how it can be done.
        They aren’t even being given that opportunity and without it, many won’t be able to even imagine it. If it can’t be imagined it can’t become a reality.

        i.e. no political party is painting the picture.
        the reality is no political party in this country right now has the capability of delivering this …… yet it can be delivered.

    • Leftie 21.2

      Yes!! By changing the government!!

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 21.3

      Sounds great, and is entirely doable, if we choose to do it!

  22. Jenny Kirk 22

    Ad. You are looking for quality in a leader one who can tell tales and grab the people’s attention. So why are you not looking at Winston Peters and showering him with praise? He seems to fit the bill for you -“story teller”, spokesperson on all things, seemingly charismatic (altho the charisma has passed me by).

    Leadership has many different qualities, and sometimes the very best leaders lead from the back – delegating tasks and speaking rights to others. A good leader also disciplines those who fall out of line, behind the scenes and effectively quietly. And then the good leader gets on with the job he/she has been tasked to do. And sometimes they tell a story, and sometimes they do not. Depends on the situation.

    Meanwhile – back to Andrew Little and those who grizzle about no policy, no stories, no connection with ordinary people.
    First – the everyday, all time renter. Labour has a comprehensive housing package which – if you think it through – has the potential to stop the racketeering of lousy landlords, stop the housing speculation, build thousands of state houses and at the same time provide training and jobs for many currently unemployed, and doing something about the taxation situation of speculators and landlords. This will eventually assist those who are in fulltime, permanent rental because it will help stabilise that market.

    Second – the neglected regions. Andrew Little has embarked on a tour of provincial NZ – he started in Otago. With the benefit of much research and previous meetings with various people, he announced some sort of computer incubator set up with Otago University – which would eventually provide employment, exports, and other benefits to Southlanders.
    Then he went onto Gisborne, again after much research etc and announced a different economic development plan for that region – using that region’s resources and assets. He then went into South Auckland (not a region as such, but a greatly disadvantaged and neglected area) and announced something which hasn’t yet made the media.
    He’s coming up to Whangarei next week, and we can’t wait to hear what Labour will unfold as the potential future for this area.

    oh, and in between all of this, Andrew Little has been out and about – at the Big Gay Day, the Christchurch commemmoration, in WEllington at some event where there were a lot of people, at farming show days ………… blimey, I don’t think the guy has been home to sleep for weeks.

    So – how about getting up off your backsides, all those grizzling about Andrew Little, and come on out to help him. That’s a lot harder to do than tapping into an app, or a pc, or whatever it is that you use to communicate. And you might learn something.

    • Ad 22.1

      All you get feeding them Weetbix is regular bowel movements. Never comfortable on election night.

      • Anne 22.1.1

        That has to be today’s silliest response Ad. What is it supposed to mean?

        I don’t have to defend Jenny Kirk because she is more than capable of defending herself, but she has gone to a lot of trouble to show all the bitter and twisted ‘couch’ moaners on this site – who claim they are left yet spend the the whole time running down the Labour Party and Andrew Little – how wrong they are and makes a sensible suggestion…

        how about getting off your backsides, all those grizzling about Andrew Little, and come on out to help him.

        You know she’s telling it as it really is because I believe you are a card carrying member of the Labour Party, but apparently its the ‘meme de la jour’ to disrespect and even ridicule anything a Labour member/supporter might say.

        I’ve had enough of it and, judging by the number of regular contributors who have walked from this site in recent times, I suspect so have other people. I intend to stick around a bit longer and, if I feel inclined, will start calling out some people and I won’t give an effing stuff if the person happens to be an author.

        • Jenny Kirk 22.1.1.1

          Thanks Anne. Yeah – I’m stickin’ around too, just to show up all these moaners and groaners who think they know what’s best for Labour, and haven’t even lifted their eyes (and heads) above their feet to really see what’s going on.

          And as for Ad – he says his post was supportive of Little and Labour. It was instead a load of tosh – intellectual wankerish garbish. Seems he (or she??) wants Little to be a little-Key-like person – all boyish charm and hot air.

          Instead he’s got a serious steady intelligent person in charge of Labour who is making a real difference. The so-called “left” intelligentsia on this blogsite should be celebrating that, not keep on putting him down.

          And what’s more – if some of these “left” went out and did a bit of work with Labour they would see what I mean.
          By the way – how many of you are going to be out helping Jacinda win the Mt Albert seat on Saturday ? ?

          • Anne 22.1.1.1.1

            I work Sat. and Sun. so can’t help out but will certainly be there in spirit.

            There has been little media interest in this byelection presumably because the two leading candidates are women and also happen to be friends. The media is only interested if they’re yelling insults at each other.

            Two intelligent women with loads of integrity show their opposite numbers how it could and should be done!

    • Leftie 22.2

      Hear hear Jenny !!! Well said!

  23. peterh 23

    NON voters must be the target

  24. Sabine 24

    akshullie, the left should do one thing,

    ask the population if they are better of then they were, if they are, vote national. If they are not, vote labour/greens/mana/maori/nzfirst.

    or else shut the fuck up.

    People have free will, enough education to read, and if they can’t be arsed to inform themselves about issues that may affect them, or if they believe that both parties do it, or if they believe that it does not matter, thats fair enough. Don’t vote, shut the fuck up.

    Full stop.

    So why don’t we stop the whinging, the pulling of the hair, rendering of the garments, clutching the pearls and passing the smelling salts.

    The people have a choice to make, vote blue pill, vote red pill, vote green pill, brown pill or black pill, irrespective of how you package your wares.

  25. saveNZ 25

    I don’t believe you need a charismatic leader. Helen Clark was never charismatic but she was a decent manager and tactician and had integrity and won 3 terms. Bolger for the Natz had no charisma either.

    Andrew Little is not as smart or tactical as Helen Clark, but maybe more able to push the fractious Labour MP’s together and get a more united middle ground and more consistent policy than previous post Clark leader’s?

    • Leftie 25.1

      “Andrew Little is not as smart or tactical as Helen Clark”

      Disagree with you SaveNZ, look at what he has done and is doing. Andrew Little is extremely smart and tactical.

      • Jenny Kirk 25.1.1

        Yup ! 1000% agree Leftie.
        I think we only have to look at how quickly he dealt to the rebel identitariat (I think that’s the new word for identity politics) to see just how smart and tactical he is.
        That’s was a very quick quietening down re Willie J – and all done behind the scenes.

        And the other thing posters could be remembering is what Little said when he first took on the job – first year – sort out caucus, second year – sort out policy, third year – start campaigning. He’s done the first two, and he’s now starting on the third ….. and very few of you negative posters seem to see that.
        That’s a tactitian at work.

        • Leftie 25.1.1.1

          I know!! That was his plan that he clearly stated at the time, and he has followed it. Just look at how things are lining up for this coming election!! There is a lot of hard work going on, but it appears people are purposely blind, have very short memories, and are very quick to judge and would rather attack instead. It is so self defeating to the cause.

  26. gnomic 26

    Hummm. This essay seems to be saying that the only way to victory in the great electoral farce we mistakenly describe as democracy is to gull more of the admass into believing some misbegotten phantasy about the brighter future as it will play out under Brand A or B and sundry associates from various minor parties.

    That’s probably right but also extremely sad. Can the remains of the ‘Labour’ party purchase a more effective ad agency than the ever well-funded Nats? Dubious. The right always has a simpler task, merely destroy the left or at least keep it out of power. Every now and then the permanent opposition gets in after National Party malfeasance or plain old bungling incompetence. But can Labour ever win an election again under its own steam with ideas that appeal to enough voters? I’m waiting but not holding my breath.

    But then the entire poltical debate as we know it is based on coming up with erroneous answers to silly questions. Why do I need to know that Angry has a son playing rugby? May well be a negative indicator for many voters. Why share on his health issues? Where does Labour stand on RONS? Where does Labour stand on anything apart from issues of sexual identity (surely one of the most boring issues in the tale of the universe?)

    Perhaps they are as morally bankrupt as the dominant party in power at present. So given the widespread moral bankruptcy and complete obfuscation about any crucial issues, why not just vote for the wallet and the Nats can sweeten that at least for now. The pork barrel is all good and all on the never never. We’ll be dead when the bill comes due. Too bad for you grandies.

    And Winston Peters as ‘kingmaker’ yet again? Pass the sickbag. Obviously the votership can’t be culled but puhleaze?!! Try to get a grip people??!

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