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A Government in Waiting?

Written By: - Date published: 12:12 pm, December 11th, 2014 - 272 comments
Categories: Parliament - Tags:

Andrew Little has wasted no time in making his mark, not just on the Labour Party but on New Zealand politics. What is already clear is that here is a Labour leader who is thinking seriously about what it means to be in government.

A striking instance of this hard-headed approach to his job as Leader of the Opposition was the stance taken by Labour over the Foreign Terrorist Fighters Bill. The measure was objectionable on a number of grounds – the speed with which it passed into law, the limited opportunity for consultation about its implications, the restriction of the rights of New Zealand citizens to travel overseas, and, most importantly, the sanctioning of a government spying without a warrant on its own citizens.

Many would have expected that, for all these reasons, Labour would have opposed the Bill – as the Greens, New Zealand First and the Maori Party duly did. Labour, however, conceded that the Bill, however imperfectly, was an attempt to address a serious issue. Andrew Little’s approach was to support the Bill but to ensure that its more extreme proposals were scaled back.

The significance of this decision goes well beyond the Bill itself. By taking this stance, Andrew Little seems to have quite deliberately distinguished Labour’s position in the new parliament from that of other opposition parties. His message seems to have been that Labour is not just another opposition party; rather, he leads a party that is, in constitutional terms, the Opposition.

Indeed, the message goes further. Labour is not just the main opposition party; it is also an alternative government, a government in waiting, a party that is already thinking about what it will mean to be in government.

That is why Labour recognised the responsibilities that a government – including a future Labour government – must accept in ensuring the security of its citizens. Andrew Little’s response was not to oppose but to mitigate – to demonstrate that Labour, while accepting the need to protect the country against extremists, would be vigilant in limiting any encroachment of the rights of New Zealand citizens and would drive a hard bargain with the government to make sure that that was the case.

The episode is significant in a number of ways. One of the factors that may have adversely affected Labour’s electoral appeal in the recent election was the sense that the alternative to a National-led government was not as clearly defined as it might have been. Andrew Little may well have decided to demonstrate that the alternative to a National-led government is a Labour-led government – that is, a government clearly led by Labour.

And he may also have intuitively dealt with the issue in a way that reflected his own real and practical experience of negotiating solutions to tough problems. He will know, as lawyer and former union leader, that you rarely get everything you want from a negotiation, but what you do aim for is getting the best deal possible.

Again, the message to voters is clear. Here is a leader who takes a clear-eyed and hard-headed but responsible approach to difficult issues. The voters may well see a favourable contrast with a Prime Minister whose negotiating stance – especially when foreign leaders and businessmen are involved – is to roll over and have his tummy tickled.

Bryan Gould

11 December 2014.



272 comments on “A Government in Waiting? ”

  1. vto 1

    Andrew Little’s approach to everything so far is a breath of fresh air. Serious, not joking and laughin. Responsible, not flippant and cavalier. Hard-headed, not as you say giggly.

    A proper man as opposed to a joke of a man.

    It is completely refreshing and is exposing Key as past his use-by date.

    Go Andrew go … !

  2. SaveNZ 2

    Goobledeyook. Couldn’t disagree with you more. Labour has signaled the opposite – they are not the opposition at all, they are the same government as National with a different brand. So disappointing for many ex Labour supporters. That is why they did so bad at the polls this election. You article demonstrates why Labour doesn’t get it, they have too many commentators who they use again and again totally out of touch with the people who don’t vote for them anymore. The biggest cheer for Labour was the statement ‘Cut the Crap’. So cut the crap there is no pressing terrorism attack and if there was then they should be canceling the Cricket match. Democracy is dead when approx 24 hours is given for public submissions and then they don’t bother reading them anyway. Wish a few people in parliament could be subjected to 24 hours of rectal feeding so they can understand how much better the government is because 48 hours is so much worse and compromise is good – bit like our surveillance bill. Yep when the smears just keep coming thanks to the incompetent SIS, Slater and worse and they are locking up and gathering surveillance on innocent woman children and families in this country under rules that the police already have anyway. (But there is a bit more accountability with the police and they go to court not some black site you might get sent to after being labeled as a terrorist). When Kiwi kids don’t get breakfast in this country, have 3rd world diseases, and homeless reigns and the ratepayers are paying for all that climate change when our homes are destroyed, business people locked up in litigation for years on warrants that aren’t even served, we can just feel good that luckily our Uncle Key and Little ‘protected us’ from that nasty Muslin man on Facebook. Yep it is only a matter of time before dissenters trying to fight for real issues for Kiwis being locked up as ‘terrorists’ or being undermined by smears orchestrated by our very own tax payers $$$ courtesy of the SIS and others. Yep that is the future and is already happening…. Vote Positive… and Working for families ….we are one and the same.

    • tracey 2.1

      This is what Labour wants, to grab those who waver between nat and labour thus ensuring for the foreseeable future we get more of the same failed ideology and policy. Same shit different party in govt.

      • KJS0ne 2.1.1

        The problem is that “those who waver between nat and labour” are a much smaller group than is commonly supposed. Labour needs to quit with the small c conservative shit in the hopes of attracting Nat voters to the cause. As long as Labour looks like National lite, National will continue to dictate the playing field, and Labour will always look like a poor man’s alternative.

        Better to provide something that is wholly different, than “well we agree in principle, but we’d chop and change a few things here in there”

  3. Ken 3

    What hogwash. This is about the worst thing I’ve read from Gould. I’d prefer a hard-headed approach to protecting our rights, rather than compromising them.

    [lprent: Don’t go too far in that direction. I get protective of authors (they write so I do not have to). I don’t like anything that I could construe as a personal attack on them, rather than you just explaining why you disagree with the content their post.

    I also tend to ban first and heavily for that perceived offence and never regret it afterwards. ]

  4. Penny Bright 4

    In my considered opinion, the Labour Party should NOT have voted for the Countering Foreign Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill – end of story.

    There was NO good reason for this ‘Give the untrustworthy, unaccountable NZ SIS more power to spy on New Zealanders’ Bill to have been railroaded through the House under ‘urgency’.

    There was NO mention anywhere in the Regulatory Impact Statement accompanying this Bill, of an increased terrorist risk arising from the Cricket World Cup to be held in NEW ZEALAND in February 2015.

    However – this completely unsubstantiated terrorist risk was spun on turbo drive by National Party’s arguably Number One Spinner – Mischele Boag …..

    Wakey wakey folks.

    Penny Bright

    • Chooky 4.1

      +100 Penny Bright

    • Coffee Connoisseur 4.2

      There is the right position morally. Then there is the right position strategically often the two are not the same. Often the right decision strategically will enable you to be in a position to fix things morally. Andrew has made the right decision strategically in my view.
      This is something the Greens could learn a lot from.

  5. framu 5

    the law is still bad – they voted for it – now they own this bad law as much as those who wrote it

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1


    • Chooky 5.2

      +100…I would prefer to see the Greens being the main Opposition Party…they are clear headed and courageous and dont compromise New Zealanders rights or democracy

      • Wynston 5.2.1

        -1000 … and a bunch of policies that will never be accepted by most NZers. And that from a 50+ year conservationist!

  6. tracey 6

    , would be vigilant in limiting any encroachment of the rights of New Zealand citizens”… …”

    But failed because the 48 HOUR warrantless surveillance may be the worse encroachment in our history.

    • lprent 6.1

      24 hour was how it wound up… Which is still pretty bad.

      • Tracey 6.1.1

        thanks lynn…

        does it run from the moment any device is activated.. or something else?

        • Colonial Rawshark

          I think it will be interpreted as the ability to access your last several years worth of internet, telephone, txt, email data that they have stored for everyone – which they can do in minutes with systems like XKEYSCORE which the NZ security services have full access to – and from that content construct a warrant to fuck you with.

          I figure that 24 hours warrant free is about 20 hours longer than they need to do this to someone because they will have everything in their systems set up ready to run at the press of a key, just as they start the 24 hour stopwatch running.

        • Murray Rawshark

          I would suspect if starts from the moment that they can’t hide the fact that they’re spying on someone any more.

  7. Ad 7

    +100 Bryan

    it’s just so sloppy to slide the slippery slope from DotCom to Dirty Politics to Surveillance State to Terrorist Alerts to the new Terrorist Act to sending troops to Iraq. Have a good rail again The Man.
    Even worse, copy Winston Peters and just paint everything “Nazi”. Job done, Captain Feel Good. But not a single voter opinion changed.

    The people who look like they can really govern are those who can stand each issue on their own, force the government to really engage, enable their own caucus to practice the weight of governance responsibility on them, and shape policy as events unfold. That’s what Little did here.

    It’s also impressive because the shift Little has made has forced the public service and the mainstream media to take them seriously because they are no longer being shouted at. To rehearse 2008, 2011, and 2014 again, Labour have a much better chance of winning because the MSM are fully with the leader. And if Labour keep the public service leadership with them, they have a lot better chance of staying there.

    • Maisie 7.1

      +100 Bryan and Ad

    • Anne 7.2

      … the shift Little has made has forced the public service and the mainstream media to take them seriously…

      Yes, and I heard a good example of that two mornings ago on RNZ. Guyon Espiner was doing his devil’s advocate number on Little – that is, being petty and pedantic – when into the fray jumped Little and in a raised voice (but not too loud) and an authoritive tone he shut Guyon up in an instant and there wasn’t another peep out of him. So satisfying to hear!

      • Saarbo 7.2.1

        Yes, he did the same with Lisa Owen 3 weeks ago when she kept pushing him on Labour investement housing policy, she kept repeating “How many houses 1, 2 3” Little replied after some time “No disrespect, but that is a stupid question”…end of the dumb TV3/Gower/Tim Watkin type of questioning…

        Little was my number 1 pick, and in my humble opinion he has significantly outperformed my expectations…Im prepared to trust him on this one.

  8. KJS0ne 8

    Rolling over on warrantless spying is driving a hard bargain? Let’s just be clear. Any judge in their right mind would sign a warrant if they saw even a whiff of suspicion of terrorist activity. Sanctioning sneak’n’peak warrantless spying is an encroachment of our civil liberties, and in the USA, the same legislation (Patriot act) by 2009 had been used 763 times to spy on citizens, only 3 of those instances was it used for actual terror suspects. (source: http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/09/24/785634/-Only-3-of-763-Patriot-Act-wiretaps-in-2008-were-terrorism-related-65-were-Drug-cases)

    Western Governments have been using the terrorism card to get away with blue murder for far too long. We are not safer as a result of this crap, what would make us safer is John Key not playing lackey to horrible US foreign policy, thus placing a target on our backs.

    It’s bullshit and Labour should have taken a much tougher response.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.1

      +1 million

    • Chooky 8.2

      +100…”Any judge in their right mind would sign a warrant if they saw even a whiff of suspicion of terrorist activity”

    • BLiP 8.3

      . . . Western Governments have been using the terrorism card to get away with blue murder for far too long. We are not safer as a result of this crap, what would make us safer is John Key not playing lackey to horrible US foreign policy, thus placing a target on our backs . . .

      ^^^ QFT.

    • Yup,

      Much as I like Bryan Goulds writing, and often find myself agreeing with him, this looks an awful lot like turd polishing.

      With the Labour leader election over and Little focussing getting positive press while at the same time managing the transition to his leadership I think they just didn’t have the bandwidth for the fight they could see happening if they opposed.
      So they chose to capitulate and fight another day.

      It may be the right decision for the long term strategy of Labour gaining the treasury benches, but it’s shit for New Zealand.

      Any and all structural changes which degrade New Zealands democracy must always be opposed, even if you take a beating.

      It’s too important.

      • Maisie 8.4.1

        Little focussing on getting positive press? The best thing about him as far as Im concerned is that refreshingly, that’s the last thing he’s doing. He concentrating on doing the right thing and cutting through all the bullshit, not superficial appearances.

      • KJS0ne 8.4.2

        “…turd polishing…”

        Bloody good turn of phrase for it.

      • Murray Rawshark 8.4.3

        Well said, Naturesong, but I think even you have engaged in a little turd polishing. I doubt this sellout will contribute to Labour gaining the local franchise.

        • Naturesong

          Yeah, I don’t think it is the right decision either from a policy perspective nor a political perspective.

          When I wrote “It may be the right decision for the long term strategy of Labour gaining the treasury benches …” I was not agreeing with their strategy, just giving them the benefit of the doubt that they were trying for a positive outcome for Labour of some description.

          Better would have been to announce a conscience vote, and then in the readings have members read out correspondence from constituents, and loudly announce that they will be representing the people who elected them, and then vote no.
          Let Geoff, Shearer and co exposde themselves by voting with the Government.

          While I am supportive of some of Labours policies and respect the hard work and intelligence of some of their MP’s it’s shit like this that confirms that I made the right decision in joining the Green party.

          It would be nice if instead of a centre right party, labour actually represented the working class (and it would free up the Greens from having to pull Labours weight in opposition).

  9. Macro 9

    I’m sorry but I believe the so called “terrorist” problem in NZ is one entirely manufactured by the SIS and the Govt for their own ends. They wanted to extend their powers for surveillance for what? Reds under the bed? No it’s to frighten the people of NZ. It’s the tactic used by Henry IV eloquently stated by Shakespeare in the opening lines

    “So shaken as we are, so wan with care,
    Find we a time for frighted peace to pant,
    And breathe short-winded accents of new broils
    To be commenced in strands afar remote.

    Keep the populace in fear is the best tactic for a right wing party – that way you don’t actually have to worry about any policy at all. The sheeple will follow obediently along.

    As for the World Cup!! – are we seriously thinking that everyone in NZ needs to give up their rights to privacy so that a few cricketers can have a game and make even fewer people pots of money? I like cricket very much – have played at senior and rep level, coached, umpired, and been a selector, and manager for a national team. But I value my right to privacy even more. If the only way we can safely run a Cricket world cup is to give the SIS the powers we just have, then to hell with it! Let them play someplace else.

    So NO Bryan. I do not agree that this was a smart move by Little to acquiesce on the so called “frighting terrorists act” It is a cop out plain and simple. Labour have permanently lost my vote – they cannot be trusted.

    • KJS0ne 9.1

      Dead effing right. It’s the same turbid old line being used to erode the rights and liberties of the citizens. It’s intelligence agencies clamouring for more and more power. They invent a boogeyman to get more money, power and further their own careers. Nobody’s any safer as a consequence.

      And we should congratulate Labour for playing along? I am saddened that the party I am a member of would support the New Zealand equivalent of the PATRIOT act.

    • Chooky 9.2

      +100 Macro

      • les 9.2.1

        how green are some people here?This is a temporary bill.Have some faith in the new leadership.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Fuck trusting the power elite top 1%. They have to be held accountable to the citizens and the Labour Party membership. Why are you so naive. Or are you just a slow learner?

          A bad law is now in effect throughout the land, for the wrong reasons. Lives will be damaged, as will our democracy.

          • Maisie

            Yes a bad law is in effect. But a much worse law would have been in effect if Labour hadn’t compromised, numbnuts.

            • Chooky

              Labour should not have compromised …by doing so it has endorsed and legitimised a “bad law” ….unwarranted surveillance…..and let John Key Nactional off the hook.

              I am a Labour Party member but I wont be voting Labour while they support this law

              • Maisie

                So you’d really rather this law had been passed in its original form? Really? Well, each to their own. I don’t support capital punishment but that wouldn’t stop me fighting for better conditions and legal aid for guys on death row.

                • Maisie,

                  At least it would have been perfectly clear who owned the law. Now Labour is complicit and compromised. There is nothing reasonable about allowing a government to spy on its citizens. Not 1 second, 1 day or 1 year.

                  • Maisie

                    Maybe as you say, there is nothing reasonable about allowing a govt to spy on its citizens. But if you can’t actually stop them, there is a great deal that is reasonable about doing your best to rein in its powers – which is just what Little has done.

                    • If you can’t actually stop them you have to let them get on with it. If a party wants to break down freedom, human rights and democracy and you can’t stop them then you’d better get out of their way instead of allowing them to smear you with their shit. That way you gain the moral high ground. Labour has done the unforgivable and allowed to let National get away with the unthinkable with a huge majority. they deserve to be cast on the shit heap of history as one of the most treacherous politcal parties ever. They are England’s Chamberlain to National’s Hitler. I really feel that strong about it!

                • Chooky

                  @ Maise …to use your analogy of “capital punishment” ….you are arguing Labour is helping in the kill but a little less so…however you can’t kill and NOT kill at the same time ..it is either kill or NOT kill

                  ….in this case it is you are either for the BIll or AGAINST the Bill…no in-betweens

                  ….Labour should have joined with the rest of the Left and said an absolute “NO” to the BILL of unwarranted surveillance on New Zealanders

                  ….forcing John Key Nactional to take full responsibility for human rights violations

                  • Maisie

                    I know what you’re saying, and I understand that a macho stand-off would be very satisfying in some ways – but personally I still believe this compromise was wise, statesmanlike and bodes very well for the future.
                    Moreover, Key and his Aussie PR advisors will see this as a ‘game’ they can’t play.

                    • Chooky

                      re “Key and his Aussie PR advisors will see this as a ‘game’ they can’t play.”….they will only see this because of OPPOSITION to the Bill

                      …unfortunately Key and his Aussie PR advisors will use Labour’s support for the Bill to ignore this OPPOSITION

                      ….and Labour’s support for a modified BILL can still be got around…because Key and his Aussie PR advisors who drafted this BILL for unwarranted surveillance violating NZers’ rights are NOT honourable

          • les

            you win the prize for being naieve sport.Hows accountability working with the present 3 term govt?

          • Coffee Connoisseur

            A bad law but with a sunset clause. It is what happens to it when Labour is back in the hot seat that will really matter from this point.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    That is why Labour recognised the responsibilities that a government – including a future Labour government – must accept in ensuring the security of its citizens.

    We didn’t need any new laws for the government to do that and especially not ones that trampled all over our rights.

  11. Michael 11

    While I personally find this new law abhorrent, I think Little did the right thing.

    If Labour hadn’t negotiated, the bill would have passed in much worse form. National had the votes to pass it how they wanted. But since Labour got those concessions, the bill is much less bad now. It’s not a good thing — but I think that ultimately Little had to make a judgement and show pragmatism. If he just opposed the bill outright and did nothing, there’d be a much less strict bill with a 48 hour clause for warrantless spying on anyone. Now we have a bill with a shorter sunset clause (meaning it’ll expire in 2017) and better protections of civil liberties.

    Even though I don’t agree with this bill AT ALL, I think Little and Labour did the right thing.

    • The Al1en 11.1

      If the nats wanted to pass a poll tax for everyone 16 and over set it at $1000 per person, would it be the right thing to do if labour got concessions and voted for 18+ and $900?

      • Ad 11.1.1

        How to win the next World Cup:
        Crouch … Touch … run away?


        • The Al1en

          As opposed to touch, crouch and do what the other side does and says.

          Engage means take on, not sacrifice principles.

          • Hamish

            you cant negotiate if all you ever do is walk away from the table

            • The Al1en

              Negotiate what? The bad bill was put forward and labour supported it.

              • CATMAN

                after negotiating to make it slightly less bad

                As it now stands, visual surveillance without a warrant only applies in investigating terrorism

                As initially proposed – and as National would have passed it without Labour – it applied to pretty much anything

                • The Al1en

                  All depends then what you want from your labour party I suppose.

                  I’m siding with those who think it’s a sell out and betrayal of all of us.

                  • Ad

                    I’m siding with Little.

                    I think if he continues into the national security debate with no expertise or experience, and follows the hard lefties down the primrose path to pacifism, he will be shat on from high heights every ANZAC Day parade, every WW1 and WW2 memorial coming up.

                    He has done the right thing by stop-gapping, and then running for the real battles.

                    I am not proposing giving Little endless goodwill, just because he’s the last thing between us and four whole terms of National. I am prepared to say he’s burnt through just a bit of it.

                • framu

                  “As it now stands, visual surveillance without a warrant only applies in investigating terrorism”

                  considering this is the second expansion of state powers after we found the gcsb knowingly breaking the law and not giving a shit thats alarmingly trusting

                  history has shown that state spies never stay within bounds

                  • CATMAN

                    Oh I don’t believe they’ll abide by it, not for a minute

                    But if it’s illegal there’s the possibility of holding someone to account, and if it’s not, there isn’t

      • CATMAN 11.1.2

        If those were the only two available outcomes, yes

      • red blooded 11.1.3

        Well, I suspect the people who were impacted less because of this negotiating would say yes, it would be the right thing to do – depending on how it was followed up when the government next changed.

        I’m totally against people killing and eating other animals, but I signed a petition the other day that was focused on improving the conditions for pigs farmed in conditions of extreme cruelty. I don’t support farming animals for their flesh – it is abhorrent – but if I can help to mitigate the awfulness that so many suffer while they are being raised and prepared for slaughter, I will do so. Was I wrong to sign the petition?

        I didn’t expect Little and Labour to vote for this bill, but I understand why they did and I appreciate the fact that by doing so they were able to wrench some concessions from the NACTs, who (let’s remember) had the numbers to pass an even worse version of it. I also think it caught the media by surprise and made Labour relevant, rather than sitting on the sidelines and calling for a Commission of Enquiry (which seems to be the default setting when in opposition).

        • Bob

          This has got to be one of the most sensible comments I have read on here for a very long time! This is how ideology and realism work together (ideology, no to spying, realism, it is going to happen whether we like it or not, so let’s make it happen less), great example too.

    • shorts 11.2

      the law as passed has more than enough scope to do everything we consider wrong… all Little & Labour achieved was some deck chair rearranging on the titanic… deck chairs designed by National to be moved

      If I thought Joyce and co more clever than they are I’d suggest this was a setup so Labour would kick an own goal – National got the legislation they wanted passed and further alienated Labour the party from its grass roots

      meanwhile NZ and NZ’ers are less safe as a consequence

      • SaveNZ 11.2.1

        I think Joyce and Co totally knew this one was an election killer and polarizing bill so have totally manipulated Labour into a hole. The point is Labour keeps steeping in this $%#&. They are like lambs to slaughter. There are some very manipulative people behind the National scenes in all of this and not Kiwis either, but god help us Labour just keeps getting caught out. I would love them to rise up but unfortunately they keep betraying their supporters and each other and setting up these knee jerk reaction policies totally manipulated by National or MSM. They are better to say ‘ We did wrong’ ‘We were manipulated by National and SIS data” and ‘we are going to repeal all these laws when we get into government’. But even then could you believe them? I do not want to say negative things about Labour, but how can you not with their actions? Even most people supporting Little/Labour do not agree with this bill. The “I Know what is best cos I believe the classified date from SIS even though they manipulate Phil Goff last time and are not politically neutral”, does not really wash as being a good reason to support it.

    • Maisie 11.3

      Thanks for the common sense Michael. If the Nats proposed to abolish the DPB I would much rather Labour negotiate to halve it instead. Still bad, but better than it going altogether, and I would be confident that when in government they would reinstate it. If Labour “stood on principle” and opposed the bill instead, I, for one, would be mightily brassed off.
      (Shorts – is it really the ‘grass roots’ who are being alienated? I consider myself grass roots, and I’m being drawn back into the fold)

      • tracey 11.3.1

        Halving the dpb would have the same practical result as abolishing it because once below subsistence..

        What do you base your confidence they will repeal this legislation? Can you link to any LP spokesperson who has said they will repeal if in government?.

        • Maisie

          Halving the DPB is the same as abolishing it??!! You’ve clearly never had to rely on it, mate! And no, no link. But neither would there have been if they had ‘stood on principle’.

          • Tracey

            you know if you halved the dpb how would they make up the other half? not pay the rent. nit buy food. if you have been on the dpb tell me how you would survive on half as much cos i dont know anyone today who could.

            i guess you trust them to do the right thing

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Oh fuck off. The Right now how to manipulate the liberal centre into capitulating every single time. This ever spiralling downwards of politics to serve the 0.1% has left this country in the shit after 30 years and here you are saying, at least we can slightly slow the fall off the cliff, aren’t we clever strategists.

      • Michael 11.3.2

        This is exactly what I’m trying to say. To keep with your analogy, halving the DPB would be far better than allowing it to be dismantled. Labour might technically be breaking their principles by ‘cutting the DPB’ but if the only other forced option was to abolish it, which one would you rather have? Because remember – the less harsh a law is, the easier it is to change it. By weakening the law, it’ll be less entrenched.

        Little is a lawyer and union leader, so he’s going to know how to play these things, I think.

        IMO Labour actually stuck to its principles with this. By weakening the law, even if they did quasi-support it, they defended Kiwis civil rights FAR better than they would have if they done what the Greens had done. (My political principles support the Greens on this, but my pragmatic side knows that Little had to do this to soften the blow of the law and it is politically quite smart.) Trust me, I am not defending this law at all.

        But I don’t think there is room to criticise Little/Labour on this one. Criticise the law, criticise National and Key who foisted this undemocratic law upon NZ, but don’t criticise Labour — who ultimately stopped a bad law from being even worse. There was no way they could have stopped it at all — there’s simply no way. However they proactively opposed it by weakening it.

        Let’s also remember that the sunset clause was moved back to April 2017. This is smart. The 2017 election will be just a few months later. A vote for National will be a vote for extending the law, and a vote for the Left will be a vote for civil liberties.

        It’s important to ignore principles for a second when you’re dealing with someone like John Key. What Little did was actually quite politically smart and will actually be better in the long run, imo.

        • Anne

          Very well said Micheal. Thank-you.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            But who is left in Parliament to make the case for why this is such an atrocious path to take which should never be supported? The Greens? NZ First?

            All Joe Blow on the street knows is that Labour and National gave increased security state powers the bipartisan seal of approval.

        • Lanthanide

          ” A vote for National will be a vote for extending the law, and a vote for the Left will be a vote for civil liberties.”

          The plan is for a comprehensive review next year, one of the goals of which being to either replace this law with a different one, or reinstate the current one permanently.

          So I don’t think the sunset clause really means anything.

      • BLiP 11.3.3

        . . . If the Nats proposed to abolish the DPB I would much rather Labour negotiate to halve it instead. Still bad, but better than it going altogether, and I would be confident that when in government they would reinstate it . . .

        You mean like when Labour reversed the benefit cuts imposed by “Mother of All Budgets” . . . oh, hang on!

    • tracey 11.4

      They will not be able to criticise it for the rest of this term.

      • les 11.4.1

        they have plenty of other issues to work on.Seems like an impossible task to get any consensus and politics is always about compromise.

      • The Al1en 11.4.2

        “They will not be able to criticise it for the rest of this term.”

        Or campaign for it’s removal at the next election with any credibility.

        I don’t think there is a compromise position over this. One is either for or totally against this put up job spy bill.
        By voting yes, labour has sent a clear signal to left wing voters. To me it’s not government in waiting, more like you’re not welcome.

        After going along with this, then what else is up for grabs for the next three years? Looks like if you want a left of centre labour government, you’ll have to vote as many green mps in as you can.

        • tracey

          This kind of stuff is why LP cosied up to NZF rather than greens, mana and IP, they believed more of the same but with some tinkering is the only way to get hold of power… Maybe we do need a revolution…

    • Olwyn 11.5

      I agree Michael @ 10, I don’t like the bill either but think that Labour did the right thing under the circumstances. I would add that the modifications also give them a basis for holding National to account should the new powers get abused.

      • Naturesong 11.5.1

        Over the past few years we’ve seen many abuses, and I can’t think of any where Labour held National to account over it.

        Increasing spying powers while at the same time degrading governance and accountability of those institutions that have a documented track record of abusing their powers is an entirely different question than the one you are asking:

        Can Labour hold National to account for the many and varied abuses of power and corruption that are sure to come out over the next 3 years?

        • Olwyn

          Well, they have been busted for it recently by DP, so one can only hope that Labour will prove more challenging now that their cover is blown. As I have said, I don’t like the legislation, but I think it may have been better to vote it through with the modifications than to oppose it but have it go through anyway, without the modifications. And given that Labour insisted on tighter conditions in exchange for their support, they will surely thus have the leverage to call National out if those conditions are ignored. Which could actually prove more useful in practical terms than shrilly but ineffectively opposing the bill, and following this up with impotent hand-wringing at each abuse.

    • Tangled up 11.6


    • Coffee Connoisseur 11.7


  12. tracey 12

    If Little had said they are mitigating but upon election to treasury benches it will be up for review and justification audit in first month of new government I would join the “yay, he mitigated” cheerleaders

    • lprent 12.1

      The problem is that the law is up for review next year anyway.

      • framu 12.1.1

        true – but little and labour could very easily make it clear they will be changing once in power and this was just a stop gap – not seeing much of that

        • Lanthanide

          Because we need to assume the review next year will be in good-faith. It’s supposed to be a fully special committee process, with submissions from the public etc.

          Saying “we’re gonna change the law when we get elected ’cause we don’t like it” is childish and unproductive.

          • Maisie

            Bravo. Everyone here who’s moaning should concentrate on drafting their submissions to the review instead!

            • KJS0ne

              Some here probably did put in submissions the other day, when the public was given no longer than 30 hours to do so, but then in the end they didn’t bother even reading the submissions. If you were present you could read your own submission, but otherwise it was all filed under junk.

              What’s to say the submission process will be followed any better next time if this is the mockery they make of it now.

              It’s not moaning, it’s a genuine concern for the future of our nation, get off your high horse.

          • framu

            Ok – maybe the wrong choice of words there – but my point stands – there is no clear signal from labour. only mixed messages

        • seeker

          framu, tracey, I jbelieve Andrew Little said Labour would dismantle this law as soon as they gained the government benches. He said this on the news bulletin where he announced the changes Labour had brought about to this dastardly law. Can’t find the link at the mo.

          • framu

            well i hope he did – but if were talking communicating to the wider public its not getting through – thats part of the problem

            if that is the case labour should stop “turd polishing” and making excuses and stick to that simple message

            all this delving into detail while telling people who are pointing out the big counter problem, to shut up isnt helping (not saying your doing this 🙂 )

      • Tracey 12.1.2

        but key doesnt read reports and the ones he reads he misrepresents…

  13. Ovid 13

    There’s a political concept called the Overton Window which describes a narrow range of policies that are acceptable to the public at large. Now this window can shift left or right, as we have seen over the past few years as opinion polls have registered gaining support for a capital gains tax.

    Instead of running into a brick wall, Little has opted to aim for this window, or otherwise drag it left where possible. I can’t really fault him for that and the Labour caucus’s action to temper this legislation, given the Hobson’s choice the Nats presented, makes them look mature and Little look statesmanlike.

  14. Ross 14

    Seriously? You trash the faithful for the fickle?

    Nice try Brian. The decision was stupid.

  15. Skinny 15

    I wouldn’t be doing too much trumpeting of a “Government in waiting” this far out from the next election. If and when the polls start consistently showing National are going to lose the next election we will see this Tory outfit go hell for leather Right. Better to let political nature take it’s course rather than frightening the flock of Tory sheep.

    • NZ Sage 15.1

      Too early it maybe but I’m excited by the fact we can even debate the possibility of a Labour led government, not something seriously considered for far too long!

  16. cogito 16

    Very good piece from Bryan Gould.

  17. BLiP 17

    . . . Andrew Little’s approach was to support the Bill but to ensure that its more extreme proposals were scaled back.

    The significance of this decision goes well beyond the Bill itself. By taking this stance, Andrew Little seems to have quite deliberately distinguished Labour’s position in the new parliament from that of other opposition parties. His message seems to have been that Labour is not just another opposition party; rather, he leads a party that is, in constitutional terms, the Opposition.. . .

    Oh, puhleeze . . . gimme a break. There was exactly zero scaling back of the extreme proposals within the new law. Although a so-called “temprorary” arrangement, constitutional precedent has now been set within a framework of an atrocious abuse of the law-making process. The extreme nature of the legislation is made clear by the fact that there is no statement as to its purpose, no explanatory statement, and many key terms along with its central concept, that of a “foreign terrorist fighter”, remain undefined. it is now possible for the SIS without ministerial warrant and at the decision of the Director to plant a camera for 24 hours in the bedroom of any New Zealander who may be sustpected of facillitating an act causing environmental damage motivated by an ideological cause. No mention of “terrorism” or “foreign fighters” in that section. As the Attorney-General accidently admitted, this law applies to any “alienated people with a chip on their shoulder”. (Ironically, its actually the National Ltd™ Cult of John Key which is, right now even as I type, smack in the middle of causing environmental damage motivated by an ideological cause. )

    Even if it were just an ordinary piece of legislation, the method of its passing and the structure of the Act itself is a dog’s breakfast highlighting that those parliamentarians who voted for it are sloppy and unprofessional. Rather than “a government in waiting” or that it is in constitional terms “an Opposition”, the passing of this legislation indicates that the Labour Party is a lackey to both the National Ltd™ Cult of John Key and the US. What minor tweaks the Labour Party claims to have achieved were, I suggest, pre-determined and thus resulting in Labour rolling over and having its tummy tickled.

    • Murray Rawshark 17.1

      What bugs me more than anything else is the number of people claiming that there were only two alternatives – disagree 100% with NAct or agree 98% with NAct. The Greens and Mana know that many things are achieved outside parliament. Even the thing Lange took credit for, with nuclear ships, was largely gained outside parliament. Little, as a union bureaucrat who jumped over from student politics, doesn’t seem to recognise this. As a typical bureaucrat, he thinks chit chat with NAct and the division for voting on a bill are all there is.

      The sooner Labour and NAct join up in a formal coalition the better. They do not disagree on any of the fundamentals. FJK and FAL too.

  18. Maisie 18

    Oh puhleeze, Blip, get a grip! You’re talking as if it was Labour’s fault this bill was passed! Effectively your whole post is criticizing National, not Labour, but your’e blaming Little! All the bad stuff you cite here would have been twice as bad if it hadn’t been watered down! FOCUS!

    • BLiP 18.1

      . . . All the bad stuff you cite here would have been twice as bad if it hadn’t been watered down! FOCUS!

      Why are you lying on behalf of Labour? Nothing was watered down by Labour’s participation in the passing of this legislation. If anything, Labour’s “brand” has been watered down in that it has been exposed as colluding with the National Ltd™ Cult of John Key in the passing of this legislation and in the corruption of the Parliamentary process. Now its also being exposed as employing the use of lies in defending the indefensible.

      • Maisie 18.1.1

        OK Blip. So can you explain to me what is Labour’s “brand”?

        • BLiP

          Right now, its “National Lite”.

          • Maisie

            That’s just a cliche, not an explanation. What does ‘National Lite’ mean?

          • RedLogix

            And if Labour had NOT voted for it – you’d be having a tanty about how Little was ‘played by Key’ and let slip his chance to negotiate. And Key would be sticking it to Labour for being ‘soft on terrorism’. That’s the last thing Little needed right now was another ‘sorry for being a man’ moment, another principled stand that the media could subvert into a smear.

            For no real political gain whatsoever.

            It’s called a compromise BLiP; the stuff politics is made of. On balance it’s probably the better of the two options Little faced.

            • Tracey

              i just wonder how many with left wing sympathies will be getting a file or a bigger file (nicky hager), cos historically that is how National uses this kind of power.

              i do get the lesser of two evils argument and we wont know for a year or two what ideological direction the Lp will move. the speculation is fascinating.

              • CATMAN

                “i just wonder how many with left wing sympathies will be getting a file or a bigger file (nicky hager), cos historically that is how National uses this kind of power.”

                The number is (at worst) the same as, or (at best) less than the number had Labour’s changes not been included

                There is no scenario in which Labour’s support results in a greater number of files or bigger files

              • Murray Rawshark

                Tracey, historically that has been how Labour also uses this kind of power. The same people who helped set Goff up will convince whoever is Labour leader that there is no way they should lose any of the powers that Labour, after all, voted for.

            • BLiP

              And if Labour had NOT voted for it – you’d be having a tanty about how Little was ‘played by Key’ and let slip his chance to negotiate.

              Bullshit. I would have lauded Labour just as I laud the Greens. Thing is, Little wasn’t played by Key, New Zealand was played by both Little AND Key with a pre-determined “out” built into the first draft in order to give Labour some wiggle room. What is being paraded as a compromise is, I suggest, a set up designed to protect Labour and – more worringly – to defend the work of Goff and Shearer at the UN. Both those bozos negotiated with and have become as thick as thieves with the National Ltd™ Cult of John Key. With their time in Parliament running out, for them its about protecting their legacy and future employment opportunities.

              What has been compromised is Labour’s principles. If, as you suggest, Labour’s participation in Tuesday’s parliamentary parody was because it opened it up to accusation of being “soft on terrorism” then that speaks to an inherent gutlessness. Its that sort of craven cowering which saw Shearer’s “roof painter” nonsense because Labour didn’t want to be seen as soft on beneficiaries.

              • RedLogix

                I would have lauded Labour just as I laud the Greens.

                The Greens were never in a position to negotiate any changes to the legislation because National simply didn’t care how they voted. They were always going to be written out of the game as extremists whose support or otherwise meant nothing. Lauding the Greens for a vote that cost them nothing is not all that impressive.

                Yes we know Key put in the wriggle room. It’s an old game, but an effective one. But I take it you would have been much happier with all of the ‘wriggle room’ left in.

                • BLiP

                  . . . Yes we know Key put in the wriggle room. It’s an old game, but an effective one. But I take it you would have been much happier with all of the ‘wriggle room’ left in.

                  There is nothing the SIS cannot do now that was not already to be permitted under the first draft of the legislation so your question is meaningless.

                  • Maisie

                    Blip, you have yet to describe the nature of the “Labour Brand” that you claim has been so damaged. Come on, what is the “Labour Brand”?

                    • BLiP

                      Your misrepentation of my comment is noted. In the meanwhile, perhaps you could answer my first question: why are you lying on behalf of Labour? I know the answer but would be interested in seeing how you frame it.

                    • Maisie []

                      You say I “misrepresented” your comment. Your comment was, and I quote – “Labour’s “brand” has been watered down”. My question is – could you please define the nature of Labour’s “brand”? You’ve avoided answering twice now. If you don’t address it this time I’ll have to conclude you’re a numpty who hasn’t a clue what s/he’s talking about.

                      As for your question – “Why are you lying on behalf of Labour?” I haven’t the slightest idea what you mean. There were no lies in the relevant post, just genuinely held opinions. Could you identify the lies you detected, please?

                    • BLiP

                      . . . My question is – could you please define the nature of Labour’s “brand”? . . .

                      I don’t see how this is relevant to the point I made unless you are suggesting that the Labour brand is already so damaged that the party’s collusion in the passing of the spy-at-will law will have no impact. Is that your position?

                      . . . Could you identify the lies you detected, please? . . .

                      This is your lie . . .

                      . . . All the bad stuff you cite here would have been twice as bad if it hadn’t been watered down! . . .

                    • Maisie []

                      Oh Blip, Blip … you really have revealed your numptiness, haven’t you? You chuck around terms like “Labour’s brand” to clinch your brittle arguments, and you can’t even define the term! You’ve got some hard thinking to do.

                      And if you consider that “. . . All the bad stuff you cite here would have been twice as bad if it hadn’t been watered down! . . .” can be described as “a lie”, then your truth detector needs a good clean. Opinions that you happen to disagree with are not lies, Blip old son; they are someone else’s opinion, that’s all!

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      BliP credibility = MASSIVE

                      Maisie credibility = 0 (and declining)

                    • Maisie []

                      ! Not a great believer in evidence, then!

                    • Maisie []

                      Oh – before you go – can YOU define “Labour’s brand”??
                      (Since Blip is having so much trouble with it.)

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      No need to cry about it, you for one don’t give a shit about Labour.

                    • Maisie []

                      Lordy, so you’ve got no idea what it means either? Credibility’s slipping, sonny!

                    • framu

                      your not answering questions put to you maise – i would be careful with finger pointing

                    • Maisie []

                      Which questions haven’t I answered? It’s Blip who hasn’t done the answering! I suggest you read from the beginning of the thread and get your thoughts in order.

                    • framu

                      well soor-eeee

                      good grief – your being very pompus and sanctimonious arent you

                      and as for labour brand – who the fuck knows? They certainly dont

                    • Maisie []

                      “Who the fuck knows?” Well, Blip certainly doesn’t! Even though one of his major arguments hangs on “Labour’s brand” being “damaged” – his words, so I can be forgiven for assuming initially that he knew what he was talking about. His repeated cowardly attempts to avoid clarifying his phrase exposes the feebleness of all his arguments, I’m afraid.

                    • framu

                      “His repeated cowardly attempts to avoid clarifying his phrase exposes the feebleness of all his arguments, I’m afraid.”

                      are you related to pete george or something?

                      you play the same dumb pompous game he does

                    • Maisie []

                      Why is this so hard to answer? Basic, I would have thought. (Who the hell is pete george?)

                    • RedLogix

                      And at the rag end of this debate – I invite everyone here to cast their minds back about 9 or 10 years to the political event that transformed John Key’s fortunes as Leader of the Opposition.

                      Remember now? It was when he voted to support the very controversial S59 Reform Bill. A very large portion of his caucus and support base was very unhappy that he did – but Key was in a position where it obvious National needed to take (for political reasons mostly) a bi-partisan position in the House.

                      He stood next to Clark in an interview to announce it and looked like as the title of the OP says – a ‘Prime Minister in Waiting’. The Nats polling leapt upwards and after that Labour was always on the back foot.

                      I’m not claiming that the parallel is exact (they rarely are) – but it’s worth thinking about.

              • Hamish

                What you are describing is a decision that was based not merely on principle but also on internal party politics.

                Perhaps the decision to support the bill was a compromise by the leadership to help maintain internal cohesion?

            • Liberal Realist


  19. Keith Ross 19

    Well I must say that I am hopeful as most people here are opposed to this bill in its entirety. I too think that this is a mistake and that the party is betraying its supporters. There is no threat in New Zealand and to suggest so is ridiculous. Although there well may be in the future if we go down the path we are on and keep supporting the United States of Torture. I think that these powers are more of the slippery slope, easier next time to pass something; the real threat comes from New Zealanders who will wake up one day to find that they are tenants in their own land. Pacts like the TPP which strip rights to legislate from the govt in favour of corporation’s profits. Kiwis that are opposed to this kind of thing are the real threat to the elite and they know that the numbers of these people are growing. That’s the real threat they want future protection from, and this is how to get the ball rolling faster(its already rolling).
    You can’t trust right wingers with power!!

    • Maisie 19.1

      “There is no threat in New Zealand and to suggest so is ridiculous. Although there well may be in the future if we go down the path we are on and keep supporting the United States of Torture.” Precisely – and it looks as if the Nats DO plan to go down that path … so ipso facto there will be a potential threat. So – not so ridiculous after all?

      • dave brown 19.1.1

        Maisie you miss the point.
        This bill is not needed.
        By agreeing to it Labour is now complicit in the manufacture of a terror scare, and the targeting of Muslims in NZ.
        This is a self-fulfilling prophesy that will play out as it has the US.
        That is the point. 24 hrs vs 48hrs without warrant, reviewing it in 2017 etc, are all beside the point, the premise that greater SIS spying powers were needed in NZ was the great betrayal.
        That is exactly how the US war on Terror works.
        In the name of defending the US it invades and occupies other countries designating groups as terrorists, using torture and slaughter of civilians that creates anti-US wave of revulsion.
        This revulsion spreads to the homelands where the same powers are used against domestic populations as we see in the US right now.
        This is already well known, for Labour to claim to have prevented this bill being applied to targets other than terrorists, is not merely naive its disingenuous and self-serving on the part of Blairite hacks like Goff and Shearer.
        Labour’s brand as I see it is to dissociate itself from the US war on terror and from the hysteria the US has manufactured to justify never-ending war, surveillance, torture and extra-judicial executions.

      • framu 19.1.2

        so your saying this?

        “someones methods could easily make our lives more dangerous, therefore we shoud support them as things will get dangerous”

        • Maisie

          No – I was just pointing out Keith Ross’ deficient logic. Read his post again.

          • framu

            but your agreeing with him

            what is this – backwards bullshit day or something?

            • Maisie

              Oh god, no I’m not agreeing with him! He basically says we don’t need anti-terrorist legislation because we’re not a target for terrorists. Then he says we might become a target for terrorists if the Nats join the US war effort, which (many believe) it looks like they’re going to. In which case (I argue) if we follow his logic, he would agree that we DO need anti-terrorist legislation.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Post 9/11 legislation successfully dealt with a far bigger threat. But now, the security and surveillance state wishes to close its grasp around ordinary citizens even further, eroding the civil liberties of the many to protect the 0.1% when environmental, economic and energy instability start to bite harder.

                Sadly, people like Maisie are part of this effort pushing the western world backwards toward neo-feudalism and believing in manufactured threats without looking at how the western powers continually creates the next generation of threats itself.

                • Maisie

                  Sadly, Col. Rawshark can’t read. I was commenting on Dave Brown’s nonsensical logic, not giving my own views.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    You’re a supporter of the security and surveillance state which is eroding liberal western democracy throughout the Anglo-Saxon FVEY nations.

  20. barry 20

    Negotiating is agreeing to let them cut off one leg because they want two?

    This is crap legislation which does nothing good and the people who will suffer because of it are natural left supporters.

    The SIS has never protected NZers from anything. they only exist to protect the National government and the relationship with the 5 eyes partners. They didn’t stop the Rainbow Warrior bombing nor did they catch the perpetrators.

    There is no effective oversight. The SIS says there is a threat so they need more money and the goevernment has no way of knowing whether it is true so they hand it over.

    Labour should be seeking to abolish the SIS not increase its powers. It is a protection racket. If a left government ever does try to cut their powers or funding there will be some sort of outrage to make them think twice.

    Little has shown that he is going to copy Key as much as possible to get into government. He is going to be another Tony Blair. All I can say is “why bother?”. Is that why the Labour party MPs went into politics?

  21. goodsweat 21

    Most here seem disappointed Labour have gone the way they have with this bill. Will the disgruntled stop voting left? Of course not. It’s not those hearts Little needs to win. The Left reaching over to the Right or vice versa, for a century, that is what it takes to govern NZ.

    Politics is all about juggling compromises. It seems many here are calling out for a harder left line. That’s fine and may well be truer to a philosophy but it’s a viewpoint that won’t win an election.

    Little can make the majority of contributors at The Standard happy or win an election. They are 2 different things.

    • framu 21.2

      “for a harder left line.”

      for me its the inconsistancy of message and the fact that they are now wedded to the bill – they came out hard against the bill then voted for it then are now trying to explain their way out of it. Now they cant turn around with out being made to look like fools

      I really dont care who or what labour stand for as long as they stop this BS routine of saying one thing then doing another – its a problem theyve had for years

      what good is pragmatism and compromise if everyone thinks your still a party who doesnt know what they stand for?

      • Maisie 21.2.1

        They’re not ‘wedded to the bill’; voting for it was the compromise they had to make in order to get those important modifications, not a sign of approval.

        • framu

          ok – this is getting really dull

          they voted for it – thats is all the public will remember once the review happens or once labour is in a position to change it

          what do you think the nats and MSM are going to say then?

          “Sure thing labour, we wont make your life hard because you voted for our bill” – or –
          “oh look! – labour still have no idea what they are doing! – irresponsible socialists spending your taxes! Waste of govt resources! Why are they flip flopping on a bill they voted for?”

          if you vote for something you support it! – thats what voting FOR something means! And the big thing your ignoring is that the door is now open, the unwarrented spying genie is NEVER going back in its bottle. This is what has and does happen with such laws – look at the patriot act – ever seen that been watered down in any way since?

          • Maisie

            OK – here’s where I think you’re wrong.
            I actually think that most people DO appreciate that this was a negotiated compromise which registered Labour’s disapproval of the bill, and do believe that they will sort it at any opportunity. I think most people are relieved that Labour didn’t stoop to pointless ‘principled’ huffing and puffing, but instead delivered a thoughtful, mature and practical response.
            I also actually think that most people see it as a defeat for Key. Sure, he set it all up originally so he could look magnanimous and paint any compromise as a Labour back-down – but after the rotten week he had (thanks largely to Little) he just looked like the loser.
            The Nats and MSM? I hope Labour continue to have the integrity not to let ‘what the Nats and MSM might say about it’ affect their decisions.
            And if bad genies have been let out of bottles, it wasn’t Labour’s fault!

            • framu

              “And if bad genies have been let out of bottles, it wasn’t Labour’s fault!”

              but… they… voted… for… it!

              If you think you can vote FOR something then disown it your deluded

              • Maisie

                The …genie … was… already … out!!!
                What Labour voted for was stuffing it back IN! (If you’ll excuse the expression…)

                • Ad

                  What I would want from Little is a set of positioning pieces leading up to the full review next year.

                  Generally, however, campaigning towards the pacifist end of policy is shit politics because the MSM eat you alive. Every week for the next three years we will have ANZAC centenaries, and 75th WWII battle commemorations. Not possible to resist that volume of war-worshipping coverage.

                  Little, IMHO, would do well to simply salute the flag, see off the worst of National’s security excesses as he has, and concentrate on the economy and back-pocket issues.

                  • Maisie

                    Sound stuff. Though I do wonder how long before the war-worshipping becomes threadbare. I fancy I already detect strong signs of battle weariness and creative conscientious objection.

                    • Ad

                      Hope you are right.

                      NZHerald did a full cover wraparound this morning on the Battle of the River Plate. I’m sure it played well in the RSA’s and Social Studies class.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    And with a freshly empowered SIS and GCSB working against the Left, how far do you think that will get?

                    Privacy, the security and surveillance state, unjust wars and the loss of civil liberties for the 99.9% are going to *the* issues in an oligarchic world full of biting resource shortages and inequality.

                    If Labour can’t pull together a convincing narrative around that now, when is it going to? Will Labour therefore always keep voting for further pieces of empowering legislation for the security and surveillance state?

                    • greywarshark

                      Colonial R
                      Good question. And I agree that will be a continuing question. There will have to be some vertebrate prosthesis for Labour. We can’t keep being gamed by the old trick of doubling the dose and then reluctantly agreeing on application to something less.

                      We certainly will never get ugly NACT policy down to homeopathic levels using attempts at entreaty, amelioration and reasoning – no way. Labour will have to stand strong on important principles, there are things that can’t be dodged or let slip through. ‘Just another wafer Mr Creosote’ can not continue. Like Monty Python’s Mr Creosote Labour is seriously out of condition from the lean left of the past.

                    • Ad

                      Unfortunately that depends on how much you piss off the Deep State. Should be that way, but even here, it is. Little has learnt Goffs hard lesson.

                • framu

                  the genie here is warrantless spying on NZers maisie – if you knew the previous law and whats different with this one you would spot that

                  your nothing but a sanctimonious, pompous bad faith commenter whos more concerned with running endless circular bullshit than having an honest debate

                  exactly the behaviour that got pete george banned from pretty much every political blog going

                  This is truely the extent of time im going to waste with you

      • SaveNZ 21.2.2

        I agree Framu. Labour has also lost it’s moral compass so as a party it flip flop’s between messages. To vote for a party you need to understand what they are about and their bottom line. You know what you get with The Greens, NZ First and in many ways National. Labour seems to be just a jumble of policies ready to agree to anything to stay in the game. However by doing so they are the big losers because voters are actually not so stupid as MSM and political commentators think. Labour’s behavior has been getting worse over the years so much so they are now stamping on their own supporters and members. They are narcissistic. I’m not sure if they are some how being manipulated from the inside and their advisors to destroy them but their behavior and policies are becoming increasingly alien to their own voters.
        After a brief show of unity they have gone back to fighting their own supporters. To many people the compromise on 24 hours from 48 hours is the same thing. It is morally wrong and to support it under any circumstances and then say they don’t support it, but just want to dilute it, and may do something later but no one really knows. Sorry there is the problem. No one wants to be run in that style of government.

        Messaging messaging messaging. And more importantly policy policy policy.

        They need to actually get past all the rhetoric and just think as a normal person is it morally right to spy on Kiwis for 24 hours? Not get taken in by polls National, advisors or whatever. Making it so complicated it becomes about them and not the policy.

        That is Labour defending the undependable by explaining why really they had to support it. Next it might be somebodies life.

        Compromise is not a good thing if there are moral issues and human rights involved.

        • framu

          “To vote for a party you need to understand what they are about and their bottom line. You know what you get with The Greens, NZ First and in many ways National. Labour seems to be just a jumble of policies ready to agree to anything to stay in the game.”


        • Ad

          There are almost always moral and human rights compromises in every political decision – particularly when you rack up all the UN Charter Human Rights. National’s suspension of BORA evaluation for this Act was disturbing.

          The big consequential question is how much will Little etc compromise Labour’s values in order to win power, since losing in 2017 and enabling National four terms would be unprecedented since Holyoake. That is to say, fair warning, there will be more compromises to come.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            The MPs, the Parliamentary wing and their staffers can play the game of compromise and real politik.

            But as party members and as the Left in general that’s not our game. Our game is to hold strong to our principles, make it loud and clear to the Parliamentarians what they are, and hold the MP’s to account around each of their decisions.

            Little and Parliamentary Labour may need to make more compromises in the future, but our job is to stiffen up their backbone and their resolve in pushing back against that.

            • Ad

              That deliberate divide has been overplayed over the last three years. More sustained disunity will simply enable the MSM to re-confirm National.
              I am not one for a principled three more years.

    • Ad 21.3

      Tough but accurate piece of realpolitik in your last line there Goodsweat.

      Little calculates that The Standardistas will remain his because in great majority they preferred Little (on thirds) to Robertson. It’s possible some will float to the Greens etc due to Labour’s positioning on this Anti-Terrorist Fighter Act. They could equally stay, precisely because they chose him.

      Little will come out with fresh policy ideas, and the membership will go along with the many compromises because they are too tired after three successive heavy electoral defeats.

      Labour is the party founded on compromising with capitalism. This time, that includes compromise with the Deep State.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 21.4

      Little can keep the majority of commenters at The Standard happy by winning an election. FIFY.

      • Ad 21.4.1

        Get in behind, Rex.

      • KJT 21.4.2

        What is the point if they have their turn in our rotating Dictatorship by staying a slightly kinder version of National/ACT tm.

        At least in Australia the “Mad Monk’s” fruitcake polices have had the brakes put on by State Governments and their Parliament .

        Labour here, just rubber stamps them.

  22. Clemgeopin 22

    a Prime Minister whose negotiating stance – especially when foreign leaders and businessmen are involved – is to roll over and have his tummy tickled

    Very well put.

  23. Iron Sky 23

    A recent article in the Economist had the title LIVE POOR, DIE YOUNG

    After reading that and other articles I came to this conclusion:

    Statistically I’m not worried about being killed by a terrorist; I am fucken petrified of being murdered in my bed by an Economist.

    This to me is where the real battle should take place. Go well Mr Little and Mr Gould.

    Then, a question formed in my mind that I would love to put to Mr Gould, Mr Little and even PM Keys is, not why you would you want to become a terrorist, its why wouldn’t you become a Revolutionary (the term has much better PR spin no) when faced with the statistics of income and poverty?

    The evidence shows that a person’s life expectancy correlates with their income.
    “Where Income Is Higher, Life Spans Are Longer”

    Statistically you are SIGNIFICANTLY more likely to die earlier as a consequence of having less money than being killed by a terrorist. The less money you have the worse it gets.

    There are far greater numbers of poor to middle income earners than wealthy that will be losing “life years” compared to the top say 10%

    If we equated wealth to fun, I suspect the rich are having a whale of a time at a huge number of other people’s life years.

    Do you bullshit yourself this is somehow Darwinian and there is only so much monopoly money on the board?

    Am I scared of Terrorists, just a wee bit?
    Am I scared of the Status Quo, fucking petrified? Whats worse is your after my kids to.

    Significantly (understatement of the year) more people are dying earlier of bad economic policies than terrorism.

    If you want simple example of an economic BOMB that kills people and sucks the wealth out of populations just take a look at the Dunedin Stadium unedin ratepayers to fork out for Forsyth Barr Stadium http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/dunedin-ratepayers-fork-forsyth-barr-stadium-6161753) . Its slow, insipid, lethal…. tick, tock, tick, tock, tick tock, tick tock……The wealths goes to who??????

    Economic Neoliberal Terrorism, coming to a town near you, and you, and you, and you, and oh, you……..oh and your kids to.

    The REAL THREAT TO LIFE, POOR ECONOMICS, Roger me that Roger Nomics. Do your math, know the RISK

    Literature: life expectancy GAP between rich and poor:

    One of the starkest consequences of that divide is seen in the life expectancies of the people there. Residents of Fairfax County are among the longest-lived in the country: Men have an average life expectancy of 82 years and women, 85, about the same as in Sweden. In McDowell, the averages are 64 and 73, about the same as in Iraq.

    Whilst the average life expectancy predictions show that today’s children are expected to live longer, the range is startling. For the stations mapped, it is over 20 years with those around Star Lane (on the DLR) predicted to live, on average, for 75.3 years in contrast to 96.38 years for those around Oxford Circus.

    The smaller disparities are no less striking. For example, between Lancaster Gate and Mile End (20 minutes on the Central line) life expectancy decreases by 12 years and crossing the Thames between Pimlico and Vauxhall sees life expectancy drop by 6 years. The stations serving the Olympic Park fair badly and contrast with the Olympic volleyball venue at Earl’s Court whose spectators will be passing through areas with far higher life expectancies and lower child poverty


    SHOCKING new figures reveal the gulf in life expectancy between Plymouth’s richest and poorest residents has widened to almost 17 years.A child born in Devonport is expected to live to an average of 72.2 years, compared to 89.1 in Yealmpstone, on the outskirts of Plympton.The gap of 16.9 years has increased from 14.7 since the previous year’s estimate.


    AN OFT-TOUTED answer to the problem of an ageing population (endorsed by this newspaper as well) is to increase the retirement age. One consequence of this proposal, however, is to exacerbate inequality. The poorer sections of the population tend not to go to university so have longer working lives than the better-off. And they have lower life expectancy as well, so they will also enjoy shorter periods of retirement.

    the gap has widened by around a year in France and the US (over a shorter period) and by around half a year in the UK. Some of this may be down to access to healthcare (in the US, in particular), to variance in diet, and to the different stresses caused by different jobs (office work versus manual labour).


  24. Murray Rawshark 24

    You do not protect Aotearoa against extremists by voting with them to bring in an obscene piece of draconian spy legislation. FAL.

    • Maisie 24.1

      No you don’t. But you do your best to protect Aotearoa anyway, which in this case was by negotiating a compromise to make the bill less draconian.

      • framu 24.1.1

        what part of the previous law was inadequate?

        • Maisie

          WHich law do you mean? The one Labour just won concessions to?

          • Chooky

            @ Maisie…the previous law required all surveillance to be warranted and accountable …as you well know

            • Maisie

              Chooky says “…the previous law required all surveillance to be warranted and accountable…” And if this is the law you mean, I really don’t know how inadequate or not it was. What’s your point?

              • Chooky

                @ Maisie….

                Obfuscation means making something harder to understand, usually by complicating sentences needlessly. Weasel words are a form of obfuscation. Obfuscation is usually used when people either do not know what they are talking about or wish to hide their meaning.

                I think you are deliberately muddying the waters…but to spell it out ….pre John Key’s Bill which Labour has supported ….warrants and accountability was required on a case by case basis for intrusive surveillance on New Zealanders which violated their human rights

                • Maisie

                  OK, so under the previous law “warrants and accountability was required on a case by case basis for intrusive surveillance on New Zealanders which violated their human rights… ” – so what’s your point?

                  • Chooky

                    ?…lol…( have to go and do some work now…morning talk over) ….but you dont fool me….and remember the word is “Obfuscation”

                    • Maisie

                      Oh god, not ANOTHER one who can’t answer simple questions! I think YOU are the one who is obfusificationing! (Great word, I agree – ah! I see you edited it! Pity!)

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Maisie is an apologist for the security and surveillance state which is slowly tightening its noose around the citizens of all FVEY nations.

                    • framu

                      shes not just an apologist – shes the second coming of pete bloody george

          • framu

            the laws that allowed the NZ govt to both cancel passports and stop people from travelling to fight for terrorist groups!

            you know the very same kind of laws we just passed another law for

            do you damn homework maisie george

        • Chooky

          framu +100…”what part of the previous law was inadequate?” there is absolutely NO answer to that!…so this BILL is being used for nefarious means…and the Labour Party is complicit

          • framu

            exactly – like all proposed law it helps to look at what is different and not what those pushing it say it does

      • Colonial Rawshark 24.1.2

        No you don’t. But you do your best to protect Aotearoa anyway, which in this case was by negotiating a compromise to make the bill less draconian.

        So you agree the legislation was draconian and remains draconian?


        What shall we do with a politics and political elite which supports draconian security state legislation?

        • Maisie

          What do you do with them? If the reason the bill is LESS draconian is because they negotiated the changes in return for support (for a bill that was going to pass anyway), you congratulate them for their political nous, and you support them!! This is a sign of a party that is working to get the people the best possible deal.

      • Murray Rawshark 24.1.3

        I can’t decide whether you’re a really stupid Labour supporter, a dishonest NAct supporter, or a PR person hired by the squirrel agencies. In any case, you are not very honest in the way you twist arguments. You also seem to be nothing more than a cheerleader for increased squirrel power. I don’t remember you commenting on anything else, but you are extremely passionate in your obfuscation around this topic, and therefore not worth taking any notice of.

        • Maisie

          All I am is an Andrew Little fan who is clearly annoying you by giving coherent and compelling answers to your (and your whanau’s) befuddled posts.

          • The Chairman

            I can respect you are a Little fan, but your argument has been far from compelling, thus is winning little support.

            • Maisie

              If you don’t mind, I won’t take your word for it. My ‘argument’ is substantially the same as many other posters on this site and countless others outside it, all of which are garnering considerable support.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                LOLZ in your own little universe

                • framu

                  shes (he?) yet another who think that making an argument is just the words and nothing to do with how you interact and respond with others

                  the same attitude we see from slyhands, p george, and the anti abortion women from a few days back

              • The Chairman


                Repeating the flawed arguments of others doesn’t make it anymore compelling.

        • greywarshark

          Murray R
          Maisie reminds me somewhat of Ecosse Maidy. Same insouciance, same desire to keep discussion going about something they find amusing.

  25. Just a bit of history (I know, who needs history but you know history repeats itself if you don’t learn from it so bear with me Iprent) around 1999 a thesis was published. It was called rebuilding America’s defenses. It was published by a group of what we now know to be dual citizen neo-liberals calling themselves the project for a new American century. In it they called for a “New Pearl Harbor”.

    They got their New Pearl Harbor on 9/11 and a law was quickly rolled out and pushed through under urgency. It was called the Patriot law. Turns out that law was written long before 9/11 happened.

    The result was wholesale spying, TSA groin groping at airports, a no fly list, the whole sale militarization of the US police to name a few of the changes in the US.

    Now what does that have to do with Andrew Little’s and Labour’s stance on the illegal “spy at will” laws (Being safe from governmental spying in your own home is a very basic human right) they just voted in, you ask?

    Their compliance with the law changes proposed by our US sock puppet prime Minister show that they are dangerously naive in assuming that the law will only be used to spy on possible Muslim terrorists. It shows that they are dangerously naive and still suffer from “We are Islands very far away from everything else so we don’t have to learn about global politics and what happened in other countries that have so far accepted unwarranted spying on their own citizens as a result of what happened on 9/11itis”.

    Even if you believe the claptrap of what we have been told about who perpetrated 9/11 and why, it behooves the party Brian Gould calls THE OPPOSITION to be aware of how spy laws and no fly lists have affected the populations of other countries. If they can’t look over the border and see the bigger picture they have no place in our government!

    Additionally you might want to ask yourself why Brian Gould as a member of the MSM is grooming his audience to once again look at the other head of the same dragon as the SOLE opposition party. It seems to me to be a clear case of “you will elect the people we have chosen for you to elect”.

    Perhaps our puppet masters are aware that the Teflon on John Key is wearing thin and they know the populace is restless and wants a change.

    At least they now know that in Andrew Little they are getting a “reasonable” man willing to “compromise” the privacy of the people of New Zealand away in favor of “safety”.

    It all reminds me of a quote from Benjamin Franklin: “Those who are willing to give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

    We have just taken the next step on Naomi Wolfs list towards Fascism and nobody seems to notice. Least of all Andrew Little and the Labour party.

    • Maisie 25.1

      But he didn’t ‘give up’ any liberty. He clawed some back.

      • Colonial Rawshark 25.1.1

        You’re such a fucking PR shill for the security and surveillance establishment.

    • Ad 25.2

      Which steps towards fascism have we completed in New Zealand?

      • Colonial Rawshark 25.2.1

        The melding of corporate power and government power, where corporates dictate the laws and the peoples representatives pretend to debate them, pretend to disagree on them, pretend to speak for the people, and pass the laws anyway. It’s already happened a few times you know. The TPPA is the whopper in this regard though. Which Labour will support AFAIK, with a few minor changes here and there.

        • Ad

          Walk out your door and smell that free air.

          It’s the air of the (almost) least corrupt, most democratic, fastest-growing, least militarised, most UN cooperative, most gender-friendly, most environmentally-friendly, least-surveilled, most native peoples friendly nation in the OECD and in many cases the earth.

          Little should focus most on the economy, and I think he will.

          • KJT

            “Our children in poverty are not as badly off as children in poverty in (insert the name of some third world country with half our GDP)”.

            “We are not as spied upon as the citizens of the GDR were”.

            Soon to be fixed by a Government near you.

            Lets imitate the spy laws of a country which tortures prisoners and bombs defenseless civilians.

  26. keith ross 26

    As some supporters of this bill say the battle is not over the left vote but in trying to get the” middle ground “voter, who could be swayed left or right. I say this is a red herring as the left already has enough voters/supporters to win an election. The problem is that they don’t turn out to vote because they are to unenthused to bother and this vote and others like it in favour of the right wing agenda is the reason why . If labour really stood for the left and the workers then they would oppose this rather than support right wing ideals. They are missing the real question which is how to get their supporters to vote rather than how to get the small number of swing voters on their side. The other side of this is that they are not living in the same struggling country that their supporters live in and until they support true left values and a real choice they are not going to get the vast amount of non-voters to support them.
    Nat lite, no thank you. I will be supporting the greens from now on as they are a true left party.
    ex labour supporter.

  27. les 27

    ‘The problem is that they don’t turn out to vote because they are to unenthused to bother and this vote and others like it in favour of the right wing agenda is the reason why . If labour really stood for the left and the workers then they would oppose this rather than support right wing ideals.’

    so how are these apathetic left voters inspired to vote?I dont get it!

  28. The Murphey 28

    Q. Can you identify the point of difference between these parties on ‘foreign policy’ with regards to war?

    Democrat – Republican

    National – Labour

    Tory – Labour

    Liberal – Labour

    The article from Gould is symptomatic of the position NZ along with the western world finds itself in. The screws are being turned with Little exposing the trend which the NZLP has clearly been following for decades.

    If NZ’ers won’t get ‘up in arms’ about this invasion it can be witnessed is a powerful indicator that the takeover is almost complete. The takeover will continue unabated and unchallenged.

    Politicians are ‘identified’ the same way that athletes are when they are young. They are nursed and promoted through various paths inside the public and private sector.

    That Labour has removed the opportunity to criticize or even talk about this legislation permanently is of no surprise. This is by design.

    Politics is an enabler against humanity and the wider biosphere . Words are the weapon and words are being used to trap enslave to kill and destroy. That people don’t can’t or won’t see what is in full naked view now inside their homes and still engage in debate about which politician or political party offers ‘change’…

    We get what you ask for and what we deserve.

    • KJT 28.1

      Both National and Labour united to get rid of “upstarts” such as Mana, and the Greens.

      Anything which upsets their cosy duopoly.

  29. keith ross 29

    If they had a party that espoused true left values in every action and not just when it suits them then the unengaged may well see that they have something worth fighting for and get up and vote. If they think that it makes no real difference then why would they bother to vote? That is the word that I hear from students and younger voters,that they don’t see a real difference. Granted they are low information voters but the message needs to be clear “we will make a difference” not we will have spying for only 24 hours and not 48 without a warrant.How does this stake out the left as any different from the right?
    concerned voter.

    • Maisie 29.1

      I would be worried if Labour’s goal was simply to ‘stake themselves out as different from the right’. Where’s the integrity in that? My hope is that their goal is ‘to do the right thing’, and not to let superficial concerns sway them. At the moment, ‘doing the right thing’ is definitely sufficient for them not only to appear to be, but actually to be, substantially different from the rest.

      • Ad 29.1.1

        You may be surprised at how much goodwill Little has bought with the MSM for positioning exactly as you say. And we need the media on side more than we need policy purity if we have any show of winning 2017.

        • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark

          how much goodwill Little has bought with the MSM

          we need the media on side more than we need policy purity

          Interesting. Lots to think about from that.

          1. The MSM installs the party that it chooses to be in government.

          2. Good to hear Little is buying the MSM with goodwill. Hoping now that the goodwill will translate into the MSM putting Labour in government next. Hoping also that there won’t be too much more buying of goodwill by trading off or selling off policy integrity.

          3. “We” need the media on side more than “we” need policy purity. On one hand, I would like to say that many here online and in the community offline, as well as myself, would not count ourselves in that inclusive “we”. On the other hand, I am making myself think that you are correct that we all share that same necessity.

        • Maisie

          “You may be surprised at how much goodwill Little has bought with the MSM for positioning exactly as you say.”
          Yes? Well, that is good to hear.

    • Ad 29.2

      Why not hang out with Mana? They’re left like you describe.

      • dave brown 29.2.1

        Why don’t you hang out with the NACTs they have the goodwill of the media already and they proved it at the last election.
        Not only that they have the goodwill of the owners of the media: Irish, Aussie, Yankee and kiwi crony capitalists.
        Not to mention the NSA, torturers, drone bombers and killer cops.
        With such levels of goodwill you can’t lose.

        • Ad

          Keith can alternatively hang out for ideological utopia in a party and get his heart broken. My advice is good.

          As for me, I’m like most after the election: regrouping. refiguring agency. reconsidering.

  30. boyonlaptop 30

    I think there are interesting parallel’s here with the repeal of section 58 (the incorrectly coined anti-smacking) legislation. Labour took all the flack for the perception of being a nanny state even though National backed the law and probably contributed to Labour’s defeat in ’08.

    Although sadly, this legislation won’t see the same response politically it is the best result for Labour, they’ve voiced their concerns and worked constructively to change the law. I also agree with the other commentators here that yes, we shouldn’t lie down and let Labour become a National-lite party but policy posturing is essentially irrelevant in opposition unless Labour can get back on the government benches their policy platform is irrelevant.

    • Ad 30.1

      Exactly. And welcome back.

    • Colonial Rawshark 30.2

      The nuanced calculations of the Thorndon Bubble crowd are irrelevant in the rest of the nation.

      The credibilty of Labour as a real political alternative to National in 3 years time is in question. It rests IMO on building up a consistent narrative and different vision for NZ (and our place in the world).

      There will no doubt be more surveillance, torture and whistleblowing scandals and abuses coming to light over this period. And with this vote, Labour brings itself another step closer to National and the FVEY club.

      The fact is that Labour lost moral leadership when it bought into the narrative of ISIS being an existential threat requiring civil liberties in this nation to be further downgraded, and greenlit (via Shearer and Goff) handing more powers to the security and surveillance state. And with the very partial release of the very limited torture report, we know just a little more of the mindset in these organisations. It’s nothing to do with the safety of ordinary citizens.

      • boyonlaptop 30.2.1

        I can almost guarantee this bill will sadly be irrelevant to the rest of the nation not ‘Thorndon Bubble’ references will almost certainly be lost on them.

        Did you do any canvassing last parliamentary term for Labour? Because, I did and one of the most consistent criticisms was Labour seemed to be against everything and did not provide a positive vision. Opposing legislation just to distinguish yourself from your opponents is not a good way to govern. Furthermore, as I’ve pointed out the two aren’t mutually exclusive Labour can still offer a positive alternative vision and support the bill.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Opposing legislation just to distinguish yourself from your opponents is not a good way to govern.


          This is not about “opposing legislation”, it is about standing for your principles, standing for the civil rights of NZ citizens and standing for an alternative path to better security. And then making the case to the electorate. Labour didn’t do that though, did they. And they still aren’t doing that.

          Did you do any canvassing last parliamentary term for Labour? Because, I did and one of the most consistent criticisms was Labour seemed to be against everything and did not provide a positive vision.

          Labour can’t provide a positive vision because on too many issues there is barely an air gap between it and National. Like the increasing encroachment of the security and surveillance state.

          Basically, the Thorndon Bubble doesn’t understand that in order to provide a true alternative to the nation, you actually have to stand for something different. Not say you do, and then vote the same way as the other guys.

          The next big test is the TPPA. Will Labour vote with National.

    • SaveNZ 30.3

      HELLO, how can Labour policy be irrelevant? You are totally falling into MSM and National hands. NAT/ACT want Labour to be so bland and neutral but with a few explosive policies that frighten the wits out of the average Kiwi (Capital Gains and higher pension age). Yep fell into that one. The problem is that that NationalLite splits the Labour vote. Some go Green some Go NZ First some go National, some don’t vote, but the main thing is it splits the vote so National get in again. It is win win, Labour is NationalLite (split votes) because their advisors tell them to mimic National.

      NO way it will win. If Labour wants to win they need to do the opposite from last time. i.e. Keep the economy policy neutral and then slam the Americanization of NZ which is a big justified fear in the psych of Kiwis. (Think David Lange and the anti Nukes, Gone by Lunch time was not the Nukes but actually Don Brash). Same will happen to National under a new attack about selling out to Globalism and the US. That is National’s weakest policy (but oh yes, tricked again by Nats and MSM and a scary mentally ill cretin funded by the 1% brigade). Labour is instead mimicking National policy of globalization and US sell out (pro TTP and pro surveillance state and lite on the manufactured war on terror) but Labour’s different ‘key economic polices’ are instead to tax Kiwis more and make them wait longer for their pension. UMMM yes can see why the Labour vote keeps going down. Worse still half or more of their “advisors” and “pro Labour” commentators are sending them down the path to NationalLite again with polices that alienate half their supporters such as supporting the surveillance bill pro US interests. I’m not against the US – I just want NZ to be politically neutral. If NZ on the seat of the Security Council just rubber-stamps torture and holds a different standard for different Nations I will be ashamed of them.

      Meanwhile some in National themselves are not so keen on Attack politics. That you have to pay the mentally ill cretin mentioned above to make sure they are not smeared too is kinda against the idea of capitalism – (get ahead by hard work) – nope you seem to have to get ahead by bribing psycho cretins is kinda like their idea of Communism.

      So in my view it the only way Labour will win is to change their policies above, and turn attack politics on it’s head by actually trying honesty and integrity as an election strategy. Ie not compromise on morality and NZ sovereignty.

      In addition Labour need to reach out to rivals like the Greens, Maori and NZ First and any others like Mana and even the Conservatives. They need to do it now not just before the election so they develop a proper relationship. I’m not suggesting a marriage but a joint strategy not to smear each other and be against attack politics is a start. It was also Labour’s hatred and dismissal to the left rivals and their own members that turned their voters off. If they try a bit of pro activity instead of Narcissism and just behave and have policies for decent people then that alone would be a point of difference in an election. Get out of the Gutter.
      They need to get it back to policy and not be influenced by subtle and not so subtle attack politics taking Labour policy down(i.e. MSM is telling Labour how great they are to support National on the surveillance bill hehe and voters are so uninterested in dirty politics – surprisingly MSM readership is also declining with these pearls of wisdom and insight).

      Labour don’t be stupid for a forth election.

      • boyonlaptop 30.3.1

        Did you read my comment at all?

        Firstly, I did not suggest that Labour policy is irrelevant just in a parliamentary system it is irrelevant what policy is if they’re in opposition, it will never be implemented.

        Keep the economic policy ‘neutral’ and a deal with the Conservatives? And I’m supposedly accused of supporting NationalLite? If Labour abandons progressive economic policy there’s no way they’ve got my vote let alone my time to campaign for them.

        If there is one thing I am sure about it’s that the latest election was not decided on foreign policy towards the U.S.

  31. Ad 31

    This debate is very German Green Party 1990s: Realos Versus Fundies.

    Thankfully Labour is more robust than the Alliance was.

    • Colonial Rawshark 31.1

      Germany is a key partner in the torture, surveillance and security state. Is this now considered “being real”?

      As for the Alliance – Labour is entirely too gleeful in seeing true left wing parties go under the wheel.

  32. Stuart Munro 32

    I usually like Bryan – but I think this was a very bad call. Any warrantless surveillance drives a truck through the personal right to privacy and to dissent. Had we a circumspect leader like Clark, who didn’t dabble in espionage, it might not matter so much – but Key is a frequent and enthusiastic abuser of state intelligence powers.

    It was a shameful and invidious compromise that showed that Labour’s recent show of backbone is more strategic or cosmetic than the required tectonic shift in response to the vast helpings of oppression and injustice the failings of the Key government have delivered to ordinary New Zealanders.

    • Colonial Rawshark 32.1

      Had we a circumspect leader like Clark, who didn’t dabble in espionage, it might not matter so much – but Key is a frequent and enthusiastic abuser of state intelligence powers.

      It wouldn’t matter if a saint was running the country right now – we shouldn’t pass dangerous laws under any circumstances because that saint could easily be replaced with a sociopath the next election.

      Therefore I would say that laws, which typically last on the statute books for a decade or several decades, always must be drafted with the assumption that they may be utilised by an asshole PM leading an asshole government.

  33. The Chairman 33

    This thread is largely damage control because Labour know there is fallout.

    It was done to put forward Labour’s argument, thus an attempt to take control of the narrative, shape opinion and minimize the damage to their support.

    However, it’s hogwash and they need to cut the crap.

    This (compromising on their principles, thus direction and what they stand for) coupled with the followed up hogwash above, is a prime example of the behaviour and attitude Labour need to shake off.

    National knew this was going to be controversial, thus entered negotiations with room to move.

    Giving themselves scope to appease and win the support of their coalition partners along with the many others opposed (Privacy Commissioner, Law Society etc…) effectively window dressing it to help win over the media and public.

    Therefore, pushing it through as it was and on their own was never the intention.

    Key even alluded to this before the vote.

    It would have looked extremely arrogant of National, thus resulted in a PR mess, which, (indicated by Key seeking consensus) National wanted to avoid.

    Labour’s support was the biggest assistance for National in gaining media and public acceptance.

    Despite Labour’s initial attacks, Labour’s later support and trumpeting of concessions aided the perception of making the bill look reasonable, thus acceptable.

    In the process, Labour missed an opportunity to demonstrate a united left block (reinforcing voter perception and right wing narrative of a directionless left) largely failing to differentiate themselves from National, while assisting National to further divide the left.

    Labour are robbing voters of that vital point of difference (largely expected and required from a main opposition Party) but consistently lacking from Labour, which is keeping them from being an effective main opposition Party, thus out of power.

    In a step by step process, moving forward Key has signalled the Government will look to introduce much tougher security laws next year, with Labour’s current support leaving them compromised, thus open to attack and on the back foot when it comes to challenging harsher changes.

    • Colonial Rawshark 33.1

      And then there is the TPP.

      Labour’s move here gives us zero reassurance that they will provide any real alternative to National’s position. That’s the reality of the policy “alternatives” that Labour is presenting to the electorate.

      The bad electoral politics, you have already described. Labour continues to lose opportunities to differentiate itself from National both on principle and on substance.

      Just look at the mindset behind the security and surveillance state revealed by the very limited CIA torture report which has been released. NZ should be playing no part in this repugnant game.

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