Andrew Little – Last Labour PM of NZ?

Written By: - Date published: 4:48 pm, June 3rd, 2017 - 136 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, class war, Economy, election 2017, elections, greens, Jeremy Corbyn, labour, liberalism, politicans, Politics, social democracy, uk politics - Tags: , , , ,

Assuming that Jeremy Corbyn becomes the next PM of the UK, social democracy will become an acceptable school of political thought again. By that, I simply mean it will be permissible – even expected –  to build policy around the needs of society instead of around the needs of finance.

If NZ Labour forms the government following the upcoming NZ elections, and I think they probably will, it might be the last time that Labour forms the government of this country. And here’s why.

Just as the SNP tacked left into a social democratic space some years back and are now in their 10th year of government, and just as UK Labour has tacked left to win office this year, and just as Sanders tacked left and gave the establishment the heeby jeebies, and just as Menchelon tacked left in the French Presidential race and got about 1/5th of the vote while the established parties of France’s left and right disappeared, and just as Trudeau ran on leftist rhetoric to win office in Canada – the party that swings left first in NZ will be the party in the ascendancy .

And that party won’t be Labour.

Labour had its chance with Cunliffe and the caucus did everything it could to stamp and stomp on his deviation from liberal orthodoxy. They succeeded. And today the Labour Party caucus has the Labour Party by the throat. It really doesn’t matter how many people might join up to the NZ Labour Party with the hope of voting in a social democratic leader of the party. With the liberal dominated caucus holding 40% of the decision making power in any leadership selection process, they’re locked in. And if they’re locked in, then liberalism’s locked in.

But then there’s the Green Party (and others).

They may not have the time between June 8th and the 23rd of September this year to formulate and campaign on an overtly social democratic platform. But they do have the time to do that between this election and the next. And I sincerely hope that they do. Meantime, Labour’s going to be lugging an unwieldy liberal millstone around its neck and discovering that it’s stuck fast where it is

So Andrew, enjoy your three years as Prime Minister Little.

136 comments on “Andrew Little – Last Labour PM of NZ?”

  1. Ad 1

    Bit early.
    Give it 7 days and come back.

    • Bill 1.1

      Why’s it early? The whole post is openly based on an assumption. I can’t base a post on an assumption in 7 days time. Bit late. 😉

      • Ad 1.1.1

        You get your hopes up too early and have to walk it back. Never pretty.

        If Corbyn gets a respectable number of seats and gives Labour a fighting chance he will have done his job.

        Same with Little. It’s still far more likely that National will just get propped up on the cross-benches this time. But he’s come from a long, long way back.

        Same with the US Democrats. They’ve got at least two mid-terms and one Presidential term to rebuild. And they will need all that time.

        Same with Canada. It pulled back from full austerity in the government it elected, but not much more.

        Same with Australia. Labour did well enough to dampen the worst of the righties, and sufficiently built their platform for next time.

        When the left is this far back, waaaaaaaaaay back, deep back, you need patience enough for everyone to rebuild.

        • BM

          But NZ won’t survive another threes years of National !!!

          • Ad

            We’ve had pretty mild governments shifting a little this way and that for the last twenty years, and it seems to have been exactly what the great majority of New Zealanders wanted.

            Whether it’s New Zealand First for one side, or the Greens for the other, they’re really a choice of Chipotle or Ranch on a Subway Footlong that’s either Meatball or Chicken.

            So to speak.

            • BM

              MMP has rather killed off political extremism, which is probably it’s greatest attribute.

              In our current political environment, another three years of National certainly isn’t the end of NZ.

              Bill English is no Douglas or Richardson, those days of unbridled power are well and truly gone and thank fuck for that.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Yeah, the modern National Party has figured out how to kill people and still get good headlines.

              • Chris

                English and the nats would adopt every ACT party policy they could if they believed they’d remain the government. They’ve learned from Thatcher’s downfall, NZ in the 1990s and Key’s popularity that slow and steady wins the race so hateful right-wing nastiness by stealth is the order of the day. The wealthy have to bring the poor with them so cultural change is the right’s most powerful weapon. They need poor against poor. The only thing English can’t control is the Bill English factor, which is the left’s only hope come September.

              • Ed

                The issue is that an extreme economic idea ( neoliberalism ) is the only choice people have.

            • weka

              “We’ve had pretty mild governments shifting a little this way and that for the last twenty years, and it seems to have been exactly what the great majority of New Zealanders wanted.”

              Until they don’t. And far too many don’t vote in a country with a widening gap around wealth and thus wellbeing. Both those sets of voters could change quickly. Which is what we are seeing in the UK.

        • weka

          Not getting your hopes down too early are you Ad?

          • Ad

            Given the state of the left across Europe, the US, and Australasia over the last thirty years, the rational position is to lower one’s political blood pressure into something just above coma.

            • weka

              I find meditation helps 🙂

              • weka

                lol, just saw your comment below. Not Rip Van Winkel so much as Pema Chodron or Joanna Macy. There are other ways than just above coma, and they can bring deep satisfaction too.

        • Bill

          If “the left” is to ascend, then the Democrats in the US, as they are currently configured, have to go the way of the dodo. So does NZ Labour. So possible does the Canadian Liberal Party. (ie – there’s no role for liberals masquerading as leftists.)

          As for Australia…

          Look, it’s a longish game Ad, and social democratic gains through parliament can only ever be a pit stop on the way. 😉

          • Ad

            Well then, stock up on Amyltriptelene beside your bed and practise Rip Van Winkel-scale meditation. It ain’t pretty out there.

            • Richard McGrath


            • adam

              You are ‘the hatter’ for supporting a system that oppresses you. If you don’t support a system that does not strip you of your rights – then argue that in some sort of future it will be better, then you are in a one hour loop of your own depressive making.

              I get why your depressed about it, but it’s not a total beige world. People can make a difference, and the world has changed. It just takes a modicum of hope, and the will to act.

        • James

          “But he’s come from a long, long way back.”

          Problem is he hasn’t come back. At all. He’s further back than cunliffe.

          • McFlock

            He’s further back than Cunliffe started. Well ahead of where Cunliffe left it.

        • the pigman

          You get your hopes up too early and have to walk it back. Never pretty.

          OH! How covered in shame and disgrace our Bill would be if his assumption proved wrong in 7 days time! He could never show his face here again, could he?

          It’s too dangerous Ad! Let’s never have a discussion based on a hypothetical or counterfactual again! Let’s just trudge along under the weight of the status quo or some blue-red incrementalism (which is then diluted or cast on the bonfire by every nactional government) and see how far we get…

      • Graham 1.1.2

        “So Andrew, enjoy your three years as Prime Minister Little”
        Oh boy. LOL. There is not a snowballs show in hell of “Prime Minister Little” until Labour looks even a little like being able to govern.

  2. Muttonbird 2

    The Green Party?

    They’ve swung harder right in the last three years than any party in NZ. Their emerging socially conscious policy once sat comfortably beside their environmentally conscious policy but that has been discouraged from within in recent years as they do things like vote with Steven Joyce for tax cuts least advantageous to the families of earners at the bottom and beneficiaries alike.

    Not to mention the new recruitment of baby-faced millennial Spinoff subscribers…

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1

      vote…for tax cuts

      Did I miss something? I heard they voted for changes to WFF and tax thresholds, not for the tax cuts.

      Link please.

      • Karen 2.1.1

        Tax cuts were part of the same bill that included WFF.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Really. Were they? Which bill was that then?

          To put it another way: so far as I can tell, this is the “taxation” bill. Can you show me where it mentions WFF?

          To put it another way again: so far as I can tell, this is the “budget” bill. Can you show me where it mentions WFF?

          • Muttonbird

            I’m not reading that.

            The simplified version (I paraphrase) is the Greens claim they voted with National because, for the most vulnerable, ‘something is better than nothing’, while Andrew Little said ‘he wouldn’t support any change which give people like me and Steven Joyce and extra $20/week’.

            Labours position matches with their desire do a deep review of the tax system should they form the government and Little’s statement seems more visionary than the Greens support of National’s middle class lolly-scramble.

            • Tuppence Shrewsbury

              Just do it opposition. It’s not like they are busy running the country or anything

              • Muttonbird

                Good point. Labour, Greens, and NZF have been effectively governing from opposition for the last two terms at least. Any socially responsible policy from them has been appropriated by the current clueless government if their internal polling suggested there were votes in it.

                What you end up with though is a sluggish, reactionary beast of a government which looks sideways, copying off their competitors, instead of ahead for the benefit of society…

                This tax review could be the kind of legacy like that of Savage, state house building in the 60s, WFF, and Kiwisaver which have defined Labour government social policy for the good of NZ society over the generations. That they have to bring it out now in an election campaign for the Nats to steal would be unfortunate.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Or just link to the bill you mean, like I asked Muttonbird in the first place.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Or to put it yet another way, can you show where James Shaw is lying?

          The Green Party did not – and will not – vote for “the Budget”.

          Budget time often brings other legislation too, which gets debated under urgency. This year, there were two such Bills:

          The first was a Bill giving effect to the settlement of the high-profile gender pay equity case for people in the caring profession, brought by Kristine Bartlett.

          The second was a Bill changing Working for Families and income tax thresholds…

          • Karen

            Oh FFS, I am the one who pointed out that the Greens were not supporting the Budget when this came up last week.

            And of course increasing tax thresholds are tax cuts. That is why people on higher incomes will pay $20 a week less tax and people on low incomes will get a much smaller tax cut. The Greens supported the bill because of the WFF component. It isn’t a big deal IMO but let’s at least be accurate.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              In the sense that threshold changes affect revenue, is that what anyone actually means when they say “tax cut”? Yeah nah, it isn’t eh. That would be a whole new spin on the common usage of the term.

              So yeah, let’s be “accurate” 🙄

              • Karen

                The amount of tax someone pays on higher incomes is reduced when the thresholds for the various income brackets are raised. They will pay less tax on their income, therefore their tax is cut. That is as simple an explanation as I can offer you.

                • Muttonbird

                  This. To say the change in thresholds isn’t a tax cut is spin. Less tax is taken from earners (disproportionately from what is required, in my view), and tax revenue is lower.

                  It’s a tax cut.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    You approve of right wing debating tactics then. Good to know.

                    Edit: let’s be clear about this: when the Labour/Green government changes tax thresholds – and if they spend any decent length of time on the Treasury benches, they will – you want to define that as a tax cut so that you can make a “hit” on the Green Party 100 days out from an election.

                    Nice one. I hope you feel vindicated and pure. FFS 🙄

                    • Muttonbird

                      Nothing wrong with a tax cut directed at the people who need it, just don’t try to dress it up as something else.

                      The Greens deserve criticism for undermining the relationship 100 days out from an election. The Nats and their supporters in the media have jumped on this and will continue to use it to beat the opposition with.

                      Do you approve of Joyce’s tax package where high income earners receive a way bigger tax break than low income earners? If so, then it is you who is on the side of the right wing.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      undermining the relationship

                      No, that’s what you’re doing.

                      National are making hay about it? That’s what right wingers do: spin the facts to attack their opponents; anything rather than argue the substantive issues. If it wasn’t this it’d be something else.

                      All governments change tax thresholds from time to time. Joyce has timed this particular change with the election in mind. His tax package includes tax cuts which are not the same thing, and no, I don’t support them.

                      I don’t support tax cuts at all, apart from the removal of GST from fresh food.

                      What I do support is lifting people’s incomes, by means of better wages, with income assistance where necessary. Wages need to rise until no-one with a full time job needs income assistance under any normal circumstances.

                      So yeah, your pwned argument fails. Sorry about that.

                    • Muttonbird

                      So you don’t support tax cuts but you do support the threshold system and changes to it. Is this where you and the Greens are supportive of Steven Joyce?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                      Trying to make a hit on me now eh. Swing away, flail the air.

                      Tax thresholds are a product of our progressive tax regime. I don’t support flat tax any more than I support Steven Joyce, no matter your flailing.

                      Meanwhile, the Labour Party has voted with National sixty-eight times in the last three years. The Greens, eleven. Still want to play stupid games?

                    • Karen

                      Why don’t you look back at my comments on the posts when this was first raised. I am a supporter of both the Green Party and the Labour Party and I think this has been blown out of all proportion by the media and by some here on the Standard..

                      That doesn’t mean you can pretend that raising the threshold is not a tax cut. It just makes you look like an idiot.

                    • the pigman

                      Where is the right wing debating tactics OAB? Do you really have no fucking idea what a tax cut is? Don’t be ashamed to say it…

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Yeah, squeal like a pig, boy, and then perhaps you can get around to addressing my argument.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Sorry, I just don’t think making a hit on the Greens is a sufficiently good reason to start spinning brand new interpretations of commonly understood phrases.

                  Example: “National’s tax cuts were not fiscally neutral”.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          ..and please, “tax thresholds” are not the same as “tax cuts”, so don’t start with that red herring.

          • the pigman

            Oh-hoh! Let’s start with the converse then. Check your comprehension.

            What do you think a tax cut is?
            Serious question. Your time starts now.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              You tell me. Is there any suggestion that the “tax cuts” in this story are really a change to income tax thresholds? Is anyone confused about that? No? Why not, when you’re saying it has a double meaning?

              Where is Key’s disclaimer? “We mean a proper cut, not just tinkering with thresholds”, that sort of thing? Why didn’t they clarify it?

              Oh yeah, that’s right, they didn’t need to, because this shiny new meaning didn’t exist before you wanted to score a ‘hit’ (Cameron Slater style) on the Greens.

              Slow clap.

              Edit: how many times did Cullen change tax thresholds between 1999 and 2008? You totally criticised him for his “tax cuts” at the time, eh. Totes. And then you woke up. 🙄

              • the pigman

                *BEEP* You lose:

                A tax cut is a reduction in taxes. The immediate effects of a tax cut are a decrease in the real income of the government and an increase in the real income of those whose tax rate has been lowered.

                The Greens voted for National’s tax cut. Period.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  No no no, pigs go “Squeeee!” Not “BEEP”. Make sounds like a pig.

                  “This article has multiple issues”. Just like your argument.

                  My argument is that in normal New Zealand political usage, the phrase “tax cut” means a change to one or more of the individual tax rates, as opposed to a change in tax thresholds.

                  Here’s Treasury on the subject:

                  Our “Resume Historic Cost Growth scenario” projections, which have the tax take remaining as a constant percentage of GDP out to 2060, implicitly assume that governments will continue to make periodic adjustments to compensate for fiscal drag. If they did not, the tax take would rise as a share of GDP over time.

                  So not adjusting thresholds is an effective tax increase.


                  • the pigman

                    Anything other than ad hominem or are you just having an unusually infantile day?

                    I wonder if it’s not something more serious since you’re deciding to be as obtuse as you possibly can in your Ministry of Truth kafkaesque defense of the Greens.

                    That you need a wikipedia article to tell you that
                    a reduction in tax burden based on a LOOSENING of thresholds is a tax cut, yet you still, can’t, won’t agree this is the so-far-delivered tax cut in National’s budget is staggering.

                    What did you think a tax cut was? The little rebate you get from the IRD at the end of the year when you send in your laundromat receipts?

                    But keep it up, and don’t forget to keep peppering it with lots of insults based on contributors’ usernames: Black is White. War is Peace. Ignorance is Strength.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      The Wikipedia article with ‘multiple issues’?

                      So far all you’re doing is asserting your belief. Did you read the quoted passage from Treasury? Study its implications? Register the effect of not adjusting tax thresholds?

                      My argument is that in normal New Zealand political usage, the phrase “tax cut” means a change to one or more of the individual tax rates, as opposed to a change in tax thresholds.

                      You obviously didn’t read that bit either, or you wouldn’t have asked what I think a tax cut is. When you have a substantive response, I’ll be here.

                    • the pigman

                      I would invite you to consider its not the mechanism that’s used (threshold change, or change to rate), but the effect that makes it a tax cut.

                      A change at which a certain % kicks in (that is, a threshold change) is no different to a change to a % at a static figure in terms of its effect. Its effect is the tax cut, not the mechanism used to get there.

                      The Greens, in voting for those tax threshold changes, voted for a tax cut.

                      You can stick your fingers in your ears and keep screaming insults, but that won’t help.

                      It’s a bit like you’re stubbornly insisting “only chocolate cake is a cake, carrot cake isn’t a cake!” so that you can align circumstances (that the Greens voted for the Nats tax cut) with your rose-tinted view of them (oooh the Greens would never vote for a tax cut!).

                      OAB, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but: a cake is a cake.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      As the Treasury link makes clear, not adjusting tax thresholds is a tax increase. and the purpose of adjusting tax thresholds is to keep tax revenue static as a percentage of gdp.

                      Ergo, not a tax cut.

                      If you dispute that’s what Treasury says, please rebut their argument. And go on, say “Squeeeee!” You know you want to.

    • weka 2.2

      I think you just made all that up.

      Look at their policies. Easily the most left wing of any party in parliament. The front page of their website is about environment, social policy, green economics.

      • RedLogix 2.2.1

        The generation of old pharts like me who can remember the glory days of Labour’s socially transformational governments is slowly dying off. Those of us who might tribally vote for Labour are diminishing in number and not being replaced.

        So yes I can see where Bill is coming from; another term of fake third way neoliberal ‘socialism’ will permanently kill the NZLP. I recall Chris Trotter writing about this ages ago, and he was dead to rights.

        I can only idly day dream about a left wing party that melded the social and environmental cred of the Greens, with TOP’s economic radicalism.

    • Bill 2.3

      Whether the Greens are currently leftish or not is entirely moot in the context of this post.

      A couple of years ago, UK Labour couldn’t have made the shift it has. It’s been made possible because Milband instituted a one person one vote process for leadership selection.

      NZ Labour is not going to go down that path. They learned their lesson about ‘democracy’ from having Cunliffe imposed on them by the ‘great unwashed and ill informed’.

      The Greens (as far as I know) have the internal structure that would allow the shift to take place.

      • weka 2.3.1

        yes, and the internal processes also lead to left wing policy, it’s all coming from the same set of values. If as Mb says above, the Greens were tacking hard right, then I’d expect to see that reflected in the membership and thus in the policy that gets developed. It’s not, not yet at least, so I think we have a window of opportunity there that won’t be here forever.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          we have a window of opportunity there that won’t be here forever.

          Let’s just hope that doesn’t inspire a massive sign-up by wingnuts 🙂

          • weka

            Yes, but more likely it will be centrists/neoliberals or as Bill likes to call them, liberals. Or just the younger people who aren’t into the whole left/right thing. This is why I keep saying to lefties that if they want the Greens to go left they need to vote for them and become activists now. If the only way the Greens can progress is to become more mainstream, then we need to move the mainstream left, and that requires giving the Greens the support they need now, not in some mythical future where they’ve gone left despite people not supporting them.

            That’s probably true of Labour too, except for the points that Bill is making around internal processes and presumably culture (and the whole 80s thing).

          • Bill

            Two things.

            A vote for a party endorses their position and does not encourage them to move anywhere. If they are already exhibiting a direction of travel, then a vote endorses that direction.

            If a party has an internal selection process like UK Labour has (ie, one person- one vote), then people can join, and depending on the stance of nominees for any given positions within the party, determine what direction a party will take through that process.

            • weka

              1. that’s only true if the GP looks at voting alone. But I’m pretty sure they spend quite a bit of time talking to voters as well as doing research amongst those that don’t vote (they say that their people who *want to vote Green is in the high 20s). If the Greens get 15% this year, I would expect they would do the research to find out the reasons for that, which are likely to be multiple.

              2. internal selection for the co-leaders? List? Electorate MPs? Policy? Changes in constitution? Lots of stuff there that can influence the way a party goes.

              Last co-leader selection was a short list of people standing that went to the regions, who ran democratic processes to come to each area’s candidate of choice, and then a delegate was sent to the AGM to vote.

              The List process was an initial list drawn up at a conference, sent to the members, who rated an order, then adjusted by staff for gender etc but only up to two places, then the exec makes some final decisions I think.

              • Bill

                So you’re saying that the Green party is on the ball because it conducts focus group stuff? Seriously?! I hope that’s not accurate.

                I did have a quick search and found that selection happens through delegates. That’s a somewhat flawed system for doing stuff and happily unnecessary in this day and age. Maybe the delegate system will be dumped.

                • weka

                  No, that’s not what I’m saying.

                • weka

                  I don’t have a problem with the delegate system. It ensures that the selection process stays within the kaupapa of the Party’s principles. The risk otherwise is that the principles get watered down by and big shifts in membership that doesn’t involve itself in the party.

                  I’ve explained elsewhere in the thread the process. I’ve taken part in that in the past, and it seemed sound and democratically robust to me. I’m kind of surprised to hear you dissing it, because it’s actually about devolving power to the small and local level. One member, one vote at the big group level is not always the best form of democracy.

                  • Bill

                    Never been one for a delegate system. Not in my union days or any other time.

                    And sure, one person, one vote can be a dog of a way to do things and absolutely not necessarily democratic. But since we’re looking at mechanisms and possibilities within discrete and existing political structures where the fundamental integrity of those political structures is maintained…

                    • weka

                      Don’t know what your experience of the delegate system was, but the ones the Greens use is relatively robust i.e. the delegates don’t get to choose what they vote for.

                    • As Weka points out, the delegates are instructed by the branches on how to decide and what the branch members think of each issue. It’s not really the same thing as you’re implying.

  3. weka 3

    Interesting thought experiment. I’d like to see a list of the Labour MPs and new candidates and analysis of where they fit on a neoliberal/socialist scale. Or the political compass. Haven’t seen one for a while, Bradbury used to do them in the leadership coup times, and split them into ABCs, Careerists, and Cunliffe supporters I think. Will see if I can dig them up.

    Am not sure that the caucus can control things quite how you say, didn’t the membership and the unions put Cunliffe then Little in as leader despite the conservatives in caucus?

    • Bill 3.1

      Cunliffe won the membership vote and the union vote. Those two blocks amount to a 60% contribution towards the final tally.

      I think I might be right in saying that Little only squeezed in because of the union vote.

      But regardless, when a small group of people (the caucus) have a 40% say, I can’t see how that can be viewed as anything but a huge measure of influence. It doesn’t guarantee control of the outcome of any selection process, but if they don’t want the leader they get then “Cunliffe”.

      • weka 3.1.1

        Yes, it’s an influence, but only in the way you are suggesting if all or nearly all of the caucus is neoliberal. I’m not yet convinced that they are.

        Cunliffe wasn’t a leader ‘they didn’t want’, he was a leader that was hated by too many and then didn’t have the capacity to change that (for whatever reason, I’m not blaming DC for that).

        • Bill

          If they are not social democrats, then the the only position left in a western parliamentary setting that isn’t overtly authoritarian is liberal.

          • weka

            There’s also the careerists, who might be persuaded either way.

            Looking at the Bradbury list so far, of the 2013 MPs 5 of Cunliffe’s people have left, 7 of Team Shearer, and none of what he calls the Young and Restless.

            I’m in the process of pulling together the current MP list and the List for the election, but the thing that stands out is how many new people there are compared to when DC was leader. So as I said, I’m not convinced yet that the existing caucus, or the post-election one are overwhelmingly neoliberal.

            • Craig H

              From listening to them at the list conference and elsewhere, many MPs and most of the newer candidates aren’t wedded to neoliberal economics at all.

            • Bill

              So careerists bend with the wind – fair weather friends and all of that. They are not political (they’re careerists) and so should be taken to a bridge where they can look at the view and be ‘persuaded’ to do the right thing.

              If you don’t know whether NZ Labour is liberal or social democratic, then read the language they couch their policy in.

              • weka

                People can change. You can try and force them, I’m not opposed to that. I’m more a build bridges than throw people off them kind of person 🙂

                “If you don’t know whether NZ Labour is liberal or social democratic, then read the language they couch their policy in.”

                I’m not talking about what Labour are, I’m talking about whether they can change.

                • Bill

                  I’m not talking about what Labour are, I’m talking about whether they can change.

                  Good. Welcome to the post. So we can put aside all the talk of careerists and liberals and social democrats and whatever else. UK Labour is packed with liberals and careerists to such an extent that Corbyn had difficulty in filling his shadow cabinet positions. Yet, despite that UK Labour is in the throes of dramatic change.

                  Can the NZ Labour Party change? Look at their internal structures and how concentrations of power are affected by any voting mechanisms they have in place. Then make some reasonable assumptions around prospects for those voting mechanisms changing.

                  That’ll provide you with an answer.

                  • weka

                    Well to state the bleeding obvious, NZ Labour doesn’t have a Corbyn. Hence Cunliffe’s struggle. Would the changes in the UK be happening without Corbyn?

                    I can’t see any good reason why the NZ Labour Party internal structures would prevent the members from effecting change. If you can see them, point them out. Concentrations of power are also affected by the people there, and thus where people fit on the spectrum is important. Not sure what you think would happen otherwise. If NZ Labour had a more democratic internal structure do you think the membership would throw out the current MPs who you appear to think are all neoliberals? How would the party function under such conditions?

                    • Bill

                      NZ Labour had Cunliffe. Cunliffe became leader because of members and in spite of caucus (he also had the union vote).

                      Corbyn was put under similar pressure as that applied to Cunliffe. The crucial difference was and is that in the UK, the members determine who the leader of the party is.

                      If you look back at the ouster of Cunliffe, he still had the member’s vote. He still didn’t have the caucus vote, and when Andrew Little stepped into the ring, he lost the union vote. So he did the numbers, and in spite of knowing he had the backing of a majority within the membership, he had to go.

                      10 000 party members could have voted for Cunliffe and it wouldn’t have mattered because the votes of 32 mps carries the same weight as the vote of the entire membership. Throw in the union vote, some of which is expressed through a one person one vote mechanism and some of which is ‘decided’ by union leaderships, and the picture that marginalises the membership is drawn for you.

                      I’ve never said that all current mps are neo-liberal btw, and even if I did think that, it would be largely irrelevant in a scenario like in the UK where mps are beholden to the members.

                      In the UK Labour Party members have the full franchise and so decide who will be leader (not the caucus and not the unions), which mean that members (not the caucus and not the unions) choose which broad sweep of policies or programmes on offer will be pursued.

                      In NZ, a clique of mps can and do hold sway. That scenario – not the one where the membership is empowered – is the one that requires a renewal of caucus to precede change.

                      edit – to answer the questions at the foot of your comment, I’ve no idea how much ‘parachuting’ goes on in the UK in relation to NZ, but would suggest that an empowered and growing membership would result in more representative candidate choices.

                      NZ Labour would presumably function “under such conditions”, just the same as the UK Labour Party does, no?

                    • weka

                      I think we are talking a bit at cross purposes here. My point is that Cunliffe couldn’t hack it because of the ABCs in caucus. So had NZ Labour had full membership vote, Cunliffe would have stayed leader. You think that would have worked out. I think it’s unlikely it would have because Cunliffe still would have had to deal with a caucus that was leaking against the party, and had a big chunk that hated him. He wasn’t a Corbyn (naturally socialist, with a big team of socialists alongside him) and he didn’t generate a popular movement. He couldn’t stand up to the PM or the Crosby Textor machine. His inability to do something about the ABCs meant that the situation was untenable. I actually think NZ is better off with Little despite Little probably being more centrist.

                      And I’ll say again, if the members had the full vote, Robertson would be leader now. Let’s say Cunliffe survived but stepped aside later due to health or family reasons. Full membership vote, Robertson, middle way agenda.

                      That’s because while the leader is important, the actual policy and positioning gets made through a whole range of processes. Having a big chunk of neoliberals in caucus *is an issue. Corbyn was put in place by the members, and then supported by the members and the new members and the supporters, *and he had the personal qualities and a good enough team to deal with the ABCs, MSM etc.

                      So let’s put it this way, having the membership was critical but not sufficient in the UK. In NZ it’s a bit different because there is no Corbyn. So what does that leave us with? You’re saying Labour are irremediable, which is odd because you seem to be placing all your democratic eggs in who is leader. I’m saying that there is possibly enough democratic leeway within the Labour structure for some good to come. Or not, and it might go the way you are saying in the post. I’d still go back to the people in caucus now and the new people coming in, and look at where they stand on the spectrum. Plus the full membership vote thing is a moot point at this stage. They don’t have it, so what *can they do?

                    • Bill

                      On a wee bit of reflection.

                      How many votes did Robertson win the membership vote by? How many votes did Little win the Affiliates (Union) vote by?

                      In an election process of ‘one person, one vote’, those union votes would have folded into the membership vote (as would the 32 from caucus) . As far as I know, no raw numbers were ever published and since some of the unions voted through a delegate structure, no raw numbers can be published.

                      Suffice to say, there’s no solid ground for claiming that Robertson would have been voted in as leader under a one person, one vote scenario. We don’t know and can’t know the numbers.

                      That aside, Corbyn survived the bullshit of the PLP by simply pointing to the fact that his mandate came from the membership and not them (the caucus). There was no “ability” – just a principle.

                      edit – if the idea of prospective political party members is to have a meaningful democratic influence on a party so that they might move to a social democratic position, do it through a party other than Labour. That’s what “they” can do.

                    • weka

                      well quite. Support the Greens ;-p (or whatever meaningfully arises to the left of them).

                      The thing about Robertson is kind of moot too. A full vote by the members is still limited by the available contenders. It DC was out of the picture due to unforeseen circumstances, the members still have to vote for one of the existing Labour people. So the neoliberalism of the caucus is still an issue.

                      “That aside, Corbyn survived the bullshit of the PLP by simply pointing to the fact that his mandate came from the membership and not them (the caucus). There was no “ability” – just a principle.”

                      Nah, sticking to principles takes a certain character. And Corbyn is brave as well. But even if that weren’t true, doesn’t that just affirm that DC was never going to make it work?

                    • Bill

                      Let me put it this way.

                      Imagine Corbyn as the leader of the NZ Labour Party for and at the time Cunliffe was leader. And ask, ‘could he have survived’? The answer is ‘no’.

                      Why? Because of the internal structuring of the NZ Labour Party that empowers caucus at the expense of the membership.

                      Or imagine that UK Labour had NZ Labour’s structure.

                      Then Corbyn simply couldn’t have faced down the UK PLP – one, if you recall, that was resigning the whip in such numbers that he had to double up cabinet portfolios to keep cabinet positions filled; one that was constantly leaking and feeding stories to a hostile media; one that openly penning vitriolic opinion pieces; one constantly throwing outrageous allegations at him (anti-semitism etc) – on the principle that his mandate came from the membership.

                      He’d have been gone.

    • Karen 3.2

      Really Weka? Bradbury didn’t have a clue – his list was just an expression of his personal prejudices.

      I suspect there are there are very few commentators on the Standard who know enough about all the candidates to be able to categorise them accurately. Even Labour Party members are unlikely to be able to produce an accurate assessment given the number of new candidates and the geographical spread. All that a list does is provide an opportunity for ill-informed Labour bashing.

      I also get sick of the claim that the Greens are far to the left of Labour. Some in the Greens are more left than some in Labour, but there are quite a few economic centrists in the Green Party just as there are quite a few socialists in Labour. Personally, I have found Green Party members to be a lot more middle class than Labour Party members (I have helped out both parties during election campaigns).

      • Bill 3.2.1

        And which parties internal structures and decision making processes make a shift to a social democratic footing possible?

        UK Labour is packed with liberal arse-wipes, and yet, because Milband (by accident or design) introduced a highly democratic selection process, it doesn’t actually matter too much what the basic political make up of the PLP (ie, caucus) is.

      • weka 3.2.2

        Not a lot I disagree with there Karen. Re the Greens, I was referring to policy, and I completely agree with you re class and the two parties.

        The only reason I am using the Bradbury list is because I have no other starting point. I’m really happy for anyone to correct the list at any point (and it would be pretty sad if commenters on TS weren’t able to collectively increase knowledge here).

        I’m not interested in Labour bashing (and will moderate this part of the conversation on the basis of that).

        If we don’t know who the Labour Party MPs are and where they fit into the scheme of things, how can we vote? Are you saying we shouldn’t be talking about this? I actually disagree with Bill’s assessment (that the LP is irredeemably neoliberal), but the only way I am going to know is to look at it and talk to people and hopefully end up better informed.

        My intention with the list is to not to publish a List that damns MPs to their supposed corners but to generate more knowledge. I’d be happy for this to happen with the Green Party too btw.

        • Carolyn_nth

          This 2015 research has done a statistical analysis of NZ GP voters. They identified 4 distinct sub-groups, with most GP supporters valuing a cluster of values, including environmental ones, those of social justice and equality. Most did not value wealth.

          They didn’t seem to find any distinct group that are of a specific class. findings are from p12 to the end (p16).

          From the conclusion:

          We uncovered four distinct profiles that differed in their pattern of support across seven attitudinal domains; value for the environment, equality, social justice, wealth, belief in anthropogenic climate change, views about historical injustice and reparations for Māori, and value for Māori culture.

          The largest of these profiles, the Core Green Liberals (56%), showed strong
          support across all ideological/value domains except wealth. By comparison,
          the smallest, Green Dissonants (4%), valued the environment but expressed less support for the other ideological/value domains we examined. Ambivalent Biculturalists (20%) valued equality and social justice to a lesser extent, while they had relatively strong support for Māori culture and reparation for past injustice. Greens in Principle (20%) expressed strong support for equality and social justice, but weaker support for the rights of Māori.

          My own highly selective experience is that GP voters in Auckland differ noticeably across the city: West Auckland GP members seem more like middle class hippies. South Auckland GPers include more Māori and Pacific people, especially women, and from diverse class backgrounds, and with many from low income families.

          • weka

            that is very interesting, thanks! Just making my way through the PDF.

            Karen and I were talking about the party itself (not voters), so it would be interesting to see if our views hold true.

          • Karen

            Yes, I’d agree with this on Green voters. I was really talking more about the active members and by middle class I don’t mean that they are wealthy or that they want to be wealthy. It is more that they come from middle class backgrounds, the work that they do tends to be professional and they have very little personal contact with working class people.

            I think it is changing. There has been a big effort by Greens in Auckland and Wellington over the past decade to appeal to a wider demographic. Having someone like Marama Davidson as an MP has helped with this I think.

            • Karen

              This article on e-tangata from Richard Pamamatau this morning encapsulates what I was trying to say much better than I did.


              • weka

                Thanks, that’s a good read. I’ve got a similar post in me from a Pākehā underclass perspective (including my reaction to the North and North cover, and Golriz Ghahraman not pushing back against an interviewer’s bigotry about hippies and people who wouldn’t fit on the cover of North and North), but have decided to not write it until after the election (or probably next year). I would expect Pasifika people to vote Labour.

              • Now that Green list voting is over…

                Trying to get Leilani and Teanu higher on the list was one of the big goals I had when I voted for the final list. The fact that they only slipped one rank in a list that had some pretty dramatic adjustments from earlier means they’re not unpopular within the party, just that they didn’t yet manage to impress a wide enough base of members to get into an easily electable position. I hope they stick around for 2020 and are ranked in guaranteed positions then, because they’re both really talented people who would bring fresh and valuable perspectives to the Party.

                (Leilani’s position is arguably an electable one, but would require the Green Party to do about as much better than current polling as can possibly be exacted, making its way to 16%, which is higher than the Party has polled, but only by 1%. Teanu’s is probably not a winnable ranking this election, requiring 17%)

        • Karen

          I find this idea of a list labelling candidates as neo-liberal etc silly. The labels always mean different things to different people are generally simplistic nonsense.

          If you want to know about the candidates then you can go to the Labour Party candidate profiles and start from there – check out their twitter feeds to get their attitudes on current issues and google them to see what they have done in the past that they haven’t included in their profiles. If anyone is curious about a particular candidate then there may be someone here that could provide a bit more info if they have are from that electorate or have had dealings with them.

          However, as you know, it is the party vote that counts so the main issue is the policies of each party, and they are what all the candidates have signed up to. The only individual electorates that count are the Māori seats.

          • weka

            Sure and I do all that to the extent that I am interested. But Bill’s proposition is that Labour can’t move left, and one of the issues is around the make up of the caucus. Looking at MP bios isn’t going to help with that. Talking it through with other politically minded people might. As you say, there are people here that have better knowledge about some of the MPs.

            “The labels always mean different things to different people are generally simplistic nonsense.”

            Yes and in addition there is the whole debate going on about the word liberal too. But I’m not suggesting a list set in stone, I’m suggesting a conversation about where MPs fit into the political spectrum or compass. We do that here fairly routinely don’t we?

            • Craig H

              Labour can move left as policy is pushed left by members, and as MPs are replaced over time by more left candidates by their local electorate committees. Might take some time, however.

              • Bill

                How does that comment follow from this one you made earlier that –

                From listening to them at the list conference and elsewhere, many MPs and most of the newer candidates aren’t wedded to neoliberal economics at all.?

                You also miss the central point that members only have 40% of the vote, so unlike UK Labour where they exercise 100% of the vote, they can’t “push left”…their voice is ‘contained’. And in case you missed it, it doesn’t matter a tss whether Labour has 1000 members or 40 000 members, the dynamics of that leadership selection mean the weight of the voice of members stays the same.

                • weka

                  The members changed the leadership against part of the caucus. And as I understand it before that they also changed the rules that gave them more power. Just because they don’t have the ideal that you hold dear doesn’t mean they can’t change at all.

                  • Bill

                    Uh-huh. Members elected David Cunliffe against the wishes of a majority within caucus. That ended well, yes?

                    I’m not even sure that Little got a majority of the caucus. That as it may be, if he was inclined to be a bit of a Corbyn, he has to play ball by the wishes and rules of caucus, and against those of members if the wishes of members happened to be different. If he doesn’t “Cunliffe Mk II”.

                    It’s a pretty simply exercise to discern where the whip hand is in Labour, whose tune a leader must dance to, and what that does for the prospects of any shift away from a liberal programme to a social democratic one.

                    Change giving members 40% of the vote came from above, not below.

                    As for ideals, no representative democratic procedure would be anything I’d look at in terms of being ideal. But within the context that we’re looking at, that’s neither here nor there. I’m interested in practical measures that would address asymmetries of power and real world consequences of already existing structures.

                    So, one member one vote. No bloc vote for unions and no bloc vote for caucus. But as pointed out elsewhere, the Labour Party’s experiment with empowering membership through its leadership selection process is over. Hence the thrust of this post.

                    • Karen

                      You seem to think the caucus is some kind of monolithic block with a neoliberal agenda. You could not be more wrong. There is a range of ideological positions within that caucus and the adoption of policy is a far more democratic process than electing a leader who then imposes his will on the caucus.

                      Little did not win the caucus vote. He came second in the membership vote and won the union vote. Robertson would be leader if it was 100% membership.

                    • weka

                      “Uh-huh. Members elected David Cunliffe against the wishes of a majority within caucus. That ended well, yes?”

                      Not sure what your point is. Members elected Corbyn against the wishes of a chunk of the caucus too. As for ending well, Cunliffe didn’t have what it takes to pull that off. Nothing to do with the voting structure. And as Karen points out, if there’d been one member one vote we’d have had Robertson as leader now.

                      “I’m not even sure that Little got a majority of the caucus. That as it may be, if he was inclined to be a bit of a Corbyn, he has to play ball by the wishes and rules of caucus, and against those of members if the wishes of members happened to be different. If he doesn’t “Cunliffe Mk II”.”

                      People can’t make themselves into what they are not. If Little was a Corbyn, he’s already be doing Corbyn things. As for Little having to play ball by the wishes of caucus, how is that different to Corbyn? (I”m not familiar enough with either UK or NZ Labour rules).

                      “It’s a pretty simply exercise to discern where the whip hand is in Labour, whose tune a leader must dance to, and what that does for the prospects of any shift away from a liberal programme to a social democratic one.”

                      Again, if the members had all the vote on the leader, we’d have Robertson. If we had Roberston, how would things be any different in relation to the political positioning of the party? I think they’d be worse.

                      “As for ideals, no representative democratic procedure would be anything I’d look at in terms of being ideal. But within the context that we’re looking at, that’s neither here nor there. I’m interested in practical measures that would address asymmetries of power and real world consequences of already existing structures.”

                      And I’m saying there is enough there to be getting on with. If you are saying that Labour aren’t democratic enough, I will agree with you. If you are saying that Labour are so poor at democracy that there is *zero chance of change, then I’ll just keep pointing to the possible avenues of change that you are disregarding.

                    • Bill

                      @ Karen

                      I don’t think caucus is a monolithic block, just that’s it’s a small group of people within the party wielding an inordinate amount of power.

                      Thanks for laying what voting segments of the party Andrew Little won/lost.

                      And yes, if one person one vote had come in after Cunliffe stepped aside, then Labour would have Robertson as leader.

                      Adoption of policy’s an interesting one. It would seem that in the UK context, the leader appoints his cabinet and they then run their policy preferences. I seem to recall the Blairite rump complaining that the cabinet should be subject to the will of the PLP (caucus). I believe that’s how it is in NZ – that the caucus determines the cabinet and so, in effect, guides policy.

                      I can see potential pros and cons in both scenarios depending on the lie of the land.

                      edit – the Robertson line you’re peddling is actually a bit problematic. I’ve laid out some reasoning as to why here

                    • Karen

                      Bill – these are the voting results for the last leadership contest – no numbers but does have percentages and indicates Robertson would have won:


                      As for the policy being decided by the caucus because they elect the cabinet – the caucus elect who will be in cabinet but it is the leader who decides portfolios.
                      Policy is much more complex than you suggest. There is a policy committee on which MPs are a minority. Policies go through a long process where members get to have their say.

                      The problem with the Labour Party (and any party of that size) is the people who have the time and inclination to go along to endless meetings do not necessarily represent the views of the majority of the supporters. However, I can’t see how else it can be done. I am not personally in favour of a leader with a lot of power (unless I was the one picking them!)

                      My experience has been that very few people in this country have any interest in politics, and have no interest in finding out, so relying on some kind of people’s movement turning things around is unrealistic. I am also very suspicious of charismatic leaders – Lange had charisma and it was his government that unleashed Rogernomics.

                    • Bill

                      I’d be slightly surprised if the total number of people who are members of all of the affiliates and so eligible to vote in a one/one scenario was found to be less than the membership tally. From a quick gaze at the percentages, it would have to be substantially less.

                      Charismatic or empowered leaders and/or cliques – I like none of them or any combination of them. In terms of a political party, and where I have to opt for one or the other, I think I’d tend more towards tolerating an empowered leader who was subject to instant recall by a membership.

                      edit – Go back two years and people of England and Wales were thoroughly disengaged. Shit ‘appens 😉

                • Craig H

                  Members propose and ratify policies via regional and national conferences, and elect the policy council, so when I say members can push policy left, I mean by using that mechanism.

  4. Siobhan 4

    Knots in my stomach till Friday, but even if he doesn’t win, Corbyn and his message has taken over the Labour Party. If they can pull off a clean up of the Corbyn naysayers THEN we will have seen a real change in UK, and Labour Politics generally..

    I know our own Labour Party considers there is no point to being in politics if you’re not winning, but may be its time for our Labour Party to consider Policy and Message as being the main point…not just obsessing about perceived ‘winning tactics’.

  5. web-developer 5

    None of this is going to happen while we have ratings-driven imbeciles like Patrick Gower pulling the strings.

    • Bill 5.1

      It happened in Scotland in spite of that crap, and it looks as though it’s happening in England and Wales too now in spite of that crap.

      • adam 5.1.1

        Was think – if nothing else.

        It is no longer the United Kingdom.

        Even if the Tories win, they lose. It will be a country divided, not only on economic grounds, but by culture and geography as well.

        • Bill

          Corbyn’s social democratic push, for whatever faults and criticisms there may be of it, wins regardless. I guess it’s a battle and war scenario.

          If UK Labour win, I’d be tempted to think it’s the beginning of the decline for the SNP though.

  6. rhinocrates 6

    I’ve used the term ‘paleoleftist’ in the past and the epitome of that is Chris Trotter and the cretins who rail against ‘identity politics’ when then mean anyone who isn’t as privileged as themselves.

    Race is a distraction to Trotter because he’s white, gender is a distraction because he’s male, sexuality it a distraction to him because he’s straight, neurodiversity is a distravtion to him because he’s neurotypical, faith is a distraction because he’s agnostic or atheist raised in a Christian culture, culture is a distraction to him because he’s not Maori, Pasifika or a refugee. None of these things matter to him because he’s a smug privileged man cocooned in a nice house in Kelburn with a social theory that excludes everyone unlike himself. Just like any Tory, just like that idiot Wayne who tells us here that everything’s alright with his world view because he’s alright.

    In the end, even economic class doesn’t matter to them because they’re doing well for themselves.

    Here’s some news: ‘identities’ will not go away, like it or not, no matter whether they fit into your social model or not. People simply will not shut up and learn their proper place in the queue.

    Let me repeat that: people will not shut up and get to the back of the queue. So all you people who complain about ‘identity politics’ can keep dreaming of unicorns if you like, but people will not shut up and they know that they owe you nothing.

    Labour has to be relevant, and trying to appeal to some ‘universal man’ is a path to irrelevance, which will be richly deserved. The idealised Marxist social unit is as much a chimera as the neoliberal’s rational consumer. Labour has to find out how to be either a voice for all people as they are and not as they ‘should be’ – which I think is impossible considering the idiots they have on their front bench – or it has to learn some humility and work in a practical coalition with diverse interests from the roots up. Good luck with that, because a Left that is not inclusive is fit only for history books.

    • Trotter is a left-wing conservative, the equivalent within the Labour domain of a Judith Collins figure.

      He is also a useful illustration of why other left-wing critics who refuse to engage with liberal politics are bound to lose. Corbyn has been successful within UK Labour because he has married social liberalism with left-wing social democracy, much to the dismay of the neoliberals, triangulators, and centrists in his own party. A Labour Party that did that while still speaking to the economic issues that New Zealand swing voters care about could absolutely win here too, and would then be giving the Greens a run for their money as to who’s going to be leading left-wing governments in the long term. But I don’t see that happening any time soon.

  7. Ethica 7

    There are a large number of young people in the Labour Party these days. Jacinda’s large team in her election campaign were mainly younger than her. It is similar in many electorates.

    • Craig H 7.1

      I saw a Herald analysis of votes by age brackets which said that Labour’s highest percentage was among under 30s, so if we could turn them out, we would do much better.

    • Karen 7.2

      That’s what I have noticed in a few electorates in Auckland and there are also a lot more 30somethings getting involved. I don’t know about around the country.

  8. Michael 8

    I think our last Labour PM was Bill Rowling. Adopting a more charitable view, the distinction may belong to Helen Clark, but her government’s record is a big reason why NZ probably won’t see another Labour Prime Minister. The Clark government was a classic “third way” government, that talked Left but acted Right: no authentic Labour government would ever have enacted as its most substantial policy legislation that deliberately excluded the children of the non-working poor from financial assistance; neither would a real Labour government have condoned sytemic abuse of its poorest citizens by public sector bureaucrats at WINZ and ACC (plus other acronymic bureaucracies). These practices, and other like it, led New Zealanders, in their hundreds and thousands, to abandon Labour (the middle classes went first, in 2005, over “tax cuts”, while the poor followed in 2008); AFAICS, Labour doesn’t even want them back, otherwise its policies, and communications, would be directed at ordinary New Zealanders and their needs, instead of a small, onanistic elite.

    • In Vino 8.1

      Beautifully put, Michael – especially the second-to-last word.

    • Adrian Thornton 8.2

      @Michael +1
      Clark was the last straw for me and Labour NZ, the very embodiment of a neo liberal ideologue, and after hearing her talk at length about her time as PM on PNZ lately I have absolutely no reason to change that assessment of her.

  9. mosa 9

    New Zealand is a one party state in all but name.

    It is wrapped up so tight with help from the fourth estate unlike any time in our recent history that the possibility of a left leaning government any time soon is wishful thinking.

    The National party will win a fourth term this year and remain firmly in control and has huge funds and powerful supporters to make sure it stays in government.

    It will take a massive realignment of the left with one strong voice, policy, funding and superior campaign based on a real left platform to rid this country of this government.

    It will also require a charismatic , clever media personality who can engage with kiwis and communicate directly with them beyond the corporate media, it will require different skill set and need to be well funded.

    We are still a long way away from real regime change in Aotearoa.

    • Incognito 9.1

      All true because you’ve pointed to the nub of the problem, which is that in a real representative democracy the politicians listen to the people and not the other way round as is currently the case. No wonder that more and more people are switching off from listening to politicians via their spin-fed PR to the MSM and no wonder that the MSM have such sway over ‘public opinion’.

      From time to time people pay attention to what a politician is saying, not because they simply like what they hear, but because the politician is listening to the people and what he/she is saying resonates with a wider audience. Then note the backlash from the establishment via MSM …

  10. Keith 10

    The Green Party? Seriously? Don’t make me laugh.

    There is a hard core within that party who appear to weild the most influence who are bunch of duffers. They wander around like trusting social workers who have about a similar level of political nous and about as politically threatening and ruthless as a new born kitten.

    The Greens are at best nowadays blue green anyway, supported some of Nationals bullshit smoke and mirrors budget (they hide behind terms like being principled rather than dumb) and are as susceptible as any imbecile to being played by political thugs like National.

    Sorry but if they are the future, we’re no better off than your unicorn Labour Party you speak of!

    • Michael 10.1

      The Greens have shifted Right – or at least the faction who now call the shots are Right. It appears the Right faction get “help” from big, right-wing law and accounting firms – the same little helpers who do so much for the Nats in return for a political agenda that lets them make out like bandits.

      • weka 10.1.1

        The Greens have been mainstreaming for a long time. That’s not the same as being on the right. Have a look at their policies and tell me which are the RW ones and which are the LW ones.

  11. Cynical jester 11

    The greens are not the hope of the left,
    Let’s be serious this is a party planning on positioning itself in between labour and national if labour doesn’t form a govt this year.

    At the end of the next election labour if not in power for the first time in 9 years will start taking on the greens and will move to the left because we will make them.

    Also let’s be claear when Ardern is leader labour will be a 40% party.

    Macron, Trudeau aren’t remotely left wing. They are the liberal establishment.

    Macron,Trudeau are examples of the liberal establishment.

    Cunliffe wasn’t as left as Corbyn or Sanders either, I supported him but he ran a bad campaign offered very little and was almost never to be seen during the nig issues where he could have thumped the govt.

    Should have let shearer lose then made his move imo.

    The new corporate greens are a disgrace abd the few shreds of the rod donald era like metiria will be removed post election. Noone knows what the greens believe in anymore but its not radical environmental policy or social justice anymore.

  12. UncookedSelachimorpha 12

    It seems to me that the UK Labour shift under Corbyn has been largely a youth movement that has grown grassroots support and legs. It is young people getting fed up with the current state of affairs.

    Interestingly, most of those young people have had no experience of any type of government other than neoliberal – while at the same time they have worn the brunt of the neoliberal nastiness, with massive education debt, housing insecurity and lousy wages and employment conditions.

    It is age, rather than social class , that is driving the Labour / Tory divide in Britain, a new divide that has actual substance, rather than the two flavours of neoliberalism that have been on offer for the last few decades.

    Not sure how this applies in NZ yet, but I hope it does!

  13. Adrian Thornton 13

    @Bill, I am not really that au fait with the internal structures of the Labour party, and had a bit of a hard time following the conversation between yourself and Weka.

    Surely you must believe there must be some way to push back and fight for OUR Labour party, as you said yesterday…

    “Liberalism exorcised all of the dirt, blood and struggle of progressive or left politics… supplanting a brightly colored (sic) glossy magazine of pap in its stead. Liberalism is wringing hands, ringing representatives, writing letters to the editor and signing petitions.

    So now “the right” can take all manner of images associated with defiance or bravery or of being staunch – everything that liberalism fearfully washed away – and twist it as it sees fit.

    And on “the left” we can reject both and reclaim our heritage.”

    I thought that was really well put, and I for one am going to continue that fight to reclaim our heritage and our Labour Party.

    • Bill 13.1

      I can’t see the situation where the hierarchy within NZ Labour (the caucus) is going to turn around and give up that 40% controlling influence.

      Maybe the ‘Labour Party’ should be viewed as not much more than a label these days. I’m going to draw the parallel with Scotland again. When people saw that the SNP embodied those values that the Labour Party of old had held dear, but that the ‘Blairite” Labour Party had abandoned, they switched their allegiance to the SNP. That switch away from Labour, given the country we’re talking about is…well, I’m sorely tempted to suggest that it has no precedent.

      My personal take is that in a NZ context, Mana best represent the values that Labour used to cleave to.

      Retaining or reclaiming a heritage doesn’t have to entail hanging on to some wrapping paper that’s blowing away on some cliff-top wind .

      • Adrian Thornton 13.1.1

        Fair enough, you could well be right, but I have always been known as a pretty optimistic guy,so I am heading back to the trenches and settling in for the long fight. I just can’t let the neo liberals have it without a fight.
        As you point out, it could well be a lost fight, but the NZ Labour Party is for me, more than just a label, it is something I am willing to keep struggling and fighting for.

  14. mauī 14

    Could it be that The Opportunities Party (TOP) gets a surge in voters this time and breaks open New Zealand politics. While not being a typical “left” party, fairness is one of their core principles and their policies centre around that. They have the advantage of being new and distanced from a lot of political baggage (although Gareth Morgan comes with his own baggage being so outspoken). The Internet-Mana party came close last election so you never know.

  15. Jenny Kirk 15

    Well – I’ve just flicked thru Bill’s post and the comments – and it looks to me like everyone has a touch of the “let’s bash Labour” this weekend.
    Hardly worth responding to … so I’m not going to bother – except to say, you are sounding like blinkered race horses.

  16. Sigh 16

    Cunliffe left-wing? Puh-lease. His rhetoric was, but his manifesto was to the right of Phil Goff’s.

    • Bill 16.1

      Did Cunliffe have the wherewithal to appoint his cabinet? No.
      Did Cunliffe determine the Manifesto? No.

      Do Corbyn and his appointed cabinet? Yes.

      • Sigh 16.1.1

        Talk to anyone who was involved in Labour during the Cunliffe leadership. Most of what you said matches the narrative of his leadership campaign, but sadly doesn’t match the reality of his actual leadership.

        • Bill

          I have. And regardless of whatever criticisms I’ve heard, the points I’m making about the internal structure of the Labour Party hold up.

  17. Louis 17

    Isn’t 60% made up of membership and affiliates? Most of the right in Labour have either left or are leaving. Does this not count for something? What if once installed as Prime Minister, Andrew Little who was endorsed and supported by David Cunliffe and did more than what Cunliffe could do, drives more left during his first term?

    • Ed 17.1

      That would be sweet revenge.
      That’s how Doulgas’s coup d’état occurred.

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  • Corrections Amendment Bill passes third reading
    A Bill to improve prison security and ensure the fair, safe, and humane treatment of people in prison while upholding public safety has passed its third reading. Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says the Corrections Amendment Bill makes a number of changes to ensure the Corrections Act 2004 is fit for ...
    1 day ago
  • Ngāi Tahu CEO appointed to NZ-China Council
    Minister for Māori Development, Nanaia Mahuta, has selected Arihia Bennett MNZM, Chief Executive Officer of Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu, as the Te Puni Kōkiri appointed representative on the New Zealand-China Council. The New Zealand-China Council (the Council) was established in 2012 as a New Zealand led and funded organisation ...
    2 days ago
  • Southern Response claims move to EQC
    Responsibility for processing the small number of Southern Response claims still to be settled will be transferred to EQC by the end of the year. “As claim numbers reduce, it no longer makes sense for the Crown to have two organisations processing the remaining Canterbury claims,” Grant Robertson says. “Since ...
    2 days ago
  • Bowel screening starts in Whanganui
    Health Minister David Clark is encouraging Whanganui residents to take up the opportunity for free bowel screening, which can detect cancer early when it’s easier to treat.   Over the next two years 12,000 Whanganui locals, aged 60 to 74 will be invited to participate in the National Bowel Screening ...
    2 days ago
  • Pacific Peoples Minister to attend Our Ocean Conference in Norway
    Minister for Pacific Peoples Aupito William Sio, heads to Oslo today to represent New Zealand at the sixth Our Ocean Conference, which is being hosted by the Norwegian Government from the 23-24 October. “The Our Ocean Conference mobilises real action on issues like marine plastic pollution and the impacts of ...
    3 days ago
  • Government announces 27 percent increase in Trades Academy places
    Two secondary-school initiatives are being expanded as part of the Government’s plan to see more young New Zealanders take up a trade to help close the skills gap.   This includes the largest single increase in Trades Academy places in recent years. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Education Minister Chris ...
    3 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures Conference: Connection...
    Session 4: Pacific Connectivity – Youth, Media and New Opportunities   Kia ora tatou katoa and Warm Pacific greetings to one and all. Representatives of Tainui, the local people of the land, or manawhenua – the indigenous peoples of this area – have welcomed you this morning in accordance with ...
    6 days ago
  • Methane reducing cattle feed one step closer
    The Government today announced its support for a project that could substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions from cattle. The announcement was made as part of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor’s visit to Nelson’s Cawthron Aquaculture Park. The Cawthron Institute will receive $100,000 from the Government’s ...
    6 days ago
  • Bill to refresh superannuation system passes first reading
    Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has welcomed the first reading of the New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension Legislation Amendment Bill. “Every New Zealander has a stake in New Zealand Superannuation and Veteran’s Pension,” says Carmel Sepuloni. “They are our most common form of social assistance – nearly 800,000 New ...
    6 days ago
  • Government announces next steps in fight against measles
    Babies in Auckland aged six months and over can receive a free vaccination and children will all have access to vaccines, Associate Minister of Health Julie Anne Genter announced today at Papatoetoe High School.   The move comes as part of Government efforts to step up the fight against measles. ...
    6 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs, Pacific Futures: Connections, Identity...
    ***Check against delivery*** Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here, and to have the honour of opening this important conference on behalf of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Let us take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people who have helped make today possible, including our special ...
    6 days ago
  • Police trial new response to high risk events
    Police Minister Stuart Nash says the safety of frontline officers and members of the public will be the focus of a new trial of specialist Police response teams in three of our largest urban centres. Police have this morning released details of an initiative to be trialled in Counties Manukau, ...
    6 days ago
  • New awards celebrate fisheries sustainability
    The Minister of Fisheries is calling for entries for a new public award to celebrate innovation in our seafood sector. “I have established the Seafood Sustainability Awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s ...
    6 days ago
  • More progress for women and we can do more
    Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter welcomes leaders in the private sector taking action on closing their gender pay gaps to ensure a fairer workplace for all New Zealanders. Ms Genter today launched a new report, Addressing the gender pay gap and driving women’s representation in senior leadership, from the Champions for ...
    6 days ago
  • Proposals to curb environmental damage help our coasts and the oceans
    Government Ministers today welcomed the release of a marine environment report highlighting the four key issues affecting our oceans, estuaries and coastlines.  The release underlines the importance of government proposals to combat climate pollution, ensure clean freshwater, protect biodiversity, make land use more sustainable, and reduce waste and plastic.    Environment ...
    6 days ago
  • New mental health facility for Waikato
    The Government has approved funding for a new acute mental health facility for Waikato which will provide better care and support to people with mental health and addiction issues. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Health Minister Dr David Clark announced the $100 million project to replace the aging Henry Rongomau ...
    7 days ago
  • 500 new te reo Māori champions in our classrooms
    The Government is making progress on its goal to integrate te reo Māori into education by 2025, with over 500 teachers and support staff already graduating from Te Ahu o te Reo Māori,  Associate Education Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. Kelvin Davis made the announcement at an awards ceremony in Waikanae today, for ...
    7 days ago
  • Minister James Shaw welcomes 2018 Census first release
    Statistics Minister James Shaw has welcomed the first release of 2018 Census data. The first release of data today, 23 September, includes key data on population, regional growth, the number of homes and the size of different ethnic groups in New Zealand. Data from the 2018 Census will support the ...
    7 days ago
  • Driving transparency, ethics and accountability in government use of algorithms
    Minister for Statistics James Shaw today announced a public consultation on a proposed algorithm charter for government agencies. The charter has been developed by the Government Chief Data Steward in response to growing calls for more transparency in government use of data. Computer algorithms – procedures or formulas for solving ...
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand and the Netherlands working together on climate change
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, Climate Change Minister James Shaw and visiting Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte co-hosted a business roundtable in Auckland this morning focused on working together to address climate change.  “The Netherlands is an important partner for New Zealand. We share a strong agricultural history. Sustainable agribusiness and ...
    7 days ago
  • Protecting fairness for workers and businesses
    The Government is taking action to build an inclusive economy where more of us receive our fair share at work and businesses can compete on great products and services, not undercutting wages and conditions, Immigration and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says. Two consultations launched today seek feedback ...
    7 days ago
  • Indigenous Freshwater Fish Bill Passes
    The future for New Zealand’s threatened indigenous freshwater fish looks brighter with the passing of the Conservation (Indigenous Freshwater Fish) Amendment Bill in Parliament today said Minister of Conservation, Eugenie Sage. “Until now, our freshwater fish legislation has been 20 years out of date. We have lacked effective tools to ...
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis to take part in world’s biggest earthquake drill
    At 1.30pm tomorrow, hundreds of thousands of Kiwis will join about 65 million people around the globe in ShakeOut, the world’s biggest earthquake drill. The annual drill is to remind people of the right action to take during an earthquake which is to Drop, Cover, Hold, and to practise their ...
    1 week ago
  • Rising wages and low inflation supporting Kiwis
    Kiwis are benefiting from higher wage growth and low inflation under the Coalition Government. Stats NZ data out today shows the rise in the cost of living remains low, as annual Consumers Price Index (CPI) inflation fell to 1.5% in September from 1.7% in June. “The low inflation comes as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ economy strong amid global headwinds
    New Zealand’s economic strength and resilience has been recognised in a major update on the state of the global economy. The IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook released overnight shows a reduced global growth forecast over the next two years as issues like the US-China trade war and Brexit take hold. ...
    1 week ago
  • Keeping New Zealanders safer with better counter-terrorism laws
    Justice Minister Andrew Little has today introduced a new Bill to prevent terrorism and support the de-radicalisation of New Zealanders returning from overseas. The Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill gives the New Zealand Police the ability to apply to the High Court to impose control orders on New Zealanders who ...
    1 week ago
  • Improved succession and dispute resolution core of Ture Whenua changes
    A Bill that proposes targeted changes to simplify the processes for Māori land owners when engaging with the Māori Land Court has had its First Reading today. “The approach taken by the Government is to ensure that the protection of Māori land remains a priority as we seek to improve ...
    1 week ago
  • Speech to CTU Biennial Conference
    Let me first thank all the new unionists and members in the room. There is nothing more important to improving people’s working lives than people making the decision to care, to get on board and help, to take up the reins and get involved. Congratulations to you. You bring the ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister ensures continued Whenuapai flight operations
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark has signed a certificate exempting the activity of engine testing at Whenuapai Airbase from the Resource Management Act 1991. The Act gives the Minister of Defence the power to exempt activities for the purposes of national security.  The certificate will mean the recent Environment Court ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ joins Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action
    Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced New Zealand will join the Coalition of Finance Ministers for Climate Action while attending APEC meetings in Chile. The objective of the 39 member Coalition is to share information and promote action to tackle climate change. It was formed in April this year, in ...
    1 week ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Lyttelton Parking
    Feedback sought– Lyttelton commercial zone parking  The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal to remove on-site car parking requirements for new developments in the Lyttelton commercial zone.  The proposal, by Christchurch City Council, asks that powers under section 71 of the Greater ...
    1 week ago
  • Feedback Sought – Section 71 – Hagley Oval
    Hon Minister Poto Williams Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration   MEDIA STATEMENT       Tuesday 15 October 2019 Feedback sought – Hagley Oval The Associate Minister for Greater Christchurch Regeneration, Poto Williams, is seeking feedback on a proposal about Hagley Oval. The proposal was developed by Regenerate Christchurch ...
    1 week ago
  • CTU speech – DPM
    Ladies and gentlemen, NZCTU President Richard Wagstaff, members of respective unions – thank you for the invitation to speak to you today. This might be preaching to the choir, but the importance of trade unions in New Zealand’s historical arch is difficult to understate. And it is my belief that ...
    1 week ago
  • Police Association Annual Conference
    "Let’s start by acknowledging that it has been a huge year. " Police Association Annual Conference James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington Nau mai, haere mai. Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, ka nui te mihi, ki a koutou katoa. President of the Police Association, Chris Cahill; Members of the Association and ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand announces a further P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark have announced the New Zealand Government’s decision to again deploy a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea. New ...
    1 week ago