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Asking your members’ opinions? Outrageous!

Written By: - Date published: 11:26 pm, April 21st, 2010 - 27 comments
Categories: labour, Media, polls, spin - Tags:

“Labour has been rumbled secretly polling its own members” reports TVNZ. Jesus, what are things coming to when Labour can’t even poll its own members without the media playing silly buggers?

They’re polling their own members about the party’s branding (not its values, its branding). That’s a good thing – it’s the members’ party after all.

How can the poll be ‘secret’? It went out by email to thousands of members. Does the media want a press release every time a party asks itself a question?

I hear that they’d had over a thousand responses in less than 24 hours from members thrilled to be consulted about the image of their party. It’s democratic, it’s transparent, it’s the right thing to do and Labour should be proud.

The fact that this comes a day after the media refused to even touch the revelation that the Government was secretly advised that its 3 strikes legislation could lead to more murders is telling. The press has lost all sense of perspective and all sense of balance.

Charles Chauvel comments to his partner about kids on a plane – that becomes a media pile-on against Labour.

Whale attacks Chris Carter over his mum’s phone bill when his mum is dead and the bill was for David Carter’s mum – that’s news according to Audrey Young.

Labour polls its members – gets attacked for it.

But ‘govt puts lives at risk with 3 strikes bill’ – what a yawn!

This crap is why mainstream journalism is dying, and why I’ve stopped lamenting the fact.

For Labour my message is this. Harden up. Don’t be worried about these f#cken hacks and the Nats having a go. There’s nothing embarrassing about asking the members of the party what image they want the party to have. It’s their party!

You’re doing the right thing, be proud of it. And for god’s sake sort things out in the goffice. The media doesn’t get so hostile by magic, it’s because they’re being managed by National and not by you. Don’t be afraid of them, get a strategy, build those relationships, be direct with them, and don’t let them think you’re hiding stuff from them.

27 comments on “Asking your members’ opinions? Outrageous!”

  1. lprent 1

    I got that e-mail. Thought it was interesting and filed it for the weekend to peruse.

    What exactly do those dipshits in the media think that this is? We get asked this at virtually every conference in workshops. We get stuff through the LEC’s asking this.

    All that has happened is that Labour is using more direct methods finally. I’m from the internet generation. At the bleeding edge of it for most of my life. The first time I remember suggesting this as an approach was in the mid-90’s.

    The greens have been doing this type of thing for a while. I suspect that a niece of mine got me added to their mailing lists some time ago. It is about time that the Labour party did it.

    I guess that the journos are either technologically illiterate or just have a slow news week. In either case, they’re just stupid f*ckwits if they’re getting excited about this..

    • Rohit C 1.1

      Am I ever going to get paid for that horse betting software we wrote for you?

      [lprent: 🙂 Yeah right – like I bet. And I wrote that code in 1981.
      BTW: How is the chop shop going? Keeps cluttering up my facebook. ]

  2. Mac1 2

    The media find conspiracy where there is none and are blind to those who do conspire.

    Got that e-mail, too. Democracy, consultation? Foreign words nowadays with the NACT government in autocratic, ‘dealing’ mode. The media have not had examples of open democratic politics for a year or more.

    We opened tonight with Roger Hall’s “Four Flat Whites in Italy”. The character Adrian has the line, “That’s bloody National Party voters for you!’ Brought the house down. heh!

  3. gingercrush 3

    I don’t know I saw the survey and thought it was rather pointless. Labour already has a good brand.

    And Eddie in regards to the three strikes. I didn’t see Labour ask a question about it today nor from what I saw was it mentioned in the General Debate.

    • Marty G 3.1

      “I didn’t see Labour ask a question about it today nor from what I saw was it mentioned in the General Debate.”

      yeah, pretty bloody slack. But look at the Chauvel story etc. Doesn’t need to be picked up by a party to get coverage.

      • bobo 3.1.1

        Seems to lost the element of surprise with the 3 strikes question, shame it would have been interesting if Labour had asked it as a supplementary to a more benign primary question… like to see some more traps set for National in the house, is all a bit too predictable lately and easy for National with open ended political questions that they can woffle any old answer to. Hopefully they ask it soon.

  4. Jenny 4

    This is fantastic and should be encouraged.

    It is great that the Labour Party leadership are asking their members what they think.

    I didn’t get polled because I am not a member, but this sort of thing encourages me to want to join up.

    Do the members get to see the results?

  5. tsmithfield 5

    I look forward to seeing the new sexy, funky, retro Labour brand. I guess Phil and co will be jiving into parliament from now to “Stayin Alive”.

  6. Lazy Susan 6

    Have just watched Francesca Mold’s TVNZ story on the web. So what was so “secret” about this survey Francesca? It was a survey put out to all members for goodness sake. I got one, like thousands of other Labour party members, by email. It wasn’t marked “secret”, “embargoed” or “off the record” it was just a simple request to complete a survey

    If Mold considers herself a journalist she could have at least asked Labour, Labour members and other political parties their thoughts about why this survey was being conducted and what use it might be. Oh no, that was in the too hard basket for her – not one single searching question in her 2 minute story. She was presumeably too busy trawling through the library to find clips that supported her “wiitty” beat-up. This comes on the back of her hatchet job on Phil Goff’s reference to John Key being a slick operator.

    While these stories will sit nicely on Mold’s showreel when she applies for that job at Fox they have nothing to do with journalism. Shame on TVNZ for allowing such partisan tripe – but I guess we know who’s calling the shots for that institution right now.

    Good on Labour for consulting it’s members.

  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    The info was obviously a National party beatup that TVNZ used to fill some sort of local news quota on their unwatched evening news- there being a dearth of court ‘stories’ to pad out the day

  8. Mike 8

    Huh? I don’t understand
    The most opinion-poll dependent government of all time is bitching about Labour doing a survey, and this is news?

  9. Pascal's bookie 9

    This is no where near as funny/humiliating as this was:

    The leaked copy of National’s proposed marketing plan says ”we must make National cool” by associating with younger New Zealand bands.

    Labour managed to get hold of the plan, which had been prepared by National’s recently-resigned general manager Greg Sheehan.

    Labour minister Trevor Mallard was then able to give the public a rare glimpse into National’s thinking about how to position itself.

    The strategy includes funking up its image with hip-hop clothing label Dawn Raid.

    Mallard says using Dawn Raid is “laughable given the dawn raids were carried out by a National government and were a lowpoint in relations between National and Pacific Island communities.”

    But the party has has been getting criticism for suggesting it supports charities such as Canteen, Women’s Refuge and Rape Crisis Centre to boost votes.

    “Charities should be supported because they back worthy causes – not because they will give National MPs political mileage,” says Mallard.

    National is also pushing for its female MPs to do their bit by offering tell-all stories to glossy magazines – but whether Judith Collins and Jackie Blue can knock Angelina Jolie and Nicole Kidman from the front pages remains to be seen.


  10. Patrick Baron 10

    I responded to the survey as soon as I came across it in my Labour email box. It was quite lengthy and demanding survey. Nevertheless it provided a forum for a f’oot and rank’ member such as myself to provide candid feedback on the format and style of imagery that Labour could be employing in its communications in the future (plus it really forced me to clarify my own ideas on the subject).

  11. Seen it and filled it out. The words discussed were amongst a large list designed to let members state where their party should be positioned. What is wrong with this? I went for the environmental/progressive/competent/compassionate end of the spectrum.

    Scandal, scandal. Major party consults members on where it should be positioned.

  12. tsmithfield 12

    To get the right image, the Labour caucus need to watch re-runs of Ali-G. Especially appropriate would be the movie “In da house”.

  13. tc 13

    TVNZ displays yet again it’s knows where it’s bread buttered…….good boy Rick, play nice and remember Labour = evil, Nat = good……now off you go or we’ll let Jono choose a new CEO.

    IF Q+A is the top of the tree, in depth offering……….the bar’s not been set high at all has it.

  14. Adrian 14

    If it is’nt secret as Mold claims, is that not an untruth and therefore a possible case to take to the broadcasting complaints committee. If everytime bullshit masquerading as news was officially complained about the MSM may change its attitude.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      I’m not sure if complaining to the BSA will achieve anything


      (Note: broadcasting standards complaints must be dealt with by the broadcaster before they can be referred to the BSA).

      Yeah, I’m pretty sure that the broadcaster will do SFA….

      And here’s me thinking that an independent standards authority was supposed to be looking after our interests – not trying to avoid their responsibility.

      • Lazy Susan 14.1.1

        I don’t think that this means the broadcaster has a right to veto any complaint. Just that it goes to them first and if a resolution cannot be found between complainant and broadcaster it is then referred to BSA.

  15. Lew 15

    It’s just a glimpse at how the sausage-factory works. That’s the story — behind the curtain, etc. Not news, and nobody who knows anything at all about it is the slightest bit surprised, but people who believe that politics is an earnest, organic thing are the target here. Still, this is minor stuff. The Nats had to wear (and rightly, in my view) the release of The Hollow Men; a much more thorough study of how the system turns all the nasty bits into something which appears wholesome and tasty.


    • Eddie 15.1

      there’s nothing remotely controversial about polling your own members. This is nothing like the Hollow Men.

  16. Lew 16

    I completely agree, and I’m not trying to draw any equivalence. The only similarity is that it’s a look at how the political system works behind the scenes. One an utterly mundane glimpse, the other a book-length scandal.


  17. Bored 17

    Funny to the media perhaps…..but to echo Iprent who says he gets this stuff at his LEC its a huge advance. When Dodgy Roger and his crew of corporatist revolutionaries held sway the Electorate Committees I was on were never polled or asked,our opinion was neither wanted or appreciated, only our money and vote. So we voted with our feet. This is a huge advance on where we were then. Well done Labour.

  18. Bill 18

    I don’t think the poll was what the media was focussed on per se. The poll merely provided another springboard for a clutch of twisted, but on their own and treated in isolation, harmless sound bites of the Nats taking the piss.

    The point is that it feeds into and reinforces other negative takes on Labour while simultaneously neutralising some of the negative perceptions of particular National MP’s ( Brownlee in this instance.)

    The bigger problem is that msm will naturally be hostile towards Labour. Labour blew its game plan with the corporates. Now the corporates have ‘their man’ in the seat they will seek to keep him there. That means making sure that Labour remain ‘off- putting’ to enough voters. ( The powerful extra parliamentary corporate interests only had to deal with Labour for as long as it took them to erode Labour’s voting base…which they finally managed this past election)

    There is a reason that employees of msm are not noted for left leaning politics. Those ones were weeded out at journo school or local paper level.

    Labour ( and the rest of the left) needs to employ methods that do not rely on the media to strengthen their support base. Use the media where they can be used, but understand that the msm is essentially on John Boys side and that that’s not by accident and will not change unless and until Labour gets its potential vote up again.

    Catch 22?

  19. Olwyn 19

    I agree Bill. After the 2008 election, Gordon Campbell said, and I am paraphrasing here, that the cries of delighted approval from the media following on John Key’s election had the ring of job applications about them.

  20. Jenny 20

    Long may this polling of the Labour Party membership continue.

    But rather than questions of image, maybe the next poll could be on more substantive matters.

    The next poll of Labour Party members could include questions like;
    Do you think that on regaining the treasury benches the Labour Government should reverse the increase in GST and replace the drop in revenue with a Financial Transactions Tax (FTT)?

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