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Everyone has advice for Labour!

Written By: - Date published: 8:17 am, November 30th, 2016 - 148 comments
Categories: journalism, labour, spin - Tags: , , ,

I think it’s really great how many people have constructive criticism for Labour these days!

Bryce Edwards has an excellent summary in his Political Roundup: Labour languishing outside the zeitgeist. (Yes, a piece about the need to get in touch with the electorate kicks off with the word “zeitgeist”). Pundit after pundit opining on the state of Labour. You have to read the whole thing to get the full effect.

So what should Labour be doing to get in touch with the electorate – to be “relevant”. Surely they should be talking about issues that matter to real people – issues like jobs and housing. And they are…

On jobs there is the important and forward-looking Future of Work Commission. While National calls workers “pretty damned hopeless” and “too lazy or drugged”, Labour presents a Youth employment scheme. And somehow it is Labour who is irrelevant and out of touch?

On housing Labour proposed KiwiBuild, which redefined the landscape of the housing debate. Now they have a “comprehensive housing package” focused on affordable homes, and proposals for emergency accommodation to address the urgent homeless crisis. Meanwhile National claims that Auckland houses are more affordable than they 8 years ago, fails to build affordable houses, and tries (and fails) to sell-off urgently needed state housing stock. And somehow it is Labour who is irrelevant and out of touch?

While Labour tries to operate in the real world of facts, it’s every policy costing analysed with a microscope, Key gets to ignore any figures he likes, keep promising uncosted tax cuts, ignore and disparage scientists and so on. And somehow it is Labour who is irrelevant and out of touch?

I could go on and on. (Really, I could!)

Despite having the right policies on the issues that matter, it’s true that Labour aren’t moving in the polls – hence all the doom and gloom stuff. In part because people tend to believe what they read / watch / hear. Here’s a gedanken experiment for you (I know some German words too!). What if, just say, in the same way that the media in America created Trump (and completely missed the significance of what they were doing so were shocked when he won), what if our “Mike’s Minute” media creates Key? What if there was balance instead? What if there was less focus on political beauty contests and clickbait, and more substantive analysis of issues that matter? (Not meant as a criticism of individual journos, sadly the incentives of our media system are set up to deliver the former, not the latter.)

Oh and by the way, we lefties need to stop being our own worst enemies too, and keep selling Labour’s strengths and successes!

Could Labour be doing better? Of course they could. Could the pundits be doing better? Yeah – they could be doing better too.

Just as an aside, I venture to suggest that Labour’s MPs are much (much) more in touch with the electorate, and its challenges and needs, than the average political pundit. Spend a day or 3 in an electorate office some time. It’s enlightening.

Yes I do appreciate the irony and the futility of a nobody pundit grumbling about pundits. Yes, yes I know it’s really all Labour’s fault and it’s pointless to blame the media. But am I in a grumpy mood today? Yes, yes I am. I really should hit delete not publish.

148 comments on “Everyone has advice for Labour! ”

  1. Anne 1

    I really should hit delete not publish.

    No, no, no, no. no. Everything you say is true. Time and again I’ve read commenters here tearing strips off Labour for not doing anything when they have spent hours, days, weeks, months talking to people and honing good policy for the next election. The general thrust of these policies have already been announced so people can’t complain they don’t know where Labour is heading. But of course they do. Labour is NOT going to reveal intimate policy details yet and have National copy them and take the credit for them – with our pitiful MSM’s blessing.

    And yes… blame it on the media is an accurate assessment. Not all journos of course but there has been a conscious and deliberate decision by many of them to play negative with everything Labour does or says. A good example – but by no means the only example – is Andrea Vance who made erroneous observations on prime time TV about Labour’s recent Annual Conference – observations she knew were not true because she was present and was in receipt of the correct information.

    I don’t know how Labour overcomes a shallow and malevolent media pack like we have in NZ.

    • r0b 1.1

      True story – I meant to hit preview to have a final think about it, and hit publish by accident. Ooops!

      I don’t know how Labour overcomes a shallow and malevolent media pack like we have in NZ.

      Much as I understand the sentiment, I wouldn’t like the post to be read that way.
      It’s about incentives in the media system, but also pundits – including leftie pundits! – who are well outside the MSM. It’s about certain assumptions and behaviours that fit an easy narrative and miss the actual substance.

      • Anne 1.1.1

        Understand rOb. Like you I got out of bed on the wrong side this morning. Your subsequent post and James’ trolling was grist to the mill. 🙁

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.2

        I think people need to stop blaming journalists for the predictable effects of neoliberal policies; it’s a bit like blaming meat workers for Mr. Peter Talley.

        • Siobhan

          …this is so much the main point and number one issue that Left leaning* Politicians, commentators and even the politically engaged voter are ignoring.
          World wide.
          And while they are in denial, fascists and morons are taking control of the Planet.

          Isn’t it funny, I can’t even say “Left” Politicians with a straight face.

        • Leftie

          OAB. Do you think the msm is fair and unbiased?

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Not at all: I think it’s as vulnerable to right wing vandalism as any other democratic institution. We should be clear about the problem, rather than looking for scapegoats.

            • Leftie

              How is calling out reporters and msm in general for being unfair and biased to the right wing, scapegoating when there is zero chance of getting a fair hearing? Isn’t it just calling it for what it is? Why not point it out when it happens?

      • Jerko 1.1.3

        Thank you Anthony Robbins for not pressing delete. Join the grumpy club mate. At least you are not living in the doomed America. It is reassuring to read a fair and accurate commentary for a change. The media here in the USA definitely created Trump. They continue to do so, purely out of their ignorance. I only watch MSNBC now but it’s so depressing because these people don’t realize the more they devote their news to this creature the better he looks. Even when it’s all negative. I can’t watch it anymore it’s too distressing.

        The interesting thing is that the city where I live there was over 80.4% voter turn out. There was 76% turnout for the county. Hilary got 66.7%, trump 25.3%. Here in Davis, Hilary got 25,491, trump, 3,650. Trump lost all precincts in West Sacramento, Winters and Woodland.

        Before the election it was very, very quiet. You would not know how it would turn out. Our Hilary sign in the front yard was one of two or three anywhere. There was no canvassing. So the out come was very heartening especially when the opposite happened for the Democratic selection. This city was entirely Bernie Sanders. Jill Stein got 2.2%. Further north trump took the rural communities. There was no politicking in the local Newspaper except for local policies. So there are some intelligent people here, as in NZ.
        As for America, Trumps good karma will run out fairly quickly.
        Watch this space

        • Anne

          Thanks Jerco. I wholeheartedly agree with you about the media but it’s everywhere of course – not just in America. And it’s not just media ignorance that is causing the rise of the Trumps of this world. The whole right wing neo-liberal philosophy has created a global network of avaricious, click baiting , faux news phenomena, where money reigns supreme and to hell with the social and economic consequences. History has taught us that the inevitable ending is revolutions of one sort or another and… world war.

          But in the eyes of the global neo-liberalists… history be dammed!

    • James 1.2

      ” Andrea Vance who made erroneous observations on prime time TV about Labour’s recent Annual Conference – observations she knew were not true because she was present and was in receipt of the correct information.”

      Here is an interesting question Anne.

      How do you know that this is true. Twyford tweeted that she had it but backed it up with nothing.

      Vance said she stood by her comments and had not been given it. (Also with nothing to back it up)

      One of them is telling lies – yet you take “your” sides tweet as gospel without evidence and state it is fact.

      I thought they were so confident in their position they were taking a complayto the press council – did they every do that ?

      • Anne 1.2.1

        Piss off shallow and malevolent troll. I was there. You were not!

        • James

          In the press briefing with Vance where she was given that information?

          And wind back in the abuse – it’s not very polite. I would not be so rude to you.

          • Anne

            Well I’m being rude to you because you are a pain in the proverbial troll trying to derail a post about the Labour Party.

            • James

              I notice you didn’t answer my question. So I’m guessing you were not. Just being at the conference doesn’t mean that you were privy to the information Vance was (or was not according to her) given. Btw Claire trivet also backed up Vance as stating the numbers were not presented as twyford said – and she was there too.

              But if you step back for a second this post is about labour and the pundits.

              This is a recent and very public falling out between labour and a pundit- did labour do a good job here? Could have they done better – how?

              They are blaming the media (or some of the media) for not presenting what they wanted – They need to work with them – calling them liars and saying their work is shoddy. Threatening to lay complaints against them pubically – really!!!! And then they wonder why those people are less likely to back them on other items.

              You can only kick a dog so many times before it bites back.

              • mickysavage

                Lets see …

                You don’t know what was shown to Vance.

                Twyford says she had the figures given to her.

                Vance has not denied that she was given the figures only that she “stood by her story”.

                So I take it you cannot prove what you are asserting?

                • james

                  Nope – I do not know what was shown to Vance.

                  Although Claire Trevett seems to backup what Vance was saying:

                  ‏@CTrevettNZH Nov 7
                  @PhilTwyford @avancenz @1NewsNZ rubbish. We weren’t told $60m was based on avg 4 months & nowhere did it say ‘up to’ 6 months. U fudged it.

                  By saying she stood by her story, correct she is not saying that she did not receive the figures – but her story did not indicate that she had.

                  So of course I cannot prove what I am asserting – but then nor can Anne who stated it as fact that she had been given the materials:

                  “Andrea Vance who made erroneous observations on prime time TV about Labour’s recent Annual Conference – observations she knew were not true because she was present and was in receipt of the correct information.”

                  So she is accusing Vance of lying in her report – which Vance stands behind. and states that she was in receipt of the correct material – material that other reports back up wasnt provided.

                  Then Twyford (or was it little?) says they are looking at laying a complaint – but then never do (as far as I can tell).

                  In short – no body can comment or prove what they are asserting – Not just me, but Anne as well (for example in this instance).

              • Jerko

                Mentioning Clare Trevett in the same sentence as Andrea Vance is a bit of a give away. I could add add a few more to that, Racheal Glucina, Spike Hosking, Shitface Henry, Gower all very reliable reporters if you are blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other, as my Mum used to say. It’s about Time that you got a grip on reality. Do some real research.

        • Nick

          I like it Anne…. 100% agree.. .. He’s just a troll….a ShonKey ass kisser

          • Leftie

            Yep, agreed. AR’s post has sent the troll into a tail spin.

            • Gosman

              Yes how about you treat all people who disagree with you the same way. Any media not towing the Labour line should be treated as hostile. See where that gets you in the eyes of the public.

              • Leftie

                Lol the media never tow the Labour line. And any article that gets put on TS re: Labour, always gets a hostile reaction, particularly from people like you.

    • Leftie 1.3

      +1 Anne.

    • michelle 1.4

      It is not just our media that are shallow so are many NZers who keep voting for a Tory government that isn’t and haven’t delivered despite all the rhetoric about NZ being a rock star economy. For who I say ? When people do not have secure jobs that can pay for essentials like rent, food and power something is wrong. This is not good enough in a country like NZ when we have a finance minister boasting about a surplus when too many NZers are going without

  2. fender 2

    “…..delete not publish”

    Some things just need to be said.

  3. James 3

    “Just as an aside, I venture to suggest that Labour’s MPs are much (much) more in touch with the electorate, and its challenges and needs, than the average political pundit. Spend a day or 3 in an electorate office some time. It’s enlightening.”

    I think that mps who spend real and quality time in their electorate are generally well rewarded by the voters for long periods of time excactally for the reason you state above.

  4. HDCAFriendlyTroll 4

    So what’s the most important change you think Labour could make right now?

    • James 4.1

      Ditch mallard and the old guard.

      Move to the centre.

      • KJT 4.1.1

        Thanks James, for making it very obvious that “moving to the centre” becoming even more like National lite, is the last thing Labour should do.

        • Cinny

          Winny has the centre and he does it well. No need to move in on his area at all. Bad advice to move more to the centre.

          • james

            The Nats concentrate on the centre as well – wouldn’t that make Winny and the Nats more aligned and more logical partners?

            • Draco T Bastard

              No. National concentrates on lying so that they can get power and then enact hard right-wing policies such as selling power companies and ramping up government debt.

              • Enough is Enough

                They campaigned on selling the power companies.

                I am no fan of theirs but the sale of the SOE’s was the central theme of the 2011 election.

                How was the sale a lie?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  IIRC, they’d spent the money that they expected to get from the sale five or six times which would be many lies.

                  They promised not to raise GST and yet they did that so as to be able to afford tax cuts for the rich.

                  But even that didn’t work as the ‘tax neutral’ tax switch left a hole in tax revenues by about $1 billion.

                  And that wasn’t the lie that allowed them to get power was it? There were many of them sustained over many years.

                  And then there’s the fact that I didn’t use state asset sales as an example of a lie but as an example of extreme RWNJ policy.

                • SpaceMonkey

                  That sale wasn’t a lie but the State House sellout certainly is.

          • HDCAFriendlyTroll

            What about the centre-left then? Doesn’t seem to be anybody there. Winston certainly isn’t centre-left and it’s traditionally been Labour’s stronghold.

        • james

          Cool bananas – I assume you think keeping Mallard and the old guard is a good thing as well?

        • BM

          Political parties should be interchangeable.

          Think of it like a business, what employer/voter wants to go through massive restructuring every 6 years or so.

          Labour/Greens scream instability and change which is why the voter is so wary of them.

          • wellfedweta

            You may be right, but Labour/Greens are presenting a clear alternative to what has been 3 decades of relatively common economic policy. I don’t sit in that political camp any more, but I do admire the fact that they are staying the course with a real alternative. At the present time the mood in NZ is centre right, but who knows, that may not last forever.

  5. gsays 5

    for me, the advice offered to labour, is akin to talking to a friend who is persuing someone who is no good for them.

    ie: chasing the ‘centre’ (establishment) vote, when recent examples show the status quo being rejected.

    the encouragement of a purge of senior neo lib mps from the party, something the nats have done well.

    the mou with greens looks good, will they still try and crush mana?

    also; this is yet another great example of the left devouring it’s own while the tories carry on their horrible tory ways.

    • BM 5.1

      while the tories carry on their horrible tory ways.

      My advice would be to ditch that sort of wankery.

      • gsays 5.1.1

        hi bm,
        (big intake of breath)
        shutting evening classes,
        denying an independent enquiry into abuse in state care,
        running solid energy into the ground,
        claiming a surplus while spiralling into record debt,
        leaving 29 dead workers in the ground while a foreign company walks off after paying blood money,
        i’ll ditch my ‘wankery’ when this tory behaviour ceases.

    • James 5.2

      “ie: chasing the ‘centre’ (establishment) vote, when recent examples show the status quo being rejected.”

      Whist that would be true if all things are equal – but using brexit and trump as examples don’t work in nz. The differences in our countries is huge. – the polls reflect that national is a mile ahead of labour that has not changed in years. Abandoning the centre I think would be a huge mistake by labour.

      But I doubt they will listen to me – which is ok – I want national to lead the next government.

      • gsays 5.2.1

        hi james, like labour i will ignore yr advice too.

        what poll showed a brexit or a trump win?

        • james

          Neither of course.

          But I was referring to them as recent rejections of the status quo.

          By referring to the polls in NZ – I was showing that the huge gap between National and any other party did not indicate a rejection of them at this point.

          • gsays

            hi james, i figure there is room for me to join you in yr dance on the head of a pin…

            so..there is no link between overseas polls showing a huge preference for a point of view, and reality showing that to be wrong, and in aotearoa, where eg winston had no chance in northland.

            it is almost a kiss of death when dear leader offers an opinion favouring something and then the opposite occuring.. flags, u.n. choices, removing victims of pike river, winston in northland….

      • swordfish 5.2.2

        James “the polls reflect that national is a mile ahead of labour that has not changed in years.”

        More or less true (although Labour were within 4 or 5 points of National in a handful of polls in 2013 – and within 6-10 points of them in quite a few others over the 2012-13 period).

        B-B-B-BUT !!! … you forget that we’re living with an obscure little PR electoral system called … wait for it … coz I’m sure this is the first time you’ve heard of it, James, it’s a thing called … “MMP”.

        And this “MMP” thing means that it’s probably more intelligent to compare the support gap between different possible “Blocs” of Parties, not least because (and this has probably escaped your notice) … over recent years, support for the Left Bloc and, more broadly, for the Opposition forces as a whole, has split between a number of Parties, whilst Right support has coalesced ever-more tightly around the National Party.

        The idea that nothing has changed in the Polls since the 2008 Election, that National’s and the Government’s support has remained rock solid is … pure mythology (a mythology much favoured by more than a few of your fellow Tories and by the MSM).

        There’s a lot more churn than a lot of pundits realise.

        National (so often scoring in the mid to late 50s during their first term) were down in the 40-44% range in no less than 23 polls between early 2012 and early 2014. Over that period, the Lab + Green aggregate exceeded National’s support in 32 polls (by 4 percentage points or more in 13 polls, as well as equalling National’s ratings in a handful of others). NZF, of course, holding the theoretical balance of power in an even greater number of polls over those 2 years.

        While things haven’t been so good for the Left and the Opposition since the 2014 Election, the Nats have still fallen below 45% on 6 occasions, L+G have topped National in 3 polls, and NZF have held the theoretical balance of power in just under half of all polls since the last Election.

        As the detailed Colmar Brunton Vote-Switching data shows, during 2015 National lost far more of its (former) supporters to Labour than vice versa (more than twice as many, in fact).

        What’s more, New Zealand Election Study data suggests tens of thousands of former National voters have swung to Labour over the last few Elections. Which, given Labour’s Party Vote decline in those very same Elections may shock more than a few. But it’s true. It’s just that – unfortunately for Labour – even more voters moved in the opposite direction. Like I say – a lot of churn hidden by net numbers.

        None of which is to deny that the polls aren’t particularly brilliant for Labour, the Left and the Opposition at the moment.

        The problem is: Labour can’t seem to hold on to the plethora of Nats who temporarily swing in its direction mid-term.

        • swordfish

          From My Good Self (Above) “The problem is: Labour can’t seem to hold on to the plethora of Nats who temporarily swing in its direction mid-term.”

          And … they need to inspire greater long-term loyalty from people who gave Labour their Party Vote at the previous Election.

  6. James Thrace 6

    It would probably help if they also did understand how things work … this was quite infuriating to read.

    clueless on Uber

    I note Sue Moroney and another unknown Labour MP are mentioned in here. Death by a thousand cuts works better on Labour MPs because they’re all so muzzled. Hardly surprising that by and large journalists just keep going with their unfounded attacks and piss poor interpretation of Labour policies most times.

    Phil Twyfords twitter rant about Andrea Vance was a good example of promoting the values of sticking to ones guns. Too bad it just descended into farce.

    More bite, less bark please Labour.

    • James 6.1

      In fairness I think national come out worse on that link.

      They looked like idiots on this – and it’s good to see them being held to account for it.

  7. Cinny 7

    I wonder why the media is so anti Labour? Echo.. echo.. echo, opinion piece.

    Yes it is true, spend a day or two in an electoral office it’s a real eye opener. Indeed it is at the local office, wonderful lady at the desk too, she even lets my eldest come down to help her during school holidays, stuffing envelopes etc, my girls love the local office, brilliant people down there.

    One would be surprised how many people out there are unhappy with the government. But with no ‘national’ signs in town, where else can one go to ask questions of the government?

    The list mp for our electorate is MIA again, what a surprise.. the government representative is no where to help, no office, nothing, nada. Luckily we have a brilliant involved local left MP who does so much, so much and is rewarded for his efforts.

    Advice for Labour… boots on the ground, be there for the community, not for the cash. Start holding the media accountable. Expose any whom are exploiting loop holes, common ground for many is the want and desire for fairness. Labour has some fantastic ideas, a great leader and team, a transparent MOU and the momentum for change. Oh and keep on about the housing so many are upset about it, across many social circles, many different income brackets. Housing is common ground.

    Zeitgeist? It’s a more than a word… it’s over 23,000,000 views

  8. Rosemary McDonald 8

    “Oh and by the way, we lefties need to stop being our own worst enemies too, and keep selling Labour’s strengths and successes!”

    Difficult, when so many of the stories in the media today are about serious issues that have been known about for decades….and Labour, when occupying the Government benches, were asked to properly address these issues….and did sweet FA.

    We remember that we asked for help and resolution when Labour was government…and we remember that Labour basically told us to FO.

    Cunliffe was on the right track with the apology thing….so…how about Labour fronting up and apologising for not treating the victims of abuse in State ‘care’ with respect when they had the opportunity?

    Apologise for not resolving the Family Carers issue when they had the chance and throwing us to the National wolves?

    I’m left…but I am no way near to voting Labour until I see some genuine acknowledgment of the Party’s past failures and some louder Labour voices on the issues that are crying out to be resolved today. Even if it means that when the RWNJs say “But Labour did it too!”, Labour spokespeople front up and say..

    “Yes, we treated these people like shit too, we dismissed them and minimalised their complaints and made them feel that they were totally without support…and we’re SORRY, and THIS is how we will fix things, given the chance.”

    No charge, btw ,for this advice.

    • garibaldi 8.1

      I second that Rosemary. Labour needs to recognize its roots and stand for the working people, and not the bunch of trough feeders we are sick of in the caucus. Cunliffe was on the right track but was shot down.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    Yes, a piece about the need to get in touch with the electorate kicks off with the word “zeitgeist”


    noun, German.
    1. the spirit of the time; general trend of thought or feeling characteristic of a particular period of time.

    So, yeah, seems like an appropriate word.

    Surely they should be talking about issues that matter to real people – issues like jobs and housing.

    Actually, they need to address the route cause of the problems which is capitalism and the market system and they’re most definitely not doing that.

    While Labour tries to operate in the real world of facts

    They’re looking at the result but they’re refusing to look at the causes of those results. In fact, they’re as much in favour of keeping the system that brought about those results as National.

    Despite having the right policies on the issues that matter, it’s true that Labour aren’t moving in the polls – hence all the doom and gloom stuff.

    But that’s just it. They don’t have the right policies. They’re still very firmly embedded in the neo-liberal paradigm. One example is their policy of foreign ownership. The people actually want this to be banned but Labour are about putting in place minor restrictions.

    The market is defined by the rules that govern it and the rules as they stand aren’t working and yet Labour refuses to change them.

  10. Bill 10

    Forget the impact of media r0b – BREXIT, Sanders, Scottish independence referendum, US election and more have shown up the limited influence of the media when people get a contrary idea in their heads.

    NZ Labour (and they’re not alone in this point) are suffering because they are essentially saying they can take the way things are at present and make it all a bit better. It’s conservatism in a world that’s increasingly looking to break the mould.

    Bad analogy coming up.

    If the Nats are feeding us broccoli and Labour are offering carrots while people are increasingly hankering after dessert, then National will stay in power as the voter participation rate continues to drop.

    People’ve had enough of veggies. It’s not that hard to understand, is it? (You offering carrots? Still a veggie. And since we’re over the whole veggie thing, we might as well carry on ‘yeuking’ on the broccoli for all the difference carrots will make..)

    The moment someone punts for political power on some vision of dessert, or even one of just binning the veggies….

    • not a banned or moderated commentator 10.1

      “Bad analogy coming up’

      no….thats a good analogy

    • Carolyn_nth 10.2

      Maybe your analogy could do with a tweak? People being offered lots of dessert with empty calories, while many really crave life-sustaining food of substance?

      • Bill 10.2.1

        You could refine it in a number of ways if you wanted to differentiate between the Trumps (empty calories) and Sanders (somewhat substantive fare). My point was intended to be broad though.

    • Olwyn 10.3

      While offering what people actually want is very important, so too is forging a connection with them, and having them believe it. Clinton, for example, publicly endorsed a number of Sander’s policy positions, and then went and chose a member of the establishment as her deputy. This made the policies look more like a pitch than a commitment where she was concerned.

      For myself, my trust in Labour has been iffy since Helen Clark left. I still judge their every move, rather than take it for granted that they and I are on the same page. Coming out against that ex-Labour mayoral candidate is a plus. David Cunliffe seeing no future for himself in the party is a minus. Supporting Clinton over Sanders, the Blairites over Corbyn, a double minus. Grrr. Can’t you just say formally that you are happy to work with whoever is chosen!!! Currently, my eye is on who will get to stand in David Cunliffe’s seat; a seat that could well go blue. If they choose someone who is part of that community and party machine that will suggest to me that they mean business. If they parachute someone in because they are a woman, or because they are matey with the members of this-or-that faction and will be ‘great to work with’ that will evoke a sigh.

      I am a member and will almost certainly vote Labour. I want to see the back of Key. I prefer Andrew Little as leader than other potential contenders. But I would love to be able to vote for them with trust and enthusiasm.

    • The Chairman 10.4

      +1, Bill.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.5

      …and yet the vast majority elected Left-wing mayors in October. Go figure.

      However, it should really come as little surprise that the tactics of defunding all independent critical agencies, of suborning media outlets, of pretending that public service is a business, of attacks on the welfare state, human rights and the rule of law, of lying reflexively, of TINA, have predictable, predicted, and damaging effects. They make us all poorer.

      Sheet the blame home where it belongs rather than cursing the Left for losing some battles.

      • Bill 10.5.1

        Sheet the blame home where it belongs rather than cursing the Left for losing some battles.

        If I’m understanding you correctly…’the left’ didn’t lose BREXIT. ‘The left’ wasn’t losing with Sander’s ascendancy nor with Corbyn’s. ‘The left’ didn’t lose with the surge in favour of Scottish independence, nor did ‘the left’ lose in subsequent elections (local, Scottish and UK wide).

        The liberal establishment took a bit of a hammering in some of the above mind. And where a labour party was aligned with that establishment, then their fortunes followed suit.

        In short, the left’s in fine fettle – on the old ‘up and up’ – in spite of some pretty obvious obstacles and roadblocks OAB.

  11. Puckish Rogue 11

    Ok so Labour need advice because their vote has been going down since 2008 and it doesn’t look likely that Labour will get back into power until 2020 (some may disagree and that’s cool)

    There’s so much advice out there so which advice to take…

    My two cents is that the voters of NZ don’t want/have rejected far left or far right politics, now this is only my humble opinion but Helen Clark took Labour to the centre left of the political spectrum and was rewarded with three terms, the first time since the first Labour government, John Key took National to the centre right and carried on most of Labours policies and has won three elections and is looking good for a fourth

    So my first piece of advice would be for Labour to plant its flag in the centre left and keep away from the far left side, its what the majority of voters of NZ want

    I’d also give the same advice to the next leader of National, stay centre right

    • DoublePlusGood 11.1

      What the public haven’t realised is that National’s policies are far right policies masquerading as centrist.

      • Puckish Rogue 11.1.1

        Like what?

        Keeping WFF, keeping interest free loans, keeping a controlling stake in assets, increasing some benefits?

        • KJT

          National knows that they have to keep some socialist policies or lose the election.
          Then they will not be able to continue their privatisation and cronyism under the radar.

          • Puckish Rogue

            Right so they keep left policies and controlling interests in asset sales and that makes them far right

            You need go look at what far right policies are being espoused in other countries before you start saying John Keys National is even close to being called right much less far right

            • DoublePlusGood

              Asset sales, even if partial, are far right. Putting interest on student loans would instantly lose them the election, so they don’t do that.
              Benefits have gone up by less than the cost of living; don’t go full bullshit and pretend like National have done this great magnanimous thing.

    • KJT 11.2

      I like the concern trolling.

      How the fuck does an RWNJ even know what is the centre.

      National is only anywhere near the centre is if you believe their lies.

      • Puckish Rogue 11.2.1

        Is that your thing? Anything you don’t like or agree with is some form of trolling? Let me spell it out for you, the Labour party has been going downhill since 2008, the last election saw the worst result for Labour in 80 odd years

        National got its worst result in 2002, in 2005 it nearly won the election and in 2008 it did and its looking good for a 2017 win

        After 2002 National asked some hard questions and what’s your big idea for Labour, go more left?

        The so-called “missing million” aren’t voting Labour because Labour isn’t left enough for them?

        Labour isn’t left enough therefore they’d rather have a right wing government?

        Is that your logic?

        Were the Greens not left enough for them, Internet-Mana not left enough?

        • Robert Guyton

          Hi Pucky
          Do you believe that National has acted and has intention to act in ways that could be accurately described as “far right”?
          I don’t mean you to counter with a list of things they’ve done that fit the centrist lable, as is your habit (12:54pm) and
          Do you believe that Key and his party present themselves and their actions as centrist in order to appear that way and at the same time, play down/deny their far right actions, as Doubleplusgood described?

          • Puckish Rogue

            “Do you believe that National has acted and has intention to act in ways that could be accurately described as “far right”?”

            No, John Key learnt from Helen Clark that the centre is where most of the votes are so if he has to swallow some dead rats (WFF, interest free loans ect etc) so be it

            “Do you believe that Key and his party present themselves and their actions as centrist in order to appear that way and at the same time, play down/deny their far right actions, as Doubleplusgood described?”

            Yes quite probably, it is politics after all, however I suspect john Key is naturally centrist anyway so its no big deal for him but National have been in power for three terms now and what far right policies have they enacted?

            The real question is what will the next leader of National do, move National away from the centre to far right as some might want?

            I would hope they stay to the centre

            • Robert Guyton

              I’ll assume you are answering honestly, Pucky. You must be then, deluded not to recognise National’s hard-right behaviour. Examples are freely offered here, yet your take is, “centrist”.

              • Puckish Rogue

                I am, ask me a serious question and I’ll give an open and honest answer

                I’m sure you can come up with some hard right examples as I can come up with some examples that put National in the centre and even on the left

                So yeah centre right is where they are and where they should stay and Labour should stay centre left

                Let the minor parties go far left or right if they want

                • Ah, I see what you are thinking; centre and left examples weigh the over all classification to “centre”, where I’m thinking, lefty or centre parties wouldn’t do hard any right things. My belief is, if you do something hard right, or many things hard right, the rest is just camouflage. Guess we’ll have to agree to differ.

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    “where I’m thinking, lefty or centre parties wouldn’t do hard any right things”

                    Labour sold more assets then John Key ever has and sold them 100% whereas John Key kept a controlling interest

                    National slashed welfare payments, Labour didn’t restore them when next in power and John Key raised welfare benefits (for some)

                    So is Labour hard right?

                    • They have been, at times, perhaps, though I’m not the person to ask, having not paid much attention to what the Labour Party does or has done. I’m not arguing Labour’s position, I’m asking you about National’s.
                      So, as National acts in a hard right manner sometimes, I believe that defines them.

                    • The Chairman

                      Labour have acted in a right wing way, failing to overturn a number of right wing policy they and National have brought in, hence they have lost a number of voter’s trust.

                      Even now we often here Labour making noise against a National Party policy, but seldom (if ever) a commitment from them that they will overturn it.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      “So, as National acts in a hard right manner sometimes, I believe that defines them.”

                      That’s your choice of course but I’ll say that since National is acting in a centrist/centre right manner that’s how I see them, at the moment

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Let’s start with the obvious: attacks on human rights and the rule of law, as detailed in the NZ Law Society’s submission/warning to the UN a couple of years back.

                      Degradation of workers’ rights.

                      Special favours to cronies cf: health & safety on farms, etc.

                      Vile abominations such as three strikes and the Public Health and Disability Amendment Act 2013.

                      Charter schools, notional “standards”, bulk funding, sale of state housing, massive levels of business incompetence cf: Solid Lethargy.

                      The wholesale adoption of “ratfucking” and “big lie” tactics.

                    • KJT

                      In the 1980’s they were.

                      When they become the ACT party.

                      Unfortunately they were still to the right last time, until the country got sick of waiting for them to be the Labour party.

                  • Brutus Iscariot

                    We probably need an objective and verifiable definition of “hard right” that doesn’t just boil down to “something i disagree with”.

                    • Wayne

                      At least one way to test the proposition that National is “far right” would be ask the voters. Do a poll.
                      I am pretty sure most voters would say National is centre or centre-right. Voters simply would not vote for a party that they thought was far right. Certainly nothing like 50%.
                      By the way it is usually not sensible to say the voters are stupid or dupes (or a bunch of deplorable). They after all have a vote and might retaliate.
                      NZ voters have lived with a National govt for 8 years now. They will have a pretty good measure of the nature of the government and the key Ministers. Voters don’t need a detailed understanding of government policies to work that out. They just have to know their own community and how govt affects it (their own living standards and that of their neighbours, schools, hospitals, policing, community welfare, infrastructure).

                    • KJT

                      Why does Nation have to lie about New Zealanders living standards, then?

                      Something to do with staying in power while enacting hard right policies, under cover.

            • Robert Guyton

              Hi again, Pucky (I know you’re long gone from your place of work, but perhaps you’ll pick this up tomorrow…) may I ask, why do you think National regard, “WFF, interest free loans ect etc…” as “dead rats”?
              Doesn’t sound as though those things are part of National’s kaupapa, more that they are foreign objects that need to be swallowed in order to stay alive. Ne ra?

              (Based on your statement yesterday: ” John Key learnt from Helen Clark that the centre is where most of the votes are so if he has to swallow some dead rats (WFF, interest free loans ect etc) so be it…”)

        • The Chairman

          The most common response from non voters I’ve received is they see little difference in the main two. Thus, they perceive they will be screwed either way, hence they don’t bother to partake.

          Small parties (regardless where they sit in the political spectrum) struggle to muster support.

          Voters are aware they are unlikely to win, thus once again perceive no change, hence are put off giving them their vote.

  12. The Chairman 12

    Yes, the media make it challenging for Labour. However, that’s far from their largest problem.

    While they seem to have a handle on the problems the country is facing, their solutions are lacking.

    Moreover, so is their delivery. Adding to their media woes.

    Therefore, they don’t have the right polices on the issues that matter. And they lack the capability to sell them.

    The Future of Work Commission and the Youth Employment scheme may have been a big buzz within Labour but they both failed to strike a chord with voters. Labour should be very concerned about this.

    Unfortunately, they seem to struggle to even acknowledge it (easier to blame it all on the media)

    With policy formulating deficits coupled with having to go back to the drawing-board this late in the election cycle, it will be difficult for Labour, but failure to will be disastrous.

    Another big issue is trust. Labour’s past has diminished voter trust.

    Labour have to work on rebuilding that trust. They need to stick out from National and offer voters a real alternative.

    Labour don’t require to move to the centre to win-over the centre.

    More equal economies are more economically sustainable while being more fiscally and socially rewarding.

  13. Incognito 13

    I’m glad you posted this!

    I did read Bryce’s piece this morning and paradoxically I found it depressingly accurate.

    The way I read it though, and the “Zeitgeist”, is that there is a real need and desire even from both left and right for a change, a ‘rejuvenation’ that goes beyond ‘kicking the establishment’; I think the latter is a red herring, a meme that is being spread by MSM and (too) many politicians alike.

    The problem with many political parties on the left and NZLP in particular is that they indeed seem to be incapable or unwilling to capture the imagination of the people.

    NZ Labour is not inspiring, they have very good policies, but they just don’t inspire. Bishop Brian Tamaki is more inspiring than Andrew Little but Brian’s policy ‘Gospel’ is ganz Scheiße IMO.

    For example, it is great that Labour thinks about the future and came up with FoW and all that but I think that to many people this is as esoteric as searching for the Higgs boson – People need help right now, people want to see change right now, people look for relevant stuff that they can almost feel & taste, right now.

    NZLP is pretty shit at framing the issues and taking control of the narrative and they get distracted too easily by minutiae and personal ‘hits’.

  14. Observer Tokoroa 14

    . I think Labour should support The Guardian and its Opinion writers and invite them to critique the hapless National Party.

    On a daily basis.

    They could start with the Housing Crisis… which is going to impoverish massive numbers of New Zealanders. Low wages – high cost Rents and services.


  15. Observer Tokoroa 15

    . Landline Bias –

    . Labour should proclaim that Home Phone Lines are unreliable for polling purposes.

    . Firstly they are expensive. Second, you can’t text on them. Thirdly, you cannot take them out with you. Fourth, you can’t forward the spoken words on to others. Fifth, you can’t video with them.

    It is impossible to believe any of the polls currently dumped in front of us.


    • james 15.1

      “. Labour should proclaim that Home Phone Lines are unreliable for polling purposes.”

      Any evidence to back that up? Like proper evidence?

      This is a little old but explains it.


    • Cinny 15.2

      Everyone has an opinion on the polls, it’s nothing new, just makes it look like they are hating on the outgoing government if they criticize any polls. Time will tell on the reliability of the polls.

      Labour needs to put forward a tight team, real tight, all of them backing one another so strong are their beliefs in their party and each other.

      Christmas break provides the perfect opportunity for them to form these bonds, coastal camping retreat? Labour MP’s could all head to the local DOC camps around NZ, (not as a pack, more like the local MP and their family having a holiday), chat to the people camping, diverse selection there will be, massive knowledge base. As well those spoken to will return from their holiday to their homes, cities, jobs and mention any interaction.

      Find out how people feel, the best way I reckon, is to get amongst it. Make oneself available and be a good listener.

    • alwyn 15.3

      “It is impossible to believe any of the polls currently dumped in front of us”

      In that case the latest Roy Morgan Poll won’t trouble you in the slightest.
      National on 49.5%. Labour on 23%.
      Another rogue poll of course.

    • Leftie 15.4

      Agree Observer Tokoroa

  16. Scott 16

    I’m prone to spouting advice on how Labour could fix their current woes (at the slightest provocation), but I admit I do it for purely selfish reasons. I think MMP needs two main opposing forces to work well. That lets the tails on either side (or in the middle) wag, and influence, which is also good, but it gives the electorate clearer choices and provides the winners with a mandate of sorts.

  17. Observer Tokoroa 17

    .LandLine Bias
    .Hi James

    . Are you saying that every eligible person 18 and over, at this moment in time, has a landline Phone ?


    • james 17.1

      Observer tokoroa – no not at all.

      I just pointed out that the whole landlines not included discussion has been done to death by people who know a lot more about it than us.

      And the upshot – they can still get good results without needing a landline.

      David F has a good posting on it (I dont think I can link from here – and dont want to annoy mods) – but google his website and landline cellphone polling and you will get some interesting commentary from him on it – and lets face it – when it comes to polling he knows a lot more than most.

    • lprent 17.2

      I have a vague recollection thatJames is from down south somewhere. Much higher landline percentages down there.

    • There’s a lot more to polling complexities than landline versus cellphone. Andrew Grumpollie wrote this about phone polling earlier this year:

      Telephone polling still works, for now

      For the time being, telephone polling still works. At the last Census 85.5% of households reported having a landline telephone. Although landline ownership will have declined further since then, pollsters have so far had some success at tweaking their approaches or making other adjustments to reduce the impact of non-coverage (and/or non-response). Landline non-coverage and non-response have not yet reached a critical level, but they probably will. So what’s next?

      What about more cell phone polling?

      Calling cell phones as well as landlines can help to reduce non-coverage error, but due to the number of New Zealanders with both a cell and landline it can be extremely inefficient at doing so. Also, while calling cell phones may reduce one source of error, it could introduce others. For example, generating a representative sample of random cell numbers is made difficult by a lack of accurate data on the structure of the New Zealand cell number system. If your random numbers aren’t representative to start with, your sample of voters won’t be either.


      I ditched my landline this year and don’t miss it – just got a new phone book and for the first time for many many years I’m not in it.

      Also: https://grumpollie.wordpress.com/2016/11/15/why-the-polls-get-things-wrong/

      I think many people expect too much from polls – and media use them for far more than they are designed for.

      All they are is an approximate snapshot of opinion at the time the poll was taken with known error ranges, they shouldn’t be a prediction of a future election.

    • Leftie 17.4

      +1 Observer Tokoroa

  18. The lost sheep 18

    Media bias conspiracy theory?
    Seems to me it’s much the same media that was around when it was possible for Labour to win two terms a while back?, but, whatever gets you through the night.

    Back in the real world, here’s an alternative theory and some advice.
    Maybe there is actually an electorally significant group of reasonably well educated, self determining voters that voted Labour in 2005, but did not do so in 2008 / 11 / 14?
    Crazy hey! But I think the statisticians among you will be able to confirm that it must in fact be the case.

    So, instead of indulging in another round of belly-aching among the bitter and twisted true believers, why not round up a few hundred of said apostates and ask them why they converted to the dark side, and why nothing The Sacred Left has done in the past 2 years lured them back into the fold?
    Then listen very carefully to what they say.
    That bit is crucial. Some of you may need to take remedial courses in ‘listening’.

    It’s a crap idea no doubt, but I can’t see how it can possibly be more crap and less constructive than pitch-forking the media scapegoat.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 18.1

      According to you, you stopped voting Labour because David Cunliffe.

      If we suspend disbelief and charitably take you at your word, now he’s gone you’ll be back voting Labour again.

      Personally, I think you were lying from the start.

      • The lost sheep 18.1.1

        No. No. And No.

      • Muttonbird 18.1.2

        He grew up in a Labour family. His father voted Labour. As did his father’s father. His mother, and his mother’s mother, washed the banners from the picket lines and fed the strikers.

        But now – he’s a Nic Leggett.

    • So, lost sheep, why?

      • The lost sheep 18.2.1

        If your aim is to have a Labour/Greens/Definite Left Wing Bloc Government back in power in NZ, then the ‘why’ is understanding what will attract the voters needed to do so.

        If that is not your aim, the ‘why’ is ‘no point at all’.

        I understand you fall into the latter category Robert?

  19. lost sheep, you urge us to ask people like you, why? but when I do, you dodge and weave?
    Perhaps you could tell me why, so that I can “listen carefully” to what you say, as you advised.
    Come on, man. I’m listening.

    • The lost sheep 19.1

      I understand this site as a whole is not big on ‘nuances’, but I thought you at least claimed to be able to grasp them?

      Please note that i said the group that should be listened to was ‘a few hundred voters that voted Labour in 2005, but did not do so in 2008 / 11 / 14?’, as opposed to ‘me’.
      Can you really not see the subtle difference in those 2 groupings?

      And I did elaborate when requested, stating the ‘why’ was ‘understanding what will attract the voters needed to get a Left Bloc Govt. back in power’.
      I thought that was a simple enough concept?

      Am I still being too nuanced?

      (oops, sorry for a few cut and paste edit fuck ups)

      • Robert Guyton 19.1.1

        Not nuanced, slippery. How about telling a willing listener, lost sheep, “‘what will attract the voters to get a Left Bloc Govt. back in power’”. You imply that you know the answer. I’ll all ears. (and if you don’t know or have at least some idea of what “a few hundred of said apostates” might say, about “why they converted to the dark side, and why nothing The Sacred Left has done in the past 2 years lured them back into the fold?”, why are you suggesting that we ask them?)

        • The lost sheep

          How about telling a willing listener, lost sheep, “‘what will attract the voters to get a Left Bloc Govt. back in power’”. You imply that you know the answer. I’ll all ears.
          If I ‘knew’ the answer Robert, I would have just stated it.
          Call me subtle, but I don’t conflate ‘what I think’ with ‘what any particular group of people think’.

          So if The Left wanted ‘my’ vote back, it would be very easy to get. But if I tell you how that could happen, I just want to be sure that you understand the ‘nuance’ that I am not extending ‘my’ view, to any larger context.

          See, I don’t actually see much significant difference at all between the Labour / National Centrist Parties, and like a lot of people I have have quite specific passions that I give an admittedly irrational loading to.
          So I gave up a lifetime support of Labour because I was a. disgusted by the crippling effect of PC on the free, tolerant and open expression of ideas within The Left. (Enter OAB stage Left to demonstrate that bigotry), but more importantly b. at the 2005-8 Labour Govt’s active lack of support for Conservation.
          I voted National in 2014 because of Nic Smiths Battle for the Birds. That’s my specific passion.

          My vote would be easy to regain. Let Labour commit to an even greater Conservation effort than National, and let The Left in general convince me it is once again a happy and supportive forum for the free and tolerant exchange of a diversity of ideas.

          I know. WTF am I doing here?

          • Robert Guyton

            lost sheep – that’s a very comprehensive and heart-felt answer you gave there and I appreciate being shown the detail behind your decision and position – I oughtn’t to have provoked you, perhaps, but the result was worth it (to me anyway). I recognise that your passion for birds is a significant force in your decision to vote and you are fortunate in having such a specific issue that has been targeted by a particular party and I can see how that would influence your decision at the ballot box. It’s interesting that you yearn for a forum where The Left exchange freely and tolerantly, a diversity of ideas – have you ever found a forum where any political ideas are exchanged that way? Good luck with your desire to live in a bird-rich country – I wish for the same thing, having watched kokako stalk their way through the branches on Kapiti, contemplated the ways of fernbirds in the wetlands of Te Koawa Turoa o Takitimu, looked down from a helicopter on the gannet colony on Little Solander and played torchlight on the titi chicks on…well, you know.

            • The lost sheep

              Not just Birds Robert. If Labour/ Greens want to launch something similarly catchy like a ‘Fight for our Forests’ or ‘Movement for our Moana’ I’m 100% behind those also.
              (Aqua culture in Pegasus? My, dead, body, over.)

              have you ever found a forum where any political ideas are exchanged that way?

              My personal Left Wing political involvement extends right back to mid ’60’s, and from then up until the late ’80’s, in my experience Left Wing debate was generally very fluid and tolerant and accepting of highly divergent views, without the differences necessarily leading to schism or ostracism.
              Didn’t mean there weren’t passionate and heated disagreements by any means, but in general they would blow over, and once people had cooled down they would think about it a bit and come back to the discussion with modified views.
              Progressive debate I guess I’d call it.

              Somewhere in the late ’80’s that started changing, and a tendency emerged where if an area that had previously been open to debate built up a threshold of opinion as to the ‘correct’ way to think about – then it became dogma, and questioning it was not tolerated and would immediately attract a denouncement and ostracism that the Spanish Inquisition would have been proud of.
              People actually became afraid to go near certain discussions lest they be ‘labelled’, a state from which there was no return!

              I can tell you the exact moment my lifetime link to The Left was broken. I was at a meeting in 2007 involving some reasonably senior Public servants, and a topic came up on which I knew one of those people had some very considered and passionate views. Which she failed to bring into the discussion, and in fact sat silently through a discussion I knew she violently disagreed with nodding her head as if to signal tacit agreement.

              When i questioned her about that after the meeting she told me she was completely unwilling to go anywhere near that debate anymore as it had become ‘too dangerous’, in terms of the risk of accidentally crossing the ‘correct’ line.
              Her perception was that doing so would instantly result in a certain ‘label’ being attached, and once it was, her career and reputation was down the gurgler.
              She told me most of her colleagues now operated on the basis of avoiding being placed in such potentially ‘unsafe incorrect’ positions.

              From that point on, as I watched the bigotry and intolerance continue to grow on The Left, and the resulting tendency for infighting to dominate internal politics, my disgust increased and eventually reached a peak in 2014 when I was so pissed by the nastiness of The Left Nic Smith managed to convince me to vote National.

              Has anything improved? If you took this ‘leading Left Wing blog’ as your evidence for the level of tolerance of political diversity in the current Left? eh?

              • Crikey! If I was a defender of the Labour Party, I’d be squirming. However, I’m something else and so can sympathise with you. May I ask (dare I ask*) given your passion for the non-human world, why you don’t support the Green Party?
                *prepares for thunderous response

                • The lost sheep

                  I spent a lot of time considering that when I was a Labour member, but never got to the point of overcoming the long standing loyalty and switching.
                  When I did get to breaking point, if there had been any chance of The Greens forming at least a supply and demand agreement with National (don’t laugh), I would have certainly voted for them, but the way things panned out, i saw a vote for National as at least supporting one thing I was passionate about, where a vote for The Greens would have achieved nothing.

                  Contrary to the simplistic labels that get pinned on anyone who dares utter anything that crosses certain posters lines here, I do not see myself as either Left or Right, but have an amalgam of values from both ends of the political spectrum. Much like lPRENT indicated recently.

                  I will be considering a vote for The Greens very carefully this time around, but at this point I have to say that the only scenario I can see that involves them getting a share of power also involves them getting knifed in the back again by Labour /NZF…

              • “(Aqua culture in Pegasus? My, dead, body, over.)”

                Seen today’s Southland Times, lost sheep? You’ve not got long to live, if the Government’s huge support/push for aquaculture (fin fish et al) is anything to go by. The reporting has played down the fiords as the likely destination, but, you know, business/Steven Joyce/Tom Campbell/iwi, all lining up to farm the ocean. The party you support has already poured money into “testing” the fiords and bays and coastline of Rakiura for potential. My “Government” would reject that exploration out of hand. Pegasus will be a pushover. They go where they wish. Time to change the coastal plan, quick!

        • Dennis Frank

          Robert, the answer to your question is that Labour/Greens has to seem like an alternative govt in waiting. The MoU was a suitable basis, but subsequent lack of building on that basis renders the enterprise suspect to those of us centrists who would prefer a better option than the Nats.

          The zeitgeist thing is an important factor too: centrist voters will drift towards any alternative that seems more appropriate for changing times. Leftists don’t get this. There’s a blend of imagination, inspiration and realism that will always enable an enterprise to ride a zeitgeist (like surfing a wave) but the first two of those three mental qualities are anathema in the Labour Party, and the leftists in the Greens have almost succeeded in eliminating them there as well.

          The Future of Work exercise was timely, but did you notice the lack of output? It’s as though they didn’t want to issue a compelling vision of a positive alternative, to give people hope & faith in their ability to create such a future. There’s something pathological in the culture of Labour that stops clever innovative thinking – when such thinking is what we all need.

  20. Muttonbird 20

    I found the Andrea Vance pen-twirling think-a-mathon interesting.

    In it she states that Andrew Little and Labour are not the Trump/Farage type who can tap into the protest vote, yet then suggests they drop the question over unrestrained immigration in favour of, wait for it, spending on infrastructure.

    So, at the same time she accuses Labour of not grabbing the headlines she suggests infrastructure spending as a headline grabber!

    No wonder she’s still a NZ journalist – no talent for much else.

  21. Brendon 21

    On the day that TV1 covers the news that the Reserve Bank asked the government for another tool to address out of control housing debt -a debt to income limit. Bill English delaying agreeing to this request -again. Grant Robertson saying the Reserve is doing the heavy lifting on tackling the housing crisis because the government is not doing its part.

    What coverage was there of Andrew Little speech where he detailed what a progressive, caring government would do about the housing crisis? Bugger all.

    That sort of actual in depth news doesn’t fit how media works. Properly following through stories doesn’t fit the clipbait business model of today’s Press.

    P.S you can read Andrew Little’s housing speech here http://www.labour.org.nz/andrew_little_speech_to_the_property_council_s_residential_development_summit

  22. Observer Tokoroa 22

    . Bless the NZ Media
    . With all the support that all the Main Stream Media gives to National Party hacks; with all the money Bill English borrows; with all the efforts of the wandering trolls who suck up to John Key …

    With all that, why is New Zealand in a death spiral? Why will the present young generation receive nothing but excessive burden from Mr Key?

    Because Mr Key does exactly what the greed of Corporations and Media want.

    They simply do not care. They care not about our polluted water; not about our work or pay; not about our Education; not about our Health provision; not about our lack of infrastructure; not about our future.

    New Zealand Media stinks . Every right minded person knows that.


  23. Xanthe 23

    It has nothing to do with “left” or “right” people wont vote labour / green because they are sick of identity politics. Sick of being called misogenist, racist, and liar. People actually want respectful dialogue. Until labour/green looses its sexism and racism and stops accusing anyone who disagrees with their narrow twisted outlook of the same, they remain unelectable

    • Observer Tokoroa 23.1

      . Xanthe

      I can imagine how you felt when Billy English and John Key called NZ youth hopeless lazy drug addicts and loosers. Just a month ago or so, they said that Xanthe.

      Insults like that are straight from the devil.

      It would be good if Billy English had done something to rid the nation of drugs; stop home violence; and deal with people who avoid tax.

      Everyone you see in NZ is a bludger. Tax Avoiders are not.

      I agree it is not about Left or Right. It is about your value system and polite language.

      Do you like good policy?


      • xanthe 23.1.1

        thanks OT , yes i do like good policy . I would be happy to discuss policy around those areas you mention “rid the nation of drugs; stop home violence; and deal with people who avoid tax.” do labour and greens have good policy in these areas?

      • xanthe 23.1.2

        Ok happy to start
        1 ” rid the nation of drugs;”… Cant be done! huge damage and injustice if you try. however the harm done by the drugs and the far greater herm done by trying to “rid the country” of them could be massivly reduced. I would propose
        1a a single policy for harmful recreational substances that includses alcohal and tobacco along with pot and meth.
        1b remove criminal sanctions as harm amplifiers and deal with abuse as a social and health issue.

        2 “stop home violence;”…. remove policies of structural poverty , provide proper nutrition for ALL children. make the changes re drugs above so that families of drug users are not denied support.

        3″deal with people who avoid tax.” Yes refocus IRD. introduce FTT

        well thats just my discussion starter

  24. Labour “not moving in the polls” isn’t a bad thing. They’re in a position where they could win already, so not moving is the second-best outcome. The only reason they really need more momentum is to give themselves a path to governing without New Zealand First.

    That’s not to say that National mightn’t eke out another win on current polling. It’s close enough that that’s possible. But it’s frustrating reading horse-race reporting that doesn’t acknowledge that current polling says National needs New Zealand First to govern, a coalition that’s not so likely to happen.

    • Observer Tokoroa 24.1

      . Mathew Whitehead

      . Your “to the point” summary of close too close when it comes to election time is good reading.

      New Zealand First would be a misfit in the National Party muddle. National does everything for foreigners and Casinos.. It has no conception of New Zealanders as individuals or as people born with birth right.

      National hates the honesty of Winston Peters. Hates his correct policy on immigtation. Hates his magnetism.

      New Zealand First would be a good fit with Greens and Labour. He could lead that coalition should Andrew not get the nod.


      • Dennis Frank 24.1.1

        I’ve been waiting for Peters to position NZFirst as a potential partner in a centre-left coalition, but the time to do so was this year and that window of opportunity is closing. Looks like he is just reserving his right to control the outcome whether it be right or left.

        Since Labour & the Greens have also proven too stupid to position themselves as a future govt on the basis of the MoU, centrists are being given little choice at this point. Leftists probably think they can do that job next year. They don’t realise that refusing to be proactive signals that the left are lazy or incompetent.

        • Peters won’t give away who he will support ahead of the election because he believes he’ll gain more soft support from both National and Labour by refusing to declare than he will lose by failing to be transparent. It’s a bit of a gamble given that the climate seems to be moving towards more transparent and prefixed coalition arrangements, but it’s a gamble Peters has won big on before, so it’s not irrational to try it again, especially as it fits his preferred image as a contrarian to both large parties who sits in the centre keeping them honest.

          The positions NZF have been taking in Parliament suggest that they’re much closer to supporting Labour than they are to National, but you never quite know with New Zealand First that the way the wind is currently blowing will actually reflect where they end up after election day.

          If they’re consistent with their previous positioning, they’ll attempt a deal with the National Party first, as they’ll be the largest party. But they haven’t made any promises to that effect yet, so we’ll have to wait and see if they’ve changed their mind on that philosophy. Even if they haven’t, there’s nothing to stop them from simply making unreasonable demands to National and simply failing to get a deal if they actually want to go with Labour.

          • Dennis Frank

            Yes, Matthew, your analysis is accurate in all respects. I just wish the players would all be a little more considerate of the electorate. It’s not rocket science to realise that swing-voters are seeking a positive alternative to the status quo, or that refusing to provide one just alienates young people even more than they are already: http://i.stuff.co.nz/national/87055165/young-westerners-across-the-world-losing-faith-in-democracy–even-in-new-zealand.

            We expect the Nats to be selfish and complacent. When we see Labour & the Greens copying that stance, we see them as mere careerists. Typical politicians. Not genuine authentic folk committed to providing a credible alternative to neoliberalism.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              I wouldn’t personally lump the Greens in with Labour and National. (of course, I am a Green voter, so YMMV)

              They take a lot of effort to maintain their integrity and have real respect for the democratic process, which is why they’re the only Party that lets members vote on the list positions. They also don’t particularly like being in Parliament as a general rule, (seriously, any interview in which they’re asked how they like being in Parliament, which is supposed to be a softball question, usually leads to a Green MP saying they think it’s a toxic environment and they don’t see themselves staying long-term) but do it because someone needs to if you want Green views to be heard. Hence why there’s so little caucus in-fighting and a generally quick turnaround of leaders- it’s not a Party for careerists.

              I agree whole-heartedly that the electorate has been looking for a genuine alternative to neoliberalism for several elections now, but I’d suggest you look a little further into the Greens before thinking they actually buy into neoliberalism to any significant degree. It’s more that they’re used to having to make pragmatic compromises from the position of a smaller party and thus haven’t had much of a chance to get more radical policy in. If you’re one of the other UBI fans on this site, for instance, the Greens have officially supported a UBI for several years.

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