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Gordon Campbell: new Labour leadership

Written By: - Date published: 7:34 pm, November 12th, 2008 - 42 comments
Categories: articles, labour, maori party - Tags:

As we’ve come to expect, a thought provoking piece from Gordon Campbell, who says

…the public may one day come to rue the change they sought on Saturday. But if and when they do, there is no guarantee that a paternalistic Labour would be the only, or best source of relief. The Greens, now that they are finally free from any structural ties to Labour, will be trying hard to supplant them as the most effective opposition party on the left. On industrial relations and beneficiary issues, the Greens have already been making much of the running in recent years. If Labour remains intent on projecting a kinder, more efficient brand of centrism, they could well be overtaken significantly on their left – and the risk will be increased if Act does manage to pull National further to the right.

Labour was a formidable team when last in opposition – tuned in to their networks, activists busy on the ground, and political issues to the fore. Let’s see whether this brave new team can live up to their counterparts of old (and how much of it those who were there before can remember). I’m thinking there will be interesting times ahead! Campbell also makes a good observation regarding the Maori party and their decision whether or not to become part of the government:

…much of Key’s hopes for a wider consensus will depend in the next few days on whether the Maori Party takes the bait, and comes on board with National. Why they would want to do so remains a mystery because being a Minister isn’t a free lunch, and entails wider responsibility for the government to which said Minister belongs….

Update: i’ve just read “The Maori Party has reached a draft agreement with the National Party and will take it to its supporters to consider as soon as this evening.” Hui anyone?

42 comments on “Gordon Campbell: new Labour leadership ”

  1. Leftie 1

    The Hui is available to any voter enrolled on the maaori roll, I’m told. Not for any biased leftie to waltz in and demand a no-go. Party membership is irrelevant. Respect the party’s guidelines.

  2. gingercrush 2

    Yes the scoop team have a number of smart people. Some quality stuff came out from there this election. I just wish they could slightly reorganise the site to read better.

    Did anyone get a chance to read: http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL0811/S00033.htm

    Proved rather accurate and just goes to show the astute professionals they are.

  3. MikeG 3

    “…on board with National. Why they would want to do so remains a mystery …”
    Isn’t this as simple as the Maori Party realising that in Government you can achieve something, whereas in Opposition, all you can do is oppose?

    I appreciate that there can be some complications around being part of a “multi-headed beast” Government, but it’s not a bad achievement for a party that has only fought 2 elections.

    Didn’t John Key warn us about multi-headed beasts?!

  4. Janet 4

    Key now has a five-headed monster..

  5. Vinsin 5

    Janet, Key now has a sound and strong government. Pfff.

    Leftie, the maori party prides them self on the fact that they hui (ask their constituents what they want to do) if they don’t hui something as huge as jumping into government with a national party then the respective hui (huis – not sure what the plural is, i’m pretty sue it’s hui) are meaningless.

    Gc, yes very interesting article probably one of the rare examples of decent journalism on scoop.

  6. MikeG 6

    yes, monster, not beast. I didn’t think it sounded quite right!

  7. Leftie 7

    Vinsin, you seem to think that I don’t realise these points. I was addressing Dancers inference that readers should attend the prospective hui to promote the sentiment felt in this blog. I merely pointed out that they should be enrolled on the maaori roll to voice an opinion at the hui as this was stipulated by the Maori Party leadership some weeks back.

    I will say this though. For quite some time the Maori Party leadership had said that they would FIRST consult their registered constituents in the maaori seats of any deal to occur after the election. In the last few weeks of the election they changed their story by saying that they would consult the caucus to find their preference, then consult their constituents.

    What has happened since was the Maori Party leaders brokering a deal with the National party to take to their constituents. A major shift from their first proposal of letting their people decide.

    I will say this again.

    Anybody may attend the Maori party hui, but only those enrolled on the maaori roll may voice an opinion on the deal however. I suggest the blogsters at this blog respect this party guideline.

  8. MikeG 8

    Vinsin – a sound and strong government only becomes evident after a period of actually governing.

  9. gobsmacked 9


    “What has happened since was the Maori Party leaders brokering a deal with the National party to take to their constituents. A major shift from their first proposal of letting their people decide.”

    As I understood Turia tonight, they’ve gone even further than that. They’ll be taking the principle of the deal, but not the detail (otherwise it will inevitably be leaked). So their supporters are being asked to write a blank cheque.

    I’ll be happy to stand corrected, though.

  10. Ianmac 10

    I understood that had there been two major parties to choose between, then the hui would be told the details of choice.
    Since there is only National on offer, the intent is to ask a simple question. “Do you trust the Leadership to get the best deal for Maori? Will we join in or not? Yes/No.”

  11. BeShakey 11

    “The Hui is available to any voter enrolled on the maaori roll, I’m told. Not for any biased leftie to waltz in and demand a no-go. Party membership is irrelevant. Respect the party’s guidelines.”

    I was initially quite supportive of the Maori party, but this is typical of the increasingly brain dead stuff coming from them. It seems that anyone on the Maori role, no matter who they voted for, can have a say in what the Maori party do, but people who aren’t on the Maori roll, but gave their party vote to them are banned from having any say.

  12. Liar 12

    I am the best Labour Leader ever…

  13. randal 13

    well its like this
    labour was ct’d out of the picture
    helen had already given up the ghost at the beginning of the year
    now the left must rebuild
    that is the question?
    how to forge a new role maybe even a new poltical expression
    but do it they must
    the world has moved on
    dreamtime is over
    john key does not have all that many options
    what looked easy on the drawing board now requires some time and thought
    how to keep wodney busy
    and keeping sir roger busy on the 3rd floor
    keep the lunatics at bay till he sees what must be done
    how to shed the campaign dorks and get in touch with the people of his party who will want a say
    they are not going to be bulldozed either by frenetic idiots
    its time for sober judgement and a steady hand
    this coalition does not look all that stable either

  14. gingercrush 14

    Vinsin. I’m surprised you’re not that impressed by Scoop. I always though they provided news that was different to the mainstream media. Neither being too left or too right but providing sensible and unbias reporting. It may well be that some at scoop are left and some at scoop are right. But to me they still give rather balanced viewpoints.

    The Maori Party should feel free to work out who can and who can not be at their huis. That is their choice. I would like all viewpoints to be heard. But surely being that they represent the interests of Maori. Their main consultation should always be with Maori. As for aligning themselves to National.

    If they can maintain independence but still support a National government. That is a good thing. It means National isn’t always beholden to Act which surely those of you on the left should like. It also means there is a possibility for gains to Maori in such an arrangement. Labour critically made a mistake in 2005 by not engaging with the Maori party. It proved detrimental to the Labour party and Maori didn’t exactly gain much between 2005-2008 either.

    I don’t think you’ll see the Maori party seats entrenched rather you won’t see National abolishing them. I think the real thing to happen in this relation. Is designated money to Maori in areas such as Education and Health. But we’ll see I guess.

  15. Bill 15

    FFS! LEFT. RIGHT. LEFT. RIGHT….in lock step mind. ‘sall going in essentially the same direction…hell in a wheelbarrow. (we be the load) Too much of one or too much of the other disappears in ever decreasing circles anyway…up it’s particular ideological arse if you will. (we be the ones covered in the shit at the end of the day)

    Sick of saying this here, but here I go again stating the obvious. PARLIAMENTARY POLITICAL PARTIES EXIST TO PROPAGATE AND SAFEGUARD CAPITALISM. END.

    You want progress in any meaningful fashion? Get your conscience out on to the street and stop giving credence to the one stop joke shop in the beehive.

    Too hard? Too attached to your wee material baubles thinking they’re shinier and better than your neighbour’s? Too obsessed/ fixated by the idea that to be ‘better’ yours have to be bigger, shinier….with maybe a little glitter on the side…that sparkles? Too scared to let go?

    Where you think this ape shit is going to get us? A fucking global shopping mall with everything on sale? Buy a virtual reality with faux oxygen and sounds of potable water? You think? Do you?

    Wee pointer. You can’t have air conditioning when there ain’t no breathable air. And you can’t eat when there ain’t no way to grow crops. You think the financial crisis that’s about to land is anything more than a silent fart compared to the real world outside your window collapsing in an ecological heap of inescapable shit? Yes? Then fucking drop what we have in the dirt and get real peeps. It’s not doing us any good anyway. Never has. Never will….baubles and bangles.

  16. gobsmacked 16

    “If they can maintain independence but still support a National government. That is a good thing.”

    Nice dream Gingercrush, but politics doesn’t work like that. They will be ministers. They will make decisions. Nobody has yet managed to square that circle (have cake and eat it, and other cliches). The media cannot see beyond the either/or game (ask the Greens, forever lumped in with Labour even when they strongly opposed them). There are no nuances in a sound-bite world. Sad but true.

    The Maori Party and National will sink or swim together. And if tonight’s TVNZ reports are correct – no entrenchment of Maori seats, no repeal of seabed and foreshore – then the Maori Party have squandered an historic opportunity.

  17. gingercrush 17

    Bill get real. Turn off your computer. Turn off the internet. Turn off the lights. Shut down your electricity. Never buy anything made with Plastic. Never use a car. Don’t use paper unless its recycled. Even then you have to think about the environmental harm of what happens when recycling water. Don’t eat food if brought from the grocery store, grow your own. Make sure you have a tank to collect water. Then you can talk about the rest of us. Otherwise, you’re just another idiot.

    gobsmacked: Then what do you expect them to do? Sit on the opposition benches and don’t do anything for Maori? Yes there’s a danger it’ll come back to bite them. But surely, this is the best and only result for Maori till at least 2011. And we all know how kind Labour was to the Maori party and the Greens. No very kinda whatsoever.

  18. gobsmacked 18


    “Then what do you expect them to do? Sit on the opposition benches and don’t do anything for Maori?”

    They’re dealing with a smart operator in Key. So they have to be smarter. They seem to have been rolled in a matter of hours, only because Key wants to get to Peru.

    If Key has got a deal without breaking sweat, that suggests it was too easy. He needs them, despite the numbers. He does not want ACT holding him to ransom. He wants a second term. Negotiate for your life, because it’s the one and only chance. And if you’ve ever haggled, you know what to do if the other side doesn’t offer what you want.

    You smile and wait. After nearly two centuries, what’s the rush?

    Still, they may have got more than I give them credit for. Let’s see. At the very least, their economic policy needs to have been more than bog roll. We’ll find out soon enough.

  19. Johnty Rhodes 19

    GS – you give Key so much credit. You are right, he is an awsome operator. Clark did not expect him to be so forthright & formidable in this campaign, who won the first debate hands down? Key always knew the H-fee was a fizzer & let Batman Mike Williams play his game, take the bait and let the NZ Herald pull him in, hook, line & sinker. Game over, majority to National in election ’08.

    National do not need the MP at all, but he wants to empower them to help take Maori & NZ forward, not leave the Maori with palms open to a Labour /green reigime that offers empty promises and only benefits.

    Remember Clake vs Cullen, keep your friends at arms length and your enimies close at hand. Key has taken this a step further with parties, not individuals.

    Watch in 2011 when the MP go campaigning on the positives along with the Nats. A landslide to the right/MP.

    [lprent: More grist for the troll project. An interesting shift on focus post-election that I’ll have to add to the mix. Perhaps I should go to the natural homes of the trolls (No Monister, etc) and look for changes. There is an interesting lack of knowledge about the uses of html creeping in at the backend – probably from a new package for storing troll lines in. But a package without a spell checker…
    BTW: I suspect that the Nat’s are interested in the Maori Party largely because they are less flaky than the new 3 new Act MP’s. Even Audry Young thinks that.]

  20. Tim Ellis 20

    I think the question for the hui is quite simple.

    Will Maori be better off, given that there is certainly going to be a National-led government, if the Maori Party have some participation in that government? If National and its allies can govern on their own, without MP involvement, as they can, will the MP’s involvement benefit the MP’s constituents?

    Quite simple, really.

    It’s a pity that the Green Party locked themselves out of any such involvement before the election. I don’t doubt that John Key would have brought them into the fold as well.

  21. Santi 21

    “Labour was a formidable team when last in opposition”

    Campbell is right. This time the Party will have ample time to hone its abilities. I suspect, a minimum of six long years. Marvellous.

  22. Akldnut 22

    Does anyone know where and when the hui in Auckland is?

  23. Akldnut 23

    I think National may want the MP onboard to disempower Act and any chance that Act mayhave to vote against the Nat led govt so they will still be able to pass bills without ACT.

  24. Shona 24

    And then children Aunty Tarianna crawled into bed with the Reptile. The tamariki cried ” oh auntie can’t you see his claws,look at the hideous scales”but she didn’t hear them for they didn’t matter anymore for he had found her “G” spot . Her greedy spot.
    FA for poor Maori in this agreement on confidence and supply. Those with their snouts already in the trough will get more, hopefully this will lessen the number of votes they get next time.

  25. DeeDub 25

    I’m flabergasted that the MP seem prepared to do everything to Key’s schedule?!! OK, go talk to your people….. but FFS, what’s the hurry?

  26. Shona 26

    DeeDub, the financial system has got a bad case of indigestion ,they ‘ve got to get their antacids out of the Cullen Superfund and fast so the people continue to believe the lies and spin and don’t notice when the finance sector gets it’s bowels moving again , then it will shit all over the workers.

  27. Billy 27

    When will he start rolling out his dastardly evil far right agenda, do ya reckon? Let’s see:

    coalesce with the Maori party (make concessions on the seabed and foreshore in the process) even though we do not need to to form a government. Check.

    What next:

    sell all the hospitals to foreigners?

  28. Billy – just be patient. You’ll get your right-wing agenda in the first hundred days…

  29. Lew 29

    Dancer, Lefty, Vinsin, BeShakey: The māori party have in the past said their hui are for those on the Māori roll, but this press release states they’re open to all māori party supporters. I guess `supporter’ can be interpreted in a number of ways, but I expect the test for standing will be `voted for the māori party on November 7′ with some exceptions for kaumatua, kuia, and mana whenua.

    This isn’t a series of hui to consult the wider populace of NZ, and in particular it’s not a series of hui to consult a bunch of lefties who seek to tell Māori what they ought to do `for their own good’ – it’s a series of hui to consult with the constituency the māori party represents in parliament. So I’d recommend against turning up and trying to tell ’em what to do.


  30. Ianmac 30

    Interesting that the Maori Party may form a “coalition” with all the Maori in Parliament as a significant Lobby Group. 15+

  31. Ianmac 31

    The first hui last night gave a strong message of support to the plan.

  32. Billy 32

    ‘sod, me ole trout and tool box, how do you reconcile your last comment on this thread with this one on the other thread:

    http://www.thestandard.org.nz/national-gives-act-consumer-affairs/#comment-104356 ?

    Are they going to follow a hard right agenda or be “neutered”? Or are you just going to sit back and gloat about being right no matter which? Yeah, that figures…

  33. Bill 33


    Guess I hit a wee nerve there?

    I don’t think you understand what capitalism is. Technology, science, medicine, trade and social works pre-date capitalism by a long way. Capitalism is merely a production and distribution system. A very inequitable, wasteful and ultimately destructive one.

    What/ where is your logic in saying that the internet, electricity etc should be forgone by me before I comment on perceived underlying mentalities ( common to us all) that are ensuring we continue going hell for leather towards the edge of a metaphorical precipice?

    If you think the alternative to capitalism is scrabbling around in the dirt (implicit in your ‘reply’) then I suggest you educate yourself about our world a bit more and well, get real.

  34. Lew 34

    Bill: A very inequitable, wasteful and ultimately destructive one.

    Yes. As Churchill once said of democracy, it’s the worst system, except for all the other systems which have been tried.


  35. Bill 35


    The ‘democracy’ Churchill was referring to was parliamentary representative democracy which many would argue…..well, Tane’s comment on another thread about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea comes to mind.

  36. Billy the kid – you’re failing to recognise the fact politics is a continuum. It is possible that National will implement an agenda that is considered hard right by most people’s standards but that also leaves ACT and it’s ankle-biters like Clint feeling they have been desexed (as recommended by the SPCA and most competent veterinarians).

    If you could just drop this black and white view of the world you’d be in a position to better understand that the left way is the correct way…

    (I’m still holding out hope for your late conversion to the side of goodness and light.)

  37. Lew 37

    Bill: Go on. Argue that the DPRK is democratic because its name says so.

    I dare ya.


  38. Bill 38


    you miss my point entirely. I’m not suggesting for a second that the DPRK is democratic. Likewise for the ‘democracy’ that Churchill was referring to.

    To spell it out. Representative parliamentary democracy is not democratic because the term democracy is used in the same way that the DPRK isn’t.

  39. Lew 39

    I almost can’t parse that last sentence, but it seems what you’re driving at is that a system is not a democracy by virtue of being called so, nor (by extension to the original topic) capitalism by virtue of being called so. At which point we agree. However, this doesn’t lead to the conclusion that parliamentary democracy isn’t democratic – somewhat of an odd contention which, in order to be proven, would need to rest on a conveniently-crafted definition of `democratic’.

    In any case, that wasn’t the issue – the issue was that, as bad as capitalism may be, it’s the best we have. And the DPRK is case in point, being the last vestige of the leading implemented alternative.


  40. Bill 40

    I don’t think our system of governance is very democratic.

    I do think we produce and distribute our goods and services using a capitalist model f production and distribution.

    I do not think that pointing to Korea or the Eastern Europe of old is a valid argument for supporting capitalism.

    Better, much better is possible. Many nascent alternatives are in existence. If a production system built on more equitable foundations than exploitation and driven by motives other than profit ; which distributed goods and services in a more equitable fashion than the market can ever achieve came to be the the accepted way to do things then that would be a good thing would it not?

  41. gingercrush 41

    And here I thought you were talking about global warming. But no its capitalism and how Parliament upholds it. Oh dear. No way am I heading anywhere in such a discussion.

    Get use to it Bill because it isn’t going anywhere.

  42. Lew 42

    I disagree; I think our system of governance, and by and large most systems of governance in the western world, are very democratic; more so than at any other time and in any other society in history. This isn’t to say they’re perfect, or anything of the sort, but any such judgement is essentially normative, rather than absolute.

    The `Korea’ I pointed to is not `of old’ as you say – it’s the North Korea of today. While I agree it doesn’t usually pay to make cheap comparisons to the Eastern and Western blocs, that one is particularly illustrative. I can lecture you a bit on the differences between North and South Korea if you like – I’ve seen them with my own eyes.

    I agree that better is possible, and that many nascent alternatives are indeed in existence. But that’s the problem – they’re nascent. The onus is on the champions of heterodoxy to demonstrate that there are clear and specific advantages to supplanting the orthodoxy. Of course it would be good if things were more equitable, were not based on greed and exploitation, etc. But it’s capricious to ask, since the language you use is so loaded. Look, I can be capricious too: how can anything be more equitable than voluntary exchange?



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