Happy 99th birthday Labour

Written By: - Date published: 8:55 am, July 9th, 2015 - 50 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

During this week the Labour Party enjoyed its 99th birthday. Formed in 1916 after the trade union movement had suffered significant defeat at the hands of capital workers decided that if they were going to improve their plight they had to use political means.

The above film, used in the 2011 campaign, is fascinating. It manages to capture very quickly the important political events in New Zealand’s history and also identify why there is such a great deal of goodwill for the Labour Party. Free healthcare, social security, state housing, one of the smallest gaps between rich and poor on the planet, a commitment to full employment, independent foreign policy and more recently increased awareness of the importance of environmental protection have all signified Labour’s reason for being.

The film canvasses each Labour Government.  It rightfully says that the Lange Government’s “free market policies and asset sales didn’t belong to Labour.  The party was divided …”.

Giovanni Tiso has noted how a subsequent version of the film had criticism of Douglas and the fourth Labour Government removed.  I am pleased to see that the original version complete with criticism is still there for all to see.

The Party is making plans for its 100th year celebration and amongst other things is planning a competition for a new logo.  If you are interested you should contact the party direct or your local LEC for details.

And there are important constitutional provisions being considered.  When details are made public they will no doubt be discussed here.

50 comments on “Happy 99th birthday Labour”

  1. Don't worry. Be happy 1

    The Labour Party was murdered by a gang of clever fools in the Lange Government. It is a ‘dead parrot’.

    • And yet it still managed to win 3 elections last decade, remains the second most popular party by a considerable margin, and is the only party capable of leading an alternative Government. As with Mark Twain, the rumours of its death have been greatly exaggerated.

      • Puckish Rogue 1.1.1

        and likely to regain power in 2020…no infact I’m calling it now Labour will be back in power in 2020 so yeah its not dead yet

        • Richard Christie

          I think you and trp both mistake packaging for content.

          • Puckish Rogue

            Everythings cyclical really though i mean National were down but now they’re up and currently Labours in the doldrums but they’ll be back up again

            Just be patient

        • infused

          Labour waiting it out ain’t going to get them back in power.

    • Chooky 1.2

      Speaking of ‘Dead Parrots’ …Winston dines at the ‘Green Parrot’…where NZF had their 20th anniversary birthday in 2013


      “According to Peters, the secret to that survival is “to stand for something”. He says he has seen other “pretenders” set up parties, only to fail. “I’ve observed over the years the media adulation of them. I don’t want to be churlish. We have never been the victim of adulation of the media. That’s been the secret of our success. But the forests that have fallen while the media has been adulating them have been quite significant. I’m surprised the Green Party hasn’t complained about it.”…

      “Peters was the 6th of 11 children. When he was about 5 years old he was sent to live with his aunt and uncle to help them on the farm. “She was running the farm by herself. It was the loneliest year of my life. I’ve never forgotten it. We had a pretty smooth operation, me and my aunty. But it was lonely.”

      He says it was a defining time in his life. “Little did I know that when I got older I’d come to love my own company. I found myself so much more reasonable to deal with than other people.”

  2. Colonial Viper 2

    NZ Labour, fierce, fair, necessary; how today I fear for thee.

  3. Brigid 3

    Phil Goff has a damned nerve taking credit for Kiwibank. It was an Alliance initiative, not Labours.

    • rhinocrates 3.1

      That opportunist would take credit for sunrises if he thought he could.

    • Chooky 3.2

      +100 Brigid…Kiwibank was Jim Anderton’s and the Alliance’s initiative from beginning to end …and he certainly was no friend of Phil Goff and Rogernomics

  4. maui 4

    How old is the current Labour logo? Is it from 2011? I think it looks quite good actually, definitely fresh and not outdated. Can’t see the need to change it personally.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      In the corporate sphere, changing the logo is what you do when the top executive team has no clue where they are going next. (Refer: ‘Spark’).

      • rhinocrates 4.1.1

        Obviously Spark’s executives have never read Kurt Vonnegut’s ‘Breakfast of Champions’ and their graphic designer has.

  5. rhinocrates 5

    a competition for a new logo.

    What’s the logo at the top of the Bellamy’s menu? That’s all the caucus stands for now.

    Maybe a stegosaurus – a dinosaur with a backfull of blades?

    A right wing and two left feet?

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      You need your own show

    • Bob 5.2

      “a competition for a new logo.”

      A cricket, makes lots of noise and has no ears.

      A sloth, knows when it is in trouble, but too slow to react

      Apple Maps, knows where they want to go, but have no idea how to get there

      Henry VIII, when they don’t like how things are going, off with your head

      A fireman, good at sliding down polls

      This is a great game!

  6. rhinocrates 6

    The centenary is an excellent opportunity for Labour to look forward, not back. The 2011 election campaign inspired me to vote Labour in 1937.

    Its challenge is to formulate a vision and identity for Labour in the 21st century.

    Procrustean paleoleftists like Trotter are wasting their time whining about “identity politics” – it’s not going away, so no more playing King Canute, no more one size fits all. They are the ones being divisive, alienating women and minorities (too many of my minority friends are saying ‘Fuck Labour’). Instead, unite all causes under the banner of human dignity: dignity of work, dignity of identity. Show that Labour listens by explicitly relating sectional needs and policies with this simple, central concept. Whoever you are, Labour is there for you – that’s what it used to say. It can say it again.

    Labour can present itself as a party upholding security – the old industrial model of work is rapidly being replaced by other forms and capital is exploiting this to casualise and exploit workers. The tradesman contractor ‘Waitakere man’ is also a relic of the past, or a cripplingly narrow vision – we aren’t all going to become contracting plumbers. People have multiple jobs, short contracts, mid-life career changes needing retraining. At the moment it’s a recipe for exploitation. How can Labour champion security then?

    Communicate! Like it or not, Labour is a brand and a product/service competing in a political market. When I saw the bit about a competition for a new logo, I immediately thought about the national (party) flag “debate” – a fatuous joke that is either a damp squib or a contrived distraction where people can vote only on that which is most unimportant. If Labour thinks about logos, it has to think about communications as a complete, integrated strategy and it has to understand new technology and media. Hire bright young millennials and appeal to their need to get exposure.

    What is Labour’s USP – Unique Selling Proposition? Vaguely saying ‘We believe in nice things and oppose bad things’ is self-pleasuring, but useless. National claims business competence, and however false that image, it’s stuck. A ‘safe’ National-lite ashirasshun just looks like a cargo cult or Stockholm Syndrome and reputation for indolence, incompetence and backstabbing just makes that a sad, self-deluding joke.

    Sovereignty is National’s weak point – their selling out to transnational corporates is what hurts people here and exacerbates their fear of insecurity at work. Use that. Relate sovereignty with personal security.

    Serious re-ranking and restructuring. Challenge the ossified Rogernomes like Goff to get in behind if they have any remaining shreds of intelligence or decency… OK, assuming they have those is a doubtful proposition… then they know that their disloyalty will mean a fourth defeat and deserved oblivion for the party – and everyone will be able to see that it will be their fault. Holding that over their heads, Andrew Little actually has some power over them.

    The current logo is bland – a fernleaf could stand for butter. The logo – as part of an overall strategy – must show Labour’s unique qualities. They may be hokey, but images like swords and shields or the old union image of the worker’s arm say something specific.

    As Mandy Hager said, embrace the ‘Angry Andy’ image: ‘Labour is your champion for dignity and security in today’s world’ should be what they’re aiming at – though a good consultant will come up with something snappier than that.

    • rhinocrates 6.1

      I’d emphasise rejuvenation as part of that strategy above. 100 years is glorious – but it can also mean ‘old’. Andrew Little is wise to make it clear that his current front bench lineup is contingent and Annette Thing is not going to be the deputy going into the election. Talented and hungry backbenchers need to be promoted.

      I see the value of list-only MPs – those who may not be good campaigners nonetheless may have excellent skills in government. However, there must be no sinecures and I think that term limits would be a good move. For example, two consecutive terms as list MP only, and after that they have to win or defend an electorate off the list or retire.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        You’ve given Labour about $25K’s worth of political consulting advice there, rhinocrates. Let’s see how much of it they are able to take onboard.

        BTW I think Labour is going to go for an election strategy of appealing to the centrist top quartile of NZ society.

        Talented and hungry backbenchers need to be promoted.

        Do you have specific names in mind.

        • rhinocrates

          Iain Lees Galloway, Louisa Wall for starters – they have achievements they can point to. Poto Williams has a good grounding in community work.

          • Colonial Viper

            let’s see if the Labour leadership sees fit to give them their chance in the run up to 2017

        • weka

          “Let’s see how much of it they are able to take onboard.”

          You think they’re still reading?

          • Colonial Viper

            A few of the staffers at least and maybe a couple of the MPs, pretty compulsively. Mind you, I think The Standard for the most part has been written off by them as being the vote losing “hard left” so they probably consider our suggestions as what NOT to do.

            • te reo putake

              Quite a few of the MP’s from what I’m told, CV. I was chatting to one the other day who had a surprisingly good handle on the leanings of the various authors. Mind you, there’s probably a few MP’s who are political tragics and skim all of the bigger blogs. Happily, it appears the days where one or two used to check WO to see if their latest leaks had been featured are behind us!

  7. Clean_power 7

    Goff, Mallard, Dyson, King , veterans clinging to their seats by any possible means. And, believe it or not, some of them will run at the next election.

    Labour needs a good clean-up, needs to renew its cadres. For some unknown reason Mr Little seems unable to do it. What is he afraid of?

    • Stuart Munro 7.1

      King has had a grasp on the health portfolio that made her valuable, and is not given to career-ending stupidity, a rare talent at times. It’s probably her time but Shearer, Robertson & Nash worry me more. Goff would but Auckland seems likely to inherit him (an elegant solution from my non-Auckland perspective).

      Twyford & Little are unobjectionable as are a bunch of others – but they keep spamming me for donations – as if they were not the party that didn’t want to know about slave fishermen – and still don’t want to address the fact that our fisheries earn and employ 1% of what Japan’s do, from essentially the same littoral area.

      Love the stegosaurus Rhino.

      • rhinocrates 7.1.1

        As it said to the Tyrannosaur, “Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!” An imaginary chocolate fish for the one who gets the reference.

  8. Penny Bright 8

    For a Labour Party present to the voting public – how about campaigning to ROLLBACK the underpinning Rogernomics neo-liberal legislation – which was fundamentally unchanged under the Helen Clark led Labour Government?

    Penny Bright


    • Richard Christie 8.1

      how about campaigning to ROLLBACK the underpinning Rogernomics neo-liberal legislation – which was fundamentally unchanged under the Helen Clark led Labour Government?


      That’s the only thing, the only thing, that’ll get me to return to the fold.

      PS I haven’t even the stomach to view the video clip in the post.

  9. fisiani 9

    Labour to survive have to be a clear alternative to National
    So roll back free GP care for under13’s.Mmmm perhaps not
    Rip out the insulation.. MmmmmPerhaps not
    Take money off new mothers Mmm perhaps not
    How about a whopping capital gains tax and raising the pension age? That might do it

  10. greywarshark 10

    Don’t blow too hard on the candles Labour, you know you haven’t kept yourself very fit and are a bit inclined to wheeze and sag at the knees, so take care of yourself and don’t run out of puff.

    • Chooky 10.1

      +100 greywarsharki…If it is Labour’s 99th birthday…this could explain a few things

      …They are over- the- hill…they should be celebrating in the old people’s homes where people knew them in their young heyday


      ….are they still driving?…they don’t seem to be still in the driver’s seat …eyesight /foresight issues?

      …are they in a wheelchair?…do they need a hearing aid? (re Cunliffe the family members choice)

      …have they written their will?

      …who are their heirs…?

      I reckon the Greens and Mana/Int

      (NZF is also getting a bit long in the tooth…although Winnie isn’t in a wheelchair yet …and can still kick up the dirt)

  11. Peter 11

    Labour died in 1984 it no longer represents the workers and is unlikely to do so again, as for the old guard if you were getting $150k a year for sitting on your arse and doing nothing would you even want to be in government.

  12. Bill 12

    99 really is kind of auspicious.

    A mere 29 comments on that, and not overwhelmingly positive, and after exposure exceeding 12 hours, and on a broader labour orientated blog site, might be what I’d expect from reading a current Scottish labour orientated blog site given that the Labour Party there is essentially dead and buried…

    Just saying.

    • ropata 12.1

      99 is great. Happy Birthday NZLP.
      Please keep left, and help reduce the volume of moaning on The Standard 🙂

      • Bill 12.1.1

        Maybe it’s just me, but where’s the screeds of congratulatory and ’empowerment through identification’ comments that such an anniversary might: should elicit?

        • ropata

          Just goes to show that TS is not a front for the LP…

          • Bill

            Or it goes to show that Labour (the party) are all but dead, but the left isn’t. 🙂

            • Colonial Viper

              the non-political party Left is going to become all the more important…

            • ropata

              the Left is not dead, but it’s pretty fragmented and doing a lot of soul searching, while right wing idiots screw up the world economy

              • Bill

                I didn’t say that the left was dead. Also, my impression is that the left is far less fragmented than it has been due, in no small part, to the demise of the various Stalinist and Maoist cults that infected swathes of the left in the past.

                But Labour? Well…

                • adam

                  I’m quite happy seeing the end of the left wing authoritarian cults too Bill. Not only were they bloody difficult to deal with – they used up the people inside them – especially the women.

                  As for labour, well to many right wing, and smug bastards inside parliamentary labour, for it to be a force for good any-more. I know it still has some great people involved in the party.

                  I’m bewildered that these good people stay with the likes of Nash and Co. And before you bring out the broad church argument – I belong to a broad church, and it’s great approach for religion. it just don’t work in politics.

                  For 35 years labour has been embracing hard liberal economics, and a weird experiment in 3rd way politics, that laid the foundation for this mob. So – Yeah, Nah – Thanks for the good you did – now kindly shuffle stage right…

            • Stuart Munro

              I hope it means that Labour is busy.

        • Colonial Viper

          23 different commentators, to this point. Interest seems low and apathy seems high.

  13. David H 13

    Happy 99th Birthday. Well over the 3 score years and 10 then.

  14. ropata 14

    On a more constructive note, something like this could work for a new logo

  15. maui 15

    I think the first couple of minutes of that video are important. Back in the day – free education, free housing, etc. You’re giving the people something great, policies they can get excited about. Last election the focus went onto what Labour was taking away – i.e. through the capital gains tax.

    National controls the general message via the media, so the solution I think is to have a couple of bulletproof policies, like the first two above. If watered down policies are launched instead it becomes too easy for National to counter attack and denigrate them and then everyone loses interest. Just some random thoughts, go on and get the folks excited again.

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