I agree with DPF

Written By: - Date published: 7:51 am, May 14th, 2019 - 95 comments
Categories: blogs, David Farrar, dpf, jacinda ardern, labour, national - Tags:

Maybe rumours that National’s internal polling has that party’s support starting with a “3” are correct.  Because David Farrar, National’s pollster has  published this post that praises Jacinda Ardern and warns National supporters not to take her too lightly.

He starts off by saying this:

Many Labour MPs and activists spent the best part of a decade under-estimating John Key. They thought his popularity was artificial, and that as a Prime Minister who had never been a Minister he wasn’t up to the job, and that he was basically a rich prick charlatan that the public would see through at some stage.

Their under-estimation of his very real political abilities, led to them making bad strategic decisions.

There is some truth to this.  Yes many of us thought that Key was a charlatan.  He was light on the big policy stuff.  His Government ambled through its reign and gradually, with a cut here and a snip there, debased the public service and the body politic.  The one big policy he implemented, power company share sales, was performed efficiently to the long term harm of our society.  But otherwise he spent his leadership reign making mostly token policy tweaks designed to make him and the party look better.

And he remained frustratingly popular.  Yes his popularity declined but winning three elections is not to be sneezed at.

Farrar’s generous comments about Jacinda Ardern come from his observation of her performance at an Internet NZ meeting involving a dialogue on the Christchurch Call to Action to Eliminate Terrorist and Violent Extremist Content Online proposal.

He was surprised that Ardern was due to attend the meeting and thought it was for a photo op.  He then says this:

As the meeting resumed after the tea break, Jacinda walked in and sat down in the circle of chairs with us. I looked around the room for her minders (as I know a few of them), and there were none there. This is pretty rare. Normally a press secretary will always be with the PM, making sure they record what is said, and also an advisor to field technical questions.

As the discussion from the first session was summarised, the PM grabbed a piece of paper and started taking notes. Not a staff member, but the PM. Then the facilitator handed the meeting over to the PM. She actually chaired or facilitated the next session herself after a brief outline of what they are trying to do. As each person made a contribution, she responded with comments or followups and kept making notes.

It dawned on me that rather than this being the PM telling us what she is doing, she was genuinely engaging with those in the room for their ideas about various issues and complexities. She was very much over the detail of what is a very complex landscape which is an intersection of Internet architecture, free speech issues, social media companies, behavioural incentives and issues of market dominance.

I’ve observed various Prime Ministers for over thirty years. The Prime Minister in that meeting was highly impressive – one of the best performances I have seen. I don’t mean just on empathy (always a strength) but on policy, on strategy, on tactics. She is obviously highly involved in the Christchurch Call, not just fronting it. She is driving it.

The combination of her mastery of detail, her actively seeking opinions and taking her own notes, her lack of staff in the room, and also the total lack of barriers between the PM and participants (all sitting around in a circle) made everyone in that room feel they were genuinely being useful, and this wasn’t just tick the box consultation. Her performance reminded me in fact of John Key at various events, as Key had a way of talking with an audience, rather than to an audience, that was first class.

The comments are … interesting.  But Farrar’s analysis is astute.

What does National do?  Wait for three terms?  Attack others?  It seems that a tactic of targeting Ministers they believe are under threat and attacking New Zealand First will be its primary role for the foreseeable future.

But in the meantime Farrar is right.  National is going to get nowhere attacking Jacinda.  How it tempers its natural born to rule tendencies over the next couple of years will be interesting to watch.


95 comments on “I agree with DPF ”

  1. amirite 1

    Sssssh…don't tell the right wing trolls on social media….Let them continue in their stupid ways.

    Also, I find the comparison with John Key who had the fake charm of a snake oil seller, offensive.

    • New Zealanders fell hands over heels in love with John Key and his rags to riches story ?

    • cleangreen 1.2

      smileysmileyWell said amrite maybe Farrar uses algorithms too?

    • Dukeofurl 1.3

      yes. Since when did Key attend a meeting and take notes and listen.

      Farrar gives the reality of Key away by describing ' his expectations' of the meeting as photo ops and surrounded by minders

      • You_Fool 1.3.1

        The bigger give away is when Farrar says that it dawns on him that Jacinda is actually here to listen, not just tell.

        It dawned on me that rather than this being the PM telling us what she is doing, she was genuinely engaging with those in the room for their ideas about various issues and complexities.

  2. Incognito 2

    Both PMs enjoyed high popularity and were misunderstood and therefore underestimated by many. That is where the comparison stops and becomes a contrast.

    I am not a supporter of personality politics and DPF is framing it to construct another of his political narratives. Politics is by definition a collective effort towards ideas that may be implemented as policies for the benefit of all.

    • You mean like Bridges attacking govt for not achieving targets on housing, teacher pay, and all the other things, snicker snicker, national messed up. That substantial, tongue inched, hypocrisy. The govt will win when the opposition are two faced. Farmers are so pleased National emptied out rural nz of employees, forced up capital prices, let them shit in the rivers, it's all good right. Substance is great, but not with the senatorium of our parliament, too few heads, too little actual time to do auditing on ideas.

      • New view 2.1.1

        In my view you are pathetic. Your comment is unsubstantiated drivel. Your hatred of the opposition is obvious but you have to ask yourself why did National stay in Government for three terms. The FACT is they were the largest party and formed governments over that time. Your present Government has promised the world and delivered little so far. Forget about poking sticks at Bridges , he’s not hurting your Government they’re hurting themselves by their inability to get anything done. If you want to solve the issues NZ is facing look to your PM who is overseas doing something else. There’s plenty to do here.

        • soddenleaf

          Nats soft on terrorism! Social media is harvesting hate that killed people in chch. As for national they still haven’t admitted they lost the election, they still think winning the largest vote means under proportionality means they should govern. Though, govern is hardly what they do, since they are the anti governing party as the mess they’ve left.

  3. Wayne 3


    I know the left like to ignore some things about the last government. Like dealing with the GFC and the Christchurch earthquakes. Getting government expenditure under control took a thousand small things, but they collectively added up. And now the Labour Party has accepted the basic settings about the size of government as a percentage of the total economy.

    The biggest lost opportunity was not putting more effort into innovation.

    As for your view that the partial privatisation has caused long term harm to our society, well there speaks a true socialist.

    By the way, I happen to agree with DPF about the PM, as is evident from my various articles in the Spinoff since she first became PM. Her performance as PM to date does not surprise me. It was evident in her first term in parliament, and on the times I have seen her since, that she would do well. And in the last few months she has excelled.

    • Stuart Munro. 3.1

      "Like dealing with … the Christchurch earthquakes."

      You seem to have made a typo Wayne, what you meant to write was "rorting Christchurch earthquake victims so outrageously that a fraction of them will be suing Southern Response for $300million."

    • mickysavage 3.2

      Thanks Wayne. The GFC has been addressed in extensive detail. It was not the fault of Helen and Michael. The fact they had paid crown debt down meant that deficits could then be run with no adverse long term effects. The decision to open the pumps by National was the right decision but one that Cullen had put it into a position to do.

      The Christchurch earthquakes, looking back I am very underwhelmed with what has happened. The city is still in a difficult place.

      Government expenditure was already under control. You just have to look at what had happened to Crown debt to see this.

      As for the share sale there speaks a true capitalist! The sale netted us $4.7 billion but has so far lost us $6.5 billion and this will continue to increase (https://thestandard.org.nz/national-shafted-us-with-the-mom-privatisation/)

      I agree with you about Jacinda!

      • Gosman 3.2.1

        National did not open the pumps. The 2008 PREFU (Before National had got in to office) had already predicted a massive increase in the budget deficit and debt over the next 10 years.

        • Dukeofurl

          The Prefu before the election said that Labours tax cuts -not then operative would lead to a decade of deficits.

          of course National Cancelled those cuts through legislation pre xmas and substituted its own tax cuts .

          Those were later cancelled by English in its first budget 5 months later

          • Gosman

            Not accurate. Have a read of the 2008 PREFU. It does not mention the impact of the tax cuts. In fact the cause is the detoriation in the economy.


            "The weaker economic growth that we are forecasting is reflected in reductions in our tax revenue forecasts. Compared with the Budget Update, we expect tax revenue to be on average around $900 million lower for each of the next three years.

            • The weak outlook for the household sector will have a direct impact through GST, which is forecast to grow by around 4% per annum over the next five years, compared with 7.5% over the six years to 2007.
            • With firms' margins under pressure and profitability low, underlying corporate income tax is forecast to decline by 3% in the 2009 June year, and growth is expected to be negligible in 2010 as accumulated tax losses offset profits.
            • A relatively robust forecast for wages over the next few years helps to keep underlying growth in PAYE up at around 5% per annum.

            The largest single change in government spending in the Pre-election Update is an increase in the expected costs of benefits. Compared with the Budget Update, benefit expenses are around $500 million per annum higher, reflecting both an increase in numbers of beneficiaries as a result of the slowing economy, and the impact of higher inflation on the costs of indexing benefits.

            The cost of some existing policies is higher …

            The cost of some existing policies has increased since the Budget Update, particularly:

            • education spending is around $200 million per annum higher, driven by higher-than-expected take-up of the 20 hours free early childhood education initiative, and
            • KiwiSaver costs are higher, reaching an extra $280 million per annum by 2012, driven by higher-than-expected take-up rates.

            … and debt servicing costs have increased

            As a result of the various factors set out above, the government's debt outlook deteriorates. This leads to higher debt servicing costs, which are forecast to be around $500 million per annum higher.

            These developments lead to a sustained period of operating balance deficits …"

            • Stuart Munro.

              With its decade in power the Gnats achieved less than nothing, and whining about misleading snippets like a 'structural decade of deficits' although broadly descriptive of Gnat performance, doesn't get you off the hook. Had they done a remotely credible job you'd not be needing to endlessly recycle an excuse that was lame when it was first invented, and tired the first time you recycled it.

            • You_Fool

              So, the prediction was for 10 years of deficit when using the government's pre-GFC policies and strategy in the post-GFC environment, and before the Labour Government had a chance to react to it or change policies. Also there was a greater uptake of positive social reforms that would help people throughout the GFC

              So basically, what everyone else said… Labour left the books in good condition, the GFC ruined it all for everyone and we ran 10 years of deficits before getting back into surplus…

              • Gosman

                Unfortunately there was little room for increased expenditure without impacting the deficit EVEN more. This idea that Labour would have been able to maintain their commitments AND spend EVEN more on social spending and not get in to even more debt is just a pipedream.

                • You_Fool

                  I'm not saying that they would spend more and not get in more debt… I am saying basing their reaction to the GFC based on their pre-GFC policy settings is incorrect and disingenuous

                  • Gosman

                    The GFC had already happened and the 2008 PREFU WAS taking in to account the Labour lead governments reaction to it.

      • Dukeofurl 3.2.2

        "Government expenditure was already under control. You just have to look at what had happened to Crown debt to see this."


        That is labour lowered gross crown debt AND put money into the Cullen Fund ( now worth $40 bill)

        While National increased gross debt to well over $80 bill along with off balalnce sheet debt through private finance construction.

        Wayne calls this ' bringing it under control'- well they did tie up the Navy to the wharves for most of the year, so I suppose he thought it was happening.

        • Gosman

          See my response above. The Labour Government DID NOT leave the government finances in as rosy a shape as you imply in 2008.

      • Wayne 3.2.3


        I don't want to get into too much of an argument on this. But I should correct some points you have made.

        It is true that National inherited a situation of very low debt. But we also inherited a situation of unsustainable government spending going forward (you will recall the "decade of deficits"). This was all in the Treasury advice we received.

        So when dealing with the GFC, we had to cut government spending in a wide variety of areas. This included the size of the core civil service, being the 35,000 govt employees in Wellington. It did not include teachers and nurses, whose numbers were allowed to increase in line with population.

        Even so we still went into a deep deficit, peaking at 4% of GDP. The Christchurch earthquakes added to this, to the tune of $20 billion direct government expenditure, spread over four years.

        To cover everything meant four years of heavy borrowing, plus real tight control on government spending as well as freeing up the economy to the extent we did. My recollection of the first two years in government is that it was really challenging, basically a constant stream of bad news. And the Cabinet constantly having to make tough choices.

        The public were actually broadly accepting of the difficult situation, and the state unions were quite restrained in their expectations. They knew things were tough. Only toward the end of 2011did things seem to be getting noticeably better.

        All of which is why the government increased its vote share in 2011 and 2014.

        The first stage of the Christchurch recovery was well underway by late 2011, with massive new house building in the Rollerston area and much renovation and repair work being done. Not all of that was as good as it could have been. But there was around $15 billion new housing and house repairs involved, so some disputes are not so surprising. Infrastructure repairs (roads, power, sewage, water) took another $10 billion, almost none of which was covered by insurance. And then another $15 billion on the CBD (some covered by insurance, but some not) which is still ongoing. One of the reasons why National did as well as it did in electoral terms in Christchurch in 2011 and 2014 is because the people could see the scale of work that was being undertaken.

        So Micky, while you dismiss it all as being "easy, peasy" from 2009 to around 2012/2013, I can assure you that it was much harder than you seem to think. Certainly much tougher than the current environment.

        • Andre

          You forgot to mention deeply cutting government revenue by giving gratuitous massive handouts to the highest income earners. What was it, just a straight gift of around $250k a year and climbing every year to the likes of the NAZ and Fonterra CEOs?

          Yes, I'm referring to the income tax give-back.

        • You_Fool

          Suggesting that pre-GFC labour policies would have continued post-GFC is the problem I have with you and other NAT people…. Labour would have had to react as well, would have had the same challenges, and would have to come up with solutions just the same (probably more tax on the rich, plus selected cost cutting)

          Saying it was all Labours fault is incorrect.. it was (apparently/mostly) American bankers being greedy….

          • Wayne

            I am not suggesting it was all Labour’s fault. Rather that 2009 to about 2013 were particularly difficult years to be in government, with both the GFC and the Christchurch earthquakes.

            mickysavage seems to think it was all easygoing with no particular challenges. And that National just sat on its hands. He is wrong.

            In contrast the current government doesn’t seem to be doing much despite good economic times. A lot of social indicators going backwards. Flagship policies seemingly in real trouble.

            For instance, what about rail to Marsden Point. There is a study. Not good enough. Get on and do it!

            Maybe the Budget will reveal all.

    • Formerly Ross 3.3


      If you seriously think selling the family silver to maintain spending makes economic sense, I would be interested to know what relevant formal qualifications you hold. The former financial expert for National, Steven Joyce, has a degree in zoology. Are you similarly qualified?

      • Andre 3.3.1

        Selling the family silver is a crap analogy. Family silver is mostly useless, indeed even a liability for the time spent polishing it, insurance cost etc for zero return.

        National just treated the asset sales proceeds as general income, rather than ring-fencing it and ensuring it went back into capital investments for our future well-being. That's more akin to selling the family farm or family business or even family home to buy a flash car and fancy overseas holiday.

      • Gosman 3.3.2

        Why do you assume owning power company shares is equivalent to having "Family silver"? South Africa owns it's electricity generating and distribution company 100% (Very much like the old ECNZ) and it is costing the country billions every year. Money that could be better spent on providing support for the poorer sections of South African society. In NZ Solid energy was the equivalent. Taxpayers lost millions as a result of owning that company.

        • left_forward

          Paying dividends and profits to shareholders increases costs Gossy. Are you a little maths challenged?

        • woodart

          taxpayers lost millions because english demanded solid energy borrow unsustainable amounts of money to try and pay unsustainable returns . before english interferred, solid energy was a solid company.

          • Gosman

            Yes Government interference tends to mess commercial companies up. Thank you for making my point.

            • Incognito

              I think you missed the point that English was doing these things willingly and knowingly …

              • Gosman

                Yes exactly. Government interference tends to mess commercial businesses up.

      • cleangreen 3.3.3


        Well said there FR couldn’t had said it better.

        Wayne is another one in the PR game obviously?

        See my comments on 8.2.

        Listen to what national was up to in 2014 it was a bad dream event then.

        http://www.thepaepae.com/wp-uploads/2014/08/Boag-Hooton-Williams-RadioLIVE-Sunday-morning-31Aug14.mp3 24057464 audio/mpeg

    • Robert Guyton 3.4

      "The biggest lost opportunity was not putting more effort into innovation."

      National lack innovativeness, Wayne?

      That's a sad state of affairs, especially in light of the desperate need for innovative thinking and behaviour at this point of human history.

    • cleangreen 3.5

      Sorry Wayne you right wrong, people are so tired of personality politics anyway.

      True some cabinet MP’s are useless or not working with the public, but she needs to clean that up anyway soon.

      It is yet another worn our hackneyed clique you are constructing there sunshine.

      try using this use of algorithms instead.

      Will National use algorithms to steal the 2020 election?

      Our election can be changed using this – In words of Verhofstadt, “in a world where an algorithm determines all outcomes, politics no longer exits.”


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  4. AB 4

    Agree that Ardern is impressive in a number of areas and not just the ones you would expect.

    However I suspect Farrar is mostly just pleased to discover that she poses no major ideological or financial threat to the class whose interests he serves.

    • left_forward 4.1


      Didn't we just see the greedy class threatened by the scary prospect of having to pay some tax on their gains?

      • AB 4.1.1

        Sure – but the prospect didn't materialise, Though to be fair that wasn't the PM's fault.

  5. Robert Guyton 5

    What does National do?

    You forgot "attempt to capture the green vote"

  6. Dennis Frank 6

    Yes, I agree with you & DPF. The story actually tells us more about her too: that she is authentic, has an intuitive understanding of how to make a political meeting a productive process, can read the room, is so confident in her judgment of safety that she can shed her minders when they are likely to handicap the process by changing the mood of those present.

    It tells me that her performance as PM has suffered from the handicap of having to work with too many mediocre colleagues, and that she is likely to excel in better company.

  7. Shame our Political leaders these days, Right and Centre, are simply winning and being judged on likability and charm, rather than enactment of worth while policies and real measurements of change.

  8. Sacha 8

    The movers and shakers in the last govt were Joyce and English, not Key. The whole 'focus on the frontperson' tactic was a great distraction from that, as Farrar well knows.

    When people ask what Ardern was doing during her time in opposition, the answer is collaborative policy development. That's how she strengthened the skills Davey is now observing.

    • Enough is Enough 8.1

      What collaborative policy development?

      Jacinda is many great things but is certainly not known for development of policy. That was almost entirely lead by Grant, Andrew and David Cunliffe.

    • cleangreen 8.2

      Again Sasha more crap you are spinning there.

      Joyce was found by your own best friend 'Matthew Hooten' to be corrupt and released the evifdence of it on the talkback show in 2014 around the time of that election, when Joyce had illegally promoted a roading contact through his own mega agency he constructed to control us all called MBIE, sunshine.

      Joyce was more corrupt far more than English was , -so don't go down that road. Duncan Garner, Michele Boag and Mike Williams were there and heard the Revelations that Joyce illegally did a illegal deal through MBIE to get a $100 million Dollar road across the line without doing it legally.

      « Sean Plunket comes around on the Watergate comparison (‘Dirty Politics’)The escape of exnzpat, Part 24 »

      Matthew Hooton’s assertions re the Prime Minister’s Office Posted in 31 August 2014

      Peter Aranyi9 Comments »

      hooton‘Explosive’ is one of those words that gets kicked around in politics and political reporting to the point where it’s almost lost its meaning. But it’s not an exaggeration to describe right wing spin doctor and self-declared National Party loyalist Matthew Hooton‘s performance on Radio LIVE this morning as incendiary.

      He effectively called Prime Minister John Key ‘dishonest’, said the PM’s office and chief of staff Wayne Eagleson is implicated in the Dirty Tricks scandal (viz. the SIS-Goff-OIA affair) and more, described Jason Ede’s black-ops brigade as ‘acting under orders’.

      And in a fiery exchange, he described former National Party President (and present-day apologist) Michelle Boag as ‘a hack’ with ‘no political views’ who is ‘all about is defending a government that has behaved in ways that [are] literally indefensible and you know it’ …

      Listen for yourself. UPDATE: The ‘fiery exchange’ has now been highlighted as a RadioLIVE editor’s audio pick here. — Available on demand at RadioLIVE.co.nz dial up Sunday 10am.* Click to listen at Radio LIVE Click to listen at Radio LIVE (archived below) * I’ve archived it here too (audio player below) because RadioLIVE only keeps 7 days audio available and I’ve noticed sometimes Mediaworks launders its talkback station’s audio feed when things get … contentious. Mark Sainsbury hosts ‘Sunday morning’ at RadioLIVE with guests Michelle Boag, Mike Williams, Matthew Hooton & Duncan Garner 31 Aug 2014 MP3 file enclosure:

      http://www.thepaepae.com/wp-uploads/2014/08/Boag-Hooton-Williams-RadioLIVE-Sunday-morning-31Aug14.mp3 24057464 audio/mpeg

      • Sacha 8.2.1

        How does any of that relate to what I said?

        • cleangreen

          Sasha; Listen to the 'audio clip' and don't make me work for your 'PR firm' for free here. Pay me and I can do your own work then.

      • Robert Guyton 8.2.2

        Cleangreen, with all due respect and acknowledging it's none of my business, I think you've misunderstood Sacha's comment @8 and responded with an inappropriate first sentence. I know it's foolish to put my spoke in here, and I'll come across as a sticky-beak, but it just don't seem right behaving' that-a-way smiley

        • cleangreen


          Sasha said"The movers and shakers in the last govt were Joyce and English, not Key".

          We met Steven Joyce and watch his performance in Government but when Sasha puts Steven Joyce up as the shinning light of national, so we needed to set the record straight.

          Sasha has no close relationship with Steven Joyce as our group has been with this crooked man.

          Did you listen to the whole audio clip?

          • Sacha

            'Movers and shakers' does not mean the same as 'shining light'.

            If anything, that fits what they used Key for – to draw attention away from those doing most of the actual harm. Joyce has a lot of blood on his hands.

            • Obtrectator

              " …. that fits what they used Key for …. "

              And what the USA's "they" are using Trump for.

          • Robert Guyton

            Crooked men can still perform as movers and shakers, sadly.

            • cleangreen

              Yes Steven Joyce was crooked period & time proved that and he was the 'strategist (I call his Propagandist) of the national Party.

  9. JohnSelway 9

    I’ve always found Farrar the most reasonable commentator on the right and enjoy reading Kiwiblog though I rarely agree with his politics.

    • SHG 9.1


    • Muttonbird 9.2

      Thanks for that, numbnuts.

      • JohnSelway 9.2.1

        Doesn’t that constitute pointless abuse? I’m mean – what in the fuck lead to that? Get your nuts stuck in your fly or something?

        • Muttonbird

          What lead to it? A dumb comment is what lead to it.

          You're a big boy – try not to run off to the mods.

          • JohnSelway

            Right so your conversational style is akin to that of a toddler smearing their own faeces on the wall.

  10. infused 10

    honestly? just sit tight and wait of the economic slow down which has started. once it starts to bite it will be interesting what labour does.

    labour have had it pretty easy until now, but the pressure is on. people dont care until it affects them. aka cgt.

    • cleangreen 10.1

      infused you are absolutely right;

      Yes as we all heard as Winston Peters was on that day saying he is going with Labour he warned that we will face some hard roads going forward and signaled of another global crash in future so he said it then why we need a better less harsh Government to take over to take us through the next GFC.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 10.1.1

        typical Winston. Preloading his own failure and ineptitude so he can drink his way under the low bar he sets himself

    • New view 10.2

      Great comment Infused. Touchy feely politics will get the Labour coalition another term if there’s money in the pot. So far they have been using the money but not doing much to replenish it. They have had a free ride because the global financial situation has remained relatively stable but that could change very quickly. No Government remains popular for long when the economics turns bad. Labour became the Government because it promised to fix everything. They better hope the economy will hold together long enough to at least complete some of their long list of promises. JA is using a lot of her energy and time saving the world. Saving her own country at home might be more productive.

  11. Unicus 11

    Can anyone imagine John Key being facial recognised – chairing leading or even coherently speaking at a conference of this stature –

    DF should take up writing farce –

  12. indiana 12

    One things for sure, you'll never see National MP's paraphrasing a Kenny Rogers song about Jacinda!

  13. mosa 13

    Key never "talked to an audience " he lied to the audience.

    That is National for " first class "

  14. Tuppence Shrewsbury 14

    I’ve always felt Jacinda to be underrated. I get the empathy side of things, but getting down to brass tacks I’ve always felt she has had a different approach. One which works when it is taken for what it is and not compared to other politicians more dictatorial approaches.

    where I feel she lacks is the cohesive communications strategy required to get her way of working effectively messaged to the electorate, which is amplified by the group of numpties around her. Aside from Parker and Robertson, there is no one on the front benches with any ability. And Parker / Robertson are too busy to be out I front the whole time.

    • patricia bremner 14.1

      Are you suggesting a man should lead for her? Surely not?

      Labour caucus voted for her to take over from Andrew Little unanimously. Andrew nominated Jacinda Ardern and Annette King seconded her. Finally they had a quality Leader who could connect.

      Andrew was honest enough to know he lacked flair and that essence which binds people, although he is a classy negotiator, he does not inspire.

      Jacinda has that rare quality of making people feel connected and hopeful.

      She speaks clearly and gives straight answers to questions. She knows she is blending disparate views, but she does this by looking for common ground.

      Often I see the impatience for change here. Our PM governs for all. She wants lasting and valuable changes which make people's lives better.

      As for Farrar, there is no coat-tail in National currently, so the biggest one in Labour will do.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 14.1.1

        No, I'm not. Get offended though. I don't care.

        Andrew was honest enough to realise the electorate thought he was unelectable. Not only does he lack flair, he lacks any ability to communicate in a thoughtful and respectful manner and then responding to questions in a non-confrontational way.

        You don't need to fangirl me. I've always thought Jacinda way better than her detractors give her credit for and so far above S Bridges it's not even a contest.

        Her biggest leadership problem is she's got a team of idiots around her and no strategy for sorting out the communications from the whole team. So they look uncoordinated and inept. In some areas, like phil twyford, they just are. In others, it's just that the right message hasn't been used, like robertson on the economy. Quietest finance minister we've seen in a while. not that that's a bad thing.

  15. Mark 15

    Princess J is impressive….at looking impressive…..but only to the gullible.

    DPF has a beta male tendency to 'reach across the aisle' and appear 'fair and balanced' on occasion.

    Kiwibuild is a fiasco, and when she surrrendered on CGT without firing a single shot – that was a friggin disgrace.

  16. peterlepaysan 16

    DPF is a professional spinner. John Key could be spun. Jacinda Ardern cannot.

    DPF is not being devious (for once).

    The Labour leadership does not look too fragile (I have ?? about some). National do not have much in the way of options.

    No doubt the assorted media vultures and jackals in their self aggrandising way will be sniffing around what they think might be juicy prey.

    They will probably focus on NZF and the Greens

    • cleangreen 16.1


      National will again resort to the try’d and tested "Dirty politics" again like they did in the last two elections.

  17. Michael 17

    The Nats will definitely play dirty once Crusher takes over. It's their tried and true path to power. As for Jacinda Ardern, she's saved Labour's bacon on at least three occasions (that I know of). If she wasn't fronting for them Labour would not be in government today; instead, it would be frothing around in a frenzy of self-cannibalisation, tinged with invariable elements of "why not me"" from assorted pretenders to the Iron Throne. While all this theatre is entertaining, especially to political junkies like me, it serves to mask the fact that real, necessary, changes to the way we live and organise ourselves is not happening, at least not in a top-down rational manner. Instead, under a government committed to maintaining the neoliberal status quo, our social and environmental standards continue to degrade (I predict the government will manipulate its "wellbeing" metrics to obscure reality). So too, do the quality of our lives (stand fast the one percenters), as the "free market" continues to operate in their favour. The tragedy of all this, from my perspective anyway, is that Labour governments were supposed to be agents of change: they had the intellectual grunt, the moral courage and the independence from vested interests to make those necessary changes. After which a grateful public duly dumped them in favour of the Nats, who spent their time in opposition screeching against Labour's every move but duly went ahead and continued to implement them after getting their claws on the baubles of office once more. The political cycle may have been unfair but I maintain that politicians from the left should never even try to become part of the establishment. We see what happens when they do.

    • Sacha 17.1

      "Labour governments were supposed to be agents of change: they had the intellectual grunt, the moral courage and the independence from vested interests to make those necessary changes."

      Yet after the first one in the 1930s they have not; just gone along with the same neoliberal tosh they put in place in 1984. Not sure what moral cowardice looks like if that's your idea of courage.

  18. patricia bremner 18

    This is not a Labour Government. It is a coalition. That means compromise, That is a dirty word for some.

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