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I disagree

Written By: - Date published: 1:53 pm, September 26th, 2014 - 112 comments
Categories: election 2014, labour - Tags:

So there’s a serious disconnect between Labour gaining 5 electorate seats and getting their worst result since 1922.

Is that just because Labour failed to ask hard enough for the party vote?

When I stood as a candidate in 2011 the perceived wisdom was that a good local candidate / campaign can make a maximum 2% difference to the party vote result.


The big difference on party vote was on: primarily, the leader and whether people like him/her and what they have to say; and secondly, the caucus (/central spokespeople) and whether they looked like a team ready to govern and liked what they had to say.

So while there are some glaring examples (Clayton Cosgrove) of scared MPs running a non-Labour electorate campaign which most definitely will not be helpful (and the Labour General Electorate hoardings should have had a tick by Labour as well as the candidate like the Maori Electorate ones), I think the disparity is largely explained by a local effect.

People see their local Labour representative, they like them and what they’re saying, but they don’t have faith in the Labour caucus/leader – so they split their vote like they know they’re able.  Even if their local candidate is asking first and foremost for a party vote.

A similar effect is seen in the US, where only 12% trust Congress as a whole, but most people will return their local Congressman – because they trust them, just not the others – nationwide…

Barring a few MPs with a sense of self-preservation, I would say Labour is gearing up much more for MMP, with their hubs to concentrate on Party Vote, and targets based on PV.

I don’t think the result can be blamed on the organisation (which could do with better funding, so it can do more – but that’s a separate issue), or on the policies, which seemed generally popular.

Beyond that I’ll leave my comments on the result, and where the blame does lie, to a long email to Moira to go into the review.  Just like all Labour folk should be doing, instead of talking to journalists, feeding their desired story.

Instead I’ll be focussing my political energies on keeping the government held to account.

Media: also time for you to move on and let the internal process take its time.  If you want to help democracy, this process needs to take some time to think through the issues and work out the best way forward for a voice for all who Labour represents – not urgently hounded resignations.

112 comments on “I disagree”

  1. Mark 1

    Labour needs to understand that they left us 30 years ago and have never come back.
    The problem I have had for several elections now is if I vote for Labour or any other party on the left I am letting those arseholes like Mallard , Goff, King back into power.
    It will never happen. All the people of my age that I worked with on the left over several decades are of the same view. It is either don’t vote or if the left looks likely vote right just to keep them out. I’m retirement age and all the friends with who I fought the battles of the 70s and 80s and 90s are of a like mind. Fuck Labour and everything it stands for.

    • Chris 1.1

      Absolutely. Labour had the opportunity to strengthen a support partner in Mana and obliterate the Maori Party for the sell out bunch they are. What did Labour do? Destroyed its coalition partner and propped up an ally for Key. With the likes of Davis in parliament for Labour the party’s a write-off. Davis going hard out to destroy Hone has to be the most idiotic thing ever experienced at election time since the beginning of MMP. Voters may understand MMP but Labour strategists definitely don’t.

      • phillip ure 1.1.1

        @ mark..+ @ chris..


      • Rodel 1.1.2

        Don’t be so stupid. If you offer yourself as a candidate as Davis did..Jeez! What are you supposed to do? Say, ” Hey, I’m standing but please don’t vote for me. ”
        That’s Act/National behaviour. Devious but unfortunately effective..

        • aerobubble

          Yet within the rules. And as the author of this thread points out, people split vote. Split voting is not devious, its smart, it gives a Epsom voter three local MPs, Seymour, Goldsmith and Genter.

          Cunliffe pushed Mana into the hands of Dotcom. He gave National the opportunity by dividing the left, leaving voices both from Greens and from within Caucus, a cacophany, that Hager and then Dotcom stepped into.
          Key walked past the nonsense. Cunliffe created by thinking like he was the leader of a large party, instead of learning to build a large party FIRST. Cunliffe failed to raise his parties ratings, since he had only as year, then he failed to appreciate he needed to cut the noise down. Hindsight sure, but he’s the politician.

          And when you do get into a alliance, you get into local MPs and split voting.

          After a strong leader leaves, there are a plethora of minster who think that they could be leader, since the leader would come around and boost their egos. They are all spoiled, incapable of acting ruthlessly, yes even devious, in order to prove their vaue to voters. Who like leaders with that ability. Key, when his polls permit, and reach great leader status, jumps to the right to implement some rich pricks idea of a wet dream, three strikes, charter schools…

    • weka 1.2

      Which makes you as bad as the Labour neoliberals. Hatred and the need for retribution are highly understandable reactions. They’re not a useful basis for action.

      • Chris 1.2.1

        Apart from returning the likes of keys and his nactoid henchman back to government at every election from now on, where’s even the slightest bit of hope Labour’s good for anything anymore? Where’s even the tiniest bit of evidence they’re ever going to change? They’re completely moribund in their own divisiveness. Labour’s proved they don’t respond to rationale discussion. It’s just lost on them. Under the circumstances no amount of disdain towards Labour can ever be too much. Maybe straight out abuse is something they’ll understand?

        • weka

          it’s not straight out abuse though. It’s condemning a whole nation of people and the country it exists in. The way you are coming across is that revenge on Labour is more important than the well being of people or the country.

          Change is so much easier under a left wing govt than a right wing one. Even if Labour are irredemiably fucked (which I agree is most likely), having a right wing govt compounds the problem exponentially.

          (they will never understand outright abuse, and they won’t care. The agenda is power and retaining the status quo).

          • blue leopard

            +100 Weka

          • Chris

            How then, can it be conveyed to Labour that it needs to stop its National-lite bullshit? Now that Robertson and Ardern are likely leaders this happening looks more remote than ever.

            • weka

              Pretty sure that Labour are aware of the various opinions about them, so I don’t think that it’s about conveying to them that the party should stop being National lite. They already know that, it’s just that too many of them disagree.

              Here’s what I think,

              1. some people need to do the work on looking at the constitution and where the power lies for the membership and then explain that in plain language to the public (via the blogsphere and social media first I think, just because it’s the easiest way to get it out there).

              A good, clear explanation of how the party structures work would be important too (eg how LECs work, who gets positions of power and why, how voting works etc). I’ve been watching the Labour drama for the past couple of years discussed on ts and it’s kind of gobsmacking that I still don’t understand how the internals of Labour work. Lynn made a good comment the other day about election campaigns and how the internal workings of Labour aren’t working, but that comment sank like a stone. But those are the conversations that we should be having.

              2. once we know what is actually possible, then some people can look at developing strategies. Again, put this in the public domain in clear, easily accessible ways.

              3. once those things are done, people can choose to get involved or not. If there is an actual plan of actions that can change things, I think people will be more inclined to put their time and effort into that.

              This whole thing is about power. It’s a reflection of what happens in society. The power issues within in Labour are structural (thanks puddleglum) just like they are in society. Many people end up feeling powerless because they’re not being listened to, but the empowerment isn’t just in trying to be heard, it’s in taking power and using it.

              There is already a clear example of how this works with the change to the constitution that gave the membership more power over leadership selection. That is the main thing that gives me some hope that Labour can change. Nothing to do with the MPs finally coming to their senses and listening to the proles.

            • blue leopard

              I will just butt into this conversation to mention that voting for National in reaction to the ‘1980s Labour’ would actually give Labour the message of a need to be more centrist, not less. This is the case if many people are doing what you are saying they are (and voting for National in objection to Labour being neoliberalist/centrist). i.e. The more popularity National get, the more people/MPs in Labour will think they need to be more like National.

              For sending a message via voting, therefore, it would be best to vote for parties that are further left – the more people support those parties, the more Labour would feel the need to go in that direction.

              Voting National to ‘punish’ Labour or ‘send them a message’ is a massive case of shooting oneself (ones’ political aims) in the foot.

              [The electorate vote is a different matter however. If Labour MPs continue to be disruptive and show lack of discipline with leaking etc, I plan to vote for the most likely electorate candidate to oust the Labour candidate – if that happens to be a National candidate, that will be who I support.]

              • Chris

                I have to say that I’ve at no point advocated a vote for National as a protest against Labour losing its traditional values. What I have said is that Labour deserves derision and disdain for continuing on its right-wing path because no amount of rational discussion goes anywhere near getting the current mob to understand.

                • blue leopard

                  Sorry if I characterised what you were saying incorrectly, I didn’t mean to.

                  All I am saying is that if you want to send a message via voting to go further left-wing – then you need to vote for further left-wing parties. They will then see that this is where votes are being changed.

                  Voting for right wing parties sends the message that the right wing approach is what you want.

                  • blue leopard


                    All I am saying is that if you want to send a message via voting to go further left-wing – then you need to vote for further left-wing parties. Politicians will then see that this is where the popular policies are.

                    [That other version was badly written and didn’t make sense!]

                    • Chris

                      I agree that voting for more left wing parties sends the message, but I don’t think that doing this is mutually exclusive to what I suggested earlier.

                    • blue leopard

                      I was responding to the line of conversation started by Mark, who said there were many in NZ who voted National to spite Labour’s stance in the ’80s, and which I understood you to have agreed to (‘Absolutely’ comment 1.1)

                      My original comment was in direct response to the question you asked:

                      “How then, can it be conveyed to Labour that it needs to stop its National-lite bullshit? Now that Robertson and Ardern are likely leaders this happening looks more remote than ever.”

                      To which I responded: by supporting parties further to the left.

                    • Chris

                      Yes, I can read. And I agreed that voting further to left sends a message to Labour. What’s your point?

        • mike


          His name is actually Key not Keys

      • Colonial Viper 1.2.2

        Although that’s not what the history of politics tells us.

        Also I think Mark quite clearly states that him and his mates won’t be supporting any “action” helpful to Labour.

        Labour suffers from a serious multi-decade schism, and it is now no longer concealable.

        • weka

          by all means take down Labour. Just don’t do it at the expense of the country.

          “or if the left looks likely vote right just to keep them out.”

          That’s just insane. Understandable sentiment, but fucked up action.

          “Although that’s not what the history of politics tells us.”


          • Colonial Viper

            Hate, retribution and utu have been drivers of politics forever. Since the days Homer was writing, and before then.

            “or if the left looks likely vote right just to keep them out.”

            That’s just insane. Understandable sentiment, but fucked up action.

            Mostly people just stay home. About 1.1M of them this time.

            • weka

              sure, but that’s not what this discussion is about. Mark said he will either not vote, or if hte left looks like winning he will vote National. One can hate Labour all one likes, but it’s not ok to punish the rest of the country as well.

              “Hate, retribution and utu have been drivers of politics forever. Since the days Homer was writing, and before then.”

              That’s not examples. I’m asking for examples of where using hatred and retribution as the basis of action (not the motivator) is useful.

              • Chris

                I see what you’re saying: why vote for a party you despise just because the party you once supported has let you down? Yes, I see, but there is another logic – whether you agree with it or not – which is that Labour has become so hopelessly ineffective it needs a complete and utter clean up and clean out, a total reinvention that no tweaking like a change of leadership (with the current mob especially) can ever achieve, and that the only way to get this message through is for Labour to become so irrelevant that such a total and thorough reinvention becomes the only option for them. Sure, it’s painful, but surely Labour is so hopelessly dysfunctional that no amount of repair work will fix things. They need fundamental change. A new leader (or leader in waiting) from outside would be a good start.

                • weka

                  Oh I understand the logic perfectly well Chris. But the strategy fails. For it to work you would need to have the members abandon Labour en masse and I just don’t see that happening. If that doesn’t happen Labour will carry on irrespective of whether they are in govt or not, and if the ABCs win this round their politics will remain entrenched for a very long time. The end result of that is that nothing else will be allowed to rise in Labour’s place and we will be lose any chance of shifting NZ to the left again.

                  If you really want to take Labour down, you have to organise. Giving power to National will never do it.

                • Andrea

                  “A new leader (or leader in waiting) from outside would be a good start.”

                  You want another ‘Smiling Assassin’?

                  Please, no.

      • Mark 1.2.3

        You have to understand that the Labour Party is where it is not because of policy or bad PR or David Cunliffe but because it is at the beck and call of the 1984/ABC faction and has been for most of the last 30 years. I don’t have to apologize to anyone for voting to keep those shits out of power. I spent a big part of my adult life helping them into power and I will spend the rest of it trying to keep them out. Until the Labour Party and the left in general learns to deal to its right wing factions as ruthlessly as the National Party does to its critics then it consigns itself to the political wilderness. And if I can help them stay there I will. I detest the National Party and everything they stand for but I detest the 1984+ ABC faction 1000 times more. Is it to much to ask for a politician or party to have “Integrity”. When I first got involved it was essential. Now it is a nice to have.

        • weka

          I understand who the ABCs are, and the historical context. I support radical change for Labour, whether that’s internal or its death. I just think your strategy is faulty (see my comment to Chris above). Worse, it seems fuelled by personal vendetta, so taking Labour down is more important than the wellbeing of the country and this leads to tactics and strategy that aren’t actually working but doing damage in the meantime.

          • weka

            btw, I think what we are going through now with National is akin to what happened in the 80s. NZ never recovered from Labour’s betrayal, and I see the same kinds of shock and disconnect happening now. What National is doing is massive, way worse than what they did in the 90s. If Labour were to fall today and a genuine left wing party was to arise and take power, it would still take a generation to undo the damage. Another 3 years and it will be twice as worse.

            So you guys can play your revenge politics, and in the meantime we wil keep losing precious ground. We will also lose the last remaining chance we have to avert catastrophic AGW and that will make what Labour did in the 80s look like a kindergarten sandpit fight.

            Shit, if you really want to do something, then do something.

            • Mark

              You really need to get a far better understanding of what happened 84/96. In the not to distant past traitors were shot/ hanged. We can’t do that to these arseholes so I will do the next best thing I can. I will try to deny them the one thing they crave ahead of all else. POWER. If you think the left can go anywhere but down while these arses are still pulling the strings you are badly mistaken. They continue to reinforce their position to the point where the right wing is now the dominant force in the Labour Party. It is not difficult to recruit people to the non vote cause. They had come to the same conclusions as I have but didn’t want to face the fact they had been duped. You will never get the missing million back in my lifetime.

              • weka

                You’ve not addressed my points though. You can’t deny them power unless you can either get the membership to abandon Labour (in which case their election machine collapses), or you can get almost everyone to stop voting Labour. In the absence of those things all you are doing is entrenching power in the MPs that are there for their careers (the ABCs). They won’t give up, Labour will struggle on, and they will actively undermine any attempts to build any other kind of left wing parliamentary-based political movement. At the same time, if you get enough people voting National, we will lose ground on all the important stuff, and it will become even harder to effect change. Maybe in 20 years Labour will finally collapse but it will be too late by then.

                Your intentions are good, your tactics suck, and your strategy probably does too.

                I understand well enough what happend in the 80s and then Clark’s years. The membership needs to look at its part in this as well, then and now.

                • Mark

                  You just don’t get it. When you keep doing the same thing again and again and somehow expect a different result you are denying reality. The Labour Party was captured in 1984 by the right and despite numerous attempts to drag it back to the left, Labour is still the National Party in drag.
                  Its all yours, you are fucking welcome to it but don’t expect people to come back in any numbers to a party that so many left wing people hate with a passion.

                  • weka

                    dude, I’m not a Labour party member and I’ve never voted Labour. I’m not the one doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I don’t expect people to come back to Labour when it’s still betraying the left. I think you really aren’t listening to what I am saying. I agree with everything you say except the bit about voting National as a strategy to bring down Labour (maybe not voting too).

              • mickysavage

                Too harsh Mark. I was a member of the Labour Party from 1976 to 1987 and then left until 1999. There are thousands of members like me. We disapproved of Rogernomics, I left, others stayed and fought to get rid of the rogernomes.

                The members of the Labour Party and their insistence that the party respects the principles of the party is an extraordinarily powerful thing.

                There are some very good Members of Parliament in Labour’s ranks. Us members just need to work to ensure that the quality and the commitment are as high as possible.

                • Mark

                  Mickey, there are tens of thousands like me. Its meant to be harsh because they screwed hundreds of thousands of people’s lives up and it wasn’t the Nats that did it to us, it was our own fucking party. And some of them are still there and we are meant to move on. Like fuck. I worked with people that couldn’t cope with all the work and life changes and pulled the plug. Good people who had their lives turned upside down by the pursuit of an economic theory by these same arseholes you now want me to support.
                  With a little bit of luck this leadership farce will lose you another chunk of support. All i hope for is to live long enough to piss on the corpse of the New Zealand Labour Party.

                  • mickysavage

                    And I can clearly read and understand your anger but I disagree that the Labour Party is permanently tainted although individuals may be. Supporting National so that Labour does not succeed may incrementally make things worse. And I appreciate that arguing incremental change may cause further anger but in an MMP environment it is always incremental.

                    • Mark

                      Sorry Mickey, I cant agree. The party may not be tainted with the under 50s but anyone older than that who was involved in that time from the mid- eighties when we were shafted will never forget or forgive. The utter chaos it caused in so many peoples lives that I knew is hard to put into words. Once you have been through something like that there is no way back. Plenty of my friends stayed involved at first or moved to New Labour or then the Alliance but to a person none are now. I know your heart is the right place but what you are doing is an exercise in futility.
                      The Labour Party has no soul. It died in 1984.

                    • i have to say i pretty much agree with everything mark has said..

                      ..while those neo-lib bastards still have their boots on the throat of the labour party..

                      ..the labour party is fucked..

                      ..how to get rid of them..?

                      ..i dunno..

                      ..booting out cunnliffe and putting in robertson will just cement in their grip on labour..

                      ..this current struggle is very very important for the future of the labour party..

                      ..and the chances of/for progressive change..

                    • adam

                      Micky for a very intelligent and empathetic man – you have a blind spot. You desire not to see anyone else suffer is something I respect you for immensely, but again you have a blind spot.

                      Look how many people did not vote.
                      look at what middle NZ did vote for
                      and finally look at what one faction in the labour party did.

                      They lost the election, the stabbed the left in the back, and now they are going to break the hearts of those who have nothing, by walking away from them again.

                      Please Mickey, you know I’m a left wing shit head. I’m a jumped up libertarian communalist. I ‘d love labour to be the party of the 1916 constitution again, hell I’d even settle for a Harry Holland or Peter Fraser. But those days are gone, and they knew that labour was at the very least, there to protect working people from untether capitalism. At best the active promotion of socialism. Labour gave up that mantle and it’s been a badge of shame ever since. Look there are some amazing people in labour. But as a machine, as a party, it’s broken and after 30 years it can’t be fixed.

              • Oh, David Lange also signed away NZ’s ability to regulate it’s own finances when he signed the Reserve Bank act in 1988 written by none other than Don Brash who is best mates with some of the nastiest Neocons in the US and who hosted the daddy of all Milton Friedman here in NZ on a yacht for a holiday. Well, well, well. It is all beginning to make sense now. I always said they are just another head of the same dragon now I know why.

          • Chris

            “…so taking Labour down is more important than the wellbeing of the country and this leads to tactics and strategy that aren’t actually working but doing damage in the meantime.’

            Labour’s demise could also for some on the Left simply be a hope rather than an objective actively worked towards. I’ve always thought that Labour getting utterly trounced at an election is way better than being pipped at the post. The former has a greater possibility of real change within the Labour Party whereas the latter just encourages them.

            • Ron

              The silly thing is that not voting Labour will not effect change. We had a good chance in last weeks election to effect change by increasing party vote and thus bringing in some great new members. The list this year had some of the best people available and if our party vote held up they would now be entering parliament. That would have had more to create change in the party than any other single thing. People chose to not give Labour the party vote for whatever reason and we will have to wait for another day to get the change we want. MMP requires that change comes via the list not from parachuting people into safe electorate seats.

            • weka

              “Labour’s demise could also for some on the Left simply be a hope rather than an objective actively worked towards. I’ve always thought that Labour getting utterly trounced at an election is way better than being pipped at the post. The former has a greater possibility of real change within the Labour Party whereas the latter just encourages them.”

              True, which is why I am suggesting that if you want to take Labour down at least do it properly. Not voting, or worse, voting National is just entrenching power in the ABCs. In the meantime things get so much worse for the country, incuding those struggling the most, and a lot of that is going to be extremely difficult to fix the longer this goes on.

        • travellerev

          Thank you Mark, I have only lived here for 9 years and my knowledge about Labour history had some bloody great bit holes in it. This explains a lot about the strange disconnect between the party and NZ’s population I sensed. It also explains the disconnect between the 1.1 million non voters many of whom are enrolled to vote and politics in general.

      • adam 1.2.4

        I disagree Weka, I think hatred can be a fine motivator. Indeed in the case of labour, people have been slow in showing the hate they have felt for the party, who sold working people out to untethered capitalism. I’d argue that is reflected in the large number of non-voters and by the constant internal wars labour fight. Even when Helen was in power – the internal wars in labour were hellish. Helen just did a better job of hiding it.

        I also think, many labour activists are disallusional about the hate and anger that is held towards them and their party. Especially when they stick the knife into their allies on the left – which is where I agree with Mr Hope. The left/right divide is within labour and it does more to hurt the left than the right.

        I just wish the left in labour would see they are in a very dead, hated organization. Yes I know you care, and I know you’re good people – but good people do bad things and history will show – by keeping the labour party alive – you have supported villainy.

        • weka

          You misunderstand. There is nothing wrong with hating Labour (I have said as much). And nothing wrong with using that hate to motivate action. The problem is when the choice of action is dictated by the hate. That’s what I was talking about. If you want to take Labour down at least do it in a productive manner.

          “The left/right divide is within labour and it does more to hurt the left than the right.”

          Except at the moment we have both, which compounds the problem. And voting National to spite Labour makes that worse IMO.

          I would say that 95% or more of the discussion I have seen since Sat night has been about what Labour should do. Very few people are strategising about what we can do, or how Labour could be changed in practical terms. I have to admit I’m losing patience, and the idea of another three years of us all arguing online without actually doing something is starting to piss me off.

          • adam

            I did misinterpret you Weka, Thanks for the clarification.

            I feel you on that.

            ” I have to admit I’m losing patience, and the idea of another three years of us all arguing online without actually doing something is starting to piss me off.”

            I thought I was plain in my plan, hopes, and desire. The left need to exclude labour. Treat it like the dead donkey it is. And start working together with left parties and left organisations for a more robust debate and society.

            I think labour are a distraction and undercut the left. They have done it for a while, and now it’s just getting silly. What is worse is, good people fall for it – over and over.

            I think Iprent, Wayne Hope, Chris Trotter and others had offered some good insight to how the machine works for labour, but many have not listened. The labour machine is broken and the activist who keep trying to fix it seem like Don Quixote. I want to beg them to stop, for there own good and the left – but at this stage, mainly for their own good.

            • weka

              “I thought I was plain in my plan, hopes, and desire. The left need to exclude labour. Treat it like the dead donkey it is. And start working together with left parties and left organisations for a more robust debate and society.”

              Yes, but these are things that ‘should’ be done/happen, not things that we can do. You and I can treat Labour like a dead donkey, but without that happening across the broad left, esp the membership, it’s not going to achieve much.

              Yes, we need to start and continue working with left parties and left organisations, but aren’t most of us already doing that?

              There is something beyond knowing what should be done, and we’re not getting there yet. For example, a few of us have been saying that Labour need to replace their MPs. But there is very little discussion about how that can happen (eg what are the constituional boundaries, what about the membership etc). So instead we keep going on and on about what Labour should do.

              Or Labour should support Cunliffe. Or we should all abandon Labour to its death.

              We can’t make Labour do anything, and we can’t make the pan left do anything. I think that ts is useful in shifting the awareness and politics in NZ, so I’m not saying we should stop talking about what should be done, but it’s not enough on its own.

  2. JanMeyer 2

    Not sure your plea for the media to “move on” is credible when “sources” from both the Cunliffe and Robertson camps keep leaking.

  3. Lanthanide 3

    “(which could do with better funding, so it can do more – but that’s a separate issue),”

    Pretty easy to deal with this. Set up a 10% tithe like the Greens do for all of their MPs.

    That’ll give you on the order of $500k each year.

    • Colonial Viper 3.1

      Labour MPs already pay a set % into an operating budget.

      • Lanthanide 3.1.1

        Ok, didn’t know that.

        • Colonial Viper

          As a detail: you agree to it on the party paperwork you submit to become a Labour candidate.

      • Once Was Tim 3.1.2

        Ah well – that’s interesting. Probably explains a little bit why they feel they’re SO ‘entitled’. Thing is, the degree to which many feel that entitlement on the basis of their tithing versus their commitment to a cause.

        mmmmmm, explains a lot – especially amongst the long termers

  4. Puckish Rogue 4

    the media smell blood in the water so won’t leave this alone unless theres a better story out there for them to cover

    • weka 4.1

      it’s all a distraction so we lose sight of the enemy. Anyone talking about what’s happening in Oz? See the connections?

    • Hanswurst 4.2

      There already are better stories: The resignation of Jason Ede, John Key suddenly wanting to deal with child poverty. All that’s missing to turn those into major circuses in their own right is a consistent front-page billing and a couple of opinion pieces linking them with election promises and Dirty Politics scandals. The only possible conclusion is that the editors in the MSM don’t want to see that done.

      • Wayne 4.2.1

        Jason Ede a better story? You must be kidding. Jason Ede is not auditioning to be Prime Minister in 2017 or 2020.

        • Hanswurst

          What arrant nonsense. At this stage, nobody is “auditioning” to be PM in 2017 or 2020 – which in any case are in three and six years respectively. There was a caucus meeting, Hipkins was elected apparently against Cunliffe’s wishes, Cunliffe is still leader with a divided caucus. That is the news. All the swirling comments about MP’s Shearer, Robertson, Ardern and Cosgrove, ex-MP Little and never-MP Kelly are just rumour and speculation. There’s no need to stop people speculating on blogs and on the street, but neither is all that gossip really news.

          Jason Ede, however, has resigned immediately after an election campaign in which the recently re-elected PM (as in PM right now, not potentially in 2017 or 2020 should he pass an audition) of New Zealand staked his credibility on the claim that there was no reason for him to do so. There is plenty of news to be had there, some avenues of it already established in the MSM. What was his role and why was he in the Beehive during the election campaign? Why did he resign? Does the PM stand by everything he has said in connection with Ede? Doesn’t Ede’s resignation invite the conclusion that there was substance to Dirty Politics after all?

          If the media did the same job on Ede as they are on the Labour caucus:

          1. They would hound Ede for comment, and make it news if he didn’t provide any.
          2. They would put the above questions to Key, and if he didn’t provide sufficiently scandalous answers, seek out sources who would.
          3. If Key, when asked about whether Ede’s resignation lent credibility to the claims in Dirty Politics, refused to “discuss employment matters involving the National Party” in his capacity as PM, the media would publish multiple opinion pieces assuming that Ede’s resignation did, in fact, lend credibility to all the claims in Dirty Politics, until either the public were completely convinced or the PM was forced to refute that assumption substantially (cf. the media circus around Cunliffe’s 2003 letter and the Dongha Liu donations).

          In conclusion, the media are making news out of nothing in relation to Labour, concerning issues that by their very nature will come to light anyway when there is an actual leadership contest, and refusing to make news out of other issues where there are real developments (Ede, Key on poverty) that require reporting in order to come to light.

        • Anne

          Where is Ede Wayne? There’s a few people who want to have a chat with him.

  5. McFlock 5

    The congress analogy is a bit rich, given the gerrymandering of congressional boundaries along demographic lines.

    The Greens got a bit of a knock back, too, and they were almost entirely about the party vote. Solid team, as well. So there’s always the possibility that if any fault exists, it lies outside Labour or the Greens.

  6. KJT 6

    Is it the case, now?

    That any Leader, Hone, Cunliffe, Norman, Metiria etc who tries to drag the country away from the accepted Neo-liberal paradigm will be so vilified in the media, a dirty politics inspired right wing cheer squad, that they do not stand a chance.

    That is my feeling.

    If they are allowed to win and remove David Cunliffe the dirty tactics have proved successful.

    And. I am still pissed at Labour MP’s which went along with it for their own purposes.

    Just maybe progressives dodged a bullet. The recession that accompanies right wing Governments will probably happen during National’s term, now.

    So they cannot blame Greens and Labour.

    • weka 6.1

      That’s how they want us to feel. We need to change strategy.

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      So they cannot blame Greens and Labour.

      They most certainly will, and they most certainly will get away with it.

      By the way GFC II will play into National’s hands further as ‘safe, stable and responsible government.’

      • AmaKiwi 6.2.1

        @ Colonial Viper: “By the way Global Financial Crisis II will play into National’s hands further as ‘safe, stable and responsible government.’”

        I completely disagree. During the years of GFC I every incumbent government (27 if I recall) was thrown out and replaced by the opposition irrespective of whether the incumbent was Right (USA) or Left (NZ).

        Frightened, angry people vote out incumbents irrespective of their policies and whether they were in the least responsible for the economic meltdown.

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    People see their local Labour representative, they like them and what they’re saying, but they don’t have faith in the Labour caucus/leader – so they split their vote like they know they’re able. Even if their local candidate is asking first and foremost for a party vote.

    Labour lost the election by around 90,000 party votes. Maybe fewer. It has also totally disconnected with approx 1.1M non-voters. The non-vote/non-enrolled are not going to be natural National supporters.

    I don’t think the result can be blamed on the organisation (which could do with better funding, so it can do more – but that’s a separate issue), or on the policies, which seemed generally popular.

    Labour is no longer a good social or cultural fit with large parts of NZ. It’s really not that hard to understand, and more money for the organisation or another revision of the policy platform, is not going to change that.

    • weka 7.1

      which is why making sure Labour win the next election isn’t the most important thing. That needed to happen this year. It didn’t, we’re in a different land now, the stakes are different and so the strategy and goals need to change.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        Agree entirely. I think a mass de-selection of MPs is required if Labour is to survive.

        • Hanswurst

          How does one go about doing that?

          • weka

            AFAIK there is no way to remove sitting MPs except through the selection process. I’ve seen the suggestion that members could set up new LECs and find new candidates, and thus outcompete existing MPs during the selection process.

            Not sure of the differences between the list and electorate MPs, except the electorate ones are harder to move on.

            • the pigman

              I posted the relevant provisions of the constitution (plucked from Labour’s website) yesterday. Disciplinary measures are broad and the circumstances in which they can be removed are fairly subjective. First step, though, is a complaint to the party council… which convenes this weekend.

    • AmaKiwi 7.2

      The ABC gang refuses to admit it played a HUGE role in this defeat. They undermined the 2011 leadership selection. They put in an incompetent and refused to remove him until 10 months before the next election. By that time they had character assassinated Cunliffe.

      If they force Cunliffe out now, I am quitting the Labour Party. Let the ABC’s run the next election without the help of the unions and members. From today’s Herald, the results of last year’s leadership vote:

      “The numbers reported by Fairfax Media showed Mr Cunliffe secured the support of 3,243 party members to Mr Robertson’s 1440. The other contestant Shane Jones picked up 709.


      The union breakdown was as follows:

      EPMU: Cunliffe got 25 delegates, Mr Robertson 8 and Mr Jones 2.
      Dairy Workers’ Union: Cunliffe got 33, Jones six, and zero for Mr Robertson.
      Maritime Union: 15 for Cunliffe, one for Jones and zero for Mr Robertson.

      Meatworkers’ Union: 22 for Cunliffe, six for Jones and one for Robertson.
      Rail and Maritime Transport Union: 18 for Cunliffe, three for Robertson and two for Jones.

      Service and Food Workers’ Unon: (vote was by individual members rather than delegates): 254 for Cunliffe, 177 for Robertson and 66 for Jones.

      Mr Robertson got the support of 16 of Labour’s 34 MPs at the time, while Mr Cunliffe and Shane Jones got 11 apiece in the first count.”

      • Rodel 7.2.1

        AmaKiwi- Me too.

        “If they force Cunliffe out now, I am quitting the Labour Party. Let the ABC’s run the next election without the help of the unions and members.” That includes (precludes) me.

        I’ve already drafted a resignation script to my local MP and Central. Just waiting to see what happens. After 25 odd years, dunno who to support next. Any ideas?

  8. blue leopard 8

    [I may go into moderation for this one – I have put this amount of links in because it is necessary to illustrate the extent of the problem we are facing]

    Here are some results from a very quick, extremely cursory search for “Cunliffe Tricky”:








    The absolute barrage of attacks started very early in the year and went across all media formats. This was at a time when the general public would have been forming their opinions of Mr Cunliffe.

    One would be excused to conclude it was a coordinated attack. It may, however, simply have been a case of ‘churnalism’, though.

    The first time I heard the word ‘Tricky’ in reference to Cunliffe was in Parliament from National party members.

    From recent displays of Labour MPs behaviour – I have to question whether some of this framing was fueled by wallies within Labour leaking/complaining to the media, due to a personal inability to accept the new leader and/or with the intention to get the currrent leader overthrown.

    i.e. The chance for the left to win this election was happily jeopardise due to poor discipline, disloyalty and other forms of immaturity on the part of those within Labour who appear to have a habit of talking to the media even when specifically requested not to (and maybe even the worst corners of ‘the media’ too – W/O, Farrar etc ).

    Some analysis on the media throughout the year:


    Tricky Patrick Gower in NZHouse of Cards


    Additionally, there appears to be no watchdog or formal complaints procedure that a citizen can pursue with regards to an issue of overall bias (complaints are required to be about a specific item).

    Houston, we need to start some very intelligent analysis of what the real problem is here.

    Let us not miss important factors in the process.

    • Karen 8.1

      Thanks Blue Leopard.
      When I have some more time I was planning to collect together some of these attacks on Cunliffe and relate them to the period covered by political polls because I sensed there were more attacks just before a polling period, particularly with Fairfax, TVNZ and TV3 polls.

      You have laid some of the groundwork for me.

    • bearded git 8.2

      Great work BL. Cunliffe has suffered character assination much of which can only be labelled the dirtiest of politics. He deserves another chance, actually his first real chance, to lead (and rebuild) Labour to the next election.

      Cosgrove must go for disloyaty to the party, and as an example of how Cunliffe is willing to clean out the stables should there be any more ABC shenanigans.

      • AmaKiwi 8.2.1

        David Shearer should be told he has been given a seat with an excellent view of the House of Representatives: the extreme back row.

      • Rodel 8.2.2

        Cosgrove’s placards won’t even admit that he’s standing for the Labour party. His is a disavowel that he’s even a member.
        Hence his resounding success (not) at getting voted in by his constituents..

        • mickysavage

          If he was elected it would be a waste of time for Labour because he would only be replacing a List MP.

          If he was not elected (as happened) he is a waste of time because he has done nothing to get a list MP elected.

          Either way his campaign was a waste of time.

    • Chooky 8.3

      +100 blue leopard and Karen…there probably needs to be some academics work together on this together …it is so huge!

      ….and probably needs a book sequel to ‘Dirty Politics’ imo

      …. names of Journalists and instances…plus msm outlets need to be spelled out and exposed…much of it was subtle and covert in its twists of the truth and bias ….but some was quite blatant….

      ….i also think twitter feeds need to be looked at …because some of the personal anti Cunliffe slander and bias was coming from high up…and was source in feeding the msm frenzy from what I have heard ( I personally dont look at twitter)

      • karol 8.3.1

        I think Hager, s a journalist, was a bit reluctant to call out other journalists (however badly they are doing their job), and thus didn’t name many names.

  9. lprent 9


    It is definitely not true that I ban people with disagreeing with me. I mostly ban people for doing something stupid that will affect the quality of the conversation either now or if unchecked in the future. Anybody who has been around this site must have a feeling of discomfort whenever they do something that I might get ogreish about

    It is the *sentences* that tend to be pretty arbitrary and depend on my mood at the time. They could range from a mild comment to a completely OTT ban. I just let that run on a random number generator seeded by my irritation level at the start of a moderating session. That is a distinctly unfair system. However it has this one great advantage. It also markedly reduces the ability to “play” the system safely by increasing the uncertainty.

    The point about the split between party vote and electorate vote is a factor. In Epsom and Dunnes electorate it is played well by the voters in response to unsubtle hints from the National party. But I have never noticed it in Labour held electorates becasue that have never really been tried apart from Helen shooting her mouth off in Coromandal, and Nash doing it in Epsom – in both cases where the local voters were already doing what they suggested.

    However I think that you are mistaking the difference between a Labour held electorate and one that is not, and the difference between lifting the vote and dropping it.

    A good local long-entrenched MP can easily hold a electorate vote 10-20% above what it would otherwise be based on demographics. If they choose to in their campaigning, they can hold the party vote up as well through simply pushing the two vote message and making it clear that voters shouldn’t think that they can get the person without the party. The cost is that it will shave their electorate vote when the party gets less popular.

    Naturally boundary changes affect this.

    In Mt Albert, with the long time that we’d been measuring the electorate through its various boundary changes after 1996, we could measure the effect when we took areas over. You could see both the electorate vote and the party vote rise at rates that were quite a lot stronger than the movement upwards and downwards for the party.

    Basically “accepted wisdom” is for the simple minds of bunnies and jonolists. I like testing, numbers, and measurement. It is what happens when your first degree is in science.


    • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1

      …a feeling of discomfort…

      Yeah, it’s [redacted], I don’t [redacted] the way you run the site, aren’t L****r supposed to be about fairness, and in any case [redacted] all suck. I bet you’re on the [redacted]. [redacted]?

      Help avoid that [redacted] feeling with all new improved good manners and intelligent, or at least thoughtful comments. How hard is that?

    • adam 9.2

      Look I think you do it fairly, I think you slapped me quite hard when I was stupid – but, fair enough. It’s a hard job, and stressful. Plus you do it on top of all the other stuff you do.

      So what the hell, there is policy and other information in place that people just need to read before they comment -simple. You do a good job lprent, and all the other moderators.

      Finally, it’s not the end of the world if you get banned for a while – bloody nora. Take the time to reflect – you may have been a dick – I know I was, when I got banned.

  10. SeanExile 10

    But after having read this insightful post and thought that here is a man with some experience and who makes sense. That here is someone who doesn’t blame Illuminati and dirty politics but instead look at problems we have. Then I read the first two comments and are met with opinions that all was brilliant but what we did wrong was that we didn’t cooperate enough with Mana and that the centrist MP:s are hopeless and destroys Labour. Sigh.
    Time for reality check.
    We just elected a leader who went to the left, the result was that we just had our worst election since 1923. if people cant see a link between these two its time to take a break from activism.

    Its cooperation with parties like Mana that makes Labour unelectable. We can never touch Mana or breath their name if we want a Labour government in NZ again.
    Than the second point of dirty politics. Dirty politics doesn’t matter to normal voters. It matters to political buffs and activists. The idea that right wing bloggers and influential people can decide and deny Labour power and fair play is just bonkers. Media isn’t against us. We give them stuff to write about and they are doing their job. John Key is a very smart politician, if you look back you can see that virtually every Labour report during Helen Clarks government stated that he will be very dangerous. Thats because the MP:s saw him, saw what he could do and how he acted and knew that this man is a really good politician who will be a great threat to Labour in the future.

    What people look for is a lad they trust and who they see as a good leader. They look for electability in our leaders. Stability and electability. Candidates that can rival a PM who is incredibly popular and liked in NZ. We don’t have that.
    Then they look for a caucus that is trustable. We don’t have that with constant rifts.
    What we cant do is stay to the left if we are to regain power in NZ again. We need to align our views to where most old Labour voters want us to be. Not were the activists wants us to be.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1

      So if the leader is a smart politician that’s a huge advantage, unless he’s to the Left. Astoundingly insightful, not.

    • Chooky 10.2

      @SeanExile…CRAP!…..i doubt you know what the Labour Party means !….or you dont like what you think it means .!…. or more likely you are trying to subvert the Left , David Cunliffe and this discussion!

      Labour by not cooperating with Mana obviously undermined the principles of the original Labour Party ..(it was glaringly obvious for all to see, even teenagers!)

      ….so what were we left to think?….this is NOT a real Labour Party operating here ….but a club for the boys (….intent on serving their own Power base and career ambitions)

      …..the Labour Party joined forces and went lockstep in with right wing journalists and dirty ops PR ….and John key and Nactional in order to destroy Int/Mana…(a true Left Party with real grassroots activists….. not there for the money…but for social justice , democarcy and New Zealand sovereignty)

      i have to agree with Mark, Chris and Philip Ure on this

    • Scott1 10.3

      But Labour can touch Mana and their ilk.

      National and ACT are basically in an physical relationship with each other and it does not hurt them because everyone has confidence that ACT will get nothing besides being a conduit for Nationals more right leaning policies.

      To see the last election as evidence you can’t do that seems to be ignoring the evidence. Labour could have had a reasonably close relationship with the left leaning parties and demonstrated that they will always be in control as they have guaranteed support to the right to oppose anything to radical.

      You do have a good point about labour needing a good leader – but I am not convinced that “likeability” is as important as you think. There is a lot of success achieved with the “he is a bastard – but he is our bastard” type of politician (must also be very competent) who beats respect into his opponents.

  11. tc 11

    A failure to use MMP effectively (TTT, akl central, Ohairu) cost the left any chance of forming a gov’t ….who made that brain dead decision.

    Alot of hard work over the months by dedicated volunteers wasted by ineptitude at the top so I agree the organisation was not the issue but the strategy and campaign leadership was.

    Of course you disagree Ben your post reads like a CEO announcing a bad result but quickly starts banging on about underlying trends, pointless comparisons to congress etc etc anything but the real reasons……the collective management who f’d it up.

    ‘… I’ll be focussing my political energies on keeping the government held to account’
    Pity the abc club don’t share your view as they were a big factor in not attracting party votes.

    • Chooky 11.1

      @tc…agreed … “ineptitude at the top … organisation was not the issue but the strategy and campaign leadership was”

      ….and add to this David Cunliffe cant be held responsible for this ….he was trying to run a team and keep a Labour Party ship afloat which had clearly gone rogue …and was run by MPs intent on mutiny and non cooperation and springing leaks

      Labour Party rank and file members have been betrayed

  12. xanthe 12

    well I think if kim had gone home after the MOT and left the press conference to Pam things would have gone quite differently

    • lprent 12.1

      The journos did not like get lectured about being journos.

      • karol 12.1.1

        They still don’t like it, when Corkery had a more considered go at them today on the NZ Herald.

        Tova O’Brien just got snarky on Twitter.

        • weka

          I thought Corkery’s piece was well considered. She’s just not afraid of fronting up to people, and being blunt. Good on her for naming what is going on.

          • weka

            O’Brien on the other hand appears immature and lacking in common sense. It’s not the first time she’s done stupid shit on twitter.

            • North

              Have to agree with you Weka. Tova O’Brien often comes across as immature, ‘know-nothing’, and shallow. Like she’s had someone tell her – “You go hard Tova…….you sock it to ’em” and off she goes. Such a waste of the platform. Opportunity to ‘inform’ marred by a need to ‘perform’.

              • karol

                Yes. And Corkery was spot on with her comments about some TV journos being up themselves and seeing themselves as some kind of celebrities – TO’B was a good example to use in that context.

              • Ant

                Yeah must be something in the water TV3, not necessarily any kind of active bias, but instead a kind of severe narcissism in their political reporters.

                Their method of reporting seems to be making up a narrative that they like, then cutting together a story and line of questioning that fits that narrative.

        • David H

          @Karol. But Spinna O’brien is a member of the Patricky (I make shit up) Gower school of letters, scribblings, and imaginings.

    • tc 12.2

      Yup the egos must be stroked not poke them in the ribs to have any chance of getting a message across.

  13. Aaron 13

    @SeanExile. You imply that Labour elected a leader that took the party to the left and this resulted in the worst result since 1923. The key point you’re missing is that Cunliffe said he would take the party left but then didn’t. Presumably to keep the ABC faction happy.
    You also say that is cooperation with parties like Mana that make Labour unelectable but Labour went out of the way to distance themselves from Mana.
    You them go on to repay right wing propaganda statements.
    Just wondering – whats the strategy?

  14. Evan Barlow 14

    Ben, you guys are delusional. You have good local reps, and that’s the reason they get re-elected. However the vast majority of NZ completely disagrees with your policies and vision of the future for NZ. You can’t continue to blame you electoral hammerings on “misunderstanding MMP”. That’s completely disrespectful to the New Zealand electorate. We just think you’re wrong. Until you guys realise that and change, you will continue to be unelectable

    • DS 14.1

      This election wasn’t about policies. National didn’t have any.

      This was about organisation: the way the party operates and campaigns.

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  • Next steps in COVID response
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  • Inaugural launch of Kiribati Language Week
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  • Supporting victims and families to attend mosque attack sentencing
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  • Crown accounts stronger than forecast with higher consumer spending
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  • Government will support the people and economy of Southland
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  • New transformational tools for the Predator Free 2050 effort
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    7 days ago
  • Community-led solutions to prevent family violence
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  • Govt confirms investment in better radiology and surgical services for Hawke’s Bay
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  • Specialist alcohol and drug addiction services strengthened across New Zealand
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    7 days ago
  • Coastal Shipping Webinar
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    1 week ago
  • Support for resilient rail connection to the West Coast
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  • Major investment in safe drinking water
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    1 week ago
  • Supporting stranded seasonal workers to keep working with more flexible options
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    1 week ago
  • Relief for temporary migrants, employers and New Zealanders who need work
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    1 week ago
  • Freshwater commissioners and fast-track consenting convenor appointed
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    1 week ago
  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
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  • Feedback sought – Commercial Film and Video Production Facilities
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  • Govt launches bold primary sector plan to boost economic recovery
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    1 week ago
  • Wellbeing of whanau at heart of new hub
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    1 week ago
  • New Report on Auckland Port Relocation
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  • Dual place names for Te Pātaka-o-Rākaihautū / Banks Peninsula features
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  • Government and Air New Zealand agree to manage incoming bookings
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