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Imperator Fish: How to win an election

Written By: - Date published: 11:10 am, June 3rd, 2014 - 144 comments
Categories: elections, internet party, Kelvin Davis, labour, mana, phil goff - Tags: ,

imperator fishScott Yorke at Imperator Fish opines on electorate seats and inter-party relations. He generously allows us to repost.

It’s all about the party vote. Electorate contests can be distracting, because in most cases they will be irrelevant to the result. A few electorate results will be critical, but only where they would allow a minor party to enter Parliament.

There are only a few electorates where the result may realistically impact on the overall election outcome. National has shown itself willing in the past to do deals with other parties on the right, and this is one of the reasons why National has been able to remain in power. Labour may need to follow National’s example if it wants to gain power. If Labour wants to be in government after the 2014 election, it may need to do what it previously considered unthinkable.

If a potential ally on the left is polling at 2-3% in the lead-up to the election and has a reasonable chance of winning an electorate seat, Labour must make that happen.

Such a move would require the Labour candidate to consider the good of the party and the need to win the election, ahead of his or her own ego. The candidate may be unhappy with the decision, but party discipline must be maintained.

Play by the rules as they have been laid down. If you don’t like the rules, you can always seek to change them when you are in government. But the rules apply to all parties. Use them to your advantage, because your opponents will use them.

The popularity of the current government suggests that the general public may care less about so-called dodgy deals than some politicians think.

You will need allies to win power. If you’re Labour it’s okay to dream about capturing 40% of the party vote, but it’s more important to be be realistic. On current polling Labour would do well to get 35% of the vote, so Labour will need at least one support party to win power, perhaps two, and maybe even three.

So during the election campaign, don’t go around pissing off or insulting the people you may need to work with in order to form a government.

Labour MPs must let the party’s leadership make decisions about political strategy. It is not the place of former leaders to opine publicly about who Labour should do deals with.


How not to win an election

Pretend that we still have a First Past the Post electoral system.

144 comments on “Imperator Fish: How to win an election ”

  1. Weepu's beard 1

    Helen Clark wouldn’t let this dissent happen. Neither would John Key.

  2. Bill 2

    I really do hope that Matt McCarten has his big tackety boots on today and is repeatedly putting the toe of them to good use.

    • geoff 2.1


      big tackety boots… love it.

    • Wayne 2.2

      This whole post assumes that Labour will want to win on the basis of Mana/Internet. They may not. Not every potential ally is worth having, especially if the result is long term damage to one’s own brand.

      Now I know that most commenters here think the more left the coalition can be, the better, but parties wanting to appeal to centre voters will be wary. Being branded as an extreme left grouping will almost certainly guarantee defeat.

      The Nats know this problem. The last thing they would want is for their coalition to be branded extreme right. The correct positioning is centre right. This can only have conviction for voters if the policies and the practice are seen to be moderate.

      I appreciate some here describe the Nats as NACT, but it has had zero cut through with voters. It simply is not seen by voters as describing reality.

      Sometimes it is better to loose elections. For the Nats, 2005 is the case in point. After 3 losses in a row (1999, 2002 and 2005), we understood that a new approach was required. The main requirement was to be seen as safe and reasonable.

      • geoff 2.2.1

        You didn’t understand anything. You got John key. John Key the populist who’s boyhoood dream of becoming the prime minister had been realised and now he isn’t going to let the more rabid amongst his colleagues destroy his popularity.

        I guess we can be somewhat thankful that his enormous ego has protected us from an even worse fate, ie the wishlist of Collins et al.

        • Wayne


          Well, obviously you were part of the discussions from 2005 to 2007 in the National caucus, so I guess you actually know..

          But is not by chance that the Nats decided that it would move from tacit acceptance of the nuclear free policy to full endorsement in 2007.

          And that the 90 day bill (a specific initiative of mine) was based on the shortest period in the OECD nations – most OECD nations have six months or a year. But I knew the policy would only have broad appeal if it was moderate. But since you probably think it is extreme rightwing policy, it is worth noting that every OECD nation has trial periods.

          • Colonial Viper

            “Trial periods” and the ability to fire someone without explanation or recourse, are not the same thing Wayne, as you well know.

          • framu

            “And that the 90 day bill (a specific initiative of mine)”

            well – thanks for further outing yourself.

            trial periods already existed and the big difference was that the 90 day bill enabled an employer to avoid having to give a reason for dismissal or be challenged on that reason.

            You legitimised the actions of our worst employers

            i dont give a rats arse what other oecd countries did – you changed an existing trial period scheme to favour those employers that were too crap to work within it. And you did this all on anecdotal evidence.

            well done wayne, hope that keeps you warm at night

          • KJT

            I also notice that in most OECD countries, including Australia, you still have to have a real justification to sack anyone during a trial period.

            That is National, and all to often Labour, all over though. If a policy has failed somewhere else, lets copy it…………….

            Good thing Ireland fell over before the prats in National got into power, or they would have copied all their policies, instead of the ones that are failing in the USA, UK and Sweden. Charter schools being just one example.

            Why do our Governments insist on following overseas failures. Don’t you buggers have minds of your own?

            Does it interfere with getting all those lucrative corporate directorships, after parliament?

            The 90 day rule means disgruntled employees won’t quit, because they cannot afford the risk of the 90 day fire at will, which is the daft US policy your bribers/sorry funders, really wanted.


            • Colonial Viper

              Why do our Governments insist on following overseas failures. Don’t you buggers have minds of your own?

              International neolib playbook…maintains standards and consistency in busting unions and advantaging financial capital, don’t you know.

        • dimebag russell

          John Keys dream of being PM is an invention dreamed up by boag and hooton.
          After he hoovered up his $80,000,000 he needed something to do next and those two came along and lined him up. (didja ged it: they “lined” him up!)

      • AlistairC 2.2.2

        Translation : Having more-extreme parties in your coalition is OK if your name is John Key. And it’s not OK if your the Labour Party. Why? Because John Key will brand you with the searing iron of extremism. And John Key is the only one who decides, because he’s the boss. And I’m not being a defeatist at all in accepting this.

        Phil Goff is such a loser.

        • Wayne


          You may have noticed that I did not condemn the Greens. They are to the left of Labour, but they have legitimacy in a way that Mana/Internet do not. No-one is surprised by a Labour/Green nexus.

          But in my view a specific accommodation by Labour with Mana/Internet is highly risky for Labour. And obviously some moderate Labourites have the same view.

          • KJT

            What is illegitimate with Mana/Internet compared with, say, Jones buying a party to get the Government he wants, corporations buying National, wealthy individuals buying ACT.

            You are just pissed because a party on the other side is getting the same sort of funding, from self interested wealthy corporations, and individuals, that National and the right wing of Labour have enjoyed.

            • Wayne

              ACT actually had won Epsom from National in 2005, so arrangements with them are quite different from Mana/Internet. More like the one that Labour had with Jim Anderton after the Alliance had collapsed.

              And all the major parties, (National, Greens and Labour) get funding from a wide range of sources. They are not dependent on one main funder.

              Internet is more like the Conservatives in that regard. An irony seemingly somewhat lost on Colin Craig, given his ad last weekend. And in my view it is up to the Conservatives to get into Parliament on their own steam.

              • I left New Zealand in the late 90’s (last National Goverment) to find work and I returned in the mid 2000’s to find that Auckland had voted in John Banks for a second time.
                It was at that point I realised that voters are, by and large, idiots. Banks had been a disaster of a Mayor the first time around.

                After a failing to become mayor of the Supercity which was custom made for him to asset strip, John Banks was gifted Epsom in 2011.

                So, after building up a constituancy in Epsom, tell us again why Rodney Hyde didnt run in 2011?
                Oh, that’s right he was forced out of the leadership because using taxpayers funds to conduct an affair with your girlfriend is not a good look.
                Corruption needs to be legislated, none of this petty shit. Go big or go home was the message from Don Brash.

                So John Banks is again going to be gifted Epsom?
                Oh, that’s right, he’s not standing because he currently spends all his time either in the dock, or preparing to be in the dock charged with filing a false electoral return (or in laymans terms; fraud).

                So, whose next for Epsom?
                David Seymour … who?

                Tell us again Wayne how ACT is not just an Alan Gibbs project, and catspaw for National?

                • framu

                  “Oh, that’s right he was forced out of the leadership because using taxpayers funds to conduct an affair with your girlfriend is not a good look.”

                  also – those who pay the piper wanted two big name ex-national people to lead it
                  (see that wayne – thats one of those occasions that point to act and nat being the same thing in so far as what their funders are after)

                  also one of brashs messages was that telling lies was not just fine, it was the done thing if you wanted to get your policies accepted by a sceptical electorate

            • Matthew Whitehead

              While I think the Internet Mana Party is a perfectly legit move in our current political system, I can still recognise that politically it might be a good move to not be too friendly to the idea.

      • framu 2.2.3

        “The Nats know this problem.”

        yes – thats why key never misses a chance to lie his backside off in an attempt to pin such a label on anyone he wants to discredit

        “The last thing they would want is for their coalition to be branded extreme right.”

        of course – while act are useful in voicing the more repugnant ideas of the nats theres no way they want to actually be seen as the same thing because they know the NZ public generally detest such craven thieves and liars – could be why neoliberal policies have never been openly voted in by an electorate, anywhere, ever – and always came to us via force or deceit.

        frankly i dont give a shit if others dont see the link – im going to keep saying that national and act are two fronts for the same project because as far as im concerned its the truth

        • Wayne


          But ACT has virtually no influence in Govt, maybe 5 to 10 charter schools.

          What New Zealand has got over the last 5 1/2 years is a classical pragmatic National Govt. Why is it pragmatic? Because that is how most National party MP’s and activists think about the world.

          And we will know in 3 months time whether New Zealanders think that is OK.

          • Naturesong

            No, it’s the same economic ideology that has been transfering wealth owned by and for the public into the hands of corporations and wealthy individuals since Chile in 1973.

            They’ve just paced themselves, and have had the added advantages of the trust of the public in times of stress (Chch earthquakes and the GFC – ironically caused by the same ideology), and a personable leader who assures everybody that’s it’s all ok.

          • framu

            ” Why is it pragmatic? Because that is how most National party MP’s and activists think about the world.”

            thats a really thick thing to say wayne – “im totes the best, Why? because i reckon i am”

            And why are you burbling on about how little influence act has as some sort of response to me claiming that they are just a different facet to the same thing? Again thats a really dense reply.

            Why? – Because if group A and group B work for the same backers, the issue of group Bs influence over group A is utterly irrelevant

            And even if my premise is wrong, you claiming that the only influence act has over the nats is a handfull of charter schools is absolutely laughable

            fuck me sideways with an oil tanker – thank christ your not in govt anymore.

            • Wayne


              That might be your view. It would be news to most National MPs.

              For instance Alan Gibbs, a real libertarian, is the key backer of ACT but not National, because the Nats are not a libertarian party.

              Now I guess he prefers the Nats to Labour, but that hardly means that the Nats follow his agenda or anything much like it.

              But look at the last 5 years – how much ACT policy was actually implemented.

              • framu

                good to see youve dropped the – “were pragmatic because we think we are” idiocy

                and who said that this is about gibbs alone? – not me.

                Are the policy desires of gibbs wildly different to the desires of other wealthy business people that fund national and act?
                Is the gibbs agenda wildy different from any of the other high value donors to both national and act?
                If you drew a venn diagram of nats and acts desires would there be a gap where they dont meet, or even only a small overlap?

                Of course not

                trying to make this about gibbs alone when its pretty obvious that hes not an island is kinda silly

                your focusing on one small part of a comment in order to attempt to disprove a claim – the tangental distraction is gossmans routine – it doesnt work for him and it wont work for you.

                The fact youve quite cutely neglected all the times act has been used by national to run an extreme version of a policy in order for the nats to come in and say theyve put a leash on it because they are oh so pragmatic gives you away

                and how about that little nat coup over rodders? Youve forgotten that aswell

                And – finally, influence doesnt = getting policy enacted. Why am i telling you this? your an ex MP for christs sake! – you know damn well that theres more to exerting influence than getting explicit party policy through

                • Wayne

                  John Key is smarter than arranging for Don Brash to take over ACT.

                  And obviously there is some level of agreement between ACT and National, just as there is with Labour and the Greens. If that is all that is required to say NACT, why wouldn’t I say Labeen (though this is not as cute as NACT), so some more thinking is required on the joint Labour/Green brand!

                  • framu

                    yes – nat/act is exactly like lab/green

                    still avoiding addressing the actual substance of what im saying arent you

                    the one liner response only makes you look thick,

                    like i said – thank the lord your not in govt anymore. I now see why some of your ex colleagues used to think you were a bit dense and usually asleep at the wheel

              • geoff

                Have you read Piketty yet, Wayne?

      • Puddleglum 2.2.4

        Wayne, your analysis just doesn’t stack up.

        Currently Labour’s policy settings are about as centre right (never mind centre left) as any Labour Party could afford to go and it is only polling in the low 30s.

        Also, it has been by pursuing tid bits of left wing policy that the budget received good press (under 7 free doctor visits, etc.). Further, it was by expanding the major social policy initiative championed by so-called ‘far left’ Laila Harre when it was introduced in 2002 that National tried to head off the popularity of Labour’s more generous extension of paid parental leave.

        That Labour’s ‘brand’ -which you appear to think is in rude health, or should be given the ‘centrist’ positioning Labour is currently following – will be harmed by associating itself with politicians whose policies prove popular electorally (paid parental leave, food in schools, etc) is more a condemnation, if correct, of voter decision making than of the parties that would supposedly damage that brand.

        • KJT

          Even National is proving that voters prefer left wing policies.

          Of course, NACT’s family friendly policies are just a vote winning smokescreen, while they continue to sell the ground from under us.

          • Colonial Viper

            Sell the ground and the ground water from under us

          • Matthew Whitehead

            You seem to be under the illusion that any significant amount of electors vote based on policy. 😉 If the media makes a big enough deal about the Internet-Mana party being a rort, it might influence a lot of the electorate not only against Internet-Mana, but also against anyone who supports them.

            While I think that the merger is just as legit as United Future and ACT still being things, that doesn’t mean that I think supporting Internet-Mana too much is a good idea for Labour or the Greens. Let them do the yards first and establish themselves as a political force before the rest of the Left sticks out their necks too far.

      • Tracey 2.2.5

        and dont forget the decision to not tell the truth about what you all really wanted. Thats the big lesson brash taught you, and hoots tried to push home. Obfiscate, mislead, anything but the whole truth.

    • Murray Olsen 2.3

      If he’s still got big tackety boots, I haven’t seen any evidence of it. More like he’s swapped them for pink fluffy slippers.

      If McCarten has been trying to shut these fools up, he’s been spectacularly unsuccessful. Time to try something else. How much pressure can be put on these “once were Rogernomes” inside their electorates?

      • Colonial Viper 2.3.1

        It’s quite do-able but takes considerable organisation and grass roots leadership. Most active Labour Party members (as opposed to the ones who sit back and pay their dues every year) tend to be quite loyal to their local MP…partly because there is a self-selection process where the ones who don’t like the local MP tend to get so pissed off that they leave the party anyways. With the unintended side effect that a bad local MP gets a smooth ride form their own (weakening) electorate machinery.

        • Murray Olsen

          Yeah, I remember seeing that with Richard Prebble and his electorate people, kept in line by some thuggish looking ex-SAS guy. I heard some terrible stories back in the day, most of which I can’t remember the details of. Hopefully someone will have written it all down somewhere, because that was a significant part of the authoritarian swamp that ACT crawled out of.

          • Wayne

            Hi Murray,

            That was Gene Lecky. I was in the Army with Gene. Quite a character. Very smart as well. He had a law and politics degree.

            His crew cut and his overall look did intimidate people, but he was actually an astute political operator.

            He was incredibly loyal to Richard for reasons I never really understood. I am sure Richard still misses him, since he passed away nearly 10 ears ago. Gene was an amazing raconteur and he had an incredible memory for all the details of Auckland’s political history.

            • Anne

              I have to agree with Wayne re- Gene Lecky. I don’t know the precise details, but I understood he was brought up in India and had a harsh childhood. My late godmother took him in as a young man and, from all accounts, gave him the mothering he had missed out on during his more formative years. He never forgot her and he would visit her every once in a while. She adored him. That he was able to pull himself up by the boot-straps and end up making something of his life was very much to his credit. I didn’t know him all that well, but I certainly saw a genuine and kind side to him and he was incredibly loyal to his friends both in politics and elsewhere.

          • Anne

            Murray Olsen, the ex-SAS guy (Gene Lecky) took it upon himself to be the personal security officer for at least two Labour PMs, Norman Kirk and Bill Rowling. Dunno where the DPS detail were (not sure they had any) but during their official duties in Auckland, Gene was always only a step or two away from them. It caused some amusement because no-one was sure whether either leader had requested his presence. He certainly was capable of intimidating people, but he had a soft side too. See my comment above.

            • Murray Olsen

              As I was marginally involved with people trying to get rid of Prebble, I didn’t get to sit down and listen to Gene’s stories. I only saw the intimidating side, quite a bit of which I thought was theatrical, but still quite scary to Auckland Central Labour left people. Apart from that, he may well have been the nicest guy in the world, but he effectively helped one of the nastiest keep his seat. That was my interest.

              • Wayne

                Thank you Anne for reminding me that Gene grew up in India. And I imagine your comments do provide something of the source of Gene’s loyalty. And I can well imagine Gene appointing himself as security to various leaders. His way of doing things and his way of access to people.

              • Anne

                Oh I understand that Murray Olsen. I saw his intimidatory side too and it was not pleasant. I’m not sure how or why, but I suspect Richard Prebble may have assisted Gene in some way hence perhaps the unquestioning loyalty to Prebble in later years.

  3. Tautoko Viper 3


    What gain is there to the poor and disadvantaged if Kelvin Davis wins Te Tai Tokerau but National-Act-Conservative form the next Government?
    Mana have done the right thing.
    To Phil, Kelvin and Chris: Mana has been open and honest about it. It is ok to make personal sacrifices for your own ethical stand, but you will still be earning a living wage in opposition but you are expecting others to make larger sacrifices for your ethical stand. NO WAY!

    • Lanthanide 3.1


    • lprent 3.2

      As a suggestion following your rather interesting logic, try asking Annette Sykes to stand down in favour of the Labour candidate. It’d probably help defeat the Maori party in that electorate and enhance the probability of defeating the National-Act-UF-Maori Party right wing government and help the downtrodden and oppressed….

      I’m sure you will get a interesting reaction and a completely different viewpoint from those same people like yourself who are asking/demanding that Kelvin Davis to stand down. Analyze why you want a ‘rule’ one way, but not the other.

      • Tiger Mountain 3.2.1

        The best tack is obviously for Harawira and Sykes to run strong campaigns and win their seats outright on merit. But given that the Crosby Textor, Whalefail and msm shit sprayer is not yet even on turbo boost, and the Rog’ Labour remnants are restless a support strategy is needed.

        Each party of the left needs to make one or two accommodations if necessary. The Greens in Ohariu for example. Everyone in Epsom. It could be done quietly but with blabber mouths like Kelvin that is difficult.

        No definitive statements are likely from anyone at this early stage but the matter will not go away and at some point it will be purely up to the voters some of whom will be paying attention to this debate or may be influenced by those that are. I am supporting both Labour’s “I’m In” and the NZCTU “Get out and Vote” campaigns.

        My partner has a personal campaign “be a voter not a floater”…

        • lprent

          The best tack is obviously for Harawira and Sykes to run strong campaigns and win their seats outright on merit.

          That would be my preference.

          It will also help to build their party(s) organisation and to focus in on a tightly focused objective and help turn out voters. Those will also help with the longevity of the party(s).

          A tight contest in those electorate seats is also going to help in getting the free publicity of media attention.

          While it partially locks down two campaigners into specific electorates, it also means that the rest of the party organisation(s) can concentrate on getting the party vote required to exploit the winning of one or both of these seats.

          But the party vote for the purported audience for these two parties that will most easily be gained from non-voters (it is usually pretty hard to move most voters preferences). The maori enrollment and turnout is abysmal. So is that of the under 30s. These two parties appear to have specific expertise on particular demographics that they should concentrate on.

          • bad12

            LPrent, your point vis a vis Annette Sykes is reasonable, But, in the face of Labour’s stated intention to ”win back” Te Tai Tokerau the point loses a large % of its validity,

            i would suggest that Annette Sykes has as much chance of securing the Wairiki seat this election as does the Maori and Labour candidates,(which as a point of debate should probably be at this time disregarded),

            Labour in Waiariki came third last election so Sykes attempting to give the seat to labour could actually backfire in having Flavell reelected for the Maori Party,

            Having said that there is no reason why an attempt at a deal, stated openly in public, could not be struck where Sykes agreed to campaign only for the Party Vote in Waiariki with Kelvin Davis doing the same in Te Tai Tokerau…

            • lprent

              This comes back to why elections should be closely contested. Elections where the outcome is a foregone conclusion are really bad for fostering democratic participation.

              Parties that become dependent on this form of largesse are destined for the dustbin of history. It isn’t hard to look over the NZ political landscape in the last 15 years to see the remnants of parties ruined by such deals. Right now we have two such ruined parties in parliament with United Future and Act.

              It is far better to have a hard fought contest that you win than to participate in a deal that will eventually leave you and your party subject to the goodwill of another, because you need to avoid becoming dependent on it.

              For an example of the other way of doing it, you need look no further than Winston and Tauranga and Fitzsimmons and Coromandel. Admittedly the latter was more of a screw up by Labour in selecting their candidate – but it was really well played up by the Greens. There you have two parties who clawed their parties over the ridiculously high 5% threshold and are both resilient and still present because of their party organisation.

              • Tracey

                ruined but about to get third terms as cabinet ministers and in the case getting alot of policy traction for their one person… No tail wagging tge dog squeals through our press though. Funny that.

                • lprent

                  Yeah, but the legislation that they got through as single MPs is mostly either pretty trivial or related directly to their own portfolio(s).

                  You have to remember that while there was a cuppa tea in 201 in Epsom, there really wasn’t much of one in 2005 and 2008.

                  But bloody Rodney Hide damn well won that seat the hard way in 2005. The only real help he had from National was that they left Richard Worth as his opposition. Hide was also rather liked by many of his constituents, and I suspect would have won the 2008 election without any of the limited support that National gave out then.

                  If you look at the legislation that Act managed to push in, it was in the 2008-11 period. That was when Rodney had his seat, there were 5 Act MP’s, and they had some negotiating power.

                  John Banks on the other hand in 2011 was just miserable client.

          • Crashcart

            It is one thing to stand a candidate and hope to win the electorate. Is is beyond stupid to sladner those you are standing against in that electorate when you may have to work with them in the future. That is more the point I took out of the post. Do these guys just not understad Labor will never have the votes to govern alone? I mean it’s only been the case in every single MMP election held in this country that a coalition government is required.

            • Tracey

              i think, from these comments, it is clear labour sees any government it forms having nzf and hairdo before greens or imp. That leads to the very serious question

              Can any of them add?

              • fisiani

                Davy and the GIMPS will struggle for oxygen as they all seek to be the lead singer.

                • blue leopard

                  lol, I can’t help being amused and liking that term you have made up of GIMPs, despite your likely wish to frame it as a put down.

                  Some pictures of a GIMP @ http://www.gimp.org/

                  What is it? A fox?

                  Looks pretty bright and keen if you asked me.

                  It is an image manipulation program – something perhaps that Labour could strengthen themselves in….

                  Go the GIMPS!!

          • Tracey

            it would be worth the two parties discussing a possible prid quo pro dont you think? Sykes stands aside and davis stands aside.

            Goff made me spit my tea. For a guy complicit in the labour fucknzfest of 84-90 he has some cheek getting morally superior at this late stage.

            Will maori party put their support behind kelvin to defeat hone?

            • marty mars

              Nah labour can get fucked – the quality of their candidates is plain for all to see – want to know why davis was so low on the list – imo because he’s a fuckwit that’s why and labour know it – the whole sack of them above make me sick.

              • Tracey

                well, after reading his twitters tod he has gone down in my estimation

                • Colonial Viper

                  Davis had set high expectations as one of Labour’s new leading lights after 2008. (Or perhaps those expectations were set for him). The danger is when you believe your own PR hype, those expectations are set too high and your actual performance doesn’t match it.

        • Colonial Viper

          But given that the Crosby Textor, Whalefail and msm shit sprayer is not yet even on turbo boost

          There has to be an award for this sentence

      • Lanthanide 3.2.2

        Tautoko Viper didn’t suggest Kelvin stand down, and neither do I suggest that he should.

        Following your standard form around here, I should insult you and call you an idiot for not reading the comment and/or not being able to understand what was said.

        • lprent

          🙂 Good point. And well pointed out..

          (S)he didn’t exactly state that. However it was rather inferred in the statement that there was no benefit from having him win. That is just outright wrong as well.

          If Hone is an three time incumbent in Maori seat and a party leader and he loses the seat. Then I’d say that he was both incompetent to hold the seat and probably the party.

          As you’re aware I tend to value competence above almost all other attributes required in a politician.

          One very important part of that is the ability to build a team in an electorate that you can rely upon. That is what allows a electorate politician to move out from the task of simply keeping that electorate to wider party business and more of a national stage.

          If the party gets large enough it becomes possible to lose the electorate tether, but the same criteria applies at a party level.

          Much the same (but at far too low a level) applies with party lists. If you don’t maintain your team of partizans and supporters, then the probability of dropping in the list goes up quite a lot.

          A politicians worth is almost defined by the quality of the people that they wind up helping and supporting them – and almost invariably without pay.

          • marty mars

            Exactly – if Hone can’t beat davis and win the seat on any terms he doesn’t deserve to be in there.

            • Tracey

              hmmmmm…. So if maori party get people to vote for kelvin…

              • cool, I hope the three of them do 🙂

                but seriously the more opposition that they can muster against Hone in his electorate the better – he thrives under pressure and it will ensure victory imo

      • Draco T Bastard 3.2.3

        I suppose that comes down a simple question: Who is most likely to win between parties on the left (considering that the Māori Party is right-wing)?
        And then the party who’s candidate is least likely to win campaigns for the party vote.

        Doesn’t really need any agreements per se, just the parties doing what’s right for NZ.

        • Tautoko Viper

          That’s the way to do it!
          Split vote = two (candidates)for the “price” of one

        • lprent

          Leave that for the voters. They will make up their own minds regardless of what politicians say.

          If they can’t find a suitable candidate, they won’t vote.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Normally, I’d agree – but not with that rather nasty 5% threshold that has the potential to ensure that several percent of votes are wasted.

            • lprent

              That is of course always the kicker. But hey, that is almost certainly a manageable risk. Don’t piss off the voters of TTT. It is constraining I know. But a politicians has to do what he does for the good of the party.

              Which I believe is where I came in at the very start of this conversation – except then it was Kelvin Davis?

  4. Ant 4

    Classic behaviour from the ABCs though, they’ve somehow always found it easier to turn and attack their own allies than actually oppose National effectively. Its telling that Goff’s one “triumph” of his failed leadership was turning Chris Carter from a colleague into an enemy.

    Contesting TTT is one thing, but they are putting themselves in a position that if they have to make a deal with IMP they will look terrible and be burning a large amount of political capital from the outset.

  5. JanM 5

    It really is very depressing to see the left attacking it’s potential allies – if the left wins in the next election it will be despite this stupidity.
    It reminds me of the religious factions of Christianity who think that you will only get to heaven if you join their church.
    People who have such narrow thinking have entirely missed the focus of what real leadership is all about – who are they there for?
    “in my father’s house are many mansions”

    • “It really is very depressing to see the left attacking it’s potential allies”

      That’s not what you are actually seeing.
      You’re seeing Labour attack it’s potential allies.

      Labour has not been left since 1984. Well, maybe for a couple of months after the 1999 election.

      • Paul 5.1.1


      • Tracey 5.1.2

        not quite, bradbury has stuck the boot into the Green Party over its climate change policy. Ironic when it has no policy on climate change at all.

        • karol

          Now Bryce Edwards in his NZ Herald roundup is running the same line as Bradbury – Greens strategically smart shift a little to the right with Climate policy – Edwards ignores his own contradiction by saying Turei’s health policy was a left policy.

          • Tracey

            the greens are trying to find a way to reduce carbon emissions. Its neither a left or right move. Its a move to get emissions down, something the ets and govt, including the maori party, have singularly failed to do.

            Thats probably too complex a concept for bryce and many others.

            Hone ought to be able to embarrass the maori party by their collusion with national while the land and sea and air have got dirtier

            • Lanthanide

              The tax-cut is a right-wing policy, though. It’s a right-ward sweetener to get short-sided and greedy voting public to not flat-out reject the policy and make it difficult for the right-wingers to argue against.

              • Tracey

                So if the greens said no tax on the first 15,000 you wouldnt say its left wing?

                The greens have worked out that corporates and many humans respond better to the stick than the carrot. You pollute, you pay. Reduce your emissions, pay less…

                You might be right, pun intended, but if anything its designed to blunt attack from the right, not win votes from there?

                The need to label stuff left or right is a self perpetuating or self defeating trap,imo.

        • Naturesong

          True, but Bradbury seems to have a grudge against the greens.

          Apparantly a couple of the Greens staffers were mean to him once.

      • Mary 5.1.3

        And what Labour’s doing the attacking about shows how they’re not Left.

  6. vto 6

    That is all some brainless shit from Labour big-wigs.

    For Goff to get on his high horse is laughable – shall we go back and check some of his own dirty dealings to achieve political ends? But all well within the law of course, of course, what a horse…

    I’m with the IM people on this – the goal is the routing of this current government and not some weird hypocrisy from Goff et al. And, yes, one must play by the rules if they cannot be changed, because to do otherwise is simple bare ignorance. Life is not fair – harden up. Fools.

    Hey Goff – why not use the rules to get back in and then change the rules to how you think they should be? Then everyone will be happy ……

    • Tracey 6.1

      plus fucking 1 vto

    • Mary 6.2

      “If Labour wants to be in government after the 2014 election, it may need to do what it previously considered unthinkable.”

      Why is what National does in Epsom and what Labour has done elsewhere and what IMP is suggesting happens in Te Tai Tokerau so unconscionable or “unthinkable” anyway? Why isn’t it simply accepted as part and parcel of MMP and embraced? It only happens occasionally in one or two electorates when the stars align and when it does voters know precisely what’s going on and vote accordingly. Why is it so bloody wrong?

      • Crashcart 6.2.1

        It gives a disproportinate amount of power in the election to just a couple of electorates. Esentailly last election the voters of epsom got decide who the government was by voting in a lame duck that no one really wnated. This only leads to more of the same(as shown by what is happening with IMP) further distorting the electoral process. I have to agree with LPRENT that an election should be parties fighting to win every electorate and every party vote. The only way to really achieve that is to set the line to the amount of party vote required for one seat in parliment.

  7. veutoviper 7

    I agree to an extent with lprent’s logic and reasoning at 3.2; and personally I am not suggesting that Kelvin Davis should step down per se. Rather my concern is that Labour are still treating elections as FPP and ignoring the logic of left leaning – or rather progressive – parties cooperating and working as a ‘community’.

    BUT what has really got my goat is the snide (and worse) comments on Twitter etc from Davis, Goff, Hipkins – and Stuart Nash – on the IP/Mana alliance.

    Nash has also been in there slinging the mud via Twitter over the last few days – although when I googled his Twitter feed earlier this morning and again a few minutes ago, the feed does not show those Tweets. Deleted?

    But they are still available via Patrick Gower’s Twitter feed. https://twitter.com/patrickgowernz

    I cannot seem to copy the two comments made by Nash on 30 May which Gower retweeted, but these can be found by scrolling down (the two comments are not together, there are a number of other comments in between). Both comments are derogatory of Hone and Mana and generated conversations that can be viewed by clicking on them.

  8. blue leopard 8

    As I commented elsewhere, I think that Labour need to be very very careful about discipline. This type of aggressive approach seemingly by individual MPs (as opposed to a united ‘party line’) only serves to remind people of the divisions that were visible not so very long ago.

    Cunliffe has been leading well, because the Labour politicians have been seeming far more of a harmonious, disciplined and organised team – I consider it very important that they remain this way, they have to show people they will create a stable government, otherwise they simply won’t be supported.

    I am more than happy that Labour – as a party – take the stance necessary for collecting the ‘middle’ vote – this allows the other leftwing parties to grow their votes = overall more votes for the left. If Labour went too far left now that we have 3 other parties that are more left, it just means National and NZ First end up collecting the centrist voters and the risk of another National circus is very high.

    If Labour are going for this centrist vote the stance they require includes not looking too cooperative with Mana (not sure about how left the Internet Party is positioning itself yet – hence I single out Mana here). I really don’t think there is too much need for too much aggression toward the other leftwing parties, though – that is simply going to have people believing that a left-wing government won’t work together cooperatively.

    The real problem with the Labour MPs coming out saying what they are saying, therefore, is that it appears to be simply individuals, not the party that are taking positions. Labour need to make a decision as a party asap and put that out to the public so they can continue to be viewed as an harmonious team.

    Another problem, though is what these MP’s are are saying is heading toward too being too aggressive toward potential fellow members of the next government.

    I suggest that they don’t lock themselves too strongly into a centrist/competitive stance, they clearly need to see how the polls respond and if they are not gaining by such a stance, they might have to shift it slightly. They need to be clear, however, not wishy washy ‘wait till after the election’ people need something firm to vote for, playing it too safe is to lose when it comes to politics in NZ IMO, so get to work Labour, you have some pretty tricky decisions to make that require a very fine balance and they need to be made NOW, before you continue to look like a gaggle of scrappy squabblers who are more concerned about competing amongst yourselves and other leftwing parties than you are in removing National from office!

    • Saarbo 8.1

      Yep, my thoughts exactly BL. They were behaving well for a while but this just may have fucked things up for Labour 2014.

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      Labour need to make a decision as a party asap and put that out to the public so they can continue to be viewed as an harmonious team.

      Yep. Unfortunately, the individual Labour MPs mentioned fail to understand that it is a party decision and will, IMO, not bend to that decision.

    • Anne 8.3

      Excellent Blue Leopard.

      Cunliffe has been doing well on this one – leaving all options open until AFTER the voters have had their say. Sensible and astute reasoning. Than along come some 3 or 4 MPs and they start laying down the law as they want it to be. There can be no doubt they are doing so of their own volition and, by implication, they are actually giving Cunliffe the fingers.

      I’m angry at such stupidity… unless they really don’t want to see Labour win with Cunliffe at the helm. I hope it’s the former but fear it may be the latter.

      • lprent 8.3.1

        That is pretty much how I see it as well.

        • Colonial Viper

          Who said that there are certain people who would prefer to be in charge of a losing Labour Party rather than not being in charge of a winning Labour Party.

          • weka

            Quite a few people have said that 😉

          • lprent

            Problem is that they don’t see it as being that particular choice set. That is more Bombers overly simplistic viewpoint than something that anyone has carefully crafted.

            The problem with any political party that contains more than one person is that you are going to have a range of views on damn near everything and those perceptional differences increase almost geometrically as the number of people increases. So will the number of possible explanations of how other people perceive it. That is why it usually pays to observe to see if the accumulated facts fit a pet theory rather than react half-cocked.

            Having someone trying to jam everything into their own perceptual framework without bothering to think through the alternate explanations and just ignoring the consequences is just dumb. Especially when the fool that did it has never had anything to do with that party or the people involved and it shows in his “analysis”. That just demonstrates a level of childish ignorant arrogance that is worthy of someone like Cameron Slater.

            If Bomber wanted to fuck up any real possibility of a deal between IMP and Labour then he is proceeding in exactly the right way. As a politician looking for a coalition having this kind of rant ascribing motivations that may not exist by a vocal supporter of the other party is exactly the thing that provides ammunition for opponents of coalitions inside the various parties.

            And it pisses me off that the dickhead tried to draw the other left blogs into his fantasy as well as a group. I don’t even attempt to get agreement amongst the authors on this site. Why does Bomber think that he is likely to get a concerted action between blogs of the type that seems to exist in his fantasy world?

    • Karen 8.4


  9. One Anonymous Bloke 9

    Hipkins tweets with all the false fervour of a wannabe with no skin in the game.

    That doesn’t mean Labour should bring their own vaseline to a meeting with Hone.com.

    It would be an odd broad church if there were no major disagreements. I am optimistic.

  10. felix 10

    Remember the little weedy kid at school who hung around with the bullies?

    That’s Hipkins. He needs to pull his fucking head in quicksmart.

  11. Craig Glen Eden 11

    Hipkins is an emotional liability Labour need to get rid of the little idiot. We all saw how stupid he is when he mouthed off total bullshit about Cunliffe on National TV. This is more of the same he’s a naughty little boy a spoilt brat who needs to go to his room for some time to think about his stupid behavior and only allowed out when he apologizes to us all. .

    • swordfish 11.1

      I’ve gotta say there’s been an unusually strong swing to National (Party-Vote) in the Rimutaka seat since the Hipster became MP. So the guy’s got a bit of front throwing his weight around like this.

  12. Tautoko Viper 12

    Tweets are public announcements and should be regarded by the author as being in the same league as a public speech or a newspaper article and the same party discipline should apply to all. Tweets are not like whispering behind someone’s back or writing a private letter. Anyone can access and retweet.

  13. BM 13

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the ABCs split from Labour if Cunliffe tried to go into coalition with internetmana.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      What, to join a Grand Coalition with the National Party, thereby ensuring 20 years of Tory rule?

      • BM 13.1.1

        Don’t rule it out.

        Maybe they’re thinking a bit longer term and think if labour went into coalition with dotcom, it would destroy Labour therefore it’s time to break away, leave old labour to Cunllife/Robertson and start new.

        David Shearer would be the leader

        Stranger things have happened, such as an obese German millionare buying his own political party to stop his extradition to the United States,.

        • Tracey

          if the abcs leave it wont be for a new labour, thats too left.

          Something even stranger is a property investor buying a party so he can legally beat his kids, and your guy will give him east coast bays.

          • BM

            I get the feeling Goff, Shearer, O’Conner, Cosgrove,Mallard,King,Hipkins believes Labour should be just at the left of center and beyond reproach.

            Deals involving a particularly large German, I don’t think are part of that equation.

            Quite a good base for a new party I have to say.

            • Tracey

              strange group to attribute diehard principle to BM.

              You get the feeling they like to imagine they are left of centre when in fact they would seem most at home in uf or the lite side of national.

            • BM

              Forgot to add Kelvin Davis to that list,.

              If that split did happen you’d probably see the return of Shane Jones and John Tamahere to politics.

        • Mike S

          How would a coalition with the Internet Mana party destroy Labour? Do you even know what any of the Internet party publicly released policies are? They release draft policy documents for all party members to comment on and suggest changes to. That’s not a bad thing imo.

          However, I think strategically the best thing for Labour in terms of gaining votes is to distance itself from the Greens and the smaller Left leaning parties as those voters who might switch from National to Labour are scared off by the Greens / Mana / Internet, etc.(no data to back that up, just my opinion) Further, the non voters from last election aren’t going to be frightened off by Labour distancing itself from these other parties and Labour is unlikely to gain many votes from Green or Mana voters. So Labour has more to gain from distancing itself from the other ‘left’ parties.

          ps. Dotcom won’t be extradited, wait ’til the hearings.

    • Colonial Viper 13.2

      Pick the timing which will snatch defeat from the jaws of victory and that is probably what will happen

      • blue leopard 13.2.1

        @ cv @ comment []

        Your cunning comment is cunningly staying at the end of the comments – is that a deliberate trick by that cunning lprent?

        • Draco T Bastard

          That usually happens when a comment gets deleted after someone’s replied to it. The reply stays but loses it’s numbering.

    • Tracey 13.3

      i wish theyd all just fuck of to united future now

  14. Graham 14

    I am a Tory I don’t see a split in labour
    The issue in politics is the short game vrs long game
    If I was a labour supporter the long term goal would be to destroy mana
    And weaken the greens
    I know the whole left block vrs the right block thingie you say
    But remember this 88-90 % of kiwis don’t support the greens
    97-99% of kiwis
    How you see act and Colin Craig is how a large chunk of kiwis see the greens and mana
    Until labour gets stronger there’s no way it will govern

  15. Graham 15

    I am a Tory I don’t see a split in labour
    The issue in politics is the short game vrs long game
    If I was a labour supporter the long term goal would be to destroy mana
    And weaken the greens
    I know the whole left block vrs the right block thingie you say
    But remember this 88-90 % of kiwis don’t support the greens
    97-99% of kiwis
    How you see act and Colin Craig is how a large chunk of kiwis see the greens and mana
    Until labour gets stronger there’s no way it will govern

    • weka 15.1

      “But remember this 88-90 % of kiwis don’t support the greens”

      So? Are you saying that the 10-12% that do should be without representation?

    • Colonial Viper 15.2

      Graham – while Labour is working hard behind the scenes to destroy their natural allies on the Left, what do you reckon National will be doing?

  16. Graham 16

    Can’t edit
    Don’t support mana

    • felix 16.1

      Greens consistently poll above 10% and have done for many years. Your comparison of their support with that of ACT who struggle to break the margin of error is erroneous at best.

      The only long game for Labour is to nurture healthy working relationships with left-wing parties as that is the only way they will ever be part of a government again.

      • swordfish 16.1.1

        Yep, Felix. And if you consult the New Zealand Election Study stats over the last decade or more, you’ll find that a much larger minority of voters (including many Labour ones) express general sympathy for the broad direction of Green politics.

        • felix

          Can’t remember where but I remember seeing results of a “blind” survey on the policies of various parties where the participants were told of the policies but not whose policies they were.

          Apparently most people prefer Green Party policies, just not the Green Party.

      • greywarbler 16.1.2

        Heard David Cunliffe giving his comment about coattails after Slimy and David was all for hearing what the electorate says etc etc. I think he has gone to the top of the mountain and received the tablet with message.

      • Tracey 16.1.3

        its a little insight to how the right think…

        10% is the same as a gifted seat in an electorate

  17. dimebag russell 17

    how to win an election?
    get the most votes!
    as old snapper used to say the labour party will shit in carrying a pig.

  18. georgecom 18

    I am sure those on the left can voice their opinions. A competitive contest does not mean you need to act like gits though. Whats more important, winning some seats, cutting the throats of potential coalition supporters, or changing the government. Yes, a contest can be run in seats, being dumb about it can happen as well. I supported scrapping the coat tail provision and reducing the party vote threshold. I dont go round saying how Mana.com are a bunch of sell out pricks. I would hope various Labour MPs take a deep breath before speaking.

    As for Chris Hipkins comment:
    The good old days, when political parties formed from movements. Now all it takes is a couple of million and some unprincipled sellouts.
    Chris, maybe you are a little too young to remember, maybe you are not. Sell outs? Dude, Labour under Douglas, Prebble et al. The days of Labour being tied to a movement long gone. Selling out, Labour 1984-1990. Glass houses.

    • blue leopard 18.1

      Well said Georgecom

      • georgecom 18.1.1

        How about this. It may be a really silly idea but here goes. Maybe Kelvin and Hone could run a reasonably good humoured and respectful contest in Tai Tokerau. Maybe even show they can work together on things. Yeah, nuts eh. as if.

        I mean, its almost as if Labour winning the seat or not will make the difference between Labour having more seats in parliament than National. Labour and National being so close together like. Then again if Labour had collapsed the Greens like the Nats collapsed ACT it MIGHT actually be the difference between the 2 parties.

        Does that mean you give Mana.com a free ride? Not necessarily. Does that mean certain MPs think before opening their pie holes? maybe.

  19. Charlieboy 19

    Don’t ya just love watching the left writing witty satire about the left and naming and shaming all dissenters,ha, bloody, ha,ha.And then I stop drinking Hooten and Joyce’s Koolaid and realise while we were having so much fun we got Three More Years of National.But at least we are now pure left.See,now we all have workers hands.

  20. SPC 20

    It’s Roger Douglas disease. He became an applause junkie. Some necessary reforms that were not supported by the party were well received in the wider society. Afterwards he began working for them (became a Treasury sock puppet) and not the Labour Party.

    Some in Labour are not that different to Douglas, they put their own caucus faction politics ahead of the party.

  21. AlistairC 21

    Y’all seem to forget that the voters of Te Tai Tokerau actually have agency in this affair. Voters in Maori electorates have, in the past, been quite canny on how to maximise their representation and influence : most notably by splitting their votes. They are quite capable of working out that, this time, their best interest is either
    a) re-electing Hone, and party voting IMP to give him a team to work with, or
    b) voting Maori Party because the alliance with National has worked so well for maori (Only joking)

    Can’t really see the fundamental utility of any other option.

    I think it’s counter-productive to talk about party-to-party deals, over the heads of the electors. And undemocratic.

  22. SPC 22

    Maybe Goff and Hipkins cannot remember, but in 1999 Labour was worried Greens would not win 5% of the vote and so … Coromandel.

    Clark required acquisition of a practical expertise in MMP if Labour was to win office.

    2014 is no different.

    Even if Labour and Greens are looking to rise to 45%, without IM (highly unlikely losing 2-3% to IM), they require NZ First to win 5%.

    No consideration to helping NZ First get 5%.

    Not even if National helps the Conservatives?

    In 1999 Labour played to win and did.

    I suppose the less one cares about the poor the easier to is to drink ones chardonnay and say we had principles in 2014 we did not have in 1999.

    Is the term for it, too middle class (or is that posh) to push …

  23. greywarbler 23

    Reading those tweets is a jaw dropper. The twitterhood certainly gives unsettling views of people;s minds and intellect – sort of like passing an open door and accidentally seeing someone naked. In this case it is of more importance and finding out so much through ill-thought, no-thought tweets from Kelvin Davis is startling after the build-up he received when first being described.

    Now he links Laila with Mata Hari (a German spy). Then he distances himself from some irrelevant German connection by saying he is no Sergeant Schulz.

    What are you then Kelvin? Are you an intelligent Maori New Zealander doing the best thing for both your potential constituents, for Labour, for Maori in NZ, for pakeha in NZ who are interested in your actions for them as citizens, and doing the best to get Labour in and yourself in to parliament? Or are you someone who has made a name for himself and thinks that being able to play rugby and perhaps sledging your opponents fits you for the responsible job of being a good Labour politician?

    Labour needs such, especially good Maori politicians because they punch above their weight in the outcomes they can bring about.

    So during the election campaign, don’t go around pissing off or insulting the people you may need to work with in order to form a government.

    Try following good advice and get disciplined in your tweets and other Labour people shouldn’t be twits either.

    • Murray Olsen 23.1

      Kelvin Davis is coming across as a worthy replacement for Sealord Jones. While he probably isn’t as lazy, he seems just as stupid.

  24. Dot 24

    To a couple of labour MP’s and most particularly
    Phil Goff I thought you were brighter than THAT !
    and at least knew when to keep quiet.

  25. Crunchtime 25

    Wow. Just wow.

    Labour MPs showing how they can be idiots.

    I agree, Helen Clark wouldn’t tolerate this kind of self-sabotage, Key wouldn’t either, so why is David Cunliffe?

    Not “dodgy deals”, just deals. Working with others in order to ensure what’s best for all.

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