ImperatorFish: On “The Issues That Matter”

Written By: - Date published: 12:43 pm, September 5th, 2012 - 36 comments
Categories: identity, labour - Tags: , ,

Scott at Imperator Fish has kindly given us permission to syndicate posts from his blog – the original of this post is here.

I see that Jordan Carter has written a piece in response (I presume) to Stuart Nash’s blogpost about Labour’s “mistake” in focusing on issues like marriage equality.

Nash writes that, while he’s a supporter of marriage equality, the whole issue has been a distraction to Labour, and that Labour should be focusing on “the issues that matter”.

I’m aware that a number of people within Labour believe that the party came unstuck during the Helen Clark era over a perception that Labour were more interested in social engineering and identity politics than, say, improving the lives of ordinary New Zealanders.

Like Jordan, I really struggle with this viewpoint. Marriage equality is important, because to progressive and liberal-minded people it is unfair that gay couples do not have the same rights as heterosexual ones. Marriage equality may not be the single most important issue of the day, but for many people it is an important one. It should not be written off as a “side show”.

If Labour Party strategists (although it should be noted for the record that Stuart Nash is no longer a member of Shearer’s strategy team) cannot see any benefit in supporting legislation that promotes equality for a group of people in our society who experience discrimination, then the party really does have problems.

And they should be able to draw lessons from the success of Louisa Wall’s campaign and apply those learnings in other policy areas. One thing marriage equality campaigners did well was frame the issue in a positive way that most people could understand and identify with (and this post by Lew Stoddart is a must-read on the framing of the campaign messages). The fact that so many people got behind the campaign and were motivated to get involved proves that marriage equality is one of those “issues that matter.”

Progressives want a Labour Party that stands up for people who experience unfairness and inequality through no fault of their own. Labour strategists may worry about the party becoming unfavourably associated with “identity politics”, but it’s hardly a surprise when most of the messaging from Labour on the “issues that matter” goes over the heads of the average Labour voter. If people cared so much about asset sales they wouldn’t have voted in such large numbers for John Key. And while I like some of the policy work being done by the party in the area of economic development, it’s all a bit too intellectual to be understood by the average voter. Simple messages work, as do appeals to fairness and community. That’s why the marriage equality campaign was a success. Labour ignores those lessons at its peril.

(NB: Jordan has clarified his post was in response to Mike Williams on the radio rather than Stuart Nash on the interwebs)

36 comments on “ImperatorFish: On “The Issues That Matter””

  1. SoSoo 1

    If marriage equality is not the single most important issue of the day, then more important issues should not be shunted aside to make way for it. Asking for gay marriage to be postponed while more important issues are sorted out is not to be against gay marriage. It is only to recognise that is less important than other currently pressing matters.

    It’s the same old trick. The left wants a bunch of things, the most important of which will cost money to “the people who matter in society” and others which cost them nothing or very little (like gay marriage). The right stop the left focusing on its most important goals by drip feeding acquiescence to the cheap or free issues.

    In ten years time some NZ children will be eating grass, whilst Labour will be claiming victory over some minor point of identity politics.

    • gobsmacked 1.1

      Oh God, another day, another distracting claim of “distraction”.

      Evidence? Let’s cut to the core …

      1) Where is the evidence that Louisa Wall’s bill is losing Labour votes?

      2) Where is the evidence that Labour’s “more important issues” are winning votes?

      A distraction from what? Roof painters? What Shearer/Robertson/Parker message is not getting through, because of that pesky gay marriage thing? What great speeches have been overlooked?

      Has – for example – the petition for a referendum on Asset Sales been impeded in any way by this private member’s bill? Or are the signatures still rolling in, because (get this) people can care about more than one thing?

      Evidence, please.

      (There is, of course, plenty of evidence of “distractions” by Sua William Suo and Trevor Mallard and now Stuart Nash – but that’s not the kind you mean, is it?).

      • SoSoo 1.1.1

        How about the last 30 years where the Labour party has done little, if anything for “people who experience unfairness and inequality through no fault of their own” when this requires dealing with actual economic inequalities? Labour has caused more inequalities in this respect in the past 40 years than it has remedied, and there appears to be no sign of that changing any time soon.

        As someone said below:

        “The issues that matter are related to why so few people turned out to vote.”

        We’re in the worst recession for decades with a completely discredited economic model, and the Labour Party can’t even rally around an economic policy that isn’t merely defensive against the predations of the right. If they can’t do better than that, then for me they aren’t worth voting for, whatever their stance on gay marriage is.

        • gobsmacked 1.1.1.1

          You haven’t addressed the issue at all.

          Your argument is “Labour are failing”, which most people on here – including me – are pointing out all the time.

          Yes, Labour are failing on economic policy (and much else). Nothing you have said links that failure to a popular private member’s bill which rectifies an injustice.

          What is being “shunted aside” (your words)? The bill was drawn from the ballot on July 26. Before that, there was NO “distraction”, because there was no bill. So, what was happening prior to July 26?

          If you want to argue against marriage equality, then go ahead, argue against marriage equality. But if all you’ve got is the “distraction” card, then you’re both wrong and dishonest. Again I ask … a distraction from what?

          • Stuart Nash 1.1.1.1.1

            A distraction from the worst levels of child poverty in decades, from the widest gap between the very small minority and the suffering majority, from the good hard working people up and down this country who are losing their jobs. Its a distraction because it has sucked the oxygen away from debate around other issues. This is exactly what the Nats wanted. When was the last time you saw an opinion piece on child poverty and what a national shame it is? These are the issues that Labour needs to prove it has the solutions to. Fariness and equality of economic and social opportunity is so important and yet somehow we are MIA from the debate on these, and other, very important issues.

            • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Stuart. Good to see you about. I agree with you. Although I support Louisa’s Bill, we need to remember that it might modestly alter the lives of a few tens of thousands of people.

              Compare that to the massive number of NZers living in poverty – its clear where Labour needs to be focussing the discussion.

            • QoT 1.1.1.1.1.2

              Here’s the thing, Stuart: that “oxygen” was “sucked away” from other issues not because Louisa Wall dared advocate something she (and 2 in 3 New Zealanders) believes in, but because there are vocal and media-attention-grabbing opponents to it.

              So I guess as far as you’re concerned, Louisa Wall should have sat down and shut up because Colin Craig and Bob McCoskrie are better at playing the media than Labour is.

              And the most recent piece I saw on child poverty was … oh. Posted 18 minutes ago on Radio New Zealand.

              The problem isn’t that marriage equality “sucked the oxygen” away from child poverty, Stuart. It’s that Labour has come up with no better answer than “extend our deliberately-anti-beneficiary WFF tax credits to beneficiaries and then wonder why no one thinks that sounds like a good idea”. Oh, and getting David Shearer to “tour the heartland”.

              And yet no one cares what Labour is saying on child poverty? I am so, so surprised.

            • gobsmacked 1.1.1.1.1.3

              Stuart, you are talking about what you wanted Labour to talk about.

              I was talking about what Labour were talking about. Like roof painters.

              David Shearer made his first speech at the beginning of the year. In it, he talked about suspending payments to the Cullen fund. That was the headline that came out of it. Not child poverty. And so it continued for six months. What have Shearer and Parker and co been talking about? Not gay marriage. There has been no narrative, no consistency, no inspiration, nothing. Whose fault is that?

              MIA? Too damn right. Labour were MIA long before a ballot on July 26. And you know it.

              Stuart, you are not stupid, and nor are (most) people here, so please don’t play the old political game of attacking the knights instead of the king. Your criticism should be directed at the people in charge, but instead, you (implicitly) direct it at Louisa Wall and co. Why? Because it’s easier.

              If you would like to tell David Shearer and his “strategists” that they have seriously under-performed since David became leader, for reasons that have nothing to do with “gay marriage”, then please go ahead. They don’t listen to us, but they might listen to an old colleague. They certainly need to listen to somebody, and soon.

              Good luck.

            • fatty 1.1.1.1.1.4

              “When was the last time you saw an opinion piece on child poverty and what a national shame it is?”

              The editorial in today’s Bay of Plenty Times was all about how the Government needs to focus on child poverty.
              Try google news, search ‘Labour Party NZ’ and see what comes up. Sorted by date, gay marriage only comes up as the 9th entry – one week ago on the 30th August.
              Nobody is talking about the Labour Party in relation to gay marriage.
              Also, hardly anybody is talking about the Labour Party in relation to child poverty…or anything.
              It appears as if nobody cares about what Labour has to say on any issue…that is the problem. Gay marriage is being used as an excuse by a party that is failing to communicate with voters about anything.

    • QoT 1.2

      shunted aside

      Yes, I thought it was disgusting the way Louisa Wall tackled the Clerk of the House to the ground during the ballot, forcing her to pick Wall’s bill first in defiance of all proper Parliamentary process.

      • kiwi_prometheus 1.2.1

        It should never have gone in, in the first place. Stupid “Identity Politics” nonsense. Trust a rad fem to be all on board. It should have been dropped back in the hat.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1

          Ah, yes, because having the same rights as everyone else just isn’t all that important.

          /sarc

          • kiwi_prometheus 1.2.1.1.1

            Again, if its all about “Love Rights!” then how can you stop a sister and brother who fall in love from getting married? You would be taking away their rights!

            • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Incest is illegal and that applies to everyone.

              • Stuart Nash

                you miss the point: of course human rights are important, but there are some issues that are so pressing and so pivotal to who Labour is, who we represent and what we believe that they MUST take priority: like child poverty; like a growing unemployment, like a tanking economy, like education and health.  Im not arguing that gay marriage isn’t important, because it obviously is to some people, but I would assume that even for the people directly affected by the inability to marry, the issues affecting the health and well-being of a great many families up and down this country are more important.  

                What about the right of every Kiwi kid to a decent education and 3 square meals?  Because I can guarantee there are thousands of children who are not getting the education they deserve nor are their tummy’s full when they go to bed.  Now that’s not fair.!  

                Anyway, I have made my point, Louisa’s Bil is on the way to becoming law and so now can we please focus on taking down this government by tackling them head on re the issues mentioned above.  

                • Draco T Bastard

                  you miss the point:

                  No, I don’t. The point is injustice and by calling the same sex marriage bill a distraction you perpetuate that injustice.

                  Not what I’d call a principled stand.

                  What about the right of every Kiwi kid to a decent education and 3 square meals?

                  But Labour won’t do anything about it because they fail to see what’s causing that poverty. They’ll look at maybe raising taxes a couple of percent, put in place a CGT with holes a truck could drive through without scraping the sides.

                  We cannot afford the rich.

                  Anyway, I have made my point,

                  No you didn’t because you didn’t have one.

        • QoT 1.2.1.2

          rad fem

          Oh, k_p. Every time you try to label me as such I just find myself laughing so hard I fall down.

  2. js 2

    Human rights rarely seem important to those who have them, but are critical for those who don’t and are vital for an egalitarian society. PM Peter Fraser was one of those leaders who fought for the UN Declaration on Human Rights in the 1940s. I guess there were those at home who called that a distraction too.

  3. Dr Terry 3

    I think the article above, and the comments here, make a number of very good points. This is a discussion well worth pursuing. Thus far, thanks to all.

  4. King Kong 4

    “Progressives want a Labour Party that stands up for people who experience unfairness and inequality”

    This is where you dickheads get it wrong. The Labour party should be a party that represents all of New Zealand not just fags and losers.

    Leave the bene cuddling to Mana and get on with being a credible party with a slight left of centre bent.

    • All of New Zealand includes queers, you loser. 😉 You can’t have “all of New Zealand” by excluding part of it. The conservative parts are welcome to their rights the same as the liberal parts, and I will fight just as hard for their rights as my own.

      The moment you start actually advocating for rights that don’t effect you is the first moment you’re actually worth listening to.

    • mike e 4.2

      primitive primate thank god for evolution as you have been left behind ,Your obviously not from the bonobo side of the family .

  5. Murray Olsen 5

    The bill came up on the ballot. Should Labour NZ First and the left parties have voted against it because it’s not about one of the “important” issues? I don’t think so. They can get as many bills about other things on the ballot as they like, but anything against asset sales, for strengthened bargaining power for unions, against fracking, or even in favour of smaller class sizes would be defeated because the Tories have a majority. This is one of the few issues that the law can be changed on while in opposition, so I see it as a win.
    This doesn’t excuse Labour from doing other things that opposition parties should be doing. NZ First and the left parties make a reasonable job of raising issues from the opposition benches, and holding the government to account on some issues. Why can’t Labour do it as well?
    Another issue of the day: which of the Paganis is King Kong?

    • kiwi_prometheus 5.1

      “This is one of the few issues that the law can be changed on while in opposition, so I see it as a win.”

      Ok, good point.

  6. tracey 6

    Kk, no single party can represent all nzers. You seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of how our political system works. You seem to be saying labour should represent all nzers by failing to suppirt some nzers. Anyone got a banana for kk?

  7. BernyD 7

    They all matter, that’s why they’re called issues, surely?

  8. peterlepaysan 8

    The issues that matter are related to why so few people turned out to vote.

    End of story.

  9. kiwi_prometheus 9

    Its still flawed on a philosophical level. Marriage necessarily involves the unique condition of a relationship between a man and woman. It’s not just about lurvvve, otherwise a mother could marry her daughter if they so wanted using that argument.

    The only counter strike when I was being mobbed and before the argument got shut down was a Deconstructionist derivative about the above idea being too “binary”. 🙄

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Its still flawed on a philosophical level. Marriage necessarily involves the unique condition of a relationship between a man and woman.

      Nope, you’re wrong as has been pointed out to you before.

      It’s not just about lurvvve, otherwise a mother could marry her daughter if they so wanted using that argument.

      WTF is it with idiots coming up with blatantly stupid arguments?

      • kiwi_prometheus 9.1.1

        “Nope, you’re wrong as has been pointed out to you before.”

        As I pointed out above, the only response was the Deconstructionist “binary” BS typical of the Feminist ideologues.

        “WTF is it with idiots coming up with blatantly stupid arguments?”

        Yes claiming marriage is a love right is definitely blatantly stupid. As I pointed out, on that ground why can’t an uncle and a nephew marry, it would be a violation of their love rights not to allow them according to Team Love Rights.

        • framu 9.1.1.1

          “on that ground why can’t an uncle and a nephew marry”

          possibly because its illegal for them to have a relationship in the first place.

          do you really not get it or are you being thick on purpose?

  10. fnjckg 10

    whos’ that clomping on our bridge?
    why, Me, said the baby billy goat gruff

  11. Nunya 11

    As others have pointed out there are plenty of kiwis suffering much worse injustices caused by decisions made by the Lange labour government, and to a lesser extent, the Clark pseudo labour government. The failure of that government to properly repeal the worst aspects of the Nats employment contracts act is the reason that so many kiwis are working their asses off for a wage that is insufficient to feed and clothe themselves.

    For some strange reason some of those poor buggers who copped the roughest end of the pineapple are still voting labour.
    Unlike many G&L voters who deserted labour in droves once everything had been put into place to allow them to enjoy a creature comfort rich, bourgeois lifestyle.
    Back in 2008 many G&L voters were more concerned with tax cuts than being able to call their relationship a marriage.

    Oblamblam dragged the marriage thing outta the box marked ‘cheap promises the rethugs won’t steal’ as soon as he realised that indifference can cost him the prezdency in November. People don’t care he hasn’t helped amerikans – his obamacare cements the right of the insurance corporations to control amerikan health services and it criminalises those wage earners who refuse to buy into the crooked health industry’s crooked health insurance plans.
    Oblamblam publicised the gay marriage issue in a vain attempt to get a few dem party activists back in the fold. The volunteers who do all the real work had deserted oblamblam when he refused to close Gitmo, bombed Libya into smithereens and began sending hit squads out to murder anyone who disagreed with his imperialist mind-set. So the G&L marriage thing was dredged up to make the dems seem relevant and hip. All to get kids who know no better convinced that a vote for oblamblam will bring peace on earth to all mankind as long as they trudge the streets putting his lies and lying sound bites through every mailbox.

    All the corrupt closet neo-liberal ‘social democrat’ parties around the world followed suit. Here was an easy and cheap way to ‘engage the masses’ without getting offside with their corporate backers.
    Too bad that much of those masses will only stick with the party as long as there are G&L ‘injustices’ to be sorted.

    Ooops! Doesn’t that mean it will never truly be ‘sorted’? Face it it just isn’t in the interests of these so called social democrat parties to properly address G&L issues cause as soon as they do many of the voters will be back to worrying about reducing their tax, & forgetting completely about the peeps on the bottom of the economic heap whose needs were sacrificed to help G&L kiwis to get justice.

    Labour has no chance of being the second largest party in parliament next election, much less the largest, unless they can convince the million who refused to vote at all, that they truly mean to stick with the average kiwi shit kicker.

    At the moment NZ Labour are showing no sign of doing anything other than indulging in the type of elitist niche politics that may garner a few one off votes for as long as a segment of bourgeois NZ can claim to feel oppressed.

    However, rebuilding the labour party into something meaningful, something that doesn’t require social justice issues have to be lucky enough to get pulled from a hat, requires rebranding the party as being a political movement that is 100% devoted to immediately addressing all forms of injustice, especially economic injustice. If the labourites do that they won’t hafta spend their time convincing gay men, many of whom spent years trying to humanely extricate themselves from disastrous marriages that they were wrong, that marriage is indeed the solution to whatever they think ails them.
    It is a bullshit policy adopted for cynical political reasons and most thinking kiwis, gay and straight, see it for exactly that.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      However, rebuilding the labour party into something meaningful, something that doesn’t require social justice issues have to be lucky enough to get pulled from a hat, requires rebranding the party as being a political movement that is 100% devoted to immediately addressing all forms of injustice, especially economic injustice.

      Kick ass dude.

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    Last month, when the National Party announced ten expensive new roads as the core of its election campaign, the Greater Auckland blog noticed something interesting: the business case for one of them, Whangarei to Wellsford, had disappeared from NZTA's website. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 days ago
  • Follow the Leader: Winston Peters – NZ First
      ...
    2 days ago
  • Access: Disabled floater voters 3: Education and Justice
    This is the third of a series of blogs from the Disabled Persons Assembly (DPA).   We have used DPA’s strategic areas of focus, as identified by our members, as a guide to examine key areas of each party’s policies. We ...
    2 days ago
  • Observations on the 2017 Election campaign thus far… (ono)
    . . You show me yours, I’ll show you mine… . Perhaps the most ill-considered public statement from NZ First leader, Winston Peters, was his recent (11 September) demand that Labour disclose it’s full tax plan as a pre-condition for ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    2 days ago
  • The mystery of the Wellsford-Whangarei business case solved
    Exactly a month ago, the National Party announced the biggest element of their transport policy for this election, $10.5 billion on 10 new Roads of National Significance. These are: Wellsford to Whangarei East West Link in Auckland Cambridge to Tirau Piarere ...
    2 days ago
  • Which New Zealand are you voting for?
    I was walking out of a meeting with two fine people the other day, one a National Party supporter and one a Labour Party supporter. The centre-right man reckons his team has lost it, but he sighed, "the economy's going ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    2 days ago
  • Farmers blame absence of Bill English for failure to summon Cow God
    Farmers were deeply disappointed when an incantation meant to summon the Cow God instead summoned Winston Peters. Dairy farmers have spent the better part of today blaming Prime Minister Bill English for their failure to summon the Cow God beneath ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 days ago
  • Trust women to decide: Greens
    The Green party has renewed its calls for abortion law reform, after a woman who was declined a termination considered suicide.    Under the Crimes Act, an abortion must be approved by two licenced specialist doctors.  Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski ...
    3 days ago
  • Suffrage Day is now about equal pay for many women
    The fight goes on.   Merinda Jackson. Photo: The Wireless/Max Towle Women wearing suffragist dress gathered outside Wellington’s central library this afternoon. They periodically broke off into small groups and disappeared inside for a few minutes at ...
    3 days ago
  • How WINZ got social housing costs so wrong
    Last year, National bowed to public pressure over homelessness and replaced emergency housing loans - under which the homeless were saddled with odious debt to be put up in price-gouging motels - with a grant. Their initial budget for these ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Narcissistic men are more likely to troll on Facebook – study
    “Aggression, manipulativeness, low agreeableness.” Sound familiar? Illustration: 123RF A new study analysing people’s motivations for trolling has found men are more likely to bully others on Facebook because they’re more narcissistic. Researchers from Brunel and Goldsmiths universities ...
    3 days ago
  • Climate change: This is going to cost us
    For the past six months, National have been suppressing Ministry for the Environment guidance on coastal hazards, which show that sea level rise and the resulting storm surges threaten $19 billion of coastal property. This government malfeasance isn't just bad ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • National has failed our health system
    Along with a number of other worsening sectors in New Zealand, the public health system has become increasingly degraded under a National led government. The statistics clearly show a complete failure to meet growing demand for services, especially in peak ...
    3 days ago
  • Suffrage Day
    Today, September 19th, is Suffrage Day. 124 years ago today, women gained the right to vote in New Zealand. Its one of our greatest achievements as a nation, and yet its not one we publicly mark. That needs to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Collins and the swamp kauri petrol crisis
    The ruptured fuel pipe that runs to Auckland Airport looks set to cause more chaos as fuel shortages start to impede people trying to fill up at the pump.Already a number of international flights have been diverted or cancelled due ...
    3 days ago
  • Facts about fluorosis – not a worry in New Zealand
    This sort of serious dental fluorosis does not occur in New Zealand A recent issue of the Fluoride Exposed Newsletter gives us the facts about dental fluorosis – a subject very often misrepresented by opponents of community water fluoridation. Ever ...
    3 days ago
  • PT Ridership around New Zealand
    Auckland had a pretty good year for public transport ridership in the last financial year (to the end of June). Overall, compared to the 2016 ridership increased by 5.5 million (7%) to 88.44 million trips, the highest point since 1955. ...
    3 days ago
  • Australia tries to deport Rohingya to persecution
    Myanmar is currently waging a campaign of ethnic cleansing against its Rohingya minority. So naturally, the racist Australian government is trying to force Rohingya detained in its concentration camps to return to persecution:Australia is promising thousands of dollars to Rohingya ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Chevron’s Amazon Chernobyl Case moves to Canada
    After perpetrating what is probably the worst oil-related catastrophe on Earth - a 20,000 hectare death zone in Ecuador, known as the “Amazon Chernobyl” - the Chevron Corporation has spent two decades and over a billion dollars trying to avoid ...
    3 days ago
  • 5 reasons the car industry needs to change its ways now
    Today the world’s biggest motor show gets underway in Germany. The Frankfurt Motorshow is the moment many of the world’s best known car manufacturers get together for a grand display of vehicles that have been polished so hard it’s a ...
    3 days ago
  • Access Granted: Kat Greenbrook – From insight to action
    Kat Greenbrook (@katgreenbrook) is on a mission to increase the number of data insights actioned as she sees a growing gap between analytics teams and decision makers, stemming from a breakdown in communication.  Kat, through her own company Rogue Penguin, works across ...
    3 days ago
  • When The Country Goes To Town.
    Pretty Ugly, Pretty Quickly: That the demographic and cultural divide between rural and urban New Zealand remains a source of deep unease to farmers cannot be doubted. Equally indisputable, historically-speaking, has been the militant, even violent, character of rural New ...
    3 days ago
  • More on Kiwi Rail De-electrification
    *This is a guest post by Roger Blakeley, Bob Norman, Alex Gray and Keith Flinders KIWIRAIL’S NIMT DECISION EXPOSED IN LEAKED DOCUMENTS Roger Blakeley, Bob Norman, Alex Gray and Keith Flinders1 Leaked documents show that KiwiRail’s decision in December 2016, to ...
    Transport BlogBy Guest Post
    3 days ago
  • Limits to growth?
    Mounting concern with housing, transport and diversity issues in Auckland point to a consensus that growth trends are exceeding our ability to readily cope. This is aggravated by reports that portions of our wilderness tourism areas are being hammered by ...
    Briefing PapersBy Charles Crothers
    3 days ago
  • Winston Peters hijacks National’s protest
    There was a lot of anticipation surrounding a farmer’s protest in Morrinsville yesterday, a protest over Labour’s proposed levy of 1 to 2 cents per 1000 litres of water used for irrigation.Federated Farmers and Dairy NZ in particular have been ...
    3 days ago
  • Just when will the fat lady start singing this election?
    Now we’ve entered the last week of the election campaign, Saturday’s finishing post is in sight. Once the polls close at 7pm on that day, no further ballots may be cast.read more ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    3 days ago
  • Prediction
    There's nothing stupider on the internet than putting down your thoughts in an indisputable form.  So that, of course is what I am going to do:NAT – 42%LAB – 39%NZF – 8%GRE – 6%TOP – 2%MAO – 1.5% (With electorate ...
    4 days ago
  • The evidence says TOP have no hope
      The Opportunities Party leader Gareth Morgan has come out swinging against the polls, which unanimously report his party polling nowhere near the 5% threshold. He basically says they’re fake news because they (mostly) only poll landlines. He predicts TOP will ...
    Cut your hairBy calebmorgan
    4 days ago
  • If you support Labour, Green, TOP, Māori, or Mana: Party vote Green
    I wrote this post on Facebook and it’s got a bit of traction so I thought I’d put it here as well. (These thoughts aren’t unique to me: other people are making similar points.) Most people intending to vote Labour, Green, ...
    Cut your hairBy calebmorgan
    4 days ago
  • An Alternative to Neoliberalism?
    Are we at a turning point in our politics? I don’t mean whether we have a new government. That is a matter for the voters; the polls say that either they are very volatile or that the polls are very ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    4 days ago
  • 1969: The “Nearly-But-Not-Quite” Election.
    Labour Nearly Did This: It didn’t really seem possible that Labour could have lost. Its 1969 campaign had broken new ground in terms of media sophistication. Labour’s theme-song “Make Things Happen” had topped the local charts, and its television commercial, ...
    4 days ago
  • Why is Matthew Hooton SO UPSET at efforts to increase voter turnout? (AUDIO)
    Here’s some commentary from PR professional Matthew Hooton, owner of the ‘Exceltium’ PR agency*, on how he sees efforts by New Zealand’s Electoral Commission to increase voter turnout. “I think the way the Electoral Commission has behaved, taking upon itself ...
    The PaepaeBy Peter Aranyi
    4 days ago
  • Its going to be a short election night
    Advance voting has really taken off this year, with enormous numbers exercising their right to vote early, parties campaigning specifically for advance votes, and queues at some advance polling booths. As of Sunday, 445,000 people had advance voted - more ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • We need more post-publication peer review
    We often tout peer review as the reason for accepting the veracity of published scientific studies? But how good is it really? Does it ever match the ideal picture people have of it? And what about peer review before and ...
    4 days ago
  • No choice
    The decision to have a child can be life changing. But Kate* says she didn’t have a choice.  Illustration: Lucy Han / The Wireless A woman who was denied a second trimester abortion through North Shore Hospital says ...
    4 days ago
  • Too many cows
    Waikato's dairy farmers - the dirtiest in the country - are protesting in Morrinsville today to defend their "right" to keep pumping their shit into our rivers and their piss into our wells. Meanwhile, to get an idea of how ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Upgrading Takapuna’s heart
    While the beach may be the soul of Takapuna, Hurstmere Road is perhaps it’s commercial heart. Working in Takapuna, it’s a heart I know well (in fact at the time this post is published I’m probably walking along it to ...
    4 days ago
  • Cameras on boats will wreck ‘way of life’ – fisherman
    Push back against plans for surveillance on the high seas.       Fishing boats lined up along Bluff wharf. Photo: The Wireless/John Lake For Bluff cray fisherman Jayce Fisher, working the ocean is a way of ...
    4 days ago
  • 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #37
    Story of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... SkS in the News... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus... ...
    4 days ago

  • Housing report earns Nats the red card
    National’s failure to acknowledge and fix the housing crisis will be their legacy. Labour will tackle the housing crisis head-on, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    16 hours ago
  • Sluggish growth reflects nine years of drift from National
    Today’s GDP figures reflect an economy that the National Government has allowed to drift along on the basis of growing population rather than improving productivity and adding value, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is important to recognise that ...
    19 hours ago
  • National’s campaign of deception an affront to democracy
    Voters this week have a clear choice between Labour’s optimism and honesty, or rewarding National’s campaign of relentless lies, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Day after day National has been deliberately spreading lies about Labour, our intentions and what ...
    2 days ago
  • National’s economy scorecard: D for drift
    New Zealand’s economy is failing the very people it is supposed to uplift, characterised by stalled productivity, exports going backwards and a Government content to let it drift, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “Voters have a clear choice ...
    2 days ago
  • Another day – another health crisis
    News today that the emergency department at Waikato has turned 180 patients away is another crisis for the Government and its besieged health system, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “It’s astonishing that the Government has had to rely on ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour will get tough on loan sharks
      Labour will take a tough stance on loan sharks and make sure that the Commerce Commission is properly resourced to protect Kiwi consumers, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs spokesperson Michael Wood.   “People on low incomes must be protected from ...
    2 days ago
  • GP letter more evidence of failure in mental health
      A letter of complaint by medical practitioners to the Ministry of Health and Capital and Coast District Health Board underlines how badly patients are being let down by mental health services in Wellington, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “The ...
    3 days ago
  • GP letter more evidence of failure in mental health
      A letter of complaint by medical practitioners to the Ministry of Health and Capital and Coast District Health Board underlines how badly patients are being let down by mental health services in Wellington, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “The ...
    3 days ago
  • Tax cuts when kids go hungry shows National’s lack of moral compass
    National’s campaign of tax cuts that give $400 million to the top 10 per cent of earners, at a time when 120 Kiwi kids every year are being hospitalised for malnutrition, shows they have lost their moral compass, says Labour’s ...
    3 days ago
  • Freight being shifted off planes as fuel crisis worsens
    Export freight is being shifted off flights because of the Government’s failure to manage the risk of disruption to jet fuel supplies, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson Stuart Nash. “It has been revealed to Labour that non-perishable export freight is ...
    3 days ago
  • Apologise now Jonathan
    Health Minister Jonathan Coleman must apologise for his part in a $2.3 billion shortfall that has contributed to delays in cancer diagnosis and treatment, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “All the Minister could say in an interview this morning ...
    3 days ago
  • National’s health report card shows need for new plan
    From increased GP fees, to kids getting sick from cold homes, to denial of important surgeries, National’s underfunding of health has hurt Kiwi families, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.   “It’s time to invest in the health of ...
    3 days ago
  • Eye clinic wait downright dangerous
    The fact that 9,500 Kiwis are waiting one and a half times longer than they should to get follow-up eye appointments is unacceptable and dangerous, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson David Clark. “These people are entitled to the reassurance that if ...
    3 days ago
  • National has serious questions to answer over Auckland fuel crisis
    Thousands of air travellers looking for answers to Auckland Airport’s fuel crisis should be demanding the National Government come clean over its failure to secure fuel supply for the airport, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “There are serious questions the ...
    4 days ago
  • Come clean on trade before the election
    In the two days before the election, New Zealand MFAT negotiators will attend a negotiations meeting in Japan on the successor to the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), now called the TPP-11. The negotiations are shrouded in secrecy but we ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    6 days ago
  • National unravels on transport
    The release of extraordinary information showing that the East-West link could be the most expensive road in the world, at $327 million per kilometre, shows that National is fiscally reckless and out of ideas on transport, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson ...
    6 days ago
  • Saudi cover-up a perversion of democracy
    The Government has been exposed as dishonest after it was revealed that  they were wrong to claim they paid out $11 million dollars to a Saudi businessmen after legal advice, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Parker.  “OIAs revealed on ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour supporting Te Reo Māori in schools
    Labour will support a future where New Zealanders from every background will have the ability to use Te Reo Māori in everyday conversations, says Labour’s Deputy Leader and Māori Development spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “Labour will commit to a target that ...
    7 days ago
  • Is National planning a secret fuel tax?
    Sources suggest National is considering a secret fuel tax to fund its controversial Roads of National Significance (RONS) programme, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Michael Wood. “While the Government keeps up its stream of lies about Labour’s tax policy, sources indicate ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s plan for West Coast prosperity
    Labour’s regional development plan for the West Coast will build on its strengths in engineering and tourism, while delivering a much-needed upgrade to the Buller Hospital, says Labour Leader Jacinda Ardern.  “Labour’s vision is for a thriving regional New Zealand, ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour committed to fair and progressive tax system
    Labour is committed to a tax system where everyone pays their fair share and where we start to address the imbalances that have fuelled the housing crisis, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson and Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. "Today ...
    1 week ago
  • A challenge to Bill English
    ...
    1 week ago
  • Flavell’s fake news an insult to Māori voters
    A desperate Te Ururoa Flavell has resorted to fake news about Labour’s position on his unpopular Ture Whenua reforms, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s tax cuts reckless and irresponsible
    It is time for Bill English and Steven Joyce to stop the scaremongering and lies, and front up to New Zealanders about the impact of their tax cuts, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Bill English has no credibility on ...
    1 week ago
  • Calculator shows Labour’s Families Package delivers
    Labour has launched a new online calculator that show how much extra families with kids will get from Labour’s Families Package, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “Families can go to www.labour.org.nz/calculator and see how much better off they ...
    1 week ago
  • Strengthening New Zealand’s identity through Labour’s media and film policy
    Labour has today launched its media and film policy aimed at strengthening New Zealand’s identity and providing sustainability for the industry, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour to invest in parents and babies
    Labour will fund an additional 100 Plunket and Tamariki Ora nurses to increase the help available for vulnerable parents and babies, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “It’s so important that our children get the best start in life. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to build affordable homes and state houses in Hawke’s Bay
    Labour will build a mix of 240 affordable KiwiBuild starter homes for first home buyers and state homes for families in need in Napier and Hastings, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “In 2016, the populations of Napier and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour pledges more for Whānau Ora
    Labour will strengthen the oversight of Whānau Ora and provide an extra $20 million over four years to improve outcomes for whānau and families, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Kelvin Davis.    “We’ve created a new position of Whānau Ora Reviewer ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s housing band aid
    Throwing subsidies at an under-supplied housing market is one last desperate bid by National to be seen to do something about the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “First home buyers have been the collateral damage of National’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing, families, education and environment top priorities in Labour’s first 100 days
    Labour will take urgent action in its first 100 days in office to expand support for families and students, make rental homes warm and dry, find solutions to the mental health crisis and accelerate efforts to clean up our waterways, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour pledges to unlock funding for Te Hiku sports hub project
    The Labour Government will inject nearly $3 million into the Te Hiku Sports Hub project, to help realise a much-needed health and recreational facility for the Far North, says Labour Deputy Leader and MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s plan to get job seekers into better work
    Labour will provide real support for people looking for work by increasing the amount of money someone can earn before their benefit begins to reduce, reinstating training incentives, and putting a renewed focus on upskilling and training, says Labour’s Social ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour sets strong target and plan for climate action
    Labour will set a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050 and take the necessary steps to achieve it, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern.  “Climate change is my generation’s nuclear-free moment. We have to take our place ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Are education cuts missing in National’s Fiscal Plan?
    National needs to explain why its plans for cuts to school transport have not been announced in its fiscal plan, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.   “Buried in the Pre-election Budget update is a $5m a year cut to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Joyce must come clean on Health and Education funding
    Steven Joyce needs to front up to New Zealanders and tell them whether he will fund health and education to meet increasing cost pressures, or risk seeing services cut and costs increase for parents, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing crisis is National’s legacy
    Reports of tenants languishing in boarding houses for years because they cannot get a state house is yet more evidence National’s legacy is the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We used to pride ourselves in this country ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour calls for release of report into civil defence flaws
    The National Government must stick by its word given to other political parties and release a technical report before the election addressing critical flaws in New Zealand’s civil defence capability, Labour Civil Defence spokesperson Clare Curran said today.  “Cross party ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Credibility shot as Government runs out of steam
    New Zealanders are witnessing the desperation of a government clinging to survival, evidenced by policy on-the-hoof, dodgy maths and dirty politics, says Labour MP Phil Twyford. “New Zealand had been hoping we’d seen the end of dirty politics, but what ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Steven Joyce must apologise to New Zealand
    Steven Joyce needs to front up to New Zealanders and apologise for his patently false and cynical attack on Labour’s Fiscal Plan, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Every respected economic commentator has come out and said that Labour’s Fiscal ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Bill English didn’t answer because the Oreti is badly polluted
    Last night Bill English was asked by Paddy Gower in the Leader’s Debate: “Which river did he swim in as a kid, and is it now polluted?” Bill English named the Oreti River, but did not answer whether it is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats put out dodgy numbers – again
    National’s promise to increase the number of elective surgeries to 200,000 is bizarre, given Jonathan Coleman has claimed 200,000 electives are already being performed, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister’s Award to encourage young people into trades training
    Labour will introduce a $2,000 award for the best pupil in vocational courses in each public secondary school, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. “We know there’s huge demand for trades workers, particularly in the building sector, where construction ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not another Nick Smith wild goose chase
    Only the election on September 23 can save the country and the RMA from Nick Smith, say Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford and Environment spokesperson David Parker. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government supresses Climate Change report
    The Government has deliberately sat on a critical Climate Change report for 5 months which they must now release, election or no election, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “I want the report released immediately, so that New Zealanders ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Joyce gets it wrong on Labour’s Fiscal Plan
    Labour’s Fiscal Plan is robust, the numbers are correct and we stand by them despite the desperate and disingenuous digging from an out-the-door Finance Minister, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Steven Joyce has embarrassed himself. This is a desperate, ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Making renting secure and healthy
    Labour will move to make renting a more stable and healthy experience for families, says Leader of the Opposition Jacinda Ardern. ...
    3 weeks ago