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The invisible man

Written By: - Date published: 8:50 am, September 6th, 2013 - 91 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, grant robertson, Shane Jones - Tags:

From the start of the Labour leadership contest, Cunliffe has been the man to beat. In the one scientific poll, he was favoured to lead by 30% of the population, Jones by 11%, Robertson by 10%. He’s been seen as having the strongest member and union backing from the start. The ipredict money has been solidly Cunliffe all the way. Robertson needed a blinder in the roadshow. And that means the media fascination with Jones is hurting Robertson the most.

The journos are bored. They want an ugly fight and, instead, they’re getting a civilised debate (and all the hyperbolic Tracy Watkins headlines in the world can’t change that). So, the attention has focused on the loosest cannon, the one most likely to do something crazy – Jones.

That has deprived both the other candidates of as much coverage as they might otherwise have got, but that lack hurts Robertson more. A stuff online survey (I know, I know, but it’s at least some data) yesterday, which I now can’t find, had Cunliffe at 50%, Jones at 30%, Robertson at 20%. Put crudely, once the other contenders and the ‘someone else’ option that featured in the earlier Colmar Brunton poll were gone, both Cunliffe and Jones got 20% of the 50% up for grabs and Robertson just 10%. Robertson is just not making the impression he needs to make.

The irony is that Jones was regarded by some (who appeared not to understand that in preferential voting you can’t have spoiler candidates) as a spoiler against Cunliffe who would take some of the Maori and Pasifika working class support away from him. Instead, he’s crowding Robertson out of the media coverage he desperately needs while failing to appeal to the working class (he hasn’t even joined Cunliffe and Robertson in backing the living wage for government workers).

Which reminds me of another stuff online poll from yesterday, which I also can’t find now! It asked if the living wage policy would make you more likely to vote Labour – a stunning 66% said ‘yes’.

I think the Nats probably put their foot in it with their opposition to that one. The sight of rich white men saying that the world would end if the poor Pasifika women who clean their toilets got paid enough to live on left a bad taste in people’s mouths. When you’re the party of exploitation and the capitalist elite, it doesn’t do to be too obvious about it.

I reckon the fact that another Labour policy has strong public support is also further confirmation that the only missing ingredient for Labour has been a credible candidate for PM. And, that will be fixed in about 10 days.

91 comments on “The invisible man ”

  1. i understand yr observation of this focus on jones hurting robertson..(but you would have to factor in the overwhelming support for cunnliffe over both of the opposition..plus his impressive turns on the hustings..plus his prior experiences in both the commercial/academic-worlds..and in government..

    ..all contribute to put him head and shoulders above robertson..and of course..billy t k karaoke-exponent jones..

    ..but what has really astonished me about the mainstream media coverage of this race/contest..is how not only the qualifactions/experience that make him so fit to be the man for this particular moment in time are being studiously ignored by that corporate-media..

    ..but also how much the man himself is being ignored…

    ..going on that media-coverage..the casual-viewer could be led to believe that it is cunnliffe who is the outlier in this race..not jones..

    ..and this failing is a disgrace on their part..

    ..and leaves observers to wonder if that clear anti-cunnliffe tone/timbre/bias is just being directed by editors/corporate-masters/employers..(workng in what they perceive as their self-interests..)

    ..or if those ‘journalists’ themselves are working/bending/biasing with such indecent enthusiasm from their own/personal self-interest motives..?

    .are they so craven they will do this because they are scared cunnliffe may make them pay some more tax..?

    ..could they really be that much of a blight on any pretence of real journalism..?

    ..that shallow/unprofessional/cynical about what they do..?

    ..and if not that twofer of suggested-reasons..

    ..why else this so removed from reality portrayal of cunnliffe as the outlier..?

    ..and as such..except to sneer at..to be generally ignored..

    ..phillip ure..

  2. Delia 2

    All the right wing media focusing on Jones want is another failed Labour leader, leading a Labour defeat at the election . Who is paying those guys? You have to wonder.

    • Saccharomyces 2.1

      I fint it funny that those on the left are alway decrying the media as right wing, while most on the right consider the media closet communists at best…….

      • You_Fool 2.1.1

        I am pretty sure those who call the media left wing are american, or talking about the american media. NZ media is generally quite right wing, just read the herald to see the bias

  3. karol 3

    I think yesterday’s leadership poll is on the NZ Herald, not Stuff. It’s still here, with Cunliffe now on 49%, Jones on 30% and Robertson on 21%.

    Also, on the Pasifika support, RNZ is giving it to Cunliffe this morning, with Jones as a close second.

    [audio src="http://podcast.radionz.co.nz/mnr/mnr-20130906-0737-pasifika_labour_favours_cunliffe-048.mp3" /]

    Though many in South Auckland are confusing Robertson with someone else with his surname, and supporting the name. But many others are focusing on Cunliffe as being the strong leader that Labour needs.

    • Bill 3.1

      Gathering their opinions from casual shoppers as well as Party members isn’t helpful. The confusion that exists over Robertson is likely a confusion in the minds of casual interviewees only. At least, I’d hope that party members were a bit more onto it…

    • Rosie 3.2

      Don’t forget folks that you can vote as many times as you like on the stuffed polls. I would hope and I would assume that that those figures are genuine but theres nothing to stop anyone from sitting there at their keyboard click, click, clicking away on the same option.

  4. tracey 4

    Are online polls truly reflective of labour party members and affiliates views?

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      No, but the leader of Labour is going up against John Key next year in 1 on 1 debates.

      So the online polls of the public are very relevant to who is best to lead Labour.

      • Tracey 4.1.1


      • burt 4.1.2

        If Labour focus on beating Key rather than their own policy then …They have already lost !

        • weka

          Having a competent leader who can take Key on, and being able to focus on their own policy are not mutually exclusive burt.

          • burt

            Sure, you can’t ignore the marketability and competence of the Labour leader – but I think long term left leaning people like myself have had enough of being bribed by self serving power at any price leaders. Muppets who focus on “looking better” rather than “being better” are not helping me reconsider Labour as a viable party – rather than a corrupt self serving machine which thinks it’s perfectly OK to trample democracy so they can get the pay rise and the glory of winning – Only to fuck up the economy and hand a basket case economy back to National in 6 years time.

            • weka

              Ok, on the basis of that no-one would ever be ok as leader. We have to start somewhere and work with what we have got.

            • the pigman

              “but I think long term left leaning people like myself have had enough of being bribed by self serving power at any price leaders.

              This is good, really good, especially after your comment above that “National are a bunch of commies”. What would be a good moderate left-wing party for a long term left leaner like yourself.. Act?

              Either you are some kind of highbrow conceptual performance artist, or you are just not very far down the path of self-awareness… which is it?

  5. bad12 5

    i think that the ‘Stuff poll’ asked not about ‘the policy’ but was more slanted to insinuate that such a policy would be for all the low waged economy,

    Obviously while being careful not to openly state that they would Legislate for a living wage both David Cunliffe and Grant Robertson have given broad hints that such is the intention,

    i would suggest here that Labour to win the next election need only open it’s 2014 election campaign with a ‘Living Wage in 3-4 years’ promise which quite possibly would create a 5% swing in the electorate in favor of the left,

    i posted this link in open mike on the impact, or lack of one on unemployment when the minimum wage is raised,


    • Saccharomyces 5.1

      You don’t think that those likely to support such a policy would already be voting left?

      • phillip ure 5.1.1

        i think a lot of them wouldn’t have voted last time..

        ..but have now been struggling long enough to go out and support such a promise..

        ..the realities of that low-wage economy created by douglas and the other traitors has been in place to make them look for a solution/another way of doing things..

        ..(and seriously..to those on the right who scream ‘where will the money come from..?’..best to point them at the search done for harawira/mana prior to the last election..

        ..that showed that a (small) financial transaction tax on bank-to-bank-to-financial-institutions.

        ..would raise enough money to allow us to do away with all gst..if we so choose..

        ..then there is that $5billion in dodged-taxes by our elites/corporates..

        ..so there are the headwaters of two sources of the funding (easily available) needed to fix what needs fixing..

        ..that is the quick/easy answer to that rightwing spin..)

        ..there are many reasons why the next election campaign will be unique..

        ..one being that for the first time..the centre-left/progressive camp is offering our first real mmp-government..

        ..one more of two dogs circling each other..than of a dog-tail combination..

        ..and another being i feel that if labour/grns/mana do their jobs properly..

        ..we will see a very high turnout..

        ..and seriously..if..under these conditions/at this point in time..

        ..if that centre/left/progressive mix can’t get that vote out..

        ..they should all just pack up and go home..eh..?

        phillip ure..

      • bad12 5.1.2

        No, not at all, there are 800,000 voters who were registered but did not vote at the 2011 election, it is a ‘given’ that the supporters of the right are ‘more’ likely to always vote in an election thus there is every likelihood that the majority of the stay at home vote will be those who are inclined to vote toward party’s of the left,

        Labour Party polling prior to the resignation of the other Dave would suggest that up to that point the stay at home vote has not been moved,

        i would suggest that Labour at least halve their previous KiwiBuild housing policy with a 50-50 KiwiBuild and equal State House building plan,

        i would also suggest that Labour give some very serious consideration to a policy of ‘the living wage’ in 3-4 years of the next Labour Government,

        That i believe is what it will take to ‘move’ a significant number of the ‘did not vote bloc’ out to the polling booths in November 2014…

        • Crunchtime

          Are you seriously saying that Labour watering down their social policies would encourage people to vote for them?

          I think you have very little idea who is in that 800k voting bloc.

          These people need to see signs of real change for the better, real moves to eliminate poverty and bring us toward a fairer NZ, not timid “we’ll try it later” policy

          • Tracey

            I DO think that Labour need to be very clear at about how they will implement the living wage. They have committed to government workers first, so be VERY clear about that and give a timeline for private sector…

    • burt 5.2

      i would suggest here that Labour to win the next election need only open it’s 2014 election campaign with a ‘Living Wage in 3-4 years’ promise which quite possibly would create a 5% swing in the electorate in favor of the left,

      i would suggest here that Labour National to win the next election need only open it’s 2014 election campaign with a ‘Living Wage in 3-4 years’‘[insert popular sound bite] promise which quite possibly would create a 5% swing in the electorate in favor of the left make shit up and say anything to win team

      • bad12 5.2.1

        That fails as humor and fails worse on an intellectual level, when in the future you have exhaled your last breath you will at last have produced something humorous and obviously while this will not have an effect upon your intellectual contribution to anything, as your an equal of a black hole in space sucking in everything around it, intelligence in general will be increased…

    • Tracey 6.1

      Thanks for the link.

      This interested me

      “Su’a William Sio is publicly supporting his bid for the leadership and that endorsement will have weighting in the community.”

      I understand he is supporting Cunliffe’s but didnt he sign Jones’ nomination form?

  6. infused 7

    The public hardly mean anything in this contest. So does it really matter?

  7. Winston Smith 8

    It asked if the living wage policy would make you more likely to vote Labour – a stunning 66% said ‘yes’.

    – Better hope the party with the chequebook don’t decide to implement something similar then 🙂

    • for once i wd agree with winston..

      ..next year key will throw whatever he thinks will get him a third term into the mix..

      ..and that may well include some ‘socialist’ policies..

      ..like clark before him..key is trying to tread a keith holyoake-like-path thru nz politics..

      ..phillip ure..

    • bad12 8.2

      You are joking are you not, Slippery the Prime Minister would rather beat His own testicles with a ball peen hammer than bring about the ‘living wage’ for low paid workers…

      • Winston Smith 8.2.1

        Yes but a third terms a third so it might just be worth swallowing one more dead rat…

        • bad12

          i would suggest that if swallowing that particular dead rat didn’t choke His highness He wouldn’t be able to leave the country during that *mythical third term,

          Otherwise in the time honored Tory tradition, while He was away the children would play, in the form of Judith Collins who would immediately have the numbers to roll the little prick,

          *mythical, a reinvigorated Labour Party along with a strong Green Party presence will wipe the floor with Slippery’s hair rug leaving the National Party with a self eviscerating leadership contest that might, insert large guffaw, see Bill English again become the leader as Collins and Joyce destroy each other in an orgy of public blood-letting…

        • srylands

          “Yes but a third terms a third so it might just be worth swallowing one more dead rat…”

          Introducing a living wage would not acheive a third term. The employment destruction and wage inflation that would result would cause the Government to lose office.

          What planet do you people live on?

          • Te Reo Putake

            Well, we’re in NZ, if that helps narrow it down for you. Look us up on google maps, just to the left of Australia.

            • Puddleglum

              “just to the left of Australia.”

              Was that a cunning political comment or a geographic one that takes advantage of the fact that the earth is a sphere (more or less)? 🙂

              • Te Reo Putake

                Just trying to confuse srylands! Mind you, after the election tomorrow, even John Key will be to the left of Oz 😉

                • Although it may just encourage the Government to ‘spin’ New Zealand faster to try to catch up … sigh!

                  • Rogue Trooper

                    Key on Abbot: ” I think he understands the importance of the significance of the (Aus-NZ) relationship”.
                    What the right want in Aus is to emulate the marvels of our labour market flexibility. Yep!

          • Winston Smith

            The planet where political parties want to win elections so they can implement the changes they feel will benefit the country the most

          • KJT

            We have given you conclusive evidence that increasing wages at the bottom end helps employment, on these pages. And why.
            There is also evidence from all around the world that increasing minimum incomes has either nil or a positive effect on employment, except for, occasionally, a very short period after the wage change.

            Labour increased minimum wages every year for 9 years, employment went up.

            But you still keep repeating the same bullshit meme, like all the other neo-liberal parrots.

            Just like “trickle down”. Which is also a “fail”.

            One company reduces wages, yes they employ more people, maybe. Everyone reduces wages at the bottom end, spending drops, everyone goes out of business and jobs decrease.
            A spiral to the bottom which has been blatantly obvious.

          • Crunchtime

            “Introducing a living wage would not acheive a third term. The employment destruction and wage inflation that would result would cause the Government to lose office.”

            Cite your sources for such outlandish claims.

            Every time a minimum wage has been increased in other countries (see: Germany) it has resulted in increased productivity, increased profits and economy growth. This is because lifting wages for the poorest results in the greatest increase in disposable income and the greatest increase in economic activity.

            Amongst other benefits of people feeling valued for their work and therefore being more committed and doing a better job.

            Edit: KJT beat me to it 🙂

            • srylands

              “This is because lifting wages for the poorest results in the greatest increase in disposable income and the greatest increase in economic activity.”

              We don’t need higher spending at The Warehouse and Pak n Save by the poor funded by higher prices. We need higher private savings and investment by higher income earners. All your policy will do is add to aggregate demand and lift interest rates (and prices). To repeat myself – a (de facto?) minimum wage of $18.40 per hour would be the second highest minimum wage in the world and by far the highest ratio to the median.

              It is not the role of the labour market to alleveiate poverty. That is the role of the welfare and tax system. The latter is highly redistributive.

              Massive increases in “minimum” wages are insane. But go ahead and do it. Make my day. It will be a one term government.

              • Tracey

                how old are you srylands?

                • bad12

                  By ‘its’ expansive ability to explain economics i would suggest SSLands is a pimply 18 year old who having been petted by the economics teacher at high school has now set forth to learn the peasants economics 101…

              • bad12

                Pfft, riubbish, more economics 101 from SSLands, all’s that’s needed is for the Minister of Finance to ‘fix’ interest rates, that will keep the middle class mortgage belt happy,

                Price rises if you havn’t noticed SSlands can be avoided, just as Fonterra came to realize when they lost market share here in NZ because they cranked up their prices above what WE thought the products were worth,

                Having dropped it’s prices here in NZ, Fonterra has found its market share rapidly increased,

                Price rises in the supermarkets will be punished by the consumer,

                As for your crap about about private savings and investment by higher earners, its just that, crap,

                In what century will we see all this investment leading to job creation, save your bullshit, economics 101 has been way surpassed by in depth analysis of the minimum wage,

                The verdict= massive unemployment aint the result…

              • KJT

                By far the highest ratio to the median wage.

                True. because our median wage is so bloody low.

                It will not be the highest in relation to local living costs by any measure.

                It is not the role of the tax and welfare system to prop up employers who cannot pay the full cost of their labour.

                “Fixed it for you”.

                It shows the typical cognitive dissonance of right wingers that they think that tax paid by employers/employees who have viable businesses, should prop up those whose businesses cannot pay the full costs of the resources they use.

                Why should my business, that pays decent wages, subsidise competition from a firm, that can only stay in business paying starvation wages, by being helped to survive by the welfare system.

              • Murray Olsen

                SSlands thinks it’s not up to an employer of a full time worker to pay them enough to stay alive. Wow, there are some sick, sick people around.

              • KJT

                Business people do not invest unless they have customers, Srylands. If you had been in business you would know that.

                Savings with no where to go just push up prices of “safe” assets or get involved in money go around ponzi schemes which inivitably fall over requiring bailouts or savers to take the loses.

              • felix

                “go ahead and do it. Make my day. It will be a one term government.”

                lolz. rylands concedes the election 😀

              • Colonial Viper

                We need higher private savings and investment by higher income earners.


            • Hanswurst

              “Every time a minimum wage has been increased in other countries (see: Germany)”

              Germany doesn’t have a universal minimum wage. It has job-specific ones, some of which vary in some regions.

          • bad12

            SSLands, what a load, of utter crap that is,

            ”In Nevada USA where the minimum wage is $7.25 an hour the jobless rate is 10.2%,

            ”In Vermont USA where the minimum wage is $8.60 an hour the jobless rate is 5.1%,

            How does your vast knowledge of economics explain that…

            • Tracey

              the man/woman doesnt even know if he lives in Kapiti or Melbournce so expecting a grasp of economics is asking a bit…

      • Tracey 8.2.2

        they wont call it that but they will do something… this is the party that called WFF “communism by stealth” and kept it…

        who slammed Cullen for considering people who earned $60k
        rich” but only moved the top rate to 70k…

        power is intoxicating…

        it will stick in their throat to throw money at the needy rather than the top 1%, but needs must old chaps.

      • Murray Olsen 8.2.3

        “You are joking are you not, Slippery the Prime Minister would rather beat His own testicles with a ball peen hammer than bring about the ‘living wage’ for low paid workers…”

        Our Tories getting more like the English ones by the day……..

  8. Samantha Wilson 9

    With the elections coming up, it is now a time that the political parties start throwing in ideas that will persuade the public to vote them into government. In this case, Labour is proposing a new “living wage”, which has been calculated at $18.40 an hour. This idea is a similar concept to the United Kingdom. This idea comes from National’s recent decision to lift the minimum wage by just 25 cents an hour. And this has raised the publics attention, and has created some controversy about the wage gap in New Zeland Society.This issue then stems onto the comments above that ” Jones was regarded by some as a spoiler against Cunliffe who would take some of the Maori and Pasifika working class support away from him. Instead, he’s crowding Robertson out of the media coverage he desperately needs while failing to appeal to the working class”. Political Actors will use persuasive techniques and tactics to get them into parliment and in Labours case a new leader. There will still be much debate about Cunliffe, Robertson and Jones, and as a citizens we need focus on the messages and ideas that these political actors are using to persuade our vote, not the issus within the candidates.

  9. hush minx 10

    I liked how Grant used the Living Wage poll result on Stuff to praise his own policy stance – so how does he feel about their leadership numbers 🙂

  10. Rich 11

    The stuff poll is probably worse than random. Have some more scientific numbers:

    1.9.3p0 :013 > cunliffe=(rand*100).to_i;robertson=((100-cunliffe)*rand).to_i;jones=100-(cunliffe+robertson);[cunliffe,robertson,jones]
    => [62, 25, 13]

  11. Ron 12

    Cannot resist putting this video link up which featured in The Gap TV3’s documentary last week.
    The clip featured the wonderful Bill Nighy portraying a banker who is trying to explain the Robin Hood Tax away as too difficult
    Great fun

  12. tracey 13

    Is josie pagani for or again labour?

    • Te Reo Putake 13.1

      Josie leans toward a Blairite 3rd way approach and she comes to Labour as a former member of Jim Anderton’s Progressives. Interesting to hear both Cunliffe and Robertson dismissing the 3rd way and neo-liberalism. That probably marks the end of what some here referred to as Paganiism, but rest assured, Josie is still loyally labour, even if her philosophical star is waning within the party.

      • Pascal's bookie 13.1.1

        “Josie is still loyally labour,”

        Yeah maybe. But she strikes me as more loyally one of the political tribe. was on the radio the other day saying she had a rightwinger’s billboard up on her property because well, they asked. And it’s hard yakka asking people to put up billboards because most people say no, so she said sure just be nice and stuff. Next she’ll be canvassing for them, as that’s hard to find volunteers for too right?

        • Anne

          That would be right – all things to all people. I loved the way Gordon McLaughlin put her in her place on The Panel about a week ago. Pity Mora wouldn’t let him finish the job. He would have demolished her…

  13. Rogue Trooper 14

    What you fortunately miss when you don’t have a tv for a while; The Shane Jones Show with guest appearances by James Earl Jones as Rico Tubbs.

  14. tracey 15

    Thanks trp

    I listened to her yesterday and I was minded of hoiten

  15. JoshL 16

    I have even noticed that National Radio seem to be giving more air time to Robertson and Jones. When I am listening, Cunliffe doesn’t seem to be the first to be mentioned, mostly last.

    • Anne 16.1

      Lets face it JoshL, Cunliffe is the only candidate who represents a real threat to the Key government’s survival. Given the plethora of political appointments, there can’t be a MSM media outlet left who is able to operate truly independently of them.

      • Viola 16.1.1

        Cunliffe seems to be the one that fits. It is just a shame he has to haul up Labour behind him. Labour feels drab, and looks too disorganized. Jones is way too laid-back, he speaks too mellow, and leaving his wife with 7 kids doesn’t help, I just don’t feel he is with ‘it’. Robertson talks funny, he doesn’t talk clear enough.
        Cunliffe seems to be the only one that is cut out to be a leader, so far.

  16. Peter 17

    I have posted my Ballot paper back, David C do your stuff !

  17. gobsmacked 18

    TV 3 poll out tonight on the Labour leadership, not good news for Robertson, if you believe Duncan Garner (and don’t we all …!). 😉

    • McFlock 18.1

      Any relationship between what garner says and reality is purely coincidental.

      Really, I reckon he should have a disclaimer like horoscopes: “Entertainment Only”

    • karol 18.2

      Well, the 3 News press release is looking that way – it’s a Gower item scheduled for this evening’s news.

      They claim it’s good news for one candidate and bad news for another one. My guess from that is the poll shows Jones close to Cunliffe in support, and the loser is Robertson.

      • mickysavage 18.2.1

        And the results are in …

        Amongst all voters Cunliffe 39.6%, Jones 31.6%, Robertson 28.8%

        Among Labour voters Cunliffe 45.6%, Jones 28.1%, Robertson 26.4%.

        I think the Robertson camp will be disappointed …

        • McFlock


          Going by the volume here, I would have thought that Cunliffe were in the area of 60% of the labour membership. I mean, it only surveyed labour voters, but…

      • gobsmacked 18.2.2

        Looks like Gower could be a useful idiot on this one.

        Actual meaning of result: not many people have heard of Robertson (as the OP outlned).

        Gower’s beat-up: Jones is gaining! He’s the challenger! Look out!

        It’s a narrative based on the flimsiest of evidence, but it won’t do Cunliffe any harm. ABJ is a much bigger group than ABC … among the voters in this election.

        Sticking with my original prediction, Cunliffe to get over 50% on first preferences.

        • karol

          Yes, I was thinking ABJ when I watched that 3 News report. Jones asked Robertson supporters to switch to him. I think it more likely that many ABCers, especially many women would rather vote Cunliffe than Jones. And Jones support on that Dodgy Poll was not much better than Robertson’s.

        • Lanthanide

          Eh, I’m not so sure.

          I think it’ll go to the second round, with Cunliffe getting about 40-45% of the total vote on the first round, and then finishing up around 55-60% on 2nd preference.

    • BM 18.3

      The dark horse Shane Jones, heads off the rich prick white guy to become the true leader of the Labour party.
      Go Shane, He will be the New Zealand Obama, Hope……!

  18. odysseus 19

    Can someone tell me when / where the wellington meeting is? Thanks

  19. peterlepaysan 20

    WTF is a “scientific poll?

    Name one.

    Then tell us why it is “scientific”.

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