Is this progress?

Written By: - Date published: 8:40 am, June 10th, 2015 - 259 comments
Categories: activism, Deep stuff, labour, Politics, uk politics - Tags: , , ,

Josie Pagani hospital

Richard Harman has blogged on Politik on proposals for a right wing third way think tank being formed in New Zealand.  The think tank is apparently to be modelled on the British Organisation Progress which is a UK based think tank associated with the Labour Party espousing a Blairite third way approach to politics.

Those linked include Stuart Nash, Josie Pagani, Nick Legget and Phil Quin.

Quin has for some time advocated for a third way approach to progressive politics and has been a trenchant critic of the Labour Party in recent years.  About the proposals for organisational change for the party which recently emerged Quin is quoted as saying:

Because of its first past the post voting rules, Labour’s governing body is already a mono-factional behemoth incapable of promoting anyone but their own.

Adding an additional committee made up of handpicked members, unelected and unaccountable to party members, to vet potential candidates is not only needlessly bureaucratic; it is flagrantly undemocratic.”

His complaint is difficult to understand.  The last time I checked all positions were democratically elected by members and there are representatives of every significant group on the party’s Council.  I agree there are no rabid right wingers there but it is the Labour Party.  We do have standards.

Josie Pagani thinks that the organisation has an important role to play so that more progressive policies can be enacted.  From a recent blog:

What has now happened is that the National Party has been able to achieve a benefit increase by cutting a policy priority the left would not have chosen.

Winning is important not because we get to not make tough decisions, but because we get to make the ones we want.

But in order to win, we first have to make some tough calls, and we need to do it now in opposition to earn back the trust of the public.”

What those “tough calls” are have not been identified as yet.  Hopefully they can be detailed so that there can be a rigorous analysis of their ideas.  And I wish Pagani would stop using the right’s framing on issues.

Apart from an obvious philosophical difference the most frustrating thing for me with a Blairite third way approach is its insistence on triangulating issues.  Being a pale insipid pink is thought to be sufficient.

And the basic problem is that the issues that our world face are so huge that a slightly more benign approach is not going to solve them.  How are we going to deal with climate change for instance by making the ETS slightly more efficient?

The last attempt at formation of such a group, the infamous backbone group in the late 1980s ended in the formation of the Act Party.  Harman reported that there was a heated discussion in Caucus about the current proposal.  No doubt some MPs are keen to avoid past experiences.


259 comments on “Is this progress? ”

  1. OMBE 1

    This has to be better than the status quo ? Or is life in mindless oppostion the preffered position for Labour ?

    “Harman reported that there was a heated discussion in Caucus about the current proposal. No doubt some MPs are keen to avoid past experiences.”

    I am sure the past experiences they want to avoid most is 3 sound thrashings in a row, massive in fighting and disconnect with the electorate……or maybe not.

    • crashcart 1.1

      That is fair assesment. I supose you have to look at your goals and what you are willing ot do to achieve them.

      National seem to run a strategy of largely being centre right in advertising and a number of policies they put out. They are very poll focused and driven. They are all about winning the benches. They understand that when they have power they can hand out the semblance of a centre government publically whilst working in the back to enact the real changes they think will make the country betetr.

      Perhaps this is the sort of strategy Labour should take. I don’t know. I wonder if it may back fire though. It works on theprinciple that if Labour look enough like National then they can pick up the swing voters and win an election. However this would be reliant on a major failure of the National government. Why would these swing voters switch to Labour which portrays itself as red National when it can just have National. In the process Labour loses actual Left voters to the Greens.

      I wonder if it is time for those who want to move Labour more to the middle ground put their money where their mouths are. Set up a Red National party. Aim for those swing voters. Let labour swing to the left and actually occupy the space it use to. If those that support a third way are right they will hoover up a bunch of support and be in a good position to form a left government with the Labour party.

      • Tracey 1.1.1

        National is Right of centre and they go to centre-right when they sense they might be loosing the PR battle on part of a hard stand they are taking. So they throw a carefully crafted concession which when you look closer (like the recent “pay rise” for beneficiaries) is actually not much at all, and NOT at all what their PR machineis touting.

        • miravox

          “when they sense they might be loosing the PR battle on part of a hard stand they are taking”

          Fewer PR battles to lose with the likes of John Campbell removed from agitating the folks who care, but would otherwise not know about the hardships that require political will to resolve.

        • Chris

          National is hard-right, not centre-right. The difference is that part of how they operate includes, as you’ve pointed out, creating a perception that they’re centrist, pragmatic, middle-of-the-road. If they held themselves out as hard-right they wouldn’t be so popular amongst the non-politicised masses.

          • Chris

            Merely right-of-centre National is not. That’s why ACT is so important to them.

        • whateva next?

          Details of Crosby Textor tactics explained in masterclass linked in this article:

      • The Lone Haranguer 1.1.2

        An interesting proposition there, Crashcart.

        But first maybe somebody needs to quantify how big this group of “swing voters” might be. It seems to me that maybe they swung to Key in 2008, but they didnt swing in 2011 and I didnt see evidence that they chose to swing again in 2014 either.

        If my “the long term lifespan of a Government is nine years” belief is true, then the same stuff that finished up Clark will finish up Key in 2017 – electoral tiredness and a Government who also believes that nine years is it, so they go hard to put in the last of their manifesto before they get toasted.

        My view is that parliamentary Labour needs to hold its unity (I think Little is doing well there, but Im no insider) and some good Labour policies about stuff that actually matters to voters – road safety, work safety, safe warm houses, and some sensible stuff on local government (folk hate paying their rates), and stuf for small businesses and Labour can then look like a real alternative Government.

        Well thats my view anyhow.

        • crashcart

          History would agree with you that 3 terms is as much as a government gets. However it is glossing over to say that is the reason Labour lost in 2008. There were a numebr of issues that got blown up in the media that were either misrepresented or just plain stupid that rotted away at Labours base. Honestly the stink that was kicked up over light bulbs and shower heads based on nothing was unbelievable. Yet you don’t see the same sort of thing happening with this government.

          My biggest concern is that Labour becomes complaicent this term. They start thinking that because it has been 3 terms it is just going to be their turn next time around. This would only lead to National winning another election and strongly.

          I do agree with you that what they need to do is focus on strong socially responsable policies. However they need to avoid getting bogged down in detail. It needs to be there but it needs to be kept in house. If they leave it all hanging out there National will pay a bunch of people to go through it and find where the t was not crossed and attack that. If all they can do is attack the idea of the policy and not know what they are attacking they are on the back foot. After all they won the last election with almost no policy.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            History would agree with you that 3 terms is as much as a government gets.

            John Key is a Four Term PM if he wishes to be one. Little will be gone and Robertson will take the Leadership then.

            So this is what is has come down to – a light blue Labour Party with a “Think Tank” comprised of Nash Pagani Quinn et al. LOL All this means is that whoever wins 2017, the corporations and the 1% win. The perfect capitalist game.

            • RedLogix

              With the establishment machine backing him – Key will be PM as long as he can be bothered.

              My question about this so called ‘think tank’ – who is funding them?

              • James

                Its not that the “establishment” is backing him – its that the voters are.

                Therein lies your problem.

                • RedLogix

                  The swing voters who count – largely put ticks in the boxes where the media tells them to.

                  Therein lies the problem.

                • Anne


                  The “establishment” are working for Key. The voters allow themselves to be manipulated into backing him too.

                  We’re not famous for being a country of ‘none too bright’ sheep for nothing.

                  • Sacha

                    Voters seek a credible government to vote for. It’s not their fault that half of the equation has been missing in action for 7 years now.

              • Olwyn

                My question about this so called ‘think tank’ – who is funding them?

                A very pertinent question, and one I would like to see answered.

          • The Lone Haranguer

            I am confident that you will see the Nats mess up this election cycle. Any group of politicians who dont actually stand for anything (The Nats) can only last so long before they get tired, and the dopey ideas not well advertised during elections become all they have left to put on the table. Some of the Nat polys have been waiting seven years to push their pet projects, and soon it will be their time to shine.

            You can compare that with either the Greens or Act, and you have to admit those parties are driven by philosophies, rather than the naked grab for power. Depending upon where you may sit on the political spectrum, one side or the other may look like fruitloops, but they are philosophically driven fruitloops.

            • RedLogix

              True – but the point is however flakey National becomes, the media and propaganda machines will ensure the teflon is painted right back on.

              Key’s govt has already committed a dozen or more blunders that would have been used to sink Clark’s govt several times over.

              Besides there is a dark corner of me that sometimes thinks even if Key did barbecue a baby on live TV – and pronounce it delicious – his polling would jump another 10%.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Only if he was swigging from a beer in hand at the time.

              • Tracey

                agree Red, it’s why I sometimes comment that had Key sped to an All Blacks game he would have been a hailed true kiwi bloke by Hosking, Williams, Henry and “average joe kiwi” mind… but Clark?

                • Colville.

                  I didnt mind Clark speeding to the game but i really did mind her having the Police drivers sacked for speaking out.

                  • Tracey

                    yeah, of course you did.


                    You must hate Key for all the people he has thrown under the bus then

                  • Anne

                    You are wrong Colville. From memory, they pleaded guilty but they did not receive any punishment because they genuinely believed they were doing the right thing. In fact I remember Helen Clark publicly agreeing with the outcome and stoutly defending the officers because they were only doing their job.

                    Yes, I get angry when rwnjs etc. don’t tell the truth. There was an attempt on her life – or serious injury at the least – while she was in Christchurch so the police took no chances and raced her out of the city and up the coast as quickly as they could. Yes, she also had a plane to catch somewhere along the way but that was only part of the reason why the motorcade was speeding.

                    • Colville.

                      Anne are we talking about different Helen Clarks?

                      On 17 July 2004, a motorcade involving police, Diplomatic Protection Squad, and Ministerial Services staff reached speeds of up to 172 km/h when taking Clark and Cabinet Minister Jim Sutton from Waimate to Christchurch Airport so she could attend a rugby union match in Wellington.[30] The courts subsequently convicted the drivers involved for driving offences, but appeals resulted in the quashing of these convictions in December 2005 and August 2006.[31] Clark said that she was busy working in the back seat and had no influence or role in the decision to speed and did not realise the speed of her vehicle.[32]

                      Yeah coz I never realise I am going 105 miles per hour when I look out of the window of the car…

                    • felix

                      Wow, 172! It gets a little bit faster with every re-telling, this story.

                      You’ll note that the passage you quoted from the Wiki has reference after it [30] which claims to point to a document on a police website called “PM’s Motorcade – Waimate to Christchurch Saturday 17 July 2004”. The link is dead.

                      However you can easily find the document referred to on the police website here:

                      Trouble is it doesn’t mention anything like “172 km/h” , which probably means whoever wrote that Wiki article (probably Clint Heine or some other loser) just made it up.

                    • Colville.


                      it is (as you know) a copy from Helen Clarks wiki page.

                      You think Ms Clark would allow anything that could be challenged to stay there for a micosecond if She could have it “corrected”? One of the 20 most powerful women in the world etc etc budget of how many billions to waste each year?

                      Do you really think it changes anything if She was going 130 or 150 or 170 km/hr ?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Poor old righties playing a stuck record the last 10 years. It would be funny if it weren’t so sadly desperate.

                    • mickysavage


                      She wasn’t even driving. Give it up. It was 2005. She is no longer leader. There are more important things to worry about.

            • BG

              Pretty poor strategy. “Let’s just wait until the voters are sick of the other guys, and then we’ll get our turn.”

            • LMX

              Dear Lone Harangeur, I’m sorry I don’t share your confidence in this. If the nats subordinate all to polling, they may well supress these tendencies. It seems to me that the nats are quite happy to do what the focus groups say ought to be done to keep all those backbenchers in jobs. Hence the caucus discipline. No doubt there are many objectionable bees buzzing under many unusual bonnets that we might hope may never see the light of day, but this poll-driven power-at-all-costs government seems to me to put its survival over its ideological tendencies – although it has to throw the right wing the odd bone, more of the boiled frog variety than sock therapy IMO.

      • kenny 1.1.3

        Good points Crashcart, but I think more attention needs to be paid to those in the electorate who chose NOT to vote and more particularly did not voter Labour. This surely is a much bigger % than swing voters.Find out why this is.

        One of the problems is the fact that a lot of good policy ideas would make a party unelectable (go figure); just look at Social Credits policies to see that; a lot of their policies are excellent and make sense.

    • Tracey 1.2

      What do you think they mean by progressive policies?

      • Colonial Rawshark 1.2.1

        They mean a branding designed to fool people into voting for them.

      • Olwyn 1.2.2

        Perhaps they mean they are against letting core Labour Party principles get in the way of their own upwardly-mobile progress.

        • Tracey


          I thought OMBE might have an idea seeeing as she’he sees this as a good thing.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Hopefully we will hear back if that is indeed the case…

            • Tracey


              • Old Mickey

                I dont think ideas should be labelled progressive or not. The only label that matters is “relevant”. If this think tank can come up with policy and ideas that make labour relevant to NZ, then fantastic. Being relevant and sticking to ideals are not mutually exclusive – or, is the labour party so dogmatic that it cannot accept that society evolves over time. Is labour brave enough to take a long hard look at why it has performed as badly as it has ? I think not given the election review document.
                Comments like “They mean a branding designed to fool people into voting for them” just sounds like sour grapes, and an excuse for missing the boat ie if people vote for Nats they have been fooled by Slick John and Slick Steve, but if they vote labour they have truely spoken….really ? really ? If people are that tick, then why do we allow them to vote ? And, have they been thick for the last 3 elections, and will somehow see the light when Andy Little makes his next sermon from the mount…..

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  We’re just stating the fact that Nash and Pagani are right wing cuckoos in the Labour nest who are in the wrong political party, and they know it, but its too late for them in their career approaching middle age, to change sides.

                  • Old Mickey

                    With respect that seems a bit harsh on them both….what happened to labour being a broad church ? To me, this is the crux of what is wrong with labour, no diversity of thought and “crowd-think” when it comes to policy. As long as that is the impression, labour will only attract those who conform to the status quo……

                  • Clean_power

                    It is clear that sums up your definition of a broad church: “Nash and Pagani are rigght wing cuckoos”. Clear as mud.

        • Macro

          Yes I think that is it..
          And then they wonder why people don’t vote for them!

          • Colonial Rawshark

            What are current day Labour values – to stand for winning and to not have the other parties win. Even as low a bar as this sets, they seem to have trouble following through.

    • Tom Gould 1.3

      Martyrdom in ideological purity is the crazy-left’s comfortable nirvana. As Gough Whitlam said, “certainly, the impotent are pure.”

      • Colonial Rawshark 1.3.1

        Is opposing trans-national corporate domination of our economic and media space “ideologically pure”?

        I thought it’s simply the minimum required to maintain true social democracy in NZ.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    Self-identifying targets for expulsion.

    Personally, I have thought a split – with the rump Rogernomes thinking their safe electorate seats guarantee them a job of for life walking away to form a National lite to try and defend their neoliberal legacy for another 3-6 years – is the only way Labour can actually rejuvenate. Pagani and Quinn and the rest of them will all rush off to join, and discover the bitterness of crushing defeat sooner rather than later.

    • Tracey 2.1

      it’s like this is the new version of those who originally broke away to United (New Zealand) Future (?) – why drag labour over to new ground when they could all put their money where their mouths are by joining Dunne’s “party”

      • Macro 2.1.1

        Now there’s a thought! 🙂
        Dunne might have to hire another telephone booth for his “meetings” though.

        • Tracey

          Well, he got really strong voiced this week about the price of passports, yet another burning issue for the people of NZ…

          • Macro

            With a family living outside the country (I started waving good bye to my family after Nats came to power – you remember that slogan?) – I do wonder about why passports need to be so expensive. My 18mth old g’son (fortunately born in NZ – so not subject to this inhumane treatment – he had major heart surgery at 4 days old) will only have to fork up $180 every 10 years now. 🙂

            • Tracey

              I agree, it’s revenue gathering BUT for Dunne to see it as worthy of his voice all over the media? This self proclaimed watchdog over families?

              • Colville.

                Dunne will be interesting to watch to see how much noise he makes about Maori wanting to harvest trout out of Taupo.

  3. In one way this is a good thing; we’ll be able to identify and ignore the people in the party who are the biggest problem. The downside is that it’s just one more place for the msm to go for anti-Labour stories.

  4. Kiev 4

    > Is this progress?

    Yes, much better than stagnating and wallowing around in self pity. Use the reflection time to get to grips with why the failures have continued to come. Perhaps it is time for a new direction and different strategy, as what’s currently in place is not working at all.

  5. Enough is Enough 5

    The group already exists Nash and Pagani. Its called the National Party.

    You are not socialists so piss off to your natural home and stop trying to derail the Labour party.

    • Tracey 5.1

      Nash, remind me who he was getting some political advice from again?

    • Kevin 5.2

      In case you weren’t paying attention voters in the UK gave socialism the big middle finger. And until Labour stops being socialist they will never get back into power.


      • Colonial Rawshark 5.2.1

        There’s no reason for Labour UK to exist if all they want to be is watered down Red Tories. Scotland showed that voters have no more interest in Labour Austerity than in Tory Austerity.

      • D'Esterre 5.2.2

        @ Kevin: “In case you weren’t paying attention voters in the UK gave socialism the big middle finger. ”

        This just isn’t so. You’re forgetting that the UK electoral system is FPP. The popular vote – which is what you should pay attention to – was much closer than the number of seats won by the Conservatives would suggest. Conservative vote: 11,334,576, Labour vote: 9,347,304. That’s very far from being a walloping, or “the big middle finger”. In fact, it was the Lib Dems who got the real walloping.

        Here’s another thing: look at the swing. For the Conservatives it was “Increase 0.8%”, while for Labour it was “Increase 1.4%”. For the Lib Dems, on the other hand, it was “Decrease 15.1%”; that’s the voter’s finger for you.

        These results provide a neat illustration of why we citizens here voted to change our electoral system to MMP. As do many people my age, I recall an election in the late 1970s or early 1980s in which Labour got more votes than National, yet lost because the Nats got more seats. Then there was the election in which Social Credit got something like 20% of the vote, but just one seat. It was this sort of result that infuriated the electorate; the rest, as the saying goes, is history.

        As somebody else has remarked here, Social Credit has good policy that makes a heap of sense. The party did back then, too.

    • Chris 5.3

      Why should we be surprised by this shit? Labour has never purged itself of the neo-liberal infestation it suffered in the 1980s. No promise they make can ever be taken seriously again. Labour will not only never learn, it cannot learn. The rot is too deep.

      So, the next step the left must take is to expose and convey the truth about Labour to the general population. (How to do this, I don’t know, but it must be done.) The next step is to rebuilt a truly left-wing opposition party. But Labour must be destroyed first.

      • Colonial Rawshark 5.3.1

        Labour actually pushed out most of its serious left wingers through the 80s and 90s (e.g. Alliance, New Labour), leaving a concentration of centre-right leaning neolibs behind.

        Regarding the Step One you mentioned at the end of your comment, I suspect that Thorndon Labour is on the way to doing just that without any external help required.

        • Chris

          Just noticed what could be a Freudian slip. I should’ve said “build” a truly left-wing party, not “rebuilt”. Current Labour would say they’ve done precisely that already.

  6. miravox 6

    Heh. The EU Socialists and Democrats have one of those too. A rather different perspective though. I was thinking our lefties could build something similar and then the centre-right comes along *sigh*

    Progressives have a duty to demonstrate to citizens that they do have a choice and to do what it takes to win the battle of ideas in these core areas for the future of our societies.

    That is why the S&D Group has launched the ProgressiveEconomy initiative, which will create a new and open space for public and informed debate, and which will contribute to build a contemporary progressive economic and social vision for Europe.

    I went to the Progressive Economy Forum last week and it sounded rather like getting a handle on Green politics (a sustainable economy especially in relation to climate change) and curtailing corporate power, tied in with traditional Labour concerns about the nature of work.

    With people like Joseph E. Stiglitz on the board, and Thomas Picketty providing the forum opening address, it couldn’t be further from the politics of the Blairite groupies who are looking back to a golden age of progressive politics that really delivered.

  7. northshoreguynz 7

    From my limited understanding of third term politics, governments tend to lose the next election, rather than opposition winning them.
    We are not lacking policy to woo the electorate. What we are NOT doing is focusing hard on government incompetence. There is plenty to go on there. Hard, and relentless
    sound bite examples of government stuff ups would go a long way to undermining the Nats.

    • Colonial Rawshark 7.1

      From my limited understanding of third term politics, governments tend to lose the next election, rather than opposition winning them.

      That was in the old electoral ecosystem. Labour lost party vote share in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014. Why not 2017?

  8. Matthew Hooton 8

    This a very promising development within Labour. Important for major parties to welcome people from across the spectrum, like National does with, for example, the Blue Greens.

    • Tracey 8.1

      I am sure it makes you smile, broadly. If those folks succeed in moving Labour further to the Right, even you (sometime) LIbertarians can sleep soundly knowing that the evils of socialism have been thwarted again and your mythical monster the greens will not influence the improvement of life for all NZers… oh and it will be a very long time before fairness and equity exist in NZ workplaces. Remind us what you produce for a living in NZ Matthew?

      Oh and thanks for the morning chuckle @ Blue Greens… Are the blue green members of Nats bald? From being patted on the head

      • dukeofurl 8.1.1

        Heres a list of Blue Green Ministers from

        “National’s Bluegreen Ministers: Hon Maggie Barry (Conservation), Hon Nicky Wagner (Associate Conservation), Rt Hon John Key (Tourism) Hon Dr Nick Smith (Environment) and Hon Tim Groser (Climate Change).

        Dont fall off your chair laughing Tracey !
        Reminds me of “Coke Life”, a lot of branding, but nothing there.

        Does make you wish Hooters would check out the reality of what he says!

      • AB 8.1.2

        Matthew likes it because if successful it results in a permanent shift of the entire political spectrum to the right. 1984 would erase 1935 as the formative event for how NZ society works (or doesn’t work).

      • Rodel 8.1.3


        Jean Giraudoux 1882? or was it George Burns?
        “The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that you’ve got it made.”
        Nice try Matthew

    • mickysavage 8.2

      But my impression of the blue greens is that they are there only to provide environmental respectability. I have never heard them criticise any action of the National Government whereas Pagani and co regularly criticise Labour, to my mind excessively so.

    • crashcart 8.3

      I am sure it is because I don’t know enough about the National party MP’s but can you expand on the spectrum the National party covers. I am honestly interested in what you see as the range of beliefs they hold. They portray a very lock step image to the public. There doesn’t appear to be much of a variance in opinion. Although it is showing a little in what has happened with the recent pulling of new Health and Safety legislation.

      • The Lone Haranguer 8.3.1

        I understand that the Nats stand for
        1) Being in power
        2) Some economic conservatism
        3) Some social conservatism

        But items 2) and 3) can be sacrificed as necessary to ensure the ongoing success of 1)

      • D'Esterre 8.3.2

        @ Crashcart: “They portray a very lock step image to the public. ”

        You can bet your bottom dollar that there is dissent and conflict in the National party: it’s the nature of the political beast, and the Nats are no different. It’s just that, until recently, the JK personality cult hasn’t admitted of that dissent being made public. Dissenters and “troublemakers” have been shut down, and if they won’t stay quiet, given the old heave-ho. Take a look at the resignations which have preceded each election since the Nats came to power; by no means all of them have been retiring or given the push for non-peformance.

        We’re beginning to see it now, though, with the backbench revolt over the proposed H&S legislation. No administration can keep this stuff suppressed forever.

        Those of us who’ve been around the traps for a few electoral cycles have seen it all before.

    • AmaKiwi 8.4

      Hooten correction:

      It’s important for major parties to “give the appearance” of welcoming people from across the spectrum “while not letting them change your hidden agenda because if anyone knew what you really intend to do you would never get elected.”

    • LMX 8.5

      Dear Matt, why is this promising? So-called lefties promising a nat-lite future – or nat future with different faces? I guess this has a lot of appeal to some. Or perhaps people with views so inconguous to a progressive mindset that it promises to compromise the party? Now, tell me – honestly – if David Seymour was a National party MP (or candidate, or whatever), given his whacked-out views, just how many seconds a year would the current National party allow him?

  9. Matthew Hooton is doing his best to make sure Regress fails by endorsing them on twitter.

    • weka 9.1

      Pretty poor effort from Hooton here on ts this morning. Like he’s not even trying, maybe the material is just too easy to work with.

  10. AmaKiwi 10

    “From my limited understanding of third term politics, governments tend to lose the next election, rather than opposition winning them.” – That’s true of all elections.

    Hate is the most powerful motivator for voting. American campaigns are primarily character assassination. It’s easier to hate the demon than to sort through the policy lollies, most of which we all know are lies.

    Unfortunately, of late Labour is better at character assassination of its own leaders than of National’s leaders.

  11. weka 11

    “Some sources say that things got heated at last week’s Labour caucus over the proposal and expulsion of some of those involved was threatened.

    But a spokesperson for Labour Leader Andrew Little says that while he does not discuss what happens at caucus, those reports are “inaccurate”.

    Indeed the spokesperson said Mr Little said he welcomed the idea.

    “Labour is a broad church and we welcome all sorts of ideas,” she said.

    “If people want to have things like think tanks with ideas that’s good.”

    One source said the proposal was initially for the new body to be called “True Labour”.

    But when it was discussed at the Caucus last week it apparently came under fire.

    It was then renamed “Progress”.

    Oh good. That means a left wing think tank could be set up and Little/Labour would welcome it. Maybe a group made up of working class people, Māori/Pasifika, even a beneficiary etc. They could call themselves Get Real Labour.

    (I do note that Little says think tanks are good, not that he would take any notice of them).

    • maui 11.1

      Heh, now we’re talking, somehow I can’t imagine Porirua mayor Nick Leggett getting together with Cannon’s Creek locals and forming policy ideas. Yep, get some real people involved.

      • Roflcopter 11.1.1

        What a disgusting way to talk about the locals in Cannon’s Creek. There’s incredibly talented people living there who do fantastic work.

        • maui

          Where did I denigrate people from Cannon’s Creek? Real people are from there, not the current crop of poli’s.

          • Colonial Rawshark

            Idiot false outrage from idiot pseudo RWNJs

          • Roflcopter

            So you’re saying Leggett doesn’t know how to engage with locals to develop good policy ideas, or he’s not capable?

            • maui

              You never know they could find some common ground on the Supercity and Transmission Gully.

            • millsy

              Legget is in the process of closing down their amenites.

  12. Puckish Rogue 12

    Considering just how bad Labour has been since 2008 and longer its not a bad thing to get different ideas

    But this is Labour so you just know someones going to shoot themselves in the foot at some point

    • We’ve lost two elections since 2008 with leaders who broadly support this kind of regressive, righty thinking. We need new ideas, or at least, a return to the old ideas that work.

      • Puckish Rogue 12.1.1

        Labour talks about being a broad church and everybody has at least one good idea and considering Blair managed to make it into power so they might have some good ideas…maybe

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Labour is NOT a “broad church.” Only one in five registered voters see Labour as representing their values, their views or their aspirations.

          • Tracey

            Having 1 in 5 voting for you is not evidence that something is not a broad church. A broad church refers to broadness of ideas or backgrounds or whatever. I think you are confusing it with popular church.

            LP may not be a broad church but not on the sole basis of how many voted for it.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              Having 1 in 5 voting for you is not evidence that something is not a broad church.

              I’m making the point that while Labour might consider itself representative of the identities, values and priorities across the broadest cross-sections of society, that society itself hardly appears to agree.

              OK how about NZ’s diverse population justifying a Labour caucus with 4 Asian MPs, and instead it has: zero. Does this not further say that Labour as a “broad church” is more a mirage than a reality?

              • Tracey

                see, that was my point. By all means point to caucus to make your point about lack of Asian representation or some other measure but you don’t know where the 1 in 5 come from who voted for LP and they may well have been a broad cross section…

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Sure, it’s only one data point. And, if only one in six voters go for Labour next time, you could still reasonably argue that those voters come from a broad cross section of society and that Labour can still itself a “broad church.” I wouldn’t myself however, because to me it is an increasing sign of disconnection with the broad swathe of Kiwis, not an increasing sign of connection.

                  • Tracey

                    but it’s not a data point that proves your observation. For all I know a large proportion of the lost voters are white men…

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Sure, we’ve already seen some statistical evidence that men are quite a bit less likely to vote for Labour these days than women. And it is fine with that. To me that’s just more clues that Labour isn’t a broad church.

                    • Tracey

                      how many white men do they have to be a broad church? This is a circular discussion CV, mainly because while it is open to draw the conclusion you have the 1 in 5 voters vote Labour could mean any number of things that just those numbers are not proof, per se, of.

        • Sable

          Blair’s government got into power by aping Thatcherist neo lib ideals……I can see nothing good to come of that….just more of the misery we are already experiencing….

        • Tracey

          Blair won 2 elections, the first in 1997 (almost 20 years ago, so his third way is not really a “new” idea

        • weka

          “considering Blair managed to make it into power so they might have some good ideas…maybe”

          Only if you think getting into power is the important bit. Some of us think the actual policies and core principles are the important bit (and I’m pretty sure that Pagani and co think that too, they just want centre right policies/principles not left wing ones, hence the problem).

          • Tracey

            at best they want to slow National’s policies not reverse them…

            Previous LP’s have contributed to this position it finds itself in, namely of pretending to be right wing with a smile, and then when in power doing only smallish things to reverse the Right policies… accordingly the centre has moved strongly to the right so that imo it is no longer true centre.

            • Macro

              That is also my take on what both Lab and Nat have been up to over the past 3 decades. Always moving to the right. Labour opens the door and the Nats knock down the wall.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Absolutely. Labour keeps TVNZ ‘for profit’ and commercial. National then takes out any requirement for meeting public broadcasting requirements. Labour puts in place the foundations; National then builds on them.

                And look at this chart – under the peak of Labour 5, NZ child poverty rates declined somewhat from 30% under Ruthanasia to 22% under Clark and Cullen. That means only 150,000 kids in poverty – and that’s what we rate as “success” after 9 years of Labour Government.

                Let’s face it, 10,000 Kiwi kids living in poverty is far too many, let alone 150,000.

                • Bob

                  What you are missing is that it moved from 30% to 22% in 10 years, if Labour had continued to play in the center they could be back in power and could have continued that trend, instead they are still fighting about whether to move left or right, changing leaders, and loosing credibility while National does what they like!
                  When are Labour going to learn from National! Hold the center ground and slowly move the fringes left. I keep hearing people say National has no long term plan, that’s bullshit, if they keep going for 10 more years they would have moved the ‘center’ across to the ‘far right’ without the general public realising!

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    Labour deservedly lost power because it did not have any different future vision of NZ to communicate or strive for. It got stuck in managing the middle mode and it got stuck in the Thorndon Bubble perspective.

                    BTW that move from 30% to 22% child poverty was extraordinarily short term, didn’t outlast Labour itself, and still condemned 150,000 kids to growing up in poverty when 10,000 is far too much.

                  • Tracey

                    And that is what Green Party is for surely, for LP to appear all “normal” and “acceptable” to this mirage of middle NZ and then be “forced” to make some concessions to GP through coalition.

                    THAT is what National does.

                    • Bob

                      Exactly! This is how MMP works, National have figured it out, Labour still thinks they have to cuddle up to the Greens ahead of time, they don’t even have to be seen talking to the Greens until after the votes have been cast.

                      Have you had a chance look at my brief list of ‘centrist’ policies below?
                      Could you handle Labour having to concede and ‘move to the right’ with these sorts of policies to win the election?

          • Puckish Rogue

            You can’t get your policies up and running unless you get into power so yes getting into power is the most important bit there is.

            You can have all the principles you like, have a great big principles party where you pat yourselves on the back and congratulate yourself how principled you are BUT you’ll achieve nothing, you’ll help no one and get nothing done

            and National will keep on winning elections but hey if your principles are more important then winning elections then good on you

            • weka

              Yeah but that only works if you are not left wing and don’t care that much about policy. Use your head PR. if Labour become a centre right party to gain power they’re not Labour any more. Obviously you want that, but it makes no sense to lefties.

              We’ve had the conversation on power vs change before. The GP demonstrate that you can make change and keep principles.

              • Tracey

                or care about public interest or common good…

                note the people claiming to think labour should become more something or other, wont actually tell us what policies LP could announce (that aren’t Nat policies) that would make them consider voting LP? IMO it’s cos they would only vote for LP if it was suddenly to seem like the National party…. and I point tot he last thirty years as proof.

                • Bob

                  No problem, here you go:

                  An end to Zero hour contracts

                  Introduction of a 0% bottom tax rate threshold for the first $20k earned in conjunction with a raising of the top tax rate and label it as fiscally neutral

                  Vowing to support Auckland’s bid for a congestion charge to pay for an upgrade to public transport systems

                  Drop the CGT plan and bring in further restrictions around foreign buyers (this will keep Uncle Winny happy too)

                  Distance themselves from the Greens, make it clear a vote for Labour is a vote for Labour’s policies only, do what Winston does and say you won’t discuss any coalitions until the electorate decides if you need to make one, then make concessions with the Greens/Winston first after the election.

                  Stop using terms like ‘move to a Green Economy’ (its fluff talk that is invariably linked to the Green Party who can be toxic to swing voters) only talk about specific example of how NZ can supply xyz technology to the world and the investment that wil be put into those areas to creative jobs

                  Keep the KiwiBuild scheme, and offer low interest loans to first home buyers that buy into the scheme

                  So, in summary, tax cuts to the average Jo and Jane so they don’t care about the rich getting taxed more, their kids can afford their first home again while you kick those bloody foreign investors, creating jobs in IT/Engineering without being bloody Greenies, and getting the popular Rail link into Auckland by using the means the majority of surveyed Aucklander’s hate the least. These are centrist policies that will win votes off National, then when you get in, pick up the Greens Climate Change, Housing WOF etc policies.

                  Tell me Tracey, would you prefer biting you tongue and having to deal with these types of policies, or a Fourth term National Government?

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    Ruling out working with the Green Party rules out a Labour coalition government in 2017.

                    • Bob

                      I never said ruling out working with the Green Party, I said distance themselves, no joint press releases/policies etc. Run a completely stand alone Labour campaign, then form a coalition if required once the voting is finished. They can then pick up any of the Greens more left wing policies that Labour actually want to push through but think would scare off swing voters prior to the election.
                      This way you pick up the center and the left and actually make a difference, otherwise you can all move left and complain in opposition for another couple of elections while National continues moving the country to the right.

                  • millsy

                    no tax cuts. perhaps fix health, education instead.

                    I am over tax cuts.

                    • Bob

                      That’s the thing, it’s not tax cuts, it’s a more progressive tax structure which means more money in the hands of those who need it most (low income and beneficiaries), but they need to sell it as a tax cut for voters that currently vote for National (not the 1% as people here often claim, but currently around 48% of voters) to be interested.
                      These are just some simple, centrist policies that wouldn’t move Labour away from their traditional base (working class) but would appeal to a wider voting public and allow them to tell a story that would resonate.

              • Puckish Rogue

                So you’re happy if the Labour party don’t get back into power as long National keep doing minor tinkering around the edges?

                Good to know

                • Tracey

                  So, you really see it as still a FPP kind of set up? I don’t mean that to be rude, but that is how you see it, yes? A vote for any party that cannot come close to ruling alone or being really dominant is a wasted vote in your view?

                • weka

                  Are you really that thick PR? Of course that’s not what I am saying.

    • Sacha 12.2

      “its not a bad thing to get different ideas”

      Trouble is, ‘third way’ is not a new idea.

    • Tracey 12.3

      What kinds of policy announcements would make you consider voting Labour Party?c

      • Puckish Rogue 12.3.1

        Decriminialise all personal drug use, they’re victims/patients not criminals and the money saved in locking up these people can instead go towards treatment of the victims which will save money over the long term

        A complete stop to all diary conversions in areas where they really shouldn’t be (the details can be worked out later)

        All List MPs salaries to be cut by half

        Anyone who goes overseas and fights for ISIS has their passport revoked and is no longer a NZ citizen

        Euthanasia to be looked at

        The death penelty to be looked at

        Increased spending on rehabilitation/education for prisoners

        The top tax rate for personal, trust and companies to be the same rate 33%, I think the cmpnay tax rate is 28% but I’m sure someone will point out to me if I’m wrong

        Secondary tax rate to be lowered to the top tax rate

        Corporate bludging to end

        Peter Ellis to be given a formal apology and compensation

        Thats for starters, I’m sure more will spring to mind

        • Tracey

          Can only disagree with a few BUT it rather begs the question, with that wishlist why do you vote national PR?

          You are correct the company tax rate is 28% and some want it lowered futher

          • Puckish Rogue

            Which ones do you disagree with?

            Neither Labour or National is going to enact anything I’ve suggested so I look at how NZ is going under National and its not going badly, in fact in comparison to most other countries and considering our size and location we’re doing quite well personally i’m doing better under National as well

            So I vote National

            • Tracey

              I disagree with bringing back the death penalty and I am not sure about the ISIS/citizenship one

              • Puckish Rogue

                I understand that the death penelty is a contentious issue but to me if you throw your lot in with ISIS and are prepared to fight against your countries own troops then you’re a traitor and you’ve given up your rights as a citizen of NZ

            • weka

              You should be voting GP.

              But that list isn’t what Labour should be doing, it’s your own personal wish list, with the inference that if they said they would do those things you would vote for them. So great, Labour would get one vote at the next election.

              • Puckish Rogue

                Of course its my own personal wish list, thats the question I was asked so yes Labour would get an extra vote from but the question you need to ask yourself is how many people in NZ think like me

                I suspect theres a lot more people then you think

                • Tracey

                  who vote national notwithstanding they dont really represent their vision of future NZ?

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    Its called being the lesser of two evils or making the best of a bad situation

                • weka

                  What you fail to understand is that many left wing people don’t see it like that. I want what’s best for everyone, not a power grabbing party that best meets my personal wish list. That’s just selfish, which wouldn’t be so bad except it’s a really bad way to run a country and it doesn’t work.

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    Yeah sure because WFF or interest free student loans wasn’t a blatant bribe to the middle class (damn effective) to vote for Labour

                  • Gosman

                    I don’t believe I have seen any political party in NZ campaign purely on the basis of what is good for the individual. they all tend to suggest that their polcies are beneficial to the nation at large. You obviously don’t think right leaning policies are generally beneficial to the wider population but then again I don’t think left wing policies are either.

                    • weka

                      Fair comment, but I wasn’t talking about Labour and National so much as PR’s self centred perspective. I commented on that because it appears to prevent him from understanding points I am making.

          • mikesh

            I would reduce the company tax rate to zero, but, at the same time, make companies pay out all profits as dividends to shareholders. Shareholders would then have to pay tax on those dividends at their own tax rate. If companies wanted to retain all or part of their earnings dividends could be paid in newly issued shares instead of cash.

        • maui

          A couple of things to work on and you’ve got potential green voter written all over you.

          • Tracey

            That’s why I had that follow up question.

          • Puckish Rogue

            You’d be surprised at how many votes the Greens could pick up if they announced they could work with National

            • weka

              They can work with National. National can’t work with them.

              • Puckish Rogue

                The Greens don’t seem to understand that at 10% they, not National, are the party that needs to compromise

                • weka

                  Funny comment from someone who thinks it’s all about what you can get away with. The GP don’t need to compromise, they just need to stand their ground and watch others change. Increase benefits, address child poverty, next up climate change. See how that works yet?

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    Yeah we’ll see how long it takes changing to a green economy or when the policies for climate change come about

                    Meanwhile National will continue to run the country

                    • weka

                      What do you think had been happening for the last 25 years? The shift in NZ around many things is down to activists, including the GP. I know you will find it very hard to acknowledge this but if you put aside the power stuff for a minute it’s easy to see how influential they’ve been.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      As long as you’re happy with slow, minor, inconsequential changes then the Greens will deliver,its all good

                      Meanwhile National will continue on with partial asset sales…maybe

                      Oil drilling…maybe

                      Tax incentives and cuts for the wealthy…maybe

                      Seriously though how long do you think it will take for the Greens to get into power?

                    • weka

                      as long as it takes for the left to sort its shit out about Labour. In the meantime, let’s not forget all the long years that National were out of power and polling badly.

                • b waghorn

                  Yes but working with national would be political death for the greens unless they can get 20% or more of the vote and get the social ,transport and environmental portfolios.
                  It would be a big gamble to say they could work with them while still at 10%

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    The problem for the Greens is though as long as Winston is around for Labour then the Greens will always be the last cab off the ranks

                    • b waghorn

                      Yes the bloody Winston factor is problematic that’s why labour shouldn’t of gifted him northland.
                      He would of ridden off into the sunset in2017 if he didn’t have a seat.
                      BTW Winston had a full page in this weeks farmers weekly and it left me in know doubt he could never work with the greens.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      Yet if the Greens said they could work with National then Labour wouldn’t be able to take the Greens for granted

                • Tracey

                  and yet ACT gets compromises out of National?

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    Charter schools for a start

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      That’s like giving a kid lollies and you believing the kid when he’s pretending to be reluctant in taking them

        • Colville.

          With that wishlist I assume you are an ACT voter now?
          They are the only party to come close on most of that.

        • halfcrown

          Hi Puckish

          Are you sure you are a right winger?, as you have been coming out with a lot of sense with well thought out intelligent responses just recently not normally associated with someone from the right, and you have posted quite a few posts I feel happy with and agree

          I think you are really a lefty in drag


  13. Ad 13

    As a Big Statist from way back, I know my preferred era will never come back.

    The Greens’ membership figured it out by electing Shaw.

    One thinktank/salon/gossip circle/conspiracy ground/challenge is good.

    Another would be preferable. No one should complain that they did it first.
    Plenty here have talked about doing something similar.

    Needs to be more than The Fabians out there.

  14. Sable 14

    As I have said many times theres little to separating Labour from National these days in terms of policy or philosophy. Blair was the catalyst for the so called “New Labour” movement in the UK which really made Labour look a whole lot like the Tories. Even Thatcher was impressed.


  15. Clean_power 15

    A very good initiative destined to reconnect the Labour Party with the workers of this country. Very promising.

    • Colonial Rawshark 15.1

      Reconnect with the 1% and the upper middle class aspirants to the 1%

      • Clean_power 15.1.1

        Colonial Rawshark: do you think Labour should continue veering to the left? Or stay on the current course, which as Te Reo Putake said, has already lost the party two elections? What do you prefer: radical ideology or political realism?

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Subservient greasing up to the 1% and the transnational corporations is the radical, ideology. It is society inverting, turning everything – including people – into saleable commodities at the cheapest price, while externalising all possible costs on to families and communities.

          • Clean_power

            You sound like a Mana, not a Labour voter. Class warfare and the rest.

            • Colonial Rawshark

              Class warfare? Like transporting more and more of NZ’s financial and physical wealth to the top 1%, while leaving less and less security for the bottom 90%? That is the very definition of class warfare.

              • Clean_power

                But that is exactly the point of what these people (Pagani and others) are trying to achieve: to make the Labour Party an attractive political alternative and viable proposition to the 90% of the population? Do you think the New Zealand people are stupid and cannot see? Do you really believe that by going further to the left Labour will win the next few elections?

                • Tracey

                  so they can slightly more quickly than National assist the vulnerable, but still so slowly that the vulnerable will go to their graves without the opportunity to thrive in our society?

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Do you really believe that by going further to the left Labour will win the next few elections?

                  This is less and less a question of left vs right; it is a question of the long term survivability and sustainability of NZ as an independent and socially just nation.

                  • Clean_power

                    CR: you have not explained how Labour will be able to win all those lost voters to change NZ into “an independent and socially just nation”. Let me ask again: is going further left your solution?

                    • Tracey

                      What policies would LP need to announce to make you consider voting for them Clean Power? Have you ever voted LP?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Your premise is ridiculous to begin with. Labour winning back Labour voters by positioning more like National? You have to get serious.

                  • Tracey

                    “it is a question of the long term survivability and sustainability of NZ as an independent and socially just nation.”

                    THIS ^^^^^^^

                    very well said. to be nation with heart.

              • Anno1701

                They only call it class war when we fight back…..

                No war BUT class war !

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              He sounds like Warren Buffett.

            • Grant

              CV is closely paraphrasing Keith Rankin. You may not agree with Rankin’s political economic views, but they are hardly radical fringe stuff.

              “We need to once again create conditions in which workers, feeling that their contributions are fairly rewarded, will choose to give up annual salary increases for shorter working hours. A real economic Miracle means short working lives, high incomes per unit of labour supplied, an equitable allocation of work, and high rates of total factor productivity growth. Is it possible to create such a Miracle economy? Certainly not through the zealous pursuit of a doctrine that serves a narrow but influential community of interest; a community which, in the ruthless pursuit of profit, seeks to minimise its wages, taxes and other input prices.”


            • Macro

              Have you any idea of what Labour stood for?
              It stands for very little now – but previously it actually stood for empowering “labour” – If that is not class warfare against the wealthy then I don’t know what is.

        • Tracey

          If Labour moves a smidge to the Right, won’t that make them the National Party?

          • Colonial Rawshark

            2017 = Grand Coalition

            They two big parties for the most part only differ in matters of detail; the small handful of major policy differences that hold them apart could surely be talked through.

  16. Captain Fantastic 16

    What needs to stop is the incessant inner turmoil and endless self-analyses. New Zealand needs to get back on focusing on people not imaginary concepts like ‘the market’. The growing divide between rich and poor is killing this country socially and economically. Growing automation is rendering large chunks of the population unemployable in their traditional occupations. We need a government that stops the cronyism and starts focusing on the whole population. Life should not be a lottery where winners take all and leave others on the rubbish heap. We need mechanisms that give the weak strong voices like unions and we need a stronger, more transparent, accountable democracy. A small cabal of people trying to push Labour into some sore of accommodation with the powerful is the wrong direction. It may win plaudits from the mouthpieces of the powerful but it means nothing in terms of making a difference. I suggest these people should set themselves as an alternative party or join National. They’ll find a better fit there.

    • Olwyn 16.1

      +10000. Well said Captain Fantastic!

    • Clean_power 16.2

      You could be right, Captain Fantastic. At the same time, you could be condemning the Labour Party to come second for the next few elections. So be it.

      • Colonial Rawshark 16.2.1

        That’s odd. Since when did greasing up to the 1% and the trans-national corporates become a requirement of winning elections?

        And please explain – how Labour is ever going to do a better job of doing that greasing up than National?

  17. Bill 17

    Is it progress? Is it fuck. Go to 8 min 10 sec in the linked video to hear, straight from the horses mouth, how and why UK Labour was so recently obliterated.

  18. Bill 18

    Is this progress?

    Andy Burnham would probably agree that it is. But…

    Andy Burnham, the frontrunner for the Labour leadership, was jeered during the first hustings at a trade union conference when he refused to say outright whether he was opposed to an annual benefits cap of £23,000.

    Jeremy Corbyn, the veteran leftwing MP and a late entrant to the race, probably won most applause with a strong stand against austerity and a rejection of nuclear weapons and overseas wars.

    • Tracey 18.1

      Bill, I don’t understand why the LP doesn’t see the workforce as their potential voters? Why they don’t work more closely with the infrastructure in place through Unions to get eye ball to eyeball with people to dispel the myths propagated by the Right about Unions etc and the very clear benefits of being a Union member in this country.

      • Atiawa 18.1.1

        It might have something to do with the < 10% of private sector workers currently belonging to unions. It's also small wonder that Labour paints itself as a broad brush political party rather than a party for and off the working class.

  19. Bill 19

    Is this progress?

    In the link provided above, Nicola Sturgeon is straight up that the SNP trounced Labour by adopting the positions that Labour of 20 or 30 years would have held.

    And….from 50% support at the recent UK general election, the SNP are now polling at 60% (constituency vote) for next year’s Holyrood elections. Labour and all its talk of ‘progress’ is at 19%.

    I suspect I could put comment after comment after comment up here from a range of sources, that would demonstrate why ‘third way’ bullshit is anything but progress. Standardistas may be relieved to hear that I’m busy today. 😉

    • Tracey 19.1

      chuckle at your last sentence

    • dukeofurl 19.2

      But of course they have 16 year old franchise for elections in Scotland now.

      Tips the field the SNP way , compared to previous elections.

      Apart from no student loans hard to see the difference between them and UK labour in matters in Scotland.( Foreign policy excepted )

      In many ways the website could be, all pulsating positivity.

      Not mentioned is unemployment is raising , up 19,000 in 1Q of 2015, but Bill loves it all.

    • Do it properly as a post, Bill! 😛

  20. millsy 20

    Pagani has never really spelt out what policies she would have Labour drop or keep.

    Lets hope we see an end to this vagueness when this think tank gets set up.

    Watch out for Leggett – he has presided over a major slash and burn excersice in Porirua. Do we want a man who regards closing libaries and selling reserves as his legacy in a high place in the party?

  21. Anne 21

    This is an interesting co-incidence. A few nights ago North Shore Labour had Sue Bradford come to speak to us. Sue is in the process of setting up a left wing think tank which she hopes will be able to encompass the broad church that is the Left. She appreciates its going to be a difficult task but she and her co-helpers already have a contact list of 400 people who have intimated they are interested in becoming involved. The idea is still on the drawing board and has no name as yet. It was hatched some 5 – 6 months ago and they hope to be able to produce progressive policies that will come to appeal to a large section of the populace. They intend to use social media as their main source of contact. It was one of the best attended meetings we’ve had in recent times and Sue was the obvious draw-card.

    I can’t help but wonder if this “third way” think tank is the local Blairites’ response to Sue Bradford.

    • Tracey 21.1

      curiouser and curiouser.

      And all the while distracting from the apparent discord brewing and festering in National’s caucus.

    • Olwyn 21.2

      At RedLogix raised a question as to who is funding them – if the Blairite think-tank has arisen in response to Sue’s project, then RL’s question is all the more significant. Someone or some group funding a Blairite left with a view to countering the voice of the more seriously left seems sadly plausible.

      • Anne 21.2.1

        I know a bit about the birth of ACT in 1994 Olwyn. It was in response to the (expected) introduction of MMP. The local business tycoons were worried about National’s chances of maintaining political dominance, so they set up a new coalition party for them. By chance (or good management) a ginger group, which started out life with the name “Vision 20/20 Club”, had been set up about two years earlier by Roger Douglas and his political acolytes. They changed the name to the “Association of Consumers and Taxpayers” soon afterwards and at this point Alan Gibbs, Craig Heatley, Michael Fay and some others galloped into the picture… picked it up and financed it into a fully fledged political party. I was in a position to observe all of this (a long story) and I soon realised Douglas/ Prebble/Hide and co. were bound to these tycoons and couldn’t really move without their approval – a case of money holding all the power. Interestingly the only high profile former National Party politician involved at that time was Derek Quigley and he was the first to get the hell out of it at the end of ACT’s first term in parliament.

        Sue Bradford knows there is no way they will be able to match the level of funding available to the right-wing think tanks, which I guess is why they intend to communicate via social media in a big way. I understand they have attracted a lot of young people (interesting) and there are a number of academics who are also potential members. We’ll have to wait and see if it all transpires.

        But to get back to your comment, there is no end to the machinations of the Right if they sense their “dominance” is in jeopardy.

        • Colonial Rawshark

          Bradford needs a plan to be able to attract $10K and $100K donations from financially secure Left Wingers. Lots of them out there. Crowd funding $5 at a time won’t do.

        • McFlock

          I reckon one of the benefits will just be getting various commenters and thinkers together, even if most are unpaid. Building good networks would help collaborations take place that otherwise would have withered.

    • Sacha 21.3

      A party faction, political movement, or ginger group is not a think tank. One involves mobilising broad support. The other is a small focused pool of expertise that costs money to sustain. That applies to Bradford as well as Pagani, Nash, et al.

      • Anne 21.3.1

        I think you may have missed the point I was trying to make Sacha. And that was: the Right will go to extraordinary lengths to out-manoeuvre the Left – even to the point of setting up political parties that are supposedly in competition with them. Eg, ACT and National. It was in response to Olwyn @ 21.2 and in particular her last sentence. It could also apply to the setting up of think tanks.

        • Sacha

          No I believe I have addressed your post at 21 precisely:

          “Sue is in the process of setting up a left wing think tank which she hopes will be able to encompass the broad church that is the Left. She appreciates its going to be a difficult task but she and her co-helpers already have a contact list of 400 people who have intimated they are interested in becoming involved.”

          • Anne

            I fail to see your point. My comment @21.2.1 is not related to my previous comment @ 21. I was agreeing with Olwyn and providing some historical context as an example of how “the Right” set up and fund ‘entities’ (in this case a political party) on the pretext its an autonomous body which has nothing to do with them. In reality the Nat Party funders behind it are manipulating the system to ensure National stays in power. Apart from the Clark years it has worked well.

            • Sacha

              I was replying to your 21 comment (hence mine being 21.3). Didn’t mean to confuse.

              • Anne

                I didn’t mean to make it sound like a party political entity. Just repeating what Sue told us. She made it clear it would not be associated with any political party and that it would not be an attempt to emulate the right- wing think tanks. It is still in an embryonic stage so its hard to envisage how it will pan out.

                • Sacha

                  I trust her intent is good. Just that a think tank is not the same thing as a movement of hundreds. Looks completely different. Wrong label.

                  As is this other nonsense – stalking horse for a faction that thinks it is better than the rules set by its party.

      • mickysavage 21.3.2

        A right wing think tank within the Labour Party would be fine as long as they would at least think.

        • Sacha

          If they are *within* a party, they are by definition not a think tank.

          It’s clutching for intellectual validation rather than an accurate use of the term. They are merely a faction, and should be treated as such.

          Actually, they are trying to set up a contestable policy/candidate process outside the one their party has agreed on – and should be treated as such.

  22. Scintilla 22

    It appalls me that after all this time, the Labour Party still don’t know who they are and what they stand for. That they need to have a huge review, a freaking think tank and yet more years of consultation to understand their constituents’ needs and develop yet more policy. FFS. No wonder voters have no faith in them. How can we have faith in a garbled mess of a party?

  23. Nessalt 23

    Labour is a broad church with no room for dissenting opinions?

    It’s only a think tank. it’s not a policy confirmation committee? surely it’s better to have these people doing something productive in the labour tent while they are labour as opposed to outside while they are labour?

    Since when did having an idea and gumption to initiate it not represent the labour movement?

    • Colonial Rawshark 23.1

      When it is corporatist gumption that undermines the labour movement with right wing cuckoo nest political economics.

  24. Keir Leslie has written a very decent blog post advocating (with some caveats) for this endeavour in order to foster internal debate. Seems like a good idea to me.

    “An internal debate between left and right offers an opportunity for the party to move away from a purely patronage based model of internal organisation. This can only be good for the party as a whole. In particular, it offers an opportunity for the left of the party – which, after all, maintains that it is the largest grouping – to organise, proffer coherent and attractive ideas, and support strong candidates.”

    • Tracey 24.1

      Can you explain what ” for the party to move away from a purely patronage based model of internal organisation.” means in ordinary people’s language?

    • Colonial Rawshark 24.2

      The issue is that this isn’t fostering internal debate. It’s not fostering the laying out of a true range of options between left wing political economics and right wing political economics. All it is doing is making it clear to the electorate that we have a Labour Party which is as tolerant of free market neoliberalism as ever, and which has no belief in anything other than tinkering and managing the free market model which exists in NZ today.

      Which is the ethos embedded in the quote you use – i.e. now the right is doing this, the left can go ahead and launch its own competition with this initiative. Market driven to the core.

      And this simply begs the question – what purpose, if any, does a Labour Party which doesn’t represent serious left wing political economic ideology actually serve?

      • Sacha 24.2.1

        Keir’s vision sounds too much like the Australian Labor Party with their entrenched internal left and right blocs.

        ‘Broad church’ sounds like people still not grasping MMP. Form an explicit alliance between two separate parties if you can’t agree on one set of policies and people.

      • Sacha 24.2.2

        And if Labour tolerates this stuff, it shows they are still not fit to govern.

    • mickysavage 24.3

      “with all the subtlety of a bull in a china shop, Greg Presland at the Standard has compared this to the Douglas-ite Backbone Club”

      I thought I was being subtle. I cannot imagine anyone attacking anything that I have written. Apart from the photo I was trying to be as measured as possible.

      Pagani and Co have been talking about third way blarism for yonks and have rarely spelt out what it means. Pagani did talk about work flexibility a while ago but was shot down.

      I am all for an internal debate. But I am not sure that these guys are. The volume of external public critiques they have aimed at the Labour Party over the past few years suggests that they are not interested in an internal debate.

      • Karen 24.3.1

        Exactly, Mickey.

        I just wish this little bunch of Blairites and Rogernomes would just go off and form their own party, then maybe the Labour Party could make some progress. Pagani, Quinn, Leyland, Leggot, and Nash have been working to move the Party rightwards for years now. I am disappointed that Keir Leslie seems to have also jumped on their bandwagon, though not entirely surprised.

        What really gets me is that they spend so much time and energy undermining the party, but can’t cope with any hint of criticism of their views.

        • Facetious

          So, Is the party a broad church or not? It does seem so if you want to do away with those who do not agree with you, Karen.

          • te reo putake

            Yep: The definition: a group, organization, or doctrine that allows for and caters to a wide range of opinions and people. The fact that the people mentioned in the post are in the LP at one end of the spectrum, and the majority of the members at the other, confirms it. Probably applies to the GP as well.

          • mickysavage

            It is a broad church. We just want people to have conversations and discuss ideas without having to go to the media and saying that these conversations and discussions are not happening.

      • I find this part of Keir’s post interesting:

        If the membership disagree with the ideas “Progress” advocates, then they can vote them down. This might require left-wing members of the party to articulate ideas of their own and organise to get them into policy, and to support and develop candidates of their own.

        Perhaps I’m applying my own assumptions, but it seems like there’s an implication that the left of the party aren’t “articulating ideas of their own and organising to get them into policy.”

        Whereas my take from recent Labour history is that the problem, as the Progress team sees it, is that the left of the party has been organising and they don’t like the way it’s going. For an example, see Nash’s unhelpful comments about the trans healthcare remit which easily passed through two regional conferences.

        • Karen

          I agree Stephanie.
          I also wonder whether Nash may have alerted journalists to the transgender remit so that he COULD shoot it down after not being able to do so democratically at the regional conference. He seemed to have a suspiciously considered redneck response ready for reporters.

        • Keir

          Yeah, that remit was a really good remit, and Young Labour works hard to put together remits and organise on a nation-wide level like that. Young Labour has a strong internal democracy with robust internal debate on political matters and in particular around what policy positions to take – the robust internal debate is part of why it’s able to go to the rest of the party with strong well-thought-out proposals. It takes an organised advocacy role and gets wins.

          But while Young Labour is broadly to the left of the party, it tends to organise as a sector around social and young people’s issues because those are the issues it has a comparative advantage in (obviously individual branches and members work on other issues, and the sector does do stuff beyond that, but it’s clearly an area of comparative strength.)

          Other than the unions – who often take a very narrow, top-down, work and wages focus to their formal engagement with the party – what groupings within the party organise at a nationwide level to push good policy?

          And it’s not just policy, although that’s an easy way to approach the issue – look at internal party elections, like the Policy Council elections. What were the ideological issues at stake there? What political stances were the candidates running on? Or, say, the presidential election. Not all presidential fights will be as politicised as Anderton/Dyson, but I couldn’t even tell you why Gallagher was running – and this isn’t particularly unusual for an internal election! Or matters of broader political strategy – where’s the debate? Who’s arguing for what?

          The fact that people are amazed that a group of members would get together and organise to advocate for their preferred path for the party indicates how empty the party’s internal discourse is. And look, I’m on the left of the party – and most of the people who’ve said that my description of the party rings a bell are too. Vibrant internal democracy – including organised advocacy – is good for the party as a whole.

  25. Binders full of women 25

    Other than Iraq why does everyone hate Blair & Blairite.?… Remember it,s been 41 years since UK had a non-Blair labour PM.

    • millsy 25.1

      Because he embraced 90% of Tory policies, and didnt really reverse what Thatcher and Major did — I realise that it wasnt actually possible, but he didnt have to fully capitulate.

  26. adam 26

    For all the labour party activists. This song is for you.

  27. Saarbo 27

    There is no doubt in my mind that this group has been the main protagonists in Labour’s infighting/leaks to the media and have consequently done the most damage to Labour’s image over the last 7 years. Ive seen nothing from them except criticism…that’s why Im quite interested to see what they put out as potential policy, and how that policy differentiates them from the Nats…let them set up a think? tank I say.

    • Anne 27.1

      Agree Saarbo. I would go further and state their ‘criticisms’ have been almost treasonable in the sense they deliberately tried to undermine Labour. There were occasions when the claims they were making were so wildly inaccurate that you had to seriously wonder where the information was coming from.

      • newsense 27.1.1

        I’m suspicious of this group. I’m inclined to believe it to be insurance on the part of moneyed interests and in charge of running interference until that day arises.

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