“Itching Scratches” on Nine to Noon

Written By: - Date published: 6:27 pm, September 26th, 2016 - 61 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, labour, radio, uk politics - Tags:

Matthew Hooton sometimes  lets his vehemence carry him astray as it did this morning on Nine to Noon discussing or rather dissing Andrew Little’s views on the centre ground of politics. It was Hooton’s topic of choice, picking up on a story in Stuff where Little expressed a view on political strategy that the article considered different to Helen Clark’s.

As Hooton indicates, saying that elections are won in the centre is banal, a truism; but a truism is not a strategy. And Helen Clark didn’t say it was – she said you consolidate your base then fight for the middle. Stephen Mills agreed; location is not the important thing for strategy, it is  policy that makes the difference. As he said Labour under Little will also fight for the centre ground with their set of policies.

The argument illustrated the difference between polling analysis and political strategy. Polling numbers can tell you who votes; political strategy is about how to get people to vote. Hooton’s objective was simply  to use the Stuff article as an excuse to attack Little, accusing him of setting up a “patchwork of minorities to gang up on the majority” as well as “having an extreme left-wing view developed from being a union boss.”

Katherine Ryan introduced Jeremy Corbyn to the discussion saying that it was perhaps a case of “status quo establishment politics having a rocket put under it.” That led to more apoplexy from both Hooton and Mills, and an examination of another Hooton invention  the so-called “missing millions” of non-voters.

Here Stephen Mills also got vehement describing this as a “mirage.”  According to him increased turnout in the 2005 election was all down to Don Brash. It was nothing to do with non-voters: Labour won because women in his sample who liked tax cuts couldn’t stand Don Brash. I think he’s quite wrong about that, which illustrates the different perspectives of pollsters and strategists.

In my opinion, Labour’s policies of Working for Families and interest-free student loans were crucial to the outcome.  Then a massive under-the-radar direct mail campaign targeted at these groups, plus identified non-voters and state-house tenants, was what made the difference at the end. In effect, a coalition of constituencies. Hooton was right when he said even a missing hundred thousand would be influential; we know they were in 2005.

Status quo political commentators are also getting a rocket put under them in the UK and the US as Corbyn increased his majority in the Labour Party leadership ballot and Trump draws level with Clinton prior to the Presidential debate. Most are finding it hard to adapt and understand.

Andrew Little’s comments simply indicate that he’s looking to connect with different groups of voters on issues that are important to them. Some of them might even be people who are looking for a reason to vote at all. Makes sense to me.

61 comments on ““Itching Scratches” on Nine to Noon ”

  1. lprent 1

    Andrew Little’s comments simply indicate that he’s looking to connect with different groups of voters on issues that are important to them. Some of them might even be people who are looking for a reason to vote at all. Makes sense to me.

    Does to me as well. Getting a new chief of staff and press sec will hopefully make some of the stuff that they are (hopefully) doing more visible. But generally an opposition party has to start by identifying and targeting groups that can deliver votes as a base. That looks like what they talking about.

    Hooton has been getting increasingly stupid recently. Hardly worth listening to as he appears to getting his political beliefs determined less by reality and more by the depth of his fantasizing. Sounds like a humorlessness drone worried about the future and as much of a worn record as Rodney Hide does. Neither sounds like they have much idea about life for people who aren’t as affluent as them and their parasitical mates are.

    • Stunned mullet 1.1

      “Hooton has been getting increasingly stupid recently.”

      Have you thought about getting hime to author a few pieces for The Standard ?

    • Draco T Bastard 1.2

      Hooton has been getting increasingly stupid recently.

      He’s a RWNJ and all his preferred policies are being shown as complete bollocks as he, and the rest of them, are getting desperate as reality proves them completely wrong and their lies become ever more transparent.

    • Instauration 1.3

      A Little VICTORY is
      A Little SMILE,
      A Little BOOST,
      A Little YES,
      A Little YEAH.

    • Gosman 1.4

      Little should have consolidated Labour base by now. Trying to do that just a year out for an election doesn’t give you much time to pivot to the center. Indeed one of the points I think that was raised by Stephen and Matthew was that the majority of voters have made up their minds around a year out.

      • swordfish 1.4.1

        Gosman: “Indeed one of the points I think that was raised by Stephen and Matthew was that the majority of voters have made up their minds around a year out.”

        Wouldn’t have thought so. Zoomed over the Security Council stuff, but listened to the rest and didn’t hear a single syllable on when voting decisions are made.

        A few months back on Nine to Noon, it was Ryan herself who quite aggressively pushed this idea that Elections in New Zealand are essentially decided a year or more out. She cited research by political scientist Claire Robinson (although she got Robinson’s name completely mangled, rendering it unrecognisable) that a large majority of voters made up their minds more than a year out.

        Mills, who was a guest, disputed Ryan’s/Robinson’s argument by citing UMR data that showed voters generally preferring a change of Govt a year or so out from the 2014 Election (as, indeed, did most Public Polls).

        Robinson had certainly argued in late 2013 that “If history repeats itself the National Party will be re-elected next year, and there’s little Labour can probably do about it “ and “If recent history is anything to go by, the 2014 general election result has already been decided.”

        But her evidence was fairly weak. Citing New Zealand Election Study data, she argued that, since 1999, on average “almost 54 per cent of voters will make their decision about which party to vote for before the election campaign” and that 40 per cent of National voters make the decision before election year. “It is these voters Labour needs to reach across to if it is to have any chance of regaining the box seat – but most of them have already made up their mind, and it will take a miracle to convert them.”

        Problem is: the NZES figures cited by Robinson therefore suggest 60% of Nat voters didn’t make up their mind until Election year – 37% of them only during the Election campaign itself.

        Robinson’s even forced to admit at one point that, as you might expect, “pre-existing party loyalty is a significant factor in the voting choice of (the) ‘early deciders'”. In other words, committed voters – each Party’s base – has certainly decided a year out, possibly also those who clearly favour a particular Party without being core loyalists, but (again, as common sense tends to dictate) the crucial floating vote doesn’t necessarily decide until the Election campaign itself … A bit of a fly in the ointment for Robinson’s whole premise.

        And, finally, she undermines her (2013) argument by conceding right at the end that NZ First might well end up holding the balance of power after the 2014 General Election.

        **** The 2014 NZES data, incidentally, suggested just 35% of all voters made their voting decision before Election year.

    • ianmac 1.5

      Mr Hooton has said that he has a problem with alcohol. A year or so he said that he was getting clear of it. Some days he sounds as though he is not really free. Might be better to switch to something less addictive.

  2. Anne 2

    Hooton is going so over the top these days that it is worth listening to… to see how far he is prepared to go. And the further into Cloud Cuckoo Land he descends the higher (and louder) the decibels become. I have the impression Katherine Ryan is getting a mite annoyed with his hysterical responses of late. Stephen Mills was a big disappointment today. Falling for the “Jeremy Corbyn is unelectable” line. He’s gone down in my estimation.

    • Bearded Git 2.1

      Yes if Hooton says one more time that Labour would have won under Shearer….aaarrrgh…there were like a couple of polls that weren’t too bad before mumblefuck Shearer was rolled, but these weren’t the result of his fine leadership skills. His real contribution was as one of the ABC crowd.

    • Garibaldi 2.2

      Yes ,Stephen Mills really showed his colours – most disappointing. I had thought it was good to finally have someone who could stand up to Hooten’s drivel, but that has now been dashed.
      If RNZ can ban Bomber then the same should be done to Hooten.
      As for Little’s comments, it does appear he is starting to show glimpses of hope….. will his ‘inclusiveness’ grow, or will he be stomped on?

  3. Adrian 3

    While I agree that the interest free student loans and working for families helped Clark in ’05 with out doubt, that is also my issue with her centrist ideology.
    Clark could never imagine free universities in her vision of the world, (even though she of course benefited from them), and working for families is really just a state sponsored rent subsidy and/or state sponsored business subsidy for low wage growth, sort of a benevolent neo liberalism, which is what I believe the center left are at their core.
    Corbyns win yesterday could mark a sea change in Western Left politics, I doubt whether Little would have bagged Clark like he did today, (which he undoubtedly did) if Corbyn hadn’t won last night.
    Turn Labour Left.

    • Wayne 3.1

      Convincing a whole lot of left activist Labour members is rather different to actually winning a general election. Michael Foot being the obvious example.
      Effectively UK Labour has been successfully taken over by Momentum, the modern equivalent of Militant Tendency. It won’t end well.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        Or it could be just the thing to put Labour back in power for 20+ years.

        The people at the bottom who suffer from the status quo are getting really pissed off with arse-hole politicians that refuse to listen to them.

      • Stuart Munro 3.1.2

        Yes of course a hundred year rule by the Left would be “not ending well” for you.

        Austerity has failed – that’s the GFC. The Gnats have no answers – never did – they’re only there to steal public property.

        The Tories are a dead party walking with only the PLP keeping them alive. That lifeline’s just been cut.

        • Wayne

          What are you proposing – no more elections. Even the Soviets couldn’t do more than 70 years.
          Unless of course your definition of 100 years of left rule is what NZ has had since 1916. But somehow I don’t think that is what you mean.

          • Stuart Munro

            A leftwing government is natural for democracies – after all, we are many, they are few. And, as we have seen repeatedly over the last few decades, the Right cannot even be trusted with something as mundane as prosecuting the unequivocally guilty fish dumpers. Hang your heads in shame you useless troughing parasites!

            • Gosman

              And yet left wing governments tend to be in government much less than right leaning ones in western countries.

              • Stuart Munro

                The rightwing cheerfully subvert democracy at every turn. It would not matter as much were they competent but as disasters like housing show they have no more interest in the long term health of their society than a mayfly.

                • Gosman

                  Do you think the only way right wingers can win is by subverting democracy? Sounds very similar to Trump claiming if he loses it because the election was stolen.

      • Adrian 3.1.3

        @Wayne- What the hell are you talking about, MT at it’s peak had just over 4000 members, and that was after nearly twenty years of existence, Momentum already has over 17000 members after just about a year of organizing…what is wrong with you man, can’t you believe that there can be a better future? Anybody who wants a fairer and more equal society should be encouraging these movements, I mean, why wouldn’t you.

      • Macro 3.1.4

        Half a million members, actively spreading the “good news” is a movement.
        The Labour Party of 1916 originated from the Labour Movement following the Waihi Miners Strike amongst other issues of inequality and social injustice. The conditions pertaining then Wayne, are very much in part the same today. We have Talley’s constantly harassing their workers, minimal rates of pay that are no where near a living wage, contracts that are short term, lack of job security, both partners having to work increasingly long hours to make ends meet, a declining middle class, and obvious wealth being syphoned off to the 0.1% at ever increasing rates, to name but a few major concerns. The message today with modern social media and lessons learned from the past will spread far quicker than it did a hundred years ago. That there is not an obvious reaction to this increasing injustice at the moment is not surprising as so many are working day and night to scrape together a living. Furthermore a media that is now the opium of the people, keeps the population sedated.
        But the word will spread, and injustices will be seen for what they are, and where they lie. The establishment would do well to heed the lessons of the past. But they have not the education nor the understanding. Those who forget their history are destined to have it repeat on them.

        • Anne

          Excellent Macro. Thank you.
          I have noticed over the past 12 months that my “middle class” relatives are toning down their support for National. Don’t think they’re ready to jump the divide and vote Labour yet but in another 10 to 12 months…? Quite possible.

      • Mike Smith 3.1.5

        In your dreams Wayne. Momentum is a modern net-based and meeting-based organising group. Recruiting 340,000 active and energised members to Labour is the start of a campaign to win an election, particularly in an enrolment-based system. 15,500 new members have joined since the result was announced. Trying to pin the 1980s on the current change in Labour is what won’t work.

    • Macro 3.2

      “Clark could never imagine free universities in her vision of the world, (even though she of course benefited from them), and working for families is really just a state sponsored rent subsidy and/or state sponsored business subsidy for low wage growth, sort of a benevolent neo liberalism, which is what I believe the center left are at their core.”


    • Draco T Bastard 3.3

      Clark could never imagine free universities in her vision of the world, (even though she of course benefited from them), and working for families is really just a state sponsored rent subsidy and/or state sponsored business subsidy for low wage growth, sort of a benevolent neo liberalism, which is what I believe the center left are at their core.

      Those policies aren’t centre-left but centre-right.

      Corbyns win yesterday could mark a sea change in Western Left politics,

      They should be but they all seem to be determined to stay on the same failed neo-liberal path.

  4. Richard Rawshark 4

    Matthew Hooton Managing Director

    Matthew Hooton has over 25 years’ experience in corporate and public-sector communications, including for the New Zealand Government and the country’s most influential companies.

    He began his career as a press secretary to the New Zealand trade, agriculture and deputy finance minister before consulting to PricewaterhouseCoopers business continuity team working on Y2K related projects, including the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ANZ, Westpac, National Australia Bank and the New Zealand Treasury.

    At 28, he played a lead role in the government relations and communications programmes that led to the creation of Fonterra, becoming the company’s first head of communications, managing the announcements of all senior executives, the first election to the Board of Directors and announcements of new ventures with partners in Europe, North and South America and India.

    Matthew has also led a wide range of government relations programmes including ones where government/industry partnerships were sought, such as with ZESPRI International, or where legislative change was sought as with the Kyoto Forestry Association.

    Matthew is well known in political circles and by the public for his role as a political commentator on Radio New Zealand and as a columnist for the National Business Review and Metro magazine. He maintains strong relations with senior figures across the political spectrum. He has a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics from the University of Auckland.

    /sigh this is the resume of a agent, trained from the early years under some national dweeb to be a future pain in the media arse, and talk a lot of shit for banks and big business.

    The fact RNZ is so up nationals arse is they even let this one sided freak get to dribble his propaganda.

    • tc 4.1

      Marty is a paid shill for nationals radio. As he rarely engages or discusses its just rants like a ‘know it all’ relative or colleague. Easy money for a paid spin doctor.

      These are golden times for Matty with his other gigs like aect and nbr and it’s all mostly dry beltway dogma to the average punter IMO.

    • Gosman 4.2

      Who would you prefer they get to represent the right then given I suspect you think all of them are as bad as Hooton

  5. alec larsen 5

    why doesnt someone ask stephan hills why he dislikes jeremy corbyn,Ithink he is left wing like the nz labour party used to be.

    • Gosman 5.1

      I believe his reason is because he thinks he is unelectable and the damage he is doing to the UKLP will mean it is difficult to fix it anytime soon.

  6. Tory 6

    I took the time to read through Standard postings prior to and immediately after the previous 3 election defeats to the Left (that’s an hour I can never get back). The message on this site is a continued repetition of the “bogey men” (Hooten, Brash, Key etc) with buoyant optimism that you are going to stick it to the right, swiftly followed by a week of soul searching and self flagilation.
    This trend continues, and you wonder why middle NZ (the centre according to Clark) has turned off to your message?
    Same shit, just a different day.
    I do admire CV for his persistence at attempting to convince many commenters here that the machine is broken and needs rebuilt but all he gets is abuse by many which again is symptomatic of the left in disarray, convincing itself that it’s right and blindly heading towards the cliff of another election defeat.
    Like many from the right, I am not happy with Nationals performance but without a good opposition this is what happens.

    • Anne 6.1

      I took the time to read through Standard postings prior to and immediately after the previous 3 election defeats to the Left (that’s an hour I can never get back). The message on this site is a continued repetition of the “bogey men” (Hooten, Brash, Key etc) with buoyant optimism that you are going to stick it to the right, swiftly followed by a week of soul searching and self flagilation.

      That is a typically shallow and incomplete summary of the events. Of course there was strong criticism – even hatred in some quarters. So, you’re saying that your side of the fence don’t indulge in similar “shit”? You are as one-eyed and selective as Matthew Hooton.

      Btw, it’s flagellation not flagilation.

  7. Peter 7

    Elections are more likely won on emotion rather than policy. Like it or not Key and Peters evoke an emotional response from their support base. Who amongst Labour and the Greens can say the same?

  8. Instauration 8

    A Little VICTORY is,
    A Little SMILE,
    A Little BOOST,
    A Little YES,
    A Little YEAH.
    Inspirational words – Public Domain – likely a PR product.

  9. Incognito 9

    I agree with Andrew Little; his views echo a comment I made yesterday although I’d take a step further: https://thestandard.org.nz/corbyn-wins-now-what/#comment-1236469

  10. The way I see it sometimes is that those who have on purpose oppressed the poor deliberately for personal gain or out of some sick sadistic pleasure of standing on the shoulders of those just treading water will end up just like this :

    Compliments to Ozzy Osbourne might I add.


    Mark my words, their day of judgement is coming .

    And in case you cant catch the lyrics, here they are :

    Your thoughts are compromising
    Self – centered, patronized
    Your image supersedes your soul
    You find me mystifying
    Subhuman, so annoying
    You can’t have me under control
    You think you live forever
    You don’t find that profound
    You won’t think, you’re so clever
    When you hear thunder underground, all right now
    Your morbid fear of losing
    Destroys the lives you’re using
    You only have one point of view
    The stigma of delusion
    Confirms your self illusion
    And after all this could be you
    When you hear thunder underground, here we go now
    Could it be that I have found my mind or have I gone insane?
    Roller coaster… Full lyrics on Google Play Mu

    • Didnt quite get it all in for the lyrics- heres the full deal :

      Your Thoughts Are Compromising
      Self-Centered, Patronizing
      Your Image Supersedes Your Soul

      You Find Me Mystifying
      Subhuman, So Annoying
      You Can’t Have Me Under Control

      You Think You Live Forever
      You Don’t Find That Profound
      You Won’t Think You’re So Clever
      When You Hear Thunder Underground
      All Right Now

      Your Morbid Fear Of Losing
      Destroys The Lives You’re Using
      You Only Have One Point Of View
      The Stigma Of Delusion
      Confirms Your Self Illusion
      And After All This Could Be You

      You Think You Live Forever
      You Don’t Find That Profound
      You Won’t Think You’re So Clever
      When You Hear Thunder Underground
      Here We Go Now

      Could It Be That I Have Found My Mind
      Or Have I Gone Insane?
      Roller Coaster Of The Madness
      And There’s Only Me To Blame
      The Ever Faithful Hand Of Doom
      Will Take The Pain Away
      I’ll Never Know The Answer To It All
      ‘Til My Dying Day

      Your Bullshit Culture Licking
      Can’t Stop The Deathwatch Ticking
      You’re Only Mortal After All
      Your Appetite For Power
      Subvert Your Every Hour
      But Every Time The Mighty Fall

      You Think You Live Forever
      You Don’t Find That Profound
      You Won’t Think You’re So Clever
      When You Hear Thunder Underground
      Here We Go Now

  11. vto 11

    Mr Hooton is a closet leftie.. he would love to come over to the bright side ….. but ………. but ………… well, he’s just a bit useless when it comes down to it, that’s what but

  12. Repateet 12

    There are a couple of people who get quoted on political and other stuff a lot in this country as if they deserve a hearing. As if their opinions have some special value.

    Rodney Hide is one Matthew Hooton another.

    Can someone tell me why their opinions matter, why they are so important and if they are blessed with some magic or something special that makes them some sort of authority?

    • vto 12.1

      because they make very average thoughts sound better than they are?

    • They reap the benefits of far right neo liberalism.

      Its that plain and simple , really. And fanatical far right neo liberals like John Key and his core MP’s endorse the Hootens and the Hides . As does Stephen Dildo Joyce, who, due to his media contacts has great influence on the media we receive.

      This didnt happen by co incidence , but by design.

      Ask yourself this : if these were the days pre neo liberal NZ ,… how much traction do you think Hooten would receive? . Nil. He would simply be a lone voice in the wilderness with everybody else thinking he was insane.

      It is on record that when Roger Douglas tried to talk to Norman Kirk about his monetarist policy’s ,… Kirk turned around to Douglas and said ” if you ever mention that again I will have you removed from the party ”….

      • Pat 12.2.1

        “It is on record that when Roger Douglas tried to talk to Norman Kirk about his monetarist policy’s ,… Kirk turned around to Douglas and said ” if you ever mention that again I will have you removed from the party ”….

        you got a reference for that?….i

    • Henry Filth 12.3

      Clicks and ratings, Repateet, ratings and clicks. Simple as that.

      And relentless self-promotion to lazy media who no longer make their own analyses.

  13. Whateva next? 13

    Absolutely bloody bang on Andrew.

  14. fisiani 14

    The Left and the Centre-Right make up NZ politics. We effectively do not have a Right as such.
    The Left is shared between Labour, Greens, Mana and NZF. (approx 45%)
    National has the Centre-Right.(approx 55%)
    Every Left vote that switches to National is a plus 2 for National (44 v 56) net +12
    Every National vote that switches Left is a plus 2 for the Left (54 v 46) net+8

    We are 12 months from an election. 12 months of house building, 12 months of growing employment, 12 months of a growing economy, 12 months of rising wages and 12 months of a competent team making progress on all fronts.

    What bribe will Chicken Little desperately try to trick NZ with?

  15. save nz 15

    Huge beat up on Andrew Little on MSM lately and by trolls.

    Must be making them worried and perhaps a strategy to disunite the Labour party and it’s supporters?

    Andrew Little has done some good choices in my view for the Labour party by uniting with Greens for the MoU and also supporting NZ First to knock out the National party in Northland. He’s sort of said NO to TPPA which is a start and he’s called out the taxpayer aid going to Scenic hotels which “co incidentally” just gave the National party a huge donation. He’s going to build more state houses, look at parts of immigration that may not be working and so forth. He has also united the Labour party a lot more.

    I think within what Andrew Little has to work with he is doing a good job – hence the huge smear campaign going on in MSM to undermine him.

    • Paul 15.1

      Led by Hooton.

      • save nz 15.1.1

        Not just him, the Herald has been going crazy about Andrew Little for ages now. I don’t normally read Granny but whenever some one posts a link or what have you – it is always some terrible (but minor) thing that shows Labour and/or Andrew Little in a bad light.

        One benefit of this is that by undermining democracy and turning media into propaganda, the media is driving viewers to independent political sites like the Standard, TDB, werewolf and alternate worldwide sites like Canary, salon etc. By not having a proper debate for ALL Mayoral candidates they organised their own debate. By knocking out voices on TV they have birthed Checkpoint, Waatea 5th estate and so forth.

        MSM are pushing themselves out of a job so justice will be served in the end. Then the management are whining about how they have to merge to survive – maybe keep some readers might help and alienating approximately 50% (and growing) of the population who do not vote for the National party is a good way to go out of business…

  16. Michael 16

    I think Labour retained office after the 2005 election (I’m not sure whether it actually “won” anything) mainly because the Unions turned out the working-class vote in some big urban electorates. FWICS, the fickle middle classes deserted Labour, seduced by National’s bribe of “tax cuts” (heavily skewed in favour of the rich of course and with no mention of the public services that would be cut to payfor them), while “Waitakere Man” was off baying to the sound of Don Brash’s dog whistle (thanks Mr Ansell for your service to democracy and race relations). In its third and final term, Labour accomplished very little (apart from most of its parliamentary team continuing to score the baubles of office), while the machinery of government remained on New Right settings throughout, thereby making it much easier for the Nats to crank it up a gear or two when they took office in 2008. That burst of union-directed political activity in 2005 seems to have been the last gasp of the Labour movement – as union membership continues to plummet, the industrial arm of the movement can no longer mobilise workers to turn out and vote. Corresponding decline in voter turnout, overwhelmingly in working class areas, is no coincidence. In its centennial year, Labour offers nothing to non-rich New Zealanders (90 percenters?) but a pale imitation of neoliberalism as applied relentlessly since 1984. It’s time for another political movement to replace it.

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