“It’s still the same Labour Party”

Written By: - Date published: 12:28 pm, August 3rd, 2017 - 58 comments
Categories: labour, making shit up, national, Steven Joyce - Tags:

Steven Joyce was pushing this line on RNZ this morning – knowing that it’ll backfire if they attack Jacinda.

They tried that when she became deputy (and Joyce was hanging Nikki Kaye out to dry on that – even though clearly she’d been put up to it, having always been respectful in their contests before), and they saw how badly it went for the left when they attacked John Key.  So the (denied) focus groups are in, and it’s officially the strategy t attack the party, not the woman.

So it’s “changing the messenger doesn’t make any difference”.

The premise of the attack is that a) Labour’s message isn’t popular, and b) it hasn’t changed since… 2008? 2011?  2014? (it changes, depending on what they can get away with)

But each election TV1 do a survey, and often Fairfax too, and Labour’s policies are popular – much more popular than Labour.  But National know that people don’t read/know policy, and thus they can write it off as long as they speak in broad brushstrokes (and don’t remind people of the actual policy).

Even journalists like Guyon Espiner aren’t up on the policy, so Steven Joyce can get away with it.

Education policy hasn’t changed at all since the last election?  I’d have said 3 years’ free tertiary education was a pretty big addition.  And there’s a health professional in every school too.

Joyce also spoke of when John Key came in, them not just changing the messenger, but that’s because the Nats have genuinely unpopular policies.  But there are equivalents – Labour’s dropped the very unpopular choice to raise the retirement age (which ironically the Nats have picked up).  They’re going with a review of how to make tax fairer in government rather than explicitly going for a controversial Capital Gains Tax (although even a CGT outpolls Labour…).  Even the ‘fire at will’ 90 day policy has been watered down from repeal to replace (with a fair trial-period version).  So they’ve done that neutralising under Little – but that’s not picked up.

Yes there are large elements of 2014 still in there – but who’s going to argue that we don’t still need 100,000 affordable homes, more state houses, higher quality rentals?

And hypocritically for Joyce, I’m sure there were still significant elements from Bill English’s 2002 20% disaster that were still National policies come 2008 – and not ones that were so popular as Kiwibuild, Dole for Apprenticeships, or getting rid of Secondary Tax.

And that’s before you get onto all the new policy from the results of the massive Future of Work commission to 1000 extra police to funding National’s $2.3 billion cuts in health.

Hopefully journos will learn their policy & Labour can keep reminding them to prevent Joyce & co’s baseless attacks…

58 comments on ““It’s still the same Labour Party””

  1. Sabine 1

    i said the same thing yesterday.

    nothing has changed other then the leader, yet ……, and i don’t expect much to change from the policies that have been laid out.

    so this was to be expected and if Labour did not then they have their heads in the sand.

    The leader is always only as good as his party. She will learn this lesson as quickly as did Andrew Little and David Cunliffe before her.

    but let me put it this way, did anyone expect anything else?

    • but let me put it this way, did anyone expect anything else?

      The National Party, TOP and probably a few journalists.

      Everyone else realised that Labour wasn’t changing.

  2. Philj 2

    In Australia the only Media (BBC and ABC) coverage is about Jacinda’s baby response! Observing Ozzy MSM is illuminating. The Corporate take over is flagrant here. The ABC comedy (drama?) shows are amazingly on to it and subversive IMO. Makes us Kai/why’s look like lame sheep, or daggy Friesians?

  3. Ad 3

    Ardern has stated she may change the mix of policies.

    So no, it may not be the same Party as it was on Sunday.

    In fact it’s necessary to change somewhat, because otherwise Joyce’s criticism is valid in that she only brings the campaign style change with her.

    • Sabine 3.1

      the party is made of people. the people have not changed.
      a change in policy is not a change of the party.

      so yeah, its still the same labour party.

      • Ad 3.1.1

        The leader and deputy leader of the Labour Party just changed.
        As far as 99% of kiwis are concerned, that’s a change in the people of the Labour Party.

        If you don’t think a change in policy is a change in the Labour Party, let me draw your attention to 1984. There was a change in policy that was also a near-permanent change in the party.

        Plus, Ardern, has just announced a reshuffle of responsibilities:

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11898475

        • weka 3.1.1.1

          +1

          There’s a tendency here to see incremental change as no change. It think that’s a mistake.

          • Andre 3.1.1.1.1

            I got the impression “incremental” was an epithet around here.

            • weka 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Not one I use, but I do understand their point. For me the changes that are happening now are useful on their own, but ultimately they need to be backed up with something solid and we’re fast running out of time. Ardern has my attention for a while, and I am genuinely excited by what I’ve seen so far, but I’m also realistic enough to see the warning signs already there (I doubt they will do much of use for the underclasses for instance). So she’s got a window of opportunity but it won’t last forever. My own position is that it’s better to support the good things when they happen rather than be negative about them because they’re not enough. We need momentum but we also then need to push in the right direction. That direction is by no means clear yet.

              So it’s not that I disagree with those for whom incremental is a pejorative so much as we differ in tactics and strategy.

        • Sabine 3.1.1.2

          hahahahahahahahahahah

          nope, its like a house, you get new curtains, nice, but still the same house.

          very little has changed other then window dressing.

          sorry, i have yet to be convinced that this is anything more then window dressing.

          but again, to each their own.

          and i do own a bottle of whiskey signed by the ‘leader of the labour party’. lets hope the labour party does not again changes its mind and is seeking a new leader in a few month again.

          • weka 3.1.1.2.1

            Did you watch the original press conference? Have you been listening to what Ardern herself has been saying?

            • SpaceMonkey 3.1.1.2.1.1

              It’s still just rhetoric until it actually happens. I heard what Ardern said. I also saw how she said it. She was bloody impressive but actions speak louder. Let’s just wait and see what the next few days reveal.

              • weka

                I agree. I see potential in what is happening rather than it being sufficient on its own. I also think writing off Ardern as a show pony is both inaccurate and poor strategy.

                • Sabine

                  i don’t write her off.

                  i said wait and see before i say something more has changed then just a person leading a party that has had now three leaders in three years.

                  i think that this is also a fair stance.

                  i don’t dislike her, i have met her at fundraisers, i have given money to the party, but i don’t expect ‘change’ to happen with the same people.

                  She is the same person she was before she was leader. I don’t expect that to change. I don’t see her as the ‘lefty saviour of the party’ that many see her. I don’t see her as a bad choice, as i said, i am simply over the dog and pony show that has become the labour party.

                  so yeah, i am skeptical, cynical. and before i screetch ‘yass queen’ i want to see deeds put to words.

                • SpaceMonkey

                  She’s NOT a show pony… that much is certain. What she is a “pragmatic idealist” about still remains to be seen. And if Grant Robertson did have a hand in the leadership change (as has been suggested elsewhere) then I think we can guess what that means.

          • Ad 3.1.1.2.2

            So.
            The Labour leadership has changed.
            The Labour portfolios have changed.
            The Labour policies have changed.
            The Labour Council has changed.
            There’s just been over a thousand new volunteers sign up.

            But somehow, to you, it’s about your curtains and a bottle of whiskey.
            Whatevs.

            You are simply ignorant of what has been happening in Labour.

            • Sabine 3.1.1.2.2.1

              the leadership has changed

              the labour policies have been changed yesterday? so what we are now gonna build 120.000 houses instead of a 100.000. lol.

              the council has changed? to what? a council?

              the portfolios have already changed? to whom the same people will now do something different? how is that change?

              after cunliffe lost the election, in the battle for the ‘leadership’ hundreds of thousands joined up just to leave again, cause the leader was not leader enough.
              also these people that joined now, how long do you think they last?

              that is not change, that is re-arranging the chairs of the titanic.

              i hold my breath and wait.
              so far i only see new curtains.

              as i said to each their own.

            • weka 3.1.1.2.2.2

              “The Labour Council has changed.”

              When did that happen? What’s the difference now?

    • dukeofurl 3.2

      “stated she may change the mix of policies”

      I understand theres a inclusive policy forming process, not a ‘single decider’

      Im thinking she means presentation and which particular ones are high lighted.

      Shes identifies as a policy wonk, so no doubt shes had a part in many of them and if she keeps the same people in major policy areas then they arent likely to be big changes.

      • Ad 3.2.1

        I really wouldn’t mind if there were big changes.

        The housing policy is old.

        The tertiary education policy was launched too early.

        The budget statement was a budget statement.

        Ardern herself won’t be enough: she needs fresh policy to go to the political market with.

        • dukeofurl 3.2.1.1

          They would always have policies held back closer to election.

          national would even wait till after the election it won to announce certain policies.

          • McFlock 3.2.1.1.1

            lol funny because it’s true

            Seriously, though, the campaign always reaches a frenzy in the last couple of weeks. That’s when people save their big hits for.

            I think it was the last one the elections office did a big early voting campaign, though. Don’t know if they’re doing it this time. That sort of lead to the election night count starting pretty much where it finished, as I recall, whereas usually the early votes favoured the tories and the left would play catchup with people who voted on the day.

        • Ardern herself won’t be enough: she needs fresh policy to go to the political market with.

          I’d disagree with that. Labour has some solid policies. What’s needed is a better presentation of those policies and Ardern seems to be able to do that and do it with style.

  4. Nick 4

    Its obvious Policies arent going to change this close to the election.

    However I hope the clarity (bullet points) policies are delivered effectively to her target audience by Jacinda and not lost in emotional garbled politic speak, which I think Jacinda has a tendency to do …in my opinion as an average listener/voter.

  5. David Mac 5

    I think Labour have made a poor job of getting their message across. This is something that can be adjusted. I was pleasantly surprised to see the whole ‘Fresh Approach’ thing canned. The policy detail is just the device to bring about a favourable outcome. That potential outcome is what needs selling. Policy detail belongs on the website and dissecting here.

    Kiwibuild will ease the supply/demand issues in housing and thereby ease pressure on rising rents. The sell is: ‘Vote Labour and stabilise your rent.’ Free tertiary, again, that’s just the tools. The popular outcome is: ‘Preparing young New Zealanders for careers in a world trending towards specialised expertise’.

    Policy communication that is going to be absorbed by the masses needs to focus on the popular outcomes and packaged into a bumper sticker soundbite format. Watching Jacinda the other day, I see a difference. I cringe recalling Andrew getting led down into those blackholes of policy wonkiness. “A family with 3 children with one person working, not getting the accom sup but getting the WFF, they’ll be better off” etc. I get the feeling….hope….unlike her predecessors, Jacinda might avoid those fruitless pursuits and make Labour policy alluring.

  6. patricia bremner 6

    Ha Ha LOL Feel vindicated Sabine?
    Of interest is Collins/ Joyce ….. Where is English/Bennett?

    We are in Australia currently.

    They have no time for Kiwis, and NZ issues are not on their radar.
    Changing Leaders happens often here, so our wee adjustment doesn’t rate.

    • Sabine 6.1

      not sure what you are about?

      not sure if i care.

      this is not about vindication, this is in my book the last time this country has a chance to do something for its people before really the fix is in, and citizens are nothing more then productive units who are replacable with no value other then the amount of $ they make for the corps.

      and we are playing kabuki theatre hoping that ‘charm and grace’ will win over policy because the population has an attention span of a goldfish and can’t be arsed voting for their best interest.

      if building houses boring under Andrew Little and Cunliffe will it be sexy under Ardern?

      i am not sure.

      so what ever you mean by vindicated, i feel nothing of the sort.

    • Philj 6.2

      Visiting Oz ourselves, and their politics drama / comedy highlights the absurdity and insanity of current political/global cesspool. The Ozzies are onto it. Lots of Kiwi’s are preoccupied watching Hosking or switching off from the trash MSM. It does explain why our people vote, or not vote, the way they do, or don’t. Our Trump moment has yet to occur. But it will…

  7. ankerawshark 7

    I am prepared to be proved wrong, but I think the change to Jacinda is a game changer. We on the left know it is still Labour and their policies (mostly), but the public are really drawn to her. If you get spontaneous applause when you walk through an airport, my god, even John Key didn’t get that. How many votes did his popularity/selfies etc earn. I saw Jacinda was on the Edge radio show with the dreadful Dom Harvey. BUT what she did was played Jacinda tinder and it was clean and not against anyone and good fun………………………………..The media will court her as she will boast their ratings and she can do fun (not my idea of good political debate, but the means justifies the end) Best headline “Dreary from Dipton versus the People’s Princess…………………..you cannot halt this. She is mega popular and imho there is nothing National can do about it.

  8. xanthe 8

    well lets see what comes out on Friday shall we?

  9. savenz 9

    For a start Labour need to show that they are against Asset sales, much more firmly. Although Arden has been popular, at the end of the day Labour need to address how to differentiate between themselves and National.

    A list like “Health, mental health, housing and education” is not really as clear as, “We will not be privatising public assets like State Housing under Labour”. A clear difference in policy from National.

    We will not be resurrecting the zombie TPPA under Labour. etc.

    If you want to work out why Labour in the UK has been in the doldrums for decades too, you only need look at Haringey – the Labour-run is likely to approve plans to privatise an entire housing estate yesterday. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jul/03/britain-power-contempt-grenfell-labour-haringey-social-housing

    There are huge similarities with what the Blairite’s did there to how Labour is now perceived, and as another commentator has said it’s not what Rogernomics did, it’s that Labour has not be quick enough to renounce his legacy.

    Or this…
    How the MoD’s plan to privatise military housing ended in disaster

    https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/apr/25/mod-privatise-military-housing-disaster-guy-hands

    Until Labour can clearly articulate and actually BE different from National they are not going to be getting voter parity back in the old days when they were on 47%.

  10. Tony Veitch (not etc) 10

    Again, I know this is only superficial, but with the innocuous, meaningless “A Fresh Approach’ gone, how about

    For the Many, not the Few!

    It worked for Corbyn,

    • Siobhan 10.1

      I think what worked for Corbyn was using a slogan with actual clear meaning.,…He advocated reversing austerity cuts to public services and welfare funding, and proposes renationalisation of public utilities and the railways.

      I’m not quite sure what policies NZ Labour are bringing to the table that would result in any real redistribution ‘for the many, not the few’.

      • srylands 10.1.1

        Yes but New Zealand has totally avoided austerity.

        • Siobhan 10.1.1.1

          I don’t know about that, have you wandered through a public hospital lately? Are we funding schools properly? Just how big can class sizes get? Cuts at the library. Kids loaded up with debt for an education that others got for free…….
          Budget restraint is being sold to us as ‘sensible’, but its ‘austerity’, with a small ‘a’ to all intents and purposes. John Key sold us the concept…and no one is suggesting ending it. Just moving it around. Deck chairs on the Titanic.

        • SpaceMonkey 10.1.1.2

          Not quite… we’ve avoided a UK-like austerity because the previous Labour Government paid down the debt, and which enabled John Key’s National Government to run it up again. But that didn’t stop National from chronically underfunding all manner of government departments and social institutions to starve them of capability and capacity, and justify their gradual privatization.

          • savenz 10.1.1.2.1

            I’d say we avoided austerity for many because house prices went up due to immigration, that helped 65% of people be richer if they sold their house or feel richer if they didn’t. But those without a house felt got the worst of both worlds, high rents, low wages and decreasing services. Those with a house got low wages and decreasing services too, but to offset that, were richer.

            The trick is to have a message to marry up many Kiwis feeling reasonably well off but still hating National for what they are doing. I’d say that is where Labours messaging is off, maybe the secret of Jacinda is that she radiates positivity which is resonating with many.

        • Stuart Munro 10.1.1.3

          In your dreams.

        • mikes 10.1.1.4

          If you are running budget surpluses and private debt is going up then you are not avoiding austerity.

    • savenz 10.2

      It also worked for Corbyn because people trust him. They know that he has integrity and he is not a manufactured politician. He is unshakeable in his beliefs and can not be called a careerist or be considered to lack substance.

      In NZ one of the reasons I think Labour has sunk so low is that they are doing the opposite of for the many not the few, a lot of their branding has been around renting conditions, aka first home buyers, WOF, homelessness. Nothing wrong with that, only 65% of voters are homeowners in NZ so the Labour message does not speak directly to a large chunk of the population’s concerns who face other issues around housing, such as increasing council rates, leaky building issues, deregulation of planning standards, mortgage rate fluctuations, rip offs in the aged home retirement home sector, insecure work, low wages.

  11. savenz 11

    Also people are getting sick of constant bias in the news. Today’s front page Granny was about how congestion was costing 1.9 billion, it was a very long article, as no point did it mention immigration as a factor for why there are now suddenly 5000 new cars in Auckland per week that are causing the congestion.. Instead more taxes were being considered like a tolls to tax locals and ultimately slow down traffic and more tax payers money for infrastructure.

    Labour won Mt Albert on a ‘local’ ticket. It’s about time that local and community needs were actually put first before some multinational corporation, cafe business or National crony business ventures relying on both overseas capital to sell off assets cheap and slave labour to run it.

    Personally I think if all these businesses need imported labour to run their businesses, maybe they should be paying a $20,000 one off charge to go into the ‘infrastructure fund’ to fund the new cars and public transport needed. Maybe the tourist tax should be raised and go for rail to the air port etc.

    Urban locals are sick of being the cash cows of the city so that many businesses can keep wages below a living wage.

  12. They brought in John Key after the Dipper caused National to undergo one of its worst defeats , and after Brash had the Brethren thing ,- and proceeded to carry on with the most corrupt, anti democratic governments NZ has ever known. And , with a compliant media that idolized Key , got away with never before seen homelessness , poverty and the dismantling of our health , education and social services.

    And that’s the power of the media.

    Does anyone REALLY think Labour would get away with all that ,- let alone do all of that with such contempt for its voters ???

    And here some are being all gloom and doom about Labours change of leadership !!!!

    Take some positive pills !!!

    Please !!!

    The facts are , that the way people and the media are viewing Jacinda Adern means that not only is there a strong likelihood of Labour defeating a tired 3 term National govt , – esp against a backdrop of corruption and mass inequality , – but that the Key example demonstrates how a change of leadership can drastically change the fortunes of a party .

    We had John Key , – a relative new boy on the block come out of nowhere and take the position of PM. Year after year. We now have Jacinda Adern about to do the same , – except that Jacinda Adern had more active years in Parliament than Key.

    Couple that with the fact that Labours policy’s are , by Nationals standards , – far , far more equitable for ‘ the many , not the few’.

    This is a time to get in behind and support Labour , the MOU and their coalition partners. Not get afraid of success.

    Because that is whats coming in September.

    All the signs are there.

    • tc 12.1

      Agree except key didnt come from nowhere.

      He was chosen and groomed with that state housing single parent upbringing meme and marketed like any ponzi scheme is. Media who didnt tow the line were punished.

      Whenever his mask slipped distractions and DP tactics were deployed. Bennett like Key is destroying the institutions that gave them housing food and educations.

      JA has national scared, they probably had the DP crew focused on little so please Labour start throwing some bricks as momentum is with you so get some hits in while you have peoples attention.

      • savenz 12.1.1

        I guess banks and private equity firms realised that rather than waiting for the privatisations and tenders from government to happen they could just jettison in one of their own as PM to organise it for them aka John Key getting Merril Lynch handling the NZ power asset sales, no questions about asked – not even now when the share holder returns once sold off have already exceeded the sales price.

  13. Chess Player 13

    Until they come up with some better policies, Labour will continue to lose ground to the Greens.
    TOP has some great policies – why don’t Labour just take some of those?

  14. Michael 14

    Labour has some OK policies but most are merely cosmetic tinkerings with the neoliberal status quo. Overall, they certainly don’t amount to the change that many people say they want (and, I think, probably do want). Another problem is that Labour’s policies are way too complex, contain far too many details, conditional contingencies, and weasel words to be either comprehensible or credible. The “Families Package” is a case in point. Finally, no matter progressive Labour’s policies are (and most are not), it has a credibility problem – people don’t believe a words its spokespeople say, no matter what colour lipstick they are wearing. And the reason for that is …?

  15. patricia bremner 15

    Apologies Sabine.
    My bad. I was replying to Phylj, commenting on the overseas and Australian press responses to Jacinda.

    • exkiwiforces 15.1

      yeah, should’ve seen the Australian today and I think it may’ve been in the NT News as well.

  16. georgecom 16

    over the past 9 years Labour has come to the elections with a raft of new or progressive or different policies. Some, like Kiwi Build, more popular than others, like lifting the superannuation age. Last election they had the idea of replacing the blunt Inflation Rate tool for controlling inflation with a national savings/kiwi saver rate tool. Whether that was actually workable or not I am unsure, however it showed some very new and innovative thinking.

    By comparison the National Party has had next to no policy and almost nothing of significance. What we got in education for example were National Standards and Charter Schools. Neither of those are actually credible for raising education achievement levels. What you have had from National are ‘100 point lists’, ’80 point goals’, ‘9238 strategy’ lists etc etc etc. Essentially wish lists and hope for lists with no actual plan for delivery. Things that are quietly shelved when they didn’t come to fruition.

  17. exkiwiforces 17

    I’m starting to think this gamble might have be biggest move by Labour in years or should that be decades? If I’m hearing and reading rightly I might pop in and see my local bookie here in Darwin to see what the odds are for a Labour government after seeing my psychologist tomorrow as don’t mind backing the odd roughie now and again.

    • Michael 17.1

      Don’t bet the entire contents of your wallet (or bank account) on Labour winning. It’s more likely the Nats will score a fourth term, with Winston’s cheerful assistance. But Labour won’t be wiped out now that Ardern’s taken over.

      • exkiwiforces 17.1.1

        I’ll probably put $20 on it, from my rugby betting account thanks to Scotland and the lions.

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