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Labour – a rock and a hard place

Written By: - Date published: 7:50 am, September 29th, 2014 - 93 comments
Categories: labour, leadership - Tags:

Following Labour’s disastrous electoral defeat, most journalists are having a fine old time putting the boot in. The party is tearing itself apart, the leadership contest reveals deep divisions, the various camps are plotting against each other, and so on and so on.

If Labour had elected to do nothing (and the leadership process was not going on) the narrative would be that Labour was ignoring the verdict of the voters, blinded by its own arrogance, incapable of learning and change, and so on and so on.

In short, Labour was damned either way, a rock and a hard place.

In my opinion Labour has got it right. A full review, including leadership, was the only plausible option. So heads down and just get through it. Remember that the last leadership process was good humoured, engaging and constructive. It lead to a big surge in membership and a significant lift in the polls.

I fully expect the current process to be conducted in the same constructive way (and I look forward to seeing it reported as such by those with a duty to educate and inform). The alternative is too dismal to contemplate.

93 comments on “Labour – a rock and a hard place ”

  1. ropata 1

    Media partly to blame, and National gleefully stoking the fire, but I am sick of Labour taking headlines with its internal issues.

    Can we please get an effective Opposition and media critical of National for a change?

    • r0b 1.1

      There is no way to avoid the headlines (in my opinion). If it wasn’t for the leadership contest it would be for the lack of one. We just have to get through the process, and get back to work.

      (I’m in transit all day, won’t be able to contribute to this discussion.)

      • aerobubble 1.1.1

        Labour does not stand for anything. When they get an opportunity in the media they don’t keep kicking the shit out of National, like National do them, they get all pissy about their own internal wrangles. When invited to discuss internal party matters, they should do what National does, and just make it about their political opponents.

        Its all about competence, and there just aren’t any, in Robertson, Shearer and Cunliffe, all three do a ‘Dunne’, about how looking down from their high position its this way or that. That’s not their job. Their job is singular, to talk down the opponents, laugh, smear, disgrace, and eat into them.

        Goff failed. Shearer failed, Cunliffe failed, Robertson was there all the time, helping them fail. Goff was 10,000 votes off from winning, had one pamphlet drop actually explain a CGT they would have won it.

    • David H 1.2

      Surely the best way to get the headlines to stop is to have NO comments at all coming for anyone in Labour. Every time a question is asked Silence, not even a NO comment. Starve the bastards

    • Eralc 1.3

      Or even just an effective Opposition focusing on the needs of New Zealanders for a change.

  2. Ennui 2

    I really welcome the review of the election prior to a leadership decision. I do not see how the party can be reconciled without this process.

    From this process one thing might just become evident early in the electoral cycle: whether or not Labour is relevant to the “Left”. The leadership it elects after the review will tell us clear as a day whether your “leftist” vote is safe with Labour, or whether you should go elsewhere. If it is any of the ABCs it will be a safe bet that Labour has lurched to the Right (aka the “Centre”), which will for people like me mean it is time to disown them forever.

    • Anne 2.1

      There is now a possibility the leadership will be decided before the review process is complete. That is crazy!! The party membership needs to know the outcome of that review before they vote. Even a week in advance of the voting period is better than nothing.

      • lprent 2.1.1

        The review at the earliest is due to finish in December two months away. If they run them sequentially then that means that it will be Feb or march before the leadership is settled.

        I don’t think that Labour or NZ will handle a 5 month wait. Waiting for the review would be fatal.

        They have to overlap.

        The review is probably going to get released about Dec 7, a week after that is almost into Xmas.

        • Enough is Enough

          We are not going to win the 2017 election in the next 5 months though. If it takes until February/March to sort this properly then so be it.

          I think if the selection comes before the findings of the review, the loosing faction will then use the process as a reason to attack the winner and ultimately continue the disunity.

          I think lets take a breath, have a painful look at what went wrong, then make a considered decision on who is best to unite the caucus and party.

          • lprent

            You are right that we can’t win in the next 5 months. But we can lose it. It takes a bloody long time to set in place structural changes to build election winning machines. The best time to make it happen is right after an election. People know what needs to be done then and are fired up to do it.

            5 months later? FFS I see it every post election here. Everything fall back as we all get on with our lives.

            A new leadership means new people who weren’t in the core of the campaign. They just repeat the same stupid mistakes of their predessors.

            The post election was muffed by Labour after 2008 and 2011. It looks to me like it is about to be again. Making it longer just makes it worse.

            • Enough is Enough

              You’ve been on the inside. I haven’t. So I won’t presume anything.
              Just make observations.

              The party can get on from today and start working towards building that election winning machine. And in my view they are getting on and doing that.

              My concern is all this bullshit caucus infighting, and the need for it to stop. If the party gives one faction any reason to whinge and cry, they will take it and the bullshit will continue.

              I can see the ABC’s causing trouble if a review that looks at, amongst other matters, leadership, is not finalised before the party votes on leadership.

              Is it not better to remove that potential cause for crying, before everyone has their say? Lets not give the caucus reasons to act like idiots.

            • Granted

              If Labour had been in a position to form a coalition, would they still have been having a leadership vote? Or is it just because of the result and Cunliffe’s resignation.

              When you see the Labour Caucus basically imploding at the moment you wonder how the same group of people will recover to win credibility with the public.

              If a public company went through this sort of issue they would likely end up in receivership.

              Is the new leader selection process proving to be a success? I wonder if it is part of the problem.???

          • BM

            I don’t think 2017 is a realistic objective.
            2020 is what labour should be aiming for.

            • One Anonymous Bloke


              Dear Leader says hubris is good for you.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Well, that tells us the time table that National have for enacting and embedding the policies that will destroy NZ.

        • dave brown

          The review by ‘independent’ people is just a ruse to shift the discussion away from the members onto focus groups.

          It should be the members who do the review.
          It will be the members and union ranks who have been pissed off by dirty politics inside and outside the Party that will draw their conclusions about why labour lost the election and vote for the best leader.

          And this internal dirty politics continues with those those who are shitting on Party democracy right now, with Robertson already using ‘dirty politics’ in the media to criticise Cunliffe’s statement about being ‘ashamed to be a man’.

          Here we have a gay man who doesn’t see how dangerous it is to rubbish Cunliffe’s statement in support of women against male violence. Would he similarly rubbish Cunliffe saying that he is ashamed to live in a society where homophobia leads to violence against gays and gay suicide?

          Then there is the self-proclaimed Right faction poster-boy Stuart Nash talking on the media despite a Party ban. Nash needs a whipping but that wont happen when the chief whip is Hipkins.

          • Enough is Enough

            What makes you say there is a ban on MPs speaking to the media?

            And do you have even a shred of evidence that Grant is using ‘dirty politics’, or has criticised Cunliffe about his man apology?

          • red blooded

            A few observations:
            1) “The review by ‘independent’ people is just a ruse to shift the discussion away from the members onto focus groups.It should be the members who do the review.”

            While members should certainly be PART of the review, and their perspectives are valuable (including those who are constantly dismissed on this site as “ABC” and so somehow innately wrongheaded) – the fact is that members already vote Labour; we are not the ones who needed convincing and failed to be convinced. Any review should certainly be conducted independently and have a strong focus on people who have voted Labour in the past, gave their electorate vote to Labour but not their Party vote, or have shifted towards Labour this time.

            2) “It will be the members and union ranks who have been pissed off by dirty politics inside and outside the Party that will draw their conclusions about why labour lost the election and vote for the best leader.”

            So the “best leader” is one who is selected only to appeal to members and union affiliates? We’d better get used to those cross benches, then

            3) “And this internal dirty politics continues with those those who are shitting on Party democracy right now, with Robertson already using ‘dirty politics’ in the media to criticise Cunliffe’s statement about being ‘ashamed to be a man’.”

            Robertson has declared his intention to stand as leader. He’s not “shitting on Party democracy” – he’s using a perfectly valid way of communicating with members. There’s nothing wrong with him speaking out in the media – it would be odd if he didn’t.

            Plus, to be frank, Cunliffe’s “ashamed” statement may (or may not) have been sincere, but it was cringe-making for those of us who saw it at a distance. I for one wanted to shout at the TV – it was so obviously going to become a stick to beat him with. There are plenty of other ways that he could have expressed his empathy and support for women who are abused by men. This was just wrong-headed. (And that’s from a woman who has always identified as a strong feminist.)

            4) “Here we have a gay man who doesn’t see how dangerous it is to rubbish Cunliffe’s statement in support of women against male violence. Would he similarly rubbish Cunliffe saying that he is ashamed to live in a society where homophobia leads to violence against gays and gay suicide?”

            Perhaps he would if instead of saying that he was appalled by the oppression and stigmatisation that gay people still live with, or the violence inflicted upon them by others because of their sexuality, or the lack of support for people struggling with these issues, he said that he was ashamed of being heterosexual! The criticism of this statement has always focused on the way it rubbished so many good men, was poorly worded (an easy sound-bite to mock him with) and to be honest the apparent lack of sincerity – not on the idea that we should give support to women in crisis.

            We are in the process of choosing our next leader. Perhaps it will be Cunliffe again, perhaps it will be Robertson. Perhaps someone else has yet to declare. We need to listen to each, consider what they say, how they say it, look at their records and try to judge their leadership qualities (including their team-building abilities). Rubbishing those we don’t agree with while lionising the one we do doesn’t help this process. We all need to reflect, and to allow others to do so, and then we all need to get behind the next leader.

            • Skinny

              More than anything Labour Heads didn’t put enough of thought and thus a ‘cautionary’ note into the final policy draft that went out to the LEC committee and members to vote on. The 2 policies that really hurt were the capital gains tax and the raising of the pension age to 67. I remember attending a policy meeting where DC was there and spoke about the newly proposed CGT, this was year ago btw. I watched the baby boomers in the room carefully, they sat bristled at the idea, but none were prepared to talk against it. So while the intention of a CGT was the right thing to do, obviously the baby boomer generation saw it as depriving them of their gains when they sell their nest egg rental. So that policy put off plenty in this bloc of voters.

              Then we look at the message being sent to the blue collar workers, that bodies are shot from years of abuse on the tools. Most are lucky to even make it to beyond 60 let alone 65 so raising it to 67 was so off putting, especially when John Key capitalises saying “he would rather resign then up the age. Many gave Labour the middle finger and tragically voted National in protest or were that disgusted snubbed voting at all.

              My point is mixed messages to the 2 main bloc’s ya trying to capture.

              As far as Leader goes DC,GR & Shearer are all out. Popular is and does as far as I’m seeing it so Jacinda Ardern is it. But first position her as deputy to Parker and make the transition midway through next year.

            • dave brown

              Redblooded you missfire on most of your points.

              1) The membership are the party, the voting public isn’t. MPs are members too, and they along with the wider members make policy, select the candidates, and elect the leader.
              They are in the best position to judge whether they got their policy wrong or failed to get it across, not focus groups, or random commentators and shock jocks.

              Those who forced a leadership contest complained that the leader was responsible for the defeat. The best way test this complaint is not to rely on an ‘independent’ body that is separate from the Party but those engaged in the party. As already pointed out on this thread, the Review is being allowed to get in the road of the democratic process.

              2) Ditto

              3) Robertson is exploiting the ‘stick to beat’ Cunliffe with for being “less than a man” and being ‘sorry’ on behalf of all men. This is misrepresenting what Cunliffe said and appealing to all those you say ‘cringed’ on behalf of all ‘good’ men and women, fearing the redneck backlash that would lose Labour votes. I will support a leader who does not fear the redneck backlash and does not self-censor his beliefs to get redneck votes.

              4) It goes without saying that if Cunliffe said he was ashamed to be a kiwi because of our homophobic culture he would be saying it as a heterosexual man. Most rednecks would probably think that is the definition of ‘kiwi’ anyway.

              That is the point here isn’t it, that the Labour Party should be campaigning against the prevailing sexist homophobic culture that perpetuates inequalities by gender and sexual orientation. Robertson is signalling that he is an opportunist prepared to court rednecks for popularity.

              I actually think that to prove you wrong, and show that Robertson should pull back from what could degenerate into a contest of who gets the most redneck votes, Cunliffe should say that as a heterosexual kiwi he is ashamed to live in a society in which homophobia is still rife. That would make it clear before any Party member mistakenly tries to exploit it, or any cynical shock jock tries to smear Cunliffe with homophobia, that he will not stoop to such dirty politics.

          • waikatosinger

            You want the members to do the review? Sure there are plenty of strong opinions to be found there. But most of those opinions were made in all of ten seconds on the basis of nothing more than gut feeling. People are just running around blaming all the usual stuff that they like to blame. A review would involve actual evidence and a more comprehensive discussion. I hope.

      • Eralc 2.1.2

        I agree, Anne. There’s always an inherent risk when structure is decided before strategy.

  3. Jenny Kirk 3

    Anne and Ennui – didn’t the last election fiasco result in a review that went nowhere ? Won’t the same thing happen again unless we get a Leader who is prepared to make the Party change what is needed to change . So I don’t think the review is relevant to the Leadership contest – and in fact, if Cunliffe becomes leader again, the review might have more meaning and recommendations made MIGHT get implemented. However I don’t see that happening if DC doesn’t become leader. The other contender/s are too wedded to the “bad old ways” !

    • Anne 3.1

      Its a rock and a hard place alright. My thinking was: the neo-liberal proponents might be held in check if the review highlights the fact – and I think it will – that the lack of unity inside the party can in large part be put down to the divisive tactics some of them have practiced since Helen Clark’s iron fist was removed.

      But you’re right lprent, the time lag is too risky. Ideally they should run alongside each other and there is sufficient feed-back to indicate where the main problems lie and that, in itself, could assist members when choosing the leader.

  4. Iron Sky 4

    God could have run for labour and still lost.

    Humm, the MSM and the tag team on RNZ of Suzie and Guy are loving kicking the carcass. The attack machine has not gone to sleep but has been reinvigorated (lesson in that labour et al, watch your backs). They are being a little ‘Tricky’ no. The right own the air waves. They have started the 2017 campaign already.

    Does the MSM/National put the same vigor into asking National if they should clean up their act? They don’t ask because 1/3 of the voting public have spoken i.e.

    Children, it’s OK to do the dirty like National

    Who has the power to control your life right now and should be under the spotlight, National maybe. The MSM et al are just little parochial no?

    Nationals GötterdÀmmerung machine can be brought down.

  5. Tom Gould 5

    It’s not the media at fault. It’s Labour at fault. But until that penny drops in certain circles, the decline will continue. The fact is the public doesn’t like the current leader and the vast bulk of them don’t see the party as the solution to their problems. Otherwise the government would have changed a week ago. The review will not change anything unless it extends beyond the comfort of the echo chamber. Those in charge of Labour these days are so committed to the notion they are fundamentally correct that the leadership and review are little more than a sloppy PR exercise.

    • Iron Sky 5.1

      Hey, Tom Gould.

      “It’s not the media at fault”

      Question: How was the perception of the National Party put together?

      Heres one answer

      They needed “independent” experts, corporates, bloggers and MSM to speak their message incessantly

      Perception is everything.

      Yours truly

      Mum & Dad investor

      • Tom Gould 5.1.1

        Wrong question. It is essentially the same media, certainly largely the same gallery pack, that saw Helen Clark and Labour win in 1999 and again in 2002 and again in 2005. So how come it’s all the media’s fault?

        • Iron Sky

          Nice point and in a small part it has merit.

          However your assuming the media had no effect at all in your comment (the Gallery is a subset of the media machine) and the context (i.e. setting) is completely different (dirty politics, Kim Dotcom).

          Tom, you give an all or nothing response, your assuming a constant media with X% right and Y% left bias. We could go into hard numbers if you want? or just go read the MSM.

          Also your making the assumption that I think its all the medias fault, not at all.

          They, however, had a huge impact. You seem to think they don’t. Contrast DC v JK responses by the media.

          From my perspective the majority of the MSM are a hell of a lot more right leaning as they need to cover up the big lie that is National.

          Pam Corky sums it up best for me:

          “puffed up little xxxx”

          or her piece in the Herald: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11331543

          The same reasonable call can be made to media bosses and the family of these egomaniacs before 2017. Puffed up little shits that they are.

          The irony here, is that I’m referencing the Herald…. you can take the piss out of me for that.

          • Tom Gould

            I guess it depends on your perspective. From the viewpoint of many in Labour the media is right wing. But this is the very issue at hand. The media may simply be reflecting the perspective of the bulk of the public. So who is out of step? The media and the bulk of the public? Or Labour? Of course many individual reporters are egotistical pseudo-celebrities who often rant crazy opinions based on little or no research and analysis of actual facts. And it is clear that the likes of Henry and Hosking are arch-Tories. But the notion that the entire apparatus of the media is some kind of right wing plot to destroy Labour cannot be sustained. Effective, astute and sophisticated media management can make a huge difference. Just ask John Key and Steven Joyce.

    • Anne 5.2

      The fact is the public doesn’t like the current leader and the vast bulk of them don’t see the party as the solution to their problems.

      The public doesn’t like the current leader because they have been bombarded day after day, week after week, month after month with subliminal negative messaging, false stories, distortions and policy misrepresentation. It’s been the result of an unholy alliance between a corrupt National government and a greedy, shallow and increasingly complicit (and corrupt in some quarters) MSM – both of whom are acting out of self preservation at all costs.

      If you haven’t read “Dirty Politics” read it. If you have, then read it again because you don’t appear to have assimilated the over-riding message!

      • Ant 5.2.1

        Yep agreed Anne, until Labour develop a comms strategy to counter that, or at the very least take some of the sting out of it, they’re toast, changing leader won’t do much.

      • greywarbler 5.2.2

        @ Anne 5.2
        the public doesn’t like the current leader because they have been bombarded day after day, week after week, month after month with subliminal negative messaging, false stories,

        And people get fragments only of reality, they might not see or hear anything other than some faux story by a suit looking directly at the camera, with a you can believe me gaze, or dominating the air waves. When that’s all the public gets, when can a different narrative, a different perception get into their minds?

        And people become habituated to celebrities and their biases and they think s/he is okay and amusing and I can see past their excesses but it’s insidious – soak your minds in it and the toxic potion will get in.

        We have so much mind stimulation going on all the time that there is not even the short time for reflection and shifting to long-term memory after the information goes through the amygdala for a moment of rational thought. There is our problem – all assesed for us by scientific study of the brain. And so how do we help people feed their brain with rational thought and learn the truth?

      • Andrea 5.2.4

        ‘What would Winston do?’

        He went walkabout. And talkabout. And met with real live people for the three long years of out of parliament. And it worked. (And so did he.)

        Whenever DC did that on this last campaign, people discovered he wasn’t the (fill in the gap) they’d been told he was.

        I liked his messages and vision. He’d be my choice, for sure. He comes over as a Level 5 leader (in Jim Collins’s ‘Good to Great’ style).

        It’s time in the political cycle to start moving away from consolidation and obsolescence, and be heading toward progress. Crank up the flywheel and build the momentum. Cast out fear.

        Left stands for progress and uplifting whether you’re worker or enterpriser or even a corporate. If you won’t even put the seeds in the ground, there’s no hope of a harvest ahead.

      • Chooky 5.2.5

        +100 Anne

    • Hanswurst 5.3

      It’s not the media at fault. It’s Labour at fault.

      At fault for what, though? The media are supposed to inform the public of political developments without fear or favour. However, they have gunned for Cunliffe and gone soft on Key; just look at the difference between the reactions to Cunliffe’s inconsequential letter from 2003 compared to how they treated Key’s daily evolving story about how he came to appoint Ian Fletcher to the GCSB role. That mode of operation is a pretty big fault from where I’m sitting, and the fact that Labour can be criticised for failing to handle that fault adroitly doesn’t stop it from being one.

      • blue leopard 5.3.1

        +1 Well said, Hanswurst

        • Chooky

          Yup …John Key and Nactional have NOT been held to account by the media

          …the media instead concentrated on attacking David Cunliffe ….and Dotcom ….and Hone Harawira …..and playing up the divisions in the Left coalition alliance parties and within Labour caucus

          ……the msm is now a BIG part of the problem..it has been dumbed down ..it has lost integrity ….and they operate like a pack of hyenas …the msm is both bought and scared …so they go for the easy targets …like school yard bullies

          • Chooky

            ‘Internet MANA the election and the media’

            By John Minto / September 29, 2014

            “I’ve been very critical of media reporting of Internet MANA during the election campaign and not surprised at the predictable response from representatives of the corporate media establishment…

            – See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/09/29/internet-mana-the-election-and-the-media/#sthash.PietUV1M.dpuf

          • blue leopard

            +1 Absolutely agree Chooky.

            One thing that I am puzzled by and would like to see an improvement in the left about, is how they deal with the media. I would like them to become way more savvy with the media and become more skillful in countering spin (rather than responding in a manner that makes the spin seem like it actually has some substance)

            I think a big ‘fail’ is in order with the way that the left chose to deal with the spin surrounding Dotcom and Dirty politics – particularly with reference to Labour – who apparently first thought that it was better to stay fairly silent on these matters and then thought it would be better to join in on the attacks on Dotcom.

            For example, I think not coming out strongly with respect to Dirty Politics caused some perception that Labour conducts such too.

            Why can’t the left strategists work out that appealing to those who will never agree with you is foolish when it will put off those who would agree with you, but end up getting put off because you were pandering to base hysteria and spin.

            Strategists need to supply a narrative that counters the spin, which is, after-all, solely based on the lowest common denominator base instincts that people react from. Provide a story to lead people out of this way of reacting.

            Stronger counter narratives are required by all left-wing parties. The Greens are the most skilful with counter-narratives, though, but even they fail sometimes.

            • Chooky

              +100 blue leopard …..to deal with the spin and black ops PR and msm bias … will require training and be an art in itself…which the Left politicians MUST acquire

              ….i think there is needed some pretty intensive professional media and psychology training to deal with these right wing attacks and get the message out

              ( that is ….once the Left Parties and the Labour Party in particular gets its shit sorted out…i always thought Labour had a branding problem but it goes deeper than this)

              • blue leopard

                +100… I don’t know why they haven’t been training in this type of skill already – pretty obvious they haven’t….or their trainers are duds…lol

  6. les 6

    Labour strategy is way wrong.They need to hire Crosby Textor or…Stephen Joyce.Keep things simple.The public cannot digest policy detail…when they hear the word tax…they react negatively.Three or 4 broad concept issues delivered consistently by a unified party is whats required.

    • Iron Sky 6.1

      Les and Tom

      I agree with you on a simple point, they have to use the same level of expertise to run
      a more successful perception campaign.

      You don’t however show the full picture by simple saying its labours fault. A little too dumbed down my friends.

      Yours truly

      Mum & Dad investor

      • les 6.1.1

        Unless you can accept it is Labours fault,there is no hope .Blaming dirty politics,the media is not constructive.Maybe Kelvin Davis in 2020.

        • Iron Sky

          Les, come on

          Eyes wide shut?

          There is the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid) i.e. keep the message to small sound bites so everyone can remember it, Your not using that.

          Your using KBS (Keep being simple) my friend. Yup, I heard the GFC was labours fault to.

          Thank god we have the National party that condones dirty politics…. just like asset sales (i.e. 1/3 of voters say its ok)

          I feel a little bit Dextorish

          Yours truly

          Mum and Dad Investor

          • Eralc

            There’s no way anyone could say the GFC is Labour’s, or anyone in NZ’s, fault. This is the first time I’ve heard that. It was global – like many other countries, NZ was just a tile in the long line of falling dominoes.

    • marie 6.2

      “Keep things simple.The public cannot digest policy detail
when they hear the word tax
they react negatively.Three or 4 broad concept issues delivered consistently by a unified party is whats required.”

      Absolutely true!

  7. BobJ 7

    A rock and a hard place for sure. The next several weeks are going to be difficult, primarily because the ‘media’ has nothing else to do, they fully expected to be spending lots of time interviewing Winston daily, interviews with DotCom and the IMP as they headed to Wellington and all manner of things, if the result had gone another way there would have been weeks of things for them to be commenting on.

    But it didn’t… the election finished on the night, National has gone quiet, IMP and the Greens are (intelligently) keeping their discussions to themselves, which leaves only the one show in town and its going to get all of the focus, probably even more so than any single event before the election, have seen more Labour MP’s in the media in the last two days on a weekend than in the last week before the election.

    Oh and the early election will exacerbate it, with a later election there is usually a few weeks to wrap it up before the likes of The Nation and Q&A close down, the nighty news shows move on to what’s the hottest present this Christmas and the reporters all head out onto the Christmas party circuit, this year there is going to be a six week vacuum just waiting to be filled.

  8. Blue 8

    I’m getting really sick of the MSM coverage and I wish they would just fuck off and chase something else for a while. They’re so boring and predictable – you don’t even have to read the articles because you know what they say already.

    You can write your own article by just choosing random combinations of the words below:

    Cunliffe – ego – shambles – drubbing – Robertson – gay – Shearer – divided – worst – responsibility – rejected – mistake – caucus – electorate – Labour – centre – leader – resigned – appeal – voters – hat – ring – defeat.

    • Puckish Rogue 8.1

      If Labour ever stopped being a collective clusterfuck then the media would move on but from the pov of the media its easy pickings

  9. framu 9

    unless the review is looking at the fact the membership want more of a say and the caucus want to run things themselves in spite of whatever the membership decide then the problems will never go away.

    and just on that media point – yes the media are little shits who had it in for cunliffe – BUT, the only things labour can do is present a united front and call the media out every single time they try and frame the debate, BUT – dont moan about the media – be blunt, point out their failings, but laugh at them and suggest that their lines are so transparent that ‘most NZers could see right through them’

    public disunity, trying to do it FPP and allowing the media to lead them round by the nose were the big failings IMO

    • GregJ 9.1

      I agree that it is pointless to moan continually about the Mainstream Corporate Media. The left needs to find ways to circumvent it and speak directly to people. It’s not going to be easy in an age of mass media though.

      Of course once the left is back in power – then it’s time for some hard looks at media power and concentration and alternatives to the present media structures.

      • Iron Sky 9.1.1


        GregJ your point on moaning. I agree they need to find away to circumvent corporate media. It is fair to articulate what is wrong, but there is come point where push comes to shove… i.e. accurate problem identification then remedial action.

        “the only things labour can do is present a united front and call the media out every single time they try and frame the debate, BUT – dont moan about the media – be blunt, point out their failings”

        I agree

        Remember how the, its Ok to be Dirty National Party (TM), closed channel 7, imaginatively changing the management structures of Maori TV, TVNZ and RNZ.

        Labour have to battle this to. It aint easy. Attack on soooooo many fronts.

        Yours truly

        Mum and Dad investor

      • Puckish Rogue 9.1.2

        then it’s time for some hard looks at media power and concentration and alternatives to the present media structures.

        – Let me guess state-funded “neutral” (but really left-wing) media outlets? To, you know, add balance

        • GregJ

          Oh – at the very minimum a strong public service broadcaster liberated from the commercial model of a State Owned Enterprise.

          But so, so much more than that – a strong independent oversight of broadcasting with powers to regulate if the industry won’t (increased involvement of the Commerce Commission in media regulation and oversight), regional TV, community/low-power radio, changes in the criteria for allocating Radio/TV spectrum, much tighter control over foreign ownership of media (coupled with, ultimately, a breaking up of the duopoly of print and radio & the monopoly in pay television).

          Then there is public access to digital content and internet, fair use vs copyright legislation over content plus a whole raft of things around structures for democratic & community access to communication and content.

  10. Michael 10

    Will the reviewers bother to ask Party members for their views or will this exercise simply consist of one bunch of insiders congratulating another bunch of insiders on their strategic and tactical brilliance that lead to another crushing defeat? I think we should told or, even better, consulted.

  11. Treetop 11

    The country wanted another National led government, the result is the evidence. Had Graig not stood, National would have done much better.

    The review has to address:
    1. Why has the Labour caucus had three leaders in three years?
    2. Why did Goff and Shearer really resign?
    3. The back stabbing and disloyalty to the leader is poison within the caucus.
    4. What was the direction of the party and why did this fail?
    5. What individual strengths and weaknesses stood out?

    • The Lone Haranguer 11.1

      They might also ask their own members:
      1) What embarrassed you most during the campaign? (ifanything)
      2) Did you volunteer and help in any way?
      3) Did you support our electorate candidates in your area?
      4) Would you proudly have a biggish Labour sticker on your car?
      5) Would you proudly have a biggish Labour sign on your fence at home?

      Those sorts of questions will tell something of the depth of commitment that Labour supporters had in the recent general election

  12. Skinny 12

    Many within Labour do the Party and themselves no favours by talking to the media. Often less is more and considering the current generation of media hacks purporting to be objective journalists they are unwittingly taking part in being attacked. Once you knock back every man and his dog being interviewed the media are forced to rethink their conduct. I would elect key media spokes people and limit which outlets get an interview.

    As an example I am an elected spokesperson to the media, I got a call from a Heard reporter last week wanting me to comment on a pleading industrial scrap (strike notice). While TV3 News was trying to blow things up quickly, I down played the notice as a warning for the company to pull their heads in, nothing more and a likely settlement would be reached shortly. I then asked the reporter what do you think the newly elected National Government will do should too much be made in the media about a much about nothing issue? I then admonished the reporter and gave the answer that by commenting to you it just plays into the governments hands with their proposed employment law changes. The reporter grudgingly replied yeah I get what ya saying. I said good thanks for understanding, and hey if it turns to crap I’ll give you the head up first and call you, they were rapt and nothing of real note to be seen the next morning.

    • Chooky 12.1

      +100…good play…Labour and the Left should ignore the shills and cultivate those in the media who are not corrupted

      in this regard i would suggest that Morning Report needs to be approached with caution or ignored (boycotted)

  13. Adrian 13

    I just heard Robertson say on radio that he would have done a better job than Cunliffe in the election.
    Two old Labour seats, New Lynn =Lab 28.44% party vote.
    Wellington Central = 23.44% pv.
    Robertson is the most narcissistic self unaware divisive problem in Labour. He couldn’t even get the party vote to match Labour overall.

    • Treetop 13.1

      Playing the man and not the ball.

      I did not watch The Nation yesterday but saw on 3 news last night that Robertson said on The Nation nine times 25% of the party vote. There were some “we” in front of this and this was an acknowledgement that it included him.

    • word 13.2

      +1 Adrian.

  14. Charles Temworth. 14

    Robertsons comments enjoying a beer and the rugby don’t strike a chord with anybody he isnt the new face of Labour hes the old face of the caucus that need s to be cleaned out.

  15. Charles Temworth. 15

    Adrian couldnt agree more with what you are posting ,he is talking BS non stop isnt going to work he is definitely not the answer ,his underhanded beltway approach is just old stale and what needs to go Now!

  16. aerobubble 16

    The Labour leadership should be given to the MP that can pour the most scorn and derision upon National, get on TV the most, bitch talk Key into the dust. Instead, they all sound like PM in waiting, like they just are going to wait until the nation is fed up with Key.

  17. dale 17

    Just maybe after six years the voters like what the government are doing. Perhaps they are sick of being told what to hate by the left. Have they ever considered that their ideas for a better future are just plain wrong and that the voters know that. The left has treated the voters with contempt for long enough.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1


      Obviously the voters far prefer being told who to hate by right wing bloggers.

  18. SeanExile 18

    Ah yet again another post who reckons the media is to blame.
    How about this, lets blame all the voters who didn’t agree with us and boycott them. Its a great idea. And while at it lets ban all papers who doesn’t agree with us and banish all journalists who happens to write the truth to Antarctica where they get to sit and read election material and pamphlets designed by Michael Foot. That should serve them, having had the audacity of actually writing something we don’t want to hear…
    Thats irony if you missed it.

    No the media isn’t to blame. Of course not. The media is doing its job. Some may not like them, some may think they should act differently, that they are unfair. Unfortunately they aren’t. They are professionals and they don’t all follow a secret agenda that is against Labour. We get the media we deserve. Always.

    And for those of you that haven’t met the media, Id say more journalists vote left than right. They aren’t exactly your Steven Joyce kind of people. More the opposite…

    • word 18.1

      @Sean. The media are most definitely to blame, they have a lot to answer for. The media are a mindless pack of pitbulls with a lynch mob mentality, and are way over the top, abusing their position of power in their one and only role, which is to push national party propaganda, and to discredit and undermine national’s opposition in any way possible.

      msm do not operate in this country’s best interests, they operate in what is the best interest of the national party.

  19. Adrian 19

    Sean exile, have you read any of Trevett or vance?. Trevett’s hate and vitriolic filled diatribes against DC are verging on pathological even committable. Certainly if anybody could be bothered to take her to court she would lose hands down.
    Henry and Hoskings are exactly the same and these are opinion makers who have been manoeuvred into positions and told their ridiculous salaries are dependent on how successful they are at destroying Labour leaders.

    • Chooky 19.1

      +100…add to that list Sean Plunket

      • ropata 19.1.1

        Lisa Owen turns nasty and vindictive over any Labour party news. Chasing DC down the hall after the election making snide remarks. Claiming that DC’s resignation speech was “putting the knife in”. She just goes psycho for no apparent reason. Is there a reason why?

        If she’s one of NZ’s “best” journos (according to TV3), that explains a lot

    • word 19.2

      Every day they breach the Journalists code of Ethics without fear, they all should be investigated and that Andrea Vance is an A grade nasty bitch, wonder how much national pay her?

  20. Marcus 20

    I disagree, I think the Labour caucus provide more than enough laughs for Trevett et al to choose from. I dont blame the MSM, I blame the Labour caucus as they feed the stories to the reporters. The disunity is bizarre the leaks are an insult to Labour supporters.

    Shearer and Ardern should lead. Who cares if Shearer isnt yet a sophisticated ‘politician’. I think that’s in his favour. He comes across as likeable and natural. He can learn to be more politician-like. Maybe his naturalness can make them look like the assholes most of them are.

    I respect Cunliffe’s performance, but there is no way the caucus will accept him back as their leader no matter what the party think.

    Robertson, Mallard, Cosgrove and the other schemers should be sent down to the bottom of the list. If the caucus keep leaking, and scheming against their leader then Labour are finished – who will still care about the Labour party. I won’t.

    • word 20.1

      David Shearer dropped himself in it during a parliamentary debate and John key revealed that he and David Shearer were having private talks without the knowledge of the Labour party. Do you remember Shearer saying he lost the confidence of caucus when he had to step aside. So why would caucus accept Shearer, who can’t speak more than 2 sentences without tripping over his words, back as leader?

      Even then David Cunliffe is still a far better alternative, and he does have the experience of the last year behind him to draw on.

      David Shearer’s role in all of this, was to get the ball rolling for his mate Grant Robertson, who has shown he is in it for himself. Robertson wasn’t prepared to lend a hand in unifying the party under another leader was he? and him and Shearer wasted no time in putting the boot in straight after the election. Shame on them.

      Jacinda Ardern? She is far from ready.

  21. Adrian 21

    Cunliffe hesitated for a microsecond while trying to work out Key’s deliberate lie and was crucified. Shearer spends minutes prevaricating. Go with the bloke who has been through the furnace.
    It has occurred to me that leadingLabour is like having to open the batting in a test match against Lillee , Thommo , Garner and Croft etc. If you don’t get one in the head the next will get you in the nuts, and you can’t keep dropping players because only the experienced will eventually survive.

  22. Marcus 22

    I prefer Cunliffe too but since caucus is set against him whats the point

    • word 22.1

      @Marcus, thats no reason to give up. And there are the affiliates AND the membership that take an active part in choosing the leadership as well. I too prefer David Cunliffe.

    • Hanswurst 22.2

      Let caucus worry about itself. The membership and affiliates don’t know exactly what goes on behind closed doors in caucus meetings, so there’s no reason for them to take speculation about it into account when voting for the leader. It’s also worth taking into account that Shearer or Robertson, should they win, will also have a fair chunk of the caucus to contend with who would have preferred Cunliffe or somebody else. Voting somebody other than Cunliffe is not guaranteed to be a vote for more effective unity. People who like Cuniffe as leader should vote for him; lies, leaks and speculation be damned.

  23. KJT 23

    What exactly would Robertson have done differently from Cunliffe, in the last 11 months, which would have lifted Labour’s vote?

    I am old enough to remember all the vitriol in the media, and elsewhere, against Helen Clark. Right from the first day she was up for selection.

    She stuck by her guns, and eventually they won.

    Doing a superb job.
    Unfortunately even as Prime Minister she was not able to achieve all of her goals when she was first selected, due too all the opposing forces..
    Big business “holding the country to ransom” in the “winter of discontent” for one.

    • Draco T Bastard 23.1

      Big business “holding the country to ransom” in the “winter of discontent” for one.

      We’ve really got to stop businesses trying that. I suggest that we treat it as an act of war against NZ and when they try it we instantly nationalise them.

    • Hanswurst 23.2

      Absolutely. At times in the early days of Clark’s leadership, it was easy as a Labour supporter to be demoralised by the impression from the media that Clark was the most reviled politician in the country and that Labour would never govern again. The Alliance were sometimes snapping at their heels in the polls and there were the beginnings of a narrative that Labour might be a spent force. Clark’s leadership was challenged by her caucus in the open, not just with cloaks and daggers, as is the case with Cunliffe’s now – yet Clark went on to serve as PM for three terms.

      Cunliffe has a very real fight on his hands, to be sure, but any suggestion that he is losing it significantly at this stage is seriously premature. That’s just what people like Trevett, Watkins, Armstrong and Key want you to think.

  24. Jay 24

    Seanexile is quite right. Any time the party we support is criticised we feel the reporter is biased. In my opinion, while some of them claim they have a duty to report “the truth”, I think it’s actually about publishing the most scandalous or interesting story. If the Herald suddenly decided to stop covering the fascinating labour party situation, everyone would just switch to another outlet. Honestly, you might not like what you’re reading, but you’re still reading it right? If you believe the main reason labour lost was a biased media then you might as well throw in the towel now cause the media won’t be changing one bit.

    • ropata 24.1

      And that’s how dirty politics wins. But not all the media operates that way, and this term will probably be a slow death for Key and cronies as they drip feed more evidence of cheating, lying, manipulation and cover-ups from the natty pinstriped wankers party.

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