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Labour where art thou?

Written By: - Date published: 11:59 am, October 20th, 2009 - 45 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

I’m not going to repeat the list of all the things that are starting to make people angry and scared or catalogue the broken promises (privatising ACC fast approaching in National’s first term) or go over in fine detail the fact that National are anything but Labour lite. I just to know where the hell is Labour? Where’s Phil Goff’s leadership here? C’mon guys. If you can’t find ammo for opposition, if you can’t take control of the reigns in this environment, with protests and street marches, and crap coalition management and the media finally biting into National, when will you?

I know Phil’s got it in him. I’ve seen him in action and he’s impressed me but it feels like Labour’s gone to ground because of the polls. The poll results are to be expected less than a year out from an election – and an election where Labour got decicively whupped by an incredibly popular National leader – but to get ahead, Labour’s got to get out there. We know Helen Clark’s star started to spiral earthwards when she got defensive and lost touch with her base. Let’s learn from our own history.

Labour, turn your attention to your people who are being screwed by National’s cuts in services and hikes in cost.

Get angy about it.

And then let us know that you are. When you do that, we’ll be there right behind you.

45 comments on “Labour where art thou?”

  1. roger nome 1

    It will be interesting to see who can set the agenda re the mmp referendum. No doubt NACT will come out with a question like:

    “Would you prefer an electoral system which requires more of your tax dollars going to pay mp’s salaries, or less”

    If Goff and co remain limp wristed on this issue it will be an outrage.

    • IrishBill 1.1

      Too late, he’s already welcomed the referendum. They’ll be scared shitless of being framed as anti-democratic. Another day another wasted opposition opportunity.

      • Lew 1.1.1

        If they didn’t welcome the referendum, they would be branded anti-democratic, and they would hand the Nats electoral reform on a platter. The only way they can come away looking good is to say ‘bring it on’ and campaign hard for a proportional, representative system which doesn’t subjugate minority voices and concerns.

        Unfortunately, given its current tendency to attack those minority voices whenever they stray outside the traditional Labour ouevre, Labour isn’t really behaving like an MMP party.


  2. vidiot 2

    Best summed up as Phil Goffstrich. Head in the sand, oblivious to what’s going on around.

    Yes there are issues that Phil could be soap boxing on, but he isn’t, he’s awol and that isn’t helping Labour one iota.

    Phil doesn’t have a midas touch, he’s more like a plumber from Paeroa – every things turning to shit and he’s left his tools at home.

    • Bill 3.1

      Rumour has it that it was indeed the labour old guard removed all the counterweights from the sash windows in this part of town.

    • Ianmac 3.2

      Hey Lew! Don’tcha know that apathy is much more comfortable? But maybe if enough of “them” Got as Mad As Hell, perhaps then I will lift up mine window and shout “I’m as MAD as……………..”

    • indiana 3.3

      The people were mad as hell in Nov 2008 and did something about….

  3. I am not sure that this criticism is fair. Labour is struggling to get exposure but this is because the phone is still off the hook and most of the electorate are still ignoring them.

    They could be sharper and more focussed and the messaging could be simpler.

    But we are living in a world where the MSN still focuses on the banal and the idiotic and I do not think that Labour can be held responsible for this …

    • Daveo 4.1

      Why is the phone off the hook?

      Because “They could be sharper and more focussed and the messaging could be simpler.”

      Labour can’t keep blaming the media forever. At some point they have to step back and take a long hard look at themselves.

  4. vidiot 5

    This what’s wrong with Labour:


    You want people to be employed (and not unemployed), yet you wont let the company employ more staff on different terms to yours.

    This is 2009, not 1953. I would have thought Andrew would have appreciated getting $xxx per annum in union subscriptions from these new workers vs putting his existing members jobs @ risk.

    • Daveo 5.1

      Um, in case you haven’t noticed it’s not the Labour Party on strike, it’s a group of EPMU members who have democratically elected to take action.

      I fail to see what your problem is with this strike. The company wants to cut terms and conditions for new workers in the collective. Workers at the company rightly see this as a threat to their own terms and conditions and to the integrity of the collective agreement so they’re taking strike action to stop it.

      Is your alternative for the workers to simply kneel down and accept every cut to terms and conditions that employers demand? At what point do you stop? Just think about it for a second.

      There’s also no suggestion that any jobs are at risk. Employers are just using the recession to try it on. Workers, through their collective strength, are standing up for themselves.

      The question is why you immediately jump to the defence of the employer here, even inventing stories about job losses without knowing the facts.

  5. Evidence-Based Practice 6

    Phil Goff addressed the ACC protesters yesterday at parliament and got a good response.

  6. Tammy Gordon 7

    I’m glad to hear it EBP. And I get that the media’s not going to give them an easy run. But that’s why they’re going to have to think hard about how else to get exposure and to ‘reconnect’ with people. If getting into the MSM isn’t working for them, then they have to come up with other ways of doing things. And to make sure that we know what they’re doing and why and how we can get involved too if we want to.

    • HitchensFan 7.1

      nice post Tammy. I so agree. We need to see some passion in opposition from Labour. If they do that at the moment my pick is NZ will get in behind them. Despite the polls, there is a swelling tide of discontent out there…

  7. Adrian 8

    One message ” The National Government doesn’t care about you” repeat ad infinitum.

  8. SHG 9

    Helen Clark’s star started to spiral earthwards

    This would be the Helen Clark who is polling nearly twice as popular in “preferred leader” as Goff, right?

  9. BLiP 10

    Its hard to fight to good fight when the most likely beneficiary won’t lift a finger. Consider what happened the last time John Key was caught out in another blatant lie – Labour does nothing. Surely they could have got a headline or two out of that – but, nah . . . nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. The big duck’s egg.

    Why? Well according to Mallard:

    In normal circumstances I would refer the matter to the Speaker but he has now repeatedly ruled that Minister’s obligation to tell the truth finishes with their primary answer and does not apply to supplementary answers.

    Surely, let the record show that on each and every occasion the Prime Minister lies to the House that the Opposition took action regardless. This non-response from Labour amounts to permission to lie.

    Can you imagine the foaming at the mouth fury of the MSM if it had been Helen who deliberately and without cause lied about a government department?

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      Exactly what I told mallard on his post. He’s letting the nation down by not taking these lies to the speaker.

  10. Tammy Gordon 11

    Yep SHG that’s her, elected out with 33.9%. Fickleness in politics is par for the course. That’s why Goff should ignore the polls and concentrate on people.

  11. gingercrush 12

    The Standard is a pleasing read today. He also needs to get himself involved in soft media. I do love how Mickey is seemingly unwilling to criticise the party he supports. If the media aren’t giving you exposure and the electorate arent listening. You simply have to try harder. Its that simple. This Goff’s one and only chance to be Prime Minister. To say that the honeymoon is why his poll ratings are going down is pretty stupid.

    Goff needs to get the agenda going. They Labour need to appear positive and not be so negative. I don’t think negativity works with newer governments. Hence, you can’t do what National did from Brash onwards simply because Brash was a leader when Helen Clark already had a term under her belt was well into her second. Goff didn’t help himself when he simply disappeared after the Labour conference. They Labour got very good positive coverage and I don’t think Labour capitalised on that.

    We’re now heading towards November. So he has about a month to get some exposure. Once we hit December, parliament shuts down and politics is a rarity in the media. When we get back into February/March Labour really needs to have lift their game.

    • BLiP 12.1

      Nah. Brash stuffed it up all by himself.

    • Ianmac 12.2

      Good comment Ginge.
      The issues which engage us here may not be of the slightest interest to the general public. The things that did seem to resonate last year were little bits of sometimes big issues. Light bulbs? Showers? Violence? To many the complications of ACC or Global Warming are too hard to find little bits to hang them on. What can Labour do? Be passionate? Keep on plugging away really because the uncaring people are more concerned about jobs and Christmas and are just not that interested in politics. For now. The current Nact can only get better at management and if the bad bits floating around at the moment don’t hurt them, I do not expect anything will – for a while.

    • GFraser 12.3

      Trouble is GC that no matter what Labour do our media is going to run them down.
      Example tonight from Tory3 news, there was a piece regarding the Government receiving support from an unexpected quarter over thier ACC amendments. Now silly old me thought it would be Labour they were on about, WRONG it was the Maori Party.
      Correct me if i’m wrong but I am sure Labour offered support about three hours before the MP came in. But no mention on Tory3 news about Labours initiative.
      So no wonder people like Mickey get worked up about the often unfair treatment Labour receives from the MSM.
      Hell the Nats have it easy, if Labour had tried some of thier tricks the squealing from our media would loud and long.
      See how clever Key would look if he received the treatment Goff receives, we have such a gutless press corp.

      • mike 12.3.1

        Good grief – you know things are really bad when the the media get the blame for a parties sad demise.

        “But no mention on Tory3 news about Labours initiative”
        Are you serious? the ‘initiative’ was to do nothing at all. No wonder the public are turning off labour even more – they see the nats at least trying to deal with the issues instead of brushing them under the carpet like helen and co

    • Goff had a really good Labour Party conference and then went to the US for various talks. He did not make the Letterman Show, nor did he get the chance to talk to the UN. This happens when you are opposition leader.

      I bet that he spent every minute that he was awake of every day trying to improve things for NZ and he got absolutely no coverage from the media for it.

      And we then brand him a failure because he did not appear on the Letterman Show or bare his bum or get arrested for something so that he could make the news headlines.

      So successful pollies are those that attract the superficial and transient attention of the MSM and the serious hardworking sorts are failures.

      I really think we need to rethink this.

      • gobsmacked 12.4.1

        Yes, today was a classic example.

        Goff wrote a letter to John Key about ACC.

        Key lied about the letter, in Parliament this afternoon.

        Goff pointed out that Key had misled Parliament, and promptly produced the letter as evidence.

        Slam dunk. Fact versus fiction. With all the evidence instantly and effortlessly available to journalists: the Hansard, the letter, the media releases.

        So, did the media report that the Prime Minister had lied – yet again? No.

        And that’s Phil Goff’s fault?

        • mickysavage

          Key needs to be pinged. He is like Winston Peters but with a smile.

          He has been telling porkies for a while.

          I thought Labour has done well with its attacks. Worth, Lee, Smith, so far it ha worked. They should think about Key next.

          He is incompetent. Helen would have been so embarassed if she made the same mistakes he did.

          • mike

            “They should think about Key next”

            Yeah mick the whole election campaign based on attacking Key worked a treat with the public didn’t it.
            Why are you lefties such aggressive sods hell bent ‘attacking’ anyone that doesn’t agree with your fucked up view of the world?

            • mickysavage

              Actually Mike

              It is because he has a really important job and he is totally incompetent.

              He could do a great deal of damage to my country and I am really afraid.

              I think that he should be replaced by someone with some understanding and empathy.

              Phil will do fine.

            • lprent

              Ummm – it seems to me that we are merely following your good example… Perhaps we should resurrect some of your statements from last year.

  12. mike 13

    Please don’t ask Phil to get angry – I cringe when he gets that little bit of foam in the corner of his mouth as he rages out of control…

  13. Mental Mickey 14

    Just to be a pedant (and finally put my Bursary English to use),

    “Where for art though” actually asks *why*.

    In Romeo and Juliet, Juliet is asking herself why Romeo has to be a Montague, not where he is.

    C’mon guys; don’t tell us the Baz Luhrmann film is the only Shakespeare you’ve seen.

    • Amity 14.1

      But if it was in actual *reality* Romeo would be- YOU GUESSED IT- A total fuckwit.


      The days of the old, are well and ‘truly’ over.

      • BLiP 14.1.1

        The question is: are you in actual reality?

        • Amity

          Whatever ‘reality’ is? Can you define ‘reality’? I bet you can’t.
          What is ‘reality’ really? Is it what our 5 senses tell us, or is it more?
          And does it really matter to most, because I doubt many would understand?
          Anyway a mere ‘boy’ doesn’t really matter, does it? I doubt it dents my perception of ‘reality’……or hinders my understanding.

  14. Amity 15

    And the ‘reality’ that exists as a ”co-reality”. Yes I’m SURE I am right wouldn’t you agree? Like it isn’t as if Romeo is seriously up to scratch?

  15. tc 16

    Rule 1: Keep the message simple and repeat repeat repeat
    Rule 2: All opposition follow rule 1.
    Rule 3: Shake the former high flying cabinet memebers out of their lethargy to get out there and do Rule 1……yes that means you A. King !
    Rule 4: Never miss an opportunity to use Rule 1.

    When the ACC blowout was put out there I thought Labor were far too quiet when now they could be nagging MSM with simple messages about the porkys etc.

    People who decide gov’ts can’t get to grips with complexity………keep it simple/repeat ad nauseum…..did wonders for JK in 08.

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