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Lessons for Labour?

Written By: - Date published: 8:39 am, October 16th, 2010 - 52 comments
Categories: election 2011, labour, len brown, local body elections, phil goff - Tags:

As the dust settles on the local body elections, what are the lessons for Labour?

Especially, of course, “the big one” in Auckland. Len Brown, a “Labour Mayor from South Auckland”, beat Key’s anointed candidate for the right. What lessons can Labour take away? How does this shape the 2011 election campaign?

52 comments on “Lessons for Labour?”

  1. just saying 1

    Promote Young Blood

  2. ianmac 2

    Bt getting organised on the ground helped a lot. Unfortunately Nact will also learn the same lesson and Act accordingly.

    • toad 2.1

      National, yes, but I don’t think ACT could organise a piss-up in a brewery before the next election – they’re too busy fighting each other.

      • Armchair Critic 2.1.1

        True. They would never get past Step 1 – “Agree which brewery to hold the piss-up at”.

  3. salsy 3

    They need to hoover up votes where they can – not fiddle around with contentious issues like this Time to talk republic, says Labour president

    • prism 3.1

      Yes a move to a republic and the controversy and the media coverage endlessly on would detract from Labour appearing to have anything to offer in real, useful policies. It would seem as if Labour had put the idea forward to create a side show, and it would.

      We have to concentrate on MMP and what is going to happen about that. For goodness sake Labour stay on task. Now you are actually talking about having policies get on and develop and study them well and then sell the advantages to the public not fart about with your favourite hobby horse – even if republicanism was introduced I cannot see that it would solve any of our problems, but increase them in different ways.

      • ghostwhowalksnz 3.1.1

        And being relentlessly on message, so the voters assume you are a robot and the media assume even worse, and say it,has worked where ?

    • We are fast heading for a republic, but a very small ones, electorate size at best. Walking foraging communities will be the norm, ‘international’ will be a word lost from the lexicon.

      Another poem from Murray

      Well all my life I’ve waited and waited patiently
      for an honest politician or two or three maybe
      someone to spur my faith in men and women who might lead
      some bright and honest leader not consumed by power and greed

      I’ve waited nearly 50 years and watched you all go by
      from left and right and center I’ve seen you have a try
      I’ve heard you all, your ways and means, I’ve even followed polls
      I’ve sometimes even had a vote and joined electoral rolls

      but mostly I’ve grown sick and tired of waiting for my vote
      there’s never seemed to be a point and so this poem I wrote
      it’s written to you leaders, you lot who seek to lead
      who take our hard earned money and let the country bleed

      you think you have a mandate to choose the way we go
      you even think you have the right to judge what we should know
      you all assume you’re smarter and know the ins and outs
      the ropes of legislation – cause we’re all dumb-ass louts

      and so with little more at all than just ideals and whim
      we’re very soon committed – and all must sink or swim
      you’re led around by snout and ear by lobbyists with cash
      and wined and dined like royalty and dressed to cut a dash

      you stand in pomp and circumstance delivering address
      while all your social policy becomes a stinking mess
      I’ve met so many leaders and members prom-in-ent
      and listened to them speak their case, considered their intent

      but not a one, not ever, has piqued my confidence
      nor even ever made me think that they are ought but dense
      how many of you have a clue as much as even me?
      I know that I am better schooled than you will ever be

      and yet you think to lead us, to be our heart and soul
      but none of you have any clue what should be now our goal
      the peak in productivity of oil and gas has come
      and very soon a world of shit is what it will become

      I used to think the Greens maybe would lead us through the mess
      but no, Jeanette Fitzsimmons even seems to not care less
      for other things important are playing on her mind
      and winning seats in parliament is all her work you’ll find

      and that’s the crux, the problem of our democracy
      it’s geared to periods too short or so it seems to me
      before you’ve had a chance to forge some hope that we might win
      again the time as come to vote and change the shit we’re in

      but that is all you ever do you leaders at the top
      and I forever wonder when this mess will ever stop
      I watch my kids and grandkids grow and all the time I think
      that maybe they will perish soon in all your mess and stink

      I beg you now to stand up tall and start to make a change
      to fight for true democracy that seems to you so strange
      democracy is not at all a case of win and rule
      democracy means citizens – a massive voting pool

      where every single law you make is argued by us all
      not argued just between you dolts then forced upon us all
      come greens and Limbaugh lovers come independents too
      come lefties too I beg you there’s much for you to do

      start looking out beyond just now and educate us all
      and seek to make this country one where we can all stand tall
      try looking now at Sweden where they all know what comes
      and guide us with a loving heart and please stop being bums

      the future will be horrible we educated know
      and now we want our leaders too to know the way to go
      try speaking out more bravely, try speaking out at all
      try giving up your party goals and save us from the fall

      for Olduvai is coming (go google that and read)
      the peak of oil will cause a crash so bad that we will need
      a nation geared to live it through a people bold and brave
      and so my good and noble readers here I end my rave

  4. Armchair Critic 4

    1. Admit your mistakes
    2. Articulate your vision
    3. Don’t try to be National-lite

  5. marsman 5

    Soundbites,soundbites,soundbites.

  6. marsman 6

    They need to use soundbites.

  7. burt 7

    Never again sell the country and the party out to further the best interests of the self serving leader.

  8. r0b 8

    Here’s a couple of mine.

    Simple and practical: hire Conor Roberts.

    Big picture: run a positive, inclusive campaign. Brown’s “A mayor for all of Auckland” worked well. How about “A government for all of New Zealand”? Or build on the “many not the few” idea. Offer a vision. Offer thorough, realistic, effective policy. Offer a clear alternative.

    It should all start this weekend at conference. I’m not there, but I’ll be interested to see what comes out if it…

    • Draco T Bastard 8.2

      Here you go rob.

      • Bill 8.2.1

        Or then again. Lets have a pile of CERRA type initiatives ’cause all that consultation and participation…fuck, it’s messy.

        And what’s with the Blogstorm? That meant to be stealing potential fire from the Greens was it? Blogstormin Norman and his…well, flag.

        • Draco T Bastard 8.2.1.1

          Labour has had quite a bit of consultation going on over the last few months. Still pissed with the CERRA though – that should have gone through unanimously.

    • Anne 8.3

      It’s started r0b.

      Saw Chris Trotter dancing a jig with excitement! No, I tell a lie but you get the gist…

      • Jim MacDonald 8.3.1

        You around too? I am attending as an observer. For you, Anne, I’d lift my anonymity.
        Would like to meet if … hmm … there is a way to achieve that.

        • Anne 8.3.1.1

          @ Jim MacDonald.
          Sorry Jim. Didn’t see your message until late today – well after conference was over. Sure you’ll agree it was a very good one. I was impressed with the John Hattie and Bernard Hickey work-shops. Still the detail to go, but I think both will be more than happy to hear the future Labour policy directions outlined by Annette King and Phil Goff in their speeches.

  9. ianmac 9

    When Phil does get a chance to appear on MSM he must be more concise. Soundbites not long winded explanations. His response to questions about Chris Carter should have been “Chris Carter is no longer a member of the Labour Party so he is now irrelevant. ” No need to explain.

  10. Anthony C 10

    South Auckland is parochial and generally likes it Mayors (as opposed to just tolerating them like central Auckland). The lesson that they could learn is while everyone else seems to think South Auckland is all crime and abject poverty, for a lot of residents it is home and they are staunchly pro-South Auckland, there are very strong communities there.

    Don’t rely on this vote necessarily being ‘Left’, Manukau Mayors have always been really visible in the community and it is appreciated, same with MP’s like George Hawkins – they do the leg work.

  11. gobsmacked 11

    Pretty much everybody outside the Labour caucus has been telling them what to do for months: focus on core policies, affecting people’s real lives:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/waikato-times/news/4240073/Increase-in-GST-a-rip-off/

    Finally, the Labour MPs may have started to understand. Some (Mallard, Hodgson) are addicted to insider politics, and are probably a lost cause, but let’s hope the campaign leaders have a better grasp of what the voters are interested in.

    The single biggest problem is that if Labour lose, but still retain 30% plus, all the Labour MPs keep their jobs. That’s why they are so bloody half-hearted about winning the election. Labour supporters need them to win, but Labour MPs really don’t.

    Whereas Len Brown and his team knew it was a stark choice: victory or unemployment. That was the difference. That gives you energy and focus.

    So the lesson for Labour is: cut all the MPs salaries in half, until they hit 40% in the polls. That’ll wake them up.

    • Red Rosa 11.1

      Too true.

      Mind you, they could actually start to act like an Opposition, and ask the questions the Coastal Coalition are asking on the F&S Act. Serious money, and serious constitutional issues, at stake.

      Someone is getting double crossed on this one. It may be the Maori Party, or it could be the rest of NZ. The average voter can only guess. Labour should just stick with its own legislation, and run these questions until they get some straight answers.

      http://www.nzcpr.com/CoastalCoalition.htm

      • millsy 11.1.1

        Yes. Its a sad day when a bunch of ACT members and their supporters have to promote what should be a core Left/Labour issue: universal access to the outdoor receration estate ie beaches regardless of class, creed, colour or whatever, whether it be for a DPB mother or a filthy rich childless lawyer.

      • gobsmacked 11.1.2

        Coastal Coalition? No thanks. Let ACT play with this one.

  12. BLiP 12

    Labour should learn *all* its lessons going back to the 1984 “experiment”. And, if 20,000 people take to the streets asking for GE food to be labeled, the just bloody do it, would ya?

  13. Brokenback 13

    Expel Annette King .

    • millsy 13.1

      Speaking of which:

      Labour Focuses on Children

      The devil will defintely be in the details here. Probably should start with a huge overhaul of ECE, perhaps nationalising it, (but having a Tomorrow’s Schools style governance structure with BOT’s, etc), and running it along the lines of kindergartens (I was a kindy kid, and apart from the skinned knees, it was pretty good, day care centers look too much like baby farms to me).

      I probably would also look at altering the school hours too to reflect the fact that a lot of parents work now. One lady at my workplace who is contantly making after school arrangements for her children, would proabably have a lot less pressure off her if her kids school was given the resources to stay open so her kids could stay an extra few hours until she could come to pick them up.

  14. Thomas Forrow 14

    It seems Labour has already conceded 2011. but is looking great for 2014 when all the old crusties are put out to pasture and the new fresh faces take over. We only have to look at place like Sweden and the UK where it is strongly shown that people won’t vote for all those tired old faces, and the left has suffered accordingly.
    But this has left the Greens in a really strong position ,The Greens are almost through this regeneration process and there are some amazing candidates putting themselves forward for the 2011 pool and are well placed to to make significant inroads in to Labours and Nationals Support. . The Greens challenge is to look like an independent third Party that could work with anyone. without compromising their principles. The Party is obviously very energised and positive following the Celia victory in Wellington. and this is being reflected from the feedback we are hearing on the ground in Mana
    BTW If any one want to donate to the campaign in Mana this would be a good place

    • BLiP 14.1

      The Greens challenge is to look like an independent third Party that could work with anyone. without compromising their principles.

      Alas, we have recently learned that as far as the parliamentary wing is concerned, “principles” come down to “what will the media think?”. As for working with any party, I see that John Key recently said he works well with the Greens but, seriously, are the environmental predations of this government’s actions to date really something the Greens want to share responsibility for? Is lending the good name of the Greens to National Ltd™ not just a greenwash?

      This idea that the Greens are neither left nor right but somehow above it all is naive and alien to the party’s social policies. If its going to be *only* about the environment then, sure, snuggle up to National Ltd™ in the vain hope of some crumbs but be honest about it. Unless, of course, the Greens are happy to also be associated with National Ltd™’s ideas about social justice?

      • Thomas Forrow 14.1.1

        I have no problems with the Greens working with National on some specifics.
        I do have a problem with Labour automatically assuming that we would be their coalition partner and also get the aforementioned crumbs.
        I am no fan of National but if they were to offer a couple of juicy Ministries it would be plain wrong for the Greens not to talk to them. particularly as we pride ourselves on consensus politics
        I think we would be naive not to explore all possibilities to be honest.

        • petulantpacifist 14.1.1.1

          I agree, Thomas. At the moment, Labour seems only willing to allow the Greens to have policy gains in areas Labour agrees with, whereas National seem willing to compromise with an MOU, where National committed to Green policy National don’t usually agree with (I.e. Green New Deal). That, along with what we’ve seen between National and the Maori party, where National have supported policies that really benefit Maori, suggests that the Greens should go with National if their priority is making real policy gains.

  15. Create new climate, environment and conservation policy – this is one very weak area for national – as the anti mining march down queen street showed.

    Brownlee is a weak point with National, find other weak points and exploit them.

    • Lazy Susan 15.1

      English is another weak point. Cunliffe can wipe the floor with double dip and the economy\’s going to be a big issue in 2011.

      • Lats 15.1.1

        And even though Mallard can be a bit agricultural at times, I’d still expect Tolley to be no match for him. She doesn’t seem to be handling education all that well.

  16. tea 16

    Get someone sincere, passionate, resolute, qualified and not too up themselves and put them front and centre, and tell everyone else to fuck off.

    That seems like the lesson from this one…

  17. tea 17

    I think the National campaign against labour showed you don’t go for the weak points, you go for the strong points and twist how the public views them.

    IE Clarks hardwork and command of her job becomes: nanny state, Helengrad and ssssh! (she’s childless!)

    Len Brown didn’t really need to do that though…

  18. M 18

    Perhaps Labour needs to look at Scandinavian nations for some new (old Labour) ideas like unemployment being regarded as a national scourge. I had a friend who emigrated to Sweden and she told me that if a person were out of work the government would find that person a job with the proviso that said person relocated if necessary.

    I think Labour needs to gird its loins and say they support:

    *Full employment with attention to apprenticeships

    *Increase the public housing stock to rid society of rapacious landlords who charge exorbitant rents because they know they are being subsidised by the accommodation supplement and retain the 25% cap of a person’s income as rent being due for public housing

    *Free basic health and dental care for all not just school-aged children

    *Free education to secondary level – sorry but there’s not enough money for every bin man or telco people to be quoting Shakespeare. Anyway with peak oil all the soft degrees like economics, political science, arts degrees and the like will fall by the wayside pretty quickly. Economists are really the modern day equivalent of Roman chicken entrails inspectors.

    *Progressive taxation as the wealthier generally consume more resources than the rest of society – that’s why there are so many white collar dudes that are soft, overweight puddings with hypertension, diabetes and morbid obesity. If they didn’t have so much money to overindulge they wouldn’t be so sick in the first place. And no, I don’t hate overweight and out of shape people – be fat if you want to be but don’t expect the tax payer to pick up the tab when you don’t pay your fair share in tax.

    *Massive subsidization of public transport and the rule that everything that can go by sea or rail promulgated – unemployed, environment destroying truck drivers can be redeployed on the rail or sea network. People need to be shown that owning a car is an unnecessary and indeed crazy.

    *Peak oil to be put on the table immediately and an inculcation of a wartime mentality about energy use throughout the domestic, industrial and retail sectors. All children in schools to be educated about the hard futures they will experience and why energy conservation will be so important

    *Get rid of waste in the health sector – instead of massive amounts of waste being generated everyday from disposable supplies thrown out mandate that autoclaving come back and that hypodermic needles are re-used after being soaked in alcohol baths etc

    *Humane population reduction. Some areas for consideration being not prolonging a person’s life with ridiculous intervention – at both ends of the life cycle, for example a pacemaker being fitted to a 95 year old will not be considered and if a child is born at 23 weeks with massive problems then it may be that nature will have to take its course as there won’t be any fat in the system for all the extra treatment or therapy this person will need.
    With the economy only likely to get ever worse people may only have one child or none at all.

    *Short selling and naked short selling on the stock market outlawed as it is in China – you try that kind of stuff there and you eat a bullet. Government to beef up fraud investigation into this area as well as insider trading with real prison time for offenders as they aren’t really any better than murderers. People in the finance/stock market area have been allowed to rook people for everything they own and have got away with financial murder.

    Just a few ideas.

  19. grumpy 19

    Be like Len Brown, at every opportunity deny any links with Labour and keep on saying” “I’m not Labour – I’m an Independent”

  20. re Upcoming shadow cabinet reshuffle,
    Get David Parker doing some work on climate change or conservation again, (decide who is conservation minister, labour only has an acting one at the moment) have an associate Climate minister (greens have several climate spokespeople, and national has two), and do some work on energy re 90% renewable energy target – link that into Labour’s climate strategy, set 2020 and 2050 emissions cuts targets, and involve trade unions on climate policy. Bring peak oil into the energy strategy, which would likely mean promoting and funding public transport and working more on domestic biofuels.

    Also re reshuffle put more new people into portfolios. Have talks with maori party and greens to see where policy is similar, and identify main areas of difference. Once policy work is done, its campaign time.

    I think the green wellington and new auckland mayor’s partially won on their transport policies. What do you want Labour’s main messages to be next year? Work on messaging.

  21. Zaphod Beeblebrox 21

    Get rid of Mallard, King, Cosgrove, Horomia and Hodgson. They are too interested in petty point scoring and they reek of Wellington insider smugness. Voters hate that. Lets see more of Ardern, Sepuloni, Twyford, Curran and Andrew Little.

    If they don’t they will lose a whole generation of voters to the Greens. Have a look at what happened in the Aussie election. Its no good waiting until after 2014 if they all get back in.

    • Carol 21.1

      Yes, I think Little should be front and centre articulating some key Labour messages from now on. He came across really well in the snippets of him on the news last night. He can’t be PM for a while, but he is clear, concise and comes across as decisive, likeable and is a stirring speaker.

      I’m not a great Goff fan, but not sure who could replace him now. King, Cosgrove and Mallard, are still good politicians, make some good points and are streaks ahead of most of the Nats. Labour needs to balance the experienced MPs with the fresh new faces. Maybe others should be promoted more rather than focusing totally on Goff and King. Promote Labour as a team with a lot of new blood and fresh thinking.

      • The Voice of Reason 21.1.1

        I certainly wouldn’t right off Mallard and Cosgrove either. Both have a constituency of sorts and Clayton holds a seat that should really be Tory heartland. However, I think a shadow cabinet re-shuffle next year to bring forward the likes of Ardern, Hipkins and Hughes would be a useful step.

        But, it’s policies that will win the next election. Let’s promote them first and foremost.

  22. jarbury 22

    Pretty simple:

    Say you’ll fund Len Brown’s rail projects.

    • felix 22.1

      Yep, and Celia Wade-Brown’s. The voters have sent a clear message about transport in Ak and Wgtn and Labour would be bloody stupid to ignore it.

  23. Make funding trains a union and job issue too, people in Dunedin want their city making trains. Trains are also a climate issue, and link it into peak oil. So make it part of central policy.

    I agree re bringing forward Ardern, Hipkins and Hughes and also the suggestion of leading roles for Ardern, Sepuloni, Twyford, Curran and Andrew Little. Tho I would also add Chavel and Parker and one or two others. Everyone knows that Cuniliff is there if its time for Goff to go, which would likely mean a new co leader too, perhaps Parker?.

    • Steve 23.1

      Petrol is $1.84 / litre despite the NZ$ being high…and has gone up several times in the past few weeks. Last time it went over $2 / litre, the public transport system in Auckland came under serious strain…..and National is building roads. They are a blind party voted for by blind people.

  24. Steve 24

    The BIG lesson from the Auckland local body elections was that most people wasted their time bothering to vote and First Past the Post is to blame. Of all votes returns in wider Auckland 62.5% elected no one. The twenty people on the new Auckland council – collectively -received 37.5% of the total vote. Almost two thirds of all voters didn’t vote for ANY of them. 15 of the 20 Councilors were elected with less than 40% of the vote. 13 of the 20 Councilors were elected with less than 30% of vote. In Albany Ward, 80.85% of all votes cast elected no one: Michael Goudie was elected with 9.9% and Wayne Walker was elected in with 9.2%. In North Shore Ward, 69.7% of votes elected no one. George Wood got just under 16% of the vote and Ann Hartley just under 14.5% of the vote. Almost 70% of voters in North Shore ward didn’t vote for either of them.

    This is horrendous. The case for STV for local body election in Auckland could not be more compelling……

    First Past the Post won the election to the Auckland Council…and voters lost.

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