Let’s debate political strategy

Written By: - Date published: 8:12 pm, August 13th, 2012 - 77 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

Jordan Carter and Josie Pagani agree – there is a legitimate debate that needs to be had about whether Labour aims for the left or the centre vote. That may be where agreement stops, judging from Josie Pagani’s contribution to the debate on Nine to Noon this morning here. The political strategy she expounds is however worth unpicking.

Summarised as best I can, Pagani thinks the debate is between those who think Labour should  go after the  left vote, which she equates  with Green voters, and those who think it should go after the centre, who she characterises as 2011 Labour switchers to National. She  said there was some “romanticising” of the 800,000 who did not vote in the last election as left wing, including a view that if Labour had been more left wing at the last election more people would have voted Labour. She said that this was not borne out by “the research,” which said non-voter values were the same as those of the centre.

She described Shearer’s Greypower speech as his “welfare speech”, and said what he was trying to do with his example about the roof-painting beneficiary was to appeal to the truckdriver she  met campaigning in Taranaki/King Country who’d said Labour was for the beneficiaries, National for the rich, who’s there for me? In Pagani’s view, Shearer had to find a way to appeal to him,  by letting him know that Labour was not going to defend the indefensible where a guy who’s getting a benefit that should not be getting one.

Labour had to look like change, and change was going to make some people feel uncomfortable – according to Pagani these were party insiders, those with vested interests, those for the status quo, the left blogosphere, those inside the beltway. You get the drift. Oh and the Standard came in for a mention.

Pagani’s approach seems to be advocating a crude form of inoculation, that Shearer should get Labour’s retaliation in first, and not be unhappy if this upsets some of its own supporters and activists.

By far the most sensible contributions to the discussion in my view came from Kathryn Ryan and Matthew Hooton. Hooton’s said that talk about roof-painting beneficiaries was exactly what’s wrong with Labour – getting the phraseology right in a speech that no-one’s going to read anyway would have passed the truck driver by, as he would be working. Anyway people believed that these examples were  PR constructs and did not really exist.  It’s ironic that better advice for the left came from the spokesman from the right.

Kathryn Ryan said people – right left or centre – need to hear what  Labour’s doing.  Labour should be articulate and be in the game. Amen to that.

Jordan Carter’s approach was thoughtful. He  raised the following questions in a recent post, commenting on a blogspat  between Pagani and Chris Trotter, remarking that that “both Josie and Chris made some reasonable points, and that in doing so both of them hit on some critical debates Labour and the left need to have as we settle on our strategy for 2014 and beyond:

  • To what extent should Labour focus on motivating people who didn’t vote in 2011?
  • To what extent should Labour focus on winning support from current National voters, or current Green voters?
  • Are the above two bullet points in conflict — and if so, how should we resolve that conflict?”

These are key questions. To me the answers are obvious. Labour has to focus on motivating people who didn’t vote in 2011; it has to focus on winning support from people who voted National in the last election, and it should win back some former Green voters. The priorities are in that order.

Non-voters are most important because if they can be persuaded to vote, most are likely to vote Labour. In 2002 Labour voters disaffected by Corngate went to non-vote. So did disaffected Labour did in 2011, and not because Labour was insufficiently left-wing.  Winning back those voters was crucial to Labour’s win in 2005. It will be again in 2014, and the lessons of 2005 are salutary.

Labour will also have to win back many of those who voted National in 2011. This is already happening. As Matthew Hooton noted in the interview, Labour’s steady rise in the polls means that it has theoretically gained another 100,000 voters since the last election. There is no need for panic. National learnt this lesson the hard way in 2005 – while it cannibalised the other parties of the right it still did not win enough votes off Labor to govern.

And of course in 2005 Labour appealed both to the centre and to its base. Working for Families and interest-fee student loans were policies with broad appeal, albeit targetted. They countered National’s promise of tax cuts. In 2014 neither National or Labour will have fiscal headroom for similar policies, which is why their increasingly different approaches to New Zealand’s economic future become more important.

Winning votes from the Greens is not as important as growing the size of the centre-left bloc. Winning government has to be the goal, and we can be absolutely certain that that will be National’s focus. Hooton thinks that Winston is in National’s pocket, which may or may not be the case, but the Greens have been thrice denied a share in government when they might have been better placed there, and that cannot happen again.

The trick is how should Labour go about winning support. For once in my life, I agree with Matthew Hooton. Convoluted messages aiming to get one’s retaliation in first are at best futile, at worst counter-productive. I’ve always agreed with Kathryn Ryan, even when I couldn’t admit it for loyalty reasons. People need to hear what Labour’s offering. Labour needs to be articulate, positive and be in the game.

And increasingly, the way to win support will be by personal contact. This is where those activists and insiders are very important, and where is it also important not to be sending mixed messages to them via the airwaves.

Again, no need to panic, but definitely time to get out more positive messages  about what Labour would do. That’s what truckdrivers, and the rest of us,  want to hear.

 

 

77 comments on “Let’s debate political strategy”

  1. Dear Mike

    Having spent a great deal of time in 2005 and 2008 and 2011 trying to get Labour elected can I point out the following …

    In 2005 Brash came out and said that many kiwis, lesbians, gays, maoris, women, pacifica, immigrants were not true kiwis.  This statement was welcome, it was followed by a surge of support for Labour which meant that we won the election.

    In 2008 Key was the perfect anti Clark candidate.  It was going to be labour lite, everything that Labour did with a tax cut.  Labour supporters stayed home and Key zoomed in.

    2011 was after three years of a Key love in and three years of the media telling us it was a fait accompli. Supporters stayed at home in droves.

    Labour will not succeed by persuading swingers who hate beneficiaries to possibly come back.  Labour will succeed by getting everyone out to vote, because they think it is important to do so. 

    • handle 1.1

      Oh come on. 2011 was about Labour not putting up a credible alternative for voters to support. So they stayed  home in droves. Until you own up to that, nothing will improve.

      • mickysavage 1.1.1

        Handle

        For 2.5 years I would agree.  For the last 6 months Goff actually understood and channeled the party.  But it was too late then …

        But I agree the first qualification we should have is that our leader should not cause our supporters to stay home in droves …

        • handle 1.1.1.1

          Goff was great during the actual campaign. But the leader is still not the problem.

        • just saying 1.1.1.2

          I don’t think it was six months Mickey – more like three.
          I believe that he ended up channeling a younger version of himself, from a time when he believed in something. Imo, the pressure to argue ‘Labour’ against Key, who he was far more idealogically aligned with, long after he had lost his faith, had caused a serious psychological choking problem, and I came to strongly respect his perservering despite publicly failing over and over again.
          That takes real courage and inner strength, I sometimes wonder if he could be the John Kirwin of anxiety disorders one day

        • Bill 1.1.1.3

          Channeling. Really? Is that it? Some missing mystic mumbo-jumbo be the problem then? Bloody hell! Next I’ll be hearing Labour’s going for the ‘those who believe in psychics’ vote. That’s over 5% afterall, innit? And then they can all channel as one – gathered around a heap of chicken entrials perhaps?

        • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.4

          MS “channeling” is a good turn of phrase. For a while there I felt some meat put back on the old bones of the Labour party from 90 years ago.

          Shame that the MSM was dead right – a lot of senior Labour MPs were actively jockeying for the leadership even before November rolled around.

  2. Descendant Of Smith 2

    Well they just finally lost my vote after reading that bullshit.

    What about actually standing for something that is actually left wing rather than a watered down position in order to attract some middle ground voter.

    It’s about supporting workers and the poor not about getting voted back. It’s about building a strong base not being a fairweather friend catering to an aging rightish white middleclass.

    Pagani was a joke amongst the people I know in my home town in the King Country – fuck fuck fuck – my simple point about Labour not even believing in an 8 hour working day for workers is so true and they are so blind they cannot even see how facile they have become.

    What a bunch of tossers.

    They have no idea whose votes they have been losing over the years do they – none, none, none – and they clearly believe that those working class and poor people are not worth fighting for.

    They see no value in the long term and just respond to electoral cycles and wanky research groups.

    Devoid of integrity and vision and reactive in the extreme.

    Offering nothing except to themselves.

    • Carol 2.1

      What about actually standing for something that is actually left wing rather than a watered down position in order to attract some middle ground voter.

      Agreed, DOS. Mike Smith’s post was all focused on winning government, and devoid of standing for any principles…. certainly it doesn’t sound like taking a principled left position.

      How depressing. They don’t even seem to be aware they have just become brand, trying to attract more buyers than another brand – all a neoliberal approach.Unlike the Greens and Mana, which still aim to stand for something.

    • just saying 2.2

      “wanky research groups”

      I agree wholeheartedly with your comment DOS, however “focus groups” do not constitiute research. They are what businesses use to manipulate their advertising and branding to sell more units and make more profit.

      Pagani obviously doesn’t know the difference.

      I don’t believe anything is going to make a difference to the Party’s trajectory and it’s difficult to know what will be worse for the country – Labour (and therefore the actual left) losing, or Labour gaining enough swing tories to string together a government for a term…

      • Peter 2.2.1

        There are plenty of things that might make a difference, it’s just that the hierarchy in Wellington isn’t prepared to undertake them. As Chris Trotter often says, it’d prefer to keep control of the losing side, than lose control of the winning side.

        It can start, right now, with giving the membership a vote and choice on the leader, and settling it once and for all.

      • Descendant Of Smith 2.2.2

        “focus groups” do not constitute research.

        I knew that hence the “wanky” which I though was slightly more accurate than “wonky.”

    • rosy 2.3

      I understand the strategy of winning back the centre vote and leaving the ‘left’ to the Greens. And I see the Heartland tour and newsletter in that context. It’s a reasonable strategy, if you want to get that soft middle vote. But I don’t agree a party called Labour has any place doing that at the expense of workers and those who cannot work. Josie had a lightbulb moment with the truckie by the sounds of it and stopped thinking from then on – she could have talked about worker protection rather than assuming bludgers.

      What I can’t abide is hanging out to dry the people who are powerless to earn an income and are reliant on the goodwill of the State and their often impoverished families to survive. I agree entirely with DoS (once more). I’ve always voted, and voted Labour (bar the Values party once upon a time). I’m not a Greens voter (Russel looks too close to bonding with the Nats) – I’m a ‘left’ voter. Jeez I went through this in the last round ending up elated with the direction Labour took at the election, and now thoroughly depressed about it all. There is now, again, nowhere to place my vote.

      Now if Cunliffe hooked up with Hone…

    • DH 2.4

      Well said DoS

    • NickS 2.5

      This +1

      I want a party the fights and stands for progressive issues, not bends which ever way the PR spin is blowing.

  3. Cactus Kate 3

    Any post on this site agreeing with Matthew Hooton reduces its credibility to zero.
    Those of us on the right do not even quote him anymore
    He works for people who pay him to attempt to swing opinion. He is then on radio or in columns selling that swing. What disclosure did he have on nine to noon today?

    • Why is it that I agree with Kate so often.  At least she has the decency to say it how she thinks it is, rather than trying to persuade me that she has only my party’s best interests at heart ..

      • Cactus Kate 3.1.1

        That’s right Micky, I could not give a stuff about the future of the Labour Party. Paid or unpaid.
        But Matthew Hooton does not either yet is paid and the left quote him as an authority on what they should be doing!
        I don’t have a clue how to re-design your party. Except I would like it leveled with large yellow diggers and a jackhammer.
        Listen to Hooton I suspect the end result there would be the same. Only with a huge consulting bill attached.

    • Carol 3.2

      For a while Hooton has definitely been trying to sell that line of National going with NZ First. I don’t see that it actually means NZF are in National’s pocket right now.

    • tracey 3.3

      Hooten speaks with forked tongue. I hate to think where he puts it when he is not talking

  4. Scott 4

    So Pagani virtually admitted that the attacks on beneficiaries are just a cynical ploy to attract the attention of “centre” voters. It doesn’t really sound like the Labour Party I joined up to…

  5. Labour needs to stop thinking in terms of left and right.  That is passe – it is the awful 19th century intellectualisation of class conflict.  

    Labour needs to become the party of the 99%.  It needs to look at what we need to have a flourishing Capitalist economy and promote that.

    It needs to do this for the simple reason that it is impossible to have a healthy social contract without healthy markets.  One needs the other – capitalism can only work in a stable just and equal society, indeed it can only exist in such a setting.  We are heading away from capitalism towards feudalism again.  The problem with Feudalism is that it is wonderful for the 1% for a while but soon they find that an impoverished population can’t afford to participate in trade (and tends to be come unruly) – which is what we are starting to see now – and the system that underpins their wealth collapses in on itself.

    Biological systems exhibit this effect all the time – any parasite or disease that becomes too efficient destroys its host and thus destroys itself.  

     

    • DH

      I certainly do not oppose markets as long as there is the ability to override them if social or environmental imperatives require this.

      I tend to think of the left as supporters of the 99% and the right as support of the remainder … 

      • darkhorse 5.1.1

        I agree MS – point I was endeavouring to make is that many that are characterised as being “of the right” are actually of the centre but not of the left – the great majority of Kiwi’s have both a social conscience and a belief in capitalism.  The “over-rides” you speak of are meant to be enshrined in the laws and institutions of the nation.  The capitalist needs those laws and institutions to be effective just as much as the worker.  It is in this area where the problems lie – in today’s STUFF a comment from the bereaved parents of a woman killed on the sky diving air crash at Fox Glacier a couple of years ago sums it up…

        They noted the Government had introduced extra controls on skydiving as a result of the crash.

         “However, lack of regulation is not the cause of the crash,” they said in the letter.
         “There have been without doubt major failings by the Civil Aviation Authority and there were major failings by the aircraft operators.”
         It had been flown out of balance and overloaded 75 times, which meant such an accident was an “inevitable certainty”.
        They called for law changes to ensure “proper responsibility” to those who were involved, saying there was “no accountability in New Zealand”. 

        They have hit the nail on the head – there is a widespread sense of impunity through much of NZ’s business world and society.  The same effect is seen in our share markets, our financial sector and many of our public institutions.  And leaky homes? We have more law than we need but no accountability.  ACC is a subsidy for the incompetent and the careless at the expense of their victims.  

        Our whole society developed this rot from the reforms of roger douglas where whatever vestiges of common decency and propriety existed in the commercial world were laid to rest.  Rising crime rates are nothing more than the individual reflection of the current basic lack of morals of society as a whole.
        The clamour in support of the “asset sales” are a similar reflection of the sheer dishonest self interest of the most dishonest among us. 

        • mickysavage 5.1.1.1

          Aye DH

          I mention Douglas’s and Prebble’s names to scare the bejeebers out of Labour Party members.  And whey I do this the members become more resolute.  

          The world seems to have turned to the left, but in NZ we seem to have moved to the right …

          • deemac 5.1.1.1.1

            where in the world has turned to the left? I wish it were true but factually slumps tend to favour the right, as the current one is ding.

        • Bill 5.1.1.2

          Rising crime rates are nothing more than the individual reflection of the current basic lack of morals of society as a whole.

          Nah. Behaviour is a natural reaction to the environment the individual exhibiting it finds themselves in. Morals has got nothing to do with anything. Or do you want those commiting crime labelled as immoral deviants and …well, fuck. I shudder to think where that path leads.

        • tracey 5.1.1.3

          1+++++++

    • Colonial Viper 5.2

      Feudal lords had clear moral and social responsibilities for the wellbeing and livelihoods of the people who worked their land.

      Capitalist lords do not.

      • darkhorse 5.2.1

        CV a wise lord of any sort has a sens of moral responsibility.  I wil bet that many a feudal lord couldn’t give a toss about the proletariat -just look to the highland clearances.  The day that the peasantry is no longer economically useful they are gone – blood ties or not.

        The old Henry Ford truism – if my workers can’t afford to buy my cars I wont have a market – is as true as ever.  The beauty of capitalism over feudalism is that it is more efficient for everyone – but the less equal it is the less efficient it is and as it gets less equal it gets less efficient and it starts to fall back in on itself – like right now.

        Labour has to find ways of curing capitalism of its ills – there is no point in fighting over a greater share of a shrinking cake.

        • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.1

          I wil bet that many a feudal lord couldn’t give a toss about the proletariat -just look to the highland clearances.

          To be clear, I was talking about Medieval Feudal Europe and feudalism as the social structure of the day.

        • Bill 5.2.1.2

          The beauty of capitalism over feudalism is that it is more efficient for everyone

          Hmm. Except that the average worker today spends much more time in performing labour for others in order secure the basic necessities of life than medieval peasants ever did.

      • tracey 5.2.2

        i think you are gilding the lily a little about feudal lords and their morality

        • Bill 5.2.2.1

          In medieval times, the land owners had nowhere near the power we are taught to believe they had. And the peasants weren’t the powerless ingrates we are taught to believe they were. In other words, the power relationship was not what we are taught to believe it was.

          Morality had nothing to do with it.

          And when circumstances favoured ‘the lords’ they went hell for leather to cement their new found potential for power in place. And so they slaughtered peasants or rendered them something akin to what we would term internal refugees. Having destroyed the basis of previous social relations and locked a new order in place, well…somebody had to write a sympathetic or opaque account of how things ‘came to be’ for prosperity, no?

    • Draco T Bastard 5.3

      Capitalism is the problem, not the cure.

  6. Bill 6

    sheesh…was that turgid waffle about turgid waffle?

    The whole thing is bloody simple! In broad terms. What do Labour stand for….me, you, business, themselves? When Labour have figured that out they might want to articulate it in something other than a murky Yangtze River of roiling tosh. And if they finally decide they stand for ordinary people….oh gawd…(as DoS has said above) they just don’t know who or what ordinary people are any more, do they?

  7. Carol 7

    A Heartland speech from a party with no heart!

    • Bill 7.1

      Or brains or….maybe they need to take a trip to the Emerald city? I hear there’s a wee guy there…

  8. McFlock 8

    If you don’t believe something, you always end up looking shallow and not persuading the people you want to talk to in the first place. The Taranaki truck driver knows they’re being condescending, so they’re selling their souls for nothing. And do they really want the support of judgemental jerks? What next, dropping a few Louis Crimpisms just to get the bigot vote?
         
    What do Labour strategists believe? Not the policy, what do they personally believe? They should stop chasing the focus groups and just do what they believe in. 
               
    That way they will at least keep the voters who agree with them, because at the moment they’re leaking from both ends.

  9. Blue 9

    Josie Pagani is in the wrong party and hasn’t realised it yet. Roger Douglas syndrome.

    Labour’s biggest problem is the lack of a decent leader. Solve that one and you won’t have to argue about trivia.

    Charisma. C-H-A-R-I-S-M-A. In case the fools in Labour’s caucus have forgotten what this means, it means that when you have a leader people will follow, you can lead them anywhere.

    Or we could all just sit on our collective arses for another term in Opposition arguing about whether people like apples or oranges best.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Perhaps a decent Right Wing leader for Labour would be good, as long as they have the magical ingredient, c-h-a-r-i-s-m-a?

      See, it doesn’t work does it.

    • rosy 9.2

      Charisma might win votes, but what are you voting for?

      • Blue 9.2.1

        Charisma can be used for good or evil.

        In Labour’s case, I would hope they would use it for good, to bring back real left-wing policies.

        The alternative I see is for Labour to join Pagani scrabbling in the dirt for benny-basher votes.

    • Carol 9.3

      Blue, I agree Labour needs a decent leader – not so much charisma, but someone with leadership wualities, and the nouse in how to manage a rudderless caucus: someone who knows what they stand for and is focused on achieving.

      If such a person does exist within the existing caucus, they should be able to excercise those leadership skills and activate a successful coup: i.e. by getting enough Labour MPs onside.

      Does such a leader exist within the existing caucus? Or is there too much dead-wood amongst the senior ranks of MPs?

      There are some very good MPs in the caucus.

      Like Bomber I am impressed by such MPs as Sue Moroney, David Cunliffe, Phil Tywford and Andrew Little.

      http://www.tumeke.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/like-68-of-nz-labour-party-front-bench.html

      Has Andrew Little got drawn into the current ranks of dysfunctional senior MPs, or is he still his own man and ready to take on the leadership?

      Why has Ardern blotted her promising copy-book by siding with the current management of the party?

      I’d go for Cunliffe as leader, deputy leader and/or finance spokesperson.

      • David H 9.3.1

        The problem with Little is that like Shearer he is new and unknown. Shearer should NEVER have been put in the position. Now there are rumblings like: “Has Andrew Little got drawn into the current ranks of dysfunctional senior MPs, or is he still his own man and ready to take on the leadership?” Carol, like shearer he is an unknown force really, he is too new. But I do agree that Cunliffe should be Leader.

        • Carol 9.3.1.1

          Little may not be ready for a leadership position. But at the moment, he is not as an unknown force as Shearer was when he took on the leadership. He has made some strong speeches in the House , for instance on ACC. Shearer was invisible in his first term.

          Little already has had more media cut-through than Shearer had before he became a candidate for leader.

          Cunliffe always looked a better choice for leader to me.

      • tracey 9.3.2

        little wont do the trick because of the comstant smear of the uinion association. They hiss it like snakes. With only 25% of the workforce in unions thats too many to buy the pr drivel the right will spew.

  10. Olwyn 10

    “To what extent should Labour focus on motivating people who didn’t vote in 2011?
    To what extent should Labour focus on winning support from current National voters, or current Green voters?
    Are the above two bullet points in conflict — and if so, how should we resolve that conflict?”

    These questions are all redundant until such time as Labour determines what it stands for, and stands for it with conviction.

    It is not easy to be Labour at the moment, for the caucus as well as the members. The big liberal battles have largely been won, and they are no longer definitively left, even where they have not been won. And there is no longer a powerhouse of industrial workers to stand behind them, in the position to drive their point home hard if their concerns are not taken seriously, partly, though not entirely, due to Labour’s own past actions. The question as to how Labour faces this situation while remaining a party that is genuinely dedicated to social justice is infinitely more important than who becomes the focus of their marketing efforts.

    And so far as marketing efforts are concerned, it would be a good start to try to be less dismissive of their members and activists, whose enthusiasm or disenchantment, whichever is the case, can prove very infectious.

  11. Rory 11

    We should inspire our base with progressive policies and a clear articulation of Labour values. If rank and file activists, self-identified Labour voters and unionised workers trust the direction of the party; maybe then there can be discussions about pitches to the centre.

    But why would you want to pitch to the centre when you can win government with policies that unashamedly improve the lot of the most vulnerable, underpaid and worst off?

    I won’t deliver leaflets for a party that attacks beneficiaries like my mum.

    I’ll deliver twice as many leaflets for a party that reduces child poverty.

    We don’t have to compromise, we just have to organise.

  12. I honestly don’t mind whether labour goes centre or goes left in trying to win back voters, the point is that they have to be convincing about it. Right now they’re not being convincingly centrist, they’re pretending to be Peter Dunne and letting National pull them gently over the centre line “so as to not seem too extreme.”

    Pull up your pants, Labour. Extreme is fine, so long as it’s extreme about things the electorate cares about. You can be extremely pro-employment, to the extent that you kinda ignore beneficiaries like the Clark government did, and even the odd anti-poverty liberal will still vote for you. You can be extremely free trade, like all our governments since the bloody term was invented, to the extent that it damages developing nations and puts our sovereignty at jeopardy, and even nationalists and the children of immigrants will vote for you.

    Just do it in a way that exploits the popularity of your own principles, instead of being boring, sitting back, or even worse, acting afraid of your own shadows. That’s never going to work.

  13. Descendant Of Smith 13

    The other day I posted quote from a yearbook which presents an articulate but simple vision of welfare.

    “It transfers income from the more to the less affluent mainly on the basis of greatest help for those in greatest need. It reflects the traditional humanitarian, egalitarian, and pragmatic approach of New Zealanders and, most importantly, reflects acceptance of community responsibility for social welfare.”

    I didn’t link to it the other day cause I wanted people to read it. I notice I incurred a little wrath for long posting and not linking – sorry bout that.

    http://www3.stats.govt.nz/New_Zealand_Official_Yearbooks/1975/NZOYB_1975.html#idchapter_1_53614

    Right now I can’t imagine this Labour Party being able to say anything this coherent about what they believe in.

    I don’t see myself as a left wing extremist as for my generation this sort of approach and other things I have talked about such as state housing, the government employing young people, people with disabilities, higher taxation, 40 hour working week, etc were normal. Putting these types of things back is resuming normality. Giving young people today the same rights that I had when I started work. It saddens me that my children have worse working conditions and pay rates today than I had when I started work. We have regressed not progressed.

    The current Labour Party if it believed in any of it’s social tradition has a wealth of past heritage to call upon in terms of simple, well articulated policy. But none of it is any use if you do not believe it and that seems to be the sad fact – they don’t believe in this stuff.

    I challenge every Labour Party politician to say yes or do to “Do you believe in an 8 hour working day, 40 hour working week”.

    What’s the bet that none do.

  14. AmaKiwi 14

    I have a different view. I want democracy, not autocracy. Autocracy is when supreme power is concentrated in the hands of one person or a small clique whose decisions are not subject to popular control.

    Key is an autocrat as was Clark as is Shearer, within the Labour Party.

    We, the people, should decide whether or not to sell our infrastructure.

    We, the members of the Labour Party, should decide who our leader is.

    We, the members of the Labour Party, should decide its policies.

    The past week The Standard has demonstrated how simple it is for us to debate via internet. We can vote the same way. You vote by entering your name and Labour membership number. One member, one vote.

    I will accept the will of the majority, even if I voted the other way. I cannot accept secrecy and autocracy; hidden agendas and back handers.

    • Te Reo Putake 14.1

      How do the affiliates vote in your version of democracy, AmaKiwi?

      • AmaKiwi 14.1.1

        To become a member of the Labour Party you fill out your name and address and pay $15 (unwaged $6.60).

        Can the members of your affiliate afford that? If not, I’ll bet the party can make an accommodation for them.

        Te Reo Putake, do you know of any definition of “democracy” other than “one member, one vote”?

        • Te Reo Putake 14.1.1.1

          Cheers for the reply, AmaKiwi.
           
          The affiliates already pay for the members they represent. The question is, how would you modify that in order to get ‘one member, one vote’? The unions that affiliate have tens of thousands of members. If they all vote, that’s going to mean your personal vote is meaningless.
           
          What I’m getting to is that for your system to work, the LP would have to disenfranchise the affiliates. That is, make the party less democratic.
           
          As for the question you put regarding different forms of democracy, there are many forms. Obviously.

          • AmaKiwi 14.1.1.1.1

            @Te Reo Putake

            No there are not “many forms” of democracy. They teach that in NZ schools so you won’t recognize NZ is an elected dictatorship.

            Democracy means one person, one vote. Direct democracy means ultimate power is with the people (one person, one vote) not with their elected representatives. Representatives make proposals (laws), but the people can reject them (binding referendums). The result is that representatives are careful to make proposals (laws) they think the majority will accept.

            If twenty thousand members of your union join the Labour Party, GREAT! I want their input and ideas. What makes you think I won’t vote the same way you will? When everyone votes, your task, Te Reo Putake, is to convince me that your ideas are the best. That sure beats unseen power brokers making the decisions based on their prejudices and back handers. In direct democracy, if you and I disagree on an issue we can understand why we differ. That increases the chances we can find a workable middle ground.

            As for my vote being meaningless, it is now because they never hold a vote. You can’t get more meaningless than that!

            • Te Reo Putake 14.1.1.1.1.1

              Wikipedia has a useful list of the various kinds of democracy. There’s also a list of the various electoral systems that can be used.
               
              My problem with your proposal is that you don’t seem to accept that the affiliates are members now. The individuals don’t have to join under their own name (though it’s great when they do), but they authorise the affiliate to vote on their behalf.
               
              Under your proposal, decisions will be made a significantly smaller number of people (only those individuals who are financial and can be bothered voting) and the affiliates will be disenfranchised at a stroke. Your proposal is for a Labour Party without a union presence. That doesn’t seem to be consistent with the party’s history and values, does it?

  15. Descendant Of Smith 15

    For my last words for the night it’s clear to me that workers are on their own. I’ve paid a visit to the garage to dig out my grandfathers Rules and Regulations of the Auckland Railway Employees’ Sick and Accident Society from 1932 or thereabouts.

    It sits next to his paid up Union cards.

    There are two clauses in there that have always stood out for me in the Safety First page at the end:

    1st Duty: Look after your mates and yourself before anything else
    4th Duty: Insist on having a screw top lamp. One hand for yourself, and one hand for the department.

    Two simple statements that encompass a whole attitude about helping each other and loyalty to the both each other and the job.

    Much better than the degenerate comment about the roofer or the equally bad one about the truck driver. Right now looking after your mates and youself is relevant because The Labour Party has no intention of looking after you. You’re on your own once again.

  16. bad12 16

    Right now i am still pissed about the ‘sickness beneficiary bene-bashing’ from Shearer and anything Pagani says simply amplifies previous assertions i have made about Labour,

    So, its pretty pointless for me to offer anything of constructive use to Labour as far as attracting back the likes of me to vote for them,

    Its far easier to simply take my vote elsewhere…

  17. hoom 17

    A lot of people I know don’t vote because they are well aware that the Right wingers are completely crazy but don’t think Labour are any better & either don’t like Greens, don’t trust them either or don’t think their vote would make enough difference to the overall result to bother.

    Fundamentally all this trying to get swing-voters by being ‘right wing enough’ just continues to alienate these people into non-voting.

  18. Antonina 18

    When did Josie Pagani become the spokersperson for Labour? A sad apologetic interpretation Mike Smith when you quote Hooten.

  19. tracey 19

    Has ms mahuta been shut down for siding with the loser. I wld like to hear from her more often. She speaks with sincerity and passion.

    Labour needs people with passion not just words. Ignite with passion, lure with sincerity and convince with actions. Choose a small number of genuine platforms. Know them inside and out, understand the ways your opponents will come at you, anticipate it, speak with passion, and whatever you do, when elected actually do things thatmake a difference. No more aspirations bullshit. Be about results, real ones, and hard work. Kiwis understand hard work. Get into factories and find shop floor, middle managers and bosses who will all stand side by side extolling each others work ethics, make posters showing one of each… These places exist and are more common than not. We all work hard is the message and we all deserve a fair shake at raising our families. Labour will work as hard as you do for to secure everyones future.

  20. Stephen 20

    Relevant commentary from the dimpost:

    https://dimpost.wordpress.com/2012/08/14/more-armchair-strategising/

    He concludes:

    Still a bell-curve, but now strongly skewed to the values of the left – although far less left in 2008 than it was nine years earlier. And you could argue about why that is, but my hypothesis is that the National Party is really good at advocating for its core values. They didn’t look at this chart and think, ‘well, we need to win the center so let’s endorse Labour’s policies of taxation and state spending because they’re popular with voters’, they thought ‘we need to get out and make the case for a low tax economy with less government, because that’s what we believe in.’

    Which takes us back to Shearer and his roof-painting sickness beneficiary. Sure, in the NZES survey the majority of voter opinion is bearish towards beneficiaries but that doesn’t mean left-wing parties need to concede the debate on that subject to the right. The numbers on public opinion do move, but they don’t do so by themselves.

  21. Newsense 21

    Why is Josie Pagani getting more time in the press than most of the front bench?

    If as seems to be the consensus here that we had a wastd 2 1/2 years following the Pagani J-be-like-the-Nats,- just-quieter strategy, why the heck are we still following it?

    Where is the Labour of intelligence and integrity? Too many careerists, too many happy with their leader sounding like an echo of Paula Bennett.

  22. bomber 22

    my take The Paganis vs The Standard and the battle for Labour’s political soul – http://tumeke.blogspot.co.nz/2012/08/the-paganis-vs-standard-and-battle-for.html

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