- Date published:
12:48 pm, August 2nd, 2020 - 33 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, election 2020, greens, jacinda ardern, labour, national, Politics, Simon Bridges, todd muller, uncategorized - Tags: micheal cullen
Three years ago I wrote a post “Ok, I’m pissed off with the Labour caucus again. Time to switch“. While I am still totally surprised at just how successful Jacinda Ardern has been at pulling both the country and the Labour caucus together, I am absolutely delighted by it.
At the time I pretty convinced that it was something more like what recently happened in National caucus when they rolled Simon Bridges just before the election. A vain desperate attempt by caucus MPs to stop the polls dropping to zero and losing them their jobs. I said…
I think that Andrew Little standing down was a mistake. I can’t think of anyone in the Labour caucus capable of doing anything much between now and the election.The Standard: “Ok, I’m pissed off with the Labour caucus again. Time to switch“
I really wasn’t that far off. The only thing that allowed the formation of a government was the disintegration of possible electoral partners for National as this seating arrangement makes absolutely clear. There was a two seat majority with a coalition between Labour and NZ First and with a confidence support agreement with the Greens.
National must deeply regret their leaking (however it happened) of Winston Peter’s superannuation details in 2017 in a repeat of their 1997 and 2008 vendettas. It didn’t dent the NZ First vote and it did mean that neither the leader nor the most of the NZ First party could realistically tolerate working with National.
In my post I was deeply suspicious of of the leadership change happening just before the election when the caucus could elect a leader of the caucus without any input from members or unions. That had been a hard fought battle inside Labour to get more of a party that represented its members and supporters rather than those who were ambitious to get a set in parliament.
On the other hand I hadn’t realised that Andrew Little was planning on actually stepping down from the caucus leadership voluntarily and was actually nominating Jacinda as his choice of a successor.
Andrew Little is someone who I have a lot of respect for as a politician. The evidence is in the way he has continued the work of recent ministers in fixing the mess left in Justice and the Courts by previous ministers (like Judith Collins) who’d pursued idiotic short-term objectives rather than required work. Just the long overdue increase in the number of places for full-time judges in the district and family courts would have to be the top of my list. Trying to run a court system with temporary judges and increasing judicial delays would have to be just about most stupid thing I could conceive of.
If I’d realised that he’d stood down voluntarily in favour of Arden, my attitude would have been different. Little would know the seasoning of his then largely untested caucus colleagues better than I did. What was even more interesting was the way the vote went
As Ardern was the only officially nominated candidate, she was universally elected as party leader and took over Little’s role as Leader of the Opposition as well. Kelvin Davis was then elected unopposed as deputy leader filling the vacancy caused by Ardern’s elevation. At 37, Ardern became the youngest leader of the Labour Party. She is also the second woman to lead the party after Helen Clark. Ardern’s tenure as leader began just eight weeks before the 2017 general election, and at a press conference following her election as leader, she said that the forthcoming election campaign would be one of “relentless positivity”.Wikipedia: “2017 New Zealand Labour Party leadership election“
As Todd Muller found out, being an opposition spokesperson is several orders of magnitude less difficult than being the caucus leader – opposition or government. He’d have also found it even as a government minister was way harder.
Mickey was clearer about the process a day later.
Clearly Andrew stood aside because he thought it was the best thing to do for the Labour movement. He is an exceptional person who gave the leadership his all and decided yesterday to be substituted because he thought the team needed fresh legs. He will be an outstanding Minister of Labour in a future Labour Government and we need him to strengthen the Labour movement.
And now we need to stand behind Jacinda Ardern and make sure she is the next Prime Minister of New Zealand. She has the potential of being an exceptional one.The Standard: “Solidarity Forever”
My biggest issue wasn’t with Ardern, her potential was obvious and had been for year. My issue was that I thought she was being shoved into the higher levels of the political process when she may not be ready for it. Clearly I was wrong. I’m still delighted.
I concluded my post with that I’d vote Greens – which I did. However I also voted for Jacinda Ardern because I’m at the very edge of Mt Albert electorate. But even if I wasn’t so lucky to actually be in my preferred home electorate and preferred MP, I tend to view a electorate vote for minor parties as being just way to waste a valuable vote.
I concluded with words that are just true today as they were then.
However I would urge people to just vote to get National out of government. Their economic and social management over the last 9 years has been appallingly short-term. It is storing problems for the future for our countries kids and grandkids. Time to get rid of them.The Standard: “Ok, I’m pissed off with the Labour caucus again. Time to switch“
Michael Cullen wrote a very good op-ed piece on the NZ Herald yesterday which is unfortunately hidden behind a paywall – “National’s plan for roads shows it’s trapped on a highway to the past“. It discusses their roading wish list of roading that doesn’t make sense, that would take a decades to even start, and their pretence of funding these completely uncosted projects using funny money processes that would only fool technical illiterates like Damien Grant.
I still haven’t decided who I’ll be sending my party vote to this election. As much as I’d like to vote Labour, I suspect that my best support for Labour could be to vote Green. But I’ll decide closer to the election.
By my electorate vote will be for Jacinda Ardern. Great communicator and it appears appears that she has been growing into he role as the conductor of the caucus and the audience faster than the job has been expanding in these troubled times.