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Nash to depart

Written By: - Date published: 11:49 am, April 13th, 2012 - 115 comments
Categories: labour - Tags: ,

Looks like Stuart Nash is going to quit as Shearer’s chief of staff and return to Napier. He has 2 solid reasons to do so: his 3 month old and his excellent chance of beating Tremain in 2014. Don’t actually think chief of staff was ever a good role for him. He’s a much better asset as an MP. A real vote winner and a hell of a hard worker.

What worries me is the machinations behind this (evidenced by the leaking the story to the Dom before Nash formally left) show some in Labour are more focused on internal politics than improving Labour’s performance against National.

There have been disagreements in the leadership over Shearer’s low profile approach. Nash was in the group that wanted the leader front-footing more stuff, rather than touring the countryside. Which, you know, seems like the sane option if the objective is to make Shearer PM-in-waiting. The opposing point of view appears to have won out. Meaning Shearer will stay out of the spotlight.

Put it another way, I think the odds of our first gay PM just grew.

115 comments on “Nash to depart ”

  1. higherstandard 1

    Shouldn’t that be ‘our first ever openly gay PM’.

    • Zetetic 1.1

      no because we don’t engage in that kind of pathetic speculation. But I knew it would be the first thing one of you righties would say

      • higherstandard 1.1.1

        Eh what ?

        This site engages in pathetic speculation on a daily basis.

        It is also fairly commonly speculated that we have had gay PMs in the past, what is vastly more important than their sexuality is whether they were good at their job or not.

        • mike e

          yeah right lowerstandard the right always have to play the prejudice card because their policies always fail .So shift the goal post and blame like an expert lair like you
          continually lowering the standard.

          • higherstandard

            Not sure what you’re on about old chap, did you have a bad day at work and need a Friday afternoon rant ?

        • Eddie

          Zet said “that kind of pathetic speculation” 😉

          • higherstandard

            Not at all, it’s interesting to consider the work of the likes of MJ Savage and Ted Heath in the UK both very formidable politicians and living in far more conservative worlds than the one we are currently in.

    • Peter van Kampen SNR 1.2

      Will never vote Labour again should the “Rainbow nation again takeover the LP” thats what it is looking like. Real Kiwi Bloke.

      • Carol 1.2.1

        Not a good reason for not voting Labour. I am not keen on the Robertson-Shearer team for reason of their neoliberal-tainted polices, and approach to promoting them – it has nothing to do with sexuality. Kiwi lesbian. (“Real”? What does that mean.)

  2. I don’t know why Watkin would refer to the Colmar Brunton poll and not refer to the subsequent Roy Morgan poll.
    And I wish some people would stop playing silly buggers with the Party.  It is much more important than any individual’s career.

  3. SHG 3

    The chances of the Labour Party having its first openly gay leader may have have grown, but the chances of NZ having its first openly gay PM in the near future are unchanged: zero.

  4. Bored 4

    Openly anything is better than what we have: he / she could be a multiply convicted bank robber and known pederast and I would trust them more than Key and his larcenous gang.

  5. alex 5

    I have two problems with this post.
    1) That ‘touring the countryside’ as you say, is actually bringing him into contact with real voters outside the beltway and news cycle, voters who have abandoned Labour in droves.
    2) The most important thing you can think of to say about Robertson is that he is gay. There are many other things that define this chap, for example you could say he could be the first postwar Wellington Central MP to become PM. Far more interesting than his sexuality.

    • Sweetd 5.1

      ‘openly gay’ is the only point of difference with Roberson and his supporters. Other than that, outside the belt way, is a case of who the frack is he?

    • lprent 5.2

      …he could be the first postwar Wellington Central MP to become PM.

      That is more of a problem than his sexuality. Offhand the only time I can remember seeing him in Auckland was the leadership debate. Somehow I don’t think that a Wellington beltway wonk who is invisible in Auckland will fly electorally with either Auckland activists or voters. I know that I have zero idea who he is beyond his reputation as being just another beltway leech.

      The incestuous beltway idiots tend to be a bit parochial. But surely even they read numbers?

      I think that close to a half of the voting population of NZ is Hamilton or north (I’d have loved to see the results of the 2011 census). The Labour vote is very very heavily weighted towards Auckland. About 45% of the NZ readers to this site (ie mostly left politicals) are from the Auckland provincial area.

      I haven’t see him up here, so I can’t really see him as being someone trying to contend.

      Update: And I see that sweetd and myself have a rare rare moment of agreement

      • Te Reo Putake 5.2.1

        You missed the bit where the rest of the country holds Auckland in such high regard that anything you guys want is fine with us 😉
        The real question is of course how to get a balance between the political needs of the industrially strong and population heavy Auckland and the needs of the rest of the country. Labour can win Ak hands down, but without the provinces, we win nothing. The best results of the last election for Labour were Palmerston North and the West Coast because they represent a glimmer of hope for the future. That’s something Shearer obviously recognises and good on him for building on it.

        • lprent

          Yep. Auckland leaders need to spend much of their time out of Auckland in the rest of the country. Both Helen and Phil did it and David obviously has the right idea.

          But I think it’d be a hell of a mistake to elect a contender who doesn’t have a basis of experience in Auckland prior to getting elected. It is a lot easier getting to know people in the rest of the country (I know – been there and done it) than it is to get to know the complex Byzantine mixture of cultures that is the Auckland region. I’ve been watching immigrants from the rest of NZ for quite a while and it is always kind of amusing watching them grasping to nice safe things that they already know.

          It is hellishly easy to lose whole swathes of votes here to the non-voting party with a few simple thoughtless remarks or even remarks that are not said (or in Don Brashes case – what you say to one audience causing a lot of voting elsewhere). Just look at the variations in Auckland electorate turnouts.

          After you become a leader you really don’t have time to delve into the type of understanding that you need here. Just ask Mike Moore.

          • Leverett

            Good analysis and back and forth re Roberston – be good to see more of that type of discussion.

          • dancerwaitakere

            Also the other thing is that Labour (regardless of your personal political opinions) cannot become isolated as solely a party for urban Liberals, something which would become more likely with a Leader from Wellington Central and (presumably) a Deputy from AUckland Central given the posturing from certain people on the party.

            It just does not relate to a large section of New Zealand.

            • lprent

              Well it could.

              However it’d be a somewhat reduced party from what it is now – it’d be in the 5-15% party vote range depending on the political season with a few seats held by individual MP’s until their death or retirement. But it wouldn’t be a particularly useful player for the left apart from a convenient coalition party.

              The whole point about Labour is that it has been a broad based member based party with a wide spread throughout the country and in the urban areas outside of the central cities. Trying to treat it as a convenient brand for beltway residents just isn’t going to work.

            • Colonial Viper

              It just does not relate to a large section of New Zealand.

              Or large gobs of (former) core Labour vote.

              But that’s just detail, no one’s got time to consider such minutiae, and no doubt a structural, procedural and constitutional reorganisation is going to address the issue.

      • Dotty 5.2.2

        Did we have a census in 2011??????

        Must’ve been asleep that week….

        • Inventory2

          Postponed until 2013 because of the Christchurch earthquake.

        • Rupert

          ‘Twas cancelled because of the earthquake.

        • lprent

          That was my point. It was postponed (without a particularly good reason in my view). But I think that there has been quite a shift in populations since then from my subjective viewpoint. It’d have been nice to get the numbers from the census..

          • Inventory2

            There has also been quite a significant shift of population SINCE the Christchurch earthquake lprent! At least a census next year will take that into account. Having been in Christchurch just days after the February quake, the last thing on people’s minds was filling in a bloody form for the government; the people I visited were more concerned about whether their wife and mothers remains would be found.

            • McFlock

              Because the census was scheduled for Feb 26th? Um, no, it wasn’t.
              The reason the census was postponed was that the wasteful public service hadn’t put in contingency plans for if a mission critical admin centre is hit by a natural disaster. Or a power outage.
              You know, the sort of thing that bureaucrats are supposed to do, like making sure mines are safe.

      • outofbed 5.2.3

        For me the fact that he ran such a poor campaign in WC that Labour was pushed into third by the Greeens, is indicitive of the man. It is more about “his” ambitions then the wider party sucesss
        Goff and co did the same that is why we have a National Gov now.

        • dancerwaitakere

          I completely agree.

          Not to mention wasn’t he in some key campaign position during 2008, resulting in a 27% Party vote?

          Labour cannot be so lazy that we all just say, oh the tide was going out, there was nothing that Grant could do. In the mean time David Cunliffe increased his majority and ran a very strong campaign in what is now fortress New Lynn.

          Again we see the politics of the careerist-beltway, compared to the politics of the people.

    • Huginn 5.3

      +i, Alex

  6. Kevin Welsh 6

    I for one will be very happy to see Stuart Nash back in Napier. He has been a fantastic advocate for the area and was gutted to see him miss out at the last election.

    Personally, I would like to see him make a run for the Napier mayoralty.

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    Stuart Nash is going to quit as Shearer’s chief of staff and return to Napier. He has 2 solid reasons to do so: his 3 month old and his excellent chance of beating Tremain in 2014.

    And the bizarre thing is – 3 months ago both of these important reasons were equally as valid – except his 3 month old was a newborn.

    Where are the thinking processes in all of this???

    • alwyn 7.1

      Perhaps three months ago his wife was on paid maternity leave and is now going back to work.
      Stuart is going to take over as a house-husband?
      Regardless of this I don’t think much of his chances of beating Tremain in Napier. It is a shame as I think that Nash was one of the better younger MPs in the Labour caucus. What did he do to get placed so far down the list. When you look at some of the total no-hopers who were above him you want to weep.
      N.B. I am not a Labour supporter but I am definitely in favour of having competent MPs from all parties.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.1

        Perhaps three months ago his wife was on paid maternity leave and is now going back to work.

        But that would ALSO have been known 3 months ago!!!!!

  8. james 111 8

    NZ wont accept another Gay Prime Minister unless they are totally out of the closet

    • tc 8.1

      behold the voice of the people.

      You underestimate how thoroughly pissed off with your NACT puppets they may be at that point James 1plus 1 plus 1 equals whatever opinion in front of you suits you.

    • McFlock 8.2

      Oh, you must mean Seddon. They didn’t call him “King Dick” for nothing…

    • fender 8.3

      Thanks for telling us what to accept james, I for one was floundering around in distress just waiting for your wise words to guide me.

    • But if they have not come out of the closet how will the people know that the leader they are accepting is gay?

      • Jim Nald 8.4.1

        Hmm. Ok, not speculation but a hypothethical question to ponder:

        What would it take for the odds to grow for the first openly gay National Party lesbian to be PM?

      • fender 8.4.2

        Sorry micky but that makes too much sense for james to understand, can you use gibberish in future, as thats his native tongue.

        • hateatea

          Yay, a comeback by Marilyn Waring!! That I would pay to see. The trouble is, she is probably not a Nat anymore and almost certainly couldn’t be bothered with the level of performance by the current crop of pollies of all persuasions

    • ianmac 8.5

      Since Helen was not apparently interested in having children, and nor had Lockwood Smith who holds the most powerful position in Parliament. So what?

  9. james 111 9

    Just going on Mike Moore’s comments who told a certain Prime Minister that we all know that they had to get married or the people would not accept them. Was that a marriage of convenience or what?

    • McFlock 9.1

      Oh, you must mean the PM affectionately known in the sauna as “Long-ee”. Mike “wow, is that all, isn’t there any” Moore was a bit late in the game to be familiar with Holyoak’s “blessed wood”. 

    • lprent 9.2

      Tell me, how many single parliamentarians were there in 1981? How many straight couples were just living together without getting married? It was quite rare even in the general population then let alone amongst politicians. That was what Moore was talking about you pathetic little prurient wanker.

      It was a different era, and in all likelihood somewhat before your poisonous presence was either conceived or gratefully evicted from your mothers womb.

      My guess is that you have no absolutely no idea of what you are talking about and you certainly don’t have the intelligence to think about it.

      • alwyn 9.2.1

        I couldn’t care less about whether people were married or not but in the interests of historical accuracy it wasn’t Mike Moore but Jim Anderton who is supposed to have given the advice about getting married.

        • Anne

          Correct. It was back in 1978/79, and they had been living together for about 3 or 4 years at that point.

          Jim Anderton pointed out (rightly for the time) that the voters wouldn’t like it. I attended the reception after the registry marriage, and all those who have been so desperate to believe it was ‘ a marriage of convenience’ I have some sad news for you. It was nothing of the sort.

          Now I know this is a terrible blow, but hang in there… you will be able to accept the truth in time.

          • Anne

            On reflection I think they married late 1980 or early 1981.

          • lprent

            I’ve seen what they’re like on a sunday morning after I’ve dragged one of them out of their bed to open the door. Those dressing gowns that should have been left in the 1970’s and bickering over the music for the day (both have crap taste as far as I’m concerned). And they’re still somewhat tactile in private despite their separations – gooey in fact.

            They’re an inspiration to all of us (like me and Lyn) who do spend a lot of time either away from each other, doing excessive work, or with their head firmly stuffed in electronic domains that it is possible to sustain relationships under trying conditions.

            Listening to james111 is like listening to dork without a brain trying to explain thinking..

            • Anne

              bickering over the music for the day (both have crap taste as far as I’m concerned).

              Jazz or opera? Well, I’m with Helen on that one. Opera any day of the week.

              Not sure about your taste 1prent. 🙂

              • lprent

                Opera: Incomprehensible singing about plots that would fail to get in daytime TV because they come from a small expired list of inane formulas?

                I mostly listen to things derived from the blues. But that can be almost anything from rock to ballads to trance these days. I do have some opera and jazz, but both genres tend to fail the repitition test. They get irritating when you listen to them too often over a decades of programming, get wiped, and are never reloaded from the plastic.

  10. Deer Hunter 10

    Gnashie learned the hard way not to move into Trevors electorate or tell everyone in a meeting Trevor was at that he is poisonous and should go. Leaking to blubber boy trevors every bad move cant have helped.

  11. Craig Glen Eden 11

    Shearer has to go thats a given, he should never have been put in for a start, but seriously Grant Robertson is no leader! labour has only one option and thats Cunliffe. If Cunliffe is not put in as leader before the next election then the Greens can look forward to a whole lot of new members from the Labour Party I reckon. I hear that Shearer and Robertson went down in Dunedin like a cup of cold vomit.

    • just saying 11.1

      Labour is lost to us. They’ll probably stick with Shearer, but if not, the job will go to the next neoliberal in line.

      And let’s stop pretending that Shearer’s extended walkabout is about “meeting the people”. It might be a nice side effect but everyone knows he’s being deliberately kept out of the public eye. The public knows this perfectly well. The “Pagani'” strategy which was so sucessful during Goff’s incumbency will continue until the ship dips down below the surface of the ocean.

      Lets hope the advisory team goes down with it.

    • Peter 11.2

      They sure did, it’s what happens when you stand up in front of members as part of the organisational review, and then leave before the discussions have even started.

    • Hami Shearlie 11.3

      Again we agree CGE! Robertson may appeal to a few minorities, but the problem is, he has very little experience in the outside world. He was involved in University politics, then went to work for Helen Clark. No jobs in the outside world, no experience overseas that I know about! Helen Clark had a similar background going from working at a University to Parliament, but then, she learned her craft over many, many years and was very experienced when she became leader, and then, it was a long time after that that she was PM. Cunliffe has vast experience both here and overseas. He’s worked for the private sector, taught at Harvard(I think), and worked in Govt here as a minister for many years. From what I’ve heard he was a very competent minister. His background in economics sure wouldn’t hurt either. He’s very popular with party members, so when is the Labour Party actually going to give the members some say? Like to see them run an election campaign without them! Surely they will come to realise soon, that maybe the rank and file know better than them. After all the rank and file don’t have personal grudges and ambitions to cloud their judgement!

      • David 11.3.1

        Hami even a couple of seconds having a look on google and you would have seen how inaccurate your account of Robertson is. Please.

        • Hami Shearlie

          I did say this was what I KNEW about. I’m not interested in Robertson enough to delve I guess. Just isn’t PM material in my opinion.

    • belladonna 11.4


    • Vicks 11.5

      Would someone give the stereo a kick, I think Westie Craig’s CD is stuck…

  12. Blue 12

    Nash just went up in my estimation. Hopefully there will be a role for him in a post-Shearer, post-Mallard Labour Party.

    Nash v Robertson, I’d support Nash.

  13. Rupert 13

    Wouldn’t it be great if serving time in the leader’s office wasn’t a per-requisite for becoming a Labour MP?

    • Te Reo Putake 13.1

      Wouldn’t it be great if the trolls could spell?

      • Rupert 13.1.1

        Me? A troll? Am I troll, Lynn? Hard to be a troll on a site which you’re a writer for (albeit a very occasional one).

        * PRE-requisite – happy now?

        [lprent: 🙂 Nope… ]

        [Rupert: Well thank goodness for that. Was doing some serious soul-searching for a second there ]

    • Agreed Rupert.  Actually I think spending time in the leader’s office ought to count against selection for an electorate seat apart from Wellington Central …

    • Eddie 13.3

      um. nash was an mp, then served in the leader’s office.

  14. marcus wairoa 14

    All i know is that Nash can count on my vote & i always will vote him.Tremain has done nothing for this electorate & should have gone at the last election.Tremain is better off running for motueka seeing the Talley family have him in their backpocket.

    • Hami Shearlie 14.1

      Tremain! He’s the great landlord, with many flats he rents out isn’t he? Was he a real estate agent before coming to Parliament. A real key bootlicker IMHO!

    • Hami Shearlie 14.2

      I can never see Tremain without thinking of the time I watched Parliament, with Bill English speaking. Tremain was sitting behind him, picking his nose. He’s been “the nose-picker” to us ever since! The camera was certainly not his friend that day!! LOL

      • fender 14.2.1

        Probably looking for a policy idea in a different place for a change, the Nats usually find them from each others ass.

  15. MarcusA 15

    At least Nash has at least 1 vote that is a surety,mine.Tremain has done nothing for our electorate & instead represents the wealthy interests from Motueka.Mind you the Talley family have the whole National Party in their backpocket at present.

  16. insider 16

    So smith resigning because of letters he wrote is “NATS CIVIL WAR!!!!!” but Nash leaving to ‘spend more time with his family…(ahem)’ is met with insouciance….

    Oh I loved the puzzled concern of this bit “some in Labour are more focused on internal politics…” Really? Never seen that before. Not in Labour. Nope, not ever.

    • McFlock 16.1

      Well, even a bullshit-merchant like yourself would surely admit that resigning to spend time with a 3-month old baby is a lot more plausible than “oh no, a letter from a minister in charge (to their department) on behalf of an acquaintance and party supporter was in no way meant to influence the dispute resolution process”.

      • mike e 16.1.1

        outsider I suppose Nick Smith could be brought back into the front benches as the minister of philandering.
        From what I,ve heard there’s a few more skeletons to come out of his closet’

  17. hush minx 17

    The question I think especially pertinant is who will replace Nash? The qualities of a chief of staff are exacting and given his experience as a manager in his past life Shearer should take his time. I hear Nash doesn’t leave til late May so there’s plenty of time to work out the required skill set and make the right investigations into the best options. Especially important is that it is someone who can be respected by caucus as a whole, as well as the leader. If the problem was differences between Robertson and Nash over strategy then you’d expect a better way to resolve this than someone leaving. Don’t caucus has input into strategy? Also important that the replacement isn’t someone that the right can use as a ‘see, this is just a Robertson stalking machine’ and is someone who doesn’t have strong links to Grant. I know he’s well connected but surely they must exist?

    • Colonial Viper 17.1

      Yes, fascinating beltway considerations, but absolutely meaningless to 99.95% of New Zealanders. Like, literally 99.95%.

      Please bear in mind Labour.

    • Anita 17.2

      hush minx writes,

      Also important that the replacement isn’t someone that the right can use as a ‘see, this is just a Robertson stalking machine’

      Should Labour really let the right decide their leader’s next chief of staff?

      • hush minx 17.2.1

        While the right shouldn’t do the choosing Labour do need to be smart as see where they are open to attacks, especially given mounting speculation as to whether Grant is after the leadership. Shearer is the one who must make the call, but I hope he consults with some of the old heads of the party/caucus – Opposition chief of staff isn’t an easy job and he needs to think about who he can trust to get their operation sorted into something that can deliver a winning organisation.

      • felix 17.2.2

        “Should Labour really let the right decide their leader’s next chief of staff?”

        Well they did let them choose the leader so why not?

  18. web developer 18

    nice post waiting for another post

    [lprent: please don’t respond to spam. I then have to disable it rather than deleting it. ]

  19. outofbed 19

    you might take a fence ?

  20. RedBaron 20

    I hope Stuart does well in his bid for the Napier seat. I thought he was doing some good work in the family – social areas and was sorry he missed out on making it back into parliament.

    Isn’t Tremain the one who has the brother who decided at a cricket test match to discuss the Sri Lankan? team in some very unflattering ways. This sort of talk must have been acceptable at the family dinner table?

    And didn’t he cause the appalling row when some bloke who owned a burger bar started sledging an employee who, as a single Mum was having difficulty managing a very late shift and a 3 month old baby? Who votes for this man?

    • Anita 20.1

      RedBaron writes,

      Isn’t Tremain the one who has the brother who decided at a cricket test match to discuss the Sri Lankan? team in some very unflattering ways. This sort of talk must have been acceptable at the family dinner table?

      Are your opinions on all things identical to the opinions of all your family members?

      Are you responsible for everything every one of them says or does?

    • Vicks 20.2

      He’s young, versatile and thankfully still in the fold. Let’s just make sure he has a better list position next time.

  21. RedBaron 21

    Not sure why this hit such a nerve.

    Just wondering how far the apple(s) had fallen from the tree.
    I don’t seem to remember him commenting in the aftermath but I could be wrong on that.

    The burger bar employment was definitely all him, hard to respect someone who launches such a public attack on another, who was not in the easiest of circumstances and in no way able to retaliate. Bullying really isn’t it!

    • Anita 21.1

      RedBaron writes,

      Not sure why this hit such a nerve.

      You publicly attacked someone because their brother is a politician – as if politicians’ families are fair game.

      • felix 21.1.1

        I thought s/he was publicly attacking a politician because their brother makes unflattering remarks…

        • Anita

          I’m happy to joint that with an “and” 🙂

          Whatever RedBaron’s intention was (and I agree it appears to have been to attack a politician because of something his brother did), it also publicly attacked the brother, and the wider family for accepting the behavior of the brother.

          It’s pretty hard to see any relevance or value in the intended attack, and the collateral damage is pretty unacceptable.

          • felix

            True enough Anita, I wouldn’t like to be held responsible for everything my relatives do and I’m sure they’d say the same about me.

            I wonder though if RedBaron might have been subtly alluding to the fact (and I use the word “fact” very loosely) that Tremain’s career has been built squarely on the back of another family connection, and that if you’re trading on your family name you don’t get to pick and choose which aspects you’re trading on.

            Of course this is a Lockwoodian level interpretation of what RedBaron actually wrote and may bear no relation to his/her intentions. 😀

  22. Deer Hunter 22

    Gnashie was a stupid choice as chief of staff, he didnt have negociation skills they only gave him that job because he wasnt up to anything else, still he gets 3 months redundancy just four months after getting 3 months redundancy for losing his seat, nice job this redundancy racket!

  23. The Chairman 23

    Meanwhile, the Greens on their new high outperform Labour and National in the latest opinion poll.

    Rate the best-performing party

  24. jaymam 24

    Labour’s list selection process gives a poor result. Nash should have been higher on the list.
    Labour should use the Greens method, except forget about the reranking process that puts poor performers high on the list.

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