Open mike 23/12/2023

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, December 23rd, 2023 - 56 comments
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56 comments on “Open mike 23/12/2023 ”

  1. Grey Area 1

    "Two months on from Labour's election-night shellacking, leader Chris Hipkins still cannot pinpoint what the party could have done differently during the campaign to win."

    How about give people hope and a vision and provide a real alternative rather than be National Lite?

    I know someone here said post-election interview quotes like this is standard polly-speak and real soul-searching is going on, but no sign of that here.

    He is not going to admit that he screwed up big time with his tax call and that, along with their policy bonfire, totally disillusioned a lot of people.

    Some hint that he understands why Labour has burnt off support, some of which moved left and will not come back, would be good. (I realise floating voters moving right hurt them more, as the Greens picked up fewer of disillusioned Labourites than I hoped).

    http://'Sometimes you lose' – Chris Hipkins reflects on 2023

    • Ad 1.1

      Ardern had pulled Labour into such a steep popularity crash that there was nothing Hipkins could have done.

      But Hipkins must go. Had his moment and failed.

      • Robert Guyton 1.1.1

        If there was nothing he could have done, he can't have failed his "moment".

        Chucking him out for failing to do the impossible seems shortsighted.

        Baby with the bath-water.

        • Ad

          His job description is to win elections.

          The electorate could not have been clearer about both baby and bathwater.

          • Robert Guyton

            The Leader is not expected to win an election solo. The Party is charged with that also. Voters don't just vote for a Leader, they vote for a party and its policies.

            Or are you suggesting the Right won because voters wanted Luxon to lead?

            I don't think so.

            • Ad

              I don't need to suggest anything. There are polls that track the comparative popularity of leaders for PM and their relevant weight in voter decisionmaking. Politics really is a popularity contest.

              • Belladonna

                While there is an element of truth in this – I'd argue it's largely because recent NZ history has 'taught' the electorate that the party needs to have a popular leader, in order to win. First Key then Ardern – both with that high level of personal charisma- the rock star prime minister style.

                It's made us forget that there is no intrinsic reason for party leaders to have high degrees of personal charisma or popularity, in order to be elected. Clark had low levels of personal popularity prior to being PM.


                I don't recall Shipley or Bolger having high degrees of personal popularity either.

                It's important for a potential PM to project trustworthiness (someone electors can envision running the country) – but no need for outstanding charisma. [Yes, yes, I know – none of you thought Luxon was 'trustworthy' – but you weren't his target market]. It's much more important to have a coherent message to sell, one which appeals to a large section of the electorate.

                Given that the opponent is Luxon – who also suffers from a charisma deficit – I don't think lack of charisma is a reason to ditch Hipkins.

                But I don't feel that it is at all clear what Hipkins stands for (if anything, other than being elected).

                He's burdened with history (he was a major player in the Ardern government – so has to carefully manage any move away from her core policies). But that's not unique. Clark was part of the 4th Labour government – with much worse history to have to deal with.

                While politics is indeed a popularity contest (and part of the ongoing governance issue is that the skill set required to get elected has nothing to do with the skill set require to govern effectively) – very frequently, that contest can be between a package of ideas, rather than an individual person.

                • Anne

                  An excellent analysis Belladonna @ 5:45pm.

                  … there is no intrinsic reason for party leaders to have high degrees of personal charisma or popularity, in order to be elected. Clark had low levels of personal popularity prior to being PM.

                  Absolutely true. You mention Bolger, Shipley, Clark and I would add English. Whether you liked their individual policy stances or not, what they did earn among the populace at large was personal respect. As a Labour supporter, it did not stop me having regard for both English and Bolger – Bolger in particular. Politics is a dirty business but somehow those former PMs managed to stay pretty much above the fray. I would also add Ardern but it is probably too soon to make a finite judgement of her term in office.

                  Perhaps by 2026 people may see reason to change the negative opinion of Ardern so many ended up harbouring towards her – all for the wrong reasons in my view.

          • Tricledrown

            Ad why do you want to change Hipkins if he is so bad if you want National to win the next election you would be demanding labour keep Hipkins .

    • bwaghorn 1.2

      Over promised under delivered, woeful behavior from his ministers, and yip trying to out national national,

      • Belladonna 1.2.1

        I doubt that Hipkins can realistically be blamed for the behaviour of 'his' ministers. The bad behaviour for all, except Allan (who, I would argue, is a different case) – was inherited from Ardern. Who appears to have not managed them at all.

  2. Robert Guyton 2

    Ebb & flow.

    Presenting an inspiring, sound, popular vision is one thing, but in an oppositional framework, the effect of attack, undermining, "bad agents", lies and bribes can sink the best proposals and prospects. Chuck pots money into that and you get … this!

    No wonder Hipkins finds it difficult to describe a winning formula.

    • Blazer 2.1

      Do you endorse Hipkins re-election strategy….Robert?

      Personally I thought his Capt's call re wealth tax was a mistake and his belated G.S.T and dental policies were tinkering and seen as bribes.Too little…too late.

      When he took over from Ardern he had positive momentum….the opposition campaign was not inspiring but prevailed.

      • Robert Guyton 2.1.1

        Not endorse so much, more accept, perhaps. I don't think he could realistically have done anything that would have won the election for the Left, as Ad has described. Given that, and my supposition that Hipkins was well aware that there wasn't a particular action he could have taken that would guarantee success, I understand why he didn't try to promote a wealth tax, as it would not have done the trick, but instead "parked" it for later, when a campaign on it could be effectively waged.

      • bwaghorn 2.1.2

        The gst of food policy was treating the voters as thick, everyone new it would cost to implement and the gains would not make it to the shoppers back pocket. Mind numbingly stupid policy, that made me think he really wasn't clever enough for the job.

        • mikesh

          everyone new it would cost to implement

          There may have been an initial cost in reprogramming the checkout machinery, but after that had been done it shouldn't have cost anything. However, I think it should have included a wider range of products, though there may have been some tricky decisions to make in deciding what to include and what to exclude.

          • Belladonna

            More to the point, I don't think anyone trusted the supermarket duopoly to pass on the savings to customers, at least in the long term.

      • Tricledrown 2.1.3

        Only because scandalous behavior by many senior cabinet members seriously undermined Labour's credibility. To blame Hipkins is a very Lame argument.If those 5 or 6 Cabinet members had been competent and kept much higher standards then Labour would have been much closer to forming a govt.Plus putting the Petrol tax back on in a period of high inflation was a dumb move.

    • Johnr 2.2

      Way I see it, nat and lab are just different faces of the same neolib coin. Doesn't matter which way you flip it, it's still the same coin.

      If lab don't depart from that philosophy and strike out to put people first, equality wise, then we'll all still stay yo-yoing around the centre, no direction, no plan, no progress.

      • Robert Guyton 2.2.1

        I think it does matter which way you flip it – the difference isn't anywhere near as marked as I (and you, it seems) would like, but there is a difference and if that's all that's on offer, we'd be foolish not to take it. Making the difference greater is our responsibility, I suppose – grass-roots pressure on the parties that could further our aims is the path to take. Remember also, it's not a binary matter; other parties, worse still than the bigger 2, have influence when partnered through an election result.

        • Belladonna

          I think it does matter which way you flip it

          I would certainly agree with this – not least because the parties of the further left – have made it abundantly clear that they would not work with National (let alone ACT and NZF)

          If you want a left(ish) coalition government – then you have to choose Labour, not National, as the centrist party within the coalition

  3. Adrian 3

    When you are up against determined liars prepared to say anything as the price of power then you are on a hiding to nothing. Hipkins would have had to trump their lies but I think he is a better person than that.

    • bwaghorn 3.1

      Na he tried their tactics, every time he used the stolen coalition of chaos line I threw up a little in my mouth,

    • Vivie 3.2

      I agree with you Adrian. The treachery and moral bankruptcy of the new government is succinctly described by Paul Molloy, in response to a very informative Newsroom article "Threat to walking and cycling a threat to health" on 21.12.23 by Dr Kirsty Wild and Alistair Woodward. It starts "Opinion: The new Government is taking a sledgehammer to measures we know protect health, such as drinking-water safety and smoking cessation, and now it’s undermining efforts to reduce harm from transport. The results will be predictable: rates of disease and early death in our communities, and more stress on our already overburdened health care system. Transport Minister Simeon Brown’s letter to councils this week, urging them to scale back walking and cycling projects is the latest blow. ……".

      Paul Molloy says:

      21/12/2023 at 9:19 am

      It’s truly heartbreaking to see this new Government set on a path to destroy so many moves that had been started towards improving our society. We’re going to give 2.3 billion dollars back to landlords in tax refunds – not a dollar of which will help tenants. And we’re going to wreck the anti-smoking advances made in recent years, build more roads and encourage more driving at the very time we desperately need to be cutting emissions. We’re going to destroy the advances made in Maori health initiatives, and more. It is so galling to see Stephen Joyce given column space in the media to criticise the Labour Government for leaving hidden deficits to booby-trap the incoming Government when (a) all the fiscal risks had been clearly outlined and National chose to deliberately ignore them, and (b) Joyce constantly trumpeted the $10 billion hole in Labour’s proposed budgets 6 years ago when in fact the 10 billion dollar hole was his Government’s vast underfunding of essential infrastructure such as hospitals and schools. Once again we’re going to pay a heavy price for decades to come for the short-term thinking and gut reactions of a public who blamed a local Labour Government for the world-wide effects of Covid – a situation whose flames were fanned by a Press looking for sensation to sell papers rather than to provoke genuine debate.

    • Anne 3.3

      You said it all in one sentence. Thank you Adrian. I'm getting a little sick of this Hipkins bashing. He was always on a hiding to nothing and a wealth or CGT tax promise would not have made one iota of difference.

      If you need to blame individuals then direct it towards those who were primarily responsible – members of the media gang. By and large they let Luxon and his bunch of like minded crooks get away with the most outlandish of lies and devious political behaviour – the latter which we have come to expect from the Right. The reason why many of them did so was varied, but in some instances at least they were looking to protect their own status within the industry.

      It will be interesting to see which of them end up as press secretaries in the new ministerial line-up.

    • Patricia Bremner 3.4

      Adrian, the billionaires club sewed up the election. Dirty politics found all of Labour's achilles heel(s) and dealt to them. They then campaigned on crisis in law education and inflation, with pots of money from their friends. They believe in small government. At $9 per vote adverts as against $1.90, odd, they were bound to win, as they had to swing 5% of the electorate to have enough seats. Blaming all that on Hipkins is wet. He is not the leader we needed, and Jacinda read the mood better than he did. However the tax decisions undermined Robertson and Parker's work, and lost him credibility.

      When people have had a hard emotional time, and relief is promised through tax cuts Wallah!!

      However, many are shocked at the cavalier manner and removal of checks and balances this coalition has employed. With spiteful glee they have begun to dismantle the state. The swing is hard right, and perhaps we will see hard left in the near future.

      Hipkins may grow into the role. A thoughtful steady leader who begins to listen more… but I think we have been too methodical, predictable and easily derailed, because we follow the “rules”.

      • Anne 3.4.1

        Thank you Patricia. Between us I think we laid it out on a platter – sadly not a Xmas platter. The insight of age and experience?

        I included "the billionaires" in my "… like minded crooks".smiley

      • Tricledrown 3.4.2

        Hipkins is a more than competent leader especially of the opposition.He doesn't whine or get flustered nails the topic on point with out the fluff that Luxon Willis Seymour or Peter's wallow in.people will get tired quickly of Luxon and his Conman talking Willis's whinning,Peter's bully tactics Seymours nonsense.Once the shine goes off their gushing it will expose them as hollow politicians full of it.Luxon and Willis are behaving like a FPP govt no compromise even John Key didn't do massive change he was a pragmatist therefore an incrementalist.Nationals policies will force interest rates up at a time when if there were no tax cuts interest rates and inflation would drop.So over the next 3 years interest rates and inflation will stay stubbornly high.Housing will become more unaffordable with migration at all time highs housing construction declining rapidly rents ,mortgages 'house prices, The cost to businesses of ongoing high interest rates will damage our economy. National never have stable economic growth they always pump tax cuts in just before the elections for the feel good factor then the Reserve bank take all away by controlling inflation with interest rate hikes. Luxon is just a big mouth talking over everyone Willis the Whinging winning cheerleader/doomsayer!

  4. John irving 4

    He could have focussed on getting the youth and poor to get out and vote!

    • Robert Guyton 4.1

      Him personally? He was only in the job a short time – surely his team ought to have done as you suggested, far earlier on. I think Adrian has it right.

  5. Peter 5

    The latest Consumer has an article on electric and hybrid cars.

    "We tested 88 electric and hybrid cars on practicality, safety and performance. Find the right vehicle for your needs with our test results and buying guide. Our results are from independent testing in Europe. Some models are not available in Europe, so aren’t included in our results."

    The top two rated vehicles are BMWs. Can't see anyone giving me one of those for Christmas at $207,000 and $289,000.

    • Johnr 5.1

      These car tests leave so many considerations out. Particularly on the cost of ownership. Reliability, cost of parts, insurance, resale value.

      Resale value is particularly important for a small vehicle fleet operator. The economics of fleet operation other than reliability hinges entirely on resale value.

      • Ad 5.1.1

        The two year cycle of new cars being sold by fleet operators will be a real test to see if they depreciate steep enough for those who can afford something in the $20-$30k range …

        … which will be closely watched by those of us who worry about getting a second =hand car battery costing $30-$40k to replace.

        Are there useful examples of secondary markets for EV's or hybrids forming in comparable countries?

    • Ad 5.2

      Yes there's a whole post to write on electric cars and indeed the idea of transition itself as only being affordable by the super-rich.

      Only the super-rich can afford brand new cars and brand new solar systems …

      … unless they are massively subsidised – perhaps even more than Labour-Greens did.

  6. ianmac 6

    Nicola Willis.

    Show Me The Money!!

    Show Me The Money!!

    Show Me The Money!!

    That cost Labour an election it was said, so what about you?

  7. Robert Guyton 7

    Christmas joy!

  8. Robert Guyton 8

    Bowie and Crosby?

  9. lprent 9

    I'll be doing some site development work between now and the 8th Jan while I'm off work (I'm on call for much of the remainder of December and January). Most of that will be writing a modernised theme for the site.

    In theory it won't affect the site until I get to cleaning up plugins. But much of the theme build will be done on the live system, but under the covers.

    Please ignore comments from my alter-ego AncientGeek. I use that login for testing modes other than super-admin.

  10. ickey 10

    labour was the most timid government I can remember. had a majority and did nothing with it could have been transformative but wimped out.Now the leader doesn't know why

    look in the mirror

    • Chess Player 10.1

      Yep, and so obvious.

      Except for those in denial, or with vested interests.

      I think the Ardern years were a dead cat bounce for Labour, as they say in the markets. They’ve been struggling for decades now, and look to have handed the socialist vote to the Greens long term, so being National-lite is all they can aspire to.

      They’re the party for public servants and that’s about it.

  11. SPC 11

    Russia playing moral guardian in the ME after bombing the cities of Syria and moving on Ukraine. There are more refugees from Syrian cities they bombed and Ukraine than the number of people in Gaza and the West Bank.

    If only Maxwell Smart was there with his Khrushchev era shoe phone.

    OK Chief, we agree provided Russian forces withdraw into Russian territory at the same time.

    Then maybe Russians can compete under their flag in 2024.

  12. Ffloyd 12

    +1 Adrian. I had a look at CHs diary from January on and it was jam packed. All these people lambasting him about what he should have done,not done etc, wouldn’t even go out their front door if they were having to face what he was facing day in day out. And this was after the sterling work over Covid with taking on all those portfolios. After assuming PMship he was straight into Auckland floods, overseas meetings,daily blasting from the COCs hurling abuse, lies and concoctions of the truth smirking safely behind their snarling packs of millionaires and lobbyists and Lo and behold John Key. Chris was on a hiding to nothing and he barely had time to breathe getting (Covid himself didn’t help) . Give him a break.

  13. ickey 13

    the only break he needs is from parliment

  14. ickey 14

    labour doesn't respect the working class thats why they never pick any as candidates norm kirk was probably the last one

    • Tricledrown 14.1

      NZ has moved on from that style of Socialism long ago the Corbin experiment in the UK just handed the Torries another 10 years of power.No one wants to go back to that time it's over cloth cap socialism is over. No young ones want to pay union fees or protest about being left out.Their protest is not voting for those bastards all of them are useless as far as they are concerned.

      Labour returning to its roots would be a disaster at the polls.Labour would be a fringe party.People haven't adapted to the reality of the free market and are just hoping for a change back to old school socialism.Which is not going to happen. That's why National voters went with Labour to shut out the greens more progressive agenda. Monied people have way more power than impoverished progressives so no contest. Pragmatic incramentalism is all anyone is going to achieve until more than 50% of the population faces real hardship.Political science 101 reality!

      • Pat 14.1.1

        " Pragmatic incramentalism is all anyone is going to achieve until more than 50% of the population faces real hardship.Political science 101 reality!"

        Unless it all goes down in a screaming heap of conflict beforehand.

      • Terry 14.1.2

        You’re probably right about that. I do try quietly (I’m management, so I shouldn’t) to encourage people who work in my teams to join the union. But the younger ones don’t want to pay union dues, and It’s not really something they think is worthwhile, which is a shame. Many of them think they are up and coming senior managers, so they don’t believe they will benefit.

        • Belladonna

          But the younger ones don’t want to pay union dues, and It’s not really something they think is worthwhile,

          This is very true in my experience. I've worked in a range of organizations which were 'traditionally' unionized. There are still union members, but almost entirely at the upper end of the age brackets. And the union appears to have little influence on anything to do with worker conditions – so the younger people think there is little point in membership.

      • Blazer 14.1.3

        Be very interested to know what …'the reality of the free market'…actually is.

  15. ickey 15

    heres7is me thinking I was talking about NZ not our colonial forebears.There are more and better run countries in the world than England.tricledown says it all really.

  16. Ffloyd 16

    Ickey. You sound very much like your name. Have a lovely Christmas.🎅

    [Please fix your email address in your next comment, thanks – Incognito]

  17. Adrian 17

    You are right Robert, adopting a wealth tax that close to the election would have opened Chippie and Labour up to a huge campaign of even more lies and vilification and the loss would have been even greater. No matter that 60% plus may have thought it was a good idea, once posited by a political party it would have been a millstone, as everyone would have a different idea as to who to target, not themselves of course, it would have been disastrous, hence the “ not on my watch “ statement from him. That’s good politics, a CGT or WT will need to be a multi year well sold campaign to be effective.

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