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Our election

Written By: - Date published: 12:19 pm, February 3rd, 2011 - 68 comments
Categories: activism, election 2011, Left - Tags:

John Key has been less cunning than some thought he would be. A July election could have caught the Left on the hop and ruling out Winston Peters means nothing, he couldn’t get through his privatisation plans while working with Peters anyway.

By going for a November election, he thinks, will let him leverage off the World Cup mini-boom, and enhance running Michael Jones and Inga Tuigamala as candidates. But it means 5 months for the Budget cuts to hurt and gives us 5 more months to work. So, what are we going to do?

Here are my ideas so far:

1) the internet isn’t a substitute for action. Sites like The Standard, especially The Standard, are community hubs for the Left. We come here for discussion and ideas, and to have some online biffo with the righties. But we make a difference by action in the real world, by communicating with our relatives, co-workers, friends, and neighbours and influencing their vote.

2) talk to people about politics. Each of us knows at least a couple of people who are swing voters or National voters and each of us has the information to point out that voting Labour or Green is going to lead to better results. You know their individual issues; you can come to this site or others to find the arguments, if you need to. But I think we can take a leaf from Cameron Slater’s book: the first question is ‘are you better off since Key came to power?’ Key promised we would be and for most of us the answer is no. That makes Key a liar and a loser. Just point it out. Let’s make it our mission to each turn two people we know back to the Left by November.

3) don’t wait for leadership from the parties. The ‘Goffice’ and the Greens leadership don’t look to us, the engaged, active lefties, like they used to. So, we’ve got to make our own fun. Why can’t we make our own campaigns? We know the issues that matter: asset sales, incomes/price rises, public service cuts, Key’s broken promises.

I saw the other day that there’s a “teach-in and strategy gathering” of a group calling itself the “NZ Not For Sale” Campaign on Feb 20 at the Community law Centre on Madras St, in Christchurch. Great! Nowadays we can be, and increasingly must be, self-mobilising and great our materials out to the wider public.

We can design and print our own materials. We can organise our own teams within different communities to distribute them. I’m hoping The Standard will host something like the Campaign Hub they had last election to assist.

John Key is counting on a dis-interested population voting him back in by reflex. But he’s given us the opportunity to run a long and concerted campaign. Let’s get to it.

– Bright Red

68 comments on “Our election ”

  1. Hear hear Bright Red

    Let’s get away from the banal games the right passes as politics and deal with real issues that affect real people. Playing their games empowers them. Getting back to grassroots politics will show up their greatest weakness.

    The left (Labour and the Greens) need a 5% swing for things to get really interesting. That is one person out of ten who voted National last time. They may be a teacher, they may be poor but mistaken, they may have thought that National would be Labour lite with a tax cut. But talking to enough of these people and persuading them to shift left will make a difference.

  2. tc 3

    ‘John Key is counting on a dis-interested population voting him back in by reflex.’ OR

    Sideshow John’s planning plenty of fluffy PR stuff right through to election 11 to complete his list of ‘must do’s’ (including filling Max’s autograpgh book at RWC) as he knows it’s going to be close especially after reading CT’s script at yesterdays press conference which gives NZF all the motivation it needs.

    Sleeping dog gets prodded with big blue stick…..clever eh !

  3. Olwyn 4

    I am keen on this idea, but I am not sure where to begin: we need to come up with something more than discussion-of-policy groups and party door-knocking, though these things are important – we need to come up with localised ideas that have the potential to create a broadly left wing momentum, from the ground up. I will talk to others and see what we can come up with together.

    • McFlock 4.1

      personally, while I might do the placard/leaflet thing, my main effort – all the time – is to ignore the rule that one should dance around politics out of courtesy.

      If food is expensive: fecking govt for reasons X Y Z.
      If oil’s expensive: fecking govt for reasons X Y Z.
      No parking spaces: fecking govt for reasons X Y Z.
      No public transport: fecking govt for reasons X Y Z.
      Unemployment: fecking govt for reasons X Y Z.
      Someone sick on waiting list: fecking govt for reasons X Y Z.

      and so on.

      It’s not actually as singleminded and boring as it sounds 🙂

  4. tc 5

    Spot on MS……I know plenty of migrants that came during Clark’s reign that bought the nat’s message in 08 who once shown some history (the last 2 nat gov’ts) realise that leopards can’t eliminate their spots.

    I’ve pointed several folk to the excellent post here on the Contact case study as that deflates all the BS Sideshow and his dealing room can muster about flogging the power genearators.

    Whatever happened to Sideshow’s financial hub that together with his cycleway future proofed NZ ?

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Whatever happened to Sideshow’s financial hub that together with his cycleway future proofed NZ ?

      Budget will have funds for new cycleways located inside new financial hubs. It will save tonnes of CO2.

      NZ will be a world beater again, at last.

  5. randal 6

    and whats more he is going to get his bum kicked.
    running a government is not the same as running a trading room and while he loves kicking bums he dont like when the postion is reversed.
    he has had enough already.
    did you see gluon spineless last night.
    the venom was fairly oozing out.
    he knows the game is up.

  6. Gotham 7

    I’ve been thinking that the post-World Cup election date could work particularly in favour of the Greens.

    I am wondering if there are ways they can leverage our Green message during the Cup, considering our Government in all its infinite wisdom will be trying to ride on the back of our ‘clean, green NZ’ brand while the tourists are here.

    Traffic (particularly in Auckland) is likely going to be a nightmare, the Europeans (generally well used to warm, insulated houses) could be paying astounding amounts of money to stay in cold and/or damp holiday houses, travelling the country they will be presented with roadside rubbish and unswimable streams (though, granted, it won’t be swimming weather). So much for ‘clean, green NZ’.

    Also, if the Government is going to be advertising our ‘greenness’ during the cup, it could just, by proxy, boost the Greens’ support.

  7. Rich 8

    I worked with botheyesopen last time, and on the spin-off anti-Franks campaign in Wellington. The latter was obviously more successful than the former.

    I’m not sure if anyone in botheyesopen plan to reconstitute next year – it would be good to have a non-party left wing movement.

  8. Lew 9

    Bravo. The status quo is not working, so rather than piss and moan and make excuses, you go and do something about it. Now, if only there were a couple of dozen like you with their arses in green leather seats in a big round building in Wellington with a statue of King Dick out front…


  9. bobo 10

    Is Key really that bothered if he gets back in ? sure doesn’t look like it the last few weeks since getting back from his Hawaiian love bunker , the novelty of cheesy photo ops and inane radio chat shows wears thin when there’s serious money to be made from lucrative insider information and international contacts formed that he could capitalize on away from the public scrutiny of the media. He’s got the “I was PM” T-shirt, been there done that..

    • Tel 10.1

      Hopefully he’ll never be knighted for three years of sitting on his “keyster”

    • ianmac 10.2

      It does seem to me, that for a long time Key is sort of saying that he doesn’t really care if he is PM or not. A sort of “If you don’t like what I’m doing, I’ll take my ball and just go home, so there!”
      Like many whose image is populist there is a gradual weakening of resolve and a wish to be liked for who he really, really is. And who is John Key? Dunno.
      I do write an occasional letter to the Editor which I keep short and focussed. Does it help? Dunno.

  10. Carol 11

    I agree. The left political parties will only change if there’s a ground swell of action from the grass roots. Parties, including right wing parties & Labour, have got too much into the managerial approach, focus groups and operating through our inadequate MSM. They need a shake up.

    Among other things, there needs to be big street rallies against the labour law changes, highlighting the rise in unemployment and lack of NAact plan to improve the economy, the environment and employment for all.

  11. Im surprised Key has announced the election so early in the election year.So what is the crafty bastard up to? Be alert and as the great late Joe Hill said .Organize ! Organize ! Organize.

    • kriswgtn 12.1

      So what is the crafty bastard up to?

      declare martial law?

    • Akldnut 12.2

      I’m surprised with it too – He and his crew are a cunning pack of wolves and slippery as they come, they don’t do anything without reason and it’s always had a lot or careful thought put into it!

      • ron 12.2.1

        I think we heard and saw what he was up to today. I heard three Nat pollies all say something along the lines of “JK isn’t a p[olitician like other politicians. He’s an upfront guy and his announcement proves he doesn’t play games”. It’s part of the myth making

    • Tel 12.3

      The Republic is always plotting evil, and Bright Red and Pink Postman are right. What we need is to gather alms and rise against the Emperer and his apprentice:

      Labour Wars: The Empire Strike Back.

      English: What is thy bidding, my master?
      Key: There is a great disturbance in the Force.
      English: I have felt it.
      Key: We have a new enemy, the young Rebels of the Internet. I have no doubt these people are the offspring of Unions.
      English: How is that possible?
      Key: Search your feelings, Lord English. You will know it to be true. They could destroy us.
      English: They’re just youthful bloggers. Helen can no longer help them.
      Key: The Force is strong with them. The sons and daughters of Union must not become Jedi’s.

  12. vto 13

    Yep, you fullas cold do worse than take a leaf out of Winston bloody Peters book. He has been packing out halls and pounding the pavements and standing on street corners for a while now. All quite under the radar but it has clearly worked for him.



  13. Colonial Viper 14

    Key is making one bet on the unions pulling some stupid shit at the the RWC which will antagonise the NZ public as a whole against unions specifically and against Labour in general.

    His business mates will provoke the confrontation giving the unions their casus belli.

    The Left will walk straight into the set piece trap, be slaughtered on the field of public opinion, and Key/NACT will romp home to save the day.

    • marty mars 14.1

      Yes CV there is a RWC set piece trap and i think goff and labour need to really get their strategy in place otherwise they will be following key around looking like pets. What strategy could work? Dunno – but doing the hurley like goff did is definately not the way to go. It is really a useless strategy. Key is so confident now that it won’t be long before he is calling himself “smile and wave” and revelling in it – he’s already getting the all black jersey on.


      • Carol 14.1.1

        OTOH, there are many Kiwis who are gonna get thoroughly fed up with the coming saturation coverage of the World Cup. I like watching rugby too, but I’m just into watching the matches. I switch off for all the accompanying hoo ha.

        Key’s launch of his election campaign on TV 3 tonight was a good reason to mute and go tend to something more urgent. I just caught a pretty silly image of JK looking like an overgrown nerdy schoolboy in a dodgy blue outfit…. before I headed off elsewhere.

        • marty mars

          sorry carol I don’t know what OTOH means 🙂

          and maybe you are right – that it is nothing to worry about – hope so.

          • Carol

            MM, “On the Other Hand”.

            I’m sure there’s everything to worry about. I’m not sure how the country is divided between pro & anti RWC people. But there will be a fair amount of people fed up with it….. and a large number of them will be women.

            Key seems to be playing largely to a guys with his latest antics. I think one of the things the left should do is get the word about widely as to just how much Key & co see women as secondary to men…. especially getting the word about to women.

            • marty mars

              I agree with you Carol- that is a good idea.

            • Draco T Bastard

              But there will be a fair amount of people fed up with it….. and a large number of them will be women.

              And a lot will be men as well. It may be the “national sport” but only about 25% of the people actually follow it. A large chunk of the other 75% are going to be getting pissed off with the RWC – in fact, quite a few already are (they really don’t see why they should have to pay for a bunch of children to run round the field).

              • orange whip?

                Yeah nah eh, Kiwis go funny over major events like this. Remember the football world cup, and how everyone was suddenly a die-hard life-long soccer fan? Same thing will happen with the rwc.

                My highly scientific estimate is more like 50/50.

            • marty mars

              and thanks too

              • Jim Nald

                Catching up with the posts and all your comments while I’m overseas.
                Wondering what I can add and perhaps the distance and time difference might offer another perspective. How about the following .. ?

                1. Kicking the election date out to as late as possible allows National to stay in power for as long as this electoral cycle will allow, while not necessarily precluding the opportunity to call for an early election. So, there’s really nothing to lose. If anything, the announcement provides a media filler that serves to distract, build a mirage for people to look to, and to falsely offer up a principled image for folks to swallow.

                2. The announcement serves or (when the opportunity arises) will eventually serve a dual purpose. The first is to send a particular message to the coalition/support partners. The second is to potentially (and preemptively) dump electoral blame on them.

                3. That message now to the coalition/support partners is, “Keep your house in order and the Nats will go to the polls in Nov. If you don’t, we the Nats of course have and will exercise our discretion to call for an early election. And you’ll be scapegoated”.

                4. If Nats’ partners implode or their support collapse, Nats will call for an early election, avoid getting tainted by them or its own poor ability to govern, while blaming them for having to break its announcement for a late election. And the Nats will front-foot its campaign to increase its 2008 majority.

  14. Sookie 15

    The media is not the left’s friend. The bias on the network news is so laughingly blatant anyone with a modicum of political knowledge can see it. It’s like Fox News took over in the last few years and it’s puke-inducing. Sadly, mostly people believe what they see/hear. Goff may be tainted with loserdom, but I don’t think anyone else in his place would prevail against the one sidedness. The Greens get no publicity, ditto NZ First unless someone’s bagging Winston. What to do?

    • Draco T Bastard 15.1

      Sadly, mostly people believe what they see/hear.

      Recent research is starting to show that that is perhaps biological programming. Disbelieving what you see/hear in the wild isn’t the best survival option.

  15. Rharn 16

    I’m surprised Peter’s never preempted Key by stating that he would not work with Key and the Nat’s.

    Given the fact that this was Key’s response prior to the last election a little bit of tit for tat might have been in order. I wonder if Peter’s is begining to lose it.

    • Tel 16.1

      I’m equally surprised that Phil Goff did not seize the chance to take the piss out of the Nat’s yesterday by saying Labour won’t work with Hide or Douglas, (hell I’d get two Pay-TV’s for a year to see some comedy like that) instead he brainlessly responds with his own hot list when prompted by the media… ffs! Note to Phil: This isn’t a presidential election campaign, you’re never going to be a cat walk-sock puppet-shallow puddle like Key, so stop reacting to every media stunt in the vain hope you might oust him as the biggest douchebag in the country.

      • Colonial Viper 16.1.1

        After yesterday, the only conclusion is that Labour’s self styled PR types pretty much suck. Do you happen to be looking for a new job, Tel? LAB could use you to good effect this year.

  16. …enhance running Michael Jones and Inga Tuigamala as candidates

    That’s kind of John, leavening all the boring political stuff with some inadvertent stand up comedy. I do hope someone streams the meet-the-candidates meetings… I’ll start stocking up on Scotch and cigars.

  17. Samuel 18

    What is the simple message (banner) that needs to be understood by the swing voters? Whatever it is it needs to be repeated and repeated. Nail that down and you’ll have something to work with. This is much harder than it sounds but here is my attempt …….

    For me the fundamental problem is that Key is running the country for a minority, the few not the many, certainly not me or you. He has conned enough swing voters into believing he is acting in their best interests as well as the best interests of the majority.

    What is the evidence that he is not. Asset sales, tax benefits for the more wealthy, the lack of an employment policy, general disregard for the environment, privatisation to allow private profits to be taken from public activities etc etc

  18. Brett 19

    If this thread is anything to go by,you guys have a bit of work

    • just saying 19.1

      Interesting trademe poll. The question was Key or Goff. Leaving out non-answers I make the total:
      Key 35 not Key 32

      Key 35, Neither 14, Winston 5, Hone or Sue 4, Goff 6, Greens 1 (obviously they may have many of the neithers) don’t know 2, Misc non-Key 2.

      This is a rough count but a reasonable snapshot anyhow

  19. Anthony C 20

    If only it was the future and we could make moving posters.


    • orange whip? 20.1

      By the year 2000 we won’t just be making moving posters, we’ll all be living in them!

  20. GP 21

    I’m one of the swing voters you talk about here and I’m still undecided who to give my party vote to. So here’s your chance – convince me to vote Labour, if you can.

    • Eddie 21.1

      John Key has failed in his promise to deliver a brighter future for New Zealanders:

      unemployment is up, wages are down, crime is up, NZIER says that 60% of households got no net benefit out of the tax switch, while Key pocketed $23,600 a year. Selling our assets actually costs us more in the long run. Key has undermined our savings by canceling the Cullen Fund contributions (loss of gains so far – $135 million) and gutting Kiwisaver. Gutting the Emissions Trading Scheme means that you and me are subsidising polluters to the tune of $110 billion over the next 40 years.

      That’s why not to vote for National.

      Vote for a Labour-led government (ie Labour or Greens) because of the record and the policies – Labour paid down debt, got unemployment down, got crime down, wages rose at a record rate. With Labour in power you never doubt that the government is 100% committed to the job – they’re not their for the glamour, they’re not their to smile and wave, they believe in a better New Zealand, and the last time they were in government they delivered it. Labour and the Greens will not sell our assets, they are committed to New Zealand being able to choose its own path and to preventing short-term greed from undermining our children’s future.

    • Marty G 21.2

      I would add to what Eddie’s written just by saying that I don’t look at politics as a bunch of people bidding for my vote.

      Instead, I have a vision of a world I want to live in (environmentally sustainable, fair, just, free of poverty, peaceful) and I ask ‘which of the parties has a vision most like mine and do I trust to actually try to work towards that vision. For me, Key failed the last part – he spoke of a brighter future but I didn’t trust him to really try to deliver it, and that mistrust proved valid. Whereas I know that Labour and the Greens do work towards the goals I believe in.

      I guess for me it’s not seeing voting as a commercial transaction but rather finding the political party that will be the best vehicle for my ideals.

    • BLiP 21.3

      Its about the grandchildren, not the grand in the bank. Vote Greens.

    • Carol 21.4

      NAct policies are resulting in a more divided and hierarchical society in many ways. And Key and many in National and Act have a mid-20th century attitude to women: ie, men should be in charge and most women should be in a secondary role and just support the top men. Many of their policies have caused a rise in unemployment, with unemployment rising more for women. They are making cuts to social services, meaning that a lot more of the caring that helps make the country run successfuly, will be done by unpaid workers. The majority of these will be women.

      NAct are gutting early childhood care and eduction. This will have a major impact on the whole of society: rise in crime, poor health outcomes, lower levels of eduction that will work against developing a solid and sustainable economy, rise in unemployment etc.

      • just saying 21.4.1

        I hope young women of the broad “I’m not a feminist but I do beleive in equal rights” category begin to see that they, their sisters, mothers, and friends, etc, are being diminished, their power eroded, and their vulnerablilty increased, by the changes and cuts. And of course their burdens or potential burdens increased.

        Who knows when a tipping point might happen or what would trigger it. I do believe that incidents like the Key/Veitch one have not been as uncritically embraced as it might seem on the surface of the water, and an accumulation of them will have an effect eventually.

  21. Carol 22

    I wouldn’t do that. I will be voting Green as will some others here.

  22. WainuiBumpkin 23

    Um…Gee Eddie, maybe all those Labour “policies” could have had something to do with the most sustained global economic boom the world has ever seen while Labour was in government…..what a moron. And P.S. John Key donates his salary to charity.

    • Marty G 23.1

      I love the scare quotes around “policies” as if policies are something that doesn’t really exist.

      Of course Labour governed during an economic boom but it’s a question of what you do with the economic situation the world hands you. Labour invested in the future (paying down debt, building the Cullen Fund, Kiwisaver, Early Childhood Education, interest-free student loans,), improved working conditions and the minimum wage, and gave everyone a tax cut by cutting the bottom rate. National wanted them to spend every cent on tax cuts for the rich, which would just have meant a worse deficit when the boom eventually ended.

      In contrast, National has governed in a weak global economy but has managed to grossly enrich the already rich elite with tax cuts on borrowed money, which Key now wants to pay for by selling our assets to, you guessed it, the rich elite and overseas. He has let wages fall and failed to invest in job creation. It didn’t have to be that way. Governments aren’t helpless to impact the economy (they make up 30-odd % of it and make the legal framework it operate in) – Labour and National had choices, and we’ve seen the outcomes.
      And no-one has ever presented any evidence that Key donates his salary to charity.

    • Kevin Welsh 23.2

      Donates it to who?

      He says he donates it but provides no evidence. Personally I think he is a lying sack of shit.

      • orange whip? 23.2.1

        I’ve never heard him even say that.

        I heard him before the election say that if he were PM he would probably donate “a good part” of his salary to charity.

        Which could mean any amount at all. That’s how Key works, he says ambiguous things and we all fill in the blanks. When he’s questioned he can always say “well I never actually said that” and he’ll usually be right.

        Yeah he’s a lying sack of shit and sooner or later nz will have to wake up and listen to what he’s actually saying instead of what they think he means.

  23. del 24

    The issue and problem for us, is that we with myself included, revert to being anti Key (or National) and not pro Goff (or Labour).
    Its negative and didn’t work last and wont the next time.
    Love the groundswell idea though – just wish we had the structural leadership.

    • Pete 24.1

      Yes, far too much negativity, if some political news comes out I’ve come to expect Labour to use off pat negative phrases that have become a groan drone.

      The world hasn’t ended under National, things could be better (always) but aren’t anywhere near as bad as the incessant whine of opposition.

      Wimpy wolf cries won’t cut it.

  24. nadis 25

    If I was a left leaning voter, i’d like to see a statement from the Greens and Labour as to how and where they see common cause and how they could work together. The history of co-operation in government between the two parties is obviously not great, and if a coalition needs to cobble together, winston, dunne and the greens then it may not happen given antipathy of peters and dunne to the greens.

    Labour and Greens should draw a line in the sand a la john key and say “here is how a left government would look, and more importantly here is how it will work on a day by day basis”.

    The present wishiwashiness from goff will just bleed support over the next year due to the contrast with the nat position. Don’t even have to rule winston out – just say he won’t be in a labour cabinet but we would like to work with him on issues of common interest.

  25. WainuiBumpkin 26

    Marty, the Labour administration squandered their inheretence on hip hop tours, dog grooming courses, train sets, a massive boom in public sector jobs that created no value whatsoever and welfare blowouts (ACC, Sickness Benefits, but oh how they kept the “official” unemployment figure down), interest free student loans. i.e. buying votes from the me too please brigade.
    Yes, National can be accused of “not doing enough” but under Labour/Greens we would be in a much worse position. How the hell is Goff planning to fund his latest $10 a week tax cut? Taxing the “rich” is only going to produce a third of what he needs.
    The left wing has always relied on government handouts to fund their way of life, rather than going and doing what actually produces for our country – mortgage your house, start a business, export, employ people who pay real taxes, and yes for that you should be entitled to some reward without it being confiscated by the “rich prick” mentality.
    Did you ever consider the National tax cuts benefit skilled public sector employees too – Doctors, Teachers, Scientists who would otherwise accept double the salary in Australia?
    And lastly – why don’t you just admit that Goff is your problem. Helen Clark still polls higher as preferred PM! He has no appeal whatsoever and is being forced to spout old socialist policies he doesn’t believe in himself. Go on admit it. You’ll feel much better for finally saying it.

  26. NX 27

    As a supporter of a John Key National led administration – I wholeheartedly endorse your plan to use TheStandard.org.nz arguments to turn as many people as you can to vote Labour and the Greens.

  27. WainuiBumpkin 28

    NX, nearly all contributors here are already Labour/Greens voters so no matter and it’s fun winding up humourless, hand wringing lefties. Besides there’s a few swingers here. At least I’m happy to read and consider all your views and weigh them up (and then admittedly dismiss them). Come and have a go on kiwiblog.

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