VUW Post-election Conference

Written By: - Date published: 9:37 pm, February 16th, 2012 - 9 comments
Categories: uncategorized - Tags:

I attended the VUW post-election conference in Legislative Chamber today, held under Chatham House rules. Usual mix of insight tinged with the odd bit of bullshit – the best contribution by far IMHO came from Colin James.  Election conference 12Feb16

James argues that 2011 was a status-quo election for National, the party that has won two-thirds of the time over the last century. I’m not as determinist; but determination to win was a key factor in our success in three elections from 1999. I think perceived absence of this determination was a reason why many Labour electorate voters placed their  their party vote elsewhere, a feature that James analyses in some depth.

I agree with James’ analysis that Labour’s buying into the fiscal responsibility frame cost it dearly; it is a mistake that the British Labour party also seems to want to make. It is true that Labour governments will always have to be fiscally responsible, and Michael Cullen certainly was, but it does not have to be me-too.

James is also right about Labour’s negative frame, a point made in 2008  by Steven Joyce and again with justification this time. While Labour never changed its “No asset sales” line, National’s “mixed ownership” message refined through focus group testing went unchallenged. It’s running out of steam now and ripe for a broad-based campaign, hopefully better targeted.

All through the 2008-2011 Labour had chanted “National has no plan”.  National countered this criticism with its  6-point plan,  publicised far and wide. And in the campaign James points out;

promises were modest but couched in such a way as to make the government look very busy: a 120-point action plan, mostly of things already in train, was published shortly before election day.

Labour’s 6-point plan for  jobs and growth came late in the campaign.  James’ critique is the first I’ve seen of National’s 120-point rehash.

However the real point of post-election evaluation is to learn the lessons and prepare the ground for the next election. In James’ view the 2011 election is transitional, and I agree; that is perhaps why it has not been seen as exciting as some others.

James looks at three key transitions; cultural, environmental, and generational – Maori politics, Green politics, and post baby-boom politics. All are crucial, and in all cases Labour is well-placed if it is smart enough and strategic enough.

As for National, their strategy is based on being able to produce results by 2014, much like Cameron in the UK. Politically, now that they have cannibalised the right, their paradoxical hope lies in Winston. If he stays in Parliament, stays on the cross-benches, and supports the party with a plurality, assuming that is National. A lot of ifs.

Food for thought indeed.

 

9 comments on “VUW Post-election Conference”

  1. Lanthanide 1

    VUW stands for Victoria University of Wellington for anyone else who had no idea what this was about.

  2. swordfish 2

    “James argues that 2011 was a status-quo election for National, the party that has won two-thirds of the time over the last century.”

    Possible to over-emphasise National’s popularity over the last century.

    First of all, the Nats of course didn’t exist as such until 1936 (or 1931 if you include the National Coalition between Reform and United).

    Second, if we focus on who actually won the popular vote (rather than the most seats) then you get the following:

    Labour: 1935 (1), 1938 (2), 1943 (3), 1946 (4), 1957 (5), 1972 (6), 1978 (7), 1981 (8), 1984 (9), 1987 (10), 1993 (Labour + Alliance = 53% + Peters = 62%) (11), 1999 (12), 2002 (13), 2005 (14).

    = 14 Elections.

    National: 1949 (1), 1951 (2), 1954 (3), 1960 (4), 1963 (5), 1966 (6), 1969 (7), 1975 (8), 1990 (9), 1996 (10), 2008 (11), 2011 (12).

    = 12 Elections.

    I’d also add that Labour lost by only 0.2% in 1954 and 1% in 1969 and arguably the Left won in 1996 (if you include Peters).

    Call me an utter bastard, but there you go.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Second, if we focus on who actually won the popular vote (rather than the most seats) then you get the following

      Yep, historically speaking, MMP should favour the Left – if it gets its shit together.

  3. Dotty 3

    What were James’ references to Paula Bennett’s health and a possible by election in Waitakere about?

    • millsy 3.1

      I don’t think we was speculating about PB’s health, I think he was just saying that Labour could win the seat back in the (unlikely) event she leaves for any reason.

      Interesting article by the way. Though I would disagree with a few of his points.

    • ianmac 3.2

      Not sure what is meant by the Peter’s paradox.

  4. Rose 4

    Negativity isn’t inspiring. Positive messages are. Maybe Labour could change its line ‘Stop/no asset sales’ to ‘Keep/hold on to/grow our assets/resources’.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      People are lossi-phers. They hate loss. They hate to lose something that they already have. Not losing a dollar you already have is far more motivating for most than the opportunity to make another dollar in the future.

      Therefore the negative message should stay IMO, but be partnered with a positive message.

      Regardless, the Right have access to far better PR focus group resources than the Left, hence their rapid fine tuning of the messages they push out to voters.

  5. Foreign Waka 5

    It was the change of guards, internal fights about leadership and its selection (I haven’t seen much from the new Labour leader so far) lack of focus and no coherent ideas on the part of labour that decided the election. Considering all that National should have won in leaps and bounds – but it didn’t. It needed the traitor on the trough party – translated Maori Party – to hold on to power.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • More proof National not delivering for New Zealanders
    The Ministry of Social Development’s latest Household Incomes Report is more hard evidence of the growing poverty in New Zealand, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National claims to be delivering for New Zealanders. This report puts the lie ...
    21 hours ago
  • Strong support from medical community for Healthy Homes Bill
    More than a thousand medical professionals, medical students, and other New Zealanders have shown their support for Labour’s Healthy Homes Guarantee Bill, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    24 hours ago
  • Labour will fund Buller Health Centre
    A Labour Government will fully fund the Buller Integrated Family Health Centre in Westport, confirming its commitment to the people of the West Coast and the role of central government to fund essential public services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David ...
    1 day ago
  • National’s affordable promise for Auckland more smoke and mirrors
    The 26,000 additional houses National plans to build in Auckland on public land over the next decade include fewer than 5,000 affordable homes, while more than 60 per cent will be available for speculators to buy, says Leader of the ...
    1 day ago
  • National out of touch over immigration
    National’s abrupt backflip on their recently-announced changes to immigration shows they never understood the problem and just came up with a confused knee jerk response, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Regional communities and businesses were quite right to ...
    2 days ago
  • English out of touch on homelessness
    Bill English’s comments that he doesn’t know why people are complaining about the blowout in the number of homeless families the government is putting up in motels just shows how tired and out of touch National is after nine years, ...
    2 days ago
  • All Kiwis to have same standard of cancer care
    Labour is promising that all New Zealanders will have access to the same level of cancer care no matter where they live in the country, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.   “As someone who has survived cancer I ...
    3 days ago
  • Infrastructure announcement too long coming
    “What took you so long?” is Labour’s response to the Government’s announcement of a new infrastructure investment vehicle. Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says Labour announced its policy in 2015 to debt-finance infrastructure and service that debt with targeted ...
    3 days ago
  • Time for a breather on immigration
    National has no idea how to house the record number of people entering New Zealand, let alone cope with the pressure on health, education, and transport from this record population growth, says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour to invest $4 billion in education
    Labour’s Education Manifesto will bring positive change across the education sector and is backed by a massive investment, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Labour’s plan will see an extra $4 billion invested over the next four years. It’s organised ...
    5 days ago
  • National’s shame: worst homelessness in the OECD
    National’s legacy is a housing crisis that has given New Zealand the worst homeless rate in the developed world, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour taking action on school donations
    Labour will end so-called voluntary school donations for the majority of parents across the country under its $4 billion plan to revitalise the education sector, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Labour has always been committed to a world-class free education ...
    5 days ago
  • Labour to work with Queenstown to build more houses
    Labour will work with Queenstown-Lakes District Council, iwi, and the Community Housing Trust to build the modern, affordable housing Queenstown desperately needs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    6 days ago
  • Nats blow the Budget on motels after bowling state houses
    National is spending $140,000 a day putting homeless families in motels, the legacy of nine years of selling off and knocking down state houses, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    6 days ago
  • New revelations in Joanne Harrison report
    The State Services Commission’s report into the treatment of whistle-blowers by Joanne Harrison has revealed new accusations against the convicted fraudster, says Labour MP Sue Moroney.  “The report found that four staff inside the Ministry of Transport who had raised ...
    6 days ago
  • Snafu at Princess Margaret
    Jonathan Coleman has to stop the stalling over a new building for mental health services in Christchurch to replace the quake damaged Princess Margaret Hospital, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “The Government must accept that Christchurch is still recovering ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s fiscal plan to build a fairer New Zealand
    Labour will re-build our housing, health and education while responsibly managing New Zealand’s finances, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.  “Under Labour’s Fiscal Plan we will deliver big investments in the services we all need and care about, invest ...
    7 days ago
  • Nats show they’re the tax dodgers’ best friends
    The government is taking the knife to IRD at a time when we need a highly skilled department to ensure that multinationals and speculators don’t get away with dodging tax, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour secures the future for NZ Super
    A Labour Government will secure the future for New Zealand Superannuation so we can continue to provide superannuation to those retiring at age 65, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “One of the first things a Labour-led Government will ...
    1 week ago
  • Multinationals must pay fair share of tax
    A Labour Government will crack down on multinational companies that are dodging paying their fair share of tax, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “New Zealanders are missing out by hundreds of millions according to the IRD because multinational companies can ...
    1 week ago
  • ACT’s approach to children backward and ill informed
    Act’s new deputy leader’s claim that Labour’s support for families could “extend the misery of child poverty and even child abuse” is ill informed and offensive, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Canterbury hatchet job a disgrace
    The Government’s glib acceptance of advice that the Canterbury District Health Board doesn’t need more money is a hatchet job and a disgrace, says Labour’s Health Spokesperson David Clark. “To claim that the DHB was using tactics to leverage more ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Quality for Kiwi kids at ECE
    After more than a decade of rapid growth in the number of children participating in Early Childhood Education (ECE), it’s time to take stock and map out a clear plan for the future, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to boost ECE quality
    Labour will ensure kids get the best start in life by boosting funding for Early Childhood Centres to employ 100 per cent qualified and registered teachers, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour will stump up a million dollars for Maniototo Hospital
    A Labour led Government will make a million dollars available to rebuild the Maniototo Base hospital in Ranfurly, says the Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little.  “This will be a much needed boost for a long overdue rebuild that has ...
    2 weeks ago
  • No vision for the West Coast
    The West Coast welcomes any Government investment in our region but the lack of any real alternative vision for the West Coast’s economy is disappointing, says Damien O’Connor Labour’s West Coast-Tasman MP.  “The establishment of a Mining Research Unit will ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s youth work scheme too little too late
    After nine years, National’s belated attempt to provide work opportunities for unemployed youth should be seen for what it is, a half-hearted, election gimmick from a party that’s ignored the problem till now, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis won’t fall for Joyce’s spin
    Steven Joyce’s embarrassingly obvious spin on Labour’s Families Package won’t fool anyone, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour prioritises families and public services
    Labour’s Families Package delivers a bigger income boost to more than 70 per cent of families with children than Budget 2017. By not spending $1.5 billion a year on tax cuts, Labour is able to do more for lower and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwis can’t sleep in your ghost houses, Nick
    The Government’s housing infrastructure announcement is another Nick Smith special – over-promising with no detail on delivery, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour helps older New Zealanders and low income families with winter heating bills
    Labour will further boost its commitment to warm, healthy housing with a Winter Energy Payment for superannuitants and people receiving main benefits, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Everyone deserves a warm, healthy home to live in. But that’s ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National must rule out retrospective override for Ruataniwha
    National must categorically rule out using retrospective legislation to override the Supreme Court’s decision that the land swap of conservation land flooded by the proposed Ruataniwha Dam was illegal, says Labour’s Shadow Attorney General David Parker. “Having not got their ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Flavell’s failure a win for Māori landowners
    The Māori Development Minister’s admission that his unpopular Ture Whenua Māori Bill won’t pass into law prior to the election is a victory for Māori landowners, but only a change of government will keep the Bill gone for good, says ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Stats confirm growing housing shortfall
    National’s failure to fix the housing shortage has been starkly illustrated by new statistics, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Systemic abuse of kids in state care
    After admitting there was systemic abuse of children in State care the Government must do the right thing and launch an independent inquiry, says Labour’s Deputy Leader Jacinda Ardern. ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Migrant worker exploitation needs sharper focus
    The astonishing number of employers found guilty of exploiting migrants shows that migrant exploitation is a serious problem in New Zealand, says Labour Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “A total of 53 companies have been banned from recruiting ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minister faces questions over dam debacle
    Today’s Supreme Court ruling dismissing an appeal to allow a land swap for the controversial Ruataniwha Dam is a victory for our conservation estate and Hawke’s Bay ratepayers, but leaves the Conservation Minister with serious questions to answer, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Too little too late on Wellington housing
    The announcement today on social housing in Wellington by the National Government is a pitiful and cynical election ploy, says Labour’s Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson. “In 2012 Housing New Zealand emptied out the Gordon Wilson Flats, taking 130 places ...
    3 weeks ago