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So NZ Labour wanted the Headlines.

Written By: - Date published: 3:29 pm, August 1st, 2017 - 50 comments
Categories: election 2017, elections, greens, jacinda ardern, labour, liberalism, Metiria Turei, Politics - Tags: , , ,

I guess the next few days or more will be filled with rampant speculation on what NZ Labour will do next, and that speculation will come alongside some gushing praise for Jacinda Ardern ,as well as whatever amount of condemnation.

But whatever happens, NZ Labour has a policy platform that many have found underwhelming. And unless I’m missing something, the current NZ Labour caucus constructed that platform, mounted that platform, and will have no option but to remain standing on that platform. Now sure, Ardern offers up a more appealing shiny wrapper for NZ Labour’s sales pitch. And we all know that a salesperson can sometimes make a decisive impact on potential buyers.

And if the question was to be between two political brands of the same product (ie – National’s liberalism or NZ Labour’s liberalism), then I’d say Ardern’s potential impact on voters might be fruitful. But NZ no longer has to choose between two competing brands of the same product – the Green Party have somewhat broken that constrictive mould.

NZ Labour will have known that Metiria’s “calling out” of NZs social security system has resonated. And they will know their winter fuel allowance, welcome though it was, just pales away to nothing next to the Green Party’s commitment to raise benefit levels, extend eligibility of WFF to the unemployed and rid WINZ of a punative culture that particularly, though by means way solely, demonises women on the DPB and even presumes to determine their relationships.

So, given what everybody knows, can we expect NZ Labour to suddenly expand or re-cast their already announced policies to encompass aspects of Green Party policy where those policies would have been a natural fit for any pre-’84 Labour Party? Well, no. Of course not. They have to rein things in.

Much more likely then, while still adhering to the letter of the MoU they have with the Green Party, they will be more inclined to throw wee dry sticks into the likes of the flames of moral condemnation that some tried to fan around Meriria’s truthfulness of what it means to be on the DPB.  Ardern already kind of did that  by insisting in an interview about Metiria’s revelations, that an MP can’t condone breaking the law, given that an MP is charged with forming the law. The fact that Metiria hasn’t condoned breaking the law and has merely said she understands why people break the law with regards WINZ while condemning the system that forces them into untenable positions was, it seems, by the by.

Then there was the nonsense Willie Jackson threw up about how the Green Party should endorse NZ Labour candidates in the Maori seats. Andrew Little was clear that wasn’t going to happen –

Jackson was rebuffed by Labour leader Andrew Little soon after, who said the two parties had already agreed not to enter deals on seats and the focus was on ensuring the campaign was respectful and they did not “trip each other up”.

– but he’s gone.

In short, I expect to see a fair bit of “Oops! Very sorry, didn’t mean to trip you there.” stuff to be coming from NZ Labour now. (Christ knows, their caucus has enough of a track record on that front towards their own, never mind towards politicians of other parties.) NZ Labour has nowhere left to go. It has hemmed itself in. And I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that it’s now fighting for its future political survival. So if the Green Party doesn’t step up anew and very soon on another policy front, such as education or whatever other bigger policy they haven’t announced yet, then the ‘re-set’ that I’m picking to be under way within NZ Labour is likely to result in a damaging low level ‘beat up’ on the Greens from a smiling, caring NZ Labour between now and the election.

And that could yield results if the Greens present themselves as a sitting target – because the marginalised and others could quite easily disengage if the political environment becomes viewed as hostile or irrelevant again. And that could leave what remains of a potential Green/Labour voting bloc to  drift from a bruised Green Party that’s become snagged in the polls towards, and however however reluctantly, the somewhat dull and grey prospects of NZ Labour’s policy platform. In other words, NZ Labour will have successfully pulled off what it needs to pull off for its own political survival, and repaired the constrictive ‘liberal us or liberal them’ mould of NZ politics.

So the way I see it, the Greens need to ‘tool up’ and step up to prevent our electoral option being taken back to a choice between two brands of the same product yet again.

They need to keep front stepping and calling things for what they are. They need to be  colourful. They need to be bold. And they need to be tireless. They need to keep pushing forwards in ways that appeal to those who have had enough; those who want something more than  a different flavoured sauce on some liberal fayre; those who have become marginalised; those who have become disengaged; those who demand hope.

 

 

50 comments on “So NZ Labour wanted the Headlines.”

  1. McFlock 1

    Labour policy is solid, but not overly flashy.
    Little as leader was solid, but not overly flashy.
    Wasn’t really getting them anywhere, what with the greens being showy and having some flashy policy.

    I don’t think we’ll see a policy change with Ardern, but she will have higher visibility as the tories try to collapse the Labour vote. Not a bad thing.

    However: Kelvin Davis as deputy? I have the impression he’s a bit of a dick, but can’t remember why. I know he got TTT off hone, but is he part of the pro-charter school crowd too? I also seem to recall him mouthing off once or twice in a dickish way.

    His promotion might be more of a signal than Ardern’s.

    • I know he got TTT off hone, but is he part of the pro-charter school crowd too?

      IIRC, he’s an ‘investor’ in one of them. Perhaps one of the ones that failed badly but ended up with a couple of hectares of prime land paid for by the government.

      I also seem to recall him mouthing off once or twice in a dickish way.

      I believe there’s been a few such instances.

    • Karen 1.2

      Kelvin Davis is not “a bit of a dick.”

      He was instrumental in Serco losing their contract to run Mt Eden.
      Here’s John Palethorpe:
      🤔 John Palethorpe‏ @jjpalethorpe 12h12 hours ago
      “Two years ago today-ish @NgatiBird came to the Serco protest I organised. He was helpful, polite, kind and furious. Good to see him kick on.”

      He exposed the treatment of prisoners in Manus Island and other detention centres.

      He is very strong on prison reform and the need to stop sending people with addiction and mental health issues to prison – he said this is a health issue and we need to stop punishing people for being ill.

      A friend of mine who does a lot of voluntary work in the domestic violence/ woman’s refuge area said he has worked really hard in this area and had always been incredibly supportive of their work. She is a left-wing feminist and thinks Kelvin is great.

      There are two charter schools that he is supportive of but they are community led Māori run schools that will easily fit into the Labour Party’s special character model as they both use registered teachers and are fulfilling a particular need.

      • McFlock 1.2.1

        True, I recall the Manus Island thing now. That was good work.

        Hmmm. I can’t shake the feeling that he took a line that really pissed me off, though. Probably the charter school thing.

        Oh well, if it was a one-off, no worries. If not, I’ll have a better source of criticism than “something I can’t put my finger on”. 🙂

        • weka 1.2.1.1

          I think he’s also a bit of a dick as well as doing the good things Karen points out. Mostly it’s the macho stuff around TTT. My estimation of him went up yesterday when he put the Mp on notice up their game but basically said yeah, we’ll work with you if it comes to that. So not an dogmatic dick.

  2. One Anonymous Bloke 2

    The other thing the Greens have to do is concentrate on their own policies and kaupapa and resist the temptation to react to any centre left provocation.

    I think their supporters would be wise to do the same.

    • Bill 2.1

      I agree.

      But this nonsense from NZ Labour has kind of side swiped a whole lot of stuff, including what the Greens were building. I guess my post is suggesting they need to kick start that whole thing again. And I’m also suggesting that NZ Labour will not be exactly well disposed towards them given the general mess and parlous state they’re in.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1

        First the Greens, and now Labour, have done something that you’re just not supposed to do.

        I’m yet to be convinced that’s a bad thing.

        Political pundits posit all sorts of rational explanations for why it’s a bad thing, and Neurobiology tells us that “rational” decision making is a myth.

        Cinny says talkback is full of people saying they’re voting Labour today. Go figure.

        • marty mars 2.1.1.1

          Yep I’m convinced it is all good. Labour and the Greens are not in competition – target those dim gnats with that damp facecloth bill – call me bill –
          english – he is going down and will look idiotic when against the Greens and Labour.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.1.1.1

            I’m completely unconvinced: too wary of my own confirmation bias. Not that I’m ruling it out 😀

          • Bill 2.1.1.1.2

            Can’t quite follow that comment marty. I mean, I get that you’re having a go at me…for something I haven’t written (Greens and NZ Labour in competition).

            Go back to the post.

            The letter of the MoU will be honoured. I’m saying the spirit of the MoU’s going to get tossed out by NZ Labour. It’s a party that’s basically flailing about trying to avoid its own political death and inflicting massive wounds on itself (and potentially on others) in the process.

            It’s not the first Labour Party in the English speaking world to be experiencing these death throes. Scottish Labour ‘went’ (22% and third place in the 2016 election) – and for the same reasons that NZ Labour is going.

            Ironically given they’re a Blairite/liberal party, Scottish Labour got a bit of a Lazarus effect from Corbyn becoming leader of UK Labour.

            NZ Labour doesn’t have any such path to possible resurrection that I can see.

            • marty mars 2.1.1.1.2.1

              I’m not talking about you – but the other bill running the bloody country.

              Sorry if it was ambiguous – edit – reading it back it is easy to see that I stuffed up my sentences – sorry again.

              I am feeling optimistic. I don’t think The Greens and Labour will affect each others vote. The Gnats and english will look stupid, slow and dottery compared to the Greens and Labour.

              • Bill

                Ah, Here was me thinking that “attacking someone with a damp facecloth” was just some odd expression I’d never come across. –cough

              • weka

                “I don’t think The Greens and Labour will affect each others vote”

                Except in a good way. Labour looking competent and strong is necessary for the Greens to get into govt. More of a worry for me is NZF. It’s up to Labour to go after that vote, hoping that’s the conclusion they reach in the next few days.

        • savenz 2.1.1.2

          We can only hope that the disappointed Labour supporters vote Green and Jarcinda pushes more people to vote Labour who would otherwise not voted or voted for National. So it ends up more combined voters for that block.

    • David Mac 2.2

      I agree, there is plenty of ripe electorate for both the Greens and Labour to harvest. There are 100,000’s of people staring at the prospect of never owning their own homes. Leave the far left aspect for the Greens and talk with those that have an alarm clock ringing at 6am, 6 days a week. Too many of them are struggling to meet the rent bill, a house deposit an impossible dream.

      I think Jacinda indicated in her press conference that she has potential inter party clashes handled. “The Greens have their policies, I’m here to talk about Labour.” Simple and effective.

  3. Peroxide Blonde 3

    England has Brexit.
    USA has Russia Gate.
    NZ has Grant Robertson organising a leadership change that excludes the membership.

    • The Lone Haranguer 3.1

      But history will show that, despite Grant Robertson organising a leadership challenge (and more in the future Im picking), that hes never organised one that puts him into place “Numero Uno”

      So hes really a bit of a faliure in my view

  4. billmurray 4

    Not sure I am on right comment page but congratulations to ‘the Standard’ for giving excellent coverage of the dramatic change of leadership in Labour, well done.

  5. Louis 5

    Was it only about headlines or did Labour do a knee jerk becasue they didn’t want a repeat media hatefest like what happened to Cunliffe in 2014? No wonder the media thinks it has full dictatorial powers, Labour once again shows it has no spine or balls.

    [lprent: You are acting like a troll. Automoderation until you prove you are a human capable of contributing to the debate. In the meantime I have removed all of your suspect comments that no-one replied to. ]

    • David Mac 5.1

      Changing engines 2 hours before the race starts is not spineless, it’s a brave calculated risk. It’s an ‘All in’ call that will illuminate the run-up to the election. People that don’t care about polls will be curious to hear how Jacinda travels. On Andrew’s part, Jacinda’s and the party, I think it’s far from gutless, took courage. I hope their bravery is rewarded with good fortune.

      • Louis 5.1.1

        Yeah sure, you can believe that if you want. Voters dont usually reward leadership changes like this, particularly this close to an election as its seen as being weak and divisive. Hope those within Labour are happy with themselves, we will find out soon enough if this was worth it or not.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2

      I suspect Jacinda Ardern would deal with that opinion in much the same way as she dealt with Paddy and Corin.

    • Louis 5.3

      Fine. I am not a troll just angry at Labour.

      [lprent: So express it in a pattern that doesn’t make me think that you are some kind of ‘concern’ troll. Jumping around posts leaving one and two liners isn’t expressing yourself about why you have issues with them, it is like listening to bored dog barking in a empty yard, ]

      • Louis 5.3.1

        Im a devastated dog and quite frankly the way I’m feeling i shouldn’t be on here. Appreciate the tip.

  6. Korero Pono 6

    Excellent analysis Bill, it will be an interesting eight weeks no doubt. I wonder if traditional ‘left’ leaning voters will swing to Labour out of fear of another 3 years of NACT? I actually can’t believe that Labour thought it a good thing to get rid of Little at this stage of the game instead of coming up with some actual policy that would draw people to them. Kind of like what the Greens did when they announced their welfare policy. The missing million may have started waking from their slumber, what they need is a rocket put under them and a reason to get themselves out to vote come voting day. Sadly Labour doesn’t seem to want those votes, instead they’ll probably serve up more of the same neoliberal BS they’ve been serving voters the last 30 odd years, and they seriously wonder why they’re polling so low. I would love Labour to give me a reason to vote for them so that we can change the Government but given I suspect more of the same from Labour, I instead pin my hopes on the Greens and hope like hell the next 8 weeks proves fruitful in waking up the disenfranchised, disenchanted missing millon. Greens at least seem to want to do something to reverse the horrendous levels of poverty, suicide and social decay that 30 years of neoliberalism has inflicted upon us.

    • JanM 6.1

      As for the ‘missing million’, have you lately asked around your friends and acquaintances to see what they know about Labour policies? It’s very depressing – many, even people with whom you believe you can have at least a half-way intelligent conversation, haven’t a clue – at least that’s been my experience. I think, perhaps, that especially younger people don’t really do much research to find things out, but wait until it shines out at them from a screen – and it needs to appeal (as in visually). Maybe Jacinda will be that rocket 🙂

      • Peter 6.1.1

        Bash landords seems to be the policy.

        Labour’s Healthy Homes Bill would require landlords to maintain the temperature in their rentals at an MBIE-specified level (said to be 18 degrees).
        How the hell can any landlord do that?

        • Jilly Bee 6.1.1.2

          Peter, I would love to ‘bash’ my daughter and her partner’s landlord who steadfastly refused to either insulate or provide decent heating for the pretty basic house they were renting in West Auckland for top dollar despite my daughter giving birth prematurely to twin babies at the end of May. I insisted that they move out to better accommodation before the baby girls were discharged from the SCBU unit at Waitakere – which they have managed to do. Said landlord was only too happy to paint the exterior of the house, but wouldn’t budge on interior improvements.

      • Pat 6.1.2

        am not sure about that…..it has been my experience that the young will be intrigued by something they hear either from friends or perhaps online or the box and the first thing they will do is search party websites online for information….that is where it falls down imo….most of the policy information is written in dull, and vague terms that requires substantial knowledge of “political” speak to correctly interpret….a language that many young don’t appear to speak or understand (and frankly thats a good thing, now if only politicians could “unlearn” the same)

    • weka 6.2

      I agree about the policy, but now that the leadership has changed it shows that this was a great move, assuming Ardern can go the distance. Little was starting to look beaten and that’s part of what happened to Cunliffe last time. The MSM was merciless and too many people don’t want to vote for the one they see as a loser. Yes, the policy was a big part of that but policy alone won’t save a party. The GP policy on welfare isn’t new to them, they’ve had the best social security policy of any party for a long time. It was what they did with it that made the difference. And to pull that off they needed leaders and a party that could stand up to the media and the RW spin and lies.

      I will continue to encourage people to vote Green to get the most progressive govt we can. We still need Labour to do that. I’m of the theory that the election is the left’s for the taking but only if they appear competent. They were failing on that. Now they’ve got a chance to change that dynamic (again, this depends on Ardern being able to manage the role so it’s not without risk).

      Labour have enough policy that is compatible with the Greens, and I also hope the Greens do more of what they did with welfare. I don’t think it would be possible for Labour to rewrite and cost policy in the timeframe left, so the best Labour can do now is start front footing it on values. Ardern is talking strongly today about inequality and compassion. This is a good fit for the more progressive policies of the Greens.

      I agree with Bill’s previous analysis that there are key things to do re NZF voters, probably a strong stand on foreign land ownership would do it.

      So I’m less worried about Labour being more like the Greens than I am about NZF doing well. But I note that yesterday Little was actively talking about how if voters want to change the govt they need to vote Labour not NZF. I really hope that they follow up on that and start explaining how Labour will make the difference.

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    Early days.

    In principle this looks a bit like following the despicable Key legacy down the charismatic leadership path.

    Jacinda has stepped in gracefully, and seems to be able to wrangle the press. We have to hope that cuts through as far as achieving real change.

    But not in the next few days.

    Early days.

  8. adam 8

    ROFL, my god I’ve been in stitches since I heard this was happening.

    So this is how labour dies, as a handmaiden to liberalism. It really could not have happened to a better party. Started so well, gave us a ripper in the early 70’s, then stab us all in the back in the 80’s. You just killing yourself by the same process – Irony is a dish, best served with lots of giggles.

    Wouldn’t have voted labour, so nothing changes there. But Kelvin Davis as deputy leader, did they look in his closet?

    Well the media are going too…

    I think I said to Jenny Kirk, labour should not have a closet full of bad ideas, and things that could come back and bite them on their bum.

    I should have said, the should not promote people, who could, and probably will have the same effect.

  9. Peter 9

    If a ship is heading for the rocks you can’t rescue it simply by changing the figurehead.

    • Korero Pono 9.1

      +1

    • Heh… but its not.

      What you are looking at is a Labour led govt after September. With the Greens and NZ First.

      The Greens ( thank goodness ) will temper the Labour neo liberal caucuses excesses in social policy , NZ First not only dislike extreme neo liberalism but Peters is a good friend of Kelvin Davis, – and Willie Jackson.

      I also don’t think pointing out how many times English texted Dickson was particularly conducive to forming a coalition with National… and a whole raft of other criticisms Peters has had with both John Key and Bill English.

      Get ready for a change of government , people, … and a broken cabal of has been right wing mouthpieces crying into their beers from Hosking to Hooten.

      • srylands 9.2.1

        I am unaware of any “right wing mouthpieces” in New Zealand.

        But more importantly, why would Hosking be crying about a change of Government? He will still have his silly media gig and his cars and houses and kids and his pleasant life.

        Remember it is the poor that are always worst affected by bad policy. the rich like Hosking will be able to adapt to a Labour/Green government and simply carry on. the poor have nowhere to hide.

  10. Keith 10

    The policies Labour are promoting definitely don’t derserve all the scorn I read here.

    And probably more pronounced than the right the left are made up of social liberals and social conservatives and it is not automatic that the party for the workers has the same views as the middle class Greens.

    But nevertheless this gloomy kicking of Labour can join Hoskings latest rant and Trotter won’t be far behind, rest assured, headed by his twin Farrar.

    But be warmed by the knowledge without Labour you can enjoy National indefinitely!

  11. Hanswurst 11

    In terms of what it predicts about Labour strategy, I think that this post is reading an enormous amount into very little. In terms of what it says about pthe parties’ policies and the Greens’ best strategy, though, it seems pretty sensible.

  12. lurgee 12

    My suspicion is that whoever Jacinda was expected to have to fight for the leadership in 8 weeks time is the person who is feeling happiest just now.

    • Carolyn_nth 12.1

      The pictures I have seen of Ardern’s press conference have GR smirking behind her.

  13. Sable 13

    I’m typically a Green voter but I have seen little from them lately that inspires me. There’s lots of talk but I have not seen much in the way of practical policy.

    I feel no more hope this election than any that have gone before and wonder if we need a real revision of the political system to make politicians in general more genuinely accountable as most other people are at work.

    • weka 13.1

      The Greens have one of the best policy platforms of any party in parliament, developed and costed. Not sure where you’re not seeing that, is it the MSM?

      I’m also curious what you would find inspiring.

      Here’s their policy page,

      https://www.greens.org.nz/policy

      • Sable 13.1.1

        What would I find inspiring, that’s a big question Weka and I don’t have the time to answer it at length. What I would like to see is more of a focus on how to solve immediate environmental issues. In particular tackling issues surrounding factory farming which contributes greatly to global warming. Promoting green solutions such as solar panels. Even in right wing Australia you get a HUGE subsidy for installing them. How about a subsidy for electric cars too? Even the US offers this.

        Instead what you get here in general is mostly passive solutions like Carbon taxes which people hate and don’t directly target the culprits.

        Just a couple of examples but there are others too. I also feel working class Kiwi’s are being overlooked on a broad range of issues with parties clamouring to chase the middle class vote. Again I have specific concerns but I’d be here all day discussing this and I simply don’t have the time.

        Lastly why not more concern and actual policy regarding the TPPA? Its a nasty piece of work and the party that has I feel has done the most to combat it is NZFirst. It stands to uproot environmental initiatives for years to come and cost tax payers untold money.

        P.S. I have not watched TV in over six years and never ever read or watch the MSM.

        • weka 13.1.1.1

          Where are you getting your political information from? I like following various Green MPs on twitter, it’s a good way to keep abreast of what they are actually doing. And reading their policy on the website along with the press releases. What you are wanting re the environment is all there, including a lot of work being done by Gareth Hughes on solar.

          I agree about the traditional working class vote, and it’s a tricky one, because apparently the Greens aren’t a good cultural fit and Labour have abandoned their roots. From what I can tell the Greens have the best policy but people want to vote for the right feel too.

          I haven’t seen what the Greens are doing lately in the TPPA, but when this was a big activist movement a few years ago they were against it (Labour want to amend it).

          • Carolyn_nth 13.1.1.1.1

            Gosh. Gareth Hughes took a leading role in protesting against the TPPA, on the streets and in the House.

            I guess Winton just gets more (on and offline) media cut through.

  14. Shona 14

    Good on you Bill. For telling some of it how it is.
    A media driven coup in the time frame allowed in the Labour leadership rules to appoint and anoint a right wing leader. all no doubt orchestrated by that turd Grant Robertson. And so the ruling class who have been pushing Ardern for 2 or 3 years now through the msm have their code compliant Labour leader. Yawn. No Change no progress just more of the same free market economics from the party who are all Rogernomes at heart.
    Fuck this country is a shit hole full of fuckwits!

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