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Ten steps towards victory for Labour

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, January 13th, 2017 - 239 comments
Categories: activism, campaigning, democratic participation, election 2017, labour, Politics - Tags:

I love the Labour Party dearly. As an activist, I have given huge chunks of the last 18 years of my life to trying to get individuals as well as the party itself elected to office – sometimes successfully and sometimes not. I have seen a lot of strategies come and go, and based on my experience and observations I would like to offer some constructive advice to the team ahead of a make or break election year coming into full swing. I hope my advice is taken in the spirit it is offered. Not as the ravings of a washed up cynical hack (something I may or may not be…) but more as a concerned friend.

On that note, here are ten steps to victory for Labour in 2017:

1. Bolster the backroom team with people who have a record of winning big important elections. If this means bringing people in from overseas – this is would be the best use of money all year provided they can work within a New Zealand context.

2. Stop using impersonal voter contact techniques imported from the US. They are designed for states where some counties have twice the population of New Zealand. There are much more effective ways to reach New Zealand voters. Clue: There is no substitute for face to face contact.

3. Stop thinking that turnout strategies can save you. The number one turnout strategy you need to focus on is giving people a reason to vote for you. Party machines only help turnout along – they don’t drive it. Getting a Labour government elected has to matter to people. The harsh reality is it doesn’t at the moment.

4. Get a vision that resonates with voters. I honestly can’t tell you what Labour’s vision is at the moment, and that’s been a problem for a very long time. People don’t know what we stand for.

5. Angry Andy is fine – it’s better than boring Andy! Passion is good, don’t listen to those who don’t have his best interests at heart on that. But he does need to focus a little bit more on making sure that every interview he does is authoritative, clear and concise.

6. Annette King has served well, but she needs to stand aside from the deputy leadership and the health portfolio. Having two Wellingtonians in the one and two spots looks terrible, as does having a deputy who served in the fourth Labour government. Further, as a former Minister of Health, Annette is not the best person to attack a system that she had a big role in putting in place. Health should be a key attack point in any centre left opposition. Jacinda Ardern and Iain Lees-Galloway should be promoted to deputy and health spokesperson respectively as soon as possible.

7. Keep renewing the caucus. Every other party has done better than Labour on this front. Gone are the days when being an MP was a job for life. It’s absolutely vital that Labour is a fresh looking, heavy hitting, government in waiting. New MPs need to be diverse as well as adept at going on TV and selling Labour’s message.

8. Remember that elections are won and lost in Auckland, not Wellington. Run every decision you make through a lens of “how will this play in Auckland”? And if the answer is “I don’t know” find someone who does.

9. Never quote a Roy Morgan poll ever again.

10. Don’t think that just because Key is gone, things have gotten any easier. Keep driving forward as though he’s still there.

Enzo Giordani

239 comments on “Ten steps towards victory for Labour ”

  1. Ad 1

    Enzo you are a good and hard working bastard.

    I wish there were ten thousand of you.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      + 1

      • Anne 1.1.1

        Couldn’t agree more Ad and ms. Solid and dependable advice from Enzo.

        Not sure about Annette King though. She might be ‘getting on’ in chronological terms (aren’t a lot of us) but her energy, astuteness, intellect and ability to take on the toughest of opponents is sharper than ever…

        • Skinny

          Annette has been solid as deputy she can hold her head up proud for keeping the crew in order, however even she knows it is time to side aside to bolster Labours chances of taking out this years election.
          Adern needs to be installed as Deputy, announced by Little at her Mt Albert by-election victory gig would be the logical move. I would fully expect Adern to take the Government to task over the terrible Housing situation during the by-election, this gives her the platform to own that portfolio. No disrespect to her mate Phil, but he hasn’t really cut the mustard in that sphere.

          Forget the angry Andy nonsense, all Little needs to do is stop talking like a lawyer, it is off putting.

          The party hacks need to really take notice of this one. Be as friendly as possible to new people coming into the party, whether as new members or street volunteers, geez I have seen the circling shark like atmosphere for far too long, lighten up, forget the egos and fractions amongst yourselves.

          Social media is going to be very important in 2017. Those News feeds on Fackbook are vitial in turning the tide. As far as I can see there are only a few activists who are successfully engaged in discrediting the Government. All those likes show they are hitting the mark of the voter conscience. I would be nabbing those keypad warriors before someone else does, the party need people with years of experience in the social media platforms.

          All in all good advice whether the ears are painted on I wouldn’t know.

  2. Tom Gould 2

    This is very good advice. I hope the folks in charge take it on board. Except maybe that Annette King has enormous credibility and deep networks in health, at the very least that will continue to be very valuable to any successor.

    • Annette should have been mentoring her potential replacement(s) for years now, and handing off her networks to her successor this year. Her continued refusal to even consider stepping back from any of her roles and preparing successors is the same stubborn problem we had with Clark- the mentality that political leaders don’t need to switch roles, that their careers will be permanent, and that there needs never be any planning for the next generation of leaders. It’s wrong and it belies Labour’s insistence that they’re about better values than the National Party. If she’s unwilling to do that it’s better that the break be made sooner rather than later, as the longer she monopolises important positions within the Party without grooming people to pick them up after her, the more the deficit when she’s no longer able to continue as an MP for whatever reason.

      It’s clear that at least Andrew or someone else in the Party has made the call that Jacinda is going to be groomed to be a leader or deputy in the future, which at least is someone being mentored to replace one of Annette’s roles. But it doesn’t look like anyone else is really being prepared to replace Annette’s portfolio, or for that matter any of the other long-serving Labour MPs. Even if they’re staying on for longer, it’s still a necessity to allow for future reshuffles.

  3. JPiker 3

    11. Andrew should remain list only. Splitting his time between campaigning for the treasury benches and most likely Rongotai won’t end well especially because isn’t already the incumbent there. Andrew doesn’t have the same lead time as say Ginny Anderson has in Hutt South which she has already been campaigning for a few months now.

    Andrew started as a List MP and is better suited as PM without being tied to any one particular geographic location. We’re MMP at the end of the day so we need a Labour PM which also represents that change.

    • Morrissey 3.1

      12. Never look a gift horse in the mouth again.

      In other words: fire the tactical genius whose idea it was to instruct all Labour candidates in 2014 to say “It’s a distraction” whenever Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics was mentioned.

  4. weka 4

    Very good to have a Labour party activist talking about what is needed, both proactively and critically, thanks.

    • aerobubble 4.1

      Talking process again aint anything different. Its not just that nobody has a clue what Labour stands for, its everytime they have an opening its back to how they are processing and are on top of the process, rather than cutting through. They supposedly did that on the door in the by election, and maybe keeping their guns silent, but the silence is killing Labour. It can do both, cut through without giving away its election pkatform. Its a conversation and yet everytime Labour get eyeballs we get a silent smug they are processing. No wonder Labour stagnates in the polls.

  5. james 5

    I laugh that even long time Labour activist dont even know what Labours vision is (if it even has one).

    I guess thats why they are going with the “change the government meme” – because they have no vision to offer.

    • tc 5.1

      You dont need anything more than a slogan and catchphrases that highlight the destruction national have caused in a few areas like health/education/housing.

      national have shown how effective this approach is so much they didn’t bother with any policies last GE

    • Molly 5.2

      James, can you articulate for me National’s vision beyond the phatic – “Brighter Future”, because this issue is true for both Labour and National.

    • BevanJS 5.3

      National – “stay in goverment”, despite changing / doing nothing significantly different from the previous labour govt.

  6. BM 6

    Get a vision that resonates with voters. I honestly can’t tell you what Labour’s vision is at the moment, and that’s been a problem for a very long time. People don’t know what we stand for.

    The vision is “We can run the country better than the other side”.

    The hard bit for you guys seems to be selling/demonstrating that vision.

    • Wainwright 6.1

      Nah, that’s your team’s vision. Explains why the country’s in the shit right now.

      • BM 6.1.1

        Wow, really?, I can see why the left is struggling.

        You guys don’t seem to understand how to win

        [how about we don’t turn the thread into another boring slagging match and instead talk about the politics? Enough with the trolling BM – weka]

        • BM

          How is that trolling?

          The author mentioned that Labour lacks vision I pointed out what the vision should be, it’s fairly basic stuff.

          Because at the end of the day the only way the left will win is if they can coherently demonstrate that they’d be a much better option than National and not just for their core supporters but for everyone.

          [see, you can write decent political commentary when you try. “You guys don’t seem to understand how to win” is a lazy, RW troll soundbite that tries to put all lefties into one amorphous lump and then that all those people act the same. It is just going to get reactionary responses because there is no substance in it. Both sentences in that comment. Better to explain what you think and then we can debate that – weka]

          • Pat

            does National govern for everyone then?

            • BM

              They certainly try to aim for both sides of centre.

              Everyone wasn’t the best word because you can never please everyone, the majority would have been better.

              • Pat

                glad we cleared that up…would hate to think we had different standards for the National Party from everyone else.

      • HDCAFriendlyTroll 6.1.2

        “Nah, that’s your team’s vision. ”

        That sounds like a LW troll soundbite that tries to put all righties into one amorphous lump and then that all those people act the same.


  7. Faffin 7

    I doubt voters care much about Annette King’s past, or that she’s from Wellington. Pretty much under the radar now. Jacinda to deputy would be a good move though, but only if she’s ready.

    The vision and reason to vote steps seem most important to me. Andrew Little should have realised you can’t win big with a bob each way a long time ago.

    I wonder how much the vagueness around policy is to prevent National from hijacking it?

    • weka 7.1

      I hear quite a few ex-Labour voters saying that Labour’s past is still relevant to them.

      • Faffin 7.1.1

        Most of them backing the Greens now?

      • Paul 7.1.2

        1. Labour has to renounce and apologise for its leading role in the undemocratic imposition of neoliberalism.
        2. It must present an alternative vision to neoliberalism – grounded in socialism, international solidarity and environmentalism.

        • weka

          I think Labour apologising for the 80s would be a very good thing depending on how it was done. They’d have to sort out the internal issues though and I’m not sure they are there yet. At the moment the first thing that would follow an apology would be them getting slammed for the neoliberal MPs still in caucus.

          • Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster

            Couldn’t agree more Weka! ( According to Chris Trotter Labour’s membership dripped from 85,000 in 1984 to about 8,500 five years or so later (including my own resignation!) If that alone doesn’t register with the Labour hierarchy, nothing will.

            A complete and absolute repudiation of the dreadful Douglas years would do a hell of a lot to attract people back to the party!

        • tc

          No it doesnt it just has to remind NZ how ‘the brighter future’ has screwed them over.

          Less rhetoric more succinct emotive short snappy slogans.

          Its a popularity contest with swinging voters not a political geek fest

          • Paul

            Then at some stage expect people here to its for the equivalent of a Farage. A Trump or a La Pen.
            Or if we’re lucky, we get a party like the SNP that replaces Labour on the left.

            People are sick of neoliberalism and how it has destroyed their lives.
            They will vote for anything that disrupts it.
            If the left fail to offer an alternative, you end up with Trump.
            The liberal careerist political establishment is to blame for the rise of right wing populism.

        • JanM

          I so agree that Labour needs to renounce and apologise – I’m sick of saying it! We had a government we thought we could trust to act in the best interests of its citizens introducing policies which were the very opposite. Not only that, were blindsided by the introduction of these policies with no warning – there was no mandate. It amounted to fraud and deceit – not what it said on the packet! It is that deceit which has caused as much damage as the policies themselves – if we’ve been cheated on once, without a formal apology where’s the guarantee it won’t happen again?

          • Paul

            Fraud and deceit is understating it.

            As the consequences of the neo-liberal coup launched by Lange’s Labour government was the widespread sale of our nation’s assets and the ensuing loss of sovereignty and independence we have as a nation, treason is a a better word .

            The cabal who led the neoliberal coup d’état and the New Zealand oligarchs who stripped our assets for personal gain should be tried for treason .

            Labour had 85000 members prior to neoliberalism.
            Now it has 8000.

            • JanM

              So why can’t Labour see that and make the appropriate apologies and promises? It’s not the same for the Nats – they never were working for us in the first place and anyone with half a brain knows that

              • Lara

                I think they can’t see it JanM because the neo liberals that were part of it are still in control of Labour caucus. They’re still there.

                Which is IMO why they have not addressed the problem.

                And that exactly right there is why I will never support nor vote Labour ever again, despite coming from a Labour family with a relative who was a Labour MP.

                That betrayal and dishonesty after 1984 is not forgotten, and is IMO again the biggest reason for the decline of Labour since that date.

                I don’t trust them. With no acknowledgement of the betrayal, no apology and no removal of the MPs remaining who were part of it, they simply cannot be trusted. They’re National Lite.

                • kenny


                  Nothing much has changed – until I see a Labour leader ditch the ‘balance the budget’ mentality then nothing will change. There is not enough time left to reverse the perception of Labour being National Lite, which they are.

                  I don’t think Little is capable of driving that, and yes there needs to be a clear out of Rogernomics followers.

                • Peter

                  ( That betrayal and dishonesty after 1984 is not forgotten, and is IMO again the biggest reason for the decline of Labour since that date.

                  I don’t trust them. With no acknowledgement of the betrayal, no apology and no removal of the MPs remaining who were part of it, they simply cannot be trusted. They’re National Lite. )

                  I have to agree with you, and I also have not voted Labour since 1984 and still see no reason to change that.

              • Paul

                Your question is worth a post in its own right.

                ‘Why won’t Labour apologise for its implementation of the neoliberal revolution?’

                The capture of social democratic parties in the US, the UK and New Zealand ensured the unquestioned rule of neoliberalit ideology.
                Yet NZ is different to the UK and the US.
                The capture of UK Labour by Blair and the US Democrats by Clinton only occurred after the all out assault on the post war consensus had been executed by Thatcher and Reagan.
                In NZ, the changes were made by the party of the working class before the right wing had done anything.
                This leads me to think a coup was organised by an inner cabal of treasury and some key members of the Lange government. New Zealand’s unicameral system makes it highly vulnerable to radical change ( when FPP was in place).
                I sense there are too many skeletons for the Labour hierarchy to own up to their complicity in those events. A few knights of the realm and other noted reputations could be destroyed for ever.

                • JanM

                  But if they don’t, New Zealand will be destroyed for ever.
                  I do not see Labour really getting into government with any real credibility until that happens. Lara’s responses, and mine, are probably quite widespread amongst those of us who suffered the betrayal. That is the elephant in the room while everyone chunters on about tactics that have only marginal relevance. There’s no point in removing Annette King for the part she played in all of this without giving a very clear signal about the ‘why’, otherwise it will go over the heads of half the potential voters and be viewed cynically by the other half. Anyway, it seems unfair to pick on just one person when there was a whole movement involved, some of which are still around, as you say.

                • red-blooded

                  I think we have to be careful not to edit out aspects of history when we’re thinking about this issue.

                  I also felt betrayed and assaulted by the economic policies of the 8o’s Labour governments. A couple of things to remember, though:
                  1) NZ was at melt-down stage because of Muldoon’s idiocy. Remember the wage-price freeze? Remember the warnings from the World Bank? Remember his refusal to devalue or float the dollar and the double-digit inflation levels? Remember his refusal to hand over the reins after the election and the threat of economic meltdown that the country faced because of this? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1984_New_Zealand_constitutional_crisis

                  I agree that Douglas et al went too far and too fast, but I can also see why they felt that they had to do something different. They were idealogues and they trashed some people’s lives – no argument – but they were also reacting to the situation Muldoon had created.
                  2) That government did plenty of good stuff, too. It was socially liberal in a good way.
                  3) They didn’t do it all. Remember the viciousness of Richardson’s Mother of All Budgets? And the prize for trashing the unions, goes to Bolger’s Employment Contracts Act.

                  I think some people are still alienated from Labour because of the 80’s, but plenty of us have seen that they have moved on and we’ve decided to give this generation of Labour activists and politicians credit for being the ones who managed that reform.

                  • JanM

                    And is the next thing you’re going to tell me that they didn’t know all this until they ‘opened the books’? There was no warning – it was, as Paul describes it ‘treason’

                    • red-blooded

                      Do some research, Jan. While there was certainly knowledge of the general nature of the problems, these were the days before oppositions received Treasury briefings. There was genuine shock when they saw how extreme the problems were.

                      Please note, I’m not defending the extremes of Douglas and Prebble, or the weakness of Lange. I also felt betrayed. I didn’t vote Labour for a bloody long time. But the people in the party now are not the ones who were in it then, and they shouldn’t be judged by the extremes of people who split from Labour when they renounced the recklessness and of those policies.

                    • Anne

                      Thank-you red blooded. You are not the first commenter who has tried to inform the Labour detractors who are fixated with the 1980s.

                      They know what happened in the mid 1980s can be fairly and squarely laid at the feet of Rob Muldoon. They know it was only a faction – albeit a very powerful faction at the time – within the caucus who were responsible for introducing the neo liberal reforms. They know this faction inside Labour were largely gone by the early to mid 1990s – and they took their party acolytes with them and formed the ACT Party. They know there was a rear-guard action being fought behind the scenes throughout that period which finally gained ascendancy in 1993/4 when Helen Clark was installed as leader. They know (deep down) that the Clark government could only go so far in dismantling the neo-liberal ideology because by the time they took the treasury benches, it was too deeply embedded in the system. They also know reversing the system was politically impossible to achieve until the negatives became sufficiently pronounced they started to impact on the bulk of the population’s daily lives. It has started to happen.

                      They know all of these things but they are not going to acknowledge them.

                    • Leftie

                      +1000 Red-Blooded and Anne.

                  • Paul

                    1. There were other solutions.
                    2. Restructuring the economy and selling our assets in favour of the 1% somewhat outweighs a speech at the Oxford Union.
                    3. They started it, making it much easier for Richardson and Bolger. They presented a weakened labour movement for the Nats to attack and the capitalist class could not believe their luck.

                    You may have moved on – most gave up on Labour.
                    85000 + members before neoliberalism
                    8000 members now

                    • red-blooded

                      Source for your figures, Paul?

                      Please note, “This data suggests a very dramatic fall in party membership in New Zealand, from nearly 24% of the electorate in the 1950s to only 2% in the 1990s.” (A summary of research by Dr Bryce Edwards on party political membership in NZ, across all parties).

                      The fall in political party membership has affected all parties in all western countries (although it has been pretty pronounced in NZ).

                      He also notes that membership numbers are very hard to verify, especially given that Labour tends to count members of affiliated unions (and we know union membership has decreased, Paul) and National often counts anyone who has made a donation of any kind.

                      Plus, let’s remember that you’re comparing FPP (basically 2 parties) with MMP (more options for those with political inclinations).

                    • Paul

                      Numbers fell off because of neoliberalism.
                      I got the numbers from Chris Trotter.

                  • Leftie

                    +1000 Red-Blooded on all of your posts.

                  • Peter

                    ( Remember the viciousness of Richardson’s Mother of All Budgets? And the prize for trashing the unions, goes to Bolger’s Employment Contracts Act )

                    And what has Labour done about the Employment Contracts Act
                    nothing. I will never forgive them for that. The worker has only one weapon with which to fight and that is the right to withdraw his labour and they took it away from us.

                • The Chairman

                  “Why won’t Labour apologise for its implementation of the neoliberal revolution?”

                  Because people would then expect them to overturn (as best they can) the neoliberal changes implemented?

              • Leftie

                “It’s not the same for the Nats – they never were working for us in the first place”

                So let them off the hook? and yet National get voted in time and again, despite the damage that they do.

          • Anthony


            These were the reasons I left the party in the late 80s.

            For many years I spent my time ‘outside’ looking to promoting the rights of workers and the economically vulnerable. I oscillated between ignoring Labour, and wishing they would sort themselves out.

            Recently I realised that if I wanted the party I had loved to return to its roots then I had to do the same. That is, I had to re-join and be part of a new movement within the party to see it renounce neo-liberalism, re-embrace the ‘Kirkian’ vision, and set about cleaning house to show it had learned.

            We need to be the guarantee it will never happen again. By not being blind loyalists, but true prophetic voices: fearlessly calling out falsehood when we see it.

            Because the reality is that National will never look to the needs of the working class and the vulnerable. Neither will setting up a new party (we tried that: it didnt make the paradigm shift we needed). Instead we must come home, clean the place up, and work tirelessly to ensure betrayal from within can never happen again.

            That or we give up in despair, and leave the working class and the vulnerable to be eternal prey for the right.

        • McFlock

          Nah to number 1.

          2011 campaign basically did that, slightly short of public self flagellation. Pleased nobody. Even if Labour came out with the most explicit, grovelling, shirt-tearing apology for lab4 that is possible, the usual crowd will say it’s far too late and besides words are just words so it doesn’t change the vote.

          But if number 2 is done effectively, nobody normal will give a damn about number 1, anyway.

          • weka

            In what way did Labour apologise for neoliberalism in 2011? Phil Goff was the leader, how would that even be possible?

            Obviously grovelling won’t work, and I think you might be misunderstanding why people want and need the apology. It’s not about debasing Labour, it’s about acknowledging the pain so that people can move on. Pretty standard in a reconciliation process. People can’t be forgiven until they are honest about their wrong doing.

            What’s needed is a more man-up and be honest approach to an apology and then don’t take any shit for doing that.

            • McFlock

              From what I recall, the Labour party political broadcast referred to “mistakes from our past” and had a general “getting back to lefty basics” vibe. Pretty sure it wasn’t 2014 election.

              And frankly, I think most people have moved on. I doubt those who haven’t will suddenly do so even if Labour managed to come up with an apology that pleased everyone, without making them look like crap to the rest of the nation who don’t particularly give a shit.

              We all saw how Cunliffe’s sensible comment about intimate partner violence got fucked over, my bet is that exactly the same sort of thing will happen if Labour tries to “reconcile” with the folks who are so far left that they would rather see a nact-nz1 government than lab-grn.

              • adam

                Yeah and no one thought what an apology might look like for the Australian Aboriginals either, before it happened and it has helped immensely.


                McFlock it is really simple, the labour party use to have thousands and thousands of active members and hundreds of branches. Now it does not. It also have a active set of people here who critique and lambaste it on a regular basis. It also has some amazing activist and it can run some good campaigns. But it is not liked or trusted.

                Have you actually ever gone out and asked people why they don’t trust it? Have you ever going and talked to folk working in shit jobs with bad pay, why they don’t vote for labour? They have not moved on, these people have memories, and they know the pain and suffering that they live through was because of the fourth labour government. And love it or hate it, the national party gets a pass on the liberal economic crap they pull. The labour party never has, and never will.

                Now I’d like the labour party to change there world view on economics, move away from liberalism towards socialism. Hell I’d even go for a mixed economy at this point. But they are fearful of that, and I don’t know why.

                But somthing that might work for the electorate on a conciliatory level is an apology. And again, I’m not going to say what the content should be, because I’m not in labour. It’s to easy to point out the labour party faults, because the elephant in the room is the 4th labour government with the pain and suffering it created.

                • McFlock

                  the labour party use to have thousands and thousands of active members and hundreds of branches. Now it does not.

                  Like every other party in the last thirty years. The age of mass political participation is largely dead.

                  It also have a active set of people here who critique and lambaste it on a regular basis.

                  Yes. And my belief is that nothing will stop that.

                  It also has some amazing activist and it can run some good campaigns. But it is not liked or trusted.

                  That’s you’re projection. It’s not just about you, it’s about the entire electorate.

                  What satisfies you could well, at best, bore the crap out of most NZ voters. And even then it might not change your vote or stop you moaning. And you know Garner and co will be plugging it as “Labour trying to claw back support of the red terror” or whatever. So how does that help Labour get elected?

                  I really think that the vast majority of people who talk about the fourth Labour government or use the word “neoliberal” in routine conversation already read this site. Most voters would neither know nor care about the decades-past. But they might care about future policy.

                  • adam

                    So the national party having more members than labour is not an issue?

                    Do you not understand political economy?

                    The press hate labour, did you miss the memo, the press have always hated the labour party. Who cares what the press is going to do, they are going to be what they are, no matter what. Fortune favors the brave.

                    “That’s you’re projection. It’s not just about you, it’s about the entire electorate.”

                    Nope I work in the community and I actually ask people why they did not vote labour. And in majority of cases they did not vote at all, why? because they don’t think the labour party is their party any more. I think maybe you should go engage in the real world a bit more. If the same % of people do not vote again, national are going to win Auckland.

                    Like I said below, Wood did really well in Mt Roskill because he engage with people on a personal level. I think he is going to storm in come the election, because he engages people to feel part of what he is doing.

                    My argument is simple, take responsibility for the past, to make people feel that the labour party is their party.

                    • McFlock

                      And I’m sure that none of the questions you ask random members of the public regarding whether Labour should apologise for lab4 are in the least bit leading… /sarc

                      OK, what sort of apology do you want Little to make? Should it be a special press conference just for that topic, or could it be a wide-ranging announcement? And would you change your vote back to Labour because of it?

                  • wek a

                    Green membership continues to rise. And Corbyn suggests you are wrong about mass political participation being dead.

                    • McFlock

                      Really? How many members do the greens have? What about National? In the 1950s, a fifth of voters were members of a political party. Now it’s pissall.

                      As for Corbyn, that wasn’t mass political participation. That was the long tail of slacktivism. Mass political participation is people turning up to meetings year in year out, hundreds at a time. We’ll see how long UKLabour keep their newfound members.

                    • weka

                      How very old fashioned of you McFlock.

                      You can do your own look up on the Greens but afaik their membership has been increasing.

                    • McFlock

                      I’m sure they have, although google fails me.

                      If the greens or the nats have a hundred thousand members, rather than a few thousand, I stand corrected. It really is a problem with Labour.

                      But I suspect Labour’s party membership is actually pretty typical.

                    • weka

                      I took your original comment to be that all parties have decreased membership that won’t rise again. I was just pointing to two examples (NZ Greens, UK Labour) where that isn’t true. I wasn’t suggesting that the Greens have a membership that high (but presumably one would look at their membership in relationship to their size rather than compare them to National or 1980s Labour membership numbers).

                    • McFlock

                      The thing is that Green membership might be rising, but it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the culture of mass political participation (and the party membership that followed from that) in years past.

                      If you read memoirs or even newspaper reports from a hundred years ago, a large chunk of the populatin was politically active. There would be hall or pub meetings, John A Lee even wrote of impromptu street corner political meetings where he’d start talking on a soapbox and people would form crowds and express their opinions (not always friendly). Not during a campaign – there were enough political activists from all views that every season was campaign season.

                      Now, even during regional and national elections, we struggle to get the same number of attendees as was routine in those days, and we have any times the population. Interest in politics is minimal on a day to day basis, and that’s aross demographics.

                      For example, even compared to the 1990s campus protests are a joke if they happen at all. It used tobe that the marijuana crowd were laughed at because they could only get a few dozen people to their rallies, now they get the same number and they’re almost the only people who can get a few dozen people.

                      At the other end, a chap I know who ran in the recent local body elections reckoned the retirement home crowd weren’t that interested in the candidates, whereas twenty years ago theywere the curse of candidates, remembering everything done previously and attending council meetings religiously.

                      Basically, I don’t think that Adam’s comment “the labour party use to have thousands and thousands of active members and hundreds of branches. Now it does not.” meansa damned thing about Labour’s electability or effectiveness in this day and age, because it probably describes every political party that’s more than thirty years old.

                    • Bill

                      Maybe those grand meetings and general political engagement was because people believed that things could be affected.

                      But we’ve got a lock-down of left and right both existing in a teeny tiny box of possibility.

                      Extra-parliamentary politics began to die with the formation of Labour and became both a pressure valve or a way to influence parliament rather than a discrete avenue for change.

                      Maybe occupy could be seen to represent a brief splutter of life on that front.

                      Anyway. People just want out now. What we have doesn’t seem capable of offering up any vision or hope. It’s done.

                  • Leftie

                    +1000 McFlock.

                • NewsFlash


                  The apology to the Aborigines was fairly hollow, yes, they did receive one from the then prime minister Rudd, but there has been no substance to support the apology, they (the Aborigine people) are currently going through a process to have the constitution recognise their rights by way of referendum, a slow process in a country where marriage equality still does not exist and discrimination has not receded.

                  You assertion that it has “helped immensely” is statistically untrue, it, in fact, has done nothing at all.

                  • adam

                    So the court cases, the drop in suicide rates, and the felling they actually participate in society felt by many of my friends and their children. The pride in actually being a Noongar or a Koori and not just a ‘abo’. Nor the feeling that somthing was better than nothing.

                    I over stated it’s effect probably, but you saying it did nothing, is condescending at best. Life sometimes is about symbolic moments, and things which include, rather than exclude people from the world -matter. But then again, seeing as you went for the ‘statistically untrue’ response I should not be surprised you don’t get my point.

                    • NewsFlash


                      The symbolic aspect is correct, and a step in the right direction, yes, I didn’t recognise it in my statement, and should have, and apologise for that, but a recent trip to Aus and the south coast of NSW opened my eyes to the entrenched discrimination against Aborigine people, particularly those with a right leaning perspective.
                      I’ve found Aus to be quite conservative in the provincial areas, and the associated problems that go with that.
                      The greatest improvement for these people is educational out comes, with improvements over and above the general population which fell, but incarceration and unemployment have hardly moved.
                      Interestingly, they (Aborigines) have looked to NZ at the treaty process, and would like to follow the NZ way, some are concerned it may interfere with the constitutional changes they seek and they’re up against a Liberal Govt, good luck to them, I think eventually, common sense will prevail, similar to the likely hood of a change of Govt here, NZ’ers can only be suckers for so long.

                • Robertina

                  Rogernomics has not been worked through in NZ on a number of levels: politically, in academia, or the arts. Thus any apology from Labour would be into (and from) this cultural vacuum and would have little effect.

              • NewsFlash

                Good summary McFlock

                People forget quickly that the Labour movement was hijacked by right wingers by stealth, it happened quickly, with out being realised, those responsible ended up in the most right wing party of all, as history shows.

                An apology for that, really, is not justified, if you truly understand the circumstances.

                Probably the worst policy introduced, was the introduction of GST, if I was in Govt, the first thing to do, would be to abolish completely, or, reduce significantly, ie to 10% and not on food, education and health, NZ has the worst example of GST in the entire world, not really something to be proud of.

                • adam

                  But who apart from political wonks, who know s anything of the history you just said Newsflash?

                  The average person on the street just see labour as the people who wreaked their lives and sold out their principles.

                  • McFlock

                    If Labour came in and cut GST down to 10% and nixed it on fruit and veges, a shedload more people would care more than anyone who gives a damn about an apology.

                    Seriously, policy counts more than platitudes, and the last few elections Labour’s had some good policy.

                    • adam

                      Contradiction count is high today McFlock. On one hand you say people want policy, and labour had good policy. But then the people voted national. Can’t you see you are on a lose lose? Oh well I’ll stop now as you are to fixed to even consider people might have feelings of betrayal.

                      Just don’t moan and complain when your lot lose again, because It’s getting tired.

                    • McFlock

                      Well, even if I’d said that the only criteria people voted on was policy (which I didn’t), it would still be less contradictory than people voting for national because they think Labour is too right wing.

                    • adam

                      Thank is not what I said, nor was it my argument about an apology.

                      My argument is about the symbolism of it all, and reconnecting with voters.

                      Look at what Wood did in Mt Roskill, he connected with people on a personal level. All I’m saying is a personal connection via some sort apology and gesture would help.

                      Poor people don’t give a rats if labour is to right wing, that is for people like you and me to argue over. What poor people do is they see a party they thought was theirs not being theirs, so they just don’t vote, and that is what helps national.

                    • McFlock

                      “personal connection via some sort of apology”?


                      That only works on the thin sector of people who hate Labour explicitly because of lab4, but still have an open enough mind to stop hating Labour once a strong enough apology has been made.

                      A very thin sector, getting thinner as each year passes.

                    • Chris

                      Hear, hear. Labour’s social welfare policies over the last few elections have been fantastic.

                  • NewsFlash


                    I think those average people believe too much that they see and hear on TV, there is no balance in the NZ media, I’m sure you’re aware of that, you know, JK telling the public his version of what the opposition want to do, distorting the facts, scaring people, now the rissole is gone, the media is not quite so compliant.

                    Just remember, the last Labour Govt had the lowest level of inequality for some time, unemployment to lowest in the western world, and a budget surplus every year, in the 9 years there was never one media example of “bene bashing”, and you know why?, nearly everyone had a job. Were they perfect, hell no, but still a dam sight better than the last 9 years.

                    It’s been a decade since a Labour Coalition Govt has been in, as they say, history is not a measurement of the future, and I think NZ’ers are ready for change, that can’t happen without voting out the existing num sculls.

                • McFlock

                  Yeah, GST is a bugger. Tax distribution in general.

                  • NewsFlash

                    I remember it’s intro, the excuse was that businesses would be more streamline by not having calculate and pay sales tax, corporate BS of course, but how we ended up with the worst example of it, I have no idea. They call it a very efficient Tax, but I remember reading an article last year about the Turnball govt considering increasing GST and then saying that the economic modelling didn’t stack up, there was no improvement to the bottom line.

                    Two things I think Labour should consider for a platform for the next election.

                    1 Review GST and general Tax reform

                    2 Introduce into our schools at an early age, the teaching of Maori language and culture, from ages 5 to 12, with a required level, this, I think will enhance the cohesion of our society, and most importantly, preserve the Maori culture for future generations into the next millennium, it will also distinguish us from many other cultures, making us even more unique.

              • Leftie

                +1 on all your comments McFlock. And if memory serves in 2011 Phil Goff said it on a televised TV1 political debate.

          • Leftie

            Agree with you McFlock.

        • Leftie

          Andrew Little: “I don’t see how I can be personally held responsible for the actions of predecessors”

          <a href="http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/08/30/waatea-5th-estate-labour-vs-nz-first-the-fight-for-maori-votes/

  8. UncookedSelachimorpha 8

    Thanks Enzo. To me, number 4 is the big issue. The rest seems like the machinery of politics – and there is too much emphasis on that these days. Seems to be a belief that focus on political maneuvering is paramount, with policies a distant second (and to be fair – this ‘fact-free’ strategy wins elections, to the detriment of nations and their populations).

    Barack Obama and the democrats turned their back on inequality and the poor for decades, with recent unpleasant results. In my opinion NZ Labour has done the same. A radical message that resonates with the poor is a strategy that hasn’t been explored for a few decades?

  9. The Chairman 9

    Good work, Enzo.

    Three, four and five (in terms of delivery) are extremely important.

  10. saveNZ 10

    Good advice esp, getting a vision, face to face contact and not thinking it will be easy now that Key has gone.

    Another issue (and we can see this in the Greens) is who will be the people replacing the outgoing MP’s retiring? They need hard hitters and credible people… I don’t dislike Annette King, but def agree they need to have Auckland presence. Good thinking to have Matt McCarten on board.

    Most Labour MP’s don’t understand or seem to like Auckland. Auckland has had more intervention from the Governments than any other city via supercity, transport woes, housing woes and immigration, so if they don’t like it, look to Wellington as to the cause of many of Auckland’s problems… and the corporate COO cronies driving the neoliberal agenda here.

    Many Aucklanders are disgusted at the problems and interventions given by National but Labour often seem to agree with the Natz on many things… not sure if true or manipulated but in my view Labour never says anything about Auckland that makes me want to vote for them on that policy apart from stop selling State houses. At least Labour are starting to address immigration crack downs but Natz have wily publicly decided to do the same even if it is all smoke and mirrors…

    Andrew Little has done a great job in my view. His weakness is public speaking so he should surround himself by others when he speaks who have a more relaxed demeanour. I personally don’t care that he looks angry – many people are also angry about what’s happening to this country! This again is just a superficial concern that is over talked about, taking away from real issues like winning the election, uniting the party and what a good job Andrew lIttle is currently doing.

    As for getting election experts in, it depends who they are. Voters worldwide are getting annoyed at the manipulations of elections. The old tricks are not working and turning people off.

    Don’t use whoever or however they used last time as their election strategy – it was a disaster. Vote Positive when all the messaging was negative or denial based.

    Remember 64% of Kiwis are still Pakeha homeowners. Identity politics is not working when everyone seems to be targeted as being important apart from the above group who are often targeted for abuse by left leaning activists. Attacking your core target group in a negative way (more taxes, longer till retirement and blaming them for housing woes) is not a winning strategy.

    • weka 10.1

      Homeowners as the new political identity 😉

      • saveNZ 10.1.1

        Unless Labour wants to fight it out for the remaining 36% with the Greens, The Maori party, Mana party, TOP, ACT, People’s party, NZ First… doesn’t do anyone any good fighting among each other for the same groups if there is not enough of them to change the government…

        • weka

          and yet there you were putting a stake in the ground that excludes identity politics. Hardly an example of working together.

          • saveNZ

            I’m advocating working together by not trying to attract the same groups as each other. Labour should compete with National not compete against Greens. I often see people complaining that labour is trying to target the centre – of course they should!

            In the past there seems to be more interest in smaller marginal groups than the majority. Not very tactical. Aucklander’s have for years voted for so called ‘left’ mayors – they vote for Labour MP’s but not their party or policy last election – that is the clue.

            National has angered the Auckland homeowner in the supercity and unitary plan, but have Labour or Greens been able to capitalise on that? Or have they come across as largely agreeing with National on ramming through undemocratic change so that National can keep their immigration targets ticking along.

            Last election the opposition seemed to be competing for the same groups and losing the big picture – the Te Tai Tokerau fiasco…. angered many people, yes Labour won but it was a hollow victory in the resulting context of who gained from it and who lost from it.

            Therefore when you look at demographics it is pretty obvious what the centre is. National has shifted the centre to be centre right. Labour in my view seem to be pitching back to the centre. And the Greens should be centre left… they have separate identities but can still work together.

            I hope the opposition all ditch identity politics as it has become a fringe hollow angry entitled voice of a few that trivialise the real issues of feminism, sexuality and racism and turn many people off, which the Natz and MSM have gleefully capitalised on.

            Likewise piecemeal policy – good for a few, but what about everyone else. AKA funding certain cancer treatments (all good but what about others who have other illness), the Mt Roskill train line, what about those who don’t live along those routes – even the Greens rail transport model misses out parts of the supercity. What is the message, can’t be bothered with everyone else who have diabolical transport in Auckland and the rest of the country?

            When putting in the targeted policy or group, the thinking should also be, how is everyone else feeling about it when they spend their 10 minutes soundbite on promoting a policy for a very small group while ignoring the woes of many others in NZ. It can come across as not fair and out of touch.

            • wek a

              In other words support for the groups you favour and the others should be excluded.

              • saveNZ

                Nope democracy is about gaining the votes of the majority. If you can’t do that, then you will be a minor or declining party. It is not about exclusion.

                Identity politics is more about support for groups you favour and excluding others.

                • weka

                  “Identity politics is more about support for groups you favour and excluding others.”

                  Citation needed (because I think you made that up).

      • Anno1701 10.1.2

        “Homeowners as the new political identity”

        mate the “landed gentry” aint nothing new !

      • xanthe 10.1.3

        #13: ditch identity politics !

        • weka

          may as well stop women from voting again too.

          • xanthe

            identity politics enabled the neoliberal takeover.
            nothing to do with making the world fairer for ALL
            Ditch identity politcs or forget 2017

            • adam

              What do you mean by ‘identity politics’ xanthe?

              • Carolyn_nth

                What do you mean by ‘identity politics’ xanthe?

                Very good question, adam. I’m interested to see the reply… waiting….

                • Xanthe

                  “Very good question, adam. I’m interested to see the reply… waiting….”

                  Un-necessary carolyn

              • Xanthe

                Identity politics is the identfication of demographic groups and targeting policies that benifit that group.
                Within a political environment it leads to the factionalising into “representitives” of different demographs and their “constituents”

                Identity politics as i have described here is actually the transplanting of the “free market” theory into the political field, it is the capitulation in the political sense to free market process

                • Carolyn_nth

                  Curious reply. It doesn’t relate very much to the way I see “identity politics” used as a criticism.

                  Your definition sounds more like what I would call managerialism, cynical approaches to win votes.

                  But, as I see it, the main group targeted that way by National and Labour are home owners, and, more by Labour, also wannabe home owners. This does tend to divide them from renters, especially low income renters and the homeless.

                  • Xanthe

                    ” Your definition sounds more like what I would call managerialism, cynical approaches to win votes.”

                    Yes it is often that.
                    Of itself creating policies that recognise demographic needs is benign.
                    Unfortunatly without ethical oversight it can turn into use of polarisation and division to win votes or gains. Excellent example, the greens over the last couple of decades. If they have not resiled from these methods the MOU is a big mistake for labour

                • weka

                  “Identity politics is the identfication of demographic groups and targeting policies that benifit that group.”

                  So are you saying that identity politics is something that political parties created and use?

                  • Xanthe

                    Wouldent say “created” rather they took social movements and transformed them into a means of progressing the neoliberal agenda in the political space

                    “Use” absolutely

                    • weka

                      “Wouldent say “created” rather they took social movements and transformed them into a means of progressing the neoliberal agenda in the political space”

                      That makes more sense to me. I suspect we will still disagree on fundamentals like the value in people being supported around identity, but that definition you’ve just given is a better critique of what Labour have done than attacking identity politics per se IMO.

  11. Hi Enzo

    Interesting post, I’d have to say I agree with much of it. Just a question though, what are you referring to with point two?


    • weka 11.1

      I assumed he was referring to things like using social media to get people onto the Labour Party email list. The Greens use this pretty successfully but Labour aren’t that good at it, and I tend to agree that their primary success has been with face to face probably for cultural reasons.

      • Clump_AKA Sam 11.1.1

        I don’t know about any one else. But I don’t look at an email unless Iv talk with a supplier first. If I want to put in an order I’ll ring up a broker, say I want $5 of each and I’ll put my sell orders on a different email. Lots of people use emails wrong in this way, in fact every one uses technology wrong in different ways

        • weka

          Yes, and what I’ve seen from Labour is that they were a bit sneaky with how they harvested email addresses. The Greens made a couple of mistakes with this but in general they were more upfront and had that better targeted towards people who would be receptive. Labour were clunky and hamfisted.

    • Enzo 11.2

      Hi Patrick,

      I mean techniques such as mailchimp, robocalling and putting all voter contact eggs in the phoning basket.

      • The Chairman 11.2.1

        I’ve received an automated call from Labour recently. They were very interested on my thoughts on Bill. I assume gauging public opinion for attack lines.

  12. adam 12

    Another day, and another labour activist who sounds nothing like the parliamentary team.

    Enzo all clear and to the point stuff from you, which is good. But the labour party as it stands, is a liberal party, so why should working people bother with such liberals? Establishment liberals are the worst, they speak the language of they care, but then they smash you in the mouth just like the Tory scum do. Or at best tinker, and make the middle class happy with things like ‘working for families’

    These last 35 odd years have seen many working people suffer at the hands of this reckless economic adventure, which at it’s best offered a few shiny trinkets. Which most of the middle class are hanging onto desperately thinking they have wealth. The great Irony is so many of the middle class in this country are one pay check away from disaster.

    I digress, my base line is without a shift in economic policy, it looks rather shon-key. And have you read this piece from trotter? http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2017/01/12/leading-labours-broad-church/

    If the labour activist actually took over the parliamentary wing of the party, labour would walk into power. Not going to happen, so 3 more years of Tory mayhem and liberal economics here we come.

    • weka 12.1

      “But the labour party as it stands, is a liberal party, so why should working people bother with such liberals?”

      Liberal not neoliberal?

      • adam 12.1.1

        Same difference at this point. It really is not new, so lets be honest after 35 years.

        It is liberalism, or liberal economic theory. Short hand, liberal.

        • weka

          So at what point did Labour become liberal?

          • adam

            With the introduction of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act 1989 if you want a date and specific point. Also around the same time when the left walked out of the party.

            • weka

              thanks! I know we’ve had this conversation before, and it’s coming up again because of what has happened in the US, but the whole ‘liberal’ as a dirty word thing is going to take some working through for NZ. I grew up in a middle class liberal family (pre-1989) and liberal means something quite different to me. It’s causing political confusion now, which is not necessarily a bad thing but it does need working through.

              • adam

                There is so much confusion, spam, and trolling in politics at the moment what some more ah? But we do need the tools to be critical, and a point of difference between socialism (in it’s various forms) and liberalism (in it’s many forms as well)

                That said, I think what Enzo wrote, does a good job of cutting through much of that confusion, spam, trolling and double speak. It’s good to see it as a post.

                • weka

                  I’d welcome some additional tools in the debate, however if ‘liberal’ is the new thing to beat up, it’s going to cause problems in a place like NZ where most people don’t have the same analysis tools that you do. ‘liberal is evil’ is contributing to the confusion and is pretty close to deliberate IMO, which would make it a form of trolling too.

                  The word liberal was in use in NZ as a positive pre-1989. It’s only relatively recently that I’ve seen it regularly used as a pejorative on TS. Big gap in between and while I appreciate that some of the anarchist and socialist politicos see it differently, at the moment it is coming across as trying to enforce political doctrine on the conversation.

                  “But the labour party as it stands, is a liberal party, so why should working people bother with such liberals? ”

                  And why would socialist liberals bother to engage with that?

                  • Carolyn_nth

                    But words and their use can change.

                    Prior to the 1980s, “socialism” was used positively by people on the left in the UK and parts of Europe. Thatcher set out to demonise the word, spitting it out as if it referred to the worst possible evil. Along with that, her government promoted neoliberal ideals positively.

                    Now “socialism” as a term has been thoroughly marginalised, except in some South American countries. Highlighting the values of “individualism” and laissez faire policies that go with the term “liberalism” is useful in showing people we need a new direction for the left in NZ.

                    One way would be to try to reclaim the word “socialism”, or to develop another term for the future direction of the left.
                    “socialist liberals” is already a shift, and could be useful.

                    • weka

                      I have to laugh when I use the word socialism in US dominated spaces, the way that some people freak out.

                      You are right about word usage. I think the word liberal is being used in two distinct ways, and my objection to what adam does with the word is that he renders invisible the people that use it differently than he does. He’s not the only one.

                      Likewise the use of the term ‘identity politics’, always a problematic phrase to begin with, but now people have free reign to use it as a beating stick.

                      I like the idea of reclaiming socialist in a NZ context. I will use socialist liberal and see how that runs too. Or maybe it should be liberal socialist. See if I can keep ahead of the dirty word crowd.

                    • adam

                      weka please don’t put words in my mouth. I’m not excluding the other meaning of the word. All I’m saying is the economic under pinning of the labour party, and the national party are the same. This world view of the economy has a name , which is accepted by most people who have read economics, and it’s called liberalism.

                      I’m not excluding the other usage, I’m just saying in the field of economics, which is a major component of political debate, liberalism has a long history and meaning. And if we can not honestly label somthing what it is, then what are we discussing?

                    • weka

                      I’m not suggesting you are doing that intentionally adam, I’m saying that it’s a consequence of how ‘liberal’ is now being used as a pejorative. And that that is a problem.

                      Yes, I understand that it has a technical meaning academically. Lots of words do that have different usage in other spaces. This is not an academic space.

                      I’m talking about ‘liberal’ btw, not ‘liberalism’. Most people I know wouldn’t use the word liberalism in a NZ context.

                    • adam

                      It’s a word to describe a political world view, which has a commitment to a particular set of economics.

                      I don’t have a problem using it as a pejorative, indeed most socialist have used it as such, for a very long time.

                      Hence why most center left parties in the European tradition called themselves Democratic Socialist in one form or another.

                      You do know the major Tory party in Australia are called The Liberals?

                      In the New Zealand context, the Liberals became the national party.

                    • weka

                      “I don’t have a problem using it as a pejorative, indeed most socialist have used it as such, for a very long time.”

                      Thanks for confirming what I have been saying. For you there is one true meaning and the rest be damned. Socialists may well have been using it like that for a very long time but the NZ public hasn’t.

                      A fighting liberal

                  • And why would socialist liberals bother to engage with that?

                    Absolutely. Socialism without liberalism is what the victims of the Soviet Union and various other socialist nightmares got. No thanks, Do Not Want.

                    • weka

                      Oh thanks, I hadn’t made that connection.

                    • adam

                      So authoritarian socialism is somthing you oppose Psycho Milt?

                      I’d argue the devotion to leaders, and a commitment to hierarchy are what lead inevitably to all sorts of nightmares both left and right.

                    • Carolyn_nth

                      Or you could use the term “democratic socialism”. Was the Soviet Union ever really socialist?

                      Was the Soviet Union ever actually “socialism”?

                      There’s various views on such terms, but this site compares communism with socialism:

                      Political System
                      A communist society is stateless, classless and is governed directly by the people. This however has never been practised.

                      [socialism] Can coexist with different political systems. Most socialists advocate participatory democracy, some (Social Democrats) advocate parliamentary democracy, and Marxist-Leninists advocate “Democratic centralism.”

                      I’ve always thought of socialism within Western European states as being something that is part of a democracy, and that is part of democratic electoral systems.

                  • Sacha

                    Selfish is a better word to attack.
                    Liberal = freedom = my freedom = me me me. Thanks, Roger.

                    You can see why people are suggesting other terms like ‘progressive’.

                    • weka

                      Totally. And I’m not averse to the academic version of liberal being brought into the mainstream as a political act. I just think the way it is being done currently is causing problems (I’m seeing this in the US too). Ditto what’s being done with the term ‘identity politics’. If adam wants to alienate allies that’s up to him. I’d rather we tried to build bridges (which doesn’t exclude hard critique), but then I’m a nanny-pamby, bleeding heart liberal.

                      There is a lot of miscommunication going on because of the different way words are being used and that’s escalating in this climate of alleged post-truth politics. See the link above for Pascal’s Bookie’s and others’ comments on ‘liberal’ and xanthe’s definition of identity politics (below I think).

                      As for selfish and liberal, I grew up liberal and that was about progressing the rights of all people esp those who were being obstructed by conservative values (that predates Roger). It wasn’t liberal in the US sense. Attacking that from the left is daft.

                      By all means attack Liberalism as a political doctrine, but that’s not the same as attacking people who identify as liberal in NZ.

                    • weka

                      I found that link because my theory is that it’s really only this year that liberal has become a commonly used pejorative on TS. A quick google seems to confirm that. Prior to that time people were using ‘neoliberal’. Further, that use of the term liberal as a pejorative is a conscious, political act. That’s why I’m suggesting that the people doing it take more care about who they are harming.

        • Carolyn_nth

          To me “liberal” politics basically is one that prioritises individualism. So while it aims for equality, freedom and other nice sounding ideals, it ignores the fact of power blocks that tend to develop within a laissez faire system.

          From Wikipedia: liberal economic theory:

          The development into maturity of classical liberalism took place before and after the French Revolution in Britain, and was based on the following core concepts: classical economics, free trade, laissez-faire government with minimal intervention and taxation and a balanced budget. Classical liberals were committed to individualism, liberty and equal rights. The primary intellectual influences on 19th century liberal trends were those of Adam Smith and the classical economists, and Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill.

          Socialism was marginalised early on in the development of post-independence US politics. Hence their “left” has always tended to be liberal, rather than socialist. These values have been promoted with neoliberalism, which included increasing Americanisation (USisation) of the world, culturally and economically.

          • weka

            “Socialism was marginalised early on in the development of post-independence US politics. Hence their “left” has always tended to be liberal, rather than socialist.”

            Thanks, that’s very helpful too.

            • Carolyn_nth

              According to Fraser, Steve, The Age of Acquiescence: The life and death of American resistance to organized wealth and power, 2015, there was quite an active labour and socialist movement in the US in the 19th century. It resulted in some very violent clashes, between left wing activists and supporters of capitalism. But the labour/socialist movement never took hold politically as it did in the UK and Europe.

              In the UK (and NZ), in the late 19th century, Liberal parties formed the main opposition to the conservative parties of the elites. But, at the turn of the century, organised labour, and a rising class consciousness of workers, resulted in the rise of the Labour movement and parties.

              The use of the term “liberal” to describe left wing politics, really comes from the US. I am amazed at how many NZ lefties have come to look to the US for political direction. This has happened during my adult life – it never used to be as strong in the 1970s.

              • adam

                Carolyn_nth have you ever read the original New Zealand labour party constitution?

                Big thing in NZ was the free flow of labour, and a quite a few from the militant left or red feds as they were affectionately known, were heavily influenced by the socialist movement in the USA.

                Indeed the constitution I mention looks surprising like the IWW constitution. The influence of the USA on us has always been there, just many of the British types like to suppress that part of our history.

                • Carolyn_nth

                  Ah, but that would have been back when the socialist movement in the US was still a very strong force. During the 20th century, it was demonised and increasingly marginalised by the elites.

                  There is still a socialist and labour/union movement in the US, but that gets less attention from the NZ left, than the Democrat Party (which really isn’t left wing at all).

              • weka

                The use of the term “liberal” to describe left wing politics, really comes from the US. I am amazed at how many NZ lefties have come to look to the US for political direction. This has happened during my adult life – it never used to be as strong in the 1970s.

                I think it’s even more recent than that. But then I’ve never been part of traditional left wing groups, having started out politically in the peace movement, and in feminism after all those women had already left the socialist groups. So I can see why people who have that background, or have studied those things, use the term differently, and use the US concepts here in NZ. I don’t think it would take that much for us to be more careful in our language so we are communicating those things more usefully.

                • Carolyn_nth

                  Well, within feminism, of the 1960s and 70s, I have talked with many who never discarded socialism. I think Sue Bradford is of that ilk.

                  Also, in spite of the mainstream of US politics being liberal feminist, I have talked with some from the 60s and 70s movement who were strongly socialist feminist.

                  And in the UK socialism was a very strong part of the 2nd wave of the women’s movement.

                  In recent times I’ve read a bit of Sheila Rowbotham’s stuff. She was and remains a strongly socialist feminist historian.

                  n such books as Women, Resistance and Revolution (1972) and Hidden from History (1973), Rowbotham put her ideas into practice by examining the experience of women in radical and revolutionary movements in Cuba, Algeria, Vietnam, China, Russia, France and Britain from the 17th century to the 20th centuries.[6] In her opinion, working within the established order has never brought women any advances, and only through revolutionary socialist movements have women made any social gains.

                  Besides her work as a historian, Rowbotham has been active in left-wing causes.[9] In her book Beyond the Fragments, co-written with Hilary Wainwright and Lynne Segal, Rowbotham called for the various fractions of the British left to unite, and work for a socialist Britain through grassroots activism.[9] She has great faith in activist social movements working from the bottom up to change society,[9] and feels that historians have a duty to contribute to social change by writing books that expose what she sees as the evils of society.[10] As such, she is highly critical of those historians who, influenced by theories of French structuralism and post—structuralism, write in a style unlikely to appeal to the general public.[10]

                  In Rowbotham’s opinion, an issue of great importance is providing a definition of patriarchy so that women know what they are struggling against.[8] She finds fault with those feminists who deny men a role in the battle against sexism.[8] In her opinion, women and men should stand equally against both capitalism and sexism to achieve radical social reorganisation.

                  • weka

                    I didn’t mean that feminists left socialist politics behind, I meant that they left those male dominated socialist spaces and put their time and energy into feminist ones instead. And yes, many brought their socialist politics with them.

            • Clump_AKA Sam

              Socialism is tactical unsound. To many paths to defeat

              • Tony Veitch (not the partner-bashing 3rd rate broadcaster

                In a word Clump – crap!

                A well articulated socialist programme, a la Corbyn and to a lesser extent, Sanders, would resonate with the NZ public. Put the caring and supporting back into public life – most people are uncomfortable with the selfish ‘me first, second and always’ ideas of the last 30 plus years.

                • Clump_AKA Sam

                  Ok Veitchy. What ever you say. Thy is your kingdom come, as it is in heaven so shall it be on planet Veitchy

          • Andre

            Power blocks develop within any form of social organisation. Because usually individuals that want power are willing to work hard and do what it takes to get it. And some individuals are quite happy to cede power. For most of the rest, fighting those who are trying to grab power takes just as much energy as actually grabbing power, so they can’t be bothered, preferring to do other things with their lives.

          • Sacha

            “To me “liberal” politics basically is one that prioritises individualism.”

            Snap. Thanks. Should have read further before replying. 🙂

            • weka


              “Liberal just means pro-liberty. A ‘free’ market doesn’t necessarily make for a more free population.”


              “Everyone is a variety of liberal these days, they differ in means. People who don’t think free markets increase freedom and oppose then for that reason, are still Liberals.”

              Pascal’s bookie.


              “And as Pascal’s Bookie points out, classical liberalism doesn’t own the word liberal any more, and theories of social equity have begun to dominate the thought space in that area now that we have some very highly developed countries that don’t just have to worry about economic issues.”

              Matthew Whitehead.


              “I’ve used the term “liberal” to describe a particular kind of leftie for a long time and never been misunderstood.”

              IrishBill (and he wasn’t talking about selfish people or individualists).

              A fighting liberal

    • Paul 12.2

      ‘Establishment liberals are the worst, they speak the language of they care, but then they smash you in the mouth just like the Tory scum do. Or at best tinker, and make the middle class happy with things like ‘working for families.’

      As has been shown time after time.

      America has just discovered agein the mistake in believing such bs from Obama. You would have thought Clinton’s 2nd term of office would have been enough for them, with NAFTA and the removal of the Glass Stiegel Act.

      In NZ Clark flattered to deceive, never dismantling the draconian labour laws imposed by Birch and Richardson.

      In the UK Blair completed the job do well, Thatcher described him as her legacy.

      Left wing neoliberals are the pits.

      • red-blooded 12.2.1

        “In NZ Clark flattered to deceive, never dismantling the draconian labour laws imposed by Birch and Richardson.”

        Bullshit. She didn’t reintroduce compulsory unionism and national awards (would you have wanted that?) but she dumped the Employment Contracts Act (which promoted direct bargaining between individual employees and employers and kneecapped unions) with the Employment Relations Act (which promoted collective agreements, reinstated unions into the process and tried to redress the power imbalance between employers and employees). Not perfect, but certainly an improvement.

  13. Siobhan 13

    So “Bolster the backroom team with people who have a record of winning big important elections.” is number one point…and ‘get a vision’ number 4.

    You come across as being Clearly in the Stuart Nash camp of thinking that…‘coming second but maintaining our principles’ is a ludicrous proposition.

    You will note that Corbyn and Bernie garnered massive active support by actually having a clear vision, inseparable from who they actually are as people and politicians, they didn’t need to think one up. Corbyn won his election. And Bernie was knee capped, but thats not exactly unusual in the current war between the Lefties and the Centrists.

    Infact all big wins through History have been from Parties and Leaders with an intrinsic vision, be they Left or Right. You would have to be a most unusual person to be so actively supporting a Party that you don’t clearly know what they stand for.

    Meantime, If it’s all about winning, and filling the Party with people who win ‘big important elections’ then you might as well follow the DNC…and look where that’s got them.

    • Paul 13.1

      Yes it sounds like more bs to me.
      Jonathan Pie .
      Labour Party.

    • red-blooded 13.2

      So what’s the intrinsic vision that’s won National the last 3 elections, Siobhan?

      Sweeping statements like that aren’t all the helpful. I could counter your argument with the old truism that “oppositions don’t win elections – governments lose them”. Without any real argument or evidence in support of your assertion, mine’s as good as yours. (Note that one of your examples won an internal – not national – election, and one lost the internal party election for candidate, so how much weight do they actually give in support?)

      • Siobhan 13.2.1

        Well, I dont vote for National, because, well I’d rather chew off my own arm. And they had ZERO in the way of actual policy that they were willing to talk about. So its all ‘sweeping comment with no ‘evidence’..
        But I guess people voted for their ‘Vision’……’sensible, fiscally responsible, punish the bludgers’ type stuff. I don’t recall any mumbling from the National camp questioning what their ‘vision’ was.

        “Note that one of your examples won an internal – not national – election, and one lost the internal party election for candidate, so how much weight do they actually give in support?).”..my comment addresses these points.
        But , yet again, Corbyn won the internal despite massive, and blatant press anti Corbyn rhetoric from ‘Lefty’ press like the Guardian.

        As for Sanders…http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2016/president/us/general_election_trump_vs_sanders-5565.html

        (disclaimer, all polls are crap, but they are all we have at the moment)

        And my main point is that you need to have a clear vision that you believe in and stick to. A year out from the election and the voter doesn’t know what you stand for? Playing politics simply to win??
        Well hello National Lite.
        Which is what Labour has been playing at for the last 30 or so years.

        • red-blooded

          If you’re not part of the National camp, you’re not likely to hear the “mumbling”. Plus, parties that are winning tend not to “mumble” too much (surprise, surprise).

          And, no, your comment didn’t actually address my point about the paucity of evidence to support your viewpoint. Some parties/individuals win big with big “visions” (a better example would have been Obama’s first win). Some win big because they seem to be better than the other idiots (Obama’s second win – and Lange’s second win, when National were simply chanting, “We’ll be even more extreme – give us a chance!”). Some win big because the tide’s gone out on the last lot (Bolger’s first win). Some – well, jeez, who knows? But it’s not as simple as saying “you need a clear vision”: there have been plenty of losing parties with a clear vision and plenty of winners with pretty much zero policy, or a mumblefest full of contradictory policies and a simplistic slogan (wonder who I might be talking about here?).

          • Adrian Thornton

            @Red Blooded, you talk about visions for political parties like they are flavors of ice cream you choose to suit your tastes at the moment.
            Wouldn’t it be nice to have a left wing party that actually really believes in a real left wing economic vision,…ah we can but dream.
            It all makes me realize that I am really missing Helen Kelly already.

            • red-blooded

              Adrian, I am doing no such thing. I’m not only talking about left wing parties and I’m talking about the concept of true vision vs meaningless slogans. Having said that, I’m also saying that vision isn’t everything (as Siobhan claims) and within the thread of my comments I’m making it clear that I believe Labour has already got a clear and coherent vision.

              And, BTW, I’m also missing Helen Kelly, who was planning to stand for the Labour Party in the upcoming election before she was diagnosed as terminally ill, and who defended the Labour Party vision so ably.

          • Siobhan

            Look, I’m not here to write a thesis on Politics.
            I just want to vote for a Left wing Party.
            And I guess I would like to be able to vote for a Party/Leader that has a clear, credible, long term vision. Not something they think up at the last minute because they think it will win them the election.
            I’m into middle age, and I’ve only ever voted twice, because the Labour Party I know has only ever been a neo liberal, free market middle of the road sort of Labour Party.
            And that sort of political stance is quickly falling into the wrong side of history. And if its not turned around soon we will end up even further in ‘the poop’. And who knows where that might lead.

            • Sacha

              “And I guess I would like to be able to vote for a Party/Leader that has a clear, credible, long term vision.”

              Thoughts on the Greens?

          • Leftie

            Well said Red-Blooded on all responses !

  14. Clump_AKA Sam 14

    Number 3 has to be the most important, a single, unambiguous aim is the corner stone to any successful operation. Selection and maintenance of this aim is regarded as the master principle. A master chess move. But a warning.

    Chess can provide good intellectual preparation for tactics, it is only a game that has all factors predetermined. In executing aims anything can happen, and you must adapt instantaneously or be destroyed in the same amount of time. Napoleon provides a good example. He was an excellent chess player in his day and his military genius does not need explaining. But in chess he couldn’t be fooled, in battle he was fooled.

    When you use predetermined factors ie geography/constituency/zones which are important because people use them. Murphy’s law takes over and messes with people’s head because your opposition may come in and do something unexpected.

    So focusing on a single aim is the corner stone to victory.

  15. Adrian Thornton 15

    Some good points there, but only one point matters….
    “Get a vision that resonates with voters. I honestly can’t tell you what Labour’s vision is at the moment, and that’s been a problem for a very long time. People don’t know what we stand for”

    This is the reason Labour now smells of death and decay… “get a vision” don’t you all see and get that this is it, this is the problem with Labour, nothing else, full stop.

    Until labour can somehow disengage from it’s debunked free market economic platform it will always remain as fucked as it is now.

    This is the elephant in the room that no one seems to want to talk about, traditional Labour values and principles, Labour promoting an economic ideology that works for the people of the country and the environment… and not the other way around, which is the heart of Labours free market economic ideology today, and as we speak, one that drives all Labour policies….and you cannot have it both ways.

    When a political leader/party stands and speaks, authentically from the political high ground, people under stand and acknowledge it’s authenticity, it is indisputable and sometimes it is beautiful to watch, especially in this age of poll driven politicians.
    Look at Sanders and Corbyn, they where attacked relentlessly by both other politicians and the media, but rarely attacked on their actual policies, why? because their policies are based on the old fashioned Socialist principles of an equal and fair society for all citizens…very simple and easy to understand, some thing that can easily be related back to yourself, your children family and friends, so is something that is actually pretty easy to sell to most humans.
    But then we would need a Socialist Democratic party in NZ, which Labour today, is not.

    Turn Labour Left.

    • billmurray 15.1

      Adrian Thorton,
      Hear Hear.

    • JanM 15.3


    • miravox 15.4

      “When a political leader/party stands and speaks, authentically from the political high ground, people under stand and acknowledge it’s authenticity, it is indisputable and sometimes it is beautiful to watch, especially in this age of poll driven politicians.”

      I had the absolute pleasure this year of being in a country where a left-leaning economist beat a far-right contender, against the odds, not once, but twice. This was in Austria where Alexander Van der Bellen, a 70-something year-old former leader of the Greens ran an independent campaign for the presidency. Obviously this was in different circumstances to a general election in NZ and there are different issues in play, but it was instructive. And as you say, beautiful (and inspiring) to watch. I believe your comment points to why he had a winning chance.

      Van der Bellen never changed from his vision a tolerant, progressive society, but at the same time managed to connect with enough people who were susceptible to the far-right message to make a difference to the election outcome. He had his own personal story as the son of refugees to back that up. He never watered-down his values or apologised for them either. In contrast, his opponent – the ‘friendly face of the far-right’ was not totally trusted – people were uncertain that what he was saying was what he actually thought.

      Moreover, despite being a long-time politician, academic and economist Van der Bellen has no connection with the monetarism/neo-liberalism/social conservatism that even in Austria is compromising the Social Democrats due to their need to coalesce with the parties on the right.

      VdB’s campaign had no official party backing so was run on a shoestring budget. Supporters developed a grassroots campaign based on green and progressive values that resonated with urban middle-class, especially women and the young. With that demographic in the bag, so to speak, he also demonstrated he was comfortable with traditional Austrian lifestyles in the provinces. Over the summer, using the landscape, wearing Austrian clothes, doing traditional Austrian things the whole summer long he demonstrated that the love of the land was a shared attachment. He was as authentic (PR & marketing either not required or remarkably discreet and effective!) in the regions as with the urban young and/or socially liberal people. In contrast with left-ist politicians in NZ, VdB appeared to genuinely engage with people in both worlds and in the end won decisively.

    • Leftie 15.5

      Best way is to join the Labour party Adrian Thornton. Read Anthony’s comment above.

  16. In my view nothing in those 10 points will achieve the purpose of encouraging a potential voter to vote Labour. People have to be bribed to vote as in ‘what is in it for me’
    If Labour wants to get into Government they should do the following.
    1. State that they will introduce a living wage from day one of becoming Government coupled with a huge increase in inspectors to ensure such a wage is paid with the owners/Directors of those companies who don’t to be fined AND, most importantly, imprisoned.
    2. Abolish all student debt
    3. Tertiary education to be free.
    4. A family benefit to be paid for each child.
    5. A big increase in Hospital funding.
    When any person questions the costing, all that needs to be said is that obviously National doesn’t know how but, as it has all been done before, Labour does know how. Never justify your intentions. And use twitter to communicate.
    Just remember a Sovereign State can do anything.
    As an aside I would abolish ALL existing taxation and deductions and start again with a tax on ALL bank deposits with no deductions whatsoever. I would then introduce a progressive taxation system on all income over say $100,000.00. The purpose of this tax would be to reduce inequality. I would also reintroduce an inheritance tax for the same purpose.
    In my view Labour is not worth voting for until it dramatically reviews its purpose as a party.

    • red-blooded 16.1

      Patricia, Labour’s already well down the road for 2-5, and have a commitment to a living wage (although I don’t think the jail term thing is likely to be adopted). Check out actual policy – it’s a bit more nuanced than your list but there’s a lot of overlap.

      As for your ideas about tax, sorry but I don’t see how that could possibly work. A couple of thoughts:
      1) It’s easy to hide wealth away from bank accounts (and thus avoid tax according to your plan). What about stocks and shares? Property? Overseas bank accounts? Jewels and works of art..? An unprincipled person (and there are plenty) wouldn’t take long to figure out how to rort your system.
      2) However, it’s not so easy for the ess privileged to avoid bank accounts and bank transactions. This is how wages and benefits are paid, for starters. Your system would enable wealthy tax-avoiders and the burden would fall on those you (presumably) want to assist.
      3) Are you really saying income tax should only cut in at $100 000? I earn less than $100 000 and I can certainly afford income tax. More than that – I believe I should be paying it. You are talking about “no deductions”, so what about families with two incomes – does that bottom level lift to $200 000? That’s extreme.
      4) With the wealthy able to squirrel away their assets and a small number actually being taxed, how the heck do you expect to fund your policies 1-5?

      • Patricia 16.1.1

        Virtually all money goes through the banks theses days – just think of how much the big companies put through their bank accounts. There is a legal limit on how much you can pay in cash. My idea of taxing deposits doesn’t require it to be much, say 1%, for a Government to collect a large amount of money. At the moment the rich avoid paying income tax so let’s forget about taxing income. The Government intake from my suggestion would be much greater than what is achieved through the myriad of taxes and deductions we have now. You also have to forget about thinking we can only provide for the people through taxation. Tax the circulation of money through the system and if people try to avoid it by sending it offshore, tax those withdrawals. Certainly to avoid inflation the introduction of tax only starting at $100,000.00 would have to be gradual. But always remember as a sovereign country we can print money for specific purposes. It is how that printed money is spent determines whether or not it is inflationary. And remember what I have proposed is what Labour governments provided in the past.

        • Sacha

          “Tax the circulation of money through the system”

          Patricia, how do you reckon a Financial Transactions Tax could be structured to work for NZ?

          • Patricia

            I believe that income tax is a relic of the past and with its myriad of deductions and exceptions has created a monster unproductive industry designed to exploit those deductions and exceptions. If we look at the premise that everybody should contribute to the running of their country then it is failing dramatically. We can see that with the large international companies exploiting those loopholes. The tax burden is falling on the wage and salary earners and with fewer and fewer people being wage and salary earners and instead becoming independent contractors a new system of tax collection must be looked at. In a world where cash is to be replaced with electronic transactions then the system I would like to see, which I drew up from Prof Tobin FTT of 1% of the 1970s, would be a gradual replacement of the existing income tax based system with a FTT one. It would attach to all Bank electronic amd cash deposits, with the word ‘Bank’ being widely defined. It would be collected by the Banks and paid directly to Government. So, imagine, each time you paid someone then that amount would recorded in their bank statement as such and then the statement would show an amount of tax deducted and paid to Government. Now look at that from the very real picture of your and every persons grocery shopping at say Pak & Save. The amount collected by P & S each and every day is huge and would attract, even at a tax rate of 1%, a large revenue for Government. Then look at that nationwide. Business would not be affected because remember they are now not paying any income tax and even if they tried to recover that revenue and increased prices it would be futile and not matter anyway because people would have more money in their pockets and any increase in prices would attract more tax revenue. You could call it a consumption tax I suppose but it is, I believe, an elegant and simple way to replace the existing taxation system.

            • Gabby

              Impose the 1% on share transactions (including the high speed nonsense) and you might be onto something.

              • Patricia

                Of course an FTT would be on share transactions including the high speed nonsense. You have to pay for shares and when that money reaches the sellers bank account the tax is applied! Probably twice because the purchasers’s money goes to the sharebroker first, he takes his commission, the FTT is applied and after that the balance goes to the seller where the FTT is applied again. An FTT is not difficult. The aim is to clean up the existing structure. There would be no income tax and no GST, which hurts the lower income people. The politics of how to spend the money comes later. We have to clean up the system first so that everybody contributes to the running of the country not just the wage and salary earner. My politics then come into play because I believe that we could then consider the actual percentage rate for the FTT in order to seriously consider a UBI on the lines of the existing super payments, a world class hospital system, a world class education system etcetera. I would also impose a progressive tax on all income over $100, 000 and reintroduce the inheritance tax but that would be for the purpose of reducing inequality not revenue. This country could, to paraphrase America, be great again!

                • KJT

                  We have an FTT on many transactions.

                  About 2.5%. Paid to credit card companies.

                  Some people call these costs “private taxes”.

                  Monopoly transaction costs we are forced to pay, for essential services, to private companies.
                  Often to enterprises that were previously State owned, like power supply companies.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Yes. It’s amazing how much people complain about government taxes but don’t bat an eyelid over the taxes corporations charge. They really don’t understand that the taxes that corporations charge is far higher than what the government would charge for the same service.

                    • Clump_AKA Sam

                      So they get for billion a year profit for warehousing our cash. No other industry would have the balls to rip off like that. That’s crazy.

                      What I’v learnt, if people can’t interpret the warnings signs that are shown to them, then you can’t argue some one out of a position no one argued them into.

                    • KJT


                      “From the 1980s onwards in the neoliberal era, there has been an effort by policymakers globally, including Australia, to reduce both the total public tax take and marginal tax rates. The standard arguments revolve around promoting economic growth and investment, and reducing disincentives to work.

                      The debate in Australia is curious given what is not discussed: private taxes. These are sanctioned by government policy (implicitly or explicitly) and levied by market participants upon others. Private taxes come in three forms: intellectual property rights (IPRs), rising asset prices and negative externalities. Unlike public taxes, they are not labelled as taxes,

                      even though they have the same economic welfare effects.”

    • saveNZ 16.2

      I think you are on the right track, Patricia.

      However I’d live to see a UBI and all other benefits voided.

      A small transaction tax like .05% on all electronic transactions because so many people are coming to NZ with a lot of money but don’t work here. At the end of the day people seem happy to pay 2.5% on credit card transactions and the same and more to real estate agents when selling their house.

      It is not the bank deposits (which are low and Kiwi’s need to save more cash) that are the problem it is the money from shares, property, and day to day transactions that should be taxed. As someone transfers in 20 million to buy a house then they pay .05% tax… etc No tax avoidance measures could work if it was on everything. If they want the asset or good or service they get taxed a small amount as they go.

      This would instantly generate revenue and tax the poor the least and the rich the most and get a small amount of tax from foreign investors and companies at the same time who might not be tax resident but still buying up assets here or tax resident but post loses year after year.

      • Patricia 16.2.1

        See my post above. The money from buying a house gets deposited into the sellers bank account where it would be taxed at whatever rate you want. Then the balance is sent on to whoever and each deposit attracts a tax. Shares would be taxed the same way. Forget a tax on income, tax money in circulation. That way everybody contributes to running a country not just the wage and salary earner. The Banks would collect the tax as they do now with RWT and send it onto government.

  17. billmurray 17

    good to hear from someone within the machine,good luck with your points internally, you will need it.
    IMO you will be stopped dead within the party on point 7. I believe most of the present Labour MPs see the position as a job for life. Caucus change seems nigh impossible in Labour.
    Ask Trevor Mallard or as you mentioned Annette King.
    I also believe that main office could employ Colonial Viper in a senior position to their benefit.

  18. Cinny 18

    Good work Enzo, I agree with many of your points, especially these ones.

    Boots on the ground, candidates need to get out there and be part of it, make themselves known and available to listen and help. Not in a showmanship kind of way, but as a peer, as another person in the community, not above everyone else rocking a tie while everyone is in jandals, but as an equal whom loves their community and genuinely wants to help people and improve lives and our country.

    Name recognition is massive. Often if people don’t know whom to vote for, they will pick the person whose name they recognise. High profile and well known people are a must, as long as they are genuine it’s all good.

    Last election I delivered flyers addressed to particular people, their names were found via the electoral roll. I discovered that many did not like this.

    Often I’ll do any volunteer deliveries for the labour party in the weekend or late in the day so I can catch people in their garden etc and hand it to them personally as well as have a chat with them about the weather or their garden etc, what they like don’t like, want to change etc.
    But many of them were pissed off that the flyers had their personal details on it, their names and addresses, us kiwis are pretty private. So I’m in strong agreement about the ‘impersonal computer generated american style electioneering’.
    If you want to be personal. knock on their door, people like to feel important, door knocking is old school but it works, and candidates really get to know their community and their people. And the voters get to know their candidate.

    For me Labour stands for and always has in my books, quality education for ALL, decent health care especially for the oldies, those with disabilities and those with mental health issues. As well as looking after workers rights so they aren’t exploited by greedy big businesses.

    • Rosemary McDonald 18.1

      ” …..Labour stands for and always has….decent health care especially for the oldies, those with disabilities and those with mental health issues…”

      Not the right time or place to request evidence of this assertion Cinny, but I will volunteer the opinion that you might be in error on this.

      Labour will no doubt claim you are right, but for those close to these areas the experience was, and still is, very different.

      A bold Labour Party would have, could have, anticipated the Baby Boomer Bulge and the rise and rise of health and disability costs and instituted an ACC type tax/levy to fund all future health and disability needs…but they didn’t. They did pour many unavailble dollars into ACC…resulting in this…https://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/editorial/fiscal-irresponsibility

      ….which strangely in 2013 Ruth Dyson claimed to me was a beef up!

      Longer memories needed, and some sound fiscal planning.

      Perhaps calculating the projected revenue from NOT reducing ACC levies and transferring that surplus into Health? OTOH a separate NHI type system and block all attempts at privatisation?

      Bold, but doable, and if Kiwis could be guaranteed a fully publicly funded Health and Disability system that hadn’t been corrupted by corporate troughing they would vote to support it.

      Health…. single biggest issue in my book.

      • Cinny 18.1.1

        Always appreciate your wisdom and knowledge Rosemary, thanks for the link. Yes I think you are correct, longer memories are needed for sure, mine included 😀

        Health care is so vital, the health of our citizens is what will make or break our nation. And preventative health care is so valuable for all, but currently financially unaccessible to so very many, which leads to worse problems. I’d like to see that change, especially for our most vulnerable.

    • Leftie 18.2

      +1000 Cinny.

    • Leftie 18.3

      “Last election I delivered flyers addressed to particular people, their names were found via the electoral roll. I discovered that many did not like this.”

      “But many of them were pissed off that the flyers had their personal details on it, their names and addresses”

      Agree, another point re: electoral roll. I am sure there are a number of people that would like to vote but won’t because their details will be published on the electoral roll, and trying to get on the unpublished roll is too much of a pain for most to be bothered with. There are a number of reasons as to why people would not want their details and whereabouts publicly disclosed, and I am sure that if this was addressed and it was made easier to get on the unpublished roll, people concerned, would feel more safe in casting their votes.

      • Cinny 18.3.1

        I wonder if electoral rolls are less public in other countries, it’s a bit unsettling to know that anyone can go into their local library to easily discover where someone lives and what they do for a job. Especially in this day and age

        Many hippies and bikers etc as well as young folk, those being bullied, or stalked by their ex but not severely enough to go to the police etc etc are too are reluctant to enroll for that reason.

        That part of the system def needs to be looked at, no one in NZ should be afraid to vote because they don’t wish the rest of the country to know their address etc.

        • Leftie

          +1 Might be an idea to email some mps about addressing this problem. After all, it is in the interests of getting more people out there to vote.

  19. Thank you, Enzo – a very good post which Labour’s leadership and party officials would be wise to take on board.

  20. s y d 20

    adam at 12 and adrian at 15 are on the money for me.

    Labour at heart is now a socially liberal, economically neoliberal party.

    John Key* was socially liberal and economically neoliberal, and convincing as fuck that he believed that shit.

    Bill English may struggle on the socially liberal front, but I get the feeling he can portray an authentic belief.

    It’s hard to be authentic about things you don’t believe.

    (*which may have all been more lies, but really John key could have led the current Labour Party, but admitted he had a better chance at being PM with National)

  21. tangled_up 21

    Great post, thanks.

    As mentioned above having Ardern deputy is vital to Labour’s success. Bottom line the election is a popularity contest and now that Key is gone Ardern is probably the most popular politician across the spectrum. Tapping into that popularity would be worth at least 5%.

  22. McFlock 22

    Pretty solid advice – although bringing in overseas talent for the backroom could backfire if the talent ignores number 2.

    Also, as a mainlander I’m not cool with the current auckland-centric focus, and that focus also bit the nats in the arse with Northland. I agree with thinking beyond wellington, but basically I’d also be asking “how does this play to the regions?” and even chopping it into demographic as well as geographic clumps. If you get lots of “it’ll play well”, then do it, if you get more “they don’t really care” or “they hate it”, then don’t. But that should all follow after “is this the right thing to do?”, of course.

    And if nobody likes it but it’s the right thing to do, factor in the points you get for having integrity.

    • Sacha 22.1

      2/3 of Statistics NZ’s official projected population growth over the next few decades is in the Auckland region. If Auckland does not get a similar proportion of long-term infrastructure investment, the whole nation gets less than it could have.

      The marvellous mainland has done very well out of previous arrangements. Smoothest roads I’ve ever driven.

      • weka 22.1.1

        yeah but try catching a bus or a train (far too much money spent on roading in the SI, much of that is driven by tourism).

  23. Understand that the labour caucus? is meeting in marlborough next week to discuss options , tactics re the election . I have forwarded -a comment /suggestion of mine that maybe is best to be kept up the parties sleeve until if adopted it is used nearer to the election. Probably some ,–if not a lot of announcements/actions should be held back until nearer the election date for obvious reasons. i have a lot of faith in the party under Andrews leadership.–i’m sure comments in this post will also be picked through.

    • Cinny 23.1

      Most def agree with you on Alpha Andy, I’ve much faith in the party under his leadership as well. He’s intelligent, strong, switched on, friendly, genuine and down to earth.

      I think their retreat is in Martinborough this weekend, looking forward to discovering what comes of it in due course.

  24. just remember the words of H.G.Wells. ‘The Labour Party is not a Socialist Party ‘ but it is the only one Socialists can join .
    If we want a labour Government for goodness sake stop quibbling and be active in a Labour Party that is ours .

  25. NewsFlash 25

    For those still kicking Labour, it is still the only party to state publicly they wouldn’t support National in a coalition.

  26. Pat 26

    well after reading all the preceding all I can say is…good luck Enzo

  27. Peter 27

    Step 11:
    Stop listening to those who moan the loudest and start listening to those who work the hardest.

  28. Rob 28

    Nice work,

    the sad reality is that it may only be 10 clear steps, its just that each of these steps for the Labour organisation equates to about a billion km.

  29. richard rawshark 29

    I think labour if they want to win an election need to look at how to attract the Asian vote. By this I mean the demographic for Aucklands changed completely from the 80’90’s when I had previously been there, I spent a week visiting Auckland meeting old mates, visting the old homes I used to live at, and chasing a ho around K’rd who scammed me out of my phone, and I noticed so many Asians compared to what it used to be like it seemed I was actually in China.

    So these ex communist country people just may not like RED, or left, It’s a massive block of voters, massive now, and labour needs to think about how they can make these rich Asians vote for them, Nationals open Asian door policy is designed to change the demographic of the population, IMHO I doubt many of these Asians that left china would be warm to communism, and they(you know a percentage who don’t read or speak English well) will see Labour and it’s red as just that.

    • Gabby 29.1

      Red is most auspicious colour. Labour should add gold, and maybe a dragon.

      • richard rawshark 29.1.1

        That would work!!!! Brilliant. Not sure about dragons but the gold added would just be neat.

        My thought was to completely break it up and almost rainbowify it, as Labour are a party for all people and hence should not be tied to a one colour emblem/flag/banner that is misconstrued as being for one thing. By whoever see’s it in their eyes as such. It’s like decorating a house for resale you pick neutral colours. IMHO

  30. Leftie 30

    10. “ANDREW It’s a change in the dynamic, no question about that, but the issues haven’t gone away. The people who have missed out, been left behind for the last eight years, they’re still left out, they’re still behind, and these new guys offer nothing.”

    <a href="http://auckland.scoop.co.nz/2016/12/qa-andrew-little-and-james-shaw/

  31. Enough is Enough 31

    The fact that this debate is going on this close to the election is telling

    • Colonial Viper 31.1

      😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😎 😀 😀 😀 😀 😀

  32. Once was and others etc 32

    Interesting discussion above on terminology and labels (such as what “liberalism” actually means). Most of the labels have been corrupted or rendered meaningless – which is what the neo-liberal religion was designed to do.
    Many academics spend half their bloody time looking for what they perceive as appropriate descriptors – the word “post” seems to be the latest (a la “Post-Truth”).

    It wouldn’t be such a problem for the Labour Party (worldwide) if they’d stuck with a few principles rather than allowing egos and ideologies to intervene

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