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That Lusk article

Written By: - Date published: 7:40 am, May 31st, 2013 - 69 comments
Categories: Judith Collins, national, Steven Joyce - Tags: ,

I’ve been meaning to write something on Andrea Vance’s very good piece on Simon Lusk. It tells us a lot that we already know: Lusk is the brains behind Slater; Lusk was involved in the demolition of Gilmore; and he’s very tight with the Collins camp. What’s interesting is why he has come out in the public light now. And the messages he is sending to National MPs. The leadership battle is heating up.

Ask yourself a question: why does a notoriously shadowy figure like Lusk suddenly agree to do a big, ‘this is me’ interview? Why come out of the shadows? Why now?

Lusk is a smart guy. This didn’t just happen. He didn’t get tricked into giving an interview. He was sending a message. What was it?

His comments about National players who aren’t considering “the future beyond this administration” let you know.

Even the title of the piece – Seriously happy to upset the status quo – gives you a clue.

This is Collins’ strategy man coming out and giving National’s backbenchers a warning – get on board or you’re in trouble.

He lists some the electorates of some MPs that Collins will need to get the numbers and suggests their seats are vulnerable:

“Hamilton West, East Coast, Napier, New Plymouth, Whanganui, Otaki, Wairarapa and Invercargill, they will have a chance of winning in 2014 . . . In 2017 I would expect Hamilton East, Rotorua and Tukituki to be in play.”

He then lays out the equation the MPs in those seats face, by saying what he would do with weak MPs if he was running Labour:

“If they refused to vacate Hamilton West and East Coast I would tell them they would be given unwinnable list positions, and ask them to review their decision.”

In other words, ‘you lot in soft seats, you better support Collins or when we win you’ll find yourselves with unwinnable list placings, and that’ll be the end of you.

It’s a typical Camp Collins approach – we’re going to win, so get on board or face the consequences. It’s a strategy that works by assuming enough of your targets will be scared into buckling down.

Ironically, (but, also typically, when you think about Slater/Lusk’s writing on Whaleoil) Lusk then turns around and says that Joyce is the one who is a bully to backbenchers: “Unfortunately for Steven, he has not chosen his staff wisely. Some of them lack grace when dealing with backbenchers. Treating those who vote for the leader like something unpleasant on the sole of your shoe is unlikely to see backbench votes fall in behind Steven”

So why now? Why is the cold war getting hot?

Because the trend isn’t looking good for Key. Bugger the recent round of msm polls. You look at the trend and its down. Key’s going more and more negative, because he’s got nothing else to give. Slater is openly talking about National losing the next election and it has become the operating assumption for MPs and media.

If Key loses the next election then the leadership of National becomes an open battle between Collins and Joyce. Neither camp is foolish enough to wait until then to start their maneuvering.

Lusk even hints that Key could be pushed before the election if it suits Collins’ purpose: “there is a simple playbook for replacing a leader” and “I act for individuals, not the party, which gives me the latitude to do what is best for them and the values we share, not what is best for the current party hierarchy . . . I am far more interested in advancing pragmatic, moderate, Centre-Right policy over the next three decades than I am helping any government cling to power.”

69 comments on “That Lusk article”

  1. rosy 1

    ” Key’s going more and more negative, because he’s got nothing else to give. “

    I thought he was going for more of the ‘soft’ sell rather than negative – trying to get back the women’s vote by showing he’s caring, e.g. school breakfasts last week, visiting teen mums and their babies in class this week. It seems to me he’s going back to his 2008 strategy of ‘we’ll do that too’ on all the caring stuff that middle-class women liked Labour doing.

    • Dv 1.1

      And get those soft woman’s day interviews with Gower on a soft lit sofa.

      • paul andersen 1.1.1

        soft womans day interviews with a soft gower on a soft sofa. I just about puked when I saw that on tv3. gower should hang his head with shame, what a complete wally, played like a fish. when is he going to cross over and take keys shilling?

    • RedBaronCV 1.2

      He’s still got to get over the “breeding for a living hurdle”, and the unfortunate impression that he’s the sort who goes “of course I’ll love you in the morning” – can’t remember who first said that back about 2008.

  2. Tigger 2

    Nice analysis, Eddie. Lusk is clearly smart, but blinded by ideology. Claiming the Left lack grace?Some do im sure but some people from the Right do as well – he is bonkers. I mean, that’s crazy talk from someone who should be looking objectively at situations.

    • One Anonymous Knucklehead 2.1

      The Left, and Steven Joyce 😆

    • Hayden 2.2

      I mean, that’s crazy talk from someone who should be looking objectively at situations.

      Or someone who spends a lot of time with Cameron Slater.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      Straight talking isn’t graceful and so you need to question what the graceful people are hiding.

    • Tim 2.4

      It IS a nice analysis of Lusk.

      It’s sad though that the non-ABC club seem to have a ‘get-Lusk’ pre-occupation – perhaps generated from their perceptions of their own self-importance:

      “Certainly, Labour are fixated on this Right-wing bogeyman. Last year, the party’s chief whip Chris Hipkins lodged 259 written questions of ministers, asking about their communication with Mr Lusk. According to political lore, he was behind Don Brash’s unseating of ACT leader Rodney Hide.”
      Chris Hipkins – are we surprised?

      When will Labour realise that Lusk (and his chief cum-lickers Farrar, Slater and Hooten), though influential and with potential and amuntion to rock the entire NAct regime, IS, and SHOULD BE as irrelevant and utterly unsubstantial in the overall scheme of things IF Labour simply STUCK to its founding principles, and allowed the capable (such as Cunliffe) to challenge the discourse fed to us daily by the MSM.
      I mean…..FFS! Lusk…. Virgin Islands, reading daily the American Neo-lib/Chicago School/NRA hero worship/ boy I’d love a job acting as Donald Rumsfield’s bottom.
      FFS Labour – leave all that to Winston and get with the programme!

      Some of that ABC club think they’re too clever for their own good – worse still, for the good of the Labour Party.
      DAILY!!!!@#$%^&*(!!! – the missed opportunities this current bugger’s muddle of a Labour Party misses (granted having to push shit uphill with an unsympathetic MSM) just defy reason! They seem to have this idea that Hone’s and Greens and others is sufficient to counter a media’s misrepresentation of reality.

      Fuck worrying about Lusk! – Get on with challenging the daily opportunities that NActs hand to an opposition on a plate. E V E R Y D A Y! (IF you require some sort of faith-based raison d’etre to justify your existence as a ‘LABOUR PARTY representing its constituents’) – you’d be better off hoping Lusk will be the victim of a very tragic hunting accident – probably at the hands of a pistol shooting Collins (if she could get the wheel barrow out of the way in time); or a Farrar – pre-occupied with imagining himself on the next Jim Mora Panel ‘show’ – ditto Hooten – reciting to himself “I must not upset Kathryn, I must not upset Kathryn” and thinking about ways to keep his hissy fits in check the next time his ‘turn’ comes around on Natrad (Moik the Oik is quite obviously not going to be a problem) .

      I really don’t understand why we build up these totally irrelevant fuckwits (from what should be a Labour Party perspective) to the extent that we can no longer see the bleeding obvious.
      The MORE we buy into this SHIT – the more power we give the pathetic bastards.

      The only reason I’ve been able to explain it (to myself), is that there are some seriously egotistical, “I’ve paid me dues” and therefore entitled” munters trying to present themselves as a credible opposition.

      I watched various ‘left-wing’ media yesterday – including Citizen A, etc. All the participants were actually very kind to Shearer. He IS a nice bloke, with some quite obvious credentials that one might assume provide him with a compassionate outlook appropriate to NZ’s oppressed (the underclass). The participants were thoroughly decent people who’d concluded that ditching Shearer now wouldn’t be a go.
      Whatever though – it’s just NOT going to work!. There’s this overarching feeling that, BECAUSE of Shearer’s life experiences, NZ’s oppressed don’t know how lucky they are.
      Jeez – I could go on! Let me leave it there, but suffice to say that after a lifetime (and an extended family’s lifetimes) of a Labour bent, THEY WILL NOT get a vote(s), so long as they:
      – continue to embrace anything that resembles neo-lib, 3rd-way, undemocratic policy
      – piss on many within their own ranks who they can’t handle (whether because of superior intellect, self interest, jealousy, petty squables, holier-than-thou attitude and sense of entitlement).
      – continue to DAILY miss opportunities to challenge the obvious bullshit (probably because of their pre-occupation with the above).
      – fail to issue policy alternatives to the current junta’s master plan
      – …….etc.

      HOW did Labour get to this?!

      Thanks Simon L! (and Andrea Vance, for triggering my justification for giving that ‘once was Labour’ a miss next election)

      Oh …..fcuk it ……. “SUBMIT COMMENT”
      > RETURN

      (Still ain’t getting my vote, or about 20 others)

      • Peter 2.4.1

        The impression I got of Lusk was largely of a competent operator for his cause, as well as someone who probably has a wee bit of caring for the natural environment (he is a hunter after all).

        In other words, it’s quite likely his competence that scares others who are less competent, including those on the Left.

        But I agree, why Lusk should matter to the left is odd. Just get on with the job, of say, being a left wing party advancing decent solutions for NZ? Is it really that hard?

      • Murray Olsen 2.4.2

        I find it hard to argue with those well expressed sentiments. I go even further, and wonder if the interest in attacking Lusk and the authoritarian far right is actually to make common cause with those they see as sensibly centrist within NAct. The strategy of attracting swinging voters taken to extremes – attracting swinging NAct centrist MPs? I really think Mallard and co. are more worried by Mana and the left Greens than they are by Key.

        Maybe I’m totally wrong and just a deluded idiot, but time will tell.

  3. irascible 3

    The gloss on Key is fading if the responses to the latest Fairfax poll question on Key’s truthfullness andtrustworthiness are an indicator. According to reports the respondents had to take some considerable time to evaluate their answers to the question had their opinion of Key’s truthfullness and trustworthiness gone up or down or stayed the same.
    Hard core Nats, apparently, opted to say his truthfullness had declined but his trustworthiness remained steady… go figure.
    The Fairfax report of the poll results indicated that the general opinion of Key’s truthfullness and trustworthiness was in decline – if this is reflected in their internal polling no wonder Key has gone into hysteria mode with his devil beast hallucinations and general stridency in Parliament. No wonder he is appearing for every cynically posed feel good photo opportunity the Herald and MSM can give him. No wonder Collins, with Lusk in command, is preparing the guillotine…
    Trustworthiness and truthfullness have been severely lacking among all National-ACT caucus for many many years.

    • Watching 3.1

      Ireascribe your fading gloss comment on Key can be applied to anyone currently in power – take for example Hollande in France or Cameron in the UK who both seem to be in deep poo. Even Putin in Russia doesn’t seem to have that feel good factor with his constituency anymore.

      The life span we saw in Blair or Clarke or Howard as a political leader in power has gone forever.

      Regardless of whom in is power expect to see short term `popular’ leaders. In NZ terms this means 4-5 years at best.

      The only saving grace for leaders like Obama in 2012 and Clarke in 2005 is thethat the other side put up a donkey of a challenger.

      • DavidC 3.1.1

        The only saving grace for leaders like Obama in 2012 and Clarke in 2005 is thethat the other side put up a donkey of a challenger.

        Add Shearer in ’14 as the next donkey.

        • Don't worry be happy 3.1.1.1

          A bit hard on donkeys that comparision some are drawing with Shearer…At least donkeys have ‘the courage of their convictions’ (stubborn some may choose to call them) and when something is really bothering them they are impossible to ignore.

          No, to my way of thinking, Shearer looks more like a plant…

  4. Wow, way to spin Eddie.
    Steven Joyce will never be leader. He doesn’t want it.
    Key has preferred PM numbers that rival Clark in her pomp.
    You should really get on with fixing your own leader.

  5. King Kong 5

    Interesting insight into the Whaleoil blog.

    It appears that Lusk writes all the political stuff and Slater searches youtube to provide the hilarious clips of people getting hit in the nuts or powerfull guns blowing shit up.

    I bet the owners of the Truth aren’t too happy about being duped like that.

    • Russell 5.1

      Interesting insight into Eddie making it up more like. As somebody who has the misfortune to share an office with Cam Slater six days a week I can assure you that the overwhelming majority of his content is self sourced.
      Apart from the constant stream of calls from disaffected and spiteful labour politicians trying to rat each other out that is.
      You would all be astonished at the people who call him with tips.

      • King Kong 5.1.1

        The strange thing is that Slater has never denied the accusations of Lusk writing under his name on the blog.
        For a mental egotist like him not to claim ownership is pretty compelling evidence.

        • Russell 5.1.1.1

          Cam rarely confirms or denies anything, he is however laughing his tits off as I type this.
          Your definition of “compelling evidence” is the best example I have seen of why the jury system in this country must be a terrifying prospect for anybody in the dock and actually innocent.
          You would be better employed trying to figure out which labour MP sent Cam a photo of a sleeping and drooling David Cunliffe on the flight up from Wellington last night. he posted it this morning. You guys need to turn that rat cunning outwards, you might actually win one.

          • King Kong 5.1.1.1.1

            Fair enough.

            I will leave you to look for spelling mistakes in the Herald.

          • pollywog 5.1.1.1.2

            And what a great set of tits he has to laugh off.

          • Murray Olsen 5.1.1.1.3

            Cunliffe worked hard all week and fell asleep on the plane. Someone took a photo. So what? That’s just pitiful. I suppose a good MP would have been hassling an attendant for another drink and threatening to get them fired if they said no.

        • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1.1.2

          Especially when ‘Whaleoil’ writes on obscure issues like dams in the backblocks of Southern Hawkes Bay, or the sewage scheme for Waipukaerau.

          Funnily enough Lusk has a minor orchard/vineyard just outside Waipawa so would be something that spins his wheels

      • Rich 5.1.2

        Hey, I hacked into your security system and downloaded this video of a typical morning in the Truth office:

  6. Interesting that he did not mention Maungakiekie as a vulnerable seat but there again Peseta Sam is apparently a paid up member of the Lusk support brigade.

    • Lightly 6.1

      yeah but it seems some people aren’t remembering who got them where they are to Lusk’s satisfaction and are distancing themselves from an increasingly divisive figure.

      Note the knife going into Tremain too. It was in 2005 with Tremain that Lusk cut his teeth as a successful campaign manager.

      • Kevin Welsh 6.1.1

        Even Lusk probably realises you can’t polish a turd.

        Tremain is the MP for Napier for one reason, and one reason only. His name.

  7. Tony Pomfret 7

    What about the elephant in the room, Hekia Parata?? She is being touted as a possible/ probable National leader when Key collapses out of office.

    • Lightly 7.1

      yeah, Slater’s been having a pre-emptive go at her.

      But seriously, can anyone she her as a leader? She has zero public credibility and she’s impossible to work for, she goes through staff at a shocking rate as she makes working for her unbearable – you can’t have that in a leader’s office, imagine the dirt that would come out.

    • Parata as National’s leader?!

      Oh, yes, please!!

    • jaymam 7.3

      National are stupid enough to put Parata as leader. Remember when they put Shipley in? They really have no idea how terrible some people can be in power and how much the public hate them.

  8. Grumpy 8

    I like this post, it makes a lot of sense…..

  9. tracey 9

    I think it is more likely that key has privately told some he is not staying after the election. He doesnt like when the going gets tough. Too hard work that he just doesnt need. Hes got the networks now. He has tge knighthood its time to move on… after tge 2014 election

    • Nordy 9.1

      Quite right Tracey. Key and the other ‘hollow men’ don’t do anything by chance or accident. The proverbial writing is on the wall and plans are being laid down now.

      Nice article Eddie…..I was surprised by the article and you have put it nicely in context, and added some backgroud and joined a few dots. Well done.

      • Tim 9.1.1

        Doug Graeme/Graham got a knighthood too. I reckon Key will eventually face the same problem (keeping it)

  10. Saarbo 10

    Well hopefully National take a lead from Labour:

    A) Choose the obvious successor, one that is experienced, clever and has the support of the Party Membership and then work like hell to make sure he/she does NOT become leader.

    B)Choose an inexperienced, bumbling candidate that lacks self confidence…work like hell to ensure that he/she DOES become Leader.

    C) Seek council from media commentators on the Left, maybe Bradbury, Trotter and McLaughlan as to who should lead National.

    D) Sit back and watch the polls.

    Seriously, Key is a shocker as Prime Minister, he is dishonest and just doent seem to understand due process when it comes to government, which is why he always gets in the shit. But what he is bloody good and consistently underestimated by the left, is campaigning and gaining public support. He is a adept politician…he wont go down without a fight. Unfortunately Collins, Joyce and Shearer wont get close to him.

  11. If Key loses the next election then the leadership of National becomes an open battle between Collins and Joyce. Neither camp is foolish enough to wait until then to start their maneuvering.

    Hopefully Collins wins, Joyce appears to be the architect/ruler behind the throne of most of National party policy.

    • Mike S 11.1

      I’d be happy with either of them.

      Neither have much charisma and neither appear to be very ‘likeable’. (sadly, personality is what seems to matter most these days.)

      Collins especially would be a hard sell to undecided and swinging voters.

  12. Ad 12

    If Lusk or anyone thinks Collins is ready they are mistaken – when everyone in National know in campaign terms it’s not the conomy that will get them there, but John Key himself. At his Marist Panmure 7am breakfast it was 600+ and standing room only. Fulsome support for all his Local Board candidates, and his local MPs. Still a pity the progressive side don’t have fixers as good.

    Key is making the good bet that the growth of the New Zealand economy will lift him above all damage to a third term. He will not retire until the right next job is confrmed within that 3rd term.

    It’s: Key’s leadership and economic growth V Labour’s coalition options.
    Way Still Too Close To Call.

    If they get a third term, National will be able to show delivery of:
    – RMA reforms/environmental evisceration
    – OECD first of getting public books back into black after GFC, so becomes new world model
    – Denniston Open Cast Mine in production (and probable absorbtion of Solid Energy assets into Bathurst)
    – Chatham Rise seabed mining
    – Partial privatisation of the 3 remaining generators, and the 90% of Air New Zealand
    – Massive acceleration of dairying
    – A broader sector of New Zealand self-interestedly watching the progress of the NZX
    – Pulling the remaining ‘nationbuilding’ mantle off Labour with the Christchurch rebuild
    – Next huge real estate boom with the Auckland/Christchurch housing programme acceleration
    – Construction of the SkyCity Convention Centre at no taxpayer cost
    – PPPs in Transmission Gully, Puhoi-Wellsford and PENLINK, Clifford Bay – and a fully aligned construction-banking industry
    – Completion of Waterview SH20 and Christchurch Expressway

    Not sure if any of the above will make the poor better off.
    But it would be a big set-up for a (record?) fourth term.

    I don’t even like Shearer – at all – but I’m still going to write cheques for Labour if the alternative is more of Key. But he is buying a lot of industries as his programme progresses.

    • kiwicommie 12.1

      Key is making the good bet that the growth of the New Zealand economy will lift him above all damage to a third term. He will not retire until the right next job is confrmed within that 3rd term.

      But that isn’t what voters are going to be thinking about, most are just tired of the same BS from National, and want something different. I am curious to see how National manages to create a ‘surplus’*, most likely it will be a deficit come 2014; as growth is still too slow, and tax revenue isn’t at great levels either – due to high unemployment especially.

      *However it is a false surplus even if achieved, as in order to create the surplus National has to borrow.

      • Mike S 12.1.1

        I think you’re giving too many voters too much credit. “thinking” surely isn’t something many of them do to any real level. There’s no other way to explain why Key has seemingly remained so popular, despite the weak leadership of Labour.

  13. Pascal's bookie 13

    TV3 has a big old bundle of papers written by Lusk, and Whale is claiming it was Gilmore who leaked them, and that they went to the Herald and DomPost as well.

    Looks like we might find out what ‘grace’ looks like in practice.

  14. tracey 14

    Ad. What do you mean public schools back in the black. You believe schools will be in profit???

  15. George D 15

    Two theories:

    1. The theory given above.

    2. Lusk is down on work having been frozen from the National Party, who seek to work with professional teams (ie. Crosby’s mob), and is casting for clients. It’s 3 years between elections. He’s also a man who thinks a lot about himself and likes having his ego fed.

    Which is more likely?

  16. emergency mike 16

    Another Lusk leak? Also, an unacceptable number of typos:

    “Moving National to the right

    “The Nation” has received a bundle of documents apparently written by Hawkes bay businessman and Naitonal Party member, Simon Lusk.

    The documents outline a proposal to replace existing National MPs with “fiscal conservatives” who could help move the aprty to the right.

    The plan would be assisted with finance from Americna conservatives.

    We have been in touch with Mr Lusk and he says he can’t say naything because he has lost his voice.

    And sitting Naitonal MPs who are involved with him have all refused to repsond to our requests for comment. We will name those MPs this weekend.

    But w ehave spoken to Prime Minister John Key about Mr Lusk and his reponse will be on the programme.”

    Lost his voice? What happened to his usual “I don’t comment on stuff” response?

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      The “lost his voice” is a classic line to let the game play on without his finger prints.

      • emergency mike 16.1.1

        Yes it does seem rather ‘tune in for the next exciting episode’.

        Also I see there is already a post about this latest episode of ‘The New Zealand Politics is Hilarious Show.” My bad.

    • Vagabundo 16.2

      Jesus, did the person writing that have a stroke?

  17. georgecom 17

    If the Nats want to install Collins as their next leader, please do so. I find it hard to see much that will endear her to the voting populace. She comes across as lacking humour or compassion, her public framing is flinty and cold (crusher collins). It’ll be a huge task for any Nat spin person to sell her to ‘middle NZ’. If the country was suddenly faced with a crime wave or terrorist threat maybe people would flock to support a strong leader Collins could appeal to. Business as usual political times, however, little chance.

    • Alanz 17.1

      Regardless of the political, financial or social climate, don’t underestimate the dead hands of Boag that will do all it takes to stop Collins from trying to be leader.

      • Colonial Viper 17.1.1

        The issue is that Collins doesn’t have the wit, the style, the presence or the charisma to make her a sure winner in an electoral contest.

        Further, it’s electoral suicide for the NATs to be publicly examining Key’s replacement at this time.

        And I don’t mean that replacing him in the near future is going to be electoral suicide (which it would be) but merely going through the teeth pulling process of considering alternatives now is going to totally undermine National’s chances next year whoever is leader then.

        Therefore it seems that National’s internal problems and leadership struggles are far deeper and more serious than we can see even now.

        Order me an extra big popcorn and large coke. It’s going to be a fun few months.

        • Mary 17.1.1.1

          We could argue about the level of support Collins might have with Nat voters, whether her hard line on everything is appealing to enough people etc. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, but I think the real weakness with Collins would be a complete and utter inability to maintain unity within the party. One could say the same thing by describing her as a divisive force, but I think it’s more accurate to say that she doesn’t have a unifying bone in her body. If she did become leader it would be impossible for her sustain it for very long. It’s simply because that’s the sort of person she is and that no amount of training or effort on her part could ever shake.

  18. xtasy 18

    Wow, this thread gives this “whale” shit called “cameron slater”, or slotty stlather, whatever a voice, does it not? It seems some have not got their shit together. I would not even mention the name of a fat big face jerk, who is scaring little kids with his presence. I feel any party working with a sociopath, who once claimed depression, but who ran down others for the same, and who now shits on any sick and disabled, is not a party worth respecting. If that is the National Party, feel bloody ashamed, thank you. Whale is one misnomer, as the size of a body does not allow you to associate yourself with endangered species, no matter what your ulterior goals are.

    As for National, get a damned life, if Judith Collins is your future prospective leader, announce it, do not hide it. Key maybe a bit of a diiposaurus, but he is at least having a human face, that is even coming from a leftist like me, hey. Get a damned life, you losers, we will get some shit together soon, without useless Shearer, and then you will have to live up and take action, dear folk, watch out.

  19. phil 19

    Divisiveness will not work for Collins? Appeared to work for Thatcher. National is so ‘right’ it scares me where it is leading. Labour needs progressive policies that will make a real difference to alleviate poverty. Not just ‘feed a few hungry kids’. We need a government which actually governs, rather than the current position of the National government implementing big business interests. It’s called ‘corporatocracy’ – government by business interests. Can’t see the current ‘ soft labour’ making much difference.

    • Alanz 19.1

      Shearer is still looking for his misplaced tongue and his left brain. Give him another 6 months. And then Labour will be bloody good.

  20. Aaron 20

    “Ask yourself a question: why does a notoriously shadowy figure like Lusk suddenly agree to do a big, ‘this is me’ interview? Why come out of the shadows? Why now?

    Lusk is a smart guy. This didn’t just happen. He didn’t get tricked into giving an interview. He was sending a message. What was it?”

    Sorry Eddie, I knew Simon Lusk when he was 19, in his first year at university, and I would say this was a decision made by his ego. At 19 it’s pretty hard to hide your insecurities, but Simon found it harder than most to hide his desperation to be seen as someone important. I doubt that that deperation ever left him, although I’m sure he’s better at hiding it these days.

    For the record I’d be hard pressed to think of anyone else I’ve met in my life who should be kept away from the levers of power more than this guy, I remember him as being totally lacking in empathy and very quick to respond to the opportunity to put someone down.

    Makes me wonder how many other people involved in politics are like him – it’s an appalling thought.

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    The statistics for hip and knee electives under this Government make depressing reading, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Under the last Labour Government we achieved a 91 per cent growth in hip and knee elective surgery. Sadly under this ...
    3 days ago
  • Parata’s spin can’t hide cuts to early childhood education
    No amount of spin from Hekia Parata can hide the fact that per-child funding for early childhood education has been steadily decreasing under the National government, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “In the 2009/10 year early childhood services received ...
    3 days ago
  • Nats will jump at chance to vote for KiwiBuild Bill
    National will welcome the chance to vote for a real solution to the housing crisis after their many, many failed attempts, says Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis. Kelvin Davis’s Housing Corporation (Affordable Housing Development) Amendment Bill was ...
    3 days ago
  • Million dollar houses put homeownership out of reach of middle New Zealand
    35% of New Zealanders now live in places where the average house costs over a million dollars, and it’s killing the Kiwi dream of owning your own place, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. Latest QV stats show that Queenstown ...
    3 days ago
  • Opportunity for political parties to back Kiwi-made and Kiwi jobs
    The First Reading in Parliament today of his Our Work, Our Future Bill is a chance for political parties to ensure the government buys Kiwi-made more often and backs Kiwi jobs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. The reading ...
    3 days ago
  • Solid Energy must open the drift
    Solid Energy is showing no moral spine and should not have any legal right to block re-entry into the Pike River drift, says Damien O’Connor MP for West Coast-Tasman.  “Todays failed meeting with  representatives from the state owned company is ...
    4 days ago
  • 20,000 at risk students “missing”
    A briefing to the Minister of Education reveals 20,000 at-risk students can’t be found, undermining claims by Hekia Parata that a new funding model would ensure additional funding reached students identified as at-risk, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    4 days ago
  • Crime continues to rise
    Overall crime is up five per cent and the Government just doesn’t seem to care, says Labour’s Police Spokesperson Stuart Nash. ...
    4 days ago
  • Treasury fritters $10 million on failed state house sell off
    The Treasury has wasted $10 million in two years on the National Government's flawed state house sell off programme, including nearly $5.5 million on consultants, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. "New Zealand needs more state housing than ever, with ...
    4 days ago
  • National slow to learn new trade lessons post TPPA
    Yesterday, the Minister for Trade misused economic data in order to try to make the case for more so-called ‘trade agreements’ like the TPPA which are actually deregulatory straitjackets in disguise. In welcoming a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    4 days ago
  • Skilled migrant wages plummeting under National
    Wages have plummeted for people with skilled migrant visas working in low-skilled occupations, driving down wages for workers in a number of industries, says Labour’s Immigration Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Documents acquired by Labour under the Official Information Act reveal that ...
    4 days ago
  • Child abuse apology needed
    The Government's failure to act on recommendations from Judge Henwood, based on years of work by the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service (CLAS) will further undermine any faith victims may have put into the process, says Labour’s Children’s Spokesperson Jacinda ...
    4 days ago
  • Reserve Bank again highlights National’s housing failure
    National’s failure to deal with the housing crisis in New Zealand is once again being exposed by the Reserve Bank today, in a scathing assessment of the Government’s response, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson “Governor Wheeler is clearly worried ...
    4 days ago
  • Palm Oil Labelling: Possible Progress?
    On Friday, the Minister for Food Safety, along with her Australian colleagues finally looked at the issue of mandatory labelling of palm oil. We’ve been calling for mandatory labelling for years and we were hoping that the Ministers would agree ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    4 days ago
  • National: Fails to achieve
    The ineffectiveness of the National Government’s approach to schooling has been highlighted by the latest Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) report released overnight, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. ...
    4 days ago
  • Faster into Homes – a new pathway for first home buyers
    This week Parliament will select another members’ bill from the cookie tin (I kid you not, it really is a cookie tin) and I’ve just launched a new bill I’m hoping will get pulled – to help people get into ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    4 days ago
  • Selling off our state housing stock isn’t working for NZers
    I want to end homelessness and ensure that everyone has a warm, safe, dry home. This National Government has let down New Zealanders, especially the thousands of New Zealanders who are struggling with something so basic and important as housing. ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • Government needs to ensure fair deal on EQC assessments
    Kiwis affected by earthquakes might not get a fair deal if the Government pushes ahead with secret plans to let private insurers take over the assessment of claims, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Under questioning from Labour the Government ...
    5 days ago
  • Key’s priorities the real ‘load of nonsense’
    The Prime Minister’s fixation with tax cuts, despite a failure to pay down any debt and growing pressure on public services is the real ‘load of nonsense’, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “We’re getting mixed messages from National. John ...
    5 days ago
  • Free Speech and Hate Speech
    Last week we were very concerned to hear that an Auckland imam, Dr Anwar Sahib, had been preaching divisive and derogatory messages about Jewish people and women during his sermons. It was a disturbing incident coming at the end of ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    5 days ago
  • Young Kiwis struggling under record mortgage debt
    The Government needs to step in and start building affordable homes for first homebuyers now more than ever, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    5 days ago
  • Tairāwhiti says No Stat Oil!
    Tairāwhiti says yes to a clean environment for our mokopuna today and for generations to come. Tairāwhiti are have a responsibility to uphold their mana motuhake over their land and their peoples and are calling on the Government to honour ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    6 days ago
  • Swimmable Rivers tour – Ōkahukura/Lucas Creek
    When Environment Minister Nick Smith said in Parliament that some waterways – like Auckland’s Lucas Creek – are not worth saving because no-one wants to swim in them, he forgot to ask the locals we met last week who have put ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Wellington business relief package needs flexibility
    The Government’s Wellington business support package is welcome news but needs to be implemented so that all affected businesses get the help they need, says Labour MP for Wellington Central Grant Robertson. “Wellington businesses will be pleased that the Government ...
    6 days ago
  • EQC’s staff cuts show disregard for quake victims
    The Earthquake Commission’s stubborn insistence on slashing its workforce and its operational funding by nearly half shows callous disregard for victims of the Kaikoura earthquake and the thousands of Cantabrians still waiting to resolve claims, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan ...
    6 days ago
  • Maori Land Court job losses must be delayed
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell must request that pending job losses at the Māori Land Court are put on hold until the Māori land reform process is resolved and the risk of losing centuries of collective institutional knowledge is ...
    6 days ago
  • Financial support needed for urgent earthquake strengthening
    The Government must provide urgent support to residents for important earthquake strengthening work so that it happens quickly, says Grant Robertson, Wellington Central MP.  "I support the call from Wellington Mayor Justin Lester to bring forward work to strengthen the ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour welcomes equal pay
    Labour has long appreciated the value of women’s work and welcomes the Government’s decision to address pay equity for women, say’s Labour’s associate Workplace Relations and Safety spokesperson Sue Moroney. ...
    1 week ago
  • Surgeons’ letter a damning indictment
    A letter from Waikato Hospital’s orthopaedic surgeons claiming that hospital managers are stopping them from making follow-up checks on patients is a damning indictment of the health system, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s terrifying that one woman’s elective ...
    1 week ago
  • Out of touch Nats continue state house sell-off
    The Government should be focused on building houses for families to buy and more state houses for families in need, not flogging them off, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “National’s state house sell-off does nothing to help people ...
    1 week ago
  • Joyce drags feet while Capital businesses suffer
     Wellington businesses affected by the earthquake are continuing to struggle while the Government drags its feet on getting a business assistance package up and running, says Grant Robertson, Wellington Central MP.  “Steven Joyce needs to front up with an assistance ...
    1 week ago
  • Health and Safety Act fails to reduce work fatalities
    After the Pike River tragedy, New Zealanders realised that workplace health and safety culture needed to change. Last Saturday marked the 6th anniversary of the tragedy that killed 29 miners at the Pike River mine on the West Coast of ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • What is the point of education?
    The proposed Education (Update) Bill is the Government’s statement about what the point of education is, and what it means to people. This week we had a day of Select Committee hearings in Auckland on the Bill. It’s a huge ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Earthquake exposes training shortfall
    Kaikoura’s earthquakes have exposed the Government’s under investment in critical building and construction skills training, says Labour’s Building and Construction spokesperson Phil Twyford. “The Government needs to urgently ramp up the training of Kiwis in construction and engineering in the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More cops needed to get P off our streets
    National’s cuts to Police funding and drug enforcement officers has seen a surge in cheap P on our streets, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Who’s calling the shots? Bye bye surplus
    I would love to know who is calling the shots in the National government’s cabinet when it comes to deciding how best to spend taxpayers’ money.  On the evidence of the last few weeks, it definitely isn’t Finance Minister Bill ...
    GreensBy David Clendon
    2 weeks ago
  • Urgent rethink needed on workplace safety
      An urgent rethink is needed on the Government’s new workplace safety laws with the number of deaths this year already at the same level as at the same time in the 2015 calendar year, says Labour’s Associate Workplace Safety ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Rubble and rubbish: spending time in post-quake Kaikōura
    I visited Kaikoura over the weekend – basically to see how the community was coping with all the rubbish and rubble created by last week’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake, and to see my brother Rob. I may have mentioned before that ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Time to pull the plug on state house sell-off
    The collapse of the planned sell-off of state houses in Horowhenua is an opportunity for the Government to call time on its troubled state house sell off policy, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Treasury sounds warning bell – but National’s not listening
    Today's long term fiscal outlook issued by The Treasury is a welcome wake-up call on the need to dramatically improve and diversify our economy and properly plan for the future, Grant Robertson, Labour’s Finance Spokesperson says. “Through our Future of Work ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Don’t believe the hype – debt has skyrocketed under National
    The reckless dangling of tax cuts by the National Government is all the more irresponsible when it is put alongside the failure to pay down debt or put money aside for future superannuation costs, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Our kids deserve better
    We don’t know how many children are affected by having learning support needs. I do know that far too many children are not getting the support they deserve for conditions like autism, dyslexia, and dyspraxia. When these conditions are not ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Talk of tax cuts is plain crazy
      John Key’s talk of tax cuts when the Government has $63 billion of debt, superannuation costs are rising by $1 billion a year and the cost of meeting another natural disaster, is just plain crazy, says Labour Leader Andrew ...
    2 weeks ago