The Monkeywrench

Written By: - Date published: 2:01 pm, September 29th, 2014 - 75 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, democratic participation, election 2014, labour - Tags: , ,

Helen Kelly made a point on the Nation the other day when asked what went wrong with Labour this election. She pointed out that whereas in the 1930s the labour campaign spoke directly to people and their immediate concerns, this campaign was too abstract.

She was almost correct. In actual fact there were two policies that most definitely spoke directly to people and their immediate issues.

Raising the retirement age spoke directly to voters. Reaction. I don’t want to work extra years.

Compulsory savings spoke directly to their pockets. Reaction. I don’t have enough to go around as it is.

Those two right wing policies together – first you want me to work longer and then you want to take money from my pay packet – were akin to a prize fighter stepping into the ring and giving himself a body blow followed by an uppercut.

No other policies spoke so inclusively and directly to anything like so many people and their concerns.

Add in months worth of leaks and puerile distractions from caucus, that acting in conjunction, most assuredly undermined the leader of the party in the eyes of the public as well as diminishing the appeal of the party as a whole, and the result is National getting a free ride. Or, if you prefer, not having to rise from their ringside stool to take on their already vanquished opposition.

An aside. I don’t mean to leave the Greens out of this in terms of opposition. But I’m using the analogy of boxing and tag teams only work in wrestling…and Labour, as we know, refused to work with the Green Party, preferring to enter into whatever arena it envisaged, alone.

And then the one issue that might have made all the difference – ‘dirty politics’ hit the ground. There it was! The ‘magic sponge’ that could have put Labour back on its feet and swinging. And Labour pushed it way – capitulated. I didn’t hear anyone from Labour make the simple distinction between the systemic abuses of power that dirty politics spoke to, and the less than glorious behaviour expected of politicians in general. Is it any surprise then, given Labour’s lacklustre response to the revelations in ‘Dirty Politics’, allied with the bullshit that had been coming from within caucus for months, that people reckoned dirty politics was just a description of politics in general? (“Labour do it too.”)

And those leakers and those purveyors of neo-liberal tosh (and I do believe that what they have done is absolutely deliberate) only had only to hit their electorates seeking re-election – with the proviso that they were careful not to help the party vote, the one they’d successfully dragged down, rebound.

Mission accomplished. Big fish, small and secure pond beckoning; career secured. Almost.

Post election, no endorsement of the leader and no vote of no confidence either. Get the leader, and any talk of Labour being Labour once again, ushered quietly out stage left with no affiliate or membership input. Now, it’s true that the final act has become a bit messy. And I note a sudden and predictable end to leaking, presumably as the leakers all get behind and shove hard.

Anyway. I wonder if any such analysis of motivations (on the mark, or off beam as it may be) will play a part in the extensive review being undertaken by Labour.

Probably not.

75 comments on “The Monkeywrench ”

  1. Enough is Enough 1

    I had been banging on for months that a financial spokesperson who advocates austerity to deal with budget issues certainly does not belong in a Labour Party.

    Parker argued for these policies with passion. In my view he is in the wrong party.

    • Once Was Tim 1.1

      I’m still reeling from the stupidity in which certain policy announcements were made by whoever is pulling the strings.
      You don’t allow your key policy announcements to be framed by your opponents in a way that presents the alternate view in a more attractive way.

      Even CGT for example …… WHY say that we will definitely be introducing a CGT at all, especially when one has to try an reassure the electorate that its not on the family home, and a whole heap of other qualifiers along with it. WHY NOT simply say that we will be implementing disincentives to property and financial speculation that is serving to deny people the ability to own a home and maintain small businesses. When challenged for detail – simply say there are a variety of options that will be studied and the most expedient implemented!

      As you say …. the retirement age debate – what a fucking debacle.

      When you KNOW you have a media that’s incapable of critical thought, that’s commercially driven, and driven by a ‘news cycle’ and egotistical, over-ambitious pretty boys and gals, (and a heap of other nasty things I could say about certain individuals who seem to think rules apply to everyone else but themselves), WHY feed them. CHRIST! – even as I turned on the 2pm RNZ news, I heard GR at it A-FUCKING-GAIN!!!! Is he actually a bit thick I ask myself? Here’s a man who should know there are those who’ll use insinuation and various techniques to push the case that NZ is not ready for a ‘gay man’ to be leader (I’m not getting into whether or not NZ is or isn’t), but my point is that GR given his hangouts and social/life will/should have come across those in the media ‘on the down-low’; the wife beaters; the alkies; the closet ‘bog crawlers’; etc. IS he actually arrogant enough to think they’re going to give him special treatment or more committed to the ‘waht plays in Vegas stays in Vegas routine (because @GR – when it comes to the media – it DOESN’T – especially now given the commercial imperatives and competition between egos that now exists)

      I’m amazed!. I’m stunned. I’m fucking disappointed in Labour – and now also in GR to the extent he’s not even going to get my electorate vote next time round.
      To restate the obvious – I never left Labour, Labour left me

      • Once Was Tim 1.1.1

        OH …. AND AS AN ADDED THOUGHT ….. probably on the wrong thread, but why is it (isn’t it) that Moira Coatsworth or some Labour Body out there making a press release to the media that points out that: Josie Pagani, Mike Williams, and various others ARE NOT ekshully spokespeople for the Labour Party and that anything they say is mere opinion based on various perceptions that are now either very stale, or that are effectively hearsay?
        While they’re at it, they could probably point out what an airhead of a driver Pagani is to the extent Paganis are a danger to road users (But then I ‘spose they own the right hand lane, they’ve paid their dues and its everyone else that’s the problem). Heros in their own minds – and they’ve got various ‘guest spots’ to prove it.

      • just saying 1.1.2

        I always thought Labour’s retirement-age lift-debacle was parodied beautifully in the episode of “the thick of it” (which I swear was a thinly veiled doco about the NZ Labour party) where the Labour leader of the opposition decided to announce it supported cutting government funding for school lunches so they could show they were just as hard-arsed and austere as the tory government – more even.
        Didn’t end well for them on TV either

      • mikesh 1.1.3

        They would never have been able to raise the retirement age without Winston’s support, and this of course was highly unlikely to be given.

    • Tom Gould 1.2

      You might find that these and the capital gains tax policy date back to when David Cunliffe was the finance person. However, all three – raising the age for the pension, compulsory superannuation savings, and capital gains tax – were all massive vote losers, however rational. Parker was just doing his job, passionately advocating for Labour election policies. I guess that could be worthy of sacking?

  2. mickysavage 2

    Two comments:

    1. I previously tolerated the increase to the age of retirement on the basis it was the fiscally responsible thing to do. I am doubting this now. A 67 year old working means a 17 year old is not working. And the long term costs of youth unemployment are way too much. And why let Key suggest he is more concerned about people because Labour wants to suggest that it is fiscally responsible.

    2. I agree that the leaks, which have been going on for a long time, show a contempt for the party and its interests. Shame on them.

    • Olwyn 2.1

      With regard to the leaks, it is not so long ago that Chris Carter was thrown, not just out of parliament, but out of the Labour Party, for an ill-judged fit of pique, described as “bringing the party into disrepute.” I think that this ongoing leaking has done far more to “bring the party into disrepute” than Carter’s rather reckless challenge to Goff did.

    • Skinny 2.2

      Oh come on get off it coming out now against a CGT. At least I requested to be put down for the record opposing 2 stupid policies Labour ran with. Your man won’t be getting my affiliate vote and I’ll be doing everything at our annual conference to recommend our vote not go his way again. Simply as because he is not smart enough, don’t worry I still rate him above GR. I am wanting new blood that is popular as the dumb arse Nation are more into popularity contests when voting.

    • Lanthanide 2.3

      “A 67 year old working means a 17 year old is not working.”

      Lump of labour fallacy.

      If it were true that 67 year-olds take jobs from 17 year olds, then it would also be true that in the last 30 years women would have taken jobs from men and we’d see a huge unemployment amongst men as women entered the workforce.

      We don’t have 30%+ men unemployed due to women entering the workforce, because the number of jobs is not constant.

      • blue leopard 2.3.1

        Not entirely accurate, though.

        Unemployment has risen since that time and wages have gone down. (One wage earner used to be able to cover the costs for one family, now 2 wages are required and sometimes even that doesn’t cut it).

      • Skinny 2.3.2

        The fallacy with the raising the age to 67, which I have posted a link previously to the impact of computerisation & robotics on future generations of workers. It is predicted 50% of jobs will be lost to new technology, therefore you would expect that the opposite will occur as in the retirement age of workers would drop.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.3.3

        Actually, it’s the Lump of Labour Fallacy that happens to be the fallacy. This is especially true for an economy, such as NZ’s, that just keeps doing the same thing all the bloody time.

        Productivity is so high today that we actually don’t have enough work to keep everyone employed. In a few years it’s going to be a lot worse.

      • Once Was Tim 2.3.4

        @Lanthanide – that comment would be down to all that ’empirical’ evidence that shows your truth huh? – all complete with academic achievements, various publications (all referenced in minute detail), a spectacular C.V. …… all btw totally unappealing to Joe and Jane Evridge.
        BUT (or should I say …. THOUGH, in order to avoid the negativity of a BUT) absent of any sort of context. Absent of any immeasurable criteria – emotion, spirit, various prejudices, what people are prepared to admit.
        Jesus, if we go back 30 years and a few plus, we were still recovering from the 6 o’clock swill, the gals in the typing pool fresh from Gilby’s Business College in Willis Street, and having to confront themselves with something other than the IBM Golf Ball.
        I’m sure your statistics are irrefutable. Sometimes I wonder the handle – thankfully I’ve never bothered to look what your atomic weight is but I bet it ain’t that heavy (I’m your brutha).
        Keep commenting though @ Lanth. You’re the very reason I’m ditching Labour – it makes me feel good in my choices.
        My father-in-law before me (actually WWII heroic Middle East medic) who supported Labour almost religiously ditched your ilk before his death recently. I understand why.
        I’ve thought about things recently, and I’ve come to the conclusion that maybe I’m just being a bit precious over what is a LABEL, and what has become BRANDING.
        (I mean, that’s what Labour and it’s pollies ekshully give a shit about – and why wouldn’t they? a good many have either experienced nothing else in their life, OR it’s been the means by which they not only pay their bills, but the way they satisfy and justify their putsch position).
        Fuk em – thankfully there are other options emerging, and just as the father-in-law ditched Labour mid 2000’s when pragmatism and ‘move forward’ was at play under H! and H2 (incidently to me and my wife’s – dad give her a chance), I’ll probably NEVER vote Labour again as a party vote, AND unless the over-ambitious Grunt doesn;t learn to STFU, an electorate vote – even if it means a non-tik or even a fucking NZ 1st – God forbid.

        House please sell, house please sell, house please sell (cos if and when it does, I’m off to that “3rd World”.

        Which reminds me ….. I think my biggest fear? (maybe its just an observation), is that JUST as the various manipulations and personalities may drive “L A B O U R” to the crony-capitalist; faux-free market right; (ABCers/old guard/Parker/Robertson et al in tow), along comes another crash (possibly the likes of which we haven’t seen since the Great Depression), and we’re in the presence of a so-called alternative (opposition?) that’ll be attempting both a moral high ground and an alternative view (neither of which will be taken seriously by ANY prospective voter!). If, or rather WHEN that happens, no-one will be giving a shit about Robertson, OR Parker, or her with ample crockery, …..

        They’ll be utterly pissed off with the Natzis …. but they’ll be seeing sweet fuck all to differentiate (and probably just not vote)

    • alwyn 2.4

      ” A 67 year old working means a 17 year old is not working.”

      That statement is ridiculous and you know it.
      You are subscribing to two myths. One is that there are only a certain number of jobs and that employing one more person automatically means that another loses their job. If you believe that you should not be complaining that there are unemployed with a National Government, after all it is impossible to employ another person.
      The second is that each unit of labour is identical. Any unit can replace any other unit. Suppose you were to retire. Would some unemployed 17 year old automatically take over your job? If David Cunliffe was to quit would he be replaced as the leader of the Labour Party by a 17 year old? They are a logical outcome of your statement that I quote.

      • Paul 2.4.1

        When you have a government that leaves jobs to the market, then that fact, in conjunction with globalisation and technological changes, have meant there are a limited number of jobs available. There hasn’t been full employment since the 1970s.
        The market seeks profits above employment.

        Your second point is also a fallacy. Of course a 17 year old ain’t taking a 65 year loss job. But if the 65 year old doesn’t retire, the 50 year old doesn’t take that job, the 40 year old that job, etc…..

        Only if we have governments that prioritise full employment as part of a functioning and healthy society, then we will have more than a certain number of jobs.

      • mickysavage 2.4.2

        Oh dear OK how about this. If a 67 year old is allowed to retire it should mean that job will become available to someone below him and in a perfect system this would mean a trickle down of jobs until someone who may or may not be 17 will have a job opportunity. Dang I am not sure why some people should insist in precision in a statement that is obviously meant to be generalised.

        • alwyn

          This still is flawed because it assumes that there are only a certain number of jobs and someone must lose their job before anyone else can have one.
          Lanthanide pointed out that this was a fallacy a little bit above here with her comment on the fact that women entering the workforce in large numbers didn’t cause equivalent unemployment for men.

    • Vaughan Little 2.5

      It’s true that in education boomers are hanging on more which stops a lot of teachers’ college grads from gettting jobs.

  3. shorts 3

    The campaign seemed to revolve around the leader visiting schools and malls offering hollow platitudes to whomever would listen, these were then feed to the media or whomever would report on such

    Aspirational talking points are good to a point… but ultimately offer no vision nor hope other than a desire from the parties leaders for NZ’ers to be better off

    none of which worked due to a whole raft of things… one being when you’re up against a very popular (god knows how) PM and extremely well resourced opposition you’ll not fare well using the same tactics – doh

    Compulsory savings and the retirement age policies didn’t even enter my vision during the campaign… unless we’re talking months before official campaigning started

    Labour would instantly go up in my estimation if the entire party stopped using businesspeak and mimicking the language employed by National… want to lead the workers, talk like us (and sort ya house out)

    • mac1 3.1

      shorts- “when you’re up against a very popular (god knows how) PM”. That is the one thing that Labour and the Left need to grasp- and then put that into the context of why people vote and how they vote.

      I gather from your ‘god knows how’ that you don’t think he should be popular. I agree, he’s not popular with me either. But the fact remains that he is popular and we need to know why. In the absence of divine intervention, some earthly study might show us why.

      • shorts 3.1.1

        to be fair we do know why, no science needed – he’s been framed as a good guy, a down to earth kiwi bloke, he’s so very comfortable etc etc by himself, his team and as such the bulk of media have faithfully and happily reaffirmed that perception repeatably over some years… which has lead to him being very popular

        Not only has team key been quite brilliant in his framing they continually update and to reaffirm his good bloke image

        If the public had been presented a picture of who I believe is the real John Key- real rich trader who owns multiple homes and never done an honest days graft in his life, the public would I believe have a much different view of the guy, instead the voters have bought into the lie that is John Key’s public persona and only JK can destroy that image now

        meanwhile it labour have tried so hard to do similar for their leader of the day and failed abjectly, for the simple reason the media ain’t buying it and thus it has no traction with the public

        in simple terms the National party are so much better at PR (huge understatement)

    • SeanExile 3.2

      The problem is the amount of workers in NZ are not what it once was. if we cater to workers only, wed never win elections.
      We need to win the blue collar vote as well as that of the middle class to gain power.

      In this election we did well in traditional blue collar electorates but were destroyed in the rest. We gained maori wards and we remained strong and secure in South Auckland etc.
      However to win an election we need more than this. We need to capture the middle class as well as the “workers” and we need policies that appeal to both groups.

      • KJT 3.2.1

        Aren’t the middle class, workers?

        What they will also find out, probably too late, is the, rapidly disappearing and dis-empowered, unions were supporting the foundations under their pay and conditions, as well.

  4. John Williams 4

    One of the best, if not the best, post-election analysis, however, I don’t agree with the very last word.

  5. Treetop 5

    It is interesting what the Labour voters heard re NZ Super at age 67 and compulsory savings. I think I heard that there would be an exemption for those not in work joining Kiwi Saver.

    What was thin on the ground for me was affordable housing and the type of housing required. Also I would have liked to have seen someone taking responsibility for a person getting a correct diagnosis so they could recieve the correct treatment. Mixed connective tissue disease is so hard to diagnose.

    I was disturbed to read online a week before the election that a child age 8 was prescribed antipsychotic medication without having been correctly diagnosed. It appeared that the family had not been offered behavioural management for the child either.

    A political party which does well is one that connects with the voters and delivers.

    I am off topic a bit, but wanted to comment on how difficult waiting to turn 67 and having to contribute to a compulsory savings scheme is for a person with a systemic and progressive health condition which has limited treatment available.

    • Treetop 5.1

      Nothing much shocks me about the health system. The child had tantrums. A good government looks after the most vulnerable.

  6. aerobubble 6

    I disagree. Raising the retirement age to that seen in UK, OZ, is like the CGT, it creates distortions, it means hard working people need to pay over more of their income over to the oldest boomers now, and get less.

    I do agree it was too abstract, and that the antenna to how announcements was entirely missing. i.e. all policies have down sides for some groups.

    Labour has failed to go to National voters who would consider voting for them and find out what they need to say and promise to get them to.

    Labour failed to recognize that its not a large party, and to act like a large party require them first to get up into the large party polling numbers.

    Cunliffe failed to recognize that he needed to get an alliance with the Greens working, since he did not have the time to build brand.

    We needs higher savings so we can own our own country.
    We need a capital gains tax to cull poor management practices that make it easier to roll a financial contract than actually build real services and products.
    We need a Labour party that is focused on winning, instead of the bunch of lazy politicians who seem to want to be in leadership just when the national finally turns on Key and throws him out, and they win power by default.

    And Kiwis will not vote Labour until they see its leader competently make Key squirm.

    • just saying 6.1

      This comment, I fear, presages the kind of form the review will take.

      God, I hope the odious Shearer wins the lolly scramble. I wouldn’t be able to stomach watching Labour drag out this death-bed scene for another decade or so

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      We needs higher savings so we can own our own country.

      That’s actually a lie. We already own our own country and it will stay that way unless we keep allowing the politicians to sell it off and undermine that ownership through FTAs such as the TPPA.

      And we most definitely don’t need to sell it to utilise resources we already own.

  7. adam 7

    I’ll repeat myself – because so many are on the WAKA to doom.

    Labour are dead.


    They are a dead weight around the left, they lie, cheat, backstab, play dirty tricks and most all, suck up and burn out good left wing activists.

    But no, please defend that which – sold working people down the river to untether capitalism.

    But no, please defend that which – is so professional and proper – they are the hand puppets of the 1%.

    But no, please defend all this time and emotional effort to save that which, has had 30 years to reform/restructure itself away from being the newest apostle of cupidity.

    Labour is a liberal party – and if you think I mean left wing when I say liberal – then you need to read more.

    Labour has become the enemy – if you can’t see that – you need to think about what it means to be left wing.

    If your getting angry now – then good, about bloody time!

    • Paul 7.1

      The Labour party in Scotland is also dying.
      Parliamentary MPs have put their careers above representing the working people of Scotland.
      Some of the quotes below sound very familiar….

      “Preoccupied with their Westminster careers, the party’s newly ennobled grandees are busy condemning it to the twilight zone.”

      “Many others were sickened at watching their party acting as swordbearers for the baleful forces of the Conservative party, big oil, big business and the landed and undeserving rich during the referendum campaign. The sight of Labour people singing and dancing with Conservatives at having preserved the established order of things will not be erased soon.”

  8. weka 8

    As I understand it (from conversations on ts) the membership endorsed the superannuation age rise policy via the usual channels (representatives at conference?).

    • Jenny Kirk 8.1

      The Superannuaton Age Rise policy was first mooted at the 2011 election, Weka.
      It was then reaffirmed in policy statements after that election by whoever was Labour Leader and Finance Minister. It was not raised as a remit by members for conference discussion, and it was not properly discussed at conference. It was regarded as “set in
      concrete” right from its initial appearance, and although many members (myself included) tried to get it discussed properly with both FOR and AGAINST debates at conference and congress, this was not allowed. Its a stupid policy. And Labour has paid for it – but it is, after all, only one of the many matters which is bringing about Labour’s downfall.

      • Skinny 8.1.1

        Hi Jenny it was opposed ‘on record’ by the regional rep and myself at the local AGM summer of 2013. A terrible policy that should have been binned from the outset.

      • weka 8.1.2

        Thanks for the clarification Jenny.

        “It was not raised as a remit by members for conference discussion, and it was not properly discussed at conference.”

        Why not?

        “and although many members (myself included) tried to get it discussed properly with both FOR and AGAINST debates at conference and congress, this was not allowed.”

        Who prevented this?

        • weka

          “The problem is the raising the age of retirement policy became policy because the active members turned up at remit/policy review & LEC/branch meetings too endorse it. I turned up and was simply out voted. Believe it or not there was strong support from left minded members of the LP.”

          • Skinny

            So what’s your point Weka? You blaming the likes of myself who was disgusted & spoke strongly against the policy, but in a democratic process got out voted. Just so you know being new to the Region and this particular LEC we were all asked why we were seeking to become LEC members. My answer was to keep Labour and this Branch Left got a problem with that chicken little?

            • weka

              Taihoa there matey, that’s not my point at all.

              Ordinarily I wouldn’t think this is any of my business, not being a Labour party member. But all things considered, I have to take an interest in Labour’s woes. The biggest thing I see is that people (members and voters) feel powerless. I want to understand how the internal power structures work, because I think that that is where the only real options are for change (and I don’t mean just changing the leader). You say one thing, Jenny says another, someone else says another. I’m confused, and surprised that how the internals work is still relatively unclear, given the stakes.

              It’s important to understand how the retirement age policy came about, if Labour and the left want to actually change things.

              And yes, I do think the membership has some responsiblities in this whole mess, but that doesn’t mean I blame you personally.

              • Vaughan Little

                I’m not the best guy on this stuff. But one (I’m not sure if this is the only) way that ideas become official policy is the following:

                Someone comes up with a tremendous idea. They take it to the LEC (local chapter of the Labour Party. There may be four or so in an electorate). The LEC thinks it’s tremendous, but may want to reword it a bit. They then select two delegates to go to the regional conference (Labour divides the nation into 6ish regions). The delegates will put the tremendous idea along with a bunch of other tremendous ideas to a vote at the regional conference. It may get reworded a bit, but if it’s thought by the majority to be tremendous, it’ll get taken, by delegates from the region, to the annual conference. There’s more debate, possible rewording, and then it gets either voted down or voted into official Labour Party policy.

                I personally support the retirement age being lifted slowly from 65 to 67. People live longer and are healthier than before. 67 is the new 60.

                There are issues of equity though. For instance, from StatsNZ:

                “Māori life expectancy at birth reached 72.8 years for males and 76.5 years for females in 2010–12. This compares with 80.2 years for non-Māori males and 83.7 years for non-Māori females.”

                Etc. One way to deal with this might be to assess someone as low wage based on their tax history with IRD and give them the option of when to retire once they hit 65.

              • Skinny

                Righto cobber got ya now sorry bout the rant, wasn’t too sure after you were quoting me. I know the reasoning for the policy being pushed and accepted. It did get widely put out there to electorate committees to debate and consider. It was also put of the overall package which included complusory kiwi saver, CGT, high tax for the higher earners. Put in that context it would have read ok to the beltway, and socially conscience academics. Guessing the main rational was;

                1. Their won’t be the funds to support the aging population that as pointed out below is living longer.

                2. Because of our low wage economy a lot of older people don’t have the funds to retire at 65, so I guess 2 more years working allows them to earn a bit more of a nest egg…I guess.

                • KJT

                  Note that all those pushing an increase in the retirement age have desk jobs.

                • KJT

                  However did we support all those boomer children in the 50’s when the country was much poorer. And had just got out of an economy draining war.

                  It is typical neo-liberal TINA thinking.

                  Cut taxes then moan we cannot afford it.
                  Then either borrow for it, or cut it so that the very same people who got the increases in income from tax and wage cuts, get even more from us in interest by lending it back to us.

                  Keeping all our old people and children out of poverty is a no brainer.
                  Tax rates the same as Australia’s, and universal super and child support. It works. Universal super has less than 3% of elderly in poverty.

                  As for the myth that it is the selfish boomers that want the early retirement.
                  No. Most of us will not be affected. The majority of boomers will be already retired before it goes up. A lot of us still had workplace super also. We are thinking about those behind us. It won’t stop at 67 once they have opened the gates.

  9. Draco T Bastard 9

    And those leakers and those purveyors of neo-liberal tosh (and I do believe that what they have done is absolutely deliberate) only had only to hit their electorates seeking re-election – with the proviso that they were careful not to help the party vote, the one they’d successfully dragged down, rebound.

    This element of the Labour campaign (Like you I think it was deliberate – you just can’t fuck up that badly by accident) has got me thinking again of dropping MMP, more specifically, dropping the electorates from the voting paper. Have it so that on election day only the party vote is cast and that decides, via the party lists, who’s in parliament. From that much shortened list the electorate MPs then get chosen.

    This would remove the entrenched electorate MPs capability of fucking over the party.

  10. ghostwhowalksnz 10

    The capital gains tax CGT should have been clearly connected to rental investment / houses only.

    • KJT 10.1

      What about land?

      Both residential and farmland is being pushed up by speculation.

      And then there are unproductive financial instruments.

  11. word 11

    Lets put it into perspective here, compare increasing the retirement age over a 20 year period with exceptions and compulsory kiwisaver with exceptions to National who campaigned on absolutely nothing, and when asked what new policies for the economy did National have, Bill English couldnt answer. Because national planned to continue on the same destructive path of flogging off what remains of this country’s assets, laws resources and land, and if they had of campaigned on the TPPA, the privatisation of our state school education system, and the fact that National intend on stripping more funding from health, education welfare and so on what would have been the outcome? certainly not the contrived one we got on the 20th September 2014.
    Arent National and con man John Key fortunate to have the media set it up and and win the election for them.

    • Treetop 11.1

      Please let there be 60 seats for National after the special votes are counted. 59 would be better.

      I was initially in favour of raising NZ Super to 67, with some exceptions which could be managed, this has proven to be too unpopular and has cost party votes and needs to be dropped.

    • KJT 11.2

      National and the media did not bother telling people that they were cutting funding overall for services. They made much of extra bits of funding for specific things.

      Labour should have made more of the extra services and support their tax rates would provide. I don’t think their Neo-liberal caucus had their heart in it, though.

  12. Vaughan Little 12

    This is a hard time for the country. it’s seriously divided. the third of the nation who supports national probably imagine that they are the majority of the nation, and really represent , or can represent, the interests of the whole nation. probably without an ounce of shame between them over what the country is becoming.

    clearly, with all its divisions, the messy, slightly confused left is a much better representation of where the nation is at. we have to work thru our shit and we will.
    we can’t let this slow burning crisis go to waste, but we need a little urgency, fuelled not by the election cycle (cos then, really, how can we be better than the msm with its own pathetic little cycles) but rather by the poverty and suffering of the hundreds and thousands of new zealanders who languish in a rich land that should be affording them so much more than it’s been made to.

    Labour and the greens need to find a way to work together. Labour approached the greens in 2011, and at that time it was the greens’ turn to reject out of hand any kind of cooperative arrangement. one thing that pisses off some Labour supporters about the greens is their holier than thou schtick. the greens are political players like other parties, who clearly fancy themselves as the upcoming replacement of a putatively exhausted labour that needs to be put out to grass. though I imagine that within the greens there may be a bit of debate around how much to be truskool and how much to pander to the mythical fucking middle of our collective imagination.

    rumours of Labour’s death are exaggerated….

    • weka 12.1

      “Labour approached the greens in 2011, and at that time it was the greens’ turn to reject out of hand any kind of cooperative arrangement.”

      Can you please link to something that gives more detail on this?

      • Vaughan Little 12.1.1

        for accountability’s sake i’d like to.

        asking around some mates to see if they know any public domain sources i can link to.

        all i can say is that i don’t feel like i can throw names around re: where i got the info from. that may make me sound like a cagey wanker but i’m being as upfront as i can. and please note that i’m commenting with my real name.

        the wider point is that labour and the greens need to develop a much much better working relationship. many, including a number of poeple who comment on the standard, seem to think that labour just needs to get off some kind of high horse for progress to begin. however, the greens need to make attitude adjustments too. winston peters is insightful on this, and as a labour supporter, my main grievance with the greens comes down to one albeit contentious word:


        peter dunne is exactly the kind of guy who needs to be shut out of parliament. i have done some work in the ohariu electorate and in that context found greens alright to work with, at the grassroots, activist level. but standing a candidate there? unjustifiable.

        probably very few in labour think that the party should maintain the status quo with the greens. i certainly don’t. how i see it is that both labour and the greens suffer from a bit of egoism. this is cultural stuff that may be very hard to change – you know, the senses of entitlement that come from being the historic flagship party of the left, and being so damned right about everything, respectively.

        • weka

          Are you saying that a private approach was made by Labour to the GP? I appreciate you might want to be careful with what you say, but sorry, given the history of the GP and Labour, and knowing a bit about the GP priorities and how they work, I find it hard to believe that Labour approached them in good faith and they said piss off. Not saying it didn’t happen, just that in the light of any evidence, it seems pretty unlikely.

          Ōhāriu, yes the GP really need to sort their shit out there, but the GP working to get rid of Dunne isn’t really anything to do with Labour. And they did have a justitification for standing in that seat. Arguably more than Labour had with its behaviour over Te Tai Tokerau.

          Am pretty sure that when Labour is ready the GP will be willing to work co-operatively. I think you will find that they’ve honed their political skills greatly on the past years and won’t be a push over though.

          • Tracey

            agree and labour going for candidate vote in epsom was also stupid

          • Vaughan Little

            the guys I emailed didn’t get back to me… so can’t back up my comment that Labour approached the Greens in 2011.

        • KJT

          Labour thinks that the left vote is theirs by right, even though Green policies are more of a match with Labour’s stated principles.

          The principles Labour had before 1984. And I hope and believe many Labour party members still have.

    • adam 12.2

      Really exaggerated… Oh I think you will drag on, burn a shit load more bridges – kill of any new left wing options and generally act like the school boy bully for the next few years. Labour will blame everyone else for it’s failing and moan about left unity whilst all the time look for new ways to stab people in the back.

      All this because the left can’t quite bring itself to the realisation that the once great labour party, is a shameful husk of careerists. The labour party has become a liberal party. They support capitalism, over and above working people.

      It’s not about who is more left, it’s about the fact labour are not left. They just are not – it’s like calling the democrats left – it’s a lie. We are seeing a similar series of events play out in Scotland.

      • Vaughan Little 12.2.1

        i believe you’re right to associate liberalism with capitalism. they’re both about atomization – privileging the individual above the community. for liberals, the individual needs to be as free from community/history as possible, so they can exercise absolute freedom. That’s the telos of liberalism. For capitalists, you need to break down communities to make people as weak as possible, and therefore as easy to extract wealth from as possible.

        Liberalism has nothing to say to poverty, or to poor people. The 80s generation – the boomers and their ideological offspring, have been toxic for the left. though having said that, it was people like mallard who decriminalized homosexuality. Possibly we don’t give enough credit where it’s due, especially when its due to goups that have arguably become part of the problem.

        two problems i have with your negativity toward labour:

        i’d give you a run for your money if you were to try and out-hate liberalism with me. but i still feel that i can be a proud part of the labour movement.

        look at the new mps. they indicate one definite future direction of labour, and they don’t square with your backward-looking, destructive picture of labour at all…

        • adam

          Nash or Davis, please both of those two are egomaniacs. These two are classic examples of what I’m talking about. Supposed self made men – both riding in on the back of neocon support. You’re delusional if you think those two, are anything but self interested. Who else Henare, will wait and see. But, I won’t hold my breath. Who else – new I mean.

          It’s all smoke and mirrors, and here we go again.

          Are working people are supposed to accept more lies and bullshit – “it will get better soon” – I think Roger Douglas uttered those words first, and 30 years later, same shit cake, just different faces serving it up.

          Yes I’m hopeful labour dies a quick death as a political party – they do a lot of damage every day they are the distraction for the left. Look, they lose an election and still they divide the left. How much longer, how much more rubbish will you people take? It is a myth that labour is good, and it’s our only hope – Do you think Harry Holland or Peter Semple would have agreed with you? I pretty sure John A Lee would be a very loud voice of decent.

          And the labour movement you speak of, is not the labour party – no matter how much people like you, want might to confuse the two.

          And please – liberalism is capitalism, now you wanna talk political economy. But, I think I’m talking to a person who would comfortably vote for Ike, and who does not understand left wing economics at all. And quite frankly I can’t be bothered explaining, if you don’t understand the difference.

          And while we wait, more working people die, kids go hungry and the labour party lies through their teeth or plays silly games of distraction, all the while they are supporting the 1% feed their addiction to cupidity.

          • Vaughan Little

            If I were to say “You’re right, I have no clue about left economics”, which authors/bloggers/websites would you recommend I go to for an edumication?

            On economics, the only guy I really follow is Michael Pettis. He looks at international finance. Ha Joon Chang is one economist who I find myself vigorously nodding along to as well, but I haven’t looked into him in any depth. And David Harvey.

            • adam

              The bottom line is politics is political economy. Liberals and conservatives will argue otherwise – but essentially what we are arguing about is a economic system which will impact and govern people’s lives, well being, and behaviour. Which is why I’m impressed you have read Ha-Joon Chang, he is fun and challenging thinker.

              Hence why I get so mad at labour and the people who support it – it is all a question of economics – political economy. I now have some marxist nodding vigorously, and yes I like Marx, I’m not a marxist as I think both Lenin and Mao were wrong, especially on the questions of economy. I also think Marx was a product of his day and age and did not quite envision what a post scarcity economy would look like, or that capitalism would be so nasty in it’s final days. Marx for all his faults as a human being, believed even hard core capitalist were good people. We now know better.

              I’m going to show my bias, yes read Marx – actually read a reader to Marx first – don’t run off and try and read capital – you may fail, I know it took me at least 4 goes at it. Look there are also a group of other marxist Habermas jumps to the front of my brain or E.J. Hobsbawm. – Post marxist and neo-marxist writers and economists. Then try Kropotkin, he is a communalist – or anarchist communist. He offers a broad brush and draws heavily on Marx and Bakunin. Rudolf Rocker is another good economic theorist – especially in the school of syndicalism – which I think personally, is essential for any economy. Co-operatives and co-operation at the means of production is essential to the redistribution of wealth and indeed the real creation of wealth going forward.

              For green or green left thinking there are many but I’ll show my bias again and name Murray Bookchin, but then again, many others. Weka or Tracey should jump in at this point I hope 🙂

              For social democrats there’s liberals like Keynes (at times bloody awful to read) and neo-keynesians thinkers. Or pure Keynesians thinkers like John Kenneth Galbraith – actually Galbraith is a very elegant writer and the fact Milton Friedman hated his guts – is a big plus for me. He also, had one of my favourite quotes of all time about economists – “economists are most economical about ideas. They make the ones they learned in graduate school last a lifetime.”

              • Vaughan Little

                Reading up on Bookchin.

                There’s an extremely impressive geezer called Robert Conquest who doesn’t have good things to say about Galbraith. Calls him an economic determinist.

                “Galbraith’s comments on the Soviet Union in 1985, when the system was on the point of collapse, are worth citing, if only to illustrate a lasting defect in his point of view: ‘The Soviet system has made great economic progress in recent years. One can see it in the appearance of solid well-being of the people in the streets.’ And he felt able to say that, unlike the West, the Soviet Union ‘makes full use of its manpower.’ This last is about as far from the reality as it would be possible to imagine.” – The Dragons of Expectation, p151-2.

  13. Melmac21 13

    Thanks Bill for clearly outlining some reasons for the lower Labour party vote.
    The insidious nature of the leaks have been a major blow to Labour party supporters and members.

    However, the immoral self-campaigns by certain MP’s who campaigned with little or no reference to the Labour Party vote needs to be addressed by the independent review. Undermining your own party for selfish reasons is quite frankly unacceptable and should be seen as such by the Labour Party.

    Some of those MPs may be the very people saying the leader is to blame.

    Furthermore, the egregious lack of unity and support for their leader sends a sad message to NZers.

  14. Tautoko Viper 14

    I asked a non-voter why he didn’t vote- answer: politicians are all the same, sell off all our assets and don’t care about us.
    We need non-voters to help write our policies- or at least to help frame them.
    Much of the Labour policy was good and well thought out and would have been very good for NZ in the long term but there was nothing to hook the non-voters. The raising the super was enough to keep any manual worker at home for a start. Superannuation change policy would be better dealt with by promising a cross-party accord following a royal commission rather than the albatross around the neck of every Labour candidate as in this past election.

  15. philj 15

    Very good analysis. I tend to agree. The world and society are a changin’. And the Labour party seems incapable of coherence and smart thinking. And for getting the basics right.

  16. Foreign waka 16

    Retirement at 67 is not equitable – yes a word I haven’t heard for a long time. Perhaps someone who is sitting in the office for 38 hours getting a wage that others only get with 60 hrs full throttle; I understand that this is entirely feasible. But how many people would fall into this category? How many women are still being paid less then man? Living costs vs savings – another feel good story that must relate directly to the category firstly mentioned.
    I wonder whether anyone ever has looked at working years and level of retirement income?
    Personally I find that it is fairer if any entitlement is accounted for through tax records over a period of i.e. 40-45 years of employment and/or self employed. Students are excluded unless there is a record for continued employment over 12 months for at least 20 hours per week. The level of retirement income should be measured on the income over time calculated on taxable income – i.e. 60% of the last income over 5 years but being no less then the minimum hr rate equivalent of the day x 40 hrs. This income is gross, so tax will be deducted as with all other incomes. Any partner/ husband/wife should be treated in the same way – equitable.
    This would mean that a worker who is employed in a very physical job such as forestry and has started lets say at age 20 to work, would be able to retire at 60-65 with an income as I mentioned.
    People who refuse to contribute despite being able to, and they do exists, should be getting no more than 70% (? debatable) of minimum wage level. Many will scream – too expensive. But having the majority of people in constant survival mood is far more expensive as crime, health and loss of volunteering in the community (anyone can add …) put a bigger price tag on the whole scenario.
    How I see it, a system like that would allow people to choose when to accumulate the years knowing that it will add to their time of entitlement. I suspect many would not interrupt their employment years giving the younger generation work places to grow into. Just my thought on that issue.

  17. infused 17

    Still wrong.

  18. Richard 18

    Retirement age makes little difference, except you won’t get the pension but you won’t hit second tax rate if you carry on working, by the by their are quite a few who carry on working well past retirement but then get hit with a second tax rate, piss poor that.

    If they did their jobs right the economy would be bursting with income from manufacturing to dairy, jobs would be plentiful and we would not be having this conversation.

    CGT, good idea to curb people speculating on property. To many issues here but a big one is buyers who leave them empty, the housing market seriously needs a good shake up. If you have been buying overpriced houses in Auckland aren’t you silly. Housing market in parts of NZ are ridiculous.

    Problem with pollies in the modern age is they have forgotten how to peddle their message, and against authoritarian governments. They need to get door knocking and pamphlet dropping to get their real message out. I think some of them think hitting the send key after a blog write up is a hard days electioneering.

    Keyboard protesters, back in the day their would have been riots and marches to the beehive over nationals crap.

  19. venezia 19

    Hang on…re Capital Gains Tax and raising retirement age – polls/surveys in the year prior to this election repeatedly showed significant public support for both these policies. Now Labour has lost it seems to me to be clutching at straws to blame those policies. It was never going to be the case that everyone supports them. Interestingly, Maori are one group who have never done well out of super – until recent decades, most died before reaching super age. But only the Maori Party have made an issue of it. The prospect of the whole population having to wait till 67 suddenly makes it an issue!

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