Time for Labour to listen

Written By: - Date published: 11:50 am, July 4th, 2009 - 19 comments
Categories: labour - Tags:

I have to disagree with my comrade ayb on his post calling for Labour to come up with a more detailed program. Though I understand the desire to see Labour come up some new and inspiring left-wing agenda, now is not the time.

Sure, maybe Phil Goff should come out with his own version of being ‘ambitious’ for New Zealand. Maybe Phil Goff should be more forcefully expressing Labour’s principles of a fairer and more equitable society. But this is not the time for Phil Goff to come up with solutions. It’s time for Labour to listen.

I mean, the whole reason they got turfed out last year was because people felt they’d stopped listening. Their job now is to engage and reconnect with New Zealanders. Labour wasn’t elected to government, and it’s not their job to come up with John Key’s solutions for him.

The desire to solve the country’s problems from opposition is a strong one. But the country will be better served by holding National account for their mistakes, and listening to the public. And when 2011 rolls around, then lay out an alternative vision to take into the election campaign.

19 comments on “Time for Labour to listen”

  1. Anita 1

    Listening is not the same as engaging and reconnecting. As well as listening they need to demonstrate that they have heard, and the best way to do that is to articulate concrete policies which respond to the concerns they have listened to.

    I think we’ve probably all had senior managers who “listened” silently and without nodding, smiling or responding and then went on to do exactly whatever it was they originally intended to do. Labour needs to demonstrate that it listens, and it hears, and that having heard it will act.

  2. Bill 2

    So, well done the Greens. What was it they wanted comment on some months ago? I can’t remember. But due to that, they had been sitting on my email for some time. This morning there is an email from them in my inbox, so it seems they are finally using those emails to ‘engage and connect’.

  3. Ianmac 3

    It really needs active listening doesn’t it? After all Rodney Hide keeps saying we are listening to the messages re Super City but we expect that he will ignore the “consultations”. As my wife says ” You might be listening but you are not hearing what I am telling you- again.”
    Now is a good time for Labour to selectively put the “suggestions” in. Good move from Trevor suggesting small change to the Privacy Laws to avoid League Tables. Tolley won’t act on it of course but the fuss that may follow will be in spit of Trevor’s help. Listen and act strategically.

  4. As a Act member,

    I find your the only media site with brains.


    Thanks for your blogs.

    National are a disgrace. Act is a cool party.
    Actually what we need it to get rid of MMP

    Social systems don’t work as you all have learnt. – as labour showed.

    I propose a yearly election where the government is based on a performance basis. We should have a concrete constitution, based similar to the USA’s on unequivocal human rights and freedoms.
    i.e liberterianz.co.nz

    Then we implement a governance which stops government from growing and keeps balance of powers, and keep them to their core duties. With a social exception and special abitlies if some are being hurt. We have outliers of government for social injustices etc.

    Keep numbers down to 80 MPs and cap their wages.

    Then elections can be based on a Character.


    • Anita 4.1

      Is there any reason you want to dump MMP?

      1) It means that some voters have far more influence than others.
      2) It would mean the end of Act and the growth of National, which presumably you think is a Bad Thing, as Act voters will lose out to National ones every time.

    • QoT 4.2

      Seeing a comment which simultaneously links to the Libz website AND proposes annual general elections just makes me go all warm and fuzzy inside.

  5. Swampy 5

    Labour listening should be dumping most of their old guard, Goff is the leader of that. That’s why Labour is not regenerating under Goff. He has too strong ties to the previous administration.

    • George Darroch 5.1

      Some of us feel he’s still too associated with the Douglas Government, and hasn’t come out and shown us he’s on the road to Damascus.

  6. mike 6

    I agree marty but you are asking for a paradigm shift from labour – I don’t think the current lot have it in them.

  7. Red Rosa 7

    Long way to go to 2011, and a lot of progress already for Labour in only 8 months. Bumbling inexperienced ministers, policy built on slogan and prejudice, the odd scandal to liven things up…the next poll will tell the story.

    Some of us recall 1972 – and then 1975. Two landslides.

    Labour 2009 is in much better shape than the demoralized Nats of 1973. Then, Keith Holyoake urged his troops to ‘attack!’ Though it took a change of leader and 18 months, the economy then was collapsing much the same as now, and the tide turned..

    The electorate loves a scrapper in opposition. That’s their job. Nice guys get no headlines, and finish last.Go for it!

  8. Rodel 8

    Marty said, “I mean, the whole reason they got turfed out last year was because people felt they’d stopped listening.”
    True perhaps but simplistic.The reasons Labour was defeated are more complex. There were many reasons.
    One was is that the Nats had a more expensive PR campaign which was lies( as people are now realising) but cleverly crafted wheras Labour had a less expensive campaign which was true but not cleverly crafted.

    People were fooled by C-R and the smiling puppet.

  9. I understand what you’re saying Marty – that Labour don’t necessarily want to play all their cards now, but I think the best way for Labour to put pressure on National is to start catching up to them in the polls and really make it seem like the country is turning against what National are doing.

    And I think that Labour are only likely to achieve that by being a bit more constructive, offering alternative visions and so forth. They have hinted at it, with their healthy homes ideas and the more recent focus on jobs. But I just can’t help but feel they seem a bit disorganised at the moment. A singular vision and plan is what’s needed – not so much of the sniping around the edges.

  10. A. Akbar 10

    Labour really needs to offer a strong, working alternative to what the government is doing. Of course they can and should change their model according to public feedback etc but fundamentally they should stand for something pretty damn clearly.

  11. Noko 11

    If Labour really took this suggestion seriously, and set-up a website similar to Obama’s (vacuous, however he may be) idea of a community website in which ideas are suggested and up voted, and addressed by the figure-head, this would be a good idea.

    However, doing what Obama has done and ignoring the top questions because they related to the politically sensitive issue of cannabis, would be a bad move on their part, and compound the issue, rather than solve it.

  12. George Darroch 12

    Word verification seems buggy.

    [lprent: something to do with the strings with a quote (or whatever the name is). I’ll clean out the strings as soon as I get a chance (after work at the latest). ]

    • Anita 12.1

      [lprent: something to do with the strings with a quote (or whatever the name is). I’ll clean out the strings as soon as I get a chance (after work at the latest). ]

      You beat me to it 😛

      I get reliable reproduceable failures on strings with what-looks-like-apostrophe followed by s.

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