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Why I will party vote for the Greens

Written By: - Date published: 2:24 pm, November 26th, 2012 - 169 comments
Categories: david cunliffe, david shearer, greens, labour - Tags:

Last week’s Labour conference was quite a revelation in the degree that spin can overcome reality. The degree that that the political media are willing to swallow up almost anything if it makes for a simpler and more dramatic story was rather frightening. There were  important political events happening in the constitutional remits, that had been long and impatiently awaited by most Labour party activists and the even bigger group in the Labour Ulterior.  So what did the media report?

Well it appears to have been some fantasy ‘coup’ concocted or grasped inside caucus to get rid of a internal political rival. If you read around the blogs from party members who were actually at the conference and the many I have talked to since, they are rather incredulous at the conference constitutional remits being reported as being part of some fabricated Cunliffe coup. Robert Winter’s sarcastic response is typical.

Exposed but undefeated!

Damn it, the story is out. We’ve tried to hide it, but the Hootens and Trevetts of this world have wormed out the truth by the application of superior journalistic forensic skills. David Cunliffe is a flesh-eating zomboid, a member of the advance guard of zomboid shock troops from the planet Smarm in the Supercilious galaxy. His cover as an intelligent, capable, sophisticated Labour leader was just not credible, and he was, in the end , easily exposed and destroyed. We acolytes are now unled and scattered, denied the feasting on flesh promised by Arch Zomboid Rictus (his real name), forced to subsist on the bland pap that is now Labour’s lot. But we will rise again, for the Zomboid truth cannot be vanquished, even by the last alliance of journalists, Right wing Labour and the Right.

And apparently this site was the centre of the pro-Cunliffe blog posts in the week before the conference. Huh? Damn and I never knew despite running the place.

Well I understand that many Labour MP’s don’t read blogs*. But the journalists pore over these sites all of the time as is pretty damn obvious when you read IP’s the way I do. But do these ‘journalists’ actually read the material they are commenting on. Because it appears to me that they do not.

For instance in the early part of last week, aside from the posts speaking for Shearer here and here, there were posts by Eddie, IrishBill, and myself saying the experiment with an inexperienced parliamentary leader had clearly failed. This wasn’t the result of a conspiracy. This was a result of politically aware individuals making up their own minds.   None of us even bothered to speculate in the posts who amongst the possible contenders would do a better job. At issue was a failed experiment by caucus rather than some kind of mythical ‘coup’.

QoT was actually the only author in the early part of last week who even speculated on who a possible replacement leader could be. And I’m not even sure that  she is even a NZLP member. They were just observations from the outside. I’m pretty sure from past conversations with Eddie and Irish that both will have as clear an idea about Cunliffe’s weaknesses and strengths as I do.

As Tapu Misa points out today

Besides, as far as I can tell, the smearing and whispering campaigns (so vague as to be impossible to defend) have all been targeted at that other David.

I can’t speak for anyone else. I’m not in the beltway, where politics is lived and breathed. I don’t schmooze with party activists or politicians. So if there was a coup attempt, I missed it. It was an invitation to the Labour conference that prompted my reflection on the party’s strengths and weaknesses. My view – that Shearer’s leadership was a weak link – was hardly remarkable.

No independent observer of Shearer’s media performances could have failed to notice his potentially fatal deficiencies.

And for myself, that was exactly the same trigger and reaction that I had.

It was a well-executed elimination of a internal political opponent. In the days before the internet would have probably been accepted at face value as being a nice simple explanation by the media. These days it causes the kind of irritation that accelerates over-due change. It was also quite stupid and I’m rather furious that such a dumbarse stunt overshadowed the real interesting results of last weekend.

Jordan Carter over at Just Left did a pretty good explanation of what actually happened in conference – something that the pre-primed journalists apparently failed to observe.

The ‘net is changing society. Along with the ’68 revolution and the era of the babyboomers, and the massive liberalisation they brought about, New Zealand has much less time for authoritarian leaders than it used to. Collaboration, working together, the demise of hierarchy and bossy management, all these changes are real. Wider choice and respect for our voice – as consumers and as citizens – is part of New Zealand’s reality today.

Yet the two main political parties have remained stuck in the past. Labour and National are caught in the old ways of doing things. A small elite at the top in charge; the rest of us there as servants to carry out the wishes of the elite – pawns, all too often, in a game of thrones.

I know that because of the overlay of leadership debate, the changes we made don’t grab attention. But I also know those changes were overdue, are irreversible, and that most of the debate had *nothing to do* with the ‘contemporary anxieties’ Andrew Little referred to. Anxieties, I might add, that were substantially lessened by the content and delivery of David’s leaders speech on Sunday.

The changes we made this weekend are big, and they clash head on with the culture of the Parliamentary Labour Party. That part of Labour is very accustomed to being in charge, on its own terms. The shock to the system this weekend will have been severe for some MPs and for some party grandees.

I admire Jordan Carter and many of the other (no longer young) Young Labour of the 90’s for that degree of commitment and for that matter the clarity of strategic thinking that appears to elude many in caucus. Hell, I’m in awe of the abilities of the NZ Council and policy council members to put up with the remit processes that allowed last weekend to be such a success – it is definitely not one of my skills. However I’m in a different mode of thought to Jordan after watching the weak-minded in the Labour caucus falling for one of the older games in the political playbook before, during and after the conference.

So I’ve spent a solid worthwhile 30 years of voting Labour through good and bad and about twenty years of helping organise for them donating my time, skills and money. Given the alternatives at the time they were clearly the most competent political caucus overall. It was worth putting up with the clogged party processes left over after the 80’s that barely allow a party members to do more than act as a cheering crowd to the triumphant winners of the party caucus. After all we have to have some suckers willing to the damn job. Giving a few cheers periodically was fine if they’d stayed focused on the job at hand.

However at present they are not. This weeks stupidity is just the latest example of this in a continuing set of actions that remind me of the worst of the Alliance breakup. I really don’t have the patience or the time any longer to either wait or gently encourage the conservatives in the Labour caucus and their minions to catch up with the rest of society. That is going to have to be a job for the younger members of the NZLP.

So in 2014 my party vote will go to the Greens because their caucus deserves the support in the way that the Labour party caucus currently does not.

Why? Well I have always valued competence over idealogical considerations. So I look at what people do rather than what they say and make judgements accordingly. It is the reason that I find National so distasteful as they routinely bring misery to so many whilst saying that the experience will be good for them. A hypocritical cover as they transfer wealth from the children of the poor and the future to their backpockets now.

The Greens have been getting steadily more politically competent over the last decade. They are now at  to the point that I’m willing to trust them not to screw up too much with my vote. And they run their operations in a way that would make any management graduate like myself beam with pleasure. Their operational net systems are a bit primitive, but so are Labours

From my viewpoint outside, the Green caucus appears to be be made up of competent people who actually work together for a common objective – something that is notably lacking in the current Labour caucus. While they are obviously short of ministerial experience, they are clearly in a position that they have several people ready for it. And they don’t appear to waste their effort and time with idiotic scrabbling for position when ‘victory’ is meaningless without the treasury benches. They do not spend the money from parliamentary services on a relatively few over-paid staffers in their isolated hierarchical offices

Meanwhile the Labour caucus wastes its stipend for staffers in a pale imitation of the days when their masters were ministers and responsible for large organisations. In the days of constrained resources in opposition, I hear that the political battles amongst staffers are just as prevalent, petulant and meaningless as that amongst their masters.

Structurally the Greens have a flat opposition style horde of researcher, media contacts, and even MP’s in a mostly open plan office environment that would be familiar to anyone who operates a productive creative environment in the private sector. This is the difference between a hierarchical 60’s or 70’s managerial style and that of the 21st century where people cooperatively work on top of a network system. This coherence in strategy shows in the coherence that they display both in and outside the house. From what I hear, it also shows in the meetings with their party members.

Even at conference Labour MP’s and staffers were obviously recoiling into mini-beltways or cohorts of personal supporters away from the weird and wonderful that those who choose to be members of any political party.

The way that the Greens operator is far more likely to find, check and generate competent ideas that are likely to work in government than the antique structures in Labour. This means that they will have ideas resonate with the public and get the non-voters voting. You have to have contact with people who have ideas, even strange ones, and a staff competent to flesh it out to make viable new ideas. At present the Labour caucus appear to value none of these attributes.

Obviously the Labour caucus must realize this. It is hard to see any policy from Labour in recent years that isn’t just warmed over Green policy. But as a voter, why would you vote for the middle man? Sure they’re useful if you want a coalition brake. But they are not so useful when we don’t. And right now NZ needs new ideas because the old ideas that run the National and even Labour caucuses are simply leaching our best people and assets offshore in a negative sum game.

But I’m going to stay a NZLP member because of the party members. Sure there are some who profess a simplistic tribal loyalty that we sometimes see in comments here and which I find intensely irritating for their lack of thought (and consequential inability to argue). But more often I see comments from NZLP members who are actively thinking their way past the stasis of the party left over from the 1980’s through to what we need now and into the future. I’m confident that eventually they’ll change the culture of the NZLP to something that will reach its century and beyond.

So I’ll concentrate my efforts on providing this and/or other raucous forums for argument for the whole of the “left”. I’m sure that will help the others work inside the party to remove the remaining blockages. And the arguments will enhance the left overall.

* yeah right – I bet MP’s staff read this site amongst others based on how many times I’ve had to put parliamentary services IP’s into auto-moderation for astro-turfing the site.

169 comments on “Why I will party vote for the Greens”

  1. Brad 1

    “They [the Greens] do not spend the money from parliamentary services on a relatively few over-paid staffers in their isolated hierarchical offices”

    No, they spend it on influencing Citizens’ Initiated Referenda

  2. I for one welcome our new Zomboid overlords.

  3. RJLC 3

    That’s pretty close to echoing my reasons as well.

  4. Peter 4

    Very bold in saying that, and yeah, there will be many going the way of the Greens next time. I have heard that 20% has been established as an internal polling goal amongst Green organisers. I don’t think this is feasible, but hell, if Shearer doesn’t improve and caucus continues to block a decent replacement, then anything is on the cards.

    It’s not unheard of for long-standing mainstream political parties to collapse, even in nominal two party systems, and certainly within multi-party MMP like environments. It happens when either their structures or their MPs (which is the current problem) fail to adapt to changing times. The root of the current problem within Labour is that the membership appears ready to divest themselves of neoliberalism, whereas most of the Caucus, and the media who feed on them, cannot see any alternatives.

    So yeah, Shearer and Robertson are playing a dangerous game by blocking the party’s democratic aspirations. It’s the risk of polling in the high twenties next time around, and returning nothing but old guard on the list (Labour’s ability to win provincial and even urban seats is seriously in question).

    • dancerwaitakere 4.1

      Liberals at the start of the 19th century, anyone?

      • Peter 4.1.1

        Well, that is the historical analogy, post Seddon. Greens take the place of the emergent Labour party. Our current Labour Party slowly dies away, with the left wing bits heading to the Greens, and the right wing bits going the way of National.

  5. Lew 5

    Fair enough, Lynn. The best thing to focus Labour’s minds on winning is the Greens polling 20% or better. If that won’t work, nothing will. Ideally it wouldn’t be a zero-sum shift, though.

    L

    • lprent 5.1

      Yeah. And they really are within range of that at present.

      Problem is that the Greens are pretty useless at getting non-voters out. They aren’t very systematic at those mass tasks. Hell – they aren’t even good at getting their own supporters out to vote. One day they should go and have a really good talk to those organisational nutters at Greenpeace who really do show the dedication to make virtually the same audience turnout when required. But looking at what they have been doing with the asset referendum campaign, I suspect that may have already happened.

      Labour isn’t bad at voter and especially enrolled-non-vote turnout when they set their mind to it. That usually happens when you get some grizzled old campaigner like Mike Williams without a romantic bone in their body running the campaigns because they push party organisations to work beyond their comfort zones by providing relevant data. The problem is that it requires a great deal of organisation and there is always someone wanting to drop back to systems that used to work when the party membership was somewhat bigger. Systems that MP’s can grasp and understand aren’t exactly effective when you don’t have the bodies to run them with.

      • Peter 5.1.1

        Yeah, from what I’ve seen down here, the Greens have built systems for turnout that actually work. Unlike Labour, which since the retirement of its best organiser, Pete Hodgson, has not focused on the building of any systems, and instead, just expects that when a switch is turned, that things will happen. They might still, where a few key activists (think R0b) have the competence to run e-day systems in urban electorates, but beyond that, there’s nothing, and very little interest and resourcing in building something from the MPs.

        (2008 and 2011 Clutha-Southland campaign manager)

        • Lew 5.1.1.1

          Exhibit A for this is Clare Curran only beating a carpetbagger from the North Island by a few thou, and losing the party vote in Dunedin South. Wouldn’t have thought it possible, but there you go.

          L

          • Peter 5.1.1.1.1

            Yes, the organisation in Dunedin South is at the top of my list of poor performers, largely because I know a fair bit about it, and where it can easily be improved. Not all Clare’s fault, but she does have to take responsibility for it and put systems in place. Blaming it on a swing isn’t good enough, and so far, that’s all I’ve seen happen.

            • mike e 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Dunedin south want a left wing politician there is a lot of infighting and sulking going on.
              Then during the 2000,s unemployment was still nearly 11% in the electorate so some candidate needs to have a plan for jobs in the Dunedin area!
              Clare Curran needs a on the ground door knocking crew!

              • Crimson Nile

                She’s been MP down there for a while now, why is it she doesn’t have a strong team built up?

            • Socialist Paddy 5.1.1.1.1.2

              When you think about the poor party vote performers the worst were in Auckland Central, Wellington Central, Dunedin South, Port Hills, Waimakariri.  These candidates ought to be ashamed of themselves.

        • lprent 5.1.1.2

          Yeah I know. The same kinds of things have been happening up up here but probably to a lesser extent because there is a greater depth of experience in the isthmus. The problem is that you don’t win elections by doing turnout strategies in some electorates. You do it by doing it across a lot of electorates. The only way that you can do that is to run permanent low-key campaigns. The regional hub idea will work for that but it does seem to be more mired in the political stage rather than operational.

          In fact I’d say that you won’t see any effective operational strategy until they have set up a closed forums site for organisers (ie something like The Standard but login only) where ideas and resources can moved around. Of course such a system has it’s own political issues which is why I don’t think that the party could actually achieve it.

          • George D 5.1.1.2.1

            Lynn, if you come on board as a member we can show you our shiny vote-targeting efforts 🙂 We have sophisticated models which worked rather well for us a year ago…

            There are still deficiencies in our planning and effort, but we’re working on those. The asset-sales referendum is important in its own right, but it’s certainly an excellent mobilisation tool and chance to build a few other things.

  6. jklmn 6

    Me too!

  7. Rich 7

    You know, Wellington doesn’t have a “Beltway”.

    It would be expensive and pointless for Wellington to have an actual “Beltway”. They’d have to move tonnes of rock along the east side of the harbour, demolish Eastbourne, build a tunnel under the harbour mouth, demolish Lyall Bay and Island Bay and then construct a sequence of tunnels and viaducts through Karori.

    Actually, I expect National to announce one in their next term.

    • felix 7.1

      What about the “town belt” way 😉

    • lprent 7.2

      🙂 It would be a “Road of National Significance” at least for a few

    • You’d prefer to call them “the political and media elite”? That’s a bit more of a mouthful.

      • Rich 7.3.1

        But would have the vast advantage of not perpetuating an Americanism.

        (I had the great idea today that NZ should progressively adopt Te Reo as our sole national language, rather as the Israelis have with Hebrew. That would determinedly isolate us from US and Australian discourse and ideas. Also, I’d like to see the Hobbit in Te Reo.)

      • Pete 7.3.2

        “Political insiders” would do.

    • Te Reo Putake 7.4

      I grew up in a town so poor it couldn’t afford an outskirts.

      Boom TISH!

      • Rhinocrates 7.4.1

        Lookshury! When I were a lad, we didn’t even dream of outskirts or even inskirts or any underwear. We only had a piece of string – and not a G-string either, mind – it were an I-string and you try wearing one of those, let alone building a house and corner shop on one! [cue Four Yorkshiremen sketch…]

        • Pete 7.4.1.1

          Aye, well we had it tough. Our strings were sub-particle quantum anomalies. You could see where they were or your could see where they were going, but never both at the same time. And you needed a particle accelerator to view them. Made it difficult on laundry day.

    • Foreign Waka 7.5

      Wellington will then be looking forward to full employment 😉

  8. ad 8

    My partner and I are exactly the same on this LPrent.

    With the added point that we feel little reason to continue as Labour activists given the grief and scapegoating.

    Whatever this game is, it’s not worth it.

    Maybe we’ll resurface more as the next election comes around, but I suspect that will depend whether there’s an actual chance of winning, and also of changing anything (which is distinct).

  9. Socialist Paddy 9

    Chryst Lynn you will be off every MP’s christmas card list, or at least most of them 🙂

    But yeah.  Something needs to be done about the sense of entitlement shown by some.  And there needs to be a clear out of dead wood and one strong rule, a parliamentary staffer shall no longer be parachuted into a safe Labour seat. 

    • lprent 9.1

      I’m not involved in politics even in my indirect way to be liked.

      I’m mostly interested in making sure that the politicians don’t make too many screw ups of the type that was done through the 60’s to the 70’s of trying to ignore change. Unfortunately political systems are rather prone to structural jamming. The after effects, as happened in NZ in the 80’s and 90’s, are just wasteful on people and resources. It is pretty evident that we have that problem in parliament at present.

      I think Helen used to send me a card. But I think that she even enjoyed criticism as well.

  10. Pete 10

    I am leaning Green too, but I’m going to wait until after February to make up my mind.

    • Fair enough. It’s not as if us Greens really want the reason we get an influx of support to be our most likely coalition partner imploding…

      • Pete 10.1.1

        It’s not just that I’m getting jaded with Labour. The Green team is getting quite impressive. Russel Norman and Gareth Hughes in particular over the past few years.

        • lprent 10.1.1.1

          It’s not just that I’m getting jaded with Labour. The Green team is getting quite impressive.

          My view as well. Labour was the best that was available for the purpose. But the Greens have been more and more viable over the last 4 or 5 years when you look at it with organisational eye.

        • Anne 10.1.1.2

          It’s not just that I’m getting jaded with Labour. The Green team is getting quite impressive.

          Agreed. Made the decision over the week-end to transfer my vote (and loyalty) to the Greens if David Cunliffe isn’t reinstated to his rightful place on the front bench by February of next year.

          I’ve had enough of the incestuous bunch of beltway types and their paranoid fantasies.

          • Sunny 10.1.1.2.1

            .Me too

            • Akldnut 10.1.1.2.1.1

              Me three!!!
              Ive been threatening to do so over the last month or so and have almost convinced myself that it’s the only course of action if Shearer and his cacus don’t pick up the ball and start running with it.

              I’m fast becoming disenchanted with the way this caucus especially (barring Cunliff and a couple of others) are sleep walking their way to another National victory.
              Almost like sleeping at the wheel – they’re going to go crash very soon.

          • Treetop 10.1.1.2.2

            When it comes to Cunliffe being reinstated to the front bench, Shearer comes across this way to me, I will not reinstate a very very talented politician because I require from him the proviso that he will not challenge me for the leadership.

            The Green party play as a team and sadly Labour have lost their way.

        • Oh I figured that was a given. 🙂

      • George D 10.2.1

        Ha! I do love the way that John gets on so wonderfully with Labour people. Taken this weekend?

        • toad 10.2.1.1

          Yep. I think John has a background with (old) Labour in the UK in a former life. But good to see DC there doing some grass roots organising at a Greens-orgnanised site for the KOA petition.

          • George D 10.2.1.1.1

            Yes, definitely. It’s pretty typical of what I see and hear of him. I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes the seat safe in 2014.

      • Jenny 10.2.2

        Beautiful

  11. Gregor W 11

    Interesting piece Lynn, and as Peter notes, a pretty bold public commitment.

    Peter – 20% is eminently achievable as a) the NZLP continue to abandon their (nominal) role as ‘party of the left’ and b) the GP continues to focus on capturing disenfranchised and new voters.

  12. karol 12

    Well-argued, Lynn.

    Well it appears to have been some fantasy ‘coup’ concocted or grasped inside caucus to get rid of a internal political rival. 


    If the posts on The Standard, in the week before the Conference, were part of a Cunliffe-orchestrated coup, either the coup organisers were very inept, or there was no coup planned. Why would you organise a coup, orchestrating blog-posts, and not be pretty certain that said coup would be successful? e.g. via having run the numbers, gained enough caucus support, and being prepared to go live with the challenge to the existing leader.

    But, anyway, why would you organise said coup at a Conference dealing with other matters? 

    But I think Misa has it right also, concerning Shearer’s poor performance.  However, my reason for continuing to vote Green, is more for reason usually labelled “ideological” – though for me it is a matter of principles I go by, measured against what the parties do in practice.  I am concerned about the overall direction shearer wants to lead towards – actually, I fail to see a clear direction. And there seems to be a consistent focus on targeting the hopes and fears of the middle-classes, while ignoring those really struggling.

    The Greens show a much clearer sense of purpose, and work steadily on issues like poverty. 

  13. tc 13

    The greens have won alot of people over by fronting up over mining around Raglan/Aotea/west coast whereas Mahuta has been MIA, you know the education spokesperson as she must be too busy exposing Parata…..err hang on…. face meets palm.

  14. Kevin Welsh 14

    Great post Lynn and very thought provoking.

  15. King Kong 15

    Im sorry Lyn, I find it really hard to believe that every single journalist, many of them exceptionally experienced, was hoodwinked into believing that there was a coup on when there wasn’t.

    Or even more unlikely, they are all in on the plot to take down poor old David Cunliffe.

    Maybe you and your mates at the conference aren’t the heavyweight political insiders that you thought you were or don’t have the experience you think you do.

    This is nothing to be embarrased about as I am sure their are not that many of us who have been close up and personal in witnessing poilitical leadreship spills. Usually just rumour, innuendo and reports from the press.

    What I really struggle with is how someone who purports to be rational and educated can support the Greens other than through a massive toy throw.

    Whilst I am sure their intentions are good their policy is just plain dopey and has more holes than a Berlusconi, bunga bunga party.

    • thatguynz 15.1

      “their policy is just plain dopey and has more holes than a Berlusconi, bunga bunga party.”
       
       
       
      As opposed to the rational policies of National?  Tui billboard anyone?

    • lprent 15.2

      Im sorry Lyn, I find it really hard to believe that every single journalist, many of them exceptionally experienced, was hoodwinked into believing that there was a coup on when there wasn’t.

      I didn’t say that they were “hoodwinked”. I said they were fed a nice simple line that makes for good headlines and a easier story to write. They aren’t known as “reef-fish” for nothing. Given a good simple and above all dramatic line they will tend to prefer it over the more complex and closer to reality.

      Maybe you and your mates at the conference aren’t the heavyweight political insiders that you thought you were or don’t have the experience you think you do.

      I think that you ignored the basic message of my post – reread it (or even better read Jordan’s post). Traditional hierarchies are pretty much dead in these days of ubiquitous information and relationships that are hard to map. That is why they have been steadily flattening in almost every area. There are some who get this and there are others who do not.

      The actual distinguishing point on the net in my mind is the value that some people place on knowing “who” people are on the net. When it isn’t for the purposes of retribution (the most common reason I see), then it is for the purposes of establishing “authority” or position in some kind of hierarchy. Which is what I suspect you are seeking…

      Now I’ve always been just a party member who has done one term each as branch sec and chair before offloading them. I’m not a “heavyweight political insider” and have never claimed (or even wanted) to be one. What I have done inside Labour is to help build systems when they needed to be built. I also observe the people, structures, and think about them because that is what I do.

      I don’t claim authority for anything apart from my own opinions and how I help run this site (the latter derived completely from my system skills). What people choose to make of my opinions is their decision. I really don’t give a pigs arse what others think them. If they want they can ask, like you implicitly did. What I’m interested in doing is being able to express my opinions and helping others to do so as well.

      Like everything else on the net, value usually comes from familiarity with and the value placed on previous opinions. It is intensely non-hierarchical in structure. People choose to value or not value the opinion of others based on the value they gained from previous ones. This is a system embedded all the way through the net. You only have to to look at the way that the system is made up pretty much from RFC’s that people have chosen to follow to the point that they have become defacto standards.

      Authority of the type you seek is a meaningless distinction when evaluating an argument which will stand or fall on its own merits and that of it’s links. The only time it is useful is when people claim specialised knowledge when they cannot point to sources. That seldom happens except for the few idiots jumping up and down like a yo-yo trying to say “I’m important” because most knowledge is accessible at least in summary somewhere. Most knowledge is knowing where to locate it and have enough training to interpret it.

      What I really struggle with is how someone who purports to be rational and educated can support the Greens other than through a massive toy throw.

      You should read my back posts more carefully. Especially the ones to do with ‘green’ issues like climate change. The greens have often had good ideas. It just has been in a matrix that also included some pretty flakey ones.

      But they have gotten a lot more focused over recent years and in my opinion ‘rational’. I suspect you have just been too blinded by your presumptions to look. Perhaps you should look back in history to the formation on other political parties to get some perspective on how many nuts were involved in formation of National or Labour or how many of those were ultimately regarded in history as visionary.

      • Wayne 15.2.1

        Well, as I said last week if DC had been cleverer with his answers to questions put to him by the media, all of which were perfectly predictable, the vote on Tuesday would have never happened. And I know many contributors here did not see a problem with his answers, but the every experienced journalist did, and so did his colleagues. Not a vast right wing conspiracy, but politics 101.

        If DC had acted differently things might have happened in Feburary, but that now does not seem likely.

        However DS still has to perform over the next several months.

        But I guess if the Greens got 20% and Labour held its 2011 vote, the Left could be in a position to form a Govt with Mana and the Maori Party.

        It would most likely make Winston the king maker, and on the combo above I don’t see him going Left.

        • Blue 15.2.1.1

          Let’s run that scenario, shall we?

          Paddy Gower: “David! David! Are you planning a coup? You’re planning a coup aren’t you! I can smell it you dirty rat! Coup! Coup! Coup!”

          David Cunliffe: “David Shearer has my complete and total loyalty, now and forever and ever and ever.”

          Paddy Gower: “Bullshit! I know a coup when I see one! I see them everywhere! Even at my local dairy! You planned a coup but you got scared by Shearer’s magnificent oratory and backed off! Didn’t ya? Didn’t ya?”

          David Cunliffe: “No.”

          Paddy Gower: “Hahaha! I laugh in the face of such pathetic attempts to thwart me! Will you vote for Shearer in February? Will ya? Will ya? Will ya?”

          David Cunliffe: “Hang on a fucking second – am I really being asked to give up my basic right to vote FOR MYSELF in February or you’ll say I’m plotting a coup?”

          Paddy Gower: “Yes! Snake in the grass! Snake in the grass! I knew it! Fuck, everyone there’s a coup! You heard it from his own mouth! Coup! Coup! Coup!”

          David Cunliffe: “Great, Paddy, now can you fuck off and stop following me into the bathroom?”

          • Rhinocrates 15.2.1.1.1

            Ha!

          • weka 15.2.1.1.2

            Best synopsis yet Blue.

          • McFlock 15.2.1.1.3

            David Cunliffe: “Hang on a fucking second – am I really being asked to give up my basic right to vote FOR MYSELF in February or you’ll say I’m plotting a coup?”
             

            Um, yes. Even more than that, you were being asked to give up you right to have anyone else vote for you, too. Because that’s what a leadership challenge is
                       
            Cunliffe either had complete loyalty for Shearer, or was going to spend the next three months sowing discord amongst the membership and his caucus colleagues.  He tried to have it both ways.  

            • Colonial Viper 15.2.1.1.3.1

              Cunliffe either had complete loyalty for Shearer, or was going to spend the next three months sowing discord amongst the membership and his caucus colleagues.

              Correct. As George Bush simply stated: “You’re either with us, or you’re against us.” 😈

              • McFlock

                When there’s only one leadership post, that’s true. You either support the incumbent, or you want their job.
                 

                • One Tāne Huna

                  Or both. Ooh! A paradox! Don\t see many of those, do you?

                  • McFlock

                    Both? Not when you’re the heir apparent and the main focus point for any media looking to “expose” conflict within the party.
                           
                    In that case, it should be obvious that anything less than explicit ruling out of a challenge outside of specific criteria will be seen as deliberately undermining the incumbent. 

                    • One Tāne Huna

                      What “should” be obvious is that a bumbling incompetent incumbent undermines himself without any help from third parties, and after a while people start to point and laugh.

                    • McFlock

                      Says it all, really.
                           
                      Cunliffe’s behaviour was so callously duplicitous that even a “bumbling incompetent” saw through the thin veneer of plausible deniability and damning with faint praise. 
                             
                      Oh, but Cunliffe’s still the last, best hope to avoid a thousand years of neoliberal darkness… /sarc 

                    • One Tāne Huna

                      Cunliffe’s still the last, best hope to avoid a thousand years…

                      When did you become an authoritarian? When did my pointing out that Cunliffe is better at his job than Shearer get translated into some kind of unquestioning loyalty that I allegedly feel?

                      I’d be quite happy with Shearer if he was up to the job, and that is the root of the discontent here. Frankly if the next leader weren’t putting their hand up under these circumstances, we’d have a major problem.

                    • McFlock

                      Is this about you?
                              
                      I thought it was about Cunliffe. 
                           
                      So was Cunliffe putting his hand up to try to take the leadership from Shearer? Or did he support Shearer as leader? It’s a simple question, and one that he dodged. 

                    • One Tāne Huna

                      He didn’t dodge the question. Do I have to link to the video of him answering it?

                    • McFlock

                      You mean the “he has my loyalty, but I won’t say whether I’m already planning to challenge his arse in February if not sooner” (or words to that effect) link?
                           
                      Yep, that’s a dodge. 

                    • One Tāne Huna

                      If you say so, I’m sure you believe it.

                      Shearer’s performance is the problem.

                    • McFlock

                      Shearer’s performance is one problem.
                      Circling vultures is another. 

                    • One Tāne Huna

                      Oh ffs! A walking corpse attracts vultures and you think the vultures are the problem?

                      Indian vultures are a threatened species, driven to the brink of extinction. Packs of wild dogs are increasingly performing the vultures’ traditional role. No doubt you would blame the dogs.

                    • McFlock

                      Actually, dogs are more apt – it’s a case of attacking the weak animal which might have survived and gotten stronger. 
                             
                      But where the analogy falls down is that it’s not just Shearer being harmed by the attacks, but Labour as well. 
                           
                      If Cunliffe had been honest about his designs, the entire thing would have been over sharpish rather than this drawn out media prick-tease.
                           
                      Will Labour really be able to focus 100% on winning an election in two years time? What if Shearer wins the February vote: will you be expecting people to leaflet for a “walking corpse”? And if Cunliffe wins, do you expect the supposed “ABC” team to show him the same “loyalty” he’s shown Shearer? 
                             
                      It’s like a divorcing couple running for election on the same ticket – they were the frontrunners, but now all the other candidates need to do is stand back and let them bicker, snipe and glare at each other.

                  • One Tāne Huna

                    Cart, meet horse. Shearer is the weak link. That is the source of the harm to Labour, the reason Cunliffe looks so good – by comparison.

                    Which do you prefer – me saying so or Hooten’s “supportive” input? I might keep my counsel after February. Do you think he will?

                    • McFlock

                      I don’t listen to hooten. And unless you’re on the front bench, you can say what you want. 
                               
                      I can’t help wondering just how weak Shearer and Labour would be without all this bullshit. Would it be on 50% either way? nope. But it could well be quibbling over change 5% here nor there, which is all Labour need.
                             
                      If Cunliffe gets rewarded for possibly the most telegraphed, gory and drawn out coup d’etat since Akira Kurosawa’s “Throne of Blood” was released, I for one will be voting elsewhere. And several here seem to be pretty much the same way about Shearer. 
                            
                      They’re as damaging as each other, imo. 

        • seeker 15.2.1.2

          Was going to comment on your comment yesterday Wayne. Cunliffe said virtually the same things that you so righteously suggested and nothing worked ( on the many accostings/interviews of him I saw.from Fri to Sun.)
          As far as I could see, in the case of Gower anyway, he wasn’t interested in what Cunliffe said, only that if he wasn’t going to say what Gower wanted him to say then Gower would report that he said it or didn’t say it anyway. This he did, not only to us, but also to Shearer, who didn’t appear to have seen or heard anything and looked shocked. Madness. Anyone could see and hear Cunliffe endorse Shearer again and again as he was asked the same question again and again. Cunliffe also followed up, when asked about leadership, with the fact that leadership wasn’t a matter for this conference as it was a constutional one (not a leadership one, like February for instance- my words).
          So your suggestions, although meant kindly I am sure, would not have helped.
          There must have been a hidden agenda here. whether it went wrong or is still playing out we have yet to see, but it will be from a distance as I won’t vote Labour in NZ again unless Shearer and a few others disappear. Jordan Carter mentioned Game of Thrones, perhaps this is the game they are playing -it certainly seems and feels like it. Most unpleasant.

          There were more accostings over the weekend, but this was the horror of horrors:

          http://www.3news.co.nz/Shearer-denies-Labour-leadership-shakeup/tabid/370/articleID/277072/Default.aspx

        • lprent 15.2.1.3

          David Cunliffe is only marginally relevant to my decision. That was merely the icing on the cake because it really just showed how caucus thinks about members.

          The process that the caucus moved through to get from A to B to C to D was just childish.

          A = Cunliffe is a arrogant knowitall (like most MP’s?)
          B = Some people are saying that Cunliffe may be ambitous (Hooten phase)
          C = Bloggers are saying nasty things about the leader and caucus and the party is wanting change
          ……(and they can’t possibly think these things on their own)
          D = Cunliffe is responsible, lets demote and shun him.

          Yeah right. Childish and extremely unprofessional is what it looks like to anyone who is aware of the feeling inside the party amongst members right now. They’re outright irritated with both the campaign last year, the ineptitude of caucus this year, and the complete set of possible balls ups that caucus has been making for 4 years now with idiot MP’s crapping all over whatever progress the party makes.

          Just look at bloody Shane Jones who appears to be actually rogue, is causing real damage to the party and its future role in a government and who has a strong conflict of interest in many of the topics he is talking on.Then the silence is deafening.

          But caucus and their minions really don’t want to hear that, so it is time to scapegoat someone for getting the members upset (because members don’t have brains you see…). Just use a story that the news media can collapse into a soundbite better than why the party members are getting pissed off with the caucus and getting very very interested in change.

          Basically, I’m tired of this kind of stupidity. I’m tired of trying to even defending it or ignoring as I’ve done for the last 4 years.

          BTW: Feb isn’t really an option for a leadership spill by anyone in caucus. Quite simply caucus members would be terrified of going anywhere near the party for a decision for quite some time. Especially as we keep encouraging the Labour Ulterior to become members.

          While I think that Winston is probably the great white hope of the Nat’s these days as the rest of the their client parties have become unelectable, I really don’t think that he will.

          Quite simply his core supporters pretty much hate National these days and I don’t think he would be able to bring himself OR his MP’s across. Just go and ask NZF supporters. They’ll tell you in chapter and verse. Not to mention that because of the stupid campaign National waged against Winston in 2008, you’ll have National’s own membership revolting against any formal coalition prior to the election and restricting what can be done.

          I suspect in the scenario you’re looking at, the absolute best National could get is a very unstable minority government in which nothing much could happen.

          But a Labour/Green/NZF doesn’t look unworkable if only because of Nationals crap record on the rivers and youth unemployment is really starting to upset grandparents.

          • Jenny K 15.2.1.3.1

            Personally, I think your entire analysis is spot-on.
            But there isn’t much time between now, the summer break, and Feb for Shearer to continue to show his dithering – so caucus could well still be behind him at showdown time!
            But Shearer doesn’t read blogs, he doesn’t speak to Members (sorry – Followers, is what he
            calls us – like sheep, I guess we’re just a part of the countryside background to him !) unless they are a part of his trusted advisors’ group – so he doesn’t have a clue that the Party is imploding and that he is contributing to it.

            • lprent 15.2.1.3.1.1

              😉 Yep. I suspect that we’re going to just have to hope that this caucus lifts their game between now and the election so they don’t disappoint their potential coalition partners too much.

              It is still a good time to move from Ulterior to being a member. And I expect a significant boost in membership. One way or another the NZLP is going to have to build a new way of working together that doesn’t involve me getting embarrassed to be seen supporting the Labour caucus.

        • Draco T Bastard 15.2.1.4

          And I know many contributors here did not see a problem with his answers, but the every experienced journalist did, and so did his colleagues.

          In other words, they were making shit up.

  16. higherstandard 16

    I’m party voting for the Hypnotoad.

    • Rogue Trooper 16.1

      All Hoary to The Hypnotoad…or The Busy Bee.zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
      (Todays programme has been brought to you by the letter ‘Z’; Z is for Zoonosis)
      10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 One 🙂

  17. beatie 17

    interesting article about the British LP and it’s increasing irrelevance to the working class.

    ‘Historically, it has been Labour’s role to challenge wealth and power. If its leadership is unable to do so – whether it be through lack of courage or conviction – a vacuum will be left. In such turbulent times, that vacuum will be filled. The cosy consensus of the professionalised political elite may be suffocating, but it is not sustainable. A perceptive eye can notice the cracks and observe that – with a bit of a shove – the whole edifice could shatter.’

    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/the-cosy-consensus-i-saw-on-question-times-panel-is-a-disservice-to-every-man-and-woman-in-britain-8348713.html

    • karol 17.1

      Thanks for the link to the interesting article, beatie.  I think there’s a similar difference between 1930s and 40s Labour MPs, with strong links to low income battlers, and today’s more middle-class managerialist Labour MPs.

    • just saying 17.2

      Thanks Beatie – a brilliant article from Owen Jones. Weird to know the Labour Party movement is creaking with the same problems worldwide.

      I’ve often wondered about the successes of the labour movement being a large part of the decline. I think of my grandfather, a working class man who longed for justice, who fought hammer and tongs for Labour, and a better future. Now in that future, about half his grandchildren are uni-educated professionals, most of whom now believe that poor working-class folk like he was, are poor because of defects of character and ability. The comfortably middle-class believe emphatically that they deserve to take from the tables of the poor, and have all but pulled up the ladder allowed so many of them to climb out of working class hardship structural disadvantage.

    • Rhinocrates 17.3

      Great article. The pessimist in me is deeply disturbed at the popular disenchantment with mainstream politics, because that disenchantment can lead to extremism, as was the case in Weimar Germany… or modern Greece where already half of the police force is affiliated with the neonazi Golden Dawn party.

      • rosy 17.3.1

        disenchantment can lead to extremism, as was the case in Weimar Germany”

        Yes… and when the extremists buy up / control the news media the process is all but complete. Politics is like watching a car crash in slow motion at the moment, with no brake apparent.

  18. seeker 18

    Brillian post lprent. You have articulated my thoughts almost exactly.
    They say there is a time and place or season for everything ,well this is my season for going Green. It is so clear , I can’t believe I didn’t see it before. But of course I could not with the mindset I had before Shearer’s weak and unjust execution of Cunliffe last week. As you say so “distasteful” was it that I could only spit out the Labour Party that he led.

    I had always voted Labour, as to my mind it was the party for social s justice but Meteria Turei has been doing such a good job of fighting against,poverty, neglect of our children and giving support for our youth as well as good housing ideas that I am more than happy to support her in this fight.

    It is now a relief that I do not have to try and support something I hardly recognise any more and to realise that Labour is just as archaic as National. The Green party is the way of the future, Labour has done its job well in the far past, but is now lost, to me anyway. The Green party not only has much to say and actually do about the environment but also says and does much for social justice,my passion.

    It is time to let National and Labour wallow in the mire their lack of principle has created, before becoming bogged down myself. It feels like I have crawled out of the sludge and can set about creating a better and reality checkable “brighter” future for my son and his children. A future that will sensibly take into account the future of the environment as well as social justice and allow us democratic freedom.

    I am still considering staying a member of Labour until after next February to see if I may have misjudged and to see if my vote is needed, but at the moment all my votes in 2014 are going Green. I can ‘see’ no other way.

    Ps Loved Tapu Misa today.

  19. Was that brief outage caused by your sudden epiphany?

  20. Fisiani 20

    So Lprent eloquently trys to claims that he will walk away from Labour, others then pick up the mantra in the hope that the rising clamour and fear of abondonment of the party will surely sweep away Shearer in February and install Cunliffe. The only problem is that in the lead up to Christmas it will remind everyone of the father warning the naughty children that if they do not behave then Father Christmas will not come this year. This attempt at political subterfuge 202 is so amateurish as is the wailing ” I do this with a heavy heart BUT….”
    Come on guys… Pull the other one.

    • One Tāne Huna 20.1

      Yeah come on LP, you know honest expressions of opinion just confuse the poor wingnuts.

      • lprent 20.1.1

        *grin* They do seem to have a problem. They really don’t understand this whole “having your own opinion and putting it out there” thing either. Except when I am banning people, I don’t command anyone here and don’t presume to. Even my warnings are just that.

        FFS: I’ve been expressing my opinion over hundreds of posts and 10k comments here in the last 5 years. You’d think that some these bozo’s would have picked up on this non-hierarchical coop idea by now.

        • Rhinocrates 20.1.1.1

          Did you know that cats, dogs and many other mammals do not have the cone cells in their retinas that are sensitive to red light? No matter how many red cards you show them, they simply cannot see that colour. It’s not merely psychological or even neurological – it’s physiological.

          Now I wouldn’t go quite that far regarding Fizzy, but…. well, I do wonder. It seems he (any bets that it’s a she?) simply cannot comprehend the possibility of a structure that isn’t hierarchical. Now is that psychological, neurological or physiological?

    • PlanetOrphan 20.2

      Such Power LPrent wields in this world,
      He must be a wearer of “The Ring of Power”

      Jealous much Fisiani?

    • Lanthanide 20.3

      You didn’t read very well if you think Lynn saying he’ll stay a Labour member means “he will walk away from Labour”.

      • lprent 20.3.1

        Exactly. I think Labour is worth fighting for as an party organisation. It fits closer to both my history and my sense of values than the Greens do. I just don’t think that the Labour party is ably represented in parliament at present and I’m unwilling to give the parliamentary caucus as a whole any support – ie no party vote. From the reaction of the caucus over the last week I think it’d be a cold day in hell before they allow a through reform of how they operate before the next election.

        I’m likely to vote for my local Labour MP (Jacinda Arden) and I’ll continue the VFL payments that pay my membership and won’t be joining any other party.

        But in the meantime I’ll vote for the party with a better parliamentary organisation because they’re a damn sight more likely to break the policy logjams in parliament.

  21. gobsmacked 21

    Good post. And Tapu Misa totally nailed it today.

    The Labour leadership are getting a “canary in the coal mine”. It’s up to them if they want to plunge further into the darkness. There are two years to the election (possibly), but much less time to get back the goodwill they need.

    A common line from political parties (albeit implied rather than brazenly stated) is “You’ve got nowhere else to go”. That might work in a two-party system (“Don’t like Obama? You’ll get Romney!”) but it’s not going to work under MMP. The Greens are looking better by the day.

    And right on cue, here is another Cheerleader 4 Shearer … guess which end of the political spectrum he comes from?

    (Warning: the link really does read like satire by Dim-Post or Imperator Fish. Prepare to laugh or cry …)

    http://www.bayofplentytimes.co.nz/news/garth-george/1635685/

    • Rhinocrates 21.1

      Oh, it’s Garth George… dare I?

      Hmmm… reads… heh heh.

      I’d love to see him actually describe in detail the apocalypse he imagines – volcanoes venting menstrual blood, plagues of locusts with the face of Elvis Presley, cocoa shortages, jam with pips in it that get under his dentures and so on.

      So what’s the list so far for Shearer?

      Hooters
      The Penguin (aka “David Farrar”)
      Granny (Mike Roughan, I suppose)
      O’Sullivan
      Armstrong
      Trevett
      George
      Garner
      Espiner
      et al

      Someone once asked on this blog, “with friends like you lot…” meaning that The Standard was supposedly not only a Labour party publication, but a Leader of the Labour Party publication and it was inexplicably white-anting the Dear Leader, but if you do ask that question, then see who Shearer’s real friends are… not that any one of them, or any of their followers would actually vote for Shearer over Key, Joyce or Collins.

      Now let’s look at another list:

      Duck
      Goff
      King
      Robertson
      Chippy
      Jones

      I wonder if these people have asked who those on the first list would really vote for in 2014 and whether they want to be part of the above list themselves?

      Just what level of self-delusion are they suffering?

      They should ask themselves these questions, and publish the answers:

      Do you think that their support vindicates you?

      Do you think that they would actually vote Labour in 2014?

      Do you think that you lost in 2011 because Fran O’Sullivan didn’t vote for you as opposed to the 800 000 bludging beneficiary scum who stayed at home and painted their roofs?

      Are your enemies really internal or does the country face a real enemy outside the Labour Party that is actually more important?

      Are you more important than the people you claim to champion?

      What did the Party just do at the conference?

      Will you listen to them?

      How much did they scare you [Multiple choice: (A) Not at all, I had my hearing aid turned off; (B) How can we spin this as a show of support for our brilliant initiative?; (C) I shat myself; (D, for Hipkins) MUMMY!!]

      What are your employment prospects if you were to leave parliament?

      Would you resign your position if it were demonstrated that your were failing in your job?

      Why is anonymous leaking to the media allowable if it is not sanctioned by the leader?

      Is Shane Jones now official spokessphincter for mining and fisheries and official liaison with Destiny Church?

      If not, why has he not been disciplined?

      What concrete evidence do you have that David Cunliffe was plotting a coup?

      What do I have to do to gain admission to your tree hut and does it involve mixing blood and swearing an oath and being “blokey” or at least a chick who’s an “honorary bloke”?

      What is your favourite flavour of ice cream?

      Tapu Misa certainly wrote a fine column, with a precisely aimed but not too brutal reminder to McCarten about there never being such a thing as a “rightful leader”.

    • karol 21.2

      Garth George is so right.  He said:

      That one so arrogant, self-obsessed and ambitious could become leader of a major political party and, heaven forbid, prime minister of the country, is a horror not to be contemplated.
      I have long believed that any person, without being asked, who puts himself or herself forward for political office – national or local – proves, by that very action, to be unsuitable for the job.

      So how did we ensure he doesn’t get a third term?  As I recall he always wanted to be a PM from childhood. 

  22. KhandallaMan 22

    Lyn, it is tragic that matters have arrived at this juncture. 

    I fell rage at times when I see how easy it is for those who have press staff to manipulate the media.  The Labour Party is a allow point at present and the mediocre and fearful have control of the levers of influence. 

    I’m not going to support the Greens. They do not have Labour values.
    I’m going to harness my sense of rage and frustration and work to promote Labour people who are genuinely and intelligently committed to the workers, the families, the vulnerable and the whole country.  

    I will not allow people like Robertson Mallard Shearer et al to screw up this party any more.
     

    • Rhinocrates 22.1

      Lyn, it is tragic that matters have arrived at this juncture.

      Akshully, thinking about that and the moves by the ABC club and the “Shearer Says” (too bad he’s David and not Simon), it all looks rather grim. The revolution has been stamped on by the counter-revolution, but…

      I will not allow people like Robertson Mallard Shearer et al to screw up this party any more.

      Lots of people are saying that now and with real passion. Moreover, they now have the power within the party make it so and that’s a sign of hope. Things look bad now, but there’s been a fundamental and irrevocable shift in the foundations. It may take a while for the shockwaves to spread through the caucus, but I don’t think that even 2013 is entirely too late – or even early 2014 if the new leader strikes when the iron is hot and keeps it hot – i.e., in the media spotlight.

    • lprent 22.2

      I’m not going to support the Greens. They do not have Labour values.

      I’d agree with that. Which is pretty much why I’m staying in the party as a member.

      I’m going to harness my sense of rage and frustration and work to promote Labour people who are genuinely and intelligently committed to the workers, the families, the vulnerable and the whole country.

      I would, but I’m too damn dispirited after having done that for too long. I’ll do whatever I can from the outside here but I really just can’t tolerate rewarding basic incompetence any more.

    • rosy 22.3

      +1 KhandallaMan. I’ll see how I feel closer to the election, but at the moment I’ll be damned if I’ll play their game and head further left so Labour as it stands get into power.

      Either it heads further left itself – with the people like you leading the charge, or I spoil the ballot paper.

    • Ron 22.4

      I agree but to really effect a change in a political party there must be a democratic way to control the party list. Otherwise the has-beens will contimue to populate the list with their mates.
      I cannot remember what the Electoral Commission had to say on subject of open lists (were they in favour) but if we do nothing else but encourage Labour to move to a more democratic list, then the future of Labour as a political force will be assured. Alternatively they will shuffle themselves off the stage.
      Not sure that greens would be the answer though

  23. 2014 is far too far off. What happened to February 2013? Is everyone celebrating the changed rules at Conference but throwing in the towel on the leadership change. Has the old guard ABC clique succeeded in intimidating the new guard?

    The NACTs need to be defeated between now and 2014. We need a leadership that will say no privatisation on pain of renationalisation without compensation. That the homeless need state houses yesterday. That Christchurch needs to take control of its own rebuild from the NACT gentry dictatorship. That DPB parents should have a living benefit and that that a UBI be paid so as not to stigmatise an ‘underclass’. That we throw out the TPPA not pussyfoot around its attacks on our basic rights. etc etc. Make your own list.

    Such a leadership and program would mobilise opposition and rally people around a fighting LP to neutralise asset sales now, stop the NACT attacks on workers in its tracks now, and set the scene for a NACT wipeout in 2014.

    Promising a party vote to the Greens in 2014 is no substitute. It’s quiescence. The Greens don’t have a mass working class constituency and will never have one. Its is a middle class party with a middle class program. It celebrate individuals not class solidarity. It doesnt matter if it’s organisation is ostensibly more democratic, horizontal votes for Green Capitalism is part of the problem not the solution.

    Are the Labour Left too scared of the old guards threats and open to their bribes? Do they fear a breakdown of ‘unity’ with those who have never repudiated Rogernomics? Come on. There are staunch MPs who will put up a fight for Cunliffe come February. Who gives a shit if Helen Kelly says she is for Shearer. She is part of the old guard defending the hierarchy in the party and in the unions to go with the flow, the status quo, you know. Its time that the unions were about the membership and not the bureaucracy. Its time to take back the party and the unions for the working class.

    • karol 23.1

      Ah, thank-you, Dave B. You have articulated how you see Green Party values as being different from Labour Party ones.  I was about to ask KhandallaMan that re-his comment @5.40pm.

      Lately I have looked a few times at the LP website & the Greens‘ one, to try to work out how their values differed.  And each time I haven’t been able to see a clear difference. 

      Dave B said:

      The Greens don’t have a mass working class constituency and will never have one. Its is a middle class party with a middle class program. It celebrate individuals not class solidarity. 

      But I don’t see anything in each party’s principles, values etc, which shows that differentiation.  I don’t see any commitment to working class solidarity on the LP site’s principles.  And, it seems to me there are as many middle-class people voting for Labour as there are for the Greens.  

      The Greens seem to be all for collective action and working at the grass-roots, with and for communities.  They don’t seem that much different from the LP in supporting individualism – both seem to take a mid-way between individual rights and community collaboration.

      So, in the end, I have to go on the record of the current batch of MPs and the  policies they commit to, and their behaviour.  The Greens, though having becoming a bit less left-wing in the last couple of years, still seem to me to stand up more for the less well-off and the people doing it tough in society.

      • Colonial Viper 23.1.1

        The Labour movement will always be a more powerful movement than the Green movement, for societal change, if it can get its shit together, that is.

        • George D 23.1.1.1

          But if the labour movement (Andrew Little’s friends, not the working men and women who pay their salaries) continue to agitate for a centre-right Labour and a soft negotiation-based approach to labour law rather than one that makes things rights and cements them in legislation, then we will continue to see the decline in power of the ordinary person in New Zealand.

          If they stand behind those more willing to take the fight, we (the people) will get our power back, and the unions themselves will see their strength within society return.

        • karol 23.1.1.2

          Oh, yes, I agree my support is for movement based on challenging the power of capitalism/ists, and solidarity of those exploited and battered by it/them.  I am not first and foremost for a Green movement.

          But now we have the Paganis and Shearer, claiming the “labour” and “workers'” roots of the Labour Party.  But unfortunately, their idea of this seems to be strongly based in a protestant work ethic; that work is good for the soul. They divide workers from the undeserving beneficiaries.  At least with the Greens you don’t get that division.

          But, these days, neither party seems that committed to challenging the power of the elites. Certainly not in their manifestos.  And I’m not sure “labour” as a concept, really focuses on the power divisions and struggles as they exist today.

          • George D 23.1.1.2.1

            Yeah, that’s been a problem. The Greens have championed a lot of struggles that pit powerless against power (environment, sexuality, peace, drug legalisation, the unemployed), and insomuch as many of them have been struggles of subgroups rather than massed labour (historically white, male, and socially unexceptional) that approach has been seen as divisional.

            That needn’t be, of course. I really like Dougal McNeil’s approach to power which doesn’t see these as oppositional struggles but shared ones.

            • karol 23.1.1.2.1.1

              The Greens have championed a lot of struggles that pit powerless against power 

              Agreed.  And I have heard Green MPs verbalise such struggles.  But it’s not there in their main values, mission statement etc. on their website  That’s why, in the end, I decide who to vote for on the most recent performances and policy commitments.

              • Ron

                We should also remember the Greens have not really been in a position in Government where their actions are held up to public scrutiny. Its easy to be in opposition you can propose any policy and not have to implement it.
                Once you are in Government and have to live with your own actions it is not so easy.

                • karol

                  Agreed, Ron.  They will need to continue to earn my support, before, during and after the next election. 

          • Draco T Bastard 23.1.1.2.2

            Oh, yes, I agree my support is for movement based on challenging the power of capitalism/ists, and solidarity of those exploited and battered by it/them.

            Constitution

            That the natural resources, material infrastructure and all essential utilities must belong to the people collectively and be managed under democratically controlled integrated planning;
            That the destruction of our natural environment must be halted and its restoration and protection actively promoted;
            That global capitalism and its class system is neither permanent nor invincible;

            • karol 23.1.1.2.2.1

              Ah, yes.  There’s always Alliance to vote for if I think Greens or Mana are not cutting it, or being left wing enough come next election.

              MANA comes from a deep and ongoing connection to the people of the Pacific. MANA embraces the personal responsibility we all have to contribute to society.
              MANA also speaks to the pride and dignity of workers who built this country into the special place that we all call home.

               
              MANA is also seen as the natural home to a growing number of ordinary Kiwis cast adrift by this National government, and despairing of Labour’s inability to provide a viable alternative.”

               
              “Government is giving tax breaks to the rich, bailing out failed finance companies, selling off our natural resources, turning prisons into private profit ventures, and spending $36 million on a yacht race on the other side of the world, while ordinary New Zealanders are starving, workers are being forced into slavery by the 90-day bill, and Maori rights are being drowned in the Raukumara Basin.
              “In the land of milk and honey, those massive inequalities are unacceptable.
               
              MANA will promote the principle that what is good for Maori is good for Aotearoa. 

              MANAwill promote policies that allow all New Zealanders to lead a good life. 

              MANA will outline a budget to meet those expectations. MANA will bring courage and honesty to political endeavour. MANA will guarantee a measure of people power and accountability from its MPs, that has never been seen before in this country. 

              But I also look to see how successful a party and its MPs are in putting their values/vision into practice. Not sure about Mana yet, putting it all into practice.

    • Colonial Viper 23.2

      THIS.

    • BM 23.3

      The Greens don’t have a mass working class constituency

      Neither does Labour.
      Or National or any one else, the “working class” is a figment of some ageing pommie
      unionists imagination.

      • Jenny 23.3.1

        The ‘working class’ in particular the organised sections of it, have been powerful agents for change. Bastion Point, arguably the start of modern Maori Political power, would not have been successful as it was without the trade union imposed Green Ban.

        Likewise nuclear ship visits were brought to a halt my massive industrial action starting at the waterfront and spreading to building sites factories.

        Will the trade unions reach those heights again?

        Who knows.

        But it is notable that current industrial law legislated by both National and Labour administrations currently expressly forbids unions taking political action, with very extreme penalties written in for doing so.

    • Tim G 23.4

      +1

      Well said, Dave Brownz.

      It is not just quiescence, it is acquiescence to vote for a party that is so concerned about its branding that it frames its policy around feel-good conservation objectives and poverty-busting rhetoric (people keep talking about all the good work done by MT – hmm?) rather than bearing the standard for any genuine left-wing economic policy.

      The Greens are not the Party of the Labour Movement, and it will take a Clegg-esque bedding in with the Nats after the next election for many people to see that.

      It’s like people have forgotten that stupid stunt before the 2011 election (or was it 2008? I forget) where they very publicly considered whether their policies could be reconciled more closely with National or Labour and went out to their people to find out.

      They should not have had to ask themselves that fucking question, publicity stunt or not.

      • Peter 23.4.1

        Feel good conservation measures?

        Nah, conservation in New Zealand is about killing, killing, and then some more killing.

        Most in the current Greens line up are aware of this.

      • karol 23.4.2

        Yes, but this term, the Greens and National have been unable to agree on a new Memorandum of Understanding, unlike in the previous term. I think both parties now see themselves as being too far apart.

  24. marsman 24

    Great post lprent. Am a Wellington resident. Have voted for the local Labour constituent but Party voted Greens since the beginning of MMP. I like what both parties stand for.

  25. hush minx 25

    I have to say i am just a little bit shocked that so many have ended up dispirited and voting green – although i put myself in that camp. I do however hope caucus will vote for a leadership ‘conversation’ in February as otherwise i fear there may be no Labour left after 2014. I know it doesn’t make total sense to have a vote so soon but i can’t see any other way for shearer or whoever to truly have the moral authority to take activists and indeed voters, with them. I do wish shearer read blogs-there’s lots for him to learn on these pages.

  26. Tim G 26

    By the way LPrent, if you were in any doubt about Labour MPs reading TS, the Third Man linked to TS in one of his posts on Red Alert the other day: http://blog.labour.org.nz/2012/11/24/annual-conference-its-the-constitution-its-the-vibe/

    I think it was an attempt at an olive branch (at least an olive stem, or stone maybe?) to the left wing blogosphere. A cynical attempt, maybe.

    • One Tāne Huna 26.1

      “a balance between democratisation and stability” says Robertson. Yeah, because everyone knows that democracy in unstable.

  27. newsense 27

    not to be a cynic, well ok, I’m mostly a cynic- but wait until the Greens get near a bit of power or are in danger of it and then wait for the clamber in the lolly scramble!!

  28. Why I will party vote for the Greens

    Because you clearly don’t understand how pro this planet killing system the Green party is?
    Kiwi Saver being the glaring obvious one … you know that growth based savings scam?
    Captain Paul Watson described the type of person Norman is, see 34:20 – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hx-G1uhRqA and 36:00, If Norman wasn’t playing politician he would be comfortable participating any number of fell good BS environmental groups or planet stuffing organizations
    Anyway End CIV kind of shows how utterly screwed we are.
    If we pretend we have a future, then voting would be nearly one of the most pointless actions you could take.

    “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” So, here I go, saying it again” André Gide:

  29. newsense 29

    Why didn’t you want to appear on the Nation LPrent? Seem anonymous some-in-the-party/senior Labour figures are worried about the standard’s to destabilise the party.

    Is there someone who could do media for the site- someone did in the first few years of the blog IIRC? Or was it a case of head down time?

    • lprent 29.1

      I wrote a comment about it yesterday. Ummm here

      But the extended answer is that I have no interest in being a talking head for anything. Being involved in politics is a pretty minor interest and one that can interfere far too much with things that I find important. So I have restricted it to doing systems like this one and occasionally voicing my opinions.

      In particular it’d interfere with what I actually want to do and what pays the bills, which is mainly being a c++ programmer with an interest in GUI and server coding specialising in systems that are around the bleeding edge.

      Politics is more of duty I perform than a major interest. Much the same as joining the army when I was younger or doing jury service these days. Steve Pierson aka Clint wanted to front in 2008/9, but he like most authors his life eventually lead elsewhere and he got busy.

      And if politicians don’t want to hear my opinions then they should stop screwing up so frequently…

    • felix 29.2

      Fuck ’em.

      They’ve done nothing but slag off the legitimacy and diminish the importance of this site and the blogosphere in general and now they’re finally getting their heads around it they expect to snap their fingers and have people jump to take part in their dying, dinosaur, celebrity-oriented medium?

      Fuck that. If they’re genuinely interested let them come here and engage like real people.

    • lprent 29.3

      Oh and I forgot to mention that I don’t think that there are that many “senior Labour party members” who haven’t met me at some point or another. And I suspect many of the older ones will have known of me long ago from some of the work I was doing with campaigning code.

  30. McFlock 30

    Personally I’m probably just going back to the Alliance. Not much chance of getting in, but at least it’s a party I agree with.

  31. xtasy 31

    Lprent:

    It is a sensible, understandable decision to split your vote the way you intend to.

    My party vote has been Greens for the last 2 elections, and the electorate vote was only Labour, because in the one electorate I lived in before the Labour candidate was going to win anyway, and in the electorate I live in now, the Labour candidate was the only likely alternative to the Nat one, who regrettably took the electorate.

    I am waiting for some good Green or other personalities to come up next time, to perhaps try taking this electorate, and then my electorate vote may go Greens as well.

    That is all, unless a new, promising, well designed and organised “left” party may be created in the meantime, offering a better alternative as this “Labour” lot, and provided I will still be around.

    Yes, Labour as it is, will head to 20 to 25 per cent, I fear, and the Greens will likely head to 15 to 20 per cent.

    The NZ political environment is likely to change substantially over the coming years, no doubt.

    • Fisiani 31.1

      When the Labour vote falls to below 25% then there is no pressing need to vote Labour. Anti-Government Votes can then also go to Greens, NZ First, Mana , Maori party and perhaps New Labour. If that adds up to 61 seats then they form a government. As long as they stick together they can still win no matter how fragmented.

    • Ron 31.2

      On the subject of Greens in my opinion they should be trying for Electorate seats as well as party vote and they should also be standing in the Local body Elections. I can understand why they dont want to split their energies and concentrate just on Party Vote but good politics is about having an electorate MP to represent you which is greatly different from having a list MP who may not even live in your electorate and is not very interested in local happenings

  32. Chrissy 32

    Funny I havent heard a single cogent argument from anyone about why we shouldnt have a proper democratic leadership vote in February, and put this stuff behind us. Not one.

    So, let’s hear it: why wouldnt we invoke our new system now? The one that David Shearer says “will see us be more open, democratic and membership-driven”.

    I really do think it’s the best, maybe only way we are going to avoid more of what Lynn is exemplifying.

    • weka 32.1

      Who decides if there will be a vote in Feb, and how is that decision made? I had thought it was a mandatory vote to be taken every year.

      • Bill 32.1.1

        The leader has to secure 60% +1 support from caucus in Feb or there will be a party wide vote.

        But by my understanding, if mps give that support in spite of the obvious wishes of the membership then I guess they severely jeopardise their own political futures, because the membership now gets a say in who can stand as an electorate mp and where people are placed on the list..

        • Chrissy 32.1.1.1

          MPs further losing the confidence of people is another reason for them to support a full democratic process in February. Still no counter arguments. Come on, tell me why not. Please. Tell me why not.

        • Ron 32.1.1.2

          Bill
          How do members get more say in who their electorate MP is to be. I cannot see how electorates will not still get carpetbaggers parachuted into electorates over the wish of the local committee.
          Has there been a change that I missed?

    • The Fan Club 32.2

      Because the system is designed only to be triggered when caucus have lost confidence in the leader? Because that is not what conference voted for? Because it’s a perversion of the intent of the rules for the short term political gain of one D. Cunliffe?

      • One Tāne Huna 32.2.1

        What a load of bullshit. Even if you weren’t spinning like a Tory, short-term gain for Cunliffe = long term win for Labour and New Zealand.

        The problem isn’t that Cunliffe is articulate and competent and engaging, the problem is that Shearer isn’t.

        What is your feeble excuse for Mr. Bumble’s inept performance on the housing issue? Did DC get him stoned and put pebbles in his mouth?

        • The Fan Club 32.2.1.1

          Yeah conference still didn’t pass a rule change calling for a February spill no matter what. That’s not spin, that’s fact.

          • One Tāne Huna 32.2.1.1.1

            What is your feeble excuse for Mr. Bumble’s inept performance on the housing issue?

      • chrissy 32.2.2

        Good answers Fan Club; now at least we can talk!

        The system triggering once the caucus have lost confidence: I think we were always in exceptional times with this first vote. The question now should be, not how do things operate under normal circumstances (which these werent), but what’s best for the party now. In future, the caucus will be necessarily much more under the influence of the party in general; and will I think be more, not less responsive to popular opinion around leadership, and less likely (am I just an optimist?) to close shop around a situation large chunks of the party are not happy with.

        In terms, then, of what’s best for the party now, I see mostly upside there: a couple months of excitement and genuine debate with people engaged, building to an open contest, versus a long, awful and maybe unending spiral of recrimination. Unless, of course, we look like a winning team in a few months, in which case you will be totally vindicated.

        The conference vote: The conference vote was twisted on several fronts: short termism, almost certainly, as Andrew Little put it. And conference didnt/ couldnt foresee this mess: if there were a conference vote tomorrow, I suspect it would be rather different! But conference certainly voted for more democracy, not less: this solution gives it to them. 90% of conference thought somewhere between forty and fifty percent was about right, under normal circumstances. Under these circumstances, knowing what is known now, who is to say they wouldnt have voted for a February spill? Half probably wanted one in Feb on partisan grounds, and thought they were getting it by voting for 40%: thinking maybe that 40% would be enough, but that a straight spill vote would have been too blatant a vote of no confidence in the leader. So the automatic February spill was never really an option for the conference vote, when it took place. But now, it’s a genuine option, and I hope it’s being carefully considered.

        Perversion of intent of the rules for D Cunliffe? The intent of the rules was balance, stability and democracy, which is what a vote would give us. I really think everyone is going to win out of this. There is lots of talent there to choose from, and I am not at all certain Mr Cunliffe would be the major/ only beneficiary. Not at all. I think he would make a great contribution to the debate, but there is a great deal more to Labour than David Cunliffe or any single person: or any person or group of people feeling threatened.

        I think I understand the fear in caucus, though. And that fear, I fear, may win the day. But fear of that kind was never a good reason to pull back from doing the right thing. Fear like that needs courage, not, forgive me, excuses.

        So tell me, why is the vote not the best possible solution under the current circumstances?

        • The Fan Club 32.2.2.1

          Because (a) we did agree that if 60% + of MPs were happy with a leader, they could keep that leader. That’s what conference said when explicitly talking about the spill in Feb coming. Anything else is Cunliffe looking for yet. another. do-over.

          So that’s my first objection: it’s a procedural one.

          My second objection is more pragmatic — do we want the first months of 2013 dominated by leadership speculation? Do we want Labour to be the party that can’t even pick a leader and stick with them?

          • chrissy 32.2.2.1.1

            Cheers Fan Club.

            “Anything else is Cunliffe looking for yet. another. do-over.” Individuals do matter, but it’s a shame to me that for some folk this is all it comes down to. “ANYTHING else?” No, I think you are simply wrong there. It’s the triumph, to me, of the wrong kinds of things (mistrust, faction, fear) over the right ones. Voters out there hate that: and they respect courage, conviction, the greater good.

            Procedurally, ok, who is going to argue: but it’s a lawyer’s justice, the letter of the law, and not the spirit.

            I am afraid you are going to be wrong on the last point too. Remember how the last spill energised people, drew them in. I think we’d see a huge influx of new people wanting a say, as well as lots of those sloping off now to the left looking over their shoulder, and re-engaging.

            Done in the right spirit, it would be a triumph for the Labour party, and a great demonstration of how determined we are to unite behind a leader we all chose. It’s pretty hard to imagine many complaints after that kind of process had created a winner. Without that, we may well end up stuck in complaintsville, not just for 6 weeks in February, but for most of 2014.

            Enough from me on this. I’ve had my say. Thanks all for engaging.

          • AmaKiwi 32.2.2.1.2

            A Feb. leadership contest would be great for the LP. Members will turn out in droves to hear the traveling road show. There will be huge media coverage for a month.

            Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama competed across the country for a year. 4 months after Clinton conceded the Democrats took the White House in a landslide.

            A leadership contest in February will revive the Labour party, irrespective of whom the candidates are.

  33. Craig Glen Eden 33

    Great post lprent. I have thought the same thing now with regards to my party vote. This Labour caucus has so lost the plot that they can have the prize. What they dont understand is not only will my party vote go Green at the next election I wont be putting up and signs, doing any sign waving or leaflet drops, no donations, no mall walks, no more Avondale market campaigns. This caucus is so arrogant and the bullying by some is quite despicable.

    Chrissy is also right we should have a all up Party vote in February, not just the caucus.

  34. David H 34

    And excellent post. And yes I will also be voting Green this election. As I figure the ‘caucus’ will vote to ignore yet another rule change where as Members don’t get a vote till 2014. Personally that is NOT good enough. It has to be Feburary to finally have What we wanted when Helen stood down, a democratically elected leader. Not a stooge for the Dinosaurs.

  35. Tiresias 35

    I’ve given the Greens my party vote in every general election since 1996.

    I have also be visiting The Standard pretty much every day since I discovered it back in late 2007 for its commentary on Labour and the Left, hoping to see some sign of coherence and committment at a political level that might pursuade me to ‘return to the fold’.

    All I’ve seen is constant bickering, in-fighting, confusion over directions and values, and squabbling over the best way to use capitalism to achieve vaguely socialist ends while ameliorating its worst excesses.

    Shearer or Cunliffe? I don’t give a damn. Neither has any vision, nor any ideas as to how to stop the world going to hell in a handbasket beyond tinkering ineffectually at the margins. The Left? To the extent it is represented by contributors to The Standard it’s either still stumbling along behind the Jarrow marchers or stuck in some ivory tower somewhere with a bookshelf that starts with Marx and ends with “The ragged trousered Philanthropists”.

    I don’t agree with the Greens on everything but as a party, a movement, a idea it is the future and those who stand for it, who ask for my vote to represent it, are committed to working for change rather than for a self-serving status-quo which the present Labout caucus is as keen to preserve as is National.

  36. Delia 36

    Well called Jenny K.

  37. Sam 37

    I’d be interested to know why you didn’t support The Alliance in the glory years, say just before 1999? Seems they would have fit nicely in your criteria (at that time).

    • lprent 37.1

      Seems pretty obvious to me and probably to you if you think about it.

      The Alliance were a coalition with explicit divisions between the parties and even within New Labour. Consequently it wasn’t very well run with a degree of short-term thinking caused by factionalization that eventually blew up. This was obvious to any observer of the politics at the time from the time of their formation to when they disintegrated. If you look over the history of coalition parties both here and overseas, then you find that tends to happen far more often than any kind of long-term stability happening.

      I value coherent long-term thinking and competence in political parties above abstractions like ideology because those things tend to bring better results over the decades for the citizens of this country. The Alliance never displayed neither and predictably blew up after an obscenely short time.

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