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Why Labour thinks it can win again

Written By: - Date published: 1:30 pm, July 29th, 2008 - 54 comments
Categories: election 2008, labour - Tags:

Here’s a well-reasoned article by Therese Arseneau in which she canvasses the reasons behind Labour thinking it can still win.

She puts it down to: MMP, their ‘core vote’, voter mobilisation, National’s policies, Helen Clark herself and a bit of a mix of good management and good luck.

Definitely worth a read.

54 comments on “Why Labour thinks it can win again ”

  1. Fascinating and deeply disturbing.

    “more New Zealanders identified themselves as Labour supporters than National supporters.” Given the damage Labour and the left have done to the economy and future growth prospects it looks like nothing less than a crisis will galvanize Labour or National into making the necessary changes. Boiled frog anyone ?

  2. outofbed 2

    “Given the damage Labour and the left have done to the economy”
    yeah those really LOW unemployment figures and high growth kiwisaver and the Cullen fund has really damaged the economy.
    There is that tiny little crisis on the horizon though I think it may have something to do with climate change
    You watch the Green vote shoot upwards when there is no ice at the North pole in Sept/Oct 😉

  3. Edosan 3

    Yeah, I predict a lot of undecideds will flock towards the greens towards the election. Though they have to get the campaign right. And, if the assumptions in this article are correct,it may come at labour’s expense.

  4. lprent 4

    Bryan: How exactly has Labour damaged the economy? You seem to have quite an obsession about it that doesn’t appear to be supported by any ‘facts’ that you’ve presented on this site over the months. Personally I’d say that you have been torn to pieces so many times that I’ve lost count.

    In my political lifetime all major damage has been done by the Nat’s on almost every conceivable long-term measure you want to take.

    Quote simply the Nat’s have proved themselves to be totally inadequate at doing anything with positive long-term implications. It doesn’t matter if it is Muldoon, Bolger, or the current pretender – they all seem to be short-term thinkers about what is required for sustained economic growth.

    Please, when you answer, could you please desist from linking to meaningless peanut graphs. You can prove anything if you look at small (and very selective) data samples with no data attribution. Hell – most of your linked graphs are somewhat short on even the basic – axes detail. They are the type of crap that I’d give a credulous marketeer as a pep up just before sending them on a hopeless sales mission (I don’t think even they would be convinced).

    Then at least we’ll be able to let some of the commentators here (including me) to help tear your wee obsession to something like reality.

  5. Aj 5

    There is almost certainty that the ice melt will be less than 2007. Nevertheless green core support should hold over 5%

  6. Rob 6

    On the day that you just got another pasting in the polls you try and gain some solace from that!! Give me a break talk about clutching at straws!! You really are a desperate lot. What about the fact that there is more than likely going to be a low vote turn out for Labour this will have a much bigger impact on the Labour Party vote than anything else.

    The boys in blue will be out in force as they want to get rid off the Fabian Socialists as quick ass possible. Will be a record vote for National 70 seats in the house may be understated.

    Bring on the Election as soon as possible please!!

  7. outofbed 7

    I just looked at the latest Herald Poll it seems to have a sample size of 660 people if you take off the 14.3% of undecided
    would it not be more informative to say
    of the 770 people asked 47.5% preferred Nats 25% Labour and 5% Greens
    with 14.4% don’t know. or have I read it incorrectly?

  8. Higherstandard 8


    “You can prove anything if you look at small (and very selective) data samples with no data attribution. ”

    I agree completely, this is the point I was trying to make to SP on the last couple of “fact” threads he has posted but to no avail. C’est la vie.

  9. lprent 9

    HS: Some of the datasets are tortuous to dig into. SP also usually gives links to the sources where they are online. Unfortunately there is still quite a lot of interesting data that is offline especially as you go back into the 90’s and 80’s.

    Steve does actually try to get decent data. What he really needs is to get some access to some serious data sets at the level of the census data at mesh block levels and a full knowledge of SPSS or the like, or other goverment collected data. But that is pretty well restricted to researchers.

    So he is restricted to the published summary data with all of their varied assumptions. You can usually rely on the comments to refine his technique on subsequent occassions (at least those that don’t accuse him of nefarious deeds and get the writers protective chop). The real question has to be is why isn’t more of this type of data published? Best source I’ve run across has been Brian Easton’s site and some of that is OLD.

    Which is more than I can say for most of Bryan’s offerings. The last few that I followed the link down from BS had about 3 points on a thick-line graph with minimal axes and no link to the dataset.

  10. Higherstandard 10


    Agreed – you’d think it wouldn’t be that hard for the Department of Stats and similar bodies to drop the last 30 years or so of data into a database so people could make up their own minds and access it easily much as the RBNZ does.

  11. Phil 11

    The good doctor makes a strange assertion about MMP. Her argument boils down to ‘labour and it’s allies got more votes than national and it’s allies”… well, duh…

    Her comments on FPP’s ‘penalisation’ of Labour are also unfounded. Three times in NZ’s history a Gov’t recieving less votes in total than the opposition has won the day.
    Is this a sign of gerrymandering or penalisation? Not in the slightest. It all comes down to the introduction or impact of a third party taking votes disproportinately from either Labour or National. Social Credit did it twice in the 60’s / 70’s (to the benefit of each party once, IIRC) and NZF in the 90’s.

  12. Rob 12

    Wasn’t it great to see John Key stand up to Winston today and say he wouldn’t accept any closed doors meeting with him about his election spending. He believes he has to tell the public what he has done with those funds they have a right to know.

    What a statesman so well done tell me who was who pledged open and honest government was it Helen?

    Do you think the public have a right to know or were they just meaningless words on a pledge card paid for by the tax payer.

    Welld one John must be Crosby Textor idea again keep it up the good work gain the Political high ground the tipping point has been well and truly reached.

  13. Rob – you’re a cock.

  14. Rob 14


    Sometimes the facts can hurt a bit don’t worry about it you will get over it.
    There is an old saying

    Deliver what you promise promise what you deliver if you have no idea of doing it don’t pledge it.

  15. If by “fact” you mean the fact you are a cock then yes, yes indeed the facts can hurt.

    Oh an rob – do you really think fruity aphorisms are going to make you look like less of a cock? If you do then bro’ you couldn’t be more wrong…

  16. Higherstandard 16


    You missed a perfect opportunity for a rejoinder about an ass, Sod was very kind in setting himself up and you just let it go … ah well.

  17. Phil. In 20 FPP elections from 1935 to 1993, Labour won more votes than National twice but didn’t govern. When you include all parties (signficant minor parties Values, Social Credit, NewLabour, Greens, Democratics were or are all of the Left), the Right only outpolled the Left only twice (1949, 1951) but it won ten of the elections thanks to FPP> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elections_in_New_Zealand

    And that’s only the actual votes placed – the fact that two big parties inevitably dominated FPP meant many on the Left (and the Right) were completely disenfranchised.

  18. HS – the thing with folk like Rob is no matter how much time you spend schooling them they will always be stupid.

  19. randal 19

    ditto bryan spondre…his unsubstantiated diatribe against the government at post 1 is infantile bluster and it seems like the electorate has worked out the national party lies already in time for the vote that counts.

  20. Matthew Pilott 20

    Rob – do you want to know where a lot of National’s money, kindly donated by the Waitemata Trust, came from? Or are you lying when you’re talking about the ‘moral high ground’? Do you think the public ‘have a right to know’ or are you going to continue with your line, exposed over recent times, that you have no morals, are unable to tell when you are lied to, and lack the ability to think for yourself?

  21. Rob 21


    That’s fine but none of their Donors have come out and questioned it for that reason and that reason alone Winston must say where he spent the money. Especially when he has claimed to be squeaky clean. If National was in the same situation I would expect someone to front otherwise it smells fishy. You just cant attack the media hope it Will go away and not answer questions. Every day it goes on it will hurt Labour and H/C is doing nothing to shut it down.

  22. Matthew Pilott 22

    Rob, if National was to claim the ‘high ground’ it would not be in the position where massive amounts of funding with some pretty ominous links are floating around. The Hollow Men has some good info if you really don’t want to be fleeced… There is scarce ‘moral high ground’ as far as I’m concerned, it is certainly not occupied by National!

    All you are complaining about is that a donor said the money was for an election, and it’s not clear that the money went towards the election. The donor can clear this up, but you’ve got nothing to claim ‘H/C is doing nothing to shut it down’ – she has no right or authority to do so. What you seem to be calling for is actually an abhorrent abuse of power, or a gross immoral action, and it disturbs me that you think nothing of it.

    Every day Key refuses to state “I will not go into a coalition agreement with Winston Peters” he is in the same boat as Clark, so a lot of people find it a joke seeing Key getting high & mighty about it! I presume you’re not one of them.

    Thanks for replying directly to my comment though, Rob, and not coming up with a point that has nothing to do with the original series of comments. Long may it continue.

  23. Anita 23


    Wasn’t it great to see John Key stand up to Winston today and say he wouldn’t accept any closed doors meeting with him about his election spending.


  24. Anita 24

    Found it. Rob, untrue again.

    He said he would only be prepared to take up a briefing, if it was offered, on a “no strings attached” basis.

    “I’m not interested in a secret briefing from Winston Peters,” he said.

    Key is happy for a closed door meeting as long as he can tell anyone he likes whatever he likes about whatever Peters does or says.

    Have you considered actually being truthful?

  25. RedLogix 25

    I am still wondering why a businessman like Robert Jones could not have clarified this whole matter by producing a simple checkbutt.

  26. She’s a bloody good lecturer too!

  27. Anita 27


    Jones says he has both a copy of the cheque and a receipt from Wayne Peters.

    If you listen to it (I’m not sure I’d recommend it : ) – doesn’t Wayne Peters sound like a sedated Winston? 🙂

  28. vto 28

    RedIllogix, Sir Robert did even better than “producing a simple checkbutt” – he produced a receipt.

    Why can’t somebody say what the $25,000 was spent on – that would be a more realistic clarification.

    [lprent: Perhaps you should ask on a blog that understands the NZF thinking? That would be….. Well it is unlikely to be here – read our About.
    Guess you’ll have to wait until Winston and NZF tell you.]

  29. dave 29

    Whoever the Maori Party goes with will be the Government. If they go with no-one, National will govern if they get 47%.

    It’s that simple. Policy, leaders and nice smiles are irrelevant.

  30. Swampy 30

    “the fact that two big parties inevitably dominated FPP meant many on the Left (and the Right) were completely disenfranchised.”

    The fact is that the two big parties still dominate – it’s reality, get used to it. All the small parties are flakes. MMP is the electoral system of flakes.

  31. Swampy 31

    The Hollow Men is a lot of unsubstantiated bluster, bluff and speculation that would not stand up in a court of law, let alone the court of public opinion.

    [lprent: Actually I think it is you with the unsubstantiated bluster. As far as I’m aware there isn’t a single defamation case against Hager or his publishers. The first defence in those types of cases is that they stated the truth. That could explain why there have never been any cases brought.

    Doesn’t making a stupid cock up statement like this make you feel at all embarrassed?]

  32. Swampy 32

    MMP is the electoral system for political junkies, i.e. the Left, therefore it is indeed biased.

  33. outofbed 33

    love this at kiwipundit

  34. Swampy taken your pills today? I fear for your health bro!

  35. lprent: Given that even Colin Espiner on his Stuff blog has indicated his belief that “The Standard” is a Labour Party run blog there really is no point me responding.

  36. bill brown 36

    Whoa – EVEN Colin Espiner – well that’s it then we’d better all go home

  37. Um – if it’s Labour run then why does it attack Labour?

  38. r0b 38

    The Hollow Men is a lot of unsubstantiated bluster, bluff and speculation that would not stand up in a court of law, let alone the court of public opinion.

    Hah! That’s the best laugh I’ve had in weeks.

    Meanwhile, in other news, Don Brash resigned as leader of the National Party, completely coincidentally on the day before The Hollow Men was published, so as to pursue his keen interest in gardening.

  39. Bryan. Colin just had heard it was, after all morons like you are constantly trying to smear us because you’re afraid of us (no-one attacks the Hive or interest.co.nz because you’re irrelevant). When I talked to him and told him about The Standard, he accepted we aren’t Labour funded or directed.

  40. Stephen 40

    The Hollow Men is a lot of unsubstantiated bluster, bluff and speculation that would not stand up in a court of law, let alone the court of public opinion.

    The reason why Hager and his publisher drowned in a sea of libel suits.

  41. lprent 41

    Stephen: Ah I can’t remember any defamation/libel/slander suits. Just a lot of injunctions attempting to stop the publication of the book.

  42. Stephen 42

    Sorry i was being sarcastic! haha, ahh talking by typing…

  43. lprent 43


    Given that even Colin Espiner on his Stuff blog has indicated his belief that “The Standard’ is a Labour Party run blog there really is no point me responding.

    It isn’t, and Colin Espiner doesn’t have sufficient information to make that a determination. Do you have a link to that?

    But in anycase, if you believe that, then why in the hell do you bother dropping these annoying links on the site?

  44. lprent 44

    Stephen: Saw that – I was just being lazy.

    Couldn’t be bothered finding the idiot who made the original claim that you quoted. So I responded to yours.

  45. Stephen 45

    Undertones and overtones flying everywhere, but no one is catching them.

  46. lukas 46

    July 30, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    Stephen: Ah I can’t remember any defamation/libel/slander suits.

    Just like Ian Wisharts book

  47. Matthew Pilott 47

    Just like Ian Wisharts book

    Mmm and that’s why Clark resigned a few months back. I suppose if someone who wasn’t already a Frothing Tory read it, they might consider pulling Wishart up on some of his ‘theories’, but I don’t thnik that’s happened yet…

  48. Matthew Pilott 48

    Just like Ian Wisharts book

    Mmm and that’s why Clark resigned a few months back. I suppose if someone who wasn’t already a Frothing Tory read it, they might consider pulling Wishart up on some of his ‘theories’, but I don’t think that’s happened yet…

  49. lukas 49

    Would help if the “hollow men” actually had a decent print run.


    3000 books isn’t the largest print run in the world

  50. Stephen 50

    As far as I know, the vast majority of stuff in Wishart’s book was nothing new. I believe two investigations were done on something Howard Broad allegedly did many years ago (was in Wishart’s book, I think?), but both turned up nothing.


  51. Stephen 51

    Would help if the “hollow men’ actually had a decent print run.

    Help with what?

  52. Phil 52


    I missed your reasoned response to my comment in the midst of all this hagar/wishart circle-jerking from both rabid sides of the divide.

    Anyway, a couple of points;

    Looking back on those third parties, by todays standards they’re probably all ‘left’ – some of them I’m not sure of, so will have to take your word that none were old fashioned versions of ACT.
    However, I suspect that as the political spectrum has moved back and forth over the intervening period, claiming ALL their supporters as left of centre (at the time) is a big call that I doubt stacks up. Social credit definitely took votes off both major parties. But, trying to put an actual number on where those voters might have gone, absent of Social Credit on the ballot, is going to be impossible.

    Secondly, and this is a more Machiavellian argument, Labour and National both knew/know how FPP worked. If one side couldn’t find a way to bring together it’s fragmented ‘allies’ into one cohesive party, then quite frankly that’s their problem – not the electoral system. It’s a bit like saying; The AB’s are on paper a better rugby team, but still lost to the Wallabies on the basis of strategy. Therefore, we must change the rules of rugby.

  53. Phil. You change the rules if they are unfair and disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of Kiwis every election.

    Why should the side that can organise into the broadest tent party win every election regardless of whether or not it is oppoed by a majority of voters? Democracy is meant to be an excerise in having the collective will of people reflected in the governing of society – you’re comments are missing that underlying value.

    Both by allowing more viable parties and creating coalition governments as a norm, MMP ensures that more parties supporteed by more of the public have an active say in running the country far better than FPP ever did and ever could. that’s why there was a grassroots movement to replace FPP and it was only opposed by the oldguard, the monied elite who nearly always ruled under FPP. that’s why there’s no grassroots movement to replace MMP, only the same old reactionaries with the money, this time backing National.

  54. Phil 54

    “You change the rules if they are unfair and disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of Kiwis every election.”

    The best metric I can think of for determining the extent of disenfranchisation (is that a real derivation of the word?) would be the official electoral turnout. Since 1981/1984, the turnout has trended DOWNWARDS, with the introduction of MMP doing nothing to change that.

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