Andrew Little

Why the Labour Leadership race is broken

If there’s one thing the Labour leadership contenders agree on, it’s that the Labour Party needs to change.

And there is your problem.  For each candidate to stand out and make a clear difference over the other, they have to artificially come up with different ways to “fix” Labour.

During this year’s campaign, Mr Robertson said it was obvious Labour had lost its connection with people.

“We need a new generation of leadership, we need to do things differently,” he said.

“Labour must be a voice in the community every single day, not just when we show up at election time asking for a vote.”

Labour must campaign 3 years.

Ms Mahuta said Labour needs to have honest conversations within its membership.

“Only 25 per cent of people that voted for us and believed in the message that we had,” she said.

“This is about how greater New Zealand responds to who we are and what we stand for, and whether or not we’re listening to them.”

Let the Labour Party members tell us what to do.

Mr Parker said Labour’s spent far too much time over the last six years talking about itself.

“If we can agree on a unity of purpose, we will get strength and confidence from it and success will breed success and people will come back to us.”

Labour needs to figure out what it stands for.   Read more »

Not sure channelling Pauline Hanson is a winner, Jacinda dear


Jacinda Ardern working like a navvy in the chippy

It appears that Jacinda Ardern is a little sensitive about her one page CV and lack of real world experience.

She has gone all snippy and declared that she is just like Pauline Hansen from Australia and has worked in a fish and chip shop.

Labour MP Jacinda Ardern has rejected a “beltway babies” jibe, saying she’s “worked longer in a fish and chip shop than as a parliamentary staffer”.

Ardern has thrown her support behind Grant Robertson’s party leadership bid, with Robertson saying he wanted her as deputy leader should he win.

The deputy is decided by the caucus, but the MP recommended by the leader is often chosen.

The other leadership contenders – David Parker, Andrew Little and Nanaia Mahuta – have ruled out picking a deputy before the leadership vote in mid-November.

At an event in Auckland yesterday, Wellington Central MP Robertson announced Ardern was his pick for deputy should he become leader.

“She connects with a broad range of New Zealanders, lives and breathes our values, and has driven bold and new policy for children,” he said.

“I would be proud to serve with her.”   Read more »

Gracinda? Someone needs to tell them they’re dreamin’

Ok so the name that they’ve come up with for a gay man and childless single woman to lead Labour is…”Gracinda”.

I mean seriously?

These people with single page CVs of nothing jobs and a lifetime in the trough are wanting to lead a party called “Labour”…I doubt either of them have ever had a callous on their hands from using a shovel or doing some other sort of “Labour”.

Bryce Edwards is drinking the Koolaid.

The dynamic duo of Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern – now termed ‘Gracinda’ on social media – could well be the Labour Party’s best bet for recovering from its 2014 electoral nadir. The two are probably the most dynamic of the leadership candidates on offer, and have real talent. There will be a strong temptation among the membership to choose their ‘new generation’ message. But there are also some major problems with putting ‘Camp Robertson’ in charge of Labour. While they might have more style than their counterparts, some commentators are pointing to their lack of substance as being a worry for the party’s future.

Read more »

Face of the day

Andrew Little has been put forward for the Leadership by his cat.

Andrew Little has been put forward for the Leadership by his cat.

What do the twits on Twitter say about him?

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The image softening of Andrew Little (caution: it is nauseating)

A journo in Taranaki’s local rag is happy to provide Andrew Little with a human dimension… such as it is.  By making Andrew’s cat, and how much it loves Andrew, the story

In the tight race for the Labour party leadership, a cat called Buddy is taking a lion’s share of the Little limelight.

So far, four candidates are contesting the leadership of the party that was humiliated at the polls in September and further tortured by their leader David Cunliffe’s reluctance to concede he was a deadweight.

Two time New Plymouth candidate Andrew Little’s announcement he would stand for the position hardly came as a surprise but few picked his run for the top spot would also make a star of his cat Buddy.

The black moggy has photo bombed several of the Labour list MP’s promotional pictures and jumped up onto his lap, uninvited, during television interviews.

In doing so, Buddy has become a hit with Little’s Facebook following, so much so that more than a few are asking if the cat can stand for the leadership or at least be Little’s deputy.

“When he wandered in while I was doing a television interview, I thought this was a cat with a media savvy that few other cats have,” Little said yesterday.

We can’t find much else to relate to Andrew Little.  Not is lovely family, or his kids, or the time he spends at the local surf club rescuing kids from the surf.  In fact, Andrew Little is a very plain, boring person.

Buddy to the rescue!   Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

John Roughan on Labour’s leadership spill

John Roughan echoes my stance on Labour’s leadership problems and Helen Clark’s legacy.

But he discusses just precisely how if any one of the four mediocre people standing for leadership of the Labour party at the moment was elected that our economic policy, at least, wouldn’t change that much.

Labour’s leadership problems began with Helen Clark’s retirement announcement on the night her Government was defeated. The audible groan from Labour people in the hall that night was possibly not simply sorrow at her sudden departure. Seasoned members, as most seemed to be, might have sensed what would happen.

In need of a new leader quickly, the caucus elected the next most experienced minister still in its ranks, Phil Goff. When Goff went down to predictable defeat, he followed Clark’s example. It may seem the noble and proper thing to do, but it is not in a party’s interest. It is better that the defeated leader soldiers on, suffering the taunts and indignities of a lame duck, until a natural successor emerges from the pack.

To force the issue so soon after a devastating election defeat not only runs the high risk of choosing another poor leader, it increases the risk that the party will be destabilised in its policies and direction too. This might be exactly what returners from the Alliance desire.     Read more »

Why is it Kiwiblog has the best posts when Farrar is away?

Lifestyle, arts and travel blogger David Farrar is away again.

Kiwiblog has again reverted to a blog of David’s mid-life crisis and travels.

Not content with his own travel blogging, he also now has guest travel blog posts.

However he does have a guest post from Kiwi in America that is very good. Why is it Kiwiblog’s best posts are while he is away?

Regular readers of Kiwiblog will recall my lengthy essay posted on Easter Friday about the recent history of Labour; some of it based on my time as an activist there until the mid 90’s attempting to explain Labour’s present day conundrum.

In a nutshell it said that an attempt by the left of the party to seize permanent control of Labour after the massive post Rogernomics ructions under the leadership of Helen Clark, led to a gradual purging of activists from the centrist and right wings of the party. Clark, and her followers in the Head Office and regional hierarchies, ensured the selection of candidates in winnable electorate seats (and after the introduction of MMP, also the party list) that not only ensured she could topple then leader Mike Moore after the 1993 election but also cemented her power base inside Labour guaranteeing her an unchallenged 15 year reign as Labour’s leader. This handed power in the party to an increasingly narrow base of sector and interest groups such as academics, trade unions, progressive feminists and the rainbow coalition gradually driving out activists who were more likely to be white, male, socially conservative, small business owners and church going people of faith. After Labour’s 2008 election defeat, former members of the harder left New Labour Party, homeless after the dissolution of the Alliance, the demise of Anderton’s Progressives and the rise of the Greens, began to come back to Labour assisting in the movement of the party more to the left.

This trend culminated in the amendment to Labour’s Constitution at its 2012 Annual Conference giving 40% of the vote for Party Leader to the party membership and 20% to the affiliated unions leaving only 40% in the hands of the Parliamentary caucus. This new formula enabled David Cunliffe to win the first full leadership primary in 2013 despite having only minority support in caucus – the first time this had ever happened in Labour’s history. The result of his elevation to the leadership was Labour’s third successive and even more disastrous defeat.

When you drive out of the party its more centrist activists, you leave a vacuum that has been filled by harder left activists. When these same activists, alongside the more traditionally left wing trade union leadership, have control of the party’s candidate selections, its policy formation and now the election of its leader, over time you end up with a party, candidates and policies that no longer appeal to middle NZ and a party that is no longer the broad church it used to be. The party may be truer to its left wing principles but it now produces candidates, policies and campaigning rhetoric out of step with the aspirations of floating middle NZ voters that decide elections. National’s moderate centrist direction under John Key has become the natural repository for various key demographic groups that once used to strongly vote Labour and accordingly, Labour has ended up falling further behind National in each subsequent election post its 2008 defeat culminating in its second lowest vote this election since its formation in 1916!

Labour is now undertaking yet another review of why it was defeated and another likely more bruising leadership primary.

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We’re happy that we flew, flew, flew, how about you, you, you?

The Labour party leader primary is an internal party matter.  It does my head in that tax payers are ferrying them around the country for the privilege.

The four Labour leadership contenders have defended using taxpayer funded flights for their campaigns, saying most of the other costs will have to come out of their own pockets.

The four — Andrew Little, Nanaia Mahuta, David Parker and Grant Robertson — were at Labour Party HQ this morning to sign a Code of Conduct and go through the campaign rules.

They can use the MPs’ unlimited air travel allowance to travel around the campaign — but have to pay for any other costs themselves including hotels, taxis and meals.

Mr Robertson said the use of air travel was within the rules. “[The taxpayer] is not picking up the tab for the contest. We are obeying the rules we have around airline travel. Everything else is our own cost.” Read more »

Hosking on why it is so important to Chillax

One of the repeated bits of feedback I had during the Dirty Politics affair is that I seemed to be so relaxed about it.  Sure, I was trying to limit the damage that was caused by media having a party with my private communications, but I didn’t flip out.   Not much point to it.  Hosking is onto it as well

And in creative pursuits enjoying the ride is the key.

Because people can see and feel when you’re enjoying the ride, and having them see and feel that, is the key to success, or at least part of it.

I tell you this because I see it these days in David Shearer, which is why I am sad he’s not running for the big job.

I saw it in David Shearer before he got the big job last time, and that’s why I backed him. When you listen to Shearer you hear a likeable, intelligent bloke who’s done a lot of amazing things.

But after he got the job, all that seemed to vanish, he coiled into a spring and started stuttering.

He started mincing and mixing his words. He started sounding like he was on medication and couldn’t remember what he was saying or what day it was.

The joy had gone and the spin doctors had invaded his brain.

Leadership is as much a creative pursuit as painting a picture or writing lyrics.

You have to be at one with yourself, you have to be at peace. Your life has to have solid foundations, you have to have a life outside what it is you’re doing creatively.

When you have that, you are free. When you are free, and you have a vision and a goal, you are unstoppable … until you start second guessing yourself and letting it all get on top of you.

Once David lost the job, he vanished for a while … but has now re-emerged the old David.

And in talking to him on Tuesday on Newstalk ZB about why he wasn’t running this time, there he was, old David, carefree David. Articulate, thoughtful intelligent David.

If only he could have taken old David with him into that job and stayed that way, it might have been so different.

In a party full of contenders that really only have a passing acquaintance with the real world, a dose of normality is desperately required.

And David Shearer could have been that dose.

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