Andrew Little

Something is amiss when you burn off your fanbois

Vernon Small goes through life with red tinted glasses, but he is perplexed over Andrew Little’s bizarre rejection of Helen Clark’s sage advice.

Even if things should fall apart, it seems the centre cannot hold Labour leader Andrew Little’s interest.

In a strangely intense rejection of Helen Clark’s suggestion that parties on the left must “command the centre ground” to win elections, Little dismissed the idea as “meaningless” and “a pretty hollow view”.

Strange, because it is truism. Winning power requires 50 per cent plus one of the voters – and Mr 50 and Mrs 51 are by definition in the centre.

Perhaps Little was trying to say something more subtle – that the centre can be owned by someone else (not John Key surely? Maybe Winston Peters?) without embracing defeat.   Read more »

Helen Clark’s advice to Andrew Little was basically “be like John Key”

Oh my.  No love lost between Hells Bells and Angry Andy, that much is clear.

Labour leader Andrew Little has rejected a suggestion by his predecessor Helen Clark that parties on the left must “command the centre ground” to win elections, describing the suggestion as “a pretty hollow view”.

Little says he instead is focused on building “a coalition of constituencies” as he prepares for next year’s election.

Clark told TVNZ progressive parties like Labour could not be written off and had to “roll with the punches” despite poor results around the world in recent years.

She also suggested Andrew Little should just “be himself”.

However, they had to ensure they had the support of voters in the centre in order to succeed, she said.

“It’s possible and it’s necessary, because to win an election in New Zealand or probably any Western society, you must command the centre ground. Read more »

Tell ‘im he’s dreamin’

andrew little chair collapse face

Someone needs to take failed Labour politician Bryan Gould aside and quote the infamous words of Darryl Kerrigan.

The recent poll showing that Labour is losing rather than gaining ground will have been very disappointing to the Labour leadership – particularly because their improved performance across the board might have been expected to produce a lift in popular support.

The Labour Party seems, after all, to have put behind it most of the deficiencies that have held it back. The parliamentary party is more united and has largely eschewed the kind of in-fighting that gave such a damaging impression of disunity. The front bench is competent and working hard, holding the Government to account for its deficiencies, of which there is no shortage.

They have a competent and respected leader who is clearly demonstrating his credentials as a prospective Prime Minister. They have agreed a collaborative arrangement with potential coalition partners and are ready to remedy the oversights – such as the failure to focus adequately on the importance of the party vote – that cost Labour votes in the last election.

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Union bovver boy appointed as Little’s chief of staff

Andrew Little has appointed a former EPMU bovver boy as his new Chief of Staff.

Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little has today appointed Neale Jones as Chief of Staff and Mike Jaspers as Chief Press Secretary.

Neale Jones presently works in the Leader’s Office as Political Director.

Mike Jaspers currently works for New Zealand Rugby in a senior communications role. He previously worked for Sir Michael Cullen as press secretary and before that worked in the Parliamentary Press Gallery for TVNZ.

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Oh noes, Red Andrea will now be hurled onto rocks for her apostasy

Andrea Vance is a darling of the left-wing. She is prone to conspiracy theories about mass surveillance and a great mate of Nicky Hager’s.

But she climbed into Angry Andrew Little.

The end of another dismal week for Labour, who’ve slumped to 26 per cent in our latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll.

Andrew Little’s taken himself off to Canada to lick his wounds.

But it’s not too late, Little. A year ago, Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party confounded expectations to win the federal election… and the hearts of millions of women around the world.

Here’s what Little can learn from Canada’s JFK.

Trudeau didn’t go negative. He had poise even in the face of ridiculous attacks on his hair – and Stephen Harper’s attack ads.   Read more »

Trotter on bogus polls

Reshuffle? Got to try something, I suppose

They’re bogus I tell you.d Got to try something, I suppose

The other day we gave Chris Trotter sledge of the day.

He was linking to his own post on the bogus polls:

ANDREW LITTLE has described the latest One News-Colmar Brunton poll as “bogus”. He insists that “other polls” show the Labour Party doing much better than Colmar Brunton’s figure of 26 percent.

It’s a comment that recalls the famous World War I cartoon in which two British soldiers are depicted taking cover in a shell-crater in the middle of No Man’s Land. “If you know of a better hole,” says the first soldier to the second, “then go to it.” Little’s statement merits a similar dose of mordant humour: “If you know of a better poll, Andrew, then show it.” (And, no, that is not an invitation to show us your own!)

Regardless of its severity, it was tactically foolish of Little to deny the accuracy of Colmar Brunton’s latest survey. The Labour Leader should have anticipated that National’s chief pollster, David Farrar, would have all the relevant facts and figures at his fingertips. With impish glee, Farrar swiftly posted these on his Kiwiblog website:

“At the last election in September 2014 this same poll [Colmar Brunton] had Labour at 25.2%. They got 25.1%. They were very accurate for Labour. In fact it was National they got a bit wrong with a poll of 45.1% vs an actual election result of 47.0%”

When presented with terrible news, it is perfectly natural for human-beings to take refuge in denial. The reactions of ordinary human-beings are not, however, available to those who aspire to political leadership. Upon hearing the poll result, it was Little’s duty to thrust aside his disappointment and deliver a response that would help, rather than hinder, his party’s cause.

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Is “independent” Phil Goff really just a Labour plant in a bigger plan

Rob Hosking sees a nefarious rationale behind Phil Goff’s candidacy in Auckland:

Mr Goff’s weak points are twofold. One, is he is more tribally Labour, at a national level, than incumbent Len Brown. Labour is targeting the council of the country’s main city, along with Wellington, (it already has Christchurch in the bag).

Denuded of support, both financial and other, Labour is hoping to create bases in local government from which to challenge the government and, no doubt, surreptitiously support its general election campaign next year.

Two, Mr Goff’s priorities, and the priorities of staffers he brings with him, are going to be less Auckland-focused than those of Mr Brown.

The resources of the council, including ratepayer-funded sinecures for campaign staff, will be there for the taking, and Labour will need those to hang on to its ground, let alone gain any ground, in Auckland at next year’s general election.  

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Rob Hosking: Labour’s weird data obsession and that awkward poll

The problem is spreadsheets. Noses are buried so deeply into Microsoft Excel or whichever spreadsheet programme the Labour research team uses, they are losing sight of all political reality.

The party’s Parliamentary team, and certainly its back-office –  or at least those who are left in its back office – are obsessed with data.

Spreadsheets, graphs, data points, shifting trendlines and margin of error are all matters of weird fixation. They are treated like a combination of the Holy Grail and the Holy Bible: the subject of the ultimate quest and also matters of holy writ.

Now, it is not unusual – in fact, it is common – for political geeks to get incredibly excited about this stuff. Shifting data about polling trends as well as the economy and human geography generally is pretty much at the core of any political management tool.

No, that’s not the issue.

But it is backroom stuff. It excites those who are already excited by politics. It does little for anyone else.

Geeks who are obsessed with their data are needed in politics. And they’re not, as a group, bad people. Some of my best friends fall into that category.

Some of them are pink, run a blog and are mostly consumed by the arts, lifestyle and fitness.  But boy do they know their numbers. Read more »

Phil Quin on Labour’s problems

The feral inbreds at The Standard think that Phil Quin supports the government, simply because he speaks out about the parlous and failing state of the Labour party.

He has written a great piece at Stuff which will ensure his continued excommunication.

Much like the gallant Argentinians in Hamilton on Saturday night, Labour MPs will be reeling.

After a sustained period of frenetic activity, most of it on their terms, much of it in favourable territory, they ended up on the receiving end of yet another in an unbroken stretch of one-sided wallopings.

Any similarity ends there. Whereas the Pumas players and coaching staff gracefully acknowledged being outplayed by a better team, Labour leader Andrew Little grumpily dismissed the poll, which had Labour at 26 per cent, as “bogus” and trudged off for Canada, where his colleagues must be hoping he has scheduled deportment lessons from Justin Trudeau.

Heading off overseas the day after such a dismal poll would usually be a perilous exercise for an Opposition Leader –– while the cat’s away, after all, the mice will do the numbers. But Little needn’t worry; with the union bloc vote in his back pocket, he will be Labour leader until whichever comes first between his retirement and the party’s complete disintegration.

The reason why Little released his shabby little con-job of a poll is to ensure he isn’t met at the airport, on his return, by the president and told he no longer has the support of caucus like Jim Bolger suffered when Jenny Shipley rolled him.

Of course, Left partisans are enraged by the One News Poll, but not because their side of politics is failing to gain traction, or that they haven’t moulded themselves into a plausible alternative government after eight years in opposition.

No, bloggers and tweeters of the left are either up in arms over an alleged conspiracy between the “mainstream media”, polling companies and the National Party or, among the more Pollyannaish, they add the Greens and NZ First to the pile, concluding that Labour is actually on the cusp of an historic victory.

Deranged conspiracy theories or mindless optimism. Take your pick.

I think it is more deranged than anything else.

This echo chamber thinking –– the tendency in politics to believe only what suits and reject everything else as a conspiracy –– is not new. In fact, confirmation bias is a ubiquitous force in all human affairs, as powerful as gravity.

I’ve worked on campaigns in deep blue seats where nothing could convince Labour candidates and volunteers that a stray encouraging word from a solitary passer-by isn’t evidence of a coming landslide.

It makes sense at the level of human psychology; otherwise, wouldn’t we just give up and go home? And yet, politics requires far less sentimentally, at least from those in leadership roles.

The reverse of that problem also exists. The problem where people will say to their face they are voting for them, but come polling day and it is obvious that their preferred party is about to lose the election, then in the punter either doesn’t vote because they can’t bring themselves to align with a loser…or worse they go into the booth and vote for the perceived winner. Right now people are lying to Labour and being polite. Come election day there will be a blood bath and more handwringing will ensue.

A hard-headed assessment of Labour’s performance cannot but conclude that the party lacks talent along with basic political competence. Contrast its current frontbench with those that preceded Labour victories in 1984 or 1999.

The best of the current lot, by a comfortable margin, is the veteran deputy Annette King who featured in both. Phil Twyford, who got lucky with his portfolio, generates a fair few headlines, but his recent call for a State of Emergency on housing affordability, along with earlier targeting of Chinese surnames, suggests questionable judgment, not to mention an alarming propensity for hyperbole.

Among the others, Kelvin Davis is one of few who seems to understand what an opposition’s job is. The rest seem to spend most of their time on social media retweeting people who already agree with them.

Even if it were possible, replacing Little won’t solve anything without root and branch party reform and a ruthless cull of caucus deadwood.

Labour’s caucus is dead set useless with a few notable exceptions. Labour’s goose would be cooked if some of those defected to NZ First. Meanwhile Andrew Little is off to Canada, probably looking for some of the missing million.

Mark my words…Labour is at risk of slumping below Bill English’s 2002 result. Such a result would likely finish off Labour as they lack the depth of membership that National still enjoys.


– Fairfax

Is it time to #changetheopposition?


One News has released their latest Colmar Brunton poll. After months of fabricated crisis after crisis this is the result…

It’s a shocker for Labour and Andrew Little is calling the poll “bogus”.

There are fresh worries for Labour following the latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll.

The party has slipped three points to 26 per cent. That’s the lowest it’s been in the ONE News poll since the last election when it recorded 25 per cent.

National, however, remains in fine form riding high, steady this month at 48 per cent, the same result it picked up on election night in 2014.    Read more »