Chris Trotter

The doubt is setting in, Labour in trouble

Privately Labour MPs don’t think they can win the election. Publicly they are all macho and putting on the face of ebulliance…but it is rather hollow.

After 3 dreadful polls showing that the party’s choice for leader hasn’t worked as they thought it would. Ther eis no great hankering for a top end of town trickster masquerading as an unreconstituted trade unionist from the 1950s.

Tracy Watkins picks up this dissonance.

Scratch beneath the bravado  in Labour these days and you will find a pessimist.

Blame it on the weather or a shortened barbecue season, but Labour MPs seem already to be doubting the prospect of a Labour win. Even the optimists don’t much bother to pretend they believe in Labour overtaking National any more. They argue instead that with the Greens votes they don’t need to.

It may be politics as MMP intended it but it is still a long way removed from the mindset that reigned in Labour under Helen Clark.

Clark’s focus first and foremost was to amass the most votes to give herself a strong hand in post-election negotiations.

Her alliance with the Greens was at best uneasy, and at its worst acrimonious. You didn’t have to be a mind reader to figure out that relations between Miss Clark and Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons were at an all time low on the 2002 campaign trail. Miss Clark’s body language during the televised debates said it all.

Constantly torn by the dilemma of whether to sidle up to the Greens or cannibalise their vote, Labour’s relationship with the Greens remains the source of internal party soul searching.

But it has been a long time since the polls delivered a scenario where Labour could do without them.  Read more »

Trotter goes all in, Cunliffe a Walter Mitty character

Chris Trotter has gone all in…I sense he is sniffing there is serious trouble inside the Labour party and in particular with David Cunliffe.

One News last night mentioned results of a poll in relation to Winston Peters so I suspect we will be drip fed information and other poll results over the weekend. Over he past 4 weeks there have been a number of polls and none of them are good for Labour and Cunliffe.

My Labour sources are telling me that the rumblings in caucus are pronounced and whatever supporters Cunliffe did have are fast evaporating as their own internal polling shows zero movement, even after major policy announcements.

Chris Trotter is a bellwether for strife in Labour…he is sensing it.

WE’LL ALL HAVE TO WAIT for Sunday’s One News bulletin to discover whether or not the results of the Fairfax Ipsos and Roy Morgan polls are confirmed by Colmar Brunton. If they are then David Cunliffe will have to act swiftly and decisively if he’s to preserve what little remains of Labour’s hopes for victory.

If he fails to act, then the narratives being constructed around his leadership will harden into perceived facts that he will find increasingly difficult to escape.

There are rumours, but I’ve heard those rumours before and they’ve been wrong, so will wait for the results. I suspect though that Labour and National know so I will watch for posts on blogs framing the talking points.

What are those narratives? There are many, but for the moment these are the two most damaging.

The first asserts that while Cunliffe undoubtedly won the support of his party in 2013, he singularly failed to win the support of his caucus. That failure is forcing him to tread with exaggerated caution around his parliamentary colleagues in an attempt to maintain a facade of party unity.

The Leader of the Opposition’s and his advisers’ preoccupation with unity is now extending that caution into the realm of policy with the result that Cunliffe’s campaign promises to enshrine Labour’s core values at the heart of the party’s 2014 manifesto are beginning to ring hollow.  Read more »

Trotter on Cunliffe, it ain’t flash

Chris Trotter can see that the emperor has no clothes.

This is what he has to say about David Cunliffe’s State of the Nation bomb.

The “Best Start” policy of state-rewarded fecundity is the work of many months of flailing and threshing in Labour’s policy mill. A little grist from years of selfless advocacy by Labour’s Policy Council, and a lot of chaff from the uneasy trio of Annette King, Sue Moroney and Jacinda Ardern.

I listened and sighed. Not because helping the new-born baby’s parents with a weekly payment of $60 is a bad thing to do, but because there was a time when supplying the wherewithal for the labour force’s reproduction was the employers’ responsibility – not the state’s. Will Labour never tire of subsidising the bosses’ parsimony with money taken from the pocket of one worker and slipped into the hand of another?  Read more »

Garner on the muppet show of minor parties

Duncan Garner writes about the idiot, the crook and the rooter.

There’s a reason why Kim Dotcom, Brendan Horan and Colin Craig are getting so many headlines right now: All the other politicians are on holiday, and simply don’t give a stuff.

They’re either at their beach houses or overseas, and politics is the last thing on their mind. This has happened for years.

The political year kicks off when politicians pretend to care about the Ratana Church celebrations at the end of January and when the first Cabinet meeting takes place. Parliament doesn’t actually sit until February.

So, right now those three are taking their chances with the media, but they will soon have to compete with the big boys and girls for space. It will get that much harder.

Duncan is dead right…most MPS I know are still away or in shorts and jandals. If there is a vacuum it will be filled.

Colin Craig can only say so many crazy things and may have shot his load already. But I’m picking he’ll get into Parliament under some kind of deal with National and John Key.

Read more »

[EXCLUSIVE] The Internet Party strategy revealed

Bd96K8mCYAA9XKNThe Internet Party has been announced today by Kim Dotcom, complete with logo resplendent in the corporate colours of Orcon.

This story though reveals the background behind the party and the key people involved in the formation of the party including the exclusive release of leaked documents that outline their strategy and plans to hoodwink the public into voting for what is emerging as a left-wing front and political subterfuge.

The money:

The strategy paper (below) reveals that Martyn Bradbury is working for Kim Dotcom and is charging him $8000 per month plus GST for political strategy, on top of a $5000 payment to allow him to upgrade his computer, cellphone and tablet devices.

Bradbury refused to answer his phone despite messages and numerous calls. Bear in mind that Bradbury has also been on the parliamentary payroll for the MANA Party.

On top of that we can reveal that Wellington barrister Graeme Edgeler apparently also consulted to the Dotcom party and charged $3000 plus GST for a report into two electorates.Upper Harbour and Auckland Central. When we spoke to Graeme Edgeler he refused to comment on clients despite repeated questions regarding the nature of the report and billing arranges, his constant refrain was that he “refused to talk about clients”.

Then just yesterday Martyn Bradbury wrote a post about the pending Dotcom party where he stated:

I think all those urban professional male Gen X National Party voters who don’t derive an income from the Dairy Industry will find Kim Dotcom’s economic vision a genuine way forward and they will find it difficult not to vote for him.

Urban professional male Gen X National Party voters vote National out of default, appeal to their logical sensibilities and watch them change that vote. Many would feel their cosmopolitan skin crawl at the idea Key will cut a deal with a religious social conservative like Colin Craig and while that disgust isn’t enough to make them vote Labour or Greens (and they aren’t crazy enough to vote NZ First), Dotcom’s Party could very well be their protest vote in 2014.  Read more »

Editorials on Len Brown

NZ Herald editorial:

Those hoping for public accountability over Mr Brown’s repayment should not hold their breaths. Afterwards, talking to reporters, he revealed that this part of the censure would remain confidential. The commitment to accountability will go only so far.

Still being sneaky and furtive. They can’t have confidentiality anyway…ever heard of the LGOIMA?

The Royal Commission on Auckland Governance emphasised the need for a strong and independent mayor. It said: “Auckland needs an inspirational leader, inclusive in approach and decisive in action. Auckland needs a person who is able to articulate and deliver on a shared vision, and who can speak for the region, and deliver regional priorities decisively.”

Yesterday’s peculiar accord makes that ever less likely. Auckland has a mayor who is politically reined in, reputationally damaged and personally unlikely to regain residents’ respect. It also has a mayor who must, one day soon, realise his diminished mana cannot allow him to speak for all in the region. At one level, a right-wing councillor, Sharon Stewart, reveals Mr Brown’s reputation so troubled schools and churches in her community they found it hard to have him present awards. At another, left-wing commentator Chris Trotter doubts Mr Brown’s ability to be taken seriously in Wellington.

The mayor’s failure to acknowledge the reality of his position was starkly apparent when, offered a “right of reply” to the councillors’ decisions yesterday afternoon, he offered a few perfunctory thoughts that came across as insufficient and offhand. The contrition that even his council supporters desired remained out of reach.

The manner in which Mr Brown has brazened it out with the council and the people this week shows he doesn’t, really, get that his tide has gone out. The city needs a new leader.  Read more »

Lonely Lenny as mates abandon him

Len Brown is literally a man alone.

Even The Gurnard took time out from writing puff pieces about the Fat German to knock up a few words to that effect.

You know things are serious though when the Herald abandons you, and left wing commentators are kicking you in the cods. Selwyn Manning, Simon Wilson and Chris Trotter both say that Len Brown is a corpse. Now Tim Watkin weighs in.

It’s all just rather pathetic really, isn’t it? Yes, I’m talking about Len Brown. From the affair itself to the Auckland mayor’s response and on to the council’s limited options for censure, pathetic seems to me the best word to sum up the whole shooting match.

Today the council officially and unanimously “censured” Brown, according to Stuff, for “his behaviour during a two year affair with Bevan Chuang”. The Herald adds, thankfully, that it was “for failing to declare free hotel rooms and upgrades and the fallout over his two year affair with Bevan Chuang”.

He will have to pay some money back and contribute to the EY report costs. A committee will decide how much and – unacceptably – that will be confidential. That’s one part of the story that should still have legs; of course Aucklanders deserve to know how much they’re paying and how much is the mayor’s share.

As Mike Lee said today such a censure is unprecedented and the strongest condemnation the council can make of the mayor. It is also, as Cameron Brewer said, “a wet bus ticket”. Such is the sorry state of affairs we’re left in. One job should now be on the agenda is to explore other ways that holders of this office can be held to account for misbehaviour, mis-spending and ultimately misleading the public.

The censure comes after the Herald also took unprecedented action, calling for an Auckland mayor to resign. Yet Brown has ridden that out and now has the Christmas break for the immediate pressure to ease. This is as bad as it gets.    Read more »

Metro Editor on Len Brown, dead man walking

Simon Wilson is a hard left whinger from way back.  He is the editor of Metro magazine.

Even he has abandoned Len Brown.

Len Brown will soon resign. The governing body of the Auckland Council has been meeting since 10am, and it’s still not over, and it’s clear in the debate that the mayor has lost the support of most councillors. That will make it extremely difficult for him to do his job.

When he understands that – and how longer could that possibly take? – he will step down.

The council has two options in front of it. One is the much publicised proposal to pass a vote of no confidence in the mayor. That is destined to fail.

The other is a motion jointly proposed by deputy mayor Penny Hulse, formerly a Brown loyalist, and leading centre-right councillor Christine Fletcher. Their motion is the outcome of a five-hour informal meeting yesterday. It uses words like “profound disappointment and disapproval”, it censures the mayor, it calls on him to reimburse all personal costs and make an “appropriate contribution” to council’s other costs in relation to the affair. It also requires a “stronger working relationship and level of accountability”. Finally, it accepts Brown’s apology and “signals its willingness to work with the mayor in the best interests of the people of Auckland”.

That motion will be carried.  So why will Len Brown stand down?

In the current issue of the magazine, I have suggested that Brown’s misdemeanours are not sufficiently serious to require resignation, but if he loses his ability to do his job, that changes. If he cannot lead the council, he needs to find the courage and grace to step aside.

He’s reached that stage.   Read more »

Chris Trotter on Len Brown

Slowly but surely people on the left are deciding that to be aligned with Len Brown is to cloak oneself in the stench of a rotting corpse.

Chris Trotter backs away from Len Brown now.

IS AUCKLAND about to join Toronto? A city with a mayor some would dearly like to be rid of but cannot sack?

Auckland’s Len Brown may not have smoked crack cocaine or clean-bowled an elderly councillor in the council chamber, like the rampaging Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, but he is fast engendering a very similar sort of cringe factor.

Like Toronto, Auckland is its country’s commercial heart. Politically, it plays a similarly pivotal role. Who leads a city like Toronto or Auckland matters. Getting stuck with a laughing-stock mayor would be but a short step away from becoming a laughing-stock city.

That Auckland could finds itself contemplating that possibility is due to a peculiar constitutional anomaly.  Read more »

Chris Trotter speaks some sense on FTAs

I have always thought of Chris Trotter as a sensible, albeit wrong, voice of the left.

His ability to cut through the spin and to call things as they are despite wishful thinking is why I consider him a friend and a wise person to listen to.

In his post at Martyn Bradbury’s union funded little read blog he makes the following comment.

Not only does the TPP hold out the possibility of New Zealand adding much greater value to its agricultural exports – to the point where our export income is derived increasingly from the “how” of agricultural production rather than the production itself – but also, by reducing the pressures on land and water use in our own countryside, the TPP offers New Zealand’s beleaguered natural environment a much needed respite.  Read more »