David Shearer

Some words of caution for Andrew Little and Labour, but will they listen?

Tony Alexander, in his latest newsletter, has some words of caution for Andrew Little and the Labour party about the path they have embarked on.

Last week I noted that there are some trends which people (businesses I suppose, truth be told) should keep an eye on. These included growing wealth inequality and employers exploiting staff. Perhaps this latter thread is one of the motivating factors behind the new Leader of the Opposition’s announcement that he will set up a two year “Future of Work Commission”. The intention is that this project will examine changes in the way people work via numerous workshops and extensive contact with various groups. The risk is that it ends
up being a grumpy free for all for all and sundry so the first task of the work which Grant Robertson will lead is to tightly define what they wish specifically to focus on and go from there.

Good luck to them because one outcome of the GFC is an altered relationship between employers and employees. But more than that whole new industries and jobs have appeared, there is more casualisation and contracting, and a generation of people have come through the education system and entered the workforce with minimal awareness of what unions can offer them. And that union movement suffers greatly from being associated with exactly that – a politically motivated always Labour-supporting “movement” rather than true representation of employee concerns.

These are early days for the re-elected National government and early days for the latest Labour Party leader, so the thrust of changes in the employee-employer relationship for the next three years is still likely to be in the direction of further empowering the former. But employers should keep an eye on the building undercurrent of discontent among the working poor in particular, what the Aussies call the “battlers”, and where possible seek input into the new Commission.

Read more »

Moira quits, time for Tim to go, and Matt should pack his bags too

Election losses demand accountability, and when the election loss is as bad as Labour’s heads need to roll.
David Cunliffe has gone. Now Moira Coatesworth has gone.

Moira Coatsworth has resigned as President of the Labour Party and will stand down in mid-December.

Ms Coatsworth confirmed she had formally resigned and the party would elect a new President by postal ballot in mid-February to work with Andrew Little on making any changes required after the party’s post-election review.

She had earlier said she did not expect to stay on as President after holding the position for 3.5 years – working with four different leaders in quick succession – Phil Goff, David Shearer, David Cunliffe and Andrew Little.

Names which have been mentioned as possible contenders include Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett and academic Nigel Haworth, Labour’s current policy director. Mr Leggett has previously expressed an interest, but his enthusiasm has reportedly waned.    Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

Armstrong on Labour reshuffle

John Armstrong hasn’t had this good a time for ages

Ignore for a moment the installation of veteran MP Annette King as deputy-leader. That is ostensibly a temporary move designed to avoid Little being bogged down in Wellington and freeing him up to get around the country to sell the revised Labour message he is promising to deliver.

But it also gives Little time to see who on the party’s new front bench performs with panache and substance to deserve promotion. It also leaves a difficult decision to another day.

With the elevation of Kelvin Davis and Carmel Sepuloni and to the frontbench, Little is not only responding to Labour tradition that Maori and now Pacific Island community-based MPs be so represented.

Their presence alongside Phil Twyford, Chris Hipkins and Jacinda Ardern, plus the promotion of fast-rising David Clark, marks a long-overdue generational change which brings a much fresher face to Labour.

Those are, on the surface, the good bits.  But Little’s had to hurt people to do this.   Read more »

The problem with St Helen…she isn’t

Helen Clark wants the top UN job

I’ve noticed a few things about Labour, but the one thing that sticks out is the absolute deference they all hold towards Helen Clark.

I despise her politics, but am mature enough to recognise a superb politician.

Helen Clark took over the labour party when it was in disarray, she withstood a coup attempt and ruled the party with an iron fist for 15 years.

She moulded the party into her likeness and the two became synonymous.

The labour party was Helen Clark and Helen Clark was the Labour party.

That was Labour’s strength and it was also its Achilles heel.

Eventually the voters tired of her and Labour lost to John Key’s National party.

Now this is where it gets interesting.  Read more »

Three years or six? Or more?

Tim Watkin has an interesting post at Pundit about the task ahead for Labour’s new leader.

He wonders whether or not they have a three year project or a six year project in front of them.

Whoever wins, Labour won’t be a charismatic party that voters will turn to as an exciting alternative to National. Instead, whoever wins will have to win back voters’ trust through being dependable, decent and speaking to the interests of the many.

‘Decent’ recalls Jim Bolger’s ‘decent society’ slogan, and Bolger would be a pretty good role model for any winner. Not a flamboyant or visionary politician, but one who knew how to win elections.

So who to vote for? For me Labour Party members will need to start by asking themselves this question: Can Labour win in 2017?

Essentially, is this a three year or six year project? Is one of those four the next Labour Prime Minister? Because that answer suggests different people.

Read more »

Trotter asks if Labour really can be rebuilt

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Chris Trotter wonders whether Labour can put its troubles behind them and start to recover relevancy with the voting public.

THE CHAIRS in the final meeting venue have been stacked away. All that expensive signage, commissioned for the benefit of the television cameras, no longer has a purpose. For the second time in just 14 months, Labour’s Leadership Contest is all over bar the voting.

The contrast between the road-show just concluded and what was, effectively, the David Cunliffe Coronation Tour of 2013 could hardly be starker. Then, it was the rank-and-files’ and the affiliates’ moment to deliver a very emphatic one-fingered message to a caucus it had grown to despise – and they delivered it with both hands. This time, it’s been the Labour Caucus’s Victory Tour.

In both 2012 and 2013, Labour’s MPs had warned the party’s members and affiliates that Cunliffe was unacceptable – but they refused to listen. Now they know what happens when a leader lacks the fulsome support of his caucus colleagues. No one’s saying it out loud, but the most important single feature of this year’s leadership contest is David Cunliffe’s absence. No matter which of the four grey eminences emerges from the complicated processes of preferential voting as Labour’s new leader – Caucus has won.

Yes, they will have slayed the Cunliffe dragon…sort of…for one of the contenders has cut a secret deal to help rehabilitate the man with the brain as big as a planet. Trotter thinks that had Cunliffe stood things may have been a bit different.

Had Cunliffe’s name been on the ballot paper, he would, almost certainly, have triumphed again. I don’t think it’s stretching the truth to say that among Labour’s staunchest supporters – Maori and Pasifika – the Member for New Lynn is loved. When informed that their champion had withdrawn from the race, a hall packed with Maori and Pasifika trade union delegates audibly groaned and tears flowed. Only when told that Nanaia Mahuta had entered the fray did their spirits noisily recover.

But, no matter how strong the loyalty shown to Cunliffe by the true believers who give Labour two ticks, it was made abundantly clear to the party membership just how ugly things would get if he insisted, once again, on soliciting their support.

The embittered David Shearer may have led the charge, but every political journalist in the country knew that his acidic tongue was just the poisoned point of a much larger spear. Shearer’s mission was to demonstrate to the rank-and-file and affiliates that the longer Cunliffe persisted in his fantasy of continuing to lead the party the worse things would get. They had to know that Caucus was perfectly willing to destroy the Labour Party in order to save it.

Rather than unleash a no-holds-barred civil war at every level of his Party; one from which it would likely not recover; Cunliffe bowed to the inevitable and withdrew from the contest.

From that point on, the outcome of the 2014 Leadership Contest ceased to matter very much.     Read more »

David Shearer part of Rainbow faction?

David Shearer’s office in Mt Albert this morning

qw

Just go now you fool

David Cunliffe continues to fail the no dickheads rule.

Labour’s former leader David Cunliffe says he will never run to be leader again and has not decided whether he will stand for Parliament in 2017.

Mr Cunliffe told the Herald that speculation he had not completely given up on his leadership ambitions despite pulling out of the leadership contest was misplaced. “I’m out. Otherwise I would still be running. I’m not running, I have no intention of ever being leader again. I’m out.”

While he intended to stay in Parliament this term, he was yet to decide whether to stand again in 2017.   Read more »

NZ wins Security Council Seat

All the bribes and threats and whatever else is needed inside the morally corrupt United Nations and despite the best efforts of our media and opposition to poofinger the bid has paid off, NZ has won its seat on the Security Council.

I fear however that John Key and Murray McCully have simply had an Underpants Stealing strategy.

1. Win seat on Security Council
2. ???
3. Finish up two years and move back to obscurity.

In a vote at the UN’s New York headquarters on Thursday local time (Friday morning NZT), New Zealand picked up 145 votes, claiming one of the “Western Europe and other nations” seats – ahead of Turkey and Spain – in the first round of voting.

New Zealand will take its seat on the council for two years, starting on January 1, 2015. The last time New Zealand sat on the council was 1993-94. It had earlier stints in 1953/54 and 1966.

It has been hailed a victory for small states by Prime Minister John Key, who said it came after hard work over a decade lobbying for the seat.

“We have worked very hard on the bid for close to a decade because we believe that New Zealand can make a positive difference to world affairs and provide a unique and independent voice at the world’s top table.

“It has been more than 20 years since New Zealand was last on the Council and we are ready to contribute again.   Read more »