David Shearer

I bet the decision to stand was ‘Not given lightly’…

The Labour leadership spill is already a farce and yesterday it became more of a farce with strong rumours that acting, temporary leader David Parker will also enter the race.

Will he now stand down and hand of the acting temporary leadership to another hapless fool?

The Labour leadership will be a four-way race when David Parker throws his hat in the ring today.

It is a change of heart from Parker, Labour’ s finance spokesman and acting leader since David Cunliffe stepped down, who had previously ruled out standing. Insiders suggest his about-turn is a response to the party tearing itself apart in recent weeks.

But the move could also be a case of Parker driving a stake in the ground after the emergence of dark horse candidate Andrew Little.

Little launched his bid by signalling he’d dismantle Parker’s flagship economic policies including raising the pension age and a capital gains tax.

Parker is popular with the party and carries mana within the Labour caucus and will take votes away from caucus favourite Grant Robertson.

But Little’s targeting of contentious policies such as raising the pension age, free doctor’s visits for over 65s and a capital gains tax, has resonated with many in the party.

Parker has put up his hand for the leadership previously but withdrew, in part because of concerns over headlines about his personal life. ¬† Read more »

Kiwi troops unlikely to be killing actual ISIS bad guys

It seems we’re going in to help our friends beat those ISIS idiots into submission. ¬†John Key is just slowly softening up the public.

Prime Minister John Key has dropped further hints about what the SAS will do if he sends them into Iraq to fight the Islamic State.

He says it is unlikely to be frontline combat, but instead identifying targets for the other forces to bomb.

“I’m aghast at that [the violence of Islamic State],” says Mr Key. “It’s barbaric, and there is a point at which people need to take steps to stop that.”

And so continue our proud tradition of going to help those that need it in the hope that when we ever need help, we’ll receive it from those we stood next to.

“I can see no reason why New Zealand would want to put boots on the ground in Iraq,” says Labour’s David Shearer. “There is a pretty good chance that our people could come home in body bags.”

That’s particularly galling coming from Shearer. ¬†He knows better than that. ¬†What a sell-out.

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Tim Watkin says Labour needs to listen to the voters

Finally someone from the left says what everyone else watching on knows implicitly…that Labour needs to listen to the voters…the forgotten voice.

[T]he party backed David Cunliffe who spoke of a red, not a pale blue party and there was hope for a few weeks amongst the faithful that Labour could win from the left. But if that hope was ever more than an illusion, it was lost when Cunliffe went to sleep over the summer and indulged in a series of well-publicised gaffes before the campaign had even begun.

In the end, he lost. And he lost very badly indeed, the worst Labour poll since 1922.

You can point to the early mistakes around the primary trust, baby bonus and “leafy suburbs” comment. You can point to the later mana cupla and capital gains tax blank. You can point to his lack of authenticity and political instincts that too often are tone deaf.

But that result was not all down to Cunliffe. As he has fairly pointed out, voters could see the lack of support amongst some in his own caucus (some if them not trying very hard to conceal it). As Cunliffe says, a year is not long enough to have put his stamp on the party and the public mind. Yes, he ran a good campaign. Yes Dotcom and Dirty Politics undermined his slim chances and yes he’s one of the few Labour MPs with a big and coherent vision.

It must be soul destroying to have scrapped and fought and worked for this job and then be told he has to give up on his life-long dream of being Prime Minister one day.

But you know what? Tough. Politics ain’t fair or kind. His moment, brutally short as it was, has passed.

Maybe he can win over the party members needed to win back the job. Maybe the unions can still be rallied by his rhetoric. Maybe he could, somehow, win back the support of enough caucus members to steady the ship. He may be right that he can reclaim the job he resigned this week, but it’s hard to come to any other conclusion that he is still utterly in the wrong.

Because he’s not listening to the fourth and most important voice; the voice of voters.

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Don’t do it Stu

Stuart Nash has rightly been focussing on retaining Napier and cementing the seat as his base.

However with the ructions in Labour, and despite stating he wasn’t entering the race for the poisoned chalice of Labour’s leadership, there are rumours swirling around that he is preparing to enter the race.

Predictably it is Andrea Vance peddling the gossip, which if I am correct in guessing came from someone who rang me yesterday to ask if I¬†was close to Nash and could confirm the rumours. I didn’t call him, but I see the gossip is now being peddled by Vance.

The race to be Labour’s leader may no longer be a two-way contest, with Stuart Nash said to be seriously considering a tilt at the top job.

The newly elected Napier MP is biding his time to see if former union boss Andrew Little will throw his hat in the ring. Little’s political future hangs in the balance until tomorrow, when the official election results are declared.

If Little, a former EPMU president, did make it back to Parliament on the list, and decided to enter the primary contest to choose the leader, Nash would not run, a source said.

Nash had earlier ruled it out, saying it was too soon for him.

An insider said he backed away as the caucus waited to see if David Cunliffe would resign and leave Grant Robertson to run unchallenged.

“[He] didn’t want to be the one to trigger a leadership battle that the party had no appetite for.”

But sources say he is reconsidering as the rivalry between Cunliffe and Robertson has turned increasingly bitter. “This is the last thing our party needs, two people going hammer and tongs at each other. It will just turn off New Zealand,” one source said.

Nash is being lobbied hard by Maori and Pasifika members of the party, who believe neither of the two declared contenders can unite the divided factions.

A wildcard option, Nash, 47, represents a break from the rivalries that have torn the party apart in the last three years.

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Labour’s issues, comparing rebuilds, 2002 vs 2014

Liam Hehir writes at the Manawatu Standard about the pressing issues facing Labour¬†as they seek to attempt to rebuild after Cunliffe’s disastrous campaign.

And, of course, there was National’s 2002 catastrophe. It is hard to believe that the party now straddling the political centre like the Colossus of Rhodes received just 20.93 per cent of the vote that year. How has it managed to claw back its status as the natural party of government?

First, National eliminated its competition on the Right. Under Don Brash, National gobbled up almost the whole conservative vote, reducing ACT and UnitedFuture to the lifeless husks they are today. NZ First also barely survived this process as about half of its traditionalist voters defected back to National.

While that restored National’s formidability, the 2005 election proved that it wasn’t quite enough to carve out a workable majority. It then fell to the pragmatic and non-ideological John Key to seize back the centre ground. His ability to do this – bringing both conservative and centrist voters with him – has proved essential to his success as a popular leader.

At the same time, National relentlessly modernised and adapted on an organisational level. Party headquarters provides constant information and co-ordination to candidates and exercises effective quality control over campaigns. No National candidate would have been permitted to neglect the party vote as Labour candidates have in the past two elections.

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Labour: Desolate, deluded and desperate

The Dance of the Desperates is about to begin, yet another leadership primary to decide who will replace the now drowned captain of the sinking ship Labour.

The desolation of the Labour party shows in the potential contenders for the race.

Speculation is now mounting that the contest won’t just be a race between the cardy wearing, beltway candidate , Grant Robertson and the narcissism of David Cunliffe.

First there are the truly deluded.

Andrew Little thinks the special votes will get him over the line in New Plymouth:

Former union boss Andrew Little did not rule out a tilt at the leadership, but pointed out that his return to the New Plymouth seat was still up in the air – it depends on special votes.

Yeah, that’s a nah for Little Andy. The election night results for New Plymouth show that he was spanked by more than 9000 votes by Jonathan Young. On top of that Labour lost the party vote by more than 12,000 votes. There is no way the specials can save Andrew Little and his claims of returning to a seat he has never held are simply deluded.

It is true that the specials might cost him his list spot in Labour though…perhaps that is what he meant.

From the deluded we get to the desperates:

Other names in the mix include former leader David Shearer, who regrets standing down a year ago and may have another shot.

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Has the NZ Herald never heard of Jenny Shipley?

The NZ Herald had a piece yesterday about all of Labour leaders in the past 6 years.

I thought the piece might be interesting until I saw the first line.

2008

11 November: Resignation of Helen Clark, after serving three consecutive terms since being elected as New Zealand’s first woman Prime Minister in 1999.

If they can’t get basic facts right in the first line then that doesn’t hold much confidence for the accuracy of the rest of the article.

Jenny Shipley was New Zealands first woman Prime Minister and no amount of re-writing history or weasel words can take that away from her. Oh sure the media and their pals in Labour like to say Helen Clark was the first “elected” Prime Minister but that is just pathetic semantics. We don’t elect our Prime Ministers in New Zealand, we never have and never will. There is no separate¬†ballot for Prime Minister.

The rest of the article looks at the lengthening list¬†of Labour’s failed leaders from Clark to Cunliffe, all slain in battle by Phil Goff, with the only exception being David Shearer, who nicked himself to death before finally falling on his dropped sword.

On present performance and the fact that¬†Labour’s talent pool is as shallow as a car-park puddle expect the list of lonesome losers to grow.

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Armstrong on Labour’s little shop of horrors

John Armstrong examines why it is that Labour is so out of touch.

Is brand “Labour” depreciating so rapidly in electoral value that the party’s long-term future is now in serious jeopardy? This week’s hostilities both outside and inside the Labour caucus weren’t just about the post-election future of David Cunliffe or, to be exact, the lack thereof.

It was another exchange of volleys from Labour’s parliamentary wing fired in the direction of the wider party’s left faction, who take very strong exception to the caucus pressuring Cunliffe to give up the leadership.

But Labour’s really serious underlying problems run a lot deeper than that. A decade or so ago, Labour was still seemingly indestructible. Over preceding years, Labour regularly suffered from mass desertion by voters and was consequently written off, only to recover Phoenix-like within a relatively short period of time, such was the two-party monopoly under a first-past-the-post electoral system.

Labour’s present parlous state is unprecedented, however. Much has been made of last Saturday’s capture by the party of a paltry 24.7 per cent of the party vote as being Labour’s worst result since 1922.

Indeed, that is the case. But it’s only half the story. In 1922, Labour was a new political movement on the way up, not a tiring one with distinct signs of being on the way down.

Labour have forgotten their brand.

Josie Pagani regularly points out that Labour used to support the working voter.

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Now it seems they support the luvvies, the indigent and the criminal classes.

Labour ever more resembles a classic 1950s-style department store selling a broad range of general merchandise, but not stocking the specialist goods its declining number of customers actually want to buy.

In trying to satisfy everyone, the store is pleasing no one. Shoppers are instead getting what they want from smaller, more flexible competitors enjoying a deregulated market.

To make matters worse, the store’s staff keep ordering outdated or hard-to-sell items liked by only a few very elderly browsers and people from ethnic groups. Meanwhile, faulty market research has the store’s management targeting a clientele which no longer exists.

Yet, another far more modern department store across the road is raking in the cash like never before. That is because John Key and National know what their market likes. Labour believes in supplying goods that its customers ought to like for their own good – and is then surprised when they reject them.

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Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

Can Captain Mumble…. Lead Labour Again?

David Shearer - Dead Fish

David Shearer is a good man. He is a bloke who you wouldn’t mind having a beer with, even though he seems to think that looking after misbegotten people all over the world makes him the perfect choice to run our country.

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