Grant Robertson

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.

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Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

We picked the sherrif, but we don’t wanna pick his deputy

Grant Robertson has retired hurt

In the hurricane of media that accompanied Andrew Little’s elevation – inevitable with any new leader – it would be easy to overlook runner-up Grant Robertson sitting stunned in the eye of the storm.

Yet Little’s next steps now become crucial. Handling Robertson and the party’s “second power base” will be a key issue for Little as he puts his new team together.

In the immediate aftermath of Little’s win Robertson understandably expressed disappointment.

He had, after all, won 56 per cent of the caucus, 55 per cent of the party membership and it was only Little’s status with the affiliated unions (and perhaps an echo of the gay-shy stance of some unionists evident during the 2013 run-off) that thwarted his second bid for leader.

But he expected the union vote to go against him, and Little’s three-to-one advantage with the handful of private sector unions affiliated to Labour was in line with feedback both camps had received.

What must have surprised Robertson’s camp was the unexpectedly low vote from his fellow MPs. His lieutenants were expecting him to clean up by about 21-11 on a two-man preferred basis, with most if not all David Parker’s second preferences going his way.

We’ve seen the photos.  Grant and Cindy were devastated.  But now comes the hard part.  Because of Grant’s lower than expected support in caucus, he may not end up as deputy leader.   Read more »

Gower backstabs Little less than 24 hours in the job

No love from TV3 Labour cheerleaders over Little it seems

Labour’s preferential voting system, combined with the backing of three-quarters of the union vote, saw Mr Little sneak through in what 3 News political editor Patrick Gower is calling “the great union ripoff”.

“It’s a backdoor takeover by the unions. Simply, Andrew Little would not be Labour leader without the unions,” Gower said on Firstline this morning.

“He is the unions’ man; Little is a union man, and the unions have got their man into Labour’s top job.”

Gower says it’s ironic after trying “almost too hard” to give men and women an equal say – the ultimately doomed ‘man ban’ – that a small group of “union blokes” have effectively chosen the party’s new leader.

“Most of those delegates, according to one of the most senior sources in the Labour Party, are men… It’s just six unions out of about 150-odd in New Zealand. Just six of them get to have their say over this, and five of them actually rely on delegates – the union bosses, the union chiefs, the union heavies. They say who they want.”

Having known Mr Little for 15 years, Gower says he represents a change in tack for the party, which has seen its share of the vote drop for three consecutive general elections.

“He is a straight-shooter, he speaks really directly, there won’t be any of this flowery language or hesitation or showmanship that we’ve seen from previous Labour leaders. The reality is he’s a hard bugger, and he’s going to need all of it to really crack some heads in that Labour Party and to take on John Key.”

What follows next is quite gob smacking – Gower undermines Little, who isn’t even 24 hours in the job – and puts his support behind a reworked Grant/Jacinda ticket Read more »

Tears of impotent rage over union backed win of Andrew Little

There are plenty on the left who are crying tears of impotent rage at the union backed win of Andrew Little.

None more so that poor wee Andrew Geddis, the man who can’t bear to speak my name.

Labour just made the wrong choice, in the worst possible way.

Obviously, I think that the decision to choose Andrew Little over Grant Robertson was the wrong one however it came about … that’s because Grant is a good friend whom I think will one day make a fantastic Prime Minister of New Zealand. So Andrew Little could be the reincarnation of Jack Kennedy mixed with Bob Hawke by way of Michael Joseph Savage (which he most certainly isn’t) and I’d still be lamenting the Labour Party’s decision to appoint him leader ahead of Grant.

So let’s put aside my personal disappointment at the actual decision that Labour has made and instead look at how it has done so. Because it looks to me like it’s created an almighty cluster&*k.

Nah let’s not…Andrew should cry some more his tears are delicious.

First, Little beat Grant by just over 1% of the weighted votes cast. That’s about as close a margin of victory as you can get, achieved on the third round. So the overall mandate for Little’s leadership is … fragile, at best.

Second, Little lost heavily to Grant in both the Caucus and the Membership vote in every successive round of voting. Little was the first choice to be leader of only four of his colleagues (assuming he voted for himself, that is). Only 14 of 32 backed him as leader over Grant by their third choice – meaning 18 of 32 think Grant is a better person to lead them. And in respect of the membership vote, Little was consistently 10% behind Grant at each stage of the vote.

The thing that gave Little the edge, of course, was his support amongst “affiliates” – which means those unions that still retain membership ties with Labour.    Read more »

Can Grant Robertson ever be Leader of the Labour Party?

Gracinda is grumpy

Don’t worry dear, another 18 months of destabilisation and it will be our turn

Yesterday was a devastating day for Grant Robertson.

He has yet again lost the Labour leadership, and lost it despite getting 18 votes out of 32 in caucus.

Robertson was the front runner after the first ballot but he did not manage to win enough votes from caucus to over come his weakness with the members and the unions.

The members voted narrowly in favour of him over Andrew Little, but he did not manage to pick up many of Nanaia Mahuta or David Parker’s preferences, scarcely budging at all after the first ballot.

Robertson now faces a career defining decision.   Read more »

Meme competition [UPDATED]

Well, it was such a good photo, I couldn’t just leave it alone

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Go here to make your own, and share the results in the comments.  Remember to stick to the commenting and moderation rules please.

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Robertson’s Ultra Quick Prepared Statement

SH*T, I've lost again

SH*T, I’ve lost again

At 2.20pm yesterday Grant Robertson published this on Facebook.

A huge congratulations to Andrew Little on being elected Leader. I know that you will do a superb job of bringing us together and taking us to victory in 2017. You have my total commitment to support you in whatever role I can play. I want to be part of a Labour government that delivers social justice to New Zealand, and I will work for Andrew and the team every day to make that happen.

I do want to make clear that after two goes at the leadership I need to listen – and therefore I will not put my name forward again in the future (far into the future as I expect Andrew to be Leader and PM for some time!) Finally, I want to thank the amazing team of people who have supported me in this campaign. Your commitment to our Party is an inspiration – and I owe you a huge debt of gratitude.

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A Terrible Result for Labour

The Leadership election result is absolutely terrible for Labour.

Andrew Little only just beat Grant Robertson, 50.52% to 49.48%.

Andrew Little does not have a mandate.

He only got the support of 4 other caucus members in the first round. So 27 members of caucus ranked him second or worse.

Caucus % Actual
Little 15.63% 5
Mahuta 18.75% 6
Parker 21.88% 7
Robertson 43.75% 14

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Labour’s leadership contest, no one cares, members included

No one cares about Labour’s leadership contest.

Not even Vernon Small, a long time Labour embedded journalist….he could just muster 324 words in talking about the pending result of the contest.

Labour will announce its new leader tomorrow, with Andrew Little likely to hold a clear lead on first preferences but the candidates themselves tipping a close result.

The party’s constitution gives 40 per cent of the say to the 32 MPs, 40 per cent to the membership and 20 per cent to affiliated unions.

The votes are cast in a preferential system that sees the lowest ranked candidate drop out and their second preferences redistributed until someone tops 50 per cent.

The votes of rank and file members are the big unknown.

Of the four candidates, Little got a jump start thanks to his background as a former union leader, and is expected to pick up at least 15 of the the 20 per cent allocated to unions with Robertson winning 3 or 4 per cent.

Little himself yesterday said he expected strong support from unions. “I would say 70-80 per cent is a possibility.”

But Robertson’s power base is in the caucus, where he has firm backing of about 12 of the 32.   Read more »