Helen Clark

Trotter on Labour’s coming shuffle of the deck chairs

Chris Trotter returns to sensibility and explores the shuffling of the deck chairs on the sinking ship Labour.

SOMETIME THIS WEEK (the date keeps changing) Andrew Little will announce his Shadow Cabinet reshuffle. The refreshed line-up of senior Opposition spokespeople will be the electorate’s best guide as to who will be doing what in the next Labour-led government. Barring unforeseen circumstances, and unforgiveable cock-ups, Little’s promotions, reappointments and demotions will be the last such exercise before the 2017 General Election.

Very few New Zealanders will pay much attention to Little’s final choices. Labour’s ranks, thinned by successive and increasingly severe defeats, contains nobody upon whose shoulders the burden of the electorate’s hopes has  yet descended.

Labour has a talent pool as shallow as a carpark puddle in the heat of summer. I was discussing this yesterday at lunch with the boys at church. They looked at National caucus and at Labour’s and came to the conclusion that even if a plane crashed with most of National’s cabinet aboard, there would still be capable people left in caucus to run the show. If Labour’s front two benches got cleaned out who would be left with any skills?    Read more »

Labour going into battle for Australian-based Kiwis. Is this their missing million?

Labour is seeking the missing million still, so they have toddled off to Australia to extend their criminal, rapist and murderer hugging to those who bailed out on NZ.

There’s little remaining sentiment that Kiwis in Australia are bludgers – and their rights must be restored, Labour says.

Phil Goff was foreign minister when Australia slashed Kiwi arrivals’ rights in 2001 and will travel to Canberra to lobby on the issue on Wednesday.

Mr Goff, who today announced his bid for Auckland’s mayoralty, will be joined on Australian trip by Labour leader Andrew Little.

They will also travel to Sydney and visit the Villawood Immigration Detention Centre, to talk to New Zealanders detained under toughened immigration laws.

Mr Goff said the detention issue had made headlines, but the current rules affecting hundreds of thousands of law-abiding Kiwis in Australia were “patently unjust”.

“One case referred to me, a man had a brain tumour, then was not entitled to a sickness benefit. He got health treatment, because that is reciprocal, but…he actually wasn’t in a position to travel back to New Zealand because of his sickness.”

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Did he ever have it?

Labour reckons they have lost respect for the Prime Minister…but did he ever have their respect?

Prime Minister John Key “acted like a clown” when he accused the opposition of “backing the rapists”, Labour deputy leader Annette King says.

Key caused uproar at Parliament when he said on Tuesday that the Labour Party was supporting rapists, murderers and child molesters among Kiwi detainees at Australia’s Christmas Island detention centre.

A number of female MPs from the opposition staged a protest and walkout against Key and Speaker David Carter on Wednesday, after Carter said he had not heard the original comment and was therefore powerless to make Key apologise.

King told TV3’s Paul Henry she supported her colleagues who had walked out and denied that opposition MPs had over-reacted to Key’s remarks.

“You had to be there in the heat of the chamber, where passions were high.”

However, National MP Judith Collins said Parliament had a “robust debating chamber”, and MPs who walked out would not be looked on favourably by some of the public.

“If you want to go walk out, understand that the public are going to view it in one of two ways: one, they’ll agree with you, or the second one, they’ll say, ‘We’re paying your wages, let’s get back to work’.”

Collins said the second, premeditated walkout on Wednesday may also have undermined respect for Parliament.

“it’s a tough place, and when it’s [the walkout] staged like that, and it was clearly staged, it loses some of its power.”

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Hooton on Labour’s disconnect with US ship visits

Matthew Hooton provides some facts behind the proposed US ship visit…turns out it isn’t just US ships invited, but others from nuclear nations as well, but Labour has only focussed on US ships.

Whoever briefed TVNZ couldn’t have done a better job of driving a wedge, a week before its crucial conference, between the Labour Party’s Phil Goff faction and its foaming-at-the-mouth activists who want the local party to emulate the UK’s Jeremy Corbyn by heading off to the extreme left.

Perhaps to appease the latter, acting leader Annette King bizarrely went on the attack when first asked for comment on TVNZ’s story.  What she could have done is declare victory for Labour’s 30-year-old anti-nuclear policy.

It turns out the navy has asked 30 countries to send ships to its party.  This includes the US and at least four other nuclear powers, China, Russia, the UK and France, whose naval vessels have been happily received in New Zealand since the anti-nuclear legislation was put in place in 1987.  It is not clear if invitations have also been extended to the navies of India and Pakistan, also declared nuclear powers.

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Judith Collins on work ethic and winning

Judith Collins has a column in the Sunday Star-Times today that mocks Labour for hating on John Key being with the All Blacks as they won the World Cup.

She then gets into the mechanics of winning where hard work beats natural talent.

Which then segues into discussing the missing talent of Andrew Little and also his missing work ethic.

We’ve seen the will to win in our Prime Minister. We saw it in Helen Clark. We don’t see it in the current leader of the Opposition, Andrew Little. That’s his problem. So far, I’ve seen nothing that tells me that Little is really serious.

Last weekend we had the Rugby World Cup final. This weekend, it is the Labour Party Conference. I’m sure the usual platitudes will result. They’re all behind the leader, all united, no factions, everything’s great. Except it’s not.

Andrew Little made a strategic error in handing over his Labour Party voters to Winston Peters in Northland. Sure, the result left National groggy – for a while. Sure, it took away a crucial vote for real Resource Management reform, but who are the losers in that? It’s all Kiwis and particularly people in Northland who want to see an even more vibrant economy.

I’m no fan of Winston Peters. He’s got the talent but not the work ethic. Tales of his unwillingness to read the fine print abound. That’s why his goal is 7 per cdent of the party vote not 50 per cent. But, right now, he is a more effective Leader of the Opposition than Andrew Little.

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Oh dear lord, a second newspaper editorial I agree with

A newspaper editorial today discusses knighthoods and how apart from bitter socialists like Brian Rudman most Kiwis kind of like knighthoods.

New Zealanders and Australians have much in common, but not everything. Our respective attitude to knighthoods is one area we, in general, differ. While New Zealanders can hardly wait to see titles bestowed on their homecoming All Black captain and coach today, Australia has just abandoned the practice – again.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has announced its royal honours, abolished long ago but reinstated by Tony Abbott last year, will not be continued.

In this country, the Prime Minister has practically promised Richie McCaw a knighthood and the Labour Party, which abolished them when last in government, endorses the offer. Its deputy leader, Annette King, yesterday said the party had not reviewed its policy on royal honours since they were restored by National in 2009 but she saw no appetite in this country for “chopping and changing” the system.

She is right. When Helen Clark abolished the titles in 2000, she did so without much public discussion and not all in her party were comfortable with it. Her deputy, now Sir Michael Cullen, thought it a mistake. The country missed them during those nine years.

Without a few titles conferred, the annual New Year’s and Queen’s Birthday honours lost much of their focus and public interest. Their reinstatement was well received.

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Keeping politics out of rugby?

The moaners, whingers and lap-bloggers at The Standard are whinging about politics being involved in rugby.

Greg Presland, a West Auckland flea lawyer moans:

The current Government has politicised Rugby to an obscene level.  Three way handshakes, Rugby News John Key covers during election periods and continuous John Key photo opportunities have really annoyed.

In my view from now on no politician (including you John Key) should ever seek political advantage from the All Blacks, especially after a test match.  I like Rugby.  I do not want to not like it because politicians get photo opportunities.

I hope he has sent an email to Andrew Little about this demand to de-politicise rugby, note the lame and cringe-worthy ‘cool with the kids’ speak.

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After beef to India is Labour’s next big thing going to be pork to Iran?


Andrew Little is showing almost daily what a complete tool he is.

His latest brain fart is to suggest that we ignore the US for beef exports and instead send our beef to India…you know where cows are sacred.

Mr Little has suggested trade negotiators and exporters of dairy and beef products should turn away from the TPP region and instead focus on India and Indonesia.

It appears the pretender to the prime ministership is unaware New Zealand already has an FTA with Indonesia as part of the historic Asean-CER deal, launched by Helen Clark in 2004 and completed by Mr Groser in 2009. As a result, bone-in meat is already tariff free and boneless cuts will become tariff free in 2020.  For dairy, almost all tariffs are now below 5% and falling.  Tariffs on wholemilk powder, butter and cheese are zero.

Maybe Mr Little thinks a Labour trade minister would have done better but, even were that so, it’s hardly an argument not to take what the TPP has put on the table.   Read more »

Helen Clark wants to be President of the World

Hate or loathe her, honest political opponents have to at least respect Helen Clark.  And perhaps enough will do so to make her the top boss at the United Nations.

By this time next year, the prospect of Helen Clark succeeding Ban Ki-moon as head of the United Nations should be clear.

Though the former New Zealand Prime Minister has been careful not to declare her hand, her name appears high on the list of potential candidates whenever the post is publicly discussed.

Clark mused about the idea in an interview last year when she was asked if she wanted the job. She replied: “If there’s enough support for the style of leadership that I have, it will be interesting.”

This week, her office offered the party line. Her spokeswoman, Christina LoNigro, told the Weekend Herald by email: “United Nations Development Program Administrator Helen Clark is very happy in her current position as the head of the UN’s development activities, and has no further comment.”

Clark’s successor at the Beehive, John Key, got on the phone when Clark drew up a CV for the UNDP role after Labour’s defeat in November 2008. On April 17, 2009, nine days after resigning from Parliament, Clark was in New York being sworn in to her US$450,000 UNDP job.

The post, number three in the UN hierarchy, put her in charge of a sprawling agency with offices in 170 countries and territories, a US$5 billion budget and a high-profile platform. Despite his different political stripe, Key has pledged to back Clark if she wants a crack at the Secretary-General’s job.

If we can leave her domestic politics to one side, she’s definitely punching above her weight and is continuing to put New Zealand on the map.  Pity it is for the huge black hole of public money that is the UN, but let’s not get catty about it.

So far Helen has pretty much achieved everything she set her mind to.   It won’t surprise me at all when she leads the UN one day, and I do believe we should be behind this in a non-partisan way.

There will also be other benefits – the UN is a much bigger trough, so we can hope it will attract ambitious lefties that would otherwise mess up our local politics by providing a credible opposition.

A fourth, and arguably the most important, was not approached, partly because Eyley says she was told it would be pointless. That person was Heather Simpson, who got on board with Clark 30 years ago and has ridden shotgun with her ever since, though she has barely uttered a public peep. Known as “H2”, Simpson was hired from Otago University where she taught economics.

Her style is described in the book by Sir Michael Cullen, who worked with Simpson at Otago and was deputy prime minister to Clark from 2002 until 2008. Cullen says big decisions were often a three-way thing between the leader, himself and Simpson.

“Heather was often the one who went off to see whether various members of the caucus’ kneecaps needed a degree of ventilation …”

Whatever the true source of Helen’s power, you can’t deny the result.


– Andrew Stone, A newspaper


Phil Quin on the feral opposition to dissent in Labour

Phil Quin writes about the feral opposition to dissent within Labour.

In my plagiarism posts, I presented several examples of Curran lifting entire sections from magazine articles and inserting them without attribution in a Labour Party policy paper. Neither Curran nor anyone else in Labour disputed my account. By contrast, when calling my column “fiction” and me “very bitter”, Curran failed to produce a scintilla of evidence to support either claim.  Just another baseless ad hominem attack. Ho hum..

This happens every time without fail.  Some outlet or other publishes something from me that contains criticism of the Labour Party because I am genuinely exasperated by its unrelenting incompetence, and fearful that New Zealand is on the cusp of becoming a one-party state.  The response from Labour is never to dispute the facts as I lay them out, or even to question my interpretation. I am simply attacked for being “bitter”.

For those who don’t know the provenance of this line of attack, it is this: I was shunned from Labour after my role in a doomed coup attempt against Helen Clark in 1996, and I’ve apparently yet to recover from the resulting sense of emotional and professional injury.  In this account, I have spent the past 20 years in a state of broiling resentment at no longer having a job in the Labour Research Unit.

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