Helen Clark

Rodney Hide thinks the leftwing live in ‘perpetual anger and utter miserableness’

Rodney Hide explains in the NBR about his belief that the left wing live in ‘perpetual anger and utter miserableness’.

One of the reasons I am not a Lefty is their perpetual anger and utter miserableness. It renders them utterly unattractive. Theirs is not a club I wish to join.

If you doubt my characterisation take a look at the left-wing blogs The Standard or The Daily Blog. Or a school staffroom. Or Question Time, Morning Report or any newspaper.

Or compare John Key to Helen Clark.

It’s extraordinary, is it not? I don’t know an exception. There’s next to no difference in Ms Clark’s and Mr Key’s policies. In fact, there’s no difference. But there’s a world of difference in outlook and temperament because of their politics.

It’s been a lifelong puzzle to me. Why are Left Wingers so miserable and angry about, well, everything?

Why indeed?

We saw one of the nastiest election campaigns ever, with grotesque sign vandalism, criminal acts of hacking and demonisation of anyone opposed to the leftwing parties.

They even had the temerity to suggest it was they who were pure and the right who are nasty.

Central to the Left’s ideology is the belief that politicians have the power to make the world a better place. That’s how they think.

Now consider how that plays out in their heads.

That their lives aren’t better must make them bitter and twisted.  Their life is a constant proof that politicians aren’t doing what they are meant to or what they promised. Their miserable lot, or that of the fellow down the road, or the world in general, is the fault of politicians who, accordingly, must be uncaring, idiotic or crooked and, perhaps, all three. If politicians were genuine, the world would be a better place.

It never occurs to me that a politician would or could fix a thing. I am just happy they leave me mostly alone. I wish they would do better at it but I know how to keep myself out of their way.

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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 »

Josie Pagani on Andrew Little’s challenges

Josie Pagani has some sound advice for Andrew Little.

I bet he doesn’t listen though, but he really needs to.

How many times have we seen shots of Labour party leaders declaring unity while standing in front of caucus members, smiling the kind of smile you produce by sucking air through your teeth?

Labour doesn’t need more protests of unity. It needs more open debate.

People used to join the Labour party for the policy fights. A contest of ideas was how you sorted  good ideas from bad. Achievements like paid parental leave and the nuclear free policy were achieved only after advocates won the argument; Unity was earned by debate, not by shutting debate down and pretending there was no diversity of opinion on these issues.

You can’t have a contest of ideas unless you accept into the fold people with a range of views, and celebrate ideological breadth. Bill Rowling and David Lange were both early sceptics of the nuclear free policy; yet today publicly arguing for a minority position within the party is mistaken for disloyalty.

So Andrew Little’s first challenge is to change this culture.

That is so true. Labour has this tug the forelock, doff the cloth cap, kneel in obeisance to the leader mentality that was beaten into them by Helen Clark and her stasi-like control of internal party debate. Those attitudes now need to be beaten out of them.

The 600,000 people who voted Labour a few months ago had nothing to do with this leadership contest. Most didn’t care because the election purported to be a contest between fifty shades of beige:  ‘fairness’ and ‘opportunity for all’ as if anyone in Labour is in favour of unfairness and opportunity only for a wealthy few.

The exception was David Parker and Andrew Little differing over capital gains tax and the retirement age. Andrew Little wants to jettison Labour’s election policies on those issues. He will now have to respond to Parker’s question – if not a CGT, then what? Not forgetting the CGT is more popular in the polls than Labour right now.

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An evening with Julia Gillard

I went to listen to Julia Gillard last night with Mum. It was enjoyable. Mum like me is a conservative but she appreciates women in positions of power and what we can learn from them. I didn’t agree with Julia’s position on ‘Affirmative action’ to get women into politics. Affirmative action whether applied to race or sex is reverse discrimination in my opinion and my Mum agrees.

My Mother heads a very large business and she built it from the ground up. She earned the respect she now commands and nothing was handed to her on a platter. We both find the idea of ‘ giving ‘ women a quota disrespectful to women’s abilities. As far as I know Julia Gillard got to the top job on merit yet she doesn’t expect other women to achieve what she achieved in the same way.To be fair I think her real problem was the number of women currently in Politics. She reasoned that if only a few are in it then that reduces the chances of a leader being a woman. Sure it does but it also ensures that when women like her and Helen Clark do make the top job,they will be more than equipped to handle it. As she said last night, Politics is an adversarial environment. Julia made it very clear that she did not think as some women do, that more women in Politics would make the environment more consensual. She believes that you should fight passionately for what you believe in and she makes no apology for doing that.

That aside, Julia had plenty of pertinent things to share with the audience and some of it was very relevant to why I am so excited about Freed.

She pointed out how the Media in Australia had become Protagonists in Politics instead of interested observers reporting on the action. Julia herself described some of the ways in which she was attacked in the media and media campaigns against her.

During the evening Julia’s world famous Misogyny speech  was discussed so I just had to watch it today. It was a very well structured and argued speech. Her experience as a lawyer was obvious as she used evidence to build her case with skill. I appreciate a good speech or debate because I understand the techniques used to make it good and the skill required to deliver it effectively. When I was at primary school we had a speech competition every year at every level. My brother made his first speech at only 5 years old. I was 9 when I started at that school and I took part every year until I was 12 and won every competition. At High School I won every year bar one when I came second to a guy called Grant who went on to become a lawyer.

 

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Looks like Helen is trying to protect her own

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Will she counsel Little to keep the old guard, and by doing so, guarantee another stretch of total deadlock?  Will Andrew have the stones to go against the uber-Leader’s orders and finally fix the problems she left behind?

If he falls in line, it will be another Labour Leader that will have accepted Helen’s Kiss of Death.

Tune in next week….

So after years of whinging about gambling what does a Labour leader hopeful do?

Grant Robertson has banged on about gambling for ages, attacking constantly the Sky City convention centre deal.

He is even in Hansard railing about gambling and gambling harm.

What is his response to Major Campbell Roberts, from the Salvation Army, who said that the proposed legislation cancels out any benefits, that the harm minimisation measures allowed for in the legislation are a joke, that they are neither robust nor effective, and that they do not represent any significant improvement on the current ineffective practices of Skycity Casino, which are already failing to reduce gambling harm? What is his response to Campbell Roberts’ comments?

Yet around rolls the Melbourne Cup and what is Grant Robertson doing?

That’s right being a hypocrite and flaunting his gambling stubs from the TAB.

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Time to turn the clock back on some of Clark’s labour market damage

National’s employment reform is causing the usual canned complaints.  We have petitions, and threats, and bleating from the usual corners.  National is stealing the tea break, didn’t you know?

Under the change, an employer would have to provide only “reasonable compensatory measures where an employee could not reasonably be provided with breaks”. That could be met by giving equivalent time off work.

Labour launched a petition against the move that drew 10,000 signatures in 24 hours. It hoped to boost that over Labour weekend.

Labour MP Andrew Little – who highlighted the law change during his first leadership pitch to party members – said it showed this was the most “niggardly and nasty” National Government there had been. “To begrudge anyone having a cuppa or a meal break during their working day goes against the grain. It’s a Kiwi tradition. Doing away with it is mean-spirited and unfair.”

Labour’s minority report from the select committee that considered the bill described it as a leap back to the failed 1990s model. They said it continued “the flawed logic” that employers, who already have control of their workplaces and an implied duty of employees to obey instructions, needed more statutory powers.

Healthy workplaces allow for flexibility.  Like working through lunch so you can leave earlier that day to go do something.   Or working through lunch for 4 days to take Friday afternoon off.   This is something that any normal functioning company and its employees work out automatically.   Everyone benefits.   Read more »

Michael Bassett on Dirty Politics

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Michael Bassett is one of the smartest men in New Zealand politics.

This is what he has to say on ‘Dirty Politics.

Reading the New Zealand Herald and watching Parliament this week, one could be forgiven for thinking that the 2014 election hadn’t yet taken place. Left-leaning editorial writers and opposition parliamentarians have been busy re-hashing stories that grabbed them during the election campaign as though the voters hadn’t yet passed judgment. It’s worth reminding these people; an election occurred on 20 September, and they lost. The people have spoken. Voters told them that they had weighed up Nicky Hager’s “Dirty Politics” amongst other things and decided his book was either irrelevant to the current state of things, or was a pile of crap. “Dirty Politics” is a corpse, and there’s little sense now trying to resurrect it.
Why would these journalists and lefties, too many of whom are one and the same, want to revive Hager? A few, I guess, want something to keep bashing National with. They are angry at the election outcome. I keep being surprised at how many people believed until the numbers went up that a left coalition was still on the cards. Others possibly believe in St Nicky, and admire his chutzpah in using stolen emails for pecuniary gain. That, they seem to think, is “investigative journalism” at its finest.

It wasn’t and it will eventually be revealed for the large criminal political conspiracy that it was. Then the media will have a choice to make, and watching them make that choice will be delicious.

There will be others again, many of them young or naïve in the extreme, who actually believe Hager’s story. They have so little understanding of political processes in New Zealand or anywhere else that they think there was something new and especially sordid about Jason Ede acting as a conduit to bloggers, passing information, and discussing tactics designed to put National in a good light. Some won’t know about the methods used by the Labour government while Helen Clark was in office 1999-2008, when press releases and exaggerated criticism of opponents were filtered to “The Standard”, Labour’s electronic broadsheet. Nor will they know about the priming done by cabinet minister Ruth Dyson each morning of her email tree with sleaze that the government wanted to be widely disseminated. The Prime Minister knew all about it. I found out about it: some of Dyson’s stuff was inadvertently sent to me! Some journalists won’t know that throughout her career Helen Clark had a list of journalists she’d ring to exchange gossip. Sometimes she would only hint, other times she’d tell the person on the other end of the phone about what she planned to do to some on her own side who had incurred her wrath. Occasionally she’d plant an idea that the journalist would be encouraged to follow up, hopefully with devastating consequences. A few people in today’s press gallery were involved and are currently keeping their heads down. If John Key rang Cameron Slater in any capacity, what’s the difference? The Herald’s editor might like to tell us?

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Beware the cult of personality, and the legacy they leave

Over the past few days I have received more than a few random emails about a couple of posts where I dared to criticise John Key. I have also had some personal approaches.

Apparently my audience will be affected negatively by criticising John Key. He also is the saviour of the National party and without him National would be stuffed.

Ignore the fact that he shamelessly used one of my private emails to conduct a personal hit on a friend, and ignore the fact that he thinks I should just accept it as “mo hard hard feelings”. I say ignore those because they have absolutely no bearing on my criticism of John Key.

I criticise him because I am alarmed that National is falling into the same traps that Helen Clark fell into.

The trap of creating a cult of personality.

Let me explain.

Labour’s current predicament has come about as a result of 15 years of a cult of personality in Helen Clark. Where she was the labour party and the Labour party was her. She purged the party of those who thought even a little differently. She populated caucus with sycophants, and she sacked good honest brokers in her office and replaced them with forelock tugging apparatchiks. She created the party in her image, the photoshopped one not the real you can break bottles on her face image.

When the public saw behind the photoshop they they recoiled. The party was destroyed in the 2008 election and she promptly departed for greener pastures.

But her legacy remains. Decidedly average MPs, middle manager types who were already promoted beyond their abilities. She left a caucus highly factionalised so there was no dominant faction unable to topple her. But the worst aspect was she left the party in the hands of hard left organisers who bizarrely think that the path to salvation is to be more hard left.

The funniest thing of all is there is still no one inside Labour who will ever hear a bad word said about Helen Clark.  Read more »

John Roughan on Labour’s leadership spill

John Roughan echoes my stance on Labour’s leadership problems and Helen Clark’s legacy.

But he discusses just precisely how if any one of the four mediocre people standing for leadership of the Labour party at the moment was elected that our economic policy, at least, wouldn’t change that much.

Labour’s leadership problems began with Helen Clark’s retirement announcement on the night her Government was defeated. The audible groan from Labour people in the hall that night was possibly not simply sorrow at her sudden departure. Seasoned members, as most seemed to be, might have sensed what would happen.

In need of a new leader quickly, the caucus elected the next most experienced minister still in its ranks, Phil Goff. When Goff went down to predictable defeat, he followed Clark’s example. It may seem the noble and proper thing to do, but it is not in a party’s interest. It is better that the defeated leader soldiers on, suffering the taunts and indignities of a lame duck, until a natural successor emerges from the pack.

To force the issue so soon after a devastating election defeat not only runs the high risk of choosing another poor leader, it increases the risk that the party will be destabilised in its policies and direction too. This might be exactly what returners from the Alliance desire.     Read more »