John Minto

Labour’s institutional dysfunction

Danyl McLauchlan is one of the few on the left wing that I can respect.

His observations when he isn’t being silly or writing bad satire are usually spot on.

He has taken the time to discuss the Labour party and what he sees as their impending collapse.

I don’t know if Labour is a dying party. Looks like to to me, but there’s still time to turn things around. I do think there’s an important difference between National in 2002 and the Labour Party in 2014. After their 2002 election loss National realised that it faced an existential crisis and took drastic action. They bought Steven Joyce in to review the party, underwent a huge reorganisation and then united behind their subsequent leaders, Brash and Key. The sense I get from Labour is that they don’t have anything to worry about because hey, National was in big trouble a few years ago and now look at them go! Sure, Labour aren’t doing great right now but it’s just history; it’s political cycles. You gotta ride it out and wait until the tide washes you back into government again. There was a nice example of this from former Labour President Mike Williams on the Nine to Noon political segment last week. Williams announced that the leader of the Labour leadership contest will probably be the Prime Minister in 2017 because four term governments are rare. Forget all that hard work of somehow beating John Key, which Labour has no idea how to do, or even reforming the party. Fate will just return them to power, somehow, because that’s what sometimes happened in the past.

I don’t think Key and National see themselves as being circumscribed by fate, and that they should just resign themselves to losing in 2017. I think they’ve built a fearsome political behemoth that dominates New Zealand’s political landscape and which they hope will endure for a long, long time, even after Key finally retires in his fifth term (or whenever).  Labour dying is not a worst-case scenario for the New Zealand left. Labour hanging around, slowly dwindling, occupying the political space of the center-left but not winning an election for another twenty years is the real and highly plausible doomsday scenario. I don’t know how much of National’s strength is an accident of Labour’s current weakness, but I do know that the new Labour leaders job will be reforming their party, and not beating Key. That’s not even an option for Labour until they somehow transform themselves into a modern professional political party, and figure out who they are and what they stand for.

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Why is it Kiwiblog has the best posts when Farrar is away?

Lifestyle, arts and travel blogger David Farrar is away again.

Kiwiblog has again reverted to a blog of David’s mid-life crisis and travels.

Not content with his own travel blogging, he also now has guest travel blog posts.

However he does have a guest post from Kiwi in America that is very good. Why is it Kiwiblog’s best posts are while he is away?

Regular readers of Kiwiblog will recall my lengthy essay posted on Easter Friday about the recent history of Labour; some of it based on my time as an activist there until the mid 90’s attempting to explain Labour’s present day conundrum.

In a nutshell it said that an attempt by the left of the party to seize permanent control of Labour after the massive post Rogernomics ructions under the leadership of Helen Clark, led to a gradual purging of activists from the centrist and right wings of the party. Clark, and her followers in the Head Office and regional hierarchies, ensured the selection of candidates in winnable electorate seats (and after the introduction of MMP, also the party list) that not only ensured she could topple then leader Mike Moore after the 1993 election but also cemented her power base inside Labour guaranteeing her an unchallenged 15 year reign as Labour’s leader. This handed power in the party to an increasingly narrow base of sector and interest groups such as academics, trade unions, progressive feminists and the rainbow coalition gradually driving out activists who were more likely to be white, male, socially conservative, small business owners and church going people of faith. After Labour’s 2008 election defeat, former members of the harder left New Labour Party, homeless after the dissolution of the Alliance, the demise of Anderton’s Progressives and the rise of the Greens, began to come back to Labour assisting in the movement of the party more to the left.

This trend culminated in the amendment to Labour’s Constitution at its 2012 Annual Conference giving 40% of the vote for Party Leader to the party membership and 20% to the affiliated unions leaving only 40% in the hands of the Parliamentary caucus. This new formula enabled David Cunliffe to win the first full leadership primary in 2013 despite having only minority support in caucus – the first time this had ever happened in Labour’s history. The result of his elevation to the leadership was Labour’s third successive and even more disastrous defeat.

When you drive out of the party its more centrist activists, you leave a vacuum that has been filled by harder left activists. When these same activists, alongside the more traditionally left wing trade union leadership, have control of the party’s candidate selections, its policy formation and now the election of its leader, over time you end up with a party, candidates and policies that no longer appeal to middle NZ and a party that is no longer the broad church it used to be. The party may be truer to its left wing principles but it now produces candidates, policies and campaigning rhetoric out of step with the aspirations of floating middle NZ voters that decide elections. National’s moderate centrist direction under John Key has become the natural repository for various key demographic groups that once used to strongly vote Labour and accordingly, Labour has ended up falling further behind National in each subsequent election post its 2008 defeat culminating in its second lowest vote this election since its formation in 1916!

Labour is now undertaking yet another review of why it was defeated and another likely more bruising leadership primary.

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Deception and Demoralisation

Karl du Fresne talks of deception and demoralisation amongst the left in the wake of Dirty Politics and the so-called Moment of Truth.

I WONDER, was this the most demoralising election result ever for the New Zealand left?

There was an excited buzz in the left-wing blogosphere and in social media in the weeks leading up to the election. There seemed to be a sense that victory was in their grasp, even when the polls suggested otherwise. But they were cruelly deceived.

Their optimism is easily explained. In the early stages of the campaign, they saw the fallout from Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics dominating the news bulletins night after night.

After that firestorm had abated, the media turned its attention to Kim Dotcom’s Moment of Truth, with its dazzling line-up of high-profile journalists and leakers from overseas, all eager to tell us how morally bankrupt our government was.

Those on the left observed the adulation heaped on Hager, who was lionised at speaking engagements. They thrilled at the big turnouts attracted by Dotcom and his incongruous handmaiden, Laila Harré. And they deduced from all this that an unstoppable momentum was building, the inevitable result of which would be the unceremonious dispatch of the Key government.

They were wrong. It was a massive indulgence in wishful thinking, and it must have made the left’s defeat even more crushing psychologically.

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Mana economic media release (yes, I know)

Before you carry on reading, I need to warn you:  this is going to hurt your head:

MANA Movement Economic Justice spokesperson John Minto is calling for a radical overhaul of New Zealand’s taxation system with calculations showing that a minimum wage worker pays a ten times higher tax rate than the Prime Minister.

Minimum wage worker 28% tax

Prime Minister 2.8% tax

The minimum wage worker on 40 hours per week earns $29,640 and pays $4,207 in income tax and $4,149.60 in GST giving a total tax of $8,356.60 or 28% of income.

On the other hand the Prime Minister earns $428,000 from his PM’s salary along with this year’s $5,000,000 increase in his wealth (according to NBR’s rich list) which gives him a total income of $5,428,000. On this total income he pays just $132,160 in income tax and approximately $21,400 in GST giving a total tax of $153,560 or 2.8% of income.

This is a national embarrassment. Those least able to pay are under a heavy tax burden while the super-rich pay peanuts.

The National government and its attack bloggers refer to the working poor as scum, bludgers and ferals but it’s clear the real problem is with the top 1% of income earners who get all the benefits of taxpayer funded facilities and services but don’t pull their weight paying for them.

Cleaners, fast-food workers, hospitality workers and security guards are all heavily subsidising the lifestyles of the superrich.

These figures show we need an overhaul of our tax system so the Prime Minister and his rich-list colleagues pay their fair share.

Actually, only one attack blogger refers to the working poor as scum, bludgers and ferals.  I have yet to see the Government use those words.  And no, I’m not “theirs”.  I can assure you, they have no control over me.  Nobody does.   Read more »

John Minto shares an act of effigy burning with his closest friends

From John Minto’s private Facebook (John, one of your friends, isn’t)

unnamed

Please note:

It is still on fire.   Read more »

We’re not anti Semitic at all. We have a Jew with us.

The serial protesters/rent a mob were out in force again on Saturday, proving that they’re in no way at all anti Semitic.

And to quote Joe Carolan’s rant from the July protest, they can’t be anti Semitic because they had a (token) Jew with them. Just like “I’m not racist, I work with a black guy” or “how can I be sexist, I’m married to a woman”.

Because the people [?] led by Whaleoil and repeated by Paul Henry, and Mike Hoskings, and all the rest of the right wing scum in this country, was that we were anti Semitic. Linda where are you, where’s my good friend Linda? There she is, Linda’s a Jew for peace. Give her a cheer!

Rant starts at 1:12

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EXCLUSIVE: “Bash the Jews, cut their f***ing heads off” The footage of Auckland’s protest the other media won’t show you

Bash the Jews, cut their heads off. cut their f***ing heads off”

Those were the fanatical words of a demented blood thirsty nutcase as he stood in protest in front of the American embassy on Customs St, Auckland on the 27th of July. This being just part of the “peaceful protest’ last month in support of some place called Palestine.

I am going to add very few words to this post, and allow you to make judgement for yourselves.

At 3:25 an organiser hurries to usher children in front of a placard saying “MAKE ISRAEL HISTORY” because it was at the front line of the protest in front of a television camera. There were many of these placards seen at the protest.

At 6:20 the demented nutcase begins his violent anti Jewish and anti American rant outside the American Embassy:

“Drag them out. Got a word with them. It’s called Allahu Akbar. God is great. Child killers! F***in’ child killers! “

And

American murderers! Murderers! Burn the flag! Burn the American flag! Bash you Jewish! Cut their heads off. Cut their f$^%in’ heads off!

 

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Face of the day

John-Minto

John Minto has written a letter.

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Be thankful that he didn’t call you all gold diggers

So, Laila Harré is crying a river of tears because John Key said Kim Dotcom was her sugar daddy.

Personally I would have called her and John Minto, Hone Harawira and all the other hangers on all gold diggers.

Duncan Garner gives Laila Harré a serve.

Laila HarrĂ© – harden up.

And welcome back to politics. It hasn’t changed.

So, the Prime Minister said you’re backed by a sugar daddy – Kim Dotcom. So what? Many people will actually agree with him. It’s not really wrong. Is it?

To take offence is to be far too thin-skinned. Harden up, shake it off, but – best of all – just ignore it.

The truth is the Mana-Internet Party is backed by a German billionaire on the run from the authorities. It is what it is: he’s paying you and he’s paying for the party to exist. If he goes, the party goes.

Look the other way and grow a tougher hide. It’s only going to get worse.

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Hooton on Cunliffe’s delicate dance

Matthew Hooton looks into the problems besetting Labour with their dance of the veils with his potential coalition partners.

David Cunliffe can only become prime minister if Hone Harawira wins Te Tai Tokerau and brings Laila Harré, Annette Sykes and John Minto into parliament with him.

At the same time, any overt endorsement by Mr Cunliffe of Mr Harawira would do more harm to Labour’s still-strong election chances than what John Key feared would happen to National were he to endorse Colin Craig’s Conservative Party.

These brute facts explain the extraordinary manoeuvring that is underway in Mr Harawira’s electorate, which spans Cape Reinga to West Auckland.

Labour’s candidate is Kelvin Davis, who has a number of disabilities in the eyes of modern Labour: male and not ashamed of it; married to a woman; three kids all to the same woman; assistant principal at a Catholic school; plays rugby; drinks beer; lives in the provinces; believes in work not welfare.

Unsurprisingly, he was given a place on Labour’s list that makes it impossible for him to return to parliament unless Labour wins an unlikely 29% of the party vote.

Kelvin Davis is in the one position many in politics hope their opposition is never in…that of having nothing to lose. If he doesn’t win Te Tai Tokerau then his political career is over, therefore he will use any and all tactics open to him.

As first revealed exclusively in the NBR last week, Mr Davis and his supporters are determined to win Te Tai Tokerau from someone whose angry and grievance-based politics they regard as anathema to Maori economic development.

They wanted to launch an innovative web-based campaign targeting Mr Harawira’s relationship with Kim Dotcom in order to raise funds for the election, but were thwarted by Labour’s general secretary, the far-left Tim Barnett, who argues both Labour and Internet-Mana are part of the same progressive movement.

Perhaps out of desperation, some of Mr Davis’ supporters even approached me, asking if I would organise a corporate fundraising lunch for their candidate, after hearing of a similar event for another Labour candidate I was associated with.

That was also put a stop to.

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