Josie Pagani

Labour’s dirty politics on display

Labour’s dirty politics is on display and it involves a couple of the more nasty characters in the Labour party.

The weeping sores of Labour Party divisions following a devastating election defeat are not confined to the Wellington Beltway. Political editor Dene Mackenzie finds Dunedin South MP Clare Curran is fighting her own opposition.

In most cases, the revival of a Labour Party branch which says it has doubled its membership since August, and aims to have 100 members early next year, would be welcomed by the sitting MP.

But Dunedin South MP Clare Curran is anything but thrilled by the resurrection of the Andersons Bay-Peninsula branch in her electorate.

She says the branch was reconstituted without official approval, with the aim of undermining her bid to be re-elected.

”This is dirty tricks and dirty politics in Dunedin South,” she told the Otago Daily Times this week.

The man behind the revival, former candidate and branch organiser Tat Loo, denies the allegations.  Read more »

The Huddle at 1740

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It’s Monday and as usual Larry Williams has The Huddle with Jock Anderson and myself.

Our topics will be:

  • National’s cabinet reshuffle.
  • The electricity cuts in Auckland. A two sided affair, businesses take a hit – and these kind of power cuts shouldn’t be happening. BUT also there was a bit of overkill in relation to the media coverage and the term “crisis” being bandied about.

You can listen online via iHeartRadio and usual methods.

As usual I will post the audio in the morning.

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The Huddle

newstalkzb

I was on The Huddle last night.

There was a slight change this week after Josie Pagani showed her right wing credentials they have decided to get a real left winger on the show and so David Farrar made an appearance

Our topics were:

  • Labour – where did it all go so wrong and will their inquiry get to the bottom of the problem. Looking at their terms of reference in relation to this it’s like they are basically looking at EVERYTHING to do with the party in relation to the situation. But I would say that the party’s only as good as the people running it – and they might be in for a  shock when the results of the review come back. They clearly need a good clean out to rejuvenate party in the public’s eye – but they also need behind the scenes people who can come up with effective and strong policy to move them towards the middle ground and become a real opposition party again. They do actually risk becoming irrelevant and leaving the door open for either the Greens or NZ First to be the “opposition”.
  • Then we’ve got the two friends for National in parliament. They feel like faux deals as there doesn’t appear to be much in it for either Peter Dunne or David Seymour – I guess it gives National more of a buffer in the house, but what on earth is an under -secretary? Interesting though that both Dunne and Seymour are happy to roll with their votes going to National for very little relevance in the wider scheme of things.

Read more »

The Huddle at 1740

newstalkzb

It’s Monday and as usual Larry Williams has The Huddle.

There is a slight change this weeks after Josie Pagani showed her right wing credentials they have decided to get a real left winger on the show for tonight and so David Farrar will be joining us.

Our topics will be:

  • Labour – where did it all go so wrong and will their inquiry get to the bottom of the problem. Looking at their terms of reference in relation to this it’s like they are basically looking at EVERYTHING to do with the party in relation to the situation. But I would say that the party’s only as good as the people running it – and they might be in for a  shock when the results of the review come back. They clearly need a good clean out to rejuvenate party in the public’s eye – but they also need behind the scenes people who can come up with effective and strong policy to move them towards the middle ground and become a real opposition party again. They do actually risk becoming irrelevant and leaving the door open for either the Greens or NZ First to be the “opposition”.
  • Then we’ve got the two friends for National in parliament. They feel like faux deals as there doesn’t appear to be much in it for either Peter Dunne or David Seymour – I guess it gives National more of a buffer in the house, but what on earth is an under -secretary? Interesting though that both Dunne and Seymour are happy to roll with their votes going to National for very little relevance in the wider scheme of things.

You can listen online via iHeartRadio and usual methods.

As usual i will post the audio in the morning.

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Cat fight: Pagani vs St John

Josie Pagani and Susan St John are having a donnybrook over the direction of the Labour party and poverty.

One is an activist and member of the party the other is a lofty academic more attune with lecturing people.

My money is on the activist.

Susan St John accuses me of “visionless pro-work rhetoric” for writing in my blog about Labour’s position on extending the Working For Families tax credit to families not in work.

I’m not sure if Susan St John thinks it would be more visionary to be ‘anti-work’. I’m proud to support the core Labour value of work. The best way out of poverty is a well-paid job. The Labour movement is founded on the entitlement of working people to dignity through work and security when we can’t.

Those of us who have been in and around families needing benefits to live on have experienced the cycle of getting work, getting off the benefit and then getting back into it again. Work is the central security in our lives.

There will always be many who can’t work (or, often, could work but should not have to, such as many mothers of young children and many sick and disabled individuals among others.) Being ‘pro-work’ does not mean giving up on them or failing to represent them.

But my point was that you win the argument about doing more to help families on benefits if you can win the trust of those who are only two pay checks away from being on a benefit themselves.

Susan St John’s position implies the only way to help beneficiaries is by extending the in-work tax credit to beneficiaries. Yet we know that policy is unpopular.

So why don’t we get support to reduce child poverty and inequality? She implies the in-work tax credit for beneficiaries is unpopular because of the way it is framed. Others often say it is because voters don’t care about child poverty and inequality. I disagree.

Most New Zealanders really do care about child poverty. They understand the significance of increasing cash payments to beneficiaries. They’re not sceptical about the goal – they are sceptical about the in-work tax credit being the right tool to use.

It is revealing that, in an extensive quote from my previous column she left out this one:

Only when we do that job properly (representing working people) do we win the trust of people to increase benefit levels; because another Labour principle is compassion.”

Yet that is the main point I was making: we lost trust. We have to ask why.

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Realists and Dreamers, why Labour is screwed

The Labour party is in dreadful trouble.

The problem they have is a large amount of their supporters think they have nothing to be ashamed of, that they should keep on keeping on doing what voters have rejected for 3 elections now.

Looks at the attitudes of Len Richard’s, the man who famously attacked a protestor with a megaphone.

More than a decade of dirty politics aimed at demonising and destabilising the Labour Party by well-organised and well-funded opponents have taken their toll. The opinion polls reflect the public mood deliberately created by the spin doctors of the right, and the very poor election results for Labour over the last three elections reflect the polls.

They can’t have it both ways.For years the left wing said the blogosphere was irrelevant, especially me…now we are responsible for the demise of the Labour party.

Deluded is a kind word for people like Len Richards. Dinosaurs is appropriate.

Suggesting Labour lurch further to the left when more than 60% of the voters voted centre right is serious delusion.   Read more »

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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Lindsay Mitchell on why Labour copped a flogging

Labour copped a flogging in the election.

Despite the obvious, they seem to be unable to understand why.

Lindsay Mitchell has provided a handy post explaining precisely why Labour was unelectable and will remain unelectable.

If I could say it in a sentence – Labour makes us feel bad about ourselves.

We are told we should be ashamed to live in a country that tolerates  inequality and poverty. It’s implied that success is a matter for sheepishness when others are missing out. We are heels for feeling any aversion to taxation, or the idea of increasing it.

They ran what was billed as a positive campaign but talked, almost always, negatively.

I cannot be a surprise to anyone that their disconnected campaign slogan was designed to link to Nick Hager’s Dirty Politics saga. It turned out to be a spectacular failure on their part, and it will be interesting to find out precisely who suggested it. My pick is Matt McCarten had a hand in that. The slogan meant nothing without dirty politics.

If things were really dire it might have worked. Oppositions can run winning campaigns built on bad news if it’s real and pervasive.  But economic and social statistics are nearly all trending in the right direction. There were no traditional battlegrounds on which Labour could build a case for change. Not the economy, health, education or welfare.

They tried to bribe the have-nots and guilt trip the rest. But the working have-nots figured out they would lose other subsidies with any wage increase, and didn’t like the idea of beneficiaries getting the tax credits they’ve been working for.

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The left’s problem and a possible solution

Selwyn Manning is a nice guy, I genuinely respect him. Even though he is from the left he is at least considered and only prone to occasional lapses of judgement and falling for conspiracy theories.

His recent articles on the SIS OIA were very fanciful, and he should talk to sensible people rather than ranting idiots who are invariably wrong like Martyn Martin Bradbury.

His latest article though looks at the problems with Labour, the left and he also suggest a possible solution. It is TL;DR, but I have read it for you.

Here are the best parts.

Labour must wake up and scent the air. Because from outside this once broad-tent, in the real New Zealand, springtime has sprung. People are moving on, fast. From here, Labour’s self-dissection will simply create a political latency that in turn will become Labour’s self-conceived prophesy – it risks creating a political sea-anchor that will cause the party to stall, further disengage from opposition-politics, and further render its MPs as irrelevant and cumulatively a spent-force.

We know from previous observations that Labour is notorious for its naval-gazing. Whenever a crisis occurs, those who have occupied its caucus seemingly for decades roll out the tried and true rhetoric of “oh we must examine why this has occurred” and “we must learn from our mistakes”. Well, this tradition fails to cut it when one considers the responsibility this party shoulders as the leading force of the political centre-left – irrespective of last Saturday’s failure.

Any self-examination, of what went wrong or otherwise, will only reveal what has been blindingly obvious to any independent observer over the past six years. The detachment, the disengagement, the aloofness, the tribalism, the inability of the party to attract quality candidates based on merit. That the inverse has too often been the case where selections have been based on a person’s label, their political identity, rather than on their raw ability to represent and lead.

This, in large part, has contributed to Labour’s estrangement from real contemporary New Zealand. Out here, real people aspire to progress and desire to prosper and expect the party they elect to be representative of their own values.

Read more »

The Huddle

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I was on The Huddle last night with Josie Pagani and Larry Williams

Our topics were:

  • The Election results
  • Labour’s terrible predicament

Read more »