Labour party

Phil Quin compares Labour and Labor

Phil Quin looks at the comparison between Labour in NZ and Labor in Australia, and finds the difference isn’t just a ‘u’.

The Australian experience suggests the answer for Labour in New Zealand is not “change the leader”, the knee-jerk response most often preferred. The ALP is within reach, if not exactly favoured, in the coming election despite having a leader with frankly atrocious numbers. Traumatized by the Rudd-Gillard wars, MPs and activists have by and large rallied behind Shorten (albeit a loveless loyalty in many cases), who has in turn worked hard to restore the party to viability.

Compared to Shorten, Phil Goff had it easy in 2008. Helen Clark and Michael Cullen had left Labour in decent shape. And yet, despairingly, Labour’s share of the vote has declined in each subsequent election as the party turned inwards, interpreting each defeat as anything but a repudiation; blaming instead the electorate’s inability to “see through” the diabolical Key, the spectre of “dirty politics” (known in Australia and elsewhere as “politics”), one million dogmatically left-wing voters who habitually forget to vote, David Cunliffe, the mythic ‘Anyone But Cunliffes’, or, at barrel’s bottom, residual fury at the party’s embrace of neoliberalism in the Eighties. That voters might have got it right in their intuition that Labour fails to demonstrate readiness for government is never countenanced.

Labour’s refusenik posture was never more graphically on display than in the review of Cunliffe’s defeat by former UK Labour MP Bryan Gould: the key to Labour’s rejuvenation, Gould insisted, is pretending to get along at all costs – perpetuating the self-serving myth that internal bickering, real and imagined, is all the only thing standing between the party and its destiny. Proponents of this position would point to the Rudd/Gillard experience, but they are confusing an ingredient for the whole recipe: not tearing one another apart is a necessary prerequisite to electoral success, but it is not, on its own, sufficient.

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Is Annette King Labour’s Winston?

I’ve been keeping an eye on Annette King.  She’s in good shape for her age, and clearly has been working on it.  That always raises a flag, especially when the leader’s permanence is under a cloud.

Most weekdays before sunrise Labour’s deputy leader can be found at her gym trying to do more burpees than her husband, Ray Lind.

The exercise, an up-down cross between a push-up and star-jump and favoured by sadistic rugby coaches, keeps Annette King, 68, fit for the rough-and-tumble of Parliament.

She’s not just physically fit; politically she is one of the more active and successful Opposition MPs and one of the party’s great survivors. Age has not wearied her efforts to take the fight to the Government every day.

That was demonstrated in Parliament this week during one of her regular jousts with Health Minister Jonathan Coleman.

Having been Health Minister for six years, she knows as much about the job as Coleman, who has had just 18 months at the helm.

MPs from both sides of the House howled with delight at the Coleman and King set-to.

Apart from her need to heckle like she’s at a pantomime, she is one of Labour’s more scrappy MPs.  And she should be; she’s got the miles on the clock.   Read more »

The anti-semitic virus that’s rampant in the left of politics

We’ve seen Andrew Little getting death threats for visiting a Jewish community centre in Auckland.  But the left and Jew hatred go hand in hand.  This, from the UK:

Tories can feel proud that this anti-Semitism has all but vanished from the Conservative Party.

Unfortunately, it has not vanished from British politics. Indeed, it has emerged as a noxious problem inside Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party. How has Labour acquired this anti-Semitic virus, just as it was eliminated by the Conservatives?

A large part of the answer lies in the politics of the Middle East. Many Labour MPs and activists support the Palestinian cause, and there is no reason why they shouldn’t criticise the policies of the Israeli State. Indeed, it is essential they should be allowed to do so, just as they should be allowed to criticise the policies of any other state.

However, too many Labour politicians have allowed their antagonisms to Israel to spill over into very unpleasant attacks on Jews themselves. We saw this last week, with the emergence of remarks from Naz Shah (made before she became MP for Bradford West, and for which she has now apologised to Parliament) calling for ‘the transportation of Jews from Israel to the United States of America’.

This is a political party that will get stuck into UK Jews for being Jewish, but are quite comfortable with UK Muslims in a general sense.   Read more »

Two questions for Chris Hipkins

It's a crisis I tell you!

It’s a crisis I tell you!

Following on from Chris Hipkins declaring a crisis in education, I have two questions for him to answer.

  1. Isn’t the real “crisis” in education that PPTA-staffed schools ensure that only 14% of Maori school leavers (20% of Pasifika) have University Entrance?
  2. Charter schools use their funding to provide uniforms and stationery and do not ask for donations. States schools have that choice and don’t do it. Will Labour require them to?

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Don’t miss Question Time on Tuesday – all hell will break loose

The government is in for a fight when parliament sits on Tuesday.

Foreign trusts, the prime minister’s integrity, departmental incompetence and a suspect land deal – it’s all there and Labour and the Greens are locked and loaded.

It all ties back to the Panama Papers, the millions of documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca, the law firm that specialises in setting up foreign trusts.

It was those documents that led Labour’s David Cunliffe to discover the identity of the buyers of Onetai Station in Taranaki.

They were Argentinian brothers Rafael and Federico Grozovsky, operating through a company called Ceol and Muir.

They were Mossack Fonseca clients, which didn’t mean they’d been involved in anything illegal but inevitably raised suspicions.

The Overseas Investment Office, which investigates applications to buy big slices of farmland (1320ha in this case) gave the Grozovsky brothers the green light in 2013.

They bought the station in 2014, and made no secret of it. Local beef farmers were taken on as advisors, they aimed to increase production.

So far so good. Prime Minister John Key says the Mossack Fonseca connection was irrelevant.

There’s no claim or evidence they used a foreign trust to pay for the station and the deal was handled this end by law firm Kensington Swan.

All hot air?  Or is there more?   Read more »

Labour declare a new crisis…Education

Labour have a habit of declaring a crisis in almost any industry sector. They declared one in manufacturing and it was promptly solved. They declared a crisis about Kiwis leaving for overseas and now they are all coming home.

The latest crisis that Labour have declared is in Education. Chris Hipkins emails seeking a whole lot of misery-guts whingers so they can pimp them to the Media party:

From: Chris Hipkins
Date: Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 3:09 PM
Subject: SURVEY: Is this costing you?
To: [REDACTED]

[REDACTED],

A free education used to be a right in New Zealand. But the cost of education is rising and many Kiwis and their children are missing out.

In fact, the cost of sending a child to school is increased at ten times the rate of inflation. Rising school donations, the cost of school trips, extras and digital devices are all driving up the cost of sending our children to school.

And the cost of post-school education is dramatically rising too, making it harder for Kiwis to train and retrain for work.

We know the stats – but we want to hear how it’s affecting people like you, [REDACTED].    Read more »

A rare moment of clarity on the left

I caught the tail-end of a conversation on Twitter yesterday about the presidential primaries in the US, and the mathematical impossibility of Bernie Sanders winning the Democratic nomination.

The case was being made (by New Zealanders, though I’m sure the same conversation was happening bigger and louder in the States) that given Bernie “cannot” win at this point, he should withdraw and instruct his supporters to back Clinton.

I don’t think it’s coincidence that the people saying this were Clinton supporters. And I doubt they’d be saying the same of her if the situation were reversed. And it’s possible this wouldn’t bug me as much if I weren’t a fan of Sanders myself.

But it does bug me. Not because I dislike Clinton and not (only) because I support Sanders: because it speaks to a ridiculous, undemocratic sense of entitlement from some people of the left which I’ve seen far too often.

I get where it comes from. We all fervently believe we’re on the side of good, we all have a firm conviction that if we ran the world things would be rainbows and sunshine every day. And god it’s frustrating to see things go bad because the other team are in power instead. It feels like if there were any justice in the world, our team would always win every election in a landslide.

But to be a real democrat, to believe that democracy is the best way to choose who leads our government, requires a degree of humility. Knowing that you have to put the work in. You have to convince others of the merits of your case. You don’t make the decision: they do. Sometimes it’s not the one you want. Read more »

Trotter on Labour problems, and his fantasy opposition wishlist

Chris Trotter has had another lucid moment, albeit with a fantasy paragraph near the end.

He discusses what is wrong with the opposition:

IT IS ONLY NOW, thirty years after the event, that the full effects of Labour’s 1984-1990 betrayals have become visible. The party’s inability to respond coherently to John Key’s National-led government has allowed the latter to escape, Scot-free, from economic and social policy failures that daily grow more intractable. All over New Zealand, voters shake their heads in frank disbelief at National’s extraordinary run of political good luck. Everywhere their cry is the same: “If only we had an Opposition worthy of the name!” How right they are.

I pity Chris sometimes, with his rose-tinted glasses. He still thinks that Roger Douglas did enormous damage to New Zealand when, in actual fact, he saved it from the rampant socialism of Muldoon.   Read more »

WHALEOIL EXCLUSIVE: John Key’s links to Panama revealed

A detailed and in-depth Whaleoil investigation has revealed shocking new information that will rock the government to its core.

Our investigative team at Whaleoil have compiled the evidence to categorically state that John Key is linked to Panama.

The opposition has been hinting at these links for some time, and even last night Grant Robertson tweeted to that effect.

Robbo Tweet

Today Fairfax has a story from David Cunliffe who has also found some sensitive land that is owned by people linked to Panama. It’s not illegal but it does stink apparently.

The Labour Party claims to have identified the Mossack Fonseca client that was given approval to buy sensitive land in New Zealand.

Labour’s land information spokesperson David Cunliffe has outed the client as Panama company Ceol & Muir Inc – it was given approval to buy 1300 hectares of land at Onetai Station in North Taranaki in 2014 for $6 million.

He said the link was the “tip of the iceberg”.   Read more »

Yesterday, the Labour Party declared some of us live in slums

Selection_030

Before I even address the issue of slums, why is it that the Labour Party strategy is to go for excessive hyperbole? It just polarises people straight away. How many years before they understand that more new votes lie in the middle, not on the far left?

That aside, slums.

India has over 40,000 slums housing about 10 million people.  With few exceptions, these slum homes feature:

  • NO electricity
  • NO in-home toilet
  • NO in-home shower
  • NO gas to cook on
  • NO potable water from a tap
  • NO facility to do laundry

and its inhabitants receive:

  • NO government provided welfare.

Let’s compare that New Zealand slum homes, that feature:  Read more »