Labour party

Is Key a subscriber to ‘canoe theory’?

Todd S. Purdum looks at California’s Governor Jerry Brown:

Brown’s politics have long been tough to pigeonhole. He is personally ascetic, like the Jesuit seminarian he once was, and in his first term famously drove a plebeian Plymouth. He has always been a bit of a fiscal skinflint and now bucks liberal orthodoxy on questions like legalizing marijuana. His long-standing credo has been the “canoe theory” — that the best way to head in a straight line is to paddle a little to the left and then to the right. In contrast to a Legislature widely seen as left of center, he is viewed as middle of the road.

It is hard to argue when reading that description of Jerry Brown that it doesn’t also fit John Key perfectly.

John Key sits squarely in the middle, with little paddles to the left, and then little paddles to the right. So far he has got the balance in the canoe just right.

But all it takes to tip a canoe over is a rogue wave, or a boat to speed past or the canoe to spring a leak.   Read more »

Clare Curran wants to know what you think

She’s launched a survey for you to respond to.  Far be it from me to suggest you should not take it seriously.  I think joke answers and real ones would be hard to distinguish anyway.

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Anyway.

If you have a few minutes, and you like to help the Labour Party out, why not give it a whirl.

The most dangerous game

One of my favourite short stories as a teenager was called The Most Dangerous Game

The final few sentences at the end of the book were particularly memorable…

A man, who had been hiding in the curtains of the bed, was standing there.

“Rainsford!” screamed the general. “How in God’s name did you get here?”

“Swam,” said Rainsford. “I found it quicker than walking through the
jungle.”

The general sucked in his breath and smiled. “I congratulate you,” he
said. “You have won the game.”

Rainsford did not smile. “I am still a beast at bay,” he said, in a low,
hoarse voice. “Get ready, General Zaroff.”

The general made one of his deepest bows. “I see,” he said. “Splendid!
One of us is to furnish a repast for the hounds. The other will sleep in
this very excellent bed. On guard, Rainsford.” . . .

He had never slept in a better bed, Rainsford decided.

– Richard Connell (1893-1949)

 

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Here’s the flaw in Trevor’s Moa Plan

Defrosting ancient poo could reintroduce some age-old bugs to the modern world, scientists say.

An extremely infectious and deadly ancient virus, released from a frozen slumber by warming climates, could play havoc with immune systems that have no experience of such germs.

A team of international biologists, including the University of Canterbury’s Arvind Varsani, has proven that such an incident is theoretically possible, after they resurrected an ancient virus from the 700-year-old frozen droppings of Canadian caribou.

With a little reconstruction, the DNA virus, christened the “caribou faeces-associated virus”, has gone on to infect modern-day plants, according to a paper published yesterday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Varsani said the team had proved ancient viruses were as worthwhile to study as today’s versions – as both may make up tomorrow’s germs.

The virus was also identified as a relative of a modern one, giving valuable insight into how the microbes evolved, he said. “Through this work we might be able to understand where they are going and what they are doing if they become pathogenic.”

The elephant in the room is of course the dinosaurs in the Labour Caucus.  Is their poo a risk factor in infecting more modern Labour politicians?   Read more »

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Brian Edwards on Labour’s leadership struggle

My good friend Brian Edwards gives his 10 cents worth on Labour’s leadership struggle.

It would have been nice if the Labour Party caucus had just been able to get together and pick a new leader, following the departure of David Cunliffe. That would have been the tidy way of doing things – a secret ballot, no dirty laundry washed in public, no protracted taking of soundings from all and sundry, no overt competition between the aspirants.

Let’s not do that then! Too sensible. Too easy. Too quick. Too like the way the National Party does things. And look where that got them.

So when the unions and the membership and the caucus have been consulted and weighed up the respective merits of the four contenders, there’ll be a new leader ready to take on John Key and the Nats.

Not an easy job when three out of four New Zealand voters just made it crystal  clear that they didn’t want a bar of you. And even less easy when you’ve just made it plain as a pikestaff to the electorate that no-one in your caucus stands out as the obvious, unchallengeable, next leader of the party. And certainly not Nanaia Mahuta, Andrew Little, Grant Robertson or David Parker.

Uh oh…all is not right in the Edwards household…perhaps the luncheon sausage ran out.

It’s not that they’re unintelligent or palpably untrustworthy or – as far as we know – have deep dark secrets waiting to emerge from the abyss like Kafka’s beetle. No, it’s just that three of them are dull and the fourth is interesting for the wrong reason.

No X-factor, no pizzazz, no charisma, no capacity to generate excitement. Oh for a Kirk, a Lange, a Clark. Good lord, even Geoffrey Palmer could play the trumpet!

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The Labour Party really have no clue…

The Labour Leadership race made it to Nelson last night.

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That’s the crowd.

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Comment of the Day

From yesterday’s Back Chat.

George shows his wisdom:

How the NZ Herald reported the Labour Caucus support for the four leadership contenders.
“Support amongst Labour MPs for the party leadership has Grant Robinson just ahead of David Parker with 11 and 9 supporters respectively and both were some way ahead of Nanaia Mahuta and Andrew Little with 6 supporters each”.
How it should have been reported.
66% of the Labour Caucus don’t want Robertson, 72% don’t want Parker, 81% don’t want Mahuta and 81% don’t want Little.

Which is totally true.

The bottom line is this for Labour…they are rooted, their caucus highly factionalised and at war with each other and the party is similarly fractured.

All a new leader will do is add a very thin veneer to the crumbling facade of a party that seems it won’t make it to its centenary.

The whole article from Audrey Young read as a space filler for the paper after an advertiser cancelled a spot.

Basically it can be summed up as a summary of mediocre and less than talented troughers all trying and failing to get a majority in caucus.  But with the picture placement it certainly looks like we know where the Herald stands on the leadership debate. They had a lovely photo of two young vibrant socialists who look to have been untroubled in their lives by pesky things like having to have had a real job. Read more »

Guest Post – Douglas wrong about National

A guest post from Lindsay Mitchell.


Making some otherwise sound recommendations to his old party, Labour, Sir Roger Douglas made this statement:

 “National’s do-nothing, status-quo approach to economic and social policy provides Labour with a real opportunity to get back up on its feet.”

In the last six years National has done more to address working-age welfare dependence than Labour did in the prior nine.

A Labour supporter would reject my claim on the basis that numbers on the unemployment benefit took a nosedive over their incumbency. That’s true. Work and Income put enormous effort into those on an unemployment benefit, and Labour luckily oversaw an economic boom (giving them full credit for which is as questionable as blaming National for the GFC.)

But chronic welfare dependence, a crippling social and economic issue for New Zealand, lies in the other main benefits:  pre-reform they were the DPB  and Sickness/Invalid benefits combined.

In 2009, National set up the Welfare Working Group, and from there, commissioned the Taylor Fry actuarial work which exposed where long-term reliance is concentrated. The revelation that teen parents and other young beneficiaries entering the system at 16 or 17 would stay there the longest was no surprise.

Through the early 2000s, while only 2-3 percent of the DPB total at any given time was teenagers, between a third and a half of all recipients had begun on welfare aged under twenty. Throughout Labour’s administration I argued that average stays on welfare were much longer than government issued figures. Point-in-time data produces much longer averages than data collected over a period of time, but it suited Labour politically to use the latter data to minimise average stays and downplay dependence.

To understand this statistical phenomena imagine a hospital ward with 10 beds. Nine are occupied year around by chronically ill patients; one is occupied on a weekly basis. At any point-in-time 9 patients have an average stay of 12 months and one, an average stay of one week. But calculated over the year, 85 percent of total patients had an average stay of just 1 week. Equate this to spells on welfare and you can see how long-term dependence can be disguised.

Here is the huge difference between National and Labour.

National looked for what Labour had denied.   Read more »

Guest post: Labour’s governance issues

I have written before about the lack of understanding in the art and practice of good governance within the New Zealand Labour party.  It surprises me at their limited practice of good governance when, within Parliament, the rules of Governance as developed by Erskine May and Roberts Rules are the controlling factors in their day to day life.

We currently have four Labour MPs aiming to be what they are calling the “Leader of the Party”. I had always believed that the Party was lead by the Party President, not the Leader of the Parliamentary wing.

But that aside, as I have already written on the topic, I want to address the latest faux pas being committed by the four aspiring leaders.  They are all stating that they will promote this or that policy as leader.  That they will change policy or make new policy etc.

From the true Governance perspective policy is not made by the Chairman of the Board, but by the Board itself. And the Board of the Party is not the Caucus but the Labour Party Council.   Read more »

Why the Labour Leadership race is broken

If there’s one thing the Labour leadership contenders agree on, it’s that the Labour Party needs to change.

And there is your problem.  For each candidate to stand out and make a clear difference over the other, they have to artificially come up with different ways to “fix” Labour.

During this year’s campaign, Mr Robertson said it was obvious Labour had lost its connection with people.

“We need a new generation of leadership, we need to do things differently,” he said.

“Labour must be a voice in the community every single day, not just when we show up at election time asking for a vote.”

Labour must campaign 3 years.

Ms Mahuta said Labour needs to have honest conversations within its membership.

“Only 25 per cent of people that voted for us and believed in the message that we had,” she said.

“This is about how greater New Zealand responds to who we are and what we stand for, and whether or not we’re listening to them.”

Let the Labour Party members tell us what to do.

Mr Parker said Labour’s spent far too much time over the last six years talking about itself.

“If we can agree on a unity of purpose, we will get strength and confidence from it and success will breed success and people will come back to us.”

Labour needs to figure out what it stands for.   Read more »