Matthew Hooton

Could convergence become an issue

Labour continues to be mired in the 20s, the Greens are slowly climbing towards the 20s…hoovering up the disaffected hard left of Labour as The Cunliffe continues to disappoint.

Could convergence become an issue, where the Greens supplant Labour as the largest opposition party.

Matthew Hooton discussed that in his column at the NBR:

Don’t rule out convergence.

Labour’s disastrous decision to replace David Shearer with David Cunliffe and spend nearly a year swinging to the far left has inevitably crashed its poll numbers.

The recent ploy to swing back to the centreappears to have come too late. The days are long gone when Mr Shearer had Labour polling around the mid-30s and, with the Greens in the low teens, well on track to become prime minister. In both the major polls released this week, Roy Morgan and Fairfax-Ipsos, Mr Cunliffe’s Labour was languishing under 25%.

Both polls were taken mainly after Mr Cunliffe’s apology for being a man, but also after his major education announcements. Despite Labour strategists privately claiming their internal polling responded favourably, the public polls suggest that the promises of cheap laptops and slightly smaller classes have failed to capture the imagination of middle-class parents.

Worse for Labour, while there may be good evidence the polls tend to overestimate National’s support by around 5% at the expense of smaller parties, the trend line for Labour in at least the last two elections has almost exactly predicted its actual party vote.

In 2011, Phil Goff led Labour to its worst result since 1925. If Mr Cunliffe’s tilt to the centre continues to fail, he risks taking New Zealand’s oldest political party below the 24% it won in the first two elections following the World War I.

Poll numbers also have an element of self-fulfilling prophecy. People don’t like voting for losers. As the election nears, Labour risks losing a crucial few further points to the Greens, Internet-Mana and NZ First.

Bill English currently wears the electoral dunce cap in the New Zealand parliament, having led National to its 21% debacle in 2002. The finance minister may dare to hope he might finally get to pass it on to Mr Cunliffe after September 20.

For all this, the risk of a change of government remains high.   Read more »

Let’s do ‘The Cunliffe’ again

With both Matthew Hooton and Fran O’Sullivan picking up a step tot eh right by The Cunliffe, it reminded me of the time less classic from The Rocky Horror Picture Show “The Time Warp”.

Of course it is apt with The Cunliffe also apologising for being a man.

I’ve renamed the song “The Cunliffe”


(Riff Raff) It’s astounding
Time is fleeting
Madness takes it’s toll…

(Magenta) Ahh…

(Riff Raff) But listen closely…

(Magenta) Not for very much longer…

(Riff Raff) I’ve got to keep control.
I remember doing The Cunliffe.
Drinking those moments when
The blackness would hit me.

(Riff Raff & Magenta) And the void would be calling.    Read more »

Fran O’Sullivan detects a step to the centre from Labour as well

It looks like the same Labour stool pigeon who has been whispering in Matthew Hooton’s ear has also been whispering in Fran O’Sullivan’s.

David Cunliffe is well into repositioning himself as the candidate from Party Centrist — not Party Left Wing.

The naked “feint left” drive which persuaded Labour activists to parachute him into the party’s leadership over the top of more obvious centrist candidates like Shane Jones has been quietly jettisoned.

Even at the party conference there was more of an obligatory nod to the “comrades” than the kind of policies that would have enabled his National opponents to ramp up the fear factor.

Smaller class sizes and electronic learning paraphernalia are not going to get the juices of so-called blue collar workers boiling.

But such policies will appeal to middle classes — irrespective of how the additional 2,000 teachers are paid for.

The Cunliffe move is the upshot of a strategic rethink behind scenes within Labour’s war room.

Read more »

Is David Cunliffe about to lurch Labour back towards the centre?

Matthew Hooton believes that The Cunliffe may be about to lurch Labour back towards the centre as they attempt to get some traction…any traction at this election campaign.

If that is the case then John Tamihere’s assessment in the Herald this morning is spot on, that “He’s an extraordinarily talented chap but you never get to see the real David. You get to see the David that he thinks you want to see. And that’s his problem.”

Hooton is alluding to that in his column at NBR.

If David Cunliffe becomes prime minister this spring, the origins of his win will be traced to the last week.

This may seem counterintuitive. After all, his highest profile move was his apology for being a man, generally lampooned as absurd. More substantively, though, it revealed a deeply collectivist worldview, where people’s main identity is not as an individual with personal responsibility but where we are primarily members of categories from which we accrue collective guilt and credit.

Such a political philosophy may be abhorrent to anyone who values basic concepts of human autonomy but it was wildly popular among Labour’s Women’s Council, the unions and the far-left activists who back Mr Cunliffe. Some even rang Mr Cunliffe’s office weeping with gratitude.

Intentionally or otherwise, the apology created cover for a repositioning of Mr Cunliffe back to the centre, which would begin at Labour’s conference the following day and is at the heart of Labour’s strategy for the next 10 weeks.

The Cunliffe needs to do this because so far his socialist prescription is failing to resonate.

Mr Cunliffe ran for leader from the far-left, with rhetoric about red roses, the failed neoliberal experiment, the missing million, the misery of 250,000 children living in poverty, and a commitment that his Labour would be “deep red, not pale blue.”

As a strategy to become leader it worked well but it reversed all the progress Labour had made in the wider polls under David Shearer’s more centrist approach.

Talking down New Zealand as a failed state with starving kids wasn’t connecting with voters experiencing economic growth, falling unemployment, rising wages, low inflation, still-modest interest rates and a kiwi dollar enabling them to afford some luxuries after five difficult years.   Read more »

Comments of the Day

From Matthew Hooton to the whingers of the left:

What the left calls “the neoliberal experiment” the right believes is the most progressive set of policies ever to have been implemented in the history of the world, that has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty in China, South East Asia and (more slowly) India, as opposed to the alternative approach that has caused misery in much of South America and Europe.
We believe that everyone in New Zealand has gained from the post-1984 consensus and that a shift to what Cunliffe proposes would harm everyone in New Zealand.
We may of course be wrong.
But we believe this quite passionately.
So why would anyone surprised that people on the right are prepared to fight hard to stay in power?
Just like Helen Clark sent Mike Williams to Australia to find dirt on John Key (for the same motives).
To quote Michael Cullen, this is about power in NZ.
To quote Tana Umaga, it’s not tiddlywinks.
Is National meant to find evidence that Cunliffe is at best a hypocrite or at worst a liar and say “oh well, jolly good, let’s more on”?
Get into the real world.
Even if the most sinister explanations for this letter becoming public are true, its all fair enough in war, love and politics.
And it will get worse for Labour when the rumoured $300k issue emerges.

Read more »

Can Paul “Reek” Goldsmith ever be a Minister?

Claire Trevett delivered an awesome sledge last week, calling Paul Goldsmith “Reek” from the Game of Thrones.

For those who still don’t know who Reek is, he is a character (Theon Greyjoy) in the Game of Thrones who has his tackle chopped off and is tortured to the point of insanity.

The problem for Reek Goldsmith is not so much the pressure and bad publicity for taking a dive in Epsom. It is that he is dead set useless when put on the spot by the media.

Watch him gulp like a goldfish when asked a really simple question about running in Epsom and dodging a debate. This is a political train wreck. Despite Matthew Hooton’s best efforts it is hard to see John Key ever making Goldsmith a minister, because Reek has demonstrated how absolutely useless he is when under pressure.  Read more »

The politics of race, envy and hate

Matthew Hooton calls out David Cunliffe for the politics of race, envy and hate.

It’s always nice to have your advice accepted.

On Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon on Monday, I recommended David Cunliffe tackle Labour’s disastrous post-budget polls by trying out the politics of race, envy and hate. After all, these have strong records of changing polls throughout the western world.

Mr Cunliffe didn’t let me down. That very evening, TV3 reported Mr Cunliffe channelling Winston Peters, blaming migrants for house-price inflation, hospital waiting lists and overcrowded schools. While there is some dispute about how his words were meant to be interpreted – an occupational hazard with dog-whistle politics – Mr Cunliffe has appeared to float a new target of as few as 5000 new arrivals a year, which would represent a 92%cut.

Labour’s Trevor Mallard later clarified that the party plans no changes to New Zealanders having a right to return home; to Australians, Cook Islanders, Niueans and Tokelauans having an absolute right of access to New Zealand; to quota arrangements with Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Kiribati; or to refugees arriving mainly from Myanmar, Colombia, Bhutan, Iraq and Sri Lanka. Instead, Labour would target work visas and family reunifications.

In practice, this means migration from the UK – still by far our biggest source of permanent and long-term arrivals other than from Australia – followed by China, India, the US Germany, the Philippines, France, Japan, Canada, South Korea and Ireland.

And let’s cut to the chase: not since the 1970s has anyone complained about whinging Poms. When Mr Peters, Mr Cunliffe and others talk about immigration, they intend their words to be understood as referring primarily to arrivals from China and India – and, in particular, the former.

Read more »

Greedy ISPs refusing to pass on savings

Matthew Hooton and a collection of greedy ISPs mounted a campaign to lower the core costs of broadband…labelling the higher prices a “Copper Tax”.

Now that prices have dropped those same ISPs, who were saying that consumers would pay higher prices, aren’t passing on those savings to consumers.

The whole campaign was a fraud and now it is revealed as such.

Hamish Fletcher reports:

Internet companies will enjoy a reduction in some of their wholesale costs in December but aren’t committed to passing on these savings directly to consumers then.

Cuts to what infrastructure company Chorus charges internet retailers like Vodafone and Orcon for some wholesale copper-line broadband services are due to come into effect on December 1.

While two different price changes made by the Commerce Commission will come in on that day, Chorus has requested a wider review of both sets of prices from the regulator.

Although it had been aiming to have both reviews completed by the time the new pricing came into force, the commission on Thursday said it now planned to have a draft decision on both sets of prices by December and a final decision in April.

This means the price change will be in effect for at least four months before any possible change the commission could make in its final rulings.

But while internet providers will enjoy some lower wholesale costs over this time, none are committing themselves to lower prices for customers straight away in December.

Maybe Chorus should employ Hooton to put the acid back on the ISPs, what a surprise they aren’t passing on the savings.    Read more »

Have Labour had an outbreak of ethics?

Matthew Hooton writes at the NBR about Shane Taurima and Labour’s decision to rinse him.

The strange thing about the Taurima report is that labour actually did the right thing and gave him the arse.

Have Labour had an outbreak of ethics or did they have too many gays for the quota?

Matthew Hooton thinks they knew all along and have done this to try to appear to have clean hands.

In some circles, Mr Taurima is very highly regarded.

As Winston Peters put it on radio this morning, as part of a wide-ranging interview on his latest allegations about the Cook Strait ferries and his promise to release, as early as today, information he says he holds that will force Judith Collins to resign: “Over the years I have known Shane, I have always found him to be highly professional and the kind of quality Maori media personality that we need to seriously encourage in this country.”

Mr Peters described the decision by the Labour’s New Zealand Council not to allow Mr Taurima to seek the party’s nomination for Tamaki Makaurau as “a tragedy”, “a terrible pity” and “disappointing in the extreme”.

Tamaki Makaurau, currently held by retiring Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples, is now overwhelmingly favoured to be won by Labour in September. Whoever wins Labour’s nomination can look forward to a long career in parliament, representing the Auckland region, and to become a major rangatira, with a permanent place in Maori history.

Mr Taumira is only human to have wanted that desperately – and Labour gave him every indications it wanted him, delaying the deadline for nominations to try to accommodate his difficulties with his employer, TVNZ.

Those indications were even stronger because a large number of people within Labour, including on its New Zealand Council, knew all along what Mr Taurima was up to within TVNZ and implicitly endorsed it.

Mr Taurima essentially set up a Labour cell within TVNZ, signing up his own staff as party members and setting up new branches.   Read more »

Does Matthew Hooton use iPredict to help his Mates? Ctd

Look Simon, I know you like cuddling unions but it's a really bad look son

Look Simon, I know you like cuddling unions but it’s a really bad look sonny

Corporate whore and all round cunning bastard Matthew Hooton has been promoting his mate Simon Bridges as the next leader of the National Party through ipredict.

Having Bridges as a leader will allow Hooton to sell a lot more access to his clients, so promoting Bridges is a good sensible political move.  Read more »