Gracinda? Someone needs to tell them they’re dreamin’

Ok so the name that they’ve come up with for a gay man and childless single woman to lead Labour is…”Gracinda”.

I mean seriously?

These people with single page CVs of nothing jobs and a lifetime in the trough are wanting to lead a party called “Labour”…I doubt either of them have ever had a callous on their hands from using a shovel or doing some other sort of “Labour”.

Bryce Edwards is drinking the Koolaid.

The dynamic duo of Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern – now termed ‘Gracinda’ on social media – could well be the Labour Party’s best bet for recovering from its 2014 electoral nadir. The two are probably the most dynamic of the leadership candidates on offer, and have real talent. There will be a strong temptation among the membership to choose their ‘new generation’ message. But there are also some major problems with putting ‘Camp Robertson’ in charge of Labour. While they might have more style than their counterparts, some commentators are pointing to their lack of substance as being a worry for the party’s future.

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Does middle NZ care about any of this Robbo?

On Grant Robertson’s website he claims this:

Demonstrating the values that were instilled in him from an early age, Grant has quickly made an impact as a progressive Labour MP. Among the measures that have earned him plaudits are a successful bill to “Mondayise” public holidays, the promotion of ethical investing by state-controlled funds, and his championing of the living wage. In his time in the Labour caucus he has held a number of portfolio responsibilities, including Economic Development, Employment, Skills and Training, and Associate Arts, Culture, Heritage. Grant was Labour’s deputy leader from December 2011 to September 2013.

So basically Grant has done nothing of any real note.

He has appealed to the liberal elite wankocracy by coming up with gay policies that no one in middle New Zealand cares about.

To cap that all off he used his sponsoring of a bill to filibuster in order to prevent, unsuccessfully, the progress of voluntary student unionism. As David Farrar said at the time:

A number of organisations in New Zealand have enabling legislation such as the Scout Association. Another example is the Royal Society of New Zealand – they needed their 1997 legislation updated to incorporate the humanities in their objects and make some governance changes.

Only an MP can introduce a bill into Parliament so a private body needs to find an MP to agree to promote their bill and steer it through the House. They will often ask the local MP, but it can be any MP. And if the MP agrees, they have basically a duty of care to that organisation to use their best efforts to get that law changed. This is normally very easy, as these changes are rarely controversial.

The Royal Society of New Zealand Amendment Bill was introduced in September 2010. It should have passed into law in early 2011. but instead it remains stuck on committee stage and now can not pass before the election.   Read more »

Why the saying “play the ball not the man” is gay

Yesterday I wrote a post warning of the possibility of a cult of personality inside National.

Predictably those who cannot see it came along to comment and proved such a cult exists.

Also along came those who know what is better for me and tell me, including this comment.

Oh dear, Cam the first principle is that no one has a monopoly on the truth, and you are going close to claiming that for yourself. I hope this apparent crack at the PM is not part of the plan for you to start up a new right/centrist newspaper using the success of this blog. I have always believed in not playing the man, but focussing on the ball. Yes it is stupid for PM Key to bumble through an inept explanation of the Chief of Defence Staff’s attendance at the meeting with Obama et al about ISIS, but to characterise his premiership the way you appear to be going is not persuasive. I have a question, why is it that none of the MSM are prepared to take on the leadership inadequacies of the Opposition. What do they contribute to the governance of New Zealand (I mean the senior opposition MPs of all breeds)?

Where to even begin in unravelling that confused comment?   Read more »


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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Apologies to Steve Chadwick

Yestereday’s post on New Zealand’s silliest local government spending assigned the blame for the Rotorua International Airport Fiasco to Mayor Steve Chadwick.

A commenter pointed out it wasn’t done on her watch, and she has actually been prudent as mayor.

(though to be fair she has only been in the job for the last year)””

And again being fair, in that year she sacked or didn’t replace 66 employees (13%) and reduced 6 levels of management to 4.

From memory she’s cut $3.5 million from the budget and using our road as an example she’s not replacing all the tarseal but patching corners and worn areas only so I’ll cut her some slack.  Read more »

Andrew Little’s New Plymouth problem

Given the lack of talent for Labour’s leadership spill, Andrew Little looks like a good safe bet.

But there is a problem, and that is his less than stellar performances in New Plymouth.

Phil Quin explains;

There’s a lot of smart money going on Andrew Little’s bid to lead the Labour Party, but the numbers in New Plymouth don’t lie. So what are they saying?

There’s a lot of talk about “listening” in Labour circles these days. Announcing his bid for the party leadership, list MP Andrew Little named as his top priority “getting the process underway to listen to the voters who have abandoned us”. Grant Robertson agrees, telling reporters last week “as we emerge from our heavy election defeat, we must now take the opportunity to listen”.

I suspect Little and Robertson have in mind some version of a “Labour Listens” tour (as Neil Kinnock did in Britain in 1997 and Gordon Brown did in 2010), a series of carefully staged outreach events involving a great deal of ostentatious nodding and taking of things on board. This is all well and good, and may even help in the long run, but there’s no reason to wait for a bus trip to start the process.

New Zealanders have said a great deal already, and in the most unequivocal terms imaginable: they have voted.

As it turns out, electors in New Plymouth haven’t left much to the imagination when it comes to Little. Labour’s performance in the seat since he became the party’s local standard bearer has been disastrous. It seems worth analysing Little’s record in light of David Cunliffe’s endorsement, not to mention his own acknowledgement that the next party leader will need to arrest the party’s decline by rebuilding the party and reconnecting with voters. “We don’t have a choice,” Little told Lisa Owen on The Nation last weekend, “We’ve lost three elections in a row. Our vote has been going down. We’re down to 32 MPs. We are scraping the bottom of the barrel”.

He should know. In the two elections since Little became Labour’s candidate in New Plymouth, National’s party vote margin in the electorate has more than doubled from 6,600 to 13,000 votes. After a 5.8 percent two-party swing from Labour to National in 2011, there was a further 6.3 percent swing in New Plymouth this year – roughly three times worse than the nationwide average. As the electorate candidate, Little also attracted 6,500 fewer electorate votes than in 2008 when the previous Labour member, Harry Duynhoven, lost the seat. After three years of resources and profile as a list MP based partly in New Plymouth, Little managed a 7.8 percent swing against him on the electorate vote this year, to compound the 6.7 percent he suffered in 2011.  Read more »

Can we have a political party that promises to do nothing?

Think about it for a moment, politicians always promise to DO something about some particular issue or cause.

Almost always their promise elicits massive taxpayer spending, a few committees and then a solution that suits no one.

Perhaps we could have a party that promises to do nothing, or at the very least, less than the others.

The in-built urge for state politicians to do something — about anything — is strong. Respected British political journalist Andrew Neil theorised during his visit to Australia in April that the popularity of the powerless royals is a form of anti-politics, because Australians are over-governed, and the thought of another layer of politicians is too much to bear. Because they deliver services, states have become synonymous with action, and state governments see stepping backwards as an existential threat.

The Liberal Party has had 11 of its MPs resign, step down, or move to the crossbench this year due to ICAC investigations, yet it still seems implausible the NSW government will lose the next election.

Winston Churchill noted in 1949 that if you make 10,000 regulations, you destroy all respect for the law. If it wants to be fitting of the Liberal name, and distinguishable from the chaos and corruption scandals of ­recent times, it should reduce the size and scope of state government.   Read more »

One awesome long sledge against a ratbag mayor

There is something very beautiful about a political sledge, especially when it points out the obvious.

Napier Mayor Bill Dalton has won two nominations for New Zealand’s Silliest Local Government Spending for the Art Deco Buses and the complete fiasco with the new museum, the MTG. Mayor Bill has proven that the Napier council is incompetent, and the best advertisement for amalgamation, if only to stop Napier politicians making exceptionally stupid decisions.

Mayor Bill seems to think the best line of defence of the indefensible is belligerent attack, and he has been attacking his local mayoral counterpart Lawrence Yule.

Former Councillor John Harrison writes a fantastic opinion piece nailing Mayor Bill for being a ratbag, picking unnecessary fights with Mayor Lawrence and wasting huge amounts of ratepayers money. This oped sledge is such a thing of beauty it needs to be properly honoured.

RECENTLY, the editor of Hawke’s Bay Today pleaded with the mayors of Napier and Hastings to sort out their differences.
The plea followed the latest outburst from Mayor Bill Dalton over the launch of “Great Things Grow Here”.
This professional video was completed at a cost of $50,000 and paid for by the HDC.
It is available free of charge for other councils to use.
Mayor Dalton lambasted Mayor Yule for using “underhand methods and dishonest statements”.
Worse, he ranted that: “It gave the lie to the claim that the HDC wants to work with other councils to promote Hawke’s Bay.” He obviously forgot that the project had been discussed with the NCC over many months prior to the launch.
His deputy, Councillor White – according to a letter published from HDC Councillor Hazlehurst – noted that she was effusive in her praise for the initiative and personally congratulated Mayor Yule.
Mayor Yule responded by saying that this was only a continuation of highly personal attacks launched against him over the past six months by Mayor Dalton.
Here, Mayor Yule is wrong.
Mayor Dalton has conducted an unrelenting and internecine campaign against Mayor Yule by email, blogs and public statements since he was a first-term councillor.
How do I know ?    Read more »

Kim Dotcom speaks, plays hurt victim, sets spin cycle to extra super spin


Kim Dotcom has broken his silence about the election and has decided to play the hurt victim card.

Funny how he never paid PR people for image control and always did it himself, yet somehow it is someone else’s fault his political dreams lie in tatters.

He tells TorrentFreak:

Dotcom says that for the sake of the artists he wants Baboom to succeed. But, in order for that to happen, a sacrifice needed to be made.

“The best way to achieve that success was to take me out of Baboom completely. We have a great management team and some brave investors in place. The brand ‘Kim Dotcom’ is toxic and a major distractor to what Baboom is trying to achieve,” he concedes.

He got that right, brand Kim Dotcom IS toxic.

Now for the delusions of the fat man.

But while those same strengths allowed the Internet Party to became a news event every day leading up to the election, Dotcom’s profile and history – by his own admission – became a millstone around the party’s neck. Every aspect of his private life became a point of leverage for his political opposition.

“The Internet Party failed to deliver meaningful change in New Zealand at the last election because of the media spin by our opponents,” Dotcom says.

“They have successfully turned me into a villain, a German Nazi, a horrible employer, a political hacker, a practitioner of prohibited digital voodoo magic and nothing short of a monster. I would hate that guy too if I didn’t know that it wasn’t true.”

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Face of the day

Moira Coatsworth

Moira Coatsworth

Moira is trying to whip Labour Party members into shape. Apparently they have been playing dirty politics with each other and that is not OK.
Dirty Politics is only OK if it is used against nasty Bloggers like Cameron Slater and that horrible John Key who all those stupid sheep voted for last month. Labour needs to be on message and well disciplined and er united.

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