Mike Williams

Fat Tony on Northland

Mike Williams aka Fat Tony has a column in the Hawkes Bay Today about Steve Joyce’s Northland debacle.

MAKE no mistake, the outcome of the Northland byelection last Saturday is a political boilover of seismic proportions.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters won one of the National Party’s safest seats with an election night majority of more than 4000 votes, erasing a National Party majority of over 9000 votes in the general election just a few months before. Winston Peters’ final majority is likely to increase when the nearly 1000 newly-enrolled special votes get included in the total.

This 13,000 vote turnaround is unprecedented in our political history, but it is the internal dynamics of Peters’ triumph that should give Prime Minister John Key and National Party campaign manager Stephen Joyce pause for very serious reflection.

Apart from a governing party losing a safe seat, two statistics set this contest apart from any previous byelection. About half of the voters chose to cast their ballot before election day and the level of participation was huge.

The early voting phenomenon is unprecedented, and it exceeds a trend in recent polls.

The turnout level is a genuine abnormality. It has been a rule of thumb for years that byelection turnout levels are half of the previous general poll. The Christchurch East byelection saw 13,000 electors vote compared with the 28,000 who had voted in the previous general election.

This is the established pattern.

Northland broke that mould. With 28,000 voting in the byelection, this wasn’t much short of the 34,000 that voted in the general election five months before.

Read more »

How broke was Labour at the election? Very broke, the Greens outspent them

The latest election expenses are out and it is quite revealing.

National spent the most, Labour spent less than half of National, and the Greens out spent Labour.

But the real take out is that money doesn’t buy you results. The Greens show that as does Internet Mana.

Labour spent half as much as National on last year’s election campaign and was outspent by the Greens for the first time.

Parties’ election advertising expenses were released yesterday and show Labour spent $1.27 million – slightly less than the Green Party on $1.29 million and half the National Party’s $2.6 million.

National was the biggest spender, followed by the Conservative Party, which was bankrolled by leader Colin Craig and spent $1.9 million. Funded by $3.5 million from Kim Dotcom, the Internet-Mana alliance spent $660,000 while the Internet Party spent a further $320,000. Of the parties in Parliament, United Future spent the least – just under $2000.

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Who is Andrew Little? Can Andrew Little Raise Money?

Raise money? I'll let the minions do that

Raise money? I’ll let the minions do that

The lifeblood of political parties is money.

You need money to employ good staff to run professional campaigns.

Sources inside Fraser House have been consistent in saying that Labour is flat broke, and has been since New Zealand’s best political shakedown artist Mike “Fat Tony” Williams retired as president.

Goff couldn’t raise money. Shearer couldn’t raise money. Cunliffe couldn’t raise money. They couldn’t compete with National because they didn’t have any cash.

All the good campaigners in Labour, like Roberts, Pagani and Munro are taking massive pay cheques from the private sector, and Labour can’t bring them back without money.  Read more »

Labour’s institutional dysfunction

Danyl McLauchlan is one of the few on the left wing that I can respect.

His observations when he isn’t being silly or writing bad satire are usually spot on.

He has taken the time to discuss the Labour party and what he sees as their impending collapse.

I don’t know if Labour is a dying party. Looks like to to me, but there’s still time to turn things around. I do think there’s an important difference between National in 2002 and the Labour Party in 2014. After their 2002 election loss National realised that it faced an existential crisis and took drastic action. They bought Steven Joyce in to review the party, underwent a huge reorganisation and then united behind their subsequent leaders, Brash and Key. The sense I get from Labour is that they don’t have anything to worry about because hey, National was in big trouble a few years ago and now look at them go! Sure, Labour aren’t doing great right now but it’s just history; it’s political cycles. You gotta ride it out and wait until the tide washes you back into government again. There was a nice example of this from former Labour President Mike Williams on the Nine to Noon political segment last week. Williams announced that the leader of the Labour leadership contest will probably be the Prime Minister in 2017 because four term governments are rare. Forget all that hard work of somehow beating John Key, which Labour has no idea how to do, or even reforming the party. Fate will just return them to power, somehow, because that’s what sometimes happened in the past.

I don’t think Key and National see themselves as being circumscribed by fate, and that they should just resign themselves to losing in 2017. I think they’ve built a fearsome political behemoth that dominates New Zealand’s political landscape and which they hope will endure for a long, long time, even after Key finally retires in his fifth term (or whenever).  Labour dying is not a worst-case scenario for the New Zealand left. Labour hanging around, slowly dwindling, occupying the political space of the center-left but not winning an election for another twenty years is the real and highly plausible doomsday scenario. I don’t know how much of National’s strength is an accident of Labour’s current weakness, but I do know that the new Labour leaders job will be reforming their party, and not beating Key. That’s not even an option for Labour until they somehow transform themselves into a modern professional political party, and figure out who they are and what they stand for.

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Labour’s losers review flawed from the get go

Labour picked one of the Labour movements biggest losers to review their performance at the election. He is Bryan Gould.

Chris Keall explains his credentials at losing.

The convenor for Labour’s panel is Bryan Gould – the ex-pat famous for being a senior MP in the British Labour Party. He even got as high as making a bid for the party’s leadership in the early 1990s, but was outmanoeuvred by rivals and returned to NZ to become vice chancellor of Waikato University.

Gould is a smart man, I’m sure. But he’s not a winner in the game of politics. The ex-pat was a senior MP between 1979 and 1992 – a period of course dominated by Thatcher and the Conservatives as Labour struggled to make itself look anything close to electable.

Gould has poured vitriol on Tony Blair – the man whose up-beat style and move to the centre saw the party finally return to power.

Many in Labour will agree with Gould’s critiques of Blair for going too far in greasing up the press, moderating policy, and poodling to America on Iraq. In various newspaper editorials and his memoirs, Gould won the moral high ground hands down. But he lacks Blair’s ruthless and practical streak, and focus on likeability, that’s so necessary to win power.

A key question for NZ Labour is whether to shore up the party’s base with hard left polices or move to the centre, where elections are won. No prizes for guessing where the academic Gould will land.

Just last Thursday, Gould was comparing Key to Kim Jong-un. Great lorks if you’re a humour writer for the Internet Party. Not so much if you’re trying to talk to middle NZ.

Read more »

Face of the day

He looks nice, where did he come in the Labour Leadership race? Last, cause nice guys always come last.

He looks nice, where did he come in the Labour Leadership race?
Last, cause nice guys always come last.

Mike Williams has chosen David Parker as the best of the bunch.

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Labour’s fragmentation plays out in public

Not only is Labour’s leadership race a public debacle, it moves people that think they have influence to publicly state what camp they are in.  Whereas the loyalties and alliances were previously kept in the darker areas of the caucus rooms, with lots of back channel chats, threats and bribes, Labour’s new way means we get to see everyone wear their political heart on their sleeves.

Ex Labour Party president Mike Williams has put his name behind David Parker

David Parker has to be the front-runner for the Labour leadership. Excluding Nanaia Mahuta’s capricious candidacy, Andrew Little and Grant Robertson have too narrow an appeal and are making their moves prematurely.

Bang.

First sentence.  Mahuta’s a spoiled little Maori girl with delusions of grandeur.  Little and Robertson are boring and gay.  Ergo:  Mister Grey Parker is the new PM Leader.

Parker has a warmth and authenticity that would make him a vote-winner in an election campaign. He notices and absorbs the world around him. He once told me a clear sign of growing inequality is to be found in the state of factory workers’ teeth.

He’s no slouch in an argument, as his bettering of Bill English in a recent TV debate demonstrated. Although you mightn’t associate “charisma” with Parker, you wouldn’t associate it with Jim Bolger, either, and he won three elections in a row.

So here’s Mike’s argument:

He has warmth! (eh?)  He’s authentic (wot?)  He cares about factory workers’ teeth (that’s going to bring the swing voters running back)

And look, I know he’s got all the charisma of a dead fish that’s been lying on the beach in the sun, but that didn’t stop Spud Bolger, eh?  Eh?

Seriously?

But finally he comes to the real problem – Labour’s own suffocating internal rules.  It doesn’t actually serve the party – it kills it   Read more »

Ask them anything…hmm..OK, how about these questions?

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The Labour Party is running an Ask Them Anything question session of the four leadership contenders.

Labour have been deadset useless for way to long which makes politics boring. We need Labour to muscle up and start being more fun as they are handicapped at the moment. So lets help them by asking some sensible questions. Feel free to submit any of these yourself.

Q. Why hasn’t Labour been able to raise any money since Mike “Fat Tony” Williams retired?

Q. What do the internal polls say about whether New Zealand will vote for a gay party leader?

Q. Where do you stand on corporate welfare?

Q.  Where do you stand on middle class welfare? Read more »

Watch out Labour: Little Andy’s on his way

It seems Andrew Little is making all the right noises.  When you run for leadership, you don’t just say so – you go through a number of stages.

  1. Say you haven’t considered it
  2. After being pressured, refuse to rule it out
  3. Having a “think about it”
  4. Start getting the message out through back channels
  5. Run rough numbers
  6. Use media to get the elephants in the room out
  7. Use media to make it sound like you are the proper answer to the problem
  8. Run numbers again, and if close enough
  9. Announce formal candidacy

See where you think Little Andy’s at right now.

ew

The former Labour Party president who has twice failed to win the seat of New Plymouth, was confirmed as an MP on Saturday only after a dramatic swing in special votes away from the Government.

But Little, a former head of the EPMU, said that in the hours since the election result was finalised he had been “prevailed upon by a large number of people” to consider nominating for the party leadership.

Translation:  I realise I’m as much a loser as the other losers running for the leadership of a bunch of losers.  Now that this is said up front, we can ignore it and move to the things I want to talk about.   Like the undefined, amorphous “large number of people” that believe in me.

“I know the party because I’ve been party president, in terms of my union work I . . . continue to have a lot of contact with the corporate sector, with working people, a whole range of people. It’s those networks we need to get out to,” Little told TVNZ’s Q+A.

I’m telling you I’m well connected and have broad support.   Read more »

Good for whales, bad for Labour

Mike Williams, affectionately known as "Fat Tony"

Mike Williams, affectionately known as “Fat Tony”

Apparently, some Labour sources tell me that there was a lazy hundred grand offered to Labour prior to the election.

Tim Barnett failed to pick it up when Mike ‘Fat Tony’ Williams jacked it up doesn’t need to go on the whales.

With Labour getting 98% of their 2011 vote a spare hundy might have helped out.

Fat Tony apparently got the shits with Tim for not turning up when the meeting was organised for the cheque collection and so the donor decided to give the money to saving the whales.

Which on the face of it looks like a more sensible investment.

The number of blue whales in the northeastern Pacific appears to have returned to near-historic levels thanks to a 48-year international ban on commercial or subsistence whaling for this species and allied laws enacted at national levels.

The current population of blue whales off the US West Coast is about 2,200, or 97 percent of their levels at the beginning of the 20th century, according to a study published Friday in the journal Marine Mammal Science.   Read more »