Mike Williams

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 »

Good governance and the Labour Party – an oxymoron or a chance for their future

A guest post by Frances Denz.


 

Good Governance practice was initially developed in 1844 by Erskine May for the British Parliament and a bit later  in 1874 was adapted by Roberts in the US for their Government structures.  Since then “Roberts Rules” have become the model for governance both of parliamentary systems and for businesses.  These rules have been adapted over time by the Foundation formed by Roberts supporters.

A key rule of governance is who do the directors represent?  They represent the business or organisation.  Their job, as stewards, is to ensure that the organisation is governed for its own good.  Not for the shareholders, other stakeholders or the community as a whole.

Now this is really interesting in the governance of political parties and of Parliament themselves.

The Prime Minister and his Cabinet have stewardship over the whole country.  Not the Party: not sector interests: not their mates.  A political party has stewardship over the Party as a whole, not the country.  So where does that leave the Opposition? I submit that they are responsible to the country, as is the Governing party.  But the problem with the Labour Party is that their method of nominating their leader is by the sector interests having a vote – for their own interests.  And the Leader has been, by default, the Leader of the Party as well as the Leader  of the Political wing.  Two different roles. (and then you have the Leader of the House, just to complicate matters!)    Read more »

Play or get off the field

As Labour lurches towards utter destruction with David Cunliffe at sixes and sevens there are some out there with good advice.

Lew at Kiwipolitico had this to say about National’s excellence at data-driven campaigns:

I have been criticising Labour, in particular, since at least 2007 on their unwillingness or inability to bring modern data-driven campaign and media strategy to bear in their campaigns — effectively, to embrace The Game and play it to win, rather than regarding it as a regrettable impediment to some pure and glorious ideological victory. Mostly the responses I get from the faithful fall under one or more of the following:

  • National has inherent advantages because the evil old MSM is biased
  • the polls are biased because landlines or something
  • the inherent nature of modern neoliberal society is biased
  • people have a cognitive bias towards the right’s messaging because Maslow
  • it inevitably leads to populist pandering and the death of principle
  • The Game itself devours the immortal soul of anyone who plays ( which forms a handy way to demonise anyone who does play)

But data is not a Ring of Power that puts its users in thrall to the Dark Lord. And, unlike the One Ring, it can’t be thrown into a volcano and the world saved from its pernicious influence. Evidence and strategy are here to stay. Use them, or you’re going to get used. The techniques available to David Farrar and the National party are not magic. They are available to anyone. Whether Labour has poor data or whether they use it poorly I do not know. It looks similar from the outside, and I have heard both from people who ought to know. But it doesn’t really matter. Data is only as good as what you do with it. Whatever they’re doing with it isn’t good enough.

The best example from this campaign isn’t Labour, however — it’s Kim Dotcom. He said on election night that it was only in the past two weeks that he realised how tainted his brand was. He threw $4.5 million at the Internet MANA campaign and it polled less than the Māori Party, who had the same number of incumbent candidates and a tiny fraction of the money and expertise. Had he thought to spend $30,000 on market research* asking questions like those asked by Curia about what New Zealanders think of Kim Dotcom, he could have saved himself the rest of the money, and saved Hone Harawira his seat, Laila Harré her political credibility, and the wider left a severe beating.

That is effective use of data: not asking questions to tell you what you want to hear, but to tell you what you need to know. This electoral bloodletting is an opportunity for the NZ political left to become reality-adjacent, and we can only hope they take it. Because if they don’t, reality is just going to keep winning.

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Labour’s Expensive Leadership Election

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The Labour Party is broke because Tim Barnett and Moira Coatsworth were dead set useless at fundraising.

As Mike “Fat Tony” Williams, New Zealand’s best shakedown artist, explains, if you don’t ask you don’t get.

It is a pretty simple proposition but Tim and Moira wouldn’t ask so they didn’t get.   Read more »

There can be only one…

Lindsay Mitchell comments on the debate last night…and the mention of dirty politics.

On dirty politics: Key reminds people how Mike Williams went looking for dirt on him in Australia. Searching through his tax records. Then he asks Cunliffe directly about bloggers in his own office… “And I will name them if you want me too…” Cunliffe rejoinders there is no equivalent on the Left like Whale Oil. (No. None have anywhere near his readership.)

No left winger will ever overtake me, they would have to work non-union hours.  Read more »