Mike Williams

Mike Williams on leadership of Labour and of National

Mike,”Fat Tony” Williams was Labour’s best fundraiser. He was also the president of Labour under Helen Clark and resigned shortly after the 2008 election loss.

He writes in the “Hawkes Bay Today” about Labour’s leadership problems:

THE week in politics graphically underlined the knife-edge result of the 2014 general election.

A parliamentary majority was recently assembled by the Labour Party to extend paid parental leave from 18 to 26 weeks, and Finance Minister Bill English was forced into the rare use of a “financial veto” to defeat a measure that would have otherwise passed into law.

This demonstrates just how close the National-led government came to defeat in 2014, and caused me to contemplate our political parties’ succession plans and to speculate on who will be National leader in a few years’ time.

One of the few weaknesses of the Helen Clark government was that no such plan was developed and this meant that Phil Goff, her successor, got off to a weak start from which he arguably didn’t recover.

We acted as though Helen would be there forever, even though we all knew that anything more than three terms was historically unlikely.

Goff was effectively selected over the heads of the party and the caucus as a whole by the outgoing cabinet, which delivered a fait accompli via cabinet solidarity.

He would have won a contested ballot, but the contest would have engaged the media and given him a three-dimensional profile which he never really achieved.

As he contests the Auckland mayoralty, people are getting to know him in ways that simply didn’t happen when he was Labour Party leader. He’s interesting, he’s funny and he’s grounded.

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Faces of the day

CHRIS MCKEEN/ FAIRFAX NZ The Howard League's Tony Gibbs and Mike Williams have introduced a literacy programme in prisons across the country.

CHRIS MCKEEN/ FAIRFAX NZ
The Howard League’s Tony Gibbs and Mike Williams have introduced a literacy programme in prisons across the country.

The Howard League’s Tony Gibbs and Mike Williams have introduced a literacy programme in prisons across the country.

…It is these two, together with an army of volunteers and the full­time services of a retired teacher, who have introduced the league’s literacy programme in prisons around the country. Its success has spawned another programme: one designed to turn potential inmates around before they reach the prison doors.

Williams may have long left his leading role in the Labour Party. But he still has the persuasive oratorial and fund­raising skills born of a life in politics.

…Days before the Spring Hill ceremony, he seated himself in his favourite cafe to explain his current vocation. He starts by reciting author Neil Gaiman: “How do these people [private prison providers] plan how many cells they will need? Easy: you just find out how many 11 year­ olds can’t read or write.”

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Mike ‘Fat Tony’ Williams says some nice things about Judith Collins

Mike Williams, affectionately known as "Fat Tony"

Mike Williams, affectionately known as “Fat Tony”

Mike ‘Fat Tony’ Williams has had some nice things to say about Judith Collins in the HB Today on prison reform.

I was saddened to see New Zealand’s prison population is about to hit an all-time high of 9320, and is projected to rise even further.

This is happening despite our falling crime rate and the best efforts of successive governments and the Corrections Department to reduce prisoner numbers. So what’s going on?

If you examine the numbers closely, you’ll discover the total number of sentenced prisoners is falling, if slowly. The big jump occurs in the number of remand prisoners and this is almost entirely due to changes in the Act of Parliament governing remand.

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Labour have gone to the dogs since Mike Williams left, and here’s another example

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Mike Williams is a good bastard, with only two failings, the first is he worked for Labour, the second is he is friends with Michelle Boag.

Nevertheless he has made a great observation which I am sure will have the hard left frothing and trying to do him in.

Former Labour Party president Mike Williams has suggested there is no need for Te Reo in prisons because it does not help inmates get a job once they are released.

Mr Williams was speaking for the New Zealand Howard League in an official capacity when he made the comments at a public discussion about prisons this week.

Māori make up more than half the country’s prison population.

Mr Williams was asked by an audience member if there should be encouragement for more Māori culture and Te Reo use in New Zealand jails.   Read more »

Serco suspension a win for the government

This whole story was pushed out by the unions when they needed a circuit breaker to get Labour’s Asian Bashing off the front pages.

And although it’s delivered on that, the good news is that Serco have been found wanting, and the Government gets to clean it up before it gets out of control.

The Corrections Department will step in and put their own management team into the privately-run Serco prison in Mt Eden following serious allegations of assaults and other inappropriate behaviour.

The announcement was made at a press conference this afternoon following a meeting between Corrections chief executive Ray Smith and the Corrections Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga.

Mr Smith says the department has invoked the “step in” clause of the contract, and says a potentially substantial financial penalty may be imposed on Serco following the spate of violent incidents at the remand prison.

The clause allows the department to insert its own prison director from Tongariro and a “crack team” of 20 from Corrections team from across the country to oversee the daily running of the prison, however, the Serco staff will remain onsite.   Read more »

Why do the Unions have so much sway over Labour?

The Unions have a reputation for controlling Labour, and with some good reason. Six affiliated unions get 20% of the Labour Leadership vote, so you would think that they are also the Labour Party’s biggest donors.

The problem with this is it is not supported by the facts. Since 1996 union donations have been a little over 11% of Labour’s total declarable donations.

In most years the unions don’t give anything to Labour, who must only ask unions for money in election year.

Total Donations Union Donations Union Donation %
1996  $65,327.00  $- 0%
1997  $280,000.00  $- 0%
1998  $20,055.90  $- 0%
1999  $1,115,375.00  $80,000.00 7.17%
2000  $35,000.00  $- 0.0%
2001  $107,525.00  $- 0.0%
2002  $671,719.00  $70,000.00 10.42%
2003  $54,000.00  $- 0.0%
2004  $369,951.00  $- 0.0%
2005  $930,977.04  $140,000.00 15.04%
2006  $140,988.04  $20,000.00 14.19%
2007  $1,030,446.39  $- 0.0%
2008  $422,917.00  $117,500.00 27.78%
2009  $10,063.00  $- 0.0%
2010  $56,720.00  $- 0.0%
2011  $225,200.00  $105,200.00 46.71%
2012  $430,259.33  $- 0.0%
2013  $-  $-
2014  $251,000.00  $162,000.00 64.54%
Total  $6,217,523.70  $694,700.00 11.17%

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Understanding Labour’s Donations

Fat Tony

Looking back at the donation returns for the Labour Party since the beginning of the MMP era, you can see why Labour have been dead set useless since Clark left and Mike “Fat Tony” Williams stopped shaking down donors.

Since Fat Tony jacked it in Labour have scarcely raised any donations worth mentioning, and have basically being surviving on dodgy use of Parliamentary Services budget and taxing MPs.

Different disclosure rules over time mean that different rules mean different amounts need to be disclosed but overall this has little effect on the donation totals.

The important thing to note is that Fat Tony pulled in a lot of money in 1999, 2002, 2005 and being as cunning as a shit house rat managed to shake down people in 2007 before the Election Finance Act came into play. 2008 proved to be a bit harder for Fat Tony, but he still managed a decent total.   Read more »

Another winning policy from Labour

Labour seem to have failed to realise that middle NZ do not care about identity politics, and as long as Labour stay interested in identity politics, middle NZ will not pick up the phone.

Their submission to the 2014 election inquiry show just how thick they really are.

Identity politics at its best, wanting non Maori who feel Maori to be able to vote Maori.

People should be able to enrol on the Maori roll even if they do not indicate they are of Maori descent!

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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.

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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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