Mike Williams

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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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.

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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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