Nanaia Mahuta

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

Can Grant Robertson ever be Leader of the Labour Party?

Gracinda is grumpy

Don’t worry dear, another 18 months of destabilisation and it will be our turn

Yesterday was a devastating day for Grant Robertson.

He has yet again lost the Labour leadership, and lost it despite getting 18 votes out of 32 in caucus.

Robertson was the front runner after the first ballot but he did not manage to win enough votes from caucus to over come his weakness with the members and the unions.

The members voted narrowly in favour of him over Andrew Little, but he did not manage to pick up many of Nanaia Mahuta or David Parker’s preferences, scarcely budging at all after the first ballot.

Robertson now faces a career defining decision.   Read more »

Labour’s leadership contest, no one cares, members included

No one cares about Labour’s leadership contest.

Not even Vernon Small, a long time Labour embedded journalist….he could just muster 324 words in talking about the pending result of the contest.

Labour will announce its new leader tomorrow, with Andrew Little likely to hold a clear lead on first preferences but the candidates themselves tipping a close result.

The party’s constitution gives 40 per cent of the say to the 32 MPs, 40 per cent to the membership and 20 per cent to affiliated unions.

The votes are cast in a preferential system that sees the lowest ranked candidate drop out and their second preferences redistributed until someone tops 50 per cent.

The votes of rank and file members are the big unknown.

Of the four candidates, Little got a jump start thanks to his background as a former union leader, and is expected to pick up at least 15 of the the 20 per cent allocated to unions with Robertson winning 3 or 4 per cent.

Little himself yesterday said he expected strong support from unions. “I would say 70-80 per cent is a possibility.”

But Robertson’s power base is in the caucus, where he has firm backing of about 12 of the 32.   Read more »

Are you surprised?

Aimee Gulliver at the Sunday Star Times asked the four Labour leader hopefuls to “surprise us”.

What doesn’t surprise me, is that given a free sound bite, they all failed to fire.

Check this out


Covered in tar and then butter one day in the 1980s, David Parker earned the nickname “Tar Baby” from his roading gang on Stewart Island. A container of tar exploded in his face, fracturing his skull, and turning him into a human statue. Covered head to toe in the cold emulsion used to seal roads, Parker was smeared in butter at the hospital in Invercargill to dissolve the tar. His facial reconstruction work was done later in Dunedin where Parker was given “a nose which was slightly bigger than I wanted”.

“Look, I’m human and I am like a road gang worker like yous guys”

Read more »

Kris Faafoi too late with the excuses, Auckland Pacific Labour ranks Robbo last

Yesterday I wrote about Kris Faafoi trying to mitigate the undocumented no poofters rule in Labour.

Well it hasn’t worked.

Auckland Pacific Labour has ranked Grant Robertson dead last.

The Auckland Pacific Sector of the New Zealand Labour Party met last night to discuss and rank the Labour leadership candidates. After much debate and discussion it was carried by a unanimous vote that the leadership candidates be ranked in the following order:

#1 – Nanaia MAHUTA
#2 – Andrew LITTLE
#3 – David PARKER
#4 – Grant ROBERTSON

Read more »

The Labour navel gazing merry go round of doom

Tracy Watkins mulls over Labour’s leadership problems

Cunliffe won because he spoke the language of the activists and in the process committed Labour to a course that had no allure to the swathes of middle New Zealand the party wants to woo.

What most observers and commentators miss is that is all he did – speak the language of the audience he was speaking to.  He didn’t actually do much.  And his messages were contradictory, depending on which audience he had in front of him.  He would have done very well before the age of mass communications and instant reporting via Twitter, newspapers and blogs.  But he was outed as nothing but a talking chameleon.

Twelve months later, here we go again, though with one important difference: there is no Cunliffe in the mix. The candidates this time round – Grant Robertson, Andrew Little, David Parker and Nanaia Mahuta – are pragmatists who have kept their eye on the prize of winning in 2017. They have not sacrificed that for the short-term prize of scoring points with the grassroots.

But even with the acrimony of the last contest missing, the primary has done nothing to dispel the perception that Labour is a party wracked by division.

And why would it?  Ultimately, a third of the party is going to have to take the damage.  They’ve known this for over three years.  The problem is that nobody is willing to fall on their sword.  They are all waiting for a natural advantage to develop.  Until then – dysfunction and deadlock.  Read more »

Cartoon of the Day

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

Brian Edwards on the Labour leadership prospects, such as they are

My good friend Brian Edwards (MGFBE) is not happy.

He has written another erudite column about the dearth of talent that besets Labour.

He begins with a focus on euthanasia:

In the past I’ve written several posts and articles about voluntary euthanasia. The ‘voluntary’ bit is crucial, since no-one who wants to go on living, however great their pain or however inconvenient their continuing existence to others, should be cajoled or browbeaten into changing their mind.

But it is hard to come to terms with the overweening arrogance of someone who believes they have the right to deny another human being, whose ongoing suffering has deprived them of all joy in living and who wishes to end that suffering, the right to do so.

The laws that govern these decisions and procedures will of necessity be complex and they must be watertight. But they are not beyond our ability to design and implement. Other countries have done so.

I don’t want to restart this debate. That is not the purpose of this post. This post is about the significance of comments on euthanasia cited in this morning’s Herald by the four contenders for the Labour Party leadership.

Iain Lees-Galloway has taken over responsibility for the ‘End of Life Choice Bill’  after its sponsor, Maryan Street, failed to get elected in September. Lees-Galloway is apparently gauging support before deciding whether to put the Bill back on the private members’ bill ballot. It was removed last year under pressure from the Labour leadership who, according to the Herald, “were concerned it could be an election-year distraction or that it could deter conservative voters”. The new Labour leader, whoever that is, could apparently have the deciding voice on the voluntary euthanasia question.

So what did the contenders for that position have to say?

Well, Nanaia Manuta was in favour of reintroducing the bill  because it would show “that Labour would stand up for those difficult conversations that need to be had”.

I thought that was a pretty principled position to take.

David Parker, who voted against legalising voluntary euthanasia in 2003, didn’t want to comment till he’d talked to Lees-Galloway.

Non-committal and therefore less satisfactory perhaps.

Grant Robertson and Andrew Little both support voluntary euthanasia, but neither considered it a priority at the moment. The fairly clear subtext of their replies was that it was a vote-loser and that a party that had polled 25% in September couldn’t afford to be seen supporting unpopular policies.

I’d call that unprincipled.

Read more »

Labour’s worst nightmare

Tonight and tomorrow are the last chance for the state funded tour of four Labour leadership aspirants to try to convince the dwindling membership that they are one to lead the party back from oblivion (or further into it, as the case may be).

But surely their worst nightmare, after weeks of speculation, yawn inducing statements and lack of media coverage, is that when announced the public and media just yawn some more.

There already is a distinct lack of interest in the failing party’s leadership contest this time around.

Last time it was exciting, it was all about resurrection of the chosen one, the arrival of David Cunliffe to deliver Labour from the jaws of mediocrity and 30% poll ratings.

Unfortunately, despite the mass adulation from the train spotters inside Labour David Cunliffe was the failure his caucus always knew him to be.

Instead of poll ratings that could have enabled a winning left wing bloc, they scored their worst ever ratings in nearly 100 years and doomed themselves to yet another term in opposition.

Now they are having another leadership contest.

The prospects are grim.  Read more »

Here’s a shocker: none of the Labour leaders (take your pick) like Key’s ISIS plan

It amuses the hell out of me that the four amigos, who can’t agree on anything, need John Key to make them come together as one.

Prime Minister John Key’s plan to help fight Islamic State in Iraq by sending military trainers has been unanimously voted down by Labour’s leadership contenders.

They say the Prime Minister is fooling people by promising troops would be in non-combat roles and that, despite his assurances, our military could eventually end up fighting.

Stable leadership hasn’t been Labour’s strong suit of late. In a little over a week one of the four contenders will take it on. But the bigger challenge is taking on Mr Key and his moves to send troops to Iraq.

Mr Key has ruled out sending troops or elite SAS soldiers into combat against Islamic State, promising that any involvement would be strictly training and away from the danger of the frontline.

To be blunt, Little, Robertson, Mahuta and Parker are all calling John Key a bald-faced liar.

“He’s playing us for fools if he’s calling one a training operation and not combat,” says leadership candidate Andrew Little.

“We know that when New Zealand forces go over to train other forces they’ll inevitably be drawn into the conflict,” says candidate Grant Robertson.

“You can’t guarantee that they won’t be participating,” says leadership candidate Nanaia Mahuta.

“I think we should be a bit hesitant to put people into training roles,” says David Parker.

What a bunch of numpties.  Even so, don’t they look unified all of a sudden?  Especially when they don’t want to be involved in assisting the world at large in dealing with the ISIS problem.

Read more »