Pete Hodgson

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 HarrĂ© 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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Mallard and Dyson shafted by their own team in boundary redraw

It is looking increasingly like Labour’s own advisor to the Electoral Commission has worked very hard at shafting Ruth Dyson and Trevor Mallard. So much so he has missed some strange looking boundary adjustments in other areas.

Jadis has performed some very good analysis of the changes over at the lifestyle, travel and arts blog of David Farrar. From the looks of it there are no winners on the left side of politics.

And most of the losers are Labour.

Losers:

Ruth Dyson, Port Hills – Dyson is the biggest loser in this boundary review.  Her majority has been reversed with the Nats stronghold of Halswell moving into the seat, and Anderton’s old stomping ground of Sydenham moving into Christchurch Central.  Dyson will have a real battle to hold this, even with the Nats putting in a new candidate.  How winnable the seat is very much depends on the strength of the Nat candidate, but a good candidate could take the seat with a 2000 majority.  I’d be gutted if I was Dyson as Pete Hodgson (who did the boundaries for Labour) is a good mate of hers.  Perhaps this is Labour’s new (poor) strategy of retiring MPs.

Trevor Mallard, Hutt South – This is the surprise of the final boundaries.  Mallard has gained all of the  Western Hills (good Nat territory) and lost super red areas of Naenae and Rimutaka. Labour should have been able to stop this occurring but appear to have put up no fight.  Mallard should be furious with his party for failing to keep Hutt South a real red seat.  Why didn’t Hodgson fight hard for Mallard?  Was it a directive from on high?  Realistically, Mallard should hold the seat but he’ll be working hard for it and never should have been put in this position. I expect Mallard’s majority to be pegged down a few.  Read more »

Manufacturing Clark’s history

Helen Clark does so like to re-visit and re-edit her history, aided and abetted by an unquestioning and ill-informed media.

She has recently given a nice soft cosy interview to Channel Nine in Australia where this claim was made:

Having led the Labour Party without barely a whisper of a coup for six years in opposition and then nine years as Prime Minister, human resources at the UN could hardly argue that credential.

Oh rly?

Is that what she told the hapless Channel Nine reporter? I don’t see where he’d have got it from otherwise… he wouldn’t have the background knowledge of NZ politics.

And then Fairfax repeat it unquestioningly… probably because there isn’t anyone there who’s older than 12.

I’m sure readers don’t really need reminding, but if you do:

Fifteen years ago, Helen Clark stared down a party coup mounted by her eventual successor, Phil Goff. But her victory came at a huge price for Labour. Phil Quin, one of the plotters, offers an insider’s account.

About six weeks before Helen Clark finally cemented her grip on NZ Labour – one which she maintains to this day, even in absentia – I had finally convinced Phil Goff to topple her.

[...]  Read more »

The Press on Dunedin City Council’s backhanders to Labour man

The Press calls out the Dunedin City Council over the dodgy backhanders deal bewteen the mayor and Labour’s Pete Hodgson.

The “gentlemen’s agreement” is an old-fashioned notion, almost to the point of quaintness. It suggests that a gentleman’s word is as good as his bond, and a handshake as binding as a written contract.

Of course, it belonged to a time when women were not expected to worry themselves with business matters, avoiding the possibility that one of the gentlemen involved might actually be a lady. But there are better reasons than that for not relying on such handshake deals in the modern age, particularly for the spending of public money.

Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull is defending the agreement under which former Dunedin North MP Pete Hodgson was paid by Cull’s council to lobby the Government to retain the core functions of AgResearch at Invermay. Hodgson was paid $3400 for duties which included advocating on the council’s behalf, contributing to a letter to Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce and writing a 10-page report for the board of AgResearch.

The council says that Cull was its main point of contact with Hodgson, but it could not locate a single email, contract or any other document relating to the agreement. Cull said: “I could describe it as a gentleman’s way of doing business in the south.”  Read more »

Money for mates – Taxpayers’ Union uncovers Dunedin Mayor and Pete Hodgson

Former Labour Party dirty tactics coordinator Pete Hodgson and current Labour party representative on the Representation Commission has been stung by the Taxpayers’ Union in what looks to be a cash for mates scheme down in Dunedin. Pete’s apparently been doing some ‘lobbying’ for his best mate, fellow Labour Party comrade and Mayor Dave Cull.

This morning the Taxpayers’ Union went public with material concerning a payment (or payments) totalling $3,400 by the Dunedin City Council to former MP Pete Hodgson with no documentation or contract.

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According to the Council, Mr Hodgson’s work consisted of “lobbying and advocating on behalf of the Council” and there is no supporting documentation.

The Council has told us that:

  • Everything was verbal. The Council could not provide a single report, email, or even letter of engagement.
  • All of the contracts were negotiated verbally.
  • The contracts were negotiated by the Mayor and there is no documentation to explain the deal.

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Trotter on Shearer

Chris Trotter gives David Shearer a lecture in Polictal Intrigue and warns him what is coming…just weeks away.

We must imagine at this point a shame-faced David Shearer shifting uneasily in his office chair.

“It’s Political Destabilisation 1-0-1, Mr Shearer. Page One of The Beginners Guide to Political Scandals. Evidence first. Evidence second. Evidence above all else. You never – and I mean never – launch a political scandal unless you are in possession of all the evidence required to prove it. Do you know what I’m talking about, Mr Shearer? No? Then, let me spell it out for you.

 “If you claim the Prime Minister joked about Kim Dotcom’s arrest, in a cafeteria full of GCSB operatives, and there’s video evidence to prove it, what do you absolutely, positively, have to have in your possession, Mr Shearer? That’s right, you have to have the bloody video!

Did you have the video, Mr Shearer? Did you have any evidence to back up your claim? No, Mr Shearer, you did not. You walked out to confront the most popular Prime Minister in New Zealand’s history holding nothing but an accusation. By the battlements of Barad-Dur, Mr Shearer, what were you thinking!”

To which those past masters of the dark arts of politics: Michael Laws, Richard Prebble, Pete Hodgson and Rodney Hide would undoubtedly add: “Amen”

An idealist might argue that Mr Shearer’s ineptitude in these arcane matters is rather endearing.

A realist would simply conclude that the next victim of the dark arts is likely to be Mr Shearer himself.

Two years old and a better dancer than Trevor

William Stokkebroe is only 2 years old, but is already a better dancer than Trevor Mallard and Pete Hodgson will ever be.

Did Michael Woodhouse do a good job in Dunedin North?

Commenters have given me a hard time about my comment that Michael Woodhouse didn’t do a great job in Dunedin North in this three years as a scum List MP.

Everyone knew he was on a hiding to nothing in 2008, where he got 9972 votes, losing by 7155 to Pete Hodgson. This was out of 32781 total votes.

In 2011 his vote reduced to 9,487, in losing to Dave Clark by 3,489. This was not as bad as it seemed, because the total vote was down to 29,771.

He didn’t make much impact on the party vote, with 2008 National getting 9692, and 2011 getting 9707. In the context of a swing to National and three years in the electorate the results are not great, but Dunedin is very reGd.

Where he can be criticised is when he is compared to Jo Hayes from Wanganui who ran in Dunedin South. Jo took one for the team and managed to turn a loss on the party vote of approximately 4700 in 2008 to a win for National in 2011 by 1800 votes, embarrassing Clare Curran in the process.

This makes Michael’s performance questionable, because if a candidate with limited profile in a city, who was not a list MP so didn’t enjoy their advantages can do so well why couldn’t a List MP?

Maryan should ask Cunners

Maryan Street is asking why a medicine change wasn’t made 5 years ago by the government:

Legislation modernising rules on who can prescribe medicines to patients and also streamlining the process for approving new drugs passed its first stage last night – five years later than it should have, according to Labour.

The Medicines Amendment Bill, which amends the Medicines Act 1981, passed its first reading yesterday with unanimous support and will now be considered by the health select committee.

Labour health spokeswoman Maryan Street welcomed the bill but questioned why the Government was only advancing the legislation now – “Why not five years ago?”

Labour was teh government in 2007, and David Cunliffe was the Health Minister. Perhaps Maryan could ask him. Or perhaps Pete Hodgson, but he has retired of course…then there is Annette King who was Health Minister up until 2005…presumably she would know something of this.

She said that similar legislation introduced by the Labour Government in 2007 was blocked by National, which was “playing naked politics” at the time by “jumping on the bandwagon of people in the supplementary medicines industry”.

Now that is very interesting. National which was in opposition because Labour commanded a majority int he House somehow “blocked” legislation…really?

This is quite silly posturing by Maryan Street. Labour clearly commanded a majority and yet failed to pass legislation and somehow she is trying to blame National?

I can’t believe the Herald just prints her assertions without even challenging the veracity of the statements. I know Tony Ryall is a very effective Health Minister but not even his prodigious powers in opposition would have been able to overturn a parliamentary majority.

An entourage? Ctd

Pete Hodgson made a scurrilous attack using the DPS to try and get John Key. He said at the time:

Labour MP Pete Hodgson said the underlining reason is that Key enjoys the appearance of an entourage.

“He is unlike any other Prime Minister, man or woman, before him.”

Phil Goff also has said that he wouldn’t use Crown limousines.

As is usual from Labour politicians we find that their attacks say more about them they do about John Key.

When you have several television cameras, a couple of police officers and an assortment of advisers following political leaders around, it can cause a stir. But things at Henderson Normal School were chaotic even before Labour leader Phil Goff arrived for the launch of the party’s policy on children yesterday.

The students ran around asking for autographs from anyone older than 20 who wasn’t their teacher and getting their photograph taken with All Black Jerome Kaino.

Then, as the Crown limo came down the drive, they were told that it was time to be on their best behaviour.

I normally wouldn’t be pointing out the use of what Ministers and the Leader of the Opposition have as part of their job, except that Phil Goff and Pete Hodgson politicized the use of the DPS and the Crown Limousines saying that they wouldn’t do what John Key does. It turns out that they are hypocrites.