Phil Goff

Cunliffe goes over the top and signals Labour will continue to provide for bludgers

Aside from not wanting to let the facts get in the way yet again David Cunliffe is starting to adopt the verbal approach of his chief of staff, we had the Garner interview that was mate this and mate that which from a toff in a Herne Bay mansion is ridiculous.

We now have the totally over the top reaction to what is some pretty minor changes to state house tenancies, reviewing a tenancy in a HNZ house to someone whose luck has improved to free up a house for someone more deserving is now “disgusting”.

Clearly there is some media training going on but with the same results that Phil Goff and David Shearer had…you can’t completely re invent someone.

And what of the policy?

Sounds like pretty sensible stuff to me and no doubt any other working person out there paying private rent.

The changes, coming into effect tomorrow, give community housing providers greater access to money to subsidise people in desperate need of a home.

It means non-government groups can offer income-related rents for tenants for the first time.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett said it would allow more diverse housing options for people on the waiting list, and make houses more affordable.

“It means significant savings for those renting the houses, with the state picking up a bigger part of the bill for them,” she said.

The government has set a target for 20 per cent of the country’s social housing to be provided by non-government organisations by 2017. Currently there are about 1200, but Minister for Housing Nick Smith said he wants that number to rise to 12,000.

Many of those new projects will be in West Auckland – where about 1200 of the 5500 people on the national state house waiting list live.  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 »

National’s strategic stupidity, Ctd

Yesterday I blogged about how MMP hands defeat to John Key, yesterday Andrea Vance also wrote about the exact same issue.

Chin up, Labour. So far most of the polls suggest you are doing a rubbish job at winning this election. But there are five reasons why David Cunliffe can cling to hope that he could still be prime minister this year.

1. The electoral system.

Well, duh. Obviously. Under MMP, post- elections negotiations are a bit like a nail- biting penalty shoot-out. Until now, Winston Peters has hammed up the role of kingmaker to dramatic effect. Now we’ve got a whole new crowd of mavericks on the field: who knows which way Colin Craig, Kim Dotcom and his mystery MP will swing. National can’t even rely on its old pals. The Maori Party is a shadow of itself, likely to take a huge hit in September. ACT’s Jamie Whyte is failing to live up to expectations – with no significant lift in polling since he took over as leader. Last week’s Roy Morgan poll is the first of the year where the left-bloc have regained a lead over National.  Read more »

Anyone want a rug of dud politicians

Some wag is selling a rug of dud politicians…the cabinet of the 1984 Lange government…complete with a mustachioed Phil Goff who is still in parliament.

dudrug

The good guys on this rug are Roger Douglas and Michael Bassett…the rest are useless, or dead which is a moderate improvement on useless since they can’t do anymore harm.

unbelievable that Phil Goff is still there after 30 years.

Danyl on the latest polls and where the trend is going

Danyl McLauchlan maintains a poll of polls with a bias corrected and non-bias corrected version. Both are showing the same thing.

Bias corrected aggregated poll of polls below. Non-bias corrected graph here.

nzpolls20140330bc

Safe to say that Cunliffe isn’t working out as Labour leader. He’s losing voters to National and he’s also trending down in the preferred Prime Minister rating.

[...]

I wonder what David Shearer thinks when he looks at the gap between National and Labour since the election? At the time I thought ditching Shearer was the right thing to do, but its starting to look like it was a horrible, horrible mistake.  Read more »

Fran O’Sullivan on China, National and Labour nasty tactics

Fran O’Sullivan writes about John Key’s China triumph:

John Key has firmly put his personal stamp on the New Zealand-China relationship by forging a “trusted partner” status with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Xi heralded the co-operation between China and New Zealand as “pioneering and exemplary”, saying he believed Key’s tour would instil new vitality into the bilateral relationship.

The Chinese President not only made sure New Zealand media were present for all of his reassuring opening remarks at the onset of the two leaders’ bilateral meeting at the Great Hall of the People, but he also welcomed Key and his officials “as family” to a rare private dinner.

This is no mean feat, given Beijing’s barely disguised anger over the Fonterra botulism scare that last year resulted in scathing editorials in official news organs over the New Zealand Government’s perceived failure to rigorously police food safety standards.

Chinese consumers were justifiably angry over the Fonterra fiasco. It not only diminished their confidence in the safety of New Zealand infant formula but resulted in significant collateral damage to the smaller Kiwi exporters that had the foresight and wit (which Fonterra at that stage lacked) to manufacture New Zealand-branded infant formula for the Chinese market.

Key’s visit has drawn a line under that episode.

Which is why Labour and their flunkies in MFaT wanted to rain on the parade.

But the Opposition has been determined to try to ensure Key does not get to politically bank the positives from the deepening bilateral relationship.

This is a mistake, especially given Labour’s own groundbreaking role in forging bilateral ties with China.    Read more »

Groucho Marx’s Labour party

Groucho_Marx_on_Politics

This accurately sums up the state of the Labour party.

You can see the evidence of this in their ham-fisted attacks and smears on Judith Collins and now John Key. Aided by their pals in the compliant media, like Patrick Gower and Corin Dann they really are making a mockery of politics, their party and journalism.

The excuse making and justifications of Gower’s recent behaviour in Shanghai, by journalists like Russell Brown, just make that sort of scurrilous reporting available to all.

I look forward to Patrick Gower invading the office of Selwyn Pellett and rummaging his drawers, fridge and bookshelves looking for evidence of his cozy relationship with Labour and the unions. Of course that won’t happen.

Since the departure of Helen Clark the party has been stagnant, and now since the arrival of the entirely false and contrived David Cunliffe in freefall in the polls. The current state of the Labour party can be sheeted home entirely to the legacy of Helen Clark.  Read more »

Hooton on the addled thinking of Winston Peters

Matthew Hooton has no love for Winston Peters…once calling him a word that is no longer used on this blog, on television.

He writes in the NBR about what it is that Winston Peters may or may not want.

The left is in despair.

Eminent left-wing scribe Chris Trotter says the election is “all over bar the counting.”  He fears a collapse in both turnout and Labour’s support, humiliating David Cunliffe and resulting in an “unparalleled National victory” for John Key.

From his comrades’ perspective, he is undoubtedly too curmudgeonly.

With the exception of 1999, all MMP elections have gone to the wire.

Even in the weeks before Bill English’s nadir in 2002, there was a mathematical possibility of a National/NZ First/UnitedFuture/Act coalition, limiting Helen Clark to one term.

In 2005, National’s Don Brash, along with the leaders of Act, UnitedFuture and the Maori Party, held talks with Winston Peters about forming a government but Mr Peters chose to give Ms Clark her third term.

More recently, Mr Key scraped home in both 2008 and 2011 by the narrowest of margins.

If Ms Clark hadn’t so slavishly backed Mr Peters through the 2008 Spencer Trust fiasco, she would have won a fourth term.

Similarly, only the go-slow by Mr Cunliffe and his supporters in the last weeks of the 2011 campaign stopped Phil Goff from making Mr Key a one-term prime minister.

If unemployment stays higher than forecast, wage rises are a bit lower, doubts emerge over the fiscal surplus and the official cash rate is closer to 4% than 3% in September, then the gap between National/Act/UnitedFuture and Labour/Green/Mana will narrow.  Mr Peters will again decide who will be prime minister.  Read more »

A reader emails about Labour’s fundamental problem

David Cunliffe: What do mean by tricky?

David Cunliffe: What do mean by tricky?

A reader emails some thoughts on what he thinks is Labour’s fundamental problem.

TL;DR  Labour cannot campaign effectively on centrist policy because National haven’t undone their policies from the Clark era.

As a political party, Labour have more than their fair share of people problems at present;  Musical Chairs in the leaders office, a savagely divided caucus, clumsy efforts to hide or downplay their individual wealth, overwhelming Union influence, etc.  As frustrating and damaging as these are for Labour, none of these amount to such a serious threat to the party’s credibility and viability as their policy problem does.

Labour’s policy record has been abysmal since John Key’s National Party took power.  It has become so bad that it’s now at the point where Labour probably goes up in the polls if they don’t release any policy in the preceding weeks!  Of late, Labour policy seems to be either;

  • Lifted directly from Chairman Mao’s Red Book (NZPower)
  • Heroically bungled in its delivery. (Baby Bonus, “Show Me The Money”, Dead fish, etc.)
  • A retraction of something that was previously heralded as a game-changer.  (GST free fruit & veges, Tax-free $5k)

I suspect that one of the big reasons for this is that Labour has a fundamental problem in the policy space.

Despite the Clark government’s “Scorched Earth” gambits to leave the cupboard bare for John Key’s incoming caucus, National has not rescinded a single one [1] of Labour’s “fiscally dubious” election bribes.  We still have Working for (other people’s) Families.  We still have Taxpayer Funded Interest Free Student Loans.  And so on.  The net result of this is that Labour are left with no room to manoeuvre anywhere near the political centre.  National have persisted with Labour’s most generous of socialist programmes and by doing so, neatly tied up the $8-10b of revenue that an opposition would traditionally consider “available” to fund new ideas to differentiate them from the incumbent.

In addition, Labour can’t whole-heartedly oppose the status quo because most of it was their policy in the first place.  This has resulted in policy debacles such as “Working for Beneficiaries Too!”

As a result, Labour now finds itself occupying the same political ground as the Green and Mana parties.  It is faced with either a 3-way fight for the far left vote against two smaller players, or a duel for the centre against a superior opponent that is wielding Labour’s own weapons against them.

Labour has been snookered.

 

[1] OK, they did axe the 39% envy tax.  Look what is at the top of Cunliffe’s policy to-do list?

Vernon Small on Labour’s “issues”

Yesterday Vernon Small wrote about the biggest issue facing Labour ahead of this year’s election.

Well the biggest problem after the issue with their tits leader….rejuvenation…or rather the lack of it.

 In politics rejuvenation rates alongside succession planning. Both are easy catchcries and generally seen as “a good thing”.

In reality they are a type of parliamentary Nimby-ism – nice to have if it is someone else who is vacating a seat, and fine as long as you are not the leader whose replacement is being groomed.

On the National side of the aisle rejuvenation is in full swing. At last count 14 MPs have either gone or are going out of a caucus of 59. It is generally accepted as a worthwhile and necessary refreshment of the party. Certainly it is being handled well and without any overt bloodletting. No dummies have been spat in the remaking of the National caucus.

Of course if the polls were different it would be a different story. Shave a theoretical five points off the Government and give it to the Opposition and the narrative might be akin to the “rats leaving a sinking ship” theme that Labour leader David Cunliffe has tried to get up.

But that just looks lame when the last three polls had National harvesting enough support to govern alone.  Read more »