Phil Twyford

Colin James on Cunliffe

Colin James joins the extending narrative that David Cunliffe can’t win.

James isn’t so crass as to say that out loud, but a read between the lines shows it clearly.

David Cunliffe has just under six months to build the sort of credibility for a Labour-Greens coalition that pulls some voters across from National’s side and some non-voters in from the cold.

In his six months as leader Cunliffe, first, got only a short-lived bump in opinion polls and then in February-early March took Labour back to its David Shearer low. His biggest publicity recently has been for leadership stumbles.

And those stumbles are real stumbles, rather than Shearer’s mumbles.

First, Cunliffe chose to run Labour’s innovative children policy as a cash handout when its real value is a focus on children’s physical experience in the womb and nutritional, emotional and cognitive experiences in the early years of life. That is, he highlighted the palliative of a dole to parents over investment in children to give even the disadvantaged a close-to-equal opportunity to be full citizens as adults. And he did not say the palliative would be discounted for parental leave cash.

National got two free hits. It could say, first, Labour was sneaky and, second, would be old-style tax-and-spend when an edgy global economy mandates fiscal caution.

One down. Second, he ran a line about super-rich Key being out of touch because he lives in a leafy suburb. A more self-aware Cunliffe would have remembered attacks in the leadership contest that he lives in a nice house in a leafy suburb while promoting a “red” Labour. Another free hit for National.

Two down. Then he had to own up to an anonymous trust to (lavishly) fund his leadership campaign, thereby undermining Labour’s criticism of National’s anonymous election funders and John Banks’ troubles with contributions to his 2010 mayoral campaign. Insiders say Cunliffe had to be persuaded to be open about the trust so that it wouldn’t fester all the way to election day.  Read more »

Game changers

How many times have we heard ‘game changer’ for something to do with the Labour party?

Lots. And the game so far hasn’t changed.

GST off fresh fruit and vegetables:

“Labour’s plan is a bold one. It’s a game-changer. It’s about fairness,” said Mr Goff at the time.

Capital Gains Tax:

Leader Phil Goff yesterday unveiled the party’s “bold” CGT regime, saying its time had come, and it would be a game-changer for Labour, which is struggling to narrow National’s lead in the polls.

Raising the super age of eligibility:

Mr Goff hopes the announcement will be a game-changer. Raising the age of eligibility for National Superannuation would affect 2.4 million New Zealanders.


But the potential disclosure of the contents of that conversation – held only a metre away from the closest reporters – could yet throw a rocket into this election campaign. It is a game-changer.   Read more »

Auckland’s bargaining power MIA along with Lame Duck Mayor

No mates: Len Brown stands with all his supporters

No mates: Len Brown stands with all his supporters

When lame duck Mayor Len Brown bolted for the holidays (or was that painting the house so it could be sold?) taking what little remained of his dignity he also left behind a city that has been leaderless ever since. He claimed in the furore over his rooting, his favours, his dalliances and his spending that Aucklanders just wanted him to get on with running the city…a job he has singularly failed to do ever since he uttered those words.

Cameron Brewer notes this as well in a paywalled column at the NBR.

With all political parties and leaders set to keep their distance from Auckland Mayor Len Brown this election year, Auckland will sadly lose some real bargaining power and influence via party policies and manifestos at a critical time for the region and the economic growth cycle.

Six months ago a big part of the 2014 election looked set to be about which party could keep the Auckland Mayor the happiest. Now, political parties will be very circumspect about promoting any close association with Mr Brown or shared policy platforms for fear of it having a negative impact on their party vote nationwide. Simply put, it’s no longer a good look to be seen pandering to Len Brown.

Auckland should be calling many of the shots this election year, but unfortunately gaining political accommodations for Auckland Council will be harder.

It is clear that the Labour Party has abandoned its highest-profile member and in election year looks set to keep its distance.

Only in June Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford was talking up Len Brown in the House and in press releases as “the popular Labour Mayor.” However Labour seems to have been the ultimate fair weather friend with leader David Cunliffe cutting him completely loose since.  Read more »

Why Holding an Electorate Matters

Scum List MPs are scum. They have far less mana than those who win a seat. That’s why Paula Bennett was like a rat up a drain pipe in her haste to get to Upper Harbour, and why Phil Twyford whored himself out around Auckland to win a selection in a safe seat.

List MPs are double scum if they have lost a seat. In 2005 National won seats off Labour and the Labour MP was back on the plane to Wellington the next week even though they had been voted out by their electorate.

Losing your seat means you lose credibility. It gives the leader or the party an excuse to leave you out of cabinet. You become a second class citizen. That is why MPs work so hard to hold seats, even though under MMP seats do not affect the proportionality of parliament.   Read more »

Tweet of the Day – Pedro kicks Twyford in the slats

King hit from Patrick Gower who remembers Phil Twyford standing for at least 4 electorates before finding his “home” in Te Atatu.

Read more »

Another sneaky Cunliffe backflip. When is a promise not a promise?

Cold hard economic reality is coming back to bite Labour in the arse after all their false promises.

You may remember the wailing from the left last year when Kiwirail mothballed the Gisborne-Napier rail line, after it was revealed it would need taxpayer subsidies of $6 million a year to operate – translated as a whopping $37,000 in subsidies per trip.

Labour, of course, rushed to promise it would re-open the line as an election promise.

But…..Oh, dear. What’s this?

“The Government has said it won’t fix the rail line and an earlier Labour Party promise by transport spokesman Phil Twyford and Gisborne-based list MP Moana Mackey, to reopen the line if Labour is voted into Government in 2014, has been retracted and replaced with a desire to do so by new Labour leader David Cunliffe.”   Read more »

Question Time round up, sound smacking all round for Labour’s ‘stars’

Not a stellar start from the new Labour team at question time.

Paula Bennett answering about the success of getting beneficiaries to sort out outstanding warrants with the coppers or lose your benefit. Sue Moroney leaps up to ask how it helps them get a job?  It was a stupid irrelevant question which Bennett bats away to which Moroney raises a point of order and subjects herself to another healthy smack across the chops.

Phil Twyford reels out stats to Nick Smith lamenting how many houses housing NZ has demolished and not renewed leases on and wants to know why ? Fucking great big earthquake perhaps.   Read more »

Inside the Young Labour war over Labour’s leadership

Some in Young Labour will be on Q+A this morning making the case for Labour to move to the left. The reality is they’re deeply divided.

Given the Young Labour National Executive is firmly in the clutches of Grant Robertson’s Wellington’s Mafia, it’s likely they’ll get in behind but not without backbiting from the Cunliffe-controlled Princes St Labour (PSL) branch in Auckland.

The factions in Young Labour are quite simple – Auckland (which backs Cunliffe) and Wellington (which backs Robertson). It’s Wellington that currently dominates the Young Labour Executive but the youth wing is far from united.

Camp Robertson

  • Reed Fleming – staffer in Grant’s office so is fighting for his job, especially after he we was eased out of the Labour leader’s office under Shearer.
  • Rory McCourt – VUWSA president and union-trougher. Elected via a nasty campaign helped by his mate Reed.
  • Arena Williams – Popular AUSA president. A Shane Jones fangirl who’s seen Robbo as a better bet. Has parliamentary aspirations sooner rather than later.
  • Levi Joule – regarded as principled third wayer. Failed AUSA politician. Tried to smear John Banks in 2011 and got exposed by this blog. Joule is on the outer in Princes St Labour because he doesn’t fit the Cunliffe mould of extremist leftism that he inspires in his supporters.  Read more »

Fran O’Sullivan on Key’s strategy and Labour’s lack of one

Fran O’Sullivan writes about John Key’s strategy and the uselessness of Labour.

The strategy is obvious.

Neutralise potential political flashpoints on issues where the Government has been on the back foot and out of step with local wishes; and drive a wedge against Labour by taking the high ground ahead of the forthcoming local body elections.

It’s smart politics.

And somewhat galling for Key’s political opponents who have lost a potentially valuable stick with which to beat up the Government.   Read more »

Armstrong – “A political masterstroke”

John Armstrong says John Key’s Auckland transport volte-face and policy extension is a “political masterstroke” which is what I was saying just the  other day while Phil Twyford and others were claiming they won.

Finally others are waking up to just exactly what John Key did to them.

National’s decision – very much John Key’s decision – to bite the bullet and set a 2020 start for building the $2.9 billion Auckland City Rail Link is a political masterstroke.

Once again. Key has trumped National’s opponents and neutralised the political advantage they had held by jumping across the political divide and setting up camp in their territory.

He first did it with nuclear ship visits when he became National’s leader in 2006. He simply used his honeymoon in the job to declare the anti-nuclear law would remain intact under his leadership. And that was that. It may not have greatly impressed the Americans. But in an instant, a political millstone had been removed from National’s neck.   Read more »