Clark as the architect of Labour’s woes

I have said for years that labour is deep trouble, and my reasoning has been that Helen Clark so dominated Labour in the late 90s and up until 2008 that she built the party in her image and required that those selected as MPs beneath her would never be of a calibre to ever challenge her. She maintained a strict ratio of the factions and indeed created more factions.

Once she left however the wheels started to come off the trolley.

Kiwi in America writes at David Farrar’s art, lifestyle, fitness and travel blog about this precise issue. It is TL;DR to most but I have taken the time to read it and found the best bit.

Cunliffe’s failings as LOO have been well canvassed on this and other right leaning blogs and in the mainstream media. They are real and look set to seal Labour’s fate in 2014 barring some catastrophic scandal from Key and the Nats. But really the premise of this essay is that Labour would be in this pickle regardless of who in the current caucus was the leader. Clark made sure that no charismatic rising star would ever make it to caucus or Cabinet to interfere with her goal of winning four elections and eclipsing Holyoake as the longest serving NZ PM in the modern party era. I alluded to one such person I met in my time in Labour who, absent Clark and the sisterhood’s purge, would be causing Key and National major heartburn if he were the LOO today. Clark dispatched him and many others like him. Look at Labour’s entire caucus. Who in there could seriously challenge Key? There is no one. Read more »

Labour’s clustertruck policy is total carnage


When Labour last attacked truckies there was a nationwide blockade of the nations towns and cities. On that day they al drove ont he left hand side letting people transit as they protested.

Truckies by and large are courteous drivers. But LAbour continues to attack them.

Labour’s policy this time though is a sham. Of the 11,000km of NZ roads their policy will affect just 60kms, mostly in Auckland. Their claims of people fed up with holiday traffic held up by trucks are fanciful, and anyone who lives in Auckland knows the problems aren’t the trucks at holiday time…it is the crappy roads, roading choke points and people towing boats and caravans that hold people up.

Still, Labour thought this was a winner, and a more spectacular policy cock up I haven’t seen in many a year.  Read more »

Cunliffe had to do it, the Greens are toxic

David Cunliffe has been forced into distancing him and Labour somewhat from the Greens.

Audrey Young reports:

Labour yesterday rebuffed a proposal by the Green Party to present both parties as a coalition Government in waiting during in the run-up to the September 20 election.

Labour co-leader David Cunliffe indicated that such a pre-election arrangement could have posed problems with post-election negotiations with other parties, such as New Zealand First.

The Greens never had a formal coalition with the three-term Helen Clark Government, sufficing with a less extensive support agreement and no ministers.

Mr Cunliffe told the Herald tonight he envisaged that Labour would try to negotiate a formal coalition agreement with the Greens after the election, but until then he would be referring to a “Labour-led Government,” not a “Labour-Greens Government” – or a “Green-Labour Government” which had also been raised.

“I’m the leader of the Labour Party and my job is to maximize the Labour Party vote,” he said.

“The Labour Party will be the core of the incoming Government working co-operatively with the Green Party who are our longstanding friends.

But Labour would quite possibly be working with other parties as well “and whatever the coalition arrangements are, they need to be able to spread across more than two parties.”

He said it was important to maximize the reach “all the way from the greenest end of the green spectrum right to the political centre and cross-over voters and in order to do that, it is important that they have their brand and we have our brand, and they have their policies and we have our policies.”  Read more »

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 »

Groucho Marx’s Labour party


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 »

Trotter explains why Labour is in trouble

Chris Trotter is a smart guy, one of the few on the left I respect.

He knows a fair bit about campaigning too and he explains why Labour is in trouble this election while they sink slowly in the polls.

… Mary lived in a Labour-held electorate, her MP really wasn’t much cop – at least not as far as the people who lived on Mary’s street were concerned. She had made her way up through the mostly middle-class women’s network of the Labour Party which meant that her working knowledge of the working-class was, to put it kindly, somewhat limited.

But, as I said, Mary came from an intensely political working-class family. Both her parents and two of her siblings were Left-wing party activists, and Mary had acquired the ability to formulate a better-than-average political analysis practically by osmosis. Unlike most of her neighbours, she saw a general election looming. And just like the city’s shrewder party bosses, she was pretty sure her local MP was in trouble.

Sure enough, the polling booths had only been open a few hours on election day when Labour’s scrutineers noticed a frightening trend. If the hundreds of “natural” Labour supporters in Mary’s suburb continued to stay at home (as they were doing in droves) the incumbent MP was going to lose. Somehow word was got to Mary: “Can you get your neighbours out? If Labour doesn’t maintain its vote at your local booth, the Nats will win.”

Now Mary may not have cared much for the Labour Party but she cared for the National Party a whole lot less. So, as the day wore on, Mary wore her knuckles raw on the doors of her friends and neighbours.

She knew them and they knew her. More importantly, they trusted her. So when she told them: “You gotta get down to the school and vote. Yep, right now. Coz if all of us living round here don’t vote Labour, the Nats will win.”

And it worked. Mary’s neighbours squeezed their babies into their strollers, and their voting papers into the ballot box – and Labour held the seat.   Read more »

Why the left now uses “progressive” to describe themselves

The left-wing has been slowly rolling out more and more use of the term “progressive” to describe themselves.

Andrew Bolt has noticed

Have we made the Left unfashionable? Have we made the Left finally too embarrassed to out themselves?

I freely admit to being conservative, yet almost no presenter on the ABC dares to likewise admit they are of the Left.

Indeed, presenters such as Jonathan Green feign outrage when a columnist calls them what they clearly are:

How does Greg Sheridan have any clue what my politics are? We’ve never met. Never had a conversation. Beyond parody.

Today an even more bizarre example of the Left’s shame of the word “Left”.

Morry Schwartz is the property developer who funds the Leftist The Monthly (this month’s lead story: The future of the Greens). Tomorrow he has a new Leftist publication on the market, the Saturday Paper, aimed at the readers of the Leftist Age and Sydney Morning Herald who won’t like the new tabloid size those papers will have from this weekend.  Read more »

Is Labour trying to kill the Greens?

I’ve been doing a fair bit of thinking about Labour’s strategy.

I am pretty sure that Labour is trying to do a poor emulation of what National did between 2002 and 2005.

They are a little premature in that they haven’t yet had their loss like 2002 but they are heading in the at direction is sources telling me about Labour’s internal polling are correct.

National spent most of the gap between 2002 and 2005 trying to kill of Act. It was difficult as they were very active at this time.

Don Brash ascended the leadership and issued the now infamous Orewa speech, it was at that moment that the beginning of the end of the Act party started.

What has happened since though has caused National to have very few support partners, but at the same time hoover pretty much all of the centre right support.

Could Labour now being doing the same thing…they appear to be doing so with their lurch to the left.

The appointment of Matt McCarten cements this and his knowledge of left-wing politics should enable them to smack up…hard…the Green party.

We know that many in labour see green votes as rightfully theirs, and they think they also own the ‘pooftah’ vote and the union vote. But those interest groups are shrinking.   Read more »

Wellington Council faces living wage blowout

The stupid politicians in Wellington who handed over their wage negotiations to Rev Charles Waldegrave are now facing the prospect of a massive blowout in the wages bill after the Rev. Charles Waldegrave decided to unilaterally increase his Living Wage assessment.

Wellington City Council is facing a budget blowout on its living wage policy, just two months after becoming the first council to adopt it.

Councillors voted 9-5 in December to adopt the living wage for its staff at a rate of $18.40 an hour. But Living Wage Aotearoa, the group that sets the rate, has now raised it to $18.80.

Andy Foster, who voted against the living wage in December, said the increase would lift the wage bill for the 400 staff directly employed by the council by $332,000 a year.

But he warned that figure could blow out to as much as $5 million if it was extended to people working for council-controlled organisations and on council contracts, and if relativity adjustments were made for other staff.

“These are big numbers,” he said.

The latest rise highlighted his philosophical concern that the council had effectively handed control of staff pay-setting to an outside organisation.  Read more »

Tracy Watkins on Labour’s shambolic start to election year

Tracy Watkins discusses Labour’s utter shambles to the start of election year.

David Cunliffe apparently spent his summer studying the likes of the British Labour party’s Ed Miliband  and New York mayor Bill de Blasio.

That provides a clue as to where Labour is drawing many of its arguments on inequality.

But Cunliffe should also have spent some time watching old recordings from the campaign trail in 2011 when John Key floored Phil Goff with the line ‘‘show me the money’’.

Ironically, Goff’s people blamed his finance spokesman, Cunliffe, for going awol in the final weeks of the campaign and leaving him vulnerable to questions about Labour’s campaign costings.

That was mostly bunkum from a team that needed a handy villain on which to deflect some of the blame for Goff’s humiliating 21 per cent election night performance.

But it was a lesson in the old adage that the devil is always in the detail.  Read more »