William Sio

Shearer’s appalling lack of talent – A Guest Post

A leader with mediocre talents weighed down by a caucus whose bitterness is only matched by its shallowness. That is the plight of the Labour Party, and David Shearer’s next moves will entrench that perspective.

In light of his summary execution of David Cunliffe for failing to be a devout disciple in the face of sagging poll numbers, Shearer now faces the task of welding together a shadow cabinet. This task will be a study of the man’s ability to think about what’s best for himself and his party.

Cunliffe was arguably Shearer’s strongest asset on the front bench, a point Cunliffe himself knew only too well. Ironically he will now sit on the back benches with one man who is clearly the equal or perhaps better than most of the government’s front bench: Shane Jones.

Post Cunliffe, Shearer’s options are limited. Grant Robertson is deceptively smart, but he is the Environment spokesperson. Environment is not about green issues; rather it is about the apportionment of property rights in a world where human progress intersects with nature. What’s the point of ranking the Environment to number two in the caucus rank when Labour has no analysis of private property rights, let alone how those rights ought to be upheld?

Shearer is heavily reliant on David Parker in both Finance and now Economic Development. Parker is a clever politician, a lawyer by trade and has experience as a Cabinet Minister in the latter stages of the previous Labour government. But Parker’s is hog-tied to a party that is either incapable or unwilling to wean itself off a diet of big spending commitments. Why for example is Labour committed to KiwiBuild, a strategy that would see the state involve itself in the construction of 200,000 new homes? (More than three times the total stock of Housing New Zealand properties).

Shearer places great faith in Jacinda Ardern in Social Development. Aside from being disliked and isolated from the majority of her female caucus colleagues, Ardern is both linear and doctrinaire. Her default position is to argue every issue from an ideologically left perspective, something that more adept operators like Annette King and Phil Goff would periodically avoid. As a result Ardern has little in common with blue collar conservative voters, many of whom consider welfare to be an unfair wealth transfer from the battlers to the bludgers.

Clayton Cosgrove is a formidable debater in Parliament. But like Robertson he struggles to make an impression due in part to Labour’s lack of analysis for the ownership of assets or the future of New Zealand’s capital markets.

Maryan Street continues to be overrated and ineffective both inside Parliament and on the hustings. Labour has been completely outgunned by Tony Ryall in Health, and Street’s perseverance in that portfolio (while earnest) fails to close the yawning gap between the Labour and a historic Achilles heel for any government.

Nanaia Mahuta has never been popular with her caucus colleagues.. Nicknamed “the princess”, Mahuta has done well to hang on to her Tainui constituency. But she has performed poorly in Education, and is consistently bettered by her junior colleague Chris Hipkins. The trouble for Shearer is demoting Mahuta will send a signal to the Kiingitanga movement that their designated representative in Parliament is less valued, a tough sell coupled with the fact that Mahuta is a Cunliffe supporter.

William Sio is not to be underestimated for his links within the Pacific community. But Sio is a social conservative in a party that is seeking to redefine marriage to allow men to marry men and women to marry women. This strategy both offends and tests Labour’s ties with the Pacific community, a point that Sio himself has made publicly.

Phil Twyford has done well to dig in in Te Atatu and has scored headlines on local government and transport issues. But that in itself is small fry compared to the task of building an alternative government.

Beyond that Shearer has a caucus of candidates who are in the twilight of their careers (e.g. Parekura Horomia, Trevor Mallard, Phil Goff and Annette King), or who are simply too lightweight to be taken seriously (e.g. Sue Moroney, Moana Mackey, and Louisa Wall). Some options are simply not trustworthy (e.g. Charles Chauvel and David Cunliffe himself), or have yet to make an impact (e.g. Claire Curran).

Shearer could and probably will promote Chris Hipkins and Andrew Little. But neither man has any reason to show loyalty to Shearer long-term, particularly if Shearer is unable to reverse Labour’s sagging poll ratings.

Labour’s caucus is the by-product of a party and a selection system that rewards cronyism over talent, gender and sexual orientation over competence and union-dominated fiefdoms over political smarts. That is why Darien Fenton rather than Kelvin Davis or Stuart Nash sits behind Shearer at question time. The lack of talent means Shearer turns up to a gunfight with John Key holding a bread and butter knife rather than a loaded firearm.

It’s no wonder Labour’s rank and file members are itching to have a go at shaping that party’s leadership. Maybe they should start with their own MPs too.

Fundraising Ideas For Labour, Ctd

Over at Trade Me there is an auction for an Ecoya candle of Dan Carter’s foot and calf muscle.

I cannot see the attraction of burning a candle of another man’s leg at all but in the spirit of generosity I have another idea for New Zealand politics’ biggest charity case at present, the Labour Party.  Call it a wee mid-winter gift from the Whale.

Labour faithful can auction off wax replica of:

- David Cunliffe’s chin – now he has shaved we are reminded that he doesn’t really have one.

- David Shearer’s backbone – the only proof that he actually has one would be a wax replica as we are yet to see it.

- Trevor Mallard’s – no lets not go there so being an expert in not using “buy now”, “Trade Me” Trev can run the auction.

- Su’a William Sio’s foot – the one that is not stuck in his mouth presently.

- Jacinda Ardern’s teeth – it would be sexist to suggest any other body part and all comments related to will be deleted.

- Clayton Cosgrove’s plugs – that hair isn’t staying up there on its own.

- Clare Curran’s long FMB’s –  it would be sexist to suggest any body part and all comments related to will be deleted.

- Parekura Horomia’s thigh – may lead to a run on soy futures but worth a go.

- Shane Jones’ right hand – like Carter’s scar Jones’ hand would have genuine scuff marks included.

Be kind spirited enough to leave your suggestions in the comments.  All replica can be scribed by Dear Leader (Helen Clark) as a genuine replica wax.

Nice to Have – Trips to Mexico

A couple of bludging MPs are off to some talk fest.

Labour MPs Pete Hodgson and William Sio are off to Mexico and Panama.

Speaker Lockwood Smith said the pair would meet Mexican parliamentarians in Mexico City, before heading to 124th Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) Assembly in Panama City, Panama.

In Mexico discussions would cover customs, business and both countries’ roles in the Asia-Pacific region.

“Since the early 1970s, Mexico has consistently been our key export market in Latin America while growing in significance as a destination for New Zealand investment,” Dr Smith said.

Over the past five years, New Zealand exports to Mexico have averaged around $444 million per year.

If Mexico is so important why are we sending two losers, one about to leave parliament and the other ranked 17 on Labour’s list.

Lookwood Smith would do us all a favour by making any travel by anyone outside of cabinet only half subsidised, so the MP had to pay the other half. That would make them stop and think about whether it was good value to go.

Last day of Movember

MovemberToday is the last day of Movember.

Thank you to all my donors. I have made it to the Top 100.

If you would like to help kick me higher then please click the link to donate to my Mo’. I only need $200 to get in the top 50.

Remember, all donations over $10 are tax deductible.

The money raised by Movember is used to raise awareness of men’s health issues and donated to the Cancer Society of New Zealand and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. These two charities will use the money raised to fund research and increase support networks for those affected with prostate cancer and experiencing depression.

Movember – 2 days to go

Movember Many thanks to the fans who have donated thus far. There are two days to go for those of you who haven’t donated yet. Right now I am in the top 200 fundraisers and only a few hundred of joining the Platinum Movember Club. Please help me get there.

To donate to my Mo you can Click this link and donate online using your credit card.

Remember, all donations over $10 are tax deductible.

The money raised by Movember is used to raise awareness of men’s health issues and donated to the Cancer Society of New Zealand and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. These two charities will use the money raised to fund research and increase support networks for those affected with prostate cancer and experiencing depression.

Did you know:

  • Depression affects 1 in 10 men….Most people who experience depression make a full recovery. The first step is seeking help.
  • Last year in New Zealand 2,700 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than 600 died of prostate cancer – (that’s nearly two each day).

Movember – One week to go

Movember - One week to go In one week Movember will be all over. Thanks to Aaron Gilmore, Dpf and Busted Blonde for their donations and Barnsley Bill for his token support. The rest of the blogosphere appear to be a bunch of tight fisted homo’s, which if you get Prostate Cancer you will find out all about “fisting”, so to speak.

If you get a change of heart then head over to the site and donate.

Of course it isn’t too late if you have a ‘stache to join my team.

In case you have forgotten;

Movember - Attend a Gala ParteThe money raised by Movember is used to raise awareness of men’s health issues and donated to the Cancer Society of New Zealand and the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand. These two charities will use the money raised to fund research and increase support networks for those affected with prostate cancer and experiencing depression.

Did you know:

  • Depression affects 1 in 10 men….Most people who experience depression make a full recovery. The first step is seeking help.
  • Last year in New Zealand 2,700 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer and more than 600 died of prostate cancer – (that’s nearly two each day).

Now, I know personally that depression ain’t a barrel of laughs, I shudder to even contemplate what prostate cancer would be like, so how about it?, dip into your pocket and donate. It’s tax deductable don’t ya know.

UPDATE: Thanks to Cactus Kate and Gavin Knight for their donations