Labour’s problem

NZ Herald

Matt McCarten identifies Labour’s problem as they battle against a surging Green party. Watching the leftwing crow over just a single poll is hilarious. It should however serve as a wake up call to indolents National members who think that steady as she goes is all they need to do.

Labour’s problem is it is too cautious and risk averse because it isn’t sure what it stands for. The Ports of Auckland dispute is an example. The Green and Mana parties from the start attacked the tactics of the port against its workers and strongly supported the wharfies’ fight for decent pay and secure jobs. Even when it seemed unpopular, the Greens held firm on principle.

With the honourable exception of MPs Darien Fenton and Phil Twyford, Labour was all over the place. Labour needs desperately to reconnect to its working-class constituency.

Shearer, I assume, was trying to protect its party’s mayor Len Brown, but saying Labour was essentially neutral was counterproductive.

When the wharfies this week jubilantly marched through the waterfront gates returning to work, they rightly reserved their contempt for the mayor. But those workers and other New Zealand workers won’t forget Labour’s lacklustre support, either.

Labour shouldn’t take its working-class support for granted. Although the Green Party has always presented itself as outside the left-right prism, it’s not naive when it comes to understanding its constituency or its potential constituency.

Therefore the Green Party caucus appointment of Laila Harre to head its presence in Auckland comes at a critical political moment. Harre is a popular former Alliance cabinet minister and a formidable campaigner.

The odds of a change of government at the next election are high. After this week’s polls, Labour’s current wooden performance and the appointment of Harre, the idea of a Green-led government isn’t so difficult to consider.

After all, Labour is barely 30 per cent and the Greens are currently 17.

If Labour doesn’t lift its game, it may have to get used to the novel idea of its leader being “co-prime minister” with a Maori woman or an Aussie redhead.


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  • starboard

    “it may have to get used to the novel idea of its leader being “co-prime minister” with a Maori woman or an Aussie redhead”

    Yeah..and the last man out turn off the light wiil ya….

  • Adolf Fiinkensein

    McCarten too, has fallen for the hysteria.

    “The odds of a change of government at the next election are high.”


    “After this week’s polls,……”

    Matt it’s only one poll.  Just ONE poll, two years out from an election.

    • Gazzaw

      Matt sort of reminds me of the Kiwi cricket supporters & sports journos who after a one-off win against Australia at the beginning of the season promptly declared that the Black Caps problems were all in the past, the South Africans shouldn’t bother to turn up and the next World Cup was in the bag.

    • Troy

      Matt’s an idiot and his thought patterns vary on a regular basis as has been regularly demonstrated in the past.  It’s disingenuous to argue that one poll will affect something two years down the track – but that’s just Matt, all hot air and earning a few bob to write a column now and then – I guess he has to come up with something to keep himself amused.

  • ConwayCaptain

    Now if Winnie the Pooh doesnt produce anything and people realise that his List MPs are a waste of space most of those votes will go National.

    The Maori Party could disappear and the votes go to whom???  People will realise that Hone is all “Marf and Trahsers” as the Cockneys say.  Dunne will be a done deal and Ohariu could go Nat. 

    What National has to do is to attach the Watermelon Party’s loopy ideas and to go for Labour’s jugular.  On top of that start cutting the ridicu;ous social welfare ploicies and cost.

  • Fergus

    and yet Matt…you and your ilk recon that all polls that support National are rigged???If these clowns ever get the levers of power again, it WILL be a disaster…CGT, higher taxes, corrupt MP’s, more lies and manipulation. At the moment we have economic growth, falling unemployment and good future prospects….Prediction…..after the partial float of the power co.s and Air NZ….look for the credit UPGRADE.

    •  actually the comar brunton polls historically have over-favoured national…

      ..the roy morgan one showing the nearly 5% drop is also the one that got the election result correct..

      ..the col-brun one had the nats getting much more.. if that is what you are talking about..

      ..there is a case for that right-lean from colamar..

      ..and that 5% drop one..would confirm that..

      [email protected]

      • Fergus

        thanks for proving my point and confirming your stupidity.

  • Fergus

    “….the wharfies’ fight for decent pay and secure jobs.”  so Matt $91 000 per year isn’t decent pay huh, for a job with casual hours and high full time pay…..Talking out your ass again!!

  • Cullen’s Sidekick

    Any poll which has the toxic Greens at 17% must be dodgy. Even Matt McCarten should be able to understand that. But I did enjoy his column for his jokes like “The odds of a change of government at the next election are high.”
     Matt was badly burnt when he said National was sliding down and the One News poll came and made him look like an idiot. So he had to write something to make up for it.

    The only way National will lose power in 2014 (unless the jokers shoot each other as they are doing now) is Winnie stays above 5% threshold. It will be very difficult for National + ACT + UF with support from 3 Maori Party MPs to be higher than Labourers  + toxic Greens + Winnie + Mana. It is very hard to sustan 48% – 51% support way late into 2014.

    • AngryTory

      You’re forgetting the conservatives. If we must keep MMP, get the threshold down to 2.5 or 3%. And this election, that would have meant a very capable National/Conservative/ACT government

      Yeah they’d be no sales of the power companies.
      But there would have been full school privatization, full health privatization and real curbs on the Dole, DPB etc.

      • Travdog

        Lowering the threshold? heavens no, I don’t think that’s the right way to go. If they don’t have the numbers, its just tough luck. Colin Craig’s party should have at least one seat as well, regardless of the total party percentage, they need to win seats.They shouldn’t be there if the people don’t want them. Not saying I don’t, but I think thats the way it should work.Craig needs to make himself visible between now and the next election, for his party’s survival, and perhaps the next governments. Time will tell.

  • David Garrett

    Guys…it’s not just one poll…the glaring fact is that Key’s Nats got the greatest % of the vote since 1951  and because of MMP, still has a wafer thin majority. Unless a credible force to the right of the Nats emerges before the next election – and that is scarcely credible – it is almost inevitable we will end up with a motley crew of socialists, watermelons, maori nationalists/maniacs forming the government next time, or if not then certainly the time after that.  And that prospect scares the hell out of me.

    • Pete George

      So what should be done? Single party rule is history.

      Act and UF are looking iffy ongoing propositions. I’m comfortable with UF policies and principles but it’s very hard to attract people to vote for a liberal centrist party and even harder to get people to drive it.

      The Maori Party will struggle a leadership transition (and were losing ground anyway).

      Winston First picked up protest votes but it’s hard to see him sustaining that, he looks to be struggling to sustain his own capabilities.

      National needs either one of these parties to find a new lease of life, or for something new to start up that’s compatible with them.

      The Conservatives may not be the answer, the Christian connection has always been a support limiter.

      Picking a party to rebuild is easier than starting from scratch. What’s it to be?

    • Peter Wilson

      You can’t argue the Nats got the greatest % of the vote and then complain they only have a waifer thin majority because of MMP.

      If we didn’t have MMP, it may well have been a cliff hanger because the Greens probably wouldn’t exist, or would be hovering around 1-2 seats, and those 10% of wasted Greens votes would be with Labour.

      But yes, I do agree the Nats only chance is for a right wing party to rise, and allow National to move to the center.

    • AngryTory

      Right. If NZ was a democracy – like QLD – National would have 105 seats with the rest split between Labour & Winston – remember the votes were pretty much the same in QLD & NZ.

      Of course, if NZ was a republic with the rule of law and constitutional constraints on political parties, Nats would have say 70 seats with the rest split between ACT & Conservatives.   Unions, and their politico-terrorist wings – Labour/Greens/Maori/Mana etc would be banned. 

  • the greens and labour will be equal partners in the new government…

    ..and it will be roll-back/undo-time.. gains tax time.. transaction tax time..

    ..a more progressive personal tax system..

    ..real moves to end poverty/child-poverty..

    ..the remaking of a ‘decent-society’..

    ..and the repealing of repressive legislation..(c.f…’three-strikes’..)

    ..can’t wait..!

    ..and these reforms of course will guarantee them following terms…

    ..and this older generation of nats..the collins/joyces will never ever see power/leadership.. will be bridges’-generation turn before national will be considered again.. seriously have they/are they fucking up..

    [email protected]

    • starboard

      much like your predictions for the last election mr ure , wrong again. NZ’ers arent that stupid , they dont want your socialist utopia . Green , liarbor , mana, , maori, nzf…an absolute scrapping of the bottom of the barrel. It will never happen.

      •  i think you will find they have tired of the neo-lib dystopia two + decades of rightwing doctrine has wrought..

        ..time for a change…eh..?

        ..those greens are looking pretty

        [email protected]

      • starboard

        Were you completely stoned for 9 years whore..newsflash..hulun klarkula and her bunch of merry women and faggots bled the country dry…the most unpopular politician of all time. The lefty socialists , homosexuals , watermelons , general freaks and parasites will not be returning to run the show for a very very long time.

      • Acting Up

        Crikey, Starboard, your slip is showing!! You can’t really be that full of hatred towards people who’s only difference to you is that they follow different political parties. Please tell me that you are ‘firing for effect”, and that you really don’t think this for real.

    • Fergus

      read just one report on CGT there phil?..No didn’t think so!! Evry report re CGT says it has had a negative effect on EVERY country it has been introduced to. Hikgher taxes means LESS jobs, less growth and more debt…mostly private debt..and why were we down graded again? Oh yes because of high PRIVATE debt!!!!

      •  what utter rubbish..there..fergus.. that country you so admire..america..

        ..the current debate is around raising it from the 15% it now is.. the same rates wage/salary-men/women pay..

        ..and that theory you are pushing/parrotting.. the ol’ trickle-down

        ..didn’t you hear about the change of name by deed-poll there..?’s now called ‘the piss on everyone else theory’…

        ..and ‘everyone else’ is kinda tiring of the ongoing/constant shower of urine..

        ..and actually..fergus..’higher taxes’..if done correctly..

        ..will lead to a fair/equitable/’happy’ society/country..

        ..are you quite comfortable with all the symptoms of poverty bursting out all over..?

        ..3rd world diseases..and the like..

        ..y’see..!..the thing is with that ‘trickle-down’ thang..

        ..that kinda messes it up.. that most of the 1%/elites just want to trickle down nothing..

        ..they just want to keep pissing on us..forever..

        [email protected]

      • Fergus

        no phil, unlike you I have read five reports from various countris with cgt, relating to general CGT and some as to how cgt effects specific industries and business model (especially franchises)…NONE have been positive!!!!!!!!!!! so puyll your head out of your arse, and stop repeating the rediculous and unresearched Labour/green party line and do the research for yourself!!!…IDIOT!!

      • Fergus

         I’ll give you a clue phil,ask what the rate of CGT will be on shares. Then calculate how much that will REDUCE your kiwi saver and National super payout when you retire, As that is how they make money from contribution…to invest in and buy and sell SHARES….Which will be subject to CGT. The corruption comes, when Labour make kiwi saver compulsory…and then tax it with CGT!!!

      • Acting Up

        Hi Fergus, “every report re CGT says it has had a negative effect on every country” – can you please link to one of these reports that says this?


      Whos paying for all the changes,The workers,and some dumb arse labour party judgement at the amount that people are considered wealthy.Guess those on welfare will be happy.Get a job,cheers S 

      • personal taxes..and a financial transaction tax ..

        ..will take care of a lot of that..steve..

        ..then there are pollution-taxes on the bad polutors.. force them into line..

        ..(and the tax breaks for the clean/new industries..)

        ..and we stop those fucken farmers from just letting their animal shit to pour into our waterways.. much to do..

        [email protected]

    • Groans

      Three strikes legislation, is that something to do with homosexual law reform?

      •  it was a con-job by a crim ex-mp..

        ..but it will be easily undone..

        ..then there will be no trace of that crim ex-mp having ever been there..

        [email protected]

      • Bunswalla

        Yeah Phil, I hate that whole crim ex-whatever genre too. Let’s see, there’s the crim ex-druggie, the crim ex-armed robber, the crim ex-worker that now bludges on the tax-payer, the crim ex-1970’s activist, waiting for “the revolution”…

  • Mickrodge

    Calm down Phil.

    Your socialist utopia is still a (certainly in your case) pipe dream for the time being.

    Alas David Garrett makes a good point as under the current MMP system (and the whale has alluded to this many times) National are the natural party of opposition in this country.

    Frankly I find it fucking scary to think of how close we may have came to a Labour/Green/NZF/Mana coalition government last year.

    And on appearances the left have more than their fair share of batshit crazy politicians just waiting to get their hands on the treasury benches & the public purse to roll out the next generation of social engineering.

    A lot can happen in two years.

    • Mully

       Please don’t feed the troll.

      Anyone who thinks there will be “equal partners” in any Government is clearly an idiot.

    • ..indeed a lot can happen in two years…

      ..the increasingly deeply unpopular asset sales haven’t kicked in yet..

      ..and the trans-ideological opposition to that economic-insanity will see national ratings back in english-territory..

      ..and facing a bloodbath in the election..

      (and we haven’t even factored in the fast-growing groundswell of opposition to that rancid stench emanating from that pokie-deal…

      …then there is a.c.c..)

      ..buckle yrslves in..’s gonna be a rough-ride for ya..

      …one heading right out the door..

      ..and for a very long time..

      ..and it will all be yr own

      ..and if those marginal-seat holders and others aren’t dusting off their c.v.’s..

      ..they are in denial…

      [email protected]

      • Cullen’s Sidekick

         As long as people like you are waiting in the wings to feed off other people’s money, there is always chance for Labour and Greens. So wait in the dole queue Phil, one day your time could come.

      • Groans

        I agree with you Phil, National have a mandate to govern only because the people are terrified by the social engineers of the left. I doubt most people who voted National want the assets sold, this is a dangerous policy for National. Right wingers should have voted Conservative.

      • Jassen

         “and we haven’t even factored in the fast-growing groundswell of
        opposition to that rancid stench emanating from that pokie-deal…”

        Besides the wankers over at the Standard, no one gives a fuck about the pokies. It is a local Auckland news item at best. I have been there many times, and it is never full. So I don’t see how having more machines will bring more people in. If there was a queue to get in down the round and round the corner maybe ….. but no.

        What scares me about the left, is the ease with which they are able to brain wash fukwits like you Phil.

  • it’s actually more our time has come.. represent the death-rattle of neo-lib dystopia…

    ..your time is up…

    [email protected]

  • Boss Hogg

    If the appointment of Laila Harre by the Watermelons does not prove that they are a communist party what would?

    The hijacking of environmental issues by a communist party must be revealed for what it is. 

    • the appointment of the best green-news in ages..

      ..and especially for her to take care of the long/forever-neglected auckland..

      ..i am expecting her to grow the green vote in auckland..

      ..especially in the long/forever-neglected sth auckland..

      [email protected]

      • Boss Hogg

        Communist.  The green veneer keeps getting thinner.

      • Acting Up

        Harre is a pretty good operator, and will add a lot of value to the Greens. She knows how Wellington works, and has a sharp mind.

        I reckon that isn’t veneer, Boss Hogg. Looks like pretty deep heart-wood to me.

    • Kiwidon

      Spot on Boss! 

    • Acting Up

      I have just gone onto the Green’s website and done a search for the phrase “socialisation of the means of production is our core policy”. Sorry, but haven’t been able to find it.

      Must be in their secret policy cache. Maybe Russel Norman, when he becomes co-PM, will drop the Aussie accent and start speaking with something that sounds suspiciously like Russian.

      Or, maybe not.

  • starboard

    go for ya life aint as if you have to get up early in the morn…

    •  yes i do..5-5.30 am i start news-hunting..

      ..i have quite a good ‘eye’…eh..?

      ..i always track them down..

      (but no animals are hurt..)

      [email protected]

      • Boss Hogg

        Phil – you always drag the thread towards that echo chamber that you call a web site and drugs – LOSER.  I would rather like you to do some “Spotting” up here in friendly Singapore – the law likes people like you.

        Why don’t you tell us how much of our money you spend each month on your drug habbit(s)?  I don’t mind people using class C and a few others – I just hate paying for it – BLUDGER.

  • ConwayCaptain

    Laila Harre and her ex Mike Lee in power in Akl.

    God help us

  • @BoJangles

    The Greens will be able to extract EQUALITY with Labour after the next election, by simple [Winstone] negotiation model.  Yes, a wahine  deputy PM  (and an aussie environment minister) in the next gov’t is staring us in the face……………….Ugh!!!

    •  using business-terminology..

      ..the neo-libs are a sunset-industry…

      ..communalism is a sunrise industry..

      ..the way of the future..

      [email protected]

    • Boss Hogg

      Sounds like a Doomsday secnario – The communists controlling the fabian socialists with those Mana extremeists and various nut cases coaxing it all along.

      A question to one of our legal minds – Would it be possible to take action against the Green party to stop them from using the word or colour “Green” in anything they do as it is clearly a misrepresentation of the facts?