Does National have a Campaign School?

Labour may be tits, but they get some things right and will be a threat in the future when they get a real leader.

One of the great things Labour do is train up activists. They have a summer school and a campaign school. They bring in a lot of people regularly and train them up. Participants loved it. Jordan Carter blogs about it:

I’ve spent the weekend in Hamilton at the first Young Labour campaign school.

It’s been an interesting couple of days for a number of reasons. The turnout was fantastic — around about sixty attendees not counting presenters. There was a good broad range of topics, from elections to issues campaigning and thinking about messaging and communications.

Ten years after the first Summer School, which is a Labour Party event organised by Young Labour, a campaigning focus like this is well timed and much needed. Campaigning is core business for a political party and we don’t make enough effort to teach people how to do it.

National’s weak party leadership means National does not have a Summer School. It does not have a campaign schooleither. Its Candidates College meets once a year (Nov 2-3 this year) and participants are lectured at, learning nothing useful except in National you are expected to sit and be lectured at without complaint.

Lord knows what the Young Nats do but ten years after Young Labour set up their school the Young Nats have not followed suit. This shows massive lack of leadership from the Young Nats presidents, the party president and the General Manager.

The latter two are far more interested in shutting down training than encouraging it, and don’t want anyone with any independent thought anywhere near the party. They even question prospective Candidates College members very closely about their friends and acquaintances with stern warnings issued by a board member about continued friendship with those who shall not be named.

The joke is they try veiled threats about candidates future prospects when in all likelihood they will be nowhere near the organisation of the party in less than 3 years.


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  • Vlad

    They need a school and somebody who really thinks about strategy, otherwise they are a party blundering along on the coat tails of an excellent PM and they will last as long as John Key cares to stay in the game.

    • Timboh

      Good call. Political history on all sides is littered with examples of good performer followed in their slipstream by those who failed to put processes in place (that weren’t about exclusion but about capability and pragmatism) in case the leader left.

  • MrV

    Nobody on the right of politics believes a school of indocrination is required, indeed this is the problem with Labour, too much school of indoctrination, not enough living in the real world.

    • not indoctrination, but in campaigning strategy and techniques…what works, what doesn’t, so that candidates don’t do dumb things

      • MrV

        Sure there does need to be professional organisation, but in terms of candidates not doing dumb things, there is no better place than the real world to practice such skills.

        As the writer says Labour have had their scheme going for 10 years, doesn’t appear to be doing much good. Indeed they are more off message than ever before and stumble into every area with ill defined policy (or no policy at all).

        Also what is the point in having a young labour when the issue seems to be the old labour not retiring?

      • justin

        Ha ha Cam – are you a paid member of the Labour party. You seem to be liking alot of what they’re up to

        • Michael

          I quit the Natiohal Party because I got sick of the top down approach. Electorates are there to raise money for campaigns, members are for donations, activists are put on a bus to make it look full as it drives through town. Labour are far better at being a membership party (probably because they have so few real members), National could learn a lot from them.

  • National is getting very top heavy with old hats and not encouraging new membership.
    Being a Young Nat myself, I don’t feel very welcomed into the party and think it was a waste of money.

  • Johnboy

    Ah well. Fuck it. At least they can’t be accused of having pedophile teachers at their young Nat’s summer camp!

  • motorizer

    i think its sick. i know someone who got heavily involved in a similar thing with the greens. he was so fuckin pro communist. Then one day he woke up, snapped out of it, realised he was being brainwashed. he wasted a couple of years thinking like a moron and loosing friends.

    • I know what you mean, I have young labour friends who think that politics is the be all and end all of life. It’s actually quite sad.

      • You probably want to get better friends. I don;t have any friends who are pinkos…they just stink up the joint.

        • MrV

          Does dpf know this ? ;-)

      • Troy

        True. Look at Jacinda Ardern she has been so brainwashed by her comrades she’s lost sight of reality – watch her asking questions in the debating chamber, she has a visciousness and spitefullness about her – everyone else is always wrong and she is always right – that kind of mentality we don’t need.

        • parorchestia

          And for her to rank Gar Rights higher than the far more important things, such as protection of children, is very revealing.

  • ex RNZN RM1

    National seems to think that 60 different teams all making the same mistake at different times is a good thing. Let the 60 teams make one mistake each but by sharing it with others they do not repeat the same mistake.
    I know of one team that delivered candidate introduction leaflets into the wrong electorate, ( just one delivery area that had moved with boundary changes but still not good), what have others done that the rest can learn from.

  • 2ndAmendment

    National is in government. Labour is in disarray.

    If and when Labour look like winning – and not with some frankenstein coalition of losers – then perhaps National needs to worry about campaigning.

    For now a 4% – or better still 3% – threshold guarantees a National+Conservative government for the next couple of terms – a government far more likely to make the hard decisions that the previous four years of “smile & wave” / Hellen’s policies with a prettier face.

    • GregM

      In my opinion, this country need a swift lurch to the right. Conservatives and ACT need to get a campaign school going now. There will not be the 3-4% margin in 2014 if nothing is changed. National seems to be chasing the centre vote, rather than making the fundamental changes that are needed.
      Why have they not cut all the handouts set up by the previous government?
      Why are all the UN related programmes still in place?
      National have had four years to make some hard decisions, and they have chosen not to. Not good enough.

      • 2ndAmendment

        ACT is dead. The best thing ACT can do for the right is to give up.
        Keep “ACT on Campus” for sure – but run no candidates for the next election under the ACT brand.

        Then Conservatives are absolutely sure to make 4%

  • Patrick

    Can you imagine the collection of misfits & never-do-wells. All sitting around with chips on their shoulders, “not my fault it’s the gummint,” “capitalists are to blame” yah-dee yah-dee yah woe is me who can I blame. More importantly who will pay for my idle ass to sit around doing nothing feeling sorry for myself?

    How about get a haircut & get a real job

  • rockyr

    I think you are a bit tough on the “Young Nats’ under the leadership of yourself and Farrar they have influenced National to follow the Clark Homosexualisation agenda and to retain the out of control youth drinking tragedy.

  • AnonWgtn

    Norway’s Socialist Governing Party has a similar summer camp schools – Brevik liked them.