Grant Robertson, Prime Minister? – Strategic Stupidity

Grant Robertson

The one major achievement in Grant’s political career was Labour’s halfwitted opposition to the Voluntary Student Union Membership bill. Grant tied up Parliamentary time for so long that few other private members bills got through in the last term, all over an issue that may matter a lot to Labour but mattered little to anyone else.

When the VSM bill was getting fought tooth and nail the vast right wing conspiracy were laughing to themselves. Why were Labour wasting so much time, energy and political capital on something that mattered so little? Why would swing voters care about VSM? How does compulsory student union membership make New Zealand a better place? How do Labour’s voters who largely do not go to university benefit from years of fighting for compulsory student union membership? 

The answers to these questions weren’t the point. The point was Grant Robertson seemed to be willing to engage in a battle that he would inevitably lose, over something that mattered so little, making a name for himself on an issue that middle New Zealand can’t be bothered with. Why he did this has never been explained. While the VRWC reveled in his stupidity, we were also disappointed that a man trained up by Helen Clark could be so inept.

As a crowning achievement VSM was such a disappointing issue. It is hard to imagine David Lange or Helen Clark being so captivated by such a trivial and peripheral issue.


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  • thor42

    I can only assume that Robertson wanted to maintain the (compulsory) flow of funds into student unions so that they could maintain their vise-like grip on student propaganda – all of it left-wing.

    He would (presumably) have seen it as part of the “big picture” – the left-wing keeping its domination of the education sector.

    • JC

      I would have thought its the most important recruiting and training ground for Labour activists, members and future MPs of the lot, plus an important starting point for future union activists and leaders.

      Its where you recruit your teacher unions, finance, IT and the increasing number of high tech jobs.

      Its all very well working the KFC trail in the cities to recruit, as Churchill put it, ” the dull, drilled, docile brutish masses of the Hun soldiery, plodding on like a swarm of crawling locusts.” but the schools, polytechs and universities are where you pick up the Labour elites.

      As I learned through my journalist daughter years ago PM Helen Clark used to go to the diploma journalist schools around the country and groom the students.

      Yep.. Labour would have to fight any fight at almost any cost to retain the compulsory union model at the universities.


    • axeman

      I still remember the hilarious scene on Parliament TV when Grunty, in a “statesman like” fashion, was running around inside the House in total despair. He had just realised the VSM Bill was going through.
      It looked like a scene from Benny Hill. Or even Dick Emery.

  • Timboh

    The issue Labour had with VSM is that the student unions were largely a place where future Labour activists and MPs got their training all paid for by other people.

  • Troy

    He was fighting for people like Fenton to go to uni to not finish a degree but to hunt down future unionists and left wing loonies. Robertson, Hipkins and all those others like to put on their CV’s that they were student reps, student presidents and so forth to boost their chances of getting put up as MPs. Hard for them to do that without the support of the student union, something dear to their hearts and pockets.
    When I went to uni at the ripe age of 40 I fought tooth and nail with Vic Uni that I shouldn’t be forced to pay fees towards something that I fundamentally disagreed with – unions. So I didn’t, until the student union threatened me in terms that i wouldn’t get my degree. I had no choice. That’s what I fucking hate about Labour and the unionist pigs they associate with. Threatening tactics – pack of assholes.

  • Wallsingham

    Not just Robertson’s obsession with VSM but the whole of the party’s focus on marijuana decriminalisation, homosexual law reform and lowering the voting age. NZ needs jobs, housing, education, health and prison reform for the majority, not a fluffy minority. When Labour gets back to its roots then their supporters will get out and vote.

    Until then we have the tree huggers, Winston and a government whose creativity, ingenuity and R&D investment are a reflection of the square root of their collective ministerial intelligence.

    What would help is some prime time televised debates on economics, foreign policy and domestic issues. Also in the country has got to be our version of a Jon Stewart or Bill Maher. If we are to be represented by incompetents, opportunists and ideologues at least let the clowns celebrate the fact. We need to laugh at ourselves if only in order to keep our sanity.

  • Elizabeth Bourchier

    Grant is a legend according to Grant and a few sycophants around him. And some Wellington media.

    I saw him share a stage in Titirangi a year or two ago on a debate on Conservation issues. No wonder he sees Cunliffe as a threat! Cunliffe has the audience tingling with a well researched speech. Grant tried to do it mostly off the cuff: Very little Prep!

    Grant came across as lazy , boring and scruffy.

  • PlanetOrphan

    Hopeless futures or David Cunliffe M8!