Andrew Little is doing well, by doing nothing

I can’t find a single commentator that thinks Andrew Little has had a bad start.

Business leaders have praised new Labour Party leader Andrew Little for promising to work for small business owners and create more jobs.

Last week, Little said Labour would develop a long-term economic plan and work for people trying to get a small business off the ground, people on contract work and people who were their own bosses wanting to hire staff.

It would also establish a Future of Work Commission to develop policies for creating more jobs.

BusinessNZ chief executive Phil O’Reilly said Little’s speech would have been well received by business owners.

“It wasn’t a speech about politics, it was a speech about real people’s lives and how to make them better,” O’Reilly said.

Little’s focus on small business owners was a pleasant surprise, he said.

“Those small business people are the backbone of the employment community.’

About half of all workers are employed by small and medium enterprises (SMEs), he said.

If Little and Labour were serious about supporting SMEs it required policy changes and a shift in the way the party engaged with SMEs, he said.

For example, the past three Labour leaders wanted to scrap National’s 90-day “fire-at-will” probation rule if elected, despite SME owners considering that one of the best policies which supports their business, O’Reilly said.

Little had not yet commented on that policy, he said.

“He seems to be wanting to listen and he hasn’t come out with a whole bunch of stakes in the ground.”

Unlike his predecessor, who was throwing solutions around like a lolly scramble, and different ones depending on each audience, Little is actually going to last until the next election by delaying any need to take a position.  

But if small businesses think the hard union man is going to bend on issues such as the 90 day ‘fire at will’ legislation, I have a bridge I can sell them.

We’ve seen the new approach for the next two years:  “listen”, be non-threatening, and continue to take every chance that comes by to paint John Key and his ministers as arrogant.

Voters will be lulled into a sense of security by a Labour party that’s going to make all the right noises – lots and lots of talking, and not actually doing anything.

Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett said Little’s speech was “gracious” and positively received.

“It was an easy speech not to be offended by and not to disagree with,” Barnett said.

Little said technological change would have a big impact on working people’s lives.

The “digital revolution” was as significant as the industrial revolution was 200 years ago and a greater reliance on technology and automation meant many jobs would become redundant, he said.

Chaired by Labour’s finance spokesman Grant Robertson, the commission would hold public seminars and workshops around New Zealand, Little said.

Non threatening messages, seminars and workshops.

Little is indeed what the Labour Party needs right now.  But let’s not compare his performance to Cunliffe as the gold standard.  Based on that, most people with two strategic brain cells following good advice would be able to do better.

The really amusing thing is that the media have operated in such a vacuum of opposition competence for so long, they actually think Andrew Little is doing ‘really well’.

Not making deeply embarrassing mistakes on a daily basis like David Cunliffe may appear like an improvement, but it won’t be enough come election time.


– John Anthony, The Dominion Post


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  • jethro

    Wait until Angry Andy starts scaring the living daylights out of the “Business community”, will be a different story then !

    • thehawkreturns

      He already does. That smile on their faces is a clench as they squeeze their buttocks hard together.

  • Wheninrome

    Is this a case of “less is more” or “little and often”. I wonder when saturation point is reached with drip feeds, or is that a “drip feeding”.

    • ex-JAFA

      I prefer less Little, more often.

  • Wallace Westland

    The socialists answer to everything, create another commission. Brilliant!
    Are there not enough troughs for all of angry Andys mates at the moment?

    • Whitey

      You beat me to it.

      • thehawkreturns

        Did Labour beat the Greens to demand another Commission?. Damn! I missed it!

  • caochladh

    “Business leaders have praised new Labour Party leader Andrew Little” I wonder if they would still be singing his praises if they knew what he saying to his Union mates out of the other side of his mouth.

    • thehawkreturns

      Business leaders are “Doing a Little”. All smiles to his face and the Press but hoping against hope Labour don’t get in. Simple insurance.

  • The Whinging Pom

    Regardless of how many pats on the back Little gets from a friendly media it all comes down to one thing in the end:

    Labour is currently stuck in some sort of 1950s timewarp, and its activists and paymasters ain’t in the mood to decamp from their anachronistic comfort zone any time soon, so any leader capable of saving the party needs to change this situation. A tough ask, to go against the majority of those who you’ll depend on in 3 years time to fight your campaign, and those who you’ll expect to pay for most of it!

    But if Little is really honest about wanting to bring Labour into the 21st Century and realign the party to deal with the new employment reality, he needs to bring about real change and embrace things such as the 90 day trial and youth rates. If he can’t bring the party to accept even these minor and essential changes the nice words of the past week or so will count for nothing in 2017.

    So far I’ve seen nothing to suggest that Little will be able to turn the party round, but who knows – strange things can happen in politics. Little could be to NZ Labour what Gorbachev was to the CPSU.

    EDIT – spelling

    • Positan

      Surely the concepts, “Labour” and “21st Century” are mutually exclusive?

  • Justsayn

    I think he has done okay, but so did Cunliffe in the first few weeks… the power of change. I wouldn’t say he has done well.

    I’d like to see done credible poll results.

    As for the experts? These are the same people that explained to us the the dirty politics “scandal” was harming National and Key in the election campaign… I’ll give their opinions the respect they deserve.

    • Wheninrome

      MSM will be doing the “what are you doing In the Christmas break” round of politicians, that will give him a definite upswing, a bit like the “cheaper rego for the caravan” did for Cunliffe. He is bound to have some “left wing” type of holiday planned and festive feast, you know, lamb on the BBQ, instead of Ham and turkey.
      That will make the farmers happy given the price of lamb, and upset those in poverty cause they can’t copy their master and have lamb.

      • kayaker

        He’s more likely to say he’s having luncheon sausage and Spam.

        • Wheninrome

          Lets go for bread and dripping lad.

          • kayaker

            After walking barefoot for miles…

    • jethro

      Corin Dann for instance.. Breakfast chat show host that became a Political Science expert overnight..

      • Justsayn

        Nearly all of them. Gower is perhaps the worst… a hopelessly shrill innuendo and speculation merchant, and a face for radio to boot.

        • jethro

          Another twit is that Rawdan Christie, another chat show political expert that turns everything the government does, into a crisis.. roll on Feb 2015 so we get Paul Henry in this time slot..

          • kayaker

            So looking forward to that. I’ve stopped watching Rawdy and Ali in the mornings. Toni and Heather were appalling on Seven Sharp last week. TVOne has problems at both ends of the day.

          • jethro

            Yes, Heather was heaping impassioned praise on Angry Andy the other night like she was some besotted school girl with a crush on the teacher..

          • kayaker

            Seven Sharp really lost the plot last week. HdPA’s impassioned praise on AA, the body language ‘expert’ on JK, on it goes…

  • cows4me

    Little and Labour caring about small business, yes and I’m a hairy horse’s arse. These clowns couldn’t give a stuff about small business, small business to the socialist stinks of self determination and self responsibility. As long as I’ve been a dairy farmer these socialist clowns have only expressed their distaste for my industry calling it a sunset industry and doing their utmost to tax us out of existence, fart tax anyone. Just as a Zebra can’t change it’s stripes socialists can’t change their ultimate goal, state run everything.

    • Whitey

      A sunset industry!? Wow. Mind you, coming from unionists I’d say there’s more than a Little projection involved there.

    • kayaker

      Right on, cows! My lovely b-in-law is a farmer (since the ’70s), they have never had any time for Labour – especially if the conversations at the saleyards are anything to go by!

      Also, A.little said Labour is there for people who “work for their money instead of having their money work for them.” He needs to be reminded that those “who made their living from their own work” are also the same people who make their money work for them (or, at the very least, aspire to).

      He really doesn’t know the business owner segment of NZ very well.

      Again, he’s using platitudes without any substance.

      edit: remove repeat words

      • thehawkreturns

        Socialists do not respect property rights, particularly if your property is money itself or invested in business. All can be seized by the State.

  • caochladh

    Little was very quick off the mark to confirm McCarten in his role, which made me wonder if McCarten was a Little plant in the first place.

  • Annoyed

    Didn’t Little come out against the 90 day rule?
    I don’t see how anyone could think he’s doing well. It’s ridiculous.
    They got trounced in the election, picked a new guy and he’s just copying what got them trounced.
    Going on and on about Dirty Politics and not even pretending to clean up his own backyard will not get them elected.
    If he came down hard on “Annie” etc he might have some credibility but nasty is the Left’s modus operandi so this was never going to happen.
    At the moment he’s just using the fact he’s a bit of an unknown quantity as leader and trying not to rock the boat.
    Labour needs the boat rocked, so he’s a failure so far.

  • Tony

    There was a saying that if you didn’t make a decision then you couldn’t be wrong. Perhaps AL is being very circumspect and so he cannot be criticised and will rise above others who are not so careful!!

  • Jas

    I wonder how many of those that potentially will vote for them think the ‘digital revolution’ is the ability to attach a photo to your FB profile or download/stream other people’s intellectual property without their permission and somehow this will get them a job?

    • kayaker

      Probably. Added to which, digital is no longer a revolution – it’s here, it’s part of of our lives, it’s a hygiene factor that will keep evolving. By the time two years is up the Future of Work Commission will have to be thinking about a new future – which is tomorrow!

  • Alexander K

    Angry Andy reminds me of the useless pillocks that run ‘leadership’ courses, when the same pillocks can’t even lead a dog. To be a leader requires the posession of personal qualities that are not taught, but are integral to the individual’s personality. The Left really hate the entire concept of ‘leadership’ as that concept is anathema to the good Socialist. No person should be elevated by his or her own efforts and personality and the faceless Politburo is supreme. Most of the ‘business leaders’ who have praised Little are the wallys who have been pushed into chairing various wonderful-sounding groups by colleagues who want these turkeys out front where they can be seen be everyone but do little harm to the group they represent. Very few powerful people do the important stuff in public, but operate where they cannot be seen. The really powerful socialists, such as Stalin, ruled by terror. The post WW2 Western socialists don’t quite go as far as Stalin did, but they still rule by fear – check out Aunty Helen if you don’t believe this. Angry Andy is not a natural leader as us right-wingers understand the term. Wait for the current lot to fully reveal themselves – ‘Dirty Politics’ is their natuarl modus operandi, as they don’t (and can’t) understand our view of democracy.

  • Whitey

    Give it time. Little’s habit of saying different things to different audiences will eventually bite him in the backside.

  • kayaker

    A.little absolutely lacks substance. All talk and no substance. He’s buying time by talking about plans, two-year projects (talk-fest), but when the rubber hits the road, he won’t be able to execute and deliver.

  • Eddie

    Little does little and little people will think little is wrong; Little will likely be wrong.

    • kayaker

      Little by little people will get it.

  • Dave_1924

    Actually he needs to do nothing except appear competent and voter fatigue could easily see National out particular if the far left just stay quiet. Big if there but the last election was only a few percentage swings away from Labour in power.

    Next is a year for change for National on policy then 2 years of electoral pump priming and scandal avoidance to have a shot at another term

    • Admiral_Moorer_believed

      Maybe voters recognising that Key is a determined liar as shown recently will mean people will move from voting National.

      • Dave_1924

        Haha haha. … cute

      • rustyjohn58

        No, I admit he stuffed up and lied over the whaleoil texts. Don’t know why, maybe pressure, maybe he just let his guard down after a tough election year. Doesn’t matter it was a minor glitch and most smart people still understand that the fundamentals of his talent and leadership haven’t changed. He is still far and away the best person available to run the country. So he still gets my vote and I suspect most of the votes he got last election.

        • Admiral_Moorer_believed

          Key lied and was caught out on the spying issue.

          He is a danger to New Zealands democracy using the SIS for his own political purposes.

          If anyone believes that the SIS would act without informing their minister on something like this, they are naive.

          • ex-JAFA

            What spying issue? What was the lie, and how was he caught out? I honestly have no idea to what you refer.

          • Dumrse

            Let’s see some detail. Your getting a bit repetitive over the last three days with your Keys lied, is lying, was caught out…. When I did the same at your Standard I was declared a troll.

      • Muffin

        I dont believe you are right, in fact I think that it will have absolutly zero impact, peole just made a choice to keep him on and this beltway stuff wasnt important during the election and really isnt now.

        • Admiral_Moorer_believed

          I think that decent and honest National party supporters are beginning to get fed up with Keys lies.

          I know that I would if I supported National.

          • Muffin

            Well I do, and I know more than a few others and I can say with 100% certianty that that is not the case in my small test group, but your opinion as a non national supporter on the topic is well received thank you.

          • Wahbonnah

            Just out of curiousity, what lies has JK said?

      • Kiwibabe

        In my opinion Key does not lie, Clark certainly did, and fed things to the media regularly, before the days of WOBH.

  • thehawkreturns

    ” Little is actually going to last until the next election by delaying any need to tale a position.”

    Exactly – Little will certainly need to produce tales, large and small, to satisfy his union mates while at the same time be pretending to represent the views of hard working Kiwis who don’t want to lose all their money in the raft of new taxes Labour will be silently gagging to introduce.

    The best typos are the ones that make more sense than the originally intended script!

  • Admiral_Moorer_believed

    The reason the free fire within 90 days excuse is needed as many employers are too lazy or too stupid to learn employment law and how to properly manage staff.

    A proper manager knows how to write a position description, manage staff and how to ensure that they are doing their jobs, reviewed for performance and warned for non performance. Verbal then written.

    If dismissal is justified, the manager can do it easily by following the law.

    More resources should be put into teaching new managers and owners in how to manage staff and encourage them. But then. That would take effort on the behalf of managers. Easier just give them a free hand to fire within 90 days. . . Then again. And again.

    • rustyjohn58

      So essentially you are saying that if someone isn’t performing they should be sacked. Its just how they should be sacked you are concerned over. You would rather flaff around with reviews and warnings than just getting on with it.

      • island time

        It can be because the employer is not very good at the recruiting process.

        • Muffin

          or the employee is a liar, at the end of the day it is the bosses business and the choice should be his/hers right.

          • Admiral_Moorer_believed

            If the person lied about their experience or capabilities, that is grounds for dismissal without invoking the 90 day excuse.

            You could really do with looking into employment law. Something many small businesses are too lazy to do. Manage correctly.

          • The Whinging Pom

            In a small business it’s often critical that everyone gets on and gels as a team. The 90 day rule enables employers to find out if a new employee is going to have a seriously negative effect on the dynamics of the workplace.

          • Admiral_Moorer_believed

            If it is critical that everyone in a small team gets on, then ensure that everyone meets each other before employing the person to ensure that they mesh.

            Once again. I say that many small business owners don’t take enough care in hiring their employees because they are either inexperienced, lazy or incompetent. If the person does not fit, there are ways of managing that situation.

            The 90 day firing excuse is because some people are just too stupid to take reasonable care in hiring. And they will do that with the next employee as well.

            Nothing is forcing them to make a hasty decision that they will regret later.

          • The Whinging Pom

            In business there may be 1001 reasons why it isn’t possible to do this sort of thing.

            Which, if you’ve ever run a small business, trying to survive in a competitive environment, you’d understand.

          • Cowgirl

            You can’t tell how good an employee is going to be or how well they will fit in just by the recruitment process. You interview and do your best to pick the right person, but you can’t ever know how that person will go or their personality until they’ve been tried and tested. Someone may seem great on paper, and be really charming at the interview – but an absolute nightmare in the office.

          • Kiwibabe

            From my experience having recruited many and taking all due care it simply is not possible to find a sufficiently acceptable employee each time and I not infrequently had to take a chance with some candidates, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.
            The 90 day period very definitely allows employers to give that chance to people who they would not otherwise.

          • Muffin

            actually its not that easy once they are hired, and even if they did lie, and you didnt give them the opportunity to garner the skills required then you will still be fighing off a grevence case. the world doesnt always work the way its meant to in the law books at school.

          • Tony

            Easy to chuck ‘lazy’ around. Small businesses also have many other tasks to do, like selling product. many of them have to prioritise within a 24-hr day. I’m not sure that you are being fair to SME.

          • Kiwibabe

            Sorry man, but the small business owners I know work their butts off, very long hours,6-7 days a week, few holidays, indebted to the bank, and many earn less than their best paid employees, so are far from lazy.
            As a manager and business owner I dreaded recruiting because the calibre available was often dreadful especially in some trades and lower skilled jobs, so I just had to give a chance to the few who I hoped might surprise positively, sometimes worked, sometimes disastrously not.
            Simply, I would rather have my workforce work long hours and weeks rather than risk employing the semi-unemployable.
            Increase wages and employment at stroke of a pen – bah nonsense sorry!

    • twr

      “More resources”. Again. Whose, pray tell?

    • Kiwibabe

      Is this how you do things as a manager or business owner? Seems tiresome to keep doing all that over and over.

  • Kiwibabe

    The future of work; no cushy jobs offered on a plate, technology reducing labour demand especially at lower end where the left want a much higher minimum wage to loose jobs to automation and to close down the large number of struggling marginal businesses. Study diligently to get higher qualifications, and to get ahead in your career work hard, year after year. Long hours, grab all the overtime you can or earn bonuses. Tickle the boss’s toes, don’t step out of line. Don’t produce poor quality or service, that will only risk the business and jobs and suppress any chance of pay increases. Learn to work with South East Asians who work much more diligently than many Westerners which is why employers are recruiting them.
    Yep, there’s the future of work, sorted.