Audrey Young has been at the Kool-Aid too

It looks like dear old Audrey Young has been drinking the Kool-Aid too.

She writes about whether or not Matt McCarten is going to be able to save Labour.

The answer is easy, it is no, for two reasons…one is he won’t be in place for long and second is he isn’t what his legend makes him out to be.

Undeterred by the obvious Audrey Young attempts to ignore it all.

An extraordinary thing happened in the Labour Party last week.

It went largely uncommented upon because extraordinary things happening in Labour are not unusual at the moment.

The party has been utterly entranced by new leader Andrew Little, who almost did not get back into Parliament at all after the election. It’s the stuff of fantasy, Little rightly muses.

But so, too, was his appointment of Matt McCarten as his permanent chief of staff.

It is the same Matt McCarten who spent a lot of his Machiavellian years if not trying to destroy Labour then at least trying to supplant it on the left with the breakaway Alliance. He was also the key adviser to a leader who took the party to its worst result in 92 years.  

It’s a personal milestone for McCarten as well, having cheated death after a diagnosis of terminal cancer in 2011.

McCarten was brought in as chief of staff in February this year by David Cunliffe when he was leader.

It was a desperate measure for desperate times – a risk worth taking, given the election date was to be announced at any time, and was, 12 days later.

McCarten was the sixth chief of staff in six years.

He was the game changer, but Labour still has no idea what his real plan was. They are fools.

The only game that changed was McCarten’s plan for left domination ended in tatters at the election. He certainly changed the game…in favour of John Key.

McCarten is not feared but he has won the confidence of staff, MPs and the leader.

Respect from staff came early. He encountered an archaic system whereby some staff got tea and coffee supplied and some didn’t. No one knew why, but his first edict was that everyone got tea and coffee and their tearooms.

One MP said he added the attribute of “age and treachery” to the leader’s office under Cunliffe.

Yes and the treachery will be exposed soon enough.

I’m glad he got the respect of staff and MPs…it will make it even more delicious when I tip him over for his role in Dirty Politics.

When someone has to take the blame I suspect it will be McCarten.

After the Alliance broke up, McCarten focused on setting up the Unite Union, with its special brand of public activism to advance the cause of low-paid workers. He has picked up some valuable skills.

McCarten, the former enemy, is now seen as a calm and pragmatic influence in Labour who could play a crucial role in its resurrection.

Unmentioned is Unite’s outstanding tax bill.


– Audrey Young, NZ Herald



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  • JC

    Andy and Grant and Weasel would be better turning their accusation that WO has some sort of hold over Key back into their own War Room.


  • timemagazine

    I hope MM will stay for the next, say, 5 elections and keep on organising tearooms for staff. Hahaha. So funny! I got a really good laugh, thanks AY!

  • burns_well_eh

    Matt McCarten – game changer for the tea and coffee suppliers in the beltway.

    • Isherman

      I hope he took the time to survey them on whether they had any preference of colour with the coffee mugs, apparently the taste could be affected you know…

  • All_on_Red

    “The party has been utterly entranced”
    What? Looking at the body language on Jacinda after the vote she was anything but entranced. What’s the matter with some of these journalists?
    Oh that’s right. “No matter what we do, no matter what we say, the polls still favour National”
    Shills for the left.

  • Des Marshall

    What about all the nasty screaming and insults we heard about emanating from the “war room” during the failed election? Is that how he gained respect? Same as Andrew Little, thinking that bullying equals respect.

  • caochladh

    I guess the best thing you can say about Audrey’s piece of diatribe is that it was a slow day at the office and she took a leaf out of Vance’s book and interviewed her keyboard.

  • Hughesy

    Didn’t he get a bit of a pass on the tax bill as he was pretty sick at the time? What about now?

  • Rick H

    I reckon it’s funny, when confronted with the statement – -Labour’s former leader David Cunliffe.

    Nobody followed him, he led nobody.
    Nobody wanted to follow him, because he could not make up his mind where to go.

    He led Labour like a loose rudder leads a ship – -onto the rocks.

  • jsb1685

    Did you hear trotter’s panegyric to mccarten on the panel yesterday? Lots of drooling about how well he is supposed to have done. No facts.