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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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.