After Labour’s worst defeat of 80 years, what do you do with the strategy team?


Labour leader Andrew Little has appointed left wing strategist Matt McCarten as his chief of staff.

Mr McCarten was chief of staff for former leader David Cunliffe and was kept on in a temporary basis after Mr Little won the leadership a month ago.

Mr McCarten’s appointment in February stunned the Labour caucus because as a founder of the break-away Alliance, he had spent years opposing Labour.

But he has earned the trust of MPs and staff with his strategic skills and people management skills.

Mr Little has been reviewing the leaders’ office. Yesterday he confirmed Mr McCarten’s appointment and all other staff will be kept on.

Mr McCarten helped to found the militant Unite Union for low paid workers and Mr Little is a former national secretary of the Engineers’ Union.

The only way this makes sense is when you explain it as union-ordered.

But then Labour haven’t made any sense for a long time.   So it’s probably just gob smacking incompetence.  I’ve never heard of any sports team or political party that kept their strategist after the biggest loss in generations.

Tee hee.


– Audrey Young, NZ Herald


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  • Excitedly awaiting Whodunnit

    Do these guys want to win or just participate (in dwindling numbers)?

    Really? The mind boggles at their ineptitude. A bunch of muppets with a broken compass giving them directions. Good luck to them, I have a feeling they will need it.

    if you do the same things then you should expect the same results.

    • Wheninrome

      I think they just want to participate, you still get a large wage cheque but no responsibility, no-one wants to win, this is the generation from the schools where no one should stand out and be a winner, we are all winners i.e. losers. according to schools during the time under Helen.

      • Wallace Westland

        God yes, the feminazis and their PC rubbish will haunt us for years to come.
        Schooling changed to suit the way girls learn, boys failing in education by exponential numbers blah blah blah

        • friardo

          While it was a bit of a trial going through school in the feminazi era (error?) s you put it it didn’t matter much after school as reality sorted things out.

          But now they seem to want to change “reality” as well. Well, with luck that might result in an entire work force comprised of women and all the men having to sit on the beach or in their back yards discussing rugby, Ibsen, or art theory, while waiting for the models from Tui to deliver the next load.

          It’s nearly Friday, I couldn’t help it.

    • Hard1

      “Do these guys want to win or just participate”

      They want to TAKE OVER. If you thought that the election was hardball, it was just a preamble to the coming brutal attacks.

      With very little money, the propaganda squad will be online digging for dirt then shoveling it into question time/journalists inbox’s, with the backup team flooding the readers comments in the Herald and Stuff.

      • Dave_1924

        Yip. .. its just going to be more, dirtier and nastier from here on in. National need to proactive clean house and offer some more sacrificial lambs to stay ahead.

  • Sally

    Excellent news. WO’s free advertising sorted for 2015.

  • sheppy

    Fantastic news! (for NZ and National)

  • metalnwood

    Perhaps his original strategy paid off, if his original strategy was to bomb the vote, dump DC and in return with honours and favours owed.

  • Kevin O’Brien

    But they haven’t lost: JK is a usurper…

  • Wheninrome

    So we could ask What does Matt McCarten have or hold over either Little, Cunliffe or indeed the Labour Party as a whole? After failing wouldn’t you change the Chief of Staff and go for a fresh look try and find a “winner”, he must hold something over labour or their leaders etc.,
    Lets get conspiracy theories going, buy into the Greens and Labours arguments in parliament re: Cam and Key.

    • Aucky

      What does McCarten have or hold over Little?

      Simple. The Unite votes in the leadership ‘campaign’.

    • Frank N Further

      I have it from reliable sources that Matt (…..comment deleted by Rawshark…..)

    • Cadwallader

      Matt holds lunchtime classes for the Labour caucus in “How Not To Stammer Stage 1.01.” If it weren’t for Matt the Labour caucus wouldn’t make any sense at all….hang on a minute….

  • Carl

    Graeme Henry kept his job as All Black coach after there worst performance at a world cup. Just Sayin.

    • dab

      True – but then at least Henry had some world-class talent to work with…

    • island time

      He only lost at 1 world cup. How many America’s Cups has Barker lost. 3? and still going…

    • Curly1952

      Henry turned it around. This mob won’t!!

  • oldmanNZ

    Well, it’s like the American cup, Dean been loosing but they still put him on the boat?

  • cows4me

    Wow never saw that coming, it’s just the brothers indulging in a bit of solidarity.

  • Alright

    I cannnnnnnottttt bbbbbbbelieve this.

  • JoJo

    Always do what you have always done, you will always get what you have always got!

    • Wheninrome

      I suppose that would be certainty.

  • Platinum Fox

    We shouldn’t be surprised at the outcome of ALAS’s review of his leader’s office. Keeping everyone including Matt Mac is entirely consistent with the comments that were being made on The Stranded last time I looked – it was the right strategy/policy/message, the voting public is just stupid not to vote for Liebore.
    Reality, reason and independent analysis don’t get a look in with those people.
    (ALAS = Angry Little Andy Spittle).

  • Thats it, they’re screwed! They are never going to make the hard changes they need to in order to become relevant to the public if they can’t even make the hard employment decisions. Somebody start funding NZF so that the Greens aren’t the primary opposition post 2017

  • kiwiinamerica

    I’m sure one of the reasons for McCarten staying on will become more apparent when Cam begins to lift the veil over the left’s Dirty Politics in the fullness of time. In the meantime, the only explanation that makes any sense whatsoever after McCarten’s role in the ongoing train wreck that was Cunliffe’s LOO office is as Cam says, union pay back time.

    • axeman

      Expect #DirtyPoliticsv2.0 to be trending on Twitter in 2015

  • Some enterprising journalist needs to ask Mr Little what his reaction would be towards an employer who withheld $150,000 of deductions from staff from IRD over an 18-month period, instead using them for other purposes.

    Andrew Little has just reopened a large and very stinky can of worms. What a shame.

  • GMAK

    This will provide an oportunity for little andy to jump up and down and be horrified when dirty politics blows up. He will sack matt and state that dishonesty like this not be part of his labour party.

  • Michael_l_c

    Is this matt’s reward for the ‘plan so cunning …’ to get little in as leader?

  • niggly

    “But he has earned the trust of MPs and staff with his strategic skills and people management skills.”

    Lol, hang on a moment – sez who? Is this simply the NZH repeating the spin from an Andrew Little Press Release per chance?

  • Sir Cullen’s Sidekick

    This is good news for us folks. Beginning of the end of Handy Andy….I just cannot believe how stupid Andy is…..

    Comrade Matt retained = Another term (as a bare minimum) for National.

  • Rick H

    Labour won’t be happy until every “non-parliamentary” citizen in this country lives in a house rented from the state; travels in transport owned by the state; all utilities owned by the state; all workers working for state-owned enterprises; those in power living like Kings and Queens.

    The Greens won’t be happy until everybody lives either in a cave, or under a tree; wear clothes made from hemp; do no actual work at all; and basically become extinct, leaving nature to fend for herself.

    To me, a mid way of both these scenarios, is a little like what life was in the dark ages.

    Hopefully, that is NOT our future.

  • Jmac

    Labour campaign slogan 2017:
    Vote Optimistic

    • Cadwallader

      How about? “Vote Hackneyed and Stupid.”

  • caochladh

    I heard that Little signaled this from the get-go making me wonder if the strategy all along was for the Unions to regain ownership of the Party. Whatever the reason, it will be interesting to see who remains following the cull.

    • Hard1

      As the policeman said, look to the obvious. When Helen Kelly completes the triumvirate of power, a deal will be done with all opposition parties before the next election. Norman is already salivating.

      • Bartman

        Haha Wussel for Deputy PM, again again!

  • Tom

    Jobs are for LIFE.

  • timemagazine

    Isn’t that wonderful! With each day little Andrew is self-distructing piece by piece.

  • Billythekid

    The strategy team must be retained at all costs. They have the results (for me at least) to allow fair and sensible government in NZ for a long time to come. Please encourage them not to deviate from the path. They’re doing a fantastic job, and that angry little man and Matt make a formidable team. If you’re reading this Angry and Matt, don’t be swayed, you’re going just fine.

    • axeman

      Yeah Matt and the other strategists aka “game changers” (thanks for that one Martin Martyn Bumber) in the WAR ROOM must have achieved their KPIs to be kept on.

      • Whitey

        Given that this is a union party, I imagine achieving their KPIs was just a matter of keeping their chairs warm.

  • Teletubby

    It’s simple really. From what this blog has told us McCarten was donkey deep in the real dirty politics, keeping him on buys his silence ( on our dime). Then if and when the lid gets blown on dirty politics his silence will no longer be needed but he will make a very handy sacrificial lamb to through out in order to save a couple of other careers

  • idbkiwi

    I’m sorry, but this is outside of politics and into criminality, what has happened to the Unite union employees money? This needs to be pushed and ramped and pushed and ramped…if it was anybody else, for instance; not a political operative, would they be immune from investigation?

    Paying employee deductions

    Employers must pay deductions to us by each due date. The money
    deducted does not, at any stage, belong to employers. Under no
    circumstances should the deductions be used for any other purpose than
    for payment to Inland Revenue.

    • Dead right. Not only did Unite act in appallingly bad faith towards its staff, but McCarten and co flagrantly breached their legal obligations to pay PAYE etc on due date.

  • Davo42

    Just sayin

  • Curly1952

    Slow learners! I think the following sums it up –
    “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”

  • Pete

    This is a union call, plain and simple,

    The road to nowhere, paved with no bodies, losers and washed up progressive has beens. Hang around another 18 months, and you’ll see the traitor and spectacular sell out Harre, and lazy racist idle sell out Hone drag themselves out of bed to try and form some sort of backstop for Cunliffe to have another go at the top job in Labour..

  • Toby Matus

    This is typical pathetic labour tactics — trying to choose people they think will appeal rather than applying policies that actually win elections. If they just pop the housing bubble then a huge number of people will realise that actually they need to work for their wealth, and then those people will start voting for worker-friendly policies rather than investor-friendly policies. But these guys are so deep in the trough they don’t know what side their bread is buttered on. Typical.

  • R&BAvenger

    A great strategic move by Labour again. It did work out very well last time…..for National. Well, in fact for the whole country.