Go on Andy Pandy, listen to Aunty Audrey and see where it gets you

Audrey Young has some advice for Andrew Little.

Well, I wouldn’t really call it advice, kind of like your old Aunty piping up in the middle of a family dispute with unwanted suggestions.

Nonetheless, in the absence of any other suggestions Little is likely to listen to it.

Little is the best leader the party has had since Helen Clark because he has controlled the factions.

He does that by not recognising them – of course it helps that the right faction (they prefer to be called moderates or pragmatists) is shrinking in number; Clayton Cosgrove will be the next to exit.

Little will stay leader until the next election, of that there is no doubt. If he is not Prime Minister after the 2017 election, it will be Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern’s turn. But until then, the caucus will remain loyal in a way they weren’t to former leaders Phil Goff, David Shearer and David Cunliffe.

Not that they didn’t have failings. Goff was too soon after Government; Shearer was too inexperienced; and David Cunliffe was just too David Cunliffe.

Goff was rolled when he lost an election, his personal ratings topped out at 15%, David Shearer topped out at 15%, David Cunliffe managed to get to 14%. Andrew Little started on 12% and has slid down to 7%…and Audrey Young thinks Labour should keep him on? Little is polling under half where the other leaders were when they were rolled.  

To put it in perspective, the 28 per cent in TV One’s poll this week is exactly what they got two elections ago, under Goff, but it is better than the 25 per cent they got at the last election under Cunliffe.

And to add further perspective because Audrey either left it out or the subbies deleted it, Labour always slips about 5-8% in polls in the final weeks. So Andrew Little, “the best leader the party has had since Helen Clark” is likely to score less that David Cunliffe managed.

The poll results are a reflection of the long-running identity crisis and Little’s recent exacerbation of it.

The party that began TPP under Clark rejected the done deal then tried to be the farmers’ best friend.

The party seeks respectability in the business community but contemplates a return to Muldoonist regulation of interest rates.

It wants to be the party to target inequality but toys with the idea of giving the rich and poor the same universal basic income.

Flip, flop, flap. Labour is the party that vacillates.

Little, however, has not let the poll dent his confidence. On the contrary, he has used it as a licence to exercise more power.

The quickest way to deal with Labour’s identity problems over policy is to forget the policy and make it about the leader.

So at the Distinction Hotel, he was mandated by colleagues to rely on his own judgment more, to be bolder and make an impact, instead of trying to achieve consensus within the party.

That approach was in action this week with Little’s extraordinary attack on John Key’s so-called moral compass – according to Little, he doesn’t have one – in the wake of the Panama papers.

Establishing a negative impression of Key is everything; nuance is non-existent and facts are a luxury in this new clobbering approach of Little’s.

Labour is not bothered that Key has no foreign trust, that there is no evidence of any unethical behaviour by Key or his lawyer. It is apparently enough that he was a currency trader, that he is wealthy, that he waited for a week before ordering an inquiry into the 12,000 foreign trusts in New Zealand in order to cast him as the Prime Minister only for the privileged and greedy end of town and a person of “no moral compass”.

Key’s instinctive defence of New Zealand’s reputation over foreign trust law (ipso facto, the dodgy dealers who use them) was a move Labour will seek to exploit for weeks and months to come. But it is not without risk, which was illustrated neatly in a perceptive tweet by comedian Guy Williams this week: “The opposition is always desperately trying to find a John Key scandal! How about we think up good policy and attack on issues.”

That is just retarded politics. Labour have tried hammering John Key for 9 years straight. It has never worked and it isn’t working now. It was made worse by the defamatory attack on John Shewan by Andrew Little and Trevor Mallards intemperate defamation of John Key.

Labour risks looking desperate, and coming worse off than 28 per cent.

If Little’s attacks fail to ring true, the public will stop listening on other issues.

On his side is the fact that trusts are deeply mistrusted, and not just the tax-dodging ones here with foreign settlers.

Audrey, dear, we are talking about trusts and they have settlors, not settlers.

Yes, they can be benign and convenient vehicles to establish, for example, a tertiary education fund, for kids. But they have been used as vehicles to shelter income and assets for tax purposes to access, for example, Working for Families or to reduce matrimonial property settlement obligations.

Their disclosure rules are so loose that the Law Commission can’t actually say how many there are in New Zealand – between 300,000 and 500,000, it estimates.

Labour’s primary aim, however, is not to get better disclosure rules to the trust laws, laws it introduced in Government, but to associate Key with a reluctance to change them.

And if Key gives him an inch, Little will try to clobber him a mile even if he damages himself in the process.

With about 18 months to go before his only shot at power, Little is willing to take that risk.

Egged on by old duffers like Audrey Young. That strategy will fail, as Labour will again look like they are sweating the small stuff and not actually delivering anything for the middle. So far Labour attacks this cycle have been to support Kiwi criminals in Australia, criminals in prisons here, the work shy, and every other special interest group clamouring for recognition of some perilous policy that affects their small party of the community. They are the party of the margins, and it is the centre that wins elections.

Until Labour develops policy that represents the middle of New Zealand rather than the political chattering classes then they won’t see that poll gap close at all.


– NZ Herald


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  • Carl

    I had to laugh the other day when I heard Chris Trotter say that the political pieces written in the hearld since John Armstrong left were just not worth reading after talking about one of Audrey’s opinion pieces.

  • Abjv

    Have the missing million just been found? 330,000 trusts each with one trustee and two beneficiaries adds to a million. Come next election, that Is a million people that know that Labour is coming after their trusts. Add that to the list of small business owners that are aware Labour wants to tax turnover rather than profits, and Cunliffe’s result may look brilliant in comparison.

  • Sally

    Can’t wait till Little starts campaign next year. Everyone will have to wear ear muffs to dampener the yelling and screaming that will come from that quarter.
    However the media will not portray the full story, they will not show the empty meeting halls or the lack of people at meet and greets.
    Hope WO will have the cameras rolling.

  • Woody

    My interpretation of that article is that Audrey Young recognizes that Andrew Little is ethically and morally corrupt and tells porkies with not even a hair of substance then urges him on to do more of the same.

    As for Andy being the Best Leader since Helen, If I am asked what the best book I have ever read or the best movie I have ever seen is, it is inevitably the last one so I guess she is using the same process.

  • Alan Beresford B’Stard

    I hope Little heeds her advice. Should all but guarantee National a fourth term.

  • kayaker

    Call me cynical, but is Auds trying to set Angrity Andy up here? If not the case, then she’s delusional.


    A close friend of mine is ‘high up’ in Labour and till recently always been ‘supportive’. They now admit to increasingly become embarrassed with Labour’s public face.

  • sandalwood789

    With every day that passes, Labour is becoming more and more “Corbynite” in its approach to things.

    As for trusts, they are a financial *tool* – nothing more. As with most tools, they can be used for good or bad purposes. Labour is wasting its time chasing this “car” and given that this means that they do nothing useful with their time, I hope they keep doing it.

    • OneTrack

      They are aspiring to be more Corby-like. They would see that as a plus.

  • Graham Pilgrim

    She has to be kidding when she claims that “Little is the best leader the party has had since Helen Clark…” I would argue that, for Labour, he has been the worst.

    In my opinion, David Shearer was the only leader since Clark who had any chance at all of restoring some credibility to Labour.

    • OneTrack

      And then he had a quiet meeting on the stairs with Key, Norman saw it and threw a paddy, and had the sisterhood kick Shearer out. Well done Russel. By the way, what did you do with the thankyou gift basket you got from the National Party?

  • Urbanviper

    I wonder if the divisions and leadership struggles were a positive distraction. Until they ended people were left with the belief that the core ‘Labour Party’ as everyone knew it had survived underneath, all they needed was the right leader. Now the infighting has settled down and calm prevails, people see that the organization that has come out the other end is nothing like the one that left office in 2008.

  • Korau

    What amazes me is that 75% of Labour’s supporters don’t think Little is Prime Minister material. That’s a staggering result when you consider that Labourites appear incapable of any thought outside the party dictums.

    As for the advice given by Audrey Young (whoever she is), it appears to be “lie, and if that doesn’t work, lie louder”. That will go down well with the electorate, not!

    • Aucky

      So if only 25% think that Little cuts the mustard and 8% are happy with Ardern what about the remaining 67% of Labour supporters? Who do they see then as the chosen one?

  • Grizz30

    Labour have attacked trusts as a vehicle to avoid tax. People have regurgitated this idea to me. However trusts in NZ are a poor vehicle to avoid tax. At 33% flat, they are lousy. The real reason is asset protection. Such as protecting the family home being sold for settling legal disputes, protecting inheritance from the clutches of your child’s estranged spouse, preventing a rogue offspring from squandering the family fortune, ring fencing education funds or in John Key’s case a blind trust to eliminate potential conflicts of interest while serving in his capacity of Chief law maker. In his case it preserves his assets but keeps him blind to knowing what they are.

    If your only intention was to pay less tax, then may I suggest investing in a loss making residential investment in Auckland.

    • kayaker

      We set up a trust in the early 2000s when I went into business with a business partner 50/50. My lawyer advised me and Mr K to do it in case things went to custard and our assets were called on. How right he was!

      Two years later, the partnership ended acrimoniously because the other party turned out to be lazy and a rabid bully, while treating the company bank account like their own. I resigned my directorship, revoked my guarantee with the bank because of the risk. That didn’t stop this monster from overdrawing the bank account to tens of thousands of dollars during my one-month stand down period of revocation of guarantee. The bank came after me because the other party cried poor.

      Long story short, they didn’t get a look in. To sweeten it for me, the Banking Ombudsman found against the bank for maladministration of lending and I got compo for that.

      I fear if we didn’t have a trust, my ex-business partner would still be having a go.

  • Misfit

    Labour is one turd even Audrey and the rest of the media party cant polish.

  • Crowgirl

    I want Little to stay on for purely selfish reasons – I want to see how low they can go under his leadership. I also want to see the whites of their eyes as the election approaches and they realise they can’t roll him and that they are hurtling towards epic defeat. Surely that will break some of them.

  • localnews

    And just so we are clear, antipodes trust group seem to be very good at trust law. I would love to know how many phone calls they have had this week, they will be needing extra staff on after all the free promotion they have had this week

  • Keanne Lawrence

    Are you really telling us this baloney was put to print somewhere? A case of like minds it seems.

  • Labour seem to think that if they just keep throwing enough mud, some of it will eventually stick. Unfortunately, in politics it’s not so certain. Many fair minded people blame the mudslinger. not the recipient. Unfortunately for Andrew Little, supporters like Audrey Young are at best misguided, at worst detrimental to Labour’s cause. The main problem they have is that despite the media party’s best efforts, Andrew Little can not be represented to be something that he isn’t. He’s just not likeable. His demeanor is that of a sour faced, negative individual who most people would avoid talking to and certainly wouldn’t invite to dinner, or to join their table at the local golf club. You can put all the lipstick you like on a pig, it just doesn’t become anything other than a pig and will always be that way. John Key comes across as exactly the opposite, as a genial and positive personality. He’s also supported by a respectable front bench, many of whom would make acceptable leadership material to represent NZ internationally. I can’t think of anyone in the labour caucus who could do that. On that basis, I think Labour are dead in the water and unlikely to recover significantly before the next election.

  • RobT

    The only thing that Labour has are the died in wool, plodders, that were brought up in tradional Labour voting families from yesteryear. When asked or challenged as to their support of which party they will generally utter that’s their party and always will be…..pity really in this enlightened age,if a few more would get off their butts and examine the party and its people…they might wake up and for once in their life cast a pragmatic vote.

    • OneTrack

      “Dad” always voted Labour. Or otherwise they will start talking about Norman Kirk.

  • WBC

    “Establishing a negative impression of Key is everything; nuance is
    non-existent and facts are a luxury in this new clobbering approach of

    And the vast majority of voters get ever more sick of it. Do Labour realise that elections are based on votes? It should be simple, if you want to win you need to get lots of them, if you make people think you’re a desperate, deceitful, nasty, lying it then they won’t vote for you. The one thing Little has gotten right is that “we’re better then that”.

  • Left Right Out

    “Little, however, has not let the poll dent his confidence”……. Stupid is as stupid does

  • Uncle Bully

    I thought she was referring to chinese immigrants when she mentioned foreign settlers….

  • OneTrack

    The public have already stopped listening to Labour on “other issues”. Mainly because whenever they do bring up other issues, it takes less than five minutes before they get to a facepalm moment.

  • Dave

    Of course Audrey had to say that, no doubt she followed the request from the Labour party. They well know they are screwed, and they are out of leader stock, and need to sit tight with Andy until the shipment of fresh leaders arrive from the suppliers, can be unpacked, reprogrammed and tested in public. Until that, the compliant media will run puff pieces announcing all is well, nothing to see here, Andy is doing well, its all John Keys fault.

  • Citizen

    Maybe she did mean foreign settlers, like Chinese, and Indians…