Red Claire: Fun story has gifted Labour leader chance to show lighter side

When John Key is faced with this, it is shameful that he brings down the tone and serious nature of his position.  Andrew Little gets a lighter run.

Not many candidates for Prime Minister have to contend with questions about the size of their family jewels but that was the latest test faced by Labour leader Andrew Little.

The question was prompted by a piece of rug art portraying a naked Little by Whanganui artist Mark Rayner.

The proportions of the biceps and pectorals raised suspicions Little had sent Sonny Bill Williams along as his body double.

Lower down in the frame was another generously proportioned element of the anatomy. It was impossible to miss and the reason why a search on Google News for Andrew Little had coverage of this particular art work well ahead of any other story he featured in over the past week.

In the same week Labour had forced an 18-hour debate on housing after taking advantage of a procedural blunder in National’s attempt to extend the Special Housing Areas legislation under urgency. Little himself had gone down to Parliament to deliver several speeches in this marathon session.

Party leaders usually reserve themselves for the big occasions – Question Time, the first speech in the General Assembly. They do not usually deliver speeches on part two clause one of housing amendment bills.

None of Little’s speeches got covered in the media.

Nor was there much coverage of Little’s other theme of the week – immigration – despite the flurry of stories prompted by Prime Minister John Key saying that bosses had reported local workers were drugged up and lazy so migrant workers were still needed.

The oxygen is thin in the high altitudes of the Opposition, especially with the likes of the Greens and NZ First all scrabbling for the same oxygen.

That’s because he’s actually been hiding Claire.  Whaleoil keeps a close eye on Little for our “ballsup” board, and he’s not performed any substantial work, instead leaving it to Twyford and Hipkins.

McCarten himself was recruited by David Cunliffe. Little’s only two appointments were chief press secretary Sarah Stuart, who has now left, and Martin Taylor, director of policy and research.

He now has the chance to put in place his own handpicked staff. The trouble is finding staff to handpick.

Turnover in such staff is not unique to the Opposition. Prime Minister John Key has fair churned through press secretaries over the past eight years.

The difference is National does not appear to have trouble filling its vacant slots. In recent weeks, Key, Hekia Parata and Gerry Brownlee have all secured the services of new press secretaries after departures and re-assignments within the Beehive.

Little’s chief press secretary role has been open since May when Sarah Stuart left after almost 18 months in the role.

Staff recruitment is in some ways a test of confidence in a party’s chances of securing the Government benches. Parliamentary staff are tied to the Parliamentary term (and the tenure of leaders in the case of a leader’s office). It can be hard to persuade people to leave good jobs when there is a risk of being left without a job a year later if their party does not win the election.

The departures and apparent difficulty attracting good replacements all appear to run counter to Labour and the Greens’ self-proclaimed confidence they are within coo-ee of knocking the bastard off after eight years in Opposition.

Meanwhile the bastard was in Laos rubbing shoulders with US President Barack Obama and Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev while Little was wondering who was left to send out his press releases.

John Key the “bastard”.

So according to Red Claire, and our own analysis, Little’s record breaking performance is due to his essential absence.  Personally he has no cut-through, and his staff who are normally relied on to make his presence felt have all run for the hills.  (“normal staff turnover”)


– Claire Trevett, NZ Herald

Do you want:

  • Ad-free access?
  • Access to our very popular daily crossword?
  • Access to daily sudoku?
  • Access to Incite Politics magazine articles?
  • Access to podcasts?
  • Access to political polls?

Our subscribers’ financial support is the reason why we have been able to offer our latest service; Audio blogs. 

Click Here  to support us and watch the number of services grow.

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.