Mike Williams on a tough week in politics – Andrew Little

Matt McCarten, no longer on Mr Little’s payroll, had masterminded a programme to bring interns from overseas as volunteers to work on a campaign to encourage young people to vote.

He may not be on Little’s payroll, but the people paying McCarten are doing so to assist Labour.  All a very cleverly constructed ruse to get hundreds of thousands of dollars into the Labour campaign that Labour would then not have to declare as donations.  

This kind of international exchange has been encouraged by both National and Labour for many years and while President of the Labour Party, I introduced a fund with the explicit purpose of sending young Labour supporters overseas to gain experience in election campaigns.

I got this idea from the New Zealand National Party.

In the four general election campaigns I managed, there were always at least a few Australian and British Labour Party activist volunteers.

A few.  Not 100 shipped in under the cover of media darkness.  If it hadn’t been for them leaking to the media, they’d all be quietly getting on with it.

The problem seems to be that Mr McCarten got many more takers than he expected and the exercise turned sour when a few of the participants complained about their marae accommodation.

Nice spin Mike.  The paperwork gives the game away.  They were after all of them.

Andrew Little’s response to what boils down to a very trivial matter was in stark contrast to that of Bill English over the Barclay scandal.

Mr Little agreed that the issue was an embarrassment to his party, took responsibility and vowed that any problems would be quickly sorted out.

He could have denied all responsibility with some justification but did the decent thing and ordered a clean-up.

The week was a test of character for both Bill English and Andrew Little. Mr Little came out ahead.

On the surface, yes.   Bill English clearly had an awful few days.  But voters won’t care that he lied and that some baby MP has hit the skids.   What they do care about is a party that says it champions the young and downtrodden workers.  The party that insists on good living conditions.  On a decent income.    And then imports youth to work for food and lodgings where they had to build their own cubicles for privacy, where the bathroom facilities weren’t working, and where those who weren’t happy have been intimidated into silence.

In the end, it was a remarkable week.  But the winner here is Bill English, who would have faced another few days of negative attention if it wasn’t for Matt McCarten’s cunning stunt.


– Mike Williams, Hawkes Bay Today

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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.