Andrew Little

He really can’t shake the ‘the only parasites are employers’ thing, can he?

In 2012, before he had the unions shoe-horn him into the leadership, Andrew Little had quite a bit to say about employers. Back then he said; “The only parasites are employers…”.

Yesterday he reiterated that with an angry little rant on the steps of the Cadbury factory in Dunedin, flanked by his bovver boy local MPs.

Labour leader Andrew Little took aim at an American food giant, saying a decision to close a profitable Dunedin factory was nothing more than “greed”.

Little, told media outside the factory that while it would be nice if a case could be put to Mondelez International, which own Cadbury, to keep the Dunedin factory open “they seem pretty determined to close down the plant here”.

“Cadbury are doing this not because the plant isn’t profitable, they just want more profit out of it. They are doing it for greed.”   Read more »

Chairman of Solid Energy says he’ll resign if forced to let people into Pike River

The current board chair of Solid Energy has said he will resign if forced to let people into the mine.

Andy Coupe, chairman of failed state-owned coal miner Solid Energy, said at a fiery select committee hearing yesterday that he would consider resigning if the Government ordered the company to re-enter the Pike River coal mine.

Solid Energy’s annual financial review at Parliament’s commerce select committee was dominated by questions about its decision to seal the mine, which has been closed since a gas explosion in 2010 killed 29 workers. The company’s chair appeared immediately after Fiona Kidman, who presented a petition asking the mine not be sealed. Family members and supporters packed the public gallery for both hearings. Prime Minister Bill English said this week sealing of the mine would be halted after he met with the families.

NZ First leader Winston Peters repeatedly criticised the committee’s chairwoman Melissa Lee for her allocation of questions — at one point saying she was chairing the meeting like a fascist — and clashed with Mr Coupe, interjecting during his initial presentation and when the chair was answering questions.

Mr Peters, who in December pledged to be first to re-enter the mine, quizzed Mr Coupe over the possibility of unmanned entry to the drift, and criticised him for not knowing the details of his coverage and premiums for his director’s insurance.

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Cunning, cunning, Winston

Winston Peters has the sort of low rat cunning that is often missing in politicians these days. It is something to be admired.

His latest idea is so cunning that you can put a tail on it and call it a weasel.

Richard Harman at Politik reports:

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has formally proposed that the position of Leader of the Opposition be abolished.

He has put the proposal to the high-powered Standing Orders’ Committee chaired by the Speaker, David Carter, which is currently conducting a review of Parliament’s standing orders – the rules which govern the way Parliament works.

The office of the Leader, Andrew Little, was bemused by Peters’ proposal and a spokesperson said that though the electoral system had changed the Westminster system had not and the position was an integral part of the Westminster system.   Read more »

No matter where he goes and who he talks to, people are happy

In a post on her Facebook page Ms Williams called on Mr Jackson to apologise for comments he made on talkback radio during the 2013 Roast Busters scandal, when he described the behaviour of a group of young men actively seeking out drunk, underage girls for sex as “mischief”.

“Until then, as someone who speaks for the victims of family and sexual violence, and as a survivor of such abuse, I can not in good conscience support him as my colleague,” she said.

Mr Jackson did apologise at the time, and again in the wake of Ms Williams’ public statement. Read more »

Really Vernon? How are they going to do that then?

Vernon Small writes:

It may come as a surprise to some that Labour is still committed to its aim of achieving a a gender-balanced caucus after the next election.

Because in light of recent events – not least leader Andrew Little’s shoulder-tapping of Willie Jackson, the recruitment of former police union boss Greg O’Connor and Paul  Eagle’s unopposed selection in Rongotai – you might be forgiven for thinking it is being honoured and breached at the same time.

In fact, it is also being not-so-subtly redefined. The aim when the policy was announced in 2013 was to target balance at certain key polling points, since anything more nuanced would be impossible without knowing a vast number of variables in advance –who won what seats, for instance.

But there is an acknowledgment now that it simply cannot be achieved at 25 per cent (without sacking a whole lot of male MPs), is near impossible at 30 per cent and could be in view at 35 per cent, though by no means assured even then.

So now, if you ask the party leadership, the stress has gone on to it being do-able at that 35 per cent level – equivalent to about 42 seats.

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Hide on Little’s stinker week

Rodney Hide looks at Andrew Little’s stinker week:

Spare a thought for Labour Leader Andrew Little. His week’s been a stinker.

It started well. The pundits had been reporting a “good vibe”. It was more good news when it leaked that Little had poached Willie Jackson from the Maori Party. Pundits declared it “a deft strategic move”. Oh joy! Labour were up and on a roll.

Then Little and Jackson announced, that yes, it was true, Jackson was standing for Labour. And yes, Little had lured him with the promise of a high place on Labour’s list, writes Rodney Hide.

That was it. All hell broke loose. The “deft strategic move” proved a total train wreck.

The truly shocking thing was that Labour did it to themselves. Yes, feelings within caucus and the party were running hot but there was no need for that anger to bust out in public. Internal ding-dongs are best handled with the door shut. Especially in election year.

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Only one party looks ready for an election

Tracy Watkins gives us her opinion on recent political events:

Two things happened after Bill English named the election date that should worry his opponents.

National used its advantage to hit the ground running – promising more cops, whacking petrol companies about the head with an inquiry into pricing, and wiping historic homosexuality convictions.

Meanwhile, Labour squandered its good start to the year.

Leader Andrew Little read his MPs the riot act over caucus discipline, after MPs and the party were at odds over Little’s promise of a seat for broadcaster Willie Jackson.

One of Little’s MPs even hired a PR firm to publicly call him out on it. MPs have been expelled for less.

Only one of these parties looks like it’s ready for an election.

National has shown it will be ruthless about neutralising contentious issues between now and September 23. Business as usual, in other words.

Labour, despite claiming it’s ready to fight an election any time, is doing a good job of looking as if it’s still got other stuff on its mind, like settling internal power struggles.

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Little Andy damaged after rebellion says Aunty Audrey

Audrey Young doesn’t think much of the past week for Andrew Little:

Rating the start to the political year, Bill English scores 8 out of 10; Andrew Little 2.

Little started higher, after his state of the nation speech, held jointly with the Greens.

He spruced himself up, and delivered a good speech at an event that went off flawlessly as a piece of political theatre to show a sense of cohesion on the centre-left.

But the rebellion over Willie Jackson has damaged Little and Labour in a way that won’t blow over in a week.

Little’s greatest accomplishment as leader – successfully instilling the need for party discipline – counted for nothing, and the chips weren’t even down.

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Trotter on the damage Labour inflicted upon themselves

Chris Trotter explains the damage Labour have caused themselves in the past week:

WHAT AN EXTRAORDINARY WEEK it’s been! Two years of exemplary discipline within Labour’s ranks have been unceremoniously ditched in favour of rank insubordination and revolt. Poto Williams’ intervention and its aftermath have left Andrew Little’s carefully cultivated image of unity and loyalty in tatters. No amount of “robust and honest conversation” can hide the fact that a depressingly large number of Labour Party members would like nothing more than to punch their supposed “comrades” in the face.

Williams’ decision to publicly challenge Little’s recruitment of Willie Jackson represents the breaching of a dam behind which huge amounts of anxiety and anger has been building up since November 2014.

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Poto Williams swallows huge rat to restore fake party unity

Party leader Andrew Little shoulder-tapped Mr Jackson, a former politician and broadcaster, to stand for Labour in the September 23 general election and is still backing him.

Ms Williams took to Facebook just hours after Mr Jackson was named as a list candidate to say his comments over the Roast Busters scandal in 2013 didn’t match her expectations of a Labour Party member.

Mr Jackson says he apologised for his Roast Busters comments at the time, and has done so several times since.

The pair met for a “robust and honest conversation” on Wednesday night and Ms Williams said she accepted that Mr Jackson’s apology was genuine.

She said he realised he had more to learn about issues of sexual violence.

“In that regard I hope to help him increase his understanding an our conversations will continue,” she said.

“I welcome that opportunity and Willie is keen for that to occur.”

But Ms Williams stopped short of endorsing Mr Jackson as a candidate.

In the end, for a sitting MP to be made to meet with someone who isn’t even a Labour candidate yet and be forced to play nice is just humiliating.   But as one fire is put out, another starts.   Read more »