Matthew Hooten

Why Labour lost in 2011

Labour were a walking PR disaster area in 2011. In compiling my Redux series for 2011 I am gob-smacked by how many cock-ups they managed and a great many of them by their strategist Trevor Mallard.

Today a list of the Top 30 PR disasters in New Zealand has been released and when you look at it you can see why Labour lost in 2011.

4. Darren Hughes. In early March the police receive a complaint from an 18-year-old male. The incident is reported to be of a sexual nature and alleged to have occurred at Labour Party deputy leader Annette King’s home, where Hughes lived. Witnesses report seeing the complainant outside and naked that morning. Although Labour Leader Phil Goff knows about the police complaint for two weeks he takes no action and his office tells the media that no Labour MP is involved in any such complaint to Police. During this time both Darren Hughes and Annette King participate in a debate performed in front of the entire press gallery with the moot “Politics is a grubby business.” After being grilled by the media Phil Goff then admits Darren Hughes is at the centre of the Police investigation but defends Hughes stating it is a matter for the Police. He then refuses to accept Darren Hugh’s resignation (but changes his mind later on). Labour Party President Andrew Little only finds out about the matter when it hits the news headlines.

8. Phil Goff and the numbers. During The Press debate and in interviews on both Q&A and The Nation Labour Party Leader Phil Goff bumbles the numbers and fails to respond to questions with accurate figures that are the very basis of his party’s policy proposals.

13. Darien Fenton. Labour MP Darien Fenton launches a personal attack on Mad Butcher founder and philanthropist Sir Peter Leitch because he said something positive about Prime Minister John Key. She says that because he is “sucking up to John Key” and is a “sycophant” she is never going near him again and will be boycotting Mad Butcher stores. She then goes on to say she won’t buy anything from people who support Tories. After Darien Fenton apologies for her public outburst, Labour MP Louisa Wall quickly negates the apology by justifying her colleague’s attack on Sir Peter Leitch by stating:”We would have assumed Sir Peter was a working-class champion…if you look at what the National Government has done, it has taken workers’ rights backwards.”

25. Ruth Dyson. Labour MP Ruth Dyson uses tax payer’s money for a private trip for her and her husband to Ethiopia. She then agrees to refund the $16,000 once the media question her about it – stating she planned to refund the money all along.

26. Trevor Mallard. Labour MP and Election Campaign Manager Trevor Mallard accuses political strategist Matthew Hooton, Kiwiblog owner David Farrar, Minister of Finance Bill English and the PSA of apparently paying for Otago University political analyst Dr Bryce Edwards to make attacks against the Labour Party. The attack is launched after some political data showed Labour was down in the polls. Labour MP Clare Curran then joins the conspiracy theory adding that the young Nats and ‘non-Labour left’ are suspiciously ‘cosy’ with the academic Dr Bryce Edwards.

27. Carmel Sepuloni. Labour MP Carmel Sepuloni insults National MP Paula Bennett after she thinks she has won the Waitakere seat off National. However, five days later once the special votes are counted Paula Bennett wins back the seat for National leaving Carmel with egg on her face.

Heh, I caused a fair few of those.

Hobson Ward – Indicative Selection

I attended the Hobson Ward Indicative Selection meeting of Citizens and Ratepayers last night.

It is called an indiciative selection because the constitution and rules of Citizens and Ratepayers vest selection in the Executive but with input from members in the form of an indiciative selection.

There were six nominees, Aaron Bhatnagar, Ken Baguley,  Stephen Goodman, Julie Chapman,  Paul Goldsmith and Megan Jaffe. Megan pulled at the  last minute. Speaking positions were selected by drawing numbers and Stephen Goodman went first. 

He presented his impeccable family connections with Auckland and local body politics, but was somewhat hesitant in his delivery and stumbled a couple of times. He was followed by Julie Chapman who spoke confidently from notes and she covered what she had done, it was somewhat a me, me, me speech, but I guess that is politics. Aaron Bhatnagar followed her an spoke confidently. It was clear from the reaction of the 60 or so people in attendance that Aaron was very popular. He elicted the best laugh with a classic joke, he said;

[quote]the current council couldn't run a bath, and even if they did manage that they would find that Bruce Hucker had stolen the plug"[/quote]

Aaron was strong and confident and covered the things that he had been doing in Hobson despite not being a current councillor. Goldsmith was the last live speaker and delivered a very good speech. I thought he was very intelligent and thoughtful. The last candidate couldn't be there in person so instead had sent in a video recording of his speech which was played. Ken Baguley had prepared the video with the attendence of the President of Citizens and Ratepayer and the Campaign Manager to ensure strict time keeping and the correct format so as not to prejudice the integrity if the indicative selection. Ken got the second best laugh from the audience despite not being there in person.

After voting we were treated to an expose of the Council, the bias of the media, in particular Bernard Orsman, and the woeful state of the Auckland City finances by Toni Millar, current C&R councillor.

The results of the indicative selection were the selection of three candidates for forwarding to the executive for consideration. those successful were Aaron Bhanagar, Ken Baguley and Chapman.