Mike Munro

A Strange Article about Victoria Crone’s Campaign

Political backroom operators from across the political spectrum get on pretty well. Good professionals keep the back-channels open, partly out of mutual respect for their backroom opponents, partly because there are so few good people who are any good at campaigning and they like to talk to others even if they are opponents, and partly because it is important to be able to exchange information and stop stupid stuff from happening on the campaign trail.

So I wasn?t surprised when I got a call from a Labour person close to Phil Goff asking me about the NBR article?on Victoria Crone?s campaign. Part of it was a fishing expedition for information, and part of it was because Goff?s team have been laughing themselves silly at every move Crone makes and wanted to make sure they weren’t underestimating their opponents.

The article itself was strange because experienced campaigners know that they should never be in the media. Their job is to get the candidate in the media, not get attention themselves. Yet the article is all about Joe Davis, who has given himself the title ?Campaign Director?. There is a rule in politics, adhered to by all the backroom operators worth paying, that campaigners who want profile should be running themselves, not running other people?s campaigns.

Although it appears Auckland Future is still pondering this question ? its website is entirely silent on the issue ? Mr Davis tells NBR he made up his mind a month ago to throw in with Ms Crone.

?During the Christmas holidays Vic approached me and asked if I?d consider leading the campaign for her, which I was obviously thrilled to be able to do,? he says. ? Read more »

Watkins on the Cunliffe schemozzle

Tracy Watkins has an opinion piece today about “The Enigma of Cunliffe“.

The great enigma about David Cunliffe has always been how someone so smart managed to make so many enemies among his own colleagues.

He is by many accounts a caring boss and doesn?t take himself so seriously that he can?t laugh at himself.

The schemozzle surrounding the Labour leader in recent days probably helps explain the unease of those among his colleagues who opposed his leadership bid. ?Cunliffe?s biggest critics have always complained about a lack of self awareness as his potentially fatal flaw.

That is what causes him to swing from a caricature of himself as a gun-slinging troubleshooter to working class hero, who forgets along the way that he also lives in one of Auckland?s swankiest suburbs, Herne Bay.

It may also be what lies at the root of his failure to realise the lack of transparency around donations to his leadership campaign and declaration of financial interests was a grenade waiting to go off.? Read more »

Labour’s Strategic Stupidity

Since Helen Clark lost Mike Munro from her office the Labour party has been strategically stupid.

Stupider than National in the short term, and trying to be stupider than National in the long term.

The latest tactic Labour have undertaken is attacking individual National MPs on issues saying they are the swing voter. They are doing this with Sam Lotu-Iiga over the casino which will win them no votes or no seats.

As a National party supporter Labour being strategically stupid is to be encouraged except that fighting the handicapped is not fair and no fun. Labour need to be strong to be a fair opponent and they need to sort out their strategy.

In opposition strategy is very, very simple. You need to make the government look bad by delivering heads of ministers. You never attack the leader directly unless they lie or get a major issue wrong. You undermine the leader by taking ministers heads. Unfortunately even Shane Jones has missed that point, he thinks the key to Labour victory is attacking John Key.

Jones’ speech mostly focused on regional development – which he has made a theme of his campaign.

But he veered into an attack on Key – who he called a “mercenary of capitalism” and a “snake-oil salesman”.

Jones launched his bid to be leader last week calling Key a “$50m gorilla”, referring to the former currency trader’s personal wealth.? Read more »

Pagani gone drilling

During the 2011 election campaign much was made of Labour’s working man roots, especially the miners. ?It seems that Labour has not only turned its back on the working man but has also driven one of its key strategists to work for the Oil and Gas industry. Jordan Carter ecstatically tried to break the news to his acolytes:

And Martyn Bradbury is alluding to some sort of putsch against Pagani on his little read hate-blog.

It now seems an open secret that in fact John Pagani has left of his own free will and accepted a role with NZ Oil and Gas.

Of course, Pagani isn’t there as a ‘working man’ but he’s going there as another lobbyist. ?What becomes even more interesting is that he is the third former Labour staffer to go to the mining/drilling industries. ?Mike Munro is working for Todd Corporation and Deborah Mahuta-Coyle signed on as a lobbyist for PEPANZ (the Petroleum industry’s lobby group). ?Technically?it may actually be four since Pagani is replacing another former Labour staffer Chris Roberts. Perhaps this explains Labour’s claimed change of heart on mining where they now share the same stance as National.

So what finally drove Pagani out (again)? Was it Mallard’s constant nitpicking over every word in every press release – only to then have a tantrum, go to his office and ring his media mates to bitch? ?Or was it the slow creep of the ‘gaggle of gays’ as they took over the Leader’s office? Word has it that Mold has even turned from being Shearer’s number one supporter to now being the ultimate fag hag to Robertson.

Shearer’s strain to decide whether to appeal to middle New Zealand and ‘Waitakere Man’ has now disappeared. May be Sio and Nash are right? ?May be Labour has lost the plot and got lost in the Jordan Carter like rhetoric. ?After all, how many people who have experienced the real world are left in the Leader’s corridor? ?All are too busy navel gazing, being terribly academic or are the ultimate beltway junkies. ?How is Shearer ever expected to succeed with advice coming from those people?

Shearer is now a lonely, invisible man. ?Who does he turn to? ?Shearer’s instincts will be to include his opposition in his tactics… the silly man hasn’t worked out that in politics having no one on your side is a dangerous position.

Sky City government relations manager?who is next? Ctd

I have learned via the tipline that there are actually two jobs up for grabs ? Government Relations?Manager and Comms Manager for Sky City.

So there is the opportunity for two of Bews-Hair?s?mates to be appointed to pivotal roles. This complicates the book somewhat but does mean you?can choose two dependent on role. And yes, you heard it here, Andi Brotherston is no longer in the
Comms Manager role.

Via the tipline I?ve been advised a few others may also be in the mix. They include:

Mike Munro
A former colleague of Bews-Hair. Most know Munro as Clark?s spin doctor but he had a successful?stint at Treasury as the Comms Manager before being headhunted by Todd Group. He?s only been?there a short while but again an easy transition to go from oil exploration to the depths of gambling.?Interesting that two of Bews-Hair?s good mates are in the wider Todd Group ? Sifa Taumopeau is?with Todd Property. I hear he is happy at Todd so only at 25 to 1 as less likely to move.

Chris Bishop
Chris is a former advisor to Gerry Brownlee but lost the pie eating contest to other staff members so?had to jump ship. Despite many advising him not to, Bishop went to work for tobacco. The upside?is that the leap from tobacco to gaming is bugger all. Likely to be too inexperienced for the role and?has ambitions to be an MP one day. Same problem as Nash – A peacock does not a good gambling?lobbyist make. There are others in tobacco lobbying who are more experienced and talented than?Bishop. 30 to 1

Mark Watts
Yet another of the former Clark staffers, good mate of Munro and Bews-Hair. Currently at Telecom?(following a similar career path to Taumoepeau who also came to the Sky City job under Bews-Hair?s?tutelage and from a Telecom external relation role). The quiet outsider who could surprise. 15 to 1

So, the book is as follows:
James Bews-Hair: scratched
Don Badman: scratched (now in London and very happy there)
Someone from Council offices 100 to 1
Conor Roberts: 50 to 1
Chris Bishop: 30 to 1
Bruce Robertson: 25 to 1
Mike Munro: 25 to 1
Catherine Etheredge: 20 to 1
Nick Albrecht: 15 to 1
Tim Hurdle: 15 to 1
Mark Watts: 15 to 1
Stuart Nash: 10 to 1
Close mate of Bews-Hair: 5 to 1

Place your choice in the comments or to the tipline.