Richard Prebble

Labour ex-MP calls 4th term for National party on Labour’s 100th birthday

delorean - Labour's back tot eh future campaign car

As it celebrates its centenary, former Labour cabinet minister and ACT leader Richard Prebble believes the Labour Party is in such disarray that a National victory at the polls in 2017 is looking increasingly certain.

?If you?d asked me a year ago if National could win yet another election I?d have said statistically that?s extremely difficult,? he tells NBR Radio?s Andrew Patterson.

?But gee whiz,? he shrugs.

Mr Prebble identifies a number of core issues. First, there?s the fact ?John Key is the best Labour prime minister the country
has ever seen. We thought Helen Clark straddled the centre of the spectrum but he?s gone and taken it to a whole new level. Fundamentally he?s squeezed Labour out to the left and they don?t know how to respond.? Read more »

Hooton on Act

Matthew Hooton in the NBR explores what Act must do to?climb back into relevance.

John Key?s government has become as addicted to interventionism as Muldoon?s, as bad as Helen Clark?s and should be kicked out. But a Labour-Green nightmare is unthinkable.

The most likely alternative to the current near-monopoly National regime is a coalition with NZ First but, for the intrinsically linked sins of interventionism and venality, that would be even worse. It?s therefore vital Act re-emerges as a serious small player rather than a one-seat National plaything.

Act?s rump is very aware of just how dreadful the government it supports has become but also its lack of leverage. Epsom MP David Seymour is forced to vote for corporate welfare and poll-driven electoral bribes that are anathema to his values but he knows he has no choice while he remains its sole MP and his party?s poll ratings below 5%.

This is no criticism of Mr Seymour: after one disaster following another, Act has ended up quite by accident with a leader well suited to relaunching the party. At just 32, Mr Seymour is the first genuinely Gen X party leader on the right, and second only to Greens? Metiria Turei across the wider spectrum.

He has been a believer in free-market economics and social liberalism all his life and has never flirted with other parties.

Read more »

A Guest Post – Oppose oppose oppose!

Frances Denz writes:

And like many New Zealanders I hate it!? It switches me off.? I stop listening to constant negativity and whining.? It doesn?t work in a marriage and doesn?t work in elections either.

Many years ago in another life, I stood for Labour Women?s Council.? I had to give a speech from the stage with all the other contestants.? Without exception they stood up and whinged ? in this case opposing Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble.? There were no hope, no dreams, no goals in their hearts or their speech.

My heart was in my boots as I got up to make only my third speech in public.? Was I going to do the same as them and grizzle and whine?? No, I was going to outline my vision for the positive things I was going to do as their representative.? And every time I made a positive statement I felt myself losing brownie points.? If there had been a ?worm? measuring the opinions I would have scored bottom I thought.? The opinion leaders were very hostile to my positivity ? I was supposed to prove I could oppose. I thought I had no chance, but I wasn?t going to change my speech which predicated that? we could create a better country with positive action and vision.

I lost.? But not completely as I became the second highest candidate, and when the winner later resigned, I was appointed anyway.? Curiously enough I saw this as a failure but on reflection I realise it was a success as the negative opinion leaders did not win in the long run. ? Read more »

With negatives like this forget about game changers, the game is actually all over

Cunliffe - Sh_t

Labour has claimed variously that this policy or that person will be a game changer for them.

But, if the accounts in Richard Prebble’s The Letter are anything to go by it is no use changing the game, the game is actually over already.

?John Key confessed one of New Zealand?s worst kept secrets that National is addicted to polling and polls every week.? This is how they know voters think National is going to win.? National polls show ?David Cunliffe has failed to connect with voters.? In Christchurch Cunliffe is polling at minus 63 percent.? This unfavourable rating puts him behind Russell Norman and Winston Peters?.? A 63% unfavourable rating in Labour voting Christchurch means most Labour voters do not like their leader. Cunliffe has no cross party appeal. Every time he appears on TV he loses Labour votes.? In the tough minded Australian Labor Party faced with this situation with Julia Gillard the caucus held its nose and re-elected Kevin Rudd who they hated.

Those negatives are telling…in Christchurch…the red core of Labour in the South Island and David Cunliffe has worse negatives than even Gerry Brownlee.? Read more »

Before Whaleoil, there was The Letter

It’s good to have Prebble’s The Letter back. ?It contains little gems like

The Letter revealed that David Cunliffe was not the only Labour leadership contender to receive $1,500 from a prominent businessman.

The MP concerned has not outed himself.

Under parliament?s lax disclosure rules the statements did not need to be filed until 1 January and then follows three months when MPs can remember ?gifts? or simply change their declaration.

The Registrar has ruled that MPs who are not trustees but simply beneficiaries of trusts need not disclose gifts at all.

The filings are not public until 1 July.

You would have to be arrogant and reckless to think that you do not have to disclose that your leadership primary was financed by big business.

Does that sound like someone we know?

It was really ground breaking in the mid-to-late 90’s to have someone provide this sort of ‘soft’ political information direct to the voters. ? Especially when you remember that TV and newspapers hadn’t quite gone on the downward slide – yet. Read more »

A reader emails about John Key, Act and Maori

A reader emails:

New Zealand National Party leader John Key wit...

New Zealand National Party leader John Key with the press (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hi Cam

I would like to make some comment that picks up on a series of posts that have run on your blog over the last month or so covering 3 broad subjects.

The post subjects broadly are:

1. Your most recent post with John Key mixing it up with students at Auckland Uni

2. The possible rejuvenation of ACT and the appointment of Richard Prebble as Campaign Director; and

3.?John Key attending (should he?) Waitangi Day;

Bear with me as I pull this all together.

In your post on John Key’s visit to Auckland Uni titled “This is why John Key is the most popular PM in history” your opening statement stated “John Key loves to be himself. ?It is a major reason why people warm to him and he continues to be our most popular PM in history.” ?Dead right.

I want to put forward what I believe is the other major reason he is the most popular PM in NZ history. ?In my view the other major reason often lost sight of is the fact that National voters and potential National voters are represented in every grouping in NZ – the poor, students, public servants, Maori, attendees ?at Te Ti Marae on Waitangi and the list goes on, and John Key recognises this and makes a point of engaging with most of these groups being himself.

A critical mistake any political party can make (and in my view a mistake National is all to often guilty of) is to assume that there are little or no votes in particular groups. ?Media play on this. ?For example media give the impression that Maori only vote for Labour and more recently the Maori Party and Mana. ?Bullshit. ?There are plenty of Maori that vote for National, and ACT for that matter. ?While I am at, there are also Pakeha who vote for the Maori Party which really blurs what Tariana Turia was referring to when she used to use the statement ?”our people”.

John Key I think recognises this. ?He generally does not fear or favour particular groups. ?Gay Pride? sweet I will attend. ?Kingi doesn’t want me at Waitangi Day 2015? Tough shit I will attend. ?Auckland Uni (and any Uni for that matter) a hotbed of radical idealistic Marxist youth – yeah I’ll visit. ? Read more »

ACT’s political naivety is nauseating

When Audrey Young at the Herald has to explain the basics of accentuating the positives and eliminating the negatives to a party leader, you have to wonder if there is enough time left to get Jamie Whyte in shape for the elections

Ever since the myth took hold that John Key became popular quickly because he was not a politician – rather than despite it – others have foolishly thought they could get away with amateurism and be admired for it.

They can’t. Not being able to articulate an argument under pressure matters, as former Labour leader David Shearer found out.

Saying “I don’t know” to a question can be damaging, as Conservative leader Colin Craig found out on the issue of moon landings.

And saying “I stand by my views” can be extremely damaging if the issue is incest between consenting adults, as emerging politician and Act leader Jamie Whyte discovered. ? Read more »

The Huddle


I was on Larry Williams? show The Huddle, with Josie Pagani, last night

Our topics were:

First up we?ve got the polls out, and the picture that?s painting as we head into the election season!

Then the Greens get all nasty about one of their own not being nice. Ummm isn?t that a bit hypocritical? What about Rusty?s preaching about free speech and all that?

And last but not least, going back to basics for ACT by bringing back Richard Prebble in the form of campaign manager. He needs to get these young whipper snappers knocked into shape so they can learn from the master. I think the conversation about the older seasoned politicians knowing about going around and meeting people in person is going to make the difference. Too many pollies are reliant on twitter to send out their message and don?t actually do more than 20 characters to ?engage? with the voters.? Read more »

The Huddle at 1740


I am on Larry Williams’ show The Huddle, with Josie Pagani, tonight at 1740.

Our topics will be:

First up we?ve got the polls out, and the picture that?s painting as we head into the election season!

Then the Greens get all nasty about one of their own not being nice. Ummm isn?t that a bit hypocritical? What about Rusty?s preaching about free speech and all that?? Read more »

Suddenly the Act party is interesting again

Richard Prebble has made a big splash.

He announced that Act is looking at bringing back their flat tax proposal…suddenly Act looks interesting again. Audrey Young reports at the Herald:

Former Act leader Richard Prebble says the party will have to raise well over $1 million to fight the 2014 election campaign that he has been appointed to direct.

There was never enough money, he said yesterday, but he expected the war chest would begin filling.

“Act has got a solid cadre, if I can use that word, of donors and supporters, most of whom have kept in touch with the party and many have continued to give, though in the last year or two or three, less than they have in the past,” he said.

Mr Prebble was appointed campaign manager by the Act board on Saturday after presenting it with a review of the state of the party and an election plan.

The board had adopted an ambitious strategy, he said.

“They don’t just want to be an adjunct of the Government. Act wants to be the third force in politics.” ? Read more »