Tim Watkin

Tim Watkin joins the cast of ‘The Lifeboat’

And with that tweet Tim Watkin announces he is off to join the cast of the ‘The Lifeboat’. ? Read more »


Ben Rachinger and the dirty Mediaworks tag team


As news is generated about Ben Rachinger, media cover it. ?In fact, last court appearance, there were camera?crews from TVNZ, Sky News (I believe) and TV3.

That’s all normal and fine.

But what happens when a news organisation starts to champion one specific individual’s case against another? ?What if they are actively interfering?in the court case? ? What if they fund a media lawyer when their protagonist is self represented? Read more »

Three years or six? Or more?

Tim Watkin has an interesting post at Pundit about the task ahead for Labour’s new leader.

He wonders whether or not they have a three year project or a six year project in front?of them.

Whoever wins, Labour won’t be a charismatic party that voters will turn to as an exciting alternative to National. Instead, whoever wins will have to win back voters’ trust through being dependable, decent and speaking to the interests of the many.

‘Decent’ recalls Jim Bolger’s ‘decent society’ slogan, and Bolger would be a pretty good role model for any winner. Not a flamboyant or visionary politician, but one who knew how to win elections.

So who to vote for? For me Labour Party members will need to start by asking themselves this question: Can Labour win in 2017?

Essentially, is this a three year or six year project? Is one of those four the next Labour Prime Minister??Because that answer suggests different people.

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Phil Quin talks about Labour’s dilemma – unelectable leaders

Tim Watkin? Phil Quin writes better than he speaks, and today he has written a post about Labour’s dilemma, the fact that almost all of their choices for leader are actually unelectable to the wider electorate.

Labour has done a fine job of selling the democratic virtues of their new way electing a leader; it rolls off the tongue to say that 40 percent of the outcome is determined by rank and file members. But whose democratic interests does it really serve?

In 1980, the Labour Party in Britain similarly gave party members a say in the leadership; but, as Tony Blair points out, the reforms lacked “any appreciation of the vital necessity of ensuring that, as well as MPs or leaders being accountable to the Party, the Party was accountable to the electorate”.

Given its paltry membership, Blair goes on, UK Labour “became prey to sectarian groups from the Ultra-Left”, a decent explanation for why the party remained in opposition for seventeen years after “empowering” members.

I’ve always said that if you are a keen observer of UK politics it stands you in good stead to predict what will happen here. Labour’s system is just one part of the problem.

If there is a case to be made that Labour’s current membership is representative of the party’s broader constituency ? which I take to include supporters and would be supporters? ? I’m yet to hear it. For a start, members are heavily concentrated in urban pockets; in most suburban and provincial electorates, they number in the dozens at best. Activists also tend to be older and, inevitably, sit way to the left of the political spectrum. To most people, especially post-Boomers, joining a political party is so out of kilter with modern sensibilities it almost qualifies as oddball behaviour.

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Tim Watkin says Labour needs to listen to the voters

Finally someone from the left says what everyone else watching on knows implicitly…that Labour needs to listen to the voters…the forgotten voice.

[T]he party backed David Cunliffe who spoke of a red, not a pale blue party and there was hope for a few weeks amongst the faithful that Labour could win from the left. But if that hope was ever more than an illusion, it was lost when Cunliffe went to sleep over the summer and indulged in a series of well-publicised gaffes before the campaign had even begun.

In the end, he lost. And he lost very badly indeed, the worst Labour poll since 1922.

You can point to the early mistakes around the primary trust, baby bonus and “leafy suburbs” comment. You can point to the later mana cupla and capital gains tax blank. You can point to his lack of authenticity and political instincts that too often are tone deaf.

But that result was not all down to Cunliffe. As he has fairly pointed out, voters could see the lack of support amongst some in his own caucus (some if them not trying very hard to conceal it). As Cunliffe says, a year is not long enough to have put his stamp on the party and the public mind. Yes, he ran a good campaign. Yes Dotcom and Dirty Politics undermined his slim chances and yes he’s one of the few Labour MPs with a big and coherent vision.

It must be soul destroying to have scrapped and fought and worked for this job and then be told he has to give up on his life-long dream of being Prime Minister one day.

But you know what? Tough. Politics ain’t fair or kind. His moment, brutally short as it was, has passed.

Maybe he can win over the party members needed to win back the job. Maybe the unions can still be rallied by his rhetoric. Maybe he could, somehow, win back the support of enough caucus members to steady the ship. He may be right that he can reclaim the job he resigned this week, but it’s hard to come to any other conclusion that he is still utterly in the wrong.

Because he’s not listening to the fourth and most important voice; the voice of voters.

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Politicians who resort to using courts to bully broadcasters deserve what they get

Colin Craig is a bully.

He uses the law to try to silence critics, and now he has gone to court to bully TV3, a private company, to force them to have him on their minor party debate show.

Conservatives leader Colin Craig has won an eleventh-hour High Court scrap over his exclusion from a televised political debate.

TV3’s political show?The Nation?did not invite Mr Craig to a minor parties debate tomorrow morning, which will include the Green Party, New Zealand First, the Maori Party, Act, Mana and United Future.

Mr Craig filed urgent legal proceedings with the High Court at Auckland today and his application for an interim injunction to restrict the screening of the debate without him was heard this afternoon.

Justice Murray Gilbert sided with the Conservative Party leader saying any inconvenience to MediaWorks was outweighed by the public interest in having Mr Craig at the debate.

The debate cannot legally go ahead without his inclusion.

MediaWorks confirmed that rather than scrap tomorrow’s debate, they would include Mr Craig.

“We’ll have to somehow squeeze him in,” said director of news Mark Jennings.

But?The Nation’s?Tim Watkin said the production values of the show would suffer as a result.

Each political leader will get less than five minutes to speak because of the late inclusion, he said.

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Tim Watkin on Labour’s problems

Tim Watkin from Pundit blogs about Labour’s problems.

Normally a fanboi of Labour he has had to write this through gritted teeth.

Damage from within. David Cunliffe so close to getting it right, but still so wrong. And potentially strong and popular policy undermined by off-message gaffes… When Labour supporters gathered at the party congress this weekend get around to asking why their party isn’t doing better, it only has to look back at the past?week to see the party’s problems?laid bare in miniature.

If you wanted proof that the party’s internal divisions still aren’t resolved, you only have to look at Trevor Mallard’s moa comments. Some say he’s desperate for attention to keep his Hutt South seat, some say he’s just going off as usual. But he’s more experienced and strategic than that, and this was a prepared speech he was then ringing round urging media to cover, not some outburst. The imagery of extinction was profound; the impression that Mallard would rather?waste another three years in Opposition than see Cunliffe as Prime Minister, hard to ignore. It seems pretty clear that some Labour MPs are happy to lose this one so that they can get their own leader/puppet/fellow traveller in place for 2017. To me, that’s disgraceful in any party. If you don’t believe strongly enough to fight against three more years of the other guys, you shouldn’t be standing.

Hence, if Labour party members want any sort of?shot at government, they’d better use this weekend to get the ABC (Anyone But Cunliffe) club in a corner and tell them to shut up or bugger off.

They can’t get rid of the ABCs, they are entrenched in safe Labour seats. The problem lies though not with them but with the activists and Cunliffe loyalists seeking to purge when purge is impossible.

The ill-discipline was catching, though, and Cunliffe went off-message himself on Friday saying he was sorry for being a man.

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Tim Watkin on the stench of failure pervading Labour

Labour are getting desperate and desperation is a stinky cologne.

Pick your parable: from the Jews it’s “Do not be wise in words ? be wise in deeds”. The Chinese say “talk doesn’t cook rice”. For Americans, it was Benjamin Franklin who declared that “Well done is better than well said”. It all comes down to the same point ? actions speak louder than words. And if Labour wants to have any chance in the election, someone needs to drum that into the skulls of the party leadership quick-smart.

The latest round of polls are looking dire for Labour and the left in general. They’ve come at the worst possible time in the cycle, with John Key having his moment of glory in the White House and David Cunliffe trapped in a Donghua Liu hell, albeit one mostly not of his own making. But they are what they are, and with Labour sinking below 30 percent in our?Poll of Polls?for the first time since early 2012, what they are is potentially fatal.

The smell of failure is hard to scrub off in just three months.

That failure is seeing disasters day after day. Does anyone remember anything about any of their policy launches of the past month, other than bad things?

The subliminal message in the words Labour has written is exactly the one it needs the electorate to hear: “Thanks National for holding the fort during the GFC. No major harm done. But it’s time for some leadership and action, so we’ll take it from here. Frankly, you don’t have it in you”.

Problem is, while Labour thinks those are the words its saying, what voters are hearing ? or more importantly, seeing ? is “not ready, not ready, not ready”. Labour’s words make it look like a government-in-waiting, yet its deeds say anything but.

Why the disconnect? Sure, Labour can moan about how it’s been harshly treated by some questionable reporting this week, but it needs to clean its own house.

While National’s disciplined leadership sticks to its master-plan ? education in January… health in the budget… tax cuts, law and order or whatever it may be at the conference this weekend… and so on, Labour seems to be reacting to one crisis or claim after another. It’s swinging at low balls.

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And they call my site a hate speech site…

Martyn Bradbury likes to call me a hate speech merchant, but he has at least taken to adding “Canon Media Award winning” to the front of that.

But the sanctimony of him is like most on the left…weapons grade.

Where we, through our moderation changes, and a vigilant team assisting are managing and improving our reader and commenters experience…this is the kind of comments that Martyn Bradbury allows to live on his union funded site.

grassyknoll Read more »

Tim Watkin on the reality of polling and mandates

Tim Watkin is not someone I normally agree with, but occasionally he does come up with some good analysis, even if he is too afraid to go on air with me at NewstalkZB.

His latest post at Pundit is a good one.

Two regular Pundit-visitors Ian and Richard have tsked tsked me on my previous post, warning me not to believe the “National spin” and “slogan” around National’s large lead over Labour. Their argument is that under MMP a 15 percent gap between the major parties doesn’t matter. Here’s why they’re wrong…

First, I’ll challenge them to read the post again because Ian’s point that “we are in MMP now. Remember that the minor parties can also make a difference” is (sorry Ian) not a very good one given current political conditions.

First, even under MMP 15 percent between the two major parties is a large gap. No party has had that kind of a lead under MMP and not formed the next government, so for the centre-left to be contenders ? and for swing voters to feel turning out and voting for change is worthwhile ? it has to be closer. And that goes for making the volunteers work hard and even the MPs to pull their fingers out. It’s just psychology.

This is what I have been saying. I can say it from experience because this is what happened to National in 2002. With a large gap and a perception of losing the mPs all de-camped to their electorates and ran electorate vote campaigns to save their skins. Labour is going to have this happen, it already is.? Read more »