National Caucus Party

December 6th, 2007 at 9:42 am by David Farrar

The annual year end Caucus Party was last night, and it was a great night.  Somehow I was again one of the last to leave but it was at a fairly respectable bit before 2 am.

They had a band instead of the traditional karaoke, which might be why things didn’t drag on quite so late as some years. But I enjoyed the change to the band.

I was surprised by the number of former senior Beehive staffers (who worked for the current Government) who were there – I think they can sniff the wind.  In fact everyone there was in a pretty buoyant mood.

Had good attendances from the minor parties – lots there from the Maori Party,NZ First, United Future, Act and the Greens.  It’s actually one of the things I love most about these events – you have really great discussions with people even though you disagree with them on lots of things – it’s much more fun than talking to people who agree with you.  For that reason I always enjoy chatting to the Green MPs and staff.

I’ve noted you can almost classify people into two groups when it comes to drinking.  There’s that very small minority who get aggressive and become arseholes and try to pick arguments.  But there’s the vast majority who just get relaxed, happy, friendly and you just have a great time talking to them.

For reasons of self preservation (and manners), I don’t go into detail about what people say, or what happened.  But I will make the observation that some of Labour’s support parties are very very unhappy with them over how they have handled the Electoral Finance Bill.

One funny event was when some of the MPs were trying to persuade a former MP to come into the House and seek the call on the Electoral Finance Bill, and see if the Speaker/Chairman actually twigged on.  The plan wasn’t executed but it would have been hilarious to see it attempted.

It was a pretty large turnout.  As well as the MPs and staff, you have press gallery and other journalists. a few former staff like me, some former MPs, lots of people from various industry groups, some lobbyists, MPs and staff from other parties which are not deemed to be enemies (ie all parties except Labour and Progressive) and a few others.  Again it is part of what makes it such a good night – so many people to talk to – you end up having conversations on every topic from Shortland Street to Treasury fiscal projections of revenue, to media gossip, to republicanism, to the Electoral Finance Bill.

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28 Responses to “National Caucus Party”

  1. Monty (965 comments) says:

    Not surprising that No Labour MPs were there – at the moment they must be a sour bunch. They cannot be happy about trailing 13-15 points behind in most polls and even more unhappy about the prospect of 6-9 years in opposition.

    I wonder how much in-fighting there is at present. While publically theyare putting on a somewhat united face, behind the scenes I understand there is a lot of mistrust, hate, squabbling and bullying going on. For them to have attended would be against Helen’s order.

    And in the meantime interesting to see other parties starting to build a relationship with National where possible.

    Any word on the faction within Labour that is strongly against the EFB???

    [DPF: Oh Labour are not invited. There are some standards :-)]

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  2. Michaels (1,318 comments) says:

    A question….. Who pays for an event like this, the party coffers or us?? Just curious.

    [DPF: The MPs pay out of their own pocket is how it was done when I was there, and I don't think it has changed]

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  3. Wycroft (873 comments) says:

    Don’t worry Michaels, there was a big whip round.

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  4. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    Did any Maori Party reps attend ?

    I’m pretty sure the party pays for their own social events.

    [DPF: Yes both co-leaders]

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  5. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    There is no split in the Labour Party. Sam Dixon and tane have told us repeatedly. Sometimeswithout even having been asked.

    So it must be true.

    Interestingly, the ones who inform us there is no split are probably those same ones who are responsible for any splits.

    I’d love to think we could get a confirmation of this lack of a split from a trusted source within the Labour-support-base?

    In which case it would obviously be untrue.

    You see, the trust has gone.

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  6. bwakile (757 comments) says:

    “unhappy about the prospect of 6-9 years in opposition.”

    Monty I think you hit the hypnen key by mistake!!!!

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  7. Pascal (2,015 comments) says:

    Politics aside, it sounds like you had a lot of fun DPF! And managed to wake up early enough to feed us some blogging as well :)

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  8. Wycroft (873 comments) says:

    You can rest assured though that the Labour caucus equivalent will be paid for by others if Michael Cullen has anything to do with it.

    With his “rich prick” comment fresh in everyone’s mind, I think the following little gem from his maiden speech to Parliament is a salient reminder of what really drives Cullen.

    “I’m proud of the fact that my secondary education was not paid for by the taxpayers of New Zealand but by the farmers of Canterbury and Hawkes Bay [Cullen was given a scholarship place at Christ’s College]. I ripped them off for five years then, and I shall get stuck into them again in the next few years.”

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  9. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    “unhappy about the prospect of 6-9 years in opposition.”

    Monty I think you hit the hypnen key by mistake!!!!

    We can only hope bwakile!

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  10. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    “I ripped them off for five years then, and I shall get stuck into them again in the next few years.”

    Well, that statement puts paid to his bogus retirement talk a few months ago.

    Politicians don’t seem to care what they say any more, they just talk from the top of their heads. First signs of dictatorship.

    Also,,

    Still no signs labour is planning any Christmas get togethers.

    And it feels slo Christmassy this year too.

    Must be a busy time of year for DPF getting from party to party.

    But since its a year round discipline for him, easy to keep in character.

    What about the Maori party. They could go to any Chrissy party this year.
    Doors are all open!

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  11. bwakile (757 comments) says:

    Bevan
    I know that history dictates that the fortunes of political parties rise and fall, but I would like to think that if NZ got a few years of decent governence then people would understand more that what we have here in this country is a precious jewel in a world that sometimes fails to make sense.

    I don’t want my kids growing up thinking that “rich pricks are scumbags” or that some politician is happy to “rip them off”.

    The best thing about being a human is the ability to achieve your full potential.

    Micheal Cullen has achieved that, so why he would conspire to deny others that opportunity is honestly beyond me.

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  12. Craig Ranapia (1,915 comments) says:

    With his “rich prick” comment fresh in everyone’s mind, I think the following little gem from his maiden speech to Parliament is a salient reminder of what really drives Cullen.

    Yes, isn’t the chip on both shoulders absolutely delightful. Of course, I could snark about the worker’s party being lead by a farmer’s daughter and an old boy of the most expensive, elitist private school in New Zealand. (Of course, I would never be vulgar enough to call their parents “rich pricks” or “working class scabs.”) But that would just be playing into Doctor Sullen’s envy-rotten, chickenhawk class warrior crap wouldn’t it?

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  13. Wycroft (873 comments) says:

    Yes, that maiden speech of Cullen’s was a doozy. It also contained this little gem:

    “Between 1976 and 1981, Dunedin lost some 5000 people, which is a fearful haemorrhage made all the worse because it consisted largely of the young and the talented. When I was canvassing I found the real clue to the reasons for those people leaving. The missing young people were no longer to be found in Auckland but in Australia. The addresses were Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane. In other words they were not fleeing Dunedin because of Dunedin, but they were fleeing the National Government.”

    Who are they fleeing this time, Michael?

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  14. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    “Who are they fleeing this time, Michael?”

    Good question, but if I was promoting this view, I’d be prepared with some logical response to the question that as Australia is now completely in the hands of the left- “What is your point?”.

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  15. Wycroft (873 comments) says:

    That’s a fair call Redbaiter, but as long as Aussie Labour resembles the National Party, which it largely does, rather than its Stalinist cousin back here, and keeps rolling out multi billion dollar tax cuts, I don’t think it’s a point that will take took much grey matter to make.

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  16. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Id be pointing out how Labor in Australia is nothing like Labour in NZ.

    Labor: Tax Cuts
    Labour: Only when the polls go too far south for our liking.

    Labor: Fiscal responsibility
    Labour: That means tax the crap out of the populace to fund our election campaign right?

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  17. tim barclay (886 comments) says:

    She has made a pigs ear of this, for the simple arrogant reason she wanted to shaft the National Party and write election law for partisan advantage. She thought that bellowing out a whole lot of prejudices about big money (while carefully preserving the Labour Party’s access to big money) has made her out to be a serious hippocrite. John Key has now pledged to repeal this mess promptly on becoming Government and then setting up a full consultative process on electoral finance reform. He has said: put your confidence in him to deal with this issue properly and do it fairly on behalf of all NZ. The Labour Party has been utterly disgraceful over this and so have their support parties including Peter Dunne.

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  18. kisekiman (224 comments) says:

    If the saying goes “all men are bastards” which implies all men have no idea who their father is, then it would be more accurate to say “all men are pricks” by the obvious virtue of having one.

    The difference then lies in the various adjectives used to qualify the various types of prick.

    Michael Cullen is a fucking miserable one

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  19. toby1845 (191 comments) says:

    Craig: “Of course, I could snark about the worker’s party being lead by a farmer’s daughter….(Of course, I would never be vulgar enough to call their parents “rich pricks” or “working class scabs.”) ”

    Given that the father of one of the individuals avoided service during Woirld War Two, how about ‘draft dodger’? That would seem entirely appropriate.

    It would also put him right at home alongside Norman Kirk, et al.

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  20. Rex Widerstrom (5,307 comments) says:

    toby1845, Norman Kirk couldn’t fight as he was found to be medically unfit (somewhat presciently, considering his subsequent death at a relatively early age). He spent the war on the waterfront loading much-needed supplies onto ships which were then sent to deliver equipment and sustenance to men like my father, who did make it to the battlefield. Not as shrouded in glory as being a soldier perhaps, but a necessary part of the war effort nonetheless.

    Some of the left wing commenters here get criticised for a “Labour good, National bad” perspective, and rightly so. But let’s not fall into the trap of thinking everything Labour has ever done, and everyone ever connected with it, is bad simply because the present administration has abandoned all principle. I can’t see Kirk – paranoid as he was about many things – allowing an EFB to be passed during his term, for instance.

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  21. tim barclay (886 comments) says:

    The EFB is a blatant attempt to rewrite election law for partisan advantage. Never has such a thing been attempted before. And what is worse the Labour Party have used it to basically make a grab for taxpayers’ money. JOhn Key has pledged to repeal it promptly for that reason alone National should be supported and will undoubtedly get editorial support.

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  22. peteremcc (341 comments) says:

    I must admit we considered sending Prebble into the house last night too. :D

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  23. toby1845 (191 comments) says:

    “He spent the war on the waterfront loading much-needed supplies onto ships which were then sent to deliver equipment and sustenance to men like my father, who did make it to the battlefield.”

    Presumably he was paid time-and-a-half and double time for weekends and public holidays, and danger money whenever he handled explosives – unlike those who (like your father) made it to the front line.

    Incidentally, what was the nature of his medical downgrading? I have heard that it was goitre: do you know?

    I have always found it interesting that he was able to pushbike fifty miles on a gravel road from Auckland to Thames (and then pushbike back again) once a week to visit his fiancee throughout the war. I’m sure that one of the local defence organisations (Home Guard, etc) could have found something for him to do, such as manning a radio or driving a vehicle.

    Then again, I guess it would have cut into the overtime.

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  24. Right of way is Way of Right (1,129 comments) says:

    Peter Fraser said that no man would have to serve overseas twice until every man had served once, and rescinded that when it became apparent that many of the wharfies had no bloody intention of going to fight, thank you, and we are quite happy here.

    My wife’s grandfather served in North Africa and Italy, and despised Fraser, and the wharfies, until his death.

    Raise this issue in an RSA on ANZAC Day, and stand by to be re-educated!

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  25. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    Rex I hear ya, I am a Labour boy by upbringing and by inclination. But What I see from these arrogant snobs and bullies is light years away from my understanding of a Labour Party. Now it is merely a brand, a powerful brand, but simply a symbiotic part of of the very system it once set out to protect the workers from.
    The present Labour party is like the three monkeys in reverse: they only see evil in others, they only speak evil about others, and they only listen to evil about others.
    Interesting that the first solidbloc of voter opinion against the EFB is Grey Power.

    You see they had the balls to stand up for themselves then, and they have the ball to do it now. When they look at the generation they spawned, they must despair…

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  26. James Sleep (477 comments) says:

    HAHA I was on that floor around 4.30pm yesterday for a meeting. There sure was a lot of achohol.

    I was assured by Tony Ryall that they don’t ussually have wine up there. Oh and the other thing was Kathrine Rich’s EA telling me that the party was not paid for by tax payers.

    Very nice.

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  27. dad4justice (7,898 comments) says:

    “achohol.”

    James – do you have a NCEA pass in rubbish collection or sculling ?

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  28. Cactus Kate (549 comments) says:

    Good grief what a terribly dull thread. NO ONE has asked the most important question:

    So did you score DPF?

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