Why Grant Robertson will be PM one day

November 22nd, 2010 at 3:27 pm by David Farrar

I’ve found some of the spin from Labour around the unprecedented 80% drop in an Opposition seats’ majority in a by-election very amusing.

The worst excuse is from Su’a William Sio, who said:

“Low-income people can’t think about the future, let alone about voting in a by-election, when they are being forced to focus on just surviving.

So Labour almost lost because low-income people are focusing on survival. Worst spin attempt ever.

Audrey Young also highlights some terrible spin:

Some in Labour who should know better are creatively suggesting that Labour actually did better in the byelection than the last general election, despite having its majority slashed from 6155 to 1080.

From three senior figures has come the suggestions that Kris Faafoi winning 47 per cent of the candidate vote on Saturday was a better result than the 43.9 per cent party vote that the party got in 2008, when Winnie Laban stood.

That is like comparing raisins and sheep droppings.

So true. is one of those pushing that desperate line.

I saw on Twitter a blog post titled “Reflections on ” on Red Alert had appeared. I clicked on the link wondering which MP would be spinning. And I saw it was , and commented to the person with me “Aha, this will be very very clever spin”. And so it proved.

Grant did something none of his colleagues could do, and something very different to Kris Faafoi’s own comments. He praised Hekia.

I also think Hekia deserves some credit. She is an articulate person who campaigned hard. Most importantly in terms of the result she has been campaigning/working in the electorate non-stop for about four years, compared to Kris’ few months. That makes a differenece. She had a profile and that worked to her advantage. She did not win, but no doubt she feels she put in a good result

Everyone in the press gallery knows Hekia is a very good MP, who ran a good campaign. Grant makes the point that Hekia had a head-start on Kris, and this is right. But what is implicit, but worth stating explicitly, is that the head-start is only useful if you use it effectively. Hekia spent two years supporting community groups, helping with fundraising, sorting out constituent problems, arranging Ministers to visit etc etc. If she had not done that (and done it well) then her headstart would not have assisted her much.

And the challenge for Kris is to spent the next year showing if he can be as effective as Hekia.

There are no doubt some things from a Labour point of view that we would want to do better and different. That’s the nature of a campaign.

And again Grant shows his smarts. Conceding there were mistakes made (but carefully not detailing them) means that his blog post comes over as balanced, thoughtful and not some desperate piece of spin. He should offer tutoring to some of his colleagues in political communications.

Tags: , , , ,

30 Responses to “Why Grant Robertson will be PM one day”

  1. Bryce Edwards (248 comments) says:

    Not to take anything away from DPF’s endorsement of Grant Robertson’s brilliant political nous, but actually this is pretty basic Political Communication 101 stuff on Robertson’s part. I think that most Labour (and National) politicians are probably quite capable of this, but they’re blindsided by their narrow parliamentary outlook on the world – they get so bound up in their talking to themselves within their unreal Thorndon world where they reinforce their game playing outlook whereby their political opposition is to be smashed etc. Perhaps because Grant Robertson was away in London for much of the by-election campaign, he was safely immune from all the panic and idiocy that was obviously going on within the Labour camp. But, yeah, I’d agree that Robertson is heading for the top. Like John Key, he actually comes across as a reasonable and very affable guy. Not easily emulated by most MPs.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Angus (536 comments) says:

    “Why Grant Robertson will be PM one day”

    We’ve already had a gay PM, that milestone has been reached.

    [DPF: I don't think it was ever confirmed if Michael Joseph Savage was gay]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. BeaB (2,104 comments) says:

    Isn’t it sad that a bland statement of the obvious should be seen as a piece of refreshing honesty and lack of spin.
    But I think that is where John Key always scores too. He avoids the nasty and the tired old spin so sounds truthful and sincere.

    That’s what Goff needs to do too but he Mallard, King etc were trained in a different school.

    Andrew Little too – how crass and opportunistic to be calling for a Pike River inquiry before the miners have even been found.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. RRM (9,770 comments) says:

    We’ve already had a gay PM, that milestone has been reached.

    No more bloody homosexuals eh Angus?

    And thank you very much, this leftie has been tipping Robertson as a cut above much of the rest of Labour for a long time now…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Nicholas O'Kane (168 comments) says:

    One other good thing about Grant Robertson is that having entered parliament last election he isn’t complicit in the Electoral Finance Act, the Pledge card and retrospective legislation legalising it, and defending Taito Philip Field.

    I take the view that all those MPs who voted for the electoral Finance Act, pledge card retrospective legislation or defended the corrupt goings on of Taito Philip Feild (basically the entire pre 208 Labour caucus) are unfit to be ministers of the crown unless they very very publicly repent (which no Labour MPs have yet done).

    Of course I dislike a lot of Labours policies and will probably never vote for them anyway. But I have repsect for those who have different policies to me. What I do not respect are corrupt theiving scum who have no ethical scruples in stealing $800 000 of taxpayers money on electioneering breaching the spending limit despite being told 3 times in advance by the chief electoral officer or electoral commission that such spending was illegal, and going round trupeting themselves as the party of th working class while defending Taito Philip Fields corrupt acts.

    Perhaps a large part of the reason why Labour the traditional party of the working class had its morals sink so low as to resort to the massive corrupt theft of hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to break electoral spending laws, rewrite electoral finance laws in a blatantly partisan way and turn a blind eye (and even defend) the exploitation of the poor by one of its own MPs was the attitude taken by many in their caucus that national was evil, not merely a party who we disagree with, and had to be opposed no matter how dirty and unethical the means. As a result helping the poor took second (I must admit here that some on the right take a similar attitude and nationals links with the exclusive brethren in 2005 were not a high ethical standard) place to defending one of their corrupt ministers to deny the evil national party a scalp.

    This commonsense approach by Grant shows he may hopefuly be above this and gives hope the next Labour government will not sink to the ethical lows that the Clark Labour government did. The reality is that Labour will be in government again some day, no government lasts forever, and hopefully the next Labour government will be a lot more ethical and nicer than the last one. It may also last a bit longer.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. thedavincimode (6,606 comments) says:

    “There are no doubt some things from a Labour point of view that we would want to do better and different.”

    Like not selecting a vaccuous bullshitting greaseball who thinks he’s born to trough?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. big bruv (13,675 comments) says:

    “And thank you very much, this leftie has been tipping Robertson as a cut above much of the rest of Labour for a long time now…”

    To be a “cut above” the rest of Labour he would only have to rise to the level of a snake or a snail.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. BeaB (2,104 comments) says:

    Why is it that the low paid workers who pay union dues, allow their officials to shovel so much time and money into political campaigns? Surely they could use that money better themselves, if it’s not needed for legit union work, or it would be better put into a welfare fund to help them out in times of need.
    The extraordinary sums spent by the unions on public campaigns and jacking up political careers are, in my view, the biggest political scandal in NZ.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. flipper (3,941 comments) says:

    So, outside of the Wellington beltway, who [deleted by DPF - leave faeces etc out of this]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Repton (769 comments) says:

    unprecedented 80% drop in an Opposition seats’ majority

    That’s spin too. As a proportion of votes cast, Faafoi got 88% of Laban’s count.
    (that is, Faafoi got 46.4%, Laban got 52.6% in the 2008 election, and 46.4 is 88% of 52.6)

    So it’s a 12% drop, not an 80% drop…
    (similarly, Parata picked up about 20% from the general election)

    [DPF: What part of the word majority was not clear?]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Rex Widerstrom (5,345 comments) says:

    Hol on, hold on, you’re all missing the point!!!

    Surely the major headline here is Su’a William Sio did something. Finally. A press release. Can a whole patsy question be far behind!? 8-O

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Pongo (371 comments) says:

    I have a bit of sympathy for Goff and Robertson as you look at the labour caucus and they fall into three groups, the “rainbow wing” the “bitter twisted Mallard sect” and the really “drab hopeless looser” grouping of Hawkins, Robertson, Choudray etc. Basically unelectable thanks to Clarks legacy and while I think Little is a good operator and streaks ahead of the rest of them the chances of the union movement being elected is nil.
    They need a Blair type figure to drag them kicking and screaming into relevency and yet to be convinced Robertson has that sort of drive and personality, his whole life has been the public service.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. RRM (9,770 comments) says:

    ^^^ Some fairness in what you’re saying Pongo, but I would hardly classify Robertson as “Drab Hopeless Loser” :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Jeremy Harris (323 comments) says:

    Robertson will be PM because he’s in a safe seat, he’s starting young and is smart enough not to do anything too stupid…

    All he has to do is wait… What a sad commentary on the calibre of NZ’s politicians…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Repton (769 comments) says:

    [DPF: What part of the word majority was not clear?]

    I understood what you wrote. “80% drop in the majority” is true, but it’s still spin, because trumpeting the figure of 80% distorts the reality — which is that about 15% of voters switched from Labour to National.

    (12% fall for Labour, 20% gain for National — presumably other parties did worse, but I haven’t bothered to figure out who)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Robertson will be PM because he’s in a safe seat,

    Really?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Dazzaman (1,134 comments) says:

    Grant Robertson PM? Another raging poofter! I’m sick of them…

    [DPF: 20 demerits]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Pongo (371 comments) says:

    RRM I do think Robertson, and Goff to a certain degree is different from the rump of the Labour caucus. They need to take the approach Blair did in the UK and start being relevant to the voters and not the vested interests that run the Labour Party. I was lucky enough to grow up through the winter of discontent and then the Thatcher years and it wasnt until Blair came along that Labour was once again relevant and (ignoring Iraq) he was probably to the right of JK but he had the same “aspiration” gene.
    The only current reason to vote Labour in NZ is if you depend on some form of state handout, its a limited market.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. kowtow (8,153 comments) says:

    Sua William Sio makes the place sound like Darfur!

    When will these people ever drop the sad victim act?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,825 comments) says:

    Too bad no one reads Red Alert, or maybe not.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. minette (8 comments) says:

    Well my heart sinks at the thought of Grant Robertson as a future PM. I’ve seen him in action at a pre-election meeting before he was elected to Parliament and even then he managed not to answer a single question in a straight and honest fashion. And that was before he joined the liars and bores in the debating chamber. The man has never had a proper job…..he’s always been a political nose-wipe of some sort or other and is a prize example of the time-servers we have as our representatives.

    And as for his being in a safe seat. Don’t people remember that very recently it has been held by the Nats, or was it United (Pauline Gardiner) and a Labour heresy (Richard Prebble). If Wgtn Central is a safe Labour seat I’m moving house!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    They all stink

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Jeremy Harris (323 comments) says:

    @repton, the last election was National’s best chance… It’s been Labour’s for a while now…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Shazzadude (526 comments) says:

    What the 2008 count shows is that National are a chance of winning by virtue of the Greens vote splitting support, with Kedgley getting 14% of the electorate vote, and the Greens getting 20% of the party vote in Wellington Central. It makes you wonder if say Russel Norman could turn it into a genuine three-way contest.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. kiwi in america (2,495 comments) says:

    Minette
    Richard Prebble was the MP for Auckland Central not Wellington Central.

    Repton
    In case you missed my posts on previous threads let me give a no spin historical perspective on this by election result. Modern NZ political history (National vs Labour) really commences in 1936 after National was formed from the ashes of the Coalition that Savage’s Labour Party wiped out in 1935. Everybody accepts that there was a two party swing of 14% to National. There has never been a by election since 1936 where a candidate has stood for the governing party where there has been a swing TO the government – even the wildly popular 1st Labour government saw a small swing away from it in the October 1936 Manukau by election. Invariably it is an opposition party that is the beneficiary of swings in by elections. I’m careful to only include byelections in this analysis because they are all subject to the statistical distortions inherent from the traditional low turnouts of by elections.

    The swing to National and Parata is unprecedented in modern NZ political history and is about as abysmal result that could be imagined. The only reason why National didn’t pick this seat up is because the by election was fought in Labour’s 9th safest seat (based on 2008 GE results). Any further down the pendulum and Labour would’ve lost. We all know this result in no way changes the composition of Parliament but here’s the deal with by elections. All parties get a clean run at a range of issues without the time and expense associated with fighting a General Election. Candidates and Parties get to practice their messaging, media skills, campaigning efforts, billboard siting and Get Out the Vote tactics in a concentrated vacuum. They can pour staff, volunteers and resources in and, in the case of Labour, draw on the time and talents (such as they are) of paid union organisers. Despite all of that and having plenty of time to prepare for the battle, Labour did shockingly badly.

    Now they must resort to pathetic and meaningless spin.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. CHFR (226 comments) says:

    KIA Didn’t Prebble hold Wellington Central for ACT at least one term??

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. kiwi in america (2,495 comments) says:

    CHFR
    Apologies to you and especially Minette – he did. 1996 -1999. My bad. He held Auckland Central as a Labour MP for longer though 1975 – 1993.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Bob R (1,358 comments) says:

    ***“Low-income people can’t think about the future, let alone about voting in a by-election, when they are being forced to focus on just surviving.***

    This is a poor excuse, but there is definitely an identified link between cognitive ability and voter turnout:

    “Two recent studies by Deary, Batty & Gale (2008) and Denny & Doyle (2008) used measures of cognitive ability taken at an early age and found individuals with higher intelligence were signicantly more likely to vote even
    when standard political and socioeconomic economic controls were included.”

    qssi.psu.edu/files/Dawes_PSUNewFaces.pdf

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. david (2,571 comments) says:

    I think the drab, dreary dullard referred to was Ross Robertson rather than Grant. At least that is who sprang to mind when i read it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Paul Williams (879 comments) says:

    Hekia does deserve credit, she clearly ran a good race including by seeking or agreeing to have the PM campaign with her. Kris too, did well, not least of all to overcome a late start and a lower profile (despite the efforts of well wishes like Phil Quinn). I’ve met Hekia a few times and had her provide training services to an organisation I worked for. She’s a smart and polished person who comes across as genuinely interested in public policy.

    Grant’s commentary is spot on and, I think, reflects that he understands and values a collaborative parliament (plus too, his inate understanding of the communication style required for blogging)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.