Why did Labour drop to an 85 year low?

November 30th, 2011 at 1:48 pm by David Farrar

At , I blog:

has decided to choose a new leader in the next two weeks. I think it is a mistake to rush the choice, because they are choosing an “answer” without knowing what the question is. …

 So the question that Labour should be seeking to ask and answer, before they choose a new leader, is why did we drop 7 per cent from 2008?

I ask:

I’d be interested to hear why you think Labour’s vote was 7 per cent lower than in 2008, especially if you once voted Labour. Was it simply that the Greens did well? Was it that NZ First picked up tactical votes to stop National? Was it Goff? Was it one or more of their policies? And related to that, what would Labour need to do to get your vote back? Is there one particular leadership contender that appeals more to you?

There’s been some interesting comments made. The extending the in-work tax credit to beneficiaries seems to have gone down particularly badly.

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71 Responses to “Why did Labour drop to an 85 year low?”

  1. JamesS (352 comments) says:

    Labour dropped to an 85 year low because there is no longer any need for a Labour party.

    Everything Labour stands for and Labour governments introduced – state housing, pensions, welfare, unions, egalitarianism, state ownership etc – has been done; apart from hyperbole at election time, and fantasists in the media at TV3 and the Dominion, no one can seriously claim there is ‘real’ poverty in NZ (beneficiaries with iphones and skytv knocks that one on the head), or a danger of great depression style poverty and inequality returning, or that the National party policies are somehow harming the great majority of ordinary New Zealanders.

    When there is nothing left to do, nothing left to reform, no vast demographic being exploited or harmed, you find Labour has simply outlived its usefulness. Even their name seems anachronistic in this day and age.

    ACT or any sort of ‘liberal’ party is in the same boat on the right – economic reforms 20 – 25 years ago and myriad of social legislation means there is no need for them anymore either.

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  2. decanker (184 comments) says:

    I agree, extending the in-work tax credit to beneficiaries even sounds linguistically wrong! The working poor simply do not want to hear about tax credits going to those out of work. However, considering low income workers are struggling to feed their families, the anguish is more to do with low wages across the board than it is about dishing out money to the unemployed (even if they haven’t made that policy connection). I wasn’t happy with the Greens pushing this either. But I forgive them because their goal is a universal base income, which I do agree with.

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  3. petal (706 comments) says:

    It’s pretty clear to me. Labour’s policies weren’t thrown out 2 elections ago, but its people were. The arrogance and corrosiveness is what saw them turfed. And they never admitted this to themselves.

    Wind 3 years forward, and the people are more or less similarly arrogant and corrosive, but they ALSO added a bunch of crazy policies that were only ever going to speak to their LOYAL followers, and not to those who had changed their vote away from Labour.

    National has taken over Labour’s policy platform. Labour need to take it back by not competing with different ideas, but with a more likable and trustworthy crew.

    They need a good change of personnel and start shutting up. Dissatisfaction with National will creep in. Labour will have to do NOTHING except smile and act like a Government in waiting.

    Question: Do they have the maturity and medium-term vision to pull this off?

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  4. Mick Mac (1,091 comments) says:

    No one trusts the old guard and that include cunners as they will find out.
    The greens were another option as National is not for their tribe.

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  5. immigant (950 comments) says:

    Because their policies are out of touch with reality and they offer nothing to people who are traditionaly their demographic – Workers. Also alienated every employed, single male between 21-35.

    No brainer.

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  6. Bill (19 comments) says:

    I think Labour was so NASTY that Labour supporters couldn’t bring themselves to vote for them, so they abstained.

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  7. BeaB (2,125 comments) says:

    All they need to do is consult that brilliant strategist, Trevor Mallard. Their future is safe in his hands.

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  8. JC (958 comments) says:

    Bloody good answers in the first five, esp. JamesS.

    Its hard to be clever and progressive when you’ve run out of other peoples’ money.

    Cunliffe is a continuation of the essentially parasitic style that Labour currently has, but Parker actually understands that Labour has lost the (probably White) working man and Shearer has some very dangerous ideas (for the Left).

    Has anyone worked out that Shearer is a better looking and speaking version of some of Roger Douglas’ ideas?.. eg, the way to help the worse off is through being rich.

    JC

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  9. 3-coil (1,220 comments) says:

    1 The tired old dinasours fronting their campaign
    2 Labour’s incessant negative messages
    3 Their dishonest misrepresentations of Key and National policies (NZers aren’t thick)
    4 Kiwis have appreciated the refreshing break from the conflict and toxicity of the previous Clark-led Labour government, and Goff (with his negative campaign) was appearing to offer a return to the depressing environment we had booted out 3 years ago. Labour came across as the “angry” party

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  10. dog_eat_dog (782 comments) says:

    1. Labour had no policies that promised or would have put cash in the hands of middle-class centre voters. WFF for beneficiaries may well have been deserved, but to go to the electorate as a whole with that as a cornerstone policy was a terrible idea.

    2. Labour were unable to answer the obvious questions about their own policies. How does a capital gains tax applied equally on investments make something any more preferable than another option (i.e. property)? Why offer GST off fruit and vegetables when the Heart Foundation suggests it will raise inequality because the well-off spend more on groceries each week and will thus benefit more than lower income earners (their reason for objecting to National’s tax cut package)? And most importantly – how much will this cost? If your entire spending plan can be thrown into doubt by a Tom Cruise quote from Jerry MacQuire, then you’ve got a serious problem.

    3. Labour are still hung-up on the fact that Key exists. They’re not debating policy issues or wider social justice, and when they try, they can’t help but tack on ‘John’s rich mates’ and sneer with contempt. It’s seriously off-putting if a candidate or leader seems more hung-up on how much someone else has earned in a previous life, yet can’t articulate their own policies as previously mentioned. Labour need to go back to being their own political party, where every little thing isn’t somehow tied back to John Key. Maybe they should focus on building their own leader instead of attacking someone else’s.

    4. Labour is still essentially Helen Clark’s Labour. Except they’re minus the two great stabilising forces that made that work – Clark and Cullen. Goff is a nice guy, but he’s not the front man. He can’t give a straight answer to most questions, never mind what people say about Key, and he was thoroughly deserted by a caucus that wanted to wait until change was inevitable, rather than forcing it and trying to pick up the pieces. The problem is that due to the terrible Labour list, it’s the ‘should have been elevated’ MPs that missed out, which unfortunately happened to be the only fresh faces on an otherwise tired-looking list. If Stuart Nash wants someone to blame for losing out, he should be looking at Darien Fenton’s Mad Butcher-bashing and the people who wrote the list, not the media.

    5. You can’t just keep blaming the media when your narrative doesn’t resonate. Chances are there’s a good reason – you’re either delivering it poorly; it’s a waste of time or they might even do you a favour and not give any oxygen to your stupid attempts at politics. It probably worked out for the best that the media didn’t buy into Clare Curren’s attempts to pitch TV ad volumes as an important policy as I suspect that it would have meant a lower party vote. Even on Red Alert, Labour has a core contingent of commentors who will attack any hint of dissent, label those who disagree as ‘paid Nat plants’ and make it impossible to engage in any debate whatsoever. Labour crows about Red Alert’s usefulness, but their own partisan cheerleaders and heavy-handed censorship eliminate any chances of it being used as a tool for feedback. The truth is they could have seen this coming, they just actively chose not to see it.

    6. Spending just isn’t sexy. It’s hard for people to swallow an independent pay rise recommended by a non-partisan body, but given the recession, the last thing you want to be promising in government is writing a whole bunch of cheques. It worked for Len Brown because Banks came across as telling Aucklanders they just couldn’t have what they wanted. But Labour’s policies were so disjointed and more like an attempt at carpet-bombing that it would be hard to find people who benefited from more than one policy at all.

    Honestly, I had about twelve things, but this is wall’o-text enough as it is. Labour won’t see what they did wrong – they’ll choose a leader who is more of the same and continue to blame the media/the electorate/anyone else but themselves. After all, when you’ve been in parliament for fifteen years, you know better than some voters, right?

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  11. KH (695 comments) says:

    They represented ‘workers’ and in particular unions. That demographic is different now and unions but a shadow.
    At the same time the party insiders have changed. Now it’s urban, university lecturers and all of those cliches.
    So quite different.
    For a while there it was the party of those on government payroll. Not just the formal civil service but all the other do – gooders in the NGO and health sector etc. Maybe it is still that in a way, when you look at the party insiders.
    But much of that constituency has also been taken by national. National is still going to keep on many of those people.

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  12. KH (695 comments) says:

    And I forgot. As Dog eats Dog says above.
    “Spending just isn’t sexy’ Thats a change quite profound in the public view and very recent as well.

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  13. hmmokrightitis (1,590 comments) says:

    In my strategy workshops I always ask about alignment with and understanding of customers wants and needs.

    labour don’t get this, that’s obvious.

    For me, they need to start again. Their support base is gone, and they really don’t know who they represent anymore. And if you don’t know that, you have no chance of being representative of them and winning their support.

    As long as I still see the morons at the standard blaming everyone else but themselves, I know we are safe from another labour government. As soon as I see them understanding this causal linkage failure, then its time to get worried.

    Their new leader stands no chance whatsoever unless he or she throws the lot of them out and starts again. Not going to happen.

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  14. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    ACT or any sort of ‘liberal’ party is in the same boat on the right – economic reforms 20 – 25 years ago and myriad of social legislation means there is no need for them anymore either.

    You are kidding right…? There are a mountain of things an ACT style freedom party need to reform in this petty authoritarian socialist backwater. Individual liberty is crushed under red-tape everywhere you look.

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  15. Lee01 (2,171 comments) says:

    The wrong policies for an economic crisis, offering WFF to welfare recipients, Goff’s bumbling over the numbers (good campaign my ass, he fell flat on his face).

    But probably more than anything, the sheer nastiness and paranoia displayed by Labourites in the months prior to the election. The bizzarre conspiracy theories about Bryce Edwards. The constant nasty attacks on NZ’s most popular PM. The appalling stupidity of attacking the Mad Butcher and threatening a boycott of a business largely owned and run by working class people….

    I know the MSM is now claiming that at the end Goff and Labour made a good fist of it. CRAP. It was from the start three years ago right to the last day one of the most incompetent, childish and mindlessly stupid campaigns in New Zealand’s history. By comparison the old Values Party Morris dancers looked slick, professional and serious.

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  16. RightNow (6,994 comments) says:

    Conflating CAGW scepticism with right wing ideology. I’m sure they think they’re intellectual giants because they support the climate seance consensus, but they disenfranchised a large subset of their voters by labelling them deniers.

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  17. Bullion (68 comments) says:

    I think a party like Labour is still relevant as income equality has a direct correlation to most social measures rather than wealth and they could provide different answers to parties further right on the political spectrum on how to address these issues.

    This video does a great job at highlighting the issues of income inequality and how two different economies, Sweden and Japan, have economies with low inequality but achieved in a different manner:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/TEDtalksDirector#p/search/0/cZ7LzE3u7Bw

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  18. Martin Gibson (247 comments) says:

    Labour are screwed for at least six years because:
    Poverty is a state rather than a tribe, and many low income earners want to be wealthier through their own efforts
    Feminists repulse most men and right-minded women
    The problem with socialism is that you eventually run out of other people’s money
    Most of their MPs are sheep in wolves’ clothing — bureacrats posing as leaders who have found the best paying job they’ll ever get
    Maori are cottoning on to the failure of Labour to help stem the failure of Maori
    Hate has limited creativity

    Then they’ll get back in because:
    People have short memories
    They will eventually promise enough to get people to vote for them
    The declining ability of people to comprehend and criticise will hit critical mass
    They will finally get rid of Ruth Dyson Marianne Street and those other vinegary baby boomer feminists through retirement

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  19. insider (1,028 comments) says:

    In the first year in opposition Labour did nothing to make themselves more attractive or make Goff a serious option. Chris Carter and Darren Hughes did not help.

    Then we had the worst of the GFC and an earthquake, neither of which were seen as John Key’s fault, and neither of which National badly mishandled, so people in the centre decided they had no appetite for change and to stick with who they knew. And John Key is a personable, likeable guy who they could relate to.

    Labour’s left bled to the Greens becasue they presented a more radical response to these crises and that can be attractive to some as it’s a chance to change the equation

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  20. lastmanstanding (1,297 comments) says:

    Good answers. After 9 years of Clark/Cullen arrogance/contempt we know best the majority are and will remain switched off to the Socialists.

    Doesnt matter who they elect to lead them they are doomed to be in opposition. The Greens may rise and rise and replace the Socialists as the Opposition or they may go into a form of coalition with the Nats that would see the Socialists condemned to opposition for at least a decade or more.

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  21. jaba (2,143 comments) says:

    I believe a main reason is that “normal” people, those whose interest in politics is confined to 1 day every 3 years, know that the world is in turmoil and, they belive John Key is the only leader of any party capable of getting us through what will be a tough few more years.
    Labours big spend up, along with the Greens would have also scarred a few horses

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  22. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,752 comments) says:

    I think the reason Labour did so bad is because people don’t like to back a loser. That 27% is Labour’s core vote of Life’s little losers.

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  23. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    Let’s put this in perspective, I have had the more ‘benevolent’ (or perhaps legitimate) beneficiaries complain to me about the bludgers around our neighbourhood!!

    The in work payment for those not working was a bloody joke, and those that stood to gain from it also tend to forget to vote.

    The reality is, everyone’s a right winger when it comes do giving more money to: “those bastards out the back”.

    When working people hear of this stupid policy, a name or face (or names and faces) pops straight to mind, quickly followed by “F@ck that”.

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  24. 3-coil (1,220 comments) says:

    Because everybody (even their own) believed they were led by a “dead-man-walking”

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  25. Manolo (13,837 comments) says:

    Because their failed policies of envy and wealth-redistribution haven’t worked anywhere in the world. Their obsolete ideas are are a direct attack against the middle classes of our country.

    The socialists and their unionist leaders haven’t abandoned the idea of class warfare, e.g. “the rich pricks, the rich, the wealthy”, and are still stuck in a 50’s mentality.

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  26. tom hunter (4,895 comments) says:

    Interesting that there is a similar debate going on over at The Dim Post, though it’s casting the net of failure a little wider than the NZ Labour Party:

    Here’s an obvious question I often ask myself: if – as conventional wisdom has it – people vote based on their ‘back pocket’, ie on economic grounds, and the economic models of the right are demonstrably flawed and morally bankrupt, why are left-wing political parties the developed world over struggling to remain relevant?

    I’m sure people will have fun unpacking that particular left-wing analysis: key word is “if”.

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  27. KH (695 comments) says:

    ……Tom at 3.54
    re the back pocket. I see, and you probably are saying the same thing, that many lower income people also do not see left economics as producing for them. One change is the realisation is that increasing the nations debt works.
    A new popular viewpoint that the National Party needs to be wary of as well. But I think Bill English is already saying it.

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  28. lofty (1,316 comments) says:

    The reason is as simple as the labour winner on the west coast said prior to the election “The labour party is made up of self serving unionists & a gaggle of gays” that sums it up neatly for me.
    Self serving is the key wording.

    Interestingly enough the mighty former labour stronghold, nay the birthplace of labour, heard a man tell the truth and gave him the vote & took the seat from the Nats.

    The message was loud and clear, and understood by the ordinary voter, but his message was absolute swahili to the labour caucus.

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  29. KH (695 comments) says:

    Another issue the Labour Party has is that their insiders who cry out about income equality are usually well paid. The Lecturers aspiring to be UN bureaucrats cliche. Even ‘maori radicals’ can pull in a tidy sum these days. And it can be argued that it is those groups, and what they advocate that crushes the aspirations of the poor. Maybe the people are starting to see that it’s those groups, not the capitalist in top hat and cigar that sucks out the money.

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  30. tvb (4,430 comments) says:

    The Labour Party should be doing some soul-searching as to what they are all about. The reality is however they are AFRAID to have this debate. This is because the Labour Party is pointless. They are a loose collection of various interest groups. They keep defining and redefining their purpose. Ask any Labour MP what is the point of the Labour Party and you will get a different answer every time. The latest is to stop asset sales. Yippee, that is the point of the Labour Party. That is why they are the nasty party. because they have no point. They are angry that their purpose is there is no purpose except to defend old ground against reform.

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  31. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    Looking at the graph in the article there is an obvious downward trend from the peak in 30s which is reasonably consistent. This is really just following that trend

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  32. david (2,557 comments) says:

    I floated the idea that the whole being of Labour has passed its use-by date and that one option would be to pack up and move on, over at the Standard (Mike Smith’s column) yesterday. “the movement” is no longer a “movement” in the sense of how it was created, and engendered such a missionary zeal in its followers and its very roots are now invalid. While there may be a need for a credible opposition, it is becoming increasingly obvious that it may not come from Labour which may need to totally rebrand and recreate itself in a way that is relevant to the aspirations of a majority of the population in the 21st Century.

    The charming Mr Prentice reacted badly at this suggestion. Obviously touched a tender nerve there.

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  33. laworder (292 comments) says:

    One of the posters at Stuff said that Labour had some good policies, which I agree with, one such being their superannuation age policy. The trouble was they also had some very bad policy that was just incredibly unpopular – WFF for beneficiaries being one example. The promise to rescind an extremely popular National policy that has 80-90% public support – three strikes – was another significant own goal.

    They also ran a very negative campaign, which as other people both here and on Stuff does not go down well with most NZ’ers. It only preaches to the converted and probably turns off even some of them.

    I think that James S is correct in saying that there isnt much need for a Labour Party in the old sense any more, and a liberal/ libertarian party in the original Act sense probably doesnt have widespread appeal any more.

    Regards
    Peter J
    Webmaster for http://www.sensiblesentencing.org.nz

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  34. Ross12 (1,432 comments) says:

    Sounds about right Lofty.

    The fact that the pundits and I presume Labour insiders are saying Shearer does not have the experience says to me they have not learnt anything. I don’t know David Shearer at all , other than what has been in the MSM but he strikes me as being in the sort of position Key was in when he was elected — not a die-hard politician with years of experience in the House and the Wellington bubble , but someone with quite abit of “world wide life experience”. So he is maybe the type that Labour needs to shake them up.
    One of Keys attributes is that he does not always do what is expected of a politician or doesn’t do it in the way the voters are used to politicians doing things. This is a strength which it would appear Labour has not or does not recognise.

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  35. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    The comments on the Stuff blog are unusually dominated by useful insights into Labour’s malaise, but what’s the chance of anyone from Labour learning anything from them?

    95% of those comments would be micky savaged if they were posted on The Standard. When the political rabies diminishes there I might concede Labour are finally starting to ‘get it’. They are nowhere enar it yet.

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  36. Ed Snack (1,883 comments) says:

    I think that the problem is definitely in the people, both the old guard clarkites and many of the new are basically out of touch. So are, for that matter, many of their activist base. The behaviour of those on the Standard and Red Alert by way of censorship and banning etc even the mildest of disagreements, that speaks volumes. They are all utterly convinced of their righteousness, and that is why they attack not just Key but all opponents in such a personal and hateful way, because they do hate with all the fervour of the true believer.

    This is where the left has been heading for years, and they largely reached their destination, and the elctoral wilderness with it.

    However Labour commands a very “tribal” loyalty from a significant segment, probably a larger segment than National for example does. This is their nadir, National’s was a full 5% lower. The population of South Auckland alone along with the luvvies of Wellington and some areas of Dunedin (used to include Christchurch but not for now) would see hell freeze over before they would abandon the Labour party (unless perhaps it was led someone like Graham Capill).

    That’s why I don’t see the Greens going much further, at 10% that’s possibly their high point unless they change further away from their base, in which case a “Green” green party would probably evolve on their left.

    Changing Labour will be hard, perhaps their best chance is Shearer plus a thorough clean out of the dead wood. That dead wood includes almost the entire gay/feminist wing, not because they’re gay & feminist but because being gay & feminist is what they mostly so totally base themselves and their actions on. The creates an additional layer of alienation. I’d suggest that 90% of NZ’ers don’t give a toss about their sexuality unless it intrudes upon their perceived role as MPs representing their supporters and public. There’s also far too much union dead wood as well, again they don’t have to be so characterized but they self-characterize. Unions may still have a place, but it isn’t quite the traditional one, and it is the traditional and often quite anti-democratic types who too frequently go into politics via the unions.

    So Labour needs new blood and a lot of it. It can be gay, feminist, and unionist, all three, if that’s incidental to their public persona of a dedicated MP. Gat more of those, appeal to the centre again, and with the tribal base they would have to be pretty strong.

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  37. Falafulu Fisi (2,179 comments) says:

    Bullion said…
    This video does a great job at highlighting the issues of income inequality

    Bullion, I think that you’re new here at Kiwiblog. There had been discussions about the findings of Prof. Wilkinson (the video on TED you linked to) here on Kiwiblog in the past about the validity of the conclusion of his (Wilkinson’s) inequality study. The statistical methods that he (Prof. Wilkinson) used in his study were not robust. It means that his research was a joke.

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  38. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    Pete George @ 4.19
    On the money.
    Look at Darien Fentons place on the list.
    That shows just how far away from ‘getting it ‘they are.

    Carol Beaumont is another case in point but she missed out. Just.

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  39. RRM (9,933 comments) says:

    What James S said in post number 1 is about right. It’s not 1916 any more, and too much of what Labour was saying just sounded like hyperbole bordering on hysteria.

    And basically just too much talking, not enough listening. At all levels within their organisation. From the party leadership and policy people who appeared to have no idea what their budget would be, but instead of fixing that they just tried to tell us we should be against the partial SOE floats…

    …right down to the nutters on Red Alert who fawn to the Party constantly saying that white is black (and the mods on Red Alert who are flattered by this, so choose to believe it, and delete anyone who says actually, no, black is black)…

    …via lunatic loose cannons like Darien Fenton who must have basically alienated about a quarter of a million people with her stupid attack on the Mad Butcher.

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  40. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    The answer is the reason they won’t put Shearer in as leader & gut the dead wood i.e. sheer self interest, arrogance & insular factionalism.

    Onwards to certain victory Team Labour!

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  41. reid (16,513 comments) says:

    Just heard on Checkpoint just now, Shane Jones saying that people saw Liarbore as distributors, not wealth creators and “we’re going to have to de-fang that over the next three years…”

    Good luck.

    This is about as big an ask as Hulun convincing people she doesn’t really hate white men so watch for a propaganda shit storm over the next few years as Liarbore pull out all the stops.

    I’m just not sure they, or anyone for that matter, has enough lipstick to hide that particular pig cause it’s real hard to be seen as “wealth creators and not distributors” when your entire caucus consists of unionists, teachers, academics and ex-civil servants.

    Awwwwwwwwwwwww.

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  42. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Because they fucking suck.

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  43. Tauhei Notts (1,724 comments) says:

    Nobody has mentioned Damien O’Connor taking a seat off National.
    There is respect for Labour Party politicians outside of that gaggle of gays.
    Damien has not got the credit that he thoroughly deserves. He has moved up towards where Trevor deCleene was as my most admired Labour Party politician.

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  44. nasska (11,580 comments) says:

    You can tell a lot about a person from asking them about which candidate for Labour Party Leader they like. For example, if they like any of them, they’re completely fucked in the head.

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  45. wat dabney (3,778 comments) says:

    Even the dimmest now recognise that Labour’s endless sanctimony and class-war rhetoric is simply a smoke-screen to conceal the fact that the party is nothing but a front for special-interest groups – principally unionised state employees – to plunder the workers.

    The inevitable result is Greek-style bankruptcy in which the poorest suffer most.

    Unless you’re actually a member of that rapacious group, why would you vote for this mafia?

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  46. Steve (4,565 comments) says:

    side show bob is correct. They suck big time and are interested in one thing, money for nothing. When it is other peoples’ money it is even better.
    Redistribute the wealth, after the troughers have had a fucking huge nosebag. Civil Servants think they produce wealth, but where is the product to sell?
    Tax must come from the manufacturer, not the talker

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  47. lofty (1,316 comments) says:

    @ Tauhei Notts, I mentioned Damien O’conner at 4.05, and I still reckon that he strikes at the heart of the problem labour have…easily understood argument and comment.

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  48. reid (16,513 comments) says:

    Labour’s endless sanctimony and class-war rhetoric is simply a smoke-screen to conceal the fact that the party is nothing but a front for special-interest groups – principally unionised state employees – to plunder the workers.

    Don’t forget the LGBT/Sisterhood wat. The force is strong with them. Regrettably.

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  49. Pete George (23,602 comments) says:

    The reason Labour dropped so low was highlighted on Close Up tonight. Cunliffe and Parker were still in election mode. Parker sound bites were very familiar, his big philosophy was virtually word for word the same as David Clark’s campaign speeches, I got to know them very well because they were repeated every meeting.

    Clark used to work for Parker in Wellington so it’s not a huge surprise but I thought they could have wriiten their own speeches.

    Text poll result – Shearer 50, Cunliffe 31, Parker 19.

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  50. tvb (4,430 comments) says:

    Shearer’s humanitarian work will appeal to the Labour Party. Of course that work was aimed at putting bandages on people who are suffering. NZ does not need this kind of person yet. But if there is total economic collapse Shearer maybe our man to bind up the wounds, ease the suffering and open soup kitchens and night shelters everywhere.

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  51. RF (1,407 comments) says:

    Labour is the nasty party. When you read the blogs over on Red Alert and The standard it is pure vile towards anything right wing. I know we sling the shit over here but it’s more of a comment rather than intense die in the trenches for the left stuff.

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  52. William J (44 comments) says:

    I agree and I can’t believe Labour are considering David Parker – a Helen Clark ‘yes’ man, renown for being indecisive and unable to make decisions, questionable previous business deals, responsible for political interference at the Environment Ministry not only while he was the Minister but also while he was the Attorney General and Minister of State Services (i.e. clearly dodgy, lacks judgment and hardly an example for the public service), tight with his ‘right hand woman’ Clare Curran and Trevor Mallard and very supportive of them being the front people of ‘brand Labour’ and in charge of the election campaign, Red Alert and other stakeholder engagement tools. If Labour wants a fresh start Parker is the last person you would pick. Hope they pick him though – will be a 3rd term for National in 2014

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  53. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    The reason is as simple as the labour winner on the west coast said prior to the election “The labour party is made up of self serving unionists & a gaggle of gays” that sums it up neatly for me.
    Self serving is the key wording.

    Interestingly enough the mighty former labour stronghold, nay the birthplace of labour, heard a man tell the truth and gave him the vote & took the seat from the Nats.

    The message was loud and clear, and understood by the ordinary voter, but his message was absolute swahili to the labour caucus.

    This is quite possibly the best, and most accurate description of the state of affairs of the Labour party I have heard to date.
    Damien was the only Labour MP to take a seat off National this election.

    We can only image the feeling he will have walking back into ‘gaggle central’ after having removed himself off the list and winning the electorate back (and by quite a margin).
    But they still won’t get it.

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  54. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    There is much made of the different factions within Labour. There is the Gay and Lesbian labour, the Trade Union Labour, The Academic Labour, the Third Way Labour, Maori Labour.

    There is a well defined point of difference between these factions in ways that you do not see in National. The issue is, whenever one of these factions is highlighted, and policy developed to appease that faction, you run the risk of alienating those outside the group you want to help.

    The feminist clique drove away the middle class Labour voter to a National party that had re-aligned itself to become an organisation ready to receive them. Maori went to the Maori Party. Those that were left have no idea what their party has morphed into.

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  55. Nostalgia-NZ (5,221 comments) says:

    Sorry if I’m interfering with anybody that wants to be boring, Labour did lose and now they have a selection process in place for a new leader and deputy. Cunniliffe and Mahuta would be an inspired choice. At first I thought Labour might have been reacting too quickly to leadership change, though it looks like this could be a ticket to draw back unified support lost in this election and last. Overall it could unify a large part of the split vote.

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  56. Shunda barunda (2,983 comments) says:

    I think the problem is, Labour hasn’t morphed into anything!

    I actually voted for Damien because I sensed the smallest sign of a backbone returning.

    Damien is the only Labour MP that managed to sway any ‘swing’ voters.
    Interestingly the West Coast still retains strong support for National with the party vote.

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  57. reid (16,513 comments) says:

    Those that were left have no idea what their party has morphed into.

    Good analysis slightlyrighty thank you. Key’s strong appeal to women probably took lots of those middle class Labour voters. Something happened to their poor and dispossessed sector too, which clearly went to the Gweens and a bit to Hone, the paucity of which no doubt much disappointed and probably surprised Bradford and Minto after all their commie input into Hone’s talking points.

    Well let’s just hope this is just the beginning of the long and slow dis-integration of the once gweat New Zealand Liarbore Party. Unfortunately I predict they’ll win in 2014 though. The economy will tank and people won’t get it so they’ll be convinced by Liarbore’s bollocks. Guarantee it. So this choice now is who will be the next PM. Unless it’s not Silent-T, in which case, it may not be.

    With Silent-T on the prowl for something he doesn’t yet have, one never knows what might happen.

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  58. Nostalgia-NZ (5,221 comments) says:

    Excellent spelling reid.

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  59. ross (1,437 comments) says:

    It’s quite funny reading all the comments from Tories explaining why Labour did so badly. No mention of National’s disastrous performance in 2002 and the fact that 6 years later they were in government. That should give Labour considerable hope.

    Many voters stayed away…maybe because they’ve had enough of politics and untrustworthy politicians. Goff was also too negative too often and was probably too close to Clark for some people’s liking. But I think this election was decided a long time ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a one-off, an aberration. Tme will tell. If Labour don’t have any major hiccups in the next 3 years and can be seen to work with the Greens and the other minor parties, I’d imagine their share of the vote will increase. A lot also depends on National. If the wheels begin to fall off and teflon John isn’t the genius he proclaims to be, then votes will go elsewhere.

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  60. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    Awfully funny listening to commies bleat on about how they can make it back ’cause National did. National made some hard choices and got that guy with no political pedigree into the leadership position and culled back the extremists. I’d love to see Labour put together a credible opposition with a credible leader who can redesign the Labour offering, don’t know if the incumbent Labour troughers would love it as well.

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  61. Anthony (796 comments) says:

    I have to say that Bill English and National in 2002 with McCully as strategist were simply awful – much worse than Labour this time! I remember a TV ad with gloom music playing like that stuff they play on Criminal Intent at the start when the murder is about to be committed! Watching it at the time I thought WTF!

    National’s big loss in 2002 also gave them a good clean out. What clean out are we getting in Labour? All the old guard want to stay on and suck the taxpayer’s tits for as long as they can!

    Even in 2005 with genius Don being National Party leader National almost won the election. Imagine if Key had been leader then?

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  62. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    No no no Anthony, the “left bloc” almost won this year. Didn’t you listen to Radio Pravda?!

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  63. Rich Prick (1,705 comments) says:

    No ross, Labour were thumped because the rest of us are sick of the arrogance of lefties like you, Fenton, Curran, Mallard, Goff et el. Your hatred of National turned off every swinging voter who might have read one of your comments here. Job well done. Thanks. Enjoy another three years of being further irrelevant and low teens in 2014 – gee that sounds a long way off.

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  64. Rich Prick (1,705 comments) says:

    btw, if you are going to blame “low turn-out” it was your lot who clearly couldn’t get useless arses off couches with the buses (or cranes) and buckets of KFC, was the budget a bit tight this year? I could have send you some vouchers.

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

    IMO They dropped to a record low for three reasons:

    1) Underestimating the intelligence of voters by floating ‘policies’ that anyone with a brain cell would know were implausible ‘GST’ ‘Min wage’ – this signalled an acknowledgement that they knew they had a snowball in hell’s chance of winning, so the loyal stayed home.

    2) Public failure by ‘The Party’ to show any loyalty to Phil Goff. I mean you wouldn’t buy a used car from these back-stabbers, let alone put them in charge of the nation. This manifested as a pathetic, self-absorbed opposition = this translated as smug, lazy and out of touch.

    3) Quixotic and half-hearted campaign against SOE sell-off whihc failed to gain traction, because many knew they’d already thought of it first, and would probably renege on it anyway now it’s out there – so, in short, low trust in their integrity. (see 1) above)

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  66. barry (1,317 comments) says:

    They did badly because the voters had become tired of the image labour has. I dont think its anything or much to do with policies – labour always have a few good ones and few crazy ones – theyve always been like that so I doubt policies influenced things. Afterall theyve got in with silly policies before.
    I think this was pretty much the same reason for national 2002 result – their image was shit.

    Labours image is that its full of politically correct males, gays, lesbians and crazy feminists.
    The list is also proof that whoever put the list together are the extreme branch of these groups. The treatment of Oconnor was proof of this.

    The amazing thing is that for 3 years now theyve also blamed the voters for being stupid – and that attitude doesnt look like changing.

    Also – I didnt vote for national. National have had opportunities to do things and have frankly sat on their hands. If they continue this way they will get thrown out next time. They have to address the Chch situation, they have to tackle working for families, they have to face up to what I call the maori opportunity (ie: they have to get maori leaders to get involved in solving the dreadful maori statistics – throwing money at it wont work, and they have to be very careful with the Iwi leadership group – they couldnt give a rats arse about maori problems).
    The voter gets pissed off with minor things and these are the things that will count against them if they do nothing. The Teacup episode shows just how influencial a minor thing can become – even if it is pushed by the media. I can see that the s’solution’ to name suppression isnt working and its this sort of thing that can become a serious irritant.

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  67. slightlyrighty (2,475 comments) says:

    The west coast has sent a message to Labour. They have said that Labour is not fit to govern by way of the overwhelming party vote to National. But by electing Damien O’Conner as their representative, they have also said that this is the sort of Labour party we think would be fit to govern. It remains to see if Labour will listen.

    If David Shearer stands for the leadership, he would do well to consider O’Conner as a deputy. While such a paring would gain votes, it would piss off the various factions in the Labour Caucus, and as such, would probably never see the light of day.

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  68. Elaycee (4,393 comments) says:

    Bad policy / appalling campaign strategy / too many relics and reminders from the past (Goff / King / Mallard etc) / New Zealanders still relate to Key but Labour trotted out Goff to take him on with cliches and name calling. Go figure.

    Labour needs to take stock and face the reasons why they were thumped. Until such time that they recognise the electorate has become more savvy (evidenced by tactical voting and rejection of bribes), then they will continue to languish at record low levels of support.

    Labour lost votes to the left (cannibalised by the Gweens). For Labour to succeed, they not only have to try and win that vote back, but also win the support of the centrist voter. Policies that tax the so called rich and give it away in benefits in an effort to shore up a voter base, just won’t cut it. Policy being drafted by Unions won’t do it either.

    But I doubt that Labour will address the tough issues until they have to (because of another similar result). Because they won’t have the nuts to clean out their deadwood and they won’t have the courage to reduce the influence of the Unions.

    Despite the very best efforts of a lapdog media, they were spanked.

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  69. david (2,557 comments) says:

    The Labour result could be held up as the most convincing proof of the old adage “the only arbiter of quality is the customer” What the manufacturer or the salesman thinks is totally irrelevant if the customer thinks your product is crap. For Labour, the manufacturer (policy develpers) and the salesmen (MPs) still firmly believe that the product is superior and the customer is so dumb that he doesn’t recognise it.

    A bit like missionaries really, “we know what is good for you far better than you know what is good for yourselves – have faith in us and our god and you will be saved”

    Doesn’t wash today, the voters are too smart and they are too well educated to be suckered into buying snake-oil. People like Cunnliffe go to work and preach old-fashioned Labour rhetoric then go home to their million dollar St Mary’s Bay mansions – heads-up David, the public are on to you and it just doesn’t wash. Chucky Chauvel tools around in his Merc convertible with a picturesque blonde for company – Newsflash Charles, the public can see through your shallowness. etc etc

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  70. tom hunter (4,895 comments) says:

    Again I must make the point that this is not just a problem for the NZ Labour party – it’s hitting all left-wing parties and groups across the West. Take a look at the following article from Moe Lane in the US discussing a recent revelation about the tactics of the Democratic Party for the 2012 election – RIP, The New Deal: 1932-2011. The article starts with a quote from the Democrats house journal, the NYT:

    As a practical matter, the Obama campaign and, for the present, the Democratic Party, have laid to rest all consideration of reviving the coalition nurtured and cultivated by Franklin D. Roosevelt. The New Deal Coalition — which included unions, city machines, blue-collar workers, farmers, blacks, people on relief, and generally non-affluent progressive intellectuals — had the advantage of economic coherence. It received support across the board from voters of all races and religions in the bottom half of the income distribution, the very coherence the current Democratic coalition lacks.

    Moe finds this admission more than a little astounding, not to mention the fact that the NYT is so blase about the apparent dumping overboard of a formerly large cohort of their voting base:

    What the NYT calls ‘economic’ coherence I’d also call ‘ideological;’ whether you agreed with the New Deal program or not, you could always actually define it in terms that were internally self-consistent. Broadly speaking, it was a broad agreement among various groups that America’s most pressing problems could be managed and ameliorated on a broad scale through ‘expert’ and judicious government intervention; and that such intervention dampened the uncertainty and anxiety that might otherwise cause societal panics and economic dislocations. Again: you don’t have to agree with that (I don’t) to recognize that it existed as a coherent policy.

    I think it would be fair to say that the same approach has been on life support here in NZ since the 1980’s – despite Clake and Cullen’s best tissue-paper wound dressing – and that the overwhelming belief of Left-wing activists is that it should, and can be, restored.

    But what’s just as interesting as the acknowledgement that the “New Deal” is dead, is Moe’s question: What were the Democrats planning to replace it with? He goes on to explain:

    But now that has gone by the wayside, to be replaced with a system that… apparently plans to trade support for permanent government dependency programs for minorities, in exchange for legislating the fringe progressive morality of affluent urbanites

    Does that not sound exactly like Labour in NZ, judging by their 2011 election campaign? Moreover, Moe’s next comment perhaps explains their failure, and also answers the question that the Dim Post asked:

    Aside from the utter lack of an unifying intellectual or moral framework to such an arrangement, it’s unclear exactly who benefits less from it; while it’s certainly not in minority voters’ long, medium, or short-term interests to become a permanent underclass, it’s not exactly clear that minority voters are even particularly ready to vote for a progressive social policy (as an examination of recent reversals in same-sex marriage movement in California and Maryland will readily attest).

    Of course, in the case of the US, the driver for this approach is the re-election of Obama – …which is something that poor African-American and rich liberal voters both wish to do… – but what happens after 2016 for the rest of the Democrat Party?

    Perhaps NZ Labour has already pointed the way?

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  71. tom hunter (4,895 comments) says:

    Oh – I forgot to add this even juicier quote from the NYT article linked in the Moe Lane piece:

    “For decades, Democrats have suffered continuous and increasingly severe losses among white voters. But preparations by Democratic operatives for the 2012 election make it clear for the first time that the party will explicitly abandon the white working class. All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up, on the one hand, of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment — professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists — and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.”

    As another commentator said, the shorter version is:Democrats to White Working-Class Voters: Drop Dead. Again, a strong parallel with NZ Labour.

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