Guest Post – Why is Labour Struggling in 2014? An Essay on the History of Labour’s Predicament

April 18th, 2014 at 8:14 am by kiwi in america

David asked me to guest post this while he was away so here’s some reading over this stormy Easter weekend (I’m in soggy Christchurch as I write this). With Labour consistently polling between 28 and 34% (current poll of polls has Labour at just under 31%) since its defeat in 2008, it has a number of problems convincing voters that they are an alternative government in waiting for the 2014 election. Labour’s problems are three fold and the purpose of this essay is to posit the origins of their problems by drawing on my time inside Labour to provide some explanations:
1 – Why its policies are less appealing to the vote rich centre ground of NZ politics
2 – Why Labour has such a shallow pool of caucus talent from which to choose an attractive leader
3 – How, under MMP, Labour have boxed themselves into a relatively narrow ideological centre left electoral corridor crowded out to the left by the Greens and Mana and to the right by National

Labour’s current woes began 25 years ago during the latter years of the Lange 4th Labour Government. Prior to the divisions over Rogernomics that rent the party asunder in 1989, Labour had been a true broad church mainstream party. Whilst it did have its factions, these were held in check by the fact that no one faction dominated the party. When you draw from a broad cross section of society, it means that the activists who are the engine room of the party bring their diverse world experiences to the task of party organization and policy formation. Whilst Labour always was a centre left party, it managed to be a home for not just radical left wing unionists, academics and feminists but also more moderate small business owners, trades folk, working men and women, school teachers and lawyers. Political parties are the incubators where party activists become candidates who in turn became MPs. Whilst National always manages to draw MPs from a wider cross section of NZ society, the gap between Labour and National in that regard in the 1970’s and 80’s was not that wide.

The 1978, 81 and 84 elections brought into Parliament (by the time Labour won in 1984) one of Labour’s most talented caucuses ever seen. Labour’s front bench, upon becoming the government, was brimming with energy. The pent up demand for reform after the stultifying Muldoon (and earlier) years was enormous and this post does not need to rehearse the dramatic revolution that became known as Rogernomics. The rapid embrace of lmore right leaning economic policy was brought to a head by Roger Douglas’ flat tax proposal after Labour’s extraordinary 1987 election victory and it became the lightning rod for the left inside the party and caucus to fight to take the party back. Lange, influenced by his affair with his left leaning speech writer Margaret Pope, fought back and was ably assisted by Jim Anderton, Helen Clark and Michael Cullen. The warfare that then ensued within Labour was intense and bitter. Newly installed PM Geoffrey Palmer was soon out of his depth and Mike Moore was elevated to the leadership in 1990 to prevent a total First Past the Post annihilation of Labour. Mike Moore brought a talented and political savvy team to the Leader of the Opposition’s Office (dubbed the Beagle Boys because the inner circle that included Moore protégé Clayton Cosgrove got so little sleep they had dark circles around their eyes). Mike Moore posed a major problem to the left. As a senior Lange-Douglas front bencher (Minister of Overseas Trade) and member of the infamous ‘fish and chips brigade’ (an influential inner circle of senior MPs in the run-up to the 1984 election comprising Lange, Douglas, Bassett and Moore) Moore, despite his union and socialist roots, remained a vocal supporter of Rogernomics. In the eyes of the left who were soon to assume control of the Labour party at every level, the extent to which you were associated with Rogernomics (and your subsequent attitude to it) became the litmus test to survival in the post 1990 party. Douglas and Prebble, as key architects of Rogernomics, after the internal bloodletting of 1989/90 knew they had no future and quit Parliament and formed the ACT Party. Various junior Ministers in the Palmer and Moore administrations either kept their powder dry re. Rogernomics (Clark), spoke out against it in Cabinet (Cullen – appointed by Lange to Cabinet to blunt the reforms) or quickly recanted once out of government (Goff and Caygill). Mike Moore’s problem was that he wouldn’t leave Labour or Parliament, he wouldn’t recant and he was considered too ideologically impure and, to the nascent LOO in waiting Helen Clark and her fellow travelers (dubbed ‘The Sisterhood’), had to be gotten rid of.

What happened next goes to the heart of why Labour is struggling today. The left had been so seriously outflanked by Douglas and Prebble that they vowed not only to wrest control of the party back but to prevent Labour from ever again being taken over by right wing economic elements. Party officials prominent in supporting Douglas and Prebble were the first to go; of their own accord and most to ACT. In the days of FPP, all MPs were electorate MPs and so the only way to ensure a caucus that would elect a leader that would do the job of purging the party of Rogernomics was to influence electorate selections. With Labour’s caucus after the 1990 election at a record low in numbers and the Bolger – Richardson government unpopular due to the welfare cuts and the ongoing post 1987 crash recession, the likelihood of a larger rejuvenated Labour caucus entering Parliament in the 1993 election was high. If Clark was to ensure a more left leaning caucus then she needed to ensure her supporters were selected in winnable seats. The first step in the campaign was to ensure that the Party Head Office and NZ Council were behind her. With fewer centre right activists in the wider party, it was not hard to get Ruth Dyson elected as President, Tony Timms as General Secretary and Murdo MacMillan as Assistant GS. This trio worked closely with union delegates and Regional Council Chairs to ensure as many Clark supporters as possible were selected in winnable marginal seat candidate selections. Labour’s Constitution allocates electorate candidate selection panel delegates on the basis of paid up party membership. A candidate selection panel in 1992 would comprise 3 Head Office delegates (always behind a Clark supporting candidate), 2 from the local LEC (Labour Electorate Committee) if the electorate had a paid up membership under 500 (the norm) and 3 if they had more than 500 members. Finally a 6th (or 7th) delegate was selected on the night of the selection meeting from the floor of paid up party members from the electorate in attendance at the meeting. It took a good deal of consistent organizing effort to keep your paid up membership above 500 and Clark knew few electorates managed it. As more selection meetings were held where Head Office’s influence overrode local support (for broad centrist candidates) in favour of a Clark anointed candidate, Mike Moore and his staff scrambled to help key electorates (especially of his supporters) to get over 500 paid up members AND to turn out their supporters on the night of a selection to ensure a 4 – 3 blunting of the Clark/Dyson nomination juggernaut. In the majority of selection meetings, due to having fewer than 500 members, this was not possible.

Why is this detail relevant? Because in making sure that Labour’s incoming 1993 caucus was configured in such a way as to engineer a successful Clark coup against Moore, significant talent was shut out – the kind of talent that would be a broader representation of middle NZ and thus vote in caucus more in line with the centrist sentiments of the wider country; the kind of talent that could’ve given Labour a broader electoral appeal and eventually the kind of talent that one day could go on to be an attractive Party Leader to take on a popular incumbent National Prime Minister. In Clark’s headlong pursuit of the numbers to topple Mike Moore, she made sure that the Labour Party selected people from her narrower world view. Thus it was that over the course of the 1993, 96 and 99 elections, Clark created a Parliamentary party more in her image and that meant the caucus became overrepresented by academics, feminists (or men favourable to their cause), gays, unionists and other activists known to be pure from any historical centre right economic tendencies. The Parliamentary party came to be dominated by Clark supporters such as Dyson, Wilson, Street, King, Hodgeson, Maharey, Dalziel and Tizard.

Clark knew that getting a caucus that would enable her to topple Moore was not enough. She needed to ensure that that caucus remained on her side through multiple hoped for terms in office. The attempted coup by Cullen in 2006 [correction typo - 1996 hat tip mickey savage] after a string of disastrous polls for Labour under her leadership was a sharp reminder of the political vulnerability of any LOO. Making Cullen Deputy PM and Finance Minister was a master stroke by Clark as it kept him occupied and away from plotting. The advent of MMP however was to give Clark the last tool she needed to shape and keep the caucus on her side. Clark knew that the former Moore supporters (such as Cosgrove, Robertson, O’Connor, Hawkins, Duynhoven, Goff, Barker etc.) were mostly siloed in safe(r) electorate seats that, as long as they kept their local electorate party membership up, they were relatively immune from being ousted internally. But the party list is where the action is and the list became increasingly important to Labour as National began to win back suburban and provincial seats across the country. The Labour list ranking is entirely dominated by Head Office and so Clark and co could ensure that the rising generation of MPs would be in her mold and be more likely to do her bidding. This meant that the base from which candidates were drawn remained narrow for over a decade.

In parallel to this candidate purge was the voluntary exodus of the party’s more moderate membership base. Each LEC that was subject to the 1993 (and onwards) ‘sisterhood’ interference in selections suffered from resignations or non-renewals of party members dedicated to the election of their more moderate centrist friends. When you see no pathway forward from Head Office’s more leftist control, you realize that your ability to influence the party for good is over and some just move on. The last Labour Party meeting I ever attended as a member was a Canterbury LRC meeting in early 1994 when a decision was made to sell the local party’s family silver to pay the Head Office dues arrears for a couple of the lazy safe Labour electorates in the region. This asset was making an excellent return on investment and its retention was so obviously wise and prudent. People like David Caygill and I argued cogently for its retention only to be subjected to a tirade of abuse and demagoguery from Clark acolyte (and future Cabinet minister) Marian Hobbs whose impassioned speech swayed council members into making the sale. I knew then that the lunatics had taken over the asylum and it was time to move on and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back after the bitterness of the Clark coup and I resigned my membership soon after.

I remained friends with various party members even after resigning my membership. One was a solicitor who was a rising regional party star. He was intelligent, articulate, likeable, telegenic with a family from casting central and business savvy yet with a good social conscience – IMO a future and eminently electable future Labour party leader. He was trying to get into Parliament in the late 1990’s but was never able to obtain a reasonable list ranking and was shut out by Head Office for selection in safe Labour (or winnable National marginal) electorate seats. He was gutted after his abysmally low list ranking and unsuccessful selection bids and I told him that because he was a white, heterosexual, Anglican Church attending male with business experience there was no future for him as an MP in the Labour Party. This has proven to be the case. Multiply this story a hundred times over and you get the picture as to why Labour’s current caucus is so bereft of talent. Clark’s scorched earth policy to purge the party of Rogernomics and ensure there were no upstarts to her throne has left the party with a caucus deprived of serious talent and not representative of middle NZ and its values. The same is true for the wider party because the middle class, centrist moderate party members have also voted with their feet. This once proud party that was home to so many across the spectrum is now dominated by trade union hacks, rainbow activists, academics, government sector employees, feminists and PC metrosexual men. These groups make up maybe 15 to 20% of New Zealand’s population and have a political orientation much further to the left than mainstream New Zealand.

One of the reasons why Helen Clark needed to have such iron control over her caucus was she knew the electoral reality that power lies in the centre. She knew the party’s instincts are to the left of middle NZ and that National has deeper and broader roots in that middle ground. Clark needed to use her power to keep Labour as close to the middle as possible whilst still throwing enough left wing bones to the base to prevent a revolt. Her centrist strategy would cause disquiet in the caucus and the wider party but because she and her supporters controlled the list and the nomination process for almost all electorates, the risk of a coup was minimal. She also knew that the Greens’ extremism posed a big electoral risk and that they needed to be shut out of government. Under Donald and Fitsimmons, the Greens were more of a genuine environmental party but had enough nuttiness to derail Labour’s re-election not to mention all their image problems of Morris dancing at their conferences and having a cannabis-using Rastafarian as an MP. Clark knew the Greens had nowhere else to go and so shutting them out of government and throwing them a few policy bones was easy to do. Clark was able to govern with first the Alliance (who were dominated by New Labour or people who came out of Labour and thus were not that far way ideologically) and then Jim Anderton’s Progressives when the Alliance collapsed. With Labour polling at least 38 to 40% under Clark it was always the overwhelmingly dominant partner in a coalition and so coalition management for her was relatively easy.

Clark’s defeat in 2008, and her subsequent departure, has left a huge hole in Labour. Having molded a party around her and her acolytes, there was no surprise when her departure left the party rudderless and at the mercy of the factions that she was able to control via the dirt that Heather Simpson had, ministerial warrants and the selection procedures. In the wake of the unexpected loss in 2008 (and Key’s unexpected ease in the job as PM), Labour’s front bench and caucus have been shell-shocked. Goff could only manage to be elected as leader due to the shock in the immediate aftermath of defeat. Because he was part of the centre right block, normally he would be out of favour. The 2008 defeat weakened the left/feminist bloc because so many were on the list and in marginal provincial seats that National easily won whereas more on the right were in safer electorate seats. But Goff knew that the Clark’s purges had burnt off much of the centrist membership of the party and that Clark’s supporters still held all the levers of power in the party and that unless he pandered to the base, his days as leader would be numbered. So began Labour’s journey away from the vote rich centre – driven by the need to placate a harder left base because the pogrom Clark set in motion 20 years before left the party absent its former moderating influences.

While Labour sowed the seeds of its own demise as a dominant broad church party, the Greens got their act together. They tightened up selection procedures to ensure higher quality candidates, they elevated the more politically savvy Norman and Turei to the co-leadership enhancing their electoral appeal and they brought on board advisers who could work the media, exercise better message control and change the Green’s image from flakey tree huggers to a modern ‘responsible’ environmental party ready to govern with Labour. As Labour drifted rudderless, intent on internal naval gazing and pursuing uninspiring tactics (essentially engaging in personal attacks on John Key and hoping he would flounder and fail), the Greens became an easy repository for disgruntled Labour voters. As the 49th Parliament progressed, the power balance between Labour and the Greens shifted more in the Greens favour.

Key easily bested Goff in the 2011 campaign and so Labour looked to what new talent it had rising in its thinned ranks. In 2012 Labour experimented with a pseudo primary between the three Davids. Parker and Cunliffe had been reasonably capable junior ministers in the latter part of the Clark Administration and Shearer was a shiny new penny with the intriguing UN back story. Parker’s indiscretions soon counted him out leaving the left and right with their preferred candidates in Shearer and Cunliffe. The 2011 election cleaned out a few more of the left faction from the list after Goff’s disastrous showing and the right faction became the core of the ABCs (Anyone But Cunliffe). With Shearer untried and relatively unknown but seemingly attractive, it was felt he would be a fresh internationalist face to stand up to John Key.

Shearer ran hard up against the reality of what Labour had eventually become by the end of the Clark years – a rump of harder left activists from demographic groups that were far from the centre ground of electoral gold that National was actively mining. Shearer attempted the impossible – to simultaneously take Labour and its policies far enough to the left to placate its more radical base and stem the flow of votes to the Greens AND try and take votes off National from the centre ground. This task would’ve been easier in 2005 because the slightly harder right National under Don Brash. Brash was an easy target to ideologically paint due to his history as a disciple of neo liberal economic policies given to his pivotal role as Reserve Bank Governor during the Douglas – Richardson reforms so hated by Labour’s base. But Key was an entirely different animal. Pragmatic, flexible, populist in an average kiwi bloke way, a compelling rags to riches/State House to international money trader story and the strategic nous to position National firmly in the centre (and the personal ruthlessness to enforce it). Various Labour policies like WFF and student loans were left intact and an aggressive borrowing programme to shore up welfare spending after the GFC was undertaken. Right leaning reforms were gradual, incremental, signaled in advance, were well polled/focus group tested and were implemented ensuring always that manifesto promises were scrupulously adhered to. The combination of these tactics and Key’s likeable personality has proven to be a very difficult recipe for Labour to counter as scaremongering about Key’s ideological leanings proved hollow.

Shearer was seemingly undone by his poor media abilities despite coming across as a decent bloke but in reality ultimately he was undone by the shrinking electoral real estate that Labour found themselves in under MMP. With a strong, confident and comfortably centrist National Party commandeering the vote rich centre ground, Labour is left to fight for the centre left vote with not just the Greens but the new hard left Mana Party. If Shearer made overtures to the centre to chip away at National’s soft swing vote, Labour would lose more of its left flank to the Greens. If it veered to the left to counter the Greens and win back its traditional support, it shed more of what was left of its centrist voters to an unthreatening National Party.

Labour then codified its folly. The chickens of driving away it’s centrist and right leaning faction (that once formed part of its broad moderating church) finally came home to roost at the Party’s 2012 Annual Conference in Auckland. Whilst Shearer and the ABCs managed to beat down Cunliffe’s putative coup, they could not stop the harder left and more radicalized party membership from amending the Constitution to give the membership and the unions a say in electing the leader. Despite Cunliffe’s unpopularity in his own caucus, he is a hero to the party membership and left wing enough for the unions. Labour handed power to determine its leader to its membership that, over the last 20 years, increasingly represents a narrower left wing slice of the NZ electorate. The policy proscriptions that arise from this reality are predictable and were on display for all to see in the leadership primary. Robertson ran to give Cunliffe a run for his money but must’ve known the members and the unions were with Cunliffe. Jones gave a flurry of hope to the ABCs and the small rump of centre right members who have stuck it out through the purges but with a party so dominated by women and feminist thinking, a slightly misogynist blokeish man like Jones with the public humiliation of the porn incident still hanging over him, was never going to win. Cunliffe promised a deeper red Labour. The Labour activists swooned, true believers on the left like Chris Trotter and Martyn Bradbury had wet dreams of the first true left Labour PM since Kirk and the left leaning media drove Cunliffe and Labour to a temporary post primary polling jump in a frenzy of positive reporting.

Cunliffe’s failings as LOO have been well canvassed on this and other right leaning blogs and in the mainstream media. They are real and look set to seal Labour’s fate in 2014 barring some catastrophic scandal from Key and the Nats. But really the premise of this essay is that Labour would be in this pickle regardless of who in the current caucus was the leader. Clark made sure that no charismatic rising star would ever make it to caucus or Cabinet to interfere with her goal of winning four elections and eclipsing Holyoake as the longest serving NZ PM in the modern party era. I alluded to one such person I met in my time in Labour who, absent Clark and the sisterhood’s purge, would be causing Key and National major heartburn if he were the LOO today. Clark dispatched him and many others like him. Look at Labour’s entire caucus. Who in there could seriously challenge Key? There is no one. Even an 11th hour switch to Jones wouldn’t do it notwithstanding the fact that Jones would appeal more the centre. And even if he did manage to challenge Cunliffe to a fight, the harder left party membership would back someone from their faction (likely Jascinda Adern) over Jones Even with a fresh face the next hurdle is the policies. The harder left activist base that now controls who the party leader is means more of the same leftist policies that are proving very easy for National to counter. Anything Labour proposes that is remotely useful and workable, National pinches and the harder left stuff, that so excites the base, is easily dissected and rebutted if only by National pointing to a raft of improving economic indicators under its centre right watch. All Cunliffe’s election has done is stem the flow of voters to the Greens (and if he carries on with his pratfalls even that is not guaranteed). He has effectively surrendered the centre ground to National despite his reassuring appearances to business audiences.

Labour was once a great party. It attracted people of energy, passion and ability from many walks of life. It had reforming zeal usually tempered by the realism of its once broader membership base and if it went too far, the voters returned the Treasury benches to the safer hands of National. Labour’s 1984 to 87 Cabinet, despite their leftist roots, embarked on a series of dramatic reforms that have transformed NZ into the more vibrant and dynamic economy it is today. The left of the party waged a war so total and absolute to purge the party of that instinct that it has destroyed modern Labour and left it a shrunken left leaning shell of its former self that struggles to attract electable talent, will not rejuvenate its caucus, offers policies that excite only 25% of the country and fights with the Greens (who are seen as more pure and virginal) for the centre left vote. The harder left base are tone deaf to the electoral realities of New Zealand politics believing that they will win the day if the great unwashed knew what was good for them and if the policies of the left were articulated better. Without a major change of direction, Labour’s prescription is a recipe for long term electoral oblivion!

No tag for this post.

182 Responses to “Guest Post – Why is Labour Struggling in 2014? An Essay on the History of Labour’s Predicament”

  1. Keeping Stock (10,112 comments) says:

    Excellent piece KiA; thanks heaps :D

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 53 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Elaycee (4,305 comments) says:

    Wow… I can’t recall a better summation of Labour’s woes:

    Clark’s scorched earth policy to purge the party of Rogernomics and ensure there were no upstarts to her throne has left the party with a caucus deprived of serious talent and not representative of middle NZ and its values. The same is true for the wider party because the middle class, centrist moderate party members have also voted with their feet. This once proud party that was home to so many across the spectrum is now dominated by trade union hacks, rainbow activists, academics, government sector employees, feminists and PC metrosexual men. These groups make up maybe 15 to 20% of New Zealand’s population and have a political orientation much further to the left than mainstream New Zealand.

    Well said.

    Cheers,
    LAC

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 50 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Simon (686 comments) says:

    Labour is in trouble because National are using all their polices. Labour is forced further into crack pot left wing territory where they bump into the greens.

    National has still got branding (reinforced now by the all the leftards. JK is laughing his arse off at these morons) as a center right party which gets them through despite being soft left.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. elscorcho (152 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Unpopular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 47 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Unpopular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 48 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Unity (297 comments) says:

    Well that certainly puts it in a nutshell. A great piece and it certainly gives me a much better understanding of what the current problem is with Labour’s lack of traction. Elaysee certainly summed up the types of people now dominating the Party very well and I second that.

    It looks as though National will get in without any problem at all but I sincerely hope both NZ First and the Conservative Party also get seats so they can rein National in. Another win for them will mean they will do whatever they like because ‘they will have a mandate from the people’ or some such rubbish. They won’t even consider the fact that they will have got in by default – there wasn’t a viable alternative.

    New Zealanders need to start looking at what’s going on and become much more proactive instead of holding up their hands in resignation saying nobody would listen anyway. We must take back our country and create a democracy once again because we certainly don’t have one at the moment, apart from our one chance at the ballot box. After that, it doesn’t matter what we want because they will go their own sweet merry way. We also need to get rid of the increasing apartheid once and for all and become equal under the law – as New Zealanders.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 8 Thumb down 17 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. Colville (2,085 comments) says:

    A great read.

    If Helen cared for the Party she would have issued a dozen DCM’s the day after Key beat her down. Six years down the track they would at least have a chance. Not a hope in hell till they have a cleanout.

    As KIA says….where is the next leader coming from? Ardern? Wot a laugh.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 47 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. Ben2001 (18 comments) says:

    This post articulates exactly why I, as a long term Labour voter, deserted them at the last election and will continue to desert them. The Greens are anathema to me and NZF is a joke so sadly that only leaves National. I cannot believe that I am voting for a Tory party but they have more to say to me than Cunliffe and his rabble.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 50 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    mikenmild
    You fall into the same trap Labour has fallen into – making their woes all about John Key. If somehow JK was unpopular they’d get back in. Key is a large part of their problem but there other major problem such as the issues canvassed in the essay. Labour snuffed out the talent that could take on Key.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 54 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    elsorcho
    Yeah sorry about the density of prose. My thesis is not that Labour is socialist but that it has moved left to accommodate the likes of you – most Labour activists want Labour to be more left wing. But that is not where power lies. Clark knew this – Cunliffe doesn’t seem to. Labour’s activist base has a narrow lefter wing world view and believes that the only thing standing between them and power is persuading the majority of voters that the left’s proscription is right and all that is needed is the right charismatic enough messenger. They elected Cunliffe in the hopes that he would be that messenger but were blind to his many character flaws that are not surviving well with contact with middle NZ voters.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 50 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Unpopular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 42 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Manolo (13,395 comments) says:

    An excellent article to start the day. Thanks KiA.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    mikenmild
    Pit National’s likely replacement to Key (Collins or Joyce) against say Adern or Parker (Cunliffe will be gone post 2014) and its still no contest. The quality rising through National’s ranks far exceeds that of Labour’s thin gruel and limited renewal. There is a reason for that – Clark strangled the more electable centrists.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 47 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. flipper (3,588 comments) says:

    Brilliant, KiA
    It has already gone far and wide.

    As for the usual suspects….please keep your head where it is. That will minimise damage to this great little country. :-)

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. GPids (18 comments) says:

    Outstanding article, as a former Labour voter it articulates what I have long thought about the party and its problems.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 41 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. wiseowl (763 comments) says:

    Great piece there KiA or CHCh?

    To think elscorcho wants Klark back.urrrr.

    There are signs of arrogance showing through from National and they have made some policy decisions that are totally undemocratic.Totally unacceptable.

    Key needs someone to curb his desire to make deals without thinking through the long term consequences.The last few years have been about retaining power at all cost ,not governing in the best interests of the country.

    National MP’s should have a copy of the Partys founding principles on their desks and be made to read them daily.
    I am sure most don’t even know they exist.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 28 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. Neil (556 comments) says:

    A great synthesis on NZ politics post-1984.
    Labour has abandoned its true roots, which is the working class aspirational voters, to become an elitist vehicle for urban intellectuals.
    I come from rural heartland NZ and Labour is regarded as an outdated and disinterested vehicle for provincial New Zealand.Its choice of candidates has been appalling, seeking peripheral issues like gender and racial equality and the influence of the rainbow faction. the dot.com saga shows the hollowness of the left.
    How many Labour candidates are “true” NZ achievers ? Few, most are in there as a payback for supporting the sinking ship.
    Labour have a bleak political future with so much deadwood who stay on because their position within Labour appears safe.
    Maybe Labour in 2023 ?

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. RF (1,272 comments) says:

    KIA. You have nailed it. I was a LEC member and know how these guys operate. One day the Labour followers will wake up to what Clark did to their party and will really be pissed.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. nasska (10,689 comments) says:

    Whether by design or default I know not but Clark’s legacy is a party representing social engineers rather than the working man who created it. Working class NZ is more reactionary than most of National’s constituency.

    Small wonder that Labour can’t find the support they used to have…..the real puzzle is how their leadership is too thick to realise why.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. kowtow (7,653 comments) says:

    And yet in opposition Labour continue to get their cultural marxism passed into law.

    They have pulled the so called right far to the left.

    No matter who is “in power” cultural marxism marches relentlessly along.

    It is dressed up as “progressive” but the sisterhood continue to win.

    They have a lot of fellow travellers.Many on this blog.

    Vote: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. wat dabney (3,672 comments) says:

    Labour is not left-wing…There is nothing truly socialist.

    The mistake here is to assume that socialism is the only form of leftism.

    No, unless it is planning to nationalise the means of production and distribution it is certainly not socialist.

    Like so many left-wing parties today it is in fact fascist.

    When the British Labour Party ditched clause 4 (the bit about nationalisation which made is a socialist party) it technically became a fascist party, since it retained the position that the economy should serve a designated purpose. It instead used a different means to attain its ends: regulation and removal of property-rights rather than outright appropriation. NZ Labour is no different.

    It is only the taint of the word which prevents the left from honestly and openly embracing it. They have to resort to euphemisms like “the Third Way.”

    Of course, this doesn’t change the fact that the Labour Party (NZ and UK) are now just vehicles controlled by special-interest groups to plunder the workers: cheating charlatans operating a zombified “Labour Party” in order to benefit from its historical associations (no-one apart from its members is ever going to vote for a “State-Sector Employees’ Party” are they.)

    That’s why it’s always so pitiful when the usual suspects here post their sad drivel based on the completely false assumption that the Labour Party exists to support the workers.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. BeaB (2,060 comments) says:

    I think it’s a mistake to say it’s all about Key. Of course he is the face of National and a superb one but he is backed by a team of ministers and MPs who have real depth of talent. It may suit some to deride them but by and large they are competent and on top of their portfolios. A good mix of experience and newcomers. There are leaders among them and not just Joyce and Collins but it’s hard to see any in Labour.
    They have to rise above gossip and scaremongering and lay off the unsavoury spectacle of men baying after a woman’s blood. Robertson’s dislike of women comes through all too clearly in his nasty and spiteful attacks.
    A few decent policies wouldn’t hurt either but what can they announce that the government isn’t already doing or planning?

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. The J (4 comments) says:

    If Phil Goff was too far to the right of Labour and therefore not one of Clark’s chosen acolytes, why then did Clark anoint him as leader as she walked out the door?

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Grant Michael McKenna (1,156 comments) says:

    TL;DR?

    Labour got lost and then threw away the map.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. metcalph (1,383 comments) says:

    I have to disagree with your assessment of Helen Clark’s motivations. She came into Parliament as an ally of Jim Anderton yet does not follow him into New Labour exile. When in Cabinet, she kept her head down and did not oppose Roger Douglas while Michael Cullen was the lone voice in cabinet denouncing his measures (Even more disturbing is that David Lange who actually agreed with Michael Cullen didn’t actually bother to lift a finger of support for him!)

    She rolled Mike Moore, this is true, but I doubt this was from strong left-wing beliefs. Mike Moore was so erratic on a good day that he made Kevin Rudd look disciplined (In his favour, Moore didn’t have Rudd’s psycho nature). When she became leader, she pledged a socially liberal policy combined with an economically conservative approach (noted in Michael Basset’s work). It is only after low poll ratings and an attempted coup by Cullen that she was forced into an economically liberal approach.

    My thinking is that Clark was so traumatized by the infighting in the fourth labour government that she decided to run a tight ship. She didn’t really care what people believed so long as they weren’t seen to piss on each other in public. The narrow approach by Labour Party Head Office in selecting MPs wasn’t the result of her diktat, she allowed them to chose the type of people they did because it was best suited to the type of government she wished to run. So long as she was in charge and Cullen wasn’t screwing up, all was well.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 15 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. kowtow (7,653 comments) says:

    When mike talks about leaders ,he does have a point.

    The point being what role does the MSM have in approving the current leader.

    I am of the view the play a massive role.Look what the left wing media did to Brash.They effectively made him unelectable.

    What then does that say about the intellectual ability of large sections of the electorate that they can be led by the leftist saboteurs in National radio and on TV.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Elaycee (4,305 comments) says:

    Milkmilo: But it is all about the leader. When John Key wanders off back to Hawaii….

    15 words that perfectly sum up the envious, narrow thinking of the ‘typical’ leftie.

    With their head stuck in the sand….

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Sofia (819 comments) says:

    Clark made sure that no charismatic rising star would ever make it to caucus or Cabinet to interfere with her goal of winning four elections and eclipsing Holyoake as the longest serving NZ PM in the modern party era.
    – kiwi in america

    Other self-centredness that will snuff parties out with the demise of their “leaders” –
    Winston Peters
    Hone Harawira
    Kim Dotcom

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Unpopular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 41 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. dirty harry (432 comments) says:

    “I knew then that the lunatics had taken over the asylum and it was time to move on and it was the straw that broke the camel’s back ”

    Says it all really.

    “Personally,I don’t see much difference between National’s leading personalities and Labour’s.”

    Pfft…name them , go on..give us a laff !

    Vote: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. jcuk (586 comments) says:

    While more white space would be good it is also a problem of ‘line length’ …. a much more readable line length is to be found at ‘The Daily Blog’ or ‘The Standard’ and any knowledgable wordsman will tell of the Golden Mean which adjusts the line length according to type size….. sadly I cannot tell you because I have forgotten what it is but I recognise unduely long line lengths.

    But whatever I struggled and appreciated your content KIA … Thankyou for your efforts.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. Pita (368 comments) says:

    Unity 9.05, demonstrates a state of abject denial with comments like;

    “They (National) won’t even consider the fact that they will have got in by default – there wasn’t a viable alternative.”

    Or

    “We must take back our country and create a democracy once again because we certainly don’t have one at the moment, apart from our one chance at the ballot box.”

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. flipper (3,588 comments) says:

    Elaycee (4,060 comments) says:

    April 18th, 2014 at 10:06 am

    Milkmilo: But it is all about the leader. When John Key wanders off back to Hawaii….

    15 words that perfectly sum up the envious, narrow thinking of the ‘typical’ leftie.

    With their head stuck in the sand
    *****

    The final sentence sums it well. But one could make the case that their heads are up their fundamental orifice.

    As for milky mike….. you really are in fairy land (perhaps because you are), but when you return from Planet Labour, join us in a sensible discussion.

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. Elaycee (4,305 comments) says:

    Milkmilo: The idea that there is some kind of talent differential is simply laughable.

    You really believe that???? Oh, dear…

    When former Labour Party members / former Labour LEC members come to KB and agree with the meme of KiA’s post (himself a former Labour Party ‘member’), it tends to suggest you’re trying to run a marathon with a left shoe on both feet. But I’ll play your game – let’s look at the respective line ups:

    National: John Key / Bill English / Gerry Brownlee / Steven Joyce / Judith Collins / Tony Ryall / Hekia Parata / Chris Finlayson / Paula Bennett / Jonathan Coleman.

    Labour: David Cunliffe / David Parker / Grant Robertson / Annette King / Shane Jones / Jacinda Arhern / Clayton Cosgrove / Chris Hipkins / Nanaia Mahuta / Sue Moroney.

    For Labour, that line-up has to be scary. But if you really think the ‘talent’ is equal, then I have a bridge for sale.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. DJP6-25 (1,273 comments) says:

    Excellent post.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    Okay dirty harry, here’s an example. Go back a few years and look at the comparative line ups in say, 2005. We saw Clark, Cullen, Goff, Mallard, King lined up against Brash, English, Brownlee, Power and Smith. The major point of difference is always the calibre of the leader. Neither party ever seems to have much behind the top five or so.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 1 Thumb down 24 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,798 comments) says:

    LAC April 18th, 2014 at 10:41 am

    Don’t worry.

    Labour people can console themselves that National does not have it all.

    Labour’s front bench has heaps more adipose tissue and cellulite.

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. 3-coil (1,200 comments) says:

    Superb analysis KIA.

    This should be forwarded to the Ministry of Education – it should be part of the NCEA national curriculum!

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. dirty harry (432 comments) says:

    Id agree on Goff..he was excellent with his Trade portfolio..the rest sorry , no cigar.

    Vote: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. questions (170 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Unpopular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 37 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. Elaycee (4,305 comments) says:

    questions: ..if that’s your list…

    Not ‘my’ list – they’re the respective Party rankings. Didn’t you realise that?

    Thought not.

    And no real surprise you stated: TL;DR – KiA’s article contained some long words you may have found difficult to comprehend.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 25 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Unpopular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 39 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. ShawnLH (3,514 comments) says:

    “But it is all about the leader. When John Key wanders off back to Hawaii or the public get sick of him, National will have as much trouble finding a credible leader as Labour has post Clark.”

    Utter rubbish Mike. Total and utter rubbish.

    National has loads of up and coming talent. Labour does not, for the reasons given in the article.

    Of course the article was lengthy and detailed, so no surprise you had trouble with it. Your analysis of most issues seems to be to reduce them to absurdly simplified one liners and then address or dismiss them with a rhetorical wave of the hand.

    Boring.

    Vote: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. Reid (15,974 comments) says:

    You Labour people don’t get it, do you. Hulun locked in a poisonous cabal into key party power positions who spit venom at anyone who threatens them. This is why your candidate selections to this day look like an LGBT street parade complete with boa feathers and glittered g-strings. Unless and until you remove such people from said key positions, you’ll continue to wallow in the political mud where quite frankly, you deserve to be. Simply because NZ politics is NOT an LGBT street parade and it never will be.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 31 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. ShawnLH (3,514 comments) says:

    Must have been a good article. It’s got all the lefties squealing in outrage! :)

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. thor42 (922 comments) says:

    @mikenmild – “When John Key wanders off back to Hawaii or the public get sick of him, National will have as much trouble finding a credible leader as Labour has post Clark.”

    I disagree. Two words – Paula Bennett. She would be an *excellent* Prime Minister.

    She is by far the best welfare minister we have ever had and she has absolutely *nailed* her portfolio. The public know that and can see that. She is also a very down-to-earth type with a similar “common touch” to Key. There is no “Cunliffe fakery” with Bennett.

    In any case – the economy will be so roaring along by 2017 that it will hardly matter who leads National. They will have the “runs on the board”.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 27 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. Sam Buchanan (502 comments) says:

    I was quite interested in this until I got to “This once proud party that was home to so many across the spectrum is now dominated by trade union hacks, rainbow activists, academics, government sector employees, feminists and PC metrosexual men” which seems the standard dull right-wing analysis of anything vaguely left.

    I reckon the Labour Party is a mess because it is dominated by the middle class leftists, who are terrified of appearing leftist, so it doesn’t want to explain its world-view or the philisophical basis of its politics, which makes it seem completely irrelevant (which it probably is). Left social democrats vote Green. More radical leftists vote for Mana or don’t vote. National scoops up the right, and the “don’t really know, not much into politics” vote.

    Hopefully Labour will die off and leave the field to somebody happy to actually discuss politics.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. tvb (4,210 comments) says:

    It all gets down to what is the point of the Labour Party except as an alternative port to run to when the National Party gets tired and corrupt. Providing National provides good progressive honest Government and so long as the economy keeps ticking over it should win elections. There will come a point probably when the economy is safe, for people tired of the old faces in National to plump for Labour. But Key has dealt with that too by exiting about 1/4 of his caucus mid stream. With a batch of new MPs coming in there must be some worthwhile talent among some of them. That sets National up for the future. And Labour?? A suite of GLBT candidates (decent guys and girls mostly) and some hard core feminists simply does not do it for swinging voters. People will have a choice either a stable competent National lead Government or a coalition of various parties including the wacky KDC with nothing in common except to hate John Key’s success. Faced with that, the voters will probably just plump for National.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. dog_eat_dog (743 comments) says:

    It would be nice to think that giving gay people equal rights to the rest of society would have happened whoever was in power…

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  50. ShawnLH (3,514 comments) says:

    The problem Sam is that there is no appetite for hard left “social democrat” politics in NZ, just as there is no appetite for the far right.

    Vote: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  51. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

    Unpopular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 35 You need to be logged in to vote
  52. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,798 comments) says:

    Excellent post KIA.

    Only trouble is I can’t increase the font size using Firefox. Can someone please enlighten me?

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  53. ShawnLH (3,514 comments) says:

    “Only trouble is I can’t increase the font size using Firefox. Can someone please enlighten me?”

    Yes. Dump Firefox, it’s had it’s day in the sun but has been well and truly left in the dust by Chrome.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  54. questions (170 comments) says:

    Adolf, CTRL and +

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  55. Pita (368 comments) says:

    Sam Buchanan 11.16: Said “I reckon the Labour Party is a mess because it is dominated by the middle class leftists, who are terrified of appearing leftist”

    I don’t think you went far enough…I would say today’s Labour party carpet baggers are little more than effete bourgeois rent-seeking intellectuals whose sole purpose is self aggrandisement.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  56. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    Don’t get me wrong; National are in the box seat for the next election, although they’ll probably need propping up by Winston and Colin Craig. Things are quite finely balanced though, and when Key gets tired of us or we start to get tired of him whoever is Labour leader will suddenly look more credible as an alternative. It’s just a matter of time.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 20 You need to be logged in to vote
  57. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,798 comments) says:

    questions

    Many thanks!

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  58. wat dabney (3,672 comments) says:

    The leader is more far important to the modern Labour than it is to National since any successful Labour leader must be a convincing liar in order to represent that plundering special-interest cartel as a friend of the workers.
    The job of any Labour leader, in short, is to persuade us turkeys to vote for Christmas; to willingly line the pockets of the Labour Party rent-seekers.

    Cunliffe is perfectly willing to lie and lie again and thinks he is so much cleverer than us plebs, yet seems oblivious to the fact that he just comes across as the smarmy confidence trickster he is. Helen Clark, by contrast, could lie with the complete conviction of the sociopath.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  59. 3-coil (1,200 comments) says:

    Go wat!

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  60. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    Whereas the job of a National leader is much easier. I mean, all John Key had to do was say things would be different under National (but not how), announce some ‘aspirational’ goals and sleepwalk to victory. He now presides over Labour’s policies with minimal changes. It’s all about the personality.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 25 You need to be logged in to vote
  61. elscorcho (152 comments) says:

    I think the problem isn’t that left-wing politics are obsolete, it’s that the current bunch of people can’t explain them clearly.

    Here’s the central thesis of left-wing politics: the good of the many is more important than the good of the few.

    Do you disagree? Do you want to be selfish?

    However, some left-wingers think this means you can appropriate unfairly. I believe entirely in progressive tax rates and salary caps but I certainly don’t agree with welfare that isn’t accompanied by careful targeting.

    In fact, as noted, I believe ALL welfare except for those too unwell should be work for the dole. And work for the dole should be decently paid.

    Then there’s law and order. The left has let the right hijack this, but it’s the left that is the natural guardian of “tough on crime” – you can’t have the perfect socialist community of unlocked doors etc. if you know some cunt is going to steal your stuff.

    As for the people who have a problem with “feather boas” and “glitter”, well, I see no reason to try to get the votes of halfwits who think gay people or transgender people are subhuman. They are the same people who would put yellow stars on Jews if they thought they could get away with it.

    And on the question of talent… Paula Bennett is a halfwit. She expends ridiculous effort chasing up a few million dollars in poor welfare payments when tax dodgers account for BILLIONS. If you were running a business, you’d go bankrupt following the Bennett method. She is also a hypocrite who received massive state assistance but now doesn’t want anybody else to get it.

    Crusher Collins is a bulldog; not too bright, doesn’t understand her portfolios (Police at least), and rules by fear. I don’t rate her.

    Bill English knows his stuff. I have massive respect for Bill English. I also have respect for John Key as I believe he is pretty smart. I think his moral compass is a bit off – I don’t believe in dodgy deals with private interests (and please note, I think a backroom deal with a union is just as bad as a backroom deal with Warner Brothers or Skycity). I think his middle-ground approach is actually the product of conscious analysis.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 6 Thumb down 33 You need to be logged in to vote
  62. wf (375 comments) says:

    Excellent read and summary of the way things developed. I remember back in the 60′s and 70′s having to make a definite decision as to which party I’d vote for, and as a result was a bit of a swinger, lol.

    Labour is living in the past. Society has changed: the emphasis on working conditions and pay which Labour and the unions did so much to improve, has diminished. Despite the claims of present day Labour supporters, most people are fairly comfortable in their lives, even if they are in so called poverty. We are cruising along, and nothing is happening to frighten the horses, despite the best efforts of the MSM to stir up interest.
    The trouble is, even if something catastrophic should happen to the economy, I can’t see a panicked populace voting for Labour to fix it.

    Vote: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  63. Elaycee (4,305 comments) says:

    elscorcho: Crusher Collins…. …doesn’t understand her portfolios (Police at least)…

    Jesus wept! Are you aware that Judith Collins is not the Minister of Police?

    No? Thought not….

    FYI: The Minister of Police is Anne Tolley. :roll:

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  64. elscorcho (152 comments) says:

    When she WAS Minister of Police, Elaycee.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 15 You need to be logged in to vote
  65. Fisiani (954 comments) says:

    An excellent and cogent essay. You confirm my belief that Labour has passed the tipping point and their crop of new candidates for 2014 continues the trend you have identified. At current polling Shane Jones will not make it back due to his low list ranking. A gay TV presenter and transgender candidate spring to mind. A straight white Church attending male has no future in Labour. None have been selected for the potential new crop. On the other hand the rising talent in Wellington for National is astounding. Apart from Findlayson, Parata and Guy who are already in cabinet there are potential Cabinet Ministers in Paul Foster Bell, Alistair Scott in Wairarapa, Brett Hudson in Ohariu, Chris Bishop in Hutt South and Lewis Holden in Rimutaka who will be stars in the fourth and fifth terms of the National permanent party of government.

    Popular. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 22 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  66. Johnboy (14,998 comments) says:

    500 lines and the best part is that only politicojunkies give a fuck! :)

    Liarbor is doommmmmmmed! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  67. BlairM (2,288 comments) says:

    You don’t need to be centrist to win. Obama won twice blatantly campaigning on the Left and to his base. Labour’s problem is that they look incompetent and they look like they don’t know what they are doing. Eventually people will get tired of National, and by that stage it won’t matter how crazed and unrepresentative Labour are. It’s what makes their current incarnation very dangerous, despite their current lack of brewery piss-up organisational skills.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  68. Johnboy (14,998 comments) says:

    Quite right. JK will squeak in with Winnie on his side in 2014 and then be followed by 9 years of Liarbor wankers.

    I’ll be dead by then thank God! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  69. Viking2 (11,147 comments) says:

    ShawnLH (1,835 comments) says:
    April 18th, 2014 at 11:06 am

    “But it is all about the leader. When John Key wanders off back to Hawaii or the public get sick of him, National will have as much trouble finding a credible leader as Labour has post Clark.”

    Utter rubbish Mike. Total and utter rubbish.

    National has loads of up and coming talent. Labour does not, for the reasons given in the article.

    =========================
    Well apart from Paula Bennet please name them allowing that another three years will see Joyce, Brownlee, Findlayson, Carter, Crusher (if she lasts), English all on their way with Key.
    Not much left after that.
    Colemen , Parata, Bridges,Smith, whose next, a piss poor bunch really much like Labour.
    Key has done to National exactly what Helen did but in a different way.

    Key has tried to pick winners and in doing so has driven the leaders out. e.g. Simon Power, Tony Ryall. both have quit because of nationals politics and the reluctance of Key and English to grapple with their move to the center left.
    It is without question IMHO that the fiscal irresponsibility of Key and English in borrowing 50 billion dollars in 8 years that this will return to haunt all Kiwi’s. Much of this borrowing has been done to support the centre left policy of the Nats. It will be a millstone around everyones necks forever. That’s a lot of borrowing and I doubt any of them have the faintest clue how it will be repaid. (oh and don’t forget it has to come from few places. More tax, less services, higher interest rates, handing out compulsory wage increase so that the tax take goes up and so on. Key and English will be long gone. NZ has been down this track so many times before.

    But this post wasn’t about National. It was about labour and why it will collapse.
    Before the last election I said that Labour would collapse and it seems like that few will be left in Parliament, among them many of the Labour right as they hold seats as opposed to list. Perhaps but unlikely there may be a rebuild, more likely Labour will fade into oblivion unless either the Nats, righten their game or a Right side Party grows. Act has the right potential but fail to grasp the good old door knocking soapbox getting the message across. without selling the message and having voters making it their own Act will again struggle.
    Now is the best shot they have but they have failed to recognize that communicating with people is what they need to do. Face to face so people can believe what they say. Its about growing trust that ACT will not impoverish the electorate, which is what they get hammered with. (albeit its further from ACT agenda than any other party).

    Had ACT selected and stood a top person in Tauranga then Bridges would be on his way. I’m sure that there are some other electorates in the same boat. Ryalls electorate is changing with the Te Puke people going to Rotorua. Now that may help McClay but won’t help the new person selected in Ryall’s place. It will make Tony’s electorate way less powerful for the Nats.

    The summation of the Clark reign of terror isn’t to far from the mark and if one considers the tyranny of Muldoon, the buffoonery of Bolger,, the weakness that became Lange, the friendliness and likability that is Key makes him by far the most popular PM. The legacy of others we know. It will be another 10 years before we know what the legacy of Key and English is but I suspect
    it will be one of some gains, some losses , lots of debt and and a failure to gain wealth for Kiwi’s.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  70. Ross12 (1,155 comments) says:

    The posts by the labour supporters on here says it all. In most cases they see it as all about the people involved ( if only Key would move on !! then all our problems would be gone etc.). The issues of inadequate policies or poor political management or poor recruitment do not seem to be issues.
    From New Zealand’s point of view the biggest problem is not Labours issues but the influence of the small parties including the Greens which is totally disproportionate to their voter support.

    Vote: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  71. Johnboy (14,998 comments) says:

    Bridges does give the impression of being a tad thick V2.

    Then again JC was supposedly a genius and she is starting to look a tad lacking! :)

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  72. ShawnLH (3,514 comments) says:

    Ross12,

    It’s called denial, something Labour supporters have become very good at over the last few years.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  73. Viking2 (11,147 comments) says:

    Johnboy, consider this. He is an Oxford Scholar in Law if I remeber right.
    He came back here and joined up as a police prosecutor.

    Now any well trained and smart lawyer would have joined up a decent law firm and worked his arse off and made a quid or two.
    Not Bridges, he became a lazy police lawyer for 10 years.
    He is a Maori plant in the National Party.

    The Achillies Heel of the Nats. is the Maori representation coupled with the religious sector, especially the Catholics.
    Its why Brash never made it and Key will last until he steps out of line.

    Haha that will rark a few. :lol:

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  74. Tom Jackson (2,458 comments) says:

    God you people are thick.

    See, this is why National gets in. Dumbos vote.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 21 You need to be logged in to vote
  75. Harriet (4,528 comments) says:

    elscorcho#

    “……As for the people who have a problem with “feather boas” and “glitter”, well, I see no reason to try to get the votes of halfwits who think gay people or transgender people are subhuman. They are the same people who would put yellow stars on Jews if they thought they could get away with it….”

    I’m a friend of Israel. And also of SOME gays.

    And I also know that 5, 7 & 9 ylds don’t have sex unless they are raped.

    So why in the world the left of any party want to ‘educate’ children in schools about sex from 5yrs of age and beyond reeks of nothing more than homofacism and gaystapo PC. Kids don’t need school based sex-ed till 10 or 11.

    There is no such a thing as anal ‘sex’ elscorcho. And two men fucking is not anything like what the parents of school children do while they are naked – so kids should have opt-in sex-ed classes at school – one for hetros and one for ‘others’.

    And a pink question mark would be ideal above the door of the ‘others’ – if truth be told!

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  76. mandk (824 comments) says:

    Ross 12

    I’m pleased the Labour supporters here believe what they do. It only makes it more likely that Labour will lose in 2014, and again in 2017.

    Let’s leave them to nurse their delusions.

    Vote: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  77. Viking2 (11,147 comments) says:

    South Canterbury Finance’s collapse has left New Zealand $808 million out of pocket, with a Treasury representative admitting it knew the company was troubled but let it into the extended guarantee scheme anyway.

    ======================================
    Just part of the 50 billion.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/timaru-herald/news/9951284/Taxpayers-lose-808m-in-finance-collapse

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  78. emmess (1,373 comments) says:

    When the left wins an election whenever that may be, it will only squeak in.
    So unlike 1999 when the center left had about 60% of the vote, that government would be a disaster and will only last one term and National will come roaring back and Labour will be decimated again.
    The forces set in motion for the reasons described in the article will only grow stronger over time, and their chances of winning each election will continue to shrink. In the longer term, Labour will not be able to remain a major party. The only circuit breaker imaginable would be a centrist Tony Blair or Bill Clinton type leader, but I cannot see that happening because of Labour’s single minded determination to avoid a new bout of Rogernomics.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  79. elscorcho (152 comments) says:

    Emmess – rather agree.
    I don’t know whether winning this year would be good for us.

    If we’d won in ’11, all good, but ’14 may not be a positive.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  80. dog_eat_dog (743 comments) says:

    Man Harriet, I wish I had as much time as you apparently do to stress about what other people put up their asses.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  81. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    Metcalf
    You ascribe far more benign motives to Clark than was actually the case. Yes she was traumatised by the infighting but she kept her head down because she knew she had the discipline to organise what rose from the ashes of chaos. You essentially concede that she ensured the selection of candidates in winnable seats that followed her philosophy. I can tell you that the knives were out to deal to Rogernomics supporters and it was nasty and personal. Undergirding her conduct was ruthless ambition and a sense of HER restoring the party to its pre-Rogernomics positioning.

    Clark didn’t follow Anderton for pragmatic reasons knowing that under FPP a minor party (like New Labour) was never going to influence power and that under MMP she knew a left leaning party would be Labour’s natural coalition partner.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  82. wf (375 comments) says:

    Viking2 . . . . . . a failure to gain wealth for Kiwis.

    What is wealth?

    While we cannot afford Rolls Royces, we can afford some sort of vehicle to get around in.
    We can afford to feed our families, whether by our own efforts, or the grace of the taxpayer.

    We can usually get health care when we need it, and it works. Generally our stuff is safe from theft. We can become literate for free. Someone will help you put a roof over your head if you need it.

    At its core, NZ has become a polynesian country in it’s aspirations. Easy-going. An I’m Alright Jack sort of place where life’s essentials are available, with the least amount of effort. Cool.

    In that respect, Kiwis ARE wealthy. Wouldn’t you say? And in that respect, the government is fulfilling expectations. The citizenry is pretty comfortable with how things are.

    The next shift will come from the right, when they get their act together.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  83. thor42 (922 comments) says:

    Labour have some *big* problems.

    * They have hamstrung themselves with their new clumsy way of electing their leader, which (as we’ve seen) can result in a leader that (say) the unions like but the caucus doesn’t.

    * Their ideology is hard-left. This ideology has been utterly discredited elsewhere – it doesn’t work. This means they have painted themselves into a corner strategically and have nowhere to go.

    * Because their ideology is hard-left they will not select a candidate who doesn’t toe that line. That means that their pool of talent will remain as shallow as a carpark puddle. They have doomed *themselves*.

    * Their constituency is slowly shrinking. Their core support is amongst the beneficiaries, the low-paid and the poorly-educated.
    Benefit numbers are steadily dropping and will continue to do so. Education will improve with the charter schools showing what they can do.

    * As the surplus grows, National can carefully use some of it
    for various feel-good projects (schools etc) that will generate even more goodwill for them.

    In a nutshell, the left-wing (not just Labour) are becoming *irrelevant*. They are on the wrong side of history. They have had their time.

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  84. Fossil (8 comments) says:

    Metcalf comes much closer than KiA to Clark’s motivation. She was a planner and plotter from the moment she took up politics, with an understandably keen eye for her own self-interest. She was seen as a champion of the left in the first term of the Lange government almost entirely because of her focus on foreign policy. Far from working hard to defeat the right in the government’s second term, she allowed Douglas to buy her silence in cabinet with a promise to protect her portfolios from the Treasury blowtorch (she turned against Douglas’s flat tax when she learned that her housing portfolio was among the first casualties).
    The lesson Clark took from the eighties was that disunity kills governments. In her mind, pragmatism trumped principle. She did not roll Moore because he represented the right. Moore was a flake. He could as easily have represented the left if the thought had come into his mind. Clark rolled him because she wanted his job and he was in the way.
    KiA’s account of Clark’s earlier days is frequently inaccurate. The idea that Anderton and Clark aided Lange in the struggle against Douglas is laughable. The Labour Party officials he describes as Clark’s appointees in the 1990s were in fact in place in the eighties.
    Labour got into its present sad state as a result of many factors. Clark’s management style is only one among many, most of them greater and more complex than any individual. KiAs argument is really a lament for the long lost glory days of St Roger, but they are not coming back.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2 You need to be logged in to vote
  85. RightNow (6,676 comments) says:

    “I can’t increase the font size using Firefox. Can someone please enlighten me?”

    Firefox has detected you are likely to hold contrary opinions to Mozilla staff and are forcing you to resign your use of their browser.

    Vote: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  86. Paulus (2,503 comments) says:

    By 2017 Labour’s vote will be right down and the Greenpeace Taliban’s will rise substantially as the Labourites move more left.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  87. thor42 (922 comments) says:

    Labour and the left in general are for “big government”.
    That is an approach that is ridiculously wasteful. It has had its day and it has failed.

    The future belongs to “*small* government” – the exclusive preserve of the Right.
    Government that takes as little as possible of taxpayers’ money. Government that encourages public-private partnerships and cooperation. Government that does all it can to keep people off welfare and encourages **self-reliance and independence**. Government that keeps out of people’s lives.

    *That* is the way of the future.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  88. thor42 (922 comments) says:

    @Paulus – “By 2017 Labour’s vote will be right down and the Greenpeace Taliban’s will rise substantially as the Labourites move more left.”

    You may well be right, Paulus.

    Same overall result though (hopefully) – another National government!

    It is *possible* that some Greens may wake up and see that the “manmade global warming” scam is exactly that – a scam. How many will do this remains to be seen.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  89. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    I posted some of this at The Standard. After the predictable initial knee-jerks it’s prompted some more thoughtful counter analysis. ‘Ad’ posted:

    It’s a thoughtful piece.

    I agree with the general point in it that the caucus talent is thin, and that this is the primary cause of succession difficulties. I cannot think of any around me in my forties who would consider it.

    I also agree that the rump of the Lange-Moore administration forms the ABC club that has actively fought renewal from day one.

    I don’t buy the Clark conspiracy. I simply view comprehensive and systemic HR internal promotion and selection as being part of successful leadership.

    The difficulties that David Cunliffe is facing are not caused by Helen Clark’s legacy. They are different.

    Firstly to get where he is, those seeking to reform the party from within have had to engage in nearly a decade of careful momentum-building. This included the Labour Party constitutional reforms mentioned in the piece in 2012. Given the intransigence and hard internal attacks of the rump, there was no alternative but to spend considerable energy focussing inwards paving the way for change. This no doubt appeared unattractive and blunted grassroots political evangelical confidence, but strengthened party membership and mechanisms considerably.

    Secondly, Cunliffe’s principle of meritocratic promotion of talent, rather than promotion for factional control, is going to take time to weed out the poor performers and invite talent to compete and win selection. National’s internal reforms of caucus have certainly been easier precisely because the churn enables more strivers to see a future pathway to power. Meritocratic promotion is in my view the only way to break down factions, but it’s root and branch, and it takes years.

    Third, the policy platform is having to be rebuilt from scratch. It’s a different path from both Clark and Lange/Douglas. David Cunliffe has had only since the abrupt leadership change barely six months ago to get this going.

    Finally, changing leader one year out from election has a massive drop in momentum internally. We can see that through the uneven changes in his leaders’ office. I am not yet convinced that the media team there are coherent, for example. That is only an illustration of the internal shifts that the entire supporter, membership and caucus groups have to go through.

    On David’s side are a few things.
    First, how close Labour got last time. In MMP it really is down to the wire. The essay writer appears to have left political activism under FPP and does not understand that it really is down to a 2-3% shift in National’s fortunes and all is in play.

    Secondly, Labour understand their base far better, and are mobilising far better than previously.

    Finally, it’s him. As Colin James said in March this year, when he’s at his best, David Cunliffe is better than John Key. The vital question is whether those around him allow him to enable his confidence, surefooted preparation, and his kind of future Prime Minister, to be made apparent.

    Ad makes some good (and also thoughtful) points.

    I agree that meritocratic promotion is important. It’s a pity Labour didn’t start their rebuild five years ago, time is short for Cunliffe and as Ad says this approach takes time. But it’s more important Labour sets themselves up for medium term rebuilding.

    In the meantime they still stand a chance this election, albeit relying on at least one sizable coalition partner. And they will be hoping Dotcom doesn’t mess things up for the left, that’s out of Labour’s hands and there’s a sizable risk of it.

    Cunliffe’s confidence is crucial for Labour’s chances this year. He can tend towards overconfident, he can’t let that get away on him but he also seems to swing to lacking in confidence. He needs to resolutely target September and stick to a solid plan – at the moment theirs no clear sign of that.

    With a number of wild cards anything could happen this election – but for it to happen in Labour’s favour Cunliffe has to sharpen up and minimise the mistakes they have been making too often, which now means any policy release is looked at with suspicions of cock-ups, and every small mistake is magnified.

    It’s not over yet for Labour but it won’t be easy either.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 8 You need to be logged in to vote
  90. OneTrack (2,619 comments) says:

    Paulus – dont most of whats left in Labour really belong in the Greens anyway? They are just hanging on so they can get the benefit of what remains of the Labour brand. As more people realise that, what was Labour, is now called National, the less value the brand will have.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  91. Harriet (4,528 comments) says:

    “…….Man Harriet, I wish I had as much time as you apparently do to stress about what other people put up their asses….”

    LOL…………….I’m a parent and grandparent. Teaching all 5ylds to believe that ‘two daddies’ is the equivilent of ‘mum, dad and the kids’ is of real concern.

    That’s not what puberty is about. Puberty is about reproduction. See now how homofacist & feminist PC has taken over the issue of sex-education? :cool:

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  92. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    What has Harriet’s obsession with anal sex got to do with this thread?

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  93. OneTrack (2,619 comments) says:

    thor42 – “It is *possible* that some Greens may wake up and see that the “manmade global warming” scam is exactly that – a scam. How many will do this remains to be seen.”

    But how would you ever tell with their hard-left ideology, and what differences in policy would there be ?

    AGW is true – impose taxes to fix “the planet”
    AGW is false – impose taxes to fix “inequality”

    They are a hard-left group who thinks the answer to every question is more taxes, more government and more control (over the proletariat who need to be told what to think). AGW is perfect for them. So they arent going to admit any doubts.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  94. Harriet (4,528 comments) says:

    I didn’t start it. But I’m going to stop here so the thread doesn’t get wrecked Mikey. Elschorcho started it – suggesting that any concerns about homosexuality in NZ is the equivilent of Jew hating.

    Edit: I gave you an up tick. Cheers.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  95. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    Fossil
    Clark saw herself as far more the ‘spiritual’ heart of old Labour than Moore – Moore saw himself as a champion of the underclass but tempered by the realism of the modern free trade and free market economy – it’s why he wouldn’t renounce Rogernomics. He was far from being a flake – he came within a few hundred votes in Selwyn from ousting a National government that had only 3 years earlier had almost wiped Labour out; a comeback unprecedented in NZ politics in the modern two party era. Clark wanted her vision of Labour to prevail. Clark knew that Lange had had enough of Douglas and his resignation as PM, cancelling of the flat tax package and appointment of Cullen to Cabinet were the beginning of the left’s fight back. She chose to hunker down in the latter stages of the 4th Labour government knowing that Labour was going to be defeated in 1990. Moore’s near success in 1993 almost derailed the sisterhood’s plans. Ruth Dyson ascended to the Presidency in 1988 in the thick of the ideological battle – she did so knowing of Clark’s ambition and doing her part in fulfilling it – Timms and McMurdo were on Dyson and thus Clark’s side.

    I was involved with Labour long before Roger Douglas and whilst I supported Rogernomics, I’ve never longed for him to return to Labour. My point is that Labour was once a broad church that allowed talent like Douglas to come through- not any more.

    Vote: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  96. thor42 (922 comments) says:

    @OneTrack –

    “AGW is true – impose taxes to fix “the planet”
    AGW is false – impose taxes to fix “inequality”

    They are a hard-left group who thinks the answer to every question is more taxes, more government and more control (over the proletariat who need to be told what to think). AGW is perfect for them. So they arent going to admit any doubts.”

    I agree.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  97. elscorcho (152 comments) says:

    Harriet, if the sole purpose of sex is reproduction I hope you’ve never masturbated, had oral sex, sex during your infertile periods, or given a handjob. And that you’ve got only associated with men who have never masturbated.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 8 You need to be logged in to vote
  98. elscorcho (152 comments) says:

    Thor says “Their ideology is hard-left.”

    It is NOT.
    Hard left would be forcible nationalisation, compulsory “civics” training in school, and a few other things.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  99. noskire (832 comments) says:

    Excellent essay kia. Thanks for taking the time to write and share it.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  100. Harriet (4,528 comments) says:

    “…….Harriet, if the sole purpose of sex is reproduction……”

    After this comment I’m not saying anything more so as to not wreck the thread.

    I DIDN”T FUCKEN SAY THAT!

    I said: The purpose of PUBERTY is re-production.

    The male and female sexes go through puberty so as to re-produce. They don’t go through puberty to soley release sexual urges.

    Two males -or for that matter a group of males- wanting to find other ways to release their pent up sexual urges has no place in school sex-ed classes. And that is why i suggest that parents have the choice as to what sex-ed classes they send their children to. [1] reproduction based sex ed classes[which includes fore play], or [2], other forms of ‘sexual activity’ classes – gay, leso, anal, oral, leather, bondage, exobihtionist ect.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  101. Steve (North Shore) (4,500 comments) says:

    Those in the Labour Party who are the problem know they are the problem, but they refuse to leave. The leadership will not sack them because it may cost votes (effects the number of list seats) The diehards would not survive in the private sector anyway, so they become a Labour liability.
    Until Labour sees this and changes, they are doomed to be in opposition, if you can call it an opposition. At this stage National will win at least two more terms no matter who is leader

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  102. cha (3,779 comments) says:

    The purpose of PUBERTY is re-production.

    Well you lot do like the young ones.

    The complaint alleges that Phillips met Torres-Manteufel, then just Torres, in 1999 when she was merely 15 years old and then “methodically groomed” her, by acting as her spiritual mentor, to accept his abusive treatment, eventually moving her into his home to live with his family in 2007.
    There, she alleges, he quickly asserted himself as an authority figure over her in every way, “the pastor of her church, her boss, her landlord, and the controller of all aspects of her life.”

    Then, according to the lawsuit, he started pushing her into sexual encounters, even though his church teaches that any sexual contact—not just intercourse, but even kissing—outside of marriage is wrong.
    This left Torres believing, according to the complaint, that she was in a “no-win” situation, where she had “to submit to Douglas Phillips” because of his authority over her, but that doing so left her as “damaged goods.”

    http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2014/04/16/douglas_phillips_lawsuit_woman_alleges_sexual_mental_abuse_against_the_former.html

    http://www.wnd.com/files/2014/04/TorresComplaintFinalwithCoverSheet.pdf

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4 You need to be logged in to vote
  103. Yoza (1,552 comments) says:

    The other thing we should keep in mind is Key’s Jewish heritage which identifies anyone not voting National as a practicing anti-Semite.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 17 You need to be logged in to vote
  104. Nostradamus (2,949 comments) says:

    Yoza: who will you be voting for and why?

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  105. OneTrack (2,619 comments) says:

    elscorcho – “It is NOT.
    Hard left would be forcible nationalisation, …”

    NZ Power?

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  106. SPC (5,397 comments) says:

    FACT 1 – The Rogernomics era had no mandate from the party. It nearly destroyed Labour.

    FACT 2 – It took till 1999-2002 and a Labour government that delivered on its manifesto to restore trust between caucus and party member – this lead to the end of any need for “New Labour”.

    FACT 3 – However this alone was and is insufficient for restoration. The Labour Party is not yet over what Rogernomics did to it (but then nor is New Zealand).

    To have a party based on democratic, and meritocratic, selection involves trust that candidates will remain loyal to the party and its manifesto. This was something completely breached in the 1980′s. So between 1987 and 2011, selection was based on a party faction patronage – this of course meant it was somewhat insulated from inclusive participation by the general public.

    The Labour Party was so abused by its caucus in the 1980′s that only the recent party reforms, the retirement of the last of the 1980′s era personnel and the decline of the party factions of recent decades will enable renewal.

    Too much focus on the people involved just obscures the circumstance in which they operated.

    However

    FACT 4 – Being expert in managing factions gave Clark an advantage in MMP.

    The irony however is in that with a majority in caucus being of the ABC persuasion, when he was the choice of the wider party, we have continuance of the caucus and party divide that began their problems 30 years ago. And for the same reason, those dominant in caucus “knew better” (about policy or who should be leader).

    FACT 5 – Cunliffe will only get confidence from his caucus if the membership of it changes or he wins an election.

    FACT 6 – Labour Leaders are now required to retain the trust of their party, and thus the idea that a caucus leader can lead the party in new directions without first getting a mandate is now buried. The party can no longer be hijacked by turning its leader or finance spokesperson – a message to Treasury, whether in domestic and international aspect, as much as to the caucus.

    Whether this makes for a more left wing party is harder to say. The party activist is less likely to want caucus to compromise for centrist votes, yet a more open party means more internal diversity and a broader base membership.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  107. Komata (1,113 comments) says:

    KIA

    Many thanks for the post, which confirmed many of the suspicions I had about Clark’s activities.

    A question arising from your post:

    As her ‘reign’ at the UN will inevitably come to an end and because she still retains ‘contact/control with various ‘cronies’ in New Zealand,and can influence matters through them, do you see Clark returning to NZ to ‘take up where she left off’ and ‘rejuvenate’ (reclarkenate?) the NZLP, or is she still ‘self-advancing’ and aiming at the long-rumoured goal- Secretary General of the UN?

    Possibly this is a ‘how do keep them down on the farm’-type question, but I would be interested in your opinion. Thanks.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  108. lolitasbrother (486 comments) says:

    OK Farrar we want Kiwi in America every Friday now, not just good fridays, it is a good transition to nurture talent, as you are doing. This essay by KiA flashed around New Zealand

    Vote: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  109. Yoza (1,552 comments) says:

    Nostradamus (2,754 comments) says:
    April 18th, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Yoza: who will you be voting for and why?

    I’ll be voting Mana as, regardless of which major party gains control of the treasury benches, Mana is the only party committed to advocating for those at the bottom of the socioeconomic feeding frenzy. I don’t believe Mana will hold any sway, but even those at the bottom need someone making a noise on their behalf.

    Whenever someone starts talking about ‘talent’ in the context of those politicians operating in parliament they seem to be commenting on that members ability to internalise corporate ideology and, in turn, present such dogma to the general public as a necessary component of modern society. Both National and Labour reflexively serve corporate interests before attending to public concerns as the majority of media outlets are corporate institutions and, as such. act as guardians of the corporate narrative – any politician questioning the dominance of big business is a lightening rod for the thought-crime enforcers.

    The Mana lot don’t give a shit about the antics of the ‘free’ press as they are regularly hauled over the coals by our corporate stenographers.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  110. Nostalgia-NZ (4,914 comments) says:

    Where is the mention of Clark losing a good part of the Maori vote and JK cleverly attaching himself to the MP. That has been significant in the last 2 election results and may have been a good part of the reason for Clark’s loss. At the very least, losing part of the Maori vote would equal the ‘Clarking’ of the Labour party as reasons for its current struggles. I think it highly unlikely that the basis of potential threats to the Clark way of doing things resulted in a dearth of potential and charismatic leaders. The above article shows the means for someone (as Clark did) relatively supporting the status quo as they plotted their way to the top. The argument against that is that perhaps Labour simply don’t have the potential talent coming through even as sheep in wolves clothing with their own design of the party in mind.

    Labour looks like a duck for sure and unlikely to throw up a significant challenge for Government, on the other hand there are so many permutations of which parties may form the next Government that I doubt KIA is saying there is any reason for complacency even on the basis of the so called ‘purging’ of the Clark years.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  111. Komata (1,113 comments) says:

    Yoza

    Thank you for your honesty. I am however curious as to why, as the Mana party is cosying-up to ‘big business’ in the form of Herr. Dotcom, and is effectively a place where displaced radicals lurk, and where dissention within the party reigns?

    We are told that Hone perceives Mana as a ‘Maori only ‘ party, created to bring ‘Brown Power’ to New Zealand, to the exclusion of all other ethnicities, while Bradford, Minto et al view it as a vehicle by which socialist change of the extreme left-sort can be implemented. As Hone’s policies must inevitably result in the ‘removal’ of all ‘non brown’s’, within the party (in the unlikely event that it becomes the ‘party in charge’ of the whole country), this must cause tensions within the party and lead to its fragmentation.

    No doubt you have gone into the matter in considerable depth, but, in light of what I have just noted (dissension etc), won’t your vote be a ‘wasted’ vote; one that could be more gainfully employed elsewhere?

    Thanks.

    Vote: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  112. Tauhei Notts (1,611 comments) says:

    Kiwi In America.
    Great post.
    What surprised me is the huge number of FORMER Labour Party People who contribute to this blog.
    I consume a decent amount of grog chatting to people about politics, and am surprised that so few have heard of this blog.
    Posts, like that of Kiwi In America, make this such a wonderful site. Some of my drinking buddies have visited this site and seen the likes of Phil Ure or Penny Bright and wondered why I am so silly to come here.
    Kiwi In America; I bought three bottles of duty free whisky last week, and one of them should go to you.!

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  113. ShawnLH (3,514 comments) says:

    “Mana is the only party committed to advocating for those at the bottom of the socioeconomic feeding frenzy.”

    The only thing Mana is advocating for is destroying the economy to make everyone equally poor.

    You can hide behind bs about “corporate ideology” but the fact is that socialism does not work, does not create wealth. It only impoverishes people.

    That’s not caring for the poor. It’s putting a failed ideology ahead of real answers for the poor.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  114. rangitoto (195 comments) says:

    “Only trouble is I can’t increase the font size using Firefox. ”

    View Zoom.

    As for chrome, google know what they can do with their spyware

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  115. SPC (5,397 comments) says:

    The Labour Party can survive character assassination on a right wing blog and will return to government. Within 3 elections of losing office …

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 12 You need to be logged in to vote
  116. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    Komata
    Clark has a job for life at the UN – a high tax free salary in USD$, free first class travel,band other troughing perks, the acclaim of other international socialists and a legacy to craft as NZ’s first elected woman PM – she’s not going to give most of that up for the messy business of elections and governing.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  117. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    I could only see Clark returning to NZ as president, but that change is not happening any time soon.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  118. big bruv (13,331 comments) says:

    Yoza

    “I’ll be voting Mana as, regardless of which major party gains control of the treasury benches, Mana is the only party committed to advocating for those at the bottom of the socioeconomic feeding frenzy”

    Let me guess, you want to hand our more of my money to people who do not want to work or do not want to put themselves out one little bit in an effort to better themselves.

    I have no time for 50 year olds who are still on the minimum wage, if they have done nothing to help themselves then they deserve no more of my money.

    Vote: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  119. big bruv (13,331 comments) says:

    Kiwi in America.

    Given that you admit to being pals with one or two Labour types, can you confirm something that I have heard time and time again. Apparently Klark is still bent out of shape that she never got the to be NZ’s first female PM, is this true?

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  120. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    SPC
    It was not Rogernomics that destroyed Labour but the bitter internal fight over it. As to your pondering as to whether Labour with its leadership now controlled by its more left leaning party membership is more left wing, ponder no more – it is! Clark knew that power lay in the centre and used her dominance to prevent the worse tendencies of the party to embrace left wing policies – Cunliffe does not have that skill and you deftly summed up why he would fail anyway – Labour is still hell bent on finishing its Rogernomics purge. They’ve got a party that SPC likes but is now utterly unelectable.

    Vote: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  121. Steve (North Shore) (4,500 comments) says:

    KIA, That internal fight continues today with different players.
    They are power/money crazy

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  122. Yoza (1,552 comments) says:

    Komata (965 comments) says:
    April 18th, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Yoza

    Thank you for your honesty. I am however curious as to why, as the Mana party is cosying-up to ‘big business’ in the form of Herr. Dotcom, and is effectively a place where displaced radicals lurk, and where dissention within the party reigns?

    We are told that Hone perceives Mana as a ‘Maori only ‘ party, created to bring ‘Brown Power’ to New Zealand, to the exclusion of all other ethnicities, while Bradford, Minto et al view it as a vehicle by which socialist change of the extreme left-sort can be implemented. As Hone’s policies must inevitably result in the ‘removal’ of all ‘non brown’s’, within the party (in the unlikely event that it becomes the ‘party in charge’ of the whole country), this must cause tensions within the party and lead to its fragmentation.

    No doubt you have gone into the matter in considerable depth, but, in light of what I have just noted (dissension etc), won’t your vote be a ‘wasted’ vote; one that could be more gainfully employed elsewhere?

    Thanks.

    Hone’s political grounding is in Nga Puhi activism, questioning the authority of the dominant culture isn’t necessarily anti-white. He makes it clear that Mana needs to be an inclusive party that isn’t used as a vehicle to attend to Maori only interests, at the same time he needs to consider his electorate which is a Maori seat. Most of those I’ve spoken with in the Mana movement understand the necessity to accept a significant Maori influence as Maori make up a disproportionately large segment of those in the lower socioeconomic tiers. As a political group Mana, more than the Greens, takes great pains to include anyone in discussions in the meetings they organise.

    There is, however, a tendency among groups affiliated with Mana to attempt to support then take over other activist networks and turn those ‘single issue protest movements’ into conduits through which fresh members are funneled toward the more authoritarian socialist groups. The practice is waning among activist networks as horizontal decision making processes are far more popular and inclusive than the traditional vertical model favoured by the authoritarians.

    As for Kim Dotcom, I honestly don’t give him much thought. The internet has already become a dominant social instrument for disseminating ideas, all political movements are ‘Internet Parties’ nowadays.

    Wasted vote? I don’t think so. I’m on the Maori roll and vote in the Te Tai Tonga electorate rather than Rongotai so I’ll probably vote for the Mana candidate there. I’m not voting for the National proxy and I can’t stomach voting for Labour again.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  123. SPC (5,397 comments) says:

    kiwi in America, it is not the job of the leader of the Labour Party to kept the left in line with a centrist policy line, that is just the profile that the right would want for the person. Thus National moves government programme to the right and National lite alternative keeps the seat warm for the next drift right.

    The idea that a caucus can railroad the party they represent is misuse of office.

    I prefer a political party to represent its members and for that to be in accord with the same democratic practice that applies in the public sphere.

    I did vote for Labour, once back in 1999, but have never been a party member.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  124. ShawnLH (3,514 comments) says:

    Of all the Righties on this blog I’m easily the most sympathetic to Maori issues, but I agree that Hone’s rhetoric is racist. And that’s without bringing up his families attitude to Jews. Hone is just the mirror image of some of the anti-Maori race baiter’s on KB.

    Mana is filled with extremist nutters, terrorist supporters, and people who think Cuba is a model society.

    Voting for Mana is not a vote for the poor. It’s a vote for dangerous extremism and poverty for all.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  125. Komata (1,113 comments) says:

    KIA:

    Thank you for the reply. I suspected as much, but wasn’t aware of the ‘job for life’ aspect. Much appreciated. As she is extremely ambitious, in your opinion, will Clark ever become UNSG; and will she loosen her grip on the NZLP?

    Yoza:

    Thank you too. Again, much appreciated. IMHO, sentence one, Para 2. is significant, as Bradford et al. did exactly that with the greens. Can you be sure that it won’t happen again, or that mana won’t become the ‘Harawira’ party because of ‘family’ interference?

    Again, gentlemen, Thank you .

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  126. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    Mana is extremely unlikely to ever wield any political influence, but it’s nice to have an outlet for their supporters’ opinions.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  127. tom hunter (4,435 comments) says:

    Tom Jackson (2,235 comments) says:
    April 18th, 2014 at 11:27 am

    It’s a shallow analysis, typical of New Zealand pseudo intellectualism.

    There’s plenty of electronic space here for you to deposit your non-pseudo intellectual analysis.

    Something deeper than Russell Brand snark would be good.

    Chop, chop!

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  128. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    tom vs Tom, good show. Kiwiblog is not exactly a stronghold of the intellectuals.
    Any comment on KIA’s analysis tom?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 14 You need to be logged in to vote
  129. mandk (824 comments) says:

    “That’s not caring for the poor. It’s putting a failed ideology ahead of real answers for the poor.”

    Absolutely correct, ShawnLH.

    It’s why I argue that socialism is cruel to people on Struggle Street.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  130. Colville (2,085 comments) says:

    Mana. Will be interesting to see how three or four hundred million of our taxpayer dollars change the political landscape in the far north when nga puhi get paid out. That is a lot of feed for a lot of snouts in a lot of troughs. Some serious players will be up there shaking and moving.

    Hulun is 64. Is she young enough to wait around for Sec Gen ? I doubt it. Next cab off the rank will not be asia pacific, so 8 years from ’15 is ’23. Hulun would be 73 ish. Nope.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  131. duggledog (1,362 comments) says:

    Kiwi In America –

    What a fantastic post, and an excellent consolidation of what happened and where Labour is at today. It fills in a few blanks and gives a great timeline. Thanks for taking the time to do it, off your own bat.

    I’ve copied it and pasted it so I can keep it for my kids to read when they are old enough and interested enough – so not for a few years!

    As an aside, I think there is something else.

    Helen Clark (who I have worked with a wee bit, won’t say how) is the consummate politician and as such she got to the top her way. However, being a politician beset on all sides by poisonous snakes and impossible situations as you have you have described, can often turn one into a very unattractive, suspicious, hardened person and I thought it showed.

    Who would a five year old run towards – John Key or Helen Clark?

    Part of the reason Key has been so successful is that he comes from a completely different world – a world where you can lead by your own example; a world where success is rewarded with large amounts of money and loyalty. In Helen Clark’s world success was sometimes rewarded with hatred and dismissal.

    Key comes from a world where he had already made it to the top. He’s just a winner, and kiwis love a winner that got there by their own merits, not through contacts and manouevering.

    Anyway – to Labour’s predicament; as I’ve said before on this blog, National have swallowed up a big chunk of their constituency and taken people with them – just like Tony Blair did for UK Labour. No difference. Labour are on a beach of their own making and the tide’s coming in.

    The only thing that would unsettle National is if Labour outflanked them on the right, which they could do as National haven’t really changed anything and borrowed a f***load of money that’s gotta be paid back.

    Crime continues to be a major problem as are DPB mums and bludgers, border security is still porous, leaky buildings are still leaky, councils are still in hock and not changing anytime soon, National Radio is still infested with communists, ACC is still a rort, taxes are way too high, recidivist drunk drivers still drive, Maori elites are still taking the absolute piss, the education sector is still out of control, sentences are still pathetic and the Parole Board continues to make horrific mistakes.

    There is plenty PLENTY of room for Labour – right there in heartland New Zealand where people are getting increasingly f***ed off and impatient. They know they live in what could be an extremely wealthy little country, but as we all know, Labour have hamstrung themselves now.

    I think Harriet could be right. Maybe the counter culture is The Conservative Party. This election is going to be a blinder!

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  132. Positan (383 comments) says:

    A fascinatingly accurate exposé that will never be understood, let alone appreciated, by Labour’s silly loyalists. Clark’s contrivances and actions were apparent for so long prior to her being booted-out, but none of the weasel pack she structured had the balls to question her or challenge what she was doing. Outside Labour, the iron control of Labour Clark exercised through her guard-dog, Heather Simpson, was legendary – and laughed at.

    Clark killed Labour. Anyone unable to recognise that simple fact shouldn’t be entitled to a vote.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  133. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (789 comments) says:

    “Labour’s progressive policies will lift their poll rating and there is no doubt, Labour will win 2014 election” – Chief of Staff Matt the Tax McCarthen and Deputy Manning.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  134. SPC (5,397 comments) says:

    Is not the central premise of this analysis that Clark was a centrist who kept the left in line, but that the means (control) for doing this was bad for the party, because it would have been better if the party was made of centrists (who lauded their Rogernomics heritage rather than put up with it) rather than left wingers?

    One could argue that Key keeps the right wing members of the National Party in line by being indispensably popular, and thus his WFF/interest free loans Labour lite and no increase in super age is holy writ. But it would have been better if this was mainstream thinking in a more centrist National party, as given it is not there might be infighting over these policies when he goes?

    After all, the Holyoake era and the slower pace of reform 1960-1972, demonstrates that this moderation is what ensures longevity in office.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  135. ShawnLH (3,514 comments) says:

    “Kiwiblog is not exactly a stronghold of the intellectuals.”

    Exhibit number one: The Flying Spaghetti Monster fallacy.

    People in glass houses……

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  136. wat dabney (3,672 comments) says:

    ShawnLH doesn’t know what a fallacy is.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  137. Nostalgia-NZ (4,914 comments) says:

    SPC is probably right. There is no guarantee that the next Nats leader does not already have a plan to go further right from the middle. or that the party is not ‘suppressed’ to a tight discipline in the way KIA describes as happening during Clark’s time as leader of Labour. In many ways JK has ‘copied’ popular formulas for success, listening and being down to earth – who emerges from the Nats as having the same qualities? Interesting stuff, but merely politics after all rather than the discovery of the golden fleece.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  138. jcuk (586 comments) says:

    I did not know what a fallacy is either so I checked my dictionary ….
    incorrect, misleading or argument opinion
    flaw in logic
    illusion

    But what is a flying spagetti monster?

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  139. nasska (10,689 comments) says:

    jcuk

    Ref: https://www.dropbox.com/s/x6c9girxu6h24w6/Pastafarian%202.JPG

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  140. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    SPC
    The problem for Labour is Clark is gone and her careful balancing act went with her. Key doesn’t need to exert as much direct control on National, its caucus, selection process and policy formation as Clark did with Labour because it draws its membership from a broader cross section of NZ. Yes National has its factions and Key’s popularity keeps their interrelationships more smoothly flowing but when Key leaves, there will not be the same collapse of cohesion as Labour has had with Clark’s departure.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  141. SPC (5,397 comments) says:

    … when someone gets drunk after eating spaghetti or eats spaghetti with unsafe to eat meat balls.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  142. SPC (5,397 comments) says:

    kiwi in America, yes the internal party situations are dissimilar, but the centre/wing policy one is common as is the difficult transition whenever a departing leader has embodied the means for political success.

    I still think the democratisation that Labour needs to go through, the bottom up renewal, is largely based on this being the ultimate means to digest the dead rat that a left wing party implementing adjustment to the global market involved. Not entirely though as adjusting a workers party from an era of high unionisation to a more public member one was always an issue in Labour regardless (and so this issue is relevant in the UK also).

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  143. Duxton (581 comments) says:

    Those Labour activists who believe that their problem is Key (and that, therefore, the problem will disappear when Key pulls stumps) are deluding themselves.

    Labour’s fundamental problem is its increasing irrelevancy to the voting public, as evidenced by their stagnation around the 30% mark, and the fact that their only hope of gaining power is for the Greens to make a good showing, without impacting too heavily on the Labour vote. While, in theory, this could be achieved by Labour taking additional votes off National’s left/centrist supporters, most of those would have gone to National in the first place because they don’t like or trust the Greens. In short, the days of two very close options, such as Marshall vs Kirk, are gone.

    As a life-long National voter and student of NZ politics, I’m actually watching the decline of Labour with despair. The overwhelming majority of NZ voters are centrist, which is why MMP elections were decided by about 10% of swing voters. NZ needs a strong and viable centre-left opposition, if only to keep the centre-right focussed and relevant. In that regard, it’s actually a good thing that John Key hasn’t gone overboard with a more extreme agenda.

    I suspect that Kirk, Lange and Moore (for all their faults) would share my despair.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  144. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    SPC
    The democratization of Labour – it sounds so lofty and worthy. But what use is it if the democracy is limited to the 20% of the population that its activist base currently represents. Its all of the problems the post points to. Said activists get to stare at each other’s navels and congratulate themselves in their left wing echo chamber all the while staying out of power because they don’t represent middle NZ.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  145. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    Both National and Labour at their cores represent fairly narrow sections of the population and need to project a broader appeal than they might prefer in order to attain power and hold on to it. No one doubts that John Key would prefer to implement a Don Brash style agenda, but he knows he could never get public support for such. So instead of forfeiting power he fiddles around the edges for a few years.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 7 You need to be logged in to vote
  146. SPC (5,397 comments) says:

    kiwi in America, but the activist base of National and Labour is the same, of a right or left wing minority, not of the many in the centre.

    The only parties with a centrist activist base would be United or NZ First.

    There are not simply not that many centrists who have the motivation to be party activists. Thus centrist parties tend to be small parties dominated by a few, thus creatures of their leaders.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  147. Thompson Lewis (1 comment) says:

    Perhaps its not the messenger its the message. Shearer, Cunliffe and Shane Jones are all quite good I think – miles better than say Helen Clark or Muldoon who were unpleasant bossy people.

    Labour should represent those people like the underdog, the trier who has not quite got there – the people for whom things have not quite worked out liked they planned. The Lange/Douglas Govt did this – freeing up things and getting rid of privilege and making stuff cheaper. Suddenly people could afford cheap cars and clothes and stuff. It was nice.

    But the current Labour message is we will control your life more – as we know best. An example is 200 more super accurate speed cameras National are giving us. And town planning building laws so you can only build a house where we will tell you and the way we tell you. So you get a $200 speeding ticket and cant afford to pay for it as your rent or mortgage is too dear.

    Labour needs to go in to bat for these people – unwinding cartels like the building supply trade – and lawyers and dentists and chemists etc. And supermarkets. And milk. What about Trade me as a monopoly pricer? And make the return on Pokies and lotto and sky city 99% , and half ciggie prices, Hit the big greedies and free up the rules and regulations for people who just need a break.

    And take GST off KFC!

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5 You need to be logged in to vote
  148. CharlieBrown (910 comments) says:

    “Right leaning reforms were gradual”

    I’m still waiting for them. Key has done SFA as far as reforms go. What he has done is rode into power based on the unpopularity of a 3rd term labour government then made nothing but trivial changes in two terms. He has left the socialist institution that Conrad Clarke implemented in tact, and even added to it in some cases. This is why Labour are doing so bad, the center\center left vote have really had no reason to vote labour as National are filling in that gap real well.

    John Key will end up as nothing more than a footnote in history. He hasn’t got any of the characteristics of an inspiring leader and he will go down as having made no substantial contribution. He is an appeaser to the worst of socialism in NZ. Maybe a more enlightened future generation of New Zealanders will realize that John Key frittered away the biggest reserves of political capital any leader in NZ has ever had and in the end achieved nothing more than a line in history books that says “Prime minister from 2008 to 2017″.

    He had the opportunity to remove race based electoral seats in NZ as is national’s policy, he had the chance to open up the state monopoly of ACC to competition, he had the chance to sell off asset liabilities we don’t need, he had the chance to reform employment law, he had the chance to reduce welfare dependency, he had the chance to simplify a poorly designed tax system. There was so much that National opposed in opposition and since John Key became leader there has been next to no reversal of the poor laws labour made.

    My beef with John Key is he has shifted the bar of politics in NZ to the left by accepting Clarks policies as the norm. This is his real legacy.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  149. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    SPC and Mikenmild
    If National’s base was as far to the right as Labour’s is to the left (as you allege) then National would be nominating extreme candidates and proposing harder right policies. Neither of these are happening. National’s base was always broader than Labour’s even in the days of mass party membership – in Labour’s membership heyday National still had 2 – 3 times the number of paid up party members. Furthermore National’s candidate selection process is more democratic and locally dominated ensuring that electorate candidates are closer to heartland middle NZ values. Key’s job as a mild centre right leader is much easier to execute inside National because he has the majority of the party activists within cooee of him ideologically. Yes there are hard right members in National and in some of the more conservative parts of the country, more conservative candidates make it to slesction in winnable seats but these are vey much the exception. The percentage of candidates that National has that stray markedly from the hypothetical political centre of NZ politics is infinitely smaller than the same percentage of Labour candidates whose ideological leanings stray markedly from the same centre.

    National’s strong capture of the centre ground leaves ample room for parties further to the right (ACT and Conservatives) to carve out a safe niche where competition for votes with National is less intense. Labour however is trying to build itself back to being the major dominant opposition (and then governing) party but has chosen to contest its ideological battle not in the centre but on the left and there it faces intense competition for its vote from the Greens, Mana and, to a lesser extent, the Maori Party. That’s why the centre left block has barely moved in terms of taking votes off the centre right block becaue all Cunliffe’s ‘red Labour’ appeals have done is rearrange the CL vote.

    Peters at this stage does still possess the ability to be the king maker if NZ1st polling continues at current levels to September. Unless the Nats do a deal in say East Coast Bay’s to allow Colin Craig in, the chances of Key forming a governing coalition without the support of NZ1st would be tricky barring a further decline in the CL block.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  150. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    My beef with John Key is he has shifted the bar of politics in NZ to the left by accepting Clarks policies as the norm. This is his real legacy.

    No, he has entrenched new Zealand in the pragmatic centre. That’s where most votes are because that’s about where most people are.

    People on the political extremes are amongst the most vocal but in 21st century political society in New Zealand most people are conservatively moderate. That won’t be changed by flailing and wailing from the sidelines.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  151. hj (6,374 comments) says:

    Great post KIA (sort of).
    Truth is they all knock out the oppositio:
    Academia – Spoonley v Clydesdale
    Journalim- Savings Working Group, Tresury v “independant” NZIER
    Te Greens- (what’s her name wot hung David Hay updise down, “green Catherine, Keith, (and other unmentionables)
    and they all unite against NZ First as all are comitted to mas migration.
    Things might be tough for working people, but LOOK what we’ve given you: DIVERSITY!

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  152. hj (6,374 comments) says:

    KIA needs to tell about sophisticated spin. What’s that media monitoring software? What do PR firms DO?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  153. hj (6,374 comments) says:

    KIA ignores CONTEXT. We are in a different era since the 1980′s; we now “embrace” globalisation. National’s constituency benefit through property values and Labour through (it wishes) “new kiwis”.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  154. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    Big bruv
    Sorry for missing your question – Clark was gutted to be beaten to the 1st female PM title by Shipley but some of the pain of that was taken off by her beating Shipley and winning 3 terms.

    Komata
    There is a chance Clark could be UNSG although probably not for some years as the position tends to rotate around regions. Clark will be spending a good chunk of her time in her current UN role learning the internal politics of the UN and slowly lining up her support globally. From that stint she would hope that by then NZ will be a republic and so the likely unelected President’s job would be her preferred swan song as mikenmild suggested. Whilst I’m neutral on the subject of NZ becoming a Republic, it’s hard to know how far away that step would be for NZ. Whatever happens one thing is sure – Clark continues to have burning ambitions for powerful jobs but I don’t see coming back as an MP then Labour Party leader as very likely notwithstanding Labour’s travails.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  155. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    Peter George
    Totally agree – I’m one who wished that Key used his political capital to push a little harder with reform (eg the RMA and welfare entitlement) but MMP makes such activism very difficult to implement because the political battle is fought on such a narrow vote front. Your quote from Ad at The Standard was that he/she assumed I don’t understand MMP politics – I disagree. MMP explains much of Key’s tactics and Labour’s current difficulties. If we had FPP, Key would’ve finished Labour off and the Greens, Mana, NZ1st and the MP would be picking over its bones.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  156. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    KIA – yes, I agree, understanding MMP was one of Clark’s strengths and is one of Key’s strengths.

    And misunderstanding MMP and modern voters (and non-voters) are some of Labour’s biggest weaknesses. They are left relying on Greens or NZ First (possibly both), and relying on the most unreliable of voters.

    Labour’s (and the left’s) other big weakness is apparent in predictable reactions to your essay at The Standard and to me quoting it there, as I have just commented there:

    That others (mostly the same old) chose to ignore the message and attack the messengers is a symptom of some of Labour’s and the Left’s biggest problems – naturally negative politics and knee-jerk denial. How much of that is ingrained old school habits and how much is diverting from the current reality?

    Regardless of the outcome of this year’s election New Zealand needs stronger and better parties across the political spectrum. That many of those who have an interest in politics are willfully blind and deliberately destructive, within parties and across political forums, is not a good sign for our future.

    Pettiness and pissing on any perceived opponent are a pox on our politics.

    Most people don’t vote for the nastiest and most negative numpties. The way things are heading it won’t be long before most people don’t vote.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  157. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    The Labour movement is controlled by rainbow types, a majority of the party. Kiwis en masse, as a majority, have a detestation of these weirdos. End of argument!

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  158. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    PG
    The toxicity of the dialogue inside the left took me a while to put in some kind of context. During my time in Labour the Nats were seen as bitter implacable ideological foes with nefarious intent hell bent on exploiting the poor to enrich the well off yada yada – you know the routine. After moving to the right side of the fence, I noticed that more politicians on the right approached the task of political combat as more of a professional engagement where older fashioned rules of engagement were adhered to – play the ball not the man – debate the issues and less bitter personal attacks. Fewer on the right seem to have the stomach for endless nastiness and truth distorting tactics. Since making this journey, the vitriol that passes for comment on left dominated blogs here in NZ and the US has to be seen to be believed. I have not gone to The Standard to see commentary on the essay but I’m sure it will be ugly and knee jerk reactionary and I commend you for doing this dirty work!

    Last night at a party I had a long discussion with a Labour activist mate. He’s a reasonable chap and we had a great discussion but the level of denial is palpable. Notwithstanding their favourite Roy Morgan poll showing a dire result for Labour, they remain convinced that Cunliffe will land the king hit with …… his policy rollouts. When I went through the litany of cocks ups, panning of policy provisions and essentially unworkability of their housing and power policies it was really interesting to see the scales of denial fall slowly over his eyes. The unvarnished truth just can’t be absorbed. It was like shooting fish in a barrel and I changed the subject to preserve his dignity. But this man has a PhD (in Pol Sci no less) and a senior activist in his electorate and yet even he can’t connect the historical dots.

    Vote: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  159. flipper (3,588 comments) says:

    Some 4O odd years ago Stuart Alsop write a telling analysis of American politics – The Real Majority .

    Alsop opined that “he who controls the centre wins”.

    He was right, J Key (plus W English, Joyce et al) is right,. and KiA has nailed it far better than the “poncey left wing cracdemics” like Edwards et al. Only Claire Robinson shows some sense.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  160. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    I sense that at The Standard they sense the looming hopelessness of their predicament but instead of confronting their own failings the resort to lashing out in frustration.

    Rather than admit they have a major problem they transfer and try to make the problem someone else’s, anyone else’s.

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  161. Komata (1,113 comments) says:

    KIA

    Many thanks for the reply. Clark as President! A very scary thought, especially as she could never be politically-neutral or ‘above politics’.

    With labour ‘withering on the vine’ through its own actions, what do you see as its future? Slow extinction (strangulation?) and its replacement by the greens (a very scary scenario, but not unlikely) or a ‘shattering’ after the 2014 election as disillusionment sets in and the infighting reaches a crescendo and blaming becomes universal?

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  162. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    Is there any chance of a new Labour Central party emerging from the ruins? That would leave the old remnants in old Labour as a sideline party.

    If nothing new emerges then it’s possible Greens will move into the void if enough of them realise they are better having power on the more moderate side of their policy mix.

    Greens have outperformed Labour significantly this term, and they may well be out manouvering them.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  163. kiwi in america (2,438 comments) says:

    Komata and PG
    it’s too early to tell what the future holds for Labour. They will be shell shocked by the latest Roy Morgan poll as they cling to that as their favourite poll and it proves their tactic of targeting Collins over Oravida has failed. Cunliffe has been trying to front foot more and has made few pratfalls and so their strategists would see this last 3 weeks as an essential rebuilding period for Cunliffe after his disastrous start.

    What happens depends on a number of factors. If 2014 is close then they will stay largely unchanged hoping the electorate will tire of National in 2017. A result close to 2011 will be too bad to ignore. However bear in mind that the core of Labour is solidly left wing and there remains virtually no faction in the wider party that supports a centrist direction – as explained in the post, almost all of these have left the party. Labour will remain but likely a harder left rump still fighting it out with the Greens. The vote split between the Greens and Labour will also have a bearing. If Labour get 35 and Greens below 10 then that’s not far off Clark’s lower levels – a result like that will cement the status quo in Labour but a 26/15 split would cement the Greens as the rising party of the left. Under that scenario Shane Jones may jump ship and form a centrist party. Remember that 2014 likely will be Peters last hurrah – by 2017 he’ll be nudging his mid 70s and he’s made zero provision for succession so Jones maybe able to capture some of NZ1st centrist voters and then become the new king maker.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  164. Komata (1,113 comments) says:

    KIA

    Thanks for your reply and analysis. In your opinion, and with the gweens being seen as being more extremely left than labour, after the 2014 election loss, will NZLP opportunists jump ship’ and realign themselves with the gween party ; crippling (or at least damaging) the NZLP?

    Should that happen it would seem to present the gweens with the problem of having to cope with ‘real’ extremists / activists , who are not afraid to use their knowledge for their own political purposes, with the consequence that Wussell would, I suspect, discover that he is out of his depth…

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  165. thor42 (922 comments) says:

    @kiwi in america – “If we had FPP, Key would’ve finished Labour off and the Greens, Mana, NZ1st and the MP would be picking over its bones.”

    Agreed. FPP makes it much easier to do what needs to be done. I *strongly* believe that there should be a question added to the voting paper every election – “Do you support the MMP electoral system?” That would give voters the power to ditch it.

    Vote: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  166. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    To maximise their success, the Greens and Labour need to stick to their core constituencies and avoid competing with each other for votes. The Greens need to concentrate on their environmental credentials, whereas Labour needs to project the concern for the disadvantaged generally. The area for Labour to win votes lies towards the centre, and the direct competition with National.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  167. Komata (1,113 comments) says:

    mm

    Re: ‘Labour needs to project the concern for the disadvantaged generally’

    Without getting into a ‘deep philosophical argument’, the problem is that, largely, the ‘disadvantaged’ actually aren’t. Many have the ‘essential’ creature comforts that are common to the average kiwi and i they are ‘disadvantaged’ this is frequently the result of their own actions, and decisions they have personally made.

    Vote: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  168. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    thor42
    Did you miss that section of the ballot paper in 2011?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  169. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    Komata
    I guess I would go with ‘relatively disadvantaged’.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  170. CharlieBrown (910 comments) says:

    Pete George – you are an example of John Key’s legacy and prove my point. He has moved the norm to be center left and you thinking it is the centrist norm is a perfect example.

    I would hardly call the Bolger/Birch years extremely right wing but your comment suggest you think they were.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  171. CharlieBrown (910 comments) says:

    Labours biggest issue is NZ has always had a center left and a center right party, and at the moment National are carrying the center left flag and Clark ensured that Labour will never carry the center right flag ever again so they are trying to make headway into a crowded market.

    Vote: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  172. Viking2 (11,147 comments) says:

    One of the big factors about where National go is opinion polls and focus groups. (plenty for our intrepid traveler to do). :lol:

    National use these to sound out where they can go and that is determined by public mood.

    It doesn’t necessarily reflect what we want done but it’s employed so voters don’t run away.

    Its interesting that they only really hard decision they have continued was the sale of assets. They fudged and back tracked and used all sorts of guises to get that done. I reckon that if Ryall had not pushed them thru Key and English would have appeased as they did with smacking and 3 strikes.

    Paula Bennett is to be praised for sticking to her guns. here is an interesting comment on the results.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11240648
    Actually it is also hard core Labour Policy if you go way back. funny that.

    Unfortunately for us the voters Key has decimated the right wing of national and replaced them with sooks.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  173. wat dabney (3,672 comments) says:

    The Greens need to concentrate on their environmental credentials, whereas Labour needs to project the concern for the disadvantaged generally.

    The problem is that the Green Party is far more about fascism than it is about the environment. We’re all environmentalists these days, so on that front they are completely irrelevent.

    As for Labour, their problem is that the party exists largely just to line the pockets of a few special-interest groups at the expense of the rest of us workers. It is a corrupt cartel merely spouting class-rhetoric.

    A free market is by far the best cure for poverty. And the best thing that could be done to improve the chances of poorer children is a school voucher system to really improve their educational prospects.

    Labour’s problem is that a free market doesn’t offer them the power of patronage they rely on to buy votes, and a school voucher system would mean a group of their core supporters – state-sector teachers – not being able to obtain above-market pay and conditions.

    So all Labour can do is propose ideas which substantially worsen the prospects of the lower-paid and their children, all the time lying through their corrupt faces that it is for our own good.

    The job of any Labour leader is to piss down our back and tell us it’s raining.

    Vote: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  174. mikenmild (10,766 comments) says:

    ‘Green fascism’, ‘corrupt cartels’, ‘education vouchers’. Cute buzzwords, but divorced from reality. You will never see education vouchers here. Both parties know full well that we have an excellent education system overall: why dismantle it in the name of a theory?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 6 You need to be logged in to vote
  175. Pete George (22,866 comments) says:

    I would hardly call the Bolger/Birch years extremely right wing but your comment suggest you think they were.

    I don’t think that. After the major Rogernomic re-adjustment our Governments have managed mostly if not entirely within 20% of either side of centre, and both Labour and National have been pragmatic across that range. That’s modern political reality.

    I don’t think it would be much different if we still had FPP. Government parties still have to get votes to do repeat terms.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 You need to be logged in to vote
  176. wat dabney (3,672 comments) says:

    Unfortunately, when you look beyond the lies and rhetoric, “green” fascism and corrupt cartels are precise descriptions of the Greens and Labour.

    Labour is a vehicle which exists purely to serve the politically organised and connected. State-sector labour cartels are no different from any other cartel. Being plundered by them is no different for us workers from being plundered by corporations which conspire to create monopoly pricing power (actually that’s not correct: the effects of the teachers’ monopoly are far, far more detrimental than colluding corporations pushing up their prices.)

    As for vouchers, it’s fine for wealthier families able to pay the huge premium for houses in the good school zones. The main beneficiaries of vouchers are the children from poorer families, suddenly able to attend a private school.
    Why should poor children be denied what would be their very best opportunity for advancement, simply because teachers have organised themselves politically to create a self-serving monopoly?

    Labour’s deputy leader under fire for sending son to Glasgow private school
    ‘Anas Sarwar, who has often spoken about his commitment to social justice, is not using state primaries and has opted for Glasgow’s £8234-a-year Hutchesons’ Grammar.’
    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/labours-deputy-leader-under-fire-for-sending-son-to-glasgow-private-school.23269520

    ‘Do what I say, don’t do what I do’ – The hypocrisy of the Left over education”
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2178770/Do-I-say-dont-I–The-hypocrisy-Left-education.html

    Vote: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  177. CharlieBrown (910 comments) says:

    Pete you are correct on the 20% either side, but labour is now 60% left of center whereas John Key took off from where Helen Clark left us where we were @ 20% left of center and has largely remained there. That is the issue we have and when National inevitably gets voted out and a quite extreme left government on our hands we can blame that on John Key.

    Viking nailed it with his focus group comment, the National party under john Key are concerned on staying in power, not on some underlying party philosophy. People don’t like change in policies, they just grow weary of old faces and want somebody new, so inevitably the focus groups will show that. A great leader would be concerned about making the country a better place, but sadly John Key is more concerned about being in the PM’s seat. He doesn’t even have the parties future as a concern which is visible by his desire to do four terms rather than find a successor to him before the country gets weary of him. From the outside looking in, he has all the traits of extreme narcissism.

    Roger Douglas did more in one term than John Key will do in 100 terms. Hell – even Helen Clark did ten times more than Key.

    Vote: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  178. johnwellingtonwells (121 comments) says:

    The problem with Rogernomics is that Douglas had failed Spreadsheet 101. He developed an accounting-type spreadsheet that demonstrated that his accounting analysis was correct in theory. What Douglas did not understand is the modelling application of spreadsheets. He did not build related spreadsheets that would demonstrate the application of his spreadsheet to other sectors of the economy, in particular small business and employment. It was not helped by Lange being financially and economically illiterate. In concept, there were a lot of benefits to be gained from Rogernomics but the effect of its application needed considerable more work before it was inflicted on the unsuspecting public, who were given no time to react.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 3 You need to be logged in to vote
  179. seanmaitland (455 comments) says:

    @CharlieBrown – the income and company tax cuts National implemented were far to the right of anything that Labour would’ve considered.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  180. CharlieBrown (910 comments) says:

    sean – it was a tax reshuffle… hardly right wing.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  181. lolitasbrother (486 comments) says:

    That was one big post Kiwi in America and we thank you for it

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  182. Monty (964 comments) says:

    I have read the article a couple of times. Also I have read through all the comments, both here and at the standard.

    The article gives a very good background and fills in a lot of gaps that I have often wondered about. It also confirms exactly what I have often thought, in that Clark built the Labour Party in her own image and that her legacy was to leave it without a future.

    Vote: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.