Labour’s campaign launch

August 9th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

An unidentified columnist at Stuff writes:

Has miscalculated?

Its campaign launch tomorrow will have all the glamour of any event held at Auckland’s waterfront on the viaduct. That decision was no doubt deliberate.

If ever there was an occasion when Labour needed to put on its game face it’s the campaign launch, when it needs to convince the punters it is still in the game.

A party atmosphere can hardly hurt.

But National has stolen a march on Labour by launching its own campaign in two weeks from Manukau in the heart of South Auckland, traditional Labour territory.

Given that this is where Labour has placed much of its focus on turning out several hundred thousand voters who went awol in 2011, the challenge thrown down by National is clear.

Don’t just assume those voters will all go your way, is the inference that can be drawn from National’s deliberate march into Labour’s heartland.

It is a very ballsy move by National.

Since his earliest days as prime minister, Key has harboured a dream of extending National’s support into heartland Labour areas like South Auckland, particularly among the more conservative Pacific Island communities turned off Helen Clark’s government by its anti-smacking stance.

That is part of National’s wider strategy of being a party with appeal to a broad spectrum of voters by reaching out to non-traditional constituencies.

The May budget, with its extension to paid parental leave and free doctors’ visits showed National is not squeamish about cribbing policy from opponents to further this goal.

Labour has been slow to wake up to National’s game plan.

Even Key’s comments about targeting future tax cuts at low to middle income earners show the extent to which National remains focused on the strategy.

I want tax cuts, and I am very happy if they are targeted at low to middle income earners. a reduction in the bottom tax rate means all taxpayers get a tax cut.

For years, Labour successfully papered over the divisions between its left and right factions, thanks largely to the iron-clad control of Helen Clark.

But the last few years have seen it re-erupt to the extent that both sides seem hell-bent on giving the impression they might even relish the prospect of a loss on September 20 so they can blame the other for engineering it.

The party’s left faction are already talking up a caucus purge and de-selection after the election.

Excellent. Purges are always a great idea.

This is also a fight over whether David Cunliffe should stay on and lead the party in the event of defeat.

Those who believe he must stay are ranged against those in the caucus who they see as wanting to use defeat as an opportunity to roll Cunliffe.

Cunliffe’s office doesn’t even bother to hide the divisions between the caucus and the wider grassroots. One senior adviser called recently to take issue with a statement that the grassroots had grown increasingly distant from the party. Their complaint was not that it was untrue, but that it was the other way round – the caucus had grown distant from the grassroots.

Think about that statement. A senior staff member in the Labour Leader’s office called a journalist, to slag off the caucus. And if they win, these guys will be running the country.

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27 Responses to “Labour’s campaign launch”

  1. berend (1,708 comments) says:

    DPF: I want tax cuts, and I am very happy if they are targeted at low to middle income earners. a reduction in the bottom tax rate means all taxpayers get a tax cut.

    No, it means that even less people pay taxes in this country. Having the 10% pay 95% of the taxes in a country is not sustainable.

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  2. bringbackdemocracy (427 comments) says:

    Everyone pays tax. It’s called GST

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  3. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (888 comments) says:

    DPF – While I share your enthusiasm of National launching its campaign from Labour territory, there is a downside to it.

    The haters and wreckers of this country aka Minty Minto and his rent a mob along with Laila “Mother who sold her soul to the devil for $3M” Harre and Horny Hone’s crazy scums could stage protests outside the venue. Then resident communist evils like Corrin “Vote Labour” Dann, Paddy “Cunliffe is God” Gower, and John “Kim Dotcom is my daddy” Campbell will only focus on this crowd outside the venue and completely ignore National’s launch. Mark my words and watch what happens.

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  4. Lindsay (148 comments) says:

    The writer is Tracy Watkins. In the hard copy.

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  5. Reid (16,442 comments) says:

    Let’s hope Liarbore have engaged Weta Digital to do some CGI crowd-generation.

    They’re going to need it.

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  6. Than (473 comments) says:

    @Sir Cullen’s Sidekick – You’re right that’s what will happen, but it would happen no matter where in Auckland National had their launch. The usual suspects would make a day trip to set up in front of whatever venue and make themselves as noisy and disruptive as possible.

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  7. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    A very ballsy move by the Nats, kicking things off in Manukau.

    This is the kind of approach that they need in their policies too. A lot more steel is needed to stop beneficiaries from having more babies while on a benefit. Most of Paula Bennett’s policies have worked but that area is one that they have *not*.

    I can guarantee you that the general public will be widely supportive of a “if you breed them, you feed them” policy.

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  8. s.russell (1,641 comments) says:

    I do not think the sight of Dotcom, Minto, Harawira et al chanting hate slogans outside the National Party launch will do National any harm. Besides, they would do this wherever the launch were held, and the usual suspects in the media will find something negative to say regardless of any reality.

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  9. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    Slightly OT. Even if Cunliffe & co get in he will be fighting day one — firstly with the other Labour factions and it looks like the Greens will want “more than their fair share”

    https://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/-/top-stories/24672559/greens-want-comprehensive-coalition-deal/

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  10. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    “I want tax cuts, and I am very happy if they are targeted at low to middle income earners. a reduction in the bottom tax rate means all taxpayers get a tax cut.”

    that would be fine if there wasnt welfare for families, accom supplements etc

    we need more net tax payers.

    how much of a tax break can Dime really get if its aimed at low earners? $1500 a year or so? yay. while i continue to pay 33% on the 150k over that level. o for fucking awesome

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  11. Reid (16,442 comments) says:

    I do not think the sight of Dotcom, Minto, Harawira et al chanting hate slogans outside the National Party launch will do National any harm.

    No, to the contrary. The more the public get exposed to the IMP the better because while its obvious they’re going to get lots of young people voting for them, those same young people won’t be voting for the Gweens or Liarbore, so it’s a zero-sum game as far as conservatives are concerned. Meanwhile, those people with any brains at all treat the IMP as a complete anathema and many of them won’t be voting Liarbore either, instead they’ll be switching from the left to the right and I would not be surprised to see the Maori Party gain a lot from that dynamic in respect of those Maori who would otherwise have voted for Mana.

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  12. deadrightkev (465 comments) says:

    “Excellent. Purges are always a great idea.”

    We need a purge on parties even more than politicians.

    It would be a great thing for NZ to have a change from the two progressive left leaning parties that produce the same meaningless lack of reform term after term. National produce benign leaders that love to rule and manage but don’t have a spine to stand up to the wet liberal left.

    Its time for a right leaning party to develop a strong leader and give NZ a massive shake up so we have some direction. Its long overdue.

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  13. ShawnLH (4,999 comments) says:

    From the very start Labour have failed to understand Key and his strategy, and as far as I can tell they still don’t get it. Good. Their ignorance is to National’s benefit.

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  14. hj (6,995 comments) says:

    The Lochinver farm sale to Chinese company Shanghai Pengxin may well be the first genuine curve ball of the campaign to be thrown at National.

    However despite the issue generating plenty of heat and air time for Labour and New Zealand First, it’s far from clear that it’s going to be some sort of game changer for the left.

    National certainly doesn’t seem to think so…and I don’t detect any real concern or panic emanating from the Beehive.

    National knows it’s probably on the wrong side of public opinion on this issue.

    However its strategists consider the farm sales issue to be similar to that of assets sales debate, unpopular with the public and even its own base, but not enough of a negative to make people switch their vote.

    It’s risky as the issue could snowball if more revelations come to light.

    However the Prime Minister was anticipating this debate and I wouldn’t expect any radical changes from him over the next few days to counter it.

    Treasury when it opens the books before the election in a couple of weeks is now likely to dampen down its forecasts around growth.

    In doing so it’ll thrust the issue of the economic management back into the spotlight, giving voters more reason to investigate what Labour and the Greens might do differently.

    Up until now there was a sense that with economic growth strong, Labour might struggle to get traction with its policy forms such as a capital gains tax .

    But now Labour has a message it can hammer that this is as good as it gets for the economy.

    However there are still some big pluses in National’s favour on the economy.

    Firstly it should still be able to deliver its much promised forecast surplus when the books are opened. That is a big plus in terms of its economic management credentials.

    Secondly while growth is most likely easing from 4 percent, it is still likely to be in a good range of 2.5 to 3 percent for the next few years.

    This is a sustainable range many economists would say is actually be a dream situation for New Zealand (especially with low inflation) and far better than big ups and downs.

    In addition, unemployment is falling and wages are (albeit modestly) growing.

    And as an added bonus for National…..the Reserve Bank too is also now much less likely to hike interest rates before the election as expected.

    http://tvnz.co.nz/national-news/corin-dann-not-panicking-over-farms-sales-and-economy-6049801
    So National will be pointing to the smoke coming out the chimneys.

    meanwhile Labour will still be suffering from bipolar disorder.
    http://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/2014/08/no-cookies-but-maybe-balance-of-power.html
    Chris Trotter talks about “Labour right”. Shouldn’t that be left of centre?

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  15. Steve Wrathall (284 comments) says:

    “The May budget, with its extension to paid parental leave and free doctors’ visits showed National is not…” at all committed to “…future tax cuts”
    Fixed that for them

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  16. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    …the more conservative Pacific Island communities turned off Helen Clark’s government by its anti-smacking stance.

    It is a worry for Labour. If these dumbasses are actually so moronic that they don’t know Key and his minions voted for Bradford’s anti-smacking bill and refused to act on a referendum demanding its repeal, they will make ideal Nat voters.

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  17. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    Everyone pays tax. It’s called GST

    We all know it, but Berend’s ideology requires him to pretend otherwise.

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  18. tom hunter (4,814 comments) says:

    …. the more conservative Pacific Island communities turned off Helen Clark’s government by its anti-smacking stance.

    I see Psycho has already raised this point (Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4) but I have wondered if anyone in the PI community will point out that National supported that stance; that it actually would not have passed had it not been for National.

    Since we’re talking the low and grubby art of politics let’s acknowledge – in those terms – the brilliant original gambit by Key which did the following things:
    – Showed the PM she needed him, which weakened her image as all-powerful and all-controlling.
    – Using a joint presser to show that and also, in one pure, simple visual effort, that he was a co-equal PM
    – Demonstrating the wonderful bi-partisanship that “centrists” go all gooey for, making them willing to risk voting National.
    – Toning down the public image of a hard-edged, ruthless Wall Street trader in cahoots with “the Far Right” of National.
    – Keeping their votes anyway because they had no choice.

    And now we see the final point of that strategy, since the last thing Labour, the Greens or the Maori party are going to want to talk about with this community is the smacking legislation; raising it even as a way to bash National is just a tactical no-no. So it’s checkmate – and Key knows it.

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  19. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    I think it’s grossly over simplistic to think that all Pacific voters care about is whether they can smack their children. Like all voters, they will respond to a range of issues. I think Colin Craig has locked up the fraction of a percentage point of voters for whom this issue is the b-all and end-all.

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  20. Psycho Milt (2,412 comments) says:

    …the brilliant original gambit by Key which did the following things:

    Yes, that looks like a pretty accurate assessment to me. Much as I dislike Key, this one was very well played by him, most likely in the face of stiff opposition from less clever people on his own team. It was also a just reward for Clark’s perfidy in whipping her MPs to vote for Bradford’s bill.

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  21. tom hunter (4,814 comments) says:

    It was also a just reward for Clark’s perfidy …

    I’d say also for Clark losing her grip: she pushed a narrow, extremist position that did nothing practical but appealed to ideologues and in doing so created a tailor-made situation for elevating the status and appeal of her primary political opponent.

    I don’t think the Helen Clark of 1999-2002 would have made such an incredible blunder, but that’s ThirdTermItis for you.

    Which raises the question of Mr Key and company in 2014-2017……

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  22. greenjacket (465 comments) says:

    “National’s wider strategy of being a party with appeal to a broad spectrum of voters by reaching out to non-traditional constituencies”
    Contrast that with Labour and the Greens who are trying their best to alienate middle NZ with policies like increasing taxes to pay for beneficiaries, extending “working” for families to people who don’t work, stopping building of roads, and playing political footsie with the bizarre Dotcom cult of racists and old communists.

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  23. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    “I see Psycho has already raised this point (Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4) but I have wondered if anyone in the PI community will point out that National supported that stance; that it actually would not have passed had it not been for National.”

    umm sorry?

    it was going through. helen had the numbers. key stepped up, got the thing watered down a touch and supported it.

    anti-smacking – driven by helen/greens
    gay marriage – driven by labour
    attack on a religious group – labour

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  24. jaba (2,141 comments) says:

    the Labour caucus is full of dead loss MPs .. the way forward for Labour is to promote Kelvin Davis and Nash .. oh well, that’s not going to happen in the short-term .. both heterosexual manly political center men .. don’t tick the Labour boxes

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  25. kiwigunner (230 comments) says:

    Not on its Education policy it hasn’t

    http://tvnz.co.nz/politics-news/labour-s-education-plans-find-favour-in-new-poll-6051167

    and expected around 80% at least of teachers and principals in primary schools (who unlike those in secondary schools have already felt the weight of the governments terrible policy making) to oppose the govts big spend on new cars for some principals and little or nothing on Special Education/ Education Psychologists/Reading Recovery and teacher aides in negotiations over the next few weeks.

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  26. gump (1,647 comments) says:

    @dime

    The third reading of the anti-smacking legislation was passed 113-8. The entire National party caucus voted in favour of it.

    Ayes 113: New Zealand Labour 49; New Zealand National 48; New Zealand First 4 (Brown, Donnelly, Stewart, Woolerton); Green Party 6; Māori Party 4; United Future 1 (Dunne); Progressive 1.

    Noes 8: New Zealand First 3 (Mark, Paraone, Peters); United Future 1 (Turner); ACT New Zealand 2; Independents: Copeland, Field.

    Source:

    http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/pb/debates/debates/48HansD_20070516_00001041/crimes-substituted-section-59-amendment-bill-%E2%80%94-third

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  27. edward_l (17 comments) says:

    Is Cunliffe having a laugh? Must be, looking at his launch. He is still measuring health by how much you chuck at it. How about the amount of service it delivers.

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