Little wins big in Australia – gets an invitation for us to become a state

November 25th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

As Andrew Little flew to Australia yesterday to address politicians today about Kiwis’ lack of rights in their adopted country, an Aussie senator made a suggestion that would likely make the average bloke in his stubbies choke on his tinnie.

Ian Macdonald, who chaired the parliamentary committee that recommended a new law leading to the detention and deportation of NZers, said New Zealand could become the country’s seventh and eighth state.

He said Labour leader Little’s calls for, among other improved rights, access to citizenship for Kiwi expats would not be controversial to most Australians.

“The issue of closer ties with New Zealand is one beyond any limited expertise I might have, but as an observer … I would love to have New Zealand join us perhaps as the seventh and eighth state.

A huge diplomatic victory for Andrew Little. Kiwis who are criminals can stay in Australia for as long as they want, so long as New Zealand gives up being an independent country.

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Little angling for Rongotai

November 24th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour leader Andrew Little won’t run in Mt Roskill if MP Phil Goff is successful in his bid for Auckland Mayor, but Rongotai is in his sights.

Little has ruled out running in the long-held Auckland Labour seat saying, “there is a depth of talent out there already”.

Goff announced on Sunday that he would run for the super-city mayoralty next year and would stay on as Mt Roskill MP through to the election.

He would, however, relinquish his Auckland issues portfolio to avoid confusion as to whether he was attending events as an MP or with his mayoral candidate hat on.

When asked if Auckland Central’s Jacinda Ardern was an obvious replacement for the Auckland portfolio, Little said there were a number of Auckland MPs who are “potential candidates for that”.

Little will make his reshuffle announcements in the next week after holding off doing so until Goff had made a decision about the mayoralty race.

Leading the Labour Party and not being “tied to a seat” is a good position to be in, and Little said he would only stand in a seat in 2017 if a “suitable” one came up.

“We could be in a position where Rongotai becomes available so I can’t rule out not standing in a seat,” he said.

Labour deputy leader Annette King holds the Rongotai seat but Little said “depending on what she decided to do” would determine whether he stood there.

That’s pretty unsubtle. Roll over for me Annette!

Little has stood and lost to National MP Jonathan Young in the New Plymouth seat in the last two elections and those losses appear to have taken their toll.

“I haven’t ruled out New Plymouth and I’ve got an office up there and have a presence up there but I’ve run their twice and missed out twice so there are other options I need to consider.”

I recall in 2011 Little was toasted as someone who could win a seat off National, and would do so in his home town. He got heaps of publicity.

The result was Jonathan Young grew his majority from 105 to 4,270.

In 2014 Little stood again.  This time Young’s majority exploded to 9,778.

In fact Little only got back into Parliament because Labour stuffed up their list ranking and failed to achieve the gender target they set. If they had followed their own policy, he would not be an MP!

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Dom Post says Little not the right leader

November 11th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

Andrew Little wanted to clear the decks of old policy and shine a light on the new Labour captain – himself. The result was strangely depressing.

Little had moved long before last weekend’s annual party conference to kill off the remnants of the Leftish policy Labour touted last year. 

The capital gains tax and a rise in the pension age were officially dumped at the conference without fuss from delegates.

 Also dumped was the power policy, a joint effort with the Greens to tackle the electricity oligopoly that keeps forcing prices up. And much of the conference took place in secret.

This was creating a desert and calling it peace.

 Little now stands on a bare platform with no significant policy. The fact that nobody much cared when he threw out the old policies might be taken as a sign of a newly unified Labour Party. Or it might be a sign that Labour is a corpse. It doesn’t have the strength to fight or even to disagree with itself. So the attempt to hide everything behind closed doors wasn’t even needed.

Having no policy to sell, Little tried to sell himself. His “impassioned” speech was in fact awkward and unconvincing.

Labour’s strategy appears to be to have no actual policy and try to convince people they are both for and against the TPP!

Labour can’t even take the step of injecting new blood into its leadership with the fresh face of Jacinda Ardern.

Her qualities are modest, but she is a sign of life. Labour has few other such signs.

Little tries to build a personal link with voters by talking about his family. Perhaps he thinks that mentioning his flinty Tory dad will create a sense of paradox or at least a spark of interest. 

Neither as a union politician nor as a parliamentarian has Little been a bold or lively reformer. He has little charisma and a lack of new ideas. 

It’s hard to believe he will lead Labour out of the wilderness.

As far as I can tell their plan seems to be to aspire to get 34% of the vote (which is what they got when they lost in 2008) and hope Winston can do well enough to put them into Government along with the Greens.

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Labour drop their worst policy

November 7th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour leader Andrew Little has all but dumped the party’s controversial NZ Power policy.

In his opening address to the party’s annual conference in Palmerston North Little said the policy, which aimed to set up a single buyer for the country’s power generation, was too complex to explain simply to voters.

When it was announced it was widely criticised by business and the sector as too interventionist.

Little said the policy, which was unveiled before the last election in concert with a similar policy from the Greens, was important.  

There was something wrong with the power system, given rising prices and the high salaries paid to top executives in the sector.

“But our answer to that has to be something we can explain simply to New Zealanders. … So we will have to revisit the NZ Power policy.”

It is understood the Greens will also drop the policy before the next election.

Good. It was the worst of their policies. It was a de facto nationalisation of the power generators, which would have seen the state determine all prices, who can build new supply, and would have destroyed any competition between generators. It was an appalling policy.

But not all good news:

He said if Labour won the election in 2017 it would pass legislation to implement the foreign sales ban policy.

It would also try to renegotiate the deal on the foreign buyers issue, something Trade Negotiations Minister Tim Groser had indicated was possible over dairy exports.

“We will not support anything that takes away the right of New Zealand politicians in our democratic elected Parliament to make laws in the best interests of New Zealand … it simply isn’t acceptable,” he said.

He said other countries had deals that allowed such a restriction on land sales, but the current Government had not even tried to secure an exemption for that.

Little said Labour was a free trade party, but standing up for the right of Parliament to legislate in the interests of its citizens was not anti-free trade.

Asked if it would be acceptable for other countries to make unilateral changes – for example if Japan legislated against dairy imports – Little said “other countries can do what they like”.

So Little is saying he is fine with other countries breaking agreements they make with New Zealand, because he intends to do the same. Credibility zero.

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The blind leading the blind?

October 30th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

This would seem to be a case of the blind leading the blind?

Is Andrew Little hoping to find out how to get your party wiped out, losing every seat in Parliament bar one?

Or is Scottish Labour hoping to learn what it is like to get your lowest vote in 110 years?

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Little brings little

October 26th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

John Sargeant at Taranaki Daily News writes:

At the moment Labour have all their eggs in Andrew Little’s basket as the leader to take them ever towards the General Election in 2017. A while away admittedly but with the annual conference coming up in a few weeks’ time it’s about celebrating success and setting a strategic direction for the future. This will also be a time of reflection for Little it also marks the first year of Little as Labour’s leader.

As far as reflection goes there is little to celebrate. I’m sure there will be the rah-rah of empty vessels but the reality is that Little has spectacularly failed to get any traction in any of the polls in his tenure to date. The party itself is woefully behind on just 31 percent, hardly breaking any ground since the disastrous times of David Cunliffe.

They are up on their election result, but are polling worse than they were three years ago (were polling 33%). They’re under the 34% they lost office on and well off the 40% they need to govern with the Greens.

They simply haven’t made any progress in Little’s first year, none at all. It’s more than a weak signal Labour need to be aware of. After a year of listening and getting some major policies out such as the much vaunted ‘Future of Work’ there is still little to celebrate and you have to wonder if there’s any talk of whether Little should remain in the job. After all, he’s on the same miserable 8 per cent as preferred prime minister as when Cunliffe was apologising for being a man and Labour’s Trevor Mallard was crowing about bringing back the Moa but delivered a turkey.

Cunliffe a year ago was on 12% and Shearer three years ago also on 12%.

We need a strong and credible Left wing party to put up some decent opposition. Something more than just a machine to regurgitate the same old messages we are all sick of hearing. If not, voter boredom will be their biggest enemy. Let’s hope Little has a better second year or his third may be his last.

And then will it be Jacinida’s turn?

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Blame parents not food companies

October 21st, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

David Shearer writes:

Here’s a “school lunch” bought from an Auckland dairy this morning. It has 8 teaspoons of sugar – about twice the recommended daily amount for a child, in one single meal.

Obesity is poised to overtake tobacco as New Zealand’s leading preventable health risk. As long as the government lacks the courage to regulate junk food, its plan to tackle obesity isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. Time to stand up to the powerful food manufacturing lobby for the sake of our kids.

And the school lunch is:


I am staggered that David Shearer thinks that if school kids are eating this for lunch, the problem is food manufacturers, not parents.

On an individual level all four food items are fine as an occasional snack. Or is Labour saying that these food items must be banned or taxed extra?

The problem is if they are what a kid is having for lunch on a regular basis.

And I’ll be blunt – you’re a bad parent if that is what you are having your kids eat for lunch.

For a fraction of the cost you can make up a healthy lunch for your kids – sandwiches, fruit, sultanas etc. There is no excuse for the above to be a regular lunch item for kids.

Why do politicians of the left always look to blame companies, rather than blame individuals for poor choices?

No amount of tax or regulation short of banning all potato chips in NZ will stop a kid eating that for lunch, if their parents are not taking an interest in them having healthy food.

And don’t say this is all poor families can afford. That lunch would cost:

  • Calci yum $1.69
  • Grain waves $1.62
  • Bluebird $1.49
  • Minees $1.00

So around $5 for that.

Maybe David Shearer could tell us exactly what regulation he proposes that would stop that food being sold from a dairy?

Stuff reports Andrew Little is saying the same:

Labour leader Andrew Little says the Government should take a stick to junk food producers, rather than shying away from regulation as it tries to tackle rising obesity levels.

Yes how dare the food producers create potato chips. They must be beaten up for it.

There is nothing wrong with so called junk food, in moderation. I have potato chips around once a month. If someone has them every day and is obese, the answer is not regulating or banning potato chips.

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Little lowest polling opposition leader one year in

October 20th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

I’be blogged the latest One News poll at Curia.

Andrew Little has been Opposition Leader for around a year now. So how is he polling as Preferred PM compared to other opposition leaders one year in? Here’s the list since MMP in 1996.

  1. John Key 33%
  2. Don Brash 20%
  3. Jenny Shipley 16%
  4. David Shearer 11%
  5. Bill English 10%
  6. David Cunliffe 10%
  7. Phil Goff 9%
  8. Andrew Little 8%
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Hooton flays Little on India claims

October 18th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Matthew Hooton writes at NBR:

Mr Little has suggested trade negotiators and exporters of dairy and beef products should turn away from the TPP region and instead focus on India and Indonesia.

It appears the pretender to the prime ministership is unaware New Zealand already has an FTA with Indonesia as part of the historic Asean-CER deal, launched by Helen Clark in 2004 and completed by Mr Groser in 2009. As a result, bone-in meat is already tariff free and boneless cuts will become tariff free in 2020.  For dairy, almost all tariffs are now below 5% and falling.  Tariffs on wholemilk powder, butter and cheese are zero.

So one of the two countries Little suggested we focus on getting a trade agreement with, we already have! Not inspiring. But it gets better:

Mr Little’s comments about India were even more stunningly ignorant.  Did he not learn in primary school the role of the cow in Hinduism and in Indian village life?  Is he not aware the current Hindu-nationalist government is affording them further protection, including with the help of the army?

These religious beliefs mean India is the world’s biggest milk producer, with 16% of total production, and it more jealously protects its dairy producers than even the US, Canada or the EU.

The prospects for beef exporters are even worse.

There is not just a taboo around eating beef but the sale or slaughter of cows is actually illegal in 24 of India’s 29 states.  Anyone who has spent even a few days in India knows that, where beef is sold, it is done so surreptitiously in back alleys in Muslim compounds, or out of sight at flash hotels, and is usually buffalo meat anyway.  To avoid violence by Hindu extremists, McDonalds sells only chicken burgers, even dropping its lamb Maharaja Mac in 2002 to avoid confusion.

Claiming India might offer dairy and beef exporters a practical alternative to the TPP region suggests Mr Little was just blabbing about topics he knows absolutely nothing about.

This really shows how much Little is winging it and just saying whatever comes to mind, rather than having any credible position.

Maybe next Little will propose we try and target pork sales to Israel?

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Trotter on Little’s credibility

October 15th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Chris Trotter writes:

Not that Mr Little was without a strategy on Tuesday morning. His proposed way of dealing with the TPPA was to see it ratified; to assist the National Government in bringing New Zealand’s laws into conformity with its provisions; and then, upon becoming the Government, simply “flout” those TPPA rules which conflict with his government’s plans.

As a gift to Labour’s political opponents, this strategy is hard to beat. No responsible political party loudly announces to the world that, if it wins office, no other nation should place the slightest trust in their country’s solemnly given word. Such behaviour would turn this country into an international pariah.

Yep.It may be the stupidest thing he has said.

Not that it’s likely to happen. From now until the 2017 election, National will use Mr Little’s words to shred Labour’s political credibility. Not only that, but Little’s decision to “flout” will also allow Mr Key to present New Zealand’s adherence to the TPPA as a matter of national honour. Labour will be made to look like an untrustworthy bunch of thieves and liars.

In the House on Wednesday, Labour had only one question on TPP, and National had three. This shows that National thinks Labour is in deep trouble over what Little has said.


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Labour’s latest TPP position

October 14th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour leader Andrew Little says it is unlikely the party would withdraw from the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPPA) free trade deal if it gains power, following a meeting with Trade Minister Tim Groser to discuss the agreement.

Little and Trade Minister Tim Groser met on Monday evening to discuss the provisions of the TPPA in further detail, after the 12-nation free trade agreement was signed last week.

Little told Radio New Zealand the party still had a number of unanswered questions about the deal, but was unlikely to pull out of the agreement if it gained power at the next election.

It would be politically suicidal for them to do so.

But does this mean they are still insisting it is a truly horrible deal? If so, why wouldn’t they pull out?

Little said a Labour government would take a “responsible” approach to the deal, but would flout provisions of the deal if they were not in New Zealanders’ best interests.

This man wants to be Prime Minister?

Does he also think NZ should flout all the UN conventions we have signed, if he deems it not in our best interests? Does he think Iran should flout the deal they brokered on not developing nuclear weapons, if the Supreme Leader deems it not in their best interests?

Does Little think the other TPP countries should simply ignore provisions of an agreement they don’t like? Does he think Australia should ignore the WTO ruling and ban our apple imports again?

This is pathetic sophistry from Labour. You can not have a policy saying we will not withdraw from TPP but will ignore parts we want to.

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Labour lashed

September 27th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Patrice Gaffaney Heather du Plessis-Allen writes the NZ Herald:

If there was a prize for sounding like the biggest pack of sad sacks, the Labour Party would win it.

He cites three things. First:

Our biggest rivals had just been told by their new Prime Minister that the leader he’d most like to emulate is the guy running New Zealand.

Malcolm Turnbull had the whole world to pick from: Obama, Cameron, Merkel. …

Andrew Little told Australians he pitied them if that’s what their new leader wants.

That was the third time he missed the chance to display a little magnanimity or leadership in the past fortnight. If he carries on like this, it will be as hard to vote for his party in 2017 as it was in the last election a year and a week ago.

The second is the flag:

Possibly his biggest mistake though was playing politics with the flag referendum. Forget what Labour was saying publicly about wanting to get Red Peak on the ballot. They didn’t want that. …

That’s why Labour mucked around and that’s why the Greens and National outmanoeuvered it. Labour was more interested in embarrassing the Prime Minister than making sure we hand the right flag on to our grandkids.

Yep. And the third:

How do you turn a story about panda bears into something negative? Here’s how.

It sounds increasingly like our biggest trading partner might hook us up with a couple of cute – but admittedly expensive to keep – YouTube favourites.

If you’re Little, you don’t use this as a chance to show your sense of humour and crack a few panda puns or display your understanding of the tourism the bears generate.

Instead, you say there are better things to spend money on. There are always better things.

Little will have done his research. He’ll know about panda diplomacy. He’ll know getting pandas from China is the equivalent of a diplomatic BFF note.

Overall Labour and Little has just come across as relentlessly negative on everything.


Sense from Little

September 9th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The future ownership of New Zealand’s biggest meat processor, Silver Fern Farms, is a matter for its farmer shareholders to determine, says Finance Minister Bill English.

Silver Fern is going through a capital raising process, which media reports have suggested will involve an investor from China – the company’s biggest market – spending up to $100 million on taking a stake in the company.

Any overseas investor would have to go through the Overseas Investment Act processes to get there, English said.

“But fundamentally that is a choice for the shareholders of the company. So the owners who are the farmer shareholders have had quite some time to look at the issue, various attempts to raise the capital.

“The New Zealand farmers who are shareholders have total control over that business now, and it is in their power to keep control over it, so we can’t really force them to own a business if they don’t want to own it.”

English said some of the company’s owners believed the business was a strategic asset and one that should remain in New Zealand hands, but for that to happen the necessary capital needed to be found.

“The real test is not whether people have an opinion, it is whether they are willing to put the money up.”

Separately, Labour leader Andrew Little said Silver Fern’s capital structure would be a matter for Silver Fern’s shareholders to decide.

“My position on foreign direct investment is that adding jobs, adding investment and creating new value for New Zealand – that’s a good thing. If it doesn’t achieve that, then it’s something that we should be concerned about.”

Good to see Little pulling Labour back from some of their previous hostility to foreign investment, and recognising it is a matter for shareholders.

This is in contrast to Winston who as far as I can tell wants the Government to nationalise the company.

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Little falls for demented conspiracy theory

August 25th, 2015 at 11:40 am by David Farrar

I’ve blogged on this before, on how a few nutbars on the left think that Bill English and Nick Smith have devised a cunning plan to enrich themselves by a hundred million dollars or so by transferring land and houses to the Tamaki redevelopment company which they own 59% of.

Except they don’t of course. They are shareholders in their capacity as ministers, not in any personal sense. Anyone who has an ounce of common sense or intelligence could see this, and know this.

Now one nutbar facebooked Andrew Little saying:

Govt ministers Bill English and Nick Smith each have a third interest in a company BUYING state houses, the Auckland Council the other third. Wouldn’t this be subject to a conflict of interest?

What do you think and what will you say Andrew?

Now Andrew is not responsible for what nutbars post on Facebook, but he then responds to the nutbar:

The least I can do is make some inquiries. Company ownership is a matter of public record

Oh dear, that is an epic fail on the scale of an MP saying they will inquire into whether to ban dihydrogen monooxide.

So you have the Leader of the Opposition promising to make inquiries into the fact that shares in a government owned company are owned by the Government!


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Chicken Little

August 22nd, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Audrey Young writes:

It was not such a huge leap for Labour to demand that McCully step down because leader Andrew Little has already demanded his resignation.

Since April, he has called for six ministerial resignations: Simon Bridges over the Northland bridges promises; the minister whose brother is facing criminal charges because of what Little believes is a conflict of interest, Nick Smith after running into difficulties with Ngati Whatua and first right of refusal on excess Crown land, Te Ururoa Flavell over claims he may have influenced Maori TV to cancel a debate on Whanau Ora, Sam Lotu-Iiga over the management of the Mt Eden Corrections Facility and McCully.

Little is in danger of devaluing the importance of ministerial accountability by demanding resignations so often.

He’s acting like Chicken Little. Six demands for resignations in six months. It’s like a once trick pony.

John Key was opposition leader for two years. How many ministerial resignations did he demand? I’m not sure, but it certainly wasn’t one a month. I think the only one may have been Peters over lying to Parliament.

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Hosking trying to make sense of Little

August 15th, 2015 at 7:40 am by David Farrar

Mike Hosking writes:

From our mixed message file… comes Labour leader Andrew Little.

Andrew is spending the week trying to scare the bejesus out of us over dairy.

According to Andrew there is a crisis in dairy, farmers will go broke, the banks will bail on them and they’ll need to sell their land at which point the foreigners will pounce and come and sweep it out from under our feet.

Having said all that… And we can deal with the specifics of why he’s out to lunch in a minute.

He then goes onto say in another interview that what this country needs is… You ready for it… More foreign investment… Hello?

He said this was a country built on foreign direct investment and more of it was needed.

What he wasn’t asked and should have been was what happens if that foreign direct investment comes from people with names like Wang or Chow?

You say one thing to one audience, another thing to another audience, and hope no-one notices.

Secondly in trying to stir this up into something it isn’t, Little is using classic Labour party thinking in asking the government what they’re going to do.

Why the government?
What’s a bloke buying a farm got to do with the government?
What has any person setting up a business got to do with the government?
When a shop closes is it the government’s job to mop it up?
When a factory down sizes… Is the govt supposed to do something?

Dairy, like all business products and markets is beyond a government scope.

A government is there to provide over arching policy direction… Like tax and trade deals and welfare.

It’s not there to milk the cows, man the tills and set the price for commodities.

Exactly. The Government doesn’t decide if we have a dairy industry. Land owners do. They decide whether to use their land for forestry, lamb, beef, wool, dairy, viticulture, horticulture etc. Tens of thousands of land owners decide individually (not collectively) what to use their land for.

We don’t have a country where the Government decides what industries we will or will not have, and how much of each industry we are allowed.

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So Little says a referendum needs 50% turnout to be valid

July 30th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Andrew Little has said:

Labour has moved to have the second flag referendum canned if the first attracts fewer than half the eligible number of voters, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says.

This is the same Andrew Little who said last year he favours a referendum on the flag and it should be changed. But anyway is this the leader of the Labour Party who forced a referendum on the partial asset sales in 2013 that had only a 45% turnout. So is Andrew Little say the referendum Labour, Greens and the unions forced on the public was a waste of time as it got under 50%?

And how about the union organised referendum in 1995 that had a 27% turnout only?

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So Kiwis prefer Australian anthem to our own?

July 29th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour leader Andrew Little has described the national anthem as a “dirge” and said many New Zealanders preferred to sing along to the Australian anthem than our own.

Mr Little made the comment during debate in Parliament on the Flag Referendums Bill, a bill Labour is opposing despite Mr Little’s own desire for a new flag and Labour’s 2014 policy to start the process to secure that change.

Mr Little said while thousands of New Zealanders wanted a change of flag, they did not believe it was the right time.

“This is not a poor reflection on New Zealanders, many of whom would like something different. Many of them want a change to the national anthem too, because they are sick of singing a dirge every time you turn up to a festive occasion. Most of them sing along to the Australian national anthem before they sing along to our own.”

I don’t know any Kiwis who do this. Genuinely interested if you do.

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Latest poll

July 27th, 2015 at 7:49 am by David Farrar

I’ve blogged at Curia the results of the 3 News Reid Research poll broadcast last night.

Like the One News Colmar Brunton poll the previous week, it shows no bounce for Labour from its targeting of people with Chinese surnames.

What it does show is that Andrew Little has fallen below Winston Peters as Preferred Prime Minister.

This is a feat never achieved by Phil Goff, David Shearer or David Cunliffe.

The last time an Opposition Leader failed to poll in the top two as Preferred Prime Minister was in October 2003 – 12 years ago. Later that month he was rolled in a coup.

So the results of Labour’s concede Northland to Winston strategy has been to have their leader fall into third place behind Winston as Preferred PM.

And the results of their decision to highlight home buyers with Chinese surnames has been to achieve nothing in the polls, but alienate many Chinese New Zealanders.

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Saying different things to bosses and unions

July 24th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour leader Andrew Little has indicated Labour will come up with its own version of trial period for new workers by merging aspects of the 90-day trial and a separate probationary period.

Mr Little caused confusion about his stance on the 90-day trial periods last week after he said Labour was looking at making changes rather than scrapping them altogether.

That was to a business conference.

Mr Little’s initial statement about the 90 day trials prompted unions to call for a ‘please explain.’ There was further confusion after a Labour Party member on the party’s Te Kaunihera Maori group tweeted that Mr Little had assured him Labour still planned to repeal it. Mr Little later told the Herald he had not said that but had discussed Labour’s intention to review it with the group.

And then says something quite different to a Labour group.

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Little’s hypocrisy on the flag referendum

July 23rd, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Andrew Little yesterday demanded the Government stop the flag referendum saying there was no need for one.

Here’s Labour’s official policy from 2014:

Labour will: review the design of the New Zealand flag involving flag design experts and with full public consultation and involvement.

We believe that the time has come for a change and it is right for the issue to be put to the public.

And in case that isn’t clear enough, here’s his personal views from last October:

Q: Should NZ change its flag: What’s your personal opinion? Should there be a referendum? If you want the flag changed, what’s your favourite design?

A: Yes, my personal opinion is we should have something more relevant to an independent, small Asia/Pacific nation. I think a referendum is a suitable way to deal with an issue that can be very polarising. I don’t like the idea of the silver fern on a black background. The elements I would like to see in a flag are the Southern Cross, blue for the sea, green for the land and mountains, and a reference to our Maori heritage.

So Little’s demand yesterday to scrap the referendum is pure hypocrisy.  He’s now against it, because the PM proposed it.

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Little melts down

July 21st, 2015 at 1:33 pm by David Farrar

Go to TV3 and watch Andrew Little melt down and lash out at Patrick Gower as he is questioned over Labour’s targeting of Chinese sounding surnames.

I’m sure he could if he tried.


Little rejects outdoor smoking ban

July 21st, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour leader Andrew Little says banning smoking outside bars, cafes and restaurants would be a step too far, describing a smoke after a drink as one of “life’s little pleasures” for some people.

About 70 per cent of councils at the Local Government NZ conference yesterday voted to ask the Government to ban smoking outside cafes, bars and restaurants.

The former Labour Government banned smoking inside bars and other workplaces in 2003 but Mr Little did not believe that should be extended to outside areas.

“I agree people shouldn’t be allowed to smoke inside buildings which the public have access to. But in the end, people are able to lawfully buy tobacco products, they must be able to lawfully use them somewhere. We can go a bit too far sometimes in banning their use outside in public places.”

Bar owners had told him restrictions did impact on them and smoking was already restricted to outside areas. “There are some people, they go to a bar, they have a drink and they have a smoke and it’s a part of life’s little pleasures.”

Pleasing to see a Labour leader take a balanced approach and reject a ban. I suspect Andrew is remembering his days a EPMU leader, knowing that a fair proportion of his members would like to have a smoke down at the pub – and Labour won’t win them back by demanding that they lose the ability to do that.

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Labour’s Flavell smears still lacking the vital element – proof

June 24th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour leader Andrew Little has called for Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell to be stripped of responsibility for Maori TV after questioning whether Mr Flavell put pressure on the broadcaster to scrap a debate.

Stuff reports:

Calls are coming for the Maori Development Minister to resign, as it emerges he met with the Maori Television chief executive less than two hours before a contentious debate was canned.

This is just getting pathetic. Now Labour thinks Ministers should be sacked on the basis of a conspiracy theory with no proof.

I blogged on Monday on the issue of the e-mails from his staffer. They are quite mundane and if Labour think it is now illegal for a press secretary to negotiate details of a press appearance with media, well there won’t be any left in the building. That is their job. And Flavell’s staffer was quite explicit that Flavell would appear regardless of whether their views on other participants were taken on board.

The latest element is that Flavell met the Maori TV Chief Executive a couple of hours before the decision was taken to scrap the debate. Now certainly if Flavell and the CEO came to an agreement to cancel the debate, that would be outrageous. But the Herald reports:

However, the show was cancelled on May 20 and those involved were told two hours after Mr Flavell had a meeting with Maori TV chief executive Paora Maxwell.

Mr Flavell said that was coincidental and told Radio NZ he had not discussed the programme with Mr Maxwell at that meeting.

A file note from the meeting between Mr Flavell and Mr Maxwell provided to the NZ Herald contains no specific mention of Native Affairs or the proposed Whanau Ora debate.

However it does mention Maori TV plans to increase advertising revenue through the Ministries of Health and Education and “partnership with Whanau Ora Commissioning Agencies re: future growth of services.”

Mr Flavell said it was a regular quarterly meeting which was set up back in February.

So Labour are basically claiming both Flavell and the CEO are lying, and the file note deliberately incomplete. And their proof for this …. well, nothing at all.

A spokeswoman for Maori TV said the planned debate was cancelled because of low ratings on public holidays. “It was a format change because of ratings. Previous ratings for panel shows on public holidays were low.”

Seems pretty logical. And I’m sure Maori TV will have many debates about Whanau Ora over the next year.

Mr Little acknowledged he did not have firm evidence of any interference by Mr Flavell but the press secretary’s concerns and timing of the cancellation did raise questions Mr Flavell had to answer.

“In the absence of explanations about what happened in the meeting and in the absence of an explanation about why the debate on Whanau Ora was cancelled we are entitled to draw inferences. I have and I smell a rat.”

Translation: I made it up with no proof at all.

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Little showing ignorance on civil defence

June 22nd, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The consistency of Civil Defence responses around the country is being questioned by Labour leader Andrew Little, who says his visit to Dunedin has highlighted more should have been done when flooding hit there.

Civil Defence had responded straight away to flooding this weekend in Whanganui, Taranaki and Wairarapa, but Little said “in Dunedin it looks like there was no response at a time a response was needed.”

Little visited the South Island city and said some properties were “pretty badly damaged, there’s still a long way to go for them to be fixed.”

It was “a misjudgment” to have not called a Civil Defence emergency in Dunedin, Little said.

“So compare that to what is happening in Whanganui, Taranaki and Wairarapa where Civil Defence reacted as soon as it became apparent that the rains were very heavy and it could be flooding, and acted to evacuate even, strictly speaking, before people needed to be evacuated.”

Little doesn’t seem to understand how civil defence in NZ works.

His comments indicate he thinks that the Ministry of Civil Defence decided whether to call a state of emergency, and that it has not been consistent.

Civil Defence at the local level is the responsibility of the respective territorial authorities, and the decision to call a state of emergency is made by the local Mayor, not by the Ministry or the Minister.

So Andrew Little is basically saying he knows better than the local Mayor.

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