Māori King rejects Labour

August 23rd, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Mihi Forbes at Radio NZ reports:

The riverside at Tƫrangawaewae marae was abuzz this afternoon as nearly 1000 people gathered to hear the Māori King, Kiingi Tuheitia, deliver his annual speech.

Celebrations have been going on for several days at the marae in Ngāruawāhia for the tenth anniversary of his coronation, which is today.

However, what caught the crowd’s attention was the unscripted closer, where he told those gathered that he would not be voting for Labour again.

He said he had changed his mind about the party after its leadership said it would not work with the Māori Party.

The Labour Party keeps trying to destroy the Maori Party, rather than work with them.

In another story they report:

Māori Party co-leader Marama Fox was in the crowd and saw the speech as the king’s nod of approval.

“It was as close as I think an endorsement was going to be and I appreciate his words.”

So how did Nanaia Mahuta take the king’s comments? “If that’s the intention of the Māori Party certainly under Tuku’s presidency then that could be a very different landscape.”

Māori Party chairman Tukoroirangi Morgan has been in the role for less than a month and is on record as pledging to win all the Māori seats at the 2017 election including Hauraki Waikato.

“It’s as I said, it’s a momentous occasion it’s not often that the King would make that kind of announcement here in front of the motu.”

Waikato has had a long relationship with the Labour Party and Ms Mahuta has held the seat for 17 years, but that relationship is well and truly severed with the king saying he’d no longer vote for Labour.

Maori politics is getting more interesting.

The nasty campaign by Labour against Leggett

August 15th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

A reader writes:

You should have a look at the personal nastiness of the campaign Labour is running against Nick Leggett.

Little claims that his smearing of Nick as a ‘right wing’ candidate was justified because Little wants a disciplined party, not a debating society.

He could have just stated ‘Legget is running against an endorsed Labour candidate, so of course we can’t be seen to support him’ He went deliberately a lot further and smeared him intentionally.

Yep, so why did he go further?

But look at the successive posts on the Standard: There is not a single substantive policy critique of Leggett (or anyone else), or a positive platform in support of Lester. It is a series of nasty smears of anyone associated with Leggett. So, for example, someone helps Leggett with fundraising – they get smeared.

Guilt by association!

I wonder if those running the campaign against him by Labour can point to any policies of his they actually object to?

Bear in mind that Leggett is not running as an endorsed or supported candidate of a political party so he has to get his funding, volunteers and backers from somewhere. There is no suggestion of any policy link between support for Leggett from the smeared individuals and some intention Leggett has announced to do something bad, or a link to something bad he did at Porirua – where he has quite a long history of doing stuff.

It’s all just nasty, personal smearing.

What it shows is that the Little comments were not some one-off statement about Nash not attending a dinner and an insistence on discipline, but merely the most public part of a sustained campaign of vilification.

They seem desperate for Lester to win – to the point their parliamentary staff are producing videos for him.

This is revealing in another way – it is identical to the campaign of personal vilification that Labour has run against Key. This is not a by-product, it is strategy. Despite the fact that the strategy has not worked,  even slightly, for 10 years. Ten years of doing the same thing with the same result, and now they are doing it to yet another opponent.

A good point. This seems to be what they do best, or do most badly.

It is also revealing that Labour thinks its strongest lines of attack are not substantive but smearing – after 8 years in opposition, it still has no narrative, no policy case to make against the government and no platform of its own it feels confident in.

Ironically, all of this is from the very people who complained loudest about Dirty Politics. It would be very interesting to hear what Hager has to say about the vilification and smearing being practised by Labour, Little and The Standard against Leggett, and the obvious coordination between it all (noting there are clear personnel overlaps between the Little office and Lester campaign as well) 

I would be interested to hear how any of them believe it differs qualitatively from the activities retold in the Hagar book – and whether the gallery intend to ask about coordination as they asked Key.

Personally I’m more than a little dismayed – the left is on its knees, tactically this is more than  misguided, determined to repudiate any idea or personality who represents an alternative to the current drift and failure.

I won’t hold my breath waiting for a new book!

Little’s lacking week

August 14th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stacey Kirk writes:

Labour’s gift horse has well and truly bolted.

The party started the week polling in one of the strongest positions it’s been in since leader Andrew Little took the reins. 

With the help of the Greens, Labour began neck and neck with National. And against a Government that should have been besieged on multiple fronts – still struggling with a housing crisis and questions over its handling of potential trade threats from China.  …

What came the day after however, was simply ineptitude. 

Ignoring the fact that Trade Minister Todd McClay was the weak link on the issue over China’s trade retaliation threats, Little took the lead and tried to make the muck stick to Prime Minister John Key instead. 

To do that, it pays to get the facts right first. 

In the house, Little questioned the PM over whether the “Government’s decision not to investigate substandard Chinese steel imports” was connected to trade threats from China. 

Actually, no such decision has been made, and the allegation is around steel dumping, not quality per se. 

He also asked whether exports “blocked” from entry into China was a similar coincidence.

Again, nothing has been blocked, and the decision by Zespri to defer a week’s worth of shipments was its own in response to temporary barriers put up by China. 

Key strolled through, unscathed. It should be said, of no special skill of his own. 

The lesson was apparently learnt, with trade spokesman David Clark taking over in following days – going slow and steady, but most importantly – well researched and focused. 

Little did so badly in the house he had to sack himself and hand the questions over to David Clark!

Labour entered the week with a podium position on a platter, but Little dropped more poles than New Zealand’s equestrian team.

That’s not going unnoticed by the caucus.  


Will Little’s attack help Leggett?

August 13th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins writes:

As if national politics wasn’t brutal enough, Andrew Little has turned the Wellington mayoral campaign even uglier by verbally attacking a high profile candidate.

Little has drawn a new battle line in the mayoral campaign by claiming one of the front runners, Nick Leggett, is a “right wing” candidate, backed by right wing funding. He also claimed Leggett’s campaign manager was a “leading identity” in the ACT party, which Leggett rejects, as he does the “right wing” label.

None of this would be particularly extraordinary except Leggett is the long time Porirua mayor and a former Labour Party member who only resigned the party when he entered the mayoralty campaign in opposition to its official candidate, Justin Lester.

And if you look at Leggett’s resign in Porirua, it could hardly be called right wing. He has a left wing Council which he generally governed well with, and his opposition tended to come from the right.

Little’s assault on Leggett as a right winger is revealing on two counts; it tells us the extent to which party politics is taking over local body elections. And it is an insight into the resurgence of Labour’s age old battle between the left and right factions of the party.

Helen Clark kept the factions united by being careful with her favours; Little’s approach hints at a purge, rather than a leader prepared to make allowances to keep the party’s right wing under the roof of the one broad church.

Damn the Judean People’s Front!

So what sparked Little’s assault on Leggett? The Labour leader found out a member of his caucus, Napier MP Stuart Nash, was due to share a stage with the Wellington mayoral hopeful at an Auckland pub opening.

How terrible.

I have awful news from Andrew. Last night at the Backbencher there were numerous Labour MPs having a drink at the Saunders Unsworth function. And shock horror, there were some right wingers there also.

If Little’s intention in taking on Leggett was to give Lester a leg up it could just as likely backfire. It exposes the extent to which national politics has crept into local body elections, something that may not sit well with all voters.

It also rips the scab open on Labour’s left right divide. And given the party’s brutal history on that front – think back to the Lange, Douglas years – he might regret going there.

If Leggett wins, how will Little work with him having attacked him like this?

But as Watkins suggests, being attacked by Little may help Leggett in Wellington.

Is Chairman Little doing a purge?

August 12th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Richard Harman at Politik writes:

Little’s move has raised questions among some party members and MPs as to whether the ban is part of a wider move to swing the party to the left.

Leggett shares that view.

He says that’s why he will not rejoin the party.

“Not this Labour Party, not one that is clearly looking to purge in the way this one clearly is,” he told POLITIK.

But Little is sticking to his guns.

He says Leggett’s campaign is a right wing campaign; funded by right wingers and managed by a right winger.

Except Little is making things up. The Herald reports:

Leggett said his campaign manager was Michael Gregg and he was not a member of any political party.

Little explicitly said Leggett’s campaign was being managed by an ACT party member.

He takes issue with Labour leader Andrew Little’s description of him yesterday as “right wing” and says he is a “moderate.”

“I supported and continue to support a capital gains tax as a policy. Andrew Little doesn’t. Who is more right wing?” he said.

“I believe I’m of the centre-left, however within Labour I have always been a moderate,” Leggett told the Herald.

He said he was “pro-enterprise” but as mayor of Porirua, he had also been a strong advocate for social issues in the city.

“It’s a sad day for a party that once regarded itself as a broad church. It shows that a purge of the few party members left (and MPs) regarded as “right wing” is well under way.”

It seems Labour no longer wants moderates.


Little shuns Leggett

August 9th, 2016 at 7:31 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

There is more bad blood over the Wellington mayoralty after a Labour MP was told to pull out of a speaking engagement alongside mayoral candidate Nick Leggett.

Napier MP Stuart Nash had been billed as a guest speaker along with Leggett and blogger Phil Quin, who was seen as a flag bearer for the right wing of the Labour party till he resigned from the party in protest at its campaign targeting house buyers with Asian-sounding names. 

But guests at the event were told that Nash was no longer speaking after Labour leader Andrew Little intervened because Leggett was a former party member running against Labour’s hand picked candidate, Justin Lester.

The event was to mark the opening of a new Auckland pub and billed as a talkfest about the US election.

This is incredibly petty.

If it was a an event in Wellington where Leggett is standing, I could understand.

But it was a talk in Auckland on the US election.

Leggett, currently Porirua mayor, is standing as an independent after resigning his Labour Party membership because of party rules that he could not run against a Labour endorsed candidate.

Little confirmed he spoke to Nash after seeing a flyer advertising the triple billing and told him it wasn’t a good look to share a stage with Leggett and Quin.

“Nick has decided to stand for the mayoralty against a Labour endorsed candidate and Phil Quin on social media is quite vitriolic about Labour and a lot of Labour MPs. I spoke to Stu and said ‘look how do you think it would look if you’re on the platform with people who are acting against what many other Labour Party members and activist supporters are doing in other parts of the country? It’s not going to look flash’.”

Little said Nash had agreed and was happy to pull out after their talk.

Nash did not return messages.

But Leggett said he considered Little’s intervention “a bit sad”.

“It confirms the problem with Labour, and a kind of heretic hunting culture that’s crept into the party. Anybody with a different view or position is excluded or pushed out. As a Labour MP Stuart Nash would be going to forums in Napier and around the country where there are National party politicians, where there are people who have different views from him and the party and that’s the nature of politics that’s what we do. To single this one out just makes me sad really.”

It is sad.

Myself and a former President of Young Labour once set up a group in Wellington to discuss US politics and have guest speakers – The American Politics Appreciation Society.  Would Little ban that?

What about Labour MPs taking part in celebrity debates with National MPs? Also to be banned?

Labour support no juries for some trials

August 6th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Rape trials could be heard before a judge alone – not a jury – under radical proposals before the Government.

Justice Minister Amy Adams is weighing a Law Commission report that could transform the legal process for both complainant and accused.

The primary recommendation – likely to be implemented with broad support – is to try out a specialist sexual violence court, with expert judges and lawyers.

But other ideas are much more controversial, including scrapping juries in favour of another model. …

Labour’s spokeswoman on sexual and family violence, Poto Williams, said in many cases she believed a judge alone or other entity would be better than a jury. However, jury trials would still be needed in some situations, and how that was decided would be critical.

In NZ you have the right to opt for a jury trial if the offence has a maximum punishment of two years or more. The maximum penalty for sexual violation is 20 years. I think it would be terrible to take away the right to a jury trial from a defendant facing up to 20 years in jail.

Still it is not as bad as Andrew Little’s policy proposal that someone accused of rape should have to prove beyond reasonable doubt there was consent.  His idea was you are deemed guilty unless you can prove you are innocent.

Negative gearing

August 6th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour has confirmed it will introduce a policy to remove tax breaks on investment properties but aims to target speculators rather than small-time landlords.

Labour’s housing spokesman Phil Twyford has released Inland Revenue figures which showed property investors claimed $650 million in tax write-offs on residential rental properties in the year to March 2015.

His party now plans to crack down on negative gearing, which allows landlords to claim tax deductions on their rental properties.

Labour will consult on its policy to remove negative gearing over the next few months and was aiming for a design to capture speculators rather than longer term, small investors such as those using a rental as a retirement investment.

That included considering options such a cap on the number of houses negative gearing could apply to and grandfathering the policy so it did not apply to current landlords.

There may be significant unforeseen consequences here. Such a policy could lead to a significant increase in rents, as landlords will be less happy to wear a loss in the initial years as a mortgage is high.


Maybe Labour should look closer to home

August 5th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Thousands of employers have been failing to pay Kiwisaver contributions building up more than $20 million in KiwiSaver debt to workers.

Labour wants them chased down with the urgency used when workers or beneficiaries owe money.

Inland Revenue figures show 11,241 employers had KiwiSaver debt totalling $24.9m at the end of June.

That debt includes $12.32m in contributions taken from workers’ pay packets, $9.34m in employer contributions and $3.24m in penalties and interest.

Employee contributions not passed on to Inland Revenue by employers are guaranteed by the Government.

However, the $9.34m in unpaid employer contributions must be chased up by Inland Revenue and there are no guarantees of payment.

Labour’s finance spokesman Grant Robertson said the entitlements were hard-earned.

“Employers not paying their fair share threatens to further undermine confidence in the retirement scheme after National has spent years hacking away at it.

“It is not a small amount to workers and will grow considerably after decades earning interest.

“Inland Revenue is quick to chase workers and beneficiaries that owe money. [Revenue Minister Michael Woodhouse] should direct it to chase defaulting employers with the same rigour.”

I agree that IRD should vigorously pursue employers who fail to pass on to IRD deductions taken off their staff. Here’s one example of an abusive employer from 2010:

One of New Zealand’s largest unions, Unite, owes IRD over $130,000 including over $36,000 in tax meant to be paid on behalf of its employees.

The union’s accounts, which can be publicly viewed through a Government website, shows Unite’s liabilities exceeded its assets by over $170,000 for the year ended March 2009.

A further $57,630 is owed to the Government tax collector for GST.

Unite head Matt McCarten admitted to BusinessDay this afternoon that the union owed money to IRD and said the union was “keen” to pay.

He said it was “not that much in the great scheme of things”.

I’m sure Grant would agree this is a great example of a bad employer who should be pursued by the IRD. They trivialise their offending by saying $170,000 isn’t much in the great scheme of things.

Incidentally isn’t this bad employer in another job now? Who is he now working for?

A Labour Mayor for Wellington will not be a free agent

August 5th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

For the first time in decades we have someone standing as an official Labour candidate to be Mayor of Wellington. This is very significant as there is a huge difference between someone standing as an independent (who is a party member) and someone standing as an official Labour candidate to be Mayor.

There are two rules in the Labour Party constitution that people should be aware of. The first is 110d:

I will faithfully observe the Constitution and policy of the Party and the policy of the Party

This means that a Labour Mayor will be constitutionally obliged to vote in accordance with Labour Party policy, regardless of the individual circumstances before Council.

But that isn’t the major problem It is 110e:

If elected, I will vote on all questions in accordance with the decisions of the Caucus of the ticket

Caucus in this case means the members of WCC who are Labour candidates. There are currently two Labour Councillors and could well be two again.

So what this means is that the two Labour Crs and the Mayor (if he is elected) will caucus on every issue and the Mayor would be bound by those decisions. Regardless of his personal views on an issue, he will be constitutionally bound to vote in accordance with the decisions of his two colleagues.

This is why I could never support a Labour candidate for Mayor. They will be constitutionally unable to be a Mayor for Wellington, able to decide issues on their merits. They will be bound by the decisions of their colleagues.

People should be aware of the dangers in voting for a Labour candidate for Mayor. You will be getting someone bound to vote as their party colleagues decide, not following their conscience.

Loveridge says no to Labour candidacy

August 4th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Matthew Hooton wrote:

The real reason Mr Mallard is abandoning Hutt South and bringing his 30 years in Parliament to a close is because he knows he would almost certainly lose the seat to National’s rising star Chris Bishop. …

If Labour is interested in reconnecting with the Auckland business community and the crucial aspirational middle class in West Auckland – which Mr Little and his finance spokesman Grant Robertson have so utterly failed to do – then it really has no choice but to opt for Sir Robert Jones’ right-hand man in Auckland, NBR Rich Lister Greg Loveridge, who is expected to put his hand up.

Most obviously, sitting on this year’s NBR Rich List at $80 million, ahead of Mr Key on only $60 million, the one-time test cricketer and Cambridge University graduate exudes everything Labour’s increasingly wacko membership despises, especially as most of his $80 million was made in Auckland property – albeit commercial not residential.

He would be a star candidate

However NBR later report:

NBR Rich Lister Greg Loveridge says he isn’t about to leave the boardroom for the parliamentary bearpit.

The New Zealand manager of Sir Bob Jones’ RJH, whose involvement with the Labour Party is longstanding, says speculation he will stand in veteran MP Trevor Mallard’s Hutt South electorate is wide of the mark.

So why not?

“I have no intention of getting into politics,” he told NBR in an email response.

“I have enough to do with running a company and having four small children.”

However, Mr Loveridge adds that last week’s column by NBR commentator Matthew Hooton, mooting the prospects of a candidacy, is “right in one sense.

“Labour needs to move away from leftist anti-trade and anti-growth populism and try to make an actual difference to people’s lives rather than keeping its bloggers happy.”

So like Shane Jones, he sees Labour heading in the wrong direction.

0.96% of house transfers are to China tax residents

August 2nd, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

LINZ have released their latest quarterly data on house transfers. There are lots of caveats around the data, but what is absolutely clear is that Labour’s surname analysis about how up to 40% of Auckland homes are being sold to buyers from China is a failed racist smear.

Just 3% of transfers were to foreign tax resident buyers and only one third of those to buyers from China so of the 57,678 transfers, only 0.96% were to tax residents of China.

One can have a legitimate debate about whether restrictions on foreign buyers would impact house prices (it hasn’t had much if any impact in Australia) but the dog whistling by Labour with their surname analysis was designed to stir up xenophobia.

Dim Post on Labour and Greens

July 30th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Danyl McL blogs:

  • The two left-wing opposition parties (Labour and the Greens) aren’t competing against the government in any substantive sense. They’re competing against each other for the same reasonably small pool of university educated urban liberal voters.
  • The reasons for this are partly strategic but mostly cultural: both parties
  • are dominated by members of this small but influential class.
  • So policy and messaging are both directed at them and not at the much larger pool of centrist soft National voters. Which is why Labour spent the first half of the year talking about free university degrees, a universal basic income and medicinal pot, issues of little valence to middle New Zealand but endless fascination to left-wing intellectuals.
  • And its why there’s virtually no movement from National to Labour in the polls. All those voters (80-90% of the population?) are mostly ‘excluded from the narrative’ (to quote Barthes?). The left-wing political parties are working hard, but running as fast as they can just to stay in place with each other in relative terms.
  • Because they’re immersed in their own class, both in Wellington, other urban enclaves and in the social media world, the caucus, party and staffers of these parties are constantly validated by their courtship of this demographic. Only polls and the occasional election interrupt the discourse.
  • And because they are so indulged in terms of policy and messaging, members of this class are baffled by the failure of the rest of the country to be equally persuaded about the merits of changing the government.
  • This culture and process constrains either party from any attempt to break out of this dynamic.

This is pretty spot on. Labour’s big policy is to reverse a policy they brought in 30 years ago and provider even larger taxpayer funded subsidies to students.

Greens plan to lower house prices by 50%

July 28th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Radio NZ report:

A declaration by the Green Party that Auckland house prices should be deliberately dropped over the longer term has been met with strong resistance from its political ally, Labour.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei has said prices should be gradually lowered by up to 50 percent over a number of years, in order to avoid a market crash.

Labour leader Andrew Little said such talk was irresponsible.

“It’s not going to happen under the next Labour-led government.

“Our plan is about stabilising house prices by building more affordable homes, and then secondly by taking the overseas speculators out of it by putting restrictions on non-resident foreign buyers.”

Labour and the Greens recently struck a co-operation agreement including a no-surprises policy but Mr Little said Ms Turei had not raised any plan with him, or others in the party, to deliberately push down house prices.

The Greens have clearly violated the agreement. Not off to a good start are they.

As the Greens basically oppose making more land available for housing in Auckland (they only want to build up, not out), they of course have no chance of stopping house price inflation, let alone reducing it.

But I look forward to them campaigning that they want to reduce the worth of Auckland homeowners by a total $300 billion or so.


Labour thinks it can renegotiate TPP

July 27th, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour would welcome the chance to negotiate a Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact if it did not get United States approval this year, leader Andrew Little said on Tuesday.

In a major speech on international affairs in Wellington, Little underscored Labour’s continuing “engagement” and his rejection of “isolationism”, despite the party’s opposition to the TPP in its current form, saying it was proudly a free trade party.

It used to be. Actions count more than words and Labour has turned its back on 25 years of bipartisan support for trade agreements.

He said the 12 country trade agreement, which includes Japan and the US, offered a weak deal on dairy.

But he said the question could become moot. If the US does not ratify it, it would die – and both Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton were opposed to the TPP.

“It’s getting too late for President Obama to try to pass it before he leaves office. Congress already defeated him once on trade this year, and something big needs to change before he’ll risk being defeated again,” Little said.

“If TPP doesn’t progress this year, Labour would welcome the chance to be part of resumed negotiations leading to an agreement that does away with more tariffs, without curtailing the ability of countries to make laws in their own interests.”

Little is in fairy land. Trump and Clinton are against TPP because they say countries like NZ and Australia got too good a deal at the expense of the US. Their constituencies don’t want any tariff reductions at all.

If TPP does not pass in the lame duck session of Congress, it is dead as a door knob. It won’t be renegotiated.

So Labour and the Greens have merged it seems

July 16th, 2016 at 10:00 am by David Farrar


From Facebook. You wonder if Andrew and Metiria bother to read what they are signing!

In Labour land you can build 100,000 houses with $2 billion capital!

July 11th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Little said KiwiBuild would be paid for with a $2 billion “capital injection”, which would be paid back at the end of the programme as houses were sold.

Little said the Government was out of touch, particularly when it came to housing, and was alone in refusing to believe there was a housing crisis.

“They might have given up, but I won’t. Not now, not ever,” he said.

Associate Finance Minister Steven Joyce described Labour’s policies as “underwhelming”, with many of them echoing work the Government was already doing.

“They have talked a very big game politically about this, that it was going to be a massive change, when in actual fact it’s not – it’s more or less an endorsement of what the Government’s already doing with a few tweaks.”

Joyce said the Government was already backing the urban development approach through projects like the Hobsonville Land Company, while the $2b of funding for the KiwiBuild programme would need to be recycled 25 times in 10 years if it was to build 100,000 houses.

If you reckon you can buy the land, build and sell 100,000 homes for $2 billion in just a decade you have magical powers – probably like the Wizard of Oz.

Prebble on Labour

July 10th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

NBR reports:

As it celebrates its centenary, former Labour cabinet minister and ACT leader Richard Prebble believes the Labour Party is in such disarray that a National victory at the polls in 2017 is looking increasingly certain. …

First, there’s the fact “John Key is the best Labour prime minister the country has ever seen. We thought Helen Clark straddled the centre of the spectrum but he’s gone and taken it to a whole new level. Fundamentally he’s squeezed Labour out to the left and they don’t know how to respond.”

Then there’s Andrew Little, the product of allowing a “party membership that’s way to the left of Labour voters” to select the party’s leader, something he notes is also bedevilling Britain’s Labour Party.

Not only does Mr Prebble think Mr Little is a “very unattractive leader,” he also views his strategy of forming a “coalition, alliance, whatever you want to call it, with the Greens” is  “sheer lunacy.”

“He’s basically giving permission for people to vote Green, a strategy Helen Clark was adamantly opposed to and that Shorten in Australia is opposed to.”

It’s one, he says, that could result in the Greens could potentially usurp Labour as the primary progressive party in New Zealand.

The Greens do at least have a clear brand.

He believes the party is “looking out for talent, any sign of it, and they’re making sure they don’t select it.”

Instead, he says, “They’ve used the list system to basically provide jobs for second-rate trade union organisers.

To be fair their candidate selections for 2017 are looking better than in 2014.

Lester’s campaign being run from Parliament?

July 9th, 2016 at 8:19 am by David Farrar

Several weeks ago I heard from multiple people that Justin Lester’s campaign for Wellington Mayor was being run out of Parliament. This has been confirmed by this e-mail, leaked to the Taxpayers’ Union.


It was sent by a taxpayer funded Labour staffer, during work hours and clearly refers to “We have produced an awesome campaign video for Justin Lester”.

The Taxpayers’ Union comments:

The Taxpayers’ Union has been leaked an email from a senior Labour Party insider which appears to reveal that the Labour Party have used taxpayer money to produce a promotional video of Wellington’s controversial Deputy Mayor, and mayoral candidate, Justin Lester.

The email suggests that Labour’s Whip’s Office, which is funded via the Parliamentary Service, produced a promotional video for Mr Lester and his campaign.

It appears that the Labour Party is using taxpayer funded Parliamentary resources to further the political aspirations of one of their Party’s local body candidates. That money is meant for serving parliamentary constituents, not to be used as a local body political slush fund.

No doubt Labour will claim the staffer was a volunteer, did it all in his own time etc.

Herald rates Labour’s frontbench

July 8th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald rates Labour’s frontbench:

  • Phil Twyford 9/10
  • Annette King 8/10
  • Chris Hipkins 8/10
  • Kelvin Davis 8/10
  • Jacinda Ardern 7/10
  • Grant Robertson 7/10
  • Andrew Little 7/10
  • Carmel Sepuloni 6/10

That’s better ratings than they’ve had for a while. Little has generally placed the strongest performers on the front bench, unlike previous leaders. Little’s challenge is his own rating – you normally expect the leader to be one of the strongest performers, not mid range.

Labour now sees getting to 30% as success!

July 7th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

“I don’t think there’s any appetite in the party for another leadership change. I think we just have to be patient and Andrew Little, it may take another electoral cycle before he’s ready to become PM. I don’t know. Look how long it took Helen Clark before she became PM.”

Whether the MPs agree is another matter. If Labour scores in the mid- to high-30s, Little could well get that chance Clark had of contesting a second election in 2020.

If it is another sub-30 result, Little will be gone.

Little came in saying his aim is to get more votes than National and get over 40%. Now the expectations are so low, he keeps his job if he can get Labour to over 30%.


SST on Labour

July 3rd, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The SST editorial:

At 100, like many centenarians, this country’s Labour Party is looking confused and befuddled. It appears to have forgotten what it stood for when it was young and vibrant.

Under Little, this party that once stood against unthinking imperialism has campaigned to keep the Union Jack on New Zealand’s flag – perhaps keen to safeguard that Royal telegram! This party that once stood for workers making new lives in a new land, now wishes to stop immigrants investing in property in New Zealand; this party that once stood for diversity now makes overseas investment policy by tallying up “Chinese-sounding names”. Little is busy battling defamation claims, rather than fighting for Labour principles.


Labour lies on health

June 9th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Labour have been going on for months claiming that health funding has not grown to keep up with our population and inflation. They cite a figure of $1.7 billion of under funding on this basis.

I made the mistake of assuming their figure was correct, and not checking up on it previously. I just assumed someone else would have.

But as I had some spare time last weekend I went through the Vote Health expenditure for the last decade. I then got the CPI figures and the resident population figures. And put them into the table below.

Health Funding

So health funding has increased by 35% in nominal terms. In real terms it has gone up 20% since 2008 and even in real per capita terms it is up 8.3%.

That’s pretty good considering the GFC and the Christchurch earthquakes led to huge deficits, which the Government also had to close.

The MoU and the Art of War

June 8th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Liam Hehir writes:

Labour and the Greens have signed a “Memorandum of Understanding” ostensibly committing both to cooperation in the service of changing the Government.

As the news buzzed around social media, you could be forgiven for thinking the Treaty of Waitangi had just been signed. That very night, Simon Dallow declaimed on the 6pm news that this “joint party power play is already changing the political landscape”. According to some cheerleaders of the Left, John Key’s fate is now all but sealed.

The thinking seems to be that Labour and the Greens are like Ross and Rachel, with the great voting public waiting eagerly for the resolution of the “will they or won’t they?” storyline. Now that Labour has finally committed to the nice guy Greens, a delighted electorate will finally be ready to make their own commitment to changing the Government.

Others think the agreement is a potentially serious blunder. In this narrative, the relationship upgrade with the Greens is an effective spurning by Labour of bad-boy Winston Peters. Because it’s generally considered that Labour won’t be able to govern without Peters’ support, the party’s decision to go with its heart and not its head may cost it dearly.

And in fact, Winston Peters does not seem particularly impressed with what Labour and the Greens have done, grumbling that his party doesn’t “like jack-ups or rigged arrangements behind the people’s back”.

As an aside, this argument is incoherent. By publicly announcing an intention to work together, Labour and the Greens are doing the opposite of going behind the people’s backs. What they are doing is arguably a lot more transparent than the standard New Zealand First method of refusing to state a preference until all the votes are cast and the backroom baubles auction is completed.

Hehir is right that Winston’s argument is incoherent.

So has Labour saved or doomed itself? Actually, the safer money is on the Memorandum of Understanding itself making zero to little difference one way or the other.

The One News Colmar Brunton poll shows that support for National and Labour went up and Greens and NZ First went down after the MoU was announced. But a one off poll change is not what matters – it is the long-term trend, and I doubt we’ll see much of an impact.

If the last half-decade or so has taught us anything, it’s that voters are about as indifferent to political minutiae as commentators are obsessed with it. As if to confirm this, the Greens themselves hailed the agreement as a “game changer” – a prediction that’s been wrongly affixed to any number of events and happenings since 2008 that were supposed to, but didn’t, bring about the end of the John Key era.

Issues that matter to voters are jobs, wages, schools, hospitals etc. MoUs far less so.

So which one is the village idiot?

June 6th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Paul Little writes in the Herald:

On a brighter note, Labour and the Greens are hooking up. Analogies to a marriage were quickly drawn at this exciting news, and they couldn’t be more apt. It was like when you hear that your cousin who everyone had given up on ever seeing hooked has finally got engaged, and then you find out it’s to the village idiot.

So which party is the cousin everyone had given up on and which party is the village idiot?

My pick is the Greens are the dateless cousins, as they have never got into Government. and that makes Labour the village idiot by default?