Cunliffe says sorry for his holiday

July 23rd, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour leader David Cunliffe has admitted to making errors, including taking an over-long three-day holiday in Queenstown last week.

Cunliffe emerged from a caucus meeting of his MPs today promising to make changes to the way he and the party delivered their messages and admitting that the holiday was a mistake.

“I take responsibility for things I could have done better,” he said.

“I’m happy to say that with the information that I now have about the movement in the polls, which I didn’t have when I made that decision [to take a holiday], I would have made a different decision.”

He certainly would not have gone on such a long break, though he noted he was also ill for two days “and I didn’t have much choice about that”.

And in another story:

He scoffed at suggestions that some in his caucus were “doing the numbers” on a leadership change.

“That’s nonsense, absolute nonsense,” he said.

“I am confident I have the full support of my caucus.”

Hilarious.

Former leader Phil Goff ruled out any interest in becoming leader again, and while Cunliffe’s predecessor David Shearer wouldn’t rule it out, he said he was focused on the party’s key messages.

Mark my words. Shearer will challenge after the election.

Also a third Stuff article reveals a new side to Cunliffe:

Pray, is Reverend Sue Dickson’s advice.  Cunliffe says he does – daily. 

I did not realise Cunliffe is such a devout Christian.

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Pagani advice for Labour

July 22nd, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Josie Pagani blogs at Pundit on what Labour should now do:

First, stop blaming the media. 

The problem isn’t ‘right wing framing’. There isn’t a media conspiracy to get a third term National government. When you fall behind everyone airs their favourite explanation and negatives get repeated and amplified. It’s the job of politicians, not media, to inspire a change in the story. 

National did this also in 2002. It is very tempting to do, but almost always pointless.

Stop saying the polls are close. It reminds voters that Labour aims to lead a bloc in which it might not be all that dominant and which could include the toxic Dotcom party. Tortuous explanations about the Left Bloc v the Right Bloc sound cynical, as if you don’t care about winning support of people.

Distance Labour from Dotcom. One reason for Labour’s poor polling is people just want to get rid of Dotcom and somehow he has become Labour’s problem now. Only because he is an enemy of our enemy.  Labour should only ever say of Dotcom, “he shouldn’t be in the country and National should not have let him in. We want him and his party nowhere near government.”

If Labour did that, I think they would get a very significant boost in the polls. People do not like the idea of a Labour-led Government being subservient to Dotcom.

Stop barking at every passing car. We don’t need a position on every lifestyle or identity issue in the news cycle. Though Labour tries to talk about core themes, like jobs and smaller class sizes, it can’t complain when those subjects get overshadowed by its own policies. 

The temptation of releasing a ‘policy a day’ comes from a lack of confidence that the main themes are strong enough to win. This is a strategy error, not a discipline one. 

I think they are taking this advice on board.

There are no easy pathways now. The party made David Cunliffe leader for his strategy of shoring up the base with a more militant tone. He’s delivered on that strategy but it hasn’t worked. 

Correcting to the centre close to the election carries the seeds of disappointment for those who believed it would work, and has the added downside that the public don’t believe it. 

It’s too late to ditch some of the rhetoric that made people doubt whether you would put them ahead of sectarian interests, but not too late to campaign for  the values that make Labour, Labour.  It’s mission is to represent working people and their families in a broad-based party. So: do that.

I think it is too late to now try and move towards the centre.

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Labour chess

July 22nd, 2014 at 9:48 am by David Farrar

The current internal machinations in Labour are a bit like a game of chess. Grant Robertson is the King of the Board who doesn’t want to do combat himself, so he is sending pawns off to do battle, and clear the way for him. The latest play is:

  • Grant has the numbers to roll Cunliffe, and has had for some time. This is beyond dispute
  • Grant does not want to become Leader yet. He rightfully fears losing the election, having a divided party, and an activist base that will blame him for the loss. This is almost beyond dispute.
  • Another factor for Grant is he is not even sure if he wants to be Leader for the 2017 election if Key still leads National. He only wants to become leader when he thinks the election is winnable (which it was in the middle of last year).
  • David Cunliffe is unlikely to go quietly after the election, if they lose. The magnitude of the loss will be a factor, but very clear signals have been sent out that he believes the unions and activists will stay loyal to him, and allow him to carry on. This is of massive concern to many MPs, and this is almost beyond dispute also.
  • David Shearer has been picked as the candidate to go up against Cunliffe in the December leadership ballot and then the membership vote. He strongly feels he was not given a fair go, and that he can appeal to non-core voters. He is far more angry and resentful against Cunliffe than people realise, but a complicating factor is he is equally resentful towards Robertson whose faction toppled him. But Camp Robertson would support him. I would put this as highly likely if Cunliffe does not resign.
  • A growing number of MPs are worried they will lose their seats and have been canvassing numbers for David Parker to challenge before the House rises. They are worried it will look desperate, and also the election materials have been printed. However the possibility of Little, Ardern and even Parker losing their seats weighs heavily on them. I’d say this is less than 50/50 probability – there is talk, but caution will overcome action.
  • A complicating factor is the Deputy Leadership. Both Parker and Shearer want Robertson as their Deputy so he shares the success or blame of their leadership. He would rather keep his powder dry until it is his time (he saw when deputy to Shearer how much activists also blamed him) and a condition of his support is that Ardern becomes Deputy.

Again change is less likely than not before the election. It must effectively happen today or next Tuesday. There are 60 days until the election. They are resigned to a result probably in the 20s. Their fear is a low to mid 20s result that removes some of their “stars” and leaves them too weakened to be competitive in 2017. They will now accept a result of even 29% as adequate.

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Felix Marwick on Labour

July 21st, 2014 at 12:30 pm by David Farrar

Felix Marwick from NewstalkZB writes:

Deficits are something no political party likes and the problem for the Labour Party at the moment is that it has one; a popularity deficit.

Its 27 percent result at the last election was the worst result it’d had in over 80 years and, at the time it was thought the party had scraped the bottom of the barrel. The only way, it seemed, was up. But four consecutive polls since last Wednesday have had the party polling below 30 percent and it seems distinctly possible Labour could crash and burn on September 20 unless it has a major change of fortunes.

From the outside Labour’s predicament looks pretty simple. It has no discipline. Its caucus appears more focused on personal rivalries, revenge, and self interest than they do in winning the election.

I’m trying to recall the last time I chatted to a Labour person about winning, rather than about internal battles. It was a long time ago, with the exception of the odd electorate candidate who is very focused on their local race.

Certainly there are some within Labour’s ranks that will probably argue that David Cunliffe and his supporters are being served the dish they themselves plated up for previous leaders Phil Goff and David Shearer. It does seem there is an element of payback going on. This is something voters should pay attention to the next time a Labour MP tells them about how committed they are to the future of this country. The party’s track record since the departure of Helen Clark suggests self interest reigns supreme.

Bring back Helen!

What all of this means of course is that Labour is worse than a house divided; it’s a house falling apart. It’s a Christchurch red zone home. Its foundations are stuffed, its walls are broken, the roof is a leaking ruin, and its garden is submerged in liquefaction.

Nice analogy.

One seriously wonders if the party would be better off ditching all of its incumbents, replacing them entirely, and starting afresh. If ever a political party needed a fresh slate, it’s Labour.

Some people say the next Labour Prime Minister isn’t yet an MP. They do need a circuit breaker. Hard to see David Shearer uniting the party after he challenges for the leadership back in December.

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The discipline issue

July 21st, 2014 at 7:19 am by David Farrar

Danyl blogs at Dim-Post:

It’s been a shambolic couple of weeks for Labour. They had their congress and launched a major education policy, carefully designed to attack National where they were vulnerable and attract centre voters back to Labour, and they’ve spent every day since then talking about either Moas, or banning cosmetics, or Cunliffe’s ‘man apology’, or changing the burden of proof in rape cases, or Kelvin Davis’ support for the holiday highway, or te reo in schools – with some Labour MPs supporting this and some opposing – ie they’ve been talking about pretty much anything other than the huge new policy they just launched.

That is a good summary. Labour has been in the news almost every day for a fortnight, but on a different issue – and generally a negative one.

Sounds like Labour are finally working this out, as Stuff reports:

Yesterday’s frontbench meeting is understood to have settled on a radical rethink of strategy for the remainder of the campaign, with Labour set to focus on fewer key policies and messages.

This is sensible. What is alarming is that such a common sense approach is thought to be a radical rethink.

But will the party keep to the script?

MPs are also under orders to be more disciplined. Cunliffe is believed to have had words with veteran MP Trevor Mallard about his plan to revive extinct moa, which grabbed headlines on the eve of a Labour Party conference that was supposed to showcase the leader.

Others singled out for criticism for going “off reservation” include Tainui MP Nanaia Mahuta and Te Tai Tokerau candidate Kelvin Davis, who have both taken opposing views to party policy on issues in their areas.

A senior MP said the latest poll ratings were a concern.

“We have to be bloody good at what we do, we’ve got to be very tightly focused and on message.

“We’ve got good policy, got a good campaign plan, we know we’ve got the troops on the ground, we can pull this up.”

There was an acknowledgement that the public was confused by the number of different signals coming from Labour, and that was blamed on “trying to do too much too quickly”.

“Then there’s another level with people saying things that are completely off the script.”

That included Cunliffe himself, for his apology “for being a man” to a Women’s Refuge conference.

But will Labour be disciplined enough. I doubt here. Here is Sue Moroney campaigning for free Moroccan cooking classes:

And it gets better. Sue also wants free Photoshop classes. Presumably for Labour Party staff.

Do you really think this is a Labour Party that could achieve surplus and run a balanced budget?

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Labour at 15 year low in Herald Digipoll

July 20th, 2014 at 11:16 am by David Farrar

Another day, another rogue poll. At what point will Labourites accept they are polling well under 30%?

The Herald reports:

Labour’s support has slumped to its worst rating for 15 years in the latest DigiPoll survey, putting critical pressure on leader David Cunliffe.

Its 26.5 per cent support is a slide of four points since June.

With just two months to the election, Labour could slip into the disastrous territory held by National in 2002, when it polled 20.93 per cent in the face of the highly popular Labour Government.

On this poll of decided voters National would be able to govern alone comfortably and gain another 10 MPs.

National has jumped 4.5 points to 54.9 per cent. A Stuff/Ipsos poll earlier this week also put support for National at 54.8 per cent.

Prime Minister John Key is more popular than he has ever been, scoring preferred prime minister on 73.3 per cent, compared with Cunliffe on 10.5 per cent and New Zealand First’s Winston Peters on 5.5 per cent.

Its a good result but with MMP the guy preferred with 10.3% can beat the guy preferred by 73.3%. Labour could poll in the 20s yet still form a Government. There is no room for complacency. Every vote is important.

Labour’s total support is down from 30.5 per cent in June, but it is disproportionately down among male voters, with only 23.9 per cent of men backing Labour, compared with 29.1 per cent of women.

I apologise for polling so badly as a man.

Political commentator Chris Trotter said the poll indicated Labour was “more or less bereft of hope”.

“Labour is in an extremely parlous position, and the situation is deteriorating.”

I never regard someone as dead until I have chopped the head off, put a stake through the head and burnt the corpse. A lot can still happen in 62 days.

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Patrick Leyland on Labour’s lack of message

July 19th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Patrick Leyland blogged:

NZ Labour’s woes are well documented. The latest round of polls – both with Labour sub 25, are frankly, disastrous. On these numbers Labour will be lucky to get deputy leader David Parker re-elected, and the prospect of any new list MPs just looks like a fantasy.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. From my distant perspective, it looks like Labour is running some excellent on the ground campaigns. Some of the MPs look like they’re making great visits (David Shearer and Chris Hipkins seem to have had a really sucessful visit through the regional North Island). Kelvin Davis is getting good media from his work helping flood victims in his electorate.  I’ve heard that some electorates are smashing their voter contact targets. The fact that they’ve even managed to agree to targets at all amazes me (I have previously sat in a Labour meeting where the idea of targets was quite literally dismissed as “boss talk”).

And as Phil Quin pointed out on the Q+A panel the other week, Labour do have some very good policy positions. Chris Hipkins really needs to be commended for the work he continues to do with education – their school donation and class size policies are really solid vote winners.

Unfortunately, Labour seems to have since dropped them like a lead balloon.

Using Facebook as a sample of Labour’s external comms*, let’s have a look at what they’ve done with the education announcements… 

10 July – A week after the key note speech a video of it is posted online. Without any mention of the policy. You have to watch the 36 minute video to discover that Labour wants to reduce class sizes.

10 July – Chris Hipkins launches Labour’s excellent education manifesto. It’s a beautiful document that really easily sets out some great policy. Does Cunliffe or the Labour Party mention it? Nope.

Number of mentions of Labour’s education policies after they’re announced: 0. Number of times David Cunliffe has mentioned that they are reducing class sizes on Facebook: 0.

Hell, it’s even depressing to look at a Facebook feed of all Labour candidates and party pages. The last time anyone from Labour talked about education was Grant Robertson three days ago.

I think this was a useful highlight of Comms 101. A party that thinks it will win by just releasing a policy, mentioning it once, and then moving onto the next policy, will not get its message across.

A party should have three to five core messages such as “Labour will reduce class sizes” and repeat it ad nauseum for weeks and months. That is how you get it into the consciousness.

The fact that no one in Labour seems able to do even basic comms must be alarming for supporters like Patrick.

In a week where Labour committed hundreds of millions of dollars to make worthwhile and significant changes to education, candidates should not be posting videos of ice water challenges. There are enough distractions from Labour’s core messages thanks to donations scandals, Kim Dotcom etc etc, Labour shouldn’t be using Facebook to create even more diversions.

And by totally going to ground and refusing to go out and sell Labour’s policy, David Cunliffe doesn’t even look like he wants Labour to win.

Rather amusingly within hours of Patrick blogging, Labour then did a flurry of educational posts and graphics to Facebook.

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Dover on why he is not voting Labour

July 19th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Former Labour minister Dover Samuels says he won’t be voting for the party at the election.

He cited the party’s opposition to the Puhoi to Wellsford extension and Leader David Cunliffe’s “prima donna grandstanding” over the issue of sexual violence.

The former Maori Affairs Minister who now serves on the Northland Regional Council confirmed the Herald this morning he did not intend giving his party vote to Labour.

“Labour’s moved away from me, I’ve never moved away from Labour. I’m as staunch of the principles of Labour as I ever was, since the days of Mickey Savage.”

They’ve lost Shane Jones also. There is a pattern here.

“Winston Peters has been somebody that certainly has been an advocate of the regions and I’m a regional councillor and I find that spokespersons for the Labour Party have really turned their backs on some of the initiatives that the Northland Council have been advocating.”

He pointed to Labour’s plan to indefinitely postpone the Puhoi to Wellsford extension which it derides as “the holiday highway”.

” I don’t know where they got that from but the Puhoi road is integral to Northland’s economic future.”

Everytime Labour calls it the holiday highway, a Grey Lynn liberal applauds, and a local in Northland gets furious.

Mr Samuels said his advice to Labour was “come back to the grass roots principles”.

“I was a minister and a Member of Parliament under Helen Clark. She recognised you never become Government if you don’t take middle New Zealand with you.

“Shane Jones saw that and unfortunately this idea of “rich prick” and this idea of “I’m ashamed to be a man” and all of this kind of prima donna grandstanding does not actually resonate well with middle New Zealand at all.”

Mr Samuels said he was hearing many Labour Party supporters of long standing asking “what is happening to our party?”.

Their support base appears to now be reduced to the unions and people who comment at The Standard.

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Labour’s guilty until proven innocent law makes the UK newspapers

July 18th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Independent (UK) reports:

New Zealand’s second-largest political party wants to reverse the burden of proof in rape cases if it gets into power, making defendants prove their innocence to reduce the trauma suffered by victims.

Andrew Little, the Labour Party’s justice spokesman, has outlined plans for a monumental shift in the justice system in the run-up to the country’s general elections in September.

They won’t remain second largest as more and more people hear about their policy. But well done Labour on making international headlines for their policy.

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Labour loses the vote of a former Minister

July 18th, 2014 at 10:17 am by David Farrar

Former Labour Minister Dover Samuels just said on Radio Live that he would not be giving his party vote to Labour this year, because it is no longer in touch with or representing the regions. He is party voting NZ First.

Samuels was a Labour MP for 12 years, and a Minister for almost six years.

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Cosmetics to be banned by Labour

July 17th, 2014 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar

Labour announced:

A Labour Government will help protect animals from harm by prohibiting the sale of cosmetics that have been tested on animals. 

Labour’s Animal Welfare spokesperson Trevor Mallard today launched the initiative at an event organised by Labour’s Ōhariu candidate Ginny Andersen at the Wadestown Veterinary Clinic, which after boundary changes is now in the electorate.

 Trevor Mallard says most New Zealanders find the testing of cosmetics on defenceless animals abhorrent. “No animal testing of cosmetics is carried out in New Zealand because it is barred under the Animal Welfare Act. However, there is no restriction on animal-tested beauty products being imported and sold here.

Labour thinks NZers are unable to make decisions for themselves on what products they find acceptable to buy – so Trevor will decide for everyone.

“Labour will ensure that no make-up sold in this country has been tested on animals by formally prohibiting it in New Zealand. We will also prohibit the sale of imported cosmetics that have been tested on animals. Legislation enacting Labour’s policy will be restricted to cosmetics, toiletries and fragrance. It will not affect medicines. 

“The European.Union last year prohibited the sale and importation of animal-tested products. As in the EU, Labour’s policy will apply both to finished products and ingredients, or combinations of ingredients.

So which companies may be impacted. This overseas site lists companies and brand names that use such testing

  1. American Beauty
  2. Aramis
  3. Avon
  4. Banana Boat
  5. Bausch & Lomb
  6. Bobbi Brown
  7. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
  8. Bumble and Bumble
  9. Cacherel
  10. Cargill
  11. Carpet Fresh
  12. Carter-Wallace
  13. Charlie
  14. Chesebrough-Ponds
  15. Church & Dwight
  16. Clarion
  17. Clairol
  18. Clear Choice
  19. Clinique
  20. Clorox
  21. Commerce Drug Co.
  22. Consumer Value Stores
  23. Coppertone
  24. Coty
  25. Cover Girl
  26. Crest
  27. Daisy Fuentes
  28. Dana Perfumes
  29. Darphin
  30. Dawn
  31. Del Laboratories
  32. Desitin
  33. Dial Corporation
  34. Diversey
  35. Donna Karan
  36. Dove
  37. Dow Brands
  38. Drackett Products Co.
  39. Drano
  40. EcoLab
  41. Eli Lilly & Co.
  42. El Sanofi Inc.
  43. Elizabeth Arden
  44. Erno Laszlo
  45. Estee Lauder
  46. Faberge
  47. Fantastik
  48. Fendi
  49. Final Net
  50. Finesse
  51. First Response
  52. Flame Glow
  53. Flirt!
  54. Garnier
  55. Giorgio Armani
  56. Givaudan-Roure
  57. Glade
  58. Glass Plus
  59. GlaxoSmithKline
  60. Good Skin
  61. Grassroots skin care
  62. Helena Rubinstein
  63. Helene Curtis Industries
  64. Herbal Essences
  65. Huggies
  66. ISO
  67. Ivory
  68. Jhirmack
  69. Jo Malone
  70. Johnson & Johnson
  71. Johnson Products Co.
  72. Jovan
  73. Kaboom
  74. Keri
  75. Kimberly-Clark Corp
  76. Kiton
  77. Kiwi Brands
  78. Kleenex
  79. La Mer
  80. Lab Series
  81. Lady’s Choice
  82. Lancaster
  83. Lancome
  84. Lava
  85. Lever Brothers
  86. Lipton
  87. Listerine
  88. L’Oreal USA
  89. Lubriderm
  90. Lux
  91. Lysol
  92. MAC Cosmetics
  93. Mars (candy company)
  94. Mary Kay
  95. Matrix Essentials
  96. Max Factor
  97. Maybelline
  98. McNeil Nutritionals
  99. Mead
  100. Michael Kors
  101. Missoni
  102. Mitchum
  103. Mop & Glo
  104. Nair
  105. Naturelle
  106. Neutrogena
  107. Neutron Industries, Inc.
  108. Ojon
  109. Olean
  110. Orange Glo
  111. Origins
  112. Oscar de la Renta
  113. OxiClean
  114. Pantene
  115. Parfums International
  116. Pearl Drops
  117. Pennex
  118. Pfizer, Inc.
  119. Pine-Sol
  120. Plax
  121. Playtex Corporation
  122. Pledge
  123. Polident
  124. Ponds
  125. Post-It
  126. Prescriptives
  127. Prestige Brands
  128. Prince Matchabelli
  129. Proctor & Gamble Co.
  130. Quintessence
  131. Raid
  132. Ralph Lauren Fragrances
  133. Reckitt Benckiser
  134. Redken
  135. Resolve
  136. Revlon
  137. Richardson-Vicks
  138. Sally Beauty Supply
  139. Sally Hansen
  140. Sanofi
  141. SC Johnson & Son
  142. Schering-Plough
  143. Scotch
  144. Scott Paper Co.
  145. Scrub Free
  146. Sean John Fragrances
  147. Sensodyne
  148. Signal
  149. Smashbox Cosmetics
  150. Snobal
  151. SoftSheen
  152. S.O.S.
  153. Splenda
  154. Stanhome Inc.
  155. Sterling Drug
  156. Suave
  157. Sun Star
  158. Sunsilk
  159. TCB Naturals
  160. Tegrin
  161. 3M
  162. Tide
  163. Tilex
  164. Tom Ford Beauty
  165. Tommy Hilfiger
  166. Trojan
  167. Truvia
  168. Ultima II
  169. Unilever
  170. Vaseline
  171. Vichy
  172. Vidal Sassoon
  173. Visine
  174. Vivid
  175. Warner-Lambert
  176. Westwood Pharmaceuticals
  177. White Shoulders
  178. Whitehall Laboratories
  179. Windex
  180. Woolite

As always great to see Labour focused on the important issue of telling NZ women which cosmetics they are allowed to buy.

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A reader on Labour’s website

July 16th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

A reader e-mails:

I went there yesterday to try and find out what Phil Twyford had said about the roading package.  First thing I noticed on the front page: no search function.  So I went to news and clicked on press releases.  They’re in chronological order.  So I clicked on page 3, as I figured that might take me back as far as June 29, when we made the announcement.  It didn’t, so I clicked on the last available page – page 5.  That took me back as far as July 4, but there is an arrow to the right of the five numbered pages, so I clicked on that, figuring it would take me to pages 6 and beyond.  Nope, it took me back to the front page of press releases.

 Shit I thought, I’ll have to go to Phil Twyford’s MP page – that’s bound to have his press releases.  No, it doesn’t.  It doesn’t actually have any of his media statements – there’s no hyperlinks from his page to anything he’s said, press releases or speeches.  It did have a link to what looked to be his personal website (‘Website: twyord.org.nz’), so I thought it might be there, but astonishingly that link merely refreshed the very page I was looking at.

 So in a nutshell:

  • Labour’s website has no search function
  • It has no archive of its press releases older than the past two weeks, and older releases just seem to drop off the bottom of the list as new ones enter the system
  • Its MP pages have none of their statements, and the links to what appear to be their external personal websites don’t work

 And, as someone else out to me, if you look at their team page, here: http://campaign.labour.org.nz/team the bios don’t follow any orchestrated formula; they’re a shambles – some are in the first person, such as Nanaia Mahuta … “since becoming an MP I have …”, some are in the third person, such as David Cunliffe … “David is in politics because he believes people matter …”, and some, like Chris Hipkins (ironically the Education Spokesperson) are a grammatical mess … “Chris passionate about education …”

The main purpose of Labour’s website seems to be to get people to give them their e-mail address.

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Labour’s secret policy for compulorsy Maori language in schools

July 15th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

All New Zealand schoolchildren would learn Maori under Labour’s long-term plan for te reo, but it appears the party is loath to give the policy a high profile.

So is it their policy or isn’t it?

Labour Maori affairs spokeswoman Nanaia Mahuta and education spokesman Chris Hipkins indicated Labour had an “aspirational” target for Maori to be taught in all schools after the Maori Party’s Te Tai Tokerau candidate, Te Hira Paenga, claimed Labour had endorsed his party’s policy for compulsory te reo in schools.

“We are glad to see Labour at last getting the message that our reo is something that we all, as New Zealanders, should embrace,” Mr Paenga said.

Ms Mahuta initially suggested Mr Paenga had the wrong end of the stick, saying Labour would only promote its own policy which was “the recognition that te reo should be a working language for all New Zealanders”.

However, Ms Mahuta was far more direct in a debate held in Gisborne earlier this month when she said: “We’ve made a clear commitment that te reo Maori will be compulsory in our schools.”

Isn’t this typical Labour. They say one thing to one audience, and another thing to another. That quote from Mahuta is crystal clear, but now watch them backtrack as the previously secret policy has been highlighted.

She later said the comment was made in the context of the recognition “that there are some real challenges in our school system to build the capacity of our teaching workforce who are able to teach te reo Maori”. She said te reo for all schoolchildren was “an aspirational goal within our policy platform around te reo Maori and we believe that we need to take some practical steps to be able to build up, for example, the teaching workforce to be able to teach te reo Maori in our schools as a way towards supporting that aspiration”.

Education spokesman Mr Hipkins said Labour “certainly wouldn’t use the phrase compulsory” for its long-term te reo policy.

So Mahuta says to a Maori forum that te reo Maori will be compulsory, while Hipkins says, no it won’t be.

“I would certainly like to make sure all kids have the option and there is availability of te reo maori in all schools. Whether in fact that was compulsory, that’s a discussion for another day.

Translation – that is our policy, but we don’t want people to realise it.

I have no problem with having a debate on the pros and cons of compulsory te reo Maori in schools.  What I do have a problem with is a two-faced party that won’t even be honest about its policies.

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Kelvin Davis backs the highway his party wants to scrap

July 15th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Labour MP Kelvin Davis said:

The Government needs to step up and help local councils fix infrastructure problems highlighted by the recent Northland storms, Labour MP Kelvin Davis says.

The Government needs to step up and help local councils fix infrastructure problems highlighted by the recent Northland storms, Labour MP Kelvin Davis says.

“The bad weather has amplified how susceptible the North really is at times like this.

“Our roading infrastructure is a major source of concern. This weather event has shown that when the main road in and out of the north fails, the side roads are just not able to cope as detour routes.

Kelvin then went on Radio Live and said three things of interest.

  • That both Labour and National had not invested enough on infrastructure in Northland
  • That he was unaware of the announcement by the Government two weeks ago to invest in improvements for two local roads in Northland
  • That he supports the Puhoi to Wellsford Highway, which Labour have vowed to scrap. He calls it a lifeline, and says everyone up here supports it

Gerry Brownlee points out:

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says Labour list MP Kelvin Davis’s call today for the Government to “step up” and invest in Northland roading following this week’s damaging storms shows what a conflict-ridden shambles Labour is just 68 days out from the general election.

“Up to $1.66 billion worth of Government funding is currently committed to Northland roading projects, and the vast majority of it would be cut by a Labour-led government,” Mr Brownlee says.

“Only two weeks ago the Government announced up to $33.5 million worth of extra investment in upgrading two roading projects Northland councils told us were urgent – one of them on the very stretch of State Highway 1 south of Kawakawa which has been washed out by this week’s storm.

“National identified years ago that Northland’s roading infrastructure was vulnerable through underinvestment and has committed over $1.38 billion as part of the Roads of National Significance programme, and $255 million in the most recent National Land Transport Plan.

“We know that if Labour is in a position to form a Government later this year it would axe the Puhoi to Wellsford Road of National Significance and re-direct the funding to an immediate start on Auckland’s City Rail Loop, a project the Government has already committed to co-funding the construction of from 2020.

“You don’t have to convince the Government that Northland needs better roading, Mr Davis, convincing your caucus colleagues and the Green Party will be a much tougher task,” Mr Brownlee says.

There is a pattern emerging here of local provincial Labour MPs disagreeing with Labour on regional development. O’Connor and Tirikatene both voted against Labour on West Coast logging, and now Davis is saying his party is wrong on the Puhoi to Wellsford Highway. He even calls it a lifeline that everyone in Northland supports.

What this points to is a party totally out of touch with regional New Zealand. Urban liberals in Auckland who hate logging and roading, set the policy for the regions.

Incidentally who is the Regional Development Spokesperson for Labour? I’ll leave it to you to look it up.

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Labour and human rights

July 14th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Article 11(1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says:

Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.

Labour’s policy to make people accused of sexual assault prove their innocence is in stark contrast to this. Labour are saying that the presumption of innocence will be reversed if you are accused of sexual assault or rape, if the only issue is consent, not that sex occurred.

The Green Party has policy saying:

Encourage commitment to international human rights as contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international conventions, and support the work of the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court.

So my question to the Greens is, do they support Labour’s policy to reverse the burden of proof for consent in rape cases?

How can you claim to support the UDHR and even entertain for a second Labour’s policy?

While David Cunliffe has backed away from the policy, saying they are just considering it, Andrew Little explicitly said on Twitter changing the burden of proof is policy, and Little is still advocating for the change. Until such a time as Labour unambiguously says there is no chance of a change to burden of proof under Labour, the only safe thing to do is assume it is likely to occur if they get into Government.

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Shearer backs drilling

July 13th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Deep sea drilling would continue under a Labour Government, but with more safety regulations in case it goes “very very wrong”, Labour’s energy and resources spokesman David Shearer said this morning.

Mr Shearer appeared on The Nation this morning to talk about Labour’s oil drilling policy.

“We support oil drilling [and] we have done in the past, there’s no major change there,” he said.

Here’s the problem. Shearer supports it and says it will continue as Energy Spokesperson. But their environmental spokesperson will put out releases condemning it, and their candidates lead marches against it. They try to be all things to all people.

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Rates to go up under Labour

July 12th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Homeowners and landlords could see hundreds of dollars added to their rates bills under Labour proposals for a sweeping overhaul of the disaster insurance regime.

The policy unveiled by Labour’s Earthquake Commission (EQC) spokesman Clayton Cosgrove would see EQC levies gathered by taking them off insurance premiums and adding them to rates bills so all residential properties are covered.

The levy is currently $207 a year for most homes but Mr Cosgrove said Labour would also lift the maximum payout by EQC from its current $100,000 cap.

Which will see the levy increase. So that may mean you rates end up going up by over $300 a year.

He acknowledged that the resulting increase in EQC’s total liability would mean the levy would probably have to rise but that insurance premiums would not necessarily fall to reflect the fact they would not include the EQC levy.

“I’ve never seen an insurance premium go down.”

So Labour is proposing that our rates go up by $300 or so but that our insurance premiums don’t go down.

Another winning policy.

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Labour wants taxpayers to pay more for Christchurch

July 11th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour has raised the possibility of the taxpayer shouldering an even greater proportion of Christchurch rebuild costs, saying it would sit down with Christchurch Council to review the existing cost sharing agreement if it won the election.

I guess $10 billion or $20 billion or whatever the figure is isn’t enough. Labour wants to bail out the high spending Mayor. If the Council saved  $100 million on not restoring the Town Hall that would be better than sending the bill to taxpayers.

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No Right Turn on the presumption of innocence

July 10th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn blogs on Labour’s policy to require those accused of rape to prove they had consent:

This clearly violates the presumption of innocence affirmed in the Bill of Rights Act (not to mention the Universal Declaration of Human RightsICCPR, and every other major human rights instrument). Under that presumption, the state has to prove each and every aspect of its case (“the burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies”). That’s clearly not the case under Labour’s proposal.

Our Supreme Court has already found that the presumption of supply in the Misuse of Drugs Act violates the Bill of Rights Act for exactly these reasons. They will draw exactly the same conclusion about this proposal – as will the UN Human Rights Commission.

I accept that rape cases are difficult to prove. This change will make them remarkably easier. If Labour gets its way, there will be a lot more convictions for rape. And a lot more of them will be of innocent people. We presume innocence because we believe it is far better for the guilty to go free than for the innocent to be punished. Labour clearly does not believe that any more.

A party which does not believe in and will not defend the presumption of innocence does not deserve your vote. All they deserve is your contempt. If they retain this policy, you should not vote Labour.

I can not believe they will not back down on this policy. Surely it is just a matter of time.

I’m surprised the Law Society and the Criminal Bar Association have been silent on Labour’s policy. It’s hard to think of a policy that strikes more at the heart of the justice system.

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Charges are not the same as offences recorded

July 9th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Police charging fewer criminals to meet the Government’s crime reduction targets are to blame for the sharp drop in police prosecutions for family violence offences, the Labour Party says.

But the Government and police have strongly rejected this, with Police Minister Anne Tolley calling the claim “unfounded” and a desperate attempt to get a headline in an election year.

More that that it shows Labour doesn’t even understand the official crime statistics.

The crime reduction targets have nothing to do with whether people are charged or not. It is basically impossible to reduce the crime rate by not charging people who have been reported as having committed an offence.

To quote Stats NZ:

All reports of incidents, whether from victims, witnesses, third parties, or discovered by police, and whether crime-related or not, will result in the registration of an incident report by police. The incident will be recorded as one or more offences if:

  • the circumstances as reported amount to a crime defined by law, and

  • there is no credible evidence to the contrary

Whether or not someone is charged has no impact on whether the report is recorded as a crime.

The violent crime stats tend to be the most reliable, because they are based on complaints being laid. Other categories of crimes can rise or fall depending on how much energy the Police put into them, especially drug crimes. Drug crimes do not normally involve a complainant, so the level of recorded drug crime will depend on how much effort the Police put into the area. But violent crime is almost entirely based on complaints from victims or witnesses, and a decision to not charge an offender will not impact the crime stats. It will impact the stats on charges and convictions, but they are different stats to the crime stats.

So the short version of this is that Labour are talking through a hole in their head. They just don’t understand that even if their allegation is true (which I would not assume to be the case), it doesn’t impact the crime stats.

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Herald picks up on Labour’s policy to make you prove consent if you have sex

July 9th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Labour Party’s plan to reform the criminal justice system would mean that the accused in a rape case would have to prove consent to be found innocent — a change it acknowledges as a monumental shift.

Every New Zealander needs to know about this insane policy of Labour;s.

The policy would mean that in a rape case, if the Crown proved a sexual encounter and the identity of the defendant, it would be rape unless the defendant could prove it was consensual.

This could lead to a huge increase in people videotaping their encounters, as it is the only way to prove consent.

Think about all the times you have had sex with someone, and how often could you *prove* consent. Bear in mind that even if you are married to them, that is not proof. If you split with your ex, then all they have to do is head to the cops and say the sex you had six weeks ago was not consensual. Now you then have to *prove* there was consent. Proof is not just casting doubt on the allegation – it is proof that you had consent. Now think about how could you prove you had consent. Doubt is not enough. If it is what you say vs what they say, you will lose.

I’m not sure there is a (western) country in the world that requires you to prove consent when it comes to allegations of sexual assault. There’s a reason for that.

“The Crown has to prove more than just sex; the issue of consent has to be raised by the Crown, they have to prove the identity of the offender. They would have to bear that burden of proof before a switch to the defence to prove consent,” Mr Little said.

Which is a barrier in stranger rape allegations. But no barrier to the large number of cases when the issue is consent, not identity.

He said the issue of proof would only apply where allegations of rape had been raised.

“It is pretty radical thing to say that ‘all sex is rape’ unless you prove consent. The reality is that in 99.9 per cent of cases, no one is being asked to prove consent.”

So reassuring. So long as there is no accusation.

Mr Little said the inquisitorial system still preserved those principles because the Crown would still have to prove a number of aspects of a case before consent was explored.

“I don’t accept that that is creating an offence under which the defendant is guilty until proven innocent.”

They are, once the fact of sex is established – they must then prove their innocence.

If you ever needed a reason to convince your friends and neighbours not to vote Labour, this is it. I predict Labour will be forced to abandon this policy, as more and more people become aware of it – but can you trust them not to implement it after the election regardless?

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Labour to increase taxation by $5 billion a year

July 8th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

On Q+A, David Cunliffe said:

By the way, a capital gains tax which at full running is going to bring in 5 billion dollars a year, close to, 4 to 5 billion is the single biggest change to New Zealand tax policy in decades and it’s one that I’ve personally championed for years.

That’s appalling. That’s an extra $5 billion a year ripped out of NZ families and businesses, to be spent by Government.

There is a case for a capital gains tax. I support a broad base tax system. However I’m sick of new taxes being added on, with no compensating reduction in income and company taxes.

If Labour’s capital gains tax was really about changing investment incentives, then they’d commit to reducing income and company tax by the same amount of revenue their CGT would bring in.

But in reality, their CGT is just about increase the tax burden on New Zealanders by $5 billion a year.

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Sex contracts

July 7th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Labour’s new policy is that if you have sex with someone, you need to prove there was consent, otherwise you are guilty of rape.

In anticipation no doubt of such insanity becoming law if Labour wins, there is a site which offers contracts that you can get your partner to sign prior to sex. There’s one for women and men.

It’s very detailed, so you have an absolute defence in court, as to what has and has not been consented to. The kissing section is:

Consent yes/no to:

  • closed mouth kissing
  • open-mouthed kissing with lips 
  • open-mouthed kissing with tongue
  • light biting/nibbling
  • heavy biting/nibbling
  • kissed on the face and neck

It usefully also includes a check box saying that you will not hold the kisser responsible for hickeys :-)

The other sections are somewhat more explicit, so I won’t repeat them here. Highly amused though by being able to specify a maximum number of fingers :-)

If Labour’s don’t ditch their insane policy, I’m thinking the Young Nationals could print out these sex contracts, with a Labour Party logo, and distribute them around bars and nightclubs so people understand that if Labour get elected, you need to prove you are not a rapist if you have sex with someone.

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Labour’s dodgy numbers

July 7th, 2014 at 2:50 pm by David Farrar

Steven Joyce points out:

“David Cunliffe, David Parker and Chris Hipkins had a ‘hey Clint’ moment on TV last night, when all three of them failed to answer a simple question about the total cost of their grab-bag of education announcements,” Mr Joyce says.

“Labour has rejected having a Treasury analyst in its office, and it really is showing.”

Talking to media yesterday after announcing it would spend $403 million over four years to employ more teachers, neither David Cunliffe, nor David Parker nor Chris Hipkins could do the simple maths on how much their other promises would cost.

“That’s because their numbers don’t add up and their claims are misleading,” Mr Joyce says.

“For a start, the Government currently funds secondary schools for an average 20 students per classroom, well below Labour’s ‘new’ target of 23 students per classroom.

I understand the funding rations are 1:23.5 in Year 9, 1:23.5 in Year 10, 1:23 in Year 11, 1:18 in Year 12 and 1:17 in Year 13.

“When it comes to their costings, Labour’s figures include only the cost of the extra teachers’ salaries. They need to come clean on what the total costs would be including ACC, training, support  superannuation, and all the other overheads involved in supporting more teachers.”

And as they will make KiwiSaver compuslory and at a higher contribution rate – all ads up.

But the general rule of thumb is that you double the direct salary costs to calculate the overall impact of a new staffer.

“And on Saturday they claimed they would provide every student between years five and 13 with a digital device worth $600 by providing a $100 subsidy and having parents pay $3.50 a week for 18 months. This will be news to Labour, but this adds up to only $373 per device.

They really need that Treasury secondee!

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Experts say class size has little impact

July 7th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour’s proposal to reduce class sizes at schools has failed to win a universal gold star, with experts saying the small cuts without improving teaching would do little to raise the bar of student achievement.

Associate Professor John O’Neill, of Massey University’s Institute of Education, said the Labour Party’s proposal to cut school class sizes if elected in September would not achieve much without changes to teaching itself.

At the Labour election-year congress yesterday, leader David Cunliffe announced the party would fund an extra 2000 teachers, which would see primary and secondary school classes shrink by an average of three students by 2018.

But O’Neill said recent research suggested making classes slightly larger or smaller did not greatly alter the achievement levels for average students.

Indeed. Here’s a list of the 105 things which have been found to have a larger impact on student achievement than class size.

  1. Self-reported grades
  2. Piagetian programs
  3. Providing formative evaluation
  4. Micro teaching
  5. Acceleration
  6. Classroom behavioral
  7. Comprehensive interventions for learning disabled students
  8. Teacher clarity
  9. Reciprocal teaching
  10. Feedback
  11. Teacher-Student relationships
  12. Spaced vs. Mass Practice
  13. Meta-cognitive strategies
  14. Prior achievement
  15. Vocabulary programs
  16. Repeated Reading programs
  17. Creativity Programs
  18. Self-verbalization & Self-questioning
  19. Professional development
  20. Problem solving teaching
  21. Not labeling students
  22. Teaching strategies
  23. Cooperative vs. individualistic learning
  24. Study skills
  25. Direct Instruction
  26. Tactile stimulation programs
  27. Phonics instruction
  28. Comprehension programs
  29. Mastery learning
  30. Worked examples
  31. Home environment
  32. Socioeconomic status
  33. Concept mapping
  34. Challenging Goals
  35. Visual-Perception programs
  36. Peer tutoring
  37. Cooperative vs. competitive learning
  38. Pre-term birth weight
  39. Classroom cohesion
  40. Keller’s PIS
  41. Peer influences
  42. Classroom management
  43. Outdoor/Adventure Programs
  44. Interactive video method
  45. Parental Involvement
  46. Play Programs
  47. Second/Third chance programs
  48. Small group learning
  49. Concentration/Persistence/Engagement
  50. missing
  51. Motivation
  52. Early Intervention
  53. Questioning
  54. Pre school programs
  55. Quality of Teaching
  56. Writing Programs
  57. Expectations
  58. School size
  59. Self-concept
  60. Mathematics programs
  61. Behavioral organizers/Adjunct questions
  62. missing
  63. Cooperative learning
  64. Science
  65. Social skills programs
  66. Reducing anxiety
  67. Integrated Curricula Programs
  68. Enrichment
  69. Career Interventions
  70. Time on Task
  71. Computer assisted instruction
  72. Adjunct aids
  73. Bilingual Programs
  74. Principals/School leaders
  75. Attitude to Mathematics/Science
  76. Exposure to Reading
  77. Drama/Arts Programs
  78. Creativity
  79. Frequent/Effects of testing
  80. Decreasing disruptive behavior
  81. Drugs
  82. Simulations
  83. Inductive teaching
  84. Ethnicity
  85. Teacher effects
  86. Inquiry based teaching
  87. Ability grouping for gifted students
  88. Homework
  89. Home visiting
  90. Exercise/Relaxation programs
  91. Desegregation
  92. Mainstreaming
  93. Teaching test taking & coaching
  94. Use of calculators
  95. Values/Moral Education Programs
  96. Competitive vs. individualistic learning
  97. Special College Programs
  98. Programmed instruction
  99. Summer school
  100. Finances
  101. Illness (Lack of)
  102. Religious Schools
  103. Individualised instruction
  104. Visual/Audio-visual methods
  105. Comprehensive Teaching Reforms
  106. Class size

Now remember this doesn’t come from one study. This is a from a meta-analysis of 50,000 different studies. There have been 96 studies just on class size, and they have found the impact on learning is quite minor.

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