Labour declines membership of a former candidate because he criticised them on Facebook

October 14th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

A former lost nominee for Labour recently tried to rejoin the party. His application was declined by the NZ Council:

As you know, you resigned your membership of the NZ Labour Party on May 14th 2015 and sought to rejoin on August 28th 2015.  Council retains the right to decide on membership applications, and in your case has decided to decline the application.  Under Rule 6 of the Constitution we will be informing the Taranaki King Country LEC of the decision which we have made.

Although there is no obligation to provide reasons for this decision, Council were well aware that you operate a “Labour Members and Supporters” Facebook page which has from time to time contained unhelpful comments which could well be regarded as risking disrepute.

So if you are a supporter of Labour and saying anything unhelpful to them on Facebook, they don’t want you as a member!

I would have thought they needed all the members they could get.


Labour’s latest TPP position

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

Stuff reports:

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

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

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

It would be politically suicidal for them to do so.

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

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

This man wants to be Prime Minister?

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

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

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

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Dann on TPP

October 13th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Herald business editor Liam Dann writes:

Helen Clark, who as Prime Minister kicked off the trade talks that evolved into the TPP, doesn’t seem to think so.

Last month she told New Zealand media in New York: “What always haunts a Prime Minister is: ‘Will there be a series of trade blocs develop that you are not part of?’ Because that is unthinkable for New Zealand as an export-oriented, small trading nation.

“So of course New Zealand has to be in on the action with the TPP and go for the very best deal it can.”

Clark’s words must seem brutally pragmatic to many of those still clinging to the notion that New Zealand should walk away from the TPP.

But her point seems to be that the bar for not signing up to this trade deal would have to be extremely high.

She was talking before the agreement was signed but one doubts the final text will have changed her stance.

It is hard to see any deal breaker in the detail so far which would justify New Zealand isolating itself from a trading block that represents 40 per cent of global GDP.

We’d be the laughing stock of the world to walk away from a deal we spent seven years negotiating.

This is problematic for Labour if it remains opposed to this deal based on specific points of detail.

And this has raised the prospect that Labour may oppose it on ideological grounds.

That might seem a populist approach when it comes to Facebook clicks, but would put the party into serious conflict with the current realities of the New Zealand economy.

As a tiny country, New Zealand is considerably less well placed to go down an isolationist path than, say, the UK under a Jeremy Corbyn-led Labour Government.

It would be an almost revolutionary position for a major political party to take here.

Vietnam – hardly an easy target for US imperialism – is set to sign the deal.

It would seem strange, I think, to see the New Zealand Labour Party taking a harder ideological stance than the Communist Party in Hanoi.

Sadly, it is quite possible.

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Labour called rudderless

October 12th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stacey Kirk writes at Stuff:

Any semblance of a Labour political strategy has been conspicuously absent this past week. 

One of the most important free-trade announcements in decades was made, and Labour leader Andrew Little was nowhere to be seen.  …

But never underestimate the power of the Auckland vote, because that is where Labour needs to turn it around. 

An all-Wellington leadership team in Little and King would do nothing for that cause. 

Ardern has significant support in Auckland, and has also earnt the respect of many members of the business crowd. That could prove the decider.  

The upcoming review and consequent reshuffle is a crucial part of Labour’s strategy in the leadup to the 2017 election. 

They can’t allow the Governmentto dictate discussion as they have done on the TPP this past week. 

It’s understood the Government and Treasury had a line-by-line plan prepared to rebut any of vocal detractor Jane Kelsey’s possible arguments.

Irrespective of which side of the discussion you fall, that is the level of organisation Labour needs to be striving for. 

However, Little was on a pre-planned holiday and King was difficult to access. 

A refusal to rule in or out whether the party would even stick with the deal, if it was in Government, instills no confidence that it is a party with a direction. 

Any leadership team would struggle to hold course without a rudder. 

Maybe this sums up their direction:

Row, row, row your boat
Gently down the stream
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
Life is but a dream

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Hooton on Labour and TPP

October 9th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Matthew Hooton writes:

John Key must be sorely tempted to put the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to a formal ratification vote in parliament. If the prime minister did so, he would split the ridiculous rabble that sits across from him.

Two former Labour leaders, Phil Goff and David Shearer, would cross the floor to back the deal, along with Napier MP Stuart Nash, Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis and Tāmaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare, party insiders say. They alone would inherit Peter Fraser, Norman Kirk, David Lange and Helen Clark’s liberal-internationalist mantle.

There is no vote on ratification, but there will be a vote on legislation to implement parts of it.

For 20 years, New Zealand’s number one foreign policy goal has been a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the world’s largest economy, the US. If the TPP is ratified – which remains a big if – that NZ-US FTA has now been achieved, and FTAs with the world’s third and 11th largest economies, Japan and Canada, both hitherto highly protectionist, have been thrown into the bargain.

That’s three of the G7.

As a first tentative step in the long-term strategy, Dr Smith and Mrs Shipley launched negotiations in September 1999 for an FTA with Singapore, an agreement without economic significance but designed as a template for a wider 21st century deal.

The greatest share of political credit, though, lies with Ms Clark and her trade ministers Jim Sutton and Mr Goff.

It was the Clark government that concluded the Singapore deal, launched and completed the initial TPP with Singapore, Chile and Brunei and then drew in the US, Australia, Peru and Vietnam in 2008, following Ms Clark’s successful 2007 meeting with George W Bush.

The New Zealand origins of the deal are why Wellington had the diplomatic honour of being the depository and administrator of the treaty.

Worth remembering that. This is not a deal that the US approach NZ with. This was part of a 20 year strategy by both National and Labour Governments to get an FTA with the US.

To take one somewhat ironic example of the deal’s effects, given the music industry’s usual politics, the TPP’s copyright provisions mean the likes of Lorde, Tiki Taane, and SIX60 have ended up bigger winners from the TPP than Fonterra – which is surely fair enough given they actually bother to add value to their raw material and market it creatively offshore.

I don’t support the extension of the term of copyright to life plus 70 years, but did note on Twitter today that Lorde’s great grand children will be happy they can get money from her music in the year 2167!

The TPP also includes rules demanding higher labour and environmental standards, which are enforceable through ISDS, a first for a trade deal of this nature. Pharmac is left alone. Tobacco companies are excluded from being able to benefit from the deal. The Treaty of Waitangi is protected. So are marine mammals and even sharks.

If Labour vote against, they will be voting against an agreement that no member can weaken their environmental or labour laws and must introduce a minimum wage.

The union bosses, student politicians and former Alliance activists who now control Labour will have none of this.

Under Labour’s new rules that further empower its more fanatical grass-root members, the party has fallen under the spell of UK Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, unwavering anti-globalisation activist Jane Kelsey, Marxist twitter addicts and extreme-left bloggers at The Standard and The Daily Blog.

The party’s antics over the TPP this week suggest its missing-in-action leader, Mr Little, and its woeful finance spokesman, Grant Robertson, have never moved on from their time leading student rabble as presidents of the New Zealand University Students’ Association.

The student politicians have taken over the party!

Mr Little’s chief of staff is Matt McCarten, the former Alliance president who broke with Jim Anderton because the then deputy prime minister believed New Zealand should support the US in retaliating against Al Qaeda in Afghanistan for the September 11 attacks.

Insiders say that when Labour’s senior MPs and staff discuss policy and political positioning, the likely reaction of the left-wing Twitterati and blogsophere is given greater weight than that of any union, environmental group or social-policy advocates, let alone any industry association or business.

Surely this is not true?

The party’s hierarchy is now seriously considering actively campaigning against the TPP and making a manifesto commitment to activate the agreement’s withdrawal procedures should it become government.

It would be good for National if they do, but bad for NZ to have Labour go further left.

You read that right: today’s Labour hierarchy is seriously considering promising to withdraw from a trade deal with 40% of the world’s economy, including the US, Japan and Canada, for which Ms Clark, its greatest prime minister for a generation and its first ever to win three elections, deserves the lion’s share of the credit.

Have nothing to do with these people. Do not give them money. Do not help them with their policy development. Do not let them visit your business for cute photo-ops designed to suggest today’s Labour is interested in listening to mainstream people. For all the current government’s usual purposelessness and drift, the lunatics now running Labour’s asylum must never be let near power.


UPDATE: Labour is denying an internal rift on TPP, which means of course there is one!

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Quin on King vs Ardern

October 9th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Phil Quin writes in the Herald:

When he installed Annette King as his interim deputy, Andrew Little said he would revisit the decision around this point in his tenure. It’s a promise he would be wise to break. The advantages of a generational swap between King and Jacinda Ardern, the widely touted alternative, are fewer than they initially appear, and the risks are greater.

Annette King is not a leadership rival to Andrew Little, nor is she likely to become one. The same cannot be said of Ardern. That’s the first, and most crucial, box ticked. Unfulfilled ambition is the characteristic a leader least wants to see in a deputy.

That’s true. Having a deputy who wants your job rarely works out well.

Combined with an absence of unrealised ambition, King’s standing in caucus uniquely enables her to play hardball when called for, giving Little room to establish goodwill and build trust among colleagues.

It is hard to imagine an MP less temperamentally suited to inheriting “bad cop” duties than Jacinda Ardern. In fact, a change in deputy would demand a recalibration of responsibilities, forcing Little to take a greater role in managing (read: disciplining) caucus. He doesn’t need that: it’s not among his strengths, and it shouldn’t be his focus.

A good deputy will manage much of the caucus relations for the leader, and to a degree help manage the office also.

Ardern certainly appears to be well liked by the public, and has the backing of many inside the Labour Party, as well as a sizeable bloc of MPs, in particular those aligned with Grant Robertson with whom she ran on a joint ticket as deputy in last year’s leadership election. These are put forward as arguments in favour of promoting her, but they leave me cold.

For one thing, personal popularity is neither here nor there in a successful deputy. None of the most successful second-in-commanders of the recent era – Geoffrey Palmer, Don McKinnon or Michael Cullen – were beloved by the wider public. What they each offered were complementary skillsets, along with personal attributes, that made their leaders stronger.

This is true, but Ardern does have the ability to grow the vote for Labour if she is in a leadership role. The problem is she may over-shadow Little, but they need to lift their vote in Auckland and neither Little nor King can really do that.

It may be that Annette King wants to retire – and who could blame her after 28 years in Parliament? This would bolster the case for Jacinda Ardern without making it a slam dunk. Breakfast telly affability – undeniably useful in a senior politician – is not what Andrew Little wants in a deputy. He needs a compelling or charismatic figure far less than someone who provides the space necessary for him to become effective and popular in his own right.

I think he needs someone who can lift their party vote in Auckland.

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Clark, Labour and TPP

October 6th, 2015 at 10:06 am by David Farrar

The NZ Herald editorial:

Sometimes it takes someone a little removed from the fray to put the right perspective on an issue.

New Zealanders have sorely needed such insight on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, so deeply polarised are they about its potential benefit to this country.

And there could be few people better placed to supply this than former Prime Minister Helen Clark. …

Ms Clark’s statement, a rare one on a domestic issue since she became the Administrator of the UN Development Programme, emphasised how foolish that would be.

What had always haunted her as prime minister, she said, was the development of a series of trade blocs of which New Zealand was not part. That would be “unthinkable” for this country as an export-orientated, small trading nation.

“So, of course, New Zealand has to be in on the action with the TPP and go for the very best deal it can as the agreement expands beyond the original four economies to a wider regional agreement.” …

Ms Clark’s statement also carried a message for her former Labour colleagues.

Curiously for a party that formerly embraced free trade, it has insisted its support for the TPP is contingent on the meeting of several “non-negotiable bottom lines”.

Labour may imagine this plays well with those people adamantly opposed to the pact.

But most importantly, as its former leader implies, it reveals a failure to to appreciate the big picture. That dictates a small trading nation cannot afford to stand aside from an agreement of such magnitude for the Asia-Pacific region.

The partisan part of me wants Labour to vote against TPP, as I think it will continue their descent away from electability. But actually it would be a bad thing for NZ to lose its long-standing bipartisan support for trade deals.

Liam Hehir writes:

When Helen Clark came out in broad endorsement of New Zealand’s participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, she lifted the lid on what is going to become a real headache for Andrew Little. If negotiation of the mammoth trade treaty is completed (which could well have occurred by the time you read this) the Labour Party is going to have to make a decision about whether or not it will throw its support behind New Zealand joining the bloc.

Until now, Labour has been assiduously ambiguous on the subject. This seems to be because some swivel-eyed members of the party base are convinced that the treaty is a sinister National Party scheme to outsource sovereignty to Halliburton, Pfizer and the Rothschild family. Not wishing to alienate these noisy activists, the party has been careful to avoid expressing any enthusiasm for the deal.

Yet …

But at the same time, it has not ruled out supporting the deal should agreement be reached. A significant chunk of Labour’s parliamentary caucus is serious about governing. They care more about pragmatism than party slogans and, when pushed, they care more about the national interest than they do about oppositional politics.

But are there enough of them? I’m not sure there are.

The problem is that weasel words will only get you so far. Complaining about the secret negotiating process won’t cut it once the negotiations have been wrapped up and the terms of the deal have been laid bare. The debate then has nowhere to go but to the ultimate merits of the thing.

Despite persistent claims to the contrary, joining the TPP is going to require the enactment of implementing legislation. When those votes are called, Labour MPs will need to make a call on turning its back on vastly improved access to markets representing nearly 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. Whatever decision is made, somebody is going to have to be disappointed.

I think it will be the party activists. If the TPP represents a halfway-decent deal for New Zealand, my bet is that Labour MPs will give it their blessing. There will be some public handwringing, of course, and reservations will be loudly stated. Unlike NZ First or the Greens, however, Labour is simply too integral to our political system to indulge in fantasies of the country prospering as a hermit kingdom closed off from the world economy.

I hope Liam is right, but I am less optimistic. They have abandoned bipartisan support for stable monetary policy that targets inflation, and in recent elections have had a policy of effective nationalisation of electricity generators.

For Helen Clark, the only Labour leader to have won a general election in almost 30 years, to say that “of course” we should “be in on the action with the TPP” starkly exposes the reality of the situation. Labour is a serious, mainstream party. It is inclined to deal with the world as it is.

If Labour don’t support TPP, I can see a number of election ads quoting her words back to them!

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Labour’s TPP duplicity

October 5th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour deputy leader Annette King said the fact the Government has put the brakes on legislation around plain packaging for cigarettes, while it waits to see whether Australia is successfully sued by a tobacco company, has put doubt in people’s minds.

“It must also be in the Government’s mind at this point because why wouldn’t we pass (the legislation) if we can’t be sued.”

King is being deliberately misleading, The lawsuit in Australia  that NZ is waiting to see the outcome of, is not under an investor state dispute settlement provision of an free trade agreement.  It is under WTO rules and is not a company but a country suing – Ukraine, Honduras, Indonesia, Dominican Republic and Cuba.

These are the same dispute settlement provisions that allowed us to get a WTO ruling that Australia can’t block NZ apple imports on phony biosecurity grounds.

King said the Government had done an “appalling” job of handling public confidence and public information over the deal.

“Yes, everyone understands you don’t give away all the things you’re negotiating…but there has been a very high handed and arrogant approach.

“The vacuum (the Government) left by not bringing along the public in some respects has been filled by people who have got information from other sources. It’s their own fault they’ve ended up with a divided public over a deal that they tell us is going to be a high quality deal,” she said.

I love this – Labour scaremongers for months over the TPP, and then says it is the Government’s fault the public has had misleading information!

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Harsh Harman compares Labour to Penny Bright

September 28th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Richard Harman writes in Politik:

Whenever there’s a public political event in Auckland starring the Prime Minister veteran protestor Penny Bright turn up in her red beret and her cluster of placards. Her usual theme is to abuse the Prime Minister by calling him “Shonkey”. It’s all good fun and Ms Bright is personable and never really rude.

To be fair to Penny she protests many people!

Once the left of New Zealand politics used to own nationhood issues. Think Peter Fraser, Norman Kirk or intellectuals like Keith Sinclair and Bob Chapman. So when the Prime Minister proposed a redesign of the flag you might have thought Labour would embrace it and quickly realising that he was simply doing it as a sort of marketing exercise they might have attempted to propel the whole debate to a higher plane. Instead they went for cheap shots. …

But the problem with that was that it placed the progressive side of New Zealand politics right alongside the RSA nostalgists from NZ First. It took the energy and initiative of a host of ordinary Kiwis to point out that Mr Key’s celebrity-laden flag panel had let us all down. Labour should have done that. For a party whose whakapapa includes the sponsorship of the 1940 Centennial of the Treaty of Waitangi and the explosion of scholarship, writing and music that inspired it looked like Mr Little and his MPs had forgotten their past. Or maybe they simply didn’t understand the future. …

Labour couldn’t’ resist repeating its tired old lines. In the debate over the red peak proposal they went on about the cost; about the failure to include a yes/no vote in the first referendum and they took a few swipes at the Greens for daring to support the Government. What they didn’t do was remind us that they were the party of nationhood and that by their own historic standards this process had fallen short. By forgetting their own past Labour run the risk of becoming as relevant to contemporary political debate as Penny Bright.

Harsh, but also true.  I guess they are more relevant than UK Labour though!

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Garner picks Ardern over King

September 27th, 2015 at 8:16 am by David Farrar

Duncan Garner writes at Stuff:

They need to now promote Jacinda Arden who last week appeared in the unprompted preferred PM rankings.

She should replace current deputy, Annette King.

King is strong, popular and performs, and my sources tell me there are some who want her to stay as number 2.

But Labour needs to excite the public and signal change and that’s where Ardern comes in.

As capable as King is, I don’t think they look like a party for the future with her as Deputy. If they retain her, it is almost a vote of no confidence in the rest of the caucus. However she is undeniably their best performing MP.

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Labour’s flag incompetence

September 16th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Labourflagballot (1)

This is Labour’s attempt to show they are a serious party. They included this in an actual bill to go before Parliament. Just two problems.

The minor one is they have used an incorrect description for the fourth flag. It is black, white and blue – not red, white and blue.

The major one is the referendum is meant to be preferential – you ranks the flags in order of preference. This is far fairer than First Past the Post. But in their haste they overlooked this and drew up a first pas the post ballot.

So two fails for them on this. How no one in Labour checks even bills for accuracy I don’t know.

And you know if they stopped playing politics and attacking National for implementing what was basically an identical policy to Labour’s, then the Red peak design could be included. All they have to do is back a bill which simply adds it on.

But they’d rather play politics.

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Will King stay on?

September 14th, 2015 at 6:20 am by David Farrar

Audrey Young writes:

With Labour MPs doing their jobs properly, and Annette King doing what good deputies do and helping to manage the caucus, Little has been left to get on with setting some strategic direction for the party.

King’s appointment was for a year only, allowing the party to settle after a bruising four-way leadership contest that Little won with union support. The sudden appearance of Jacinda Ardern as fourth in the preferred Prime Minister polls has led to speculation that she would be the logical choice to replace King in November and complement Little – young, female and from Auckland.

Being deputy, however, is not just a titular role and with King’s standing so high in the caucus and the party, she will undoubtedly be lobbied to stay on.

I understand that it is becoming more likely King will stay on as Deputy Leader, simply because there is no one else up to the job – or at least able to do it as well as her.

One Labour MP told me that the gap between Annette and all other female MPs in Labour is so huge you can hardly measure it.

The problem is that Annette entered Parliament in the 1980s. At the next election she will be a 33 year veteran of Parliament and be 70 years old. That is why she was meant to be the temporary deputy only. It will be a vote of no confidence in the rest of caucus if she carries on.

The other issue with Annette carrying on is that the top three Labour MPs are all from Wellington City, in a classic beltway capture. It’s hard to appeal to the country, if your senior leadership is all from the capital city.

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Will Bill Gates help fund a charter school?

September 3rd, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Land is close to being secured for a proposed charter school project between Ngai Tahu and a wealthy American businessman.

Marc Holtzman planned to lean on acquaintances, including Microsoft founder Bill Gates, to raise $10 million to $15 million for a new charter school.

The development comes as the Maori Party took a swipe at Labour over its unsuccessful attempt to stop two of its Maori MPs attending a charter school fundraiser.

Kelvin Davis, also Labour’s associate education (Maori education) spokesman, and Peeni Henare both represent Maori electorates.

Labour leader Andrew Little dismissed that criticism and, after calling the MPs to his office, said the party would carry out a wide-ranging programme on raising Maori educational success.

He said that would not include charter schools – which Labour strongly opposes – but how to raise achievement for all Maori students, most of whom “were not getting the benefit of five times funding per student that the charter schools get”.


The normal lie. Charter schools get the same, or slightly less funding, as public schools of the same size, decile and age.

If I was the Maori Party, I’d use charter schools as a wedge issue to win Maori seats back off Labour at the next election. Labour Maori seat MPs obviously do support charter schools, but if their party insists on a platform of closing them down, the Maori Party can highlight how they put their party ahead of their people.

Mr Little added: “Ultimately, the issue is Maori educational underachievement, and that’s not changing under this Government. And the Maori Party is not doing anything about it.”

Wrong. Most charter schools are getting some huge improvements with Maori students, and overall Maori achievement rates have been increasing.

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Gower on Labour and charter schools

September 2nd, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Patrick Gower writes:

The next time you hear Labour hate on charter schools, don’t believe them.

Because the truth is a wedge of Labour actually thinks charter schools are all good. And this group is led by none other than its associate education spokesman Kelvin Davis.

The attendance of Davis and fellow MP Peeni Henare at a fundraiser for a Whangarei charter school is about much more than them defying the orders of Andrew Little.

It shows a major policy divide within Labour.

One side, led by education spokesman Chris Hipkins and the teacher unions have a pathological hatred for the privately run schools.

The other side, led by Davis, see that the schools can work particularly in Maori education.

Davis is not captured by the unions.

Charter schools are hated by the teacher unions because they are privately run and don’t have to use registered teachers or conform to the rules like other schools.

But this kind of independent schooling is not new to Maori – Kura Kaupapa schools have been a different model with different outcomes.

If you view charter schools with a Maori focus as an extension of this then it is not so controversial.



It is no surprise that the most progressive iwi, Ngai Tahu, is looking at setting up a charter school. So is Tuhoe, the most independent iwi.

Instead of listening to the unions, it seems Davis is listening to his people when it comes to charter schools.

And don’t forget that Davis is a former Northland principal with a deep understanding of the educational issues out there.

If Little was ballsy, he’d make Davis the Education Spokesperson.

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Kelvin puts kids ahead of his leader

September 1st, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour’s associate education spokesman, Kelvin Davis, has attended a charter school fundraiser – despite his party being bitterly opposed to the controversial schooling model.

The $250-a-seat fundraiser was for a school run by the He Puna Marama Trust in Whangarei.

Charter or “partnership” schools are publicly-funded but privately-run, and are strongly opposed by education unions.

Labour has pledged to scrap charter schools and its education spokesman Chris Hipkins has frequently attacked the model during Parliamentary question time.

Despite this, Mr Davis, the party’s associate education (Maori education) spokesman, attended the fundraiser with fellow Labour MP Peeni Henare.

That was despite leader Andrew Little asking them not to.

Good on them. They know that some charter schools are making a real difference with Maori kids who have been failing in the public school system. They decided to stand by their constituents, rather than their party.

He Puna Marama is considered by government as a successful example of the charter school model, used most recently by the Productivity Commission as a case study of why New Zealand should privatise social services.

It gained favourable NCEA marks last year, with at least 85 per cent of students achieving across all NCEA levels.

Yet Labour wants it closed down.

However, the trust has drawn criticism from the Labour Party and teachers’ unions, who say its schools are funded at a higher rate than state schools, which is unfair.


False. They get the same or less funding of a state school of the same size, decile and age.

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Queen Nanaia?

August 29th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Vernon Small reports:

Is Hauraki-Waikato MP Nanaia Mahuta in line to be the next Maori Queen?

It’s a rumour that just won’t go away and one that the Kingitanga movement was keen to dispel during coronation commemorations last week, reportedly raising it with media and others in order to quash it 

And it’s understandable why.

King Tuheitia, who was elected to the role in 2006, is in poor health, but it is considered disrespectful to discuss the succession, including a potential abdication.

But …

While Mahuta is not in the bloodline – her father Sir Robert Mahuta was the adopted son of the former King Koroki and the elder brother of Queen Te Atairangikaahu – that is not considered an insurmountable obstacle. In principle it is not an inherited title, though in practice it has been.

The king’s spokesman, Tukoroirangi Morgan, is said to be opposed to the Mahuta option, though insiders say the talk still goes on behind closed doors. For every person that says it is odds-on she will be offered the title, there’s another who says she definitely will not.

If Tuku is against, then it may be a very good idea.

But there have also been questions about her commitment since her role in the four-way leadership race last year. As one senior Labour MP put it, “she has not been the most prolific attendee” at caucus meetings and Parliament – a view widely held among MPs. Some are even saying that, given her senior role in the Maori caucus, her patchy attendance is a poor role model.

It will be no surprise if leader Andrew Little takes all that into account when he reviews his lineup later in the year.

It would be a poor look to keep her on the front bench, when she has been so invisible as an MP.

First it has to confirm a new deputy leader, unless Annette King surprises everyone and stays on. She has done a good job as a place holder, but the party has planned for a new face.

The logical choice has always been Jacinda Ardern. She gives the leadership team the balance it needs: a woman from a younger generation and, crucially, from Auckland.

She has made an impact on television and with Auckland business … no small feat for any Labour MP, let alone one that has on her CV the presidency of the International Union of Socialist Youth.  

Around the press gallery commentariat, her stocks are not as high, but she is clearly having an impact with voters, and that matters. As fourth-ranked preferred prime minister in a recent poll – albeit on just 3.5 per cent, but behind heavy hitters John Key, Little and Winston Peters – she is an asset for the party.

Other names in the frame include Phil Twyford and Carmel Sepuloni – who can add a Pasifika dimension to the young-woman-Auckland credentials of Ardern –though Ardern must still be ahead.

It needs to be someone from Auckland. I think it is a choice between Ardern and Sepuloni, even though a bold caucus might go for Kelvin Davis.

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Labour on National and vice versa

August 25th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Richard Harman at Politik wrote:

Sometimes it’s worthwhile listening to what the Government and Opposition have got to say about each other in private. And each has a very different view of the other at present. But there is a degree of validity ion each narrative. National think Labour is hopelessly divided and that Andrew Little has yet to stamp his authority on the Labour caucus. They also think the party’s front bench is not performing particularly well.

Labour on the other hand think that the Prime Minister looks tired and that the “body language” of him and Bill English suggests they have run out of ideas.

The Labour front bench is Little, King, Roberston, Mahuta, Twyford, Hipkins, Clark, Ardern and Davis.

It’s hard to read Labour’s caucus.

Obviously the “globalists” — MPs like Phil Goff, David Shearer and David Parker would like to be able to agree to the TPP. But Andrew Little and Grant Robertson have not been sending the same signals. The danger for Mr Little is that he ends up in the same position as Labour Leader Walter Nash did after the 1951 waterfront dispute which he said he was “neither for nor against”. National hounded him for years over that statement.

Sounds like their new position on the flag!

Meanwhile the Government does seem to have gone off the boil. Their response to the drop in milk prices at this stage is to say that things are not as bad as the critics suggest. But it’s early days. And there are plenty of doomsayers on the Opposition benches. NZ First MPs (for example) claim that they have “inside” information which says the milk price will drop another 50 cents a kilo. So what this all adds up to is that we are in the early stages of what will become a political debate focused intently on the economy. It will require a gear change from National as it leaves the rock star economy behind and it will require more engagement (and some policy) from Labour.

I’d love to see policy from all parties about what they’ll do to foster economic growth.

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CTU real agenda is to unionise farms

August 20th, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

More than 50 industries have been identified by the Government as high-risk, meaning they will be not exempt from some requirements under the Health and Safety Reform law, even if they have fewer than 20 employees.

Industries include forestry and logging, road freight transport, coal mining, hunting and trapping, fishing, electricity transmission, horse and dog racing as well as any industry deemed to have potential for catastrophic risk in the event of accident such as oil and gas extraction and petroleum refining.

The definition used for high risk is objective, not subjective:

  • Any industry with a fatality rate greater than 25 per 100,000 workers
  • Any industry with a serious injury rate of more than 25 per 1000 workers.

Plus an business that carries the risk of a catastrophic event causing multiple fatalities.

But the CTU and Labour are demanding farms be included, even though they have an injury rate below this threshold:

But most types of farming will be able to claim an exemption, a move slammed by Labour leader Andrew Little.

“What we need is a good law and good enforcement and that is now denied a sector that has killed too many of their own.

“We cant have farmers happy for expensive [rescue] helicopters and ambulances to drive out to their isolated areas to cover them for their errors – some time fatal – and the taxpayer picking up their cost.”

The farming excluded from high-risk include dairy, beef, poultry and deer but the livestock farming included as high-risk is bee-keeping, pig-farming, horse breeding, dog breeding, goat farming and share-milking as well some types of crop growing.

Now bear in mind the only difference between small businesses that are in the high risk category and those that are not, is the requirement to allow a worker elected health and safety rep.  That is it. All other requirements are the same.

Labour and the CTU see these reps as a way to unionise workforces, and of course increase funding for both their organisations. This is why they have focused on this relatively minor issue, ignoring all the other changes.

So they are saying that a family owned corner dairy with a couple of part-time staff, must have an elected health and safety representative, if even one person asks for it.

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Sign the petition to support the All Blacks

August 19th, 2015 at 9:59 am by David Farrar


We all want the All Blacks to win (again) the Rugby World Cup. They’re looking good, but victory is by no means assured.

Over the last few years the Labour Party has declared a number of issues to be a crisis – the manufacturing sector, power prices, domestic milk prices, Auckland house prices and the dairy industry, and demanded the Government take action.

Without fail, each time Labour has declared something to be in crisis and demanded Government intervention, that industry or issue has immediately and remarkably improved. Just this week global diary prices rebounded for the first time this year, just one week after Labour declared they were in crisis and demanded the Government act.

So this petition implores the Labour Party to declare New Zealand Rugby and the All Blacks to be in crisis. Based on history, this should propel the All Blacks to victory in the Rugby World Cup.

So support the All Blacks by petitioning Labour to declare NZ Rugby in crisis.

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Opposition parties only wants media that agrees with them

August 18th, 2015 at 6:24 am by David Farrar

The opposition parties are showing their true colours.

When TV3 made a commercial decision to change Campbell Live, resulting in the departure of John Campbell, MPs from Labour and Greens decried this as terrible. They said the media needs strong voices. They said it was appalling that John Campbell would no longer be on the air.

However yesterday we saw the opposition parties effectively demand that Mike Hosking be taken off the air, because – well he doesn’t always agree with them.

So think about this. What Labour and Greens are saying is that they only want media that agree with them.

Little said Hosking’s dominance across so many media platforms was concerning.

“The point is that Mike Hosking is extremely influential because of his involvement with Newstalk ZB, TVNZ and the Herald.”

Waa, waa, waa.

If people don’t like what Hosking says, they can choose not to watch him, listen to him or read him.

Little accused Hosking of being “totally aligned to the Government of the day” and showing “no attempt at objectivity”.

If you think he really is biased, then you can complain to the Broadcasting Standards Authority, the Press Council or the Online Media Standards Authority.

Instead we have a Muldoon like attack on the media, because basically Little says Hosking doesn’t agree with Labour enough.

At fault was “broadcast media having opinionated people holding prime slots,” he said.

Here is the true hypocrisy. John Campbell had plenty of opinions. Does Andrew Little think John Campbell should not have had a prime slot? Of, course not. Little is just against media who don’t agree with him.

Shaw said it was “pretty obvious” Hosking was biased and there weren’t any balancing voices with the same reach.

They must be kidding.

The vast majority of editorials and opinion columns in Fairfax and APN publications are critical of the Government.

On Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon show, you can go all week without hearing anyone say anything vaguely supportive of the Government.

Anyway it is a good thing that Labour and Greens have shown their true feelings. They want a media that agrees with them and they will publicly attack and denigrate people in the media who don’t agree with them.

Who will be next on their hitlist?



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Young lashes Labour/Greens for flag stance

August 15th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Audrey Young writes:

With the list of the final 40 just published, the debate has barely begun, apart from the objections by Opposition parties – two of which appear to be opposing the review for opposition’s sake.

Quite what Labour and the Greens will do when the debate gains momentum will present a conundrum for them. They cannot continue to attack the referendum process without indirectly attacking New Zealanders who are interested in it and want to be part of it.

They have ignored a basic principle in politics as in life: to thine own self be true, or the voters will see right through you.

It was understandable for the parties to rail against the Government asset sales programme last term – even though National won a mandate for it – because it was against Labour and Green policy.

But to rail against a review of the New Zealand flag – which National also promised at the last election – when it echoes your own party’s policy is simply dishonest and erodes trust in a party.

Labour campaigned on reviewing the flag. Andrew Little said he favoured a referendum. But purely because it is National doing it (which was an explicit promise in the manifesto), they are opposing the very thing they championed.

How can you trust a party that objects to its own policy?

You can’t.

The low turnout to public meetings on the flag was no surprise. There may even be a low turnout to the first postal referendum (November 20 to December 11) to choose the best alternative from four final flags.

But the interest in the referendum that really counts, the one from March 3 to 24, will be intense.

That is when the present flag will be put up against a single alternative.

I’ll bet the turnout for that vote will be as high as a general election.

Yep. Maybe not quite that high but I think it will be the highest a referendum has had, not concurrent with an election, in 15 years.

Labour also argues there should have been a referendum first to see whether voters wanted change before spending the money on the process.

But you wouldn’t expect to agree to a free house-paint without knowing what colour it was going to be.

And as the officials designing the process pointed out, “asking people to vote without seeing what these alternative designs look like would risk the legitimacy of the referendum process”.

It’s silly to have a vote, without knowing what you are voting on.

Labour leader Andrew Little this week said he would not vote in the referendum.

And, more absurdly, the party’s flag spokesman, Trevor Mallard, said that in November’s preferential vote he would rank the flag he thought was best the last and the flag he disliked the most the best.

That way, if everyone were as clever as Trevor, the present flag would be pitted against the most horrible one in March, the present flag would stay and John Key could be accused of having wasted time and money.

That is all it is about for Labour. They acre nothing about the opportunity we have to vote on what should be out national flag for the first time ever. They want to sabotage the process, as a way to attack Key. It is why they are unfit for office.

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Hosking trying to make sense of Little

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

Mike Hosking writes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This should see dairy prices now rise

August 10th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Andrew Little says another bad season for dairy farmers could cause New Zealanders to lose some of the country’s best agricultural land to offshore buyers.

The Labour leader said Fonterra had offered interest-free loans to some struggling farmers.

On the Q&A programme, he said banks had told him they’d help farmers for one tough season, but beyond that there were uncertainties.

There is a crisis in dairy…we do have some tough times ahead.” He told TV One

Thank you Andrew Little. To date there has been a 94% correlation between Labour claiming something is in crisis, and that industry then recovering strongly. Their manufactured manufacturing crisis has seen record job growth in manufacturing.

So having Labour declare a crisis in dairy, should see world dairy prices rebound.

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The future of work under Labour is don’t work!

August 8th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The ideas are outlined in the party’s second paper on the future of work, which points to the Danish model of “flexicurity” as one option.

The Danish approach aims to promote employment security over job security according to that country’s official website.

The flexicurity “golden triangle” involves flexible rules for employers when hiring and firing alongside a guaranteed unemployment benefit at a relatively high level – up to 90 per cent for the lowest paid workers.

Hey why work, when you can get 90% of your income by not working.

Labour says the minimum wage should be $16.25 an hour.  For a 40 hour week that is $650 a week so 90% is $585 a week or $30,500 a year to be on the unemployment benefit.

Say 120,000 on unemployment benefits (inevitably will be way way more than that if you make it more generous) and that is $3.66 billion a year just on the unemployment benefit.

This is Labour’s future of non work!

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Devoy vs Labour

August 6th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Labour Party says Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is “out of line and wrong” for calling it racist.

Devoy has taken a swipe at Labour over its claims that Chinese investors are responsible for Auckland’s rising house prices.

Addressing a meeting of Auckland city councillors on Wednesday, she said debate on some issues was “deteriorating into racism”.

She made a clear reference to Labour’s release of data which purported to show that 40 per cent of property sales in Auckland in a three-month period were to buyers with Chinese-sounding names.

“It is a deeply hurtful thing to have your children hear politicians insinuating that their Chinese-sounding surname means they’re foreigners and they don’t belong here,” Devoy said.

“We need to recognise dog whistle politics when we see it and call it out.”

But Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said Devoy was either “misunderstanding or wilfully misrepresenting” the debate.

Countries all over the world were having to come to grips with the effect of huge levels of private investment from China overheating their housing markets.

“New Zealand needs to be able to discuss this in public without these kinds of allegations of racism,” Twyford said.

“We raised the concern that the available data and all the international evidence and commentary about very high levels of investment indicates that offshore Chinese buyers are a significant presence in the housing market here.”


Twyford thinks that saying 30% (40% less 10%) of home buyers are foreigners because they have a Chinese sounding surname is not racist. Keep it up Phil.

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