Harre working for the Greens

March 31st, 2012 at 9:38 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Former Alliance Party leader and Cabinet minister Laila Harre has joined the Green Party’s staff.

Harre will take up the newly created position of issues director and will be based in Auckland.

Heh, issues director. My interpretation of that is she will be effectively the Auckland Campaign Director.

“Laila’s experience in central and local government, coupled with her strong campaigning background, makes her ideally suited to this job.”

The Greens know that keeping their vote high in Auckland is key to retaining over 10% support. Only 3 out of their 14 MPs are Auckland based. I will not be surprised if Harre turns up on their party list.

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The Sex Bomb

July 19th, 2009 at 3:52 pm by David Farrar

The SST report:

THE YOUNG Helen Clark was once described as “a sex bomb” in black boots, according to a new unauthorised biography of the former Labour prime minister.

Helen Clark, by Wellington journalist Denis Welch, says trade union leader Matt McCarten’s first memory of her was from the early 80s. “She was dressed all in black and had big black boots,” McCarten said.

Fellow unionist Laila Harre, later an Alliance Party cabinet minister in Clark’s first cabinet, recalled a 1985 party where young men were “salivating over Helen Clark and her boots”.

“McCarten: `She was a sex bomb!”‘

“Harre: `She was, actually from a left-wing point of view. We don’t have very high standards!”‘

Funnily enough more people would say Laila used to be the left’s “sex bomb”. Many a Nat staffer used to gaze longingly at her.

However Laila had these steely eyes that looked like they could freeze you at 100 metres, so I don’t think any of the young admirers ever shared their adoration with her :-)

The SST also has a largish extract from the upcoming Welch book on Clark.

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Very smart appointment

July 8th, 2009 at 8:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The agency designing Auckland’s Super City has hired trade union leader Laila Harre to help it merge 6800 employees of the eight councils into one.

Ms Harre has resigned as national secretary of the Distribution Workers Union to take on a human resources and change management role with the agency, which has to forge the new Auckland Council by October 2010.

What a very smart move by the Transition Agency. One of the most delicate issues will be the merging of jobs, potential job losses, and also possible change in the location of where people work etc. Laila is likely to minimise any chance that this is done in a way which is unfair, or perceived by most people as unfair.

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Hooton and Harre on Super Fund

June 2nd, 2009 at 3:23 pm by David Farrar

If you have a few spare minutes I recommend you listen to Laila Harre and Matthew Hooton on Nine to Noon discussing the Super Fund.

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Harre labels Cosgrove’s comments disgraceful

April 20th, 2009 at 2:30 pm by David Farrar

I blogged earlier today about Clayton Cosgrove’s comments. On Nine to Noon politics Matthew Hooton called them unhelpful. That was restrained to Laila Harre who said:

I think Matthew’s description of Clayton Cosgrove’s comments as unhelpful should be restated as “disgraceful”.

Matthew responded he was being subtle, and Laila said that in relation to Clayton Cosgrove there is no need to be. She continued:

His comments are utterly disgraceful.

Finally Laila said she was ashamed to see Labour behave like this. I suspect many in Labour feel the same.

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Lockie on Q&A

March 29th, 2009 at 2:56 pm by David Farrar

I missed watching it live, but have now viewed the second segment of Q&A online. The guest was Lockwood Smith (and his fiancee).

The panel discussion afterwards was very interesting. It was Therese Arseneau, Paul Holmes, Ron Mark and Laila Harre. They were all very approving of Lockwood’s decision to try and get Ministers to answer the question, if it is a straight forward primary question.

Laila made an interesting point, about why this may have happened. She said that Lockwood is not personally or politically very close to the National Party Leadership. She contrasted that to Margaret Wilson and Jonathan Hunt who were both extremely close to Clark. In fact we got told how every time she had been in the Speaker’s office, Clark had phoned Hunt while she was there. There is a certain incompatability with being a senior advisor to the PM, and being the Speaker. And we saw that when we had the disgraceful collusion over Harry Duynhoven’s status as an MP.

Lockie I am sure values his own public reputation more than making life too easy for his colleagues. Hence why he has tried to change some things. And ironically I think it actually benefits National also, even though some weaker Ministers may find it hard going. The public see a Government as very arrogant when it refuses to answer even the most simple questions. It loses votes eventually.

What I have found interesting is that Lockie has actually introduced a number of changes, not just redefining the line between addressing and answering the questions. They are:

  1. Playing “advantage”. This was referred to as a light handed regulatory approach with clear boundaries, but I see it as a rugby analogy where he concentrates more on kepping the game flowing, rather than penalising every technical infringement. Several times I have heard him say something along the lines of giving the Opposition more supplementaries because a Minister went on too long. So rather than pul everyone up, he is just striving for a reasonably fair process.
  2. The previously referred to moving the boundary between addressing and answering the question
  3. Is cracking down on points or order that are not points or order. Winston used to be the biggest offender at that – I would say only around 2% of his points or order were legitimate, but Wilson would never pull him up.
  4. Discouraging tabling of documents just to be able to read out what it is. He can not stop anyone seeking leave to do so, but has tried to shame MPs by pointing out whenever they seek leave that they are abusing the process and leave should only be sought for documents not already available to MPs. And this seems to have had some effect on reducing such tabling requests
  5. Time – it has been many years since question time took only an hour. Hell Helen called a snap election in 2002 because of a few extra minutes a day of question time. In the last two years it was routinely taking around 100 minutes. It is now a lot closer to 60 again.

TVNZ also has online the transcript of the interview with Judith Collins.

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Nine to Noon Politics

March 2nd, 2009 at 4:33 pm by David Farrar

Today’s politics segment with Laila Harre, Matthew Hooton and Kathryn Ryan was a very interesting lesson. I enjoy it because both participants are willing to praise MPs from the otehr side of the spectrum, and disagree with MPs from their own side.

I found Laila Harre’s words today very interesting, especially as Laila has been a Minister in a Labour-led Government and is the head of the reasonably militant National Distribution Union:

I have to say sitting through the summit, I found it difficult to imagine the Labour Party under Helen Clark really taking a risk like that which was to give a group of people an open brief in a very public way to propose some ideas and solutions. …

I don’t think there was ever a willingness [by Labour] to take those kinds of risk. … Labour’s objective at the Knowledge Wave conference was to keep it as tight as possible.

I actually felt that in terms of my political experience anyway this was the first time I personally been engaged in a genuinely tripartite process at a New Zealand level … I’ve never seen anything looking like that in New Zealand.

That’s generous praise. It shows that you can disagree with some of John Key’s policies but praise him for his leadership style which is very different to what we have had in the past.

Both Hooton and Harre praise the national cycleway proposal.

Hooton also ripped into borrowing $2 billion a year to stick into a savings fund. Harre declares she has never been much of a supporter of the Fund as future superannuation provision will always depend on economic health of country. Says it is a no brainer to suspend contributions.

Hooton also says the 2010 and 2011 tax cuts should not occur if we still have large deficits. I think it all depends on how large the deficits are, and how sucessful one has been in clipping low priority spending. At this stage, it is very premature to be making declarations, as Matthew does, about the future tax cuts. The time to decide would be early 2010. And from my point of view suspending or cancelling the tax cuts would be your last resort – only if the deficit was on a track to disaster.

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The left’s plan to win despite getting less votes

October 17th, 2008 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Laila Harre details how the left plans to win the election, even if they get less party votes.

Union secretary Laila Harre told delegates the Greens and the Maori Party had been “our strongest backers” on key issues such as ending lower pay for young people and keeping shops closed at Easter, with Labour “a very close second” on both issues.

In a closed session with the MPs afterwards, she said the only way to prevent a National-led Government, based on an average of recent polls, was for the Maori Party to win all seven Maori seats, creating an “overhang” above the 120 MPs elected through proportional representation.

But it would then be critical for the Maori Party to use its seats to keep Labour in power.

Under FPP Governments sometimes got formed that had less popular vote than the Opposition. But FPP was not a proportional voting system. It was not meant to reflect a national vote – it was a series of local contests.

MMP is very different. It would be outraegous for a Government to be formed that got less party votes than the Opposition as its main virture is proportionality. I’m not talking just the two big parties here, but the combined vote.

Take this election result based just on party vote:

  • National/ACT/United Future 51% – 62 seats
  • Labour/NZF/Prog/Greens/ – 47% – 56 seats
  • Maori Party 2% – 2 seats

There are 120 seats normally so National/ACT/United would form a Government having got 51% of the vote and 62/120.

But Laila Harre’s plan for the left is for the Maori Party to win all seven seats, despite a party vote that entitles them to just two seats, creating an overhang of five seats. Then you have:

  • National/ACT/United Future 51% – 62 seats
  • Labour/NZF/Prog/Greens/ – 47% – 56 seats
  • Maori Party 2% – 7 seats

Now the Maori Party would have two choices here. Support the parties that got 51% of the vote or go with Labour (as Laila wants) so that they get 63/125 seats despite getting 2% less votes than the Opposition.

This would give Labour a fourth term. It would also spark such a backlash that I suspect both MMP and the Maori seats would disappear within a decade.

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A good suggestion from Laila

September 29th, 2008 at 6:54 pm by David Farrar

Laila Harre has made a good suggestion regarding the Leader’s debates. Thw two major party leaders have said they want head to head debates, because otherwise they only get 10 minutes or so each in a 90 minute debate.

However the minor party leaders make the valid point that people are not just selecting a PM, but also coalition partners for the Government.

Matthew Hooton blogs on Laila’s suggestion:

On our regular slot on Nine to Noon this morning, Laila Harre came up with a great idea about how to faciliate this.  Laila argued that there should be a “Left” debate and a “Right” debate.

To develop the idea further, Laila’s idea would mean we get to see Clark v Key and decide which of these we want to be Prime Minister.  Then we see Clark, Peters, Anderton, Norman in a debate, then Key, Dunne and Hide.  The Maori Party, being more uncommitted, could decide whether to appear in one or both of the debates.

This makes sense to me.  It would still allow a Peter Dunne “worm” effect, as in 2002, if he did a much better job than Key.  The Greens could make the case why Labour votes should vote Green, and so forth.  Everyone gets exposure, but in a more serious context.  And Clark and Key together, as the two candidates for Prime Minister, aren’t put in the position of being equals with the smaller party leaders, which they are not.

I really like this idea. You may also get some really informative discussions in the “left” and “right” debates as they talk about what pace or what blend of policies is best, rather than the normal we are good you are evil rhetoric.

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July 23rd, 2008 at 7:17 am by David Farrar

If people want a laugh they should listen to Matthew Hooton and Laila Harre on Nine to Noon with Kathryn Ryan on Monday.

At one stage during the debate Matthew refers to Winston Peters as a charlatan. Kathryn suggests this is an inappropriate term for a senior Minister and MP. This of course leads Matthew to insist several more times that Peters however is a charlatan to Ryan’s growing frustration.

However it is game set and match hilariously when Laila Harre pops up at the end of the exchange and says that she also thinks Peters is a charlatan :-)

Harre is absolutely firm on condemning Peters. One of those rare times her and Hooton are in broad agreement.

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Is Hager suing?

July 3rd, 2008 at 4:33 pm by David Farrar

The Hive notes that Radio New Zealand has removed from its website, the audio of Monday’s Focus on Politics.

It has been suggested that Nicky Hager is threatening Radio New Zealand with defamation over the item – presumably over Matthew Hooton’s comments rather than Laila Harre’s.

I am not sure if it is true, but imagine if it was Nicky Hager being threatened with defamation. We’d probably hear all about how big monied interests are trying to silence him.

A defamation case would be fascinating. I’d love to hear testimony on how the e-mails were not stolen, and the ability for this to be cross-examined.

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Restraint of Trade

March 29th, 2008 at 1:14 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports on how Masterton Pak ‘N Save has put restraint of trade clauses in its employment contracts with shop assistants.

This is pretty bizarre and probably not enforceable. Restraint of trade clauses are intended to protect employers from senior or specialist staff suddenly walking out the door and setting up a competitor, or going to a competitor, with all their intellectual property, clients, contact lists etc. They are about key staff who might actually attract business away from their former employer.

Now it is hard to imagine how a shop assistant moving jobs could result in customers deciding to shop elsewhere – just so they can still be served by that shop assistant.  I mean maybe if they were super-hot :-)

I suspect the supermarket is just worried about a competitor setting up nearby and offering higher wages. Restraint of trade clauses are not meant to be just about protecting yourself from the market.

I tend to agree with Laila Harre that the clause is “completely unreasonable and illegal”. Two legal experts also doubt it is enforceable, and Foodstuffs head office have pointed out they don’t think it is enforceable and has only been used in Masterton by the local franchise owner.

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Nine to Noon politics

March 4th, 2008 at 1:25 pm by David Farrar

Just been listening to yesterday’s politics segment on Nine to Noon:

  •  Matthew Hooton spoke on how Maori Party may have overhang of six seats, and well placed to help choose the next Government
  • Laila Harre says Labour can not form Government without the Maori Party and without an overhang for the Maori Party. That will doom MMP in my opinion if a Government only gets a majority because of the overhang
  • Harre  says if there was a credible alternative to Clark her leadership would be under threat, but there is no credible alternative
  • Hooton points out Goff is 0% in preferred PM polls, and he will be grateful for that because if he was at 5% or so, then he might be pressured to stand.
  • Best lines were Hooton saying “I always support any sacking of any District Health Board” and “if he wants to be bold, he should sack them all” :-)
  • But went on to say that sacking a board just 72 days after it was elected seems unwise, especially with allegations which involve another Government Minister.
  • Also funny was when Matthew asked Kathryn Ryan and Laile Harre who the voted for on their local DHB and let’s say there were no quick answers. Hell I doubt I can even recall who I voted for without checking.
  • Harre doesn’t support DHB amalgamations

Always my favourite Nine to Noon segment – but I am a politics junkie.

What I find interesting is I listen to half a dozen Nine to Noon items a week – but none of them live – all from their website.

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Hooton on EPMU

February 25th, 2008 at 9:23 pm by David Farrar

Matthew Hooton touches on the issue of whether the EPMU is eligible to register as a third party, in his column. I’m the person who has raised the issue of their eligibility with the Electoral Commission, so I won’t comment in detail on Matthew’s column, as (unlike the EPMU) I don’t believe I should be litigating the issue through the media at the same time as it is under consideration.

Matthew was also on radio this morning with Laila Harre and Kathryn Ryan discussing the polls.

Harre commented “This is very very bad for Labour … has a feel of 1990 about it … if they feel they can do business as usual they are wrong”.

Later on she said “The only thing that can save Labour is giving people a reason to vote for them … not dirty politics”

Matthew meanwhile said that if Labour had the rumoured neutron bomb, they need to drop it in the next week or so, as it will look too desperate and too late later in the year.

Also very interesting was the suggestion that the Greens could get 15% if they aggressively targeted Labour’s vote.

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