Labour’s woes increasing

September 23rd, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Rotorua Daily Post reveals that the former Chair of the Rotorua Labour Party voted National!:

A former Rotorua Labour Party spokesman says he has become disillusioned with the party and spent Saturday night celebrating with Rotorua MP Todd McClay.

Rotorua Weekender columnist and local businessman Fraser Newman said he had given up his Labour Party membership, saying the party had lost its way.

Mr Newman said he also voted for Mr McClay on Saturday saying he was an effective local MP who worked hard and had delivered for the city.

“It’s time for Labour to think about its future.

“Does it want to be a small left wing minority party or a centre-left party that appeals to middle New Zealand?”

Again this is from someone who was an electorate chair for them not very long ago.

And you know Labour has troubles when even Steve Maharey says the party has become too left wing!!

Labour moved left to secure what it assumed was its base and never moved back. Over six years it failed to effectively oppose the Government and propose a coherent policy platform that won the support of 40 per cent of voters. It persisted in arguing New Zealand was on the wrong track (which it may well be) when most voters thought the opposite.

In addition, it confused voters by vacillating between behaving like a major party and then like just the largest of a left grouping. When it began arguing that it really was a major party it was too late.

Maharey makes the point:

It should start by understanding that in New Zealand politics the foundation for victory is in the centre. A party seeking to form a stable, strong government has to have a message that appeals to around 40 per cent of these voters.

The Labour leadership contest forced the candidates to try and compete with each other to come up with the most left wing policies they could, to appeal to the base. Their strategy was to be hard left to energise the base and the million non voters. It totally failed as a strategy. They claim they were also trying to target centrist voters – but you know what – you can’t really do both – as the voters are not stupid.

Chris Trotter gets into the metaphors:

Overall, the image presented to the electorate was one of John Key as the embattled matador. Alone in the arena, he faced charge after charge from a seemingly never-ending succession of bulls. But with every twirl of his cape and flash of his sword, the pile of dispatched cattle-beasts grew higher.

The crowd cheered. The roses rained down. “Bravo!” shouted 48 per cent of New Zealand. “Three more years!”

As the dust of combat settles, the identity of the matador’s defeated attackers is revealed. Among them is the political corpse of the redoubtable Hone Harawira, his thick hide pierced by multiple lances. And, sprawled alongside this mighty bull of the North, his blundering sponsor, the massive German beast called Kim Dotcom.

Some distance apart lies the slim political carcass of the brave little steer known as Colin Craig – his wide-eyes still staring imploringly up at the crowd. (Missing from the pile are the bodies of those bulls whose horns actually drew the matador’s blood: Nicky Hager, Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden.)

But in all that vast arena, the most pitiful sight is that of the old bull called Labour.

Its ancient hide is pierced and bleeding; around its mouth a bloody froth. The matador’s sword has penetrated the unfortunate animal’s lungs and heart, but the poor creature still stands there, defiant. Panting noisily, quivering legs about to fold beneath its battered body, Labour seems unaware that its wounds are fatal. That it is dying on its feet.

And Stacey Kirk blogs on today:

So that press conference was a train wreck. Cunliffe says he takes “full responsibility” for Labour’s loss, but they may be hollow words to the caucus as he refuses to take the blame.

He won’t be apologising to his caucus, and he’ll be asking them to trigger a new leadership primary under their constitution.

He’ll effectively do that by asking them to pass a vote of no-confidence in him, (which many would probably gladly do) but then have every chance of regaining the leadership with the backing of the unions and wider party.

That would hardly bring stability to Labour.

And no less than five minutes after Cunliffe spoke of his “disappointment” in Labour MPs speaking to media on their strife, were two MPs speaking to the media – David Shearer and Phil Goff. (I’ve got videos clips of boths of those – I’ll post shortly)

The party is in disarray.

Time to order up a three month supply of popcorn!

UPDATE: John Armstrong reflects:

An extraordinary morning in the Labour Party’s wing of Parliament Buildings. There were only two words to describe things – absolute mayhem.

And that was even before Labour MPs had even begun their crucial post-election caucus meeting, at which there was expected to be some very blunt language during a preliminary post-mortem on last Saturday s crushing defeat.

David Cunliffe is fighting tooth and nail to hang on as leader. His chances of doing so would seem to deteriorate further with every wrong tactic and mistaken ploy he uses to shore up his crumbling position.

Time is Cunliffe’s enemy. He needs an early party-wide vote to refresh his mandate as party leader before the true awfulness of Labour’s thrashing really sinks in and his support among the mass membership and trade unions affiliated to the party which backed him in last September’s leadership ballot rapidly erodes.

Other senior figures like former leader David Shearer are arguing vociferously that the leadership question be left in abeyance until a proper and fundamental review of the party’s failings and the reasons for its dreadful showing in last week’s general election are thoroughly examined. The results of such a review are unlikely to reflect well on Cunliffe.

Cunliffe wants caucus to roll him now, so he can have a quick members ballot. But the craft ABCs won’t play along, and they have three months before they have to have a vote.

UPDATE2: The Labour caucus meeting has now been going for seven hours. Generally they last two hours. It must be brutal in there.

Maharey lives on

June 3rd, 2009 at 2:35 pm by David Farrar

The Victorian State Parliament has, for some reason, a copy of the NZ Hansard Word Style Book on its website. This is for use by Hansard staff in conjunction with the 10th Concise Oxford Dictionary.

And look at what one of their entries is:

a “Maharey”
“Maharey principle” (to say one thing in Opposition,
then another thing in Government)
“Maharey principle 2” (to say one thing when in
Government, then another thing when in
“Maharey spin”

The Maharey Principle is immortalised!

As far as I can tell no other MP has an entry like this.

Fees Maxima

January 5th, 2009 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

I’ve all along said the Fees Maxima policy was stupid. Now look who is campaigning to get rid of it? The man who introduced them – Steve Maharey.

But, he says, individual policies should change over time, and one on which he will campaign is the fee maxima.

“When I put that policy in place, it was for three years. It’s now five years and it urgently needs to be changed.

I say get rid of it for all universities except Massey 🙂

Maharey on climate change

December 30th, 2008 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Steve Maharey is blogging at Pundit, and is upset over climate change policy.

One night in 2007 I found myself at an official dinner in Brussels seated next to a man who advised the German government on climate change. We chatted about the role countries could play in the shift to sustainability.

He noted that what New Zealand did would have little impact on the overall problem. Our small size, however, did not excuse us from making a practical contribution. In addition, he said, New Zealand had a very special and more important role to play. “You”, he argued animatedly, “need to be a symbol to the rest of the world of what is possible”.

This now explains why the last NZ Government was so keen to “lead the world”. Because a German Government advisor said so over dinner. That beats stuff such as a rational cost benefit analysis.

I felt proud that New Zealand was seen as so important to the world’s efforts to address climate change. I came home even more committed to being a part of advancing New Zealand’s leadership role.

It’s a pity though that emissions under Steve’s Government increased higher (percentage) than almost all other Kyoto countries – even more than USA under George W Bush.

Then Steve turns to the awful Nat/ACT agreement:

Evidence from competing points of view will be heard by New Zealand’s elected representatives. This evidence is to be treated equally. Public officials will be asked if they have been impartial. Those who advance the position that human activity is contributing to climate change are to be set against those who oppose this view – as if they are equals.

Oh my God, how dare they. This is the end of civilisation – NZ’s elected representatives will hear competing points of view. This must not be allowed.

Lest we think this does not matter because it is just one of the things that is done in an MMP system to appease the smaller parties and no one will take it seriously – think again. The news of such hearings will go around the world. The country that has been a beacon on the hill will find itself reduced to holding a candle in a wind of its own creation.

No, no, no – an Australian radio station has mentioned the agreement. Our international reputation is destroyed. We can never recover.

Maharey demonstrates what many of the left focus on – saying the right things instead of actual progress. He thinks that everyone globally will be aghast as NZ having had a select committee inquiry. They won’t be – most won’t give a damn or be interested – except academic politicians like Maharey.

Here’s what they will actually care about – the actual level of emissions. That si what counts – not whether “deniers’ might be allowed to have their say at a select committee. Maharey’s Government had one of the worst records in the world for emissions growth.

This to me is the true tragedy of any attempt to reconsider the evidence on climate change. While we should be leading the way to a world that is different to the fossil-fuel burning, automobile-centred, throwaway economy we currently have, our elected representatives will be weighing up the evidence.

Once again Maharey wants NZ to lead the world, no matter how much damage it would cause.

I’m all in favour of sensible measures to reduce emissions, that keep us in line with our major trading partners. But this hysteria about how  the world is doomed if we not act within the next 12 months is ridicolous.

If they talk too long New Zealand’s reputation for leadership will not just be a candle in the wind it will be snuffed out.

Oh no, ACT and National have killed Prince Diana!!

More valedictories

September 26th, 2008 at 8:00 am by David Farrar

From Stuff:

  1. Paul Swain
  2. Tim Barnett
  3. Margaret Wilson
  4. Marian Hobbs
  5. David Benson-Pope
  6. Steve Maharey

Paul Swain’s was very funny. MPs who have served as Minister of Corrections always get some good stories to tell. Benson-Pope’s was ugly and partisan, as one expects from him.

Rich and Maharey

September 24th, 2008 at 8:43 am by David Farrar

The Herald has stories on retiring MPs Katherine Rich and Steve Maharey.

Dom Post on Race Relations Commissioner

May 28th, 2008 at 7:59 am by David Farrar

The Dominion Post is not impressed with that the Race Relations Commissioner is launching a a review into the research done by Massey academic Greg Clydesdale into Pacific Island immigration.

Interviewed this week, Mr de Bres seemed as irritated by the fact that the research was done at all and that a media outlet had the temerity to report it as with any “issues” that the study might have raised. The commissioner seems unhappy that the paper gained access to Dr Clydesdale’s research and to believe – erroneously – that those who disagreed with it had no chance to comment.

He needs to reread the article. Pacific Island Affairs Minister Winnie Laban was quoted as seriously rejecting Dr Clydesdale’s findings, which may well be flawed. So was Samoan Advisory Council spokesman Tino Pereira.

Mr de Bres seems in danger of forgetting this is a democracy, in which academics have the freedom their institutions allow them to comment and critique society and newspapers have the right not only to report such comment and criticism but also to decide what prominence to give what is, by any definition, news. …

Mr de Bres is entitled to his review. But if it does not find that it is totally legitimate for an academic to research immigration policy and for the media to report it, then the review will be flawed. Society is benefited in no way by political correctness taken to extremes.

It does all seem an extreme reaction to one academic study. The more worrying reaction is the reported comments by Labour Minister Shane Jones who allegedly said on Newstalk ZB that he had called Steve Maharey about the author.

The Association of University Staff should be very concerned about this, if correct. To have a Cabinet Minister contact the Vice-Chancellor (and a former colleague) because he disagrees with the research of an academic is obviously inappropriate and intimidating. Let alone boasting about it on radio and suggesting the academic should be teaching primary school children only.

So maybe the AUS could take a break from complaining about Massey students winning beauty contests and say something about Massey academics having academic freedom.

This is not to suggest that academic freedom means you can not criticise academics. Far from it. But to personally contact the Vice-Chancellor and advocate he should not be teaching at a tertiary level is very different from merely criticising.

Perhaps Mr Maharey (who seems to think being Vice-Chancellor is a part time job as he is still an MP) could reveal what he said back to Mr Jones.

Drinnan on Broadcasting Ministers

May 23rd, 2008 at 11:57 am by David Farrar

John Drinnan in his media column look at the last four Broadcasting Ministers.

First he looks at TVNZ’s game playing:

Television New Zealand is trying to outbid TV3 for rights to Fox Television programming – begging awkward questions about the taxpayers-can-pay logic underpinning the Kiwi television business.

The state broadcaster has been crying poor. It can’t deliver profits, it has to cut back its news operations and starting this year it needs taxpayer subsidies for the Sunday current affairs programme.

Yet TVNZ – which already holds the rights to Warner Bros and Disney content – is willing to bid tens of millions of dollars to challenge TV3 for shows like Boston Legal, House and The Simpsons.

They would fill TVNZ programming vaults to overflowing and devastate TV3. Then – a delicious irony this – the Government releases TVNZ submissions that accuse Sky Television and its free channel, Prime, of being a domineering, acquisitive menace in the TV world.

Outraegous that TVNZ is trying to steal broadcasting rights off the sports codes who own them.

Then he looks at the Broadcasting Ministers:

Maurice Williamson: “Minister of Market Forces.”

Williamson was an admirer of entrepreneurs Craig Heatley and Terry Jarvis who started the pay-TV firm. Lack of regulation ensured that it was able to grow swiftly and unencumbered. To be fair, Williamson inherited a new system from Labour that was light on regulations Like Telecom, Sky was small, and during his era at least, no threat to anybody.

Marian Hobbs: “Minister of Muddles.”

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and there were lots of potholes during Marian Hobbs era as Broadcasting Minister. It was a period marked by muddled ideas about social and cultural goals mixed with overseeing the Beehive’s paybacks to TVNZ for imagined wrongs.

… In her era Labour killed off TVNZ’s early, flawed aspirations for a digital strategy to challenge Sky – which some believe was a missed opportunity.

Steve Maharey: “Minister of Broadcasting Bureaucracy.”

Broadcasting was a minor portfolio for a busy minister; Maharey privately lamented the state of the portfolio he inherited from Hobbs. …

Maharey’s approach centred on giving TVNZ whatever cash it wanted with as little scrutiny as possible. An anti-Murdoch phobia held sway with the implementation of Freeview, a new platform for digital free-to-air television that would act as a counter to Sky.

Trevor Mallard: “Minister for Holding the Fort.”

Pragmatic Mallard is largely disinterested in his smallest portfolio, which he picked up when Maharey resigned from Parliament. Mallard was stunned by the “money for nothing” terms of state subsidies to TVNZ and approved by Maharey, and instituted changes.

I like the nicknames. So true.

Some questions?

May 16th, 2008 at 10:20 am by David Farrar
  1. Why has Steve Maharey not resigned as MP for Palmerston North, now he can do so without triggering a by-election? Does anyone think you can be Vice-Chancellor and an MP?
  2. Has NZ First paid back its $158,000 yet?
  3. Have United Future finished paying back the money it owes to Parliamentary Service?
  4. Why have NZ First and ACT not yet filed their 2007 donations return, 16 days after the deadline?
  5. Would Rod Donald have approved of manipulating MMP rules so that Russel Norman becomes an MP (scheduled for end of the month) with less than 30 house sitting days before the election? Is this not just an outrageous rort to allow Russel to use taxpayer funds to travel around the country for the campaign?
  6. Why would Labour’s website not list a single candidate who has been selected of the election? Is it because that is the only way they can get the taxpayer to fund 100% of it. Should Labour pay me for listing their candidates for them?
  7. If Winston is back in NZ now, why hasn’t any journalist asked him why they have broken the law by refusing to file their donations return, and why does it need the party leader to file a donations return?
  8. Has the Crown Law Office yet decided whether a balloon is an election advertisement?
  9. How big a mistake was it for Dr Cullen to cancel in last year’s budget the tax cuts he promised in 2005?
  10. How much damage did that conference song on John Key do to Labour? Was it more or less than the global economic slowdown?

UPDATE: For (4) The Electoral Commission has now received and published the ACT and NZ First returns.