Nash vs Standard

November 3rd, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuart Nash blogged at The Daily Blog:

Let’s be clear about one thing: politics is about winning.  There is no such thing as a ‘glorious defeat’, leaders who lose are not, as some may believe, ‘martyrs to the cause’, and ‘coming second but maintaining our principles’ is a ludicrous proposition.

Opposition is a complete waste of time as the opportunity to achieve anything meaningful simply does not exist, while the winners get to implement a political, social and fiscal agenda that is usually a million miles away from the one we would have rolled out.  

In fact the week after I won Napier (the only seat won from the Nats in 2014), a friend of mine was speaking to a group of Labour supporters in Auckland; my name came up and my friend said ‘wasn’t it great Stuart won Napier back for Labour’, to which the Labour supporters replied: ‘no its dreadful.  Stuart winning means that Maryan Street doesn’t make it back’.   My friend was incredulous: so winning is now a sin in Labour.  I would like to believe that such thinking is in the minority.

It is true that if you win an electorate seat, you get one fewer list seat. However electorate seats are important. A party does better with the public when it has electorate MPs in touch with their communities. A party that has no electorate MPs outside the three major cities will struggle to win Government, and be seen as relevant. So Stuart is right that people in Labour should not be upset he won his seat.

We love to hate Whale Oil and yet we give him strength, purpose, relevance and breathe life into every pore of his existence time and time again by publicly throwing metaphorical mud at those with whom we are supposed to have a political affinity.  

Labour once had a blog for MPs called Red Alert, and the rumour around at the time was that Cameron Slater wanted this closed down.  Then I found out the opposite was true: it gave him some of his best material due to the occasional ill-disciplined MP.  

Red Alert was excellent for Labour for a couple of years, but it lost its way and yes in the end right wing bloggers were probably the people who most enjoyed reading it :-)

Our supporters have the same impact when they squabble, bitch and back-stab on so-called ‘left-friendly’ sites like The Standard (a dreadful 21st century bastardisation of a once proud Labour broadsheet).  Criticising your favourite Labour MP is not the route to victory, no matter what you think of their philosophies, hair or politics.  

If you feel so aggrieved by something an MP has said, written or done, then email them personally and you are more likely to get a response and, just perhaps, an explanation.  But ill-disciplined rants typed from an anonymous keyboard will only provide Mr Slater and Mr Farrar with a wealth of information and powerful ammunition to fire back with twice the impact.  

So how do authors on The Standard respond to this request that you talk to Labour MPs, rather than attack them in public? Well with an attack on Stuart Nash of course!

Micky Savage writes at The Standard:

He then criticises the party because more than one Labour member apparently said that they preferred Maryan Street to Nash as an MP.  He concludes that some in the party think that winning is a sin.  Unfortunately for Stuart he does not understand that his vainglorious success in Napier probably hurt the party’s prospects.


Good on him for winning.  If you look at the 2011 and 2014 election results in Napier you will see that his proportion of the electorate vote barely changed but National’s plunged by 19% points because of an energetic campaign by the Sensible Sentencing Trust’s candidate Garth McVicar.  His success was directly due to McVicar’s presence but hey, in politics winning is all important.

This is simply untrue. Long before McVicar entered the race, Nash was seen as likely to win Napier. Why? He spent 18 months campaigning full-time for the seat. This is the work ethic decried by Mr Savage.

McVicar attracted voters from more than National supporters. And Nash picked up 13% of National party voters – because he developed broad appeal.

But the share of the party vote in Napier went down by 3.13% compared to the countrywide figure of 2.35%.  It is the ABC of proportional politics that winning electorate campaigns do not actually help, the level of the party vote like winning is the only thing that matters.

A candidate should also of course campaign for the party vote, and Nash did (unlike Cosgrove). But I am unsure you can say the 0.8% greater drop in party vote is because of the candidate. Also you need to look long-term. Having a Labour electorate MP in Napier, gives Labour a far better platform to lift their party vote next time.

The discussions that occurred on the Standard arguably affected the last two leadership campaign results.  David Cunliffe was the overwhelming favourite on this blog in 2013 and this was reflected in the result.

Yeah, and that worked so well, didn’t it.

Stuart Nash has responded to some of those attacking him in the comments. Some of his comments include:

  • I don’t know of a Labour MP who does [read The Standard] (though no doubt there are some) because those I talk to tend to agree that this is a site mired in negativity and bile.
  • This site doesn’t represent the moderate left voter – or the aspirational Kiwi who is looking for an alternative to the current government; but rather the embittered left dreaming of a socialist utopia that has never existed anywhere in time or place.
  • I suspect that after tonight I won’t read this site for another 12 months. After all, why would I – it offers nothing I can’t get looking into a long drop in a DoC campsite.


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Does Labour have a Trudeau?

October 29th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Chris Trotter writes:

It’s one of those pictures that freeze-frames a political leader in the making. Half-turned from the enthusiastic crowd of Prince Edward Islanders he is addressing, Justin Trudeau’s upraised arm acknowledges something beyond the image’s point of reference. A pale sunlight lightly gilds the palm of his outstretched hand and highlights the features of his face. Taken in 2013, Canadian Press photographer Andrew Vaughan’s photograph captures to perfection the same political magic that swept the 43-year-old Trudeau to victory in last Monday’s Canadian general election.

Inevitably, those New Zealanders favouring a change of government in 2017 are scouring the ranks of opposition parties for a Kiwi politician capable of bringing some Trudeau magic to our own political arena.

Labour supporters, in particular, are looking at the rather dour figure of Andrew Little and wondering whether he has what it takes to unseat a Prime Minister as popular as John Key.

So who does Trotter think may be the equivalent? He says it is not Grant?

In the end, however, most of the speculation about whether a Justin Trudeau is lurking, unrecognised, in the Opposition’s ranks circles back to the Labour Party. If Little is too dour and grumpy to beat the man Bill English once described as “bouncing from cloud to cloud”, who is left to bounce Labour’s banner up there alongside him?

Grant Robertson would probably say Grant Robertson. (And, to be fair, there are many in the Labour Party who would agree). But, to the rest of New Zealand, Robertson can come across as just a bit too complacent; a bit too absolutely, arrogantly, Wellington. For the best part of a year, he’s had plenty of chances to shine as Labour’s finance spokesperson. That his light has barely flickered in that role must count heavily against him.

I was listening to RNZ’s The Week in Politics today while running. It was on the budget surplus. What struck me was that Julie-Anne Genter came across as far more reasoned and logical on the economy, than Grant. He was still arguing that somehow the seven years of deficits were caused by National while also attacking National for not spending more. It was very weak, while Genter actually made quite reasonable arguments.

Which leaves just two names for Trudeau-seekers to play with: Stuart Nash and Jacinda Ardern. Both are well endowed with the skin-deep trappings of the Trudeauesque politician: youth and good looks. Nash even boasts a famous Labour name – although, the number of people who recall New Zealand once having had a Prime Minister called Walter Nash will not be large. Ardern, herself, is already registering in the preferred Prime Minister stakes – always a sign of better things to come. The positives are definitely there for both MPs.

Imagine then as leader and deputy? Nash could never win the leadership vote with the unions having 20%, but deputy leader is appointed by caucus only. I don’t think it will happen before 2017, but if they lose in 2017, it could happen.


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Nash says Labour should dump power policy

March 31st, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Labour’s controversial power-pricing plan is in the firing line, with energy spokesman Stuart Nash urging the party to dump the “questionable” policy.

The party is reviewing its manifesto after last year’s crushing election defeat. Nash is working on a discussion paper which proposes that NZ Power be dropped in favour of promoting cheaper solar power.

The brainchild of ex-finance spokesman David Parker, NZ Power would see the creation of a new state agency to buy electricity wholesale and bring down prices. It was announced in tandem with the Greens two years ago.

But critics said it would damage the renewable energy sector – and Nash, who took on the energy portfolio in November, agrees. He also believes the market is competitive.

“It will be my very strong recommendation that we drop NZ Power,” he said. “There are very few people that think it is a policy that’s needed in 2015. Maybe 10 years ago there was a strong argument for it, but not now.

Stuart Nash is 100% correct. Labour’s power policy was hideous. It was a de facto abolition of competition between generators, and nationalisation through price setting. It scared off any sane business leader from supporting them, as the precedent it would have set was horrific.

It was a policy you’d expect from UK Labour in the 1970s – socialist.

“We have got a regulatory framework – the Commerce Commission and the Electricity Authority – which is out there looking at predatory behaviour, and also with a strong mandate to foster competition . . . you could argue that the level of competition necessary to drive prices down is coming in.”

The authority recently noted there were 27 retailers in the market, with the bigger firms – Mighty River, Meridian, Genesis and Contact – losing share.

Energy prices fell by 0.6 per cent in the last year.

I want policies that promote better competition, not policies that abolish competition and have the state set the price for wholesale power.

Labour dumping this policy will help make them an acceptable competent alternative Government. Persisting with it will harm them.

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This should have been known before the election

March 2nd, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Labour MP Stuart Nash was bankrolled to the tune of $4000 a month by political backers for more than a year leading up to last year’s general election.

Mr Nash’s $99,000 in candidate donations meant his warchest ranked only behind Hone Harawira’s $105,000 courtesy of the Kim Dotcom and his Internet Party as being the country’s best-funded candidate.

The returns showed Mr Nash received $36,000 from Caniwi Capital Partners and $31,000 from Andrew Kelly, mostly paid in monthly instalments dating from June 2013.

Mr Nash also received $5000 from rich lister Sir Robert Jones, $9000 from Parnell accountant Lynch Phibbs and $18,000 from various branches of the Labour Party.

Mr Nash said the two main backers for his ultimately successful race for the Napier elector seat were long-term friends who “believed in what I was doing”.

I’ve got no problems with a candidate being bankrolled by friends, effectively on their payroll so he could campaign full-time.

But this sort of information should be disclosed pre-election, not post-election, so it can be scrutinised then.

Current electoral law only requires donations of $30,000 (for parties) to be disclosed at the time they are made (within 10 working days), while lesser limits apply for disclosure after the election.

I think that any donation that meets the disclosure limit should be disclosed within say a month of being made, not disclosed after an election. Expenses of course must wait until after an elections, but donations do not have to.

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Bowker says Nash knew of report

October 13th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

A story in Hawke’s Bay Today has revelations that appear to have been overlooked by other media. They report:

A Wellington businessman has challenged Napier MP Stuart Nash’s claims that a report into starting a new political party by National Party and Dirty Politics figure Simon Lusk was commissioned without his knowledge. …

Wellington businessman Troy Bowker and a man known only as “Ned” approached Mr Nash about starting a new political party. He said he told them he wasn’t interested and, unbeknownst to him, they commissioned a report with Mr Lusk.

Mr Nash said Mr Johnson sent the surfaced email because he mistakenly believed Mr Nash had commissioned the report himself. But Mr Bowker told Hawke’s Bay Today yesterday that, contrary to Mr Nash’s version of events, the Napier MP told them to come back when the report was done.

“We might have had an early conversation with Stuart, he said he wasn’t that keen on the idea … He said let me know when you’ve had a look at the report.” Mr Bowker and his business associate “Ned” approached Stuart Nash proposing to set up a new “centre, centre-right [political] party”, and Mr Nash was aware a report was being commissioned.

Mr Nash yesterday maintained he didn’t know about the report until after the fact.

“I didn’t know they were going to commission a report.”

There is a direct contradiction of evidence between what Mr Bowker and Mr Nash say.

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3 News on Nash

October 9th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

3 News reports:

The Labour Party leadership race has been hit by its own version of Dirty Politics.

3 News has obtained an email showing MP Stuart Nash wanted to set up a rival party with help from a key figure in Nicky Hager’s book.

Mr Nash is denying the threat of the email forced him to quit the race.

“That is simply not true. I have never been blackmailed into standing down,” he says.

The email links Mr Nash to Simon Lusk, a notorious right-wing political operative, who usually works with National, is a close ally of Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater and a key figure in Mr Hager’s book, Dirty Politics.

The e-mail has been circulating for some time, allegedly written by Nash’s 2011 campaign manager. I saw it a few days before the election but could not authenticate it as it did not have any headers, so didn’t run it. I thought it might be a fake, as the language was so strong in condemning Nash. I didn’t pass it on to anyone, but I gathered it had spread quite widely so not surprised it eventually got into the media.

The email, from 18 months ago, shows Mr Nash’s Napier campaign manager, Rob Johnson, complaining that: “You had two friends of yours commission a report from Simon Lusk to the tune of 10 grand as to whether you could gain more influence by establishing your own political party in competition with Labour.”

However Mr Nash said he is “Labour to the core”.

In his email, a furious Mr Johnson calls Mr Lusk an “enemy strategist” and Mr Nash “reckless” and “naive”.

He warns Mr Nash if Mr Lusk’s involvement gets back to certain members of Labour, his entire campaign and career could be torpedoed.

Mr Lusk says he does not disclose his clients.

“Although in this case I will make an exception and say Stuart Nash has not paid me.”

Mr Lusk was paid by “Troy” and “Ned”. 3 News can confirm Troy is Troy Bowker, former Hawke’s Bay boy-turned-multi-millionaire Wellington investor, who knows Prime Minister John Key from the London investment banking scene.

Mr Bowker said today a group of business contacts wanted to set up a centre party, but Mr Lusk’s report said “it wasn’t viable” – and Nash said “no”.

The question that isn’t answered was when did Stuart know about his friends commissioning a report from Simon, and did he say no before he read the report or afterwards? In other words were they acting as an agent for Stuart, or totally independently or somewhere in between?

Also of interest would be the report itself. Maybe Stuart could release a copy of it! :-)

Mr Nash says Mr Johnson got the wrong end of the stick with the initial email and calmed down after it was explained, staying on to help him win Napier at the election.

But Mr Johnson’s email had already been passed on within Labour.

Mr Nash was called by acting leader David Parker on Sunday and officially pulled out of the leadership race the same day. It seems inevitable that if he pushed on, it would have been used against him.

There is correlation, but that may not causative. I think the moment Andrew Little started saying he was looking to stand, it made a Nash candidacy less viable.

UPDATE: I understand Mr Lusk is very upset at the suggestion that one of his reports would cost only $10,000.

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Will Little, Shearer or Nash run?

October 3rd, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The race to be Labour’s leader may no longer be a two-way contest, with Stuart Nash said to be seriously considering a tilt at the top job.

The newly elected Napier MP is biding his time to see if former union boss Andrew Little will throw his hat in the ring. Little’s political future hangs in the balance until tomorrow, when the official election results are declared.

If Little, a former EPMU president, did make it back to Parliament on the list, and decided to enter the primary contest to choose the leader, Nash would not run, a source said.

Nash had earlier ruled it out, saying it was too soon for him.

An insider said he backed away as the caucus waited to see if David Cunliffe would resign and leave Grant Robertson to run unchallenged.

“[He] didn’t want to be the one to trigger a leadership battle that the party had no appetite for.”

But sources say he is reconsidering as the rivalry between Cunliffe and Robertson has turned increasingly bitter. “This is the last thing our party needs, two people going hammer and tongs at each other. It will just turn off New Zealand,” one source said.

Nash is being lobbied hard by Maori and Pasifika members of the party, who believe neither of the two declared contenders can unite the divided factions.

A wildcard option, Nash, 47, represents a break from the rivalries that have torn the party apart in the last three years.

A Cunliffe vs Robertson contest risks being a who is to blame for the loss referendum – the leader or the caucus. Having more than two contenders may focus it more on the future than the past.

It’s not known if the possible nomination of his old boss David Shearer would change his decision. Shearer is still undecided and did not return calls yesterday.

In his Napier electorate yesterday, Nash said his status had not changed. “At this point, I won’t be seeking the leadership of the party.”

The new leader will be installed by November, with the party’s council setting the timetable for the runoff. Nominations will close on October 14, followed by 14 hustings meetings around the country.

Party members, the 32 MPs and affiliated unions all get a say and the result of the vote will be announced on November 18.

I’m picking up a lot of disillusionment among Labour members. I would predict that the number of members who vote will be well down on their last leadership election. This will make the relative power of union votes even more powerful.

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How Nash won

September 29th, 2014 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

A Stuff article on how Stuart Nash was the only Labour MP to win a seat off National in 2011. How did he do it?

Here’s my summary of what worked for him:

  • He campaigned relentlessly for over two years. He didn’t just turn up for the last six months
  • He got himself appointed the local Labour spokesperson so he could maintain a media profile
  • He identified a couple of hot local issues, and got on the popular side of them
  • He had a high profile gimmick such as his red fire truck
  • He had good advisors

It also helped Stuart that the incumbent MP retired. that creates opportunities, and is often the best time to win a seat off the other party.

Even though National will be seeking a fourth term in 2017, it is not at all impossible that they could pick up some electorate seats off Labour. National now has new high energy List MPs in Hutt South, Port Hills and West Coast – Tasman. The incumbent electorate MPs are probably going to retire in 2017 (or sooner if Cunliffe gets re-elected Leader), and if the new National MPs of Bishop, Korako and Pugh work hard to be great local MPs, they could win those seats in 2017.

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Labour candidate seeking a poor person

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

SN FB - Poverty Story 2

This tells us a number of things.

  • HB Today asks the Labour candidate to supply a poor person to use in their story on poverty in the HB.
  • HB Today don’t know anyone in poverty, but want to find someone as they wish to write a story on poverty in the HB
  • Stuart Nash doesn’t know anyone in poverty. He’s had to go to Facebook to try and find someone in poverty


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Nash blames caucus and Mold for Shearer’s downfall

August 25th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

From The Nation today:

Rachel           Alright Mike we’ll come back to you a little later in the programme.  We’re going to go back now to Hastings where I think we have Stuart Nash, and I think he can hear us now?  You can I think.  Excellent.  Thank you for joining us there.  Can I put that to you actually as David Shearer’s former Chief of Staff.  Was it David Shearer who failed or did the team around him, the immediate team around him?  Did that team fail him?

 Stuart Nash – Former Labour MP

 Well I would say two things Rachel.  There were two things that went wrong.  First of all, you know your political history as well as I do, I cannot think of a party that won an election either in government or in opposition that had an openly dysunified caucus, and the second thing I think went wrong is the strategy was wrong in the Leader’s office.

Rachel           Okay so let’s start with the caucus.  What did the Labour caucus think of Shearer?

Stuart             Well they elected him.  When you elect a leader you stand behind that leader, you work very hard for that leader, and you make sure you give that leader the best possible opportunity to win an election.  Politics is about winning elections.  I personally think David would have been a very good Prime Minister, he’s a smart guy.  Look I don’t buy into the argument that he was too nice.  This was a bloke who lived in Mogadishu.  This was a bloke that led the UN in Iraq.  Mr Nice does not do those sorts of jobs.  This was a hard man.  He was a very good bloke, and like I said I think he would have been a very good Prime Minister given the opportunity.

Rachel           What was going on in the Leader’s office then?

Stuart             Well I firmly believe that if you want to be Prime Minister  you’ve gotta give every New Zealander the opportunity to have met you.  Now if you think about if you want to be President of the United States that person has to travel up and down the country and speak in nearly every little hamlet, town, city, right across America.  And it’s the same in New Zealand.  Helen Clark between 1996 and 1999 spent all her time just travelling up and down and right across New Zealand, speaking to every little Rotary Club, Lions Club, Workingmen’s Club, you know you name it Helen talked to it.  You’ve gotta have meetings with town halls that contain 10 people and contain a 100 people.  You’ve gotta give 10 speeches a week, and then you’ve gotta get up and you’ve gotta give another 10 the next week.  Every single year when you are in Opposition is election year.  There is now sort of hiatus, there’s no holiday, you’ve gotta start campaigning the day after the election.

Rachel           So they had the wrong strategy for him then do you think?

Stuart             They did.  I firmly believe that what David needed to do was – well do what Helen did.  Tuesday and Wednesday in parliament, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, up and down the country speaking to New Zealanders.  Like I said if New Zealanders feel they’ve had the opportunity to meet you it doesn’t mean they’ve necessarily taken up that opportunity, but if they feel as if they have had that opportunity then they’re much more likely to vote for you.  And keep in mind if you come to a place like Hastings, or like Napier, the Leader of the Opposition turning up is still big news, you’re still gonna get your photo in the community daily, or the community weekly.

Rachel           So who do you blame for this failure?  Who do you blame for this failure in strategy?

Stuart             Well David had some staff around him that he listened to, that he took advice from.  The bottom line is, David has resigned as Leader of the Opposition because he felt as if he didn’t have the confidence of his caucus colleagues, and that basically is because the polls weren’t rising in a way that the caucus felt he should have.  So you know I think his chief strategists have actually got to put up their hand and say hey we got it wrong.

Rachel           Who?  Exactly who?

Stuart             Well I actually think Fran Mold needs to put up here hand and say look, maybe I didn’t do things as well as I could have in terms of media relations.  Alistair Cameron perhaps has to as Chief of Staff.  But Alistair’s a very good man and I’ve had a couple of conversations with Alistair, but you know the bottom line is David is the Leader, but I just think if he had spent all his time up and down the country, cos he is a good man, he’s a man of absolute integrity, he’s a man of fantastic values, and he could have been a good Prime Minister.  But what I’m talking about, this isn’t rocket science Rachel, this isn’t the first time this has been said.  This is what every leader in New Zealand and across the western world does if they want to be Prime Minister, President, you name it.  They get out and they meet the people, and they find out what the real issues are.

It will be very interesting to see what happens to both the caucus and the leader’s office if Robertson or Cunliffe wins. Robertson is close to most of the leader’s office staff so I suspect little change there if he wins. Cunliffe however could well bring in new people.

Likewise in the caucus, I see little change in the shadow cabinet except a promotion for Ardern is Robertson wins. Cunliffe however could well dispense with some of the old guard who have spent years briefing against him.

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The unfortunate experiment

April 27th, 2012 at 8:58 am by David Farrar

Chris Trotter writes:

CONFESSION, THEY SAY, is good for the soul, so I have a confession to make. I was wrong about David Shearer. I made the mistake of believing that a politician with a brilliant back-story couldn’t fail to give us an equally brilliant front-story. Well, as Sportin’ Life tells the true believers in Porgy & Bess:

 “It ain’t necessarily so.”
And, now I (and I suspect you) know it ain’t so. David Shearer is a thoroughly likeable, thoroughly decent bloke, and his record at the United Nations is truly inspirational, but, come on, let’s face it: he ain’t anybody’s kind of leader.
David Shearer, like David Lange, is a creature of the factional and personal animosities dividing the Labour caucus. Bluntly: he was put there by an unholy alliance of right- and left-wing MPs to prevent the Labour Party’s choice, David Cunliffe, from taking the top job.
Personally I think people are over-reacting. It has only been three months since Parliament resumed this year. But stories like this become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
But those two speeches showed not the slightest trace of “big picture” thinking. On the contrary, they showed every sign of having been inspired by an Auckland-based focus-group, and composed by a Wellington-based committee. The only picture they painted was one that revealed Labour’s deficiencies. That not only did the party lack leadership, but it also lacked ideas. 
This is the problem you get when Labour doesn’t know what it stands for, apart from opposing National.

So, what have we learned from this debacle? What has Labour learned?

If by “Labour” you mean its caucus, I would say absolutely nothing. If you’re talking about the party itself, nothing it didn’t know already: that Caucus picked the wrong guy.
It’s time for the Labour Caucus to put an end to “the unfortunate experiment” and begin a new one. They could call it “democracy” – and stop taking their party for Grant-ed.
I read this as a pretty clear sign that if or when Shearer falls, Robertson will not become Leader unopposed. You can see this in the Waitakere News blog by Mickey Savage who says:

Nothing good will come of this activity.  It is damaging to the party.  Despite National being in disarray the polls are static.  Labour is not moving upward.  A hint of disarray is the worst thing that a party can show.

And interestingly Cunliffe may now be Shearer’s best chance of survival as Labour Head Office and the Beehive are filled with Robertson supporters. 
This continuous attack on Cunliffe and the current undermining of Shearer show the same techniques being used and suggest strongly that the same “mastermind” is behind this.  In the interests of the party and of the country they should stop. 
MS does not say who this mastermind is, but by process of elimination there can’t be many choices. The Shearer v Cunliffe leadership contest was a fairly friendly good natured affair. I’m not sure a Robertson v Cunliffe contest will be.
In related news, Tracy Watkins at the Dom Post reports:

The Labour leader’s office appears to be in turmoil after David Shearer’s chief of staff abruptly left Wellington.

Former Labour MP Stuart Nash, who has been in the job just a few months, was seen leaving Parliament yesterday after a meeting with Mr Shearer’s incoming chief of staff Alistair Cameron. He later confirmed that he would be working on projects from his home in Napier for the next couple of weeks. He is due to finish on May 31.

Mr Nash rejected suggestions he had been “frogmarched” out of the building or given orders to clear his desk but his abrupt departure coincides with rising conflict in the Labour Party over Mr Shearer’s continued poor polling and lack of a clear strategy.

It is highly unusual for there not to be a cross-over period, and for one COS to leave before the next one starts – especially if the outgoing one has no job to go to.

Some of that conflict has been laid bare in leaks to a Right-wing blog that could only have come from either senior MPs or highly placed members of the leadership team.

Or both :-)

UPDATE: And by coincidence David Cunliffe has a column in the Herald on how NZ needs better leadership.

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Changes within Labour

April 13th, 2012 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Tracy Watkins reports:

Labour leader David Shearer’s chief of staff is apparently set to depart after just a couple of months in the job.

Former MP Stuart Nash was appointed Mr Shearer’s right-hand man after the leadership change late last year but is understood to be quitting to return to his home town of Napier.

Mr Nash could not be contacted yesterday. Sources say he decided to return to Napier to boost his chances of regaining the seat Labour lost in 2005, and to spend more time with his family.

His partner gave birth just a few weeks before he started the job on February 1.

But his departure is likely to fuel speculation over differences of opinion within Labour’s senior leadership team over strategy.

It will be interesting to see, if the speculation is correct, who replaces Nash. It is an absolutely key role, as if Labour wins the election they generally go on to become the PM’s Chief of Staff.

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What will Cunliffe do?

December 16th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

An embittered David Cunliffe is refusing to rule out quitting Parliament altogether as leader David Shearer moves to finalise his front bench.

It is understood Mr Cunliffe has been offered a front bench seat and a senior portfolio but has balked at his proposed ranking.

Offering Cunliffe anything less than his current rating or portfolios, always runs the risk of a refusal.

Labour has been allocated eight front bench seats in the new Parliament and it is likely Mr Cunliffe has been offered either the sixth, seventh or eighth slot.

The top places are likely to be taken by Mr Shearer, deputy Grant Robertson, Jacinda Ardern, finance spokesman David Parker, Shane Jones and Clayton Cosgrove with the remaining two slots open to Mr Cunliffe and his running mate, Nanaia Mahuta, or possibly Ruth Dyson or Maryan Street.

So lets look at this from Cunliffe’s point of view. You’ll accept Shearer, Robertson and Parker all being ranked higher than you. But if the story is correct it is proposed that two other MPs would be higher ranked than Cunliffe, such as Jacinda Ardern or Ruth Dyson. Cunliffe would have a fair point to ask why any of those named deserve a higher ranking than him.

Now of course it is at the discretion of the leader, what ranking to give out – but it is also at the discretion of the MP whether or not to accept.

Meanwhile, former list MP Stuart Nash, who is close to Mr Shearer, has been offered the role of chief of staff.

He said he wanted to discuss it with his partner first, and would give Mr Shearer his answer by Sunday.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity, because I believe David Shearer can take us to victory in 2014.”

That’s a smart move. Labour really are on their way to rebuilding.

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Detective Clare at work

August 3rd, 2011 at 11:50 am by David Farrar

Clare Curran blogs:

The  public relations firm paid $10,000 to broker John Key’s appearance on the Letterman Show was Hill & Knowlton, the PR firm that became notorious for its involvement in the Kuwaiti embassy’s lobbying of congress to provoke a military response to the Iraq invasion back in 1991.

This involved creating an artificial scandal over Iraq troops murdering Kuwaiti babies in incubators, using the Kuwaiti ambassador’s family as stooges claiming to have witnessed these atrocities.

Congress bought it, and Hill & Knowlton was rewarded handsomely for their assistance in facilitating a military response.

Even Crosby Textor looks tame compared with these guys.

Boy that John Key is a real evil bastard. As Tourism NZ engaged Hill & Knowlton to work for them in the US, John Key is complicit in falsely claiming the murder of Kuwaiti babies in incubators.

This strategy is only slightly more subtle than Labour MP Stuart Nash, who tweeted yesterday:

Key is such a smug prick

It looks like Labour are planning a repeat of their 2008 campaign.

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100 initiatives in 100 days

November 2nd, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Do you recall Len Brown saying h would announce 100 initiatives or policies in his first 100 days in office – 1 a day.

Today is Day 2. I presume Day 1 was spend lots of money getting sworn in. so what was the big policy for Day 2.

He announced it on Breakfast this morning. They’re going to clean the windows of the Town Hall.

Day 1 it turns out was doing designations for the planned rail tracks. No problems with that as early designations help, but I await with interest his policy on how much he will increase rates to pay for his rail plans.

Len may think he has a mandate for the rail – and he does if the ratepayers of Auckland who voted for him are willing to pay for it. But he does not have a mandate to demand the taxpayers of Wellington, Napier, Nelson and Christchurch pay for it. In fact the best quote I can give comes from Labour’s Stuart Nash:

All this posturing, threats and huge budget promises re Auckland from their new councillors etc makes me shake my head in disbelief.

Akld is but one of many cities in this wonderful country and if Aucklanders think they have pre-eminent rights on all of our taxes then they need to pull their heads out from their nether-regions and get real.  New Zealand does well when all New Zealanders are thriving.

Well said Mr Nash.

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$150,000 and on welfare

August 21st, 2009 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports on Labour’s legacy:

Thirty-five families with a household income of more than $150,000 are pocketing Working for Families cash.

Welfare should be for those on low incomes who need support to cover the essentials. Not to give rich people extra money because they choose to have some more kids.

Labour revenue spokesman Stuart Nash said families earning more than $150,000 were not the type envisaged for the scheme.

If there were abuses, then loopholes should be closed.

But Working for Families had lifted thousands of children out of poverty and it was the most effective income-redistribution policy “ever”.

Over-taxing New Zealanders so you can give them some of their own money back as welfare is now what I call effective. Well it is effective at turning more families into welfare recipients I guess.

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Today’s MPs

January 19th, 2009 at 11:18 am by David Farrar

In today’s Herald:

Kevin Hague

He also laid out his personal philosophy – a vegetarian for the past 28 years, Mr Hague said he become so “to take only what resources I need from the natural world and to harm the natural world to the least extent possible”.

He felt a “growing unease” that the human race had reached the limits of what it could take from the natural world.

“Human beings are not well adapted to deal with gradually unfolding risk or dangers that are rare but catastrophic.”

He said technological advances had saved humankind from the worst consequences of their actions in the past, but he feared it would not be enough this time. He looked to the United States for some hope for the future, describing Barack Obama’s election as kindling “a small flame of hope for the future of the human race and the planet”.

Hague is a former DHB CEO and an experienced advocate. His beliefes obviously make him well suited to be a Green MP.

Stuart Nash

Has a daughter and son. Lives in Napier, where he was raised and where his family settled in 1865. Has worked in international business and marketing, including Fletchers and Carter Holt Harvey. Was director of strategic development at AUT before moving to Napier. Chief executive of Napier’s Art Deco Trust.

A rare business backround for a Labour MP.

As a 9-year-old, he had to present an item to his class the day after Elvis Presley died. It was also the day after Robert Muldoon delivered his Budget. “Five 9-year-olds spoke about Elvis and one poor kid about the Government’s fiscal plans. Thanks Mum.”


Louise Upston

Started her first business when she was 19 and has since worked in business development and project management in a wide range of industries including local government, education, tourism and broadcasting. Most recently focused on telecommunications and information technology. Based in Taupo, she is married with three children.

Having a business-friendly environment is one of the keys out of the economic recession, so good to have another business-friendly MP.

She cites education as her top priority followed by law and order. She spoke of a family in her electorate whose daughter was killed after being hit  by a drugged driver, and said the justice system was skewed toward protecting criminals rather than the  victims.

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