Russell John Tully guilty

March 10th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

It is no surprise Tully was found guilty of murdering two WINZ staff. Now the trial is over the survivors and friends and families can start rebuilding their lives.

At the time of the killing, some on the left such as Sue Bradford blamed it on Government policies. The Herald reported:

Former Green MP Sue Bradford has drawn an outraged response after saying the Government’s “brutal policies” led to today’s attack on Ashburton Work and Income staff.

Ms Bradford, a life-long unemployment activist who now lectures in social practice at Unitec, tweeted: “Shocking news coming in of Work & Income shooting: awful, but a risk when office becomes front for brutal policies.”

Many on the left condemned what Bradford said. But others like Bradbury supported her.

So with that in mind, the profile of Tully by Martin van Beynen is worth reading. Some extracts:

When Russell John Tully turned to murder, he was 49 and going nowhere.

Homeless and living rough on the outskirts of the solid farming town of Ashburton, he had a bivvy in scrub around the Ashburton River. Later searches of his camps showed he had a sweet tooth and liked corn chips. He was not a tidy Kiwi.

After selling his car, a push bike was his only mode of transport. He appeared to have few possessions, no cash and zero prospects. His income was a disability benefit. If he had made money working in the mines in Australia, as he claimed, nothing appeared to be left.

Not one to accept his predicament stoically, he was continually seeking grants from Work and Income to supplement his benefit. He wanted grants for food, housing and medicines. The world owed him a living.

Tall – about 182 centimetres, six feet – and clear-eyed, he did not seem in bad health but complained of a skin complaint which affected his joints. A local newspaper reported he had come home to Ashburton to die. He often wore thick gloves and began signing papers with an X saying he couldn’t sign his name. 

If he didn’t get what he wanted he became intimidating and aggressive. As it turned out he also harboured a terrible grudge.

A terrible sense of entitlement. To this day it is less than clear that he was disabled and/or unable to work.

His promising start seems to have been derailed at some stage. He appeared before the Blenheim District Court in November, 2002, on threatening to kill and presenting a firearm charges.

The charges came from an incident where his landlord went to his Picton flat to serve an eviction notice. He found Tully cleaning a rifle and putting a silencer on it. He claimed Tully pointed the gun at him and threatened to “waste” him. 

So this is not some nice guy driven over the edge by the system. This is a guy with a history of violence and firearms. It would be interesting to know why he was evicted.

By 2013, he was back in New Zealand drifting around camping grounds in North Canterbury. He spent time at the Waikuku Beach Holiday Park, the Riverland Holiday Park in Kaiapoi and the Rangiora Holiday Park.

An altercation at the Rangiora Holiday Park resulted in a complaint to the police. He was asked to leave several of the camping grounds because of his mouthy attitude.

Again, not a good person.

He will get sentenced to life in jail. The question is how long the non parole period is. For a double murder and such a level of planning, I hope the non parole period is at least 25 years. Personally I don’t see any realistic possibility of him contributing to society in the future.

Sue Bradford for Children’s Commissioner

January 24th, 2016 at 8:42 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Poverty activist and former Green Party MP Sue Bradford is in the running to become our next Children’s Commissioner.

No she isn’t. Applying for a job doesn’t mean you are in the running. If I applied to be UN Secretary-General, that doesn’t mean I’m in the running. To be in the running you need a non-zero chance of getting the job.

The Green Party has put Bradford forward as one of its nominees to fill the role when current commissioner Russell Wills’ five-year term ends in June this year.

And the chance of a National led Government appointing Sue Bradford as Children’s Commissioner is about the same as Labour-Green Government appointing Stephen Franks to be Chief Justice.

Violent protests against giving beneficiaries first increase in 43 years

May 22nd, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

This is the so called Auckland Action Against Poverty, in response to the first increase in real benefit rates in 43 years. Lovely people aren’t they.

Sure you may argue it should be more, but the way they are carrying on, you’d think the Government had cut benefits by $25 a week!

They’re part of the demented 1% who won’t be happy until we have the communist nirvana of surgeons being paid the same as McDonalds staff.

Spokeswoman Sue Bradford said if the government was serious about dealing with poverty, it would lift benefits now to the same levels as superannuation

Let’s look at what this would cost.

The standard benefit for a job seeker aged 25 is $210.13 a week.

The standard benefit for a someone on NZ Super living alone is $374.53

So Bradford is demanding a 78.2% increase in non NZ Super benefits. They currently cost around $7.3 billion. So the annual cost of what the AAAP are violently demanding is an extra $5.7 billion a year in welfare payments. In reality it would be far more than that, as many more people would go on welfare.

Now I doubt they want health and education cut by $5.7 billion a year, so I imagine their response would be sock it to the rich and make them pay. Stick up the top tax rate from 33%.

A 1% increase brings in around $210 million a year so they need a 27% increase, meaning the top tax rate would have to be 60 cents in the dollar. Yep anything you earn over $70,000 would go 60/40 to the Government.

And that is just to fund their one sole demand.

Of course in reality a top tax rate of 60% would not bring in even half that amount of money. People would simply leave.


A violent attack to protest Sky City – held hours after Govt announces no deal!!

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

Stuff reports:

Protesters have clashed with police at a National Party fundraiser, storming the yacht club the event is being held at. …

Another group of protesters tried to enter via a lower level, sparking further violent scenes. 

Bradford was carried out by police soon after.

Police quickly called for reinforcements and a cordon of about 30 officers was now protecting the venue, including maritime police who arrived on a boat. 

Protesters on loudhailers were alternating chants of “what’s the story, filthy Tory?”, “stop the war on the poor” and “John Key’s a millionaire, that’s why he doesn’t care”.

So original. I love how they hate the PM because he went from a state house to a successful business career!

The Herald reported:

AAAP coordinator Sue Bradford said the protest was spurred by the government’s involvement with SkyCity’s controversial convention centre development.

“National should not even be considering taxpayer funding to prop up a corporate giant like SkyCity, where everyday people are being denied even the most basic food, benefit and housing entitlements,” she said.

Earlier this afternoon Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce today announced that SkyCity had agreed not to pursue a financial contribution from the Government and would instead amend its design to ensure the facility could be completed without financial input from the Crown.

So these intellectual giants held a violent protest against a deal with Sky City – around two hours after the Government announced no deal. I guess they couldn’t think up another issue quickly enough to protest about!

So incredibly sad

September 2nd, 2014 at 7:05 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Two Work and Income staff made a desperate dash for the back door of their Ashburton office when the shooting started.

Homeless beneficiary Russel John Tully, 48, was yesterday arrested following the shooting of three women at the office, two fatally.

Lindy Curtis was last night in a stable condition in Christchurch Hospital with leg injuries. Peg Noble was on reception when a gunman walked into the office and shot her in the chest. A third woman was also killed.

Noble was 10 minutes from her tea break when she was shot at close range.

Yesterday, friend Elizabeth Rees said Noble was a second mother to her daughter, Kim, who worked in the same office.

Kim was due to relieve Noble on reception and had a narrow escape.

”She’s been crying and crying. She came home, saw her kids and it hit her,” Rees said.

Her daughter and another staff member had run for their lives to the back door of the office and then out to the street, Rees said.

I don’t think I can even understand the trauma the staff have gone through, let alone the impact on families and friends of those killed.

Noble had worked for Work and Income for 20 years and was supposed to retire years ago but loved her job.

”She lived for her job,” Rees said. ”She had a heart of gold and would do anything for you.”

If found guilty, I hope Mr Tully is basically never released.

The Herald reports:

Former Green MP Sue Bradford has drawn an outraged response after saying the Government’s “brutal policies” led to today’s attack on Ashburton Work and Income staff.

Ms Bradford, a life-long unemployment activist who now lectures in social practice at Unitec, tweeted: “Shocking news coming in of Work & Income shooting: awful, but a risk when office becomes front for brutal policies.”

Internet Party Kelston candidate Roshni Sami tweeted in support: “Nats brag that 1600 people p/w move off welfare into jobs, in reality they’re pushed off welfare into hardship. Shame!”

But a string of other people following Ms Bradford on Twitter attacked her for the original comment.

“Not appropriate Sue. Of all people you should know that,” tweeted Auckland psychotherapist Kyle MacDonald.

Media monitoring worker Regan Gibbons tweeted, “Really Sue, you couldn’t give it a day before politicising this tragedy?”

Others described the tweet as “a sick comment”, “a total disgrace” and “disgusting.” One tweeted: “You are an opportunistic, moralising windbag.”

I don’t what to even call such behaviour. If blaming rape victims for getting raped is called rape culture, is this murder culture? Good on those who called Bradford and the Internet Party candidate out. I had a couple of people also try to blame the victims or their employers on Twitter and Facebook, and instantly blocked them.

Ms Bradford said she sent out the tweet – which has since been deleted – before knowing that two people had been killed and her sympathies were with the workers who died.

Oh so in Sue’s world it is okay to blame the Government for the shooting if they were just wounded, but not okay if they were killed? Really?

A smart ad

June 2nd, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar


The Conservative Party ran this ad full page in the Sunday newspapers. It said:

We couldn’t be futher apart on the political spectrum.

We stand for different things, but we respect any politician that stands up for what they believe in, unfortunately they’re a bit thin on the groud at the moment.

You can change all this on September 20.

I have to say that I think this as is quite brilliant. The public like a party that can praise a politician from the other side of the spectrum, and the message the Conservatives are trying to get across is that they are a party of principle, not pragmatism.

The ad also resulted in them getting the entire Page 2 of the Sunday Star-Times, which is some very useful free publicity.

Bradford against Mana Dotcom deal

March 24th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Now Hone’s proposed deal with the German multi-millionaire has been exposed, some in his party are wary. The Herald reports:

Mana member and former MP Sue Bradford is worried at the prospect of any deal with Mr Dotcom’s internet Party, which has yet to be launched.

“I would be extremely concerned if Mana was to go into any arrangement with Kim Dotcom because what I think he stands for is the anti-thesis of what Mana is about to me,” she told the Herald last night.

Indeed, normally you’d expect Mana and UNITE to picket him for being a bad employer. But Hone wants his money it seems.

“In any way joining forces with a billionaire who is very likely a fraudster and under various legal challenges would really go against the kaupapa that I believe in.”

She said there had also been concerns about the poor payment or no payment of staff and poor payment or low payment of creditors.

“All this does not really one to think he is a person of credibility that a political party with mana in Aotearoa would want to be associated with.”

Well done Sue Bradford on staying true to her principles. She’s not in favour of selling out.

Labour’s Shane Jones said he visited the mansion late last year. But the discussion was limited to rap-music – and he had told leader David Cunliffe about the visit.

Rap music? Yeah, right. Are they any Labour MPs that haven’t visited Dotcom? If Shane Jones has been there, I presume every Labour MP has been invited at some stage. Maybe media can ask them all who has been?

It does make you wonder again if Dotcom is one of the secret donors to Cunliffe’s secret trust?

Tom Scott par excellence

May 22nd, 2012 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

I missed this last week.  You can see all of Tom Scott’s cartoons here. Superb.

Contraception and welfare

May 8th, 2012 at 9:29 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The Government’s plan to offer free long-term contraception for beneficiaries and their daughters is being labelled as an insult and intrusive to women’s right to have children.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett yesterday said contraception would eventually be fully funded for female beneficiaries and their 16 to 19-year-old daughters.

Oh my God how mean and nasty. Having taxpayers fund free contraception.

Auckland Action Against Poverty spokeswoman Sue Bradford this morning said while the contraception was voluntary, it was “totally unacceptable” for the Government to get involved in women’s reproduction.

So Sue is arguing against any taxpayer subsidy for contraception for any woman? She should join ACT!

Bradford said the Government was persuading women to take contraception through sanctions, such as having beneficiaries who have an additional child on the benefit to look for work when that child was one.

“We believe that women in this country have the right to control their own reproduction,” she said.

They do. But taxpayers also have the right to say if you have half a dozen kids while on the benefit, we won’t keep paying for your choices.


November 7th, 2011 at 3:35 pm by David Farrar

Paula Bennett announced:

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett is pleased to announce the successful applicants to the Fresh Start Innovation Fund.

“Nine providers have received funding to make a real difference with young offenders, particularly with young Maori,” says Ms Bennett.

“As part of the Fresh Start policy for young offenders, the Innovation Fund supports new ideas or programmes that offer a different approach to working with at risk young people,” Ms Bennett says.

Providers in this round will receive a combined total of almost $402,700 funding, out of more than $3.3 million awarded to 43 providers to date. …

“My thanks to independent selection panel chair Katherine Rich and to Sue Bradford who helped assessed the applications and recommended the successful programmes,” says Ms Bennett.

Good to see that Paula will involve someone who is a harsh critic of her policies, and is in fact standing against her. And also credit to Bradford for being constructively involved.

Mana selections

September 16th, 2011 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Danya Levy at Stuff reports:

Former Greens MP Sue Bradford today confirmed she will stand for the Mana Party in the Auckland electorate of Waitakere against Social Development Minister and sitting National MP Paula Bennett.

That is great news for Paula, as Bradford will split the left vote with Carmel Sepuloni.

Meanwhile, Maori broadcaster Willie Jackson has decided not to stand for Mana in Tamaki Makaurau against Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples.

And that is good news for Sharples. I think the risk of him losing was much greater if Jackson stood as Jackson would be competing with Sharples for votes.

He was also concerned he would split the vote in Tamaki Makaurau and enable Labour candidate Shane Jones to win the Maori seat.

And Willie knows Shane is the most right wing Maori MP in Parliament (after Jami-Lee Ross).

Jurors mitigating anti-smacking law

March 20th, 2011 at 10:12 am by David Farrar

Sarah Harvey in the SST reports:

A JURY has set a new benchmark under the so-called “anti-smacking” legislation by acquitting a father even though he admitted tying his son to his wrist, shaving his hair off, and washing his mouth out with soap. …

The father and his new wife were found not guilty after a trial on 15 charges alleging cruelty against two children from his previous marriage. The children were aged 10 and under at the time.

The couple’s lawyer used Section 59 of the Crimes Act, the amendment championed by Bradford, as a defence.

The case tested the amendment and showed what a jury would allow in terms of “justified force” to prevent or minimise harm, or to stop the child engaging in “offensive or disruptive behaviour”.

Here’s the irony. If Sue Bradford has gone with the Borrows amendment, then the court case may have ended up differently. Bradford’s law bans any use of force for “correction” but allows “reasonable force” for other purposes such as preventing offensive or disruptive behaviour.

The Borrows amendment would have defined reasonable force for both correctional purposes, but also the other purposes such as preventing disruptive behaviour.

So this is an absolute own goal in my opinion.

“It is probably the worst thing I have ever done to my child, but I grabbed my tie that I wear for church and I tied his wrist to my wrist beside my bed so he couldn’t take off and go and kill himself,” the father told the Sunday Star-Times. “Then he did manage to loosen it, so I did tie it around his neck for only about 30 seconds. I admitted to those things in court, but given the circumstances and what I was trying to achieve – trying to stop him killing himself – I was found not guilty.”

He also gave his son a “number two” haircut to teach him a lesson after a couple of years of stealing from his parents.

He was found not guilty of the charges relating to those incidents, as well as incidents where he was accused of making his children have cold showers, and excessive time-outs. He said the charges were exaggerated, and in some cases fabricated, but admitted the tying, cutting the child’s hair and washing his mouth out.

The jury accepted the three acts happened, but the majority decided they were OK.

Here’s an interesting question. Under the proposed law changes by Simon Power, would these parents have been entitled to a trial bu jury? Depends on what the exact ahrges were I imagine.

Deanne Shilton, the lead juror in the case, contacted the Sunday Star-Times through a third party. She said she was “embarrassed to be a New Zealander” and felt awful for the couple for having to go through the case – particularly the heavily pregnant wife of the father, who was forced to climb several flights of stairs to court cells during any break.

Shilton said she contacted the couple after the case to say how embarrassed she felt. It was obvious to her from the start the couple should be acquitted. She said most, but not all, of the other jurors felt similarly. “Good decent parents trying to instil a sense of responsibility, honesty and integrity, as well as the action-consequence moral in their children have been put through a living hell for their efforts.” …

But Bradford said the incidents were abuse. “I’m not familiar with the details of the case but the sort of things you are talking about – to me they are all assaults against children. And I think it’s really sad that a jury would think that those kind of activities are acceptable.

Might I suggest that it is better to learn the details of the case, rather than just apply labels.

I don’t think anyone condones the listed activities as ideal parenting. But like the jury I would hestitate to turn the parents into criminals for their actions, considering how difficult it sounds like the children were.

But I also do wonder why were the children so disruptive? Look sometimes, a kid is just a “bad apple” and it is no fault of their family or environment. But sometimes kids can rebel against an overly harsh environment. At the end of the day, it is dangerous to make judgements from afar.

New Left party hopes fade

March 12th, 2011 at 11:06 am by David Farrar

Martin Kay in the Dom Post reports:

The chances of a broad-based Left-wing party rising from the ashes of Hone Harawira’s meltdown with the Maori Party have been dashed after he made it clear that any group he led would have to be Maori-focused.

Former Greens MP Sue Bradford – who has been closely associated with speculation that a new party was being planned – said the prospect of one being in place for this year’s election were now slim after Mr Harawira indicated he wanted a “more Left-wing Maori Party”.

Ms Bradford has said she would be interested in discussing a more generalist party that campaigned on a broad range of issues, but Mr Harawira’s comments suggested he was not interested.

I never thought Hone would want to lead a non Maori party. Maori nationalism is what he is all about.

There is a way they could try and do it – copy the Alliance structure. Have Hone as Leader of the “Mana” party and Sue as Leader of the “Left” party. The Mana Party could become a constituent part of the Left Party and that would mean if Hone retains his seat, then the Left Party would gain a List MP if they received around 30,000 party votes.

However that would mean that Hone’s party is subservient to the left party, and bound by the rules of the left party with regard to how they determine policies, list ranking, leadership.

Name calling instead of analysis

March 11th, 2011 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Simon Collins reports in the Herald:

A Maori former solo mother who recommended free contraceptives for beneficiaries is defending her group’s report against charges of Nazi-style racism.

Sharon Wilson-Davis, a solo mother of three by the age of 21, was a member of the Welfare Working Group which proposed radical changes to the welfare system in a report last month.

Former Green MP Sue Bradford said the group seemed to be “looking to Nazi Germany for inspiration, with its underpinning ‘work makes free’ philosophy, attempted eugenic control of a portion of the population, and its potential racist implications for Maori”.

Sue Bradford is just doing hysterical name calling. Her hysteria stands in contrast to the quiet dignity of Mrs Wilson-Davis, whom Sue has effectively called a Nazi. I guess that makes her a Maori Nazi.

The group recommended work-testing almost all beneficiaries, including sole parents with no children under 3, and applying the work test after 14 weeks for parents who have another child after going on welfare. This was the only point on which the eight-member group disagreed.

The group also proposed “free long-acting reversible contraception” for parents who are receiving welfare”. Pharmac has fully funded a long-lasting hormone implant called Jadelle since August.

I’m not convinced on work testing at 14 weeks, but do agree one should not encourage parents already on full-time welfare from having further children. They have the right to do so of course, but there is no “right” to remain on welfare for 20 years when you are capable of working.

Mrs Wilson-Davis, whose Strive Community Trust runs work transition programmes for sole parents in Mangere, said on Tuesday that she supported both proposals to encourage young women to “make wiser choices”.

“Fourteen weeks is the same as paid parental leave. You are going back to work, and if you don’t like it, don’t have another child,” she said.

“What are your choices? We have a contraceptive device that is totally subsidised, so that when you are in better circumstances, if you have work or if you meet a lovely man and he’s willingto support you, fine, have twins, have whatever. But not while you are in this situation.”

The reality is 90% of families do take account their ability to pay their bills, when deciding whether to have further children. It is relatively rare now-a-days for families to have more than three kids.

Mrs Wilson-Davis, 56, was raised by her grandmother in Otara and left school at 14 because she was embarrassed by not having the correct uniform or money for books.

She married her first boyfriend at 16 because “all I wanted was to have my own place”.

When she was 21 her husband left her and their three children. She transferred to the night shift at a factory to pay the mortgage, and asked cousins to stay so they could feed the baby at 3am.

She said many young women had children because they wanted to be loved.

Welfare made people feel useless, she said, but she had seen huge changes in the women who came on her trust’s course for sole parents.

One she cited was Taina Matthews, 49, a former battered wife who is working for the trust and completing a social work degree.

“I think of one woman who was cowering in a corner when she came in. Now she has blossomed.”

So this is whom Sue Bradford is effectively calling a Nazi?

Bradford says she will lead

January 31st, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Talk of a new Left-wing party is gathering steam, with veteran activist Sue Bradford confirming behind-the-scenes discussions and revealing she would consider leading it if asked.

Expectations are growing in Left-wing circles that renegade Te Tai Tokerau MP Hone Harawira could be the lightning rod for a new movement if the rift between him and the Maori Party hierarchy ends in divorce.

This poses a challenge for both National and Labour. An extra ally for Labour isn’t good for National.

But on the other hand can you imagine Phil Goff trying to lead a Government where he could only pass laws if he can get Metiria Turie, Sue Bradford, Hone Harawira and Winston Peters to all agree.

Meanwhile in the Land of Oz

December 9th, 2010 at 9:31 am by David Farrar

Simon Collins reports in the NZ Herald:

An alternative welfare review group will call today for raising welfare benefits by as much as 50 per cent to meet the basic needs of jobless families.

The alternative group, chaired by Massey University social policy expert Mike O’Brien and including former Green MP Sue Bradford, says current benefits of $194 a week for a single adult or $366 for a sole parent with one child are “simply too low to live on”.

It calls for restoring benefits “as a first step” to the proportion of the average wage that applied before they were cut by up to $27 a week in 1991. That would mean raising the single dole by 53 per cent to about $296 a week and lifting the benefit for a sole parent with one child to about $536 a week.

I have some questions for the alternative welfare working group:

  1. Is pepsi more popular than coke where you come from?
  2. Is the gravitational field strength also 9.81 m/s^2 on your planet?
  3. Is the sun a yellow sun, meaning Kal-El has his full powers or a red sun, meaning he is just a normal human?
  4. Does the fertile soil on your world allow you to grow the money on trees, or do you plant seeds in the ground?
  5. Is the speed of light 299,792 km/s in your dimension?

It’s only official when it is denied

November 8th, 2010 at 5:50 am by David Farrar

One rule of politics is to never believe a rumour until someone denies it!

Claire Trevett in the Herald reports:

Sue Bradford and Matt McCarten have rejected speculation they are about to start a new left-wing party – but neither will rule out doing so at some future point. …

Yesterday, both Ms Bradford and Mr McCarten said there were no current moves to do so and they had not discussed the idea with each other.

However, both believed there were virtues in the idea.

What I find interesting is that neither McCarten or Bradford see the Greens as a suitable vehicle.

Armstrong on Activists

July 24th, 2010 at 10:21 am by David Farrar

John Armstrong writes:

The left-wing activists who stormed the Sky City Hotel last Sunday in an inevitably futile attempt to force their way into the National Party conference should take a good hard look at themselves.

The noisy fracas with security guards inside Auckland’s Temple to Capitalism certainly got the activists what they wanted – top-of-the-bulletin coverage on that evening’s television news. But if they think such tactics are going to mobilise public opinion against the Government’s just-released package of workplace law reforms then they should think again.

Their actions were widely viewed within the Labour Party as unhelpful, though no one was saying so publicly.

Sue Bradford and John Minto charging a Police line just sends people into the opposite direction.

While others on the left have been quick to label National’s package as a “class war” being waged on the country’s workers, Labour has avoided using such over-the-top language.

When it comes to portraying National’s policy prescription, there is a danger of crying wolf. More so because much of the package is based on National’s 2008 election policy. That prescription pleasantly surprised some left-wing commentators for being so moderate and not a return to the Employment Contracts Act. They cannot now turn around and argue that the package released by Key last Sunday is designed to wage class war.

And many aspects will actually be welcomed by employees such as the ability to trade leave for pay.

Even the 90 day trial period will be popular with many employees I reckon. We’ve all seen new people hired at a workplace and within a week or two it is apparent they are not up to the job. It isn’t just the bosses, but the other employees, who often have to carry them until they finally leave.

Greens abandon Bradford, she claims

June 4th, 2010 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Dom Post reports:

Former Green Party MP Sue Bradford has abandoned plans to run for the Auckland super-city council, saying she has been left high and dry by her party.

The Green Party is gathering in Christchurch today for its annual conference. Ms Bradford will miss it for the first time in 12 years.

“I don’t have a role there,” Ms Bradford said. I’ve lost my place to stand with the Green Party.”

She had seriously considered running for a place as a councillor on the super-city board but had reluctantly backed out.

“I came to see that I didn’t have the support of Labour and the Greens.”

A pity in a sense. The thought of Sue as Deputy Mayor would have galvanised many people to vote, just to vote against her.

Nippert on Bradford

October 25th, 2009 at 9:56 am by David Farrar

Matt Nippert from the HoS profiles retiring Green MP Sue Bradford. A long article – here are some extracts:

Greg Fleming, founder and head of the arch-conservative Maxim Institute, has clashed repeatedly with the Green MP in recent years. On smacking and prostitution reform Bradford describes the organisation as a “deadly enemy”, but Fleming says he’s sad to see a fellow ideologue go.

“The thing that’s been delightful about our friendship – and we’ve disagreed over almost everything – is that she’s actually very clear about why she believes what she believes,” says Fleming.

A nice compliment.

She says she had high hopes that Jim Anderton’s breakaway party could shatter the male-led old boys’ club of national politics. “But of course in New Labour I was right back into an old patriarchal model – with bells on.”

Bradford quit in 1990, barely a year after she had joined, and refused to take part in the Alliance because of bad blood with Anderton. She joined the Greens in 1998 only after they split from the Alliance.

(Asked about his brief political liaison with Bradford, Jim Anderton declined to comment.)

Sue just got out early. Jim made very clear later on that he would leave unless complete control of the party was ceded to him. McCarten and Harre refused, so he bailed.

While Bradford was able to eventually recruit both John Key and Helen Clark into her drive to remove the Section 59 defence, resulting in a resounding 113-7 victory when the third reading was passed, her inability to connect with the public has been labelled a “catastrophic failure of propaganda” by a source who previously worked for the Greens.

“It ended up being labelled a bill against smacking, which it never was,” says the source.

It did not start off like that. The original bill merely removed S59. But the final bill was a bill against smacking. It basically said you can use reasonable force in numerous situations except correction.

Turei defends the change, saying it has been a conscious process.

She does not openly criticise Bradford, but it’s impossible to hide Turei’s differences with the MP who unsuccessfully battled her for the leadership.

Turei explains the evolution in Green thinking: “I don’t want to
exclude people who don’t hold that old left-wing culture, that can’t relate to that old 1970s hard-core working-class struggle.”

While Turei insists that Green policy remains unchanged, she supports moving the party away from under Labour’s wing and into a position where they could – conceivably – work with National in the future.

Says Bradford: “I’ve always been clear that if we wanted to be a party that would enter coalition with National, I would leave it.

As I have said numerous time. The Greens will never choose a National-led Govt over a Labour-led Govt. But they need to be able to hold open that possibility to stop Labour treating the like a doormat.

The most I would ever expect to see between the Greens and National is an agreement to abstain on supply and confidence.

THERE’S ALSO the possibility of a return to politics – albeit not in Wellington. Auckland Supercity mayoral candidate and Manukau Mayor Len Brown has expressed an interest in having her around the council table.

“I do support Len Brown for mayor and think he’s a great guy, and I live in Manukau at the moment,” she says, non-committally.

“Standing for council would be a big job and I think the process of forming tickets and who will be on those tickets will be tense. I don’t want to cut off the option, I’m quite open to it, but that does not a campaign or ticket make.”

Not yet, but Deputy Mayor of Auckland must be a tempting prize for a woman who quit national politics partly because she never got to be a Minister. I can’t imagine Sue would want to just be a Councillor, so if she is on the ticket, it will be fair to assume she has been promised the Deputy spot.

Bradford on the Greens

October 20th, 2009 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Liberation has some extracts from a radio interview with Sue Bradford on the Greens:

Sue Bradford: That tension is always there in our Green Party, as it is in green parties around the world… I think that some of the people on the more blue-green, or conservative side of the Green Party will be feeling probably quite relieved that I won’t be a Green MP anymore.

Yet Green party supporters on this blog attacked me when I suggested Sue’s departure pointed to some splits in the party. They insisted it was just about her not winning the co-leadership.

Julian Robbins: Is the Green Party losing its radical edge?…. Is it coming into a sort of comfortable middle age, a professional phase where it tries to be less risk-taking?

Sue Bradford: I think that’s absolutely true…. We did have a real radical cutting edge [in 1999]… I think that we have, to some extent we have begun to lose a little bit of that differentiation with the other parties in Parliament – in terms of being a little less willing to take risks; a little less willing to be radical and “out there”; and the sense that too many political parties – including perhaps our own – are focused on winning the middle ground voters and not seeing the voters out to the sides – in our case, out to the left, and to the environmental left, as being as important as the voters that are in the middle and to the right.

Not exactly a vote of confidence in the leadership.

Julian Robbins: Is the party really ‘fine’? I would have thought that at a time when the Labour Party is at a lower ebb and climate change as an issue as an item is at the top of the agenda, that the Green Party should perhaps be doing much better than it is. Why isn’t it doing much better?
Sue Bradford: …I’ve just given some of the ideas that I have about that. I think that part of the reason for that [lack of political success is] is that we’ve lost the radical edge and we’ve lost some of the points of differentiation with the other parties…

Bradford’s valedictory speech could be interesting.

Bradford threatened to quit if Greens are not left-wing enough

October 11th, 2009 at 10:01 am by David Farrar

Anthony Hubbard has a nice exclusive in the SST:

MP SUE Bradford threatened to resign from the Greens if they became a swing party which could go with either National or Labour, party sources have revealed.

Bradford’s resignation last month was not just because she was disappointed at her defeat by Metiria Turei for the job of woman co-leader, as Bradford claimed.

It also reflected her disillusionment with what she saw as greater readiness by co-leaders Turei and Russel Norman to deal with National. Bradford, said a party source, “wanted to stay staunch”, and wanted the Green Party to remain left-wing.

I don’t think Sue had much to worry about there. Of course her definition of left-wing may be very different to most.

When Sue resigned, I said it indicated that things were not too harmonious in the Greens, and certain supporters howled at me for daring to suggest this.

Bradford’s resignation follows a serious disagreement with the party over strategy and ideology. During the campaign for co-leadership, according to party sources, Bradford was accused of attempting to blackmail the Greens with her threat of resignation.

Blackmail is a strong word. Was that another MP who used it?

It is understood she told the caucus in either late 2007 or early 2008 that she would quit the party if it went further down the track as a swing party, ready to go with either of the two big parties. Her resignation was simply following through on that threat, a source said.

But they never mentioned this at the press conference.

The list MP was originally a Marxist radical and spent many years in militant activity for the unemployed. Although she abandoned Marxism, she never quit being a radical.

I thought she was more Maoist than Marxist. One has to keep the different communist sects distinct. Locke and Norman are also former Marxists.

She and a minority in the party fought the trend to widen the appeal of the Greens to include a broad cross-section of voters, including National supporters.

If the Greens only take votes off Labour, it doesn’t help the left a lot.

Anyway maybe Sue will elaborate in her valedictory speech to Parliament.

Nandor on Bradford

September 29th, 2009 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

An interesting blog post from Nandor Tanczos:

Sue Bradford announced last week that she is leaving Parliament, citing disappointment at losing the co-leadership contest. It’s an honest statement and she is to be admired for that. She did not add that she is unhappy at the direction the Green Party is headed, but there is no doubt that she would have steered a very different course from that intended by the current leadership. Perhaps she saw little place for herself in the new, unaligned, Green Party.

Nandor makes clear there must be considerable tension over direction and leadership.

Sue was a sometimes controversial figure, but there is no doubt that she has played a key role in the early development of the Parliamentary Greens. She has also played an important role in Parliament, but that is all about to change. Despite her brave face, life after Parliament will be hard to adjust to. Once gone, she is unlikely to get any support from the Greens during this difficult transition, and I hope that her personal support system is strong. She will need it.

Ouch. To be fair almost all former MPs find it pretty hard after Parliament.

The Old Left element of the party, once so influential, will be scarcely represented once Sue has left. Keith Locke, considered by many to be the archetypical communist, is actually nothing of the sort. While he is the oldest member of the Green caucus, his mental youthfulness and his sense of empathy have prevented him from becoming sufficiently doctrinaire. With this new influx, the Green Party is likely to become a more emphatically ‘green-wing’ party than has been possible in the past.

A point I made.

Trotter et al on Greens

September 28th, 2009 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

I was interviewed for TV3 News on Saturday about what Bradford’s departure may mean politically, along with Andrew Little, Chris Trotter and Matt McCarten.

I took the view that it was potentially beneficial to the Greens as replacing Bradford with Clendon strengthens their environmental brand and if they are smart they could get as much as 10% of the vote if they position themselves as “greening” the Government no matter if it is National or Labour.

I stressed that the Greens will always support a Labour-led Government over a National-Led Government if one is possible. But if only National can form a Government, the Greens might be able to go beyond their current co-operation agreement to an abstain on supply and confidence agreement.

I understand Matt McCarten saw the move as potentially beneficial to the Greens also, and their ability to work on both sides of the aisle so to speak.

Andrew Little saw it as good for Labour, as Labour could pick up social justice voters from the Greens. I responded that this doesn’t actually help Labour win office, just as National picking up ACT voters doesn’t. And it can actually backfire if the Greens drop below 5% (as they have done in last night’s TVNZ poll). Also I have some doubts that Goff-led Labour will be more convincing to social justice voters than the Greens.

The real benefit to Labour would be if the Greens pick up some centrist voters who were previously put off by Bradford. For that will grow the left’s vote.

Chris Trotter sees the departure of Bradford as being the death of the left as the Greens go middle class.

He’s done a follow-up post today, which has some interesting observations:

The dangers inherent in the Greens’ educative model are demonstrated in their policy on the Treaty of Waitangi. Though the signing of the Treaty, like all historical events, is the subject of multiple, and often sharply contradictory, interpretations, the Greens have adopted an unequivocal and quite inflexible interpretation of the Treaty’s meaning. So much so that when some of their own members, unconvinced by the official party line, openly questioned it’s accuracy, they were deemed ineligible to stand as Green candidates by the Party leadership.

That the dissidents’ views on the Treaty of Waitangi were actually more in tune with those of the majority of Pakeha New Zealanders was an “inconvenient truth” to be overcome by – yes, you guessed it – a taxpayer-funded traveling road-show which would take the “true” meaning of the Treaty directly to the ignorant Pakeha masses and educate them into full conformity with the Greens’ historical interpretation.
Education for the masses!

This authoritarian aspect of the Greens’ political style is nowhere more apparent than in their so-called “consensus-based decision-making” constitution. Described as a means of “seeking positions that the maximum number of people can support, rather than a simple majority”, what these rules actually make possible is the ability of a tiny minority to over-rule and/or subvert the will of the majority.

In practical terms, it allows the leadership of the party, either directly or through their surrogates, to prevent the membership from directly challenging the Green Party caucus’s political strategy and tactics. Rather than promoting the open contest of conflicting political options, it fosters the cobbling together of compromises. Also, by imposing enormous emotional pressure on dissenters, it drives opposition below the surface of party affairs – a situation which, once again, privileges those in senior positions, and makes rank-and-file challenges to official party policy extremely difficult.

That is an interesting analysis of how the much vaunted consensus system actually can favour the hierarchy.

A new job for Sue

September 27th, 2009 at 10:58 am by David Farrar

Sue Bradford only announced her resignation on Friday, but already Len Brown has a job for her, as reported by NewstalkZB:

Len Brown says he would relish the opportunity to work alongside Sue Bradford on the Auckland Super City Council.

The Manukau mayor has thrown his hat into the ring to lead the new local body, and says the Green MP would make a great councillor.

Mr Brown says he enjoys Ms Bradford’s company and thinks she is a great leader.

If Len is elected, he appoints the Deputy Mayor so that may be Sue Bradford. Of course Sue doesn’t like it when she isn’t leader, so she may have designs on the top job, not just the Deputy.

Imagine all the worthy projects Sue can think up for the ratepayers of Auckland to fund.