The Right Choice

September 11th, 2013 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Jordan McCluskey writes at Salient:

I was born into the Labour Party. Not some sort of literal love child between Norman Kirk and Helen Clark, but pretty close. On my mother’s side, my nana was orphaned by the Napier Earthquake, and the election of 1935 which brought the First Labour Government to power gave her hope. My grandfather grew up reasonably wealthy, until the Great Depression ruined his family financially. The First Labour Government gave him a job on the New Zealand Railways, a career and hope for a better life. My father’s parents emigrated from Scotland in 1955. Scots are renowned for being strong supporters of the Labour Party.

As for my folks, they are strong Labour supporters, despite the betrayals of Rogernomics. My mother is a civil servant, my father is a caretaker. Through hard work and clever saving, they have nearly paid off their mortgage. I never felt deprived, but I knew we were not the most well-off family in our street. We were working-class, but aspirational. Like most teenagers, I took my politics initially from my elders. Too young to vote, I spent most of 2005 trying to convince my older classmates not to vote National, because I thought Don Brash was a racist. When I did leave school at the end of Year 13, I chose to go out to work rather than go to university. I didn’t think a degree had much value. Now, nearly at the end of my first one, I can confirm that.

I went out to work full-time, eventually ending up working for a government department. Over about three years, I saw things that could put most people off the virtues of big government. Public servants ignoring the people they were supposed to be helping. People so dependent on the help of the state, they didn’t know any other way to make a living. I was observing with my own eyes that when the government tried to help people, it usually made things worse. It was a sobering confrontation between my bright-eyed left-wing enthusiasm and what government does, or does not, achieve. I was confronting the fact that the ideology I subscribed to did not work in reality. It was at this point that my internal pendulum swung from hard left, to centre left, to just plain centre. I was barely Labour anymore. I was still in denial, believing that as someone who was socially left, but economically nudging right, I could remain a Labour Party supporter.

I finally decided to go to university at Victoria, if for no other reason than to escape my job working for the government. One of the very first things I did was get involved in Young Labour. I went to Young Labour meetings and listened to ideas that I knew would never work in application. Most of them have been tried previously in New Zealand history—an artificially high $18 minimum wage, price controls, intervention in markets, government control of industry, are some examples. I was given a form to join the Labour Party. I pinned it to my wall and stared at it. I could not bring myself to do it. The Labour Party which I was raised to believe had the best interests of all people at its heart, on closer inspection was to me a collection of sectional interests. Labour had become a party made up of narrow sectors of various one-issue activists and trade unionists. It broke my heart. In short, I was losing my religion.

I recall meeting Jordan shortly after he left Young Labour. I asked him why did he leave, and he said it was because they don’t like economic rationalists!

In 2010, I drifted away from the Labour Party, who were on a weekly basis putting forward policies I thought were ridiculous and unworkable. Taking GST off fresh food, which would only provide work for tax accountants. Extending tax credits, which are explicitly for people who do work, to those that don’t work. Working-class people who slogged their guts out, day in day out, would not want more of their taxes going to those who did not work. Nationalising the productive parts of the economy. Discouraged by what the Labour Party had become, I did the unthinkable. I joined the National Party.

A few Young Nats have started off in Young Labour, believe it or not! Not aware of any who have gone the other way recently!

If you asked your average Young Nat why you should join the National Party, the answers are fairly predictable. Go to social events where you might meet the PM. Begin your long slow climb into the corridors of power. Well, I can’t dance, and I swear too much to be a Member of Parliament. To me, it really comes down to freedom. Only in the National Party can you be a supporter of both freedom to marry who you choose (marriage equality) and freedom to associate in a union (voluntary student membership). The National Party supports economic freedom totally, and a considerable amount of members, like myself, support social freedoms. The Labour Party only supports social freedoms, and not economic freedom. 

Well stated.

Young Labour?

May 8th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar



Vernon Small tweeted:

Shearer talks – to big turnout of young Labour says party. Hmm more grey heads among young than there used to be

If that is Young Labour, I’d hate to see Old Labour. They’re even older than New Zealand First Youth which is any party member under 70!

Youth United

March 11th, 2013 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Parliamentary youth reps unanimously back marriage equality

 In an unprecedented joint initiative youth reps from all eight parties in Parliament have combined together to demonstrate the overwhelming support amongst young New Zealanders for same sex couples to be able to marry.

Young Nats Vice President Shaun Wallis said that Young Nats were delighted the majority of National MPs voted in favour of marriage equality at first reading and hope they will continue to do at the second reading this week “Our members overwhelmingly supports marriage equality as we believe in freedom and equal opportunity for all Kiwis.”

Young Labour spokesperson Sam Thompson said that marriage equality and adoption reform are the number one policy priority for Young Labour. “We believe our representatives in Wellington really value equality and a fair go and will continue to support expanding the right to marry to everyone who has a partner they love and want to spend their life with.”

Young Greens spokesperson Izzy Lomax said that the Young Greens were delighted that all 14 Green MPs voted in favour of marriage equality as we believe in a society without discrimination, and look forward to an end to all discrimination against rainbow communities, starting with allowing loving same sex couples to marry”.

“NZ First Youth leader Curwen Rolinson said that NZ First Youth is united in supporting a referendum on this issue. While there is a large and vocal proportion of NZ First Youth who would vote in favour, it is by no means unanimous. We feel that the important thing is for progressive changes in legislation to come with the direct backing and support of the people – not filtered through layers of temporarily empowered politicians and political parties. A referendum is the fairest, most inclusive and democratic method of achieving this. It is our hope that MPs of other parties will realize this and join our call for a referendum.”

Maori Party kaikorero rangatahi Teaonui Mckenzie said that he is proud that all three Maori Party MPs support the right of same sex couples to marry and form a whanau. “This generation will not tolerate any form of discrimination, whether by race, gender or sexual orientation.”

MANA Rangatahi spokesperson Ian Anderson says that “MANA are fully behind the Bill and will work to reduce societal inequality wherever possible, in this case bringing New Zealand law into line to provide the opportunity for same-sex couples to enter marriage.”

Act on Campus President Taylor Warwood said that “Act on Campus have been long-time supporters of marriage equality, and were delighted that ACT MP John Banks voted for Louisa Wall’s bill at its first reading and believe its passage will be entirely consistent with ACT policy of one law for all.”

United Future spokesman Damian Light said that “allowing couples who love each other to marry is just common sense and we’re proud that Hon Peter Dunne, our Party Leader, has been a vocal supporter of this bill. Our support of this bill is consistent with our liberal belief in equality for all.”

“This show of support for marriage equality by every party’s youth wing sends a powerful message. Marriage equality is no longer a question of if, but of when. We can’t wait for Parliament to vote in favour of the Bill.” said Campaign for Marriage Equality Spokesperson Conrad Reyners.

The eight youth reps, representing youth members of parties comprising 120 of the 121 MPs in Parliament believe their combined show of support reflects the over-whelming support for marriage equality amongst younger New Zealanders (76% in favour in Colmar Brunton May 2012 poll).


Having to pay people to join the Labour party

February 22nd, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar


Young Labour are having to bribe people with the chance of a week’s worth of cash, to join the Labour Party.

Oh dear. I didn’t realise things were that bad.

But an interesting contrast considering how often Labour goes on about the evils of gambling and pokie machines and the like – and they use a gambling device as a recruitment device.


Young Labour in Epsom

October 25th, 2011 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Whale blogged last week about a pamphlet being put around Epsom by Young Labour. It is authorised by Levi Joule, the Auckland Regional Chair for Young Labour.

The Herald notes:

Mr Banks also refused to comment on the leaflets, one of which presented a derogatory comment he made about Pacific Islanders in 1978 as if it were made last year.

The pamphlet is so deceptive in suggesting the comment was made in 2010, rather than 33 years ago, that Mr Joule should be very careful. If that pamphlet is distributed within two days of the election, then s199A may apply:

Every person is guilty of a corrupt practice who, with the intention of influencing the vote of any elector, at any time on polling day before the close of the poll, or at any time on any of the 2 days immediately preceding polling day, publishes, distributes, broadcasts, or exhibits, or causes to be published, distributed, broadcast, or exhibited, in or in view of any public place a statement of fact that the person knows is false in a material particular.

Now we are talking a corrupt practice, not an illegal practice. That can mean some serious jail time. I think there is a very arguable case that the pamphlet is fake in a material particular, namely that it makes it looks like the quote was made in 2010, not 1978. It is an obvious deliberate stragey to deceive, as they could have supplied the refernce of when the quote was made, not when it was re-reported.

Voters will make up their own mind on the pamphlets. The Herald story states:

Yesterday, Mr Parker said he had nothing to do with the pamphlet, but he believed it was fair for Mr Banks to be held accountable for the comments now as they were “part of his political life”.

Really? The Auckland Chair (or rep on their National executive) of Young Labour would stick up these pamphlets without the local candidate’s knowledge? Is that bridge still for sale?

There is another interesting aspect to this. You see Mr Joule is not a registered promoter for the election and he is promoting an election advertisement. Now that is fine if he is an unregistered promoter and spends less than $12,000. However certain people can not be unregistered promoters, including:

a person involved in the administration of the affairs of a party

Now the question is, does being on the national executive of Young Labour make him someone who is involved in the administration of the affairs of Labour? If so, then he is already in trouble.

Finally I wonder what would be the reaction of Labour if someone dug up quotes from say Phil Goff in 1978, and stuck up pamphlets and posters which made it look like he said them in 2010, rather than 1978? I think they would rightly cry foul, but they are happy for Young Labour to do it on their behalf. A reminder of why they got kicked out in 2008.

Dancing against asset sales

October 10th, 2011 at 4:30 pm by David Farrar

I honestly don’t know what to say.

I just hope the poor bastards are being paid at least the minimum wage for that.

Perhaps Labour could use this as their televised opening address? Hell, I think National should use it as their televised opening address!

A question

May 13th, 2010 at 7:03 pm by David Farrar

When TVNZ ran their story tonight on Victoria University closing off enrolments, did they not know the student they interviewed (Caleb Tutty) talking about his anger was the International Secretary of Young Labour, and Judith Tizard’s former electorate agent?

Or did they just decide it wasn’t relevant?

Jevan Goulter vs Labour

April 20th, 2010 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Whale Oil has blogged a summary of a 24 page story in Investigate, with a large number of allegations by a Jevan Goulter against various Labour MPs and others.

These are not anonymous allegations – Goulter is making them himself under his name. However that does not mean they are overly reliable, and are the gospel. In fact Ian Wishart himself concludes the article by saying:

As for the abuse of trust, did Labour abuse its trust in looking after a troubled 14 year old badly, or did Jevan Goulter abuse the trust of a political party who’d taken him under their wing?

At several points through the article, Wishart reveals that Goulter’s story is incorrect or exaggerated, and my personal take is that there is a lot of bragging there. It does not mean everything he has said is false, but I would caution people not to assume everything he has said is true.

Also in one section he says:

As for Phil Goff I probably had more to do with his daughter, who worked for a Government agency when Labour was in. Her name is Samantha. She was just stunning, she was beautiful when I met her, she was really hot. And I was like, ‘Piss off, you’re not his daughter?’ And she was, so we used to go out and have dinner and lunch quite a bit. Phil was a, I think he was a bit of a nobody then.

Now Phil Goff does have a daughter whom, umm could be seen to fit that description. However her name is not Samantha. If Jevan really was going out for meals with someone “quite a bit”, you think he would correctly remember their name. So again, does not help the credibility.

He makes allegations of sexual harassment against Tim Barnett. And some time later his partner (Mika) asked Barnett to pay $25,000 as compensation for Javen’s mental health. To my mind that is close to blackmail

Barnett makes the reasonable point that as a prominent gay MP pushing the boundaries of social legislation he was careful, like Caesar’s wife, to be above reproach, and not to be alone with people in situations that could be misconstrued.

There are no witnesses to the allegations so it is a case of he said vs she said. As someone who worked in Parliament for eight years, I got to hear a lot of gossip about a lot of MPs. You get to know which ones screw around and are sleazy. I don’t recall at the time any suggestion of inappropriate behaviour from Tim Barnett, and to the contrary he seemed very committed to his partner, Ramon. Without witnesses, I do not regard the allegations as credible. There are other MPs I would be more sceptical of.

Another allegation I find lacking in credibility is this:

INVESTIGATE: Michael Cullen?

JEVAN: I know he smoked it at the annual – I think it was the Christchurch Labour conference with Annette, but I don’t think Annette had it. I couldn’t be honest and say I saw her smoke it.

INVESTIGATE: But you did see him?

JEVAN: He had it in his hand, yes. I just remember him having it, it was passed to him by one of the young Labours.

This is in reference to cannabis use. It is quite possible Dr Cullen, like many NZers, has used cannabis at some stage. However to think the Deputy Prime Minister would openly smoke cannabis at a labour party conference – and in front of dozens of Young Labour activists is frankly incredible. I just don’t think it happened, and if that did not happen, I doubt some of the other allegations about cannabis use.

Not everything can be dismissed though. It seems very clear that some Labour Party MPs did lie about whether or not they knew Javen. The most blatant fib came from Lianne Dalziel, who confessed it online:

And yet…within five minutes of making the call to Dalziel’s office, Investigate received a phone call from Jevan, “You’ve just rung Lianne? She’s just sending me a Facebook chat apologising for denying that she knew me”.

This is what Dalziel said to Goulter:
“I owe you an apology. Ian Wishart has just contacted me and I’m afraid I said I didn’t remember you. I feel so guilty. All I’ve said, I told him you were a Facebook friend, so I knew ‘about’ you.

I hope this doesn’t affect what he is writing about you.”

Considering Lianne lost her ministerial job for not telling the truth, this doesn’t help her credibility.

The person who comes out of this looking very wise and sensible is Jacinda Ardern:

Young Labour were always very angry towards me, they didn’t like how I got to do what I wanted. Jacinda Ardern, who’s now an MP, she was my biggest hater….

But then I’m getting drunk and Jacinda comes over and rips the glass of wine out of my hand, ‘You can’t drink in here, you’re only 15!’

‘Yeah I can drink in here, it’s a private function, you’re not my mum, piss off’, and I got really verbal with her, I really didn’t like her.

So I walked over to Helen and I said,‘Jacinda’s just said I’m not allowed to drink. Am I allowed to drink or not?’ And Helen’s exact words were, ‘Of course you are, this is my house.’ I said, ‘I’m only 15’. And she said, ‘It’s my house’.

So I got my glass of wine and I started boozing up again. Jacinda just went off her nut. Now, Helen was drunk that night, in my view. Helen was drunk and she gets to the point when she’s drunk where people just take her away.

I think a number of Jacinda’s colleagues may rue that they were not as cautious around Jevan as she was. Jacinda’s actions look very prudent to me.

Incidentally I am also unconvinced of Helen Clark being drunk, and having to have people take her away. It’s not exactly an image that fits the former Prime Minister.

So overall I find the allegations lacking in credibility in significant areas. Having said that though, I think there are some lessons for Labour in the perils of letting a 14 year old run riot through Parliament and the party. He should have been in school in Christchurch.

As I have said before, I am a big fan of encouraging young people to get involved in politics. But I never encourage school age people to get significantly involved. Your school years should be a time of fun and learning, plus one often lacks the maturity to cope with “adult politics”.

That is not a universal rule. One friend of mine got involved at age 15 or 16 and went on to become a highly valued parliamentary and ministerial staffer. [UPDATE: Said staffer has e-mailed to say they are not highly valued but in fact under paid and over worked :-)]

But I also recall the 1993 election night when I allowed a 14 year old Young National to attend the election night HQ function, as a “results chalkie”. There was of course an open and free bar and I failed to supervise properly with the end result being the poor girl vomiting up in the boardroom, and then collapsing unconscious on the floor as she had never drunk alcohol before. I had to decide whether or not to take her to A&E or home, and had to deliver her still unconscious to her parents, who quite rightly were less than impressed. I visited the next day to check she was fine, and the parents were blaming her more than they were holding me responsible, but in the end I was the one responsible as the adult and still feel some remorse about it to this day.  Similarly, I suspect some Labour MPs are regretting allowing Jevan to spend so much time at Parliament, at functions at Premier House and the like.

Young Labour Summer School

January 6th, 2010 at 8:11 am by David Farrar

My spies in Young Labour report that they will be hosting at their upcoming summer school a representative of the Communist Youth League of China – the youth wing of the Chinese Communist Party.

I think this is an excellent move. The Chinese Communist party is far more capitalist than the average member of Young Labour. Hopefully they will learn something about the importance of economic growth!

A very interesting meeting

October 7th, 2009 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

On Monday night, we had a rare meeting of Presidents and leading representatives from Young Labour, Young Nationals, Young Greens and Act on Campus.

It was to discuss some of the options canvassed in the Law Commission’s review of alcohol law, and on top of 15 or so youth reps, we also had executives from the Drug Foundation, Hospitality Association, Lion Nathan and the Law Commission (to observe and provide info).

The four youth sections came together three years ago to (successfully) fight against Parliament’s move to raise the purchase age of alcohol to 20. The idea of the meeting was not just to focus on the purchase age, but consider many of the wider issues and see if there was a consensus on what options they agreed with, and what options they did not think would be effective.

I was involved with the original Keep It 18 campaign, so facilitated the meeting and to a certain degree played Devil’s Advocate on some of the issues. Issues discussed included the purchase age, should there be a drinking age, a split purchase age for on and off licenses, supply of alcohol to minors, restricted hours for off and on licenses, other access issues, excise tax levels, price issues, advertising restrictions, loss leading, blood alcohol limits for driving, open alcohol in cars, should cars have mandatory alcohol ignition locking devices, fake IDs, should drinking or being drunk in public be an offence etc.

I thought the meeting was really good, Not that I agreed with them on all issues, and not that they agreed with each other all the time. But it was a very practical discussion from a group of young people with first hand experience of youth drinking. It was around 50/50 guys and gals, but I didn’t pick up any huge difference in perspectives between the genders. There were some issues where there were differences between “left” and “right” but a surprisingly large number of issues where there was widespread agreement. The result is the four youth sections are going to do a joint submission (which may be a first) on the stuff they agree on, and individual submissions (or minority reports to the main submission) on the issues they have different perspectives on.

Not going to get into details of all the discussion, but there were three parts that stood out to me. They were:

  1. When the current code of practice for alcohol advertising was summarised as banning ads that imply drinking can lead to sexual, sporting or social sucess, there was fairly widespread laughter as an automatic reaction. That was a very instinctive judgement that the current code is not working, or not being rigorously applied by all players. In fact many in the room cited ads that seem to quite specifically imply sexual, sporting or social sucess from drinking.
  2. The discussion on the excise tax and price levels was very economically literate. There was a reasonable consensus that if alcohol use generates external costs (which it does), then there should be an excise tax set to cover the cost of that externality. However they rejected the notion that the tax be increased beyond covering the externality as a way to decrease demand, pointing out that would probably just send people into buying cheaper alcohol per volume (such as spirits). There was of course also reference to the considerable divergence in economists views of what the external costs of alcohol are, and the point was made that any figure used as justification for an increase should be very robust or bulletproof.
  3. Very amusing in the discussion on price and excise tax was the points made by AoC that the real problem is people don’t pay for their own health care and a no faults ACC scheme which caused much merriment. Now to be fair to AoC their points are absolutely valid, but I did have to say I think we can assume that the Government is unlikely to privatise the health system and abolish ACC, so if we taken these as a given, then what is the best way to cover the externalities.

As I said, despite differences on a fair number of issues, it was a very mature and constructive discussion. I was really impressed with those who took part.

Also thanks are due to Labour’s Trevor Mallard (and his secretary) and Iain Lees-Galloway for providing a meeting room at Parliament, and attending (with useful contributions). When it became clear Parliament would be the best place to hold the meeting I considered the easiest way to get an MP to sponsor the meeting. I figured if I approached a National MP they might get worried about any perception of doing me a favour so I e-mailed Trevor on the rationale that no one could ever criticise him for helping me secure a room 🙂

As I said, was a really good meeting, and who knows there might be other issues in future they come together on.

Political Advertisement

July 15th, 2009 at 9:39 am by David Farrar

This is an actual advertisement, not a parody. I’m sorry but who came up with the line “the bells of socio-economic freedom”. It’s hilarious.

Blogging and Journalism

April 21st, 2009 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

I spoke to the Young Labour conference on Sunday about blogging, and whether it is entertainment or citizen journalism (I say both). I was on a panel with Keith Ng and Robyn Gallagher and I thought the session went well. There was some great questions and discussion with the audience. I quipped at the beginning that I wanted to swap water glasses with Keith in case of poison 🙂 but had nothing to worry about – it was a very good natured session.

That leads me to this blog entry a blog I read had linked to, about ten journalism rules you can and should break on your blog:

  1. Use partial or fake names
  2. Tell part of the story
  3. Insert opinion
  4. Link to a report rather than rewrite it
  5. Link to background rather than repeat it
  6. Link to the enemy
  7. Use second person or even first person
  8. Get personal
  9. Answer your critics or supporters
  10. Fix your mistakes rather than just publish a correction

At the conference I did a comparison of NZ blogs to UK newspapers. The UK is lucky enough to have ten or so daily newspapers, and each has their own niche. They are best summed up in this Yes Minister scene (which I played at the conference).

So my local comparisons were:

  • Daily Telegraph – Kiwiblog
  • Financial Times – Bernard Hickey
  • The Times – Public Address
  • The Guardian – No Right Turn
  • The Independent – Tumeke!
  • Daily Express – No Minister
  • Daily Mail – Winston Peters
  • Daily Mirror – The Standard
  • The Sun – Whale Oil

People can make their own additional suggestions I am sure!

“Not affiliated to any party”

September 14th, 2008 at 7:15 am by David Farrar

The Herald on Sunday reports on how Rochelle Rees has google bombed John Key so a search of NZ sites on “clueless” will bring up his website.

This isn’t terribly difficult to do, especially if it is for .nz sites only. It is far far harder to do it for all searches.

Anyway I found it interesting that the HoS reported:

Auckland computer programmer Rochelle Rees told the Herald on Sunday she emailed friends a year ago, asking them to put links on their websites to Key’s site with the word “clueless” as the link text.

“More than anything, it’s fun,” said Rees, who said she was interested in politics but not affiliated to any party.

I found that interesting. For I could recall two things about Rochelle. One is that she is involved in Auckland Animal Action. The other is I was sure she was a member of Young Labour. And sure enough a quick Google search, and I find the answer on my own blog!

So Rochelle just last year was not just a member of Young Labour, but was elected onto its National Executive. So how is that not affiliated to any party?

I also found it amusing that that they are trying to suggest with their Google bombing that John Key is clueless. The bombing works better if it is an attribute that many people will agree with. They should have gone with “swallowing dead rats” or something. Because look at Key’s achievements:

  • Hugely successful career in the private sector
  • Rose to the top job in his area (global head of foreign exchange) in a company with 60,000 staff, $100 billion a year turnover and assets in excess of $1 trillion.
  • So popular with his staff, colleagues and competitors than the SST couldn’t find a single person to speak badly of him, despite the fact he was in an industry with legendary rivalry
  • Appointed to the Foreign Exchange Committee of the New York Federal Reserve
  • Successfully challenged an incumbent MP for the Helensville 2002 nomination
  • Made Opposition Finance Spokesperson after just two years in Parliament
  • Unanimously elected National Party Leader after just four years in Parliament
  • Within six months of being elected Opposition Leader, overtook Helen Clark as Preferred Prime Minister
  • Has consistently polled as the most popular Leader of the Opposition since records began over 20 years ago

Need I go on?

UPDATE: Rochelle, far from being someone just interested in politics, was a candidate for City Vision in the local body elections. Also she was endorsed by the Labour affiliated EPMU as a preferred candidate. And her e-mail address is which is mainatined by Labour Party member and The Standard owner – Lynn Prentice.

I have no problems with Rochelle having some fun Google bombing. Good on her. But once again we see the traditional pattern of behaviour where someone is portrayed as just “interested in politics but not affiliated to any party”, when the reality is quite different.

UPDATE2: The Herald on Sunday have updated their story and Rochelle has commented below. She says she told the reporter she wasn’t currently affiliated. And Lynn Prentice happens to be her uncle!