Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Prospects

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  • Hilary Stace,

    Some people have been mourning Helen's leaving parliament too quickly. She will still be a member of caucus, at least for a while. She will be in a great position to mentor those new MPs who are going to rejuvenate the Labour Party such as Jacinda Adern (still in her 20s) who reminds me very much of the young Helen.

    And re the leadership of the Labour Party. I would like to see Ruth Dyson either as leader or deputy. She has been around a long time, and was an effective president of the Labour Party in that difficult time in the early 1990s. She has also been a popular Minister of Disability Issues, and has worked hard on social justice and inclusion. Disability is one area where NZ has led the world over the last few years, and NZ was recently recognised internationally by winning the Roosevelt award for disability leadership.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Jackie Clark,

    well, for those of you who are a little upset about the result, consider that some of us are looking at our actual jobs disappearing.

    not getting your favourite party in power is less of an issue...

    I'm not a little upset, I'm angry. I'm angry less because Labour didn't get in, and more because National has significant numbers enough to do some pretty scary things. I don't necessarily know what those things are because when a party has been in opposition for 9 years, they don't always tell you about the scary things, just the things they think people may want to hear. Tax cuts? We all know that more money in peoples' pockets in one area leads to cuts in other areas. I'm not as politically savvy as some here, by any means. And I can't be doing with endless political analysis. It may be simplistic but the way I see it is simple. This is a country, not a business. We tried the business model before, and it just doesn't work. I'm bitter and angry and all those things, Craig, because I'm an idealogue. I work with children. I work with lots of children from lots of families. Some of those families are disenfranchised. None of them are rich, all of them are brown. And all of those children deserve to be thought about. And my fear is, when Key forms his government, that they won't be. If there had been any indication before the election, that he had any understanding of any of this, then I would feel better.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report

  • Tony Parker,

    As a teacher I have to say the thought of Anne Tolley as Minister of Education sends shivers up my spine. The fact that I will now also have to spend more time testing my 5 year olds and less time teaching them somewhat baffles me. The whole standards thing Key has been pushing throughout the campaign felt like an insult to all the good work teachers are doing and when you hear a ministry person say the National party will take education back 40 years you have to wonder what research the Nats are using. The only thing making me feel good at the moment is listening to the Clash-Live From Here to Eternity.

    Napier • Since Nov 2008 • 232 posts Report

  • Andrew E,

    I am also puzzled by Green voting. For a party that only survives because of MMP the approach of its supporters to the electorate vote is truly surprising. In Ohariu, for example, Dunne's majority was 1170 but the Green candidate got 2229 votes. They really had a chance to get rid of the very person who kept the Greens out of power last time!! Go figure.

    But HenryB was there an opinion poll published in the constituency? If not, how were people supposed to know how close things were and that voting tactically could have rid them of Dunne?

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 200 posts Report

  • Jerome Kerviel,

    It seems likely that since Key cannot get stuff done unless Act agrees, then it follows that Act has the whip.

    I've heard this as an argument against MMP from the other side as well. The standard argument goes "Oh MMP give smaller parties too much power". It's more the Winnie Peters kingmaker affect than anything else. The party still has to govern for the next three years and for Labour the last term was particularly difficult.

    At this point ACT has only 5 seats in parliament, how many they have in Cabinet is currently unknown. I think National are in a really nice position to form a Cabinet of their chosing right now and I hope they make the most of it. And where small struggle the most is on representation on Select Committees, the Greens found it really difficult with only 6 seats, they were spread pretty thinly.

    That is not to say I'm not a little cynical about the hard right elements within the National Party which could combine with the hard right of ACT to make a nasty looking retrench in recession type government.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 10 posts Report

  • Joe Wylie,

    Craig, whatever the post-election excesses you might have detected here, likening them to the "eerie impersonations of Kiwiblog's more unmedicated residents" is downright insulting. If you haven't been "fag-baited" around here in a pointless engagement with a mentally ill beneficiary and his sock-puppet daughter it's not because you're dealing with a bunch of effete liberals who cultivate a self-regarding sense of moral superiority. It's because Russell Brown, unlike the 'basically decent' David Farrar, doesn't tolerate that kind of vileness. More to the point, it's because the majority of people that you deal with here are essentially respectful and decent. Comparing a little post-election anxiety to the daily adolescent dreck of Kiwiblog is being stupidly rude and, once again, you know it. Get well soon.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report

  • HenryB,

    Bureaucrats will be replaced by consultants including a number, as suggested by someone earlier, who will shift over from the media as communications advisers to a whole new bunch of Ministers.

    I wonder how big JKs cabinet is going to be?

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2008 • 106 posts Report

  • Raymond A Francis,

    Meanwhile on some other world we have these ravings

    " It was these: the men who just couldn't cope with the idea of being led by an intelligent, idealistic, free-spirited woman; the gutless, witless, passionless creatures of the barbecue-pit and the sports bar (and the feckless females who put up with them); who voted Helen Clark out of office."

    Took those poor creatures a long time to act Chris

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report

  • HenryB,

    how were people supposed to know how close things were and that voting tactically could have rid them of Dunne?

    Well, I'd have thought any vote for the Labour candidate by a Green voter would have been a tactical vote. Why would they have had to rely on a poll?

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2008 • 106 posts Report

  • Jerome Kerviel,

    Being a whiner is fine when you can get your message out. When you're stuck whining to each other, it gets tired very quickly.

    Yes, the behaviour of the previous opposition was foremost in my mind when I made this point. It will be a nice break not having misogynist whiners in opposition. Only I suspect the misogynists are in the house now.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 10 posts Report

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Well, I'd have thought any vote for the Labour candidate by a Green voter would have been a tactical vote. Why would they have had to rely on a poll?

    Wouldn't it have been much simpler if the Greens had not run a candidate in Ohariu and then encouraged Green supporters to vote Labour?

    Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    Not sure what the ODT and Waikato Times look like, but given that they're part of the Fairfax stable I won't be holding out too much hope.

    A bit of a correction there- the ODT, for all its faults (and how much time have you got to list them? ) is still an independant newspaper. As for its leanings, well, it's hard to say. I say this as someone who's done bits and pieces for them over the years, but it's a strange paper- perhaps the most absurdly parochial "met" imaginable. I don't mean this in a harsh way, but sometimes it's like a very slick community newspaper. Which merely means they clearly know that's what their readers want, and what suits them best. And they definitely fill the mandate of serving their community.

    Seeing Roger Douglas back in parliament scares me enough to (almost) wish that Winston Peters was still there. Jesus. Did you see him? It was like Night of the Living Dead. Still, I expect him to be no more than a figure of derision, even in the National caucus. He won't be getting any plum jobs that's for sure.

    So we can be thankful for small mercies. That said, as other board members have indicated it's more the influence ACT may have on National that I'm worried about. And it's what Douglas represents that I find untennable. Still, I'll see what happens...

    And I have to say that was probably the least inspiring and smarmiest "acceptance" speech I've heard. Okay, granted, we recently had one of the greatest this week in Obama's but Key's....it was less an acceptance speech than a powerpoint motivational presentation. The way he dreq it out was like pulling teeth, too. And although it wasn't that long, it sounded like it went on forever.

    Helen's was very good- forceful, but graceful, and (as always with her) in command. I think once the dust has settled we can be very thankful, on the whole for what they've done for the country. There were areas I wished they showed more leadership in (particularly in the environment, and I really wish that they put the squeeze on the private education and health sector when they had the opportunity back in '02), but on the whole, they've left the country largely better off, particularly in terms of (despite what National says) education, state assets, employment rate and a few others (RB outlined it in his first post). And best of all, we never sent troops to Iraq.

    On a side note, I've always been impressed by the fact that when it came to the arts, Clark put her money where her mouth was, and held onto the Ministerial position.

    But now that Clark has stepped down, who will be the leader? I expect it will be Cunliffe, which should piss off Goff no end, but be good for the party on the whole- firstly, because he's because not a product of the Rogernome era, and more in line with the new "centre-left" of the party, but most importantly, he's a tough, no-nonsense take-charge guy.

    Another good thing for Labour is that although they got hammered in the electorate vote this time around (losing many of the "swing seats"), they rejuvinated their list, and there's a lot of new MPs in their caucus this time around. And many of them are relatively young buggers, or in the case of Sean Plunkett-lookalike Grant Robertson, future high fliers.

    That said, it could be 6 years hard yakker for Labour at this rate. Unless, of course, National actually goes with ACT, in which case, I expect them to implode within three years. John Key has been given a "centrist" mandate, and he better remember that.

    But still, I'd be lying if I wasn't disappointed with the result- it's just I'm not surprised. I really, really wanted the Greens to get more this time around. That's been the biggest letdown- my only hope is that they hammer National on the environmental and social welfare issues as much as they can- that's why I voted for them.

    And even though both the SFO and the Police found nothing substantial on Winston Peters at all, the guy's histrionics and hypocricy made him a liability, and one that ended up costing Labour on the night, too.

    That said, it was a surprisingly subdued "concession" speech from him tonight. On the one hand, it was more than time for him to go. On the other hand, I will miss him for his entertainment value....someone should get him his own show. Pronto.

    As for the coverage- I thought it was great to see Linda Clark back on our screens, she was very, very sharp but Duncan Garner was an utter, utter shambles. Maharey was pretty good, considering the bind he was in, too.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 449 posts Report

  • Mark Harris,

    I doubt that anyone in Ohariu expected the contest to be that close. It hasn't been in my memory and I lived there for the previous 3 elections.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report

  • Jerome Kerviel,

    Bureaucrats will be replaced by consultants including a number, as suggested by someone earlier

    Yes but this idiocy has been going on under Labour as well and will probably only end when our financial system finally shuffles off it's mortal coil. It has often crossed my mind that I could get more money out of the govt as a consultant instead of an employee.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2008 • 10 posts Report

  • A S,

    Have you considered the slim chance that we might do that already? You know with the annual budget cycle, laws, policy development and whatnot?

    Annual budget cycle. Yeah, right. Some quality thinking goes into the budget bid process. Generally, the effort goes into reverse engineering some plausible sounding rationale into the idea that someone has come up with.

    Laws. Legislation has sweet FA to do with the staffing levels of the public sector. The only legislation that does is the annual appropriation bill, and that is only at a superficial level ($x million for tasks a, b, and c) numbers of staff is not specified. Actual staffing levels are determined by the public sector itself.

    Policy development. LOL. I'm struggling to remember the last time I struck a significant policy process that held benefit to the public as its core tenet. Benefit to the agency developing the policy, yes, but benefit to the target population is all too often just a happy coincidence.

    Not to mention govt spending and performance is regularly monitored by the O of the Auditor-G? And the fact that Labour has been in for 9 years does not mean govt departments have been immune to restructuring and down-sizing? On that the parties are fairly similar so...

    OAG do a good job, but the level of materiality at which they work means that things under so many $million (I can't remember what level specifically) don't really get looked at. OAG don't have the staff or resources to look at everything, and no agency is particularly interested in ensuring that OAG has the resources to scrutinise them too closely. Funny that.

    Govt down sizing. I'm struggling to think of an example of down-sizing in the last 9 years.

    The main parties are remarkably similar, which is why I struggle with the repeated statements that somehow the end is nigh. In my view nothing significant will change, but any actual look at how to make the public service better serve the public is a good thing.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2007 • 269 posts Report

  • Matthew Littlewood,

    An addition to the previous post:

    Craig, out of curiosity, what sort of National government would you like to see in terms of a "vision thing"- how would you like them to manage the economy, social services, etc?

    I ask this because Key mentions he's got a "100 day plan" (it would've been nice to hear more about this earlier in the election, I frankly got tired of bullet-point policies throughout the campaign)- so, if you were National's policy adviser, and given a full mandate, where would you take it? Ideally. Bear in mind this is a "dreams are free" pass, as we all know there are going to be compromises along the way.

    It's a sincere question btw- I enjoy your posts, even when I don't agree with the viewpoint held.

    And at least next time with Winston gone we (hopefully) won't have a major party which uses immigrant-baiting as a part of its campaign platform (this time it wasn't so strong, fortunately). That always angered me about the party. He had the potential to be something much, much better.

    Today, Tomorrow, Timaru • Since Jan 2007 • 449 posts Report

  • Mark Harris,

    Are you a member of the public service?

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report

  • HenryB,

    I doubt that anyone in Ohariu expected the contest to be that close. It hasn't been in my memory and I lived there for the previous 3 elections.

    Perhaps not but I would still say that Green voters seem to be very reluctant to vote tactically. It is also the case that there is a puzzling discrepancy between those who voted Labour (11,182) and those who voted for the Charles Chauvel (10,080). Or was there a lingering hope amongst some Labour voters that Dunne would be willing to work with Labour should it have got close enough to forming a government? That said, it is still the Green electorate vote that puzzles me.

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2008 • 106 posts Report

  • Matthew Poole,

    And I have to say that was probably the least inspiring and smarmiest "acceptance" speech I've heard

    I watched it, and there was one bit that really stood out for me (other than just how damned pleased with himself Key looked). That was where he was talking about the things Kiwis had voted for. "New Zealanders have voted for a safer, more prosperous, and more ambitious New Zealand." *pause* *audience adulation* "They voted for hope, they voted for action, and they voted for results." *pause* *more adulation* "They voted for a better life for all New Zealanders." *pause* *deathly silence*

    That bit really said it all, about what those who voted for National want. They don't give a fuck about other people, as far as they're concerned it's all about them, and what they can get. Bettering the lot of others is, at best, an after-thought, and certainly not something to be glorified.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I think Darren Hughes will be another bright spark to watch. David Cunliffe (also very bright) and Shane Jones have been moving up and that is going to be a strength as opposition. At this point, I think Phil Goff will be needed for his experience and with Helen they will introduce the team we should consider.
    Hey Giovanni, quicksand ,be my guest . I am now testing the benefit of head banging.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report

  • BenWilson,

    Ah, that feeling we all get when we disconnect from the majority. Impotent anger. But this is democracy - rather than anger at the stupidity of others about things that have not (and may not) yet happened, it's just time for the NZ Left to have a good long look at both itself and the nation.

    First, the people wanted change, that is clear. Why? The answers may not make sense to us, but they made sense to a clear majority of people in NZ. That gives me a lot of pause in griping angrily.

    Second, it's not the same National as it was in the past. It may seek to return there, but it's not there and it's got a way to go. They are not stupid, and they know that a summary gutting of the welfare state, or even the more recent additions to it, is not something NZers will accept. They know that. I'm expecting quite a different kind of National this time, one that gets MMP.

    Third, there is urgent business for the government to attend to, to protect NZ from the worst of the recession. Now that we've all done our civic duty and ticked some boxes, the government will change. I would expect the left to at least try to help come up with some answers to what should be done. The sooner it is clear what the left's position is, the sooner it can be either followed by National or ignored, and the sooner we'll start getting some feedback on just how sensible they are at running the country. I've personally been quite alarmed at the complacency felt by many here about this crisis, as though all's well cause we've got Michael Cullen. All is not well, and we don't have Cullen any more either. What we need now is answers, ideas, real thinking cap time. Anger is useless.

    Last, get some backbone. The right have sucked on 9 years. What comes around goes around and you just have to take it sometimes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • Steve Barnes,

    This is a country, not a business.

    And the fruit at the top of that tree is a ......................
    (Sorry, I couldnt resist ;-))

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report

  • Mark Harris,

    The Green electorate vote in Ohariu has not historically been significant enough to do anything. Also, Green voters tend to be ideological, rather than political. I think it only puzzles you because it would have been enough to make the difference.

    It is odd that Chauvel received fewer votes than Labour - I wouldn't have thought he'd had enough time to piss the electorate off yet. Obviously, he believes in starting early :-)

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report

  • Ian MacKay,

    "They voted for hope, they voted for action, and they voted for results." *pause* *more adulation* "They voted for a better life for all New Zealanders." *pause* *deathly silence*" etc
    Matthew: I was mentally graphing the Party loyal responses to Key speech. The falling away of excitement was distinct as the speech went on. The glimpses of the audience was anything but animated as it went on and down. A good successful speech for winners goes up a notch, up another notch, then crescendo!!!! Like sex I guess.

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report

  • Steve Barnes,

    You woke up this morning
    The world turned upside down,
    Thing's ain't been the same
    Since the Blues walked into town.

    But you're one in a million
    You've got that shotgun shine.
    Born under a bad sign,
    With a blue moon in your eyes.

    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report

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