Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Madness in Mt Albert

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  • Paul Williams,

    SH20 - National are offering to complete this quickest.

    St Lukes - National will say they are in favour of increasing job opportunities in Mt Albert.

    Supa-City - rates, rates, rates and possibly rates may enter into this debate at some point. And Maori seats, which is always interesting in non-Maori electorates.

    So yeah National will be campaigning on the issues.

    Did I say I live in Sydney? Angus, thanks for the polite rebuttal, gentlemanly of you.

    My point was that the Greens and Labour need first to work out how they're positioned on these issues, presumably they're more aligned to each other than they are with the government, before making a tactical decision about how or if they work with each other.

    I guess I was also alluding to my sense that Labour are better positioned to win than the Greens and therefore, if there was a risk that a National candidate might squeeze through and advance policies that were in neither's interests then... well, pity there's no party vote hey!

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Rawnsley,

    I guess I was also alluding to my sense that Labour are better positioned to win than the Greens and therefore, if there was a risk that a National candidate might squeeze through and advance policies that were in neither's interests then... well, pity there's no party vote hey!

    Voters will have a chance to avoid such a scenario. This by-election will, I imagine, be heavily polled - at the very least, I would expect both the Herald and TVNZ to release public polls. If National is running Labour very close (or, indeed, ahead of Labour), Green voters will have a chance to switch candidates (as will Act voters).

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    My point was that the Greens and Labour need first to work out how they're positioned on these issues, presumably they're more aligned to each other than they are with the government,...

    No, Labour Party and National Party are both middle of the road, centrist and mainstream. The left wing of Labour has commonality with the Greens like the right wing of National with Act, but they both market themselves as the choice of the average NZer.

    Labour on those issues is in favour of building SH20 (but in a caring sustainable way), expanding St Lukes shopping mall (after a suitable consultative process) and want the SupaCity (as a way of expanding inclusiveness to the entire Auckland region). National wants the same things (on the basis of cold hard economic efficiency) - so motivationally they differ but on actual implementation a ciggy paper might not pass between.

    The Greens want to dig up the road and tear down the shopping mall and who knows what they want for Auckland.

    This is why what I/S says makes sense, Labour should fight its own corner.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Hayden Wilson,

    This goes way beyond "this may be the only option, so we might want to put controls around it". It's not as simplistic as "I want to privatise the army," but it seems very close to "if it's the only option, I'm prepared to privatise the provision of military services historically provided by government military forces.

    Graeme, I think your point might have more validity if the UN *had* an army to privatise. They don't. What they do have (and this is what I took Shearer to be reaching for) is that they have a bunch of countries who will provide a mandate to do X. They will not necessarily then provide the wherewithall to do X (or even X-1) because of their domestice political agendas while still suggeting that X remains A. Very. Good. Idea.

    At that point looking for private solutions is as much 'privatisation' as saying that my actions in investigating the market for a flux capacitor is equivalient to me privatising the provision of my domestic time travel needs.

    Since Nov 2006 • 27 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    If that means giving some back to a Labour party that has consistently tried to marginalise them,

    I think the Greens do a pretty fine job of marginalising themselves. They had to be helped out on 2005 and *still* didn't get them numbers.

    My impression, though, was that in recent years the twi parties achieved a reasonable amount together, much of which was behind the scenes.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    At that point looking for private solutions is as much 'privatisation' as saying that my actions in investigating the market for a flux capacitor is equivalient to me privatising the provision of my domestic time travel needs.

    Not that I'm saying that didn't work -- because it totally did. It was off the aptness scale.

    But it was really geeky.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    I think the Greens do a pretty fine job of marginalising themselves. They had to be helped out on 2005 and *still* didn't get them numbers.

    ah, no. the Greens have been shat on so many times by Labour ("the party of nz's working class"--yeah, right) that they might be forgiven for thinking someone had painted a large "Composting Toilet" sign on their office door (though only visible to the Labour Party leadership).

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    If National is running Labour very close (or, indeed, ahead of Labour), Green voters will have a chance to switch candidates (as will Act voters).

    and why is it that the Greens are always the ones expected to sacrifice themselves for the sake of Labour? (but funnily enough it doesn't seem to work that way for Act/National)

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    and why is it that the Greens are always the ones expected to sacrifice themselves for the sake of Labour?

    Hmm, many would argue that the last 3 years things were the other way round. Certainly in terms of spent political capital.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    ah, no. the Greens have been shat on so many times by Labour ("the party of nz's working class"--yeah, right) that they might be forgiven for thinking someone had painted a large "Composting Toilet" sign on their office door (though only visible to the Labour Party leadership).

    Perhaps it's just a perception/perspective thing but the combination of alleged bullying and grievances advanced here... but I'm increasingly inclined to I/S's position as previously stated.

    Stephen, the Greens mightn't have been part of the Executive, and Russell's already essayed the most recent difficulties, but they were clearly influential over the last three terms. It's only recently they've been the third largest party, I wonder about the validity of the apparent desire to get even?

    and why is it that the Greens are always the ones expected to sacrifice themselves for the sake of Labour? (but funnily enough it doesn't seem to work that way for Act/National)

    It's been a mixed blessing for ACT though right? Prebble's term in Wellington Central wasn't sustainable, Hide mightn't survive more than a single term in government... doing favours ahead of the electorate's appetite may just be too risky. Either way, there appears no sensible basis for Labour to do other than stand it's best possible candidate in Mt Albert.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    but I'm increasingly inclined to I/S's position as previously stated.

    It's called democracy, bro.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Glenn, fair point, but referring back to what Mikaere and Russell said (and Lynn Prentice too) were the local issues, they are not issues the National candidate will campaign on are they?

    You know, Paul, I don't always have the serious/shit-stirring ratio figured out with you but could you try being a little more condescending? I know the general consensus around these parts is that ACT and National are evil incarnate, but as Idiot/Savant is fond of saying the voters did come to a rather different conclusion. And they can't all be stupid greedy shitheads, can they>

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Oh, and Idiot/Savant is probably going to puke if I agree with him one more time today, but if this the best Phil Goff can do in the House, he should be kept as far away from Mount Albert as is seemly.

    Today in Question Time, Opposition leader Phil Goff attempted to take the government to task over its expected decision to cancel its now unaffordable tax cuts to the rich. Goff's aim was to contrast Labour's record of keeping its promises with National's record of breaking them. But in the process he simply looked stupid. Why? Firstly, because Labour opposes those tax cuts. And secondly, because cancelling them is a sane and pragmatic response to the recession. When the government is predicting three years of no growth, spiralling deficits, and enormous pressure on government spending, the last thing they should be doing is bankrupting the country to hand out money to those who need it least.

    Now, I very strongly differ from I/S on the question of tax cuts, but I'm the unfashionable kind of fiscal conservative who believes that cutting government income without an equivalent reduction in government spending (or being crystal clear about where the money for spending hikes is coming from) isn't public policy. It's a cynical and contemptuous shell game.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    You know, Paul, I don't always have the serious/shit-stirring ratio figured out with you but could you try being a little more condescending?

    I'm not often shit-stirring here, elsewhere definitely, but not here.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Just thinking,

    Jumping in a bit late, so hope I'm not going over old ground. I'm very weary of anyone spouting ACT (Sir Rogers) Defense policy, now wearing the colours of Labour.

    Policy is there to be implimented.

    As for Norman, good on him. No other party has given a serious push for a big political player.

    The problem with 'safe' seats are the idiots who get them. Christchurch Centra -l Brendan Burns. Selwyn just got rid of its nutter and another is trying to get in.

    Let the democratic process flow & if Labour doesn't win accept that it was Labours fault for fronting a person who supports ACT Defense Policy.

    Putaringamotu • Since Apr 2009 • 1158 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Hah. You call that late to the thread.

    when Labour went with Peters and Dunne in 2005

    Wasn't it just classic MMP for big parties - cosy up to the smaller parties closer to your opposition? After all, Key has done it this time with the Maori Party and Greens, and not because he really needed their votes.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    It's called democracy, bro.

    Including the suggestions that Labour stand aside for Norman? C'mon.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    and why is it that the Greens are always the ones expected to sacrifice themselves for the sake of Labour? (but funnily enough it doesn't seem to work that way for Act/National)

    Do the Greens have to be the victims in every story?

    The fact is that the Greens haven't looked close to winning any electorate contest since Jeanette Fitzsimons lost Coromandel after one term -- and that wasn't even close: she came third .

    It's hard not to feel she and the party could have done better there -- it would have been an enormous advantage to have had the seat in the long term.

    In Auckland Central, where there has always been potential, campaigns have always been half-hearted.

    In Mt Albert, the Greens have no case whatsoever to ask Labour to stand aside, given that Labour candidates have held the seat ever since it existed. Not that I'm saying anybody should be obliged to stand aside. It would just be bizarro for Labour to do so in that particular electorate.

    BTW, here's a question for Russel Norman: does standing now in Mt Albert mean that come-what-may, he'll stand in Mt Albert in 2011? Or is it just a fling?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    BTW, here's a question for Russel Norman: does standing now in Mt Albert mean that come-what-may, he'll stand in Mt Albert in 2011? Or is it just a fling?

    I can answer my own question! Kinda.

    The campaign email I got over night from Russel:

    And, I also want you to know that if I win, I’ll move back up to Auckland.

    So no commitment to the electorate beyond June 13.

    And before that:

    Should the Green Party pull off an upset win in Mt Albert, the Chief Electoral Office has advised that another list member, Dave Clendon, would join the Greens in Parliament. Getting a 10th MP, of such a high calibre, would really be the icing on the cake. It’s important for you to know that no matter who wins the Mt Albert seat it will have no impact on the Government’s majority in Parliament.

    Uh, is he mistaken -- we've established that the result will have an impact on the government's majority if National wins, haven't we? -- or being clever with words here?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    I think Russel means that it won't have an impact on the fact the National will continue to enjoy a majority, although if they win the majority will be increased by one MP.

    You're right about Mt Albert not being the top contender for a concerted effort to win a seat in a general election, Auckland Central would be a better target.

    However, it isn't fair to say our efforts in that electorate have been half-hearted. Our strategy has been to stand candidates with a view to increasing the party vote. We didn't want candidate votes because these are wasted votes and voters may feel they are effectively supporting the Greens via the candidate vote, and thereafter vote elsewhere with their party vote. Hell, I didn't even vote for myself in 2008 :)

    IMO, it would be useful for the Greens to start targetting potentially winnable seats, and Mt Albert will serve as a key learning exercise in this regard. Winning and holding an electorate seat may be key to the Green's survival in the future, especially if National succeed in wrecking MMP.

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    The government has a majority with ACT alone (63/122 seats). If the Nats won Mt Albert, that wouldn't change (they'd have 64/122 seats).

    The size of the majority would increase by one, but it wouldn't give them the ability to rule alone or anything. About the only practical change would be if there was a falling out with either ACT or a group of National backbenchers.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    It's used as a negative by default, and I suspect if it hadn't been tossed out like that in this case I'd have agreed with your privatisation take on it.

    Of course it's used as a negative by default. NZ's illustrious history of getting thoroughly shafted by right-leaning governments flogging off various Crown assets (and let's not even go near the CHE nonsense!) ensures that "privatisation" will remain a pejorative term long into the future, too. We have far too many negative examples of ideologically-driven privatisations to easily view the concept as anything other than an exercise in "Fuck the electorate, here's a gift to our BRT mates".

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    and let's not even go near the CHE nonsense!

    Well, it was pretty amusing, you have to admit.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • stephen walker,

    Including the suggestions that Labour stand aside for Norman? C'mon.

    nobody needs to stand aside. quite a few people on this thread have said that all parties should give it their best shot. so it is annoying when someone suggests that the Greens might need to stand back while the Big Boys fight it out--stand aside so as not to let National win by "splitting the vote".

    nagano • Since Nov 2006 • 645 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    However, it isn't fair to say our efforts in that electorate have been half-hearted. Our strategy has been to stand candidates with a view to increasing the party vote.

    Yeah, I do understand that. I was responding to what Stephen said, which seemed to be sustaining the idea in this thread that the Greens have always bin dun wrong. And I do think there's been untapped potential in Auckland Central for years.

    IMO, it would be useful for the Greens to start targetting potentially winnable seats, and Mt Albert will serve as a key learning exercise in this regard. Winning and holding an electorate seat may be key to the Green's survival in the future, especially if National succeed in wrecking MMP.

    Absolutely agreed. But that will, I think, mean someone putting down roots. Reading between the lines, it seems that Russel won't be back in Mt Albert in 2011.

    If you look OTOH at Phil Twyford, he started acting as Labour's de facto Auckland Central MP very shortly after being elected on the list (which leads me to believe the Mt Albert decision isn't quite the betrayal the beltway types say it is). Are any of the Green caucus specifically identifying with electorates? Genuine question.

    I suggested that some of the Mt Albert Labour people might end up feeling carpetbagged upthread, and got a pretty sharp response. But the fact is, these are people with a very long-term commitment to the local electorate organisation -- they were there before, and they'll be there afterwards. That's what holding key elecorates is about.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

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