Hard News by Russell Brown

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  • Anthony Behrens, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    the vote should’ve just been made by the caucus.

    Why? Because it's more democratic? Or because the evil union guy wouldn't have won?

    Palmerston North • Since Mar 2012 • 8 posts Report

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    She had been a lifelong Labour Voter….literally since before birth.

    Not this time.

    Why? The proposed Capital Gains Tax.

    It’s weird that I’m saying this, of all people around here, but most of my circle took a rather more… nuanced view of a Capital Gains Tax that tended towards “I’m OK with the principle, but it’s the execution I’m not so sure about.” Anyway, it would really nice if good policy was always greeted with universal acclaim but that’s not the world I live in. Back on Planet Earth, grown up politics is about the slow and painful process of making your case and building a constituency. If that didn't happen, I think we're long past the point where blaming Cameron Slater and Kim Dotcom is a credible out.

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

  • Jack Harrison,

    Little is the voice now. Lets work with it.

    He has to addressthe Auckland property weirdness quickly before Auckland Central turns into a literal capital grab fueled on the existence of a wealthy elite. He needs to address the awkwardness of our economy, given that the only tool National has is Key's crawly foreign policy attempts to open foreign markets to us. No vision on lowering employment and domestic job creation and stability.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    I’ve been in a union long enough to know the reality, too.

    Reckon we’re in the same union, but my impression is very different :) Not just democratic- delighted anytime any member is willing to put some passion, opinion, or elbow grease in.
    I’m shocked at the ease with which union-bashing is part of this conversation. The days of big unions abusing their power in NZ are distant memory – at least in the vast majority of workplaces.
    I know it’s always possible to have a bad experience- but mine has been overwhelmingly positive. If you don’t like the way your union is being run – get involved!
    FWIW I didn’t vote for Little as first choice, but I’m now thinking he was the best choice. I like that he seems solid in an interview. I’ve not felt that in a Labour leader since Clark. Early days, but a good start :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2120 posts Report

  • simon g,

    the vote should’ve just been made by the caucus.

    As doesn't happen in the many European democracies, the UK, the USA, Canada, etc. Only Australia clings to this antiquated idea.

    OK, it's a matter of opinion that party members should be less involved in choosing their leaders, but it's matter of fact that this goes against the trend everywhere else in the democratic world (bar the Aussies). And all those other countries seem to pick the same mixture of good, bad and indifferent as we do.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1333 posts Report

  • Anthony Behrens,

    The most successful union in the country is the business lobby. Their spokesperson and figurehead is John Key. He wasn't elected...he was chosen by good organisers.

    A union is just a bunch of people with the same self-interest...not a bunch of commies hanging out under our beds.

    A well organised union is a successful union. An badly organised union is by definition not a union at all. The Labour Party hasn't been a well run union (small "u") for a while now.

    Palmerston North • Since Mar 2012 • 8 posts Report

  • Seriatim, in reply to Russell Brown,

    So it isn't 'credible' that Little is leader … so what do we do - sack him? And while actually adopting UBI is unlikely to be possible, just the fact that he is a fan of such radical 'fairness' sends a resounding message. He also made a strong point of how much he admired Parker's strategy for the economy, so hang fire on that one perhaps.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2010 • 57 posts Report

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Rosemary McDonald,

    I think this is akin to the Mom and Pop Investor myth. I recall an item on the Morning Report business news some weeks ago, about the dramatic rise of multiple property owners (ie those who own more than seven properties) in Auckland and Christchurch, I don't think it included your average retiree,

    When Ollie Newland declared on Morning Report last week that 'property investment was a social good' I did choke on my toast!

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report

  • Jack Harrison, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    It's all a bit silly. Turn on your radio anywhere and the discussion is trivial and baffling. Political commentary here is like an endless audition for "The Five".

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    I'm not a member but I have given $1 worth literally. I figured (and told t'other he was helping too ) that $1 a month for the next 2 years was the least I could do to help Labour organise a good strong opposition. I'll give again if I see that put to good use. I want to get rid of Nactional and I know anything is better than what we have. I'd hope at this point Dotcom gets in behind labour to help rather than hinder. I'd like to see a concerted intelligent effort of Parties working toward the same goal for 2017. That does not mean losing their identities . Just focusing on the individual parties strengths is enough to show a formidable force. I'd like to think a man that can organise a group like the EPMU can also unite the opposition Parties with respect. I'm prepared to watch this space, therfore that's what I will do. Adios mi amigos!

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

  • Marc C,

    With regret, I have to agree with Russell on his initial assessment. This is NOT a good or new start, it is a great worry. I listened to Andrew Little and Kathryn Ryan on Nine to Noon this morning, and the interview showed what Little is missing and lacking. He is not very charismatic for a start, so that will be a challenge. Upon a question he made a bizarre comment. Saying Labour need to find out what is going on at the work-places. I could not believe it, and asked myself, what the hell has he and have Labour been doing the last few years, to ask such a stupid question?.

    There is endless ambiguity, lack of direction, no clarity and so forth, and just having the affiliated unions get Little across, that is not good enough a vote for a new leader. He will be another intermediate or transitional leader, that is for sure, and Labour face even greater challenges now, not just lack of unity.

    It is time for a totally new left of centre social democratic party, also inclusive of socialist ideals. Labour will be mince meat for Nats and Key, I fear.

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report

  • Mr Mark, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    He'll be parachuted into Island Bay or Mt Roskill or one of the other ones currently held by someone that ought to have retired as an MP by now and is preventing young blood entering the party

    Island Bay ceased to exist as an Electorate quite some time ago. You'll be thinking of Annette King's Rongotai (essentially the old Island Bay and Miramar seats combined). I suggested Rongotai (for Little) a couple of days ago (elsewhere on the blogosphere) and I think someone may have said the same earlier on this thread. It's certainly one of the Country's great Left strongholds.

    And, as warren mac points out, Little does live in Island Bay.

    On t'other hand, (as in Robertson's neighbouring Wellington Central) there's a pretty hefty Green Party-Vote and leader Russel Norman's been standing there for at least the last 2 Elections. So, that might just complicate things.

    Another possibility would be Mt Albert. Kill two birds with one stone, as it were.

    Quite possible, though, that he'll remain a List MP. The public may hold a somewhat negative attitude toward List MPs but, in the end, it didn't do Brash too much harm.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2009 • 128 posts Report

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    As I said earlier, the vote should've just been made by the caucus.

    But what if a sizeable number of the caucus don't know when to quit, crowding out the likes of Michael Wood? After the Nats slumped to the low 20s in 2002, the recovery process started with Michelle Boag clearing out the 'dead wood'.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    I’m shocked at the ease with which union-bashing is part of this conversation.

    Not at all. Just that I don't believe the unions are enough to win the next election and another 6 years of National control will end the unions.

    And yes I'm a member.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4461 posts Report

  • Matt Crawford, in reply to Marc C,

    Upon a question he made a bizarre comment. Saying Labour need to find out what is going on at the work-places. I could not believe it, and asked myself, what the hell has he and have Labour been doing the last few years, to ask such a stupid question?.

    Well to point out the obvious, Labour have never been less in touch with NZers voters than they are now, and they've spent the last few years hemorrhaging voters.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 58 posts Report

  • Mr Mark, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And the idea that people didn't vote Labour because it proposed to gradually raise the superannuation age to 67 is just preposterous

    Is it ? And yet that is precisely the anecdotal evidence that's come through from Labour Party activists in the immediate post-Election period. You'll find scattered comments to that effect throughout the local blogosphere in late September/early October.

    Let's just take the example of PAS regular, Stephen Judd, who argued: "....the biggest negatives I got canvassing apart from DC were the super age policy (which is hard for me to defend because I don't agree with it either) and inchoate moaning about the man-ban thing...."

    Although the overall poll results on raising Super are fairly ambiguous, strongly-held opposition to the policy clearly exists among a section of (particularly blue-collar/low income) Labour voters. And I can't say I blame them.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2009 • 128 posts Report

  • WH,

    I enjoyed listening to Little's Nine till Noon interview.

    For me, the next three years are about getting 51% of New Zealanders to vote for a Labour/Greens coalition in 2017. This is going to require Labour (in particular) to re-connect with significant numbers of swing voters.

    I'm prepared to overlook my own policy and political preferences provided action is being taken to realise this goal.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report

  • BenWilson, in reply to Marc C,

    I could not believe it, and asked myself, what the hell has he and have Labour been doing the last few years, to ask such a stupid question?

    Presuming they knew the answer when they didn't.

    Of course, there has to be a first one, but it would be a bit odd ditching an orthodox policy like CGT because it was too strange and challenging for voters but then adopting UBI.

    It is indeed radical when taken in an extreme. But it can be trialed on an extremely modest level, unlike CGT, which changes the way that hundreds of billions of dollars in profits would be taxed.

    Also, it's pretty much the exact opposite of a tax. Selling it wouldn't be down to asking people to tighten their belts, it would be about weathering the endless attacks on how "fiscally irresponsible" it would be, coming from a government that has been racking up debt like they're in the finance business themselves. CGT isn't a policy that would probably even cross the minds of people well below the line of ever being able to afford property as something that would change their lives for the better - quite possibly they'd just be afraid of being taxed out of their inheritance later on. But money given right now is something that people right on the poverty line might actually bother to vote for. Especially if it's money that doesn't have the hubris of them being a bludger, because even John Key would be getting it.

    But maybe you're right, and the country would freak out about the idea. I'm yet to hear an idea that wouldn't be the case for, really.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report

  • TracyMac, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Where is this meme coming from - all-bloody-ready - that Little's election was just because of the unions. It patently wasn't, although of course it's a large part of his support.

    Look, I'm queer, I'm Gen-X, I live as close to the central city as I can. According to people like Semmens or Trotter, I must be natural enemy to the Little and his mates. The trouble is, I'm a life-long union member, going back to the days of Jagpro, before it was amalgamated into the Printers' and then - surprise - the EPMU.

    It is the Labour party. Its constitution, which still stands as I recall, provides for the unions to have voting rights. With all the bitching about the low voter turnout at the election - I bitched too - you'd think we would be grateful that those who aren't naturally political party members have some say in the process. To say it should just have been the Labour caucus selecting a leader is frankly abhorrent. The party membership is broader than the relatively well-off people who tend to get elected as MPs.

    I am glad that we're not in the bad old days where most of the cases before the employment courts were about unions suing each other for jurisdiction over workers/industries (I've read a fair chunk of the cases from the early 80s - it's true). Little is very much the epitome of a modern union leader, not about lining his own pockets or stirring up for the hell of it, but getting workers fairly represented and fairly employed.

    Some of the comments here seem to represent an attitude conflating unions now (yes, there are not-so-good ones, still) with the more unnecessarily-aggro or feather-bedding attitudes in the late 70s.

    I personally am more comfortable with unions that give their members a direct voice in how their affiliation is to be voted. Here in Australia, I've made the specific choice to not have my vote represented as part of the Labor affiliation of my union. (Not that I can vote anyway, but I think the Labor party in Oz is truly dire.) For those who have problems with the process used to decide on representation, there is the ability to work on changing it within the union. And of course different unions have different rules.

    And so too with the Labour party itself. If it chooses to rewrite its constitution to de-emphasise or remove the union affiliations, then it can do so.

    So before we run around gaily throwing Mr Little under the bus because of (frankly unwarranted) suspicion about unions, let's see how he performs. I too have concerns about the CGT - I think it simply needs to be better formulated and packaged. No-one is proposing that the family home gets clobbered with tax. But if it's not completely out of the question for him - I understand it isn't - then fine. Otherwise, nothing else I've heard of his statements/beliefs/proposed policies gives me any understanding of why there is this level of catastrophising about his election. He isn't an old-school bloke who is going to throw women or queers under the bus - I know that for a fact. Someone who can smack down the purported fence between "Waitakere man" and "urban liberals" in a positive forward-thinking way can only be helpful to the prospects of the party.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report

  • SHG, in reply to Dean Wallis,

    "What we won't be doing is what he has done now for so long, which is give the appearance of a happy-go-lucky chappy but run the vilest, nastiest smear machine we have ever seen in New Zealand politics. We will be calling him out on that."

    Because if there's one thing that the Left did wrong at the last election, it's not talking about Dirty Politics long enough or loudly enough.

    nup • Since Oct 2010 • 77 posts Report

  • Mr Mark, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Russell, you quote Parker-enthusiast and long-time Right faction apparatchik, Phil Quin, to the effect that Labour has suffered way-above-average Party-Vote losses in Little's New Plymouth over the last few Elections.

    While I respect Quin's tactical nous (along with me, he was the only one to accurately predict the 2010 Mana By-Election result, for instance), I think it's fair to say he does tend to marshal the most damning argument against his political adversaries that he can possibly manage - without worrying too much about how appropriate his figures / methodologies are. His use here of the two-party swing is just a little bit iffy as far as I'm concerned, it disguises as much as it reveals.

    I'd suggest the more appropriate measure is simply a straightforward comparative look at Labour's Party-Vote decline (both in raw number and percentages) over the last 3 Elections.

    Warning:This doesn't make particularly pleasant reading for Robertson acolytes.

    Labour Party-Vote New Zealand 2008-14
    2008.. 34.0% .........2014.. 25.1% ....... minus 8.9

    Labour Party-Vote New Plymouth (Little) 2008-14
    2008.. 31.4% ..........2014.. 21.2% ....... minus 10.2

    Labour Party-Vote Wellington Central (Robertson) 2008-14
    2008.. 34.6% ..........2014.. 23.8% ........ minus 10.8

    Labour's Party-Vote fell by 4938 votes in Robertson's Wellington Central, compared to a decline of just 2954 votes in Little's New Plymouth.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2009 • 128 posts Report

  • Matthew Hooton, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    After the Nats slumped to the low 20s in 2002, the recovery process started with Michelle Boag clearing out the ‘dead wood’.

    Not quite the sequencing.

    Many of those who would have become deadwood having made important contributions to the party (Bolger, McKinnon, Birch, Graham and others whose names I and probably everyone else have forgotten) left at the 1999 election. This was part of an attempt (that obviously failed) to present the party as fresh and new for that election, with the promotions of Shipley, Creech, English, Sowry, Smith and Ryall,

    So much of the deadwood clearing was complete the day National went into opposition.

    Then there was a further process of clearing out deadwood that contributed to the 20.93% result in 2002. In that election, National got only four new MPs while others were chucked out by the voters. But the four were Don Brash, Judith Collins, John Key and, um, Brian Connell (no one gets everything right). Three out of 4 were potential prime ministers and of course one of them has become a three-term and probably four-term prime minister.

    Clearing out deadwood therefore has a cost associated with it - public blood-letting, internal anger, some local members refusing to campaign, a slump in the polls etc. But this should be seen as an investment - as long as the new people coming in are in fact better than the ones leaving .

    The trick is to do it as early in the term in opposition as possible (or even beforehand as Key has done getting rid of 14 MPs (14!) at the last election. With the exception of Clark and Cullen (am I missing anyone?, Labour has left it six years. Still, it has to be done. I like Goff, King, Mallard, Dyson etc (just as I liked and admired Bolger, McKinnon, Birch, Graham etc) but it would be absolutely ridiculous for them to be seen as part of a future Labour Government in 2017. Currently, the longest serving National MP is McCully, elected in 1987 - six years after Goff! And watch this space for whether he will be around in 2017.

    Now I must do some writing for someone who actually pays …

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 195 posts Report

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to TracyMac,

    Someone who can smack down the purported fence between “Waitakere man” and “urban liberals” in a positive forward-thinking way can only be helpful to the prospects of the party.

    Little’s firmly matter-of-fact affirmation that sexual harassment is a serious issue is a refreshing change from Cunliffe’s musings about his guilt over being a man. Whether Cunliffe intended it that way or not, it’s encouraging that we’ve moved beyond the level of pathetic gratitude for some aspect of the leader’s personality.

    Look, I’m queer, I’m Gen-X, I live as close to the central city as I can. According to people like Semmens or Trotter, I must be natural enemy to the Little and his mates.

    However Little’s leadership develops, it’s a safe bet that Semmens and Trotter will still be gagging for their meathead messiah for a long time to come.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report

  • Andrew Geddis, in reply to Mr Mark,

    Labour’s Party-Vote fell by 4938 votes in Robertson’s Wellington Central, compared to a decline of just 2954 votes in Little’s New Plymouth.

    The difference being, of course, that the 3000 votes in New Plymouth went to National (which increased its party vote there by 3,457 from 2008-2014), whereas most of the "lost" Wellington Central votes went to the Greens (which increased by a little over 3000 votes, while National's party vote increased by just over 100).

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2007 • 206 posts Report

  • Mr Mark, in reply to Andrew Geddis,

    Which, in the context of the present discussion, really doesn't mean much at all, Andrew.

    The emphasis is not on the Left Bloc vote but on Labour's vote. Essentially, the argument that Labour has suffered an appalling, way-above-average Party-Vote decline in Little's New Plymouth (with the associated notion that Little is therefore some sort of hapless bozo who needs looking after because he can't quite manage things himself).

    The idea that an MP/Candidate is solely (or even largely) responsible for Party-Vote movement in their Electorate is highly debatable. But if Robertson's entourage is absolutely determined to argue that then their (your) favoured leader is responsible for contributing almost 5000 lost Party-Votes to Labour's slump over the last few Elections, while Little's responsible for a little under 3000. Simple as that.

    Wellington • Since Dec 2009 • 128 posts Report

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