That's it in a nutshell. But there is a problem with long-term thinking.
Or to put it more succinctly, we're currently on a fool's gold rush.
"You led Labour, a party that was polling in the mid-30's, to one that sits firmly in the mid-20's."
Shouldn't have thought so. Labour were certainly not polling in the mid-30s when Shearer stood down. The moment Cunliffe won the leadership, Labour's support soared to 37/38%, then fell back a little, but still averaged 35% for 3 of the first 4 months of his leadership (after a good deal of exposure in the news media during the leadership primaries, complete with strong Real Red Labour rhetoric and imagery).
Even as late as January this year, Labour (33%) was still averaging a little better than during Shearer's final months (31-32%).
Then, of course, the relentless MSM onslaught (occasionally in combo with the Dirty Politics brigade) and the deliberate subversion of the campaign by various members of the Parliamentary and Extra-Parliamentary wings of the ABC faction, followed by various ABC MPs campaigning solely for the Candidate Vote.
As for "....you let down your leader at the most critical point of the 2011 campaign / you then destabilised the elected leader" , given you're a Robertson supporter I really don't know how you can say that with a straight face !
"Although the surprisingly favourable reception for what David Parker had to say at the Herald’s Mood of the Boardroom event was worth noting."
What would have been worthy of note is if the mood of the boardroom had been any different given what they want is a political 'opposition' that will provide a seamless service to them.
People who think that it's a good thing for corporate interests (home grown and international) to shape politics should opt for the party leader that the movers and shakers approve of - and work to maintain the voters' focus on the leaders of the parties as 'celebrities' to mask the fact that there's actually no real political difference between them.
David Cunliffe goes to show, for lack of a better analogy, that good captains don't always make for good generals.
And boy, if you're a good general you sure don't want David Cunliffe being a good captain behind you.
I do think that NZers will reevaluate their feelings about the economy when the housing bubble deflates and dairy prices regress to the mean. And notwithstanding the case James makes, it is hard to win when say the top third of NZ thinks they're doing great and the middle third identifies with them, and the govt is fronted by a very popular and talented leader.
There was a good call on this by someone on Twitter yesterday about this. It said that the supposedly homophobic West Auckland and socially-conservative South Auckland didn’t have any qualms electing Chris Carter or Louisa Walls.
And didn't have any problems electing the rampantly heterosexual David Lange months, despite his support of Homosexual Law Reform through all its stages. Remember when it was the conventional wisdom that if Fran Wilde didn't withdraw that private member's bill, she would cost Labour the '87 election? How did that work out again?
I do think that NZers will reevaluate their feelings about the economy when the housing bubble deflates and dairy prices regress to the mean.
Well, probably. But if the great strategy is "wait until the peasants come to Jesus after everything turns to shit custard" then Labour doesn't deserve to govern.
John Tamihere - Former Labour Cabinet minister
What went wrong?
The dreadful result last Saturday was not the result of one thing but the culmination of many. The party over the last 30 years underwent a huge churn of ideas, policy and people.
The response to Rogernomics following David Lange shifted the party off the contest of ideas in regard to economics and the concentration on the Kiwi family and the Kiwi battler to a new debate.
Under Helen Clark the party was captured by academics and tertiary-educated leaders of a union movement that never worked a shop floor. They concentrated on identity politics and controlled the party not on the great economic issues, but on whether you were gay, Maori, feminist, bisexual, etc.
The party machinery then populated the Parliament with a narrow compass of appeal.
They lost because they no longer reflect their voter demographic either in values or in priorities. They have driven people like myself out of the conversation and out of contributing to the party. They have lost connection with middle New Zealand and, particularly, men.
Labour focused on leading a left bloc instead of maximising its own support, and believed it could mobilise 800,000 people who didn't vote in 2011.
It didn't try hard enough to appeal to National Party supporters, while people grew wary that it would rely on parties they really didn't like.
It seemed at times out of touch with the hopes and lives of working people, distracted by issues like gender-quotas, fast trucks and dead trees, which reflected a lack of confidence that its core values are popular enough to win.
Voters began to think Labour was trying to make you a better person rather than better off."
I don't really understand all this hating on David Cunliffe and the parroting of what various know-nothings in the media have declared about him. He had a conversation pre-election with my young daughter and she was pretty damn astute in her assessment, judging him to to be a genuine guy. Sure, he has stumbled along the way but there have plenty around helping him trip.
On the housing situation: the NZ Horrid had a feature today on '10 reasons the market is still booming'. Not one mention of real estate agents, who have a significant hand in pushing up prices, in anticipation of hefty commissions,
The moment Cunliffe won the leadership, Labour’s support soared to 37/38%
I don’t mean to be a wet blanket, but if Labour wasn’t polling well after weeks of blanket and largely uncritical media coverage, the party has much bigger and deeper problems than the leadership.
The economy's not going that well. Easily the biggest influence on GDP growth is the Christchurch rebuild and most of the regions are stalled at best. Our export performance still relies overwhelmingly on world commodity prices (which are now in downturn). We have another property bubble and the dollar is overvalued. (It's significant that Key addressed that last one as a problem as soon as the election was won, and not before.)
In Wellington, it's definitely going 2-speed, and the public sector austerities haven't helped. There are plum jobs such as in ICT going unfilled, but they have steeper learning curves than the public sector and low-skill jobs that have been lost.
Right now, my problem is that PC building/repair jobs like mine are in danger of going the way of the TV/radio repairman. I know all about the ICT skills shortage, but it's like climbing stairs in a wheelchair to ask the ICT sector to take a gamble on good-enough people if they can't find the right people. Let alone a mildly autistic varsity dropout with tech skills that are falling behind the times. I sometimes get a bit hopeless when I read articles like this...
In any economy undergoing such labor market turmoil and shifts, said Northeastern University economist Alan Clayton-Matthews, it is simply unrealistic to expect tens of thousands of people trained for one occupation to suddenly retrain for an entirely different one.
“You can’t be roofing houses one day and breaking down molecules in a laboratory the next,” he said. “It’s not an easy switch for people.”
Government, he said, could do more to help train workers for high-demand jobs.
But the real problem is that many large companies, particularly manufacturers, no longer take it upon themselves to train workers through apprenticeships, internships, and other programs, he said. And the consequence is a labor force not prepared to perform many modern jobs.
“You see people who need jobs and they look beaten down,” said Sisson. “You can see it in their eyes. They’re moral, decent, good people, but they don’t have the right skills. The system has not supported them for what they were brought up to do.”
if the great strategy is “wait until the peasants come to Jesus after everything turns to shit custard” then Labour doesn’t deserve to govern.
I agree. Still, the environment your stragey is deployed in matters.
There is a little bit of ageism creeping in to this discussion. Just because some MPs are in their 60s (and Trevor Mallard is only just 60) it doesn't mean they are necessarily past it. In other professions or cultures they would be seen as wise mentors. If they can still muster large and supportive electorate teams and are active and experienced advocates for their constituents why do they have to be pushed out? Trevor has recently been an extremely helpful advocate for one of his constituents on a disability issue I have been involved with. Something that utilised his considerable community knowledge. Ditto I refer locals to Annette King and her office as they are likely to get problems sorted.
Age is just part of the diversity of life. Also voters over 60 are highly likely to vote.
The economy’s not going that well. Easily the biggest influence on GDP growth is the Christchurch rebuild and most of the regions are stalled at best. Our export performance still relies overwhelmingly on world commodity prices (which are now in downturn). We have another property bubble and the dollar is overvalued. (It’s significant that Key addressed that last one as a problem as soon as the election was won, and not before.)
Facts that Labour failed to communicate utterly in its campaign to appear "positive" sigh. Also perhaps useful might have been to ask NZ the question what else do they want National to sell off (ACC?, DHBs?, Pharmac?).
the deliberate subversion of the campaign by various members of the Parliamentary and Extra-Parliamentary wings of the ABC faction, followed by various ABC MPs campaigning solely for the Candidate Vote.
Apart from Cosgrove, whose non-Labour campaign was outrageous, who else are you thinking of?
With you here. It would be better to talk about length of service. Time to give others a go. A new person in their 60s could be just the ticket.
Although, in government, how important is previous ministerial experience? Or how important is it *perceived* to be by the electorate? I make it nine current Labour MPs with 'Hon' next to their name -- and presumably this'll be a much lower number by the time they are next back in government.
Would be interested to know how many of the incoming Labour MPs in 1999 had previous ministerial experience/baggage -- and that out of a supremely unpopular government. Certainly the leader did.
followed by various ABC MPs campaigning solely for the Candidate Vote.
This is complete nonsense. Which MPs didn’t campaign for the party vote*? I know Ruth Dyson did. I know that Megan Woods did. I know that James Dann did (because I helped with the messaging and targets). I know Grant Robertson did, and if you’re saying Paul Eagle threw a game as Annette King’s campaign manager I doubt you’ve met the guy. Phil Goff was apparently hiding Party Vote hoardings, but given that Michael Wood was running the Mt Albert hoarding operation, I don’t really see that as a particularly plausible story.
This line, when coming from Cunliffe, is just a very unpleasant attempt to throw blame onto a group of volunteers and MPs who worked hard for a Labour win in 2014, and it’s really annoying.
* apart from Clayton, who I see Stephen Judd has already pointed out above.
Cosgrove's behaviour should have come as no surprise to anyone. He did exactly the same thing in 2011.
Dear James Dann,
Thank you for your letter. Good to get your feedback about what some people are saying. What part did you think the media played in forming people's perceptions of the likability of Cunliffe, Labour, and their inability to run the country?
I've been following closely the crisis in the Ukraine and see clearly how the Western news media reports expectations of the establishment, embellished to make it more palatable for the audience. So we only get to hear, read and see the anti-Russian and anti Putin rhetoric and nothing could be further from the truth. My epiphany, which came about through following alternative news sources, has made me question my views shaped by 'facts' reported by the news media. This has also made me question the control corporates have over our 'news.' I would bet my bottom dollar that all people reading your letter would believe bad Russia, saviour USA and crazy killer ISIS coming to kill us any minute soon. And what about Crimea and the Chechens is the usual cry? The true stories behind the stories are not reported. In the end the Western rhetoric, served up in small sound bites, as juicy gossip and demonisation of the person is more likely to be absorbed by the public. And the nastier it is, the more the people listen and absorb.
So what I am saying to you is; mainstream news media play a huge part in shaping the perceptions and views of people. If I were a National voter I would be quite happy with the so called objectivity of the news media. However, I am not so I am furious at how reporters spin things, their middle class arrogance, their brainwashed reporting and the power they wield when shaping and forming the opinions of the populace. John Key plays it so well. Calling Greenwald and Snowden losers and henchmen, dutifully reported by MSM, and immediately - 'PM, knows what he's talking about, I understand that language so they are losers etc.'
I don't think Robertson will make any difference to Labour because the centricity of the our news media will make sure he doesn't. I am happy to be proved wrong but I will be supporting another party. Whoever wins Labour will lose people.
By the way do you have a particular bias here which may make you hear 'stuff' that you prefer to hear?
A person who is so deeply Labour 'entrenched' I changed my mind and gave my party vote to Labour because they dropped so heavily in the polls.
I voted Labour this time, but only reluctantly. I felt their Vote Positive campaign was abysmal.
They needed to stand on their record of good government and attack National on how they gave a tax cut to the rich then sold off state assets and borrowed $60 billion to pay for it. Why not campaign on the national debt soaring to something like $18k for every man woman and child and yet National is talking of tax cuts as soon as they get into surplus, never mind paying back what they've borrowed. National should be painted as the party that squanders our rainy day money in the bullshit belief that the free market fairy will make it all right in the end.
I'm angry about what National has done and where they are leading the country but Labour never got angry on my behalf and that is why they are losing my support.
I do think that NZers will reevaluate their feelings about the economy when the housing bubble deflates and dairy prices regress to the mean.
Well, probably. But if the great strategy is “wait until the peasants come to Jesus after everything turns to shit custard” then Labour doesn’t deserve to govern.
The Fabians events I helped with two years ago were basically a critique of these same problems. I was disappointed that the ideas aired there weren't taken up by Labour in a more structured way. Telling people that their short-term feelgood doesn't address long-term challenges is never going to be easy, but it's intellectually honest. It's not expecting the "peasants" to come to Jesus.
Lynn Williams - if my memory serves me correctly, that was a statement made by James Dann when he was campaigning.
What James Dann is now saying is unbelieveably arrogant. And all of those who also profess to the opinion that David Cunliffe should leave the Party need to go back into the history of Labour over the last three decades, really read up and research on the damage that Roger Douglas left behind, and the continuing damage his accolades - some of whom (Goff, Mallard, King, Cosgrove) are still in caucus and recruiting others of their ilk ie they are all spinning the line that Labour needs to move more to the right, to the centre right, to win. Load of bullsh - -
Labour needs to move to the left and stay there and convince the non-voters that it is genuinely left again and genuing about putting ordinary people first. That is what Cunliffe attempted to do and was hampered by his own caucus, traitorous leakers that they are - spitting their venom out to the media to lap it up.
No offence, but that's absolutely outrageous and inflammatory.
Also: James Dann worked his arse off on this campaign: no hope of winning Ilam, no cushy list spot. I'm biased, because I was out there in Bishopdale on midwinter Saturdays knocking on doors with him. It wasn't arrogant, it was the kind of MMP campaigning that Labour needs. And it worked: Ilam did pretty well in what was a tough year for us. And this isn't arrogant either, it's the kind of honesty and directness that Labour needs.
Ilam did pretty well in what was a tough year for us. And this isn’t arrogant either, it’s the kind of honesty and directness that Labour needs.
I'm only sorry that I missed out by a few blocks on being an Ilam voter. Unlike so many Labour insiders, James Dann has never been in the habit of talking down.
"....but if Labour wasn't polling well after weeks of blanket and largely uncritical coverage..."
Yep. And coverage that involved a good deal of reader/viewer exposure to both Cunliffe's personal style and to his unequivocal 'True Red Labour' rhetoric. And the Party soars to 38%, giving poor old Steven Joyce the collywobbles.
Then that highly unfortunate quiet/bordering-on-invisible period over Summer, together with the equally unfortunate modus vivendi with the ABCs on the policy front = the initial erosion of support to 33% in Jan. Followed, of course, by the full-on MSM lunacy from February pretty much through to Election Day.
Not that Cunliffe didn't make one or two blunders, mind you.