The Dim-Post

December 19, 2011

The Labour list

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 2:54 pm

Max Weber famously described politics as ‘the strong and slow boring of hard boards.’ It’s one of my favourite quotes about politics and reflects, I think, the reality that political success comes down to hard work over a sustained period. To win an election you have to ‘win the day’, day in, day out, for weeks and months and years before the campaign even starts.

Over the past five years Labour have hardly ever ‘won the day’. You never looked at any conflict between Goff and Key and thought, ‘Goff looked good there.’ Instead there was a lot of bad strategy, super-short term tactics and conservatism all topped off with magical thinking: ‘The polls will narrow, somehow’, or ‘people will wake up and realise they hate John Key.’

So it’s refreshing to see the party’s new list and not see any obviously insane decisions. Shearer’s solved his Cunliffe problem, and his former rival is high on the list and – as many predicted – matched up against Steven Joyce. There are new faces on the front bench. Sure, they have to prove themselves, but that’s still better than the old guard who simply proved they’re rubbish in opposition.  Given some of the dire material Shearer and his team had to work with, this is an impressive outcome.

The new leader also got good coverage in the weekend papers – giving out names of his buddies to various journalists who then pretended they’d ‘dug into his past’. Another thousand-or-so days like these and things’ll be looking pretty good in 2014.

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37 Comments »

  1. Cosgrove at 6 and Jones at 7 is an “impressive outcome”???

    Comment by toad — December 19, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

  2. The only obviously-insane decision I see is Parekura keeping Māori Affairs. Mahuta or Jones should have it. Jones, in preference, because he has the lighter workload; stands against Sharples in the electorate, and if you want a talented but (by reputation) lazy guy to perform, load them up with work and watch them find ways to cope.

    L

    Comment by Lew — December 19, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

  3. Toad: I hate Cosgrove, but I can’t deny that he’s worked very hard over the last three years, especially since the Christchurch earthquakes, and earned his spot. Jones, OTOH…

    Comment by Idiot/Savant — December 19, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

  4. I read somewhere that Jones was promoting a flip-flop on Asset sales in line with Maori Party goal to give Iwi preference to share sales – is this true or fevered imaginings brought on by pre-apocalyptic fever on my part?

    Comment by C. Arthur Monteath-Carr — December 19, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

  5. Cosgrove couldn’t land a hit on a punchbag. As for Mahuta, well, the teahers’ unions in all their guises might as well give up now.

    However, I wish them well as they peel back votes from NZ First and The Greens.

    Comment by Adolf Fiinkensein — December 19, 2011 @ 3:07 pm

  6. I’d give the front bench 7 out of 8. Shane Jones is over-rated (though not by the voters). I don’t like Cosgrove much, but every opposition needs a bastard, and at least this one doesn’t blog or bike race.

    I’d still rather Shearer rejected the Insider Games more radically (“Sit anywhere you like! Nobody watches this show!”) but as a first step, it’s a pretty good one. He can always cull more next year, when people might actually be paying attention to politics.

    Comment by sammy — December 19, 2011 @ 3:11 pm

  7. I read somewhere that Jones was promoting a flip-flop on Asset sales in line with Maori Party goal to give Iwi preference to share sales – is this true or fevered imaginings brought on by pre-apocalyptic fever on my part?

    I think his line is – if you want to make sure of a Maori Party revival, advocate confiscating the shares iwi will no doubt get during the partial asset sales.

    Comment by NeilM — December 19, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

  8. I think Parker’s appearance at #3 gives the lie to all the people who complained about Cunliffe’s supporters only being in it for the prospect of plum positions on the front bench.

    Comment by Hugh — December 19, 2011 @ 3:19 pm

  9. Um Cosgrove got voted out of his electorate so hardly an endorsement of his work in Christchurch. He also basically de-branded himself entirely from Labour. If anything he should be punished for that. Jones is terrible. He can’t even win in a Maori electorate and I thought he was looking at stepping down if Maori didn’t give him their vote. Not only that but he openly went against Shearer and had foot-in-mouth disease over Iwi and asset sales.

    Comment by gingercrush — December 19, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

  10. Is there a typo, or do they really have four ‘Associate Finance’ spokesmen?

    Comment by Phil — December 19, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

  11. It shows good committment to winning back the provincial seats when Damian O conner is ranked so low behind MPS like Maryan Street, Sue Maroney and Darien Fenton who refuse to win electorate seats and refuse to endear themeseleves to the public, ie those people that vote.

    Comment by rjs131 — December 19, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

  12. Phil – shhhh, you keep hitting the nail on the head, and the noise is giving Shearer a headache. ;)

    This lineup shows how powerless Shearer is – he had to appease all the factions, which is why all the contenders are now Ass. Finance spokespeople. Jones didn’t get that by work – he got it because of the power of the Maori faction. Ditto Parker, and Cunliffe, etc.

    Sure, it scrapes thru’ muster, but it doesn’t change Labour. They desperately need an independent review, followed by reforming their structure and processes, then revising this lineup to match spokespeople to the vision they want to articulate.

    Clocks ticking, Shearer.

    Comment by bob — December 19, 2011 @ 3:56 pm

  13. Danyl, can you or any of your legion of participants point to anything in the lives of Ardern, Robertson and quite a few others that would suggest an ability to empathise with the aspirations of working kiwis?
    Neither of those two ( in particular) have ever spent a day toiling outside the sheltered workshop

    Comment by Barnsley Bill — December 19, 2011 @ 4:12 pm

  14. Poor old Barnsley.

    The Right’s beloved “real world” meme has been shattered now Shearer’s got the job. So the eyes are desperately cast elsewhere.

    Tough luck. You wanted a Leader-Personality cult, you’ve got one. Nobody else matters.

    Comment by sammy — December 19, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

  15. @Barnsley – Ardern is originally from Murupara, which is a pretty good start.

    Comment by PGM — December 19, 2011 @ 4:22 pm

  16. Can anyone tell me why we still have a shadow minister for the America’s Cup?

    Comment by Ataahua — December 19, 2011 @ 4:28 pm


  17. Can anyone tell me why we still have a shadow minister for the America’s Cup?

    Because Mallard likes it?

    Comment by George D — December 19, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

  18. “15.Can anyone tell me why we still have a shadow minister for the America’s Cup?”

    Because we have good chance of winning the thing again.

    Comment by gn — December 19, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

  19. Not that good for Cunliffe. He doesn’t get the science etc or tertiary education etc bits of Joyce’s empire. And there are three other Associate Finance spokespeople…

    Comment by JMK — December 19, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

  20. > Because we have good chance of winning the thing again.

    Let’s hope not. The last one cost us a fortune.

    Comment by insider — December 19, 2011 @ 5:17 pm

  21. BIg promotion for Ardern. With social development, she’s arguably the best-placed to score strikes on National. Should be a good test to see if she has the killer instinct to eventually succed to the top job.

    Appointing Cosgrove, Jones, and Mallard as fellow associates seems designed to annoy Cunliffe, or at least keep him too busy doing their work to conspire.

    Comment by bradluen — December 19, 2011 @ 6:03 pm

  22. I’m really keen for someone to explain to me why we have a Minister for Racing? This is a question from someone who is happy for the government to dabble in most areas of our nation….

    Comment by brouhaha — December 19, 2011 @ 6:06 pm

  23. The rapidly-approaching Europocalypse will render discussions like this completely irrelevant. John Key’s boyish charm will rapidly wear thin in the face of the world’s increasing economic distress.

    This will be a good three years to be in opposition.

    Comment by Neil — December 19, 2011 @ 6:08 pm

  24. The government regulates the racing sector to make sure gambling is regulated and that the profits are distributed to charities. That being said I’m not sure why there needs to be a Minister of Racing when there’s no Minister of Gambling (and the casino / poker machine take is much bigger than the racetrack take).

    Comment by Hugh — December 19, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

  25. I’m really keen for someone to explain to me why we have a Minister for Racing?

    So the next time they need to bribe Winston with some baubles of power they can pretend it’s totally a real role, not one created out of thin air to pamper his ego.

    Comment by QoT — December 19, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

  26. “So the next time they need to bribe Winston with some baubles of power they can pretend it’s totally a real role, not one created out of thin air to pamper his ego.”

    Errr I hate to be contrary QoT but the position of Minister of Racing wasn’t invented for Winston, it goes back at least as far as the 1970s.

    Comment by Hugh — December 19, 2011 @ 7:57 pm

  27. “Errr I hate to be contrary QoT but the position of Minister of Racing wasn’t invented for Winston, it goes back at least as far as the 1970s.”

    Ah, but the genius of Winston was to make money from a dying portfolio. Thats why he directed much of his limited budget to Trackside and got the result he needed.. not for nothing was NZ known for “Rugby, Racing and Beer”. Winnie was good for racing and racing was good to Winnie.

    JC

    Comment by JC — December 19, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

  28. PGM – “Ardern is originally from Murupara, which is a pretty good start.”

    She also spent the campaign chortling at Northland as a place that only exists for jaffas to visit. She came across as exceedingly Auckland-centric. Noted by we Northlanders as well as other provincials. Damien O’Connor was noted for opposite reasons. A pity he’s not higher up.

    Comment by Bea — December 19, 2011 @ 9:12 pm

  29. If being exceeding churlish and sour is any sort of political index on how your opponents are feeling, I think David Shearer could be well pleased by the foul emanations from the rat bag assortment of nickel and dime Tories in this thread!

    Comment by Sanctuary — December 19, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

  30. She also spent the campaign chortling at Northland as a place that only exists for jaffas to visit.

    who needs the provinces when you’ve got those urban seats, well, apart from Auck Cent.

    Did Labour ever stop to think that the “holiday highway” bullshit didn’t insult the people that used that piece of highway for holidaying (they all live in Remers and don’t give a fuck) but rather it insulted the rural population that would benefit economically from such infrastructure – and who might have voted labour if labour had been interested in their concerns.

    Comment by NeilM — December 20, 2011 @ 12:33 am

  31. nickel and dime Tories in this thread

    you sound like Mallard

    Comment by NeilM — December 20, 2011 @ 12:34 am

  32. NeilM wrote: “Did Labour ever stop to think that the “holiday highway” bullshit didn’t insult the people that used that piece of highway for holidaying”

    my friend who lives near the planned ‘holiday highway’ thought it was a very accurate name, because he said the area was only congested at the start and end of holiday weekends, so the people who only wnet through there at those times were the only people who thought a new highway was needed.

    Comment by Kahikatea — December 20, 2011 @ 7:35 am

  33. The interesting thing about this post and similar ones in the Herald is that it still follows the two party FPP paradigm. This gives National and Labour equal weighting even though one party is almost twice the size of the other and discounts the Greens to zero. This is despite Labour being reduced to 8 front bench seats to make room for the other parties of opposition.

    It’s interesting that Energy, Conservation are not even ranked in the top twenty. This might be because because Shearer does not see these portfolios as critical to his ‘Clean, Green Clever’ rebrand. But I would say it’s more likely a pragmatic recognition that those portfolios will probably be given away to the Greens in post election negotiations. Ditto for Maori Affairs – why have somebody in the top 20 gaining experience in the role when a coalition deal with the Maori Party will probably give it away anyway.

    Comment by Richard29 — December 20, 2011 @ 10:09 am

  34. @ Kahikatea

    You could call most highway improvements holiday highways on that score because our non major urban traffic flows are really not a problem 99% of the time. On SH1 Taupo really only ‘needs’ a bypass at Christmas/NY, Otaki only at 4pm on Sunday or long weekends.

    Comment by insider — December 20, 2011 @ 12:09 pm

  35. nickel and dime Tories in this thread

    you sound like Mallard

    Nah, Trev’s occasionally funny.

    Comment by Phil — December 20, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

  36. “…the foul emanations from the rat bag assortment of nickel and dime Tories in this thread”

    lol

    Comment by Alistair — December 20, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

  37. insider – precisely. Which begs the question – why do we fund such daft projects when they have terrible cost-benefit ratios, and are just used to appease the middle class urban voters….. oh, right.

    It just shits me that the same half-wit SUV or BMW driving ‘professional’ blokes who rant about lower taxes and the ‘luxury of benefit lifestyles’ happily rant their demands for motorways to any tinpot seaside village they happen to want to holiday at this summer. To prevent a few minutes delay at traffic lights or a one lane bridge. The kind of delays they experience every day in Aucks going from Ponsonby or Greenlane to the city. They could just show some patience, but no….

    P.S. By ‘professional’, I mean ‘not to be held responsible for any cock-up in their working life’. Like the clown engineer who insisted on green stickering buildings in Chch without properly inspecting them.

    Oooh, I’m really feeling the pre-Christmas rant bug ;)

    Comment by bob — December 20, 2011 @ 2:03 pm


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