The Dim-Post

January 15, 2012

Whereof one cannot market research, one must keep silent

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 9:37 am

Matt McCarten joins the chorus of voices from the left demanding that Len Brown and the Labour Party speak up on behalf of the Maritime Workers Union in their dispute with the Ports of Auckland.

I don’t know why the political left is silent on this issue – but I’ll throw a cynical idea out there. Maybe Shearer, Brown et al haven’t spoken out on this issue because it happened over the summer  holidays, when everyone’s away and all the polling companies are closed down. They don’t know what the public thinks about the issue and they can’t find out for another week or so – so they don’t know whether defending the union is a good idea or not.

Eventually they’ll have some meaningful data, and if enough people side with the wharfies then our politicians can show courage and leadership and side with them too.

About these ads

51 Comments »

  1. Sadly, this horribly cynical post is probably the truth…

    Comment by MacDoctor — January 15, 2012 @ 10:03 am

  2. That is such a depressing thought. More depressing is the fact that I can’t immediately dismiss it as cynicism.

    Comment by ben — January 15, 2012 @ 10:09 am

  3. I can’t get a handle on it myself. (Shearer et al should be able to though!!!!) I’m not seeing a lot of media commentary giving me the union’s point of view, surprise, surprise! Saw a brief clip of Helen Kelly on TV but no major interview with her … Matt McCarten is not objective enough to provide a persuasive analysis.

    Comment by Maura — January 15, 2012 @ 10:46 am

  4. Brown has spoken out on this issue. Something about being on both sides, whatever that means….

    Comment by K2 — January 15, 2012 @ 11:12 am

  5. “…when everyone’s away and all the polling companies are closed down…”

    Maybe in academia it is still the case that people take a long lazy summer off, but most people I know either just took the stats or went back to work on the 9th of January.

    It is that sort of assumption that you are making that people have in mind when they say academics “don’t live in the real world”, and it also neatly illustrates how detached from the reality of working life for most people a lot of middle class bloggers are.

    Comment by Sanctuary — January 15, 2012 @ 11:21 am

  6. HA! Don’t know about you, Sanctuary, but this academic was back into the office on January 4, when many of my acquaintances in industry are taking their usual annual January holidays with the kids and have gone camping.

    I happen to think Danyl has got it right, sadly.

    Comment by David in Chch — January 15, 2012 @ 11:34 am

  7. Len Brown is frontman for PoAL’s owners, the city council – his scope for taking the union’s side on this is pretty much nonexistent. Also, given the typical NZ dim bulb’s attitude to unions and industrial action, I’d say Shearer doesn’t need to wait for any polls to find out which way populism lies.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — January 15, 2012 @ 11:44 am

  8. “I don’t know why the political left is silent on this issue”

    It’s not Labour, but Denise Roche actually posted something about this on FrogBlog yesterday.

    Comment by MikeM — January 15, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

  9. Maybe in academia it is still the case that people take a long lazy summer off, but most people I know either just took the stats or went back to work on the 9th of January.

    I’ve been back at work since last Monday. But the reality is that (a) almost all New Zealander’s get at least four weeks holiday a year, (b) most people with kids – which is most of the country – take their holidays during the school holidays, so (c) most of the country goes on holiday for several weeks over Christmas and New Year.

    Comment by danylmc — January 15, 2012 @ 12:37 pm

  10. “Maybe in academia it is still the case that people take a long lazy summer off, but most people I know either just took the stats or went back to work on the 9th of January.”
    I can’t speak for Danyl but the majority of people I know through academia (at least in the science arena) barely ever leave work until the university starts forcing them to take months of built-up AL, and then they take a laptop home or try to sneak in through the back door.

    Comment by MikeM — January 15, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

  11. Some of my academic friends like to work over new year, because they can get lots of research done without those pesky students around. Parliamentary employees, on the other hand, often take the whole of January off.

    Comment by kahikatea — January 15, 2012 @ 2:25 pm

  12. If you are right about this, then it will be yet another indictment on the lack of political vision in this country.

    Comment by brendonRS — January 15, 2012 @ 2:43 pm

  13. Focus group, focus group, let’s hear it for the focus group! I haven’t heard much outta Tory Blair lately; wonder if he’s running Labour’s focus groups down here?

    On the PoA issue, did anyone notice Gaynor’s gaffe?

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10778573

    Classic case of present the evidence, then ignore it while drawing conclusions. Difference between the ports according to Gaynor, boiled down to two issues:
    1) PoA owners and Board milked more dividends out over last 20 years, leaving greater debt, and hence interest costs
    2) PoA has twice the wages bill…. but the wages bill for PoT does not include contractors wages, making the comparison meaningless.

    Despite explicitly making these points, Gaynor slams politicians for interfering, claims PoA must reduce its costs to compete (despite point 2 above), and claims messiah status for PoT managers. Groan.

    Interesting to note that when National party spin maestro Farrar quoted from Gaynor, he failed to notice the 2nd point above, saying “I am presuming the POT costs included contracted labour.” Can’t be big on reading articles he quotes from.

    When this is the state of our commentary… God defend NZ, cos the media ain’t!

    Comment by bob — January 15, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

  14. Whoops – the link to the Farrar post mentioned above:

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2012/01/gaynor_on_the_ports.html

    Comment by bob — January 15, 2012 @ 3:03 pm

  15. In case anyone though Farrar may have just misinterpreted, Gaynor explicitly said:
    “These contractors are not included in the employee expenses quoted above.”

    Comment by bob — January 15, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

  16. Of course the blindingly obvious option is that the PoA MUNZ workers or so divorced from modern Labour practises that supporting them is by definition a political suicide pact.

    I mean come on, the MUNZ are bankrupting the PoA.

    Comment by will — January 15, 2012 @ 3:47 pm

  17. “so they don’t know whether defending the union is a good idea or not”

    Dave Shearer next PM if he does stuff up why take chances. He is playing the percentages shows sound judgement.

    Auckland city to close the port and sell the land to developers and then collect the rates. Easy money. Len is playing the long game.

    Comment by Simon — January 15, 2012 @ 4:21 pm

  18. Len playing the long game, lmfao. Len is avoiding a PR nightmare.

    Comment by will — January 15, 2012 @ 4:51 pm

  19. If POAL “win” this stoush it will only be because a John
    Key led National government is in power.

    National has always wanted to destroy unions.

    Sigh. We apparently have an “Arab Spring”. Looks like we are in for an NZ winter
    for quite a few years.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — January 15, 2012 @ 8:31 pm

  20. Yes, having MUNZ hold the Auckland importation community to ransom is a winter indeed. Pity Len and Mike aren’t standing up and supporting the Aucklanders being f’d over by MUNZ.

    Comment by will — January 15, 2012 @ 8:41 pm

  21. I think its a safe bet that if the union side was presented as the dominant media narrative Shearer would be falling over himself to back them.

    Comment by alex — January 15, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

  22. If one listens to National Radio then the union side of the story is the dominant narrative one hears.

    Comment by will — January 15, 2012 @ 8:59 pm

  23. Could it be that Shearer et al are trying to have a bet each way?

    What if PoAL takes the nuclear option and sacks the watersiders, and the sacked watersiders all move to Australia?

    Comment by DeepRed — January 16, 2012 @ 12:42 am

  24. I can think of three reasons Labour has been quiet on this

    1. They’re all still on holiday
    2. They agree with the union but don’t want to say
    3. They disagree with the union but don’t want to say

    How long this remains a mystery is anyones guess but I’m not sure if there’s that much interest in what they think.

    Comment by NeilM — January 16, 2012 @ 1:00 am

  25. As far as the blogosphere is concerned this issue has been dominated by the Cactus Kate/DPF offensive (pun intended) about what the dockworkers already earn.

    Len Brown didn;t even deign to remark on this until criticised by Kiwiblog, which has continually run the line that the workers are greedy and the manager represents the height of reasonableness.. . This despite the lack of any committtment to any meaningful negotiation or arbitration by the management, and a pretty free-rein over presenting the management’s case to the media.

    DPF has been fuelling this little conflagration on the sidelines with consistently provocative digs at the union. Then gets to write a Herald article about how conflict here is as inevitable ‘as the Falklands War’.

    Then goes back and blogs about it. My view is that he is sucking up to the National Party and is a sock-puppet for the official attitude towards this dispute. In the meantime, our actual political representatives can sit idly by and pretend it isl’t happening to them.

    I think they are sticking it to this unon while the political climate is good enough, and that this union is not powerful enough in the Labour hierarchy to require any special pleading – now it it had been the EPMU….

    Comment by Eric Blair — January 16, 2012 @ 7:04 am

  26. DPF doesn’t ‘suck up to the National Party’. He works for the National Party.

    Comment by danylmc — January 16, 2012 @ 7:51 am

  27. Whoa, three touchy academics doth protest a little to much! My earlier comment wasn’t a jibe aimed at academics, it was more that I find the excuse/theory/assumption that “everyone is still on holiday” hard to believe for competitive private sector polling companies.

    The political silence isn’t just from Labour – all political parties have been conspiciously absent on this issue. I suspect that the real reason for the lack of comment is that everyone in our political class and their parasite hangers on has been on holiday (DPF, being of the parasite class, spent his newly found prosperity on safari in Africa) not the polling companies or hard working academics.

    Given the lavish (compared to what average Kiwis earn) salaries and fees our elected political elite and their courtiers get it is disgraceful that not one MP from any party was immediately available in the media to offer a view on this dispute, and it speaks volumes for their sense of entitlement and detachment from the reality of the working experiences of ordinary Kiwis that they think they somehow are more deserving of a complete long break than the rest of us. After all, the government MPs will come back refreshed and invigorated from their month long complete break from work at the bach and immediately consider anti-worker legislation designed to further reduce the terms and conditions of average New Zealanders.

    Fucking hypocrites.

    Comment by Sanctuary — January 16, 2012 @ 8:54 am

  28. Andrew Little is uncharacteristically quiet……

    Comment by aj — January 16, 2012 @ 9:03 am

  29. “…If one listens to National Radio then the union side of the story is the dominant narrative one hears…”

    Well, until this morning we’ve been mercifully free from the drum beat drone of the “opinion making” right wing shills in our conservative media commentariat. I see Mike Hoskings has come back from his long holiday to immediately claim he knows what everyone is thinking and to put the boot in the union.

    It has struck me over the past few weeks that without its usual bodyguard of propagandists like Hoskings the business establishment looks vulnerable in labour disputes. Without an incessant cacophony of opinionated right wing shock jocks and editorial writers hindering the dissemination of the sober facts the union has been reasonably effective in getting its message out; I expect from now on an increasing Greek chorus of “realist” media authoritarians earning their keep from the establishment by calling for the smashing of the ports unions.

    Comment by Sanctuary — January 16, 2012 @ 9:18 am

  30. I actually turned Nat Rad on in time to hear you, Danyl – unexpectedly. Brilliant. You make complicated things clear. Very well done:)

    Comment by Maura — January 16, 2012 @ 9:55 am

  31. “…I actually turned Nat Rad on in time to hear you, Danyl…”

    Really? What time? I want to listen!

    Comment by Sanctuary — January 16, 2012 @ 10:05 am

  32. If Shearer fails to take a firm position on this matter, then he has lost the battle against National and the New Right before it’s even started.

    Jamie-Lee Ross (National, Botany), has already come out swinging against the workers – http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1201/S00020/union-biting-the-hand-that-feeds.htm

    So the political right are already heaviliy involved, as are other right wing politicians like Christine Fletcher, and their ‘groupies’, Farrar, Odgers, and Slater.

    If Labour doesn’t get involved then you have to ask yourself; why call yourself “Labour”?

    So far this is not a good look for Shearer, and being MIA on this issue is a poor start to his leadership.

    As for Len Brown – I think he can kiss goodbye another term as mayor of Auckland. At the very least he should have acted as a mediator-facilitator to “nut out” a resolution on this dispute. Coming out in support of PoA Chief executive Tony Gibson was expedient – and also a betrayal of those workers who voted for him as mayor, rather than Banksy.

    At any rate, the argument on “wages” has moved on (despite DPF being at least two weeks behind, on the issue), and is actually more prosaic; http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/plea-ratepayers-give-port-control-128331

    Comment by fmacskasy — January 16, 2012 @ 10:17 am

  33. “…I actually turned Nat Rad on in time to hear you, Danyl – unexpectedly. Brilliant…” Comment by Maura

    I heard it to, Maura, and you’re right, Danyl’s commentary was brilliant, crystal-cleat, and insightful. Only the most partisan right winger would have failed to understand the message he was delivering. The link to the audio: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/kiwisummer/audio/2507188/on-the-radar-danyl-mclauchlan.asx

    Well done, Danyl! *f—–g big thumbs up*

    Comment by fmacskasy — January 16, 2012 @ 10:45 am

  34. Yes, it was very good. Although I feared Danyl may faint for lack of breath at times!

    Comment by Sanctuary — January 16, 2012 @ 10:52 am

  35. If Labour needs a focus group to guage the opinion of “ordinary” Aucklanders over this, they really are out of touch.
    You just need to observe that cars tooting at the picket line aren’t doing so out of support, its to attract the attention of the picketers while they give them the finger.

    Comment by gn — January 16, 2012 @ 11:18 am

  36. Thanks guys. It is very hard to talk like that and breathe at the same time. I guess I need to pay Brian Edwards a ton of money to learn how.

    Comment by danylmc — January 16, 2012 @ 11:44 am

  37. It is very hard to talk like that and breathe at the same time. I guess I need to pay Brian Edwards a ton of money to learn how.

    Didgeridoo lessons. Cheaper than Edwards.

    It did sound for a few moments there that you were about to pass out.

    Comment by Gregor W — January 16, 2012 @ 11:50 am

  38. But you mentioned “the collapse of the global economy” again! You use this phrase and talk about income percentiles without looking into interpercentile mobility. When it comes to economics, you deserve as much credibility as “Lord” Monckton on global warming.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — January 16, 2012 @ 2:08 pm

  39. My day dreams are shattered. Dim on the radio. I’d always imagined him as a drawling, avunculur north american. Must have been the dodgy spelling he uses. Would you mind keeping on typing in that American accent to maintain the facade?

    Comment by insider — January 16, 2012 @ 2:18 pm

  40. “…interpercentile mobility…”

    I think the New Zealand Men’s Clinic has a cream you can put on that.

    Comment by Sanctuary — January 16, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

  41. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/lifestyle/news/article.cfm?c_id=6&objectid=10779079 – I think the wharfies have been at the tennis

    Comment by HRS — January 16, 2012 @ 6:54 pm

  42. It rubbed it in, Sanc, but it just kept getter bigger.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — January 16, 2012 @ 7:57 pm

  43. Just who the heck is Shearer?

    Comment by ZenTiger — January 16, 2012 @ 9:59 pm

  44. Yep, I reckon Len wont last another round either.

    Comment by Recruitment Auckland — January 17, 2012 @ 12:05 am

  45. Where is Shearer? Where any fearless Pinko leader is in January. Out of cellphone range in a bach with no power. It will become metaphorical for his performance in 2012 if the start is anything to go by.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/6186105/Politicians-relax-with-family

    “There’s no electricity, no cars and it’s pretty primitive. We carry all our stuff in and that includes a lot of lugging in of wine bottles.”

    David Cunliffe may not have any enamel left on his teeth from all the grinding in the past two weeks.

    Comment by Cactus Kate — January 17, 2012 @ 5:04 am

  46. “I’d always imagined him as a drawling, avunculur north american. Must have been the dodgy spelling he uses. Would you mind keeping on typing in that American accent to maintain the facade?”

    Must start reading posts with the Kiwi high rising terminal…

    Comment by MeToo — January 17, 2012 @ 8:33 am

  47. I’d respect the union position a lot more if they held secret ballots. The wharfies have long had a standover reputation.

    Also, coming from a family of wharfies one one side and miners on the other, I wouldn’t be too sure that even the other unions will automatically support the wharfies.
    After the 50s strike, when the miners struck with the wharfies, the mining side of the family had no further contact with the wharf side, regarding the wharfies as scabs for not subsequently supporting the miners in any way when they were negotiating for pay and, more importantly, safety conditions. Can’t trust the buggers, then or now.

    Comment by mary — January 17, 2012 @ 10:57 am

  48. >I don’t know why the political left is silent on this issue – but I’ll throw a cynical idea out there.

    I do. It’s because you’re conflating Labour with the political left. If you abandon this, and it doesn’t take much cynicism to admit of more humans on the left than fall under that stinky old umbrella, then you’ll notice they’re not silent.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — January 17, 2012 @ 3:29 pm

  49. Mist start rudding pawsts with the Kayway hi-ee rising termunil?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — January 18, 2012 @ 12:59 pm

  50. Who’da thought? The main political parties are officially fence-sitting. Even ACT. Just as well, because who wants a return to the forced arbitration of Muldoon’s day?

    Just listened to Phil Twyford on RNZ this morning talking about the port dispute, and it’s an interesting and very Blairite take on the issue.

    Comment by DeepRed — January 19, 2012 @ 9:29 am


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

The Rubric Theme. Blog at WordPress.com.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 406 other followers

%d bloggers like this: