The Dim-Post

September 7, 2012

Exit Pagani, pursued by a bear

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 9:00 am

Apparently John Pagani has stepped down as Labour’s strategist to go and work as a lobbyist for the mining industry.

It’s hard to say from the outside how much influence strategists have on the politicians they advise. One National Party adviser once told me he thought ‘the Hollow Men’, Matthew Hooton, Peter Keenan et al were incompetents until he saw how Don Brash performed without them whispering in his ear, and then concluded they were visionary geniuses doing the best they could with an inferior tool.

So maybe Pagani has been maligned all this time. But he does seem to have been the strategic mastermind behind Phil Goff’s ‘Nationhood’ speech, and David Shearer’s ‘Dole Fiddler on the Roof’ speech – both designed to sell the Labour leaders to ‘middle New Zealand’ by provoking outrage on the left. Neither speech succeeded in that aim, instead they cost both leaders support within their own party and raised questions about Labour’s unity and stability.

Isiah Berlin famously argued that thinkers could be classified as either a fox, who knows many things, or a hedgehog, who knows one big thing. Pagani knew one big thing: post-Helen Clark New Zealand Labour was homologous to UK Labour in the 1990s, captured by far-left extremists, it needed to move to the right to win re-election. Unfortunately the big thing Pagani knew was completely wrong. Labour lost its extremists several decades ago and won three elections campaigning on the values Pagani thought were anathema to the public. National was forced to embrace those policies and values to win government.

I suspect I speak for pretty much everyone on the left when I say that the mining industry is welcome to him.

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24 Comments »

  1. I wonder whether the lobbying will involve persuading the NZ government to let them dig dirt, or persuading the Chinese to buy said dirt, given they have quite enough for their now-shrinking economy?

    Comment by Rich d'Rich (@rich_d_rich) — September 7, 2012 @ 9:07 am

  2. Excuse my language, but THANKS BE TO FUCK

    Comment by max — September 7, 2012 @ 9:07 am

  3. A ray of hope. Fingers crossed. Other expressions of tentative optimism. Tentative mind.

    Comment by Ben — September 7, 2012 @ 9:22 am

  4. Great news. Nek minnit the mining companies will be supporting Greenpeace.

    Comment by ak — September 7, 2012 @ 9:24 am

  5. Aren’t there two Paganis, a kind of Hansel & Gretel double act?

    Comment by Joe W — September 7, 2012 @ 9:44 am

  6. If he does for the miners what he did for Labour, this could be kind of a twofer.

    Comment by Stephen J — September 7, 2012 @ 9:59 am

  7. I wish him all the success in the world, because then he won’t need to come crawling back.

    Comment by alex — September 7, 2012 @ 11:16 am

  8. So I guess the mining industry will shortly release a press statement attacking the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Energy and Resources, international funding sources and the people that make mining equipment to appear more centrist…

    Comment by garethw — September 7, 2012 @ 11:23 am

  9. It’s a part time job at NZ Oil and Gas whcih is a private company not ‘the industry’

    Comment by insider — September 7, 2012 @ 12:28 pm

  10. “It’s a part time job at NZ Oil and Gas ..”

    The rest of the time he’ll be painting his roof.

    Comment by The Economic Illiteracy Support Group — September 7, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

  11. I hope he rots in hell. Oh for dear Helen to come back and set the grand ship LABOUR back on its rightful and glorious course.

    Comment by Greg Presland — September 7, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

  12. “Labour lost its extremists several decades ago and won three elections campaigning on the values Pagani thought were anathema to the public. National was forced to embrace those policies and values to win government.”

    Labour were unceremoniously turfed out of power because the values you talk of were no longer embraced by the public. Pagani is a dog who has had his day advising Labour but I doubt he is the reason opposition Labour sucked so hard recently, that honour probably goes to the rest of the leadership team.

    Comment by merv — September 7, 2012 @ 4:25 pm

  13. I would dearly love DaviD C to take over now and would gladly offer my arsehole for his pleasure at any time.

    Comment by Greg Presland — September 7, 2012 @ 4:28 pm

  14. Thats a shame that you feel that way because Pagani only had nice things to say about you. Infact he said that everyone was wrong when they call you an annoying little no mark who spends all his time wanking off at the Standard.

    Comment by King Kong — September 7, 2012 @ 4:32 pm

  15. @ King Kong

    I don’t think that was really Greg…If you think it was, can I suggest you also have a look at the 95 hour Silmarillion thread. I believe you and Peter are already acquainted.

    Comment by insider — September 7, 2012 @ 4:46 pm

  16. @insider-what gave away the fact that “Greg Presland” was a troll? His love for David Cunliffe? It was pretty subtle stuff…..

    Comment by Tim — September 7, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

  17. Goff and Shearer have to share some responsibility, our rather they should but wont.

    They might have been Pagani’s words but they spoke them.

    We’ll now get someone else and they’ll speak their words with equal conviction. ie with as much conviction as removing gst from fruit and veges.

    Comment by NeilM — September 7, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

  18. Pagani. I know my bikes. But he sounds like a broken down Vespa knock off.

    Better a Honda 50 Step through.

    Comment by frank_db — September 7, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

  19. @ Joe W – John Pagani’s wife Josie was a Labour candidate at the last election in the Wellington region (Otaki electorate?) Josie also appears as a ‘left-wing’ guest commenter on Nationa Radio’s Nine to Noon show, Mondays 11-11:30am.

    I’ve actually only heard Josie, not John, advance something akin to the idea that Labour should “sell the Labour leaders to ‘middle New Zealand’ by provoking outrage on the left”, and even then, I think she suggested shooting the left, not just outraging them ;) That said, John Pagani was part of the double act (with Vic Uni academic Andrew Ladley IIRC) who helped push the Alliance party over the democracy cliff onto the rubble of totalitarianism (they wanted Anderton to be able to veto everything and everyone, including the national party executive!). See Matt McCarten’s book ‘Rebel in the Ranks’, p199, for how John Pagani viewed the left…

    Comment by bob — September 8, 2012 @ 3:19 am

  20. Tim how dare you disparage my love and admiration for dear cunners. He is my one true love since the departure of St Helen and the fistings I used to receive from H2.

    Comment by Greg Presland — September 8, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

  21. This all smacks of “If only the Tsar knew…” or thinking that Pagani is some sort of Rasputin. While it may be fun to applaud his departure, the fact remains that Goff, Shearer, Robertson, Mallard et al listened to him eagerly through two lost elections. There’s all still on the front bench.

    Comment by Rhinocrates — September 8, 2012 @ 10:03 pm

  22. I actually thought labour party membership decided policy and that elected members advocated those policies.

    There may well be a place for “strategists”.

    Is there not a caucus of elected members promoting what the membership want?

    Perhaps there is no membership.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — September 8, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

  23. Sorry, cannot resist.

    Exit? Left or right?

    Comment by peterlepaysan — September 8, 2012 @ 10:55 pm

  24. “I actually thought labour party membership decided policy and that elected members advocated those policies.”

    @ peterlepaysan – Labour party members may agree with you, caucus members not so much ;(

    Comment by bob — September 9, 2012 @ 4:36 pm


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