The Dim-Post

June 2, 2013

Normanahotep

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 11:53 am

I don’t blog about the Greens much now that my wife works for them. If I make fun of them then things will become very difficult for me very quickly and if I’m nice about them I’d just look like a shill, on top of which my wild guesses might look like they’re informed by insider knowledge.  But I honestly don’t know anything about the strategy behind Russel Norman’s Key-bashing speech at the party’s AGM today. Via Isaac Davison at the Herald:

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman has made a sharp personal attack on Prime Minister John Key, all but shutting the door on working with National after the next election.

Key described Labour and the Greens as the “devil-beast”; Norman hit back at his party’s annual conference yesterday by labelling Key “corrosive” and “extremely divisive”, repeatedly comparing him to former Prime Minister Robert Muldoon.

“Next time you see John Key smiling, remember he’s not smiling because he likes you, he’s smiling because he’s giving favours to his mates while undermining your democracy,” he told an audience of around 120 people in Christchurch.

The Greens have previously avoided personality politics. Asked whether his speech signalled a new approach, Norman said: “It’s important to put a line in the sand about what’s happening to our constitution and our democracy.”

After the speech, he would not rule out working with National if it gained a third term – but his tone of contempt for the National-led Government’s “attacks on democracy” and “dodgy deals” made it clear that this would be unlikely.

“It is hard to see how that will work out well,” he said.

. . . And the best part of not knowing anything about something is that you can blog about it.

Part of Norman’s speech is just standard opposition stuff. Lots of people on the left think that National has taken a rather sinister and anti-democratic turn, and opposition leaders are supposed to articulate these sorts of concerns and present them to the wider public. That’s the job.

The other element is the personal attack on Key. I think there’s some real-politik here. Key’s been attacking the Greens very vigorously: his research probably tells him that voters in the center are apprehensive about them. And if a party just lies back and takes that kind of abuse without responding it makes them look weak in the eyes of the voters. People don’t vote for weak.

When the leaders of two parties who aren’t trying to attract one another’s voters attack each other in public like this it often works out well for both of them. In this case Key gets to scare voters in the center off defecting to Labour while the Greens try to peel away left-wing Labour voters who are dissatisfied with the current leadership (according to current polling that’s almost all of them).

It’s a really bad situation for Labour to be in, but Labour have spent the last couple of weeks telling everyone who’d listen that they’d prefer to form a coalition with New Zealand First and lock the Greens out of government again, so I doubt Norman gives a damn about whether he’s making life harder for Labour.

56 Comments »

  1. People don’t vote for weak.

    For examples, see Phil Goff and David Shearer.

    Comment by Idiot/Savant (@norightturnnz) — June 2, 2013 @ 11:59 am

  2. Exactly. See Josh Marshall’s BitchSlap Theory of Politics. Also, it’s fairly Rovian: attacking Key’s strengths, his supposed every-man straight-up good bloke image, instead of his weaknesses.

    Comment by Furrball — June 2, 2013 @ 11:59 am

  3. “When people feel uncertain, they’d rather have somebody that’s strong and wrong than somebody who’s weak and right.”
    — Bill Clinton

    Comment by Furrball — June 2, 2013 @ 12:00 pm

  4. The narsissic Byzantinism of the Labour caucus contually cause me to dispair. While the breaded ones and the eunuchs plot and conspire aginst each other, they fail to notice the decay of the empire they are killing.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 2, 2013 @ 12:09 pm

  5. The Greens have two options: to be patronised, or feared. (A third option would be nice – to have their policies rationally considered, on their merits – but they are Greens, so that option is not permitted).

    They were patronised for over a decade (insert “Morris Dancing” and other tedious Barry Soper tripe here) and didn’t get anywhere near power. Might as well give fear a go.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — June 2, 2013 @ 12:21 pm

  6. Relying on the Herald’s distortions of Norman speech is a dodgy way to write a blog. The speech itself is much more directed at the anti-democratic behaviour of the Key government, not a blistering personal attack on Senor Key.

    Comment by Andrew R — June 2, 2013 @ 12:34 pm

  7. [How is saying (correctly) that Key “gives favours to his mates while undermining your democracy” a personal attack? It’s an attack on what he does, not, what he is]

    The Greens should be prepared for maximim staunchness if Labour try to freeze them out. Do the minimum necessary to avoid another National government by abstaining or supporting Labour on the initial confidence motion, but no guarantees after that. Put up an alternative budget for social justice, and vote Labour/NZF’s budget down if they don’t align to it.

    The received wisdom is that that would drive people away from the Greens. It wouldn’t. More and more voters are fed up with right-wing governments and will be more inclined to get out and vote for the only party standing up for them and not doing dodgy deals. Next time (after one year or three) the Green vote will increase and they’ll have even more leverage.

    The alternative is to become a complete irrelevance like the UK LibDems.

    Comment by rich — June 2, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

  8. Rich, the UK LibDems are in government, in cabinet and entrenched in local councils across the land with committed party supporters who are solid grassroots campaigners.

    They’ve stymied the Conservatives on a number of occasions, most recently on electorate boundary changes, preventing Cameron going full-bore anti-EU in this parliament and resisting further cuts to welfare against right-wing calls to boost or ringfence police and defence spending. They may have problems defending many of their seats and perhaps have had less success with their core policy aims, but there’s no way I wouldn’t describe them as an irrelevance, especially there’s a good chance they might be in coalition with Labour after the next UK election in 2015.

    Although I agree with you on your main points, what the LibDems current situation means as a potential lesson to be drawn for the NZ Green Party isn’t particularly useful, I feel.

    Comment by Furrball — June 2, 2013 @ 12:55 pm

  9. Norman might be squandering the Greens reputation for being above such things for little gain.

    Attacking Key hasn’t done Labour much good. Comparing him to Muldoon is absurd and probably has little resonance with most voters.

    We had the nine years of Democracy Undet Threat when C(K)lark was in office, it’s as untrue now as it was then.

    “Anti-democratic” had been devalued to just mean “policies i don’t like”.

    Comment by NeilM — June 2, 2013 @ 1:12 pm

  10. One the hand you have Metiria Turei with rational policy like better health resources in schools, and on the other you have Norman ranting like a North Korean dictator. He’s arrogantly assumed he has won the next election, massive pride=massive fall. Big egos might work in his home country of Australia, here they go down like a ton of wet shit.

    Comment by Grant — June 2, 2013 @ 1:31 pm

  11. @furrball: yup, they built all that up and then squandered it by being part of a hardcore rightwing government. Sure, by being part of it, they made it marginally less right wing, but for the LibDems it’s curtains. They’ll be down below 20 MPs at the next election if not in single figures, and the UK will be back to Tory/Labour puntofujismo.

    Comment by rich — June 2, 2013 @ 2:23 pm

  12. “It’s a really bad situation for Labour to be in”

    Did you just say ‘This is bad for Phil Goff?’

    The irony is that one of the things Muldoon is so disliked for, ‘think big’, is basically Green policy. The Greens strongly believe in borrowing money (well, printing it, largely the same thing) and then using it to invest in large scale infrastructure that will prevent/mitigate a future energy crisis.

    Comment by Hugh — June 2, 2013 @ 2:32 pm

  13. @Furrball: It’s pretty amusing that you view the UK Lib Dems as an example of how to be a successful junior coalition partner. Their voters certainly don’t seem to agree with you, judging by recent polling.

    Comment by Hugh — June 2, 2013 @ 2:34 pm

  14. “Anti-democratic” had been devalued to just mean “policies i don’t like”.

    Is suspending a democratically elected regional council pro-democratic, or anti-democratic?

    Comment by George D — June 2, 2013 @ 2:34 pm


  15. “Anti-democratic” had been devalued to just mean “policies i don’t like”.

    Is passing a law in but a single day that removes the right of individuals to seek judicial vindication of their rights, over the top of the Attorney-General’s warning that this breaches the NZBORA, pro-democratic, or anti-democratic?

    Is introducing a new offence provision against protest that applies only to one industry (oil and gas) through the mechanism of a SOP, thereby avoiding NZBORA and select committee scrutiny, then expanding its scope a month later under urgency pro-democratic, or anti-democratic?

    Is commissioning a public review of the electoral system, then refusing to advance its proposals when they don’t say what you want, pro-democratic, or anti-democratic?

    You see, there’s lots of policies one can disagree with but accept National has a “mandate” to pursue. Asset sales. RMA reform. Tougher bail laws. Then there’s others that are anti-democratic … unless, of course, you’re going to go in to bat for these specific examples (+ George D’s above)?

    Comment by Flashing Light — June 2, 2013 @ 3:06 pm

  16. @Hugh Nice strawman. At no point did I put forward the LibDems as ‘as an example of how to be a successful junior coalition partner.’ However, I was making the reasoned point that they’re hardly a complete irrelevance as was claimed.

    LibDem support will probably fall back to its historical 10-12% range for the next election, with FPP probably giving them about 30 seats. The last election was a fluke in the light of the financial crisis, an unpopular Labour prime minister and the novelty of the first televised leaders debates. Both Cameron and Gordon Brown elevated Clegg by flattering him. Besides, of all parties, they’re probably the least likely to lose votes to UKIP in 2015.

    How the LibDems’ Orange Book classically liberal but pseudo-centrist public postioning between Labour and the Tories has the slightest relevance to the NZ Green Party who are, by all accounts, running to the strongly to the left of NZ Labour in a PPP election, I’m not sure if either you or Rich have made it that clear at all.

    Comment by Furrball — June 2, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

  17. @Furr: OK, you’re right, you didn’t say that. And I agree the party dynamic in the UK is quite different to that in NZ, although I’d say the difference is not so much in the relationship between the two big parties as in the plethora of smaller parties.

    But the problem of how to be a junior coalition partner is really one that’s ideologically neutral. The problems that the Alliance faced are broadly quite similar to the problems the Maori Party and ACT faced, despite the different ideological dimensions. There really doesn’t seem to be any reason that the Greens won’t face them too, and all of the ‘solutions’ I’ve heard Green voters give are just things that have already been tried for these other parties and didn’t work.

    Comment by Hugh — June 2, 2013 @ 3:35 pm

  18. We haven’t had this situation before, actually. The Greens are rapidly growing on a tide of discontent with the whole political-economic system. Likely events in the next ten or so years (such as a China crash) will just build this. I’d expect them to supplant Labour as the main left-wing party in three or four elections (assuming Labour don’t change radically, the Greens stuff up and/or a new left-wing movement emerges).

    All the propaganda in the right-wing media is aimed at making the Greens pull their necks in and become a wooly tree-hugging party that isn’t any threat to their interests, and enable an appropriately rightist Labour government to get back in when National needs a rest.

    Comment by rich — June 2, 2013 @ 4:21 pm

  19. “the party dynamic in the UK is quite different to that in NZ”

    We have MMP not FPP for a start.

    Comment by Sacha — June 2, 2013 @ 4:24 pm

  20. Yes and Labour legislated to remove the democratic right of Maori to litigate in court.

    But some how our democracy survived, elections held, govts are held to account, etc etc

    Comment by NeilM — June 2, 2013 @ 5:12 pm


  21. But some how our democracy survived, elections held, govts are held to account, etc etc

    Elections are not held in Canterbury.

    (I’ll let Flashing Light finish off this comment for me, since s/he did such a good job last time.)

    Comment by George D — June 2, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

  22. “Is passing a law in but a single day that removes the right of individuals to seek judicial vindication of their rights, over the top of the Attorney-General’s warning that this breaches the NZBORA, pro-democratic, or anti-democratic?”

    It might be anti-liberal, but its perfectly democratic. The fact that the govt bans things such as recreational drugs, homosexuality or whatever, is about liberty not democracy. Remember that liberty is very often at odds with democracy.

    Comment by Swan — June 2, 2013 @ 5:19 pm

  23. “It might be anti-liberal, but its perfectly democratic.”

    What are you talking about? What do you think is being banned in the quote? The right to seek the assistance of the court where the government is discriminating against you. This is a weakening of a citizen’s rights in relation to the state = anti-democratic.

    Comment by nommopilot — June 2, 2013 @ 7:22 pm

  24. “But some how our democracy survived”

    If mere survival is your bar for defending, strengthening and maintaining democracy, then there’s no need to worry until the storm troopers arrive to shackle you into the factory farm. sit back, relax. eat your cereal…

    Comment by nommopilot — June 2, 2013 @ 7:26 pm

  25. Yes and Labour legislated to remove the democratic right of Maori to litigate in court.

    Which was a very good reason to vote against them at the next election, because their actions in doing so demonstrated a contempt for proper constitutional procedure and good governance (as was the case with introducing the original Electoral Finance Bill, although not so much the final Electoral Finance Act). But quite why you think your constant refrain of “Labour was bad, so whatever National do is OK” is a particularly strong form of argument escapes me.

    If you collapse “democratic” into “anything that a Government chooses to do with its majority in the House of Representatives, so long as once every three years there’s a vote”, then you end up with a hopelessly impoverished concept of what is a pretty important underpinning of our whole way of governing ourselves. Just as if you equate claims that a Government is acting in particular ways that are inconsistent with a full and proper understanding of democracy to an argument that we are going to see the end of elections and the imposition of one-party rule, then it’s you that ends up looking a wee bit silly.

    It might be anti-liberal, but its perfectly democratic.

    And the same thing goes with this. There’s no reason why we should accept the claim that “democracy = that which 61 MPs vote for and nothing else”. Or, at least, not without someone arguing that this is the best and most desirable understanding of that concept.

    Comment by Flashing Light — June 2, 2013 @ 7:36 pm

  26. Russell Norman is trying to do what Winston Peters has been doing for most of the last four years: molding himself as the de facto leader of the opposition, in public discourse if not in the House.

    Against the howling void that is the leadership of the Labour Party, Norman is at least showing that there’s someone on the left willing to take the fight to National. And I for one am relieved, largely because it means I won’t have to vote for New Zealand First at the next election.

    Comment by Higgs Boatswain — June 2, 2013 @ 7:55 pm

  27. National’s problem may be that casual voters still trust John Key, but they don’t like his accomplices.
    Labour’s problem is that casual voters don’t even care about any of them, and disaffected voters who switched to ther parties see no reason to return. Unless they can perform charismatic endowment surgery on wot’s his name, they will lose more casual voters.
    The Greens need to sound consistently sane to retain casual voters, and comparing Key to Muldoon isn’t as irrational as some commentators suggest.
    Voters need obvious benefits to change voting preference, and part of that is supporting clear, positive, visionaries with rational objectives.

    Comment by Bruce Hamilton — June 2, 2013 @ 9:33 pm

  28. Flashing light:

    You can argue that the government is overusing its power when it writes into legislation clauses that, for example, overuke the BORA. But, unless the government is somehow using its executive power beyond which parliament has granted it such power, I can’t see that it has anything to do with democracy.

    Even if you can point to a poll that shows that the majority disagree with a particular policy, that again is hardly grounds for calling it anti democratic. For the electorate may not (in fact most likely doesn’t) hold a completely self consistent set of positions on all policy areas. Take tax levels vs health spending as a simple example. And that is why we have representative democracy. I guess you could argue that direct democracy is the only true form of democracy, but do we really want direct democracy? Is it even remotely practical?

    Comment by Swan — June 2, 2013 @ 10:10 pm

  29. @Swan,

    …unless the government is somehow using its executive power beyond which parliament has granted it such power, I can’t see that it has anything to do with democracy.

    That wouldn’t be “anti-democratic”. It would be illegal. Which is not the same thing at all.

    “Democracy” is a normative term. So it requires you to have a theory as to what it requires as a procedure for deciding contested matters of social policy. Now, you can have a theory that says “democracy means voting once every three years and then letting 61 MPs do whatever it is that they want, however they want to do it, until the next vote.” But I don’t think that is a particularly attractive or compelling account.

    Comment by Flashing Light — June 2, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

  30. “This is a weakening of a citizen’s rights in relation to the state = anti-democratic.”

    Hardly. Unless you want to argue that all laws that restrict rights are anti democratic (and. You would be wrong if you tried to do so in any case). For example I cannot take the state to court to demand compensation when my common law property rights have been curtailed by a district plan. Why? Because an act of parliament specifically precludes it. But that has nothing to do with democracy.

    Comment by Swan — June 2, 2013 @ 10:20 pm

  31. Flashing light. Democracy is about the people having equal say making desicions about the use of state power. In practice this means majority rule. It is a means of allocating power. It is nothing prettier than that. The majority can be pretty ugly. Anything else and you are talking about liberty, or justice, or some other concept that isn’t democracy.

    Comment by Swan — June 2, 2013 @ 10:26 pm

  32. I’d say what we’re heading towards under Key & Co is more like an illiberal democracy à la Singapore – the democratic structures are still in place, but are frequently bent and subverted.

    Comment by deepred — June 2, 2013 @ 10:40 pm

  33. Swan. go and read this and Geddis’ earlier post on the subject, lest you make a fool of yourself: http://pundit.co.nz/content/its-just-the-vibe-of-the-thing

    Comment by Sacha — June 2, 2013 @ 10:42 pm

  34. And democracy is not mob rule.

    Comment by Sacha — June 2, 2013 @ 10:42 pm

  35. Sacha, thanks that is a good post by Andrew. I couldn’t find the part where he argued that it was anti democratic however. He was making the point that it was unconstitutional. But, as we know, the BORA is not supreme law so I struggle to see his point. Arguing that making a law that conflicts with another and then spelling out which one takes precedence is pretty standard fare for any government. You can argue that going against the BORA is “a bad thing”, and that is exactly what I am saying when I am talking about it being about liberty rather than democracy. Indeed the key part of the little “rule of law” extract that Andrew has posted is surely “All New Zealanders have certain basic human rights and freedoms that the state should not interfere with, unless it has a lawful and justifiable reason.” That sounds like John Stuart Mill to me.

    Comment by Swan — June 2, 2013 @ 10:59 pm

  36. All New Zealanders have certain basic human rights and freedoms that the state should not interfere with, unless it has a lawful and justifiable reason.

    Only “certain”? So there’s a subset of rights to be excluded from such protection?

    I jest but the entire statement presumes multiple recourse to revealed truth.

    Lawful and justifiable reason?

    Lawful – what is determined by a court need be not quite the same as truth as moral or as just.

    Justifiable reason? Justifiable to whom?

    It’s all an attempts to appeal to a higher authority – a higher authority that does not exist.

    That’s what the 20th century’s message was – God is dead. There is no higher authority.

    Comment by NeilM — June 3, 2013 @ 12:10 am

  37. @Swan,

    Democracy is about the people having equal say making desicions about the use of state power. In practice this means majority rule. It is a means of allocating power. It is nothing prettier than that. The majority can be pretty ugly. Anything else and you are talking about liberty, or justice, or some other concept that isn’t democracy.

    “[T]he people having equal say making desicions about the use of state power” certainly is a part of what democracy means. But when you say “In practice this means majority rule” and nothing more, you move too fast.

    (1) By this account, a decision by 61 MPs to remove the right to vote from people over 65 is unimpeachably “democratic” in nature. As would be a decision to prohibit all discussion of political matters except in officially licensed state publications. As would a decision to abandon MMP and reinstate FPP. Etc, etc.

    (2) Even if majorities have a legitimate expectation to get their own way on most (even if not all) matters of social disagreement, that says nothing about how they should do so. And the critique of National isn’t just that they’ve made the choices that they have, but that they’ve gone about it in a way that fails to incorporate public views (and, in fact, actively seeks to avoid such views being expressed). And a full account of “democracy” requires some sort of normative description of how those who are from time-to-time are elected then ought to use whatever decision making power has been allocated to them.

    Point being – if “democracy” only means what you say it means and nothing more, what is the good that it serves such that we should adopt (or keep) it as a means of governing ourselves?

    @NeilM,

    It’s all an attempts to appeal to a higher authority – a higher authority that does not exist.

    No it isn’t. It’s a statement of deep cultural commitment to a certain way of viewing the individual and her or his relationship to the State. You no more need God or similar authority figure to underpin the claim than you need it to say “murdering other people is wrong”. And I don’t think the alleged death of God in the 20th Century has particularly weakened that latter claim, so why should it have had an effect on the former? Not to mention that the motivating force for the international human rights movement – Nazi concentration camps and Stalinist purges – occurred during the claimed period of great disillusionment.

    Oh – and before you get all clever and say “murdering other people is wrong” only because Parliament has said so … well, Parliament also has said “All New Zealanders have certain basic human rights and freedoms that the state should not interfere with, unless it has a lawful and justifiable reason.” Go have a read of the NZ Bill of RIghts Act.

    Comment by Flashing Light — June 3, 2013 @ 7:56 am

  38. @Flashing: I don’t want to get down into the ‘what is democracy’ mud, since it’s basically first year law school stuff. But you -do- realise that the Bill of Rights Act explicitly gives Parliament right to legislate counter to the Act if it chooses to do so, right?

    Comment by Hugh — June 3, 2013 @ 4:28 pm

  39. Of course. But should it? And using what process? Can’t stay out of the mud, I’m afraid.

    But the particular point was made in response to Neil M – why do we have such rights? Well, because we say we do (in this case through the institution of Parliament).

    Comment by Flashing Light — June 3, 2013 @ 5:28 pm

  40. A lot of rubbish is spoken about the absolute power of parliament, as if we as long as the government commands one more vote in the house that its opponents then we elect a dictatorship every three years. Parliament may be sovereign, but as far back as Magna Carta it has been established that the will of any executive body may not be arbitrary. That is why it is a well established principle that while parliament makes the laws the courts interpret them, because this a protection against the exercising of extraordinary powers that amount to arbitrary abuse. Further, theis attempt silence the courts by legislative fiat also violates another clear tenet of our constitution – namely, there cannot be any use of extra-judicial extraordinary powers by the executive or parliament, because the existence of such powers are by their very nature a direct threat to the rule of law and thus a threat to the liberty of all citizens.

    To presume otherwise is to presume that Parliament (outside of general elections) may legitimately exercise arbitrary rule without the need to consult and certainly without need for the consent of the governed. This a very dangerous proposition indeed, for it implies that the executive that controls parliament can legally hold in contempt the democratic rights of the people. That is not to say that since 1984 our parliament has not taken on such increasingly Stuart airs and presumptions – to a take a topical example, the current government appears contemptuous of the democratic right of people to organise themselves locally as they see fit in Canterbury and increasingly in Auckland.

    You know, we’ve (I say “we” in relation to the history of our constitutional history) have already had one civil war over the need to set checks on the arbitrary excercise of absolute power. The way things are going, we seem to be swapping the absolutist fools of the Stuarts for the absolutist fools of our political elite… And we all know what happened when people got pissed off with Charles the First, nes pas? Well, the readers of this blog might know where Charles left his head. I sadly doubt the ignoramus Key and the Philistine Joyce and the insufferably arrogant Brownlee and Ryall know in the case of the first two, or care in the case of the latter; And as for Judith Collins – she seems to think she is Diana Mitford.

    Comment by Sanctuary — June 3, 2013 @ 8:06 pm

  41. @Flashing Light: Well, my point was simply that saying ‘OMG the government is legislating contrary to the Bill of Rights Act’ is not the alarm bell for democracy that a lot of people take it to be.

    Beyond that this is not a productive conversation. Most of the time when people complain about lack of democracy – e.g, about failure to abide by a process – they are in fact concerned with the results. The phrase ‘I agree with this policy, but I think the government behaved undemocratically in enacting it’ are basically alien to our political discourse. Hence why I don’t want to get involved in arguments about democratic processes, because it’s simply concern trolling.

    Comment by Hugh — June 4, 2013 @ 1:17 am

  42. Well, my point was simply that saying ‘OMG the government is legislating contrary to the Bill of Rights Act’ is not the alarm bell for democracy that a lot of people take it to be.

    Sure. Unless, of course it happens in a single day, without any chance for select committee scrutiny and public discussion. Which this government has done on two occasions now. Or it is done via an SOP, thereby evading scrutiny by the Attorney General. Or the legislation is passed without any MP voting for it even once mentioning the fact a section 7 notice has been given in respect of it. Those situations might (or, should) cause a tocsin to sound.

    Hence why I don’t want to get involved in arguments about democratic processes, because it’s simply concern trolling.

    That’s just silly. Because other people can’t (or won’t) separate process from substance, you won’t either? Meaning that if your preferred political party “won” an election through widespread voter fraud, you would refuse to engage in debates about the legitimacy of them governing because you got the result you like? Because whether or not voter fraud is bad depends on who it gets elected?

    I don’t think “concern trolling” is the real problem here.

    Comment by Flashing Light — June 4, 2013 @ 7:37 am

  43. The most important question has to be – is Normanahotep invisible?

    Comment by greg — June 4, 2013 @ 9:27 am

  44. People don’t vote for weak.

    For examples, see Phil Goff and David Shearer.

    Helen Clark in 2008 got 58.6% of the Mt Albert vote. in 2009, David Shearer got 63.3%, and in 2011 got 57.4%. The evidence for your claim about David Shearer not being supported because of his weakness, is weak.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — June 4, 2013 @ 10:44 am

  45. Mt Albert is a safe Labour seat with a very strong organisation. If they adopted the worst candidate imaginable, they’d probably still poll around 55-65%. If Helen Clark had been dumb enough to run in Epsom, she’d have struggled to make double figures.

    Electorate votes are no indication of ability.

    Comment by rich — June 4, 2013 @ 11:51 am

  46. If Helen Clark had been dumb enough to run in Epsom, she’d have struggled to make double figures.

    The Labour candidate in Epsom got more than 10% of the vote.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — June 4, 2013 @ 11:54 am

  47. I looked after I posted, and thought 10.5% was pretty close. Actually Helen might have done better at persuading 3,000 Labour voters to get with the programme and vote for Paul Goldsmith.

    Comment by rich — June 4, 2013 @ 12:32 pm

  48. @Greg: No, but he is larger than Lord Scotland.

    Comment by Hugh — June 4, 2013 @ 4:57 pm

  49. I’d be quite happy if the Govt jack booted all over the rights of the Hamilton Ciry Coucil and made fluoridation compulsory.

    Oh how it would be such a vile attack on democracy. – according to some.

    Comment by NeilM — June 6, 2013 @ 10:07 pm

  50. @ NeilM #49: Better than that, how about a nuclear missile silo in the middle of Epsom?😉

    Comment by deepred — June 6, 2013 @ 10:18 pm

  51. @deepred

    Middle class Auckland has made sure anything over 3 stories gets built in the burbs

    No instant 18 story ghettos fior them, nuclear or not.

    .

    Comment by NeilM — June 6, 2013 @ 10:50 pm

  52. NeilM: they wished for the gutting of the RMA. Moral of the story: be careful what you wish for, you might actually get it.

    Comment by deepred — June 6, 2013 @ 10:59 pm

  53. It’s interesting that the RMA, whatever its intentions vis-a-vis community empowerment and grassroots policy-making, has largely become a vehicle to protect middle class property values. But then, it was introduced by a Tory government, so…

    Comment by Hugh — June 7, 2013 @ 12:00 am

  54. @Hugh #55: I’ve mentioned it before, but the property-go-round is a bit like the Common Agricultural Policy in the EU – in both cases, they’ve effectively become cartels, and certain vested interests have enough money & power to obstruct meaningful reform. And the Unitary Plan, for all its faults, is one of the few major reform outlets. For “Europe will starve without farm subsidies”, read “Bronx-on-the-Waitemata”.

    Comment by deepred — June 7, 2013 @ 12:35 am

  55. Muldoon always had a fascination, voterwise for macho inclined kiwis, even the ones who would never vote for him.

    The casual beer stubby swigging of Key has that image.

    The “relaxed, I am going to do what I know is best” attitude is VERY Muldoon (the then National economic maestro).
    Key is the current economic maestro of the nats, much to chagrin of English

    Muldoon was never a fan of the so called “think big” projects, he queried whose idea it was to win an election. Election won he handed responsibility over to Bill Birch. Birch was also Minister of Finance.

    Key hands responsibility of everything to Coleman and English.

    Key clearly is following an agenda of his own and National’s Wall Street Republicans.

    Muldoon always played to the British empire and Commonwealth interests.

    Normans comparison is a fair call.

    “Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.” — Lord Acton.

    Anyone want to draw up a list of humble MPs?

    The only ones to keep them honest are us, voters.

    Labour has turned off an awful lot of voters.

    Like the Arabs we may have a Spring like theirs before we turn into an outpost of either China or the US.

    Comment by peterlepaysan — June 7, 2013 @ 12:44 am

  56. test

    Comment by Hugh — June 7, 2013 @ 1:33 pm


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