The Dim-Post

September 23, 2014

Inevitable Labour pontification post

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 9:22 am

Labour are having their caucus meeting today: step one in the post-mortem of what went wrong in the election. There’s already the inevitable talk about Labour’s values, and Labour needing to reconnect with the voters so here’s my take, which is, admittedly, pretty much what I’ve been saying for about six years, only this time compressed into graphic form. I hereby present ‘Mclauchlan’s Hierarchy of Political Needs’, a summary of what I believe the majority of non-tribal voters look for when they’re choosing which party to vote for. As with Maslow, the base of the pyramid are the fundamentals: only when these are satisfied does the apex become significant.

mhpn

Almost all the left-wingers in my twitter feed are bewildered as to how the country could endorse the Key government with its dirty politics and child-poverty and pollution economy, but the non-left-wing activists I’ve talked to about the election were also utterly bewildered as to why anyone would have voted for the inevitable anarchy of the Cunliffe-led Labour/Greens/New Zealand First/Internet-Mana alternative. The left were comparing National and Labour and only seeing the top of the pyramid. Everyone else was looking at Labour’s bottom and judging it pretty hard.

Labour isn’t the only party wanting in the basic unity stakes. The Greens called for an independent audit of Labour’s fiscals and sent out confusing messages about their relationship with National during the final weeks of the campaign (My wife insists these messages were misreported.) And Internet/Mana is the worst thing to happen to left-wing politics for decades. Every time Labour or the Greens launched a policy they’d get back to the office, turn on the news and see Kim Dotcom or the ‘Fuck John Key’ video, or Pam Corkery screaming at the media, all followed by Laila Harre grinning away and explaining that the left couldn’t form a government without her. That’s not Labour’s fault but they should have seen the disaster coming and ruled Internet/Mana out before the campaign even started.

Here’s something else I think Labour got wrong. They don’t understand the fucking electoral system. For the second election in a row they’ve run an FPP election focused on winning electoral seats and seen their party vote decline. They don’t seem to get that this is a problem. Josie Pagani, Mike Williams and Rob Salmond, who are the current official unofficial voices of the Labour Party have all heaped praise on Stuart Nash for winning Napier and Jacinda Ardern for coming close to winning Auckland Central. But Nash won Napier because the Conservative Party candidate split the right-wing vote, and in terms of party votes which is the only vote that matters Labour’s Napier vote fell by almost 1500 votes while Labour’s party vote in Auckland Central declined by over 3800 votes, one of the worst falls in the entire country. Poto Williams is the only Labour MP in the country who actually increased Labour’s Party vote in her electorate but for some reason Nash and Ardern are the ones getting talked up as future leaders. That’s bullshit.

In terms of the party’s direction, if I was them I’d be looking at the seventy or eighty thousand voters they lost to New Zealand First during the last nine months and trying to win them back. That means a more socially conservative Labour Party. It means swallowing dead rats, presumably in the form of public statements distancing Labour from Cunliffe’s apology for being a man and the ‘man ban’ and gender equity policies. This will generate howls of protest and outrage from the activist left, but I think one message left-wing parties will draw from Saturday’s result is that the activist left is loud but microscopically tiny and it doesn’t speak for anyone other than themselves. I’d also be looking to go into 2017 having reached an arrangement with the Greens to campaign as a coalition.

That’s all in the future though. The current priorities are leadership change followed by a period of sustained competence and unity. Voters are suckers for competence and unity.

229 Comments »

  1. “Voters are suckers for competence and unity.”

    Exquisitely tl:dr

    FM

    Comment by Fooman — September 23, 2014 @ 9:27 am

  2. “They don’t understand the fucking electoral system. For the second election in a row they’ve run an FPP election focused on winning electoral seats and seen their party vote decline. ”

    This. Who made that decision? And when can we expect their resignation?

    Comment by Sacha — September 23, 2014 @ 9:31 am

  3. That’s hard on Ardern. The boundary changes to Auckland Central built in an increase in the National party vote — it was possibly the most uhelpful redrafting faced by any Labour candidate. Shearer, who inherited Ardern’s nominally liberal suburbs, shed nearly as much of the Labour party vote in holding his seat. Even in her currently-constituted electorate, she’s personally well-liked, without having to do a Cosgrove, and she’s entitled to target an electorate seat if she has leadership ambitions. But the reality is that in both electorates, National won the party vote in all but a handful of polling places. National won all but one booth on Great Barrier Island, of all places — and the tiny polling place that didn’t go Blue there went Green.

    Comment by russell brown — September 23, 2014 @ 9:42 am

  4. Effectively disowning two of your own candidates in the run-up to the election shows pretty clearly that the base of the pyramid is in severe need of attention. Similarly, there are just too many “dinosaurs” in the party that seem to just work for their own benefit, and give no reason for optimism that Labour might actually be relevant now. The biggest problem here is that they’re all in electorate seats, and blooding new candidates, even in “safe” seats, is much harder when you can’t even win the party vote.

    Comment by Greg — September 23, 2014 @ 9:42 am

  5. They don’t understand the fucking electoral system.

    Yet in 2002 they did and it was National supporters tearing their hair out at the failure to push the Party Vote National line. So what has happened since that such a simple thing has been forgotten?

    Well perhaps it has not been forgotten. Perhaps it goes back to the base of your pyramid, in that when you’ve got people who just don’t trust each other – perhaps because they see each other as incompetent, weird or downright terrifying – they swim away from Party Vote Labour to the safer shores of Vote For Me.

    Comment by Tom Hunter — September 23, 2014 @ 9:45 am

  6. “Voters are suckers for competence and unity.” I think this is the money quote.

    Comment by russell brown — September 23, 2014 @ 9:47 am

  7. I think there are areas you’re being too hard on Labour, and areas not hard enough.

    On the electorate vote, I think this is a symptom not a cause. The electorate MPs could see the rout coming, and they focused on their own survival. Some, like Kelvin Davis, were deliberately put into that position by the party in giving them unwinnable list places – which meant they had to push the electorate. But in reality, given the polls, almost everyone had an unwinnable list position.

    I think that you are also, like many on the left, overlooking the fact that a lot of people actually didn’t agree with the policy prescriptions. I think in many areas Labour had a good grasp on issues that needed resolution, but the policy that was seeking to resolve the issue was poorly thought through and in many cases probably wouldn’t fix the problem. So for example a capital gains tax is very unlikely to impact property prices (notwithstanding that there may be other reasons to have a capital gains tax), pushing it as a solution to house prices is bad policy. The kiwi power policy was pretty much roundly denounced by every economist as being crazy. Pushing hard against national standards in education, instead of explaining how they could be made more useful, is pandering to the unions over the wishes of many NZ families. These things all have an impact as well – it’s not just a case of a coat of whitewash to make everyone look competent and friendly, then the policies shine through. Some of the policies were problematic.

    Comment by PaulL — September 23, 2014 @ 9:58 am

  8. But Nash won Napier because the Conservative Party candidate split the right-wing vote, and in terms of party votes which is the only vote that matters Labour’s Napier vote fell by almost 1500 votes while Labour’s party vote in Auckland Central declined by over 3800 votes, one of the worst falls in the entire country.

    While I agree with your general analysis (especially as regards Nash), just a word of caution. You’re comparing pre-specials totals with post-specials totals. So while both Nash and Ardern will have spilt Labour votes (albeit with boundary changes, as Russell notes), it may not be quite as bad as it looks at the moment

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 23, 2014 @ 10:01 am

  9. First off, the labour Maori MPs should be on the whole praised: 3 out of 7 Maori electorates increased their labour party vote, another just held ground, and the remaining 3 only lost a small amount (1% or less) compared to the general electorates.

    Also, Data! This is why Key constantly repeated the “actually, New Zealanders don’t care about Dirty Politics” over and over: He knew it was true. This is why they ran the “stable government” and “keeping the course” lines over and over. He knew that’s what most of the electorate wanted to hear. How did he know? Data!

    It seems both Labour (and by the looks of it the Greens as well) didn’t do sufficient (any?) market research as to what the electorate was responding to, or if they did, they didn’t alter their message accordingly. As Danyl suggests, they focused on the top of the pyramid when that’s not where the electorate was at.

    Once the competence issues are fixed (the Greens at least don’t have that problem) they need to drastically reduce the policy they take to the electorate and advertise, focusing only on the few issues where the data shows the electorate (and we’re talking the whole electorate) cares. If a CGT or tax increases for high income earners don’t poll well, drop them. That’s not just “do you agree with it”, it’s “do you strongly agree with it”. i.e. “would you consider changing your vote for this”.

    Comment by jmarshall — September 23, 2014 @ 10:03 am

  10. Voters are suckers for competence and unity.

    Called it.

    Comment by James Butler (@j20r) — September 23, 2014 @ 10:06 am

  11. Reblogged this on Talking Auckland and commented:
    I remember a particular shunning of the blue collar worker (I believe it was called the Waitakere Man) prior to the campaign. The blue collar worker found in Wiri, Takanini, East Tamaki, the Airport and Penrose of which are all our big industrial estates and historically natural Labour strongholds. However, this seems no longer as the social conservative vote either went to NZ First or even National.

    Labour have a lot to do to become an effective opposition for which our democracy so needs in order to contest ideas.

    It will be interesting to see where things go but at the moment National are on a solid foundation for its fourth term

    Comment by Ben Ross - Talking Auckland — September 23, 2014 @ 10:08 am

  12. As Tom points out there’s a parallel between 2002 and 2014. I don’t think the ‘party vote is all that matters’ gets forgotten, though, I think it gets ignored/deliberately discarded because of the state of the particular party’s brand. Candidates in both elections (Nats in ’02 and Labour in ’14) appear to have changed their focus from the party vote to the candidate vote because they consider their party brand is toxic and think that their best chance of survival is to get in as an electorate MP. They back their personal brand (or local issues – Nash ran heavily against amalgamation. Bet he barely spoke about Labour’s national level policies) as giving them a better chance of winning over the current state of the party brand.

    That change of focus might be subtle (what they say on doorsteps – how much emphasis they’re giving to party votes or candidate votes ), it might be blatant (Cosgrove basically runs an FPP campaign all about him in Waimak – turns out he’s not as well liked as he thought) or it might be somewhere inbetween (Mallard by saying he was off the list and could only get in as an electorate MP effectively forced people who only felt like giving one of their votes to Labour to make that the electorate vote – witness his party vote slide).

    Comment by Gareth — September 23, 2014 @ 10:12 am

  13. The base of your pyramid has “politicians and parties who are not incompetent, weird or downright terrifying” yet you say that Labour should “go into 2017 having reached an arrangement with the Greens to campaign as a coalition”. Although I don’t have any hard data to back me up, I think there is still a large segment of the NZ population who are uncertain, if not actually terrified, about the Greens.

    I know your personal involvement with the Green Party makes this difficult to acknowledge, but I think you have to at least consider it as a possibility. Should Labour reject the Greens? Probably not, but I think Labour getting too close to the Greens might not be the best strategy. Maybe something similar to what National does with Act, e.g. Act puts up the ‘scary ideas’ and National appears to be be in the centre by rejecting them.

    Comment by wtl — September 23, 2014 @ 10:12 am

  14. danylmcwhat is especially suprising & suspect result is that of the National taking the Party Vote in Poto Williams electorate CHCH EAST whereas at last years by-election when the then CHCH EAST candidate Lianne Dalziel resigned to become the Chch Mayor – Labour took out the Party Vote too. There is no explanation that I know of for this sudden & quite glaring change.

    Who are the people that would Candidate Vote Labour & then Party Vote National in an electorate that has been so badly affected by the EQ’s & largely ignored by National?

    Comment by flotsy — September 23, 2014 @ 10:20 am

  15. I’m still unclear how much weight the mass-market puts on the “stable, credible government” meme. Are they really assessing managerial/governance performance? I certainly think there’s an element of that in the bottom tier – “is there a coherent group of reasonable people who seem to work together” – but I’m not sure there’s a whole other level above that that really matters to the mass-market vote. “Good values” would seem to have more impact – “good” being “thinks likes me and talks about things the way I do with my family and friends”.
    The Internet/Mana issue re not voting Labour is likely more about “they were talking about a bunch of shit I don’t care about” (the non-extradition of some weird German guy, and some Government technology stuff around surveillance) than it is about the future realities of goverance arrangements with the Internet Party. Also why I think Dirty Politics had a muted impact – nobody liked it, but it was far enough removed from daily life that it didn’t really cut in.

    National seems to be the only consciously mass-market party. They focus on, and religously communicate, the things they think a weight of people will respond to – seemingly driven by quite a concerted polling effort and presumedly a relatively quiet ground game.

    So sure, get your bottom tiers right – but they need to be completely invisible if you’re targeting a mass-market cause they don’t really care.

    Comment by garethw — September 23, 2014 @ 10:31 am

  16. “…In terms of the party’s direction, if I was them I’d be looking at the seventy or eighty thousand voters they lost to New Zealand First during the last nine months and trying to win them back. That means a more socially conservative Labour Party. It means swallowing dead rats, presumably in the form of public statements distancing Labour from Cunliffe’s apology for being a man and the ‘man ban’ and gender equity policies. This will generate howls of protest and outrage from the activist left, but I think one message left-wing parties will draw from Saturday’s result is that the activist left is loud but microscopically tiny and it doesn’t speak for anyone other than themselves. I’d also be looking to go into 2017 having reached an arrangement with the Greens to campaign as a coalition….”

    They’ll be needing the smelling salts over at PAS if they read that. I dispute the use of the term “activist left”. Replace it with “progressive liberals” and you are right on the money.

    Also, I think Realpolitik dictates that Labour should aim to destroy the Green vote before entering into any alliance. Why? Because A) for huge swathes of “middle NZ” the Greens are poison. They won’t switch back to Labour as long as they think the Greens might have a significant say in government and B) Lots of the current Green support is actually disenchanted Labour supporters. Easy polls boost there. Only when Labour is back in the mid-high thirties and the Greens around 6-7% will the horse race media take Labour seriously and middle NZ feel reassured that the Greens will be a minor voice.

    Stuart Nash won a plurality, but given the nature of the Napier seat and strong local issues down there I think it would be a mistake to automatically assume everyone who voted for McVicar would otherwise have voted for the National guy.

    Finally, I think the electorate only campaign was a deliberate attempt by the entrenched ABC/old guard caucus faction to deny Cunliffe the opportunity to bring his supporters in on the list. Many of the usual suspects amongst these electorate MPs were invisible during the campaign and appear as truculent and intransigent as ever. Labour needs to ditch Coatsworth and Barnett and get a Boag like president who can get rid of the baby-boomers-who-don’t-when-it-is-time-to-retire brigade. Oh – and a party HQ that actually raise some money would be nice as well.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 23, 2014 @ 10:32 am

  17. Should Labour reject the Greens?

    There might be something to that, wtl.
    Either way the NZLP should declare one way or the other – if they distance themselves from the GP then they can go head-to-head with National for the centre. It might not work as you say but at least its not confusing for voters.

    Just as importantly, it allows the GP to brand shift as well – not in the ludicrous way proposed by Pagani et. al. to focus purely on being an “environmental party” (whatever that means) and consigning themselves to 4.8% oblivion – but by further developing / more clearly articulating a policy prescription that addresses environmental concerns as both a direct outcome and a fringe benefit rather than a reason to vote for them – i.e. “support polluter taxes or continue to subsidise corporations to pollute / support other peoples poor consumption choices out of your back pocket”

    IMO it would also help to ditch “celebrity” Greens like Lawless and Malcolm ASAP. It’s been a failed experiment. No one gives a shit about them and their beliefs – in NZ, you couldn’t pick worse spokespeople than C-list actors.
    If, for example, you could get Get Ritchie McCaw to pitch as All Black captain / farm boy who holds environmental concerns as it affects his way of live and future, then the endorsement has real value. Otherwise, forget it.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 23, 2014 @ 10:44 am

  18. Sanc you are smart and I always find your comments thought provoking but I definitely think your emphasis on the Greens is overweight since Saturday. I think the Greens are a symptom much more than a cause of Labour’s poor performance. Not saying there aren’t those who view Greens as poison but I dispute there’s that many in the middle – i.e. plausible soft National voters – who view them that way. Invariably those who go with the poison meme in my daily life are the most tribal National and Act voters, they are never going to come over to Labour.

    That said, I think Greens have pigeoned themselves as a left wing party in a one dimensional political spectrum with their social policy and closed themselves off to lite blue cross over appeal in a two dimensional spectrum where the wealth and income stats clearly show environmental concern is quite even and ever present. As such I think their (say after specials) 11% telly is a peak from here given that they are saying ‘nothing to learn’ (like Cunliffe). As such Shearer on Nat radio yesterday was probably most accurate in saying you (Labour) could just ignore them. I think trying to destroy them is an irrelevant strategy for Labour. It should just get on with forging its own (more competent, more centred etc) path.

    Lastly on that, let’s not forget that Key raided Labour policy this year, and has maintained all the Clark gains. Historic as Key’s win was, he didn’t get 78%, which you’d think going by press coverage. The electorate has endorsed centre left economic policies for more elections in a row than you can count, but rejected disunity, ‘ashamed of being a man/quota stuff’ and most probably a couple of key policy planks too (retire at 67 anyone?).

    Comment by Joe-90 — September 23, 2014 @ 10:51 am

  19. “…and consigning themselves to 4.8% oblivion…”

    One thing I don’t get about the Greens is their utter failure to use their last decade plus in parliament to use the resources thus granted to target and solidly secure at least two electorate seats. Although we have MMP, an electorate seat still counts as a “higher form” of endorsement than the party vote, and signals they aint going nowhere despite the vagaries of their poll support. Is it because Russel and Metiria consider themselvres above boring clinics in cold halls on a Sunday in a way Jeanette Fitzsimonds and Rob Donald almost certainly did not? At the very least, having a couple of electorate seats is a way in which Labour could tacitly support them without being tainted in the eyes of Middle New Zealand.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 23, 2014 @ 10:54 am

  20. “…but I dispute there’s that many in the middle…”

    We need to ask David Farrar, he has the data!

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 23, 2014 @ 10:56 am

  21. It means swallowing dead rats, presumably in the form of public statements distancing Labour from Cunliffe’s apology for being a man and the ‘man ban’ and gender equity policies. This will generate howls of protest and outrage from the activist left, but I think one message left-wing parties will draw from Saturday’s result is that the activist left is loud but microscopically tiny and it doesn’t speak for anyone other than themselves.

    Yep. One thing I learned pretty quickly as a teenager was that my social/political views put me in a very small minority. I thought Cunliffe “apologising for being a man,” as the media put it, was a good thing to do given the audience he was addressing, but most people don’t think like me. And you can’t build a broad-based party pulling 40% plus of the vote with stories in the media every other day that align your party with a very small minority. The idea of Labour adopting internal policies like “fewer gay candidates” and “nobody mentions gender equity” might be painful for people like us, but we’re a fraction of fuck-all of the voting population and a party that models itself on us is going to be a small one, not a big one.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 23, 2014 @ 11:02 am

  22. Also:

    Everyone else was looking at Labour’s bottom and judging it pretty hard.

    Yes, Rik.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 23, 2014 @ 11:04 am

  23. @Joe-90 – Thanks for the nice words kind sir!🙂

    “… but I definitely think your emphasis on the Greens is overweight since Saturday…”

    I guess that is because I am looking at stage one of the recovery only. You need to start with reform, re-positioning and some easy victories. No more gender quotas or man bans. Sack the party hierarchy and get in effective operators who can raise money and strong arm the deadwood out of the caucus. The most obvious target for re-positioning and a few easy runs on the board is the Greens. There is strong voter alignment between Green and Labour voters, so winning back to Labour soft Green voters should be easy, will encourage Labour’s demoralised troops and send a message to those NZ First voters Danyl talks about that the party is moving way from the tree huggers and back towards the centre.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 23, 2014 @ 11:09 am

  24. Having said that, I also reckon (even as a card carrying RWNJ) that this is being overplayed already. If Colin Craig had gotten 1% more he and Winston would be holding the balance of power right now. If the terrorist thing hadn’t gone down in Australia there’d be 1-2% more in the left wing vote. And suddenly a “historic victory” would start to look like “hanging on by the skin of his teeth” if even that. When National has only two real coalition partners and they’re on 1 seat each, then only a small change like a smaller wasted vote can do it. The Conservatives weren’t definitely going with National, and Winston definitely could have done anything – I don’t buy the argument that many on the “more left” (carefully not saying far left) have that he’s right wing. Most on the right see him as a big govt interventionist, which is more a left wing thing. Sure, he’s socially conservative, but that doesn’t make him right wing.

    The real problem for Labour is the media are fascinated by National being at 48% or whatever, ignoring that really the right is at 51% (which isn’t huge), it’s just that National has gradually eaten all it’s coalition partners. I think that’s a natural result of being at a high point in the cycle and having a very popular leader. On the left it’s the opposite – the voters are still there on the left, they just don’t like Cunliffe and don’t really like Labour. So they’re milling around in the Greens, in NZF, and even to some extent in the conservatives. Those voters have to come back for Labour to get in, which means Labour has to move to the centre and start looking competent.

    Comment by PaulL — September 23, 2014 @ 11:13 am

  25. What Labour need to do is say one thing and then do another.

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — September 23, 2014 @ 11:16 am

  26. Labour doesn’t need to destroy the Greens, they just need to get their shit together. At that point they will win back the support of a number of ex-Labour people who vote Green because Labour is so incompetent.

    Comment by MeToo — September 23, 2014 @ 11:16 am

  27. One thing I don’t get about the Greens is their utter failure to use their last decade plus in parliament to use the resources thus granted to target and solidly secure at least two electorate seats. Although we have MMP, an electorate seat still counts as a “higher form” of endorsement than the party vote, and signals they aint going nowhere despite the vagaries of their poll support. Is it because Russel and Metiria consider themselvres above boring clinics in cold halls on a Sunday in a way Jeanette Fitzsimonds and Rob Donald almost certainly did not? At the very least, having a couple of electorate seats is a way in which Labour could tacitly support them without being tainted in the eyes of Middle New Zealand.

    I’m not sure how that would work. If either of them went to Labour and went ‘We want to come to an accommodation with you about holding electorate seats in Rongotai or Dunedin North’, Labour would say, ‘Fuck right off and fucking die.’ They could campaign for those seats anyway, and probably split the vote and see the left lose the seats to right-wing candidates, and everyone would scoff about how the stupid Greens don’t understand MMP.

    Comment by danylmc — September 23, 2014 @ 11:20 am

  28. Oh yeah – meant to add – set out to destroy the Greens and you’re not presenting yourself as ready to govern: it’s just more division and disunity on the left. You’re attacking people who want to change the government when they are not the enemy. Think MMP not FPP!

    Comment by MeToo — September 23, 2014 @ 11:20 am

  29. Labour needs to shift right in line with the rest of the country and fight over the centre. Forget the traditional left wing ideology, whatever that means, and try to convince the electorate that it is more like National than the Greens. The success of dirty politics is to lable Labour firmly as left and associate them with being loony by association.

    That would mean a purge of Red Wedding proportions is in order.

    IMHO…

    Comment by pollywog — September 23, 2014 @ 11:20 am

  30. There’s a difference between changing your policy, and changing the policy you talk about. National talked about hardly anything during the election. That’s not because they don’t have new policy, but because it wasn’t going to win them the votes they needed to win the election.

    Labour does need policy, and it needs a small number of policies that are popular with deliberately targeted sections of the population and which can be defended in any media or political arena. Not everyone has to agree, but they have to be at least considered reasonable to most people.

    The Greens need to exactly the same thing. They were drowned out in the last week of the campaign, but an inability to get traction on their key campaign promises hurt them badly.

    Comment by George — September 23, 2014 @ 11:21 am

  31. Labour need a path to 538. I mean, a path to 51%. That path will necessarily involve their partners, and they have to work out a way to do that without losing large chunks of their own vote, or destroying those partners on the way there.

    The Greens need a path to 15%, or even 20%. They seemed to be on track for that, but fell well short. So far I’ve only heard glib explanations, but the anecdotes I heard from the last week of the campaign indicated that the perception of flirting with National and spurning Labour confused many of their voters, and upset a smaller but still substantial number.

    Comment by George — September 23, 2014 @ 11:24 am

  32. “…I’m not sure how that would work. If either of them went to Labour and went ‘We want to come to an accommodation with you about holding electorate seats in Rongotai or Dunedin North’, Labour would say, ‘Fuck right off and fucking die.’…”

    Well, that is where Labour have been complete fuckwits. New Zealanders seem to be psychologically much more accepting of coalition partners with electorate seats (I give you the zombie ACT and United parties) than just list based parties.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 23, 2014 @ 11:32 am

  33. the perception of flirting with National and spurning Labour confused many of their voters, and upset a smaller but still substantial number.

    I think so too. I was dropping my daughter off at creche and a very upset teacher ran up to me and demanded to know why the Greens were supporting National. Multiply her out thousands of times across the country and you’re looking at serious damage.

    Comment by danylmc — September 23, 2014 @ 11:32 am

  34. You are missing a large piece of the puzzle. Turn the pyramid upside down and add a second, mirrored pyramid above it. Add VOTERS into the broad base of the top pyramid. Now draw joining arrows between the two pyramids to represent the interaction between the voters and the political party.

    Think about how well labour connected to the voters versus National.

    The interaction and the presentation of policies has been the shortfall. Policies don’t interact, people do. People sell ideas, concepts and information, not policies.

    For example, the CGT policy. Even me could work out that the Cold Granny tax aspect was suspect. No it was not a tax on the capital gain made by granny during her ownership. It was a tax on the difference between the value at her demise and what the siblings sold the property for a later date. Somehow the politicians in Labour could not get this simple message across to the voters.

    This is where Labours problem exists.

    Comment by Gerrit — September 23, 2014 @ 11:36 am

  35. They’ll be needing the smelling salts over at PAS if they read that.

    I was looking at PAS the other day, out of idle curiosity, and they were wondering how NZers could have re-elected Key when Dotcom’s email PROVED he was a liar. Then Emma Hart jumped into the thread and told everyone off for having the wrong tone when talking about gender issues. Boy do I not miss that place.

    Comment by danylmc — September 23, 2014 @ 11:36 am

  36. @George – there’s already quite good data that gets us some way beyond anecdote. The Green’s added emphasis on social policy failed on its own terms: votes dropped away in areas the policy targeted (e.g. high child density), while equally blowing off wealthier areas compared to their previous support levels. See some of my Dim-post posts on Sunday. I don’t believe the wealthier folk stopped caring about the environment or simply bought Nat’s $100m waterway policy as a cure all. I think the Greens need to think hard about how far their brand stretches coming out of this. I don’t see 15% coming any time soon.

    Comment by Joe-90 — September 23, 2014 @ 11:39 am

  37. both need to stop presuming the media wont twist their words about – (not claiming bias – more no one should ever expect the media to quote you properly in a soundbite environment)
    and the labour needs to stop running to the press everytime they feel unhappy about an internal party manner.

    eg: shearer on monday responded to the press re: leadership challenge. What did he do? – wafffled on about internal party matters. Why these idiots cant find a way to say “its an internal party matter that we cant discuss with you till the outcome is reached” is beyond me. It is possible to get through a single media comment without stabbing your leader in the back

    Shit labour party – the media WANT you to talk about these things because it lets them write easy stories about party factions and disunity. If the tables were turned they would do the same to national – stop feeding the troll, because the troll in question then goes and tells the whole damn country about it and thats what becomes the message

    Comment by framu — September 23, 2014 @ 11:40 am

  38. Someone needs to do some polling and find out if there’s more anti-Green vote than there is Green vote. Labour can’t campaign with the Greens if it costs more seats that they bring. The Greens may have to stay on the cross benches and keep pulling National party vote.

    Fuck the cabinet seats if it costs you policy in the long run. How many people are voting to keep you out?

    @Electorate seats: The MMP electorates are huge, no one can take a seat off Labour or National without an explicit endorsement, and Labour won’t endorse the Greens because it costs them in the vote and list seats. There’s just no way to have a niche population of 56,000 people. Check the map, they’re HUGE.

    Like, maybe Denise Roche in Auckland Central, 2011, but not 2014, so it wouldn’t have been stable anyway. The Greens would have to pull at least 20%, or grab a popular Labour electorate MP, to be worth trying for a seat. Especially if it would cost them on the party vote ads.

    Comment by tussock — September 23, 2014 @ 11:41 am

  39. It’s worth pointing out that polls have consistently shown much higher support for marriage equality than for the Labour Party or David Cunliffe. They’ve also consistently shown much higher opposition to the ‘anti-smacking’ law than to the National Party or John Key, who voted for it and resisted all calls to change it.

    And I reckon if Cunliffe (Goff/Shearer) was babbling on about changing the flag, there’d be lots of talk about being “out of touch with real issues”, etc.

    In other words, it really is about the incompetence of Labour messaging and messengers, not some ill-defined gayz/wimmin/latte liberal problem. Sadly, there is an almost-zero chance that they will face up to this, because it would mean rare insight and honesty, followed by a bunch of MPs chucking it in.

    (Incidentally, the latest wannabe saviour, Stuart Nash, was posting on the Standard grumbling about Louisa Wall’s bill, just as John Key was preparing to vote for it. Great judgment).

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — September 23, 2014 @ 11:41 am

  40. Your pyramid has no room for a leader? So we have to assume that if John Key were to be replaced by, say, Judith Collins, National’s share of the vote would not change.

    Comment by Ross — September 23, 2014 @ 11:42 am

  41. What Labour need to do is say one thing and then do another.

    That might be close to the truth. Certainly it appears that voters don’t want a healthy dose of foul tasting medicine. At some stage they might not have any choice.

    Comment by Ross — September 23, 2014 @ 11:47 am

  42. “the perception of flirting with National and spurning Labour confused many of their voters, ”

    the thing is thats not a new message from the greens at all – theyve maintained the “we probably would never end up in coalition with national because general policy platform, but would happily work on case by case basis with them” for years now – why theyuve even had an MOU for several years and the world kept turning and no one suddenly thought theyd sold out to steven joyce and his flying monkies

    It really was a case of the media putting a dumb angle on it that was somewhat misleading/confusing and by that stage weve all moved on and the required clarification is lost

    Comment by framu — September 23, 2014 @ 11:49 am

  43. a very upset teacher ran up to me and demanded to know why the Greens were supporting National. Multiply her out thousands of times across the country and you’re looking at serious damage.

    Yeah. And blaming the media is wrong in this case. Russel Norman was invited on to all the major radio and television networks the next day, and spent the interview saying ‘well actually, our position is this’, which was fine because it stated what his party’s policy was and allowed him to talk about how great the Greens are, but wasn’t strong enough to reassure those voters. It wasn’t until Metiria was on the television on the weekend that the language became stronger, but a week out from the election you don’t have time to change perception, particularly when KDC was bringing his circus to town the next day.

    (The counterfactual is that Norman attacked National more clearly, and Green votes went either down or up or stayed the same. We’d be praising success if it resulted in a positive outcome, but in the absence of hard data we can only speculate.)

    Comment by George — September 23, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

  44. Multiply her out thousands of times across the country and you’re looking at serious damage.

    Possibly, but I think if there was some serious analysis performed to wash up the preferences of the current GP base – also ideally casting an eye to the future of where they want their base to be – I suspect you’d find a lot of GP supporters would be fairly dovish on this issue.

    The ones that are tearing their hair out about it are more likely to be in the 4.8% socks and sandals brigade or the disenchanted “I recycle, but really I’m a Labour person” bunch.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 23, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

  45. Anyway it looks like it was imperative that Key won the elections here due to the TTPA needing to be finalised in Obama’s last term as President. Once that is signed I think Key’s work here is done.

    We are being slowly boiled alive like frogs.

    Please watch to the end!

    Comment by flotsy — September 23, 2014 @ 12:01 pm

  46. They don’t understand the fucking electoral system.

    Either that or they played to lose.

    The current priorities are leadership change followed by a period of sustained competence and unity.

    A leader change will increase the incompetence and disunity. The problem isn’t Cunliffe, it’s the ABCs.

    Comment by Draco T Bastard — September 23, 2014 @ 12:12 pm

  47. Yes, Cunliffe was STABBED IN THE BACK!

    Comment by Keir Leslie — September 23, 2014 @ 12:20 pm

  48. Call me terminally unhip but wtf is “PAS”?

    Comment by SHG — September 23, 2014 @ 12:28 pm

  49. I don’t have a great memory for meaningless debacles in political parties, but I do remember that Cunliffe tried to shaft Shearer – even if Cunliffe denied it – was demoted and then spent the rest of the time up until Shearer’s resignation undermining him on the back benches until Shearer capitulated and had a mental breakdown and resigned. If you recall, this drastic chain of events involved Shearer not only promoting Cunliffe again, but also taking serious some hilarious joke advice about bringing a fish into Parliament to prove a point.

    Cunliffe, on the other hand, has been messing around in the background when he hasn’t been in power, had his leadership chances scuttled twice, and when he got to be leader, was a monumental failure. People think he’s snide and slimy and he’s terrible at unifying his party because everyone in the caucus knows he’s devious and weak. And I say this because if someone’s around to watch you undermine your party leader, they’re not going to respect you when you’re leader. If this were Game of Thrones Cunliffe could show strength and have everyone involved killed, but it’s not, so he has to cope by using his personality and natural leadership skills. This obviously worked out well.

    Cunliffe shouldn’t be anywhere except the back benches with zero influence. I wouldn’t go so far as saying he should be literally tied to wild horses, set on fire and dragged down the Golden Mile, but metaphorically, that’s what Labour should do to him. After this, they should enter a long period of monastic self-flagellation and reflection on what they’ve done.

    Because this isn’t about them. I don’t believe National to be evil, although I believe some of them are incompetent, misguided, vindictive fools (i.e. human). But I believe that absolute majorities without significant checks and balances are the things the devil is made of, and oppositions, being given that place in a democratic system, should be working to prevent that first and foremost rather than getting caught up inside student union style politics and personality battles.

    I don’t think I’m alone in saying that if they don’t bin Cunliffe and give him a job in a basement somewhere writing slogans on placards, I’m never voting for Labour in any way, shape or form ever again.

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — September 23, 2014 @ 12:35 pm

  50. Also, who told Cunliffe a one-sided smile was the way to go? Give him a Clark Gable moustache and he could be tying women to railway lines in black and white movies.

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — September 23, 2014 @ 12:38 pm

  51. @Ross “Your pyramid has no room for a leader? So we have to assume that if John Key were to be replaced by, say, Judith Collins, National’s share of the vote would not change.”

    The leader is a component of the pyramid base and, depending on the details of how John Key was hypothetically replaced by Collins, the next level up too.

    Comment by RJL — September 23, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

  52. I don’t have a great memory for meaningless debacles in political parties

    Clearly, since it was in fact the caucus – majority ABCs – who ousted Shearer. Cunliffe never had the numbers to do so.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — September 23, 2014 @ 12:53 pm

  53. I would beg to differ about Cunliffe’s influence, having been a member of the party for a lot longer than Shearer, and having also been kicked out of shadow cabinet for undermining Shearer.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/politics/cunliffe-to-face-labour-caucus-over-leadership-2012111916

    And this is stuff that since I wrote that, I’ve checked out. Just because Cunliffe didn’t actively say, I’m going to challenge you for the leadership, that doesn’t mean he had no influence in backstabbing and infighting. If he was innocent, then why did Shearer fire him? Why did Hipkins finger him for undermining people in public? Note the last line from Garner here: “but he’s proved time and time again, he’s not one to sit in the wilderness quietly.”

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — September 23, 2014 @ 1:01 pm

  54. To repeat – Cunliffe couldn’t oust Shearer. Basic maths.

    What happened was: caucus saw Shearer’s failings, decided it was better to gamble on a contest, backed Robertson in that contest, who then lost.

    “Cunlifee ousts Shearer” kind of misses the whole democratic election contest chapter, which was probably Labour’s high point of the last term.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — September 23, 2014 @ 1:11 pm

  55. @SHG,

    You are terminally unhip.

    See here: http://publicaddress.net/hardnews/the-sole-party-of-government/

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 23, 2014 @ 1:12 pm

  56. @sammy 2.0: except the “democratic” bit, because some votes were worth a lot more than others. It was more a kind of parody of the special interest groups get special quotas democracy that a lot of people think Labour stand for. Don’t get me wrong, it was better than a backroom deal, but a simple one-party-member-one-vote deal would have been much cleaner.

    Comment by PaulL — September 23, 2014 @ 1:14 pm

  57. The MMP electorates are huge, no one can take a seat off Labour or National without an explicit endorsement, and Labour won’t endorse the Greens because it costs them in the vote and list seats. There’s just no way to have a niche population of 56,000 people. Check the map, they’re HUGE.

    Wellington Central. It would be the ideal set to hand over to the Greens. Either that or Rongotai – which has the added benefit of ridding the Labour Caucus of past-sell-by Annette King.
    http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2014/electorate-60.html
    http://www.electionresults.govt.nz/electionresults_2014/electorate-46.html

    Comment by Phil — September 23, 2014 @ 1:14 pm

  58. @Andrew Geddis – cheers. Oh ok, yeah I read and comment there occasionally myself, I’m obviously just not down with all the hip street TLAs the kids use these days.

    Comment by SHG — September 23, 2014 @ 1:18 pm

  59. I don’t have a great memory for meaningless debacles in political parties, but I do remember that Cunliffe tried to shaft Shearer…

    It’s funny how many people think they “remember” that. I pay reasonable attention to what Labour’s up to, and what I remember of that incident is that Gower and one or two others decided Cunliffe was planning a coup and proceeded to interpret everything he did or didn’t do in those terms. The poor fuck couldn’t answer a question any way that Gower couldn’t make into a devious component of the coup, and couldn’t even sit quietly at the Labour conference without journos interpreting it either as some stealthy move against Shearer or as a recognition by Cunliffe that his evil plans had been thwarted. Still, my memory’s no better than anyone else’s – if someone recalls any actual substance to the much touted “conference coup attempt,” do feel free to remind me.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 23, 2014 @ 1:21 pm

  60. Well, put it this way. If Cunliffe did nothing and was unfairly maligned about shady background antics and Shearer demoted him on the basis of that, then Labour was fucked anyway, because the leader would rather listen to journalists interpreting stuff than the advice of his own party leaders and his own knowledge of internal politics. If Cunliffe was innocent, then he was STILL weak and ineffectual, with no head for politics or leaderships, because he let himself be pushed out, misrepresented by the media and fired without a single member of the Labour caucus coming to his defence.

    On the other hand, put this next to the possibility that both David Shearer and Chris Hipkins were right to say what they said about Cunliffe and do what they did, because speculation about Cunliffe testing the waters for a leadership challenge under Goff and Shearer didn’t just come from complete fiction. That Cunliffe actually wanted the leadership enough to officially challenge for it twice. That Cunliffe wasn’t too happy about losing the first time, and that he’s not a shrinking violet in the background, he’s full of ego and has balls enough to issue a challenge if he thinks he’s got support.

    Which of these two scenarios is more likely? Poorly maligned Cunliffe unable to defend himself or speak up for himself without being maliciously misconstrued? Or a devious career politician with multiple tilts at the leadership under him belt who was fired from the previous shadow cabinet and who’s currently trying to hold onto the leadership for grim death and being angry at journalists at a press conference?

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — September 23, 2014 @ 1:36 pm

  61. “the perception of flirting with National and spurning Labour ” – and who pushed that angle for the obedient media to echo? Sure wasn’t the Greens.

    Comment by Sacha — September 23, 2014 @ 1:40 pm

  62. I was looking at PAS the other day, out of idle curiosity, and they were wondering how NZers could have re-elected Key when Dotcom’s email PROVED he was a liar.

    So I searched that 21-page thread about the election result andI couldn’t find even one person saying that, and only a handful of mentions of Dotcom, most blaming him for scaring off voters. Maybe I missed something, but “they” were not saying that.

    Then Emma Hart jumped into the thread and told everyone off for having the wrong tone when talking about gender issues. Boy do I not miss that place.

    At which point Danyl, I really have to say you’re being a complete dick. It was a discussion of online voting and whether it was a good idea. Emma was pointing out to another commenter (not a regular) the differences between the potential for abusive coercion in voting online and in a physical polling place, speaking as someone who had actually been a scrutineer (and who has written extensively about family violence, including her own experiences of it).

    Seriously, what the hell is your problem?

    Comment by russell brown — September 23, 2014 @ 1:59 pm

  63. Chris, let’s stipulate that Cunliffe undermined Shearer, if you’ll stipulate that is NOT how he became Labour leader. The latter required (a) Shearer’s failings in the job, (b) ABCs in caucus withdrawing support and (c) the membership votes.

    If Cunliffe had been relegated to the role you wanted – or even fallen under a bus, would Shearer still be leader? No. Grant Robertson would be.

    Your version – that “Shearer capitulated and had a mental breakdown and resigned” simply isn’t true.

    BTW, I have no problem with “undermining” if the underminer is good at the job. Clark undermined Moore, got the job and thank goodness she did. Knives are carry-on baggage in politics.

    Cunliffe’s failing is in doing the job – not getting it.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — September 23, 2014 @ 2:06 pm

  64. Explaining is loosing…more popcorn please!

    Comment by pollywog — September 23, 2014 @ 2:25 pm

  65. Seriously, what the hell is your problem?

    Just scratching an old itch. Like I’ve said before, it was a fun community until every single conversation got dragged down into Hart’s abrasive, pointless Calvinball-ruled shit-fights about gender issues.

    Comment by danylmc — September 23, 2014 @ 2:26 pm

  66. Cunliffe obviously repeatedly tried to undermine whoever was leader between 2008-2013. This was hugely disastrous in terms of putting together a stable, competent team.

    The ongoing belief in the bizarre conspiracy theory about the conference coup is part of Labour’s problem. Too many activists and members would prefer to live in Daily Blog fantasy land rather than confront the fact that Cunliffe is a bit of dick.

    Comment by Keir Leslie — September 23, 2014 @ 2:27 pm

  67. The ongoing belief in the bizarre conspiracy theory about the conference coup is part of Labour’s problem. Too many activists and members would prefer to live in Daily Blog fantasy land rather than confront the fact that Cunliffe is a bit of dick.

    Quite. Too many are also unaware of just how strongly National’s negative framing of their current leader has been. Even if he was Jesus – and when he let loose in the leaders debates and spoke from the heart he was pretty convincing – he is still someone that a really large number of voters either distrust or think poorly of. It isn’t fair, but politics ain’t beanbag.

    Watch as National work efficiently to shape the perceptions of the media about the next Labour leader. If it’s Shearer they won’t even have to try. Robertson might be a bit more difficult, but they’ll use their proxies to attack his sexuality and present him as an affront to “good working men” everywhere, while disingenuously suggesting that Shearer/Nash/Shane Jones/Genghis Khan/barbecued steak would have been a better leader.

    Comment by George — September 23, 2014 @ 2:53 pm

  68. Just scratching an old itch. Like I’ve said before, it was a fun community until every single conversation got dragged down into Hart’s abrasive, pointless Calvinball-ruled shit-fights about gender issues.

    And you’re not even defending your mean-spirited characterisation of the exchange. Okay. I can’t do anything about the chip on your shoulder, but that was a weird and dishonest way to exercise it.

    Comment by russell brown — September 23, 2014 @ 2:55 pm

  69. The image of Greg Presland, the man up to his neck in the conference coup and the secret trust debacle, doling out wisdom on the Standard about The Way Forward, pretty much sums that up:

    “And his personal preference rating improved considerably as Kiwis had a chance to see the real David Cunliffe, not the Cameron Slater hatchet job which we saw far too much of during the first half of the year.”

    What? What? Nope. No no no.

    Comment by Keir Leslie — September 23, 2014 @ 3:02 pm

  70. Backing up Russell & Andrew’s comments earlier, the fall in Labour’s party vote in Auckland Central needs to be seen in the context of specials. It’s true that Labour has 3832 fewer party votes (before specials) than it did in 2011 (after specials), but there were 7000 specials cast for Auckland Central in 2011, behind only Wellington Central. That’s a long term historical trend and likely to be repeated this time.

    It also needs to be seen in the context of National’s party vote in the electorate, which is 9799 (before specials), down from 14,447 in 2011 (after specials). The number of votes cast in the electorate has gone from 34,206 (valid votes only, including specials) to 21,595 (election night total excluding party informals). Special votes will account for some of the difference, as will boundary changes, but it’s unclear the extent to which a Labour party candidate should be held responsible for supporters of all parties not showing up.

    For those interested, I’ve done some analysis of the likely impact of special votes here: http://sayit.co.nz/blog/how-did-we-do. It also includes results of UMR’s election polling.

    Comment by Gavin White — September 23, 2014 @ 3:10 pm

  71. Oh, and the Greens’ party vote in Auckland Central has gone from 7797 to 4584, a decline of 3213.

    Comment by Gavin White — September 23, 2014 @ 3:29 pm

  72. @ Phil #57 – exactly what I was thinking.

    Rongotai and Wgtn Central are Prime candidates for an Epsom style, with a quid pro quo arrangement around, say, Akl / ChCh Central + bolstering up the marginal Chch seats.
    Given that both parties are aiming for an urban constituency, is makes sense to seek a strategic understanding.

    Unicorns will shit rainbows first, though.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 23, 2014 @ 3:40 pm

  73. “For the second election in a row they’ve run an FPP election focused on winning electoral seats and seen their party vote decline. ”

    Don’t you think that to a certain degree the party vote reflects the success of the various electorate campaigns? E.g. if Labour had run a bunch of competent local campaigns in the various electorates, with popular candidates who seemed in touch with local issues, then their party vote would have benefited from that?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 23, 2014 @ 4:06 pm

  74. Oh yeah, and re: a Green electorate seat – I don’t really see the point. ACT and United Future were given their seats because without them, they wouldn’t be in Parliament. National therefore had a very clear incentive to ‘sacrifice’ their electorate seats. I am a Green-sceptic, but even I would say that only in the worst case scenario are the Greens likely to need an electorate seat to stay in Parliament – there’s very little benefit to the left bloc as a whole, let alone to Labour specifically, for Labour to gift the Greens such a seat (and that’s before we even consider the Greens’ sporadic nudges in the direction of a possible agreement with National).

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 23, 2014 @ 4:09 pm

  75. Here’s a crazy thought
    A Lab-Gre coalition that looks and operates in a similar manner to the Lib-Nat coalition across the ditch. Hand the three “central” seats in Akld, Wgtn, Chch over to the Greens. Labour saves truckloads of money by, basically, not campaigning there. Instead they spend that money in marginal electorates where the swing vote is more Lab-Nat than Lab-Gre.

    Comment by Phil — September 23, 2014 @ 4:18 pm

  76. I would change your bottom tier to politicians parties and supporters who are not… The number of left supporters who are telling me that I was blindsided by the media or the national party machine rather than thinking I may have made my own decision which is different than theirs is amazing. As a centre person I would vote for a Green party that would concentrate on the environment and leave the left wing economy stuff to Labour in an instant. Labour should reclaim the left, Greens the centre and always be in government. If the Maori party can try to do that so can they. If the economy goes pear shaped then we (the swinging voter) would then have a clear choice and the Greens could still be in power.

    Comment by DonaldSC — September 23, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

  77. In a one party state like NZ John Minto & Annette Sykes was too much for the population to handle.

    The next Labour leader has got to acceptable to Peter Dunne & Winston First. Clark knew that.

    Go visit the NZ first web site. That’s what it will take.

    Labour supporters picture Helen Clark and ask what would she do right now. Unbelievable really. Clark the most successful Labour leader ever and she aint dead. Go ask her.

    Comment by Simon — September 23, 2014 @ 4:35 pm

  78. When National does deals as with ACT and UF, the goal is to increase the size of the overall Right coalition. A Lab-Green carveup of electorates does not achieve this unless and until one of the parties ends up with less than 5% polling or the potential for overhang.

    Further, one of the things that the Greens do MUCH better than Labour is campaign across electorate boundaries, while Labour campaigns hugely unevenly according to the resources and aptitude of individual LECs. One of the problems Labour has is the electorate MP’s having more mana than list ones. The last thing the Greens should be doing is developing the seeds of those same problems.

    I just do not get what is in it for either party or the Left as a whole.

    Comment by Stephen J — September 23, 2014 @ 4:49 pm

  79. “Labour saves truckloads of money by, basically, not campaigning there.”

    Nope. Labour electorate campaigns are largely funded by local efforts. If there’s no local campaign, there won’t be local fundraising either.

    Comment by Stephen J — September 23, 2014 @ 4:50 pm

  80. Is this bad for Phil Goff?

    Comment by JB — September 23, 2014 @ 4:51 pm

  81. Danyl re your comments about PAS. I’m not disputing that there was a certain point where EH “jumped the shark”, but dialog on this blog has also suffered since you received media attention. Partly because there was an influx of new commentators, when before it was a bit of a blogger’s blog, but partly it seemed to have gone to your head. Perhaps you and the PAS crowd need together for a beer and get some perspective on each other as real people. Or failing that, how about charity boxing?

    Comment by Robert Singers — September 23, 2014 @ 4:55 pm

  82. George — September 23, 2014 @ 2:53 pm – and oddly enough its all so predictable – predictable enough to have worked out multiple responses and have them in your back pocket ready to go – so why arent they doing this?
    Im staggered at how often labour lets the media pick up the framing from JK and then stand there while they get beaten over the head with it

    Comment by framu — September 23, 2014 @ 4:58 pm

  83. Don’t you think that to a certain degree the party vote reflects the success of the various electorate campaigns? E.g. if Labour had run a bunch of competent local campaigns in the various electorates, with popular candidates who seemed in touch with local issues, then their party vote would have benefited from that?

    Well, we could test that. Let’s look at electorates where Labour candidates increased their electorate vote from 2011 (which we can assume indicates that they were “popular candidates who seemed in touch with local issues”). Was there a corresponding increase in the party vote in those seats?

    (Not going to do this myself, but I’m betting the answer is “no”.)

    Comment by Grassed Up — September 23, 2014 @ 5:05 pm

  84. Big picture, getting closer to the Greens is not the solution to Labour’s problems.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 23, 2014 @ 5:05 pm

  85. @Grassed Up: Yeah, I don’t think so either, but some people have argued otherwise. Not least Danyl. (Oh no, there I go again!)

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 23, 2014 @ 5:11 pm

  86. One of the problems Labour has is the electorate MP’s having more mana than list ones. The last thing the Greens should be doing is developing the seeds of those same problems.

    Fair point, although I understand the GP MP rules probably deals with this issue via term limitations.

    I think having a couple of seats would assist with giving the GP more mainstream cred in terms of public perception though – it would also force them to take grass-roots electoral issues seriously (i.e. helping people who don’t vote for them with local issues) which IMO is no bad thing in terms of party maturity.

    Also getting rid of Annette King – double plus good!

    Comment by Gregor W — September 23, 2014 @ 5:40 pm

  87. Stephen J – the benefit to Labour would be in the reduced vote splitting for electorate seats that flip-flop (though I’ll admit there is no way to guarantee all seats would be as disciplined as the good people of Epsom).

    Comment by Gregor W — September 23, 2014 @ 5:43 pm

  88. Re Cunliffe’s alleged campaign of destabilisation of Shearer.

    Can anyone point me to a story that it seems obvious he planted in the media? Anything on the scale of the stuff the ABC trot out every few months? At the beginning of this year, ABCs talked to Garner about how they were going to sleep walk through the election and let Cunliffe lose, and then roll him. A massively destructive thing to say to a journalist. Doing it is appalling enough, but telling the media that’s your plan? ffs

    And then yesterday, someone told Watkins that Cunliffe had given up on the election a few weeks ago and focused on retaining the leadership post loss. Again, off the record, like a fucking coward. This right here is dirty politics by the book.

    And today they apparently failed to even pull the trigger because even after losing the election they haven’t got their ducks in a row, or something. They are Muppets.

    So again, an actual story planted in the media by team Cunliffe undermining the leader. Because there’s long list of the ABCs doing that. It’s how they play, and it’s toxic. There is nothing wrong with rolling a leader. nothing at all. But it should be done in the back room, not in the media, and not off the record.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 23, 2014 @ 6:37 pm

  89. Congratulations, Danyl. The most constructive and interesting left wing discussion on the Sat night massacre I have seen.

    Comment by Tinakori — September 23, 2014 @ 6:42 pm

  90. 85 — Cunliffe was the one that wanted the vote now, the non-Cunliffe backers want to have the post-mortem first. You’ve got that backwards.

    Comment by Keir Leslie — September 23, 2014 @ 6:45 pm

  91. Keir, any examples of Cunliffe undermining Shearer in the media?

    And your ignoring the why of the timing of the vote, and the off the record claims that Cunliffe has to go, and all the rest of it. At the end of the day Cunliffe said today, if you want to roll me, start the damn process, but let’s get it sorted. And then nothing happened because umm reasons. If the ABCs really are being open minded, they should shut the fuck up to journalists, but they haven’t been, have they?

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 23, 2014 @ 6:51 pm

  92. @Gregor W: Yes, but the electorate seats just don’t matter from a who-gets-to-form-the-government perspective. A lot of people have pointed out seats where the Labour candidate lost by less than the Green vote, but even if Labour had won all those seats, the election would still be a massacre due to the gap in the party vote. And I really doubt that holding electorate seats is going to give the Greens credibility in the eyes of those who wouldn’t usually vote for them – especially not if they’ve been essentially gifted the seats by Labour.

    I’ll say it again, the solution to last weekend’s epic fail is not to be found in a closer Green-Labour collaboration, and it’s definitely not to be found in Labour gifting the Greens seats.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 23, 2014 @ 6:55 pm

  93. Keir, just chuck up some links of Cunliffe undermining Shearer in the media, should be easy enough to source if he’s that prolific.

    Comment by Ant — September 23, 2014 @ 7:32 pm

  94. Were the decisions to put up Steve Gibson and Gordon Dickson made by the local electorate branch, or from head office? Even if it was the former, one would think it would have been vetted by the latter.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — September 23, 2014 @ 8:04 pm

  95. flotsy #14: I’d say a lot of Labour voters displaced by the quakes would have moved to another part of the country.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — September 23, 2014 @ 8:09 pm

  96. 91 — ehhh again here we go into the fever swamps, as George pointed out in 67. Reality is, Cunliffe’s spent the last six years undermining every Labour leader that wasn’t him, and that is the view of pretty much everyone, Cunliffe supporter or not, who’s seen it up close. If you don’t like it, well, I’m sorry, but it’s true.

    As to the other: Cunliffe wanted to go now so he can rush through a quick process while the party’s still shellshocked, before the inevitable brutal post-mortems start coming, and before his opponents can organise. A side effect is that if he does it before Christmas, the new leader goes straight into a dead zone when no one wants to hear about politics which utterly fucks their chances of enjoying a honeymoon period, but he doesn’t care about that.

    His opponents don’t want to go now because they want to wait and give the party time to think and consider and to organise, and because they don’t want to take over and run straight into six weeks of nothing over summer. That’s the state of play.

    Comment by Keir Leslie — September 23, 2014 @ 8:15 pm

  97. “That means a more socially conservative Labour Party. It means swallowing dead rats, presumably in the form of public statements distancing Labour from Cunliffe’s apology for being a man and the ‘man ban’ and gender equity policies” Oh great, back to ignoring gender inequality and basing policies around the norm of ‘men’ – what a regressive step

    Comment by Julz — September 23, 2014 @ 8:31 pm

  98. Keir, just chuck up some links of Cunliffe undermining Shearer in the media, should be easy enough to source if he’s that prolific.
    Here’s something I recall. Would it qualify as undermining?
    At the Auckland Town Hall meeting to protest the GCSB bill in August 2013, a challenge was issued from the stage to opposition parties to state whether they’d repeal the legislation. The video cut to Shearer, who appeared to dither. Cunliffe seized the moment and sprang to his feet, emphatically vowing that yes indeed Labour would. In that moment he looked and sounded like a leader. Strangely enough it was a much more mealy-mouthed Cunliffe who emerged after he gained the leadership.

    Comment by Joe W — September 23, 2014 @ 8:53 pm

  99. There are two columns on NZH, one from Steve Maharey and one from John Armstrong, arguing Labour lost because they abandoned the centre. I find this hard to believe because from my perspective Labour is almost identical to National. There is probably more overlap between Labour and National than there is between Labour and the Greens. Is this argument referring to the centre in terms of social issues?

    Comment by Seb Rattansen — September 23, 2014 @ 8:57 pm

  100. I’m not saying I don’t like it Keir, I’m asking for evidence. Apparently there isn’t any. That doesn’t mean it isn’t true of course, and I’m not saying it isn’t true. But what I am saying is that whatever Cunliffe did, he did it out of the public eye. Apparently he managed to piss off his opponents on the party by being a fucking ninja, or something.

    So what we’ve got, according to his opponents in the party, is someone who ran a campaign for the leadership, got a majority of the members on side, and the unions, and kept his undermining of his opponents out of the media. What a monster!

    Now reread that George comment at 67.

    The framing of Cunliffe. Did Cunliffe’s opponents in the caucus help the Labour party’s opponents to destroy the leader of the party, or did they resist that framing?

    I get that you, and members of caucus don’t like him. That’s ok. Many many many political leaders are not liked by people within the party whom they work with. It is not a friendship society. It is a grouping of people with a supposed common political purpose.

    What is very far from ok is his caucus opponents undermining him, and by extension the party, in the media. Especially off the record. It is that which makes the party look unfit to govern.

    When you go to a journo, off the recor and say that you hate the leader so much that you won’t be campaigning to win, and intend to roll him after the election, the newsworthy story in that is that the Labour party is not fit to govern. It is not a group of people bound together by a common political purpose.

    Forget about how much Cunliffe isn’t liked within caucus. It is irrelevant, at least to me, as a voter. I don’t care if his colleagues don’t like him, I only care if they can work together to do what the party needs to do to get the things done it is supposedly for.

    Instead, think about the fact that you can’t point to what Cunliffe did to piss them off, you can only assure me that he did, and everyone who matters knows it.

    That inability to point to any public record of his disunity is, in fact, relevant. And you’ve yet to address it, as you are yet to address the fact that the ABC have been steadily leaking shit to the media and making the party look unfit to govern. Why is that ok? Why aren’t you angry at them?

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 23, 2014 @ 8:59 pm

  101. Joe, that yarn was started by a commenter at the standard. Cunliffe was up the front, Shearer had come in late and was further back. Cunliffe didn’t know Shearer was even there.

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 23, 2014 @ 9:01 pm

  102. Joe, that yarn was started by a commenter at the standard. Cunliffe was up the front, Shearer had come in late and was further back. Cunliffe didn’t know Shearer was even there.
    I’m not aware of any ‘yarn’. I don’t read the goddam standard. I’m simply relating, in good faith, the very strong impression i gained from watching the thing.

    Comment by Joe W — September 23, 2014 @ 9:11 pm

  103. fair enough, and sorry.

    Jono Hutchison reported it along those lines, hence my assumption.

    http://thestandard.org.nz/lazy-jono-on-3-news-invents-a-story/

    Comment by Pascal's bookie — September 23, 2014 @ 9:15 pm

  104. “predictable enough to have worked out multiple responses and have them in your back pocket ready to go – so why arent they doing this?”

    muppets

    Comment by Sacha — September 23, 2014 @ 9:19 pm

  105. “the solution to last weekend’s epic fail is not to be found in a closer Green-Labour collaboration”

    reasons?

    Comment by Sacha — September 23, 2014 @ 9:21 pm

  106. Here you go! http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10848523

    David Cunliffe being an absolute idiot in public and getting the party absolutely atrocious headlines.

    Comment by Keir Leslie — September 23, 2014 @ 9:24 pm

  107. PB, I really don’t have a historical dog in this particular fight. I was impressed by Cunliffe’s apparently decisive stance back in 2012, and saw his action at the GCSB meeting in that light. As I said, once he had the leadership all of that appeared to evaporate.

    Comment by Joe W — September 23, 2014 @ 9:29 pm

  108. But really, I’m not going yet another round on this one. It’s just a fact about external reality (that Cunliffe undermined leaders, and did so very publicly at times) and if you don’t want to come and play in the reality based sandpit, that’s up to you.

    Comment by Keir — September 23, 2014 @ 9:31 pm

  109. The all blacks and rowers who were caught out tweeting on election day mentioned their support of John Key first and the national party second. National party billboards had Key all over them but this is the second election where labour candidates have distanced themselves from their leader and or party on their billboards. Key had polynesian boys outside his house doing a haka on saturday night and if I ask the young guys at work they say “John Key, he’s the man” , they probably don’t vote but they definitely would pose for a selfie with him. Its hard to imagine anyone in Labour right now eliciting that kind of following.

    The greens have positioned themselves as a party of the hard left but to a fairly sizable chunk of the left vote the message they are sending is “fuck you” with their anti mining, anti drilling and anti roads campaigns, surely it must have occurred to them that outside of the large companies that run these operations theres a decent amount of people actually working on them and a fair few are self employed contractors who would in times gone by would never have voted national . If you ever want to get past 10% you’d surely look at that I would have thought,
    Lastly I just found out today that the greens price of support for a coalition deal was actually TWO people being deputy pm, not only is insane for them to demand such a high ranking spot its a pretty hard sell to the voting public that such a bizarre thing is workable.

    I expect Labour to push the greens further leftwards to the IMP loons and try and destroy them before the next election, NZ first too especially if Winston won’t give straight answers about retiring which I guarantee he won’t and he’s all NZ first have.

    Comment by Del Griffith — September 23, 2014 @ 9:32 pm

  110. 105 – no kidding. David Cunliffe opportunistically swung to the left for the primary and back to the centre for the general, almost exactly like someone who’d mainlined American political strategy during their time in the States! And all those people who said at the time of the primary that this was exactly what he was doing appear to have been correct! It’s almost like the man’s driven by a very strong ambition and is willing to cut his cloth to suit.

    Comment by Keir — September 23, 2014 @ 9:35 pm

  111. Has there been any analysis of the effect of the bad weather on the result?

    Comment by Owen — September 23, 2014 @ 10:06 pm

  112. Owen, I can give you a mean-spirited pseudo analysis.

    Someone who lets getting slightly damp or being slightly inconvenienced by rain affect their right to suffrage is a dick. Whoever their vote was going to be cast for, it was probably going to be cast for entirely the wrong reasons. If people don’t vote because it’s wet out, then when it rains democracy wins.

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — September 23, 2014 @ 10:36 pm

  113. Has there been any analysis of the effect of the bad weather on the result?

    If you need a benchmark then the weather in Christchurch was perfect.

    Comment by Joe W — September 23, 2014 @ 10:36 pm

  114. Random thought: what is going on right now in Labour is why when Dirty Politics was released the majority of people basically went “meh, they both do it”.

    As Pascal’s Bookie points out at 98 above public evidence of Cunliffe’s perfidy isn’t readily available, yet from the story about going on holiday with his kids to today, there’s plenty of anonymous white-anting of him available: always in the form of “senior Labour party sources”

    He’s ambitious (which politician isn’t?) and he was a very competent minister of telecommunications who broke the Telecom monopoly. He worked his contacts in the wider party assiduously which paid off for him. (I don’t have enough contempt for the likes of Bassett who blame the leadership election process).

    But…

    There are times when he seems tone deaf or too eager to say the right thing. And right now is probably one of those times. He and the entire leadership did not capitalise on the boost last year’s leadership election gave Labour. The internal organisation is not what it could be, it’s underfunded and the local electorate committees are probably too insular. None of this will change if Cunliffe goes and the old guard will remain as much a hinderance as before. Too many look to me to be placeholders, looking for a final sinecure before retirement. They are well out of step with their membership, probably know it and really don’t give a fuck about changing that. If I was Cunliffe I would offer to resign, not contest the election but only on the condition that the ABCs also went. If they didn’t accept that then I would make that public in an on the record speech. Bit dramatic but lancing the boil now is probably the only way forward.

    As for a future leader, given how dependent Labour now is on the Maori Pasifika vote it has to be someone from that group. Louisa Wall or Kelvin Davis are probably the only choices and neither are perfect.

    Comment by TerryB — September 23, 2014 @ 10:58 pm

  115. he was a very competent minister of telecommunications who broke the Telecom monopoly.

    Remember Rodney Hide fulminating about how dare a mere mortal attempt to put asunder what St Roger had wrought….

    Comment by Joe W — September 23, 2014 @ 11:10 pm

  116. yeah, like to see a quote or link to that that Joe W

    Comment by PaulL — September 23, 2014 @ 11:21 pm

  117. It was all about the sanctity of property rights.

    Comment by Joe W — September 23, 2014 @ 11:29 pm

  118. >That means a more socially conservative Labour Party.

    I think it’s worth spelling out what this actually means in a bit more detail, because in the abstract it just sounds like a move on some kind of board. In practice, what does it mean? What would be a good example a socially conservative policy that Labour could adopt?

    Comment by Ben Wilson — September 24, 2014 @ 12:09 am

  119. >I dispute the use of the term “activist left”. Replace it with “progressive liberals” and you are right on the money.

    In other words, you’re saying he’s exactly not on the money, since your suggestion is diametrically opposed to his? He’s saying to move Winstonwards, you’re saying Greenwards. They are actually opposite directions, if you’re Labour. Unless you mean the economic policy, in which case both of those parties could be considered maybe even a bit to the left of Labour, or at least Winston might mean that if you could ever actually pin him down on specifics.

    I don’t know which of you is right, but I think that the missing million could also be a possible direction that might not involve simply trading one left seat for another and going nowhere.

    I also think that the point that DPF is a major source of the power of National to grasp their tactical position via his polling is very true, and that very little is to be learned from a website like this or any other political one, for that matter, on what the electorate wants. I don’t feel that I gained any real insight at all from Danyl’s completely wrong statistics, which continually had a magic number added based on the two data points of the previous elections, without taking into account that the pollsters themselves could have learned a thing or two. Definitely the original support for Shearer, followed by the drumbeat that Shearer should go, followed by the new drumbeat that Cunliffe should go has left me wondering if there’s any depth of analysis at all, over and above mere poll watching with a dash of trying to feel clever, despite having repeatedly failed in major predictions. Why should I even care about Danyl’s stupid triangle which give the very lowest priority to the thing that matters most to me, policy? I can hardly think why he didn’t vote National *again* if that’s his opinion.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — September 24, 2014 @ 1:19 am

  120. “despite having repeatedly failed in major predictions”

    Watch out guy, we don’t appreciate people who remember Danyl’s past predictions around here.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 24, 2014 @ 1:48 am

  121. Ben Wilson #114: it probably refers to a strategy that panders to ‘Waitakere Man’ and other supposed ‘middle-class battlers’, which probably includes jumping on the ‘bludger on the roof’ bandwagon. It could possibly mean installing someone on the Labour Right as leader, but at what cost?

    It seems the post-Clark Labour leaders we’ve had so far are, for lack of a better analogy, first-rate captains and second-rate generals.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — September 24, 2014 @ 2:16 am

  122. @Ben Wilson “…. They are actually opposite directions, if you’re Labour…” But they are both away from the identity politics which has utterly alienated Labour from middle NZ. And anyway, I don’t where you got the idea I want Labour to move Greenwards. I want Labour to pinch soft Green voters by stealing their best ideas and relentlessly attacking the Green party, because middle NZ has clearly just told us that the idea of the Greens having to much say in any future Labour government is a turn off.

    The problem for Labour is that most of the realists in the Labour caucus who understand what the party needs to do to reconnect with middle NZ are also all middle class managerial carreerists who are economically neo-liberal in outlook. They would be just as happy being wet Nats – probably happier, since they would then be in government. Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn’t be better if a dozen Labour MPs packed up their tents and moved to National, but then I remember that whilst I might rejoice at losing a pile of blokey reactionary anti-intellectuals all Labour would gain would be a more rainbow candidates. Trading Waitakere men for PAS persons is a less than zero sum game for Labour. It all comes back to the failure to select appropriate candidates for a left wing party. Is it any wonder that a party made up of centrist and establishment careerists and/or liberals predominantly concerned with social issues that is recruited largely from middle class technocrats fails to connect with emergent service sector/precariat working poor slogging away on Struggle Street?

    let’s take a practical example. I hate to pick on Tamatti Coffey, who seems a lovely chap, but he is a fine example. According to our friends Wikipedia, the demographics of Rotorua are

    “…over forty per cent of the population of Rotorua is under the age of thirty, much of this because 37% of the electorate’s residents are Māori, who are on the whole younger than the national average (22.7 years old versus a national average of 35.9).[8] There are also fewer voters earning over $30,000 per year, with the majority of workers coming from working class and semi-skilled professionals. Rotorua also has more unemployed people (6.5%) than most electorates, being ranked 52nd in the nation…”

    Rotorua is also a typical MMP seat, with a large conservative rural hinterland. It also has a higher than typical NZ First vote (social conservative red alert right there).

    So Tamati is OK on a couple of fronts – Maori and younger than average. However, he is also completely middle class (born in Johnsonville, went to decile ten Onslow college, did a Pol Sci degree at Auckland and moved into broadcasting) and an out of town “celebrity” carpetbagger who makes his being gay a talking point. I guess he did OK, if getting only a slightly worse shellacking than the average can be counted as “doing OK”. So my question is this. Why couldn’t Labour’s selection committee find amongst all those local working class or semi-skilled professionals in Rotorua one single decent candidate? You know, a local who actually worked in the local community, had a track record in local affairs, and understood and could articulate issues important to working class or semi-skilled professionals in Rotorua? I suspect that what actually happened was that because Tamati Coffey ticked all the right class, status and identity politics boxes it was decided he was the ideal candidate for Labour, then they proceeded to try and find a place to shoehorn him in to have a go at getting elected, and they thought “Ohhhhh – Rotorua! Cos he is young and Maori, just like them!”

    And we now know what happens to a political party that thinks that way.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 24, 2014 @ 8:27 am

  123. @Ben Wilson “I think it’s worth spelling out what this actually means in a bit more detail, because in the abstract it just sounds like a move on some kind of board. In practice, what does it mean? What would be a good example a socially conservative policy that Labour could adopt?”

    I can’t speak for Danyl, but here’s a thought: repeal the Prostitution Reform Bill. I still can’t believe that this was passed by a supposedly left-wing party. You’ve taken probably the single most exploitative industry in history and completely deregulated it. I honestly can’t take Labour seriously anymore when they talk about worker’s right, with that abomination on their record.

    And if you think that it’s just academic, I invite you to get out and meet some South Auckland social workers. Ask about the slave brothels, and the rampant child prostitution.

    I said to some of my friends before the election that any party that made repeal of the bill a flagship policy would get my vote. I’m still serious about that. To me it’s the ‘perfect’ issue for Labour: socially conservative AND anti-exploitation.

    Comment by enjiner — September 24, 2014 @ 9:41 am

  124. I know this is heresy to many out there, but if you want a Labour- Green government the solution is not for Labour to move futher one way or the other, it’s for the Greens to move back to the centre. Keep hammering the sustainability & Conservation messages, develop the MOU’s that show centralist NZ that they can work with either party and suction up the soft blue-green (Teal?) vote that currently has nowhere to go because the hard leftness of the current Green party is offputting. At the moment, the Green party is cannibalising Labour, which is great if the goal of the Green party is to supplant Labour as primary opposition party, but its rubbish if you want to get National out. Greens – move to the centre, give 5% of left wing Labour votes back to Labour and take 5% off National – there’s a 10% swing straight away.

    Comment by J Bloggs — September 24, 2014 @ 9:47 am

  125. Sanc, compare that with Tony Milne, who is staunchly Christchurch, and has campaigned in multiple Canterbury seats, and is a very credible campaigner and advocate. He ran an excellent campaign with a strong ground game, and still lost to a wooden one-term incumbent. He was hurt by his party, and perceptions of that party.

    If Labour want to tell New Zealand they are going to run their country, they are also going to have to show New Zealand they are ‘fresh’, because at the moment they’re like a good meal that’s been frozen and microwaved too many times. There’s substance, but it’s unappealing. Time for some of the incumbents to step down – King and Goff would be fine suggestions – and let some really high-calibre candidates come in.

    They also need discipline, but it has to be discipline around something they all believe in. National’s belief is in winning because the alternative is a country in rack and ruin. It’s a false narrative, but one that suits them well enough. Labour is torn between the same narrative, and a narrative that speaks of empowering the disempowered, and these have been framed as in contest. Whenever Shearer or the other Blairists suggest abandoning the latter goal, the activists and members who form the heart of the party rightly ask ‘winning for what’? It’s not a productive process.

    The Greens have a similar problem, framed in a different way. Theirs is that they have a coherent vision around environmental and social goals, but have not worked out how to translate that into language that works on the terms that the media and public discourse have decided are important (the welfare of people earning above $70,000 per year). That’s going to be a struggle, for a party that is itching to get towards 15 or 20%.

    Comment by George — September 24, 2014 @ 9:49 am

  126. The Greens have a similar problem, framed in a different way. Theirs is that they have a coherent vision around environmental and social goals, but have not worked out how to translate that into language that works on the terms that the media and public discourse

    Exactly this – what I was getting at @ #17 but explained more succintly (thanks George).

    Comment by Gregor W — September 24, 2014 @ 10:44 am

  127. 114. Terry B

    (I don’t have enough contempt for the likes of Bassett who blame the leadership election process).

    The internal Labour leadership election process is lunatics take over the asylum awful.

    Politicians desire getting elected to higher office. Political party members are ideological and desire an ideal world. This results in a lot of conflicting issues within any political party.

    Within the National Party it means the right wing members have to swallow dead rats – the banning of smacks, WFF, public health, the Maori Party, ACC, the ERA and so on – because the politicians deem messing with these will make them unelectable. In the National Party the only thing the politicians need to concern themselves with is getting themselves elected and are all for working together to get elected.

    While the Labour Party politicians need to get elected, they really need to appeal to the Labour left wing members to gain high office. Labour party members do not want to swallow any dead rats and so Labour gets a perfectly left wing leader. Labour has a consistent set of left wing policies. And Labour is unelectable.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 24, 2014 @ 10:58 am

  128. Labour party members do not want to swallow any dead rats and so Labour gets a perfectly left wing leader. Labour has a consistent set of left wing policies. And Labour is unelectable.

    That isn’t true. Cunliffe isn’t substantially different from his mentor Helen Clark in his political positioning. She won three elections.

    Comment by George — September 24, 2014 @ 11:41 am

  129. Yeah, the policy positioning stuff is not really Labour’s problem. It does need to focus and edit more, but that’s a different issue.

    Comment by Keir — September 24, 2014 @ 12:08 pm

  130. For god’s sake – Cunliffe was a consultant for one of the big international firms for four years, selling business advice to big, wealthy corporate customers (BCG’s rates are not low). He’s hardly a closet Trotskyite. I’d have thought his inclinations were rather to the right of Robertson, if anything, rather than being ‘perfectly left’. And given that Fran O’Sullivan is in today’s herald criticizing Cunliffe for shutting our Phil Goff, on the basis that Goff’s expertise on free trade is being ignored, I’m not sure that Labour really has much of a recent record of hard left leadership.

    Comment by Dr Foster — September 24, 2014 @ 12:18 pm

  131. Clark negotiated a free trade agreement with China. Clark set up the Overseas Investment Office. Clark sent troops to help occupy Iraq.

    Now Labour is against all of these things. Now free trade is “neo-liberal poison”, overseas investment is “exploitation” and military cooperation with George W Bush is so far beyond the pale that its been memory holed out of the collective Labour consciousness.

    It doesn’t matter what Cunliffe might actually have been about, he couldn’t contemplate doing anything like the above knowing the lunatic Labour left would have pile driven him out of office faster than you could say – “Grant & Jacinda make a lovely couple”.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 24, 2014 @ 12:42 pm

  132. @Sanc: You’re making the mistake that Danyl made a few years ago – assuming that the party vote is largely a product of the quality of the electorate candidate. Roberts’ and Levine’s research has shown that, while the presence of a candidate has a positive influence on the party vote, there’s no positive correlation between popularity or success of the candidate and the party vote. Selecting a bunch of excellent electorate candidates (leaving aside what the definition of “excellent” is) would not help Labour with the party vote. The party vote seems to be almost entirely a product of people’s response to the national campaign – a great electorate candidate and a bad national campaign will just result in Labour winning more electorates.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 24, 2014 @ 4:01 pm

  133. “…Sanc: You’re making the mistake that Danyl made a few years ago – assuming that the party vote is largely a product of the quality of the electorate candidate…”

    My thinking is a bit more than just this.

    I have said before, I think in politics style flows from form. Knowing the form your party takes – what doctrine it stands for, how well organised it is, how motivated it is, how much money it has got – informs the style. The style is the quality of your policies, candidates and leadership. To put it another way, if your party doctrine is not understood, accepted, explicitly spelt out and taught then special interest groups will probably ensure the wrong party doctrine is ambiently learnt and the wrong messaging is sent. Further, the more robust is the party form (doctrine) the less guidance the style (candidates) need to stay on message and exercise discipline. Thus, the national campaign and good local (‘good’ as defined by the corporate party goals) candidates do not exist in isolation – they need each other.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 24, 2014 @ 4:48 pm

  134. @joe w / 117: So I think what he said was that the govt was taking property rights of NZ’s largest company, with lots of Mum and Dad shareholders, without proper compensation. That’s not really what you claimed now, is it. 🙂

    Comment by PaulL — September 24, 2014 @ 5:26 pm

  135. PaulL- fuck off, you beady-eyed little jerk.

    Comment by Joe W — September 24, 2014 @ 7:58 pm

  136. “It means swallowing dead rats, presumably in the form of public statements distancing Labour from Cunliffe’s apology for being a man and the ‘man ban’ and gender equity policies.”

    OK: is this more of Shearer characterising women as a “special interest” group? Gee thanks! Though I’m pretty sure that we outnumber by a large margin “Waitakere Man”, another of Labour’s “special interest” groups. Speaking of identity politics…

    If Labour would attract and keep the female vote, it needs to be very careful how it deals with so-called “gender equity” issues. When Shearer was leader, he handled appallingly that ridiculously-named “man ban”. A complete absence of courage: just cringingly embarrassing. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a large chunk of the female constituency decamped right at that point.

    If Labour can’t accommodate progressive issues such as that one, what the hell is the point of its existence?

    Comment by Merrial — September 25, 2014 @ 12:08 am

  137. “When Shearer was leader, he handled appallingly that ridiculously-named “man ban”. ”

    The “man ban” happened after Shearer was removed.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 25, 2014 @ 2:36 am

  138. @ Kalvarnsen: “The “man ban” happened after Shearer was removed.”

    Nope. go check the history.

    Comment by Merrial — September 25, 2014 @ 8:43 am

  139. @ Kalvarnsen: see this http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10895712

    Comment by Merrial — September 25, 2014 @ 8:46 am

  140. When Shearer was leader, he handled appallingly that ridiculously-named “man ban”.

    The party gave him a turd and expected him to polish it for the media – that he failed is hardly surprising. My advice would be, don’t give your party leader a turd and expect him to polish it.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 25, 2014 @ 8:51 am

  141. “The party gave him a turd and expected him to polish it for the media – that he failed is hardly surprising.”

    So attempts at gender equity is a “turd”? Good to know. If you really think any political party can win without 51% of the population good luck to you all. I can’t possibly be the only woman who didn’t vote Labour precisely because of how Shearer et al handled the “man ban”.

    Comment by Boredofbros — September 25, 2014 @ 9:33 am

  142. At some point you might want to ask yourselves why giving up on gender equity is always the first dead rat you guys want to swallow, or we might think that you actually like the taste of it. Some people in this thread sound like they’d eventually third-way “strategise” us right back to removing our ability to vote. Did it ever occur to you that sometimes, *even in politics*, you do something because it’s actually the RIGHT THING to do?

    Comment by dimsie — September 25, 2014 @ 9:49 am

  143. So attempts at gender equity is a “turd”? Good to know. If you really think any political party can win without 51% of the population good luck to you all.

    The problem is that Labour’s gender equity and gender politics (eg. Cunliffe’s apology for being a man) didn’t win them 51% of the population, or even 25% of the population. These seem to be issues on which a small number of voters care a whole awful lot and the majority of voters don’t care much, if at all, or are actually repelled by. If I was Labour I’d be looking really closely at this. They lost at least 100,000 votes to National and NZ First in less than a year and most of them will be older male voters. They literally cannot win, ever unless they win them back, and I suspect that pulling back on gender issues and identity politics will be their first move.

    This will provoke outrage among left-wing activists and they’ll be accused of ‘abandoning the base’ and ‘throwing women under the bus’. And if the 350,000 odd female voters who voted Labour really do care very strongly about these issues then obviously Labour can’t move in that direction. But I suspect they’ll find their base doesn’t care particularly much about identity politics, and instead of upsetting 350,000 members of their base they’ll actually be upsetting 350 people on twitter who mostly don’t vote Labour. It’ll be interesting to watch.

    Comment by danylmc — September 25, 2014 @ 10:00 am

  144. Labour doesn’t have very strong gender equity policies. It pretty much can’t walk them back without becoming actively misogynist, which won’t be much help to anyone.

    Labour’s problem with the gender equity policy wasn’t that people intrinsically hate women’s only shortlists — in the UK, Tony Blair’s Labour used them and won three elections on the go, and David Cameron’s discussed them quite seriously. But when senior Labour MPs go on television, as Shane Jones and Clayton Cosgrove etc did, and attack the party for being loony identity politics obsessed, of course voters are going to think that. It was a massive failure of message discipline, and also just basic political competence.

    (It was also a massive fuck up by the party President and NZ Council, who failed to get the leader and party on board with major changes to the selection process, and ignored warning signs that that wasn’t going to be as simple as passing three remits at quarter past nine on the Sunday of Annual Conference.)

    Comment by Keir — September 25, 2014 @ 10:28 am

  145. Here’s a name for you – Helen Clark.

    Comment by Michael J. Parry — September 25, 2014 @ 10:29 am

  146. At some point you might want to ask yourselves why giving up on gender equity is always the first dead rat you guys want to swallow, or we might think that you actually like the taste of it. Some people in this thread sound like they’d eventually third-way “strategise” us right back to removing our ability to vote. Did it ever occur to you that sometimes, *even in politics*, you do something because it’s actually the RIGHT THING to do?

    That’s a fair question. I guess it seems like its easy for someone like me to advocate against the ‘man ban’ because it doesn’t directly affect me. Mind you, it doesn’t directly affect anyone other than Labour Party candidates. But doing something about child poverty doesn’t affect me either and I still think that’s a good idea.

    And I also think promoting gender equity in Parliament is a really good idea. But my experience discussing quotas and ‘the man ban’ with normal people is that these ideas and Cunliffe’s apology, and the issues around male responsibility for perpetuating misogyny in the wider culture aren’t an argument the left has won, or is coming close to winning, or are even really having with people other than other left-wingers. Sympathetic, intelligent people think these things are completely ridiculous. Totally bizarre. That’s not just a male thing, its an argument that we haven’t made to older female voters either. I’ve talked to colleagues at my university who think the man ban is insane. If your equity policies aren’t winning left-wing female academics then you’re doing something seriously wrong.

    So sure, you can decide to keep advocating for these things because its the right thing to do. But Labour and the left have to change SOMETHING. You can’t suffer a massive, historic defeat and say ‘We’ll keep doing everything we were doing because its the right thing to do.’ If anyone can find a way to win back hundreds of thousands of older, predominantly male voters without compromising on these issues then that’d be great and I’d sign on for that.

    Comment by danylmc — September 25, 2014 @ 10:36 am

  147. @ boredofbros: “I can’t possibly be the only woman who didn’t vote Labour precisely because of how Shearer et al handled the “man ban”.”

    You aren’t.

    Comment by Merrial — September 25, 2014 @ 10:45 am

  148. @ danylmc: “But my experience discussing quotas and ‘the man ban’ with normal people…” Normal people? Really? Good grief…..

    Comment by Merrial — September 25, 2014 @ 10:47 am

  149. Normal people? Really? Good grief…..

    My big lesson on Saturday night is that my political beliefs are not normal or widely shared.

    Comment by danylmc — September 25, 2014 @ 10:53 am

  150. “…ask yourselves why giving up on gender equity is always the first dead rat you guys want to swallow…”

    Time for some hard truths.

    The obsession with things like gender equity and the whole ridiculously obsequious concern for every damn variation on the rainbow theme is what killed feminism as a mainstream movement, and now the same losers who wrecked feminism and reduced it to complete irrelevance have moved on to the mainstream centre left political parties having learnt nothing whatsoever. The main big idea of feminists this past year seems to have been to try and drag the mainstream centre-left political parties into a shit fight over abortion law reform, a fight that feminists are to stupid to work out they’ll lose because basically they are so horrible to engage with and no one likes them very much.

    Gender quotas are a classic example of where social progressives have lost touch with what concerns most NZ women. By and large women are still the primary caregivers in families and the issues that interest them are the ones that affect the welfare of them and their families. Man bans don’t put food on the table of 250,000 hungry children. Providing enough money to women who are struggling to feed their families is a bigger electoral issue to most women than Labour’s gender quotas. Cheap and safe childcare, paid parental leave, and education are issues women with children care about. Young women don’t want to talk about gender quotas, they want assurances they’ll be treated equally, paid the same and are safe on the streets.

    I’d love to see feminists in the paper because they are in the forefront of issues like child poverty rather than having Anna Samways rolling her eyes at their attempts to ensure some cash-strapped suburban public library has a transgender lavatory installed. If feminist women want to know why their “issues” are the first that get thrown under the bus, they only need to find a mirror to see the answer.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 25, 2014 @ 10:53 am

  151. Feminsim isn’t dead as a mass movement. The most popular pop star in the whole world is a feminist etc etc. Class based analyses of politics are dead in mass terms.

    In reality, Labour’s problems with gender equity were, as I say above, that they were the locus for horrendous ill-discipline and miss-management, and offered a chance for opportunist right wing MPs to attack their own party. If the party had handled the man ban issue effectively, it wouldn’t have been the same train wreck it was. It’s a tier two issue on your hierarchy, not a tier four one, which is where you seem to want to place it.

    Comment by Keir — September 25, 2014 @ 11:04 am

  152. “…Feminsim isn’t dead as a mass movement…”

    yes it is, unless your definition of feminism is so broad as to become meaningless in the context of this discussion.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 25, 2014 @ 11:08 am

  153. Feminism isn’t dead, unless you don’t understand what it is. Then by definition it’s dead, because you can’t see what you don’t know exists.

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — September 25, 2014 @ 11:12 am

  154. @ danylmc: “I’ve talked to colleagues at my university who think the man ban is insane”

    If you don’t mind me asking – what was your response? Did you try and talk to them about why this idea had been proposed and why it’s a good thing to actively promote gender equity, or just accept what they said and move on? Because it seems to me that one of the big issues that isn’t being discussed in the wake of Saturday is the extent to which ‘the Left’ constantly concedes and allows ‘the Right’ to define what constitutes the political centre. When those sort of issues come up you don’t just have a choice between a) treating their views as written in stone and deciding to stop advocating progressive policies, or b) disregarding them as some sort of bigot. What those of us who believe in progressive ideas should be doing at an individual level is *making the case* for these policies, so that the ‘normal voters’ you talk to think that trying to ensure women have an equal voice in our democratic structures is just part of sensible mainstream politics.

    Comment by NBH — September 25, 2014 @ 11:14 am

  155. Oh, FFS. WOMEN ARE NOT identities. They are women. The reason you are so willing to throw them under the bus is that you don’t give a shit.

    Here’s how you handle the “man ban”

    “We’re actively trying to do something to get women into parliament. We think that’s important and would be good for the country. What is National doing towards that goal? Nothing. If you don’t believe women are important members of our society, you know who to vote for. We don’t want your vote.”

    On the apology:

    “The Labour Party is committed to ending violence against women. Part of doing that is acknowledging that men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators and enablers of that violence. When John Key does that, we’ll line up behind any policy he proposes.”

    The problem isn’t the “identity politics”, it’s that no one saw the reaction coming and let the right wing walk all over them. Especially after the apology, they should have had a line like that ready. But they didn’t because they’re too busy listening to advice from idiots like you.

    Comment by Boredofbros — September 25, 2014 @ 11:19 am

  156. “…The problem isn’t the “identity politics”, it’s that no one saw the reaction coming and let the right wing walk all over them. Especially after the apology, they should have had a line like that ready. But they didn’t because they’re too busy listening to advice from idiots like you….”

    Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I rest my case.

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 25, 2014 @ 11:21 am

  157. @Joe W: thanks for your thoughtful contribution.

    Comment by PaulL — September 25, 2014 @ 11:47 am

  158. Oh, FFS. WOMEN ARE NOT identities. They are women.

    This is where it breaks – women are ‘identities’ as are brown people, gay people, disabled people, carnie folk etc. because they aren’t white blokes of an age.
    Which is Danyl’s point (I think) – because white blokes of an age get to set the terms of reference/political narrative (of who is ‘them’ and who is ‘other’), anyone ‘other’ is merely a flavour of ‘identity’ to a greater of lesser extent.
    This narrative is so pervasive that it leaks into sections of the ‘other’ with different effects based on their proximity to the ideal of white blokes of an age – which is why you see white women of an age towing the line because the belief coincides with their class interests, if not their interests (or interests of their daughters) as women.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 25, 2014 @ 11:59 am

  159. If you don’t mind me asking – what was your response? Did you try and talk to them about why this idea had been proposed and why it’s a good thing to actively promote gender equity, or just accept what they said and move on?

    I gotta admit, nowadays I usually just listen to people when they talk to me about politics in person. So, when people tell me that ‘both sides do it’ in relation to dirty politics, or that global warming is a hoax or that they think gender quotes are silly because ‘the best person should get the job’, I almost always just listen instead of arguing back, the reasons being (a) that I’m more interested in finding out what people really think about these things, and (b) in many, many years of arguing about these things I’ve never seen anyone change anyone’s mind. For the record I think that gender quotes are a good idea for political parties but that the ‘man ban’ was pretty stupid. But as we all learned on Saturday there’s a big difference between what I think is a good idea and what the huge majority of voters think is a good idea.

    Comment by danylmc — September 25, 2014 @ 12:07 pm

  160. My big lesson on Saturday night is that my political beliefs are not normal or widely shared.

    Exactly. We (lefties with an interest in politics) are not “normal people,” which is why proposing women-only candidate selections can be simultaneously “doing the right thing” and “giving your party leader a turd to polish.” There’s nothing to be ashamed of in doing the right thing even if normal people find it ridiculous, but if you do that you’d better be prepared for life as a minor party. Major parties have to appeal to normal people, not just us.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 25, 2014 @ 12:23 pm

  161. Here’s how you handle the “man ban”

    You reject it at the point it’s proposed, on the bases that your party is enjoying high support among women but very little support among men, that it would make your party even less popular among men while giving Paddy, Tova and Brook days’ worth of making your party leader look like the plaything of radical leftists, and that your aim is to appeal to a huge number of ‘normal people’, not a small number of activists with twitter accounts.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 25, 2014 @ 12:30 pm

  162. Maybe I’m one of the awful feminists you all rail on, but it is mind-boggling to me that you all think that good handling of issues that affect literally half of the population would make Labour a minor party*.

    Not only that, but has already been pointed out, sometimes politicians have to do things because they are the right thing to do. Fwiw, I think the man ban policy was a terrible way to achieve anything, but the way it was handled showed the kind of dismissiveness of women you expect from MRA blogs. Or the comments here and at The Standard. I don’t for a second believe that that lost them the election, or that you’re wrong that this bizarre notion of “middle New Zealand” believes different things are important to me. But the Labour Party can and never will win without women’s support.

    * actually more than half, but this really isn’t the forum to be dropping the word Intersectionality.

    Comment by Boredofbros — September 25, 2014 @ 12:39 pm

  163. Maybe I’m one of the awful feminists you all rail on, but it is mind-boggling to me that you all think that good handling of issues that affect literally half of the population would make Labour a minor party*.

    I can’t believe that the good handling of environmental issues that affect literally the entire population makes the Greens a minor party, but there it is.

    Comment by danylmc — September 25, 2014 @ 12:41 pm

  164. “I can’t believe that the good handling of environmental issues that affect literally the entire population makes the Greens a minor party, but there it is.”

    It’s not the good handling of environmental issues that’s the problem there. It’s the consistent media representation of environment/economy as a binary opposition that’s ingrained in the voting public. If you’re pro-environment, you’re anti-technology. You’re a Luddite with no credible alternatives who wants an economy based on basket weaving and a chicken barter system. If you’re pro-public transport, you’re anti-roads. And if you’re anti-roads, you’re against the thing that people perceive as breathing life into the economy. If you’re anti-mining or anti-drilling, you’re anti-fossil fuels, which is how everyone gets around, and therefore you’re anti-people and goods moving around the place, and anti-economy.

    So it’s not that the Greens believe in good handling of environmental issues. It’s that they both present and are represented by a binary opposition that presents itself in terms of the environment. It’s also presents itself in areas of gender, sexuality, race and nationality.

    I didn’t hear the Greens tell people exactly how they would deal with the move away from fossil fuels. I didn’t hear them tell tradies and manufacturers that there’d be jobs in fabricating and building wind farms. I didn’t hear them earmark funds for R&D into new vehicle technologies that use less fossil fuel. I didn’t hear them say things that ordinary people who really care about the environment want to hear: we’re pro-technology, we’re pro-independence of movement, we can see something moving into the future that retains the car you love. I didn’t hear a moderated stance on much.

    I read the policy. But none of this was said. If they’d have said, we’re going to put money into R&D in NZ so we can start building and exporting the next generation of electric cars, people might have listened. If they’d have said, we want a balanced policy with effective public transport options and upgrading existing road systems to cope with this, people might have listened. If they’d have said, let’s face it, we need to mine some stuff somewhere, otherwise we wouldn’t be tweeting policies about child poverty, and we need a balanced and safe approach to that – that might have been closer to what’s realistic and closer to what the public want to hear. Middle of the road, evolutionary stuff. Not talk of moratoriums without alternatives. That brings everyone back to the 1990s and the GMO stuff.

    They didn’t say anything like that. There’s no policy specifics. So vote Green becomes, “Ummm… yeah, vote for this vaguely confusing policy on Green tech that doesn’t do enough to defend ourselves against the calls that we’re Luddite extremists.”

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — September 25, 2014 @ 1:13 pm

  165. @Boredofbros “I can’t possibly be the only woman who didn’t vote Labour precisely because of how Shearer et al handled the “man ban”.

    But how did you vote because of how Shearer et al handled the “man ban”.

    Comment by RJL — September 25, 2014 @ 1:39 pm

  166. You’ll pardon me if I think “old white guys don’t like it, whaddareyagonna do?” is a pretty pathetic abdication of responsibility on Labour supporters’ part. So Labour’s just the party of the principle-free shrug now, is it? Terrific.

    Comment by dimsie — September 25, 2014 @ 2:25 pm

  167. Can i just point out that the actual members of the party commenting here appear to be sticking up for the “let’s not throw women under the bus” side of things? It’s hardly Labour’s fault that Sanctuary use us an excuse for being a reactionary.

    Comment by Keir — September 25, 2014 @ 2:30 pm

  168. You’ll pardon me if I think “old white guys don’t like it, whaddareyagonna do?” is a pretty pathetic abdication of responsibility on Labour supporters’ part. So Labour’s just the party of the principle-free shrug now, is it? Terrific.

    Well firstly I’m not a Labour supporter. Secondly, if issues like gender quotes are so, so important to female voters then why did only 300,000 women vote for Labour while about 450,000 voted for National? My contention is that the people who claim to speak for all women on this issue do not, and that instead of ‘throwing women under the bus’, reversing position on this issue is something that the majority of female voters will either welcome or be indifferent to. I personally think this is a form of false consciousness, but political parties cannot campaign on a platform of telling the voters that they’re all simply wrong in their beliefs.

    Comment by danylmc — September 25, 2014 @ 2:33 pm

  169. The other point I’d make here, is that something I’ve learned from knowing MPs and senior staffers is that politics is often about making shitty, horrible decisions. They don’t call it ‘The art of compromise’ for nothing. If you move to the left and lose hundreds of thousands of voters you don’t get to say ‘We’ll get all those center voters back but without doing anything that upsets our left-wing activists.’

    Comment by danylmc — September 25, 2014 @ 2:39 pm

  170. I’m not a Labour supporter either (although the aftermath of this election is making me rather regret my strategic vote for a Labour candidate in a safe National seat). I think you’re creating an argument that doesn’t exist in order to dismantle it: where are the women in this thread contending that they speak for “all women”? (Actually, where the fuck are ANY women in this thread, but that’s another issue.) As someone said upthread, it’s a question of redefining and expressing the message of the centre-left, not just throwing up your hands because Oh Well, Everyone Agrees With National Now. We had a pay equity office before the Nats abolished it: people at large *did* (and probably still do, truth be told) give a shit about women’s issues. Within the last decade, even!

    Comment by dimsie — September 25, 2014 @ 2:52 pm

  171. I wish you’d stop using “left-wing activists” as if it’s some sort of argument-ending pejorative. The activists are the people who actually get shit done.

    Comment by dimsie — September 25, 2014 @ 2:53 pm

  172. where the fuck are ANY women in this thread

    Lots of women who comment on this blog have non-gender identifying names because the internet is basically awful.

    Comment by danylmc — September 25, 2014 @ 2:59 pm

  173. “Lots of women who comment on this blog have non-gender identifying names because the internet is basically awful.”

    The irony, I can’t fucking bear it.

    Comment by Boredofbros — September 25, 2014 @ 3:07 pm

  174. “I can’t believe that the good handling of environmental issues that affect literally the entire population makes the Greens a minor party, but there it is.”

    So they should abandon the attempt?

    Comment by Boredofbros — September 25, 2014 @ 3:09 pm

  175. Amid all this, I think it’d be more valuable to get a sample of the soft National/non-voters and ask whether they were scared off Labour by a unilateral and comprehensive left-ward shift that Labour explicitly telegraphed in all its policy stances and announcements, or whether they were scared off Labour because it they saw a wavering leader fronting a caucus that’s at a generous guess 60% incompetent, most of which completely despise and undermine each other. You can argue the metrics and the positioning of the former all you like, but having seen a campaign by that terrible right-winger Goff and a campaign by that handwringing left-winger Cunliffe each in full tilt now, I think the second reason is more likely.

    Similarly – I’m not convinced that we’re seeing a ideological fight for the soul of the Labour party take place in caucus right now so much as the convergence/divergence of some truly despicable personalities. The purge of some of them couldn’t hurt.

    Comment by Joe — September 25, 2014 @ 3:20 pm

  176. PaulL #134: You see private property rights. I see neo-feudalist coercive monopoly.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — September 25, 2014 @ 3:30 pm

  177. #175: Too right. A sizeable chunk of the current Labour caucus – some of whom served under David Lange – simply don’t know when to quit, and they’re crowding out younger talent with fresh ideas.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — September 25, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

  178. So they should abandon the attempt?

    I’m pretty sure that if you asked the people who did vote Green if they care about the environment they would say ‘Yes!’ So throwing the environment under the bus probably isn’t a winning strategy. If, say, the Greens cleaning up rivers policy was hugely contentious and helped lose them loads of votes to other parties, then they should look at ‘throwing rivers under the bus.’ It’d be a huge shame but politics isn’t a system in which you get to do whatever you want all the time with no consequences.

    Comment by danylmc — September 25, 2014 @ 3:36 pm

  179. Maybe if Labour was attending to other identities as well eg white working class men, there’d be less of a problem with their focus on women, gays etc. Working class men and women got screwed by Labour for 3 long decades now. Best make amends, but you don’t have to give up other people’s rights and needs to do that.

    Comment by weka — September 25, 2014 @ 3:59 pm

  180. @danylmc If, say, the Greens cleaning up rivers policy was hugely contentious and helped lose them loads of votes to other parties, then they should look at ‘throwing rivers under the bus.’

    Or at least not vocally *and* badly campaigning on it.

    Same thing with Labour and the “man ban” (and any number of other policies). If Labour has ambitions of being a major party, then whatever policies it makes the centrepieces of its campaigns have to win more votes than they lose.

    Things that are merely good ideas and (at least an arguable variation on) the right thing to do, like the “man ban”, have to either be done not at all, or have to be presented in a disciplined co-ordinated fashion that leaves no room for the likes of DPF to scream “man ban!1!!1!!”

    Comment by RJL — September 25, 2014 @ 4:03 pm

  181. You could probably stop calling it the “man ban” now. I don’t know where that came from, but it’s contrary to the policy’s intentions and it probably came from National’s press office.

    “All women shortlists” is the name they’re given in the civilised world. That is, the part of the world that isn’t run by two giant tabloids fed by sewer bloggers.

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — September 25, 2014 @ 4:13 pm

  182. “As someone said upthread, it’s a question of redefining and expressing the message of the centre-left, not just throwing up your hands because Oh Well, Everyone Agrees With National Now.”

    I don’t think anybody’s arguing that Labour should abandon women, simply that it should try to look at alternative, less voter-unfriendly ways to help women. Having said that, I think you’re right. The problem with the “man ban” has nothing to do with the policy itself – the Greens have an even more rigid gender quota and they don’t get attacked for it. I think the very fact that we’re all using the term “man ban”, which was invented by the media, to discuss this issue is revealing. Labour face a media environment which is basically hostile, and the worst thing they can do is to try to rearrange their policies to satisfy a media which has the fairly obvious goal of keeping them out of government. It’s like changing your haircut because the school bully tells you it looks dumb.

    “I wish you’d stop using “left-wing activists” as if it’s some sort of argument-ending pejorative. The activists are the people who actually get shit done.”

    The irony is Danyl actually is a left-wing activist, since he volunteers for the Greens. He probably doesn’t regard himself this way though.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 25, 2014 @ 4:24 pm

  183. gosh. Loudly campaigning on something you believe in. Wouldn’t that be a sight to see? Especially if it had anything to do with women, Maori and Pasifika people, GLBT, and other minorities.

    As long as the country stays moderately ok for white men, the rest of us should just shut up about wanting any kind of representation. Maybe I’m just naive in thinking politicians should actually stand for something.

    As for campaigning badly, RJL, I think you’ll find that’s the point I was making.

    Comment by Boredofbros — September 25, 2014 @ 4:25 pm

  184. The weird irony of all this is that an all women shortlist only really effects people who want to be candidates. Seeing as Labour wasn’t proposing an all women shortlist in every single electorate, only a select few to attempt to manage the gender imbalance, it doesn’t matter to most of the electorate.

    Unfortunately, it wasn’t about the men and women wanting to run for political office. It became about men and women in general, and most of the people outraged or amused by it probably a) didn’t want to run for office, b) didn’t want to run for office for Labour, and c) didn’t end up voting Labour.

    So by positioning it as a “man ban”, instead of “all women shortlists”, some clever rhyming scheme parroted near and far turns it into a dastardly affirmative action scheme that unfairly targets men in general, rather than just the prospective male candidates who are probably going to be okay with it, as it doesn’t diminish their ability to be selected in general or get onto the party list.

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — September 25, 2014 @ 4:33 pm

  185. @Chris “…it’s contrary to the policy’s intentions and it probably came from National’s press office.”

    Exactly the point. National’s response via the sewer was entirely predictable. The policy *was* a good idea, but Labour should have had a better plan to communicate it (and shouldn’t have had its own MPs attack the policy).

    Comment by RJL — September 25, 2014 @ 4:35 pm

  186. As long as the country stays moderately ok for white men, the rest of us should just shut up about wanting any kind of representation.

    You’re shadowboxing, Boredofbros.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 25, 2014 @ 4:50 pm

  187. I’m not sure, but I think Danyl just likened me to a polluted waterway.

    Comment by dimsie — September 25, 2014 @ 4:55 pm

  188. @dimsie: If you think that’s bad, search the archives of this blog for “Slutwalk”.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 25, 2014 @ 4:59 pm

  189. It’s not shadowboxing to note that whenever Labour has a crisis the usual suspects come out of the woodwork to discuss how being more inclusive just isn’t *practical* because whichever voter they’re chasing that week “doesn’t like it”. Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s lovely that so many people have the luxury of distantly opining on how impractical it is to include women in representative numbers. You go on with your bad selves. But don’t expect us not to mock you for it.

    Comment by dimsie — September 25, 2014 @ 5:02 pm

  190. whenever Labour has a crisis the usual suspects come out of the woodwork to discuss how being more inclusive just isn’t *practical* because whichever voter they’re chasing that week “doesn’t like it”.

    Maybe the people saying that are right and this is yet another of many depressing instances in which the left has lost the argument, or at least is a long, long away from winning it, and we have to compromise with the people because that’s what politics is. It is totally absurd to say that this is the only, or first, or even in the top twenty issues in which the left needs to compromise to be popular. is the distribution of wealth in our economy remotely fair? Are the resources devoted to childhood poverty adequate? Do you think Labour’s environmental policies are everything they should be? Or are they just a compromise between good intentions and political reality, and pretty much as good as they can be while still trying to appeal to enough voters to try and win?

    Comment by danylmc — September 25, 2014 @ 5:30 pm

  191. Dimsie, you keep saying “us” and expecting us to believe you speak for all women. But the election is clear, most women don’t like what Labour is doing. Just because you like the policy, doesn’t mean other women do.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — September 25, 2014 @ 5:30 pm

  192. Oh COME ON. You don’t get to have it both ways, Danyl: you can’t *immediately* bring up gender equity in your post as one of the first dead rats we all have to swallow so Labour can win back its voters, and then 189 comments later decide it’s not that important an issue, actually. So which is it? Is it a top priority or waaaaay down the list of ways in which Labour’s going to continue to suck? I’m all ears.

    Comment by dimsie — September 25, 2014 @ 5:37 pm

  193. I don’t think gender equality is something that needs to be swallowed. I think what needs to happen is that instead of trying to defend internal party policies to outsiders, Labour should be dealing with it internally and doing what they want with their own party. If a mouthy old misogynist diplodocus with a safe electorate seat wants to go public about his gender being unfairly maligned, he can. But the policy of chasing gender equality shouldn’t be put to one side because someone doesn’t like it. They should be putting that person to one side.

    Shane Jones, by the way. This is the moany old misogynist windbag I’m thinking of. If someone is stepping out of the party line and whining to the media about internal party policy they should be kicked out before they leave at a very embarrassing juncture that looks very bad for everyone involved. Which actually happened.

    Labour – no leadership.

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — September 25, 2014 @ 5:47 pm

  194. Oh COME ON. You don’t get to have it both ways, Danyl: you can’t *immediately* bring up gender equity in your post as one of the first dead rats we all have to swallow so Labour can win back its voters, and then 189 comments later decide it’s not that important an issue, actually. So which is it? Is it a top priority or waaaaay down the list of ways in which Labour’s going to continue to suck? I’m all ears.

    Not sure why I’m still bothering to argue in good faith here, but what the fuck. It is *I think* the primary area in which the party ‘got out in front’ of the electorate. Parties do that. The Greens did it with their quantitative easing policy, and no, before you soapbox this analogy I’m not saying that ‘women are like printing presses’ or whatever, I’m just comparing the two policies as examples of doing the right thing but misjudging public support. The Greens ditched quantitative easing and I guess if someone wanted to be a dick about it you could scream that ‘The Greens threw the people of Christchurch under a bus!!!’ Actually they just made an argument, lost it, admitted it to themselves and moved onto other stuff.

    This happens ALL THE TIME but you happen to care about THIS issue so you have a form of selection bias and see it as being the first and only thing that left wing parties compromise on, or are called to compromise on, when all political parties compromise on stuff on a constant basis.

    Comment by danylmc — September 25, 2014 @ 5:59 pm

  195. @Chris: That’s all very well, but Labour’s rules actually make it very hard for the leader to just kick out people zhe doesn’t like. It’s not a matter of a lack of leadership.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 25, 2014 @ 6:01 pm

  196. @Danyl: Seriously, stop. You’re embarassing yourself.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 25, 2014 @ 6:02 pm

  197. The polluted waterway thing? Was a joke. You know those, right? They’re these things you make to lighten the mood. Even feminists make them, sometimes! Shocking, I know.

    Again: I’m not objecting to political compromise (Labour isn’t my party, remember). I’m objecting to this being one of the *first things* people bring up as something to compromise with. YOU YOURSELF did that. I am mocking you for it. (And yes, of course I care about this issue: I’m a woman, and I’d like women to be treated equally. You’re acting like I’m overemphasising my favourite hobby or something.)

    Comment by dimsie — September 25, 2014 @ 6:10 pm

  198. I’m objecting to this being one of the *first things* people bring up as something to compromise with. YOU YOURSELF did that.

    As I’ve said before I’m WIDE open to suggestions. You’re Labour. You need policies or reversals to win back 100,000 older, conservative voters from National and New Zealand First. You can’t do ANYTHING that might upset your base. Go!

    Comment by danylmc — September 25, 2014 @ 6:14 pm

  199. Labour already ditched the vast majority of the equity provisions.

    Comment by Keir — September 25, 2014 @ 6:15 pm

  200. @kalvarnsen

    I don’t think it’s a matter of kicking them out – poor phrasing on my part. Start with demotion. Noisy backbenchers are part of the business. As long as they’re only nominally tied to the party, they can say what they like.

    “We are glad that Mr. X is making his feelings known from the backbenches. We encourage healthy debate, and the issue of all women shortlists needs that kind of robust discussion to take place.”

    The poor leadership part is allowing it to become a divisive issue within the shadow cabinet, and worse, capitulating over a squeaky wheel.

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — September 25, 2014 @ 6:26 pm

  201. Labour already ditched the vast majority of the equity provisions.

    If and when Labour perform a reversal it will basically be rhetorical; a signal that they aren’t going to obsess over identity issues any more rather than a big policy change.

    Comment by danylmc — September 25, 2014 @ 6:27 pm

  202. “Labour already ditched the vast majority of the equity provisions.”

    Uh, yeah. Which is why it’s pretty telling that gender equity is everyone’s go-to. One might almost start to wonder if there’s some sort of… unconscious bias there?

    “policies or reversals to win back 100,000 older, conservative voters from National and New Zealand First”

    Anecdata: the reasons my elderly mother votes NZ First are pretty much a mystery to me (sigh), but I’ll tell you one thing: it’s NOT because she objected to Labour’s gender equity policies. She might be old, but she’s also a feminist. I think painting all the voters Labour lost with the same “they hate social justice policies!” brush is silly.

    Comment by dimsie — September 25, 2014 @ 6:27 pm

  203. My mum would say she’s a feminist. She’d also say she thinks gender quotas are a bad idea because people should get in ‘on their own merits’. I think she’s wrong, that the lack of diversity in Parliament indicates people aren’t getting in on their merits, they’re getting in because they’re white men, and that gender quotes are a good way to solve that, yadda yadda yadda, but she doesn’t accept that argument and the realpolitik seems to be that a LOT more people out there think she’s right and I’m wrong.

    Comment by danylmc — September 25, 2014 @ 6:38 pm

  204. “If and when Labour perform a reversal it will basically be rhetorical; a signal that they aren’t going to obsess over identity issues any more rather than a big policy change.”

    They very actively and openly didn’t adopt the policy. How the hell are they going to reverse it now? By appealing even more to the people who already didn’t vote for them?

    Comment by Boredofbros — September 25, 2014 @ 6:43 pm

  205. Like I said in my very first comment, Labour and its associated punditry can realpolitikingly third-way themselves right back into whatever retrograde place in the gender equity spectrum they find convenient to satisfy their own biases. I’m going to find it a sexist, offensive, wrongheaded and ultimately mockable strategy. And never the twain shall meet, I suppose.

    Comment by dimsie — September 25, 2014 @ 6:51 pm

  206. If they fire their entire comms team and get a new leader, make their own decisions about what happens to parties and refuse to be drawn on party policy and release the kraken on anyone who dares deviate from the party line, they might actually get to do what they want.

    The most irrelevant thing you could possibly ever hear about a candidate in an election would be “THEY HAVE ALL WOMEN SHORTLISTS.” I guarantee that any opposing politician would be extremely scared of opening that Pandora’s box of attack politics. It’s fine when it’s a general policy, but a good comms team could put an opposition politician on very shaky ground, very quickly by going down that route when there’s an actual candidate sitting there.

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — September 25, 2014 @ 6:55 pm

  207. …Labour and its associated punditry can realpolitikingly third-way themselves right back into whatever retrograde place in the gender equity spectrum they find convenient to satisfy their own biases. I’m going to find it a sexist, offensive, wrongheaded and ultimately mockable strategy.

    I guess if they were people of your own unbending ideological purity they could take up positions that would satisfy you, who doesn’t vote for them, and settle for being a minor party. Those of us who’d rather not have National governments in perpetuity hope they will instead compromise with more mainstream opinions – a less ideologically satisfactory but more practically useful approach to take.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 25, 2014 @ 7:07 pm

  208. Sure: sticking by a minor gender equity policy is the stuff of “unbending ideological purity”. You can see why I think this thread is a bit silly, right?

    Comment by dimsie — September 25, 2014 @ 7:12 pm

  209. Also (the children I’m not supposed to have as a feminist just interrupted me, sorry), what’s the point of being dragged further and further to the right via “compromise” anyway? Aren’t they the LABOUR party? Where is their line in the sand, for pete’s sake?

    Comment by dimsie — September 25, 2014 @ 7:16 pm

  210. I think the line in the sand is at the corner of Pragmatism and Doesn’t Affect Me.

    But this shouldn’t be surprising in a culture where principles are badly spelled headteachers.

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — September 25, 2014 @ 7:19 pm

  211. “My mum would say she’s a feminist. She’d also say she thinks gender quotas are a bad idea because people should get in ‘on their own merits’”

    Does it stop her voting Labour?

    Comment by weka — September 25, 2014 @ 7:38 pm

  212. “Secondly, if issues like gender quotes are so, so important to female voters then why did only 300,000 women vote for Labour while about 450,000 voted for National?”

    Because they look like a credible government, which is, actually, perfectly consistent with women-only shortlists? I think the fact that gender quotas demonstrably *aren’t* that important to voters is part of the reason that some women in this thread think it’s ridiculous that that is the thing that is the first port of call for “Labour must drop all policies and campaigning in this area”. The National Party has gotten onside with “identity politics” (ugh), like marriage equality (I mean, of course they didn’t have the courage to bring it up, but they’ve happily taken credit for it from young people), and they’re still perceived as being an effective government and votable-for. Obviously.

    If the issue is that Labour as a party has to be seen to stand for more than women-only shortlists in Labour electorate candidate selection, who could argue with that? But you don’t have to ditch the policy in order to be seen to stand for more than that, you just have to actually stand for more than that and coherently articulate that.

    Comment by T — September 25, 2014 @ 8:35 pm

  213. …what’s the point of being dragged further and further to the right via “compromise” anyway?

    It depends on how interested you are in being a party with a vote share in the mid-30s and upwards, rather than the mid-20s and falling. The overwhelming majority of the population is to the right of us – feel free to tell ’em fuck, but only if you’re willing to do without their votes.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 25, 2014 @ 8:41 pm

  214. “The overwhelming majority of the population is to the right of us – feel free to tell ‘em fuck, but only if you’re willing to do without their votes.”

    But if you have to sell out the ideals your party professes to hold, what’s the point of winning? “Labour: not quite as shit as the other guys.” It’s not a very rousing campaign slogan.

    Comment by Boredofbros — September 25, 2014 @ 11:11 pm

  215. I think Psycho Milt is suggesting something called populism. Fuck principles, give us power.

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — September 25, 2014 @ 11:19 pm

  216. @ danylmc: “… my political beliefs are not normal or widely shared.” In virtue of what should you conclude that it’s your beliefs that aren’t normal? Time was, normal people accepted slavery and apartheid as normal. That they don’t now is as a consequence of the efforts of many activists, who were frequently reviled by those “normal” people. Until they weren’t, of course, when views about such issues shifted in wider society. Consider what Lord Shaftesbury accomplished in relation to changes in child labour laws in 19th century Britain: laws that most of his contemporaries saw as unexceptionable.Until he succeeded in changing them.

    @ rjl: “.. or have to be presented in a disciplined co-ordinated fashion that leaves no room for the likes of DPF to scream “man ban!1!!1!!””
    This is exactly my beef with how Shearer handled that issue. He allowed Farrar and the many-legged one to make the running on it, without any attempt, as far as I could see, to front-foot it. The pusillanimity of his response was breathtaking; I’ll bet he lost a big chunk of the female vote right then and there. Contrast that with the UK Tory David Cameron’s bold and decisive move:-

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/10969774/Conservative-cabinet-reshuffle-David-Cameron-targets-women-and-Ukip.html

    @ psycho milt: “Those of us who’d rather not have National governments in perpetuity hope they will instead compromise with more mainstream opinions – a less ideologically satisfactory but more practically useful approach to take.” But what would attract voters back to Labour, if it’s simply the other lot, with the same – or sameish – policy platform but with different faces? Were you thinking that perhaps after being elected, Labour would sneak in policies that it hadn’t actually campaigned on? Like the 1984 Labour government, for instance; or the current administration and charter schools in the previous term.

    @ sanctuary: “By and large women are still the primary caregivers in families………. Providing enough money to women who are struggling to feed their families is a bigger electoral issue to most women…… Cheap and safe childcare, paid parental leave, and education are issues women with children care about. Young women don’t want to talk about gender quotas, they want assurances they’ll be treated equally, paid the same and are safe on the streets.”
    These are feminist issues, actually; along with access to safe, effective contraception. The problem with the ridiculously-named man ban was not the proposal, but Labour’s ineptness in managing it, as others here have pointed out.

    As I recall, abortion law reform was a Green policy. It’s well overdue and I was very pleased to see at least some politicians with the courage to tackle it. I can’t see Labour having the guts to take it on, given Shearer’s craven cowardice over gender equity proposals.

    Comment by Merrial — September 26, 2014 @ 12:01 am

  217. I say fuck to sweating all this small stuff, the navel gazing most here seem to be doing & other BS. The focus has to be on stopping the TPPA. Wake up guys!

    Comment by flotsy — September 26, 2014 @ 1:00 am

  218. “along with access to safe, effective contraception. ”
    Shit, we haven’t cracked this one yet?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — September 26, 2014 @ 4:01 am

  219. But what would attract voters back to Labour, if it’s simply the other lot, with the same – or sameish – policy platform but with different faces?

    What attracted voters to Labour when it thrashed National in similar fashion to this year’s election, back in 2002? It wasn’t due to Labour’s staunch commitment to the values of the tiny number of leftists who might vote for one of the major parties (for instance, I voted Alliance or Green while Labour was in power), it was down to having a capable leader and the impression of a disciplined team behind her, rather than the bickering and backstabbing that was afflicting the National Party. Those things come way ahead of policies in determining how most people vote. Clark’s dominant position over National in 2002 meant she could have gone with a policy of women-only selection in some electorates without much difficulty – Shearer’s position as the leader of the unpopular bickerers and back-stabbers meant a policy of women-only selection in some electorates was going to be swooped on by the media and paraded as a further example of foolishness. Think of political reporting in terms of high-school bullying – you can’t do much to the popular kids, but you can entertain yourself all you like making the unpopular ones’ lives a misery.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 26, 2014 @ 6:33 am

  220. It’s not shadowboxing to note that whenever Labour has a crisis the usual suspects come out of the woodwork to discuss how being more inclusive just isn’t *practical* because whichever voter they’re chasing that week “doesn’t like it”.

    Dimsie – No, but it is shadowboxing (or at least, a dishonest rhetorical device) to write “As long as the country stays moderately ok for white men, the rest of us should just shut up about wanting any kind of representation.” when no-one is seriously contending this.

    It’s a shitty situation but it is a political reality – if a political platform can be built on this narrative then great. But 700k people don’t even get out to vote, let alone care about gender representation in Parliament.
    And of the people that do vote, clearly this issue is not on the radar as a defining one (notwithstanding how the issue has been framed whcich is why it got no traction.)

    But, if gender representation in Parliament is a defining issue for you then you have an opportunity to express that by becoming a member of and voting for a party that does espouse those values and secondly, by encouraging everyone you know to do the same.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 26, 2014 @ 9:04 am

  221. “What attracted voters to Labour when it thrashed National in similar fashion to this year’s election, back in 2002? It wasn’t due to Labour’s staunch commitment to the values of the tiny number of leftists who might vote for one of the major parties (for instance, I voted Alliance or Green while Labour was in power), it was down to having a capable leader and the impression of a disciplined team behind her, rather than the bickering and backstabbing that was afflicting the National Party.”

    This [apart from the voting thing].

    Adding my needless two cents I think what Labour need to do at this point is not to ditch this policy or that platform. it’s to elect a leader that is untainted by the political backstabbing of the last two terms, has a proven record in parliament, proven record of building cross party consensus, can stand in stack contrast to John Key and when looking at the 2014 election results came out well. The caucus also needs to come out behind that leader %100.

    I happen to think that should be Lousia Wall but too many folks like those up post from here will call this identity politics even though she is plainly the best person for the job.

    Comment by Michael J. Parry — September 26, 2014 @ 9:16 am

  222. I would like to see clear policies defined now, CGT, Welfare, Minimum wage, housing, Child care, Job Creation, Economy, Foreign Policy etc etc then we have costed definitive policies that are known, understood, and all pitfalls and legal niceties are resolved now. Then we have a solid platform of quality policies to fight for. Chopping and changing policies, not understanding CGT, not knowing figures of minimum wage, changing minimum wage all combined to make Labour look a bunch of incompetents unfit for government.

    Comment by Tom D — September 26, 2014 @ 9:20 am

  223. Someone cleverer than I am noted to me yesterday that gender equity in government isn’t just a question of winning women’s votes: it actually leads to measurably better outcomes for women (and the children we seem to be looking after by default). And if Labour was a halfway decent party right now they’d be able to sell it on that basis. But, y’know, keep on characterising it as a dead rat. It seems convenient for some of you.

    “Were you thinking that perhaps after being elected, Labour would sneak in policies that it hadn’t actually campaigned on?”

    Imagine all the leftist policies they’ll be able to enact once they’re back in government, having transformed themselves into the exact opposite of everything they used to stand for! OH WAIT.

    Comment by dimsie — September 26, 2014 @ 9:40 am

  224. Ohh, identity politics:

    “The Labour Party is committed to ending violence against women. Part of doing that is acknowledging that men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators and enablers of that violence. When John Key does that, we’ll line up behind any policy he proposes.”

    That will never happen, because it goes against the identity politics of the right. The left never seems to understand that the right plays identity politics too with the same motivations.

    Just as the left acknowledges the above factoid, the right counters with the factoid that the main perpetrators and enablers of violence are recidivist violent prone criminals.

    The right blames 2% of the population and says men are blameless. The left says men (50% of the population) need to acknowledge their enabling and that crime is caused by society. Both are equally truthy, but on a numbers breakdown the right clearly wins.

    Comment by unaha-closp — September 26, 2014 @ 10:26 am

  225. @ clunking fist: ““along with access to safe, effective contraception. ”
    Shit, we haven’t cracked this one yet?”

    Nope; so long as the current law on abortion remains unchanged.

    @ Psycho Milt: ” having a capable leader and the impression of a disciplined team behind her, rather than the bickering and backstabbing that was afflicting the National Party.” That’s certainly true; but I do think that policy is more important with voters than you suggest. When I visit my hairdresser – an astute woman, as well as being a very good hairdresser – we have good-natured debates about politics. As a small business owner, she’s a National supporter. She most certainly takes note of policy, and she wasn’t a fan of aspects of Labour’s policy platform. While that’s a survey of one, I’m guessing that one could generalise it out among voters. Labour went into the 1999 general election on a policy platform which included the eventually-dumped “closing the gaps” policy, along with a commitment to environmental sustainability and the “knowledge society”. As I recall, voters liked it and enough voted that way for there to be a change of government.

    “Shearer’s position as the leader of the unpopular bickerers and back-stabbers meant a policy of women-only selection in some electorates was going to be swooped on by the media and paraded as a further example of foolishness.”

    Compounded by cack-handed and lily-livered handling of the issue on the part of Shearer. Bloody coward, that’s what he was; it certainly sent a very strong message to us women that Labour’s a fair-weather friend. Small wonder, if women decamped in droves.

    Comment by Merrial — September 26, 2014 @ 11:28 am

  226. it certainly sent a very strong message to us women that Labour’s a fair-weather friend. Small wonder, if women decamped in droves.

    A lot of the (left-leaning, professtional, well paid) women in my circle of friends/colleagues/associates disagreed with the party stance. They genuinely thought it was an unnecessary proposal that wouldn’t improve outcomes for with the party’s representation or women in general. They also hold the same view of the Greens one-on one-off party list policy. If they decamped anywhere, it was to National.

    My point is ‘women’ as a voting group are just as diverse as ‘maori’, ‘asian’ or ‘gay’. It’s incredibly short sighted of you to assume that the fault lies entirely in Shearer’s handling.

    Comment by Phil — September 26, 2014 @ 11:43 am

  227. “Nope; so long as the current law on abortion remains unchanged.”
    Lol, they mock themselves, don’t they?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — September 28, 2014 @ 4:54 am

  228. @ Phil: “A lot of the (left-leaning, professtional, well paid) women in my circle of friends/colleagues/associates disagreed with the party stance. They genuinely thought it was an unnecessary proposal that wouldn’t improve outcomes for with the party’s representation or women in general. They also hold the same view of the Greens one-on one-off party list policy. ”

    This is an argument the structure of which my grandmother would’ve recognised. A very similar argument was used in the 19th century against allowing the vote for women: look, opponents said, even the ladies don’t think it’s necessary! I’ve heard similar views in very recent times: such attitudes die hard, it seems. But it’s difficult to deny that, all these years since my grandmother’s generation got the vote, women are still underrepresented in Parliament. At the time of the last Labour leadership contest, the candidate slate was all-male, yet I saw not a single criticism of that lack of diversity, or any suggestions that the candidates lacked merit because they were male. Women constitute a bit more than half the population: Parliament certainly needs more of that voice than it currently has.

    ” If they decamped anywhere, it was to National.” I proffered no view on where they decamped to. We’ll eventually find that out in the wash-up of the election, I’m guessing.

    @Clunking Fist: “Lol, they mock themselves, don’t they?” So: no actual argument, then.

    Comment by Merrial — September 28, 2014 @ 1:07 pm

  229. “@Clunking Fist: So: no actual argument, then.”

    You asked for cheap contraceptive. So free condoms, free IUDs, free pill, the morning after pill, aren’t “free” or easy enough for you. I’m not anti-abortion by any means, but like many, I fail to see how an expensive, invasive procedure that leads to the death of a foetus, should be considered “contraceptive”. But I’ll freely admit: I’m a white, middle class, middle aged male. (I checked: most definitions of contraceptive mention the process of preventing pa regnancy, not terminating one.)

    “yet I saw not a single criticism of that lack of diversity” so the sisters remained silent? No sisters put themselves forward? So you’ve got some work to do supporting and nurturing your sisters then.
    “or any suggestions that the candidates lacked merit because they were male.” True: the suggestions were that they lacked merit because they were all workshy, gobshites, you know: actual arguments about why they were low quality choices. Being “male” wasn’t one of their problems, unless you think males are subnormal, as some feminists seem to.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — October 1, 2014 @ 5:07 am


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