The Dim-Post

September 29, 2014

Nash equilibrium

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 1:50 pm
  • Labour seem to have gotten themselves into this weird position where they have (a) a leadership contest and (b) a long, extensive review of the party and its poor performance, meaning that they’ll either have to wait for the outcome of the review and have no leader for a good while, or decide on their leader before the review is done. So that’s pretty stupid.
  • Also, what if they surge to 35% while David Parker is their caretaker leader? It might happen – they were on about 37% when Cunliffe took over. But Cunliffe also might win the leadership contest, meaning the guy on 35% would have to hand over power to the guy who scored 24%. That’d be pretty funny.
  • Also, too, Stuart Nash – who won Napier after his opponent resigned and a Conservative Party candidate split the right-wing vote – is offering to tour the country teaching other Labour candidates how to win electorates.
  • Although Nash has leadership ambitions it looks like this leadership run-off will be between Cunliffe, Grant Robertson and possibly David Shearer.
  • Cunliffe announced he was running for leader and then went on holiday.
  • Related: I think Robertson will probably win.
  • I don’t know if it is a big deal that he’s openly gay, but I think that the combination of gay urban liberal career politician is problematic for Labour right now.
  • Robertson is running on a unity platform. ‘He can unite the Labour caucus.’
  • The problem is, the Labour Party’s caucus is filled with rivals who want to be the next Labour Prime Minister, or want their patron/faction leader to be the next Labour Prime Minister. There’s no incentive for Cunliffe or Shearer or Nash or any of Robertson’s other rivals in the caucus to unite behind him in the event of a victory.  Nothing bad happens to them if they plot against him, leak against him and campaign for the electorate vote during the next election while minimising the party vote. On the contrary, if they do unite behind the leader and ‘show unity’ and help boost the party vote then they lose, because then their rival gets to be Prime Minister instead of them!
  • Behavioral economists and game-theorists call this state-of-affairs a Nash Equilibrium (yeah, it’s named after the Beautiful Mind guy). None of the players has anything to gain by changing their strategy, given what they know about the strategy of all of their rivals, which means that Labour is deadlocked.

 

77 Comments »

  1. That 37% is thrown around alot. However figures come from after Cunliffe was announced as leader. Shows benefits of positively taking over agenda with leadership contest and that the public didn’t hate Cunliffe before he was leader. However first point not true this time, divisions much more open than were last year.

    Comment by Luke — September 29, 2014 @ 2:01 pm

  2. Yes, too much democracy and not enough strategy?

    How did John Key get all those MPs to retire before the election – what did he have on them? Maybe someone in Labour needs to find that out and use something similar to give existing Labour MPs two options (1) force compliance with a strategy to return the Party to government or (2) retire quietly and once retired, continue to shut up.

    Comment by MeToo — September 29, 2014 @ 2:32 pm

  3. How did John Key get all those MPs to retire before the election – what did he have on them?

    They rumour is that they all got paid about $140,000

    Comment by danylmc — September 29, 2014 @ 2:48 pm

  4. The National Party have an easier time to force people out, because ex-MPs – especially ones who go quietly – will generally land pretty safely in a job that pays more. Labour doesn’t have those same links with the business world.

    Comment by Robbie — September 29, 2014 @ 2:52 pm

  5. One year’s salary? Do you think the big egos in Labour would accept that?

    Problem for Labour would be to raise $140k x n MPs where n is actually a very large number.

    Comment by MeToo — September 29, 2014 @ 2:53 pm

  6. I’m picking Cunliffe as the front runner. He seems to have control of the ruling council with their decision to run an early leadership poll. And it is the non caucus members that dominate. They are the ones who put Cunliffe in. I’m not sure they will want to accept they were wrong in the policy path they chose in choosing DC. No doubt he will be calling on the precedential power of HC’s defeats showing all is not lost if they stick with him. If DC does win, that will be a mandate for whole lot of the caucus to get deselected or face significant demotions on the list. That’s one way to achieve renewal.

    Comment by insider — September 29, 2014 @ 2:59 pm

  7. The problem with winning the way Stuart Nash won is that Garth McVicar can only run spoiler in one electorate at once.

    Comment by Stephen J — September 29, 2014 @ 2:59 pm

  8. “How did John Key get all those MPs to retire before the election – what did he have on them? – They rumour is that they all got paid about $140,000″

    its not just the hush money – how many got parachuted into plumb jobs to boot?

    its a combo of – backers/payoffs/cushy post govt job /”you really dont want to fuck with us” – as far as i can see

    if dirty poltics is to be believed its as much about internal control as it is about attacking all comers

    Comment by framu — September 29, 2014 @ 3:01 pm

  9. Here’s an extract from Tracey Watkins when Shearer resigned:

    “Shearer has been dogged by bad polls. His resignation comes just a day after a Fairfax Media-Ipsos poll which showed Labour had got no traction on big ticket policies or dented National’s support despite controversies such as the GCSB bill.

    The poll put Labour on 31.6 per cent compared with National’s 48.3 per cent.

    But the big concern for Labour would have been the four-point drop since the start of the year.”

    I don’t know where you get 37% support for Shearer. Maybe you have been listening to Matthen Hooton, the champion of the Left. But clearly the idea that Shearer was going to take Labour to victory is a myth which needs to be put to bed once and for all.

    Comment by Ross — September 29, 2014 @ 3:38 pm

  10. And let’s not forget that Shearer resigned because, he said, he didn’t have the support of the caucus. I am not sure he would have any more support now.

    Comment by Ross — September 29, 2014 @ 3:41 pm

  11. None of the players has anything to gain by changing their strategy, given what they know about the strategy of all of their rivals, which means that Labour is deadlocked.

    A ministerial portfolio and control of the treasury benches is a lot more valuable than “doesn’t have anything to gain”.

    Comment by Phil — September 29, 2014 @ 3:43 pm

  12. The problem with winning the way Stuart Nash won is that Garth McVicar can only run spoiler in one electorate at once.

    Good point. Christine Rankin’s impact on Epsom was two-fifths-of-fuck-all, and Colin Craig sunk without a trace in East Coast Bays.

    Comment by Phil — September 29, 2014 @ 3:49 pm

  13. …I think that the combination of gay urban liberal career politician is problematic for Labour right now.

    Any of those three on its own is problematic for Labour right now, and he ticks all three boxes. Looks like things are going to get a lot worse before they get better.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 29, 2014 @ 3:55 pm

  14. Any of those three on its own is problematic for Labour right now, and he ticks all three boxes.

    I’m not sure that Robertson being gay is as big a deal as people make out.
    The difficulty in running that attack line is that whoever runs it looks like a c*nt.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 29, 2014 @ 4:18 pm

  15. “I’m not sure that Robertson being gay is as big a deal as people make out. The difficulty in running that attack line is that whoever runs it looks like a c*nt.”

    I can’t imagine Labour’s official opponents would attack him on that, but if the last few months are anything to go by, official campaigning is only a small part of the whole, and certainly where this government is concerned. You can bet there will be less prominent efforts to make sure the electorate doesn’t ever forget that he’s gay, no matter how infrequently he brings it up himself. They’re casually chatting about Robertson’s homosexuality on The Panel as I write this.

    I reckon not being from Auckland is another thing he’ll have to get over. None of this stuff is impossible, and maybe he’d surprise.

    Comment by izogi — September 29, 2014 @ 4:29 pm

  16. One party state. Those on the left aint coping too well. Listen up bitches its a one party state. You comrades you are uttlerly clueless. Repudiate the debt but as i say you are owned by the state. look for answers on the margins left or right dont matter.

    Comment by Simon — September 29, 2014 @ 4:56 pm

  17. The whole Stuart Nash workshop on how to win electorates is even stupider than it seems at first glance – even if we put aside the fact that Nash was basically lucky, the fact remains that winning a bunch of electorates will not help Labour become the next government. It’s funny, because Labour were masters of the fact that it was the party vote that counted under Clark – the fact that they’ve forgotten it so quickly doesn’t say much about their health as an institution. Was there some Labour candidate who managed to increase the party vote in their electorate? That’s the candidate who should be leading some kind of workshop, whoever he or she may be.

    As for leadership branding, even if Parker did explode the polls to 35% or whatever, I think it’d be correctly seen as a blip. Labour leapt in the polls when Palmer was appointed leader, it didn’t make him some kind of panacea for Labour’s problems. And while Robertson being a gay urban liberal may sound band, I’m not sure if Labour has a whole bunch of rural conservatives available to stand for the leadership – unless Damien O’Connor has hitherto unrevealed leadership aspirations.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 29, 2014 @ 5:08 pm

  18. “Was there some Labour candidate who managed to increase the party vote in their electorate? That’s the candidate who should be leading some kind of workshop, whoever he or she may be.”

    Sure. Four of the Maori electorates (mostly at the expense of the MP), and Poto Williams in Christchurch East. That’s it.

    Comment by jmarshall — September 29, 2014 @ 5:11 pm

  19. ” The difficulty in running that attack line is that whoever runs it looks like a c*nt.”

    It will happen via proxies like Slater (in fact, it has already happened). That’s the two-track strategy. Whether the media can be persuaded into a massive concerntrollgasm as a result is the question. They may be a bit more leery of just repeating Oil-sourced rumous now. It may also just turn out to be a massive non-event.

    Comment by Stephen J — September 29, 2014 @ 5:45 pm

  20. @jmarshall: There are obviously pretty unique factors at play in Christchurch East, but nonetheless I think Poto Williams would have more to say that could benefit the parties as a whole than Nash would.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 29, 2014 @ 6:04 pm

  21. Cunliffe will win. Hopefully then he can get rid of some of the old stock in Labour – Mallard, Goff, King …
    Hipkins was talking about it on Q&A this weekend.

    Comment by flotsy — September 29, 2014 @ 6:15 pm

  22. With Labour tearing itself to pieces, it looks like the only opposition is going to be Greens and Winston First. Could they form some kind of voting alliance? Have given up on LP getting its shit together for the next 6 years.

    Comment by Leopold — September 29, 2014 @ 7:03 pm

  23. …even if we put aside the fact that Nash was basically lucky, the fact remains that winning a bunch of electorates will not help Labour become the next government.

    I can’t think of any non-depressing reasons why this wouldn’t be glaringly obvious to everyone involved.

    The difficulty in running that attack line is that whoever runs it looks like a c*nt.

    No-one needs to run any lines, they just need to sit back and let the general impression of Labour being the one with all the gay candidates take hold. If that’s running in tandem with a general impression of Labour being the one with all the professional politician candidates, all the better – from the perspective of Labour’s opponents.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 29, 2014 @ 7:39 pm

  24. Labour have to be pragramatic & it’s too soon for a gay PM for quite a few NZers.

    The Labour caucus should have been focusing on anyone but Key.

    NZ is fcuked if Key signs the TPPA.

    Already things are looking seriously dodge in Southland with DuPont & PGG Wrightson Seeds (52% owned by Chinese Agria who want to rival Monsanto in seeds) Oh and the National Govt gave 7.1MIL to PPG Wrightson Seeds! What the ….

    Comment by flotsy — September 29, 2014 @ 7:49 pm

  25. “… it’s too soon for a gay PM for quite a few NZers.”

    Yeah, I mean, we only just had a (gasp) woman.

    Comment by flynnthecat1 — September 29, 2014 @ 11:35 pm

  26. Too soon for a gay PM. I’m getting tired of hearing that well-meaning but ultimately stinky horseshit coming from a political leaning that’s supposed to believe in social equality.

    Was 1995 too soon for a trans mayor? No, it wasn’t. And the subsequent ten years weren’t too soon for a trans electorate MP in a largely rural electorate, either.

    That attitude is utterly disgusting, foregrounding someone’s sexuality in a popularity contest. And the right aren’t doing it. It’s the LEFT.

    120 years ago people were saying that it was too soon to let women vote, and it was too soon to have female politicians. What we learned was that those in fear of someone’s gender or sexuality were wrong. And then we learned it again and again. And then we learned it again during the gay marriage vote.

    And if Robertson wins the leadership, you’re going to learn it again. Because there’s a lot of things wrong with this country, but one of the right things, one of the things that makes me proud to call it home, is that by and large people don’t care what you are. They care about what you do, and they measure it against what you say.

    This principle of letting people be what they want to be as long as they don’t hurt anyone else, the one you mean-spiritedly deny that could exist in your fellow Kiwis, this is why this election victory came as a shock to a lot of you. Very few people care that Grant Robertson is gay, but as far as I can make out, most of them voted Labour.

    Eh. I can’t believe I stand on the same side of the political spectrum as you socially-liberal-deep-down-bigoted ‘pragmatists’. Makes me want to shower with caustic soda.

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — September 30, 2014 @ 1:03 am

  27. How did John Key get all those MPs to retire before the election – what did he have on them?

    They rumour is that they all got paid about $140,000

    If you get evidence of this, let us know🙂

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — September 30, 2014 @ 1:42 am

  28. I’m not a biggot thanks Chris and nor are the Pasifica ppl in South Auckland. Have your shower with caustic soda if you wish but it’s not going to change that the red-necks & some Christians & some of the older retired people will not vote for a gay PM. I’m not saying it’s fair bc it’s not. If things were fair & balanced Key would have been found out by now & back in Hawaii. I’m finding it crazy that he hasn’t but then part of me likes to think right (ie good) will prevail, which I think you do too, which makes both of us a little crazy🙂

    But then the very good business where I get my tyres from I asked the owner how the election went for him, he replied bloody great. Cunliffe was off his rocker if he thought business could afford a min wage of $18. I said no that was the Greens, Labour’s was $16. I said your guys would be on more than that. Yes but not the 18yr old. Actually I didn’t know the details of Labours min wage which I think was $15 then in 2 yrs $16?

    My focus is on getting Key & his mottley crew out before he destroys our country.

    Comment by flotsy — September 30, 2014 @ 2:40 am

  29. Brilliant thinking, Chris. Let’s see if we can’t get Labour’s 2017 Party-Vote down to single figures. Let’s see if we can’t burn off Labour’s most loyal support-base – the South Auckland, Porirua (and, to some extent, West Auckland) Pasifika community.

    After all, this isn’t about electing a Labour-led Left-leaning Government in 2017 so that we can end this war on the lives of the most vulnerable sections of the community – the unemployed, the disabled, the mentally ill being forced off their meagre benefits to fend for themselves, the attacks on the basic rights of minimum-wage workers.

    No, far better if we make Left-leaning politics all about very affluent supremely self-indulgent, urban liberals – for whom a National Government makes no real material difference – getting to make these big, wonderful symbolic gestures in order to feel good about themselves, get into future history books as great progressive heroes, and brag to their affluent liberal counterparts in other parts of the western world – look everyone, isn’t it marvellous !, we’ve just elected a gay Opposition leader !!! We really do have unusually-refined sensibilities, don’t we !!!

    Very similar to the more doctrinaire end of the feminist lobby (that we heard from in a recent thread, here). The great irony is: an electable Labour-led Government could make great strides in progressing womens and LGBT rights. But it seems many of their activists are far more interested in scaring the horses with LOUD, explicit, in-your-face symbolic gestures. Pure self-indulgence.

    Comment by swordfish — September 30, 2014 @ 7:42 am

  30. @27 – Yes I was thinking that too. Rumours are cheap and in the wake of Dirty Politics, should probably be disbelieved until proven otherwise. And yet it just sounds so much like the sort of thing the National Party would do, so I’d love to see evidence of it.

    Comment by alex — September 30, 2014 @ 7:47 am

  31. I don’t have any doubt that Grant Robertson could get through it as long as he has a cohesive and effective party to lead. If he ends up leading, then I hope that happens. We’ve seen Helen Clark do the same, despite all the prejudices against women that she managed to stomp on, and I’m fairly certain NZ will accept a gay PM as long as everything else lines up.

    It’s just going to be another thing he has to get over. When things started to fall apart for Labour, it wasn’t so much policy that people were talking about in the pubs and the Kiwiblog sewers and on the talkback shows. The excuses people gave themselves when they weren’t so certain about why they disliked Labour were how ugly Clark was and how she looked like a man — many women were also blurting out this. And did you ever see that weirdo husband of hers who she never spends any time with? The whole “nanny state” line would never have worked if Clark wasn’t female. The opposition was more than happy to feed all of these rumours and lines to the populace through unofficial channels, because when voters were just waiting for an excuse, it worked.

    Grant Robertson’s going to have to repeatedly face Herald columnists and guests of Jim Mora vehemently declaring “I’m not a homophobe or anything”, before they casually start to talk about how he might have problems dealing with foreign leaders because of his “inclination”…. just to ensure people don’t ever forget that he’s not “normal”. Over time, he’ll repeatedly have to fend off allegations of “political correctness gone mad”, which are magnified in people’s minds because of “who he is”.

    BUT, just like not being from Auckland and just like being a career politician, it shouldn’t be a problem if he’s able to pull together and continue to lead a stable and cohesive party, with a solid policy platform, that can capitalise on problems of the government, or opposition if it goes that far. Helen Clark proved that people don’t care about this kind of stuff until they have other reasons. Good luck to him on that.

    Comment by izogi — September 30, 2014 @ 8:17 am

  32. Wile I’m sure most NZers wouldn’t care about Robertson being gay the smear machine would use this against him, much as the incessant “lesbian feminist cabal” or “feminazi” refrains that were heard under Clark, and the more recent KDC is a “German criminal trying to steal our election”. His not having children, not knowing the plight of the “average” family, would be used to frame his every move as out of touch. But then again it doesn’t matter who becomes Labour leader, the smear machine will find something to run with.

    Comment by MeToo — September 30, 2014 @ 8:31 am

  33. wot igozi said!

    Comment by MeToo — September 30, 2014 @ 8:33 am

  34. Of course the problem is not Robertson being gay.

    The problem is the pattern of behaviour we saw from Goff, Shearer and Cunliffe – and I’d be pleasantly surprised if Robertson wasn’t much the same.

    Interviewer: “Do you eat babies?”

    Labour leader, with some Pagani-type advice ringing in his ears: “Oh look, I’m not here to talk about that, eating babies is not on my agenda, some people may eat babies, that’s up to them, but ….” (and then spends next five minutes talking about why he doesn’t want to talk about eating babies, or to criticise people who do). Resulting headline: “Won’t rule out eating babies”.

    Until they learn how to say “No, next question” instead of feebly and obsequiously being chummy with Paddy, they will continue to be defined by other people’s agendas. Including bigots. What are they afraid of? Losing votes? Yeah, that strategy’s working a treat.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — September 30, 2014 @ 8:35 am

  35. I see Cunliffe has been all over the media touting for the top job while Robertson has stayed pretty quiet.
    Smacks of desperation – he’s haemorrhaging cred by the hour.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 30, 2014 @ 9:23 am

  36. It doesn’t matter who the party leader is if the rest of them continue to backstab and leak nasty rumours. That just says that the party doesn’t have it’s act together. If the party doesn’t look like it has it’s act together, nobody will care whether Robertson is gay or Cunliffe eats babies, or whether labour has the most sparkly policies.

    Comment by Marko — September 30, 2014 @ 9:42 am

  37. “…Behavioral economists and game-theorists call this state-of-affairs a Nash Equilibrium (yeah, it’s named after the Beautiful Mind guy). None of the players has anything to gain by changing their strategy, given what they know about the strategy of all of their rivals, which means that Labour is deadlocked…”

    Yet the ONE gropup that can break the deadlock – the party membership – is the one the right wing political commentariat is attacking the most, particularly John Armstrong who seems to find the intrusion of the public into politics as a rude and personal insult to the great game he reports on. To my mind, it is up to the membership now. Join the party – I think you’ve got until midnight tonight – and send a message to the entrenched caucus faction. I said before the election a motion to expel one or more MPs from the party is required, and looking on now, I can’t see why that opinion should change. Expelling, say, Mallard might lead to a long court battle, but it is just as likely the 5-6 ABCs will depart en masse. Whatever happened, it would break the equilibrium – and that would be good.

    @ Gregor W “…The difficulty in running that attack line is that whoever runs it looks like a c*nt…”

    Bro, where have you been the last nine years? Ninth floor –> the c**T Slater’s smear —> Farrar tut tut —> leading that night’s TV news as reporting on the rumour.

    And you’d get the entire stable of Herald opinion writers saying things like:

    Armstrong: “Roberston struggles already being a career politician, with his being gay is also not helping with connecting with Auckland males”.

    O’Sullivan: Auckland businessmen, and they are largely men, don’t find a Wellington policy wonk credible, whilst Robertson’s sexuality isn’t officially a problem, is of tem brought up of the record”‘

    Audrey Young: “Queer reds can fuck off I love National”.

    John ROughan: “Aucklanders love their cares, have you ever seen a gay car? PT is gay. That is why Aucklanders will embrace Robertson. Also, I am an ignorant flake”.

    Robertson as leader? In the words of Admiral Gial Ackbar “It’s a trap!”

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 30, 2014 @ 9:46 am

  38. *”…That is why Aucklanders will never embrace Robertson.”

    Comment by Sanctuary — September 30, 2014 @ 9:47 am

  39. Sanc – my point was that I think the threat is overcooked.
    To izogi’s point, if Robertson has the party behind him and a sound, appealing policy platform then I don’t believe the “No way a homo can be PM!” notion will gain much traction, other than reinforce the bias of people who won’t vote for him anyway.

    The other thing about queer-baiting is that with repetition, it seems to lose its power. If Robertson shrugs it off without engaging he’ll come across looking confident and as a strong contender.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 30, 2014 @ 10:09 am

  40. I’d say being gay would be less if a problem to potential voters than the fact that he’s been in politics in one way or another since he left uni. If you are trying to reconnect with working people and try and get more than the 20% male voters you did last time he’s not the man I’d be choosing .

    Comment by andjh — September 30, 2014 @ 10:12 am

  41. How did John Key get all those MPs to retire before the election – what did he have on them?

    They rumour is that they all got paid about $140,000

    Interesting rumour. Might want to read the Electoral Act 1993, s. 216 and consider the case of Bay of Islands Electoral Petition (1915) 34 NZLR 578. In a nutshell, it sounds pretty close to a corrupt practice that is punishable by up to 2 years in prison.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 30, 2014 @ 10:55 am

  42. Oh – and there were 11 National MPs who retired at the 2014 election (plus another 3 who resigned from Parliament before then). At $140,000 each, that’s $1,540,000. Now, I know the rumour is that National is flush with cash and all, but … really?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 30, 2014 @ 10:58 am

  43. @flotsy

    You’re either a bigot, or you’re pandering to bigots. You’re either a bigot, or you believe that deep down what a bigot thinks is more important than gay people being equal in society and being given equality of opportunity.

    Let them vote Conservative. Everyone’s talking about people being dictated to by minority groups in Labour. It’s clear from what actually happens in society that it’s a minority group that doesn’t see gay people as people who have the same rights and abilities as straight people. If you want to kowtow to the religious vote and make an issue of Grant’s sexuality, then you do it. But it’ll be your own issue, one that you’re creating out of the minds of a minority, and you’ll be standing alongside Colin Craig and Garth McVicar when you do it, without the rest of the party.

    Guaranteed.

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — September 30, 2014 @ 10:59 am

  44. Sanc – entertaining.

    My ten cents, and I said this a few months back when the effects of dirty politics were clear to see but its mechanisms had not been laid bare, is that who is Labour leader is moot until the Labour Party explicitly figures out a strategy to deal to dirty politics. I mean it works, even after getting a decent hearing in the sunlight. Last I heard John Key was still PM and many people think he is nice. Maybe a Nixon will happen but let’s not bank on that. It seems reasonable to assume not that nothing has changed, but that say, Nat’s will try to continue with as much of the same approach as they can. So it will not matter who is Labour leader – a total companion piece in the leadership review process should be how do we stop getting fucked over.

    Hell I wouldn’t even give a shit if they said no leadership contest until we’ve come up with something. And by strategy I mean something seriously concrete. I’m making this up, I don’t have the answers, but to give a flavour (1) public fund raising for fighting fund against dirty politics (2) public request for lawyers prepared to work pro bono etc (3) explicit law suit policy – Slater wakes up and says a word, and he gets sued for defamation, aim to have him fighting 30 or 50 cases at once, no shit, total wipe out – defamation means legal discovery of way more than came out in Dirty Politics, Slator and anyone like him, and the Nats own funds and lawyers will all be diverted trying to save their arse from stuff coming out (4) Nats will think twice – do you punch the little guy in the playground if your nose gets broken each time and your bank account drops by $200k? etc

    Don’t tell me how fucking stupid that is, I’m sure there is something that could be done not saying that’s it. I’m just am trying to paint a picture that without The Labour Party publicly announcing war on dirty politics (which would get plenty of support in own right) and devising a very concrete strategy to dedicatedly see through on it, the next leader is fucked and the bullies will have no reason to fear going all out with their winning strategy, which from what we’ve already seen, is dirty politics as usual.

    Comment by Joe-90 — September 30, 2014 @ 11:05 am

  45. South Auckland isn’t homophobic & unwilling to vote for the gays – see Louisa Wall for god’s sake. South Auckland is a way for bigots and homophobes in the rest of the party to have cover for their own homophobia. It looks a lot like Cunliffe is actively structuring his campaign around this homophobia, which is as utterly appalling as if he were structuring a campaign around racism or misogyny.

    Comment by Keir — September 30, 2014 @ 11:12 am

  46. Don’t be ridiculous Keir. Cunliffe isn’t doing anything.

    Comment by flotsy — September 30, 2014 @ 11:17 am

  47. My problem with Robertson is that he has had too little experience either inside or outside parliament, and seems to be the essence of a Wellington bureaucrat. His sexual preferences will be used against him, but I don’t think it will have a major effect, and to some extent it would be offset by his likeable personality. However, his lack of workplace experience will definitely be used against him.

    Comment by Karen — September 30, 2014 @ 11:28 am

  48. Homophobia, bollocks. If people are getting the impression that every other Labour candidate is gay or a career politician, does it make sense to put in a leader who’s both gay and a career politician? That impression exists, and it’s not conducive to election results above 30%. Over time, it won’t be conducive to poll results over 20%. If you want a broad, centre-left party that hoovers up 35-45% of the vote, it has to actually look to voters like a broad, centre-left party.

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 30, 2014 @ 11:54 am

  49. However, his lack of workplace experience will definitely be used against him.

    Sure, but that’s a perennial threat to Labour leadership (apparatchiks or lawyers all) and you can’t keep talking about it for 3 years. It’s just another flavour of confirmation bias.
    Key’s workplace experience is being part of the machinery of parasitic capital but not a shred of traction has been gained by pointing that out to NZers.

    Comment by Gregor W — September 30, 2014 @ 12:00 pm

  50. All this angsting over what the Labour leader will “look like” and whether people will be able to “relate to” him … recall that in three short years, National recovered from 22% of the vote to come within a few thousand votes of beating Labour with Don Brash at its helm.

    DON-EFFING-BRASH!!!!

    Now, if anyone wants to argue that Brash was somehow more “relatable to” than Grant Robertson, then I’ll sit back and enjoy the mental gymnastics.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 30, 2014 @ 12:13 pm

  51. How did John Key get all those MPs to retire before the election – what did he have on them?

    They rumour is that they all got paid about $140,000

    Didn’t you do a thread about the importance of source attribution?🙂

    Comment by Ross — September 30, 2014 @ 12:44 pm

  52. @41
    I agree with Chris.

    It’s a matter of principle. If Robertson is the best person for Labour then they ought to go with him. If the bigots then come out of the woodwork, so be it. But to kowtow to them without even making a stand to test their strength is an unprincipled sign of weakness that lets the bigots win before they’ve even opened their mouths (or checked a ballot paper).

    Pandering to a minority of arseholes is pathetic. No for that matter, pandering to a majority of arseholes is pathetic too.

    Comment by Josh Petyt — September 30, 2014 @ 1:04 pm

  53. “Now, if anyone wants to argue that Brash was somehow more “relatable to” than Grant Robertson, then I’ll sit back and enjoy the mental gymnastics.”

    Mmm,well one serious advantage Brash had over Grant Robertson is that he had done a series of large jobs before he became a politician, including as Governor of the Reserve Bank. In that latter role he communicated superbly from one end of the country to the other explaining how the Bank would operate in its new independent role and managed some very rocky times when the independent role of the Bank was by no means an accepted thing. Explaining monetary policy and what a central bank does to a wide ranging civilian audience is a seriously difficult task which Brash managed very, very well. That gave him a lot more community credibility and a hell of a lot more experience at communicating to a wide range of people than Grant will have should he become leader of the opposition.Grant is not bad at communicating with the narrow audiences an opposition politician gets to meet but being the leader is a whole different responsibility. Everyone gets to have an opinion about you then. Brash actually reminds me of Cunliffe in that both were sons of preachers and the impact of sitting in the pews listening to their father’s pontificate every Sunday clearly made them want to be the object of adoring and submissive audiences in later life.

    Comment by Tinakori — September 30, 2014 @ 1:43 pm

  54. Sure – if the metric is “able to talk policy issues”, then I accept Brash was fine. But despite claims about the “beltway”, Grant’s hardly been hunkered in Wellington giving talks solely at the Aro Valley Hall for the last 6 years. And put Grant in a room of people alongside Brash, and who do you think people are going to “like” more/”get a warmer feel from/etc, etc?

    Also remember the circumstances of Brash’s ascension to National’s leadership (stolen from Jon Johansson):

    Brash had spent less than two years in parliament before challenging Bill English for National’s leadership. Sixty-three years old, Brash twice stood unsuccessfully for parliament in East Coast Bays during the 1980s, losing both times to Social Credit’s Gary Knapp. Having been Governor of the Reserve Bank for the 14 years preceding his entry into politics, Brash identified strongly with the neo-liberal policy prescriptions favoured by the reformist former Finance Ministers Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson. Still, Brash was somewhat of an unknown quantity when his colleagues, amidst significant acrimony and desperation, elevated him to the leadership.

    And yet out of this, National came very close to winning in 2005.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 30, 2014 @ 2:12 pm

  55. and who do you think people are going to “like” more/”get a warmer feel from/etc, etc?

    Before Key, who was the last PM (or indeed leader of the opposition) you would describe as “likeable”?
    Clark? Shipley? Bolger? You’d have to go back to some time around Moore or Lange to get a leader that politically independent or neutral observers would describe as nice.

    Comment by Phil — September 30, 2014 @ 2:28 pm

  56. Nicky Hager wrote a book about how they achieved that – but I hope Labour isn’t thinking of using it as a textbook…

    Comment by Psycho Milt — September 30, 2014 @ 2:31 pm

  57. Mmm, again. Brash had credibility as a leader and someone who was accountable for his decision-making in past jobs, likeability not so much. But I would suggest likeability is not necessarily the most important dimension here. Helen Clark was many things, including a very effective leader, but I can’t see likeability as high on her list of attributes. Key has only become likeable over time as we have become exposed to his very idiosyncratic style. The key word in your quote is desperation and Brash delivered on National’s desire to bring them back from disaster by fair means and foul. I am not even so sure that Grant has likeability for a wide audience. To me his brand is perpetual student politician and political insider with his brief foray into the bureaucracy hardly counting. In that sense Grant is a bit more like the Bill English option National chose after Jenny Shipley turned out not to be the sure fire thing her supporters thought she was. And we know how Bill turned out, even though he had high level Cabinet experience as Health and then Finance Minister before becoming the leader.

    Comment by Tinakori — September 30, 2014 @ 2:31 pm

  58. This is like a contest to see which player from the Riverhead Pub Social Touch comp is the best candidate to be made captain of the Auckland Blues and to lead them back to title contention in Super Rugby next year. Everyone’s comparing the form, susceptibility to injury, and personalities of the best players in the Riverhead Pub Social Touch comp as if any of that matters. As if there’s any sensible conclusion other than “there is nobody worthy, and choosing anyone from this pool of candidates dooms the Blues to another season of failure”.

    Comment by SHG — September 30, 2014 @ 2:47 pm

  59. Now, if anyone wants to argue that Brash was somehow more “relatable to” than Grant Robertson, then I’ll sit back and enjoy the mental gymnastics.

    He is a lot more relatable. To the geriatrics who vote.

    Comment by George — September 30, 2014 @ 3:02 pm

  60. How did John Key get all those MPs to retire before the election – what did he have on them?

    They rumour is that they all got paid about $140,000

    Interesting rumour. Might want to read the Electoral Act 1993, s. 216 and consider the case of Bay of Islands Electoral Petition (1915) 34 NZLR 578. In a nutshell, it sounds pretty close to a corrupt practice that is punishable by up to 2 years in prison.

    Andrew, my guess is that Danyl was pointing out that most of the MPs in question were receiving ‘only’ a bit over $140,000 as their parliamentary salary (the base MP salary is $147,800pa). As Robbie points out, ex-Nat MPs can probably trade on their fame and connections to earn a higher salary in the business world after they exit parliament.

    Comment by Matt — September 30, 2014 @ 3:32 pm

  61. If it’s rugby expertise you are after SHG, then Louisa Wall is your Captain.

    Comment by MeToo — September 30, 2014 @ 3:33 pm

  62. Andrew, is it illegal to tell an MP that they are not going to make it into Cabinet – ever – and they will be overlooked for other things, too – like chairing Select Committees – whereas if they go quietly and make way for new talent – take one for the team! Help it rejuvenate! – the party will offer a severance payment and help set up alternative employment? Because that’s what Danyl suggested. And it makes sense to me for an organisation to do this, and for the contract to contain a silence clause. Doesn’t strike me as bribery – it’s not about voting (s216 Electoral Act) but about whether the Party wants an MP to stand for it again. Stand again and you have no future with us….

    Comment by MeToo — September 30, 2014 @ 3:40 pm

  63. @MeToo,

    The Bay of Island case I referred to found that it was “bribery” in terms of s.216 to offer a rival candidate another job if they agree to step out of the race (and thereby improve your chances of winning). Now, can that be extended to offering money to an existing MP if they agree not to seek reelection, thereby allowing a party to get another candidate elected in their place? I don’t know, because a court has never considered the matter. But given that s.216 requires giving money to “any person in order to induce that person to procure, or endeavour to procure, the return of any person or candidates at an election … “, there’s an argument to be had.

    Note that this is different to a message to an MP “your time is up and you aren’t going anywhere”, because that doesn’t involve any payment of cash.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — September 30, 2014 @ 3:58 pm

  64. Incidentally, I understand that in an actual Nash equilibrium, players are assumed to be pursuing their own best interests rationally. I don’t know this is the case.

    Comment by Stephen J — September 30, 2014 @ 4:18 pm

  65. Reblogged this on Talking Auckland and commented:
    Oh very dear
    Democracy as the institution might be a bit lopsided until Labour hauls backside

    Comment by Ben Ross - Talking Auckland — September 30, 2014 @ 4:50 pm

  66. “Mmm,well one serious advantage Brash had over Grant Robertson is that he had done a series of large jobs before he became a politician, including as Governor of the Reserve Bank.”

    You’d be surprised how little Brash talked about his role as Reserve Bank Governor when campaigning.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — September 30, 2014 @ 5:12 pm

  67. I don’t think he had to, Kalvarnsen. He had been a public figure for 14 years as Governor. His name recognition was already high and people knew what he had done for good or ill.

    Comment by Tinakori — September 30, 2014 @ 10:34 pm

  68. The answer for the Nash Equilibrium is to vote Green. These clowns in the labour party will change their strategy when 24% becomes 14%. Or not. No one will care.

    Comment by Steve — September 30, 2014 @ 10:57 pm

  69. Fuck you people are weird “They’re casually chatting about Robertson’s homosexuality on The Panel as I write this.” writes a blogger on a blog where they are casually chatting about R’s homosexuality.
    Surely teh public are smart enough to “see through” R’s homoness if he is a good leader. They were smart enough to figure that Labour are a basket case and shouldn’t be given the levers off power this time round.
    They were smart enough to vote for a very large, unhealthy fat man, a really ugly woman with no kids (remind me what jobs she held down bf parliament ), a jewish money changer.
    The public aren’t much bothered by Chris Finlaysons homoness (nor his weird religious celibacy). Give folk some credit, please: we’re nicer than you think.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — October 1, 2014 @ 5:42 am

  70. Chris @ 26 LIKE

    Comment by Clunking Fist — October 1, 2014 @ 5:44 am

  71. “…The answer for the Nash Equilibrium is to vote Green…”

    That was put about before the last election. The Greens got 10% – which looks to me like they’ve plateaued and 10% is about the number you can consistantly fool with Green mumbo jumbo.

    “…Surely teh public are smart enough to “see through” R’s homoness if he is a good leader…”

    I have nothing against Hindus, but if a Hindu was running for leadership of the Catholic party when the Catholic party had just been thrashed because no Catholics voted for it then Catholic party members would have reason to consider if a Hindu was the right person just now to lead their party.

    Comment by Sanctuary — October 1, 2014 @ 7:52 am

  72. It’s only “Green mumbo jumbo” to anyone who doesn’t actually read the policy. You’re clearly among that group. Right-wing tend to be in that group. It more or less defines them: strong opinions based on (willful) ignorance.

    Comment by Steve (@nza1) — October 1, 2014 @ 8:56 am

  73. I have nothing against Hindus, but if a Hindu was running for leadership of the Catholic party when the Catholic party had just been thrashed because no Catholics voted for it then Catholic party members would have reason to consider if a Hindu was the right person just now to lead their party.

    That’s a stupid analogy Sanc.
    You’re basically saying people can’t be queer AND a leftist / social democrat.
    Also, last time I checked homosexuality isn’t a choice, whereas religion is.

    Comment by Gregor W — October 1, 2014 @ 12:40 pm

  74. #26 & 70: Not surprisingly, the Oily One is already playing the gay card against Grant. All I can say is: is that the best the Oily One can come up with?

    Comment by Kumara Republic — October 2, 2014 @ 2:52 am

  75. “The answer for the Nash Equilibrium is to vote Green.”

    If the Greens ever do become the largest opposition party, then I doubt their leadership contests will be played out with any more grace than Labours’ are now.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — October 2, 2014 @ 6:02 am

  76. I do enjoy Emeritus Slater’s mass debates, from the land where mentioning sexuality when a reporter asks you about it means you’ve already lost.

    Comment by Chris (@slackjawdtownie) — October 2, 2014 @ 1:02 pm

  77. “The Greens got 10% – which looks to me like they’ve plateaued and 10% is about the number you can consistantly fool with Green mumbo jumbo. ”

    I don’t often agree with Sanc, but there I do.

    But no: not on the Hindu thing, as GW points out at 73. Perhaps blue collar workers are more right wing than in our mothers’ day?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — October 2, 2014 @ 6:28 pm


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