The Dim-Post

March 30, 2016

Message discipline

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 8:36 am

Via Stuff:

The owners of a Waihi Beach home attacked by Labour MP Sue Moroney for flying Kyle Lockwood’s Silver Fern flag outside their “flash beach house” say they are shocked by her remarks.

The Hamilton-based MP has apologised for her remarks after being disciplined by Labour leader Andrew Little, who called the comments “ill-judged and inappropriate”.

Moroney said her remarks were not hypocritical, despite the fact she also owns a Coromandel holiday home.

She also claimed her remarks were misinterpreted “in several different ways” – although she will not explain what she originally meant.

I have this theory that MMP and the list process hasn’t been that great for the left. The way a lot of our MPs get elected is very indirect. The party campaigns externally to get the public to give them party votes, and the MPs (mostly) get into Parliament by campaigning internally to get high positions on the list. Obviously I can’t be sure, but I suspect that if Sue Moroney was directly accountable to the voters she probably wouldn’t wander around taking photos of random stranger’s homes and shaming them on social media. Also, she’d probably grasp that social media comms should be part of a strategy, and that the number of persuadable voters reading tweets/facebook posts/whatever is zero while the number of National Party staffers monitoring the social media feeds of left-wing MPs looking for content to attack the party with is higher than zero.

67 Comments »

  1. There is probably a broader issue here in the lack of accountability in terms of actual performance and results. Sue Moroney has lost 7 electorate elections in a row and reduced both the Labour electorate and party vote in Hamilton West in 2014 despite 6 years of incumbency by Tim Macindoe. Yet she has been promoted to a shadow Cabinet position and is ranked 16th in Labour’s internal rankings. There are several other Labour MPs in this bracket, and this isn’t even starting on the wholly separate issue of the many disloyal and ineffective Labour MPs who have been in Parliament since the early 1980s. Labour simply aren’t going to win an election carrying so much deadweight.

    Comment by Nick — March 30, 2016 @ 8:53 am

  2. I should add that I have heard Sue Moroney speak on many separate occasions in different settings and it frightens me to think she could form part of a Cabinet at some point in the future

    Comment by Nick — March 30, 2016 @ 8:58 am

  3. This post is a really interesting reflection of what gets Danyl excited. Recycled hit jobs from Whaleoil really, really tick all his boxes. Still, nothing like a relentless focus on the opposition MPs tweets to further informed debate of the issues and hold the government to account.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 30, 2016 @ 9:00 am

  4. I would have thought holiday homes and freedom of expression were your jam, Sanc.

    Comment by Phil — March 30, 2016 @ 9:03 am

  5. That’s pretty clever Phil.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 30, 2016 @ 9:05 am

  6. This post is a really interesting reflection of what gets Danyl excited.

    There’s a book about the 2015 UK election called ‘Why the Tories Won’ which is basically about Lynton Crosby’s strategy. And it was this sort of stuff. The Tories practised message discipline and talked exclusively about the economy, where they were strong, and every time a labour or lib dem MP said something irrelevant and stupid in mainstream or social media, which was pretty much every day, they turned it into a major story. This stuff matters.

    Comment by danylmc — March 30, 2016 @ 9:09 am

  7. It’s odd how a lot of criticism of the Lockwood flag has been class-based.

    Tea towels and beach towels – the common taste – and now flash beach house.

    Comment by NeilM — March 30, 2016 @ 9:15 am

  8. Recycled hit jobs from Whaleoil really, really tick all his boxes.

    This is pretty weak sauce, Sanc.
    Pointing out that Moroney has 2 redundant letters in her surname is self evident, not some sign of Danyl being co-opted into the VRWC.

    And to extend Nicks point, it’s not as though National don’t have just as much offal on their benches.
    It’s just that they are housetrained enough to stfu unless instructed to speak by their handlers.

    Comment by Gregor W — March 30, 2016 @ 9:24 am

  9. > There’s a book about the 2015 UK election called ‘Why the Tories Won’ which is basically about Lynton Crosby’s strategy. And it was this sort of stuff. The Tories practised message discipline and talked exclusively about the economy, where they were strong, and every time a labour or lib dem MP said something irrelevant and stupid in mainstream or social media, which was pretty much every day, they turned it into a major story. This stuff matters.

    You mean like they did here in the last election with the collusion of many major media outlets, right? My wife and I used to take bets on what today’s stupid media hit piece on Cunliffe would be. But much of the stuff aimed at Cunliffe was manufactured, and it was for Miliband as well (the crime of eating a bacon sandwich being a memorable one). No-one can get through a campaign without some gaffes, but if you have the majority of major media outlets singing from the same hymn sheet against you, you’re toast.

    I see they’ve started again in time for next year. Labour might as well not bother turning up – they don’t have a chance.

    Comment by L — March 30, 2016 @ 9:29 am

  10. I think highly of Sue Moroney and feel that people, sometimes even politicians, make mistakes. Just look at our current PM, the amount of rookie mistakes he has made as Prime Minister is shocking. A lot of things are shocking. It does not mean that Sue Moroney or John Key or anyone are not intelligent, articulate, lovely people who do a good job. It just means they are human. There’s a trend towards employing robots are our MP’s but I think you’re find that we’re better off it we keep our human MP’s, as difficult as they can be at times!

    Comment by Daniel Lang — March 30, 2016 @ 9:53 am

  11. I always find this meme of list MPS having a lack of accountability annoying. What else is happening right now than Sue Moroney being held to account for what she has said????

    Under MMP any MP (list or electorate) is held account nationwide precisely because the stupid things that they might say will cost votes all over the country. On the other hand, as an electorate MP you could say and do things that most of the country found appalling, but as long as you got a plurality in your electorate, you could do as you please.

    Comment by eszett — March 30, 2016 @ 10:31 am

  12. “Sue Moroney has lost 7 electorate elections in a row and reduced both the Labour electorate and party vote in Hamilton West in 2014 ” cough cough… the entire labour party vote last time was abysmal… if you are rewriting history, at least remember some of it.
    And tellingly, who but someone working for National would know that gem ‘lost 7 electorates in a row’

    Comment by dukeofurl — March 30, 2016 @ 10:53 am

  13. she probably wouldn’t wander around taking photos of random stranger’s homes and shaming them on social media.

    I don’t think she shamed anyone but those who voted for Labour. It’s incalculable how many votes she just lost Labour for being an outstanding exemplar of hypocritical lying privilege as she tried to enlist class anger to elect herself to purchase more of what she insults others for having.

    There is no room for airy fairy waffling about the subtleties of errors in perception in use of Twitter. This is far more simple – Labour given easy access to speaking publicly continually reveals it’s representatives are stupid and dishonest.

    Comment by Fentex — March 30, 2016 @ 10:58 am

  14. Surprised that Danyl chose this as an issue worth writing about. Trivial. Any different from accusing Key of telling us which flag to choose?
    As for List members why not abandon MMP? All Listers are in the same boat. First Past the Post would be far better.

    Comment by ianmac40 — March 30, 2016 @ 11:10 am

  15. “And tellingly, who but someone working for National would know that gem ‘lost 7 electorates in a row’”

    If they have a Hammersmith branch then I am yet to know about it! You haven’t done much to dissuade me that she is a terrible performer for Labour

    Comment by Nick — March 30, 2016 @ 11:16 am

  16. “I suspect that if Sue Moroney was directly accountable to the voters she probably wouldn’t wander around taking photos of random stranger’s homes and shaming them on social media.”

    You should read up on some of the pre-MMP, 70s and 80s MPs we had and some of the ridiculous things they did/said. They didn’t have poor social media discipline, but only because there was no social media. In practice, under FPP, MPs were not really accountable to the voters in their electorates – because electorate voters just voted for the local representative of whatever party they wanted to win. It was very rare for the personality or competence of the MP to make a difference. I remember so many cases of people on both sides of the spectrum saying “Yes, [X local MP] is a plonker, but I want Labour/National to win, so I voted for him”.

    “The Tories practised message discipline and talked exclusively about the economy, where they were strong, and every time a labour or lib dem MP said something irrelevant and stupid in mainstream or social media, which was pretty much every day, they turned it into a major story. This stuff matters.”

    So it matters because the Tories choose to focus their tame media on it? I admit we’re all free to decide what does and doesn’t matter – that’s the beauty of democracy – but I don’t personally weigh the Tories’ media strategy very heavily when deciding what matters.

    Maybe the way to negotiate this strategy is not to rigorously police individual MPs’ behaviour. After all, it’s not like Tories (British and Kiwi) don’t similarly make these kinds of dumb comments. It’s that their strategy focuses media attention away from them. If Labour (or the Greens) were to focus all their energies and internal political capital on the kind of ruthless, micromanagerial, nitpicking control over every low-ranking MPs’ publix expression that would be necessary to prevent this kind of thing from ever happening, they’d have no energy or political capital to do anything else.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — March 30, 2016 @ 11:18 am

  17. “I suspect that if Sue Moroney was directly accountable to the voters she probably wouldn’t wander around taking photos of stranger’s homes and shaming them on social media.”

    OMG, like, totally THIS!

    Comment by Matthew Hooton — March 30, 2016 @ 11:22 am

  18. Pretty much agree with what you’re saying here Danyl, but a slight issue here:

    “The party campaigns externally to get the public to give them party votes, and the MPs (mostly) get into Parliament by campaigning internally to get high positions on the list.”

    Only 5 of Labour’s 32 MPs are List MPs due to the party’s unpopularity at the last election.

    Comment by Patrick Leyland — March 30, 2016 @ 11:24 am

  19. > “I suspect that if Sue Moroney was directly accountable to the voters she probably wouldn’t wander around taking photos of stranger’s homes and shaming them on social media.”

    Sue Moroney is one of my local MPs and along with Nanaia Mahuta she’s generally well-liked and a hard working MP. I often see her out talking to people (in fact more than any other local MP), and she’s among the nicer politicians I have met. In contrast, the local National electorate MPs are cannon fodder not notable for anything except that one of them is apparently a bit of a religious lunatic. Other than that I don’t have anything against them – they’re just our local politicians.

    What we have in this case is National’s media allies gearing up for the next election, in which they will spend all their time recycling talking points about how angry and bitter Labour are. Labour has no such echo chamber and are doomed.

    Comment by L — March 30, 2016 @ 11:38 am

  20. > If Labour (or the Greens) were to focus all their energies and internal political capital on the kind of ruthless, micromanagerial, nitpicking control over every low-ranking MPs’ publix expression that would be necessary to prevent this kind of thing from ever happening, they’d have no energy or political capital to do anything else.

    It would make no difference, as National’s “tame media” would just manufacture controversies, as they did with Donghua Liu.

    Comment by L — March 30, 2016 @ 11:41 am

  21. The only thing I find more deplorable than the original tweet is the non-apology. WTF is wrong with politicians that they can’t just say “I screwed up. Sorry.” If she’d done that she might have repaired some of the damage among those whose views are influenced by the story.

    (And yeah, list MPs are more accountable to the general populace, not less. The problem is Labour can’t produce a list that correlates with competence).

    Comment by jmarshall — March 30, 2016 @ 11:50 am

  22. Labour Party MPs with social media accounts are collectively the greatest weapon National has in its arsenal.

    Comment by @simongarlick — March 30, 2016 @ 12:09 pm

  23. If Labour (or the Greens) were to focus all their energies and internal political capital on the kind of ruthless, micromanagerial, nitpicking control over every low-ranking MPs’ publix expression that would be necessary to prevent this kind of thing from ever happening, they’d have no energy or political capital to do anything else.

    Or, put another way, “competence just sounds too hard”.

    It does not take energy and political capital, nor is it ruthless, to have a policy of “before you post that thing to the Internet, ask yourself if it will be used to hurt the Party”. That’s not nitpicking, it’s being a grownup.

    Comment by @simongarlick — March 30, 2016 @ 12:27 pm

  24. And tellingly, who but someone working for National would know that gem ‘lost 7 electorates in a row’

    How about… anyone with access to Wikipedia.

    Comment by Phil — March 30, 2016 @ 12:43 pm

  25. “I suspect that if Sue Moroney was directly accountable to the voters she probably wouldn’t wander around taking photos of random stranger’s homes and shaming them on social media.”

    Emily Thornbury was directly elected by the voters of Islington South & Finsbury. Didn’t stop her “wander[ing] around taking photos of random stranger’s homes and shaming them on social media.” Or is the theory not falsifiable by contrary evidence – we’ll keep adding deferents and epicycles as and when needed?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — March 30, 2016 @ 3:00 pm

  26. Mike Sabin was an electorate MP. We aren’t allowed to know what he did, but it can be assumed that it was a whole lot more serious than a snarky tweet.

    Comment by richdrich — March 30, 2016 @ 3:34 pm

  27. Gosh Danyl. You must be on the right side. “Wise words from Danyl Mclauchlan,” David Farrar writes. “Obviously I can’t be sure, but I suspect that if Sue Moroney was directly….”

    Comment by ianmac40 — March 30, 2016 @ 4:49 pm

  28. “Or, put another way, “competence just sounds too hard”.”

    If this kind of thing precludes one from being considered ‘competent’, I don’t think NZ has ever had a competent MP.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — March 30, 2016 @ 5:50 pm

  29. …maybe one of those 2002-2008 era NZ First MPs who gave all their speeches in the House to Winston?

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — March 30, 2016 @ 5:51 pm

  30. I find it hilarious when people like Sanctuary whine about media bias , what they really mean is they don’t like the media reporting on stories that make their side look foolish. The other side of the political spectrum said much the same during dirty politics and the Keys hair pulling idiocy, you only want the media to cover stories that are embarrassing to the other team not yours is basically what you’re saying.
    When Sue Moroney behaves like an obnoxious asshat on twitter thats a story, it becomes a better story when its revealed she actually has a beach house too and you can bet they’ll interview the owners of the beach house she ranted about. If I had the misfortune to wake up tomorrow and find myself leading the Labour party the first thing I’d do is make every mp delete their twitter account, the second thing I’d do is ask why someone who had been losing elections going back 21 years is still doing being not only an mp but ranked 13. Its not like she brings much to the table unlike say Chris Finlayson has said if he wins his seat he’ll ask for a recount.

    Also Matthew Hooten if you’re still here shame on you for provoking threats of violence against Paula Bennett. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11613354
    Of course the right wing nutjobs at the Herald shouldn’t be reporting on Little making a fool of himself-again, thats just media bias…….

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — March 30, 2016 @ 6:09 pm

  31. > I find it hilarious when people like Sanctuary whine about media bias , what they really mean is they don’t like the media reporting on stories that make their side look foolish. The other side of the political spectrum said much the same during dirty politics and the Keys hair pulling idiocy

    Oh please… How is it media bias to report the fact of Key’s cringeworthy behaviour? Even foreign news services that have no stake at all in NZ politics reported it. Moreover, you seem to be conveniently forgetting that one of John Key’s media goons engaged in unethical journalism to smear the victim of his behaviour, and kept him informed of it. As for Dirty Politics. Nicky Hager isn’t part of Labour’s comms strategy.

    Yet National’s media allies continually make stories up and actively collude with each other to publish an endless series of minor hit pieces on the opposition, some of which are based on outright falsehoods or exaggeration. The NZ left have nothing like that.

    Comment by L — March 30, 2016 @ 6:34 pm

  32. “Oh please… How is it media bias to report the fact of Key’s cringeworthy behaviour? Even foreign news services that have no stake at all in NZ politics reported it. Moreover, you seem to be conveniently forgetting that one of John Key’s media goons engaged in unethical journalism to smear the victim of his behaviour, and kept him informed of it. As for Dirty Politics. Nicky Hager isn’t part of Labour’s comms strategy.

    Yet National’s media allies continually make stories up and actively collude with each other to publish an endless series of minor hit pieces on the opposition, some of which are based on outright falsehoods or exaggeration. The NZ left have nothing like that.”

    i rest my case.

    I don’t recall ever saying Hagar was part of the Labour comms strategy and despite the fact the media are all apparently colluding together to help National you somehow know about Glucina trying to smear the waitress? How so? You er didn’t read that in the media did you?

    The sad fact is Labour seem to be utterly clueless at the moment and hand out free shots on a regular basis, todays insanity directed at Hooten is a classic example of that .

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — March 30, 2016 @ 6:50 pm

  33. Dude- paid parental leave and keeping the flag, much more popular than the Greens, this blog, books or Twitter. Though probably not Facebook. Weak shot.

    Comment by sheesh — March 30, 2016 @ 7:13 pm

  34. I think the flaw in your post centres around the notion that Moroney ‘probably grasps’ something, Danyl.The only thing she appears to grasp is a tax-payer financed salary for producing little of consequence for almost two decades.

    Moroney has served one useful purpose: it illustrates how we risk a media and political process in general obsessed by stupiditiness (yeah I know) based around twitter, blogs, social media and such stuff. But the culture of nastiness and random acts of spite isi a systemic one isn’t it?

    When the Leader of the Opposition apparently thinks its ok to single out people for apparent lapses of politically-correct thought or action like a political commentator (like Hooten), or suggest a sportsman should ‘expect’ a backlash for supporting a cause (like McCaw), you have to know that we have entered a stage of political evolution in which our representatives appear so obsessed with owning messages that they have forgotten they are supposed to actually be our representatives.

    But of course, on a strategic level, it cues up another round of potential cassus belli about ‘Dirty Politics’ to try and rally the faithful, and manages to present an image of the wronged party, while, all the time engaging in the kind of sniping abd organised back-biting and character assassination they accuse ‘others’ of doing. I don;t know the timing of Little’s attack on Hooten, was it an attempt to deflect from (justifiable) criticisms of Moroney? If so it was a classic misdirection as practiced by any street-magician or snake oil salesman.

    Comment by leeharmanclark — March 30, 2016 @ 8:39 pm

  35. Emily Thornbury was directly elected by the voters of Islington South & Finsbury.

    It is weird how similar those incidents are. Although Thornberry didn’t editorialise, just posted a photo. Also, she resigned which suggests some level of accountability in effect.

    Comment by danylmc — March 30, 2016 @ 9:10 pm

  36. ” Also, she resigned”

    As a Shadow Cabinet member, not as an MP. So she was held accountable by the party leadership, not her constituents. In fact she increased her majority by 4,000 post White Van.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — March 30, 2016 @ 9:37 pm

  37. Pardon me, she increased her vote share by 4,000. She increased her majority by 8,000, largely due to 10,000 voters deserting the Lib Dem candidate.

    Comment by Ortvin Sarapuu — March 30, 2016 @ 9:39 pm

  38. The Tories practised message discipline and talked exclusively about the economy

    So the Tories weren’t obsessed with replacing the Union Jack with a T20 shirt?

    Comment by Ross — March 30, 2016 @ 9:51 pm

  39. Also, she resigned which suggests some level of accountability in effect.

    Ms Thornberry was recently promoted to shadow defence secretary.

    Comment by Ross — March 30, 2016 @ 10:19 pm

  40. Complete flash in the pan. Except to Danyl. Who is keeping a non-story going. And some National black ops lovers.
    Difference being Danyl- Ms Thornberry was trying to attack the kind of nationalism of the Nigel Farage kind, but got done for singling out current symbols of realm and looking down on working people, including the self-employed and contractors, nominally who Labour should be trying to represent or win back.

    I think there will be plenty of people in New Zealand with neighbours they didn’t care for who were flying the flag (I know a few myself) and who grew up going to a bach which they now have next to no chance of owning themselves (and having a family home as well that is) and also are quite happy with how Sue Moroney has led the charge on paid parental leave. The flag failed everywhere except strong blue seats such as Clutha Southland and Tamaki, where it just scraped through.

    The class politics are the opposite of Thornberry’s and backing two popular causes: angst at housing unaffordability and inequality and the terrible flag referendum quagmire.

    There’s message discipline and then there’s bollocks. Are you really suggesting that the missing accountability in this flag referendum scenario is Sue Moroney’s? An ill thought out tweet singling people, probably worth an apology, but nothing in it. Better than someone actually wanting this to be our flag for so many, many reasons.

    Should Paula Bennett be resigning each time she bashes beneficiaries or suggest they are druggies who should be forced to pee in a cup? How about each time Paula or Judith Collins releases private details against all kinds of principles, rules and guidlines? No?

    Same thing applies here.

    Comment by sheesh — March 30, 2016 @ 10:44 pm

  41. Oh wait and Matthew Hooton on this post too. Perhaps that’s why Bill English has gone list only? So he can’t be accountable to anyone for his shake up of the public sector? Can’t see he has any mandate at all to do anything if he hasn’t got an electorate. Like, so this. Meh. Back to treating this blog like Danyl treats twitter.

    Comment by sheesh — March 30, 2016 @ 10:50 pm

  42. Also blown away at this chat managing to comment: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ortvin_Sarapu It’s the real elite and achievers you have here- even from beyond the Styx

    Comment by sheesh — March 30, 2016 @ 11:03 pm

  43. Danyl, the electoral system is not responsible for stupid.

    FPP, MMP or some other – poor judgement by politicians is only fixed by improving the quality of politician and the leadership that drives them.

    Sue Moroney would be Sue Moroney whether she had a safe seat or not. You do raise a very good question, however, in indirectly asking whether the Party is holding Moroney to account as much as local electors would.

    Well, I’m not convinced local electors would have a threshold or sensitivity high enough (in a safe seat) to care about Moroney’s widely acknowledged underperformance and occasional face-palmy moments. In a marginal, like say Hamilton West, well yes – probably in that case. Perhaps those good burghers would. And have – election after election when they rejected Sue.

    As for the Party, it should have a higher standard than both types of seat for performance reviews of MPs. There is no room for mediocre, let alone useless, on a Party list as short as Labour’s. Labour has consistently failed to trim deadwood and keep the list full of fresh, talented and diverse MPs. Labour is not strategic with its list. It failed to save its only Chinese MP in 2014. It lost an Indian MP in 2011 and did not replace him. It hasn’t even ensured a caucus of 45% women as required by the Labour constitution.

    So why has Labour kept Sue at the top of the list? One part – leadership:

    In each of the last elections Sue Moroney has been in the top 10 on the list. First Helen Clark’s moderating committee ranked her 22 in 2008, then Goff made her Education spokesperson in shadow cabinet at 10, then by switching support to David Cunliffe she kept her spot at 10 in 2014. Leaders from the left and right have rewarded poor performance. This is despite her vote and the party vote dropping every election in the seats she ran. More importantly, I think, this is despite a significant contribution to the life of the Parliament and the appeal of the Party. Sue Moroney is a drag on the Labour Party. Net, she makes people vote against it.

    Another reason? Regional internal politics:

    Sue Moroney has dominated Region 2 of the Labour Party (Waikato/BOP). She is known to have used her political muscle (and according to some, her husband’s physical muscle – although I don’t buy those claims) to lock out potential rivals from that region. Rather than building other women up in the region to also enter Parliament (Waikato is underrepresented in Labour), she has organised against them. Party members and MPs talk about a toxic political culture in the region. They are concerned about finding good candidates to fight the marginal seats, and desperate to see new faces from Region 2 on the list.

    Sue Moroney has been an MP for four terms. 11 years. Time to give it up Sue. Time for a change.

    Comment by Aparoa — March 31, 2016 @ 2:04 am

  44. As someone who moved to Hamilton in 2013 ‘from the beltway’, I have found the local leftie/politico loops sociologically interesting.

    Sue Maroney is a hard-working, Hamilton West electorate list MP. Her electorate office is parked in Te Rapa in the middle of an industrial/commercial zone, & factory workers are her constituency – she also shows up for any NZEI or NZNO (two of our bigger public sector unions) events, and has spoken at local TPPA rallies. She is relateable to most working class residents, has a good rapport with the local migrant community, and is hooked in to the feminist networks, such as they are, in the city & university.

    By contrast, Tim McIndoe is a complete wet blanket, heavily involved in a local charismatic church who run an outfit called Agora café in Frankton. McIndoe has monthly pep meetings there, as well as fundraising dinners. Frankton has always been one of the poorer parts of Ham West, and his strategy of engaging with only the well-to-do Christian populace is pretty alarming.

    Tracey Martin from NZ First also has her office in Frankton. Less said about that, the better, having heard her defend domestic violence in her own family during a talk on campus last year…

    The Conservatives fielded Prof Ron Smith’s mates during the 2014 campaign; he’s notorious for bringing Mad Lord Moncton to NZ in 2013, & is both rabidly Christian and a climate change denier, who is a semi-retired public policy research assistant. New UoW VC Neil Quigley is about to solve that problem, however, probably the first action on Quigley’s part that I have ever agreed with.

    David Bennett I will grudgingly admit is a fairly reasonable bloke, although neoliberal to a point. Likes to stack WSU exec with his former office staffers, can’t blame the man for trying… He’s Catholic, rational, and can take a joke in conversation.
    Even Mark Servian, the Green candidate for Ham East in 2014, wouldn’t say anything bad about David; one candidate forum near the end of that campaign was held in Eastside Church, a barn of a thing near Ruakura Ag Research grounds, full of antagonistic charismatic Christians on the night. The conservative candidate proceeded to lambast every candidate about their voting on the Marriage Equality Bill; Bennett impressed me with his defence of both his own vote (for) & his party’s stance on the Bill, which was passed with cross-party support amid a fairly congenial understanding that the time had come for society to ‘move on’.

    Amongst that context, Sue Maroney is pretty consistent, does what it says on the box (Labour policy) & has good relationships with other opposition MP’s in the Waikato.
    As others have said, she’s human. This was a Nat beat-up, because everything about the flag they think they own, & they mucked up the marketing on THAT non-issue pretty severely. Fleg, smeg.

    Let’s move on to an issue that is more pressing, like housing shortages, rack-renting landlords who don’t keep up with maintenance (HNZ?) or our currently history-making levels of inequality & child poverty, hmmm?

    Comment by anarkaytie — March 31, 2016 @ 5:51 am

  45. The other thing to remember is that nobody got hurt, nobody privacy’s was breached.

    As for Paula Bennett, well, she has a history of breaching privacy, not apologising for it, and more recently she was involved in a hit and run. Why she didn’t assist the injured woman is unclear although it’s consistent with her previous behaviour.

    Moroney’s “offending” pales in comparison.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503426&objectid=11611165

    Comment by Ross — March 31, 2016 @ 6:38 am

  46. *nobody’s privacy*

    Comment by Ross — March 31, 2016 @ 6:41 am

  47. I think the media are reasonably even-handed in the tat and fluff they report. Expecting exposes and ‘cutting edge’ stuff is like so 20th century, dudes.
    I also think that the volume-sales decline of the print-media as an economic force has had a collateral impact on its power to investigate and expose political stories and issues. (Danyl may have said this first) But even the calibre of journalism has taken a hit. It should be no suprise that the Pilgers of this world whose natural habitat was highly dangerous war zones and who interviewed the evil of the world has been replaced by the Hagars, who work largely from home, interview no one who will allow themselves to be named, and unpick hard-drives for their materials from the safety of their homes.

    Surely this is a contemporary journalistic equivalent of the Twtter – no less than a consequence of a shifting paradigm about what, as a society we value as ‘news’, also a symptom of our overall tendency to think that saying stuff over various electronic media somehow ‘matters’ more than what actual people do. Which is the mistake I think both Moroney and Little have made in the recent 48 hours. Tomorrow no doubt it will be someone else from another political party and so it goes.

    Comment by leeharmanclark — March 31, 2016 @ 7:30 am

  48. “As for Paula Bennett, well, she has a history of breaching privacy, not apologising for it, and more recently she was involved in a hit and run. Why she didn’t assist the injured woman is unclear although it’s consistent with her previous behaviour.”

    A couple of posts up someone is whining about smearing mps and then there this, the sort of toxic dishonesty that turns up time and time again on the standard and twitter.

    She was involved in a hit and run-was a passenger in a car that ran over someones foot.

    Why she didn’t assist the injured woman is unclear although it’s consistent with her previous behaviour-they didn’t know it happened until they found out on facebook and Burrows rang the police immediately.

    The weirdos and losers on the standard comments section have convinced themselves its ok to threaten Bennett with violence, Andrew Little has tried to intimate its that favourite saying of the weirdos on the standard -a false flag [from Hooten apparently ] and not only that its because despite there being falling unemployment and record low interest rates people are understandably doing this because they are angry . What message do you think Labour are being on track with?

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — March 31, 2016 @ 7:39 am

  49. It is telling that many people on here don’t grasp the importance of message discipline.

    Comment by RHT — March 31, 2016 @ 8:11 am

  50. I find a lot of the comments here encouraging. Danyl has copped a bit of stick for pretending to be a media connoisseur and commentator when (in this post) he slipped into being a media consumer and repeater, and unlike even two years ago a lot of people have seen straight through Slater/Hooton.

    New Zealand desperately needs to rediscover the meaning of being decent in a decent society. In a decent society there is no place for nasty pieces of work like Hooton, Slater and, dare I say it, Paula Bennett.

    Which leads to a final comment on the shrieking from the right by people like Hooton on threats of violence to Paula Bennett. Hooton, Farrar, Bennett etc has been part of a near decade long politics of relentless scapegoating, character assassination and victim blaming of the powerless from positions of power aided and abetted by large sections of the media. They have enabled policies that have designed to humiliate and grind benefgicviaries down to abject poverty. Their current meme is to relentlessly attack their opponents as suffering from some kind of illness, a personality based trivialisation designed to polarise and avoid discussion of the serious social issues facing New Zealand. I find it viciously ironic that the day the gun goes off and some utterly marginalized, nothing to lose person kills a senior minister Matthew Hooton will one of the media go to guys when everyone clutches their pearls and angsts over how political assassination could come to pass in NZ. The reality is, Hooton and co are busily laying the groundwork every time anyone takes them seriously, instead of treating him. As an emotionally unstable marginal sociopath that no decent society would have anything to do with.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 31, 2016 @ 8:13 am

  51. For those who think Moroney’s message was trivial, unimportant and a flash in the pan – I think your imagination is failing you on how this effects New Zealanders. Moroney’s clear hypocrisy (in berating people for what she herself does), authoritarianism (denying others rights of expression when practising them herself) loud and obnoxious dishonesty (invoking class anger when not only aspiring to but purchasing – with the benefits of pretending to represent workers – the wealth she pretends to urge anger at) undermines everything about the concept of the Labour party.

    This stuff is important, it’s why Labour is losing membership and resources, why it’s losing the ability to compete, why I’m beginning to wonder if it will persist. It sure as hell isn’t going to win any elections with candidates like this.

    It was a one off brain fart? That’s making excuses for losing, that’s asking to be forgiven for incompetence and inability to be disciplined and incapacity to do the job asked for. It’s more stupidity on display to ask for forgiveness for demonstrated incompetence that supporters of Labour cannot give – the only people who can forgive such are the opposition in refusing to use it.

    This isn’t a little thing incidental to politics, it is politics. And Labour sucks at it.

    Comment by Fentex — March 31, 2016 @ 8:57 am

  52. @Danyl (at 35)

    Although Thornberry didn’t editorialise, just posted a photo. Also, she resigned which suggests some level of accountability in effect.

    So, only two epicycles needed to keep the theory alive?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — March 31, 2016 @ 10:25 am

  53. Does that work in lectures if a student points out a flaw in your reasoning? ‘Oh, that’s just an epicycle.’

    Comment by danylmc — March 31, 2016 @ 10:39 am

  54. Does that work in lectures if a student points out a flaw in your reasoning? ‘Oh, that’s just an epicycle.’

    Two epicycles to that:

    (1) Flaw in my lecture reasoning? Don’t you know who I am?

    (2) A student did try to say something like that once. They discovered that it’s very, very hard to get a job with an F- on your transcript.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — March 31, 2016 @ 12:12 pm

  55. they didn’t know it happened until they found out on facebook

    I’m sure police hear that excuse all the time! It wasn’t me wot dun it. The fact is that Paula Bennett was so close to the woman that she could have shaken her hand.

    Comment by Ross — March 31, 2016 @ 7:00 pm

  56. “I’m sure police hear that excuse all the time! It wasn’t me wot dun it. The fact is that Paula Bennett was so close to the woman that she could have shaken her hand.”

    If a bunch of screaming morons are surrounding your car its probably quite hard to distinguish which one is screaming in pain amongst the cretins ranting about whatever takes their fancy that day. I’m sure even Alanis Morrissette could grasp the irony of someone who made a post like your initial one on the subject accusing anyone else of being dishonest.

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — March 31, 2016 @ 7:39 pm

  57. “New Zealand desperately needs to rediscover the meaning of being decent in a decent society. In a decent society there is no place for nasty pieces of work like Hooton, Slater and, dare I say it, Paula Bennett.

    Which leads to a final comment on the shrieking from the right by people like Hooton on threats of violence to Paula Bennett. Hooton, Farrar, Bennett etc has been part of a near decade long politics of relentless scapegoating, character assassination and victim blaming of the powerless from positions of power aided and abetted by large sections of the media. They have enabled policies that have designed to humiliate and grind benefgicviaries down to abject poverty. Their current meme is to relentlessly attack their opponents as suffering from some kind of illness, a personality based trivialisation designed to polarise and avoid discussion of the serious social issues facing New Zealand. I find it viciously ironic that the day the gun goes off and some utterly marginalized, nothing to lose person kills a senior minister Matthew Hooton will one of the media go to guys when everyone clutches their pearls and angsts over how political assassination could come to pass in NZ. The reality is, Hooton and co are busily laying the groundwork every time anyone takes them seriously, instead of treating him. As an emotionally unstable marginal sociopath that no decent society would have anything to do with.”

    The first I heard of the hard left considering violence being acceptable if you disagreed with government policy was when Sue Bradford made a tactless tweet after the two WINZ staff members were killed. Unfortunately posts like this and on other blogs make it appear quite widespread amongst this group.
    I find it viciously ironic Sanctuary lambasts the right for attacking their opponents as if they were suffering from some kind of mental illness and then labels Hooten an emotionally unstable marginal sociopath. You couldn’t make that sort of lack of self awareness up.

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — March 31, 2016 @ 7:46 pm

  58. Errr, you appear to be suffering in the comprehension stakes, which is normal for righties who really struggle with cause and effect. Make a gun, leave it and the bullets lying around, then profess shock when someone gets shot, as if you had nothing to do with the creation of the circumstances that made someone getting shot almost inevitable. Mentioning that attacks on WINZ workers by desperate, marginalised people with nothing to lose is always going to be a likely outcome of cruel and humiliating policies is common sense, you fucking idiot.

    Comment by Sanctuary — March 31, 2016 @ 8:46 pm

  59. I’m interested to see how someone who makes the posts you have today is fit to judge what constitutes a “decent” society .

    People like you, iprent, Bradbury are just the other side of the same coin that Slater, Farrer etc are on, for some bizarre reason you think you’re on some higher moral plane that excuses saying disgusting things like the above comment about the shooting of the WINZ staff. I think years from now after 12-15 years of Labour being in electoral oblivion and reduced to a medium sized party that can’t rule without being in coalition someones going to write a book about how that came to pass. I think about half of it will be devoted to the utter toxicity of people like you, the standard etc and despite being small in numbers you were incredibly vocal online and a constant reminder to the voters in the middle of what else they were signing on for when they considered voted Labour.
    Cheers in advance for your services.

    Comment by Cliff Clavin — March 31, 2016 @ 10:11 pm

  60. History is repeating.

    Three and six years ago Hooton et al started laying into the Labour leadrt with so much fervour, people took it seriously. Danyl et al appeared to validate this with broad character assassinations based on fairly specific errors (the left tends toward unreasonably high ethnical standards for its own). Then a whole lot of previously unknown commenters appear on their sites feverishly building the original attack and spreading it to anyone who defends them.

    It discourages normal people from getting involved and eventually waters the seeds of doubt sewn earlier by Hooton et al.

    Perhaps Danyl et al could break the cycle by attacking the other side and avoid own goals, friendly fire, collateral damage and becoming an unpaid tool of the right-wing spin machine – which in the past was paid and will be again.

    Of course, Danyl et al should be able to write about what ever they like but the consequences will be the same as previously – grinding down of confidence in the left and reinforcing the ‘savvy’ view held by media influencers and galley press that the right are winners.

    Or to put this more simply – instead of criticising left-wing politicians for lack of discipline, left wing commentators might want to consider their own levels of discipline when compared to their right wing counterparts who sense the impending elections and turn their sights on the real enemy.

    Comment by Myles T — March 31, 2016 @ 10:38 pm

  61. “being decent in a decent society”

    That’s the sort of frame worth loading and repeating.

    Comment by Sacha — March 31, 2016 @ 10:46 pm

  62. “instead of criticising left-wing politicians for lack of discipline, left wing commentators might want to consider their own levels of discipline when compared to their right wing counterparts who sense the impending elections and turn their sights on the real enemy.”

    But what if progressive politicians and organisations who refuse to do their job competently are the main enemy? Awful lot of foot-shooting going on over the last 8 years without any involvement of any bloggers or commenters. Consistent competence earns respect and trust, which earns message discipline.

    Earns, not deserves.

    Comment by Sacha — March 31, 2016 @ 10:51 pm

  63. Awful lot of foot-shooting going on over the last 8 years without any involvement of any bloggers or commenters.

    This.

    Bloggers and commentators can only amplify; even then, only people who pay attention / regard said bloggers and commentators as trusted sources will be susceptible.
    Even further, their susceptibility will only be marginal as they are already likely to be seeking positive reinforcement of already established opinions.

    As noted by others over numerous threads, the population that modifies their political opinions based on the blogosphere / commentariat is probably vanishingly small.

    Let’s lay the blame where is belongs – the NZLP parliamentary branch’s systemic and public ill-discipline, and the failure to grasp message management as an important concept in creating a veneer of competence.

    Comment by Gregor W — April 1, 2016 @ 11:17 am

  64. There doesn’t seem to be any useful mileage in any politician tweeting scornful messages about flags. Thornberry’s case was pretty uniquely English though, the St George’s Cross being a very weird third rail and whilst it has made her /that photo into a meme, it hasn’t really hurt her. She’s still a MP in a safe seat and now is somehow responsible for the Labour Party’s review of Trident.

    Comment by Juan — April 2, 2016 @ 7:52 am

  65. instead of treating him. As an emotionally unstable marginal sociopath that no decent society would have anything to do with.

    I note that Sanc recently claimed that he apparently exiled himself from NZ society. I find this comforting because it contradicts Cliff‘s claim of Sanc lacking self-awareness and paves the way for building a decent society if similar creatures can be so encouraged.

    Although Thornberry didn’t editorialise, just posted a photo.

    Deferent

    Also, she resigned which suggests some level of accountability in effect.

    Epicycle

    Comment by Tom Hunter — April 2, 2016 @ 9:52 am

  66. I thought Steve Braunias encapsulated this situation well today:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11615423

    Comment by leeharmanclark — April 2, 2016 @ 10:47 am

  67. I’m sure even Alanis Morrissette could grasp the irony of someone who made a post like your initial one on the subject accusing anyone else of being dishonest.

    Except I didn’t accuse anyone of being dishonest. I said that nobody got hurt and nobody privacy’s was breached, and Moroney’s “offending” paled in comparison with Paula Bennett’s behaviour.

    Comment by Ross — April 2, 2016 @ 10:54 am


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