Little versus Cunliffe

One of the biggest talking points on the left  of the Labour reshuffle announced yesterday was the demotion of David Cunliffe from 14 to 28, and what looks to be a humiliating appointment by his leader Andrew Little.

Cunliffe led Labour in an embarrasing election defeat last year. He then sort of stood down but stood for the leadership again.

Little beat him in the leadership contest, and punished Cunliffe with a ranking of 14, appointing him to these spokesperson roles in 2014:

  • Regional Development
  • Tertiary Education
  •  Innovation
  •  Research & Development
  •  Science & Technology
  •  Associate Economic Development

Yesterday Little ranked at 28 (out of 32 MPs) with these roles:

  • Disarmament
  • Research and Development
  • Science and Innovation
  • Land Information
  • Associate Education (Tertiary) Spokesperson
  • Undersecretary to the Leader on Superannuation Issues.

Some similar roles but he has been dropped to Associate level on tertiary education. Chris Hipkins being given  Spokesperson for Tertiary Education may gall Cunliffe (which may be what was intended).

Claire Trevett comments on that last role of Undersecretary to the Leader in Andrew Little takes bull by the horns in Labour reshuffle:

After successive leaders tip toed around the issue of David Cunliffe, Little has finally been brave enough to take the bull by the horns and simply dump him down the rankings with little hope of any return flight.

The dumping has come with some glitter attached but all up, that simply makes it the proverbial polished turd.

Mr Cunliffe has effectively gone from being the leader to the ignominy of being an Under Secretary to the leader. It will mean Mr Cunliffe is charged with the “spade work” in developing options for the party’s policy on superannuation and reporting on those to Mr Little directly.

Mr Little insisted that under-secretary role was meaningful and a show of confidence in Mr Cunliffe. He managed to avoid answering the question of whether it was a signal Mr Cunliffe should call time.

In a comment by Northsider in Labour’s reshuffle announced today at The Standard it apears that Cunliffe supporters have also taken a hit.

Lees-Galloway supported Cunliffe and is getting punished.
Shearer? ABC
Parker? ABC
Wall supported Cunliffe and is getting punished.
Cosgrove? ABC
Nash? ABC and a owned by RWNJs.
Mahuta supported Cunliffe and is getting punished.

You may think that there is a pattern here, but I couldn’t possibly comment.

(ABC = the Anyone But Cunliffe club)

As leader Cunliffe struggled to get support in the Labour caucus but he had a strong niche of support amongst left wing activists.

It may not be helpful to Labour’s chances of rebuilding to have politically smacked them in the face along with Cunliffe.

And Chris Trotter also comments on Cunliffe’s enforced slide at The Daily Blog in Puppet On A String? Has Andrew Little become the plaything of Labour’s dominant factions?

Consigning David Cunliffe to the rear of the battlefield, and replacing Nanaia Mahuta with Kelvin Davis do not strike me as the decisions of a wise general. (Although they may be those of a panicky one.)

As a number of right-wing commentators have already pointed out, the treatment of Cunliffe is as wasteful of the man’s talent as it is self-indulgently vindictive.

It is interesting to speculate about how Cunliffe’s supporters in the broader Labour Party will respond to Little’s brutal treatment of him.

Some will recall the statespersonship of Helen Clark, who judiciously divided up the top jobs between her friends – and foes. Others will recall with some bitterness the assurances given to them by the Labour hierarchy at the party’s recent conference.

The bitter divisions of the past had been healed, they said. Caucus and party were now working together, they said.

Yeah, Right.

Cunliffe is down and seems to have been shown the way out of Labour’s caucus by Little.

Time will tell how that plays out with a small but very vocal pro-Cunliffe support base.



DCC votes to be Green climate lobbyists

The infiltration of Green national politics into local body government took a worrying turn yesterday. Dunedin City Council has voted in four climate change resolutions:

• Urge the Government to adopt a tougher carbon emissions target.

• Support the Government in that goal by reducing Dunedin’s carbon emissions.

• Join the international ”Compact of Mayors” agreement to measure and reduce emissions across Dunedin.

• Ask the Government to place a moratorium on deep sea oil and gas exploration.

It looks like there is a big dollop of Green Party national politics in those resolutions, with the Dunedin City Council voting to allow themselves to be Government lobbiests on issues of national and international interest.

The resolutions were brought before the council by Crs Jinty MacTavish and Aaron Hawkins.

I don’t think McTavish is officially in the Green Party but is closely aligned with more extreme Green policies, and has been influential in promoting Green policies and practices at a local body level.

Hawkins stood as a Green Party candidate in 2013 local body elections when he became a councillor.

The ODT reports in Council says yes to climate change resolutions that there was some opposition:

Cr Andrew Noone said Dunedin would be better off ”walking the talk” than telling the Government what to do.

Cr John Bezett said the issue was one for central Government, and Dunedin was ”wasting our time” giving its opinion.

Cr Andrew Whiley said climate change was a problem needing to be addressed first and foremost by the world’s biggest polluters, including China and India.

Both there was more support in a fairly left leaning council:

But that view was rejected by Cr Richard Thomson, who said grass-roots pressure was what drove governments to make big decisions.

Cr David Benson-Pope brought cheers from the gallery for his speech on why Dunedin had to take a stand.

”Like it or not, colleagues, we are part of our community. In fact, we are supposed to be some of the carriers of the moral leadership.”

”There was no question what thousands of New Zealanders thought about the issue during the weekend’s climate change marches,” he said.

”They think this community needs to move.

”I agree with them, and I’m not reluctant to … tell the Government it’s time that they got real and re-established a degree of political integrity and moral fibre on this issue.”

Benson-Pope has a Labour rather than a Green background. He was an MP from 1999-2008.From 2005-2007 he was Minister for the Environment in the Clark Government.

Unusually for a setting MP he was not selected by his party to stand again for Dunedin South in 2008. It seems like he still has a hankering for being involved in national politics.

I’m not surprised with this Green politicking in Dunedin, the Greening and Lefting of the council was an issue of concern raised in the 2013 election.

I would rather the Dunedin council put more effort into administering and improving Dunedin for their rate payers rather than delving into Green national politics.

UPDATE: In other news in the ODT today things that don’t seem to matter so much to DCC councillors:

Queenstown-Lakes also fared well in the number of dwelling consents issued in October with 96, up from 65 in September and by far the highest for the past 12 months.

Central Otago had 19 dwellings consented, up from 16 and again the highest total for the past 12 months.

Dunedin slumped to 19 dwelling consents in October from 25 in September.

That’s depressing enough, but more so given the headline: New year looks good for Otago builders.  Not so much for Dunedin builders.


Cairns found ‘not guilty’

A London jury has found Chris Cairns not guilty of perjury and perverting the course of justice.

The Herald reports: Chris Cairns trial: Cairns, Fitch-Holland found not guilty in match-fixing case

Chris Cairns is a free man.

The 45-year-old was acquitted of perjury late last night by a jury which had considered verdicts for 10 hours and 17 minutes following a marathon trial lasting eight weeks.

The New Zealand cricket legend and his friend Andrew Fitch-Holland were also acquitted of perverting the course of justice.

Another Herald report details the key points but has a misleading headline – Three reasons Chris Cairns was not guilty

Cairns was found ‘not guilty’. That does not necessarily mean he was not guilty, it means the jury found there was insuffucient evidence to find him guilty.

Jared Savage’s three reasons for the verdict:

1. Lou Vincent:

The disgraced former cricketer was an easy witness to attack. He was a self-confessed match-fixer, liar, suffers from depression and consumed drugs and alcohol to cope.

Under cross-examination, Vincent offered contradictory accounts, did not understand questions or could not remember important details.

2. Follow the money

There was no money trail leading to Cairns. In fact, the defence asked the jury to “follow the money” from Vincent to Indian match-fixers – not from Cairns.

Accusations that a wealthy family in the diamond trade were Cairns’ “paymasters” were nothing more than that.

3. He said, she said

“This case is all about words,” said Cairns’ barrister Orlando Pownall in his closing speech.

“Words which describe deeds, when the evidence of the deeds themselves more often than not contradict the words used to describe them.”

The Crown were unable to point to any independent physical evidence to support what their key witnesses were saying.

In some cases, the facts contradicted the words.

So the case against Cairns has failed and he and Fitch-Holland will be very relieved.

However the match fixing cloud hanging over Cairns and over cricket has hardly dissipated.

And it’s not over for Cairns.

Modi’s legal team will now seek to appeal against the 2012 judgment because the perjury trial heard new witnesses unavailable at the time of the libel hearing, including Lou Vincent and Brendon McCullum.

The Herald understands both are co-operating with Modi’s legal team. Civil cases have a lower threshold of proof to be met “on the balance of probabilities”.

The appeal lawyers will have learned from the weaknesses of this trial prosecution, have new witnesses, and have a lower burden of proof.

The opposite effect

There’s been some serious attempts to disrupt things here over the past few months, including attempts to drive people away and threats to shut Your NZ down.

The site statistics for the year show the opposite has happened.


Some of the increase will be due to the clusters of comments by a small number of people intent on trying to do damage and to intimidate and threaten, and the pattern of hits from the Netherlands is unusual and interesting,  but there has been generally a big incease in readership and comments.

So thanks to all you loyal contributors, and thanks also to the increasing number of readers who see something of interest here.

Social Media – Tuesday

1 December 2015

Social Media Watch is an open forum similar to Open Forum where any topic can be introduced, but with a focus on New Zealand blogs and social media.

This expands on the aim for Your NZ to be a joint project with the more people contributing and the more variety the better.

A general guideline – post opinion on or excerpts from and links to blog posts or comments of interest, whether they are praise, criticism, pointing out issues or sharing useful information.

If being critical address the issues and don’t do personal abuse. Constructive and reasonably balanced criticism is more effective than general moans.

As usual avoid anything that could cause any legal issues such as potential defamation or breaching suppression orders.

Also remember that keeping things civil, legal and factual is more effective and harder to argue against or discredit.

Note that sometimes other blogs get irate if their material is highlighted elsewhere but the Internet is specifically designed to share and repeat information and anyone who comments or puts anything into a public forum should be aware that it could be republished elsewhere (but attribution is essential).

If comments raise issues deserving of a full post I may use content to do a post, and may expand on it.

Open Forum – Tuesday

1 December 2015

This post is open to anyone to comment on any topic that isn’t spam, illegal or offensive. All Your NZ posts are open but this one is to encourage you to raise topics that interest you. 

Comments worth more exposure may be repeated as posts.

Your NZ is a mostly political and social issues blog but not limited to that, and views from anywhere on the political spectrum are welcome. Some basic ground rules:

  • If possible support arguments, news, points or opinions with links to sources and facts.
  • Please don’t post anything illegal, potentially defamatory or abusive.
  • Debate hard if you like but respect people’s right to have varying views and to not be personally be attacked.
  • Don’t say to a stranger online anything you wouldn’t say to their face.

Moderation will be minimal if these guidelines are followed. Should they ever be necessary any moderator edits, deletes or bans will be clearly and openly advised.

Malaysian diplomat pleads guilty to indecent assault

At the opening day of the trial of Malaysian Diplomat Muhammad Rizalman he pleased guilty to the indecent assault on Tania Billingsley

NZ Herald reports Malaysian diplomat Muhammad Rizalman pleads guilty to indecent assault:

The former Malaysian defence attache who returned to New Zealand to face criminal charges has this morning admitted indecently assaulting a Wellington woman.

Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail, 39, was to have faced trial in the High Court at Wellington toady, but has admitted a charge of indecently assaulting Tania Billingsley.

The former Malaysian defence attache who returned to New Zealand to face criminal charges has this morning admitted indecently assaulting a Wellington woman.

Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail, 39, was to have faced trial in the High Court at Wellington toady, but has admitted a charge of indecently assaulting Tania Billingsley.

As posted in Social Media by Joe Bloggs:

From May last year, Cameron Slater went to a great deal of time and effort on his hate-blog to shame Tania Billingsley, following her assault by Malaysian Diplomat Muhammed Rizalman. Here’s just one example of the bile that he posted at the time:

I think New Zealand can indeed guarantee a fair trial. After the initial shock and terrible connotations associated with the mere idea of rape, things have calmed down now, and the diplomat will be able to balance the story with his own account. . . .Just because Muhammad Rizalman bin Ismail misread a relationship and acted like an idiot doesn’t make him a rapist in anything but the technical sense. After all, nothing akin to rape actually happened. How the prosecution can prove “intent” is going to be interesting.

It wasn’t just Slater who said a lot of unwise things without knowing the facts of the case.

Labour reshuffle

More on the Labour reshuffle as it becomes available (nothing on their website or Facebook page yet).

The top twelve do generally look like a fairly new lineup but aren’t a lot different to those appointed last year.

  1. Andrew Little – no change
  2. Annette King – no change
  3. Grant Robertson – no change
  4. Phil Twyford  – up from 5
  5. Jacinda Ardern – up from 9
  6. Chris Hipkins  – no change
  7. Kelvin Davis – up from 8
  8. Carmel Sepuloni – down from 7
  9. David Clark – up from 10
  10. Megan Woods – up from 13
  11. David Parker – up from 15
  12. Nanaia Mahuta  down from 4

Out of the top 12 are Su’a William Sio (to 15) and Iain Lees-Galloway (to 14).

Little says he wants Trevor Mallard as Speaker. The rest outside the shadow cabinet should be considering their futures outside Parliament.

Reported yesterday in NZ Herald – Little rings in changes for Labour

Mr Little would not reveal details yesterday, but said the grounds on which he made his decisions were “hard work, freshness of ideas, and competence”.

Matching this with the Trans-Tasman ratings:

  1. Andrew Little 6 (down 1)
  2. Annette King 6.5 (down 1)
  3. Grant Robertson 4 (down 2.5)
  4. Phil Twyford 6 (no change)
  5. Jacinda Ardern 5 (no change)
  6. Chris Hipkins 6 (no change)
  7. Kelvin Davis 6 (N/A)
  8. Carmel Sepuloni 4 (N/A)
  9. David Clark 4 (down 1.5)
  10. Megan Woods 4 (down 2)
  11. David Parker 4 (down 2)
  12. Nanaia Mahuta 4 (up 1)

Trans Tasman 2015 ratings –

Trans-Tasman: top MP David Seymour

In their annual assessment of MP performance Trans Tasman has named rookie ACT MP for Epsom David Seymour as their top MP for 2015.

David Seymour, Epsom – 8.5

Parliamentary Under Secretary to the Minister of Education and Minister of Regulatory Reform.

What a performance from Seymour. Given a free ride into the House, made leader of a rump party, no one expected much of him. He has proved them all wrong, and become a strong positive MP. He’s been everywhere and is a hard worker – a real surprise. If anyone can make ACT relevant again, it’s Seymour – he’s the man.

This doesn’t surprise me.

Seymour showed potential when I heard him speak at the Act Southern Conference in the middle of last year. I also spoke to him in person and initial impressions were positive.

He then did the hard yards and won Epsom to get a seat back for ACT in Parliament.

He then had to deal with establishing his electorate presence in Epsom, re-establish an ACT Party presence in Parliament, work with the Government and make a mark for himself.

He seems to have managed all of this admirably.

And he is young and hard working enough to do more, possibly far more.

ACT’s big challenge is to find some candidates to build on Seymour’s success.

More from Trans-Tasman:

2015 Politician Of The Year – David Seymour While not exactly a political novice – he has form in student politics, and stood unsuccessfully twice in Auckland seats before getting elected, as well as being an adviser to then ACT leader John Banks, 32 year old David Seymour is in his first term in Parliament, he is a novice as a party leader, and coalition member. The surprise is how well he has performed, and the degree to which he seems to have made ACT a potential vote winner again. Sure he made the odd “coq” up, but no more than many of his colleagues.

He has handled his work with dedication, he is “everywhere” and he is a genuine talent. ACT’s charter school policies could turn out to be one of the successes of the coalition in policy terms and his move to ensure bars could open during the Rugby World Cup showed how in touch he is with public thinking.

He gets the nod as politician of the year because he is at the vanguard of a new wave of politicians – starting with a back to basics approach both in electorate and Parliamentary work.

He’s doing what a minor party should do under MMP – giving support, but making the Govt’s life difficult as well, and he is also doing it tactically. He has proven he can master the Parliamentary bun fight, now he needs to show he can make his party relevant.


Trans Tasman: best and worst of Labour

Stuff reports on Trans Tasman’s annual assessment of political performances in Trans-Tasman roll call – the best and worst of the 2015 political year.

Here are Labour MP assessments and ratings.

Labour fares little better, with transTasman saying it is still reeling from electoral defeat and Andrew Little’s ascension to the top job.

“He is battling to get his caucus behind him and to an extent has succeeded, but there are still many in the party’s ranks who should be looking to their futures – Clayton Cosgrove, David Cunliffe, David Parker and Trevor Mallard should all be looking for new jobs.”

Top five – Labour

Annette King – 6.5/10

Struggles to shake off the mantle of the 90s but is still a dominant force in the party. Labour will need her experience heading into a tough election in 2017.

Andrew Little – 6/10

Making a good first of the leadership, getting his MPs on side and on message. Still not using all his MPs strengths to full advantage. Polls need to move quickly and needs better advice.

Kelvin Davis – 6/10

Gets up the PM’s nose and has a social conscience… ready to be thrown into the attack and relishing it.

Chris Hipkins – 6/10

If Labour ever gets back into power, he will be at the top table.

Phil Twyford 6/10

Another of the young Labour stars who has worked his heart out on housing and transport issues. Deserves a big role in the next Labour Government.

Bottom five – Labour

Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene – 2/10

Another MP going nowhere fast. No prospect of advancement.

Port Hills MP Ruth Dyson – 2/10

Another Labour MP on her last legs. Needs to move on.

Mangere MP Su’a William Sio -2.5/10

His role is to deliver the Pacific Island vote and as long as he is there he probably will

List MP Clayton Cosgrove, Mana MP Kris Faafoi, Tamaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare, List MP Sue Moroney, Manukau East MP Jenny Salesa, Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri  – 3/10

Cosgrove is “a shadow of his old self” and on the outer – probably time to go, says trans-Tasman. Of the others, it says Faafoi had promise, but is yet to deliver, Moroney has worked hard but “it’s not enough”, Salesa has talent but hasn’t shown it and Henare has had no memorable moments so far.

As for National their deputy ranks ahead of Labour’s leader, showing how important a capable deputy leader is.

No sign of Jacinda Ardern in the top five (nor the bottom ranks). She is rated 5/10:

Has done a good job of corralling the Auckland youth vote. Too close to Grant Robertson to have Deputy Leader aspirations. Didn’t deserve “pretty little thing” comment, but hasn’t exactly mastered her shadow portfolios. Still polled as 4th best preferred PM.

Grant Robertson should be worried about his rating, down from 6.5 to 4.

Floundering in the finance role, with generalised comments exposing his lack of knowledge. Isn’t making the traction he should and is relying on his cronies like David Clark too much to fill in the gaps. Not doing his party any favours.

It’s notable that for a party that puts some importance on gender balance apart from King who seems to be there for her long experience and ability to keep the caucus out of mishief the rest of the top performers are all male.

There’s more gender equality in the bottom perfomers.

It should be a major concern for Labour that their are 9 MPs rated 2-3 out of 10. That’s nearly a third of their caucus. The rest just about all have to make the shadow Cabinet being announced today.

Only 7 Labour MPs rate 5 or better. That’s also a major concern.

Trans-Tasman 2015 MP roll call


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