Norman on China: Leader of Dissidents

Russel Norman was interviewed on Q & A yesterday.

What is your problem in general with Chinese trade?

Norman: Well I mean we basically you know New Zealand alonmg with you know Australia, Japan and a number of other countries through South East Asia, we’re trying to manage this relationship between these two superpowers, the United States and China.

Um and essentially the New Zealand Government strategy is to in a way head towards being a client state of the United States militarily so we align ourselves with the US militarily, and then being a client state of China economically, um so milk powder into China, and raw logs.

The problem is that’s quite a precarious situation to be in because of the tension between those superpowers, so our approach is we should have a much more independent foreign policy, and also that we need to diversify the New Zealand economy and invest far more in research and development and value add away from a simple commodity, milk powder into one market China which is a real danger to New Zealand.

Dumping China and the US and becoming major trading partners with the Dalai Lama may be a bit more precarious.

It would be ludicrous to not trade with a country because at some time in the future that market may diminish, that’s always a risk – and a far greater risk with vague “green economy” trade as proposed by the Greens.

We sell milk powder (and cheese and other milk products) all over the world. China is a major market but is far from the only market.

We are trying to improve diversification through trade agreements like the proposed TPPA but Greens strongly oppose that.

If you had the ability to change our relationship with China in any way how would you change it?

Norman: Well I think we need to change it in the sense I’ve just described which is investing in a much more diversified and resilient and broad based New Zealand economy, um so that we’re not just dependent on a single commodity into a single market.

We are not “just dependent on a single commodity into a single market”.

Is Norman suggesting we deliberately reduce our milk powder trade with China? He is vague.

I think it’s also important too that we speak out clearly on human rights and democracy issues.

I mean I’m sure President Xi is a nice guy but let’s remember he, you know there’s a seventy year old journalist called Gau Yu, um who’s locked up in China. She’s ah, for spreading state secrets which was that the Chinese Communist Party doesn’t like free speech. She was tortured in jail.

They took her son, and President Xi’s Government took her son, locked him up as well and said if you don’t give a false confession we’ll keep him in jail.

Um Liu Zaobo is a is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, he, President Xi has locked him up.

Should we halt all trade with any country who’s human, civil and human rights don’t meet the Green standard? That would have a massive impact on New Zealand trade and our economy.

Ah so I think you know there is a contest between democratic capitalism and authoritarian capitalism if you like, you know I think it’s very important that we speak out in favour of democracy because China is only going to become more influential.

Speaking out in favour of democracy is finer, but what would Norman change in our relationship with China other than protesting with words?

What struck me as very interesting in this visit by the Chinese delegation was that Andrew Little as leader of the Labour Party was meeting with the Chinese president, but you were meeting with the Tibetans. Is there a problem with your priorities here? Should you not be doing the same thing as Labour and saying that you’re on the same page?

Norman: Ah, well we’re obviously an independent political party so what Labour does is Labour’s business and what the Greens do is their business.

Does it not illustrate how difficult it’s going to be for you guys to work together?

Norman: No, so um in terms I would have been obviously perfectly happy to meet President Xi but President Xi did not wish to meet us, ah because he doesn’t like hearing dissident voices.

I mean in China he literally censors the Internet. I mean you know you’re not allowed to publish things on the Internet that are critical or President Xi, um you will be arrested if you do that.

And meeting Tibetans in an obvious demonstration would not help Greens get an audience with Xi in the future.

Parties that are in Government have to balance politics with diplomacy.

Norman wants to be seen as the Leader of the Opposition but if he effectively insults visiting presidents It’s difficult to see how he can be anything more than Leader of Dissidents.

So you know it’s the nature of their authoritarian regime that they don’t want to hear dissident voices and clearly the Greens who speak out in favour of human rights, democracy, Tibet, the Falon Gong, um all those basic democratic issues, he’s not interested in hearing our voice.

Being a proud and loud dissident is a choice the Greens can make for themselves, but it doesn’t seem very compatible with being in Government, nor as leading the Opposition.

I don’t agree with some of the ways the Chinese Government does things. I don’t agree with things that many Governments do.

But it the real world (as opposed to the Green world) you have to associate with and trade with countries that don’t fit your ideals.

This doesn’t just make it difficult to see how the Greens could operate in as a part of a Government.

It makes it very difficult for Labour to present themselves as a credible alternative lead party in a coalition when they would have to rely on the Greens to form a Government in the foreseeable future.

A Little lineup leaking

Andrew Little will announce Labour’s new line up this morning, but some key details seem to have been leaked. Is this the infamous Labour caucus sieve still at work, or are snippets deliberately being drip fed by Little?

Patrick Gower has tweeted that “word from inside Labour” is that Annette King will be Little’s deputy, Grant Robertson will get the Finance role and David Cunliffe won’t be on the front bench.

David Parker has already said he doesn’t want either the deputy nor finance roles and there was speculation he may quit Parliament after seeming to be hit hard by his leadership bid failure.

But the Herald ‘understands’ that Parker has been brought back “into the fold”.

Mr Little also said he had brought David Parker back into the fold after speculation last week that he could leave Parliament. After coming third in the leadership contest, Mr Parker said he did not want to retain the finance or deputy positions, which prompted questions about whether he would remain as an MP at all.

Mr Little said he had “a very good discussion” with Mr Parker and he was confident that the role he had been given would “meet his expectations”.

King as deputy would be good, she is one of Labour’s most respected old school MPs and has been acting as leader during the leadership contest. She was deputy leader under Phil Goff’s leadership from 2008 until she resigned after Labour’s defeat in 2011.

She would also help Little bridge the caucus divides.

Robertson in Finance is interesting. It is one of the most demanding and important roles. It is also a nod towards bridging divides, but keeping Robertson as busy as possible may also be a crafty move. Helen Clark did similar with Michael Cullen after beating him in a leadership contest.

Little said he would review his MPs’ portfolios after a year, and that he wanted his MPs to have at least two years’ experience in their roles before the general election.

“We’ve got three years … and we want the best going into 2017.

“So I’ve made the judgment that I’ve got a year to try some people out, to try some new things, try some new combinations and see how those work.”

“I think you’ll see that this reshuffle is about bringing the caucus together as a team.”

“Bringing the caucus together as a team” will be one of Little’s biggest challenges and a key responsibility of deputy King.

And if these details are unauthorised leaks and the leaking continues then the King should start beheading any offenders.

Open Forum – Monday

Monday 22 November 2014

This is open to anyone with any topic. It’s a mostly political 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.

Sutton and confidentiality

David Farrar asks a reasonably question about breaches of a confidentiality agreement with the Roger Sutton/CERA misconduct issue.

Doesn’t confidentiality apply both ways?

I, along with many others, have been critical of Roger Sutton for breaching the confidentiality around the complaints against him by a CERA staffer. The press conference was a very bad idea, as it allowed him to spin his side of what happened.

But if one is to criticise Sutton for breaching the agreed upon confidentiality, doesn’t that apply both ways? A number of stories make it very clear that either the complainant is anonymously briefing media, or someone is on their behalf.

Now don’t get me wrong – the complainant is the wronged party. But if one is to criticise Sutton for talking publicly, then doesn’t the same apply to the other party?

iMP details a sequence of events.

1. Several female staff had issues with Sutton.
2. One eventually complained, formally, a fairly senior staffer
3. A several weeks investigation ensued.
4. Sutton chose to resign of his own accord.
5. Both parties agreed on confidentiality.
6. Sutton held a press conference, breaching that agreement and painted his victim a certain way.
7. She has little recourse, so friends have expressed views.
8. Then Sutton was further stood down.
9. Then Sutton was replaced, forthwith.

Law professor Andrew Geddis posted:

But if one is to criticise Sutton for breaching the agreed upon confidentiality, doesn’t that apply both ways?

No. No it doesn’t.

If Roger Sutton breached the confidentiality agreement, then that releases the complainant from her obligations under it. In the same way as if you don’t pay me for the car we’ve agreed I’ll sell to you, I don’t have to hand over the keys to you. That’s how contracts work.

Farrar replied:

AG: Good point but if the complainant believes Sutton’s behaviour has released her from her obligations (and if I was her, I’d check her employer’s views on that) I’d rather she gave interviews directly (not suggesting she be named) rather than this ongoing series of indirect attributions.

Kimbo:

She can’t, or else she will be, as you imply, in breach of the agreement. And while on the balance of probabilities she is almost certainly feeding the information either directly or indirectly, neither you, me nor Rennie can prove that for sure. Which is exactly the situation Sutton was faced with.

Piecing together the contradictory self-serving bullshit that has come out of Rennie’s gob, Sutton on the balance of probabilities almost certainly committed acts of serious misconduct, but it was probably too difficult to prove it such that he would lose his job. So instead everyone concerned was offered an adult way out – he resigned.

But that wasn’t good enough for Sutton, his PR flunkie wife, and his flaky sister-in-law. Instead, they had to try and air-brush it and put a favourable spin on a situation where he had one obligation…shut his gob and walk away. And Rennie the incompetent let them do it.

As that act was yet another abuse of his position and power, I say good on whoever is leaking the details. Team Sutton doesn’t like it? Tough! Your guy should never have got himself into a situation when resigning was his only reasonable option, and then breached the agreement that would have let him walk away relatively unharmed – or at least less harmed than what has happened since the manipulation that occurred on Monday.

And sorry, DF, but for all those reasons your expression and wishes of what “I’d rather” the person in question does are about as pious and hand-wringingly ineffectual and worthless as Rennie’s moaning about how legal niceties are no longer being observed as this is now being played out in the public domain.

As you’ve suggested, she is likely NOT released from her legal obligations, and the prospect of a long and expensive battle to prove otherwise means morally she is entitled, even obligated to leak like a sieve…

Kimbo again:

Confidentiality agreement are there precisely to prevent the sort of allegations that were first directed at the complainant in places such as this blog from last Monday on.

They are usually a standard means of damage control, and a reassurance that all parties (including the employer) can emerge from the matter with no chance of come-back. All parties agree to let by-gones be by-gones on the basis of the new circumstances (which included, in this case, Sutton’s resignation).

Which would have been the case if Team Sutton had kept their mouths shut, just as hundreds of others have to do in similar circumstances.

Harsh on Sutton but it looks like fair comment.

Gower: Cunliffe not on Labour’s front bench

Maybe Labour’s leaks haven’t been plugged yet.

 · 

Word from inside Labour that David Cunliffe has been ABCed. Not on Front Bench.

Or perhaps it’s a managed leak to get this news out prior to the main announcement tomorrow, to dilute the potential negative coverage.

UPDATE: more from  ·

Word from inside Labour is that Annette King is deputy and Grant Robertson has finance.

Word from inside Labour is that Little is his own man, kept Cunliffe back, wasn’t pressured by ABCs.

Key has apologised to Slater

John Key has apologised to Cameron Slater for releasing a personal email. Stuff reports John Key says sorry to Whale Oil.

The prime minister has apologised to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater over the release of an email that forced Justice Minister Judith Collins’ resignation.

An email from Slater, obtained and released by Key, implicated Collins in the smear against her own official, saying she had been “gunning” for SFO director Adam Feeley.

Collins resigned, insisting she would clear her name. Key called an inquiry. Slater countered by lodging a privacy complaint against the prime minister for disclosing a personal email.

The email indicated Feeley may have been the target of a campaign to undermine him involving two bloggers, Cathy Odgers and Slater, and seemingly endorsed by Collins.

Justice Lester Chisholm is due to present his report to the prime minister this week. It is likely to clear Collins of any illegal actions. However, the bloggers may be the subject of criticism.

Despite this, Key has been forced to say sorry to Slater and Key’s office has confirmed: “The Prime Minister recently wrote to Mr Slater to apologise.”

But he stood by his actions. “The Prime Minister believes, however, it was in the public interest to release the email in question publicly,” a spokeswoman said.

The Prime Minister’s Office said it would not release the letter as it related to a privacy issue, but it was up to Slater to decide if he wished to make it public.

Slater yesterday agreed to issue a copy of the letter.

In it, Key says there was “intense media and public interest in matters concerning you and Judith Collins, following the publication of the book Dirty Politics”, creating an “election issue”.

Slater’s email raised serious questions about Collins’ conduct, he says. “In my view the reasons for Ms Collins’ resignation were of real and legitimate public concern, and it was in the public interest that the fullest possible factual background be available.”

But Key acknowledges the release of the email provoked increased media scrutiny of Slater and his family. “I regret any harm that may have been caused to you or your family by the release of the email, and hope that this letter may help to bring this matter to a close.”

The report from an inquiry into an alleged smear campaign against the boss of the Serious Fraud Office is due out soon (by Friday 28th).

Neither Collins nor the bloggers were willing to comment before the report was released.

That’s understandable.

Andrew Little on The Nation

New Labour leader Andrew Little was interviewed on The Nation yesterday by Lisa Owen – Little to put Labour members on trial.

Key points:

  • On Dotcom and the Internet Party – “…the fact that a single person wealthy enough to write out a big fat cheque to fund an entire election campaign, it wasn’t seen as the Kiwi way.”
  • Compromise your fundamental beliefs in order to get votes? “Uh, well, no. You have to make a political judgement.”
  • “The fundamental belief is fair tax system.”
  • Two houses, is that OK? Three houses? “With all due respect, Lisa, it’s a silly question. That’s not what the issue is about.”
    So you don’t want to answer that question? OK. “No, the question doesn’t get us anywhere.”
  • “So there’s talk now about, ‘Do you have special conditions? Special interest rates for after you’ve bought your first house?’ And those sorts of things.”
  • “We look for every opportunity we can to raise funds—”
  • “We need to do a lot better at fundraising”.
  • “I’m going through the process of the moment of interviewing everybody as we prepare for the portfolio allocations.”
  • “We haven’t seen indiscipline in the caucus so far, but people will get the message very clearly that this is what we are here for. These are the objectives. This is your job; this is your role. Anybody who steps out of those expectations can expect there’s gonna be a response, and there will be.”

On policies:

  • He likes “ KiwiBuild – our plan to build 100,000 houses”.
  • “I haven’t spoken a great deal about Power NZ or NZ Power.”
  • “Capital-gains tax, I’m very… my view is, and I’ll be putting it to the party forums that make these decisions, is we should not go into the 2017 election with.”
    “capital-gains tax is not the solution to a whole heap of problems.  It is one part of a range of things that are needed to address a number of issues.”
  • “Lifting the age of eligibility for superannuation – take it off the agenda.”

On responsibilities in the new Labour caucus.

  • “I haven’t talked David Parker around.”
  • “‘Let’s try some people in new slots. Let’s try some combinations.’ But, listen, we may well come to review those, and it may well be that we’ll have people in place for the next year or so. But, in terms of the team we go into 2017 with, that might not become absolutely crystal clear until the end of next year. So give people a year to try a role—”
  •  I’m gonna try people out.”
  • “By the end of next year, two years out from the election, let’s crystalise who the team will be that’ll take us charging into 2017.”

Full transcript:

Lisa Owen: Good morning, Mr Little. You heard Laila Harre there saying that, basically, Labour and the Greens lost the election to the left. What’s your response to that?

Andrew Little: No, I don’t accept that. I think all the Labour Party activists and campaigners who I’ve spoken to and picked it up myself were very clear. New Zealanders didn’t like the deal that was done between the Internet Party and the Mana Party, and the fact that a single person wealthy enough to write out a big fat cheque to fund an entire election campaign, it wasn’t seen as the Kiwi way. It wasn’t acceptable to people. They were suspicious of it, and they didn’t want a bar of it.

OK. Well, these are new times for Labour. You are the new leader. You’ve been saying over the last few days – even the last month – that there’s policies that didn’t work for you with voters. Capital-gains, raising the super age, the state-power agency. So what policy do you actually like that Labour’s got?

Well, there are a lot of policies. I think a very important one right now is KiwiBuild – our plan to build 100,000 houses, uh, through state support, and then selling them and going through over a period of 10 years. You know, one big issue right now is housing affordability. Far too many people can’t get into their own homes, we’ve seen now, and the attempts by this government and the Reserve Bank to try and suppress house prices, not working, and in fact, it’s keeping first homebuyers out of the market, and it’s allowing property speculators to get into the market. So, listen, housing and homes is absolutely crucial.

I want to talk about KiwiBuild in more detail in a little moment, but first, just to be clear – capital-gains tax, raising super-eligibility age and Power New Zealand, do you personally think they should be off the agenda for Labour? Go on.

Well, I haven’t spoken a great deal about Power NZ or NZ Power. Capital-gains tax, I’m very… my view is, and I’ll be putting it to the party forums that make these decisions, is we should not go into the 2017 election with.

Ok, super eligibility?

Lifting the age of eligibility for superannuation – take it off the agenda.

OK, anything else that you think you should ditch?

Well, no, because, I mean, those are the policies where, when you talk to people, overwhelmingly, they come back and say, ‘That’s the reason we didn’t vote.’ But what people do—

But, in saying that, Mr Little, those are very core policies, or were very core policies, to Labour going into this election. So are you saying that the Labour Party that people saw at the last election wasn’t real Labour Party?

Uh, it was very much the real Labour Party. There were a whole heap of other policies that we didn’t get to talk about, ironically, because the very reasons that Laila Harre’s just talked about. But what people want to hear from Labour is they want to know what our priorities are about, uh, solutions to the problems that they’re facing. We know right now. I’ve talked about housing. Another big problem. A growing number of people can’t get decent work; can’t get decent pay for their work. And we’ve seen the horror story this week, now, of, you know, some rogue employers who think it’s OK to deduct pay for things that are well beyond the employees’ control. I mean, it’s those sorts of things, and there are little stories like that that end up all over the place.

Do you think it was the real Labour Party…? If you think it was the real Labour Party, is it just that it’s the Labour Party that you don’t wish to lead? Because you’re not just tinkering around the edges. You’re getting rid of some fundamental policy plans or you want to.

Well, capital-gains tax is not the solution to a whole heap of problems. It is one part of a range of things that are needed to address a number of issues. You know, making sure that investment goes to productive purposes. Making sure that the tax system is fairer. Um, making sure that the Government can raise additional revenue. Well, we can look at each of those objectives, and we can find other solutions around them. I’m not saying abandon capital-gains tax. I’m saying let’s come back to it. Let’s come back to it in a bigger context.

But you defended that policy. Mr Little, you defended the capital-gains tax on the campaign trail. In fact, uh, so you’re flipping now. Were you just toeing the party line then?

Well, I’m obliged as a candidate to promote the party policies, which I did, and then, listen, actually, I do believe in it. But also—

No, but you also said it was a matter of fairness. You were at an election meeting in Taranaki with the Taranaki property investors there, and you said, simply, ‘it is a matter of fairness.’

Yes, that’s correct, and I don’t resile from that at all. But what I do have to do, and what the party has to do, because we are a political party and we’re trying to win the confidence of the people, we have to make a political judgement.

So compromise your fundamental beliefs in order to get votes?

Uh, well, no. You have to make a political judgement. It is quite clear—

Mr Little, I am asking you – compromise some of your fundamental beliefs? You said it was a matter of fairness. Compromise those to get votes?

The fundamental belief is fair tax system. Broadening the tax-based Crown revenue and directing investments into more productive uses. Those are the principles. The capital-gains tax was a policy that sought to achieve that, but it turned a lot of people off. There is no question – capital-gains tax prevented people from voting for us. And, in fact, it didn’t just prevent people from voting for us. It stopped them listening to us. So, at that point, you have to make a political judgement. Do we carry on beating this drum, which we have done for two elections in a row, or do we say, ‘Let’s clear the obstacle out of the way for a moment, and let people hear the rest of what we’re saying like KiwiBuild, like better employment laws.’

If not capital-gains tax – as Mr Parker said – if not capital-gains tax, then what?

Well, if the objective is to broaden the tax base, let’s look at alternatives. Let’s look at, you know, taxes on wealth. Let’s look at property speculators. Not the mums and dads who, you know, do all the extra overtime, get a bit of money aside and buy themselves an investment property that they use for their retirement. Let’s look at the people who are buying 8, 10, 12 houses. Let’s look at the people who are buying houses one day, 18 months later selling them again—

So are you saying to me that it’s OK to own two houses? Three houses? Four? Where’s the cut-off, Mr Little? How many houses is it OK to own?

Let’s go back to what we’re talking about here. So it is about a tax system that, overall, is fair. It raises revenue. It treats people fairly, uh, and it allows people to get ahead. So that’s what it’s all about. When it comes to designing a tax system, I think that’s an exercise better done when you’re in government; when you have the resources of Inland Revenue, Treasury, various other government departments. You have all those resources, and you have the bully pulpit of government to go and debate the issue and lead up a public debate and discussion about it. Very hard to do in opposition.

Mr Little, you’re promising a direct, um, style of leadership. I’m asking you a direct keystone, personally. Two houses, is that OK? Three houses?

With all due respect, Lisa, it’s a silly question. That’s not what the issue is about.

So you don’t want to answer that question? OK.

No, the question doesn’t get us anywhere. If you’re asking about tax policy, let’s talk about that. But if you’re asking about how many houses you should own, I don’t care how many houses you own. What people want to know is that people are going to be treated fairly when it comes to their tax, uh, they’re gonna be taxed fairly. That’s what that issue is about. And I am saying is, you know, when we are putting out policies, we have to make a judgement. Is this fixing a problem that we see today? Well, we put that capital-gains tax policy out there two elections in a row, and the judgement is very clear. People don’t see it fixing a problem at all. So let’s take it off, and let’s start again.

Towards fixing the problem, then. Towards fixing the problem. The day after you were elected as leader, you sent out an email saying that you want to launch a housing campaign to fix the country’s housing crisis. So what is your idea? Is it Kiwi Build?

KiwiBuild is part of the issue. That’s on the supply side. We have to get more housing and more affordable housing too. That’s the problem we’ve got. First homebuyers can’t get into the houses. The Government and Reserve Bank’s LVR policy is failing. Failing everybody outside Auckland. Not even helping people in Auckland. So we have to do something. We have to do something else. So more affordable housing. Then there is the issue of how we deal with property speculators – those people who are in and out of houses, clearly doing it as a business. Clearly doing it to raise income, but, um, are inflating house prices. So there’s talk now about, ‘Do you have special conditions? Special interest rates for after you’ve bought your first house?’ And those sorts of things. So there’s a range of things that we can look at, but we, you know, if we want to make housing more affordable, two things – we’ve got to have more supply, and we’ve got to take measures to dampen down house prices.

OK, well, KiwiBuild – 100,000 affordable homes over 10 years, and Labour says it will generate about $2 billion in economic growth a year, apprenticeships, two-thirds of the houses in Auckland. The Nation has talked to some people about this, and the feedback we get is, ‘It sounds great. Sounds really good. In fact, too good to be true.’ Is it?

Uh, no. It had been very carefully prepared, that policy, and the Labour Party has spoken to people in the industry, in the business, and they say it is doable. I mean, part of the thing is—

How do you pay for it? Because your books were balanced on the basis that you were going to raise Super eligibility as one element, and that balanced your books out. So how are you going to pay for that?

Well, this is a capital expense. So we build the first 10,000 houses. They get sold. The revenue raised from selling those houses funds the next tranche of houses, and so it goes on.

So you do need to get a flow-on for that? So, initially, there’s gonna be an outlay that you’d need to pay?

Yes, and so you know, as the Government always does, it raises the finance. It’s capital expenditure. You do it to fund the first set of houses. You sell those, raise the revenue, carry on with the rest of it, and then there’ll be a little bit of margin in it. So, um, so it can… The fore cost of it, ultimately, can be self-funding.

OK, well, talking about raising revenue, also in that email, you were appealing to people to give you money. It was basically a ‘give a little’ campaign. You were asking for donations. So is Labour out of cash?

We… Look, for every opportunity we can to raise funds—

That being said, are you down to your last dollars now?

Well, we are more secure now than we have been for a long time. So we had an election campaign – we got to fund that. We are in good heart. We need to do a lot better at fundraising, and one of the things that I’ll be putting together with a team in the next short while is a three-year fundraising campaign. But, listen, an exciting event like the election of a new leader – new party leader – is good for the party, and so we put the message out there, and we have raised money off that. A pretty healthy sum, I understand.

OK, well, your caucus – how are you going to keep that caucus unified?

Well, I’m going through the process of the moment of interviewing everybody as we prepare for the portfolio allocations. I have to say there is a high degree of goodwill. I think everybody’s got the message, and they will find, with my style of leadership, that I will be very clearly communicating the purpose we’ve got, the objectives we’ve got.

So how are you going to enforce discipline? Can you give me one concrete way in which you will enforce discipline within the caucus?

Well, we haven’t seen indiscipline in the caucus so far, but people will get the message very clearly that this is what we are here for. These are the objectives. This is your job; this is your role. Anybody who steps out of those expectations can expect there’s gonna be a response, and there will be.

So, this next week, you’re really gonna be building the foundations for your leadership going to the election. How are you going with things like deputy leader and have you talked David Parker around?

I haven’t talked David Parker around. I had a very good—couple of very good conversations with David Parker. I’ve had very good conversations with every caucus member. You know, I think—

Jacinda Ardern?

Yeah, a very conversation with Jacinda—

About the deputy leadership?

No doubt more to come about the roles that people are most suited to and I’d like them to be playing in the party—in the parliamentary wing of the party. I think what I’m looking at at this point is we’ve got three years. We’ve got, uh, we’re trying to achieve a fresh look. We want to harness the talent that we’ve got. So I may play a bit of the role of the coach and say, ‘Listen, let’s try some people in new slots. Let’s try some combinations.’ But, listen, we may well come to review those, and it may well be that we’ll have people in place for the next year or so. But, in terms of the team we go into 2017 with, that might not become absolutely crystal clear until the end of next year. So give people a year to try a role—

So you’re gonna try before you buy?

Yeah, a bit of that. I’m gonna try people out. This is… We’ve got some new people. We’ve got people that have been around a while but haven’t been tried in senior roles. So we wanna do that, and I think for the sake of their own confidence and confidence of people looking on, let’s try. Let’s give them a go. Let’s try them out while we’ve got a bit of an opportunity to do that. But, by the end of next year, two years out from the election, let’s crystalise who the team will be that’ll take us charging into 2017.

All right. Thank you very much for joining me this morning. The new Labour leader, Andrew Little.

Pleased to be here.

Source: Scoop

Laila Harre on The Nation

Laila Harre was interviewed by Patrick Gower on The Nation yesterday, Harre stepping down as Internet Party leader

Key points:

  • Stepping down as leader of the Internet Party
  • “I would love to be in parliament.”
  • The Internet Party “could be wound up”.
  • Continuing the merger with Mana “will be up to Mana”.
    “The agreement with Mana was always predicated on the assumption that we be in parliament.”
  • “We completely mismanaged the last month of the campaign.”
  • “…the media chose to focus on sideshows rather than to allow us to present ourselves in the way that we were presenting ourselves. 
  • “What I regret is actually the failure of the Left overall to get its act together in a strategic and tactical way during the election.”
  • “This was always going to be a very finely balanced election outcome. There was no way, no way, never in any polls that Labour and the Greens were going to get sufficient support to form a majority government. That meant we had to rescue progressive votes to.
  • “Labour ruled out just about every other party during the course of the election campaign, and I think that was a big mistake.”
  • On Labour – “They didn’t like us. They didn’t want us, but we were there and they needed to accept that reality.”
  • On Dotcom’s email fizzer – “I believe that Kim, given the opportunity to share everything about that email, would be able to defend his belief that it’s real. Look, I can’t answer that. I wasn’t directly involved…”
  • “What was there for me and for the kind of politics I represent, was the chance to change the government and to get a platform in parliament for some very new progressive ideas.”
  • “Where to from here? Well, for me, being outside parliament as a political party is not a game that I think is worth the candle. What I want to do, though, is continue to promote and connect with the kind of more radical, I guess, policies that we began to introduce into the election. And when I say radical, I don’t mean marginal. I mean radical in the sense of fundamentals. So I’m going on a journey in February with my sister. It’s called ‘Rethink the System’. We’ve got a website. Rethinkthesystem.org. We’re going on a sort of pilgrimage meets activism to connect with people over fundamental social change issues.”

Full interview:

Patrick Gower: Good morning. Good to see you after a while.

Laila Harre: Nice to be here.

Are you still here as leader of the Internet Party?

Yes, I am here as leader of the Internet Party, and at the moment I’m guiding the party through a review of the future. I’ve also made a personal decision that once that review is completed, I will step down from the leadership of the Internet party. All options are then open for whether or not the party continues as an electoral force or moves into some other formation and plays its part in politics in a different way.

So that will be by Christmas? You will step down by Christmas?

Uh… yes. The timeline at the moment is that we will be putting together a couple of options that members will engage on, will vote on and will take from there. I just wanted to make it clear to the members, from whom I’ve had tons of support, and there’s been a lot of good feedback to me personally from members, that continuing as a political party does not— they can’t make the assumption that I will continue in the leadership.

Sure.

I’ve made a firm decision about that.

It’s over; you’re out. What does this mean for your political career?

For me, it means that I’m no longer leading the Internet Party. Whether the Internet Party continues as an electoral party is up to the members. If it—

What about Laila Harre personally? Is this your political career over now?

Who knows? Look… (LAUGHS) rumours of my political career being over have circulated many times over the last, you know, 15 years.

Look, I would love to be in parliament. I would love to be articulating the kind of fundamental agenda and values that Internet-Mana promoted in the election campaign, and I’m not prepared to say never again to being personally at the front line. But I also saw emerging in our election campaign an incredible set of younger candidates.

And I feel a bit like a mother hen here. I want to enable them through my decision to step down to explore all their political options too rather than be trapped in this year’s political entity and this year’s political tactic, you might say — to explore their options more.

It may— it may be, by what you’ve said there, that the Internet party doesn’t continue as an electoral-type party.

That’s definitely one of the options that we’re actively canvassing with members.

It could become a lobby group or be wound up.

It could be wound up. It could— the capacity that we’ve built. Look, we’ve had massive engagement on our policy-development platforms, in our social media—

And the merger with Mana — that isn’t going to continue?

Well, I mean, that will be up to Mana and if the Internet Party continues as an electoral party, the Internet party. Um, the Mana Party are having their AGM in a couple of weeks’ time. The agreement with Mana was always predicated on the assumption that we be in parliament.

So, of course, all bets are off there, but there’s very strong goodwill. And again, for me personally, that was one of the strengths of what we did this year — was engaging our constituency with a kaupapa Maori party, which I think is critical to the future of New Zealand politics.

Let’s reflect on the campaign now, cos we know the story. Internet-Mana went from 2.3% on the 3News-Reid Research poll, higher than that on some other polls, then you started to crash. In the end, Hone Harawira didn’t make it; nobody did. What went wrong?

Um, well, what went wrong was that we completely mismanaged the last month of the campaign. We had amazing momentum before then. The road trip, I think, worked extremely well. What other party just went out there on the front line, engaged with such large audiences?

What was the mismanagement?

I think the kind of beginning of that, really, was Georgina Beyer’s attack on Kim Dotcom, which fed into what became a narrative of a rift and division, and it was one that we just couldn’t knock through the rest of the campaign. It became completely distracting from the release of policy, for instance. I mean, we launched a full employment policy that was second to none and did not get one minute of coverage on, you know, national news.

That’s because Kim Dotcom stood up and talked about hacking,…

Well…

…and Pam Corkery attacked the media on the same—

Well, no, it’s because the media chose to focus on sideshows rather than to allow us to present ourselves in the way that we were presenting ourselves. So, you know, the media made a decision to focus on Kim, and in a very negative way during that period.

The only way that we could have avoided that was to take him completely out of the picture. And of course then there would have been all the stories of ‘what’s happened to Kim Dotcom?’ And ‘has he been side-lined?’ And so on. So we’re kind of in the lose-lose position. Beyond us—

Do you have any regrets in all of this? Cos you must have.

I have absolutely no regrets about choosing to get involved in this project. Back in April— late April when I was first approached to consider the leadership, it was very very clear that Labour and the Greens were not going to make it over the line.

I was utterly committed to a change of government, and in order to change the government, we had to make sure every single progressive vote would count. For that to happen, Internet Party votes had to count. For the Internet Party votes to count, they had to do the deal with Mana. And for Mana to do that deal, they needed a leader that Mana had some confidence in.

Sure.

So I said yes. I put myself into that position, and I think it was absolutely the right thing to do. What I regret is actually the failure of the Left overall to get its act together in a strategic and tactical way during the election.

What do you mean by the failure of the Left overall?

Well, let’s go back to early April when the Greens and Labour pulled the plug on each other. At that time I was on the Green Party campaign committee. I felt that was a terrible error by both parties. I thought it was a major error by the Greens to leak the collapse of that discussion.

You’re saying that you were working inside there at the time and the Greens leaked…

I was on the campaign committee as a volunteer. I wasn’t working for the party, but when the Greens decided to leak the collapse of their discussions with Labour, I felt really concerned about what that meant for the election campaign, because what it meant was what I went through before the… around the 1996 and previous elections, that this was going to become a competition for votes on the Left rather than a cooperation of Left parties to change the government.

Here’s the counter argument, and you know it. Labour and the Greens put the failure of the Left at your feet.

Well, it’s very convenient.

They blame it on Internet-Mana. Andrew Little, all of the Labour leadership candidates all say being connected to Internet-Mana and to Kim Dotcom helped bring the Left down.

I think, actually, what brought, overall… I mean, this was always going to be a very— Can I just give you my view on this? This was always going to be a very finely balanced election outcome. There was no way, no way, never in any polls that Labour and the Greens were going to get sufficient support to form a majority government. That meant we had to rescue progressive votes to. To do that—

I understand all of this. But what also happened was National romped home. It wasn’t close. The Left got thrashed. You guys have been blamed for helping bring down the Left and at the same time there’s an argument that you pumped up the Right. People who were scared of Kim Dotcom. People were scared of Internet-Mana. People didn’t like to deal with Hone Harawira. Not only did you tear down the Left, there’s an argument that you helped John Key win by more.

Well, let’s look at some of the facts here. The Internet-Mana Party deal led to an increase in support for the combined two parties. The early part of our campaign, which Kim was very actively involved in in the road trip, saw a growth in support for Internet-Mana. It was at that point that the Right went fully on attack against Kim, and used Kim and the Internet Party-Mana agreement as the basis for an attack on the Left. At that point, Labour—

And it worked.

Yes, but why did it work? Because at that point Labour and the Greens had a choice. They could either join John Key’s narrative, or they could do the only thing that would have made it possible to get over the line, and that was to accept that putting together a majority in parliament, this time round, that did not have National as part of it was going to depend on working constructively with other parties. Labour ruled out just about every other party during the course of the election campaign, and I think that was a big mistake.

So in summary, those parties not supporting Internet-Mana, those parties trying to distance themselves from you, is to blame for your downfall. You’re blaming Labour—

No, I’m not blaming them for our downfall. What I’m saying is that I think they just played into the Right’s narrative about it. So they fed it. They made it more of a problem. And I think the key to politics is knowing and accepting the environment you’re operating in. They didn’t like us. They didn’t want us, but we were there and they needed to accept that reality.

Let’s talk about Kim Dotcom now. Are you still on his payroll?

No! Goodness, no.

Are you still in contact with him?

Yes. I’m periodically in contact with him.

How?

Mainly by text message. Kim is focussing on his legal issues, obviously. That’s the critical point.

Did you ever seek assurances from him that he was not involved in the hacking, that he was not connected to Rawshark?

I didn’t need to because he was absolutely upfront and direct about that, and I completely accept those assurances, and I also believe that John Key knew, and John Key said now that he knows who the hacker is. I think he knew who the hacker was, and he that he knew it wasn’t Kim Dotcom, and he kept feeding you guys.

Look, we had this conversation during the campaign where he had convinced you that he believed Kim Dotcom was the hacker. I think we now know that he knew right from the start that Kim Dotcom was not the hacker. That was just a complete red herring.

As for the moment of truth when Kim Dotcom failed to deliver. You know, the proof was apparently that email from Kevin Tsujihara. Warner Brothers says that that was a forgery. I mean, do you believe it was real?

I believe that Kim, given the opportunity to share everything about that email, would be able to defend his belief that it’s real. Look, I can’t answer that. I wasn’t directly involved in obtaining it or being involved in the process of—

Either Kim Dotcom’s forged it or Warner Brothers has made it up.

I absolutely don’t believe Kim Dotcom has forged it. I absolutely believe that Kim believes it’s real based on the evidence he has about its origins.

The $3.5 million. What happened to that? Who’s got control of it?

Well, that money’s been spent. I mean, let’s remember that that money was spent from pre the launch of the Internet Party in March and committed. I think we could have done a whole lot—

Was this it for you? The dream of a well-funded campaign — the chance of a lifetime. Is that what was there for you, and now maybe you regret it?

What was there for me and for the kind of politics I represent, was the chance to change the government and to get a platform in parliament for some very new progressive ideas. Look, I’ve walked off platforms in this election campaign where I was the only candidate—

And speaking of walking, where do you go from here?

…the only candidate promoting free tertiary education. You know, you had Labour and Green candidates saying user-pay tertiary education was a necessary evil. I reject that. Where to from here? Well, for me, being outside parliament as a political party is not a game that I think is worth the candle.

What I want to do, though, is continue to promote and connect with the kind of more radical, I guess, policies that we began to introduce into the election. And when I say radical, I don’t mean marginal. I mean radical in the sense of fundamentals. So I’m going on a journey in February with my sister. It’s called ‘Rethink the System’. We’ve got a website.

Rethinkthesystem.org

We’re going on a sort of pilgrimage meets activism to connect with people over fundamental social change issues.

Sounds like fun. Really sorry. We’re out of time.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Source: Scoop

PG attacks a Standard response

I raised a minor issue yesterday about an attack on Patrick Gower at The Standard.

Gower was quoted tweeting about Laila Harre quitting the leadership of the Internet Party but this was turned into an attack on Gower by also quoting two diversionary tweets directed at Gower rather than the news he reported. See End of the Internet Party?

I made a minor point about the author of the post not using his own ID but posting under ‘Notices and Features’. Anthony Robins later admitted it was him, but he then turned that into an attack on me.

I put up this post Pete. Does it matter? Your obsession with The Standard is unhealthy, and frankly creepy.

An odd over-reaction to being called on something. But that seems to be the normal approach, here are more reactions from The Standars welcoming committee.

lprent:

I guess your conservative spite blinded you into not reading the post.

Draco T Bastard:

You trolling already PG?

weka:

I see the trole is back then.

‘Troll’ is Standard vernacular for ‘I don’t want you posting comments here’. ‘Trole’ is a spelling variant to try and bypass auto-moderation.

Tracey:

It is all about pete. Isnt it?!?

It was obviously about something else, and some managed to discuss some aspects of what it was about.

Glen Jacobs (not a regular Standardista):

When and why did Pete George get his ban lifted?

Whilst I find his pathetic ways somewhat entertaining, I hope whoever was behind the amnesty does realise he’s just going to fuck the forum again

lprent responded as moderator:

[lprent: He doesn’t have one at present. They are generally time limited. His last one expired quite a while ago.

PG tends to ban himself to the great delight of most readers. I guess it helps with his usual senile victim routine as he routinely lies about why he got banned. But I believe he has recently been getting banned from other sites recently. So he is back to get his jollies here. ]

I’ve challenged him a number of times on his repeated claims that I lie about being banned from The Standard. And I’ve proven him wrong. And when facts are put to him he disappears.

weka:

“I don’t believe I lie about bans”

lolz at the senility of that statement.

Shall we start a book on how long it takes for Pete to either get a ban, or self-ban? His comments seem to be mostly about criticising ts, so I’m guessing he either goes quickly, or he’s trying out a new strategy for how long he can do this and stay just under the bannable level of offense.

felix (the king of the Standard jungle):

We all know how it ends.

Can’t someone just ban him in advance and be done with the stupid prick?

I responded to felix and weka:

I’ve no idea what ” just under the bannable level of offense” is weka. But I do know that when the usual suspects start to swarm it raises the prospects.

Thanks. And to you too felix. We know how it’s done, don’t we.

felix:

Yes we do. It starts with you raising stupid irrelevant points that no-one gives a fuck about (“omfg someone reposted a tweet”),

then you blow it out out of all proportion (have you written an OUTRAGED STANDARD DISGRACE post on your website about it yet?),

then you use this pretend issue to shoehorn your big issue (“why doesn’t the world take more notice of Pete George?”) into every thread on this site until one after another everyone here gets sick of you and, in one way or another tells you to fuck off,

and then you have a tanty because the web isn’t recognising your god-given right to post whatever you want on every site you stumble across as if you owned it,

and eventually a mod decides they’ve had enough of your passive-aggressive bullshit and bans you for something that, on its own, probably doesn’t rate as much of an offense without the context of the months of trooling that led to it,

and then you fuck off back to your site to write a martyrdom post that no-one except Lynn will ever read and spend the next three weeks reposting it at kiwiblog and whaleoil and having a big cry about the unfairness of it all.

Yes Pete, we know exactly how it works. And we know it’s going to work exactly the same this time too. Seriously, it would save everyone so much trouble if you just fucked off and started working on your martyrdom post now.

That’s a normal sort of manoeuvring from felix. He’s long practiced at trying to engineer bans for anyone he decides should not comment at The Standard. I responded:

You’re as funny as ever felix.

Wouldn’t the logical approach to comments or commenters “that no-one gives a fuck about” be to ignore them? /rhetorical

felix:

Yes Pete, the logical approach to things no-one gives a fuck about is to ignore them.

Your approach, however, is to take those things that no-one gives a fuck about, and mix them in a blender with your dog-shit of a personality, and spray the resulting filth all over this site,

and you’ll be doing it all day, every day, until someone bans you,

because that’s how it works.

My reply:

I don’t intend to comment here anywhere near all day every day. I have a lot of other things I usually prefer to do, unlike you it seems, destined it seems to grump it out here trying to chase anyone away you don’t approve of.

felix:

“I don’t intend to comment here anywhere near all day every day.”

No-one intends that you do. But that hasn’t stopped you yet.

Why don’t you comment on whaleoil instead? Cameron’s getting desperate for attention, he could do with the page views.

Tracey:

And the thread has deteriorated to be about pg, not the topic of the post.

ITS ALL ABOUT PETE

Tracey:

You mean the title of the thread wasnt

What is pete george thinking about today?

Stephanie Rodgers

have you written an OUTRAGED STANDARD DISGRACE post on your website about it yet?

Spoiler alert: he totally did, complete with pearl-clutching about the ~misuse~ of the “notices and features” handle.

Clemgeopin:

Oh, dear George! Did he now? What a witnit!

felix:

Oh gawd. Is he banned from ontheleft?

Stephanie Rodgers

Strangely enough he hasn’t graced many of our threads with his comments after the first few times I told him to stay on topic and cut the passive-aggressive BS.

I haven’t seen anything of interest to comment on there. Funny Stephanie talking about aggressiveness. She aggressively attacks people who stray off what she wants the topic to be confined to.

Tracey:

And the thread has deteriorated to be about pg, not the topic of the post.

ITS ALL ABOUT PETE

And when its not

ITS ALL ABOUT JOSIE

They don’t take kindly to Josie Pagani being critical of them either.

Such is the Standard of debate. And one of the next steps is for them to claim I am taking over threads and should be banned for it.

I don’t care if I’m banned again. It won’t stop me from criticising them when I see fit, and it won’t stop attacking me.

But this time it switched the bash wagon from one PG to another.

UPDATE: In a comment below lprent said:

I really don’t have time to deal with senile lying old gits with too much time on their hands who quote our policies for Notices and Features and then proceed to misrepresent what it says.

However he has found the time at The Standard, in response to me saying “I don’t believe I lie about bans. You keep claiming this, incorrectly. “

His response reasserts that I lie but again he doesn’t back it up with anything apart from a rant…

[lprent: You routinely do. I always give the reason why I ban someone based on what is in the policy. That could be anything from questioning the site rules, to diverting off a posts topic, to simply appearing to waste moderators time by initiating boring flamewars that are invariably about you and your behaviour.

Rather than deal with that and just modifying your own behavior, you invariably choose to interpret that as some kind of hidden agenda or conspiracy rather than dealing with what is said. What you appear to not accept is that it is your own behaviour on our site that triggers the warnings and bans. Your behaviour in this post is absolutely characteristic. Your interpretation of our clear rules about the use of notices and features was just outright wrong and quite indefensible. But you managed to divert a large portion of the comments on the post completely off topic.

You also appear to be oblivious to your usual behaviour after you get a ban which is the basis of why I say that you routinely lie about it. Felix in a comment in this marathon comment scan (I’m currently on page 12 of 50 comments heading back to about 2pm yesterday) gave a pretty concise description of your usual behaviour.

If you’d just content yourself with actually addressing the topics of the post or the derived debate, and not making whole swathes of commentary being about you, it’d save me a whole lot of time. It’d take a while before the automatic responses by other commenters die down, but just ignore them or confine your responses to your own blog and stick to topics raised, and eventually you’d wind up commenting without the collective “FFS it is PG self-indulgently wanking again” response that you currently get.

Commenters automatically respond to you going off topic because they have seen you use your usual tactics far too many times. Instead of writing when you have something relevant to say, you seem to have an obsession with simply typing crap and asserting it is fact – because you think so. That isn’t debate. Then you complain that people don’t like it, disagree with you, and tell you why. That is the behaviour of someone who has a narcissistic need to be the centre of attention – not someone who is actually interested in discussion and debate.

BTW: If I have to ban you again, I have already decided that the date will be November 21 2017. I really don’t have time for this type of shit again. ]

I assume from this he doesn’t want me to debate, he makes baseless assertions, fails again to back them up, then threatens a ban. That’s very tough Lyn. You must love that power.

Open Forum – Sunday

Sunday 23 November 2014

This is open to anyone with any topic. It’s a mostly political 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.

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