Labour accuse Government of interference in prosecutions

Labour list MP Andrew Little has accused the Government of pressuring the police to reduce the number of prosecutions. This has been strong denied by the police and Government. Stuff reports Pressure to lower stats – MP:

Police were under government orders to “minimise” the number of domestic violence charges they lay to make crime statistics look good, Labour MP Andrew Little claimed yesterday.

But the claim has been strongly denied by both police bosses and the Government.

Family violence figures released yesterday by the University of Auckland’s Family Violence Clearinghouse show police charges for domestic violence offences dropped by up to 29 per cent from 2009/10 to last year.

And for the same period, the number of offences recorded by police fell by nearly 10,000.

But the number of investigations into family violence grew from 86,800 in 2010 to 95,100 incidents last year.

Little, a list MP and New Plymouth’s Labour Party candidate, said he believed the drop in family violence charges was due to the Government putting direct pressure on police to lower the crime statistics.

“What I have been told authoritatively is that front line police have been told to minimise the number of charges they lay.

“That is not just family violence but across the board. I’m told it’s not just domestic violence, it’s all forms of offending.

“I think that a combination of that and using police safety orders is what is showing up in the reduced number of charges in relation to domestic violence,” Little said.

Little has said similar in a media release:

Police are being instructed to charge fewer people in order to meet National’s crime reduction targets, Labour says.

“Front line police and others in the criminal justice system are telling us police have had pressure put on by senior officers to reduce the number of charges they lay to meet the Government’s targets,” Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says.

On Firstline this morning David Cunliffe support these claims. He said that no evidence was available to support the claims but that they had been told of the issue.

Cunliffe said he had no “solid proof” but it had been heard on the street.

Government says the claims are unfounded and outrageous.

Some scepticism is justified, especially leading into an election campaign.

This is a serious accusation. Labour should back up their claims with evidence or they risk being seen as indulging in ‘cry wolf’ politics.

In a speech in the weekend David Cunliffe promised a clean campaign with no smear politics.

That’s what I believe in.

That’s what Labour believes in.

That’s what we’re all fighting for.

And that’s why on September 20 we will win.

This election campaign should not be about dirty tricks or dodgy deals; smear campaigns or a personality cult.

We’re going to run a positive campaign because people matter most.

It’s not long ago Labour were complaining bitterly (with some justification) about a lack of evidence in claims about Donghua Liu donations. They were saying it was a smear campaign.

There’s still a need for the Opposition to hold Government to account, but unless they can provide a solid case that Government have been interfering in prosecutions this may look like a dodgy dirty smear attempt.

Labour will not negotiate on Dotcom’s extradition

Labour’s Justice spokesperson Andrew Little has stated that Labour Kim Dotcom’s extradition “will not be part of any negotiations on Labour’s part”.

Questions about the political  motives of Dotcom have and been and will keep being raised - see Internet Party faces questions on extradition.

I asked Andrew Little whether Labour would negotiate on the extradition and he has responded:

The Labour Party doesn’t have any position or policy on the extradition proceedings concerning Kim Dotcom.

It would be premature and constitutionally improper for any political party to express a view on how a ministerial discretion might be exercised in this regard before the courts have determined eligibility as to do so may give the appearance of trying to influence the court contrary to the principle of independence of the judiciary.

If the court decides Mr Dotcom is eligible for extradition then the incumbent Minister of Justice must exercise a statutory discretion under the Extradition Act 1999 and the exercise of that discretion must conform to the longstanding requirements for ministerial discretion which include that it must take into account relevant considerations and discount irrelevant considerations and otherwise be rational.

I do not think that the political requirements of assembling a new government constitute a relevant consideration in determining whether a person should be extradited.

Mr Dotcom’s extradition, regardless of the status of the court proceedings at the time, will not be part of any negotiations on Labour’s part.

That’s a clear no to the extradition being a part of negotiations.

Generally in politics stated positions are up for negotiation and compromise, it’s an essential part of working with other parties.

But when legal processes are involved the current laws and sound practices must be paramount.

Little, Kiwiblog on fascism

Andrew Little’s ““We’ve just heard the voice of the fascist National Party,”  comment has been reported and also posted about on Kiwiblog – Someone teach Mr Little what fascism really is.

Some comments were directed at Peter Dunne for voting against the bill – they were typical uninformed bashing. And they asked me why he voted against, so I’ve responded.

Andrew Little made a dickish comment. I think it reinforces an impression he is not future leadership material, but when you look at Cunliffe’s vapid and vitriolic style of criticism it can’t be ruled out in the current Labour party.

To the dopey Dunne bashers, I have no idea why he voted against it, but I can guess.

The defeat was not unexpected as a number of National ministers and employer groups have expressed disquiet about the bill being a step too far.

So his vote seems sensible to me. Coincidentally he may have done National a favour.

Moanolo’s cut and paste ” the perennial whore Dunne repositioning himself” is clearly wrong, especially when you look at what else was voted on and how he voted – Members’ Bills Shot Down.

Dunne also voted against Winston Peters’ Reserve Bank Amendment Bill presumably because it’s a dumb bill.

And he indicated (in the news) he will vote against Harawira’s Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools Bill because he thinks it is “fundamentally flawed for a number of reason” and he thinks the current Government approach is cheaper and “a far more comprehensive and feasible approach”.

Perpetual Dunne bashers don’t bother to find out for themselves, they ask me to do it for them. It’s not difficult if you want actual facts to back your comments with. On the other hand facts prove them to be nothing more than pissy dissers so that probably explains it.

A hilarious response on Kiwiblog from ‘big bruv':

Jesus wept!….”dopey Dunne bashers”?………..And you wonder you cop so much abuse on this blog.

Your arrogance is outstanding, matched only by Redbaiters. What on earth gives you the idea that the 99.02% of people in NZ are wrong about the political whore Dunne and you are right?

Dunne is in it for himself, always has been. What you and the other 0.08 of idiots who support him forget is that Dunne is only there because the Nat’s let him, Dunne has no right to vote against the government, none at all.

big bruv illustrates what I said – why let facts or the actual topic get in the way of a raving redbaiteresque rant.

Practising the Kiwiblog motto is easy. DPF should start direct marketing Kiwiblog Screen Wipes.

Dunne has no right to vote against the government, none at all.

Hilarious. If he votes with National he’s called a poodle, if he votes against he’s a traitor. And if he didn’t vote he’d be abused for sitting on the fence.

And here if I say something about him I’m abused. And if I don’t say anything about him I’m abused (as per the Little thread yesterday and many others).

And you wonder you cop so much abuse on this blog.

Ah, no I don’t wonder. You just have to look at those who do the abusing. Them without mirrors.

Dunne got enough votes in Ohariu to have a right to vote however he sees fit in Parliament. Unlike a few SpitLittles on Kiwiblog – the perpetually impotent.

Andrew Little rules himself out

Andrew Little has wisely ruled himself out of contention for Labour’s leadership.

Little rules himself out of Labour leadership

Andrew Little says he has decided against contesting the Labour Party leadership.

Mr Little is in his first term as an MP and says he was always an outside chance.

“We need a leader who can immediately make an impact,” he says. “I expect there will be at least two contenders, both of whom have more experience than me and who will be able to achieve that.”

I think Little is being realistic and smart here.

First by saying he would consider standing thereby putting his name in the discussions and increasing his profile as a possible leader.

And second by acknowledging his lack of time in Parliament rules him out of contention – at this stage.

He and others may get a crack it after the next election if Labour fail to succeed in leading the next government.

Who should lead Labour?

Labour don’t have an abundance of riches in the leadership department. The main contenders as they have indicated today are:

Shane Jones

Strutted for the cameras at Shearer’s media conference today, but his recidivist underperforming, speaking with a paramu in his mouth, his lack of support in the party and his lack of obvious appeal to the wider public rule him out for me.

Andrew Little

Little has not been an MP for two years yet. Labour can’t risk another rookie, and shouldn’t risk Little anyway, his ambitions seem to be racing ahead of his credentials and ability.

They’d be nuts to choose Jones or Little.

Grant Robertson

Seems to have seen himself as not ready yet, hence he has been happy to prop up Shearer and bide his time. A Wellington party insider who would struggle to be accepted by the all important Auckland vote.

David Cunliffe

Apparently quite a few caucus colleagues don’t like him, but I don’t know if that’s personal dislike, jealousy, protection of their places or everything. But the dire position the party is in needs to take precedence. Labour needs the strongest leader possible, the person most capable of footing it toe to toe with opponents, and with political smarts – the latter is a question mark, he hasn’t made it to leader yet and he seems to have burnt a few bridges, but Cunliffe is the only strong option so must be the first choice.

I don’t see anyone else close to being worth of consideration.

It’s essential for Labour (and it would help the strength of Parliament too) that they put past animosities and personal ambitions aside and work together, something they haven’t done since Clark and Cullen were in control.

And who for deputy?

One option is to put a defeated leadership candidate at deputy to go for as strong a team as possible, but I have a problem with that. Leaving Robertson as deputy may seem logical but he has failed alongside Shearer and is tainted by being part of the same old.

Jones and Little don’t do it for me either, and would alongside Cunliffe it would look too much like a blokes club.

I think they should go for Jacinda Ardern.

Sure, she doesn’t look ready yet. But the party isn’t ready yet either, they desperately need to look like they are rebuilding. And they need to look more diverse than bloke 1 and bloke 2. It gives time Ardern to learn about rising to another level and proving herself.

Most of the voting public don’t know who deputies are, so if she doesn’t shape up it’s no big deal to flick over deputy in a reshuffle.

The biggest downside with Ardern is that she’s unlikely to stand up to the long established factions and boofs in caucus. But the caucus collectively has a responsibility to deal with the toxic morass that has got them into this situation.

Shearer hasn’t stepped up, but he has also been badly let down by his caucus. If they don’t put their own wee empires and egos aside and work for the good of the party, rallying behind the leadership, then Labour are stuffed for next year’s election. And that may be terminal.

Cunliffe + Ardern would look a very different Labour. That’s the first essential.

The second essential is for all 34 MPs to work together. That will be a lot harder to achieve than a strong balanced leadership.

Andrew Little’s “nasty” accusation

Andrew Little accused David Farrar of shady practices on Twitter:

Get Farrar and Kiwiblog to promote it. Might be able to fool some of the people.

I just don’t trust your dodgy National Party focus groups and other shady practices.

Push polling the most common…

Another pollster (his blog post) commented:

That’s a nasty accusation, and no evidence was given.

Yes, it’s nasty. About as nasty as accusing a politician of destabilising his leader without providing evidence.

All the tweets at Grumpollie’s Leading poll questions.

Update: a response from DPF:

11c

Jones distances Labour from Greens on oil and gas

Shane Jones has starkly differentiated Labour from the Greens on oil and gas exploration. He has been reported as saying “Offshore oil and gas drilling was an essential feature of domestic and export growth” and “it would get full government support”.

The Labour regional development spokesman has been visiting Taranaki with Andrew Little, talking to people in the oil and gas industry as Stuff reports in Labour duo keen to talk jobs and growth.

“I am keen to defang these misapprehensions that are abounding that somehow industry has disappeared from our purview.

“Nothing could be further from the truth and if my visit provides the opportunity to reinforce the centrality of jobs, the importance of industry and the need for a future Labour-led government to assuage whatever anxieties might be there in the minds of employers or future investors then I am up for the task,” he said.

Offshore oil and gas drilling was an essential feature of domestic and export growth, Mr Jones said, and businesses and enterprises enabling it would get full government support.

Odd expressions aside, this signals a strong separation between Labour and the Greens on oil and gas. The Greens even used yesterday’s Cook Strait earthquakes as an excuse to express opposition to offshore drilling.

It’s difficult to see how a Labour-Green (and possibly Mana and/or NZ First) government could fully support offshore drilling.

Greens have consistently and strongly opposed off-shore drilling and onshore fracking, two major components of proposed exploration and recovery of oil and gas. Green energy policy includes:

The Green Party supports:

  1. Making all new deep sea drilling within territorial waters, the EEZ and the continental shelf for fossil fuels a prohibited activity (with deep sea defined as below 200 metres).
  2. Placing a 10 year moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas within territorial New Zealand, the EEZ and the continental shelf.

The Greens frequently deliver that message strongly – and more, they are actively involved in initiatives to block drilling and fracking.

Jones from Stuff:

“Sustainability is as much about sustaining the livelihood of people as it is about guarding the ecological habitat of the Hochstetter’s frog. As long as I am in politics as a Maori politician I am going to be unambiguous in standing up for jobs and people,” he said.

It was “mischievous” to talk about Labour’s policy as designed to suit the Green Party and though he occasionally found common cause with New Zealand First it was only with the aid of a telescope that he might do the same with the Greens.

As stated by Jones Labour’s aims are diametrically opposed to Green aims and policies. There could be a major clash if a Labour-Green government is to be formed.

And as shown in the next post Jones also seems to be at odds with Labour’s own Energy spokesperson.

Andrew Little big mouth

There was much to be disappointed about in Parliament yesterday afternoon. In one example a supposedly aspiring Labour leader of the future disgraced himself during a speech by Judith Collins.

Little Big mouth

Throughout the first part of Collin’s speech Andrew Little kept up a continuous barrage of bellowing, another sad example of the culture of abuse in and of Parliament.

Little was out of control.

But what would you expect when Labour’s Shadow Leader of the House (Trevor Mallard) and Chief Whip (Chris Hipkins) had just been ejected from the House  after they blatantly challenged the Speaker’s authority.

This suggests that Labour has major discipline problems, and also questions what leadership if any is in effect.

Faction fight – on Little (and Cunliffe and Shearer)

Amongst the reignited faction fight at The Standard are some interesting bits of insight – @lee commented on Andrew Little, plus comments on David Cunliffe and David Cunliffe:

I wonder whether Little will turn out to be the prime beneficiary of all this, rather than Robertson: Little appears to have come out of it all as the grey man, with nobody sure what he thinks and being relatively unscathed.

I read the division as a simple reflection of the fact that the majority of caucus think Cunliffe is a wanker with an uncontrollable ego, who would be hell to work with as leader – i.e. they don’t think he has leadership skills; think Kevin Rudd without the Mandarin.

The thing that the parliamentary Cunliffe supporters almost all have in common is this: a perception they are shirkers and/or incompetents. A couple of them, Cunliffe included, just have poor personal relationships inside caucus and know that Cunliife being leader is the only shot they have of ever being in Cabinet.

I am continually amazed that people think Cunliffe is Left and that nobody touting him as the solution has ever seemed to pause publicly to ask how he went from one of the most economically rightwing members of the last government to the doyenne of the activist left of the Party?

This is a protege of Helen Third Way Clark we’re talking about, an admirer of Tony Blair and Bill Clinton: with all that comes with it, including (and especially) triangulation. This is a man who lives outside his electorate in Herne Bay(!) instead stooping to living in, say, Titirangi or Piha.

The positives around Shearer are that he is a very likable and good man, and a gifted leader (albeit not a natural politician) who does not shy away from and deals with internal conflict in robust manner, and who thrives under pressure. Shearer’s ego is well under control – it’s not like he thinks he’s an awesome public speaker, for instance.

It’s not about left or right, it’s about personalities: the party would be healthier if it were about the former. I think if the Cunliffe crowd were removed, then the cleavages would be far more ideological and better for the Party and NZ.

The Fan Club replied:

I have heard versions of that ranging from Little was playing two positions through to he just didn’t push the affiliates very hard. I don’t buy the claim he was pushing the unions towards 40%, but I do think he probably didn’t waste much capital on that.

He was still publicly pro-Shearer, no matter what was going on behind the scenes.

And Colonial Viper added:

Now that you’ve detailed Cunliffe’s adherence to 3rd way politics, his supposed history on the “Right Wing” (lol) and his being an admirer of the likes of Clinton and Blair…

Please explain to us – what is Shearer’s stance on political economics? Which political leaders does he admire and why?

In his Labour’s three factions post Eddie placed Little in the Cunliffe faction, but also commented:

Andrew Little is a bit of wild card here, while his politics are firmly left you can’t count him on him voting for any one particular faction.

Anne:

Andrew little has mana and respect across the board.

But from The Fan Club:

Little’s pretty well known to be doing the work for Shearer.

He wasn’t richly rewarded in the recent reshuffle, being placed at 19 in Shearer’s pecking order (compared to fellow rookie David Clark at 12).

Jim Davis:

If you think Little is ‘doing Shearer’s work’ then you’re woefully misinformed. By all accounts he’s playing with a very straight bat and trying to avoid getting embroiled in factionalism. I’m not convinced it’s a winning strategy, but it’s the one he seems to have chosen.

The Fan Club:

Yeah, Little plays it straight to a large extent, because apart from anything else he’s got his own future to consider. But he was definitely working against Cunliffe at conference.

Daveo:

Little’s politics are strongly left. He’s very much his own man though and doesn’t easily fit into any of the factions. What is known is that he’s supported Cunliffe from time to time, including in the initial leadership race against Shearer. Have to agree with the post though, all you could say is he’s a wild card with Left tendencies.

Most of those comments are from what appear to be Labour Party insiders who are non-regular commenters at The Standard.

The consensus seems to be that Andrew Little is not strongly associated with any faction, and that he is playing a long game. He knows he is too new to parliament to be a contender for leader this term. It appears that he may be working hard to set himself up for putting himself forward when the time is right.

The inexperienced Shearer risk has created more problems than it has solved for Labour. If Labour fail to be able to form the next Government it is widely thought that Grant Robertson will step up, and it will still be too soon for Little in early 2015.

Little will be trying to line himself up for the next opportunity after that. In ther meantime it looks like he is trying to avoid getting offside with any of Labour’s factions.

Labour’s ‘Hit Squad’, and feet

Vernon Small comments at Stuff:

Behind them, keeping them honest, will be former leader Phil Goff and the demoted but not forgotten Trevor Mallard. They will team up as the nucleus of a new “hit-squad”, with extra research and media resources to dig and dish the dirt.

David Farrar at Kiwiblog pointed this out, and responds:

Mind you, they could be quite effective. They successfully destroyed David Cunliffe’s career through background briefings to media, so if they can manage that with one of their own colleagues they might be able to do it with other MPs!

But it’s a lot easier to influence the actions of their own puppet than it is of an opposing party leader.

Key didn’t exactly demote Judith Collins after Mallard’s big attempted hit last year – and arguably by drawing Andrew Little in to his game playing Mallard may have hindered Little’s climb up the ranks.

Little was 15 on Labour’s 2011 list and is now ranked 19.

Mallard was 9 in 2011, he is now unranked in the under 20 group.

It’s easier to succeed in shooting oneself in the foot than taking potshots at opponents.

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