Dunne on Labour, Little and poll responds

In his weekly blog post Peter Dunne has criticised Labour for being too negative and having lost their soul.

Sadly, today’s Labour Party is but a shadow of its bold predecessors. There is no sense of future direction or purpose, and even in its rare positive moments, the Party’s best offerings seem to be a hankering for yesteryear.

The boldness in politics is now coming from the National Party – formed primarily to oppose the first Labour government – with no more striking example than its Budget decision this year to lift basic benefit payments, the first such upward adjustment in over 40 years(including the 3rd to 5th Labour Governments). Labour, the traditional friend of the beneficiary, was left gasping in its wake.

Labour’s challenge today is to recover its soul and its place. In this post market age, there is a still a role for a radical reforming party of the left, if it is prepared to be bold.

There is the opportunity to pull together the threads of the Labour heroes and promote a new commitment based around strengthening New Zealand’s national identity through constitutional and social reform, and encouraging diversity.

There is still a place for a progressive party promising a new, more co-operative economic approach in today’s globally digitally and free trade connected world. And there is still a place for a progressive party to promote new, innovative approaches to education and social services.

But rather than grasp these opportunities, Labour has become predeterminedly negative. While it supports a new New Zealand flag, it opposes the current referendum process, essentially because it is a National Prime Minister’s idea.

Its approach to economic policy is stalled because it cannot make up its mind on the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Its stigmatising of people with Chinese sounding names buying property in Auckland has robbed it of any credibility in the diversity stakes, and its capacity to champion meaningful education reform is zero while it remains the plaything of the PPTA.

Andrew Little responded – Stuff reports Little says Labour’s job is to ‘contest and challenge’ the Government:

Little rubbished Dunne’s comments saying in Opposition there was a job to be done and that is to “contest and challenge what the Government of the day is doing”.

“This is from a man who left the Labour Party and is now a party of one,” he said from Sydney where he is visiting New Zealand-born detainees at Villawood Detention Centre.

“You’ve got a job also to come up with the alternative ideas but you’ve got situations like this, a bunch of Kiwis who are looking for a voice, and somebody’s got to step in,” Little said.

And Dunne responded to that on Twitter:

Poor old angry Andy, just proves my point

And Stuff have run an online poll (take with a grain of salt):

Has Labour lost it’s way?

  • Yes, it’s too negative 26%
  • Yes, It’s not innovative or bold enough 12%
  • Yes, both of the above 41%
  • No, it’s fine 21%


Little Little success in Australia

Andrew Little’s and Phil Goff’s trip to Australia to lobby for New Zealand ex-pats and detainees seems to have had little success. This isn’t surprising.

NZ Herald reports: Australia won’t budge on deportations

Australia won’t budge on deportations and shows little appetite to examine support for Kiwi expats – but Labour senses softer ground among politicians from both major parties.

Labour leader Andrew Little and MP Phil Goff have completed a day of lobbying in Canberra after meeting Australian Immigration Minister Peter Dutton and Opposition leader Bill Shorten.

They received little encouragement from Mr Dutton, except for a promise to look at any individual deportation cases raised by Labour.

“There wasn’t a eureka moment where he said, ‘Oh no, I’ve got it all wrong, but it was useful to have the opportunity to put the case and put the arguments,” said Mr Little, who will tomorrow visit Sydney’s Villawood Immigration Detention Centre.

The visit of New Zealand’s Opposition leader went largely under the Canberra radar. He entered Parliament in the early morning heat past a pack of local reporters with no question asked, and there was only minor interest from Australian media outlets.

However, Mr Little said that there was a broad acceptance from Liberal and Labor members of two committees he presented to that there was some unfairness in the way the rules were applied.

This may have been a reality check for Little in one of his first dabbles in international lobbying, and Australia will be relatively easy.

Leaders of opposition parties can do little at home so will achieve little abroad except perhaps build relationships and experience.

Why did Little take Goff with him? Goff is off next year if he wins the Auckland mayoralty.

Little may have felt he needed experience alongside him on his Australian foray, but surely Labour should be looking at building expertise for the future.

Labour branch recess “nothing to lose any sleep over at all”

Labour are that brimming with support that the putting of a branch into recess has been descrobed by the Labour Party president as “certainly nothing to lose any sleep over at all”.


The Labour party leadership is shrugging off a move by a Dunedin branch of the party to go into recess because it says it is not left wing enough.

The Anderson’s bay branch of the party has said it is going into recess.

Its organiser, Tat Loo, who writes under the pseudonym “Colonel Viper’ on the left wing blog site, “The Standard”. Said “Labour as an organization is failing ordinary Kiwis both locally in Dunedin and centrally in Wellington on many different levels and it shows every sign of continuing on that track.

“We want no part of propping up the Thorndon Bubble careerist ‘pretend and extend’ set any further and will be moving on to new political projects.”

But party president, Nigel Haworth, said the move was “really quite inconsequential”.

He said it was a minor perturbation.

“It’s certainly nothing to lose any sleep over at all.”

In fact Mr Haworth and leader, Andrew Little, night well regard the move as a minor victory in their quest to make the party more relevant to mainstream New Zealand.

Yeah, right, sheeding support is just what Labour need right now.

Ok, Tat Loo has been a vocal critic of the direction Labolur is heading (right and down) at The Standard for a while. A few years ago he got offside with Clare Curran and she is alleged to have tried to have him suspended from the party.

But Labour can’t really afford to shed factions.

I met Tat Loo during the 2011 campaign (he stood for Labour in the Clutha/Southlan electorate), seemed a nice enough guy but having seen what he writes at The Standard our ideas on politics are obviously quite different.

As Colonial Viper Loo wrote about the branch recess decision at The Standard:

ABP Branch of Labour goes into recess; all Branch Officers to resign

Dunedin’s most active and most innovative Labour Party branch is going into recess.

Going by the comment count (361 to date) there’s been a lot of interest.

Quite funny to see me pop up in the commentary:

Colonial Viper 17.2

thanks RL. To our team forging unity throughout the Left is not going to be the goal, it is going to be shifting and driving authentic political debate, something that many are clearly uncomfortable with.

  • One Anonymous Bloke


    Like Pete George only with conspiracy theories 😆

    • Colonial Viper

      yeah, because everyone on the Std reckons that my politics and that of Pete Georges are directly comparable.

      • One Anonymous Bloke

        I’m referring to the fact that, like yours, his rapier-like debating abilities make people uncomfortable 😆

        • McFlock

          Different sides of the same coin.

          PG often seemed to me to be so keen on the idea that truth was a matter of perspective that he would disappear up his own cartesian doubt.

          CV seems to be so convinced he can read the matrix code as it swirls by that anybody who disagrees with him must be either a fool or a neoliberal stooge.

Quite funny to be included in discussions like that.

Less funny – both Tat Loo and I are potential Labour voters, albeit from opposite sides of their spectrum. That both of us a rejected by Labour and Labour supporters suggests that 30% might be not be left behind any time soon.

But apparently the Labour leader and the Labour president see this as really quite inconsequential, a minor perturbation and  certainly nothing to lose any sleep over at all.


Labour’s financial and fundraising problems

It’s been well known that the Labour Party has struggled with it’s party finances for a number of years. This was highlighted by spending returns from last year’s election, when the Greens outspent Labour in advertising.

From Greens outspent Labour on election advertising:

  • National $2.6 million
  • Conservative Party $1.9 million
  • Greens $1.29 million
  • Labour $1.27 million

Claire Trevett now reports Labour has been running annual deficits and is still repaying loans from the 2008 campaign in  Labour’s finances in the red:

The Labour Party has run at a deficit for at least two years, forcing it to dip into its cash reserves and highlighting one of the problems the party faced in last year’s election.

A copy of the party’s financial report obtained by the Herald shows it recorded a $71,373 deficit in 2014 and an even larger $104,915 deficit the year before, a shortfall president Professor Nigel Haworth put down to the costs of byelections and its leadership contests.

That resulted in a $117,410 drop in its cash reserves ($612,378) and the value of its net assets dropped from $270,000 to $199,000. Those assets include about $500,000 in property.

After last year’s election, a review of Labour’s performance raised fundraising as a priority, saying the party risked ongoing “electoral failure” if it could not raise more money.

This doesn’t show what their finances are like now.

Yesterday, leader Andrew Little denied it was embarrassing that Labour was in deficit despite criticising the Government for its deficits.

However, he said, it “absolutely” highlighted the need to focus on fundraising.

“There is no question about that. A singularly poor point of our organisation’s performance is fundraising.”

Little says “is fundraising” suggesting it is still an issue for them. A major problem with leaning towards the unions (and Little relied on union support to win the Labour leadership) is that the unions are not generous donors, money-wise.

The figures show the party is still paying off loans from some of its electorate branches, which Dr Haworth said dated back to before 2008. The interest on the loans is costing $30,400 a year and it still has more than $700,000 owing. The practice of taking loans from local electorates to fund the campaigns was halted in 2009 by Mr Little who was then president.

Ouch. Still paying off loans used to finance the 2008 election defeat.

The Herald shows revenues:

  • 2013 – $1,326,254
  • 2014 – $1,187,501

Reduce revenue in an election year must be a major worry. David Cunliffe wasn’t a big attraction for donors.

Can Andrew Little turn this around?

“Major revolt underway in the House”

Yesaterday’s Christmas Island debacle in Parliament deteriorated further today. It has now become more about Opposition MPs versus John Key over his supporting the rapists comments. There were multiople ejections and walk outs from Parliament.

I’m sure some MPs have genuinely been offended by what Key said and his refusal to apologise, but there also seems to be a boiling over of tensions and general annoyance at perceived bias of the Speaker David Carter (that’s been simmering for some time).

Vernon Small has written a good overview of it all in Perspective out the window at Parliament over Christmas Island detainees.

MPs may not be burning the green seats and attacking the guards, but Carter has a major revolt underway in the House.

All parties and MPs would do well to pause and take stock of the mess they have got themselves into.

Some leadership would be good, but Key and Little seem intent on an ongoing slanging match.

This is a piss poor look for Parliament.

Trotter wants more from Empty Andy

Chris Trotter can be a bit of a political manic depressive. He was despondent over Andrew Little’s interview on The Nation on Saturday, but was effurive in his praise of Little’s conference speech on Sunday.

The latter continues (to an extent) in his post at Bowalley (and on The Daily Blog) Reclaiming The Dream: Labour’s Annual Conference Lifts Spirits And Raises Hopes.

But Trotter’s Sunday spirit has been tempered somewhat.

IF ELECTIONS COULD BE WON with a single speech, Andrew Little would be a shoe-in for New Zealand’s next prime-minister. Sunday’s keynote address to the Labour Party faithful in Palmerston North has been acknowledged, even by Little’s critics, as an outstanding rhetorical success. Certainly, its astute combination of the personal, the political, the traditional and the inspirational had the 1,500-strong audience in the city’s Regent Theatre on their feet and cheering.

I’m not sure that speech would have won an election. It probably won back many of the Labour faithful, but it was too empty of policy specifics to widen Labour’s appeal.

But getting the Labour faithful singing from the same speech sheet, from the centrists to the left wing activists, is a significant step up for Little and styep forward for Labour.

This rapturous reception of Little’s speech notwithstanding, most observers agree that the 500 delegates who turned up to Labour’s 99th Conference were a thoroughly chastened bunch.

The open and bitter confrontations between ordinary members and MPs that had become such a feature of recent conferences were nowhere in evidence. Indeed, top-down appeals for unity, focus and discipline, and warnings against doing anything that might embarrass the party, found an unusually compliant audience. Between them, Labour’s President, Professor Nigel Haworth, and Little’s staffers, Matt McCarten, Neale Jones and Sarah Stuart, managed to create an atmosphere in which the professional politicians were heeded – not heckled.

This appeal for unity worked because, for the past twelve months, the parliamentary caucus has demonstrated its capacity for working together as a team.

It may have worked at the conference but Stuart Nash’s blast for party disloyalty at The Standard last week and the response from there suggests that “top-down appeals for unity, focus and discipline” are not always going to be effective.

While Trotter wants a lurch towards a left wing revolution from Labour he highlights Little’s and Labour’s biggest problem now they have some semblance of unity – lectern thumping rhetoric will only go so far if it is seen as an ’empty Andy’.

Little’s task now is to use that united and disciplined party to sell Labour’s message to the wider electorate. And, unfortunately, it’s about here that the organisation and efficiency run out. Having set himself and his party some big, inspirational goals: “Jobs, jobs, jobs”; the elimination of child poverty; properly resourcing the health and education systems; Little has next to nothing in the way of credible answers to the questions that inevitably follow such bold political statements of intent.

Rather than answer, simply, “Yes”, when RNZ’s Guyon Espiner asked whether it was now Labour’s policy to eradicate poverty, Little prevaricated. Labour’s policies will be rolled out over the next two years, he said. Not good enough.

Political nerds like Trotter want to see the revolution unrolled, now.

The wider electorate may be happy to wait until they wake up during the 2017 election campaign. But there’s risks for Labour in holding back and policy or explanation about howe they might pursue their ideals.

Little emphasised jobs, jobs, jobs! but I’ve seen Governments and Opposition parties talking up job creation for a long time (remember Muldoon’s Think Big?), and I’ve never seen major swings in employment levels.

Little has declared Labour’s intention of re-claiming the New Zealand Dream: the dream that past Labour leaders and governments fought to bring within the reach of every Kiwi family. His No. 1 priority over the next two years must be to show New Zealanders how he and his party intend to bring that dream into the twenty-first century; and how to refute the inevitable arguments hurled against it by Labour’s political foes.

Equivocation cannot do that. Inoculation cannot do that. Turning yourself into the smallest possible target for a hostile news media cannot do that.

Labour would be taking a huge risk saving all their policy ammunition until the last minute. The public turned off Labour since Helen Clark lost in 2008. It will take a lot more substance than empty rhetoric to look credible again.

A party of change must carry the country with it to defeat the forces of conservatism.

Trotter comes back to his old favoriite, socialism versus conservatism. This is where he gets it wrong.

Labour are not going to appease the masses in swing vote territory by competing for leftness with the Greens.

Little has to find a way of appealing to the centre as well as appeasing the left. One of his biggest faults recently has been to try to speak different messages to different constituencies, especially on the TPPA, and that risks annoying both.

Little showed on Sunday he could get up and speak strongly when well prepared and in front of a receptive audience. But strong vague promises wear thin very quickly.

Little needs to show now that he can combine at least a little substance with his rhetoric, and keep building that over the next two years. Otherwise he risks establishing the impression of having nothing much to offer voters.

Trotter wants more from Empty Andy. So do I, but I think Little needs to appeal to a far more diverse electorate than Trotter wants.

What more should New Zealand do about Australian detainees?

The uproar in and outside Parliament yesterday over Chirstmas Island detainees seems to be based on demands from opposition MPs that more be done by John Key and the New Zealand Government about how Australia is dealing with and treating New Zealand born people being detained on Christmas Island.

In Parliamentary conduct described as “despicable” (Newstalk ZB):

The House descended in chaos and acrimony yesterday after the prime Minister said the Labour Party was defending rapists and sex offenders with its stance over Kiwi detainees on Christmas Island.

Labour is ‘furious’ about Key’s Question Time accusations, with Labour MP Grant Robertson saying his party’s simply asking that more be done for the Kiwis being detained.

“We are saying the Prime Minster needs to show some leadership on that. That is not backing the crimes that people in there have committed by any means.”

There seems to be more too it than “simply asking that more be done for the Kiwis”. There coukld be a bit of political posturing as well.

There’s also conflicting information about just how dangerous the New Zealanders imprisoned on Christmas Island are.

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox said Key’s accusations are rubbish, as she knows of a man currently detained who has no convictions, and even won medals during his army service in Afghanistan.

“He belonged to a gang called the ‘Rebels Biker Gang’ and now he’s been picked up, he’s been targeted and put into a detention centre for deportation based on what? Questionable character.”

I presume Fox and Labour’s Kelvin Davis are basing their comments on what detainees have told them, which may not be the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Some may be detained without good legal reason but I expect that most have either criminal or immigration issues.

In Question Time yesterday:

1. ANDREW LITTLE (Leader of the Opposition) to the Prime Minister: What action, if any, has he taken to follow up on his statement to Malcolm Turnbull regarding New Zealand – born Australian detainees on Christmas Island, “I think, in the spirit of mateship, there should be some compassion shown”?

Andrew Little: Why is he so weak that he spends his time with Malcolm Turnbull talking about what ties to wear rather than having the moral courage to demand that Australia do what is right for the detainees?

Andrew Little: Why has it taken an inmate to die, a 2-day fire, and a full-blown riot for him and his Ministers to finally lift a finger to do something about it?

Andrew Little: Why does he not stop being so gutless and failing New Zealanders and stand up for New Zealanders on Christmas Island and the 151,000 who are now out of work under his Government?

I think Key’s reaction was unhelpful and inflammatory, and an apology would be appropriate, but he is obviously frustrated by being pushed to do more about something he has little say in, Australia’s dealing of criminal and immigration matters.

And iot’s not just the Opposition demanding more be done.

@MatthewHootonNZ on The Huddle is getting this Christmas Island thing bang on right now. Key is being gutless.

What should he do about it? Fo to Canberra and…make them what?

Gee, fly to Canberra or do nothing? You can’t think of any other options Pete?

Send the SAS and a Hercules to Christmas Island?

Don’t be a twit

So Matthew, Grant, Marama, Andrew – what exactly do you think Key can and should be doing that hasn’t been done already?

“The prime minister is a coward ” – on right now.

Hooton must know the political reality of Key’s position oveer what is happening in another country. Does he really think more could and should be done? Or is he, and Labour, using this issue as an excuse to attack Key for their own political reasons.

The Herald in today’s editorial Hamstrung PM cynical on detainees:

Mr Key continues to put his hopes in gentle persuasion rather than public criticism of Australian policy. His response to the riot has been almost sympathetic to Canberra, arguing that if Australian prisoners were rioting at Paremoremo he would not expect a protest from the Australian Government. Opposition parties think he should at least be asking questions of Australia at the United Nations, where it is under investigation by the Human Rights Council, and seeks a seat on that body.

But the fact remains New Zealand has more to lose than to gain by pressing too hard. Citizens of no other country have the right to live and work in Australia as freely as New Zealanders do, without becoming citizens or officially permanent residents. This privilege has been enjoyed by citizens of both countries since time immemorial, but never formalised, it seems.

We have no treaty to invoke against deportation of Kiwis who have been there a long time. We can only hope Kiwis who go there take note, and do not let us down.

Many of the New Zealand detainees have abused a privilege given to just us by Australia. Getting loud and angry like Davis and Little may achieve more – but it may not be the sort of more they are presumably aiming at.

More restrictions on New Zealanders going to Australia and living in Australia would affect many more Kiwis and ex-Kiwis than are detained on Christmas Island.

I wonder if Labour here would be so demanding that more be done if there was a Labor government in Australia?

Regardless, what more could or should New Zealand do over the Australian detainee issue?

Andrew Little: from euphoria to reality

Andrew Little will probably have been greatly encouraged by the euphoric response to his Labour Conference speech in the weekend. But beyond the party faithful and hopeful, reality has set in with some brutal assessments.

I thought Little’s speech showed some hope and promise. It contrasted with his unimpressive interviews in The Nation and Q & A. But one speech does not a leader make.

It was an important speech for the party. but going by media reaction it will have done little to lift Little’s credibility as a potential Prime Minister, or lift Labour’s credibility as a Government in waiting.

Audrey Young gave a positive report in Little smashed it – literally.

Andrew Little smashed it.

He has two years to win over the public before the next election.

His speech to the Labour conference this year needed to win over the members, who afterall, did not support him in the leadership contest a year ago.

Job done, as they say.

It was one of the best speeches by a Labour leader in recent years, in both content, delivery and production.

It succeeded in showing a fuller picture of Andrew Little the person and give a clearer idea of what sort of Prime Minister he would be.

Andrea Vance had a mixed report in Dreams are free – but the electorate knows ambitious policies aren’t:

Little’s first duty was to announce the grounds on which Labour will oppose the TPP.

The deal is a touch-paper for the left and Little is walking a tightrope between the pro-free trade and the anti-corporate elements in his party.

His position is confused – and he’s probably going to spend the next week defending it.

And the reality:

The past year clearly hasn’t been wasted. Little’s team have been learning from past mistakes. But one factor remains a constant – for Labour to win they must persuade the electorate they won’t be profligate.

Little’s asking for patience over spending plans and won’t say if he’ll raise taxes. Dreams are free – but the electorate knows ambitious policies aren’t.

That’s a future challenge for Little. Labour’s conference talked about health, education and jobs, jobs, jobs, to be created by a Labour Government. It’s easy to take spending, spending, spending out of that with little sign of hiow that will be paid for.

But Little’s Sunday euphoria has been crashed to reality in today’s Dominion editorial – Andrew Little is not the man to lead Labour out of the wilderness.

Little had moved long before last weekend’s annual party conference to kill off the remnants of the Leftish policy Labour touted last year.

Little now stands on a bare platform with no significant policy. The fact that nobody much cared when he threw out the old policies might be taken as a sign of a newly unified Labour Party. Or it might be a sign that Labour is a corpse. It doesn’t have the strength to fight or even to disagree with itself. So the attempt to hide everything behind closed doors wasn’t even needed.

Having no policy to sell, Little tried to sell himself. His “impassioned” speech was in fact awkward and unconvincing.

Bellowing about the Kiwi dream and promising “Jobs. Jobs. Jobs” is empty posturing and oddly out of kilter with the national mood. So is the pledge to “turn the page” on the last seven years.

We’ve yet to see whether the country (or polls refeklecting the mood of the country) sees it like this – or even say anything of Little’s speech.

Little will claim that it’s too early in the electoral cycle for policy details, and he’s right. But it’s never too early to create a buzz or the impression that the old party is coming back to life.

Labour can’t even take the step of injecting new blood into its leadership with the fresh face of Jacinda Ardern.

Her qualities are modest, but she is a sign of life. Labour has few other such signs.

‘Same old’ Labour without any policies is going to be a hard perception top turn around.

Neither as a union politician nor as a parliamentarian has Little been a bold or lively reformer. He has little charisma and a lack of new ideas.

It’s hard to believe he will lead Labour out of the wilderness.

That’s harsh.

But it’s a dose of reality. Little should get some confidence from the party reception of his speech but he needs to appear strong and positive regularly, without the double speak he has resorted to over the flag change and the TPPA.

The Otago Daily Times editorial today is also on Little and Labour – Little needs voter momentum.

By all accounts, Labour Party leader Andrew Little made a strong showing at the party’s annual conference held in Palmerston North at the weekend.

Snippets of his speech shown on television news reports, and comment pieces published in this newspaper, indicated Mr Little has managed to crack through the veneer surrounding him since his narrow election as leader.

Reading through the speech at leisure, there are hints of a man with deeper thoughts than previously indicated.

Mr Little gives a sense of direction, something lacking in Labour since the defeat of the Helen Clark-led government which brought in former financial trader John Key as prime minister.

National have managed to win three elections with sparse policy platforms, but they have had John Key who was immediately popular when he took over leadershiop of National and he remains popular.

Labour have lost three elections and turned over four leaders. They have been busy u-turning on a number of policies so now have very little.

Mr Little is seen as humourless, dour and part of the fun police of the Labour Party while Mr Key is shown schmoozing with All Blacks, royalty and crowds of his supporters.

What Mr Little needs to do now is get out into the electorates in which Labour lost the party vote and start securing voter support.

It will not be an easy task.

Many voters have been turned off by Labour’s list of recent leadership changes and a lack of change in MPs.

Even now, there is an ongoing back-of-the-mind thought Mr Little will not lead Labour into the next election.

What is disappointing is Labour feeling the need to hold all but a few high-profile speeches at its conference behind closed doors.

It will not be easy for Mr Little to convince even the party faithful in places such as Dunedin he is the one to take Labour back into power.

He languishes in the polls, gaining little traction with voters.

And, despite a front bench reshuffle, Labour MPs are still seen as too far out of touch with real New Zealand.

Little has failed to excite the polls.

National-lite with a charisma deficit and limited and aged line-up is going to be a hard sell, especially when Labour are also going to need Greens and probably NZ First.

Little lifted his game in his conference speech. But he will need to lift his and Labour’s game consistently and substantially to build on that.

Impressions of Andrew Little’s conference speech

I’ve just watched Andrew Little’s conference live through his Facebook page.

My overall impression is that it was well done. Little speaks well when given the opportunity.

The content of the speech sounded like Little could have written it all himself, rather than being a recitation of a committee of speech writers as some political speechs sound like.

There was the usual concocted clapping and cheering, but as Little go into his speech he built a good rapport with the crowd and had them listening and laughing, especially when he talked of his personal political experiences with his staunch National Party supporting father.

Little began by introducing a parade of the Labour front bench. He also praised is MPs, particularly Grant Robertson. This is smart team building.

Little sounded genuine in saying he wants to stand up against injustice.

There was some idealistic phrasing but that will always be included in major political speeches.

It sounded like be believed in the values he spoke of and promoted.

“Taking a stand because it’s the right thing to do” sounds good but that’s always hard to live up tio in the New Zealand of MMP dominated pragmatic politics.

Sure he pandered to the Labour base and the Union supporters, but he did it effectively.

“Last year the average house in Auckland made more than three times the average woerker” is a good line. And a concerning fact (presuming it’s accurate).

Having battled with cancer himself made Little’s commitment that he will “make sure Kiwi’s get the healthcare they need…” sound genuinely heartfelt – but the cost of healthcare will make that a difficult to meet challenge.

“I want to lead a Government that makes a genuine difference” sounded genuine – but not out of the ordinary, all party leaders should feel that way, all MPs should feel that way.

“If you want me tell you what my three priorities are they are jobs, jobs and jobs” got the expected applause from a Labour audience. That’s laudable and addressing jobs could boost the economy – or could weigh it down if they are unproductive jobs.

Little says Labour shouldn’t be a shirker on climate change and compares to the namby pandy Government measures – he mostly talked about his and Labour’s aims and ideals and only occassionaly blasted Government.

Policy announcement – 150,000 New Zealanders and rising are out of work, plus 90,000 under employed, plus 200,000 who can only get temporary work.

His main policy announcement – “We will use the Government buying power to create jobs at home rather than sending them overseas”.

That doesn’t sound new. Called Our Work, Our Future it is aimed at boosing local business and “won’t break the bank”.

“…commitiing our party to a new principle – we will not tolerate poverty in the twenty first century” probably got the biggest round of geneuine clapping and cheering.

“I won’t give up, ever, because I don’t give up on the things that matter most” but no indication of how it will be done or what it will cost.

Towards the end the audo quality deteriorated and became quite echoey and difficult to hear. But the presentation continued to be strong and was often applaused.

More about poverty and repeats of “the Kiwi dream”.

Little may have had a teleprompter but it didn’t show, he appeared to be speaking witrhout notes or prompts. He did that very well.

The Facebook feed showed Live 200 viewers towards the end, that’s not many.

“We have two years to change this Government”.

“Every decision my government makes will be checked against its impact on child poverty.”

He finished very strongly but the echoes made it very difficult to hear what he was saying. A lot of rallying of the troops.

“We can do this. We must do this. We will…kiwi dream” etc.

So Little can speak very well, I’ve never seen him like that before. Impressive. He needs to find a way of carrying that sort of passion and eloquence into other parts of his political presentation.

I expect his speech will have pleased and encouraged the Labour caucus and members.

It should also cause his political opponents to take notice and start to wonder how far Little can take it.

Two years is pleny of time to build – and to stuff up – but this speech from Little suggests there’s real hope for a Labour revival.

Speech text:

Labour: Andrew Little’s Speech to Labour Party Conference

The Standard: Andrew Little’s speech to the Labour 2015 conference

Labour president disses “mythical political centre”

Labour’s party president has shuns pursiing a “mythical political centre” in an opening night speech at the Labour Partry 2015 conference.

President Nigel Haworth delivers his address to – the opportunities ahead and the challenges facing us.

Embedded image permalink

From his speech:

Labour President Nigel Haworth: need to be true to our principles, not pursue a “mythical political centre”

I wonder if that excludes working for the real political centre.

Also at the conference Andrew Little said “Our moral obligation is to do the best for New Zealanders.”

He didn’t say out loud ‘Our moral obligation is to do the best for New Zealanders…except those in the centre’.

If Labour shuns the centre and pursues it’s historical Labour ideals they will somewhat narrow their appeal.


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