Battle of the speeches

John Key scheduled his opening speech of the year on the same day as Andrew Little’s, an obvious attempt to overshadow Little’s launch for the year.

Little is speaking at a breakfast, Key at a lunch.

While Key’s speech will demand attention from a refreshed political gallery he needs to produce something of substance in it.

He has been criticised for a lack of vision beyond the next internal poll.

This is Key’s third term. It’s time for something more than ‘steady as she goes’ from him. The flag debate is one exception but that’s a sideshow.

Key needs to come uip with something bigger and better this year. It should be signalled in his speech.

He has just said on Firtsline “we need to look at things more creatively”. I look forward to some creative vision from his speech.

It’s an important speech for Little. He made a promising start to his leadership late last year but he has to show that he’s done his homework over the break and is ready to hit the new political year running.

The critical aim for Labour this year must be to be seen to be rebuilding and working together, something that’s been glaringly lacking over the past six years.

Little is still a political novice and and leadership rooky. He doesn’t have to look ready to take Key on in a campaign.

It’s more important at this stage for Little to take his own caucus with him. That could be a bigger challenge than Key.

But the two speeches and the two leaders will inevitably be compared. It’s a bigger challenge for Little. He has to prove that he is capable of continuing to grow into his daunting task.

‘Angry Andy’

Cameron Slater continues to push the ‘Angry Andy’ meme amongst his prolific (several posts a day) attacks on Andrew Little. Even when the posts don’t seem tio be targeting Little he gets barbs in, like today in “Independent” political commentator Bryce Edwards has no clue:

“so now the pressure is on Angry Andy”

“Angry Andy is stuffed”

But this isn’t getting much traction. Fair enough to describe someone as angry when they display anger, but to keep claiming something on a daily basis when there’s no sign of it then it just looks tedious.

Apart from Whale Oil repeats the angry meme doesn’t seem to have been picked up anywhere else, but this description came up once in Parliament last November. 3 News reported:

Andrew Little fired up over Dirty Politics

Andrew Little has taken the Dirty Politics debate to a new level.

The new Labour leader told Mr Key to “cut the crap” in Parliament today.

“Why doesn’t he [Mr Key] just cut the crap and apologise to New Zealanders for running a smear machine out of his office?” he said.

That’s been criticised by some but I don’t see anything wrong with it. Parliament could do with a lot more straight talking and crap cutting.

Mr Key has responded, saying it is going to be a “very interesting three years”.

Labour liked Mr Little’s call so much they made an online ad, while Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce created a new nickname for Mr Little.

“He looks a bit like Angry Andy,” he says.

Perhaps Slater has taken that and kept running with itt, but he’s the only one continuing with it.

Mr Little is fuming about Dirty Politics.

“Why won’t [Mr Key] admit the truth – that his office worked with his blogger to use information held by his security agency to attack his political rival, and the buck stops with him?”

But Mr Key said that was not truth.

He is refusing to take responsibility for the way former deputy chief of staff Phil de Joux used inside information from former SIS spymaster Warren Tucker, with Mr Key’s taxpayer-funded dirt-digger Jason Ede working with Slater, who obtained it under the Official Information Act (OIA) to attack then-Labour leader Phil Goff.

“The black ops operator, Jason Ede, two doors down, doing his job, ringing up the bloggers, manipulating the OIA and getting the attack lines out,” says Mr Little.

Slater might want to keep bringing up this sort of history and his links with Key, whikle Key seems to have wanted to distance himself with as little fuss as possible.

But if Slater keeps promoting negative nickname memes through Whale Oil like this then Key is at risk of being seen as associated and tainted no matter how distant he is from the ongoing Whale Oil campaign,

If Little is smart he could use this to his advantage. Not by dredging up ‘Dirty Politics’, but by turning the ‘Angry’ into a positive.

There’s a difference between uncontrolled rage type anger and justified irate anger.

If Little occasionallly displays controlled anger as long as it looks justified then it could work to his advantage. If people feel pissed off about something they won’t mind seeing a party leader pissed off about it, as long as it’s not overdone.

People like strong leaders so this could strengthen Little’s credibility. But he has to get it about right. David Cunliffe’s emotion sometimes looked contrived (along with other things he tried), adding to his difficulties. Phil Goff can sometimes get into extended anger that can go too far.

Helen Clark could effectively display anger without putting on a display. Sometines just a withering look is enough.

Politicians are human. They’re allowed to have normal human emotions, like anger, and it should be fine for them to show it.

So there’s nothing wrong with saying forecfully “I’m bloody angry about this”  (or “cut ther crap”). If you then move on to a suggest some positive alternative action then all the better.

As long as Little doesn’t start throwing microphones across the house in a rage then a bit of hackle with the heckle won’t hurt.

UPDATE ALREADY:

Slater has just posted another attack on Little – Who is Andrew Little? Can Andrew Little Speak Under Pressure? Slater is trying to put pressure on Little but I don’t know if any of it will get through. He continues his meme.

“He gets all angry and shouty and doesn’t look as if he is in control at all”

“He gets angry and shouty, and loses his composure”

He also compares Key to Little – Key after eight years as party leader and six years as Prime Minister, versus a rooky.

The key will be comparing them during the campaign in 2017. Little has time, but he’s got a lot to learn.

The joke’s on the nannies of Ratana

Ratana seems to get media attention due to being the first political gathering of the year, but it’s hardly a scene setting event.

Claire Trevett’s focus on what the nannies of Ratana laughed at trivialised what is in the whole scheme of our politics a fairly trivial event.

NZ Herald: Andrew Little survives at Ratana but Peters steals show

Andrew Little has survived his first address to Maori at Ratana but was well and truly upstaged by NZ First leader Winston Peters when it came to wooing the nannies.

Mr Little managed to get through his speech without looking at his notes. He even managed to get in a few jokes, saying of the prophet Ratana that he was “80 years ahead of Gareth Morgan. And he didn’t have a book to sell”.

However, he didn’t get many laughs…

Success at Ratana is how many laughs the politicians get?

If that’s the case Metiria Turei must have been the big loser, choosing to spit tacks at John Key.

But on the marae, Mr Little was followed by Mr Peters who had them rolling on the paepae with his first quip that politicians were “fast on the lip and slow on the hip”.

They were still laughing when he told them their koha “was in the email. We’re a modern party”.

Even Deputy Prime Minister Bill English managed to get more laughs than Mr Little…

That’s a serious dig being upstaged by dour Bill.

The nannies said afterwards that they thought Mr Little was a bit boring but gave him leeway as a first-timer.

They were far more enamoured with Mr Peters’ pitch. So the nannies will do their own annual review next year. Be warned, Mr Little.

Yes, be warned that some of the politicians and media think that Ratana is a joke.

But don’t be too worried about the nannies of Ratana. They’re hardly a pivotal political demographic.

RMA reform – same old opposition

Nick Smith says National is reviewing the most contentious parts of it’s last (failed) attempt at RMA reform and stated “National’s “preference” to build support beyond a bare majority” but “made it clear that the party was prepared to do so with just the support of the single MP of the Act Party”.

National pushes on with Resource Management Act reform is a bit contradictory.

After failing to gain the support it needed to pass changes proposed in 2012 during the last term, today National signalled that it could use its stellar election result to proceed – with little change.

Although Environment Minister Nick Smith said it was National’s “preference” to build support beyond a bare majority, the MP for Nelson made it clear that the party was prepared to do so with just the support of the single MP of the Act Party, which has long objected to what it considers to be an anti-development bias in the environmental legislation.

“Our first duty is make changes to the RMA that make the act work better for New Zealand. If we can’t get the support of the Maori Party and the United Future Party to be able to advance the reforms, then we will still be progressing with the support of the ACT Party,” Smith said.

Smith signalled that National was reviewing the most contentious of its proposed reforms of the RMA, covering changes to the act’s principles – a move critics have argued would aid development – but otherwise the tone of today’s speech was consistent with the last term.

“It’s consistent with the direction that was set in 2012, but there’s still a lot of detail in the amendments to deliver the overall package of reform,” Smith said.

He expected “intense discussion” over some of the “hundreds” of amendments to the existing legislation.

Not surprisingly the ‘Opposition” opposes it, for now at least.

Labour leader Andrew Little

…said the changes would do nothing to cut the price of building or increase the supply of affordable homes.

“National has spent six years claiming they will change the RMA to make housing more affordable but have yet to produce any tangible solutions. Nick Smith’s proposals are underwhelming and show the Government is out of ideas.

“It is critical that changes to benefit housing are not used as a smokescreen to undermine the environmental protection standards.”.

NZ First leader Winston Peters…

…said if the government was to curb rising house prices it needed to deal with speculation, immigration and a lack of construction.

“The minister’s planned changes to the RMA to address housing affordability do nothing of the sort, they are just a sop to developers. He is blaming the RMA for a high price of Kiwi homes, the lack of supply and making speculators rich as a red herring to National’s complete failure.”

The Green Party…

…said the changes would not build more homes.

“The Government has the ability to build affordable homes and address the housing crisis now but it is simply not doing it. New Zealand needs a major state home building programme, to meet the need for new homes and drive down high prices,” Green Party RMA spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said.

But the mayor of the major housing problem area approves.

The reforms would streamline “complex” processes for house-strapped Auckland, Mayor Len Brown says.

Brown said Auckland Council had been working closely with the government to find a solution to Auckland’s housing crises.

“From Auckland Council’s perspective, there is considerable scope to improve the RMA,” he said.

“In particular streamlining the complex processes councils are required to work within, reducing duplication and providing more affordable housing.

“I particularly welcome recognition of the needs of cities and urban areas, including housing and infrastructure, which the current legislation doesn’t cover well.

Wider support will depend on what changes National are prepared to make.

Radio NZ reports Smith’s RMA speech strident, says Dunne - Dunne has appeared to be peeved that so far he has been left out of the loop and doesn’t know if he will support changes or not.

He said he had thought the Government was moving down a more pragmatic path, but he was not so sure.

“I just don’t quite know what the intended strategy is here. This speech just leaves you wondering frankly.”

Mr Dunne said the speech was short on detail, so he was still no closer to knowing whether he could support any changes.

Maori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell…

…said he still believed the Government was willing to compromise, even though it no longer needed their support.

“There’s a lot of water to go under the bridge yet, these things are by negotiation and I detect certainly a desire to work with us.

The detail and the debate is yet to come so it’s too early to tell how thios reform will be dealt with.

Left wing wishes and fantasies

A post at The Standard – Andrea Vance on Andrew Little’s game plan – asks:

What do you want/expect to see in Andrew Little’s state of the nation?

The resonse was a number of wishes and wishlists.

Sanctuary:

I would like to see him define the debate on Labour’s terms – so, say, talk about jobs, wages, salaries and fairness in a world of the 1%ers. Within that framework talk about looking at a UBI, about workplace reform – maybe with German style workplace councils to stimulate productivity (but also introduce backdoor worker organisation without using the dreaded “trade union” words) and worker buy in.

UBI = Universal Basic Income is a minimun wage/benefit set at a ‘livable’ level.

Talk about the need to create a fairer society through better wages. In other words, make the argument where National are not delivering anything at all to the vast majority of Kiwis – wages and salaries.

Oh and how about saying that under Labour a bunch of scoundrels and pirates in rusty old fishing boats would not be allowed to humiliate our Navy and plunder fish stocks in the Southern Ocean.

Paul:

The want lists includes.

  • Concrete policy on climate change. Divest from fossil fuels.
  • A clear independent foreign policy based on peaceful cohabitation of the planet with other cultures and nations.
  • Pull out of TPPA deal
  • Significant tax increases for the wealthy and corporations.
  • Massive investment in public transport
  • Investment in regional NZ.
  • Rebuild NZ’s local manufacturing in areas where .
  • Promote sustainable farming practises.
  • Build 100,00 state houses.
  • Change laws on rental properties to dis incentivise Multiple ownership of property.
  • Stop all foreign ownership of businesses, land and property.
  • Nationalisation of energy, transport, water, telecommunications, health and other core national interests.
  • Political donations only through membership of a political party and at a low rate of say $30. So the numbers of your supporters, not the wealth is what counts.
  • The reinstatement of genuine public broadcasting.
  • Democratic workplaces..cooperatives, worker owned companies.
  • Highly subsidised public transport
  • The conversion of inner city carparks into green spaces

I think an unqualified apology for the events of 1984 to 1990 would make for a cleansing break from Labour’s tragic embrace of neoliberalism.

Colonial Rawshark”

A full time youth jobs guarantee for those 25 and under. 37.5 hrs per week at the minimum wage, where you are expected to perform to a full employment standard.

Disturbed:

A return of freight back to rail. Especially in regions with high truck traffic levels, and highway gridlock.

Lastly cartridge of dangerous and hazardous waste by rail. Never should Petroleum and oils be carried by road.

Ad:

I’ll just be grateful if we could just have one Labour leader until the 2017 election.

lprent:

A caucus that spends less time waiting for their turn in government while playing internal politics and more time on making sure that they win a general election.

vta:

I would like to see the Labour Party categorically state that the policies of greed and self-interest, as promoted since the Labour Party of 1984, do not work and that people simply do not go about their lives on the sole basis of greed and self-interest (bizarre thought isn’t it).

…. then link that statement to the current government, plus failures the result of those policies such as leaky homes, the GFC, Pike River, etc

Murray Rawshark:

I think there needs to be an unqualified apology for the events of 1984 to 2015. Without the Lange regime, this year would be very different politically and economically.

Miracle Worker:

The day I see Andrew Little take on John Key over South Canterbury Finance, which is John Key’s biggest achilles heel by a country mile, the issue that will bring him down and banish him from the political landscape for good, as well as set National back for at least a decade, is the day Labour will win back my vote.

Until that day comes, I have written Labour off as National-lite. When Labour KNOWS how corrupt Key and his cronies were over that issue and they do nothing about it, they are just as corrupt for turning a blind eye to it. I am sick of listening to their empty rhetoric and bullsh*t.

George Hendry:

@ Paul’s list –

# Divest from international ‘reserve’ (with a snap of our fingers we create the money you need, but you’re not allowed to try this trick ) bank system

# Exercise sovereign right to create independent government-backed local currency

# Hand over SIS and GCSB files to ordinary citizens spied on, ‘illegally’ or otherwise

# Stay alive if possible – look out for extrajudicial assassination drones with which PM is comfortable

Mikesh:

He probably should be promising a public broadcasting channel.

Northsider:

I’d like Andrew to show to all Kiwis that he has the vision thing and that he has the passion to take us along with him.
I’d like him to demonstrate that he is a quick but not hasty decision maker, that he is thoughtful and analytical and then committed to his decisions.

I want him to show that he is a team builder who supports his bench with his big strength and toughness.
Andrew needs to continue showing that he knows himself and that he is very comfortable in his own skin. The public want to see his character and to understand the role it plays in his leadership style.

Policy Parrot:

1. Most voters are employees – tailor policy to them.
Over 70% of FTE workers are employees. It is our challenge to remake society so that one again can be successful through thrift and hard work as an employee, not solely through property trading or business ownership. Increases in minimum wage, industry specific wage floors, guaranteed union representative access, changes to work trials etc. Improve and expand the current apprenticeship system.

2. Making the tax system work
Making the tax system fairer. Sure the tax system would be simpler with a single rate of tax, but this rate needs be to discounted at the lower end so that lower income people can both survive and contribute to society, and thus compensatorily needs to be elevated at the higher end in order to pay for the discount at the lower end.
There needs to be a commission into tax to address horizontal fairness (i.e. all sources of income being treated the same for tax purposes), closing loopholes through a system design which also achieves the social policy objectives, and cracking down on tax fraud through omission and false statements. Establish a department within IRD specifically to help SME’s deal with tax/regulatory issues.

3. Regional Development + Extractive Industry
Regional development through direct central government investment, i.e. moving some staffing resources back into regional cities, tax incentives for large manufacturing businesses to locate their factories in regional New Zealand. Continue to allow extractive industries in negotiation with the local people in regions such as Northland, East Cape, West Coast – with the stipulation that a portion of profits be reinvested in the same regions. Encourage regional diversification. Make use of Solid Energy as the main/dominant operator of all mining/extractive operations wherever possible – as it is a SOE, and thus theorectically subject to political and social considerations in a different political environment.

4. Living and Transport
Improve and update the KiwiBuild policy – perhaps a new moniker as well. Build warm and dry, energy efficient houses in communities serviced by public transport. There needs to be another 50k state houses built.
Build up feeder/domitory towns that have public transport available/potential.
Reintroduce commuter rail to Christchurch, and improve existing services in Auckland and Wellington.

5. Education Sector
Increase the hours available in the 20 hour free scheme to 30, and lower the starting age to 2.
Continue with the excellent school fee policy.
Reintroduce funding for the night courses scrapped by National.
Review NCEA to make sure it is delivering its policy objectives.
Changes to the student allowance eligibility criteria, i.e. if there remains an income threshold, there should also be an asset test, and increase the weekly borrrowing limit for living costs for those dependent on student loans.
Review the whole tertiary funding sector with a view to eventually establishing universal student allowances at a living level, with minimum pass/grade levels required.

coaster:

I would like to here that the ordinary people matter to him, and his labour party.
that he will work to bring back the 40hour week and 8 hour day. I would like to here him differentiate labour from the greens. I would like to here precisely how labour is diiferent from national.

TheBlackKitten:

For me to vote Labour again I would like to see Little concentrate on the key economic concerns of people that have been ignored for the past 30 years and are issues that National will never deal with in a million years.

a) Apprenticeships – Re introduce the old apprenticeship system for trades. Its senseless that the hands on trades such as hairdressing, florists are learnt in a classroom rather than the practical hands on experience of the old apprenticeship system. Higher education institutions have been coining it out of the young for far too long and fail with their theory learning only to give these youngsters the practical experience that the employer needs. Its time to send them down the road as these youngsters not only end up with not having the practical experience required, but also end up with a huge hefty student debt to pay off.

b) Food costs – Why are we paying what we do for food in our supermarkets. What is the breakdown for the cost of milk, bread and butter. Its interesting that the only Labour Party member to mention this issue was looked down by Labour as a filthy closet National Party supporter and that this issue was not picked up by any other member when he departed the party. Why is that? Is there more to this issue than the general public knows and are Labour too scared or just simply don’t know how to tackle it.

c) It is not only the employees that are getting a hard time, there are also plenty of self employed or contractors that don’t get a fair deal when dealing with the bigger corporates. Offering support for these people would help with a fairer society for businesses rather than big corporates being the dominant players.

d) Workers definitely need representation, since the introduction of the ECA Act in 1991 (which Labour did nothing about during their 9 years of power) wages for Kiwis have become low and no longer give people the income to meet soaring living costs.

e) Unions are the dinosaurs of yesterday, a new method of worker representation needs to occur. Unions fail to give people the choice of their representation ie: if you work in a shop than your union is the shop workers union despite if you think they are good, bad, effective or jack shit useless. It needs to change where workers despite their role, get to choose the group that represents them therefore keeping those that choose to represent workers do as the worker wants rather than what they want.

f) Living costs – Again, like the food, why are we paying what we do for rates, power, insurance, housing and transport (petrol) costs. Are these costs valid in that is what it costs to provide these services or are the 1%ers coining it off the rest of us?

Little needs to return Labour back to their original tradition of looking out for the key economic concerns of people. He also needs to recognise that the welfare reforms National have made are necessary and need to stay. Labour fell into the trap of allowing welfare to become a alternative to working rather than a helping hand. Little also needs erode the PC ideology that currently dominates the Labour Party. PC ideology that does nothing to help the average family put food on their tables.

millsy:

Seems to me at this stage he needs to play to his strengths and focus on education/training — which he would have had a lot to do with during his EPMU stage — perhaps with a dash of innovation and supporting of manufacturing. At the moment, he just needs to be solid, play a straight bat with no outrageous hook shots.

The Chairman:

Little may like to point out market voids (such as housing, export growth, employment, etc) and explain how a hands on Government will fill these voids – i.e. build more homes, create new export focused SOEs, thus grow our wealth and provide more decent paying jobs.

Eralc:

Less anger, more smiles, more reason, more about what he’s going to do to lead this country (if that comes his way), less about sniping at the current government, but more about saying what he would do. Have more of a global view.

He could also do with a good media adviser to help him come across more clearly, engage with voters, speak more clearly – keep people engaged for the long game.

A sensible game plan for Little

Andrea Vance writes about A game-plan that may just work for Little, and talks about two plans.

Tripping up Labour leaders on policy detail has become something of a bloodsport for the political media, egged on by National.

It is a dark hole newbie Andrew Little is determined not to fall into. He plans to do away with the deep-level policy development that caused his predecessors so much grief.

This is sensible, especially in the first year of a term. Labour has three years to review their policies and Little has the same time to become famikliar with the key policies.

With a post-election review underway, no great policy shifts are imminent.

It’s more important to set up his Leader’s office (he is currently recruiting a press officer) and get the Labour caucus working together effectively. Compared to the latter brushing up on somne policy detail should be a doddle.

And secondly:

For Labour, 2015 will be less about sticking it to National. Little’s goal is to re-define Labour and then win on its terms, rather than because the electorate grew tired of National.

Labour have looked like they spent too much time and effort into trying to stick it to National, largely unsuccessfully. In fact it’s an alpproach that’s been not just unsuccessful, it has kept highlighting negative politics. Voters tend not to respond to negatives.

Looking like a functional team will be a good place to start in re-defining Labour. A positive change will flow through to policy development and delivery.

Little and Labour have a big job to do to repair the damage of the last six years. They finally look like they are on a track that at least stands a chance of working for them.

Little will give his state of the nation speech on January 28. Hopefully he hasn’t been over-polished by media advsiers or over-palevered by speech writers and delivers a decent start to his first big year as leader.

His first step up to leadership level was promising. He has to start to deliver on his promise – but remember that he has nearly three years and needs to pace himself.

Presland practising what he preaches against

Greg Presland has tried to link a 3 News item on Andrew Little seeking a new press secretary to same old ‘Dirty Politics’ – TV3, Cameron Brewer and more of the same. He makes claims but provides no proof.

One commenter “suggested people be a bit less precious” – I think Bill is right. Less preciousness and more positives would help Little and Labour far more than trying to talk up very tenuous links with one of last year’s most negative political stories.

TV3 chose to approach Brewer nominally for independent PR advice.  Brewer is well known as one of the nastier right wing Councillors on Auckland Council.  He is as blue as they come.  He is apparently in partnership with the infamous Carrick Graham and Ricardo Sumich, who also has exquisite National Party links.  Graham is one of the three people whose reputations were most damaged by Dirty Politics.  But this background was not mentioned by TV3.  Instead they just referred to Brewer as a “former Press Secretary”.

Sure TV3 used a couple of snarky soundbites from right wing Cameron Brewer. A crappy but normal approach. But it is relevant that he has been a press secretary.

However he wasn’t the first or most quoted person they went to for commentary, that was Auckland University politics lecturer Jennifer Lees-Marshment.

Should an item like this be a PR puff piece and only seek favourable comments? That would be worse than what they’ve done with this.

The connection to ‘Dirty Politics’ is a stretch. Going by the index Brewer didn’t feature at all in the book.

He is apparently in partnership with the infamous Carrick Graham and Ricardo Sumich, who also has exquisite National Party links. Graham is one of the three people whose reputations were most damaged by Dirty Politics. But this background was not mentioned by TV3.

Why should 3 News have mentioned a tenuous link like that? They never have time to go into detail about the histories and associations of every person interviewed.

Even worse is that the TV3 story has been seeded by earlier posts by David Farrar and Cameron Slater.

There is no evidence of this. Is Presland practicing what he preaches against, dirty politics?

Farrar’s post on it was at 2.00 pm on the 15th of January. He quoted a Stuff report from the previous day, last updated at 13:37 January 14. As did Slater and his post on it was also on the 15th. Why would TV3 be ‘seeded’ by just one of several posts a day about Little on Whale Oil?

The original Stuff report said:

The advertisement has already prompted senior press gallery reporters to plot creative ways to thwart another expected result – weekly meetings with key press gallery journalists.

So it’s very likely that 3 News journalists already knew about the position being advertised. Press secretaries are often sourced from the ranks of press gallery reporters. It is certain to be a topic of gallery conversations. They wouldn’t need Farrar and Slater to bring it to their attention.

Presland laments:

The video is utterly appalling.

I didn’t think the TV3 report was bad considering it was a political filler in the silly season.

It was publicity for Labour. It got Andrew Little on the 6 o’clock news and overall I don’t think it was negative for him at all. And it helped advertise the position, surely that’s a good thing.

Claiming this is a continuation of ‘Dirty Politics’ is creating a negative about what should be a positive, getting Little in the news and getting the best possible press secretary for him.

As Brewer was quoted:

“The Labour Party haven’t been on the news at 6pm in a positive light since Adam was a boy, so this is a huge ask,”

He’s right, it is a huge ask. Trying to seed it into being about ‘Dirty Politics’ won’t help shine ‘positive light’ at all, it’s just futile glowering on a dark past.

Slater is right about one thing, when you wrestle with pigs you get dirty. Presland’s post tried the ‘Dirty’ approach. That won’t help.

Getting more positive will help Little and Labour more.

Slater does dirt on Andrew Little

Cameron Slater was never going to go easy on Andrew Little’s Labour leadership but he must see Little as a real threat because he is doing his dirty worst trying to discredit Little.

In two posts yesterday Slater has been very childish and petty, using a series of photos to crticise Little’s appearance. This is a continuation of a nasty line of attack which amounts to an attempt at character assassination.

So it is worth putting up a few images of Andrew Little and seeing whether he passes the blink test. Unfortunately for Little the camera has not been kind to him, and by the looks of things it will never be kind to him.

We will start with his own image from Gravatar, which lets him comment on blogs and include his image. Even with his end images he manages to come across as slight goofy or as if he has been punishing the press gallery wine, or someone has given him a toke of a particularly good coromandel special. This suggests he embraces his goofy or stoned or toasted look.

“Which lets him comment on blogs” is a nonsensical explanation, and his ‘criticisms’ are dirty attempts at smears.

The next image is one of him with a halo, from outside his house in Island Bay. For a left wing publication to publish a photo of Little looking like he is wearing a halo is particularly telling.

It doesn’t look anything like a halo to me.

The next image is from the Christmas lunch Little served…

Once again the allegedly left leaning press have chosen an image that maintains Little’s goofy or stoned or toasted look. This appears very deliberate as the photos of Little have been distorted to make him look even more goofy or stone or toasted than normal.

Claiming the media has deliberately distorted images of Little to make him look like he fits Slater’s meme.

The Listener photo above adds to this impression.

It is a photo of a desperately short man trying to appear tall but only serving to add to the goofy image.

Slater has obviously decided to try and attach ‘goofy’ with Little. And criticises his height.

And this is in the first post of the day on Little.

Earlier I posted the images that the media have run to make Andrew Little look goofy, stoned or toasted.

Again repeating he previous smearing.

There are also the ones who make him look like the union bully boy that he is. Small, angry, sneering and unlikeable.

And on to another theme that is a continuation of past criticisms. Again he sneers at Little’s height.

His performances in parliament are either lacklustre and boring or spittle flecked rants of invective.

”Lacklustre” and “boring or spittle flecked rants of invective” are rather ironic given Slater’s posts these days, demonstrated by these attack posts.

It is pretty hard not to come to the conclusion that Andrew Little is an angry man, predisposed to his anger by his diminutive height and union boss background.

Repeating himself with the same disparaging criticisms.

Dour, grim, nasty, and unlikeable…as well as the other side of the same coin that is Andrew Little, goofy, stoned or toasted.

And again referring back to his previous post.

These attacks are certainly not journalistic, they are petty and pathetic. And while they might play to his Whale Oil fan club the claims simply don’t measure up.

Despite repat references to his height Little doesn’t look short, as this phot prior to his leadership shows:

Little is the tallest person in the middle row. (And a person’s height is irrelevant anyway).

And Slater’s smears are contrary to the impression Little has given since becoming Labour’s leader – he has impressed a wide range of people. That’s presumably what Slater is trying to counter,

Slater is trying to make multiple smear stories out of nothing. His ‘criticisms’ are childishly petty and pathetic.

As well as trying to discredit Little Slater also continues to try and discredit the current media, and promises to offer something new and better through Freed.

If Freed launches with Slater in a prominent position they will start with a major credibility deficit. These sorts of dirty smear posts don’t help at all.

Slater is presumably hoping that if he keeps throwing dirt at Little some of it will stick. All it does is emphasises Slater’s dirty and severely diminished stature as a political commentator, and keeps reminding that a journalist he is not.

National, Labour up in Herald Digipoll

NZ Herald reports on a Digipoll, probably the last political poll of the year. While it’s indicative of support it’s an odd time of year to run a poll, many people will have their minds on things other than politics.

They incorrectly claim:

…in the first political poll since Andrew Little took over the leadership and the first major poll since the September 20 election.

Roy Morgan have published three polls since the election, one of them since Andrew Little became leader.

You have to read through the article to find the key numbers:

  • National 50.4% (up 2.2 on last Digipoll, election result 47.04%)
  • Labour 28.9% (up 3.0, election 25.13%)
  • Greens 9.5% (down 1.6, election 10.7%)
  • NZ First 5.6% (down 2.8, election 8.66%)
  • Maori Party 1.5% (“up a little”, election 1.32%)
  • Mana Party 0.2% (Internet-Mana election 1.42%)
  • United Future and ACT were not given poll results

It’s not surprising to see the two largest parties increasing at the expense of the smaller parties when most people’s minds won’t be very politically inclined.

National will be happy with their result considering they haven’t had a great start to their third term.

Labour and Andrew Little will be encouraged to see their support recovering slightly.

Preferred Prime Minister:

  • John Key 65% (up 0.7%)
  • Andrew Little 13.6% (Goff, Shearer and Cunliffe peaked at 18-19%)

This result means little at this stage.

Rating Andrew Little’s performance:

  • Excellent 5.3%
  • Very good 19.4%
  • Good 24.7%
  • Adequate 23%
  • Poor 7%

That’s very encouraging for Little. I’d rate his performance so far as leader as very encouraging/very good. It will be important for him to start strongly in the New Year and not take too long. David Cunliffe had a poor and belated start to this year and he and Labour never recovered.

Source: Nats, Labour both on rise

It’s annoying that NZ Herald scatters incomplete results through and article and doesn’t provide at least a link to all the pertinent details of the poll. For all I know they could have only managed to poll 200 people this close to Christmas.

UPDATE: Full results apparently

National 50.4%
Labour 28.9%
Greens 9.5%
NZ First 5.6%
Conservatives 2.9%
Maori 1.5%
Act 0.4%
Mana 0.2%
United 0.0%

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