Davis assures he’s contesting Te Tai Tokerau

After claims and speculation that Labour were not trying to contest Te Tai Tokerau – see Cunliffe lying about electorate deals? – Kelvin Davis has emphatically assured he is still out to win the electorate off Hone Harawira.

of course I’m going out to win it, as I’ve told you a dozen times already. No one has approached me to do any shonky deal.

Davis will be keen on winning the electorate as his chances via the Labour list look precarious.

Yesterday 3 News reported  Annette Sykes chasing Waiariki deal:

Internet Mana candidate Annette Sykes says Labour’s done a secret Epsom-style electorate deal with Hone Harawira.

She’s also calling on Labour to do a deal for her – in the Maori seat of Waiariki.

Internet Mana is…Parliament-bound on Mr Harawira’s coattails.

His lieutenant, Ms Sykes, says Labour’s done a deal which will help ensure he wins Te Tai Tokerau.

“I think it’s already happening there,” says Ms Sykes.”It’s been informally signalled.”

That contradicts what Davis has said.

Labour is denying the claim however, saying all seat deals are off.

“We are campaigning hard in all seven Maori seats and that includes Waiariki – I can’t be any plainer than that,” says Labour leader David Cunliffe.

That would include Te Tai Tokerau. Cunliffe has backtracked on other things but he looks like remaining staunch on this.

But Tova O’Brien at 3 News is not convinced.

Labour’s taken the higher moral ground over coat-tailing, despite not ruling out working with Internet Mana – the masters of coat-tailing – after the election.

So if it does a deal in either of those Maori seats – and it’s hard to tell if it will or not – they’ll be informal deals, done on the ground and on the quiet.

The proof will be in how the campaigns in the Maori electorates play out. If Labour have done or do any electorate deals on the quiet it should be obvious in how the campaign unfolds.

With Labour looking an unlikely winner in the election shoring up any electorate they can and winning as many as possible makes some sense. It will help put them in a better position to rebuild next term – something they have so far failed to do.

 

Cunliffe lying about electorate deals?

While David Cunliffe criticises National for doing electorate deals in Epsom and Ohariu, and insists Labour will not do any electorate deals, there are reports from Te Tai Tokerau that Labour have effectively thrown the electorate, leaving it to Internet Mana..

Is this a case of Labour doing something different to what they claim, and doing what they criticise National for doing? If so this is deceitful.

In NZ Herald Cunliffe denies double standards over deals:

Labour leader David Cunliffe has denied he has double standards for refusing to rule out relying on the Internet Mana party to form a government despite deriding National for its coat tailing deals in Epsom and Ohariu.

Mr Cunliffe has accused National of manipulating voters by using the coat-tailing provisions to try to boost its support partners’ chances through electorate deals in Epsom and Ohariu.

However, he will not rule out calling on the Internet Mana Party if needed to form a Government.

There appears to be double standards and deceit there.

Mr Cunliffe said he had made it clear it was “extremely unlikely” any Internet Mana Party MPs would get ministerial positions, or even lower level associate or undersecretary roles in a Labour-led Government.

But he would not rule out policy concessions in return for their votes, saying that was a matter to discuss after the election. “We will talk to whoever the voters serve up.”

But there are claims that Labour are ‘manipulating voters by using the coat-tailing provisions’ to try to boost Hone Harawira’s chances  in Te Tai Tokerau.

Mr Cunliffe denied it was a double standard.

“Because I’m not trying to tell New Zealanders who to vote for. I’m being absolutely plain that they should vote Labour with two ticks.”

That doesn’t appear to be what’s happening in Te Tai Tokerau, despite Labour’s candidate Kelvin Davis previously saying he would vigorously contest the electorate.

A resident of the Far North commented on Kiwiblog:

A couple of earlier commenters mentioned Davies winning TTT. Forget it. He is invisible, no signage in the North. None. Labour have hung him out to dry again. A vote for labour is a vote for the Harawira crime family and Kim Dotcom.

And a similar story at No Minister:

NEWSFLASH … LABOUR CONCEDES TE TAI TOKERAU TO HONE

So much for the hypocritical beating from Labour about National doing ‘deals’ in Epsom and Ohariru (leaving aside the fact that MMP is all about doing deals).   It is now clear the Cunliffe and Labour, have done exactly that and conceded Te Tai Tokerau to Hone in a deal that should let the Mana/Internet Party come in with three MPs (based on their current pollling).

What’s the evidence for that?     Well, the Vet and Mrs Vet took a trip up to Kaitaia on Saturday for a meeting of the Far North Vietnam veterans.    On the way up we encountered numerous National Party signs; a sad looking half sign promoting Labour’s Northand candidate; two signs from a weird mob called Focus New Zealand ; a heap of signs from Hone, but from Kelvin Davis, the Te Tai Tokerau Labour candidate, zip zero nothing, nothing at all.

And I am told suma suma in the southern part of the electorate.

…now it’s clear that Cunliffe and Labour have pulled the rug from Davis as a serious player…

It may be that Kelvin Davis and Labour are yet to launch a candidate campaign in Te Tai Tokerau. I’m trying to check that out with him.

But at this stage of the campaign it looks like David Cunliffe may not be being truthful about Labour’s electorate intent.

UPDATE: Cunliffe has just spoken on Firstline repeating that Labour would contest electorates “up and down the country” and wouldn’t support coat tailing.

UPDATE 2: Kelvin Davis has responded this morning “That is a pure beat up. Im out to win the seat.” But he hasn’t replied yet when I asked when he was putting hoardings up.

Rodney Hide, David Cunliffe and a “sexual predator”

Rodney Hide has continued his series of columns about a sexual offender with name suppression in Predator hiding in clear sight. Hide states that he believes David Cunliffe did not know the person was an offender when he met what Hide refers to as a “sex predator”.

I was wrong when I claimed that leading politicians knew the name of the “prominent” New Zealander hiding behind name suppression. David Cunliffe did not.

The Labour leader has met the sex predator. “If I had known of the suggestion [that the man was a sex predator hiding behind name suppression], no such meeting would have taken place.” I am sure that’s true.

Hide may be right. But there is doubt over that The above quote is from the Herald last Monday, but on Tuesday Cunliffe spoke on this in a standup Interview. Barry Soper (Newstalk ZB):

Mr Cunliffe admits a prominent New Zealander’s possible sexual offending had been raised with him before he met with the man in Queenstown last week.

The Labour leader says the meeting went ahead because no proof had been supplied.

“There is a suspicion that a person who asked to meet me and my candidate down there might be a person in that category. All I can say is had I known that, and we did ask around if there was any reason not to meet, we wouldn’t have had the meeting.”

Whichever of those explanations is accurate (if either of them are) we now have a problem. This is an important issue leading into an election campaign and because of the name suppression of the offender media are very reluctant to investigate this as they normally would be sure to do.

If Cunliffe did not know of the person’s offending or his reputation (which Hide has previously said was well known in Parliament) before meeting him then it would have just been an unfortunate embarrassment for Cunliffe, especially having just made a strong statement to a Rape Crisis group.

But Cunliffe is unable to clarify if this is this case.

And unfortunately for Cunliffe the alternative and more embarrassing scenario that Soper reported on, which is unclear and potentially contradictory of Cunliffe’s earlier claim, is getting some coverage. And the media seem reluctant to explore this because of the name suppression.

With an election looming the voters should know what the true version is on this story.

Name suppression protecting a “prominent person” is preventing this from being clarified.

And worse, it means that people are not warned about this man’s apparently recidivist predatory sexual behaviour. Hide is right when he concludes:

The sex predator’s prominence is such that Cunliffe was attracted to meet him. Knowing the sex pest’s background and history it’s easy to see why. We are all attracted to and flattered by the attention of “prominent” men.

We have a sex offender in our midst. He has not been shamed. He has no remorse. His prominence makes him attractive for women to pass time with. Name suppression means they don’t know to be wary. His “prominence” means women drop their guard.

Does anyone other than the offender have a responsibility should he offend again? The judge who felt the poor man had suffered “a bit of a cross” by being prosecuted? Our MPs for their silence and name suppression laws?

What would we say to his victim if he attacks again? And, ask yourself, what’s the culture in New Zealand that your answers imply?

The offender is sort of protected from embarrassment.

But women of New Zealand, especially women of Queenstown in this instance, may not be aware of the potential danger that this man may pose to them if they don’t know who he is and what he has done.

Note: if the offender in the case at the centre of this issue is unfairly being labelled a “sexual predator” that can’t even be publicly explored.

Cunliffe and a gift of wine

David Cunliffe should be wary of bottles of wine by now, but he has received one as a gift, from an ex National MP and ex All Black, Grahame Thorne.

And there’s proof that this one is for real as this was posted on Facebook.

 

Cunliffe Thorne

This was apparently a recent meeting. It”s obviously out in the open, very public, so there was no secret about it. On a day Cunliffe has specifically said he was working. That was then.

What was this meeting about? Old friends or acquaintances catching up? Why the gift?

It’s a curious name for wine, it’s from a local vineyard which Thorne obviously has an association  with.

Dogs do Roam: A Dogs Tale

In Nineteen sixty something the first generation of the Thorne family made the trek south to Central Otago for the summer. During this traditional Kiwi holiday Norman Stuart Thorne has his first encounter with the “fruit bowl of the south”.

Norm would struggle through neighboring paddocks with a large basket of freshly picked fruit in each hand with the neighbors two springer spaniel dogs bouncing through the tussocks in his wake. He would arrive back to the bach (holiday home) as the sun was setting.

As the sun rose the following morning Norm would still be in his workshop putting the finishing touches on his first batch of Central Otago fruit wine.

Thus began the tradition of returning the following summer to find his wine ready to drink after the fermenting process.

As the story goes Norm S Thorne returned to Central the following year and upon arrival headed straight to his workshop. Turning the key to the shed in eager anticipation, he could smell the sweet Vino seeping out the cracks in the wood, the creaking door opened slowly when all of sudden the neighbors dogs raced through the gap knocking over his barrels spilling wine all over the floor. Turning to his wife Norm chuckled “well Dogs do Roam”…and thus “Dogs do Roam” was born.

The Dogs –  Norm S Thornes first escapades in Central not only started a love affair with the area but also began a life long adoration of Springer Spaniels. A love passed down to his son Grahame and in turn to Grahames children. On DDR vineyard live three Springers and their mate Milo the Chocolate Lab!

An interesting tale.

Labour have sharpened their knitting needles

Earlier this week David Cunliffe acknowledged that he had made mistakes but would be starting a fight-back and focus on the things that mattered.

Stuff reported: Cunliffe: The fightback begins now

“I am sure that the caucus will be as determined as I am that we stick to our knitting and to our core messages about jobs, homes and families, and avoid distractions,” Cunliffe said.

“We have got past anger a long time ago, we are focused on what a campaign needs – a positive contribution by everybody and focused on the issues that matter.”

Labour’s campaign slogan is VotePositive.

The big thing being discussed today was sparked by another Stuff article:  Labour claims Hosking’s biased.

The Labour Party is in a standoff with TVNZ over plans to use presenter Mike Hosking to moderate the live televised leaders’ debates.

A Labour source said that, despite protestations, the party was unlikely to pull out of the two scheduled TVNZ debates. “When we heard it was Hosking the initial reaction was ‘Are you f…ing joking?’ But we are trying to get it changed. We are not making a hullabaloo about nothing, we’d rather they get someone else.”

Senior Labour MP Grant Robertson said he was not part of the negotiations, but joked: “If it’s true, we’d rather have Jeremy Wells as Mike Hosking, than Mike Hosking.”

Cunliffe said he was not involved in the negotiations. Chief of staff Matt McCarten is understood to be overseeing the arrangements.

It’s all over Twitter. And Labour blogs are full of it:

Rob Salmond at Polity:  Mike Hosking and this has been re-posted at The Standard: Polity: Mike Hosking

Is this Labour sticking to it’s knotting?

They have sharpened their needles and are taking stabs at the media.

It almost looks like Labour has conceded defeat already and are making excuses in advance. “Poor us” laments and blaming the media are only going to increase the electoral damage.

It’s a very difficult situation for them but they have to do something to not contradict their ‘VotePositive” slogan.

 

Cunliffe cheerleader chumped by change of tune

David Cunliffe’s chief cheerleader at The Standard, Greg Presland, has been chumped by Cunliffe’s change of tune on whether he knew anything about the sexual offender before meeting in Queenstown.

Presland posted in Herald says weird things about Cunliffe and Labour Clutha Southland candidate:

The Herald said:

… the Labour leader threatens to be distracted by internal ill-discipline and criticisms over his judgment, including the holiday itself and a meeting last week with a prominent New Zealander given name suppression on charges of performing an indecent act.

Mr Cunliffe confirmed to the Herald last night that he had arranged for the person – whose case has been the topic of media coverage – to meet a Labour candidate but said he had no idea about the controversial background until yesterday.

“If I had known of the suggestion, no such meeting would have taken place.”

You have to wonder why the meeting was mentioned and why it was thought that it would cause a distraction to Cunliffe.  

No doubt the intent is to continue with the bad news narrative that the right have been pushing but what was Cunliffe to do?  Have a Police vette conducted of all people that he may meet?  Even this would not have helped because the person involved received a discharge without conviction and had all details suppressed.  

And Cunliffe confirmed to the Herald he had no idea of the background until yesterday.

Presland is presumed to be close to Cunliffe in his electorate and he’s the lawyer who organised the donations trust. He’s been a dogged and loyal supporter.

But now Cunliffe has changed his tune in “Sometimes tough times make you tougher” – Cunliffe.

 Mr Cunliffe admits a prominent New Zealander’s possible sexual offending had been raised with him before he met with the man in Queenstown last week.

The Labour leader says the meeting went ahead because no proof had been supplied.

“There is a suspicion that a person who asked to meet me and my candidate down there might be a person in that category. All I can say is had I known that, and we did ask around if there was any reason not to meet, we wouldn’t have had the meeting.”

It must be tough  being a Labour cheerleader at the moment when Cunliffe keeps saying weird things.

There’s not much cheerfulness at The Standard these days.

Cunliffe’s sorry, support slumps

There are many reasons why David Cunliffe’s and Labour’s support is slumping. Cunliffe has conceded that saying “sorry for being a man” may have contributed.

How he has dealt with it could also be indicative of his struggle to impress people, especially men but also women.

Audrey Young reports on NZ Herald’s latest poll results in Labour losing its appeal for men:

Labour’s support among men has fallen to just 23.9 per cent in the latest Herald-DigiPoll survey and leader David Cunliffe concedes it may have something to do with his “sorry for being a man” speech to a domestic violence symposium.

Since last month:

  • Labour’s overall support fell from 30.5%  to 26.5%
  • Men’s support fell from 27.6% to 23.9%
  • Women’s support fell from 33.4% to 29.1%

When Cunliffe spoke to the domestic violence symposium he received praise from people attending the symposium but had a much more negative response in many forums. He was accused of putting on an act. One suggestion commonly made was that it was a speech targeting an audience but lacked conviction. He has been accused of similar in the past.

Mr Cunliffe said it was hard to tell whether his speech to a domestic violence symposium was behind the fall.

“It may have had some effect.”

It most likely has, and not just support from men, some women also rolled their eyes at his statement.

In comments since then Cunliffe claims he does not resile from what he said but has avoided repeating his “sorry” claim.

“I certainly don’t resile from the comment that family violence and domestic violence is something all New Zealanders need to consider carefully and to take some responsibility for.

“At no time have I suggested that all men are guilty of it.”

No defence of saying sorry. No explanation or clarification.

This adds weight to the impression he was targeting an audience and doesn’t want to say the same thing to a wider audience, even though he was well aware there was media coverage of his speech.

Mr Cunliffe said he had clarified what he meant and was not planning to give another speech on it.

He has only partially clarified what he said but has avoided the most contentious part.

And that he doesn’t plan to “give another speech on it” suggests that outside the symposium audience he isn’t very committed to his words.

Mr Cunliffe’s speech was praised by many of the women at the family violence conference.

But if it was just a speech and he has no intention of backing it up with anything more even that praise may be short-lived.

Cunliffe talked the talk, briefly, but that seems to be where his “brave statement” ends.

This adds to a wider problem Cunliffe has – he appears to say what he thinks different audiences want to hear, without conviction, persuasion or proof that he meant it.

It’s not just men who don’t warm to Cunliffe’s speeches. Women also prefer politicians who give some action that they might practice what they preach.

Cunliffe’s sermons on the moment will continue but the congregation is rapidly losing faith.

Contrasting Labour hoardings

Labour leader David Cunliffe put up his first hoarding today, (as snapped by Patrick Gower).

Cunliffe hoarding

Interesting to see no ‘Cunliffe’ on it apart from the picture, and a meaningless slogan the most prominent wording. ‘Party vote Labour’ is far less prominent.

Clayton Cosgrove (source Whale Oil)

Cosgrove hoarding

Cosgrove is 8 on the Labour list but no ‘Vote positive’ or ‘Party vote Labour. Much less red, his own slogan which sounds a bit like National’s, and a very misleading ‘MP Waimakariri’ as Cosgrove is not an electorate MP.

Trevor Mallard has started putting his hoardings up a day early (source Holly Bennett).

Mallard Hoarding

Mallard is standing for the electorate only and isn’t on the list so is promoting himself, with ‘Vote positive’ and ‘Party vote Labour’ far less prominent at the bottom.

Megan Woods:

Hoarding Woods

Same layout as Mallard’s but Woods is also on the list (at 20).

Jacinda Ardern:

Hoarding Ardern

Same again. This seems to be the official 2014 layout. Jacinda is 5 on the list.

Chris Hipkins:

Hoarding Hipkins

Another standard layout with the all important party vote note prominent. Hipkins is an electorate MP and 9 on the party list.

 

Sue Moroney (source Whale Oil)

Moroney hoarding

Two different versions. The top one is recycled from 2008, promoting both Labour and Moroney but obviously no current slogan ‘Vote positive’. The second is very prominent ‘Party vote Labour.

Ironically Moroney’s recycled hoardings are the best party promotions. She is 10 on Labour’s list and has trouble winning electrates.

It’s strange to see each MP with vastly different hoardings.

Cunliffe and the Labour blokes

Different columns on Labour, one from Rachel Smalley claiming David Cunliffe is trying to attract the female vote, and another by Duncan Garner on Labour blokes disregarding party interests and trying to shore up their electorate chances.

Rachel Smalley: Cunliffe courting the female vote

The most recent policy announcements suggest to me that David Cunliffe is not cutting it with women. You’ll remember Helen Clark lost the support of women in her final term, and I don’t think Labour has ever claimed it back. During his leadership challenge, remember that Cunliffe wasn’t popular with women in his own party. I suspect that’s resonating in the wider public too.

According to polls this year both Labour and Cunliffe have lost support from female voters.

So he’s going after the female vote. Women are more likely to bounce between parties. Men tend to vote for what’s right for their own wallets, but women are more likely to consider issues beyond personal wealth and economics.

A particular problem Cunliffe has is that women are more adept at reading body language and don’t like it when it differs from verbal language.

Even his “sorry I’m a man” speech, which was obviously targeting women, had suggestions of a lack of authenticity.

Meanwhile Duncan Garner posts Three Labour MPs say ‘stuff the party – I want to win my seat!’

Three Labour MPs have broken ranks in recent weeks – quite loudly and very publicly.

They are interested in one thing: self-preservation. They want to win their seats and they’ve given up relying on their party. They are clearly concerned Labour will poll poorly on election night, so they’ve decided to run their own campaigns – away from head office and away from the leader.

These MPs have either chosen not to be on the list or they have a low-list spot. They are vulnerable. It’s all or nothing for them.

They must win their seats to return to Parliament; this sort of pressure usually focuses an MP’s mind. They want to be back in Parliament and they want the $150k salary.

I’m talking about West Coast-Tasman MP, Damien O’Connor, Hutt South MP, Trevor Mallard and list MP and Te Tai Tokerau candidate, Kelvin Davis.

He has left Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene out.

Take Davis: yesterday he engaged Labour in its biggest u-turn in years. He told me he supported the Puhoi-Wellsford road project that his party has openly mocked and criticised.

Davis is a staunch promoter of Northland interests and has put this before the party.

Further south in Wellington, Trevor Mallard is openly campaigning for the return of the moa – against the wishes of his party and the leadership. It’s a desperate cry for attention: Mallard needs visibility and the moa got him the headlines.

That has been a bizarre sideshow. Cunliffe initially responded “the moa is not a goer” but Mallard has kept on going on about his pet project of the future.

And further south again, Damien O’Connor voted with the Government 10 days ago to allow storm-damaged native trees to be harvested in protected forests.

Tirikatene also voted with the Government on the tree bill.

These three blokes are the outliers in the Labour Caucus. And they are blokes too; they need to make some noise to be heard. They clearly have issues with the tame approach within their caucus.

O’Connor and Davis certainly look in touch with middle New Zealand, their electorates and their issues. They have given the one-fingered salute to their struggling party and put self-preservation first.

O’Connor, Tirikatene and Mallard are relying totally on holding their current electorates in order to stay in Parliament, they don’t feature on the Labour list.

Davis is in a doubtful list position and to put a bob each way on his chances he needs to keenly contest Hone Harawira to try and win Te Tai Tokerau off him.

While Cunliffe is struggling to woo the women voters some of the strongest male presence in Labour is going their own way, disregarding the wider party interests, and as Garner says, putting self preservation first. This suggests they don’t hold much hope of the party doing well.

Cunliffe is struggling to appeal to women and failing to appeal to his own caucus for unity.

It’s hard to see how this can work out well for Labour.

Unless Kim Dotcom sinks National, giving Labour  a shot at forming a Government despite their shambles.

 

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.

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