Slater with Garner – a bit of a bully goat

Duncan Garner talked to Cameron Slater yesterday on his ‘The Hour of Power’ on Radio Live.

Garner: One of the more controversial players this year, and I’ve put him in my top five because he has impact. You may not like him, you may despise him actually and you may think he plays a pretty rough game, but this guy you cannot ignore him. Cameron Slater, Whale Oil, Cam good afternoon to you.

Slater: Good afternoon Duncan.

Garner: Do you like the fact that, well I’ll be pretty blunt here, that um a lot of people hate you?

Slater: I don’t care. I literally don’t care if they hate me or despise me, um, that says more about them and their thought processes that they allow themselves to be consumed by hate, because I literally don’t hate anybody um in this country and certainly not anybody involved in the beautiful game of politics.

Garner: Yeah although you do run some pretty um, some pretty aggressive attacks with a hate lines. you say you don’t hate anybody but one look at your blog and um you might think that you do.

Slater: When was the last time you read my blog Duncan?

Garner: Ah about an hour ago actually before I came on air.

Slater: And where’s the hate in there? There’s thirty odd posts there today, thirty yesterday or so, there’s not a word of hate there anywhere.

Garner: Yeah it wouldn’t be hard to find.

Slater: I don’t think people are a little bit subjective and a little bit soft and just don’t like the robust confronting that I do and that’s too bad ’cause I’m going to keep on doing it.

Garner: Let me just quote you one thing though mate, you said you play politics or blog like the Fijians play rugby”I’ll smash your face into the ground”, that’s pretty aggressive.

Slater: Oh it is pretty aggressive, but you know this is politics not tiddly winks. You know people want to, you take David Parker today, he stood up in the house again, smeared everybody, not a shred of evidence, he’s too gutless to say it outside of the house.

I say things in my own name, I say it on radio, on my blog, in public, and I’m not afraid of confronting the truth, but these gutless little wimps in Parliament are too cowardly to say anything outside of the house, and it’s my role in society to deal with that.

Slater has chosen that role.

He isn’t afraid of ‘confronting the truth’, bluntly (what is true is often disputed). He does it under his own name publicly. No problem with that.

He has fearlessly pushed boundaries and led the bleeding edge of blogging in New Zealand politics.

But he can be gutless as well. His blog blocks, censors and bans people confronting him with truth. That’s as gutless as any politician.

But he isn’t good at being confronted. He’s a bully who often over-reacts vindictively if someone annoys him.

Slater uses a sledgehammer and through his draconian blog moderation he takes the tiddlywinks off people who have tried to tell opinions or truths he doesn’t want competing with his own attack lines.

He may not hate anyone but his comments, his posts, his attacks can often appear as hateful.

Some of his attacks on David Parker recently gone further than aggresiveness, they have been unnecessarily nasty and spiteful. It’s possible to confront the truth aggressively without playing the dirty card.

Slater has a well worn pack of dirty cards. That diminishes his impact and effect because it’s easy to dismiss his over the top attacks as just hate and dirt.

It’s unlikely he will change his approach, which is an extreme mix of guts and gutless.

He’s a bit of a bully goat.

How not to end your year

David Parker hasn’t had a good year.

ParkerQT11

The Labour policies he contributed significantly to helped lose Labour the election. He then contested and lost the Labour leadership, and looked like that whacked him hard.

Today in the last day of Parliament of the year Parker was the last to try and score a hit for Labour in Question time. It was as successful as his policies and leadership bid.

He seems dispirited and will probably be seriously contemplating his future over the Christmas break.

InTheHouse has somehow stuffed up their last two transcripts for the year, this one is not there. Probably just as well not to be on the record.

David Parker’s SFO allegations

Yesterday under Parliamentary privilege Labour MP David Parker made allegations about undermining the Serious Fraud Office.

Radio NZ reports Parker raises Hotchin, SFO allegations

Labour MP David Parker has used parliamentary privilege to call for a deeper investigation into allegations arising from Nicky Hager’s book Dirty Politics.

He also told Parliament he had been informed of unsubstantiated claims about businessman Mark Hotchin, and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) inquiry into the collapse of Hanover Finance.

Details in the book resulted in a government inquiry into whether the minister in charge of the SFO at the time, Judith Collins, was involved in a campaign to undermine the then head of the SFO, Adam Feeley.

Ms Collins resigned as a minister at the time but has since been cleared of any wrongdoing by the inquiry.

However, serious questions remained, Mr Parker said in the House today.

He told Parliament two people had approached him making serious allegations about Mark Hotchin and the SFO investigation into him.

Video of Parker’s speech:

General Debate (draft Hansard transcript)

Speech – Hon DAVID PARKER (Labour)

Hon DAVID PARKER (Labour): There remains much to be investigated arising from the Nicky Hager book. The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security showed last week the politicisation of the SIS by the head of the SIS and the Prime Minister’s own staff in his office.

What was written off by the Prime Minister as a left-wing conspiracy during the election was proven to be true: underhand tactics being used by the Prime Minister and the SIS. National was cynical enough on the day of the release of that report to drop two others including the report by Justice Chisholm into Judith Collins.

That report found that Judith Collins did not undermine the Serious Fraud Office. It found that there was no evidence in that regard. It did not inquire into whether Judith Collins had been improper in respect of Oravida —whether she had a personal conflict of interest there, a financial one.

It did not inquire into whether it was proper of her to pass information about public servants to Slater and it did not inquire as to whether the other allegations as to undermining the Serious Fraud Office were correct. Those matters were all outside the terms of reference.

The report did not exonerate Judith Collins in respect of those other matters and the report does not exonerate anyone else in respect of what may have been happening in respect of the undermining of the Serious Fraud Office.

What do we now know? We know that thousands of dollars were being paid every month via Carrick Graham to Mr Slater. Presumably thousands of dollars were also being paid to Carrick Graham himself.

What were both of them doing? Well, they were both undermining the Serious Fraud Office.

Who were they doing it for? We do not yet know who they were doing it for. It looks like they may have been doing it for Mr Hotchin .

Why would Mr Hotchin have been interested in doing that? Well, he was being investigated as to whether he should be charged with criminal offences following the half a billion dollars of losses suffered through Hanover Finance failing. He was being investigated at the time by the Serious Fraud Office.

I have had two people make worrying allegations to me. One is a former staff member of the Serious Fraud Office who told me that at the time that the Serious Fraud Office commenced its investigation a former adviser to Hotchin contacted this person and said:

“Hotchin plays a rough game. You watch out. He will use underhand tactics to undermine the Serious Fraud Office and their staff.”

The second allegation I have had made to me was that Mr Hotchin used underhand tactics to take out some of the potential witnesses against him in respect of his conduct by Hanover Finance.

I cannot name either of those sources and I cannot prove those allegations to be true. They are both hearsay allegations to me but these allegations must be investigated.

We have seen in respect of the SIS matters that there was fire behind the smoke and in respect of these allegations we know that thousands of dollars were presumably being paid by Hotchin to Carrick Graham and Slater and Cathy Odgers in respect of their efforts to undermine the Serious Fraud Office.

What we do not know is whether those actions were criminal and whether there was a criminal conspiracy. I made a complaint to the police over 2 months ago in respect of that. The only information I have had back other than to inquire whether I had more evidence was a line in the Chisholm report to say that the allegations in respect of Judith Collins were not being looked to any further, but it looks like no further actions are being inquired into.

These are serious allegations. They must be looked seriously at by the authorities. We have seen the politicisation of the SIS.

We must make sure that the police have not been politicised. They were happy enough to inquire into the teapot tapes, to cooperate with the Prime Minister to deem Mr Ambrose guilty despite the fact that he had two arguable defences, and yet we do not have the police looking at these most serious allegations as to whether the other allegations in the Hager book are true.

Indeed, Mr Hager—and if it were not for his efforts none of the SIS stuff would have come out and none of this other stuff would have been investigated—is the one who is being raided. He is the one who has suffered search warrants and yet neither Mr Slater, Ms Odgers, Mr Hotchin, nor the others like Carrick Graham seem to have been investigated by the police, and I do not think that is good enough.

A Little lineup leaking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She would also help Little bridge the caucus divides.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stepping up in the Labour boat

Andrew Little – obviously he has to step up big time. He’s put himself forward as leader, he has been chosen, and he has a massive job to do.

Labour caucus – while Little has to work on uniting his Caucus all the MPs need to unite behind Little and contribute to recovering and rebuilding.

Past leaders – Phil Goff, David Shearer and David Cunliffe have all had a go and failed. It is their duty to help Little succeed.

Grant Robertson – he ran a very close race and will be bitterly disappointed. He needs to take some time to get over it, then do his utmost to help Little and Labour succeed. He isn’t leading the party but he can and should take a significant role in leading the Caucus support of Little.

David Parker – has indicated he doesn’t want to be deputy and doesn’t want to be Minister of Finance. He may be disappointed and he may be hurting, but this is very disappointing. Parker thought he was good enough and committed enough to be Labour leader, so he must be big enough and committed enough to be a strong senior member of Little’s caucus. He go in on the Labour list for another three year stint, like all the other MPs he owes it to Labour to do his utmost repair the damage and rebuild.

Nanaia Mahuta – has been criticised for being low profile and insignificant in her EIGHTEEN YEARS as an MP for Labour. She felt she could take on the huge challenge of being party leader. She must step up and repay her party.

Andrew Little has taken on a huge challenge. His success will be partly up to him, and it will just as much be up to all other 31 Labour MPs in Parliament, as well as the Labour Party.

If they all don’t out in the effort and work together they will live down to National’s expectations (this was a multi-party dig but it could be applied to Labour’s past performance on their own):

LabourRowboatOr this will be the Labour boat:

LabourRowboatEmpty

Good Standard on Labour leadership

An unusually good post and comment thread at The Standard on Labour’s leadership contest – My (late) vote.

Lyn Prentice is a campaigner from way back and has a good idea about how things work, especially with Labour – he’s it bit off the mark with some of his claims about National but that’s not his strength.

For a review of the leadership contenders and an insight into Labour campaigning it’s worth reading through the post and most of the comments.

Prentice happens to pick the leadership contest similar to I would (I’m not a Labour member so haven’t had to decided):

  1. Andrew Little
  2. David Parker
  3. Nanaia Mahuta
  4. Grant Robertson

I think I’d reverse Mahuta and Robertson.

And another old school Labour campaigner Anne names her preferred front bench.

  1. Andrew Little
  2. David Parker
  3. Grant Robertson
  4. Nanaia Mahuta
  5. David Cunliffe
  6. Phil Twyford
  7. Jacinda Ardern
  8. Annette King
  9. Phil Goff
  10. David Shearer

Her comment:

Yep. I came to the same conclusions for exactly the same reasons as lprent. A Little/Parker combination is what the Labour Party needs with Robertson, Mahuta, Cunliffe, Twyford, and Ardern taking the next five places. Annette King and Phil Goff still have a lot to offer in the way of experience and knowledge, but they have to give way to a new team. Having said that, I think they should – along with Shearer – take the next three places.

Leader plus ex leaders/acting leaders fill half of those positions – experience is valuable but it’s time the worked out how to work together and put the party ahead of their own ambitions or grievances.

I’d swap Robertson/Mahuta and Twyford/Ardern to put more female presence up the list. And I’m not sure that Goff should be that high, I’d rather look to the future more through Hipkins instead.

It’s worth repeating – interesting and worthwhile post and comments at The Standard.

David Parker – Standard Q & A

David Parker’s live Q & A at The Standard.

Introduction:

Thanks for the opportunity to join a Standard Q&A. Really looking forward to hearing from you.

I’m happy to chat about any questions and I’m really keen to hear from you about my belief that the way back for Labour is to focus on economic fairness for working New Zealanders. When working New Zealanders succeed they are proud to look after the vulnerable. It’s about working to ensure everyone’s getting a fair go.

And this is about us agreeing a central purpose to unite us all. My experience is that unity between members, Caucus and the Party is the cornerstone to re-engaging working New Zealand. That’s what’s needed to get confidence, trust and votes back.

Why did Labour do so badly at the last election, and how do we win the next one?

We’ve lost our connection with too many NZ’ers. Elections are win or lost on a combination of people, policy & presentation. We have to be willing to address all aspects of what we do.

We will not restore confidence until we are united in pursuit of a common purpose that we can rally around, and NZ’ers believe in. That purpose has to reflect our values, which have not changed. That purpose has to be relevant to NZ’ers, who have to see us as an extension of themselves. We have to share their hopes & aspirations. Be someone who’s looking out for them. Someone they can rely upon in the good times & when time are tough. We must become someone they’re proud to introduce their friends & neighbours to.

Labour was formed by and for labour.

We must concentrate on giving NZ’ers a fair go. This starts with recognising the aspirations of working NZ’ers to get ahead. Secure work, good pay, a decent stake in society, including home ownership, and a decent education.

To look after vulnerable NZ’ers, we need to be in government. To be in government, we need to be relevant to more than the vulnerable.

A fair go and a fair share!

Sounds like a continuation of election campaign slogans.

Secure work, good pay and a decent education available for all, are all very important.

What would you do for us life time renters?

Why do so many in the Labour Party put so much stress on home ownership, rather than focusing more on enabling affordable private and state owned rentals?

Increase supply, and regulate for a minimum standard of energy efficiency for starters.

could you please detail/specify for us what you would do in your first one hundred days as prime minister..

..to address the open sores of poverty and inequality…

..what will you do for the poorest..?

Issues that I believe we urgently need to address include affordable housing. We’d kick off with building more homes, and enforcing a healthy homes warrant of fitness.

We need to lift incomes. By the time of the next election, I want people when they hear “Labour” to think higher wages. Wages lifted immediately for the lower paid via minimum wage. Wage increases for others via better labour laws and a strongr economy investing in productive jobs rather than speculation.

Incomes for the poorest families need the likes of the Best Start package. Shamefully, the Nats equivalent deliberately excludes kids in beneficiary’s homes.

That doesn’t address the poorest, beneficiaries.

You spoke yesterday about unity. Were you, as the deputy, fully loyal to Cunliffe before and after the election?

(There were two lengthy questions/statements on issues related to support of Cunliffe, Parker just gave a brief response to this one).

Caucus members, including me, were loyal to David Cunliffe.

This brevity wasn’t well received.

[r0b: Part of this deleted – stricter moderation in this thread than usual.] You did not even care to answer my questions honestly with any integrity. I thought you were better than that. I am disappointed.
Why was Cunliffe put in a position to resign?
Why did he need to go?
Why were the whips changed by caucus even before Cunliffe resigned?

And…

Parker didn’t answer the question.

Good on you, what Parker said was [r0b: deleted – I’m applying a stricter level of moderation to this post than usual].

Ok.

What David Parker said was a lie.

And…

He answered standard questions but did not answer the tough straight up questions about personal loyalty, betrayal, caucus crookedness etc with straight up answers. Not impressed about that. A leader should be able to handle difficult uncomfortable questions too, especially as he had plenty of time to think about the answers.

Back to questions.

What would you support to strengthened the role of organised labour in our economy?

Under my leadership, Labour would support the rights of workers. We always will. Collectivism is needed to counter the power of the employer and ensure fair outcomes.

We need to go further than traditional employment relationships and draw in tied contractors, by giving them rights (eg to give them statutory minimum wage, sick pay, holidays and the right to organise currently sometimes banned under the terms of their contracts).

The single biggest policy problem I had was the complusory Kiwisaver VSR. The reasoning behind this is that I felt it unfairly impacted on low to middle income families (and therefore not exempted) who would have a retirement fund but would have lived without nice things, holidays, and so until the age of 67.

People, say, like a solo mother with several kids who earns $50,000 and rents. She’d be able to survive, but maybe wouldn’t be able to take her children on holiday or buy them monthly books because she’s losing 3-4.5% of her income without giving her a choice.

Do you think the policy crossed the line of asking people to be austere in their prime to have a wealthier retirement? In effect, asking them to be worker drones till 67.

The underlying issue remains, but we’ve got to reflect on whether this is the right solution or the right process.

By the end of next year the NZ govt spends more on super than education. Its already more than all benefits combined plus the accommodation supplement and WFF tax credits.

But we’ve been rejected twice on this, and our promise to protect those who can’t work past 65 in their normal job did not cut through.

Maybe we should leave it to the people via a referendum.

My overriding objective is to protect super because I know the people we represent need it.

And…

I think NZers should not be on the breadline. They should be paid enough to save a bit. They key lies in wage increase. At the bottom end, that means increase in the minimum wage (which also flow to other wage rates). In the end, wages are in part related to productivity, and savings help lift the sophistication and value of what we sell, and therefor the wages that can be paid.

The Aussie experience is that the contributions in part pay for themselves bc productivity increases flow to higher wages.

What weaknesses do you think that others perceive in you? And how will you address those weaknesses?

I have cultivated a bookish image in order to restore confidence in our fiscal credibility. Its time to cast that aside and show my passions.

I am driven.

I want Labour to win in 2017.

I am a builder.

I have experienced the joys and sorrows of success and failure in business.

I am a protector of civil liberties and the rule of law.

I am an environmentalist, and have a record of decades of advocacy for clean rivers, and clean energy.

I love the outdoors. I love the arts.

But most of all I stand for an egalitarian society.

The challenge for me is to display this to New Zealand.

If you win the leadership contest, how will you address the disunity in the caucus which, in my opinion, was a major factor in Labour’s poor election result and on-going low polling;; and, how would you go about building a stronger membership base?

We will unify around a clear purpose – see above.

Apparent disunity in caucus is one of Labour’s biggest problems. Not addressed.

And in relation to your plan to raise the age of superannuation entitlement, would you not concede that this impacts most unfairly on our Maori and Pasifika citizens who at this point have a lower life expectancy?

Absolutely acknowledge the need to be fair. And its about more than impacts upon manual labour (covered briefly above)

The most important thing is to continue to reduce that unfairness through the right health and work policies. My fear is that under the current government, with increasing inequality the life expectancy gap will again widen.

How is it possible to justify keeping more people in the work force for longer, when we are already short of roughly a quarter million full time jobs?

You touch on one of the biggest challenges facing social democracy world wide.

How do you fairly share work and income in the face of technological and demographic change?

Yes, part of the answer lies in economic development, but that will not be enough.

Unless we in social democracy get this right, we will see increasing gaps.

I just about wrote a book on this very issue about 20 years ago. Sharing available work through encouraging penal rates for overtime, sharing of jobs, care re immigration etc – its a complex picture that I am very interesting.

But spending ever more on super than education is not a solution.

This is a vague answer for “one of the biggest challenges facing social democracy world wide” that Parker has been aware of for twenty years.

Over and over the Labour caucus seems to have minimal patience for providing the support needed to keep Party Leaders around and enable them to hit their best. How would you seek to change this dynamic?

Leadership engenders trust. Success breeds success.

I think the key lies in agreeing our purpose and focus. That is not to deny the relevance of other issues, but you can’t emphasise everything.

Caucus will rally around whoever is selected as leader. The will too.

This will have to be seen to be much improved on how it’s been over the last few years but it’s unlikely to just happen.

Have you ever been a union member and where do you stand on awards or industry bargaining?

Yes, but in recent decades I’ve been self employed.

I want employers to invest in productivity and reward workers rather than competing down wage rates.

I agree with our policy to encourage industry bargaining.

As the UN declaration of human rights records, this is one of the most important human rights.

Do you support NZ parliamentary recognition of a Palestinian state? If so, how will you go about facilitating this?

Yes. I certainly think Palestine has a right to exist and to stop encroachments by Israel.

Do you support party members having greater say and participation with caucus? If no, why not? If yes, what more and what new initiatives would you promote?

In terms of day to day decisions, the platform already binds caucus. The party also controls who is in caucus. Caucus has the mandate and duty to take day to day decisions within these parameters, and I would not change that.

What affect is the democratization of our party having on the parliamentary wing.

It’s a bit messy at times like this, but overall it works.

Where do you stand on the subject of abortion and any potential reforms?

My mother was active in ALRANZ during my youth. I believe in the fundamental right of women to choose. The criminal code is out of date.

ALRANZ – Abortion Law Reform Association.

How urgent do you consider it to be to fix housing?

Would you start with a single parent/s in a boarding house with a young child/ren, (not at school) or with a family purchasing their first home or else where first?

There are two main part to solving this crisis.

Kiwibuild addresses one part.

The other is social housing. Boarding houses are part of it.

The thing that vexes me most is the plight of the mentally unwell, who need forms of secure and afford housing, with allied health services to help them and those around them. We have not got this mix right since de-institutionalisation, and it’s overdue.

HOW, to quote the great Sir Ed, to “knock the bastard off” and reclaim the govt, for not only Labour, but the wider ‘left’?

Hard work, focus, unity.

We have the opportunity to leverage off the 100th anniversary on the founding of the Labour Party.

Lets make it a milestone not a tombstone.

So many great achievements to celebrate and build upon.

If we can’t leverage off this, we should be sacked.

Using this disastrous election as a learning experience, how do you think the relationships between possible progressive coalition parties and Labour should be addressed by the Labour Party in next election period?

We have to give confidence in the left. That’s why DotCom was a disaster because that was an impossible task.

Respect and mature behaviour are important.

But we must never stop competing for votes, especially the party vote.

We cannot succeed (or maybe even survive) as a subset of a subset of a subset..

We must be the main party of the left.

This doesn’t acknowledge the nature of MMP.

Obviously Labour wish to remain strong, (large) however please consider the advantages of cooperation and not solely competition.

Dotcom was never going to be in parliament – that really should have been pointed out ad infinitum to the New Zealand public by members of the left.

New Zealanders are fed so much rubbish, it needs to be countered strongly, again and again – not responded to as though the propaganda has some truth, because it doesn’t

Please Mr Parker, and Labour, please look into stronger counter propaganda.

Fair point.

Maybe we would have fared better if Nicky Hager’s book had been titled “Abuse of Power”, or if it had been released earlier (perhaps impossible).

It is ironic that DotCom donated to John Banks, not Labour and that it was Labour that kept Internet Mana out of Parliament. And that the deals in Epsom and Ohariu Belmont were unprincipled.

The proposed sale of 20,000 state houses is a disaster. What action do you suggest the activists take to stop it?

The biggest action anyone can take is to help change the government. I want us all to rally to the cause. Activism is to be celebrated, and is what causes the media to keep interested. This will reinforce the concerns of many fair minded kiwi voters.

Response:

and that is an question not answered – spoken like a true politician.

we are still fudged.

The economy is a subset of the environment. Discuss.

I love that quote. A barren environment will not support any economy. Its as simple as clean water and the air we breath.

It comes from an economist at the World Bank – Herman Daly. I used it in a speech earlier in the year titled “You can have both – Labour’s Alternative to National Destructive Environmental Policies”

https://www.labour.org.nz/media/you-can-have-both-labours-alternative-nationals-destructive-environmental-policies

Are you aware that there is a conflict with centrist narratives being created by National, (propaganda based on people’s lesser natures and ignorance of wider issues) and left wing principles?

If so, how do you intend to address this problem?

Helen Clark took the centre and moved it. John Key has taken and moved it back.

My job is to reshape New Zealand’s political consensus, by reframing these narratives in a way that is consistent with Labour values, which are at their heart Kiwi values.

This means pushing economic fairness, which is not to deny the importance of other values. I set out my vision in my speech to congress earlier this year.

I am clear and resolute about this. I want us to stand for more than equality of opportunity (a term narrowed by the Nats). I want more equal outcomes.

If you do too, then vote for me to be your leader because I am confident I can carry the party and the country to this end.

Read more here:

https://www.labour.org.nz/media/speech-david-parkers-speech-new-zealand-labour-party-congress-2014

How do you propose to bring into line the tiny handful of caucus leakers who, in my view, have done more to bring Labour into disrepute than anything or anyone else?

I maintain a high standard myself, and expect the same of others.

Integrity and discipline are fundamental. Unless we show unity, NZers will not trust us to unify the country.

I also believe that a high trust model more often succeeds than threats.

Where trust is broken, there should be consequences.

You failed to hold onto an electorate seat. Do you believe young politicians should have to fight in local govt and electorate seats before being given a good place on the List?

I arrived in parliament after the biggest upset win in the 2002 election. I am proud I took the Otago seat from the National. Knocked off their ag spokesperson!

I worked bloody hard to hold it. I increased my personal and party votes at the next election, but still lost in the face of the swing to National.

I think a range of life experience is important. We are weaker if we are all the same. Competence must always be the primary criteria. That includes organisational experience.

What is your stance on the TPPA?

Cautious. Acting in New Zealand’s best interest must be the fundamental duty.

Its the investment protocols that we must take care about.

Well aware of the many hooks. Investor- State dispute resolution, possible curbs on SOEs, improper extensions to scope and term of patents and copyright, rights to regulate.

ie we must protect our sovereignty.

If NZ cannot get good outcomes as per above, then maybe the best outcome would be a deadlock.

One million voters never voted (again) in 2014. What single issue/policy would you believe could get those “unknowns” to the polling booth in 2017 to cast a vote for Labour?

There is no single issue, but trust and confidence that Labour relevant to them are key.

Would you consider working strategically with the Greens in the next election to win electorates? What about Mana?

In my opinion Kiwis do not understand MMP and the primacy of the Party vote. Can we change that?

Which parties would you rule out of joining in a Coalition government?

Absolutely agree the lack of understanding re the Party vote. Fed also by the actions of our competitors.

We must communicate BETWEEN elections. Too many people hear nothing from us.

Our comms must include info about how the Party vote elects the government.

See above for my perspective on building our share of party vote and working with potential coalition parties.

What do you think of the solutions to inequality as proposed by Prof. Thomas Piketty, in his recent publication, “Capital in the 21st Century”?

Unless we tax all income (including capital income) the gaps will grow ever larger. A modern form of fuedalism, where concentrations of assets will substitute for large land estates, and wage earners and beneficiaries will become modern day serfs.

Hi David, do you like beer and rugby? Beaches and BBQs?
I hope the next Labour leader can show that s/he’s “one of us”

Bob Hawke would still scull a jug faster, but I have been King of the Table many a night at the rugby club.

I played rugby for many years, then soccer socially until I was elected. My tennis is OK. I tramp and I ski (downhill and back country).

I love a hot day watching the cricket with friends.

My surfing is pretty appalling, but I still try. I fish a bit, cut the grass and am a decent builder. I hate gib stopping, and don’t like painting much more than that.

I have a heavy traffic licence, and have had a wide variety of jobs.

I love art.

I love life and look forward to voters getting to know me better.

Has anyone ever referred to you as a quick thinker?

I must say I am impressed by the speed of your answers, yet they have some depth.

Duh. (note the proper punctuation)

Some openness about the problems you faced as deputy to DC would be appreciated. People can be pretty understanding if you’re open with them.

Not appropriate for me to reply. Sorry.

I’m interested in the balance between environmental imperatives (which require a long-term approach) and finance/employment/regional development agendas (which tend to be more short to medium term). What would a Labour Party you led do about things like strengthening our emissions trading scheme or introducing a carbon tax? How about pulling back the ongoing drive into more and more dairying? Giving more support to public transport…?

The ETS can be easily fixed, by making the price real (by excluding or restricting overseas emission rights, leaving the NZ emission rights short),

Both an ETS and a carbon tax can work. Indeed, they are very similar. The ETS is better then the Green’s version of a carbon tax bc of how it works in forestry (and therefor the balance between dairy and forestry).

I live in Dunedin. We feel like our services and high-value jobs are slowly being pulled away (e.g., the funding formula for health services does not work for spread out areas like the Southern District Health Board). I’m sure there are other small cities and regional centres that feel the same. Any comments?

Re services in the provinces, I agree. Efficiencies from IT do not mean that all the centralisation that follows should be to Wellington.

Labour leadership contest – David Parker

(nominated by Damien O’Connor and Jenny Salesa)

Live chat at The Standard intro:

Thanks for the opportunity to join a Standard Q&A. Really looking forward to hearing from you.

I’m happy to chat about any questions and I’m really keen to hear from you about my belief that the way back for Labour is to focus on economic fairness for working New Zealanders. When working New Zealanders succeed they are proud to look after the vulnerable. It’s about working to ensure everyone’s getting a fair go.

And this is about us agreeing a central purpose to unite us all. My experience is that unity between members, Caucus and the Party is the cornerstone to re-engaging working New Zealand. That’s what’s needed to get confidence, trust and votes back.

Q&A edited: David Parker – Standard Q & A

Supported by:

  • Mike Williams: David Parker’s my pick of the bunch
    David Parker has to be the front-runner for the Labour leadership. Excluding Nanaia Mahuta’s capricious candidacy, Andrew Little and Grant Robertson have too narrow an appeal and are making their moves prematurely.
  • Mike Smith: David Parker: my choice for leader
    Heavyweight Cabinet experience, strong egalitarian values, a cool debater, with a passion for manufacturing and a high-value economy, a good deal of steel and with an open mind and a twinkle in his eye – these are the reasons why I support David Parker for Labour Party Leader.

NZ Herald report: David Parker to run for Labour leader

Labour’s acting leader David Parker has confirmed that he will be entering a bid for the Party leadership.

Announcing his bid in Auckland this afternoon, Mr Parker said he will restore the party’s focus, passion and drive so it can become a unifying force for New Zealanders.

He said he had been approached by New Zealanders “from all walks of life” in the past 10 days asking him to stand.

“In less than two years the New Zealand Labour Party will mark its centenary – its 100th birthday.

“I am simply not prepared to let this milestone become a tombstone.

“A tombstone for a once great party that once did great things for New Zealand.”

If successful in his bid, Mr Parker said he would review all of Labour’s policies.

“We lost badly and I get it.”

Mr Parker said Labour needed to get its house in order.

“History teaches us a house divided against itself cannot stand.

“All of us claim to be able to unite the caucus and the party.

“From unity comes strength. Unity also brings confidence – and success.

“I believe I am that leader.”

(ODT)

Mahuta adds colour to gaggle of greys

It’s unclear whether Nanaia Mahuta is seriously gunning for Labour’s top position but her inclusion in the leadership contest has certainly added colour amongst a gaggle of greys.

Her initial intent through her last minute announcement seems to be promote interests that weren’t well represented by Grant Robertson, Andrew Little or David Parker, as NZ Herald reports in Mahuta cites Maori vote in leadership bid.

“This decision has been made with the knowledge that as the party reviews the election outcome, we can learn from the base of support that was demonstrated across Maori electorates, in South Auckland and among Pacific and ethnic communities.”

Her late and surprise inclusion makes it too soon to tell whether Mahuta’s aim is to fill a gap in the debate or more.

It’s quite possible she is primarily positioning herself for a prominent secondary role such as deputy leader – she must be considered a good candidate for that at least.

Regardless of her current intent she must harbour some leadership ambition joining the contest may stir up her own ambitions and those of her supporters.

I don’t think she should be underestimated. Two weeks ago Andrew Little was widely regarded as a long shot at best, but he quickly shot up to a favoured candidate status.

Mahuta may struggle with the affiliate 20% but the caucus 40% is likely to be spread for various reasons, and so is the members 40%.

A lot will depend on how she measures up in the spotlight as she is an unknown quantity to many. If she comes across as astute, eloquent, sensible and honest she could rise quickly in the ratings.

Yesterday she depended too much on poliwaffle, that is only liked by those that agree with what she is saying. She will need to sound like she’s speaking her own words, not overused phrases.

And most importantly she will need to sound and look like she can bring a caucus gaggle of greys into line behind her.

Labour’s leadership is up for grabs. All contestants are untried at party leadership level. Whoever shapes up may win on merit and hope.

Perhaps Mahuta can rise above the others – if she aspires to that level of leadership and can step up.

Cunliffe’s belated withdrawal

David Cunliffe has belatedly withdrawn from Labour’s leadership contest, over three weeks after a demoralising election defeat. This enables a more forward focussed contest and probably saves Cunliffe from significant embarrassment.

Choosing to endorse Andrew Little’s bid to lead Labour looks like a parting shot at Grant Robertson and ensures Cunliffe won’t be an unbiased bystander.

It has been reported that Cunliffe made the decision to withdraw last week so it’s curious why he waited until yesterday to make his announcement. He made himself off limits to media over the weekend due to “a family illness” – again showing his unsuitability to lead the party let alone the country.

He has been hiding away for most of the three weeks since the election with various reasons being given. It looks like bereavement leave. Most people who have career setbacks don’t have this sort of luxury, they have to continue earning their wage or resign.

Electorate associate and some time lawyer Greg Presland posted Some thoughts on David Cunliffe’s withdrawal:

And to David Cunliffe can I suggest a short holiday to get yourself ready for the next three years.

After spending a week after the election “soul searching” Cunliffe took a few days off “for a long planned holiday” and seems to have been largely out of circulation for two weeks since. Another holiday now? He has to get over it.

It’s often been said that if you fall off a horse you should get straight back and ride again. Cunliffe is no jockey.

Presland also made an interesting comment in his Standard post:

And you only need to read the overwhelming majority of comments on this blog to see what progressives think about him.

I think he is wrong claiming an “overwhelming majority of comments” supportive of Cunliffe, there have been very mixed feelings expressed. What Presland may be expressing is his own perspective as and integral part of the Standard machine and that those most involved in the running of The Standard have been overwhelming supportive of Cunliffe. That’s been evident going way back to how they tried to drive the so-called Cunliffe coup attempt.

There was a sign of a significant Standard shift in the weekend when they promoted and ran a Q & A for Andrew Little, who happens to now be endorsed by Cunliffe. The Q & A seemed oddly timed, until things became clear yesterday. Presland seems to be in synch with Cunliffe:

And who should the new leader be?  Someone who oversees rejuvenation in the party and ensures that caucus discipline is maintained.  And who is true to the principles of the party.  And who has the support of a majority of members.  Cunliffe has endorsed Andrew Little whose prospects now must be very good.  Andrew has been careful to hold himself apart from the factions and is someone who clearly will work to unite the party and I cannot emphasise how critical this is.

If Little fails to win the leadership what then from Cunliffe and The Standard?

(And while ‘The Standard’ appears to have swung from Cunliffe to Little it’s clear amongst the comments that Little isn’t a universally or anywhere overwhelmingly supported leadership candidate).

If Cunliffe finally finishes licking his wounds he could play a significant part in rebuilding Labour, if he visibly supports and works with the new leader and the revamped caucus.

There will be keen watchers amongst the media and opponents looking for any signs of dissent or disloyalty in Labour ranks, especially from Cunliffe, and if any is perceived it will be highlighted and amplified.

This could depend on what responsibilities Cunliffe is given by the new leader. He is potentially one of Labour’s most potent MPs but his attitude and application have to measure up. His endorsement of Little has a hint of utu.

He – and a number of other Labour MPS – have to put animosities behind them and work for the good of the Labour Party, and earn the generous wages and benefits bestowed on them by the taxpayers.

They have to do more than earn that. Unlike their wages credibility and respect aren’t  provided in their job packages and they will have to work very hard to build them back to the required level for elected representatives.

Unfortunately this will probably mostly be on hold while the Labour leadership is decided.

It may be six months into Labour’s third term in opposition before we finally start to see if Cunliffe has gotten over his double loss plus the dashing of a burning ambition to be Prime Minister, and before we see if Labour is on the mend with the combined efforts of all it’s diminishing group of MPs.

Presland said of Cunliffe’s decision:

Clearly he is prepared to put party interests ahead of his own.

That hasn’t been clear at all in the past and especially over the last three and a half weeks.

Labour desperately needs all it’s MPs to put party interests ahead of their own – including and especially all it’s ex-leaders who now include Phil Goff, David Shearer and David Cunliffe (and possibly David Parker will be added to that list).

Cunliffe has belatedly withdrawn from Labour’s leadership.

Can Labour very belatedly begin their repair and rebuild after their defeat in 2008? It will be 2015 before their next leader can crank up their caucus and begin to seriously try.

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