Robertson and Ardern, Grant and Jacinda

As widely expected it was announced at Grant Robertson’s launch yesterday that he would put forward Jacinda Ardern as his deputy should he become the next Labour leader.

Ardern is effectively Robertson’s running mate, and as Ardern said, they are mates in general terms, with Ardern referring to Robertson as “my colleague, but first and foremost my friend.”

RobertsonArdernThis ticks one of the most important boxes for Labour – it looks like a very different face of Labour leadership after a run of three older male failures.

It also has risks. The deputy is chosen by Labour’s caucus after the leader has been selected by the party. If Robertson wins the leadership and his caucus chooses a different deputy it could make for an awkward start to his leadership.

And it will make addressing another of Labour’s problems difficult to address – unity of caucus. A leadership team of two friends does not cover reaching across the caucus factions very well.

Greg Presland writes about this at The Standard.

Although Ardern may be the best choice in Robertson’s part of caucus it is hardly a decision that will unify caucus.  And to those who say that such a selection should be based on competence there is a whole lot of competence amongst the party’s female MPs to select from.

Sepuloni brings distinctly non beltway grass roots qualities that I believe are vital to the party’s interests.  If Robertson is intent on establishing unity then if he wins Carmel or Nanaia should be at the forefront of any list of potential deputy leaders.

A Robertson and Ardern partnership could have both a positive and a negative impression for voters. They might appeal to some in middle New Zealand where Labour needs to win back voters – but they may struggle to appeal to Labour’s supposed labouring base, blue collar (or high-viz) workers.

They look markedly different to recent Labour but do they look like labour Labour? They risk the same image clash with their supposed constituency that Russel Norman and Metiria Turei have, more slick slick preachers than sleeves rolled up Salvies.

They seem to be interested in the celebrity circuit, with a magazine promotion coinciding with the campaign launch.

RobertsonArdernMagazine

Does that look like a party leader and deputy leader?

Does that look like a future Prime Minister and deputy Prime Minister?

This could be an inspirational innovation in campaigning, or it could be a big flop.

While the voting population may be attracted by the women’s magazine approach it may be a hard sell with Labour’s caucus, party activists and union affiliates who get to choose their leader.

Robertson has made a bold move pairing up with close associate Ardern, but it’s very risky.

Labour leadership contest – Grant Robertson

(nominated by Kris Faafoi and Rino Tirikatene)

L:aunching campaign:

Launching campaign 2-4 pm Sunday 19 October.:

I will be launching my campaign to lead Labour this Sunday. It’s time for a new generation of leadership to rebuild Labour and win in 2017.

I’d love to see you at my launch on Sunday at the King’s Arms in Auckland. I’ll talk about my vision for the Party and the style of leadership I will bring to deliver a Labour government that supports the hopes and aspirations of all New Zealanders, not just the wealthy few. Where we vigorously back those who work, make, think and create. Where we seize the opportunities of our wonderful country through bold policy that is about people, and meet the challenges of 21st century issues like climate change and the future of work.

Details: 2pm – 4pm, Sunday 19th October, Kings Arms, France Street, Auckland

Statement from website:

It’s time for a new generation of leadership to rebuild Labour.  Our values of fairness, opportunity and responsibility to one another remain strong. Now we must face the future, look outwards and reconnect with New Zealanders.   We can do this by being clear, direct and consistent about where we stand, and letting New Zealanders know we stand alongside them. We can do this by being part of our communities, campaigning with and for our people, not just at election time, but every day.

My vision is of Labour at the heart of a government that supports the hopes and aspirations of all New Zealanders, not just the wealthy few.  Where we vigorously back those who work, make, think and create.  Where we seize the opportunities of our wonderful country through bold policy that is about people, and meet the challenges of 21st century issues like climate change and the future of work. A government whose priority is ensuring opportunity through education, training, health, and supporting families and where we care about each and every one of our fellow citizens and the environment we live in.

If you want to play your part in a Labour Party that is valued and respected in our community, and that will boldly embrace our future- vote for a new generation of leadership to win.

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.

A Little chance of bridging the divides

One of Labour’s biggest problems is disunity, and in particular a growing gap between the activist/union leaning left of the party versus the centre-left. At times it looks like a gulf, especially tight now.

David Cunliffe tried to shift to the left and he partly succeeded, he got majority union (affiliate) support in last year’s leadership contest and he still has the support of the labour left leaning Standard blog. But Cunliffe also tried to lean back to the centre at times and with his authenticity problems, the dire election result and his poor handling of the aftermath he is going to have trouble getting the leadership back.

The other confirmed contender Grant Robertson may be able to work across the divide in caucus but there’s substantial doubt he could do it across the party. He doesn’t seem popular in Auckland, and he would have to win over the union left and that would be very difficult. The left of the party are far more entrenched in their views than the more impressionable centre.

Labour’s best chance of bridging the divide is someone who already has some union support but who is able to reach across to the center.

Andrew Little is an obvious option here. He has a union background but seems pragmatic and conciliatory enough to connect with employers and with Labour’s centre left and just as importantly, the swing voters in the centre that Labour has to win win back if they want to regain major party status.

On bridging the divide Little said yesterday:

I think the issue is crucial which is why my main contribution to Labour’s IR policy this year was to back off major change to the present framework pending an audit of the labour market. We need to get a decent picture of how people are engaged for work and exactly what is happening work wise before we think about how we might improve job security and lift wages more fairly. It means engaging with employers too since they have more influence over more workers than ever before.

He says he wouldn’t have delayed the scrapping of the 90 day trial law “because it would have been accompanied by clarification of probationary law” but would have “wanted a more moderate pace on minimum wage increase”.

Stuff reports that Andrew Little considers Labour leadership bid.

Little faced the prospect of losing his place as an MP as Parliament waited for special votes to be counted.

Shortly after the result was confirmed, Little said that he would now mull whether to throw his hat in the ring.

“It’s not something I’ve considered, because  I’ve been waiting to see whether I would be confirmed in Parliament, it’s something that I may well now consider, but I will also be considering how realistic my prospects are, and that’s where it’s at,” Little said.

Little has little to lose by joining the leadership contest, and potentially a lot to gain. He is only an outside chance but if he can promote himself as union sympathetic but pragmatic and conciliatory towards the centre he would improve his credentials in the desperately needed Labour rebuild.

And there’s a small chance the leadership contest could swing his way as an alternative to the failed Cunliffe and a potentially to unpalatable Grant Robertson.

Little is one Labour MP who looks like he has learnt from initial mistakes and has grown into his job as an MP.

Labour would also benefit if Little joined the contest. His presence would diffuse the tension that’s obvious between Cunliffe and Robertson. He could highlight the need to join the factions in a common purpose.

There seems little downside as long as Little is prepared to expose himself to a higher level of scrutiny and inevitable attack.

Another prospect for bridging the divide is Louisa Wall. She would would add an up and coming Maori presence and reward South Auckland support for Labour, she has a good tertiary qualifications plus a high profile sporting background, and she proved her political worth working successfully cross party to be a driving force behind the passing of the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill last year.
Both Little and Wall are relative rookies in politics but Labour desperately needs new blood to rebuild – with strong support from the old hands.

David Parker is one of Labour’s best bets for a steadying hand at deputy level and with Little as leader and Wall high on the bench pecking order Labour might finally start to look like a party intent on putting failures and animosities behind them with the  capability to build a party that can seriously contest the next two elections.

Two of the worst outcomes of Labour’s leadership contest:

  • Cunliffe to get back in despite a major loss of confidence from the Labour caucus and the electorate.
  • Robertson to win and appear to favour cronies over rebuild capability.

If Robertson wins the leadership contest then Parker, Little and Wall should be a prominent part of his rebuild plans.

If someone like Little sneaks through and he gets the caucus support that should be a given then Labour will lack in experience but will gain substantially in future prospects.

If Labour comes out of the leadership contest with their divides entrenched they may struggle to survive as a major party.

Whoever can step up and look most capable of bridging Labour’s divides will be their best chance of recovery.

Labour really needs to look like a virtually new party that can bridge it’s own divides, widen it’s appeal from the union and activist left across to the centre, and then they might get into a position where they can pose a serious threat to National – and present a credible next government to the voters.

Standard revulsion, repulsion and expulsion

Blog mirroring party – Labour leadership and party in turmoil, and the two trustees at The Standard spatting openly as well, with  Standard revulsion, repulsion and expulsion following.

A guest post by Fleur – A paean about Grant Robertson – was given some unwelcoming treatment by boss bully boy Lyn Prentice (lprent) – he abuses and/or bans anyone attacking authors, usually, unless it’s him doing the attacking.

I’d point out that Fleur wasn’t responsible for the Title, front page Excerpt, front page Featured image, or the cartoon of Grant Robertson in the post. So don’t give her a hard time about them. She just wrote the post body.

The others came from my cynicism when reading the body. Call it an aged Labour member having looked at something like 12 Labour leaders and their youthful supporters. Besides it is a good reminder to people posting that if they don’t put provide these things in then I might add them as I put them up :twisted:

The Webb cartoon is just there because it is a great image. It sets the standard for subsequent posts to have ones as well.

If you don’t know what a Paean is, then I’d suggest that you need to rectify your knowledge of ancient Greek culture.

Co-trustee Mike Smith, a different far more reasonable character altogether, pointed out the obvious:

As an even more aged Labour member I think we should treat our guests better than this – let them have their own say. And I know what a paean is

I’m on Mike’s (and others) side on that one, the disarray in Labour has gone to lprent’s head.

The usual ‘double Standard’ on display:lprent:

…Cunliffe’s challenge of Shearer…

Sounds like another moron using the Chris Hipkins myth from 2012. I have had people confidentially asserting that there is a lot of evidence supporting that particular assertion Cunliffe was planning a coup. I have yet to see anyone producing any evidence then or later that there was one.

I think that it was some idiots in caucus lying to media after they got upset about members voting in the leadership voting rule changes. Why were they idiots? Because it pissed off damn near everyone who was at that conference trying to get the change through and many of those opposing it.

So this is a friendly warning, If you want to use it, then produce something substantive to back it. Otherwise I’ll start treating you like I would any other troll when I get around to moderating.

boyonlaptop:

That is a tremendous double standard.
If you demand sources for one claim in these comments you should for all claims and quite frankly if you want to moderate comments like mine but ignore “It was Grant’s crew that rolled Shearer” than you’re just openly displaying your bias towards Cunliffe and your complete disregard for any dissenting opinion. Especially when I acknowledged that caucus comments about Cunliffe holiday were stupid.

Especially if you leave disgusting ones like this, “How elitist you are. What you call ‘homophobia’ is actually far more common than you wish, and it’s one of the reasons why Robertson would be a disaster. Homosexuals are intrinsically untrustworthy, as aside from anything else, they have their own brand of nepotism – and the general public tend to not like that” untouched. Quite frankly if that’s the moderating standard you operate on I have no desire to comment further on the Standard.

The “Homosexuals are intrinsically untrustworthy” comment was made by Deb Kean. It wasn’t moderated but two moderators/authors reacted:

Stephanie Rodgers: That’s a really horrible statement, Deb. There’s plenty to criticise each of the leadership candidates for without that kind of bigotry.

Karol: Deb has been expressing homophobic hate forever, as far as I’m aware. No reasoning with her changes that. I’ve tried in the past – she hasn’t been around here much in the past year.

New commenters at The Standard are being dissed just for being new commenters – a standard practice to drive away unwelcome opinion. For example:

Don’t believe everything you read from the National Party’s Research Unit – or are you just a Nat troll.

Not agreeing with the entrenched activists doesn’t help of course.

‘red blooded':

Well, I’m not new. I have been roundly abused many times for questioning what I see as group-think, though. In fact, Lprent told me yesterday that I am an idiot and must have been in nappies in the Clark years. (I have a Masters in Political Science and have been an activist since the Muldoon years.)

What’s my point? It can be very intimidating to raise your head and question the general flow of discussion on TS. It can be simplistic and over-hyped, but it’s not easy to point that out to people who only want to hear from those echoing exactly their viewpoint. I find it refreshing to see a different viewpoint being discussed seriously and think it’s great to hear from some new voices. Labour (& the left more generally) clearly need to do some fresh thinking and hear from a new generation of commentators. renewal doesn’t occur just within a closed group.

lprent:

Read the policy. The place is set up for “robust debate” and that means you will get called names. The standard that is used about abuse that it is not allowed to be “pointless abuse”. So if you don’t like something then say why. If you think someone is being an idiot then say so and why. Just be careful about doing it for the authors of a post.

If you want nice pleasant and superficially congenial debate then go to Public Address.

There are right-wingers who survive easily around here. You just have to stop being so damn precious.

It really really pays to read the about/policy of any site you comment on. That is how you avoid the common pitfalls.

If you really don’t like it, then start your own site and attract your own audience.

red blooded:

Absolutely. That doesn’t make it wrong to look at the pluses and minuses of each candidate, though. We should be respectful if each other and of the candidates, but it’s still refreshing to see some positive discourse about someone other than Cunliffe on this site.

[lprent: Perhaps you should look back over the posts for the last 60 posts (there are about 30 per top page) back to a few days after the election and point to any egregious numbers of posts for Cunliffe? I just did, and essentially it is a list of the announcements and events as the leadership challenge unfolded. Basically the authors are leaning over backwards to try to be reasonably balanced at present.

Commenters are a different story of course. But they aren't the people running the site.

Similarly the moderators are in charge of behaviour on this site. Not a random commenter. We really don't like stuck up dickheads trying to tell us how we should run the site.

Go and read the policy. You'll have time to do so as you're banned for 2 weeks for stupidity and wasting my time checking. ]

That’s a blog that complains about dirty politics.

red blooded had also said:

I see Grant Robertson as likeable and articulate. He’s certainly Labour through and through. While he’s personally ambitious, that’s also true of Cunliffe. Some here are accusing him of not fully backing the elected leader: I would say,
1) He gave his all to the last campaign, and 2) if we’re honest, Cunliffe was less than fully supportive of Shearer.

I didn’t vote for Robertson last time, mostly because of concerns about lack of Ministetial experience (although he has plenty of policy and admin experience). I might this time, mostly because I think Cunliffe has shown himself to be deeply flawed as a leader (especially in his actions and comments since the awful election result). I’d still like a 3rd choice, though…

Prentice left that comment, presumably because it would look too obvious, but waits until what looks like a very reasonable comment and bans. Standard practice.

The Standard leans heavily towards Cunliffe so it’s inevitable that Robertson supporters will get the usual treatment, revulsion repulsion and expulsion.

A party that desperately needs some major repairs and rebuilding is poorly served by a blog that promotes the worst of Labour.

Grant Robertson’s leadership bid

After David Cunliffe’s resignation this afternoon Grant Robertson acknowledged he would contest the Labour leadership.

He is promoting a statement on Facebook:

This evening I announced my intention to put my name forward for the leadership of the Labour Party. Now is our opportunity to revitalise our party and to renew our connection with New Zealanders. We must be relevant to their lives, hopes and aspirations. We must be part of the communities we wish to serve. We must unify around our values – putting people first, fairness and opportunity. That will be the Party I would seek to serve as Leader.

I know that the members of our party and affiliated unions have just put their heart and soul into an election campaign and I am so grateful for that and I know that people are tired after that effort. Soon the Party Council will announce the timeline for the leadership election. In the meantime, I look forward to discussing the way ahead for our party and how we can contribute to a better and fairer New Zealand.

Backliuash

Labour spent weeks digging dirt and attacking National, in particular Judith Collins. Grant Robertson was at the forefront.

Now there’s some backliuash Dabvid Cunliffe is complaining that National are being mean to him. He doesn’t seem to be getting much sympathy.

And it doesn’t like he or Labour will get any respite.

A value has been put on the growing donation rumour at Dim-Post:

And it will get worse for Labour when the rumoured $300k issue emerges.

Meanwhile heralding tomorrow’s news is Tim Murphy:

Donghua Liu: more details in @nzherald tomorrow on the Labour minister and the chartered boat trip up the Yangtze River.

Will the avalanche of backliuash have Grant Robertson saying “bugger” or quietly congratulating himself?

 

Parliamentary disgrace

Parliament this week has been a disgrace. Our supposed House of Representatives has been more of a melee of mongrel misfits in a house of reprehensible behaviour.

If the sort of behaviour we frequently witness in Parliament and in the political arena was practised in councils, boardrooms, committees, bars and school playgrounds they would be seen as dysfunctional and it would be condemned.

It’s bullying, dirty destructive behaviour that wouldn’t be acceptable in most parts of our society. New Zealand’s leaders should be setting a good example but they are doing the opposite.

It’s equivalent to kids throwing stones at each other.
It’s equivalent to eye gouging in rugby.
It’s equivalent to drunks kicking victims in the head.

It’s not only condoned by our leaders and parliamentary representatives, some of them actively participate and promote obnoxiousness, disrespect and abuse. They try to break people, destroy careers and bring down governments.

It’s not robust, it’s not holding to account. It far exceeds reasonable behaviour. It’s a very poor look for our House of Representatives. At times they represent the worst ways of dealing with issues, differences and competing agendas.

This is a problem that goes right to the top and most practised and prevalent in what are supposed to be our two major parties. The leaders of those two parties, John Key and David Cunliffe, are at the forefront of problem in what they do or in what they allow of their caucuses. Leader of the House Gerry Brownlee and Shadow Leader of the House Grant Robertson are also heavily involved.

They should be setting good standards and examples but they lead and allow the worst standards.

Parliamentary behaviour is often bad but this week was worse than usual.

The Speaker has an unenviable task trying to referee the rabble. In any sport if the referee or umpire was challenged, argued with and defied as happens in Parliament the game would be farcical and dysfunctional.

At times on Wednesday the Prime Minister severely tested the mettle and patience of the Speaker, who at one stage gave Key a final warning in Question 1 on Wednesday. Ironically it involved Cunliffe challenging Key about “high standards”.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! [Interruption] Order! The level of interjection now coming from my right is unacceptable.Mr SPEAKER: Order! This is a point of order.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! That answer is sufficient. [Interruption] Order! The Hon Gerry Brownlee—please tone it down a little.Hon David Cunliffe: If the Minister believes in high standards…does the Minister think that those are the standards that New Zealanders have a right to expect of him or his Government?

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The Prime Minister will resume his seat. [Interruption] Order! If members on my right want to stay for the full question time, I expect some cooperation. [Interruption] Order! A point of order has been raised. It will be heard in silence.Mr SPEAKER: No, I do not need assistance. [Interruption] Order! As to the first point of order, the Prime Minister should resume his seat immediately when I stand. I said that to him, so I consider that matter closed, but it better not happen again.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Supplementary question.Grant Robertson: To the rescue, Gerry!

Mr SPEAKER: Order! All members have a right to ask a supplementary question.

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Has he seen any reports of interesting and innovative fund-raising methods deployed by political parties? [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! There is no prime ministerial responsibility for other parties. [Interruption]

Hon Gerry Brownlee: Point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I just want to clarify before I take the point of order that the member is not in any way attempting to relitigate an answer I have given, because if that was happening, I would be tempted to ask the member to leave. If it is a point of order, I will hear it, but it better not be—

Hon Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. There is always that temptation, but what I am simply saying is that I asked the question whether the Prime Minister has received any reports.

Mr SPEAKER: It is a matter of prime ministerial responsibility. It asked about any reports but then you went on, Mr Brownlee, about other parties’ innovative means of fund-raising, or words to that effect. I ruled instantly that I did not consider that was prime ministerial responsibility.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! This is a point of order. It will be heard in silence.

Mr SPEAKER: Order! My patience is fast running out with members on the right-hand side of this House. If the source is the Labour Party website, then that is freely available to all members and I will not be putting—[Interruption] Order!Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Point of order.

Mr SPEAKER: Again, can you just clarify whether this is a fresh point of order?

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: It is a fresh one—yes. I seek leave to table a document that shows people had paid $500 to attend a lunch—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! Again, I want the source of the document.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: Well, I am not sure of the source but I am sure I can get it for you—

Mr SPEAKER: Order!

Dr Russel Norman: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! This is a point of order. [Interruption] Order! The noise is coming relatively equally from both sides. On this occasion I will not be ejecting any member. But I have points of orders raised. I call for silence; I expect silence.

Dr Russel Norman: Mr Brownlee asked a supplementary question and you ruled it out of order. Then you said to Mr Brownlee that if he disputes your ruling, you will be tempted to throw him out. He did dispute your ruling and you, in—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! No. What I took from the second point he raised was that he sought clarification rather than to dispute. That is the way I ruled it.

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: From the source Scoop, I seek to table—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member will resume his seat. Scoop is available to all members, and if this sort of nonsense continues from the Prime Minister, to restore order, again, I will have no choice but to ask the Prime Minister to leave the Chamber.

And so it went on, with antagonism and acrimony from both sides. The previous day Trevor Mallard was ordered from the chamber for making an accusatory interjection he refused to withdraw. Both Mallard and Chris Hipkins were ordered from the chamber on Thursday . That’s an indication of the degree of difficulty the Speaker had maintaining order.

The media are complicit in this. They report the worst of Parliament, that’s their job. But I don’t see much holding to account of Members of Parliament for a lot of their bad behaviour.

Thomas Carlyle in his book On Heroes and Hero Worship:

“Burke said there were Three Estates in Parliament; but, in the Reporters’ Gallery yonder, there sat a Fourth Estate more important far than they all.”

I haven’t seen any holding to account from  media this week of poor Parliamentary behaviour.

It’s election year and political stakes are high. That should not be an excuse for the worst of dirty politics. In any sane situation it would encourage people to present their best behaviour and abilities.

In general people, voters, hate the negative obnoxious, abusive and destructive side of politics. They look at politicians with derision. Increasing numbers show their displeasure through their non-participation at the ballot box.

And many of those who vote are left choosing what they see as the least worst option.

There should be an opportunity for a perceptive leader and a perceptive party to recognise the problem and address it. That would take real leadership because it would mean having to confront entrenched negative behaviours.

John Key? David Cunliffe? The first to act on this – not just poliwaffle but act and continue to act on it – could gain a considerable advantage in the run up to the election.

Appealing to politicians to improve their poor behaviour is quite a sad situation. Pointing out the bleeding obvious shouldn’t be necessary.

Leaders should rise above some of the worst sorts of human behaviour, not promote and practice it. Anarchy in the streets would not be acceptable so why should virtual anarchy in Parliament be allowed to continue?

Parliament has been a disgrace this week. Our leaders are letting us down badly. They keep tearing the Emperor’s credibility to shreds, and seem blind to the tatters, or think that crap behaviour is acceptable. They keep shitting in our highest House.

Grant Robertson’s ‘same milk’ accusation refuted

Grant Robertson has claimed that “same milk”, “milk from the same supplier” and “the same two litre bottles” was given different Chinese border control treatment, with Oravida milk accepted while Ruima Food milk was rejected.

Corrie Den Haring, general manager of Green Valley Dairies who supplies the milk to both the companies, says the milk products involved were not the same, and he is “not aware of any favouritism”.

Robertson continued his ‘holding to account’ of Judith Collins yesterday on Oravida. Most of the media focus was on the drama and the pressure on Collins, for example Judith Collins survives torrid session in Parliament and Collins survives bruising barrage.

Much less emphasis is being put on holding Grant Robertson to account for his accusations. Before Question Time he put out a media release:

Same milk, different friends, different result
Grant Robertson | 6 May 2014

There is further evidence Judith Collins’ assistance of Oravida resulted in her husband’s company getting its milk into China, Labour MP Grant Robertson says.

“Documents show that Oravida had its milk shipment accepted by Chinese border control in December, while milk from the same supplier exported by a different company was rejected.

“Oravida’s fresh milk supplier Green Valley Dairies also supplies the same two litre bottles to Guangzhou Ruima Food Limited, simply with a different label.

“However, Guangzhou Ruima Food’s fresh milk shipment in December was rejected by China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ).

“Judith Collins’ intervention was designed to benefit Oravida.

“Evidence is building of a correlation between the Minister’s October dinner with a Chinese border control official in Beijing and later visit to Oravida’s Shanghai office, and her husband’s company’s export issues disappearing.”

However tagged on to the end of a Herald article Embattled Collins digs in for long haul which also pushes the pressure on Collins is this:

Meanwhile, Corrie Den Haring, general manager of Green Valley Dairies which supplies milk to both Oravida and Ruimi, said Mr Robertson’s initial attack about Oravida receiving preferential treatment from Chinese authorities was wide of the mark.

“It is not the same two-litre bottles simply with a different label,” he told National Radio. Ruimi’s milk was a flavoured or extra-calcium product which required extra testing at the border. Delays meant the milk was too old for sale and was destroyed.

I had to search Radio NZ to find this, it isn’t currently featured on their Political News page.

Dairy company refutes Labour’s claims ( 3′ 18″ )

Labour is claiming it has further evidence that Judith Collins’s help for Oravida resulted in it getting its milk into China, while other companies missed out.

From Checkpoint on 06 May 2014

Transcript:

Mary Wilson: Green Valley’s general manager Corrie Den Haring refutes what Labour says.

Corrie Den Haring: It is not the same two litre bottles just simply with a different label. First of all Ruimi Food’s was taking what’s called enriched milk. They were taking flavoured milk, particularly strawberry and chocolate milks as well as standard white milk in various bottled formats.

Oravida at that stage were simply taking two litre milk with their label on it.

Some products going to Ruimi Foods in Guangzhou were blocked, and that was through extra testing that was done, namely the strawberryv chocolate and calcium milks that actually took longer than the shelf life of the product.

Mary Wilson: The milk shipment that was rejected was rejected because the testing process took so long that milk was off by the time it got through the process.

Corrie Den Haring: That’s correct, so that the shelf life of the milk only effectively has ten days once it’s in China. Some of these testing took I think up to eight days and if any product has less than I think thirty percent or fifty percent of it’s available shelf life then it’s rejected at border, and that is recorded by the Chinese border inspectorate as being a failure.

Mary Wilson: Why wasn’t Oravida’s milk then subject to the same testing over the same time frame?

Corrie Den Haring: Because they were testing for different, partly for different issues, so in and around the flavoured milks there was a question mark around some of the flavourings and some of the potential colourings, whether they actually met a fresh milk specification, and also in the calcium they were checking the levels of calcium within the milk which obviously take a lot longer time period than the standard testing being carried out.

Mary Wilson: But some of that testing surely should have applied to Oravida’s milk?

Corrie Den Haring: They weren’t taking any of the flavoured milks or any of the calcium milks, they were taking the standard fresh milk which simply have a micro-biological testing programme attached to them.

Mary Wilson: So you’re saying this is merely a technical issue, it has got nothing to do with favouritism?

Corrie Den Haring:I’m not aware of any favouritism and I don’t see any evidence from the position that Green Valley has in supplying product that the same level of orders were coming through, the same demand was coming through.

The same level of, one could argue,  frustration in and around some of the testing regimes that were being implemented at that stage, and we saw no difference between the two businesses.

The fact that Ruimi Food had some product rejected was for other reasons other than favouritism that we can see from this end.

Grant Robertson has been asked if he has any evidence contrary to this.

 

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