Anecdote avalanche after Dann damns Cunliffe

Labour candidate James Dann launched an avalanche of anecdotes damning Labour’s electability due to David Cunliffe being significantly more liability than asset with voters – and this is before the train wreck since the election.

Dann is openly supportive of Grant Robertson but his open letter yesterday has had widespread corroboration.

Brand Cunliffe appears to be Labour’s equivalent of Ford’s Edsel (“the Titanic of automobiles”) and New Coke (that went down like a cup of cold sick).

Cunliffe says he spent a week soul searching but he seems to have failed to find reality. He has claimed to have substantial support but there seems to be far more who have given up on him, or never supported him.

Particularly damning was his deputy leader David Parker who said he had lost confidence in Cunliffe and thought his position as leader was untenable. Parker is now caretaker party leader until a new one is chosen.

Dann wrote in An Open Letter To David Cunliffe:

We ran a two ticks campaign in Ilam. All our material had “Party Vote Labour” proudly on it. We delivered tens of thousands of pieces of paper with your face on it. But the reality, the hard truth, is that people in the electorate just didn’t connect with you. I lost count of the number of times I door knocked someone who told me they had voted Labour all their life, but wouldn’t vote for us as long as you were leader. People who would have a Labour sign – but not one with your face on it. While those examples are strictly anecdotal, the result on election night isn’t. It’s unavoidable. It’s practically the worst result in the Party’s history.

Stuff backs this up in Moveable feast for leadership:

His opponents in caucus won’t bother mincing their words. There was silent agreement yesterday after Labour’s Ilam candidate, James Dann, wrote that he lost count of the number of times he doorknocked life-long Labour supporters who said they wouldn’t vote for Cunliffe.

One MP reckons he got the same response from eight out of 10 doors he knocked on.

NZ Herald reports “one MP” in Labour MPs undecided over front-runners:

“As things stand, one candidate is completely unacceptable and the other is regarded as a risk.”

Scott Yorke (Imperator Fish) writes in Facebook:

I’m not a party insider, just a boring old party member, so don’t shoot me if you disagree.

1.David Cunliffe: I like David, and I voted for him during the last leadership contest. But the voters don’t seem keen on him, to put it mildly. I’ve had plenty of conversations with people who might have been inclined to vote Labour this year, but chose not to precisely because David was leader. A lot of the shit thrown at David has been unfair, but it has stuck. He has also made mistakes. As an example, I was dismayed at his election night “victory” speech, which I thought was inappropriate.

It seems that David has very few friends in caucus. It doesn’t really matter to me whether or not the antagonism displayed by various caucus members towards David is justified. It exists, and I cannot see it going away if David is re-elected as leader. I can’t see how he can lead the party to victory when so many within his own caucus want him gone. How can he work with David Parker now?

So if David wins the leadership contest the party will be led by someone who doesn’t have the support of caucus, and who most voters don’t really like. A recipe for success in 2017? It’s possible, but I doubt it.

Russell Brown responded to Dann’s post at Public Address:

I lost count of the number of times I door knocked someone who told me they had voted Labour all their life, but wouldn’t vote for us as long as you were leader.

I had a couple of those conversations with people I know, just casually.

As did ‘Max':

I had a similar experience during the campaign where we were campaigning relentlessly for the party vote. The worst experience was talking to a 70 year old lady who said she had voted Labour her entire life (that is a lot of elections and a lot of Labour Party leaders!) – but she wouldn’t be doing it this time because she simply “couldn’t stand” David Cunliffe. She had met Cunliffe personally at an event and couldn’t bring herself to do it. He was just too smarmy and disingenuous for her. Easy to see how we go down to 24% when we lost those types of supporters.

And Dann’s campaign manager Stephen Judd:

How many of the “voted Labour all their life” people are actually Labour,

I’ll take that one, as James’ former campaign manager. Lots. We focus our limited doorknock and phone canvas resources on people that have canvassed Labour in the past or areas that statistically should be rich in Labour support (high deprivation index, low home ownership, good booth results in previous elections, that kind of thing). Ilam is dominated by Fendalton and Merivale but Aorangi, Bishopdale and Bryndwr where we went hardest are far different in demographic. To be honest, I got that same feedback too.

‘slewratedotnet’ writes at Kiwiblog:

As a member and volunteer I think James got it right. My family were Labour voters throughout the Clark government and that support has now gone to the Greens and Nats for much the same reasons as he talks about, they simply do not like DC.

Remember that this is mostly relating to sentiments before the election. There’s been widespread criticism of how Cunliffe has acted since the election.

It’s possible some comments may have ulterior motives with the pending leadership contest but the discontent with Cunliffe is widespread and growing.

Media are scathing of Cunliffe, especially since the election. NZ Herald: 13 bizarre things David Cunliffe has said in the past 24 hours.

Dominion Post editorial Labour needs a likeable leader:

The continuing mess shows up two fundamental facts about Labour’s defeat. Cunliffe is not liked by most of his caucus, and they are not going to change their minds about him. Why should they? He was in charge during the catastrophe. And second, most of the voters don’t like him either. In this he contrasts with National leader John Key, who is widely liked. It is a political truth that the voters are never wrong

One of Cunliffe’s biggest problems is he keeps claiming things that the voters know to be out of synch with reality.

There are obviously similar sentiments amongst those in the Labour Party who will vote for a new leader.

Labour needs more leadership contenders

A no contest with an arranged Grant Robertson leadership would have been the worst way of dealing with Labour’s current crisis, there would have been too much unaddressed dissatisfaction.

A contest between just Robertson and David Cunliffe is nearly as bad. Cunliffe was not attractive to voters and has performed very poorly since the election. A Prime Minister can’t take a week off to “soul search” whenever they are in a difficult situation.

The best way for Labour to explore leadership options is for more candidates to put themselves forward (and for Cunliffe to drop out).

Shearer if he wants to test whether his party thinks he’s learnt a lot since standing down a year ago and can handle a much wider range of issues off the cuff.

Phil Goff if he thinks he can outperform his last attempt.

David Parker. Annette King.

Andrew Little if he survives the final count.

Nanaia Mahuta if she thinks it can fit with her family commitments.

Jacinda Ardern should step out of other peoples shadows. She may think she’s not ready to step up yet but Labour need to be imagining how someone can perform in three years and in six years.

Ditto Chris Hipkins and Iain Lees-Galloway.

And anyone else who fancies their chances of performing up a few notches.

Then let the party explore the options and decide who and what they think will inspire and lead them.

The whole caucus and the party need to think radical and think future, and not get confined within a couple of forceful ambitions.

A futile last stand plus a jack up job with Clayton’s choice is likely to do far more damage than good, especially if the opening salvoes are any indication of how a duel may progress.

All potential leadership options should be put on the table.

Cunliffe’s resignation and leadership bid

David Cunliffe resigned as Labour leader this afternoon, but he also indicated he would stand for the leadership again.

Here is a statement he released.

I have today decided to resign the leadership of the Labour Party, effective from the end of caucus on Tuesday.

The party has suffered an historic election loss and in resigning as leader I take responsibility for that.

The party will review all the contributing factors. That process has begun and I give it my full support.

Labour’s values are New Zealand’s values. But the election result has reinforced that the Labour Party must change in order to uphold and communicate those values.

I was elected one year ago with a mandate to lead change.

In that time I have worked to pull the party and caucus together and put every resource available to the service of the campaign.

Clearly there is much more to do, and the party’s direction must be respected. There is no room for division or airing differences through the media despite agreement to the contrary.

The recent election confirms that Labour needs a more comprehensive overhaul.

We need to renew and rebuild our culture, accountabilities, how we do things and present to the world.

Achieving that in time for the 2017 election will require experienced and determined leadership with a broad mandate.

Whatever decisions are made must be in the best interests of New Zealand to have a strong and vital Labour Party.

The Party’s interests must come before any personal interests. I have thought carefully before responding to the calls to re-offer myself for the leadership of the party.

Consultation with colleagues, members and affiliates has affirmed that the whole party must participate in this choice, and not just one part of it.

Therefore I am announcing today that I will nominate for a primary contest, which will be held across the caucus, the party membership and the affiliates as the party constitution requires.

The process is a matter for the party Council, but the work we have begun towards creating a better country with opportunities for all New Zealanders must be fast tracked.

I would like to take this moment once again to thank my family and friends, my parliamentary colleagues, my office staff, my electorate committee, staff and volunteers, and the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders who voted Labour and who believe that Labour is a vital part of New Zealand’s future.

It is a privilege to lead the Labour Party. It is a great and proud party. It has the best interests of all New Zealanders at heart.

It has the values needed to create a fairer and more progressive society. I intend with the endorsement of the Party, to lead Labour to victory in 2017 so we can implement them.

I am now going to resume a long-booked family holiday until Monday evening and won’t be available for further media comment.

Thank-you. Kia kaha.

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.

Labour denial and delusion continues

NZ Herald asks What’s wrong with Labour? Len Richards, Service and Food Workers Union organiser, provides some explanations, but not in the way he intended.

What went wrong?

More than a decade of dirty politics aimed at demonising and destabilising the Labour Party by well-organised and well-funded opponents have taken their toll.

The ‘dirty politics’ excuse is wearing thin. Attempts at “demonising and destabilising” opposing parties have been a part of politics forever. Nicky Hager overplayed the ‘dirty politics’ hand to swing the election and failed – it helped National more than the left.

I don’t like dirty politics but that’s a criticism aimed as much at Labour and the left as National and the right.

The opinion polls reflect the public mood deliberately created by the spin doctors of the right, and the very poor election results for Labour over the last three elections reflect the polls.

“The polls are rigged” is another tired old excuse. Like David Cunliffe Richards is avoiding responsibility, but poll conspiracies tend towards nut-job territory.

In response, our last two campaigns were run by many electorates as if MMP did not exist. Labour tried to win electorate seats rather than the party vote.

Blaming some electorate MPs is indicative of the factional rift that is tearing Labour apart. It’s up to the party leader and organisation to lead the campaign for party votes.

This time Labour received 200,000 more candidate votes (34 per cent) than party votes (25 per cent).

Perhaps that’s an indication that while some candidates are well supported by voters the party as a whole was not seen as a viable lead party in Government. Failure from the top again.

With 34 per cent of party votes we would be in government.

A forlorn “what if”. If Labour had got 34% instead of 25% (a huge reality gap) with Green’s 1-11% they would still have relied on Winston Peters to choose Labour over National.

How can Labour fix it?

A leadership change now will do more harm to Labour than good. David Cunliffe is more than a match for John Key. Our problems lie elsewhere.

The current lack of leadership – Cunliffe barricaded himself at home after the election, emerged to take a battering from his caucus on Tuesday and then disappeared back home for the rest of the week.

Cunliffe was far from a match for John Key, talking over him in a few debates didn’t win anything.

(NZ Herald)

Heads in the sand won’t revive Cunliffe’s leadership. Who wants a Prime Minister who goes into hiding “to contemplate his future” when the going gets tough? Cunliffe was unpopular with voters last Saturday. That has likely deteriorated significantly since then.

Labour’s policies are not “too left wing”. We lost votes to NZ First because Winston Peters outflanked us on the left. Labour pulled its punches.

Peters outflanked Labour on the left and right.

Labour needs to build its base among the people it represents. We need to turn outwards, to recruit, and to organise.

Yep. Should have been working on that after their 2008 defeat. Now it’s hard to know what people Labour represents apart from some out of touch unionists.

We need to go on the offensive and put up a credible alternative to the domination of society by the pursuit of profit at any cost. And campaign for the party vote.

“The domination of society by the pursuit of profit at any cost.” Out of touch with reality unionist. There’s a few on the left who believe this bull but most voters don’t see it as anything other than ideological nonsense.

If a business pursues profit ‘at any cost’ it will probably cost them their business.

Is the party prepared to do it?

The party showed over the last period that it is prepared to take a strong stance. The change in rules to democratise the election of the leader and the election of David Cunliffe is evidence of this.

This resulted in the election of a leader that didn’t have the support or confidence of his caucus. That’s proven disastrous for Labour in the election and this week.

The party needs to continue to stand firm and deal with its internal discipline problems.

Deal with it’s internal discipline how? Sack the majority of caucus? That’s not even possible, they are elected for another three years.

Whippings and unityI posted this when things were much better in Labour.

The Labour Party has a rock-solid social base. We can take heart from these supporters who gave us more than 60 per cent of the party votes in some electorates.

Rock solid?

  • 2002 – 41%
  • 2005 – 41%
  • 2008 – 34%
  • 2011 – 27%
  • 2014 – 25%

Very few electorates gave Labour more votes than National last Saturday.

As the problems of a system in crisis worsen and proliferate, Labour solutions will gain support if we organise and mobilise around them.

This is tragically ironic as the problems of a Labour in crisis worsen and proliferate.

The people see through old Labour and old unions with their forlornly fading fulminations.

Sorry to Len Richards for picking on him but he’s symptomatic of the entrenched old guard at The Standard and elsewhere in social media and the Cunliffe residence.

Labour needs something different, new and forward looking. That won’t happen if they continue to be dragged down by denial and delusion.

Whip Hipkins smartly positioned

While the Labour leadership will be up in the air for probably several months – with either a lame duck Cunliffe awaiting execution or a caretaker – Chris Hipkins has made a smart move.

Beneath the leadership radar Hipkins is back in the role of Labour’s senior whip. This requires him to be in touch with and work with all of Labour’s MPs.

Labour is virtually leaderless and the named contenders appear to have more negatives than positives.

In the meantime the new chief whip is in an interesting position.

Labour needs time to carefully consider it’s medium term future that must include a forward looking plan with leaders who can grow into contention.

Cunliffe’s position even less tenable

After a rapid turnaround from being unapologetic and determined to remain as leader to taking a break to reconsider his future the writing is written large on Labour’s leadership wall.

Claire Trevett reports at NZ Herald – David Cunliffe pauses to reconsider future.

A pause is as good as gone, the Labour caucus has started him down and Cunliffe is blinking hard as he backs off from the inevitable.

Labour leader David Cunliffe is understood to be taking time off to reconsider his political future after several of his key supporters in caucus withdrew their support – a step that has ramped up the pressure on him to step down.

It is understood at least three of Mr Cunliffe’s six key backers now believe it is no longer tenable for him to lead because he would have no control over caucus and risk damaging the already reeling party further.

With half of his already meagre support base deserting him, Mr Cunliffe is now facing a choice between resigning or fighting a battle he would have only a slim chance of winning because of his almost total lack of caucus support.

His position was difficult enough with minority support in caucus. Almost total lack of caucus support would make Cunliffe’s job as leader virtually impossible and it would ensure Labour doesn’t start on the road to recovery.

It would be worse than lame duck, it would be like a duck with twenty plus pairs of hands poised around it’s neck.

One MP described Labour’s seven-hour caucus meeting as “torrid”.

Cunliffe’s demeanour had noticeably changed either side of the meeting. And he lost a key supporter in deputy David Parker.

In a further blow to Mr Cunliffe, the Herald understands that Mr Parker had decided to step down from his role on Tuesday because he could no longer support Mr Cunliffe and did not believe it was appropriate to stay on.

Yesterday, Mr Parker ruled out standing for the party leadership himself – but he would not comment on whether he intended to step down as deputy leader, saying he remained in the role “for the time being”.

If Cunliffe resigns Parker would be in a good position to step up as caretaker leader until a contest to chose a new leader is held. He would be the best Labour MP to stabilise the wallowing Labour ship.

There’s still a few staunch Cunliffe supporters in the blogs but that’s a diminished number, many can see the obvious.

A source close to Mr Cunliffe said it was becoming clear it would be hard for him to win the support of the wider membership again given the election result and the low support in caucus, despite the membership vote carrying him into power in last year’s leadership battle.

Even the unions who supported Cunliffe must be seriously reconsidering.

This is very ugly for Labour but as long as they don’t rush in to a “quick fix” and carefully consider the medium term they have time to deal with this. There is no urgency.

But I think having a new leadership team in place by the end of the year would enable Labour to start 2015 on a new and more hopeful footing.

Cunliffe’s position untenable

David Cunliffe’s position as leader of Labour is untenable. He never had the confidence of his caucus and that looks worse than ever since a disastrous election.

Despite the many excuses offered by Cunliffe and others in Labour Cunliffe failed to interest the voters that mattered.

His supporters had claimed that the exposure the election campaign would give him would win over voters. The opposite happened.

It’s been claimed the diversions of ‘dirty politics’ and Kim Dotcom stole attention from Labour. To an extent that’s correct, but I don’t think Cunliffe repeating the same learned lines more often will have helped him at all. Possibly the opposite.

Cunliffe’s seemingly unresolvable problem is that as with Labour’s caucus, voters simply don’t trust him. He has tried to be too many things to too many groups and comes across as an actor, a fake. He doesn’t appear genuine, or at least you can never be sure when he is being genuine.

Roy Morgan poll trends show that Labour has lost support since the 2011, and notably after a short surge of hope after Cunliffe took over the leadership support has been mostly downwards.


Of course Labour has more serious problems than Cunliffe. Just switching leader for the fourth time since Helen Clark left after the 2011 election is not going to fix much.

It looks like heavily criticised party officials may fall on their swords, as Stuff reports in Labour at loggerheads:

Party president Moira Coatsworth has indicated she will step down, with a council meeting scheduled for Sunday, when general secretary Tim Barnett’s future will also be under discussion.

That may be justified, but can they find better replacements?

The incoming Labour lineup looks largely the same as it has for six years. Dead wood MPs remain. The party has failed to rebuild it’s talent – and it’s stuck with nearly all of them for another three years. A big cleanout and replacement could happen in 2017 but that at best would prepare the way for the 2020 election.

If Labour’s activist support in blogs is any indication their problems run from top to bottom. Major blog leadership, from Lynn Prentice at The Standard in particular and Russell Brown at Public Address, tends towards abusive and intolerant of varying views, doing the opposite of encouraging wider support.

Prentice posted Our children in Wellington yesterday.

I’m pretty sure that David Cunliffe would win a members and affiliates vote. So suck it up MPs, stop playing your silly caucus games and do some frigging work this term rather than the self-indulgent posturing you wasted time with last term. We have to start building campaigning machinery as soon as possible. You are getting in the way.

One of a number of old school activists blustering away. He commented:

We really have to do something about egotistical MPs making fools of the party and wasting everyone’s efforts.

That’s ironic, The Standard is in a position where it could help lead Labour’s resurrection but tends far more towards making fools of the party and wasting their efforts.

Like this:

It is clear that you have a shallow analysis about how political parties operate. Perhaps you should try doing some basics like delivering pamphlets, organising pamphlet deliveries, running a branch or working in a LEC. But it sounds to me like you wouldn’t be good at actual work.

Have fun jerking off. You read like a concern troll to me rather someone who has *worked* for Labour.

That sounds like a party malaise – unless you slave away uncritically you are abused and rejected. Numerous potential Labour voters have been abused and driven away from The Standard and probably from Labour – the sort of voters Labour needs the most, to the centre of the hard (Labour) left Standard.

In lprent’s post:

What matters for Labour is that Cunliffe is in place, displays the competences required, has built an effective policy team and campaign team (the latter needs more work). He is in the same position as Helen was after the 1993 defeat with a uphill battle to make a working campaign team to fight a party vote election. No reason to change.

a) Cunliffe hasn’t displayed the competencies required.

b) The policy team was not effective at revealing policies – lax information and lacking detail was common – and some of it’s key policy decisions are questionable.

c) The campaign team must take some responsibility for their dire results.

“No reason to change” is about as head in sand stupid as it can get.

In an earlier post Another 3 years of work (first notes):

Labour’s team finally started to work well over the last 5-6 months.

Labour had an awful election result and seems to be very publicly in disarray.

Essentially once McCarten went in and started to make them work together.

Working together and Labour seem to be opposites right now.

Policies look good, but they really needed to be bedded down a lot earlier. Six months of effective performance hardly make up for the five and half years of backbiting crap that went on previously.

Cunliffe’s performance was strongly criticised from the start of this year. The back stabbing is more evident than every.

If Cunliffe and his team had performed well and were performing well now Labour would be dealing with their defeat calmly and sensibly. Stuff headlines reality: Carnage as Cunliffe clings on.

I will be voting for Cunliffe in the forthcoming Labour leaders election. Not so much for him (although he improved a lot through the campaign), but more for the team he has (finally) built and which Labour will need in the next 3 years.

With allies like Prentice and The Standard the future for Cunliffe and Labour looks bleak.

To just about everyone but Cunliffe and a small number of blind hard left activists Cunliffe’s position looks to be clearly untenable.

A commentator said on Sunday that things couldn’t get any worse for Labour. They seem to be deteriorating rapidly.

It’s not just a Cunliffe problem but he’s a very visible symptom of problems at different levels of the party.

Not all Labour Party supporters are blind. Scott Yorke is more perceptive in Today’s classifieds which uses black humour to sum things up.

It’s worth following the link to read but I doubt Prentice will be reposting that on at The Standard.

Cunliffe’s position is untenable. Whether his successor will survive the flailing failing party is important for New Zealand’s democracy but is not looking like an easy prospect in a party riven.

Labour’s caucus, the party organisation, the membership and their blog supporters all need a major makeover of talent, tact and tack.

Labour’s massive malevolent malaise, continued?

It is almost universally that the Labour Party is in dire straights. On top of this they risk further deteriorating into yet another divisive leadership battle.

Labour remains burdened by a massive malevolent malaise, where intolerance of different points of view and vindictiveness against any deemed enemy – and also amongst it’s own.

They have transformed from a three term success to what looks like being a three term failure, unless they can turn around their attitudes and their fortunes.

Political fortunes are earned, something Labour has failed to invest in with any degree of success. They have pissed the last six years against the wall, and are stuck with another three years of little more than the same old in their ranks.

A comment from ‘Goldie’ aptly illustrates Labour’s predicament.

While 2002 was an even worse defeat for National in terms of the % of the vote, in many ways, Labour is in a much worse place than National was in 2002.

First, National in 2002 had still managed to bring in fresh blood despite the rout (this was when John Key entered parliament). Michelle Boag gets a lot of brickbats, but she did manage to rejuvenate the party, despite the short-term ructions this caused National.

The contrast with the hapless Moira Coatsworth is notable. Labour have not rejuvenated – they are pretty much the same failed team that crashed in 2008, lost badly in 2011 and got routed in 2014. Do Labour MPs rely believe that “the fourth time is the charm”?

That Labour did not seek to promote young talent like Deborah Russell is bewildering, while leaving an embittered old tusker Trevor Mallard in a safe(ish) electorate says how useless the Labour leadership is.

Second, after 2002 National did a complete policy review. National sought to attract talent, and outside independent advice. And after 2005 National decided to swallow rats (WFF, interest-free student loans) as the price for power.

Labour’s problem is that they have no policy unit to speak of. Labour went into this election with badly conceived or (to be polite) incomplete policies. There is no sign of that getting better.

Third, Labour is struggling for a raison d’être. Clearly there is a vague willingness to intervene in the economy, but why or how seems to have not been thought through, and Labour’s current “policies” are completely incoherent. I think it is because Labour don’t have a coherent ideology.

Helen Clark had her “third way” (which was basically copied from Blair and Clinton) – hence why Labour under Helen Clark was generally ideologically consistent and therefore were able to project a strong vision and unity.

But the current Labour Party is floundering for ideological coherence and an overarching vision. (Overseas, left-wing parties are faced with the same problem, so Labour is not unique).

Still – 2017 is a long time away. Given the right leader, Labour can solve these problems.

Getting ‘the right leader’ is important, but it’s also essential  that the Labour caucus and the Labour Party gets in behind their leader with something far more constructive than knives and backs them fully.

Appearing to be constructive and positive through most of the next term is also important. Trying to market ‘vote positive’ when appearing as anything but positive was one of Labour’s many failures.

It will be very challenging for Labour to lift themselves back into realistic contention in 2017, but they have to at least make significant progress towards rebuilding and reconnecting with the electorate.

I’ve voted for Labour more than for any other party. I last voted for Labour in 2005.

After Clark’s loss in 2008 I approached Labour offering a fresh perspective and help to rebuild. I didn’t feel welcomed nor valued so I decided to try other ways of doing something in politics.

Labour supporters in the blogosphere are far from welcoming. I do confront issues and things I disagree with or think need examination but I mostly avoid personal attack politics, but most of the reaction I get from the left is personal attacks and exclusion.

I’ve been banned from all the major Labour leaning blogs – Red Alert, The Standard and Public Address. Unless you join their chorus they drive people away.

And Labour wonders why voters are deserting them. If their most ardent online support – predominately exclusive, intolerant, vindictive and negative – is any indication of the state of Labour then they have to do much more than switch leaders again.

A good leader can inspire and change attitudes – but when this same negativity, and intolerance overwhelms in the guts of the party then Labour will keep getting kicked in the guts by voters.

Unless Labour can reverse a massive malevolent malaise they will keep shedding support and wither away.

Predictable result

In the main the election result and sub-results were quite predictable.

Polls were a reasonable indicator but only look backwards so show trends that have happened. They can’t predict to late campaign shifts that are common.

This election was peculiar in that many decisions were put on hold until Kim Dotcom’s big reveal. When it came to nothing it strengthened resolve of swing voters to ensure National retained it’s hold on Government.

Labour dropping below poll results was not surprising. They were obviously not going to do well and non-committed voters either change their minds or simply don’t bother voting.

Claims like “but Cunliffe ran a good campaign” have been proven wrong. As David Shearer said, the end result was tragic for Labour. Cunliffe may have appeared to be campaigning strongly but he puts on a variety of acts. While they might be slick acts voters see through this lack of genuineness. Cunliffe also has a problem that is probably unresolvable – too many people simply don’t like his persona (or personas).

Greens will be disappointed to have struggled to maintain their level of support while Labour were shedding votes. Greens weren’t able to pick them up. This suggests that 10-12% is the upper limit for them. This also shouldn’t be surprising outside the Green bubble. People like to have a party promoting environmental issues but most don’t like the extreme Green stances like no drilling, no fracking, no motorways.

And Greens misread public sentiment if they think that handing out more money to poor people with no responsibilities applied will be popular. Middle New Zealand see this as imposing costs and taxes on them. Socialism is fringe ideology these days.

Winston Peters is adept at picking up protest and shedded votes. NZ First gained vote, gained MPs but otherwise gained nothing. Most of the 91% who didn’t vote NZ First will be happy with this outcome.

The 5% threshold always looked a very high hurdle for Conservatives and so it proved. This was a failure of MMP. The threshold should be no higher than 3%. I don’t personally support the Conservatives but their missing out is a travesty of democracy.

Hone Harawira losing his electorate was a bit of a shock but not really surprising given the severely compromised position of Harawira and Mana hitching their ambitions to Kim Dotcom. Dotcom’s expensive disaster was Harawira’s failing.

Internet-Mana was always a high risk alliance. They might have succeeded as a combined party but Dotcom realised too late that his brand was toxic and he couldn’t resist being prominent. His final week failure to deliver on his promises to hit John Key compounded the problem.

Laila Harre severely compromised her credibility and was still blind to this yesterday, blaming everything but reality. Her political future is very limited.

The Maori Party lost two of their three electorates as widely predicted. For the first time they had sufficient party vote to pick up a list seat to go with Te Ururoa Flavell’s retained seat. Flavell was a minor star of the campaign but will have a difficult job keeping the Maori Party afloat.

David Seymour retained Epsom as expected but also as expected ACT failed as a party. Jamie Whyte failed to step up as leader in a challenging attempt to rebuild a battered brand.

Peter Dunne held is Ohariu seat. That didn’t seem to surprise anyone but unrealistic Labourites from the electorate. As a party United Future was nowhere to be seen, and accordingly votes were nowhere to be seen, dropping to a third of the low return they got in 2011.

Just two more seats for National but this strengthens them substantially, giving them a majority vote on their own as long as they don’t lose any seats this term. They also have ACT, Dunne and Maori Party support options on standby.

Just two less seats for Labour and this weakens them substantially. The result is tragic for them and the outlook is no better. They have done very little to move on the old guard and bring in new talent. They seem out of touch with their constituency of last century. They have yet another failed leader with no obvious replacement. This was also predictable.

Labour have failed for six years to rebuild from the Clark/Cullen era. Unless someone out of the ordinary steps up their future looks bleak.

National campaigned on ‘steady as she goes’ and the voters delivered the platform for National to be a little more politically steady than expected providing outstanding issues don’t impact too much.

Judith Collins has already been sidelined and is expendable should inquiries further damage her.

Now the election is over ‘dirty politics’ should be addressed by Key. And by Labour. And to a lesser extent by Greens. Peters won’t change from his habit of attack without evidence but he will be largely impotent unless the media keep pandering to his baseless allegations.

Some embarrassments may emerge for Key and National out of surveillance and GCSB issues but they look to have been overplayed, and most people accept the need for some surveillance protection.

The simple fact is that most people don’t feel threatened by surveillance and they are concerned about about terrorism.

And it’s ironic that the supposedly net-savvy who campaign strongly against surveillance must be aware that the Google and Twitter and Facebook social media tools they willingly use are tracking what they do far more than any government.

But we can predict they will continue to fight for a free internet that gives them far more public exposure than they ever had. They claim that privacy is paramount in a very public online world.

Otherwise we can predict have much the same Government as we’ve had over the past six years. Most people will be comfortable with that.

It’s harder to predict if Harawira will make a comeback or if Mana will survive their battering and their harsh reality check.

If Dotcom pulls the plug on Internet Party funding it’s demise can be predicted. If that happens it can also be predicted that Laila Harre will find it very difficult to find another party that would risk being tainted by her lack of loyalty and sense.

It is not hard to predict that Labour’s struggle to be relevant and their lack of connection to anyone but some special interest groups will continue.

John Key has shown he is aware of the dangers to National of complacency and arrogance – it can be predicted that some of his MPs will struggle to heed his warnings. But most likely things will continue much as they have.


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