“Banal is what gets you elected”

Chris claims that “banal is what gets you elected” so that’s what Andrew Little and Labour are busy doing – full bore banal.

He has posted at Bowalley that Busy Doing Nothing: Why Andrew Little Needs To Keep Labour Out Of The Headlines:

BELIEVE IT OR NOT, the Labour Party is currently engaged in a critically important political campaign. No, it may not look like Labour is doing very much at all at the moment, but that is the whole point. After the sheer mayhem of the last four years, a period of tranquillity is crucial to Labour’s chances of re-election.

All of the party’s research suggests that by the end of 2014 the New Zealand public was fed up to the back teeth with Labour.

As 2015 loomed, what Labour most needed to do was to get its name out of headlines. No more leadership elections. No more Caucus back-stabbing. No more shots of furious rank-and-file party members calling for the heads of the “Anyone But Cunliffe” faction.

The new leader, Andrew Little’s, best course of action, after he’d spent a little time reassuring the voters that he could string together a coherent English sentence, and that he wasn’t in the least bit sorry for being a man, was to say and do as little as possible and just let the people of New Zealand get used to him.

One problem with this approach though is that Little has gone backwards this year, especially with his capitulation to Winston Peters in Northland.

And while Little stays out of the headlines it gives more opportunity for Winston Peters and now Ron Mark, and James Shaw and Metiria Turei, to build profile and support, or at least keep Labour’s support in the mid-twenties along with Little’s missing in action strategy.

At some point, however, Andrew Little is going to have to give the voters something more than an absence of embarrassing headlines. Part of establishing that all-important connection with the people who vote is to say or do something powerful enough to bind them – the politician and the voters – together.

By far the most effective way of doing this is through words and gestures; symbolic moments that imprint themselves on the voters’ minds; events that leave people thinking: “That guy would make a damn good prime minister.”

Little has done more of the opposite this year, and with the inaction added to that it’s a very risky strategy.

Perhaps National will keep being over-cocky and cock some significant things up, and Little’s Labour may come through be default, but with the current numbers that will be with substantial power sharing with NZ First and Greens (if NZ First will go that way).

Labour hasn’t just treaded water this year, they have slipped under the surface a little more.

It won’t be easy to swing from banal into overarm.

SIDE NOTE: Trotter has made several references that suggest he has been fed inside information from Labour…

“All of the party’s research suggests…”

“Except that is not what the polling and the focus groups are telling Labour.”

…and has done a friendly post with a bit of added input of his own.

Labour still campaigning against it’s own flag policy

Labour (led by Trevor Mallard) is effectively actively campaigning against it’s own 2014 policy on flag change which states “review the design of the New Zealand flag involving flag design experts and with full public consultation and involvement”.

Actually their campaigning has been ineffective.

The Select Committee considering submissions on the flag change process has ruled against changing the order of the referendum questions – see Order of flag referendum questions won’t change.

Some wanting to change the referendum questions oppose changing the flag so want to reduce any chance of a change.

The Labour Party seem confused – or are blatantly playing politics despite their own stated flag policy which supports reviewing the flag design. They have actively campaigned to reduce the chances of their policy being followed.

From NZ Herald: Select Committee rejects calls for one-off flag referendum

Labour’s Trevor Mallard had put in a petition signed by more than 30,000 people who believed the first referendum should ask people if they wanted change.

The Labour Party put in a minority report saying it was “strongly opposed” to the bill because of the order of the wording.

Labour MPs argued that a clear vote on change in the first referendum could save up to $6.8 million in the costs of a second referendum. The majority report rejected that, saying the Electoral Commission advice was that it would only save $2.27 million net, given costs already incurred.

This looks like opposition for the sake of opposing something proposed by John Key, giving give anti-John Key campaigning more priority than their policy, which states:

Labour’s policies in Internal Affairs will seek to enhance knowledge, appreciation and pride in New Zealand’s identity…

Labour will

  • review the design of the New Zealand flag involving flag design experts and with full public consultation and involvement.

That’s exactly what is currently happening, but Labour are campaigning against the recommended process and on the Select Committee will put in a minority report saying it was “strongly opposed” to the bill because of the order of the wording.

From Vote Positive, Party vote Labour, Policy 2014:

The New Zealand Flag

Labour will:

review the design of the New Zealand flag involving flag design experts and with full public consultation and involvement.

We believe that the time has come for a change and it is right for the issue to be put to the public. We would however support the ability of the RSA and similar organisations to continue to fly the current flag if they so wish. New Zealand changed its national anthem from ‘God Save the Queen’ on a gradual, optional basis and that process worked.

Contrary to this Labour are trying to prevent the public from reviewing the design of the New Zealand flag.

By promoting a “do you want to change the flag” referendum before public consultation on any alternate designs Labour appear to be campaigning against their own flag policy.

Has their flag policy changed since last year? Or are they just being politically petty in trying to hobble a John Key initiative?

Labour leader Andrew Little answered an NBR Q&A on flag change during the leadership contest last year.

Should NZ change its flag:

What’s your personal opinion?

Should there be a referendum?

If you want the flag changed, what’s your favourite design?

Yes, my personal opinion is we should have something more relevant to an independent, small Asia/Pacific nation. I think a referendum is a suitable way to deal with an issue that can be very polarising. I don’t like the idea of the silver fern on a black background. The elements I would like to see in a flag are the Southern Cross, blue for the sea, green for the land and mountains, and a reference to our Maori heritage.

So why is Trevor Mallard leading a campaign against a sensible flag change process?

Claire Trevett looked at this last month in No room for political spite in flag debate.

This is where Labour comes in, apparently determined to sabotage the process. Labour is a relatively pro-republic party in which most MPs favour a change of flag. Despite that, it has set about political point-scoring, even if doing so undermines the very process that might result in that flag change.

Their primary objection is the order of the questions in the referendums. They argue New Zealanders should first be asked whether they want a change – and have a second referendum only if the majority want change.

Labour claims it is an effort to save money. What codswallop. Labour’s objections are an effort to rain on the Prime Minister’s parade and get headlines.

The Ministry of Justice advised against putting the change question first. That was because for many people not entrenched in either camp, the final decision will depend on what the alternative is.

Had the Government gone against that advice, Labour would probably now be accusing it of penny pinching over a matter of national identity. Labour’s approach is rather selfish and short-sighted and if it has the effect of tainting the entire process, the party might rue it.

Labour has also taken to feeding the perception that it is a “vanity project” for John Key. This primarily comes down to sour grapes. Labour wants a new flag. But they don’t want Key to be the one whose name is linked to it. They want it for themselves.

Questioning referendums is one thing, but trying to influence people’s votes out of puerile political spite is a different matter. It may be true that Key is keen on a legacy, but it should be irrelevant. The referendums are on the flag, not on the political parties or personalities.

The referendums are a treacherous enough process. The officials’ advice also pointed to the risk of “tactical voting”, in which those opposed to change vote for the least appealing option – so the current flag had a better chance of winning.

The referendum process is now before a select committee and the Flag Consideration Panel has started its work of consulting about an alternative. This is the first chance New Zealanders have had to vote on the flag. The politicians would do New Zealand a favour by simply shutting up and letting the public get on with it for themselves.

But still Labour are “apparently determined to sabotage the process”.

Or at least Mallard is leading opposition to the process. Despite Little supposedly being leader. and despite it being Labour policy.

Scandal mongering

Anthony Robins has posted A partial list of current scandals at The Standard. While there could be some validity to some claims the usual Labour-style exaggeration and inaccuracy is a feature of the list.

For those of you who are keeping score at home, these are just the current ones (that we know about):

Nick Smith – Auckland housing and cold hearted on state housing deaths.

Are these scandals? Or a Minister streuggling to deal adequately with very complex and difficult issues?

Murray McCully – Saudi sheep bribe.

This is an embarrassment that could reach the scandal  level.

Bill English – Mismanagement of the economy.

Robins, like Labour, is still trying to criticise one of National’s strengths. repating mistakesn is a scandal for those wishing for a Labour Party recovery.

Judith Collins – Defending the illegal export of kauri logs (her husband’s company again).

I believe I’ve seen an apology from Radio NZ for linking Collins with that. There’s no mention on Collins in the linked article.

Steven Joyce – Crazy spending at MBIE.

A fairly minor scandal, Government departments spending extravagantly is a poor look but hardly unusual.

Te Ururoa Flavell – Political interference at Maori TV.

Has this reached minor scandal level yet?

Hekia Parata – Failure to govern Kohanga Reo.

The linked article quotes Labour’s Nanaia Mahuta:

Labour’s Maori development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta said if the minister did not have confidence in the board, they needed to go.

“She should stop stalling and demand their resignations,” Ms Mahuta said.

It looks like a long bow calling that a Parata scandal.

John Key – Lied about Labour’s role in Saudi sheep deal.

John Key – All of the above.

The Standard has been hammering Key over a multitude of lies for about seven years. In that time they have lost three elections, reducing their vote each time. They are on their fourth leader versus Key.

Something isn’t working for Labour. If they picked their battles better rather than using a scatter gun ‘cry scandal’ approach they might do better.

Scandal mongering and lie mongering does nothing to make Labour look like they could do any better.

Can ‘poverty’ be a habit?

Poverty is currently one of new Zealand’s big issues.

National’s approach has been to make financial and business conditions conducive to economic and employment growth, to incentivise and assist unemployed people to get jobs, and to target the worse off with additional assistance.

Labour’s approach is to criticise National’s approach.

Green’s approach is to give the poor much more money and to guarantee them comfortable living conditions, seeing this as a right regardless of any individual’s capability or willingness to work.

The hard right want the Government gutted and for everyone to manage on their own – swim or sink.

The hard left (including some Greens) accuse the Government of deliberately making the poor poorer so the rich can get richer – I’ve never seen anyone explain how that would work.

Some people are not competent to manage their lives or their finances so a decent society should support them.

There are certainly hard luck stories that result in people being poor.

But why, generally, do people who have had money and go broke manage to climb back up the money ladder? While others seem to start poor and remain perpetually poor? Can poverty be a habit?

I saw a link to an article by Thomas Worley on Facebook. He is described:

About Thomas C. Corley

Tom Corley understands the difference between being rich and poor: at age nine, his family went from being multi-millionaires to broke in just one night.

For five years, Tom observed and documented the daily activities of 233 wealthy people and 128 people living in poverty. He discovered there is an immense difference between the habits of the wealthy and the poor. During his research he identified over 200 daily activities that separated the “haves” from the “have nots.” The culmination of his research can be found in his #1 bestselling book, Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals.

The article: Will Your Child be Rich or Poor? 15 Poverty Habits Parents Teach Their Children

When I travel the country speaking to high school and college students about exactly what they need to do to become financially successful in life I always begin my presentation by asking three questions:

“How many want to be financially successful in life?”

“How many think they will be financially successful in life?”

Almost every time I ask the first two questions every hand rises in the air. Then I ask the magic third question:

“How many have taken a course in school on how to be financially successful in life?”

Not one hand rises in the air, ever. Clearly every student wants to be successful and thinks they will be successful but none have been taught by their parents or their school system how to be financially successful in life. Not only are there no courses on basic financial success principles but there are no structured courses teaching basic financial literacy. We are raising our children to be financially illiterate and to fail in life. Is it any wonder that most Americans live paycheck to paycheck? That most Americans accumulate more debt than assets?  That many Americans lose their homes when they lose their job? Is it any wonder that most Americans cannot afford college for their children and that student loan debt is now the largest type of consumer debt?

That sounds very similar to New Zealand. I was never taught any financial principles at home or at school. I left home and got my first full time job when I was sixteen and started to teach myself – and I learned to manage fortnight to fortnight with my pay (beginning at $66 a fortnight) from there with no plan for the future. I’ve learned and taught myself a few more things since then.

I’ve experienced how easy it is to get in a financial rut. And I’ve managed to do ok at times to. I certainly don’t regard myself as rich but I think I have a pretty good life overall.

I’ve never planned or aspired to making myself rich. Doing ok has been ok enough.

What about the hundreds of thousands of people deemed to being in poverty? Are they stuck there?

By today’s measures I grew up in poverty. It was tough times for my parents trying to manage on an orchard that was sold to them as frost free but was devastated by frosts at times, at one stage in two out of three years. At times both my parents worked elsewhere to survive. But the both ended up financially quite comfortable, able to live their later years as they liked.

But some people seem to start in poverty and remain stuck in poverty. Corley writes:

The fact is the poor are poor because they have too many Poverty Habits and too few Rich Habits. Poor parents teach their children the Poverty Habits and wealthy parents teach their children the Rich Habits. We don’t have a wealth gap in this country we have a parent gap. We don’t have income inequality, we have parent inequality.

My parents didn’t teach me to get rich, but at least they taught me to work hard and to battle away until I wasn’t poor.

Corley lists fifteen statistics that separate the rich from the poor.

  1. 72% of the wealthy know their credit score vs. 5% of the poor
  2. 6% of the wealthy play the lottery vs. 77% of the poor
  3. 80% of the wealthy are focused on at least one goal vs. 12% of the poor
  4. 62% of the wealthy floss their teeth every day vs. 16% of the poor
  5. 21% of the wealthy are overweight by 30 pounds or more vs. 66% of the poor
  6. 63% of the wealthy spend less than 1 hour per day on recreational Internet use vs. 26% of the poor
  7. 83% of the wealthy attend/attended back to school night for their kids vs. 13% of the poor
  8. 29% of the wealthy had one or more children who made the honor roll vs. 4% of the poor
  9. 63% of wealthy listen to audio books during their commute vs. 5% of the poor
  10. 67% of the wealthy watch 1 hour or less of T.V. per day vs 23% of the poor
  11. 9% of the wealthy watch reality T.V. shows vs. 78% of the poor
  12. 73% of the wealthy were taught the 80/20 rule vs. 5% of the poor (live off 80% save 20%)
  13. 79% of the wealthy network 5 hours or more per month vs. 16% of the poor
  14. 8% of the wealthy believe wealth comes from random good luck vs. 79% of the poor
  15. 79% of the wealthy believe they are responsible for their financial condition vs. 18% of the poor

Corley suggests:

Parents and our schools need to work together to instill good daily success habits as follows:

  • Limit T.V., social media and cell phone use to no more than one hour a day.
  • Require that children to read one to two educational books a month.
  • Require children to aerobically exercise 20 – 30 minutes a day.
  • Limit junk food to no more than 300 calories a day.
  • Require that children set monthly, annual and 5-year goals.
  • Require working age children to work or volunteer at least ten hours a week.
  • Require that children save at least 25% of their earnings or gifts they receive.
  • Teach children the importance of relationship building by requiring them to call friends, family, teachers, coaches etc. on their birthdays and to send thank you cards for gifts or help they received from anyone.
  • Reassure children that mistakes are good not bad. Children need to understand that the very foundation of success in life is built on learning from our mistakes.
  • Punish children when they lose their tempers so they understand the importance of controlling this very costly emotion.
  • Teach children that seeking financial success in life is good and is a worthwhile goal. Children need to learn what the American Dream is and that it is something to be pursued in life.
  • Children need to learn how to manage money. Open up a checking account or savings account for children and force them to use their savings to buy the things they want. They need to learn that they are not entitled to things like cell phones, computers, fashionable clothes, flat screen T.V.s etc.
  • Require children to participate in at least two non-sports-related extracurricular activities at school or outside of school.
  • Parents and children need to set aside at least an hour a day to talk to one another. Not on Facebook, or on the cell phone, but face to face. The only quality time is quantity time
  • Teach children how to manage their time. They should be required to create daily “to do” lists and these lists need to be monitored by parents. The goal should be to accomplish at least 70% of their tasks on their daily “to do” list.

And he concludes:

Wealthy people do certain things every single day that sets them apart from everyone else in life. Wealthy people have good daily success habits that they learned from their parents. These daily habits are the real reason for the wealth gap in our country and the real reason why the rich get richer. Unless we teach our children good daily success habits, and level the playing field, the rich will continue to get richer and the poor will continue to get poorer.

Food for thought. Especially for our politicians.

I’m sure that to an extent poverty can be a habit.

Should out Governments feed that habit or try and break that habit?

Labour and interference with Maori TV

Reported at Maori Television: Ihaka takes up Senior Communications Advisor role:

Putting Māori Members of Parliament (MPs) at the forefront of important New Zealand politics is Jodi Ihaka’s plan, as she was recently appointed the Labour Party’s new Senior Communications Advisor (Māori).

“I’m really excited to use my communication skills in such an important Māori advisory capacity.  I have loved my time at Whakaata Māori (Māori Television) and have nothing but respect for the Māori journalists on Te Kāea and Native Affairs,” says Ihaka.

The position sees Ihaka take on a key advisory role to Labour leader, Andrew Little as well as Māori MPs including Kelvin Davis, Peeni Henare, Louisa Wall, Meka Whaitiri, Nanaia Mahuta and Adrian Rurawhe.

Of Te Aupōuri and Ngāti Porou descent, Ihaka says her grandparents were staunch Labour supporters and taking up this role means she is making a call about her own political affiliations.

Just days ago, the Native Affairs journalist was getting story leads from Senior Labour MPs and will now play the role of cheerleader, camp mother, and all consuming communicator.

That’s one way of interfering, pinching one of their top journalists. But that’s not what Labour is complaining about.

3 News reports: Labour claims interference with Maori TV:

Labour is accusing a minister’s office of editorial interference in Maori TV.

Clare Curran has released copies of emails Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell’s press secretary sent to a producer.

In one of them, Hinerangi Barr questioned the purpose of a panel debate on the Maori welfare delivery programme Whanau Ora.

“I don’t think the issue will be covered in any depth if you have NZ First on it, for example,” she told associate producer Kelvin McDonald.

In another email to Mr McDonald, Ms Barr said: “I’m just not convinced that you’ll enlighten your viewers by having a panel of politicians talking about Whanau Ora.”

Mr McDonald had asked Mr Flavell to appear on the programme with representatives of other political parties.

Mr Flavell had agreed to take part.

However, the minister met Maori TV’s chief executive Paora Maxwell on May 20 and later that day the programme was cancelled.

Ms Curran questioned Mr Flavell in Parliament yesterday about the meeting, and Mr Flavell said the programme hadn’t been discussed.

He said the meeting had been in his diary since February.

Ms Curran believes the Maori Television Service Act has been breached.

It states: “The responsible minister, or any person acting on behalf of or at the direction of any minister… must not direct the service or any director, officer or employee of the service in respect of the preparation or presentation of current affairs programming.”

“Just days ago, the Native Affairs journalist was getting story leads from Senior Labour MPs” – one could wonder whether Labour MPs were getting story leads from Native Affairs journalists.

Curran questions Flavell in Parliament yesterday:

[Sitting date: 17 June 2015. Volume:706;Page:14. Text is subject to correction.]

10. CLARE CURRAN (Labour—Dunedin South) to the Minister for Māori Development : When he met with the Chief Executive of Māori Television in May, did he or his office discuss the planned Native Affairs debate on Whānau Ora?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL (Minister for Māori Development): Tēnā koe, Mr Speaker. Kia ora tātou. In answer to the question: no. I met with the chief executive officer of Māori Television once in May 2015. The meeting itself had been confirmed in my diary since February 2015, when I believe I had my first meeting with him. I did not discuss, and do not discuss, planned news items or editorial decisions, as those are matters for the staff of Māori Television to consider.

Clare Curran : Did his press secretary question the format and offer alternative suggestions for a proposed Native Affairsdebate regarding Whānau Ora, which was to have occurred on Māori Television on 1 June 2015?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL : I am advised that my media secretary had communications with the associate producer of Māori Television to clarify the purpose of the panel and, having been told by Māori Television that it was to discuss Whānau Ora and its details, she questioned whether a panel of MPs, including MPs from New Zealand First—who have clearly never understood in any detail what it is all about—would achieve the stated purpose.

Rt Hon Winston Peters : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It is well known that a Minister cannot seek to answer and lay out the policy of another political party, particularly when it is so demonstrably false.

Mr SPEAKER : I just want to rule on the point made by the Rt Hon Winston Peters, because he is right on this occasion. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER : Order! When answering a question, it just does not help the order of the House to take the opportunity to criticise in any way another political party.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL : The questioner asked about discussions that might have occurred with my press secretary—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] Order! The Minister will now resume his seat. I have no problem with that part of the answer. The part that caused a little disruption in the House was the reference to whether or not another political party understood the purposes of Whānau Ora. That was not helpful and is not actually in accordance with the Standing Orders.

Hon David Cunliffe : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker.

Mr SPEAKER : Is this is a fresh point of order?

Hon David Cunliffe : Yes, it is a completely separate point of order.

Mr SPEAKER : I will hear it.

Hon David Cunliffe : There was a degree of to and fro across the across benches, which made it difficult for members here to hear the Minister’s initial reply. I wonder if it would be possible for the Minister to repeat his reply to the previous supplementary question.

Mr SPEAKER : If the member is saying that he did not hear that—I heard most of the answer without any difficulty—I have got to accept the member’s word. Would the Minister please re-give his answer without the part that caused some difficulty in the last answer.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL : I will do my best. In answer to the question: I am advised that my media secretary had communications with the associate producer of Māori Television in order to clarify what the purpose of the panel was, and, having been told by Māori Television that it was to discuss in detail what Whānau Ora was about, she questioned whether a panel of MPs, including New Zealand First—for those are the statements—would achieve the stated purpose. The note continues in the same discussion thread with Māori Television. My media secretary confirmed also that I was happy to be interviewed on the Whānau Ora story, and that is because I do not shirk my responsibilities and I would have no difficulty in answering questions about the value of Whānau Ora, because it has benefited so many families’ lives throughout the country.

Clare Curran : I seek leave to table emails dated 14 May 2015 and 19 May 2015 between the Minister’s press secretary and a Māori Television associate producer, which offer alternative suggestions for the format and which question the need for New Zealand First to appear in the proposed Native Affairs debate regarding Whānau Ora that was to occur—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! I think the document has now been described more than adequately. Leave is sought to table this particular email. Is there any objection? There is.

Clare Curran : When he told the Māori Affairs Committee this morning that neither he nor his office expressed a view about what should be screened or who should be approached to comment on Māori Television, why did he not admit then that his own press secretary had indeed engaged in an email discussion with a Native Affairs producer about what should be screened and who should be approached to comment?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL : It is pretty simple: I did not believe that the communications between my press secretary and, indeed, Māori Television did what the member has just said.

Clare Curran : Is it correct that on the afternoon of 20 May 2015, just after he met with the chief executive officer of Māori Television, Paora Maxwell, the planned debate regarding Whānau Ora was cancelled?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL : That is very insightful. Yes, it was cancelled. We were notified on that date, having also told Māori Television on the 14th that I was prepared to appear on that programme.

Clare Curran : I seek leave to table an email dated 20 May 2015 at 3.13 p.m. from the producer of Native Affairs stating that the proposed debate on Whānau Ora had been—

Mr SPEAKER : Order! [Interruption] Order! The member will resume her seat. The email has been described adequately. I am putting the leave. Leave is sought to table it. Is there any objection? There is.

Clare Curran : I seek leave to table an email from Paora Maxwell dated 22 May 2015 showing that he met with the Minister for Māori Development on Wednesday 20 May.

Mr SPEAKER : Leave is sought to table that particular email. Is there any objection? There is objection. [Interruption] Order! If the member wants to ask a supplementary question, get on with it.

Clare Curran : Can he assure this House unequivocally that he has complied with section 10 of the Māori Television Service (Te Aratuku Whakaata Irirangi Māori) Act, which states that a “Minister, or any person acting by or on behalf of or at the direction of any Minister … must not direct the Service … in respect of … the preparation or presentation of current affairs programmes”?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL : Absolutely.

Clare Curran : Did he post a tweet on 8 June in response to Graham Cameron that he had never been invited to talk to theNative Affairs programme about the Whānau Ora programme?

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL : I am not sure, but I think I did post a tweet and confirm that I had not been invited. The communication that the member has talked about was through my press secretary. It had not arrived to me, and I stand by what I said.

Clare Curran : I seek leave to table a copy of the 8 June tweet by the Minister in response to Graham Cameron.

Mr SPEAKER : Leave is sought to table that particular information. Is there any objection? There is objection. [Interruption] Order! A member on this side is trying to ask a supplementary question.

Clare Curran : Is he concerned about the claims of continued editorial interference with the Native Affairsprogramme, including stories on Whānau Ora and Te Kōhanga Reo National Trust; and if he is concerned and is not a party to this editorial interference, as he claims, why has he not investigated these allegations or raised them with the chief executive officer and chair of Māori Television?

Mr SPEAKER : The Hon Te Ururoa Flavell—any of those three supplementary questions.

Hon TE URUROA FLAVELL : Those issues are matters for both the board and the chief executive; they are not the prerogative of the Minister.

TRP’s Standard claims

Te Reo Putake graced us with presence in comments following It’s no wonder Labour is in trouble – good to see him engaging.

He claimed:

Some TS authors are in Labour, some are Greens, some mana and some are politically independent. There’s no ‘party line’ as our host here at YourNZ knows all too well!

I’m not aware of claiming any ‘party line’, but asked “what % of TS posts would you say are by non Labour people?”

The majority, Pete. If you want, have a look at the 30 or so posts available on TS’s home page and have a count up. The most commented post at the moment is the Horse. Water one, and that’s definitely not from a LP supporter!

TRP is correct, the ‘Horse. Water one’ was authored by Bill, who is certainly not a Labour supporter. But I thought it would be interesting to have a count up.

On the Home Page there are 31 posts.

  • 9 of them are Open Mike and Daily Review posts, which theoretically are neutral, posted under ‘Notices and Features’, but  the 5 Daily Review posts feature politically motivated pictures and I’d guess there is someone with a Labour association responsible for them.
  • 5 more under ‘Notices and Features’ but apart from the Scoop congratulations are posts/reposts making political points and I’d guess chosen by someone associated with Labour – one on housing, a Helen Kelly petition (she is seen as close to Labour too), a Key caption dig, one dissing social bonds.
  • 1 x Bryan Gould he has just done the Labour election review and was a UK Labour MP.
  • 6 x Anthony Robins, closely associated with Labour.
  • 3 x Greg Presland, closely associated with Labour.
  • 3 x Natwatch who looks like a typical Labour acvtivist
  • 1 x KJT – unknown affiliation
  • 1 x Bill – non-Labour
  • 2 x Tracey – non-Labour
  • Those last three, KJT, Bill and Tracey are infrequent authors. Bryan Gould is also an occasional author.
  • No sign of TRP there – what’s up? You and Greg and Anthony are currently the most prolific authors – and all Labour.
  • Of the 17 authored posts 10-14 of them have close associations with Labour.
  • Some of the non-authored posts have a distinct Labour flavour.

Does any of the 31 posts have any association with a party that isn’t Labour?

TRP – do you still claim “the majority” are by non-Labour people?

Are you as accurate in this claim…

The fact that the people mentioned in the post are in the LP at one end of the spectrum, and the majority of the members at the other

…of a majority?

You seem to be a wee bit out of touch with reality.

It’s no wonder Labour is in trouble

Attention has been given to a group of people with an interest in Labour wanting to set up a ‘think tank” to broaden discussion within the party.

Another person with a close interest in Labour, Greg Presland, blogged on this asking Is this progress?

Richard Harman has blogged on Politik on proposals for a right wing third way think tank being formed in New Zealand.  The think tank is apparently to be modelled on the British Organisation Progress which is a UK based think tank associated with the Labour Party espousing a Blairite third way approach to politics.

Those linked include Stuart Nash, Josie Pagani, Nick Legget and Phil Quin.

Presland concludes:

Apart from an obvious philosophical difference the most frustrating thing for me with a Blairite third way approach is its insistence on triangulating issues.  Being a pale insipid pink is thought to be sufficient.

And the basic problem is that the issues that our world face are so huge that a slightly more benign approach is not going to solve them.  How are we going to deal with climate change for instance by making the ETS slightly more efficient?

The last attempt at formation of such a group, the infamous backbone group in the late 1980s ended in the formation of the Act Party.  Harman reported that there was a heated discussion in Caucus about the current proposal.  No doubt some MPs are keen to avoid past experiences.

That’s relatively mild disapproval of wide views and discussion.

There was some support for the idea in comments, but there was also signs an insidious problem that’s frequently on show at The Standard.

Fellow Standard author and another with a close interest in Labour, Te Reo Putake, commented:

In one way this is a good thing; we’ll be able to identify and ignore the people in the party who are the biggest problem. The downside is that it’s just one more place for the msm to go for anti-Labour stories.

It doesn’t sound like The Standard is much of a broad church. It’s parishioners piss on each other.

This is typical of Labour activists like TRP. He (and others) often identifies people he sees as a problem and tries to drive them away from The Standard.

Ironically he also comments:

The difficulty with that is that these people want to continue the failure. They are offering nothing new.

Very ironic. Then:

We’ve lost two elections since 2008 with leaders who broadly support this kind of regressive, righty thinking. We need new ideas, or at least, a return to the old ideas that work.

He sounds confused. Old ideas that may have worked. Last century sometime. And anyone who begs to differed is excommunicated.

In response to “So, Is the party a broad church or not? It does seem so if you want to do away with those who do not agree with you, Karen.”

Yep: The definition: a group, organization, or doctrine that allows for and caters to a wide range of opinions and people. The fact that the people mentioned in the post are in the LP at one end of the spectrum, and the majority of the members at the other, confirms it. Probably applies to the GP as well.

Claiming to represent “the majority of the members” – intolerant of anyone else.

And TRP had recently demonstrated his approach to people he disagrees with.

11 June 2015 at 11:58 am

[Deleted. Take a month off. TRP]

10 June 2015 at 12:36 pm

[“Falsehoods”. “Thrive for accuracy” I have no time for people who accuse me of lying, as you’ll see shortly. The post, like most here at TS, had a short shelf life. It’s prominent position was brief. It was recognised as inappropriate almost immediately. This is a multiple author site and when mistakes happen we work hard to address the issue as quickly as possible. Now piss off for a week for calling me a liar. TRP]


[Nope he was banned for abusing an author and wasting my time. Yours is for questioning the right to ban. Take a day off, felix. TRP]

Hey Putake

Would you mind telling me why the fuck you’ve deleted my comment? I don’t give a fuck about a ban, [Deleted. If you didn’t give a fuck about a ban, you’d respect it. Come back tomorrow. TRP]

With preachers like that in the Labour church preaching hell and damnation to anyone who strays from their narrow ideology it’s no wonder Labour is in trouble.

Like many people I’m an ex-Labour voter. They don’t want me back. They think they can somehow appeal to people who have never liked politics. How those disaffected voters would be attracted to the TRP doctrine of ‘agree or be shat’ on I have no idea.

Little: “That stuff on euthanasia, it isn’t the time for us to be talking about that”

Labour leader Andrew Little has criticised John Key ‘dodging’ the euthanasia issue. This would be fair criticism – except that Little has not just dodged the issue, he

From Act plans assisted dying bill:

Mr Little has accused Mr Key of trying to dodge the issue by refusing a Government move on it. But he has also ruled out a change in Labour’s decision not to put in a bill, saying his party’s preference was for a select committee inquiry.

Last term Labour MP Maryan Street had a Member’s bill on euthanasia, and that was taken over by Iain Lees-Galloway. But Little stomped on that.

Labour MP drops euthanasia bill

A bill which would legalise voluntary euthanasia has been dropped by Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway at the request of his leader Andrew Little.

Mr Lees-Galloway had been canvassing support for his End of Life Choice Bill before deciding whether to return it to the private members’ bill ballot.

But Mr Little confirmed yesterday that he had told Mr Lees-Galloway not to put it in the ballot because it was not an issue Labour should be focused on when it was rebuilding.

“It comes down to priorities at the moment,” Mr Little said. “We are very much focused on … jobs and economic security.

“There are more people affected by weak labour market regulation and weak economic strategy than they are about the right to make explicit choices about how they die.”

Mr Little said Labour was still a socially progressive party under his leadership.

“It’s not about avoiding controversy but it’s about choosing the controversies that are best for us at this point in time. That stuff on euthanasia, it isn’t the time for us to be talking about that.”

So Little has already dodged dealing with euthanasia. Criticising Key for not doing anything is highly hypocritical of Little, who deliberately kept a bill out of the ballot.

Little: “That stuff on euthanasia, it isn’t the time for us to be talking about that”.

So ACT’s Seymour took over Labour’s bill. Little looks more than a little hypocritical for criticising Key for trying to dodge the issue.

Labour review on candidate selection anti-democratic

The leaked Labour election review looked at candidate selection processes. While saying that “the existing arrangements cannot be justified in terms of democratic practice” they recommend putting the power of selecting candidate nominees in the hands of an appointed three person “Vetting Committee”.

And then give the power of party list allocations to a “Moderation Committee” comprising the party Council plus four sitting MPs.


In PART 1 – General Election 2014:

1B  Candidate selection
Candidate selection on the whole worked well and produced some excellent candidates. Late candidate selection hampered some 2014 electorate campaigns.

I would have thought that a failure to attract vote winning candidates is one of Labour’s biggest challenges, along with their failure to ‘retire’ faded and jaded old MPs. That the review doesn’t mention either of these issues is surprising, it seems to ignore some of their biggest problems.

There should be a strategy developed for early selections and electorates with limited potential to generate a significant candidate pool.  Attention should be paid to the transparency and fairness of the process for drawing up the list and to the structure of the list.

They look at this in more detail in  PART 3 – Party Governance and Organisation  

3E  Candidates
The real question appears to be how the Party identifies candidates and then prepares and supports its candidates before, during and after the election. There needs to be greater central coordination of candidates. They are the advocates and the public face of the Party so much of the success of the election campaign depends on them. One of the tasks of the Executive should be to address this issue.

“Greater central coordination of candidates” means moving selection decisions from electorates to Head Office. Labour have already tried to do this through candidate gender quotas.

One of the most criticised aspects of the last election was the process for selection of list candidates. The existing arrangements cannot be justified in terms of democratic practice or effective outcomes.

“Democratic practice” would seem to be in conflict with “greater central coordination”.

First, any Party members who get the support of 10 financial members of the Party should be able to nominate for consideration for a list position.

That seems straight forward.

Second, nomination should be initially vetted by a central Vetting Committee appointed by the NZ Council. The Vetting Committee should consist of three experienced Party members who are not current members of the NZ Council or a Member of Parliament.  The role of the Vetting Committee is to verify that the nominee qualifies under the rules, and to select 60 nominees for referral to the Moderating Committee that will allocate the place on the list to the nominees.

All electorate candidates should also nominate for the list to ensure that candidates campaign for both the electorate and the Party. It was apparent in the last election that some electorate candidates did not campaign for the Party vote. The Vetting Committee should be aware of and give consideration to the Constitutional obligation for the Party list to reflect the diversity in the community, in particular gender, race and the regions.

Wow. An NZ Council appointed Vetting Committee. “To verify that the nominee qualifies under the rules” is basic procedure but that could be done at electorate level.

“And to select 60 nominees for referral to the Moderating Committee” – so three Council appointed people will “select 60 nominees”.  Not much “democratic practice” there.

“The Vetting Committee should be aware of and give consideration to the Constitutional obligation for the Party list to reflect the diversity in the community, in particular gender, race and the regions” sounds like dictated quotas which also clashes with “democratic practice”.

Third, the Moderating Committee should comprise the NZ Council plus 4 Members of the Caucus. Its task is to allocate the places on the list after consideration to the requirement for diversity and regional representation.  The over-riding criteria, however, must be the merit of the individual and their capacity to run a successful campaign as expressed in the Strategic Selection Criteria developed by the Executive.

The “Moderating Committee” – the NZ Council plus 4 current MPs – will ” allocate the places on the list after consideration to the requirement for diversity and regional representation”.

No sign of electorates in the process. No sign of the membership in the process. No sign of “democratic practice”.

And every sign that the review committee and the Labour Party are out of touch with just about everything except head office control.

Candidates who know they are favoured by Party Central might like their chances but it’s hard to see this approach attracting fresh new candidates who might not fit the strict criteria and who might not be seen as suitable by a small clique of party apparatchiks.

This is unlikely to go down well with a lot of members. Who did the review committee consult with?

Labour review reaction –

Patrick Gower has been scathing of Labour’s leaked election review, even by his standards, in Where Labour went wrong – election review leaked.

And it actually contains a dire warning for the Labour Party, it’s says that Labour is broke, so broke that it needs money, it needs money right now, or else it could face political oblivion.


The 2014 election was a total disaster for Labour.

This review was into what went wrong and reveals Labour is totally broke.

The review also warns that if Labour does not find some cash quickly “it will continue experience electoral failure and place the status of the party as a political institution of influence at risk”.

Gower to Andrew Little:

Labour is so broke it’s headed to political oblivion.


That’s what the report says, um that’s not what’s going to happen.


The review found plenty of other problems but stated the obvious.

“Labour’s campaign preparation was inadequate”.

“Tension around the leadership and disunity within caucus seriously undermined Labour’s credibility”.

“There was a general lack of message discipline”.


There’s nothing in there that I think would take anyone by surprise.

Now someone has leaked this report, suggesting that disunity, credibility and message discipline are still serious problems.

Except that there is some message discipline. Te Reo Putake at The Standard, in NZLP Review of Election 2014; the Good, the Bad and the Ugly,

 There isn’t much in the review that will surprise anyone.

Is that the official Labour response?

I guess the take home message is that the party is in good shape and despite the grumbling of a few less relevant MP’s the caucus is as united as it has been since the Clark years. And that’s clearly due to the management and leadership of Andrew Little.

Hardly anyone is saying the party “is in good shape”. And the report has been leaked  under Little’s management.

There’s a lot more in there, and most of it is honest, straightforward and sensible.

Yeah, right. Then in typical Standard fashion TRP attacks the messenger, or in this case the leaker.

One thing that does not get mentioned, however, is the issue of internal discipline. TV3 were leaked this document. No point gnashing our teeth over who leaked it because they’ll keep ducking and diving anyway, but whoever you are, you’re scum.

So internal discipline under Little’s management isn’t so flash after all.

And commenters at The Standard even go as far as naming suspect MP leakers. TRP is usually quick to stamp on any messaging or accusations or statements of fact that are unfavourable to his task, but he lets this speculation go unmoderated, so he must be comfortable with internal witchhunting. He could be doing it himself under alternate pseudonyms (he’s known to comment under different names).

Then in a comment TRP says:

I don’t know how widely circulated the leaked version was so it may be that no MP had access to it. One of the noticeable changes under Andrew Little’s leadership has been caucus unity and discipline. Prior to his election, leaking was commonplace. Since he took over, it seems to have stopped completely.

So TRP allows specific MPs to be accused (two of them) but tries to claim a new level of “unity and discipline” under Little’s leadership.

The review didn’t mention how far divorced from reality some of the people acting for Labour are, and that’s a problem that looks entrenched.

However more and more with an interest in Labour and ‘progressive politics’ can see the problems, with the party and now with this report. Patrick Leland in Reviewing the review:

The envelope on which NZ Labour’s campaign review was written on the back of has unsurprisingly been leaked. Expect a witch hunt to distract from just how sub-standard the review is.

See the above and the Standard post and thread.

The content of the review, and lack-thereof, offer a fascinating insight into a party in turmoil. The actual 2014 general election campaign is skimmed over – most of the focus of the review instead seems to be the party’s organisational structures.

He comments on sections of the report, critically, then concludes:

At the end of the day this review is a mess. However the biggest problem will be if the party focusses on the guff in it (I can already imagine the fights that changes to LEC and regional council rules will cause) and continues to ignore the very real political problems it faces – which remain largely unaddressed.

Given this review is a waste of the envelope it was written on, it will be interesting to see how the new leader and president react (I can’t imagine the current General Secretary doing much to improve the situation).

If Te Reo Putake’s attempts to paper over the cracks (or chasms) and pretend “I guess the take home message is that the party is in good shape” are any indication of how Labour sees the report then the party is going to struggle to recover, financial fix or not.

UPDATE: according to ‘Saarbo’ even the leak can’t be Labour’s fault.

I refuse to believe that someone within Labour would have leaked this report to Gower.

This leak is either a hacker or Labour has someone within its ranks who has been planted and leaks in the best interests of Labour’s opposition party’s, it seems implausible but at some stage someone has to start asking this question.


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