Trotter spells out reality for Labour and Northland

Chris Trotter has posted Sorry Winston: Why Labour needs to stand in Northland at The Daily Blog.

He shouldn’t be sorry, politics is politics. Labour need to fight for their own recovery and not hand Peters the limelight in the runner-up stakes.

And the ideological worriers of the left wing blogosphere are not what successful recoveries and elections are made of.

Not that the Labour Party was ever the slightest bit interested in finding out if Winston could win the Northland by-election.

Andrew Little’s eyes are fixed upon an altogether more distant electoral horizon – 2017. He is convinced that unless his own party becomes the unequivocally dominant Opposition player, the electorate as a whole will continue to shy away from the prospect of a coalition government in which Labour is merely primus inter pares – first among equals.

In the most brutal political terms, this means driving both the Greens and NZ First right down to the 5 percent MMP threshold. To be seen as a credible alternative to the National-led Government, Labour needs to command at least 40 percent of the Party Vote, and Andrew Little must be rated as John Key’s equal.

Labour will not get there by giving every Green and NZ First Party sucker an even break.

They’d be suckers to capitulate to Winston. Little doesn’t look like a sucker, hence for the first time for six years Labour’s fortunes look more promising.

This is now the real mission of Andrew Little and his team. To find the means of both reassuring and activating Labour’s base.

It does mean acknowledging the consistent messages being sent to the party by those who feel themselves to be Labour, but who no longer believe that Labour feels itself to be them.

Standing with these voters will, almost certainly, mean that a vociferous, but much smaller, number of voters will end up walking away. Little must let them go.

That won’t please a handful of hard left would be revolutionaries at The Daily Blog and The Standard but the more massive middle vote is far more important to Labour than theirs (and they are more likely to vote Green or Mana anyway).

The job of winning them back isn’t his, it belongs to Labour’s own (yet to be properly organised) ideological ninjas. On the blogs, Facebook and Twitter; over bottles of beer at the pub; or glasses of wine at the dinner-table; the labour movement’s oldest lessons must be rehearsed again and again: “If we don’t stick together, then we won’t fight together. If we won’t fight together – then we can’t win.”

I wouldn’t bank on that, the ideological ninjas in the blogosphere are blindly shitting in their own nest and driving away people interested in seeing if Labour is worth returning to.

The Left needs to accept and understand that the “we” in those sentences is directed at Labour’s once and future voters. Not the Greens’ – and certainly not NZ First’s.

That’s something the ninja worriers at The Daily Blog and The Standard can’t fathom. Successful elections are all about far more voters than them.

“Labour can never again govern alone”

Felix is fuming at The Standard because Labour aren’t capitulating to Winston Peters in the Northland by-election.

This is despite the facts that Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime announced her candidacy on February 9 and launched her campaign on Saturday February 21. Peters didn’t announce he was standing until Saturday February 28 and he launched his campaign yesterday, March 4. If Labour now pulled Prime out they would be rightly ridiculed.

Undeterred by political reality Felix states:

It’s an opportunity to build a platform for governing with other parties, and to be seen to be doing so. You know Labour can never again govern alone, right?

Wrong. It’s not possible to know that. But that doesn’t deter Felix from dripping bittterness and cynicism.

 Why should Labour destroy a working organisation in the north for a near impossibility?

Ah, there’s that Labour party spirit. Working strategically with other parties on common goals = destroying the organisation.

Ropata:Rorschach responded:

The best strategy for Labour is to build their profile and voter base.
Why would they throw away years of effort from local volunteers to push dear old Winnie, whose values and popularity are highly questionable.

That all seems very sensible, except to Felix:

Pretty sad state of affairs if that’s the best Labour can hope for.

Sometimes I wonder if it has sunk in yet that Labour will never be able to govern alone.




ps building cooperative allegiances and laying the groundwork for future governing arrangements isn’t throwing away all the hard work. Quite the opposite.

Plodding along with the same old same old while you wait for the world to change back, that’s throwing it all away.

Throwing a by-election and handing everything over the an unreliable opponent is the sort of thing that would enhance Labour’s chances of never governing alone, never, ever.

They would look like an also-ran party, or a didn’t-stand party. For a major party that would be an awful look.

Ok, Labour’s chances of governing completely alone are slim under MMP. But their chances of being the dominant party in a coalition with minor parties has to be a primary goal. Otherwise they would consign themselves to being one of a number of minor parties.

Labour got a very poor result in last year’s election, ending up with 25.13% of the vote. But no other party came close to them for second place, with Greens stagnating at 10.7% support. NZ First were next on 8.66%. Combined all three still lagged National’s 47%.

But just four elections earlier National slumped to 20.93% (in 2002) and recovered from that to be close to beating Labour three years later and successful and close to governing alone six years later. And repeated that twice since, now virtually being able to govern alone (needing just one vote from any of three parties to get a majority).

Labour have to aim at being the big steak on the plate and not resign themselves to being a vegetable amongst a left wing salad.

And to be seen as a prospect for this they have to seriously compete in the Northland by-election.

And Willow-Jean Prime, in the prime of her life, has to significantly better a faded old star who is trying to be seen as relevant again.

Labour’s recovery prospects demands that they soundly beat Peters in the by-election.

If an ambitious young woman can’t thrash a wilting Winston – he first stood for Parliament in 1975, about eight years before Prime was born – then Labour’s prospects for the future would look bleak.

But that’s probably what Felix really wants. It’s not that Labour can’t be a dominant party again, it’s more like Felix sees them as an impediment in a dream of a hard left revolution.

Andrew Little – cautious on cannabis

Duncan Garner looked at the cannabis issue and interviewed Green spokesperson Kevin Hague and Labour leader Andrew Little about their views on cannabis on RadioLive.

Andrew Little – “So my approach is proceed with caution”.

There’s likely to be as much political caution as caution over cannabis. But if encouraged Little should at least join the debate and not sweep it under the carpet as most parties and politicians have kept doing up until now.


Another US state has legalised cannabis so Duncan Garner asked his listeners if it’s time we did the same in New Zealand and got a resounding “yes”.

More than 1000 people voted in his poll, with, at the time of writing, 86% of people saying New Zealand should follow the likes of Colorado, Uruguay, the Netherlands and North Korea and legalise cannabis.

Transcript of the Andrew Little interview.

Garner: We’ve had this debate this afternoon around the legalisation of cannabis, we’ve got a poll up and man it’s been phenomenal, 86% replied (saying cannabis should be legalised), 2000 votes. We’ve had Kevin Hague on, he says it is actually time for this debate to actually occur given what’s happening in America, around four different states either decriminalise or legalised.

What’s your position on decriminalising cannabis?

Little: Yeah up to now I think we’ve, my personal view is I’ve approached it very cautiously. I mean I, when I was a union lawyer I did a lot of cases of the drug and testing in workplaces and all that sort of stuff.

The studies I did of it, the thing that came out of it for me was that a lot of the cannabis in New Zealand, that’s grown in New Zealand has such a high THC level it’s actually different to cannabis sold in other countries, so that’s an area of danger.

But having said that I’d be keen to have a look and see what the experience has been of States like you know Washington and the other states that have adopted decriminalisation more recently and just see what the experience has been and see whether there is something we can learn from it.

I’d never say no to it but I’d say we’ve got to approach this with considerable caution.

It sounds like Little wants to approach it with considerable caution. A lot has already been learnt from overseas experience going back many years.

Garner: Right, considerable caution because it could be politically not viable, it might make you unpopular? Or because you believe in it’s worth having a debate?

Little: Oh no given that my honeymoon’s over, I’m used to the unpopularity…

Garner: Yes it is over, you don’t want a long honeymoon mate, you don’t want a long honeymoon…

Little: I’m more concerned about the public health and safety aspects of it and given the conditions here. That’s the issue for me.

There are already health and safety aspects as things are. And legal and social issues. But how we currently deal with it isn’t working very well.

I think since i was up at the Auckland University quad yesterday, part of the ? week, I talked to some of the young folks there and that issue came up.

Unprompted just raised that issue with me. So there’s clearly a discussion going on out there though and you know we need to be part of it.

The discussion has been going on for a long time.

Garner: When you discuss these things obviously you get those headlines out, ‘Little supports decriminalisation’, I mean is that a fair headline or not?

Little: (pause) no that would be an unfair headline at the moment because I, I’m not, I don’t, I know there is an issue there. I’d like to look more closely at it. I’d like to  look at the experience of the American states that have decriminalised.

But I draw on my own personal experience and the research I’ve done when I was a union lawyer, to say there is an issue here that is not as easy just to say let’s decriminalise, let’s open it up.

So my approach is proceed with caution.

Garner: Proceed with caution but at least start to look at what’s happening in America.

Little: Have a look, and lets have the debate. Ah and lets get some facts, lets shine some facts on the issue. Lets not just react emotionally but lets have the debate, get the facts and proceed with caution.

There’s a lot of facts known already. It’s the debate that’s been lacking, assiduously avoided by politicians.

Little is being ultra cautious here.

To be fair to him it’s early in his time as leader and he will need to work through it within Labour. At least that’s what he should be doing.

I know there’s a will in (part of) Labour caucus to address the cannabis issue. And there’s likely to be strong support in the Labour constituency to address the issue. And in the wider population.

Little needs to be encouraged and if necessary pressured to pick up the cannabis ball and run with it. Serious political debate on it is long overdue.

Andrew Little and The Voice of Reason

‘The Voice of Reason’ was a regular commenter at The Standard for years. That was highly ironic considering that he  was consistently on of the most vindictive lying abusers of anyone deemed a political enemy at The Standard.

A few years ago TVOR changed his name to a Maori equivalent, Te Reo Putake.That’s an insult to te reo.

(And incidentally made a mistake indicating he used multiple pseudonyms at one stage).

This came up recently:

Te Reo Putake might mean the Voice Of Reason but for God’s sake, his is the voice of insanity

The Murphey:
Is it possible to be a ‘voice of reason’ when one’s bias is so openly illustrated via fear a fearful and scared perspective in his commentary’s ?

Te Reo Putake:
Yes, it is. I chose the voice of reason to wind up righties. As you can see from travellerev’s comment, it still works beautifully.

That’s about as stupid as ‘Redbaiter’. Another indicator:

If I can be the voice of reason for a moment, I hope that Standardistas won’t gloat over this news, after all innocent until proven guilty and just because he’s a hypocritical bullying piece of shit doesn’t mean that, ha … stop it, musn’t laugh … ha, ha, ha … no, really … ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, oh lordy this is too good , ha ha ha ha, not able to be company director if bankrupt, ha ha ha, Freed dead in the water ha ha ha ha …. sorry, I’ll be back when I’ve composed myself. Now, what was I saying?

There’s more irony in that than at Taharoa. Especially “hypocritical bullying piece of”…

Te Reo Putake on Little’s leadership win:

Pretty pleased with this result. Well done, Andrew. And well done to the other candidates, too. I hope Andrew asks caucus to elect Jacinda deputy. It would be the right move.

This election shows that NZLP now has a mature internal democracy, and that we can elect our leaders in public, rather than in the boardroom. A lot of the credit should go to Moira Coatsworth. The democratisation process she has lead has gone a long way to making the party a more enjoyable place to be.

A couple of months ago I wrote a post that said if Andrew ran, he would win. I’m going to go for the second leg of the quinella; Andrew Little will be NZ’s next Prime Minister. You read it here first, Standardistas!

“That we can elect our leaders in public” indicates that TRP is a member of ‘we’. He also attends Labour Party conferences – “Conference is going to be great fun, whatever happens. I’m looking forward to attending.”

An indication of local political interests:

Iain LG is a long way from “undistinguished”. He has held Palmy against a concerted effort from the Tories for 3 elections and for one term was the only provincial Labour MP. He successfully promoted David Cunliffe for the leadership, and was elected as junior whip. He clearly has Andrew Little’s ear as well. Even more significantly, he has also built a formidable local electorate team that is easily the best in Labour for canvassing and publicity and is a model for how to campaign successfully. Even John Key acknowleged his work, commenting to Banksie in the teapot tapes that he was unbeatable in the seat.

“A formidable local electorate team that is easily the best in Labour for canvassing and publicity” may coincide with TRP taking a break from blogging before the last election, but I’m not sure that is usual behaviour on The Standard “a model for how to campaign successfully”.

And a hint of union association:

Nah, it turns out Little didn’t give PRC “a clean bill of health”. In one of the links above he’s quoted incorrectly in reference to the site health and safety committee and a second factual quote is misused to give a false impression to fool readers (including Phil F., apparently). Opinion masquerading as fact.

What is true is that the union could have done better, but as it was never told by the workers on site that there were issues and the company went out of its way to undermine safe mining best practice (including offering bonuses to workers to ignore the problems and just get the coal moving), it’s understandable.

More importantly, it was hardly a matter the then National Secretary would know anything about prior to the explosion. He was based in Wellington, running the union as a manager, not doing the organising work of the local union rep and site delegates in Hokitika.

Ironic seeing TRP criticising “he’s quoted incorrectly” and “opinion masquerading as fact” when that’s one of his trademarks on The Standard.

“Andrew and I”:

“You and Little are saying that contractors aren’t workers.”

Correct. Andrew and I both know the law. Now you know it. Isn’t the Standard great like that?

“Some how because they aren’t workers it makes a difference?”

Yep, there is a difference. Workers are paid on a regular basis (weekly, fortnightly etc.). Contactors are generally paid on the 20th of the month following an invoice being sent. So, it can be up to seven weeks after the work is done that it is even due to be paid. Mind you in NZ there is a lag in payment that can drag on for weeks beyond that, (particularly in media!) so there is nothing unusual in Cohen having to wait.

You get a picture of who is behind pseudonyms over time, and that’s just a few from a short period.

This is as a commenter at The Standard but recently TRP elevated himself to become an author as well (of a blog that’s not Labour Party as lprent adamantly keeps reminding).

I thought his posts were quite good, and I thought his behaviour might change to reflect more responsibility.

But as shown in Same old TRP hasn’t discarded his dirty spots. It didn’t take much to prove that. And trying to use his ‘author’ status to threaten banning if I gave as good as I got suggests a certain amount of gutlessness.

Prentice protected and tried to excuse his behaviour – “TRP was winding you up“. So repeated lying and abuse is “winding up” and fighting back is banned, literally.

Apart from some association via the Labour Party (and union background) Andrew Little doesn’t have anything to do with what happens at The Standard.

But unfortunately what happens at The Standard reflects on him and on Labour, and often very poorly.

Little notably told John key to “Cut the crap!”. Unfortunately for him and Labour there’s more chance of Key taking his advice than Prentice and TRP.

It’s a shame that this sort of behaviour overshadows the reputation of The Standard, and it must be annoying for authors who try to do a good job like Greg Presland and Anthony Robins.

However they choose to be associated with the crap, and they choose to do nothing (openly at least) in stemming the crap. In fact Presland supported TRP on Sunday by also threatening a ban for challenging his crap, so despite his good intent as an author he’s an integral part of the problem.

And this is a problem for Andrew Little, because The Standard is the main face of Labour in the blogging world, and they continually lie and abuse and chase away anyone not deemed a suitable member of the club.

Andrew Little has so far succeeded because he often genuinely sounds like a voice of reason. Even is caucus seems to have woken up to the reality that perpetual infighting is tantamount to perpetual Opposition.

But Labour activists are stuck in a dirty rut at The Standard.

I gave Te Reo Putake a chance to reconsider his lying abusive behaviour on Sunday and he chose to re-emphasise his dirty approach rather than retract.

The crap is unlikely to be cut. They keep shitting in their own and Labour’s nest.

Salmond predicts easy National win in Northland

Rob Salmond is a strongly pro-Labour pollster. At his blog Polity he predicts what looks obvious to those with a grip on reality.

Prediction: Easy National win

With Winston Peters’ confirmation that he’s running in Northland, and Labour’s confirmed candidacy, I predict National will win the seat comfortably. The seat is a National stronghold, and a split opposition vote only helps them further in an FPP-style environment. So whoever wins the National selection, wins.

It would be remarkable if there’s an upset, and National have too much to lose to allow that to happen easily.

Since Peters has announced he will stand iPredict has swung against National but they still have a large majority. Mostly over that past weeks National have polled in the 90s but yesterday swung in the 70s, and they are currently at 82%.

Other (not National or Labour) party to win Northland by-election in 2015 has risen to 17% after peaking yesterday in the low 20s.

And more from Salmond a couple of weeks ago in Poll wordings in Northland that shows why caution is needed when peop;le claim ‘private poll’ support for their cause.

For the most dramatic poll result – “Winston could win!” – you would ask:

There is a by-election in Northland on 28 March. Which of the candidates are you most likely to vote for:

  • Willow-Jean Prime
  • Grant McCallum [or whoever it ends up being]
  • Winston Peters
  • Another candidate?

Winston gets a huge boost in this poll wording because he’s the only one with really wide name recognition across the seat, and also gets a smaller bonus for being the last named candidate, meaning his name is freshest in the memory when the person is required to give their answer. This question will hugely overstate Peters’ chances, at the expense of both National and Labour candidates.

For a more accurate poll result, you might ask this instead:

There is a by-election in Northland on 28 March. Which of the candidates are you most likely to vote for [in randomised order]:

  • The Labour party candidate, Willow-Jean Prime
  • The National party candidate, Grant McCallum [or whoever]
  • The New Zealand First party candidate, Winston Peters
  • Another party’s candidate?

This question provides people the information most of them will actually rely on when making their choice – party affiliation. That information, I understand, is printed on the ballots themselves, and it is the heuristic most people use when choosing local election candidates. (Also, the order is randomised from person to person, meaning the fresh-in-the-memory effect goes away across the whole sample.)

This is a much better question, and media outlets would be wise to insist on it, or some other variant that cues party affiliation. They’ll get less egg on their face on election night that way.

Little assures 100 percent Labour effort in Northland

Now Winston Peters has confirmed he is standing in the Northland by-election Andreww Little has made it clear Labour won’t stand aside or wink wink to help Peters.

Stuff report:

Labour won’t stand aside its candidate in the Northland by-election following NZ First leader Winston Peters’ confirmation that he is contesting the seat.

Labour had already confirmed Willow-Jean Prime as its candidate and leader Andrew Little said yesterday he had not considered standing her aside to allow Peters an advantage – and would not do so.

“We’re backing her 100 per cent.”

National should not take the seat for granted, said Little. He sensed constituents were annoyed that Mike Sabin, who resigned as National MP earlier this month because of personal circumstances, had let them down.

The seat was “anyone’s game”, and Prime was well known in Northland as a Far North District councillor, Little said.

Despite Bradbury dreaming about Peters and Northland this confirms Labour’s commitment to contesting the by-election.

They would have been nuts for Labour to stand aside to give Peters an easier campaign. That would have eneded uip embarrassing both Peters and Labour.

In the meantime Bradbury takes credit for predicting

As TDB suggested, Winston Peters will be running in the Northland by-election.

However in that post Bradbury also said:

It all depends on how willing the opposition parties are to being co-operative to take away National’s majority without needing United Future or the Maori Party.

Now he’s still in dreamland. Labour say there’s going to be no co-operating with Peters.

If Labour can work with Winston in Northland it will ask questions why they couldn’t do it with Hone in Te Tai Tokerau. If Labour and NZ First work together it will also mean the Greens have their work cut out for them in 2017 to prevent Labour and NZ First screwing them again.

Any Labour-NZ First minority Government would be a blow to progressive politics.

That’s about all Bradbury has got to hope for. He seems to have moved on from Internet-Mana as the revolutionaries.

Hoping for Peters to win against both National and Labour seems like wishful thinking. And that thinking isn’t shared bu some of the comments at The Daily Bliog.

CleanGreen backs it “1000% Martyn”:

Time is nigh for Labour to play Key’s game and win as voted for Labour to do this for us.

Forget the past and collectively combine to allow Winston to save our parliamentary system by setting a level playing field with equal votes after Winston takes Sabin’s electorate and helps turn our fortunes around finally after six long hard nightmare years.

Smarten up Labour play key at his own game for a change.

But Chris McMahon is more realistic.

there’s as much chance of Labour not standing as there is of the corrupt Iraqi army defeating ISIS.

Donald predictyed Labour’s stance:

I highly doubt Labour will stand down. Also this private poll sounds a little dubious.

Peters has stated he has not done any polling, so Bradbury’s poll claim looks even more dubious.


A safe seat, a low voter turnout, National will win this by election easily.

Winston will not win.

While it’s not over until the counting that seems a likely outcome.

Andrewe Little has said it’s a very tall order for Labour, and Peters is likely to split Labour’s vote making it harder for either to win.

Bradbury dreaming about Peters and Northland

One day Martyn Bradbury might get one of his dreams or predictions right but I don’t think it will be on the Northland by-election.

In a post yesterday he asked Will Labour stand aside in Northland to let NZ First beat National?

I don’t thinK there’s any chance of Labour standing aside and not contesting the by-election. They already have a very keen candidate.

Labour confirms nomination for Northland by-election candidate

Willow-Jean Prime is set to be confirmed as the Party’s candidate in the Northland by-election after nominations closed this morning.

Prime campaigned for Labour in the 2014 general election and has served on the Far North District Council  as a locally elected councillor since 2013.

Labour launched their campaign last weekend with a strong show of MPs including leader Andrew Little. So it seems preposterous to think Labour would suddenly change their mind and stand aside.

Winston Peters has milkied media attention over possibly standing but has made no announcement yet.

3 News reported Winston Peters’ Northland by-election run decision ‘soon’:

The decision on whether Winston Peters will stand for New Zealand First in the Northland by-election next month is expected to be made “very soon”.

The party “decisively examined” the idea in a meeting last night and will meet again in the coming days about Mr Peters’ possible candidacy.

That was on February 10. ‘Very soon’ hasn’t eventuated yet.

Bradbury is undeterred by reality. He has been banging on about  Winston all month – on 2nd February: Winston’s time to shine in Northland by-election.

And in his latest post he’s trying that old trick of trying to talk up chances through a ‘private poll':

There is a private poll doing the rounds that shows NZ First neck and neck with National in Northland if the Labour candidate doesn’t stand.

Private polls have been notoriously unreliable, if they ever existed.

Seeing as National’s outright majority is under threat with a loss in Northland, such a tactic could be under consideration.

Could be? So Bradbury is dreaming.

Labour may not have the guts to make the decision as clear cut as removing their candidate, but there will probably be a lot of nods and winks given to Labour voters throughout the campaign to ensure National loses Northland.

That sounds like his claims that Internet-Mana were going to sweep to a substantial and balance of power holding position last September.

Currently on iPredict:

Nominations for candidates close next Tuesday 3 March.

The Northland by-election will be held on 28 March.

National have a short list of five but haven’t announced their candidate yet.

Greens outspent Labour on election advertising

Parties’ election advertising expenses were released yesterday.

  • National $2.6 million
  • Conservative Party $1.9 million
  • Greens $1.29 million
  • Labour $1.27 million
  • Internet-Mana $660,000
  • Mana $320,000

While advertsing spending doesn’t necessarily translate into seats in Parliament (as Conservative and Internet-Mana prove) it helps.

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald points out the fact that Greens just outspent Labour

Labour’s shoestring budget and low election result will have the party asking how the much smaller Green Party had more funds. In 2011, the Greens spent $780,000 and Labour $1.8 million.

That’s a big rise in spending by Greens with the result being a small decrease on % support.

And it’s a big drop in Labour spending from 1.8 to 1.27 million.

General secretary Tim Barnett said Labour had never had large reserves and had spent within its means. The lower costs were partly because of more “low cost, high impact” campaigning, such as phoning, door knocking and direct mail rather than traditional media advertising.

“If you’re asking, ‘Were there lots of things you would have done if you had an extra million’, obviously that would be a nice position to have, but we stayed within the budget we had.”

In other words they had a significantly smaller budget.

Labour’s hierarchy has been criticised for failing to fundraise and the election expenses indicate it was a problem.

Lack of success fundraising was only one of a number of problems but it was a significant problem.

Labour is selecting a new president and former president Mike Williams said the ability to bring in the money would be a key factor. However, he did not necessarily think money was the be all and end all for a successful campaign, saying the ability to motivate grassroots members was more important.

But Barnett claims Labour did more “low cost, high impact” campaigning, such as phoning, door knocking. The work of grassroots members didn’t lift their election result because that dropped from 2011.

Greens do a lot of micro fundraising seeking money from their grassroots support. The two are related.

United Future spent $2000 on advertising.

I think Labour needs more fundraising and more grassroots support. And they need to perform at the top. And get some palatable policies.

It’s all related. People with money to hand out to political parties like to back potential winners.

Labour, National up in One News poll

In the first One News/Colmar Brunton poll of the year Labour are up six to 31% and National are up four to 49% – this is a similar result to they recent Roy Morganl.

  • National 49% (up 4)
  • Labour 31% (up 6)
  • Greens 10% (down 2)
  • NZ First 6 (6% (down 2)
  • Maori Party 2% (no change)
  • Conservatives 1% (down 3)
  • Refused to answer 3% (down 2)
  • Undecided 7% (up 2)

Those results are round to the nearest percent so aren’t very accurate for the smaller parties.

Polling was done over 14-18 February so covers only a small part of the difficult week for Andrew Little.

Poll link.

This week’s Roy Morgan results were very similar:

  • National 49%
  • Labour Party 30%
  • Greens 12%
  • NZ First 6%
  • Conservative Party1.5%
  • Maori Party 1.0%

Colmar Brunton Preferred Prime Minister:

  • John Key 41% (down 2)
  • Andrew Little 12% (first result)
  • Winston Peters 7% (up 2)

Donghua Liu timeline and National versus Labour donations

Greg Presland has posted The more complete Donghua Liu timeline at The Standard. An incomplete quote would be pointless so here’s the whole new timeline.

The Herald yesterday ran a story about how Donghua Liu gave the National Party $25,000.  My jaw dropped when I read this.  Readers of that particular article were assisted by the provision of a timeline.  But it was really scanty and I though that I should augment it so that a greater appreciation of this very sorry incident could be given.  A lot of this information is derived from this excellent post by Frank Macskasy.

April 11, 2003:  David Cunliffe sends a pro forma letter to Immigration asking when a decision concerning Donghua Liu’s permit application may be granted.

March 6, 2007: Donghua Liu claims he purchased a bottle of wine for $100,000 at a Labour Party fundraiser on this date.

2012:  Liu’s company Roncon Pacific Hotel Management Holdings donates $22,000 to the National Party.  This donation is declared in National’s 2012 Party Donations return.

August 2013: Prime Minister John Key and National Party MP Jami-Lee Ross have a private dinner at Donghua Liu’s home. The Herald claims Liu donated later that month $25,000 to Mr Ross’s election campaign through the “Botany Cabinet Club”.

December 2013: Liu is arrested on domestic violence charges.

January 31, 2014:  Parliament’s register of pecuniary interests which is meant to include gifts valued over $500 does not include Donghua Liu’s apparent gift of $25,000 to Jamie Lee-Ross’s election campaign.  Genuine donations to an electoral campaign do not need to be declared.

March 2014:Herald reveals Maurice Williamson lobbied ministerial colleague to give Liu citizenship against official advice and Liu’s $22,000 donation to National.

April 30, 2014:  National Party Secretary Greg Hamilton files a Party Donations Return that does not include the Donghua Liu donation of $25,000.

May 1, 2014: Mr Williamson forced to resign as a minister after Herald investigation reveals he telephoned senior police officer about Liu’s domestic violence charges in January 2014. Prime Minister John Key said he recalled “seeing Mr Liu at various functions, including a dinner as part of a National Party fundraiser.” He does not mention that the private dinner was at Liu’s own home.

May 9, 2014:  Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse learns of the existence of the Cunliffe letter.

May 10, 2014:  Adam Bennett reports that Williamson had lobbied three different Immigration Ministers to relax the business migrant scheme entry requirements.

May 11, 2014:  Key’s office is informed of the existence of the Cunliffe letter.

May 26, 2014: A copy of the letter is given to Key’s office.

June 16, 2014:  Jared Savage posts a story claiming that Liu donated $15,000 to the Labour Party according to a party source.  His OIA application for information from Liu’s immigration file is declined.  He refiles an urgent application seeking correspondence from any MPs concerning Liu’s immigration application.  Brooke Sabin also files a similar request.

June 17, 2014:  Tova O’Brien asks Cunliffe if he advocated on Liu’s behalf at all and his response is “nope”.

June 18, 2014:  The Cunliffe letter is released.  The timing  of events that day is very revealing:

12.10 – Labour Leader’s office told of letters, and told OIA will be mailed in 1 hour.

12.30 – Office of Immigration Minister (Michael Woodhouse) told OIA being released, with letters.

12.49 – Jared Savage is emailed OIA.

12.53 – Brook Sabin – without a paper-trail of how he got the letters (but direct from Minister’s office?) – publishes his story on the letter.

12.57 – Whaleoil references Jared Savage’s OIA about the letter.

1.00 – John Armstrong publishes call for Cunliffe’s resignation due to letter.

1.06 – David Farrar refers to Jared Savage’s OIA.

2.29 – Herald publishes Savage’s story online.

Geoff posts “Reliable sources have also told me that Donghua is still donating cash to National too. (Any journos reading might like to ask Jamie-Lee Ross about this)”

June 19, 2014: Josie Pagani puts the boot into David Cunliffe and regurgitates National attack lines about “Gocha politics”.  Michael Woodhouse denies telling Key about the letter, then says that officials from his office briefed Mr Key’s office on the letters and then by 7 pm that day his office said the minister himself told Mr Key’s office about the letters and his office also gave copies of the letters to Mr Key’s office.

June 22, 2014: Herald publishes exclusive story claiming that Donghua Liu had bought a bottle of wine at a Labour Party fundraiser for $100,000 and donated more than $150,000 to the Labour Party.

June 25, 2014:  Herald publishes a further story stating that the $100,000 was not for a bottle of wine but the total of all donations to Labour.  $50,000 to $60,000 of this was the cost of hiring a boat trip Liu’s concrete company which Labour Minister Rick Barker attends and $2,000 was a donation to the Hawkes Bay Rowing Club.  John Armstrong publishes a column saying Cunliffe managed to survive “his own self-inflicted body blows last week”.  No mention is made of his previous column.  Use of the phrase “fucking joke” peaks on social media.

June 27, 2014: the Herald publishes an editorial Cries of bias will not stop reporting and readers take the opportunity to pour scorn on the editorial.

November 2014: Mr Ross returns the $25,000 donation to Liu.

February 2015: Electoral returns to reveal the $25,000 donation.

The claim that this donation was for Jamie Lee Ross’s electoral expenses appears to me to be contrived in the extreme as it meant that the donation, unlike the previous donation made by Liu, did not have to be disclosed the day before Williamson resigned.  I am sure that Liu did not care or even think about the difference.  And why should any electorate seek donations when they were receiving a $24,000 cheque from head office?

If any media is reading this they should ask is who the cheque was made out to.  And which account it was banked into.  And why this particular Cabinet Club payment wastreated differently to other Cabinet Club payments as well as the previous Liu donation.

And you want to know the really funny thing?  There is no evidence of a donation to Labour or of Labour breaking any rules to help Liu.

Except that Greg doesn’t appear to be laughing about it. He actually says he’s more than a bit mad about it but I’ll leave something more for you to see at the link if you’re interested.

I’m not certain about all the details but there’s some very fishy stuff in relation to the donation to Lee-Ross and it’s subsequent return over a year later. And in relation to the still unproven donation to Labour.


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