Robertson and Ardern, Grant and Jacinda

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

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

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

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

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

Greg Presland writes about this at The Standard.

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

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

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

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

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

RobertsonArdernMagazine

Does that look like a party leader and deputy leader?

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

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

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

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

David Parker – Standard Q & A

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

Introduction:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Labour was formed by and for labour.

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

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

A fair go and a fair share!

Sounds like a continuation of election campaign slogans.

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

What would you do for us life time renters?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That doesn’t address the poorest, beneficiaries.

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

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

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

This brevity wasn’t well received.

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

And…

Parker didn’t answer the question.

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

Ok.

What David Parker said was a lie.

And…

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

Back to questions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And…

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

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

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

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

I am driven.

I want Labour to win in 2017.

I am a builder.

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

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

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

I love the outdoors. I love the arts.

But most of all I stand for an egalitarian society.

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

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

We will unify around a clear purpose – see above.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leadership engenders trust. Success breeds success.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I agree with our policy to encourage industry bargaining.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALRANZ – Abortion Law Reform Association.

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

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

There are two main part to solving this crisis.

Kiwibuild addresses one part.

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

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

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

Hard work, focus, unity.

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

Lets make it a milestone not a tombstone.

So many great achievements to celebrate and build upon.

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

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

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

Respect and mature behaviour are important.

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

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

We must be the main party of the left.

This doesn’t acknowledge the nature of MMP.

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

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

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

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

Fair point.

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

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

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

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

Response:

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

we are still fudged.

The economy is a subset of the environment. Discuss.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more here:

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

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

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

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

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

Where trust is broken, there should be consequences.

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

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

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

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

What is your stance on the TPPA?

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

Its the investment protocols that we must take care about.

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

ie we must protect our sovereignty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love a hot day watching the cricket with friends.

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

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

I love art.

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

Has anyone ever referred to you as a quick thinker?

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

Duh. (note the proper punctuation)

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

Not appropriate for me to reply. Sorry.

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

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

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

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

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

Labour leadership events and links

Leadership contenders’ links:

The election will now proceed, with ballot forms being distributed electronically and by post from Monday 20th October onwards. Voting closes and the result will be announced on Tuesday 18th November.

Upcoming events:

  • 9 am Sunday 19 October – Q & A debate
    @CorinDann lines up the 4 contenders for the Labour leadership for a TV debate… Sunday @TVONENZ at 9
    Our panel: Dr Raymond Miller, @FranOSullivan and @ngar1mu
    Facebook
  • Wellington (Wednesday 22nd October at Wellington Girls College, Pipitea/Murphy Streets starting at 7.30pm)
  • Palmerston North (Thursday 23rd October at the Community Leisure Centre. 569 Ferguson St starting at 7.30pm)

Stuff: ‘Clean’ Labour leadership race: Contenders

Labour’s four leadership contenders are promising a respectful campaign as they vie for the party’s top job.

Grant Robertson, Andrew Little, David Parker and Nanaia Mahuta posed for the media this afternoon ahead of the official “primary” run-off that will see them address 15 hustings meetings, including one online, starting on Wednesday next week

Key Decisions Made About Labour’s Forthcoming Leadership Election

Labour’s New Zealand Council has made the key decisions about the timetable and process around the election of Labour’s Party Leader. The result will be announced on Tuesday 18th November, following a comprehensive and extensive process unique to New Zealand politics but common overseas (see overleaf). Following closure of nominations on Tuesday 14th October, a clear majority of the thousands of participants will receive their ballot papers and vote electronically

There will be 14 hustings meetings for Party members featuring the nominees, with the first part of each meeting open to media :

  • Wellington Wednesday 22nd October, evening
  • Palmerston North Thursday 23rd October, evening
  • Nelson Tuesday 28th October, evening
  • Christchurch Wednesday 29th October, evening
  • Dunedin Thursday 30th October, evening
  • Invercargill Friday 31st October, evening
  • Hawkes Bay Monday 3rd November, evening
  • Tauranga Tuesday 4th November, evening
  • Hamilton Wednesday 5th November, evening
  • New Plymouth Thursday 6th November, evening
  • Whangarei Saturday 8th November
  • Auckland Isthmus Sunday 9th November
  • West Auckland Monday 10th November, evening
  • South Auckland Tuesday 11th November, evening

The elections are governed by rules which are available on Labour’s website, www.labourparty.org.nz. Once nominations are in a Code of Conduct for candidates will be finalised, and the Party will also be making clear its expectations about the behaviour of all Party members.

The resignation of David Cunliffe on 30 September 2014 as the 14th Leader of the Labour Party triggered a Party-wide Leadership Election. Nominations close on October 14th 2014, with the result announced on November 18th 2014.

Here are 10 Key Facts about the Labour Leadership Election:

  1. NZLP is the only significant NZ political party which operates such a comprehensive and democratic process for leadership selection. However, this approach is the norm for NZLP sister parties overseas, and also for some conservative parties.
  2. The Leader of the Parliamentary Party is the political leader of the Party, so it is rational that all sections of the organisation should have a say in their election.
  3. The NZLP adopted this system in 2012 following a significant organisational review.  Our agreed approach has given Caucus a more significant voting power than many other systems, and also factors in a separate affiliate voting section. The combination of these two factors differentiates our approach from that of the Australian Labor Party and the UK Labour Party.
  4. The election operates through a three-section College, comprising Caucus, Party members and affiliates. Each vote in each section has individual weighting, and each voter has the same choice of candidates (ordered in a fully randomised manner).  The affiliate vote is divided between the Party’s seven affiliates in proportion to the registered total affiliate numbers (see footnote page 3 of the Rules).
  5. Affiliates all adopt the approach of utilising their internal democratic processes to generate their voting body, which in general means their elected Conference delegates. The Service and Food Workers Union have a different decision-making process, which means that they have adopted a system in which members can vote in person at any of the Leadership Election Husting Meetings.
  6. In 2014 the Party is adopting the option of default emailing out voting papers, and only posting to members with no email address, or upon request. In 2013 the voting papers were posted out, but the fact that 47.24% of members still elected to vote online encouraged us to take this step.
  7. The Election has three levels of Rules – the key constitutional clauses mandating the system and the trigger used (agreed by Conference), the Election Rules for the Parliamentary Labour Party Leadership Elections (agreed by Council), and the Code of Conduct (agreed by the Leadership Election Advisory Group). The General Secretary of the Party usually acts as Returning Officer, and is in this case. Deputy Returning Officers may be appointed by him or her.
  8. The Leadership Election is administered by electionz.com, a Christchurch-based company which has conducted over 1,800 elections and processed over 25 million votes in the past 13 years.
  9. The Husting Meetings are a Rule-mandated element of the process, with 14 planned for 2014. They run to a set format, with media being allowed in before the meeting and up to the point when candidates speeches finish. A question and answer session follows.  In 2013 over 3000 people attended these Husting Meetings.
  10. Only Labour Party members can vote in the election. New members must have joined before 11:59pm on Wednesday October 1  (the day after the Leadership Election was triggered). Unfinancial members (anyone who has been a Labour Party member in the past three years and who has not paid a membership fee in 2014) can rejoin and receive a vote until 11.59 pm on 11 November

Mike Williams on “an unusual leadership election, which can produce unpredictable result”…

When Labour adopted the preferential voting model for its democratised leadership elections, it probably didn’t factor in the possibility of a four-way contest.

Simply put, if no candidate wins 50 per cent plus one more vote on the initial count, then the lowest-scoring candidate is excluded and that candidate’s second preferences are distributed. This process continues until a candidate gets the requisite majority of 50 per cent plus one vote.

If, for example, three candidates score about the same level of support but none reaches the magic mark, then the least popular candidate’s second preferences may well decide the result.

Thus the MPs, party members and affiliate electors have to think not only about who’s best to lead a disconsolate party, but also about the possible levels of support for each contender and who’s likely to come last.

LabourAbbeyRoad

Source:

Labour leadership contest – David Parker

(nominated by Damien O’Connor and Jenny Salesa)

Live chat at The Standard intro:

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

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

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

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

Supported by:

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

NZ Herald report: David Parker to run for Labour leader

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“We lost badly and I get it.”

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

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

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

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

“I believe I am that leader.”

(ODT)

Labour leadership contest – Andrew Little

(nominated by Poto Williams and Iain Lees-Galloway)

Q & A Summary – Andrew Little at The Standard

From campaign website:

I’m Andrew Little and I want to be the next leader of the New Zealand Labour Party.

Our party – and our movement – needs to rebuild after the 2014 general election.

I’ve got the experience, the skills, and the will to get Labour fighting fit for 2017. But I need your support.

You can follow my campaign on Facebook or Twitter; make a donationto help me and my team get our message out to the Party and the whole of New Zealand; or put your hand up to help directly.

Over the next few days my team will be uploading resources you can use to show your support online.

Supported by:

  • Geoff (The Standard): Why I’m voting for Andrew Little
    Little’s a bit of a dark horse, but if he gets Labour into the fighting fit state he got the EPMU into, and I think he will, then he’s exactly what we need.
  • Union backs Andrew Little for Labour leadership
    EPMU National Secretary Bill Newson confirmed the National Executive unanimously endorsed Little as a candidate and would recommend that conference delegates give him first preference on their ballot.

Labour leadership contest – Grant Robertson

(nominated by Kris Faafoi and Rino Tirikatene)

L:aunching campaign:

Launching campaign 2-4 pm Sunday 19 October.:

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

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

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

Statement from website:

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

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

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

Labour leadership contest – Nanaia Mahuta

(nominated by Louisa Wall and Su’a William Sio)

Nanaia Mahuta Puts Hand Up for Leadership Challenge

“After serious consideration I have decided to put my name forward as a leadership candidate for the New Zealand Labour Party” said MP for Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta.

“This decision has been made with the knowledge that as the Party reviews the election outcome, we can learn from the base of support that was demonstrated across the Māori electorates, in South Auckland and amongst Pasifika and ethnic communities”
“There is a need for our Party to reconnect with more people in their communities, and the leadership contest will be a way to commence that effort.

“Labour is a Party of aspiration for all New Zealanders, we stand for a fair and decent society that creates opportunity without pulling the ladder up”

“I look forward to meeting members during this period and thank supporters for their encouragement”

NanaiaMahuta

Rating Labour’s contenders

There’s been much comment and naming of preferences of Labour’s leadership contenders at The Standard, as can be expected.

An interesting list of priorities from ‘Ad':

1. Unite the caucus and members and affiliates
2. Appeal to Labour voters and swing voters
3. Could form a credible alternative government with the Greens and NZFirst
4. Can beat Key on the campaign

The above is both sequence and weighting. I’m holding my nose on ideology for now.

I think that’s a fair and realistic call.

Each contender is then measured against this list:

Robertson
1. Hard to unite caucus and members.
2. Will have appeal if media framed well
3. Could form coalition
4. Reasonable chance against Key

Mahuta
1. Limited caucus support.
2. Appeals to base but no more.
3. Could form coalition if she can work hard enough
4. Slow and boring on campaign

Parker
1. Struggle to unite.
2. Broad regional and business appeal
3. Too dry for easy coalition
4. Would struggle against Key

Little
1. Would unite more of caucus, and certainly members
2. Would appeal, if heavily media-trained and well framed. If.
3. Would be strong forming coalition
4. Would currently struggle against Key

In the main that looks like a fair appraisal.

Three years from the next election it’s difficult to estimate how any of them would stand up against John Key during a campaign.

I disagree with needing to be “heavily media-trained”, or at least appearing to be heavily trained. That seemed to stuff up Shearer big time and it didn’t do Cunliffe much good either.

Voters sense an act and a non-genuine politician far more readily than they listen to poliparrot waffle.

Whoever becomes the next leader has to improve substantially on their current profile and performance as well as unite and substantially improve Labour’s performance (caucus and party).

Can a mix of caucus, affiliates and party members pick a leader of the future? It’s not easy at the best of times.

Cunliffe’s belated withdrawal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Presland also made an interesting comment in his Standard post:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Presland said of Cunliffe’s decision:

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

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

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

Cunliffe has belatedly withdrawn from Labour’s leadership.

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

Andrew Little adds value to leadership contest

Andrew Little announced yesterday that he would join Labour’s leadership contest. No matter what his chances of success are this is a welcome injection into a potentially acrimonious battle between Grant Robertson and David Cunliffe.

Little comes across as thoughtful and informed, with clear ideas on what is necessary to start to turn around Labour’s six year disaster.

Focussing more on what needs to be addressed rather than competing personal ambitions will help diffuse the acrimony between Labour leadership factions as Little is more neutral.

Who is chosen as leader is up to the Labour caucus, affiliates and party members.

Despite a premature call of an easy Little victory by political scientist/media junky Bryce Edwards (even before Little confirmed he would contest the leadership) it’s far too soon to call.

There may yet be more contenders, and it’s obviously unknown how Little will shape up against the others.

But Little’s inclusion adds value to the contest. Labour needs to do something different to turn around it’s fortunes so they need different candidates to consider.

There is plenty of media coverage:

Claire Trevett: Little banking on a clean break and Andrew Little could be Labour’s first List leader

Isaac Davison: Who is Andrew Little? Union chief, lawyer and Gangnam Style dancer
– little is someone different, that’s something Labour needs to consider.

Vernon Small and Tracey Watkins: Little to ditch unpopular policies

Vernon Small: Andrew Little signals change

Tracey Watkins: Wild card could trump favourites

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