Green leadership contenders

There’s been no more nominations for the male co-leader position vacated by Russel Norman so there will four contenders:

  • Kevin Hague
  • Gareth Hughes
  • James Shaw
  • Vernon Tava

I think the leading contenders will be Hague – experienced and reliable – versus a contrasting new hope for the future, James Shaw.

My pick is the safer option, Hague. Shaw’s time will come – he had initially said he wouldn’t stand this time due to only being an MP for a few months but changed his mind.

Tava has some interesting ideas but with no chance of being an MP for the next two and a half years, and has said he doesn’t know if he will stand for the Green list in 2017, so I don’t think he has much chance.

Hughes may appeal to some Greens with his ‘do what members choose’ approach but his reliance on ‘hey Clint; guidance must count against him, ultimately people like leaders who are prepared to lead.

There’s been just one nomination for the female co-leader position. Metiria Turei has tweeted:

Whew! Reckon my chances are pretty good…

But she points out there’s still a vote:

Yep.  We have a no confidance option for delegates who dont want to vote for me (or any candidate)

I don’t know if the vote is made public but I’d expect Greens to avoid controversy over Turei being elected without a solid endorsement.

The voting will be done at the Green AGM on 30 May so that’s another 6 weeks in leadership limbo with Norman phasing out.

And Turei has had a low profile over the last month, maybe contemplating her own future, maybe not wanting to dominate the leadership as Norman fades away.

Green leadership contenders on spying

The Nation had a panel discussion with the four Green male co-leader contenders (note that there could, nominations don’t close for another month).

They were asked about the GCSB and spying.

Vernon Tava: “extremely carefully circumscribed”, “far, far stronger oversight”, “treated very, very carefully”, “extremely tight rein”.

James Shaw: “rules around it have to be very clear”, “ transparent oversight”. He seems to contradict himself with “I think the thing that we’ve had in the last few years that people have become increasingly worried about is this idea that everyone is being spied on” but “I think there’s sort of an expectation in our society that that’s OK”.

Gareth Hughes: “I support NZ having domestic intelligence abilities with appropriate oversight and transparency, but we should not be spying on other countries”, “I think we should have a GCSB with appropriate oversight, and I think they should be supporting our companies to prepare themselves against cyber-attack intrusions”.

Kevin Hague: “I definitely would bail out of Five Eyes, and I would shut down the GCSB. I think, uh, that isn’t to say that there isn’t a place for surveillance, provided that there is a reasonable cause and that is independently verified. Um, and I think Gareth’s right that it could be the police that actually carries out that function.”

No GCSB, no foreign surveillance or intelligence seems to be a very naive position to have. It’s not likely to happen with both National and Labour seeing the need for the GCSB.

Greens complained that they don’t have a member on the Security and Intelligence Committee but if they oppose the GCSB and any foreign surveillance or intelligence gathering perhaps their exclusion shouldn’t be surprising.

3 News Transcript:

Is there a place for spying in our society? Vernon?

Tava: It needs to be extremely carefully circumscribed. There are people— you know, we’re seeing with the 1080 threat. You know, we’re seeing there are people who want to do malevolent things. But we need far, far stronger oversight and far less politically oriented oversight than we’re seeing now. It needs to be treated very, very carefully.

So it’s OK to spy as long as you keep a tight rein on it?

Tava: Extremely tight rein.

James?

Shaw: Yeah, I agree. I mean, I think the rules around it have to be very clear. There has to be transparent oversight. People need to understand what we’re doing. I think the thing that we’ve had in the last few years that people have become increasingly worried about is this idea that everyone is being spied on. You know, countries have spied on each other from time immemorial. Uh, for, you know, trade deals. Uh, you know, wars. All that kind of thing. I think there’s sort of an expectation in our society that that’s OK. I don’t think that there’s an expectation that it is okay to spy on everybody.

So, Gareth, is it OK to spy on people?

Hughes: I support the police having intelligence-gathering, uh, abilities with appropriate oversight. When it comes to the Five Eyes network, you know, I’m a dad. I teach my kids to do what’s right. Spying on our friends and allies. Spying on our major trading partner, that’s not right.

So leave Five Eyes and shut down the GCSB?

Hughes: I believe NZ should get out of the Five Eyes network. I don’t believe it’s in our economic interest. I don’t believe it is the right thing to do. I support NZ having domestic intelligence abilities with appropriate oversight and transparency, but we should not be spying on other countries.

But you name-checked the police, then. You said it’s OK for the police. What about the GCSB? Yes or no?

Hughes: I think we should have a GCSB with appropriate oversight, and I think they should be supporting our companies to prepare themselves against cyber-attack intrusions.

So, Kevin, bail out of Five Eyes as Gareth says?

Hague: Yeah, I definitely would bail out of Five Eyes, and I would shut down the GCSB. I think, uh, that isn’t to say that there isn’t a place for surveillance, provided that there is a reasonable cause and that is independently verified. Um, and I think Gareth’s right that it could be the police that actually carries out that function.

But are you aware what damage that would do to us to bail out of that agreement?

Hague: I don’t see any damage. What are you thinking of?

Economic damage with our trading partners.

Hague: Yeah, I don’t believe it would result.

Hughes: How do you think our major trading partner, China, feels about us gathering their data? How do you think our allies and friends in the Pacific feel about it? Now, two decades ago, NZ stood up for an independent foreign policy. What we see now is we’re part of this—

Well, in the Pacific, a lot of the island nations have said they are not bothered by it. They accept it.

Hughes: And, to be frank, they’re in a different power situation vis-a-vis NZ. I don’t think they want, seriously, us to be surveilling and scooping up all of their communications.

Fourth candidate may be lining up for Green leadership

Stuff reports that there may be a fourth contender to replace Russel Norman as male Green co-leader. They say that it’s likley that rookie MP James Shaw is set to announce he’s putting himself forward after earlier saying it would be very unlikely due to his inexperience as a new term MP.

Three others have already announced they will contest the leadership, MPs Kevin Hague and Gareth Hughes and 3 News reported:

, a Green Party co-convenor in Auckland, is reported to be throwing his hat in the ring to be the party’s new male co-leader.

Mr Tava has decided to stand for the leadership.

He is a Waitemata Local Board member and is deputy chair of the board’s finance committee as well as being involved in work on parks and open spaces, and heritage, urban design and planning

Tava is not on the Green list so can’t get into Parliament this term.

Norman was elected co-leader while outside Parliament but came in via the list when one MP resigned and the next two on the Green list stood aside.

Hague will still probably be the front runner but Shaw has been talked of as a future leader.

After the last two Green leader selections (Norman and Turei)  losing contenders resigned as MPs – Nandor Tanczos.and Sue Bradford. I think that’s less likely this time.

Hague keen for Green leadership

Current Green number three  Kevin Hague has confirmed that he will put himself forward for the Green co-leadership position that Russel Norman is vacating.

On his Facebook timeline:

You may not have caught up with my news today: I have just formally announced that I will put my name forward for the election of male co-leader of the Green Party when Russel steps down from the role in May.

The vision and values of the Green Party are ones that I am hugely passionate about, and have spent much of my life fighting for, in various roles. For the past 6 years I have been the Caucus strategist, working as the wider leadership team with Russel and Metiria, and I can’t think of a role that I’d rather have than to stand alongside Metiria and lead this great Party through our next stage of development – into Government.

People reading this who are Party members already know about the process, which will see lots of opportunities to meet with me between now and the election at the end of May. If you’d like to have a say, and aren’t a member already, well . . https://contribute.greens.org.nz/civic…/contribute/transact…

James Shaw has indicated he is unlikely to stand as he considers himself too new and inexperienced (which he is).

There’s no other obvious contenders so it looks like Hague will be appointed uncontested.

If someone else stands for the leadership it’s unlikely they will be anything other than token competition, it’s hard to see anyone heading off Hague.

Kevin should make a good replacement for Norman. He is staunchly Green but is a political pragmatic who is willing to work with anyone to advance common causes.

However it will be a major challenge working out how to position Greens as a Government partner party.

UPDATE: David Farrar has also posted on this, and has listed some  what he sees as Hague positives:

Without discounting who else might stand, it is fair to say that Kevin Hague is a very good potential co-leader, and he could do significantly better than his predecessor, if elected.

The strengths that Hague would bring to the Greens are:

  1. He is not a communist (or former communist)
  2. He has significant political skills, playing a key role in campaigns such as the marriage equality campaign
  3. He is trusted and respected with most MPs from both National and Labour
  4. He will generally put progressing an issue, ahead of point scoring, for example working behind the scenes with National MPs on adoption law reform rather than grand-standing on the issue such as a Labour MP did
  5. Has the ability to work with MPs from other parties, including National. Involved in many cross-party caucuses.
  6. Has been influential in the Greens in reducing the power of the anti-science brigade, and has moved the Greens away from blanket opposition to fluoridation and vaccinations to more balanced positions
  7. Has significant management experience, having been a CEO of a District Health Board

I think Kevin Hague would be an excellent choice by the Greens to replace Russel Norman as the male co-leader.

All valid points – Hague announces candidacy

Laila Harre on The Nation

Laila Harre was interviewed by Patrick Gower on The Nation yesterday, Harre stepping down as Internet Party leader

Key points:

  • Stepping down as leader of the Internet Party
  • “I would love to be in parliament.”
  • The Internet Party “could be wound up”.
  • Continuing the merger with Mana “will be up to Mana”.
    “The agreement with Mana was always predicated on the assumption that we be in parliament.”
  • “We completely mismanaged the last month of the campaign.”
  • “…the media chose to focus on sideshows rather than to allow us to present ourselves in the way that we were presenting ourselves. 
  • “What I regret is actually the failure of the Left overall to get its act together in a strategic and tactical way during the election.”
  • “This was always going to be a very finely balanced election outcome. There was no way, no way, never in any polls that Labour and the Greens were going to get sufficient support to form a majority government. That meant we had to rescue progressive votes to.
  • “Labour ruled out just about every other party during the course of the election campaign, and I think that was a big mistake.”
  • On Labour – “They didn’t like us. They didn’t want us, but we were there and they needed to accept that reality.”
  • On Dotcom’s email fizzer – “I believe that Kim, given the opportunity to share everything about that email, would be able to defend his belief that it’s real. Look, I can’t answer that. I wasn’t directly involved…”
  • “What was there for me and for the kind of politics I represent, was the chance to change the government and to get a platform in parliament for some very new progressive ideas.”
  • “Where to from here? Well, for me, being outside parliament as a political party is not a game that I think is worth the candle. What I want to do, though, is continue to promote and connect with the kind of more radical, I guess, policies that we began to introduce into the election. And when I say radical, I don’t mean marginal. I mean radical in the sense of fundamentals. So I’m going on a journey in February with my sister. It’s called ‘Rethink the System’. We’ve got a website. Rethinkthesystem.org. We’re going on a sort of pilgrimage meets activism to connect with people over fundamental social change issues.”

Full interview:

Patrick Gower: Good morning. Good to see you after a while.

Laila Harre: Nice to be here.

Are you still here as leader of the Internet Party?

Yes, I am here as leader of the Internet Party, and at the moment I’m guiding the party through a review of the future. I’ve also made a personal decision that once that review is completed, I will step down from the leadership of the Internet party. All options are then open for whether or not the party continues as an electoral force or moves into some other formation and plays its part in politics in a different way.

So that will be by Christmas? You will step down by Christmas?

Uh… yes. The timeline at the moment is that we will be putting together a couple of options that members will engage on, will vote on and will take from there. I just wanted to make it clear to the members, from whom I’ve had tons of support, and there’s been a lot of good feedback to me personally from members, that continuing as a political party does not— they can’t make the assumption that I will continue in the leadership.

Sure.

I’ve made a firm decision about that.

It’s over; you’re out. What does this mean for your political career?

For me, it means that I’m no longer leading the Internet Party. Whether the Internet Party continues as an electoral party is up to the members. If it—

What about Laila Harre personally? Is this your political career over now?

Who knows? Look… (LAUGHS) rumours of my political career being over have circulated many times over the last, you know, 15 years.

Look, I would love to be in parliament. I would love to be articulating the kind of fundamental agenda and values that Internet-Mana promoted in the election campaign, and I’m not prepared to say never again to being personally at the front line. But I also saw emerging in our election campaign an incredible set of younger candidates.

And I feel a bit like a mother hen here. I want to enable them through my decision to step down to explore all their political options too rather than be trapped in this year’s political entity and this year’s political tactic, you might say — to explore their options more.

It may— it may be, by what you’ve said there, that the Internet party doesn’t continue as an electoral-type party.

That’s definitely one of the options that we’re actively canvassing with members.

It could become a lobby group or be wound up.

It could be wound up. It could— the capacity that we’ve built. Look, we’ve had massive engagement on our policy-development platforms, in our social media—

And the merger with Mana — that isn’t going to continue?

Well, I mean, that will be up to Mana and if the Internet Party continues as an electoral party, the Internet party. Um, the Mana Party are having their AGM in a couple of weeks’ time. The agreement with Mana was always predicated on the assumption that we be in parliament.

So, of course, all bets are off there, but there’s very strong goodwill. And again, for me personally, that was one of the strengths of what we did this year — was engaging our constituency with a kaupapa Maori party, which I think is critical to the future of New Zealand politics.

Let’s reflect on the campaign now, cos we know the story. Internet-Mana went from 2.3% on the 3News-Reid Research poll, higher than that on some other polls, then you started to crash. In the end, Hone Harawira didn’t make it; nobody did. What went wrong?

Um, well, what went wrong was that we completely mismanaged the last month of the campaign. We had amazing momentum before then. The road trip, I think, worked extremely well. What other party just went out there on the front line, engaged with such large audiences?

What was the mismanagement?

I think the kind of beginning of that, really, was Georgina Beyer’s attack on Kim Dotcom, which fed into what became a narrative of a rift and division, and it was one that we just couldn’t knock through the rest of the campaign. It became completely distracting from the release of policy, for instance. I mean, we launched a full employment policy that was second to none and did not get one minute of coverage on, you know, national news.

That’s because Kim Dotcom stood up and talked about hacking,…

Well…

…and Pam Corkery attacked the media on the same—

Well, no, it’s because the media chose to focus on sideshows rather than to allow us to present ourselves in the way that we were presenting ourselves. So, you know, the media made a decision to focus on Kim, and in a very negative way during that period.

The only way that we could have avoided that was to take him completely out of the picture. And of course then there would have been all the stories of ‘what’s happened to Kim Dotcom?’ And ‘has he been side-lined?’ And so on. So we’re kind of in the lose-lose position. Beyond us—

Do you have any regrets in all of this? Cos you must have.

I have absolutely no regrets about choosing to get involved in this project. Back in April— late April when I was first approached to consider the leadership, it was very very clear that Labour and the Greens were not going to make it over the line.

I was utterly committed to a change of government, and in order to change the government, we had to make sure every single progressive vote would count. For that to happen, Internet Party votes had to count. For the Internet Party votes to count, they had to do the deal with Mana. And for Mana to do that deal, they needed a leader that Mana had some confidence in.

Sure.

So I said yes. I put myself into that position, and I think it was absolutely the right thing to do. What I regret is actually the failure of the Left overall to get its act together in a strategic and tactical way during the election.

What do you mean by the failure of the Left overall?

Well, let’s go back to early April when the Greens and Labour pulled the plug on each other. At that time I was on the Green Party campaign committee. I felt that was a terrible error by both parties. I thought it was a major error by the Greens to leak the collapse of that discussion.

You’re saying that you were working inside there at the time and the Greens leaked…

I was on the campaign committee as a volunteer. I wasn’t working for the party, but when the Greens decided to leak the collapse of their discussions with Labour, I felt really concerned about what that meant for the election campaign, because what it meant was what I went through before the… around the 1996 and previous elections, that this was going to become a competition for votes on the Left rather than a cooperation of Left parties to change the government.

Here’s the counter argument, and you know it. Labour and the Greens put the failure of the Left at your feet.

Well, it’s very convenient.

They blame it on Internet-Mana. Andrew Little, all of the Labour leadership candidates all say being connected to Internet-Mana and to Kim Dotcom helped bring the Left down.

I think, actually, what brought, overall… I mean, this was always going to be a very— Can I just give you my view on this? This was always going to be a very finely balanced election outcome. There was no way, no way, never in any polls that Labour and the Greens were going to get sufficient support to form a majority government. That meant we had to rescue progressive votes to. To do that—

I understand all of this. But what also happened was National romped home. It wasn’t close. The Left got thrashed. You guys have been blamed for helping bring down the Left and at the same time there’s an argument that you pumped up the Right. People who were scared of Kim Dotcom. People were scared of Internet-Mana. People didn’t like to deal with Hone Harawira. Not only did you tear down the Left, there’s an argument that you helped John Key win by more.

Well, let’s look at some of the facts here. The Internet-Mana Party deal led to an increase in support for the combined two parties. The early part of our campaign, which Kim was very actively involved in in the road trip, saw a growth in support for Internet-Mana. It was at that point that the Right went fully on attack against Kim, and used Kim and the Internet Party-Mana agreement as the basis for an attack on the Left. At that point, Labour—

And it worked.

Yes, but why did it work? Because at that point Labour and the Greens had a choice. They could either join John Key’s narrative, or they could do the only thing that would have made it possible to get over the line, and that was to accept that putting together a majority in parliament, this time round, that did not have National as part of it was going to depend on working constructively with other parties. Labour ruled out just about every other party during the course of the election campaign, and I think that was a big mistake.

So in summary, those parties not supporting Internet-Mana, those parties trying to distance themselves from you, is to blame for your downfall. You’re blaming Labour—

No, I’m not blaming them for our downfall. What I’m saying is that I think they just played into the Right’s narrative about it. So they fed it. They made it more of a problem. And I think the key to politics is knowing and accepting the environment you’re operating in. They didn’t like us. They didn’t want us, but we were there and they needed to accept that reality.

Let’s talk about Kim Dotcom now. Are you still on his payroll?

No! Goodness, no.

Are you still in contact with him?

Yes. I’m periodically in contact with him.

How?

Mainly by text message. Kim is focussing on his legal issues, obviously. That’s the critical point.

Did you ever seek assurances from him that he was not involved in the hacking, that he was not connected to Rawshark?

I didn’t need to because he was absolutely upfront and direct about that, and I completely accept those assurances, and I also believe that John Key knew, and John Key said now that he knows who the hacker is. I think he knew who the hacker was, and he that he knew it wasn’t Kim Dotcom, and he kept feeding you guys.

Look, we had this conversation during the campaign where he had convinced you that he believed Kim Dotcom was the hacker. I think we now know that he knew right from the start that Kim Dotcom was not the hacker. That was just a complete red herring.

As for the moment of truth when Kim Dotcom failed to deliver. You know, the proof was apparently that email from Kevin Tsujihara. Warner Brothers says that that was a forgery. I mean, do you believe it was real?

I believe that Kim, given the opportunity to share everything about that email, would be able to defend his belief that it’s real. Look, I can’t answer that. I wasn’t directly involved in obtaining it or being involved in the process of—

Either Kim Dotcom’s forged it or Warner Brothers has made it up.

I absolutely don’t believe Kim Dotcom has forged it. I absolutely believe that Kim believes it’s real based on the evidence he has about its origins.

The $3.5 million. What happened to that? Who’s got control of it?

Well, that money’s been spent. I mean, let’s remember that that money was spent from pre the launch of the Internet Party in March and committed. I think we could have done a whole lot—

Was this it for you? The dream of a well-funded campaign — the chance of a lifetime. Is that what was there for you, and now maybe you regret it?

What was there for me and for the kind of politics I represent, was the chance to change the government and to get a platform in parliament for some very new progressive ideas. Look, I’ve walked off platforms in this election campaign where I was the only candidate—

And speaking of walking, where do you go from here?

…the only candidate promoting free tertiary education. You know, you had Labour and Green candidates saying user-pay tertiary education was a necessary evil. I reject that. Where to from here? Well, for me, being outside parliament as a political party is not a game that I think is worth the candle.

What I want to do, though, is continue to promote and connect with the kind of more radical, I guess, policies that we began to introduce into the election. And when I say radical, I don’t mean marginal. I mean radical in the sense of fundamentals. So I’m going on a journey in February with my sister. It’s called ‘Rethink the System’. We’ve got a website.

Rethinkthesystem.org

We’re going on a sort of pilgrimage meets activism to connect with people over fundamental social change issues.

Sounds like fun. Really sorry. We’re out of time.

Thank you.

Thank you.

Source: Scoop

Good Standard on Labour leadership

An unusually good post and comment thread at The Standard on Labour’s leadership contest – My (late) vote.

Lyn Prentice is a campaigner from way back and has a good idea about how things work, especially with Labour – he’s it bit off the mark with some of his claims about National but that’s not his strength.

For a review of the leadership contenders and an insight into Labour campaigning it’s worth reading through the post and most of the comments.

Prentice happens to pick the leadership contest similar to I would (I’m not a Labour member so haven’t had to decided):

  1. Andrew Little
  2. David Parker
  3. Nanaia Mahuta
  4. Grant Robertson

I think I’d reverse Mahuta and Robertson.

And another old school Labour campaigner Anne names her preferred front bench.

  1. Andrew Little
  2. David Parker
  3. Grant Robertson
  4. Nanaia Mahuta
  5. David Cunliffe
  6. Phil Twyford
  7. Jacinda Ardern
  8. Annette King
  9. Phil Goff
  10. David Shearer

Her comment:

Yep. I came to the same conclusions for exactly the same reasons as lprent. A Little/Parker combination is what the Labour Party needs with Robertson, Mahuta, Cunliffe, Twyford, and Ardern taking the next five places. Annette King and Phil Goff still have a lot to offer in the way of experience and knowledge, but they have to give way to a new team. Having said that, I think they should – along with Shearer – take the next three places.

Leader plus ex leaders/acting leaders fill half of those positions – experience is valuable but it’s time the worked out how to work together and put the party ahead of their own ambitions or grievances.

I’d swap Robertson/Mahuta and Twyford/Ardern to put more female presence up the list. And I’m not sure that Goff should be that high, I’d rather look to the future more through Hipkins instead.

It’s worth repeating – interesting and worthwhile post and comments at The Standard.

Gower’s leadership ‘yawnfest’

Perhaps Patrick Gower is in the wrong job. He is getting bored with politics, as he repeats several times on Firstline yesterday – Labour’s epic leadership battle a ‘yawnfest’

We’re joined by political editor Patrick Gower here in the studio, how exciting, good morning. How have you found the roadshow?

Well I want to start with an apology for you, Michael, and all the viewers, ah for what a yawnfest ah the Labour Party leadership ah contest has been, and I want to [mumble] I know everyone is just getting up early and it is something people don’t want to talk about.

But believe this, there has been, can you believe this, seventeen meetings for the Labour leadership contest already, they’ve gone around the country and had seventeen meetings.

And I have to tell the Labour Party this, they are not a rock band. They’re not even the Waratahs. They do not warrant a seventeen centre tour of New Zealand.

So I just hate to break to them, ah but for some reason this is this is the contest they’ve chosen to have, it’s in their constitution ah which I’ve been through.

It’s like reading a cross between the Koran and the Bible, it’s only for true believers, in fact it’s more boring than that, it’s ah like reading the Koran in Arabic and the Bible in Latin.

It’s absolutely only for true believers, and I feel sorry, and on behalf of the Labour Party I apologise for their true believers, they’re the kind of people out there forced along to these meetings ah because they’re going through some sort of form of political torture, these are people who have just been out ah knocking on doors, delivering pamphlets in the rain during an election campaign and now the Labour Party, thanks to it’s crazy constitution, ah is forcing  them out again as well as the candidates doing the same ten minute speech around seventeen places in the country.

So ah apologies over, that’s how I’ve found it, a giant bore and a flop.

That is 1:52 into the item and All Gower has said is that he is bored with the Labour Party doing leadership democracy the way they have chosen.

Gower isn’t their target market here, he’s presumably not a party member so he doesn’t get to take part.

Why he thinks he can “on behalf of the Labour Party I apologise”. He should be apologising to viewers for presenting such a pissy pointless rant like that.

If he wants excitement perhaps Gower should get a new job, as a sports journalist or an entertainment journalist, where he rub shoulders on the celebrity circuit. Or he could be a police reporter where he can revel in what the worst of our society can do.

He often tries to create his own excitement in the political field but having found no excuse to blow Labour’s leadership contest up into some sort of over-dramatic scandal he has resorted to creating his own yawnfest.

The discussion moves briefly to Islamic State issues but soon returns to continue his Labour slagging.

…but the Labour Party um do not support trainers at all, they do not support any sort of  intervention in Iraq, they don’t support trainers behind ah the wire as John Key calls it, non combat, so a very very different position to John Key.

Ah a big issue and you have to say if they had a leader in place where they could actually contest this, Tova O’Brien had to actually effectively drag this out of these guys yesterday, they would be a more effective opposition.

Labour has an acting leader, Annette King.

Now the candidates are all divided on the Capital Gains Tax.

Yeah this is one area, and it’s a big one, ah it’s one of Labour’s big policies, they’ve taken it into two elections in a row, ah Andrew Little is on the side of get rid of this thing, we’ve lost two elections, people aren’t buying it.

Ah David Parker and Grant Robertson are on the other side saying let’s have another crack at selling this.

Ah but it’s a sad ah state of affairs when the most exciting thing about the Labour leadership contest is an argument over tax.

Ah, tax is one of the most important aspects of governing. It may not be exciting enough for Gower but it is a big deal for Labour, as it should be.

One of the biggest influences on voters is how policies will affect them, and tax has a big effect on all of us. I don’t think any election has been won or lost (yet) on how excited or bored a journalist gets.

Right, Key’s picked Little as the winner, who have you got your money on?

Ah listen, can’t pick anyone, and neither can the Labour Party, I’ve talked to insiders all day yesterday. They’ve got no idea who will win.

It may be a very open contest but the whole point of it is for “the Labour Party” to pick someone. And that’s what will happen, in the time frame set out by the Party and not at a time that Gower wants a bit more excitement in his job.

What they need is an amalgam of their contenders.

They need ah Maori women ah called Nanai Mahuta, they need that part there, that’s Nanai Mahuta.

They need someone with economic credibility, that’s David Parker, so you need that part of him.

They need someone who can take John Key on in the Parliament with a bit of energy, that’s Grant Robertson.

And they need someone who can reach out and speak to the working population and gets on well with the unions, Andrew Little.

They have them all. It’s called a caucus. It’s not possible for one person to be everything to every bored journalist.

Sorry Labour, you can’t have an amalgam, you have to choose one of them, you can’t have the best bits of them and you have to choose one of them with all the bad bits.

The caucus is their amalgam. A democratic leader has to lead and harness that variety of talent. There have never been many perfect dictatorships.

And Labour is not actually getting in behind any of these candidates, there’s no consensus building…

That’s because they haven’t chosen a leader yet who can then start building a consensus.

…whoever wins it won’t have they support of the whole party, ah and that is probably the biggest problem for them is that they won’t actually get to someone ah who’s the one for them, they’re all pretty average.

This is pretty average political commentary at best. Labour has certainly had problems with a lack of unity behind previous leaders but all candidates have said they see the importance of uniting behind whoever is chosen as their new leader.

Gower is condemning something unknown, in the future.

Sorry Labour.

So we need some sort of science experiment…

Yeah. And Labour won’t, you know, they won’t like what I’ve been saying here, that they need a science experiment and stuff like that, um, because they don’t want to listen to anybody, they just want to listen to themselves, and that is the problem with the whole process.

They’re talking to themselves and they’re bored themselves.

It seems that they are not giving Gower exciting stories so he’s bored. Too bad. It’s not his contest, it’s Labour’s.

The 3 News item closed with…

Each of the candidates brings something the party needs, says Gower, but none appear to be the full package.

That’s about as insightful as saying the weather can be changeable. All leaders have strengths and weaknesses. No MP will ever be “the full package”.

No journalists are the full package either. If any of them get bored perhaps they need to look for a more exciting vocation.

Or keep their yawning to themselves.

Nanaia Mahuta – Standard Q & A

Yesterday Labour leadership contender Nanaia Mahuta had a Q & A at The Standard. Her introduction:

Greetings Standarnistas!

I am proud of our country and the Labour Party and I know that it can be better.

We are a progressive movement for change and we are at an important juncture. We must take stock to assess the challenges we face in a political landscape where we must earn back the confidence of New Zealanders.

Hard-working Labour members and supporters campaigned for the types of policies that could lift our desire to become a smart, innovative and caring nation in the 21st Century. The election outcome told us that we just didn’t get cut through, the missing million didn’t mobilize, the prospect of Dotcom raised more concern than support and ‘Dirty Politics’ may have turned punters off altogether. We must keep confidence with the base of support we do have as we work out our way forward.

We need to be prepared to do things differently. The Party has started its programme to modernise the way we do things and that must continue. The Parliamentary wing needs to modernise its approach and represent the aspirations of New Zealanders who despite their working class roots may see their needs better responded to by other political parties. We need to reclaim this space.

My upbringing and my world-view are different. Leading a life of service, contributing to the collective aspirations of community and working amongst diverse groups are just some of the experiences that have shaped my approach.

Being involved in change programmes has given me insight. The Organisational Review for the Party and the Governance and Representation Review for my tribe have tackled challenges of structural, cultural, organisational and leadership change.

When I entered Parliament the caucus culture was that one must ‘do their time – look, listen and breathe through your nose’. Mentoring was a myth and it wasn’t until the 2004 foreshore and seabed issue, I took my place in the caucus as an elected equal with my colleagues. I used the process to effect change for my electorate where they have never been prejudicially affected by any subsequent piece of legislation.

Where you stand in the hard times are a good test of character. After 5 elections I have retained the confidence of Hauraki-Waikato people whom I have never taken for granted.

New Zealand is now more diverse as a nation. The challenges of modern society require a collaborative and sustainable approach. Communities, Business, Local Government our academic institutions are already moving in this direction.

We can uphold our values of a fair and decent society. We can promote economic prosperity and environmental responsibility as mutually inclusive aspirations.

We can ensure that our children and old people are cared for at the most vulnerable times of their life cycle.

We can affirm to working people, and those who share our aspirations in the productive sector that there is everything to gain when we have thriving communities and regions.

We can explore the rich contribution of diversity.

We can be stronger when we work together.

Mauriora!

Nanaia Mahuta

Edited questions with full answers.

Will you work collaboratively with other parties on the Left?

In opposition I think that building a strong relationship with potential coalition partners is important and I would take a constructive approach across the parliamentary and party levels of leadership over the next 3 years.

Do you consider a strategy for the LP to get MPs on the ground over the next 2.8 years working on a nationwide education programme with Unions, utlising their extensive infrastructure to educate NZ workers about the value of union membership as a way to improve their wages, working conditions, security of job and family a worthwhile strategy? If yes, how would you instigate it. If no, why not.

I would tend to agree with the approach you have imied and would work in partnership with unions to achieve that objective. Our effort in Parliament would amplify to hard working New Zealanders that a productive economy and the protection of worker rights have mutual advantage to regional growth and productivity.

Very general answers to begin with.

I am interested in caucus dynamics. I am not breaking any confidences by saying that the dynamics within Caucus are not ideal.

What changes do you think should be made to improve things?

It appears to me that this decision will again be one where the membership will express a preference and Caucus will need to act in a more disciplined way or risk further perception that the party and parliamentary wing are not in sync. We must be disciplined in the next phase to rebuild confidence that we will get our house in order.

Very good. Thank you Nanaia for that gracious and thoughtful, in depth, reply.

“Thoughtful, in depth” seems out of sync with her answer.

More specifically are you able and/or willing to face down the Right Wing ABC faction to give David Cunliffe a senior role in your shadow cabinet?

All members will be treated without fear or favor based on their aspiration to work towards a united team, a focussed opposition, a strong voice for working people and able to build credibility around a credible Labour alternative to Create a vision for NZ where all peoples can live, work and thrive.

I believe that DC has a huge contribution to make as do other members of our caucus. Our commitment to the team will determine how talent will be recognised.

Mahuta has been a supporter of Cunliffe and only stood for leadership when he withdrew.

If at the next election Mana were the make or break for the formation of a left wing government, would you choose to take their support on confidence and supply or would you choose to remain in opposition? (note, I am not asking if you would go into coalition with Mana, just if you would accept their support on C and S). If you would accept their support, how will you communicate this to the electorate pre-election?

It seems to me that it will be very hard to regroup with no presence in Parliament. I remain open to conversations to opposition parties represented in Parliament as a first step to build the campaign to change the Government.

Do you intend for Labour to develop policy specific to Work and Income beneficiaries, esp those who are not in a position to enter the workforce? (as opposed to policy directed towards low income people in general). Will you support Labour rolling back the worst of the Paula Bennett welfare reforms?

How do you intend for Labour to address the cultural and structural problems within Work and Income? How do you intend for Labour to address the wider society cultural issues regarding welfare eg the bludger memes?

The team I lead will be highy motivated to present an alternative economic vision where regional development will provide tangible opportunities for the productive sector to grow jobs and transition to a low carbon economy, we will further establish credibility and support for education and training investment and ensure that our public health and education system become a hallmark of a caring society and where opportunity is available to all.

There doesn’t seem to be anything original or informative in that answer.

What policies will you bring forward to address and eradicate poverty in NZ?

We will emphasise policies that promote a high value productive sector to grow good quality jobs, we will push for targets on child poverty in order to keep the Government accountable to its responsibility, and we will further advocate for the rights and interests of the most vulnerable.

For those modest hardworking families we will ensure that there is a coherent policy package that addresses their needs so they can see that we support them. Housing, Working for Families, the cost of child care and cost of living pressure are the range of issues that would need to be factored into this approach.

Interesting to see her emphasis on “we”.

[1] Have any of the Pākehā caucus members (non Maori, non PI) indicated their first preference vote for you? If yes, is that number at least two?

No

[2] Please describe briefly what your approach will be to reduce the ever increasing wealth and income gap in our country.

Please see previous comments above. In addition to that I would take the approach that Labour would need to lead an inquiry on the changing nature of work to better understand sector by sector the extent of the challenge to reduce the wealth and income gap and to better inform where our ‘investment’ approach might best be focussed. As we move from a high volume to high value economy we need to transition the current and future labour market towards that goal.

[3] Do you have enough confidence that you can take on and fight Key for the Prime ministerial position during the next election campaign?

With a United and Focussed Team Labour is formidable. I will certainly change the landscape on which that fight will take place.

[4] Will you be able to be a fair and effective leader for all New Zealanders?

That can only be assessed over time.

That’s right – until anyone becomes a leader and is seen in action over time it is difficult to assess how they will perform. Some rise to the challenge, some don’t.

During your 18 years in parliament what 3 achievements would you consider your greatest triumphs?

1. Being an effective advocate for my Electorate where I was unafraid to test my mandate on the hardest of issues (Foreshore and Seabed) where Labour suffered huge electoral damage. I continue to serve my electorate and hold their confidence.

2. I have always put my name to comments to the media and have not brought the Party into disrepute.

3. As Minister of Youth Affairs I initiated exactly the types of projects that grew participation of young people in decision-making, that fostered mentoring, that tackled issues of their time mental, sexual and reproductive health initiatives and teen pregnancy.

There are other things but these particular three speak to the values that I hold as a person.

Mahuta’s lack of apparent impact and visibility over 18 years in Parliament is a common criticism. Maori MPs often seem to have a lower public profile, I’ve wondered if that’s due to lower effort or if the Maori way of representing is just more discrete, or regarded as not newsworthy.

Would you consider overseeing the establishment of an independent commission against corruption for NZ, tasked with cleaning up all relevant areas?

In the first instance I support greater transparency in the political system as we unravel issues raised in ‘dirty politics’ there may well be greater impetus to pursue your suggestion.

If you are elected leader of the LP do you accept that the right both directly and through their channels will seek to undermine you with fact and fiction? If you do accept this what strategy do you and your advisors have to get beyond that to ensure the LP messages are heard?

Connect with more New Zealanders and enter into a broader range of relationships with stakeholder groups and communities that tend not to have affinity with Labour. It will take effort to earn the confidence of more New Zealanders they need to know how and why we think the way we do and what motivates us to build a New Zealand that works for everyone.

Do you think that there are enough activists in the Labour Party who you can work with to further the interests of the country and the people on the lower to middle-income strata? Do you agree what is needed is more supportive and effective welfare and creation of jobs through work schemes, small loans and business and government service initiatives?

I agree that there needs to be a strong emphasis on work that is genuine and sustainable. I also recognize that by ensuring the most vulnerable are cared for we create a fair society. Work and better paying jobs has to be a core motivation. But we can’t stop there as people should aspire to achieve more no matter where their starting point.

Will you consider measures to stop the sale of NZ land and assets to foreign interests?

Our policy on the first issue proposed to do just that stop further asset sales and raise the bar for foreign ownership.

That didn’t answer the question, she says what was Labour policy, not what she would consider.

Do you like Bob Marley?

Yes.

Do you think liberalism as an economic theory works for Maori?

No.

Your husband is awesome, does he look after the tamariki [children]?

Yes with whanau help.

Is it ok to call you kaitiaki?
[kaitiaki: trustee, minder, guard, custodian, guardian, keeper.
Kaitiaki is a term used for the Māori concept of guardianship, for the sky, the sea, and the land.]

Mmm not sure about that one.

How do you propose to deal with National’s lack of aroha [love]?

That’s not for me to do we as a Labour team need to practice the values of aroha through a fair and decent society.

It’s wise to avoid a loaded question like that but not useful to end with a “fair and decent society” generality.

There were a handful of mixed responses to Mahuta’s Q & A. It wasn’t very illuminating and unlikely to have won or lost any support.

I haven’t seen Mahuta reveal much about herself in any of her engagements apart from her ability to memorise well worn phrases, something she shares with many bland politicians.

‘Labour West’ promoting Little and Mahuta leadership

An apparently authorised Labour group (Labour West) is promoting a ‘Meet Andrew Little and Nanaia Mahuta’ event in West Auckland that currently appears to exclude the other two leadership contenders. The group has strong connections with ex leader David Cunliffe.

‘Labour West’ on Facebook states:

This is the page for the New Zealand Labour Party in West Auckland. Have a look at our posts, check out what our leaders are up to, and visit events.

It has a photo of Labour MPs including David Cunliffe (MP for New Lynn) – the Facebook page seems to have mainly been a promotion for Cunliffe’s leadership and Labour’s election campaign.

LabourWest

Note also the promotion of an event this Saturday – an opportunity to meet leadership contenders Andrew Little and Nanaia Mahuta. Despite the photo including all four contenders it seems that Grant Robertson and David Parker are not included. This seems very odd for a Labour Party promoted event.

The Facebook page ‘Description':

This is a page for West Auckland Labour members and supporters. No parliamentary services money has been used in the construction of this website and if it needs authorisation (which is denied) it is authorised by Greg Presland of 512 South Titirangi Road, Titirangi. Go Labour!

Authorised by Greg Presland, a well known supporter and associate of Cunliffe.

There is also an event page on Facebook promoting this meet half the candidates event – Meet Andrew Little and Nanaia Mahuta:

An invite for westies to meet with Andrew Little and Nanaia Mahuta and chat with them about their aspirations for the Labour Party and what they want to achieve if they become leader.

“If they become leader” is an interesting phrase.

Labour West leaders edit

It’s easy to guess who might be behind this promotion.

There have been obvious signs of some angling towards favouring a Little/Mahuta leadership team at The Standard, where Presland happens to be an author and sometimes posts under the pseudonym ‘mickysavage’.

Although it is under the generic name of ‘Notices and Features’ this event is also being promoted at The Standard.

Meet Nanaia and Andrew in West Auckland this weekend

By: Date published: 11:44 pm, October 29th, 2014 – 5 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, labour, Nanaia Mahuta – Tags: , ,

Labour West are hosting an event this weekend where you can meet two of the Labour leadership candidates:

Meet Nanaia Mahuta and Andrew Little

5pm to 7pm Saturday 1 November

Ghazal restaurant, Glen Eden

An invite for westies to meet with Andrew Little and Nanaia Mahuta and chat with them about their aspirations for the Labour Party and what they want to achieve if they become leader.

Facebook event details here.

The West Auckland husting is a week and a half later, on 10 November at the Massey High School Performing Arts Centre. Facebook event here.

One can presume who is responsible for that post.

While it is not unusual for The Standard to be taking sides in leadership contests or attempted coups it seems odd that an apparently authorised Labour organisation is promoting two contenders – and excluding the other two from an event that is obviously leadership contest related.

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.

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