Labour review reaction –

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

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

Reporter:

The 2014 election was a total disaster for Labour.

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

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

Gower to Andrew Little:

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

Little:

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

Gower:

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

“Labour’s campaign preparation was inadequate”.

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

“There was a general lack of message discipline”.

Little:

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

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

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

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

Is that the official Labour response?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then in a comment TRP says:

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

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

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

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

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

See the above and the Standard post and thread.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Williamson speaks, doesn’t deny ACT attempt

ACT leader David Seymour dumped Maurice Williamson into an embarrassing situation with his claims that Williamson approached ACT with a view to jumping from the National ship.

Seymour also implied that Williamson lied about it to John Key. See Williamson flayed, National frayed.

Yesterday Williamson responded, very briefly. Stuff reported:

National Party MP Maurice Williamson has broken his silence on claims he sought to desert National, saying

“I don’t want to join the ACT Party”.

It was the only comment he would make on the issue.

That statement fails to address the allegations.

Of course he won’t want to join the ACT Party – they say they have rejected his advances, and they have dumped on him big time.

But Williamson doesn’t deny approaching ACT, nor sounding them out. He doesn’t deny attempting to join ACT.

In politics this leaves the obvious assumption that Seymour’s claims were reasonably accurate. And that’s certainly how it’s being seen going by this discussion between Paul Henry and Patrick Gower.

Henry: Maurice Williamson, let’s just finish up talking about him. Is he in the naughty corner? What, what is, is John Key going to be forced to do something now it appears Maurice lied to John.

Gower: Ah, I think John Key will do nothing about Maurice, um, John Key will just ignore Maurice, and that’s probably how this whole thing started altogether. Maurice ah and Don Brash are essentially in the netherworld of failed right wing politicians.

Um they tried to get something going on with the ACT Party. ACT didn’t want a bar of it. In fact David Seymour went straight to the ninth floor and narked on them, went straight in, knocked on the door of the principle’s office, said John Key “are you going to do it”.

I don’t think anything will happen to Maurice. He’ll be left um to suffer quietly which he obviously doesn’t like doing.

Um but big ups to David Seymour. He took on um these old boys, these crazy old uncles of the right wing.

Went public and said “we don’t want a bar of you, no longer ACT might not be, ACT might be on political life support, we don’t need a couple of crazy old uncles um hogging hogging that life support, um I’m going to do it on my own”.

Big ups to David Seymour.

So Seymour and ACT get a bit of a boost from this.

It shouldn’t do National any harm, unless a now grumpier old back bencher causes trouble before being squeezed out of his electorate and out of Parliament by the end of this term – if Williamson waits around that long. National have proven to be quite effective at clearing out dead wood.

Key speaks on his hair problems

John Key was interviewed on The Nation on Saturday and was asked by Patrick Gower about the hair pulling issue.

KeyTheNationApril15

Gower: Moving now to another issue that has been dominating things and that is of course the ponytail…

Key: Yep.

Gower: …incident. Some people back at home are saying “Hey what’s all the fuss about? You know can’t we have any fun any more?”

Key: Oh yeah but look I’ve tried to give a bit of context around what actually happened there but um and I accept that that will be some people’s view, but there’s also another view, ah which is I should have been much better at reading that situation more carefully.

I completely failed to read that situation correctly, um I actually regret that very deeply. I regret it for the young woman in question.

Um yes I was kidding around and didn’t mean any offence um but that shows you the danger of you know um undertaking those sort of you know kinda pranks if you like that they can be misinterpreted and misread.

Gower: So what do you say to those people who say ‘oh it’s all a fuss about nothing’ – that they’re wrong obviously?

Key: No I’m just saying that you know I have to take responsibility for my own actions. Um I completely misread the situation, clearly otherwise it you know wouldn’t have happened.  Um and I just didn’t see it for what it was, um I did see it in a very light hearted nature, I’ve got a very casual relationship with the people there. We do have lots of fun. Um but…

Gower: Here’s the way of looking at it isn’t it, I mean how would you like it if someone did it to you.

Key: And that’s of course that’s right that’s the counter argument, I mean looking…

Gower: How would you lie it if someone pulled your hair?

Key: Well, ah, if it was in the context of the way that it happened there I would see it in that context, but I absolutely one hundred percent appreciate um in hindsight she didn’t and I should have read that situation more accurately.

Gower: Yeah because it’s not in the context of what happened there is it, the context really is about power. You’re the Prime Minister. She’s someone working in her job.

Key: Yes I understand that’s some people’s argument. There’s a counter argument…

Gower: Do you feel that you abused your power?

Key: Well I was going to say there’s a counter argument for that and I think yeah look by nature I’m a pretty casual person, and I do kid around and have a bit of fun, and I think one of the things that look you know that, look the majority of staff there have enjoyed is the fact that…

Gower: I guess the question is this…

Key: …the opposite, rather than the power sort of thing and me being a bit stuck up I’ve, stuck up I’ve been mucking around and having a bit of fun, now you know ok look in the end I got that wrong and I have to accept that.

Gower: Yeah and when you when you accept that you got it wrong, do you accept that you misused your power?

Key: No because I didn’t intend to do that, it was the opposite, I intended to try and be in a much more informal sort of setting so that I put people at ease and we could have a bit of a laugh and a bit of fun so it’s really the opposite.

But I accept that that’s an interpretation someone could get.

Gower: Sure and on that I mean do you feel um like you’ve let yourself down?

Key: Yes but I also have to take responsibility here for my own actions.

Gower: Some people will say this, and you know I have to ask, why the hair pulling?

Key: Well I mean look it was all just part of you know a a bit of jocularity was happening but you know it’s a very difficult thing, in the cold light of day when you look at these things, some things that are you know a bit of kidding round at the time, don’t seem that funny later on when they’re reflected on in the cold light of day. I see that and accept that now.

I think this is about as much as Key could do to front up, accept responsibility and limit the damage. It seems genuine enough to me (but some will never see any explanation from Key as genuine, and this is reflected in some social media comments).

He says he understands the issues and the criticisms and accepts their validity.

He has not questioned or challenged the waitress’ account of what happened at all. He has not blamed or criticised her at all.

The only thing not answered is why Key thought that puling hair was ok and would be acceptable in the first place. It still looks  odd for an adult to be pulling hair in public.

Key accepts it’s not a good look but doesn’t explain why there was any hair pulling. Perhaps he has no explanation, doesn’t know why. It’s not normal no matter how jocular the situation might be – in fact to many people it’s decidedly abnormal.

That aside Key has probably done as much as he can to cop the flak and deal with and deflate the issue.

It’s not going to fade away completely, this is the sort of stuff-up that will be added to the list of misdemeanours and will be  thrown at him for the rest of his political career by opponents. Especially by social media activists.

But Key has done what was necessary to front up and to minimise the damage. It’s impossible to measure how much damage has been done, and how much it will impact on his political future.

Source: Interview: Prime Minister John Key

Paddy pimping Peters

Winston Peters has a campaign bus on the road in Northland. And some of the media seems to be actively pushing the Peters blusterbus while they sideline some other candidates and ignore the rest.

Media driven democracy at it’s worst.

Leading the charge is 3 News political editor Patrick Gower, who even commissioned a poll for Peters. Ok, it wasn’t ‘for Peters’ but the nature and timing means it was virtual pimping.

The appearance is that some media are actively promoting Winston’s chances and want him to win the Northland seat. And they rule the rest out of anything like equivalent coverage.

Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime announced her candidacy nearly a month ago and launched her Labour campaign nearly two weeks ago. The media, especially the television media, seems to have virtually ignored her.

National’s Mark Osborne was selected last Saturday and seems to get little other than incidental coverage, and his inexperience is often emphasised.

In start contrast Winston Peters announced he was standing last Saturday. He had already arranged (and been given) promotional slots on TV3’s The Nation on Saturday and 3 News’ Q&A on Sunday.

Peters launched his bus campaign on Tuesday near lead news television coverage.

He was given a slot on 3 News Frontline on Wednesday morning.

And yesterday he was to the forefront of 3 News with a poll result, presented by a seemingly ecstatic Gower. It’s not surprising that the poll result favoured Peters, 35% to Osborne’s 30%. Peters has been splashed all over the headlines and the other candidates have been barely mentioned or ignored comparatively.

This is media driven political campaigning at it’s worse.

3 News website headlines yesterday:

Peters: ‘Labour can’t win – we can’

Winston Peters is calling on Labour voters in Northland to give him the tick in the upcoming Northland by-election.

Peters on track to win Northland seat

A 3 News political poll has found Winston Peters is on track to deliver National a shock defeat in the Northland by-election.

It appears as if plenty who voted for National in the last election feel wronged and are holding a grudge.

The latest 3 News-Reid Research poll shows Mr Peters with a clear lead over National’s Mark Osborne.

A poll taken pretty much before the campaign has started with a result of 35% to 30% is not “on track to deliver”, unless Gower means he is on track to deliver the campaign to Peters on a platter.

And the margin of error for the poll is over 4%. meaning there is substantial overlap on the potential response.

The poll is certainly a significant boost to Peters chances but the way it has been promoted is far from balanced coverage.

And the pimping of Peters continues today with Age no barrier for Winston Peters.

Going back to Tuesday the 3 News headlines:

You have to go back to Sunday to find a headline on a Peters opponent:

Ok, that’s not an opponent, it’s John Key’s view and doesn’t mention the National candidate tell near the end of the article, tacked on after another promotion for Peters:

However, Mr Peters says the National Party is panicking because of how much support he has from its own members.

NZ First had a record of achieving outside of government, he told the programme.

He had brought bridges to Tauranga and could bring roads to Northland, Mr Peters said.

“Northland has been a forgotten province. It needs a voice and we’re being asked to put our hands up put it all on the line for Northland and I intend to do just that.”

The by-election on March 28 is a four-way contest with National’s Mark Osborne, Labour’s Willow-Jean Prime and ACT’s Robin Grieve also standing.

And even that’s factually incorrect. There are eleven candidates. 3 News has chosen to ignore seven of them. Candidates have no show if the media chose not to include them in coverage.

This is media driven democracy at it’s worst.

Paddy pimping Peters is very poor political coverage.

“The Greens will have their worry beads out”

Russel Norman stepping down as co-leader poses a new challenge for the Greens, especially if Metiria Turei becomes more dominant as she has leas broad appeal.

And according to Patrick Gower the Greens have another worry from the latest 3 News poll:

Gower said the latest polls would shock a couple of parties.

“The Greens will have their worry beads out.”

Results will be tonight on 3 News. The polling will presumably have been done before Norman announced he will be stepping down.

The new Green co-leader won’t be chosen until May. That leaves a co-vacuum until then, as Norman is likely to leave more of the leader’s duties to Turei.

Leadership transition is always an uncertain time for a party, and a long lead-in until the new leader takes over won’t help.

Little rated against Key

NZ Herald reports on a 3 News/Reid Research poll (I can’t find it on the 3 News site) and asks Has Key met his match?

A 3 News Reid-Research poll has revealed 55 per cent of voters think Little is potentially a better match for Prime Minister John Key than his Labour Party leader predecessors.

3 News political editor Patrick Gower said the poll result was a huge boost for Little.

“It means more than half of voters think he can do a better job than Phil Goff, David Shearer or David Cunliffe,” Gower said.

“And the fact that it’s over half shows it’s well and truly beyond the people who vote for Labour normally and into centre voters and probably some National voters as well.”

It’s too soon to tell, and Labour’s recovery will take more than Little to step up a few notches, but this poll result looks promising for Little’s prospects.

Little said the poll result was “nice” but he wouldn’t be taking any false hope from it.

“Things like this kind of go up and down. You’re in favour and you’re out of favour … it’s nice to have the kind of start that I’ve had. But we’ve got a long way to go yet and a lot of work to do so I’m focused on that.”

Little sounds realistic about where he’s at now.

A Key spokeswoman last night told the Herald on Sunday: “The Prime Minister never underestimates any leader of the Opposition.”

There’s signs that National is very wary of Little. That’s good, it will keep them on their toes.

So this is promising for Little but more important for Labour will be the party poll result, which will be revealed on 3 New tonight at 6 pm.

Bored with politics

Patrick Gower talked boredom and looked boorish when he dragged himself away from his holiday and launched his year in politics saying how bored he was with two political speeches.

Holiday over as Key, Little deliver speeches

The political year is well and truly underway, with both John Key and Andrew Little giving their State of the Nation speeches yesterday.

Political editor Patrick Gower is back underway too – he was at both speeches, and what a way to start 2015.

“One would have been more than enough, but two was truly demoralising,” he said on Firstline this morning.

“People call it the State of the Nation; I call it the holiday-wreckers.”

So who had the best start – Key or Little? And why?

Both Key and Little seem to have had a much better start to the year than Gower.  1/10 Paddy.

If he wasn’t aware until now that political speeches can be boring then maybe he has chosen the wrong profession. Of course the state of the nation speeches were boring.

Some journalists listened to and read the speeches and reported on the more pertinent and interesting points.

Gower chose to make his opening item for the year all about himself, sneering at those whose speeches msrked his return from holiday (in the last week of January, when most workers have been back at work for a week or two at least).

The problem with personality focussed journalists like Gower is that they are lured to mixing it with the power brokers, but wish for the excitement of sports or schmoodling with the ‘personalities’ of the entertainment industries.

Gower doesn’t get to report on massacres and disasters and what the Queen wore and what Lorde had for breakfast.

At times they try to make political coverage glamorous and exciting – silk purse out of pig’s tail stuff.

The fourth estate is supposed to doggedly hold our political elite to account. They should understand that when hard work leads to the uncovering of a big story it’s not them that the story is about.

And they should understand that even the biggest political stories are about politics, and most of the population doesn’t care.

If Gower wanted to feature in the most popular news delivery he should study the ‘Most Popular’ web site lists of what the plbes are interested in.

But he has chosen politics. And unfortunately Gower and some other journalists, mostly of the TV kind, try to make something exciting out of a mostly boring field.

Or they just make it about themselves.

If Gower is bored already it may be a long year for him. Paddy may have to plod away with a few speeches and ponderous Parliament punctuated perhaps by a by-election in Northland.

The public have long ago become bored with ‘cry wolf’ style political coverage. And self obsessed journalists who see themselvs as pseudo personalities.

A bored journalist just looks boorish and boring.

Tiso versus senior political journalists

In Tending Fascist Giovanni Tiso blasted Patrick Gower and Jane Clifton for not investigating “the scandal of their careers” (yeah, right) – dirty politics.

As senior political journalists who failed to uncover the scandal of their careers, Gower and Clifton may have a vested professional interest in arguing that it wasn’t in fact a real scandal, or that it wasn’t worth uncovering if one couldn’t also uncover what the Left has undoubtedly been doing.

But theirs is also part of the continuing and increasingly brazen attempt to normalise dirty politics, which is also the overt significance of the hiring of Collins (and the reason why Phil Goff provides no balance – although to be fair Goff would struggle to drag leftward a panel with Tomás de Torquemada).

There is no role of the media establishment to re-examine, no collective conscience to interrogate: just old prerogatives to re-establish and a fragile status quo to defend.

Putting the harsh criticisms aside, I would be appalled if senior journalists like Gower and Clifton used illegal hacking as a means of investigating stories.

Tiso campaigns very strongly against legal and court approved surveillance.

But he blasts journalists for not doing the job a hacker and associates did.

So he’s against legal surveillance but supports illegal hacking.

This looks like a continuing and increasingly brazen attempt to normalise dirty politics, as long as it’s the ones he agrees with doing the dirty digging.

Harawira on what he and Mana are up to

Patrick Gower interviewed Hone Harawira on The Nation on Saturday and asked him what he’d been up to. The answer was not very much since turning his back on politics after a disastrous election result.

Gower: What are you up to, what are you doing for a crust these days, what’s Hone Harawira been up to?

Harawira: Actually for the first couple of months absolutely nothing. Just hanging about home ah with the mokopunas, doing a bit of paddling, trying to get my health back.

He seemed to have struggled through the election campaign, perhaps that was to do with his health.

Ah, yeah and then a trip to South Africa, then the Nga Puhi claims.

Now starting to look at a couple of projects to get started in the New Year.

Gower: Sweet. And what about Mana itself, is Mana still alive?

Harawira: Yeah no we had a great week just a couple of weeks ago at Auckland University Marae. We had about seventy, eighty people come from all around the country from as far south as Dunedin, and everybody’s really focused on getting back to stuff in their communities, which is what I’m doing as well, and rebuilding from that level.

Gower: And what about Kim Dotcom, have you had a chance to catch up with Kim Dotcom?

Harawira: No actually, no we missed a chance ah last weekend, ah we’re trying to do it this weekend, probably catch up some time soon.

It sounds like he has just shrugged and turned away from Dotcom. That’s odd considering the huge cash provided and major alliance in the campaign.

Gower: You might pop out to Helensville after this?

Harawira: No I can’t, ah I’m going to be too busy after this. I’ve got um Newstalk ZB, I’ve got a kuruwhanau (?) to see, then I’ve got yo fly home.

Gower: Now we had Laila Harre on the program a little while ago, she said that…

Harawira: Where, here?

Gower: No on The Nation a couple of weeks ago. She said that the Internet Party completely mismanaged that last month of the campaign, do you agree with her?

Harawira: Oh look, those days are gone. Suffice to say from our point of view it was a shot worth taking, it didn’t come off, ah but Laila, wonderful person, ah a great political commentator, a woman of great principle.

Harre was widely criticised for her lack of principle in teaming up with Dotcom.

So, I missed the opportunity to be working with her but I wish her well whatever she’s going to be working on in the future.

Gower: And what about yourself, you’re still keen to come back to Parliament?

Harawira: Well a lot of people are keen for me to come back to Parliament, including some strangely enough right wing types. I think I just get a sense there needs to be somebody in there who’s going to be strong on the basic issues of poverty and homelessness, those sorts of things.

A curious non-personal response, as if he doesn’t make his own decisions. And while Harawira spoke strongly on poverty and homelessness he failed to work effectively with other parties in Parliament, something that’s essential to progress policies.

Gower: Will you have a crack against Kelvin Davis again in 2017?

Harawira: Oh if I have a crack it won’t be because I’m having a crack against Kelvin Davis, ah, it will be because I’m having a fight to support the rights of  te pani me te rawakore, the poor and the homeless.

Gower: And will it be with the Internet Party, will it be with Kim Dotcom, will you go with him again?

Harawira: Ah no, look we’ve just we’ve just ah formerly closed off that relationship, so I don’t think it’s, I don’t think it’s public yet but the letter’s just gone off to ah the Electoral Commission I think.

It sounds like someone else is managing the formal split and Harawira is a semi-interested spectator.

So that’s over, but ah certainly the relationship with some of the people we met in the Internet Party, that will continue.

Harre?

Gower: All right then, is there anything more on that split or is it just all over completely?

Harawira: Ah well you never know, ah you never say never, ah suffice to say though that right now it’s focussing on what’s happening at home, what’s happening with the mokopunas, what’s happening with the whanau.

We’ve got to rap this up Paddy.  Thank you very much.

As Harawira said that he walked away, shutting down the interview.

Just as he seems to have shut off and walked away from his political career.

It sounds like he’s over Parliament and while others have tried to to talk about him having a go at returning his heart isn’t in it at all.

He looked shattered on election night and it looks like he isn’t over it. He could possibly recover, and the next election is a long way away, but he and Mana really need to campaign right through the term.

Otherwise they are likely to fade away into political history, a movement that lost it’s mojo after an unsuccessful Parliamentary stint brought to a close after a disastrous decision to try and benefit from Dotcom’s millions.

Hager versus police

Nicky Hager doesn’t want the police to access the data they seized off him because, he says, it “contains allegations of police corruption”. The police may be required to reveal why they seized it.

Yvette points out at Kiwiblog:

Police will likely have to disclose Hager raid documents
A judge has signalled he will likely order police to disclose some documents they want to keep secret about the decision to raid author Nicky Hager’s home looking for the identity of the email hacker Rawshark.

The item has some odd little points in it –

Hager’s lawyer, Julian Miles, QC, who confessed he had not read Dirty Politics, said Hager was entitled to know whether police considered journalistic privilege not to reveal sources before deciding to search.

Prime Minister John Key claimed to not have read the Police Report on John Banks. Is Julian Miles similarly protecting himself by not reading DIRTY POLITICS

In the meantime the parties are still talking about how Hager can get a copy of the information seized. He has so far objected to it being copied at the police electronic crime laboratory because he says the information seized contains allegations of police corruption.
Hager’s challenge to the search and seizure of the information is due to be heard next March.
http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/64095110/Police-will-likely-have-to-disclose-Hager-raid-documents

Another three months is a long time to hold his data. I presume he has backup copies that allow him to keep working with what his material.

It seems a bit odd that the police need the data to identify Rawshark. There’s been talk about it being fairly widely known who hacked Cameron Slater.

If Slater knows who it was as he claims then Patrick Gower also knows now.

I wonder if the police are investigating a wider circle of co-culprits.

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