Little still mixed on TPPA

Andrew Little still seems to have mixed positions on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Patrick Gower:

So Little is loudly saying he is opposed to the TPP one minute, and then the next minute he’s quietly admitting he’d vote for the good bits. It is a Jekyll and Hyde show where Little is Jane Kelsey one minute and Phil Goff the next.

He tried to gloss over the Goff/Shearer/Helen Clark/et al elephant in Labour’s TPPA room in his ‘State of the nation’ speech yesterday:

I’d also like to acknowledge Phil Goff.

It’s funny, Phil seems to be at every gathering in Auckland with more than three people for some reason. Phil, this is going to be a big year for Auckland, and I know you’ll do a fantastic job as Mayor.

Little  may be looking forward to Goff resigning from Parliament if he wins the mayoralty, so he doesn’t figure in next year’s election lead up.

He addressed the TPPA directly later in his speech.

The truth is, this government has given up on the future.

They’ve been selling us short.

There’s no better example of this than the TPP agreement the government will sign next week at Sky City.

You know, over the summer, I managed to work my way through large parts of that agreement.

It wasn’t the breeziest of summer reading, I’ll say that much.

But what the text of the TPP makes very clear is that this Government has traded away our democratic rights.

Under the TPP, our democracy is under threat.

New Zealand’s parliament will be constrained in its ability to pass laws in our — your, mine, our kids’ interests.

In fact, on issues like labour laws, and environmental laws, our government is now obliged to give the governments of eleven other countries — and their big corporate players — a say on the laws we make.

New Zealand MPs will no longer be solely responsible to the people who elect them.

And I cannot accept that.

Labour has been a champion of free trade for decades. But we have never been asked to pay the price of the erosion of our democratic institutions.

Binding future parliaments, making our government accountable to politicians and corporations overseas instead of voters here at home?

That’s not free trade.

That’s special rules for the powerful and privileged at the expense of the voters of New Zealand.

Last week Goff and David Shearer made it clear that they have quite different views on the TPPA, publicly confirming their support. Shearer will have to apologise to the Labour caucus for breaking their collective responsibility. Goff had been given a pass by Little.

However after the speech journalists asked Little about the TPPA and he revealed that he was still not totally against it.

Patrick Gower reports:

In his speech, he talked up Labour’s opposition to the TPP to cheers from the party faithful. Then he came over to journalists and admitted Labour would support certain laws that put some parts of of the TPP into action, confirming Labour would vote for legislation that reduced tariffs for Kiwi exporters, which the official advice shows will be required.

So Little is loudly saying he is opposed to the TPP one minute, and then the next minute he’s quietly admitting he’d vote for the good bits. It is a Jekyll and Hyde show where Little is Jane Kelsey one minute and Phil Goff the next. It is a political con-job aimed at keeping his own supporters on side by opposing it while emotions are running high with the signing next week, but not wanting to get caught out as being against New Zealand exporters when the benefits kick in down the track.

If Little really opposed the TPP, he would refuse point-blank to vote for any legislation that enables it. Until he does that his position lacks credibility, and that means the TPP is quickly becoming a big problem for Little. He’s got MPs Goff and David Shearer going rogue with their public support but — unlike him at least they are up-front and easy to understand.

Little and Labour still have a big problem over their mixed messages and clash of support on the TPPA.



Little’s legacy the retention of the Union Jack?

Josie Pagani made an interesting point in a RadioLive interview with Duncan garner about Labour’s and Andrew Little’s stance on opposing everything about the flag change despite it being contrary to party policy.

Patrick Gower had just talked about it being Key’s legacy policy followed by Garner suggesting yesterday Key almost seemed to be conceding on flag change..

Yeah he’ll be worried about cause you’re right Paddy, this is his legacy policy, and he can’t just be stuck with his war on weeds or his cycle pathway, you know he’s gotta have something a bit more iconic so he’ll be really worried.

Key’s known little for those things and far more for other achievements but that’s a side issue.

Personally I think he’s made a really good case for the change in the flag, and I think it’s a shame that the politics, the sort of gotcha politics between Labour and the Nats has sort of got in the way of this.

And Labour will be worried too, cause they don’t want their biggest achievement in Opposition to be preserving the Union Jack.

Both Garner and Gower agreed that that was a really good point.

If Labour succeed in helping retain the current flag it may be a long time before they can credibly try carry out their own policy to change the flag.

The Nation – David Seymour interview

ACT MP David Seymour was interviewed on The Nation yesterday.

While he has more freedom and time to rebuikld ACT at the moment as Under-Secretary he said it would be difficult to turn down a Ministry if offered one by John Key.

Edited interview:

What does David Seymour see as National’s weakness?

ACT’s David Seymour says his party can push National to drop company taxes, build more infrastructure and reform RMA.

Full interview:  ACT Party leader David Seymour


David Seymour, you know, you’re here as a wild card, but it has been a hell of a year for you, I will admit that. But let’s face it — ACT’s been a cop case; Epsom’s been a joke. How did you fix it all up?

Well, look, let’s just say we started with a defensive five metre scrum, and now we’re probably up to having a 22 drop out. We’ve got a lot of work to do from where we’ve come from, but I just try to show up every day and show that I can actually be a useful politician that represents voters’ views, and hopefully over the next couple of years, that will actually grow ACT’s support while I’m a good MP in Epsom and they will re-elect me too.

Now, rather populous views, really, because the Red Peak, pubs opening for the footy, these aren’t core ACT policies. I mean, it’s populist headline hunting, isn’t it? It’s getting yourself on the news.

Well, that’s what your channel chooses to cover. However, the most important thing in my daily work is actually Partnership Schools Kura Hourua. We’re going to open more of those. I visit those schools, and I see them innovating and actually allowing kids to feel good about themselves to get skills, qualifications, jobs, careers and so-on. That’s the most important thing. And we’re achieving more of Roger Douglas’ original ACT vision with Partnership Schools than ACT ever achieved, and I’m very proud of that.

Sure, and so will Sir Roger. Now, here is a hypothetical scenario for you about these pubs. Someone wants the pubs to sell them extra booze. There’s some big problem, something bad happens — will you take responsibility for that?

No, I won’t, because your question assumes that the state is responsible for everybody, and that if somebody does something stupid, it’s because the government didn’t make a rule to stop them. My view is that New Zealanders are free and responsible people on the whole, and we shouldn’t constantly be punished for the misdemeanours of the minority. Having said that, I hope that it’s going to be a joyous festival and that New Zealanders will show that the nanny staters and the naysayers were wrong. We can enjoy ourselves responsibly. I saw the Edinburgh pub just up the road opening earlier. It’s been fantastic.

Sure. You’re Under Secretary now. Do you want to be a minister this term? Because John Key’s kind of offered that. Would you take that up? Do you want to be a minister this term?

In a sense, it’s something, if you get offered, you can’t really refuse.

You can.

But I— Well, I’m not sure what the convention is. I enjoy being an under-secretary, because it allows me to get my hands on the tools of Partnership Schools and regular—

So if he offers you being a minister, you won’t refuse it?

It’d be difficult to refuse it. I understand that’s the convention.

All right. Now, where in your mind — and coming back to that drop-goal, that 22 metre drop-goal you’re talking about — where is National weak? Where can ACT take votes off National?

You saw Steven Joyce this morning ducking and diving around the economic figures, and I think that this Government actually needs to be more robust on the economy. I think that it can help National. So why can’t we drop company taxes when we have the highest taxes and capital in the OECD almost? Where has RMA reform gone? It’s missing in action. What about infrastructure, particularly around the top half of the North Island? What about indexing tax rates to inflation for families who are paying more and more every year as they stealthily creep into higher tax brackets? But also for younger generations. John Key said he’s not going to move on Super. Well, I’m sorry, but for our generation, you’re looking at five workers per retiree now; two workers per retiree by the time current university students retire.

You think there’s a genuine weakness around superannuation?

I believe that for our generation, there certainly is.

Steven Hansen on The Nation

A top inteview of All Black coach Steve Hansen by Patrick Gower this morning on The Nation (replayed Sunday at 10 am).

This has interest and relevance much wider than the All Blacks and rugby and sport, what Hansen discusses is also applicable to family, relationships and business.

Steve Hansen talks to Patrick Gower about love, leadership and not losing a week out from the start of the Rugby World Cup.

The All Blacks coach talks about the goal the team has set of trying to be one of the most dominant sides in the history of the game and how it would “destroy” him to not do the right thing.

Video: Interview: All Blacks Coach Steve Hansen

One interesting comment came when Gower asked Hansen how he motivated the players. Hansen responded that it wasn’t his job to motivate them, he needed to create an environment in which motivated players could perform.

How do you motivate yourself? You spend a lot of time motivating the team, obviously, but what’s motivating you?

Interestingly enough, I don’t think my job is to motivate the team. My job is to create an environment where motivated athletes can perform.

This has a similarity to the Government’s aim with business development – it isn’t up to Government to motivate businesses financially or otherwise, the Government’s job is to create an environment in which motivated businesses can thrive.

Patrick Gower: Steve Hansen, thank you for joining us.

Steve Hansen: A pleasure.

The All Blacks – a great team, a great history, a great heritage. I want to ask you first what, in your opinion, makes the All Blacks the All Blacks?

Well, a lot of what you’ve just said. I think the history and what’s gone before. You know, we’re a little nation, and we started playing a game that was invented in England and looked down their noses at us over that, and it was something we were good at, and it suited the farmers of the day and the physical workers of the day. And as time’s gone on, we’ve built a legacy, a story that now has a massive expectation that goes with it, and it’s something we can all be proud of as New Zealanders.

Yeah, we’ll get into a lot of that, but I guess to pick up on the legacy, obviously every All Black team is different. What defines Steve Hansen’s All Blacks, in your mind?

It’s not Steve Hansen’s team, because I think the key thing is it’s about a collective group of men and women who – management, players – are trying to do something to enhance what’s happened beforehand. And to do that, we’ve been the number-one side in the world for a number of years now, and so we have to set ourselves some lofty goals, and some people may say that’s arrogant, but I think if you want to achieve something in life, you’ve got to set big goals. And whether you reach them or not is irrelevant; it’s the fact that you’re trying to reach them, and that’s all we’re doing at the moment. We’ve set ourselves a goal of trying to be one of the most dominant sides in the history of the game, and it’s not for us to judge whether we’ve done that. It’s about that’s what we want to achieve. And to do that, we also want to be, you know, humble, grateful men and women for being part of it. It’s a special place to be in the All Blacks, and whilst it comes with a lot of responsibility, you know, it’s something that we all love and enjoy.

Sure. I want to pick up on that collective phrase that you used there, rather than being ‘your’ team, it’s ‘the’ team, I guess.


Is that one of the defining factors – the fact that is a collective?

I think it could be. I think it’s something that we’ve learned over time that for this team to really play well, we need to be as one and the team has to be greater than the individual. And in doing that, we need to make sure a few things happen. One is make sure we’re on the job with our game, so we’re looking to improve the style of game we’re playing all the time and better it. But we have to have a massive amount of alignment from, you know, the guy who’s seen to be at the top, which is me, to the guy who’s just having his first week in the team. And that comes through obviously the coaches being aligned on how we want to play, the management being aligned on how we want to live as a team, and then taking that alignment to the leaders – we have our leadership group – that has the opportunity to say, ‘Well, yeah, I agree with that,’ or, ‘Nah, I don’t agree with that,’ and we have some robust debates and discussions. And then everyone has to disagree and commit or agree and commit. And then it’s up to the players to actually drive it, because it’s their team and it’s their moment in the jersey, and that’s their opportunity to leave something behind for the next group.

Yeah, because you’ve talked about humility and you’ve talked about, you know, devolving leadership in some senses. I mean, that means you as the coach, the figurehead in many senses, what you have to give up – some authority. You have to give up some control. Is that right?

Well, it might seem like you have to give up some control, but, really, it’s not about control. It’s about everybody going in the same direction, trying to achieve the same thing, and so you’re not having to control anyone to do that. They want to be alongside you. And in some cases, you want them to be in front of you because they’re the people that are out there playing, and they’ve got to make the big decisions in the moment in the contest. And all we are is here to facilitate an environment and training and on and off the field an environment that is conducive to them being able to play on Saturday.

Yeah, and that means giving the players control in some senses.

Yeah, it is, but once you get in there and you start doing that, it’s not— looking at your face, you seem to think that that’s quite frightening, but it’s not. You know, it’s actually no different than a family. We see ourselves as a big family, and, you know, there comes a time when the young children in the family have to start taking some responsibility. And as they get a little wiser and a little older, you give them more and more responsibility to the point where, you know, they’re capable of running it themselves and Mum and Dad can sit back and actually enjoy it.

So you actually see this team as like a family, like a real family?

I do, and I think most of the people in it at the moment feel like that. You know, it’s a group of people trying to achieve a common goal, which is, put simply, to win every game we play, to make people proud of us. And to do that, we have to be all on, as I said, the same page. But there’s certain dynamics that happen within a family that happen within a team, and those dynamics sometimes can be positives or they can be negatives, and there’s always consequences either way. You know, you’re getting a pat on the back if you’re doing something positive or maybe a kick in the bum if you’re not doing what’s right. But you love the people that you work with, but sometimes you don’t like their behaviours, and that’s no different than your family too. You love your children and your partner and your wives and et cetera, but sometimes you don’t like their behaviour, and it’s a matter of saying, ‘Righto, well, that standard doesn’t live in this house,’ and it’s no different here. We’ve got standards and expectations. Don’t have a lot of rules, but those standards and expectations are driven every day and driven by the people from the top down and the bottom up, and no one has any right not to be living them, including myself, so…

I mean, how do you fit into that, you know, into this family concept? I mean, obviously you can’t be everybody’s mate; you’re the coach.

Look, again, I think when we first started out, as a leader you’ve got to decide, ‘Right, how am I going to live as a leader? What are the things that I’m going to negotiate on, and what are the things I’m not going to negotiate on?’ And when I presented those to the team, the number-one thing, the expectation I had, was the team would always come first. So every decision we make about and around the team is about what’s right for the team. So whilst you can be great mates, there’s always going to be a time when you have to make a decision, and then what’s stronger – your loyalty to that person or the team? And as much as I love everybody in the group, I love the team too. And my job is to make sure that the team is left better than what we found it. So, yeah, there are some tough decisions you have to make, but when you go back to, ‘Well, is this right for the team? Yes,’ then it’s an easy decision and even though there can be some tough moments within that decision.

You’re using the term ‘love’ there. You’re talking about loving these guys. I mean, you know, using that word to old-school All Blacks or old-school New Zealanders might seem a little namby-pamby in some senses. It’s fine by you, obviously?

Oh, it may seem namby-pamby to some people, but I know that to get the best out of these people and, again, I refer back to your family, like is it namby-pamby to love your own children and love your wife? I don’t think so, so why would it be any different when you spend a lot of time together and some of those times are heart-wrenching, some of them are great experiences, and I just see it as just a natural progression of being together, and they’re a group of brothers, and it’s about sharing those intimate moments from a sporting environment and you become closer because of that.

We talked before about getting a pat on the back, as you said, or a kick up the bum.


How do you, Steve Hansen… how do you see, how do you get the feel for what a player needs? How do you read a player as to whether they need that?

Well, once we’ve talked about the team coming first, the team’s made up of a whole lot of individuals, so you try and do your best to get to understand the individuals and what makes him or her tick and particularly the players. You’re really looking at them, ‘How am I going to get the best out of that person?’ along with the other guys that are helping you do that. And it’s just about watching them every day. You know, ‘Okay, well, he’s come in for breakfast today, and he don’t look happy, so something’s happening in his life or…’ It’s a feel. I don’t know. You just know after a while when you’re rubbing shoulders with them all the time what individuals need and what they don’t, and I guess that’s the art of coaching.

I mean, some people— it is the art of coaching, of course, or emotional intelligence, or EQ, I guess. You know, have people said that to you before, ‘You’ve obviously got a high EQ – high emotional intelligence’? Is that something you’ve got?

Oh, not sure. My wife would probably tell you I don’t, but, look, I think if you take the time to get to know yourself first. Like, self-awareness is massive, you know, ‘What’s the thing that I know about myself when I’m under pressure?’ and then you can actually look at others and say, ‘Well, that’s how he reacts. That’s how she reacts,’ and good, bad or indifferent. And when you know those things, then you can help them be better.

How do you motivate yourself? You spend a lot of time motivating the team, obviously, but what’s motivating you?

Interestingly enough, I don’t think my job is to motivate the team. My job is to create an environment where motivated athletes can perform. So how do I motivate myself? I guess it’s, one, I love winning – really love it. I’m a very, very competitive person. You know, I love debating and having discussions. And when I was younger, I was probably an average human being because of that, because I’d lose sight of, actually, this is just a discussion; it’s not a competition. That took a while for me to learn that and probably hurt some people along the way, but… So I love winning.

How did you hurt people? By…?

Well, New Zealanders are great at putting other people down. You know, some of us are quite sharp with our tongues, and you hurt people’s feelings by smacking them when— I don’t mean physically but verbally because you’ve outwitted them, but you walk away feeling pretty good about yourself because you’ve won that argument, but really you didn’t. You lost. You know, you lost somebody. So once you learn those sorts of things, I think that’s a little easier to understand compassion, I guess. But going back to your question of how do I motivate myself? Well, one, as I said, I’m competitive. Two, I have a massive amount of respect for the All Black jersey. I think, you know, I was never good enough to play for the All Blacks. I’m very, very grateful for the fact that I’ve been given the opportunity to even be the assistant coach, let alone the head coach. I’ve spent a lot of time in here now, and I understand the identity of who we are and what we want to be, and the mere thought of not doing what was right would, you know, destroy me, I think. I really desperately want to make sure when you walk away it’s been done right. So that motivates you. Then you’ve got your family, who make a massive sacrifice. And people say, ‘Oh, you sacrifice a lot to be here.’ We don’t sacrifice anything. We get to tour the world, we get to stay in lovely hotels and we get to play great arenas, and you’re doing something that a lot of people would chop their arm off to do. But the people who do sacrifice are your family, so you don’t want to let them down. If you’re going to be away from them, you need to be great, so that motivates you. And I think they’re probably the three key things that get me up in the morning and want me to be good at what I do.

You know, there’s also the bad feeling or the fear that New Zealand has of losing or that anger that comes out when the All Blacks do lose, and, you know, you’ve obviously thought a lot about this. It’s that weight of expectation that is on you from the country. How do you deal with that?

The key thing you’ve got to deal with first and foremost is understanding that in the All Blacks there’s a constant pressure. It’s constant. It’s just there all the time. There’s an expectation. And once you understand that and you accept it, it’s a lot easier to deal with it, because it’s just there, so, ‘Okay, what am I—? Am I going to run away from it, or am I going to walk towards it and take this on?’ And one of the reasons why the All Blacks have been as good as they’ve become over many many years I think is that expectation externally – our fans, our ex-rugby players – all expecting to front up and play well and win. Internally, the expectations have to be greater than that, and they have to meet those expectations and even be higher, so I think it’s driven the All Blacks. For a long time I think the All Blacks were driven by a fear of losing. You know, over time I think we’ve changed that to really not fear losing, because when you fear something, you stop taking risks, and if you don’t take risks, you don’t get the big rewards. And I think winning the World Cup in 2011 took a big monkey off a lot of people’s backs, and we could say, ‘Well, okay, people can stop calling us chokers now.’ And not only just the players, I think the whole country – it was just a big sigh of relief. And, you know, I’m a great believer that you’ve got to keep challenging the boundaries and you’ve got to be courageous enough to, you know, step off the cliff and jump into the unknown. And, you know, if you’ve got talent when you do that, then anything can happen. You can go to places that people can’t dream of.

What sort of things do you do to get out of the comfort zone – is what you’re talking about here, isn’t it? Get yourself out of the comfort zone, get the team out of the comfort zone. You know, what’s a sort of practical example of a risk that you’ve taken to get this team ready for the World Cup?

Well, probably our selections for this World Cup. We could have easily stayed with the tried and true, you know, a 53-capper in Cory Jane and a 49-capper in Israel Dagg, but we chose two guys who, one’s had 40 minutes and broke a leg and the other guy’s played two Test matches. But when we weighed it up from a selection point of view, we just thought, ‘These two guys are bringing something that we haven’t had that could really open up our game, and we really need it to be opened up. So is the reward worthy of a risk?’ and the three selectors said, ‘Yes, it is, so let’s go for it.’

You know, do you personally worry about losing at the World Cup? I mean, do you think about it? Do you block that out or, you know…?

I don’t worry about it, because worry is, for my mind, a wasted emotion. It’s either hasn’t happened or it has happened. So if it hasn’t happened, work towards it not – making sure it doesn’t happen – and if it has happened, then you’ve got to fix up what’s happening right now, the aftermath of it happening. So is it a possibility? Of course it is. You know, what we’re going to try and do, no one’s done before. No one’s won back-to-back World Cups. The All Blacks haven’t even been in a final in the UK or a European World Cup. So we would be very naïve and very foolish not to be thinking, you know, this could happen. And if we become fearful in that, then that’s what will happen. But if we can understand that those things are just in… they’re facts that maybe we don’t as a nation or maybe as past teams don’t want to actually— inconvenient facts that we don’t want to acknowledge. Well, we have to acknowledge them because that allows us to move back over to this side and say, ‘Righto, what are we going to do about that? How are we going to plan so it doesn’t happen? Why has it happened before?’ You know, I’ve been in All Black teams in 2007. We had the best team at that tournament, but we made massive mistakes. We’ve got to learn from those mistakes, otherwise the mistake was…. You know, it kills you. It hurts like hell to lose, but it’s even worse if you don’t learn from it and you’ve got nothing out of it. You’ve got to get something out of a loss.

So what’s the one thing that you’ve learned in all that time coaching that can stop us from losing this World Cup?

That we can’t just turn up there as the defenders of this Cup and expect to win it. We’re contenders like everybody else and there’s 20 teams there, so there’s another 19 teams, and we have to earn the right to even get to the play-offs. And then once we get to the play-offs, we have to earn the right to take the next step. So everything we do, we have to earn it.

How do you do that, though? Because, of course, everyone will say we can’t turn up like we expect to win. We’ve got to turn up, as you say, like contenders. But how do you actually create that mind shift so it’s real?

I think—

Because everyone would grapple with this. Everyone wants to get better. I mean, how do you actually do it?

I think it’s about living it every day. You create an environment where you’re living every day trying to get better and you’re not accepting that what you’re doing today’s good enough. And I think if you keep pushing and pushing that and everyone’s bought in to it first and foremost and then you keep pushing it and driving it, it’s achievable. But the minute you decide that, ‘Okay, well, we’ve arrived,’ someone’s just going to draw straight past you. So whilst we’re in front, how hard are the people behind us working? They’re working extremely hard because they want to be in front, so therefore we have to work just as hard in the front. And I think that’s the mistake sometimes we can make in sporting and even in business, I reckon. You know, you go in really well, but you’re not looking at all the inconvenient facts that are out there saying, ‘Well, you know, if you don’t sort that out, that’s going to be a problem. If you don’t sort that out, that’s going to be a problem.’ And if you’re not real with yourself, then, you know, you’re not going to get any better, so… It doesn’t mean to say we’ll win the World Cup because we know these things. We’ve still got to drive them, and there’s still going to be some really, really good— I think it’s probably the best World Cup of the four that I’ve been to because anyone can win it. You know, and the number-two side at the moment in the world is Ireland. It might have slipped after losing the other day, I’m not sure, but currently I think they’re number two. We could play them in a quarter-final. And the number-one side and the number-two side ranked in the world – one of us is not going to go forward. Now, so just because you’ve got a ranking that says you’re one or two or three or four doesn’t give you the right to be in the top four for the semi-finals, and it certainly doesn’t give you a right to be in the final.

That’s a good place to leave it. Steve Hansen, thank you for your time.

Thank you. Cheers.

Transcript provided by Able.

3 News poll: Conservatives down, but…

…we’ll have to wait until tonight for the rest of the results as Patrick Gower has just released a teaser.

He says the Conservative Party is down to 0.7% – they’re probably lucky to still have that much support – in Conservative Party support plunges to all-time low (NZH):

The 3 News-Reid Research poll has the troubled right-wing party polling at just 0.7 per cent – a collapse from its Election night high of 4.1 per cent.

Patrick Gower, 3News political editor said the result was the lowest the party had polled since appearing in the 3News poll shortly before the 2011 Election.

But Conservative support was were declining anyway, as the post election 3 New Reid Research results show:

  • 3 News Poll (9-15 September 2014): 4.9%
  • Election result (20 September 2014): 3.97%
  • 3 News Poll (20-28 January 2015): 2.7%
  • 3 News Poll (21-27 May 2015): 1.9%

But while the Conservatives look like being political there will be a lot more interest in the main party results.

Labour will be hoping for improvement from their last result (of 30.4% in May) from the first poll fully after after their foreign ownership/Chinese surname/race card ploy.

And National will be grateful the poll will probably have been too late for much if any of the Serco/Mt Eden fiasco to emerge. The last two 3 News polls polled up until the Wednesday before publishing.

In May’s poll National were on 46.4% and Labour were on 30.4%, with Greens on 11.1% and NZ First on 8.1%.

Little buckles under pressure as he and Twyford keep digging

Andrew Little threw a bit of a hissy fit when Patrick Gower questioned him on “cooked up data”.

Video and a short report from 3 News: Video: Andrew Little snaps over Chinese buyer data questions

The Labour leader took exception to a question that included the phrase “cooked-up data”, telling Mr Gower: “I’m not going to stand here and have a desperate TV3 reporter use inflammatory language on this. Cooked-up, what was cooked-up?!”

Mr Little added: “You don’t understand. You’re making stuff up.”

That’s also very ironic considering the way Phil Twyford followed by Little have made stuff up.

Ad it wasn’t just when the story broke last week. They are both still digging a hole, repeating made up claims that are not supported at all by the data they analysed.

Stuff report: Chinese officials concerned about Labour’s foreign buyer data

Chinese officials have raised concerns with Deputy Prime Minister Bill English about the “tone” of Labour Party data based on foreigners buying property in the overheated Auckland housing market.

There’s a number of reports of concern from Chinese ethnic groups and individials in New Zealand. Damage is still being done, but Labour keeps digging.

Labour’s housing spokesman Phil Twyford said the analysis the party did of the Barfoot and Thompson data predicted the probability of the surnames predicting ethnic origin, and he stood by that.

“And that is it has a high level of accuracy, and the result that we came up with that 39.5 per cent of houses sold during that three month period went to people of Chinese descent.

Rob Salmond claims the surname analysis was about 95% accurate and that’s not being disputed.

“We never ever made the claim, and we made it clear that we did not go and knock on the doors of those individual people and ask them if they were foreign speculators,” Twyford said.

But Labour failed completely to quantify how many buyers might be foreign Chinese, or total foreign buyers. Littl;e said “You’re making stuff up” – that’s what he and Twyford have done.

Twyford also expressed regret that some people in the Chinese community were upset by the debate, but said it was not racist.

“A fact cannot be racist – a fact is a fact. It might make you feel uncomfortable, but we need as a country to be able to have debates about these kinds of things without allegations of racism.”

It’s not the facts that have made people uncomfortable – and angry. It’s the making stuff up on the proportion of overseas Chines buyers that has been a disaster for Labour, as they have been told over and over – but they don’t seem to want to listen.

And it’s the targeting of Chinese and ignoring everyone else, and making excuses for a bit of racial/ethnic damage.

“Yes, I do care, very much,” Little said, when asked if he cared what the Chinese government thought.

But he said the Labour Party could not be constrained about putting information into the public arena because people did not want to upset the Chinese government.

“That’s not the basis on which we conduct debates in New Zealand.”

Labour shouldn’t be trying to conduct debates by making unsubstantiated guesses (if they were even guesses, they way they continue to act on this could be an attempt to divert from deliberately misleading.

Ethnic constituents had also expressed concern to Little about the way the debate had unfolded in some areas.

“We always knew, given the nature of the information, if we released it, that was one not just possible response, but a likely response.”

So Little admits knowing that offending people would be a likely reaction.

He denied that was concern at the Labour Party’s characterisation of the data, or the way the party had conducted the debate.

Asked if he felt bad about people feeling the data was racist, Little said he was “concerned that some people have felt that because of their ethnicity they have somehow been singled out – that does concern me”.

Failing to accept any responsibility, this is worse than the ;sorry if anyone was offended’ apology, because there is no sign of any apologies.

“But then we looked at the information and what it was telling us – the gap between a 9 per cent Chinese ethnic population in Auckland and 40 per cent of the purchasers of Auckland properties over a three month period being of Chinese ethnic descent.

“That was too big of a gap to say ‘we’re too afraid to release this information’.”

It’s a pity they weren’t afraid to make stuff up about the information – they piled unsubstantiated ‘guesses’ in  a classic example of cynical wedge politics, using the New Zealand Chinese community as a scapegoat.

The Auckland market has a major problem  with the impact of non-resident foreign buyers, which the Government was ignoring, Little said.

“We’re not going to [ignore it] – as uncomfortable as it is, and as crude as our information might have been, the conclusion that the non-resident foreign buyer is having a huge impact on the Auckland housing market is real, and people are concerned about it.”

He admits the information was ‘crude’ – it wasn’t the very limited information that was crude, it was the way Labour embellished it substantially, knowing it would be a Chinese bashing that was crude.

All this has been pointed out over and over again to Labour over they last ten days. Often very  explicitly.

So I find it incredible that Twyford and Little are still pushing their divisive drivel.

And now Little has shown sign he is buckling under the pressure he has brought upon himself.  Lashing out at a journalist is just going to make things worse.

Labour have dug themselves deep on this, and now the sides of the hole are caving in on them.

I have no data to base this claim on, but I think that for every day Little and Labour continue to keep digging there will be another year before this is forgotten. If the Labour Party lasts that long.

And it’s hard to see Little becoming Prime Minister on this performance.

Labour review reaction –

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

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


The 2014 election was a total disaster for Labour.

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

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

Gower to Andrew Little:

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


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


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

“Labour’s campaign preparation was inadequate”.

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

“There was a general lack of message discipline”.


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

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

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

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

Is that the official Labour response?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then in a comment TRP says:

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

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

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

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

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

See the above and the Standard post and thread.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.


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.


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