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.

The “Dirty Politics” ruse

The ruse being used with the campaign on “Dirty Politics” is illustrated in a comment at The Standard. It was in a response to this comment by ‘Mike':

The Left DOES engage in “dirty politics”, god I hate that phrase. It’s become such lame meme now. It’s simply the age old tactic of trying to discredit someone by digging for dirt.

What did Labour spend the last 3 elections doing? You must be blind not to see that a huge part of their strategy was based on attacking John Key. Everyone whether left or right knows that JK is the strength behind National.

Remember the “H-Bomb” that was supposed to be dropped on JK in 2008?
http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/696924/Labour-tries-to-dodge-bomb-fallout

There was a pretty big effort to do the same with Judith Collins. The only difference was Judith was discredited successfully because there were obvious conflicts of interest revealed and frankly she deserved to be bought to account.

‘Karol’ responded:

The Left DOES engage in “dirty politics”, god I hate that phrase. It’s become such lame meme now. It’s simply the age old tactic of trying to discredit someone by digging for dirt.

Nope. You clearly haven’t read Dirty Politics or paid any attention to the discussion of the content.

Dirty Politics is a particular kind of highly orchestrated and relentless attack politics that uses a two-track strategy. It’s about having John Key as a smiley front man, distanced from the attack politics (track one), while the second track via Slater_Lusk_Ede_Kiwiblog et al, gets the benefits of the Nats research digging endlessly for things (most often very trivial). And it involves feeding lines to mainstream journalist; threatening politicians and journalists who don’t follow their lines with disclosures about their sex lives.

It’s underhand, covert and extremely nasty.

It’s a continuation from the politics of deception, as practiced by the Nats and exposed in The Hollow Men.

The Left has never done anything like any of that.

There’s an attempt to create an meme of “Dirty Politics” using a “two-track strategy” from the Prime Minister down, with the apparent aim to blame anything done by bloggers like Cameron Slater on John Key.

There’s a number of problems and false denials in this.

Nicky Hager’s book made a number of claims and insinuations but it produced no evidence that came close to proving there was a dirty campaign being run with Key’s involvement and approval. All Hager proved was things that were already known, that Slater plays dirty and that Key and he communicated to some extent.

It hasn’t been proven that it has been all orchestrated from the top.

Having a Prime Minister or party leader keeping a distance from the dirtier side of attack politics is a common practice and has been for a long time. Trying to claim that a “two-track strategy” is some sort of revelation is disingenuous. It sounds much the same as playing “good cop, bad cop”.

Feeding lines to journalists has been practiced since journalists and politicians first discovered they could be of mutual benefit. Threats are also nothing new.

There’s been underhand, covert and nasty politics for a long time. Slater is towards the worse end of the scale at times as far as bloggers go – he’s often fairly open about being nasty rather than covert – but there’s no solid evidence that John Key is any worse than Helen Clark or any Prime Minister or party preceding them.

Claiming “the Left has never done anything like any of that” is naive, ignorant or dishonest.

At a blogging level I’ve been abused and threatened by people on the left (and people on the right) – and Karol should be well aware of dirty practices on the left, she supports or turns a blind eye the nasty side of blogging at The Standard and takes no action unless it suits her political leanings (which is Greenwards).

Judith Collins has been relentlessly hounded by people in Labour through this year, using Labour research and taxpayer funded travel. She was also hounded earlier in the term, talking defamation action against two Labour MPs at one stage.

John Banks was relentlessly attacked throughout the last term. He was targeted to try and bring down the National led Government.

And Hager’s book was also aiming at bringing down the National led Government, cynically timed to be in time to swing the election but not earlier enough to be countered thoroughly. It failed because failed to provide smoking gun level evidence, and it turned voters off. It was in itself a form of dirty politics.

“Dirty Politics”, a subset of dirty politics generally, has two sides. It did highlight dirty politics as practiced by Slater and his associates, and it pointed out that John Key was to an extent complicit, but it also used dirty practices.

Even the timing of the book launch was criticised (by media) – it was in time for highlighted points to be quoted on the six o’clock news but allowed no time for journalists to check anything about adequately.

Hager was “feeding lines to mainstream journalist” and trying to manipulate media coverage.

And karol is either a willing part of the ruse or she has been sucked in blindly by it.

The public didn’t buy “right dirty, left clean”. They disliked “Dirty Politics” as much as they dislike dirty politics.

UPDATE: And lprent has also responded to Mike’s comment:

[lprent: Oh what complete bullshit. You have to reach back to 2008 for an example from a single person? What are you? A particularly stupid child?

When a newly created author pushed a post about the "H-bomb" on this site, a number of authors here looked at it, decided that it was probably crap, and booted the author. We then did a post a month later after the NZ Herald wrote about it saying that it looked fishy, and a followup post the day later saying that the Herald was probably wrong. That wasn't to say that John Key looked innocent. Simply the evidence used simply didn't look credible.

That is why most of the left activists looked at it and dropped it as being toxic stupidity.

The job of an opposition in Westminster system is to look at the Ministers of the Crown and to examine their behaviour. Same for all types of media. All of the Collins stuff was done above board and in public. Most of it was done with OIAs. There were far too many coincidences in the patterns between the toxic attacks by the arsehole bloggers and Collin's interests. That was obvious long before Dirty Politics.

Frankly if you think that the examination of Ministers is dirty politics, then I guess that you really really need a lesson in civics or you are instinctive fascist with the arselicking fetish with powr.

But I guess even a poor thinking fool like yourself must realize that. Look at your last paragraph.

So what are you left with as evidence? Nothing.... apart from displaying your asine bigotry. ]

That’s how clean Karol’s Standard is. Or two-track perhaps.

A Labour Day wish list

Clemgeopin has posted a “Thoughts for Labour Day” wish list at The Standard and also at Kiwiblog.

Thoughts for the Labour day:

8 hours for Work
8 hours for sleep
8 hours for self/family/friends.

Now, that is fair, healthy and makes one’s short life on Earth worth it.

I also think

* That the lunch break of half an hour should be a paid break.
* Travel time to and from work should have a payment for at least half an hour.
* All workers should have a certain share/bonus in the profits over and above their normal pay.
* Business that work more than 8 hours or 24/7, must have different shifts, employ more people and have restricted overtime safeguards.
* Employers that say they can not manage, should leave, start a different business or become employees. The vacuum will soon get filled by other employers that can.

* Uncontrolled free market fueled with unfairness and greed is the biggest real problem of this modern world in which the income and wealth gaps are fast increasing. That needs to change urgently with fair but strict controls enforced.

The government, the employers, and all of us should realise that
* We work to live and not live to work.
* We are all fellow humans and should look after each other better.

I don’t think everything you want should be imposed on all employers. There are many variables in employment and business situations.

I don’t think eight hours work a day with a five day suits all occupations. My official hours are actually seven and a half hours a day. My daughter often works twelve hour shifts but gets more days off per week on average, she’s a nurse. I’d quite like that work structure but it doesn’t suit my occupation, I need to be available as much as possible when our clients want us, which is traditional work hours.

The best way for workers to dictate optimal conditions, especially profit sharing, is to set up their own businesses (many try this) or co-operatives.

Success wouldn’t be guaranteed, but that’s how it is for every employer, which is a major reason why many people choose to remain employees.

Labour Day

Today is Labour Day, a day off for Monday-Friday workers, but not for many who work in police, health, retail and hospitality (and other industries).

I’ve only every had a vague notion  of what the history of our Labour Day was. It’s been more notable as a time to get your vege garden sorted and planted, and for some it was an opportunity to take their caravan to their camping ground of choice in preparation for summer holidays.

NZ History looks back:

Fighting for the eight-hour working day

Labour Day commemorates the struggle for an eight-hour working day. New Zealand workers were among the first in the world to claim this right when, in 1840, the carpenterSamuel Parnell won an eight-hour day in Wellington. Labour Day was first celebrated in New Zealand on 28 October 1890, when several thousand trade union members and supporters attended parades in the main centres. Government employees were given the day off to attend the parades and many businesses closed for at least part of the day.

The date, 28 October, marked the first anniversary of the establishment of the Maritime Council, an organisation of transport and mining unions.

The Standard has significant union connections…

Why “The Standard”?

The Standard newspaper – from where our masthead comes – was founded by labour movement activists in the 1930s.

What’s your political ‘angle’?

We come from a variety of backgrounds and our political views don’t always match up but it’d be fair to say that all of us share a commitment to the values and principles that underpin the broad labour movement and we hope that perspective will come through strongly as you read the blog.

…so it’s not a surprise that they have some Labour Day related posts.

Auckland Labour Day Event

Written By:

labour dayThe Mangere Labour Electorate Committee is planning an interesting event on Labour Day in Auckland to commemorate the contributions of three different people to the Labour movement.

Have a coffee and a yarn with Andrew Little on Labour Day (Auckland)

andrew littleServo Cafe, Te Atatu, 2:30 on Monday 27 October.

Save our tea breaks

tea-breaks
Labour hopes to collect signatures for this petition over Labour Weekend…

One post today has a degree of irony in modern New Zealand.

Labour day – thank a unionist

Written By:
Categories: human rights, Unions, workers’ rights
Tags: ,

Today is a day to celebrate the rights hard won by workers and unions, past and present. There’s a reason it’s called “Labour Day” not “Free Market Day”…

samuel parnell - square

The photo is of Samuel Parnell who is credited with starting the eight hour day in 1840 – a time when many workplaces would have had no clocks or watches so must have judged the time of their working day.

Today is a non-labour day for many (except at home). But it is very much a market day, especially for gardening and hardware shops. Sales abound:

.

Cross blog support for cannabis law reform?

David Farrar has a post at Kiwiblog showing a marked shift in the US towards cannabis law reform – US views on cannabis legalisation.

NZ Herald reported in June: Poll shows opinion shift on cannabis

A poll shows most people want smoking cannabis to be decriminalised or made legal.

The latest Herald-DigiPoll survey shows just under a third of those polled thought smoking cannabis should attract a fine but not a criminal conviction, while a fifth went further and said it should be legalised.

Forty-five per cent said it should remain illegal, and 2.6 per cent said they did not know.

And in August: Fast Fire on Cannabis: Who’s for legalisation?

A new survey shows that an emphatic majority of voters want to partially or fully legalise cannabis, but there is little appetite for change among most political parties.

In the latest Herald-Digipoll, almost 80 per cent of those polled wanted cannabis to be at least partially legalised; 63 per cent wanted it legal for medicinal use, while 16 per cent wanted it completely legal.

Almost one in five – 19 per cent – wanted cannabis to remain illegal, which it currently is.

In the Herald’s Fast Fire series about decriminalisation of cannabis, most leaders were against it.

It’s a pity then that apart from the Greens who seem lukewarm on actually changing anything most of the rest of the parties seem cold on addressing cannabis law reform in New Zealand.Current law is not working well but it doesn’t look like anything will be done about it. Parliament moved with international trends on marriage law reform but are backwards on this,

There are genuine concerns about the harms involved with cannabis use but there’s an unwillingness to deal with the harms done by our law policing as they are.

I think there’s quite strong support for reform across the blogging world, perhaps this is a good candidate for joint non-partisan social media pressure to encourage our elected representatives to represent us on this.

Farrar is pro-reform, and I know Cameron Slater (Whale Oil) and Russell Brown (Public Address) have been as well. There’s some support at The Standard but I’m not sure how much there would be across the authors. Same for The Daily Blog.

What about other bloggers? Who would support a cross-blog campaign?

A Whale of a mess compared

This was how Whale Oil looked after the first post this morning.

Whale of a mess

Amongst that the Daily Proverb says “If you fail under pressure your strength is too small.”

It reminds me of a Superstar quote:

“My temple should be a house of prayer but you have made it a den of thieves. Get out! Get Out”

That’s what appears to be six advertisements plus a “donate” promotion. There is more advertising further down the page.

Cameron Slater may claim to have the most popular blog in New Zealand – he certainly built it to an impressive level – but as the advertising and banning increases the popularity seems to be waning, going by the number of comments and the tone of comments both on and off the blog.

Kiwiblog is a contrast:

Kiwiblog home page

I’ve always liked Kiwiblog’s clean simple layout and it’s functionality. It’s one of the easiest blogs to keep up with comments on.

The Standard is clean and informative, allowing you to quickly assess blog content.:

Standard home page

They have some advertising further down the page and sometimes have an advertising banner but this is much cleaner and more informative.

The Daily Blog is more like Whale Oil with a lot of advertising and clutter.

DailyBlog front page

I’ve never much liked the Daily Blog look nor it’s functionality. Like Whale Oil it seems to be designed more to harvest clicks and advertising revenue. Both seem to be trying to emulate (and compete with) the old media model online.

Public Address has some relatively discrete advertising but is overall a much cleaner and informative look.

PublicAddress front pageThe “new kid on the block is On The Left:

OnTheLeft front page

That’s more magazine style with a lot of graphics but no advertising clutter and flash so is easier on the eye.

Back to Whale Oil – it’s not always that messy but the example at the top is common. Here is a screen shot of the Daily Roundup from yesterday.

Whale Daily RoundupThat’s another massive mess making it very hard to know what the post or the blog are about.

To be fair when a post at Whale Oil has more text content it doesn’t look as cluttered. For example:

Whale Oil home page

Like The Daily Blog revenue and click harvesting (which can be used to sell advertising) seem more of a priority at Whale Oil, while Kiwiblog, The Standard, Public Address and On The Left are designed more as functional blogs designed Oto invite readership and participation.

David Parker – Standard Q & A

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

Introduction:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Labour was formed by and for labour.

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

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

A fair go and a fair share!

Sounds like a continuation of election campaign slogans.

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

What would you do for us life time renters?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That doesn’t address the poorest, beneficiaries.

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

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

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

This brevity wasn’t well received.

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

And…

Parker didn’t answer the question.

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

Ok.

What David Parker said was a lie.

And…

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

Back to questions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And…

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

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

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

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

I am driven.

I want Labour to win in 2017.

I am a builder.

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

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

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

I love the outdoors. I love the arts.

But most of all I stand for an egalitarian society.

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

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

We will unify around a clear purpose – see above.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Leadership engenders trust. Success breeds success.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I agree with our policy to encourage industry bargaining.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ALRANZ – Abortion Law Reform Association.

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

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

There are two main part to solving this crisis.

Kiwibuild addresses one part.

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

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

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

Hard work, focus, unity.

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

Lets make it a milestone not a tombstone.

So many great achievements to celebrate and build upon.

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

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

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

Respect and mature behaviour are important.

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

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

We must be the main party of the left.

This doesn’t acknowledge the nature of MMP.

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

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

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

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

Fair point.

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

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

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

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

Response:

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

we are still fudged.

The economy is a subset of the environment. Discuss.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more here:

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

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

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

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

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

Where trust is broken, there should be consequences.

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

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

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

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

What is your stance on the TPPA?

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

Its the investment protocols that we must take care about.

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

ie we must protect our sovereignty.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I love a hot day watching the cricket with friends.

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

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

I love art.

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

Has anyone ever referred to you as a quick thinker?

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

Duh. (note the proper punctuation)

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

Not appropriate for me to reply. Sorry.

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

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

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

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

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

Rating Labour’s contenders

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

An interesting list of priorities from ‘Ad':

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

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

I think that’s a fair and realistic call.

Each contender is then measured against this list:

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

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

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

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

In the main that looks like a fair appraisal.

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

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

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

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

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

Andrew Little at The Standard

Andrew Little had a Q & A at The Standard yesterday, a fairly demanding political environment. He disappointed some and gave tentative hope to others.

Little’s post statement:

I’d like to say thanks to the Standard for hosting me today. I’ve always enjoyed robust political meetings and I’m a firm believer in fronting up and answering the hard questions.

Labour is a great party. Our movement’s values are values that New Zealanders share – we’re a party and a nation that believes deeply in everyone getting a fair go and working together.

But make no mistake, to beat National in 2017 we need to build a united Labour team: not just within caucus but between caucus, the party, our affiliates, and our supporters.

We need to listen to New Zealanders, to engage with their issues. To campaign alongside New Zealanders as equals and to grow our allies and our support.

That’s something I have a lot of experience in. As the leader of the EPMU for 11 years, I undertook a careful and strategic reshaping of the union to turn it into a campaigning organisation that engaged powerfully with the public on the big issues – better wages, more jobs, and economic and social justice. I also engaged constructively with many New Zealand businesses, big and small and understand the need for a positive environment to generate jobs and pay good wages.

Labour needs a cohesive and inclusive plan to rebuild our movement and restore New Zealanders’ trust in us. We’ve always been the party that puts people first and takes the long view. It’s time to make those principles the core of how we organise ourselves.

I’m going to release a more thorough outline of my plans for rebuilding our movement in the near future but I have made it clear that one part of that will be renewing our policy.

We have great policies, but there are a lot of them, many are complex and we didn’t communicate them well to New Zealanders. We must review and simplify without losing sight of our vision and values. This is the debate we must have as a party and as a movement.

I have real concerns about our policy to raise the age of superannuation. Too many Kiwis already work long hours for not enough pay. It is unfair to ask them to work two more years.

We must also never lose sight of the fact that Parliament is just one part of a much broader Labour movement. Our members, our supporters, and our affiliates are everyday New Zealanders from all walks of life and from communities across the country and have valuable talents and experience. We must work to bring our movement back together and grow it.

Labour’s power has always been in its people. We need to unify and focus that power and together we must use it to make sure every Kiwi gets a fair go. Being a modern and democratic movement is how we win.

Andrew Little

Tight moderation was promised, and those able to comment at The Standard don’t represent a cross-section of Labour membership. Edited questions with Little’s responses:

What is your vision of the Labour party under your leadership if you win?

I want to see a party that is reflective of New Zealand and confident about addressing the real issues facing us as a country: growing inequality, intolerable child poverty, and our environmental reputation at risk.

IMO, making our system more democratic is essential lest parliament and MPs fall further into disrepute. Participatory democracy is critical for our social cohesion and economic well being.

My preferred solution is binding citizen initiated referendums.

Your opinion, please.

We do need to make changes to MMP to ensure a fairer representation in Parliament. I don’t agree with binding referenda. In places like California we’ve seen the results of binding referenda and they’re not pretty.

Which of Labour’s policies would you keep, which would you drop? Any new policies in mind?

As I’ve said in the post, we need to review our policies without losing sight of our vision and values. I do personally have some issues around raising the superannuation age.

It’s not about new policies, it’s about good policies.

You’ve said all our policies need to be reviewed. Do you have a clear vision for what should stay and what should go? And would you be open to more membership input to policy selection?

Voters want to hear policies that will fix today’s problems and set us up for a strong future. Those are the principles we need to review our policies on, because we don’t get to do anything unless we’re in government.

Members having input into policy setting is vital.

How would you describe the difference between a Labour* governed NZ to a National governed NZ to someone who believed they are both much the same?

A Labour government I lead would make sure everyone gets a fair go: people at work, business owners and entrepreneurs, people working for the good of the community, families. People need to know the odds aren’t stacked against them, and that others aren’t getting an unfair advantage.

National governments govern for the few.

That sounds like bland regurgitated left wing talking points.

A question from Redbaiter was allowed through:

If elected Labour leader, would you support any plans to wind back National’s recently introduced regulations that have so severely disincentivised the oil exploration industry?

Permit costs are a fraction of the total cost of oil exploration, but oil companies are lining up for permits. This summer will see another significant exploration programme being rolled out, so I’m not convinced the regulations are the problem.

From ‘mickysavage’ (Greg Presland), who is closely connected to David Cunliffe:

The last election did not go so well for us!

But it seems that at an electorate level results were reasonably good. After all we won 5 extra electorate seats. Results will be out next week but my impression is that Labour would have won 35% of the electorate vote but only 25% of the party vote. In an MMP environment this is not a good result.

Any thoughts on this and what would you do to bring it back?

Once again, we didn’t run a strong enough party vote campaign. This is an area we need to improve.

“Our movement’s values are values that New Zealanders share”

Really? How do you explain the thrashing that Labour received at the polls? You cannot get away with empty rhetoric like this as it does not mean anything, clearly.

I’m a Labour supporter by the way.

The overwhelming sentiment of hundreds of messages I’ve received this week is that people who support Labour values couldn’t bring themselves to vote Labour this time.

New Zealanders do care about each other, and do want a safe and egalitarian society to live in. Only a Labour-led government will truly address inequality and child poverty.

1. Do you personally support decriminalising abortion?

On abortion, I support reviewing our current law, which is nearly 40 years old.

2. As leader of the Labour Party, what will you do to help rectify the fact that Labour has drastically failed to reach 45% women in caucus?

In the last election, we had a great line-up of women candidates like Priyanca Radhakrishnan, Liz Craig and Rachel Jones (to name just a few), but our poor showing in the polls meant they didn’t get elected. The best answer to getting more women into caucus is performing better in the next election.

Part of Labour’s problem was they won more electorate seats which is up to the ability of the candidates to attract votes, and this meant gender balancing their list was less effective. If the stacked their list with women and did better they would risk swinging the imbalance the other way.

How do you see that ‘long view’ you speak of fitting in with the scientific community now informing us that a mean average surface temperature of 4 degrees C above pre-industrial temperatures can reasonably be expected by around 2040 – 2050?

I agree with David Parker on this – undoubtedly we need to move to a low-carbon economy. It’s critical for the environment but also for our economic future. That’s why I stand by Labour’s position on strengthening the ETS and developing our low-carbon-intensive industries.

Do you support deep sea oil drilling and the expansion of the coal industry? While there are job here wouldn’t it be better to put more investment into clean tech industries where there are also job opportunities?

Our economy and the world economy is in transition from one dependent on fossil fuels to one much less dependent on them. Until we can secure alternative forms of transport energy, amongst other things, there will continue to be a demand for oil. The critical thing is that all possible safeguards against environmental damage and for worker safety are in place. With deep-sea drilling in particular this means things like new exploration techniques, and I’d want to be satisfied that it can be done safely and that there were plans and resources in place in case of any incident.

As long as we use steel, we will need coal. And I definitely want to see us create an environment which puts more investment into clean tech industries.

As a green, I’d be interested to know whether you would work on a targeted and specific plan with the Greens over the next 3 years to ensure a progressive and compassionate team takes the next election.

I’m keen to work closely with the Greens as a likely future coalition partner. But Labour’s challenge is to grow its vote, which I’m utterly committed to.

Also would you support sending troops to fight IS?

Of course New Zealand has to play its role in international security, but I’m not sure we know what we’re getting into with IS and I wouldn’t commit troops until the public had a real sense of what was being asked of our troops and the environment they’re being asked to go into.

Could you please comment on the possibility of embracing Mana in future elections, in the same way that Labour previously worked with Jim Anderton, and National is successfully working with Act and United Future?

And…

Come 2017, if IP or Mana or IMP hold seats and are the make or break for Labour forming govt, will you choose the opposition benches or choose one of those parties’ support on C and S?

The problem with IMP is it looked and was highly opportunistic and they were rejected by voters. They’re not in Parliament now, and I don’t see them being in coalition with us.

Voters are entitled to get a clear signal from us about who our likely coalition partners would be and as leader of the Labour Party I would ensure that happens.

How familiar are you with the issues about the WINZ abatement process for beneficiaries earning extra income, where income above $100/wk is deducted at a % (before tax)?

The abatement rules were written for a time that had different work culture and patterns in NZ. Now many people are completely reliant on a benefit for part of the time, or all of the time and only able to pick up part time or casual work, so the abatement process works against them because they can’t get a full time, permanent position and get off the benefit. This is more difficult for people on the DPB, sickness benefit, and people in areas where casual or P/T work is more common, because all those people are unlikely to move into permanent full time jobs. Even worse if paying childcare.

The corollary of this is that some workplaces can’t get staff eg homehelp agencies in rural areas where they don’t have enough funded client hours to offer someone a full time job. Often the only people available/willing to do the low paid work are women on the DPB, but they can only work limited hours before they’re penalised financially and so turn down some of the work.

I’m aware there are also fairness issues here for full time low wage workers.

It seems a very complex situation. Has Labour done or intending to do any work on ways to solve these problems?

It is a complex question, requiring a complex answer. I agree with you that the relationship between rules about benefits and employment conditions need to be reviewed so people don’t lose opportunities but also aren’t left impoverished.

Does it worry you that all five of the candidates standing for leadership are white, middle class, middle aged men?

Yes, and the challenge for the next leader is to develop the amazing talent we have right across the caucus, including our women MPs and our much larger Māori and Pasifika caucus.

Given that the global carbon budget is rapidly diminishing, ie we are heading for a 4 degree world, why do you think oil companies lining up for permits is going to be good for our economy, long-term?

There is no question we need to do more to encourage more productive investment in clean tech industries as part of the transition to a lower-carbon economy.

If you miss out being elected the leader would you be happy being the deputy and taking on the role of uniting the Labour caucus?

Regardless of the outcome of the leadership contest, I’m totally committed to doing whatever I can to improve the way caucus functions, to improve the relationship with the party, and to set us up to win in 2017.

National’s strength is Key. Kiwis for reasons that escape me like him and trust him. How would you as leader expose the PMs weakness and gain the voters trust and respect and what now seems important to be liked by the electorate?

A lot of people have written to me to tell me they don’t like Key or National but they vote for them anyway. Beating Key will take an incredible, united and hard-working opposition.

As leader will you demand a full commission of inquiry into the criminal allegations and abuses of power highlighted in Nicky Hager’s recent book, and others which have come to light since its publication?

Yes.

You have said that there were too many big, abstract policies during the last campaign and that people voted for stability. You’ve also said that Labour needs to meet people’s concerns rather than trying to shift their opinions. these are both reasonable statements, but how would you ensure that a party you led did more than just follow opinion polls, and took a leading role in shaping the political landscape and developing concrete solutions to social, environmental and political issues?

If I were elected leader, I would like to take a few months to get out and talk to New Zealanders. Kiwis are pretty open-minded, you’ve just got to know where to start with them, and I don’t think we did.

Team building skills – what would you do differently?

A really big question, but I’ve brought together a large political campaigning organisation in the past, and I can do it again.

How do you expect to lead the Labour Party when you’ve had such a horror time as Labour candidate for New Plymouth? I want to support you but worry when you talk about running a party vote campaign when you have no experience of winning and holding an electorate.

The leadership I’m offering is to get caucus working well and to work with the party to get it functioning well. I’m confident that with the skills I’ve got I can achieve these things, and the feedback I’ve had over the last week from many people across New Zealand suggests they’re confident I can too.

Do you believe the Caucus is out of synch with the Membership and that a number of MPs need to be moved on?

As I said, Labour’s power has always been its people. We need to unify and focus that power. There’s great people in caucus, and great talent across the whole movement, and we need to pull it all together and point it in the same direction – that’s winning in 2017.

“The overwhelming sentiment of hundreds of messages I’ve received this week is that people who support Labour values couldn’t bring themselves to vote Labour this time.”

Did they mention the three most “overwhelming” reasons why? If so could you please tell us – even two would do. Thank you

– Our policies
– We just didn’t look ready to go.

There were mixed responses to this. Some weren’t happy with Little’s answers but some people will never be satisfied unless they have a leader in their own image, while others thought it as a good enough start.

wekasawshark:

That went reasonably well I thought. To start with the replies seemed too pat and vision blah blah, but once he got into the swing of things it definitely improved.

I like how Little says ‘Labour-led government’ :twisted:

There’s a suspicion they may have been a Mana candidate.

Manuka – Ancient Order of Rawsharks:

Here is someone who, given 3 years could win back however many of the missing million, take on JK and, in coalition with the Greens, lead the next gov.

My only hesitation is about “taking off a few months to talk to the people and find out their concerns”. Haven’t others before him tried that with less than great results? By the time the new leader returns the masses are restless and asking “Why no action?” … and the party in power have begun various sabotage strategies.

The main concerns of the people have been ringing out for a fair while now; they should be more than apparent. It is time to hit the ground running, imo.

Clemgeopin:

On a top score of 10, I would score Little a 6.

Some answers were waffle, some were ambiguous/unclear, some were promising and some quite good. None were outstanding.

5 or 6 out of 10….say, 5.5

Hanswurst:

I didn’t think that was terribly informative, tbh. Most of the answers were fairly noncomittal, and in that respect I see more parallels with Shearer than anything else. When the clearest commitment is that he is going to get out and listen to the views of New Zealanders for a couple of months, that doesn’t really speak for a strong vision; it’s a laudable endeavour in itself, but I would have thought the readership here would have been more interested in finding out what attitudes he already has and exactly what he might be interested in asking “New Zealanders”, who are a diverse bunch who will probably say a lot of different things that can be interpreted in all sorts of different ways.

It sounds very much like he was hedging his bets and not wanting to commit to anything that might frighten horses of any hue before the leadership election. That’s fine and presumably inevitable, but I still got the impression that Cunliffe managed to say a lot more in the same context in similar situations on here in the past.

My worry with the general narrative of, “Our policies are too complex and we need to listen to New Zealanders” sounds suspiciously like code for, “We need to move towards the centre (i. e. the right)”.

Murray Rawshark:

He came across to me as totally unprepared and full of glib phrases. In fact, he seems to be a mix of Key and Shearer. Someone standing for leader of the largest opposition party should have some idea what the problems are before they stand. They should not have to do a bloody Tiki Tour to figure out what’s going on.
4/10

Sabine:

what did Mr. Little actually say in all of his answers? nothing much but corporate speech as he will be different to all the others because?

oh dear.

really
just oh dear….we are so fucked.

Cave Johnson:

What did you expect? A leader who was egotistical enough to think they get to decide policy and can whip everyone into shape would be a disaster. All he can do is suggest some areas for focus and set the tone and general direction and try to engender loyalty and support through competence.

A leader needs to connect with the public and members and show respect for democratic processes and individuals. I don’t know Andrew very well, but those are the kinds of things I will be assessing him on in the next few weeks.

There should be many chances to assess Little and the other contestants over the next few weeks.

It will be important to see how communication with the hoi poloi evolves over the leadership campaign. Little is less experienced at this level than Cunliffe, Shearer and Parker.

People who might be leaders need to demonstrate that they can step up to the level of competence required. Labour’s last three leaders, Phil Goff, David Shearer and David Cunliffe all failed to impress enough.

They were competing against a leader and a party in the political box seat but none of them came rose enough to the position.

Hence the continued search for the potential leader who can breath life into a languishing Labour first and then compete as the possible face of the next government..

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 248 other followers