Campaign “at a delicate stage” for Labour

How can I put this delicately?

Greg Presland has posted  The election campaign is at a delicate stage: at The Standard:

We are entering an interesting phase of the election campaign and a number of recent events may have a critical effect on the eventual outcome.

Firstly nothing is more important in politics than momentum.  The latest Colmar Brunton poll result 1 suggests that Labour may be developing some of that most cherished of political assets, momentum in the polls.

Thankfully the slide in Labour’s support has reversed and there has been a healthy increase from poll results with Labour polling nearly 5% above the recent Roy Morgan and a previous Ipsos poll results.

‘Swordfish’ has been analysing polls and gives some detail:

Labour’s Poll Support – June/July in chronological order

JUNE
28, 31, 23, 27, 29, 28

JULY
24, 25, 27, 27, 28

So, Labour’s does seem to have largely bounced back from that little trough.

So Labour are back to where they were at the start and end of June. As far as polling goes the last three results have been virtually the same – which coincidentally is virtually the same as their record low result in the 2011 election.

The 23 and 24 results were weeks apart so may be blips in general trends. If so that means Labour is pretty much flatlining, taking into account margin of error, which is about +/- 2.75 for 27% with a sample size of 1000.

Another comment points out the slight drop in support from the previous One News/Colmar poll…

National has climbed to 52% in the latest ONE News/Colmar Brunton poll while Labour is down one point to 28%.

Labour on 28% is just above its 2011 election result and the Greens have also slipped, dropping two points to 10%.

…which puts National on 52% compared to Labour+Green on 38%. That does look a wee bit delicate.

Tom Gould points out:

Breathing a sign of relief that support only dropped one per cent to 28 whereas the Tories only rose two per cent to 52, and the gap between Labour and Green versus the Tory only widened to 14 points, hardly shows the campaign at “a delicate stage”. T

What looks “delicate” is the grasp on reality.

Activists like Presland have to try and sound positive – especially with a Labour slogan of Vote Positive – but trying to talk up a mangy dog of a position risks looking out of touch as Tom eluded to.

Presland does try to explain his post…

1 This post has been written in a style which right wing commentators usually use.

…but it doesn’t sound anything like the style any tight wing commentators I know of use, let alone a supposed collective “right wing commentators”.

It’s difficult for Labour to promote themselves in what looks like a dire  situation. Talking sunshine in a cyclone can look more than a bit out of touch.

Labour should at least be trying to convince voters they know how to use an umbrella.

Labour have sharpened their knitting needles

Earlier this week David Cunliffe acknowledged that he had made mistakes but would be starting a fight-back and focus on the things that mattered.

Stuff reported: Cunliffe: The fightback begins now

“I am sure that the caucus will be as determined as I am that we stick to our knitting and to our core messages about jobs, homes and families, and avoid distractions,” Cunliffe said.

“We have got past anger a long time ago, we are focused on what a campaign needs – a positive contribution by everybody and focused on the issues that matter.”

Labour’s campaign slogan is VotePositive.

The big thing being discussed today was sparked by another Stuff article:  Labour claims Hosking’s biased.

The Labour Party is in a standoff with TVNZ over plans to use presenter Mike Hosking to moderate the live televised leaders’ debates.

A Labour source said that, despite protestations, the party was unlikely to pull out of the two scheduled TVNZ debates. “When we heard it was Hosking the initial reaction was ‘Are you f…ing joking?’ But we are trying to get it changed. We are not making a hullabaloo about nothing, we’d rather they get someone else.”

Senior Labour MP Grant Robertson said he was not part of the negotiations, but joked: “If it’s true, we’d rather have Jeremy Wells as Mike Hosking, than Mike Hosking.”

Cunliffe said he was not involved in the negotiations. Chief of staff Matt McCarten is understood to be overseeing the arrangements.

It’s all over Twitter. And Labour blogs are full of it:

Rob Salmond at Polity:  Mike Hosking and this has been re-posted at The Standard: Polity: Mike Hosking

Is this Labour sticking to it’s knotting?

They have sharpened their needles and are taking stabs at the media.

It almost looks like Labour has conceded defeat already and are making excuses in advance. “Poor us” laments and blaming the media are only going to increase the electoral damage.

It’s a very difficult situation for them but they have to do something to not contradict their ‘VotePositive” slogan.

 

Cunliffe cheerleader chumped by change of tune

David Cunliffe’s chief cheerleader at The Standard, Greg Presland, has been chumped by Cunliffe’s change of tune on whether he knew anything about the sexual offender before meeting in Queenstown.

Presland posted in Herald says weird things about Cunliffe and Labour Clutha Southland candidate:

The Herald said:

… the Labour leader threatens to be distracted by internal ill-discipline and criticisms over his judgment, including the holiday itself and a meeting last week with a prominent New Zealander given name suppression on charges of performing an indecent act.

Mr Cunliffe confirmed to the Herald last night that he had arranged for the person – whose case has been the topic of media coverage – to meet a Labour candidate but said he had no idea about the controversial background until yesterday.

“If I had known of the suggestion, no such meeting would have taken place.”

You have to wonder why the meeting was mentioned and why it was thought that it would cause a distraction to Cunliffe.  

No doubt the intent is to continue with the bad news narrative that the right have been pushing but what was Cunliffe to do?  Have a Police vette conducted of all people that he may meet?  Even this would not have helped because the person involved received a discharge without conviction and had all details suppressed.  

And Cunliffe confirmed to the Herald he had no idea of the background until yesterday.

Presland is presumed to be close to Cunliffe in his electorate and he’s the lawyer who organised the donations trust. He’s been a dogged and loyal supporter.

But now Cunliffe has changed his tune in “Sometimes tough times make you tougher” – Cunliffe.

 Mr Cunliffe admits a prominent New Zealander’s possible sexual offending had been raised with him before he met with the man in Queenstown last week.

The Labour leader says the meeting went ahead because no proof had been supplied.

“There is a suspicion that a person who asked to meet me and my candidate down there might be a person in that category. All I can say is had I known that, and we did ask around if there was any reason not to meet, we wouldn’t have had the meeting.”

It must be tough  being a Labour cheerleader at the moment when Cunliffe keeps saying weird things.

There’s not much cheerfulness at The Standard these days.

Cunliffe tries to paper over Mallard ‘wisecrack’

David Cunliffe is once again reacting to awkward news and appears to be trying to downplay a Trevor Mallard ‘wisecrack’ (it is more of a dumb distraction).

Mallard seems to have made most of the political news today with his proposal for resurrecting moa. Stuff reports:

Time to bring back…the moa

With “the science of de-extinction advancing quickly”, as he put it, the Hutt South MP has laid down a challenge for Lower Hutt and for scientists: Let’s work towards the possibility of moa one day striding again through the bush of Rimutaka Forest Park.

While admitting it sounded “a bit Jurassic Park”, Mallard said scientists had been making progress on techniques for using recovered DNA from extinct animals to reconstruct new life.

Fifty to 100 years from now, Wainuiomata could again be home to the moa, which would make an enormous difference to the environment, community and economy, he said.

“It would certainly give us international focus and, frankly, I can’t think of a better place. Those valleys [behind Wainuiomata] are accessible without helicopter, with a one-hour walk.”

In what seems to now be a regular outlet for Cunliffe’s PR machine Greg Presland tries to play it down at The Standard.

This morning Trevor Mallard said with his tongue at least partially in his cheek that locals and scientists should work towards the possibility of moa one day striding again through the bush of Rimutaka Forest Park. Scientifically the idea is not one that is utterly impossible. Work on genetics goes on all the time and it is possible that one day reconstituting an extinct creature from recovered DNA may actually bring that creature back to life.

Our politicians should be future thinkers and should be willing to discuss ideas and concepts, no matter how bizarre they currently may be.

Social media has exploded. Trevor Mallard and Moa are trending on local twitter feeds in a way which must make the creators of #TeamKey very jealous.

David Cunliffe has joined in the fun. The Herald quote him as saying:

“I don’t think this one’s going to fly. There’s a lot of scientific work to go under the bridge before moas are going to be flopping around in Wainuiomata.

The moa’s not a goer.”

This sounds vey much like a carefully written social media release. It tries to get some counter digs in against National and Colin Craig, then concludes:

Politics can be a brutal, overly serious business sometimes. We should tolerate the odd occasion when our elected representatives break out of their shell and make the odd wisecrack.

But the comments see through this attempt to paper over a wisecrack.

Mallard has deliberately floated this distraction and has gone to some effort to do so. It obviously wasn’t just an off the cuff wisecrack, he had prepared a graphic to go with his proposal.

Media happened to be on hand to report what would usually be a minor political presentation. And in Parliament more media followed up with a stand-up interview where Mallard seemed to enjoy the attention and was taking questions seriously.

From Scoop audio:

Mallard: …have been found in much better condition that people thought they would be found in and it all becomes a possibility.

You know Jurassic Park ended pretty badly?

Mallard: Yeah and that’s why I want, I only want the small moa in Wainuiomata, I don’t want those that are two forty kg and three point five meters tall. I’d like ones that I can pat on the head rather like I did the polar bear over the weekend rather than the ones that are going to bowl us over.

Are you talking about this being fifty to a hundred years away. Are you sad you’re unlikely to see this in your lifetime?

Well you can never tell, with, these days some of us do live longer than our general life expectancy. I would say that I don’t expect to be the MP for Hutt South quite at that time.

Are you serious?

I’m I’m I’m absolutely serious that there is, we should be taking advantage of science as it develops. You can either, you know a lot of people pooh poohed early scientists, ah but but this work is something that is, it’s logical, ah it is already happening around the world and I think in New Zealand we don’t need to spend any money on it yet but we should at least start talking about it.

Do you really think this is a serious priority going into an election?

No.

So this, I mean it’s a good point, is this a good use of your time?

Ah, I made a, I was asked to make a speech in Wainuiomata which was involved why I loved Wainuiomata, and some medium term and some long term vision.

I spent much of the speech talking about housing, about the availability of cheap housing, the problems that the loan rations are causing in Wainuiomata, the fact that we’re not training properly, we’re not doing enough training and the effexct that is having on housing. That was a big part of my speech.

Ah but I was also asked to look way into the future, ah and this is what I did.

Your party has spent weeks trying to get rid of, you know bat off  distractions and now you’re just creating a new one.

I don’t think this is a distraction at all, it’s a it’s a it’s a minor long term idea ah for um for an electorate which we represent.

Will you have to change your GE policy to get this through?

I don’t think so.

So you’ll have to surely.

No no, I think if you look at our GE policy um ah it will certainly be within fifty years we’ll be able to test it against our GE ah genetic engineering policy, we’re not the Greens remember, we do have different policies, we had a royal commission on genetic modification and the answer was caution. Now I think with moa it would be extreme caution.

Anything else you’d like to bring back apart from moa?

Oh, you and your decent chess playing form.

Not former Prime Ministers?

No.

Is there any truth to the rumour that you’re trying to resuscitate Michael Joseph Savage?

Ah, well I think I think we know where to find the remains. Thank you.   

In Mallard: Bring the moa back to life within 50 years 3 News showed Cunliffe saying “The moa’s not a goer” followed by Mallard saying “Well the moa will be a goer”.

This is a very extended ‘wisecrack’. If he is taking the piss is it aimed at the media or at his own party?

Either way this is this sort of thing would result in endless ridicule at The Standard and across social media if it had been said by Colin Craig or someone from Act.

This is a very odd thing for Mallard to promote during an election campaign that has been persistently hobbled by Labour’s own goals.

Comments on media news sites

Comments and likes/dislikes on media news sites have always been contentious. With an election looming they risk becoming meaningless, with armies of message manipulators likely to be busy.

A comment at The Standard from ‘Anne’ highlights part of the problem.

What I have done in the past few days is to set up log-ins for most of the media outlets so that I can instantly respond to their crap stories – stories that are only going to increase in number the closer we get to the election.

Note to self: write down the different pseudonyms in case you muddle them up girl.

Potentially many people using multiple anonymous identities to create the appearance of approval of party messages and disapproval of opponents means the numbers are worthless.

The same applies to online polls, with orchestrated voting likely to be common.

Recent comments from ‘Anne’ under one of her identities at The Standard:

Yes, there are journalists deserving of respect and praise David. There are also journalists who are deserving of nothing but contempt.

An ironic comment considering Anne’s tactics.

I. for one, would be more than happy to donate to a Labour initiated fund so they could hire lawyers to fight the case (against the Herald) for them without dipping into campaign funds. If the Herald comment section is any indication, I think there would be a substantial amount of money flowing in from non-members and even non Labour voters who nevertheless want to see a fair election campaign on a relatively even playing field.

A “fair election campaign” using deceit.

Talking of a Labour is bad smear campaign…

Anyone else see the Good/Bad banner in yesterday’s HOS? (It usually appears mid way through on the top right side. Under Good is a photo of someone who has ‘done’ Good and ditto for Bad.) This week Prince George was awarded the “Good” title. No prizes for guessing whose photo appeared alongside for the “Bad” title. Couldn’t have produced a more stark contrast could they… the cherubic little prince and the nasty, nasty politician called David Cunliffe.

I actually found that piece of slimy, subliminal messaging far more offensive than the written stuff. I’m rapidly coming to the view that the Labour Party can’t roll over this time. They must investigate and then start legal proceedings against the HOS at the very least.

The old campaigner seems to be bitter about all media that’s negative to her party.

Comments are from this search - some interesting reading.

There are likely to be hordes from most parties all over social media trying to fight for their patch.

It’s likely that many online comments forums are dominated by party operators preaching to the already converted. Most ordinary voters aren’t interested in politics, especially on a day by day basis.

It’s like a rugby test match with no audience. Converting the online fray to votes is a dubious benefit.

Cunliffe Q & A

Yesterday David Cunliffe had his second Q + A session at The Standard. It was heavily moderated with the usual warnings:

lprent: Stay broadly on topic, and be aware that I will be fully moderating every comment.

The usual rules apply – don’t be stupid. I will not be allowing boring speeches on commenter’s own pet topics, the author sets the topic.. People who make “when did you kill your mother” style accusations may find that they get a 3 month ban for being really stupid.

Because of the venue, orchestration and threats it was dominated by patsy questions, and most answers were predictable parroting of well worn talking points, but it was an interesting attempt by Cunliffe to reach out.

This is communication with Labour’s base that has an interest and involvement in politics. It will be more difficult engaging with the disillusioned and disinterested.

David Cunliffe Questions and Answers

Firstly, it’s really good to be back at the Standard – in the last few weeks our opponents have made it clear that they’re going to play a rough game this election. But we are strong enough to withstand dirty tricks and to focus on what matters to our people – our work, our homes and our families. I’m confident we can win this election and make real change by working together.

Secondly, you’re all welcome to come to my Congress speech in Wellington next Sunday where I’ll be outlining the kind of change we need to make. You can click here to register.

Last Wednesday David Parker and I released our alternative budget. It includes the provision of a billion dollars a year to ensure inflation and demographic increases in health, education, and other social services are accounted for.

Unlike National, we’ll be upfront with our policies in these areas – new policies will come from new spend.

We’re also going to raise the top rate to 36% for every dollar earned over $150,000 a year and we’ll raise the trust rate to the same amount. This will raise as much revenue as raising the top rate further and will cut any incentive to hide income in trusts.

We’re also cracking down on tax avoidance by multi-nationals. We’re doing this because we believe that to get a fair society we need everyone to pay their fair share.

We have carefully shown what we have available to spend on election policy and where we are funding it from. Again, unlike National, we are going into the election campaign with a transparent and accountable position. We have a plan for a fair society, a society based on strong and progressive values – Kiwi values – and we know how we will pay for it.

The kind of values expressed in our Christchurch housing policy that we announced on Friday which states our commitment to building 10,000 new houses, 3,000 of which will be set aside for affordable rentals while the housing crisis is fixed, and another 100 that will be used as emergency housing.

In that announcement we also committed to increasing the Canterbury accommodation supplement by up to $50 a week – Christchurch has some of the most expensive rents in the country, the accommodation supplement hasn’t kept up, and people in Christchurch are suffering. That’s not right and Labour will fix it.

Over the next few months we’ll be releasing more policy focused on making a positive change to New Zealand and building a progressive and egalitarian society, but for now I’m looking forward to hearing your thoughts and answering your questions. We’re going to win this together.

David Cunliffe

Demelza: Provincial NZ is struggling, and CRI like AGresearch are making scientists etc redundant when we should be building our research capabilities. How will labour change this approach to science and to AgResearch future footprint plan?

All the evidence is the whole of New Zealands suffers when regions aren’t strong. We’re all in this together.

We desperately need to shift our economy from National’s short term focus on raw materials that hold us hostage to the commodity cycle, and move towards to value-added exports which create high paying jobs in New Zealand.

Our Economic Upgrade is that plan: https://www.labour.org.nz/economicupgrade

The essence of the Economic Upgrade is in boosting the three Is: High levels of local Investment, increased Innovation to give Kiwi business a competitive edge, and strategic Industry and regional development to create good jobs in every region of New Zealand.

Take for example the Forestry and Wood Products section which includes:

  1. A ‘tax deferral’ for investment in plant and equipment in the forest and wood products industry, by means of an accelerated depreciation provision.
  2. Reintroduce an R&D tax credit to encourage stronger private investment in high-quality R&D.
  3. Ensure that public science works to further develop wood-plastic composites.
  4. Work with the industry and BRANZ to develop building standards for wood construction to accommodate advanced wood construction technologies.
  5. Support iwi forestry clusters to analyse options for their land.
  6. Support universities, polytechnics and wānanga, and the forestry ITO to further contribute to the industries and communities they serve.

Red Stag Timber has said that if our Forestry upgrade went ahead they’d build new plant and that would create new jobs in regional North Island.

To specifically touch on AgResearch, David Clark has been doing stellar work with his petition to save Invermay. Under a Government I lead Invermay will stay: http://www.davidclark.org.nz/2014/06/labour-will-save-invermay/

BM: Do you agree with Nationals just announced roading plan. If you don’t, are there any aspects of the roading plan that you would push through if labour did gain power?

This is an election u-turn from National. We’ve been calling for the funding they took from rural roading to be restored for a while. That said, I’d like to see whether the numbers stack up on the projects they’ve picked. Labour allocated more to regional roads than National has.

The bigger picture is that that National’s trying to pass this off as regional development. I think most Kiwis will be wondering why they haven’t come up with a decent plan for jobs in the regions. A proper regional development plan would focus on sustainable jobs, based on getting the best from each region’s potential.

blue leopard on behalf of freedom:

1: Mr Cunliffe, with Drones now being an unavoidable technology, will Labour commit to refusing to support the US Drone Strike missions and insist that any support to the US Drone missions supplied via any resource from New Zealand is for search & rescue missions only?

2: Mr Cunliffe, with life long access to education being a critical foundation for any society, will Labour fully re-instate all Education funding that has been removed since 2008, including Adult Education programmes and all Tertiary assistance for mature students?

I’ve been very clear. Labour has always supported the UN Security Council as the place to decide multilateral peace and security issues. I’ve also been clear that we will not send combat troops to Iraq. New Zealand expects any operations to be compatible with international law.

Clemgeopin:

[1] What is your policy on the mass secret surveillance of Kiwis by GCSB and the Five Eyes Programme? What changes will you make?

[2] Will you legislate that Charter schools that receive public funds (a) Can not receive more public funding than public schools (b) Should abide by the rules as required by the education department such as trained/qualified teachers, subject to ERO and public audit of performance and accounts (c) should abide by (a) and (b). Otherwise, no public funds will be available to them.

[3] Is is correct to say that National focuses on Key’s cult personality while Labour will focus on policies and the people?

Under Labour there will be a full and substantive review of the security services, early in our term.

We’ll also repeal the TICS Bill and the new GCSB legislation, and replace them with laws that protect New Zealanders privacy and freedoms.

There will be no surveillance of a New Zealand citizen, by NZ security services, without a judge’s warrant. End of story.

Jackal: Given the level of public concern about the impact on Maui’s dolphins from oil exploration in the West coast Marine Mammal Sanctuary, is Labour prepared to review their support for seismic surveys and drilling in the sanctuary?
Reply

We’ve taken a clear position on this. We’re calling it for the dolphins. Maui’s Dolphin is a critically endangered species.

It’s up to the industry to prove that it is safe before they start. This is a high bar for them to meet, but we’re immensely concerned about Maui’s which is why Labour created the sanctuary and stopped set-netting.

That’s not an accurate description of how this issue unfolded fore Labour last week. A Labour candidate led a protest against a National MP, Cunliffe made an initial statement in support but modified that somewhat when Labour’s past support of offshore exploration was highlighted.

Pasupial: Mr Cunliffe, You state; “I’m confident we can win this election and make real change by working together”. My Questions relate to what parties you feel that you could work together with:

Would you be willing to accept Internet/ MANA Party MPs as part of a Labour-led government if that gave you the numbers to form a progressive coalition post-election (and a mutually satisfactory relationship could be negotiated)?

How about; a United Future & Maori Party MP(s), if they have votes to offer and were willing to negotiate support (I’m assuming a yes for both; Green Party and NZF, a no for; National, ACT & CP, please correct if I’m mistaken)?

In our party’s constitution Labour’s first core principle is “All political authority comes from the people by democratic means including universal suffrage, regular and free elections with a secret ballot.”

We won’t be doing pre-election deals. It’s up to New Zealanders to decide who they send to Parliament.

After the election I’ll talk with anyone committed to changing the Government. It’s fair to say that won’t include National, Act or Colin Craig’s group.

Interesting that he only ruled out three parties.

Ergo Robertina:

  • Health Benefits Ltd’s approach to cost cutting is largely through centralisation (kitchens, finance, procurement jobs) which worsens the de-population/over population raised in the first question. There’s also its well publicised poor relationship with DHBs and the ‘ponzi scheme’ charge in the media recently.
  • DHBs: They are encouraged to co-operate on a regional basis, but how far can this go without more amalgamations, and are they a legacy from a market driven model that is basically defunct?
  • How high on the agenda will regional development be, and would you appoint a minister of regional development?

I am very committed to regional development – so much so that as leader I have taken the portfolio for myself. There will absolutely be a Minister of Regional Development in my Government.

Annette King’s exposure of what’s been going on with Health Benefits Ltd has raised some very disturbing issues. We need to get to the bottom of what’s been happening. Annette will be announcing our Health policy soon.

blue leopard: There is quite a lot of criticism expressed re the retirement age by people here on the Standard – how is it that National can put forward we can afford it, yet Labour are saying we can’t?

Are there going to be exceptions for those doing manual work?
Will people who retire early be penalized financially or not?

When is that policy’s details coming out?

Labour’s committed to a sustainable, universal New Zealand Superannuation system – which means every New Zealander is ensured of dignity in retirement. We will never sell that principle out.

To be sustainable, New Zealand has to be able to pay for it without burdening the next generational with crippling levels of tax or debt. The reality is New Zealanders are living longer; life expectancy increased around 3 years during the 9 years of the last Labour Government.

We think it’s important to be honest with New Zealand about the need for very gradual change, so that people can be prepared – while also being assured that universal super will be there when they need it.

The fact is John Key is not being upfront about this, and he knows it. So, under Labour the age will gradually rise by one month a year from 2020.

Noone currently at or near retirement would be affected.

Equally importantly, we will protect those who cannot continue to work in their current jobs or because of physical hardship, where they need financial support by making available a transitional benefit at no lower value than NZ Super.

We are also committed to pre-funding through the very successful Cullen Fund, and we recently announced our investment plan in our fiscal package: http://labour.org.nz/fiscalplan

This is one of Labour’s most contentious policies amongst left wing supporters, as shown by a response from KJT: “This, more than any other policy, has convinced me that Labour is still no more than National lite, re-arranging the deck chairs of Neo-liberalism just a little. What happened to ‘not cutting our legs off’, instead of just ‘adding anaesthetic’?”

ropata: Recent elections have been little more than a side show of the current PM goofing around and glibly pulling ‘facts’ from his a*** in order to win a TV debate. How are you going to combat the “smiling assassin”, when sober debate doesn’t win ratings?

I’m going to be straight-up with New Zealanders. Everywhere I go Kiwis tell me they want to see politicians putting the country and its people first. They want to see real solutions to the problems in their lives. We’ve done a huge amount of policy work and we’ll be making the case for positive change.

kiwigunner: How would you spend the $358m that National have found for Education. Can you categorically say that National Standards will go under the new Labour government?

On that first question you’ll have to wait until we release our education policy, but we do have serious concerns about National’s policy. On the second question. Yes.

phillip ure: research done by treasury showed a small financial-transaction tax on inter-bank/financial-intitutions’ transactions..wd raise enough revenue to enable gst to be abolished..if we chose to use it for that purpose..

..given the public disquiet at the enormous amounts of profits being taken out of the country by those banks..

..do you think the timing is right..and that you wd get public support for such a policy..?

..and will you implement a financal transaction tax..?

A financial transaction tax is something that needs further careful consideration in an international context. We are monitoring global developments with interest.

Our revenue policies recently announced focus on closing down avoidance loopholes and ensuring everyone pays their fair share – including multinational corporations.

ropata: In the light of recent disasters such as Rena, Pike River, and ongoing fatalities in forestry, can you please reinstate some of the “back office” functions of government (ie safety inspectors) that the current govt has cut?

Rena, Pike River, forestry fatalities and leaky buildings all have a common cause: deregulation or self-regulation of commercial activities.

There need to be clear rules, properly overseen, to ensure that health and safety rights and consumer rights are robustly protected from the short term profit pressures of the market.

idlegus: I realise you are a very busy man but will you show yourself in the suburbs, do walk abouts, door knocking, show your face & meet ppl, i mean normal ppl not just business ppl. especially in places like south dunedin. thank you & good luck!

I do that every week, all around the country – and I love it! Getting face to face contact with people wherever they are in their communities is one of the parts of this job that gives me the most satisfaction.

fisiani: I am interested in what you would reverse or tolerate.
1,Will you abolish the 90 day right to prove yourself act?
2. Will you stop the harvest of West Coast wind blown timber?
3. Will you stop Partnership schools and National standards?

The 90 Day fire at will bill is a disgrace. I’ll axe it in our first 100 days.

If he gets enough support to do that from other parties.

ropata: Will you be reviewing the effectiveness & democratic functions of local government (I’m thinking ECan and Auckland SuperCity) and their stewardship of public assets such as Ports of Auckland and water quality in Canterbury?

Yes we will be reviewing these. It’s important that central Government respects local democracy.

ECan should be returned to democratic governance as soon as possible.

It seems that under the current government, irrigation rights come before democratic rights.

politikiwi: Do you feel the “war on drugs” – in terms of treating drugs as a criminal justice issue rather than a health issue – is working? If not, what do you plan to do to improve outcomes?

I want to see more resources devoted to treatment of drug addiction, and Iain Lees-Galloway has been doing excellent policy work in this area. I’m not going to pretend, though, that drug abuse isn’t a gateway into criminal activity for too many users.

Sacha: Labour’s policies so far seem well thought-out. Communication of them has been a worry, however. How do you plan to improve that?

More Q&As on The Standard for a start!

I’ll be visiting every region of the country personally, and we’ll of course be communicating through every available medium.

As well as that, dedicated Labour activists will be engaging in every community the length and breadth of New Zealand.

I also recognise the importance of social media and we will continue to be active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Stephanie Rodgers: Would your government set benefits at levels which allow people to live with dignity, and ensure benefits increase to match rises in the cost of living?

Will Labour in government stop categorising beneficiaries who are unable to work as “Jobseekers” – and the subsequent harassment from WINZ to justify their situation/seek jobs they can’t do?

I’m not going to announce our welfare policy here. But what I can tell you is that the systematic victimisation and demonisation of beneficiaries we’ve seen under National has absolutely no place in Labour’s values or a Labour Government.

William Rea: Did know that there are officially about 400,000 adult New Zealanders who currently use cannabis, and also that NZ has the world’s highest arrest rate for cannabis ‘crimes’. Isn’t this a huge waste of Police time?

We see drug use as a health issue but our position on drug law reform is a conscience issue.

Generation Zero: Climate change is an issue that affects everyone regardless of their social, economic and cultural background. But the effects of climate change tend to be unequally distributed to those who are vulnerable to its effects such as the poor, young and the elderly.

–What do you think we can do to help mitigate negative effects of climate change on vulnerable New Zealanders?

Awareness of climate change is driving significant economic changes globally and this will only intensify as more and more countries begin cutting back emissions. This situation could be a great opportunity or a real risk for New Zealand.

–In 2007, Prime Minister John Key said “Action on climate change is also needed to ensure the prosperity of New Zealand’s economy in an increasingly carbon-conscious world”. Is this still accurate?

–What sectors of our economy would you target to reduce emissions and reduce the risk of climate change?

–Current government policies will see carbon emissions rise significantly by 2030. The Greens have introduced a carbon tax to combat carbon emissions. Do you see this as a effective way of tackling climate change?

Almost 50% of New Zealand’s carbon emissions are due to transport. Public transport, lifestyle/urban planning changes and technology offer ways to reduce emissions. Better transport solutions also have strong co-benefits for health, community cohesiveness and commuting efficiency.

–Is building more motorways instead of investing in public transport consistent with tackling climate change?

–Public transport is an effective way to reduce carbon emissions and combat global warming. Will your transport policies prioritise climate action?

Climate change is the greatest environmental threat we face. I want to reaffirm my personal commitment to strong action against climate change.

I’m a father as well as a politician – and I don’t think it’s acceptable to pass this problem onto our children without doing everything we can to protect them from its consequences.

The science is indisputable, and the consequences are known to be somewhere between serious and catastrophic.

You’d have to be totally irresponsible to withdraw New Zealand from international negotiations.

Action on climate change needs to be part of a broader strategy to transition our economy to a low carbon, high value, renewable energy future.

Part of that is a properly functioning ETS with a real carbon price, and decent public transport.

There are many wins to be had in that process. What we cannot do is stick our heads in the sand and pretend the problem will go away – as the current government is doing.

There’s been much talk on “a broader strategy to transition our economy to a low carbon, high value, renewable energy future” but little in the way of specifics of what, how and what the impact would be.

Descendant Of Sssmit:

  1. Does the Labour Party believe in an 8 hour working day, 40 hour working week any more and will they take any steps to reinstate this to all workers if they do?
  2. Last time Labour were in power they re-instated the $20-00 per week cuts back onto NZS. Will they now immediately do the same for other benefits, and remove the youth rate as well that was moved from 18 to 24 – effectively another cut?

Yes we do. We’ll be overhauling industrial law to make sure workers and their unions can get a fair go.

Tired: There seems to be a common theme when people talk of Labour and that is its inability to run a successful economy. How will you go about changing this misconception?

That’s a nonsense – and even the National Party spin machine knows it.

Over a generation Labour governments have overseen higher levels of economic growth than National governments.

During our last term in office we ran fiscal surpluses in 9 years out of 9, and cut net Crown debt to zero.

What’s more, Labour takes a broad based view that doesn’t pretend that fiscal surpluses are the only target that matters. We will reduce unemployment to 4%. We will pay off National’s record debt by the end of our second term. We will grow good jobs with higher wages in all our regions.

We have the plan and the team to deliver on this promise in a robust and real way. No reader of The Standard should allow themselves to be sucked in by National’s hot air on this issue.

I don’t think there’s much chance of most Standard readers being “sucked in by National’s hot air” on any issue.

Syed: Why Labour party becomes so strict on immigration?

Labour has long been committed to an open and multicultural society that values every individual, no matter where they come from, and seeks to build strong integrated communities.

We’re committed to a great immigration system, we’re a nation of migrants and I’m a huge supporter of multiculturalism. We announced our immigration policy yesterday, I’d urge you to take a look at it.

https://labour.org.nz/immigration

That’s a disappointingly vague and trite response.

Melissa webster: can you tell me your stance on the recriminilisation of street prostitution that has been proposed by New Zealand firsts private member bill?

I’m against this New Zealand First Bill. The existing law already envisages local government being sensitive to the needs of the local community.

A good response clearly stating a position with a brief justification.

amirite:

1.after the election win will you make a move to abolish the coat-tail rule and lower the percentage for Parties to 2-3% to be able to enter Parliament?
2. would you look into the issue of political donations and maybe do away with private funding of political Parties in favour of a basic state funding for all?

We’ll abolish coat-tailing and lower the threshold if we can get support to do so.

We will also be pushing for greater transparency around donations.

This time Cunliffe acknowledges that support for his preference will be required.

sdm: As somebody with a mortgage, children, and a reasonably family income (between 130 and 150K), what reasons would you give me and my family to vote for Labour

The promise of a fair society in which everyone has the chance to do well for themselves.

He skipped other questions, he would have been better to have skipped this one too rather than answer like that. How can any politician deliver on a promise of “a fair society”.

Alan Davey: Is it possible to stop the biased reporting of political news by our media outlets. This has been a bain of Labours re-election battle and has misled many New Zealanders into believing results that just aren’t true. IE. The manipulation of poll results by Fairfax Media.

The freedom of the press is really important. I have huge respect for New Zealand’s journalists. Obviously, at times, journalists get things wrong – everyone does.

An ironic response considering the amount of Labour criticism of media lately, particularly at The Standard where amongst many claims it’s been said there’s a conspiracy between National and the media to defeat Labour.

That was Cunliffe’s last answer. It was responded to by Anne:

Yes, there are journalists deserving of respect and praise David. There are also journalists who are deserving of nothing but contempt. And in recent times some of the latter seem to have had the upper hand. It is important to acknowledge their existence so that voters hopefully become aware of them, and will accordingly judge their utterances.

Apart from that piece of minor criticism, thank-you for an enlightening hour. It has only served to sharpen the huge difference between yourself and John Key.

John Key – shallow, vindictive, dishonest, greedy and a pathological liar.
David Cunliffe – intellectual substance, caring, principled and honest.

Most at The Standard will agree with Anne’s summary of Key and Cunliffe, but that is not reflected in polls.

Cunliffe needs to discover how he can project intellect, care, principles and honesty to the wider voting public. He needs to do more than cut and paste PR talking points.

 

Labour and West Coast trees

Government to allow recovery of West Coast windfall timber:

Special legislation is to be passed by Parliament to enable the recovery of high value native timber blown over in Cyclone Ita on West Coast public conservation land, Dr Nick Smith announced today.

“We need to take a pragmatic approach and enable the timber to be recovered where it can be done so safely and with minimal environmental impact. This initiative will provide welcome jobs and economic opportunities for the West Coast at a difficult time, and will provide a financial return to DOC that can be reinvested in conservation work,” Dr Smith says.

http://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/government-allow-recovery-west-coast-windfall-timber

This could be an awkward move for Damien O’Connor, unless Labour decide to back theis legislation. Here’s a possible sign that they may be against the recovery of fallen trees:

Smith plans sale of trees to fund DOC

National is to introduce urgent legislation possibly today. The use of urgency is often controversial and should normally only be permitted where the measure has budgetary implications, where there is a discovered defect in legislation which needs to be corrected or where there is otherwise good reason to change the law quickly.

But this bill is deeply political and clearly designed for campaign purposes. It will have limited effect in the South Island only and is obviously an attempt to drive a wedge between ordinary working people and environmental movements. It could be called the “Deseat Damian O’Connor and Denigrate the Greens Act 2014″. Because what is proposed is to allow the commercial use of felled trees in conservation areas on the West Coast.

The bill is obviously an attempt to turn West Coasters against any party that stands up for environmental protection. If it is passed the forests will be weakened as biomass and important habitats for other creatures are removed. While there may be a case for limited extraction the bill should go to a select committee so that this can be explored.

http://thestandard.org.nz/smith-plans-sale-of-trees-to-fund-doc/

That looks like one of mickysavage’s less ‘personal opinion’ posts. Is it his own opposition, is he testing the waters for Labour, or are Labour starting to campaign against it?

Standard election authorisation notice

The Standard is trying to cover electoral advertising rules by having it’s own authorisation notice. This may not cover all authors and posts.

The Electoral Commission on the ‘regulated period’ for the upcoming election.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE REGULATED PERIOD

The regulated period for the 2014 General Election will start on 20 June 2014 and ends with the close of the day before election day (19 September 2014).

What is the significance of the regulated period? This can be a source of confusion. The answer is that it is significant for election expenses and Parliamentary Service funding.

In terms of election expenses the regulated period is the period during which the expenditure limits for parties and candidates operate. Currently these limits are: $25,700 for candidates and $1.091 million plus $25,700 per electorate contested for parties.

However, it is not the only time that the other rules regarding election advertising apply. The requirement for a promoter statement and the requirement for written authorisation to promote a party or candidate apply at all times.

A post in typical lprent fashion at The Standard:

Time to do the authorisation notice

This site frequently has opinions from authors and comments promoting promoting political positions and telling people who they should vote for or not vote for, and why.

Because of whining in previous election periods by some of the more obnoxious fools around the blogosphere, you’ll notice that we now have a notice at the bottom of the site.

Here’s an example of some whining by an obnoxious fool (love the irony) coming up to a previous election period, in July 2008 – Why is Labour so hypocritical on transparency?

Then in 2007  burst into life. They would have you believe it is a totally independent collection of activists who just happen to not like National. The reality is somewhat different.

The Standard says they are all independent bloggers. However the following e-mail has been forwarded onto me:

From: xxxxxxx xxxxxxx
Date: 11 June 2008 12:24:42 PM
To: labourmembersofparliament@parliament.govt.nz
Cc: pm@ministers.govt.nz, mike.williams@labour.org.nz
Subject: The Standard Blog

Dear all

I have a serious issue to raise with you all. It has come to my attention that two Ministerial staffers – Chris Elder and Andrew Kirton, both political employees – are blogging anonymously at the Labour-hosted, anti-John Key blog the Standard, http://www.thestandard.org.nz.

Given that a large number of these posts (most notably those by Chris Elder or all_your_base, a communications staffer on the ninth floor) occur during office hours, do you all believe it is appropriate that political employees are spending their time blogging anonymously? Is this approved behaviour?

Kind regards

xxxxxxx xxxxxx

After I was forwarded a copy of the e-mail by a parliamentary staffer, I asked the e-mailer the basis of the information, the e-mailer replied “A young Labour person I know who is also a blogger”

It has in fact long been speculated that Elder blogged as All-your-base as this was allegedly a favourite saying of his (referring to the tag line of a famous hacking group). He has denied being involved with The Standard, and it is of course impossible to prove or disprove without computer logs.

But it is likely that two of the bloggers are Beehive communications employees, and a third is the Labour Party Head Office Communications Manager. A fourth and maybe a fifth are employed by the EPMU – Labour’s largest affiliated union.

The Standard still promotes itself as a collective of independent activists, although admitted at one stage

We set The Standard up as an independent left-wing blog in August last year. As you probably remember by about November our traffic had got so large our server was crashing every day, sometimes for hours at a time. We put out a call and at the end of last year someone from Labour emailed us and offered us some temporary server space until we worked something out.

They have worked that out long ago and have also worked out a number of operation matters. Pseudonymous authors have come and gone. Like ‘Zetetic’, who coincidentally posted not long after lprent.

John Key on Iraq in the Herald today:

We are not a country out there looking for a fight.

John Key on Iraq 2003:

That links to a video on Youtube that was first uploaded leading into the 2008 election by ‘greenwoman’, who loaded seven videos around that time all critical of John Key. Zetetic must have a good memory.

Back to the lprent post that warns of the consequences of “comments left on our site”:

Thereafter I will consider that that comments left on our site about our conformance to the Electoral Act 1993 and the Broadcasting Act 1989 about any content on site will in themselves constitute unwanted advertisements on our site, and I will take the appropriate action. This is logical extension of our existing policy about handling people who try to tell us how to run our site.

Perpetrators will have their comments deleted and will be banned until after the election.

It’s interesting doing a search at The Standard on ‘banned until after the election’. The most serious offences tend to be challenging what authors post, speculating on the identity of authors and (allegedly) diverting from the message that authors want to promote.

From The Standard ‘About':

We write here in our personal capacities and the opinions that are expressed on the blog are individual unless expressly stated otherwise (see the policy). We do not write on behalf of any organization.

That links to:

The authors write for themselves with the following exceptions.

  1. If we are putting up material from a guest poster, then it will go up under “Guest Post” and may or may not have a name or pseudonym attached.
  2. If the site is reposting material from another site with no opinion or minimal opinion from an author, then it will go up under the name of “The Standard” (aka notices and features).
  3. There are some routine posts like the daily OpenMike that will also go up under the name of “The Standard” (aka notices and features) because they also offer no opinion.

The bar is high because we like robust debate, but there is a bar.

One could imagine their barn door:

The bar is high because we like robust debate, but there is a bar on debate we don’t like.

There’s been a number of other coincidental posts from the independent authors recently. Try this search:

http://thestandard.org.nz/?s=david+farrar&isopen=block&search_posts=true&search_sortby=date

lprent has frequently been accusing David Farrar of being a paid operative of the 9th floor of the Beehive.

It’s interesting that lprent has decided to put a blanket ‘authorisation notice’ on The Standard. But that’s under his own name.

The key messages are:

  • Publishers and broadcasters must ensure that election advertisements or election-related advertisements published at any time, in any medium, contain a promoter statement.
  • Publishers and broadcasters must ensure that any election advertisement that promotes any candidate and/or party has  been authorised in writing by the candidate and/or party secretary(s) before it is published/broadcast.

(Part 1 Election Advertising)

But lprent is registering as a ‘3rd party promoter':

1.3         Registered promoters

Any individual or group who is a third party promoter who spends, or intends to spend, over $12,300 (including GST) on election advertising during the regulated period (20 June to 19 September 2014) must register with the Electoral Commission. 

The following cannot be a registered promoter:

  • a constituency candidate,
  • a list candidate,
  • a  party,an overseas person,
  • a person involved in the administration of:

                – the affairs of a candidate in relation to the candidate’s election campaign, or

                – the affairs of the party.

http://www.elections.org.nz/third-party-handbook/part-1-third-party-promoters-and-parliamentary-elections

So he must not be involved in the affairs of any candidate or party (he has previously been involved with Labour and with Helen Clark).

What I don’t know is how lprent’s site authorisation statement affects anything that could potentially be posted or commented at The Standard by candidates, parties or persons involved in the administration of candidate or party election campaigns.

But it seems logical to me that parties, candidates and any person involved in the administration of campaigns would still need their own authorisation statements.

If they were being honest and transparent. lprent concludes his post:

In my opinion this policy should neatly eliminate some of the nuisances that we have had in previous elections.

It would be a nuisance if an author or commenter who disguises their connections and their intent by using a pseudonym would have to use an authorisation statement.

The use of pseudonyms at The Standard is strongly defended. It is explained that it doesn’t mean they are anonymous, the identities are known to the blog administrator.

So lprent should know which authors and posts may not be covered by his own authorisation statement, if any. He said:

So if you think that there are issues to do with how we have done this, you now have between now and prior to the start of 20th of June 2014 to comment in this post and only this post.

I can’t comment on his post, I’m currently banned from commenting at The Standard, but lprent will see this post. He could clarify by stating that any post at The Standard by anyone or on behalf of anyone associated with a candidate or party campaign will have it’s own authorisation notice.

Different impressions of Jamie Whyte

Contrasting impressions of ACT leader Jamie Whyte in recent interviews.

Brian Edwards said on on Firstline this morning he thought Whyte was “particularly unimpressive as a leader”.

‘Wyndham, George’ commented at The Standard:

Jamie Whyte is shyte. He was interviewed by Michael Wilson on TV3 and was a blithering stuttering mess!

A comment closer to home (from someone who has never backed ACT and is never likely to):

He sounds very thoughtful.

After pointing out some hesitancy in Whyte’s responses:

It looked like he was having to think through questions he wasn’t prepared for, but spoke honestly about what he thought. Not political, no bland bull.

Wyndham, George is a political opponent of Whyte. Edwards trains politicians to speak to the media.

The other opinion was an ordinary person outside of the political arena.

Labour soul searching

An unusually frank and honest examination of Labour’s problems from Mike Smith at The Standard – Too many hedgehogs.

Some good comments as well.

Labour and Cunliffe are obviously not getting things right. “Wait until after the voters have had their say” and vague and changing policy positions are the opposite of what Cunliffe should be doing.

Some things are partly outside Labour’s control – Greens, NZ First and possible Internet-MANA look like a very risky combination for government.

Labour have got themselves into a position where they are not seen as a dominant party and are nowhere near competing one on one with National but that seems to be the strategy they are currently running.

Cunliffe somehow has to appear as if he can lead a coalition, one that that would look like a significant shift left.

He can’t even convince he can lead his own caucus let alone a smorgasbord of socialists.

If Cunliffe doesn’t demonstrate some sense and some soul then Labour may end up searching for where to bury the body after the election.

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