MoU a sign of Labour desperation?

Greens have wanted an openly closer relationship with Labour for years. Cunliffe refused to even symbolically associate with them before the 2014 election despite Russel Norman’s efforts, and said that was a mistake after the election after Labour support continued a decade long slide.

So seeing Metiria Turei beaming at the Memorandum of Understanding announcement is not a surprise (although James Shaw looked less ecstatic as a bystander).

But why did Labour make this move, and especially, why now?

Some have claimed it was hurried and lacked substance – the latter is certainly true. It’s an odd move mid-term.

And both Labour and Greens looked unprepared for inevitable questions asked by the media. All they repeated was that the MoU was designed to enable a change of Government and meant nothing when it came to coalition forming.

Andrew Little even implied that partnership trust wasn’t important by saying that it wasn’t a monogamous relationship. Announcing an engagement and straight away suggesting that fucking around was fine doesn’t suggest a close bond.

So is it nothing more than a symbolic marriage of convenience? Or even a shotgun wedding – has Labour done this out of desperation?

They have struggled to make any headway in polls since Andrew Little took over the leadership and Little has faired even worse in polls. There are a number of suggestions that polls were a significant factor – see MoU a poll punt?

But Labour’s problems run deeper than poll problems. It’s well known they have problems with fundraising.

Last month David Farrar (and others) pointed out Once again Labour getting fewer donations than Greens.

Total donations (over $1,500) in 2015 were:

  1. National $1,400,896
  2. Greens $407,978
  3. Labour $279.134

I understand Labour is so broke they are forcing their MPs to pay a levy to fund the likely Mt Roskill by-election.

There are also claims Labour are having major problems with membership.

Richard Harman at Politik in Little goes after the “rich prick”:

POLITIK has learned that the party’s membership is now probably below that of the Greens, which would place it below 5000. Possibly less than half that.

In contrast, National is aiming to recruit up to 35,000 members before the next election campaign.

Chris Trotter adds to this in – See more at: Unconvinced: Why Chris Trotter Is So Sceptical About The Labour-Green “Understanding”:

If true (and Richard is no slouch when it comes to acquiring “usually reliable” sources) that would indicate a total of, at most, 5,000.

Some have gone so far as to say that if the number of affiliated trade union members is subtracted from that total, then there may actually be fewer than 2,000 paid-up ordinary members in the whole party.

Trotter also comments on fundraising problems:

For months now there has been much discussion “inside the beltway” of Labour’s deep-seated financial difficulties.

The slightest suggestion that a person might harbour left-wing sympathies has been enough to earn them a deluge of begging e-mails from Andrew Little and other Labour politicians.

People make a joke of it, but those who know something about political fundraising are only too aware that these are the tactics of desperation.

And on the MoU annoluncement:

The gimcrack quality of yesterday’s (31/5/16) announcement: a hastily cobbled together presser in the old Legislative Chamber; likewise had a story to tell.

It seemed odd that the only audience apart from journalists were Green and Labour MPs and staffers. Membership of both parties were absent from the event and seemed to be absent from the decision making.

It is the story of an exhausted and impecunious political organisation. A party stumbling towards its 100th anniversary in desperate need of support – any support.

It is also the story of a younger and much more vital party desperate for its chance to exercise real power, and absolutely determined that it will not, once again, be robbed of its chance at the eleventh hour.

Such is my understanding of the Labour-Green “Understanding”

Greens look to be the stronger party in how they operate, with donation levels and with membership.

Has Andrew Little rushed Labour into the MoU in a desperate attempt to prop up his party with the Greens?

Harman:

And any thought the party might have had of assembling a three-party coalition to take power after the next election seems to have been dashed by NZ First Leader Winston Peters actively campaigning against Labour.

Peters can see when disaffected votes are up for grabs.

Greens could also pick up some votes off the Labour carcass.

Something may drastically change, but going by the reaction to the MoU announcement (from media and from across the political spectrum) an ‘understanding’ with no substance and with no expectation of faithfulness is unlikely to be the game changer that Greens want and Labour desperately needs.

Leave a comment

35 Comments

  1. J Bloggs

     /  2nd June 2016

    My gut feeling is that this has been driven from the Labour side by Matt McCarten, not Andrew Little

    Reply
  2. Iceberg

     /  2nd June 2016

    Might as well get the Governor General to sign off the 2017 result now. Save us all a lot of money.

    Labour are like the primary school soccer team who has to concede on Saturday morning because only 7 players turned up.

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  2nd June 2016

      No it’s got to play out yet. You never know. National’s really vulnerable on quite a few things, housing being only one of them, and they’re open for a hammering on those shortcomings unless they address them in the next budget (which, admittedly, they probably will).

      NZF might come up in the running yet, and while I expect Labour will crash & burn, who knows what revolts might occur within the ranks of the Greens & Labour yet?

      Johnkers is rapidly going as bald as Andrew & the young, vibrant, good looks are fading fast too. It’s a pity the MSM doesn’t play Question Time before the Hosking & Henry shows so more people can see the smarmy, gobby shite he comes out with.

      No. The GG should carry on doing banquets and stuff & let us all watch the fun in the polls & enjoy the ride until November – unless Johnkers decides to go early.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  2nd June 2016

        November 2017 I mean, obviously. Don’t expect Johnkers to go as early as November this year.

        Reply
      • Iceberg

         /  2nd June 2016

        If you think National are vulnerable on housing then you maybe need to rethink who actually votes for them. Don’t believe the lefty beat ups. It’s possible they’ve never been less vulnerable.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  2nd June 2016

          They’re cocking up in quite a lot of areas they should’ve fixed by now Ice. It’s only the uselessness of the Oppos Leaders that have been letting them get away with it, plus the star quality of Johnkers, and that’s fading as he ages so quickly. He’s a smarmy git in The House, really needs a good talking to – but he still does well in the tv interviews, radio spots and walkabouts & that’s where he outperforms the Greens (who wants to be constantly lectured to by holier-than-thou’s?) and Labour (who wants to hear constant whispery, halting, whingeing about everything?). Winston’s age & constant stunting works against him.

          The thing the Oppos need to do is get smarter leaders & spokespersons who understand this & pitch to the middle as well as the lower – and they really need to target the younger voters, the bracket in debt up to their eyeballs and who can’t afford houses cos mum n dad aren’t rich enough to help them out.

          I agree they probably won’t get this until after the next election, but not too many people will probably still be happy with Frau Herr Bennett or Frau Herr Crusher running ze kuntry by 2020 I reckon.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  2nd June 2016

            The other thing Labour (or its replacement) needs to do is pander to the tradies in some way and stop scaring the shit out of the business community – something Cullen worked out early. Robertson doesn’t get this. A name change during Labour’s rebuild really is needed. Labour represent’s the blue collar workers & has connotations with unions that scares the pants off employers.

            Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  2nd June 2016

            If you think the Nats are cocking up just imagine LAB’s tackling the same problems and making them an order of magnitude worse.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  2nd June 2016

              Well, exactly Al. They need a new broom & a set of credible new policies. Ain’t gonna happen with the current lot, so they need to start up a new party I reckon. They should be looking at Trumpism.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  2nd June 2016

              Frau Herr means Mrs Mr.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  2nd June 2016

              A name change needs a lot of thought. It won’t make people who’ve never voted Labour do so and it might alienate the traditional supporters who like the old name.Changing the name won’t change the party.

            • They could try calling it the Little Green Party.

              They might end up getting called that anyway.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  2nd June 2016

              Oh, brava ! Oh, how I wish that I’d thought of that !

            • Nelly Smickers

               /  2nd June 2016

              You will XD

            • Gezza

               /  2nd June 2016

              Frau Herr means Mrs Mr.
              Yah. I am aveer off ziss.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  2nd June 2016

              Aber jah, du bist nicht ein dummkopf.

              Aber warum sagst du das ?

              Nelly, du bist nicht sehr nett ! 😀

            • Nelly Smickers

               /  2nd June 2016

              Oh’ yeah? That’s not what Father O’Flaherty reckoned!! o_O

            • Blazer

               /  3rd June 2016

              what an indictment on National,admit they’re clueless but condone it,because just maybe someone could do worse.

          • Iceberg

             /  2nd June 2016

            “They’re cocking up in quite a lot of areas they should’ve fixed by now Ice.”

            …and then you proceed to wax lyrical about how they are streets ahead. Smacks of writing shit down to keep the keys working.

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  2nd June 2016

              Well, it’s more just saying the Nats aren’t exactly doing a great job & that’s all. When Pete notifies us that you’re in charge of what people write here, now maybe I’ll have a listen to you. How’s that e hoa? Fair enough?

            • Gezza

               /  2nd June 2016

              Changing the name won’t change the party.

              No, but there are factions within it, & maybe the Greens?, that won’t be happy to be sliding into apparent oblivion & who still hope they might have a chance of getting into government if they have a more centrist economic philosophy. That name “Labour” has a really strong visceral association by many people with “working man – factory floor – union delegate” & I think is probably limiting its appeal now because, for example, we’ve got all these tradies & self-employed contractors who are now small businesspeople where once they would’ve been working stiff employees of larger concerns.

            • How many current Labour MPs fit the image of a typical working man or a working person?

            • Gezza

               /  2nd June 2016

              Well, I don’t think any of them do, do they? That’s really what I’m saying – or it’s another thing I haven’t specifically mentioned – they’re pitching themselves at that working stiff factory floor audience and, perhaps apart from The Wimp, they’re not even the genuine article themselves. Being clearly ineffective at getting anything done for the workers that they’re obviously not must be all part of their slide I reckon.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  2nd June 2016

              Only one springs to mind. The one who refuses to comment on the ‘marriage of convenience’…..
              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damien_O'Connor

            • Gezza

               /  2nd June 2016

              Having a read of that, patupaiarehe, he’s a right-leaning capitalist.

              Before becoming an MP, he worked in a variety of jobs in farming and tourism. During a five-year stint in Australia, he worked as a machinery operator and in sales. On his return to New Zealand he established Buller Adventure Tours, an adventure tourism company, which he owned and operated in a partnership.

              In April 2011 O’Connor attracted criticism from Labour Party leader Phil Goff after describing the list MP selection process as being run by “self-serving unionists and a gaggle of gays.”

              He might be up for joining a new party post 2017 you reckon?

            • patupaiarehe

               /  2nd June 2016

              Wouldn’t be surprised if he told Labour to GFY, and stood as an independent. He certainly seems to have enough local support to do so.

            • Gezza

               /  2nd June 2016

              Then he’d have to go into coalition & vote with the current Grinning Monkey though, mightn’t he? Could he bring himself to do that? He’d be better to go with a phoenix party, surely? He’d possibly still get elected as the local member. Unless he wants to pack it in & get back into capitalism or retire & live off his investments.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  2nd June 2016

              Marx and Lenin weren’t from the working class, either, and I don’t think that Trotsky was-I’m not sure about him.

              My late husband had a friend who is descended from or related to the man who gave Molotov cocktails their name. I don’t know how I’d feel about this 😀

            • Gezza

               /  2nd June 2016

              Aber warum sagst du das ?

              Weil sie beide die größten Hoden in der Nationalen Partei und, als Helen Klark, sind sie sehr beängstigend, Kitty

            • patupaiarehe

               /  2nd June 2016

              @G
              Love him or loathe him, Damien seems to me to be the sort of politician we need more of in parliament. No-one could accuse him of being a ‘career politician’, despite the fact he has been one for quite a while. The sort of guy Labour can’t afford to lose, but probably will…..

            • Gezza

               /  2nd June 2016

              @pp. I agree e hoa. I think “Labour” is ultimately doomed though, and it’s time for a reformation and a re-brand, or a whole new party, to challenge & provide an alternative to the Nats. This sort of thing’s been done perfectly successfully before.

              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Zealand_National_Party#History

            • Nelly Smickers

               /  2nd June 2016

              That’s a coincidence Kitzy! When we were holidaying at Club Med a few years back, I got challenged by the locals to see if I could drink one of those cocktails….. I felt okay XD

            • Gezza

               /  2nd June 2016

              They’ve grown a bit since the shoot.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  2nd June 2016

              @G
              Thanks for that link e hoa, very interesting. Can’t imagine Labour & Green doing anything similar though….

            • Nelly Smickers

               /  2nd June 2016

              To be fair though Geezz, I think it’s just that black dress 😳

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