Labour policy coup attempt?

The Labour Party has handled the foreign student intern issue very poorly and they have been justifiably been blasted from all sides.

Leader Andrew Little and general secretary Andrew Kirton have been trying to repair the damage and pile the blame on Matt McCarten, but they should have known exactly what was being done and ensured it was properly managed. They stuffed up badly.

However there are suggestions that McCarten and others involved in the debacle may have been attempting some sort of grand plan to push the party left and effectively execute a policy coup.

Martyn Bradbury has been involved, and as usual he has trouble keeping quiet. He has posted Why the Labour Party Student Intern ‘scandal’ is a smear

Watching that meltdown into the shameful scandal it’s being sold as by the media and Politicians desperate to move the attention from Bill English is as ugly as it is typical.

The spluttering shock and hyperventilation of the corporate media at a story that is over a 2 months old right when English was getting screwed seems remarkably good timing for National.

Mostly fortuitous timing I think. National and the media didn’t engineer the Labour intern debacle, and the timing seems to be largely coincidental.

What Labour were doing with these interns happens every election. International Students come here to monitor and experience our elections, what was different about this year was how quickly over subscribed the programme became.

There’s doubt about that claim as documents (see Funding of Labour’s intern scheme) have revealed plans for more interns than have arrived.

The plan to use international students who had worked on campaigns like Jeremy Corbyn’s and Bernie Sander’s were going to be matched by domestic volunteers who were going to target 60 000 Aucklander’s who had enrolled to vote but hadn’t voted and 60 000 Aucklander’s who hadn’t enrolled at all.

They wanted to import the success of Sanders and Corbyn campaigns at getting out young voters (but failed at winning elections).

The campaigns focus was engagement and it had Labour Party sign off and Union buy in.

What happened however was Labour Party HQ Wellington become panicked by how big the Campaign had grown and despite green lighting it started dragging their feet until the thing fell over.

A whispering campaign targeting the funders strangled off money because Labour Party HQ Wellington’s preference is to win over voters who are exisiting voters because the policy platform doesn’t have to be particularly radical for that.

The Newshub documents show “First and Unite unions agreed to contribute $100,000, “white collar unions” committed to $50,000, while Union Trust put up a start-up loan of $25,000″ and the “Council of Trade Unions (CTU) was also to be involved in management of the project” but they have quickly distanced themselves today and claim that they hadn’t committed any funds.

Did the scheme proceed without proper funding in place?


What Labour didn’t want was a huge campaign to the Left of Labour pressuring them for a Corbyn or Sanders platform.

Labour didn’t want this…

Campaign for Change Manifesto 
1: Free public transport for students and beneficiaries
2: 18 month rent freeze 
3: 5% maximum rent rise
4: $20 per hour minimum wage
5: Artists and Volunteers benefit
6: Free condoms, contraceptive pills and sanitary pads available at schools and family planning
7: Universal Student Allowance for Tertiary students
8: Free public internet
9: Lower voting age to 16
10: Free school lunches 

…so the fear of a successful left wing agenda has once again managed to doom Labour. Just like the candidate selection fiasco and just like the Party List fiasco, this has come down to poor internal management by the Wellington arm of the Party.

While it’s not clear it appears that Campaign for Change tried to force these policies on the Labour Party – in effect trying a policy coup.

Policy development usually takes years and includes input from party members. It is not usually foisted on a party by a small group of activists with revolution in mind.

The perception of political hypocrisy is a mainstream media generated one, the real story is Labour’s fear of a courageous left wing platform.

There was a heap of hypocrisy over student workers working for nothing and living in poor cramped conditions. But that’s not a big deal compared to what Bradbury is suggesting.

Blaming Matt McCarten and leaving him to twist in the wind is expected but it certainly isn’t honourable or justified.

If McCarten and Bradbury and whoever else was involved thought that importing a team of campaign slaves that would somehow magically turn out hundreds of thousands of votes for Labour they are naive or nuts.

If they thought that three months out from the election the Labour Party establishment would change all their policy plans and take on a ten step pathway to political oblivion then all the criticism that can be mustered is justified.

It looks like a policy coup attempt by a bunch of clowns absent any clues or leadership.

Back to the actual party leadership – how Little and Kirton allowed this to even get off the ground I have no idea. I am flabbergasted at how this looks.


Leave a comment


  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  23rd June 2017

    As I said at the outset, McCarten is a fool’s fool – and just to make that explicit, Little’s fool.

    As for the timing, just to round off their stupidity, when they knew this lunacy was about to collapse and hit the media they primed the media with the Barclay hit pieces. They have only themselves to blame for the collision.

    • Trumpenreich

       /  23rd June 2017

      I know people here in Auckland who have been familiar with McCarten in social circles for a couple of decades. For years they have been telling me what a creepy weirdo he is. So I’m not in the least bit surprised he now turns up as the main operator in a serious political shit storm.

  2. PDB

     /  23rd June 2017

    Bradbury is like his mate McCarten – a political failure with the reverse midas touch.

  3. Blazer

     /  23rd June 2017

    ‘the road to hell is paved with…good intentions’.

  4. Strong For Life

     /  23rd June 2017

    There is little about this matter in the MSM. Nothing on The Press website and I could find no mention of it on Stuff either. Perhaps the media will catch up on Monday?

  5. Blazer

     /  23rd June 2017

    its a non story…beat up.

    • patupaiarehe

       /  23rd June 2017

      Of course, Blazer. If the Nats had done this, however, you’d be working yourself in to a right old lather, ATM… 😀

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  23rd June 2017

      … or the road to hell? Make up your mind.

    • Here’s how much of a non-story it is Blazer. Steven Joyce addressed the National Party conference this morning and said this:

      NZ National Party‏

      “We can’t take Labour seriously on immigration, international education or standard of housing ever again” – @stevenljoyce #NatConf17

      Just as John Key’s “Show Me the Money” line was a millstone around Phil Goff’s neck in 2011, National, Act and Maori Party MP’s (and even Peter Dunne) will dine out on this for the next three months.

      • Blazer

         /  24th June 2017

        Tell Joyce that 10 years ago Key and National had a 4 point plan to address housing,and ensure NZ’ers became ..tenants in their own…country.

  1. Labour policy coup attempt? — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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