Has this Actually Been Andrew Little’s Best Week as Leader?

Guest post by TRP


I’d happily concede that the amateurish intern scheme cockup would have been just another Labour Party mess of the kind we on the left have regularly endured since Helen Clark said cheerio in 2008.

Except … it’s not.

It’s actually been Andrew Little’s finest moment since taking the reins.

Let me explain my thinking.

Andrew is a calm, organised man. His legal training and methodical management method obviously determined that the best option was to front foot it, accept responsibility and clean the mess up.

Now, that approach alone would not normally have been enough to divert the derision.

But Andrew had an ace up his sleeve.

He just had to deal with the matter by watching Bill English and doing the exact opposite of everything the Double Dipper from Dipton did.

Instead of drip feeding information, Andrew was up front and honest.

Instead of hiding behind a supposed confidentiality agreement, a long-finished Police enquiry, a brand new Police enquiry, a failed memory, mumble, mumble … privacy issues … it was all a long time ago … young man learning the ropes etc etc … the leader of the Labour Party took control of the embarrassing situation he found himself in and quietly diffused it.

In two words, Andrew Little looked Prime Ministerial.

The leader of the National Party? Not so much.

Bill English (or #CrookedBillary as I’d like to think twitter calls him) looks like a rabbit in the headlights.

English must be wondering now if he’s going to go down in history as the first National Party leader to lose two elections. Ok, it won’t be the 22% drubbing of 2002, but it’s still going to hurt.

In short, in the last week, the NZ voters got to see both candidates for Prime Minister behave under extreme pressure. One cracked, the other turned a lump of organisational coal into an electoral diamond.

This has been Andrew Little’s best week as leader just because, in comparison with bumbling Bill, he looked calm and competent.

Bill English has huffed, puffed and perspired through the last week. Andrew Little has shown he’s got what it takes … no muss, no fuss.

I’m calling the election now. Stick a fork in it, she’s done.

75 Comments

  1. Blazer

     /  June 28, 2017

    I agree with you completely.The National supporters here are quite feral,vituperative even,in their biasd assessment of the ..two..situations.

    • Conspiratoor

       /  June 28, 2017

      Hats off to you blazer. You offer an unblinkered view on the Nat devotees …but on the opposite side you haven’t got a lot of material to work with. Do u honestly think Andy can pull a Jeremy. Latter had the lovable, gormless factor that our man seems to lack

      • Blazer

         /  June 28, 2017

        that lovable ,gormless factor seems only to have become apparant to commentators…after the..event.I hope simple decency will..prevail.

        • Conspiratoor

           /  June 28, 2017

          Hope is a turd with a cherry on top my friend. There is no decency, simple or otherwise in politicians or the commentariat

          • Blazer

             /  June 28, 2017

            sadly..I think you may well be…right.

      • Patzcuaro

         /  June 28, 2017

        Does Andy really want to “pull a Jeremy”, Jeremy might have lifted the vote but he is still Leader of the Opposition.

  2. Patzcuaro

     /  June 28, 2017

    Front footing a problem is always more likely to make it go away than sticking your head in the sand, all that does is expose you to a kick in the behind.

    • Gezza

       /  June 28, 2017

      6.10 pm & still nothing about either Cluthagate or Interngate on 1ewes.

      English seemed relaxed & unfazed – batting away Little’s, Marks’ & Martin’s questions on Cluthagate – in the House today.

      https://yournz.org/2017/06/28/is-newsroom-doing-dirty-politics/#comment-197524

      • lurcher1948

         /  June 28, 2017

        Lying comes so easy when you think you are untouchable and so far in front,this is what decimated the conservative party in the UK

        • Gezza

           /  June 28, 2017

          No, I think Bill knows he really ballsed things up & originally he must’ve been concerned.

          But then Andrew came galloping to his rescue with a concurrent shambolic scandal of his own & now Bill realises he can milk that one until well into the night, so to speak. For days, maybe even weeks, while just has to say “I’ve told you all there is” now, so he’s started to relax a bit.

  3. artcroft

     /  June 28, 2017

    I don’t think either scandal has the potential to move the polls. If you were National you still are and vice versa.

    • duperez

       /  June 28, 2017

      Dead right. Blazer said, “National supporters here are quite feral, vituperative even, in their biased assessment” and he’s probably right too. What a few ardent supporters say or don’t say on blog sites are not indicative of the general public.

  4. PDB

     /  June 28, 2017

    “Instead of drip feeding information, Andrew was up front and honest.”

    By lying about his knowledge of the scheme (and continuing to do so even today) and denying that it was a Labour scheme all the way through?

    Even if you somehow believe Little didn’t know about the intern scheme (even if he appears to be the only one in the Labour party that didn’t) you then have to concede that the fact he had no knowledge of it shows a distinct lack of leadership and awareness of not only is happening in his own party but what is occurring out of his own Auckland electorate office. The question then becomes ‘how can this guy expect to run the whole country if can’t even run the Labour party?’.

    More TRP nonsense writing – no doubt you called the 2014 election for Labour after the ‘dirty politics’ political hit job as well. Your bubble obviously hasn’t burst as you continue to live in it.

  5. patupaiarehe

     /  June 28, 2017

    Credit where it’s due, Andy dealt with ‘Studentgate’ far better than Billy dealt with his ‘electorate issues’, IMHO…
    I respect anyone, who has the ‘stones’ to admit they have fuct up, a whole lot more than someone who gets caught out BSing, then digs the hole that they are in, even deeper…

    • Gezza

       /  June 28, 2017

      I’m not seeing it, patu. There are more awkward questions & issues coming out of the Campaign Interns affair than the Todd Barclay affair imo. Both seem to have dropped off the 1ewes agenda already – & I doubt they’ll change anyone’s existing view on how they feel about either Andrew Little or Bill English.

        • Gezza

           /  June 28, 2017

          • patupaiarehe

             /  June 28, 2017

            How so, G? I suspect you are just jealous, because you don’t have that much popcorn…. 😛

            • Gezza

               /  June 28, 2017

              Too much popcorn. From my own perspective unless something earth-shattering comes out of the woodwork I thing Billy’s white lies are history already.

            • Gezza

               /  June 28, 2017

              * thing = think.

              Oops last one posted before finished. I’m more fascinated with how messy, convoluted & incoherent the Intern Scheme is.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  June 28, 2017

              Can’t say I’m ‘fascinated’ with either G. More ‘amused’, really… I have far more pressing issues to deal with, such as paying the mortgage, feeding & clothing my ‘little tribe’, & trying not to ‘burn out’, working the hours necessary to do so…

            • Gezza

               /  June 28, 2017

              Just a bit of scandalous goss for me, both issues.
              So they have both been loose with the truth? Politicians. What’s new?
              I had another political poll survey phone call last night – 3rd in two weeks. Was interesting in that it put me in the position of having decide how I’d vote in the middle of these two stoushes. Hard to pick the Party vote.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  June 28, 2017

              I’m jealous G. Despite having a landline, I’ve yet to hear from a ‘pollster’…

            • Gezza

               /  June 28, 2017

              No problem, she said they were looking for a cross section of the public.
              What’s your number? I’ll pass it on to the next one.

              Blazer, what’s yours too mate – they couldn’t hope for a more cross member of the public than you, I reckon.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  June 28, 2017

              Did she have a foreign accent G? I don’t answer the landline in my whare, my kids do. Anyone who has a foreign accent, is immediately put on ‘speakerphone’, then whoever answered the phone looks at me, winks at me, then says “Hang on, I’ll get my Dad”. I then get passed the ‘cordless’.
              The longest I have kept a scammer on speakerphone for, was just under half an hour. My eldest two were almost in tears laughing. 15 minutes in, my daughter brought me a keyboard to tap on, so that whoever was on the other end of the line, wouldn’t get suspicious… 😀

            • Gezza

               /  June 28, 2017

              Nope. Clear, distinct, wel-educated kiwi girl voice, even a slight touch of the well-rounded vowel, and a Maori or Pasfika-sounding name. She said at the start it was being recorded for staff training purposes, so I asked her how long are recordings kept for before we proceeded. She went off and asked her supervisor – 3 months.

            • patupaiarehe

               /  June 28, 2017

              And you didn’t have a friendly chat with her? How rude of you…

            • Gezza

               /  June 28, 2017

              Are you nuts? Of course I did.

          • patupaiarehe

             /  June 28, 2017

            Do tell… 😉

            • Gezza

               /  June 28, 2017

              wait till the audio turns up on the net, like everbody else !

  6. Steveremmington

     /  June 28, 2017

    Sorry TRP. But political crystal ball gazing is not your strongest ability

    https://thestandard.org.nz/labours-auckland-push/

    • Party Political Broadcasting. I do hope PG extends a right of reply to a diehard Nat strategist

      • I’m happy to consider guest posts from anywhere on the political spectrum.

        • patupaiarehe

           /  June 28, 2017

          Good to hear it Pete. Not that we didn’t know it already. This site has the ‘balance’ correct, IMHO. Anyone can post an opinion, if they can handle having it challenged. If you want a ‘safe space’, feel free to withdraw into your masterbato….., oops, sorry, your ‘safe space’.

  7. grantaviuskennarius

     /  June 28, 2017

    Brutal.

    true for their abilities, but Labour still has to form a coalition. Mr English may well turn out to be NZ’s equivalent of the UK PM May, stumbling into office because nobody wants the task of taking over as their opportunities will be so limited.

  8. TRP – IF Andy has told the whole unvarnished truth he may come out of this ok. But that is a very big IF reading what I have read……..

  9. Lost me at “Double Dipper from Dipton”. Yawn

  10. alloytoo

     /  June 28, 2017

    “Mate, you’re dreamin'”

  11. John Schmidt

     /  June 28, 2017

    Yippee lots of free stuff coming our way, life is good I wonder who is paying for all this free stuff.

    • Blazer

       /  June 28, 2017

      what ‘free stuff’ are you talking about John?…come on ,don’t cut and run..lets hear it.

      • John Schmidt

         /  June 29, 2017

        Come on you can listen to TV or read newpapers or use Google as well as I can. Free University, unlimited health care, free housing, free public transport, free, free, free.
        Giving back taxes is not free stuff by the way, its giving back your own money.

        • Blazer

           /  June 29, 2017

          they say..the best things in life…are ..free John.Ask Key and Bennett about their pathway to…politics…cost the taxpayer…plenty.

  12. oldlaker

     /  June 28, 2017

    Free stuff? You mean like tax cuts National paid for by borrowing billions?…

    • PDB

       /  June 28, 2017

      You mean the same tax cuts that stimulated the economy and helped NZ get over the GFC faster than most other western countries even with the additional cost of an earthquake that many of those ‘borrowed billions’ were used for?

      • Blazer

         /  June 28, 2017

        show some evidence that tax cuts stimulated the economy…you can’t..I know it,you know it,but the voters …bought it…total b/s.

        • PDB

           /  June 28, 2017

          Show some proof……….they didn’t.

          • Blazer

             /  June 28, 2017

            arhhh…the usual…can’t produce any evidence of your premise ,so deflect with a lame …please let me ..off the hook..I’m ..fooked.Bol.

        • High Flying Duck

           /  June 29, 2017

          You can’t argue the policy mix – including tax cuts – that National implemented didn’t keep the economy rolling in the face of the GFC and dairy turndown.
          If you believe otherwise the onus is on you for the proof Blazer.

          • Gezza

             /  June 29, 2017

            As Mr Speaker is wont to say rather a lot lately, I would just like to remind members that this is the sort of remark that can lead to disorder in the House – HFD

            • High Flying Duck

               /  June 29, 2017

              I aim to spark robust debate only.

              As the doyen of lefty dogma Bernard Hickey said (6 December 2016):

              “It is true the economy is growing at an annual rate of over 3.5 percent, which is one of the fastest growth rates in the developed world. The economy created 179,000 jobs in the last two years. It is pumping GST and income tax revenues into the government’s coffers at such a rate that Budget surpluses are “hockey-sticking” up, as Mr Key said last week. He said they would be big enough for voters to “have it all” in the form of extra social spending, tax cuts, earthquake rebuilding and debt repayment.

              All this economic vigour came after the worst Global Financial Crisis (GFC) since the 1930s, the most damaging earthquakes in our history and, recently, a prolonged collapse in the price of our biggest commodity export. Yet gross weekly earnings are growing at more than 5 percent per annum and have been for almost three years. Unemployment fell to 4.9 percent, the lowest point since Mr Key took office in the fourth quarter of 2008.

              The benefits of all that income growth have not been spread completely evenly, but they are being spread more evenly than many think – and more than in most other countries. Income inequality has been broadly unchanged over the last decade. The retention of Working For Families, increases in the minimum wage in line with the average wage and the rise in New Zealand Superannuation in line with average wages has meant pensioners and working families in their own homes have benefited over the last decade. Much of that wage growth was real because inflation has been low, while borrowers have done well because interest rates fell so far and stayed that way for most of Mr Key’s eight years.”

          • Blazer

             /  June 29, 2017

            you just changed the argument…from tax cuts to ‘policy mix’…

            • High Flying Duck

               /  June 29, 2017

              When a number of changes are made, how can you judge each one individually?
              NZ was widely lauded for not taking the austerity track of increasing taxes and reducing welfare that other nations did.
              JK made a point of keeping all welfare payments in place – and even upped some. They also put in place the income tax cuts as an alternative to quantitative easing or other measures to stimulate the economy.
              At the same time GST was increased and other measures were taken to reduce non-essential Government spending.
              High priority areas like Health and Education got significant extra funding.
              The result was we emerged from recession quicker than most, if not all other nations. We also had real growth in wages and reduced unemployment at a faster rate than everyone else.
              The Tax Cuts were a part of that mix.

              I recommend you look at the interactive to see National’s results (posted in Media Watch as well):

              http://insights.nzherald.co.nz/article/labour-vs-national/

  13. oldlaker

     /  June 28, 2017

    I think it was perfectly sound to borrow billions (given the Labour govt had massively reduced govt debt to make that possible). What is unreasonable is to try to paint Labour as the borrow and hope party. Successive Labour govts have reduced debt, unlike several National administrations.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  June 28, 2017

      They reduce Govt debt by taxing the life out of the private sector which racked up huge debts on that side of the ledger.

      • Blazer

         /  June 28, 2017

        you have lost the plot..Al…walk the..dog.

        • Blazer

           /  June 29, 2017

          @the Duck….you know what John Key said about Treasury forecasts,you do,don’t..you.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  June 29, 2017

            Long term Treasury forecasts are unreliable – and for good reason as JK was wont to say. The PREFU is the current state of the books and there was a deficit going in to the election which was to grow due to the string of high spending policies enacted by Labour in the ’08 budget.

            If you prefer to, you can go with B Hickey’s assessment I posted. If you don’t like him – I have others…

            • Blazer

               /  June 29, 2017

              JK was also..want to say…I can easily get you an …alternative opinion…..was he…not!

    • PDB

       /  June 28, 2017

      Both Bolger and Shipley had debt going down before handing Helen the country in good shape and already in surplus.

      Helen left John Key with a bare cupboard, a hole in ACC, election bribes such as free-student loans and working for families, last minute ‘gifts’ like Kiwi-rail and at the beginning of the GFC.

      • Patzcuaro

         /  June 28, 2017

        Can you provide statistics to back you claim? Are you blaming Helen Clark for causing the GFC?

        • PDB

           /  June 28, 2017

          No – just mentioned the fact she left at the time of the GFC. All I said is on record if you look.

          • Patzcuaro

             /  June 28, 2017

            How about some evidence to backup your claim that Helen left John Key with a bare cupboard?

            • PDB

               /  June 28, 2017

              If you search through this blog you will see where I demolished Blazer and the like on that very subject in the past.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  June 29, 2017

              Treasury forecast a “decade of deficits” after Cullen’s final budget.

              From the Treasury PREFU in October 2008, before the election :

              “These developments lead to a sustained period of operating balance deficits …
              As a result of the combination of weakening tax revenue and higher expenditure outlined above, we are forecasting the operating balance before gains and losses (OBEGAL) excluding New Zealand
              Superannuation (NZS) Fund retained revenue to move into a deficit of $31 million in the current year, which worsens to $3.2 billion by 2012/13. Projections beyond this do not return to surplus until 2017/18.”
              “… and larger cash deficits, leading to higher levels of debt The deterioration in the operating outlook results in a worsening of the government’s residual cash outlook. We are forecasting a cash deficit of
              $5.9 billion in 2008/09, growing to $7.3 billion in 2012/13. These larger cash deficits flow through into higher gross sovereign-issued debt (GSID) excluding Reserve Bank Settlement Cash. By 2012/13 we forecast GSID excluding Settlement Cash to rise to 24.3% of GDP.
              Beyond 2012/13, we project GSID excluding Settlement Cash to rise to
              30.1% of GDP in 2018/19 before falling to 27.7% of GDP in 2022/23. The outlook for net debt has also weakened. We now forecast net core
              Crown debt excluding NZS Fund assets to rise to 13.2% of GDP by the
              end of the forecast period, and we project it to peak at 20.3% of GDP in
              2018/19.
              The increase in net core Crown debt in the forecast period is more pronounced than the increase in GSID excluding Settlement Cash. This is because some of the cash deficits in the forecast period are financed by a reduction in financial assets which have built up in recent years.”

              The PREFU was completed before the full extent of GFC was known and conditions deteriorated further after this statement was issued.

      • Blazer

         /  June 28, 2017

        stop telling ..lies..PDB…people do not believe your ..b/s.

        • PDB

           /  June 28, 2017

          Unlike you I have facts on my side. How’s your ‘alternative facts’ that the Chinese are buying all Auckland’s houses panning out for you? Still in denial?

          • Blazer

             /  June 28, 2017

            its a fact..and you and..John..know..it.

            • PDB

               /  June 28, 2017

              No, it’s an alternative fact you made up to support your narrative. New Zealanders are driving the house price rise, not the Chinese as the new govt figures prove without argument.

          • Patzcuaro

             /  June 28, 2017

            How about some facts and figures to back your argument up?

  14. I hear and obey! Your facts and figures gentlemen and others.

    “New Zealand’s fiscal outlook deteriorated following the Global Financial Crisis, and in late
    2008 fiscal projections showed net government debt in New Zealand increasing from 5% of
    GDP to around 40% within 10 years, mostly reflecting permanently lower expectations for
    future tax revenue. These circumstances were compounded by the significant costs
    associated with the Canterbury earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. The structural deficit peaked
    at 4% of GDP in 2011. In 2011, the Government set a target to return the Budget to surplus
    by 2014/15, and stepped up its fiscal consolidation programme. A surplus was achieved in
    that year, and net debt has now peaked just above 25% of GDP. The surplus was achieved
    predominantly by slowing the growth rate of nominal spending so that expenses-to-GDP
    declined.

    The slowing in expense growth reflected a combination of factors including
    programme savings, efficiency savings, reprioritisation, and slower public sector wage
    growth. New Zealand’s fiscal management approach – a combination of fixed nominal
    baselines for most expenditure alongside comprehensive top-down constraints on new
    spending through the Budget – provided effective tools for controlling expense growth.
    Nevertheless, the return to surplus is only the first step in fiscal consolidation and challenges
    remain to ensure these surpluses are sustained, and to rebuild the fiscal buffers that existed
    prior to 2009.”

    Further:
    “The principles of responsible fiscal management are legislated in the Public Finance Act
    1989. Governments set their own fiscal goals subject to the constraint that they must be
    consistent with the principles, which include maintaining debt at prudent levels, managing
    fiscal risks while having regard to the sustainability of fiscal policy and the interaction with
    monetary policy. These self-imposed goals have had strong political support and as such,
    the current Government’s aims of returning to surplus by 2014/15 and reducing net debt to
    around 20% of GDP by 2020 had strong commitment.”
    I think that pretty well sums it up. Questions direct to Treasury please!

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2016/16-05/twp16-05.pdf