Interns worked with Labour MPs

Andrew Little and Andrew Kirton have tried to distance themselves from the Labour Party labelled fellowship/intern scheme, blaming it on Matt McCarten and as Little said ” people closely associated with the Labour Party”.

But some things don’t add up about Little’s claims of what he knew about the scheme.

The interns have been busy scrubbing any references to the scheme from their social media but some snippets have been found that suggest that the interns were working with Labour MPs in Auckland.

If that’s the case it would be remarkable if the Labour leadership and head office were largely unaware of what was going on.

Little has claimed the high ground saying it was a moral responsibility to step in and sort out the problems that were revealed last week, but he also has a moral responsibility to be up front and honest about what he knew about the scheme.

If he knew more about the scheme than he is saying then he is being evasive, some call what he is doing as lying by omission.

If Labour in Auckland were running an unapproved and unauthorised scheme that Little and Labour’s head office knew nothing about then that also looks bad.

On Q+A yesterday:

Jessica Mutch: Let’s talk about that then. How did it get out of control? Was it a lack of organisation on the part of Labour?

Little: No. This started out as an idea at the beginning of the year. I certainly became aware of it, um when it was raised with me. I said it’s a campaign issue, it’s a party issue, you’ve got to deal with it as a campaign issue.

Jessica Mutch: But it had Labour’s name on it though.

Little: And it did.

Jessica Mutch: It was called 2017 Labour Campaign Fellowship.

Little: Yeah because people closely associated with the Labour Party were involved. Without without approval or authority or any mandate they went ahead and did stuff.

The person most involved appears to have been Matt McCarten. He was supposed to be working for Little in the Labour Leader’s  Auckland Office – from last September when McCarten left his job as Little’s Chief of Staff:  Labour leader Andrew Little says his adviser Matt McCarten’s taxpayer-funded salary is within the rules because McCarten will be doing “outreach” work for Little rather than campaign work.

Little: The next I became aware was about May this year when the party was getting messages from students about to arr… within days of arriving, um, ah, the party stepped in straight away to people associated with it saying what is going on, there’s no approval for this, this is not the party thing.

The party was given assurances, “we’ve got funding, we’ve got a programme sorted out, nothing to worry about’.

Interns were being confirmed in April and arriving in mid- May:

InternChatfield

Little was at least partially aware of this but then said:

Jessica Mutch: But then there was something to worry about.

Little: There was, yeah, we got the complaints this week and the minute that happened, because we were aware that the Labour Party name was associated with it.

It’s not about legal technicalities. I take a very dim view of those who hide behind legality and say it is moral responsibility that is the most important thing.

It wasn’t just the Labour Party name that was associated with it.  There seems to have been quite a bit of direct Labour party involvement in the scheme, in Auckland at least.

David Farrar posted in Of course this was Labour’s scheme:

And the five people named are all Labour Party.

  • Matt McCarten organised the scheme out of the Labour Leader’s Office, being paid by the taxpayer to do so
  • Caitlin Johnson and Kieran O’Halloran are paid staff for the Labour Party, It’s ridiculous to think they were doing this independently and without approval of the party.
  • Paul Chalmers is on the Council of the Labour Party and is a regional chair
  • Simon Mitchell is a longtime Labour activist

To argue this scheme was independent of Labour when it was called a Labour fellowship, and run by staff from the Leader’s Office and Labour field offices, plus a member of Labour’s National Council is beyond credibility.

But information from an intern suggests that Labour MPs in Auckland were also involved.

InternPak2

InternPak3

InternPak1

From that:

“worked directly with North Shore MPs to craft specifically altered campaign strategy”

“worked directly with MPs to craft specialized strategy that matched their electorates”

This may or may not be embellished, but there is a clear indication this intern was working directly with Labour MPs in Auckland.

This is how things look:

  • Little “certainly became aware of” what he says “started out as an idea at the beginning of the year”.
  • Interns were advised of being accepted in the scheme in April.
  • Interns were arriving in mid May.
  • Little: “The next I became aware was about May this year when the party was getting messages from students”
  • In May “the party stepped in straight away to people associated with it saying what is going on, there’s no approval for this, this is not the party thing.”
    The party was given assurances “we’ve got funding, we’ve got a programme sorted out, nothing to worry about”
  • McCarten, who was supposedly doing “outreach” work for Little was involved
  • Labour Party staff were involved
  • Labour MPs appear to have been directly involved
  • Little “we got the complaints this week [he says Monday 29 June] and the minute that happened, because we were aware that the Labour Party name was associated with it.”

A number of things don’t add up, and Little is not being honest about what he knew about the scheme.

Why did Little do nothing about a scheme involving the election campaign in the crucial Auckland region despite saying “there’s no approval for this, this is not the party thing”?

Why did Andrew Kirton not act until Monday last week?

Why were Labour MPs and Labour Party employees involved in an unauthorised scheme in Auckland that the Labour leadership and party head office claim to have only become involved in  one week ago?

Why is Little claiming the moral high ground when he is not being open and honest about details of his knowledge of the scheme?

It looks like either Little is hiding a lot, or Auckland Labour has been acting independently of the Labour leadership and Labour’s head office with Little having some knowledge of it.

If Labour were to succeed in September’s election they would not only need to have  their Wellington leadership and head office working with their Auckland MPs, they would also need to work with the Green Party and probably with NZ First.

What confidence can voters have in their honesty and confidence?

NZ First campaign launch speech

Winston Peters launched NZ First into the election campaign with a speech in the weekend.

Conclusion

New Zealand First has the policies to turn this country around.

To make it a better place for you and your families.

It’s time for a change.

New Zealand was once called “God’s own country.”

We believe it can be again.

Together we can do it.

Interesting to see “It’s time for a change” in there. That’s similar to what Greens and Labour have been campaigning on (they say ‘change the government’ or ‘campaign for change’).

Full speech:


The regions – Together, for New Zealand

It has been an explosive week in politics.

A week that will go in the history books as the time two Prime Ministers covered up a crime and were party to a payout to buy off a witness.

We have heard the people of Clutha-Southland feel hurt, fragile and let down.

They have every right to be.
While The Barclay Debacle revealed the corrupt inner workings of the National Party machine, it told us also that National Party takes the regions for granted.

One television commentator said National could stand a blue sheep in Clutha-Southland and it would still win the electorate.
The sheep would also be more honest. On television yesterday Mr English said in excusing his behaviour, “I am not a lawyer”. He conveniently forgets the adage, “ignorance of the law is no excuse”.

This is a sad state of affairs.

“Defibulators” – for National

The National Party Cabinet are into spin, downright deceit and Fibs. As Mr English displayed alongside Paula Bennet and others, they simply can’t tell the truth. So as part of our Heath Policy this election we’re going to order up a whole lot of defibulators and send them to their offices. Every time they tell a lie this machine will give them a shock. It might be painful but that’s what it will take.

Men like Keith Holyoake must be rolling in their graves.
Not only that – National has no sound policies to progress all of New Zealand.

They have let the wealth get sucked out of our regions with little payback.
They have let much of our assets and land be sold off to foreign buyers.
They have under-funded regional roads and hospitals.
They have no coherent plan for our regions just as they have no coherent economic plan for this country.
And they’ve have turned their backs on our young people.

They’ve allowed the situation to descend to the point one economist has said some of our provincial centres are “zombie towns.”

We’ve got zombies alright – but they’re not in our provinces.
They’re in the Beehive.

It is the regions that produce by far most of our country’s wealth.

Our biggest export earners, the sectors that pay our way in the world, are tourism, dairying, meat, and forestry.

We have Queen Street farmers but what are they doing for the wealth of this country?

Within a few years experts tell us more than half of New Zealand’s population will live north of Taupo.

Thats because of a lack of political vision and a contempt for the real wealth creators of this country.

National is most at home when they are in Wellington, among all the shiny suits and bureaucrats, adjudicating on New Zealand from their ivory towers.

Mr English has just finished his speech to the National Party conference. Bereft of ideas and excuses, all he could promise after nine years of National was increased incomes and lower taxes by 2020. Surrounded by all manner of deficits, Canute like he promises surpluses and tax cuts.

The Regions and Reserve Bank Reform

Fundamental to a successful economy – and thriving regions over the long term – is an exchange rate that supports exporters and the regions.

Our Reserve Bank Act is out of date.

We have an overvalued NZ dollar that has been a bonanza for financial speculators and traders but not exporters.

Despite the relatively small size of our economy our dollar is one of the most heavily traded international currencies

We need an exchange rate that serves real economic goals like strong and growing regional exports

The Bank’s outdated focus on inflation must be ditched.

As a small open economy New Zealand is dependent on a competitive exchange rate.

NZ has a persistent and chronic balance of payments deficit – and this shows the New Zealand dollar does not reflect the underlying reality.

Risks abound in the global economy and New Zealand is highly exposed and vulnerable to any volatility.

NZ First is committed to reforming the Reserve Bank Act as a vital step in safeguarding our economic future –and the future heath of regional New Zealand.

The Regions and Small businesses

Small businesses are the engine room of New Zealand’s economy and are critically in regions such as Manawatu.

Ninety seven per cent of all businesses in New Zealand are small businesses. They employ over 2 million people and produce 27 per cent of GDP per year.

By helping more businesses become profitable, sustainable and competitive will ensure they are in the best position to hire new employees and create jobs.
To boost small businesses New Zealand First will in this Campaign, set out its policies, to really help them start and grow by:

•  A wage subsidy for small business that take on job seekers and provide work experience.

•  Real incentives for small businesses to help disengaged youth become work ready and support mature age job seekers back into work.

•  Immediate Tax deductions for every new business asset costing under $20,000

•  Immediate Tax deduction for professional expenses when starting a business, and by

•  Streamlining business registration for those planning to start a business

• And we are going to get Nationals Ninny, Nosey Nannie state off your back.

Virtually overnight, New Zealand’s oldest licenced premises at Russel, The Duke of Marlbourgh Restaurant had to pull a burger that is a cornerstone of its menu –because it offended MPIs food preparation guidelines by the meat being “pink and raw”.

“Basically the Ministry is telling us how our customers need to eat their food”, said the good people at the Duke.

In Wellington now more tedious bureaucrat’s regimes of food preparation are being dreamt up requiring small businesses to pay thousands of dollar to comply or shut down.

You vote for New Zealand First and we’ll put a leg rope on them whilst reminding these bureaucrats who pays their wages.

The Regions and Student debt

Palmerston North is a university town.

Let’s face it there are a lot of hard-up students here, wondering how they’re going to get by with the weight of massive debts on their shoulders.
New Zealand First will get rid of the student loan for Kiwi students staying and working here in NZ after they finish their studies.

The only requirement is that they work for the same number of years as they have studied.

So three years in tertiary education requires three years in the workforce – five years tertiary means five years in the workforce.

But if they leave for a big OE, and decide to work overseas, they will have to pay back the cost of their tertiary education.

Where they have a current student debt then the system changes to our dollar for dollar policy.

For graduates with skills required in the regions, like teachers, nurses, doctors, police and other much needed regional skills, we plan to use a bonding system.

We will also introduce a universal student allowance.

These are our practical solutions to the huge debt students have to grapple with.

Our policies will also address many of the skills shortages we have in our regions.

The Regions and Infrastructure Deficits

If you were at the National Party conference you would have heard the sound of coughing and spluttering. That’s the sound of their Auckland delegates choking under the sheer weight of numbers due to a reckless and irresponsible open door immigration policy.
Billions are being spent to address Auckland’s chronically overloaded infrastructure.
Last weekend marked the official completion of the Waterview Motorway Tunnel in Auckland – the bill $1.4 billion.
The Auckland City Rail link is underway – there will not be any change out of $3 billion when that project is completed.
Yes Auckland’s infrastructure deficit is plain to see.
But what about regional New Zealand?
Regional infrastructure is the poor cousin – it is being overlooked and put at the end of the queue when it comes to funding.
And this is despite the massive growth of tourism – the costs of which fall primarily on regional NZ
The government boasts of a tourism bonanza, which is based in the Regions, and yet gives almost nothing back to the Regions to fund the cost of it.
We have 30,000 Kilometres of unsealed roads, single lanned bridges and a serious lack of toilets, parking and basic infrastructure.
In this campaign New Zealand First will detail how we are going to return the full GST from Tourists back to the regions in which they spent the money. The data, easily accessible which measures this spend already. You make the money here and you’re going to get your fair share back.
NZ First is committed to a massive campaign to seal local roads, improve overall road quality and double-lane bridges where sensible.
The Regions and Rail
Rail has a valuable role to play in the development of regional NZ.
But the National Government has run the railway network down to a neglected and parlous state.
NZ First will give rail a real role in regional NZ by properly investing in the rail system.
And we will stop the made conversation to diesel from electrification.
We will stop National’s Luddite behaviour.
Broadband
Regional NZ also has to deal with the unreliability of cellular services and patchy broadband.
This is another illustration of where the government’s heart lies and it’s not in rural and regional New Zealand.
Regional NZ needs massive infrastructure improvement – urgently.
That will take substantial investment and NZ First is committed to making that happen.

The Regions and Stopping the Selloff of our Country
New Zealand under the old parties has been a soft touch for foreign buyers.
The wealth generated in regional NZ is increasingly flowing into the pockets of overseas owners.
The Overseas Investment Office (OIO) is a facade – a token exercise intended to give the impression that someone actually takes the national interest into account before foreign buyers get the green light.
The losses of land into foreign ownership are staggering 460,000 hectares alone last year.
The deals invariably get the usual Overseas Investment Office rubber stamp.
There is no requirement on foreign buyers to invest locally in downstream production or new technology.
Under our policy the rules would be strict – there would need to be clear, unequivocal and quantifiable benefits to New Zealand before foreign ownership was allowed.
The Regions and Water
A few years ago the Manawatu River was rated the most polluted river in the Southern Hemisphere.
Three hundred rivers and streams across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand were assessed.
And clean, green NZ came up with the worst river of the lot.
Most of the Manawatu River’s was due to nitrogen runoff from farms; but treated sewage discharged by councils was also a major contributor.
No doubt councils and most farmers would accept such degradation of waterways around New Zealand is not acceptable.
New Zealand First is calling for the National Policy Statement on Freshwater Management to be reviewed.
We cannot allow our rivers and waterways to descend to the level of cesspits.
New Zealand Frist would ensure that only the sustainable taking and use of water for commercial purposes is permitted by developing a national water use strategy.
Legislation must be in place to make sure that the granting of RMA consents is consistent with the proposed new national policy statement and the Strategy.
But we are going to properly finance rural New Zealand into environmental recovery because we are all in this together.

Royalties to the Regions

NZ First has a Royalties for the Regions Policy.
Under this policy, 25% of royalties collected by the government from enterprises such as mining, petroleum and water stay in the region of origin.

As an example, the government collects over $400 million in royalties.

Under our scheme over $100 million, year on year, would remain in the regions for investment.

That money would help to regenerate regional New Zealand.

It is demonstrably wrong that companies like Coca Cola, Suntory Holdings, Oravida, Fiji Water – can take our water for a pitiful token fee while they make millions of dollars from it.

National says no-one owns the water – so foreign companies can come in and take it.

Do you think that is right? No. And nor does New Zealand First.

National arrogance

As we said at the start, National have been a major disappointment, not just to the wider population of New Zealand but to their own faithful followers.

Arrogant National MPs –  Alfred Ngaro acting like a Mafiosi heavy telling the Salvation Army to shut up or else.

Nicky Wagner tweeting frivolously and insulting the disability community.

Simon Bridges blocking information being released on KiwiRail in reply to an OIA.

And now hush money and a prime minister donkey deep in a cover-up.

The true economic reality

In spite of all the pixie dust Mr English and his colleagues come up with, there is not a lot to be optimistic about.

The government says we have GDP growth rate of 2.8%.
But New Zealand’s population has been growing at 2% annually, mostly from overseas.

So, 2% has to be deducted from GDP numbers before any real growth can be claimed.

The real barometer of prosperity, GDP per person is pitiful – less than 1 per cent a year.

We have homelessness.
Growing inequality.
Thousands of young New Zealanders aimlessly going nowhere.

Record net immigration has now shot up to another record of more than 73,000.

And the government tells us they’re skilled workers and we need them.

Most of them aren’t skilled.

We have a director general of health who can’t get his sums right and a health minister who is so obsessed with taking a hatchet to health, he didn’t notice the funding blunders until it was too late.

Fourteen DHBs overpaid and six under-paid.

This is banana republic stuff.

95% of the NZ banking system is held overseas

NZ’s net debt to the rest of the world has soared up to $156 billion.

We have regions running on empty.

We have unacceptable delays from the Electricity Authority sorting out their pricing methodology creating uncertainty and preventing business owners investing in the regions.

Law and order has fallen apart in many provincial areas with fly-by policing and empty police stations.

These are facts.

The Regions and Personal Security

In the last eight or nine years new Zealanders have been told that crime is falling. It’s a lie of course hidden by the Governments catch and release policy – catch criminals but warn them and not charge them. That’s how National has got lower crime figures but their deceit has been exposed and they’re trying to cover it with and extra 880 police over the next four years. And that’s 1000 short of what’s needed.

New Zealand First will recruit 1800 extra front line police in the next three years. Just like we recruited 1000 front line police the last time we had the power to.

Restoring hope

New Zealand First wants to restore hope in our young people.
Hope so that a job is achievable for them.
Hope so that they can one day own a home of their own.
Hope so they don’t see despair, but a future for themselves, their families and their communities.

And hope in our regions and our whole country.

Conclusion

New Zealand First has the policies to turn this country around.

To make it a better place for you and your families.

It’s time for a change.

New Zealand was once called “God’s own country.”

We believe it can be again.

Together we can do it.

 

Greens contesting Nelson electorate

The Green Party has had a policy of not contesting electorates. They have stood in electorates but used the contests to campaign for party votes, which of course are the critical vote under MMP.

But they have signalled a switch from that strategy with an announcement they will actively contest the Nelson electorate.

Green Party to run strong campaign to unseat Nick Smith in Nelson

The Green Party is today announcing that its Nelson candidate, second term local councillor Matt Lawrey, will run to win the electorate and unseat Nick Smith in September’s election.

Mr Lawrey and the Green Party will run a strong two-tick campaign in Nelson, and will offer a positive, solutions-based alternative to Dr Smith and National. It is the Green Party’s first run at winning an electorate seat since Jeanette Fitzsimons won Coromandel in 1999.

This is held by National Minister Nick Smith.  The electorate result from 2014:

  • Nick Smith (National) 20,000
  • Maryan Street (Labour) 12.395
  • Colin Robertson (Greens)  3,449
  • John Green (Conservatives) 1,125

Rachel Boyack will stand for Labour this year. She is 47 on the Labour list so looks out of contention unless she  wins the electorate.

Lawrey is 24 on the Green list so also looks unlikely to succeed this year.

So it looks a long shot even if Labour did what they could to help the Greens. This possibility was raised last December:  Labour denies giving Green light for Nelson

The Labour Party has denied suggestions it is standing aside in Nelson, despite media reports that it is engaging in strategic deals with the Greens ahead of next year’s general election.

Media reports yesterday suggested that Labour was talking about standing aside in Nelson to give a Greens candidate a clear run.

However, Labour general secretary Andrew Kirton said despite an agreement between Labour and the Greens to work together to change the Government there was no such plan for Nelson.

“We have a very strong party in Nelson and that won’t change. I’ve been impressed by how our members have remained committed to winning government next year,” he said.

If Labour stick to that then the Green bid looks to be symbolic rather than realistic.

The Greens were bequeathed a large donation that stipulated it had to be used in the Nelson and West Coast electorates, which is likely to have been a factor in the decision. See Greens say big donation a mystery:

The party declared a donation of $283,835 last week from the estate of Elizabeth Riddoch.

Riddoch, from Nelson, was not a party member and did not appear to have any formal connection to the Greens.

Will Greens actively contest other electorates? They must be tempted given Labour’s obvious weakness going into the campaign period.

 

National’s campaign video

National Party blurb:


National launches first 2017 election video

National launched the first of its 2017 election videos at its annual conference in Wellington today.

“National will continue to strengthen the New Zealand economy under the leadership of Bill English so that we can deliver for all New Zealanders,” Campaign Chairman Steven Joyce says.

“The video, ‘Let’s Get Together’ records the progress New Zealand has made since the Global Financial Crisis and the Canterbury and Kaikoura earthquakes, and the confidence with which we face the future.”

“It’s a clear visual representation of New Zealanders’ hard work and optimism, backed by Prime Minister Bill English who shares their values and wants to see all New Zealanders succeed.

“New Zealand’s economy is doing better than many of our closest partners. It’s no accident. It’s because every day, Kiwis get up and open their businesses or get out on their farms, sell their wares to the world, create jobs and work hard and provide for their families.

“Bill English and the National-led Government are backing Kiwis to succeed. We’ll remain focused on growing the economy with our clear plan to keep delivering more for New Zealanders.

“This election, New Zealanders have a real choice between a stable, future-focused and positive Government under the strong leadership of Bill English; or a negative, inward-looking Opposition.

“This is the start of what will be a typically positive campaign from us to ask Kiwis to give us their party vote in September.”

 

 

Bill English “outlined his vision”

At the National p[arty conference Prime Minister Bill English outlined his vision for New Zealand in the 2020s as he launched the party’s election campaign.

This is National blurb.


English sets vision for New Zealand in the 2020s

National Party leader Bill English today outlined his vision to take New Zealand into the 2020s and his key priorities for the next Parliamentary term – including further raising incomes and reducing taxes.

“National’s New Zealand is open to trade, open to investment, happy to have Kiwis stay home and embraces growth because it delivers more jobs, higher wages and greater opportunities for New Zealanders,” Mr English told the Party’s annual conference in Wellington.

“We’ll work for a New Zealand where innovation and hard work is recognised and rewarded, a New Zealand that looks after the most vulnerable, and helps them change their lives.

“Labour, the Greens and New Zealand First, on the other hand, would shut down growth because they’re not up for tackling the challenges success brings.

“Well National’s up for it, and New Zealanders are too.”

To deliver on this vision, Mr English set out the priorities National will taking into the 2017 election.

“The economy will be front and centre of everything we do. Because we have to keep the economy growing before everyone can share the benefits.”

A growing economy and improving public finances will allow the Government to focus on the following key areas:

  • Delivering an ambitious programme to invest $32.5 billion in schools, roads, hospitals and broadband – the next stage of which is allocating the $1 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to help build tens of thousands of new homes faster.
  • Further lifting incomes and cutting taxes to help hard-working New Zealanders get ahead and reduce the pressure on families most in need.
  • Protecting the environment for future generations, and growing the value of New Zealand’s clean green brand, by investing extensively to clean up our lakes and rivers and ensuring all significant waterways are monitored.
  • Delivering better public services for all New Zealanders, with an increasing focus on tailoring services to individuals’ needs, including:
    • Investing further in education – with a focus on ensuring our children have the maths and digital skills to thrive.
    • Ensuring all our young children have a healthy start to life, by reducing hospitalisations for preventable illnesses like asthma and dental conditions.
    • Rolling out programmes to target gangs, organised crime and drugs to reduce the harm they cause, as well as delivering an extra 1125 police staff.
    • Improving the lives of the most vulnerable by applying social investment tools to all government social services.

“We can all be proud of what we’ve achieved in recent years – with more jobs, higher wages, more police, better roads, better broadband, less crime, less unemployment and 60,000 fewer children in benefit-dependent households,” Mr English says.

“But we’re just getting started. We’re doing so well as a country, but we must grasp this rare opportunity to do so much more.”

Also PM Bill English’s speech to the 2017 National Party Conference

The McCarten risk

Matt McCarten has been said to be a very good ideas person but not so good at planning and executing.

Politically he has been a party hopper. His political affiliations:

  • Labour 1978-1979 : left when dissatisfied with Rogernomics
  • NewLabour 1989-1991 : McCarten was party president
  • Alliance 1991-2004 : McCarten was party president
    In 1999 the Alliance formed a coalition with Labour but McCarten and others were unhappy with concessions and the Anderton faction split to form the Progressive Party. In the 2002 election the Alliance tanked and lost all MPs.
  • Maori Party 2004-2005

He ended his association with the Maori Party and joined the Unite Union as secretary.

  • Independent 2010 : stood in the Mana electorate by-election
  • Mana Party 2011 : appointed interim chair of the Mana Party
  • Labour 2014-2017 : became Labour leader David Cunliffe’s chief of staff.

He continued as chief of staff for Andrew Little after the 2014 election.

Then in late August last year: Matt McCarten set to move from Andrew Little’s chief of staff to Labour’s man in Auckland

Labour leader Andrew Little is to open a new Labour Party office in Auckland and re-deploy his chief of staff Matt McCarten as Labour prepares for battle in 2017.

Little said Labour’s new office in Auckland would open by the end of September and McCarten had offered to head it.

It was part of the planning for election year, including how to target the voter-rich Auckland.

“His strength is in the networks and setting up programmes and places for me to go to and getting stuff organised. And that is what I need.”

Little said he would be spending a lot of time in Auckland and needed a base there.

Then on Q+A on 11 June (two weeks ago) McCarten announced that he was leaving Labour. When asked if he was stoked about Jeremy Corbyn’s campaign in the UK

Of course, well I mean it was huge, the big take out is that campaigns they matter, and the media no longer matters. It’s facebook, and it’s individuals who actually get it.

I think my advice would be to National is get rid of Lynton Cosby because they’ve lost so many campaigns now…

Ironic given McCarten’s lack of past campaign success.

So the big lessons that have come through is that people looking at conviction politicians. You look at what’s happened in the States with Trump and with Sanders, is that the conventional wisdom, people like us know no more than anyone else.

But what has happened now is that it’s now gone and you’ve now got Corbyn had a hell of a year, been pilloried, been knifed in the back by his own party.

When you take all the commentary away and then people just see people, they a conviction politician, and they saw that with Trump in a different way, and Sanders, and I think that’s where it’s gone now.

I think that people aren’t tuning into politics till the last month, and I think so everything until then doesn’t really, it’s kind of in our world, but out in the real world where people have got real issues they’re concerned, but what they’ll do is turn on in the last month.

And I think where before, when a year out from any election you kind of saw the polls and thought that’s pretty much what it’s going to be. I don’t think that’s the case now.

McCarten announced he was leaving Labour but That doesn’t appear to be included in Q+A video.

The Daily Blog posted more details than I recall being revealed by McCarten on Q+A

…who announces he’s starting a new Campaign For Change movement…

Matt announces his new role as launching Campaign for Change that will target the missing million voters in NZ to gain a progressive political voice in Parliament.

And followed with:  If Corbyn inspired you, the Campaign for Change launches Monday:

Matt McCarten will launch the Campaign for Change Monday. Details tomorrow.

On Monday 12 June: Labour cauterises the foreign student rort

…Labour have been burnt in the past when trying to tackle immigration. They have been insensitive and clumsy at times when trying to roll out their ideas, but this is cleverly targeted policy that has none of the tone deaf bluntness.

Ironic.

Also on 12 June:  Which political party in NZ is best placed to benefit from the Corbyn Youthquake?

Young people are the largest untapped voter pool in 2017. If they could comprehend the true power they and those who didn’t vote have, we could change this Government several times over. For that to happen though, the Left have to offer real policy to those voters, that’s how Corbyn won them over.

But it wasn’t until 17 June that TDB announced the launch: With less than 100 days until the 2017 election, New Zealand launches ‘Campaign for Change’

All this did was repeat the press release put out by Matt McCarten – see McCarten’s ‘new’ project.

This non-partisan campaign is being created in order to get people engaged and involved. The disconnect between a million citizens and political participation is a threat to our democracy.

The Campaign for Change is directed by the goal of full political participation.

Then the news of the intern scheme broke on Thursday (22 June) that revealed that it was very partisan and trying to get people out to vote for Labour.

But was not a new project. Despite Little’s claim that McCarten’s job in his Auckland office was to work for him, the intern scheme had been in place in February, and McCarten (presumably) and Labour party people (definitely) had been involved.

Posted on 24 February at University of Michigan: LABOUR PARTY CAMPAIGN FELLOWSHIP IN NEW ZEALAND

The Labour Party Campaign Fellowship is a unique opportunity to witness how democracy functions first hand.

To apply, please send your resume and a brief cover letter to caitlin.johnson@labour.org.nz

This flyer promoting the scheme includes the same plus another Labour email address as a contact – kieran.ohalloran@labour.org.nz

The felowship scheme was written about in NZ Herald in April:  Fresh from Kim Dotcom, Hone Harawira attacks Labour getting campaign help from foreigners

Labour is shipping in foreign support for its election campaign with dozens of United States’ Democrats signalling an interesting in helping with the campaign.

The move was uncovered by Te Tai Tokerau contender Hone Harawira, who says it’s “really dumb” of Labour to enlist foreign support “to tell Maori people how to vote”.

Davis – who wasn’t involved in arranging off-shore support and was unaware of it – said Harawira had hooked up with Dotcom last election in a deal which allowed access to the tycoon’s wealth to fund a joint campaign.

“If he’s going to get millions from a foreigner and he’s complaining about people coming to help, that’s just total hypocrisy.”

Is this when Little and Kirton found out about it?

Labour’s general secretary Andrew Kirton – also campaign manager – said the party had contacted “sister parties across the world” to offer an invitation to people to observe or help with the election campaign.

He said the move to do so wasn’t unusual with Labour hosting visitors from abroad in earlier elections and also travelling to other countries to watch their election process.

“Mainly it’s in the context of an exchange of knowledge.”

Kirton would not give numbers but didn’t reject Harawira’s claim of about 30 people from the US expressing an interest. There was also interest from Australia and other countries, although the snap election announcement from the UK was likely to impact on the availability of people there.

Kirton said Labour was looking to connect with people who wanted change, rather than being wedded to expressions of party loyalty.

He said that built on work in the Wellington mayoralty campaign and Mt Roskill byelection.

Sounds like Kirton was already quite familiar with the scheme.

The ‘fellows’ or interns were arriving by last month (May), clearly associated with Labour (and with the Labour Leader’s office in Auckland).

LabourIntern

The the document Labour Intern Scheme (undated) obtained by Newshub states “The project is managed out of the Trades Hall, Grey Lynn and the Grafton Road office”, which ties with the above photo.

The document also refers to ‘Movement for Change Ltd’ – that isn’t on the Companies Register.

This domain name registration on 15 May for movementforchange.org.nz is registered under McCarten’s name with the Unite union address and McCarten used a Unite email address.

McCarten left Unite to work as David Cunliffe’s Chief of Staff in 2014 and has worked for Labour (paid by Parliamentary Services) up until recently.

There seems to have been a change of mind about what to call the Labour Party Campaign Fellowship.

This domain name registration on 20 May for campaignforchange.org.nz is also registered under McCarten’s name but uses the address of the Labour Leader’s office on Grafton Road.

So there are clear links between McCarten’s scheme and the Labour Party. He seems to have switched from supporting Little in Auckland to campaigning for votes.

Others in the Labour Party have obviously involved as far back as February.

Martyn Bradbury has some sort of interest. He posted a list of policies he said that in Why the Labour Party Student Intern ‘scandal’ is a smear.

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: 18month 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.

Mike Treen, a unionist who has had links to socialist organisations for a long time, has also been involved. From NZ Herald: Mystery funder behind Labour intern programme – and party doesn’t know who

Unite’s National Director Mike Treen said the union had taken part in the programme and planned to use the interns for an programme to enrol Unite members, but had not provided any direct funding.

“Matt is ambitious, and where there is a will there is a way is often his attitude. He may have tried to reach too far in this case. We thought there were positives and are a little bit sorry to see it’s all fallen on its face.”

Treen stood for the Mana Party last election.

The Labour Party were obviously involved early on, but it looks like McCarten and Treen, and possibly Bradbury, tried to manipulate Labour to the left using sanders and Corbyn campaigns and policies as templates.

Things turned to custard this week, with McCarten announcing:

In May this year my contract with the Labour Party ended and I left to run a programme called the Campaign for Change. The programme was supported by the Labour Party in Auckland, however I led and managed it.

He didn’t announce he had left until June 11.

Interesting that he refers to support from “the Labour Party in Auckland” and not the Labour Party nationally.

Earlier this week the Labour Party Head Office contacted me about these issues and requested to take the programme over so that it could resolve them. I have agreed to this and am no longer involved in the programme.

So the Labour Party Head Office stepped in and McCarten stepped down.

Has the Labour Party Auckland Branch been driving an agenda independently of their Head Office? It looks a bit like that.

It also looks like far left activists in Auckland tried to push or manoeuvre or drag Labour to the left.

The result is major embarrassment for the Labour Party, significant disruption leading into the election campaign, and a mess to clean up.

It also stuffs a get out the vote campaign.

And it also puts Labour in an awkward position regarding funding and donations. They will have to be ultra careful that they don’t get caught out, which means not trying to be clever and not doing anything that could be seen as hiding donations.

That might do Labour a favour. They are on notice to play the campaign straight now.

UPDATE: Andrew Little has just said in a Q+A interview that people associated with Labour did things that weren’t authorised by the party and it got out of control when they couldn’t manage it.

Private funder for Labour’s intern scheme

Matt McCarten says that the Labour intern scheme had a private funder “who thought the scheme was a good idea”.

NZ Herald: Mystery funder behind Labour intern programme – and party doesn’t know who

A mystery backer funded the volunteer scheme for overseas students working on Labour’s campaign – and even Labour does not know who it was or how much was involved.

Matt McCarten, who set up the scheme and ran it under his “Campaign for Change” organisation, told the Herald it was funded by a “private funder” who thought the scheme was a good idea.

McCarten must have also thought the private funding was a good idea.

He was chief of staff for David Cunliffe and Andrew Little, and ran Labour’s election campaign in Auckland until he quit to balls up the intern scheme last month.

Has he no clue about the requirements of political campaign funding? Or did he think he wouldn’t be found out?

It is understood Labour itself still does not know who that funder is or how much was spent on the programme and it has been left to cover some of the costs of housing the interns at Awataha Marae, although McCarten said he believed the payments were up to date.

This has put Labour in  a very difficult situation, as by association they may end up being responsible for this.

Labour’s General Secretary Andrew Kirton took over the programme this week after concerns about how it was being run and the ability to manage the numbers involved.

He would not comment on the funding issue, saying he was still working on taking care of the interns and “sorting the mess out”.

After that he may have a funding mess to sort out.

Heading into an election campaign this is a terrible diversion for the Labour Party.

Labour will also have to consider whether it needs to declare any contributions to the costs of the programme as a donation.

Electoral law expert Graeme Edgeler said it would have to if it was a Labour Party programme, but it probably would not have to if it was a third party campaigning for Labour.

It was advertised as a “Labour Party Fellowship”, involved Labour MPs, and was set up by McCarten while he worked for Labour until May – but was run by his Campaign for Change.

The Campaign for Change change seems to have been a rush job to try to distance the scheme from Labour, but ” third party campaigning” could be very difficult to argue.

Other Labour Party activists and staffers have been names as involved in the scheme.

One could wonder if a more effective sabotage of Labour’s campaign could have been executed, but I think it’s more likely that this was a mix of arrogance and ineptness from McCarten and those directly involved, and a glaring lack of oversight by the Labour Party at best.

Labour leader Andrew Little said the party would disclose anything it was required to and would ensure third parties did as well. However, the party was still working out what funding there was in place.

Awkward.

Interns have given mixed reviews – yesterday one told the Herald that much of the attention had been on the standard of accommodation, but that had not been the problem or the reason Labour officials had to step in. Nor had complaints by individual interns.

“There’s pushback from many who feel it shouldn’t have been shut down so quickly, but I really don’t know how much longer it would have lasted, especially since the whole programme was labelled ‘Labour’, without clear connection to Wellington. It was a ticking time bomb until Wellington found out and shut it down. That’s ultimately why it was shut down – it had Labour’s name all over it, but Wellington had no control over the situation or even knew many details about it.”

So it seems that McCarten was out of control.

Unite’s National Director Mike Treen said the union had taken part in the programme and planned to use the interns for an programme to enrol Unite members, but had not provided any direct funding.

“Matt is ambitious, and where there is a will there is a way is often his attitude. He may have tried to reach too far in this case. We thought there were positives and are a little bit sorry to see it’s all fallen on its face.”

So Treen was also involved. He stood for the Mana Party last election and has links to socialist groups – see  Mana Party and Socialists

It looks like a misconceived attempt at a coup of Labour – see Labour policy coup attempt?

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?

Bradbury:

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.

 

Rebooting Clutha-Southland campaign

Clutha-Southland is one of National’s safest electorates so it would be unthinkable that they can lose it, but they have to quickly come up with a credible candidate to replace Todd Barclay.

They have just suffered a very bitter internal dispute with an outcome that will have greatly displeased some of the party members, so the candidate selection could be challenging.

Simon Flood, the candidate who lost to Barclay last year, could try again but that would probably be contentious.

Ideally they need to come up with someone who both factions can live with – because they may have to live them for many years.

Winning the candidacy for Clutha-Southland is an opportunity for a job in Parliament potentially for decades, as long as you don’t cock up like Barclay did.

Eileen Goodwin broke the story of staff strife in Clutha-Southland last year. She writes in the ODT: Fears of damage to PM

The Otago Daily Times revealed last March that Mrs Dickson’s resignation involved claims of a secret recording.

A new selection process will begin ”very shortly” in the Clutha-Southland electorate after MP Todd Barclay’s announcement yesterday he is quitting Parliament, the National Party says.

Yesterday, National Party general manager Greg Hamilton said the party board would consider the matter soon so the new selection could start.

Mr Barclay was re-selected last December after a bitter contest.

A group of party members who believed he needed to go backed a challenge from former funds manager Simon Flood.

Mr Hamilton confirmed the party board would consider a complaint from a group of members about the selection contest. It is understood to involve claims of delegate stacking to skew the outcome.

So National will be investigating a complaint about the last selection process at the same as a new selection process.

Party member Maeva Smith, a friend of Mrs Dickson, said the party needed to take some responsibility for its handling of the problem. ”We didn’t want any damage to [Mr English] – that’s something that we didn’t want. We’ve got a great deal of respect for him.”

Significant damage has been done.

Mrs Smith said she would be working on the campaign to elect Mr English as prime minister in September. She hoped the electorate, which has up to 1500 party members, would rebuild.

”In some ways it’s cleared the air”.

For those who wanted Barclay dumped it may have, but it’s hard to imagine everyone comes out of this happy to move on.

An Otago Daily Times reporter who visited Gore yesterday to speak to people in the street said the feeling was that Mr Barclay’s decision to stand down was correct.

One woman said there was a general feeling around Gore that Mr Barclay was too young for the role.

RNZ has reported similar sentiments from elsewhere in the electorate.

Regardless, the situation now is that Barclay is not standing and National have to find someone else for a plum electorate which could be virtually for life.

Once the selection has been made one plus for National is that as the saying goes, a swede could win the electorate as long as it was blue.

Morgan and the Macron miracle

The UK vote for Brexit surprised, the election of Donald trump in the US shocked, and then Emmanuel Macron came from virtually nowhere to win the French presidency.

Then Theresa May destroyed a significant advantage to end a disastrous campaign still ahead of the rapidly improving left wing maverick Jeremy Corbyn but severely weakened, both in government and as Prime Minister.

Now France is voting for their Parliament, and exit polls suggest that Macron’s party En Marche will win a majority. Not bad for a party that didn’t exist at the start of last year.

So around the world voters are make decisions that seem to stick it to traditional politics and the status quo.

Could it happen in New Zealand?

Winston Peters and NZ First are often promoted as the king maker, with the baubles of power virtually a formality. But Peters is very old hat and has been there, done that before.

Will voters look for something different?

Barry Soper writes:  In politics anything is possible

Think about it, Prime Minister Gareth Morgan, leading a majority government with half of his MPs never having been elected to office before.

Sounds absurd? Yes well it’s highly unlikely to happen but these days in politics anything is possible as we’re seeing in France at the moment which has to be the political story to beat them all.

The 47 million French voters are again today going to the polls and are expected to give their new 39-year-old President Emmanuel Macron a healthy majority. It’s spectacular because Macron’s party was only founded by him in April last year.

After he won the Presidency last month he was on his own, he didn’t have one MP in the French Assembly. Since then he’s had to cobble together 577 candidates to stand for his party and after the first round of voting they led in 400 constituencies, more than half of them women.

And it looks like En Marche has succeeded.

Let Macron’s success be a warning to those established political parties who think elections are a walk in the park. The Socialists who ran the last French Government failed to scrape together even ten percent of the vote.

Here in New Zealand National obviously have the most to lose, but voters here have shown a reluctance to take big risks. They have preferred a stable government but without absolute power.

NZ First are in the box seat to hold the balance of power, but it’s possible a real alternative is considered.

The 5% threshold is a long shot for a new party, something that hasn’t been achieved before here.

The newly formed Conservative Party got a 2.65% in 2011, and increased to 3.97% in 2014, creditable but not enough. They are out of contention now after the political collapse of Colin Craig.

The only option looks to be TOP. Morgan doesn’t look like getting his party close at this stage, but there is three months to go.

Recent overseas elections have shown that anything is possible, even the unexpected, but a major surprise looks unlikely here.