Labour and local versus national

Michael Wood came across very well on Q & A, articulate and confident.

Andrew Little not so much.

He sounds convinced that Labour efforts and successes in the local body elections and the Mt Roskill by-election will translate to the general election next year.

He seems convinced they are getting it right about campaigning on issues ‘that matter to new Zealanders’.

But he is repeatedly asked about Labour’s poor poll results – and he confirms their internal polls is a smidgen better than the recent Colmar Brunton 28% last week – but keeps avoiding that lingering problem.

Little and Labour seem convinced that what they are doing now is the right strategy for the election next year.

Having faith that local political strategies – people tend to vote on local issues in by-elections – will work for them in the big one next year is a big risk.

In the current turbulent political environment world wide anything could happen.

Little is getting more practiced at switching questions to his rehearsed lines. That approach didn’t work for Hillary Clinton in the US. It could work here, but at the moment Little is not working very well.

A good win for Labour but…

Michael Wood and Labour had an emphatic win in the My Roskill by-election, but they still have a lot to do to turn around their Parliamentary performance.

They put in a lot of work and got a result Labour needed – but there was probably little doubt they would win, especially after Greens decided to not stand a candidate to help Labour, and National’s Parmjeet Parmar turned out to be an unimpressive candidate.

Wood has done a lot of groundwork before succeeding in getting in to Parliament, first standing for an electorate in 2002. His record:

  • 2002 stood in Pakuranga
  • 2005 stood in Pakuranga, 58 on the Labour list
    – he got about 9,5000 votes both times against Maurice Williamson
  • 2008 stood on the Labour list only, at 56
  • 2010 elected to the Puketapapa Local Board
  • 2011 stood in Botany by-election, lost to Jamie-Lee Ross
  • 2011 general election on the Labour list only at 32
  • 2014 stood in Epsom, 39 on the Labour list
  • 2016 elected in Mt Roskill by-election

So Wood has been persistent in seeking a seat in Parliament, and has now succeeded. He looks like he could be a good electorate MP. Time will tell how he goes in Parliament.

Wood is 36 so adds a youngish MP to the Labour caucus, replacing 63 year old Goff who was first elected in 1981, a year after Wood was born.

He doesn’t help Labour improve it’s gender balance, and doesn’t improve their ethnic representation, although Wood is now MP for an electorate with the highest number of overseas born residents (probably about half).

This win will gave Labour a boost of confidence after a bad week, with three polls at 23%, 28% and 29%, and a number of pundits writing off Labour’s chances for next year.

However Labour were buoyant after successes in the local body elections and that didn’t translate into better poll results or performance in Parliament.

With the by-election success Labour has something positive to end the year with, but they should do a lot of soul searching over the summer break if they want to look like realistic contenders next year.

This win won’t fix Andrew Little’s deficiencies as Labour leader, nor will it fix Labour’s baffling strategies.

Both Wood and Little will be interviewed on Q & A this morning.

More than a Little Labour problem

Labour has been thrashed this week. First by polls:

  • Colmar Brunton 28%
  • UMR 29%
  • Roy Morgan 23%

UMR is the poll Andrew Little cited as proof that the public polls were wrong.

And political journalists have been scathing. A couple of examples:

Duncan Garner: After nearly 3000 days in opposition Little’s Labour has lost the ‘everyman’

It has been a dreadful end to the year for Andrew Little.

The latest Roy Morgan political poll has Labour at just 23 per cent, which would give the party just 28 MPs in Parliament.

…because Labour already holds 27 electorate seats, high-profile MPs such as Jacinda Ardern and David Parker would be looking for new jobs.

If Labour dropped one more per cent, Labour would not even get Andrew Little into Parliament.

That’s the ultimate embarrassment: when your leader doesn’t make it to Parliament.

This poll should be a major wake-up call, but it won’t be; my sources tell me no-one is planning to roll him over the summer BBQs.

Labour MPs clearly have low expectations in this caucus. They are happy for Little to take this one for the team and start again post-2017 with another duo of dancers.

So what has gone wrong? Shane Jones, Phil Goff, Clayton Cosgrove, Nick Leggett all deserting the Labour ship. Little has publicly slammed ex-Labourites as far right.

The ‘everyman’ has been ditched in favour of this current mob. This is a narrower Labour Party, the so-called broad church has been given its marching orders.

It seems to me that Labour doesn’t want the ‘everyman’ yet it wants his votes. I think Labour has lost the working bloke to NZ First and National.

They no longer identify with Little and his lightweight mob. I asked a press gallery journalist this week what was wrong with Little.

She said Little can’t explain anything, he has no charisma, he’s angry and, finally, he’s not John Key. I would add that Little fumbles and bumbles his way through interviews.

He lacks clarity and throws a few tired slogans at the public, who are likely to have tuned out a long time ago.

That’s how I see Little too. I thought he had promise two years ago, but he has failed to grow into the leadership role.

He is utterly uninspiring to most New Zealanders and the polls clearly show that. Who is he? What does he do in his quiet times? What makes him tick? Is he really as unfriendly and remote as the television suggests.

The answer is no, he’s not, but that’s how he comes across

After almost 3000 days in opposition, Labour looks more clueless now than it did at the beginning of that process. That leaves me to ponder this – are they finished as a major political party?

That’s a question that is coming up more often, a serious questioning of the future of the Labour party.

It is much more than a Little Labour problem. Is there any chance of them turning things around and rescuing the party?

Tracey Watkins: So much for giddy optimism: Labour and Andrew Little can’t bring themselves to speak the language of revolution

Andrew Little’s two-year anniversary in the Labour leadership rolled around in November and the lack of fanfare is a pointer to the quiet desperation in Labour’s ranks.

At a fractious front bench meeting on Monday, Little shouldered responsibility as leader for Labour’s polling slump.

There was lots of finger pointing. But there was also a sense of urgency about breaking the cycle. There was talk about taking risks. Even “breaking the rules” as one insider put it.

It’s not rules they need to break, they need to break out of a shrinking bubble, they need to stop blaming and dissing everyone and everything else for their problems that stretch back nearly a decade.

Little will spend less time in Wellington and more time on the road next year.

It’s been a tradition for years for party leaders to get out of Wellington on Thursdays – Little will extend that even further by spending most of the political week away from Parliament.

Disappearing into the regions could backfire by lowering his profile.

But he will get to shake a lot of hands. And trying to raise his profile hasn’t helped much either.

Labour is trying to shed him of an image as a leader who barks at every passing car.

Little’s big problem is that if he disappears he loses, and if he appears he loses.

It’s not, as some suggest, whether they are too left or too centre or too right.

They have a serious credibility problem. They lack clarity, they dither, most of their MPs seem to be marking time, they lack confidence and belief, they lack purpose.

The caucus looks like it is withering away, and even the promotion and defence of Labour here has become low key and muted.

The leader is a part of this but there is more than a Little Labour problem. But it will require a significant change to leadership to turn things around, someone has to lead change into a positive direction.

Andrew has to rethink his approach and he has to reform his own public persona. He has to start by really believing he can lead change. And then showing it.

And he somehow needs inspire his caucus MPs to lift their game substantially, because at the moment they don’t appear to care about their growing malaise.

Nelson electorate deal denials

Mixed messages over Labour-Green electorate deals or no deals continue, with denials from both Labour and the Greens that there there will be no deal in Nelson.

In the original 1 News report Exclusive: The backroom deals that Labour and the Greens are working on ahead of 2017 election Andrea Vance said:

In Nelson the Greens fell like they can pick up a lot of votes and so they’re in talks with Labour at the moment to stand a Labour candidate aside so that the Greens can have a clear run in that seat in Nelson.

The reason the greens have chosen Nelson is because it’s a classically Green seat. Now they’ll campaign hard in that seat because they’ve been given a chunk of money by an anonymous donor who has specified it must be used in the campaign in Nelson and the West Coast only.

And so Labour found it easy to stand aside because the candidate there would go up against Nick Smith for the electorate vote who’s been there for years and years and years and there’s a strong incumbent.

There is some very specific information there. Someone must have given this to Vance. Metiria Turei and her plans to stand in Te Tai Tonga also featured in that item.

Little responded on 1 News’ Breakfast programme: “This is news to me, we have no agreement on any seat”.

A follow up from 1 News: ‘Bugger that!’ – Labour members leave party over proposed deal with Green Party in Nelson

Eight Labour members have quit the party in protest over a proposed electorate deal with the Greens in Nelson.

One of those who quit said the members had emailed in their resignations – and the reasons – to the party.

“They were eight core people and they’ve walked away. They expected us to help the Greens… we’re not going to work for the Greens, bugger that.”

The ex-member said supporters were unhappy about how they learned about the proposed deal.

“It leaked out at the [annual] conference. One of the candidates was told by Andrew Little… people here are really angry.

But Labour continues to deny any deal in Nelson. Stuff: 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.

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.

“This is about how to work together under MMP to change the Government and get the economy working for all New Zealanders.”

A “no such plan for Nelson” denial followed by general poliwaffle.

Greens are also now denying a deal has been done.

Greens co-leader James Shaw said no decisions had been made about any electorate seats, including Nelson. He also said was wrong to suggest that there was any connection between this donation and its candidate selection process in Nelson.

“That is patently incorrect … no decision has been made about the Nelson electorate seat, or any others, and no donation, regardless of its size, will have any bearing on our decision-making process.”

The original report didn’t say a deal had been done, just that Greens were ‘in talks with Labour’, albeit implying it looked likely to happen.

And of particular note is that Shaw is doing the backtracking, not Metiria Turei.

This is a real muddle and doesn’t help Labour and Greens look like a cohesive government-in-waiting.

Is Labour a 19% party?

Colmar Brunton’s recent poll had Labour on 28%, and the just released Roy Morgan poll has them on 23%. One is bad, the other is an awful result.

But is it a surprise?

Andrew Little has failed to impress – this interview with RNZ yesterday is unfortunately typical, fumbles and bumbles interspersed with a few tired slogans: Labour warns about rise in borrowings for first homes.

His Speech to the Property Council’s Residential Development Summit didn’t even rate a post at The Standard (someone lamented the lack of media coverage).

Instead attention was on yet another defection from Labour, and all Little could say was, effectively, ‘good riddance’.

Nick Leggett ‘wasn’t true Labour’ – Andrew Little

Labour leader Andrew Little has rubbished former Porirua Mayor Nick Leggett’s chances of winning a seat next year as a National Party candidate.

“I’m not particularly worried – we’ve got a fantastic MP in Mana who’s established himself,” Mr Little told Newshub.

“I said at the time when Nick stood for the Wellington mayoralty that he wasn’t true Labour. He claimed that he was. He wasn’t elected.

“I think that New Zealanders actually see through people who say they are one thing but they’re not, and they get backed by the 1 percent to challenge Labour MPs and Labour candidates. I think people are past that so no, I’m not particularly worried.”

“People who are aligned to the Labour cause actually genuinely take action about improving housing, about lifting incomes, about making sure that schools are properly funded, and our hospitals are properly funded.

“What they don’t do is go around looking for those on the highest incomes to back them – to challenge whoever because that’s all they want. Labour people, passionate Labour in their heart – they stick with Labour, they campaign on Labour issues, and for the Labour Party. Nick’s not one of those people.”

Mr Little says there won’t be any last-minute conversations to try to keep Mr Leggett on.

“I think he’s pretty much said that he’s not interested in Labour. John Key’s calling him, and they’re welcome to that relationship.

What’s notable about Leggett’s defection is someone with obvious political ambition sees no future for himself in the labour party.

‘True Labour’ seems to be a rapidly narrowing (but poorly defined) brand. The only thing that seems to be consistent is spraying those who walk away from the party with bitterness.

Shane Jones. Phil Goff. Clayton Cosgrove. David Cunliffe. Gone or going. There are calls for David Shearer to go as well as he is not seem as ‘true Labour’ by some on the left.

Josie Pagani and Phil Quin are often lambasted for not being ‘Labour’ enough, as are many people who get abused on Twitter, Facebook and The Standard.

And that wasn’t all yesterday. 1 News reported ‘Bugger that!’ – Labour members leave party over proposed deal with Green Party in Nelson

Eight Labour members have quit the party in protest over a proposed electorate deal with the Greens in Nelson.

It includes one supporter who held membership for 30 years and the campaign’s coordinator is also understood to have walked away.

One of those who quit said the members had emailed in their resignations – and the reasons – to the party.

“They were eight core people and they’ve walked away. They expected us to help the Greens… we’re not going to work for the Greens, bugger that.”

The ex-member said supporters were unhappy about how they learned about the proposed deal.

“It leaked out at the [annual] conference. One of the candidates was told by Andrew Little… people here are really angry.

On Tuesday Little virtually denied there was any deal being done with Greens in Nelson after Metiria Turei sprung a surprise by going public and left Little floundering.

Labour’s general secretary Andrew Kirton said:”We’ve had a couple of resignations but nothing different to the usual flow of members coming and going across the country.”

The ‘usual flow’ seems to be down the twenties. Is Labour heading for 20%? Little and the Labourites who remain seem happy burn off support as they turn the party to ashes.

It looks increasingly like New Zealand will remain dominated by a single party, with a few smaller ones yapping from the sidelines.

What will it take for the penny to drop within Labour? 19%?

Little denies electorate deals

1 news has reported this morning that the Greens and Labour have agreed on some electorate deals, including giving Metiria Turei a free run at the Te Tai Tonga Maori electorate, and also deals are being done in Nelson (Nick Smith’s seat) and Ohariu (Peter Dunne’s seat).

The Greens have talked to Andrea Vance about this, but Andrew Little seems to have been surprised by the Greens going public on this. He has denied any agreements have been made and he avoided talking about specific electorates.

Good morning, joins us soon with exclusive details of backroom deals between Labour and the Greens ahead of next year’s election

‘In Nelson the Greens feel like they can pick up a lot of votes’ on backroom deals between Labour and Greens.

Green’s won’t stand a candidate in Ohariu, paving the way for a Labour candidate to battle with United Future’s Peter Dunne.

Green’s co-leader Metiria Turei will run in Te Tai Tonga, Labour candidate Rino Tirikatene told by party not to run.

They reported that Turei informed Tirikatene.

But Andrew Little denies any deals have been made.

‘This is news to me, we have no agreement on any seat’ on Labour doing backroom deals with the Greens.

‘We are committed to changing the government and that’s what that (MoU) agreement is about’.

‘We’re thinking about a campaign that means we get to win government and that means looking at the party vote’

Little diverted to his boilerplate campaign phrases. Has he been blind sided by the Greens? Or is he not aware of the deals Labour have been talking about with the Greens.

From the Labour-Green Memorandun of Understanding:

2. Working Together

d) We agree to a “no surprises” policy that means we give each other prior notice and the details of major announcements and speeches. This includes matters where we may disagree.

This means that Little is not being truthful, or the Greens have sprung a surprise announcement.

Andrea Vance is back on Breakfast now to respond to Little’s comments, she has confirmed that the Green Party has told her about these deals.

My guess is that the Greens have become alarmed and frustrated by the lack of traction in the polls for Labour and the Greens and want to try and push things along.

Little has been caught very flat footed.

Are the Greens deciding they have to do what’s best for themselves and stuff Labour?

It certainly doesn’t look like Turei and Little are together on this announcement.

It looks like a power play by Turei.

UPDATE: 1 News now online – Exclusive: The backroom deals that Labour and the Greens are working on ahead of 2017 election

Note that while Little says that no deal has been done the headline says that the deals are being worked on.

Has Turei jumped the gun? If so, why?

CV’s ideal Labour

Colonial Viper has been under fire at The Standard lately because he is prepared to challenge the Labour status quo, and  establishment Labour activists don’t like their boat being rocked. CV has had his author rights removed and there have been a number of calls to shut him up at The Standard altogether.

CV is a past Labour candidate (2011 in Clutha/Southland), and as a party member has clashed with Clare Curran in Dunedin South.

His disillusionment with the current version of Labour is obvious.

Last night he summarised his ideals:

I’ll support Labour 100% and Andrew Little 100% if he:

1) States that it is time to turn NZ away from free market neoliberalism and apologises for the role the 4th Labour Government played in wrecking the country.

2) Says that there will be a total clear out of the no-hopers out of caucus, Labour Parliamentary staff and consultants who have led Labour to electoral losses over and over and over again.

3) Commits to transitioning the nation to a livable UBI and/or living minimum wage within Labour’s first term in government.

Give me a call when it happens.

It is actually common to see those ideals expressed by current and ex Labour supporters, although not usually together like this.

This is a similar sort of leaning to Jeremy Corbyn’s UK Labour, and to Bernie Sanders’ preferred style for US Democrats.

I see one big problem with this in New Zealand. If Andrew Little and Labour took this path they would only be representing a part of Labour, and that would struggle to be a half of the party.

The CV type Labourites want to ditch their centre and focus to the left. Another comment at The Standard yesterday, swordfish on ex Labour member Nick Leggett’s possible move to National:

Yep, absolutely a Blairite. Along with his good chum, Phil Quin, Leggett’s a core member of the extra-Parliamentary wing of the old ABC brigade, very close to Shearer, Goff and Shane Jones, has written for the on-line presence of the lavishly-funded Blairite ginger group, Progress, and so on. Utterly opposed to anything resembling true Social Democracy.

Some in Labour have been happy to see Jones, Goff and Leggett  leave the party, and want Shearer out too. They try to drive away any suggestion of centrism from their discussions.

But it’s more complicated than this. Colonial Viper has been labelled a Right Wing Nut Job because he has been challenging the Labour establishment.

Some in Labour seem to want to paper over the cracks, or chasms, and pretend they are a united major party.

Andrew Little seems to be caught in no person’s land. He has managed to dampen down public dissent in the Labour caucus, but not at The Standard – Little supporter Te Reo Putake was recently banned from The Standard in what looks like an uncivil war.

Little’s uncertainty and lack of confidence is hurting Labour, but so is the fractious bickering amongst the troops.

Can Labour continue as a single party? If they do and ditch their centre they are likely to continue to shrink.

Leggett legging it to National?

It is being rumoured that Nick Leggett may stand for National in next year’s election, having left Labour and having had a boot up the bum from Andrew Little.

When he was Porirua mayor Nick Leggett was touted as a future Labour Party leader. But he had to leave Labour to stand for the Wellington mayoralty, and was blasted by Andrew little as ‘right wing’.

In August in Labour MPs forbidden from associating with “right-wing” Wellington mayoral candidate:

And he’s making it clear he considers Nick Leggett, a former Labour Party member, a right-winger.

“His campaign manager is well-known ACT party identity. We know that there’s money from the right-wing that has gone into his campaign. He’s a right-wing candidate.”

Wellington Mayoral candidate Nick Leggett appears to be public enemy number one for the Labour Party as its MPs are forbidden from associating with him.

Labour Leader Andrew Little has pulled rank, preventing MP Stuart Nash from speaking at an event where Mr Leggett was also speaking.

Mr Little said the event was for right-wingers who have routinely sought to undermine the Labour Party and it’s not right for a Labour MP to share a platform with people who do that.

In October Little seemed to have softened. From Another contender in fight for Mt Roskill:

Former Porirua mayor Nick Leggett would be welcome back into the Labour fold as someone with a “big future ahead of him”, Labour leader Andrew Little says.

“Nick is a talented guy…whether he just saw an opportunity for those who wanted to back him for mayor against a Labour candidate, who knows,” Little said, after Labour-endorsed Justin Lester was confirmed as mayor last night.

“He is a talented guy and he has got a big future ahead of him. But he has got to work with people who can organise for his success.”

On Tuesday Leggett indicated that those people wouldn’t be from Labour. Newstalk ZB: Nick Leggett: Labour has changed and I’m not going back

Nick Leggett told Tim Fookes he’s still interested in a career in politics, but it wouldn’t be with Labour as the party has changed.

“I want to live in a country that’s open, its borders are open, it’s open to migrants, it’s open to trade.”

“Unfortunately Labour seems to be going in the opposite direction to that, and I think it’s very sad.”

This morning from Newshub: From Labour to National, is Nick Leggett jumping ship?

Rumours are circulating that former Porirua mayor and ex-Labour stalwart Nick Leggett could be standing in the Mana electorate at next year’s election for the National Party.

It’s up for grabs following Hekia Parata’s decision to leave politics however Mr Leggett says nothing is official – yet.

“I would never say never but I say that in the widest possible sense,” he said.

“I won’t rule out standing for any, I think that would be silly to.”

Labour’s Kris Faafoi (19,651) easily beat Hekia Parata (11,698) in Mana in 2014 but National was ahead by over 2,000 votes in the party vote. Parata won’t be standing again next year.

Salmond back on Labour staff

Rob Salmond has announced (at Public Address) that he as back as a Labour Party leader’s staffer. David Farrar thinks this will be to utilise his data skills for voter targeting and turnout.

Salmond has been in and out of Labour offices. Back in January 2013 Farrar posted at Kiwiblog:  Salmond rejoins the Labour Leader’s Office

on his website discloses:

I am a native-born New Zealander, and also hold US citizenship. I work as Political Director in the Office of the New Zealand Party Leader, a position I have held since early 2013.

I have been a member of the labour party since 1998, and have worked on various partisan and independent campaigns for left-leaning government in New Zealand since 1996.

Earlier New Zealand-based work included positions in the Office of the Prime Minister (2007) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (1998-2001).

It’s fascinating that Rob has moved back to New Zealand to take up this role. A very smart appointment by Robertson and Cameron as I rate Rob’s political and data skills very highly. I expect to see his presence lead to significant changes in Labour’s political operations.

A month before the 2014 election Stuff reported:

Labour leader tried to score a point over John Key yesterday by saying he rarely talks to bloggers, but that seems a stretch.

One of his closest advisers (priming him for the televised debates) is Polity blogger Rob Salmond.

Labour’s vote dropped to 25% in that election, so any changes introduced and advice given by Salmond didn’t help.

Yesterday Salmond announced at Public Address where he had been blogging:

Catch you later

This is my last PA post for a while, as I’ve recently taken on a staff role as Deputy Chief of Staff in Andrew Little’s office

Today Farrar commented on this in Back to the mothership:

Rob specialises in data and politics. I suspect this means Labour will be focusing much more on voter targeting and turnout.

However as we saw with the US election all the data in the world won’t get the wrong candidate elected.

Salmond must think he’s backing the right candidate this time.

He and Labour seem confident that their mayoral campaigning – see Salmonds previous post Four thoughts on polling in Wellington’s mayoral election – had the right formulae.

A key question though – is Andrew Little electable? Perhaps. He shares something in common with someone else’s campaign. Donald Trump had never previously won an election.

Cross-party support for earthquake legislation

Parliamentary parties are working together on emergency legislation to help sort things out after the earthquakes.

NZ Herald: Emergency quake legislation on the way after cross-party meeting

The Government has today met with opposition parties to discuss what emergency legislation could be introduced to skirt usual consenting processes and aid the earthquake recovery.

A spokeswoman for Acting Civil Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee confirmed the approach.

“There was a cross-party meeting this morning to discuss legislative options but it is very early days.”

Labour Party leader Andrew Little, speaking to the Herald from Kaikoura, has indicated his party will support the emergency legislation.

“The Government put up the things they have in mind. All the parties were there. There are more meetings to go before legislation is introduced, which the plan is to be next week.

“We have indicated support, subject to appropriate checks and balances…but our people who were [at the meeting] described it as constructive.”

It’s good to see this inclusiveness, putting the needs of the affected people and regions first.

Little said he believed the Government had learned lessons after the introduction of emergency legislation following the Canterbury earthquakes.

“I think it [emergency legislation] is natural in order to get stuff done – particularly now you have a town the size of Kaikoura and its importance to the tourist industry totally isolated at the moment, you do want some expedited powers.

Little has taken a responsible approach to the earthquakes, and has been included from the start by the Government in assessing the damage and the problems.

The Whale Watch boat berths have been uplifted and can now only be used at high tide.

Yesterday Little said that repairs to the harbour at Kaikoura should be fast tracked rather than go through a lengthy consent process so that tourist and fishing businesses can resume as soon as possible.

But there may be some tensions.

The road freighting industry has lobbied the Government not to be “sensitive” about repairing SH1 and to bulldoze rubble into the sea.

Some of the slips have already covered sea shores. If they were left to weather naturally there would be further subsidence into the sea, it is part of normal erosion processes. But:

Green Party primary industries spokesperson Eugenie Sage said today that view was shortsighted.

“Fixing the road and rail links is obviously quite critical and urgent, but dumping thousands of tonnes of rubble into the sea risks killing the goose that lays the golden egg.

“Nature-based tourism, whale-watching, swimming with dolphins and fisheries like the cray and paua fisheries are absolutely critical to Kaikoura’s economy.”

Whales and dolphins shouldn’t be an issue, they are found further out to sea.

Seals congregate and breed on the rocky shores. They will have been affected but their numbers have increased markedly over that last fifty years so should have no trouble re-establishing themselves.

The crayfish and paua fisheries have already been badly affected by the natural affects of the earthquakes, in the main by uplift of shallow shores.

“We don’t want to reestablish the transport link at the expense of a healthy coastal marine environment and healthy fisheries.”.

In the main it’s unlikely that pushing slip debris a bit further out into the sea will have a major effect. Obviously they will have to take care if any of the slips are in ecologically sensitive areas, but the vast majority of the coastline will remain unaffected by slip debris.

It will be good if all parties are on board with emergency legislation.