Curran: Chief Technology Officer a priority

Clare Curran, in a keynote address at NetHui 2017 as new Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media and Government Digital Services, has promoted the need for a Chief Technology Officer.

She also emphasised the need for ‘digital inclusion’.

20/20 Trust:  Digital inclusion: “We must never leave anyone behind” – Hon. Clare Curran

In her  wide ranging speech – her first keynote speech as Minister – Clare Curran covered many digital issues, with one strong and consistent thread being digital inclusion and addressing the rise of digital inequality in NZ.

She said that being open and transparent, diverse, open for debate,  future-focused, solution-focused and collaborative were attributes of InternetNZ’s NetHui – she has participated in virtually every one – that the new government hopes to emulate and she intends to demonstrate.

Lack of home internet access highest factor in social deprivation

Talking about the digital divide (39 mins into video), she highlighted that Otago University’s Social  Deprivation Index has identified the lack of home access as the highest weighted factor affecting social deprivation for working age Kiwis.

1 in 5 Kiwis are no or low users of the internet

The World Internet Project report estimates that 19-20% of New Zealanders are no or low net users – that is 1 in 5. Affordability was a key issue (42 mins). Acknowledging the work of the 20/20 Trust, Computers in Homes, Spark Jump and other charitable initiatives, she went on to say “We don’t need to, and cannot afford to, exclude anyone from the benefits of digital connectivity. …. New Zealanders must have access to technology as a right.  …  our aim is to close the Digital Divide by 2020. ”  Digital inclusion, innovation and economic development could all be done.  … “We must never leave anyone behind.”

Priorities for first 100 days

Her priorities for the first 100 days are:

  1. Groundwork for a new position of chief technology officer for the government, with responsibility for preparing a national digital roadmap for the next 5 to 10 years
  2. A Blueprint for Digital Inclusion
  3. The framework for the establishment of Radio NZ Plus as the centrepiece of full, non-commercial public media services in NZ for all New Zealanders
  4. Process for proactive release of Government information.
  5. A framework for strengthening citizen’s rights in the digital environment

Her speech starts 27 minutes in, digital divide approx. 41 mins: https://livestream.com/i-filmservices/NetHui2017Stream1Thursday/videos/165647108


Press Release: New Zealand Government

Government signals Chief Technology Officer a priority appointment

The Government has outlined its priorities across digital technology, media and open government signalling that the establishment of a Chief Technology Officer is at the top of the list.

Delivering the keynote speech at NetHui 2017, the Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media and Government Digital Services and the Associate Minister of State Services (Open Government), Clare Curran, said that the Chief Technology Officer would be responsible for preparing and overseeing a national digital architecture, or roadmap, for the next five to ten years.

Ms Curran also said that the Government would begin work on a blueprint for digital inclusion to address the emerging digital divide, establish RNZ+ as the centrepiece of a full non-commercial public media service for all New Zealanders, institute a process for the proactive release of government information and create a framework for strengthening citizens’ rights in the digital environment.

“This Government will be modern, future-focused and innovative. We will also work collaboratively with industry, non-government organisations and communities.”

Further, Ms Curran said she would convene reference groups in her key portfolio areas and task them with pulling together leading thinkers and actors in each area, from inside government and across industry, local government, Māoridom, non-government organisations and community groups to ensure that the best thinking is applied to realising Government policy.

“This Government intends to progress its goals to close the digital divide by 2020, and to make ICT the second largest contributor to GDP by 2025.”
“New Zealanders rightly expect that their government
should behave in a predictable, open and transparent way and ensure that nobody is left behind. The internet and digital tools are fundamental to us achieving these goals,” Ms Curran said.

The Minister’s full NetHui speech here.

Curran wants union and party member roles ‘reviewed’

Clare Curran wants the Labour party to review the role played by unions and party members in selecting party leader.

Jacinda Ardern was installed as leader by the caucus alone because of a rule that allows this within 3 months of an election.

ODT: Selection review urged

The powerful new role played by unions and party members in selecting Labour leaders needs to be reviewed, one of the party’s Dunedin MPs says.

The system has delivered two leaders, David Cunliffe and Andrew Little, who failed to connect with the general public.

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran said a discussion was needed about whether unions and party members should continue having a say in who leads.

”I think we do need to re-look at the way we select our leaders, but that’s a question for after the election,” Ms Curran said.

Unions get a 20% vote share under the system introduced in 2012. It took some power away from MPs, who get a 40% say in the decision.

New Labour leader Jacinda Ardern was appointed in a simple caucus vote because it was less than three months before the general election.

After affiliated unions piled in behind Mr Little, he squeaked ahead of rival Grant Robertson in the 2014 selection by just over 1%.

Unions won’t be keen on this changing.

Bill Newson, a top union official, defended the unions’ role in propelling the former union boss into the role after just three years in Parliament.

”We knew Andrew closely and stand by that assessment; a very high sense of integrity and responsibility, a team player.”

Mr Newson, Etu union’s national secretary, acknowledged that Mr Little ”didn’t work out in the public eye”.

Mr Newson said Mr Little’s decision would have ”weighed heavily” on the former national secretary of the EPMU.

In 2014, Mr Little got 75% of the union’s 20% vote share. In the final result, he got 50.52% to Mr Robertson’s 49.48%

University of Otago public law specialist Prof Andrew Geddis said it was a matter for the party, but the unions’ involvement was problematic.

”The problem … is it’s not the members of the unions who [vote], it’s the officials within the unions. It’s not a popular choice by union members.”

The E tu Union donated $120,000 to Labour on 20 June 2017 (which may or may not be a popular use of members’ money). If they can’t play a part in choosing leader the union leadership may not remain this generous.

The party stands by it’s current system.

Labour Party president Nigel Haworth defended the system. It selected leaders in a ”very clear way”.

”The effort that both our previous two leaders have put into campaigning has been exceptional. The fact that they haven’t necessarily won elections can’t be sheeted home solely to them.

”The members very much wanted a new system in 2012. They will no doubt look at its performance and if they want to make changes they will,” Prof Haworth said.

A lot will depend on how well Labour do in the election. If they do poorly the members and unions may not be very happy.

‘Homelessness’ and inadequate housing

‘Homelessness’ has been a hot topic over the last few months, but a lot of political rhetoric gets in the way of an accurate picture. There is a significant difference between homelessness and inadequate housing, but the two are often combined as one problem.

Stuff:  Government ‘failing in most basic duty’ as 24,000 Aucklanders homeless, Labour claims

Labour has hit out at National over rates of homelessness, claiming it is failing in the basic duty of a government.

The allegations come after Auckland Council’s Homelessness Policy Project estimated 24,000 people in the region did not have adequate housing.

Phil Twyford, Labour’s housing spokesman, said the level of homelessness seen in parts of the country used to be something only seen in the United States or Europe.

“After nine years, National’s failure to address the housing crisis means we can no longer we pride ourselves on not leaving Kiwis on the streets.”

This appears disingenuous of Twyford.

Auckland Council’s Homelessness Policy Project, released on Wednesday, showed there were 20,296 people without a house in Auckland in 2013, according to census data.

SO the report is based on four year old data. They problem may well be worse by now, but the report can only guess at that.

Of those, 16,350 were sharing and couch surfing with others temporarily, 3175 were in temporary accommodation such as emergency housing, refugee camps and boarding houses, and 771 were sleeping rough.

Of the “20,296 people without a house” most of them, about three quarters of them, were living in something like a house.

Another 3175 were also accommodated, albeit temporarily. For many that will be inadequate, but they are still ‘housed’.

771 sleeping rough – actually homeless – is a lot, but it is nowhere near 20,000.

Some people choose to sleep rough. I have at times. It didn’t bother me, it was always temporary and I had other options – including staying temporarily with others – but technically I was ‘homeless’ at times.

For some people couch surfing is by choice, especially when travelling. A proportion of couch surfers will be tourists or temporary visitors, as will be some of those house sharing. Technically I’m house sharing with a family at the moment, and have been for over a year, but it’s not inadequate housing, we have the space for it.

But this may be just quibbling over some of the numbers. Except that it’s a pretty big quibble when Twyford refers to those in the ‘inadequate housing’ category as homeless. He is blatantly exaggerating.

There are real problems with housing that are a major concern.

Auckland City Missioner Chris Farrelly said homeless people had a life expectancy that was about 20 years lower than the average life expectancy.

“One person dying on our streets or as a result of homelessness is one too many.”

Farrelly said the deaths of rough sleepers were due to myriad issues such as health problems, poor nutrition and continued exposure to the elements.

“We’ve had some very wet, cold nights in the winter so far and it is heartbreaking to think of people sleeping outside in these conditions.”

Another Labour MP trying to address housing problems – MP camps out to protest pair’s plight

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran has accused the Ministry of Social Development of the ”character assassination” of two homeless Dunedin women, one of whom is pregnant.

Ms Curran is advocating for Kylie Taggart (30) and Amy Stuart (25), who are receiving emergency accommodation in motels.

Ms Curran slept in the Octagon last night in a tent to protest the women’s situation. She said she would sleep there every night until the women had a place to live.

Ms Curran said a lack of state housing and suitable short-term accommodation in Dunedin meant the ministry was relying on motels.

Each week, Miss Taggart and Miss Stuart must reapply for emergency accommodation.

Miss Taggart said she went into early labour last week and was admitted to hospital to be stabilised. She believes the stress of her situation was the cause. She is 26 weeks pregnant and has two other children in her care, while Miss Stuart has a 3-year-old daughter.

Both say they are trying hard to comply with the rules but feel harassed and belittled by Work and Income.

They were doing their best to provide a stable environment for their children in difficult circumstances.

But as is often the case this isn’t a simple story.

The Ministry of Social Development issued a statement on Friday that appeared to blame the women.

”We have been supporting both these mums with emergency housing special needs grants to ensure that they are not forced to sleep rough.

”They didn’t need to pay this money back; the priority was responding to an emergency need.

”One of the challenges we face is when clients repeatedly exhibit behaviour that makes them unattractive to landlords and many motel owners.

”What is really unfortunate is when the behaviour of some people not only affects them, but everyone in need. ‘In this case there is now two motels in Dunedin that are not willing to take any client referred by Work and Income.

”As a result the support now provided to both these women will need to be repaid,” the statement says.

Ms Curran said the women deny claims of antisocial behaviour.

But from a report on RNZ: Dunedin MP camps out in Octagon to highlight homelessness

Documents obtained by Checkpoint show landlords have taken the two women to the tenancy tribunal six times for not paying rent and damaging property.

The Social Development Ministry said it had not given up on the women, and that they had a high priority rating, but were difficult to house.

Ms Curran said the two women were forced into emergency accommodation because they have spent time in women’s refuges.

So it sounds like partners have been a part of the problem.

But it also sounds like the women have not been model tenants either.

RNZ: In a statement a short time ago the Ministry of Social Development says the two women have a high priority rating, but because they’ve repeatedly exhibited unattractive antisocial behaviour to both landlords and hotel owners, it’s been difficult to find them permanent accommodation in Dunedin.

And the Ministry’s Southern Regional Commissioner says “Following events overnight yet another motel is not willing to house one of the women, and only late today a short term alternative was found.”

“The people we work with often have a number of hurdles to overcome, and many lead chaotic lives.”

Money is obviously a major issue, but some people been put in bad situations, or have put themselves in bad situations, making accommodation difficult.

Difficult situations for some people for sure, but finding long term solutions can also be difficult.

Politicians overstating statistics doesn’t help, although I think credit is due to Curran for what she is trying to do.

Labour “all the more certain” to win

Party President Nigel Haworth has said that Labour are “all the more certain” to win next year’s election because of Andrew Little’s leadership.  He was speaking at an event in Dunedin celebrating the centenary of the party.

That’s rather optimistic given the current state of the party and polls.

ODT: Labour confident in its 100th year

The event was held at the Community Gallery to celebrate the party’s centenary exhibition.

It allowed Labour to look back on its achievements with pride.

“We have done the hard yards. The other side has picked up what we’ve done and sort of tinkered with it,” Prof Haworth said.

The party expected a September 2017 general election, and was six months ahead of what it had anticipated in its preparations, Prof Haworth said.

Hard to see how Labour is six months ahead of preparations, unless they mean with fund raising or candidate selection.

Clare Curran acknowledged the party had not always lived up to its ideals.

It had mostly, but not always, stuck to its values.

“Let’s be honest,” she said.

Asked about the comment, Ms Curran told the Otago Daily Times  there was no point  “glossing over” the economic upheaval of the 1980s, but people should remember it was one part of a significant history.

Labour in the 80s rescued the country from the dire economic situation left be Rob Muldoon, nut now some on the left seem to see Lange and Douglas as dirty words.

Mr Little was keen to look forward, rather than back, devoting much of his speaking time to a campaign-style speech that talked about the “Kiwi dream” and the “deep housing crisis”.

Littler has been using those themes for some time.

If elected,  Labour would not put up with further delay to the Dunedin Hospital redevelopment, and would start rebuilding immediately.

‘If’ elected? I thought politicians spoke more positively than that.

Labour would guarantee no loss of services, and would safeguard its status as a “fully fledged” teaching hospital, Mr Little said.

Dunedin hospital has battled against losses of services for decades under successive governments. With the city and coastal Otago falling behind other parts the country population-wise and the ongoing centralising of expensive health facilities it’s hard to see the level of services maintained.

Listening to Mr Little’s speech was Labour supporter Richard Thomson, deputy commissioner of the Southern District Health Board and a member of the hospital redevelopment partnership group.

He declined to comment when approached by the ODT.

Thomson will know the reality of the situation.

labourstan

Does anyone recognise this dude?

 

 

 

 

Labouring with housing for the homeless

Housing for the homeless, for those living in cars, living in garages and cramming into shared accommodation, has suddenly become a media and political issue even though it’s been a problem for many years, decades.

One morning about ten years ago we found a person sleeping on the floor in a passageway in the building where I work. He must have have entered before the building was locked at night.

Like many social issues it’s a difficult one to deal with. Many homeless people live on the fringes of society and can be difficult to accommodate in the system.

But homelessness happens to be an issue that is suddenly getting the media spotlight. And political interests have either created this attention  or are trying to benefit from it.

Bryan Gould: Homelessness a problem Govt chooses to avoid

The Prime Minister, asked yesterday morning on National Radio, what advice he would offer to an Auckland family with nowhere to live but in a car, suggested that they should, “Go to see Work and Income to see what help they could give them.”

The advice that a desk officer in Work and Income could miraculously find them a house they could afford was the equivalent of shrugging his shoulders and saying, “I have no idea of what they could do and I don’t really care.”

This is a very politically loaded paraphrase from Gould and misrepresenting the Prime Minister like this won’t help informed debate.

WINZ is actually a valid suggestion as they deal with emergency benefits and housing for those who are struggling. It is probably the best place to start.

And saying the Government is choosing to avoid the issue is ignorant or dishonest.

Last week: Emergency housing funds good start – providers

New funding will give some relief to families currently forced to live in cars and garages, emergency housing providers say.

The government yesterday announced it will provide $41 million over the next four years to fund 3000 emergency housing places and a special needs grant for people in crisis.

The fund will provide about 800 beds at any one time across New Zealand – 360 of them in Auckland.

Although providers welcomed the announcement, they said the government also needed to address the underlying problems that were leaving increasing numbers of people homeless.

So the Government is clearly trying to address the issue, and this will have been planned and the funds allocated some time before homelessness jump into the spotlight.

A cynic could suspect that news that the Government is trying to do something about it has prompted opponents to try and create a negative impression.

And last month the first increase in benefits for a long time kicked in. Governments will always be questioned on whether they are doing the right things and doing as much as they can but claiming the are deliberately ignoring social problems is dishonest.

Gould suggests:

Yet let us be clear. The problem of families with children forced to live in third-world conditions is eminently resolvable. It simply requires the application of resources – resources that a country with our wealth could easily afford. The issue is one of priorities.

Allocating Government resources is always one of priorities. But there is simply nowhere near enough money to fix every social problem, even if that was possible – money is just one part of a complex mix.

We could put an end to child poverty and housing shortages if we decided to move the issue nearer the top of the list.

While Gould refers to ‘the issue’ he names two and they are both parts of much wider issues. Many children statistically deemed to be in poverty in New Zealand are already housed.

It doesn’t happen because we choose that it shouldn’t. We choose to elect a government that we know will give a low priority to the most vulnerable in our society – a government that on the other hand will strive might and main and will take considerable political risks in the interests of, for example, its friends in the foreign trust industry.

Gould now switches to his real aim – to promote a change of Government. As if that would suddenly fix all problems with housing and children.

Sadly, the cynical view of human nature represented by the values of so-called “middle New Zealand” now allow our government in effect to wash its hands of the problem.

This sort of political rhetoric will do nothing to house the homeless and lift all children out of poverty.

Gould seems to think that waving a socialist wand will solve all the problems, but he is expressing a more extreme ‘diss the Government, vaguely suggest magic solutions’ than the Labour party he supports – a party that is struggling to be taken seriously as an alternative to National, in part because of messengers like Gould.

And it’s not just Gould.

NZH: Andrew Little’s crowded house stunt backfires

There have been recent stories in the media about overcrowding in Auckland, with people having to live in cars, garages and tents on properties.

The problem appears to be worst in Otara, where one house in particular reportedly had 17 people living on the property, with some forced out of the house to sleep in a tent.

Everyone recognises there are real and serious problems with housing , especially in Auckland.

Labour leader Andrew Little attempted to show reporters an overcrowded house in South Auckland yesterday – but it backfired when the indignant owner insisted it was only being renovated.

The media were given an address on Bairds Rd in Otara, which fitted the description of the above house, to wait for the Labour leader.

However, as the cameras were set up, the occupant came out and told journalists the house was in fact being renovated and the tent was full of furniture and renovation materials.

Labour’s communications director Sarah Stuart redirected journalists to the party’s local office before Mr Little arrived.

At the office, Mr Little was a little lost for words and confused about which house he was earlier meant to be at.

There was a house with a tent in the yard whose occupants his MPs Jenny Salesa and Peeni Henare had been working with, he said.

An important part of an MP’s job is to help constituents.

I think that using constituents with problems for political stunts with the media is highly questionable.

However, as the cameras were set up, the occupant came out and told journalists the house was in fact being renovated and the tent was full of furniture and renovation materials.

Labour’s communications director Sarah Stuart redirected journalists to the party’s local office before Mr Little arrived.

At the office, Mr Little was a little lost for words and confused about which house he was earlier meant to be at.

There was a house with a tent in the yard whose occupants his MPs Jenny Salesa and Peeni Henare had been working with, he said.

“I haven’t been to that house, I’ll need to clarify which one that is – there was a house that I was invited to go and talk to the people of, then asked not to go, people didn’t want the level of attention,” he explained.

Labour does not look capable of managing a crowded house story let alone a country.

And it looks like Labour MPs may have a mission to find people with housing problems.

Yesterday Clare Curran posted this on a closed Dunedin News Facebook page:

Dear admin I hope this post is ok:
I am concerned that Work and Income are making calls to people living in state houses to tell them they no longer qualify for a state house and they need to find a private rental. This is despite their circumstances remaining the same. Can anyone verify this has happened to them or someone they know? Message me if you want to provide the information privately.

CurranWINZHousingpost

I thought that generally constituents went to MPs if they wanted help. Here it looks like an MP trying to find people who will help her with a story she is pursuing.

It seems odd that she claims “I am concerned that Work and Income are making calls” but then says she wants verification.

One example was given:

I know of someone who has been in a HNZ house for years and was given a month to get out so a refugee family could move in. There was no change in her income or anything else

Curran responded:

Can you get in touch and ask if she will speak to me

Another Labour housing story in the making?

Compass swings from food farce to terrible tax

The Compass Group has been under fire for food quality in hospitals, especially in Dunedin.

I don’t think hospital food has ever been anything to write home about but recent examples have highlighted food quality problems and also company image problems.

Even more pressure has gone on Compass Group after it has been revealed that they pay bugger all tax in New Zealand, relative to their turnover – about 2%. And there have been suggestions they have been profit shifting to avoid tax liabilities.

Thisb is embarrassing for Compass and also for the Health Minister and the Government.

Radio NZ: Questions over Compass’ tax payments

Compass New Zealand has lent its British-based parent millions of dollars while the fees and royalties it has paid to the UK have quadrupled over the last four years.

Tax experts have said such transactions are commonly used by multinationals to shift profits between subsidiaries to avoid paying tax.

Accounts filed with the Companies Office show its New Zealand arm has been lending the company’s British parent millions of dollars.

Those loans increased six-fold over the last four years to $33 million for the year ended September 2015, up from $5.5m in 2012. Royalties and fees quadrupled over that same period, from $805,000 to $3.5m.

Such so-called transfer pricing transactions are all legal.

However, Auckland tax consultant Terry Baucher described the loans as “unusual”, especially given the interest rate of between 2.9 percent to 3.8 percent was a lot higher than what Compass would pay for borrowing money in the UK and none of the money had been repaid.

“It’s unusual to see. It’s not surprising – intra-company loans go on all the time. But you would think that given low rates of interest available in the UK there was no need for those advances to be made,” he said.

RNZ News asked Compass to explain why a multinational that made a global profit of $2.5 billion last year needed to borrow $33m from its New Zealand arm.

Compass New Zealand has not paid a dividend to its British parent in the last four years, but has paid about $1m in fees and services to its Australian arm each year. Fees and royalties to its British parent between 2012 and 2015 have quadruped to $3.5m.

Dividends and royalties were taxed by Inland Revenue (IRD), and loans were not. Compass New Zealand paid $2m in tax last year, just over 1 percent of its revenue of $170 million.

Compass said it paid that amount because its costs were high and its margins low.

ODT reports: Curran calls Compass’ tax arrangement amoral

Dunedin South MP Clare Curran said Compass was not doing anything against the law, but she believed the situation was ‘‘amoral”.

She said there was increased focus on the low rate of tax paid by multinational companies, and the Government was lagging behind other countries in dealing with the problem.

If those Compass costs include royalties and loans transferred offshore then their morals look as good as an unappetising gloop on a hospital plate.

1459496801290

The presumed potato and whatever else is in the centre of the plate represents the Compass Group’s New Zealand revenue.

The portions on the rim of the plate represents approximately how much tax Compass pay in New Zealand.

Clark, Curran speak at anti-TPP event

Labour’s trade spokesperson David Clark and Dunedin’s other Labour MP Clare Curran followed up appearances at last night’s anti-TPPA meeting with speeches at a rally in the Octagon today.

The ODT reports: Octagon declared a ‘TPP-free zone’

Up to 250 people have declared the Octagon a Trans Pacific Partnership-free zone at an ”action event” in Dunedin this afternoon.

Event organiser Jen Olsen said Dunedin should follow suit and become the first city to declare itself TPP-free.

I’ve already mentioned in the previous post that unilateral declarations are not very democratic.

The crowd heard from Labour’s Dunedin MPs David Clark and Clare Curran, the first time the pair have spoken publicly since Labour declared itself opposed to the controversial deal after years of uncertainty over where the party stood.

They seem to have decided to back some fairly extreme trade activists. This is a major change for Labour, who were involved in getting the TPPA off the ground.

Dr Clark, who is also Labour’s trade spokesman, said it had been a ”hell of a ride” since he took on the trade portfolio last month.

TPPARallyDavidClark

Labour trade spokesperson David Clark (Facebook)

The party had taken a “principled stance not a populist stance” to the TPP, which breached New Zealand’s sovereignty, he said.

New Zealand relied on trade, but not at any price, he said.

He said the party needed to be careful how its presented its argument over TPP in order to take “middle New Zealand” along with it.

Taking “middle New Zealand” while lurching leftward may be quite a challenge for Labour.

Ms Curran echoed Dr Clark’s sentiments, and reminded the crowd Labour celebrated its 100th anniversary this year.

TPPAClareCurran

“We are immensely proud of our history – most of our history,” Ms Curran said.

Their current actions may or may not be viewed with pride.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei received the warmest response from the crowd, especially when she declared the TPP would bring down the National Government.

TPPAMetiria

She said she had been heartened by the anti-TPP speaking tour featuring US trade authority Lori Wallach.

It wasn’t a big crowd but that sounds like it was Greenish rather than the “middle New Zealand” Labour think they might appeal to.

Labour branch recess “nothing to lose any sleep over at all”

Labour are that brimming with support that the putting of a branch into recess has been descrobed by the Labour Party president as “certainly nothing to lose any sleep over at all”.

Richard Harman at Politik reports: LABOUR LEFT WINGERS CLOSE BRANCH IN PROTEST

The Labour party leadership is shrugging off a move by a Dunedin branch of the party to go into recess because it says it is not left wing enough.

The Anderson’s bay branch of the party has said it is going into recess.

Its organiser, Tat Loo, who writes under the pseudonym “Colonel Viper’ on the left wing blog site, “The Standard”. Said “Labour as an organization is failing ordinary Kiwis both locally in Dunedin and centrally in Wellington on many different levels and it shows every sign of continuing on that track.

“We want no part of propping up the Thorndon Bubble careerist ‘pretend and extend’ set any further and will be moving on to new political projects.”

But party president, Nigel Haworth, said the move was “really quite inconsequential”.

He said it was a minor perturbation.

“It’s certainly nothing to lose any sleep over at all.”

In fact Mr Haworth and leader, Andrew Little, night well regard the move as a minor victory in their quest to make the party more relevant to mainstream New Zealand.

Yeah, right, sheeding support is just what Labour need right now.

Ok, Tat Loo has been a vocal critic of the direction Labolur is heading (right and down) at The Standard for a while. A few years ago he got offside with Clare Curran and she is alleged to have tried to have him suspended from the party.

But Labour can’t really afford to shed factions.

I met Tat Loo during the 2011 campaign (he stood for Labour in the Clutha/Southlan electorate), seemed a nice enough guy but having seen what he writes at The Standard our ideas on politics are obviously quite different.

As Colonial Viper Loo wrote about the branch recess decision at The Standard:

ABP Branch of Labour goes into recess; all Branch Officers to resign

Dunedin’s most active and most innovative Labour Party branch is going into recess.

Going by the comment count (361 to date) there’s been a lot of interest.

Quite funny to see me pop up in the commentary:

Colonial Viper 17.2

thanks RL. To our team forging unity throughout the Left is not going to be the goal, it is going to be shifting and driving authentic political debate, something that many are clearly uncomfortable with.

  • One Anonymous Bloke

    :roll:

    Like Pete George only with conspiracy theories 😆

    • Colonial Viper

      yeah, because everyone on the Std reckons that my politics and that of Pete Georges are directly comparable.

      • One Anonymous Bloke

        I’m referring to the fact that, like yours, his rapier-like debating abilities make people uncomfortable 😆

        • McFlock

          Different sides of the same coin.

          PG often seemed to me to be so keen on the idea that truth was a matter of perspective that he would disappear up his own cartesian doubt.

          CV seems to be so convinced he can read the matrix code as it swirls by that anybody who disagrees with him must be either a fool or a neoliberal stooge.

Quite funny to be included in discussions like that.

Less funny – both Tat Loo and I are potential Labour voters, albeit from opposite sides of their spectrum. That both of us a rejected by Labour and Labour supporters suggests that 30% might be not be left behind any time soon.

But apparently the Labour leader and the Labour president see this as really quite inconsequential, a minor perturbation and  certainly nothing to lose any sleep over at all.

 

Overdose on irony

In You’d never guess who’s accused me of making stuff up Phil Quin says:

Is it possible to overdose on irony?

‘Cameron Slater’ (this post sounds like Slater) quotes Quin in PHIL QUIN ON THE FERAL OPPOSITION TO DISSENT IN LABOUR and says:

In Labour people aren’t allowed to change their views, have to subscribe to group think and if they don’t then they get run out of town on a rail. Good people have left Labour because of attitudes like these.

Joe Bloggs points out:

Kinda reminded me of all the good people who’ve left WO for exactly the same reason… the irony, the irony, oh how it burns…

But Slater is as inept as Clare Curran – see Quin illustrates dissent in Labour – in failing to see the irony in what they say.

Quin illustrates dissent in Labour

In his latest column Phil Quin sums up his despair about Labour: “I am genuinely exasperated by its unrelenting incompetence, and fearful that New Zealand is on the cusp of becoming a one-party state.

I feel much the same, and I’ve seen many others express similar sentiments. A strong democracy benefits from having at least two strong political parties.

Labour’s continued failure to look like a Government in waiting – and their habits of blaming everything and everyone else and of attacking anyone who criticises them rather than address the problems being highlighted keeps limiting and reducing support that they badly need.

Quin points some of this out in You’d never guess who’s accused me of making stuff up.

Of all people, it was Dunedin South MP Clare Curran who took to social media to attack as “fiction” my latest NZ Herald column on the party’s disastrous TPP policy. For good measure, she added  I am “very bitter”.

Is it possible to overdose on irony?

In my plagiarism posts, I presented several examples of Curran lifting entire sections from magazine articles and inserting them without attribution in a Labour Party policy paper. Neither Curran nor anyone else in Labour disputed my account.

By contrast, when calling my column “fiction” and me “very bitter”, Curran failed to produce a scintilla of evidence to support either claim.  Just another baseless ad hominem attack. Ho hum..

This happens every time without fail.  Some outlet or other publishes something from me that contains criticism of the Labour Party because I am genuinely exasperated by its unrelenting incompetence, and fearful that New Zealand is on the cusp of becoming a one-party state.

The response from Labour is never to dispute the facts as I lay them out, or even to question my interpretation. I am simply attacked for being “bitter”.

Try attempting to out-criticise anything to do with Labour at The Standard if you are labelled a right wing nut job and you will see what Quin is getting at,

So why do people choose the ad hominem attack over engaging on the substance of arguments to which they object?  After all, I cop a fraction of what others with unfashionable views endure on a daily basis.  Sadly, personal vilification in lieu of argument is a ubiquitous feature of the modern discourse.

When they have only a party entrenched in negative behaviour without a positive outlook people tend to lash out at others. Instead of addressing and fixing their own faults.

The problem for Labour is that they call in the attack dogs each and every time. All dissent amounts to apostasy.  Every critic must be acting in bad faith: they are embittered over a factional stoush twenty years ago; they harbour ulterior motives; they’re on someone’s payroll.

The impact on people like me who cop the abuse is neither here nor there; what should worry Labour supporters is that an ethos that delegitimises dissent makes reform impossible – and that, without reform, the party’s future looks very bleak indeed.

I also think Labour’s future looks bleak. If they do manage to cobble together a National beating coalition after the 2017 election I think it would be a miracle if they survived in Government longer than a single term – if they manage to last that long.

Quin pointed to examples of the inclination towards personal attack:

So you can see why I might feel a tad hurt by Curran’s digs, since I went out of my way during the plagiarism episode to avoid disparaging her. (Curran also honed in on the Josie Pagani for retweeting my article: “Josie,” she snarled, “why are you so anti-Labour?”).

I saw that exchange between Pagani and Curran and it’s a good illustration of one of Quin’s points.

As for a number of MPs who don’t like criticism I get this when I try to view Curran on Twitter:

You are blocked from following @clarecurranmp and viewing @clarecurranmp’s Tweets.

But Josie Pagani is more open to engagement so it’s easy to see what happened via her.

Labour’s position on TPP undermines all international agreements, from climate change to human rights. Phil Quin:

another piece of fiction by the very bitter Phil Quinn. Why are you so anti-Labour Josie?

another piece of fiction by the very bitter Phil Quinn. Why are you so anti-Labour Josie?” Nice Clare-try engaging in issues

gee Josie. All you do is bag Labour at every turn.

: gee Josie. All you do is bag Labour at every turn.” Your ‘unity’, also collective denial. I want a Labour gov

could have fooled me. Our position clear & principled on the But we haven’t seen the text so reliant on briefings & leaks

Reaction outside a few Labour MPs has suggested their position is far from clear and principled.

Other reactions were mixed.

No you don’t you want a neoliberal national light government.

Pagani don’t give a shit about anything or anybody that isn’t Pagani.

A modern and successful party allows discussion, disagreement and debate surely?

And all Labour does is bag everything in sight and not.

one would of thought so we need new energy , new ideas and new talent

Away from the smug trolls, honestly, & with respect would be nice.

I’m all for that. Sick of snide remarks. I accept Phil’s got the right to make his points.

As Quin said in his post – “Is it possible to overdose on irony?”