Cosgrove to work for Mayor Goff

Duncan Garner tweeted this morning:

Hat tip; Clayton Cosgrove to work for Phil Goff when he becomes Mayor of Akld. 

I heard that somewhere a while ago too, so maybe this is a thing.

In April Cosgrove announced he wouldn’t stand again at the next election. He lost the Waimakariri electoratein 2011 and has been a list MP since.

RNZ in April: Labour’s Clayton Cosgrove to leave politics

He said he wanted to take on new challenges and opportunities and was looking for opportunities in the business sector. He did not rule out resigning his seat before the election.

Working for a mayor is not in the business sector. Working for an ex-fellow MP sounds like jobs for mates.

I’m not aware of Cosgrove having much of a connection with Auckland.

Lining Cosgrove up alongside Goff makes it look less like the independent bid for the mayoralty that Goff has tried to portray, and more like an attempted Labour Party takeover.

Goff is probably still hot favourite to win the Auckland mayoralty but Goff + Cosgrove gives his opponents more of a shot.

A Clayton chief of staff?

@BillyRalston

Good heavens! @RMAHarman suggests in this morning’s Politik that Clayton Cosgrove is likely to become @philgoffmp’s Chief of Staff if Mayor

That’s a big Good Grief! if true. Not exactly a team of young guns.

But I can’t find it at Politik, nor anywhere else.

Faafoi rises in Labour reshuffle

Andrew little has promoted Mana electorate MP Kris Faafoi in his caucus reshuffle after Clayton Cosgrove announced he would not stand again next year.

Kris Faafoi promoted to Shadow Cabinet

Posted by Andrew Little

Kris Faafoi has been promoted to Labour’s Shadow Cabinet and receives the Tourism portfolio while Clayton Cosgrove takes on a business outreach role – a move prompted by Mr Cosgrove’s decision to not stand at the next election, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.

“Kris Faafoi is a very talented MP whose hard work has earned him a place on the Shadow Cabinet. He is instantly recognisable to many New Zealanders and connects well when he’s on the road – an invaluable skill when working with the tourism industry.

“David Shearer receives Kris’ Consumer Affairs portfolio. David is passionate about this area and has some special projects he is keen to work on.

“Clayton Cosgrove keeps his Commerce, Veterans’ Affairs and Associate Finance portfolios. He takes on a new business outreach role. Clayton has excellent links with business and will lead the push in working with industry. He has stepped out of the Shadow Cabinet to allow new talent to be promoted.

So Cosgrove has stepped down but not out.

 “Labour has a talented line-up with an excellent mix of wise heads and new blood. These minor changes provide new strength,” says Andrew Little.

I guess he has to say that.

While Labour’s ‘Team’ web page has been updated to reflect the new responsibilities the pecking order hasn’t changed, with Cosgrove still at number 18 and Faafoi still at 24.

This reshuffle not only hasn’t warranted a post at The Standard, so far Faafoi’s promotion hasn’t been mentioned in comments either. According to their Search he barely rates a mention ever (twice only so far this year) so the lack of interest is not surprising.

Faafoi was chosen to stand for Labour in the Mana by-election in 2010. He is the the first MP of Tokelauan descent (he grew up in Christchurch).

Faafoi trained as a journalist and worked for the BBC and as a political commentator.

He returned to New Zealand  and was Phil Goff’s chief press secretary when Goff took over Labour’s leadership after Helen Clark resigned. Faafoi was also the Rongotai Pacific branch chair of the Labour Party – that is Annette King’s electorate.

So Faafoi is one of the growing number of MPs who have effectively been internally promoted from within Labour’s political class.

An uncomplimentary cartoon by Emmerson at NZ Herald:

Labour rumblings and reshuffle

Rumours are reported to be rumbling in the Labour camp, but Andrew Little denies there will be any major changes when he reshuffles his caucus following the the announcement that Clayton Cosgrove won’t stand again next election.

Cosgrove seemed to be in semi-retirement anyway.

Heather du Plessis-Allan reports on some insider moans in Labour needs a hero and a cause:

For a while now, everyone in the party has bravely kept painting their faces, putting on their party frocks and pretending life was peachy.

That’s the line that’s been spun. But…

I was killing time around Parliament, waiting for a minister. A Labour Party insider was killing time too. We got talking.

Andrew Little said this. Andrew Little said that. Tired of his cock-ups. Tired of being blamed for his mistakes.

It wasn’t a surprise morale in the Labour Party was low, it was a surprise someone was being honest about it.

It would have been surprising if there hadn’t been concerns expressed, privately at least, about Labour’s and Little’s performance. And this was before last week’s poor poll result and before Little’s flailing attacks on John Key this week.

Later that day, I walked through the arrivals gate at Auckland airport next to a well-connected political mover and shaker. We got talking. Trouble’s brewing in the Labour Party.

They’re talking of cutting Grant Robertson. They’re talking of cutting the chief of staff. Watch this space.

While the political buck stops at the top chief of staff Matt McCarten was recruited by David Cunliffe and that didn’t work well. Little retained McCarten in the critical role and that hasn’t worked out well.

If Little isn’t going then McCarten has to go. Something drastic has to change and that’s one of the few options Little has.

But shuffling Robertson out of the Finance role? That’s less likely for a couple of reasons. Dropping Robertson from Finance would be an admission of a failed gamble with Robertson and would threaten his whole Future of Work thing, something Little is probably reluctant to do.

And demoting Robertson from the most demanding of portfolio roles would give Robertson more time and a reason to reconsider his leadership ambitions.

In any case little says he is not including Robertson in his shuffle plans.

Claire Trevett writes in Labour to ‘rejig’ caucus:

Labour leader Andrew Little will do a “slight rejig” of his caucus this week after Clayton Cosgrove’s decision not to stand next year, but has ruled out changing key personnel such as finance spokesman Grant Robertson.

Little said he had no plans to replace Robertson.

“There will be some slight rejigging in the next week or so, but I’m not anticipating any significant changes.” There was speculation former finance spokesman David Parker could get the finance role back, but Little and Parker denied it had come up.

Little said nobody had suggested he change the finance spokesperson, and when he set up his Shadow Cabinet in 2014 he made it clear Robertson would be in the finance role until at least next year’s election. “I’m totally satisfied with Grant’s performance and have no intention of changing him out of the finance role.”

After stating that Little can’t drop Robertson.

So were the rumblings about Robertson discussed by Labour’s leadership?

Or does it reflect dissatisfaction further down the ranks?

Either is a potential problem for Labour.

What Little has committed to is a minor tweak of caucus roles. Cosgrove is ranked 18 and has hardly been seen over the last eighteen months, but relatively low profile responsibilities…

  • Spokesperson for Commerce
  • Spokesperson for Veterans’ Affairs
  • Spokesperson for Tourism
  • Associate Finance Spokesperson

…so re-assigning those will probably not give any indication that Labour are doing anything different.

So Little’s best option to vitalise (you can hardly revitalise something that has been on life support for nearly a decade) his leadership is replacing McCarten.

Chief of staff is a vital role in a party leadership team. Little is noticeably struggling. If he can find someone who will do the hard work for him behind the scenes, and who will give him frank and helpful advice, then he might (just might) find a way of looking like a future Prime Minister.

Little said the poll was “disappointing” but had not spooked him or the caucus. “We are struggling to get clear messages through on our priorities. We’ve got to work harder at that.”

But this week Little’s priorities seemed to be muddy messages dirt mongering, pretty much the opposite of what he says Labour should be doing.

It’s not a matter of working harder, it’s more a matter of working smarter. Much smarter.

And it would be a smart move to appoint a smart chief of staff.

But the biggest problem may be finding some one willing to try to sort out Labour’s mess.

Cosgrove to stand down

Remember Clayton Cosgrove? He used to be MP for Waimakariri, first winning the seat in 1999, and became a Labour minister in the Clark government.

Cosgrove is only 46 but seems to be past his best by date as an MP.

This is what he looked like whenever this party website photo was taken:

0-mp-profile

This was him giving his latest speech in Parliament on 4 April 2016:

Cosgrove20160405

He lost Waimakariri in 2011 and stood again in 2014, virtually hiding the fact that he was standing as a Labour candidate and implying he was still MP for the electorate, but failed again.

But he is still an MP thanks to his high enough ranking on the Labour list. But he has hardly been seen or heard of for the last few years, since the 2014 election in particular.

He has seemed like the MP when you don’t want to be an MP.

And he has just announced that he doesn’t want to continue to be an MP and will stand down before or by next year’s election.

Stuff: Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove will not seek re-election in 2017

Labour MP Clayton Cosgrove is to stand down at – or before – the next election.

The list MP – who had held the Waimakariri seat for four terms – said it was not a decision he made lightly. He had discussed it with his leader Andrew Little,”who understands this is about new challenges and opportunities for me”.

Cosgrove, 46, said he was elected when he was 30 and now was the right time to take the next step in his career.

“Before entering politics I held senior executive positions in business both in New Zealand and Australia, and so I feel extremely fortunate to have gained so much experience in both the private and public sector,” he said.

This is good news of sorts for Labour, who badly need dead wood out and replaced by dynamic new MPs.

Cosgrove is going voluntarily. It’s now up to Labour to come up with a suitable replacement.

Cosgrove is currently ranked 18 in Labour’s lineup.

On the Labour website: Latest from Clayton Cosgrove

That’s not very prolific.

 

Clayton’s MPs

When researching The quiet achiever – tourism I found that Labour’s spokesperson on tourism is Clayton Cosgrove. Clayton who? He seems to have been all but an invisible MP this year.

Cosgrove got some attention in last year’s election by promoting himself in the Waimakariri electorate with barely a mention of Labour. He failed to win, so is a list MP again this term.

After Andrew Little took over Labour’s leadership last year he ranked Cosgrove fairly well down the pecking order. Labour promoted New faces, wise heads in bold Labour line up.

Unranked

  • Clayton Cosgrove, Revenue, State Owned Enterprises, Building and Construction, Earthquake Commission, Associate Finance

Not high profile portfolios. And not a high profile spokesperson – since then Cosgrove has put out only three press releases:

In last month’s reshuffle Cosgrove ended up ranked 18th:

Labour List MP in Waimakariri

Spokesperson for Commerce, Veterans’ Affairs, and Tourism
Associate Finance Spokesperson

After this a Dominion Post editorial – The real hope for Labour is the rising star Kelvin Davis – suggested:

Ruth Dyson, however, does not need to be retained as a future Deputy Speaker. She and other politicians, such as Clayton Cosgrove and Damien O’Connor would do the party a favour if they retired.

Being a list MP Cosgrove could quietly retire and let the next person on the list come in gain some experience. So could some of the other dead wood MPs. Labour badly needs fresh talent.

A problem with replenishment off the list is due to Labour’s poor result last election appears to be Maryan Street (3 term MP), followed by Raymond Huo (2 term MP). After that there are some new names, Priyanca Radhakrishnan and Rachel Jones.

Cosgrove isn’t the only Labour MP that would do the party a favour by disappearing officially, with Dyson and O’Connor mentioned as other candidates, plus Trevor Mallard and Clare Curran being other candidates.

Plus David Cunliffe is obviously not wanted, and Phil Goff wants out but only if he wins the Auckland mayoralty.

Most of these could qualify as Labour’s Clayton’s MPs, the MPs you have when you don’t need them.

The Clayton’s photo…

…the photo Cosgrove uses when he doesn’t want to use a photo.

Yesterday a question came up on whether Clayton Cosgrove may have photoshopped himself a bit for his election hoarding.

Cosgrove hoarding

That’s not a very clear photo and it’s not clear when it was taken – at least one Labour is MP is known to be re-using their 2008 hoardings.

But it appears to be the same photo that Cosgrove is currrently using on his Facebook page:

Cosgrove FacebookIt is similar if not the same as on Labour’s campaign website:

Cosgrove campaign

Also on Facebook is a photo on a post that says …

“Today (Monday the 21st of July), I had my weekly radio slot with Chris Lynch on Newstalk ZB,

…with an accompanying photo:

Cosgrove radio

However that image is re-used as it also appears on his Timeline for his radio posts on June 30, 23, 16, May, April  etc.

Here is Cosgrove speaking in Parliament on Tuesday 22 July 2014.

Cosgrove Parliament 2014 July

Here’s something curious found on Google images.

Cosgrove van sign

That looks to be the same image as his current hoardings, Facebook profile and Labour campaign site.

Cosgrove is not MP for Waimakariri, he lost the  electorate in the 2011 election, but he is using the same image.

And if you look back at the first image he is implying he is still MP for Waimakiriri. Regardless of using old photos that’s misleading advertising.

Contrasting Labour hoardings

Labour leader David Cunliffe put up his first hoarding today, (as snapped by Patrick Gower).

Cunliffe hoarding

Interesting to see no ‘Cunliffe’ on it apart from the picture, and a meaningless slogan the most prominent wording. ‘Party vote Labour’ is far less prominent.

Clayton Cosgrove (source Whale Oil)

Cosgrove hoarding

Cosgrove is 8 on the Labour list but no ‘Vote positive’ or ‘Party vote Labour. Much less red, his own slogan which sounds a bit like National’s, and a very misleading ‘MP Waimakariri’ as Cosgrove is not an electorate MP.

Trevor Mallard has started putting his hoardings up a day early (source Holly Bennett).

Mallard Hoarding

Mallard is standing for the electorate only and isn’t on the list so is promoting himself, with ‘Vote positive’ and ‘Party vote Labour’ far less prominent at the bottom.

Megan Woods:

Hoarding Woods

Same layout as Mallard’s but Woods is also on the list (at 20).

Jacinda Ardern:

Hoarding Ardern

Same again. This seems to be the official 2014 layout. Jacinda is 5 on the list.

Chris Hipkins:

Hoarding Hipkins

Another standard layout with the all important party vote note prominent. Hipkins is an electorate MP and 9 on the party list.

 

Sue Moroney (source Whale Oil)

Moroney hoarding

Two different versions. The top one is recycled from 2008, promoting both Labour and Moroney but obviously no current slogan ‘Vote positive’. The second is very prominent ‘Party vote Labour.

Ironically Moroney’s recycled hoardings are the best party promotions. She is 10 on Labour’s list and has trouble winning electrates.

It’s strange to see each MP with vastly different hoardings.

Asset sale referendum is flawed politics

After eighteen months of organising a petition and gathering signatures it has been confirmed that we will have a referendum on asset sales.

This has been driven by political parties with political agendas, not by citizens. The legislation has already become law, the first asset has been part sold and another is likely to happen before the referendum.

NZ Herald reports.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman said the referendum should take place as soon as possible, and the partial sale of power companies should be suspended until the vote was held.

Labour’s state-owned enterprises spokesman Clayton Cosgrove said Mr Key should respect the democratic process, and the asset sales programme – including the Meridian float – should be halted until after the referendum

Greens and Labour have been calling for a suspension of sales for some time.

If legislation was put on hold pending a petition and potential referendum then so-called Citizen Initiated Referenda would become common political party obstruction to the government of the day.

If Greens were in Government and proposed legislation to give Working For Families tax credits to beneficiaries and an opposing petition was started would they wait for the outcome of that and a possible referendum?

Would Labour wait for a petition and referendum before introducing a Capital Gains Tax?

Would Labour-Greens wait for opposition delaying tactics to run out of options before implementing their NZ Power scheme?

They are abusing so-called citizen democracy to re-litigate what their failed election support and their failure to stop it in the normal parliamentary process.

They have used parliamentary funds to promote a political agenda. And the referendum will cost millions of dollars – so they can continue their political agenda.

Politicking is all they can achieve, because we know from past experience that Citizen Initiated Referenda are ignored by Parliament, including by Labour and Greens when it suits them.

The whole petition and referendum system has become severely flawed.

“Nice guys don’t last long in this game.”

In an NZ Herald article on David Shearer’s demise as Labour leader a sad observation is made:

The Mana Party’s Hone Harawira said he always found Mr Shearer to be “very, very friendly and very open”.

“I think that was probably his downfall. Nice guys don’t last long in this game.”

That’s how Harawira sees it, and I know others in politics see it that way. I was this told myself recently on Whale Oil.

It’s rubbish.

This sounds to me like it is an attempt to excuse bad behaviour, to excuse politicians who act awfully.

Some of the longest standing politicians in Parliament are widely regarded as decent, nice people – for example Phil Goff and Peter Dunne, both MPs since the 1980s.

There are also long serving MPs with reputations of being not so nice at times, like Trevor Mallard, Winston Peters and Clayton Cosgrove.

Politicians can be strong and still by nice. That means standing up and challenging the nastiness, and make it clear it doesn’t belong in Parliament. MPs are the people’s representatives, so they should represent decent and honourable behaviour.

Politics needs more nice guys and women. Strong and principled works best with nice.

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