Labour’s health petition whopper

This week’s petition from Labour is aimed at fixing our tax system. Perhaps Labour should aim at on fixing their honesty, or their research or maths.

Sign this petition

To the New Zealand Government

Fund our health system properly so New Zealanders can get the treatment they need.

That’s hopelessly vague. More detail:

Sign the petition to fix our health system

In just six years, National has cut a whopping $1.7 billion from our healthcare system.

Every day we hear stories of how these cuts are impacting Kiwis’ lives. Stories of struggling to pay for the GP; missing out on the medicines they need; and health professionals who are exhausted and overstretched. It’s not right and we have to fix it.

To fix our system, we need to make sure Kiwis know this is a vital issue and they need to vote to change the Government at the election next year.

To make sure health is an election issue, we need to build a massive campaign calling on the Government to ensure the health system can provide the services Kiwis need. A huge petition can’t be ignored and together we can make sure health gets the attention it needs.

A petition this vague, huge or otherwise, will be easily ignored. Health funding is a big issue but this won’t do anything to help our health system.

Plus there is nothing from Labour about how they might ‘fix’ our health system.

Has the Government cut a whopping $1.7 billion from our healthcare system?

The Budget Economic and Fiscal Update 2016 (BEFU) published on 26 May 2016, health spending from Treasury’s Core Crown Expense Table (billions):

  • 2011 – $13.753
  • 2012 – $14.160
  • 2013 – $14.498
  • 2014 – $14.898
  • 2015 – $15.058
  • 2016 – $15.635
  • Forecast for 2017 – $16.214

That’s an increase of $2.461 billion, not a decrease of $1.7 billion as claimed in the petition.

Perhaps Labour is using some different numbers, but with no details it’s impossible to tell how they have come up with a whopping reduction.

It looks more like a whopper of a lie.

Too many white guys?

Yesterday Hekia Parata announced she won’t be standing again in next year’s election.

Patrick Gower opined in Hekia Parata gives John Key a ‘white guy’ problem:

Hekia Parata quitting might give John Key a space in Cabinet – but the problem is a massive queue of white guys lining up to join a line-up of white guys.

Parata’s resignation and Nikki Kaye’s health issues means there are now just five women in Key’s 20-person Cabinet. In contrast, there are 12 white guys – hardly representative of New Zealand in 2016.

As both a woman and a Māori, Parata gave the ministry a real point of difference. More importantly, she was there on merit too.

The inconvenient truth for Key is there is a dearth of females and ethnicities in his Caucus.

There are only 17 women out of the 59 MPs (by contrast, 12 out of 31 Labour MPs are female). And only six of the male National MPs aren’t Pakeha.

National’s gender balance improved slightly when Mike Sabin resigned from Northland and they lost the by-election (with a white male candidate).

When Tim Groser resigned he was replaced with Maureen Pugh as next on the National list.

If Parmjeet Parmar wins the Mt Roskill by-election National will get another woman off the list, Misa Fia Turner. That would only bring them up to 18/59, about a third female, but it will improve their ethnic balance.

If Labour’s Michael Wood wins Mt Roskill they won’t improve their gender imbalance of 12/31, nor their ethnic imbalance. If he loses it will improve both slightly.

Also yesterday Phil Goff announced that Bill Cashmore would be his deputy mayor. Penny Hulse was regarded as too closely associated with the Len Brown era, and it is claimed she didn’t get on well with some councillors. Cashmore is described at The Spinoff as “constructive and dependable, he is a kind of centre-right National-aligned twin to Goff, which should help the mayor secure majorities in council”.

A reaction from Twitter:

Goff won the Auckland mayoralty easily, with his closest rival being an inexperienced (in politics) woman, Vic Crone.

So is there a problem with white male politicians?

There are more white male candidates so it’s nor surprising there will be more white male politicians, especially when, like Goff, they are leading candidates.

Goff stood as an independent, sort of.

But parties choose their electorate candidates and their lists. Are they biased in favour of white men?

Often the successful candidate is determined by party selections prior to the election but ultimately it is the voters who choose electorate candidates, and via the party vote they give the only 50/50 gender party the Greens about a tenth of the vote. Other things seem to be more important to voters than gender balance.

Are white men inferior as politicians?

Or is there a lack of non-white, non-male candidates willing to put themselves forward?

It can’t be ruled out that a majority of females and non-whites prefer white male candidates.

Diversity in political representation is important, but competence, and choice of the voters, should still be given some weight.

Parmjeet Parmar standing for National in Mt Roskill

In very unsurprising news it has been announced that current list MP Dr Parmjeet Parmar will stand for national in the Mt Roskill by-election. She stood in the same electorate in the 2014 general election.

She has joined Michael Wood standing for Labour to replace Phil Goff, and the People’s Party which was launched recently has confirmed Rohan Nauhria will stand as their candidate.

Greens won’t stand a candidate to try and help Labour, and ACT won’t stand a candidate to try and help National.

Over 40% of voters in Mt Roskill were born overseas. Immigration, law and order and housing are expected to be high profile issues.

The official announcement:

National selects Mt Roskill candidate

Parmjeet Parmar has been selected by the National Party to contest the Mt Roskill by-election.

Dr Parmar entered Parliament following the 2014 election. Since then she has worked as National’s List MP based in Mt Roskill.

“This election is about ensuring people in the Mt Roskill electorate have a dedicated local MP to stand up for their interests. I’m really excited to be running,” Dr Parmar says.

“Despite no Government ever winning a by-election off the Opposition, and the deal done by Labour and Greens for the seat, I will run a strong campaign to offer a clear choice to Mt Roskill voters.

“Mt Roskill is an area I’m passionate about because it truly reflects the best about Auckland and New Zealand. It’s full of diverse families who care about one another and work hard. There are a huge range of businesses, large and small, providing job opportunities for people from right across the city.

“Like any part of Auckland, it also has challenges. Local residents need an electorate MP who understands their concerns and advocates tirelessly for them to   ensure both central and local government is delivering results.

Dr Parmar says the National-led Government has worked hard to deliver more for Mt Roskill and her campaign would give a strong account of that work.

“From National’s strong economic management, to the comprehensive plan that is increasing the housing supply, to record investment in vital infrastructure like transport and health.  

“I’ve been working hard in Parliament for the people of Mt Roskill for the last two years, so this by-election is a fantastic opportunity to talk about the issues that I know people care about.”

Biographical Notes – Dr Parmjeet Parmar

Dr Parmjeet Parmar is a scientist, businesswoman, broadcaster and community advocate.

She was born in India and migrated to New Zealand in 1995. A proud mother of two sons, she lives in Auckland with her husband Ravinder.

Dr Parmar holds a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Auckland, as well as Bachelor and Masters degrees in Biochemistry from the University of Pune in India.

Prior to entering Parliament, Dr Parmar was the Operations Director of her family’s Auckland-based Kiwi Empire Confectionery, a confectionery and natural health product manufacturing enterprise. She knows first-hand the challenges of running a small business.

Naturally community-minded, Dr Parmar has also served as a Families Commissioner, a Community Representative on the Film and Video Labelling Body, and as Chair of the NZ Sikh Women’s Association.


Ika: Labour WTF?

I missed the start but I have been watching Labour WTF for a while now.

Labour, WTF? – Live from Ika Seafood Bar & Grill in Auckland, New Zealand, Simon Wilson leads a panel discussion about the state of the Labour Party.

With Nigel Haworth (Labour President), Andrew Campbell (former Green Party Chief of Staff), Dr Deborah Russell (tax expert), Chloe Swarbrick (former mayoral candidate).

Nigel Haworth comes across as a woolly waffler, maybe he runs a tight dynamic ship for Labour but he doesn’t exude confidence.

Deborah Russell is little more than a Labour cheerleader. She sunk to a custard comment about Key’s ‘moral fibre’. She is clearly positioning herself for a political future with Labour.

Chloe Swarbrick is worth having in the discussion. Having considered views of a young woman is great to have in the mix.

Andrew Campbell is the most interesting and forthright about the reality of Labour’s shaky position.

Chloe thinks Jacinda should be Labour leader.

Deborah was asked who outside Labour who would make a good leader, she sidesteps it and promotes a few Labour people ‘coming through’, like Michael Wood who is standing in Mt Roskill.

Andrew names Grant Robertson as ‘an amazing contrast’ to John key as leader and Jacinda as well would be the future leadership for Labour.

Nigel is asked about whether Labour should change their selection rules and he deferred to the members.

Andrew says he agrees with much of what Simon wrote in Look, there goes the Labour Party – sliding towards oblivion.

Deborah refers to Labour as a ‘broad church’. Perhaps it was in the past. It has narrowed alarmingly. And then she refers to Justin Trudeau as Mr Yummy when asked about trustworthiness in Labour.

Then she rejects charisma, saying trust is all important.

Nigel is asked if he thinks the Memorandum of Understanding is important and says it didn’t come entirely from the Greens, but has avoided the question – should it become a coalition agreement. He is wedded to a strong alliance.

Asked about the Maori Party he says it is difficult to see their ‘type of behaviour’ as incompatible with Labour.

A questioner says he has seen no evidence of policy solidarity based on the MoU. Nigel says that it is far to early in the election cycle to come out with substantial policy. He is worried about National moving in on their policies. He says Labour has to time their policy announcements very well. But there remains a vacuum, for how long?

Andrew says there would be a major benefit in Labour and Greens having separate tax policies so Labour+Greens can’t be described as a tax/economics bogey man.

To a question on fundraising Chloe says that money isn’t so important, getting a message across needs to be clear, there needs to be a vision.

Nigel says that money is important. Labour missed an opportunity on public funding of campaigns.

He says Labour has established an ‘extraordinary digital periphery’ – I guess he is talking about their email harvesting.

Someone questions the MoU, saying that it looks like Labour has given up recovery, in contrast to National’s recovery after their 2002 disaster. All Labour has done is ‘cuddle up to the greens’.

Andrew emphasises that the New Zealand electorate hates instability.

Someone says that she wants to be a Labour supporter but she isn’t enthused by Andrew Little and unless they can bring threw people like Chloe they will lose the next election.

Deborah launches into another promotion of Labour/Little. She says Labour has the leader they need.

She then squashes Chloe’s enthusiasm saying that pragmatism matters.

Is Chloe Swarbrick the future of the Labour Party?

Nigel says he would be delighted to have her and over time he wants the party to be attractive to people like ‘Chloe’. They don’t have a lot of time.

Chloe says she represents engagement. She stood as a protest candidate because she was pissed off with the system that doesn’t stand for the people.

She doesn’t see a revolt happening any time soon.

She has a lot of problems with media not holding politicians accountable.

Deborah avoids the question ‘is Andrew Little the future of the Labour Party?’

Andrew says “there is a malaise in the Labour caucus” and refers to National’s ability to turn of MPs compared to Labour’s stagnate bunch.

Chloe says Labour can win when they can empathise and communicate.

Simon says they can win when they have”a leader we can admire and trust and we want to be the Prime Minister”. He talks of the need for charisma.

The discussion comes to a close.

The title remains unresolved – Labour WTF.

Andrew and Chloe should start a new party.

Is Labour sliding towards oblivion?

This question is being asked tonight when Simon Wilson chairs a Spinoff debate at Ika Seafood Restaurant about the future of the Labour Party.

Wilson writes Look, there goes the Labour Party – sliding towards oblivion.

What is the point of Labour? Is it a twentieth century phenomenon sliding into oblivion in the twenty-first?

If you’re an urban progressive, the Greens look like a more natural home. If you’re worried about modernity in any or all its forms, New Zealand First is ready and waiting. If you’re a Māori activist, you can choose from the Māori Party and the Mana Party.

If you’re working class? Any of the above, isn’t it?

In reality, Labour gets votes from all those groups. That’s a good thing: major parties need broad appeal. But Labour doesn’t always treat it as a good thing. They let the inevitable contradictions of being a broad church undermine them – this is expressed through absurdly frequent leadership battles – rather than becoming a source of strength.

Actually, there is a point to Labour and it’s a really important one. They’re there to win elections. Labour is the main party of opposition and therefore is likely to be the majority party in any centre-left government. So they have to look credible. They have to be credible.

If they’re not, the whole centre-left suffers. A vote for the Greens is a vote for a Labour-led government. Votes for NZ First and the Maori Party are also votes for the possibility of such a government.

In New Zealand, it’s generally accepted that Labour’s main job right now, working with the Greens, is to win the next election.

But it’s not obvious this view is shared throughout the Labour Party, where many people clearly prefer to have a leader they agree with, or feel is “one of us”, rather than a leader with great electoral appeal.

And that, in a nutshell, is the tragedy of the Labour Party. They don’t understand the importance of personality. They don’t have a leader capable of charm and because they changed the voting rules to get rid of the last one they did have, David Shearer, they don’t have the ready means to get another one. It’s not that they can’t win, but they have made it a lot harder for themselves.

It’s fashionable to say charisma shouldn’t matter, that personality politics is a scourge. That’s such nonsense. There’s a good reason voters want to feel we can like and trust our leaders: our trust commits us to the political process, commits politicians to us and helps give legitimacy to lawmaking.

So, what are the prospects for Labour heading into election year? Andrew Little will remain leader so they have to double down on becoming the voice of the future. That’s about policy and articulating a vision. Becoming the champion of the compact city in all its forms – from decent affordable housing to creating a cycling city – is a heaven-sent opportunity.

Will they grasp it? What’s their future if they don’t? On the positive side, there’s only one John Key. When he retires, National will lose its charm advantage. On the negative side, it’s only a matter of time before the Greens find an immensely charismatic leader of their own. When that happens, if Labour hasn’t done the same, they really could be annihilated.

There’s no sign of a charisma threat from Greens at the moment, nor does charisma seem to be lurking in their ranks.  So the left in general seem to have a problem, but Labour has been suffering the most.

Tonight’s debate should be interesting.

Tonight at Ika: Labour WTF? – why, what and how is Labour as it turns 100? Simon Wilson chairs a discussion with Labour president Nigel Haworth, former Greens chief of staff Andrew Campbell, commentator and Labour candidate Dr Deborah Russell and third placed Auckland Mayoral candidate Chloe Swarbrick. The Spinoff will livestream the event via ye olde Facebook page from 7.30pm

That’s a distinctly left wing panel, but it’s their problem so it’s up to them to show they recognise the challenges they face, if they do.

Chloe Swarbrick seems to be the in person in politics these days, she has been picked up by media and pushed. But it will be a while until she can lead whatever party she may eventually join, if she does.

Michael Wood MP they presume

Michael Wood was appointed as Labour’s candidate to stand for the Mt Roskill by-election unusually early in June, just after Phil Goff announced he would vacate the seat if elected mayor of Auckland.

Goff has just been elected mayor and has just resigned, four months later, so this was all a bit presumptive.

What looks even more presumptive is this draft page on Wikipedia, that heralds Wood as a ‘New MP’ and says that Wood is “a New Zealand politician and a member of the New Zealand House of Representatives”.


National’s presumed candidate Parmjeet Parmar has her own Wikipedia page but this hasn’t been updated for nearly a year and doesn’t mention anything about the by-election.

The Mt Roskill page hasn’t even been updated yet about the by-election:

Goff is expected to resign after contesting and being elected Mayor of Auckland in October 2016 in the Auckland mayoral election, 2016. His resignation will necessitate a byelection in this electorate.

‘Ending Homelessness’ report

The ‘Ending Homelessness in New Zealand’ report was released yesterday following a ‘cross-party inquiry’ involving Labour, the Greens and the Maori Party.

Executive Summary

The hundreds of submissions and pieces of evidence presented to the Cross-Party Inquiry into Homelessness show that the level of homelessness in New Zealand is larger than any other time in recent memory and is continuing to grow. The housing crisis is causing an extreme level of homelessness, particularly in Auckland, with families forced to live on the streets, in cars, and in garages.

While New Zealand has had an underlying level of homelessness for some time, there has been a substantial increase in recent years driven by a lack of affordable housing. Many of the problems causing homelessness track back over 30 years, but the current Government has exacerbated the situation by allowing the housing crisis to spin out of control. It has the power to fix it if it is prepared to take the necessary steps.

Homelessness is no longer dominated by the stereotypical rough sleeper with mental health issues and is now more often a working family with young children. Māori and Pasifika communities have disproportionately suffered, along with new migrants who also face substantially higher rates of homelessness. Submitters told us that the vulnerability of other groups such as people with disabilities, the rainbow community and people with mental health issues is exacerbated by homelessness.

The small steps taken by the Government so far are insufficient. To address the problem the Government needs to implement a comprehensive set of measures that address the housing crisis at every level. There needs to be a substantial scaling up of resources to tackle homelessness using Housing First and Whānau Ora approaches.

The Government must step in and address the overall housing crisis by cracking down on speculation in the property market and building significantly more affordable houses. An expansion of state and community housing to provide long term affordable rental accommodation is vital. Without an increase in permanent housing for the homeless to go into, the issue will not ultimately be addressed. We have also identified through the inquiry, a range of other practical measures to reduce homelessness. These steps make up the 20 recommendations of our Inquiry.

Fixing homelessness won’t be cheap. The proposals in this report, when fully adopted, would require significant investment. However this needs to be considered against the cost of doing nothing. Submitters told us it costs around $65,000 to keep a person homeless. When we have 4,200 people without shelter that is over $250 million a year homelessness is costing us.

To deliver all of this, the Government must develop a nationwide strategy to end homelessness. This needs to set out exactly what it will deliver and how to end the chronic levels of homelessness that New Zealand is now facing.

The submissions to the Inquiry showed that this issue is now more important than ever, and we call on the Government to act boldly and urgently.

Summary of Recommendations

1. Roll out Housing First as the primary response to severe homelessness.

2. Increase the State housing stock.

3. A systemic fix to the housing crisis: Build more affordable houses, reduce the cost of building a home, and tackle speculation in the property market.

4. Create a national strategy to end homelessness.

5. Support Kāinga Whenua housing and develop greater flexibility to recognise multiple owned property title.

6. Long term funding for Community Housing Providers to build houses.

7. Retain the Official Statistics New Zealand definition of homelessness and collect regular data on homelessness.

8. Expand housing for the elderly.

9. Income related rent subsidies for existing community housing tenants.

10. Greater security of tenure for renters.

11. Review the Accommodation Supplement.

12. Use vacant state housing stock for emergency housing.

13. Homes for people leaving state care.

14. Information sharing between agencies addressing homelessness.

15. Work with Pasifika aiga to create Pasifika homelessness services.

16. Permanently remove the Housing New Zealand dividend.

17. More support for homelessness workers.

18. Expand agencies able to undertake needs assessments and refer tenants to emergency housing. 19. Improve the quality of rental housing.

20. Increase youth housing and services.

Full Report: Ending Homelessness in New Zealand  (PDF)

Little says Labour would welcome Leggett back

Labour leader Andrew Little says that Nick Leggett would be welcomed back into Labour, despite describing Leggett as “a right-wing candidate”.

When Leggett resigned from the Labour Party so he could stand for the Wellington mayoralty against a Labour candidate Little was not amused.

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.

Now Labour’s Justin Lester has beaten Leggett in the mayoralty Little seems to have changed his views, or at least his public stance.

NZ Herald  in 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.”

Leggett resigned from Labour – which he joined at age 15 – just before announcing his nomination for Wellington mayor as an independent.

In that way he avoided being expelled because it against the rules for members to stand against endorsed candidates.

Little made an attack on Leggett in August, saying his campaign was being run by an Act identity and that his campaign was being funded by “right-wingers.”

Leggett took issue with that description, saying he was a moderate who was “pro-enterprise” but also a strong advocate for social issues while mayor of Porirua.

He believed Little’s comments reflected the fact there was a “purge” going on within Labour to rid itself of members considered “right wing”.

It sounds like both Leggett and Little were not happy at all with each other.

So what now for Leggett? Will he “work with people who can organise for his success”? If he rejoins Labour and puts himself forward as a candidate next year it would be interesting to see where he was placed on the Labour list.

This is an odd flip flop from Little. Is it a genuine attempt at conciliation? Or is it an attempt to stop Leggett looking around at other parties?

Attention turns to Mt Roskill

Now that Phil Goff has cruised into the Auckland mayoralty and will resign from his Mt Roskill electorate political attention has already turned to the by-election.

This has already anticipated by parties:

  • Labour have already selected Michael Wood to stand for them.
  • Greens have already announced they won’t stand a candidate, due to their Memorandum of Understanding, to give Wood a better chance of retaining the seat for Labour.
  • National list MP Parmjeet Parmar has been positioning herself to stand (but hasn’t been selected yet).
  • The People’s Party was launched recently and Rohan Nauhria has now confirmed he will stand as their candidate.

NZ Herald covers this and more in Another contender in fight for Mt Roskill.

The new People’s Party will stand in the upcoming Mt Roskill byelection caused by Phil Goff’s mayoral victory – targeting the 40 per cent of residents who are Asian.

Rohan Nauhria confirmed to the Herald that he will be running as a candidate for the People’s Party, which he also leads.

The businessman was one of the founders of the party that launched earlier this year, with the aim of attracting votes from the Indian and other Asian communities.

Nauhria said he would campaign in Mt Roskill on two or three issues, the first being law and order, with concerns among ethnic communities that they were increasingly a target for burglaries and other crime.

There have been claims (from the left) that the People’s Party has been set up to help National but competing for the large ethnic Indian vote may reduce rather than increase National’s chances.

Despite Goff winning Mt Roskill by clear margins National got 41.87% party vote to Labour’s 35.35% in 2014 so it isn’t a foregone conclusion for Wood and Labour.

In 2014 Goff won with an 8000-vote majority over Parmar but National got 14,275 party votes – about 2000 more than Labour.

Whatever the outcome it’s hard to know whether any indicators will come out of the by-election of what might happen in next year’s general election.

Andrew Little and Metiria Turei have applauded their parties successes in the local body elections, but similar successes in 2013 didn’t translate into success for either party in the 2014 general election.

Of course by-elections can do funny things, as happened in the last by-election, when Winston Peters won Northland. But that was under extraordinary circumstances with National’s incumbent MP Mike Sabin resigning just after the election under a cloud. And Peters is far from an ordinary candidate.

Mt Roskill gives voters a chance to express themselves however they like, whether on national issues or on local issues. It’s impossible to know what they will end up deciding their vote on.

Unlike their Northland embarrassment a loss for National would be little more than nothing gained for them in Mt Roskill, although picking up an extra seat in Parliament would be significant, as it would give them their majority (with ACT or with Peter Dunne) again. So they will be keen to do well, but by-elections tend to go against parties in Government.

More pressure will be on Labour. The loss of an electorate would be seriously embarrassing for them. This will be a test for Matt McCarten in his new position as Labour’s Auckland campaign guru – he has had very mixed successes in the past.

It will be interesting to see how much Andrew Little injects himself into the campaign. He has to be actively involved, because a lot will be riding on the result for him.

Little also needs campaign experience. He has lost both his electorate campaigns in New Plymouth, so as far as Labour is concerned his by-election performance will be closely watched.

The People’s Party are unlikely to come close to competing with National and Labour but they could cause serious problems for both, depending on which of the big parties they suck votes off.

However the People’s Party will a have good opportunity to put the spotlight on issues of concern to the large number of Indian voters, so may get some wins via Government promises.

NZ First MP Mahesh Bindra stood in Mt Roskill in 2014 but didn’t do well, getting only 717 votes (2.15%). NZ First also got a relatively low 5.29%, and their anti-immigration rhetoric may not appeal to an electorate with many immigrants.

There will be a lot of interest in the by-election, amongst political junkies at least. Whatever the result is it will be interesting, possibly even fascinating, but it may ask more questions than answers about what may happen next year.

Dunne: “the decidedly inferior Mr Little”

In his weekly blog post Peter Dunne has made it clear that he doesn’t rate Andrew Little highly.

Dunne is obviously not angling for a memorandum or any sort of understanding with Labour. He may not care, it’s unknown whether he will stand again next year. He may also not care for an alliance involving Greens and NZ First along with Labour.

Dunne’s post takes a historic look at why he thinks Little’s spurning of the centre is likely to be unsuccessful, interspersed with some fairly pointed remarks about Little.

While the Leader of the Opposition is right to talk of “coalitions of interests” he is wrong to assume he alone can put them together without the glue of the centre ground. Fraser, Holyoake, and more latterly Clark and Key fully understood that point.

Mr Little, who is nowhere near their league, appears not to.

Not very complimentary.

So, the Leader of the Opposition thinks elections should not be about who wins the centre ground. He is right, up to a point, especially about bringing together “coalitions of interests” in his bid to win office.

Where he is wrong, however, is that no New Zealand Government – single or multi party, pre or post MMP – has ever been elected without winning over the centre ground of politics. Moreover, for at least one hundred years, New Zealand has had moderately conservative governments, led since the 1930s by either National or Labour.

But Dunne also opines that Little is nowhere near the quality or popularity of Labour’s successful leaders, like Norm Kirk, David Lange and Helen Clark.

It is no coincidence that along the way, Kirk, Lange and Clark had all moderated their message to win the public confidence, and that Labour only won office when they did so.

Yet the far less impressive Mr Little apparently believes he can eschew those lessons.

And again:

But again, the decidedly inferior Mr Little knows better.  

Dunne is yet another ex-Labourite who is not on good terms with the current Labour leadership.