UK Update – Labour and Corbyn’s leadership

Update #1 from Missy in the UK:


As Pete reported the other day, to no-one’s surprise – except the most politically obtuse – Corbyn won the leadership election, with an increased majority, so let the re-unification begin…. or not.

The Party Conference is bringing out all sorts of opportunities for MP’s to get in digs to Corbyn, but I am not going to cover them all here, but there have been some controversies, and a couple of main points to raise.

Corbyn hinted in his opening speech that he would not rule out de-selection, and Corbyn supporters have been more open stating that any MP who criticises or opposes Corbyn will be labelled a traitor and action will be taken against them.

On Sunday Corbyn was interviewed on Sky, and amongst his points one that came out was around an issue that is quite big here at the moment – that of the inquiry into soldiers conduct in Iraq.

Just some quick background, this has been ongoing for years, and some soldiers who have been cleared are being re-investigated, and for many the accusers are being actively sought out by lawyers who are making a lot of money off legal aid to bring these cases, even though many of the complainants have been shown to be lying, and in some cases members of the Taliban – or even ISIS. The soldiers are having to foot their legal bill themselves. There is a campaign to get the Government to stop the investigations and inquiry – and Tony Blair has also come out in support of it being stopped, despite being the reason for them being conducted.

During his interview on Sky, Corbyn has said that the inquiry should continue, and that he supports soldiers being investigated for their actions in Iraq – despite the fact that many of the complainants have been proven liars. This has not gone down well with many in the community – including a large number of Labour voters. Corbyn also stated that the Armed Forces needs to be scaled back – though to be honest if the persecution of the soldiers continue no-one will want to join, so therefore that will happen naturally.

Another thing that many are in disbelief at is that Corbyn does not understand why MI6 need to be recruiting more people. It was announced last week that MI6 will be looking to recruit up to 1000 more people by 2020. Corbyn is baffled as to why so many are needed for MI6. This has angered many in the Labour party – and outside it – saying it shows that Corbyn doesn’t understand the threats faced in the UK. The UK is currently on a Severe threat level, meaning an attack is highly likely, the only level higher is critical, meaning a threat is imminent.

Today the Shadow Defence secretary gave his speech, he was reported as being angry when Corbyn’s aids altered his speech, removing the sentence saying that there is no reason to oppose a replacement for Trident, and suggesting that Labour may still yet make it policy to abolish Trident, and not replace it.

A number of Labour MP’s have taken the opportunity of fringe meetings at the Conference to criticise Corbyn, and his supporters, many have warned that unless they move away from the hard left they risk losing very badly at the next election, and losing support to UKIP. In response to the new Labour Policy of opposing fracking, one MP said that there is no point in Labour just opposing Government, they need to be able to say what they will replace it with. Some have noted that polls indicate that Corbyn is not trusted on security matters, and they see this as an issue for the party.

Anti-semitism, sexism, and misogyny also continue to be themes from some MP’s in their speeches attacking Corbyn.

Little: I’m not in the centre at all

Andrew Little on  ‘If that’s the centre, I’m not in the centre at all.”


RNZ (audio) Andrew Little rejects labels of centre or left

The Labour leader Andrew Little has dismissed Helen Clark’s advice Labour should work at ‘commanding the centre ground’ saying labels such as centre are meaningless.

He said virtually the same think on Breakfast where he tried to explain: “I’m focusing on issues that affect middle NZ’s and solutions for it'”.

There has been technical debate about whether centre, left and right are the right argument, like at Dim-Post in Notes on the unidimensional spatial model of politics.

Talking about ‘the left’ or ‘the centre’ is useful shorthand, but the ‘median voter theory’ or, as political scientists call it, the ‘uni-dimensional spatial theory’ of voter behavior is meaningless and has been discredited for several decades, although some pundits still seem attached to it.

For intellectuals interested in values and policy the unidimensional model is important. You can pick your side – ‘the left’ or ‘the right’ – and decide that they’re the good guys, and the others are the bad guys, and convince yourself anyone voting for the bad guys is doing so out of bad intentions or false consciousness.

But very few voters think about politics like this. They decide based on social identity, valence issues like competence, their mood, largely determined by economic factors but also influenced by retail politics: interactions with politicians and their supporters.

I think of this as ‘The Good Look’ spectrum (based on the press gallery’s current favourite euphemism for when a politician does something illegal or evil or stupid, that it is ‘not a good look’) and it interacts with the left-right spectrum

Rob Hosking (of NBR):

Little’s right. It is meaningless, mostly, But in politics you pick your battles, you choose what messages you want to send, and you don’t want to choose those which reinforce your existing negatives. This one does.

Vernon Small at Stuff: John Key promotes Helen Clark. Andrew Little distances himself from her views. Say what?

Even if things should fall apart, it seems the centre cannot hold Labour leader Andrew Little’s interest.

In a strangely intense rejection of Helen Clark’s suggestion that parties on the left must “command the centre ground” to win elections, Little dismissed the idea as “meaningless” and “a pretty hollow view”.

Strange, because it is truism. Winning power requires 50 per cent plus one of the voters – and Mr 50 and Mrs 51 are by definition in the centre.

That is where the centre is critical.

He may even have been worried his own insiders would take “centrism” as an abandonment of his mandate.

As he explains it, he is constructing a “coalition of constituencies” ahead of next year’s election. It is one that transcends simplistic Left and Right, but is focused on some salient issues, such as health, housing, inequality and the needs of small business.

But whatever the explanation, it seems odd that Little would allow himself to be seen as offside, or peeved, with Clark’s view.

She is, after all, Labour’s most recent and consistent winner.

Contrast Little’s stance with Prime Minister John Key’s enthusiastic championing of Clark, his former rival, as the next United Nations chief.

Clark was, after all, popular with many a centrist and women voter in her time and still commands respect. Showing magnanimity towards her can hardly harm his prospects of a fourth term – and might well improve it.

Which underscores just how odd it was that Little would distance himself from her comments – especially when the UN secretary-general vote is coming to a head.

I’m not sure that this is a winning strategy.Others are also doubtful.

Tough gig for Mike Jaspers coming in as media guy for as he eschews the centre.

Jaspers is filling the vacant position in Little’s office as Chief Media Officer. I don’t know if he has started yet, but he would appear to have taken on quite a challenge.

Hide right and wrong about left wing social media

In his latest column Rodney Hide writes about an ailing left that lacks puff and policy, and also blasts the political left on social media.

He is right that the left can be appalling in social media, but he is wrong that it is only the left.

Herald: Left lacks puff and policy

The left now suffer from closed minds and moral smugness. They are moribund and backward-looking.

They run from ideas. Opposing philosophies distress them.

They pillory dissenters as stupid or immoral and often both. There’s no debating or explaining, just abuse for those who step outside received wisdom.

The left have taken to social media with gusto. It only takes 140 characters to abuse and attack.

They fill Twitter and blogs with their righteousness and smugness, puffed up by their own perceived moral and intellectual superiority.

There’s no allowance that a person with a differing view might offer an opportunity to learn and to strengthen your ideas and perhaps, just perhaps, to change them.

That’s never allowed as a possibility.

Their minds are closed and they gasp and take offence at any idea or opinion different to their own.

Indeed, ganging up against dissenters on social media is what binds them. Their attacks on others proves to them their correctness and superiority.

The left are puzzled about why they’re politically marginalised but never trouble themselves to listen to those who have turned away from them. They look down on them and despise them.

The left view their political failure as the fault of voters who must be hoodwinked, stupid, selfish, or suffering some other ethical or intellectual shortcoming. Why else would they not be supporting the left when they are so good and true?

The problem is never with the left or their doctrine.

They are a self-reinforcing sect who in their wretchedness and anger are becoming ever smaller. Their narrow and insular outlook prevents them reaching out. Little wonder it’s not attractive to new recruits.

Labour is the narrow party that has shut itself off from the great bulk of New Zealanders.

I’ve seen a lot of all of this on Twitter, Facebook and on left wing blogs. And also on right wing blogs.

But I think that Hide is right, this is a real problem for Labour in particular.

Even Andrew Little has turned bitterly on ex Labour supporters, dissing them calling them right wing for having the gall to criticise Labour or stand against an anointed Labour candidate.

And there is no sign that this burning off of potential support is going to be dampened.

If the left want to attract more support they need to look more attractive.

UPDATE: I have also quoted what Rodney has said at The Standard and they are already  proving his point. That’s both funny and quite sad.

UPDATE 2: Greg Presland has had a crack back in a post – Dear Herald you can do better than Rodney Hide

Greg questions some of Hide’s claims, like the left is moribun and backward looking – only some of the left fits that description, and so does some of the right – and “National is now the vibrant party looking to the future and open to diverse views” is certainly questionable.

But Greg ignores the toxic nature of left wing social media, which is often on show at The Standard.

Corbyn re-elected

I don’t think this is much of a surprise, but Jeremy Corbyn has been re-elected leader of the UK Labour Party.

Guardian: Jeremy Corbyn sweeps to victory increasing his mandate as Labour leader

Jeremy Corbyn has won a decisive victory in his second leadership contest, beating Owen Smith by a bigger margin than he had when he saw off three opponents in 2015 and thereby strengthening his grip on the party. Unlike a year ago, he won easily amongst party members (as well as among registered supporters and affiliated supporters), confirming that the nature of the party membership has shifted quite considerably since the 2015 general election. In a speech which conveyed notably more confidence and authority than the one he delivered after his victory last year, he appealed for unity, saying it was time to wipe the slate clean. He also used a phrase, “more in common”, coined by Jo Cox, the Labour MP killed in the summer who had been one of his critics. He said:

Elections are passionate and partisan affairs things are often said in the heat of the debate on all sides that we later regret.

But always remember in our party, we have much more in common than that which divides us.

As far as I’m concerned the slate is wiped clean from today.

We are proud as a party that we’re not afraid to discuss openly, to debate and disagree that is essential for a party that wants to change people’s lives for the better that isn’t prepared to accept things as they are

Corbyn has said that “lots of MPs” are now willing to support him ahead of compromise talks which may thrash out a deal that could lead to shadow ministers who resigned because they had lost confidence in Corbyn agreeing to work for him again. Around 60 shadow ministers resigned over the summer; a few have indicated publicly that they would be willing to return to the front bench, but many are still resisting. The party’s national executive committee is meeting this evening to discuss the impasse. Corbyn wants the dissidents to return to the front bench so he can run an effective opposition in parliament. His critics want him to agree to shadow cabinet elections. As the Herald’s Kate Devlin reports, MPs are under pressure not to go back until Corbyn has compromised.

The Labour caucus has got Corbyn whether they like it or not. They either have to do the best with him as leader as they can, or really they should resign or split and form another party.

What next for Jeremy Corbyn?

Shadow cabinet elections

Tom Watson, Labour’s deputy leader, has proposed to the party’s governing body, the national executive committee, that MPs elect colleagues to positions in the shadow cabinet, as they did until 2011. The issue is top of the agenda for an NEC meeting that will take place in the hours after Saturday’s leadership result.

Watson has said such a system would allow former frontbenchers to return alongside Jeremy Corbyn with dignity. Corbyn, however, fears it would mean the shadow cabinet does not reflect his political views. He is also concerned that critics would fill the three shadow cabinet positions on the NEC.

Corbyn has proposed that the shadow cabinet be selected on a tripartite basis: a third elected by members, a third by MPs and a third appointed by the leader.

Many MPs are dismayed at the prospect. They say it would be expensive to ballot members and impractical because shadow ministers would have differing mandates. They also say the policy does not represent a compromise with MPs, because Corbyn’s acolytes would dominate the shadow cabinet.

There were discussions on the subject during Tuesday’s NEC meeting, but a decision has been delayed and may well be kicked into the long grass given Corbyn’s new mandate.

Sounds very messy still.


Māori versus the environmental lobby

More on the lack of consultation with Māori, who have existing rights granted under a Treaty of Waitangi settlement, over the proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, and the reality that environmental groups are willing to put their own ambitions ahead of Māori rights.

And opposition parties.

Stephanie Rodgers has posted on the environmental lobby at Boots Theory and reposted at The Standard, where there are some interesting comments – The Kermadecs and racist environmentalism.

We’re not even arguing about meaningful consultation around establishing the Kermadec sanctuary, we’re talking about ZERO consultation by white politicians who assumed they knew best. National are literally in coalition with the Māori Party but didn’t even pick up the phone to give them a heads-up…

It was handled poorly by the Government initially, and worse since with Environment Minister Nick Smith making more of a mess of it, to the extent that the legislation has been put on hold until it is sorted out.

But Rodgers in particular blasts environmental groups.

This week has been a revelation in the racist imperialism of mainstream (white) environmental organisations.

Problem 2 is the (very Pākehā) environment lobby’s outrage that anyone might stand in the way of an ocean sanctuary. “Think of the planet!” they cry, which is appallingly arrogant coming from the ethnic group which has done the vast majority of screwing up the planet to start with.

We have to take a hard look at how environmental organisations and Pākehā liberalism exploit indigenous culture. When it suits us, we happily draw on the notion of indigenous people being ~more in touch with the land~ and having a ~spiritual connection to nature~ and painting with all the goddamned colours of the wind. When it helps our agenda, we happily retweet the hashtags opposing oil pipelines and trumpet the importance of honouring the Treaty.

But scratch the surface and all the smug superiority is there. We know better; our thinking is more advanced because we care about ~the whole planet~.

It’s very easy to care about the whole planet when you’re on the team who took it by force.

That’s scathing of the “very Pākehā environment lobby”.  Rodgers doesn’t name names, but there has been angst expressed over ex Green leader and now Greenpeace leader Russel Norman’s performance on The Nation in the weekend, where he appeared to see the Sanctuary as sacrosanct and effectively, to hell with Māori ownership of rights.

A press release on Friday:

Environmental Groups support Government on the Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary

Representatives of leading environmental groups have reaffirmed their strong support for the proposed Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.

The groups include Greenpeace, WWF, Forest & Bird, the Environmental Defence Society and Ecologic.

Greenpeace Executive Director Dr Russel Norman said that he backed the Government’s determination to create the Sanctuary in spite of strong resistance from the fishing industry.

“The Kermadec proposal will be the largest ever marine protected area in our jurisdiction. It will have immense ecological benefits, allowing marine life in 15% of our Exclusive Economic Zone to prosper without any form of commercial exploitation,” said Dr Norman.

Which means all fishing rights should be removed.

WWF-New Zealand’s Senior Campaigner, Alex Smith, said that fishing industry lobbyists had consistently opposed the creation of no-take marine reserves so the current opposition was not unexpected.

“New Zealand has obligations under international law to protect the marine environment that surrounds us. The Government is entirely within its rights to create marine protected areas like the Kermadec/Rangitāhua Ocean Sanctuary,” said Mr Smith.

“The Sanctuary is backed by solid science and by 89% of New Zealanders. We urge the fishing industry to break away from its traditional opposition to full marine protection and get behind this initiative.”

That uses the term ‘fishing industry’ and omits the fact that Māori fishing rights are involved.

The Executive Director of Ecologic, long-time environmentalist Guy Salmon, said:

“This is the biggest conservation gain for our oceans in my lifetime and is of international importance,” he said.

“I don’t believe the Sanctuary involves a breach of property rights, and that claim will now be tested in Court.”

That’s a line up of “a very Pākehā environment lobby”.

But it’s not just environmental groups involved. The sanctuary has cross party support, with both Greens and Labour supporting National on it.

From an interview on Waatea News with Te Ohu Kaimoana chair Jamie Tuuta:

“…I think it is important for the Green Party to reflect on their view on the treaty and indigenous rights because it is fair to say if they support the bill in its current form, they are supporting the unilateral extinguishment of Maori rights and interests,” he says.

Normally the Greens put some value on Māori rights and would hate to be seen as “very Pākehā”.

In comments Rodgers again slammed the Government (with some justification)…

There’s nothing “novel” in the government’s approach on this. They announced a major decision affecting a Treaty settlement with zero consultation with the affected parties. Par for the course for European colonisers in New Zealander, really. No one can be surprised that now Māori have a (somewhat) larger voice in the public discourse, they’re raising hell about it.

It is clear racism when Māori are expected to accept “full and final” Treaty settlements, the Government of the day unilaterally changes those settlements, and then all the white folk run around pontificating about “commercial interests” and “gifts to the planet” and “extinction of the moa”.

…but doesn’t mention the Greens. Nor her own Labour Party. Alwyn brought them into the discussion:

  1. Labour take a Maori leaning approach, oppose the sanctuary, and cause a split in the MOU between them and the Green Party. The Green Party can hardly oppose the sanctuary can they?
  2. Labour supports the sanctuary, which was in the policy for the last election, and whip their own Maori MPs into line, thereby showing that Labour don’t really provide any reason for Maori to vote for them.
  3. Alternatively the Labour Party supports the sanctuary and the Maori members of the Labour Party Caucus cross the floor and vote against it.

Then you get the question of why the Maori members are remaining in the Labour Party at all. What do you think the Labour Party are going to do?

It was pointed out that the “Labour position is they support the sanctuary but oppose the process”.  And “that sounds very like their TPP stance and we know how that’s worked for them”. A bob each way politics, opposing the Government but supporting what they want to achieve.

Most people support the Kermadec sanctuary, including the Māori Party (and Māori generally as far as I’m aware).

It’s not just National who should be having a serious look at how they want to progress the sanctuary. Environmental groups and the Greens and Labour may like to have a rethink as well.

More on family violence proposals

During the week the Government announced proposals aimed at addressing and reducing family violence – see The Government’s most important policy – family violence.

Yesterday Justice Minister Amy Adams was interviewed on The Nation about it.

Justice Minister Amy Adams speaks to Lisa Owen about her family violence law reform – does it go far enough? 

Interview: Amy Adams

The Nation repeats at 10 this morning.

Q & A is also interviewing Adams (TV1 9:00 am).

Justice Minister Amy Adams talks to Greg Boyed about her family violence reforms announced this week. Will they make a difference to our high rate of domestic violence?

And he also asks whether she agrees with calls to keep 17 year olds in the youth court – is it time to raise the age of youth justice?

Our panel includes Justspeak spokesperson Julia Spelman, Graham Barnes from the domestic violence charity Shine, lawyer Stephen Franks and political scientist Dr Jennifer Curtin.

This is an important issue – family violence has serious implications for relationships, children, health, education, crime, employment – it’s effects are widespread and insidious.

One positive is there is general Cross party support for family violence proposals.

However Labour’s family violence spokesperson has taken a swipe at the Government: Labour: Community agencies needed to reduce violence

The Government is being accused of leaving frontline agencies out of the picture when it comes to tackling family violence.

Only a small portion of a $130 million package to reduce violence in Kiwi homes will go to non-government organisations like Women’s Refuge.

Labour’s family violence spokesperson, Poto Williams, says that’s not good enough.

“I’m really concerned that the minister has completely missed the boat,” says Ms Williams. “You cannot take just a justice response to this or just look at introducing new laws.”

Ms Williams says it will be impossible to eliminate family violence without community agencies.

She says Justice Minister Amy Adams is being too simplistic.

“The only way that people are actually going to eliminate violence from their lives is to have community agencies and NGOs working alongside them for the long term.”

Ms Williams says a multi-layered approach is needed to the issue, rather than just focussing on law and order.

There is already a ‘multi-layered’ approach, with the Government looking at bolstering some aspects of that.

If more effective ways of preventing and reducing family violence are successful then ‘ambulance at the bottom of the cliff’ agencies should be needed less.

Deceit hidden in the fine print

This Labour stunt hides it’s deceit in the fine print.

It’s a lame stunt at that – who cares “which number baby you were”?


The fine print:

Please note: your baby number is only our best estimate, using New Zealand birth statistics.
Click here to read the Q+A about this tool.

The Labour Party and its elected representatives may contact you about issues we think you may be interested in or with campaign updates. You can unsubscribe at any time.

It also asks:

Please only enter your email address, not that of a friend or relative.

If you have any concerns about this you could email:

Labour, polls and gender balanced list

Vernon Small points a tricky problem for the Labour Party.  They have pledged to have a gender balanced caucus by 2017, but with their struggles to make an impression – as shown by polls, this could be a tricky and imprecise balancing act.

Stuff: Poor polls sensitive issue as Labour MPs brace for gender-balanced list

Small suggests that Andrew Little was ill-advised having a moan about this week’s Colmar Brunton poll that had Labour on 26%, about the same level of support they got last election.

Small comes up with an explanation for Labour poll angst – unless they show substantially higher and sustained poll numbers their list is going to be tricky to put together.

It also came at a bad time for the party as it contemplates that most fraught of MMP political processes; the shape of its party list and who will be high, low and shafted.

It all comes down to the party vote, of course, but with a twist for Labour.

It has pledged to gender balance its caucus by 2017.

When the policy was signed off in 2013, then-president Moira Coatsworth said the target would be achieved by calculating the gender mix at various different levels of support and taking into account the likely electorates Labour would win.

But a party vote of 26 per cent, in line with the TVNZ poll, delivers a very different scenario – and a political death sentence for many a male aspirant – than the 35 per cent-plus yardstick the party is assuming.

Labour currently holds 27 electorates, with 17 held by men and 10 held by women.

Phil Goff looks likely to drop Mt Roskill but Labour have a male heir lined up there.

Christchurch Central may be winnable but they have a male candidate confirmed here. Otaki has selected a male candidate.

Can they afford to have any other male candidates in potentially winnable electorates?

To balance their caucus Labour will have to stack the top of their list with female candidates.

But that has it’s own difficulties. Little himself will have to top the list and will get in via the list unless he takes over a safe electorate – there is no way he will risk standing in New Plymouth again, having lost twice there.

If David Parker wants to remain in Parliament he will want a high list position. Trevor Mallard has already announced he won’t stand in his electorate so will want to ensure he gets in on the list so he can line up for the Speaker’s chair.

Currently Labour has five list MPs. Not much room for females there.

To seriously seek gender balance Labour will have to try and stack their list with females to achieve it at various levels of support, they can’t pick a number and base their decisions on that.

25%, 30%, 35% are all looking possible, so they should be trying to achieve approximate balance at each of those levels.

There are some suggestions that Labour’s vote could collapse, but if they drop to 20% gender balance will be a minor detail amongst the anguish that would cause.

No wonder Little is very sensitive about what the polls are telling him – prepare for a range of results.

Cross party support for family violence proposals

The Press editorial: Government’s $130 million family violence package is a solid start

A $130 million plan announced by the Government this week to crack down on violence in Kiwi homes has been welcomed by most victims, support and advocacy groups, and politicians on both sides of the House.

While there are some concerns and reservations, it is good to see cross party support for this.

Greens: Family violence law reforms will help

It is heartening that the Government is finally starting to address the failure of our justice system to provide protection for victims of family violence or support abusers to change,  the Green Party said today.

“Family violence is currently embedded in New Zealand culture and we all need to be brave to face the level of changes needed to address it,” Green Party women’s spokesperson Jan Logie said.

“Too many families have been further traumatised and indebted trying to get legal protection through our courts. Changes to legal aid and the Family Court last term prioritised cost-saving over protecting victims. These reforms will hopefully go some way to addressing that harm caused.

“All New Zealanders need to hear loud and clear the message that family violence, intimate partner violence, and violence against children is unacceptable.     


UnitedFuture leader, Peter Dunne has welcomed the changes proposed today to strengthen New Zealand’s Family Violence laws.

“Our families are the bedrock of our communities and the rates of family violence we have in this country are appalling.

“These changes signal a much-needed shift in the way we respond to family violence,” said Mr Dunne.

“The key issue that needs to be focused on in New Zealand is the alarming fact that it is estimated nearly 80% of family violence incidents go unreported.

“If these reforms make any difference towards providing help to those people who currently do not feel safe or are not comfortable coming forward with their plight, then these policy initiatives will result in positive and meaningful reform.

“UnitedFuture congratulates the government for constructively responding to this unacceptable behaviour that is a blight to our families and communities”, said Mr Dunne.

ACT Party: ACT welcomes beefed up family violence laws, but…

ACT has welcomed the boost to family violence laws announced today, but questions why non-fatal strangulation isn’t a strike offence.

“ACT believes the justice system should always put the victim first. In that spirit, we’re relieved to see new protections for victims of family violence,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Reducing the cost and complexity of obtaining restraining orders is a no-brainer, and legislating against coercive marriage is an overdue protection of basic personal freedom.

“We also support the introduction of an offence for non-fatal strangulation. However, it’s perplexing to discover that non-fatal strangulation will not be included as a strike offence under the Three Strikes for Violent Crime legislation.

“The Three Strikes law, an ACT initiative, has been working well to keep repeat violent offenders behind bars and away from potential victims, so it’s disheartening to see it undermined by the current legislation. Strangulation, like all violent crime, is a serious offence and should be treated as such.”

NZ First via RNZ ‘I’ve seen the black eyes, no-one talks about it’

New Zealand First MP Denis O’Rourke said the measures were a step in the right direction.

“Fundamentally, what they’re saying is there needs to be more guidance, information and education on the one hand but also harsher penalties. I would have thought that that two-pronged approach is the right way to go,” Mr O’Rourke said.

Labour via RNZ ‘I’ve seen the black eyes, no-one talks about it’

Labour’s associate justice spokesperson Poto Williams said tighter bail conditions would increase safety for women and their children.

But she said the government should have made it easier for offenders to access services to help them stop violent behaviour.

Maori party via RNZ ‘I’ve seen the black eyes, no-one talks about it’

Māori Party co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell said having witnessed domestic violence as a child, he hoped the changes would help reduce the appalling statistics.

Mr Flavell said family violence was prevalent in almost every neighbourhood and changes were certainly needed.

He said it was all too often swept under the rug.

“I’ve sat on a bunk next to my cousins and I’ve heard the smashing of the walls. I’ve heard the throwing of pots around the place. I’ve seen the black eyes – and no-one talks about it.”

Cabinet documents showed police attended an average of 280 family violence incidents each day.

Mr Flavell, who is Māori Development Minister, said everyone had a part to play in bringing down those rates.

“That’s the key – you’ve got to start bringing it out of the cupboard. We’ve got to put it out on the table.”

“There’s a part to play by the actual government, by changing laws but actually families have got to talk about it and do something about it.”

Flavell is right, it is not just up to Parliament and the Government to make improvements.

Families and communities “have got to talk about it and do something about it“.

While there are details to be worked out it is promising to see all parties supporting this attempt to reduce our insidious levels of family violence.

Hipkins overreacts to email blocking

What is it with Labour at the moment? Their current strategy seems to be to overreact to things.

Starting yesterday and doubling down Leader Andrew Little poured scorn on an unfavourable  Colmar Brunton poll, so the media pored attention on Labour’s continuing struggles to look credible in the polls.

And today Chris Hipkins went overboard in his criticism when he had an email to a Fairfax journalist blocked.

Stuff: Parliamentary Service defends blocking email between MP and Fairfax journalist

An urgent investigation has being called for by Labour’s Chris Hipkins after an email he was trying to send to a Fairfax journalist was blocked on Monday night.

In an email exchange between Hipkins and Parliamentary Service, which provides administrative and support services to MPs, Labour’s chief whip was told his email was blocked because it had “trigger” words in it.

That’s fairly standard in just about any email system. Some of the blocking can seem stupid but it is easily sorted out. Parliamentary services has a secure email system, as it should.

Parliamentary Service told Hipkins the email he tried to forward was picked up by the secure system because he “sent it to a domain that does not use SEEMail” – in this case, Fairfax.

SEEMail is the agency used by Parliamentary Service for MPs and staff emails.

“SEEMail is an all of government secure messaging system that we subscribe to. SEEMail classified messages can only be sent to-from approved government departments and agencies,” Parliamentary Service wrote.

Parliamentary Service went on to confirm they had blocked the email because the attachment he was trying to send contained the words “SEEMail” and “sensitive”.

Hipkins says this is a “clear breach of parliamentary privilege”.

“That’s outrageous, they have no right to be screening the emails being sent by Members of Parliament. It shouldn’t matter where I got the information from, they’ve got no right to monitor my emails in the first place.”

“I know that National is now cosying up to (Fiji Prime Minister) Frank Bainimarama, but that doesn’t mean they can adopt his dictatorial, anti-democratic methods here in New Zealand,” he said.

That’s outrageous from Hipkins. He probably won’t be welcome in Fiji from now on, but he is blasting the wrong targets.

On further investigation, Labour staff found various other examples in the last few weeks where emails had been blocked – previously they’ve not had any issues.

It should be easily sorted out – if Hipkins goes through the appropriate process instead of grandstanding, offensively.

Parliamentary Services must allow reasonably unrestricted communications between MPs and journalists, and between MPs and constituents.

But the must also provide a secure email system that protects MPs

Perhaps some better communications are in order from Parliamentary Services, and from Hipkins.

The sooner Labour gets a competent chief of staff and some press officers that know what they are doing the better.