Ardern lipstick on a Labour pig?

The media and pundit obsession with trying to pressure Labour into promoting Jacinda Ardern to deputy leader continued yesterday.

This is despite the reality that most people don’t know who deputy leaders are and don’t care.

It seems to be a sign of the growing obsession with promoting celebrity politics – Ardern is better known for her cultivating of the celebrity circuit than for her political accomplishments.

Sure she won the Mt Albert by-election, but that was in a safe Labour seat against no opposition, and having moved there after three failed attempts to win in two other electorates.

Last week Bryce Edwards virtually demanded a deputy leadership change this week if Ardern won in Mt Albert.

He followed up yesterday with a round up of old and new items from activists (who \used to be journalists) and pundits promoting his agenda – Political Roundup: How long can it be before Labour elevate Jacinda Ardern to deputy?

Edwards included just one alternate view:

One commentator disputes the need to make Ardern the deputy. Russell Brown sarcastically says “of course what Labour needs in election year is yet another leadership shakeup” – see: Mt Albert: Cooperating, competing and carpooling.

I posted King of the deputy castle, media dirty rascals yesterday morning but that was probably a bit too critical of his activism to rate a mention. There has been more media activism to promote Ardern into the deputy headlines.

This is all more a symptom of journalists and pundits who want to be political players and movers and shakers rather than being reporters and analysts.

Annette King seems to have quietly done a good job holding the Labour caucus together and protecting Andrew Little’s back. As a deputy is supposed to do. It doesn’t make sense to throw a spanner in the works there with six months until the election.

Ardern has a new job to do in Auckland, she needs to establish herself in an electorate for the first time, and also needs to prepare herself for the election.

It makes no sense to me to give her another new job which will tie her more to Wellington and bury her in the party machine.

And I’m sure Little doesn’t want a deputy who attracts all the media attention.

Who cares who is deputy leader of Labour? I think that most voters don’t give a toss. Those that do can read about Ardern in the Woman’s Weekly.

And perhaps some journalists could consider whether they are political reporters, or activists promoting their pet politicians.

And – would Ardern lipstick really help a Labour Party pig?

King of the deputy castle, media dirty rascals

Annette King has reacted staunchly to media speculation that Jacinda Ardern may (some say should) replace her as deputy leader.

Claire Trevett @ZH: Annette King lashes out at ‘ageist’ idea of stepping to one side

Ardern’s win in Mt Albert prompted fresh speculation Little should replace his steady pacemaker King with the crowd-pleasing sprinter Ardern as deputy for the home straight to the election.

There is sense in that.

I don’t see the sense to that. Ardern can try to please the crowd without being deputy. Having a strong deputy who can keep the Labour caucus under control is important, and King is far bettter qualified to do that.

But King can not see it. King’s response was a quite astonishing and vociferous defence of her turf.

I’m not astonished. I’m astonished that media and pundits think they can organise deputy leadership changes.

She claimed the talk around Ardern was ageist. She even went a little bit Trump, accusing media of having a vendetta against her.

I don’t think it is a vendetta against King. It is the media thinking that they are political players rather than reporters.

Speaking to the Herald she questioned what Ardern could offer that she did not, other than relative youth.

When it was suggested Ardern’s Auckland base was one, King replied “does it really matter these days?” and said she could travel the country as a list-only candidate.

Ardern’s Auckland base, her ability to communicate well from children to Auckland business leaders, her popularity and her deft touch with ‘soft’ media make her an asset Little could better utilise by having her as his deputy.

It is an asset he cannot afford to ignore.

Little can use his Ardern ‘asset’ in better ways than tying her down as deputy. She has just taken on substantial added responsibility as a new electorate MP in Auckland, giving her much greater responsibilities in Wellington at the same time makes no sense.

King’s value to Little is indisputable but largely for internal reasons – she is in Wellington to run the ship while he travels the country and can control caucus with one pinky finger.

That sounds like a job description for a deputy.

The trouble is he cannot risk replacing her now King has publicly stated her wish to remain in the job.

Little could take the risk of upsetting the likes of MP Poto Williams and Maryan Street over his decision to recruit Willie Jackson to Labour, but he can not afford to get offside with King.

King has great loyalty in Labour and Little will not be able to replace her unless she recognises it is a necessary idea herself.

He somehow has to make it seem like it was her idea all along.

It’s fairly obviously not King’s idea at all.

Some of the media are trying to manipulate Labour Party leadership. This is way outside their job description.

Little and King call the shots when it comes to deputy leadership of Labour.

Trevett and others in the media are dirty rascals trying to intervene and influence what is a party matter.

National MP stands down from challenge

In November it was announced that someone would challenge list MP Paul Foster-Bell to be the National candidate in the Wellington Central electorate – see National MP challenge in Wellington Central.

National list MP Paul Foster-Bell, who stood in Wellington Central last election against Grant Robertson and James Shaw, is being challenged by Nicola Willis, who appears to be backed by John Key.

Foster-Bell has just announced that he will stand down from selection and won’t contest the election.

It sounds like he may be jumping before he was shoved aside.

Foster-Bell was ranked 46th on the National party list in the 2014 election. He is currently ranked at that same 46 on National’s website.

Candidate votes in Wellington Central in 2014:

  • Grant Robertson 19,807 (Labour 9,306)
  • Paul Foster-Bell 11,540 (National 14,689)
  • James Shaw 5,077 (Greens 11,545)

Will a better National candidate convert more party support into electorate votes? With a higher profile Shaw may split  more votes with Robertson.

 

Mt Albert result

The final provisional result in the Mt Albert by-election wasw an easy win to Labour’s Jacinda Ardern with not many votes to anyone else

A majority not voting with a very low turnout of 29.9%  – the biggest winner was ‘couldn’t be bothered’.

Candidates Party Votes
ARDERN, Jacinda
LAB
10000
GENTER, Julie Anne
GP
1489
SIMMONS, Geoff
TOP
600
TOMAR, Vin
NZPP
191
CAROLAN, Joe
SPBP
171
BRIGHT, Penny
IND
131
GRAY, Abe
ALCP
92
AMOS, Adam
IND
75
ARTHUR, Dale
IND
47
VAN DEN HEUVEL, Anthony Joseph J
HR
31
WAKEMAN, Peter
IND
30
SMYTHE, Simon
NAP
17
BROWN, Patrick
CL
15
Candidate Informals: 82
TOTAL: 12,971

Number of enrolled voters: 45,200

In the 2014 general election:

  • Turnout 36,922 (79.41%)
  • David Shearer (Labour) 20,970
  • Melissa Lee (National) 10,314
  • Jeanette Elley (Greens) 3,152

So Ardern has moved to a safe seat and won. She failed once in Waikato in 2008 and then twice in Auckland Central in what had been a safe Labour seat until Nikki Kaye won there in 2008.

Julie Anne Genter didn’t really contest the seat, she was in it for the publicity for the Greens and to try and show how well Greens and Labour could work together.

Geoff Simmons and The Opportunities Party could be disappointed in not getting anywhere near close despite being given preferential treatment by media along with Ardern and Genter over the rest of the candidates.Gareth Morgan had previously said TOP was not going to contest electorates so he will probably be undeterred.

The NZ People’s Party are failing to attract many votes.

Joe Carolan and Penny Bright are fringe candidates with little support – Carolan’s socialism has little appeal in New Zealand in the 21st century.

I don’t know if Abe Gray actually campaigned or not but if the Cannabis Party want to make an impression they may need to rethink their approach to elections.

Raymond Huo will now take over Ardern’s list place and after two others declined the opportunity to return to Parliament.

From NZ Herald Labour’s Jacinda Ardern new MP for Mt Albert

Speaking to the crowd, Ardern paid tribute to former MP David Shearer, and also previous Mt Albert MP and Prime Minister Helen Clark.

“Here in Mt Albert there is so much to celebrate but we need to go back to the basics – affordable houses, the ability to get around our city.

“I vow that I will advocate for all these things. But real change comes when Labour are in Government. Tonight is the first step, and now the real work begins.”

She has a safe seat probably for as long a political career she chooses thanks to Shearer, Clark and Warren Freer who held  Mt Albert for yonks.

Little said the strong result showed Labour was in fine shape to fight September’s general election.

“It’s all on for September … we are on our way.”

It wasn’t a strong result. It was a virtual non-event for most people, including a majority of Mt Albert voters.

There had been speculation that a strong byelection showing could lead to some within Labour questioning whether Ardern should be elevated to the deputy leader position, currently held by Annette King.

“There is no vacancy,” Little said when asked about that speculation. “I’m not planning on any changes.”

That ‘speculation’ was almost political activism by pundits trying to make something of the outcome.

This seems to confirm that Labour will campaign with both leader and deputy based in Wellington and both on the party list.

King is a Labour stalwart who has been a big help to Little minimising caucus unrest but this doesn’t look like a fresh new party determined to win the election.

Labour/Maori MoU

In contrast to the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Greens all Labour seems to have for the Maori Party and MANA Movement is Memories of Utu

Ever since Maori MPs split from Labour and created the Maori Party in 2004 Labour seem have wanted revenge, or at least nothing to do with a party competing for the Maori seats in Parliament.

Leading in to the 2005 election:

SAINSBURY: If you had to, could you deal with the Maori Party in terms of forming a coalition? Yes or no.

HELEN CLARK: They would be the last cab off the rank, because I’ve got other options.

Twelve years later Andrew Little’s Labour seems antagonistic towards both the Maori and MANA cabs, wanting to slash their tyres and smash their windows. Little has all but ruled out trying to work with either party in government.

But does this make any sense apart from exacting utu on the party that split from Labour?

Labour are in a weak position and may all the potential coalition partners it can get, if not to form a government with but at least to strengthen their negotiating position.

It would probably be much easier to get Green and Maori parties working together in coalition than the Greens and NZ First.

Last month Bryce Edwards wrote in Labour’s balancing act with Mana-Maori:

Of course Andrew Little has no choice but to support his Maori MPs, and it may be politically astute to distance Labour from the Maori Party and Harawira before the election. But a ruthless examination of Labour’s path to government would suggest that losing the Maori seats would not necessarily be a disaster.

While Little’s comments have been interpreted as “all but” ruling out working with the Maori party, it would be foolish to damage the relationship and re-kindle the bitterness that existed when Tariana Turia was leader.

It’s a delicate MMP balancing act that requires party leaders to look beyond the individual and factional interests of their MPs in order to secure the treasury benches.

Labour seem to think differently, having ramped up their attacks and antagonism towards the Maori Party and since they have joined forces also MANA.

At The Standard in Kaupapa Pākehā Weka wrote yesterday:

I understand why Labour need to be pragmatic around the Māori seats. Not only is this traditional Labour territory, it will be important to the Māori MPs in the party. There’s mana at stake. But technically Labour don’t need to win the Māori seats to govern. They could lose the six of the seven seats they hold and it wouldn’t affect the number of Labour MPs in parliament, because Labour get their MP total off the list vote.

It would affect the balance of MPs across the house (in part to do with the overhang issue), and I’m sure Labour have been crunching the numbers, but there are other ways that this could play out. Labour don’t need the Māori seats, but they do need coalition partners.

This raises an interesting point.

Of course Labour would like to have all the Maori seats, but that’s not what will get them into government. They need to improve their all important party vote.

Stirring up and dividing the Maori vote may work against Labour’s overall interests.

There is a jarring contrast between Labour and the Greens trying to show how well they can get on and work together.

NZ Herald: Greens’ Julie Anne Genter and Labour’s Jacinda Ardern strike up friendship in Mt Albert

The least bitter rivalry in New Zealand politics has broken out in the Mt Albert by-election, with the two leading candidates striking up a new friendship.

The Greens’ Julie Anne Genter and Labour’s Jacinda Ardern have been car-pooling to events together and handing out leaflets side by side.

Genter, who is the Greens’ health and transport spokeswoman, said she had built up a close relationship with Ardern on the campaign trail.

“It’s been really fun being on the campaign with her. We get on really well and I’ve really appreciated it.

Genter and Ardern have made a point of not attacking each other to show their parties can work together under their Memorandum of Understanding.

In contrast Little has been vigorously attacking the Maori parties over the last few weeks, with things escalating this week.

Bitter battles seem to be overriding common sense.

If Labour want to increase their party vote, which is what they need more than any Maori seats if they want to get back into government, then they should be showing they can work with any other party, including Maori and MANA.

If not they are both limiting their chances of maximising their party vote, limiting their coalition negotiating strength and limiting their coalition options.

I’m not the only one baffled at Labour’s approach.

Memories of Utu seem to dominate their thinking, which puts their party vote and their coalition options at risk.

Andrew Little versus kaupapa Maori

Andrew Little stirred up Maori politics yesterday with comments on RNZ that slammed the Maori Party. There was a significant reaction via media and on Twitter.

RNZ: Māori Party ‘not kaupapa Māori’ – Andrew Little

Labour leader Andrew Little claims the Māori Party is not kaupapa Māori after hitching its wagon to National, as a new deal between the Māori parties is signed.

Speaking to Morning Report today, Mr Little said the Māori Party hitched its wagon to National, but nothing had changed in terms of Māori over-representation in prisons and unemployment – so it had no influence over National.

He said they had conceded on every important issue.

“In the end, what it comes down to is – how do Māori have the strongest voice? Not just in Parliament, but in government. At the moment it comes through the Māori Party, which is two MPs tacked on to a National Party that doesn’t need to listen to them on anything if it doesn’t wish to. It’s all grace and favour stuff.”

He said Mana’s Hone Harawira was all over the show, and in and out of different waka all the time.

That’s a bit ironic. Harawira responded on RNZ:

Mr Harawira said the Labour leader’s comments about his deal with the Māori Party were inappropriate and quite nasty.

He told Morning Report he found it quite astounding how arrogant Labour leaders could be when talking about what Māori needed.

“I think what Māori really need is to not have white guys like Andrew Little telling us what to do, and what our aspirations should be. Mana has always been clearly its own independent organisation.”

A Maori Party founder and ex leader Pita Sharples later also responded – RNZ Labour leader ‘should be ashamed’- Sir Pita:

Sir Pita  said the Māori Party’s focus was solely a Māori one, and said he was “totally insulted” by Mr Little’s comments.

“It’s that kind of using made-up phrases like that to denigrate the authenticity of Māori that really does the damage in race relations. He should be ashamed of himself.”

Sir Pita co-led the Māori Party from 2004 through to 2013, and said he was baffled by Mr Little’s claims.

“We champion and build kura kaupapa Māori schools highschools, wharekura run reo Māori language programmes and work by hui in marae and always have mihimihi, (greetings) so I don’t know what he’s talking about.”

More from Stuff:  Political attacks are in full swing as Labour and the Maori Party go head-to-head for the Maori seats

Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox says…

“He is the worst example of someone who understands Maori and relationship agreements and how to work with other parties for that matter.”

She said the party is divided over Little’s decision to bring high-profile broadcaster Willie Jackson into the party and he’s been dishonest about whether Tamaki Makaurau MP Peeni Henare was asked to stand aside in his electorate.

“What’s obvious is there’s disquiet amongst the Maori MPs,” says Fox.

Little:

Little went on to say the Maori MPs in Labour were “fearful” of a high spot on the party list because “they don’t want to give the impression they’re being held up by belts and braces”.

He said Labour’s Maori MPs were advocating for low-list places – it’s widely speculated Jackson, who is running on the list, will receive a high placing.

Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis, who will have a fight against Mana leader Hone Harawira for the seat after an agreement between Mana and the Maori Party to give Harawira a clear run, said Little was right and it was about getting more Maori in Parliament.

He said sitting Maori MPs were prepared to sacrifice a high list place in order to get more MPs, such as former TV presenter Tamati Coffey and Northland candidate Willow-Jean Prime, in to Parliament.

“It’s the risk we’re prepared to take,’ he said.

Unless Labour improves it’s support then list placings will be of little use. Winning an electorate is all important for Labour MPs.

It’s not just politicians who have piled into Little for his comments.


Sparrowhawk/KāreareaAndrew Little and the Māori lightbulb moment

It was a great question from Morning Report’s Susie Ferguson to the leader of the Labour Party, Andrew Little.

Ok…the Labour vote is high in those Māori seats, but isn’t there a hunger from the voters in those seats for an electorate MP who is from a kaupapa Māori party?

It was a great question for two reasons (in my mind)..firstly, the fact that Susie knew what a kaupapa Māori party was, and was comfortable with the nomenclature. Props. Secondly, the answer to that question showed Little lacks a useful understanding of Māori thinking. It was a kind of lightbulb moment in reverse: he showed us he had no idea where the switch is, let alone the bulb, that could illuminate Māori politics for any of us.

[Little] Well, the Māori Party is not kaupapa Māori. We know that, it has conceded on every important issue affecting Māori in the last nine years.

[Ferguson]: They would probably take issue with that!

[Little] Well in the end, what it comes down to is: how do Māori have the strongest voice, not just in Parliament but in government. At the moment it comes through the Māori Party which is two MPs tacked on to the National Party that doesn’t need to listen to them on anything if it doesn’t wish to.

Oh boy. we have the Leader of the Opposition telling us what is and isn’t kaupapa Māori. I don’t really mind any Pākehā person voicing an opinion about things Māori. So the fact that Little is Pākehā doesn’t gall me. What galls me is that he has pronounced grandly upon something he doesn’t understand. As can be seen above he has given us a definition of kaupapa Māori.

Extrapolating from his words above we now know that a political party can only be kaupapa Māori if it wins battles in Parliament on every important issue affecting Māori.

And then he seems to contradict his own statement by saying the Māori Party provides the strongest Māori voice in Parliament (albeit from the beat up Vauxhall being towed behind the big blue bus).

Way to build up your own Māori MPs, Andrew, by conceding they don’t have the strongest voice already.

I’ll leave it to others to defend the Māori Party’s own record. That is not my focus; my focus is instead Little’s apparent ignorance of Māori and Māori modes of thought and action.

So what do we now know of kaupapa Māori in the wake of the Little interview?

  1. No Māori affiliated with the National Party can ever claim to come from a base of Kaupapa Māori
  2. Kaupapa Māori can only ever be measured in terms of policy victories
  3. Kaupapa Māori can only ever be measured in the strength of the loudest voice proclaiming it.
  4. Kaupapa Māori can only be exercised in regards to issues directly affecting Māori.

On this definition, neither the Māori Party nor the Mana Party nor Sir Āpirana Ngata could ever be accused of employing kaupapa Māori.

Little has provided a handy rallying cry for those who would seek to undermine the Labour Māori vote. I am sure his own Māori candidates, MPS and membership will not thank him for disparaging the Māori Party in this way when they find themselves having to defend a leader who has commandeered the Māori language and insulted Māori politicians and voters in such a cavalier way.


Little seems to be struggling with dealing with Maori issues, as well as going on the attack in trying to protect Labour’s Maori seats.

He has indicated he has no interest in talking to the Maori Party about coalition arrangements.

RNZ poll of polls

‘Poll of polls’ average out poll results but with the small number of polls in New Zealand they can fluctuate nearly as much as the two polls being done, Colmar Brunton and Roy Morgan. CB is polling every three months, RM monthly.

RNZ: Poll of Polls: Labour regains support, National strong

RNZ’s latest Poll of Polls up to mid-February gave Labour an average of 28.5% through January and the first half of February, with just seven months to run until the election. This was 2 points up on its late-2016 average of 26.4%.

But it is well below its 32.5% average at this time in the 2014 election year, from which it dropped to 25.1% in the election.

Any rise will be welcomed by Labour (and Greens) but Labour are still in poor shape…

The Greens latest average is 11.5%. That gives a combined Labour and Greens score of 40%.

…and Greens appear to have hit a support ceiling.

Set that against National’s latest average of 46.7%, close to where it was in November before a 2-point boost after the smooth changeover in December from John Key to Bill English – and very close to its 2014 election score.

The switch to English has had a negligible effect on polls so far.

The trends give an overall picture.

eight_col_nat_v_lab_green_17feb22

It’s still seven months until the election in September and a lot can and no doubt will happen.

Roy Morgan should be due to release their February poll which will add a bit more to the poll picture.

Two stand aside for Huo

It has been suggested this would happen for some time but now the way has publicy been cleared for Raymond Huo to return to Parliament should Jacinda Ardern win this week’s Mt Albert by-election.

Huo lost his seat in Parliament  in 2014 because he was three short of the list cut-off.

Andrew Little just made the final cut at 11 on the list (electorate MPs are ranked lower but get in automatically).

There were two other ex-list MPs who were placed higher than Huo at 21 who missed the cut, Maryan Street (15) and (Moana Mackey (17).

It was a bit embarrassing for Labour to have no Asian MPs, particularly when they launched their infamous Chinese surname attack.

After the Mt Albert by-election was confirmed Mackey said she wasn’t interested in returning to Parliament.

Gisborne Herald: Moana Mackey rules out return to the Beehive

FORMER Gisborne-based Labour list MP Moana Mackey has countered conjecture she is contemplating a return to politics.

Ms Mackey said she wanted to pre-empt speculation she was planning a return to parliament following the decision of current list MP Jacinda Ardern to seek the party’s candidacy in the Mt Albert by-election.

Ms Mackey said she had always kept Labour leader Andrew Little informed and previously told him she had no desire to return to Parliament if a list place came up on the Labour list.

“I have to say I really appreciated him getting in touch with me earlier this week, in light of David Shearer’s decision, and I confirmed that was still my position.

That was in December. Interesting that Little contacted her as soon as the by-election was confirmed.

Street has taken a lot longer but has now also indicated she won’t return. From Street on Facebook:

I am happy to confirm that I will not be taking up a place in Parliament as a List MP after the Mt Albert by-election. This will pave the way for the return of Raymond Huo to Parliament, something I fully support.

I have thought long and hard about this choice and have decided that I can be just as effective on issues dear to me outside Parliament as inside – perhaps even more so.

Besides which, I have discovered weekends.

The campaign for a law change to allow End of Life Choice has gained a powerful momentum with the petition in my name to Parliament’s Health Select Committee, where submissions are still being heard. I am heartened that it has become an issue with wide support throughout the community and across the entire political spectrum. I look forward to advancing that campaign further.

My very best wishes go to Jacinda Ardern and Raymond Huo.

So the way is now clear for Huo. I haven’t seen any indication of his intentions but presume he is interested in returning.

More depth to Jackson and O’Connor

The recruitment and selection of Greg O’Connor to stand for Labour in Ohariu and Willie Jackson to stand on Labour’s list, both promoted by Andrew Little, have been controversial.

O’Connor has been strongly criticised on the left for his backing of things like arming the police (as head of the Police union).

Jackson has copped resurrected flak for the part he played in the radio ‘roast busters’ controversy.

Moana Maniapoto: The Willie Jackson I know

Willie Jackson can be really annoying. In fact, that was one of the reasons we divorced about 16 years ago.

On the Roastbusters:

Like many overpaid talkback hosts, they often crossed the line themselves. When their mouths ran away from them during the “Roast Busters” saga, genuine offence was exacerbated by everyone else with a historical beef piling in. You need a whiteboard to work out the various agendas.

Similar comments that week by Sean Plunket and Andrew Fagan barely rated a mention, but I guess there’s only one thing more offensive than “a cheeky darkie” (to quote Paul Holmes): it’s two. Instead of creating a golden opportunity in a follow-up show to explore sexist attitudes among all blokes, an unforgiving and highly vocal lynch mob demanded Willie and JT be fired.

I thought the comments in their interview were unacceptable, and I told Willie that. He took all the criticism on board, apologised then, and is still apologising three years later. There are still those who frame him now as less a devil’s advocate and more the devil incarnate.

But given the failure of Willie’s most vocal critics to deal to star Pākehā broadcasters with a history of consistently spouting crap stuff about women, and Māori in particular — I’m putting racism near the top of my whiteboard, next to power plays.

Or maybe the left are much harder on their own if they stray outside political correctness.

And Greg O’Connor responds at The Standard after being on the receiving end of a lot of criticism.

Some of the comments on the blogs about me and my candidacy for Labour in Ōhāriu have made for interesting reading. The theme running through much of the discussion seems to be that I’m a right-wing fascist who makes Kim Jong-un look like some sort of pinko liberal pacifist.

Having been highly visible in the media for a few years discussing a pretty narrow topic, namely frontline policing, it’s understandable people have judged me on that segment of my life and views. I’m taking up this invitation to show you there is another side to me – which will come as no surprise to those who know me well, and regard me as a bit of a lefty.

Labour was the natural choice for me as a political party.

On arming the police:

I have previously advocated for police to be armed, the result of a remit being passed to that effect in 2010 at the Police Association conference. That happened because police and government took no action, no review or enquiry even, following the shooting of 9 officers in 2008/09. The resulting build-up of frustration was inevitable, hence the motion.

It likely could have been avoided if the Police had done then what they did subsequently, which was to make firearms available in the Norwegian style: locked in the car instead of back at the station.

My position is that arming is inevitable unless we, New Zealand, get on top of the illegal gun situation. The decision will be a consequence of a serious and preventable public loss of life in a shooting situation.

My personal priority is to use any influence I have to make sure that we stop the flow of firearms to those who should never have them, while at the same time protecting the rights of legitimate users . That would negate the need for arming. I know this is a very long winded explanation, but it’s one those who are judging me deserve to have.

Most people’s perceptions of prospective political candidates is based on headlines (often sensationalised) and social media banter and argey bargey.

There is more depth to both candidates at the respective links.

Labour attack ‘brainless sheep’

How not to build your voter base – over the past ten years Labour have lost a lot of voters, many of whom have voted National.  To rebuild their support they need to attract many of those voters to come back to Labour. Saying things like this is hardly going to help – from Labour Tauranga:

It’s easier to control people who have no money you see, they have less choices.

Blame everyone you know that votes National.

How anyone can think that a government who is intent on destroying the country and selling it to anyone who’ll buy are worth the air in their lungs amazes us! Brainless sheep.

I’ve seen this sort of thing said from anonymous commenters on blogs like The Standard but it’s a different matter coming from an official looking Labour source:

In detail:

labourtaurangabrainlesssheep

This was probably just one person from Labour in Tauranga demonstrating what a brainless sheep they are  (even though they referred to plural in “How anyone can think that a government who is intent on destroying the country and selling it to anyone who’ll buy are worth the air in their lungs amazes us!”), but it doesn’t look good for the party.