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.