For a tough decision free New Zealand

On Green anti-poverty campaigner Marama Davidson on RNZ’s Morning Report:

She like her co-leader James Shaw won’t say whether she thinks it’s ok for beneficiaries to break the law.

“I too am not going to judge people. What I would like see, laws that will allow everybody to have enough so they don’t have to make tough decisions.”

From the audio from Green Party re-launches election campaign with ‘Love NZ’

The first elimination of tough decisions is to vote for this care free utopia.

There will be no need for anyone to make tough decisions at all, like how to get things done, and how to finance it.

The rise of Marama Davidson

Marama Davidson has had a rapid rise in politics. She is now the second ranked Green MP, and has just been given the responsibility of heading the Green campaign against poverty.

She is known as a social justice activist.

Davidson has been in Parliament for less than two years. She missed making it in 2014 by one list position (she was 15 on the list). When Russel Normal resigned in November 2015 she became an MP.

Earlier this year Davidson was showing as 13th ranked Green, after another new MP had joined after Kevin Hague resigned last year.

When the Greens’ preliminary list came out in April Davidson came in at 4. She was elevated to number 3 for the ‘final’ list, but that has changed now Metiria Turei has withdrawn from the list.

Yesterday in a relaunch of the Green election campaign sole leader James Shaw number the Green number 2 as one of a new caucus leadership team. Davidson has been put in charge of the Green poverty policy, effectively taking over this responsibility from Turei.

From Davidson’s bio (from the Green website):

Marama’s parents met as young, urban Māori activists; she was literally born into the movement.  However, it was Marama’s ten year career at the Human Rights Commission that brought life to her activist and social justice foundations.

Marama worked part-time as the Chief Panelist for the Glenn Inquiry into Domestic Violence and Child Abuse.  Her involvement in the inquiry has placed violence at the forefront of her political radar.  Marama supports the compassionate and necessary work that MP Jan Logie leads around violence, and longs for a day when we can call Aotearoa violence free.

As well as supporting movements on the ground, Marama is also an online activist.  She has a powerful presence on social media, which she sees as a great way to vocalise important issues and to engage with the community.  She is a blogger, and writes about social justice, Māori politics, women’s rights and more.

Marama is passionate about all areas of injustice, and is committed to using her voice wherever she can to elevate issues.  She is inspired by community leaders who do the hard work and stay connected to the issues and the people in their neighbourhoods.

“I am enthusiastic and excited about making change that honours our connection to each other, and our planet”

She is the Green spokesperson for Māori Development, Social Housing, Human Rights and Pacific Peoples.

In October 2016, Davidson took part in the Women’s Peace Flotilla, which intended to highlight the Israeli blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Davidson is active in social media. her reaction to Turei’s stepping down:

And active in campaigning:

Also on Facebook:

Today I spoke to people waiting in the long lines outside of both the Manurewa and the Clendon offices of Work and Income.

The photo below was supposed to be a selfie with just me and the office door. I don’t like to expose people who might be treated cruelly in public.

But Kataraina went out of her way to run over to me after I’d spoken with people in the line about our Green Party plans to end poverty. And after I’d spoken to people about what happened to Metiria.

She insisted on being in the photo with me. She insisted on being named. I told her that I wanted to post my photo publicly and that I didn’t want her to be in it.

She looked me in the eyes and had to spell it out: she wanted to be in the photo.

So who am I to take her voice away. She wanted her voice to count.

I enrolled lots of people to vote this morning. I gave out flyers about how we will end poverty, starting with increasing benefits and removing benefit sanctions. I asked people to vote, and to vote for the Green Party so we can make peoples voices count.

End poverty. Take our country back from cruelty.

We’ve had a rough week. We’re determined now more than ever.

Her last speech in Parliament:

Davidson will ensure that the Green campaign against poverty continues with some emphasis.

Having representatives like Davidson in Parliament is good. Time will tell, possibly, how she would do as a Minister.


Solidarity and resistance?

This is an odd call for support for the Greens resetting and restarting their campaign after a disastrous couple of weeks.

Odd solidarity with no James Shaw in that photo – I wonder if that is deliberate. He is supposed to now be the sole leader, heading efforts to rebuild a tattered party.

The post is by ‘weka’: The Greens: solidarity and resistance

Solidarity and resistance sounds like it comes from a century ago, when poverty was far more widespread and worse, and social welfare barely existed.

The Greens are an enigma for some, and this is understandable because they don’t fit into the neat political boxes that the establishment deem real. They also are an inherent challenge to the establishment just because of who they are, so we can’t expect those part of the MSM invested in retaining the status quo to tell the story straight.

In my opinion it’s always better initially to listen to what the Greens have to say themselves. Here are the words of Green Party people speaking in the past few days,

Green MP Marama Davidson,

We will not forget the thousands of you who came to us with your stories of hardship.

This is just the start. All of your voices, the voices who came to us in trust and faith – are our priority. Ending poverty is a priority. We have the plan, and the political will, and most of all we have every single one of your stories driving us on.

We are 100% behind our sole co-leader James Shaw who will take us through the rest of this election. We are 100% behind Metiria who will continue what she started in her ongoing campaign for the party vote. We are 100% behind our strive to ensure that everyone can live dignified lives.

Green MP Jan Logie speaking on Back Benches,

I tell you something. We are going to NOT let (Metiria’s) sacrifice go for nothing. We are going to double down and do everything we can to make that worthwhile. To end poverty.

Double down on a disastrous own goal that has severely weakened the Greens?

James Shaw, co-leader of the Green Party (video at 4 mins)

I am committed to ending poverty in this country.

We are the party that aims to end poverty. Frankly everybody else is interested in tinkering around the edges. We’re the only party that’s drawn a line in the sand and said we know what it takes to lift 212,000 children above the poverty line.

That was to be really clear that the Greens are still strong on the kaupapa of ending poverty.

For the people on the look out for the environmental side, there’s a plethora of solid Green Policy already in place and based around NZ becoming world leaders on climate action, cleaning up our rivers, and ending poverty.

Metiria Turei started the Green Party campaign last month with a speech that started the temporary rise and then dramatic fall of the Greens (and precipitated a dramatic turnaround for the better for Labour).

Green MPs and Green supporters were blind to the risks and to the damage being done to their party. They attacked anyone who pointed out their problems or who criticised Turei or the party. They happily criticised and rejected two of their own MPs who were troubled by integrity issues.

If they want to ignore all of the problems the brought upon themselves, or just blame others – in particular the media which is seen as just a part of the establishment to be resisted – then I don’t like their chances of repairing the substantial damage they have caused themselves.

No matter how Shaw tries to repackage the Green campaign today, if the Green supporters who remain active continue the Metiria mission it may take an election disaster to get the message through.

If Greens generally follow the gist of what weka has posted through the campaign then I think there’s a real chance of them dropping through the threshold and crashing out of Parliament altogether.

That would be a real shame, but the Greens seem intent on doubling down – and down, and down.

Calling for solidarity and resistance may turn the Greens around, but it could also make a disaster permanent for the socialist sisterhood.

Organ donor law success for first term MP

The Member’s Bill put forward by rookie National list MP Chris Bishop, providing for financial assistance for organ donors, has passed into law. This is part due to the luck of the draw but it is also a success for the hard working Bishop.

First term MPs have quite varying profiles.

Many seem to disappear into Parliament, hardly to be heard of again. Some of them bail out without standing again, like ex-Palmerston North mayor and National list MP Jono Naylor who announced recently he was opting out.

Some make an early impact and fade. This has happened to Labour’s David Clark, who had an inherited Member’s Bill drawn just after he was elected and got some attention, media rated him as someone to watch, he raced up the Labour pecking order, but seems to have slipped into obscurity outside his electorate city Dunedin and making a racket in the House.

David Seymour has managed to attract a bit of attention in his first term. He had a daunting task establishing himself in his Epsom electorate and trying to resurrect the Act Party in Parliament.

James Shaw came into Parliament at 13 on their list in 2014 but jumped the queue to become co-leader after Russel Norman resigned.

Another Green MP, Marama Davidson replaced Norman as next on the list last year and has had some success in establishing a profile.

Maori Party list MP Marama Fox has done a good job and has been rated as a success. Maori MPs in particular seem to have public profile problems as they tend to work quietly with their constituents – see the Parakura method and Insight into Māori politics.

Old school parties tended to frown on new MPs trying to make a name for themselves.

Sir Keith Holyoake, New Zealand Prime Minister from 1960 to 1972, famously counselled first-term Members of Parliament to ‘breathe through their noses’, suggesting that it was in their best interests to keep their heads down and mouths shut.

Perhaps this recommendation is instrumental in the low profile of first-term MPs in New Zealand and the subsequent dearth of information available about these individuals.

But Bishop has done more than breathe through his nose, showing that something can be achieved by new MPs.

New law gives financial assistance to organ donors

Parliament has passed legislation to give financial assistance to organ donors while they recover.

The members’ bill, in the name of the National MP Chris Bishop, provides 100 percent of the donor’s earnings for up to 12 weeks after the operation plus childcare assistance for those who need it while they recover.

This is a very good achievement for Bishop, and unlike many Member’s bills it will be very beneficial. It not only financially supports those who donate organs, it should encourage more to donate.

Bishop also did very well in his first election in 2014, pushing incumbent  Trevor Mallard in Hutt South hard and giving him a scare ending up with 16,127 votes to Mallard’s 16,836.

Mallard has opted out of standing again in an electorate, hoping to get in on Labour’s list (on current polling that is far from guaranteed) and hoping Labour wins so they give him the job of  Speaker.

Bishop has also been working hard in the electorate so has a good chance of establishing himself as an electorate MP.

He is a hybrid MP, having worked for a public company (Philip Morris) and has also worked as a staffer for Steven Joyce.

Bishop hasn’t heeded the ‘breath through the nose’ advice, but Holyoake was from a very different era (he was Prime Minister from 1660-1972 and died in 1983) and Bishop is a new breed of MP.

Marama Davidson’s Gaza stunt

Green MP Marama Davidson will have gone to join a boat trying to defy the Israeli sea blockade of Gaza knowing very well that being detained was very likely. It has happened before, and lining up to be detain is a well known way of achieving publicity.

So is a show of concern for her situation genuine? Or is it playing the game some more?

Is Davidson an activist or a Member of Parliament?

Newshub: Concern for MP Marama Davidson detained by Israeli Navy

The group that sent Marama Davidson to Gaza to join humanitarian protests is worried about the lack of contact with the Green MP.

Kia Ora Gaza spokesman Roger Fowler says they haven’t heard from her since Zaytouna-Olivia, her peace flotilla boat bound for Gaza, was intercepted by the Israeli Navy.

“It was largely expected, because that’s the behaviour of the Israeli regime,” he told Newshub. “They’ve got a long track record of treating people in such a brutal and arrogant manner.”

That confirms the obvious, what happened was largely expected.

Kia Ora Gaza fundraised for Marama to join the Women’s Peace Boat to Gaza protest, dedicated to breaking the Israeli siege. She left New Zealand last month to join 12 other women on the flotilla.

Did they pay for her airfares to get there? Her wages are paid for by New Zealand taxpayers.

“We are concerned,” says Mr Fowler. “All communication has been cut ever since the boat was intercepted about 53 miles away from Gaza. It’s hard to know what Marama and the other women are going through.”

Israel says some of the boat’s occupants were already known to the authorities there, and have been deported. The others, including Ms Davidson, have been taken to Ashdod for processing. They are expected to be deported once that is complete.

I think that’s normal procedure…

“We’re asking our Government to demand the Israeli authorities release these women so they can carry on their journey to Gaza,” says Mr Fowler.

…so this is nothing but posturing.

Prime Minister John Key said it was a “less than perfect” look for a New Zealand MP to be detained, but warnings from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade “fall on deaf ears when it comes to that kind of protests from the Greens”.

It’s probably a near perfect look for the Green Party and for Kia Ora Gaza.

But Al Jazeera coverage doesn’t even mention Davidson, In Gaza’s women flotilla ‘challenging Israel’s blockade’

The 13 women participating on this leg of the journey hail from a variety of countries: Norway, Sweden, Australia, Egypt, Tunisia, Malaysia, Israel, the United States and Canada.

Nor in Israel intercepts boat seeking to break Gaza blockade:

Thirteen women, including 1976 Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Maguire, were travelling aboard the Zaytouna-Oliva sailboat in the Mediterranean towards Gaza, which is run by Hamas.

The Zaytouna-Oliva set sail from Barcelona in September and was carrying women of various nationalities in addition to Maguire, a Northern Ireland activist.

Dubbed the “Women’s Boat to Gaza”, it is part of the wider Freedom Flotilla Coalition that consists of pro-Palestinian boats that regularly seek to go to Gaza to try to break the blockade.

Maguire has been to Gaza by boat a number of times already, and has been deported by the Israelis already. Wilipedia:

On 28 September 2010, Maguire landed in Israel as part of a delegation of the Nobel Women’s Initiative. She was refused an entry visa by Israeli authorities on the grounds that she had twice in the past tried to run Israel’s naval embargo of the Gaza Strip and that a 10-year exclusion order was in effect against her.

So being detained and deported this time is fairly predictable.

Ms Davidson and others on board pre-recorded videos in the event they were captured. In hers, Ms Davidson calls the Israeli Navy the “oppression forces”.

Her visit to Israel is not likely to be for long.

Davidson’s new role as an international activist is not likely to have done much to improve  Green Party support, and it raises questions about their priorities in in New Zealand.

A Burr under the Green saddle

Lloyd Burr at Newshub echoes and highlights the hypocrisy of the Green Party over their apparently unconditional support of the Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary  at the expense of Māori treaty rights, something the Greens normally promote as sacrosanct.

Newshub: Greens have turned back on Treaty

By unconditionally supporting the Kermadec ocean sanctuary proposal, the Green Party is turning its back on the Treaty of Waitangi and its own Te Tiriti policy.

The Greens have always been a strong voice on Treaty issues and like to publicise that fact.

But its current support of the Kermadec legislation, which walks all over Māori rights, is a slap in the face for all its past rhetoric.

In fact, it’s hypocritical.

Burr details a number of issues where the Greens put a lot of importance on Te Tiriti.

  • The water rights debate during the asset sales saga? The Greens said “the Key Government’s rush to sell assets does not justify it ignoring its Treaty obligations”.
  • The  private members bill that would stop Māori land confiscations under the Public Works Act? The bill will “stop any more unfair confiscations of what is left of whenua Māori”.
  • Co-leader Metiria Turei’s Ratana speech a few years ago about how proud she was of the Green Party’s Māori policies? “We in the Green Party deeply believe in the benefits of honouring the Treaty,” she said.
  • The Greens saying it opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership because “the damage it could do to Māori rights and the Māori economy”.

But the Greens, plus organisations closely associated with the Greens like Greenpeace – Māori versus the environmental lobby – see the Kermadec sanctuary as important enough to ignore rights negotiated by Māori under the Treaty.

The saga must be a kick in the guts for Green MP Marama Davidson who has been such a champion on Māori issues.

It must be a hard pill for her to swallow.

Where does co-leader Metiria Turei fit in to this? She makes a big deal about the importance of Māori issues. When it suits her.

Prast aghast

I don’t know anything about Simon Prast but can work out his political preferences from his Top 10 politicians of 2015 post at The Daily Blog. From three of his picks.

2. Kelvin Davis: for speaking truth to power, for actually getting off his arse in Wellington and travelling to Christmas Island to determine the plight of NZ detainees, for relentlessly pursuing and exposing Serco’s scandalous incompetence and fraud. He walks his talk. Made me proud to have voted Labour.

5. Marama Davidson: for her courage and compassion, for hitting the ground running, a working mother who actually believes in something. A political superstar in the making.

9. John Key: for being an easy, sleazy, smug rich prick who makes fun of those less fortunate, for using his considerable talents for the betterment of the wealthy at the expense of the poor, for being a royal-name-dropping-All-Black-arse-licking-star-fucker (and these are his good points). Makes me ashamed to be a New Zealander. Should be sent to the shower block on Christmas Island immediately.

Davidson has some potential but she has only been in Parliament for five minutes (ok, she replaced Russel Norman at the end of October). She has been talked up (and has talked herself up) for some time within the Green bubble.

Time will tell whether how she manages the reality of Parliament where people will actually contest her hype.

Prast’s comments about Key are typical of the extreme left (extreme in their attack, not necessarily political leaning).

His reference to “the shower block on Christmas Island” demonstrates an extreme double standard. Key was strongly criticised for being involved in a soap ‘joke’ on radio.

One commenter, David, pointed this out:

I thought when JK was accused of bad judgement when a radio station made fun of prison rape that this was a very bad thing yet I item 9 above it says ” be sent to the shower block on Christmas Island immediately. ”

Pot, meet kettle

To date two have disagreed with this, five have given it a thumb up.

Prast’s tenth pick:

10. Adolf Hitler: for achieving the remarkable distinction of being compared to ISIS and Donald Trump in the same week, for being the politician behind VW and the inspiration for its outrageous marketing propaganda, for enduring more hilariously inappropriate internet memes than any other living politician. Uncredited set and costume designer for the evil baddies in the latest Star Wars. For having one testicle (that’s still one more than John Key).

I’m not sure if that’s trying to be funny or it’s just garbled bile.

Marama Davidson on The Nation

Marama Davidson will replace Russel Norman when he leaves Parliament at the end of October. She was interviewed on The Nation yesterday.

Lisa Owen asks social justice advocate Marama Davidson how she wants to broaden the Green Party’s appeal after she enters Parliament.

Interview: Incoming Green MP Marama Davidson


Lisa Owen: Well, Green Party leader Russel Norman is jumping ship to Greenpeace, paving the way for social justice advocate and Nation panellist Marama Davidson to surface as the party’s 14th MP. She joins me this morning. Good morning.

Marama Davidson: Kia ora.

Last election you said that you might need a thicker skin to be an MP, so how hard do you expect this job to be?

I think that as a public person and as an activist I’ve had to grow a thicker skin, but I also don’t think that being a politician or being anybody is any excuse for anyone to be rude to you, so I think it’s really good to stick to the issues and leave the rudeness completely out of it.

When you got the call-up, did you have a moment when you thought, ‘Ooh’?

As I was saying, I had to keep it completely to myself for quite some time, because, you know, even though we’ve known this was coming for a little while, when it actually came it, it was a little bit like a bus crash running me over, and so I just had to sit with it and settle it in my head a bit. There was both nerves and anxiety and, underneath that, some excitement as well.

All right. Well, you say that your passions are for Maori and environmental issues, so why do you think that the Greens are struggling to connect with Maori?

Yeah, so I hope to be able to help with that and support that. So traditionally I don’t think the Green Party has had a strong presence in Maori communities and in Maori politics, which is hard for me, because with our policies and with our kaupapa, we’ve absolutely stood next to Maori political aspirations, for example, foreshore and seabed, opposing Statoil and deep-sea oil drilling. So in my belief—

But you’ve not won those votes from the Maori or the poor, have you? Because, I mean, just looking, it’s four times— you’ve got four times more votes in Epsom than you did in Manurewa or Mangere.

Yeah, so I’m really pleased with the diversity work that we’ve acknowledged we need to do, particularly in Auckland at the moment, and we’ve got our membership in grass roots reaching out and making those connections, and we need to be present in communities. So, yeah, that’s one of my strengths, I think, is being present in the community.

Is the problem that if you are struggling to make ends meet now and put food on the table now, the state of the planet in 50 years’ time is not your top priority? It’s not a luxury that you can afford?

And what I’ve always said is that every decision we make at every level needs to put children front and centre, not just today’s child but tomorrow’s child. So, for example, the way that Housing New Zealand has held back millions of dollars and has neglected to fix up our state homes has a direct, direct impact on our most vulnerable, and our children have been dying and, indeed, sick from that decision.

Well, I’m wondering if you could ever see yourself as being part of a coalition with National?

So, what we’ve always done is worked across parties, and we’ve had good Green policy gains working with National as well, and insulating our homes was a direct score for what we want to uphold.

Yeah, but I’m asking you about a coalition. Could you see yourself in a coalition?

So, personally, at the moment National’s direction is far apart from the Green kaupapa and our own political aspirations. The membership at the moment, they decide that, and the membership at the moment have said it’s highly unlikely.

Okay, well, let’s take a quick look at some of your personal views so we can get a sense of where you sit. Um, girls under the age of 16. Should they need parental consent for an abortion?

I think that the ultimate decision has to lie with those young women, and everyone knows that I was in that position myself. But I do absolutely acknowledge that whanau… whanau have a right to be involved. I think the final decision has to rest with the young woman.

We’re gonna talk about taxes soon on unhealthy foods. It could save lives, but tax on food obviously hits the poor the hardest. Where do you stand on that? Tax on unhealthy food?

So our Fair Share tour around the country. People have been saying we have healthy food, less expensive than junk food. I don’t know what the exact answers are to make that that happen for our vulnerable families, but definitely our healthy food needs to be accessible.

Okay, are you opposed to all offshore and onshore mining in New Zealand?

For drilling for oil, even if we burn the stuff that we know about and that we’ve got, our planet and our future and our children are going to suffer. So we have to be really clear about that, and we have to not continue opening up new mines. I think that’s where we have to be clear about.

No to new mines but existing…?

The transition from existing mines has to be one that doesn’t hurt families even more.

And very briefly, should Maori be able to access New Zealand Super before the age of 65?

Uh, so the Greens don’t have a policy on that at the moment, and I just—

What’s your—?

Inequalities. The inequalities are that my own… Both of my own grandparents didn’t make it past 65, and so we need to look at how to make things more equal for those discriminations.

All right. Marama Davidson, thanks for joining us this morning.

Transcript provided by Able.

 I found that very ‘rah rag Greens’ parroting (like she has when she has spoken on Q & A panels) which gave little insight into how Davidson sees things but it’s very really days early days for her, she’s not even in Parliament yet.

She has already been very active in various political causes and will fit in with the Greens very well. Her impact beyond that is yet to be seen.

Green gender imbalance

When Russel Norman leaves Parliament at the end of October he will be replaced by next on the Green list, Marama Davidson. This means that the current 7/7 gender split will change to 8 female MPs versus 6 male MPs .

This shouldn’t be an issue but the Greens usually try hard to maintain gender balance.

To an extent it’s a quirk of a male MP resignig when the next on the list is female. But it could have been avoided by getting Davidson to stand aside to let a male replace Norman. There’s a precedent for this sort of list manipulation as two people on the Green list stood aside to enable Norman to replace Nandor Tanczos in 2008.

But Davidson is ambitious and is very keen to become an MP. She is rated highly in Green circles and they would have been expecting her to get into Parliament last year from number fifteen on their list, except that the Greens failed to improve their vote enough.

Davidson was understandable excikted by yesterday’s news.

was just stand up mighty for my ! I’m honoured up the wahzoo to be the 14th MP. Hugely thankful to so many of you ❤

There has been a lot of excitement and congratulations.

Formidable wahine toa female MPs

Embedded image permalink

ae 🙂 we 3 are the wahine Maori MP’s xx

So Davdson is highlighting her and their wahineness and Maoriness – I’m not sure that Delahunty would be thrilled with being separated like that.

And Marama Fox of the Maori Party might like to point out that Greens don’t have the only wahine Maori MPs.

Same for Nanaia Mahuta, Louisa Wall, Poto Williams and Meka Whatiri (Labour). And Paula Bennett, Hekia Parata and Jo Hayes (National). And Ria Bond (NZ First).

I don’t have a problem with this. Any party can have any mix of MPs they like. But for a party that makes an issue of promoting gender and race balance this seems to be a lapse of discipline.

Three wahine Maori MPs out of fourteen is 21.4% is about three times the population proportion.

There’s a total of twelve wahine Maori MPs (that are obvious to me) which is about 10% – about 15% of the New Zealand population is Maori so about 7.5% will be female.

Metiria Turei added her take on it:

Metiria Turei retweeted Alan

Or or or There will be 8 women in our caucus of 14 soon. All wahine toa.

So Turei is promoting them as representing strong, female, Maori, and seems to be applauding the female imbalance. This seems contrary to the Green ideal of equal female/male representation.

There are valid arguments for increased female and Maori representation to make up for past under-representation and to overcome entrenched non-Maori male domination.

But a party can’t be both gender and ethnically balanced and also promote and applaud imbalance without looking like their ideals can be bent when it suits some of them.

Green’s gender and ethnic imbalance is not a problem – unless balance is an ideal that mustn’t be compromised.

The Nation: Little and Labour repeating failed strategies

On The Nation yesterday (replayed today Sunday on TV3 at 10 am) Labour leader Andrew Little was interviewed by Lisa Owen.It was followed by a panel discussion.

Lisa Owen wraps up the political week with former Green candidate Marama Davidson, Victoria University political scientist Jon Johansson & rightb wing commentator and PR consultant Matthew Hooton.


Here are comments on the interview from the discussion.

Owen: We heard from Andrew little there, and is he looking like a Prime Minister in waiting?

Hooton: I think he’s really struggling on the transition from being a union leader to being a Parliamentary leader and a potential Prime Minister. On every issue he addressed he ended up waffling, on every single topic that came up except possibly on the Health and Safety issue where he probably was a bit stronger because it’s his background.

But whether it was the TPP, mining, or even whether Winston Peters might be Prime Minister in a Labour led Government, he waffled.

Johansson: Well I mean one, he’s experiencing what is being experienced on both sides of politics now, which is the real problem post MMP from a leadership perspective is being the Opposition leader.

And where I was very interested in his comments today was they have not moved on from this sitting back passive sitting back role in terms of promoting relationships with other parties.

Now given the numbers Labour simply cannot form a Government without coalition partners, and we all understand that, and I think the lesson I most learnt from the last three years up to 2014 is it takes three years, a full three years of effort, to get a message through to the New Zealand electorate that I am a credible alternative and this is what it’s going to look like, this is who I’m going to share power with, and these are some broad strokes of what we’re going to do.

None of that today. They’re not interested in that. And so for me if they replayed that ad, National’s successful ad with the rowing boat, what has changed?  Absolutely nothing.


Except that Winston Peters now sees himself sitting on in the middle of the boat with a megaphone too.

Owen: Well the thing is if you look at that speech he gave recently you could have thought that on Green policy, you would have thought if you didn’t know it was him you could have thought it was Metiria Turei delivering that speech. So in some ways are they moving towards the Greens, and then in other ways policy wise moving towards Winston Peters?

Davidson: There is policy compatibility with the Greens and Labour and one of the substance things, he had a hard interview for sure Andrew Little, but one of the substance points I picked out is that he is maintaining working hard with good relationships across the Opposition party, Labour and Greens continue to work well together

And in terms of coalition partners just as Jon was highlighting most New Zealanders actually choose Greens ahead of other parties to be as their most preferred coalition partner.

Davidson usually seems more intent on promoting the Greens rather than analysing the issue under discussion. And the Greens virtually rule out considering a coalition with National.

Owen: If that’s the case though what Jon’s saying though is he’s not being up front and saying it out loud is he.

Johansson: All I think is why would any voter who is tired of John Key and his Goverment, what is the alternative which they are turning to? It is not being presented to them. They don’t know actually what the next would look like if they want to move away from a National led Government.

Hooton: It was a terrible interview by Andrew Little and i don’t think it was an unreasonable interview, he was asked about the major policy issues of the day and he had no answers on any of them. So, you know, he’s just simply not there yet. Your three year rule (to Johansson) has got two years to go.

Owen: Is it too soon though to be lining yourself up with…

Johansson: No. Because they should have demonstrated to themselves the failed strategy of the last three years shouldn’t be projected onto the next three years. They’re replicating a failed strategy.

That’s fairly damning from Johansson, but Little or someone within Labour needs to take urgent and serious note. Johansson is not Mike Hosking or Paul Henry or Matthew Hooton.

It looks like Labour are repeating past failed strategies. It looks like Little is repeating the mistakes of past leaders.

It looks like Labour are trying to row their boat sideways into a strong current and are ignoring advice to turn things around a bit.

I’m not anti Labour. I’d like to think that at some stage in the future I might seriously consider voting for Labour again (the last time I voted for them was in 2005).

But I’m anti incompetence.

Link to video: Interview: Labour Leader Andrew Little