Cosgrove bus follows Labour over McCarten

On Newstalk ZB Clayton Cosgrove has followed the Labour party bus driving over Matt McCarten as he cops all the blame for the intern scheme.

No sooner than the National Party had their, you know, let’s say drama or debate last week, some would say it’s a little more serious than that, but Labour then had the situation with the foreign students coming in here.

Now Clayton, I’ll start with you this time, how did the Labour Party not know about the conditions?

Clayton Cosgrove: Oh well as I understand Matt McCarten, who used to be employed by the Labour Party…

It’s unclear when his employment ceased but McCarten says in May but he didn’t announce it until 11 June. There seems to be no doubt that McCarten was purportedly working for Labour while he was working on this scheme.

… came up with one of his you know you beaut ideas and Matt’s sort of characterised as a guru, god only knows why, he destroyed the New Labour Party, he destroyed the Alliance and everything he touches turns to the proverbial.

More colourful than others in Labour but joining in the ‘blame Matt’ chorus.

But nonetheless he came up with this idea, he was the author of it, he was the coordinator of it, we found out, and as I understand certain commitments were made to these young people, those commitments weren’t honoured.

Andrew Little found out about the detail of it, ah and stepped in right away and said, well, you know even though it’s gonna work for me (?) he started this, he’s put this together, we’re going to fix it.

Little said on Q+A he knew about the idea early in the year, and he knew that an unauthorised programme was operating when interns were arriving at least as far back as mid-May, so “stepped in right away” is disingenuous.

And as of today my understanding is, I think there’s about sixty plus of the eighty who want to remain. I understand they’ve been billeted out, those commitments that have been made to them I believe have been honoured, ah and you don’t see Andrew Little making excuses, blaming other people, having amnesia.

Except that they are trying to excise Labour and put all the blame on McCarten.

He stepped into the space and said “we are fixing it”, ah and my understanding is it has been fixed.

Just so people understand, these are intern programs that are run all over the world. National party people, Labour party people go all over the world, Young Nats,  Young Labour and they fight campaigns.

And I must say that the weapons grade hypocrisy of the Maori Party who came out and slammed us for having interns, well if you go onto their web page and look under the volunteers and go down about three boxes it says “do you want to be an intern?”

Disingenuous. Yes, the Maori party has an intern option on their website under Volunteer, but there is no suggestion of any foreign volunteers or students on visas being sought.

So you know putting that aside, but the point is Andrew Little got the detail, commitments were not lived up to, he moved in, it’s been fixed. And I think that actually shows ah leadership, not dodging and weaving and hiding behind a gorse bush.

Cosgrove is spinning the standard Labour line that Andrew Little spun yesterday on Q+A and that has been obvious on The Standard.

He’s more colourful in his comments on McCarten but joins in the blame game and hypocritically says that they are not “making excuses, blaming other people”.

Cosgrove has continued the dodging and weaving that Little and others have been doing.

 

 

More on Labour’s intern scheme

A couple of other points about Labour’s failed intern scheme.

From the document Labour Intern Scheme obtained by Newshub:

LabourInternScheme

That clearly claims that the project is being managed by the Labour Party, the CTU (NZ Council of Trade Unions) and AUSA (the Auckland Students Association?)

Labour Leader’s Auckland Office

It states “The project is managed out of the Trades Hall, Grey Lynn and the Grafton Road office”.

Grafton Road is where the Labour Leader’s Auckland Office is:

LabourGraftonOffice

Last August from Stuff:  Little’s chief of staff to head new Labour office in Auckland

Labour leader Andrew Little’s chief of staff Matt McCarten is poised to quit the job and head up a new Labour office in Auckland.

Little said he had not finalised who would staff the Auckland office, though he had been looking at setting it up for some time.

From early July and the Taxpayers’ Union – Speaker’s Warning To Labour Over Parliamentary Funds:

Some weeks ago Labour sent an email in the name of Paul Chalmers, the Project Manager at Labour House, to Labour’s Auckland supporters detailing how Andrew Little had opened a Auckland office that will be “the centre of the Labour and progressive movement in Auckland and the place to co-ordinate the local government and General Election campaigns.”

The email also called on “like-minded partners” to share office space and other facility resources.

It appears that Andrew Little and his MPs are pooling together taxpayer resources to open a campaign office in central Auckland for the Party and Phil Goff’s campaign for the Auckland mayoralty. Use of taxpayer resources in this way is clearly against the rules.

The Speaker has confirmed that the Parliamentary Service will be monitoring Mr Little’s spending and has written to him setting out the rules for taxpayer funded out-of-Parliament offices.

Checking up on use of Parliamentary funds isn’t new.

Speaker2Labour1

Speaker2Labour2

I presume this will be checked out over the intern scheme campaigning.

Movement for Change Ltd

The Labour Intern Scheme document also says “Financial risks and legal obligations are the responsibility of Movement for Change Ltd”.

The use of ‘Ltd’ denotes a limited liability company. I can’t find a company named ‘Movement for Change Ltd’ on the Companies Office register.

Perhaps there was an intention to set up a company that would be legally and financially responsible for the Campaign for Change but it appears that it never happened.

 

 

Private funder for Labour’s intern scheme

Matt McCarten says that the Labour intern scheme had a private funder “who thought the scheme was a good idea”.

NZ Herald: Mystery funder behind Labour intern programme – and party doesn’t know who

A mystery backer funded the volunteer scheme for overseas students working on Labour’s campaign – and even Labour does not know who it was or how much was involved.

Matt McCarten, who set up the scheme and ran it under his “Campaign for Change” organisation, told the Herald it was funded by a “private funder” who thought the scheme was a good idea.

McCarten must have also thought the private funding was a good idea.

He was chief of staff for David Cunliffe and Andrew Little, and ran Labour’s election campaign in Auckland until he quit to balls up the intern scheme last month.

Has he no clue about the requirements of political campaign funding? Or did he think he wouldn’t be found out?

It is understood Labour itself still does not know who that funder is or how much was spent on the programme and it has been left to cover some of the costs of housing the interns at Awataha Marae, although McCarten said he believed the payments were up to date.

This has put Labour in  a very difficult situation, as by association they may end up being responsible for this.

Labour’s General Secretary Andrew Kirton took over the programme this week after concerns about how it was being run and the ability to manage the numbers involved.

He would not comment on the funding issue, saying he was still working on taking care of the interns and “sorting the mess out”.

After that he may have a funding mess to sort out.

Heading into an election campaign this is a terrible diversion for the Labour Party.

Labour will also have to consider whether it needs to declare any contributions to the costs of the programme as a donation.

Electoral law expert Graeme Edgeler said it would have to if it was a Labour Party programme, but it probably would not have to if it was a third party campaigning for Labour.

It was advertised as a “Labour Party Fellowship”, involved Labour MPs, and was set up by McCarten while he worked for Labour until May – but was run by his Campaign for Change.

The Campaign for Change change seems to have been a rush job to try to distance the scheme from Labour, but ” third party campaigning” could be very difficult to argue.

Other Labour Party activists and staffers have been names as involved in the scheme.

One could wonder if a more effective sabotage of Labour’s campaign could have been executed, but I think it’s more likely that this was a mix of arrogance and ineptness from McCarten and those directly involved, and a glaring lack of oversight by the Labour Party at best.

Labour leader Andrew Little said the party would disclose anything it was required to and would ensure third parties did as well. However, the party was still working out what funding there was in place.

Awkward.

Interns have given mixed reviews – yesterday one told the Herald that much of the attention had been on the standard of accommodation, but that had not been the problem or the reason Labour officials had to step in. Nor had complaints by individual interns.

“There’s pushback from many who feel it shouldn’t have been shut down so quickly, but I really don’t know how much longer it would have lasted, especially since the whole programme was labelled ‘Labour’, without clear connection to Wellington. It was a ticking time bomb until Wellington found out and shut it down. That’s ultimately why it was shut down – it had Labour’s name all over it, but Wellington had no control over the situation or even knew many details about it.”

So it seems that McCarten was out of control.

Unite’s National Director Mike Treen said the union had taken part in the programme and planned to use the interns for an programme to enrol Unite members, but had not provided any direct funding.

“Matt is ambitious, and where there is a will there is a way is often his attitude. He may have tried to reach too far in this case. We thought there were positives and are a little bit sorry to see it’s all fallen on its face.”

So Treen was also involved. He stood for the Mana Party last election and has links to socialist groups – see  Mana Party and Socialists

It looks like a misconceived attempt at a coup of Labour – see Labour policy coup attempt?

Labour policy coup attempt?

The Labour Party has handled the foreign student intern issue very poorly and they have been justifiably been blasted from all sides.

Leader Andrew Little and general secretary Andrew Kirton have been trying to repair the damage and pile the blame on Matt McCarten, but they should have known exactly what was being done and ensured it was properly managed. They stuffed up badly.

However there are suggestions that McCarten and others involved in the debacle may have been attempting some sort of grand plan to push the party left and effectively execute a policy coup.

Martyn Bradbury has been involved, and as usual he has trouble keeping quiet. He has posted Why the Labour Party Student Intern ‘scandal’ is a smear

Watching that meltdown into the shameful scandal it’s being sold as by the media and Politicians desperate to move the attention from Bill English is as ugly as it is typical.

The spluttering shock and hyperventilation of the corporate media at a story that is over a 2 months old right when English was getting screwed seems remarkably good timing for National.

Mostly fortuitous timing I think. National and the media didn’t engineer the Labour intern debacle, and the timing seems to be largely coincidental.

What Labour were doing with these interns happens every election. International Students come here to monitor and experience our elections, what was different about this year was how quickly over subscribed the programme became.

There’s doubt about that claim as documents (see Funding of Labour’s intern scheme) have revealed plans for more interns than have arrived.

The plan to use international students who had worked on campaigns like Jeremy Corbyn’s and Bernie Sander’s were going to be matched by domestic volunteers who were going to target 60 000 Aucklander’s who had enrolled to vote but hadn’t voted and 60 000 Aucklander’s who hadn’t enrolled at all.

They wanted to import the success of Sanders and Corbyn campaigns at getting out young voters (but failed at winning elections).

The campaigns focus was engagement and it had Labour Party sign off and Union buy in.

What happened however was Labour Party HQ Wellington become panicked by how big the Campaign had grown and despite green lighting it started dragging their feet until the thing fell over.

A whispering campaign targeting the funders strangled off money because Labour Party HQ Wellington’s preference is to win over voters who are exisiting voters because the policy platform doesn’t have to be particularly radical for that.

The Newshub documents show “First and Unite unions agreed to contribute $100,000, “white collar unions” committed to $50,000, while Union Trust put up a start-up loan of $25,000″ and the “Council of Trade Unions (CTU) was also to be involved in management of the project” but they have quickly distanced themselves today and claim that they hadn’t committed any funds.

Did the scheme proceed without proper funding in place?

Bradbury:

What Labour didn’t want was a huge campaign to the Left of Labour pressuring them for a Corbyn or Sanders platform.

Labour didn’t want this…

Campaign for Change Manifesto 
1: Free public transport for students and beneficiaries
2: 18 month rent freeze 
3: 5% maximum rent rise
4: $20 per hour minimum wage
5: Artists and Volunteers benefit
6: Free condoms, contraceptive pills and sanitary pads available at schools and family planning
7: Universal Student Allowance for Tertiary students
8: Free public internet
9: Lower voting age to 16
10: Free school lunches 

…so the fear of a successful left wing agenda has once again managed to doom Labour. Just like the candidate selection fiasco and just like the Party List fiasco, this has come down to poor internal management by the Wellington arm of the Party.

While it’s not clear it appears that Campaign for Change tried to force these policies on the Labour Party – in effect trying a policy coup.

Policy development usually takes years and includes input from party members. It is not usually foisted on a party by a small group of activists with revolution in mind.

The perception of political hypocrisy is a mainstream media generated one, the real story is Labour’s fear of a courageous left wing platform.

There was a heap of hypocrisy over student workers working for nothing and living in poor cramped conditions. But that’s not a big deal compared to what Bradbury is suggesting.

Blaming Matt McCarten and leaving him to twist in the wind is expected but it certainly isn’t honourable or justified.

If McCarten and Bradbury and whoever else was involved thought that importing a team of campaign slaves that would somehow magically turn out hundreds of thousands of votes for Labour they are naive or nuts.

If they thought that three months out from the election the Labour Party establishment would change all their policy plans and take on a ten step pathway to political oblivion then all the criticism that can be mustered is justified.

It looks like a policy coup attempt by a bunch of clowns absent any clues or leadership.

Back to the actual party leadership – how Little and Kirton allowed this to even get off the ground I have no idea. I am flabbergasted at how this looks.

 

Funding of Labour’s intern scheme

Labour still have questions to answer about why they have deceived and not been upfront about the degree of their involvement in the intern scheme fiasco.

Andrew Little and general secretary Andrew Kirton seem to have tried to play down the degree of party involvement but the whole thing has had Labour written all over it.

Newshub has obtained documents showing funding plans – Union money behind Labour’s botched intern scheme

Newshub has obtained internal documents outlining Labour’s ambitious plans to put foreign students to work on its campaign.

The plan shows the party needed to find $270,000 in funding to pull it off and was banking on unions to fund a lot of it.

The budgeting was based on 100 students staying for an average of eight weeks.

Yesterday Matt McCarten stated “The programme was extremely popular and quickly became oversubscribed. The scale of the programme is now greater than I can manage, and I am aware of issues that this has caused.”

It was reported there were about 85 interns, less than that budgeted for.

The documents show First and Unite unions agreed to contribute $100,000, “white collar unions” – likely the likes of the PSA – committed to $50,000, while Union Trust put up a start-up loan of $25,000.

Would this have been declared in Labour’s donation returns?

The plan was to get E tū and “other appropriate unions” on board too.

The Council of Trade Unions was also to be involved in management of the project, and while Labour has been distancing itself from the project, the documents explicitly states: “The programme and certification is the responsibility of Labour.”

It was clearly a Labour plan.

A less expensive plan was also outlined, in which half of the students would be billeted.

The cost of that came in at $148,000 plus operational costs. It would have required less of a fundraising drive, but still relied on union funding.

The scheme was already under way, there must have been some funds raised and used.

On Thursday, Labour leader Andrew Little fronted up about the party’s intern scheme which got “wildly out of control”.

So it must have been poorly managed.

“I have to say it is embarrassing for the party, of course it is,” he conceded.

“I am disappointed that they’ve been let down, but right now the priority is to fix that up, look after them, make sure they’re okay and work out what do from there.”

One priority is for Little to be up front about Labour’s involvement, and his knowledge of it. And Andrew Kirton.

For such a large and elaborate scheme with Labour labels everywhere the party leadership and party management must have been well aware of it. They surely must have approved it.

Some questions that deserve answers:

Have any Labour people worked on the intern scheme while being paid by Parliamentary Services?

Has Labour breached the Electoral Act by not having authorisation statements on the scheme’s Facebook page and Twitter account? Both seem to have now been pulled, but they had no sign authorisation statements.

One question that has been answered emphatically is McCarten’s campaign skills. Appalling.

Update: Andrew Kirton is being interviewed on RNZ.

He said he first knew about the project in April. Espiner is challenging him on that.

Kirton says he hasn’t seen the document until it was just published by Newshub.

Kirton is in evasion overdrive, trying to dump everything on McCarten.

Kirton says that “it was Matt’s programme that he took over when he left the party”.  So it was already a Labour party project.

He keeps diverting to ‘as soon as we were aware of the problems we stepped in to sort things out”.

Asked if the spending was going to be counted in their election  spending he said the hadn’t thought about that. Remarkable.

Kirton’s responses in that interview need a lot more scrutiny.

Intern schemes using international activists are common.

Trying to pretend a scheme has nothing to do with Labour is crazy.

McCarten, Kirton and Little all have to take responsibility for this mess.

McCarten statement on interns

Matt McCarten has put out a statement on the interns on student visas issue:


In May this year my contract with the Labour Party ended and I left to run a programme called the Campaign for Change. The programme was supported by the Labour Party in Auckland, however I led and managed it.

This programme involved an international volunteer programme with a focus on voter enrolment, working with trade unions, student groups and churches.

Volunteers would also have the opportunity to work on local political campaigns, and a number of them did volunteer to help with Labour campaigns in Auckland.

The programme was extremely popular and quickly became oversubscribed. The scale of the programme is now greater than I can manage, and I am aware of issues that this has caused.

Earlier this week the Labour Party Head Office contacted me about these issues and requested to take the programme over so that it could resolve them. I have agreed to this and am no longer involved in the programme.

My intention from the start has been to give young people a positive experience in the New Zealand political system and I regret that the programme has not lived up to this promise for all volunteers.

I will be making no further comment.

That leaves a number of key questions unanswered.

Labour campaign exposed as foreign workers rebel

Matt McCarten’s ‘Campaign for Change’ has been exposed as being far from the non-partisan project he claimed it would be, as Labour try to deal with rebelling foreign student election workers complaining about their housing conditions.

Key points:

  • McCarten’s ‘Campaign for Change’ is a front for the Labour Party, not non-partisan as claimed, and not aimed at “full political participation” in election.
  • Foreign students have been brought to New Zealand to work for Labour.
  • The students would not have been paid at all for their work.
  • The students have rebelled against cramped and poor living conditions.
  • They are being used in political deceit.

Last week I posted  McCarten’s ‘new’ project

1 million people did not vote in the last election. 250,000 people who were required to register did not. These numbers represent a crisis of democracy. This group overwhelmingly consisted of young people, workers in low paid occupations…

“The Campaign for Change will channel the energy and passion of New Zealander’s who want to see a change of Government this election.” says Director Matt McCarten.

This non-partisan campaign is being created in order to get people engaged and involved. The disconnect between a million citizens and political participation is a threat to our democracy.

The disconnect between what Labour are doing here and what they are campaigning against is a threat to their campaign.

The Campaign for Change is directed by the goal of full political participation.

It’s obviously not. It is using poorly housed foreign slave labour targeting votes for Labour.

Richard Harman at Politik posted Labour Party volunteer workers rebel over living conditions.

A Labour Party scheme to recruit  85 overseas students to campaign for the party during this year’s election has hit trouble.

The students rebelled over their accommodation and their disappointment with what was supposed to be a high powered learning programme but which appears to be not much more than political campaign drudge work.

Now party heavyweights have had to step in to rescue the programme and deal with the complaints from the students.

POLITIK has seen emails which show that the students have now held two meetings with party officials to complain about their accommodation on an Auckland marae and the work they were being asked to do.

Last night Labour’s General Secretary Andrew Kirton confirmed that there had been issues with the scheme which had arisen over the past week.

He said the scheme had been originated by Andrew Little’s former Chief of Staff, Matt McCarten, who now runs Labour’s campaign office in Auckland.

Not quite. Last week McCarten said he was leaving Labour to run a non-partisan ‘Campaign for Change’. Is he still based in Labour’s campaign office?

The heart of the row appears to be the living conditions under which the interns have been accommodated at Awataha Marae in Northcote.

The students met Labour party officials on Saturday to protest about their accommodation and were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements.

The interns were invited by Labour to help with its campaign.

Kirton says that Labour’s head office had been notified of these problems and had now stepped in.

The interns would leave Auckland and be distributed across the country. They would be billeted with Labour supporters.

Short lectures are promised from some top Labour Party names:

  • Andrew Little
  • Jacinda Ardern
  • Helen Clark
  • “Current ambassadors to NZ.”
  • “Senior party stakeholders and staff, including the President and Chief of Staff “
  • Teleconferences with senior staff from US Democratic Party and UK Labour Party

However, Kirton said there were now problems organising these talks because the volunteers were no longer in one place.

This looks more like a farce than anything, but questions of consistency arise – Labour are campaigning against foreign workers, low wages and housing problems.

And it also raises questions about McCarten’s and Labour’s honesty in the campaign.

In Parliament yesterday Andrew Little questioned Bill English on “an acceptable moral standard” and “a cover-up” and “a public figure is lying”.

This isn’t as shoddy as the Barclay debacle, but when asking “Why should New Zealanders place any trust in him as Prime Minister” when McCarten, and Labour and Little by association, have been dishonest about the nature of the Labour campaign to get out votes.

Little said the Prime Minister “told media things that are untrue about his knowledge of Todd Barclay’s actions, and consistently failed the moral standards that New Zealanders expect of their elected leaders”.

Ill-considered deceits like Labour’s ‘Campaign for Change in which foreign student workers are being exploited.

Why should New Zealanders place any trust in Little as leader of Labour?

Is it any wonder many people don’t trust any politicians and can’t be bothered voting?

McCarten’s ‘new’ project

Last week I posted on news that Matt McCarten is leaving his Labour Party Auckland campaign job to run a campaign to get non voters out to vote – see Matt McCarten leaves Labour.

I called bull on his claim it would be a non-partisan campaign.

Yesterday more detail on his new role was detailed in a press release:  New Zealand launches ‘Campaign for Change’

With less than 100 days until the 2017 election, New Zealand launches ‘Campaign for Change’

1 million people did not vote in the last election. 250,000 people who were required to register did not. These numbers represent a crisis of democracy. This group overwhelmingly consisted of young people, workers in low paid occupations, as well as Māori, Pacifica, and other ethnic communities.

“The Campaign for Change will channel the energy and passion of New Zealander’s who want to see a change of Government this election.” says Director Matt McCarten.

This non-partisan campaign is being created in order to get people engaged and involved. The disconnect between a million citizens and political participation is a threat to our democracy.

The Campaign for Change is directed by the goal of full political participation. Through this campaign, we will aim to have 1 on 1 interviews with 100,000 New Zealanders who are not enrolled or who did not vote at the last election to not vote. We want to turn the issues these citizens care about into a campaign.

“We are launching our push for volunteers next week. If you want to be part of a campaign that promotes political participation, we want to hear from you!”

So the ex chief of staff for both David Cunliffe and Andrew Little, and ex campaign manager for Labour in Auckland, claims to be heading a non-partisan “Campaign for Change’.

“The Campaign for Change will channel the energy and passion of New Zealander’s who want to see a change of Government this election.”

Of course ‘change of Government’ means it must anti-National and pro-Labour.

That’s about as non-partisan as McCarten is being upfront about his political associations.

The programme is independent of any political party but is supported by progressive organisations in Auckland. The focus of political activity is voter enrolment and participation.

Facebook: Campaign For Change NZ

Twitter: @ChangeforNZ

Instagram: @CampaignForChangeNZ

Matt McCarten
Campaign for Change Director

This couldn’t be more blatant bull. “The focus of political activity is voter enrolment and participation” – and then Change is mentioned four times in succession, showing a highly partisan agenda.

This is not new. Unions tried to organise a ‘get out the vote’ campaign in 2014 and that turned out badly for Labour.

From a speech by First Union President, Syd Keepa, in 2014.

John Key has announced the Election date, which will
be Saturday 20 September; in six months’ time.
FIRST Union will be working hard to get its
members who are not enrolled to enrol, and will
encourage them to vote.

FIRST believes that the political parties that support
workers and people on the margins of society would be
the most practical political parties to vote for. However,
the CTU and FIRST Union campaign is not going to be
based around encouraging citizens who to vote for, but
around changing the government.

FIRST UNION PRESIDENT SYD KEEPA
879,000 eligible voters did not vote at the 2011
elections. Maori non-voters had the highest percentage
of non-voters at 25.9%, followed by Pacific Island non-
voters at 25.4%. Therefore to have a chance at a change
of government the job of FIRST Union is to get people
enrolled and out to vote. If 150,000 of those non-voters
had voted for a change of government in 2011, the
current National government would not be in power.
FIRST Union will be appealing to its membership to
enrol and vote, and will encourage its members to get
their whanau to do the same. With our members’ help,
we will hopefully be able to lock this government up
and throw away the KEY.

McCarten was secretary of the Unite union from 2005 to 2014, when he took over as chief of staff in Labour’s leader’s office.

Not long ago (last month) Labour was openly talking about similar campaigns to last the one last election and to what McCarten is now doing.

Newshub:  Data key to Labour’s campaign strategy

Opening a session on Labour’s campaign strategy at its congress on Saturday, the party’s campaign chairman and general secretary Andrew Kirton went for an understated introduction.

“The good news about this campaign is we’ve got a strategy – and we’re going to use it.”

That was perhaps a relief to delegates, given Labour’s disastrous showing in 2014.

But the party’s plan to turn out voters is more comprehensive than that sounds – demonstrated by the fact it invited media to a briefing the day before to proudly discuss its strategy.

Based on its current polling, Labour estimates it would get 720,000 votes out of the 2.4 million on offer, presuming an 80 per cent voter turnout (up from 550,000 votes in 2014).

Kirton said the party planned to grow its vote in two ways – trying to win over the 240,000 voters who backed National in 2014 but were open to supporting Labour, and the 200,000 voters “who we think like us” but didn’t vote at the last election.

The main focus at present was “growing our volunteer army” through its Community Action Network.

There is little difference between the unsuccessful get out the vote campaign in 2014, Labour’s strategy, and McCarten’s campaign.

I think that calling the Campaign for Change non-partisan is quite deceitful.

Will it work? Perhaps they have learnt lessons from the failure in 2014, but they may be deceiving themselves if they assume that if all the4 non-voters decided to vote they would back Labour.

Matt McCarten leaves Labour

Matt McCarten is leaving his Labour Party job to run a campaign to get the ‘missing million’ out to vote – he says it is a non-partisan project, but how can he be non-partisan?

McCarten was a controversial appointment as David Cunliffe’s chief of staff, and it was interesting to see Andrew Little retain his services when Little took over the leadership of Labour.  McCarten stepped down from that position in August 2016.

Newshub:  Labour’s chief of staff Matt McCarten stands down

Labour has confirmed its top adviser Matt McCarten will stand down as Andrew Little’s chief of staff. Labour says McCarten will head to Auckland to run a new regional office.

McCarten’s departure is a major blow to the party with the chief of staff role deemed absolutely critical in the political sphere – it is the leader’s strategist, gatekeeper and enforcer.

If that was a major blow what is McCarten stepping down altogether now?

McCarten is highly regarded for his political cunning and strategic skills and is one of country’s political maestros.

That’s debatable. McCarten’s political successes, especially when weighed against failures, are not substantial.

NZ Herald:  Matt McCarten set to move from Andrew Little’s chief of staff to Labour’s man in Auckland

Labour leader Andrew Little is to open a new Labour Party office in Auckland and re-deploy his chief of staff Matt McCarten as Labour prepares for battle in 2017.

​In the past McCarten, a former Alliance Party President, has been involved with the Maori Party and the Mana Party as an advisor.

Little said Labour’s new office in Auckland would open by the end of September and McCarten had offered to head it.

It was part of the planning for election year, including how to target the voter-rich Auckland.

“He wanted to do it. His strength is in the networks and setting up programmes and places for me to go to and getting stuff organised. And that is what I need.”

Little said he would be spending a lot of time in Auckland and needed a base there. It would be formally announced at a Labour function for Auckland businesses, interest groups and movers and shakers on Wednesday.

His new role is “to get the million people who didn’t vote last time to get out and vote.

He says he can’t do that with a Labour badge on, it has to be non-partisan.

How the hell can McCarten be non-partisan?

But he mentions aiming for improving a “progressive voice”, which doesn’t sound very non-partisan.

He says he will be working with unions on this. Unions tried a missing million drive in 2014, without much success.

Jackson jumps to Labour

After months of speculation that Willie Jackson would stand in an electorate for the Maori Party it is being reported that he has jumped to Labour and will stand on the list only.

NZ Herald: Willie Jackson dumps Maori Party for Labour

Willie Jackson has dumped the Maori Party and is set to announce he is standing for Labour instead.

The Maori broadcaster and former Alliance MP was considering standing for the Maori Party in the Tamaki Makaurau electorate, but sources said he had since been approached by Labour and now planned to stand on the list for them instead.

It is understood Jackson had met with Labour leader Andrew Little and believes he will secure a high list ranking to secure his return to Parliament.

He thinks he can waltz into the party and get a special promotion up the list? (A high ranking on the Labour list is no guarantee of  success, especially with Little and King in the top spots).

Jackson is a close friend of Little’s advisor Matt McCartern.

Jackson was a former Alliance colleague of Laila Harre who has now also joined Labour, but does not intend to run for Parliament this year.

At least Harre is doing her time after floating around a few parties before trying to stand – unless she also gets a promise of a high list position.

McCarten seems to be trying to convert Labour into New Alliance. Little must presumably  be on board with this sly takeover.