Labour “all the more certain” to win

Party President Nigel Haworth has said that Labour are “all the more certain” to win next year’s election because of Andrew Little’s leadership.  He was speaking at an event in Dunedin celebrating the centenary of the party.

That’s rather optimistic given the current state of the party and polls.

ODT: Labour confident in its 100th year

The event was held at the Community Gallery to celebrate the party’s centenary exhibition.

It allowed Labour to look back on its achievements with pride.

“We have done the hard yards. The other side has picked up what we’ve done and sort of tinkered with it,” Prof Haworth said.

The party expected a September 2017 general election, and was six months ahead of what it had anticipated in its preparations, Prof Haworth said.

Hard to see how Labour is six months ahead of preparations, unless they mean with fund raising or candidate selection.

Clare Curran acknowledged the party had not always lived up to its ideals.

It had mostly, but not always, stuck to its values.

“Let’s be honest,” she said.

Asked about the comment, Ms Curran told the Otago Daily Times  there was no point  “glossing over” the economic upheaval of the 1980s, but people should remember it was one part of a significant history.

Labour in the 80s rescued the country from the dire economic situation left be Rob Muldoon, nut now some on the left seem to see Lange and Douglas as dirty words.

Mr Little was keen to look forward, rather than back, devoting much of his speaking time to a campaign-style speech that talked about the “Kiwi dream” and the “deep housing crisis”.

Littler has been using those themes for some time.

If elected,  Labour would not put up with further delay to the Dunedin Hospital redevelopment, and would start rebuilding immediately.

‘If’ elected? I thought politicians spoke more positively than that.

Labour would guarantee no loss of services, and would safeguard its status as a “fully fledged” teaching hospital, Mr Little said.

Dunedin hospital has battled against losses of services for decades under successive governments. With the city and coastal Otago falling behind other parts the country population-wise and the ongoing centralising of expensive health facilities it’s hard to see the level of services maintained.

Listening to Mr Little’s speech was Labour supporter Richard Thomson, deputy commissioner of the Southern District Health Board and a member of the hospital redevelopment partnership group.

He declined to comment when approached by the ODT.

Thomson will know the reality of the situation.


Does anyone recognise this dude?





Labour can’t hide from poll reality

Rodney Hide adds another voice to those criticising Labour president Nigel Haworth for his claim that the polls tell Labour they are “on course to victory in 2017”.

Rodney Hide: Don’t mention the polls!

Spare a thought these summer holidays for Professor Nigel Haworth, President of the New Zealand Labour Party.

He has attempted to rally members and supporters with a missive declaring, “We’re finishing an excellent year in which the polls and popular feeling on the streets tells us that we are on course to victory in 2017”.

The polls a year on from their election defeat in 2011 had Labour and the Greens trailing National by 1 per cent. A year on from their 2014 defeat Labour and the Greens are trailing National 10 per cent.

The polls are worse for Labour than when David Shearer was leader.

We understand the need for positivity and talking the team up.

But positivity can’t be at the expense of reality. You can’t be 10 points down at half time and tell the team the scoreboard shows you winning. That’s delusional. That does nothing to rally the team.

How do the latest poll results compare to three years ago?

Last five poll results 2012:

  • National 45, 44, 47, 46.2, 45.5 – Average 45.54
  • Labour 31.5, 35, 34.6, 34.4, 33.5 – Average 33.8
  • Greens 13.5, 13, 12.9, 10.5, 11 – Average 12.18
  • NZ First 6.5, 3.6, 2, 3.8, 8 – Average 4.18

Last five poll results 2015:

  • National 47, 49, 46.7, 49, 51.3, 48.6 – Average 48.6
  • Labour 31, 29.5, 32.3, 28.5, 31.1 – Average 30.48
  • Greens 12, 12, 10.2, 13, 8.2 – Average 11.08
  • NZ First 9, 6, 7.5, 6, 5.7 – Average 6.84

National and NZ First are stronger now, Labour and Greens are weaker.

The only way Labour are guaranteed ‘victory’ in 2017 is in coalition with Greens. Which way NZ First would go will be unknown until after the election and it’s far from sure they would team up with Labour and Greens..

Consolidated averages end of 2012:

  • National 45.54
  • Labour+Greens 45.98
  • Labour+Greens+NZ First 50.16

Consolidated averages end of 2015:

  • National 48.6
  • Labour+Greens 41.56
  • Labour+Greens+NZ First 48.4

“We’re finishing an excellent year in which the polls and popular feeling on the streets tells us that we are on course to victory in 2017” sounds like ra-ra political bull.

It’s nearly two years until the next election and much could happen in that time. Hide points out that Labour could still succeed.

You can inspire the team telling them we can win, that we have done the hard yards and are well placed to win.

And in truth that’s Labour’s position. It can win the next election. It has done some hard yards and the team has settled down under Andrew Little’s leadership.

The polls this far out don’t matter much. They are certainly not a predictor of what will happen over the next two years.

But making claims that don’t stack up is not a good way of inspiring the team.

I fear that in slipping off the standards of academia Haworth has slipped a little too far. In discovering in politics no strict need for accuracy, he has thrown out facts and abandoned reality.

His failure to see where we are suggests he is unlikely to get us to where we would like to be. There’s a sense that Labour remains out of touch. Haworth’s rallying cry simply reinforces that view.

The perception they are out of touch is a significant issue for Labour.

Continuing to appear to be out of touch, like Haworth in party newsletters, tells us that Labour has to change fundamentally if they want to promote  their chances in 2017 and be believed.

Labour branch recess “nothing to lose any sleep over at all”

Labour are that brimming with support that the putting of a branch into recess has been descrobed by the Labour Party president as “certainly nothing to lose any sleep over at all”.


The Labour party leadership is shrugging off a move by a Dunedin branch of the party to go into recess because it says it is not left wing enough.

The Anderson’s bay branch of the party has said it is going into recess.

Its organiser, Tat Loo, who writes under the pseudonym “Colonel Viper’ on the left wing blog site, “The Standard”. Said “Labour as an organization is failing ordinary Kiwis both locally in Dunedin and centrally in Wellington on many different levels and it shows every sign of continuing on that track.

“We want no part of propping up the Thorndon Bubble careerist ‘pretend and extend’ set any further and will be moving on to new political projects.”

But party president, Nigel Haworth, said the move was “really quite inconsequential”.

He said it was a minor perturbation.

“It’s certainly nothing to lose any sleep over at all.”

In fact Mr Haworth and leader, Andrew Little, night well regard the move as a minor victory in their quest to make the party more relevant to mainstream New Zealand.

Yeah, right, sheeding support is just what Labour need right now.

Ok, Tat Loo has been a vocal critic of the direction Labolur is heading (right and down) at The Standard for a while. A few years ago he got offside with Clare Curran and she is alleged to have tried to have him suspended from the party.

But Labour can’t really afford to shed factions.

I met Tat Loo during the 2011 campaign (he stood for Labour in the Clutha/Southlan electorate), seemed a nice enough guy but having seen what he writes at The Standard our ideas on politics are obviously quite different.

As Colonial Viper Loo wrote about the branch recess decision at The Standard:

ABP Branch of Labour goes into recess; all Branch Officers to resign

Dunedin’s most active and most innovative Labour Party branch is going into recess.

Going by the comment count (361 to date) there’s been a lot of interest.

Quite funny to see me pop up in the commentary:

Colonial Viper 17.2

thanks RL. To our team forging unity throughout the Left is not going to be the goal, it is going to be shifting and driving authentic political debate, something that many are clearly uncomfortable with.

  • One Anonymous Bloke


    Like Pete George only with conspiracy theories 😆

    • Colonial Viper

      yeah, because everyone on the Std reckons that my politics and that of Pete Georges are directly comparable.

      • One Anonymous Bloke

        I’m referring to the fact that, like yours, his rapier-like debating abilities make people uncomfortable 😆

        • McFlock

          Different sides of the same coin.

          PG often seemed to me to be so keen on the idea that truth was a matter of perspective that he would disappear up his own cartesian doubt.

          CV seems to be so convinced he can read the matrix code as it swirls by that anybody who disagrees with him must be either a fool or a neoliberal stooge.

Quite funny to be included in discussions like that.

Less funny – both Tat Loo and I are potential Labour voters, albeit from opposite sides of their spectrum. That both of us a rejected by Labour and Labour supporters suggests that 30% might be not be left behind any time soon.

But apparently the Labour leader and the Labour president see this as really quite inconsequential, a minor perturbation and  certainly nothing to lose any sleep over at all.


Labour president disses “mythical political centre”

Labour’s party president has shuns pursiing a “mythical political centre” in an opening night speech at the Labour Partry 2015 conference.

President Nigel Haworth delivers his address to – the opportunities ahead and the challenges facing us.

Embedded image permalink

From his speech:

Labour President Nigel Haworth: need to be true to our principles, not pursue a “mythical political centre”

I wonder if that excludes working for the real political centre.

Also at the conference Andrew Little said “Our moral obligation is to do the best for New Zealanders.”

He didn’t say out loud ‘Our moral obligation is to do the best for New Zealanders…except those in the centre’.

If Labour shuns the centre and pursues it’s historical Labour ideals they will somewhat narrow their appeal.

Labour HQ asks members to check with them before tweeting

Labour Party President Nigel Haworth has asked members not to “launch immediately into a commentary” on Twitter but to run things by Party HQ instead.

Ex Labour Party member Phil Quinn must either still be on the Party mailing list or is being forwarded party emails. He has blogged on an email sent to members.

Equally, the modern era provides multiple opportunities to comment publicly on political issues. Blogs are one thing, but I think media such as Twitter are probably more important.

It is easy to read a newspaper report, or pick up a news item on the TV, and launch immediately into a commentary that may be widely shared.

We see this regularly, and it is sometimes founded on incorrect information, as events subsequently show. Spokespeople in Caucus, staff in Party HQ, Council members, members of Policy Council and I are available promptly to respond to queries about issues before public comments are made.

“It is sometimes founded on incorrect information” could also apply to Labour MPs on Twitter.

We are happy to talk to you if you hear or read something that worries you, or makes little sense. And a quick check with the Party about the issue allows you to comment in an accurate and informed way, even if you disagree! We are all the better for debate founded on accurate information.

Debate founded on accurate information is laudable.

Debate founded on HQ vetting is more of a worry in a modern political party.

So what are we to think now? Should we treat all tweets that look like they might be from Labour Party members with suspicion of being managed by Party HQ?

I wonder what the turnaround time will be if, say, a hundred party members are itching to say something on Twitter. Maybe HQ are set up to respond quickly, or maybe they hope that people will have moved from touchy topics before they get a reply.

I suspect Quinn didn’t run his post by HQ before launching into commentary – but he’s not a member any more so exempt from Party control.