Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Triangulated by Fools

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  • Tom Semmens,

    Why the hell do political journalists continually turn to...

    ...ex-ACT MP Richard Prebble to comment on Labour, a party he hasn't represented for two decades and one which he is now a bitter enemy of?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1776 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    …ex-ACT MP Richard Prebble to comment on Labour, a party he hasn’t represented for two decades and one which he is now a bitter enemy of?

    The re-appearance of Prebble was bizarre. He pretty much oozed bad faith in his interview.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18701 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Michie,

    ex-ACT MP Richard Prebble

    A very important hyphen there. His account of the sale of Telecom and other assets speaks against memories of the time and conveniently paints himself virtuous.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 547 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    I think Prebble and Tamihere are approached 'cause they provide entertaining comment and 'cause they agree. It often occurs to me to wonder what the more sensible people think, but I suspect they're giving any counsel to Labour in private.

    edit: by way of clarification, in no way is the statement above a criticism of anyone or anything said here which are/is uniformly constructive.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2200 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Paul Williams,

    It often occurs to me to wonder what the more sensible people think

    Given that the publisher of The Standard is currently describing caucus as a "concentration camp" and banging on about "Stalin" and "show trials", sensible might be in short supply.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18701 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    "Waitakere man"... jeez that expression gives me the shits, seeing as how I am a man living in Waitakere and not being what it is 'short-brain' for. Sure, I can understand the need for a pithy epithet characterising the type of (non) voter they are on about, but I'm taking it personally!

    Re the PPP's or PFI's, the phrase that I felt succinctly sums them up was along the lines of "Socialising the risks; privatising the profits". So they give me the shits, too.

    I think Labour have really dropped the ball since electing/appointing Shearer - not necessarily his fault, but they seem to have been treading water and totally failed to call the govt to account in its numerous failings (and, indeed, Johnkey for his fuck-witted witterings and being the most embarrassing PM I can recall, and I remember back to Holyoake).

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart, in reply to Paul Williams,

    Ooops, sorry Paul, failing the 'constructive' criterion.

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 563 posts Report Reply

  • Barnard, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Given that the publisher of The Standard is currently describing caucus as a “concentration camp” and banging on about “Stalin” and “show trials”, sensible might be in short supply.

    They do seem to be all whipping themselves into quite a lather.

    Given that I imagine a lot of them are Labour Party members will be interesting to see if it ends up as anything more than the usual BTL sounding off.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2012 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Oh don't say that! It's a Great NZ Delusion that one day, with a bit of coaching, we'll produce a world class cricket team. While in fact we don't have enough people and don't play enough cricket to get anywhere near India, Australia and even England.

    There are approximately 100,000 registered cricket players in NZ.

    Slovakia has 8000 ice hockey players (12th in the world) and won silver at the 2012 world champs.

    I think numbers are important, but the structure that they're in is more important. NZ cricket just isn't a very competitive environment. Coaching is part of that, but a good competitive structure utilises coaching well. Your team only comes from the top 100 or so players, so our six cricket regions are probably enough to create a good team - Australia has what 7 or 8 teams at the top level?

    Since Nov 2006 • 6162 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I can understand the need for a pithy epithet characterising the type of (non) voter they are on about

    I like "proletard".

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4419 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    There are approximately 100,000 registered cricket players in NZ.

    Slovakia has 8000 ice hockey players (12th in the world) and won silver at the 2012 world champs.

    I often think about these kind of numbers, but in the context of politics. There are approximately 3 million adults in NZ. A small section of these have the personal qualities required to be a good politician - smart, hard-working, a magnetic personality, good communication skills, reasonably photogenic, and the ability to negotiate conflict and competing requirements. Add in a requirement for a measure of success and experience, and some subject knowledge, and you still have thousands of such people in New Zealand. I know plenty. Yet the pool of applicants into Parliament is constrained, for a number of reasons. We don't get the best, and we frequently get people who lack in a number of areas. This is why the debate we have about the future of Labour is so obviously disappointing: we know that the pool of applicants are people who can't fulfill what is needed of them. National is similarly constrained, but they mostly do well in keeping these people away from the limelight.

    Perhaps the parties should be looking to the outside a little more often? There is a risk, in that a person from outside the club might not know or care so much for your ethos and ways of doing things, and frequently they underperform relative to their success in their former domain. But the payoff is often high.

    The People's Republic of … • Since Nov 2006 • 2132 posts Report Reply

  • Barnard, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    There are approximately 100,000 registered cricket players in NZ.

    Slovakia has 8000 ice hockey players (12th in the world) and won silver at the 2012 world champs.

    Yes, but Hockey is their No1 sport, and aside from an average football team they play little else.
    Cricket in NZ is up against not only Union & League, but Rowing, Basketball, Hockey, Football, all of which dilute the quality of the athletes & resources available to NZ cricket.
    Sadly, I think we just have to get used to sucking (Hopefully sucking not quite as much as at present)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2012 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Lindberg, in reply to Barnard,

    Cricket in NZ is up against not only Union & League, but Rowing, Basketball, Hockey, Football, all of which dilute the quality of the athletes & resources available to NZ cricket.

    Union in NZ is up against not only Cricket & League, but Rowing, Basketball, Hockey, Football, all of which dilute the quality of the athletes & resources available to NZ union

    #cantbelieveImcommentingoncricket

    Stockholm • Since Jul 2009 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to George Darroch,

    The trouble with bringing in outsiders is that politics is a skill that needs to be learned. Many outsiders who've succeeded in another field don't have the wish to do the hard yards as a party activist / backbencher / spokesman before aspiring to leadership. They thus tend to rise rapidly to the point where they fail.

    (This happens a lot in the UK, where it's easy for governments to co-opt ministers via the Lords. These people have pretty much all had either short disastrous careers or extended disastrous careers - since they can't be unelected, they often linger until death or serious criminal conviction removes them).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4419 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    This blog is beginning to sound like Peter Dunne in a worm debate. A very common sense bunch.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Simon Wilson has sent me a PDF of his Metro profile of Shearer, in the issue out in the next couple of days.

    It's very timely -- up to and including Cunliffe's demotion. It opens with Shearer backstage, about to deliver his conference speech. Wilson thinks Shearer's speech was what it was because he was angry about Cunliffe -- and offers the clearest explanation I've seen for exactly why the Shearer team would be feeling angry:

    But it’s not about his personality, not now. Shearer gave him the job of taking on Steven Joyce. A vital job if National is to be unseated, and a job to relish if you want to put yourself centre-stage, right by your leader, in articulating your party’s alternative vision for the country. That Cunliffe didn’t do this, that he chose to go after Shearer instead of Joyce, is all the reason anyone needs to believe he should not be leader of the Labour Party.

    I imagine there will be explosions among the unruly activists.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18701 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    who among the Labour front bench has done their job?

    I mean Cunliffe has been far from impressive in allowing himself to end up in this situation.

    I’m not a Labour member, but it seems from what I’ve read recently that the bulk of them who went to the consultation prefered Cunliffe. Are all members now dismissed as unruly activists?

    Or because there are some loud mouths with inopportune phrases are they- these people who, unlike myself- have actually put their money where their mouth is in the political process tarred by association? They do seem to have some clear positions.

    Cunliffe has gone after Joyce in parliament from what I've seen, on Red Alert and produced at least some good work. I can't think of too many active front benchers who have been getting coverage, compared to, say, the Greens.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to martinb,

    Cunliffe has gone after Joyce in parliament from what I’ve seen, on Red Alert and produced at least some good work. I can’t think of too many active front benchers who have been getting coverage, compared to, say, the Greens.

    Yeah, I’m not saying I entirely agree –- the leadership didn't seem to like Cunliffe getting media attention for any reason, for one thing -- but that’s the perspective.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18701 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    It's an issue that vexes many. Labour's had some spectacular failures importing otherwise talented people. I also had a conversation once with another, high profile ex MP from another party, who said it was incredibly tough coming from without (for an Australian example, look at Maxine McKew. Still, without a fair bit of broad experience, I do worry that some MPs lack the necessary experience to make informed decisions and fine judgments.

    That said, Hekia Parata's experienced, well qualified and, from some direct experience with her before she entered parliament, very capable, and yet she's a disastrous Minister. Ditto Paula Bennett, she definitely should be a lot better in her portfolio than she is.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2200 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    I would suggest though that of all the things that were wrong with the Labour Party at the moment having a fired-up membership who know what they want from their party and are-as-mad-as-all-heck isn't one of them, or perhaps isn't in the top ten at least.

    Still there's a-lot-of-watch-this-space left on this one, though it's hard to see what a best case scenario could be for Labour.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Paul Williams,

    That said, Hekia Parata’s experienced, well qualified and, from some direct experience with her before she entered parliament, very capable, and yet she’s a disastrous Minister

    Her failure as a minister is all the more striking because right up until she was promoted she seemed capable and articulate as an MP.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18701 posts Report Reply

  • HenryB, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Wilson thinks Shearer’s speech was what it was because he was angry about Cunliffe

    I look forward to reading the whole profile but I think it would sad if what Wilson thinks is true: I'd have felt better if "it was what it was" because he was angry with the National Government and John Key...and that is the way I interpreted it when I first heard it - except for the brief comment about focusing on the ambitions of New Zealanders "rather than our own".

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2008 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Craig Young,

    Why do political journalists turn to people like Tamihere, Trotter and Prebble? Because no one who's a current member, in some sort of good standing, and in possession of the inside word, would ever talk to them on the record. Surely that's obvious. I realise that the horse of party discipline seems to have bolted, but the fact that they have to turn to external tea leaf readers is actually a good thing.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2936 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to martinb,

    having a fired-up membership who know what they want from their party and are-as-mad-as-all-heck isn't one of them

    Point well made.

    Her failure as a minister is all the more striking because right up until she was promoted she seemed capable and articulate as an MP.

    She certainly campaigned well in Mana. Perhaps she should have started with less demanding portfolios? I'm less than impressed by the current Secretary of the Ministry too. Education in NZ is, from my experience and analysis, very differently configured that many other countries, droppoing in a UK bureaucrat is risky (and in related agencies has proved to be unsuccessful too).

    Because no one who's a current member, in some sort of good standing, and in possession of the inside word, would ever talk to them on the record.

    Agreed, it's typically the disaffected who mostly want to grind axes... actually when is Bassett up I wonder?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2200 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Russell Brown,

    ...

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4419 posts Report Reply

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