OnPoint by Keith Ng

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OnPoint: Dear Labour Caucus

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  • Deborah,

    One of the things that really annoys me about the Anyone But Cunliffe idea is the pervasive anti-intellectualism that surrounds it. It seems that some of his caucus colleagues resent him for being too smart, or too clever. I *want* really smart and able people in government, people who are able to disentangle the complexities of policy, and to see beyond narrow sectional interests. I want people there who are prepared to work with the team they've got. David Cunliffe has stated very clearly that he wants to work with David Shearer and Grant Robertson, because they have real talents to bring to the job.

    I think the Labour caucus needs to get over worrying who they are going to eat their playlunch with, and have a very full and frank discussion about how they are going to get the chance to put their policy agenda into practice. David Shearer seems like a nice chap, but on performances to date, it's hard to see how he would cut it against John Key.

    Also, a bit of disclosure, because I loathe hidden agendas: David Cunliffe is a personal friend of ours, from way back in our very first years at university. Mind you, so is DPF. Read into that what you will. Primarily you should read into it that we were all members of the Otago University Debating Society. And having said that, the last time I saw David Cunliffe was on Tuesday night last week, and before that, about five years ago at a meeting in the Beehive when I was there in my capacity as a public servant.

    Manawatu City • Since Nov 2006 • 1303 posts Report Reply

  • Lew Stoddart,

    iPredict has been very accurate over near-term predictions. It hasn't been around long enough to demonstrate accuracy on long-term predictions. Anyone who claims to be able to predict the result of an election three years from now is either insane, delusional, or trying to sell you something.

    In the case of ipredict, it's the latter. I think what we're seeing is some jockeying now because the result of the leadership contest tomorrow will impact the price of other stocks that don't close for a long time yet.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Andrew E,

    A more important question, to my mind, is how the Labour Party thinks it can address the problem of popular disengagement with politics, when it doesn't even give party members outside of the parliamentary caucus a vote in choosing the leader?

    Word up, son.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8314 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    It's hard for me to read this without my glasses set to the correct thickness Keith, but does it say

    "I'm not anti-Cunliffe perse, It's just that he is the robotic anti-christ who would spell dooooooom for everyone"

    He is clearly evil as

    A) he is a politician who wants to be leader (unlike all the luvvies and saints supporting St David the unambitious).
    "if its frontbench is stacked with people who earned their positions purely as payment for someone else’s political ambitions, in order to advance their own political ambitions" It would be so sad to depart from the strict meritocracy that has previously ruled all political parties in New Zealand.

    B) he isn't authentic (which is obvious once you know he is the robotic anti-christ) as John Pagani mentioned in his Herald column and

    C) he has been just working for himself not the good of the party, THE GOOD OF THE PARTY!

    As for your conclusion, phew! I'd hate to see what you would decide on if you had decided you didn't like the guy. Some very harsh words here.

    I'm sorry if I missed this elsewhere, but in the interests of the new dawn of constructive politics that will emerge when Shearer gets the support of all and Trevor Mallard too, could you tell us why you like Shearer?

    That would be of most interest to me. You are unabashed about him, but to me I really feel I don't know enough about the guy. Certainly not enough to say I want him as leader.

    All I know of him is one post on RedAlert about tertiary education which I liked and a genial presence at the traffic lights and Carols at the Rocket Park.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • martinb, in reply to Andrew E,

    +1

    Lots of problems for Labour, but I'm not sure they are entirely represented by Cunliffe's bid.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 157 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lew Stoddart,

    In the case of ipredict, it's the latter. I think what we're seeing is some jockeying now because the result of the leadership contest tomorrow will impact the price of other stocks that don't close for a long time yet.

    Yes, I feel it's likely too. The further out the prediction, the more likely it is to be affected by the general sentiment of the trader, rather than the trader's reading of all the information available. But it does worry me that the general sentiment amongst the traders is that with Shearer likely, National is likely. I wonder what they know.

    I'm not about to go full blown conspiracy. Shearer can have BBQs with whomever he likes. It's purely a personal matter that seeing Cactus Kate and WhaleOil on the guest list would put me off attending.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8314 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Lew Stoddart,

    I don't really understand ipredict, but people seem to be very keen on it.

    How is it legal? You would have thought that gambling on (alleged) inside information would contravene gaming law, securities law or both.

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

  • Lew Stoddart, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Rich,

    How is it legal? You would have thought that gambling on (alleged) inside information would contravene gaming law, securities law or both.

    It’s not gambling; it’s a stockmarket. One that has exemptions from securities law & is very severely constrained (in terms of value, volume and so on) such that insider trading isn’t a BFD.

    Ben,

    Thing is that for most of the preceding two weeks the ipredictions have been saying something like “if anyone but Shearer wins, he or she will be rolled by Robertson who will beat Key in 2014”. Make of the whole mess what you will. At this point it’s a great big political rorschach test.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    How is it legal? You would have thought that gambling on (alleged) inside information would contravene gaming law, securities law or both.

    They have some sort of an exemption from the Securities Commission.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 2996 posts Report Reply

  • Andrew E,

    It’s not gambling; it’s a stockmarket.

    *Snorts his coffee*

    174.77 x 41.28 • Since Sep 2008 • 197 posts Report Reply

  • Lew Stoddart, in reply to Andrew E,

    Heh, was worried I was being a bit subtle :)

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lew Stoddart,

    Make of the whole mess what you will. At this point it's a great big political rorschach test.

    Yup, I guess anyone who loves their gambling is really hoping for short term movements as the minor pieces of news leak out, like which of the Labour people wears a toupee or how much traction the "Silent T" joke is getting.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lew Stoddart,

    It's more like a derivatives market, surely? Zero sum minus the house cut. Which makes it far more akin to gambling than investing, as far as I can see. It's the main reason I wouldn't put my money in there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8314 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Lew Stoddart,

    Heh, was worried I was being a bit subtle :)

    That's why he tweeted "Dear Labour Caucus. Are you going to let your vote be bought?" Finally some of that balanced reporting we're not getting from the mainstream media!

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7351 posts Report Reply

  • Lew Stoddart, in reply to BenWilson,

    Yeah. This is why I don't do ipredict -- I would obsess and fret about it, and probably lose my shirt &c. I only gamble bottles of whisky on events that are years away, that limits my liability.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Deborah,

    Absolutely agree with your assessments Deborah. I want smart, confidence too which Cunliffe has in spades and which I think is being confused with arrogance and smugness. I have nothing against him or Shearer also (because he is unknown so how can anyone know but caucus. I just want a really good Labour Party. I'd like to think the caucus is smart enough to understand all this as well. Once again we are only getting a media (such as the Herald) perspective, and without being let in, I feel appropriately so (following Labour's previous treatment) it is only perception.
    Having said that , Red Alert has invited scrutiny of which all candidates are reading and no doubt some caucus too, I find it quite refreshing that none of the caucus is showing public division. And that is something they have done as a Party, so that to me is healthy in that one David will become leader and the caucus will fall in behind. Something which both Davids agree on.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5994 posts Report Reply

  • Lew Stoddart, in reply to BenWilson,

    It’s more like a derivatives market, surely? Zero sum minus the house cut.

    Technically I think it was established as a futures market. I'm not au fait with the difference between such things.

    L

    Wellington, NZ • Since Aug 2010 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Homer,

    The other thing to note on ipredict is that the trading volume of most of the stocks in question is pretty low (very very low for some of them), and they've all been priced out of whack with each other for a long while. I think the real secret is that there hasn't been any insider trading on most of them at all, and I wouldn't take them as having much predictive value because of that on top of all the other reasons.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    A ministerial exception under S.36E of the Securities Markets Act, on the grounds that it's only kids playing on the intertubes?

    Might be embarrassing as and when a Reserve Bank employee gets caught betting on the OCR.

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

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Lew Stoddart,

    As Johnboy would say, "at the end of the day" or "see ,it's 'like this, ackshully what we have, is an ability to tell the country that we have a mandate to decide who should be there as opposition in 2014. I would have to reject anythink that says otherwise. I know cos I got $50 million reasons to say I am right."

    Either David's can wipe the floor with Key, if he forgets his notes fed to him by the Nactional machine.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5994 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    Having said that , Red Alert has invited scrutiny of which all candidates are reading and no doubt some caucus too

    In terms of response times to questions they invited on their own blog, Nanaia came in fastest, responding to my question within 20 minutes. Cunliffe came second, at around 7 hours, but did have the excuse that he was speaking in Palmerston North, and then drove back to Wellington, and he answered after midnight. Robertson and Shearer came in at 21 hours.

    In order of the effort and conviction they put into their responses, it was (IMHO) Nanaia, Robertson, Cunliffe, Shearer. I did ask Cunliffe the hardest question, though.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lew Stoddart,

    Technically I think it was established as a futures market. I'm not au fait with the difference between such things.

    Yes, I thought it was likely to be futures, but went for the more generic "derivatives" (of which futures is a subset), just to be safe.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8314 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Michael Homer,

    I think the real secret is that there hasn't been any insider trading on most of them at all, and I wouldn't take them as having much predictive value because of that on top of all the other reasons.

    Except that they have been extremely accurate? I don't see how it's possible to be sure there has or hasn't been insider trading, that's an incredibly difficult thing to prosecute. But if there was a lot, it wouldn't make them any less predictive, it would just mean that the traders were being unethical.

    Volumes are low, but they're bets mostly by the most informed audience. Who else really bothers with such betting except policy wonks and statistics obsessors? Over time, everyone loses as the house takes their piece, so these things are mostly matters of pride. It's not like this market exists for the same reasons as derivative markets - futures and options were meant to exist so that companies could take out insurance against commodity price fluctuations, and investors could take out insurance against stock price collapses. That they get used the other way around, to magnify risk hugely, is a perverse outcome for those instruments (and society). So it's not clear that volumes are what it's all about.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8314 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to BenWilson,

    When ever I had queries with Labour, I would email and I would get a response within a couple of days.Labour do engage with the public well. Cunliffe didn't answer mine on Red Alert but I did ask after his response to you. He may have needed sleep, it was getting late. He did fire back the next day publicly that he could work with Shearer on the front bench so I got my answer sort of anyway. They all have something good about them. No body can be perfect though. I don't care about whats init for me though. I am really concerned about NZ. That's why as left leaning, I believe we have to get up with the play on strategic voting to get rid of this bunch (which we could have done but alas.... sighs...)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 5994 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I actually think "strategic" (or "tactical") voting is a bit of a distraction under MMP. If Banks and Dunne had lost their electorates, we'd still have a National-led government - it'd just have a slightly different shape and Peters might be the next governor-general / ambassador to London.

    Articulating a real and distinct alternative is a surer way to actually win elections.

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

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