Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Five further thoughts

465 Responses

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  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    It’s also hard not to hold Cunliffe responsible for the fact that Labour’s gone through so many leaders in that time period.

    +1 He has been the destabilising force under previous leaders.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    I don’t think Labour needs to do all the soul-searching and so forth that people are talking about.

    I agree. all it takes is for John Keys wheels to fall off. I think the Labour party* are already a competent group of politicians with a comprehensive suite of policy’s.

    I would hope that during the next three years, these policy’s will be refined. If they don’t – if they come in with a new set of priorities, I for one am going to call bullshit on there authenticity. What Labor has got is intellectual capital. By using that wisely, as the Greens do, they could slowly and not particularly loudly earn the right to lead a government. I don’t even see what demoting Cunliffe would achieve. he is a competent and intelligent man who now has experience leading the party.

    Winston will make plenty of noise about dirty politics. And what, with all these shadow policy’s going to the United Nations, making it known to our international peers, how our own Government is neglecting its own citizens (children living in slums) And when actual traditional national party people – not circus clowns from the TV – But farmers loosing farms to the bank because commodity prices, also start making noise…

    The alternative, the opposition won’t just represent vulnerable victims to be bullied. Which is unfortunate what happens in reality TV democracy. Which is what we have like it or not.

    * I didn’t party vote Labour, just saying. But I might next time if I see some refinement, and consolidation. It’s more important to be on standby ready to take the helm, than be all over the place trying to figure out how to best blow smoke and arrange the mirrors more convincingly.

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4294 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Lilith __,

    I'd love a moratorium on (public) political polling during the election campaign. I think the perception that the Nat victory was in the bag turned a lot of people off voting. And it encourages horse-race journalism, which debases all of us.

    Italy has such a law. I am fond of it.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    It makes democratic sense.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    That is to announce the end of the Labour Party as it has existed since 1931, when it first got over 30% and 1935 when it first went into government with 46% of the vote.

    That actual Labour party ended long ago, when I was a kid. What we've had since is a different thing, a slightly more socially progressive and slightly less economically hard-line neoliberal party. And maybe there is actually only room for one party like that in government, and it's called the National Party.

    I'm not surprised that you have been suggesting for years that Labour should become more like them, just as I would be happy if some miraculous turn of events caused National to abandon it's long term plan of turning NZ into a mirror of the US-in-decline.

    It might even be wise for them, so long as you predicate "them" as being a bunch of self-serving politicians, rather than the people that they represent. Definitely we could get something that looks like a democracy because it changes hands back and forth between two wealthy cliques.

    But that is most certainly NOT the Labour party you were talking about in your quote above, and it is absolutely not a Labour party I would support.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Agree with 1-4.
    But not 5.

    5 is the one I'm least sure about, tbh.

    I really don't know about 5 either. Annecdotally I think it's a bad idea, but Labour is going to have to do some serious research to figure it out.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4450 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Cox,

    My 2 cents: I think the major difference in success stems from the right's ability to appeal to naked self interest, and the left's complete failure to understand that as a motivator for voters. Talking about 'fairness' as a concept whether it's rich-poor divide or capital gains tax or whatever will only take you so far, because it's largely a conceptual argument, and more so largely asking people to 'give'. People are not in the mood for that, if they ever really were in a sense of an actual existing voting block. Current economic environment more so, so the more the middle get squeezed, the more they are heading for the right.

    The Left are exclaiming: why on earth are people voting against their own self interest? And then suggesting they've just been fooled by John Key's 'anesthetist' smile. Balls. Problem is the left haven't actually given middle NZ anything to vote for except for the self satisfaction of walking around feeling like you've made the world more 'fair'. Sure, the increasing rich-poor divide is the fundamental social issue of our time, but you can't just sit there explaining statistics like a university professor. The leadership of the left simply don't seem to embody these concepts in any kind of visceral way. There's no zeitgeist. I feel like I'm being told how I should feel rather than actually feeling it.

    That's why the guts have gone out of the blue collar vote.

    I think we on the left see the altruistic side of things as more a motivator than it actually is, and we expect it to have an effect on people than it does. Worse, it sounds like out of touch elitism to make all these conceptual arguments, rather than embodying the 'man/woman of the people'/'one of us' type figure that the left need so desperately, and John Key inhabits so totally at the moment. Jesus, it's not hard to take that ground back. The man's not magical.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 312 posts Report Reply

  • Myles Thomas, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Everything this guy says needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. He seems to be constantly on message for his team, and his aims are strongly against a left resurgence. Pay no attention unless you want to be drawn into a room of mirrors and maybes.

    Auckland • Since Apr 2011 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    Does anybody know how many eligible voters are in the Maori electorates? And what is the rough number of people in each electorate across the country? Is it about 35,000 ??? Just curious because from my perusal of the Auckland electorates the safe (understatement) National seats were all getting around 30,000 turning out vs around 22 to 23,000 in places like Mangere, Manurewa, Manukau East... While the Maori turnouts were around 17-18,000.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison, in reply to Peter Cox,

    You have to face the result without anger, hard to do, but essential.

    Labour did what you suggest, we never saw them. We had a cloud, a domination of print and video on a problem with our democratic system.This was not a comfortable election, governing power has been given with many reservations.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody,

    2. The Maori electorates are now effectively Labour’s Heartland.

    This is a huge problem for Labour.

    Maori, I believe, are far better represented with an independent voice/party in Parliament.

    And Labour for some, will struggle to be considered a truly centrist party whilst they contest and hold the majority of the Maori seats.

    Unfortunately, I believe there are a large number of pakeha New Zealanders who are prejudice - who object to ToW issues/status and the Maori seats.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Maori regionalism is a big part of Maori culture. The regions see things differently , Under a democratic process it's obvious . Ngapuhi haven’t settled because they are a huge iwi, with hapu that want to do their own bidding .Some hapu up north are bigger than some iwi who have already settled. Maori had its own kingdoms, like old england, scotland, wales and ireland , well before empire democracy arrived.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Maori, I believe, are far better represented with an independent voice/party in Parliament.

    In having an independent voice in Parliament, the Maori strategy should be to develop their brand; during the period between elections recruit more and more tangata whenua to transfer from the general to the Maori roll; eventually stand candidates in general electorates as well and seek co-governance through ensuring that in this MMP environment they always hold the balance of power.

    I think the French called it revenge of the cradle.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Maori, of course have a special interest in the laws because they are a treaty partner who haven’t been partnered to their expectations .That’s probably why we hammer the treaty of waitangi in schools and public institutions. Maori found this place.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Downbeatdan, in reply to Peter Cox,

    Right on Peter Cox. The Left have to look at how to plug into the base human instinct to choose what's best for oneself. Watching parents vote for a party which will make their children's tertiary education highly expensive, and a massive debt mountain is a prime indication of that.
    Unfortunately, the million non-voters are most likely the ones who would in fact benefit from the policies of the left. Youth, uneducated in low quality jobs,, those on benefits for mental and physical health reasons.. How are they going to be galvanised into action, to even vote? Perhaps they just cant see where their interests lie, or perhaps the daily struggle for survival takes priority over political engagement.

    Hamilton • Since Jul 2007 • 12 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Lilith __,

    I'd love a moratorium on (public) political polling during the election campaign. I think the perception that the Nat victory was in the bag turned a lot of people off voting. And it encourages horse-race journalism, which debases all of us.

    To what extent do polling companies and horse-race journalism influence voter behaviour, as opposed to merely reporting the news? We need nothing less than a Royal Commission a la Leveson/Finkelstein to find out.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5415 posts Report Reply

  • Barry Jenkin, in reply to Amanda Wreckonwith,

    Talk about getting to the nub. Exactly. Unless you are female in which case you better be called Helen. Just an HC groupie.She was my tutor at Auckland U. I still owe her an assignment.

    Waiheke Island • Since Sep 2014 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison, in reply to Downbeatdan,

    I don't think left or right can feel happy with a million not voting. As you say, how would they vote if engaged. A million people is a lot, the voting drive failed .

    And we know those one million people will have issues in the next 3 years and sensible statistical profiling means we know that a significant amount of them will need state laws to be in their favour. However you didn't vote for anything.

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Jack Harrison,

    Maori regionalism is a big part of Maori culture. The regions see things differently

    This is a big part of the problem - the regions are dying. The future of Maori is in the cities where their majority live. And their majority aren't on the Maori electoral roll - another problem.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Jack Harrison, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    Don't come to Auckland. It's a stuffed isthmus. Regions are very important in any nation .

    wellington • Since Aug 2014 • 296 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Peter Cox,

    The leadership of the left simply don’t seem to embody these concepts in any kind of visceral way. There’s no zeitgeist. I feel like I’m being told how I should feel rather than actually feeling it.

    That's a fair analysis.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Yamis,

    1. Christ, what a shellacking. Click around Harkanwal Singh’s Herald interactive. In electorate after electorate, polling place after polling place, National won at least a plurality of the votes. Even where voters collectively chose to return their Labour MPs to Parliament, they generally gave their party votes to National. Labour won the party vote in only five general electorates. I don’t think it’s viable for Cunliffe to stay on after this.

    Labour won 24.69% of the party vote but won 38.03% of the electorates (27 from 71). Up 5 from 2011 where they won 22 from 70.

    National won 42 from 70 in 2011, and 41 from 71 in 2014.

    So:
    2011
    Party vote Labour 27.5% vs National 47.3%
    Electorate wins Labour 31.4% vs National 60%

    2014
    Party vote Labour 24.7% vs National 48.06%
    Electorate wins Labour 38% vs National 57.7%

    So whilst Labour's party vote dropped a few percent their candidates did better than 3 years ago partly at the expense of the Maori Party but also National saw a little dip. That's probably more fuel for the problem being a lack of leadership for Labour. As in leader + policy.

    Since Nov 2006 • 903 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Jack Harrison,

    Maori, of course have a special interest in the laws because they are a treaty partner who haven’t been partnered to their expectations .

    Co-governance, the Treaty intention in words, but never in action.

    Labour have never in my experience ever co-governed with their Maori caucus. If they did, they'd have co-leaders - one from the general roll, one from the Maori roll.

    Personally, given the crisis we have in constitutional terms, I'd like to see a bicameral Parliament here someday and think it would be totally appropriate in respect of the Treaty for the other House to be a House of Iwi (kind of a House of Lords equivalent in powers). No ability to make laws but an ability to send laws back to the House of Representatives (at least that's how I understand it works in the UK, but I'm not a constitutional expert) where the Maori seats are abolished. Point is, Maori should have a true shared governance function - I don't see how the Maori seats have ever been of serious benefit to Maori or to NZ.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • tussock,

    So, digging in the old numbers myself. I always consider the enrolled non-voters just as much as the voters, people staying home can change.


    National's got 37.0% of the electorate this time. That's all of them, really. No one stayed home. They haven't had that good in ... forever.

    It's short of the 39.4% that Labour/Alliance got in 1999 (dropping to 33.1% post-Afghanistan). But it's bigger than any other pre-election deals in MMP.

    In context, FPP elections were won on about 27%. MMP elections have dragged that up to about 37% minimum, thus it's much harder to govern alone. National have done it though.

    Labour-Green is not a government in waiting, the numbers simply are not there. They've got 28% for three elections in a row (assuming specials trend Green like usual). Whatever the Greens grab from National in the short term (which they do), Labour loses again in the long term. It's not going to work. I'm Green, it's sad, get real.


    What Labour got is essentially irrelevant. I mean, the left has never recovered from Afghanistan. National did not have the numbers in any way until 2007. Brash & racism didn't matter, Labour got it back. But they've never recovered the losses from their left in the Alliance.


    Māori/Mana hold around 1.5% on top of that 28% for L/G, the Māori seats are relatively small beans in MMP without that overhang, it's useless to Labour, it's such a low vote with the low life expectancy (ouch, but true, so many too young to vote, so few old, not to mention the new prison rules). They'd be better with them as overhangs.


    The gap in turnout, to get Labour 37%, is to the left of Labour. They need an Alliance-like party to soak up the conservative socialist vote while they hunt down soft-bellied National party voters. That's their government-in-waiting. The Alliance-Green split seems to work, grabs those namby-pamby liberals as well as the church-goers. Keeps them out of National, but the left is absent and Labour cannot abandon the centre-right "i've got mine" vote to National by hunting it.


    And if the left just got old and voted National instead, then there is no majority for Labour anywhere outside where National sits. They need to move in.


    They can try to dump old respected MPs in safe seats into in a new party, drag in whoever else they can dig up from the past, pull in SC and whatever else is running loose, put in some of that young blood from the ruins of Mana, declare themselves pacifists and socialists, and see if it polls.

    If there's no left when it's real, when it's a government-in-waiting again, when it's got respect and suits and ties and attends the right churches, then fuck it, get on with being National-lite with the asshole tax policies and you get to at least protect the schools and hospitals.

    Since Nov 2006 • 607 posts Report Reply

  • Dylan Reeve, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    To what extent do polling companies and horse-race journalism influence voter behaviour, as opposed to merely reporting the news? We need nothing less than a Royal Commission a la Leveson/Finkelstein to find out.

    The more I think about polling the more I simply can't see the point in it. At best it offers us a pointless prediction about the outcome of an event that is going to end up the way it does, regardless.

    We get nothing from a poll besides an inaccurate and ultimately pointless snapshot of opinions that may well change anyway. The stories that are generate from these polls are equally pointless - they offer no substance and are reporting on imaginary figures that then hopefully further influence the imaginary figures.

    At worst polls affect the outcome of the election they are supposed to measure. Surely some percentage of people make their decisions (who to vote for, whether to vote at all) based, at least partially, of the results of polls that are meant to predict those same peoples' actions.

    I honestly can't see any good reason to have published polls like that during the election.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2008 • 311 posts Report Reply

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