Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: So long, and thanks for all the fish ...

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  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Seen an electoral map of New Zealand lately? It looks like a bloc to me – a solidly blue one.

    Seen an electoral map of the United States of America? Almost entirely redm except for the parts where lots of people live.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22749 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    Tom, where have you been for the past five years?

    Sitting on the lifestyle block nursing a boner for the likes of Richard Prosser, while Filipinos do the real farm work.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Max Rose, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Seen an electoral map of the United States of America? Almost entirely redm except for the parts where lots of people live.

    The problem with us urban liberals is that we don't realise that it's not supposed to be "one person, one vote", but "one hectare, one vote".

    Wellington • Since Sep 2011 • 83 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Also, I have to say that most of the (professional/semi-professional) analysis up to this point has been hilariously inept. Cunliffe doesn’t have the membership sown up, and Robertson’s not the ironclad pick of caucus, at that. Also, Jones has no chance of being leader (but could be deputy) and Little does not strike me as having much of a chance.

    Don’t know how the unions will vote (much will depend on the form of voting used there.) Worth remembering it’s not voting by orders, so it’s oversimplifying to give, say, 40% to Cunliffe as “the membership”.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to The Ruminator,

    Can someone explain the popularity of Ardern?

    She gives the appearance of being someone who listens and is willing to change position if evidence convinces her she was wrong. Those are attractive qualities.

    However, I used the word appearance deliberately because I find it hard to determine what politicians are actually like from what politicians say and do.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to The Ruminator,

    If he’s the best leader. But I think in terms of squaring off against Key, Cunliffe’s the best bet.

    Which kinda defines what I hate about NZ politics. It's more about opposing someone rather than about doing what is right and leading the country.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    She hasn’t landed a blow.

    Again what I hate about NZ politics

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Scott A, in reply to The Ruminator,

    Can someone explain the popularity of Ardern?

    I think a big point of popularity is that she appears different - she's not another middle aged man in a suit and a fake smile. When I think of Ardern I see someone who is, well, more like me - more someone I can associate with - than many other politicians. I think I'm not alone in feeling like this, too.

    The wilds of Kingston, We… • Since May 2009 • 132 posts Report Reply

  • Tinakori, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I suspect that whatever one's political persuasion we hate gladiatorial politics when our side is losing the contest and not so much when our side is winning. Helen Clark was more combative in Parliament than any leading politician post Muldoon and far more than John Key has been. In opposition and as PM she had the ability to start and finish a good parliamentary battle. There were few qualms from her supporters when she did so. Ditto Russel Norman who is a particularly vicious political scrapper. Parliamentary battles, especially question time, represent a significant evolutionary advance as they are the symbolic equivalent of the Game of Thrones when the battles were all too real.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 118 posts Report Reply

  • NBH, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Tom, you might have the skerrick of a point, but it’s an issue that you’re exacerbating. As you have noted, the ‘issue’ about Grant being gay is not actually his sexuality but that it (might) become a characteristic that informs the Out Of Touch Wellington Liberal Gay Politico Who Wants To Tell Me To Use Different Lightbulbs caricature that National used effectively in 2008. And if Grant won the leadership and Labour didn’t enjoy a rise (or actually dropped) in the first subsequent poll I can easily imagine someone like Patrick Gower frothing about how that showed Labour had made a huge mistake and was going to be punished by the electorate, and framing the ensuing run-up to the election in those terms.

    However, what this means is not that Grant is a bad choice, but rather that Labour need a competent media, communications and electoral engagement strategy that identifies both likely lines of opposition attack and the likely media narratives, and develops an *active* media strategy to address both. And that point is true no matter who becomes leader because everyone has weaknesses – if it’s Cunliffe, for example, there’s a good chance we’ll be in for at least a couple of months of stories about how everyone in his caucus hates him and questions about how they could possibly form a functional government in such a situation. Going on about how Labour having a gay leader would be a fundamental betrayal of the party’s principles is a *National Party* line that undermines the ability of the party to develop such a strategy.

    By contrast, if that work around communicating Labour's message(s) and re-engaging with people at a community level is done effectively then even this notional homophobic mob of middle New Zealanders will be willing to hold their nose and vote out the people that are lowering living standards, making education less accessible, and undermining New Zealand’s future economic position. In broader terms, what those in/ associated with Labour (and The Greens) need to do is be clear that there is absolutely nothing incompatible with addressing both socio-cultural inequality AND ‘traditional’ economic inequality. Instead, when people like yourself, Chris Trotter, or Tom Scott run these sort lines they harm the Left’s ability to do either.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2008 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to NBH,

    The gallery journalists will froth anyway about how the new leader is an out of touch commie who's hated by the party and smells to boot. That's their job )and predeliction) - they're National supporters, even if they pretend not to be to keep some credibility.

    What's needed, and what Russell Norman does very well and Labour doesn't is to bypass these people and crack on relentlessly about the issues that divide the 1% of the mega-rich who control National from everyone else in the country.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Amanda Wreckonwith,

    For what it’s worth, out here in the boondocks, the general feeling seems to favour Cunliffe. Lefty people I have spoken to are just desperate for someone, anyone, who can take the fight to Key - niceness and reasonableness wont cut it.

    Personally, my feeling is that it’s just the wrong time for Robertson - there has just been so much “gay” in the air recently (and rightly so) that it will make Labour look like they are just playing the same one note tune.
    Grant Robertson is just one big, sloppy, wet dream for the Matthew Hootons of this world (apologies for the imagery)

    Since Sep 2012 • 171 posts Report Reply

  • thegirlstefan, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Grant was president of the Otago University Students' Association for a year and then NZUSA for a year after that- not involved in the 'traditional' union movement at all.

    Aotearoa • Since Oct 2011 • 42 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Amanda Wreckonwith,

    Grant Robertson is just one big, sloppy, wet dream for the Matthew Hootons of this world (apologies for the imagery)

    Eeewwww. But I do agree, sad though it is.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to NBH,

    Labour need a competent media, communications and electoral engagement strategy that identifies both likely lines of opposition attack and the likely media narratives, and develops an *active* media strategy to address both. And that point is true no matter who becomes leader

    Exactly. I'd ask which new person is most likely to firmly sort out their backroom which has not been functioning for many years now?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac,

    Since I'm not a Labour voter, my (queer) opinion is moot, but I wouldn't be keen on Robertson as leader either. I think some of the observations that others have made about him seeming to be very much in the "Wellington machine" are apt.

    Personally, I think professional politicians are a great thing in the kind of democracy we have, in terms of getting the work done. However, since we seem to have a fascination with "leaders", choosing someone with a reasonable degree of charisma, a broad support base, and the ability to not be seen as engaging in politics for politics' sake, seems like the best thing.

    I think the fact that Key's family background, occupation, and roots in Canterbury (not the BIG city) tick a lot of boxes in the "successful, but close to the 'real' people" metrics for many. Regardless of actual reality. While rank populism is irritating to contemplate (whether someone can do the job seems more important), it can't be ignored.

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Tinakori, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    That must be why Labour and the Greens find it impossible to recruit staff from the Gallery!

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 118 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Look, are you seriously telling me that when I go to vote for the leader of the party, I should vote against Grant ’cause he’s gay?

    [Also, uh, Key grew up in Bryndwr. Sure, it's not the metropolis, but...]

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Lilith __,

    I think Labour should take a punt and give Jacinda Ardern the reins. She’s smart and articulate and hardworking. And as a young woman she stands out from the all the middle-aged men. She’s media-savvy (not to mention photogenic) and I think could give Mr-Relaxed-and-Smiley a real challenge. Particularly if she fronts for interviews. Key does not think well on his feet and can easily sound like an airhead.

    Goff and Shearer are good and competent people who’ve failed to get any traction with the public. Russel Norman and Metiria Turei seem to keep higher profiles.

    Dunedin • Since Jul 2010 • 3887 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    It has been a long time since NZ was populated by cloth-capped working men and sturdy wives of houses, back when Labour was a socialist working party.

    We've been a predominantly urban nation for about a century. Only about a quarter of NZers are still in the toiling occupations that some folk fondly imagine (lack of sustained experience of such work would help the warm glow) - see table 3 in this spreadsheet. Set up another party by all means if that's who you want to represent.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Lilith __,

    She’s smart and articulate and hardworking

    But not ready yet - and I reckon she's smart enough to know that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    Look, are you seriously telling me that when I go to vote for the leader of the party, I should vote against Grant ’cause he’s gay?

    I think you should vote for the person who realistically can lead Labour and heal divisions, not necessarily the person you would most want to have the job because, screw the world, he deserves it. I like and respect Grant, but I don't think he's the leader Labour needs at the moment.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2930 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Is Ardern not ready yet? She's been an MP as long as Robertson and longer than Little.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to nzlemming,

    can lead Labour and heal divisions

    Current candidate was the healer and look how that turned out.

    Need someone genuinely strong enough to make clear to caucus what their collective interest is, and not just act 'tough' when others advise them to.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    As Russell said, not even been a Minister.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19683 posts Report Reply

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