Polity by Rob Salmond

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Polity: Custard

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  • Marc C, in reply to Alfie,

    National's divisive politics promoting inequality and extreme greed should be an easy target for a modern party of the left. But only if that party embraces genuine left-wing values. There's never been a better time for Labour to offer New Zealanders a real alternative instead of a watered down more of the same.

    The slogan "Vote Labour... because we're not National" will never be a vote winner.

    Yes, I agree, they still seem to be too afraid to offer a clear direction, under Handy Andy (sounds much better than "Angry Andy"). If taking up too progressive ideas, the Shearers, Goffs and Nashs will growl, if they take on something more like the Nats, others will growl, so we get the mediocre middle of the road to nowhere "direction", which does not help at all, as poll results have shown us.

    Some interpreted the last major poll as having turned the tidy, where Labour went up a percentage point or two, but that slight rise, after the MoU, that could have had all kinds of reasons, as the Greens support dropped at the same time, and nothing much changed at all.

    Unless Labour gets over 35 to perhaps even 40 percent of support, we are likely to get a fourth term for the Nats, which I think can only be avoided by Labour being bold and bringing us real alternative solutions, not this mediocre stuff that does not excite anybody at all. When going "Nat Light", the voters will in their majority tend to vote the true Nats, than the soft version, I fear, and others will simply not bother at all, to go voting. We are back to where we were before and after the last elections then, and I bet we will get another Labour leader after that, just who may it be then?

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Sacha,

    I hope so. Even if Labour can get a positive Party Vote Labour message out this election, which its candidates comprehensively and altruistically get behind ahead of their own local ambitions, it'll be an improvement.


    I still can't shake that dreadful 2008 re-election campaign from my head, which was largely built around trying to tell people they shouldn't trust John Key... ergo "we're your only option even if you hate us". Honestly it shouldn't be any wonder, in hindsight, that voters ditched Labour for an opposition so full of confidence. Then I read posts like Rob's, above, nearly 8 years later, which is entirely about how useless and muddled and untrustworthy National's Ministers are (nothing new), and still with no convincing explanations of how and why Labour Ministers will supposedly be better.

    If people are voting on competence and personal impressions, and keeping in mind that most people's exposure to parliamentary debate, if any, is via sound-bites which are filtered through popular media, then where are, for example, the convincing messages explaining how Grant Robertson and Andrew Little are running rings around Bill English and John Key? Where's the promotion of how Annette King and Chris Hipkins make much more competent Ministers of Health and Education than Jonathan Coleman and Hekia Parata? How about making a big deal of David Shearer's extensive Foreign Affairs qualifications compared with Murray McCully's repeated muddling around?

    Sorry, Rob. I appreciate that it's not so simple. I just don't see this stuff. All I see is regular (albeit justified) finger-pointing about current government incompetence, which unfortunately is all too common to the point that it runs off people's skin, and a week later it's old news... because what are people going to do about it? From what I can tell other people are also not seeing messages about why Labour's supposedly so great. I think Labour needs to focus lots on explaining why it's going to be fundamentally better at running things day-to-day, instead of just pointing out why the government's hopeless at it.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Marc C,

    ...If taking up too progressive ideas, the Shearers, Goffs and Nashs will growl...

    If Goff's current plans work out, come the next election his relationship to Labour will likely be Lianne Dalziel writ large, i.e. don't ask, don't tell.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4590 posts Report Reply

  • oga, in reply to Alfie,

    The slogan “Vote Labour… because we’re not National” will never be a vote winner.

    Isn't that how National got into power last time? Saying nothing, and relying on the population to vote National .... because they're not Labour.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 47 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to oga,

    I am under the impression that is the only "strategy" Labour does presently have and follow, simply hoping the government will stuff up enough and in time for the next general election, so the tired, disillusioned National voters will in some numbers go and vote Labour, simply to have a change and to give them a chance again, to perhaps do it better.

    But this may only result in a one term government, unless they can then offer competency and real solutions.

    This "strategy" will most certainly not get the already disillusioned and disconnected "missing million" out and vote, they will simply not bother, as it is more of the same. But there is the only potential to get more votes, in my humble view, to tap into the percentage of so far non voters, besides of those who switched from Labour to Nats in last elections, to get the numbers and win the election.

    So far this "strategy" does not seem to work. All the hand-wringing and attacks on the government, when it comes to homelessness, child poverty and housing un-affordability, this is stuff that will only affect some existing voters, and many that are affected tend to rather try and adjust (as renters in crowded conditions) than go and take a political stand and vote, as they may simply not have enough trust in the alternative on offer.

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    My understanding is that Labour is sitting on policies to announce closer to the election. Only hope they do not wait too late.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19661 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Marc C,

    disillusioned National voters will in some numbers go and vote Labour

    I think your mistaken even thinking that let alone writing it.
    Those diehard Nact voters arent really engaged in the political process which requires they pay attention to what is happening around them in a wider sense, and making an informed decision based what they read and what they observe.
    Confirmation bias is probably the mental process going on here.
    But hey... I could be wrong it can work the other way as well.
    An election is, what, now about a year away, we'll just have to wait and see.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1868 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to andin,

    Those diehard Nact voters arent really engaged in the political process which requires they pay attention to what is happening around them in a wider sense, and making an informed decision based what they read and what they observe.

    I'm with Andin. There's a large middle ground in the electorate who think no deeper than wanting to pick a winner. Their mates share the same shallow mindset providing confirmation that they've all backed the right horse. Add some proven manipulation from Crosby/Textor and the impotence of a largely compliant media, and Key gets away with portraying the Nats as "winners" while simultaneously pillaging the country on a grand scale. It's neolib heaven.

    Meanwhile Labour is still shooting itself in the foot with unwanted headlines like Andrew Little: 'I was wrong'.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1366 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to oga,

    Isn’t that how National got into power last time? Saying nothing, and relying on the population to vote National …. because they’re not Labour.

    Sort of. And at the end of the day, that’s actually the main real power of a democratic system. It’s not really that great at selecting the best possible government, but it is quite good at getting rid of a really bad government. Which is where I think we’ve ended up now. So sure, positive messages from Labour, packed with policy and brimming with the competence of their people would be great. But in order for the risk of change to even seem worthwhile, people do have to realize just how bad things have got.

    It’s really shocking how normal outright poverty and exploitation have become in this country. This has to stop, and in a way, I think that’s finally become more important than getting the perfect Leftist dream team together. So long as they’re pretty much competent and the alternative is there, I think that the missing million do have something to vote for.

    ETA: I should probably point out here, that I'm not saying people have to vote for Labour. In signaling a closer relationship with the Greens, Labour have really pulled their heads out of their arses about how they can win this election. If people prefer what the Greens are about to what Labour is about, they can vote for the Greens with reasonable confidence that if Labour is elected, it will be with Green support, and there is a whole world of progressive influence contained in that understanding. That would be a real change, something we have never yet seen in NZ. I would personally be prepared to give it a try, definitely in light of National fiddling while our whole way of life burns.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10629 posts Report Reply

  • Marc C, in reply to andin,

    In this instance I was not so much thinking of the die hard Nat voters, they will rather vote ACT or NZ First when unhappy, perhaps earlier on also have considered the Conservatives. But there appear to have been a fair few former Labour voters, who changed their vote in 2008, and some have stuck with voting the Nats (under a not so hard line, socially and economically "liberal" John Key) since then.

    By now, surely some of them must have had regrets, and must start seeing the writing on the wall. They may eventually come and vote Labour again, even if they just want to get rid of the present lot in government.

    Akl • Since Oct 2012 • 437 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Pattison, in reply to Marc C,

    But this may only result in a one term government, unless they can then offer competency and real solutions.

    Without Key, National are gonners and in the case of a National Party defeat, he won't even be in the country when the final tally comes in. He will be in New York cashing-in on all the work he's done here over the past nine years.

    Without the charisma of Key, there isn't really anything special about the National Party. Part of the secret to their success (I think) is the fact he goes on commercial radio on a nearly daily basis (there are a lot of channels) for a bit of a joke with presenters. This is what most people hear when it comes to politics: fawning radio hosts and a bit of a joke. They don't tune in to RNZ where he stumbles on hard questions while trying to tell us the sky is green and is generally pulled apart by the interviewers. And they're certainly not tuning in on Sunday morning to The Nation or Q+A. So they think to themselves 'he's an ok guy' and that's where it ends.

    Having Patrick Gower as Newshub political editor probably doesn't help, though.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2014 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Salmond, in reply to izogi,

    If the point is meant to be that a Labour-led alternative would be better, then I wish there were more in here about what Labour would be doing, why Labour’s people are superior, would make highly competent and better Ministers who are less prone to screwing up, and how it’d overall be better.

    Otherwise it’s just asking people to vote for the least worst instead of the best.

    (Also replying to folk why supported izogi's comment above, including Aflie, Joe Wylie, Marc C, and others...)

    I agree that there's a two-fold challenge for parties of the left - to show their promise as well as the incumbent's shortcomings - and they need to meet both challenges to win the right to govern. Commenters are entirely right about that.

    The only thing I'd say is that not every blog post is about every aspect of politics. Writing an article solely on housing, for example, doesn't imply Labour no longer cares about health. Sometimes just one aspect is worth writing 800 words about - as I did here, after the especially bad few weeks the government has had.

    Put another way, a *blog post* that concentrates solely on National's shortcomings does not mean the left's *electoral strategy* is to concentrate solely on shortcomings. There are many other blog posts and other media that do different things to this post. Indeed, in many other forums Labour and the Greens are already rolling out their positive vision for New Zealand, promoting alternative policies on housing, jobs, kids, and so on. It's the combination of all of those posts that make up the strategy, not this post alone.

    That's the vision we feel New Zealanders will warm to come election day, and that people will go the booth next year voting for a great progressive vision as well as to get rid of the current crowd.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2015 • 102 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan, in reply to andin,

    sorry went away for a few days. let me be clear I think he opposition is right to hold Bennett to the fire and Soper is a dick I was just lamenting that even when the opposition is right they still get flack

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 221 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Tristan,

    sorry went away for a few days. let me be clear I think he opposition is right to hold Bennett to the fire and Soper is a dick I was just lamenting that even when the opposition is right they still get flack

    I'm wondering if Soper, Watkins, Trevett, Gower et al are a wider symptom of credentialism brought about by labour market deregulation. In the case of journalism, kids fresh out of high school can no longer approach the local paper for a cadetship, and that they now need tertiary degrees to get into what is now an industry that's gone downmarket to survive. The end result is "poshification" of the talent pool.

    As for party politics as a whole, I know exactly who I'm voting for, and it's whoever believes that ladders of opportunity are a human right and not a privilege for rentiers and other winners of the social lottery.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5414 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Tristan,

    No probs

    I was just lamenting that even when the opposition is right they still get flack

    And you have to ask yourself who is doing it and why,(If they can give a valid reason).
    Now more than ever the voters have to give a shit, because many commentators and politicians dont seem too.
    They seem to think they are too clever too bother with such mundane things, and have mistaken their jobs for performance art.

    As for that piece of shit our idiot PM’s son calls music Simon Sweetman sez it all And I not linking to any of it.
    I rather watch this

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1868 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    the Beehive’s sewerage failed, meaning it is quite literally full of shit.

    Seems they have been shovelling shit down it for quite some time

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1868 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Mean while, Britons are now googling "what is the EU?"

    Atlantis • Since Nov 2006 • 4163 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to steven crawford,

    “what is the EU?”

    There is a lot of words written about everything round this, I see very few/none about Rebstock/Rennie's screw up Hmmm

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1868 posts Report Reply

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