Wrong process, wrong person

October 22, 2014

When National launched its constitutional review it chose Steven Joyce to lead it.

He was a successful businessman who supported National but had never been intimately involved with the party and came to the process without baggage.

In stark contrast, Labour has launched its constitutional review and has chosen Bryan Gould to lead it.

Chris Keall nails the problem with that:

. . . if you must have a review panel, head it by someone who knows how to win elections. . .

Gould is a smart man, I’m sure. But he’s not a winner in the game of politics. The ex-pat was a senior MP between 1979 and 1992 – a period of course dominated by Thatcher and the Conservatives as Labour struggled to make itself look anything close to electable.

Gould has poured vitriol on Tony Blair – the man whose up-beat style and move to the centre saw the party finally return to power.

Many in Labour will agree with Gould’s critiques of Blair for going too far in greasing up the press, moderating policy, and poodling to America on Iraq. In various newspaper editorials and his memoirs, Gould won the moral high ground hands down. But he lacks Blair’s ruthless and practical streak, and focus on likeability, that’s so necessary to win power.

A key question for NZ Labour is whether to shore up the party’s base with hard left polices or move to the centre, where elections are won. No prizes for guessing where the academic Gould will land.

Just last Thursday, Gould was comparing Key to Kim Jong-un. Great lorks if you’re a humour writer for the Internet Party. Not so much if you’re trying to talk to middle NZ. . .

Labour’s lost the election for several reasons and because it has several problems, none of which are likely to be solved by a review led by someone who can’t talk to middle New Zealand.

In another contrast, National had its review, reformed its constitution and reorganised then changed its leader.

Labour is changing its leader as the review process begins.

When it’s got the process wrong and chosen the wrong man to lead it, the chances of a successful outcome aren’t high.

 


Better not in race

October 20, 2014

Labour’s leadership race is gathering momentum as the four candidates travel the country at the taxpayers’ expense seeking support.

Matthew Hooton opines that none of the contenders will be Prime Minister.

I agree for two reasons.

First, Labour’s problems are far deeper than its leadership and until it shows it can run itself it won’t convince enough voters it can run the country.

Second, none of the candidates stands out from the other and all are more distinguished by what they lack than what they offer.

It’s possible the winner could grow into the role, but that would take time which the party doesn’t have.

Whether there’s someone better suited for the role in the current caucus is debatable, but if there is he or she is wise to stay out of this race and prepare for the next one.


Labour pains, National delivers

October 17, 2014

Trans Tasman on Labour’s pains:

Members of the party of co-operation, collectivism, and fraternal brotherhood and sisterhood were all over the media this week publicly knifing each other. This is to say nothing of the usual susurration of behind the scenes snarkiness from the various sides of the Labour Party factions. We can expect to hear much, between now and the leadership ballot next month, about “Labour values.”
One can’t help but get the feeling this does not mean what Labour’s activists think it means.
Certainly the last leader but one, David Shearer, did not seem to be full of the milk of human kindness for his fellow party members. Shearer called on his successor, David Cunliffe, to withdraw from politics completely now Cunliffe has ruled out another leadership bid. This looked like a brief outburst – and certainly the party’s organisational wing would be horrified at the prospect of a by-election in New Lynn or anywhere, given the current state of Labour’s funds.
But Shearer did not just say this once. He went on radio and also spoke to journalists outside the party’s caucus room. Revenge is a dish best eaten cold, they say, and Shearer was tucking in to a very large ice-cream tub of the stuff. Mostly, Shearer says, he is concerned Cunliffe’s supporters will undermine whoever gets the leadership in the same way they undermined him. It is not a bad assumption to make. The Labour Left still – somewhat bizarrely – see Cunliffe as a champion of red blooded socialism and if their second choice, acting leader David Parker, doesn’t get the job they will turn feral.
But Cunliffe isn’t going anywhere, it seems. . .

While Labour is engrossed in its own pains, National has negotiated coalition agreements, its ministers have been sworn in and are already working for New Zealand.


Mahuta aiming for deputy?

October 15, 2014

Nania Mahuta says she’s in the Labour leadership race to win:

Senior Maori MP Nanaia Mahuta insists she’s “absolutely” in the race to win the Labour leadership. . .

But is she really aiming for deputy?

But not all in the party are welcoming Ms Mahuta’s candidacy with some saying it’s PC gone mad that the next deputy must be a woman or Maori. . .

She is both a woman and Maori but neither one nor both of those should trump merit for either leader or deputy.

If she is the best candidate, she deserves to win and given it’s not a particularly strong field she could be.

But if she isn’t the best and wins it could do more harm than good to her, women, Maori and her party.

Labour has more than enough problems without adding to them by adding to it’s reputation for focussing on what doesn’t matter to most people.

Update:

The four nominees for the leadership and those nominating them are:

Andrew Little
(nominated by Poto Williams and Iain Lees-Galloway)

Nanaia Mahuta
(nominated by Louisa Wall and Su’a William Sio)

David Parker
(nominated by Damien O’Connor and Jenny Salesa)

Grant Robertson
(nominated by Kris Faafoi and Rino Tirikatene).
The election will now proceed, with ballot forms being distributed electronically and by post from Monday 20th October onwards. Voting closes and the result will be announced on Tuesday 18th November.


Cunliffe leaves race backs Little

October 14, 2014

David Cunliffe has pulled out of Labour’s leadership race and is backing Andrew Little to succeed him.

He says the decision to withdraw was a difficult one, and says he had been “under a lot of pressure to keep running”.

Mr Cunliffe will stay on as an MP in Parliament and made the decision to pull out last week. He said his decision was final.

“I believe I still have a useful role to play in the party and in the Labour movement and as MP for New Lynn.

I’ve really enjoyed the election campaign. I can look myself in the mirror and know that I gave absolutely everything to it and left it all on the track, and that’s what I think the party deserves.”

He says Mr Little has a strong vision for the party, and will bring “greater cohesion”.

“I have enormous respect for Andrew. I believe he is the right man for the job.”

Mr Cunliffe believes pulling out of the race is in the best interest of the Labour Party.

“I will be staunchly supportive of the party whoever the leader will be.” . . .

I’m not sure Cunliffe’s chances of winning the leadership contest were very good but had he done so it would have been a disaster for the party when so few in caucus supported him.

Whether those who don’t support him will take any notice of his support for Little will remain to be seen.

With three candidates remaining, Little, Grant Robertson and David Parker, and both David Shearer and Stuart Nash having contemplated running, that’s nearly a fifth of caucus with leadership aspirations.

The first challenge of whoever wins the race will be uniting his colleagues.


Step 1

September 29, 2014

Opinions expressed on social media across the political spectrum from party supporters, or those purporting to be,  are often not the official view of the parties.

If Labour is to address its problems its members should be hoping that  those blaming the election result on the media; other parties, including those with whom they may want to govern in future; and anything else but the party and its internal workings are not representative of those who the have influence to change.

The causes of its election loss are many and if Labour is to do better next time it first has to accept that the bulk of the problem lies within itself.

Zig Ziglar's photo.


Cunliffe resigns – for now

September 27, 2014

David Cunliffe will resign as leader of the Labour Party after Tuesday’s caucus but plans to seek re-election:

I have today decided to resign the leadership of the Labour Party, effective from the end of caucus on Tuesday.

The party has suffered an historic election loss and in resigning as leader I take responsibility for that.

The party will review all the contributing factors. That process has begun and I give it my full support. . . .

We need to renew and rebuild our culture, accountabilities, how we do things and present to the world.

Achieving that in time for the 2017 election will require experienced and determined leadership with a broad mandate.

Whatever decisions are made must be in the best interests of New Zealand to have a strong and vital Labour Party.

The Party’s interests must come before any personal interests. I have thought carefully before responding to the calls to re-offer myself for the leadership of the party. 

Consultation with colleagues, members and affiliates has affirmed that the whole party must participate in this choice, and not just one part of it.

Therefore I am announcing today that I will nominate for a primary contest, which will be held across the caucus, the party membership and the affiliates as the party constitution requires. . . .

Cunliffe was never the first choice of most of his caucus. Duncan Garner reckons it’s now even fewer:

. . . My sources tell me he can count his supporters on one hand, with only four MPs left backing him. Even his most loyal and ardent supporters, such as Palmerston North’s Iain Lees-Galloway, have deserted him. . .

For graphic evidence of why Cunliffe appears to be on another planet, take a look at these photos of him – at the beach in a suit.

He was elected on the strength of the unions and ordinary members and they still have the same voting power.

Will they accept that the leader must have the confidence of his/her caucus or will they again impose someone they don’t want on them?

 


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,409 other followers

%d bloggers like this: