Who’s leading the Opposition?


Last year the Green Party had a higher profile than Labour.

This year, as Lew at Kiwipolitico points out,  Winston Peters is leading the charge:

David Shearer says he won’t rule out buying back shares in state-owned power companies sold by the government. He won’t rule it in, either. Why? Does he need to consult his leader?

There’s so much wrong with this that I scarcely know where to start. This buyback agenda has been set by Winston Peters; it’s now two years since the 2011 election campaign kicked off with a pledge to sell these assets, and it’s like the boffins in Labour haven’t yet had an original idea about it. The problem with old generals is supposed to be that they fight today’s war with the strategies of yesterday’s war, but this is worse — it’s fighting yesterday’s war with the strategies that lost the one before that. . .

Peters will never be in a position to act on his threat to renationalise any energy companies which are partially sold.

He’s not stupid enough to make it a bottom line in a coalition or confidence deal. He’s just whistling to his dogs.

But he’s also showing up David Shearer and Labour who are in a no-win position.

They’re not stupid enough to promise to renationalise the companies, that would really scare the business horses and push moderate, wavering voters to towards national. But that just makes Labour’s continuing campaign against the policy redundant.

If they’re not going to change the policy they are neutering their opposition.

The party and its leader need to find another policy to help them make some traction because until they show they can lead the Opposition they’re not going to be able to convince enough voters they could lead a government.

Why didn’t he do this yesterday?


Manufacturers and Employers Federation Northern CEO Alasdair Thompson should have apologised properly yesterday.

Instead he compounded the stupidity of his initials comments with two prolonged interviews here and here.

Now he’s finally said what he should have said yesterday:

The Chief Executive of the Employers & Manufacturers Association, Alasdair Thompson has issued an unreserved and unqualified apology for his comments and behaviour in the media yesterday on the issues to do with equal pay.

“I apologise for my poor choice of words and bad judgment during the discussion about gender and productivity in the workplace,” Mr Thompson said.

He said what started out as a genuine concern for the problems women face in the workplace soon disintegrated into facile observations that did a disservice to what is a very serious matter.  

“I raised issues that were misplaced and irrelevant to the discussion,” Mr Thompson said.

“I realise my remarks offended many people.

“I have personally always supported equal pay for equal work, equal opportunity, respect and courtesy for both women and men in the workplace. 

“The EMA unquestionably believes in equal pay and both the EMA and I believe gender plays no part in the productivity of a person, and that there is no justification for gender to influence what someone is paid.

“Although this experience has been very painful to me, it has also served as a valuable lesson – one I shall never forget.”

A lot of other people won’t forget it either.

Should they do so, Lew at Kiwpolitico has some very good advice  for anyone else at risk of putting both feet in their mouth.

UPDATE: Brian Edwards thinks Thompson has a case for complaining to the BSA.

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