Labour Party Conference 2013 – Labour decide what they are – now they need to tell NZ what they will do

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The Party of Labour are now running the show. The democratization process that began last year has reached its high tide mark now. The membership voted resolutely to keep Democratic Socialism as it’s founding position and voted to keep equality before freedom as its principles. Such ideological nuances will be derided by the mainstream media pundits here as political correctness gone mad, but in reality it is proof of a Party energized by their new authority and power because of the structural changes implemented from the last Conference.

Labour are not going to try and convince National voters to vote Labour, they are going to chase the 800 000 who didn’t vote in the last election, and they are going to do that not with meek and mild centrist crap, they are going to inspire with a genuine political difference.

One interesting manifestation of this new power dynamic was on display at the social event last night. It was full to brimming (me and Ben from Civilian ended up hitting ‘Burgers & Beers’ and telling jokes all night because we couldn’t get to the bar) but before we left what was most interesting to note was how few MPs attended the social event. There is a friction between the Party and the MPs that is now more apparent than ever. The MPs are having to get used to the new power dynamics that have been afforded to the Party and the Party will need to reach out to their Caucus to help ease the bruised egos.

The hope will be that the inevitable rise in the Polls will iron those frustrations out.

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Labour know what they are now, they are an unashamedly left wing Political Party and the 2013 Conference will be marked as the first post Helen Clark Labour Party in that regard. Now Labour know what they are, they need to tell NZ what they will do.

2 COMMENTS

  1. … the Party will need to reach out to their Caucus to help ease the bruised egos.

    The problem is, they bruised their own egos. So, they will have to ‘unbruise’ their egos themselves. They can only do that by shedding their acquired sense of entitlement, and return to the ideals that prompted them to join Labour in the first place.

  2. “There is a friction between the Party and the MPs that is now more apparent than ever. The MPs are having to get used to the new power dynamics that have been afforded to the Party and the Party will need to reach out to their Caucus to help ease the bruised egos.”

    Having had a look at the Labour Policy Platform draft document, and the general terminology used, where social security and some other truly “social democratic” policies were only “touched” on the surface, thus leaving much open to interpretation, and also having heard what remits have been passed in a somewhat “flexible” form, I would not underestimate the “power” of the political professional MPs and caucus.

    The ordinary and new party members will have their ideals, wishes, and feel more included and powerful, as they can now take part in voting in the leadership, but when it comes to formulating policies, there will still be much leverage in the hands of the “experts”.

    Just wait and see, how the MPs will twist and turn things around, reinterpret policy, “refine” it to meet their interests and ideas, and in the end push for policies to be promoted that they will see fit.

    There has been a softening up on the position on the retirement age, commitments re the minimum wage are good, but with increased living costs, and especially for housing, they are hardly revolutionary now. Kiwi Assurance is a good idea, but it will only be a new player to compete with the private insurers (like Kiwi Bank amongst the banks), and housing in the form of Kiwi Build will largely cater for the middle class wannabe buyers, not for the poor who need affordable rental housing most.

    Once all the Conference attendees will have settled down, the routine be returned to, once it is all decided and wrapped up, it will not be all that revolutionary or “social democratic” at all, I fear.

    There was a suspicious absence of discussing the horrendous welfare reforms, NO talk about reversing at least some of this, there has so far been little on state housing projects and investment, there is still ambiguity on environmental policies, I am not expecting all that much of a shift to the left, especially after having heard Cunliffe on Radio NZs ‘Focus on Politics’ yesterday. His speech on Saturday was for the supporting members and the cameras, not so much representative of the hammered out real stuff that will come out at the end.

    Come back to ground control, please, down from cloud nine or wherever some have lifted themselves to. Come election period, it will mostly be arguments on economics, investment, smarter production, higher productivity, training of workers and so, a bit of middle class welfare (26 weeks maternity leave), living wages for full time public sector employees, ok, a minimum wage up to 15 dollars and hour, but little else.

    With the wage increases also some will lose welfare entitlements and only be marginally better off. Do not expect Labour to increase benfits. They are “mindful” of the already biased, brainwashed public, as the media did a proper job to label beneficiaries as nasty bludgers and the likes. So even talking about social security is a risk for any politician these days.

    But hey, higher wages reducing welfare entitlements, that now is stuff the Nats even try to argue, how “left” are they now?!

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