UPDATE: OK, I take it back. Labour still needs advice.

By   /   March 21, 2014  /   8 Comments

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This isn’t about David Cunliffe himself. I’m talking about nuts and bolts organising, communication and respect for Labour’s members and supporters.


OK, I take it back.  Labour still needs advice. This isn’t about David Cunliffe himself. I’m talking about nuts and bolts organising, communication and respect for Labour’s members and supporters.

Firstly I will say that Labour’s communication to members has improved in a general way but not, alas, in the specifics. Here’s a recent example ; yesterday David Cunliffe was in Rotorua and visited Red Stag Timber  where he met with management (plus unions and workers one hopes) to explain how Labour’s new wood policies  would boost both the company and the region by increasing wood processing and adding value here rather than just exporting raw logs.

So far so good. The problem was that Labour members were only invited the day before to join David for lunch at a local café. This really isn’t good enough. It’s disrespectful to give people such short notice to an event that was surely more than one day in the planning. Having a meal and a catch up with the Party Leader is a big deal for people, especially in the regions where they don’t have the same access to senior MPs as members in the main centres.  It’s energizing and morale boosting – I would have thought that was pretty important to a party that’s just drifted below 30% in the latest poll.

Labour reportedly doubled its membership last year; this is an army of willing workers and, even more importantly at this stage in the election, they should be the under-the-radar comms machine; talking with friends, family and workmates, messaging on Facebook and Twitter, about why they’ll all be better off under Labour.

But that’s not going to happen if, just as Labour starts setting out its agenda; it fails to treat its members as if they are vital players in this election.

Update: Ok I take this back! I am more than happy to stand corrected on this post. The person who organized Cunliffe’s visit to Rotorua got in touch with me and said that they got word late Tuesday/early Wednesday that Red Stag were prepared to say they would invest $120m in their mill if Labour’s wood policy was implemented. So naturally the decision was made to go to Rotorua the next day. Hence the late notice to the members. Red Stag’s decision to invest on the back of a Labour win is a huge incentive for the people of Rotorua, who desperately need well paying jobs in the forestry industry, to get out and vote Labour

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  1. fatty says:

    I doubt that a late email to a handful of people is the reason why Labour have failed to gather momentum over the past 6 months. That’s an absurd suggestion.

    I have this crazy theory that if Labour continue with policies similar to Goff and Shearer, then the results will also be similar.
    But I could be talking nonsense, maybe it’s just me and my friends who don’t give a shit about emails from politicians.

  2. KathyM says:

    Jenny Michie (thinking): Hmm, shall I spend my time writing a post that points out the failings of the incumbent and corrupt tory government or shall I spend that time nitpicking over Labour’s minor failings? Which would help the Left more? Hmm tricky decision….

    • Danyl Strype says:

      Kathy, nobody who reads this site needs to educated on the failures of the NatACTs. Advisors to the man who wants to be the next Labour PM, however, ought to be among those reading this site (as well as the Standard, Tumeke, No Left Turn, Indymedia etc), and taking notes on how they can inspire the members and supporters of that man’s party. This post by Jenny, as well as the recent post by Chris Trotter, and other criticisms of Labour’s strategy and tactics posted on this site, are much more useful to those advisors than any amount of anti-NatACT ranting.

      BTW Fatty, I agree with you when it comes to non-members of Labour like ourselves (I’m assuming), but to party members, a timely email and a chance to meet the leader in person are often important, as Jenny rightly points out.

    • poem says:

      Totally agree with you Kathym.

  3. ””People often say that in a democracy decissions are made by a majority of the people ,,”’ Of course that is true ,”’,Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and (((vote))) – very different thing ,,,,” My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much gorvernment ,,” Vote !, , ,,”’ Always believe that ultimately if people are paying attention ,,,”’Then we get good government and good leadership and when we get lazy as a democracy and civiclly start taking shortcuts,”’Why ???” ” Then it results in bad govenrment and politics , ”’Earthquake ,,2010 ,,” Christchurch ,!!” ,Insured in full with (((Suncorp Brisbane vero,))),((Our government EQC))((,Lumley ))”,((Brokers, Benson,and Westpac Banking )),”Do you know these names ! !!!!!!!! ” Why are we still waiting on help in this City of Christchurch ,,,”Answer is above,! “Vote to help us in this City this is not right whats going on,, its not right ,, ,,,,Noah,,,

  4. Marc says:

    Sometimes it seems just the lack of “message” that we get. What about social policy, it is so far all about child poverty and income divides, and it sounds as if Labour is only going to hike the minimum wage a bit and pay parents some money under “Best Start”. What about the rest of social policy, and the way that WINZ now increasingly challenges client’s doctor’s medical certificates, and forces people to be re-assessed. Future Focus came in in 2010 with the message: “We will look at what people can do, rather than what they cannot do”.

    And then we got more “reforms” from this government last year, bringing in “social obligations”, drug testing, a check on beneficiaries against whom a warrant for arrest may be out, and a stricter medical regime for sick and disabled. Labour was opposed to much, but observing developments and what came from Labour on that, it was disheartening what they presented. It seemed half-hearted criticism.

    The “reforms” have copied a lot of what was done in the UK, and supposed “scientific evidence” from only one major “research centre” that was financed for many years by a dubious health and disability insurer from the US, called UNUM (also involved over years in “advising” on “welfare reforms” in the UK) was relied on. A Professor Mansel Aylward could at least indirectly stamp his views on the new medical and work capability assessment methods that WINZ follows now. He was presenting reports before, that claimed that many sick and disabled merely suffered from “illness belief”. We have a Principal Health Advisor Dr Bratt work for WINZ, who likens benefit dependence to “drug dependence”, and tries to influence GPs to not sign off people as “sick” or “disabled” too easily.

    It raises questions about natural justice, and the independence of doctors. And what is Labour saying on that, like on other matters in welfare? NOTHING!

    It does perhaps not surprise that Dr Bratt was hired by MSD under the last former Labour led government!

    What is their policy on welfare now? What does Labour stand for on other crucial matters. We need some further clarification in many areas. Some MPs like Shane Jones fire off and ridicule the Greens, who are the only party that the Labour Party can govern with securely. So with all that kind of stuff going on, who can trust Labour, and who knows what Labour will actually stand for and do.

    I see a lot of needed work, besides of better communication, that must be done within Labour. I also cannot see some MPs in that party be anything much of a “minister”, as they seem to lack some competencies.

    As a beneficiary I see no reason why I should vote Labour, seeing and hearing almost nothing from their spokespersons on welfare.





    So Labour, please tell us about your positions, policy and what you propose to be done!

  5. poem says:

    Not good enough Jenny Michie, you have some apologizing to do.

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