Momentum shift



When you are deeply immersed in a local campaign sometimes it can be difficult to see the helicopter view.   I don’t know how accurate the political polls are and have always known that things can change quickly in politics anyway (I campaign managed Jim Anderton’s mayoral campaign in 2010  that went from a 30% poll lead to a 15% election loss in the space of four weeks!  This is probably some kind of record).  I was also a candidate back in 2002 when Labour’s support dropped 10% in the space of a few weeks after Seeds of Distrust was released.

What I do know on the ground in Christchurch Central is that there has been a marked shift in momentum towards Labour.  Until the past few weeks there has been a larger than usual group of undecided voters (mostly former Labour voters or non voters who were unsure about Labour).  This particular group is now moving from being undecided to saying they will vote Labour.

I don’t think you can put your finger on any one reason for that momentum shift.  Labour had a successful congress and announced a positive education policy.  And a successful campaign launch where we announced a positive health policy.  And a series of popular policies in between.  Cunliffe has been articulating those policies incredibly well.  Labour is running a positive campaign with a positive (literally) slogan.  And Labour is running one of the most impressive and sophisticated ground operations I’ve seen (and I volunteered on Obama’s 2008 campaign in Pennsylvania).

The momentum shift was underway before Dirty Politics was released.  But that too is cementing in the momentum shift.  Despite the pleas to the contrary Dirty Politics is an election issue because it raises questions about how we conduct our politics.  Elections are about trust, they are about moral and ethical leadership, they are about the kind of country we aspire to be, they are about what we value as a country.

If the rest of the country is heading the same way as the momentum shift we’re seeing in Christchurch Central, Labour will lead the next Government.



TDB Recommends



  1. National’s response to Dirty Politics is just to attack the author, neatly side stepping an important issue of the lack of integrity and ethics that this book reveals. The lack of consequences for Judith Collin’s proven abhorrent behaviour plus the relationship with the likes of Slater, reveals how unimportant ethics, morals, honesty and integrity are to John Key and National.

    • It’s rather ironic, when you read any of the forums on Stuff or NZH, the National / Act supporters can hardly go a paragraph or two before succumbing to shouting that favourite old cliche of theirs: “You lefties just love to play the man, not the ball.”

      Well, if the last week has shown us anything, it’s the emptiness of a great deal of the political discourse coming from those supporters. Unfortunately it’s also coming from the government, but hopefully that all changes in a fe w weeks anyway.

    • All true Banjo, however there’s more.

      The language register of the emails between Collins and Slater are what might be called “informal”. The Nat supporters who are yet to remove the scales over their eyes are busy trying to tell us that such “personal” exchanges were never written for public consumption. The logic is we all have personal exchanges not designed for public consumption, therefore publishing such interchanges is a breach of privacy.

      Two problems here: They may be personal exchanges, but they are about topics that concern the public, and being made by public figures.

      Secondly, and more importantly, THESE EXCHANGES ARE A REVELATION OF CHARACTER. Character analysis doesn’t get a lot of air time now days … remember writing a character analysis as part of studying a novel or a Shakespearian play in senior college English class, or at uni? Character analysis has a long history, and political commentators could do well this election to breath some life into again.

      Take Collins … Her public persona is strong, tough, no nonsense. She wants to be seen as someone who gets the job done. “Crusher” is such an apt nick name … it just kind of rings true when you hear it. Now add the public roll of “Minister of Justice” … perfect. However, all characters have their weaknesses. We’ve seen previous manifestations – she finds it extremely difficult to apologise, (to his credit something JK finds easy to do) because Collins’ character, equates “apology” with “weakness”, and weakness is the opposite to “crusher” energy. We’ve all seen the dissonance in the body language and facial expressions, when she’s asked to even contemplate the word “apologise”.

      Additionally, the Dirty Politics, emails reveal another character weakness -somewhat more telling. The split between the “private” Collins and the public role of “Justice Minister” is just too wide -unhealthily wide. Something in us knows this. We’ve all encountered souls for whom this is so. Our instinct is to avoid, because the unpredictability of the “switch” between these two aspects of character means many of us have probably got history of being emotionally or even physically hurt by such people.

      The emails reveal that Collins has some awareness of how these two energies are detected by others, and she quite consciously owns them as a weapons in her arsenal. Note the way she tells Slater she’s not too fussed if people don’t love her, because she can always resort to ensuring they fear her. Yep, this is a character with a control issue.

      For Colins this isn’t a problem, because she perceives her star as still rising. And then, as the star reaches it’s point of ascendancy, something interesting starts to happen. Those around the character are aware of her weaknesses, and in this case decide it’s time to own that publicly (note Bill English’ distancing statement yesterday, and publicly giving JK room to join him).

      However the arrogance within the character herself means there will be a good chance she’ll be the last person to lift the blinkers. In fact her misreading of the situation is at it’s peak right now. She brazenly defends using names such as “plug head” and ” my little pony” for opposition MPs. Her misplaced confident defence is -others call them that too. That’s mob school-yard mentality defence. There’s a part of us that knows that such rationale just doesn’t fit the public role of Minister of Justice. We rightfully expect statements that reveal more mature considered thinking.

      For Collins the bad news doesn’t stop there. Recall the wisdom of the Indian chief talking to his grandchild about the two wolves inside all of us ( see as an example). Sadly for Collins the emails reveal she’s been feeding the beta noire. Slater is obviously well-used to feeding this beast. So together they conspire to destroy a public servant. Collins’ arrogance blind-sides her once again -at this stage she remains quite brazen about her actions. Key’s caught on this one. Guyon Espiner’s Morning Report interview yesterday made sure of that. By the end of yesterday JK concedes, by saying she was “unwise”.

      Collins is now a politically dangerous character. The notion of embracing a fall from grace (some may argue a much needed fall into Grace) infuriates her, and those around her know she has the potential to make an ugly exit.

      So what to do? With all these dynamics bubbling away choices aren’t easy. Perhaps JK can try for a “gracious” self-acknowledged step-down from the Justice role and cabinet. He could try appealing to her abundant pride and suggest she word it as being necessary because of the smear campaign against her … so she has “magnanimously decided to step aside” for the sake of trying to stop the haemorrhaging caused by Hager’s book. The key to this transaction might be to sweeten it by privately offering her a redeeming move back to cabinet, say in 12 months (Nick Smith etc). If this is going to work, (and there’s no guarantee that it will because Hager’s content is still coming to light), it needs to actioned sooner rather than later.

      • Even when I may get very “casual” about “private” correspondence by text or email, or over the phone, I would never resort to such a degree and volume of using foul, degrading, perverse, and insulting swear words as Slater and his “friends”. Expletives seem to be their usual vocabulary, unless they sit or stand in front of a TV camera. Even then Slater lets loose at times. And the vile and hatred they have expressed towards some persons is shocking.

        Having read some of these email exchanges, it was flabbergasting, how deep in the gutter the minds of these persons converse with each other.

        Indeed, what “characters”.

  2. SADLY I fear the right wing Lame Street Media press are winning this war of attrition.
    They’ve managed to get the details-allegations of the book off the main points of the ‘news’, by letting us know more about overseas and sports stuff that is WAY way more important than the end of democracy in NZ and utter abuse of power by the Government.
    So SADLY JK’s ‘village idiot’ defence has saved his arse for the moment and the LSM have moved on.
    Here’s hoping democracy and decency do over come the LSM in NZ, or God save us all from the tyranny that will follow, as sure as day follows night.

    • Not necessarily, Kevin. If you’ll pardon the analogy, let’s compare it to a fight scene in a movie. Which is more dramatic? The scene where one is knocked down, and the other repeatedly kicks them while they’re down, giving them no chance? Or the scene where the one knocked down manages to get back up and catch a breath, only to be laid out once more, and again and again like so, until their opponent finally finishes them? My point being, Whaledump seems to be purposefully waiting for the furore from the book to die down before releasing the next round of info. If they were to release that info too soon, it would be lost among the book’s momentum. Better to let the dust settle, wait for National and co to stand and draw a breath, then go for the gut. There’s also KDC’s town hall meeting on 9/15, so to continue the analogy – Let’s say National are preparing themselves for that.

      10… They step into the ring…
      9… Pop in the mouthguard…
      8… Jump up and down a couple of times…
      7… Raise arms in a triumphant gesture and shout something unintelligible to the cheering masses…
      6… Suddenly, from out of nowhere, whoomp! Someone landed a punch before the ref rang the bell.

      That’s what I think Whaledump is going to do. Let them play their spin, act as if everything is cosy and warm again, then attack. They will call it dirty, but then I think that’s exactly the point – To give them a taste of their own medicine.

      I really wish I had a better analogy than a fight scene to explain my thinking, but hopefully I made my point clear. Keep watching, the show is far from over.

      • I DO hope you’re correct Richarquis………I DO SO hope that you’re right !!!!
        Time will tell. But I for one am very worried that the right wing are getting away with this abuse of power, presumably by their utter control of the Lame Street Media.

        • WOW Patrick Gower grows a set and gives JK a hard time (and it’s shown ON TV).
          WOW that’s a HUGE surprise for a man who’d normally be metaphorically wearing a National party Tee shirt and baseball cap whilst commenting on the political news !!!

          • Just as if you are playing a shark, reel them in then let it out and then a little in then more in then go get the net mate in this case the beer.

          • One of the nice things about it is that Gower seems to be really enjoying it too. I think the issue has united a lot of journalists.

  3. Im not so sure even the media can prevent the constant, ongoing drip feed of information that is going to be coming from the hacker…this will hound the Nats at every turn they make…it will be a constant needling…

    Every time FJK says something about an ‘ Honest Govt ‘….

    Every time something comes up about integrity…..and here’s another thing….

    The illegal spying on Kim Dotcom…..when Sept 15 comes , at the town hall…this will yet again reopen the wound… at the same time…..the emails will keep coming in….coming in….coming in…

    ‘GSCB spying was illegal on KDC’…

    ‘John Key rushes through our spying laws so we all can be spied on now’ …

    ‘Slater uses OIA ….and gets a reply from the SIS in less than 24 hours…yet Key doesn’t know anything about it…’

    The question is this also….how is this all going to look when Key and co try to justify and point the finger at KDC?….

    Do you not think people will not have this stuff in the back of their minds all over the coming election period?…I think they will.

    Its like a weeping sore that will just keep getting opened up.

    And remember the laws Key changed for our actors union as well…to serve who?…

    Hollywood. And who is trying to have their lawyers here to get KDC extradited ? Hollywood. And who is mates with Key ? Obama.

    And who is mates with Key? …..Slater. The whole thing is a circular spinning maelstrom.

    That aint goin away anytime soon , either.

  4. The momentum shift in Chch will be followed by the rest of the country. Not so much because of the book, because the majority will not read it, but because of the mainstream media.
    They seem to have woken up in the last week – and are finally asking John Key some hard questions. Everyone can now see the at the end of the day, he’s not so relaxed about everything

  5. Key and his mates are acting like kids with their hands caught in the cookie jar, and denying all knowledge of the cookie jar when caught. They are creeps and now we can see why Key was enticed back to this country to lead the Nats. Some digging on t hat might throw up some interesting comments. They tried Max Bradford( electricity reforms), Don Brash x Reserve Bank, now Key, and boy some of those behind the Nats must be fuming now its all falling down. Is this 3 strikes ruling? How ironic if Act’s main plank is the one that trips these capitalist ratbags up.

  6. Positive campaign indeed!

    Thankfully, Labour has ceased it’s pointless attacks on Mana-Internet – the fallout being wholly negative for the Left as a whole. (The Greens never participated, as far as I’m aware.)

    As I’ve said before, Key and National have created a positive image with the public by presenting themselves as “being able to work with anyone”. Even the Nats’ rejection of a deal with the Conservative Party was done politely and low-key (excuse the pun).

    They understood that bagging potential coalition allies is not a good look with the punters.

    The public want to see politicians working together, and the Labour-Green announcement on NZ Power was an excellent example. (As was the Labour-Green-NZ First commission of inquiry into manufacturing.)

    Nice to see someone in Labour has cottoned onto it. I believe that is part of why people are viewing Labour more favourably these days.

  7. I didn’t see Gower have a go at Johnny two face on the tv but Duncan Garner is not mucking about either. To quote DG himself …….

    “Ede needs to be sacked, but Key can’t do that can he because he knew what was going on and endorsed it.”

    “And then there’s Justice Minister Judith Collins. She should be sacked. She should not be a Minister.”

    “She was sending Whaleoil late night texts. She has been outed as an evil, mean and central player in the black-ops game.”

    If Gower and Garner are both going after key then I would say the jigs up for what must be the most corrupt and power abusing government in our history.

    In a desperate move Key may only allow mike hosking to conduct any interviews with him between now and the election.—and-mud-sticks/tabid/674/articleID/52542/Default.aspx

  8. The “momentum shift” has reached some, but sadly still not enough, as the majority do not follow politics, at least not much.

    But since even the headline news on TV and radio are now reporting on “Dirty Politics” and on the daily leaks of more emails, that were not even made available to Nicky Hager before writing his book, there must be more getting at least a bit of a message to reflect on.

    What worries me though is, that there is still a hard core in the mainstream media, that dismisses all this as “a left wing conspiracy”, as the result of “stolen” emails, “illegally taken by a hacker”.

    While there is clear illegality in the way Slater’s computer was hacked, the same applies to the way the Labour Party computer or server was accessed without authority, and there is enough info on suspected illegal conduct by some ministers and others in government offices, same as corrupt behaviour, that is all most despicable.

    I see that this is really stuff that Key and his government are extremely worried about, because their “mates” in the MSM are now working “overtime”, to rescue the government. One firm Key supporter, Sean Plunket on Radio Live, ran two 9 to noon talk back shows since yesterday, trying to put pressure on Judith Collins to resign, as he and his colleague Garner, and a few others hope, if her head rolls, the rest of the media and public will feel appeased.

    Then it may all go away. But the horse has bolted, dear “right wingers” in the MSM, you cannot deny the truth anymore, and yet more is to come, it seems day by day.

    I sense this is the end of Keys “love affair” with the media, and with too many in the NZ public, the honeymoon and extended special treatment period is over. Now you are being put under pressure and firm scrutiny, at least by a growing number of MSM journos.

Comments are closed.