Can Labour be saved? Why Whaleoil & National won and why we need a new media

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Chess composition

As the shock of my optimism that NZers would recoil from the real John Key as exposed by Dirty Politics and mass surveillance duplicities wears off, I am surprised to find that the right in NZ are not content with National winning an outright victory, the right wing of NZ would now like to appoint the Labour Party leader as well.

I still need some time out from blogging and still intend to step back while I think through some ideas on how we stop a juggernaut like National , but there are 3 things I’d like to focus on as a response to the election and the NZ Herald’s sudden need to pick the leader of the opposition.

1.  Can Labour be saved?

2. Why Whaleoil and the National Party won

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

3. Why the Left needs a new media.

 

Can Labour be saved?

The Labour Party of NZ need to work out what they are. Are they a modern democratic party whose members and affiliates have an active say in the shape and direction of the Party, or are they merely a political management team who work to not spook the corporate forces of capitalism when National get tired of Government?

That’s the question it faces as it descends into the inevitable blood letting of the next leadership fight.

The changes made within the Labour Party to give members and affiliates real say have always been despised by some within the Labour Party Caucus. They want members and affiliates to be dictated to not listened to, hence the resistance to change, hence the mass sitting on hands some conducted during the election, hence the sudden knives out for Cunliffe.

Cunliffe has attempted to appease those in Caucus so affronted by the members and affiliates  decision to appoint a leader they didn’t want and I think that appeasement has created a politician who has both hands tied behind his back. Cunliffe has shown the Party a loyalty those in Caucus have not shown him. Trevor Mallard went on a bloody moa hunting expedition in the middle of the campaign for Christ’s sake, Cameron Slater’s mate, Kelvin Davis, went rogue and ended up being endorsed by Kiwiblog, Whaleoil and John Key and ‘someone’ inside Labour kept leaking as many damaging criticisms  as possible to the media.

These same voices are now the forces behind removing Cunliffe because apparently Cunliffe went ‘too far to the Left’. Since when was affordable housing for the middle classes, better investment into education and a Capital Gains Tax on an over heated property market considered ‘too left wing’?

The argument that Shearer who was polling highly could have done better is a total re-write of history. Remember how Shearer performed in the media, do we need a reminder?

There’s a reason why Shearer gained the nickname, ‘Captain Mumblefuck’. Does anyone think he would have survived a minute in the debates with Key? Whoever takes over as leader, surely it should be someone who doesn’t manage to contradict themselves within the first 60 seconds?

The claim that Stuart Nash somehow holds the magical answers based on his win seem infantile at best. Nash won because Garth McVicar split the vote, to think voters who loved someone as polarising as Garth would vote Nash doesn’t help Nash’s cause. Neither does all the undying love being given Nash by Whaleoil.

Cunliffe hasn’t helped his cause by his micromanaging of everything. He trusts so few within his Caucus he takes on every job and does it himself. This alongside his attempt to placate the anger of the ABCs rather than challenging it head on has made him look weak. That was abundantly clear today when he wouldn’t throw himself on his own sword and resign the leadership and demand a primary contest to put up or shut up the ABCs. His attempt to play by the agreements his Caucus have made while his challengers are openly disregarding that might be the honest thing to do, but it looks timid.

Changing leader won’t make a lick of difference. The activist base Labour relies on will walk if a more ‘centrist’ approach is taken because seriously, how much more ‘centrist’ does Labour want to go? Fantasies of Labour being a 40% Party again would only happen if Labour adopted all of National’s policies and ignore the MMP reality of the Greens. The Greens aren’t going to whither and die, they will only grow and expand, to turn guns on the Greens would be remarkably counter productive.

The problem is that the Labour Party is a damaged and wounded beast that is in desperate need of rejuvenation and has been in need the moment Helen Clark stood down. For Cunliffe to be serious about becoming leader again, he needs to take the gloves off and stare down those ABC elements and  force them out. Once done, the Party needs a complete rebuild and overhaul. The party machinery is damaged, resources have been blown on people who shouldn’t be there and ABCs have built fiefdoms that have little to do with the functioning of anything other than turf protection.

What is the alternative? David Shearer? He can’t answer questions and that might prove to be a challenge given that the media tend to like answers. Grant Robertson? If the issue was that Labour didn’t connect with ‘real NZers’, how will a central Wellington policy wonk go down with them? David Parker? Parker is a bookish chap, very smart with all the charisma of week old porridge. Nash? Well, Nashy has the absolute support of Cameron Slater so that might be the kiss of death.

If Cunliffe is serious about remaining leader then he has to show some actual leadership and fight the ABCs off. Otherwise it will be Nash as leader with Robertson as deputy who will emerge as the leadership team and set about alienating the entire activist base as they seek to stumble back towards the mythical ‘centre’. If affordable houses, higher taxes for the rich and better funded public services is ‘far left’, where the bloody hell would the ABCs want to take Labour?

The danger is that even if Cunliffe is re-elected by the membership and affiliates, the ABCs will refuse to accept his leadership. The ABCs do not want to have to listen to the membership or affiliates, they want to make the decisions themselves free of such silly things like gender equality and social justice.

The issues that concern the activist membership are being written off by the ABCs as fringe niche madness that will kill the Party. I think that’s convenient and simplistic.

If you look at the Party vote break down for Labour…

Seat Labour MP/Candidate Change

Mt Roskill Phil Goff -8.21%

Hutt South Trevor Mallard -7.86%

Mt Albert David Shearer -7.12%

…there is a stunning correlation between membership of ABC and poor party vote performance.

So why did Cameron Slater and National win such a thundering victory?

 

Why Whaleoil and the National Party won

The right wing inside and outside of the Labour Party will say that Labour under Cunliffe was out of touch with ‘average’ NZ. That affordable housing was ‘too left wing’, that a $15 and $17 minimum wage was ‘too left wing’, that a first start payment for new borns and extended maternity leave was ‘too left wing’.

The fact that any of those things are considered ‘too left wing’ is evidence of what 30 years of neoliberalism has done. The centre has moved so far to the right that Caligula is  considered a card carrying member of the Communist Party.

There are many reasons why Key and Slater won. One reason was the total disunity within ABCs furious they had to put up with Cunliffe. Voters hate disunity as much as they hate the All Blacks losing to Australia.

Another reason was Kim Dotcom.

Kim became a hate figure in the exact same way Ahmed Zaoui did. Keith Locke has done an incredible blog pointing out how the media spin lines managed to unwind every argument made so that it was Kim who suddenly became a hate issue in the way the repeal of Section 59 became a hate issue.

The repeal of section 59 closed a legal loophole that allowed abusive parents to escape assault charges on their children in front of the Courts. That’s what the law did, but if you ask your ‘average’ NZer what the repeal of section 59 was, they will stare at you blankly. If you prompt them with ‘the anti-smacking legislation’ watch them wind up and scream. Even though only a few parents have even been prosecuted since the legislation passed, the total wilful ignorance most NZers have towards the repeal of section 59 blots out any rational discussion. If you challenge your average NZer on the law and point out that previous to the law change abusive parents who were being charged for assaulting their children were getting away with it by claiming ‘discipline’ as a defence, they pause, gulp and mumble something about ‘nanny state’. Most kiwis have no bloody clue as to what the law was about and even less understanding that their devout hatred of it would actually allow more abusive parents to get away with abusing their kids.

Kim Dotcom became this elections ‘anti-smacking’ law.

It didn’t matter that Kim was set up in coming to NZ so we could hand him over to the US. It didn’t matter that Corporate Hollywood was using him as an example to be punished. It didn’t matter that days after Hollywood’s chief lobbyist threatened to withhold donations for Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign  that the White House launched their legal action against Kim Dotcom. It didn’t matter that 70 armed paramilitary police raided his home, beat him up, frightened his family and stole all his wealth. It didn’t matter that the evidence gathered against him was taken illegally by spying on him. It didn’t matter that the Prime Minister then appointed his old school chum to head the GCSB and made all that spying legal and it didn”t matter that it turned out the very legislation Key assured us wouldn’t lead to mass surveillance actually did.

None of that matters. Kim was suddenly this evil influence of big money in politics. The irony of course is that the big money was with National and allowed them to do this…

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 3.44.13 pm

 

…wall to wall media coverage. Just like the repeal of section 59, NZers decided that Kim was evil and no justification could unpick that. Of course Kim didn’t help himself at times and I think was ill advised at crucial moments, but that doesn’t mean that what has been done to him was acceptable nor is it valid to criticise him for choosing to fight back.

The third most important reason why Cameron Slater and the National Party won however was the reason Nicky Hager stated – dirty politics had worked.

I was naive in the extreme to think that 6 years of Slater’s toxicity could be cured months out from the election by the truth and it couldn’t.

The Left will will be told that we didn’t connect enough to ‘average’ kiwis, I think that’s bollocks. The ‘average’ Kiwi was as led in their dislike of Kim as they were led in their manufactured outrage of the repeal of section 59.

Which leads me to the media.

 

Why the Left needs a new media

When Jason Ede can be sacked/quit on the eve of the election and not a ripple made, that shows you the effectiveness of the bias of the mainstream media. What the campaign did was what Lusk was hoping for, to turn voters off and the pathetically low voter turnout proved what a turn off it was. Yes it was a couple of percentage points higher that 2011, but that was from a smaller number of people enrolled to vote, so the difference between the worst voter turn out in a  century and this election was less than 1%.

The character assassination of Cunliffe hit its high tide mark with the farcical Donghua Liu ‘scandal’. There was no $100 000 bottle of wine, there was no $15 000 book and there was no $150 000 donation, the entire thing was another example of Dirty Politics. The compromised NZ mainstream media, many of whom were in bed with Slater as a source, lost its function as the watchdog of power and became the lap dog for power. This narrative construct means no matter what Labour or the Greens try and do in the next 3 years, they will be met with the same Press Gallery hostility.

Helen Clark was crucified for power saving lightbulbs, water efficient shower-heads, a speeding ticket and signing a painting she didn’t paint. Key on the other hand has managed to get away with his henchmen rigging candidate selections, handing over secret intelligence information to humiliate a political opponent, hacking into Labour’s computers, attacking public servants , blackmailing an MP and trying to undermine the head of the Serious Fraud Office.

The double standards when comparing Clark’s supposed sins and the corrupt abuses of power Key has regularly indulged in are a sick joke.

That’s why the Left beyond the political parties needs a new counter weight against the mainstream corporate media. It’s an idea that many across the Left are already contemplating.

The magnitude of the loss on Saturday can not be underestimated, but if the pool of voters are smothered in the manufactured garbage of the mainstream, then no amount of appealing to the average kiwi will do the opposition any good. We need to articulate a different voice and refuse to be defined and locked in and limited by our opponents in Parliament and those in the overwhelmingly right wing media.

We are not just fighting National, we are fighting the entire media industry of NZ as well.

The day we allow the Herald  and Seven Sharp to define who we are as progressive political movements, is the day we end being progressive political movements.

We must present a better vision and provide the medium for that vision to be articulated while constantly challenging the limitations those in the media wish to consign us to.

If we can’t do that, Dirty Politics remains the winner.

 

 

92 COMMENTS

    • Yes a passionate angry articulate article, but one which needs to be laced with some strategy.
      it is always best to first look to fault in ourselves before we check out the misaligned stars. It is my contention that it easier to correct those things we can than simply rail against the things we can’t.
      Here are a few things we can do:
      1. You don’t like the press coverage? John Key took Garner and Espinar
      out drinking “off the record” early in his reign. See anything worthwhile in getting closer to the media to offer them insights and stories? I think that Labour’s bad press was as much bad management over years than the evil empire. Doubtless there are Right-wingers with megaphones in the media. But the is nothing like a juicy story or a good one-liner. Key isn’t an articulate, savvy media man or a great humourist. But the bar is not very high.
      2. Policy problems? Announce that your goals are as constant as the Autumn moon, or whatever the expression is, but that new ways to an end will be considered and that, in any case, now is the time for National to produce the goods, Labour’s solutions having been roundly rejected. Now all those brave prognostications from National have to be met, while their shortsighted policies which have destroyed our manufacturing base are now proving their vulnerability. Kilo of cheap cheese, anyone?
      3. Anyone noticed the real estate sharks circling on Morning Report yesterday? Told-you-sos hover in the air.
      4.Concerned about a fair wage? Let all living-wage employers stick that above their door – we can even print them – while night-time stickers do the same for those companies who pay bosses 100 times the lowest wage. Guilt is a powerful tool.
      5.Time to get alongside the Greens. Now we really do need each other
      and local body elections are not far away.
      6.Many of us believe that if the propositions were phrased accessibly, most kiwis would support them: fairness, opportunity, a clean environment, to be a good international citizen etc etc. So let us phrase our goals in a positive light.
      7.The problems among the reps is ludicrous and unnecessary. let them all say “we have bigger fish to fry. we will let the party constitution sort this out. We will worry about this at the next Labour Party conference. Right now we have to protect the country from the excesses of Unbridled Power.
      8. In this pursuit let us invite back all those who believe that Government and the Community have a role in making a better tomorrow, not just for the disadvantaged, but for the whole society.
      -Or would they prefer lions in the moat?

    • One thing people are forgetting is that Pike River has not yet been properly investigated and I suggest that people of all parties look up a small book on the web called Murder At Pike River by a Dr Cohen. Hard to find at times by a well worth read and some very interesting facts that do fit.

  1. Spooking the corporates is exactly what they MUST do, it might be a risk but I reckon its worth it.
    Mind you if the TPPA is signed it may become illegal to do so

  2. To make a comment about the turnout. Most pundits were predicting a large turnout, but in reality it was only a couple of % higher than 2011’s dismal turnout, and we all know which side has an advantage with a lower turnout. With the huge increase in advanced voting it looked like it would be a much bigger turnout but it proved only that more people voted early, but not many more people voted at all. There were still around a million people who didn’t vote, or weren’t even enrolled. The Electoral Commission must look carefully at this.

  3. It could well be a matter of historical timing – New Zealanders have only been exposed to television since when? – the late ’50’s or early ’60’s. Studies have shown that television propaganda is absorbed differently than print. I think the US citizenry is maturing out of its faith in TV news, though it still has a long way to go. And it may be quite difficult also in New Zealand to separate the gorgeous scenery, mountains, beaches, sports activities from an independent skepticism of the medium which is gaining momentum elsewhere. I do think it will happen, though, when people recognize the dangers and see the results.

    When New Zealanders react angrily at being told harsh facts by ‘outsiders’, they are not realizing that they are being misled by ‘insiders’ in their media. Once they develop this skeptical relationship to pundits and news readers in their livingrooms, it can be extended into a reawakening of their innate abilities to think for themselves and promote fairplay.

    All that has happened in the Kim Dotcom situation has planted a valuable seed. People will reflect on these issues; they will not go away because they continue to challenge. That’s what the truth does. Same with Mr. Hager’s books. They don’t go away; they continue to challenge. These were enormous and worthy efforts, including yours, Mr. Bradbury. New Zealanders will eventually thank you for them; the world sat up and took notice, and for that I thank you very much. I am proud to be a native New Zealander.

  4. Let the message be clear: Had the left won this election, the fight was not over; it would have been far from it. There would still be reluctant bureaucrats, institutions and the same old media as enemies yet to have their tails cut off.

    After such a devastating election result; we should have a fire that inflames us. The fight still goes on.

    But social change happens one conversation at a time. We need to be having these conversations with people. The Daily Blog helps facilitate this, but social media in general is not effective. This is where I think Labour and the Greens have failed. I do not for one believe that working with markets and keeping the status quo would make for good social conversations anyway. We need to ask harder questions; about ourselves, our country and the system our country has adopted.

    The direction this country is moving is not invisible to us. The TPPA, mass surveillance and a dirty political scene have all been laid bare for us. Unfortunately, it will hit people harshly after they have realised they’ve been hit by it. But it’s for us to stop these things happening, and engage in the social conversations that will be effective in demonstrating why their lives will be affected by all these changes; and why we need to stop them NOW rather than later when they are in full force. It’s much easier to stop things before they happen; and we need to convey this.

    For the left, perhaps we need to look internally. We need to engage with those Labour Party members and supporters who think neoliberalism and the centre is the way to go. It is clear to us that it is not; and we cannot revert to mistakes from the past. For each time a utopian dream is criticised and shackled, it is an insult to the creative and intellectual potential of human beings. We must work collectively to find a way to organise ourselves. And through this collective mind, we can surely achieve through such a potent combination! We need to come up with new ways of doing things, of spreading our message; and we need to come up with new messages. “Be realistic; demand the impossible.” Dare to dream; perhaps this will engage in the apathetic.

    But for the next 3 years, we will be facing many ‘small’ battles. To each of their own, we must be there to confront them. We must be there for each other. But all these small battles are an opportunity for our voices to be heard; and opportunity to bring new supporters on board; and lastly, an opportunity for us to be having the social conversations that really do matter.

    I know many of you are disheartened after the election. Use this energy, and use this spirit and channel it into a good cause. I wish you all all the best for the next 3 years. Kia kaha, and go hard. Let The Daily Blog continue to be a medium where we can start having these discussions, on both an intellectual and grassroots level.

    • Heteroglossia you are so right. We need to focus, but we also need to ensure that those in the Labour Party who are not prepared to follow their leader need to get out. And we need to make sure that they know what we want. FB is a perfect media for our message to go out.

      If Mallard thinks it is more important to be trying to clone a Moa, let him go for it.

      If Cosgrove is unhappy that KDC ‘s audience were chanting FJK, let him join the National Party.

      If Davis wants to continue his friendship with Slater let him make sure that he lets the people of TTT know how low he is prepared to crawl.

      I do not know who the ABC’s are, but they need to know that their neo liberal stance ensured that Key has another 3 years to drag the workers down.

      I still want to support Labour, but if they cannot get their act together and show some solidarity, they are doomed for another further term in opposition.

  5. Brilliant!! I could not agree more.
    One thing to add – maybe it’s not a matter of Labour growing, but National fracturing; MMP could ultimately see more parties with smaller representation, which I think is a move towards a real democracy.
    No idea how to aid the fracturing, and it could take a lot more than three years, but we can live and work in hope…

  6. Nicely summed up! It never surprises me when people that would benefit most from Labour’s policies say “they will never vote Labour” when I ask why, they cite the anti smacking law & yes they NEVER understand why it was introduced & have completely fallen for the hype created 6+years ago & are still fixed on that position! The other issue that damaged Labour was the foreshore & seabed issue, that was another example of the media hyping up the masses by scaring them into thinking they wouldn’t be able to go to the beach or launch their boats etc, labour let down Maori then by trying to appease the hysterical & that’s where Labour go wrong but when the media are fixated on portraying issues with a scaremongering edge it’s hard for Labour to get the truth out & cut through the media narrative. We saw this this time with Kim Dotcom & we are now seeing the media fixated on the demise of Labour with all the focus on what should be a leadership issue for the party members to decide not media speculation! personally I think Cunliffe did a good job of conveying the policies! It’s frustrating that the media don’t apply the aggressive questioning of the Natz & I haven’t seen or heard any questioning about the Tppa! It’s always been my ultimate dream to see Hone Harawira become Pm or at least DPM sadly this seems out of the question with the current paradigm we are living in!

  7. Your real problem is that the working class has shrunk and the middle class grown. The Labour Party’s traditional base has disappeared by becoming bourgeoisie (no wonder the proles fear the middle class). And once people are bourgeoisie, the idea of sharing their stuff is far less appealing than sharing someone else’s stuff. CGT, for example, is a death knell as every Kiwi I know can’t wait to buy their second house (or already has at least one additional property already).
    Truck drivers alienated with hare-brained on-the-hoof policy, and other stupidity like it, also doesn’t help.

    • Not sure that’s true actually. Got any figures to back it up? The only way the working class has shrunk has to do with it’s organisation as a political force. Casualisation, among other factors, has decimated union membership. Instead of a stable working class, working 40 hours in secure job, leaving people time to engage politically and raise their kids, we now have a mass of working poor overwhelmed with just trying to get by. Also, the middle class now finds itself in the same position the working class were in 20-30 years ago; trying to save for a home, yet just one redundancy payout from joining the working poor in their daily struggle.

  8. On the day that Hilary (yes that climber guy) died, I was helping care givers at Brackenridge picket the gates in an effort to; one settle their collective agreement, and two increase national awareness that disability sector need decent central government funding in order to care for the most vulnerable. We had TV1 and TV3 cameras and crews as well as press there and it looked as if we were going to succeed in creating a successful media event when mid morning the news of Ed’s death came through. Every media person disappeared.

    Some things are not in our control and may have disproportionate impacts.

    I suspect that the murders in Ashburton of two WINZ workers and the hysteria in Sydney with 800 police needed to charge two pathetic people undermined sympathy for the down and out and also the whole spy scandal.

    Labour or any other party could not control these. Sometime you just have to get up, rub yourself down, and get on with it.

  9. Nicely summed up! Yes many people I speak to say they would never vote Labour because of the anti smacking & gay marriage laws. They never understand the reason behind the repeal of section 59 & both issues are tied up with religious ideology! It’s never a surprise to me that the only times I have seen people stirred up en masse in Nz is around the rights to hit their children, gay marriage and fart tax! The rest of the time they fall for the media narrative on issues and this time it was hatred towards Kim Dotcom while never questioning where the Natz get all their campaign millions from!
    personally I think Cunliffe did quite a good job of conveying Labour’s policies across in debates and interviews and I can understand why he is reluctant to stand aside! I think that Labour need to build the leaders credibility and while I thought Goff was too mild and Shearer too weak I think that this campaign for Cunliffe was a good learning curve and Labour could benefit from that experience in the future, just changing the leadership every 3 years isn’t going to get rid of Key! Voter apathy and lack of education and the media narrative of painting Kim Dotcom as Nz’s dr evil are what cost Labour this election as well as blind faith in Key based on thin air and no new ideas! I think Peter Dunne inadvertently summed it up by saying ” I think Nz’ers felt we are on the cusp of something great although we have no idea what that is”!
    For mmp to work well it should have representatives from all sectors of society and that way we can have some brakes on policy decisions however with the demise of Act et al the right are now a solid block while the left will always be fragmented due to different ideologies and focus and that is not necessarily a bad thing but does make it harder to form a govt! Particularly with Winston’s position on talking to the party with the largest polling first!

    • fart tax, anti smacking bill, anti progress, envy tax etc blah blah are all examples of framing the issue. The side that gets to frame the issue usually wins.
      Lesson: frame the issue in simple, unequivocal terms up front.
      Greenpeace has a working knowledge of how to do this.

  10. Just seeing your blog today made my day Martyn, good to see you.
    Please pace yourself we need your guidance always as we need a good leader within our opposition parties.

    I grew up in the shadow of W2 and Sir Walter Nash, Stuart Nash’s Granddad in the warm glow of egalitarian society that I long for to see back again today.

    When I study Denmark I see a copy of what I grew up with and those who say you cant reconstruct an egalitarian society I say how come Denmark and other countries did?

    labour whom I voted for almost all my life except for the Rogernomics 4th Labour nob now have seriously study how they became the party of mass choice and go back to that model.

    They cannot complete centre right or hard right policies with all the neo liberal right parties.

    So a clear definition from the right is required here.

    How can they sell this policy effectively?

    Start a public TV/Radio network by combining with all opposition parties to force Government to set aside these public service facilities that they can run together for the public good to communicate in a more balanced manner than is occurring now.

    We sent this plea to all opposition parties in an open letter before the election and now they know why they needed this ownership of an independent TV/Radio network media.

    For if the opposition Parties had the media influence that the right had, the election may very well have been different.

    We majority over 66% plus who did not vote or vote for National still pay the taxes to Government for our current (so called public service) TVNZ/RNZ service, thus Government is legally required to provide the opposing political parties a similar firm control as National has of an alternative TV/Radio public service facility.

    I cannot see how the current biased lot can offer the fair unbiased views and policies of the left.

    Then the Opposition Parties MUST form an alliance to speak together for the good of the country with one voice to offer up such radical changes back to what Winston always referred to as a fairer society where all share in our common wealth.

    Labour Greens NZ First will not survive without coming together and even Cunliffe knows this.

    I propose we begin on the web, a global fundraising pledge campaign to fund this democratic NZ Free media TV/Radio service to counter the caustic NatZ controlled totally biased attack dog of TVNZ/RNZ, right now and begin by a pledge of $500.

  11. I am new to blogging and have been reviewing both left and right wing blogs in the run up to the election and beyond. I believe that to counter a strong government we need to have a strong opposition . An opposition that is strong enough to connect with middle New Zealand and be stable enough to have entice ordinary kiwis’ , swing voters, and to attract those dissatisfied with the Government of the day .
    To do that the leader of the opposition will need to be able to have the support of the Greens and any other party not in ties with National . To be in cahoots with NZ First for instance you will need to be a very broad church indeed . National does that successfully with NZ First if it needs to and certainly does it with ACT , a party not all supported by the public .Can the Leader of the Opposition do this ?
    Claims of media bias also reverberate from the right as well . Its not hard to paint a case that Nicky Hagar’s book is based on stolen emails , was published at a time most difficult for National ,and did not have any left wing leaks etc. The public voted on that as can be seen .
    John Key does a very good job of stealing the march from the left and maybe he needs to be respected for that not pilloried . Super , Capital gains tax , etc are all good policies and need to be sold in the provinces where national has an all but strangle hold .

      • CGT is not aspirational policy and leaks too many votes to NZ First or the Dirty Nats. We need to get votes off NZF and the Nats, not the Greens. We must ditch Capital Gains Tax. Having a stamp duty on foreigners buying nz rental properties and banning them from our farms (even aussies) works. Banning losses offsetting investors salaries with our ring fencing policy is far more effective. Lets also ban those investors using those slippery LTCs (Look Through Company) structures.

        TV3 was ok for us bar Paul Henry and Paddy Gower taking a 4 second comment from DC to make his ‘ashamed man montage’ that helped bleed party votes to NZ First. Shouldn’t have been reported by MSM. Hosking and Street are dirty nats that trashed us. Even Paul Henry was less biased and gave our leader last spot Friday night before the election. Corin Dann was good for us and some in the Herald like Tapu Misa were true patriots and others are waiting in the wings. Maori TV was again good for us too.

  12. Hi Martyn

    Well, I have made a start – two days without the NZ Herald since I told them to get lost – its like a ray of sunshine has come into the house – now we need a brand new newspaper with more balanced views – somebody please out there with the know-how create a newspaper for us which is fair. I now am looking in on the London Guardian – full of great stuff there.

    MY TV is turned off as well, no more Q & A or The Nation and no more evening news – poor John Campbell is out there in the wilderness trying to do his bit – I wonder how long it takes for him to be trodden down and removed from his half hour slot.

    I have in my possession a book called “The Sugar Bag Years” by Tony Simpson – an oral history of the Great Depression here in NZ – it should be required reading in all our High Schools – some chance. Our problem is we are no longer taught our social history which is what this Gov. prefers – to keep us ignorant.

    Look after yourself Martyn – you need a break to recoup.

    • Well said Barbara.

      I refuse to buy the Herald or any other pathetic excuses they call the press in this country.

      I will not watch Q&A, Seven Sharp or that rude obnoxious Henry. Have you noticed with the likes of Q&A the same tired old hacks are wheeled out in the form Hooten, O Sullivan, Boag, etc etc and sometimes someone who is slightly “left” to give “balance” to the programme.

      The bit that really grates with me is the fact as a TAX PAYER funding TVNZ we have Hoskins and Christy with that simpering blond sidekick giving their political opinions when they should as anchor people be completely neutral.

      • You are absolutely correct. They are so biased I can only think they are afraid they may lose their jobs if they provide unprejudiced analysis.

    • Good on you Barbara. I dumped the Herald, being a subscriber for years, after the Donghua Lui 100K bottle of wine expose/fantasy. That was the worst example of shoddy journalism and the media’s involvement in smear campaigns.

      I ceased watching the news two years ago, it’s just poor quality as it has become the Hillary and Mike show or whatever the hell it is on TVNZ and now hear news on the radio mostly RNZ or via the internet.

      Pretty thin pickings though.

      • I enjoy Radio Live in the evenings with Karen Hay and Andrew Fagen, the talk back is quite enlightening from all around the country and the duo are quite compassionate and have a sense of humour but the mornings they have right wing Shaun Plunkett and that energiser bunny Duncan Garner in the afternoons and the two of them are just awful – especially Plunkett with his arrogant opinionated attitude.

        Frankly my hubby and I despair of anything worthwhile to listen to, we have been spoiled by the BBC while we have been in the UK. We do download from the Internet but refuse to buy into Sky – on sheer principle – their content is just a load of old junk and the insult is that you have to pay for it. Today I met someone who wants to b…… off to the Greek Isles and just hide themselves!!!! I bet there are just heaps of people who feel the same. We need a revolution – an urban war – a citizens’ revolt!!!!

  13. An interesting piece, Martyn, and I agree with you on many points. Particularly about Labour’s challenge with the media, S.59 and the danger of more infighting.

    However, where I believe you’re utterly wrong is about policy, left-right shift and its importance.

    This election was about many things, but actual policy was pretty low on the list. In research, when people were asked to rate policies, they usually rated Labour policy higher than National’s. Whether those policies were left or right was actually pretty irrelevant. So policy should go to the very bottom of Labour’s priority list.

    You’re perfectly correct that Labour needs to work out what it is. Or more accurately, WHY it is. What is its simple, driving purpose. This needs to be communicated by a new sort of leader (for Labour, at least).

    To succeed that leader will need to meet four, simple requirements (in no particular order):

    1 They must be likeable
    Sorry, but Cunliffe just isn’t, and neither are any of the other front-runners.

    2 They need to be distinctive
    Why put a Key clone up to fight Key, how will anyone tell the difference?

    3 They should not be a career politician
    See point 1, voters don’t actually like politicians much. So give them someone like themselves, someone who made a career elsewhere and who isn’t sullied by the whole sordid mess of politics.

    4 They will be young
    See point 2, but possibly more importantly Labour needs to draw a clear line under the past to position itself as a party of the future. The only credible way to do this will be to look young(er).

    So the question becomes – should Labour be looking outside for someone who could be leader?

    If that isn’t palatable to the party, then we have to confront the uncomfortable truth that there isn’t a single member of the current caucus that can meet all four requirements. And probably only one or two who can meet more than half of them. Jacinda is possibly the closest, though not without difficulties (total fail on point 3 for one).

    If this all seems cynical and little to do with ideology or democracy that’s because it is. Sadly, we’re selling a product here. A vision of a better, fairer future for all New Zealanders (well, that’s what I hope it is, anyway). It’s a solid vision that few, if any, people would really disagree with. The sooner Labour admits to itself that the problem is more to do with presentation than content, the sooner we’ll be on the way to fixing it.

    • No one liked Helen Clark .Especially the die hard misogynist kiwi male.
      Clark got to power by forming an alliance with Jim Anderton. An old fashioned conservative Labourite.
      Labour need Cunliffe. Who cares if is he is unlikable it ‘s bullshit. Speaks volumes about the shallow thinking of your average kiwi. Why anyone likes Key has always eluded me.
      But as my daughter pointed out on Saturday the country is in love with him.
      A short arsed, balding , lisping, mincing, inarticulate, chinless, dweeb. Who lies all the time.Is totally ignorant of this country’s culture and history and who doesn’t give a shit about us as a people. He shares none of our values or rites of passage. That’s what rings NZ’s bell? He is repulsive. We are deluded we are lost.

      • Believe it or not, substantially I agree with you. I don’t understand how people can’t see through Key’s visionless smugness and arch common-man act. But they don’t. In fact, they love it. Probably because it isn’t challenging. That’s the reality of the game we’re playing here. And if we can’t learn to play it, we may as well resign ourselves to heckling impotently from the sidelines, waiting for the other side to blow up by themselves.

      • No he shares none of your values you speak for yourself not New Zealand. Everyone’s values are different there are no set in stone New Zealand values. Maybe there were once upon a time but their are not anymore.

    • Only problem with the ‘ young ‘ bit is ….most of the clown ABC neo liberals were all ‘ young ‘ back in 1984 and they were responsible for us entering the most socially destructive era of NZ ‘s recent political history.

      And young and good looking with not a tooth out of line doesn’t always engender much faith in a lot of older battle hardened veteran citizens….

      I played in a heavy metal band in the 1980’s and 90’s…and still look like I do…but being 50 years old makes it kinda hard taking orders from some 20 something cop fresh out of school…..not being mean …but ….some of us aint ready for the rest homes yet and we want to see some people with some life experience as well as young ones…a mixture perhaps .. 🙂

      • Haha, I know what you mean (I’m 50 also). I think part of the desirability of (relative) youth in this context is down to the fact that we have to be looking at this as a 3 to 6 year plan.

        Even if we can turn this around before the next election, a 34 year-old leader we choose today will be 37 and hardly a callow youth. For the next election, they’d be middle-aged at 40.

        I suspect that finding someone in their mid-30s will be useful to galvanise support among younger voters, while still being relatively acceptable to older ones. The trick will be to back them up with a solid (and experienced) team.

    • I spoke to a lot of people today ,I quietly asked a number of people what they thought of election ,answer “not much” they thought labour did badly because David Cunliffe was too weak, the rest of the team was disloyal to him ,hes not popular , that Grant Robertson was behind the push to have Cunliffe removed because he sees himself as Leader has done from the start ,people spoken thinks he would be tougher than Cunliffe but not trustworthy. so labour was badly in disarray Cunliffe was on a good hiding to nothing,felt quite sorry for him he looked gutted,but its no good him hanging on he has too many contenders gunning for his job.

    • (Re-)Electable leaders in NZ have two perceived qualities:
      1. Strong – must not exhibit perceived weakness, little sensitivity (except for times of national mourning and then with restraint), ability to stonewall, concede nothing and show the occasional ruthless streak.

      2. Decisive – make clear unequivocal decisions instantly. They can be wrong or change their minds later but in the moment appear decisive and not given to weighing up the pros and cons.

      If they can be liked etc that’s a bonus but the perception of strong & decisive wins the day.
      Examples: Kirk, Muldoon, Bolger, Clark, Key, Shipley (perhaps)
      Failures: Marshall, Rowling, Palmer

      This why Shearer doesn’t cut it or Cunliffe for that matter unless he transforms like Clark did. The Nats and supportes may not have liked Clark but they respected her.
      Does Winston Peters meet the criteria? Hell yes – he might keep changing his mind but in the moment he seems decisive which is why he still appears on preferred prime minister polls albeit down low.

  14. The New Zealand media is appalling – I don’t just mean biased I mean blatantly unjournalistic. I don’t want my views being upheld I want the stories to challenge me and challenge power they do none of this. The internet is one thing that could change the way we view the news…. A internet news source print and video based? Money is the problem always is….

    • The internet creates silo thinking this site and the standard are classic examples. People thought the internet would help people look at different view points. Generally speaking the opposite has happened people go to web sites particularly news sites that suite their world view.

    • Read online that in USA the CIA control and pay journalists and if they don’t comply they are out of a job,shades of future NZ ?or is it already here.

  15. “Changing leader won’t make a lick of difference. The activist base Labour relies on will walk if a more ‘centrist’ approach is taken because seriously, how much more ‘centrist’ does Labour want to go? Fantasies of Labour being a 40% Party again would only happen if Labour adopted all of National’s policies and ignore the MMP reality of the Greens.”

    Firstly the change in leader will make a huge difference. It is ridiculous to think the leader, as the face and voice of the party, is not the most significant factor.
    Secondly, if we want Labour to gain a higher vote then they need to move further to center, simple as that. This might alienate some of the activists but it will swing undecided voters in the middle who don’t like John Key but are scared of the economic uncertainty of a multiparty left government. At the end of the day it is the general public, not activists, that decide the government.

    • Oh really, could you just explain to the rest of us what was too left wing in what Labour was proposing please?

      • 100% Martyn.

        You asked (Matt)hew Hooton;

        “Oh really, could you just explain to the rest of us what was too left wing in what Labour was proposing please?”

        I liked it when he dropped his petticoat and said;

        “at the end of the day”

        Where have we heard that before Martyn?

        Yes Labour showed they were centre as Cunliffe was applying the spending brakes when he announced he was dropping six of their about to be released policies when Key attacked him for loose fiscal policies.

      • Kia ora Martyn

        We (Labour not Internet Mana or Green) were too left wing by proposed a Capital Gains Tax. As a teacher we don’t get politician level super-annuation so we need to save for our own retirement as living in cities isn’t getting any cheaper. I bought two entry level rental properties in South Auckland and Hamilton in 2002 and then another in 2010.

        My wife got diagnosed with cancer in 2005, then into remission in 2008 but back in very 2012. Cashflow got tight and the cashflow from the rentals helped us pay bills for us and our three tamariki. Last year her cancer was diagnosed as terminal despite numerous rounds of chemo and radio-therapy. I couldn’t buy the argument my soulmate would die so after research found the best in the world and sold up everything using all of the proceeds to go to the States to try to prolong her life. It worked and the cancer after numerous testing seems to be in remission. CGT would have killed her. Our best ever leader and finance minister (Clark and Cullen) didn’t and don’t support capital gains tax.

        We get more by putting in a tax of 34% on those earning over $100K, and then 38% on those earning over $150K, having a stamp duty on all buyers who are not NZ citizens and tax residents. Ban any offsetting of tax losses from farms and rental properties against salaried income instead. Have a rule that makes you pay 30% tax on any property you hold for less than 2 years (any longer would’ve got me and killed my wife).

        Have a heart and realise many on the left own rentals and small businesses that we wanna grow so we don’t want CGT. That helps make the centrists and slight left of centre not vote Labour or Green.

        Money is not the issue. It is what you do with it that counts. The Government (labour and national led) didn’t help us as much as we needed and at over $350,000 the DHB couldn’t as we saw from support groups and at the hospice so many caught by this dreadful disease that takes to many kiwis. We are so lucky to have invested in property for what we thought was our long-term financial future. It became much more than that – to have a future for our whanau. A raupatu on the profits of our rentals in CGT, would definitely have killed my wife. How in earth is that good policy.

    • When you hear the word ‘activist’ the picture that is implied is of a hoard of bomb wealding, computer hacking, looney lefties bashing the ‘sensible cacus members’ with communist thought about wimmins & gay rights & frightening the horses. No – I don’t think that. That is also not centred in reality.
      The great increase of Labour membership coincided with the rise of David Cunliffe and they – the membership – voted him in as their choice of leader. Because he is left – not ‘centre left’. It is an insult to these people -people who were out on Saturday getting their arses wet and frozen! – to keep on saying, by implication, that active members (and unions *activists – see above*) need to pull their heads in and leave it to the caucus.

  16. Indeed the malignant permeation of Labour by the neo liberal ABC’s acting as fifth columnists is the reason we saw Hone Hawera’s Te Tai Tokerau seat being so obscenely attacked not only by the neo liberal stooge Davis…..but also , – amazingly -the Prime Minister of the National party in telling his voters to vote for Labours candidate. Along with the MAORI party and Winston Peters -with them advising their voters to do the same.

    THIS ….is evidence of the desperation to not only knock out Hone and Mana but also the internet party .

    Motive? ……simple.

    Most of these groups have a strong neo liberal element. National wants to sign the TTPA , Labour sits on the fence but the ABC’s want to sign it as well….

    Winston seems to be included with talks with National at the moment.

    The reason Hone had to be kneecapped is this : if Internet Mana had won and several of them became MP’s in parliament….these neo liberals KNEW they would incur strident opposition from IMP and the issue would fast become a political hot potato – thereby possibly derailing the whole process.

    For the last 30 years these neo liberals have had far too much inordinate power within Labour ‘s caucus….THIS …is the reason there is the division and disconnect with the working poor.

    It is not Cunliffe- but the constant almost schizophrenic nature caused by these neo liberals in Labour that have rendered that party almost politically impotent.

    These elements need to be dealt with quickly and forcefully…..and finally. There is no room on the Left for such subversives any longer.

    As for a media designed specifically to counter the insidious ,biased and diseased nature of what passes for mainstream media…..

    This is critical .

    To prevent the sort of warped ,sordid perversion of truth that is so obviously geared solely towards extolling the National party.

    Examples of people such as Mr Kim Dotcom being victimized , abused ,smeared and used as a geopolitical scapegoat by a corrupt govt in collusion with an equally corrupt media….must not be allowed to go on any further.

    This has to stop.

    And it is now EXPEDIENT that there is another way of disseminating the truth to the public that bypasses the present corrupt news media.

    We are now entering a very , very dangerous period of history for New Zealand…to do nothing….would be to capitulate to evil in high places and enable it to prosper.

  17. Yes Labour can be saved but times change. They must identify what voters want. Call it focus groups, polling whatever but know your voters.

    Labour still is a broad party but it gives the impression its gone from the perceived Workingmen’s party the perceived Urban Alternative Fringe Lifestyle party, the party of the Gay, feminist, transgender and any other minority that exists party. The “Man Ban” that is universally thought of as illogical, to the apologies for being a man. That it got to 24.7% of the vote with these mixed messages was remarkable but it wont poll much higher unless things change!

    It is useless telling people what they should do, and trying to hammer a square peg voter into a round hole.

    Policies were great but poorly explained not only in the campaign but for the 3 years leading up to it.

    On the positive Labour kept all of their electorates, gained others and in some areas grew majorities and this makes me think the population have not switched off Labour, rather they don’t want them in government, yet. Shearer said as much in a refreshingly honest and candid account.

    Leadership

    I was stunned to hear that only 20% of MP’s supported DC. This current broken leader electoral system is doomed to failure. If your caucus don’t like you the party is stuffed, end of story!

    Leaders: DC has had his day, too gaff prone, to unaware, wooden in a bumbling way and to me has no political instinct. Criticising the PM for living in a mansion in Judges Bay when you live in one in Herne Bay summed him up.

    Grant Robertson is a mass produced factory made politician, speaks a 100 words and says nothing. Too many of these guys.

    I like David Parker but he gets the pulse racing as much as your average grey vinyl, velcro strapped shoe wearing accountant.

    Shearer at this point seems the most straight up and maybe he’s learned a thing or two to overcome the stumbling speech and will try to be himself. He is vastly superior to Key as far as honesty goes and does not appear to be a product of his puppeteer.

    As for National, the next 3 years will tell. Because they have no real ideas to advance the country the economy may well dive. Just how much further can the skin on the bubble of Auckland property market stretch before it shits itself??

    Fonterra announced a big reduction in profits and payouts today and this in no small way comes down to competition arising equally from their long term damaging quality problems. This is our one trick pony!

    So its not over for Labour but they MUST sort their shit out, otherwise if the economy staggers along its 4th term John Key!

    • Good points Xray. People are forgetting, in these early days, that Bill English led the Nats to a dismal 24% election vote and then they got their act together. Its quite simple all Labour has to do is sort out its party structure, agree on a leader, decide on policy direction, speak with a unified voice and then lead the opposition so that the people see them as a viable alternative. Oh yeah and don’t be nice to the Greens, they are stuck on 10% at least until the sea levels have risen by a metre.

  18. And fuck knows what you do with the media. When I learned that Gough Whitlam was indirectly assisted into power in the early 70’s by Rupert Murdoch and similarly removed by Murdoch there’s not much hope. Its been going on for years.

    Properly funded objective public broadcasting may be the answer but it won’t be done by National as they have the media in the bag.

    And the crocodile tears from Sean Plunkett this morning over the Pike River mine issue is truly pathetic. High fives Sean, you did your bit to vote National in.

  19. Wonderful article Martyn. I worked my butt off this election for labour. If shearer becomes leader I wont have the motivation to do so next time. I did not work so a group of mps could get seats I worked for a fairer and more decent society. I want rich people to pay a whole lot more tax. I want unions to be strong. I want teachers and other professionals to be listened to and the cult of the manager to end.

    • I did too – spent my days off delivering TWO postcard runs and my son went all over the electorate & spent every weekend and 2 nights a week phoning and doorknocking. I am not some bloody looney alternative lifestyle, ‘hippy stirrer’ caricature like the media and others want me portraid as -nor did I notice any one like that at any Labour events. If they get another centralist in – they can get stuffed -AND Labour won’t get my vote either!

      And I take the oppotunity to say, good on you Dawn & thanks to everyone else who got off their arse and did something to make a difference.
      FYI: David Cunliffe’s speech made me feel a little bit better & a lot more appreciated – for all those who’ve been criticising him for that.

    • Unions are dead except in the public sector look at the world wide decrease in unions and why and you will know they will never be strong again except in the public sector. You like many Labour are thinking of a time that does not exist anymore and is not coming back.

  20. IMO it is now inevitable that Labour are going to lurch sharply to the right. They dipped their toes in the left-wing waters, and got absolutely crushed. The facts are that clearly the demographics of NZ are rapidly changing and will eventually reflect those of the US – i.e. effectively right-wing me, me, me politics. Just like the Republicans and the Democrats are now pretty much completely interchangeable, differing only on their stance on WEDGE ISSUES (i.e. Guns, Gays and God), Labour and National will go down that same road, i.e. appeal to the lowest common denominator. I expect the focus near solely on wedge issues in the next election. It just is how it is.

    • Examples of wedge issues in NZ are the anti-smacking law and legalising cannabis. Things that polarise the electorate along “party-grounds” and everyone has an opinion on but that actually make no difference to the vast, vast majority of people.

      • This is because of lobby groups using the ‘stuck record ‘ approach – an independent radio station for the Left could employ the same tactics and normalize issues important for the Left.

        In fact – thinking Left can be normalized in precisely the same way as neo liberal Right wing politics have been.

        It is the product of constantly reinforcing a viewpoint through repetition….seeing through that set of eyes.

    • It’s the wierd thing though – I work with the elderly and sick and – after the legal high thing – they’ve all said that maybe pot should be made legal -even the National voters. And even the antismacking thing – people generally don’t seem to be thinking about it until they’re reminded. It’s more like they’re scared (or were) but they weren’t sure why.

  21. The neoliberal policy regime has succeeded in returning us to the Victorian and Edwardian liberal market society, where charity takes the place of taxation. Some friends of mine, who would have paid more tax under a Cunliffe government, have just told me that they’ve set up a monthly donation to a NZ kids in poverty charity. Good on them, but so sad at the same time. We need to look elsewhere than our governments for a civilized and democratic society.
    Great sentiments on constructing a left representing media. But how on earth are we going to achieve that. In the UK we have the Guardian which includes contributions from George Monbiot and John Pilger and many other fine people. The Guardian already have a US team and an Australian team. We also have a tabloid called the Daily Mirror – which tells people to vote Labour. It’s a horrible corporate rag but due to the size of the UK it can make money by having a blue collar traditionally Labour voting readership. Even so, as soon as Ed Milliband announces something even slightly progressive he’s labelled as Red Ed by the majority of the media establishment. Jeremy Clarkson also does a ‘great’ job of rubbishing Labour – the list seems endless. The only thing that’s going to bring the tide back in for a progressive left coalition is the inbuilt contradictions in market fundamentalism and the fact that these are starting to shrink the middle class in many developed countries. Sad but true

  22. Excellent post Martyn. I have not watched the news since Saturday for the reasons mentioned in the article. Kim Dotcom has been nothing but a scapegoat during this campaigning and I am appalled at our country’s treatment of him. Less than two weeks ago this man brought to NZ some outstanding and well -respected individuals with knowledge half the world would give to hear and be delivered by them…. and look at the gratitude we have shown. Looking forward to this new media! Cheers.

  23. A good analysis of the situation. There’s a need for media to counterbalance that of the mainstream, but it would seem you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink.

    Televised media is probably some of the most convenient to consume. Considering the highly noticeable, even alarming, changes since 2012, one must consider that up to the election of 2011 there was more choice in informative programming; more airtime, perspectives, etc. However a record low voter turnout occurred.

    • And radio is listened to on the way to work, at the construction site ,in the office…. employees can have a radio playing in the background and still be working- visual media is hamstrung by the fact it cant ….

      Its cheap to buy a radio and can have a multi faceted program- and is cost effective to a wide ranging audience- consider the impact of talkback ZB or RADIO LIVE.

      • Why not start by blanket use of the talkback already present. A conservative host may sneer and eventually pull the plug but you get a fairly uncensored platform. The trick is to fashion a position or display an image which will appeal to non-believers or create a zen-tap thought process. That is way harder and more challenging than preaching to the choir.

  24. Parties need to stand for the issues and ideologies that they represent, not what will get them elected. So, in the context of Election ’14, Labour should have been on the Left – well and truly, not slightly off to one side of centre.

    To those that say that people won’t vote for Left aligned parties because they’re worried about their economic policy, this is where correct information needs to be supplied to the public about the what the Left’s economics involve, and more importantly what they don’t. Ignorance, misunderstanding and misinformation from the Right generally leaves Joe Public thinking that if they vote Left they’re going to be worse off economically. Show them the historical facts, show them the costings of policy if you must, but show them first and foremost, that principles are worth more than dollars!

    Sign me up for any new media to counter the drivel that passes for commentary on our televisions and in our newspapers today. There’s not a shred of objectivity, there is little if any actual investigation, just copying and pasting. Predominantly it is just sensationalism to meet the propaganda needs of not only the Right, but also the corporations who now have governments of nation-states by the short and curlies.

    We need a new voice.

  25. Firstly, I think the Labour vision was fine, not ‘too left wing’ at all. However you must admit that Mana is very radical. The practical reality is that the Mana-Internet merger benefitted neither party – the visions of Internet party and Mana were very different – and these were different again from Greens and Labour! So you had all this disunity on the left -Labour didn’t like Mana – and Labour wouldn’t work with the Greens either.

    Secondly, Kim Dotcom was demonized because he ended up hogging the limelight. His constant Key bashing eventually turned people right off. Too much negativity, not enough positive vision. But his biggest mistake was ‘The Moment Of Truth’ and the mishandling of his evidence – he didn’t produce the goods and that really annoyed people.

    Thirdly, the issues of ‘Dirty Politics’ and spying simply weren’t that important to most people, and most people couldn’t see a clear connection between them and National/Key. The ‘Dirty Politics’/Spying stuff is an eye-opener, but it wasn’t the sort of thing that’s going to change anyone’s vote. Most people just didn’t care.

    So the reason the left lost:

    (1) The disunity of Labour/Greens/IMP
    (2) The Kim Dotcom side-show: people didn’t like all the Key bashing, and were very annoyed that the promised evidence wasn’t produced at ‘The Moment Of Truth’
    (3) The focus on issues (‘Dirty Politics’/Spying) which most people simply didn’t care about

  26. With inquiries re Dirty Politics, the involvement of Collins, Slater, Ede and FJK looming, Labour has to pull its finger out right now, sort out the differences within caucus and start to organize itself into a strong political party of the people, for when this government is dismissed for corrupt practices! Because it will be well within the next three years, so time is of the essence!

    This point has to be looked at seriously by the opposition, so they are prepared for when the axe finally falls on the FJK mob! And fall it will and hard too!

    Labour’s best option will be doing a deal with the Greens, with the aim of working as a collective alliance, able to convince the people they are a credible alternative team for government and be ready for when the crunch comes for FJK and the Natsies!

  27. The smacking issue probably needs to be understood better if its resonance with the electorate is to be understood.

    Yes, it was employed by a feral media pack to damage Helen Clark. Yes, it is rarely used as a ground for prosecution and it can be argued that the change is minor.

    But I didn’t and don’t support it for a number of reasons. My parents smacked me when I was a child. It was never remotely abusive. I don’t consider their behaviour either monstrous, or monstrously inappropriate. A state needs to be careful when it chooses to interfere in personal or family behaviour – this is rarely welcome and must be justified in terms of significant public interest. Relatively few prosecutions proceeding under the new law suggests that the need was not highly significant. The previous law by no means licensed free use of violence against children – I understand that it required some evidence to suggest that punishment was excessive. The numbers convicted who would not previously have been convicted are tiny. I would characterise the law as a clumsy interference – though it may have positive long term social effects – social engineering. Good law is careful to socially engineer things that enjoy more substantial assent – like gay marriage. The anti-smacking bill enjoyed no such assent, it was rather unwise.

    • Thanks for your frank honesty Stuart Monroe you are a real kiwi, I salute you friend.

      Dirty politics must be abolished or loose our fee speech rights, liberty & democracy.

      We need an independent media operated by the combined opposition political parties. democracy.

  28. The increasing weakness of the economic representatives of the working-class (the trade unions) is now matched by a corresponding weakness in its political representatives. Union membership going up in UK now, went up in OZ under Howard and work choices. NZ’s working-class decimated by redundancies, offshoring, outsourcing etc etc, unions decimated, and then the labour party suffers as a result. Go back to square 1 and start again

  29. 1. The Labour Party needs to ask why it is. Once that question is answered, what it should be will be obvious.

    2. Did the cops give Dotcom the bash? I hadn’t heard that one before.

  30. Just listened to an early mediawatch on Radio New Zealand and Australia now has a Guardian online Australian edition, the journalist that was interviewed said that there was a gap in the Australian market for this type of news source, surely NZ has the same gap in the market? She did say that there might be a move into NZ in the future. The Guardian New Zealand could be the answer to the NZ right wing news problem possibly?

  31. Cunliffe should come out fighting.

    Right now he should be on the government’s case over the Pike River debacle. If it’s been safe to go in the mine for about a year now how come the government hasn’t stepped in to make it happen and why are the families still being fobbed off without any explanation from the company ? its disgraceful.

    The fact that National won the election doesn’t mean kiwis are unconcerned about dirty politics, many of us are outraged. Not enough to turn an election but we need the opposition to take the government to task otherwise, well, as the ombudsman said we can kiss goodbye to democracy.

    Personally I never liked Cunliffe but he grew on me through the campaign. He should take the defeat squarely on the chin and box on.

  32. Hi Martyn, what a great article. In fact, some very clear, articulate writing on this blog today from Trotter and Hope as well.

    My concern is that this needsbe distributed much wider; that you’re preaching to the converted here.

    So, please, readers – share this writing where/ how you can.

  33. How about a cheap, weekly printed magazine, along the lines of Private Eye? Humour and lampoon have a long tradition in political journalism. We have some great cartoonists in NZ too. As well, some journalists who have integrity (if that’s not an oxymoron) and are too frightened or can’t get controversial material aired in the MSM, may be willing to file stories anonymously as they do in Private Eye.
    I would be happy to make a small financial contribution towards getting the ball rolling, maybe others would too.

  34. I have just read an account of how Gough Whitlam was deposed by the big Satan in Australia after he threatened to close Pine Gap, their Waihopai spy base, and I can’t help but see parallels with the outcome of this election given the threat to Waihopai by InternetMana and the Greens. http://www.vineyardsaker.co.nz
    It is not hard to imagine how the destabilisation of the Labour party and the election of Kelvin Davis thanks to Winston plus the media’s vilification of Dotcom may have been coordinated. No evidence but if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck.

  35. With regards to radio, collectively it’s not necessarily a difficult thing to set up – particularly Low Power FM – and will set you back round $5,000 or less for equipment and plus yearly fees for APRA and PPA fees ($200 each I think). However there is the availability of frequencies – and for low power – range. On line radio via podcast could be a better option. I’d still love to see a Daily Vlog along the same lines as Citizen A (or maybe something like Sam Sedar does) – or maybe even a Last Week Tonight type thing.

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