Labour and ‘special interests’


The media narrative of Labour is that it is unpopular because it’s controlled by ‘special interests’. This ‘special interests’ garbage is code for gays, Maoris, wimin and unionists. We should show that argument the contempt it deserves.

The next Labour leader needs to have the confidence to counter that the true irony here is that it is the National Party who are the real special interests party.

The special interests of Sky City.

The special interests of Federated Farmers.

The special interests of Corporations.

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and the special interests of the very wealthy.

The next leader needs to set out what aspiration Labour has to offer while acknowledging that the Labour Party stands for social justice and believes working together provides a far richer country than the select few rowing sleekly away.

I don’t think the next Labour leader can simply reinforce the slanted media narratives that damage Labour the way a very bitter David Shearer has done today. I think the  next Labour leader needs to have the confidence in their beliefs and judgment to challenge those narratives while  championing the pragmatic economic and social polices that can appeal to those who voted National while not alienating the base.

3 more years of a declining economy and tightening welfare will have voters crying out for jobs from an alternative that looks confident in its abilities.

It will be good to hear what each candidate has to contribute.


  1. It does seem odd that – somehow – David Cunliffe’s message of a decent life and government working for everyone (which is what was carried at all the public meetings I attended ) is somehow being portraid as not what the ‘working man’ wants. Whenever you put this to people, it actually did resonate. So how come the main things the general ‘popular’ heard was ‘wimmin cadidates’, raising the retirement age (thanks Mr Parker!) and moas!

    What does this ‘centre’ look like – does anyone who’s actually prescribing it actually know, cos the working folk I know who don’t vote Labour anymore actual aren’t using these flippent reasons when casting their votes. Is it just a way to again ignore the actual Labour workers (activists) because – god luv em – the media and caucus member just know better.

    • The center looks like this.Be a bit mainstream, be a bit fair, dont pander too much to minorities on any side, dont kick a guy trying to get ahead, (by which I mean trying to own one mediocre rental property does not make you the enemy of the state), know your policy, am i right wing?,,,no….free kids meals in schools is a great idea, dont come on the telly and say you didnt loose the election because of your policies. You did. Labour seems to be so far up its own arse that it cannot see the light. Governments (in my view) are voted in because they are the least objectionable alternative, not because people agree with what they stand for.

      • dont kick a guy trying to get ahead, (by which I mean trying to own one mediocre rental property does not make you the enemy of the state)

        Who sez that paying tax on capital gains on a profit of $100,000 is “kicking a man down” when someone earning half that already has to pay full tax? Plus tax on food, clothing, shoes, household goods, power, rates, medicine, transport, etc, etc, etc…

        Seems to me that you’re expecting others to pay tax to subsidise everything you enjoy in this country – but don’t want to pay your fair share?

        There’s a word for that, Dean.

        It starts with ‘B’.

        • The bloke with the rental is still paying tax on food, clothing, shoes, household goods, power, rates, medicine, transport, etc, etc, etc… and has to mitigate any repairs or damage required on the rental,not to mention rates, interest, insurance and so on. The bloke with the rental is sacrificing Sky, a modern car, a holiday and so on just to try and get him and his family ahead a bit.

          • The bloke with the rental is still paying tax on food, clothing, shoes, household goods, power, rates, medicine, transport, etc, etc, etc


            So does everyone else. You’re not trying to make “the bloke with the rental” out to be something he isn’t, are you?

            In which case, why should “the bloke with the rental” get a tax-free gain that the “the bloke without the rental” doesn’t?

            Because that is what you seem to be advocating, Dean; a free ride for a speculator.

            • To reinstate – the message that David Cunliffe was sending out WAS: shouldn’t everyone be able to buy a house, send your kids to school and uni and have a DECENT LIFE? Shouldn’t you be given a hand up if you fall on hard times? If I can give more, shouldn’t I if it makes for a better society? Why wasn’t THIS the message that was being repeated – and what is you problem with this, Dean?

              • On another post I put the following and got a score or whatever it is of -9. Am I not saying (in very broad temrs) a similar message? “The concept of being a volunteer for a worthy cause (Womans Refuge, Coast Guard or whatever) and being in gainful employment seems to be beyond your comprehension”

                • Well no, even in the broadest terms, I can’t see how everyone caring and contributing fairly for a decent society is the same as saying working in gainful employment is better than working as a community volunteer and that they are mutually exclusive activities.
                  It is a question of do we all (yup – all) contribute for a better society or just pick on some member to let ourselves of the hook.

          • Here is the voice of the aspirational, landlord class in NZ today. Greedy, mean-spirited, get’s his investment advice from like-minded ‘mates’, and always saying ‘I work hard and I deserve it’. Yup, the voice of entitlement. The North Shore is full of these NZer’s, all trying to ‘get ahead’ and keep up with the Joneses. The less tax they pay the better, and they think all beneficiaries are bludgers. The concept of social democracy or social duty is anathema to these NZer’s. I fear for the future of this country and particularly, the vastly growing belly of underclass and have not’s.

        • A point: my father inherited his parent’s home, which he rented. It was a pain in the arse to be honest – he got some really classically bad tenents and it did cost him – but he would have been happy to pay tax on any capital gained as a contribution to the greater good that helped provide him with semi-free healthcare and a retirement pention, among other things.
          I work a minimum wage job and my husband works a middlingly paid job – we will never be able to afford a rental property and will also never inherit one either. You are lucky that you have been able to gain enough money to buy a house to rent. If you can not ‘get ahead’ without contributing to your society then maybe you should think about selling your rental, banking your money and alowing someone to buy themselves a home.

    • Labour cannot tell the difference between identity politics and class politics, sadly, let alone create a solid opposition.

  2. Why does nearly every Labour party supporter/commentator blame the media for the woes of Labour. Simply get a few generalist mainstream appealing policies, do not kick the guy trying to get ahead, do not go out on a limb for every minority or cause, and be a bit of an effective opposition. Hopefully the sideshow leader bullshit will soon be over and Labour will get a bit focused on what the people are more concerned about.

    • Why does nearly every Labour party supporter/commentator blame the media for the woes of Labour.

      Read up on the Donghua Liu Affair.

      Read Patrick Gower’s reference to Cunliffe’s scarf.

      Read up on how the media treated Cunliffe’s two days off, compared with Key’s ten day holiday, prior to the election.

      That’ll answer your own questions.

      Now, here’s my question to you, Dean; what did you mean by your reference to “do not go out on a limb for every minority or cause”?

      Do you have any examples in mind?

      Or were you simply repeating what you’ve heard elsewhere?

          • Yes Frank, but that is the right for you, a bunch of parrots trained to say a few select phrases but have no idea of what they actually mean.

              • It was half a sentence (watch the video) – not that I blame you for not knowing this because media has only repeated and reference this half a sentence. The full sentence and verbal paragraph is a rally for all decent men to stand up and stop male violence towards women and children. When you think about that, you, as a decent man, would agree – wouldn’t you?

    • Generalist mainstream policies! Oh yeah, lower taxes, sell income generating assets to try and collect the shortfall in taxes to pay for social services and infrastructure and corporate welfare. Cuts to social services and welfare because the asset sales don’t cover the shortfall. Welcome foreign money launderers to invest in NZ property and let property values spiral out of control which leaves no chance for wage increases as commercial property rent rises and no increase in real wages as residential property rent/values rise.
      A critical media would jump on the National party ‘mainstream’ policies. A National Party propaganda media does not- does that answer your question? Moron!

  3. Indeed – turn the media narrative on itself and front foot it, …….but to do that ,…you need a leader with a bit of mongrel in them.

    Good to see Nanaia Mahuta putting herself forwards as well….NOW she’s one person who will not suffer any media fools lightly nor will she truck any mealy mouthed garbage from Key , either.

    Too bad the men dont seem to have it in them to show some balls and start kicking Keys arse .

    Maybe they should take some lessons from her.

    • The media is simply there to be used. If you do not know how to use it then you will probably loose.WK, you are right.

      • Really, Dean? Well, feel free to share how “the media is simply there to be used”. No, really, I’m very keen to know this.

        As someone who has been involved in political and media issues for quite a long time, I’d love to know what you have in mind.

        • Know your policy when asked on a live TV debate by the Prime Minister could be one. Stop the in fighting, because you are giving the media a free lunch so to speak, could be another. Start by stopping own goals. Of course, as you allude to, this is a huge subject, a subject which one can get a degree in if so chosen, so a bit large for a forum like this.

          • If you are refering to the Press Debate, again watch the full debate (remember this was NOT televised – you could/can only watch it all on line). The CGT comment was a non event in context and – interestingly the next sentence from Mr Cunliffe was asking about GST which was not answered by Mr Key nor pick up by the media. Mr Key was extremely abusive during this part of the debate, which was also poorly moderated. If you want to know the truth, you need to go to the original source material and not what networks chose to snip out for effect.

    • @WK – yep, best news for Labour in a long time is Nanaia Mahuta putting her name forward. A breath of fresh air for the leadership race 🙂

      Nanaia would make a great leader/deputy, keeping true to the old Labour values and demonstrating she is loyal, having stood by David Cunliffe from the time he stood against David Shearer a couple of years ago. Also there’s the fact, she doesn’t come with baggage!

      Go Nanaia. Go and kick some arse girl 🙂

  4. As for the Labour Party…

    I’m fast arriving at the conclusion that Labour doesn’t just need a new Leader. It needs a whole new caucus of MPs. People who are focused on getting the job done, instead of constant in-fighting.

  5. National has huge special interests but they have a strategy to hide that. Labour special interests for me did not include a race based difference but on a calculated way to get more taxes out of certain people while getting votes out of others. To me it came across as disingenuous and too complicated. If you earn more than $150k you are on a higher tax bracket, if you own a family home even in a trust you do not pay a capital gain tax but everyone else does, you need to be over 67 to get the pension but will get some free doctors visits etc. I don’t mind paying tax but I want it to be fairer and just because you have a bach, are a doctor or 64 this year you lose out. I’m not saying these policies are not worthwhile but I did not get any authenticity from Labour about how it would use the money. I would prefer to vote for Internet Mana as at least I felt the extra taxes would be well spent on poverty and we would have a future without surveillance and without dirty politics with free education, Digital economy and so forth. It was a trade off for me. Labour was just National with more taxes for those getting ahead. It may not be true, but that is how it felt and who can trust a party who does not trust themselves and are at war with each other?

  6. Frank if you want to know how to use the media cast your mind back to when Miss Clark came into Government (I presume you were involved with Labour back then)

    Business were not happy with the change of Government, so she gathered the media to her bosom, talked to them directly, took their calls and took leaking to a new high ( “By definition the PM can’t leak” etc)
    It was such a change from the previous embattled Nats that she won them over and she held that trust for 6 years plus

    • History allows your first sentence, the next two are inventions. If you disagree, go ask Nicky Hagar what her “trustworthy” wonderful virtuous government did to him via the media. Clark was in the early stages of using the media just like Dirty Politics says the National Party do.

      • I often wonder if we can also blame her for inflicting FJK on us all. It seemed to me her mind was more on her new job at the U.N. than winning that fateful election.

  7. Nanaia Mahuta is the only one, in my mind, that is a big enough change from the usual labour leader ( white & male ) – that New Zealanders, may actually sit up and take notice, if she became leader.
    She could truly represent a new direction for Labour and New Zealand.

    …and Dean, stop believing everything the media spews out at you, and start thinking for yourself…if everyone did this, New Zealand would be in a better space right now!

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