Little’s Shadow Cabinet



Now the horror of trying to pacify the factions begins.

The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity. The reason voters didn’t flock to Labour wasn’t the bloody CGT or Superannuation, it was because Labour looked like it would meltdown 30 seconds after being sworn into Government so Unity matters more than anything else right now.

How he handles the disappointment of Team Robertson and Team Parker will be as important as he handles Cunliffe and Nanaia.

Seeing as it was Nanaia’s second preferences that helped give Little the numbers to win combined with her far better performance on the campaign, she has every reason to feel slighted if she isn’t offered something serious.

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Parker will pack a sad if his policies are thrown out with the bathwater and a seething Robertson will be doing numbers for Jacinda the 3rd time Little screws up. Nash’s ambition needs to be tempered or the right of the Party will start plotting again and Cunliffe needs to be given something meaningful to keep him busy.

If Little were wise he’d keep hold of Matt as Chief of Staff as it has been Matt’s ability to juggle the factions that has kept Labour from completely imploding over the last year.

Whatever final mix of this wounded and divided party is put forward, it needs to appeal to muddle Nu Zilind, so expect lots of ABCs to move forward up the ranks. Little doesn’t need to appease the Left of the Party, with the Greens galloping to the centre as well, the Left have no where else to go, so just have to lump it.

The best progressives can hope for is a watered down pale blue in 2017.


  1. I don’t think the Greens are galloping to the centre. They are just attempting to present their policies in a more voter friendly manner. The policies haven’t gone more centreist in the least eg no to deep sea drilling, yes to decriminalisation of cannabis, yes to legalising abortion, yes to more spending on public transport.

  2. See, this sort of resigned pessimism is what happens when you think that parliament is the road to anything by permanent disappointment.

    Fixations on elections is a death wish.

    Elsewhere, we see parliament being transformed by the death of social democracy and the rise of new parties expressing the will of the dispossessed and disenfranchised.

    Syriza in Greece

    and Podermos in Spain

    are two examples.

    Both are the result of the masses rejecting the years of betrayal by the ruling social-democratic parties that have historically embraced neo-liberalism.

    Labour is going down this same road, and as the global slump we are heading for bites, expect the dispossessed and disenfranchised in NZ to rise up too.

    We need to look well beyond Labour as a viable player only handicapped by internal division. The internal class divide is the only thing going for it. Sooner or later it will split and the left will break away to be part of the new mass left party of the working people.

    These new political formations do not represent a fundamental break with capitalism, but their programs for popular democracy, mass activism, social equality, internationalism, etc are impossible for capitalism in crisis to deliver.

    They can only be the basis for a permanent mass radicalization which take the class war out of the talk show of parliament to contest power on the streets.

    Now is the time for historical optimism as capitalism reveals itself as a threat to human survival, and the growing mass movements for change emerge on the streets.

    • I hope New Zealanders hurry up and gets on with a revolution before the cops/army get drones, and anyone out after curfew is shot by remote control.

    • “Growing mass movements”. Examples please. I certainly haven’t seen anything recently approaching the mass protests that used to occur regularly. How many showed up to the anti-TPPA protest for example?

  3. Martyn, as numerous commenters have tried to explain to you hundreds of times: Green policy hasn’t changed at all, it’s simply being delivered to middle new zealand. Our policies are classic social democratic – they are clearly left, but they are also clearly for everday people and not some Marxist utopia.

    • Classic social democratic?


      Russell Norman is hardly a Keynesian. If he was, then he wouldn’t be talking about being more pro market than National.

  4. Having just finished Dirty Politics I still really believe it was not that Labour lose the election but that smears and dirty politics won.

    BUT Labour really does need to do the right thing and decide what they stand for and who they stand for and stand behind their leader and listen party members.

    • And can they please get rid of the stupid late retirement age policy! By the time it kicks in most of the baby boomers will already be over 65 and – as a minimum wage, community worker – if I work till 67 I’ll end up cleaning and caring for people who aren’t that much older than me! I think they DID lose alot of votes from that policy!

  5. Labour’s lack of unity is what John Key and Paddy Gower tell us.
    Where’s the other side of the story?
    Your responses to Little have been shit Bomber.

  6. David Cunliffe tried massaging the ABCers egos by speaking highly of them and giving them strong positions in cabinet.
    Didn’t work!
    They still threw the toys out of the cot and then back stabbed him at first opportunity as a thank you gesture.
    I’d have Nanaia second in charge with David Cunliffe taking over finance, forming a fantastic spear head.
    Some of those ABCers now need to be XYZers!
    They’ve had their turn . It’s time for them to move on !

  7. “The only thing Little’s new shadow cabinet must do is create the pretence of unity” Spot on Martyn. Wonder if there is an ABL club yet?

  8. Give it a bone. Little won through the once vaunted new selection process so thats it. Nania was and has been the invisible MP up until now. Yesterday, for the first time since Clark, a Labours leaders response to a current issue, the Roger Sutton debacle, sounded common sense, correct and well articulated.

    CGT definitely did cost votes as did the Man Ban and the daily apologies not the least of which was for being a man and going on a skiing holiday miles behind in the polls when the working poor could only look on. And in no small way somehow so did Dirty Politics because Nicky Hager was seen as some left wing symp who was being nasty to dear John Key. And then there was the Kim Dotcom/Mana extravaganza and the dud moment of truth, all of which took Labour with it or shut Labour out, quite wrongly.

    Up until then Labour had been starting to pick up its percentage but after that and despite some excellent policy (that DC never got his head around) addressing the many issues facing this country, Labour never recovered and NZ First and Colin became the beneficiaries. And lets not forget the tatical stupidty in regards to MMP voting shown by the party and the leadership throughout the campaign.

  9. So continue to feed the negative spin, why don’t you Martyn. You, Chris Trotter, Andrew Geddis have disappointed me with the attitude you have all displayed. When will the left commentators learn not to play that game.

    Surely you could focus on the positive sides of the outcome. The more the good behaviour is encouraged, surely the basic rules of good parenting will kick in and childish misbehaviour will be modified accordingly.

    And for goodness sake give Andrew Little a chance. Surely the lessons learned from the treatment of David Cunliffe should have taught every one a lesson – the voters don’t like it when your own side does the tearing down.

  10. Martyn your comments about McCarten are risable. McCarten was the defacto campaign manager for Labour, and their campaign was a total flop. Cunliffe was poorly advised on a range of issues, from Labours relationship with IMP to their response to a dirty Politics, to their failure to create distance between themselves and Dotcom. Frankly McCarten should be lucky to ever get a political post in NZ ever again.

  11. Yep, I get what you’re saying, but I was meaning Dotcom himself rather than IMP. Dotcom is poisonous, and Labour didn’t get that until it was too late, and that comes down to McCArten. Mind you he wasn’t alone in getting taken in by Dotcom, was he now?

  12. What’s the size of the ‘middle’?

    Are we talking hundreds of thousands?

    How are they already voting – or not? Is what pundits are claiming is THE target market for policies really so staunch about voting at all? How many of them are swing voters/opportunists? What are useful ways to court these shy and fickle creatures?

    What’s the demographic spread of ‘the middle’? By age. Gender. Home situation, at the very least. And if there is a measurable difference between South Island middles and North Island.

    There have been recent articles about how many more households are actually single people, or couples. We’ve moved on from the fecund forties and fifties, with a few wobbles, and yet policies are strongly slanted toward ‘families’, while other combinations suffer from assumptions about mobility, flexibility, and myths around disposable income.

    We need to know a few moderated firm facts instead of vague terms to have even a slim chance of influencing our ‘middle Kiwis’. (Are campaigners really so innocent as to not know?!)

    If politicians are indeed two-faced could they please start looking from the one that faces the future and present reality?

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