Too Close For Comfort: Reflections on Andrew Little’s narrow victory over Grant Robertson.



THE TRAGIC SCREENSHOT of “Gracinda” in defeat bears eloquent testimony to the bitter disappointment of the Grant Robertson-led faction of the Labour Party. And, yes, ‘Party’ is the right word. The Robertson machine has now extended its influence well beyond the confines of the Caucus Room to become a genuine party-wide movement. It’s all there in the numbers. From being the strong partisans of David Cunliffe, the allegiance of a clear majority of ordinary, rank-and-file members has shifted to Grant Robertson. It is a measure of just how hard Robertson’s people worked for their man’s victory that another 100 votes would have clinched it for him.

The campaign Robertson ran was impressive enough to earn the respect of even his opponents. Indeed, a number of these folk, casting aside all ideological and factional objections, freely admitted that the Robertson campaign was “by far the best” and “deserved to win”.

All the young men and women who staffed Robertson’s phone-banks, and who turned out day-after-day to press Robertson’s literature into the hands of startled party members, would undoubtedly agree. And if they’re anything at all like the young followers of Jim Anderton, forced to absorb their hero’s narrow defeat (by the votes of the Engineers Union!) at the 1988 party conference, then “unity” will be the thing furthest from their minds. Youth is a lot less forgiving than maturity. Already, Young Labour will be plotting its revenge on the trade union affiliates.

Gracing the office wall of one notorious trade union leader, back in the dear dead days of compulsory unionism, was a framed sign which read: “Old age and treachery will always defeat youth and idealism.” Andrew Little’s win may well be proof of that cynical sentiment. But if it is: if it was the opaque, behind-the-scenes manoeuvring of a handful of hard-bitten trade union barons that defeated the youthful energy and idealism of Robertson’s “New Generation”, then the Affiliates’ victory may be a Pyrrhic one.

The day when trade unions affiliated to Labour are required to supply the names and addresses of every union member declaring a willingness to be formally associated with the party cannot, now, be far away. It sits very ill with the sensibilities of the twenty-first century that, in an election to determine who shall be the Leader of the Opposition (or Prime Mnister) there can be two very different kinds of ballots cast. The first, in secret, on the basis of individual judgement. The second, in public, on the basis of collective deliberation.

Making a special effort to ascertain the views of working-class New Zealanders makes a lot of sense if your party calls itself ‘Labour’. But the views expressed and the ballots cast should reflect the active participation of real, flesh-and-blood workers – not the personal guesses of workplace delegates and/or the strategic calculations of paid union officials.

If there remains any remnant of the revolutionary fervour that once possessed the members of Labour Youth/Young Labour, it could hardly secure a more radical reform than the opening-up of avenues for direct participation by trade union members in the political deliberations of the Labour Party.

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Never did the Rogernomes look more uncomfortable than when, in the late-1980s, hundreds of members of the Labourers’ Union filed into the Labour Conference in the Wellington Town Hall. They had been bussed in from the central North Island to register their protest at the mass redundancies then emptying-out the state-owned forestry and construction sectors. Their mass haka made the whole Town Hall shake – along with most of the Labour Cabinet Ministers present!

If Grant Robertson’s young followers genuinely want to roll back the influence of neoliberalism, both within the Labour Party, and in New Zealand generally, then radically democratising the affiliated unions’ processes of representation would be one of the best ways to do it.

But is that what they want? The Labour Left’s uncertainty about the Robertson Faction’s true ideological colours goes a long way to explaining Little’s narrow victory. Robertson’s slogan, “New Generation To Win”, could be read in two ways. It could mean, simply, that members should back a new generation (Robertson and Jacinda Ardern) to win the Labour leadership. Or, more obliquely, that there is a new generation of voters to be won for Labour.

But what did that mean? According to Robertson, it meant reaching out to small businesses and entrepreneurs. Such sentiments were bound to set alarm-bells ringing in the ears of Labour’s socialists. As any trade union official will tell you, it is the small businessmen, the entrepreneurs, who most commonly find themselves on the receiving end of the Employment Court’s negative judgements. No social class hates the trade unions with as much passion as the petit bourgeoisie.

Justified or not, there was a perception among the Old Left that the ambitious young things who pulled on Robertson’s red T-shirts were a whole lot more likely to identify with the aspirational dreams of small businessmen and entrepreneurs than they were with the nightmares of their over-worked, under-paid and un-unionised workers.

And this worry all-too-easily merged with the fear that a Labour Party led by Robertson and Ardern would be one which sooner or later (probably sooner) ceased to struggle against the currents of contemporary capitalism. That, desperate to escape the Opposition benches, it would, like the Labour Party of the early 1980s, reverse direction and go with the flow. So much easier that way. So much less flak from the news media. So much more money from the corporates – not to mention the small businessmen and entrepreneurs!

Little’s victory is, therefore, a win for those Labour members who still believe in the party’s emancipatory vision and in its antagonistic stance towards the demands of Capital. That it was so narrow is not simply a testimony to Robertson’s political skill and determination, but a worrying indication of just how strong the temptation has become among Labour members to stop struggling against the treacherous currents of capitalism – and turn the boat around.


  1. “….the ambitious young things who pulled on Robertson’s red T-shirts were a whole lot more likely to identify with the aspirational dreams of small businessmen and entrepreneurs than they were with the nightmares of their over-worked, under-paid and un-unionised workers.”

    And, that passage (sadly) sums up the difference between Labour Youth of 1987/88 and current Young Labour.

    • I’d go a bit further with this and say it’s going to be a major, major problem.

      If you’re a young activist (actually its true for any age activist) you can’t be racist or sexist and you certainly can’t be homophobic. The consequence is that people seem to take out their loathing on either Christians or people who are sometimes called White Trash.

      This new kind of prejudice is very common in ‘progressive’ circles and immediately you can see the problems this will cause relating to the Pasifika and working class communities who are supposed to be Labour’s base.

      I’ll point the finger at myself here and admit that I was guilty of this until fairly recently and I think its a major impediment to the left’s ambitions.

      • This Blog site is not unfamiliar with the denigration of the “sleepy hobbits” that apparently accurately describes the entire section of the population which is yet to be convinced that corporate New Zealand needs to go up against the wall come the revolution.
        Actually, Chris, I would describe myself as a small businessman. Labour principles can easily be synchronized with small business needs. Not all business is antagonistic to union representation, social equity, a clean environment and international justice. All the Labour Party has to do is reach out to a wider constituency in the broader community. This opportunity to extend the party reach should be taken with neither fear of contamination nor compromise of principles. Gracinda is not needed to make that appeal.
        But it should be made with neither antagonism nor denigration.

    • Yep. The young ones who really want change these days are found with the Greens or Mana. The young Labour activists are more likely to be looking for a job in Parliamentary Services.

      As for Trotter, why the hate on unions this week? Did you get a cheque through from Farrar and think you’d better write something he’d like?

  2. Yeah, I think it might be a whole lot simpler – now the Leadership race is over everyone in the Labour caucus and wider party knows that to have any chance in 2017 there can’t be any more disunity or stuff-ups, and it’s time to focus on issues and New Zealanders.

    Everything I have heard Robertson and Little say in the last 24 hours has been clear, reasoned and strong. I demand the right to feel hopeful, at least for a little while…

    • Will you be exploring this further, Frank? It seems juicy…

      However, it may be a kitty in a bag and needing to stay there for a while. Otherwise there’ll be a crowd of National gawpers pointing out the bump in the bag and wanting to own it for themselves.

      The petit bourgeoisie could be worth enlisting. National has not been either kind or useful to this subset. Nor to single people – the most flexible segment.

      As an aside: such useful words, ‘key’ and ‘little’, now made somewhat hazardous for use in political discussions. The hunt for the thesaurus is on.

    • I favour CGT, but many don’t. My problem is that I cannot be sure of where Andrew L is coming from. I thought he was saying that the unpopularity of CGT makes it a poor election policy. Leave it out, then bring it in when in Government. An insult to the intelligence of the electorate, but maybe justified. The other bad possibility is that Andrew never actually brings in CGT even if he does get into Government. I am still a long way from voting for Labour as I did when Norman Kirk led, and when I wrongly thought that David Lange would bring in Labour policies. Labour and Andrew will have to be bloody convincing to win many of us cynics back.

      • Andrew is very clear. He supported the CGT and still thinks it is a good idea. However, he thinks it should not be a policy for the next election, because it is an easy target for misleading claims from the Nats. Both Cunliffe and Parker, who know the policy best, answered media questions incorrectly.
        Little sees the need for a CGT or something similar but thinks it is better to examine the tax and alternatives when in government. If the CGT is still the best option it will be easier to sell to the public than during an election campaign.

      • I really can’t see myself ever voting for Labour again. These days they’re just another capitalist party with the GFC and increased poverty the only thing to show for their policies.

    • Yes well,..if it wasnt for the Rogernome neo liberals destroying collective union award rates and turfing out workers on the streets as the new unemployed….perhaps ordinary New Zealanders would not have cast about looking for a new way to recoup the wages they had lost – AND at the same time being told to save for their retirement! (Shipley , Bolger etc)….

      So what did many of them do?…borrowed to get a second house , rent it out and aim for a passive income to plan for the day when ‘ pensions only ‘would have gauranteed old age poverty.

      Hence WHY the CGT was unpopular…

      I think a greater emphasis should be placed on the tax system that favours the rich whereby they only pay a fraction of what a low income worker pays per capita. Same goes for these large corporates. Maybe that would be better than worrying about a CGT.

      As for unions? well,…I think you can all agree that the NZ worker by ‘rights’ is due 35 years of back pay due to certain neo liberal political and industrial leaders- (business roundtable for a start ) – who pushed for liberalising markets which have been used to legally steal , rort and take what didnt belong to the neo liberals in the first place.

    • He said he personally supports a CGT, but thinks it is a bad policy to go into an election with from opposition. He hasn’t ruled out introducing it, ever, but wants to be in government, with the communications power to have a national conversation about it first. I think that’s pretty sensible, and pretty fair.

  3. ” if it was the opaque, behind-the-scenes manoeuvring of a handful of hard-bitten trade union barons that defeated the youthful energy and idealism of Robertson’s “New Generation” ……”

    I haven’t seen many hard-bitten trade union barons – let alone a handful – for quite a while – around the Labour Party, Chris. Where are you seeing them ?

    What I did see during the leadership contest was a good lot of polished PR coming from Robertson and Parker, and a low-key campaign barely coming from either Little and Mahuta. So what went wrong for Robertson ? Maybe the ordinary members – along with the lesser numbered affiliates – could see through the polished PR. And wanted a Leader who had more real-life experiences in the workforce . Maybe, just maybe, some Labour members are getting tired of the cliches and the PR . Could it possibly be this, that got Little to where he is today ?

  4. Wonderful insight Chris. The unions have put Labour back a long way. Its realy quite corrupt. Little has no chance of uniting the party led alone becoming PM. A lot of realy good talent has gone to waste. Shame.

  5. Thank god we finally have a provincial Leader at last.

    Lots of “other New Zealanders” out there are so overstressed from media and the puffed up self importance of Aucklanders.

    As we have been bashed over the head in our sleepy hollow the export driven provinces, out in the real world beyond the Bombay hills.

    Media has for years been driving this as we saw how Auckland gridlock needs urgently fixing and new Arts centres and Convention centres and, and, and, on and on and on.

    Till we are tired and stressed over Auckland’s self importance as we die out there through lack of funds all constantly being sucked out to feed Auckland’s grandiose empire building.

    At least now perhaps we will have a leader who understands the forced poverty we in the Provinces have been forced to endure as our property prices plummet as Aucklands property values climb to absurd hights.

    Chris, So don’t cry for those Aucklanders who faced the chop Chris, and we hope you will now champion Andrew as a classic local out in the provinces new leader finally sticking up for those who the MSM like you and the others had long forgotten about.

    By the way today we disagreed with your tirade against Andrew when you said Labour now needs to move to the centre right now!!!!

    No No No what are you smoking, we need a centre left not right man wake up!

  6. At the end of the day, the struggling has not ceased and that is why Little won .
    If the result was reversed and Robertson narrowly won , the closeness of the victory would barely have raised a mention!
    What was priceless, was not the look of defeat on the faces of Robertson , Jacinda and Parker , but the look on Gower’s face . He looked like he had just sucked on a lemon whilst simultaneously sitting on a carrot !
    Ah, such simple pleasures I have these days.
    The whole media narrative has been laughable, predictable and a yawn fest.
    “Watch out,’The Unions’ are back in control “. Blah Blah Blah.
    ” Camp Cunliffe’s not finished yet “. Blah Blah Blah.
    They talk about ‘The Unions’ as if they are not actually people.
    What they are really saying is ,’this particular group of people don’t count’ because we say so .
    Conveniently forgetting of course that ‘The Business Round Table ‘ is actually a ‘Union’ in disguise who help finance and weld influence in the National Party.
    Never gets mentioned in a bad light!
    The Federated Farmers are also a ‘Union’ in disguise who help finance and weld influence in the National Party .
    Never gets mentioned in a bad light!
    Ah but those scary unionists from the Labour Party . Watch Out !!
    They might want to destroy the country by demanding fundamental rights for workers.
    Having seen both Robertson and Little speak at small functions in Auckland, and putting the Union issue to one side, there is no doubt in my mind that the right person won.
    What the Labour Party needs is a straight talking hard man to galvanise the party and neutralise the ‘celebrity’ media culture.
    Not another Key clone !

  7. CGT needs a lot of work. On one hand there are many people who even if they don’t have a second/investment property now certainly aspire to have one – and why shouldn’t they have their chance. And on the other hand anyone who makes money out of property speculation should have to pay tax on this income just like any worker on their income.

    How about something pragmatic like a family home, one investment property for the kids, and one holiday home (if you can afford it) all tax free. But anything after this MUST be speculation and so be taxed.

  8. If the young followers wanted to roll back neoliberalism, why the hell would they support Grant Robertson? Or even support Labour over the Greens or Mana?

    • Because we can expect Labour to act like a party for and of labour. And now, we have the best chance in years to see it happen.

  9. This method of choosing a leader is nuts. Now, I am pro-union but not to the point of holding the country to ransom every Christmas pro. But honestly, that part of the selection process has to go, otherwise Labour will forever be just the union party. The country has a whole lot more problems than just employment, although in the light of recent legislation and zero hour contracts, employment is right up there. It has got to be one person, one vote, if you are going to continue to allow other than caucus to choose. For me, though, it really is caucus that has to work with any new leader, so I believe it is caucus that should choose. It is up to us, the voters to see to it that the right candidates are there, and it is the list at election time that perhaps the voters should have a say in. At least that might encourage a bit more involvement in the process – maybe that is wishful thinking

    • Oh for God’s sake, don’t believe the hype. The Unions only get a 20% weighting of the leadership vote while the members and caucus get 40% each. How a group can hold the country to ransom by having 20% control of a party that has 25% of the vote is a mathematical problem I certainly can’t resolve.

      The fact is Little couldn’t be leader without substantial support from all round the party. It’s also a fact that this is a voting system that the party decided on. I may be wrong but I think this is what people sometimes refer to as democracy in action.

      In fact a sure sign that it’s genuine is that those supporting the status quo (not you Raegun) don’t like the result.

  10. I, for one, was never convinced of the Robertson camp claim to be the young/new generation. He did not convince me that he was young, he doesn’t look it, he doesn’t sound it – not matter how many times he said it! There’s not much difference in age between him and Little.

    As a non-Labourite, but definitely left of centre pundit, I watched the campaign with interest and found it very difficult to choose between all the contenders – they all sounded reasonable and no doubt could have done the job equally well – it would have been a close call whoever won.

    The Labour Party should now be thankful that they have some campaign hardened, talented people under the leadership of a man who has already hit the road running. Instead of picking over the entrails and feeding the negative spin doctors, rally behind and start looking forward for all our sakes. There is a major battle to won for the hearts of the nation. Pull together and do your jobs.

  11. I wouldn’t have voted for Andrew Little but let’s give the guy some support and stop the whining over the losers in this contest. ( thank god Robertson lost) It’s not about how narrow the margin was, Andrew won the vote. He and the party have been very quick off the mark to establish priorities and actually ask for members support. This is inclusive and to be applauded. My experience of writing to some of the other members and ex leaders is that they can’t even be bothered responding to correspondence. I had three emails in less than 24 hrs of Andrew becoming the Leader. That’s a first. And then English must have gotten wind of it because he is now back peddling on the state housing sell off.

  12. I think there is a debate to be had about the union vote. I defended the current system on the basis that unions are the foundation of the Labour Party. Many were opposed to it and I think those arguments could resurface. There are some issues : Candidates had no access to the voting delegates of the unions, apart from the RMTU, who invited them to their conference, and the SFWU, who allowed a free vote of members who attended the meetings (good on them). The difference between NZ and the UK and Australia is that union affiliates include public sector unions ; therefore a case can be made that their union vote is a wide representation of working people. I don’t know what the answer is : widen the affiliate representation? allow candidates access to voting delegates? This isn’t about relitigating the result, but making the system better and more democratic.

  13. It seems many have forgotten where Labour’s roots lie. They lie with the working class, represented by the unions. I’m a 20 year old student, and many of the ‘Left’ can only bear to think that Labour’s roots lie from the Rogernomics era. Us, the new generation, are a product of neoliberalism. We were born into this, and know nothing but. The state of our education system today does not equip us with the tools to critique this current paradigm, and so we accept it as the status quo. For the Left, this is dangerous. We need to be weary of this. Neoliberalism has been implemented for 30 years, and the Rogernomes and the Ruthanasiasts have undoubtedly implemeted the mechanisms to keep this structure in place, and to reproduce it.

    So we have a new generation of Blarities, being in to win in 2017… but really losing out overall. A Robertson win in 2017 would have done nothing to stem the tide; we should be at least somewhat content that Little has been elected.

    That Blairite drivel, we’ve heard it all before. Let’s call it pseudo-politics. Robertson, Shearer, Goff… is National with a human face.

    Perhaps the Labour Membership don’t know what they want. They just witnessed a shocking defeat, and probably thought “if we have any chance of winning next time, we should just bow to whoever the caucus wants.” But no, caucus is wrong. Cunliffe won the last primary by the voice of the members and affiliates – only to be stabbed in the back by his caucus. Case in point: David Parker, the not-so-loyal deputy.

    Egalitarian values does not appeal. What the Labour Party must do is shock the consciousness of the masses. They must get people to see the trend that has occurred in the last 50 years: our quality of life has decreased, our pay in numerical terms is (to a questionable extent) perceived to have increased – but not in proportion to the value of the work we have produced, our working hours have lengthened, our free time cut and our social structures are strained. In the case of emergency or disaster, we will be left hung to dry.

    The National Party proudly declares that the competitive advantage of New Zealand is its low wage economy. So think about who will NOT benefit from this. Case in point: who won between Warner Bros’ demands and the Actors Union? Think about who will continue to win, when we upskill our people not because we want to increase the wages of our citizens – but because we want to increase the supply of skilled workers just so that our labour can be sold off for cheap. And why? Because we will have no choice. Generous salaries in industries such as IT or Engineering will not stay that way for long. The corporate sector just will not allow this to remain the same. Unemployment serves the function of keeping wages down, so the business sector ideally would like to see an unemployment figure of 10%. New Zealand’s major employer representative, Business NZ, considered a “social partner” by the Government, is pushing for the minimum wage to drop to $7.

    So what’s my point? My point is that perhaps a union leader is who we need. Andrew Little needs to change the rhetoric: why are we thinking about all these fancy things, when we haven’t dealt with the simple things yet? Things like food, housing, electricity. You say “Growth, Jobs, and more Growth” and I say “No, No, No”…. because here, we’re not changing anything, and we’re not talking about people. The message should be that people are getting exploited but they don’t deserve this. They can change this. They can change the power dynamic between the boss who is getting a fat cheque out of YOUR labour – and YOU, who is not getting the full amount of money in return for that labour; NOT because it’s about fairness and equality, but instead your boss is taking from you what YOU earned. So enough is enough.

    • Halle-bloody-lujah. A person under 40 who can see that Labour rightly seeks support for and to support the union movement. Unions are groups of workers, nothing more and nothing less. I see nothing wrong at all with groups of workers affiliating to the party of workers, and having a say in it leadership elections.

      Currently unions comprise about 300,00 of New Zealand’s workforce. That might not seem much, but I think if it were less terrifying to try and join one in the current climate we have, the number would be higher. The 90-day fire at will provision is a deterrant and lots of people don’t erealise that the union is them, not some 3rd party.

  14. Personally as a ex Labour voter I favored Little. I feel sorry for Robertson who put a lot of effort into his campaign but I just don’t think he came across as being the right person. Personally I feel Labour is on it’s last chance for voters and they need to focus on policy not personality. One thing that really would scare me off Little and Labour for good is if he vote for 48 hour surveillance measures. Apparently he was for it. Hope not. As an ex union rep he should realize how this sort of policy is a total abuse of power and with modern technology measures will turn NZ into a police state sanctioned by both Labour and National. (if it is true). Anyway I feel Labour is so far beyond knowing why people who previously voted for them did not this time and I don’t think it was to do with personality it was everything else, i.e. poor policy that did not make sense, lack of unity, lack of vision, lack of strategy,lack of alternative ways to grow the economy, lack of communication, lack of use of technology in campaigns, lack of political nous, putty in the hands of the right, lack of unity with other left wing parties. I really hope that Little uses his time to unify the party – make peace and try to bring people together by not using scape goats (i.e. DC who did a credible job) and actually look for what is missing in the party i.e. integrity first, then putting the right policy in place and actually being the opposition. The current government has had a run for 6 years of screwing the county while Labour did nothing. People don’t want a committee approach, dialogue and meetings they want real tangible action and results. I just saw Amy Adams saying she has been at 3 meeting chaired by JK on child poverty – that’s what she is doing about it. Attending a meeting. What an irony that being at a meeting ‘talking’ about child poverty is now akin to ‘doing something about poverty’. But the Labour party is just as bad talking to themselves about the issues while doing nothing meaningful about them. Please let Little make the right changes which start with ACTION of opposition and change.

  15. Great freeze-frame of Robertson & Ardern…if you were wanting to add pictures to Key’s narrative of internal fighting in Labour (Key keeps talking about the split for a reason). Robertson & Ardern weren’t my choice, but the left shouldn’t kick them when they’re down.
    Can the left just stop perpetuating the split in Labour and focus on policy ideas? Labour have the coming months to get their policy right: UBI, social housing, food in schools, CGT, FTT, limiting corporations etc…those are the issues.
    Beltway gossip is for idiots like Gower to talk about. Now is the time for policy talk and focus discussion on why Cunliffe’s centrist policies over the past year failed his party’s base.
    There are so many policy solutions and options…how can the left not be discussing them now?
    Once Labour’s policies are formulated and announced, then it’s too late.

    • Isn’t that called the Labour Party Review? Currently, underway, will examine policies along with processes.

      • I don’t think it’s in the Left’s interests to have ideas filtered through a narrow neoliberal lens, as would happen in the Labour Party Review. Considering the policies Labour has come up with over the past 30 years, I think Labour needs all the suggestions you can find.

        UBI, social housing, food in schools, CGT, FTT, limiting corporations…these things need to be demanded from the Left outside of Labour. Then they can be implemented properly without being stripped away.

  16. The other idea I have is that Labour no longer knows who votes for them. They think it is ‘blue collar’ workers in unions. My guess it that many ‘blue collar’ vote National now and are not in unions. It is actually the ‘liberals’ that vote Labour. Teachers, actors, writers, artists, arts graduates and then some in the swing professions doctors, lawyers, police, health workers. Those that are left over, are the retired (NZ First, National, Labour sharing those votes), the students (mixed bag these days used to be Labour but now could be anyone they vote for) the unemployed (mostly not voting), the uneducated young voter who is working (unknown), the entrepreneur (mixed bag but just as likely to vote Labour), management professional (unknown), woman with families (more labour) the immigrant (National). Statistically the more educated the person the more liberal they are generally and so are Labour’s voters. Labour alienated this group last election which is how they lost their vote by selling out on liberal agenda in their polices (not cracking down on corruption, personal liberty, asset sales, freedom of speech, war mongering, supporting families enough) but increasing taxes to them (higher taxes for people on PAYE, capital gains). Labour needs to identify who actually is a Labour voter and stick to a liberal agenda. Cracking open a beer and watching the Rugby are not appealing to their core (swing) voter. A challenging debate and some sort of integrity is what liberals want. Old Labour voters do not want Lite Blue no matter how much this is spun by others and actually are intelligent to know whether policy makes sense or is just trying to buy votes. Hopefully Little will deliver.

  17. He now lost twice. So what ever he did was not enough. Get over it.

    If he would have been as good as anyone makes him out to be he would have won the first time around.

    done. go home. stay home.

  18. And yet if Labour does not embrace small businesses and entrepreneurial start ups and develop policies to support them in a 21st Century world, it will not prosper.

    This ‘class’ truly makes up the centre and is where NZ elections are won and lost.

    Little has to move away from the 20th Century union view of the world in this direction to be successful

  19. I am quite left of centre. Thats me and proud of it. I work in the Meat works in middle South Island. A large % of those that I have contact with will vote National- as they follow the herd- not policy- they repeat the National sound bites but dont understand the message.
    NO-ONE LIKED David Cunliffe!! Didnt matter that he stood his ground in the debates, he came across well- the public just didnt like him-
    NEXT- The Greens – they hurt Labour- saying the economic policy neeed auditing etc – AND there was no clear connection.
    NEXT- KDC hurt Labour- Why- cos it took the media away-
    NEXT- Internet Mana- hurt Labour- no-one wanted anyone who were percieved rightly or wrongly to be associated with them.
    NEXT – Who was supporting David Cunliffe? How many times did we the power brokers of labout supporting him/beside him / saysing the same things/ He seemed a lone wolf.
    NEXT- GET bloody organised- sing from the same song sheet- keep hammering it home at every chance / everyone on board- GET the reseach done and get the FRAME RIGHT – and keep repeating it .. 3 or 4 Frames – and get them right ..
    NEXT- get Andrew Little to take the piss out of himself- take all the wind out of National sails by saying all the jokes himself – the little jokes – the – no -one in caucus voted for you – the – your only a list mp – just – do the homework-

  20. Grant Robertson and Jacinda Ardern represent the ideas those who already vote Labour or Green. Andrew Little represents those who have given up or wavered over to the right a bit too far. For that reason alone he is the best choice for the job!
    I also loved the way he was asked on the radio whether he respected Key, and simply declined to answer – it came across as “I hate the pr**k” – perfect response.

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