TDB Guest Blog Project – Stuart Nash: ‘The most pressing issue in NZ right now’ –



“Labour has to adapt itself to be in touch always with ordinary people to avoid becoming small cliques of isolated, doctrine-ridden fanatics, out of touch with the main stream of social life in our time”.  

Who said that?  Phil Goff perhaps, Shearer or Cunliffe, Andrew Little maybe?  No, but the party they led at various times over the past seven years could have benefited from the advice.  The quote is actually from Hugh Gaitskell, British Labour party leader in 1955 – 1963.  Not a household name in New Zealand, but a man considered by many political historians as a formidable leader who tried, but ultimately failed, to modernise the British Labour party at a time when they sorely needed to adapt to the changing world.  Labour paid the price by losing the 1959 election; an election many believed they should have won.  

Let’s be clear about one thing: politics is about winning.  There is no such thing as a ‘glorious defeat’, leaders who lose are not, as some may believe, ‘martyrs to the cause’, and ‘coming second but maintaining our principles’ is a ludicrous proposition.

Opposition is a complete waste of time as the opportunity to achieve anything meaningful simply does not exist, while the winners get to implement a political, social and fiscal agenda that is usually a million miles away from the one we would have rolled out.  

In fact the week after I won Napier (the only seat won from the Nats in 2014), a friend of mine was speaking to a group of Labour supporters in Auckland; my name came up and my friend said ‘wasn’t it great Stuart won Napier back for Labour’, to which the Labour supporters replied: ‘no its dreadful.  Stuart winning means that Maryan Street doesn’t make it back’.   My friend was incredulous: so winning is now a sin in Labour.  I would like to believe that such thinking is in the minority.  

Everything Labour does from now until Election Day 2017 must contribute towards a Labour victory.  For every strategic and operational initiative, the question needs to be asked “is this contributing towards a win in 2017?”  If it doesn’t then drop it, don’t say it and keep clear of it.  

Sound logical?  Perhaps, but it is something the centre-left doesn’t do well.  Finally the Labour caucus is united behind the leader and I can tell you that the fractious factions that used to exist no longer do.  Not even behind closed doors.  You will not see the infighting and bitching that had a bad habit of popping up in the headlines and eroded political credibility – and electability – over the past few years.

My experience is that our supporters, while just as passionate, are not so disciplined.  We love to hate Whale Oil and yet we give him strength, purpose, relevance and breathe life into every pore of his existence time and time again by publicly throwing metaphorical mud at those with whom we are supposed to have a political affinity.  

Labour once had a blog for MPs called Red Alert, and the rumour around at the time was that Cameron Slater wanted this closed down.  Then I found out the opposite was true: it gave him some of his best material due to the occasional ill-disciplined MP.  

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Our supporters have the same impact when they squabble, bitch and back-stab on so-called ‘left-friendly’ sites like The Standard (a dreadful 21st century bastardisation of a once proud Labour broadsheet).  Criticising your favourite Labour MP is not the route to victory, no matter what you think of their philosophies, hair or politics.  

If you feel so aggrieved by something an MP has said, written or done, then email them personally and you are more likely to get a response and, just perhaps, an explanation.  But ill-disciplined rants typed from an anonymous keyboard will only provide Mr Slater and Mr Farrar with a wealth of information and powerful ammunition to fire back with twice the impact.  

If you want to change the government, then get behind the cause and become an advocate for the lines the leader is leading with, because there is a reason why we have taken the stance we have.  95% of the time it’s because it’s what we believe is right; but occasionally, the politics of political pragmatism must rule.  That’s how you win, and that’s why we are here.  


On the last day of each month TDB will ask a range of progressive voices in NZ to write a guest blog on what they think ‘the most pressing issue in NZ right now’ is. This month our guest progressives are, Labour Party MP and Marriage Equality champion Louisa Wall;  Unionist and human rights activist Tali Williams; and regional champion for the Labour Party, Stuart Nash.


  1. whoar…!..where to start..?

    the ‘most pressing issue facing new zealand’ is the election of a neoliberal labour party/govt..? little different from the tories..?

    tweedle-dum vs. tweedle-dee..?


    the winning of the napier you well know the only reason you won that safe tory because that arse-wipe mcvicar was flown in to stand there..and thus split the vote..allowing you to come thru the middle..

    (and without going into the political alleigance of those who supported you there/funded yr campaign) is mcvicar going to do that favour for you again next time..?

    ‘cos if he doesn’t split that vote again for will likely

    re red my mind red alert died because it was an online example of the authoritarian-left..and was the very antithesis of free-speech..censorship writ large..

    ‘ a political, social and fiscal agenda that is usually a million miles away from the one we would have rolled out.’

    really..?..’a million miles away’..?..i’d say more like a hundred yards..(tweedle-dee/tweedle-dum again..)

    and re yr attack on the standard:..really..?..everyone should just shut up..or email their mp’s..(whither free-speech..?

    (disclaimer:..the standard is also authoritarian-left..and the abusive tone to dissenters manifested/tone-setting by prentice..both sucks and my mind..and i have no reason to support them..currently being banned..(for the ‘crime’ of saying little was walking away from labours capital gains tax of ’14..(!)..)

    ..and more recently i have been astounded by their total silence/ignoring of the animal-flesh-cancer warnings..)

    ..but despite all that…i consider it a democratic-asset..and consider yr denunciations more a result of you being on the rightwing of

    ..and part of the general theme of yr post..which seems to be ‘just shut-up..!..and fall in behind..!’..’do as we say!’..(good luck with

    and finally..aren’t ‘mr’ slater..and ‘mr’ farrar friends of yours..?

    and finally..could you tell us who in labour you think is more rightwing/neoliberal than you are..?

    (and finally..finally…were you at the tpp-briefing given to selected labour mp’s..from groser/the gummint..?..)

    • Phil…
      A couple of points:
      1. McVicar’s entry into the Napier race certainly helped, however, our analysis shows that my majority of around 3,800 would have been about 1,500 if McVicar hasn’t stood. He didn’t just take votes from the right; his stance on law-and-order is appealing to those right across the spectrum.
      2. I am unsure what the ‘right wing of the Labour party’ actually is… If you mean that I believe a strong economy is the key to prosperity, then that is true; however, if I was truly ‘right wing’ then I would have joined the National party. Who is more ‘right wing than me’? I know a number who view economic development and growth as vital to the future of the country…
      3. No I wasn’t at the TPP briefing.
      4. and finally, the general theme of my post is ‘if you want a labour government then support us. That, Phillip Ure, is obviously too much to ask. A shame

      • 1) ‘our analysis shows’ u detail that analysis for us plse..’cos i read that vote-split very differently..

        2) ‘I am unsure what the ‘right wing of the Labour party’ actually is’..

        really..?! u just think we are all really fucken dumb..?..and you can fling any old flannel at us..?

        3)..’ That, Phillip Ure, is obviously too much to ask. A shame’.. someone who volunteered fulltime for over three months of my life working on the green party campaign of 2005..(which would likely have included labour..)..but who considers a nine year long labour govt that left a low-wage/high-cost economy..with one in four children living in poverty a fucken abomination..i guess if asked would i like to see another neoliberal labour govt doing all that shit that again..i would say ‘no’..

    • Kia kaha Mr Ure. The last thing we need is a populist authoritarian remake of the 1984 ACT nucleus, but that’s all Labour are offering us.

  2. It’s so hard to take seriously someone who identifies with that mealy-mouthed phrase ‘centre-left’!

    Who happens to be favoured by the Napier comfortables who don’t want a super city because of how their friends in central Auckland have found rates going up a bit to make the burden more equitable overall.

  3. Most of what you say is true.
    Loose lips sink ships and all that.
    However it’s a pity that certain members of the Labour Party weren’t thinking like that less than 12months ago when they took it upon themselves to undermine , then vilify David Cunliffe on national television and radio.
    This was a person who worked himself to a standstill, went out of his way to be magnanimous to other members , made Key look like a schoolboy and gave some of the best speeches and interviews you are ever likely to hear.
    Forget about the bloggers and the commenters.
    The likes of Hipkins, Shearer , Robertson, and Mallard , to name but a few, all committed treason with their shameful spoilt brat type undermining outbursts and should all hang their heads in shame .
    My elderly parents who put in 1000’s of hours of their time to raise funds and aid the party anyway they could , had to stand by and watch all their hard work dissolve before their eyes as this crap was unfolding.
    However , when you can explain why the likes of Mathew Hooten can go on Radio Live and refer to David Cunliffe as David C**tliffe without any recourse and yet Martyn Bradbury gets barred for life from National Radio for calling Key ‘a piece of work’, then you will have a large part of the ‘winning puzzle’ solved !

    • What’s gone in the past needs to well and truly stay there. I agree that the undermining of Cunliffe was totally counter-productive, but lets prove we have learnt and move onwards and upwards

        • I wasn’t even in parliament, but rather a candidate in a National-held seat. My ability to undermine the leader was pretty much non-existent.

          • Do you take people for fools? Your ability to undermine David Cunliffe was real alright, even after the election when you won your seat Mr Nash. Have to say, your attitude is doing Labour no favours.

          • Mr Nash do you take people for fools? Where does it say you had to be in parliament to undermine David Cunliffe? What about after the election when you won your seat? Your attitude is doing Labour no favours.

      • How about the undermining of a potential left wing ally in Hone Harawira at the last election? Did you support the ganging up against Hone that went on between Labour, the Nats and NZ First? When you could have potentially have had the numbers on the left to form a coalition.

        • I would never, and never will, ever support Hone and supported Kelvin Davis the whole way. If you think that Hone winning would have provided the numbers, you are dreaming. Take a look at the voting numbers; and if you already have, take another look.

      • r u serious..?

        that aspirational-claptrap is all you have to say to all that has been raised here..?

        and how about answering that groser/tpp-briefing question..that you have been asked twice..?

        ..a simple yes or no will suffice…

        • Phil,
          you are dead right. Who needs aspiration when we can spend all day wallowing in negativity… Goodness me, get a life.

          To be honest, I have very little time for those who preach the politics of negativity.

          And no, I was not at the Grosser TPP briefing.

      • And that right there is the problem Mr Nash with Labour.

        I used to be a Labour supporter, member and voter. I come from a Labour family. But Labour betrayed it’s membership and this country in 1984 and have NEVER addressed that. They’ve never apologised, admitted the dishonesty and betrayal.


        My only conclusion with the silence on this issue from Labour must be that it’s because the Rogernomes are still within the party. Deep in it’s caucus. And that although Labour have softened and are no longer as right wing as the party, ACT, which they spawned, they’re still wedded to a Milton Friedman style of free market ideology.

        Labour aren’t enthusing the voters Mr Nash. Since Cunniliffe I’ve not seen rousing speeches directed at regular everyday people.

        And when one of you comes here to TDB to make a comment on “The Most Pressing Issue in NZ Right Now” and it’s got nothing to do with children living in poverty, the Auckland housing bubble, our environmental degradation, low wages, zero hour contracts…. in short your article is NOTHING that regular everyday people will connect with for their regular everyday lives….

        Well. That just reinforces the view that Labour isn’t really a party for the regular everyday person.

        It reads as if you’re more invested in “winning” than caring for NZers.

        If you cared for NZers then perhaps you’d win!

  4. Very reassuring to hear the party is uniting at last, hopefully the splitting and bickering amongst the supporters will also fade out now,On both TDB and The Standard aswell as left wing commentators generally.
    Uniting comes before winning for me, as cooperation is more productive than competing, and “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
    Once again, reassured and thank you for that Stuart, and good advice about contacting MP’s and discussing concerns as adults rather than providing fodder for the vultures

  5. A great example of why Labour lost the election and lost touch with Kiwis.

    Arrogant attitude. Labour MP’s are right, supporters are wrong.

    No content – zero pressing political issue discussed (climate change, TPP, poverty are not important just talking about themselves)

    Take no responsibility for own actions and blame others (blame supporters, left media (not right media like the herald????)


    I really wonder is Nash a National plant in Labour?

    How the Fuck can you vote for people like this?

    It all about ME< ME< ME<

    • “..I really wonder is Nash a National plant in Labour?..’

      yes…yes he is savenz…(or as a rightwing neoliberal..he is no different..and if labour put him high on their list in 2017..more fool them..!..)

      (..and i would really like an answer to that groser/tpp-briefing question..should i email him..?..d’yareckon..?..)

      and i’ve sorted nashs’ who-will-split-the-vote-for-me? next election..problem..should that arse-wipe mcvicar from sensible sentencing trust not front for him again..

      ..he just needs to come out of cover and join national…and as napier is normally a ‘safe’ tory seat..he will romp home…

      ..there ya go stuey..!..sorted..!

        • Well, I suppose if Shearer and I were in national at least we would be making a difference whereas opposition is a complete and utter waste of time. The only problem is that neither David or I believe in National’s politics or philosophy.

          • You and Shearer wouldn’t be making a difference, the both of you are part of the problem. No one believes in anything you say Mr Nash. What does that tell you?

      • “..he just needs to come out of cover and join national…and as napier is normally a ‘safe’ tory seat..he will romp home…”

        Actually PHIL, prior to Labour/Russell Fairbrother losing Napier to Tremain in 2005, the seat had been a LABOUR stronghold for most of the previous 70 years. But as my former boss CJ used to say, “I didn’t get where I am today by letting facts get in the way”.

        • yes reggie..’the past is another country’..

          napier is now a safe tory seat…and that is what matters/is relevant..

          or as c.j. would say:..’i didn’t get where i am today by wallowing in the past’..

    • and ya gotta laff at his involuntary self-describing quote at the top of his piece..

      ‘..small cliques of isolated, doctrine-ridden fanatics, out of touch with the main stream of social life in our time..’

      that’s the rightwing neoliberals like a fucken nutshell..

      • no – that’s far left nutbags like Ure. Living under a rock. Be careful, occasionally the ground that a rock rests on collapses…

        • ‘ – that’s far left nutbags like Ure…’

          seeing as you asked..i consider myself progressive with a streak of libertarianism..(libertarian in that i loathe the authoritarian-left as much as i loathe the neoliberal-right..and feel there are areas where govts should just fuck right off..(drugs being the obvious but not only example..)

          ..but if supporting living-wages/universal basic income/fighting climate-change/ending ‘far-left nutbag’..i’ll wear that with pride..

          ‘ Living under a rock’!..unsure what you mean by that..especially as i tweet/comment under my own name..and publish every day @ i could hardly be more public..

          ‘.. Be careful, occasionally the ground that a rock rests on collapses…’

          now..i’ve looked at that every which way…and there is no way i see it as anything other that a bully-boy threat..

          ..which is a first in nz politics..(as i have noted @ whoar )as far as i can mp using their imbalance of power in their favour…to threaten someone who disagrees with them..(!)

          whoar..!..gonna get yr rightwing-ratbag mates to ‘get’ me..are you..?

        • you need to practice what you preach stu – all of your replies here are pretty condescending, arrogant and counter productice.

        • That’s a very rude way to engage Stuart. Please have some civility. You’re a politician FFS, if someone here pisses you off, how about maintaining some politeness to preserve the supposed-gravitas of your position.

  6. Incredible! So we should all just shut the fuck up and email you in silence? We’re now not allowed to criticise Labour in public? Bullshit.

    The reason Labour is in opposition is your internal bickering, inability to show a cohesive left-block with the greens, and your total lack of policy that matters to the modern worker and the issues of the day like the TPPA and climate change.

    You have a serious authoritarian streak and need to get real.

    • keep going mate. Keep criticising us – in full voice, and see where that gets us. I am promise one place that it won’t is into government. So yes, if you want to see a centre-left (yes, a centre left) govt, then take my advice. As for getting real… you have no idea. About anything.

      • Perhaps you need to listen to the people who do the voting? The people who are members and maybe even more importantly, ex members?

        The people who’s votes have been lost to Labour?

        Consider why that might be?

        In there you may find the answer to why you’re not “winning”.

      • Stuart, thanks for replying although you clearly haven’t taken on board anything anyone has said here, judging from your defensive and insulting tone.

        The reason you are in opposition is not because people like myself criticise the party and MP’s. Most of the electorate don’t yet read blogs like this. The real reason is because Labour have not presented a credible reason to vote for them. This is because:

        1. you guys have been at war with yourself and your leaders – e.g. hard to vote for a party trying to undermine it’s own leader (Cunliffe) don’t you think?

        2. you guys are no longer in a position to govern alone so you need support parties. Voters know this but your continued attacks on the Greens prove to voters that you don’t want to collaborate to get into government, hence, again, why bother voting for you?

        3. your policies are not resonating with the electorate. If you think moving to the ‘centre’ is going to win it, then voters will just think “well they’re the same as National but haven’t got their shit together, so I won’t vote for them”.

        And by the way, voters instinctively grasp that National has re-defined the centre rightward (see the Overton principle) and there is growing disquiet with this. Voters want a change (National won the last two elections with very small margins – 10k votes!) but because of these three factors, you guys haven’t given them a reason to change.

        It’s worse though because there’s a strong feeling in voters minds that Labour no longer stands for anything, so they can’t see change coming from you. E.g. workers, your original founding base and reason for existing. You have no real vision or direction with workers any more, because you won’t even repudiate crap National policy like fire at will, trial periods etc.

        See, I do know something, and it’s simple really. It’s not about shutting up, it’s about having some vision, policy, collaboration, and the balls to stand for something. All, sadly lacking.

      • Nice to see an unabashed MP from the school of, “The alienation will continue until morale improves.”

  7. Dear Stuart Nash,

    I was more or less agreeing with what you said until this:

    “Our supporters have the same impact when they squabble, bitch and back-stab on so-called ‘left-friendly’ sites like The Standard (a dreadful 21st century bastardisation of a once proud Labour broadsheet).
    Criticising your favourite Labour MP is not the route to victory, no matter what you think of their philosophies, hair or politics.

    If you feel so aggrieved by something an MP has said, written or done, then email them personally and you are more likely to get a response and, just perhaps, an explanation. But ill-disciplined rants typed from an anonymous keyboard will only provide Mr Slater and Mr Farrar with a wealth of information and powerful ammunition to fire back with twice the impact.”

    That is a totally ill informed overview of a nationally recognised important left of centre blog-site. What you have done here is fall into the same trap you are advising Labour supporters to avoid. It was the serial leaking of caucus information, the back stabbing and the undermining of individuals and strategy goals by certain Labour MPs (and their insider hacks) which caused the so-called ill-disciplined rants – and most of those didn’t come from Labour members and supporters. anyway. Sure, at times the comments were/are overly robust but if you and others cared to look more closely, you would find the vast majority of them contain thoughtful and cogent analysis Labour would be wise to reflect on. But no, you and your ilk prefer to ignore them and judge by way of a minority of provocative commentators who tend to represent the more extreme end of the left spectrum. They have a right to express their views too you know.

    As for the ‘anonymous’ bit… you need to put yourself into the place of the left-of-centre commentators who express their views. MPs, and those supported by this government can speak with relative candour from the safety and security of their parliamentary and other positions. Ordinary folk have no such protection, and many have tales to tell of the treatment meted out to them (past and present) by venal right wing associates and employers – often losing their jobs, careers and reputations in the process. That is why so many feel unable to comment under their own names. Please think about that scenario before slandering those who prefer to use pseudonyms.

  8. “If you feel so aggrieved by something an MP has said, written or done, then email them personally and you are more likely to get a response and, just perhaps, an explanation.”

    Tried that, several times, and to Labour MPs. No response and definitely no explanation, they’re obviously too thin-skinned to take even constructive criticism. They were given an opportunity to present me with their side of the story, refused to do it so subsequently got a mention in said websites.

    • Exactly people try to contact Labour via social media like their own website. Nothing. Never answer any direct questions they don’t feel like answering.

      Unfortunately Labour have not seemed to work out the voting thing. You know, your need a majority of people to like you and your policies enough to vote for you, to win.

      They just seem happy to milk the 25% then will vote for them, and be ineffectual opposition. However as per last election which was a surprise to everyone, even the party faithful are deserting.

      But it is OUR fault. Not Labour’s according to Nash.

  9. So my take home message from that was – agree with us, even if you don’t, because if you don’t agree you probably don’t get the bigger picture & we are being pragmatic.

    Paternalistic & patronising. That’ll win em over.

  10. The arrogance of Mr Nash is breathtaking isn’t it? The lowly supporters should just get in line and shut up while spending hours and hours of their time delivering and folding pamphlets etc.

    Wake up Stu, you need the supporters to get into Parliament and take home your big fat salary and perks. But do the supporters need YOU? Yeah – NAH!

    Your adoptive grandfather was a very great man indeed, with huge integrity, but I would bet he never showed the utter arrogance you do! You have only just got back into Parliament, and only because the right wing vote was split – don’t get too comfortable!

    It’s rather droll that you are blaming the supporters for not winning the election – what about all the back-stabbing from Labour MPs that David Cunliffe had to endure? What about the arrogance of the ABC faction of the party who would not let the members and supporters have the leader they wanted? The sheer nastiness of the right wing faction of the Labour Party (Hipkins etc)towards both David Cunliffe and the huge number of members and supporters who voted for him was nothing short of disgusting – so pipe down about who lost the election for Labour!

    • Hami,
      Goodness me – where to start…
      First of all who the hell are you to comment on Walter? I bet you haven’t even read Sinclair’s great book. And no, vote splitting didn’t deliver me the seat of Napier: I got back into parliament because I raised a shit load of money, worked bloody hard and concentrated on the issues that were important to the good hard working people of Napier. Now that may seem an anathema to you and your lot, but that is how one wins. Not sitting around whining and whinging about everything under the sun.

      • ‘And no, vote splitting didn’t deliver me the seat of Napier’..

        i’m calling bullshit on that..

        ‘I got back into parliament because I raised a shit load of money’..

        let’s talk about that ‘money understanding is a group of rightwing-businessmen..(who like the cut of yr rightwing/neoliberal jib..)..clubbed together to get enough money to financially support you for about the year before the election..(every candidate shouls be so

        is that correct..?..did that or something very like that happen..?

        my understanding is that yr election-prop fire-engine was bought for you by a rightwing-businessman…is that correct..?

        (i’ll just ignore the rest of yr they say far more about you than any rebuttal would..)

  11. But, but,…….if Labour don’t get elected next election, NZ is led further into the wilderness.
    Whilst the focus is internal, and Labour remains divided by groups gripes, energy is wasted and we forget what unites us, leaving National to walk to the finish line without getting puffed.

    • @Cricky – this stand off is “Is Labour capable of change or are they just National under a different brand?”

      The anger of Labour voters is about this.

      Voters are waiting for policy action on Labour in particular on TPP and foreign policy and pressing issues.

      Yes people are not going to vote National but are they prepared to vote Labour without clearly knowing what Labour stand for and how they are going to govern?

  12. So Stuart,

    These comments are a fine selection of the rabble/crackpots you have as ‘party faithful’. Best of luck mate! Because you’ll need it.

    By the way, as a white male that’s two boxes you don’t tick in the tokenism that is Labour today. So don’t bank on that political career extending for too long. 😉

  13. Well that went well didn’t it Stuart.
    It seems to me that you’ve got no idea at all what we want yet declare that criticising you is not helpful either. If you’re not going to accept our criticism you’ve no right accepting your tax payer paid remuneration.
    Just remember Stuart, WE pay your wages, you are OUR servant.

    • The thing Brigid is that I actually do know what good hard working Kiwis want. That’s why I wont the only seat a Labour candidate won rom National in 2014. That’s why Damien O’Connor and I are the only two Labour MPs to win seats from the Nats since 2002. We actually DO know what Kiwis want, and we work extremely hard to make sure we deliver.

      I knew exactly what I was doing when I wrote this post (so don’t insult my intelligence), but I just wanted to once again confirm that there still exists a far-left fringe who are so divorced from political reality that they really don’t want to win the treasury benches. Ever.

      You don’t pay my salary and I am not your servant. I am very proud to serve those Kiwis who are aspirational for the future and who love our country with the passion I do. If you think I represent your brand of whinging negativity, then you are sorely mistaken. Because I don’t and I never ever will.

      • ” I am very proud to serve those Kiwis who are aspirational for the future …..”
        Is English your native tongue?
        Do you mean you’re proud to serve those Kiwis who are alive intend staying alive?
        If so, that’s nice, but I can only assume you aren’t proud to serve those who have no desire to stay alive.
        Am I right?
        With respect Stuart, I think you need a better interpreter.

      • I am interested in what you have been doing between as being an MP and campaigning Stuart?
        The difference between National and Labour MP’s back stories says it all for me.

      • “You don’t pay my salary”

        so you didnt win an electorate seat?

        if you did – we very much pay your salary

        • Yes we are called Taxpayers and you are paid by the state, from Taxes that we the Taxpayer pay every week, after week, from small wages that barely pay the bills let alone eat properly. Taxes paid by beneficiaries that are vilified by the state. Who can’t ‘t pay their bills and feed their families let alone themselves. You are Fucking wrong Stuart. We do pay your Fucking wages. We are the Taxpayers.

  14. Yes, the comments are telling in that they display the frustration so many who want a change in government feel, because the problem is that nobody knows what Labour stands for any more. Does Labour even know? And Stuart’s post does nothing to change that perception. It’s not good enough to say ‘trust us, we know what we’re doing’. We’ve heard that from Groser and Key. For voters to back Labour again, there has to be a rallying cry, and the chance to vote for something that will actually be different, and not just a more humane version of National’s slash and burn.

  15. Well Stuart, seems you’re also selective about whom you respond to here. Same as when we try to email your colleagues- if you don’t like the subject matter then you ignore it?
    How about clarifying Labour MPs policies around replying to emails from constituents and what you intend to do to make them reply in the future since you’re so keen for us to take that approach?

  16. It is somewhat depressing reading some of these responses, and also elsewhere on this website. The level of vituperative abuse that some on the left are capable of does not endear them to the broader public, and is also counter-productive in giving right-wing sites fodder (and, I suspect, schadenfreude). I wanted Labour to come back in the last election, my 2 votes going their way. But there is something in that Hugh Gaitskell quote. There was an impression out there in Voterland that the party was too beholden to minor interest groups who operated well outside of the sphere of concern of most NZ voters. The MainStream is not a hypothetical beast, it’s the population that delivers parliamentary seats. Ignore them, or insult them, at your — or should I say, Labour’s — peril.

  17. “Our supporters have the same impact when they squabble, bitch and back-stab on so-called ‘left-friendly’ sites like The Standard (a dreadful 21st century bastardisation of a once proud Labour broadsheet). Criticising your favourite Labour MP is not the route to victory, no matter what you think of their philosophies, hair or politics.

    If you feel so aggrieved by something an MP has said, written or done, then email them personally and you are more likely to get a response and, just perhaps, an explanation. But ill-disciplined rants typed from an anonymous keyboard will only provide Mr Slater and Mr Farrar with a wealth of information and powerful ammunition to fire back with twice the impact.”

    Good grief, I had to read that twice, I cannot believe such simplistic “summarisation” of political discussion and commentary.

    Thinking and debating are now “verboten”, are they? Follow thy leader, in straight lines and rows of loyal supporters, ahem, I doubt whether that is what we need.

    We do already have a largely self censoring media, that is too mindful to not upset its ties with government, where some refused interviews if they were overly criticised. Most media is in private, commercially focused ownership, mindful of their advertisers, so they are now partly “sponsored” by them, to keep running (e.g. AMP supporting Paul Henry, other “sponsors” sneaking into the NZ Herald and so forth).

    There is little discussion or debate on New Zealand television or radio, consumerism and commercial interests dominate, and people are offered more click bait on websites, than real information of value.

    A PM that gets away with almost anything, including misrepresenting facts, and his popularity is fed with favourable reporting and commenting from too many that know little about investigative journalism.

    Hence it seems too much of a challenge to offer real “opposition”, or even just some clear, solid basic policies, so the choice on offer is to simply follow a leader we must fully trust, like the MPs standing behind him.

    Those that consider opposition a “waste of time” should perhaps not be in politics, as opposition is in reality an OPPORTUNITY, to offer something better, something more exciting and convincing, and some smart, great ideas that show us an alternative.

    But we get little of that. I am sorry, Mr Nash, your contribution does not convince me much. I do not want a softer version of Nat Light kind of government, I want a real and inspiring alternative, that can include a wider section of New Zealand.

    To get there much hard work and brain storming is needed, but it seems I will wait in vain, as that will not be coming according to what I read above.

    This cannot be it, I fear, this does not get me even interested in Labour anymore, if that is what is on offer. You may come and criticise me for my criticism, you are welcome, it won’t change my impression and view.

    Maybe before it is too late, a new party is needed, a totally new party left of centre, that actually can stand for and deliver what Labour may once have stood for.

    I see all wanting to cater for that now so consumerist, rather conservative, self preserving middle class, which is basing their wealth on inflated property value and living styles and standards that are unsustainable and will be outdated and out of fashion very soon. Let history show us, that a real alternative, which is essential and overdue, will be presented us.

  18. Until Labour publicly condemns the Rogernomics betrayal and disassociates itself by moving away from clowns like Nash, then the public will have no faith in a double speak position held by Labour.

    Collusion with neo-liberal doctrine in any form is a betrayal of the general population

    Hone Harawira was dismissed by a campaign to rid the political scene of values meaningful to other than the bankers interests.

    Poverty will increase as “Progress” through neo-liberal plans is allowed to stifle common sense.

    “Progress” and poverty go together. Nash you are victimising the poor who are seeking some relief and a fairer go.

    Your propaganda is well rejected. Get out of the race to the bottom.

  19. “On the last day of each month TDB will ask a range of progressive voices in NZ …”

    What’s Nash doing here then? Wasn’t Garth McVicar available?

    • It’s been a great choice – very illuminating.

      It’s somewhat ironic that Nash is so fixated on winning when the number one lesson we’ve learnt from Steve Hansen’s success with the All Blacks is that his focus has been on how they play the game, being good people and not getting up themselves.

  20. In fact the week after I won Napier (the only seat won from the Nats in 2014)…

    Stuart, let’s put something to rest. You did not “win” Napier. National’s Wayne Walford lost it, after Garth McVicar split the right-wing vote. As I wrote last year;

    2014 Election result for Napier (electorate vote)

    McVICAR, Garth: (Conservatives) 7,135

    NASH, Stuart: (Labour) 14,041

    WALFORD, Wayne: (National) 10,308

    Contrast to the 2011 Napier result (electorate result):

    NASH, Stuart: (Labour) 13,636

    TREMAIN, Chris (National) 17,337


    I think it’s pretty clear where Tremain’s 7,000 votes went, and it sure as heck wasn’t Wayne Walford.

    All I can say is I hope Garth McVicar stands again in Napier in 2017. Because, “at the end of the day”*, you can’t argue with simple arithmetic.

    • But as Stuart informed us, a lot of McVicar’s votes would have gone to him if McVicar hadn’t stood. His post provides evidence for his claim. McVicar also doesn’t like debate or discussion, and always knows best.

    • Sorry Frank, but I just don’t buy that analogy at all.

      I live in the Hawke’s Bay, in the Tukituki electorate, not Stuart’s. To say that Stuart won the Napier electorate solely because of Garth McVicar’s entry into the race is just rubbish as there were more factors at play here than just national politics.

      There were two very prominent local issues that were monopolising the media discourse. Council amalgamation and the Ruataniwha Dam project. Both these issues have polarised the HB population more than any other I have seen in the 14 years I have lived here.

      Garth McVicar is a very prominent member of the HB community and wether you like him or loathe him, he does cross political boundaries and attract votes from across the political spectrum. National put a candidate with zero appeal to the electorate, that is not Stuart’s fault. We had a retiring Cabinet Minister so it was very much a seat up for grabs especially with HB featuring prominently in most of the negative social and economic statistics.

      It is very easy to be somewhere else in NZ and comment on local issues that have no effect on you. Stuart’s battle will be to retain the Napier seat without the side issues.

      • Kevin, here’s a breakdown of the voting;

        In 2011:

        TREMAIN, Chris (National) 17,337

        NASH, Stuart: (Labour) 13,636

        In 2014:

        McVICAR, Garth: (Conservatives) 7,135

        NASH, Stuart: (Labour) 14,041

        WALFORD, Wayne: (National) 10,308

        National candidate’s loss from 2011: -7,029

        Conservative candidate’s gain: +7,135

        Labour candidate’s gain: 405

        Question: where did the National candidate’s votes go? The answer seems fairly obvious.

        Remember the Electorates are still fought under First Past the Post, and as the New Zealand Party achieved in 1984, the Right wing vote can be split (as can the Left wing vote in numerous other instances).

        That is precisely what happened in Napier.

        • Frank,
          I disagree with your Napier electorate analysis. You are making the assumption that all of McVicar’s votes would have gone to Walford if McVicar hadn’t stood. Kevin is actually right on the mark in that this was very much a local battle with Walford on the wrong side of a major local issue.

          Our analysis showed that Garth was taking around 1 vote from me for every 3 from Walford. Remember, Napier is a rather conservative provincial seat; my family has lived in Napier for 150 years, and I had been running a very strong campaign (for example, full page ads in the community weekly every week for two years and double page spread for 6 months). I had built up a strong profile. Wayne grew up outside of the electorate and had only been back in the Bay for around 2 years and received the nomination less than 6 months before the election.

          We were always confident of the win, however, when Garth entered the race we were initially concerned because the immediate two weeks after his announcement, our phone canvassing turned up a number of constituents who initially said they would vote for me, switch to Garth. Garth McVicar has massive cross-over appeal, and even though he was standing for the conservative party, and was conservative in his views, his reputation and appeal meant that his voters were politically diverse.

          The other point to reiterate is that Walford wasn’t a great candidate. Again, our analysis shows that a number who party voted National would have candidate voted Nash but were relieved when garth entered the race, as it gave them a legitimate right-wing candidate to vote for, instead of rejecting Walford and voting for me.

          I accept that may be wrong and my analysis might be flawed, and the test will be in 2017. I think, however, that believing that all McVicar’s votes came from Walford is incorrect. Certainly this is not what our analysis – and evidence on the ground – showed.

    • Frank, you make two critical assumptions that I believe are incorrect:

      1. that all of McVicar’s votes came from the Nats (Tremain’s 2011 vote). This is simply not correct as all our pre and post election analysis showed that McVicar was also taking votes from me.
      2. The 2014 National Candidate, Wayne Walford, was no Tremain. Chris has one of the most recognisable brands in the Bay (due to his legend All Black father Kel). Chris is also a vey personable local chap who ran an exceptionally good campaign to win the seat in 2005. Wayne Walford had only been back in the electorate for a couple of years and certainly didn’t have the depth of contacts or resonance that Chris has. During this time, my team and I worked incredibly hard to build on the work we undertook between 2008 – 2011 when I was a list MP in Napier. My stance on important local issues during this time resonated.

      As mentioned, our analysis shows that if McVicar hadn’t stood my majority would have been around 1,500; not 3,800 as it currently is. This was a local campaign concentrating on issues that were – and are – important to the people of Napier (but with a large Labour philosophical bent).

      As Newt Gingrich said ‘all politics is local’ and we had a very strong local focus.

      McVicar won’t stand again, so if I am wrong then the Nats will win back the seat in 2017.

      I must admit, however, that all the ‘noise’ about how I won is rather immaterial because the only important fact is that I did win! After all, that is what politics is about 🙂

      • @ nash..

        1) have mentioned a number of times this ‘analysis’ that proves mcvicar didn’t split the right vote for you..

        ..for about the third time i am calling bullshit! on that..

        ..and how about you prove yr case by fleshing out yr ‘analysis’ for us here..?

        ..just saying something doesn’t make it

        ..and i have figured out a way for you to emphatically prove yr case/prove us all wrong..

        ..that is in 2017 you forgo any placing on the party list..and stand and win the electorate in yr own you claim you have already done..

        ..(but really..porcine-creatures will take flight before that you forgo a list-placing..)

        2) about you answer the questions about rightwing businessmen funding yr life in the year before the election..providing that ‘shitload of money’ you boast of raising..

        ..about them funding your election-campaign..?

        ..about them buying your fire-engine election-prop for you..?

        ..(tho’ of course we already know the answers..’cos if untrue you would have already denied the

        these matters are all important..and not only because you boast of them (election-victory + fund-raising) multiple times..

        ..but also because it matters to many in labour (and outside labour..just who supports/finances you..who you are beholden to..where your true political loyalties lie..

        ..and on the surface it seems you are a puppet on a stick..there to do the bidding/wishes of rightwing businessmen..

        ..and about as far away from a democratic-socialist labour as can fact much nearer to your boosters in the tories..and the corporate-media..

        ..that is why all that matters..

        3)..and as an f.y.i. for you.. have many times stated here that ‘winning is all that matters’.. i thought i would alert you to the most recent ‘winner’ i have noticed.. julian canada..who took a third-ranked party..(with 30-something mp’ a landslide out-right victory of 189 mp’s.. did he do this..? was he such a big ‘winner’..?..

        ..was it by preaching the rightwing/neoliberal/austerity/fuck-the poor! (see yr previous post here on poverty) policies that you believe in/extoll..? was by offering hope/change to those fucked over by such policies from/by the canadian-tories..for nine long years..(any of this sound familiar?)..

        ..this is what brought this stunning victory..this ‘winning’ you so love..insist must be the over-arching ‘principle’..

        ..not by following the bankrupt/neoliberal/austerity-shit you so

        (but don’t just believe ya go..! )

        (as an aside..his pledge to end cannabis-prohibition also proved to be wildly popular..something else you are reactionary on..?..)

        4)..and are related to/trade on the name of your (adoptive)-grandfather walter nash..

        ..but i am picking you are not related to this ‘nash’..(and i am not just talking skin-tone here..)

        ..and about something that will not happen until the bankrupt/rotten-ideologies you follow are dispatched to the cess-pool of


        • and as a further clarification..the party that trudeau led to this spectacular ‘win’ was not their version of labour..

          ..both the canadian tories..and labour party..(like yourself)..campaigned on continuing the neoliberal/austerity-politicies of recent times..

          ..for their efforts..they were decimated at the polls..

          ..(food for thought…eh..?..d’yareckon..?..)

  21. Wow. Reading this piece by Mr Nash and his comments here….

    Just wow.

    For a Labour party MP to come to a left wing political blog and tell readers

    1. Online political discussion is labelled as “ill disciplined rants” and we are told we should email our MP and refrain from complaining online

    2. The most pressing issue in NZ right now is…. not sure actually. Just read this piece again and I guess the most pressing issue in NZ right now is Labour winning the next election? Because pragmatism and winning is everything?

    And then I read Mr Nash’s comments to those here.

    Breathtaking it is.

    I think there’s a really big point you’re missing Mr Nash.

    Why have people deserted Labour? Do you have any ideas? Because all I’m seeing here is some pretty strong words towards ex Labour voters like “squabbling, bitching, ill disciplined rants” which aren’t at all positive, and read like you’re telling them off.

    And you think THIS is the most important issue in NZ right now?

    Not any of the other really really important issues? Not child poverty? TPPA? Environmental degradation? Auckland housing bubble? Zero hour contracts?

    I am aghast. I think you have done a big disservice to Labour with this post and your comments. And I don’t think you have a clue why.

    And that is why after being a Labour member, coming from a Labour family with an MP back in there, voting Labour, I now hate Labour for their betrayal.

    Labour is no longer left, no longer holds to its roots of looking after the working class. It’s a centre “aspirational” party. And it doesn’t care about the real pressing issues, just wants its members and voters to have some “discipline” and shut up.

    And this is my real name. I stand by EVERY comment I make here.

    • Lara, I totally agree with you, but please Labour are not even a centre aspirational party either.

      Do you think the centre believe in having zero principals to win?
      Do you think the centre believe in Nash?

      NO WAY. It is not a fight between the centre and the centre left or even the far left or centre right that Nash seems to think.

      It is just a fight for what is good and what is not. Rich people and poor people, centre left and centre right can actually unite too.

      The 1% want everyone to blame everyone else and give them a label.

      Decent people do not want inequality and a poor environment whether they are a millionaire or a pauper. It is not a class thing, it is a ideology that has been shifted by National and taken up by the Nash’es in Labour.

      Once there is greater understanding of that then change can occur across the political spectrum.

      • Yeah, you’re right.

        They’re right wing.

        The left really need to let go of Labour.

        They haven’t been left since 1984. They support multi national corporatism, a far right free market ideology.

        And I agree also with your sentiment, maybe we just need to let go of “left” and “right” labels.

        I’m for the environment first and foremost, because it provides us with the necessities of life such as air and water! After that I’m for a reduction in inequality and decent living conditions for Kiwis. And support love and care for our most vulnerable. The free market isn’t delivering those things. Not at all.

  22. “maintaining our principles’ is a ludicrous proposition”


    You actually said that Nash??

    Just… wow.

    Why would anyone vote for a party when one of its MPs publicly states that maintaining your principles is not what you’ll do??????

    I think you need to get some help writing your articles and speeches. Because that sure as hell isn’t enthusing voters, it reads as if you’ll sell out to win. Winning at all costs?

  23. The myth that “Nash won Napier because of McVicar” betrays an ignorance of both how successful provincial election campaigns are run and a lack of nuanced analysis of the results.
    Stuart won for many reasons, including the fact that he ran a nearly 2.5 year campaign, kept it local (and was crucially on the right side of local issues), had a good team around him (of which I was one member), a local Labour organisation who got behind him, and he continued to build on a brand that he had established and maintained since he was a List MP based in the area.
    He also had the nous to realise successful campaigns cost money and got considerable financial support from people who believed in him. He placed full-page ads on local and national issues in the local community newspapers on a weekly basis.
    And no matter what anyone wants to say about Stuart — I witnessed him work incredibly hard during that campaign. For 3+ months he spent nearly every Saturday and Sunday morning out on street corners, having personal interactions with Napier people — he actually held 125 Street Corner Meetings during the last few months of the campaign. Not to mention all the phone canvassing and door-knocking he personally took part in.
    As Kevin mentioned, Stuart also championed Napier with his unwavering anti-Amalgamation stance at a time when many in the city were hugely concerned about this issue. The emphatic result against amalgamation in the recent referendum shows how right he was about this particular issue, and I suspect the electorate will reward him for this stance in years to come.
    Many people who voted for McVicar voted for a local brand they trusted and felt comfortable with — the SST justice advocate and local HB farmer. Those who claim Stuart only won because Garth was in the race are insulting not only Stuart but the many members of the local organisation and campaign team who worked incredibly hard to ensure that result.
    I would normally never promote a WO blog post but – unfortunately Frank – his analysis makes much more sense than yours:

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