Labour Conference eclipsed by Gareth Morgan and how Little resets


Poor old Labour just can’t get a break, on the eve of their Auckland Conference they get eclipsed by a momentous rumbling in the political landscape with the announcement by Gareth Morgan launching a Political Party.

Labour had even rolled out the Greens for awkward photos.


I think Gareth Morgan’s announcement of a Party vote only Party focused on pragmatic solutions over riding dogma would have a huge appeal to urban male voters who vote National by default. They are educated and uncomfortable with the inequality around them but wouldn’t vote Green or Labour.

Morgan’s electorate vote National and if National can’t see that, they’re in for one hell of a shock.

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The Party will appeal to NZ First voters as well and it will appeal to a chunk of the missing million voters who don’t vote because of their cynicism towards the political system.

Morgan is the perfect anti-establishment voice who would appeal to many male voters who are locked into voting National because they don’t feel welcome inside Labour or the Greens.

His success however will mostly come from National and in this, Labour should capitalise.

Labour’s strengths which I believe they should play to are women, Pacific Island, Maori, public servants, working people, Auckland.

With National, NZ First and Morgan’s Party fighting over male voters, Labour should drive very hard for Pay Equality, maternity leave, early child education and do it using their strong Women MPs to front it.

Greater focus on a two tick Auckland campaign. Use Kiwibuild affordable homes to appeal to working class, Maori and Pacific Island voters in Auckland.

More Pacific Island, Maori, Women and Unionists on the Party List.

Labour need 30% to have a chance of forming the next Government. They have to start maximising the vote they have from the base they’ve got rather than trying to appeal to voters who aren’t voting for them.

63 solutions indeed.


  1. All true. If it looks as if Morgan’s party is a starter, Labour-Greens probably should, at every opportunity, hammer home the observation that the new party is likely to appeal to National supporters frustrated with the incompetent incumbents. Say: we have other, better solutions to the same problems, but it is great to see part of the Right can see what we see.

    It is my belief that Morgan will strip the Nats and weaken New Zealand First to the point where Winston will no longer be the sole balance of power party. And this really is an Opportunity: it is likely that Morgan will find a more congenial home among the parties that seek solutions to these problems than with those whose instinct is to deny that the problems exist, or if they do exist, that they matter politically. However I also think that, should a rapprochement appear possible, it will also drive an even greater wedge between the Socio-Tweekers and the Root-and-Branchers on the Left than exists currently.

    Many who contribute to this Blog-site, and who dream of some variation on the theme of revolution, violent or otherwise, will be beyond apoplectic at the notion of finding common cause with the Opportunity Party. Many will, in this analysis, have to make their own accommodation with Realpolitik, while the rest will retreat to a stance of wounded belligerence.

    Buckle in for interesting times.

    • Key has already played the “Morgan will take votes off Labour and the Greens” card.

      Key is scared, continues to play the scaremonger card, whether it be the establishment of a new party or terrorist threats to N.Z. One, Key can’t possibly know the effect Morgan’s party will have on the political scene as Key has no historical evidence and secondly, Key won’t give evidence to support the so called “significant” terrorist threat to N.Z. which one can only conclude that Key makes things up.

    • So are you suggesting Morgan will also match the interests, desires and feelings of many reading the Daily Blog? Why has he then not stepped up as a sponsor or advertiser here, or has he? I think you give the man and his aspirations a bit too much credit.

  2. What is Morgan’s platform exactly? I haven’t heard any policy yet, so can’t gauge which party he’s going to be stealing more votes from. I’m fairly sure one of them won’t be ridding NZ of cats, ‘cos that will get him approximately zero votes.

    • I would imagine his platform will be the ideas outlined in The Big Kahuna, coupled with a stronger position in addressing climate change. If successful, he would probably support National providing they made a serious effort to combat climate change; but Labour, I think, would have to be prepared to take on board his Big Kahuna stuff as well before he would support them.

      • The Big Kahuna “stuff” is exactly what will turn most young males off, that Martyn thinks may feel attracted to voting a Gareth Morgan kind of party. There are few Nat voters who are seriously concerned about the injustices in society, they rather blame persons in poor situations for their own failings to end up or stay poor.

  3. The New Zealand Party, 1984 with Bob Jones ( now Sir Robert I believe) helped bring down Rob Muldoon and National. Now we have another millionaire with opinions and his own political party.

    • +100 Janine…good points

      the BIG Kahuna will be a winner ie a Universal Basic Income

      the cat women will never vote for him though

  4. So you’re thinking that Morgan’s party could be the new millenium equivalent of Robert Jones’s New Zealand Party?

    Only this time, instead of a party that helps bring down a control-freak National administration and starts our descent into neoliberalism, it’s a party that helps bring down a selfish neoliberal National administration and starts our ascent towards a new, HUMANE economic model?

    I hope so.

  5. That’s pretty well thought out Martyn and could have some merit, especially considering women overwhelmingly love cats and won’t support Gareth!

  6. I’m afraid that I disagree. National has a huge amount of support simply because Labour is so terrible. Morgan may come up with a few appealing policies, but National’s campaign message will continue to be ‘Don’t vote for that rag-tag mob of big tax radicals.’ And it continues to work. The chattering classes may humour voting for Morgan but they won’t.

    The big Labour don’t have confidence in their beliefs and their sad array of tinkering policies show that they are planning to continue with their failed Trevor Mallard style campaign strategies. They haven’t got half a fucking clue about powering up a movement of people whomdesperately want to see change. Talk to some.of the MPs and you see how afraid they are of losing support from center voters. Fuck them. MOVE THE CENTER.

    Perhaps Morgan will be a catalyst for change. Imagine Labour rise to 35% But Morgan gets 4% and the Greens and NZ First fall to under the 5% threshold. NZ First would remain due to Winston’s seat but the Greens would be out of Parliament. I’m of the firm belief that we need one party on the left in this country in order to motivate the apathetic million to get involved. Maybe it will happen, maybe not. But we don’t have a strong left right now and it is sad and pathetic.

    • “Talk to some.of the MPs and you see how afraid they are of losing support from center voters. Fuck them. MOVE THE CENTER.”

      Spot on!

  7. Why vote Labour?

    With many issues they seem noncommittal. Today’s policy announcements sound bizarre and repulsive.

    The option of volunteer work as an obligation for receiving the unemployment benefit seems similar in nature to some right-wing work-for-the-dole scheme as touted during the 90s and 2005 by National and New Zealand First, perhaps benevolent to a miniscule degree because it’s elective? That scheme for unemployed youth receiving minimum pay for “secure” work of questionable value also shares some similarities.

    Six weeks free training for those who lose their jobs as a result of automation seems rather stingy.

    Reforming the culture at Work and Income? Surely that’s a sick joke?

    In the recent past, an intention expressed for minimal reforms to 90 day work trials rather than its abolition, so more employment insecurity as usual.

    In essence more arbeit macht frei claptrap. Frankly campaigning on these policies at the next election as opposition almost seems as if there is a willingness to shift employment and welfare policies further right.

    The Opportunities Party potentially could offer more in the way of an alternative even though no policy is announced yet. If an UBI is one of their policies they will get my vote unlike the current situation with the existing establishment parties next election where the hardest decision for me would be how best to spoil my vote.

    As for the notion of working with either party, where’s the controversy when they seem to share much in common. Either way it results in attempting to reform the same beast.

    Labour may be this country’s oldest political party but it appears to be a demented geriatric committing an absurd long drawn-out suicide, it’s faculties diminished for the last thirty years. The best it could do for this country is die and allow an actual principled just alternative take its place. Suppose it could attempt to preserve its existence by merging with National, the National Labour Party of New Zealand, has an appropriate fascistic ring to it.

  8. Labour didn’t roll out the Greens becasue of Gareth Morgan who hasn’t even put out any policy yet and is only trying to drum up enough support to make his party official.

    As Andrew Little was a special guest at the Green conference in June, the Green party co leaders were special guests at Labour’s conference.

    Remember the MoU?

  9. Gareth is an enigma. I think, like Peter Yealands in the wine industry, he has had a ‘road to Damascus’ event in his life and now is a man of integrity. I am quite willing to sign up and see what he is offering. I have a lot of time for all his ‘campaigns’ since his motor bike tours of aid in Africa and I certainly like what we get from the Morgan Foundation. So go for it Gareth.

  10. Yawn.

    NZ politics is just so yawn. Unless, of course, you’re sleeping in the gutter. Then you don’t get to yawn, much less sleep, because you’re cold, hungry and you feel like shit.
    So, yeah-nah. Another criminally rich accountant about to tell us what to do?


    Here’s a novel idea! If I do say so myself.

    How about WE tell THEM what to do? Repeatedly, until they understand their place?

    The straws are presenting themselves clutched.
    How about we clutch them by the throats and tell them to do their fucking job!

  11. No thanks. Morgan kills cats (sentient beings) jonkey kills everything that moves with 1080 (annihilation of sentient beings). Difference between the two? Nothing.

  12. Come on Martyn, Gareth’s announcement resulted in a massive shrug of indifference from New Zealanders. Apart from the few opinionistas who, on interviewing themselves, see an each shattering event where none occurred.

  13. You want a chance of publicity you don’t have an event the same weekend the All Blacks are playing, either at home or away.

  14. Missing from your report are the name of the party and its agenda.

    Reported elsewhere are the name -The Opportunity Party- and the agenda:

    ‘I know that as a country we are not fulfilling our potential, that with the right policies we can materially improve fairness, and give many more New Zealanders the opportunity to fulfil their aspirations.

    If we do this we will not just be more prosperous, but will improve our overall well-being in terms of  
    reduced poverty, 
    housing affordability, 
    environmental sustainability and making the most from our natural capital, and
    national pride. 
    I’m reasonably sure there does exist a suite of policy initiatives that will do this. But we have to break from the lethargy that Establishment parties and career politicians have us locked in. Their fear of losing votes makes them champions of inertia and only ever reluctant proponents of incremental change.’ 

    Gareth correctly identifies Establishment parties and career politicians as guardians of status quo and as obstructers of progress.

    However, also reported elsewhere several days ago: ‘High profile economist Gareth Morgan is launching a political party.’

    ‘High profile economist’ more-or-less says it all. Modern economics is a complete travesty of the original Greek term and meaning, and is full of fabrications and inconsistencies, as well as being notable for omissions. Economists are at the root of our present predicament (along with the banking sector and the fossil fuel sector).

    Here is the reality the vast majority of economists refuse to acknowledge or even discuss: we are trapped in an industrial society which is totally unsustainable and no amount of tweaking is going to alter the fundamental unsustainability of present arrangements. Any narrative to the contrary is founded on delusions or lies.

    Industrial civilization is ‘progressively’ destroying both the future of the inhabitants and destroying the system itself because industrial civilization is totally dependent on the widespread use of fossil fuels and cannot operate without them.

    The standard of living is falling throughout the entire western world and most of the developing world as a direct consequence of fossil fuel depletion, fossil fuel use and overpopulation (Russia being the only notable exception, the standard of living and population having been devastated 25 years ago), and the collision with reality that is a consequence of ignoring all the fundamental issues for decades is already underway. Anything Gareth Morgan says or does will make little, if any, difference. That is, unless he speaks absolutely unmentionable truths. And he is unlikely to do that if he wants to maintain voter appeal: most voters only vote for lies and delusions; hence the ever-worsening predicament we are in.

  15. Morgan will only take away Winston’s kingmaker status if his party is going to crack down on immigration, which I seriously doubt. Economics 101 shows that (yes, based on evidence) high levels of immigration supress wages and raise accommodation/housing costs.

  16. I disagree with Martyn. The electorate has an option of the supporting the current government or looking for alternatives.

    People voting for T.O.P party would generally looking for alternatives and are not looking for coalition partner with National. I can’t see National bleeding votes to T.O.P.
    We have seen from past elections, that National cannabalises natural coalition partners. See Act at <1%. There are plently of ACT voters but they prefer to keep at central right party in power rather than have ideological purity. Only when National party has no prospect of winning (2002) do you see fracturing of the centre-right vote.

    Gareth Morgan has built a profile over the past decade, so unlike microparties, he would have some support but unlikely to reach the 5% threshold.
    So what type of voter will he attract? I suspect pragmatic Green voters who care more for the environment than left-wing policies. The Greens have hitched their wagon to Labour and Gareth's platform for these voters are why waste your vote with Green's when Labour will take you for granted as they always do. When you vote for a party and person that will work with anyone. He has a track record of Green projects and less baggage.

  17. “have a huge appeal to urban male voters who vote National by default…” on.
    The type that are always saying ‘we just need a better version of Capitalism’ and think that we should bring in a UBI so absolutely everyone can spend half the week inventing new technology for Amazon and the other half walking the Milford Track.

  18. Nope, I think. Gareth Morgan is anything but appealing, has no charisma, and is to some degree anti-establishment, but that will not make him very attractive at all, as we live in a society that is a modern day conformist society.

    Most that vote National are rather conformist people, whether old or young, and while the older ones stick to social conservatism, the younger ones are more of the educated, urban social liberal to semi liberal types, career focused, business friendly, pro capitalist (with at least a minimum set of expected ethics and values), but happy with most as things are.

    A guy like Morgan has no political nous. He has a bit of a rough, non conformist, but at the same time not stupid, out of the square thinking male self-made man touch. He will not appeal to the more conformist Nat voters, not at all, I think.

    He is entrepreneur, wants to be independent and will not like to be told what to do. That is ok, but that is pretty “normal” these days, but a man who ruffled feathers with anti cat positions and so, has already lost a lot of appeal.

    So how could his party succeed? He would only succeed by taking a background role, a financier kind of role, a platform offering role, who gets support from some more politically astute, more charismatic, more publicly appealing, ideally already well known persons.

    Who could they be? They may be in existing parties, but see little future for themselves in their party, they may be new and motivated self starters who feel they have a mission. There are though very few people like such, who would jump at an opportunity to work forming and starting an “Opportunities Party” (an awkward name, I find). Then they would have to work with Morgan, who will most likely like to have too much of a say in what goes and what does not.

    There the problems may start, but even any person who stands as candidate, will have to enter the political field and fight with the ones that are there now.

    To start a new party, with such challenges, that will not be easy at all, and despite of money being put behind it, the message is not clear yet, there is no program, there is no clear enough direction.

    While many ordinary people and potential voters are not that keen on politics and the present personalities involved in it, they may go for a pragmatic alternative, yes, but that requires firm, smart and logical and understandable stuff, which all needs to be worked out and presented yet.

    Sadly I fear, there is at the moment little appetite among most, to switch from what they support now, and the many disaffected may only in smaller number go for a Gareth Morgan style party.

    He has already got a reputation for going up people’s noses, with his anti cat stand. While I actually think he has a good point re that, few will vote for a party that has a leading figure and funder who wants to neuter all cats, ideally get rid of cats in New Zealand. The sensitive emotions of mostly urban cat lovers, and there are so many, will not allow much positive feedback for Morgan and whosoever works with him.

    And let us not forget the media, the first questions asked will be, do you like cats? Do you support what Gareth has said about cats?

    So we can expect a big fail with this, he does not even meet the requirements of such figures like Trump in the US, or even Sanders in the US, or other new, sometimes radical, right or left political leaders in Europe or elsewhere. Yet Morgan mentioned “Trump” as a kind of phenomenon that may offer him new opportunity and appeal, rather than the failed party funder Dotcom.

    It will be personal political vanity project by Gareth Morgan, nothing else, and it will fail, so Greens, Labour and others may rather focus on getting their shit sorted, and get clear programs and messages with real alternatives out, rather than even bother thinking too much about this, and I am sure the Nats will not be impressed or worried at all, their machinery with lots of money behind seems to work under the present conditions.

  19. Gareth – what have you done with your millions to help NZ except make a whole lot of cat lovers cringe and make many cats very nervous. Now you want to start a new divisive un-named party instead of helping out the mostly healthy team that wants to remove the worst and most destructive govt. we have had. Between you and Chris Trotter, National will have a fighting chance and isn’t that as insane as it gets. You both think that you are helping but are you really ? or are you both creating more division and more chaos and frustration as National laughs and laughs.

  20. think Gareth Morgan’s announcement of a Party vote only Party focused on pragmatic solutions over riding dogma would have a huge appeal to urban male voters who vote National by default. They are educated and uncomfortable with the inequality around them but wouldn’t vote Green or Labour.

    All the men I know who fit this category think he is tosser. He gets to mouth off, because he is rich, BUT he is only rich because of his son….tosser.

    • Jo I agree with the first part of your comment. I think Gareth will appeal to a lot of uncommitted Nat voters.
      I can’t agree with your last two sentences. Morgan was very well off before Trademe came along. He has done fantastic things for philanthropic reasons since his lucky strike via Sam.
      As an aside, we own (or are servants to ) two cats yet I fully understand his points about cats because they are absolutely true ! Cats are killers , and feral cats are a huge problem.

  21. The US election shows, left or right are no longer what matters, many people are unhappy, why do we bother with a useless Labour Party and why do we not throw our weight behind a new, reformist and inspiring, more radical party?

    I argue that Bernie Sanders would have done a damned lot better than Clinton, the questionable candidate, and indeed I suspect some Sanders supporters may even have voted Trump in protest, to send a message to the fucking establishment.

    We need to deal to the same here in NZ, the fucking establishment, and the rot of that establishment includes Key and Nats and also Labour, we need to get rid of this shit.

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