Labour stands behind Mallard and sets fire to its political credibility


It says a lot about the Labour government that it has spent such an extraordinary amount of political capital defending and shepherding Trevor Mallard through the last five years – not to mention earlier in his career. 

On what other single issue has the government taken so much flack but battled doggedly on nonetheless? 

Child poverty? No. Building state houses? No. Tacking climate change? No. Making farmers pay for polluting waterways and trashing the environment? No.  

Three waters? Perhaps – but not the decades long history of taking hit after hit defending Mallard’s awful, adolescent behaviour.

Labour has burned up huge amounts political credibility with misplaced loyalty towards one of its long-standing MPs who never grew up or matured into anything. Tribal loyalty trumps loyalty to party principles. 

As Minister of Education in the previous Labour government he made a name for himself by closing small country schools – gutting rural communities from one end of the country to the other. What else will he be remembered for? Nasty, venal behaviour. 

He has been a career politician of the Labour tribe. That’s all. He has served his time and Labour is putting him out to pasture as the Ambassador for Wine and Cheese in a European capital.  

Another example of the abuse of power by successive Labour and National governments who use lucrative overseas appointments to solve their internal party problems.

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One way of helping break the crippling tribal politics of the big parties could be bringing in genuine proportional representation by scrapping the 4% threshold for a party to enter parliament.

It is precisely because Labour and National vehemently oppose such a policy that it should be enacted. These cosy Political Veterans Clubs need to be forced to work much harder for the privilege of political leadership of the country.


    • Bob “ Knighthood looming ?” That’s such a grotesque suggestion that it is probably true. Trevor Mallard’s reward is government’s way of bullying all of us, of reminding us who is boss.

    • @Bob Sir Trevor I wouldn’t be surprised. To wildly speculate for a moment, one has to wonder why he’s worth so much protection and deference? Is it just to save embarrassing the party at the cost of party credibility? Maybe he knows where the skeletons are kept so needs to be pampered into retirement and beyond.

    • Almost guaranteed to get it.
      After all, he will one of our top diplomats right?
      To think that piece of trash could possibly be diplomatic makes me cringe.
      I think there is a better than even chance he hits someone during his time overseas.

      Knighthoods for all politicians are disgraceful, but I think this one takes the cake.

  1. A kick in the guts from an adolescent arrogant government to the people about whom it cares nothing at all.
    Jacinda Ardern needs to justify why she is behaving in this way.

  2. Is it more that he was Labour’s ‘heavy’ and simply knows too much? Any attempt previously ran the risk of exposure and mutually assured destruction?

    I think if faced with the option of going quietly or taking the whole ship down with him, Mallard would historically have taken the latter option.

  3. I hope he is off to the Ukraine as an Ambassodor for NZ!
    Considering the Dr PM has declared War on Russia! Mallard should be on the front line doing his best to bring peace! And to make sure that Nazis in the Ukraine don’t mess the place up!!

  4. Yeah, pretty disgraceful from our PM and Labour in general but hey, it’s only public money they’re using to fix their own issues! I honestly cannot tell the difference between them and National on most fronts.

  5. There’s a lot to be said for scrapping the threshold. Opponents always argue that this would allow ‘fringe’ or ‘hateful’ elements in, but we already have ACT, who consistently push policy that hurts 99% of New Zealanders. If we had a Samoan Nazi party that supported the enslavement of all non-Samoans it’d be standing up for the rights of more New Zealanders than ACT does.

  6. Of course there will be a knighthood.
    I have never forgotten Mallard making that comment about putting a bottle up someone’s backside, just appalling stuff, he should have gone then!

    The political parties need to stop giving these jobs to failed politicians. Yes he was there for years be he is a failed politician.

    • I’d have thought that Trevor should get a Damehood if I didn’t rather like Pantomimes and if some nutter didn’t construe it as sexist or something, but it’s still a dreadful thing to be doing to tragic Mother Ireland who has suffered more than enough from mad white men.

  7. John, serious question. Do you believe the prior speaker David Carter was a promoter of free speech and in particular, was permitted to be a speaker whom ran a dictatorship style of parliament?

  8. Leave Trevor alone, Winstone is being nasty is he jealous cause he didn’t get a diplomatic posting overseas he needs to give it a rest and stop being so vindictive he needs to retire as his party is finished. NZ first was only a one man band we saw it at the last election. Winstone is trying to be relevant and frankly I wish he would just f…k of as any respect I had for him is waning FAST.

  9. I see now Peter Dunny has called Trevor an embarrassment this is the man that legalized synthetic cannabis and did so much damage to our country and many people dropping dead on the streets.

  10. Never fails to amaze me how quickly political parties protect, and reward fellow MPs (perhaps those MPs have something to worry about?), while the rest of the country can jump.

  11. Disgusted with Labour over this. That utter idiot who treated citizens with contempt by using the sprinklers and playing loud music at parliament grounds. Then trespassing 5 former MPs. Not to mention the fight he was involved with in parliament and the bill taxpayers had to pick up when Trev screened rapist.

    Disgusted with Labout. Trev should have been demoted.

    Oh and Louisa Walls Pacific job because Labour wanted to get rid of her not much better

    • Anker It wasn’t just citizens in flimsy tents being watered from above and below and blasted with loud music throughout that freezing cold Saturday night, it was also children. It would have been better had children not been there, but they were. It is at this point that Mallard’s antics become unacceptable by any civilised society’s standards.

      Such a person now being morphed into some sort of diplomat is appalling. Equally appalling are this government’s attempt’s to abolish the Office of Children’s Commissioner without reason. Not a good country to be a child on so many counts.

  12. problem is once again if you hand out ‘honours’ like sweeties they become devalued and pointless, giving gongs to the mediocre makes the gong worthless..roll on the day we don’t have the faux british honours system in NZ.
    As the british troops used to say of the US purple heart..’they come up with the rations’ and if you sit on your arse long enough in the admin class the faux ‘honours’ do indeed come up with the rations.

  13. Quite right John, but the 4% threshold is just one of many undemocratic aspects of the colonialist constitution. We need a radical analysis of colonialist politics in the same way that we need to radically analyse colonialist economics.
    A few starting points.
    Everyone should be able to choose their own constituency. They should be able to choose whether to be represented on the basis of geographic location, party affiliation, hapu or iwi membership, or hapori of any other kind. It follows there should be no fixed size of electorate, no threshold for representation and no maximum number of electorates.
    Everyone should be able to change their representative (rangatira) immediately at any time of their own choosing. It follows that there should be no fixed term for a parliament, no election day and no election campaigns and no “election result”.
    Everyone’s choice of representative should be a matter of public knowledge so that there can be no suspected, alleged or actual electoral fraud and people would be accountable for their choices.
    These three simple changes would deliver a true democracy (rangatiratanga) capable of expressing and responding to the will of the people.

  14. I agree. They (Labour) have burnt up considerable amounts of political capital on defending Mr Mallards’ behaviour which is completely unacceptable as it clearly displays biased attitudes in favour of said Mr Mallard. What they are not counting is the number of middle class heads turning away from them and fixating on National. For what Christopher Luxon, Nicola Willis, and other MP’s in the National caucus can offer them in the way of fresh perspectives, is far superior to the old rotten trout they’ve been getting from Labour.

  15. One way of helping break the crippling tribal politics of the big parties could be bringing in genuine proportional representation by scrapping the 4% threshold for a party to enter parliament.
    John I suggest that you are sheltering a vain hope from last centruy in this as much as Labour has with Mallard.

    We do not want a lot of poisonous toadstools growing up, reaching whatever threshhold, and being served up to us as possibly useful which we have to venture to try to find whether they are benign, very beneficial or causing immediate death or a crippling putrefaction. I know strong antibiotics are needed to control that sort of infection but in a weakened body they wouldn’t hold.. Please stop with 20th century ideas and wishes. They could have worked then who would know, but now we can’t afford to play around with airy fairy ideas that people have carried around their whole lives. Their time has passed. Please come out with practical ideas for scary now, not dusted-off last century’s has-beens.

    • Nonsense there should not be a threshold if X% want a particular party and they have the votes why shouldn’t they have a candidate in parliament. What makes you think they will be poisonous. It is currently stacked for the two main parties neither of which I would ever vote for.

      • Practicality Michal amongst other things. I think a threshhold of 4% is adequate. Every w”’er with strong opinions and able to rally his own gang upsetting any chance of reasoned discussion in Parliament when he/she can is not my idea of good governance. You are one of these dreamers who want to give things a try, let them have a go etc. It isn’t a game like Sim City on the computer. Parliament arranges and impacts on our lives. Free-thinking individuals who want to bring something fresh into Parliament can end up actually showing off a lump of coal, or some new roadkill. I am against young people under 21 becoming MPs, though internship might be the answer.

        But I am inclined to think that those in power should have some special education on the madness of democracies, and how to understand contentious matters to get reasonable conclusions. But also it would be good to have skilled people in material things, makers of articles, doers, not just clever clogs with computers, or in ducking and diving in high finance, or too often, knowing how to extract money from the lower classes, rather like tapping trees to get maple syrup.

        • A dreamer I am not but someone who has demonstrated on the front-line and worked on the front-line.

          All potential politicians should go and work with their party for at least a fortnight, get used to the huge piles of papers required for select committees and all the other stuff, not just the nice things.

          The Greens did this in the 2000s not sure about now.

          There should be no threshold.

    • Sumsuch – this website is not good at making it clear who you are replying to. I always put the name, so that people can tell.
      I probably agree with you, but I don’t know whose points you are referring to.

      • I’m furthest to the left so I’m responding to John’s original article. I have a mechanistic mind so that’s obvious to me.

  16. All good for you to complain about those who have committed their lives to their political thinking … not just for the ongoing, cheap gotcha allegations against others. Certainly, Trevor is far from perfect, but how is his time as house leader any different to John Carter or Lockwood Smith – both of whom ran roughshod over Labour and other left of National parties. Short memories.

    Most folk who commit to life in politics could earn much more money in the private sector – but make a financial sacrifice for the sake of ruling the country – yes, even National and ACT politicians, are doing their ‘time’. An overseas placement seems a reasonable reward for long service in circumstances where such service is not in the financial interests of the politician.

  17. hum…

    The Speaker confirmed he is not considering making further changes to the Parliament prayer. But he said he would “consider” any proposals made by the committee.
    He said it was “particularly clear from the Jewish community” that changes should be made.

    so the prayer in parliament goes something like this:

    Dear God, didn’t you tell us we were meant to prosper? Shabbat Shalom


    • Ginhag. I don’t believe it was “ particularly clear from the Jewish community “ that the Christian Lord’’s prayer should be abolished in New Zealand. This has never been a concern of educated Jews. Northern hemisphere governments have had Jewish members in both houses for hundreds of years, without getting twitchy about the mode of prayer. But if Trevor Mallard had really felt an uncharacteristic empathy towards another group
      then he could have substituted a blessing from the Old Testament and kept both lots happy, but he didn’t.

      There are New Zealand government departments who mark every occasion with some sort of prayer from the Maori community without being concerned about whether this exclusivity in insensitive to non-Maori. It’s all akin to 21stC cultural warfare.

  18. Agree with scrapping the threshold in principle, but the largest demographic not currently represented in parliament is fundamentalist Christians (New Conservatives etc). The other main beneficiary would be TOPS. Also keeping the threshold high improves the chance of keeping out Winston and his kingmaker bullshit. So from a purely selfish lefty perspective, we’re better off keeping the threshold where it is at the moment.

    • Just because Winston is still around is not a good enough reason to have a cut off percentage.
      I’d like to see some TOPS people in there.

      But the greatest problem really are the ministries themselves and who they are run and guided by.

      Most of them have a neo liberal agenda – and a number of them have refused to do things their minister has asked them to do.

    • Bob None of this adds up. A senior person from a controversial government department indicated to me last week that Ireland isn’t an important or prestigious diplomatic posting, the implication being that Mallard had to be given “something”.

      • Yes SW and why does he deserve anything he’s been a bully forever.
        How bully and diplomat match is beyond me.

  19. About the MMP threshold, I’d like to see someone follow in Arthur Taylor’s footsteps – it must be possible to seek a declaratory judgement that the threshold breaches the NZ Bill of Rights

  20. I prefer no low bar, 5 or 4 or 3 %. I’m not happy voting Green. Some independent having the carrying vote is worth it for me being able to vote for my view of reality. Since I’m right. And we on the true Left are right.


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