MEDIAWATCH: Greg Presland’s meltdown tantrum Sepuloni blog and the limitations of identity politics journalism 



‘Historic moment’: Carmel Sepuloni is NZ’s first Pasifika deputy prime minister

Carmel Sepuloni will make history as New Zealand’s first deputy prime minister of Pasifika heritage.

The Labour Party Pasifika caucus celebrated her promotion on Sunday, with the excitement bubbling over even before incoming Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and the full Labour caucus had confirmed her role.

But there are some questions, most vocally from Te Pāti Māori, about what the role of tangata whenua would be in the Hipkins-led Government.

This is such appalling identity politics journalism even for Stuff!

Where the Christ is the analysis of Carmel’s terrible decisions on welfare and Oranga Tamariki?

How can celebrating her identity trump analysis of her time as Minister of Social Welfare in a Labour Government?

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How can her not implementing the Welfare Expert Advisory Group recommendations or amputating Oranga Tamariki oversight not be forefront in analysing Carmel’s appointment as Deputy?

Instead we get diversity virtue signals masquerading as journalism minus any class analysis of her time in power!

Greg Presland’s meltdown tantrum over at The Standard in defending Carmel’s appointment has to be read to be believed.

He argues that Carmel changed the culture of MSD Offices and has lifted 66 500 children out of poverty while claiming my criticism of Carmel is due to her being a woman which is quite possibly the dumbest thing Greg Presland has ever said.

My criticism of Carmel has nothing to do with her being a woman, and has everything to do with the terrible decisions she has made as Minister towards the most vulnerable.

If Greg wants to lock into a woke identity politics lens and claim my criticism is because Carmel is a woman, surely he must then expand that woke identity politics lens and acknowledge that many of the must vulnerable are in fact women and Carmel is doing that because she secretly hates women.

See how redundant that viewpoint is?

I will concede Greg that I am wrong when I quote…

None of the 42 key recommendations made by the Welfare Expert Advisory Group (WEAG) in February 2019 have been fully implemented, according to a stocktakereleased today [MONDAY 30 NOV] by the Child Poverty Action Group. Of the 126 detailed recommendations, only 4 (3%) have been found to be fully implemented.

…because that was the first report from 2020. The 2021 report hilariously argues that of the 42 key recommendations, NONE of them have been completed with only 22 partially implemented…

Govt yet to fully implement a single key WEAG recommendation nearly three years on: new research

None of the 42 key recommendations of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group (WEAG) have been fully implemented almost three years after the report release, with 22 minimally or partially implemented, new research by the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has found.

In February 2019, following consultation with over 3,000 New Zealanders, government-appointed WEAG experts recommended complete reform of the welfare system, providing 42 key recommendations and 126 detailed recommendations to inform this overhaul.

The Government’s vision – for a welfare system where people have an “adequate income and standard of living” – is not being realised, according to CPAG researchers and report co-authors Caitlin Neuwelt-Kearns and Professor Emeritus Innes Asher. In their second annual stocktake of implementation of WEAG’s recommendations, they found progress in improving the welfare system to be “slow, patchy and piecemeal”.

“If transformative welfare reform had been introduced as WEAG recommended, our communities would have been better equipped to withstand crises, including a pandemic,” says Professor Asher, who also served as a WEAG member. “Accelerating welfare reform would be an appropriate response to Covid-19 – but so far we have seen slow implementation progress, with no acceleration from last year.”

…so it’s worse than I originally claimed. I thought they had implemented 4. Turns out they have implemented none.

As for the 2022 report, Professor Susan St John has written much on why that report isn’t credible.

Put aside the real lack of traction on welfare reforms, you can’t pretend that removing the Children’s Commissioner from Oranga Tamariki oversight makes things worse for children in state care!

In light of the Royal Commission into historic abuse of children by the State, removing oversight is criminal negligence, not wise social policy!

What’s funniest about Greg’s tantrum in defending Carmel winning Deputy is how the commentators and even fellow bloggers attack his assertions of Welfare wins for beneficiaries in the comments section.

Greg is right however when he argues Carmel has been an influence in pulling the more draconian elements of MSD back from their usual innate cruelty…

No beneficiaries sanctioned for failing social obligations

No one has ever had their benefit cut for failing to have their children in school or early education, or enrolled with a doctor.

…so yes, she has been less cruel than the previous cruelty, but that’s not really much of a vision is it?

We are less cruel than the others! VOTE FOR US!

More destabilising to Greg’s defence is the moment earlier this year when Luxon promised to sanction 2000 disabled teenagers off welfare which was immediately seized on by the Left as evidence of National’s draconian bash the bennies bullshit again.

How quickly our righteousness in attacking Luxon evaporated however when it turned out that Carmel has in fact cut the benefits of around 4000 sick, injured and disabled jobseekers in the last five years because they weren’t preparing to return to work fast enough!

Govt sanctions sick jobseekers for failing to prepare for work

The Labour Government has cut the benefits of around 4000 sick, injured of disabled jobseekers in the last five years because they weren’t preparing to return to work fast enough.

Greg, you claim my criticism of Carmel is because I hate women, that’s a Wellington Runner Mill level smear.

Look Greg, I shouldn’t have to be wasting energy fighting you, the possibility of a romper stomper hard right ACT/National Government would be the worst thing this country has seen and will damage friends, family and loved ones in communities we live in and care about.

An ACT/National Government is the real enemy here, while you’re just an annoying little prick.

Here’s what I’ll offer Greg.

I will gladly stop criticising Carmel as Deputy and accept I’m a bad women hating person for questioning her AND I’ll publicly pledge my vote to Labour IF you get Carmel, now she is Deputy, to implement all the WEAG recommendations, review all those 4000 sanctions and re-appoint the Children’s Commissioner to have oversight of Oranga Tamariki with the budget to investigate.

You have argued Carmel is great, you claim she is a friend to working people, well, now she is in a position of actual power, simply rewind these 3 terrible decisions AND you get my Labour vote as well!

This is a win win win win for you Greg! You get to one up me (which clearly you need), Carmel does the right thing for all those vulnerable people, all those vulnerable people get transformative change AND you get an extra vote for Labour!

If Carmel is as good as you claim, I look forward to the press release announcing WEAG recommendations, reappointment of the Children’s Commissioner providing oversight of Oranga Tamariki and a review of the 4000 teens we threw off welfare.

I support Chippy as Leader and would gladly support Carmel as Deputy if the latter rescinded the terrible decisions she made as Minister.

This isn’t a case of the perfect eclipsing the good, it’s a case of the stupid eclipsing the ignorant, Carmel has overseen terrible decisions and pretending otherwise so we can all cheer an identity politics win is just beneath the trauma of what is happening in our most vulnerable communities.


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  1. it’s got nowt to do with gender or race she did nothing to help the poor.

    look at press conferences around the world how many put up female bosses or spokeswomen…ladybosses are no better than the school tie brigade get used to it…the old 70s ‘if women where in charge there’d be no war’ now just looks stupid, ‘women have a more collegiate style’ when they’re not backbiting mean girls…now that is sexual equality a level playing field in the incompetence/unpleasentness race… and before anyone starts rightard crowing men are every bit as bad.

  2. Well put Martyn. Carmel was a good campaigner against Paula Bennett out West and I have met her personally and it was quite apparent she barely knows what a class analysis is unfortunately.

    I think she over compensates in favour of the MSD tops partly because of her mother’s benefit fraud conviction, but hey that is just my opinion.'s-mother-sentenced-for-benefit-fraud

    Implement WEAG now! It is an insult to working class NZers, and the likes of Robert Reid and Susan St.John and other experts in the field not to do so.

    • When I knew her early in her political career she didn’t even know Douglas and Prebble had been Labour party ministers. At least she doesn’t bring any ideological baggage to her role. She is an adept surfer. Started on the Little wave caught the Adern monster and now is coasting to shore with Chippie.

  3. I have met Greg Presland. And I think he is a great guy. Greg Presland is not a party hack or a I-wanna-be-an-MP careerist. Modest an unassuming and decent is Greg Presland. He really does care for people, and I count him on the left and as an ally.

    In his many written contributions to The Standard, most of which I have enjoyed reading. Now and then in in his writing Greg Presland has described himself as “Tribal Labour”.

    Or to put it in other words ‘My party right or wrong’. This sectarian world outlook means that sometimes Greg has to defend the indefensible.

    In his defence Labour, and the Left of Labour generally, have suffered a blow. We are all hurting. An unprecedented and well funded orchestrated hate campaign coming from the far right of the political spectrum has brought down one of the best and most able New Zealand Prime Ministers in my lifetime, and I remember Norman Kirk.

    Sensing enemies all around Greg Presland feels the need to circle the wagons. ‘My Party Right or Wrong’ is his fallback defensive position.
    Who knows, maybe Greg Presland’s support for Carmel Sepuloni during this period of crisis could end up being temporary and conditional on her righting her policy mistakes of the past.
    Let’s hope so.

    • My party right or wrong will be the death of us all. We need the party hacks, the lifelong members to be the ones that are articulating much needed critisism. Martyn puts it quite well, Winz was badly served under N and under L. Time to do something before it is too late.

    • “My Party Right or Wrong”
      If someone cannot even attempt to call balls and strikes without fear or favour then everything they say should be viewed with skepticism.

    • I know Greg from West Auckland and agree with you Pat. Just don’t expect revolutionary politics from him. A shame because he is good in the local community but rolls with the LP which keeps the members at arms length in favour of “the Parliamentary wing”.

    • Interesting @Pat.
      I’ve probably been confusing Greg Presland with Lynn Prentice (the latter the world’s best ITC professional, and martyr).
      I haven’t visited TS in what is probably now 2-3 years after being cancelled.
      (I was cancelled for quoting something Parekura Horomia had said to me directly on a Metroliner flight from Gizzie to Wellington. Obviously utterly too unPC for whoever the TS mod was. The comment was a bit like a David Lange moratorium on whaling comment).
      Yep, I’ve definitely been confusing the two me thinks. (shoot me, I’m getting old)

    • Kia ora Pat.

      Thanks for your comment. I am from a long line of staunch working class trade unionists and despite my current middle class status intend to continue with their struggle.

      Bomber I hear you. I have a long term relationship with Carmel which means that I support her. My history with Chippie makes me less inclined to support him so it is a weird place to be in where I respond to you supporting Chippie and attacking Carmel.

      Will think about your challenge and respond.

      Solidarity …

  4. Well Bomber I am as popular at the Standard as rug burn or a nasal covid test.

    The Standard is clearly not above criticism or its writers like the esteemed Mickey Savage and their refreshing arrogance , nasty castigation and their special way they chastise anyone who they consider inferior to their misplaced intellect and are the nasties they purport to despise.

    Writers like Cory Humm I tried to defend but he will decide if it is worth to continue.

    I advised Lyn Prent after one of his nasty putdowns that he may need some counselling or a long look at himself in the mirror.

    Bomber I went down a dark path of Shelob’s web but I made it out alive.

    • I remember being suspended by Lprent for copying a news clip where JA appeared to be telling a half truth. This was leading up to the last election. I was accused of influencing an election and verbally hammered in a “ how dare you way”. The good part was it was a personal reprimand rather than a moderation elimination. The bad part was I didn’t bother going back after the three month suspension. The echo of similar opinions was deafening.

      • I got dealt to for suggesting that Mickey was John Key in drag because of his use of the non word “learnings”. Snippy old Incognito thought I was being abusive. I thought wryly amusing myself, but on reflection and a month in sack cloth and ashes, I drew the line at the hair shirt, I realised Snippy was right, liking anyone to John Key is abusive.

  5. Without even mentioning the Families package, the idea that little has been done since 2017 is misleading.

    Since 2017 unemployment has gone from 4.7 to 3.3% unemployed

    The MW increased from $15.75 in 2017 to $21.20 an hour in 2022. The extent of increase (34%) is greater than that for increases in power and rent and power over the same period.

    Benefits went up 33% – $237 to $315 for the Job Seeker Benefit also greater than the increases in power, rent and power in the same period

    Main benefits are now linked to average wage growth for the first time in New Zealand’s history.

    A significant increase in the amount that beneficiaries could earn before abatement applied was increased – from $90 to $160 for singles and $115 to $160 for those with children.

    And remember the Winter Power Income Supplement is extra.

    There was the Accommodation Supplement increases in 2018, the first since 2005 (a further increase is currently under review).

    free school lunches to more than 220,000 students

    funded the removal of school donations to ease financial pressure on parents

    permanently halved the price of public transport for Community Service Cardholders\

    The linked report below shows

    “Government support has lifted incomes for Beneficiaries by 40 percent over and above inflation since 2018. The report takes into account inflation data from up to March 2022 and reports a 43 percent rise in After Housing Cost incomes. When adjusted for recent changes to inflation the increase in total incomes in real terms is 40 percent. This figure does not take into account the Winter Energy Payment which is currently being received by 1.1m New Zealanders.”

  6. Presland has colonial ships in mind, and views Carmel’s torso as the figurehead on the Labour ship of state. I’m a bit nostalgic for some of the past, but can’t contemplate going back that far.

  7. Just wait u8ntil parliament starts and see Luxon blabbering away and ask how he is going to deal with the economy. Jacinda has left the economy with
    – the lowest inflation in the world,
    – record low unemployment,
    – low level of debt
    – record terms of trade
    – building/construction boom
    – record social housing (Natz haven’t added to Aotearoa stock in 25 years)
    – Ram raids and random shootings addressed
    – $5.8bn into health in 5 years, Natz $780m in 3 years
    – NATZ Sinking lid on police numbers at same time as key invited 501s into Aotearoa
    – increased wages – Don Brash’s plea to Key to match Australia.
    – improved child poverty numbers
    – fewer homeless on streets – keys legacy fill streets with homeless
    – saved 30,000 Aotearoans from covid death
    – told Bishop that dedicated MIQ facilities not required
    – the homeless man Woodhouse was proved a liar
    – those returning kiwis bought in omicron that has killed 3000 Aotearoans

    Thank you Jacinda a world class leader who looked after her citizens while the right made a lot of foolish options that would have killed 30,000 Aotearoans. Enjoy your retirement while the grumpy old tory men and right wing Proud Boys, MAGA & Qnon lunatics will look for someone else to hate.

    Wait until Luxon has to start answer questions i Parliament instead of the tory press giving him a free ride. Did you see the Tory AM show on Monday where dumbo Ryan and Mellisa gave luxon free Natz party political broadcast while they spent 20 minutes trying to catch chippy out.

    Tory times herald at it again with tory aubrey young making things up. Losers like Prebble, Roughan, Trevett and Joyce should be put to pasture. AS I keep saying – how about tory herald and tory talk ZB getting a couple of Raving lefties to balance up their programs. Simon Wilson is the most educated and informed jounalist and explains every thing. his article on Monday was the best ive read.


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