Gillard on NZ Labour

I arrived in Australia a month after Tony Abbott had been elected Prime Minister, a week after Bill Shorten had been elected Labor Leader and a month before Kevin Rudd announced his resignation from Parliament.

It quickly amazed me how after the years of infighting I’d witnessed from overseas, the ALP has had an entire year of stability – and leading in the polls – so quickly after a crushing election defeat. In 11 months I’ve been here, I don’t think I’ve seen any news articles at all about “leadership issues”. The NZLP would be so lucky.

While she’s not explicitly taking sides in the current NZLP leadership battle, she has some wise words none the less…

her new autobiography highlights her belief that disappearing completely after she was ousted by Kevin Rudd last year was the only option for the good of the party.

In the book My Story, the former Labor prime minister warns of the dangers of former party leaders sticking around: “It is almost impossible for someone who has been the leader of a political party to accept and thrive in any other role.”


“Unless you can perform miracles, it’s time to go David”

To be honest, I haven’t really had time to keep up with the volumes that has already been written regarding the (current lack of) leadership of the New Zealand Labour Party.

One piece that has however caught my eye is by an Auckland Labour activist, and Young Labour’s international secretary, Will Matthews.

The last few paragraphs succinctly lay out the land as it is for Labour. The only constructive way for the party to move forward is for Cunliffe to stand aside and pass leadership onto a new generation…

I still think that David Cunliffe would make a fantastic Prime Minister. This withdrawal in support is not because of a loss of faith in his ability. However, as I have said, the context that Cunliffe and Labour now find themselves in mean that the longer it takes for a leader to be elected, the less stable the party.

And if David Cunliffe is elected, the party will certainly not be stable. As far as I can see, Grant Robertson is the only realistic contender.

However, if David Cunliffe can outline a clear plan for how he can lead Labour out of the slump that it is in right now, then it is worth seriously considering retaining him. This seems unlikely though.

It’s difficult to say, but unless you can perform miracles,  it’s time to go David.

Well said, Will.


A party in disarray

The 2014 election was truly extraordinary, and aside from John Key and a handful of Labour candidates in marginal seats, there are far more losers than there are winners.

At only managing 10% of the party vote the Greens have done far worse than anyone expected. They have fallen far short of their target of 15% of the party vote, which many people thought was a fairly conservative goal. Not only that, but they are only marginally ahead of NZ First (party that has an MP so secret no one knows what he did before parliament) as the third largest party in parliament.

To top that off, their conservative party list process has resulted in them only getting one new MP – and they have not made any progress on gender equality or cultural diversity (they still have no Pasifika MPs on a night where Labour put two into safe seats). They had many many talented candidates who are not going to make it.

It will be really interesting to see if any of their longer-standing MPs (Kennedy Graham and Catherine Delahunty in particular) voluntarily retire so the Greens have some fresh blood.

Following the election, Russel Norman & Metiria Turei announced the following achievement of their campaign:

  • Over 6000 of you volunteered your time and energy to the campaign.
  • We door knocked and phoned 60,000 New Zealanders to talk about our visions.
  • We put up 6,500 billboards, delivered 1.8 million leaflets and attended hundreds of community events.
  • And 8,800 of you made a donation to help us run our largest campaign ever.

These metrics look pretty decent. If you take a stab in the dark and assume their average donor gave $20 (I suspect it’s actually considerably higher), they made $176,000 online, which certainly isn’t shabby.

I have no idea what these numbers look like for any of the other parties, but it would certainly be an interesting yard stick for Labour to use in the review of their campaign.

But if these numbers look healthy, why did the Greens do so poorly?

Was it because, as Green cheerleader Danyl McLauchlan has said “their billboards were really fucking weird”?

Did they put too much focus into getting money off people and not enough into getting votes?

Did their message just not resonate with the voting public?

Did Laila Harré’s last minute defection to the Internet Party cause massive damage?

Are the Greens even relevant when they try to sell themselves as a party of government while polling at 12%?

No doubt the Greens have considerable soul searching to do. Has the Norman/Turei experiment failed?

One thing is for sure, lots of tweets and celebrity endorsements doesn’t translate into party votes.


The Greens’ new caucus

Despite goals of 15% and 20 MPs, the Greens only managed to just scrape over 10%, with their only new MP being James Shaw, with Steffan Browning missing out on getting back into Parliament. The Greens traditionally pick up an extra seat off special votes, if they do it will be very interesting to see if Steffan accepts it or takes one for the team so the Greens can at least pretend they have revitalised…

MP Seat
Metiria Turei List
Russel Norman List
Kevin Hague List
Eugenie Sage List
Gareth Hughes List
Catherine Delahunty List
Kennedy Graham List
Julie Anne Genter List
Mojo Mathers List
Jan Logie List
Dave Clendon List
James Shaw List
Denise Roche List

Labour’s new caucus

It’s brutal. My expectations weren’t great, but this loss is much worse than I predicted. Labour’s worst defeat since 1922.

Here is Labour’s new caucus…

MP Seat
David Cunliffe New Lynn
David Parker List
Grant Robertson Wellington Central
Annette King Rongotai
Jacinda Ardern List
Nanaia Mahuta Hauraki Waikato
Phil Twyford Te Atatu
Clayton Cosgrove List
Chris Hipkins Rimutaka
Sue Moroney List
Andrew Little List
Louisa Wall Manurewa
David Shearer Mt Albert
Su’a William Sio Mangere
Phil Goff Mt Roskill
Kelvin Davis Te Tai Tokerau
Meka Whaitiri Ikaroa Rawhiti
Megan Woods Wigram
Damien O’Connor West Coast-Tasman
Iain Lees-Galloway Palmerston North
David Clark Dunedin North
Poto Williams Christchurch East
Carmel Sepuloni Kelston
Jenny Salesa Manukau East
Adrian Rurawhe Te Tai Hauāuru
Clare Curran Dunedin South
Rino Tirikatene Te Tai Tonga
Ruth Dyson Port Hills
Stuart Nash Napier
Trevor Mallard Hutt South
Kris Faafoi Mana
Peeni Henare Tamaki Makaurau

Gone are Maryan Street, Moana Mackey, Raymond Huo and Carol Beaumont.


Grindr on Scottish independence

Check out this rather amusing use of Grindr as a very unscientific poll on Scottish independence. Some very funny responses…

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The Māori seats

One of the pecularities of MMP is that because of the proportional representation provided by the party vote, there is virtually no electoral benefit to winning electorate seats (there are other political benefits, which I’ve touched on previously). So even though it looks like a few seats like Napier and Christchurch Central might come down to the wire, the outcome isn’t going to change who forms government.

The one exception to that is of course parties that use the “coat-tailing” rule – that is, they get less than 5% of the party vote but still get an electorate MP and possibly some list MPs due to winning an electorate seat.

Given the survival of the Māori and Internet Mana parties both rely on winning a Māori electorate seat (as they are both polling consistently below 5%), these seven seats can actually have a very important impact on the makeup of Parliament.

One of the other unique things about the Maori seats is that they are the only electorate seats that regularly get polled. Māori TV have commissioned a series of polls from Reid Research (and TVNZ’s Marae used to also poll). I’ve compiled this years poll results, plus the results from the 2011 election and the 2011 poll results (where I can find them – if anyone has any of the missing numbers please send them through!).

It’s worth taking these results with a grain of salt – the sample sizes are very small (normally 400) and that, combined with poor turnout in the Māori seats make for lots of inaccuracies.

That said, today’s Te Tai Tokerau poll is the tightest yet – with Hone Harawira polling only one point ahead of Labour’s Kelvin Davis. If Kelvin manages to win the seat (and a good turnout operation could certainly help close that gap), then the Hone Harawira/Kim Dotcom farce is over.

Interesting times indeed.

Note: All numbers are candidate, not party vote.

Electorate Candidate 2011 poll 2011 result 2014 poll
Te Tai Tokerau Labour 35 35 37
Māori Party 20 16 9
Mana 42 41 38
Greens - - -
Tāmaki Makaurau Labour 23 35 27
Māori Party 58 40 28
Mana 14 16 14
Greens 3 8 7
Waiariki Labour 22 25 17
Māori Party 56 43 50
Mana 22 32 21
Greens - - 2
Hauraki-Waikato Labour ? 54 57
Māori Party ? 16 14
Mana ? 21 10.4
Greens - - -
Ikaroa Rāwhiti Labour ? 41 37
Māori Party ? 20 18
Mana ? 26 21
Greens ? 11 6
Te Tai Hauāuru Labour ? 30 29
Māori Party ? 48 32
Mana ? 9 10
Greens ? 11 11
Te Tai Tonga Labour 35 41 48
Māori Party 46 32 17
Mana 9 8 9
Greens 10 15 9

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