Home > The Body Politic > The secret of National’s success – revealed.

The secret of National’s success – revealed.

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labour mana greens internet

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1. Preface

Firstly, a disclosure on my part: I am a Green Party supporter (though by no means ‘wedded’ to that  particular party – or any party for that matter).

Secondly, it is not often I write a piece criticising others on the Left. I have long held the opinion that the Left needs to work together to achieve common goals, and that public displays of discord only serves to play into the hands of the Right.  And really, do we need to give the Right any further ammunition? Especially free of charge?!

2. What the hell is going on?!

Going by recent public comments made by Labour MPs and candidates, it seems that the Labour Party is either planning to sit this election out – or some of it’s higher-ranking public individuals are out of control.

How else to explain recent statements made in the mainstream and social media by Labour people, attacking others on the Left?

A few examples.

Kelvin Davis on 28 May  (see video at 1.29);

“People can see that this is just a stitch-up and I don’t think they like seeing Tai Tokerau being traded off like that. I think they’re taking the voters of Tai Tokerau for granted.”

Chris Hipkins on 30 May;

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chris hipkins - unprincipled sell outs - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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The above ‘tweet’ was supported by none other than ACT Party-member, Peter McKeefry;

and we look forward to you Chippie slamming the corruption of democracy by the left in general debate.

Meanwhile, also on 30 May,  Labour MP and one-time Party leader, Phil Goff, added his three cents worth on Facebook;

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Phil Goff - facebook - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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Goff makes the point,

I am also opposed to anyone buying a political party and buying influence by splashing out $3 million as Dotcom proposes.”

Funny. That is precisely the same smear that the Right continually throw at Labour: that unions are “buying influence” with their donations to the Labour Party campaign ‘war chest’.

It can only be a facepalm moment when a senior, experienced, supposedly politically-savvy Labour politician utters a statement that parrots and validates Right-wing bullshit. Nice one, Phil. Got anything on ‘lazy benes’ spending up large on SkyTV, booze, and drugs?

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Chris Hipkins on 31 May;

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chris hipkins - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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Right-wing blogger and National apparatchik, David Farrar, caught on very quickly when Kelvin Davis re-tweeted one of National Party supporter, Hamish Price’s tweets, and posed this question;

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David Farrar - kelvin davis - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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Hipkins again, on 1 June;

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chris hipkins -dodgy deals - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

 

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And just to make sure we all got the gist of his attacks on small parties (aka, Internet-Mana), Hipkins threw this ‘grenade’ into the mix on the same day;

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chris hipkins - small parties - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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Of all the statements put out by Labour’s MPs, that one has to be the most asinine yet – as blogger Jackal (et al) tried to point out to Labour’s Napier candidate, Stuart Nash;

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jackal - jackal blog - stuart nash - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

 

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Kelvin Davis seems unable to comprehend that a “Labour victory” is unobtainable if Labour shafts potential coalition partners.  He could not answer the simple question; “How will you achieve a Labour  victory without coalition partners“?!

This simple fact not lost on National – and the Nats have consistently out-ranked Labour in every  poll to date! (More on this point in a moment.)

Twitter-user, Andrew Riddell  tried (in vain) to point out the futility of Labour’s attacks on Mana-Internet – and was “rewarded” with a very bizarre, Winston Peters-like evasive response by Labour’s Education spokesperson and MP for Rimutake, Chris Hipkins;

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chris hipkins -andrew riddell - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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Kelvin Davis on 2 June;

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kelvin davis - twitter - ngatibird - laila harre - Mana party - internet party - labour party.

Kelvin Davis’ hardline statements were supported by rightwing Twitter members such as Hamish Price, Manoja St John – and by right-wing, National-supporting blogger, Keeping Stock;

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keeping stock -  mark mitchell - kelvin davis - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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Note who “Favourited” Keeping Stock’s tweet – Kelvin Davis and  National Party MP, Mark Mitchell (red arrowed).

Amazingly, it was ‘ordinary’ Twitter users who tried to talk sense into Labour’s MPs and candidates;

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They want to be be in opposition. They can’t even function together as one team.

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Ppl don’t have the confidence to vote left bcause they can’t see how we will work together. Fix this!

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For someone who is pro-MMP you show a real inability to think in terms of left and right blocs.

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why use strategic friends and allies when you can just lose all by yourself?

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if u want to win need to get around your heads around the fact that MMP rules allow what happened and be more magnanimous

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that is not constructive. Think outside the “two big parties” box please.

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another crack at your future coalition partners.. It’s like you know you’re going to lose….

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Gee, , I’ve never heard you be so purposefully insulting … oh, wait. Yes I have.

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Speaking of sell outs.. I remember the time in 1984 when I voted Labour and got neoliberalism instead.

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Kelvin,you are in the wrong party .. join the Nats and make a REAL difference

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It is counter productive for the left to dis the left Instead its smarter 2 wish them well & focus on a left win

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Even more kinda sorta ironic that the Kelvin Scale is used to determine absolute zero.

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how many tory votes do you think that tweet scored you?

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Pull your head in .clowns like urself are gonna cost THE LEFT thats right THE LEFT. this election.

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Is Labour on a kamikaze mission? Goff, Davis & now Nash slagging off coalition partners. This is damaging.

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more the left stands undivided the easier it is for the country to think the right is the only consistent choice

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The last (but not really – there were many, many more)   made the point that really counts.

3. The Primal Urge to Self-Destruct?

I’m not sure what ‘game’ Labour is playing at here. Obviously they are trying to grab potential votes that might accrue to Mana-Internet – but the process they are using is so utterly destructive that it beggars belief.

In an MMP environment, both National and Labour need smaller parties as coalition partners. This was amply illustrated in 2011, when National all but endorsed John Banks for the Epsom electorate, and made Katrina Shanks an electorate candidate-in-name-only in Ohariu, to allow Peter Dunne the opportunity to win.

National fully understands the realpolitik of MMP.

Labour – it appears – is still playing by First Past the Post rules.

National set the rules for MMP  on 14 May 2013, when Justice Minister Judith Collins told the House that National would be rejecting the Electoral Commission’s recommendations to abandon the ‘coat tailing’ provision and to reduce the party threshold from 5% to 4% [which this blogger supports]. Collins gave the weak excuse,

“Mr Speaker, of course I did not hold the MMP Review. That was a matter that was undertaken by the Electoral Commission. But I can also say that I made it very clear that we need concensus on these matters for any change and there is no concensus for any change.”

The “concensus” that Collins referred to was ACT and Peter Dunne opposing the scrapping of coat-tailing because it would significantly damage their electoral chance to win extra seats with that provision.

As Gordon Campbell wrote;

National can hardly bitch and moan about this outcome either. For nearly 15 years, it campaigned loud and long against the evils of MMP and railed for a review of its shortcomings. Yet then Justice Minister Judith Collins promptly and cynically shelved the MMP review findings, once National realised that the review’s main recommendation – that the electorate seat coat-tails now being used by Harawira and Dotcom should be abolished – would hurt its own chances of getting Colin Craig and his Conservatives and the Act Party’s latest minion in Epsom onside, and into Parliament. If the Mana/Dotcom arrangement looks like cynical pragmatism, it is merely par for the course.”

Labour needs to get their head around one simple reality; that it must – must! – play by the rules which National have set. Playing by another set of rules will result in losing the election in September and staying on the Opposition benches.

If Labour is trying to paint itself as “principled” – they have failed. Right wing blogs and even msm journalists have tarred both main parties with the same brush, as TV3 journalist, Patrick Gower did in 2011, with an outrageous claim about Labour doing “dirty deals” with the Greens. (For the record, since 2002, the Greens’ policy has been to campaign for the Party Vote, not the Electorate Vote. Gower was making sh*t up when he claimed – without any actual evidence – that Labour and the Greens colluded in Ohariu in 2011.)

Being “principled” will not prevent public attacks by  right-wing commentators; headline-hunting conservative msm journos; business interests; National/ACT; etc.

Being “principled” will simply give National a free run in this years’ election.

Being “principled” and attacking potential allies will result in under-mining potential coalition partners.

Being “principled” and attacking potential allies will result in looking weak and fractured, in the eyes of the public.

Being “principled” and attacking potential allies smacks of dis-unity. Dis-unity, in the eyes of the public, is not a Government-in-waiting. It is Labour unable to set aside self-interest and  party-politics for the good of the nation.

If the public perceive that Labour is more interested in attacking it’s own potential allies – and here is the nub of the problem – then why should people vote for such a fractious party that appears unable to work alongside said potential allies?

National – polling in high 40s and low 50s – cultivates potential allies.

Labour – polling in high 20s and low 30s – undermines, attacks, and marginalises it’s own potential allies.

Contrast Labour’s current destructive pattern of behaviour with National’s attitude, as repeated ad nauseum by John Key;

 We’ve shown we can deliver strong and stable government and can work with other parties for the good of the country, even when those parties have different policies.

Labour says that it will campaign on it’s own policies.

So does National.

But the difference  – the B-I-G difference – is that in doing so, National does not attempt to subvert the chances of it’s potential allies. Quite the contrary, it nurtures it’s potential coalition partners like a farmer tending to his flock.

Is this “dirty deal-making” as sensationalist media headline-mongers keep hysterically screaming?

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Patrick Gower - laila harre - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

Patrick Gower - twitter  - Mana party - internet party - labour party

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– or has National understood what the public really, really, really want; constructive co-operation between political parties?

How many times have we heard the public say, “why can’t they work together for the good of the country?”.

Well, National’s strategists have understood and implemented this very simple truism; the public do not like seeing squabbling politicians. The public want political parties to work together, collegially  to solve pressing problems.

That is why Key keeps repeating his mantra,

 We’ve shown we can deliver strong and stable government and can work with other parties for the good of the country blah blah blah.. 

That is why National is high up in the polls.

That is why Labour is floundering and losing support. And respect.

That is why the latest Roy Morgan poll – the most reasonably accurate of all polls (except the one that really counts on Election Day) – had this recent shocking result;

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National (52.5%) surges to election winning lead while Labour/ Greens (38%) slump to lowest since last New Zealand Election as Greens propose a Carbon Tax to replace the Emissions Trading Scheme

Today’s New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows a strong gain in support for National (52.5%, up 7%) now at their highest since before the last New Zealand Election and well ahead of a potential Labour/Greens alliance (38%, down 6%) – almost matching their performance at the 2011 New Zealand Election at which the two parties polled a combined 38.5%.

Support for Key’s Coalition partners has also improved with the Maori Party 1.5% (up 0.5%), ACT NZ (1%, up 0.5%) and United Future 0% (unchanged).

Support has fallen significantly for all Opposition parties with the Labour Party down 1.5% to 29%, the Greens down 4.5% to 9% (the lowest support for the Greens since September 2011), New Zealand First 4.5% (down 1.5%) and Mana Party 0.5% (down 0.5%). Support for the Conservative Party of NZ is 1% (unchanged) and the Internet Party is 0.5% (unchanged).

If a National Election were held now the latest New Zealand Roy Morgan Poll shows that the result would be a landslide victory for the National Party and a third term for Prime Minister John Key.

 

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That is why the Left will lose on 20 September.

Unless Labour radically changes tack and demonstrates to the public that they are more interested in working together with potential partners – than wrecking their chances at winning votes – voters will be put off. Telling the public that Labour “can work with other parties after the election” is not good enough. Labour must show it can do it.

Otherwise, as one quasi-fascist right-wing blogger put it, the public will perceive that “things are falling apart for the Labour Party“.  He may have a valid point.

Again, as Gordon Campbell stated,

 Labour may just be mule-headed enough – and tribally fixated on the FPP-era of politicking – to try and get rid of Harawira at all costs, and thereby torpedo one of its main chances of forming the next government.

At which Scott Yorke at Imperator Fish added;

 How not to win an election…

…Pretend that we still have a First Past the Post electoral system.”

It is supremely ironic that National – the champion of the Cult of Individualism – can work collectively and collegially with other political parties. But Labour – a party of the left, which espouses collective action for the greater good – is desperately and greedily scrabbling for votes for itself and attacking  potential allies.

Also ironic is that the current MMP rules were set by a National government for the benefit of National. When other parties such as Mana-Internet try to use those very same rules, the reaction from National,  the media, and other right wing commentators, is both vicious and sustained.

Unfortunately, Labour have bought into National’s strategy.  The concept of “principles” – which utterly eludes the Right – has been used to frame the issue of small, left-wing parties “coat tailing” into Parliament. It is “un-principled” when the Left does it.

When National does it, they are being “pragmatic” and duly ignore the shrill screams of the likes of Gower, Garner, et al.

Because in the final analysis, National has sussed perfectly well what the public wants.

We have three months to do likewise.

Or we will lose.

 

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References

TVNZ News: Former MP Laila Harre tipped as Internet Party’s new leader

Twitter: Chris Hipkins

Facebook: Phil Goff

Twitter: David Farrar

Twitter: Hamish Price

Twitter: Chris Hipkins

Twitter: Chris Hipkins

Twitter: Jackal (Jackalblog)

Twitter: Andrew Riddell

Twitter: Chris Hipkins

Twitter: Kelvin Davis

Twitter: Keeping Stock

Fairfax media: Government’s MMP review response slammed

TV3: John Key’s State of the Nation speech – the main points

Kiwiblog: Mana-Dotcom Alliance

TV3: Dirty electorate political deals, done dirt cheap

Twitter: Patrick Gower

Roy Morgan Poll

Previous related blogposts

The Mana-Internet Alliance – My Thoughts

Patrick Gower – losing his rag and the plot

Judith Collins issues decision on MMP Review!

Additional

Fairfax media: Labour MPs not happy with Mana-Internet

Other blogs

The Standard: Labour’s Mana Internet Party dilemma

Gordon Campbell: Gordon Campbell on the rise of Laila Harré

The Daily Blog:  Authoritarian Labour: Why Kelvin Davis needs to STFU – and soon!

The Daily Blog:  Keep Calm And Carry On: Why the Left should ignore the next round of poll results

Imperator Fish: How to win an election

 


 

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Why I am a Leftie

Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 7 June 2014.

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= fs =

 

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  1. Peter Kennedy
    11 June 2014 at 9:28 am

    Yes Frank, this election is here for the ‘left’ to lose, and so far, they’re making a damn good fist of it. No wonder John Key is so cocky. Labour’s strategy reminds me of 2011, when everyone was lining up behind Phil Goff, waiting for him to ‘fall over’, so they could take over. This time it’s the ABC’s. Well, can New Zealand afford for them to play their shytey little game?

  2. 14 June 2014 at 1:29 pm

    I am definitely a left voter (since 1976), not (and never have been) a member of any party, but desperately want a left bloc government after this election. I can’t believe the way Labour is acting.
    They are like a bunch of squabbling children. They need to pull their bloody fingers out, stop dissing other left wing parties, and be just as shit cunning as National is. Forget FPP tactics, this is 2014! We have MMP, the NZ public want MMP, and it is their duty to use to use it to the best of their ability to get a left bloc government. If they have to swallow one or two dead rats then tough shit. They are in politics to look after the poor and downtrodden, and do the best for NZers NOT their own backsides / jobs (or at least that’s the theory). It’s time they got over themselves, and their “principles” and did the job that they have been elected / selected to do.
    And why aren’t they getting out to talk to students at polytechs and other places young WORKING CLASS people get together – my son was at CPIT last year, and this year is an apprentice, like most of his mates – apart from him most of those guys know very little about NZ politics or parties, or have any idea of how MMP works, let alone actually go out and vote. I talked to a couple of them about how the changes NAct want to make to employment law will affect them – they were horrified, but had had no inkling that such changes were in the pipeline.
    The unions are basically broken, thanks to thirty years of neolib policies, so it’s up to Labour ( reminder – your mission is in your name!) to work out some new effective way of reaching these people who you desperately need to vote for a left bloc party. And if they decide in their wisdom to vote for the Greens or Hone et al, then accept it gracefully, and work with them, instead of being so bloody churlish. The coal miners of Blackball would be rolling in their graves. University Labour Party branches are all very well, but in real life the vast majority of working class NZers are never going to get there, you need to be talking to the REAL workers in NZ. A bit old fashioned I know, but they do still exist. We can’t all get IT jobs, and the country would fall apart if we did. Facebook and Twitter probably won’t cut it either, if they’re working manual jobs, they don’t have the time or inclination to faff around with that, in my experience. You need to be a whole lot more direct, like explaining really clearly what upcoming law changes will mean to them personally. The sort of stuff unions used to do in the old days.

    Talk about “fiddling while Rome burns” …. if NAct get back in the country will just be an out post of Empire USA by the time we get another election.

  3. 14 June 2014 at 1:46 pm

    **update**

    Hamish Price, who supported Kelvin Davis is one of his “tweets”, was campaign manager for current National MP and Minister, Nikki Kaye:

    “Hamish (Price, MP Nicky Kaye’s Campaign Manager) is the unnamed National party source…a man closely connected to Michelle Boag and someone who hates me, my father and anyone connected to us.”

    http://www.frontpage.co.nz/news/muldoons-ghost-haunts-whaleoil/

  1. 14 June 2014 at 12:20 am
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