Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;
“Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP http://www.3news.co.nz/Opinion-Hone-and-Dotcoms-grubby-deal/tabid/1382/articleID/346334/Default.aspx#ixzz334vE4jKO Same goes for your pals Hone, Dotcom, Minto and Sykes.”
– is also the same one who interviewed Laila Harre on Saturday, 22 November, on TV3’s “The Nation”? What measure of neutrality did “The Nation’s” producer, Tim Watkin, believe that Gower possessed, to run that interview?
Quite simply, any reasonable individual would have arrived at the conclusion that Gower should have disqualified himself and the role given, instead, to the highly talented Lisa Owen.
Notice how Gower was very well behaved during the interview, when face-to-face with Harré?
But once Harré was off the set and he was with the panel (Mike Williams and Matthew Hooton), the gloves and mask came off and Gower’s vitriol issued forth;
“… She blamed Labour there, she blamed the Greens, she blamed the National Party, she blamed the media, she blamed Georgina Beyer, although she did say-“
“… I think there’s two words for what we saw over there, before and that’s called in denial. Hmmph!”
“… She’s not going to go in with the Greens, she’s betrayed them. Labour won’t have a a bar of her. No chance of Laila Harré coming back to Parliament. And that’s why you see this sort of denial from her. She’s got it horribly, horribly wrong and she still can’t admit it.”
It should be noted that neither Williams (an ex-Labour President) nor Hooton (a right-wing commentator) could possibly comment impartially on the Mana-Internet Alliance. Both Labour and the Right had a unified agenda to smash Mana-Internet at the election (See: 2014 Election – Post-mortem Up-date). There was simply no attempt at balance with the panelists or the the host-interviewer (Gower).
What is abundantly clear is that Gower seemed to lack a certain inner fortitude to say the things he did to the panelists, to Harré’s face.
This was part of an ongoing, unrelenting onslaught against the Left. The same dirty media that saw right-wing, self-professed “media personalities” appointed to host political debates, despite public opposition and cries of partisanship;
There was good reason for public disquiet over Mike Hosking hosting one of the election leadership debates. His political allegiance was already well known;
An example of media bias was clearly shown over the issue of two holidays by two party Leaders. As I wrote on 24 July;
The recent non-story on David Cunliffe’s three day holiday should be proof-positive that the mainstream media (msm) is fixated on pumping out as many “bad news” reporting as can be generated by a headline-seeking; advertising-driven; lazy corporate-media system.
We’re all aware that whilst Cunliffe took a three day break (I’m surprised he bothered to come back, instead of telling this country to go get f- – – – – !), our illustrious Dear Leader was off on a ten-day holiday, sunning his pale, $55 million arse, on a Maui beach in Hawaii.
Whilst the media did indeed mention that salient fact (albeit in passing), it was taken as a given that the leader of a party polling 50%-plus in the polls is entitled to a holiday.
Meanwhile, the leader of a mid-twenties-polling (?) Party is – it was hinted – not entitled to any such break.
The subtext was blindingly obvious; success breeds reward. In this case, a warm, sunny Hawaiian beach.
And failure means you don’t deserve a single damn thing, so get-back-to-work-peasant!
Perhaps the most outrageous, recent political “hatchet job” was the Herald’s character assassination scheme launched against David Cunliffe, using unproven (and later discredited) allegations from immigrant-businessman, Donghua Liu. The story behind Liu’s shonkey allegations; a 13 year old letter; and information strategically released by National minister, Michael Woodshouse, to Herald and TV3 journos, was nothing less than a disturbing abuse of ministerial power and media influence. (See: The Donghua Liu Affair – The Players Revealed)
When a party leader continually receives bad press (eg; condemnation over taking a 3 day break; the colour of the scarf he wore; a manufactured “scandal” regarding a 13 year old letter, etc) what is the mainstream media telling this country?
At one stage the level of attacks against Cunliffe descended into pettiness and farce when, on TV3, on 24 July, TV3’s Tova O’Brien ran this report on their 6PM News bulletin, about Key’s face appearing – photo-shopped – on the cover of the “Rugby News“;
“So once again the blue team gets one over the red team. Yes, it’s cringey, but it’s left Cunliffe looking whingey.”
As I pointed out on 30 July,
Despite the fact that the story was ostensibly about Key getting his face photo-shopped onto a magazine and scoring some free election-year publicity – a supposedly well-educated, “impartial” journo still managed to somehow insert a childish comment about David Cunliffe. That’s despite the fact that Cunliffe’s comments were much more restrained and measured than the criticism made by Winston Peters in the same video.
So there we have it, folks. Even when the story is about John Key – a silly little journo still managed to turn it into a swipe at David Cunliffe.
Such was the mainstream stream leading up to the election on 20 September.
Returning to Patrick Gower, there are three questions I would like to pose to him;
1. Why is it that Gower condemned the Internet-Mana alliance as “sickening” – but not the ACT-National deal in Epsom, with the same intensity?
2. Or the National-NZ First-Maori Party deal to endorse Labour’s Kelvin Davis over Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau?
3. Why was Dotcom’s funding of Mana-Internet such a big deal worthy of condemnation – but millionaires funding National and ACT is barely noted, in passing, if at all?
Otherwise, Patrick, this is not impartial, intelligent journalism.
It’s not even close.
Note to MSM journos, sub-editors (those remaining), current affairs/news producers, et al) – ok, we get the “Stuart Little” reference,
Ho, ho, ho.
But enough already.
It was funny for the first thirty seconds. Now it’s just lame.
Message to journos: don’t be lame. It’s not cool.
For an excellent interview with a political leader (whether Labour, National, Greens, whatever), check out TVNZ’s Q+A today (22/23 November), where veteran reporter/interviewer, Heather du Plessis-Allan interviewed new Labour Leader, Andrew Little. This is how an interview should be conducted; the host asks the questions; the guest is given time to respond, without interuption.
All TV/radio hosts take note.
Twitter: Patrick Gower
Pundit: Tim Watkin
Fairfax Media: Labour claims Hosking’s biased
NZ Herald: Media – Hosking plugs car and Key
TVNZ: Q+A 22/23 November
Previous related blogposts
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 24 November 2014
= fs =
Counting of Special Votes are completed and the Electoral Commission’s final election results have been announced;
National: 47.04 (60 seats – down 1)
Labour: 25.13 (32 seats – no change)
Green Party: 10.70 (14 seats – plus 1)
NZ First: 8.66 (11 seats – no change)
Maori Party: 1.32 (2 seats – 1 electorate, 1 List – no change)
ACT: 0.69 (1 electorate seat – no change)
United Future: 0.22 (1 electorate seat – no change)
Conservative: 3.97 (nil seats – no change)
Internet Mana: 1.42 (nil seats – no change)
2. Total Votes counted by Electoral Commission:
3. Voter turnout (as a percentage of enrolled electors):
4. Advance votes cast:
2011: 334,558 (14.7% of voters)
2014: 717,579 (29.33% of voters)
National lost it’s overall majority in the House, though with ACT’s single MP (and to a lesser degree, Peter Dunne), they will most likely still maintain a de facto majority regardless.
My belief is that National’s party strategists were acutely aware that once Special Votes were counted, they would lose their 61st MP, Maureen Pugh. This was a re-play of the 2008 and 2011 elections, where election night results were only temporary, and National’s numbers were pared back (usually by one seat) after the counting of special votes.
Little wonder that Key and National Party strategists have been very, very, very eager to form coalition deals with ACT, Peter Dunne, and the Maori Party. Despite Key’s noble-sounding public pronouncements,
“It’s more about, you know, the kind of inclusive government we want to have other parties working with us…
But equally, we sort of know each other quite well now, after six years we got a bit of a sense of the areas of importance and significance to each other and in a perfect world we don’t want to pass legislation 61 [to] 60 votes the whole way through, we do want to work with other people.”
Yeah, right, whatever. Key wasn’t being “inclusive” or “magnanimous” – he was playing his cards right, knowing full well what the Electoral Commission was going to deal out to his Party two weeks after Election night results.
National’s coalition deals with three minor parties was their “insurance policy”.
For the next three years, Key will be praying nightly to the political gods for all his MPs to remain alive, loyal, and healthy (in that order). At 60 Members of Parliament out of 121, National cannot afford too many by-elections or defections.
Not just on political life-support by the good graces of the National Party, but more importantly, ACT’s 7,200 drop in their Party vote signifies New Zealanders’ lack of appetite for any further right-wing, neo-liberal “reforms”.
This is something Key and National Party strategist should take careful note of. National’s increase in support may reflect a current preference by voters for a “steady-as-you-go” regime – not further radical moves to the Right.
It is also something that Left-Wing parties should take note: New Zealanders have expressed a subtle distaste for neo-liberalism. We need to capitalise on that.
On a side-issue, if ACT’s Party Vote is destined to reside with a tiny hard-core element of incorrigible, fanatical, right-wing voters, then what is the value of gifting Epsom to ACT if no other candidate will coat-tail into Parliament on the success of someone like John Banks or David Seymour?
There can only be one possible benefit to National: ACT is the “trojan horse” whereby unpopular right-wing policies (eg; Charter Schools) can be introduced as part of sham “coalition negotiations”. As Cameron Slater’s malicious right-wing blog was used to conduct “second track” vicious attack politics on National’s enemies, ACT’s usefulness lies in enacting right wing policies Key may not wish to be closely associated with.
United Future/Peter Dunne
UF’s drop in it’s Party Vote – by well over a half – signifies that voters see Dunne fully as a one-man band. He may continue to win Ohariu on Electorate Votes, but his low Party Vote results preclude any other UF candidates “coat tailing” into Parliament on Dunne’s localised success.
A Party Vote for UF has therefore become a “wasted” vote, and eventually National will ask itself a question, “Why are we supporting Dunne when we might as well go hard out to win the seat ourself, with one of our own candidates?” When the Nats cannot even pin unpopular policies on Dunne – what is his purpose to the centre-right bloc?
As well; the day that Green Party voters wake up to the reality that supporting the Labour Candidate, instead of their Green candidate, with the Electorate Vote, is the day Dunne loses his seat. His presence in Parliament is based purely on some Ohariu Green voters voting shambolically rather than tactically.
Interestingly, the Mana-Internet alliance was the only electorate-based Party to actually increase their overall Party Vote: from 24,168 in 2011 to 34,095 on 20 September. ACT and United Future between them lost much of their support. And whilst the Maori Party lost only 132 Party Votes – they lost two electorates; Tamaki Makarau and Te Tai Hauauru to Labour.
As history shows, Hone Harawira only lost his seat – Te Tai Tokerau – after Labour’s candidate was endorsed by John Key and Winston Peters, along with some very shady back-room dealings by the Maori Party.
Subsequently, the mainstream media, indignant commentators, etc, all piled on to the battered and bruised body of Mana, the Internet Party, Kim Dotcom, and Hone Harawira. However, New Zealanders should never forget;
- Through Kim Dotcom’s refusal to buckle to State power, we discovered that the GCSB had been illegally spying on 88 New Zealand citizens.
- After Kim Dotcom’s efforts, we now know that mass surveillance is being undertaken in this country. This is the new reality which the media seems to have over-looked (as per usual) in their constant demands for sensationalistic news stories (as if living in a mass-surveilled society wasn’t sensational in it’s own right).
- Yes, Kim Dotcom did fund the Internet Party to the tune of around $3 million.
- Compare that to National spending $2,321,216 from wealthy benefactors for the 2011 general election.
- And contrast with the $60,082 Mana spent at the same time. When did the media ever question the David-VS-Goliath battle between National and Mana in 2011? The answer is blindingly obvious.
New Zealand has a fine tradition of giving people a fair go.
We like to think we help one another.
There is also a darker side to our nature. Some call it “The Tall Poppy Syndrome”.
I call it bullying.
Less words. Same meaning.
Something Patrick Gower might reflect on.
Whilst I am no fan of Colin Craig and his ill-considered mish-mash of populist and right wing policies – I do recognise that National’s on-going refusal to carry out reforms to MMP – as recommended by the Electoral Commission in 2012 – is persistently creating bizarre and undemocratic results.
The Conservative Party polled 95,598 Party Votes – three times as high as the Maori Party, which was able to bring in a second MP on Te Ururoa’ Flavell’s “coat-tails”. Yet the Conservatives have no MPs, despite out-polling the Maori Party.
(Yes, I understand that the Conservatives achieved only 3.97% of the Party Vote. But who is say they would not have gained extra votes had the Party threshold been dropped to 4%, as the Commission recommended?)
Of the left-wing parties, the Greens fared better than Labour or Mana-Internet. Clearly, their extra 9,986 Party Votes came from Labour’s drop of 10,402 votes. Their campaign was well-targetted; they stayed consistently on-message; and their Party was not under-mined by loose-cannon-candidates engaging in open sabotage. (ref)(ref)(ref)
At 257,356 Party Votes, the Greens increased their support from their 2011 result ( 247,370 Party Votes). Their overall percentage dropped only because the overall number of Party Votes cast increased this election by 137,492.
NZ First benefitted from the increase in voting this year. The scandals exposed in “Dirty Secrets“, and the political fallout that affected Labour, escaped Winston Peters who has continually portrayed himself as “above petty politics”.
Peters, however, was not quite sufficiently “above petty politics” to under-mine Mana Leader, Hone Harawira, in his bid to retain Te Tai Tokerau. By endorsing Labour’s Kelvin Davis, Peters plotted with John Key and the Maori Party in an unholy, manipulative, venal triumvirate to destroy the Mana Movement.
Peters can get down and dirty with the worst of them, it seems.
Like Peters’ broken promises post-1996, the public will soon forget Peters’ quiet treachery. Unfortunately.
Ye gods, where does one start…?!
- The billboards which promoted electorate candidates – and mentioned the all-important Party Vote in barely-discernible small letters?!
- The constant attacks on a potential coalition support-partner by Labour candidates?!
- Allowing certain media political commentators to frame the narrative on coalition partners – thereby forcing Cunliffe to look too eager to “do the right thing” according to certain pundits?! (ref)(ref)(ref)
- Engaging in internecine warfare, whether pre or post-election – simply the most futile act that Labour could possibly engage in. Did they think no one would notice?
- Changing the leader, post-election. Does that mean Labour never had confidence in Cunliffe in the first place, and this his appointment was a mistake? Does that mean Cunliffe’s replacement may also be a mistake? Does it mean Labour has 100% confidence in their new Leader – until they don’t? So… why should the public have confidence in Labour’s new choice of a new Leader, when s/he may be temporary?
Perhaps Labour’s worst mistake of all the above was constantly deriding the Mana-Internet alliance. The constant attacks on Hone Harawira and his Party signalled to the public that Labour was weak; full of self-doubt and lacking in self-confidence. Labour’s desperation for votes was so dire that they were willing to attack and destroy a potential coalition ally, to cannibalise their electoral support.
That showed weakness.
And the public took note.
Contrast Labour’s treatment of Hone Harawira and Mana-Internet, with how John Key related to ACT, United Future, and the Maori Party: with confidence; courtesy; and collegiality.
When Key refused to make a deal with Colin Craig’s Conservative Party, he did so with professional courtesy. There was never any rancor involved, and despite refusing any Epsom-like deal, Key still left National’s options wide open to work with the Conservatives.
Key even flip-flopped on his previous hand-on-heart promise never to entertain any coalition deal-making with Winston Peters;
“I don’t see a place for a Winston Peters-led New Zealand First in a government that I lead,” – John Key, 2 February 2011
When the public looked at Key, they saw a politician who said categorically he would be prepared to work with anyone.
The public liked that. The public want politicians to work together for the good of the country. Key not only said as much – he demonstrated it by working with parties as disparate as ACT, the Maori Party, United Future, and the Greens (though the latter not in any formal coalition agreement).
When the public looked at Labour, they saw a left wing party willing to consume another left wing party, to further their own selfish agenda.
Key showed collegiality and co-operation.
Labour exuded desperation.
Whoever leads the Labour Party after 18 November – take note.
The closet, political “party” in this election – the mainstream media. Acting much like a ‘spoiler’ for the Left, it did it’s damndest to engage in “gaffe” journalism; focus on trivia (scarves, holidays, etc); and failed to chase up real stories when they hit the public.
The nadir of junk ‘journalism’ came when Mike Hosking interviewed both Nicky Hager and National Minister, Steven Joyce, on 14 August, over revelations contained in the expose, “Dirty Secrets“.
As I wrote previously, when I reviewed this segment of “Seven Sharp”;
I encourage people to watch the opening segment, where Mike “interviews” Minister Steven Joyce, and then interogates and derides author, Nicky Hager.
Any pretence that Mike Hosking is an “unbiased journalist” has been firmly dispatched. The man is a mouthpiece for the National government and his behaviour and line of questioning proved it.
Nicky Hager’s investigations have uncovered practices that can only be described as an abuse of power by this government.
Did Hosking ask challenging questions to the Minister? Answer: no.
Did Hosking put specific examples requiring explanations to the Minister? Answer: no.
Was Hosking’s line of questioning relevant to the book and offer insights to the viewer? Answer: no.
Hosking then asked hard questions from Nicky Hager, who to his credit realised that he was being set up as the “fall guy” for the story.
This was not journalism. Not even close. It was superficial, Fox-style partisan politics masquerading as “informed debate”. Again, not even close.
The only television I have seen in my life that came close to Hosking’s slanted, pro-government performance was during my visits to Eastern European countries in my late teens/early twenties. In those times, Eastern Europe was ruled by well-policed, undemocratic, One Party “communist” regimes. Television “news” was little more than a mouthpiece for the government – no questions asked. There was never even an attempt at balance.
Hosking would have fitted in perfectly.
As far as I am concerned, Hosking’s “talent” lies elsewhere, but not in journalism. Perhaps a PR/spin-man for a cereal company or arms manufacturer or bordello run by the Chow Brothers (he’s already sold his soul, so the other bodily bits should be equally saleable).
On The Daily Blog, on 3 October, Keith Rankin made this pertinent observation
Note that the apparent conservatism of the mainstream media is due it being almost completely bound to the prevailing consensus; far more bound to it than even the politicians themselves.
“So once again the blue team gets one over the red team.Yes, it’s cringey, but it’s left Cunliffe looking whingey.”
Electoral Commission: 2014 General Election – Official Result
Wikipedia: New Zealand general election, 2011
Electoral Commission: Party Votes and Turnout by Electorate
Dominion Post: National loses majority, Greens pick up one
NZ Parliament: The 2011 General Election
TVNZ ‘Breakfast’: Coalition deals signed – ACT and United Future
Radio NZ: Big change in Maori seats
Dominion Post: Lots left to be desired
Twitter: Patrick Gower
NZ Herald: MMP review recommends lower party threshold
Scoop Media: Māori Party’s first list MP Confirmed
Fairfax media: Mallard’s mad Moa blurt
Fairfax media: Winston Peters backs Labour’s Kelvin Davis
Fairfax media: Kelvin Davis blasts Mana Party
Election Ads: James Dann – Labour Party – 2014 General Election
Frankly Speaking: The secret of National’s success – revealed
Radio NZ: Cunliffe says no to Internet-Mana
Fairfax media: Possible coalition line-ups after election
NZ Herald: PM rules out any NZ First deal
TV3 News: Cunliffe apologises ‘for being a man’
The Daily Blog: When the media say they covered Dirty Politics – did they?
TVNZ: Seven Sharp 14 August
The Daily Blog: National Party Spice Boys
TV3 News Bulletin: Tuesday 30 September 2014
TV3 News: Key nestles in with the All Blacks
Previous related blogposts
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 6 October 2014
= fs =
In terms of long-term stability, one party above stands above all others, with the exception of personality-driven groups such as NZ First and United Future. That party is the Greens.
If the Labour Party wants to look elsewhere for solutions to their problems, they need only walk down the coridor at Parliament and knock on the doors to Metiria Turei and Russell Norman.
The Greens’ record speaks for itself…
In the meantime, Labour’s ritual post-election self-flagellation and purging of their leadership damages their standing in the public’s eye even further. The words I’ve been hearing in the last 48 hours are “clowns”, idiots”, and a few others that are unmentionable around kids.
If the Labour caucus don’t support their own leader – especially when times are tough – why should they expect the voting public to take their leadership choices seriously? After all, with four leaders gone in six years, it would appear to be a temporary position at best.
The only thing that Labour is proving by it’s actions is that it cannot cope with defeat; cannot build positively; and most important – will not support it’s elected leader when he needs it the most. Not exactly an inspiring message to send to voters, eh?
Remind me why the public would think that this is a team worth supporting?!
No one benefits from this circus.
Except of course, Cameron Slater, David Farrar, Simon Lusk, and their parasitic mates. For them, despite Nicky Hager’s expose, this has been a dream-come-true. For the apostles of Dirty Politics, Christmas has come early.
Gift-wrapped and presented by the Labour Party caucus and hierarchy.
Radio NZ: Cunliffe resigns as leader of Labour
NZ Herald: Timeline: Labour’s years of leadership pain
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 28 September 2014
= fs =
We cannot be beaten down
Because we are down already.
We can only rise up
and if you should beat us down,
We will rise again. And again. And again…
And when you tire of beating us down,
We will rise up once again,
And look our Oppressor in the eye,
and say, ‘Rise up with us, brother,
for you may yet share our pain’.
As passions settle, disappointment wanes to something approaching tolerable, and we start to look at things a bit more rationally, it’s time to review the last few days, weeks, and months…
Without a doubt, it is safe to say that the Left never expected expected the two results of the Election Night figures.
- That National would score so highly, at 48.06%, (Specials still to be counted)
- That the Left would fare so poorly that even NZ First’s credible 8.85% result would make no appreciable difference to National’s success.
Once again, it appears that the Non-Voters – traditionally mostly Labour or left supporters – gifted National the government for a third term;
Roughly a million people didn’t show up to vote for Saturday’s election, making it one of New Zealand’s worst turnouts in the last century.
An estimated 77.04 per cent of enrolled voters took part in the election, slightly higher than the 74.2 per cent turnout in 2011, which was the worst in percentage terms since before women got the right to vote in 1893.
This year’s result still ranks as the third-worst turnout in the last 100 years, with the number of non-voters almost tallying to the number of votes that went to National.
The estimated results are based on the 2,405,652 votes received before voting closed, which includes nearly 300,000 special votes that are yet to be counted.
Interestingly, in the same Fairfax article, Victoria University politics professor Jack Vowles said,
“A small increase in turnout is what we would expect. There’s been a downward trend of turnout for some time, so any increase shows something has changed.”
My suspicion is that the polarising effect of John Key may have motivated more people to engage in voting. My own experience lends some credence to this, with past non-voters this year keen to engage in the electoral system. In plain english, Key has pissed off people to such a degree that they expressed their feelings through the ballot.
Unfortunately, the Left was in no position to focus this anger in any meaningful way. Young people chanting in unison, ‘Fuck John Key‘, may have been fun and cathartic – but it ultimately failed to translate into valuable votes.
Meanwhile, I offer my post-mortem, observations, and views of events…
I am not one to pick and choose Party leaders – especially for Labour. Besides which, I’ve always been more interested in policy factors than pretty faces.
However, I will offer my ten cents + 15% GST worth.
Has it ever occurred to the Labour caucus that replacing your Leaders after every electoral loss is counterproductive? I offer three reasons for this assertion;
1. How do you test your Leader in the fires of adversity, if you keep replacing him (or her) after each electoral loss? If your Leader is proven in victory – but unknowable in defeat – are you not missing a vital measure of the man (or woman)?
2. Replacing your Leader after each defeat sends a curious message to the public. It suggests that you’ve made a mistake with your Leadership selection. In which case, if/when you choose a new Leader to replace Cunliffe – is that a mistake as well? If you have no faith in your Leader, even in dire adversity, why should we – the voting public?
3. It takes years for a Leader to become known and familiar to the public. Years to gain their trust. If you keep rotating your Leadership, you are in effect putting an Unknown Quantity before the public who will never get a chance to assess the man (or woman).
It took three terms for the public to get to know Helen Clark. After which she led three consecutive Labour-led governments.
For god sakes, learn from history.
Or be consigned to it.
I understand David Shearer’s simmering anger. I really, really do. If I was in his shoes, I would’ve gone ‘thermo-nuclear’ by now.
But he does himself and the Labour Party no favours with his behaviour in front of the media.
Shearer has every right to be angry. But dignity and self-discipline is a far better course of action than publicly under-mining his Leader. After all, when/if he assumes the Labour leadership again, he would expect a modicum of public loyalty shown to him.
Two words: Kevin Rudd.
The more times I met Hone Harawira, the more times I have been thoroughly impressed with this man. The word ‘mana’ was created to describe his real personality- not the isolated snippets chosen by the media to portray him as a “mouthy brown boy”.
Hone was condemned – mostly by the Right and a headline-seeking media and commentariat – for the ‘crime’ of having a rich benefactor.
Meanwhile, the National Party has a plethora of rick benefactors – and no one bats an eyelid.
Unfair? Of course it is.
But that’s New Zealand in the 21st Century. As a society, it seems we left fairness behind when we allowed ourselves to be tempted by neo-liberalism’s promises of “aspirationism” and shiny consumer goods.
Men and women like Hone Harawira still exist in our fair, if considerably less-than-100%-Pure, country. But their values and notions of fairness, decency, and helping one-another is something that the public view with suspicion as a quirky notion from last century (much like Queensbury rules when two men engaged in fisticuffs) – and which an increasingly cynical, lazy, and politically-captured media treat with disdain and derision.
The media subtext of Hone’s relationship with Kim Dotcom was simple; “You can be a ‘champion of the poor’ as much as you like. We’ll write patronising (if somewhat racist) stories about you to paint you as a loud-mouthed radical engaging in ‘envy politics’.”
But the moment Hone’s Mana Movement got all cashed up, things changed.
National is allowed money.
NZ First and the Greens rely on branding for success.
But parties representing the poor? No way. The rule from On High was simple: You want to represent the Poor and the Powerless? Fine, but you stay poor and powerless.
Hone broke that rule.
Key’s victory speech was par-for-course, and well scripted for him by his tax-payer funded spin-doctors and media minders. The speech was a mix of humility and delight in his victory.
Part of Key’s election night victory speech referred to “serving all New Zealanders”,
“I can pledge this to you, that I will a government that governs for all New Zealanders.”
In fact, it seemed a re-hash of his 2011 victory speech,
“I will lead a government that serves the interests of all New Zealanders…”
Key’s sentiments were repeated in a John Campbell interview on 22 September, (the interview is worthwhile watching) where he spoke at length about his concerns for the most vulnerable in our society. He pledged a third term Key-led government to improve their lives.
Trouble is –
- His government has spent the first two terms doing very little about rising child poverty,
- tax cuts have benefitted the most well off,
- Increases in GST, prescription charges, and others costs-of-living have impacted on the poorest,
- Inequality has increased,
- Wages have fallen even further behind Australia
If Key failed to address the lot of the poor in the first six years of his governance – why should we take his word for the next three? Especially as National has lined up new legislation to further cut back worker’s rights; the Employment Relations Amendment Bill.
Marginalising workers’ rights will not reduce poverty; create jobs; or lift wages. It will only maximise profits for companies at the expense of workers.
As the editorial for the Otago Daily Times stated on 22 September,
“But while he is rapidly becoming one of this country’s most ”popular” prime ministers, there remains a gulf before he can go down in history as a ”great” prime minister. If that is Mr Key’s ambition, he is going to have to show that his role is, indeed, to serve all New Zealanders.
He and his Cabinet will have to strive to care for families, to try to ensure the poor are supported and not consigned to a demeaning and destructive underclass future. As well, alongside pursuit of economic development, this Government is going to have to protect the environment.”
Talk is cheap.
Actions count. So far, we’ve seen precious little of it.
I look forward to being proved wrong.
The day after Election Night, my feelings were running high and my views coloured by my passions. I may have written some things that, as my passions cooled, I reflect more wisely on matters in the clear light of day.
Not so with Kelvin Davis.
I stand by my initial statements;
Davis did not “win” Te Tai Tokerau. It was “gifted” to him as a dirty little rort, when John Key, Winston Peters, and the Maori Party told their supporters to vote for Davis, over Hone Harawira.
This was a disgusting, shabby example of dirty politics.
Kelvin Davis is “Labour” in name only and, like Peter Dunne and David Seymour, he should not forget who his political patron really is: John Key. Davis is John Key’s errand boy.
Who knows – one day Key may call in the debt David owes him?
“For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”
Kim Dotcom has been vilified and made the scape-goat of the election by many. As if Hone Harawira’s defeat has validated the views of the Right Wing, and those who see Kim Dotcom as the villain of the piece.
I offer a counter-view, and one I believe equally as valid.
Let us not forget a few pertinent facts about Dotcom;
- He was allowed entry into New Zealand by John Key’s government.
- Dotcom has committed no crime in this country. He has yet to be tried for copyright infringements – a civil matter, not a criminal offense. And his convictions in Germany happened when he was 19 years old – a time when young people often fall foul of the law with drugs, alcohol, violence, driving offenses, teen pregnancies, etc. He is no criminal “mastermind”, despite the obsessive rantings of the Right. Dotcom’s past criminal record is only an affront to Right Wingers because he supports the Left.
- Dotcom was instrumental in uncovering the fact that the GCSB had illegally spied on eighty eight New Zealand citizens or Permanent Residents. Until then, we had no idea what had been happening under successive Labour and National governments.
- Dotcom has also uncovered the very real likelihood that the NSA/GCSB has been engaging in mass surveillance in this country – despite protestations to the contrary by our Prime Minister (not noted for his scrupulous honesty) and the former GCSB director Sir Bruce Ferguson (under whom illegal spying had been taking place for years).
- And Dotcom uncovered John Banks’ own dishonest activities regarding his election financial returns, resulting in the former ACT minister’s conviction and resignation from Parliament.
Kim Dotcom’s real ‘crime’ has not been copyright infringement.
His real ‘crime’ has been to turn his back on his fellow millionaires and political elites – the Oligarchs for whom power is the oxygen that sustains them – and to give financial support to one of the few people in this country to threaten their privileged positions: Hone Harawira.
For the Right Wing – and the infantile lackeys who act as their on-line henchmen by constantly posting anonymous message demonising Dotcom – this was an intolerable situation. They could barely tolerate Hone Harawira’s existence. But as long as Hone was one lone voice in the political wilderness, he was left alone. Kelvin Davis’ previous attempts to unseat Hone came to nothing.
But when radical left-wing politics and Big Money became entwined, Hone Harawira became a threat that could no longer be ignored by the Establishment.
First, some in the media responded. The venom dripped from this typical comment on social media, and was only less overtly spiteful in the mainstream media;
Because Big Money funding the National Party is not “rorting MMP”.
Harawira’s fall was compounded by the ‘Moment of Truth’, on 15 September, failing to deliver certain promises made and hyped by Dotcom. Ironically, it was not sufficient for New Zealanders to learn that were were living in a Surveillance State and all our meta-data was being collected by shadowy agencies. It was not enough to realise that our on-line and telephone privacy was a thing of the past.
We wanted the ‘dirt’ on John Key. That’s where the real sensationalistic headlines lay for the MSM. That would sell several million bucks worth of advertising to the punters.
And when Dotcom failed to deliver – stymied by legalities, I am informed – the media and noisy aspects of the public turned on him. Being spied on by the State was apparently nowhere as bad as being denied a good political drama. We wanted Reality TV, made real, in our lounges, and our insatiable appetite for sensational gossip to be sated.
When that was denied us, we turned – like children denied access to our favourite TV programme or ‘grounded’ from internet access for 24 hours – on he who had promised us so much. We howled with rage and had Dotcom lived in our village, the good people would have gathered up their pitchforks and torches and made for his hut.
However, this is the 21st Century. We don’t do pitchforks and blazing torches any more (OSH would have a fit!). The mob is more sophisticated now. We do lynchings on-line and in the media.
Far more effective.
Fewer blood stains to wash out.
It has been said that part of our peculiar national psyche is something called ‘The Tall Poppy Syndrome’. In this case the tall poppies were two men who dared challenge the Establishment, and were cut down for their troubles. This time, though, it did not happen in secret, behind closed doors, concocted by shadowy figures.
It happened in full public view.
If you think this happens only in movies, in America, and the good guy(s) always win – think again.
It happened here. We just witnessed it. And the good guys didn’t win.
Not this time.
See also: Brand Kim Dotcom: what has changed?
One thing that Labour apparently excels at is self-mutilation. As a fund-raiser, it could make truckloads of cash by catering to certain folk with BDSM inclinations. One hour of a good, hard flogging, $250. Humiliation and discipline – $150 per half hour. (So I’m reliably informed…) Ok, so you have to wear a lot of sticky leather or rubber gear, but hey, it’s all for a good cause, right?!
Since Labour’s loss on election night, Labour MPs have been more vocal and active than all their last campaigning over the past six months. None it it, though, any good. Airing the party’s “dirty laundry” is an act that beggars belief.
If Labour MPs believe that their current media appearance on Radio NZ, TV3, TV1, et al, are doing them any good – let me disabuse them of that belief. It is self-destructive.
It is self-harm on a party-political scale. It is sheer, unmitigated stupidity.Attentions Messrs Shearer, Goff, Hipkins, et al – the public are watching.Whoever leads the Party – whether it be Cunliffe or X – will be accepting a poisoned chalice that would fell a totara.
It makes the Labour Party look like a bunch of self-serving fools or witless muppets – take your pick.Is there any wonder why Labour keeps losing? Let me spell it out.
After each election defeat – 2008, 2011, 2014 – Labour indulges in public self-flogging and blood-letting. There is nothing remotely subtle or civilised or clever about the unpleasantness that follows.
It turns people off in droves.It turns voters away from Labour.
Three years later – another defeat.
At this rate, Labour will become a third-rate Party, supplanted by the Greens which will become the main Opposition Party – and ultimately, along with NZ First (or it’s successor under Ron Mark) – lead the next Coalition Government.
This is how a once proud, proactive political party becomes an ossified institution, and ultimately irrelevant to peoples’ lives. Think – Alliance, post 2002.
To all Labour MPs, take my advice: STFU. Listen to your Leader (whether you support him or not) and keep your mouths closed. Sort your sh*t out in private, and in public, smile a Happy Face.
Otherwise, you can kiss your chances goodbye for 2017.
The media pack is in full hunt. Their quarry – David Cunliffe.I swear TV3’s Patrick Gower was salivating at the prospect of doing a “Nosferatu” on Cunliffe’s neck;
“Labour is in crisis tonight with leader David Cunliffe apparently refusing to give up the leadership, despite the party’s humiliating election defeat…[…]So Labour is now in a civil war, with Mr Cunliffe trying to gag MPs.[…]The five potential contenders show just how fractured Labour is. The caucus has atomised and another leadership spill is the last thing it needs.”
Labour MPs have emerged from a seven-hour crisis meeting – and leader David Cunliffe is still refusing to go.After presenting the party’s new chief whip Chris Hipkins and his junior Carmel Sepuloni, he gave a short statement, but refused to say what happened in the meeting.His MPs have given him a bloody nose with their choices.
“Labour needs to face the question of its leadership, nothing more. If Mr Cunliffe is going to appeal over the heads of his caucus to the membership and affiliated unions who elected him last year, he must imagine he can continue to lead a team that has little confidence in him. This will do Labour no good, as surely its members and unions now see.It is in the nation’s interest that the party finds a new leader quickly.”
They simply haven’t announced it to the public.
Some commentators (media, political, and blogs) are still adhering to the fiction that Stuart Nash “won” the Napier seat. Election night results, however, paint a different picture entirely;
McVICAR, Garth: (Conservatives) 7,135
NASH, Stuart: (Labour) 14,041
WALFORD, Wayne: (National) 10,308
Contrast to the 2011 result:
NASH, Stuart: (Labour) 13,636
TREMAIN, Chris (National) 17,337
See where Tremain’s 7,000 votes went three years later?
Nash has now hinted he is “not ruling out” throwing his hat into the ring for an up-coming leadership challenge. If true, Nash’s colossal ego has outstripped his common sense entirely. He is deluded if he really believes he won his seat on his own merits. An extra 405 votes is not a mandate when his ‘success’ was predicated on his opponant’s vote being split by another right-wing candidate.
The heading of this piece is wrong. It’s not, “No More. The Left Falls.”
It should read,
The Left Falls, No More.*
* With acknowledgement to a recent BBC movie, about a certain quirky time travelling hero in a blue box.
Electoral Commission: Election Results — Overall Status
Fairfax media: Voter turnout near record low
Fairfax Media: Hone Harawira accuses Maori Party of sabotage
Electoral Commission: Election Results — Napier
Wikipedia: 2011 Election – Napier
Radio NZ: Tussling starts for Labour’s top job
John Key: 8 November 2008 – Victory Speech
Campbell Live – Monday September 22, 2014
Otago Daily Times: John Key’s opportunity
Fairfax media: Cunliffe emerges from crisis meeting still in charge
Radio NZ: Labour MPs agree to review campaign
Previous related blogposts
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 19 September 2014
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It would be fair to say that the results for Election 2014 did not go as anticipated.
The Left has had a drubbing – and some of it was of our own making. In other aspects, there were some interesting lessons to be learned…
1. Green Voters & Electorate Votes
Some Green supporters are either woefully ignorant of MMP – or have been smoking to much of a certain herb. Or, gods forbid, they are so desperate to remain ideologically pure in their principles, that they are willing to allow a right wing candidate to be elected, rather than supporting a candidate from another party on the Left.
In Ōhāriu (as well as other electorates) Peter Dunne was returned to office because Green Party supporters cast their electorate votes for Green candidate Tane Woodley, instead of the Labour candidate. Preliminary election results for Ohariu yield the following;
ANDERSEN, Virginia: (Labour)11,349
DUNNE, Peter: (United Future) 12,279
WOODLEY, Tane: (Greens) 2,266
Had supporters of the Green Party given their electorate votes to Viriginia Andersen, Peter Dunne would have been defeated by 1,336 votes.
The Greens need to get it through to their supporter’s heads that giving their electorate votes to their own candidates is a waste of effort and an indulgence we cannot afford.
When elections are close-fought and majorities slim, such indulgences cannot be tolerated, and the Greens need to educate their supporters quick-smart, if we are to win in 2017.
This is a problem I blogged about three years ago. Why am I still having to point out the bleedin’ obvious?!
2. The Conservative Party
All ridicule and derision aside, Colin Craig’s Conservative Party deserves accolades. The CCCP got damn close to the magical 5% threshold – without a jot of support from Dear Leader Key and his National Party strategists.
No cuppa tea for Colin Craig – the Conservatives worked their backsides off to achieve a credible result. The Conservatives won 4.12% of the Party vote.
Meanwhile, the rort that is the ACT-National dirty deal was rewarded with a parliamentary seat in Epsom. ACT won 0.69% of the Party vote.
Kudos to the CCCP – and a curse upon the walking political corpse that is the ACT Zombie Party.
3. The killing of Mana
‘Congratulations’ to the Labour Party for successfully killing of Mana.
Question: what kind of a fool destroys his own ally, to the eventual benefit of his enemy?!
It takes a spectacular degree of sheer stupidity to achieve such a feat – and still not win the election! At this rate of ‘success’, Labour will kill off all it’s allies; then self-destruct; leaving the National Party and it’s henchmen (Peter Dunne and ACT) last men standing.
If this is ‘clever strategy’, what am I missing?
4. Nicky Hager & ‘Dirty Politics’
Make no mistake, Nicky Hager wrote the truth in his expose, ‘Dirty Politics’.
Some critics have suggested that it was not the “right time” to release the book, so close to the election. So, when was the right time? Afterward? When it’s too late to do anything about it?
No, the right time to reveal the truth is always now. Not later.
What New Zealanders ultimately decide to do with that truth is up to them. But at least they can never say they never knew what was going on. The excuse of ignorance cannot be used when the truth is laid bare for all to see.
Nicky Hager revealed the dirty side of politics.
1,010,464 voters chose to ignore it.
5. National did not increase their support!
The media – as usual – are being sloppy and lazy when they excitedly exclaim about National increasing it’s support. No such thing has happened.
In 2011, National gained 1,058,638 Party Votes.
This time, they gained 1,010,464.
According to my trustee hamster-powered calculator, that’s a drop of 48,174 votes. Their electoral support fell, not increased.
It’s this kind of sloppy reporting that actively assists the National Party avoid real scrutiny by the media.
6. The Labour Leadership
If Labour want to indulge in an orgy of purging, sackings, rejuvenation, or whatever euphemisms they want to employ – fine. I say, “Enjoy the bloodletting. Knock yerselves out. ”
But please. No more changes in the Leader of the Labour Party.
It takes years for the public to get to know a political leader.
And it takes years for a political leader to become truly experienced and confident in his/her role. Otherwise you get this kind of event – where he is blindsided by a media-pack ambush and caught badly off-guard.
Changing leaders every time plans do not succeed invites organisational instability and undermines any opportunity to build rapport with the public.
Stick with Cunliffe. Support him. Let him grow into the role. Let the public have a chance to get used to him.
The alternative? Just look at ACT to see what effect four leadership changes in six years has achieved.
7. No more Teflon John
John Key may have won a third term – but his problems just got worse.
Lurking in the background;
- Increasing child poverty and inequality
- an economy about to tank
- housing unaffordability that will worsen
- Judith Collins and National’s restless right-wing faction
- Cameron Slater and his unpredictability
- and an increasingly aggressive media chasing stories that will become harder and harder for Key to ‘casually’ dismiss
Teflon John is gone – and in his place is a very mortal, vulnerable politician.
8. Stuart Nash
Pundits and media commentators on TV3 gushed at Stuart Nash’s “awesomeness” at winning the Napier electorate. At one point, I thought Josie Pagani on TV3’s election panel was going to declare her undying love for the guy and call for his immediate canonisation at a Saint.
It’s rubbish, of course.
Nash did not “win” Napier.
The National candidate, Wayne Walford lost the electorate when Garth McVicar from the Conservative Party split the right wing vote in the electorate. Remember; electorate contests are still fought using First Past the Post – not by any proportionality or preferential voting.
The actual results were;
McVICAR, Garth: (Conservatives) 7,135
NASH, Stuart: (Labour) 14,041
WALFORD, Wayne: (National) 10,308
Add McVicar’s 7,135 to Walford’s figures, and the combined 17,443 would have trounced Nash easily.
Be wary of media hype. It maybe useful to sell advertising, but is useless for factual purposes.
9. Kelvin Davis
Likewise with Kelvin Davis. Davis did not “win” Te Tai Tokerau. It was “gifted” to him as a dirty little rort, when John Key, Winston Peters, and the Maori Party told their supporters to vote for Davis, over Hone Harawira.
This was a disgusting, shabby example of dirty politics.
Kelvin Davis is “Labour” in name only and, like Peter Dunne and David Seymour, he should not forget who his political patron really is. He is John Key’s errand boy.
Kelvin Davis has no mana from this dishonourable “victory”. By contrast, Hone Harawira, may have lost his seat – but he retains his mana.
10. “The forces on the right…”
… are very united, said Josie Pagani, on TV3’s political panel. And she would be 100% correct.
This is one of the lessons that Labour should be taking from the 2014 elections; unity is strength.
National did not seek to destroy potential allies. With the exception of the Conservative Party, it actively supported them. Either with direct deal-making (Epsom and Ohariu), or with “nods-and-winks” (Maori Party).
Even with the Conservatives – though Key refused any actual deal-making, he did not go out of his way to under-mine Colin Craig’s party. Just in case they reached the 5% thresh-hold and thus became potentially useful to the Nats.
By contrast, Labour campaigned to destroy the Mana-Internet Party, and the Greens undermined Labour with it’s comment that Labour’s policies would have to be “independently audited” – a phrase picked up by Key and used to attack Cunliffe.
Key projected stability and co-operation on the Right.
The Left projected intense rivalry and a hatred of each other that was volcanic in intensity.
Who did Labour and the Greens think the public would vote for?
Ten things Labour and the Greens should consider in the coming days, weeks, months, and next three years.
Electoral Commission: Election Results — Ōhāriu
Electoral Commission: Election Results — Overall Status
Wikipedia: 2011 General Election
Electoral Commission: Election Results — Napier
Fairfax media: Greens eye bigger supluses
Previous related blogposts
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NZ, Wellington, 15 September – ‘Tina’* is 50, a close friend, and one of the “Missing Million” from the last election. In fact, ‘Tina’ has never voted in her life. Not once.
In ‘Tina’s’ own words, politics has never held any interest for her and she was always busy with raising a family. To her, politicians were all “the same” and of no relevance to her life. Her family and close friends were her world.
All that changed on 14 August.
‘Tina’ surprised me one evening, the day after Nicky Hager released his book “Dirty Politics“, when she asked me,
“Frank, how do I go about voting?”
I was somewhat taken aback. I was fully aware that ‘Tina’ was without doubt the most apolitical person amongst my friends and acquaintances. Her out-of-the-blue query left me surprised, and somewhat lost for words. (Unusual for me.)
I asked (almost knowing the answer) if she was enrolled. ‘Tina’ wasn’t.
I replied that the easiest way would be to wait for Early Voting to open to the public, where she could enroll and vote at the same time. I reassured her it was a relatively easy process and would take very little time.
I was curious, though, what had motivated her,
“What’s brought this on,” I asked?
She said she had seen a “guy on television” and asked if John Key was the Prime Minister. I replied, yes, sadly, he is.
“Why do you ask?”
“He was going on about some book and they were asking him questions about it. I don’t know what it was about, but I know he was lying.”
This is the TV3 interview ‘Tina’ saw;
Despite having little interest or knowledge of politics, ‘Tina’ picked up very quickly that Key was not telling the truth when questioned by reporters. Especially toward the end of the interview. And ‘Tina’ was pissed off that Key was treating the public as fools if he thought his dishonesty was not obvious to the casual observer.
Our following discussion was which party should she vote for that got rid “of that man”. I replied that Key’s party was National – so don’t tick that box. I listed ACT, the Conservatives, United Future, and the Maori Party as parties that supported Key – so avoid them like the plague.
NZ First was a question mark as there was no way of guessing if Peters would support Key or Labour. So forget that party.
The only three parties guaranteed to get rid of Key were Labour, the Greens, and Mana-Internet.
‘Tina’s’ next question was the one I dreaded;
“What’s the difference?”
What followed was a short, crash-course in the difference between Labour, the Greens, and Mana-Internet. Which, when trying to explain it to someone out loud seemed ridiculous. The differences seemed minor. Almost trivial and meaningless.
Choosing the electorate candidate was straight forward – vote for the Labour candidate.
On 15 September, I received the following txt-message from ‘Tina’,
“U be proud of me Frank. I just voted.”
I was proud. ‘Tina’ had seen something from our elected Prime Minister that she did not like – and she set about doing something about it. Despite never having voted in her life, my friend made the decision to learn what the process was; what the parties were; and which option best matched her beliefs.
Later that day, ‘Tina’ sent me this photo. She proudly pointed at the little sticker they gave her at the Voting Station; “Yes, I have Voted“. She txt-messaged me,
“The beehive needs a maturity injection. Its seems there is a lot of school yard bullying and antics going on.”
Tina hasn’t told me which party she voted for, and I won’t ask. But one of the “Missing Million” is no longer missing.
And one of three parties is now one vote stronger.
The moral of this story? Sometimes it is not the policies or personalities that impel a person to vote.
Sometimes it can be as simple as a flash of insight.
And doing something about it.
* Not real name
Previous related blogposts
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes
This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 16 September 2014.
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NZ, Upper Hutt, 20 September – Cold, wet weather in the Hutt Valley, north of Wellington may be impacting on voter turn-out.
A head-count of people visiting the Trentham School Voting Station in Moonshine Rd, Upper Hutt, indicated a slow stream of voters between 11am and 1pm. Between 11am to mid-day, this blogger counted 147 voters casting their ballots, as they braved a cold and steady drizzle blanketing the region. Between 12 noon and 1pm, this had dropped to 104.
During this period there were only brief rushes of people entering the school hall. At other times Voting Staff out-numbered voters.
High early voting over the last two weeks may also be a factor.
One Voting Station official said the bad weather would definitely have a negative impact on voter-turn-out.
The weather is forecast to ease later today, and may prompt people who have not voted, to venture out to cast their ballots.
The Daily Blog: Final total of advance voting
Above image acknowledgment: Francis Owen/Lurch Left Memes
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