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Posts Tagged ‘Labour leadership’

A short, open letter to the new leader of the Labour Party…

5 September 2013 3 comments

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Kia ora and g’day…

Firstly, congratulations on winning the leadership of the New Zealand Labour Party. With the “primaries” out of the way, it’s now time to knuckle down and work together to throw out this self-serving, incompetent government. A Labour-Green-Mana(-NZ First?) coalition is a government-in-waiting and there is much work to be done to rebuild our society.

Our first concern should be child poverty. This is a pernicious problem (I refuse point-blank to call it an “issue”) which creates a toxicity that seeps through every aspect of our society and economy. Even National-voting comfortable middle class aspirationists cannot escape the consequences that child poverty creates in our country.

New Zealand once had a great record of being at the top of the OECD for child welfare. (We’re still near the top of the OECD PISA ratings in education, despite what supporters of ACT’s misguided Charter Schools policy might say.)

Some estimates suggest around quarter of a million children living in poverty.

This is unacceptable and it beggars belief that some New Zealanders think it is not their problem. Well, I’ve news for those naive people; it is our problem. Ignoring it will not make it go away. One way or another, we all pay for this ongoing cancer in our midst.

Our current Prime Minister, John “What-me-worry?” Key, is Minister for Tourism. He diligently carries out his duties to promote tourism by lounging on the warm, sunny beaches near his holiday home on Hawaii’s island of Maui. Quite how this benefits New Zealand tourism escapes me… but I’m no expert on this matter.

An incoming Labour Prime Minister can do much better. (In fact, I can’t see how he couldn’t.)

It is my belief that the new Leader of the Labour Party, and incoming Prime Minister, should declare to the country the seriousness of child poverty.

This can best be done by creating a new role of Minister for Children.

It would send a clear signal to every New Zealander that this is our number one priority and that the obscenity of child poverty will no longer by tolerated by decent, fair-minded New Zealanders.

There is no need for a Ministry of Education or any similar bureaucratic body. My suggestion is for an ODESC-style agency comprising  of representatives from various ministries; departments; and NGOs  which would liaise and draft policies and agendas to attack child poverty.

Child poverty is a crisis in our once egalitarian country. There is simply no excuse for a society that considers itself fair and decent to permit this to fester.

As for those who bury their heads in the sand by playing the blame-game – suggesting that parents are at fault for having children when their social-economic circumstances are dire – should reflect on these points;

  1. Children do not choose which families they are born into.
  2. Parents circumstances change. Prior to the global financial crisis, we had low unemployment at around 3.4%. It is now approximately double that. Parents do not choose global financial melt-downs, nor the poverty it creates.
  3. The neo-liberal economic “reforms” of the 1980s and 1990s promised us a “trickling down” of jobs and increased prosperity. None of that has happened and instead wealth has trickled upward. It is now harder and more expensive to raise a family than it ever has been since 1984.

The next Prime Minister of New Zealand will not have the luxury of lying under a Hawaaian sun on a beach in Maui.

As Minister for Children, he will have his work cut out for him. This will be a real working Prime Minister.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 2 September 2013.

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John Key on leadership aspirations…

30 August 2013 5 comments

As reported on Radio NZ today (26 August);

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PM’s take

Prime Minister and National Party leader John Key says the Labour leadership contest will show how heavily the party is divided.

Mr Key says it could be a television reality show called Parliamentary Idol, with the three MPs demonstrating to New Zealanders how much they loathe each other.

Source: Radio NZ – Cunliffe confirms bid for Labour leadership

More here: John Key says Labour is a divided party

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Which is kind of ironic really, as Key’s own rise to power as leader of the National Party happened under less auspicious circumstances, involving secret plotting  behind closed doors; lies; duplicity; and rolling then-National leader, Don Brash.

Key wasn’t very upfront to the public or media, or even his own then-leader at the beginning, as this October 2006 NZ Herald report by Audrey Young, showed,

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Beware the ides of November, Don

By Audrey Young

5:20 AM Thursday Oct 26, 2006

An attempt within the National Party to topple leader Don Brash could be mounted next month.

The backers of National finance spokesman John Key have already taken soundings among caucus colleagues. It is understood they were taken four weeks ago but nothing came of them.

However, internal speculation is mounting of a stronger bid for the leadership being attempted by Mr Key next month or at the start of next year.

Mr Key did nothing last night to hose down the speculation, being less than emphatic at dismissing talk of a possible attempt in November.

“I have never had that raised with me,” he said. “That is speculation I can’t comment on and I don’t know whether it is accurate or not but I don’t anticipate that being the case.

I’m supportive of the leader and I don’t anticipate that position changing.

Source: NZ Herald – Beware the ides of November, Don

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Key’s “support” for his leader was so sincere that a month later, Don Brash was rolled and replaced by… John Key!

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New Zealand’s National Party Appoints John Key as Leader

By Tracy Withers – November 26, 2006 20:44 EST

Nov. 27 (Bloomberg) — New Zealand’s main opposition National Party elected John Key, a former head of global foreign exchange at Merrill Lynch & Co., as its fifth leader in nine years as it targets victory in the 2008 elections.

Key, 45, was voted leader by his National parliamentary colleagues in Wellington today, replacing Don Brash who quit last week. Bill English, who was ousted as leader by Brash in 2003, was named deputy leader and will take over from Key as finance spokesman.

Source: Bloomberg – New Zealand’s National Party Appoints John Key as Leader

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At least Labour’s leadership contest is out in the open; open to public and media scrutiny; and will be democratically decided. This is a milestone in New Zealand politics, with  the Greens the only other political party to decide their leadership by member’s ballot.

By contrast, seizing power via a coup hardly seems a fair; open; or democratic process. Indeed, one might question if Key really has a moral mandate to lead his own Party?

Perhaps this is a salient lesson that Key should take on-board, instead of indulging in school-yard petulance.

Then again, I suspect  Key’s pathetic attempt to deride and dismiss Labour’s new leadership process is stressing the Prime Minister as he  foresees his own political demise come the next election?

After all, Key did make this pledge to the electorate in 2011,

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Key says he’ll quit politics if National loses election

By Audrey Young 5:30 AM Monday Jan 3, 2011

Prime Minister John Key has all but confirmed that the general election will be in late November or early December and he has indicated he will leave politics if he cannot lead the country to a second term in Government.

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He also said he had made it reasonably clear that he did not want to revert to being Opposition leader.

“I don’t think it suits me as a person. I’m not a negative person and a lot of Opposition is negative.”

Source: NZ Herald –  Key says he’ll quit politics if National loses election

The election of a new leader for Labour isn’t just a new beginning. It heralds the end for Key’s political career.

This blogpost was first published on The Daily Blog on 27 August 2013.

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MMP – the “Marketplace” of Politics…

… and offering the voters real choices, other than the gerrymandered riggings and back-room deals of First Past the Post and Supplementary Member.

The good folk of Epsom now have a wide range of candidates to choose from, this coming November.  Labour MP, David Parker, is experienced, articulate, and with a good common-sense attitude.

Spoilt for choice, Epsom folk?

Can David Parker win Epsom? Should he even try? What is the point of offering oneself in a safe National-seat that is as “blue ribbon” as one can find in this country?

I’m thinking that David Parker has a very simple plan: to Give It A Go.

New Zealanders love that  “give it a go” attitude. The same attitude that has seen various individuals achieve stuff that – on the face of it – was practically unheard off. Whether climbing a bloody big mountain and “knocking the bastard off”, or producing a few ‘splatter’ movies and eventually becoming one of the biggest Names in Hollywood (Miramar Branch) – these individuals just gave it a go.

Now it may be a long-shot that David Parker wins Epsom. That’s a bloody high mountain to climb in anyone’s books.

But Kiwis love the “battler”; the Little Guy Up Against It. Hence why “Goodbye Pork Pie” is one of our most endearing movies?

I think that’s the rationale for David P to try it on in Epsom. He may not get anywhere – but by the Flying Spaghetti Monster, I think he’ll earn bucketloads of respect from the local Epsomites. ‘Cos he Gave It A Go.

Who knows – he may even…

As for the Parker Game Plan – I’m picking he’ll opt for Deputy Leadership if/when the Labour leadership issue ever arises.