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Shaw Thing

Now that the dust is settling on the Turei resignation, it might be time to have a dispassionate look at why she quit as leader of the Greens.

First up, Meteria didn’t resign to ‘protect her family’. If that had been a genuine concern, she wouldn’t have put them in the spotlight in the first place.

Secondly, she didn’t resign because of the shadow her admission of benefit fraud might cast over the Green’s election campaign. She left because she knew the damage had already been done.

Thirdly, James Shaw is likely to be equally responsible for the debacle. He hinted at that in an interview with Suzie Fergusson on Friday saying, “I take responsibility for my part in that”. 

He was talking in the wider context of campaign in general, but this was the first time he has linked himself to Turei’s downfall.

Why is that important?

If Shaw signed off on Meteria’s confession, he should resign too. It was terrible politics, not because of the issue that was raised -poverty on the benefit- but because Turei was not fully transparent. As John Campbell said, she told a story, just not her story. Shaw should have done due diligence and clearly, he didn’t.

However, he won’t resign, because he’s the only hope the Green Party now has of getting in the high single figures.

The Greens are going to have to settle for losing 5 or 6 MP’s and spending the next three years gazing wistfully down the corridor that leads to the Cabinet room and wondering what it’s like in there.

I hate to be cruel, but the Green Party have shown that they do not yet have the chops to have earned a cabinet posting. Maybe in three more years?

I’ve been following the debate around the resignation in the left wing social media with considerable interest. Most of the analysis has been woeful.

Here are some blunt facts:

The Greens are a middle class party, dependent entirely on the votes of petit bourgeois suburbanites.

Their voters may have a liberal conscience, but they are prone to tut tutting about their lessors. Key knew that. So did Muldoon.

Being caught out fibbing about her true circumstances means Meteria Turei has actually set back the cause of the poor in NZ. Her sense of entitlement has hurt the very people whose plight she wanted to champion.

And that’s the real shame of this mess.

We live with less Green MP’s, but can we live with ourselves if poverty, homelessness and alienation are written off as topics for discussion now and post-election?


TRP Adviser 18/8/17

This week we learned many things. The Greens have snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, Chris Hipkins is still a smartarse and John ❤ Jacinda.

Meteria Turei is going to go down in history as the most egotistical, tone deaf and hamfisted political leader since, er, Donald Trump. This weeks One News poll, which puts the Greens on 4%, goes to show that her claim to be resigning to spare her family media scrutiny was yet another lie.

Turei tossed it in because she made an astonishing political error. If she genuinely felt for her family she would never have gone public with her fraudster past in the first place. The reaction to that revelation was always going to be public rejection.

I’m still waiting for James Shaw to be asked whether he approved of her stunt. If he admits he was in on it, expect the Greens to start polling at levels ACT would laugh at. And please, lefty blogs, get a grip. Turei is not the messiah, she’s not even a naughty girl. She’s a middle class poseur with a sense of entitlement that would make Roger Douglas blush.

Chris Hipkins is a goose. That’s an actually well known biological fact, folks. If you look at his upper lip, you’ll see a fine layer of down, which he has regularly plucked to fill duvets for Briscoes.

His immature smartarsery, asking parliamentary questions on behalf of the Aussie Labor Party, has caused Jacinda Ardern’s first crisis. Happily, the new Labour leader was able to bat away the potential problem by giving Hipkins a public dressing down and gracefully moving on.

On the up side, if the All Blacks need a proven right winger, Hipkins has helpfully shown that they can always call up Barnaby Joyce.

Expect Hipkins to have no serious Ministerial responsibilities in the Labour/NZ First Government. Like his lip feathers, he’s down and out.

Like the rest of the country, NZ’s top ranked golfer John Key has fallen head over heals in lurve with Jacinda Ardern.

Key said “The camera likes Jacinda. Paul Holmes once said to me ‘on TV they see your heart’ – she responds well to that so that works really well for her,”

Bear in mind that for Key, the king of the selfie, the camera never lies.

“She’s been on TV a lot, she communicates pretty well and in the end people want to vote for people they like”.

I’d hate to read too much into that line, but doesn’t that rather suggest the former MP for Waikiki Beach doesn’t think people don’t actually like Bill English?

If so, he’s right. Bill English is the living embodiment of the concept that you could put a blue rosette on a pig and many Tories would still vote for the oinker. Bill’s big problem is that John Key could get people who weren’t Tories to vote for him.

Anybody here think English has got that ability? Nah, me neither.


TRP Adviser 11/8/17

This week we learned many things.


Bill English is donkey deep in the Todd Barclay affair, Labour have their mojo back and it’s all about me me Metiria.

The revelations that Bill English was texting his former electorate secretary hundreds of times in the lead up to her resignation was bad enough. Now we learn that English unlawfully destroyed the incriminating texts, presumably to avoid public opprobrium.

It seems likely that Winston Peters has some or all of the communications and is going to drip feed them over the next few weeks. He’s going to let English squirm and fret. That’s as it should be, because forcing someone to resign against their will is appalling behaviour.

In the legal trade, that’s known as a constructive dismissal. It’s when someone of power and authority makes life so miserable for an employee that they have no reasonable alternative but to resign.

At least that’s what I hope English was up to with his txt torrent. It’d be truly awful if, as some people have suggested, he was a sex pest. No, that simply can’t be true.


The latest polls have Labour riding high. They’re back up to the giddy heights of the mid thirties, a place that was only a few years ago the death knell for former leaders Shearer and Cunliffe.

There’s a sad irony that a mediocre result is a cause for celebration, but kudos to Andrew Little for allowing this to happen. The Jacinda Affect is real. But will it be sustained? And after the Greens implosion, will the coalition numbers still stack up, even with NZ First’s support?


This has been a chastening week for the Greens. The initial response to Metiria Turei’s admission that she was a benefit fraudster was a leap in support. There was clear public sympathy for her claimed circumstances, but as her story unravelled, that faded fast.

It was political madness to alienate middle class support. The Greens don’t exist without the money and votes of the relatively well off. Trying to rebrand the party as mana with muesli was always going to come at a cost.

The maths simply don’t add up. The beneficiaries Metiria was pitching to are notoriously hard to get enrolled, let alone to get to vote. The gain was always going to be minimal and the potential downside catastrophic.

In short, Meteria Turei’s attempt to be down with the kids has cost her and two other MP’s their jobs. Because they will know struggle to get to double figures, she’s also cost 4 or 5 list candidates seats in parliament as well.

And still she won’t apologise. That’s weird, because she’s going to be doing a lot of apologising in private in the coming weeks. Mainly to the wider family of her child, who she has effectively cast as uncaring and distant.

One last question I haven’t heard asked in the media. Was James Shaw aware of the content of her speech? If he did and was supportive of it, he should also go, because the polling is not their only problem. They’ve effectively given Winston Peters the right to demand they be left out of cabinet if Labour form the next Government.

That’s the real damage me me Metiria has done.


TRP Adviser 4 August 2017

TRP Adviser 4 August 2017

This week we learned many things.

Andrew Little is a gent, Bill English is going to be the first National Party leader to lose two elections and Mark Richardson is possibly the stupidest man in the media.

Andrew Little was always going to do it tough as leader of the Labour Party. He took over a caucus that was still a seething pit of factional infighting and a party that was organisationally down in the dumps. To his eternal credit, he whipped caucus into shape and retuned the party organisation.

What he couldn’t do was convince the public that he could offer something distinctly different from the Nats. So he did the honourable thing and stepped aside. That’s a mark of the man. Honest, self-effacing and loyal. Strangely, exactly the qualities that would make a good Prime Minister.

Bill English is – how can I put this nicely? – shitting himself. No National party leader has ever lost two elections. None have ever been given the chance.

In their world, success has many fathers, but failure is an orphan. After leading the party to a 22% drubbing 15 years ago, English should never, ever have been re-adopted. And if the Nat’s brains trust (Joyce, S) wasn’t so full of himself, thinking the party could sleep walk to victory, he would have spotted the danger.

Too late now, Tories. Unless, of course, Bill swiftly does an Andrew Little and takes a long walk in the tundra so that Bennett or Bridges can take the reins.

Only seven weeks to go, Bill. If you’re gonna go, better make it quick.

So, it turns out Mark Richardson is numpty and a Neanderthal. Who’d have thunk it?

Richardson was notoriously slow running between the wickets. Turns out he’s equally slow between the ears.

He’s probably going to have to live with this half witted hetero hari kiri for the rest of his life. But hey, he’ll soon be making jokes about it and the men that run our sports media will happily slap him on the back for being a good bugger.

Apparently in NZ media management circles breaking your girlfriend’s back is entirely forgivable, so Richardson publicly wanting to send all women of child bearing age back to the 1950’s is probably grounds for a pay rise.

Sometimes I really do despair. But then I just look at a picture of Jacinda Ardern and break out into a beaming smile. As I’m sure all of you do.


Thanks, Andrew

Thanks, Andrew

Thank you for winning the leadership. You had strong support from the party and the affiliates and you were the best candidate. We needed you to win.

Thank you for uniting caucus. For the most part, they did not vote for you to lead, but you swiftly won them round. We now have the least bickering, most focussed caucus since the Clark years.

Thank you for engaging with the members. You’ll be remembered for attending more branch and LEC meetings than any leader since the eighties. You asked questions, listened carefully to the answers and did your best to include the members’ views in policy making.

Thanks for not lying. It was your openness and honesty that bought you down, but it was refreshing all the same.

Thanks for going when you did. Resigning was the right thing to do and once again, you have put the party ahead of personal ambition.

Thanks for all you are going to do in the future. The next generation of Labour leaders are going to need a good mentor. There is much they can learn from you.

Thanks, Andrew. This will be a bitter disappointment; however you did what needed to be done. You gave Labour a fighting chance of leading the country again. Now it’s up to others to deliver the knockout blow. Not just the new leadership team, but all party members, all activists, all Kiwis who want a better way.

Thanks, Andrew, you did a good job. That you couldn’t see it through to the election day says more about the nature of the job than the nature of the man.

 

 


TRP Adviser 28 July 2017

This week we learned many things.

Boris Johnson is not a complete buffoon, the Greens may come to regret Metiria Turei’s confession and one man party Peter Dunne may be over and out in Ohariu.

The likely next leader of the UK Conservative party has been here for a brief visit. Boris Johnson managed to complete the trip without any major gaffes, though comparing a kiwi hongi to a Gorbals kiss might be considered offensive by some here and by some North of Hadrian’s wall.

The perceived wisdom in the UK is that Johnson is biding his time, waiting for the inevitable coup against Theresa May to begin and trusting that there will be a knock on the door as the hopeful party calls on him to lead at their time of need.

I’m not so sure.

Leading a Government that is going to limp along until the next election is an unenviable task. Whether that vote is called early or the Tory/DUP Government lasts the full term, whoever leads the Conservatives to the polls can expect to lose.

I think that if asked, Johnson will say ‘No, thanks’. It’s all too much like hard work and swanning around the world being witty with the locals is much more fun.

Metiria Turei’s confession to an easily understandable and perfectly forgivable benefit rort is still in the headlines, well past the usual news cycle of a day or two.

I reckon it marks the high tide in the Green’s polling. it’ll ne all down hill from here.

It won’t affect their die hard voters, but it will have an impact on waverers in the middle who might have been tempted to go green. If there is one thing about the New Zealand middle class that really stands out, it’s a broad streak of sanctimony.

They’ll forgive the likes of Key and English for their many, many rorts because that was just business. But a beneficiary who bends the rules to survive? To the workhouse with her!

I hear from usually reliable sources that Peter Dunne is in big trouble in Ohariu.

Labour have a near perfect candidate for the seat in former police union boss Greg O’Connor. Ohariu is a fairly conservative, middle of the road electorate and both Dunne and O’Connor fit that mold.

O’Connor has the advantage of being brand spanking new and earnestly keen. Too keen, in fact, having been snapped putting up election signs way too early.

That was an embarrassing start for the Labour candidate, but it doesn’t seem to have hurt him in the electorate. I’m told he has built up a convincing polling lead over Dunne already.

And that’s why Bill English felt the need to publicly tout for Peter Dunne. No coy cup of tea, this time. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

National know they are going to need every scrap of support they can get if they are to form the next Government without having to grovel to grumpy old uncle Winston.

Ohariu could be the seat that decides the very nature of the next Government.

 


TRP Adviser 21 July 2017

This week we learned many things.

The Greens are not 100% pure, the NZ Labour Party has woken from its slumbers and, sorry, Shane, NZ First is still a one man band.

Metiria Turei’s announcement that she bent the benefit rules was not in itself a particularly shocking revelation. I mean, who hasn’t indulged in some creative accounting, some under the table tax avoidance or some pilfered office supplies?

Paula Bennett, that’s who!

Yes, it turns out that the Sainted Paula led a life of bleak austerity and blind obedience while a beneficiary and it never so much as crossed her mind to forget a flatty or two, get into a relationship without applying for permission from WINZ or start her fledgling property portfolio without fudging the figures.

So those of you thinking that Turei’s mea culpa was actually aimed at embarrassing the Deputy Prime Minister a mere week after a Facebook poster was threatened with legal action for allegedly defaming her should be ashamed of yourselves. Ashamed I say!

The Labour Party has finally come up with a policy that genuinely challenges National. Pitching themselves as the party that will spend our tax dollars on health, education and families rather than tax cuts for the well-off is genius stuff.

Ok, it’s not Sanders or Corbyn level radicalism, but it makes it really simple for voters. If you care for your country, you’ll be voting Labour this election. If you are that self-centred that $20 off your top tier tax bill is more of a priority, then you’ll keep voting National as usual. You heartless bastard.

Well done Labour. More of this, please.

Welcome to NZ First, Shane Jones. Please take a seat at the back and stop talking. In fact, stop anything that resembles a sign of independent thought and just remember this is Winston’s Party and he’ll make up any damn policy he likes any time he likes.

Winston’s brain fart on holding a referendum on the maori seats has backfired beautifully. He’s had to back track on who might vote in the referendum, hinting that it might be just those on the maori roll who get to decide. Then flip flopping on that, because he belatedly realised that maori roll voters had already made up their mind.

Being on the maori roll is a conscious decision. Nobody already on that roll is going to vote to do away with the maori seats. Nobody.

Ok, Winston might gain a redneck vote or two by bashing maori, but he seems to have forgotten that he gets a fair few party votes from those seven seats. Maybe not so much now.

I guess he’ll still get the tick from Shane Jones, who is, ya know, actually on the maori roll. But the message to the newest Peters protégé is clear; you’re not even in my thoughts, big fulla.

 

First published at yournz.org


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