Here’s another old chestnut I’m really bored of hearing: that the Green Party is somehow obliged to stop standing candidates in seats which Labour wants to win (i.e., presumably, all of them).
Stuart Nash rolled this one out two weeks ago – and don’t worry, Stuart, I’m just going to quote you again:
There is no doubt that an effective candidate improves the party vote: it’s the reason why the Green’s refuse to stand candidates aside in general seats, when to do so could well mean that Labour wins the seat; because they know that without a candidate their party vote drops.
Nash wants to act like this is just a terrible bit of self-serving puffery on the part of the Greens, who are denying Labour its god-given right to keep ignoring how MMP works and win all the seats. And I say “act”, because Nash is a former MP and former senior adviser to the Leader of the Labour Party, so I think it’s quite fair to expect him to understand our electoral spending laws:
206C Maximum amount of party’s total election expenses
(1) If a party is listed in the part of the ballot paper that relates to the party vote, the total election expenses of that party in respect of any regulated period must not exceed—
(a) $1,091,000 (or such other amount as is prescribed by the Governor-General by Order in Council under section 266A); and
(b) $25,700 (or such other amount as is prescribed by the Governor-General by Order in Council under section 266A) for each electoral district contested by a candidate for the party.
My admittedly-not-legally-qualified reading of that is that parties get to spend an extra $25k for each electorate candidate they stand. Any list-only candidates have to come out of the first million.
So of course the Greens are going to run candidates in a number of electorates where they know they don’t have a chance of winning – it affects the amount they’re allowed to spend campaigning. And of course it raises their profile and of course it helps build activist networks and gives candidates valuable campaigning experience. And sometimes people are going to vote for the Green candidate and not the Labour one.
This is an MMP world. Labour candidates should win electorates if the electorate wants them to be their representative. Not because Labour thinks it’s owed a guaranteed number of seats (and terms in government.)
Yes, this does create some annoyances for the left in odd electorates like Ohariu. But we cannot treat voters like they’re too stupid to understand what their electorate vote means. People in Ohariu who in 2011 voted for Gareth Hughes – or Peter Dunne – instead of Charles Chauvel had their reasons. They may not be reasons I like, or reasons you like, and certainly whatever they are they’re not reasons Stuart Nash likes, but … that’s the lumps of democracy for you.
Labour can do better. But it won’t start if it, its leadership, or the people its leadership listen to, persist in stomping their feet and laying the blame everywhere but at their own door.
(This post was written and scheduled before the announcement of David Shearer’s resignation – it’s still applicable though, especially as the Labour Party figures out what kind of leader it wants going into 2014.)
The bulk of this comment was originally posted here.
The problem is traditional Labour voters staying at home because their interests are continually put on the back burner in favour of identity politics issues that they don’t really care about, and that don’t affect them personally. Some of these people no doubt wonder whether folks like you are saboteurs funded by National and its business backers.
To which I responded:
Fuck I hate this line.
Class politics have never been put “on the backburner” because of identity politics.
The big gains in identity-politics areas – ignoring weka’s very good point that class politics are identity politics – have almost always been through Private Members’ Bills, not Labour-in-Government Bills.
The reason class politics have been put on the backburner is because some fucking idiot white dudes bought into the idea that class politics weren’t vote-winners. That being More Like John Key was the way to go. That pushing the idea of the “deserving poor” as compared to “bludging beneficiaries” would get the votes of Middle New Zealand.
Don’t fucking blame women and queer folk and people of colour for the consistent, deliberate efforts of the Phil Goff and David Shearer-led Labour Party to paint themselves as “good economic managers” who would be “fiscally responsible”.
The party can’t even design a solid, leftwing state housing policy – they have to make it about encouraging the private sector, framing $300k houses as “affordable”, and then slapping Michael Joseph Savage’s face all over it.
That’s got nothing to do with identity politics and everything to do with a party still in denial about the damage it did to our country and its own soul via Rogernomics.
Seriously, I must have missed the 2011 Labour Party election manifesto which was printed in rainbow colours with a wheelchair-using woman of colour on the cover, entitled: “KILL ALL MEN” with a First 100 Days plan consisting entirely of day spas, pride marches, nurse-ins at Workingmen’s Clubs and nationwide rallies to smash pink penis-pinatas.
In rough order from “somewhat probable” to “QoT’s wishful thinking”:
- Key muddles along until 2013, then bows out claiming his work is done to allow someone (fuck knows who) to lead National into the 2014 election.
- ACT gets absorbed into National, if only in a Jim Anderton-esque way, until Banks retires.
- Whatever NZ First does, it’s entertaining. Fully undecided on whether Winston accepted some baubles of office or is enough of a grumpy old man that he’ll truly be content to sit on the backbenches sniping at everyone.
- Conservatives, whose momentum largely derives from Colin Craig’s pockets, stick around and become the new rightwing alternative (now with bonus fundies)
- Greens form an MOU with NACT, get a few strong policies in, stick around the 10-12% mark as Labour hopefully figures out how to get votes back off National instead of whiteanting them*
- Labour frontbench bloodbath. Please. Unfortunately Damien O’Connor’s victory in West Coast-Tasman will probably convince plenty that pandering to Chris Trotter’s fantasy Waitakere Man is still a winning strategy.
Remaining thoughts on election night: TVNZ’s graphics sucked (and the graphic designer at our party agreed); Goff’s speech was really good; Peters remains a suave, suave dude. Happy the Greens picked up a record vote, boo hiss bloody Epsom and bloody David Parker.
Otherwise, same old same old, innit?
*Yep, I went there.
No blogs I read allowed political comments yesterday, because our electoral law is an outdated piece of crap which probably served us OK in the days when “political statements” were restricted to newspaper editorials and hoardings.
These days? Sorry, everyone, I think it’s just bloody demeaning to everyone’s intelligence for the Electoral Commission to pretend that if I refrain from saying “VOTE LEFT YOU BASTARDS” on 26 November, you will somehow all not remember all the pro-left posts I have made in the lead-up to this election, or not know who DPF/lprent/Lew/Danyl are hoping will get the victory when they say “get the vote out”.
(They, like me, may very well truly believe that democracy is best served by a high turnout, no matter who that vote supports; but we all still have our obvious biases.)
It’s especially bullshit when our media, who cannot ask political questions of politicians on election day (and those politicians cannot make political statements themselves) still follow John Key to the polling booth (not in his own electorate, of course) asking questions like “what are your dinner plans” …
When everyone, left and right, who comments on politics knows full fucking well that John Key presenting himself as Nice Guy Who Has Pizza And Beer On A Saturday Night is a political statement, and is designed to influence people’s votes, and is probably a lot more effective than the scandalous idea that Phil Goff (special voting in his electorate which he doesn’t live in either) might say “Yeah, I voted Labour today.”
And yes, I very much appreciate the fact that people should be able to go and vote without getting spammed, harassed, having political advertising drilled into their heads.
But making social media users tweeting to their 20 friends “Just voted Mana/ACT/Greens/ALCP! Woo!” criminals while mainstream media with audiences of hundreds of thousands get off scot-free continuing to push political-advertising-via-personality-facades, just because our law wants to treat us like we don’t know when we’re being advertised to, or won’t be affected by an advertisement unless it includes the words “vote”, “choose”, or “tick”, pisses me off.
In the mall, Mr Key gets a mixed reaction. The usual adoring punters, especially women, are photographed with him and often get a rub on the back in return as they pose for the camera.
I can’t pinpoint why this is setting off my vom reflex. The awkward/inappropriate touching angle? The fact it’s spun as positive? The extra-rich saroma of Eau de Smile&Wave?
[Trigger warning: violence against children, murder]
From a Conservative Party leaflet rife with other goodies like “changes to alliances … should only be done after careful consideration” and “It’s fact that quality time, baby with mother (or sometimes dad), in the early years is enormously significant …” the winning sentence has to be:
It’s time to get back to common sense and acknowledge that reasonable force is necessary and sometimes beneficial for some children.
Mr Q and I were watching an episode of Forensic Files or some other generic crime show. Two teenaged boys murdered their parents, and threw a party with their parents’ bodies wrapped up in plastic in the basement. Yet all the members of the community who were interviewed were just shocked and puzzled, just couldn’t think of a reason why these kids would do this. The parents were good parents, you know, brought those boys up right, it was all just a huge mystery.
When the kids talked about the murder, one of the things they said was that they waited for their mother to leave the house, then turned on the stereo. Because they knew the very first thing their mother would do on entering the house would be walk over to the stereo, turn it off, and yell at them.
You can either take from this that maybe our society can have a slightly fucked up idea of what “good parenting” constitutes, and maybe we have a tendency to label some kids as “bad kids” [before they murder their parents] and thus justify parents being “harder” or “stricter” because “the kids need discipline”, so maybe take a slightly dim view of the idea that two teenagers just magically became homicidal against their saintly caregivers …
… or, you know, you can believe that from the moment they are born, some kids are just so inherently evil they need to be struck by their parents.
I normally don’t like to make these calls, but I’m pretty sure I can assume which side of that argument Jesus would have been on.
From Stephen Berry, former Libz deputy leader, veteran of many, many, many elections:
It’s a thing of beauty, innit?
Now up at The Standard and reproduced below for those who choose not to tread there.
Guts. Backbone. Chutzpah. Grit. Will. Vision. Courage.
The one thing all of these words have in common is that Phil Goff could quite easily have used them instead of “balls” when he said:
“It’s time to make a decision that will build a stronger future for New Zealand. We’ve got the balls to do that. John Key doesn’t.”
And I know that Phil knows that, because he’s quoted using at least two of them elsewhere in that story.
Normally you’d cue up a big ol’ Queen of Thorns rant complete with naughty cusswords and all-caps. But seriously? Phil, save us the trouble of firing up a whole two brain cells to figure out your subliminal messaging. We get it. You’re a Man’s Man and you speak like Common People and The Days Of That Nasty Bitch Helen Are Behind Us.
You’ve been listening to Chris Trotter and you wanted to make it very clear, to talkback land and those nasty white-anting progressives at the same time, that you’re A Safe Pair Of Manly Man Hands and Not A Pussy.
You’ve chosen to put yourself firmly, obviously, in the camp (ha) of Damien “gaggle of gays” O’Connor.
Or alternatively you’re a bit shit at figuring out the implications of your own words.
In either case, those of us clinging to a phantom hope of a Labour/Green/Mana-or-Maori coalition actually delivering good outcomes for women, non-whites, queers et al can surely, at this point, take it as read that your party gives not a shit for us if we’re in the way of taking power. (And somehow expects us to vote for you anyway.)
I mean, when Jordan Carter’s pre-emptively parroting the line on Twitter I think we can safely file this crap under “Labour election key message”.
Or I’m just vindictively destroying the Left from within. Again.
Just left the tiniest of rants on this post at The Standard and wanted to save it for posterity.
As I say in it, I do appreciate that saving is a thing Kiwis are bad at, and god knows as a smug white university-educated Auckland-born woman who’s managed to buy her first home before the age of 30, I do have occasional authoritarian twinges where my brain about how Some People Just Won’t Take Care Of Themselves.*
I then stomp on those twinges with big hobnailed boots because that way lies voting for ACT.
Anyway, it goes thusly:
I get that people need to save. I get that Kiwis are pretty bad at this.
But some angry little part of me really, really resents fuckin’ baby boomers who got free varsity education, or didn’t need a varsity education to get a good career, who got cheap houses at low interest rates, who could raise a family on a single income and then decided investment property was the way to go after other/overlapping members of their generation fucked everyone’s faith in other investments, and thus in a multitude of ways made it so fucking hard for people my age to save and buy a house and service a mortgage, now want to say “Naughty children, you have to save for your retirement instead of paying down your mortgage / paying off the debt you accrued because your parents raised you in a value-free consumerist society!”
It’s full of generalisations and based on a solid foundation of “it’s not faaaaaaaair”, but you know? It’s another reason I (despite actually being quite chuffed Labour has
bitten gently gummed the bullet on the retirement age, though Idiot/Savant provides more than sufficient cynicism to balance that out) just can’t get behind Labour this election.
I hereby full acknowledge that I do expect too much in my dreams of a party which addresses things like private debt and lack of savings by actually challenging the basis of our self-obsessed consumer culture. But a girl’s got to dream.
*It gets especially bad when viewing those sorted.org.nz television ads with the woman saying “It doesn’t seem like real money, you know?” WHAT DO YOU THINK IT IS, WOMAN aaaaargh *stomp stomp stomp*