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Labour’s Summer School: the place to be

Posted by on January 13th, 2013

2013 is the year Labour will start to flesh out our policy process. In two weeks Labour members will get another chance to have in depth conversations about policy, social democracy and ideology.

Labour members from around New Zealand will descend on Wainuiomata in my electorate in to be part of Labour’s largest Summer School ever.

Summer School is Labour’s pre-eminent forum for Labour members of all ages to discuss, debate, and develop ideas on social democracy and how the Labour Party can realise and define its vision. Summer School has been an annual feature in January since 2003 and is organised by Young Labour. It offers Labour members a vital opportunity to think beyond day-to-day politics and to push the boundaries of what we can achieve.

This year is the largest Summer School ever and will culminate in David Shearer delivering a speech on Labour’s priorities in 2013.

The 2013 Summer School theme “Labour’s Unique Narrative for the Future” will encourage us to consider what makes (or should make) Labour unique among the political parties in Aotearoa and what values and history reinforce our uniqueness as the progressive party of change.

We will discuss a slew of interesting sessions on a range of policy, organisational and ideological issues with great speakers such as Rod Oram, Brian Easton, Gavin Ellis, Deborah Russell and Amanda Brydon.

Have a look at the Summer School flyer and programme. It is your chance to have an impact on Labour’s policy process and discuss the big issues: economic challenges of the future, the role of neoliberalism in Aotearoa, human rights and solutions to inequality.

If you would like to attend Labour Summer School you can click here to find out more information and register.

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Banks escapes prosecution

Posted by on July 26th, 2012

The police have just announced that John Banks has escaped prosecution. They’ve sent me a letter regarding it, which you might be interested in. Here is a copy of the letter I have just received from Auckland Police you can download a copy here.

Op ed: Committees need opposition chairperson

Posted by on July 10th, 2012

The following op ed was published in today’s Dominion Post.

In New Zealand Parliament’s committees can and have played an important part in shaping legislation. Their current form has mixed ancestry, a bit of Westminster, a healthy dose of Geoffrey Palmer idealism, and some influence of MMP tempered by the current lack of truly independent backbenchers in our House.

Committees get the business done. More bills go to them than in any comparable overseas jurisdiction. The public, informed and not, make submissions. They are heard, amendments are made and bills are sent back to the House. Occasionally it becomes clear legislation is unworkable and it goes to the bottom of the order paper and is later dropped.


An interesting idea

Posted by on May 31st, 2012

I’ve just been sent the following paper by Labour Party member Perce Harpham. Perce is exploring the ideas around a fixed weekly or  fortnightly payments, or “Citizens Dividend”. As well as an asset tax.

I don’t necessarily endorse all these ideas, but it’s good to see some healthy debate and new thinking. Keen to hear what you think.


Filed under: finance, Tax


Posted by on May 8th, 2012

If you think today’s National Board minutes leak was interesting – just wait until documents are tabled in the case Collins plans to take.


Nat Board has a no Lusk policy

Posted by on May 8th, 2012

Every now and again infighting gets so bad in the Nats that some gems are delivered to me. In this case it is a set of their Board and Board committee minutes.

You can view these documents from the Audit Committee here, the Communications Committee here, and the Board here.

The Audit committee outs McCully and his organisation as being slow to pay their levy. And Hunua too though less relevant when it comes to National Party leaks.

The most interesting section relates to their unofficial trainer Simon Lusk. See some of his previous history including his involvement in Nat pre selections and the failed anti MMP campaign here.

Candidates College
Michael reported that he has had a discussion with those MPs that have had an involvement with Simon Lusk. He has let them know that it is not appropriate for any MPs to engage with any alternative Candidates’ School that is not sanctioned by the Party. He said that this has been understood by all.

He noted that these discussions had given rise to further discussion about the Party’s Candidates College and the gap in content that it potentially has.

He reported that Simon Lusk is running a further meeting purportedly aimed at educating local body aspirants. This has led some in Caucus to ask where the Party is positioned with local Body politics particularly in Auckland. Some Caucus members feel that they should be involved in this training programme. Michael believes however that they should remain distant and will have that discussion with those MPs.

Update on Simon Lusk
Michael reported a disturbing discussion that he has had with Simon Lusk that highlighted his motivations and a very negative agenda for the Party.
It was agreed that light needs to be shed on these issues with key influencers within the Party.
It was further agreed that his agenda represents a serious risk to the Party and this issue will be followed up with a further meeting between the President and the Whip.

There is a bit further into the minutes that relates to a Hutt South strategy. I’m honoured.

Filed under: national

This week on Back Benches

Posted by on May 8th, 2012

FOR SALE: Last Friday, a hikoi of 5000 marched to Parliament to protest the Government’s plan to sell state assets. The vote in Parliament will be close. Which way will the small parties fall? Did the 2011 election give the Government have a mandate for a mixed ownership model? Was the prospect of asset sales not scary enough to voters? Why do we need to own these assets? Is privatisation a dirty word?

GIMME A LOAN: The zero budget has brought big changes to the student loan scheme. Students will have to pay back their loans more quickly. While access to student allowances is tightened. Are these changes unfair to the youth of NZ? Are the students of tomorrow paying the prices for the students of yesterday who haven’t paid their loans? The money will be reinvested in tertiary education—so isn’t this a good thing?

PLAYING POSSUM: Playing possum, the NZ drinking game, which has some Dunedin students boozing until they fall out of trees has made international headlines. So, perhaps a good sign we’ve got a bit of an issue with the drink? Here are some proposals from the Alcohol Reform Bill—split purchase age, sales ban between 4am-7am, and parental permission for under-18s to drink at a party. Will these changes do the trick? Do they go far enough? Or are we over-reacting to a few stupid apples who ruin the cider for the rest of us?

Live pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 9th of May from 9:05pm and on TVNZ7.

The Panel: Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty, Labour MP Shane Jones, New Zealand First MP Brendan Horan and National MP Mark Mitchell.

More from Doyle on Banks

Posted by on May 2nd, 2012

More from Doyle on Banks

Filed under: humour

iPredict – Banks won’t last

Posted by on May 2nd, 2012

iPredict is often biased by inside information -so this is interesting :-

Act Leader and Epsom MP John Banks, and his colleague National MP Maurice Williamson, are both expected to be stood down as ministers by 15 May, with Mr Banks picked to be sacked or resign altogether before Budget Day on 24 May, according to the 6800 registered traders on

The New Zealand online predictions market is already offering 20 stocks on issues related to the growing scandal involving political donations from Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom, who is facing extradition to the United States on racketeering, money laundering and copyright charges. Other stocks will be added as events unfold.

According to prices at 1pm today, there is a 62% probability Mr Banks will stand down as a minister before Tuesday 15 May and a 56% probability for Mr Williamson.

Filed under: ipredict

Doyle on Bank’s charter school

Posted by on May 1st, 2012

Banks 2

Filed under: humour

What Key said as Oppo leader – contrast with his action today

Posted by on April 30th, 2012

Key on Peters and Clark

“Governments and Ministers must enjoy the confidence of the Parliament and, ultimately, the public. Faced with today’s revelations, it is no longer acceptable for Mr Peters to offer bluster and insults where simple, courteous, honest answers are required.

“It is no longer acceptable or credible for Helen Clark to assert a facade of confidence in her Foreign Affairs Minister and to fail to ask the plain questions of him that she has a duty to the public to ask.

“Faced with today’s revelations, Helen Clark must stand Mr Peters down as a Minister. That is what I would do if I were Prime Minister.

Doyle on Banks’ memory

Posted by on April 30th, 2012


Filed under: humour

Back Benches this week

Posted by on April 30th, 2012

THIS WEEK ON BACK BENCHES: Watch Wallace Chapman, Damian Christie, the Back Benches Panel and special guests discuss the week’s hottest topics.

POLITICAL ROUNDUP: This week has been full of political hot topics…the state of the parties, the state of their donations and dealings with the police. The Government is still riding high in the polls? So are the Greens. Meanwhile, Labour is trying to make a dent in their approval ratings. Do they have a problem of style vs. substance? Meanwhile, ACT’s John Banks is in hot water for campaign contributions. Do we need full disclosure over contributions to politicians and/or political parties? Is it a matter for police?

SEX OFFENDERS REGISTRY: Does New Zealand need a sex offender registry? Will a registry prevent new sex offenses? Or will a list merely stigmatise people who have served their time? In recent weeks, we’ve seen stories about convicted sex offenders—one a teacher, the other a school bus driver. Would a registry prevent that? Are we just naming and shaming? Are sex offenders different—do they ever serve their time? Does the proposed sex offenders registry go far enough? Do we need full public disclosure? How would you feel if a paedophile moved in next door?

A TIME TO DIE: Should we be able to decide when it’s time to die? New poll shows more of us support voluntary euthanasia. Labour’s Maryan Street as a “End of Life Choice Bill” would allow Kiwis to say when and how they die. But opponents say allowing euthanasia would lead to abuse. The bill has failed to pass twice before—but are we now more open to change? Should there be limits on who can determine their death? Perhaps reserved for the terminally ill?

Live pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 2nd of May, 9:05pm and on TVNZ7.

The Panel: Green Party MP Denise Roche, Labour MP Phil Twyford, Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell and National MP Maggie Barry.

Thanks Needle

Posted by on April 28th, 2012

Fred Allen died today.

His exploits as a soldier, All Black (every game as Captain), and unbeaten All Black coach are well recorded elsewhere.

I was lucky to spend a bit of time with him over the last couple of decades. He was always up for a chat about sport and/or politics. And right up to the RWC celebrations he was as sharp as his nickname.

And his advice certainly could not be described as politically correct, notwithstanding his praise of our first elected woman PM, nor gentle, despite him being a gentleman.

We are a better country because of him. Thanks Fred.

Filed under: sport

Doyle on casino cronyism

Posted by on April 20th, 2012

cards we've been dealt

Filed under: Crony watch

Show us your cards, John

Posted by on April 18th, 2012

The Sky City deal that John Key has cut looks deeply dodgy. Is legislation for sale in NZ? Labour is committed to asking the questions that need to be asked around this deal and exposing the cronyism for what it is.

Check out our website on this and take a minute to email John Key and tell him what you think.

iPredict update

Posted by on April 16th, 2012

Key Points:

Bridgecorp directors awaiting sentencing all expected to be jailed for at least 3 ¼ years

John Wilson and Colin Armer lead in race to succeed Sir Henry van der Heyden as Chairman of Fonterra

Tertiary Education Commission and New Zealand Trade & Enterprise both expected to be swallowed into Steven Joyce’s new superministry, and David Smol overwhelmingly picked to be first CEO

Judith Collins may be getting cold feet on suing Trevor Mallard and Andrew Little

NZ Government to increase price of smokes and booze

Kim Dotcom not expected to be extradited to US until 2014 at the earliest but Julian Assange off to Sweden in July


Back Benches this week

Posted by on April 16th, 2012

WHAT THE FRACK?: Fracking—the mining process which blasts a mixture of water, sand and chemicals deep into the earth to extract gas or petroleum. We’ve been doing it for decades but now there is Parliamentary inquiry into process. The Greens are calling for a moratorium on fracking until the inquiry is over but the Government says that’s not necessary. It’s controversial—the practice has been blamed for groundwater contamination and earthquakes. Is fracking safe? Is there enough oversight? Oil and Gas exports bring about $3 billion to the economy. Can we say no to the practice?

PAID PARENTAL LEAVE: A bill by Labour’s Sue Moroney says 6 months(26 weeks) rather than the current 3.5 months/14 weeks. The Government says that is unaffordable. Do we need more time for the country to recover financially? Key has left the door open for the future—but will our country EVER be able to afford extended leave? Is it ever a good idea to borrow money for additional entitlements? Or are there benefits, bigger than financial to consider?

Live pub politics from the Backbencher Pub: Wednesday, 18th of April, 9:05pm and on TVNZ7.
The Panel: Green Party MP Gareth Hughes, Labour MP Annette King, and National MP Katrina Shanks.

Doyle on spades

Posted by on April 11th, 2012

Spade photo

iPredict this week

Posted by on April 11th, 2012

Key Points:

• Georgie Pie may be on its way back
• Judith Collins to remain Minister but defamation action won’t succeed
• Nathan Guy favoured to be Primary Industries Minister by year’s end
• NZ Government to increase tobacco and alcohol excise duties
• Pengxin Group to get Crafar Farms in May
• Winston Peters to be Kingmaker in 2014; Labour to govern
• China and Australian economic stocks launched