Red Alert

Archive for the ‘Elections’ Category

A good day for the left

Posted by on October 13th, 2013

What to make of the local government election results?  On the face of it you’d have to say that with centre left mayors in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin the vibe is good for the left heading into 2014.

Dave Cull and Celia Wade-Brown fended off challengers in Dunedin and Wellington. Lianne Dalziel romped in without a serious opponent in Christchurch. Life is about to get more interesting for Gerry Brownlee who now has to contend with a more sophisticated political operator in the mayor’s chair. Lianne will be a formidable counter-balance to National’s strange mixture of top-down and hands-off approach to the rebuild.

In Auckland Len Brown has a thumping mandate. Turn out is down but as Mike Williams argues in the Herald on Sunday, that is largely because Len never had a serious challenger on the Right. Mr Palino garnered 50,000 100,000 votes, scooping up the conservative votes on the North Shore and the Eastern Suburbs who were never going to vote for Len after their rates went up under the rating unification scheme legislated by National.  But the Auckland Right never got behind him in a serious way.

They put their resources into a couple of strategic Council contests, namely Denise Krum v Richard Northey in the Maungakiekie ward, and Linda Cooper v Christine Rose in Waitakere, hoping to tip the balance of power on Council. However the National Party picking up both those seats is neatly offset by Labour’s Ross Clow winning the Whau ward from Noeline Raffils, and left leaning John Watson joining his ticket-mate Wayne Walker in Albany. The balance of power on Council is unlikely to change much at all as a result.

The big story in Auckland is Len Brown’s long term mortgage on the Town Hall. The fact that the Right couldn’t find a credible challenger says it all. Len’s been the alternative government for the last three years on litmus test issues like transport and housing. He even rolled Gerry Brownlee and Steven Joyce on the City Rail Link.  If he can get the City Rail Link tunnelling underway before the next election (possible with a Labour win in 2014) then you’ll have to crowbar him out of the Town Hall.

And more good news for the left in Auckland: Labour and progressive allies scored some notable successes in the local boards. Out west where I am, Labour tickets won a majority in the Whau,  got three elected in Henderson-Massey, and the Labour-Green-Independent Future West won a clean sweep in Waitakere Ranges.  City Vision maintained its majorities in Waitemata and Eden-Albert. Labour wrested Otara-Papatoetoe from the centre right. Kaipatiki on the Shore shifted in a more progressive direction, and the progressive Roskill Community Voice team won a majority on the Puketepapa board.

Experience : What have you learned from failure & how would you apply it? Labour Leadership Q&A #13

Posted by on September 13th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 13

Experience : What have you learned & how would you apply it?

Question : To ensure a victory in the 2014 election we need courageous leadership. Failure is part of courageous leadership. Tell us about a time that you failed as a leader. What did you learn from that experience and how would you apply your learning in the future?

Submitted by : Dalene Mactier, Southbridge


Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog. This started Tuesday 10th September, and continues till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.



Answer from Shane Jones

Prior to becoming a Parliamentarian I was the Leader within Maoridom that bought the fifty plus tribes together and resolved the Treaty fisheries dispute.

This took great courage.

Obviously I enjoy a florid style of speaking. This campaign has been a lesson to me about softening some of my rhetoric.

Immoderate remarks have offended some women and I realise I need to improve.


Answer from Grant Robertson

The best example in my life came from time as a leader of the student movement in the 1990s.

After fighting rising fees, cuts to allowances and massive interest on student loans for several years, we were struggling to get people involved in our campaigns.

Re-igniting the movement required going back to the first principles of what we were fighting for (equality of opportunity) and knowing that whatever happened we had to keep fighting.

We took inspiration from the civil rights movement saying “Keep your eyes on the prize, keep your mind on the struggle.” We kept the faith, and it was great to be part of working on Labour’s policy many years later that saw interest removed from student loans.

The lesson being – always remember why you are doing what you are doing, and never, never give up.


Answer from David Cunliffe

I have learnt some hard lessons about leadership in the past year. I have listened to colleagues and supporters, buckled down in my portfolio, and worked hard.

Going through hard situations can really prepare you well for the future, and as Labour’s leader I would want to put the lessons I’ve learnt to really unifying and energising our party to win the election in 2014.


Voter turnout : How do we motivate more people to vote? Labour Leadership Q&A #8

Posted by on September 12th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 8

Voter turnout : How do we motivate more people to vote?

Question : To win the next election we need to motivate people to vote and win some of the swing voters in the middle. Share one strategy that you think would be most effective in achieving this?

Submitted by : Dalene Mactier, Southbridge


Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog. This started Tuesday 10th September, and continues till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.



Answer from David Cunliffe

We need three things: strategy, unity and urgency. At the last election more than 800,000 people didn’t vote. At the 2011 election, Labour failed to persuade enough New Zealanders that it was a credible alternative.

When National was telling them that they would cut them off at the knees, they don’t want to hear from Labour that it would too, just a little nearer to the ankles and with more anaesthetic.

I will lead a true red Labour Party, not a pale blue one. I will lead a team that is a clear alternative to John Key.

Voters will understand the difference between Labour and National and how we will build a fairer, more inclusive New Zealand.

We must be united to win. Voters disengage when there is disunity.

Everyone in Labour must put the interests of the party and the country first. We also need to be ready to win now.

We have less than a year to lift our numbers. John Key will spend billions to get re-elected. He is battle-ready and has the best spin money can buy.

New Zealanders need us to win so that they can get back on the ladder to success.


Answer from Shane Jones

Voter turnout is essential.

I am confident I can reconnect the Party with a broader range of voters. I am able to deal with the reasons why 800,000 kiwis chose not to vote in 2011.

A significant percentage of them are in the provinces.

I believe I can broaden the appeal of the Party to these people.

There is no single silver bullet.

However a robust organisation on the ground with vivid messages will work.


Answer from Grant Robertson

We need to be talking to people about the things that matter in their lives – how can they afford their first home, what opportunities are there for their kids when the leave school and university, are there decent jobs out there for them?

If we talk to people about the issues that matter to them, they will see that Labour has the vision and the policies to make a difference in to their lives.

I don’t think for a minute that middle New Zealand is better off under a National Government.

Under National their wages are stagnant, their power bills are growing and our public schools are getting shafted.

I will unite Labour so we can focus on selling our policies to New Zealanders and if we can do that we’ll win.


Mike Williams on the election

Posted by on December 28th, 2011

Mike Williams blogs on Pundit with the conclusion that we have to do a better job promoting Shearer than we did for Goff.

Can’t disagree with that.

My public disagreement with some of the logic has to wait twenty years, the retirement of colleagues and/or WWIII.

Hager on the election

Posted by on December 18th, 2011

I don’t always agree with Nicky Hager. But he is always worth reading :-

The news declared that the National Party had had a ‘historic’ election victory on Saturday but, if that was true, National Party people would be looking happier. The reality is much more complicated

Here’s the bullet-point version, to begin:

National won about the same number of votes it did three years ago (it got a higher percentage of the total vote owing to falling voter turnout)
National has an almost unmanageably thin majority in Parliament; party insiders are not at all happy
Winston Peters is back as a fly in the National Party’s ointment, in a large part because John Key and Steven Joyce mucked up over the Epsom tea party
MMP is here to stay, meaning governments need to win a real majority and not just a high single party vote
50% of voters voted against National, despite its popular leader
Many National votes were won because of its apparently easy-going and centrist leader, not because people necessarily support its policies
Well over 50% of the public opposes key National Party policies such as privatisation (‘asset sales’)
The ACT Party, National’s most important coalition partner, died on election night
There are signs that National has passed the high point of its popularity and will now start to decline
There are signs that National leader John Key has passed the high point of his popularity and will now start to decline.
The coming three years will be the playing out of these things. It is going to be very different to National’s first three years in government.

Read the whole article here on Pundit.

Asset Sales- Information the public should have

Posted by on November 23rd, 2011

In Parliament as the election loomed John Key and Bill English frequently told us that “Mum and Dad investors would be at the front of the queue” and that 85-90% of the assets would stay in New Zealand hands. I can remember asking (well, shouting) as to how they could guarantee this, what were they going to do to make it happen.

It seems now that despite saying, as Tony Ryall did that “all the advice” is that this can be done, they did not actually ask their economic advisors in Treasury. Instead they relied on the advice of Ministerial advisors and some mates in the financial sector.

Now we only know this morsel of information because the Ombudsmen forced the National Party to release it. TVNZ has been fighting since August to get this information released. What the Ombudsmen has not done is force them to release the five briefing papers that they do have around the planned asset sales.

There are always judgement calls about releasing this kind of information. But the public interest in the days leading up to the election should dictate that the information is released. John Key has said he will take the election result as a mandate to sell our assets. Asset sales are the defining issue of this election, and the public of New Zealand deserve to have all the information when they make their decision.

Time off to vote

Posted by on November 23rd, 2011


It was great to see this sign when I popped into Astoria Cafe in Wellington earlier today. Good on them for making sure that their employees have the chance to go out and vote. Not everyone knows that there are legal requirements for employers to give employees time to go and vote if they are working on election day.

The relevant bit of the law is S162 of the Electoral Act. The guts is that if a person has not had a reasonable opportunity to vote before starting work the employer has to let them go from 3pm for that purpose, and they can not deduct their pay. If they have to be there after 3pm, reasonable arrangements should be made for the employee to be able to take the time to vote. Most employers are aware of this, and are flexible, but its important people know their rights. And the right to vote is one not to be messed with.

Also worth noting that advance voting is available around the country over the next few days if for any reason you are not going to be able to get to the polls on Saturday. The details are here, just click on your electorate.

Filed under: Elections

When Simon met Deb

Posted by on November 20th, 2011


There have been quite a few stories from the election  campaign of candidates not showing up to election meetings, but it seems to have been a particular problem in Tauranga.   I will hand over to Labour candidate Deborah Mahuta-Coyle to tell the story from up there.

We had heard on the grapevine that Simon Bridges wasn’t planning to front any candidates meetings during the election campaign. We shifted meeting dates, community groups offered to work within his availability- but after 6 cancelled candidates meetings in a row, people were angry their MP wasn’t fronting. They wrote into papers, some calling him arrogant, and many asked him to front up.

So me, Ian McLean from the Greens, Brendon Horan from NZFirst and Jayson Gardiner from Mana decided if Simon didn’t have time to come to us- we would go to him.

At 2pm today we as Tauranga Candidates arrived at one of Simons scheduled street corner meetings.

The look on Simons face when he saw us coming. He promptly turned his speaker phone on, and just yelled over us. Refused to even consider a short candidates meeting and only took questions from his supporters!

We clearly shook him up a bit as he yelled that Nationals tax system was fairer because drug dealers paid tax and when he claimed he had door knocked in a poorer area of Tauranga- a woman had him up about it and said in the last 3 years she hadn’t seen him once!

Our street corner meeting/ impromptu candidates meeting started with 5 national party supporters and ended up hosting over 30 people!

Simon scurried off as soon as he could- but I bet you he was worried at every street corner meeting after that one that we would turn up again.

Good on the other candidates for getting together on this one. Candidate meetings are time consuming, and we have a lot of them here in Wellington Central, but they are part of the democratic process. Even John Key managed to get to a couple of them, so surely Simon could have too?

The demise of Brand Key

Posted by on November 17th, 2011

Credit where it is due. The creation of the ‘brand’ that is John Key has been impressive. The state house “back-story”, the “just one of us” media strategy complete with beer slugging and commercial breakfast radio japes, the pragmatic, “relaxed” approach to the job.

But it seems in a few short days, under the pressure of an election campaign, much of the good work has unravelled. This morning on Firstline Duncan Garner made some very interesting observations that John Key seems to have ” lost all the character of the past in showing spontaneity”, “never seen him like this in the past, starting to see the changing face of the PM”.

Key has, as other PMs before him, assiduously worked the media, and has made them his friends. Over the last few days he has shown the worst of a ‘politician’ response to a self made political disaster, all but accusing them of having a conspiracy against him.

John Armstrong sums it up in the Herald this morning. The PM has lost control of this issue and is trapped by his tactic of referring it to the Police. But more than that his approach is running totally counter to the brand developed over the last few years

Key’s abrupt ending of his press conferences looked like the pressure is getting to him. It made him look shifty and weak

And shifty and weak is not part of the brand strategy. As they say, a week is a long time in politics.

Just the facts

Posted by on November 16th, 2011

You have already seen some of our campaign ads on capital gains tax,asset sales, free healthcare for under sixes and the Auckland Rail Link

Here is our latest ad. It focuses on the record the current government in failing to address unemployment and the exodus to Australia, and on the broken promises on GST. It finishes with Labour’s commitment that we will not sell our assets.

Labour bus backs

Posted by on November 8th, 2011

Bus backs1

Auckland buses rolling out this week. Campaign moving.

Filed under: Elections

Poor people don’t need much to live on?

Posted by on November 5th, 2011

CTU’s Vote Fairness video :

I’m tempted to vote for Erroll

Posted by on November 5th, 2011

Filed under: Elections

Quinn – one of the Nats’ more eloquent backbenchers

Posted by on November 3rd, 2011

Thought I would share a bit of the action from Hutt South during the campaign. As lots of people know I personally pay Paul Quinn to be my opponent. Or more accurately donate to his campaign. I hope this helps Labour people understand why.

You Can’t Hide if You are Prime Minister #2

Posted by on October 31st, 2011

Let’s be absolutely clear, Radio New Zealand’s flagship show Morning Report said this morning that they had invited John Key and Phil Goff to debate each other. Phil Goff said yes, John Key said no. John Key said they are debating on some other occasions, and “because of the time needed to prepare he was not going to do any more”. (Simon Mercep says this in the first few seconds of the link below).

I am sorry? To start with that is a stupid excuse, because the issues being raised in any given debate will be similiar, so preparation can not be used. And it is not as if this is a community radio station in Twizel. This is the most listened to morning news programme in the country. This is disgraceful. John Key said you can’t hide if you are the Prime Minister. Well he seems to be giving it a good go!

The two leaders will now have seperate interviews (obviously Mr Key could squeeze that into his schedule). Phil’s was today, and you can listen here

Everyone’s talking about asset sales, including National

Posted by on October 30th, 2011

Is anyone else surprised that National devoted their launch to talking about asset sales, a policy that the Sunday Star Times tell us this morning only 14% of the population support? And to top that off, they tried to dress up a previously announced money-go-round as some kind of new fund. We have been saying asset sales is the defining issue of the election, good to see National making sure it is.

National sleepwalking – see this months activity plan

Posted by on October 30th, 2011

Even the Nats are getting pissed off with their own campaign. Thanks to whoever sent this – and yes this is the total event plan for the Nats for our region for election month :-

Date: Sun, Oct 30, 2011 at 12:04 PM
Subject: National events in your area

Upcoming events


Following is a list of all events scheduled in the Lower North Island region for the next month.

Ohariu November Friendly Forum

Organising Group:

Venue Information:
The Caucus Room, Parliament House
Molesworth Street
Members Only

Party Speaker:
Katrina Shanks

View full details at
If your event is not included on this list, please email us at and we will have it added to the website.

If you no longer wish to receive notification of upcoming events in your area please login to the National Party website and unsubscribe via the following link:

Thank you for your interest in the New Zealand National Party. For more information on the National Party, event details, or policy information, please visit:


If u turn off during Nats turn on @7.50pm

Posted by on October 28th, 2011

Tonight, Channel One will be playing Labour’s TV Opening at 7.50pm.

The Broadcast is always an important milestone in the election campaign.  Each Party has the opportunity to lay out their vision for New Zealand and tonight we know you will see two really different paths forward.

No doubt National’s broadcast will be full of the tired old short-term fixes we’ve come to see from John Key.

But we know that there’s a different way, a better way.

And we’ve used a doco style. Bold different fresh.

Make sure you tune in to watch our Address at 7:50pm on Channel One.

Labour Campaign Ad No 2

Posted by on October 27th, 2011

There will be several ads of this style in the campaign, called animatics in the trade. Same message as Phil’s asset sales ad. With Labour we can pay down debt, through among other things bringing in the CGT, and keep our assets.

Labour’s First Campaign TV Ad

Posted by on October 26th, 2011

Here it is folks, the first of our TV ads. It features Phil Goff talking about policy. We are really pleased with how the ads have turned out. We are focusing on asset sales in this ad, and elsewhere in the campaign, because it is a great example of the clear choice at this election. It’s a choice between keeping our assets in Kiwi hands or selling them off. Its a choice between a Labour Party with a team, a plan and the policy that take the hard decisions for the future of New Zealand, and a National Party that is a one man band focused on photo opportunities and short term political decisions.

Tomorrow we kick off our campaign with a major policy announcement around securing our economic future. There will be several other announcements over the next couple of weeks, in various forms. We are taking this election seriously. There is a serious choice, not just about any one person, but about the future we want for the next generations in New Zealand.