Wednesday, 24 September 2008


Up until now, I'd thought that Labour had done the best they could with regards the whole Winston-Corruption mess, by refusing to act against him impetuously. Even Peters deserves to be treated fairly. By playing it that way, thoey couldn't be accused of acting in haste or unfairly, nor would they be seen to be supporting a corrupt, venal, lying scumbag (1).

It now appears, however, that it wasn't Labour applying the principles of natural justice and fair play, but a genuine - if lunatic - strategy to retain New Zealand First's support (2).

By waiting for the Privilege's Committee report, Labour made themselves look like the party that wasn't angaging in cheap politics (inspite of the frothing of the rightwing of the blogosphere) and actually had some principles. Now they've thrown all that away by continuing to support Peters after the report damned him for providing "false or misleading information" (3).

It is an obvious, cynical manouver. With Key ruling New Zealand First out, Labour look like they are cementing their support for a coalition. But it's exposed them as power-hungry, unprincipled friends of corruption. Which means, horribly, that the rightwing dribblers may have been right on this one, all along.

It probably won't even be effective as the support gained from New Zealand First will be balanced by the support lost as voters reject Peters and Labour in revulsion. So even viewed as a piece of political manouvering, it is clumsy and - in its blundering attempt at cynicism - naive.

Another reason to withhold support for Labour, until they actually become a proper leftwing party, not a bunch of nasty right-lite grafters.
1 - This description would apply only if Peters were judged to have been guilty by the privileges committee. Otherwise, hw would, of course, be an honest, upright, heroic fighter against corruption, venality, lies and scummishness, perhaps second only to Brian Tamaki.
2 - "No grounds to censure Peters - Cullen," unattributed NZPA article, 23rd of September, 2008. Reproduced on (
3 - ibid.


Pat said...

As a sometimes right-wing dribbler, I am glad that you have the honesty to call it for what it is. Clark and Cullen have been shameful on this affair, and yesterday they reached rock bottom with their treatment of the non-partisan members on the committee such as Russel Norman and Flavell. And once again, Cullen saw fit to denigrate Owen Glenn in defence of Peters. One wonders what strange hold Peters has on Labour.

The rumours from such illuminaries such as Trotter is that Labour has more dirt on Key. If so, he needs to handle it better than he did on Monday. He managed a partial save yesterday, and to his credit fronted the media and took his medicine. Labour needs to make sure their mud-slinging has substance, otherwise it will end up looking desperate and nasty.

The Greens need to unshackle themselves from Labour and make the most of Norman to present a fresh alternative. There is an opportunity to pick up many disaffected Labour voters who will not vote for the Nats on principle. Bradford etc may have to consider swallowing a dead whale and come to some arrangement with National that will keep the Greens in the government benches where they can continue to implement Green influence on policy.

lurgee said...

It is disgusting to watch, isn't it? And, I think, ineffective. Labour's whole strategy of appealing to the centre, plus bolting on nationalist support from NZ First, is alienating the leftwing. I can't imagine voting for Labour in six weeks time, nor can I see myself voting for the Greens if they are going to support Labour - basically, I'm sick of being taken for granted. "Better us than the other lot" is an argument that only works when there is a distinction between the options.

I wonder if the 'secret agenda' line of attack hasn't been to frighten people off National but to persuade the disaffected lefties like me from jumping ship.

Pat said...

Some commentators think Peters may still rise Phoenix-like and reach the 5% mark. I now think he has consigned his party to political oblivion since none of his MP's are likely to win a seat, and NZF won't come anywhere near 5%. And all because he was too pig headed to fess up in February (like Key did yesterday). It would have all gone away by now.

So when NZF disappear it will make Helen's decision to anchor herself to him all the more inexplicable. She has been so principled for so many years, and many errant MP's and Ministers have paid the price. Why on earth has she staked her political career on Winston? If Labour supporters do desert the party, it is simply because she can't give a straight answer to this question.

Pat said...

I left a short comment on The Standard tonight pointing out there has been 14 posts so far this week on the Key shares issue, and only 1 post about the Privileges Committee. I finished with "Love how The Standard is reading the mood of the nation right now".

The post was removed, after about 2 minutes.

What has happened to The Left? Why have they lost perspective?

I am convinced that it is time for the decent MPs left in the Labour party to stand up and get rid of Clark and Cullen. Surely only Goff can lead the party forward from here.

lurgee said...

Up until now, I've been very partial to Cullen, but he's really blown it over the Peters thing.

Goff is a waste of space, in my opinion - he's likeable, but a lightweight, and he'll move the party further right. He's the realisation of John Key's image of being a likeable, non-ideological centrist, assuming Key s the schemeing spawn of Roger Douglas that Labour are presenting him as ...

(But they are also presenting Peters as a man of integrity. Which suggests their judgment is well off.)

I don't think Goff leading the party will solve anything in the long term, because it will still leave Labour fighting over the centre ground while losing votes on the left.

Pat said...

If not Goff, then who is left to take charge of Labour?

And don't despair. I think I am a reasonable judge of people when I meet them (the whole gut-feel thing) and I'm pretty sure John Key is not the reincarnation of evil.

I have seen him state publicly that he would not have Roger Douglas in his cabinet. He gave an example of Working for Families that Douglas wants scrapped. Key said that would drive too many families into poverty, and "he won't do that".

Sounds like a socialist? I think more a realist.

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