David Shearer seems to have finally hit the right note with his education policy announcements, at least for many of his critics on the left. Although they like the policies themselves, most praise is reserved for Shearer adopting specific and direct policies on issues that the Government is increasingly vulnerable on. [Read more below]
‘Smart’ is Danyl Mclauchlan’s verdict in his blog post, A slightly more substantive take on Labour’s education policy. He says, ‘It serves the dual function of engaging with National in an area where they are vulnerable – daft policies, ambitious, egomaniacal Minister – but also sells Shearer to core Labour voters and party members after a pretty terrible six months that left his future as Party leader in doubt’.
There are many other similar expressions of support, especially on the Standard (Anthony Robins’ Education, evidence, and a tale of two leaders) but also from the likes of Darryl Evans from Mangere Budgeting Services who says that currently lunches are being stolen by kids in schools, ‘Not because they're naughty but because they're hungry’ – see Danya Levy’s Key in poverty 'la la land'. At the same time there is a growing acknowledgement that ‘National is vulnerable on education after the class-sizes backdown and because any reform it is keen on is opposed by the teaching sector. It is also potentially vulnerable on poverty’ – see Grant Miller’s Manawatu Standard analysis, Shearer hits at Nats' weak spot. Headlines such as: Child poverty costs NZ $10b a year – expert, together with an almost daily news feature and a series of hammer blows to regional employment shows that Shearer certainly has plenty of material to work with.
While copying Hone Harawira’s most memorable lines could be very problematic at times, Shearer’s ‘feed the kids’ theme is actually lifted from what was probably Harawira’s best line of the last election, also used on a Mana party campaign billboard, and the actual policy is a scaled back version of Harawira’s Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools private member’s bill submitted just last week.
Only a few weeks ago there was speculation that Labour’s next education announcement would feature a swipe at teacher unions – so what has changed? Maybe this: ‘Rumours are circulating that John Pagani has been moved out as a Labour Party strategist. If that's correct, it will be the first signal that the right wing side step of Shearer's leadership has been halted. This follows the attempt to knife Cunliffe and leaves Robertson's man now running the Leaders Office’ – see Martyn Bradbury’s Has Pagani been pushed or shoved? And as evidence of moves in the wider party to halt any further rightward drift, Bradbury also claims there will be a motion at Labour’s upcoming November conference to reduce the caucus trigger point to challenge the leadership from 67% to 51%.
Pagani’s ultimate sin may well have been that his advice simply didn’t deliver: ‘he does seem to have been the strategic mastermind behind Phil Goff’s “Nationhood” speech, and David Shearer’s ‘Dole Fiddler on the Roof’ speech – both designed to sell the Labour leaders to ‘middle New Zealand’ by provoking outrage on the left. Neither speech succeeded in that aim, instead they cost both leaders support within their own party and raised questions about Labour’s unity and stability’ – see Danyl Mclauchlan’s Exit Pagani, pursued by a bear.
To outsiders on the right, the suspicion with which the Paganis – wife Josie was a Labour candidate turned media commentator of late – are viewed by many in Labour is perplexing: ‘The pigeon-holing of the Paganis as coming from the right of the party has occurred despite the fact they were founder members of Jim Anderton's New Labour Party, which split from Labour in protest over the policies of then Finance Minister Roger Douglas, and were prime movers in the left wing political party, the Alliance’ – see Pattrick Smellie’s Labour insider John Pagani moves to NZOG. And Jane Clifton puzzles why the Paganis are being added to the growing list of internal threats: ‘now the real enemy is apparently the Labour establishment itself’ – see: The enemies of the New Zealand Labour party. A look back at the Alliance’s 1993 manifesto would probably show that it is the Paganis’ views that have transformed over the last 20 years, and that the latest move to shill for the mining industry is consistent with that long-term trend.
Arguments that Shearer’s initial advisers were on the wrong track are growing after Labour’s ex-chief of staff, Stuart Nash, criticised Louisa Wall’s Marriage Equality bill as a ‘side-issue’ that took the focus off more important issues – see Stuart Nash’s guest blog post, Concentrating On The Issues That Matter. The blog Ideologically Impure was one of many unimpressed with the logic – see: Labour dudes: shut up please and let Louisa Wall lead you to victory. This was an issue that had clear and consistent support from two-thirds of voters in polling and which the Prime Minister fell into line with very quickly. If you don’t even know when you are winning, then ultimate victory will always be a long way off.
Other recent important or interesting political items include:
The decision to cancel regional elections in Canterbury relies on ‘the reasoning of dictators and the problems of the earthquakes to deny us democracy. It does not trust the voters’ says the Press editorial, Black day for democracy in Canterbury and the nation. The Press has also published a feature story by John Crone asking whether the Government’s current management of the Christchurch rebuild is ‘just a cunning strategy to get rid of the old "people's republic of Christchurch" and create a new corporate-run town? – see: The business of NZ Inc.
There was a lot build-up and reporting from the APEC meeting in Vladivostok, but nothing much actually seemed to happen. There are only so many ways you can work ‘Pussy Riot’ into a story about trade negotiations. The alternatives seem to be writing about: your hotel, waiting three hours to glimpse Putin, the buffet, bridges or interviewing your laptop about why nothing is happening. One common theme seemed to be how trade deals are being used by both the US and China to gain dominance over each other. Gordon Campbell, who has described most of the New Zealand media reporting of APEC as ‘indistinguishable from a DPMC press handout’, had probably the best analysis of the summit’s real significance and how the Trans Pacific Partnership is where the real deals are being done – see: On APEC, and its significance for the TPP talks.
Paula Bennett is a stealth radical says Matthew Hooton – see: Bennett’s quiet welfare revolution.
Are we better than that? Danya Levy reports on a celebrity video opposing legislation to intern theoretical asylum seekers arriving by boat – see: Entertainers attack NZ boat people law. View the ‘We are better than that’ video.
Hone Harawira’s use of the Malcolm X term ‘house nigger’ certainly got him some headlines, as well as support from some unusual sources. Many media outlets deemed it too offensive to say or print, although others seemed to have no qualms about repeating the phrase. Saying it and intelligently discussing it are two different things however, says blogger Mark Hubbard: ‘the mindless reportage on this is due to the way our mainstream media is only capable of feeling about issues and emoting on them, anymore, rather than thinking on issues within a framework of politick and philosophy’ – see: Language: Hone Harawira’s Use of 'Nigger' in New Zealand Politics. Even Michael Laws strongly defended Harawira’s right to use the phrase, but couldn’t resist the ultimate insult at the end: ‘Even Hone. He's a kept man: we keep him. He's in the big House now. What does that make you, bro?’ – see: Hone's ghetto language belies his mainstream taming.
The front runners to be the new Speaker of the House are, apparently David Carter, Maurice Williamson and – don’t laugh – Tau Henare. Henare’s campaign for the job has hit quite a big bump though – see John Armstrong’s Henare not up to the job, indicates PM. That Henare can even consider he has a chance points to discipline problems in the National caucus says Cameron Slater (who has multiple blog posts on the contest): ‘Joyce has created an environment where MPs are actively talking about options like Tau has taken, grabbing whatever they can, knowing that under MMP Joyce can’t afford MPs crossing the floor. With no prospect of a promotion or a big job to look forward to, MPs become embittered and start wondering how they can cause problems. My sources are telling me that more problems are going to pop up’ – see The Race for Speaker, Ctd and The Race for Speaker, Ctd.
The hit and run workings of one of our great legal minds is revealed by Steve Braunias in The secret diary of Judge Raoul Neave.
Finally, Andrew Geddis (currently in the US) has come across ‘what may be the single greatest letter ever written by any sportsperson’, written by Chris Kluwe, the punter for the Minnesota Vikings NFL team – see: “They Won’t Magically Turn You Into A Lustful Cockmonster”. The language is from the Hone Harawira school of political oration but it obliterates the target completely and utterly.
Labour’s education policy
Danya Levy (Stuff): Key in poverty 'la la land'
Matthew Theunissen (Herald): Optional national standards won't confuse – Shearer
Claire Trevett (Herald): Stop debating and feed the kids, says Shearer
Claire Trevett (Herald): Labour's $19m vow to feed children
Samantha Hayes (TV3): Free food & report cards – Labour's education reforms
RadioLIVE / 3 News: Key: Govt already tackling education issues
John Hartevelt (Stuff): Let parents choose assessments, says Shearer
John Hartevelt (Stuff): Labour plans free food for some schools
No Right Turn: A good decision
Grant Miller (Manawatu Standard): Shearer hits at Nats' weak spot
Danyl Mclauchlan (Dim Post):A slightly more substantive take on Labour’s education policy
Ideologically Impure: Oh Shearer, so close!
Anthony Robins (Standard): Education, evidence, and a tale of two leaders
The Standard:A decent policy
Claire Trevett (Herald): School costs parents more
Scott Yorke (Imperator Fish): National's Hunger Plan
Kelvin Davis (Maui St): Feeding the kids
Herald: Editorial – Editorial: Breakfast is not too much to ask
Jody O’Callaghan and Anna Ferrick (Stuff): Free food to fill bellies will help kids learn - principal
Danyl Mclauchlan (Dim Post): The Big Lie
Martyn Bradbury (Tumeke): Has Pagani been pushed or shoved?
Martyn Bradbury (Tumeke): Pagani gone - A chance for Shearer?
Danyl Mclauchlan (Dim Post): Exit Pagani, pursued by a bear
Robert Winter (Idle Thoughts): An Opportunity for Mr Shearer: The Three Davids?
Cameron Slater (Whaleoil): Pagani gone drilling
Pattrick Smellie (Business Desk): Labour insider John Pagani moves to NZOG
Jane Clifton (Listener): The enemies of the New Zealand Labour party
Stuart Nash (Recess Monkey): Guest Post: Concentrating On The Issues That Matter
Ideologically Impure: Labour dudes: shut up please and let Louisa Wall lead you to victory
Jordan Carter (Just Left): Equality matters to us all
Jordan Carter (Just Left): The depoliticisation of economics
Scott Yorke (Imperator Fish): On "The Issues That Matter"
Cathy Odgers (Cactus Kate): Nash v Carter - Modern v Entrenched
John Crone (Press): The business of NZ Inc
Steven Cowan (Against the current): The new corporate Christchurch
Gordon Campbell (Scoop): On APEC, and its significance for the TPP talks
John Armstrong (Herald): Putin-Key talks short on specifics
Vernon Small (Stuff): Japan next for Key after frustrating summit
Corin Dann (TVNZ): Russian economy on the move
John Armstrong (Herald): Curse of Russky Island strikes
Duncan Garner (TV3): Dark clouds gather on Russky Island
John Armstrong (Herald): Hi-de-hi from Putins, the pollies' paradise
Vernon Small (Stuff): Putin no pussycat prospect at Apec summit
Fran O’Sullivan (Herald): Free trade deal hinges on PM's charm offensive
John Armstrong (Herald): Key to push Putin on stalled FTA talks
Vernon Small (Stuff): Vladivostok prepared for spotlight
Fran O’Sullivan (Herald): PM must make most of his opening act
Ryan Bridge (RadioLive): Russian dolls are hollow on the inside
Duncan Garner (TV3): Opinion: Can Russia deliver anything?
John Armstrong (Herald): Pussy Riot saga raises the beat at trade talks
Matthew Hooton (NBR):
Kate Shuttleworth (Herald): Kidnappers among targets in benefit plan
Kate Shuttleworth and Hamish Neilly (Herald): Beneficiaries on warrants face cash cut
Danyl Mclauchlan (Dim Post): Whew!
Asylum seekers bill
Tim Watkin (Pundit): Asylum seekers bill a boatload of needless nastiness
Danya Levy (Stuff): Entertainers attack NZ boat people law
TVNZ: Q+A: Interview with Immigration Minister Nathan Guy
TVNZ: Q+A: The Panel on Immigration (Video)
Hone Harawira ‘House Niggers’ comment
Mark Hubbard (Life Behind the Iron Drape): Language: Hone Harawira’s Use of 'Nigger' in New Zealand Politics …
TV3: Firstline: Hone claims victory for Maori Party's hui u-turn
Alex Tarrant (Newswire): Key says Harawira's comments are offensive
Adam Bennett (Herald): Maori Party MPs dismiss insult as 'Honeism'
Michael Laws (Press): Hone's ghetto language belies his mainstream taming
Pete George (Your NZ): Harawira backtracks and contradicts
Phil Kitchin (Stuff): ACC pays millions to send its 'hatchets'
Paul Harper (Herald): ACC's use of preferred experts questioned
Herald: Editorial: ACC culture must be more fair and open
Lost in translation
Claire Trevett (Herald): PM loses at Chinese whispers
Claire Trevett (Herald): Key gets a US rewrite... to what he really said
Philip Lyth (Public Address): How the Key transcription gaffe got fixed by State
Andrew Geddis (Pundit): “They Won’t Magically Turn You Into A Lustful Cockmonster”
Taryn Utiger (Stuff): Minister hopes church will perform gay marriages
Speaker of the House
John Armstrong (Herald): Henare not up to the job, indicates PM
Cameron Slater (Whaleoil): The race for speaker
Cameron Slater (Whaleoil): The race for speaker, ctd
Cameron Slater (Whaleoil): The race for speaker, ctd
Cameron Slater (Whaleoil): The race for speaker, ctd
Isaac Davison (Herald): National MP Tau Henare eyes Speaker's chair
Toby Manhire (Listener): Tau Henare launches speaker bid on Twitter
David Farrar (Kiwiblog): Who will be the next Speaker?
Graeme Edgeler (Legal Beagle): MMP Review: Last chance!
Mark Blackham (Political Business): Rise of professional politicians - UK, ctd
Gordon Campbell (Scoop): On the government’s lack of a jobs policy, and our abortion laws
Sue Kedgley (Herald): Beware GM heavyweights visiting New Zealand
Steve Braunias (Taranaki Daily News): The secret diary of . . . Judge Raoul Neave
Kate Chapman (Stuff): Former staffer gets $1.7m contracts
Deborah Coddington (Pundit): Parliament - the House of Representatives (even for the childless)
Dr Paul Hutchison (Herald): We can arrest obesity at birth
Brian Rudman (Herald): Crackdown on charlatans is tragically overdue
Q+A: The Web-only Panel (6:59): Benefit cuts and Hone Harawira
Karl du Fresne (Dom Post): Brave vote foils wowsers
Stuff: Today in politics: Monday, September 10
Stuff: Today in politics: Saturday, September 8
Stuff: Today in politics: Friday, September 7
Stuff: Today in politics: Wednesday, September 6
Stuff: Today in politics: Wednesday, September 5