Simon Wilson

Does Labour have a future?

A bunch of lefty twats recently had a dinner preaching to the converted about the future of Labour.

One of those was Simon Wilson, the?very red-centric former editor of Metro.

What is the point of Labour? Is it a twentieth century phenomenon sliding into oblivion in the twenty-first?

If you?re an urban progressive, the Greens look like a more natural home. If you?re worried about modernity in any or all its forms, New Zealand First is ready and waiting. If you?re a M?ori activist, you can choose from the M?ori Party and the Mana Party.

If you?re working class? Any of the above, isn?t it?

In reality, Labour gets votes from all those groups. That?s a good thing: major parties need broad appeal. But Labour doesn?t always treat it as a good thing. They let the inevitable contradictions of being a broad church undermine them ? this is expressed through absurdly frequent leadership battles ? rather than becoming a source of strength.

Actually, there is a point to Labour and it?s a really important one. They?re there to win elections. Labour is the main party of opposition and therefore is likely to be the majority party in any centre-left government. So they have to look credible. They have to be credible.

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Simon Wilson from Metro on Vic Crone

Simon Wilson has a brutal column on Vic Crone in Metro.

As is usual for this lefty sniveller he?sneers his way through a meandering waffly old tale until the very end when he slips the shiv in:

She?s right about many things, but does that make her right for the job? She?s allowed herself to be surrounded by time-servers, hacks and half-arses. The embittered (in the local body world), entitled rump of old National. Almost none of them share the next generation future-focused energy she likes to portray herself as having. ? Read more »

It seems Goff is failing to convince some hard core lefties

Simon Wilson, the editor of Metro, has an editorial about Phil Goff?which seems to suggest that this hard core lefty is not that enamoured by the prospect of Phil Goff taking the mayoralty.

He even starts the article by paraphrasing the age old question that if Phil Goff is the answer then it must have been a silly question.

The mayoral election will be on us next year, which means the serious candidates should be walking among us now. So far, we?ve got precisely one: Phil Goff, the only man in Auckland who can keep a smile pasted to his face for longer than Len Brown. His intentions are not official, but they?re clear.

Brown himself continues to suggest he?s standing again. ?Got it in the bag,? he declares to anyone who asks. Is he deluding himself? Or perhaps he knows he can?t announce his retirement yet because that would undermine his ability to keep doing the job for the year to come.

We?ve said it before: Len Brown will be thought of quite well by history. He?s the leader who gave voice to the reinvention of Auckland. He has wrangled a working majority on council across party lines and through two terms, in an environment where a lot of people want him to fail.

He has also presided over a steady rise in the quality of our top city officials. He inherited a lot of the CCO leaders and other key people from the old councils and central government appointments, but since the early days of the supercity Auckland?s civic leadership has grown stronger and more effective. Brown?s CEO Stephen Town is the most influential person in all that, but Town couldn?t be as effective if Brown stood in his way.

Still, Len Brown will not remain our mayor. Whatever his achievements, he?s unelectable. He lacks popular credibility, he lacks party and organisational support (Labour supports Phil Goff for the job) and he lacks financial support. All those people Brown thinks are telling him he?s their guy? They?re just being polite.

Besides, Len Brown has run out of puff. He?s not out front on the reinvention of the city anymore, but scurrying around in the background. Whether it?s the future of our port (see page 42), the intensification of housing or proposals for a new east/west freight connection, he has been, at best, muddled. He will do his own cause ? the creation of a great ?liveable? city ? no good by clinging to the illusion that he can win again.

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The delusions of Simon Wilson

Simon Wilson, the sacked editor of Metro, has written a column on their website defending Len Brown and the Terrible Ten.

In his column he blatantly misleads with some of his claims.

It is his attempt to lay blame on the government rather than on the idiot mayor.

The rates rises have three main drivers. One is the rising cost of services. The council is indeed responsible for managing that.

The second is the targeted transport levy. This was not the council?s choice. It wanted a user pays approach, with motorway tolls and/or some other kind of levy on those who use the roads. But that requires a law change and the government said no.

So the council had a choice: either scrap its plans for addressing the transport crisis, or load the cost onto rates.

Was scrapping the plans even a real option? Council officers warned of dire consequences for the city?s economic health if the council voted down the budget. And we already know that transport infrastructure will soon fail if funding for public transport, especially rapid transit, is not boosted.

Councillors who voted against the budget have not proposed useful alternatives, but have instead succumbed to narrow political opportunism and/or their own fears of a voter backlash.

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David Cohen on Metro’s most influential list

David Cohen at NBR takes apart Metro’s pathetic attempt at defining the most influential Aucklanders list.

Do media consumers need another extended best-of list?

No, we most certainly do not. You get to the end of these damn things feeling none the wiser about anything in particular, realising as you do that that?s 30 or so minutes of your life that you?ll never get back.

But hey, they?re harmless fun, as much so for the readers as compilers of exercises such as this month?s cover story in?Metro?of the ?most influential? Aucklanders.

Talk about quick and easy. An editor and his senior writers sit around in an office. Presently they are joined by some senior contributors. The secretary serves coffee. Together they trawl their files and memories. Soon enough, hey presto, a new ranking is born.

Does any of this actually matter? Well, yes and no.

Reputations are important. People constantly make judgments on the basis of available information ? some of it accurate, some not ? and what they decide has consequences.

Yet measuring influence is a messy affair.

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The good, the bad and the ugly from Chris Trotter

Chris Trotter can be an excellent commentator when he doesn’t let his propensity for some histrionics get in the way.

Yesterday he wrote a post at Martyn Martin Bradbury’s hate speech blog about the Campbell Live issue that has the left wing luvvies all exercised.

The thing about a good puppet show is that you either can?t see, or are artfully distracted from seeing, the strings. It?s when the strings themselves become more interesting than the puppets they?re attached to, that it?s time to get worried.

And that time has come ? which is why as I sat there in Ika (formerly the Neapolitan eatery Sarracino, formerly the chapel of Tongue?s the undertakers!) watching present and former MPs, trade unionists, left- and right-wing journalists, all shaking hands and exchanging gossip, the setting slowly morphed into the Kit-Kat Club from Bob Fosse?s classic movie, Cabaret.

And up there on the stage, playing the role made famous by Joel Grey was our emcee, Wallace Chapman. And the floor-show, Ika?s Cabaret Band, if you will, were (from right to left) Fran O?Sullivan, Bill Ralston, Simon Wilson and Phoebe Fletcher.

Together, they discussed and dissected the decision to hang the sword of Damocles above the marvellous Mr Campbell?s current-affairs half-hour. All good stuff, and the punters lapped it up (along with their whole gurnards and snappers, expertly seasoned, and kept warm with the most fashionable vegetables).

Oh how nice, lefties and Dirty Media practitioners all enjoying a convivial atmosphere. ?? Read more »

Random Impertinent Questions for Fran O’Sullivan, Bill Ralston, Phoebe Fletcher & Simon Wilson

Tonight Wallace Chapman is chairing?a group grope under the excuse of the “Coalition for Better Broadcasting” with?Fran O’Sullivan, Bill Ralston, Phoebe Fletcher and Simon Wilson at Laila Harre’s restaurant.

The Coalition for Better Broadcasting is calling on TV3 to be a responsible broadcaster and retain nightly current affairs in primetime.
Equally we?re calling on the Minister of Broadcasting to stop demanding profits from TVNZ and instead demand serious nightly current affairs

Oh please…..

A?journalist (trained and skilled)?would be asking these questions about this rag tag bunch…

– When will Fran O’Sullivan stop attending Food &?Grocery Council conferences and taking cash for paid speaking slots completely undeclared in her writing?

– Will she?talk more tonight about?the?last very recent time?she attended a FGC conference desperate to speak about Dirty Politics to the point of boring other attendees? After lambasting David Farrar this past weekend in the business section of all places for “playing from the Dirty Politics playbook” it would be interesting to see her complete business?disclosure statement?to see how she likes to roll in mud when it suits her back pocket.

– Has Bill Ralston forgotten when the sort of?left-wing luvvies organising this merry media reach-around?described him as ruining news and current affairs and the second coming of the devil?when he tried to slash?the TVNZ newsroom talent budget and even still accuse him regularly of presiding over collapses in viewership due to the changes he made?

– Ralston?blamed Helen Clark for politically interfering in TVNZ salary negotiations with that talent. So ergh….what sort of attempted?politically based?interference have we had here?with Campbell Live from the left?

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Lonely Lenny as mates abandon him

Len Brown is literally a man alone.

Even The Gurnard took time out from writing puff pieces about the Fat German to knock up a few words to that effect.

You know things are serious though when the Herald abandons you, and left wing commentators are kicking you in the cods. Selwyn Manning, Simon Wilson and Chris Trotter both say that Len Brown is a corpse. Now Tim Watkin weighs in.

It’s all just rather pathetic really, isn’t it? Yes, I’m talking about Len Brown. From the affair itself to the Auckland mayor’s response and on to the council’s limited options for censure, pathetic seems to me the best word to sum up the whole shooting match.

Today the council officially and unanimously “censured” Brown, according to Stuff, for “his behaviour during a two year affair with Bevan Chuang”. The Herald adds, thankfully, that it was “for failing to declare free hotel rooms and upgrades and the fallout over his two year affair with Bevan Chuang”.

He will have to pay some money back and contribute to the EY report costs. A committee will decide how much and ? unacceptably ? that will be confidential. That’s one part of the story that should still have legs; of course Aucklanders deserve to know how much they’re paying and how much is the mayor’s share.

As Mike Lee said today such a censure is unprecedented and the strongest condemnation the council can make of the mayor. It is also, as Cameron Brewer said, “a wet bus ticket”. Such is the sorry state of affairs we’re left in. One job should now be on the agenda is to explore other ways that holders of this office can be held to account for misbehaviour, mis-spending and ultimately misleading the public.

The censure comes after the Herald also took unprecedented action, calling for an Auckland mayor to resign.?Yet Brown has ridden that out and now has the Christmas break for the immediate pressure to ease. This is as bad as it gets. ?? Read more »

Metro Editor on Len Brown, dead man walking

Simon Wilson is a hard left whinger from way back. ?He is the editor of Metro magazine.

Even he has abandoned Len Brown.

Len Brown will soon resign. The governing body of the Auckland Council has been meeting since 10am, and it?s still not over, and it?s clear in the debate that the mayor has lost the support of most councillors. That will make it extremely difficult for him to do his job.

When he understands that ? and how longer could that possibly take? ? he will step down.

The council has two options in front of it. One is the much publicised proposal to pass a vote of no confidence in the mayor. That is destined to fail.

The other is a motion jointly proposed by deputy mayor Penny Hulse, formerly a Brown loyalist, and leading centre-right councillor Christine Fletcher. Their motion is the outcome of a five-hour informal meeting yesterday. It uses words like ?profound disappointment and disapproval?, it censures the mayor, it calls on him to reimburse all personal costs and make an ?appropriate contribution? to council?s other costs in relation to the affair. It also requires a ?stronger working relationship and level of accountability?. Finally, it accepts Brown?s apology and ?signals its willingness to work with the mayor in the best interests of the people of Auckland?.

That motion will be carried.? So why will Len Brown stand down?

In the current issue of the magazine, I have suggested that Brown?s misdemeanours are not sufficiently serious to require resignation, but if he loses his ability to do his job, that changes. If he cannot lead the council, he needs to find the courage and grace to step aside.

He?s reached that stage. ? Read more »

Guest Blogger on The Nation

I am the guest blogger on The Nation this week.

The Nation

The Nation


We speak to Labour Party president Andrew Little on his party’s failing fortunes.. and his own political aspirations.

Digital TV – when will New Zealand make the switch?

Leading TV and Film producer John Barnett on the Peter Jackson film report and why he’s right.

Our panel is Metro editor Simon Wilson and RNZ political reporter Julian Robins.

And our guest blogger is Whale Oil.