Monday, April 23, 2007

Young Labour Conference

I have had a number of requests from people to post my take on the Young Labour Conference and what has resulted from it. This is my nice version of events.

I think it was great to see such a large number of people turn up for the event and that this year there were strong contingents from Christchurch and Dunedin as well as the usual Aucklanders and Wellingtonians. A great amount of discussion went on and generally people all seemed to have fairly similar ideas about where they want YL to be heading.

There were some contested positions (not often common at YL conference), including President, which resulted in a particularly nasty campaign by some of Megs supporters. Suprisingly the ones who got particularly nasty against Anna were people from her own branch, including a particular person pulling people individually aside and telling them she was a nasty person with a drinking problem. As far as I am concerned political attacks are fine but personal is unnecessary, especially when untrue.

On the Saturday night we went to dinner, however some people were kicked out as they had not RSVP'd, this I found interesting because if everyone had RSVP'd there would have been enough seating, yet after this contingent were kicked out (basically anyone who was close to Alex) there was still a significant shortage of seating - obviously a great start to the inclusiveness that Young Labour want to promote.

Despite it being a productive weekend and I think good on the whole for Young Labour, I will not be involved in Young Labour any longer as I personally feel that there is a certain clique who will not let go of their power and everyone else is just their puppets, I refuse to be a puppet and a hypocrite. It is also for these reasons I am currently trying to remain unactive within the party whilst I consider if the Labour Party is where I want to belong.


Anonymous said...

That's really stink! Who would do that? :(

Gandhi's Jockstrap said...

There are some nasty people in all parties but they will get there just desserts. The truth will out in the end.

Sometimes it is better to be right that win. As an ancient Chinese proverb said 'To walk a thousand miles you must first take one step.'

Illigitimi non Carborundum

Rich said...

I think you might find much nicer people if you joined a left wing party?

TRS said...

It's a decison that many of us have made welly_girl.

Mine poltical life cycle went a little like this..

1. Hate all poltical parties
2. Decide to make a diffrance, decide to find a poltical party that most suits
3. Find labour find some good people
4. Find when ever an "election" takes place everything turns "backroom" and nasty
5. become disenchanted and leave
6. hate all poltical parties

Pamziewamzie said...

You forgot to mention the fact that Anna's report was not printed, and Meg had several illustrious pages.

To be honest, I can't really think of anything to say that won't attract criticism to me, so I'm just going to shut up.

Span said...

So in a nutshell, most participants had "fairly similar ideas about where they want YL to be heading" but then personal politics got in the way?

Welcome to a political party folks. It doesn't make them all bad, it doesn't even make this one bad, but it does make them harder to be involved in imho.

It's healthy to look at your options, but I wouldn't say because you had a bad experience, once, with Labour that you should go all blue vote on us. And I say that as someone who doesn't like Labour much at all and frequently writes about it myself.

MikeE said...

You could always join AOC...

David Farrar said...

What drinking problem? The only drinking problem one can have in politics is an inability to handle your piss!!

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't putting the reports together be the secretary's job, and, um, wasn't Anna the secretary?

Anonymous said...

Here is an idea:

Get a job in a factory. You'll be paid Labour's minimum wage per hour. Because of this you will be working most weekends as you will need the extra money to survive. All this work makes you sick, but you return to work before you are well as the sick days are low.
The cost of living keeps going up, the supermarket keeps getting more expensive, the rent keeps climbing, the cost of driving to work almost makes it not worth showing up but public transport is inefficient and not that much cheaper.
Few months down the road the employer changes the working conditions. The contract expires next year and its illegal to go on strike. You challenge your union to break the law, but the union secretary is wanting to become a Labour MP so the union dismisses calls for strikes out of hand. So the overtime rates (which were pretty pathetic anyway) are now gone and you are working for minimum wage in your weekends as well.

After you have experienced this start look around the different political organisations...

Pamziewamzie said...

Nice to see an anonymous commenter, probably from our own side...

Actually, I did not have the pleasure of attending so am not 100% sure as to what happened. Can you explain Welly Girl?

Span said...

I think this kind of stuff in political parties is part of the vigour of politics, but at the same time nastiness is not necessary. I'm going to write a bit more about this soon I hope. I know, from bitter personal experience, how horrid these things can be, especially the first time.

Span said...

And anon at 5.06pm, the boss can't change the working conditions without a variation the collective agreement, which the members would have to vote on. Otherwise I think you are sadly spot on about the experience of many NZ workers :-(

Rich said...

Actually joining ACT wouldn't be a bad idea. If a whole lot of leftists joined ACT we could recast it as a progressively liberal social democrat party.

It'd be payback for when the founders of ACT infiltrated Labour and hijacked it for their own values.

(except there'd be no point, as ACT doesn't have any voters..)

Heine said...

Spans right, this happens a lot in political parties, especially the larger ones. The best thing is Welly Girl, you're young, you have a great many years to define what you believe in politically.

I was asked to join Labour back in 95 but once I saw the bitterness going on I kept out of politics until 96 when I was approached by National to join the Young Nats at Otago. However I had already decided to establish ACT on Campus down there :) My experience is that the left is quite nasty internally - who can forget Labour imploding after and during the end of the 4th Labour Govt?

Anyway, relax, it's not like you are stuck with one political party all your life.

welly_girl said...

No, as the secretary was not included in the organising of conference except for preparing AGM agenda and accepting proxy votes the compiling of reports was left to certain people.

However I do not wish to elaborate on whether the omittal of the secretary's report was intentional or not, nor will I name the person/people who compiled the reports.

David Seymour said...

Well I guess if a party fundamentally believes it is okay for one individual to be subsumed by another who claims to represent the 'greater good,' then this kind of thing is not surprising. I happen to know a few former Labour Cabinet ministers who say it is not new to the party either.

Span said...

Hark at all you righties saying it only happens on the left - as if!

When you get political people together in a group they will play politics amongst themselves, as well as with those on other teams. It has little to do with the political values the individuals or the group hold.

However I do think there is probably a stronger trend to feel betrayed on the left, as we are all supposed to care for each other. Whereas on the right greed and ambition are sometimes admired, so ruthless political behaviour is not so unexpected and thus not so hurtful to those on the receiving end. That's my theory anyway.

(btw, there is something wrong with your comments, maybe Pam's email is full? Cos I keep getting emails about it each time I post a comment)

Anna said...

My feelings about the Party in general do not come from the "politics" of the weekend, rather it was alot of the Policy discussed I did not feel I was in agreement with and it is from this that I have to think if the Labour Party ideals are what I wish to align myself with.

Heine said...

Span, almost right - although I have yet to see right wingers throw chairs at left wingers, spit, punch or accuse them of raping the country in public places :)

We don't admire greed, but we do encourage ambition - as we should. No use sitting back and whining about it, get involved has always been my philosophy. We also encourage success, the more the better.

I know the guy who got booted from the conference...from what I hear there is a lot going on you guys aren't talking about! All I have to ask is why now?

Span said...

Clint, I've seen right wingers do bad things to left wingers (physically as well as otherwise), and vice versa. The right is far from immune. Anyone else remember Gerry Brownlee throwing that guy down the stairs?

Anyway, Anna, if you don't agree with the policy direction and the principles of a party then you should reconsider your membership. That's one of the main reasons I'm not a member of Labour, even though it would make sense strategically - I can't stomach the policy.

On the other hand, you have to be involved to change something - your ability to change Labour from the outside will be pretty much zilch.

Pamziewamzie said...

I have no idea Span... No my emails are not full.

And Heine, I'm sure many parties don't talk openly about private party business.

peteremcc said...

You're welcome to come along to an AoC meeting Anna.

David Farrar said...

For my 2c worth I'll say in public what I have told Anna privately. Which is not to make any decisions quickly and just to take a break from politics for a few months and then maybe look at do you want to be involved and where you feel most comfortable.

Span is quite correct that all parties have internal politics. It's not much of a secret that I detested the internal politics I had to endure last election campaign, and that is one reason I have not attended a party meeting in 18 months, despite still being generally supportive. It was one of the most unpleasant soul destroying experiences I have been involved with.

On the other hand my days in the Young Nats were superb and the internal politics was minimal. Most of those involved had a great sense of humour and saw being true to yourself as more important than being a party acolyte.

There is an old saying in politics - your opponents come from the other side of the house (the other parties) while your enemies come from your own side. This is sadly all too true.

On the other hand many of my life long friends come from politics, so no regrets.

Heine said...

lol Span. The Nats will always be remembered for Gerrys "chucking" incident. It somehow sounds worse every time it is repeated!

As an ex Labour supporter, I have never encountered the hatred that I was witness to when I was dealing with them and the Alliance. It seemed to be perpetual gloom and doom all the time.

As I have not been a member of National I can only say that my dealing with them has been fine, they have their hangups like every party, but you don't go to meetings and hear how they HATE the poor, homeless unlike the leftie meetings where they plan to undermine capitalism, hate the rich/big business. You'll find with a bit of digging that the left in NZ is overall quite a negative movement.

Seeing both sides reinforces why I like ACT who are quite willing to listen to both sides, esp as it was founded by ex Labour MPs. :-)

Span said...

Sadly Clint I have not had such pleasant experiences with Act people I have known.

I think DPF's advice about taking a break and not making a hasty choice is good. I have done that a few times already in my eleven years of active political involvement, and if you find yourself looking forward to getting back into it you have your answer pretty quickly, imho.

Heine said...

I guess it would be harder for you to like ACT memebrs Span, esp as you feel uncomfortable with Labour... it would seem most MPs on the spectrum aren't to your liking :)

Span said...

I'm not talking about MPs really, I've had interaction with them from all over the spectrum and I have found their courtesy is not necessarily dictated by their party colours. There was even an ACT MP I talked to once who was quite pleasant, she is no longer in parliament however and got shafted on the list.

Some of the ACT people I am thinking of I had unpleasant experiences of before they were in the party.

I feel uncomfortable with Labour's policies, and their political management, but some of my best friends are in the Labour party :-P