I'm going to assume Mr Parker did none of these things, because if he had I'd have read about it on Whaleoil, so I'm going to judge Parker by the content of his speech.
The speech is a repeat of much of the stuff David Shearer has been saying since he became Labour leader. It will appeal to people like me, who bemoan the failure of the Nats to grow the economy and who want an economy where the primary focus is on high-value export products and services, rather than low-margin commodities. But the speech goes further in setting out Parker's credentials as a man of business.
I suppose this is important, because a lot of people continue to believe that the left are traditionally poor at managing the economy, and that only a "party of business" can get it right. This ignores the fact that New Zealand is not a business, and that attempts by various politicians to treat political and social issues like they are business problems have left us in the crapper. But the framing is probably important, or so Labour's strategists have determined. Labour must be able to show it can walk the talk when it comes to "business".
But if I'm honest I'd like to hear more about what Labour's going to do to alleviate poverty and deal with pressing social problems, like inadequate housing, job creation and the like. "Growing the pie" speeches like these are important and they have their place, and no doubt they play well to savvy business audiences, but they don't mean squat to a family of five in Massey or Mangere living in substandard housing and struggling to put food on the table. If Labour wants to deliver an alternative vision, then it could start by explaining to those who stayed away from the ballot box last year what specifically Labour will do for them. I don't expect substantive policy, but if Labour won't even talk about the alleviation of poverty, then can we be surprised when voters end up looking for other options or just losing interest altogether?
It also seems to me that Labour can't push too hard the line that government debt is not the problem, while at the same time promising not to undertake major new spending until the government's books are back in surplus. If austerity is such a doomed experiment, then why not repudiate it altogether?
"They're all the same" is something I hear a lot when I talk to people about politics and politicians. If Labour wants to govern in 2014, and wants to get there on its on steam and not as a result of a messy cobbled-together coalition holding a bare majority, it must win back those who can't see any point in voting for Labour.