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Break For The Future

Written By: - Date published: 9:18 am, November 14th, 2012 - 101 comments
Categories: david shearer, labour - Tags: , ,

I’m not a Labour Party member. I don’t leaflet or campaign on their behalf. And I won’t be exercising any vote at any conference or whatever. But that doesn’t make me or my opinions irrelevant. It simply makes me a left leaning person whose vote is up for grabs. But see, my vote shouldn’t be ‘up for grabs’. Given my political leanings, I should have an easy and somewhat ‘natural’ inclination to cast a vote for the Labour Party.

But the Labour Party in NZ is all tangled up in neo-classical or neo-liberal apologist bindings. And it has been that way for nearly 30 years. Through those years there has been the constant refrain of TINA (There Is No Alternative) offered as justification for their policies.

So, when in office, they have done as the unabashed neoliberal Tories do. But they do it ‘nicer’. And they have, by and large, ‘cleansed’ the party of all and sundry who don’t or won’t ‘get it’. Meaning that dissent has been silenced and people and ideas ostracised. End result? The electorate get a choice between tweedle dee and tweedle dum fighting over a so called centre ground that has moved so far to the right that it’s just not funny.

And, naturally enough, people stop voting. In their droves. Because there is nothing for them in the voting game. It’s disconnected.

I’m not going to run through the policies that have come and gone through the years from the Nats and Labour where a cigarette paper wouldn’t have slipped in the gap between their positions. And I’m not going to run through the legislative ‘roll backs’ that only go in one direction, that are never reversed and that are, at best, stationary while the ‘nice guys’ exercise their managerial remit while murmering the TINA mantra.

The upshot is that we have elections as personality contests now. Is anyone really surprised? Is there anyone who in all seriousness would argue that they don’t know why this is? Just in case such people exist, here’s a hint. In a world that lacks policy alternatives, difference in personality is all that remains, ie the choice can only be between styles when the content remains the same.

And for all the managers, careerists and neoliberal apologists who have occupied our electoral spaces for so long, here’s a wee heads up. Neo-liberalism or monetarism is dead. It died with the global financial collapse. And the rising stench of austerity you want us to breathe in, is an expression of its decay. But we don’t need this stuff. We don’t need to be told (again) that we need to suffer pain to enjoy the gain somewhere off down the track.

And so two questions arise.  Firstly, what is the NZ Labour Party in its current configuration able to offer beyond the TINA policies of monetarism? Well, obviously nothing… TINA afterall. And secondly, what could the NZ Labour Party offer up that was beyond the cruel defeatism of TINA? Well, unlike the first question, only the Labour Party itself can offer can answer.

But it’s obviously not a question we can ever possibly have an answer to while David Shearer or any of the coterie of neoliberal apologists, careerists or managerial types hold the reins of power in Labour.

And we really do need that question answered. We need a Labour Party that is willing to break for the future. So to the ABCers, David Shearer and by association, the Labour Party of the past 30 years – please be big enough to respond in kind when we say to you : – “Goodbye, ta-ra (there are real alternatives) and cheerio.”

And then just go.

101 comments on “Break For The Future”

  1. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 1

    But the Labour Party in NZ is all tangled up in neo-classical or neo-liberal apologist bindings. And it has been that way for nearly 30 years.

    That’s right, Labour are so unappealing because they are not left wing enough.

    Good luck with that strategy.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Cheers mate.

    • Yes, they would have good luck with that strategy. Labour needs at the very least to frame issues on its own terms relentlessly, even if they don’t move left. (And they have ample room to move left, unlike the government, which is eating its support parties)

  2. Shona 2

    Hear hear!

  3. Pete 3

    From Labour’s constitution:

    PRINCIPLES

    2. The New Zealand Labour Party accepts the following democratic socialist principles-
    All political authority comes from the people by democratic means including universal suffrage, regular and free elections with a secret ballot
    The natural resources of New Zealand belong to all the people and these resources, and in particular nonrenewable resources, should be managed for the benefit of all, including future generations.
    All people should have equal access to all social, economic, cultural, political and legal spheres, regardless of wealth or social position, and continuing participation in the democratic process.
    Co-operation, rather than competition, should be the main governing factor in economic relations, in order that a greater amount and a just distribution of wealth can be ensured.
    All people are entitled to dignity, self-respect and the opportunity to work.
    All people, either individually or in groups, may own wealth or property for their own use, but in any conflict of interest people are always more important than property and the state must ensure a just distribution of wealth.
    The Treaty of Waitangi is the founding document of New Zealand and that the Treaty should be honoured in government, society and the family.
    Peace and social justice should be promoted throughout the world by international co-operation and mutual respect.
    The same basic human rights, protected by the State, apply to all people, regardless or race, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religious faith, political belief or disability.

    OBJECTIVES

    3. The objectives of the Labour Party are based on the above principles.
    These objectives are -
    To elect competent men and women to Parliament and local authorities through free elections for the purpose of giving effect to Party policy and principles.
    To build and sustain an economy which can attract and retain the intelligence, skills and efforts of all citizens.
    To ensure the just distribution of the production and services of the nation for the benefit of all the people.
    To promote and protect the freedoms and welfare of all New Zealand citizens.
    To educate the public in the principles and objectives of democratic socialism and economic and social cooperation

    • rosy 3.1

      Gosh I’d vote for a party that had those principles.

      Maybe a Labour MP could write a post or make a speech explaining how the current Labour party fulfills it’s principles, or how they make policy and argue government policy with these principles in mind. I’d love to hear it.

      S/He could also include how the Labour party is meeting it’s objectives and is working “To educate the public in the principles and objectives of democratic socialism and economic and social cooperation”

      On second thoughts, it might be a bit too much of a challenge…

      • fatty 3.1.1

        “Gosh I’d vote for a party that had those principles.”

        Me too rosy…it appears as though Mana and the Greens form their policies around Labour’s principles

    • AmaKiwi 3.2

      “PRINCIPLES”

      “2. The New Zealand Labour Party accepts the following democratic socialist principles-
      All political authority comes from the people by democratic means including universal suffrage, regular and free elections with a secret ballot” . . . EXCEPT the election of the party leader (i.e., the PM or possibly the next PM).

      I’ve had glance at the 50+ pages of remits for this weekend’s party conference. They need 50+ pages so all the special interests can desperately struggle to protect their patches.

      • Dr Terry 3.2.1

        Presently it is the case that Shearer is endorsing himself (as ever!), dismissing views of his own party members as nonsense, simply not prepared to hear the voice of the people.

    • QoT 3.4

      The same basic human rights, protected by the State, apply to all people, regardless or race, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, religious faith, political belief or disability.

      Shitballs, I hope Damien O’Connor and Su’a William Sio didn’t have to, like, sign up to this in order to become MPs …

  4. KJT 4

    “And, naturally enough, people stop voting. In their droves. Because there is nothing for them in the voting game. It’s disconnected”.

    Both Shearer and Key strike me as willing puppets for the interests behind them. Both do not appear to have any real ideas, ideals or vision for New Zealand of their own, apart from business as usual.
    I shudder to think whose interests their backers have in mind. Obviously not New Zealanders on Key’s part. Asset sales, wage reductions and borrowing for tax cuts show a total lack of interest in New Zealanders future.

    Key without the anesthetic and Shearer possibly with it.

    Even a return to classical right wing conservatism would be better than the continuation of the Neo-liberal burglary.

    New Zealanders show they like a bit of mongrel in their leaders, not mister nice guy, which any politician can do. Outward niceness is a politicians stock in trade after all.

    Cunliff is the only credible contender.

    If Shearer cared for NZ he would step down and endorse the only current politician in the Labour party who has any hope of getting them above National.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Even a return to classical right wing conservatism would be better than the continuation of the Neo-liberal burglary.

      Sad, but true.

    • Dr Terry 4.2

      Many a “nice guy” turns out to be a “charmer” who manipulates, not to be trusted far.

      • KJT 4.2.1

        Key has always reminded me of the school bully.

        You know the one.
        The type who has a tribe of wannabee sycophants following them around and laughing at their amorality. Basher Bennet and Brownless are also typical of the followers.

        I met far too many of the type when in Management.
        Who also haven’t read anything except “how to get rich quick” books.

        And I am still astonished that other, otherwise intelligent, people cannot see it.

  5. BeeDee 5

    Dear Bill and other leftwingers

    It is time to start looking for yourselves at the enormous gulf that separates the two main parties. From 2009 the differences between Labour and Nation has been starkly clear. So many Labour Party programmes were slashed in that year that it has been too disheartening to continue the count ever since. In their first year in government the National Party decided to:

    Mine lignite coal in Southland

    Mapping NZ from the air including National Parks with the intent to prospect mineral mining.

    Water rights allocated in Canterbury to farmers.

    Resource Management Act modified to allow increased development with less regulation (ie Marina in coastal wetlands in Coromandel)

    Adult Education cuts; iwi representation on Polytechnic boards slashed; national standards set for primary schools regardless of ideas of experts and practioners, and cuts made to provide extra money (30 million +) to private schools

    Scrapping of Pay & Employment Equity Unit at Work.

    Perfectly competent ACC head sacked for political reasons.

    Campaign about ACC management which falsifies the real situation of surplus; and the decision to run it as an insurance company not as a pay-as-you go system

    Changes to eligibility for ACC especially for victims of sexual abuse, in particular children (Only one consultation free with a psychotherapist ) [this has since been reversed to a certain extent after a campaign by concerned professionals].

    Changes to payments to ACC especially for motor bikes.

    Decision announced to change Act and Foreshore and Seabed without any
    indication of what could replace it (law not yet passed rescinding it)

    Change to ETS law with little time to hear submissions and passing into law under urgency – result is that big polluters will be subsidised by tax payers and have no incentive to cut emissions. [And now in 2012 what will remain of the ETS? - Climate change is too expensive to combat!]

    Deal with Maori Party to subsidise big corporate Maori Forests emissions and not other Forestry corps, a racially divisive action to get Maori Party vote for ETS. (This goes against WTO anti-subsidy aims NZ has always worked for.)

    Pay rise for judges (who decides on this?) at a time of wage freeze for court workers and other govt employees. Pay freeze for hospital cleaners and other staff.

    Change to holidays – possibility to cash in one out of the 4 weeks holiday. Hours in lieu rather than days in lieu and other negative changes especially hurting part-time and shift workers. Changes to sick leave entitlements.

    Enormous payout for the as yet incomplete Brash report and dismissal of
    ideas contained in first part of report.

    Relaxed rules for overseas investors in NZ business and property.

    Auckland Supercity set-up and legislation passed regardless of citizens’ objections. Dedicated seats on council for iwi rejected – all minority representation with any decision making powers negated, in favour of ineffectual advisory councils. Huge power to be in the hands of the Super City mayor. The councils are no longer operating and the transition is being made with Auckland run by a 5 person commission.

    Useless Jobs Summit and unemployment rise

    Technical training cuts

    90-Day Bill allows employers to sack employees without giving a reason within first 90 days at a job.

    No real assistance on leaky homes problems and cases

    Cuts to R& D funding

    Cancelled regulations on clean emissions for car imports.

    Go to Copenhagen with request for money for research into farm emissions and pretend that NZ has targets in place.

    Present the same week the decision to construct billion dollar 4-lane highways and tunnels in the Wellington region. And announce planning to begin for another Auckland Harbour bridge or tunnel.

    Double bunking in prisons and the possibility of using containers as prison cells

    TVNZ NZ charter scrapped

    Junk food allowed back into schools.

    Reversing ban on incandescent lights

    Cut of 2% to employer contributions to the Kiwi Fund

    Cut of contributions to the Cullen Fund – because borrowing didn’t make sense in a recession (but Fund made bigger % interest than the cost of borrowing would have been as it turned out)

    Discontinued Pay Investigations for Special Education Support Workers and Social Workers (CYFS)

    Further cuts to Public Service Depts staff numbers

    Privatisation of prisons.

    
Scrapped biofuels (unsustainable sources eg Brazil) morotorium

    Allowing coal fired stations to re-open.



    ‘Environ’ school projects scrapped (although some councils are financing them now)

    

Similar programmes to train and tour union delegates  to  educate factories on environment friendly practic now cut.

46. Changing RMA investment rules

.

    Nats have changed the home insulation scheme (Greens and labour) to be available for everyone rather than targeted at those 
least able to afford to insulate their homes. With the result that limit of funds is reached and wrong group has acted to obtain the subsidies.

    Bill, how about taking a true look at the enormous changes to the fabric of our society in these last two and a half years.

    • weka 5.1

      BeeDee, impressive listing. The cynical reply is: how many of those things will Labour roll back/reverse once in power? And how many of those things is Labour actually ok with, and would do themselves if they thought they could get away with it?
       
       

      • George D 5.1.1

        This is the question I always ask Labour MPs: you oppose it now, will you reverse it when in power?

        If the answer is anything other than an unqualified yes, then they don’t deserve your support now (let alone when elected to government). Some things are irreversible in any practical sense, yes. But that list of things is radically smaller than the list of things that can be reversed.

    • Bill 5.2

      Bill, how about taking a true look at the enormous changes to the fabric of our society in these last two and a half years.

      If I remember correctly, Helen Clark voiced the concern during her step down in 08 that any gains made under 10 years of Labour would go up in a bonfire of fanatical flames under a National government. (I can’t quite remember how she put it.)

      Point is, I’m well aware that the Nats are going for ‘rip shit and bust’ and comletely trashing the fabric of our society. Or what remains of it.

      But I’m also aware that Labour led governments have been enamoured by the same neo-liberal tosh as the Nats. And so those neo-liberal Labour governments ‘went along with’ the broader game plan. They played ball as it were. And that has made it far too easy for the Nats to crank up the ideological extremism. Thanks to the penchant for ‘managerialism’ that marked neo-liberal Labour led governments, the framework that the Nats can now act from was left in place.

      As said before by someone on ts, there may well have been excusable reasons…even compelling reasons… for the Helen Clark led Labour Party acting as it did, or being inactive on some fronts. But that was then, and this is now. The world has changed and the neo-liberal project has shown itself to be an unmitigated disaster from the perspective of ordinary people. And so now, the Labour Party needs to make an unequivocal break from the past. No excuses.

      And you might want to consider the fact that although we are being subjected to austerity and sell-offs and all that guff at the moment, the fact is that NZ was kind of buffered from the financial melt down. But with China shaking and Australia likely to be dragged down by a falling China, the day when NZ gets hit isn’t very far away.

      When that happens, do you want the only response on the table to be austerity (more austerity) peddled out under the guise of TINA? I don’t.

      • karol 5.2.1

        Bill: As said before by someone on ts, there may well have been excusable reasons…even compelling reasons… for the Helen Clark led Labour Party acting as it did, or being inactive on some fronts. But that was then, and this is now. The world has changed and the neo-liberal project has shown itself to be an unmitigated disaster from the perspective of ordinary people. And so now, the Labour Party needs to make an unequivocal break from the past. No excuses.

        Exactly. Now is the time for change, and for Labour (and the Greens) to chart a new path.

        • Bill 5.2.1.1

          Talking to friends in Europe…the hopelessness associated with factories closing down and the sheer numbers of people becoming homeless (and that’s not looking at the more extreme and, some would say, simply off down the track a bit, situations in Spain, Greece etc)…I get lost for words on how imperative it is that a step change takes place within the parliamentary setting of NZ.

        • Dr Terry 5.2.1.2

          Agreed Karol, though I must remark upon the incredibly good performance of the Greens this year.

      • Wayne 5.2.2

        Bill, this is where the Left is deluded. This continual attempt to characterise the Nats as some sort of hard right experiment will fail. You cannot win by making caricatures of your opponents, you need to work out why they are succeeding. Essentially you have the mirror image of the problems facing the Republicans in the US. They completely misunderstood President Obamas appeal, just as you do with the Nats.

        • Colonial Viper 5.2.2.1

          Correct. The Nats aren’t the “Hard Right” experiment; the whole of New Zealand over the last 3 decades has been.

        • Bill 5.2.2.2

          The neo-classical school of economic thought is very much a ‘hard right experiment’. And it was accommodated by the parliamentary left as well as the parliamentary right. And it’s collapsed and is causing mayhem. What more to say?

          Maybe the point of my reference to tweedle dee and tweedle dum in the post went whooshing over your head?

        • Draco T Bastard 5.2.2.3

          You cannot win by making caricatures of your opponents…

          We’re not making caricatures of National – they really are hard-right and show signs of sociopathy.

          • Wayne 5.2.2.3.1

            Well, good luck in trying to convince New Zealanders that their Govt is sociopathic!

            • Dr Terry 5.2.2.3.1.1

              Not only is the Government sociopathic!! Count in an awful number of its supporters.

              • KJT

                The fact that NACT got over 50% of the vote sort of confirms that half the population are below average intelligence.

                The funny thing is, that if you poll individuals on preferred policies, without specifying the party they originated, most prefer Green policies.

                So. If NACT, or 1984-90 Labour, was subject to truth in advertising rules they would have never got into Government.
                We are going to cut your wages, make you pay twice as much for privatised services formerly provided by the State, sell of all income earning assets and make the majority poorer so less than 1% can become a lot richer, would be true, but would not have won elections.

                Yet another reason why we should have democracy and not just a revolving dictatorship.

                • McFlock

                  The fact that NACT got over 50% of the vote sort of confirms that half the population are below average intelligence.

                  Not if you include the 25%-odd who didn’t vote.
                        
                  Basically, there’re enough people smart enough to realise that no party will serve the people and opt out of the entire thing, but the stinger in that tail is that it means the stupid tory is disproportionately represented in the ballot. 
                         
                  Which is why one should at least push some shit up the hill: if you stop bailing, you might drown in it. 

                  • I maintain that while withholding your vote is a valid option, it is never a smart one. You are always best off to vote for whichever party most closely represents your interests in your opinion, and act to reform them if they are not close enough for your liking.

                • Wayne

                  If you believe that of the voters, you are doomed to fail. Actually you might believe that, but the MP’s I know in Labour don’t.

                  Actually people knew what the Nats were going to deliver in both 2008 and 2011 and voted accordingly. Everyone knows we are in tough times, everyone knew the Nats were promising to sell 49% of the electricity SOE’s. The one thing you can’t seriously allege is that people did not know the Nats agenda.

                  You are going to have to either wait for the change in the electoral cycle – it will occur by 2017, or you you are going to need a more appealing platform.

                  From what I can see of Labour’s remits it is a return to the left solutions pre 1984. I reckon that wont work. How about a 21st century program?

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    And Nationals is a return to the 19th century.

                    Yes, it would be nice to have a program for the 21st century but we’re not going to get it from either of the two main parties.

                • TightyRighty

                  Channeling Romney now? Great work KJT. Trust a champion of socialism to promote competition by labelling people idiots if they don’t subscribe to the same views that you base on your “superior” insight.

        • tracey 5.2.2.4

          What I have learned from the Nats is you have to look appealing, like you care, while every day bringing down policies that work for the few and benefit the few and corode the maany. In other words lie plausibly.

    • Colonial Viper 5.3

      Mine lignite coal in Southland

      This was first on your list. Michael Cullen instructed Solid Energy to purchase all the lignite containing farms in Southland. Had he not done that, there would be no problem with this now.

      Same with Labour involvement with other items on the list.

      Eg water issues and water quality problems, they didn’t start in 2008. Dairy has been massively intensifying over the last decade, and the growth in debt and conseqent farm price bubble have been a driver of that. That all happened under Labour’s watch.

      Allowing coal fired stations to re-open.



      This is very selective. % of renewable energy in NZ has continued to go up in each of the years National has been in power, so overall we are using less coal powered stations than before.

      Some of the other stuff the Tories do is unconscionable but Labour has been soft on saying it will roll stuff back asap eg re-nationalising our assets.

      • Peter 5.3.1

        What coal fired stations have reopened? Last time I checked it was zero… New Zealand only has one coal fired station for years anyway – Huntly, which replaced Meremere.

        Mighty River power did not gain approval to refire Marsden B (near Whangarei) with coal, and now its off to India, to be fired up with, you guessed it, coal… You could say that a smart government might have not allowed the machinery to be sold to allow that use of coal, but hell, India is so short of electricity an action like that wouldn’t have made much of a difference.

        No other coal stations have reopened in that time. In fact, the 4 old coal/gas combined units of Huntly are now essentially standby only, as they prefer to use their newer gas combined cycle plant. That new transmission line from the Waikato will also help reduce the need for them to be cranked up.

        I sincerely doubt that any new coal stations will be opened either in the medium term future. Renewables are just too damned cheap.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.4

      Campaign about ACC management which falsifies the real situation of surplus; and the decision to run it as an insurance company not as a pay-as-you go system

      Actually, Labour did that after they made ACC a monopoly again 1999

      Pay rise for judges (who decides on this?) at a time of wage freeze for court workers and other govt employees.

      Higher Salaries Commission

      how about taking a true look at the enormous changes to the fabric of our society in these last two and a half years.

      Are they enormous changes though? I don’t believe they are. It was Labour that brought in privatisation in the 1980s and they haven’t done anything to reverse that since. In fact, looking at their actions and what they’re saying now, it really looks like they looking for ways to increase privatisation and increase the actions of capitalism. Hell, even the ETS is an attempt to have capitalism to do the distribution of the worlds resources rather than the governments which is an exercise in futility as capitalism can only work if it uses the resources up at an exponential rate.

    • beatie 5.5

      I notice you didn’t mention the welfare reforms. I’ve asked the question on Labour FB pages ‘will Labour reverse the benefit reforms?’ A simple yes or no would suffice. My question was ignored apart from Darien Fenton who waffled on about ‘exciting initiatives, watch this space’ blah, blah blah. They have no idea, do they. I think they see beneficiaries as an embarrassing nuisance who interfere with their wooing of ‘Middle New Zild”

  6. Bravo, great read Bill.
    Labour need to grab back the reason why the party was formed,the beating heart is irregular
    and in danger of dying a horrible death,if not in 2014 certainly in 2017.
    It’s not enough to say they lost their way,those involved in the current shinanigans need to
    take a long hard look at themselves and ask, ‘Do i have a right to be a Labour minister’
    if not, then hand the reigns over to true labour party heros/heroins. people like Helen Kelly

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    TARA is way hotter than TINA. Just saying.

  8. weka 8

    Well said Bill.

     
    The electorate get a choice between tweedle dee and tweedle dum fighting over a so called centre ground that has moved so far to the right that it’s just not funny.

    And, naturally enough, people stop voting. In their droves. Because there is nothing for them in the voting game. It’s disconnected.
    I’m not going to run through the policies that have come and gone through the years from the Nats and Labour where a cigarette paper wouldn’t have slipped in the gap between their positions.
     

    The risk with this narrative is that even more voters get turned off. I wince every time I hear someone say there is no difference between NACT and Labour. While I understand your analysis of the wider politics involved and agree with most of it, there is still value in people voting (on the left): it’s much easier to survive, and easier to effect political change under a leftwing govt than a right wing one, even a useless leftwing one like the last Labour govt. The only rationale I can see for taking the view there is no difference would be to let the country get so run down that people take to the streets. That’s not going to be a quick process in NZ (instead, long and painful)
     
    The narrative I’d like to see is: Labour has been captured by the neoliberals (plus eveything else you said). Vote for them (or someone else on the left) in the meantime, while we work to shift the country (and Labour) back to its core values of fairness and egalitarianism.
     

    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Your strategy is correct
      1) We get people to turnout and vote the Left parties including Labour
      2) Those of us who are Left need to make damn sure that those Left parties and their MPs do what they are supposed to do for the people, or they get de-selected or voted out.

    • Bill 8.2

      Yeah. There are, of course, shades of neo-liberalism. Some are ‘nicer’. And if that is the only option we have, then of course, it makes sense to vote for the nicer varient. But our legs will get broken either way.

      What we need now is for the dominant section of the parliamentary left to make a clean break from the past. And it really does have to happen now.

      Meanwhile, I’ve no problem with people taking to the streets. In fact, I think it’s a sign of a healthy democracy that always holds the potential for ideas on developing more substantive and empowering democratic forms of governance to take hold. But I don’t buy the immiseration argument (I don’t think you were actually advocating that btw) whereby, so it is argued, people must experience a degree of suffering before they react. It doesn’t work that way. You can do just about anything to people as long as you leave them enough space to believe or merely hope that a warm shower awaits them.

  9. js 9

    Bill, you said it. You are not a Labour Party activist or member. You will probably never be. To have broad support in New Zealand a party has to cover a diversity from centre left to mild left to more staunch left – to reflect mainstream NZ which is actually quite cautious and moderate, but quite keen on people having a fair go (which National is not doing). That will never be enough for you and most Standard commentators.

    So why should you and other Standard commentators who will also never vote Labour be dictating policy and personnel to a party which you don’t support and don’t volunteer for. But surely you would support it focussing on winning back those 10 or 20% of middle to moderate NZers who have supported it in the past, and are the key to a left leaning coalition government in the future which has broad NZ-wide support. That path also needs an easy going, relationship building leader to do that – which the party has.

    • Eh? Those that voted National in last time pretty much all bought into the neo-liberal BS and carry on about the so-called Labour nanny state; coupled with going paranoid over a voluntary scheme for energy saving light bulbs (which was spun by the mainstream media as the first step towards a Communist state). Labour shouldn’t try to pander to the center-right, it is fruitless as trying to get Republican birthers to vote Obama; as National party supporters see Labour as the party of Satan out to ‘steal their money’ and ‘raise taxes’.

      Labour and the Greens should focus on winning electorates and the party vote of the center-left, as only by getting the center-left to the polls is National going to be turfed out. The center-left grew lazy under the last term of Labour (to the point most in the left felt that they didn’t need to vote), as a result John Key was able to get its voters out in larger numbers and take the country. I wouldn’t say we are as partisan as the US, but it is going to be a tight election and Labour has to be ready for a hard and bitter campaign to take back the country.

      • Wayne 9.1.1

        You have mixed up the 2008 and 2011 elections.

        New Zealanders don’t go for “hard and bitter campaigns”. They just want to see good policy and people with conviction to carry it out

        • karol 9.1.1.1

          They just want to see good policy and people with conviction to carry it out

          :roll:
           

          Show me the money!

          • Wayne 9.1.1.1.1

            All good politicians have swift rejoinders, that they don’t need rehearse. President Obama; “they don’t have horses and bayonets”. The good rejoinders disable the opponent. As sure as heck “Show me the money” did that to Phil. Both themes played into the voters sensibilities. In NZ the worry about more borrowing; in the US the prospect of increased defence spending, just at at time when they can see the end of more than a decade at war.

            In fact much of the current debate about leadership is about the inability of David Shearer to match John Key in the House. We have all seen it; John Key’s quickness in the House regularly leaves David Shearer looking helpless and out of his depth.

            • PlanetOrphan 9.1.1.1.1.1

              A reservoir of four word one liners that idiots will remember.

            • karol 9.1.1.1.1.2

              Actually that quip and repartee stuff is based on stereotypes and misinformation – everything wrong with the way image has come to outweigh content.  

              It relies on keeping the general public only partially informed, if not down-right mis-informed.  And really your view @8.50pm contradicts that of 6.54pm.

              My criticism of Team Shearer is more to do with content & policies than delivery.

              • Draco T Bastard

                It relies on keeping the general public only partially informed, if not down-right mis-informed.

                The latter if at all possible. As has been said, if National actually told the truth there’s no way that they’d ever be voted in to parliament never mind government. Unfortunately, even after 4 years of this government lying a lot of people can’t actually see that.

                • Wayne

                  Actually the Govt did campaign on its agenda, no one was misled. People either voted for the Nats because they thought the agenda was Ok, or the voted for the Nats because they thought Labour was not up to it.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    I’m pretty sure you’ll find that most of what National has done since the 2008 election most people wouldn’t have realised that National were going to do and that is National failing to tell people their agenda.

            • Draco T Bastard 9.1.1.1.1.3

              In NZ the worry about more borrowing;

              Can’t have been that worried – National got voted back in with the highest ever borrowing.

            • lprent 9.1.1.1.1.4

              That is the experience showing through of getting caught previously. But John Key was clearly a quick study and obviously remembers his previous failures vividly. He was no real match for Cullen in election 2005, but had vastly improved when he pushed pretty even against Helen in 2008. I was rather surprised that Phil didn’t have a good rejoinder ready in 2011, although as I recall he tried.

              I saw Helen go through a similar learning curve in the early 90′s in a number of areas. Ruthless self-appraisal and listening to the criicism of others with lots of practice is required. She put up with me amongst others and I am not exactly nice with my assessments.

              It isn’t just the house, although that would go a long way towards getting him ready for debates at the next election. However there he has to hold his own and not actively lose.

              I am far more worried that he simply doesn’t have sufficient skill to drive caucus so they don’t screw up and lose the election for Labour. Nor that he understands what needs to be done inside the party and why. At present he is so busy picking up basic skills that he doesn’t have time for a strategic view for the longer term, and I cannot see anyone else in caucus doing it.

              All good for National short term (but they don’t think strategically beyond a business cycle can they?). Not so good for NZ as the Greens or NZ first emerge as the driver of government over the next decade.

              • Colonial Viper

                Not so good for NZ as the Greens or NZ first emerge as the driver of government over the next decade.

                This is precisely it. Labour screwing this up puts NZ backwards for the next 10 years.

                Which is exactly the time this country needs to be preparing hard out to thrive in the perfect global storm of debt, energy depletion, resource constraints and exploding world population.

    • Bill 9.2

      A parliamentary left that was actually of the left (with all the caveats and limitations that parliamentary realities would impose on such parties) would be absolutely fine by me. Thing is js, when you refer to ‘moderate’ and ‘centre’ you seem to be assuming those positions are fixed and immutable while the reality is, as said in the post, that the centre has been shifted way off to the right over the past 30 years. Ie, our parliamentery politics have become decidedly radical thanks to the adoption of neo-classical economic thinking by the main parties of the left and right. And that ain’t good.

      edit. and when the shit hits the fan in NZ, as it most surely will, will you happy if a Labour led government sits in parliament doing nothing besides trundling out austerity policies? Because that’s what’s on the cards without a step change.

    • tracey 9.3

      because they might be potential or former labour voters??

    • lprent 9.4

      js: If anything, I’m naturally right of the current centre by inclination as anyone can see from my oft-times authoritarian and very individual moderating style here. But for decades I have been expending a lot of my valuable time and effort on a ‘left’ party. It isn’t because that is where my natural inclinations go. It is because I recognize intellectually that societies are too damn complex to be left to vagaries of the market. Especially on infrastructural issues from public transport to raising kids where the short-term profit motives tend to work against optimal long term results. You’ll notice that I seldom talk policy here except when it is about those infrastructural issues.

      So what you just said to Bill applies just as equally to me as well. People like Bill and myself generally aren’t interested in being the sole arbiters setting the direction, we’re interested in contributing to a party (or in this case a blog) that is inclusive, listens, and acts on what it hears. That is why we cooperate here despite our highly divergent viewpoints.

      Currently the Labour party isn’t configured to do that and really hasn’t been for more than 30 years. Sure we can stand up and put a policy remit through and even get it through conference. But more often than not the caucus will simply ignore it. It has been essentially a meaningless ritual, which is also why it has been occupying less and less of the conference timetables for decades.

      Consequently the Labour party membership has been steadily getting smaller and older as it steadily shrinks to a small group of younger groomed office seekers who wind up on the parliamentary payroll long before they get the nod to fight an election, and a residual lump of people from a previous generation who sigh for the days of yore when it was a cool thing to volunteer for Labour. That doesn’t bode well for being a party that represents anything apart from individual ambition. Increasingly that is what I see when I look at caucus.

      And I expect that a party should be configured to win elections. Being configured to coming as a good-hearted easy-going relationship building runner up isn’t something that I am prepared to expend effort on. And that is the position that the NZLP has allowed itself to get to.

      Chief in the things it needs to learn is to learn to agree to disagree again. Which is at least in part what a number of the remits this weekend are about. The absolute best way for MP’s to not have to deal with withering criticism from people both inside and outside the party, from members and activists, is simply to allow the party to be somewhere where you can speak, be heard, and see action in response. I don’t hold out much hope that will happen, so I prefer to expend effort here.

      It has been noticeable over the last few days that many of the MP’s are uncomfortable with being criticised from the left. So how comfortable are you with their attitude? How do you think they will react when they get a push to have this inside the party?

      I can remember when it actually happened and overall it was pretty damn healthy. More importantly we also had active change because MP’s had to to survive the interaction with party members. Now that doesn’t happen. Consequently these days we’re running on campaigning systems that owe their genesis in the days of the Anderton presidency because caucus members feel comfortable with them rather than if they are functional for the modern electorates.

      Which is also the reason that they have a problem with social media like this.

      • s y d 9.4.1

        “Consequently the Labour party membership has been steadily getting smaller and older as it steadily shrinks to a small group of younger groomed office seekers who wind up on the parliamentary payroll long before they get the nod to fight an election, and a residual lump of people from a previous generation who sigh for the days of yore when it was a cool thing to volunteer for Labour. That doesn’t bode well for being a party that represents anything apart from individual ambition.”

        nailed it there….I look at what Labour does in my electorate (home of Mr Bridges..sigh) and it’s basically election year flurry and then nothing….. Ms Mahuta-Coyle turned up a few months before the election, got her name in the paper, lost (as expected) and has now gone to work as a petroleum industry lobbiest…sigh again.

        meanhwile, the green candidate is in the media every week, with the argument against TINA..

        • Colonial Viper 9.4.1.1

          and has now gone to work as a petroleum industry lobbiest…sigh again.

          Pagani get her in, or the other way around?

      • js 9.4.2

        This a response to LPrent 12.44pm and I agree about the need for healthy debate and even conflict. I think sections of the LP have been despairing about lack of support from other sections of the labour movement/left and vice versa since its founding (too radical, not radical enough, too white, too old, too male etc).

        But what has disappointed me in the last few weeks is the constant belitting of David Shearer and his senior management team, lots of demands that he and the LP must do this or that – or else! and very little positive. (And also very little that seemed informed by other than some TV appearances.) Consequently, when the last RM poll came out there was was a cheer of ‘told you so’. Sometimes it seems like the Standard is almost a front for the right.

        NZ needs a government of the left and it will probably be a coalition of about 3 parties covering a variety of perspectives. So let’s keep up the healthy debate and focus on the left, but not the bullying by and of the same side. That only plays into the right and sees the PM swaggering in parliament using the Standard to try and destroy the credibility of the left in the eyes of the public.

        • lprent 9.4.2.1

          And have you noticed that we are coming up to the conference? This is the ONLY time when active members really meet from across the country – so this is the time that myself and other NZLP members raise these issues. The other 51 weeks in the year we tend to concentrate on the right.

          More than half of the people who comment here are (in my estimation) NZLP members – including most of the people who you are unspecific in saying are “bullying” (haven’t seen it myself).

          Problem is that right now many NZLP members (including me) have a strong sense that the Labour caucus are the bloody problem. “David Shearer and his senior management team” can’t seem to control Shane Jones running his own message line not once but now at least 3 times without any even any comment or explanation or sanction from that team. How do you feel that is helping the left cause?
          So what makes you think that they are capable of running an coherent and successful election campaign? The last one was not good and as far as I can see they don’t seem to have learnt much. Outside of the blogs the sense of angry frustration at the “management team” permeates throughout the people who help organise the campaigns. What you see here is a pale reflection.

          They need a swift kick by the party and it’s members. These days there is no effective channel to do this within the party so it is getting done outside. If you don’t want it to continue in this manner, then I’d suggest that you assist in getting the obstructions from healthy debate inside the party removed. They are in my opinion mostly inside caucus and concentrated in the “management team”.

          The most vocal supporters of that “management team” in the public sphere appear to be concentrated in the right wing publications, commentators, and bloggers. I wonder why?

        • QoT 9.4.2.2

          or else!

          Nice mischaracterisation there. But I suppose it is easier to pretend it’s a threat, rather than an earnest, depressed, beseeching “if you don’t change course we’ll have another 3 years of National government and fuck me we don’t need that”. Because then you’d have to take the critics as serious, ardent lefties, not evil meanie Shearer-hating bullies without a cause.

  10. hush minx 10

    Js, i don’t think bill is saying he never will vote labour-but even if he is, does that make what he says any less valuable? There is a delicate balance to be had between catching votes but being true to your principles and values. The latter without the former sees you shut out from the treasury benches. The reverse scenario might see you in power but achieve nothing.

    I’ve done my fair share of party work-but Labour will not get my vote, or my volunteered time until they inspire me again. And i think that’s what many of us here have been saying. Labour caucus needs to listen, and democracy and accountability shine in. For that reason i support a 40% threshold for the leadership trigger. Let anyone who is not worthy try that on with members. It is a more meaningful test than caucus and their self interest.

  11. Lots of zombie illusions here. Neo-liberalism is no more an ‘experiment’ than capitalism is. It was a response to the 1970s structural capitalist crisis. Labour was not ‘converted to neo-liberalism; it did what it did in the 1930s again in the 1980′s in the interests of national capital. The difference is that in the 1930s national capital needed protecting so Nash did a deal with the Bank of England to allow it to keep the financial reins. By the 1970′s national capital had to merge with international capital to survive, so Labour reversed its 1930s protectionism, and sucked up to the international banks.
    TARA is ending capitalism, not performing life support on a zombie.
    Labour has a class contradiction running through it, a working class support base and a bosses program.
    TARA means that the Labour Party that was formed in 1916 out of the defeat of the militant unions to lock the working class into parliament will have to split along class lines.

  12. lefty 12

    If Labour refuses to respect its constinuency maybe it needs to be taught to fear it.

    What if unions and left organisations told Labour they will not support them if they don’t change their ways.

    Labour MPs will simply laugh at this because they have learned they will continue to be supported even when they betray those who put them in positions of trust.

    The left could respond by actively campaigning against them during the next election.

    Imagine unions suggesting to their members they vote anybody but the traitorous Labour party.

    And every progressive organisation and individual turning their back on them.

    Labour loyalists could treat it like giving their beloved child some time out for bad behaviour – it would be painful but for the party’s own good.

    It would take a bit of organisation and guts but it could be done.

    The result would be another term of National.

    That would not be pleasant, but only slightly less so than neo liberal Labour led government. After all we have survived more National governments than Labour in the last fifty years or so.

    I’m picking we would only have to do it once.

    The Labour Party and its MPs would get the message that the people it pretends to represent are not prepared to be treated like suckers forever and change its ways.

    The following election people would be able to mobilise around a Labour Party that stood bravely alongside the majority against the elite.

    As long as we stick to following the lesser of two evils path and vote for Labour, regardless of what it stands for, we are going to continue to be sold out.

    And a political space that should be occupied by a centre left party will remain occupied by a centre right party.

    • kiwicommie 12.1

      As much as I agree that Labour needs to change, we can’t afford another term of National (look at the National debt – $70+ billion in 2011, and $21 billion more this year) ; even if we have to grit our teeth at some of the more right wing members of the Labour party, that is preferable to another two years of National; which could turn NZ into Greece, Spain or Italy. Those suffering can’t wait another two years, let alone five.

      • lefty 12.1.1

        Kiwicommie

        It is exactly thinking like yours that leaves us trapped with a right wing Labour Party that treats us with contempt.

        Labour (in its present form) and National are equally likely to turn us into a Greece or Spain or Italy. A capital gains tax, cutting the pension and a bit of tinkering here and there are the only differences in economic policy between the two. If we look objectively at the last 30 years it is clear they have contributed equally to the mess we are in at present.

        Its not a matter of ‘some more right wing members of the Labour Party’. Its a matter of a neo liberal Labour Party that would become a neo liberal Labour Government.

        A genuine Labour Party could make the difference but we are not going to get one unless they are taught to respect the working class that supports them by moving away from neo liberalism.

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1

          The left could respond by actively campaigning against them during the next election.

          lefty

          not just during the election, but during individual candidate Labour Party selection.

    • Draco T Bastard 12.2

      The result would be another term of National.

      Not necessarily. There are plenty of left parties that these people could give their votes to. And you never know, they may actually end up preferring the new party.

  13. js 13

    Lange was an inspiring leader with the smart speeches and one liners but wasn’t doing and was not good at that behind the scenes stuff building alliances and relationships, while the neo-libs were. I like Shearer because he is doing the hard work behind the scenes stuff, particularly in Christchurch.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      I like Shearer because he is doing the hard work behind the scenes stuff, particularly in Christchurch.

      Uh…as part of his research and technology portfolio???

  14. tracey 14

    I’m not sure how helpful this headline is for this post

    “The omnishambolic ABC Shearer led Labour Party in context”

    JS, I have refrained from offering what I am about to say because it is from a former employee of Shearer’s and I dont know the circumstances of that employment ending. That said, this employee describes him as a bully (which surprised me) and that he was not good at the nuts and bolts fo getting things done.

    Frankly as long as any party is all about its leader (and I include National in that) there is a level fod eception, or certainly wariness in this voter.

    [B : I think you might be right. Truth is, I hate coming up with brief summaries. Anyway. Summary/headline has been updated ]

  15. Sunny 15

    So js, Shearer is ‘doing hard work in CHCH’ is he? I saw a protest against the (30?) school closures/mergers/heists in CHCH. Looked like a fine day. Shearer was at the front of the march …and there were 200 people! 200! Down here in Dunedin, when the NACTS forced Forbury to close (roll of about 120) more than a 1,000 hit the streets. And they were Pacifika and Maori and poor people who had never marched before in the main. If 200 is the best the ‘leader’ and his party can get out in a city as shagged as CHCH on an issue that affects so many then he’s useless. And he needs to step aside and step aside now.

    • Peter 15.1

      Yeah, and we got close to 10,000 when National + Chch consultants tried to shut down our neurosurgery unit as well.

  16. Rogue Trooper 16

    well, I enjoyed the post and thread Bill (just returning the feathers?)

  17. js 17

    Since someone mentioned bullying, I wonder how many people have been disappointed at the petulant bullying tone of some of the commentators of the Standard lately. Do what I say, how I say – or else! And as mentioned above, most aren’t even Labour people. In fact, I recall reading the Standard last election day and many from the so-called left admitting that they voted for NZ First.

    • muzza 17.1

      Lange was an inspiring leader with the smart speeches

      Given this comment further up, and the one above referring to bullying.

      I’d say you’re you have the wooden spoon out, doing a bit of stirring eh JS!

  18. tracey 18

    “petulant bullying tone”? To my knowledge none has been directed at me since I began posting here. I know the few times I went to whale and farrar’s site the commenters and Mr Slater were more than petulant. Two wrongs don’t make a right though. How do you feel you have been bullied ont his thread? I get disappointed when anyone resorts to name calling from any ideology.

    Isn’t it good if the posters/commenters here are from a variety of political viewpoints?

  19. pete 19

    As a National supporter, I certainly hope Labour adopt everything Bill says – 100%.

  20. Michael 20

    I think Pete’s post above, which looks like a cut and paste from Labour’s constitution, should be passed around its conference this weekend before every MP is asked to affirm it. Those that don’t or won’t should be deselected, there and then. Next Labour should debate how those principles are to be applied to the policies it offers the electorate in 2014. The result should be its roadmap while in government. If the people don’t like it, they can’t say they weren’t told in advance what Labour wanted to do, and deserve the government they get.

  21. Michael Wood 21

    In the lather about leadership, some of the other important changes and proposals up for debate at the Conference have been lost.

    One is the proposed Policy Platform. This will be a binding high-level policy document that is controlled by the party memebrship, and which other policy has to be consistent with. I’d encourage you to have a read before carrying on with the “Labour is just another shade of neo-liberal” meme. The draft platform explicitly repudiates the free-market agenda, is blunt in its criticism of the 4th Labour government’s economic policies, and proposes a major change in direction for New Zealand.

    The platform proposal first has to be endorsed and the document is just a draft that has to be considered by members at the Conference, but it gives you an idea of the plurality of thought and the debates happening within the Party. Rest assured that for most of us TINA is not an option!

    Read it here – https://www.labour.org.nz/sites/labour.org.nz/files/2012-Draft-Policy-Platform-final.pdf

    • Colonial Viper 21.1

      Michael I hear really good things about you, but when I read things like “introducing innovative growth directed macroeconomic policies” I think to myself…did these guys not get the memo that growth per capita is over, that exponential economic growth will destroy this planet, and by the way…forget about ‘peak oil’: cheap oil is already extinct.

  22. karol 22

    Bill said: The upshot is that we have elections as personality contests now. Is anyone really surprised? Is there anyone who in all seriousness would argue that they don’t know why this is? Just in case such people exist, here’s a hint. In a world that lacks policy alternatives, difference in personality is all that remains, ie the choice can only be between styles when the content remains the same.

    I agree with this, and am glad you focuses on the wider policy issues, and the whole TINA SCAM.  I am not so interested in who the leader is, but in the values being portrayed.  And a focus on a back-story or being the “anti-politician” is just buying in to the neoliberal narrative.  It’s an approach that became dominant in the 80s with the intensification of consumer society, branding and market-values.

    It masked the true  neoliberal agenda, which was to reform politics in the interest of powerful corporates and wealthy elite.  And for a left wing party to put a strong emphasis on leader as brand, is masking a TINA, no-change agenda. 

    The world has changed since the 80s.  I want to see a resurgent left-wing movement with bold new ideas. 

    • Colonial Viper 22.1

      And a focus on a back-story or being the “anti-politician” is just buying in to the neoliberal narrative.

      This approach was engineered by the brilliant minds currently running Labour PR and strategy.

    • beatie 22.2

      Karol maybe you need to stop flogging a dead horse then. I remember the excitement of Lange’s win in ’84. It’s been downhill ever since. I haven’t voted for Labour for years. Unfortunately my 88yr old ex coalminer father is still loyal, to the point of being used in photo ops by our local Labour MP. Much to my disgust cos Labour sold him and his mates out years ago. Vote Mana!

      • karol 22.2.1

        I don’t understand what dead horse you think I’m abusing, beatie…?  I haven’t voted Labour for a few elections either.  But the approach by all “left” parties and the left generally is important to me whatever party I vote for (which depends on how close each party comes to me left-wing values).

  23. tamati 23

    The one legged army marches on!!!!!!

    Left, Left, left left left!

    (Bonus point for who can tell who this quote is from)

  24. Draco T Bastard 24

    Good post by Pablo over on Kiwipolitico about the Asiafication of NZ Production:

    In New Zealand it is accomplished by maintaining unemployment rates at sufficiently high levels so as to have a labor surplus in semi-skilled and unskilled, middle to lower income, mostly youth and entry-level positions. Creation of lower minimum wage sub-categories (such as the youth wage) and lowering wage requirements for casual or part time work reduces labor input costs. Dropping of social welfare benefits forces people into the job market out of necessity rather than choice, adding to the numbers of the unemployed seeking work. Loosening of the regulatory environment in which most workers work gives them less legal grounds for grievance across a range of issues, from workplace safety to wages.

    The combination of factors allow for the easy replacement of semi-skilled and unskilled labor (and in some instances, skilled workers such as academics), which increases the employment uncertainty and precariousness of the work force. That makes employees malleable to employer demands for more wage restraint, more task assignments, more productive output per employee and hence more working hours with little extra pay or benefits. For employees in a labor market characterized by work scarcity, loose regulations and employment precariousness, increasingly onerous jobs are not easy to give up (tragically, Pike River comes to mind). On the other hand, for employers it is a take it or leave it proposition. If workers want better pay or conditions, they can look elsewhere.

    What we’ve been seeing over the last three decades of neo-liberalism is the deterioration of labour solidarity for the benefit of the ruling/ownership class. It is this deterioration that we need to stop and reverse if we want a better society.

    • kiwicommie 24.1

      I agree, most employers pay peanuts and refuse to pay international rates, workers see better pay and they take it (in Australia or elsewhere), the only skilled workers left are those that work well under heavy stress and pressure, or are conned by the ‘lifestyle’ and 100% Pure NZ crap; excluding those that want to stay here despite hardship. The National party and the Business round-table live on another planet, maybe Jupiter as the gravity would crush anyone that lands on it. ;)

    • asd 24.2

      Brilliant stuff! This is why we need a left leaning Labour caucus that is decided upon and disciplined by the membership so that egalitarian priciples can be enshrined and enacted upon when we are in power and we don’t have to put up with yet another version of neo-liberalism in drag.

    • Rogue Trooper 24.3

      That’s how I been reading our society, and they all seem to be very politically literate and pluralist over there at KP

  25. Outofbed 25

    I should vote Labour
    Hands on working man. Family steeped in Labour traditions, A history of a couple of generations door knocking leafleting etc.
    I should vote Labour
    I believe in Co-operation, rather than competition
    I believe in the just distribution of the production and services of the nation for the benefit of all the people.
    I vote Green
    I don’t really warm to their middleclass wankyness. It does not sit well with me.
    I want someone to vote for who represents me.
    Sure I know Shearer will probably win the next election by cobbling together NZF UF GREENS and the Maori Party a centrist fuck fest it won’t be clean it won’t be decisive but it will probably happen. They know that they will have comfortable ministerial portfolios without doing a hell of a lot. There will be a Labour led Govt probably
    But I want to vote for a Labour party to be proud off I want to deliver leaflets , doorknock stuff envelopes, go to conferences. But not for this fucking lot. My forebears would turn over in their graves if I did that, I won’t do it
    If people want to vote or be an MP in a centrist Party , may I recommend United Future.
    Just fuck off and leave the Labour Party
    I just want to vote Labour

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    My Thinks | 23-07
  • Election news. Where is it
    So where’s the election news? Main stream media seems more obsessed about David Cunliffe’s holiday than the policies that his party is promoting. If I want to read about where he is vacationing and why, then let’s read it in...
    Closing the Gap | 23-07
  • Sorry – it’s a complicated word
    The art of saying sorry – it’s a tough one. Apologise like Lou Vincent, and win plaudits left, right and centre. Apologise like Aaron Gilmore, and everything just gets worse. It’s been an odd time lately for apologies. David Cunliffe of...
    Occasionally erudite | 23-07
  • Robert Ellis’s apocalyptic vision of Auckland
    This blog has often written about Auckland’s 1950s-era motorway development plan, which transformed the city in fundamental ways. New Zealand painter Robert Ellis was one of the first to grasp the significance and character of that transformation. His Motorway/City series,...
    Transport Blog | 23-07
  • Dear LEGO employees…
    Hi. My name is Ian and I'm a campaigner with Greenpeace. I'm also a new dad and a big fan of LEGO. She's a little young now, but I know that in a few years my baby girl will be...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 23-07
  • Feed: Fulminating and fermenting
    Longtime readers of this site may be aware of my occasional bursts of fulmination about overhopped stunt beers -- and my calls for New Zealand craft brewers to produce more sessionable brews in the classic best bitter style I think...
    Public Address | 23-07
  • More stat-juking
    There were more allegations in Parliament today that the government is juking the stats, with Andrew Little pointing at a report from the Taranaki Daily News that a Crown prosecutor had claimed:"There was one occasion in 2012 when it was...
    No Right Turn | 23-07
  • A cleaner, fairer, smarter New Zealand
    Russel Norman- General debate speech, 23 July 2014   Together, it is possible to build a cleaner, fairer, smarter New Zealand. A New Zealand in which our rivers are clean enough to swim in and our precious beaches are safe...
    frogblog | 23-07
  • Using Ministerial Inquiries to Close Down Debate
    As a young MP in the British House of Commons in the late 1970s, I rapidly became aware that half the political stories in Fleet Street originated with the Press Association’s indefatigable political correspondent, Chris Moncrieff. I was regularly button-holed...
    Bryan Gould | 23-07
  • Prison hulks
    In the 18th and 19th centuries, Britain pioneered a new type of atrocity: the prison hulk. Faced with a shortage of jail space, they turned to imprisoning convicts on former warships. The prisoners were subjected to appalling conditions in an...
    No Right Turn | 23-07
  • Challenging Britain’s panopticon
    Last week, the British establishment rammed through new "emergency" surveillance and data retention laws, with the collusion of all three major parties. Now those laws are being challenged in the courts:Two leading Westminster civil liberties campaigners, David Davis and Tom...
    No Right Turn | 23-07
  • Systemic Realignment.
    The chaotic state of contemporary international affairs demonstrates the serious limitations of constructivism and idealism as theoretical frameworks for the analysis of global macro-dynamics. The former claims that the construction of international institutions helps universalise common values and mores, thereby...
    Kiwipolitico | 23-07
  • Member’s Day
    Today is a Member's Day, the last of the Parliamentary term. But thanks to government filibustering over the past few months, instead of seeing the third reading of Sue Moroney's Parental Leave and Employment Protection (Six Months' Paid Leave) Amendment...
    No Right Turn | 23-07
  • Socially helpful photoshopping
    This one is close to my heart. It involves a man who lost his infant daughter Sophia to severe disease. She was only 6 weeks old. Sophia’s father Nathan had never seen her face free of wires and tubes. So...
    Polity | 23-07
  • Why are the electric trains so slow?
    In the first week or two of the Onehunga Line’s switch to electric trains there were major issues with the trains keeping to timetable, apparently due to overly conservative speed restrictions being put in the trains as part of their...
    Transport Blog | 23-07
  • Dairy Farming in Brazil :Nitrogen Management
    With the challenge New Zealand is facing with increased nitrogen leaching that has come with intensifying of dairy, there is understandably a tendency to ‘look over the fence’ and see how we compare with others. New Zealanders have applied our...
    Gareth’s World | 23-07
  • Gamechangers
    Updated the tracking poll. For variety’s sake this one goes all the way back to the start of 2005. It doesn’t correct for bias and the large circles intersecting the vertical lines are election results : Josie Pagani wrote a ‘what...
    DimPost | 23-07
  • Understanding the 2014 election campaign
    If David Cunliffe decided one day to redecorate his kitchen, they would call it a décor flip-flop....
    Imperator Fish | 22-07
  • Shuttling diplomacy between the bombs
    The mounting death toll in Gaza has spurred an intensified flurry of diplomacy (again), and finally a stated acknowledgement that this time the terms of any ceasefire (which will eventually come) need to differ from those of the past three...
    Pundit | 22-07
  • National Government Running Regional Health Services into Oblivion
    I am amazed anyone outside of Auckland will be voting for National this election.  They have shown only one intent in regards to regions outside of Auckland, and to a slightly lesser extent Christchurch, everywhere else  is considered a last...
    An average kiwi | 22-07
  • The MH17 blame game
    No matter who's side you're on, it's a terrible day when innocent lives are lost in another countries conflict. As questions still need to be answered as to why exactly flight MH17 was flying in controlled airspace in the first place, many headlines...
    The Jackal | 22-07
  • Hard News: Te Reo Māori in schools: let’s just start
    I was born 52 years ago today, on a date that seems unnervingly close to the 1950s. I caught the end of the free school milk years (they really did just leave it out in the sun) and I like...
    Public Address | 22-07
  • World News Brief, Wednesday July 23
    Top of the AgendaIsrael-Hamas Conflict Continues Despite International Pressure...
    Pundit | 22-07
  • The Regions and Stuff
    Yesterday Labour announced a boost for the regions, with at least $200 million available for large-scale projects that promise to give some of our struggling regions new economic opportunities. Dredging harbours, re-opening rail-lines, strategic procurement decisions, that kind of thing....
    Polity | 22-07
  • Disgraceful
    John Key’s refusal this week to apologise to Tania Billingsley is nothing short of disgraceful. Even worse is the reason he gave for ignoring Ms Billingsley: I don't make apologies unless there's a serious reason for me to do that....
    Polity | 22-07
  • Basin Bridge Bowled
    In stunning news yesterday the Board of Inquiry hearing the case for the Basin Bridge bowled out the NZTA by declined consent for the project.  This is what it would have looked like had it been approved: All up the...
    Transport Blog | 22-07
  • iPredict 2014 Election Update #27: Nats back in ascendency
    Press Release – iPredict Inflation and interest rate expectations fall ahead of OCR announcement tomorrow Forecast fiscal surplus again falls sharply, and growth marginally down Greens fall and Internet-Mana strengthens, as Sykes gets closer in Waiariki No feasible …IPREDICT LTD...
    Its our future | 22-07
  • Government Planning on Ditching Group Special Education?
    As Parents who have a child with a learning disability and/or behavioural problems at school will know, Group Special Education (GSE) have the Specialists to assist staff with the best way to support those children. I have been told by...
    An average kiwi | 22-07
  • DOWNING OF MH17: A FALSE FLAG OPERATION?
    Or: Why Didn’t the Flight-booking Computers say ‘No’ to a Flight over War-zone? MH17 vs Ukrainian SU-25? Russian Defense Ministry claims a Ukrainian SU-25 fighter jet was within 5-10 km of the Malaysian aircraft.  Snoopman, 22 July 2014   Genuflection...
    Snoopman News | 22-07
  • Green party statement on Gaza
    Today, the Green party's Kennedy Graham made a heartfelt speech concerning the immediate cease fire in Gaza and called on Israel to withdraw it's military forces. The Green party MP also read out the names of children already killed in...
    The Jackal | 22-07
  • Seal of approval – How marine mammals provide important climate data
    Understanding what is happening in the oceans is crucial since 90% of global warming is going there and attempts to measure temperatures at various depths go back to the 1960s. But, what does this Weddell seal have to do with this...
    Skeptical Science | 22-07
  • Taskforce to Tackle Loopy Rules
    The National Party have announced that if they’re re-elected they’ll form a taskforce to tackle loopy rules and regulations. Local Government Minister Paula Bennett today announced the establishment of a new Taskforce to rid New Zealand of loopy rules and...
    Transport Blog | 22-07
  • Manufacturing dissent
    So, it turns out that almost all US "domestic terrorists" are created and directly incited by the US government:Nearly all of the highest-profile domestic terrorism plots in the United States since 9/11 featured the "direct involvement" of government agents or...
    No Right Turn | 22-07
  • Minimum wage rises don’t lift unemployment, analysts agree
    More than 600 US Economists, including 7 nobel laureates, assert that increases in the minimum wage have little or no negative effect on the employment of minimum wage workers ...
    Closing the Gap | 22-07
  • The NZ First conference: policy highlights
    What were some of the policy announcements that came from the New Zealand First conference?...
    Imperator Fish | 22-07
  • Saved
    The Basin Reserve has been saved: Controversial plans to build a flyover next to the Basin Reserve in Wellington have been killed off by a board of inquiry. In a stunning move today, four commissioners declined resource consent for the...
    No Right Turn | 22-07
  • Not serious
    That's John Key's assessment of his government's failure in the Tania Billingsley case:"I don't make apologies unless there's a serious reason for me to do that." Except apparently it is serious enough to justify an independent inquiry (though one which...
    No Right Turn | 22-07
  • Vote Choice: John Key – the Fence Sitter
    Welcome to ALRANZ’s Vote Choice series, where we offer you our views on candidate’s opinions on abortion and reproductive justice, so that you can make an informed decision on 20 September. We encourage members to go along to candidate forums...
    ALRANZ | 22-07
  • Barry Brill and Anonymous: U R A Fraud
    People send me things. Brightening my email inbox last week was a pithy little email, headed U r a fraud. It didn’t have much to say. Here it is, in its entirety, exactly as it appeared: Please take down your...
    Hot Topic | 22-07
  • Connectivity Upgrade to close digital divide
    Labour will close the digital divide with its Connectivity Upgrade to ensure all New Zealanders can be part of a growing, more connected economy and have the right to access quality broadband, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says.  “The digital revolution...
    Labour | 23-07
  • New parents deserve support – Labour will deliver
    ...
    Labour | 23-07
  • National refuses meeting with Maui’s advocates
    National has refused a briefing from a group of Maui's dolphins experts, whose research shows 80 per cent of New Zealanders want greater protection for the critically endangered dolphin, the Green Party said today.Dolphin campaigner Gemma McGrath and marine scientist...
    Greens | 23-07
  • MANA Tamaki send a challenge to Labour
    “Labour should set the agenda and purposely do something positively controversial once a week”, said MANA candidate for Mt Albert, Joe Carolan. “A good start would be for all Labour Auckland MPs and members to join the Justice for Palestine...
    Mana | 23-07
  • We must act to save our dolphins
    A new report makes it clear for the urgent need to protect Maui’s and Hector’s dolphins while arguing  it is clear that there is no need for further research, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson.  “Labour backs the public call...
    Labour | 23-07
  • School told to manipulate national standards data
    Parents can have little confidence in the Government’s National Standards after an Auckland school was told to manipulate its data so it added up, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Valley School in Pukekohe was advised in an email from the...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Regional economies must have tailored plans
    News that up to 114 jobs could be lost from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton reinforces the need for a government plan to build resilient regional economies, Labour’s MP for Hauraki-Waikato Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Canpac site has effectively responded...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Auditor General slams Shared Services project
    The Auditor-General’s Office could not have been more damning about the 18 months spent on the Central Agency Shared Services (CASS) project at the Finance and Expenditure Committee this morning, says Maryan Street, Labour’s State Services spokesperson.  ...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Fonterra job losses a massive blow to Waikato
    The potential loss of up to 114 jobs from Fonterra’s Canpac plant in Hamilton is a massive blow to the Waikato region which has already lost hundreds of jobs, Labour says. Labour’s Social Development spokesperson and Hamilton-based list MP Sue...
    Labour | 23-07
  • Basin flyover decision an opportunity for capital
    The decision to reject the proposed flyover at the Basin Reserve must be taken as an opportunity to properly fund Wellington’s transport future and must not be used as an excuse to take resources away from the capital, Wellington Labour MPs...
    Labour | 22-07
  • National out of touch with the regions
    John Key is out of touch with regional New Zealand if he believes tinkering with council regulations will restore opportunities to small towns, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “While the regions are crying out for sustainable growth and job opportunities,...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Flyover rejection a victory for sustainable transport
    The rejection of the proposed Basin Reserve flyover by a Board of Inquiry is a victory for sustainable transport in Wellington and paves the way for other alternatives to be given a fair hearing, Wellington Labour MPs Grant Robertson and...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Reo Māori Policy Launch
    MANA will be launching its Reo Māori policy at 10am Thursday 24 July, at Matangireia (the old Māori Affairs Select Committee room at Parliament). We will also be addressing our concerns regarding the Minister of Māori Affairs Māori Language Strategy...
    Mana | 22-07
  • Basin Flyover decision victory for common sense
    The Green Party welcomed the Environmental Protection Authority's draft decision announced today not to allow the $90 million Basin Reserve flyover in Wellington to proceed."Both popular and expert opinion opposed the flyover. The proposal was expensive, unnecessary and would have...
    Greens | 22-07
  • Loss Leading could destroy Kiwi lamb’s reputation
    Meat companies that supply supermarkets and sell New Zealand lamb as a loss leader in the United Kingdom should lose their access to this valuable quota market, said Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor. “Our reputation as a Lamb producer...
    Labour | 22-07
  • Ae Marika! 22 July 2014
    The big storm has gone, but the damage that it did and the saturation levels that it reached meant that smaller storms quickly overwhelmed roading, and water-flow systems again in the north. And although certain individuals are talking up the...
    Mana | 21-07
  • 2014 Roger Award nominations now open
    The Roger Award is for The Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand in 2014 Nominations are now open please visit the website to nominate the worst TNC in Aotearoa. You will need to include reasons why you think your...
    Mana | 21-07
  • Labour will revive the regions with new fund
    The next Labour Government will co-develop Regional Growth Plans for every region of New Zealand and will invest at least $200 million in a fund to create breakthrough opportunities for jobs and sustainable growth, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says....
    Labour | 21-07
  • Speech to Local Government New Zealand
    Speech to the Local Government New Zealand Conference 2014 Read our full regional development policy Download Introduction Early in my time as an MP I went for a long walk on a windswept Kare Kare beach with Waitakere mayor Bob Harvey. We talked...
    Labour | 21-07
  • Stop Israeli State Terror – Rally and March this Saturday 26th July, Aote...
     The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is getting much worse and the world is marching in unprecedented numbers. New Zealanders spoke out strongly last Saturday with a march of 5,000 people in Auckland (see picture below) – the biggest march ever...
    Mana | 21-07
  • NZ needs to assist UN with aid for Gaza
    The New Zealand Government should support the United Nation's efforts to raise money to assist humanitarian aid for the people of Gaza, the Green Party said today.The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has made a...
    Greens | 21-07
  • INTERNET MANA ROAD TRIP- LEG 2
      WAIKATO / TARANAKI / MANAWATU-WANGANUI  Tuesday July 29th, 6pm | RotoruaDistinction Hotel, Fenton Ballroom, 390 Fenton Street, Rotorua  Wednesday July 30th 6pm | HamiltonWaikato University, Price Waterhouse Coopers Lecture Theatre, Gate 7, Hillcrest Rd Hamilton  Thursday July 31st, 6pm |...
    Mana | 21-07
  • Road fix needed now, not later
    Northland’s roading system is in chaos and needs fixing fast, Labour List MP Kelvin Davis says.  “According to NZTA’s 10 year funding data every area of Northland has had a decrease in NZTA funding since 2008...
    Labour | 20-07
  • KiwiSaver innovations needed to build wealth
    The innovative changes to KiwiSaver suggested by the Financial Services Council today will be seriously considered by Labour as part of plans to make KiwiSaver universal, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says. “Universal KiwiSaver is an essential part of Labour’s...
    Labour | 20-07
  • Greens announce 20 hours free ECE for two year olds
    The Green Party today announced that its key social platform for this election will be to tackle child poverty and inequality by ensuring every child in New Zealand has enough to thrive.The Green Party will make a series of policy...
    Greens | 20-07
  • MANA Pasifika Says NO To Discrimination
    Vice Chairperson of MANA Pasifika James Papali’i  feels for Ms Tupou and her children after they were served with trespass orders from their  local swimming pool in new market. With no warning or explanation from the pool staff Police ordered...
    Mana | 20-07
  • MANA Movement policy release – Economic Justice – John Minto
    Address notes from Mana Economic Justice Spokesperson and co-vice President John Minto to Economic policy launch in Kelston – 2pm, Sunday 20 July 2014. Reducing inequality and giving everyone a fair go MANA Movement’s policy prescription for a rich man’s...
    Mana | 20-07
  • One-sided reporting on the Middle East Conflict
    The following was sent to New Zealand Herald, Fairfax Media, Radio New Zealand, Television New Zealand, TV3, Radio Live and ZB Network. We are writing to all of you because there are well established patterns of reporting which seem to have been adopted by New Zealand...
    Mana | 20-07
  • New President for MANA Movement
    Lisa McNab, MANA President, and Annette Sykes, outgoing MANA President and candidate for Waiariki Lisa McNab was officially passed the mantle of MANA President in a special ceremony at Potahi Marae in Te Kao this week, following her unanimous election into the...
    Mana | 20-07
  • Te Reo Māori a doorway to opportunity