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Rock star – “No depression”

Written By: - Date published: 11:46 am, February 21st, 2014 - 104 comments
Categories: activism, class war, david cunliffe, election 2014, equality, john key, Metiria Turei, news, poverty, Satire, spin - Tags:

Popular songs can often capture the heartbeat of communities, in ways the serious media fail to grasp. Today’s infotainment media can ignore the meanings, while drawing on the celebrity culture at the centre of much of the popular music industry. Many in our media are cheering on our (alleged) “Rock Star” economy. Meanwhile the inequality gap, and life damaging poverty are there for all who dare to see it, un-diverted by the beat-ups and politically motivated shenanigans of the neoliberal PR machine.

Some have drawn similarities between our current PM, John Key, and Robert Muldoon, Prime Minister in the 1975 to 1984.  This was the period leading up to the Rogernomic, “neoliberal” revolution that began in 1984.  Muldoon was a polarizing figure, much like John Key (though our media tends to talk up Key’s positive following).  Muldoon’s outlook on life was mocked in an iconic NZ song, “There is No Depression in New Zealand”

He was one of the most polarising figures in New Zealand history, failing to address the growing economic depression and consequent unemployment, the racial unrest and the threat of civil war World War Three when a racially repressive Springbok Rugby team toured New Zealand.

Muldoon divided New Zealanders into two camps. Some saw “Piggy” Muldoon as a dictatorial Prime Minister who came close to destroying both the economy and social fabric of New Zealand through his arrogance. Others, “Rob’s Mob”, revered him as a supporter of the “ordinary bloke” and an icon of the New Zealand national character.

The above linked web site, New Zealand Folk Song, outlines the history of the ‘No Depression” song.  It reveals a people’s slant on the country’s changing political landscape: one that links creativity, entertainment and youthful rebellions, while also revealing similarities and differences between then and now.

The sang by Blam Blam Blam was a protest against the Muldoonist mis-representations of the conflicts, struggle, insecurities and dangers in NZ society of the time.


The Hamilton-based “Swamp Stomp” Gumboot Dancers still use it regularly as part of their eclectic range of antics.

no depression swamp stomp gumboots1

The web page reports on the use of “No Depression in the McGillicuddies”:

The McGilliduddy Serious Party was formed as a political party to use satire as a way of highlighting the absurdity of other partys’ policies.

McGSP leader Graeme Cairns explains:
“In about 1990 Mark Servian of the McGillicuddies was doing a radio broadcast over the Waikato Students’ Union radio station. It purported to be the National Radio’s Saturday Night Show, 50 years in the future, and the final piece of music they played was Blam Blam Blam’s There is No Depression in New Zealand,” which Mark prefaced with; “And we’ll say goodnight with the National Anthem”.

There was a failed attempt to use the song as a stunt during the 1993 or 1996 elections.


Green Party Co-leader, Metiria Turei, was part of the McGillicuddies.  In her maiden speech in Parliament in 2002, she performed a Te Reo version of “No Depression”.

In doing this, Turei brought together her radical beginnings in politics, where fun, humour, satire and street politics were part of her activism: an activism embracing a deep and serious commitment.  Her maiden speech outlines her journey from growing up in a poor, Maori, working class family. There are more details of Turei’s life story on the Green Party’s website. There are some similarities with John Key’s very politically-spun origins, but Turei has taken a different route.

Metiria’s life is peppered with challenges that have been successfully converted into opportunities. She remains resolutely unbound to any particular ideology (“the dusty tomes of old, dead guys”) and developed her political theories alongside the practical application of dissent and organisation.

Much of Metiria’s political action has centred on the rights of beneficiaries. She well remembers unemployed life as an 18-year old in Wellington

Unlike Key, and like David Cunliffe, she has not pulled the ladder up after herself.  As her response to the attempted smear of her choice of clothing shows, Turei remains down-to-earth, and focused on helping to make NZ a better place for all Kiwis.

Blam Blam Blam’s song still strikes to the heart of today’s political realities: as Tracey commented:

An economy that sees families struggling, which sees the gap between the bottom half of kiwis and the top half increasing by the decade is not a Rockstar. We should be saying it is an economy that has failed. No matter how well you handle THAT economy… families struggle, gap widens and child poverty grows.

The rockstar is a single person, at the top;, with the money and the fame. Of course he/she is happy and smiling and likeable.
The roadie is in the wing doing the grunt work for no credit and basic pay
The majority have to pay for the pleasure to line the Rockstar’s pocket

Chris Trotter identifies some similarities between 1975 and 2014.

History never repeats…. or does it?

104 comments on “Rock star – “No depression””

  1. captain hook 1

    rockstar huh.
    root all the sheilas and snarf as much coke as you can get till your septum blows up.
    more prosaically just wait for the next real estate boom, inflate the paper, con the dodos with high interst rates and then retire to the south of France.
    a sunny place for shady people.
    rockstar my arse.

  2. shorts 2

    A local hip hop crew addressed the similarities between then and now a couple of years back, stunningly –

    for those whom can’t make out the lyrics:

    (Verse 1 – Tom Scott)
    ‘Cause this ain’t no fucking joke, we fucking broke,
    far from cutting coke, all we got is luck and hope,
    dreams going up in smoke, one day, some way,
    yeah that’s what we used to say, now we black out, sniffin’ white
    sold the future’s grey, the youth that we threw away
    ain’t ever coming back, our criminal record
    haunting us forever like a tab.
    Where I come from, minimum wage is what we run on,
    no wonder why we spendin’ our pay getting drunk off some cheap shit,
    standing in line, waiting for some free shit to eat with,
    resorting to crime for some Weetbix, the same old story
    that you heard a million times before, I bet a party doesn’t even cross
    your mind no more, fucking Prime Minister ain’t even got the time to talk,
    cuttin’ off the dole, tryna justify why we’re poor,
    acting like we’re happy working underneath your iron claw,
    when you don’t even need to give a reason we’ve been fighting for.
    Trying to fight the law is like, tryna fight a fireball, ask my old man,
    they locked him up just for trying to score.
    Fuck working in a factory ’til you’re 94, course we resort to crime
    when all you get from crime is_________
    And that’s some fucked up system where justice is just some juxtaposition
    between the police and the judge’s decision and even if you scream,
    who the fuck is gonna listen to us?

    And what they know about missing the bus?
    Yeah, it’s just another prisoner’s dust
    They keep the bread and they give us the crust,
    ’cause the system is sussed; there ain’t no politician to trust
    who’s gonna listen to us

    (Verse 2 – Tourettes)
    John Key can suck my dick, hiding in his mansion.
    While half the population flies across the Tasman,
    the other half tryna act like it’s not happenin’.
    Thinkin’ that they’re rich with their hire purchase plasmas,
    asking what’s the matter? There’s no depression in New Zealand!
    Yeah, just a soul sinking feeling, had you staring at the
    All Blacks cheering, distracting you from the oil spills of poor tax.
    Can’t afford that on minimum wage,
    shit is insane, the rent is half of my pay!
    Nobody laughing these days, though the economy’s a joke.
    Except for ___________ you know how how that goes,
    socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor.
    Want us to live in shit, keep us struggling and bored,
    if you waited and thought for one second, that we deserve better,
    ain’t enough pigs to protect ’em, keep everything expensive
    and the wages low, get them loses and wins out digging some holes,
    saying work’ll set you free, yeah it’s good for the soul, ____________
    while they come and ask for your vote. Cut the funding ________ by
    the National Party, blame every problem on solo mothers and dole bludgers,
    the working class and ___ gang getting fisted, until we say it different
    ain’t no one gonna listen to us

    Minimum wage just isn’t enough
    Tax cuts don’t make a difference to us
    Act like a poor, all we know is prison and drugs
    Gettin’ high is the only way we livin’ it up

    (Outro – Matt Crawley)
    I’ve been thinking ’bout who’s doing the talking, all I’ve been reading
    about how we’re sinking
    I’ve been drinking ’bout how we’re doing, all that we’re missing,
    and that nobody’s listening

    Nobody’s listening x2

    • Rosie 2.1

      Shorts, do you know what’s interesting? You posted that at 12.30. At 1.30 Radio Active, independent Wellington radio (and on line) played the above song. A quirky coincidence.

    • Tracey 2.2

      Thanks for this

    • Brett Dale 2.3

      and how much nzonair money did they get?

      • Mary 2.3.1

        Doesn’t matter because there is no depression in New Zealand Brett Dale.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.3.2

        Politics of envy Brett?

        • Brett Dale


          Nope, just find it crazy that band will sing about living on minimum wage, but have
          gotton maybe over 100K from nzonair.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Perhaps they remember what minimum wage is like and have a sense of gratitude, but surely that possibility would only be hidden from an idiot.

            Are you an idiot, Brett?

          • Hayden

            I think you’ve wildly overestimated how much NZ On Air pay for a music video.

      • Rosie 2.3.3

        Not a cent Brett:

        “Homebrew hail from the inner west Auckland suburb of Avondale. After building a solid profile for live shows and a well received debut EP, they hit up funding body NZ on Air for their $5k video grant and were knocked back repeatedly. Enlisting the help of Chris Graham (video clip director for Trinity Roots and Scribe, and feature director of Sione’s Wedding) they made a series of web promos’ taking a swipe at the funding bodies unwillingness to fund up and coming successful artists but more than happy to pour $50k into major label backed projects. The resulting videos and well aimed critique hit the mark and then some. Now well into the finishing process of their debut (double!) album, tracks are starting to appear on Soundcloud and new videos are on the way. New track ‘Listen To Us’, a collaboration with Tourettes, debuted just before the NZ general election in November and captured the sentiment felt across the nation; sadly not enough to help the underdogs pull through in the country’s most apathetic election in a century…Orange Press talks to head larrikin Tom Scott:…….”


        Happy now?

        • Rosie

          Furthermore Brett, you’re going to get the “10 cent skank” treatment by the Upsetters, just to chill you out on a Friday evening. All that huffing and puffing about imagined tax payer dollar going to a band doesn’t do your health any good.

          I particularly like the piano on this track. Enjoy.

          • Brett Dale

            well good on them for standing on their own two feet, but they did ask for funding. So 50/50 on that one.
            Not sure what the ten cent skank thing is?

            • Rosie

              “well good on them for standing on their own two feet, but they did ask for funding.”

              Yes, they asked for $5K, not $100K as you suggested above.

              10 cent skank. Like I said, it was just to chill you out – no other message than that. A little musical chill pill, that’s all. You don’t need to understand it.

              Quit being so mean.

            • weka

              Are you suggesting that NZ musicians shouldn’t ask NZonAir for funding?

            • felix

              “but they did ask for funding. So 50/50 on that one.”

              So first you were saying that it’s not ok to sing about minimum wage life if you’ve had a video grant ($5000 btw, and guess what: the money has to be used for a fucking music video. It doesn’t alter their income one cent).

              But now you’re saying it’s not ok to sing about life on minimum wage if you even applied for $5000 to make a music video.

              I can’t figure out which of those positions is the more ridiculous.

              • Brett Dale


                I cant it help it, if you cant work out what I mean.

                • felix

                  What makes you think I can’t work it out? It’s obvious what you’re saying.

                  It’s just very, very, very stupid.

              • Pascal's bookie

                The part where he claims he was half right.

                What a fucking know nothing douche.

                Dale, learn yourself about how and why these kids are making music these days:




                • Brett Dale


                  dear oh dear, you belong right along with marion hobbes community class in the 1980s.

                  • shorts

                    Yes they’ve had funding – why shouldn’t they?

                    To date they’ve received two NZOA grants – one for Home Brew and another for an offshoot band @peace

                    2011-08 @PEACE Be Like Home Brew Crew Ltd $10,000 Making Tracks Funding
                    2011-03 HOME BREW Yellow Snot Funk Home Brew Crew $5,000 Music Videos

                    Please note the money is for recording and/or making videos – the band don’t get the money, they get to spend the money with film makers and/or recording studios

                    Homebrew’s debut album (self funded) went number one on our charts – they’ve received several awards from the industry for their work

                    Currently the band are pretty much on hiatus as they focus on Team Dynamite (album just released) and @peace (album due soon)

                    They have been talking about touring soon with an eye to sue the tour to encourage people to register to vote

                  • Pascal's bookie

                    Which half were you right about Brett?

                    And Garth Brooks fans don’t have any place criticising homebrew about authenticity, JFTR.

                    You just don’t like hiphop. And that’s ok, but you take that preference into places that are pretty much indistinguishable from racism when you bear in mind you like Garth Brooks.

                    If hiphop in NZ isn’t authentic, then hwo is Country music authentic?

                    And if homebrew can’t rap about minimum wage existence because they applied for a video grant from nzonair, then how the hell can Garth Brooks sing about any damn thing at all?

                    Hmmm, wonder why the difference, what it could be now, nah.

                    • Brett Dale


                      Uhm Garth was the first straight artist to get artist of the year from GLAAD. He has also won awards from the NCAAP. His songs are about racial harmony, gay rights, woman issues, he has written songs about down syndrome etc etc.

                      Your a typical Kiwi winger. You automatically think :Well every hiphop group must have intrigirty and every country artist must be racist”

                      Because you yourself are a bigot and use stereotypes. Im pretty sure President Obama wouldnt have invited to sing if his lyrics were racists. Im pretty sure he wouldnt have done a concert with George Michael and another concert with boys 2 men if his music was bigtoed or homophobic, do some research next time.

                      Oh by the way,. country album of the year, went to kacey mugraves an artist who did a song about bi sexual.transgender teens.

                    • Brett Dale

                      Pascal: Homebrew can sing about mininum wage if they want, but when there are lyrics about how they have struggled with no help with their music, but they have received funding, then i take that with a grain of salt.

                      Again, not every hiphop group has intrigrity, some do some dont.

                      And not every country artist is some george bush loving pro war guy, toby keith maybe, but the biggest country artists in history are all democrats.

                      Garth, Willie, Cash, the dixie chicks, Shania. and now kacey musgraves.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Way to demonstrate how a point can sail right over someone’s head, Brett.

                      What are Garth Brooks’ credentials to sing about such things, given that (according to your silly ethics) Homebrew aren’t allowed to sing about poverty because they earned some money?

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Oh Brett, you’re so easy.

                      Brooks sings all sorts of trite shite. Doesn’t mean he has integrity based on the metric you applied to homebrew though does it?

                      Have you ever said, on this blog even, that NZ hiphop is pretty much all bullshit because they are just copying a style fro the US? That the only authentic hiphop is urban african-american? Shit like that?

                      And JFTR I own far more country and Appalachian mountain derived music than I do hiphop. Even own a Garth Brooks album, though technically it’s my partner’s. It doesn’t get listened to much though, I have to say. He’s just boring.

      • Tim 2.3.4

        God you’re a miserable Cnut aren’t you Brett. The very first thing you think of when it comes to something people might derive some pleasure from is ‘how much does it cost’.
        You and Chris Finlayson should hook up! You’re the only people allowed you’re indulgences, after all – Gods Gift – the plebs just gotta pay!.
        I won’t forget to put roses on your grave – followed by a dose of urea.

        • Brett Dale


          Again there are good and bad artists of any music types, it would appear people here
          dont think this.

          Im pretty sure if this huphop group wrote a song ripping into labour or the greens, you would be criticizing them.

          • Tim

            No no no – you don’t get off that so easily. As I said – THE VERY FIRST THING you thought of, was the COST.
            Secondly: “I’m pretty sure if this huphop group wrote a song ripping into labour or the greens, you would be criticizing them.” …… WRONG! It’d receive a wry smile at best.

            It’s a shame the likes of you and Chris don’t ekshly realise the regard in which you’re held, by those that provide your pleasure. Most of them do it under duress (mortgages to pay and all that).

            btw …. BM – you don’t happen to have a first name of Brendan do you? Never mind though – in any event, your first thought as to COST and NZoA funding pretty much says it all.
            You don’t claim to be a suppota of ‘the arts’ as well do you? Yea I bet – I’ll take yours and raise you.

            • Brett Dale


              I dont know who chris is, and yes i am well aware of the cost of living, and how hard it is, most my temp work i have had in my whole life have been mininum wage.

          • felix

            “Again there are good and bad artists of any music types, it would appear people here
            dont think this.”

            Hi Brett. Could you please point to the comment which indicates that “people here don’t think this”?

            Thanks in advance.

    • karol 2.4

      Thanks for this, shorts. Maybe it’s a video to feature again in the course of this election year. They don’t seem to have been prominent lately.

      Any other bands/performers with this kind of radical edge?

      • Brett Dale 2.4.1


      • shorts 2.4.2

        other bands not mentioned – not really. Politics and commentaries on life are themes that pop up in several actives acts work there aren’t any bands I’d say are radical in the sense tat we’ve seen before (most notably in some of our lifetimes in the late 70’s/80s).

        Locally there have been some songs that attack john Key and the govt but on a subject matter level they are pretty much puerile “he’s a dick” sort of affairs

        Politics and political commentary is a topic that is sadly lacking in the global contemporary music world, there are plenty of artists commenting on their circumstances and the world in which they live but few that are actually advocating real or radical change

        I live and watch in the hope that somewhere someone with an audience will produce some great music with a message that resonates with (primarily) the young that will encourage them to be more active politically in their lives

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Why? If music changed anything we’d all be floating in a tincan all you need is love holiday in cambodia teen spirited royals.

  3. Mr Interest 3

    Not Rock

    Porn Star

    Who is the main pimp?

    Who are his fluffers?

    Who are the ones that get ripped off and xxxxed?

  4. tricledrown 4


  5. The Real Matthew 5

    The whole Muldoon – Key comparison was dispelled last time it was brought up.

    Why bring it up again? Your flogging a dead sheep.

  6. Sosoo 6

    Many in our media are cheering on our (alleged) “Rock Star” economy. Meanwhile the inequality gap, and life damaging poverty are there for all who dare to see it, un-diverted by the beat-ups and politically motivated shenanigans of the neoliberal PR machine.

    They can see it all right. They just don’t care because the people who vote National see themselves as doing well out of it. Pop songs have zero effect. The people who sing them inevitably end up as right wing fogeys if they make enough money.

    It’s been normality for 30 years and you still deny it. Neoliberalism is electorally popular enough that it is undefeatable for the foreseeable future. Of course it’s very bad for part of the population, but the rest, and in particular older people, are doing just fine out of it, and enough of them vote to make it the political norm. Like many, I thought that the financial crisis would make a difference, but it’s just gotten worse. Yes, it’s stupid, but stupidity is as curable as the common cold.

    You and the rest of the contributors to this site have no real answer to that, so you try to make it about something else. In the end, we get this crap simply because you can’t win an election in NZ (or the countries like it) without it. This really is what democracy looks like. John Key will be the Prime Minister until he is replaced by whichever right wing member of the Labour caucus replaces Cunliffe early next year.

    Just accept that bad ideas sometimes win and move on.

    • Rosie 6.1

      “Just accept that bad ideas sometimes win and move on”

      No. Might as well give up die.

      • Sosoo 6.1.1

        The only reason to give up and die is if your entire life is consumed by politics, and if that is the case, you have bigger problems than Labour’s failure to gain electoral traction.

        • Rosie

          Sosoo. I was referring to your attitude, which I find defeatist. There is more to “politics” than party politics – people do not have to tolerate what their governments dictate, no matter who is in power. Dissent is a part of a healthy democracy. There’s more to it than voting every three years.

          We do not have to accept that bad ideas sometimes win.

          • Sosoo

            But bad ideas sometimes do win. The last 30 years is ample evidence of that. You don’t have a choice of whether to tolerate it, because it is forced on you by your fellow citizens.

            If you’ve spent years screaming about it, and not enough people listen, you might want to re-evaluate.

          • Sosoo

            Not participating can have a greater effect than you think.

            The left is like a wife who stays with an abusive husband. What could he do if she wasn’t there to hit?

    • Colonial Viper 6.2

      I read your point differently Sosoo.

      Simply put: electoral politics are a waste of time, money and energy for the Left, until the Left has developed strong institutions and mass movements to back itself.

      • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 6.2.1

        Electoral politics are a waste of time, money, and energy for the Left until the Left works out how to not be shit at it.

      • Sosoo 6.2.2

        That’s a fair comment, CV. It’s the intermediate civic institutions such as unions that are needed. If it comes down to voting by individuals as individuals, the left loses.

        The problem is that nobody seems interested in those things any more.

        • Colonial Viper

          Without responsive “intermediate civic institutions” and mass movements pressuring the political parties to shift Left, we’re going to be stuck with regurgitated neoliberal capitalist policies to a sometimes greater, and to a sometimes lesser, extent from both Labour and National as the two parties keep cycling through.

  7. karol 7

    It’s been normality for 30 years and you still deny it. Neoliberalism is electorally popular enough that it is undefeatable for the foreseeable future.

    “Electorally popular” is not the same as being generally popular. Why are so many people not voting? Approximately 20% of people eligible to vote on NZ in 2008 and 2011.

    Young people, the unemployed, people on low incomes, and recent migrants were the groups least likely to vote.

    i’m not denying there’s an on-going problem. But why does the parliamentary left not make more effort to engage with the young, the unemployed, etc?

    There’s anger and potential rebellion seething at the grass roots…. among the young, among those continually overlooked….

    • Sosoo 7.1

      “Electorally popular” is not the same as being generally popular.

      Sure, but the former is what matters in politics.

      Why are so many people not voting?

      I’m a long term non-voter, so I can answer for myself, although I have no idea why most other non-voters refrain.

      I guess it’s because I don’t think of democracy as a transparent system in which the will of voters is translated into action. Instead it seems to me that the structure of the system largely determines the outcome. Back in the day there were more intermediate civic institutions (like unions and mass membership political parties) mediating between the average voter and the government, and this enabled a more deliberative rationality and made it easier for individual people to be part of organised voting blocs.

      Now that’s all gone, and political parties as a matter of brute fact are nothing more than corporate bodies “selling” policy to individuals in the same way that McDonalds sells hamburgers to teenagers. It’s not a particularly deliberative or rational process, and so the end result tends to be not as good for regular people and better for those who can afford to maintain interest groups (like organised business).

      This consumerist type politics doesn’t seem to favour left wing policies, and so the right benefit from an electoral system that gives them a massive advantage (along with the other advantages they’ve always had).

      I see no point in participating in such a system, since participating just lends it legitimacy. The kind of political system we now have is inherently right wing, or at least it seems so to me.

      I’m sure some political scientist pointed this out years ago, but it seems obvious to me. I can’t see any way out of it either, since hyper individualism seems to rule these days. Politics is fun to talk and argue about, but I can’t personally see anything changing for a long time. For example, it’s only a few months in and Cunliffe has already been neutered.

      But YMMV

      • flip 7.1.1

        I am sorry that you do not vote. Can I just say that I think abdicating that responsibility means you have given up and surrendered. If people like yourself continue to do so then democracy is really doomed. ‘Use it or lose it’ as the saying goes. Not participating lends their programme legitimacy as they go unopposed. ‘The only thing it takes for evil to win is for good to do nothing’ or words to that effect.

        I would encourage you to vote. It does not take much and is an important part of a democratic society. They win and think they are right if you do not turn up.

        There is a lot more you can do than just vote as well. Work to influence society to be better.

  8. He was one of the most polarising figures in New Zealand history, failing to address the growing economic depression and consequent unemployment, the racial unrest and the threat of civil war “World War Three“ when a racially repressive Springbok Rugby team toured New Zealand.

    Not relevant to your post, but perhaps of general interest: when this song came out, those of us around at the time took “everybody’s talkin’ ’bout World War Three” quite literally to mean an impending WW3, not as any kind of metaphor about NZ under Muldoon. The assumption that Thatcher and Reagan would deliver us WW3 was pretty widespread.

    • karol 8.1

      Now it’s climate change, resource depletion and…… guerilla, urbanised wars – on and offline.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        Kiev government forces have started to use live ammunition. That’s what governments do to their own people when they feel threatened enough.

  9. greywarbler 9

    We can’t promise you a certain win for Labour. But we can promise you a certain loss for Labour if we spend time listening to you. It is no good you singing your dirge, you know that it achieves nothing useful and wastes your time and ours. Why not hang around and say nothing except when something good does happen and put in a short positive comment then. Otherwise I think you’re just another RWNJ gremlin making a snide attack.

    We are aware that it will be a dirty election. We waste precious time on the panty fillers who come here so if that is you too, shut up.

    • Sosoo 9.1

      Keep hoping. It’s only been 30 years now..

      If you have some practically effective means of opposing neoliberal politics (and “voting for the Labour Party” hardly counts in view of its record and its caucus), then please share it.

      I voted for most of my adult life and all I got was more right wing government. So I stopped.

      • greywarbler 9.1.1

        Well we have the matter clear now. So you can stop telling us to do likewise and sapping the energy to change that we are trying to harnesss. Just watch eh, contain your tongue, and if we look as if a push in the right direction will get us over the line in winning form, come and give us your friendly hand. That’s your best option and you could be the tipping point that gets us over. Until then adieu.

  10. SHG (not Colonial Viper) 10

    For a significant chunk of the voting public, Rob Muldoon is about as relevant to NZ’s political landscape as Pitt the Younger or Cicero. He’s something that happened to other people in another place in another millennium.

    When I see references to Rob Muldoon and Blam Blam Blam i think “sweet zombie jesus, how OLD is the person who wrote this?”

    • And for a significant chunk of the voting public, it’s stuff they remember very well. For a smaller but still significant chunk, Jack Marshall, Norman Kirk and Blerta are things they remember very well, and for a still-smaller chunk Keith Holyoake is someone they remember. The voting population isn’t made up just of the young, and having a political frame of reference that doesn’t extend further back than the Clark government isn’t some kind of advantage.

    • karol 10.2

      See shorts’ comment above @ 12.30pm – check out the video link. Those who don’t know their history are doomed to repeat it.

      • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 10.2.1

        And what was Labour’s response to the Muldoon era? David Lange and Roger Douglas. Yay.

        • greywarbler

          SHG ……
          Why aren’t you at school?

        • karol

          Yes. Labour lost its way. Still waiting for them to move from that.

          Meanwhile, I vote Green and support grass roots actions. There are alternatives.

  11. dave 11

    I think there is No Depression should be the theme song this election year UK labour used things can only get better for there 1997 victory

  12. risildowgtn 12

    this bout sums it up “::::

  13. xtasy 13

    Quote from above:

    “Muldoon divided New Zealanders into two camps. Some saw “Piggy” Muldoon as a dictatorial Prime Minister who came close to destroying both the economy and social fabric of New Zealand through his arrogance. Others, “Rob’s Mob”, revered him as a supporter of the “ordinary bloke” and an icon of the New Zealand national character.”

    Well, is present New Zealand not in a somewhat similar situation, where half of the voting public seem be be more or less “charmed” by John Key and his way of talking casually, cunningly and slimly, and the other half of the voting population seem to more or less despise him and his government?

    But apart from such comparisons, the present day New Zealand is a rather different place to those past years, where ‘There is No Depression in New Zealand’ and other critical songs were popular. The media is much more commercially focused, ratings addicted, driven by profits and also certain business interests, so that they want to maintain the status quo, rather than challenge it.

    Even the many critics of the present government tend to be rather resigned and depressed, feeling powerless, so little active dissent is to be seen and heard, apart from us more informed.

    It is simply unbelievable how we have the MSM now go on about “The Rockstar Economy”, while statistics we get are questioning there is much of a “boom” going on.

    Just today we got some new tax earnings figures, and they surprised many, showing that the actual tax take for the last 6 months was well down on earlier estimates and expectations:


    “NZ govt 6-month operating deficit bigger than expected as tax take trickles in”

    “The Crown’s operating balance before gains and losses (obegal) was a deficit of $1.79 billion in the six months ended Dec. 31, $380 million wider than forecast in its Dec. 17 half-year economic and fiscal update, and down from a shortfall of $3.19 billion a year earlier. Core tax revenue was $602 million below forecast at $29.18 billion.”

    “The smaller tax take was across the board, with GST 2.3 percent below forecast at $7.5 billion…”

    I think we should call it a BULLSHIT ECONOMY that we have, as it can only be BS what we get told by the government. If there was really significant economic growth, tax earnings would surely be higher.

    Maybe it is rather the tax free earnings from real estate sales that “boost” the economy, but which will only benefit very few, who make capital gains into their pockets, from inflated property values?

    If we had a media that was more open and listened to what many people are concerned about, then we may have them play some critical music, but apparently they have “no taste” for it, not wanting to upset our dear “glorious” “Leader in Shining Armour”.

  14. Lloyd 14

    We need a popular satirical song setting out the stupidity of the policies of the present government.

    • karol 14.1

      Agreed. There is a need for out there expressions of passion and conviction politics that a lot of people can relate to and feel energised by. A good song can do that.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 14.1.1

        Why? Did Margaret stand down? Nope. She won another two terms.

        What we need is the activists that defied the media narrative to realise that media retaliation was inevitable and not quaver.

  15. tricledrown 15

    We had Robs mob
    We can have Keys Cronies.

  16. Brett Dale 16

    One Anonymous Bloke:

    They can sing about poverty, all the like, I have no problem with that.

    If they singing about how they are still being kept down because of govt policies,
    I dont have a problem with that either.

    If they are making references to how they never have had help their music, then that
    is what i have a problem with.

    And I think you will find, most things go over my head.

    • felix 16.1

      “If they are making references to how they never have had help their music, then that
      is what i have a problem with.”

      Hi Brett. Which lyrics are you objecting to then?

      Be specific please, you can’t be this wound up about something you just imagined someone might have sung, surely.

      ps did you miss the bit where they didn’t get the grants they applied for and instead made their album and videos themselves?

      Answer: no you didn’t, because you commented on it above. You even said good on them for standing on their own feet or something similar to that.

      Which means either a) you have the memory of a fish, or b) everything you’ve written since then has been deliberately untrue.

      • Brett Dale 16.1.1


        But they applied for the grants? huh?

        • felix

          So what? Why shouldn’t people apply for grants?

          ps you seem to have opted for (b)

          pps you still haven’t said which lyrics you object to and I’m starting to think you’re angry about a song that doesn’t exist.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 16.2

      I’m sure I can think of some things I’d have a problem with if you ever did them.

      • felix 16.2.1

        Look, Brett can come here and join the discussion, no problem with that.

        He can even make comments so asinine, self-contradictory and backward that I question whether I’ve woken up yet – no problem with that at all.

        It’s when he goes on and on about biting the head off a live chicken and stropping himself with the bloody stump, that’s what really grinds my gears.

  17. Brett Dale 17

    One Anonymous Bloke

    Most of Garths political songs are not about him, but a third person
    looking at a situation and his point of view on it.

  18. Brett Dale 18

    Pascal: May I ask what country artists do you have in your collection?

    Yes Garth has some light hearted songs, but his best work touches on some
    pretty dark subjects.

    • Pascal's bookie 18.1

      Ask away, but I’m not sure I’ll be arsed aswering unless you can show relevance.


      Which half were you right about in your initial comments on Homebrew?

      Have you written before about hiphop only being authentic if it’s from urban African-americans?

      Does Garth Brooks have integrity by the standards you applied to Homebrew?

      Did Johnny cash really shoot a man in Reno, just to see him die?

      How long has Steve Earle spent on death row for murdering people?

      Does Robert Earl Keen’s family really buy boxes of tampons and marlboro lights four times a day at Christmas?

      When was the last time Dolly Parton worked 9 to 5?

      Are you shocked that hendrix never did chop down a mountain with the edge of his hand?

      What is music anyway, songs, how do they fucken work, what’s the fucking deal with ballads and poets and travelling goddamn minstrels. What is this shit? Art? This is worse than time I found about literature.

      Turns out that prick who wrote catch-22 wasn’t even. It’s lies man, what agoddmn hypocrit, and don’t even get me started on that lying Orwell prick, or the The Clockwork Orange.

  19. aerobubble 19

    NZ has huge private debt problems. Had NZ rolled after Greece, Ireland, then its likely the world would be a much more pleasant a place after fives years of political and economic chaos. But Key stumbled over the solution, tax cuts for businesses boosting the activity of fast food companies and accelrating both the income inequality gap and the health gap (growing obesity, diabetics, etc).
    NZ tripped up the collapse, and gave a chance for the GFC to get its patch into place. Massive growth of government debt to replace the losses of profits that where being used to pay off the massive debt in the western world. Had the central banks not stepped in, we’d all have declared bankruptcy and started again, expelling the rancid neo-liberal take over of our culture, economies, parliaments, media and businesses.

    • aerobubble 19.1

      Has Key and his minion of followers of stupid thinking learnt anything, no. Key’s a nutter.

      There’s no rock star economy, that’s the over use, tired worn out propaganda of calling victory at every turn to cover over from the chronic problems of their making.

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