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Something rotten in the state…

Written By: - Date published: 9:58 am, December 11th, 2012 - 88 comments
Categories: accountability, activism, blogs, class war, david cunliffe, democracy under attack, greens, labour, Left, mana, news, The Standard, workers' rights - Tags: ,

I am becoming increasingly despondent about the state of left wing politics in NZ as I watch the struggles in the Labour Party unfold: lurching from one contested tension to another, in an on-going bitter conflict.  Currently, to govern in NZ the Left requires a strong , democratic and solidly left wing Labour Party.  The Labour Caucus leadership seems more intent on their own hold on power, than the good of their party or the country as a whole.

The Labour Party struggles are most often reportedly centred on individual personalities (see Clare Curran’s reported statements about her conflict with a Standard commenter here; and the on-going reporting on the alleged conflicts between David Cunliffe and the leadership of the Labour caucus as reported here today).  The MSM tends to encourage such inter-personal rivalries. But the underlying issues are of political process, ethics and position.  Bryce Edwards, while showing a lack of understanding of The Standard, has got the central issues about right, when he describes it as a struggle between the left and right, and between the left of the party and the ‘electoral professionalisation’ of the parliamentary wing of the party.  However, these tensions are also set within the wider NZ political landscape, involving the MSM and the continual rightwards and autocratic shift fueled by the dominant “neoliberal consensus”.  The dominant voices within the MSM are still enamoured with John Key, and in the face of his downward slide, favour a more right or centrist Labour Party, over a left wing one.

I also find Chris Trotter’s historical perspective enlightening.  He shows that the Labour Party has long been undemocratic, but that the Internet now provides a means for advocating for a more democratic Labour Party. During the Lange and Prebble years int he 1980s, an Otago Labour Party print publication, the Caucus, was shut down for criticising the then leader, David Lange. At the time Richard Prebble is reported to have said:

“Your first mistake”, he told the hapless twenty-somethings, “was to assume that the Labour Party is a democracy.”

Thirty years later, supporters of internal Labour Party democracy are facing many important differences from the early 1980s, but also some startling continuities. …

It is at this point that we encounter some powerful continuities with the Labour Party of thirty years ago. For it would seem that those participating in The Standard have made the same “mistake” as the editors of Caucus: that of assuming the Labour Party to be a democracy.

A large proportion of the rank and file membership has voted for such a democratisation. But the Labour Caucus leaders are doing their best to resist: hence the unethical moves to silence party members blogging and commenting online. As Trotter says, participants in online forums on the Web today, are not as easily silenced as writers for a Labour Party print publication in the 1980s.  However, the outcome is still uncertain.

The reason why I won’t vote for the current Labour Party is firstly to do with policy:  the Greens and Mana do far more in policy and actions to campaign for a more fair and inclusive society: one where beneficiaries are not demonised, where there is a strong commitment to improving the lot of the unemployed, the low paid,  the disenfranchised, the powerless, and those who will always be renters.  These parties don’t just foreground policies that will appeal to the comfortable middle class liberals.

As well as this, I value democratic process within organisations.  In a context where employers think it’s OK to sack someone for being the member of a union that contested government and US corporate manipulations of pay and conditions, democratic process is front and centre of my concerns.

In my view, the wider NZ Left needs a Labour caucus that is strong and confident enough to break significantly from with the direction set in the Roger Douglas/Lange years.  It needs a Labour leadership that has the commitment to return to a more left wing focus, one that re-engages with dis-engaged (non)voters.  It needs a leadership that doesn’t primarily aim to appease the dominant MSM, and middle-class-focused discourses.

Disclaimer: I am not now, nor never have been a member of any party.  I have not met any of the other Standard authors, and don’t know the real names of authors (or commenters) who write under pseudonyms (except for one or two where the real name behind the pseudonym is publicly known).  I am solidly left wing, and have voted for various left wing parties in my time.  In the past I have party voted Labour, but in the last few elections I have party voted Green, and given my electorate vote to the Labour candidate (David Cunliffe).

88 comments on “Something rotten in the state…”

  1. David Viperious H 1

    And that hits the nail firmly on the head!

    Thanks Karol

  2. wyndham 2

    Well said Karol. Exactly matches my own thoughts about the present state of the party supposedly of the “left”. I have voted for Labour in every election (bar one) since I was 20 years old in 1950. Unless there is a radical clean-up of the current mess, the Greens will get both my votes in 2014.

  3. One Tāne Viper 3

    That smell is the stink of distrust: distrust of democracy by those who should be its staunchest protectors.

    Democracy creates stability by including and trusting the ability of human beings to organise their own affairs. The Labour caucus (with one or two exceptions) shows little understanding of this.

    • vto viped 3.1

      That’s right OTV. The Labour Party should be the leading proponent of democratic principles.

      The fact that they cannot and do not trust the people they profess to assist just screams BONKERS. It indicates a fatal and base flaw in their approach to people. And to society as a whole.

      It is like that survey which indicates that 90% of drivers think they are above average drivers.

      The sole question needs to be – do you trust yourself to make decent decsions about your own life? If the answer is yes then you must also trust most all fellow humans to do the same about their lives.

      • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 3.1.1

        Democratic principles?

        As Bryce Edwards commented so eloquently yesterday,

        The Labour Party has long been drifting towards an organisational and political style that political scientists call ‘electoral-professional’. This is a modus operandi in which a party no longer acts a bottom-up mass membership party but is instead an elite of parliamentarians and parliamentary staff who have almost total control over the image, policy, ideologies and activities of the party.

        Party membership in this model is simply not necessary. In fact members and activists are at best tolerated instead of encouraged. Therefore such parties tend to have very low membership numbers, and the members have little real incentive to join unless they want to rise up the ranks to become MPs or parliamentary staff. Instead of relying on the fundraising of party members or their activism, instead such parties rely on backdoor state funding through parliament which pays for the bulk of their activities.

        • vto viped 3.1.1.1

          I saw that SHG, but the fact of that matter has little bearing on my point that they should be flag-bearers for “power to the people”.

          Perhaps that described by Edwards and todays bit by Trotter is behind the reason for Labour’s falling membership. What was it in the 80s? 80,000 or some such? What is it today? I wonder if the two things are linked …….. thinking thinking …….. doh ….

          Why don’t MPs and the labour Party embrace the blogosphere? There are myriad ways of commenting. Some commenters comment carefully and rationally and refuse to indulge in petty things. Why don’t they do that? Use the blogosphericality to their advantage… thinking …….. doh

          • Colonial Weka 3.1.1.1.1

            Power and control.

            • Matthew Whitehead 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Right, but you need to have power for control to be worth anything. Labour would be better off inviting the membership in democratically than building their perfect little sandcastles below the high tide line and either losing or simply not making a strong showing next election because nobody cares.

          • SHG (not Colonial Viper) 3.1.1.1.2

            Perhaps that described by Edwards and todays bit by Trotter is behind the reason for Labour’s falling membership.

            Perhaps? That’s EXACTLY the reason for it. If we accept Edwards’s thesis, membership (and listening to it) is “at best tolerated” by the electoral-professional Labour Party. The Party neither wants nor needs members. What it needs is FUNDING, and it gets that through being in Parliament, not being in the community.

          • Tracey 3.1.1.1.3

            What was the percentage of the workforce in unions in the 1980’s? Since the early 90’s unions have been legislated against with accompanying propaganda. Accordingly fewer and fewer have joined. Are people aware that despite being called evil and nasty many unions allow people to join them once an employment issue has arisen so the union can assist them? In otherwords despite not supporting the purpose of the union financially throughout their employment they can still access benefits when they need them.

            The systematic dismantling of employee rights and rights and access (affordable) to employment access may also corrolate to dropping labout party membership?

        • Tracey 3.1.1.2

          It’s not called “electoral-professional” it’s called the National Party.

  4. Veutoviper 4

    Another brilliant post, Karol, which sees the wood for the trees and, as DVH says above, hits the nail firmly on the head.

    Just a pity that IMO those that will not see – the Labour Party caucus – will continue on their destructive path to the detriment of the party and the country.

    I also recomment Robert Winter’s latest post “Ms Curran outs herself in all her Bolshevik glory”. Link is in the Feeds column here.

    • Dr Terry 4.1

      Already we see another embarrassing “mistake” under Shearer’s leadership – involving who? None less than Mr Cunliffe! Who would have guessed! Karol is right on the job, I support her 100 per cent. I have to wonder how long Cunliffe is going to tolerate one humiliation upon the other? With his vastly superior credentials (academic and professional, also as a past Minister of Health) he could certainly find people abroad who would thank their gods to have him aboard (at a high level). I think that by remaining, he his demonstrating that true humility for which his colleagues most certainly have not given him the least credit.

      • One Tāne Viper 4.1.1

        HST had it right: fuck them and break them and drive them across the land like cattle.

  5. lurgee 5

    “Currently, to govern in NZ the Left requires a strong , democratic and solidly left wing Labour Party”

    I’m not sure I agree with this idea. To govern, you need to win the left and the centre. For a ‘solidly leftwing Labour Party’ to do that would take a leader of uncommon talent and probably a special moment in history. With all due respect to Shearer and Cunliffe, neither of them is a leader of uncommon talent.

    Under MMP, the extreme left is always going to be flaky – eternally squabbling about obscure points of doctrine, protesting about too much ground being given to the centre (and overlooking the fact that they have the ground to give in the first place). Look how many leftwing minor parties have come and gone already – the Alliance and the various parties that constituted it originally, the Progressives, Mana … now the Greens seem to be colonising that space, which is brave, or perhaps foolhardy. How long before the environmentalist core and the anarchist faction start to get uncomfortable with all this neo-statist policy? If the Greens can keep their disparate elements happy, then there is no need for Labour to move left – they will only be taking votes off the Greens, while losing votes in the centre.

    Look at the differences in the housing policy. They both want to build the same amount of houses, but the Greens want to do them as state houses and Labour wants to do them to sell. Both policies have something to recommend them, and both will deliver a massive economic boost and help get working class people working again. The Green policy appeals to me more because it delivers a socially just solution. The Labour policy appeals to middle class voters because it seems more fiscally responsible and it will relieve pressure (slightly) on house prices.

    (Don’t dismiss or mock middle class concerns, by the way – they are legitimate and stem from real issues. If you want to win, you need to carry these people, not alienate them.)

    What I imagine would happen if the Greens and Labour were negotiating their coalition housing policy is that they’d agree to build 300,000 houses, with a mix of social and private ownership – which also makes sense on street level, as a mixture of state and private housing makes for a healthier community. So everyone wins, or loses just a little (which amounts to the same thing) – apart from National.

    I dunno. Sometimes I wake up and I really want Labour to lurch to the far left and to Hell with the centre. Most of the time, I imagine the view from that moral high ground would look remarkably similar to the view from the opposition benches.

    • karol 5.1

      lurgee, to me “solidly left” doesn’t mean “far” or “extreme” left.  It could mean solidly centre left.  But right now the Labour caucus leadership is to the right of the Clark government – and the Clark government was centre left.

    • There is no extreme Left in New Zealand, so to go that far Labour would have to overtake Mana quite significantly. To be “ceding ground to the Centre”, you need to be left of the centre line. Labour has been toeing that line for a while now, so I don’t see how you can argue there is ground to give unless you feel that a centre-right Labour Party is a good idea.

      You should also be aware that Labour doesn’t need to win the centre, it can rely on a coalition partner for that, either in the form of the Greens (which have been doing a great job convincing the environmental middle and directly converting National’s soft support) or New Zealand First. They would have had even more options in that arena had they played nice with the Maori Party, but that ship has sailed. Labour doesn’t have to be the one to win the centre to remain the biggest left-wing party, and in fact it puts it in a vulnerable position where it has to sacrifice members to win the vote, which affects its ability to win the vote again. Labour should define how left it wants to be (which can be very little if they like) and stick with it, taking the centre line only as their principles allow. Voters do not respect vacillation or political opportunism- look at what happened to United Future.

  6. Cayte Shepherd 6

    So Karol you are not and have never been a member of the Labour Party or any other political party. So what personal experience or in fact, factual basis are you basing your narrative on with no experience of the inner workings?

    Your commentary is once again about how the so called ‘left’ cannot maintain cohesion. In any dynamic human organisation/organism (beehive) discussion and debate is essential, this is how good ideas develop and policy is derived, but the art is then to pull together, stay on message and take it to the enemy.

    The left often fails due to the facturing which occurs when ego gets over involved.

    And do not forget the influence of the media to forage and expand on a snippet to ensure facturing to the left.

    Maybe it would be politic to temper yourself?

    [lprent: Let me put it this way. Your probable alternative to having karol write a post on the subject would be to have me or maybe another frustrated Labour author write one on the topics raised by various external authors yesterday. It would have been like throwing petroleum jelly everywhere because I really can’t help myself at this point. I’m so irritated after years of this kind of dumbarse stupidity from the beltway…

    Karol is quite moderate in her views and a lot less irritated about the continuing set of screwups out of our caucus. So she wrote a well-balanced post on the underlying issues. I personally think that karol person to write a post on this topic (which does underpin the whole issue between membership and caucus at present) and I was quite glad to see her working on it earlier. ]

    • karol 6.1

      By all means, argue your position cayte.  

      I am looking at the situation having looked long and hard at what’s in the public domain. If you look at my past posts you will see I have a strong focus on the MSM and the impact it has on democracy – my position is a well considered one.  

      Are you trying to silence me?

    • Colonial Weka 6.2

      “Maybe it would be politic to temper yourself?”
       
      A curious choice of phrasing. Intemperate is not a word I would associate with Karol (although you might apply it to some of the debate on ts).
       
      I also don’t see Karol’s ego as a problem here in any way at all.
       
      So it’s hard to make sense of your comment other than seeing it as Karol should shut the fuck up now (were I to express it intemperately).
       
      Personally I don’t care that much about how Labour organises internally as long as it works. At the moment many members of the Labour Party are saying it isn’t working. I’m listening to that and expressing my response. Karol is doing that and presenting the ideas in concise, well researched ways in order to provide focal points for debate. That is a very good thing, and I can say as  Green Party member that if the Greens were having this much trouble for this long I would want the debate taken out of the party and into the public in this way.
       
      btw, the left is not an organisation or even an organism, so we can’t all work together against the common enemy.

      • Craig Glen viper 6.2.1

        Cayte shows all the traits of the kind of behaviour that all of us hate namely trying to tell others what to think or say publicly about Labour and then dressing it in that nice cloak of Karol you dont know what your talking about we know best. Its the exact problem that Karols article is refferring to. Good post Karol and thanks for taking the time to write it.

    • Roflcopter 6.3

      Hi Clare!

    • Dr Terry 6.4

      Iprent – Thank you for this comment which restores good sense following something entirely vacuous.

    • Wayne 6.5

      Iprent “our own Caucus”. But you said you are voting Green!

      • One Tāne Viper 6.5.1

        Oh my god! A paradox! Careful, Vayne, this could really mess with your perceptions.

    • OneTrackViper 6.6

      “In any dynamic human organisation/organism (beehive) discussion and debate is essential, this is how good ideas develop and policy is derived”

      And Karol is discussing and debating the issues which is what you said is essential. And she did a pretty good job of it too.

      But your position seems to be that if she (I am assuming she is a she aren’t I. D’oh.) isn’t in an “approved” position she shouldn’t comment? That seems to be the opposite of discussion and debate. Which was part of the problem Karol was outlining. Thanks for the example.

  7. Roflcopter 7

    It’s sad you feel the need to post a disclaimer to either protect yourself, or other commentators on this site.

    • karol 7.1

      It’s not so much to protect me or anyone, but just to make clear where I’m coming from, and to counter possible incorrect assumptions.  For instance, some, like Bryce Edwards, still see TS and it’s authors as being strongly aligned with the Labour Party, albeit, he currently sees it aligned with the left wing of the LP.

      • ColonialPete 7.1.1

        That’s a common misinterpretation of The Standard. Perhaps something could be added to the header like “An independent New Zealand progressive blog” so those who don’t have the sense to click on the “About” link are disabused of this notion.

  8. xtasy 8

    Looking at the face of Clare “Cunning”, “Curry”, or was it Curran (?), she looks as “bright” to me as Shearer has “public appeal” as an expert mumbler and stumbler.

    Yes, it is a very sad affair, what has been, and still is going on within Labour.

    And where was the correction or excuse for the “sickness benefit roof painter” labeling in a “celebrated” heartland speech? It never came.

    So what is one left to think about all this?

    I made my mind up not so long ago, and I already saw the writing on the wall longer ago, Labour either needs a real revolution from within, coming from the wider membership, or it will simply end up being the number two or number three party in NZ for years to come.

    As I am not a member, I feel free to express my views here, but I feel sorry for those that are now too concerned and have chosen to rather refrain from it.

    That though is not democracy.

    My view remains, that serious thoughts should be given, to form a new, inclusive, well presented and well organised left party, based on social democracy, which must allow fresh blood and be free from any “baggage” from the past, and thus can be a fast growing, robust alternative challenge to the “same old” right of spectrum politics of selling assets, outsourcing, off-shoring, privatising, job destruction, division, social warfare, blame gaming and other stupid policies we have been getting for far too long now.

    The holidays should give all the time and space to consider this.

  9. bad12 9

    Excellent post Karol, i have come to form the view that Labour, post the Lange Government has become a party of, for, and by the middle class,

    The stated views of Labour Party members on the pages of The Standard seem hugely out of step with the actions of the Labour Parliament MP’s and i suppose we have to wonder how this can occur if the views of active Labour members at electorate committee level are in majority agreement with the views of Labour Party members expressed here,

    It appears that at least the Labour MP’s have taken the freedom MMP offers to political Party’s and voters alike and accepted that it is the middle class who they wish to represent, (while allowing membership to those of a more leftist nature), and it would seem that while tolerated within the Party outbursts of leftist sentiment from those members will and is ruthlessly repressed,

    Labour at Party level has the means with which to seriously democratize itself should it so wish, any number of mechanisms could be used to accomplish this and bend the Labour MP’s to the will of the Party instead of the reverse which seems to be the norm for modern Labour as a political Party,

    As a Party, Labour could remove from the Parliament MP’s the trigger vote which would lead to a leadership vote and instead place that decision clearly in the hands of either the Labour Party Electorate Committees, or, give the members at the annual conference a floor vote on the question of leadership,

    A further democratization of the Party would be accomplished by the same voting system, (either), being applied to Cabinet positions,(or in opposition spokesperson roles), where either the electoral committees or, (preferably), the members at the Labour annual conference (a) chose by ballot, who would be in a Labour Cabinet, and(b), what portfolio those MP’s would hold,

    At present an aspiring Labour MP only has to please their Electorate Committees up to the point of being elected to the Parliament and after that the relationship in terms of power is reversed,

    If the Labour Party,(it’s active members), want the Parliamentary MP’s to do the bidding of the Party then it has to take unto itself the power on an annual basis to review, from the leader on down, the performance of all it’s MP’s it can form the rules with which to ensure this….

    • Jim Viperald - Once was colonised 9.1

      “Labour at Party level has the means with which to seriously democratize itself …..

      “As a Party, Labour could remove from the Parliament MP’s the trigger vote which would lead to a leadership vote and instead place that decision clearly in the hands of …. the members at the annual conference a floor vote on the question of leadership”

      +1

      The 40/60 threshold is still twice higher (hello!) as compared with the UK Labour Party. right?
      Still some way to go for the NZLP to democratise.

  10. TiggerViper 10

    Wow, Karol. That’s the most well crafted, sensible thing I’ve heard about the mess that is Labour in a long time. Having given Labour every vote in my long voting history, and being a Labour member, I feel deeply disappointed with the events of the last year, the last four years. My Xmas wish is that the leadership takes your advice. As it is I’ve decided to resign membership until the do start thinking Left. And if the don’t by the next election then my party vote goes elsewhere.

  11. Great post Karol – well said.
    Thanks

  12. outofbed 12

    Well events have shown that the NZ Labour Party are very much centrist Party.
    And it looks like battling from within to change its nature to more reflect its original intent, is a fruitless exercise at least in the medium term
    So what choice to we have? Not Much
    6 or 7 years ago I went the Green Party way in the absence of anything else. And certainly after reading the GP charter there was not a lot to disagree with.

    The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand accepts Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand; recognises Maori as Tangata Whenua in Aotearoa New Zealand; and commits to the following four Principles:
    Ecological Wisdom:
    The basis of ecological wisdom is that human beings are part of the natural world. This world is finite, therefore unlimited material growth is impossible. Ecological sustainability is paramount.
    Social Responsibility:
    Unlimited material growth is impossible. Therefore the key to social responsibility is the just distribution of social and natural resources, both locally and globally.
    Appropriate Decision-making:
    For the implementation of ecological wisdom and social responsibility, decisions will be made directly at the appropriate level by those affected.
    Non-Violence:
    Non-violent conflict resolution is the process by which ecological wisdom, social responsibility and appropriate decision making will be implemented. This principle applies at all levels.

    Recently I have been wondering whether to continue my hard work for the left as all we will infact get is Shearer as PM. Which whilst probably better then Key, is not much reward for a lot of hard work.
    But I suppose the thing to do is to get behind the Greens to enable them to become the main opposition party and consign the NZLP to the centrist dustbin of history. (with Dunne and Peters).

    You can Join here if you like

    • vto viped 12.1

      That all sounds fine and dandy, except for these parts…

      “The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand accepts Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand;” Inappropriate and unsustainable in the long term.

      ” recognises Maori as Tangata Whenua in Aotearoa New Zealand” Same.

      but all been said and heard before so am going back to sleep…. zzzzz

    • Dr Terry 12.2

      Let’s face it – might Shearer be worse than Key? I know that must sound preposterous, but I fear Shearer’s seeming proclivity for some kind of dictatorship. Then again, is Key himself an ensconced dictator? Leave it to the Greens!

  13. Craig Glen viper 13

    While Im not opposed to the Greens Im not keen on joining them. I have seen some pretty disturbing behaviour at times by the candidate out West in the past, who is very self opinionated to the lefts detriment in my view.Its not all love and apple pie in the Greens like some would like to make out.
    That does not mean that they ( The Greens) wont get my Party vote at the next election though if Labour does not have a real change in its caucus and a change as to the way it treats its rank and file members.

    • bad12 13.1

      Disturbing behavior??? come on let us all in on the news won’t you???,

      The disturbance within Labour seems to be the ongoing one where the wish’s of the Party at large are being deliberately ignored by a large tranche of the Labour MP’s, thats my perception as a non-Labour Party member anyway,

      Of course the Greens have their own internal ructions from time to time, that’s politics, but, the Greens, while having the luxury of never having to face an election having been part of a Cabinet’s decision making, have stuck firmly within the Green Party manifesto in their expressed public political views,

      The same tho cannot be said of the current Labour Parliamentary line-up…

  14. fisiani 14

    Well you have all summer to foment a takeover in February if there is even a vote. If Shearer remains the standard bearer of most of caucus then there will be no wider vote in February and none till after the election in 2014. Where to then? There is plenty of time to form an alternative party that carries the voice of Real Labour. Imagine Labour 18% Real Labour 22% Greens 10% Mana 4% in 2014. Cunliffe would be PM and the Left would be triumphant.

    • Tracey 14.1

      I see the opponents of increasing annual eave to 4 weeks are heading off on their 8-10 weeks leave today.

  15. marsman 15

    Great post Karol, clear and concise. Keep it up please.

  16. Rich 16

    in the last few elections I have party voted Green, and given my electorate vote to the Labour candidate

    Same, but next election I won’t even be doing that, unless Labour change completely including a new leader.

    Something people don’t often realize is that MMP lets most voters ignore tactical considerations with electorate *and* party votes. If Annette King loses Rongotai, worst case is that, party votes being unchanged, National get their candidate (probably Chris Finlayson) in for the electorate and Labour get another list MP. So I’ll be voting for Russel Norman or whoever else the Greens run.

  17. The Labour Party is still essentially the same party that was formed in 1916. Then it stood for moderate workers and small farmer majority against the colonial gentry and small capitalist class.
    In power from 1935-49 it was able to implement a policy of economic nationalism and claim that this was also in the interests of the NZ bourgeoisie which could grow behind protectionist barriers.
    In 1951 this ‘historic compromise’ was smashed by an unholy alliance between Nationals representing rich farmers and NZ compradors (living off imports and exports), Labour under fence-sitter PM Nash, and the moderate union bosses such as the vile FP Walsh who had the biggest dairy farm in the country.
    This new cold war ‘historic compromise’ showed that Labour could not reform the NZ economy unless it was on the terms of the neo-colonial bourgeoisie now oriented towards the US.
    In 1984 Labour was faced with a new set of conditions, a combined crisis of the global economy and a crisis of the NZ economy. NZ capital (and international capital which had ‘branch plants’ in NZ) could not grow without becoming internationally competitive. These were the new realities of global capitalism that swamped NZ and the Labour Government under the neo-liberal wave.
    While this created a huge tension between Labours leadership and its working class base, it was relieved by the unnecessary split of New Labour which took the militants out of party, and by the election of National in 1990. By 1993 most former Labour supporters were voting Labour again.
    Today, the situation is far more serious. The NZ economy has in the period since the 70s gone into decline as its national protections have been removed and competitive sectors privatised and internationalised.
    The GFC (a symptom of structural crisis) has sped the process up as class divisions re-emerge openly and the old contradiction inside Labour reactivate as a fight between Left and Right.
    Left and Right are labels for class positions. Left means the interests of the working class facing global capitalist recession where workers everywhere being forced to pay for the bosses crisis. Right is the position of the centrist petty bourgeois leadership claiming that classes do not exist and only the centre can hold the nation together.
    But the contradiction is powering up and the centre cannot hold. Key’s face is centre but Joyce’s brain is far Right. The Labour Right going to the center has to abandon the Left and the traditional working class constituency. Yet that is the class base of opposition to neo-liberalism right that is growing around the world.
    Labour therefore is bound to split since it can no longer sit on the widening chasm of class war without jumping left or right, or both as the petty bourgeois centre splits from the Left base.
    The current ‘internal’ struggle therefore has a long history in the making.

    • fisiani 17.1

      Correct. True Left thinkers currently only have two options Mana or Green. There is not yet an option of Real Labour or perhaps a better name Standard Labour. If a Real Labour is formed barely 3 months from election 2014 it will meet the same fate as the Conservatives. Under MMP this would not mean divide and conquer but instead unite and rule. The Labour caucus believes it can win power by being National-lite. They will not repeal the RMA changes, nor the national standards, nor the Hobbit laws , nor the 90 day right to prove yourself, nor the changes to student loans etc. Only a government led by Real Labour would do so.

      • One Tāne Viper 17.1.1

        Beware of geeks bearing gifts.

      • Tracey 17.1.2

        This would be funny if you weren’t being serious fisiani. A right wing rose coloured glasses commenter attempting to dissect “true left” thinking. You’d be better served doing some deep self analysis fisiani… it all starts with the individual don’t you right thinkers say… less time analysing and propounding on what you think makes a true left thinker and more time trying to work out how to remove your glasses.

    • Geoff Cartwright 17.2

      Very well put, not really the fault of parliamentarian wing just an understanding that society has changed, move to the right due to the uncoupling of society anchors.
      I’ve pushed a barrow for years now that for this corruption of society to be stop the vast left block must unite and it must start with a democratic energised membership that isthe safeguard for the party.
      There must be no more delay in the process of renewal, we the member want our voices heard, we want action now.
      The election must start now now in two years time.

  18. geoff 18

    Great post, Karol.

  19. karol 19

    Thanks for the positive comments above, and especially thanks to Lynn for providing a space for an independent left-winger to speak freely.

  20. Rhinoviper 20

    Again, great post.

  21. Neoleftie 21

    Nice post Karol.
    IMHO time is slipping by for the REAL Labour party to stop the spiralling descent into a Tory ideological dream of rich getting everything and us the workers little but crumbs or nothing.
    Time for old labour true or REAL labour to step up now and demand change within our party.

  22. lurgee 22

    The problem is the Labour Party as Karol envisages it is not the party the working class of New Zealand desires, and even less so is it the party of the middle classes – who are essential unless you are willing to pursue a Bolshevik option. So it will not get elected any time soon. Instead it will squabble with the greens and Mana over the 25% of the population that will vote for them anyway, while the other 75% will vote National, or not bother; and I’m not sure hoping 51% of the electorate don’t bother turn up on Polling day is really a viable strategy.

    • One Tāne Viper 22.1

      75% + 25% + 51% = 151%. Just saying…

      • Olsviper 22.1.1

        The 51% is of the population who are eligible to vote but who do not turn up. The 75% and 25% are of the 49% who do vote. It works.

        • One Tāne Viper 22.1.1.1

          If you say so perfessor :)

        • lurgee 22.1.1.2

          Hah! Good try. But no, I am more cunning than that!

          The 51% is the portion of the electorate who stay at home. Of the remaining 49%, 25% vote left, and 24% vote right, handing Labour a Pyrrhic victory.

    • karol 22.2

      The problem is partly that the MSM is skewed towards the “neoliberal consensus” and comfortable middle-class values.  This has resulted in many people giving up on voting, and left wing parties, espwcially the Labour Parties of the western world, more focused on appeasing the MSM and middle-classes.  With each election more voters potentially of the left become disengaged, and the dominant public discourse and political landscape shift a little further rightwards.

      Either we stand up and say it’s time to stop this cycle, or Left/labour movement policies will keep on being further undermined.

      And, the issue of democratic process particularly concerns me.  In my post, I did place the general “state” in the context of the anti-democratic Key government, with reference to the sacking of the Hobbit tourism union worker. If we roll over and allow a dictatorial and repressive, nominally “left” wing government to replace it, I fear for the future of democracy in NZ.

      There comes a point when some of us feel we need to draw a line in the sand and say, “This has gone far enough.” 

      • the pigman 22.2.1

        Although I agree with the sentiment and substance of your original post, I think its a bit pessimistic to opine:

        With each election more voters potentially of the left become disengaged, and the dominant public discourse and political landscape shift a little further rightwards.

        I think actual left wing voters become radicalised and the swing voters look for a shift. I know this is hardly “street cred” as being plugged into the zeitgeist of NZ political consciousness, but last night I streamed Campbell Live’s piece on driving dogs (simultaneously disappointing but adorable) and I noticed:

        a) Campbell opened with despirited remarks about how 2012 had been a tough year for NZ and everyone needed cheering up (remembering that NZ hasn’t really had the political-capital-making-crises and DunnoKeyo trades in);
        b) The other segment of the show focused on child poverty/milk in schools/food donations (the sort of ambulance-at-the-bottom-of-the-cliff charity/soft-socialism that swing voters can get into);
        c) The ads spliced in between by the Auckland City Mission portrayed, in a level of honesty I never observed when I lived in NZ, the shitty circumstances with regard to the struggles of the working poor; and
        d) Dogs really shouldn’t be allowed to drive cars.

        At least in respect of a) – c), I’d say these things capture the imagination of the MSM/NZ public and actually make them more likely to vote against a tory government at the next election, even if it is for a soft-socialism-alternative.

        By all means vote left of Labour, but don’t despair too much yet.

  23. Olsviper 23

    Excellent post Karol.

    Eddie said, in http://thestandard.org.nz/butterfly-upon-a-wheel-or-we-havent-changed/ that when TS began, it stood for a few basic Leftwing principles. Pro-worker, pro-environment, pro-equity, and anti-elitist.” Broadly speaking, these are also Labour Party principles. The concept of loyalty in the Labour Party properly attaches to these principles rather than particular leaders, and in my opinion it is right for the membership to challenge the Labour caucus to live up to them. As Danyl has said, “you don’t see a lot of potential National candidates joining up because they hate farmers and the Auckland business community and want to sort them all out.” http://dimpost.wordpress.com/2012/12/02/sealing-the-dick-vote/

  24. arants 24

    Solidarity & Party Discipline – It’s All About Me…

    True, Labour still has a deeply dysfunctional culture (not just the Caucus – most members talk about ‘them’ rather than ‘us’), but a more rigour and less self indulgence in analysing this is required. The left doesn’t have a monopoly on democracy & Labour hasn’t demonstrated excessive amounts of it through its history.

    You identify yourself as left, but disagreeing with you does not make Curran right wing any more than your supporting Cunliffe makes him left wing. The Labour Caucus has a plentiful supply of careerists, incompetents and rightists/rogernomes, but Curran doesn’t actually seem to be one of these. She’s revealed an authoritarian streak, and has stumbled at times but that still doesn’t necessarily make her a rightist. I’m sure her ideology is a lot closer to yours than, say, Goff, King & Cosgrove etc (who seem to be the actual, UTR, problem). AFAIK, she’s the Caucus rep on the NZ Council, so you’d have to assume there are other perspectives summed in her actions.

    OTOH, party discipline is a legitimate concern. Effective parties are not inherently paragons of democracy but organised on Leninist principles (e.g. the National Party) that are not inherently Left or Right, but certainly authoritarian. If you’re going to reorganise yourselves to be effective, warm fuzzies are not always the right mechanism (look at the Greens’ transformation over recent years and the number of eggs broken to make that particular omelette). I suspect that a strong and pragmatic leader (like Fraser, Anderton or Clark) would transform Labour quickly, but probably not very democratically.

    We need more context. As far as CV’s martyrdom is concerned, surely the issue is about the appropriate balance between Party discipline and democracy. If the Party’s rules and due process are being ignored and abused in the name of discipline to muzzle CV, rip into them, publicly. If Curran’s initiative got no traction in the NZ Council and died of shame, who cares?

    To persistently conflate ABC with the actions and programme of Prebble and his cohorts is fatuous and narcissistic, even an insult to the martyrs of the 80’s & 90’s. Is CV’s persecution a live and ongoing issue representing a broad suppression of dissent, or simply a straw man boosting traffic and feeding the Wh*le?

    • karol 24.1

      On the right and left wing issue, arants;

      My post is not just about Clare Curran.  While she seems to have been unnecessarily authoritarian, she seems to be acting in the interests of the leadership team.  And it is the caucus leadership team that is espousing some pretty right wing policies (for a Labour Party), and that is acting to engage the support of the MSM while remaining within the “neoliberal consensus”. This is against the interests of the low paid, the unemployed, and the people a labour movement is there to support.

      The MO of the Caucus is pretty authoritarian (the pre-emptive strike to take out Cunliffe, the attempts to thwart the desire of the majority of party members to make the party more democratic).  There’s plenty of evidence of this, coming from a variety of sources; some of it in the MSM (albeit from reading between the lines via the contradictions and mis-analysed evidence), and some of it from various trustworthy, real name and pseudonym entities posting and commenting on blogs like TS.

      If there are members of the caucus who are more left wing than their leadership…. well, at what point do they stand up for their beliefs and the beliefs of the LECs, the party membership, and fundamental aims and principles of the wider labour movement?

      I think there is enough evidence from people on TS and others (like Trotter who have been involved in the internal party shenanigans, and Lynn) for CV’s persecution being established as a reality, and far from a straw man.  

      Lynn (lprent) is a very trustworthy witness to some of the events.  He has said in a comment yesterday, that Clare has reversed the order of events in her self-serving statement to the ODT (linked above in my post).  She claims she discovered CV’s real name when he stated it in an email, and in person.  Actually there are reports that Clare was the one putting pressure on the person behind the CV pseudonym to confirm that he is CV – and well before the time when Clare claims she inadvertently discover his identity.

      There is a continuity between the 1980s Prebble years in the continued embrace of “neoliberal” policies. For instance, it’s time for the Labour Party to stand up and state that they will re-instate the social security laws as they were intended, and to reverse their and National’s cut-backs of it.

      And there is continuity in the authoritarian approach of the party then and now.  Back in the 80s, the enforced obedience to the “solidarity” required by the caucus leadership, stopped the membership rebelling and campaigning against the Roger Douglas changes – changes that were counter to the aims of the labour movement.  

      It is now more than ever necessary to break with those aspects of the NZLP past, but the self-serving labour caucus leadership is resisting the necessary changes: and it’s doing it by calling for unquestioned obedience in the high-sounding name of the tradition of labour “solidarity”.  This is an authoritarian solidarity that is being used for the benefit of the few, at the expense of the interests of the wider labour movement.
       

  25. burt 25

    Karol

    The Labour Caucus leadership seems more intent on their own hold on power, than the good of their party or the country as a whole.

    True, but it’s been true for a long time with Labour. The lack of a credible successor to Clark is evidence of that.

  26. xtasy 26

    Having read your above piece once again, I also wish to thank and commend you on this!

    Yes, what we have under the present caucus, now dominated by the “Shearer” supporters, we are only getting a pretended “new direction”. It is just all “talk” about a new direction and goals. The actual substance of policies has changed little from the last decade.

    The housing policy they announced may sound good on the surface, and admittedly the direction is good and great, but it has not been thought through, and it lacks substance, and thus is not convincing at this stage.

    Apart from that we get the repeated CGT talk, suggestions of changing the Reserve Bank Act, talk about helping manufacturing (not much detail), much criticism of NatACT policies (justified), but as of recent, Shearer sent out a message to Cantabrians to tell him and Labour, what they think and want!?

    Now one year after a general election, only 2 years before a next one, and we still have the leadership and “team” “sensing” the mood out there, rather than having worked on info and data at hand already, to develop clear agendas, policies, plans and so forth, to show a resolute, clear alternative to NatACT.

    Hence Norman and the Greens have been setting the pace. Peters has done his shooting in Parliament, but Shearer comes and repeats questions on social issues like poor kids and so, but allows also for Key to seize the opportunity (like today) and lash back.

    Shearer should not even engage with Key and National Ministers as he does. He should by now have developed some rudimentary plan and set of policies, and he and the front bench should be clearly presenting an alternative.

    That is NOT happening yet. I ask, will it ever happen. That man has NOT got the gift for the leadership job, I am still convinced. He is not up to it, and while he may make a good minister of sorts, he must go, I repeat, go, go, go, dear David Shearer, before more is lost and more damage is done.

    The time to go around and ask the electorate, hey, how do ya feel, what is on your mind, that is semantic bloody idiotism by this time after an election. It is a self goal of sorts, sabotaging any pro creative thinking. NO, this is shit, what I see and hear every day.

    Ardern may have said something promising at the picket outside WINZ Onehunga today, but reflection on the larger scenario I see within Labour, it is not convincing, or is she now fighting her own lone battles?

    A new left party could have the benefit of being unblemished, and without baggage. If a set of competent, honest, dedicated and smart people get together to start such, based on a true social democratic model, which should really be “traditional” Labour, it would be a swift winner and get many votes next election, possibly replacing Labour as 2nd largest party in NZ.

    • burt - Viper without the rose tinded glasses 26.1

      xtasy

      I agree entirely. The problem really stemmed from the Clark/Cullen government where Labour “knew what was good for NZ” and implemented their plans to stay popular and electable while sending the economy to hell in a hand basket. The current party are indeed blemished and dragging the baggage of Clark & Cullen’s arrogance and populist government. Labour do need to get out – stop talking and listen – but I fear you are right that they have already left their run too late for 2014.

      They haven’t even had a clean out of the heavily stained senior members and Clark has been gone 4 years !

      • fender Viper 26.1.1

        Theres a fool on Newstalk ZB who repeats this same tired crap, handbaskets and all.

        It’s still tiresome from you Burt.

        If running a surplus is hell in blah blah basket, how do we describe what Nact have created?

      • Craig Glen viper 26.1.2

        ” and implemented their plans to stay popular and electable while sending the economy to hell in a hand basket.”
        The economy did well under Labour Burt, in case you hadnt notice its not doing to well under National or maybe you think it is?
        Hows NZ brighter future going.

        • Grant Hay 26.1.2.1

          The economy may have done well for a while Craig, but lets remember that ALL the developed world’s economies were in recovery mode at the same time ours was and it was already showing signs of starting to go south by the time they left office. I don’t believe it was an economic miracle created by an especially talented Labour Govt. But leaving that aside, can Labour supporters not see why many of us look on the fifth LG with jaundiced eyes? They eventually wound up running huge surpluses while at the same time the unemployed and in particular the children of the unemployed / unemployable became poorer and more desperate. It took the Greens to make one or two small gains in the quality of life for that sector of our society. Even the introduction of Working For Families didn’t do much more for working people than hold the line against increasing costs (including those introduced by local and central Government. Every time our rates, ACC, insurance, utilities, petrol, groceries etc etc went up, we used to look at each other and say; “Well there goes the WFF tax credit”. The Labour Party long ago forgot the old saying that you judge a society by how well it treats its most vulnerable members.

          • One Tāne Viper 26.1.2.1.1

            It’s time for your reality check.

            From 2004 to 2009, incomes for households in the low to middle income range rose more quickly than incomes for higher income households. Incomes for households in the lower four deciles grew by 18–25 percent, while incomes for those households above the median typically grew by around 10–12 percent. This was the only period in the last 25 years in which the incomes of low to middle income households grew more quickly than the incomes of those households above the median.

            My emphasis.

            So, Grant Hay, I have a question: are you mistaken, or just a crap liar?

            PS: One more question: now you’ve been informed of the facts, will you continue to spew lies?

            • Grant Hay 26.1.2.1.1.1

              OTV, I am not a liar, but YOU are an extremely discourteous individual. Did anyone EVER teach you any manners, or, for that matter, the basics of running a civilized debate?

              You have quoted (without citation) a statement about incomes for the low to middle income bracket. Does this include the incomes of those on Social Welfare benefits? If so, what was the growth of their incomes relative to the growth of incomes in the “low to middle”group? Also, was this growth in income REAL, ie. were these people WEALTHIER IN REAL TERMS at the end of the five year period mentioned, and what exactly was the increase in the cost of living (including local and central Govt) relative to the supposed level of income growth during the same five year period. My recall of events is that food banks were doing a roaring trade during this time. Child poverty action was making loud noises about; well; CHILD POVERTY. There was little meaningful response from the Government that I can bring to mind. As Brian Bruce has recently pointed out, NO NZ Govt has dealt with issues of child poverty and housing standards in a systematic and ongoing way for several generations now. By the way, are you really interested in debating these issues in a productive way with people like me who are “of the left”, or would you rather make enemies of us and drift further to the right yourself? I believe that any objective assessment of the history of the Labour Party during the last thirty or so years will tell you that it is a sorry beast indeed and the latest round of infighting would tend to support my views on that subject.

              • One Tāne Viper

                Without citation? Don’t you know what a link looks like? It’s the blue text in my comment.

                You say you’re “of the left”, but in my book unsubstantiated assertions – such as can be seen in your remarks, are in fact the province of right wing nut jobs.

                • Grant Hay

                  Well, your manners haven’t improved any, but some things are just a lost cause. I see there is a link (older eyes didn’t pick up the colour change) and I’ve had a look but am none the wiser as to the answers to my questions above. Would you care to elucidate? You may also care to note that in the same report it states:

                  “Current level and trends

                  In 2009, the equivalised disposable income of a household at the 80th percentile was 2.5 times larger than that of a household at the 20th percentile. This was about the same as the ratio in 2007. In 1988, the ratio was 2.2. Income inequality rose steeply between 1988 and 1991, briefly plateaued, then rose steadily from 1994 to 2004.”

                  • Grant Hay

                    Having had some time to reflect on the debate so far, I realised there was something nagging my subconcious mind about the link provided by OTV. I revisited the link for another look. I am not particularly well educate dabout matters economic and financial, but it appears to me that the graph and supporting text provided as “proof “that I am a “crap liar”, is not intended to say anything about the real improvement in buying power of the working poor (let alone the unemployed). It appears to be an analysis of INCOME INEQUALITY as expressed by a ratio between the top and bottom 20% of income earners. The analysis seems to be silent on whether the figures include unemployment and other benefits. In short the graph tends to support rather than contradict my argument if I am interpreting it correctly. I await the (hopefully civil) comments of others.

                  • One Tāne Viper

                    “I’ve had a look but am none the wiser as to the answers to my questions above.”

                    While you’re on the subject of bad manners, let me Google that for you. On second thoughts, since you took it upon yourself to insult my mother with your rude remarks about my upbringing, how about you go forth and multiply?

                    What did we hear from the right during the term of the fifth Labour government? A constant litany of abuse and invective, supported by the media. “Bludging with kiddies”, “Nanny State”, ad nauseam, so while I understand your view that Labour could and should have gone further, to ignore the effects of this propaganda (and bearing in mind that Labour presided over the lowest unemployment rate in NZ history), not to mention Ruth Richardson and Bill English’s prior incompetence deliberate attacks on the weakest members of our society, strikes me as disingenuous in the extreme.

                    • Grant Hay

                      I didn’t insult your mother at any point OTV, I simply asked if you’d had an education in manners as there didn’t seem to be any evidence that you had. You now tell me that your mother taught you all you know about civil behaviour. Oh dear…… never mind.

                      You criticized me for expressing a sincerely held opinion in good faith, without backing it up with well researched facts and figures. Do all posters here including yourself always back up their opinions with researched and cited facts? I have provided my response (above) to the page entitled “Income Inequality” which you chose as material to support your thesis that I was a liar. All the information on that page really shows from waht I can see is that income inequality continued to increase (get worse) during much of the time the Clark Government were in power. I have also asked you to prove YOUR assertion that the fifth LG did everything it possibly could as a supposedly Social Democratic (socialist) goverment, for the poor and oppressed of this nation. Your highly intellectual response has consisted of more rudeness and precious little else.

                      Yawn….

                    • One Tāne Viper

                      My “thesis” is that you are either mendacious or ignorant. Ignorance, by the way, is a condition we all share, so please don’t feel bad about it.

                      “I have also asked you to prove YOUR assertion that the fifth LG did everything it possibly could as a supposedly Social Democratic (socialist) goverment, for the poor and oppressed of this nation.”

                      Here’s what I actually wrote: “I understand your view that Labour could and should have gone further.”

                      While you were busy learning etiquette and good manners, English language comprehension obviously took a back seat.

                      I note your failure to address my argument, which is that the National Party destroyed so much of the social fabric of the nation during the 1990s (not to mention the treacherous Prebble, Douglas et al) that blaming the fifth Labour government for it, when the facts (as cited above) show that they had started to turn things around, is disingenuous. To put it mildly.

                • muzza

                  Very good post Karol

                  Grant Hay is actually on the money, and no amount of your linking, Bloke (OTV) is going to change the position that the Clark labour government were simply another segment in the historical destruction of NZ inc!

                  The current disgraceful carry on inside the LP is the carfully crafted sideshow by the same core group who just happen to be the left overs from that same Clark govt, and earlier!

                  What a surprise that is, to those who can understand it, and why the NACT are getting a free ride while reducing NZ society to rubble!

                  Just keep yourself comfy/deluded with those figures Bloke, all the while not being able to understand/accept the variable thats preventing you from getting what’s wrong!

              • karol

                Grant, OTV, included a link in his comment (roll your mouse over “reality check” in his comment @9.33am.  It links to the Social Report of 2010.  There’s quite a bit of detail there.

            • just saying 26.1.2.1.1.2

              The problem with percentage increases is that even a rise of four percent per year (using the highest figure provided) of sweet fuck all is still sweet fuck all, while 2.4 percent of a high income can be pretty significant in dollar terms.

              I’m assuming you weren’t living on an income below the median during this period, let alone living in undisputed poverty on a benefit, One Tane. It sounds like Grant Hay may have actually been living the reality at the time, and the experiences he relates is are perfectly valid.

  27. Geoffcartwright 27

    Also paying down the govt debt to GDP ration to below twenty percent. This is the only thing that has kept poor little old NZ afloat at the moment, our debt level was very low so we had the capacity to borrow heavily to keep an economic equilibrium.
    This election is about economic policy and performance we need our heavy hitter un leashed now, we need facts on the household table stemming the brainwashing of the public by the Tories.

  28. Tracey 28

    There still, after 4 years, appears to be a pervading argument that labour were no good with the economy, poverty etc so we must not judge National harshly for not addressing either at all. It seems some think this is a labor Party website which appears to be why they address some posters here as though they are representing its (LP) past deeds.

    I actually want accountability and transparency. I wanted in under previous labour governments and I didn’t believe Key in 2008 when he trumpetted his belief in it. I am sorry to have been proven right because we are all the worse for it.

    I wish someone would post the rile about when everything stops being the previous govt’s fault and we can start to address any deficiencies in the current mob.

    How many of the MP’s paid by our collective hard-earned money will be taking our hard earned money offshore this Christmas break?

  29. Grant Hay 29

    If anyone has the patience to view Russell Norman’s Address in Reply Speech from a year ago at this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvsz_XkPRR4 , you may understand why many of us who were once Labour supporters find more inspiration and leadership under the Green banner than the red.

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    This Tertiary Update’s top ten most read stories for the year included, at number ten, the massive job cuts at Manukau Institute of Technology and at number two the petition opposing those job cuts. Two more of our most read...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Ten branches that recruited the most new TEU members
    Waikato Institute of Technology – of 142 members in September 41 joined in the last 12 months = 28.9 percent Tai Poutini Polytechnic – of 54 members in September 14 joined in the last 12 months = 25.9 percent NorthTec...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Ten rights the government will take away next year
    …but that TEU plans to protect Next year several new laws will come into force that will remove some of your rights. It is more important than ever that you protect your rights by being active in a strong union...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Ten Te Kaupapa Whaioranga wishes for the New Year
    For the tertiary education worker who has already got a partridge in a pear tree, and a pair of socks, here are other ten things they’ll be looking for. Sadly you will need to campaign for them rather than be gifted...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • Ten of our favourite TEU photos for the year
    ...
    Tertiary Education Union
  • City Centre Priority Cycle Routes
    An update to the Auckland City Centre Advisory Board (page 25) provides some new information about improvements to cycling planned for the CBD and include some artist impressions of just what they might look like – although unfortunately because it comes from a...
    Transport Blog
  • TISA text: US threat to privacy, civil rights, data security
    Press Release – AFTINET Leaked US proposals in the Trade in the secret Services (TISA) negotiations include rules that would threaten privacy and civil rights protections for digital personal data Dr Patricia Ranald, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and...
    Its our future
  • 2014 will be the hottest year on record
    For those of us fixated on whether 2014 will be the hottest year on record, the results are in. At least, we know enough that we can make the call. According the global data from NOAA, 2014 will be the...
    Skeptical Science
  • Leaked TISA text exposes US threat to privacy, data security
    Press Release – Professor Jane Kelsey The US is demanding that New Zealand and other countries accept sweeping rules that would override privacy protections for digitised personal and other data, according to Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland.17...
    Its our future
  • Males only?
    Like Vaughan Rowsell I get asked to facilitate or be on panels and speak at events a fair bit. Actually not quite like Vaughan – he’s incredibly popular, and for good reason. Vaughan’s publicly announced that he will not accept...
    Lance Wiggs
  • An OTL milestone
    I have no idea how this happened, but this is the 100th post on On The Left! Things are probably going to slow down a bit around here over the holiday break, but thanks to all our bloggers and readers...
    On the Left
  • It’s nearly Foodmass
    Christmas is coming. The halls are decked with boughs of holly (plastic), and decorated with snow (artificial). Tips for Christmas (stress-free) have been appearing since November. Children are over-excited and desperate shoppers are looking for the perfect presents for people...
    Pundit
  • No justice in the UK
    Four years ago, G4S guards killed Jimmy Mubenga by restraining him inappropriately during a deportation - effectively asphyixiating him. But today, a British jury refused to convict them:Three private security guards who restrained the Angolan deportee Jimmy Mubenga have been...
    No Right Turn
  • John Key wants arbitrary detention
    That's the only conclusion that can be drawn from his comments today about the need to lower the threshold for detention:Prime Minister John Key said the Sydney siege gunman highlighted the conundrum for authorities over protecting citizens against potential terrorism...
    No Right Turn
  • Futility: Educating an IED
    Through this year, I have sadly been lured into spending energy trying to teach Martyn Bradbury about modern political science, and what it means for modern politics. He appeared misinformed about what polls are and how they work, so I...
    Polity
  • The OIA Review
    Yesterday, the Ombudsman announced that they had begun their review of OIA compliance. They'll be looking closely at 12 central government agencies, and surveying 63 more, as well as all 27 Ministerial offices. They'll also be soliciting submissions from the...
    No Right Turn
  • Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility
    Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at...
    frogblog
  • Equality, Efficiency and Economic Theory (Social Journal Europe)
    Dani RodrikIn the pantheon of economic theories, the tradeoff between equality and efficiency used to occupy an exalted position. The American economist Arthur Okun, whose classic work on the topic is called Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff, believed that public...
    the Irascible Curmudgeon
  • New Fisk
    Peshawar school attack: Massacre of the innocents born of ambivalence towards Taliban...
    No Right Turn
  • How we pay for a universal basic income – Whiteboard Wednesday.
    Lots of people like the idea of an Unconditional Basic Income (UBI), but can we afford it as a nation? In this Whiteboard Wednesday Geoff looks at the three parts of the Big Kahuna package – Unconditional Basic Income, Flat...
    Gareth’s World
  • This will go down well
    Back in September, Mexican police arrested a group of 43 student teachers who had been travelling to Iguala for a protest against the local government. They handed them over to a local drug gang, who murdered them. Since the massacre,...
    No Right Turn
  • AT Metro Launched
    Last week we mentioned about how Auckland Transport was launching a new PT brand. That occurred yesterday and as well as new look buses, they have also launched a new brand for their public transport operations – AT Metro. Auckland Transport has...
    Transport Blog
  • Whales, dolphins, and ‘gunshots’
    I've just returned from seven days on board SV Vega as part of a small team monitoring the impacts of seismic testing on marine mammals off the west coast of Northland. No research has been done in this area, so...
    Greenpeace NZ blog
  • Meat workers need Jobs that Count
    The CTU is supporting todays Meat Workers Union campaign to combat insecure work in a core New Zealand export industry. Photo:  ...
    CTU
  • 2014: A Venture Capital Odyssey
    Fresh off the wire from Hong Kong, from your friends and mine at io9: Hong Kong based venture capital firm Deep Knowledge Ventures (DKV) has appointed a machine learning program to its board. Called VITAL, it's an "equal member" that...
    Polity
  • Buzzfeed takes the Herald
    Here's a Herald article this week, titled (I kid you not): 20 somewhat horrible things I do to my kids that I don't feel guilty about [Facepalm] I want the Herald to be good. I really do. I know some...
    Polity
  • Sad
    There's a lot of non-cheery news out there in the lead up to Christmas. There's the Taliban school massacre, the Sydney siege, the US Torture Report, and - at a much lower level, and closer to home - the Treasury's...
    Polity
  • Govt spend on transport out of step with reality
    The National Government is planning to allocate ever increasing amounts of taxpayer funding to build expensive new motorways despite record numbers of New Zealanders flocking to buses and trains, said the Green Party. The Government released its Government Policy Statement...
    Greens
  • Solar homes stymied by Govt inaction
    Government inaction is allowing the big power companies to discourage the nascent solar power sector, the Green Party said today. Green Party MP Gareth Hughes launched a petition today calling on the Government to empower the Electricity Authority to act...
    Greens
  • Foreign buyers for iconic island must add value
    Labour will look very closely at any Overseas Investment Office application to purchase Pakatoa Island if it is not bought by a Kiwi, says Labour’s Land information Spokesperson Stuart Nash. “Pakatoa is an iconic island in the middle of Hauraki...
    Labour
  • Way opening for April Sun in Cuba
    The United States of America’s President’s historic announcement yesterday to restore diplomatic ties with Cuba should be applauded by the New Zealand Government. The announcement marks a turning point in more than five decades of hostility between the two countries...
    Greens
  • Minister ducking for cover over ‘Diplomat Case’
    Apparently the Ministerial Inquiry into what now seems to be being referred to as ‘The Diplomat Case’ ( I have a few other names for it) has been completed and is in front of Foreign Affairs Minister McCully. Initial Reports seem to...
    Greens
  • Energy users need answers on Vector share plans
    Energy Minister Simon Bridges needs to stop ducking for cover about whether or not the Government will support plans to nationalise and then privatise $2.1 billion of shares in the Auckland Electricity Consumer Trust, Labour's Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says. “It...
    Labour
  • Turning up the heat on working conditions
    A “Jobs That Count” campaign has the full support of Labour, the party’s Labour Relations spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. Organised by the Meat Workers Union, the campaign aims to put the spotlight on job insecurity in the meat processing industry....
    Labour
  • Biosecurity it’s everyone’s responsibility
    Biosecurity costs New Zealand millions of dollars in attempting pest eradication and much more in ongoing management of pests in farming, horticulture, beekeeping and conservation, as well as in our own backyards and recreation areas. More work must happen at...
    Greens
  • Failure to diversify puts prosperity at risk
    Beyond the news that a long-promised surplus is unlikely, further embarrassment is hidden in the fine print of the half year economic and fiscal update, Labour says. "National’s failure to rebalance the economy is further exposed in projections from its...
    Labour
  • Ombudsman probe targets Ministerial integrity
    John Key is on notice that the entrenched cynical and manipulative abuse of official information requests by his Government will no longer be tolerated, Labour’s Open Government spokesperson Clare Curran says. “The announcement by the Ombudsman of a wide-ranging review...
    Labour
  • Bill English’s face is redder than his books
    The Government owes New Zealanders an apology for failing to deliver the surplus it spent four years and two election campaigns promising, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Bill English’s face is redder than the Crown accounts. This is the...
    Labour
  • Is the Health Minister accountable to the public? He doesn’t seem to thin...
    Lately I’ve been involved in a sort of farcical standoff with the Health Minister, who seems to be under the illusion that I have no right to ask questions about conflicts involving Health Promotion Agency Board member Katherine Rich, and...
    Greens
  • Irresponsible tax cuts lead to seventh successive deficit
    National's borrowing to pay for cutting the top tax rate was irresponsible and will likely lead to a seventh successive deficit, the Green Party said today. Treasury have forecast a $572 million deficit this year in its Half Year Economic...
    Greens
  • Minister closes down dissent on climate change
    Minister closes down dissent on climate change In a threatening letter to Maori leaders, Minister for Climate Change Tim Groser says he will be requiring future international delegations to toe the party line, Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. “In...
    Labour
  • Heartfelt sympathy for Sydneysiders
    The Labour Party has offered its heartfelt sympathy to the people of Sydney after the hostage situation in the city, says Labour’s Acting leader Grant Robertson.  “Our thoughts are with all those who went through this horrific and traumatic experience....
    Labour
  • Farewell at Phillipstown
    Last Wednesday, I attended the farewell for Tony Simpson, Principal of Phillipstown School. It was a very emotional event where many of us in the large crowd shed tears. Bagpipes and tiny tamariki performing kapahaka brought the house down and...
    Greens
  • The CIA Torture Report
    Earlier this week, the United States Select Committee on Intelligence released the Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program.  The report, which was five years in the making, looked into the CIA’s interrogation techniques from 2001...
    Greens
  • Haere Rā 2014
    We’ve almost reached the end of the Parliamentary year so I wanted to take a moment to reflect on some of my highlights of the term in this blog post. It’s been an absolutely hectic year juggling an election campaign...
    Greens
  • Labour applauds High Court decision on Ruataniwha
    Today’s decision by the High Court on the Ruataniwha scheme is a victory for NewZealand’s environmental groups, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson RuthDyson....
    Labour
  • A welfare system for the 21st Century
    Today Child Poverty Action Group released a background paper on ‘The complexities of ‘relationship’ in the welfare system and the consequences for children.‘ The report includes 16 recommendations to modernise our welfare system which is no longer fit for the...
    Greens
  • Welfare system out of date and out of touch
    A new Child Poverty Action Group report released today highlights another example of how our outmoded social welfare system is harming kids, says Labour’s Social Development Spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.  “The complexities of how a ‘relationship’ is defined in the welfare...
    Labour
  • NZ should formally recognise Palestine
    New Zealand should follow the lead of Sweden, and now recognise Palestine as a separate state On 30 October, Sweden’s new government formally recognised the state of Palestine, only the second Western country to do so, after Iceland. Down here...
    Greens
  • James Shaw’s adjournment speech on behalf of the Green Party
    It is a great honour for me to speak on behalf of the Green Party in this adjournment debate. I thank my colleagues for the privilege. I became a MP only 12 weeks ago, a period of time that seems...
    Greens
  • Time to end legalised cruelty of factory farms
    We can ensure that animals are kept in safe and ethical conditions. Claims of economic impact and practicality as justification for animal cruelty just don't stack up.Use our easy e-letter to write to the Minister for Primary Industries Nathan Guy...
    Greens
  • Government can’t rely on geothermal to grow itself
    While Electricity Authority figures showing geothermal has risen from the fourth to the second highest source of power generation are a promising sign for a geothermal renaissance, there can be no cause for complacency, Labour’s Energy spokesperson Stuart Nash says....
    Labour
  • Big bickies for bosses despite subpar performance
    While public service workers are experiencing Grinch-like wage increases state sector bosses have pocketed early Christmas presents in the form of whopper pay hikes, Labour’s State Services spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “Unbelievably State Services Commissioner Iain Rennie got an additional...
    Labour
  • Consent should come before research grants for phosphate mining
      The Government’s decision to make a grant by Callaghan Innovation to Chatham Rock Phosphate is highly questionable, says Labour’s Science spokesperson David Cunliffe.  “The fact is that the company still has to get a marine consent to mine the Chatham...
    Labour
  • A Tale of Two Farms
    Pig farming has yet again been thrust into the public view with two programmes this week on Campbell Live highlighting the very different conditions for pigs on two very different farms. The first programme exposed the awful conditions on a...
    Greens
  • Dirty Dairy Accord failing to clean up rivers
    The first monitoring report of the Sustainable Dairying Water Accord fails to show progress on cleaning up our rivers since the Accord was introduced, the Green Party said today. The Accord's targets for stock exclusion are weaker than the previous...
    Greens
  • The Indignant Kiwi: Why we need to do more to protect our national bird
    A kiwi, about to be released into the wild, was first introduced to Prime Minister John Key and German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel on her recent visit to New Zealand. By all reports, Dr Merkel was delighted to meet the rather indignant...
    Greens
  • Conflicted interests and health promotion; my opinion.
    As it happens, I know quite a bit about health promotion. It was an area I worked in prior to becoming an MP. What differentiates health promotion from the strict biomedical model, or from health education, for example, is its...
    Greens
  • Transparency on foreign buyers register needed
    News that Overseas Investment Office officials have been working on a register of foreign buyers of New Zealand homes is a welcome surprise, but Land Information Minister Louise Upston now needs to be clear on the details of the project,...
    Labour
  • National moves on state house sell off
    The Labour Party understands the Government has decided to move ahead with a mass sell-off of state houses. Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says he has been told by sources that Cabinet agreed the plan for their sell-off this week....
    Labour
  • Back-down on expert teacher plan welcomed
    News that the Government has backed down and returned to the drawing board on its flagship ‘expert teacher’ policy will come as a welcome Christmas present to schools and teachers, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Teachers throughout New Zealand...
    Labour
  • John Key can’t duck the blame for internet and phone price increases
    Shareholders are winning out over Kiwi households in the latest episode of the long-running fiasco on copper network phone and internet prices, Labour ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said today. “As predicted last week hundreds of thousands of Kiwi households now...
    Labour
  • An astounding disregard for Māori Affairs
    I have sat on the Māori Affairs Select Committee for most of the last 12 years. I love the committee, its work, its constituency and I especially love how it works differently than other committees, with a strong commitment to...
    Greens
  • Plunging dairy payout will hit regions hard
    The plunging dairy payout will hit New Zealand’s provincial towns and farm service industries hard, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Farmers have been bracing themselves for this expected announcement but it will be small towns and those who...
    Labour
  • Reducing inequality creates a stronger economy
    An OECD report finding New Zealand has one of the fast growing rates of income inequality shows “trickle down” economics has failed and that everyone is better off under a stronger economy, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “The Government should...
    Labour
  • Government surplus target turning sour
    The Government’s golden surplus target is under threat with today’s Crown accounts showing the deficit is $260 million worse than expected, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “It is two blows in one morning for the Government’s economic credibility after...
    Labour
  • Greens call for end to cruelty of factory farming
    The Government must end the legalised cruelty of factory farming, the Green Party said today.Footage shown on Campbell Live this week revealed yet again the appalling, but legal, conditions pigs are routinely kept in on factory farms. The conditions the...
    Greens
  • Milk price plunge creates $6b economic black hole
    The plunge in Fonterra’s forecast dairy payout to a seven-year low for farmers will create a $6 billion economic black hole, showing yet again that National’s failure to diversify is hurting the economy, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The...
    Labour
  • Gender Pay Gap: It’s a Matter of Leadership
    The State Services Commission’s annual Human Resource Capability report for the public sector shows the gender pay gap has not decreased since at least 2010. The gap is 14% across all management roles – a slightly bigger gap than for...
    Greens
  • Pardon me Minister, but the cracks are showing
    Cracks are appearing in Cabinet ranks with the Minister of Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, throwing his predecessor under the bus over a huge spike in spending by advisers, Labour's State Services spokesman Kris Faafoi says. "Spending to 'staff the...
    Labour
  • Confirmation of no confidence in schools plan
    That just 90 of the country’s 2500 schools have signed up to the Government's one-size-fits all performance pay scheme confirms a wide-spread lack of confidence in it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “The scheme, which creates ‘executive’ and ‘lead...
    Labour
  • John Key’s secret foreign buyers register
    John Key has been secretly planning a register for foreign buyers without telling New Zealanders, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Last week Andrew Little called on John Key to adopt the Australian policy on foreign buyers....
    Labour
  • Another kick in the guts for Christchurch
    The government has walked away from the people of Christchurch with Cabinet’s decision today to cut funding available through local Members of Parliament offices to assist people with their earthquake related issues, says Labour’s Earthquake Recovery Spokesperson, Ruth Dyson.  “Over the...
    Labour
  • State house sell off will make transience worse
    The National Government’s plans to sell off state housing will increase the rate of transience among the poorest families, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. The Growing Up in New Zealand study released today reveals families with children under two...
    Labour
  • Report shows need for independent food safety agency
    The inquiry into the botulism botch-up shows the decision to merge the food safety authority into the Ministry of Primary Industries was a failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “MPI has been severely criticised in this report for...
    Labour
  • National needs to pull their head out of the sand on climate change
    Green MPs were out across the country attending Heads in the Sand events this weekend. I spoke at the Christchurch event where a couple of hundred people mimicked the Government’s climate policy by burying their heads in the sand. It...
    Greens
  • Claims of pumping up the volume all noise
    New manufacturing figures from Statistics NZ reveal a further decline in New Zealand's export performance, highlighting the Government's ongoing failure to rebalance the economy, Labour's Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says."The National Government has adopted a volume-based approach in an...
    Labour
  • Mediation Between Lyttelton Port and Union Fails
    The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining.   “There was no substantial shift in LPC’s position today so the...
    The Daily Blog
  • Letter from Pakistan
    I was in Peshawar last week. It is a vibrant city with a real energy to it. It is my favourite place to be in Pakistan. You feel the energy as you drive around the city. I am in an...
    The Daily Blog
  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Media Release: Rail & Maritime Transport Union Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at...
    The Daily Blog
  • So the United States of Torture is the ally we are supporting to re-invade ...
    How easy is it to con the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind? Very. The despicable means by which this corrupt dirty politics Government have gone about trying to use the fear and anger caused by the Sydney hostage situation...
    The Daily Blog
  • A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins
    A tale of two gunmen – how the media spins...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Jill Ovens – Auckland Hospital worker cuts – Democracy the ...
    Auckland Hospital kitchen workers tell CEO Ailsa Claire (far right) a week ago that they did not want to be contracted out. Such was the arrogance that no contingency plans were made in the event that these workers would be...
    The Daily Blog
  • Political opportunists out in force over Sydney hostage crisis
    It hasn’t taken long for supporters of New Zealand’s so-called “anti-terror” legislation passed last week through parliament to try and justify it in the wake of the Sydney hostage crisis. Before we even knew much about the gunman or hostage...
    The Daily Blog
  • NZs new hobby – hating the poor
    Last week people queued at the doors of the Auckland City Mission. They are people that are living without enough income to afford the basics let alone the extras we as a society have come to expect at Christmas. Extras...
    The Daily Blog
  • The only people who believed National’s surplus illusion were voters
    Sigh – the sleepy hobbits of muddle Nu Zilind are pretty easy to con aren’t they? National’s surplus was always a joke that would never happen, but in every single focus group, voters believed by overwhelming numbers that National were...
    The Daily Blog
  • Key’s crocodile tears over dirty politics
    John Key: Bloggers ‘not big part of my day’ Prime Minister John Key says bloggers are not a “big part of his day” but he lives in a world where he can’t ignore them. Speaking on TVNZ’s Breakfast programme today,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why we are in inequality denial and climate change denial
        We are a country in denial over our inequality and climate change. Both issues have the same thread that runs through them. 30 years of neoliberalism has generated its own cultural narratives and myths. We have been taught that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of ...
      This weeks Waatea news column – Why proclaiming Key as the Politician of the Year is ethically bankrupt...
    The Daily Blog
  • Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety
    Media Release: Rail and Maritime Transport Union   Britomart violence raises questions over rail staff safety   The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is raising serious questions over the safety of the staff on Auckland’s train network after violent incidents on...
    The Daily Blog
  • Australia stares down Siege – National Party politicise tragedy
    The Sydney siege has finished, from the reports that are breaking the gunman, Man Haron Monis is dead and one of the hostages has also been killed. The Australian Police seem to have acted incredibly professionally and the real Australian...
    The Daily Blog
  • The termination of the Internet Mana alliance
    Last week the Mana Movement and Internet Party wrote to the Electoral Commission to cancel the registration of the Internet-Mana political party. It was a decision which brought the arrangement between the parties to a natural end after failing to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Peace breaks out between Greens and Labour
    Finally some good news for the Left. Peace has broken out between the Greens and Labour. One of the greatest barriers to a real relationship between the Greens and Labour has been the uncompromising arrogance of the Labour Party Caucus...
    The Daily Blog
  • Little keeps it stupid, simple
    Labour MP drops euthanasia billA bill which would legalise voluntary euthanasia has been dropped by Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway at the request of his leader Andrew Little. Mr Lees-Galloway had been canvassing support for his End of Life Choice Bill...
    The Daily Blog
  • Dear Ministry for Social Development,
    Dear Ministry for Social Development, I realise you probably already know this, but just a wee reminder of REALITY. You know – the reality of the vast majority of us who aren’t making ends meet and are struggling to live...
    The Daily Blog
  • Social Policy still in the dark ages when it comes to relationships
    Two years ago I became aware of the work of two very able barristers who defend low income women accused of relationship fraud. CPAG then began collecting cases and stories of horrendous misery and victimisation. Then penny was slow to...
    The Daily Blog
  • The truth about inequality
      The truth about inequality...
    The Daily Blog
  • Rather Than Sending Troops To Iraq … Brownlee May Wish To Consider Better...
    There’s something a little unsettling going on at the moment. Ok, many somethings. Of particular concern is the fact that right now, New Zealand troops are training at Waiouru for deployment to Iraq – and, assumedly, the ongoing war against ISIS. Brownlee,...
    The Daily Blog
  • West Papua’s Saralana Declaration most vital unity development for 52 yea...
    Newly elected spokesman for the unified West Papuan movement Benny Wenda is treated to a chiefly welcome at the opening ceremony of the “unity” meeting in Port Vila. Photo: © Ben Bohane/wakaphotos.com David Robie also blogs at Café Pacific. A...
    The Daily Blog
  • Helen says it all
    Helen says it all...
    The Daily Blog
  • When Fran O’Sullivan, John Armstrong and Cameron Slater are singing Andre...
    The mainstream media of NZ will never allow a Labour leader who threatens the bastions of neoliberalism from ever taking power. David Cunliffe found that out. So when the mainstream media establishment from Fran O’Sullivan to John Armstrong to even...
    The Daily Blog
  • Wisdom’s Mirror: Can Grant Robertson Slay the Neoliberal Gorgon?
    HOW TO ELIMINATE one’s rival without getting one’s hands dirty? It’s a problem with a prodigious political pedigree. King David’s lust for Bathsheba drove him to order Uriah, her unfortunate husband, placed in the front line of battle – where...
    The Daily Blog
  • GUEST BLOG: Miriam Pierard – Sweet Sixteen and able to vote?
    The level of voter participation in elections is an indication of the health of a democracy. Declining turnout across the democratic world, particularly among young people, has led to questions about the legitimacy of our governing institutions. It is time...
    The Daily Blog
  • Public Equity and Progressive Politics
    We heard from the OECD on Wednesday morning (10 Dec) [Focus on Inequality and Growth] that inequality suppresses economic growth. (Here are Radio New Zealand’s morning reports on this.) This is hardly a surprise to many economists and non-economists alike. The key point in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Analysis: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us!
    Analysis (Text & Audio): Across The Ditch – Selwyn Manning & Peter Godfrey Headline: Final Across The Ditch Bulletin for 2014 – Lorde Help Us! 5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.FiveAA’s Peter Godfrey and MIL’s Selwyn Manning present their last...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sharing intelligence with CIA torturers
    New Zealand’s spy agencies have long presented intelligence sharing with their US counterparts as mutually beneficial and benign. That stance has always lacked credibility and is now its impossible to justify. The just-released US Senate Intelligence Committee report shows that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour votes for Surveillance State. NZ First Opposes!
    A few weeks before the election, the New Zealand Labour Party decided to cash in on simmering popular discontent with the state of the surveillance state that National’s set up. Never mind their own previous and well-publicized brushes with egregious state-surveillance … they wanted people to know that...
    The Daily Blog
  • Economic ideology destroys us all
    The OECD’s latest report says “The biggest factor for the impact of inequality on growth is the gap between lower income households and the rest of the population. The negative effect is not just for the poorest income decile but...
    The Daily Blog
  • 3 simple words for the Labour Party
    I have 3 very simple words for all those Labour Party apologists who are trying to rinse Labour clean here. Get. A. Warrant. You can all try and spin this any way you want, but Labour voted for 24 hour...
    The Daily Blog
  • 2014 – Year of the angry white knuckle
    I knew Internet/MANA would have to fight National, ACT, Conservative Party, United Future, Maori Party and the mainstream media. I didn’t think they would also have to fight Labour, the Greens and NZ First as well. Apparently feeding hungry kids in...
    The Daily Blog
  • Chris Rock on cop shootings
    Chris Rock on cop shootings...
    The Daily Blog
  • Bank Lending: Restrictions and Favourites
    An important story in 2014 has been the Reserve Bank’s ‘loan-to-value ratio’ restrictions, which have made it extremely hard for first-time house buyers to get sufficient finance to buy a house. Corran Dann in TVNZ’s  Q+A (7 Dec) suggested that...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – How should Waitangi Tribunal ruling on S...
      This weeks Waatea news column - How should  Waitangi Tribunal ruling on Sovereignty be implemented?...
    The Daily Blog
  • Labour sell us out on warrantless surveillance
    Isn’t it depressing that Labour are selling us out by voting for warrantless spying by an agency caught out smearing them? Last night Labour do what they always do, over compensate on Security issues. So terrified are Labour at being...
    The Daily Blog
  • This Is The Headline For Test Post
    This Is The Headline For Test Post Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut eget neque facilisis sapien laoreet volutpat. Nulla vel nisl nec purus interdum tincidunt. Phasellus orci sapien, vestibulum et pulvinar non, pellentesque eget leo. Sed...
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  • Question Time in Parliament Today – National Party MPs cheer graph that s...
    This is the graph the National Party were shown by Russel Norman in Parliament today and they all cheered…     …they cheered?!?!?!? That’s beyond denial, that’s just gleefully suicidal....
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  • NZ Pastor Prays For Homosexual Author To Kill Himself
    By Jayden Jameson and Jessie Hume If we ever needed a reminder that homophobia is alive and kicking in New Zealand we have Pastor Logan Robertson from the Westcity Baptist Church. The Westcity Baptist ministry could apparently be described as New...
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  • Political Journalism in the South-Pacific – a new direction for NZ influe...
    Last week, the incredible Pacific Journalism Review celebrated 20 years of promoting and supporting and standing up for Journalism in the South-Pacific. The conference at AUT featured journalists from around the pacific who have battled and fought and been punished...
    The Daily Blog
  • Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future
    Antarctica minus the ice – welcome to your future...
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  • REAL LIFE GUEST BLOG: Lou – 15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homel...
    This is Key’s real life – other NZers aren’t so privileged    15 shifts in 12 months……permanently homeless since May. I went to the Salvation Army yesterday on advice for emergency housing as my temporary accomodation had turned volatile. Just...
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  • Labour Party Members should be furious at reviews findings
    Let’s see The Standard use this image Well, well, well… Labour’s election review: What went wrongLabour’s review panel has reported its findings back about the party’s election campaign and the reasons for the low 25 per cent result, identifying problems...
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  • Judith Collins joins the Sunday Star Times and cements the Rights dominance...
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins   I don’t read the Sunday Star Times, so had no idea that they had just decided to make Judith Collins of all people a new columnist. Her appointment cements into place...
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  • Grey Lynn Festival – very Grey – Art in the Dark – very Dark
    The battle of Helm’s Deep from the Two Towers would have had better OSH conditions than Art in the Dark   Grey Lynn Festival – 2 stars So the Grey Lynn Festival happened last weekend. It’s a day where the good liberal...
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  • ‘Stalking’ Ede
      Tau Henare accuses TV3 of stalkingA former National MP has accused TV3 of stalking after one of its journalists attempted to question a former Beehive spin doctor. Today’s episode of The Nation featured an unsuccessful attempt to question former...
    The Daily Blog
  • Taxpayer Union, the NZ Herald and Len Brown’s secret hidden love den
    I love the way the NZ Herald introduced the discredited Taxpayer Union in their bullshit story about Len Brown’s secret hidden love den… ‘Secret room’ spending shows need for recall electionsA lobby group says revelations Auckland Council spent $30,000 on...
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  • Eric Garner killed by NYPD original footage
    The horror of a ultra militarised and racist American Police Force who can kill with impunity. Obama claims cameras on every office would stop this type of brutality, these cops knew they were being filmed and killed him anyway. In...
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  • Unjust to imprison us for crimes we haven’t yet committed
    Once again National and Labour have succumbed to the “law and order” brigade enabling the passage of a Bill imprisoning people for crimes they might commit in the future. The Public Safety (Public Protection Orders) Bill allows the Court to...
    The Daily Blog
  • SPCA welcomes glueboard traps ban
    The Royal New Zealand SPCA applauds the ban on the sale and use ofglueboard traps in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics
  • Mediation Between Lyttelton Port and Union Fails
    The Rail and Maritime Union (RMTU) has opted to continue its overtime ban indefinitely after mediation with the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch (LPC) failed to progress collective bargaining. “There was no substantial shift in LPC’s position today...
    Scoop politics
  • Review into Phillip Smith’s escape submitted to Government
    A multi-agency review on the escape of Phillip Smith to South America has submitted its initial report to the Government today....
    Scoop politics
  • Len Brown gets haybales from giant chicken and Ms. Santa Cla
    Today at 10.30am, Ms. Santa Claus and a giant chicken delivered haybales to Len Brown’s office, urging Auckland City Council to decline a resource consent application sought by cage egg producer Craddock Farms....
    Scoop politics
  • Increased Abuse of Parents A Predicted Outcome
    Family First NZ says that the increasing level of parental abuse , especially towards mothers, is an unfortunate but expected outcome of the rise of children’s ‘rights’ and the undermining of parental authority....
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  • Brownlee’s Misplaced War on Acronyms
    The beleaguered Minister of Defence who reportedly cannot tell an RFL (required fitness level) from an AWQ (annual weapons qualification) has declared war on military acronyms while proving the proverb about those in glass houses....
    Scoop politics
  • Fluoride risks whitewashed in rushed consultation
    Ministry of Health propose to exempt toxic industrial waste products used in water fluoridation from the Medicines Act 1981...
    Scoop politics
  • Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand
    JUANderful Juan” in 7-Minute Migrante Video Project Shares Practical Tips on Working and Living in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics
  • Christmas Day in Prison
    Christmas Day in prison this year will involve swapping the main meal of the day, so that dinner will be served at lunchtime, leaving the evening meal to be sandwiches. This is standard practice for this day....
    Scoop politics
  • Alcohol advertising bans need stronger evidence
    Wellington (18 December 2014): The New Zealand Initiative’s Head of Research, Dr Eric Crampton, today urged Cabinet to look to the evidence before banning alcohol advertising and sponsorship. The Ministerial Forum on Advertising and Sponsorship...
    Scoop politics
  • EPA grants marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd
    The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has granted a marine consent to OMV NZ Ltd to continue its development drilling programme in the Maari oil field in the South Taranaki Bight....
    Scoop politics
  • DHB puts staff and patients at risk in order to save money
    The Public Service Association (PSA) is alarmed that the Waikato District Health Board (WDHB) is proposing to cut the 4 and 2 roster system, established nationally, for mental health nurses. The PSA represents more than 210 mental health nurses working...
    Scoop politics
  • Ambivilence about alcohol marketing recommendations
    Ministers Adams and Dunn issued a media release yesterday nearly two months after receiving a final report from their Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, and four years following an original announcement to review alcohol...
    Scoop politics
  • Alcohol forum recommendations: a step in the right direction
    The Forum has stated clearly that that it accepts alcohol marketing plays a role in heavy alcohol consumption and subsequent harm, and that young people need to be protected from it by regulation....
    Scoop politics
  • Court Judgment: Nicky Hager v Police on Dirty Politics Raids
    Mr Hager alleges that steps taken by the second respondent (the Police): first, in deciding to apply for a search warrant in respect of Mr Hager’s premises; secondly, in applying for the warrant; and thirdly, executing the warrant at his...
    Scoop politics
  • Holiday home hazards revealed
    Common sense ways to look after your property this summer Auckland, 18 December 2014 – Burglars aren’t the only threat to your home during the holiday season, says AA Insurance. It’s more likely to be broken water pipes, burst hot...
    Scoop politics
  • Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace
    Grieving families should be able to scatter ashes in peace 18 December 2014 Funeral directors are relieved that Wellington City Council has finally dropped plans to charge families for permits to scatter ashes in public places. Funeral Directors...
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  • RSA Offers Condolences To Victims Of Sydney Siege
    As an organisation representing over 100,000 New Zealanders, the RSA has today condemned the actions taken by Man Haron Monis during his siege in a Sydney café, and offered their deepest sympathies to the friends and family of Tori Johnson...
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  • Kiwi activists crowdfund billboard for Simon Bridges
    Almost seven thousand New Zealanders have taken part in a crowdfunding campaign, and have raised enough money to put a billboard up in Tauranga that is directed at Simon Bridges, the Minister of Energy and Resources....
    Scoop politics
  • Leaked TISA text exposes US threat to privacy, data security
    ‘The US is demanding that New Zealand and other countries accept sweeping rules that would override privacy protections for digitised personal and other data’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland....
    Scoop politics
  • Lyttelton Port workers begin overtime ban
    Workers of Christchurch Rail and Lyttelton Port have begun an indefinite ban on overtime, according to the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. The ban was announced at a mass meeting at the Port after negotiations between Lyttelton Port of Christchurch...
    Scoop politics
  • Ban on Alcohol Advertising Could Cost Taxpayer
    Responding to yesterday's release of the report of the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship, Jordan Williams, the Executive Director of the Taxpayers’ Union says:...
    Scoop politics
  • Farm safety isn’t helped by punitive fines
    Federated Farmers Health and Safety spokesperson, Katie Milne says she is concerned about the impact of the $40,000 fine for a Marlborough farm couple, who weren’t wearing helmets and carrying children as passengers. The Court case, and subsequent...
    Scoop politics
  • New online guide to NZ’s environment goes live
    The Environment Foundation* has launched a new web-based guide to the management of New Zealand’s natural environment....
    Scoop politics
  • Ban On Alcohol Advertising Just One Step
    Family First NZ says that a proposed ban on alcohol advertising at sports events as recommended by a ministerial forum is an important move, but will not solve the binge drinking and alcohol abuse issue on its own....
    Scoop politics
  • CLANZ scholarship winner to examine legal services to Crown
    Wellington in-house lawyer Tania Warburton is the inaugural winner of the research scholarship established by the Corporate Lawyers Association of New Zealand (CLANZ)....
    Scoop politics
  • Joint Australasian operation dismantles drug syndicate
    The Joint Organised Crime Task Force (JOCTF), leading a multi-agency team, has smashed a multi-million dollar international organised crime network following raids across Melbourne this morning....
    Scoop politics
  • Video: Meet Mark Gilbert, U.S. Ambassador-Designate to NZ
    Join us in welcoming Ambassador-Designate Mark Gilbert and his wife Nancy. They are arriving in New Zealand shortly and wanted to introduce themselves. Watch this video to learn about his connections with Aotearoa, and why he thinks the partnership between...
    Scoop politics
  • MIA Welcomes Review Findings
    The MIA welcomes the findings of the Health Quality & Safety Commission into child and youth mortality arising from the use of motorcycles, quads and other agricultural vehicles....
    Scoop politics
  • Quads Bikes Not for Under 16s
    Safekids Aotearoa strongly supports recommendations made in a report released today highlighting the dangers posed by quad bikes when ridden or controlled by children who are under 16 years of age....
    Scoop politics
  • Inquiry on Parliament’s legislative response to emergencies
    Public submissions are being invited on Regulations Review Committee’s Inquiry into Parliament’s legislative response to future national emergencies. The closing date for submissions is Sunday, 1 March 2015....
    Scoop politics
  • Switch off on the beach NOT at level crossings
    KiwiRail and TrackSAFE NZ have launched a new summer rail safety campaign with a message to motorists to stay focused and always look for trains at level crossings over the holidays. December is known as the month for family, festivity...
    Scoop politics
  • Report on child and youth deaths from vehicle use
    Quad bike and other off-road vehicle accidents second largest cause of child recreational deaths...
    Scoop politics
  • Inspector-General accepts apology for leak of report
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Cheryl Gwyn, has accepted an unreserved apology from Hon Phil Goff MP for disclosing some of the contents of her recent Report into the Release of Information by the NZSIS in July and August...
    Scoop politics
  • Santa’s naughty list shows NZPork in trouble
    Santa has provided animal advocacy organisation SAFE with an early copy of this year’s naughty list , as it prominently features many animal-abusing industries and businesses, with NZPork topping the list....
    Scoop politics
  • WWI veterans had persisting higher risk of early death
    New research on the impact of the First World War on participating New Zealand soldiers shows they typically lost around eight years of life and had an increased risk of early death in the post-war period....
    Scoop politics
  • Rainbow Wellington urges further change from Blood Service
    This week the New Zealand Blood Service (NZBS) announced the implementation of the agreed changes to blood donor deferral. For men who have sex with men (MSM) this primarily involves a reduction of the deferral period from five years to...
    Scoop politics
  • New Zealand Government signals reversal of fortune
    The Government’s robust $372 million forecast surplus from Budget 2014 will turn into a $572 million deficit, according to the 2015 Half-Yearly Economic and Fiscal Update and the Budget Policy Statement. Imports are cheaper and good export prices...
    Scoop politics
  • Time for Jobs that Count in the Meat Industry
    The NZ Meat Workers Union will launch a new national campaign to highlight job insecurity in the Meat Industry this afternoon in Palmerston North....
    Scoop politics
  • Protest at killing of schoolboys – Vigil 17/12/14
    A peaceful vigil will be held in Downtown Square opposite Britomart station – cnr of Queen and Customs St from 11-45 am: Wednesday 17 December 2014....
    Scoop politics
  • Social housing provider opens development in Johnsonvillle
    Social housing provider, Accessible Properties, will be opening eight new social housing units in a new housing development in Johnsonville tomorrow....
    Scoop politics
  • NCWNZ Wins Court Case
    ComVoices welcomes and celebrates the news that the National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) has won its High Court case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
    Scoop politics
  • Cut Taxes + Cut Waste = Surplus
    Responding to the Treasury's Half Year Fiscal and Economic Update, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says:...
    Scoop politics
  • Cuts in public services likely fromBudget Policy Statement
    The horizon for workers looks gloomy with the release today of the Budget Policy statement. “Continuing real cuts in Government funding of public services are inevitable as a result of today’s Budget Policy Statement. The policy ignores the social,...
    Scoop politics
  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
    Scoop politics
  • Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update 2014
    The Half Year Economic and Fiscal Update (HYEFU) 2014 provides the Treasury's latest economic forecasts and the forecast financial statements of the Government, including the implications of Government financial decisions....
    Scoop politics
  • Chief Ombudsman launches major review of OIA practices
    The Chief Ombudsman, Dame Beverley Wakem, has today begun a wide ranging review of Official Information Act (OIA) practices in the public sector....
    Scoop politics
  • The Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning
    “Our hearts and minds are with the people of Sydney: the Tasman Sea got a little smaller this morning,” said Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy....
    Scoop politics
  • A safety message for the festive season from Housing NZ
    Batteries may be required for some of the best toys under the tree this year, but they are just as essential to enjoying the greatest gift of all, says Housing New Zealand General Manager of Property Services, Marcus Bosch. “Smoke...
    Scoop politics
  • Charity Wins in the High Court
    The National Council of Women of New Zealand (NCWNZ) is delighted that the High Court has found in its favour in its case against Inland Revenue and the Charities Registration Board....
    Scoop politics
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