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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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  • The idiot
    Here’s why this Steffan Browning/Ebola/Homeopathy thing is a really big deal for the Green Party. (a) Historically they’ve been stereotyped by their opponents as a bunch of nutters (b) The main focus of the party for the past five years –...
    DimPost | 30-10
  • The idiot
    Here’s why this Steffan Browning/Ebola/Homeopathy thing is a really big deal for the Green Party. (a) Historically they’ve been stereotyped by their opponents as a bunch of nutters (b) The main focus of the party for the past five years –...
    DimPost | 30-10
  • Climate change and New Zealand cities
    Environmentalists sometimes have an uneasy relationship with cities. Because they concentrate a lot of people and economic activity in relatively small places, they also concentrate a lot of negative environmental effects. All that concrete, all that energy being consumed, the...
    Transport Blog | 30-10
  • Got a mystery? Just ask John!
    Tuesday, November 24, 2009John Key has learned the identity of the entertainer guilty of an indecency charge through the grapevine of people circumventing the suppression order....
    Pundit | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD....
    CTU | 30-10
  • Blocked
    It is safe to say before the election last month I was fairly prolific in the blogosphere as we headed to an election. Was it because there was a glimmer of hope for we on this side of the coin?...
    My Thinks | 30-10
  • Blend with the Bruntletts Group Ride
    While Vancourerites Chris and Melissa Bruntlett are here for their Auckland Conversation talk, Generation Zero, Frocks on Bikes and TransportBlog have organised a slow, family friendly ride around the city centre. The map is below. The ride is designed to be self-directed so...
    Transport Blog | 30-10
  • Rawshark – Is she Maori or Pakeha?
    Cameron Slater blamed someone for being behind the hacking of his emails and passing them on to Nicky Hager. And then he named someone he thought was Rawshark. John Key says someone told him who Rawshark is but he ain’t telling. @B3nRaching3r is...
    Te Putatara | 30-10
  • Employment law: it’s toasted
    In an early episode of Mad Men, when the company’s going for the Lucky Strike account, sleazebag antihero Don Draper asks the client exactly how cigarettes are made. They talk through the process, mentioning the tobacco is toasted – and...
    On the Left | 30-10
  • Owners of the wind
    Thirty-odd years ago in the Kingdom of Denmark lived some brave people who disliked nuclear power and loved renewable energy. Determined to keep their country clean and safe, they began building their own wind turbines. Today, thanks to these passionate...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • TPPA Bulletin #58
    NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION 8 NOVEMBER 2014 Auckland, Hamilton, Raglan, Tauranga, Rotorua, Gisborne, New Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Levin,Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin,Invercargill. REGIONAL UPDATES Auckland (1:00 pm at Aotea Square): speakers include Robyn Malcolm (Actors Equity), Bunny McDiarmid (Greenpeace), Dayle Takitimu...
    NZ – Not for sale | 30-10
  • Seabed mining: drums in the deep
    Out on the Chatham Rise, the ridge jutting into the waters off Christchurch and extending out beyond the Chathams, Chatham Rock Phosphate has a mining permit and is now seeking EPA approval for its project to mine phosphate for fertiliser,...
    Pundit | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today.“Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so again...
    CTU | 30-10
  • An unmanaged conflict
    Katherine Rich is a member of the government-appointed Health Promotion Agency, responsible for (as it says on its website) "inspiring all New Zealanders to lead healthier lives". Katherine Rich is also Chief Executive of the New Zealand Food and Grocery...
    No Right Turn | 30-10
  • Robert Fisk
    Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default...
    No Right Turn | 30-10
  • A stretch
    This morning the Herald revealed that Kim Dotcom had been convicted and fined for dangerous driving in 2009, but had not declared it on his application for residency. Immigration is now talking about deporting him. So, this is what we...
    No Right Turn | 30-10
  • Tauranga port happy to take the money – but not happy to accept responsib...
    Comments from a Port of Tauranga manager about deaths and injuries in their port during a Radio New Zealand interview are unacceptable....
    MUNZ | 30-10
  • New Ebola Toys for Xmas. Yay?
    From the "too soon?" file, here are two oddly successful exercises in niche marketing. First, the molecularly-sort-of-correct ebola plush toy. Apparently it has sold out: And, of course, the sexy ebola nurse outfit: Ebola, as everyone knows, ignores cleavage. And...
    Polity | 30-10
  • Temporary, discriminatory and an admission of Faliure
    The PM says that the legislation his government proposes to pass under urgency allowing for the confiscation of passports of NZ citizens in order to combat the threat of returning foreign fighters will be “tightly focused” on those traveling to...
    Kiwipolitico | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    frogblog | 30-10
  • Experiment-gate update
    Readers may recall the saga around an experimental mailer some Stanford / Dartmouth researchers sent into the state of Montana. In a randomised trial, it provided voters with some added information about two candidates running for a judicial election, and...
    Polity | 30-10
  • Why are our Politicians Auckland Toll Chickens?
    Yesterday both the National Government and Green Party opposed the suggestion to place a toll on Auckland’s roads, but for completely different reasons. The Government opposes it because they see it as a new tax. The Greens because they would...
    Gareth’s World | 29-10
  • The obvious question
    John Key says he knows who the hacker Rawshark is. So, will the police be raiding his home for ten hours and taking all his data, or is that something they only do to enemies of the National Party?...
    No Right Turn | 29-10
  • Guest post: Living with a criminal conviction
    What happens when one moment of bad judgement changes everything anyone ever thinks about you? Mike Jones* used a weapon to defend his girlfriend from an aggressive man at a party seven years ago. He’s still paying for that choice....
    On the Left | 29-10
  • Famous Kiwi Radio Host Invites Rapists To “Call In and Defend Yourselves...
    [This post is now being live-blogged. Please check back periodically for updates. The amazing header image is by Occupy Auckland media team co-ordinator @Redstar309z and features an artistic impression of two alleged #Roastbusters serial rapists - Joseph Levall Parker (left)...
    Spin Bin | 29-10
  • Famous Kiwi Radio Host Invites #Roastbusters Rapists To “Call In and Defe...
    [This post is now being live-blogged. Please check back periodically for updates. The amazing header image is by Occupy Auckland media team co-ordinator @Redstar309z and features an artistic impression of two alleged #Roastbusters serial rapists - Joseph Levall Parker (left)...
    Spin Bin | 29-10
  • James Shaw speaks on the four Bills formerly known as the Accounting Infras...
    The assurance industry is a critical component of our economic framework. The idea that there is a trusted independent watchdog of the public interest underpins investor confidence and ensures financial probity on behalf of our country's leading institutions. New Zealand...
    Greens | 31-10
  • ANZ needs to look after its workers after another super profit
    The ANZ bank needs to acknowledge the super profits it makes are coming at the expense of its workers, the Green Party said today.Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited (ANZ) 2014 full year results show a lift in performance...
    Greens | 31-10
  • James Shaw’s maiden speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • Feed the kids members bill
    Education is the best route out of poverty. But hungry kids can't learn and are left trapped in the poverty cycle. Let's break that cycle lunchbox by lunchbox. We can feed the country's hungry kids, if we work together.I have...
    Greens | 31-10
  • National’s “Auckland housing boom” a fizzer
    Falling Auckland consent numbers show the Government’s housing policy is going backwards contrary to wild claims by Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith that we are on the cusp of a massive construction boom, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Local job losses major blow to Bay community
    Job losses at Wattie’s Hastings plant will hit families and the community hard, Hawke’s Bay-based Labour MP Stuart Nash and MP for Ikaroa-Rawhiti Meka Whaitiri say. “I know a number of the Wattie’s staff and these job losses will be...
    Labour | 31-10
  • Zero tolerance for forestry accidents a must
    The Government must adopt a zero tolerance approach to workplace accidents in the forestry sector to stop people being killed, Labour’s Forestry spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “It is time for the Government and the forestry sector to put an end...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Return to less holidays on the cards?
    John Key needs to lay his cards on the table regarding the Government’s intentions around holiday pay and annual leave entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “A day after National pushed through laws that take away the legal...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Forest Safety report first step in making our forests safe to work in
    Our forests are a very dangerous place to work. Between 2008 and 2013 there have been 32 fatalities and more than a thousand serious harm incidents in this industry. The Council of Trade Unions and First union have been doing...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Catherine Delahunty Speaks on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill
    Kia ora, Mr Assistant Speaker. He mihi nui ki te Whare Paremata. Welcome to the glorious 19th century, dressed up in the not-so-new flexibility-speak. At the final moment of this bill, let us drop the charade. The Government has a...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Ruataniwha Feds refuse to present a balanced view
    A bid to sell the Ruataniwha water project to Hawkes Bay farmers has turned in to an incredibly one sided affair, says Labours spokesperson on Water Meka Whaitiri.  “It’s being promoted as ‘Ruataniwha it’s now or never’ and it promises...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Worker’s rights dealt severe blow with Bill’s passing
    The passing of the Employment Relations Amendment Bill is another blow to workers' rights in New Zealand, the Green Party said today.This afternoon, National's Employment Relations Amendment Bill passed with the support of Act and United Future."This bill will force...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Barriers to reporting sex crimes must go
    Both the Government and police need to take action to ensure that, in future, sexual abuse victims know they will be taken seriously, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “The young women involved in the Roast Busters case, and...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Te Wakaputanga – What we did not learn at school
    This week saw the 179th anniversary of the signing of Te Wakaputanga, the Declaration of Independence of the United Tribes of Niu Tireni. Most of us did not learn about this fundamentally critical document at school, we barely learned about...
    Greens | 30-10
  • NZ goes backwards on gender equality
    It is no coincidence that in the same week New Zealand is singled out for going backwards on child poverty under National,  we’ve also dropped in global rankings for gender equality. In one year New Zealand has dropped from 7th...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health on management of Katherine Ric...
    Is he satisfied that all conflicts of interest that arose by the head of Food and Grocery Council Katherine Rich being a member of the Health Promotion Agency were managed in accordance with the provisions of the Crown Entities Act...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Bennett parks numbers on social housing
    Social Housing Minister Paula Bennett admitted today that well over 1000 families have been subsidised through the accommodation supplement to stay in the Ranui campground, somewhere she has previously described as not the right place for children to be growing...
    Labour | 30-10
  • 50,000 sign petition against anti-worker law
    More than 50,000 Kiwis have signed Labour’s petition against the Government’s scrapping of tea break entitlements, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “That’s the equivalent of five people signing our petition every minute for a week. It shows the...
    Labour | 30-10
  • Address in Reply Debate – Dr Kennedy Graham on UN Security Council- 2...
    In the Speech from the Throne last week the Prime Minister identified the usual domestic goals for his Government. I counted 17. They are not my subject today. I wish instead to focus on matters beyond our shores. In the...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Climate change harming ocean health
    New Zealand is responsible for one of the largest areas of sea in the world – an area 14 times the size of our land area. The National Government is promising new marine protected areas legislation with a discussion document...
    Greens | 30-10
  • Key misled public over Jason Ede
    Information contained in a new chapter of the book Key: Portrait of a Prime Minister, that Jason Ede stopped working for the National Party on the night the book Dirty Politics was released, shows Mr Key and senior ministers hid...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Greenpeace report highlights better path for NZ agriculture
    A Greenpeace International report highlights a better way forward for New Zealand agriculture than the GE and chemical mutation technologies supported by Federated Farmers, and the National Government through its research funding packages, the Green Party said today. "This report...
    Greens | 29-10
  • BNZ post record profits while leaving savers vulnerable
    A small part of the $850 million record profit posted by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today needs to be set aside to protect savers' deposits in the future, said Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman today.Dr Norman was...
    Greens | 29-10
  • RBNZ U-turn shows monetary settings were wrong
    The Reserve Bank's U-turn on interest rates today shows monetary policy settings were wrong and New Zealanders have suffered unnecessarily through the loss of jobs and having to pay higher interest rates, the Green Party said today.Reserve Bank Governor Graeme...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Ports must take responsibility for shameful death toll
    Port companies must step up and take responsibility for a shameful toll of seven deaths and 133 serious accidents in the past three years, Labour MP Iain Lees-Galloway says. The frightening figures – released by the Rail, Maritime and Transport...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Please help me get my Feed the Kids Bill to Select Committee
    Last week I took over the Feed the Kids Bill that Hone Harawira had introduced to Parliament. If passed, my Bill will provide government-funded breakfast and lunch in all decile 1 and 2 schools. Hungry kids can’t learn and are...
    Greens | 29-10
  • TVNZ Outsourcing Pasifika and Maori Programmes
    I’ve always been a big fan of our state broadcaster and I’ve particularly liked their range of current events programmes. But after Friday’s announcement that TVNZ will be sacking up to 40 staff by contracting out the Pacific and Maori...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Labour urges iwi leaders to meet with National
    Labour’s Māori Caucus has called on iwi leaders and national Māori organisations to seek urgent meetings with the National Government to directly express their concerns about employment law changes which will harm Māori workers. In an open letter sent today...
    Labour | 29-10
  • ACC’s reputation needs fix, not glitz
    Restoring public trust and confidence in ACC will take a lot more than a new communications strategy or social media blitz, says Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Under National, ACC has come to be perceived as insensitive, difficult to deal...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Lessons to be learned from police investigation
    The outcome of the so-called Roast Busters case should not put victims off reporting sexual crimes, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “This case has been mishandled from the start. Within days of police initially saying no charges had...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Anti-worker legislation is anti-Pacifica
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, will go down in history as being part of a Government that harmed his own people through anti-worker legislation, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “Pacific people are among...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Five-year tax holiday for overseas tax dodgers
    National has just gifted a five-year tax holiday for foreign companies dodging their tax payments, says Revenue spokesperson David Clark. “Todd McClay has pretended he is doing something about overseas companies dodging their tax duties by joining an international initiative...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Traffic Jam Tax must be given the red light
    Auckland Council’s proposed Traffic Jam Tax could cost some households thousands of dollars a year just to use roads they had already paid for with their taxes and must be rejected, says Labour’s transport and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford....
    Labour | 29-10
  • National has chance to show leadership on limos
    The National Party has the opportunity to show leadership by transitioning our vehicle fleet towards renewable electricity when a new contract to supply Government limousines for VIPs goes to tender next month, the Green Party said today. "This is a...
    Greens | 29-10
  • The Māori Party can’t have it both ways over labour laws
    The Māori Party has to fess up over its voting record on the Employment Relations Amendment Bill, says Labour’s Māori Caucus.  “It’s simply not good enough to oppose the bill at the same time  as they helped speed up its progress through...
    Labour | 29-10
  • Equal pay and the aged care sector
    Today the High Court upheld the historic ruling by the Employment Court that our Equal Pay Act could be used to consider work of equal value cases; the government has been telling the UN and ILO that it could for...
    Greens | 29-10
  • Court case perfect opportunity for Government to improve gender pay gap
    If the Government wants to halt New Zealand’s slump in international rankings on the gender pay gap it should act on the court finding that women deserve equal wages, Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “The World Economic Forum’s...
    Labour | 28-10
  • All Auckland transport options should be considered
    All options for meeting Auckland's transport needs should be considered, including reprioritising the transport budget away from wasteful spending on motorways, the Green Party said today.Auckland mayor Len Brown is today releasing a transport report by the Independent Advisory Board,...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Another report highlights Govt failure on child poverty
    An international report measuring the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) on child poverty rates, showing children in New Zealand have done worse than children in other countries, is further proof the Government needs to urgently take additional steps...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Address and Reply Debate Part 55: Inequality and Disability
    I rise on behalf of the Green Party to talk about inequality and disability.The recent census showed that nearly one in four New Zealanders lives with a disability—up from one in five in the previous census. These figures include some...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Child poverty: No more wake-up calls
    A new report which shows the National Government has made no inroads whatsoever into child poverty should do more than just set alarm bells ringing, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “UNICEF’s  latest Innocenti Report Card highlights the fact...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Eugenie Sage speaks in the 2014 Address in Reply Debate
    I congratulate you, Assistant Speaker Mallard, as Assistant Speaker and look forward to your knowledge, your fairness, and your light touch in being a referee of proceedings in this House. I congratulate also the other Assistant Speaker, Lindsay Tisch; the...
    Greens | 28-10
  • James Shaw’s Maiden Speech
    Tena Koe, Mr Speaker. I would like to take this opportunity to speak a little of the past, the present and the future. The privilege to serve in this Parliament was given to me by all those who gave their...
    Greens | 28-10
  • Govt airs real views on public broadcasting
    An admission by the Government that it is happy to experiment with Pacific and Maori audiences shows just how weak its vision for public broadcasting in New Zealand is, Labour’s Broadcasting spokesperson Kris Faafoi says. “National today admitted it doesn’t...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Does Judith Collins have a get out of jail card?
    Former justice minister Judith Collins appears to have been gifted a get out of jail free card based on the Prime Minister’s answers in Parliament today, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “Judith Collins claimed in an Official Information...
    Labour | 28-10
  • Solid Energy decision delay sensible
    Today’s announcement by the Board of Solid Energy that it will delay making a final decision on re-entering the Pike River mine is a sensible move, Labour’s MP for  West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “It has been clear for some...
    Labour | 28-10
  • New York Green Bank off to a $1B start
    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced late last week the New York Green Bank’s first NZD$1 billion tranche of green energy investments. The projects, which are difficult for the private sector to finance, are now possible by New York Green...
    Greens | 28-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Blockade the Budget
    The ‘Independent’ Police Conduct Authority’s report into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash The report released by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is a whitewash riddled with inaccuracies....
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • When National claim new anti worker laws provide ‘flexibility’ they mea...
    And so it comes to pass. The first law National ram through as part of their victory march are new anti worker laws they pretend will generate ‘flexibility’. The new law denigrate the unions ability to protect workers and provide...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • City Transport: A Taxing Matter
    This week the prospect of paying tolls on Auckland motorways became a hot topic. (See Mathew Dearnaley:Motorway tolling could hit some hard, NZ Herald, 30 Oct 2014.) As we might expect, the kneejerk response has been quite negative. But, as with...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Open Letter to Amy Adams: Please Reopen The Review Into Sexual Violence Cou...
    Ms Amy Adams, Justice and Courts Minister, Right now in this country it seems that although rape is illegal, it is not being prevented by the agents who uphold the law. It almost feels like rape is only illegal on paper,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Things That Make You Go Hmmmmmmm
    Every so often in politics, a public figure comes out with something so absurd and so outlandish … that it really does just make you go “Hmmmmmmmmmm”. We’re accustomed to this from certain quarters – by mid point through the...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Poverty & inequality don’t need protest marches – they need a riot:...
    The global level of inequality continues to skyrocket… Number of billionaires doubled since financial crisis The number of billionaires has doubled since the start of the financial crisis, according to a major new report from anti-poverty campaigners. According to Oxfam,...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • If Key knows who Rawshark is…
    I’m sorry, what? John Key ‘given Rawshark’s name’The Prime Minister believes he knows who hacked Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater’s computer and produced the source material for Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, according to a new edition of a recently published...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Child Poverty stats in NZ
    Child Poverty stats in NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 30-10
  • Crimes Act + Police Investigation = WTF
    Just to frame the farce that is the Roastbuster’s investigation and conclusion – here are the parts of the Crime Act http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1961/0043/latest/whole.html#DLM329057  the Roastbusters are proven to have violated – that the police (and some suspects!) themselves acknowledge occurred: Crimes...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Publishing Journalists’ Home Addresses Is A Tactic Of The Right, Not The ...
    I think I’m starting to get rather annoyed with the conduct of some pro-MANA people over this ongoing Parliamentary Services crew complement issue. Yes, we get that there are legitimate issues to be raised with how some political reporters in...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Aucklanders caught between a tarseal-addicted government and a weak mayor
    Len Brown’s proposal for motorway tolls to reduce congestion and provide funding for better public transport is a weak response to a critical issue. The $12 billion dollar shortfall on transport funding he talks about is mainly for projected new...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • A Very Weird Story: Deconstructing Darren Aronofsky’s Noah.
    NOAH is a curious movie. Conceived as a biblical epic, it’s target audience was originally the millions of Americans who regard the Bible as God’s inerrant word. With the sin-filled works of Hollywood forbidden to these true-believers, Christian movie-makers have developed...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • You Can Get Away With Rape In New Zealand
    Jessie Hume with last years petition against rape     The police have sent a strong message today.  In fact they’ve been sending a strong message for a while; a message that our government supports. “You can literally get away...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Roast Buster case – no charges. In the immortal words of NWA…
    Roast Busters case: No prosecutions Police are to make an announcement this afternoon on Operation Clover, the investigation into the “Roast Busters” allegations. The Herald understands the victim has been told that the alleged offenders will not be prosecuted due...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Key’s flag change distraction to cost $26million!
    No. Way. Bid to change NZ flag to cost millions The cost of holding two referendums and consulting on a change of flag has been estimated to be just under $26 million. Look. We all appreciate that the sleepy hobbits...
    The Daily Blog | 29-10
  • Why NZ Herald’s Labour Party crocodile tears are so audacious
    The front page the NZ Herald would use if they thought they could get away with it No one can take the recent columns by NZ Herald seriously… John Armstrong: Shadow lingers on National John Roughan: Labour’s leadership vote matters...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • The beginning of the end of Cameron Slater?
    Slater postings on man bizarre, court told A businessman has changed his appearance and had to install extra security at his home after Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater posted his business and personal documents online, he says. Mr Slater has...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • We are a milk power republic and Fonterra our unelected senate
    Wow. Just wow… Deputy mayor says he’ll be sacked South Taranaki deputy mayor Alex Ballantyne says he expects to be sacked because he has spoken out about the impact gasses coming from dumped Fonterra dairy products have had on his...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: “…But *actually* this is about ethics in political-game jo...
    Yesterday, a piece of mine on the recent revelations about Hone Harawira employing several gentlemen either accused or convicted of sex offences was published on The Daily Blog. Predictably, given the fierce loyalty which Hone inspires in his party faithful and...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Privilege cheque
    There was no race problem in my childhood. Living in central Wellington I was well-insulated from what was going on not so far away. This was the 60s and 70s, where the teachers enjoyed free love in the staff room...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • A brief word on Key’s claim that it will be raining carnage
    Isis will ‘rain carnage on the world’ – John Key Left unchecked Isis would “rain carnage on the world”, Prime Minister John Key says, but he has yet to make a decision on whether New Zealand troops will join a...
    The Daily Blog | 28-10
  • Meanwhile…
    ...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • How does Andrew Little win Labour Leadership and unify the caucus?
    Audrey Young’s excellent column on how the Caucus vote  is shaping up shows how Andrew Little becomes the next leader of the Labour Party. She identifies the factions as the following… Andrew Little 6: Andrew Little, David Cunliffe, Iain Lees Galloway,...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Joe Trinder – Right of response to Curwen
    You have asked that Hone Harawira deserves to explain what happened, how would he explain when his next door neighbour is an alleged sex offender. What explanation can Hone offer he wasn’t involved, Hone had no idea this offending was...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • MEDIA WATCH: That Hella-Weird Feeling When You Defend Tova O’Brien
    Oh dear. Yesterday morning I blogged that Hone deserved a chance to explain what exactly had happened as applies his office’s Parliamentary Services crew complement – and, importantly, that we deserve to be able to judge him on the strength of...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Canadian Green MP warns against harsh anti-terror measures
    Canada’s Green Party has provided a welcome counterpoint to Prime Minister Harper’s call for tougher anti-terrorism laws in the wake of a soldier outside the Canadian Parliament. On October 22, while she was still locked in her parliamentary office, Green...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • When is an asset sale not an asset sale? When it robs from the poor and ste...
    National have turned state housing on its head. At no time during the 2014 election did the Key Government even hint that they were going to privatise 30% of the Housing NZ stock of state homes. Not once. Key even...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part To...
    . . Continued from: Housing; broken promises, families in cars, and ideological idiocy (Part Rua) . Bill English comes clean on National’s intentions for HNZ privatisation . On 14 October, in a report on The Daily Blog, I wrote, In...
    The Daily Blog | 27-10
  • The Questions Have Been Asked – They Deserve An Answer
    A few days ago, allegations that had been percolating for some time about Hone Harawira employing three either accused or convicted sex offenders on his Parliamentary pay-roll came to light. (one imprisoned before working for MANA; one who found himself convicted and...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • I have seen one future, and it is bleak
    . . Back in  March 2012, I wrote this story regarding a march to support striking workers at Ports of Auckland. It appears there was some prescience about some of my observations at the time… . | | 18 March...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • US air strike war Key wants us in has killed a civilian a day so far
      The US air strike war that John Key wants us to join has killed a civilian a day so far. From the Washington Post... The United States launched its first airstrikes on militants in Syria on Sept. 23, and has continued...
    The Daily Blog | 26-10
  • The instant Jihad syndrome
    My favourite new term is ‘self-radicalised’ – it suggests the reasons for terrorism are totally divorced from the actions of the West. This need to suddenly ramp up terror laws because of lone wolf, self-radicalised Jihadists seems convenient and counter-productive....
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • We have nothing to fear from Ebola but fear itself
    I suspect most Americans perceive Ebola like this   I can’t work out if the fear being spread within the media about Ebola is deliberate or just ignorance. Yes Ebola is a terrible plague that kills a large percentage of...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Anjum Rahman – “Meritocracy? I wish.”
    I’d like to start by linking to a post I had published at another site in support of Nanaia Mahuta for the Labour Party leadership election.  She has a reasonable chance, given that she already has the endorsement of Te...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Chocolate milk shortage and creepy Santa? Let’s talk about real news
    Child poverty is still a scarily serious problem in this country and house prices are soaring through the roof to the point where it is simply impossible for the average New Zealander to buy a home. There is also little...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • It’s time to celebrate Kiwi schools and teachers
    Some would have you believe that New Zealand’s schools are in a state of collapse, that your children are not being educated well and that things are going to hell in a hand basket.  That there is no innovation, no...
    The Daily Blog | 25-10
  • Ideological Blitzkrieg – Privatization of state housing, more charter sch...
    Pundits in pundit land will tell you that this Government is boring, that Key is the great pragmatist and that it is his ability to create elegant solutions that keeps him the firm favourite in many Kiwi eyes. This ability...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • Hegemony rules but resistance is fertile
    The Prime Minister is a puppet. Not just our current Prime Minister, but given the forces of multinational globalisation, the role of any head of state, is less as independent actor, and more as a puppet of international trends and...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • An open Letter to Sir Bob Jones: demanding a ‘liveable wage’ is not “...
    How out of touch with reality is Sir Bob Jones? You know, that white dude who invested in privatised SOEs after the selling off of our assets in the eighties and made a ludicrous and disgusting amount of money and is...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • My insecurity about the Security Council
    As I write this (on 24 October) it is international UN Day. Of course, you all knew that already, right? Well, the day celebrates the entry into force of the UN Charter in 1945. With the ratification of this founding...
    The Daily Blog | 24-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Catherine Delahunty – Back in That House
    Parliament opened this week and I still find it a very odd place. Most of the people are reasonably courteous and friendly, but the rituals are archaic and the rules around issues like the swearing in oath are oppressive and...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Marae Investigates No More
    TVNZ yesterday announced the closure of their Māori and Pacific programmes department. That means they’ve chosen to stop making Fresh, Tagata Pasifika, Waka Huia and Marae Investigates to let independent producers get their hands on these lucrative contracts. This is...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • BLOGWATCH: An Un-Civil War in Labour, eh?
    Earlier today, my attention was directed to an entry that’s just recently appeared on the Slightly Left of Centre blog. It purports to contain the ‘inside word’ from a highly placed NZF source – which is funny, because I’m pretty sure...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Santanomics 101
    Santanomics could mean a number of things. It could be the study and practice of giving. Or it could mean the study and practice of rampant end-of-year commercialism. However, for me today it is the economics of erectingAuckland’s giant Santa...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • SkyCity boss misleads public over workers lost shifts
    SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison has defended the employment practices at his company in an “Opinion” piece entitled “Human Capital key to corporate success” in the NZ Herald on Thursday. A number of his claims are misleading, contain only partial truths...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • Review: Perfect Place
    I went to a Perfect Place on Tuesday night, and what a delight it was. The marshmallows sweetly (and forcefully) handed out pre-show, set the tone for the next hour. Walking up the stairs at The Basement was a complete...
    The Daily Blog | 23-10
  • 5AA Australia – NZ on UN Security Council + Dirty Politics Lingers On
    5AA Australia: Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey deliver their weekly bulletin Across The Ditch. General round up of over night talkback issues: Thongs, Jandals and flip-flops… ISSUE 1: New Zealand has been successful in its campaign to become a non...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • When I mean me, I mean my office & when I call whaleoil I mean not as m...
    This. Is. Ludicrous. Green Party co-leader Russel Norman put the first of what are likely to be many questions about Mr Key’s relationship with Slater, asking him how many times he had phoned or texted the blogger since 2008. “None...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • A brief word on describing the Government as ‘boring and bland’
    The narrative being sown is that this Government will be a boring and bland third term. Boring and bland. Since the election, Key has announced he is privatising 30% of state houses without reinvesting any of that money back into housing society’s most...
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • Roast Busters: Turn Indignation into Action
    People raged about the Roast Buster case. The indignation was justified – it was horrible. “Where were their parents!?” Fair question. I am sure the Roast Busters’ parents and the victims’ parents all wish they had been more proactive in...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Stats NZ only have themselves to blame for postponement
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says Statistics NZ only have themselves to blame for the indefinite postponement of the release of the Food Price Index: November 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • NZ Diversity Survey – benchmarking workplace diversity
    AUT University’s New Zealand Work Research Institute (NZWRI) has released a report on diversity in New Zealand workplaces....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Māori Language (Te Reo Māori) Bill
    Tutehounuku Korako, Chair of the Māori Affairs Committee, is inviting further public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 5 December 2014....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • ERA amendments a mixed bag
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act has the potential to put vulnerable workers in a more precarious position, says Equal Opportunities Commissioner, Dr Jackie Blue. However, the commissioner says the right for all to request flexible work hours is...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Sensible Sentencing calls for appeal of judicial activivism
    The Sensible Sentencing Trust is appalled that Justice Jill Mallon has today refused to apply the Life without Parole (LWOP) provisions of the Three Strikes law as enacted by Parliament....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Global Rally against ISIS – for Kobanê – for Humanity, Nov 1
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan as part of the “GLOBAL RALLY AGAINST ISIS – FOR KOBANÊ – FOR HUMANITY” on 1 November 2014, 2pm....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Does ‘No-Surprises’ Also Apply To TVNZ News?
    When you stand back and look at NZ media outlets, most of them have at least one or two people who attempt to hold the government to account: John Campbell on TV3, Guyon Espiner and others at Radio NZ, David...
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Safer roads are better for everyone
    Recent pedestrian versus vehicle incidents highlight the real issues being addressed by delegates as the 2Walk and Cycle conference concludes....
    Scoop politics | 31-10
  • Law change creates more flexible labour market
    The Employment Relations Amendment Act, passed yesterday, will bring new flexibility to the labour market and will reduce the ability of unions to organise and to recruit....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Bumper ANZ profits mean no excuse for insecure hours
    A big rise in profits at New Zealand's largest bank needs to be reflected in a better pay offer and more security around hours of work, the bank workers’ union said today....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Count down to lowered alcohol limit
    With just a month to go until a new lower alcohol limit for adult drivers comes into effect, Police and road safety agencies are reminding drivers of the impending change....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • WorkSafe Supports Forestry Review Findings
    WorkSafe NZ says the Independent Forestry Safety Review has clearly identified the problems facing an industry in which ten workers were killed last year. “The Review’s analysis matches our own view and leaves no doubt about the need for comprehensive,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU welcomes forestry review recommendations
    The CTU is welcoming the today's release of the independent forestry safety review panel findings. "These recommendations must be implemented to ensure that everything possible is done to make forestry safer." CTU President, Helen Kelly said....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Activists will confront animal abusers
    Today animal rights activists will confront a group of wealth advisers who want to build the biggest egg factory-farm in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Turia: Women’s Refuge Conference 2014
    This is a milestone moment in my life. This will be my last official address as Co-leader of the Maori Party. On Saturday night at our Hui-a-Tau, I will be standing down from that role and enabling a new co-leader,...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rodeo Code of Welfare ‘Sick Joke’
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE says the revised Code of Welfare for Rodeos just released is nothing but a sick joke. “Rodeo animals are goaded, tormented and forced to endure needless suffering and gross mistreatment, all for the sake of so-called...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Conservative Party applauds binding referenda on flag
    The Conservative Party are congratulating the Government on the decision to hold two binding referendums to decide the fate of New Zealand’s flag – and believes it will pave the way for binding referenda to form part of New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Walk the Talk – Opposing violence against women
    Soroptimist International of Auckland have organised a walk on 22 November from Silo Park at the Wynyard Quarter through the Viaduct and back to Silo Park, to show their opposition to violence against women. This event hopes to raise awareness...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Recommendations on the Design of Pecuniary Penalties
    The Law Commission has reviewed the use of pecuniary penalties as a regulatory tool. Pecuniary penalties are financial penalties that policymakers are increasingly opting to use in place of criminal sanctions in order to punish and deter misconduct in...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Every worker will be affected by employment law changes
    Every worker will feel the effects of the government’s new employment laws and should join a union if they want to maintain and increase their wages and conditions, says New Zealand’s largest private sector union, the EPMU....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Shameful attack on all workers
    The Government has passed the Employment Relations Amendment Act slashing the rights of all Kiwi workers. “These changes are shameful. New Zealand now has some of the worst employment protections in the OECD. It is embarrassing that a country which...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Unnecessary law changes more to do with ideology
    The government’s employment law changes are simply ideological and are at odds with its approach in the related areas of health and safety and immigration law, FIRST Union said tonight....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CTU Runanga calls on iwi leaders
    Maori workers are calling on iwi leaders to speak out against the employment law changes expected to go through today. “Iwi leaders have previously spoken out when workers in Aotearoa have been under attack, we believe they should do so...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Educating children not the best solution to alcohol harm
    Alcohol Healthwatch says we need to look beyond educating children and young people to address deeply embedded attitudes and behaviours concerning alcohol....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • New code of welfare for rodeos released
    New standards to strengthen the animal welfare requirements for rodeos have been issued today by the Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • IPCA report riddle with inaccuracies, say students
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority into the policing of student protests in 2012 is riddled with inaccuracies, say students who laid the original complaint with the IPCA....
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • CT v The Queen – indecency convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Rameka v The Queen – murder convictions quashed
    This summary is provided to assist in the understanding of the Court’s judgment. It does not comprise part of the reasons for that judgment. The full judgment with reasons is the only authoritative document. The full text of the judgment...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Auckland Council Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald article that some Auckland households will face a rates rise of up to 9.6 per cent next year, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “Len Brown’s pledge to cap rates rises at 2.5 per...
    Scoop politics | 30-10
  • Stats NZ staff escalate action with ‘no more meetings’ rule
    Statistics NZ staff have voted to escalate their ongoing industrial action in an effort to get Stats NZ back to the bargaining table with a reasonable offer. The staff, who are members of the Public Service Association (PSA), have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Rape Crisis calls for changes to criminal justice system
    Wellington Rape Crisis has added its voice to the public outcry following the announcement that there will be no charges in the teen rape gang case. Butterworth says the decision not to lay charges will not have been a surprise...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Police action justified in Blockade the Budget demonstration
    Police actions in dealing with a demonstration in Central Auckland known as Blockade the Budget on 1 June 2012 were justified and appropriate, an Independent Police Conduct Authority report released today found....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • NZDF Joins with Australia to Commemorate WWI Centenary
    A contingent of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel will join their Australian counterparts at Australia’s first major commemoration of the First World War centenary in Albany, Western Australia this weekend....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Reserve Bank should reduce interest rate
    “The Reserve Bank should be reducing its policy interest rate, the OCR”, says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg in response to the Bank’s announcement today that it is not increasing it....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • 2015 Stout Fellow will write about Māori & Criminal Justice
    Kim Workman, founder and advocate for the Robson Hanan Trust, which administers the Rethinking Crime and Punishment and Justspeak initiatives, has been awarded the 2015 John David Stout Fellowship at Victoria University....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • What John Key thought about ‘dirty politics’
    On September 20, John Key swept to victory to become one of New Zealand’s most successful and popular Prime Ministers. Rocked by scandal, the 2014 election campaign was one of the most brutal – and riveting – in recent history....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Trade Deal Threatens Farmers and Food Businesses
    The secret Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations are a direct threat to food businesses and farmers, and a moratorium on the release of GE crops must be enshrined in law before the TPP is signed....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • CTU announces election of new Secretary
    The contested election for the position of CTU Secretary has been won by Sam Huggard. Sam officially takes office on Monday 1 December 2014. Sam has worked in the union movement and brings a wealth of experience and a commitment...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kim Workman awarded 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship
    The Victoria University of Wellington 2015 J.D. Stout Fellowship, funded by the Stout Trust, has been awarded to justice reform advocate Kim Workman. Mr Workman (Ngati Kahungungu ki Wairarapa, Rangitaane) is well known for his work on criminal justice,...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • TPPA causing concern
    Concern over the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations is being expressed in two public meetings over the next week; one at a presentation on 5th November by former councillor Robin Gwynn to the Napier City Council, the...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Kiwis rally to demand justice for ‘Roast Buster’ survivors
    Over 1,500 kiwis have rallied to demand justice after the announcement of the NZ Police decision not to lay charges in the ‘Roast Busters’ saga....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • New employment law will hurt the most vulnerable NZers
    The Public Service Association (PSA) says changes to the Employment Relations Act, expected to be passed in Parliament tonight, will hurt vulnerable workers and their families more than anyone....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Consultation to close on proposed place names
    The New Zealand Geographic Board (NZGB) Ngā Pou Taunaha o Aotearoa today advised that only one month remains before public consultation closes for 18 name proposals for geographic features and places around Te Ika ā Māui (the North Island)....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Operation Clover – Statement from Police Commissioner
    I have taken a close interest in this investigation and I am confident police have conducted a thorough and professional enquiry in what has been a challenging and complex case. The Operation Clover team has ensured that victims have been...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Better policy would have protected children from recession
    Child Poverty Action Group says an international report released by UNICEF today shows good policy can protect and improve child well-being, even during a recession....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Outcome of Operation Clover investigation
    Police have completed a multi-agency investigation, Operation Clover, into the activities of a group calling themselves “The Roast Busters”. The 12 month enquiry focused on incidents involving allegations of sexual offending against a number of girls...
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • False birth registration brings home detention
    A Whangarei woman who attempted to register the birth of a fictitious child to claim a sole parent benefit was sentenced to six months home detention in the Whangarei District Court today....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Family of Robert Ellis demand a proper investigation
    The family of a New Zealander killed in Indonesia are growing increasingly concerned at the lack of information they’ve received, and the handling of the investigation into his murder....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
  • Minister of Health must account for aged care workers’ pay
    The New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) congratulates rest-home worker Kristine Bartlett on her landmark claim for equal pay from her employer and successfully pursuing this to the Court of Appeal....
    Scoop politics | 29-10
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