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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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    Greenpeace NZ blog | 23-10
  • Can new roads pay for themselves?
    It’s common to hear people say that because roads are paid for by their users (fn 1), we should build more roads. After all, the new roads will fund themselves! At first glance, this seems convincing. But a closer look...
    Transport Blog | 23-10
  • As a nation drowned in the PM’s lies, sons & daughters were sent to d...
      As a nation drowned in the PM’s lies Sons & daughters were sent to die Meanwhile at home democracy cried But his government crowed Everything’s fine.   Other peoples’ children signed up for his war While at home in comfort...
    Politically Corrected | 23-10
  • Why I am on the left
    (For our opening week, we asked all our contributors to think about why they’re On The Left, and what the next three years holds for the left, the government, and New Zealand.) Post by Jem I am left first and...
    On the Left | 23-10
  • Minister to attend TPP Ministers’ Meeting
    Press Release – New Zealand Government Trade Minister Tim Groser will depart today for Sydney to join Ministers from countries participating in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) for the next round of negotiations.Hon Tim Groser Minister of Trade 24 October 2014...
    Its our future | 23-10
  • On The Nation this weekend
    Press Release – The Nation This weekend on The Nation with dairy prices falling, China growing its agriculture sector, and the environmental costs piling up, we ask the Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings if New Zealand is too dependent on...
    Its our future | 23-10
  • Agri-Food Producers Call for Strong Outcomes through the TPP
    Press Release – Federated Farmers International Agricultural and Agri-Food Producers Call for Strong Outcomes through the TPP At the round of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations taking place this week in Australia, agri-food producer and processor groups from Canada, Australia …International...
    Its our future | 23-10
  • Grant Robertson is not as much like Joseph Stalin as some would have you th...
    It’s not often you see a New Zealand political figure compared favourably to Stalin, but this is what Chris Trotter has done to that decidedly non-genocidal non-lunatic Grant Robertson.  ...
    Pundit | 23-10
  • Food, Fossil Fuels and Filthy Finance
    It is depressingly apparent that powerful forces in the global economy are set to carry on with the exploration for and use of fossil fuels ass a primary source of energy for decades to come. Oxfam has produced a report...
    Hot Topic | 23-10
  • How low can you go? Mining the depths
    Today I made my oral submission to the Environmental Protection Authority on Chatham Rock Phosphate’s application to mine phosphate from the seabed approximately halfway between the mainland and the Chatham Island. In a nutshell this application is for the deepest...
    frogblog | 23-10
  • Surrounded sex offender still won’t come down from roof
    While they would still appreciate him coming down, police say they’re confident the man has “nowhere to hide.” After an agonising 54-year wait, it is beginning to appear as though a notorious sex offender dressed as Santa may not, in...
    The Civilian | 23-10
  • Stuart’s 100 #46 On the Way or Already There?
    46: On the Way or Already There? What if we dropped the pseudo-word “roading” from Auckland’s vernacular? Roads are on the way somewhere; streets are already somewhere. This simple difference in understanding and perspective between movement and place often results...
    Transport Blog | 23-10
  • Fed Farmers defend GE Agriculture
    Federated Farmers, which represents a minority of farmers, appears to be captured by a pro-GE clique hell bent on increasing unsustainable technologies for the benefit of the herbicide and patent controlling seed companies. That there are better more sustainable farming...
    frogblog | 23-10
  • More police misconduct
    Another day, another IPCA report - this one into a police officer who unjustifiably set a police dog to savage a surrendering suspect:A police dog was set on a man who had his hands in the air in what is...
    No Right Turn | 23-10
  • Media Link: The revolution will not be televised.
    I had the opportunity to do a long interview with Olivier Jutel, host of the Dunedin Radio One show “The revolution will not be televised.” It is a rare occasion when one gets to converse at length about a variety...
    Kiwipolitico | 23-10
  • Key spoke to Cameron Slater ‘not as Prime Minister’, but as a sponge
    Cameron Slater (left), and John Key (right), presumably in his capacity as a kitchen sponge. Facing fresh criticism about the details of his relationship with Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Prime Minister John Key today claimed that, on the occasions...
    The Civilian | 23-10
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Musa Kart is a Turkish cartoonist. In February he published a cartoon criticising Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's cover-up of a corruption probe. Now, he's being prosecuted for it:Turkish prosecutors have filed an indictment against a famous cartoonist working for...
    No Right Turn | 23-10
  • Workers’ rights under attack
    Now that 51st Parliament has been officially opened and sworn in, the government’s first order of business is to ram through an amendment to the Employment Relations Act. These legislative changes represent a massive assault on the rights of everyday...
    On the Left | 23-10
  • Assaulted for protecting olive trees
    Villagers and activists were assaulted, handcuffed and hospitalized today while protecting olive trees at the site of a proposed coal plant in Turkey.The Kolin Group wants the olive trees cut down to make way for a new coal power plant....
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 23-10
  • Shell Oil Cowboys Caught Drilling Illegally in New Zealand
    “There be trouble in town sheriff, some cowboys is coming into town”. It could be a line from a grainy old western from our childhood (well, mine anyway) when the good, clean living people of a well to do town...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 23-10
  • Freedom of information: How it works in Norway
    While we're all wailing and gnashing our teeth about the corruption of our Official Information Act, the Open Government Partnership has a great piece on how Norway does it better. Key to their approach is proactive publication of the metadata...
    No Right Turn | 22-10
  • Low inflation – time for meaningful wage increases
    With inflation low, now is a good time for workers to negotiate for pay increases that outstrip price rises and deliver real increases in wages and salaries. “For too many people, real pay increases have been missing for several years...
    CTU | 22-10
  • There appears to be an off button
    John Key’s ability to turn his Prime Ministership on or off as he pleases raises a number of troubling issues for the general public....
    Imperator Fish | 22-10
  • The 500 hats of Bartholomew Cubbins – the John Key edition
    It’s standard practice for Ministers and Prime Ministers to wear different “hats” in the course of their work. Work done as a Minister can obviously be separate and distinct from an MP’s ordinary functions on behalf of the constituents in their electorates....
    Occasionally erudite | 22-10
  • The many hats of John Key
    ...
    On the Left | 22-10
  • Want lower rates? Cut back on urban sprawl
    Suburban sprawl is a radical, government-led re-engineering of society, one that artificially inverted millennia of accumulated wisdom and practice in building human habitats. Charles Marohn In the recent article The Conservative Case Against the Suburbs Charles Marohn (@StrongTowns) takes on the awkward relationship...
    Transport Blog | 22-10
  • Ebola Fear outstrips risk
    It's not just that Ebola sounds like a modern day black plague and probably originated from blood sucking bats living in dark caves - reason enough for people here in the United States to react like there's a Zombie-Vampire apocalypse...
    Pundit | 22-10
  • National lets Shell drill illegally
    Back in 2012, National passed the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Effects) Act. At the time, they made a lot of noise about how this was the first legislation to properly protect the EEZ, and that it would...
    No Right Turn | 22-10
  • The crime is not being rich, the crime is we don’t tax all the income tha...
    In our last blog we looked at whether the claims of ‘rock star’ economist Thomas Piketty held any water or not. Short answer is that some did, some didn’t. In this blog we turn to what we should do about...
    Gareth’s World | 22-10
  • National’s failed commodities export strategy exposed
    National's strategy to rely on commodities such as milk powder and logs has been exposed in the September trade figures released today, the Green Party said."National's strategy to hang all economic hope on exporting ever-increasing volumes of milk powder and...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Caution needed on calls to arm police
    There is no justification for routinely arming our police and doing so would change forever the way officers interact with their communities, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “As one of the few organisations distinguished by its unarmed status,...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Govt strains to get tea break law through
    The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.“National desperately...
    Labour | 23-10
  • How low can you go? Mining the depths
    The company says there will be economic benefits, which the EEZ Act says the EPA must consider, but even these benefits are in doubt. The royalties while not set will be tiny, the profits will flow offshore, and whatever phosphate...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Fed Farmers defend GE Agriculture
    Federated Farmers, which represents a minority of farmers, appears to be captured by a pro-GE clique hell bent on increasing unsustainable technologies for the benefit of the herbicide and patent controlling seed companies. That there are better more sustainable farming...
    Greens | 23-10
  • Government loses the affordable housing race
    Nick Smith is dreaming if he thinks he can deliver affordable housing to Cantabrians on his current figures, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “The Minister’s announcement that the Government will build 237 new homes, most of which will...
    Labour | 23-10
  • Labour’s thoughts with Canadians
    Labour has offered its sympathies to the family and friends of the Canadian soldier who died in what appears to be a premeditated and unprovoked attack while standing at guard at the Ottawa National War Memorial. “Our thoughts are also...
    Labour | 23-10
  • What next for TVNZ? Outsourcing the news?
    Television New Zealand’s decision to outsource Māori and Pacific programming is a real blow to the notion that our state broadcaster is a public broadcaster, says Labour. “CEO Kevin Kenrick has said today that TVNZ has ‘a very long and...
    Labour | 22-10
  • Green Party expresses sympathy for Canadian shooting victims
    The Green Party expressed its solidarity with Canadians and the Canadian Parliament today, offering its sympathy for family and friends of the soldier killed in the attack. "Our thoughts are with all those caught up in the shooting in Canada...
    Greens | 22-10
  • Prime Minister must honour his promise
    It’s time for John Key to honour his promise to the Pike River families, says Labour MP Damien O’Connor.  “International mine experts have confirmed the view of WorkSafe New Zealand and many miners on the West Coast that it is...
    Labour | 22-10
  • Kevin Hague questions the Minister of Health about Katherine Rich’s c...
    KEVIN HAGUE to the Minister of Health : Is he satisfied that there is no conflict of interest in the head of the Food and Grocery Council, Katherine Rich, being a board member of the Health Promotion Agency; if so,...
    Greens | 22-10
  • Kennedy Graham to the Prime Minister on the Deployment of New Zealand Speci...
    Dr KENNEDY GRAHAM to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by his statement that the risks to New Zealand from any commitment of military assistance to counter Islamic State militants in Iraq would be "no greater than I think the...
    Greens | 22-10
  • EPA finds Shell Oil illegally drilled two wells
    The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has concluded that Shell Todd Oil Services (STOS) broke the law by drilling two wells without a marine consent off the coast of Taranaki, the Green Party said today. The EPA conducted an inspection of...
    Greens | 22-10
  • Soaring rail use in Auckland shows need for rail link now
    News that Aucklanders overtook Wellingtonians as the biggest train users is further evidence the Government needs to start work on the Auckland City Rail Link now, the Green Party said today.Auckland Transport said today that in the year to September,...
    Greens | 22-10
  • Tea breaks gone by lunch time
    Labour is calling for an eleventh hour reprieve to employment law changes which could see thousands of Kiwi workers not covered by collective agreements lose their smoko breaks, its spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.“How cynical that on the...
    Labour | 21-10
  • Metiria Turei to lead fight on feeding hungry children
    Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira.Mrs Turei, who leads the Green Party's work on child poverty, will pick up Mr...
    Greens | 21-10
  • Otago dairy farms fail basics
    I’m really privileged to take on the responsibility of the water portfolio. Eugenie Sage has done excellent work in this area in the last term of parliament and provided a great platform for further work. Last Parliament my bill to...
    Greens | 21-10
  • A mighty totara has fallen across the Tasman
    The New Zealand Labour Party expresses deep sadness at the death of former Australian prime minister Gough Whitlam, aged 98. “Today a great totara has fallen across the Tasman,” Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says....
    Labour | 21-10
  • Note to National: Must deliver on child poverty
    John Key and his Government will be held to its promise to make child poverty a priority, Labour’s Acting Deputy Leader Annette King says. “In its priority-setting speech today the Government stated child poverty would be a major focus for...
    Labour | 21-10
  • New Analysis show Government cut tertiary education funding
    New analysis done by the Green Party today shows the Government has made cuts to funding of tertiary education since 2008.Figures compiled by the Parliamentary Library show that between 2009 and 2015 Government funding to Tertiary Institutions dropped by 4...
    Greens | 21-10
  • Students doing it tough as fees rise again
    The Government is making it increasingly difficult for Kiwis to gain tertiary education as fees continue to rise and access to student support becomes even more restricted, Labour’s Tertiary Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Steven Joyce is shutting a generation...
    Labour | 20-10
  • Key misled New Zealand on Iraq deployment
      John Key was misleading New Zealanders prior to the election when he ruled out New Zealand special forces being deployed to Iraq, says Labour Defence Spokesperson Phil Goff.  “Post-election he has cynically disregarded that by saying that deployment of...
    Labour | 20-10
  • Swearing about swearing the oath
    Yesterday, I was swearing. Swearing the Parliamentary oath, that is. But, under my breath, I was also quietly swearing about the archaic, colonial form of that oath and its inappropriateness for today’s Aotearoa New Zealand. To be permitted to speak...
    Greens | 20-10
  • Kevin Hague speaks in the 2014 Address and Reply debate
    Thank you very much, Mr Deputy Speaker, and, like others, can I begin my contribution by congratulating you and the others in the Speaker's team: the Rt Hon David Carter, Lindsay Tisch, and the Hon Trevor Mallard. I also want...
    Greens | 20-10
  • Damning report on Ruataniwha dam numbers
    When I presented my submission to the Board of Inquiry on the Tukituki Catchment Proposal I compared the proposed 83 metre high Ruataniwha dam with the Clyde Dam and noted the risk of cost blowouts in the construction process.  The...
    Greens | 20-10
  • Church congratulated on child poverty stand
    The efforts by the bishops of the Anglican Church to ensure that the issue of child poverty is not forgotten is a call to all New Zealanders to take action, says Labour’s Interfaith-Dialogue Spokesperson, Su’a William Sio.   “I think...
    Labour | 19-10
  • Labour names Review Team
    Labour’s New Zealand Council has appointed Bryan Gould as Convenor of its post-General Election Review.  He will be joined on the Review Team by Hon Margaret Wilson, Stacey Morrison and Brian Corban (see further biographical details here). The Review Team...
    Labour | 19-10
  • Labour backs urban development plans
    Auckland Council’s plan to set up an urban development agency is to be applauded and central government should get behind it to make it a success, Labour’s Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Auckland Council CEO Stephen Town has indicated plans...
    Labour | 18-10
  • New Zealand can be rightly proud of seat on Security Council
    Gaining a seat on the United Nation’s Security Council shows the sort of standing that New Zealand has in the world and the quality of the long campaign that we ran over nearly a decade, says Foreign Affairs spokesperson David...
    Labour | 16-10
  • NZ has opportunity on UN Security Council
    New Zealand has an opportunity to make a major contribution to the strengthening of international law and institutional capacity through its upcoming two-year tenure on the United Nations Security Council, Green Party spokesperson on global affairs, Dr Kennedy Graham said...
    Greens | 16-10
  • MPI still dragging the chain over causes of food bug
    The Ministry of Primary Industries’ release of Environmental Science and Research’s initial reports regarding the sources of a nasty stomach bug will be little comfort to the 127 people affected by it, Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “This...
    Labour | 16-10
  • Treasury officials should try working without food
    The Green Party is challenging Treasury officials to work for a week without eating properly, in light of their advice to Government that a food in schools programme is not needed."Treasury's advice was that providing food for children in schools...
    Greens | 15-10
  • Councils need to better protect our drinking water
    Environment Canterbury (ECan) is proposing several variations to its regional land and water plan that will allow for increased nutrient and other pollution from irrigation and intensive agriculture on the Canterbury Plains. Commissioners are hearing submissions on Variation 1 to...
    Greens | 15-10
  • National needs to commit to making NZ workers safe
    The National Government must do more to help make New Zealand workplaces a safer place to work in, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.Data released by Statistics New Zealand today showed that workers in the fishing and...
    Greens | 15-10
  • Key commits to deployment before consultation or analysis
    John Key’s offer to consult Opposition parties on whether to deploy New Zealand forces against ISIS looks increasingly like a PR exercise only, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson, Phil Goff. “The presence of New Zealand’s Chief of Defence Force at a...
    Labour | 15-10
  • National must end ideological opposition to raising income
    If John Key is serious about tackling child poverty he must approach it with an open mind, and overcome his ideological block to raising incomes as a solution, the Green Party said today.Papers released to Radio New Zealand today show...
    Greens | 14-10
  • Pentagon links climate change and terrorism
    Yesterday the Pentagon launched a plan to deal with a threat that “poses immediate risks to national security”; one that “will affect the Department of Defense’s ability to defend the nation”. It wasn’t referring to Ebola or ISIS. It was...
    Greens | 14-10
  • Four Nominees for Labour’s Leadership
    As at 5pm today four valid nominations had been received for the position of Labour Leader, as follows: Andrew Little(nominated by Poto Williams and Iain Lees-Galloway) Nanaia Mahuta(nominated by Louisa Wall and Su’a William Sio) David Parker(nominated by Damien O’Connor...
    Labour | 14-10
  • Green Party calls for consultation over terrorism law changes
    The Green Party has today written to the Prime Minister asking him to engage in wider consultation prior to changing any laws as a result of the recently announced terrorism law reviews, said the Green Party today. In a letter...
    Greens | 14-10
  • MPI must name product and supermarket chain
    The Ministry of Primary Industries must name the product responsible for severe gastroenteritis affecting people around the country, and the supermarket chain distributing it, Labour’s Food Safety spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The Ministry seems to be more concerned about protecting...
    Labour | 13-10
  • John Key dishonest about reasons for wanting to change terrorism law
    John Key is misleading the public to push through terrorism law changes under urgency, the Green Party said today. On Sunday, John Key stated that it is not illegal for someone to fight overseas for a terrorist group, such as...
    Greens | 12-10
  • Law changes shaping up to be worse than first thought
    The Prime Minister needs to be up front about exactly what changes he is planning to make to the Employment Relations  Amendment Bill, Labour's spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says.Interviewed on Q&A yesterday John Key said he did not...
    Labour | 12-10
  • Rapists, not Tinder, the threat to women
    Blame for rape and sexual assault should only ever be laid at the door of the perpetrator, not dating services or the actions of women themselves, Labour’s Associate Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis says. “Tinder is not the problem and women...
    Labour | 09-10
  • Safer Journeys For People Who Cycle
    You have a rare opportunity to tell the people who are making the decisions on cycling how to make it better. The Cycling Safety Panel is seeking feedback on their draft recommendations for improving the safety of cycling in New...
    Greens | 08-10
  • Subsidising more pollution will undermine water clean-up plan at Te Waihora...
    In 2010, NIWA found Canterbury’s Te Waihora/Lake Ellesmere had the worst nutrient status of 140 lakes around New Zealand that it measured. In 2011, the National Government committed to spending $15 million across the country through the Fresh Start for...
    Greens | 08-10
  • Adding value not herbicides
    The HT swedes, and other brassicas, might seem like a good idea to farmers struggling against weeds but like the GE road, is this the path we want our agriculture to be treading? The Federated Farmers President, Dr William Rolleston...
    Greens | 07-10
  • ‘Blame the Planner’ bizarre approach to child poverty
    The National Government is stooping to a bizarre new low in blaming "planning processes" for poverty and inequality, after spending six years doing nothing about either the housing market or child poverty, the Green Party said today. Finance Minister Bill...
    Greens | 07-10
  • Media Advisory
    MANA Leader, Hone Harawira will not be available to speak with media today regarding his release “Recount Just One Step To restoring Credibility”. He is however available for media comment tomorrow, Tuesday the 8th of October, all media arrangements are...
    Mana | 07-10
  • RECOUNT JUST ONE STEP TO RESTORING CREDIBILITY
    “I have applied for a judicial recount of the votes in the Tai Tokerau election because it is one step in trying to restore credibility to the electoral process in the north, and, I suspect, in all other Maori electorates...
    Mana | 07-10
  • MANA SEEKS TAI TOKERAU RECOUNT
    The MANA Movement is supporting Leader Hone Harawira’s application for a judicial re-count in the Te Tai Tokerau electorate for the 2014 general election. President Lisa McNab says there are a number of serious issues of concern regarding the ability...
    Mana | 07-10
  • 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
  • More Latté Than Lager: Reflections on Grant Robertson’s Campaign Launch.
    BIKERS? SERIOUSLY! Had Grant Robertson’s campaign launch been organised by Phil Goff? Was this a pitch for the votes of what few Waitakere Men remain in the Labour Party? Was I even at the right place? Well, yes, I was....
    The Daily Blog | 22-10
  • About Curwen Ares Rolinson
    Curwen Ares Rolinson – Curwen Ares Rolinson is a firebrand young nationalist presently engaged in acts of political resistance deep behind enemy lines amidst the leafy boughs of Epsom. He is affiliated with the New Zealand First Party; although his...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kelly Ellis
    Kelly Ellis.Kelly Ellis – As a child, Kelly Ellis didn’t so much fall into the cracks, but willfully wriggled her way into them. Ejected from Onslow College – a big job in the 70s – Kelly worked in car factories,...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • About Kate Davis
    Kate Davis.Kate Davis – Having completed her BA in English and Politics, Kate is now starting her MA. Kate works as a volunteer advocate at Auckland Action Against Poverty and previously worked for the New Zealand Prostitutes Collective. Kate writes...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Parker does a Shearer – oh for a Labour Leader who can challenge msm fals...
    Sigh. It seems David Parker has done a Shearer… Like a cult and too red – Parker on LabourLabour leadership contender David Parker says Labour borders on feeling like “a cult” and must look at its branding – including its...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • A brief word on the hundreds of millions NZ is spending on the secret intel...
    The enormity of the mass surveillance state NZ Government’s have built carries a huge price tag… Kiwis pay $103m ‘membership fee’ for spyingThe $103 million taxpayer funding of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies is effectively a membership fee for joining the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Where. Is. Jason. Ede?
    Where. Is. Jason. Ede?...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Labour’s Din of Inequity
    Watching Labour’s leadership candidates on Q+A on Sunday, I noticed the ongoing use of terms like “opportunity” and “aspiration”, and “party of the workers”. What do these mean? We glean much from Labour, and from the media about Labour, but not...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • “Blue-Greenwash” fails the test when it comes to endangered dolphins
    National’s pre-election promises saw some wins for the environment – perhaps as the party sought to appease its “Blue-Green” voters and broaden its popular appeal. Some of the ecological gains were a long time in the making, overdue even– such...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • Reasons not to be cheerful, Part #272b
    Why don’t you get back into bed? The next few years — the rest of this century — are not going to be pretty. There is an obvious disconnect between any remaining political ambition to fix climate change and the...
    The Daily Blog | 21-10
  • OIA protocols and official advice ignored to hide Child Poverty
    It might not seem so now, but child poverty was a major election issue. What a pity we did not have the full debate. In that debate it would have been very helpful to have seen the Ministry of Social...
    The Daily Blog | 20-10
  • Previewing the 4 candidates for Leader of the Labour Party
    The extraordinary outbursts by Shearer last week highlights just how toxic that Caucus is. Shearer was on every major media platform as the ABC attack dog tearing into Cunliffe in the hope of diminishing Cunliffe’s support of Little by tearing...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kate Davis – the sudden explosion of ‘left’ blogs
    Time to Teach or more people will suffer from P.A.I.D. Political And Intellectual Dysmorphia.I was on the Twitter and a guy followed me so of course I did the polite thing and followed him back. He wrote a blog so...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Ego vs Eco
    Ego vs Eco...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • We can’t let the Roastbuster case slip away
    Those of us (like me) left with hope that the police would aggressively follow through on the large amount of evidence on offer to them (let’s not forget they forgot they even had some at one point) in the Roastbusters...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Food, shelter and medicine instead of bombs and bullets
    The on-going conflict across the Middle East – due in large part to the US-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq – has created another humanitarian crisis of biblical proportion. The essentials of life are desperately needed in Iraq and Syria...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • The politics of electorate accommodations
    National’s electorate accommodations with ACT and United Future were a big factor in it winning re-election. Interestingly, there is another electorate accommodation scenario whereby the centre-left could have come out on top, even with the same distribution of party votes....
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Why you should join the TPPA Action on 8 November
    On 8 November 2014, thousands of Kiwis will take part in the International Day of Action to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The rally cry for us is TPPA – Corporate Trap, Kiwis Fight Back. Why should you join...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • GUEST BLOG – Patrick O’Dea: no new coal mines
    Green Party and Mana Party policy is “NO NEW COAL MINES!” Auckland Coal Action is trying to put this policy into action on the ground. ACA after a hard fought two year campaign waged alongside local residents and Iwi, in...
    The Daily Blog | 19-10
  • Comparing Police action – Hager raid vs Roast Buster case
    This satire had the NZ Police contact TDB and threaten us with 6months in prison for using their logo.   The plight of Nicky Hager and the draconian Police actions against him has generated over  $53 000 in donations so...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • Malala Yousafzai, White Saviour Complexes and Local Resistance
    Last week, Malala Yousafzai was the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Since her exposure to the worldwide spotlight, her spirit, wisdom and strength have touched the hearts of people everywhere. However, there have been cynics who have argued that...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • Jason Ede is back – but no media can interview him?
    Well, well, well. Jason Ede, the main figure connected to John Key’s office and the Dirty Politics black ops is back with a company with deep ties to the National Party. One thing you can say about the right –...
    The Daily Blog | 18-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Curwen Rolinson – Leadership Transitions In Other Parties: A ...
    As cannot have escaped anyone’s attention by now, the country is presently in the grips of an election and campaign that will help determine the fate of the nation for years to come. It’s gripping stuff – with clear divides...
    The Daily Blog | 17-10
  • SkyCity worker says she faces losing her house
    SkyCity worker Carolyn Alpine told the company annual shareholder’s meeting today that she faced the prospect of losing her house because the company had cut her shifts from two a week to one without consultation. The solo mother, has worked...
    The Daily Blog | 17-10
  • Greg O’Connor’s latest push to arm cops & 5 reasons not to
    I was wondering at what point within a 3rd term of National that Police Cheerleader Greg O’Connor would start trying to demand cops be armed. O’Connor must have thought to himself, ‘if bloody Key can get us and the GCSB vast new...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • You can’t have crisis without ISIS
    So the new scary bogeyman ISIS might have chemical weapons that the US secretly found in Iraq, but America didn’t want to expose this find because the WMDs were actually built and made by the US and Europe, the two powers...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • NZ WINS UN SPIN THE BOTTLE! Privately sucking up to America for a decade me...
    Oh, we are loved! Little old NZ, the 53rd state of America after Israel and Australia, gets to sit at the adults table for the special dinner party that is the UN Security Council. How delightful, a decade of privately...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • MEDIA BLOG – Myles Thomas – A World Without Advertising
    Non-commercial broadcasting and media. It’s a solution for all manner of problems ailing our tender nation… voter engagement, unaccountable governance, apathy, stupefaction, public education, science in schools, arts appreciation, cultural cringe… But no-one could’ve guessed that non-commercial media might solve...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • March against war – 2pm Saturday 25th October
    March against war – 2pm Saturday 25th October...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • Whack a mole as US govt foreign policy
    Whack-A-Mole was a popular arcade game from my youth.  It consisted of a waist high cabinet with holes in the top. Plastic moles seemingly randomly pop out of these holes. The purpose of the game was to hit as many...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • In Paean of Debt
    This week is ‘Money Week’. It’s an opportunity to promote to the middle classes, and anyone else who will listen, the virtues of wise ‘investment’. The aims are to promote the mystical (and indeed mythical) virtues of saving for the...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • The last 48 hours – Poverty denial, war denial and unapologetic abuse of ...
    The bewildering speed of events that simply end in Key shrugging and proclaiming he doesn’t really give a shit is coming think and fast as the Government suddenly appreciate the full spectrum dominance they now enjoy. Here is Radio NZ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – Mana 2.0 Rebooted
    Internationally the news is that Evo Morales of Bolivia won big with Left Wing policies But what are the chances that the Left will make a resurgence in this country? As the internecine struggles between the Left and the Right...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • The Blomfield IPCA letter – Has Dirty Politics leaked into the NZ Police ...
    It’s difficult to know what to make of the IPCA letter to Matthew Blomfield over Slater’s continued insistence that the hard drive taken from Matthew wasn’t stolen.  Slater has selectively cherry picked the Police referring back to his claim that Blomfeild perjured...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • ​Media release: Rail and Maritime Transport Union – Auckland move for K...
    The Rail and Maritime Transport Union is questioning a KiwiRail proposal to progressively relocate its Zero Harm personnel from Wellington to Auckland. “The purpose of the Zero Harm team is to drive KiwiRail’s performance in health and safety.  Rail is a...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • Amnesty International – Friend request from an IS militant
    There’s always that one person, that one Facebook friend, usually a musician or event promoter, who, when you so foolishly accept their friend request, will completely inundate your news feed with copious event invitations and promotions. The person who, despite...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • NZ should follow the UK and recognize the Palestinian state
    Over the past two weeks, the United Kingdom and Sweden have made headlines through their decisions to recognize the state of Palestine. They are hardly the first nations to do so. Indeed, 134 countries have, in various ways, given formal...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • The Discordant Chimes of Freedom: Why Labour has yet to be forgiven.
    WHY DOES THE ELECTORATE routinely punish Labour and the Greens for their alleged “political correctness” but not National? It just doesn’t seem fair. Consider, for example, the Crimes (Substituted Section 59) Amendment Act 2007 – the so-called “anti-smacking legislation” –...
    The Daily Blog | 15-10
  • Hosking or Henry – Which right wing crypto fascist clown do you want to w...
    So Mediaworks are finally going to make some actual money from their eye watering contract with Paul Henry by launching a new multi-platform Breakfast show over TV, Radio and internet. This is great news for Campbell Live who have dodged...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Families need more money to reduce child poverty
    Prime Minister John Key is mistaken to rule out extending the In Work Tax Credit to all poor children (The Nation 11th Oct) and Child Poverty Action Group challenges government advisors to come up with a more cost effective way...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • GUEST BLOG: Kelly Ellis – Don’t shit on my dream
    Once were dreamers. A large man, walks down the road and, even from 200 yards there’s light showing between his big arms and bigger body. It’s as if he’s put tennis balls under his arms. Two parking wardens walk out...
    The Daily Blog | 14-10
  • Pike River Families Group Press Release
    The Families can now but hope that Solid Energy will consider closely the response of the Families’ expert mining advisers, Bob Stevenson and Dave Creedy, and the independent legal advice by Hugh Rennie QC as to why re-entry to the...
    Scoop politics | 24-10
  • On The Nation this weekend
    This weekend on The Nation… with dairy prices falling, China growing its agriculture sector, and the environmental costs piling up, we ask the Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings if New Zealand is too dependent on milk powder and if we’ve...
    Scoop politics | 24-10
  • NZ Government Urged to Do More to Fight Ebola
    As Ebola continues to tear through West Africa, Save the Children NZ is urging the government to do more in the fight against the deadly virus....
    Scoop politics | 24-10
  • Korero Mai Ki Ahau – Saturday 25 & Sunday 26 October 2014
    Broadcast on Waatea 603AM Saturday 12.00 - 12.30pm Sunday 12.00 - 12.30pm Both shows repeated 5.00pm – 6.00pm On Sunday...
    Scoop politics | 24-10
  • Putting whānau foremost in Family Dispute Resolution
    Dispute resolution company, FairWay Resolution, has developed a uniquely New Zealand approach to family dispute resolution (FDR) that is underpinned by the cultural needs and values of the parties to a family dispute. In support of its role as a...
    Scoop politics | 24-10
  • Anglican Family Care staff to rally industrial action rises
    Public Service Association (PSA) members working at Anglican Family Care (AFC) in Dunedin will hold two rallies in Dunedin next week as they seek a fair pay offer, following a week of low-key industrial action....
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • Flying Visit for Adventuring Kiwi Socialpreneur
    12 Months on, this former Alexandra barista is changing lives in Buenos Aires Slums with free lunches, music, art, drama and toothbrushes...
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • March in Solidarity with Kurdistan Against ISIS Attacks
    The New Zealand Kurdish Community will march in solidarity with Kurdistan in light of the heinous genocidal attacks in Kobanê by ISIS. We will begin with silent demonstrations then commence marching. We will start from Britomart, Queen Street (outside Dick...
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • No Problem for Henare & Jones, But “No Way” for Harawira
    “Just before the election I broke the story about the gutting of Maori Television’s News and Current Affairs department by MTS’ new CEO Paora Maxwell. I pointed out that Carol Hirschfeld and Julian Wilcox, two of the country’s most experienced...
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • Corruption: Positive developments for NZ but more to be done
    Global anti-corruption group Transparency International today released a report on OECD Anti-Bribery Convention enforcement and called for New Zealand to implement draft legislation to ratify the United Nations Convention against Corruption....
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • Government to Blame as Much as Council for Marryatt Payout
    The Taxpayers' Union is calling on the Government to fix the employment law regime that has forced Christchurch ratepayers to fork out $800,000 to former Council boss Tony Marryatt....
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • Unanimously Call for Commissioner to Arm Police Full Time
    In the wake of a series of recent armed offender incidents, delegates to the Police Association Annual Conference today called unanimously on the Commissioner to arm Police full time....
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • Bank gets behind NZ wildlife icon with sizable donation
    It will be easier than ever this summer for holiday-markers to dip into their pockets to support the yellow-eyed penguin....
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • WorkSafe report raises concerns about asbestos
    The union representing construction workers in the Canterbury rebuild is surprised at WorkSafe’s conclusion that no action needs to be taken against EQC and Fletcher EQR over asbestos exposure in Canterbury homes. “This report was an opportunity...
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • Union accuses SkyCity CEO of misleading public
    Unite Union has accused SkyCity CEO Nigel Morrison of misleading the public over the cut in hours for a staff member who raised the issue at the company's AGM....
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • Last Hurrah on the Taxpayer
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that Hone Harawira spent up $54,000 on the taxpayer in his last three months as an MP, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “It is absolutely disgraceful that an MP managed to rack...
    Scoop politics | 23-10
  • Press statement in relation to search of Nicky Hager’s home
    On 2 October 2014, Nicky Hager's home in Wellington was searched by police. Mr Hager asserted that documents kept at his house were protected by privilege, including because they contained information that might identify confidential sources....
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • The Sam Simon arrives into Auckland for new campaign
    This morning Sea Shepherd ship, the Sam Simon, arrived into Auckland harbour after its journey from Melbourne. The ship and its 25 crew from around the globe have come to New Zealand to source supplies and prepare for the upcoming...
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Low inflation – time for meaningful wage increases
    With inflation low, now is a good time for workers to negotiate for pay increases that outstrip price rises and deliver real increases in wages and salaries. “For too many people, real pay increases have been missing for several years...
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Auckland Rates Rises Out of Control
    Responding to the NZ Herald report that Auckland ratepayers will face an average of a 29 percent rates increase, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says: “These rate rises show that Len Brown's spending is out of control.”...
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Protest at New Plymouth Oil and Gas Expo
    About 30 protesters from Climate Justice Taranaki, Frack-free Kapiti, Te Uru Pounamu Action Group, Oil Free Wellington, Frack-free Manawatu and the east coast protested yesterday outside New Plymouth's biennial Oil and Gas Expo at the TSB Stadium....
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • FMA warns consumers about cold-calling investment offers
    The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) is warning New Zealand consumers and investors to be wary of cold-calls asking them to buy shares or put their money into offshore firms....
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Comprehensive plan needed to end child poverty
    Child Poverty Action Group says it is vital the newly re-elected National government takes a planned and comprehensive approach to reducing child poverty in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Metiria Gets Feed the Kids
    Yesterday the Speaker of the House advised that he had accepted my request to transfer my Feed the Kids (Education (Breakfast and Lunch Programmes in Schools) Amendment) Bill to Metiria Turei of the Green Party....
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • DIA undercover investigation leads to jailing
    An undercover Internal Affairs investigation has led to a Hastings man being jailed for three and half years....
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Call on Minister McCully to pursue the case of Balibo Five
    Media Information: Call on Minister McCully to pursue the case of journalist Gary Cunningham and the Balibo Five...
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Australia and NZ actions on press freedoms alarming
    Global support for investigative journalism in Australia and New Zealand is a welcome response to law changes and a police raid, says the Pacific Freedom Forum...
    Scoop politics | 22-10
  • Call for release of French journalists in West Papua
    West Papua Action Auckland, the EPMU Print and Media Council and the NZ Media Freedom Network call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs to speak out in support of the two French TV journalists whose trial has just begun in...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Court of Appeal: Dotcom v 20th Century Fox Film Corporation
    A The appeal is dismissed. B The 20 August 2014 order of the High Court dealing with confidentiality and the 29 August 2014 order of this Court dealing with confidentiality are set aside. C The confidentiality orders set out in...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Glassons Blasted For Glamourising Animal Cruelty
    Clothing brand Glassons have found themselves embroiled in another controversy after launching a new advert featuring a girl riding a bull. Animal advocacy organisation SAFE have asked them to remove the ad immediately as it glamourises animal cruelty....
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Smuggling honey into New Zealand isn’t sweet
    Smuggling honey into New Zealand isn’t sweet Federated Farmers Bee Industry Group applauds the tough line taken by Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) Border Staff at Auckland Airport. In deporting the couple found trying to smuggle bee products...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Taxpayers’ Union Responds to Joyce on Corporate Welfare
    Responding to Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce’s defence of corporate welfare , Jim Rose, the author of Monopoly Money , a Taxpayers Union report on corporate welfare since 2008, says:...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Speech from the Throne brings welcome focus on children
    Today’s speech from the Throne confirms the Government’s focus on children, youth and their families in the areas of health, education, youth employment, poverty alleviation and Whānau Ora; now the challenge is to ensure every child in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • John’s Job Fairs no fix for unemployment and poverty
    “John Key has clearly been looking to the US for his latest bright idea on dealing with employment issues,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty coordinator Sue Bradford. “Job fairs where the desperately unemployed queue in their corporate best to compete...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Speech From the Throne Foreshadows More Corporate Welfare
    Responding to the Governor General’s Speech from the Throne, which outlined that the Government’s intentions for the next Parliamentary term would include further Business Growth Agenda initiatives, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan...
    Scoop politics | 21-10
  • Green MP to speak at panel on Rainbow Mental Health
    Hamilton, New Zealand: Recently re-elected Green Party MP Jan Logie will be a guest speaker at a panel on the mental health of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Trangender, Takataapui and Intersex people taking place on November 1st as part of the...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Evidence Supports GE Moratorium
    Federated Farmers spokesman Graham Smith's call for a 'rethink' on release of GeneticallyEngineered organisms is misguided, and instead it is time for a formal moratorium on GMOs in the environment.(1)...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Chatham Rise mining could have impact on whales and dolphins
    Wellington, 21 October 2014--Mining phosphate on the Chatham Rise, off the east coast of New Zealand’s south island, could potentially have many impacts on marine mammals like whales and dolphins, the Environmental Protection Agency was told today....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Council endorses Nanaia Mahuta as the next Labour leader
    Te Kaunihera Māori, the Māori Council of the New Zealand Labour Party, have passed a resolution to endorse the Hon Nanaia Mahuta as the next leader of the Labour Party...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Kaumatua to organise petition to end Maori seats
    Ngapuhi kaumatua David Rankin has announced that he will be organising a nationwide petition to seek support from Maori voters to end the Maori seats. “These seats are patronising”, he says. “They imply we need a special status, and that...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Announcing a New Voice for The Left
    Josh Forman is pleased to announce the creation of a new force on the Left of politics in New Zealand....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Public services held back by poor workplace culture
    A new report by Victoria University’s Centre for Labour, Employment and Work shows that public servants are working significant unpaid overtime to ensure the public services New Zealanders value are able to continue....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • iPredict New Zealand Weekly Economic & Political Update
    Andrew Little’s probability of being the next leader of the Labour Party has reached 70% and Jacinda Ardern is favourite to become his deputy, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Prison Drug Treatment Unit marks a milestone
    Christchurch Men’s Prison’s Drug Treatment Unit (DTU) celebrated the completion of its 50th six month Drug and Alcohol Programme today, with the graduation of a further twelve offenders....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Security Council seat a chance for NZ to empower women
    The UN Women National Committee Aotearoa New Zealand (UN Women NCANZ) welcomes New Zealand winning a seat on the United Nations Security Council and is calling on New Zealand to use its position to proactively promote effective implementation of the...
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Waipareira and ACC sign Partnership
    Waipareira and The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding at Whanau Centre, Henderson – marking a special day for the West Auckland Urban Maori organisation....
    Scoop politics | 20-10
  • Humanitarian aid desperately needed in Iraq and Syria
    Global Peace and Justice Auckland is calling on the government to provide humanitarian funding for non-aligned NGOs (non-governmental organisations) in the Middle East rather than give any support whatever for the US-led military campaign in the area....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Court Judicial Decision: Dotcom v The USA: 17 October 2014
    The United States of America is seeking the extradition of Messrs Dotcom, Batato, Ortmann and Van Der Kolk. The matter has been before the Courts on numerous occasions, and no further recitation of the facts is needed....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Marshall Island poet speaks at UN climate summit
    “The fossil fuel industry is the biggest threat to our very existence as Pacific Islanders. We stand to lose our homes, our communities and our culture. But we are fighting back. This coming Friday thirty Pacific Climate Warriors, joined by...
    Scoop politics | 19-10
  • Many tourist car accidents preventable
    Simple steps could dramatically reduce the number of accidents involving tourists, says the car review website dogandlemon.com ....
    Scoop politics | 19-10
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