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An R-101 Post

Written By: - Date published: 12:08 pm, October 2nd, 2015 - 89 comments
Categories: Globalisation, helen clark, identity, spin - Tags: , , ,

Here’s a link to the R 101 reference for anyone who needs it.

Yesterday at some point I noticed that some Labour supporters were getting a bit hot under the collar because some ‘narsty’ right wingers had taken the words of one of their heroes and were then throwing those words around the net as a ‘left wing’ endorsement of negotiating a TPPA.

As others besides me have commented in various ‘standard’ threads, given that Helen Clark was and is a proponent of free trade (China, US talks…), what else would have been expected?

Should Helen Clark have said anything on domestic political affairs given her present international role? I don’t know and don’t care. Helen Clark and what she thinks, is or should be, irrelevant.

The problem, it seems to me, is the indulgence in hero worship by some Labour supporters. See, one of the downsides of placing anyone on a pedestal is that the damned things aren’t that stable. Your hero can be knocked over or even ex-appropriated and you’ll wind up painting yourself into a corner while simultaneously tying yourself up in impossible knots…

The whole rushing around trying to suggest that Helen Clark didn’t indicate what Helen Clark indicated reminded me very strongly of the insane and inane protestations that followed Philip Ferguson calling out the racism of Michael Joseph Savage. I was as goggle eyed astonished at that (Site search if you want. I’m not linking.) as I was at yesterdays back-footed nonsense. By all means identify with good ideas or inspiring things. But people, for fuck’s sake, please, kill your idols, will you?

Cutting some slack for the current leader of the Labour Party, I’m wondering what impact the milling devotees of Helen have had on his possible reaction. I’m not saying he should be cut any slack, but there you go – I’m cutting him some slack and laying the shit at the feet of all you worshipers out there.

Andrew Little clarified a leftist parliamentary approach when he apparently said that the TPPA ought to be “approached with considerable caution.” Got that? It’s worth repeating. Approach with considerable caution

Here’s my take. There’s dog-shit on the path. I do not turn around and suggest people approach with caution. Why the fuck would anyone want to approach dogshit in any fashion? So, I turn round and call out to “watch your feet”…ie, avoid the fucking stuff.

Or, there’s dog-shit through the sand where the kids are playing with their buckets and spades. I don’t tell them to dig around with ‘considerable caution’. I call out to “get yourselves away from there, there’s dogshit”.

Y’know, talking out against free trade just isn’t very difficult these days. Everyone’s doing it. Hmm – except those in NZ who would have us elect them as our governing representatives. It appears they’re still all marching in time. Now. Why should that be and what’s that telling us?

Is there any chance that any of that is down to some residual belief, nurtured perhaps by levels of on- going devotion, that one ought not to, and therefore one will not, contradict the current living deity formerly known as Prime Minister Helen Clark?

89 comments on “An R-101 Post ”

  1. whoa!!! Good post Bill.

    To succeed the left have to be, well, left.

    clark is no saint in my eyes – just a person with the foibles of a person. I hope Labour listen to the left – we apparently need them to get the ‘left’ votes and extinguish the right agenda – I hope and pray that that right agenda isn’t a labour agenda in whole or part, but who knows – not me I’m just an unruly Mana supporter.

    • lprent 1.1

      Fundamentally the view is simply different from the UN and New York and for any kind of politician who doesn’t spend time actually producing something for export.

      My view is that of a person exporting tech out of NZ. We currently have few or no restrictions onto most markets for our goods and services apart from farming.

      Farming is by and large a commodity trade which has about as much use for the stability of an economy as digging ore out of rocks. Like mining, it employs very few people directly or indirectly. The price and demand for it is completely dependent on outside factors because it carries very little intellectual property.

      It isn’t something that we want to expand in NZ as a society. It doesn’t lead us anywhere unless we do a hell of a lot of work to create a whole lot more value in it, and move it out of largely commodity sales.

      So to put a restraint of trade deal in for all of the things where we sell intellectual property, like tech which does employ a lot of people, is downright stupid. But that is what the TPP appears to do for NZ.

      Basically we get a whole pile of shitty laws and processes restricting our ability to develop new export businesses here in order to over-protect US businesses and lawyers.

      It doesn’t look like we get anything out of TPP apart from (maybe) some half-hearted access to a few markets selling some near-raw commodities. Useless for developing NZ.

    • Peter 1.2

      …. not sure she said she supported the actual agreement ….. but its better to be inside the tent

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    By all means identify with good ideas or inspiring things. But people, for fuck’s sake, please, kill your idols, will you?

    QFT

    Helen Clark was good but it was obvious that she’d come to believe in neo-liberalism as much as John Key and so she really won’t suggest a new path.

    Andrew Little clarified a leftist parliamentary approach when he apparently said that the TPPA ought to be “approached with considerable caution.”

    Actually, it should simply be dumped along with all other FTAs. We then set standards that other nations need to meet before we’re willing to trade with them. This would ensure the level playing field necessary for free-trade to work. It would also ensure that trade would never happen.

    Y’know, talking out against free trade just isn’t very difficult these days. Everyone’s doing it. Hmm – except those in NZ who would have us elect them as our governing representatives. It appears they’re still all marching in time. Now. Why should that be and what’s that telling us?

    It’s telling us that we shouldn’t vote for them as they haven’t caught up with reality yet.

  3. esoteric pineapples 3

    The best sort of leader is the one you don’t have to take much notice of, because you know they are doing a good job.

    • Grindlebottom 3.1

      They’re the ones who’re in the ideal situation to massively enrich themselves then, aren’t they? I mean, if no one’s taking any notice of them…

  4. KK 4

    That’s some selective quoting you’ve done there Bill. Little has been very clear on the TPPA – that Labour would not compromise on New Zealand’s sovereignty, and he’s spelt out five principles to say what that means – http://www.labour.org.nz/tppa

    As the Leader of the Opposition you can’t definitively oppose something you haven’t seen the text of. There is a small chance the TPPA might not compromise New Zealand’s sovereignty. Most of what’s come out suggests it will, and Little has said as much, but if you say you oppose it outright without seeing it and then it has no impact on sovereignty but delivers market access for NZ farmers then you’re a laughing stock and your credibility is down the tubes. Much better to say you are waiting to see the text but you have clear principles and you will be judging it on those principles. Then when you do oppose it people will understand why and the debate will be on those principles, rather than Labour just being against the economy. It’s smart, principled politics.

    To be honest I don’t know what else you could ask for – the progressive shift from Clark to Little should be the real story here.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      +1

    • Bill 4.2

      As the Leader of the Opposition you can’t definitively oppose something you haven’t seen the text of.

      Really?

      See, before the last UK election, the UK Labour Party was also mealy mouthing around the TTIP (UK equivalent of the TPPA) – drawing headlines like.

      Labour and TTIP: things just got worse

      In contrast, here’s Corbyn. Much more robust. Not back footed.

      I conclude by asking why there is secrecy surrounding the negotiations. Is it because there are ante-rooms on either side of the Atlantic stuffed full of highly effective corporate lobbyists doing their best to develop their own interests? Should we not instead be demanding a free trade agreement that narrows the gap between the rich and the poor, that protects the advance of public services such as the national health service, that fundamentally protects food production, and that ensures that the best standards become the universal standards, rather than engaging in a race to the bottom that results in the worst standards becoming the norm on both sides of the Atlantic? I hope that the House will reject TTIP.

      • Paul 4.2.1

        We need a Corbyn in NZ.
        Urgently.

        • James 4.2.1.1

          As a National supporter – I cannot see any downside to this.

          • Paul 4.2.1.1.1

            As a socialist, neither can I.

            • lurgee 4.2.1.1.1.1

              Forgive the length, and waffling nature of the following. It’s more me clarifying some vague ideas that have been rattling around in hat passes for my mind for a while than trying to make any sort of relevant response, though I’ll take this post as a springboard.

              I think Corbyn can succeed in Britain, but I’m not sure a Corbyn figure could succeed in New Zealand. They are very different countries and have very different electoral systems.

              Britain has a much longer and stronger left wing tradition, where as New Zealand’s left is more of a fickle beast. How many genuine, irredeemable socialists are there in New Zealand? I’m not convinced there are that many. There are a lot of socially concerned liberals and lots of people who instinctively oppose National’s combination of neo-liberalism and rural conservatism. But that’s not quite the same thing, and moving left tends to make this loose coalition fragment. After all, in New Zealand they can do that – if Labour smells too strongly of Trotsky, the wets can always vote for the fragrant Mr Dunne, or Mr Peters (he looks like he uses Old Spice) or the Greens, depending on their perversion preference. They’ll still get what they want at the end of the day – a government that reflects some of their centrist principles, built on the back of a diluted version of Labour or National.

              I think – this is all just opinion – Britain has a much larger socialist / social-democrat demographic. They are, however, deeply apathetic and disengaged. Turn out in British elections is about 10 percentage points lower than in New Zealand – a massive difference. It is unlikely, in my opinion, that there is much to be gained by campaigning for the non-voters in New Zealand. You might get a few more votes, but it would be at a huge cost – and if winning those votes meant moving left, it might also cost centre votes. Whereas in Britain, there are a lot more votes to be gained, and the archaic monstrosity of First Past the Post means there is no-where for votes to go. As a Brit, I’m quite familiar with having to vote for a party that is only vaguely representative of my opinions (take a bow, Tony Blair!) because the only alternative is much, much, worse. That’s less of an issue in New Zealand, for reasons already described.

              We saw what happened with a nominal leftie here in 2014. 25% of the vote. The ‘Missing Million’ did not show up. Hell, even many of those committed enough to vote for Goff in 2011 abandoned ship.

              Yeah, I know. The media blah blah blah and / or not sufficiently left wing blah blah bah. Be honest with yourself for a moment. Do you think the media are really, truly that bad here? Look at what Ed Miliband had to put up with, what Jeremy Corbyn has already had to endure. The NZ media are lightweight. And as for trying again even further from the left, I’m not sure repeating the same experiment, once more with feeling, is the best choice anyone has ever had. Corbyn may work in Britain (and it is a big may) – but I doubt he would here. New Zealand just isn’t the sort of country that would vote for a socialist. And voters are clued up enough to know if they vote for an allied party, they’ll likely get something they don’t want.

              What we need is a strong, charismatic centrist figure, someone with a strong social conscience to actually make a real difference (a positive one!) to people’s lives. I don’t think we can realistically hope for more than that at this time.

              But who the Hell fits that description? And even if we did have such a figure, what’s the likelihood of infighting and factioneering bringing him or her down?

              • Bill

                The problem I see with NZ isn’t so much the electorate as the parties. They occupy an mmp space but still behave in a fpp manner. So give us a fixed term parliaments act so that scare tactics ( eg – Eek! The Greens in cabinet!!) lose their potency, the mmp environment is forced onto political party behaviours and then maybe, just maybe, NZ politics can be all ‘grown up’.

              • I don’t think Labour in 2014 was rejected for being nominally left (or having a ‘nominally left’ leader – as an aside, I’m not sure what a Labour leader should be other than, at a bare minimum, ‘nominally’ left).

                First, the (economic) policies just weren’t any more left than in 2011 – in fact, my reading is that they shifted right overall (economic policies are most relevant to categories like ‘socialist’ so I emphasise those).

                Second, the perceived lack of unity and various ‘incidents’ about Cunliffe’s ‘gaffes’, supposed ‘lies’ and the like are far more likely candidates for why what happened happened. (Note National’s campaign ad – smooth competence with everyone rowing in unison versus chaotic rabble in a rowboat).

                I think you’re probably right, though, about the thinness of left wing analysis and commitment in New Zealand. Compared to Europe, New Zealand generally has a typical pioneer-frontier lack of awareness of the grinding inevitability of modern (post)industrial capitalism (which is not to say that some people and, small, groups don’t).

                The ‘pioneer spirit’ holds out the hope that hard work and ‘new opportunities’ are always present to save one from the hands of those with power. That was certainly the view of early European colonialists in New Zealand, many of whom came from a country which completely lacked opportunity.

      • Ad 4.2.2

        While I am generally a free-trader, I get pretty tired of hearing how hard X MP had to work to convince the Labour caucus internally to come to a nuanced-mildly-oppositional-sounds-kinda-principled position, when it’s easier and more convincing and more popular to be a clear speaker like Corbyn.

        Little: it simply shouldn’t be this hard to be a straight shooter.

        • KK 4.2.2.1

          How popular would it be to oppose the TPPA outright without seeing it if it turned out to be worth billions to the New Zealand economy with no impact on our domestic sovereignty? Are you seriously saying Labour should definitively oppose a deal it hasn’t seen and doesn’t know any of the detail of?

      • Tracey 4.2.3

        Yes but hasn’t the UK had more information about hwat the TTIP contains than we have on the TPP?

        • Bill 4.2.3.1

          I’m not sure Tracy. They are both being done in secret. One may be more secret than the other. The degree of secrecy is kind of irrelevant though where the concern or demand is for openness (eg – accountability, participation, democracy), no?

          • Tracey 4.2.3.1.1

            That’s the thing Bill, I was under the impression the TTIP was much more open than TPP… and yet Mapp claims they all have to be secret to preserve negotiating positions… I guess we are way ahead of Europe with that, right Mr Mapp? Without wikileaks we would know NOTHING about TPP. I guess it is because this is a corporate deal and they always epect confidentiality on commercial grounds 😉

            “On this page you’ll find:

            a wide range of TTIP documents – including summaries, and the EU’s negotiating guidelines and opening positions
            a calendar of upcoming TTIP events – including negotiating rounds and stakeholder meetings
            videos and photos”

            http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/in-focus/ttip/documents-and-events/index_en.htm

            “Transparency

            Like any other trade negotiations, the TiSA talks are not carried out in public and the documents are available to participants only.

            The EU, however, has been keen to be as transparent as possible and has published some of its own position papers.

            The European Commission negotiates on behalf of the EU. Its team of negotiators provide regular briefings to the Council – where representatives of the governments of the EU’s Member States sit – and to the European Parliament. The Commission also organises frequent meetings with business and civil society.

            TiSA participants keep other WTO members regularly informed of the state of play of negotiations.”

            So, I accept it is secret but nothing like the TPP and Mr Mapp says the secrecy around TPP is not only usual but necessary.

      • KK 4.2.4

        Okay, let’s put it this way. If the TPPA has no impact on New Zealand’s sovereignty but delivers our exporters access to new markets would it be tenable (let alone reasonable) for Labour to oppose it? Granted, that’s a small likelihood from everything we’ve heard, but would Labour be in a position to oppose it? I think most people would say no, and I’m certain most New Zealanders would judge them harshly. It just doesn’t make sense to have a definitive position on something you have not seen the text of. All you can do is outline clear principles and judge the text against those when it’s released.

        As for Corbyn, he’s excited the Labour Party and the broader left and I personally like his politics, but he hasn’t yet shown he can win over the British public or manage the contradictions within his own party. Let’s wait for some evidence he can sustain the support of a reasonable base of the British public before demanding our own Kiwi Corbyn.

        • Bill 4.2.4.1

          Sorry, but you’re addressing the wrong person if you want to talk about sovereignty. As far as I’m concerned, both you and I lost that a long time ago.

          However, (just very quickly) from previous ‘free trade’ agreements.
          Safety and environmental regs/standards will tend towards the lowest common denominator.
          Downward pressure will be applied to wages (again).
          Economies of scale will mean the fucking over of the less large.
          Prices will rise.

          Opportunities for increasing profit and market share for the larger players will be hugely enhanced. That a good thing?

        • Puddleglum 4.2.4.2

          The TTPA does not exist yet so it is impossible to support or oppose it.

          What does exist is a process and, presumably, a set of objectives (which are unclear to say the least). I think it is perfectly reasonable to oppose that process and to oppose a range of possible objectives that process might be set up to achieve.

          There’s nothing remotely incautious about opposing what, in fact, we are faced with. Whether or not some arguable benefits may supposedly reside in the text of such a future (as yet unsigned, unknown) agreement seems to me quite beside the point to the position it is reasonable to adopt now.

          To say, definitively, that ‘we oppose (a) the process, and (b) a range of possible outcomes’ and that, on that basis, ‘we therefore oppose these negotiations’ seems not only reasonable but quite prudent.

          Think of the reverse position (the one pursued by the current government and, apparently, supported by Clark): ‘We support (a) a secretive process that denies public knowledge of what is at stake until it will be too late, and (b) are willing to accept outcomes that may well involve an, effectively coerced, reduction in the future ability of governments to make democratic decisions about a range of as yet undetermined matters all for the sake of a speculative and uncertain economic opportunity.’

          That position is the one that – in any sane society – should appear reckless and imprudent.

          New Zealand is a small country with very little power. It is therefore highly likely that it will get – to use a colloquialism – ‘screwed’, irrespective of any fine words or supposedly ‘legally binding’ agreements in the signed documents.

          Are none of our negotiators remotely familiar with the superseding role that raw power plays in relation to such documents? Of all countries, New Zealand should have been the one to insist on utter transparency in these negotiations.

          ‘At the end of the day’, the only power New Zealand has is global public opinion. Secrecy ensures that no such power can be exerted.

          Countries with very little actual power are simply serving themselves up on a platter in these sorts of ‘negotiations’.

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    Peters hits back at Helen Clark’s TPP comment

    She rarely comments on New Zealand domestic issues, but made an exception when asked by media about the TPP, which began under the former Labour Government as the P4 with Chile, Singapore and Brunei.

    “What always haunts a Prime Minister is ‘will there be a series of trade blocs develop that you are not part of?’ Because that is unthinkable for New Zealand as an export-oriented, small trading nation,” Ms Clark said.

    That shows Ms Clark’s total misunderstanding of economics. It’s the same mistake that John Key made when he said How is New Zealand going to get rich selling things to each other?. Both assume that the reason for economics is to become rich rather than to provide everyone with what they need to live a good life.

    • Pat 5.1

      agree about the measure but there are also very good reasons for trade (although not at any cost), NZ has always needed to import some technology/materials unavailable locally to provide some elements deemed vital…..we can debate the merits of those point by point but I would suggest there are some things it would be best not to do without, and to obtain those we need trade…..the question is how …and how much?

      The dog shit analogy is brilliant

      • Bill 5.1.1

        Hang on. Take a wee step back for a second. There is nothing wrong with trade. Humans have traded for…I don’t know how long.

        What is wrong with these ‘agreements’ is the framework or rules that are being slammed down on top of the already toxic rules that govern trade in a market economy.

        • Tracey 5.1.1.1

          The problem with who will benefit, the lack of transparent and reliable projections of benefits.

          I have asked Mr Mapp on numerous occasions when he expects wages to rise as a result of us having signed the TPP. Deathly silence. I have asked him to provide us with the projections (and the basis of the same) for benefits to NZ from the TPP. Deathly silence.

          For me it is NOT about being anti-trade but pro good reasons and basis for entering into these agreements. At the moment what we mostly have is a “trust us, we know what we are doing and this will benefit NZ” notion. If the GReen party said that about anything, they would be describe as ridiculous and naive and looney.

          • Bill 5.1.1.1.1

            My thinking is pretty straight-forward and also not anti-trade… (who’s been being anti-trade btw?)

            Anyway. If people are negotiating shit that can impact on me and I have no input or say, then said people can go fuck themselves and their negotiations.

            • Tracey 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Agreed.

              Mr Mapp says that anyone questioning the TPP is anti trade, and if you have opposed all FTA’s then you have no credibility, ever. He doesn’t allow that people like him who have never opposed a single FTA must be equally lacking in credibility.

              It’s how he deals with Prof Kelsey who has stated time and again that she is not anti-trade but anti investor provisions which can impact sovereignty. perhaps one subtlety too many for the ever loyal Mr Mapp?

        • BLiP 5.1.1.2

          Yep. The biggest lie in this whole debate is that the TPP is a trade deal.

        • Pat 5.1.1.3

          wasnt asserting you were anti trade Bill….my response was to Dracos comment that both Clark and Key assume the goal is to”become rich” and how thats measured.

          • Bill 5.1.1.3.1

            Yeah, I didn’t think you were. I was just taking the opportunity to differentiate between trade and the rules that govern trade. It’s only ever the rules that are problematic.

      • Draco T Bastard 5.1.2

        but I would suggest there are some things it would be best not to do without, and to obtain those we need trade

        Not really, or more accurately, that’s too simple.

        As and example:
        We need computers but that doesn’t mean we need to import them. We could purchase the technology and then produce them here from our own resources. We could also develop further upon the technology that we purchased thus developing and diversifying our economy making us both more resilient as well as providing for ourselves without being dependent upon other nations.

        Now, until we do develop our own production of computers we make a small over production of what we can already produce so that we can import computers. This over production will be stopped once we can produce locally all the computers we need.

        This applies to everything.

        • Pat 5.1.2.1

          one word….rubber

            • Pat 5.1.2.1.1.1

              NZ imports its raw material for both natural and synthetic rubber….there are numerous critical elements we can neither substitute nor produce locally that are vital and there are others where it will take significant time to develop the ability to replace imports….and that is ignoring the economy of scale issues.It is doable and the time may come when it is the only option but as an economic model that the wider public would choose to support it demands a level of trade to facilitate, albeit greatly reduced

              • Draco T Bastard

                here are numerous critical elements

                Name them. Because I’m pretty sure that we do have them here or can be grown – hemp is a great source of natural oils that can be turned to many products.

                and that is ignoring the economy of scale issues.

                Economies of scale don’t really apply any more. A modern factory running at it’s optimum level has about the same economics no matter it’s size. That’s the big problem with modern economics – it hasn’t advanced any in the last two hundred years and still makes all the same assumptions – most of which were wrong in the first place and have got a whole lot worse since.

                • Mike S

                  Rare earth metals would be an example of raw materials we would still need to import.

                  Essential for various high tech products and renewable energy technology. Needed for wind turbines, batteries, solar cells, etc,etc.

                  In your example of building computers, we still need to purchase the technology. That is trade.

                  Yes, manufacturing of anything can be done here, but there are some raw materials / resources that we simply don’t have so will have to import.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Rare earth metals would be an example of raw materials we would still need to import.

                    Not necessarily. The REEs aren’t rare and have a tendency to form in volcanic soils which we seem to have an over abundance of. Haven’t been found yet but that doesn’t mean that they’re not there.

                    Essential for various high tech products and renewable energy technology. Needed for wind turbines, batteries, solar cells, etc,etc.

                    They’re not needed – they just make them better.

                    In your example of building computers, we still need to purchase the technology.

                    Actually, we probably don’t. Photo-lithography, the process used to produce ICs, has been around for ~200 years and so there’s nothing to stop us developing that process. Also, much of the research that was done in the US was done via government grant and all research done by US government grant is freely available – it’s a condition of getting the grant.

                    Yes, manufacturing of anything can be done here, but there are some raw materials / resources that we simply don’t have so will have to import.

                    I suspect that you’d be one of the people who’d be surprised by what is actually in NZ. Like the 500 tonnes of lithium that gets washed down the Waikato River every year from one of the geothermal power generators that we have. I’m pretty sure that 500 tonnes of lithium could make a lot of batteries – we just need to find a way to capture it rather than continuing to flush it down the river.

                • Pat

                  copper,zinc,lead.magnesium,manganese,nickel,titanium and bauxite….computer componentry,heavy mechanical and electrical engineering and advanced pharmaceuticals, though i note we have a limited capacity in that area.
                  As to economy of scale it still applies, perhaps even more so in light of the fact the potential market (user) is greatly reduced,,,,unless of course you believe 3D printers will be our future…a difficult proposition without the componentry.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    copper,zinc,lead.magnesium,manganese,nickel,titanium and bauxite…

                    All available here in significant deposits. Hell, we sell our titanium dioxide, which makes up 30% of our iron sands, to be used in paint.

                    computer componentry,heavy mechanical and electrical engineering and advanced pharmaceuticals

                    All of which could be produced here. In fact, we actually do make buses here.

                    As to economy of scale it still applies, perhaps even more so in light of the fact the potential market (user) is greatly reduced,,,

                    Nope. The illusions of economies of scale are a result of our monetary system which is disconnected from reality.

                    unless of course you believe 3D printers will be our future…a difficult proposition without the componentry.

                    It’s called developing our economy. We’ve pretty much stopped doing that in the hopes that the free-market will provide.

                    • Pat

                      “All available here in significant deposits. Hell, we sell our titanium dioxide, which makes up 30% of our iron sands, to be used in paint.”

                      I can find no record of viable deposits…
                      http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/mining-and-underground-resources/page-1

                      “Nope. The illusions of economies of scale are a result of our monetary system which is disconnected from reality.”

                      Economy of scale is not solely a monetary proposition, consider the tooling and production requirements for single products or small runs, hence 3D printer comment

                      “All of which could be produced here. In fact, we actually do make buses here.”
                      Buses are hardly heavy engineering, but even if they were we dont build buses here , only the bodies, all the running gear is brought in and always has been ….heavy industry , think turbine for hydro scheme or the equipment to build and run such like

                      There are many more things we could do but the reality is unless we adopt a low tech simple society we will need to import some things . We attempted a version of this in the 1950s i believe and it is a proposition worth revisiting

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I can find no record of viable deposits…

                      Back before MBIE took over the data it was actually quite easy to find it. In fact, I’ve often linked to such data in the past. SO I know that there’s ~140 significant deposits of gallium and other semi-conductor elements around Lake Taupo, I know 500 tonnes of lithium goes down the Waikato every year, I know that there’s a 20 to 25 million tonne deposit of bauxite in Northland.

                      Economy of scale is not solely a monetary proposition, consider the tooling and production requirements for single products or small runs, hence 3D printer comment

                      There are many more things we could do but the reality is unless we adopt a low tech simple society we will need to import some things .

                      And hence my comment about developing the economy.

  6. roy cartland 6

    It’s not unthinkable that she’s looking out for her own interests as well – perhaps her becoming UN Sec Gen is in NZ’s longer-term interest, she thinks, despite the putrid rat of the TPPA?

    ‘If I endorse Key’s silly TPPA, he’ll endorse me for UN Leader – yeah, that’ll work well for everyone!”

    • Bill 6.1

      Yeah, look. Whatever positioning Clark is or isn’t doing is beside the point. The point is that a lot of people got in a tizz because they identify with Clark and so wind up compelled to defend whatever she says.

      It’s cringe-worthy, painful and really fcking bad for political debate.

      • Jenny Kirk 6.1.1

        So far I haven’t come across many Labour people defending Helen’s position.
        And Andrew Little has publicly disagreed with her – but courtesy would prevent him from going full-belt at her comments – that’s just not “done” with former PMs !

        • Bill 6.1.1.1

          Seriously? You missed all the dancing on the head of a pin that was going on yesterday by some who were trying to claim that what Helen Clark had said wasn’t what Helen Clark had actually said?

          Now sure, no reason why Andrew Little should go full belt at her comments… or anything else her comments for that matter. Andrew Little’s job is to state Labour’s position.

          That point is important. The post questions whether he can in fact state a position for Labour – that’s the bit where I cut him some slack – and outlines the reasoning behind the question being asked.

          That then, just brings us on to the problems with Labour’s non-position/position.

          It’s very reminiscent of UK Labour prior to the UK election (as linked in another comment) and in stark contrast to recent UK Labour leader comments (linked and quoted in same comment). In other words, there is no reason (all things being equal) why NZ Labour can’t be in tune with what seems like a fair groundswell of opinion and opposition to the TTPA and be much more robust.

    • James 6.2

      You know Labour started this – Not Key – right?

      • Ad 6.2.1

        And Labour are better at it.

      • Tracey 6.2.2

        And you know that it isn’t about who started it anymore but about proof of projected benefits to NZ and who signs it without disclosing it to the people first?

      • lprent 6.2.3

        As a trade agreement with three smaller economies and as a free trade agreement.

        National morphed it into a restraint of trade agreement (from the NZ perspective) with the major economies of the US, Japan, Canada, and others. It appears to have completely violated the original intent. And the obvious costs to NZ over the next few decades look like they will outweigh any possible benefits.

        Moreover, it started off as being pretty transparent to anyone looking at it, to something shrouded in secrecy.

        We should just reject it. At this point that looks like it will help our economy over the next couple of decades rather than stifling it.

  7. Ad 7

    Bill, note Clark’s wording “unthinkable” is also lighting the fire under Key.
    She is saying that Key has raised the political stakes so high, that at no point can he now pull out.

    Whatever the result, Key will have to get out his Chamoix cloth and start boot-polishing that turd, smile for us live to camera, and eat it.

    She knows he on to a lose-lose job, and it reminding him and everyone of that.

    • Bill 7.1

      What? You saying that we should view all this on the basis of the likely future reputations of any given mps?

      Key won’t have to ‘eat shit‘.

      It’s we who will be gagging on the stuff.

      • Ad 7.1.1

        I generally think about the impact on Key above all else, since there’s no changing the government without changing Key. And yes I do think the deal will be obviously bad enough that many will see through Key’s usual bonhomie.

        I’m hoping for a 2% downward on Preferred Prime Minister in the next poll, partly through TPPA.

        • Bill 7.1.1.1

          I generally think about the impact on Key above all else…

          We have different perspectives then. I can only give a toss about the negative consequences for ordinary people.

      • left for deadshark 7.1.2

        It’s we who will be gagging on the stuff.

        To true Bill, good post mate.

  8. One Two 8

    Helen has more in common with those she works with and works for, than she has in common with global proletariat

    • Ad 8.1

      What’s New Zealand’s part in the “global proletariat”?

      • Bill 8.1.1

        Ad, you being all ‘zen’ with a question like that?

        The working class is global (more or less). NZ has a working class. In that respect, NZ (a goodly proportion of the population) is a part of the global proletariat, no?

        • Ad 8.1.1.1

          I just find it very hard to lump together vastly different levels of deprivation, different causes, different effects in to a term that presumes there’s a single anything. I accept there are intersecting interests, but not singularities.

          • Bill 8.1.1.1.1

            Hmm…if I understand you correctly.

            When trading is predicated on various forms of exploitation, then there will be (simplistically) the exploited and the exploiters. The exploited are the working class or proletariat. It’s not homogeneous in its expression.

            But the cause is the same everywhere.

            • Ad 8.1.1.1.1.1

              The most useful way I’ve seen expressing common interest is the illustration of New Zealand as a series of layers in a multistory building, with about 40% of NZ crammed into half of the basement, and the top 10% or so taking the top three floors of the four story block. Class exists. Upward class mobility is hard and getting harder.

              I also get that there is common interest in deprivation across the world.

              And I certainly agree there’s a bit of the Ragged Trousered Philanthropist in almost all of us, in terms of who’s exploiting whom and by how much.

              But then it begins to break down.

              The differing degrees of poverty and their causes – e.g. war, or climate change, or corporate rapaciousness, or government corruption, or law and order breakdown, or etc etc – vary in such degrees across the world that it’s hard to identify let alone form common cause.

              Otherwise we would have seen global proletariat movements surge across the world like they did in the 1840s and 1920s across the world.

              Successive crisis after successive crisis since World War Two, we have resolutely not seen a “global proletariat” rise. We’ve seen anti-colonial, anti- racist, anti-war etc movements, rise and be nation-shaping and effective.

              But specifically we have not seen great growth in union movements, working class revolutions, revolutions defined solely by wealth. Whatever the “global proletariat” is, if it still exists, it’s just not really useful as a concept anymore.

              Would be great if there was a consistent replacement for defunct Marxist theory, but there just isn’t.

              • Bill

                Without the wars and the famine, corruption and what have you, that exacerbate exploitation, there would still be exploitation. Take away the rules we have around trading (ie – the market economy) and replace them with trading rules that discriminated (both positively and negatively) in ways that are different to how the market discriminates, and it’s possible to be done with exploitation.

                I agree that what we now, at least in ‘the west’, view as global uprisings seemed to have happened when nation states were in their nascent stage. Maybe there’s a connection there?

                As for Marx class analysis, I agree it’s inadequate. I’d never use the terminology he did (eg proletariat) but since ‘One Two’ did and I knew what he was getting at…

                The most workable alternative to or reworking Marx’s class analysis I’ve come across works suggests a three tier model comprising workers, coordinators and capitalists. The coordinators are the well remunerated and relatively privileged who keep the whole shebang going and who (largely) endorse ‘the way things are’- management types, the more conservative professions doctors/surgeons etc.

                • Ad

                  I think I’ll write a post just on that third tier.
                  Clearly I’m one of them. And good at it.

                  There’s a whole taxonomy to do on “those who make it work”.
                  I’m pretty confident I can sketch roles for “comprador” bourgeoisie who do more than facilitate the status quo.

                  And needs further shading to NZ conditions, NZ politics in particular.
                  Lets see if we can stretch our legs a bit.

              • RedLogix

                Thanks for the Ragged Trousered Philanthropist reference. I’d heard of it, but needed to look it up.

                Robert Noonan’s story is a fascinating one. Where did he find the courage to swim against the tide, when most will not?

                • Ad

                  The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist is a novel written by a house painter in the nineteenth century, whose novel was never published in his lifetime and as far as I know no-one ever knew he was doing it.

                  It fictionalizes the many trades workers around him, their lives and how much of them are given over to bosses and asset owners.

                  Careful it’s I think from memory over 700 pages. But he has such passion, reality and seething sardonic prose that in some ways it’s better than Dickens.

                  • Bill

                    First overtly political book I ever got. A young teen present from my socialist, conscientious objector grandfather. 😉

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Here’s the free copy from Project Gutenberg… and thanks 🙂

                  • RedLogix

                    I have to quote this from the end of the first chapter:

                    ‘All these things,’ Owen proceeded, ‘are produced by those who work. We do our full share of the work, therefore we should have a full share of the things that are made by work.’

                    The others continued silent. Harlow thought of the over-population theory, but decided not to mention it. Crass, who could not have given an intelligent answer to save his life, for once had sufficient sense to remain silent. He did think of calling out the patent paint-pumping machine and bringing the hosepipe to bear on the subject, but abandoned the idea; after all, he thought, what was the use of arguing with such a fool as Owen?

                    Sawkins pretended to be asleep.

                    Philpot, however, had suddenly grown very serious.

                    ‘As things are now,’ went on Owen, ‘instead of enjoying the advantages of civilization we are really worse off than slaves, for if we were slaves our owners in their own interest would see to it that we always had food and–‘

                    ‘Oh, I don’t see that,’ roughly interrupted old Linden, who had been listening with evident anger and impatience. ‘You can speak for yourself, but I can tell yer I don’t put MYSELF down as a slave.’

                    ‘Nor me neither,’ said Crass sturdily. ‘Let them call their selves slaves as wants to.’

                    At this moment a footstep was heard in the passage leading to the kitchen. Old Misery! or perhaps the bloke himself! Crass hurriedly pulled out his watch.

                    ‘Jesus Christ!’ he gasped. ‘It’s four minutes past one!’

                    Linden frantically seized hold of a pair of steps and began wandering about the room with them.

                    Sawkins scrambled hastily to his feet and, snatching a piece of sandpaper from the pocket of his apron, began furiously rubbing down the scullery door.

                    Easton threw down the copy of the Obscurer and scrambled hastily to his feet.

                    The boy crammed the Chronicles of Crime into his trousers pocket.

                    Crass rushed over to the bucket and began stirring up the stale whitewash it contained, and the stench which it gave forth was simply appalling.

                    Consternation reigned.

                    They looked like a gang of malefactors suddenly interrupted in the commission of a crime.

                    The door opened. It was only Bundy returning from his mission to the Bookie.

                    For we are really worse off than slaves … and when we look at the vast bulk of humanity this is true.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      For we are really worse off than slaves … and when we look at the vast bulk of humanity this is true.

                      QFT

                      And Nationals attacks on beneficiaries and working conditions are designed to make us even worse off.

    • Bill 8.2

      Probably a predictable if ‘unfortunate’ consequence of having representative governance and representative positions being tied to many privileges.

      ‘Suddenly’ one is moving in different circles where ‘the really important stuff‘ just doesn’t gel with the everyday (ie, our) really important stuff.

      But that’s another conversation/debate. 😉

  9. BLiP 9

    If Helen Clark believes that a current Labour Party position is wrong, she should keep her mouth shut, especially when she’s standing next to John Key. It was uncharacteristically gouache. Made me wonder if Labour had put her up to it to test the waters or as an opening move in a softening up process lead to a change of position. Hmmm . . .

    While I’m in a speculative mood, I’m getting the feeling that its already game over for the TPP. Will we see an MSM celebration of our Prime Minister, fresh from the glory have having set the agenda for the Security Council, returning home triumphantly waving a signed, sealed and delivered TPP? Gordon Campbell makes a strong case for it, IMO. Yeah, I know, that post has been around for a while, but the more I think about it the more likely it seems. Hope I’m wrong.

    • Tracey 9.1

      ” I’m getting the feeling that its already game over for the TPP. ”

      Me too, Key is being to smuggishly smiley… and he has just gone all world-stage at UN, he won’t want to be seen as a loser. And yes, this is a game to him.

      Imagine if we knew the projected value of the TPP, the timelines for the benefits and the groups benefiting first/last. Such projections are possible and yet… we don’t see them and no journo asks for them

    • Bill 9.2

      Certainly Helen Clark’s nonsense took the wind out of some sails. I got a sense that some were shifting their position a tad yesterday – suddenly a morally grounded opposition became a ‘well, it could be okay if..’ type of opposition.

      As for it being a done deal, well…if not ‘today’, then ‘tomorrow’.

      • Pasupial 9.2.1

        Bill

        I still have hopes that the US congress will refuse to go along with the TPPA due to a need to deny the Obama camp a victory. But even if it’s not with this particular acronym, I have little doubt that we will one day be fitted with another imperial leash, as you say:

        “if not ‘today’, then ‘tomorrow’”

    • Gabby 9.3

      It was characteristically self-serving.

    • “Made me wonder if Labour had put her up to it to test the waters or as an opening move in a softening up process lead to a change of position. ”

      I can’t imagine her allowing herself to be manipulated like that – but she may have thought it was a good idea and that Labour would follow her lead. Labour are going to have to adjust their positioning on this I think and it won’t be pretty because if they double down into outright opposition to it (once the agreement agreed is made public) the gnats will use it to punish them – the lines and memes are already formulated ready to go, and if they do roll over and say “it’s not so bad, the best we could do”, a different but equally nasty set of lines and memes will be used. Either way they are in for a difficult time – they are between a rock and a hard place and their hands are stuck.

      • leftie 9.4.1

        Why do you think Labour are having to adjust their positioning on this? Judging by Andrew Little’s response, he sees Clark’s remarks as her personal opinion only, and he remains skeptical of the TPPA, stating he still maintains his view that it should be approached with “considerable caution.” It most certainly looks like he will NOT be following her lead.

        “Labour leader Andrew Little said there had been little rhetoric to instill any confidence the deal was worth New Zealand’s time.
        “At this particular point, what we’ve seen in the last couple of weeks is talking down expectations of what we might get on dairy and agriculture.

        “On top of that, we’ve got questions of the [intellectual property] clause, questions of Pharmac and the [investor state dispute resolution] clause, so on balance you’d say why would we have a bar of this deal?”

        He did not know how much information Clark had on the agreement, but said it wasn’t unnatural she took a view.

        “She’s the former Prime Minister for nine years, so she’s not going to lose interest in what happens in New Zealand – it’s her home country.
        “She had a good handle on international relations before, but she’s at the heart of international relations now. So of course she’s going to comment on these sorts of things,” he said.
        “But the reality is, from what we know about TPPA, and that’s very little about the content of it, we certainly know where some of the risk areas are and I maintain my view that it’s something we have to approach with considerable caution.”

        <ahref="http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/72604363/former-pm-clark-backs-controversial-trade-deal

    • Liberal Realist 9.5

      Hopefully JK and TG won’t have their deal just yet.

      According to a PBS article the US executive Obama must give congress 90 days notice before signing a trade deal under fast track. The article also states that 60 days before the deal is to be signed it must be published on a public website with a final copy published 30 days before signing. We may just see the deal before its signed after all should it not fall over?

      What I don’t understand (if the article is correct) is how does this work when the public purportedly won’t see the deal for 5 years after it’s signed?

      http://www.pbs.org/newshour/updates/fast-track-trade-bill-actually-says/

  10. Vaughan Little 10

    I voted Maori party in 05. your don’t go round nicking other people’s stuff.

    • ropata 10.1

      The Foreshore and Seabed issue was one of a series of missteps by Labour that put them off side with most of NZ, sadly we replaced a flawed government with one run by white collar criminals.

  11. Matthew Hooton 11

    Tim Groser has said Andrew Little’s position on the TPP is “perfectly rational”. See http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11522953
    The trade minister also points out Helen Clark’s endorsement was subject to the deal being a good one.

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