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Comrade Chris and the politics of the warm inner glow

Written By: - Date published: 11:06 am, November 9th, 2022 - 127 comments
Categories: housing, labour, Left, Media, uncategorized - Tags:

The politics of the warm inner glow is a phrase of Australian origin which applies to left activists.  It describes a state where lefties prefer feeling good about their activism rather than actually achieving anything.

One use of the phrase is attributed to former Labor leader Bill Hayden who said:

We are, as too often happens with the Labor Party, in danger of confusing the politics of the warm inner glow with the inspiration of the light on the hill. If we do that, we will get badly scorched by the electorate—and not just once but repeatedly.”

The phrase contrasts what is the ideal left wing position with what is actually achievable.  The ideal left wing position may be political suicide but some think that it should be pursued, no matter what.

And it is an unfair battle.  The forces of the right are completely indifferent to most areas of right wing principle.  The one aspect they struggle with, tax cuts particularly for the wealthy, is the one policy that makes politics a more even battle.  And they lack the activists although their monetary resources and friendly media mean that it is more than an even battle.

What really helps the right are self nominated left wing commentators who take every opportunity to attack Labour.

People like Chris Trotter whose prose in a recent blog post is extraordinary.

In a fit of literal verbosity he took exception to this passage in Jacinda Ardern’s speech:

On the 9th floor of the Beehive building in Wellington, sitting directly behind my desk, is a picture of Michael Joseph Savage. You could say he’s on my shoulder but also ever so slightly in my ear.

“Of course it was Savage and the first Labour Government that lifted New Zealand out of the depths of the Great Depression. Not by cutting taxes and services, but by investing in jobs, and building a social welfare safety net. They built the country’s first state home. And not long after these social reforms – New Zealand’s living standards were among some of the highest in the world. Not for the few, but for the many.

“The Finance Minister who supported Savage, Walter Nash, then led Labour’s second government as it continued to build our nation’s social welfare system, while advocating on the world stage for peace over war after World War 2.

“It was Norman Kirk and a Labour government who tilted the country towards a modern future with reforms of trade, health, the arts, and education. They worked hard to foster a renewed national identity and partnership with Maōri – all the while challenging global evil such as apartheid and nuclear testing.

“It was a fight David Lange continued, making New Zealand nuclear free, while also righting the wrongs of the past by legalising homosexuality, and fully abolishing the death penalty.”

Trotter confused historical accuracy with the glorious left wing revolution and said this:

Virtually every claim made by the Prime Minister in the passage quoted above is either historically contestable, or just plain, flat-out, wrong. For that very reason, it is a powerful illustration of the deeply flawed thinking that has led the Ardern Government to the brink of electoral ruin.

Which part of the speech is historically contestable?  None as far as I can see.

  1. Jacinda does have a photo of Micky Savage on her office wall.
  2. Savage and the first Labour Government did help to lift New Zealand out of the depths of the great depression.  The process may have been started before them but they sure did accelerate it.  Complaining that they were only 90% responsible is churlish.
  3. Labour did invest in jobs and built the social welfare safety net.
  4. Labour did construct the country’s first state home.
  5. Not long after the end of the first Labour Government New Zealand’s living standards were among some of the highest in the world.
  6. Walter Nash did lead the second Labour Government.
  7. He was also heavily involved in the League of Nations and the United Nations in attempting to achieve peace although admittedly before the second Labour Government was formed.
  8. Norm Kirk and the third Labour Government definitely tilted the country towards a modern future with reforms of trade, health, the arts, and education.  His position on apartheid and nuclear testing were very clear.  That Government was quite radical.
  9. And did David Lange make New Zealand nuclear free?  He sure did.  And homosexuality was legalised and the death penalty was abolished.

So I can see no statement that is flat out wrong, and few if any could be contestable unless you were to apply extreme interpretations of what was said.

Top of Chris’s list of dislikes is hate speech reform.  Before the details are even settled he says that reform of the sort of speech that influenced the Christchurch shooter is a very bad thing.

The other two, Three Waters and Co Governance suggest strongly that Chris has been sipping National’s kool aide for too long.

And he says that the Christchurch massacre and Covid “helpfully distracted the country from its government’s moral vacuity”.  One was an abject terror event and the other was a one in one hundred global pandemic that New Zealand handled remarkably well but not according to Chris.

Has Labour been moving the country in the right direction?  I believe so and you can consult this list of a hundred things the Government has delivered this year if you need verification.  There is also this list of things Labour has achieved while in Government.

Has it moved quickly enough?  No but three years of New Zealand First in Government followed by a one in one hundred year global pandemic have not helped.

A few examples will help.

Labour has delivered 14,000 public and transitional homes while in Government and if current trends continue the housing shortage should be eradicated within a year.  And housing prices are falling as Labour’s policies around ownership kick in and new stock comes onto the market.

In relation to child poverty Labour has lifted 66,500 children out of poverty so far, and the latest figures show all nine child poverty measures continue to trend downwards.

And in relation to climate change the Climate Commission has been created, the Zero Carbon Act passed and importation of electric vehicles is surging.

And the Government is moving to tax greenhouse gas emissions in the Farming Sector.  The political push back shows how resistant the right will be to this policy.

Could it have done more?  You bet.  Could this have happened quicker?  Given the limitations imposed by the Wellington bureaucracy I am not sure.

But here is the thing.  If National is elected the results will be very clear.  They will unwind a lot of these policies and hack into budgets as they try and find money for tax cuts for the wealthy.

Which is why Comrade Chris’s attacks on the Government are so unhelpful.  You would think that someone wanting a socialist nirvana would be patient as progress is made albeit somewhat gradually rather than want us to lurch back into the sort of New Zealand National gave us in the 1990s.

Chris is part of that circle of wanna be media personalities like Sean Plunkett, Ani O’Brien, Jordan Williams et al and clearly the media enjoy giving him space as a left wing contrarian.  But I question the logic of what he says.  Not reaching the socialist nirvana overnight may not be ideal.  But to present a completely inaccurate dystopian description of this Government when it is clearly achieving good does nothing but provide support for the left’s opponents.

Chris may feel that warm inner glow as he types his words of condemnation.  I prefer my political activism to actually achieve and improve things.

127 comments on “Comrade Chris and the politics of the warm inner glow ”

  1. Ad 1

    I can't stand Ardern but I'm pretty clear 3.3% unemployed and lowest recorded Maori unemployment mean Labour are achieving what their name stands for.

    Also I'm 100% with them on 3 Waters. Hang in there Maori caucus.

    • Anne 1.1

      Pray tell: why can't you stand Jacinda Ardern?

      Is she not bolshie enough for you? Is it because she smiles a lot? Do you not like the government's polices and blame her for them? Have you fallen for the right-wing memes and lies to discredit her? Do you oppose their Covid response despite the fact it saved many lives? Do you expect them to achieve miracles overnight after decades of mediocre governance with – granted – a few high spots.

      Or is it because she's too nice, and nobody trusts a 'nice' person?

      • Ad 1.1.1

        She's a 2 dimensional small c conservative who has no plan and no ideology beyond Hallmark bromides.

        And took a record mmp 20 point electoral margin and blew it.

        • Chris

          That's true, but it's not why her popularity's waning – that's way too complex an analysis for the average racist sexist red-neck voting kiwi to understand. All Ardern needed to do to stay afloat in the polls was to drop her condescending tone when trying to explain things. She's certainly, as you say, a conservative with a small c, and of course there are other factors at play – not the least being female – but if she ditched talking down to us as if we're naughty schoolchildren she would've had a decent chance of breaking the cycle of Labour being perceived as purveyors of nanny-state politics.

          • Tony Veitch

            From my pov that's crap. I've never thought Jacinda talked down to me (or us).

            Mind you, it might have to do with the fact that she's a woman, and a damned intelligent one too, and many males simple cannot handle that!

            • Incognito

              The sheer mention of her name seems to evoke unhealthily high levels of skirt phobia and reliving of naughty-step experiences in early childhood. However, I do have some sympathy for those who struggle with the PM’s press and public appearances although not as much as, for example, with John Key and Chris Luxon.

            • Patricia Bremner

              yes It annoys people that she is patient and answers questions as fully as possible.

              The PM keeps on top of issues, no matter how trying or how tired she is. She does a difficult job well.

              2 dimensional? Lol Why do intelligent Leaders in other countries not agree with you Ad, surely they like you and Chris can see how shallow she is. sarc

              Conservative.. yes she tries to keep the best and improve on it. We need more of that in a throw away easily bored world. imo.

              I am relieved to see you are not letting your personal feelings affect your sense.

              Chris Trotter belongs to the "Any Revolution is good" crowd.

          • Anne

            I don't see it that way Chris. She has never come across to me as 'talking down' to people. I remember her speaking at a Labour Party function when she was still a new MP. That was about 8 years before she became PM. She spoke in exactly the same way and no-one came away with that impression. We were all more than a little impressed.

            I'll tell you what she does do which may be what gives some that impression. She tends to speak a little slower than average, which no doubt is to ensure everyone picks up what she is saying. That could well be a family trait bearing in mind her father was a senior ranked police officer. Police officers speak like that as if we're all idiots. Mind you they do have to deal with a lot of idiots so I suppose you can’t blame them. 😮

        • Stuart Munro

          I like her – more real than 95% of Wellington.

          The majority was to deal with Covid, which she did.

          Some very foolish and unpopular social policy (most submitted against bill) will cost a normal electoral margin, but the triple bonus of a charisma free and essentially inept opposition with policies too ludicrous even for Britain may well see a third or maybe even a fourth term.

        • adam

          She's a 2 dimensional small c conservative who has no plan and no ideology beyond Hallmark bromides.

          That could well be one of the best definitions of Trump I've ever read. If you swap the cats mum for a he.

      • tsmithfield 1.1.2

        I think Jacinda is nice enough as a person.

        Political differences aside, I don't think she did herself any favours with the daily Covid announcements. Rather than just announce the facts, she seemed to feel the need to turn every announcement into a lengthily speech before getting to the point.

        She does seem to waffle quite a lot, as I noticed in the debate the other day. Luxon was asking her very precise questions about the wisdom of prioritising hundreds of millions in the TVNZ/RNZ merger while there is a cost of living crisis. She seemed to go all over the place without actually answering the questions.

        Also, I think she doesn't like confrontational type of interviews, hence why she avoids Hosking like the plague.

        And she seems to have a craving for fluffy photo opps.

        Taking all that together, I think she comes across as a bit of a lightweight, and I suspect that other voters are coming to the same conclusion.

        • Mike the Lefty

          Why should Jacinda subject herself to such a narcissistic git as Hosking ? She is smart to avoid people who have personal grudges. Would Chris Luxon appear on Martyn Bradbury's podcast?

          • tsmithfield

            "Why should Jacinda subject herself to such a narcissistic git as Hosking ?"

            Like it or not, Newstalk ZB has the highest radio ranking in the country. So, appearing on Hosking's show gives her an opportunity to reach a large audience. So, avoiding his show is a huge missed opportunity to connect with the public.

            Note, various Labour politicians subject themselves to Hosking when they appear on Politics Wednesday, and Grant Robertson is often interviewed by Hosking.

            So, your rationale doesn't make much sense.

            "Would Chris Luxon appear on Martyn Bradbury's podcast?"

            That depends on the reach of the show. If it is a left wing broadcaster with a similar reach to Newstalk ZB, or at least in that ballpark, then Luxon should definitely front up. It at least gives him the opportunity to sway voters more towards him, even if he isn't appealing to his natural constituency.

            But I don't think either Ardern or Luxon should appear on obscure media shows as there is very little in it for them. Not that I am saying Bradury's podcast is obscure, as I don't know the stats.

            • Stuart Munro

              Although Jacinda is pretty good at keeping the bris leftover at a distance, lending credibility to his toxic stupidity is self-defeating. Best left to marginalize himself.

        • Nic the NZer

          "hence why she avoids Hosking like the plague."

          I think Mike Hosking is clearly the unsung hero here. I mean without the inspiration of avoiding Mike like the plague how would Ardern have ever invented staying in your bubble and isolating NZ from the pandemic.

          I mean I do worry constantly about being exposed to some novel variant 'Like Mike', and hope an effective vaccine is still being worked on, but to date I have managed to remain completely Hosking free.

          • Mike the Lefty

            Mike Hosking is a hero to people that can't think much for themselves. The rest of us think he's a git.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          I think she comes across as a bit of a lightweight…

          Our PM is a successful politican. Only the one-eyed could convince themselves otherwise – that's “fluffy photo opps” partisan politics for you. Ardern's response to the Christchurch massacre was inspirational ("What a bawse!"), as was her leadership ("to go fast and go hard") of the team of nearly five million – "be kind."

          She will always come across "as a bit of a lightweight" to some (as leader of the opposition: "She's a pretty communist"; and as PM: "A part-time Prime Minister, a pretty communist, a sex assault conspirator and an anti-Semite all walk into a bar…"), but there are other factors at play when it comes to the declining popularity of this (unprecendented) one party-majority MMP government, not the least of which are falling living standards and rising economic instability as the fallout from global warming, the pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine, etc. etc. continues. If the Gnats have the opportunity to demonstrate their supposedly superior economic chops from 2024 onwards, look out – progressive they're not.

          Navigating the high-inflation environment [October 2022]
          Global financial stability risks have increased amid a series of cascading shocks
          Chapter 1 analyzes the policy response of central banks to high inflation, the risks of a disorderly tightening of financial conditions, and debt distress among emerging and frontier markets. Markets have been extremely volatile, and a deterioration in market liquidity appears to have amplified price moves. In Europe, the energy crisis is contributing to a worsening outlook. In China, the property sector remains a key source of vulnerability.
          Chapter 2 examines how to narrow the climate financing gap in emerging market and developing economies. Climate policies, including carbon pricing, climate disclosures, and transition taxonomies, are crucial for enabling private climate finance. Innovative financial instruments can help to scale up private climate finance, but the public sector—including multilateral development banks—will have to play a key supporting role.
          Chapter 3 analyzes the contributions of open-end investment funds to fragilities in asset markets. Open-end investment funds play a key role in financial markets, but those offering daily redemptions while holding illiquid assets can amplify the effects of adverse shocks by raising the likelihood of investor runs and asset fire sales. This contributes to volatility in asset markets and potentially threatens financial stability.

          • Patricia Bremner

            Thank you DrowsyM Kram, for an excellent post.smiley

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              And thank you Patricia. Perhaps tsmithfield genuinely can't perceive our PM's political nous, although imho it's more likely that he can, and that it would stick in his craw to acknowledge her leadership skills and dedication to service.

              I think both Megan Woods and Chris Hipkins come across with a lot more depth than Jacinda. So, my view isn’t so much a partisan thing.
              – tsmithfield @

              Whereas I think both Nicola Willis and Shane Reti come across with a lot more depth than Chris, and my political views are very partisan.

          • tsmithfield

            I think both Megan Woods and Chris Hipkins come across with a lot more depth than Jacinda. So, my view isn't so much a partisan thing. Perhaps it is just a perception thing, because she does seem to panic a bit in the headlights, especially when interviewed by Hosking. And she does a lot of fluff type of stuff. So, maybe I have misjudged her. But perceptions are important.

            And I agree, showing compassion is a great strength for Jacinda. And, I agree, she did very well after the Mosque shootings in Christchurch.

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              An ace in the pack [30 Sept 2022]
              Dr Ashley Bloomfield is ready to sit at a different table after his high-stakes hand in New Zealand’s Covid-19

              For more than two years, Bloomfield brought reassurance, complementing Ardern as they delivered the daily updates and the drastic measures needed to protect Kiwis.

              He was cool, calm and collected, and immediately embraced in living rooms and on social media channels around the country. As a public servant, he escaped most of the vitriol directed at politicians – and Ardern, in particular.

              Our PM’s leadership and communication during the first two years of the pandemic was well above average, imho.

              I think both Megan Woods and Chris Hipkins come across with a lot more depth than Jacinda. So, my view isn't so much a partisan thing.

              Of course your "view isn't so much a partisan thing" – no doubt you think Woods and Hipkins "come across with a lot more depth than" Luxon too.

              And she does a lot of fluff type of stuff.

              There's been "a lot of fluff type of stuff" about – that's politics, nuff said.

              So, maybe I have misjudged her.

              And maybe I have misjudged you – maybe.

              • In Vino

                And let us remember how well Jacinda polled in Australia's desired PM ratings..

                No doubt tsmithfield will have an outpouring of scorn readily available, but I think he fails to besmirch her as well as he wants to.

                • tsmithfield

                  I don't really look at this from a partisan perspective.

                  For instance, I actually rate Chris Hipkins as one of the best politicians in parliament, and better than most of the National politicians.

                  Probably Jacinda's biggest weakness is that she lacks people around her of that caliber. I see Jacinda as more of a visionary and communicator, but not so good at implimentation. That wouldn't be such a problem if she had plenty of MPs with that talent. But, from what I can see, there seem to be only a few she can rely on in that respect.

                  The fact the the same faces, eg Hipkins and Wood, tend to get called in to deal with problematic areas supports my view on this.

                  • Drowsy M. Kram

                    For instance, I actually rate Chris Hipkins as one of the best politicians in parliament, and better than most of the National politicians.

                    Better than Luxon? Chris v. Chris, Hipkins has more political experience.

                    I actually think both Nicola Willis and Shane Reti come across with a lot more depth than Chris (Luxon).

                    Probably Chris’ biggest weakness is his lack of political experience.

          • Louis

            yes Drowsy M. Kram

        • RosieLee

          Anyone with any intelligence and sense avoids Hosking like the plague.

          • tsmithfield

            So does that mean you think that Labour MPs who do appear on the show with Hosking, including Grant Robertson, are lacking intelligence and sense?

        • TSS 1.1.2 Please read your first sentence. It smacks of male condescension.

          • tsmithfield

            Really?? I would make that statement about anyone I thought was a nice person whether they be male or female. There certainly was no condescension intended in the comment.

            • Shanreagh

              In my very first English class in my very first week away at boarding school at age 12. We were asked to do a quick essay on one of those topics du jour such as 'What did you do in your holidays?'

              Teacher looked at them and gave some class-wide comments one of which is now a family saying down to great nephew level….

              'Nice is a weak word'

              This was duly reported home and picked up in my family.

              Now I don't use it, it is used within the family in some contexts. I might use 'nice' to describe it but caveat it with the phrase 'but nice is a such a weak word…..' etc

              So no, in my family nice always has an edge, an unfavourable edge.

              I agree with Patricia that in this context it seems talking down PLUS

              'Nice is such such a weak word'

        • Anne

          "And she seems to have a craving for fluffy photo opps."

          That's not true tsmithfield. She does no more "fluffy opps" than any of the other leaders. But she is PM so she's going to be followed around by the media to a greater extent.

          Light hearted moments with members of the public are NOT fluffy opps.

          As for the light-weight meme. National Party projecting their own leader onto Ardern imo.

        • Louis

          "daily Covid announcements" The PM was doing her job during a one in one hundred year global pandemic.

          "just announce the facts" The PM did and she included context, which one would expect for a pandemic.

          What is the wisdom of National's inflationary tax cuts to the wealthy during a cost of living crisis that will cost billions? Luxon will get $18,000 and those on the lower end will get $2.15, so how does that help? Whereas the tvnz/rnz merger will be $327m (Luxon got the numbers wrong), in funding over three years and the PM said why.

          "Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: Over the last 10 years, TVNZ's commercial returns have declined by millions of dollars. The member seems to not have noticed that people's access to what was traditional forms of media such as television has substantially declined.

          Christopher Luxon: What's that got to do with it?

          Rt Hon JACINDA ARDERN: You question what that's got to do with it. When people stop watching, it declines their advertising revenue. That means that their commercial viability declines, which means our ability to have public broadcasting declines"


          "she doesn't like confrontational type of interviews" Rubbish. The PM handled Mike Hosking very well in fact, he struggled to land the hits he was after. The PM adjusted her media schedule and said she would go on his show if needed instead of a regular slot, in the end Hosking said he didn't want her on his show.

          What "fluffy photo opps"?

          Jacinda Ardern is no lightweight, she has proved that time and again.

    • Muttonbird 1.2

      Yeah, she should keep her mouth shut and stay in the kitchen.

  2. Sanctuary 2

    Chris Trotter has been out of the loop for a long time when it comes to the left. He still hasn't quite come to terms with no longer being allowed to play his guitar at Labour party conferences, and considers living in Dunedin in 1982 as the pinnacle of his life.

    He is essentially an increasingly irrelevant embarassment who is a right populist reactionary nowadays. His use of left rhetoric is just an echo of his past these days.

    He is just sad, him and Bradbury spend their whole time telling the world how left wing they are in meetings (that invariably dwell exclusively on culture war issues) with the floor sweepings of the right. They are all too disreputable even for the MSM to bother interviewing, which they interpret as being cancelled by the "woke" – a shadowy force that nowhere and everywhere, influential but marginal,and relentless yet inchoate.

    • Visubversa 2.1

      Ah, so you too suffered through his lamentable renditions of "Solidarity Forever" etc. Fortunately, I don't think he has been on the ticket at Labour Party Conferences for most of this Century – however much he resents it.

    • tc 2.2

      Great points however he does get trotted out by the MSM.

      If he appears to be sipping the nact koolaid that would be singing for ones supper like Pagani, Edwards etc.

      To further quote Dylan….we all gotta serve somebody.

      • Obtrectator 2.2.1

        "Great points however he does get trotted out by the MSM."

        They wouldn't trot him out if they figured he was any kind of genuine left-wing threat. Nope, gone to the dark side, deffo.

    • Phil 2.3

      considers living in Dunedin in 1982 as the pinnacle of his life.

      That might potentially be the most savage burn on a person's character I have ever read.

    • Bearded Git 2.4

      Agree all of that Sanc. What really sticks in my craw is Trotters hatred of the Greens. This means he can never praise them for successful CC policies or where they push Labour to the left on social issues.

      The dinosaur Trotter is intent on taking us back to the dinosaurs.

  3. Kat 3

    Couldn't agree more with this post. Chris Trotter has stated he intends keeping the Labour govt honest. Where he is failing to do that is when he descends into opposition attack style rhetoric a la National/Act who hide behind the guise of 'holding the govt to account'.

    Like the Mr Jones in Dylans Ballad of a Thin Man, Chris Trotter knows something is happening, he just doesn't know what it is…..anymore. Perhaps he just hasn't gotten over failing in his previous foray into politics.

  4. Corey Humm 4

    The endless negativity by some left wing commentators is unhelpful because it makes it seem like the government has achieved nothing.

    The endless positivity and cheerleading of the govt with no criticism by others is also deeply unhelpful, especially when the government needs to be pushed or self reflect.

    If a left wing economic policy was as unpopular as three waters, co-goverance in the implemention of govt services or hate speech are, it'd be tossed out like a CGT and fast.

    The fact that labour would rather lose the election than drop these policies is nuts and scary.

    What's the point in losing an election over policies that will immediately be overturned along with fair pay agreements and every bit of progress the govt has made.

    The govt needs to drop these policies like they did the capital gains tax. Ive been told by labour for years "we can't do xyz cos it's too radical and would lose us the election" , they should start listening to themselves.

    The PM has failed to bring people with her on three waters, co-goverance in services and hate speech, when questioned she tells journalists "I've not heard these criticisms"

    In NZ politics you need to bring people with you, we've spent two years trying and failed it's time to move on and focus on winning 2023 so that by the time of the next national govt fpas are deeply imbedded.

    Mainstream left voices need to call on the govt to drop these policies, if they aren't passed by next month.

  5. Terry 5

    Let’s be honest this Labour government is pretty lacklustre, they would have been a one term government if it were not for Covid.

    unfortunately the bulk of the voters have been turned off. You can’t make someone vote for you if they don’t want to.

    they should forget 3 waters, in its current form, rightfully or wrongly, it is way too divisive.

    As for hate speech, if you’re looking a suppressing and criminalising certain speech, then you’re on the wrong side of history.

    • Gabby 5.1

      They should put far more effort into showing the benefits of 3 wtrs. How it will make ppl's lives better. How it will work for everybody. How it will save money.

      • Incognito 5.1.1

        I agree that Nanny should spoon-feed us, change our nappies, wipe our bottoms, and teach us to sit up, walk, and speak. However, one would expect people who grace this site with their presence on an all too regular basis have reached that level of political maturity that is evident by doing self-research and making informed comments that have a foundation in a shared reality.

        For example, one could read the speech at the recent LGNZ Mayoral Induction Hui by Nanaia Mahuta:

        Without the reforms, the significant investment to upgrade and maintain the pipes and plants that provide safe drinking water, and treat and take away wastewater and stormwater, will be out of reach for communities.

        Ratepayers can least afford to foot the bill. It is estimated that between $120 billion and $185 billion is needed over the next 30-40 years to get water systems across the country up to standard.


        • Poission

          $120 billion and $185 billion is needed over the next 30-40 years

          Thats the assets depreciation,hilarious.

          • Incognito

            I know you come here to contribute to comedy but in case you have anything better to add, this forum is yours.

            • Poission

              Its standard practice to invoke hobgoblins in the form of large numbers to convince the populace of a crisis that is mostly imagined,and somehow only a complete transfer of management, will save NZ.

              The greatest thing that democracy received from the Greeks,was the replacement of violence with rigorous debate,and indeed rigorous argument against the sophists,

              • Incognito

                So, you’ve got nothing?

                • Poission

                  I called bullshit on the number,being trivial,(which it is ) do you not understand that?

                  • Incognito


                    You called it and don’t want to show your cards, which means you’re blustering & bluffing just like the likes of Luxon.

                    Why even bother?

                    • Poission

                      The problem was the number used by Mahuta,and repeated by yourself.The answer to the problem (almost obvious )was it was around the depreciation over 40 years,the solution being obvious was trivial.

                      Here is a problem.

                      The NZ housing stock is 1.6 trillion $,depreciation is around 3% pa,with inflation will the accumulated number exceed the Mahuta number by how many magnitudes.

                    • Incognito []

                      The problem is trivial or the solution is trivial? Never mind.

                      Can you stop speaking in riddles and avoid diversions and possibly string together a coherent argument as to why future investment in NZ water infrastructure is affordable or not if we’re staying on current trajectory, for example.

                    • Poission

                      The problem becomes trivial when a solution is available,ie there is an answer.

                      Investment in NZ water infrastructure,is necessary because councils ,did not meet their requirements for maintaining and replacing their infrastructure at the depreciation levels.The money being used to build other assets usually for entertainment such as Stadia.

                      There was also additional money that had been raised for rates and levy's by councils,and given to the government,by way of taxation (such as GST). This could have been used to fund capital works for population growth.

                      A good example of the additional funding was the GST (paid) in the Christchurch Rebuild where the rebuilds were funded mostly by EQC and insurance funds,and the GST was essentially used (returned the community ) as investment on infrastructure pipes,etc., and which became very much a zero sum spend.

      • pat 5.1.2

        "How it will save money."

        Quite simply 3 Waters will not save money so that is why the Gov struggle to 'sell' the benefit

        "While the maths might work in terms of the four new water entities being able to borrow sufficiently against revenues to fund this infrastructure, the practicalities of concrete and steel’s considerable climate impacts, environmental legislation and water regulation changes raising the bar, and a shortage of talented water experts in the country, are all significant constraints to their ability to do this in practice.

        To balance the ledger and make our future healthy waters affordable, demand mitigation such as metering, pricing and improved water use standards will be needed, as well as really effective strategic asset management by the water services entities. But in the short term, the flow of cash for Three Waters is unlikely to end soon"


        The solutions are the same irrespective of model and it is ultimately funded by the same people ….all of us.

  6. Poission 6

    housing prices are falling as Labour’s policies around ownership kick in and new stock comes onto the market.

    Heck the PM even brought down house prices in the US,UK,Sweden,China,Australia,…

    • Terry 6.1

      House prices are dropping due to affordability, the new financial regulations, the fallout from covid & the war in Europe. Seriously Labour Party supporters are even more one eyed than a Canterbury supporter

      • Phil 6.1.1

        As a Cantabrian, I demand you take back that slanderous accusation that anyone can be as one-eyed and parochial as a Cantabrian is about their sports teams.

        • Terry

          My humble apologies. You are right no one is more one eyed than a Cantabury supporter. As a Hurricane supporter, I am living for the moment we will two championships in a decade….

      • Charlie 6.1.2

        Seriously Labour Party supporters are even more one eyed than a Canterbury supporter……

        Yes but they just keep on keeping on and winning winning winning. That one eye must be bloody good aye!

      • Nic the NZer 6.1.3

        I think I detected a touch of humor in comment 6. It seemed intentional.

  7. Bryan Dods 7

    "Chris is part of that circle of wanna be media personalities…"

    Josie Pagani is another who claims to represent Labour but instead constantly puts them down.

    • Chris 7.1

      Probably because they deserve it. Being critical of a political party's policies doesn't mean you don't want that party to be in government. I'd be more concerned about the level of blind and unquestioning support political parties get from their party faithful.

      • Louis 7.1.1

        Trotter and Pagani haven't been anywhere near left in a very long time and they do not represent the Labour party. It's misleading to claim they do.

        "I'd be more concerned about the level of blind and unquestioning support political parties get from their party faithful"

        Like the National party? How many times have you heard Trotter and Pagani et al tear National to shreds and do it relentlessly?

    • Louis 7.2

      Very true that Bryan. Trotter and Pagani do not represent the Labour party.

  8. Obtrectator 8

    Like it or not, they're going to have to drop 3 Waters for the time being. They've allowed it to be framed by its opponents as an asset-snatch, rather than its true purpose, which is guaranteeing the universal human right to fresh water supply of appropriate standard – a task that's becoming (or already is) beyond the capability of most if not all local bodies. It'll take a few more years yet of soaring rates bills and major pipe failures to convince the gammons that this could be an idea whose time has come.

    • Visubversa 8.1

      If they had any PR type smarts they could have framed 3 Waters as the best water related Public Health initiative since Dr John Snow took the handle off the Broad St pump. Instead they left it lying around until the vacuum was filled with racist assholes saying that Labour was stealing your water supply to give it to millionaire Iwi.

    • Yvonne Charsley 8.2

      I believe that is an insult commonly used by the wealthy directed at the 'working class' in the UK.
      Please don't use it here or you just might get a whakapohane back.

      • Muttonbird 8.2.1

        It's an insult commonly used to describe the British political right and Brexiters. So not all working class.

  9. Reality 9

    Have not bothered to read Chris Trotter for some time other than to look at his headline and then move on. He is so enthralled with himself and what he sees as his cleverness. He has become nothing more than a crotchety has been wanting to forever be in the public eye.

  10. Right is right 10

    All political parties need to be criticized for stuffing up. Blindly supporting any party and not calling them out on their failures is stupid. Good on those who are pointing out Labours faults and failures. There are too many to even note here and the arrogance of the PM and her deputies is not good for the country.

  11. Tiger Mountain 11

    Chris Trotter has been in the crap with some on the broad spectrum of the left ever since the mid 80s when he began writing for the National Business Review. He was then involved with various retail unions and the Distribution Workers Federation among others. Unionists did not appreciate his apparent class collaboration, but he did make up for it somewhat during the New Labour and Alliance years–which of course simultaneously lowered his stakes in NZ Labour even more.

    He was probably an early cross class “pundit”, of which the world seems to be infested by now in their multi thousands, and is certainly a long distance columnist in terms of work. So to get paid he needs to have a ratio of left/right oriented columns depending on the publication and the audience.

    I prefer my pundits to be doctrinaire with a definite class position one way or another, right opportunism rarely has a pleasurable end.

  12. Incognito 12

    This Post’s title is so misleading that it makes for a great headline. I was fully expecting it to be about Chris Luxon promoting some kind of makeup in a Suzanne Paul-like fashion for the porcine policy platform of his party. Sadly, it is about another Chris [not Bishop or Hipkins] promoting the trougher policies for the rich of the Nats & ACT.

    This Chris has built a brand from his iconoclastic idiosyncrasies with himself leading his fan club, generating a similar foul and putrid smell that emanates from Elon the Musk when he charges and stomps around like a herd of wild elephants in a woke China shop in the name of freedom for the proletariat masses.

    This Chris is the quintessential historical determinist who will be yearning until the end of time for an Honorary Doctorate from Otago University.

    Recently, I had the intense displeasure of reading one of his blogs about racism in NZ healthcare because a Trottee (aka Trotter devotee) was raving (and ranting) about it on this forum. Once I get off the ventilator, I have no plans in letting him suck my oxygen away again.

  13. Sacha 13

    The warm inner glow is the erratic trickle into the Colonel's hushpuppies.

  14. mosa 14

    " Has Labour been moving the country in the right direction? I believe so and you can consult this list of a hundred things the Government has delivered this year if you need verification. There is also this list of things Labour has achieved while in Government ”

    Great then why are they dropping like a stone in the polls and why is Adern now despised and not trusted two years into her triumphant second term.

    An historic MMP result , a majority government not seen since 1990-93

    The promised transformation not the incremental change we have had and Adern should have chosen her words more carefully. Trotter is well within his rights to critique this government who had the opportunity to be bold , change the narrative that was being cried out for in 2020 and no NZF handbrake to slow or impede the change so desperately needed.

    They have had nine years in opposition and five years in government to package and sell three waters and at least have an understanding of the likely opposition that would eventuate and plan for that. No political skills no nous !

    Robertson the conservative is more concerned about his legacy than being bold and changing the economic narrative. Where is the vision and the urge to fight so many injustices that their supporters vote Labour to stand up for them.

    He is certainly no Cullen !

    They could of been in government for four terms and kept the Nasties out so they could not unwind the economic reforms that could of been undertaken.

    Of course M.S is happy with what has not been achieved because he is a supporter of neo liberal kindness and these gains he talks about are nowhere near enough on what needs to be done so instead of attacking Trotter write a post on the huge social and economic deficit that they haven't addressed and you know what those are because I have listed the them ad nauseam . Therein lies the problem with LINO and this rubbish about Savage whispering in Adern's ear. Its all an insult to the Savage and Kirk governments and offensive to so many that Adern solicited votes from that this is as good as it gets after promising something very different.

    That warm inner glow has more to do with you MS and your government but does not exist out here in the real world.

    All noise and no action


    • observer 14.1

      why is Adern now despised

      And then you provide a link that shows she is not.

      Compare these global approval ratings. Ardern would be near the top. If you don't know what is happening all over the world, start reading about it to get some perspective.


      • mosa 14.1.1

        " But alongside them is "incompetent", "fake", "unreliable", "liar", and "evil". A few even went as far as "deceitful" and "dictator".

        Read it again ! the above was what I was referring to. Despised fits the bill.

        International approval is wonderful but that won't win her the next general election.

        She is great on the international stage but totally inept where it counts and that's here.

        • observer

          This is the wordcloud (poll) that you cited (your original link is down).

          So readers here can decide for themselves if your description of "despised" is accurate reporting of the voters' overall responses. Cherry-picking your fringe faves doesn't cut it.


          • mosa

            I think you are the one " cherry picking " and I stand by my description despite your obvious sympathy for the satus quo.

            Fringe faves ? no that was New Zealanders replying to a question and you are obviously another member of the warm inner glow which does you no credit when it comes to life outside your perception of reality.

            • observer

              If you could engage with the facts that would be better.

              You made a claim, and you cited a poll to support your claim.

              I have linked to that poll.

        • observer

          International approval is wonderful but that won’t win her the next general election.

          My link was not to international approval of Ardern. It was to domestic approval of leaders in other democracies.

          This is very relevant because leaders in all democracies are facing the same problems. So incumbents everywhere are (naturally) taking a hit. By that measure, Ardern's approval rating is higher than most of her counterparts, except for very new leaders like Albanese.

          Those are the facts, which you presumably know already if you have been following world politics.

      • mosa 14.1.2

        " If you don't know what is happening all over the world, start reading about it to get some perspective "

        I have plenty of perspective and you aren't the only one who follows international events …that comment we could have done without but I digress.

    • Kat 14.2

      Ardern, mosa….Ardern…….

      Keep it up mosa, the blue suited shiny top may well be along in his black limo to sort out your "real world" soon enough…….

      Why turkeys would vote for an early Christmas in this "real world" is baffling to say the least…….

      • mosa 14.2.1

        " Keep it up mosa, the blue suited shiny top may well be along in his black limo to sort out your "real world" soon enough……

        Yes Kat I work with the most vulnerable in our community and I see the destruction , the poverty , the empty promises , the hard viscous outcomes of this neo liberal economy on so many.

        I despise the Nasty Natz but I despise this economic system more that seems to be protected by both major parties.

        What infuriates me is Labour talking about transformation and that implies hope but then does not deliver , the inequities of this market economy are savage and unrelenting and when you campaign offering transformation but get more of the same under a " Labour " government then transformation begins to sound hollow.

        • Kat

          Well mosa political revolutions are just not the style here in little old NZ, a pale shadow of one happened in the mid 1980's and look at the pain that caused.

          Incremental change that sticks is the Kiwi way. Just look at the new fuel regulations announced today to curb profiteering…..Labour are making changes.

          Keep up the good work…

    • Louis 14.3

      Your links to a hundred things the Labour government has delivered this year and the long list of what Labour have achieved contradicts your link to no right turn's all noise no policy.

      The word cloud is more favourable to Ardern than Luxon.

  15. DS 15

    Which part of the speech is historically contestable? None as far as I can see.

    Trotter is over-egging the pudding, but his underlying point is valid. The historical details of the speech are contestable. Not outright lies, but still showing evidence of spin.

    1. The Depression ended in New Zealand in 1934. By the time Savage was elected in 1935, a strong recovery was underway – albeit there was still very severe poverty.
    2. John A. Lee was responsible for the state-housing… and ask Savage what he thought of Lee.
    3. Certain important measures of the First Labour Government, notably compulsory unionism, are overlooked.
    4. Peter Fraser was far more important than Nash on the international stage. It's rather like the speech can't identify what the Second Labour Government actually did.
    5. One ought to not confuse Norm Kirk with his actual Government. Kirk himself was deeply socially conservative, and his stance on apartheid South Africa at the 1972 election was really just hoping that the "tour question" would go away. Bill Rowling was far more progressive.
    6. Focusing on the Lange Government for nuclear free is rather missing the point of the Lange Government, of course. The legalisation of homosexuality was a conscience vote, supported by several National MPs and opposed by a number of Labour ones. And while abolishing the death penalty for treason was nice and all, the important abolition (that for murder) was done in 1961, when Keith Holyoake put the matter to a free Parliamentary vote. Labour in 1961 voted en-mass for abolition, together with ten National MPs, including the young Robert Muldoon.

    In short, not lies… just spin. I would be much, much more interested to see Ardern denounce the Fourth Labour Government for its economic policies than to see her praise the ultimate irrelevance that was Nuclear Free.

    • mosa 15.1

      " In short, not lies… just spin. I would be much, much more interested to see Ardern denounce the Fourth Labour Government for its economic policies than to see her praise the ultimate irrelevance that was Nuclear Free.

      Yes DS that would have been a transformative moment at the start of their 2020 government !

      But no.

    • swordfish 15.2


      And while abolishing the death penalty for treason was nice and all, the important abolition (that for murder) was done in 1961, when Keith Holyoake put the matter to a free Parliamentary vote. Labour in 1961 voted en-mass for abolition, together with ten National MPs, including the young Robert Muldoon.

      Yup … the key abolition occurred during the Holyoake National Govt (albeit mainly via the Labour caucus) and let's remember a range of activists had spent years intensely campaigning to end the death penalty … in 1956 my grandmother co-founded the National Committee for the Abolition of Capital Punishment and the group’s various activists were subsequently involved in publicity campaigns & the lobbying of MPs (the NZ Howard League for Penal Reform also played a role).

      The intimation that the Kirk Govt worked hard to push a (purely post-1987) notion of a Treaty "Partnership" is also beyond risible.

    • Craig H 15.3

      Abolition of the death penalty for murder was originally passed by the First Labour Government in 1941 (along with abolition of flogging and whipping) and was reintroduced by the First National Government in 1950 (although flogging and whipping were not reintroduced).

      NZ was also one of the first signatories of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in 1990, which is why we finally abolished the death penalty for the last remaining offenses (treason, mutiny in the armed forces) at that particular time rather than just leaving them unused on the statute books.

    • Louis 15.4

      Not lies and not spin either. The PM just covered a few points, it wasn't meant to be an in depth history lesson on the Labour party.

      • Belladonna 15.4.1

        Agree not a history lesson (it's a political speech).

        But, yes, it is spin. That's what politicians do – highlight the bits of history that support their narrative, and ignore the bits that don't.

        • Louis

          Disagree with your opinion, as MS said "no statement that is flat out wrong, and few if any could be contestable unless you were to apply extreme interpretations of what was said"

  16. DS 16

    For myself, my irritation with the Labour Government has been centred on Chris Hipkins at Tertiary Education. It is not a matter of wanting socialist nirvana, but simply wanting Labour to undo the damage of the Key Government, and take us back to 2008, when postgraduates could still access student allowances, students could access student loans for more than seven years in their lifetime, and where students associations were not completely at the mercy of their institution for funding.

    Hipkins has done nothing to fix any of this, and frankly seems to be blocking it.

  17. Recently, I had the intense displeasure of reading one of his blogs about racism in NZ healthcare because a Trottee (aka Trotter devotee) was raving (and ranting) about it on this forum. Once I get off the ventilator, I have no plans in letting him suck my oxygen away again.

    Yes that was an odd blog from Chris Trotter.

    Don't let anyone with big feet stomp anywhere near your ventilator, trip hazard and blocking the tubes hazard. Trotters and trottees alike. In days of old he had a preciseness that seems to now be gone in favour of barging in with big feet. smiley

  18. pat 18

    of course we could all shoot the messenger if that allows us to ignore the message….

    "Twelve months from now, when the actual voting papers, as opposed to responses to pollsters’ questions, are counted, Labour’s tally is likely to be much lower than 32 percent. Why? Because the level of voter abstention will be higher than it has been for many elections. Higher than the pollsters at Reid Research and other agencies are willing to assume, which means that the pre-election polls will flatter the Left by a significant margin. When the true level of abstention is revealed on Election Night – especially in relation to Māori, Pasifika and Pakeha voters under 30 – the vicious destruction of the Labour Party by older, whiter and righter voters will be explained."

    I suspect he will prove correct that we will not achieve an 81% turnout (2020) again in 2023 especially when we note the level of engagement in local body elections recently…and that reduced turnout historically impacts the 'left' more.

  19. mosa 19

    Greg Preslend aka Mickey Savage and his tribal LINO desperation and attack on Chris Trotter.

    The rebuttal Greg.

    " To be honest with you all, I never read The Standard because it’s politically irrelevant, tedious and oh so safe. Ironically the last time I had anything to do with Greg Presland was when he, Chris Trotter and I were plotting to get Cunliffe in as Labour Leader (I know, I know, I know – not one of my greatest strategic ideas) so I don’t visit The Standard, I don’t read it and don’t rate Greg much as a writer.

    I’d call him a hack, but that requires an edge and Greg is too dull for that


    • Anne 19.1

      Oh dear, oh dear, they have got their knickers in a twist. I stopped reading that blog because they spend most of their time running everybody down, but when anybody runs them down… oh dear, oh dear. surprise

    • Muttonbird 19.2

      In the comments, countryboy threatens to beat up Mickysavage in a pub carpark as an offering to his master, Chris Trotter.

      The state of Bradbury and his blog…

    • Ad 19.3

      Greg Presland has sustained western Auckland from New Lynn to Avondale to Glen Eden to Titirangi to Piha as one of the three strongest Labour areas in the country. And done it selflessly over 30 years.

      Few can claim his sustained political success, certainly not Bomber Bradbury or Chris Trotter.

      • Sanctuary 19.3.1


        …Greg Presland has sustained western Auckland from New Lynn to Avondale to Glen Eden to Titirangi to Piha as one of the three strongest Labour areas in the country…


        "…I never read The Standard because it’s politically irrelevant…"

        Someone ought to ask Bomber how Internet-Mana is going, or how anything he has ever done has actually achieved anything outside the usual suspects and blowhards he hangs out with.

        One of the big difference between a lot of the people on this site and the immature shit show of Bradbury's site is this one has a lot of people who have actually achieved success in the complex real world (dull I know), whereas Bomber and co appear to permanently stuck in an undergraduate common room and have a world view to match.

    • mickysavage 19.4

      Let me tell you about that campaign. If Bomber and Trotter were plotting with me to get Cunliffe elected I must have missed it. They were nowhere and totally irrelevant. Claims that they were at the centre of things are weird.

  20. lol

  21. Darien Fenton 21

    A new low reached with his interview with Sean Plunkett on the Platform. What I observe is Chris (and Bomber) have a lot of right wing cheerleaders these days.

  22. Mike the Lefty 22

    Whatever your misgivings about Chris Trotter, the fact remains that he is a very knowledgeable and skilled writer. He is probably the best informed historian on New Zealand workers and the union movement. His books are very readable and, although Trotter himself is unashamedly left of centre, they are generally quite politically balanced. Plus his language is restrained and not vindictive – unlike others such as David Farrar.

    I find myself agreeing less and less with Chris Trotter nowadays but I still respect him for his work as one of New Zealand's best historians.

    • mickysavage 22.1

      14 years ago I would have agreed with you. Now, no way. Check out his claims about Jacinda's speech.

      • Anne 22.1.1

        Funny thing. I've been reading an article about narcissism this evening. One of the identifiers is: they truly believe they are better than everyone else, but when somebody comes along and says no, you are not better than everyone else they can't take it and get really upset. wink

  23. Darien Fenton 23

    I was told by Trotter I'm a post modernist because I commented on his interview with that bastion of the Left Sean Plunket. A bit like the other language of woke, cancel culture, etc. I had to look it up. We have to speak a language most people understand and beware intellectual snobbery. I know if you talked to most working people, they would be bewildered.

  24. roblogic 24

    TDB commenters are indistinguishable from WhaleOil/ BFD these days. I responded to this silly rebuttal but my comment wasn't published.

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