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Does the left do more of the same or does it get radical this election?

Written By: - Date published: 11:12 am, July 7th, 2017 - 252 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, Deep stuff, Economy, election 2017, greens, Jeremy Corbyn, labour, uk politics - Tags:

Andrew Dean has written this opinion piece published in today’s Stuff.  He manages to summarise what must be the most important campaign question for Labour and the Greens right now. Do they get radical or do they hope that a business as usual approach will result in a change of government.

In his opinion piece he correctly describes what is happening overseas:

Over the last year, Left politics has been transforming across the world. This has especially been the case in Britain.

Running on a platform of strong economic redistribution and state intervention, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has inspired activists and voters alike.

From an almost 20-point deficit at the start of the election campaign in April 2017, the party ended up running the Conservatives remarkably close on June 8. Polls now suggest that if the election were to be held today, Labour may win.

The Corbyn phenomenon is part of the wider delegitimisation of the so-called “Third Way”. It has been a year in which Centre-Left politics globally has been defeated by establishment parties and newcomers to both the Left and the Right.

In retrospect, the June 2016 EU referendum in Britain and Hillary Clinton’s November 2016 loss to Donald Trump, both appear to be decisive moments. The Centre no longer holds.

And this is why he thinks that Labour’s and the Greens’ current approach is a mistake:

Parties of the Centre-Left in New Zealand, however, have doubled down on business-as-usual politics. The “budget responsibility rules,” signed by both Labour and the Greens, would require that a coalition government keep spending “within the recent historical range of spending to GDP ratio” – with “recent” here meaning the last 20 years.  Such a government would operate a surplus and reduce debt.

Through this gesture, voters are being shown that under a Labour-Green government, they would get more of the same.

In my view, the budget responsibility rules are a serious mistake. At the very least, they are unlikely to convince voters. They reflect electoral strategies from the 1990s and 2000s, in which Centre-Left parties shied away from criticising the contemporary arrangement of capitalism.

He thinks that a more radical approach could work and he believes that there is a mood of dissent that could be captured by a Corbyn like campaign:

A recent survey out of Ipsos shows that disenchantment is at remarkably high levels in New Zealand. As Henry Cooke reports, according to this survey, 56 per cent of New Zealanders think that traditional parties and politicians don’t care about people like them. Sixty-four per cent think the economy is rigged to the advantage of the rich and powerful.

He effectively argues for a more progressive taxation system:

A bolder Left party would make the following argument: wealthy households and companies are taking an increased proportion of national production, and have been doing so for decades. The idealised economic model which has driven this – that “free” markets are the most efficient, and therefore best – has failed on multiple levels, not the least of which is fact.

The concentration of wealth that we have seen has meant that political power has become further concentrated in the hands of the wealthy, stifling political change. Recognising all of this, this party’s policies are united by the grand vision of ensuring everyone has a fairer share of the nation’s economic production and political power.

The one aspect that I disagree with him is his criticism of Labour’s immigration policy.  He doubts that it is the cause of various recent ills such as housing and wages.  The reality is that Auckland is groaning under surge of new residents with population growth rates in the vicinity of 3% for the past few years and record immigration levels are part of this.  By all means lets continue being a diverse multicultural and tolerant society.  But lets manage our rate of growth so that the city and the country can properly absorb and adjust to the effects of growth.  In particular lets make sure everyone has somewhere to live and that our transportation system does not seize up.

252 comments on “Does the left do more of the same or does it get radical this election? ”

  1. Andre 1

    There’s a notable absence of any mention of Macron and En Marche, the epitome of centrist liberalism.

    Seems to me the common factor Trump, Trudeau, Macron, Corbyn, Duterte et al have is that they communicate an enthusiasm for what they want to achieve. Whereas their opponents stood for more of the same, just managed a little bit better.

    So what I’d like to see from Turei, Shaw, Little, Ardern and co is: show us the fire in your belly. I’m sure it’s there. Don’t worry it might frighten the horses.

    • RedLogix 1.1

      The problem for the left in NZ is that “Turei, Shaw, Little, Ardern and co ” have left it too late. The voting public looked, yawned and went back to Netflix.

      By contrast Sanders and Corbyn were the real deal; they’ve been exactly who they are for decades. Their whole public career has been coherent and consistent. They’ve been independent minded, outspoken and have openly attacked inequality, snobbery and unconstrained neo-liberalism right from the outset. They’ve not been afraid to speak bluntly and say things that weren’t popular wisdom at the time.

      So which NZ political figure ticks most of these boxes right now?

      • Andre 1.1.1

        I learned long ago that if I’m really not going to like the answer, don’t ask the question.

        • RedLogix

          Oh go on … you can do it.

          • Andre

            OK, I’ll try. Wi…..nghhhh…. Wins…urrgh… Winst…NYARRRRGGGH.

            Nope, Can’t do it.

            • Draco T Bastard

              Hone comes to mind.

              • red-blooded

                Hone “I’ll cuddle up to KDC to get some cash”? Hone “Execute Chinese drug dealers”?

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I didn’t say that Hone was a good politician but he does hark back to the 1970s as far as policy goes.

                  • Louis

                    Which bosses and employers are accusing Labour of with its fair wage/work place policies.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Bosses and National are always accusing Labour of such things and they’re usually wrong.

                      Of course, when they are pushing out those accusations they never actually tell us what they think is wrong with that.

                    • Louis

                      Thats true. Why dont the media ever pull up National and the bosses?

                • Molly

                  “Hone “I’ll cuddle up to KDC to get some cash”?”
                  Strangely forgotten, is that Mana took the issue to their members before deciding to accept the joint election run with the Internet Party. And the members said Yes. The policies of the Internet Party did not contradict those of Mana. I dont’ actually understand what the problem is there.

                  “Hone “Execute Chinese drug dealers”?”

                  “”We can pass a law to say any Chinese who bring meth or its precursors into this country is either going to jail forever, is going to get sent back and never be allowed here again, or is going to get executed,” he told host Lisa Owen.

                  Newshub 24 June 2017

                  I think that was a comment on sending P dealers who are from China, back to their country to be tried – where it is possible they will be executed if found guilty, rather than a proposal for a policy that NZ enacts.

              • Incognito


        • Keepcalmcarryon

          You sound like the government.

      • mauī 1.1.2

        Winston and Gareth Morgan come to mind for me anyway.

        • weka

          Who want’s Muldoon Mk II? (just stealing Bill’s term from the other post).

          trying to think what the appropriate comparison would be for Morgan.

          • DoublePlusGood

            Boris Johnson?

          • Andre

            Morgan has a lot of similarities to Bob Jones.

            • weka

              Yeah, that works. Bob Jones with social benefits.

              • Sumsuch

                Bob Jones’s nephew has just won NZ Survivor. Everyone loved Avi’s kindness, niceness; I felt myself thinking I would be proud if he was my son. From Bob’s bloodline?! Bob’s tireless work against the people and Avi’s epitomisation of the reason there won’t be a second season of Survivor NZ: we are too compassionate. Strange beyond belief.

            • RedLogix

              Yes … but Jones was a total dick. And his libertarian/liberalisation agenda was completely the opposite of Morgans. On the other hand it did have this very interesting outcome that many people have forgotten:

              While its failure to win seats was a major disappointment to the New Zealand Party, it took comfort in the fact that it likely caused the defeat of the government. The opposition Labour Party soundly defeated Muldoon and the National Party, and many commentators believe that the New Zealand Party played a major role in drawing voters away from National.


              Oh and they did get 12% of the vote. Just the once.

              • Andre

                Not only is Jones a total dick, it appears he’s fully aware of it and considers it his finest attribute.

                I seem to recall from the time that Jones was semi-open about his motivation being to get rid of Muldoon and the strategy was to just siphon away enough Nats.

            • Morrissey

              Not really. To the best of my knowledge, Gareth Morgan is not a racist, and he doesn’t abuse women.

          • mauī

            “Who want’s Muldoon Mk II?” – I’m sure a lot of politically engaged people don’t want them but what about the rest of the electorate. As RedL was saying people might find the real deal politicians more appealing.

            • weka

              Are you suggesting that left wing politicians emulate Peters?

              • mauī

                I’m saying there’s a chance that NZF and Morgan could pick up a bigger increase in votes than Labour and the Greens.

                • weka

                  Sure, for NZF, but I would guess most of that would from National, the conservatives in Labour, and the conservative non-vote. I do agree that there is a chunk of people that respect Peters because he stands up for things, and that Labour and Greens would do better if they did that more than they already do. But the Greens standing up for immigrants isn’t going to touch NZF numbers. Maybe Labour will pull some of NZF swing voters their way if they were more like that. It’s a good thing to do for its own sake rather than trying to be like Peters. Unless one is advocating to vote for NZF or TOP I can’t see the point in the comparison tbh.

        • McFlock

          Not so sure about Morgan – he’s been pushing a barrow, but seems more money than getting out around the country (e.g. hiring sean plunket).

          Winston, hate to say it, has been pretty consistent in his range of policy platforms for decades, but also gets out and about all over the country. Especially open meetings that are fun to go to.

          The greens and labour do that a bit themselves, whereas the nats seem largely restricted to business lunches and ceremonies (controlled environments).

          But to be fair, Winston has a special skill – he actually likes hecklers and hostile crowds. A bit like Jimmy Carr – I’ve never seen one beat him yet. Peters doesn’t necessarily convert them, but he comes across as knowing what happened better than any interjector I’ve seen interrupt him, and always with a smile. Damned fine show, actually. I’ve seen loads of pollies speaking to uncontrolled crowds, and he’s by far the best.

          Actually, that’s probably what we’re missing: loads of pollies can read prepared statements passionately, but are too considered in their banter. Others have good banter but stay quick by just making shit up. Very few other than Winston, if any, can actually do good banter while staying vaguely close to the truth.

      • Sumsuch 1.1.3

        Just so. Quite a few left talkers have been the same but no politicians. Our talkers must step forward.

    • Sanctuary 1.2

      Macron and Trudeau are both neoliberal confections and slick Blairites whose ascension to power simply shows that the political clock is not aligned across nations.

      With Trudeau, the wheels are already beginning to fall off as more and more notice his actions fail to match his words. Currently, he has a fully developed liberal agenda that the middle class and intelligensia love as a smokescreen. It won’t last.

      Macron is the epitome of a radical centrist technocrat, and the minute the French public tumble his game he’ll be gone faster than you can say “en avant, mes enfants!”

  2. Even though I have some strong disagreements with the Corbyn/McDonnell leadership of Labour on issues like the reformability of the EU, there is no doubt that the program they have to revitalise the union movement and take the fight to the Tories both inside and outside of parliament, is one that every radical should get behind. Many people in New Zealand ask the question- where is our Jeremy Corbyn? With the recent announcement on maintaining 90-day trial periods, I struggle to think it is Andrew Little.


  3. Draco T Bastard 3

    If the present system isn’t working then you change it.

    It really is that simple.

    The problem for the Greens and Labour is that they actually seem to think that the present system is working when it’s failing globally.

    • Ed 3.1

      They are timid.

      • greywarshark 3.1.1

        The could still be a little timid and just reduce the 90 day period to 60 days. With a few more add-ons, like a simple template for a reference and one day of sick-leave or instead time limitation allowed for people with transport difficulties, the system could work to the benefit of both.

    • BLiP 3.2

      The problem for the Greens and Labour is that they actually seem to think that the present system is working when it’s failing globally.

      Hmmm . . . I’m not so sure. The failure is too obvious, especially for those at the heart of the system. It really comes down to whether Labour and the Greens care. Also, the problem, I think, is more complex. Labour and the Greens appear to think the electorate is too stupid and/or skittish to genuinely consider options outside the neoliberal framework. They are also frightened of the MSM which, obviously, will rally all its resources to slaughter at birth any and every idea which threatens its owners’ personal interests. Compounding this is the paucity of intellect, honesty, and integrity in a growing number their MPs. More and more they seem compliant with the neoliberal concept of the managerial state. Compounding these issues is the overarching perception-forming narrative that politics is just a game – a dirty and despicable game at that. As designed, It has resulted in fewer and fewer of the public actively participating.

      But, yeah, I agree: if the present system isn’t working, you change it. Trouble is, the system is working just enough for most and ticking over perfectly for about 1%.

    • Stuart Munro 4.1

      If they get a bit of Momentum behind them it might turn out that the ‘powerful people’ are not as powerful as they thought.

  4. Nick 5

    What policies would Green/Labour have that could be considered radical or revolutionary enough for media/commentators/bloggers, yet positively viewed by the mainstream voter ?
    As an example for Housing – Kiwi Build ?

    • weka 5.1

      The Greens plan to build light rail in Auckland within a short time frame (albeit this will be noticed by Ak voters rather than nationwide).

      • alwyn 5.1.1

        I suppose then that just as someone described Winston as being Muldoon Mark II I suppose we will have to describe Shaw as being Sir Dove-Myer Robinson Part II.
        Can one really describe light rail (aka trams) as being Radical or Revolutionary?

        • weka

          Just as well I didn’t point to light rail being radical.

          • Sacha

            Quite. *Getting on with it* is radical compared to our current road-addicted foot-draggers in charge.

            • weka

              Funny how National can get legislation through parliament fast when they want to.

          • alwyn

            I read the question from Nick as asking
            “What policies would Green/Labour have that could be considered radical or revolutionary” etc and took your comment, in answer to this, that “The Greens plan to build light rail in Auckland” as suggesting such a policy.

            If you didn’t mean that it is such a policy can you suggest any that they do have that come into the “radical or revolutionary” category?

            Robertson’s early stuff on a UBI would certainly apply but it might have upset the horses.

            • weka

              I didn’t say “The Greens plan to build light rail in Auckland”. I said “The Greens plan to build light rail in Auckland within a short time frame”. As Sacha pointed out, it’s the commitment to get on with that is radical in our current climate.

              There’s plenty of radical policy around. Nick’s criteria was radical/revolutionary according to the commentariat yet positively viewed by the mainstream vote. I’m sure I could think of some, the Ak rail one came to mind because it’s topical.

              You seem to be missing the communication intended. It helps if you take whole sentences rather than chopping them up.

              • Wayne

                Light rail to the Airport by 2021 is not radical, though it is a bad idea.

                Radical ideas transform people’s life’s generally.
                If National Super was announced today it would be regarded as radical being universal at a decent level with no means testing. It won Muldoon the 1975 election.
                What would today’s radical idea be? UBI? Universal child support (actually the old Family Benefit)? But maybe old ideas of universality would meet modern needs.

                • Ross

                  Your comment makes no sense Wayne.

                  On the one hand you say radical ideas change people’s lives and then you quote Superannuation. Well, I suppose it changed taxpayers’ lives (for the worse) from the terrific scheme that was already in place.

                  It won Muldoon the election because some Tory voters couldn’t see past their nose. Future generations are now paying for their short-sightedness.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Every car you get off the road Wayne, improves NZ’s balance of payments by $3-5000 a year. And your lot hates rail? Too stupid to live.

                  • alwyn

                    Light rail to the airport in Auckland, and in Wellington for that matter, which the Green Party are proposing in the campaign material they have been distributing here is crazy.
                    They are proposing technology that will be obsolete as soon as it is implemented.
                    I can remember the Wellington Harbour Board building the Overseas Passenger Terminal. It was in about 1964 and it was part of the modernisation of the port for the growth in seaborne passenger traffic they were envisaging.
                    At the time, and I was just a student, I thought they were crazy. The Boeing 707 had been introduced in 1958 and it was becoming common all over the world. Even I could see that the passenger liner was dead.
                    So is the idea of “light rail”.

                    The autonomous car will be readily available, reliable and popular about the time that the railway line is built. With no driver to pay, and no parking required at the airport for private cars it will replace any alternative travel. For travel in the city electrically powered autonomous cars will sweep all before them. What would you prefer? A car that comes to your home, carries you luggage and takes you directly to the terminal, or someone driving you to the train station, lugging your luggage onto a train, and then travelling to the airport?
                    I know which I would choose and so I am sure will everyone else.
                    Why build a white elephant train service?
                    Sure, autonomous vehicles are probably 10 years away. So is the light rail unless the radical idea the Greens are proposing is removing any right to object to developments they propose.

                    [“which the Green Party are proposing in the campaign material they have been distributing here is crazy.” The GP doesn’t afaik distribute campaign material here. You already know how I feel about you telling lies and your sailing a bit close to the wind here. The closer we get to the election the less likely it is you will get away with that. Because of your history, if I end up banning it will be for a long time – weka]

                    • weka

                      see moderator note.

                    • alwyn

                      As must be pretty obvious by “here” I mean Wellington.
                      I have received two items in our letter box in the last month or so from the Green Party. I can’t say the exact date as I was away and they arrived with our held mail.

                      The first has a photo of Shaw and Turei on one side. On the other it has some promises, clean water, supported families and responsible Government.
                      Having been paid for by Parliament, (It has the little seal printed on it), it can’t say “Vote Green” but it does almost everything else.
                      The wording includes such phrases as “This year, we can build the New Zealand we all want to live in, if we work together”. It also says “It’s time to get into the conversation with us” and “We’re all in this together”.

                      The other bit was about the “Green Party Transport Plan” for Wellington It talks about how “The Green Party will make it easier for ……..” and “We will build on this success…….”
                      It also talks about “affordable fares for all” and “Fully Electric Bus Fleet” and “Modern Light Rail”.
                      It also has a map of the area showing their transport plan with light rail to Newtown by 2025 and an extension to the airport by 2028. There are also “Possible Future Lines” out to the Hutt Valley and out to Island Bay.
                      It was authorised by Julie Anne Genter. Why not ask her for a copy.

                      It also doesn’t explicitly say “Vote Green”. Having been paid for by the Crown, (It also has that little seal), that would be illegal.

                      Don’t you think that it would be an amazing coincidence that this is the first thing I can remember receiving from the Green Party since just before the last election?

                      Legally asking me to vote for them? Well since it doesn’t say “Vote Green” it isn’t so they don’t have to pay for it themselves or declare it in their campaign budget. Wouldn’t you call it “campaign material” though?

                      And no. They aren’t the only party that does this. Every party with seats in the current Parliament does exactly the same thing.

            • Michael

              “Robertson’s early stuff on a UBI would certainly apply but it might have upset the horses.” – What horse would they be then – the ones from the neoliberal stable that are knackered and should be put out to pasture? Small point: Robertson never advocated UBI: instead he mentioned the idea and promptly shot it down again as a signal to his neoliberal mates that it would remain business as usual under any government he controls.

  5. weka 6

    It’s hard to see how the budget responsibility rules thing could be changed this close to the election, without being seen as incompetency and not knowing what it’s doing, but I always took the BRRs as a first term thing anyway. Labour intend to investigate tax reform, the Greens already have tax reform built into their policies, so I would see the first term as the time to push both those parties to make the bigger shifts.

    Which doesn’t mean other things can’t be done now. I agree with the fire in the belly stuff. I also think Shaw’s speech last week on immigration was a distinct shift from cautious, managed-perception politics to bold politics based on values. We can encourage both parties to do more of that.

    I’m still of the opinion that this election hinges on perceptions of competency, mostly aimed at Labour (Rogernomics, internal fighthing, leadership etc) but also the Greens (Morris dancing hangovers, the push from the right to present them as inexperienced and/or crazy radicals). There are other important things going on, but National should be going down in a ball of flames given, well, everything. But in order to get people out to vote for a left wing change, the left need to be not only bold but also present as competent. That’s a balancing act.

    I hope they do step up on this though, because caution won’t win this one. People want something real.

    • Gristle 6.1

      I thought the Greens have already backed off having firm numbers for immigration and gone fluffy on the issue. This was my impression having listened to RNZ’s Caucus podcast.

      • weka 6.1.1

        I was referring to Shaw’s speech that talked about the problems of political parties defining immigration predominantly in economic terms because of the way it encourages xenophobia and racism. Also that they were willing to say they’d got it wrong and then fix it.

        That’s the move to bold, values-based politics (i.e. is more aligned with GP values). We need more of this.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.2

        Their policy still seems to be having immigration as a percentage of population (1% in fact) rather than as a fixed number. 1% is approximately half of what we have now.

  6. Gristle 7

    To me the America’s Cup is a good model to use here. The cup holder basically gets to choose the rules of the competition and of curse they try generate a set of rules that favours themselves while giving an appearance of equality. If you want to compete then you have to buy into a system that is rigged against the challengers.

    For Labour and Greens to say they will follow the Fiscal Responsibility Act and to cost policies is them pulling on the “insiders” wardrobe and then waiting for the electorate to vote for them. Bill English can make comments about cutting tax rates and not be required to size the cuts or define the impact….yet Labour believes that it cannot deviate from the rules.

    NZF have said a number of times that it rejects neo-liberalism as the basis for political economic policy and will not partner with parties that use it as their touchstone. Disappointingly, Winston is the only person so far displaying “enthusiasm” Andre identifies as being needed.

  7. Jenny Kirk 8

    Nigel Haworth, president of the NZ Labour Party, made this comment on Facebook yesterday. I totally endorse it. It would be good to see all those bloggers grizzling at Labour constantly – actually getting out there, onto the ground, doing some of the grunt work needed – door knocking, phoning people, fundraising – and doing something POSITIVE to get a Labour-Green coalition into government, rather than this constant grizzling.

    This is what Nigel had to say :

    ” Would it be too impolite to suggest that, if all the armchair bloggers reallocated to grassroots campaigning all the time they spent in in front of their computers explaining a) why Labour and the Greens are wrong, and b) how they (the bloggers) have the Grail which will lead to election success, we would be better placed to win in September? “

    • amirite 8.1

      You need to have an inspiring, radical, passionate message first to be able to pass it to the people. Hard to detect any among Lab/Green policies.

    • Stuart Munro 8.2

      So we should do the hard yards for a party that can’t be bothered to support our values? Labour left us, and haven’t been able to make neoliberalism work. It is a miracle of forgiveness that we don’t work full time to throw them out and build a real left party.

      • amirite 8.2.1


      • Louis 8.2.2

        Then do it. That’s not how I read his comment. I see the party putting in the hard yards, Greens too. Instead of moaning and bitching from the sidelines get stuck in an actively help to make change. Everyone appears to be looking for the perfect party, never going to happen, either you work with what we have got to improve things, or not. As far as I am concerned National has to go. I’m voting Labour.

        • Ed

          What policies appeal to you that will change life for the working class of NZ?

          • Louis

            Read their website and go along to meetings. You can make up your own mind.

            • In Vino

              A tiny step is better than none at all. But I agree that inspiration is seriously lacking.

              • Louis

                Steps are better than none and I never said inspiration was lacking.

                • In Vino

                  So I am agreeing with others. I am not inspired by the selection of the Hamilton West Labour candidate, and tend to agree with Chris Trotter. I hope that the candidate proves to have great oratorical skills combined with the rationality and sincerity of Norman Kirk. Otherwise he is toast.

        • Stuart Munro

          For reasons which they refuse to explain, Labour refuses to talk to me.

          But they still email me three times a week asking for money.

          You can’t do both those things and expect anything but contempt.

          • Anne

            Labour refuses to talk to me.

            How do you communicate with them Stuart Munro? I can tell you they are under-resourced at both Central and Regional headquarters. They don’t have the money to hire sufficient staff to cope with the work-load. And that’s without the added burden of an election campaign.

            If you are referring to specific MPs then granted… some are far better than others when it comes to responding to emails and the like, but once again they are also under-resourced at a local level.

            I’m not making excuses for them but the above is a well known fact.

            • Stuart Munro

              Four out of four is more than happenstance. Maybe something to do with their long term support of slave ship operators.

      • Wainwright 8.2.3

        Hear hear

    • weka 8.3

      He’s not wrong in that quote, but imo that’s a framing issue rather than one of it being wrong to critique Labour and the Greens. So by all means lay out the critique, offer something instead, and at this point in the election cycle do so with the idea of encouraging people to vote L/G in order to change the govt rather than just tearing things down.

    • McFlock 8.4

      I’d tweak that to any left wing party, or form their own, rather than restricting it to labgrn.

      At least it demonstrates just exactly how much more effective their ideas are than anything Labour or the Greens have done.

      Closest we got to that was Mana, which turned out to be too smart for its own good.

    • Michael 8.5

      I’ve done all that grassroots campaigning stuff for Labour before only to see its hierarchy (MPs and party bosses) crap all over the proletariat (whose ranks include far too many people who delude themselves they are bourgeoisie when they are not. Among Labour’s many sins is systemic failure to develop class consciousness and solidarity among the people). Not only will I not campaign for Labour in 2017, I’m actively telling people not to vote for it while it remains in the hands of neoliberals.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 8.6

      I’m not so keen on campaigning for neoliberalism.

    • The Chairman 8.7

      Instead of expecting supporters to forgo airing their concerns and get in behind the party, Nigel Haworth should be questioning what more can the party do to appease those concerns thus get more supporters to willingly back them.

  8. Sanctuary 9

    “..and doing something POSITIVE to get a Labour-Green coalition into government, rather than this constant grizzling…”

    Corbyn made big promises that disadvantaged people recognised as making a material difference to their chances of having a better future, and they went out and voted for him and worked for him in droves. What he didn’t do was just moan on Facebook that if the people complaining about neoliberal Labour campaigned for centrist managerialism it would be a positive thing.

    So it follows – If you want people to do something positive, give them something to be positive about. Bitching from a position of entitlement about the rebellious and troublesome base will get you nowhere.

    The agitation we are importing from the UK in particular on the left against the timid sell-out careerists, nincompoop factional identity politics compromises and ideologically moribund neolib managerialists who largely fill the ranks of the Labour MPs will only get louder, and Labour has to work out if it wants a Momentum style movement here to reinvigorate it or replace it.

  9. Keepcalmcarryon 10

    It wasn’t so long ago we had that mushy post at the standard about gagging the radicals and all looking normal so we didn’t spook the horses.
    Thanks for this post Mickysavage, I fully agree with the sentiment of the link and your analysis. People go blue in the face around here telling labour they need to be getting back to what they stand for. Let’s hope the message is getting through.
    Does labour do the focus group Public polls on issues like the nats do? If not why not? Would be interesting for them to test the waters on some real socialist policy. I’m sure the appetite is there.

    • weka 10.1

      “It wasn’t so long ago we had that mushy post at the standard about gagging the radicals and all looking normal so we didn’t spook the horses.”

      Which post was that?

  10. web-developer 11

    What disappointed me out of that whole piece was how he dismissed the fair work agreements out-of-hand – just to support his ‘not corbyn enough’ thing.

    “That leaves only the option of increasing wages at the bottom end, which it would attempt through an increased minimum wage and changed industrial relations policy. These are limited solutions.”

    They’re limited solutions because…

    …fair work agreements haven’t been discussed much in the mainstream media, who have stayed the hell away from them because they know how upsetting the idea is to their advertisers? I’ve seen lots that focuses on the 75c/h increase in the minimum wage for the first year and the pledge to introduce living wages across core govt services; but nothing on what fair pay awards might look like, even speculatively.

  11. Ed 12

    It readopts Socialism.

  12. Adrian Thornton 13

    It is about time this discussion is being had, this is the single most important issue facing the Left in NZ and the Left generally across the western world today…how do we remove the neoliberal insurgents who have destroyed our Left institution’s credibility,trustability,goodwill and integrity to such a depth that our once proud Labour Party today can not break 30% even though National expose themselves time and time again as being lying, sleazy low life narcissists.

    As I have mentioned before, I actually believe Labour potentially have the right leader in Little, he is seen generally as being an honest man, has integrity, and is a very good public orator, which is a position that most political leaders/parties would be able to launch an incredibly strong campaign, that should be able to easily gain real momentum, however Labour cannot position itself to take advantage of and build on Littles natural and authentic good assets, because they remain tied to their ideology of neoliberalism, which instantly neutralizes Littles advantages…end of game.

    Turn Labour Left!

    • Sacha 13.1

      “is a very good public orator”

      He can deliver a pre-written speech OK but his legal background reduces him to nit-picky gibbering and prevarication in an interview setting.

    • Louis 13.2

      Labour is turning left, want more then actively participate to make it so.

      • Ed 13.2.1

        How is Labout turning left?
        I see nothing socialist in its policies.
        I just see a watered down version of Rand and Hayek’s ugly ideology.

        • Louis

          Thats your opinion.

          • Ed

            Well, of course….

          • Draco T Bastard

            Labour are not actively turning Left. They’re more trying to prevent a further slide to the right but their own belief in ‘the market’ prevents even that.

            They’ve certainly got better policies than National but that’s not saying much when they’re keeping the same failed system in place.

            • Louis

              Disagree with you, Labour under Andrew Little is changing. The system cannot be changed overnight. It needs to be done in stages over time, and you have to be in government to do it.

              • adam

                You know you and others for months have been saying labour is changing, but myself and many, many others are not seeing that. And we are wonks who actually look for that stuff.

                It’s bad news for the activists, they are in a party that won’t listen.

              • Molly

                ” It needs to be done in stages over time, Why? “…and you have to be in government to do it.” Why again?

                I would think while you are in opposition is an ideal time to revisit innovation and change, and to do so with flexibility and speed.

  13. ianmac 14

    We need to paint the vision first in clear unequivocal passionat manner.

    Then figure out how to pay for it.
    Sadly the Government of the day will scare the voters with derision of how will “they” pay for it! But if the vision is vivid enough the investment will be found!

    • Draco T Bastard 14.1

      Paying for things is easy.

      Overcoming the lies of the RWNJs and economists about how to pay for things is hard.

      • Ed 14.1.1

        Use social media to confront the msm.
        Only go on the msm live to cut out the filters of the puppet broadcasters.

      • ianmac 14.1.2

        Exactly Draco. Surely For a Government to build something like a rail link or a massive bridge and be in debt, is better than procrastinating for decades and costing a great deal more than what the original debt would have been.
        I bet that the NZRail would never have been built had the fear of raising debt held sway.
        And household debt is not the same as State debt. False equivalence.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Surely For a Government to build something like a rail link or a massive bridge and be in debt

          It wouldn’t be in debt. It may be in deficit but as the government is the issuer of our money they wouldn’t be in debt. This is the truth that most people don’t understand.

          In fact, the government running a deficit is what allows the economy to grow.

          The government running a surplus is what makes it seem necessary to import money.

  14. Michael 15

    You don’t get it – a progressive political programme (sorry for the alliteration but I’m distracted by the Shintoists shattering sheetglass in the shithouse) doesn’t necessarily have to be radical, especially when neoliberalism is the programme that needs to be replaced. Neoliberalism was radical (with reactionary elements) and did great harm to non-rich people (and the environment, and social cohesion, and …). In 2017 Labour, and now the Greens, chant the TINA mantra to the point where only the blindest tribal fanatics still support them. It’s too late to change the outcome of this year’s election, which will see continued neoliberalism, to a greater or lesser degree, depending on whether Bill English or Judith Collins leads the Nats. But there is a slight possibility of a change in 2020 (although I may be far too optimistic here).

    • Ed 15.1

      Yes a lot of people will vote when they are offered an alternative economic model to neoliberalism.

    • Siobhan 15.2

      “More and more New Zealanders are telling me there needs to be a change
      But they are cautious about the alternative.”
      Andrew Little’s Speech to Green Party AGM 2016

      Right here is the problem, Little and Labour are allowing themselves to be hobbled by their perception of voter caution.
      They are forgetting how many potential voters, disenfranchised voters, are simply not at their meetings and don’t approach them in the street, because they do not see Labour as representing them.
      Adrian Thornton went to the Little/Adern road show in Clive/Napier…not one orchard worker was there when he presented the facts of deteriorated orchard wages and conditions. How bad is that..the workers party with no laborers in attendance. Incidentally, Little told him wages are low because we need to be ‘more productive’. Jaw dropping.
      Hardly surprising when our local, Anna Lorck, considers the RSE scheme as being a great model for other industries.

      And anyway, to my mind, bold policy should be something that Labour present to the voter. If someone is timid, you don’t pander to them, you inspire them to reach for something better
      That’s what a Leader does.

      • BM 15.2.1

        Labour’s only interest is gaining power, they’re so caught up in the mechanics of getting elected which is why they look so muddled, disingenuous and lost.

        • Michael

          Agreed. Labour has no idea what to do if it wins the election (apart from getting it hands on the baubles of office) so it’s probably just as well it won’t win on 23 September. By this stage of the game it needs to have its policies sorted out (none of this “we’ll have a review” bullshit) and a plan for its first 100 days in office (to include a clean out of bureaucrats who won’t implement the new government’s policies. In the Ministries and Departments I deal with that’s about half of the bastards). Maybe in 2020?

          • Louis

            Are you a right wing troll? coz thats utter bullshit.

            • Michael

              Absolutely not. I first joined the Labour Party in 1992 and left it only a few weeks ago. I’d really like to see a Labour government again in Aotearoa-NZ but that’s not on offer in 2017 and may never be offered again. And I refuse to support a bullshit National-lite outfit that knows neoliberalism is a busted flush but hasn’t got the moral courage or the intellectual integrity to come up with something better for the sake of the people it says it represents.

      • Gabby 15.2.2

        How many orchard workers would be voters.

  15. gsays 16

    Cheers Mickey for this post.
    A conversation that needs to be had, then followed up on.

  16. Ad 17

    Why doesn’t Labour talk more about helping us do more of what makes us all rich, not just redistributing existing wealth?

    Redistribution through tax changes is already occurring.

    The new $4billion surplus figure announced guarantees National will announce another big tax cut inside September. Probably to the middle this time.

    Labour needs to outflank the tax and redistribution line that National has locked up.

  17. Sanctuary 18

    You want radical left wing policies to get the missing million out to vote?

    1/ A commitment to raise the minimum wage to the living wage within three years.

    2/ A bonded work scheme that pays back a student loan through work.

    3/ Get the state to build 100,000 affordable homes in three years.

    4/ Cut GST back to 10% and replace the revenue with a proper progressive income tax scheme and a sweeping FTT.

    5/ Make Kiwisaver compulsory for everyone born after 1998 and give every new born child a $1000 kickstarter to their fund.

    6/ Introduce German style workers councils, where workers get to elect members to company boards and have a right to be consulted about issues and make proposals.

    That is just for starters.

    • Draco T Bastard 18.1

      2. Get rid of student loans, bring back student allowance and make it double the unemployment benefit
      3. Show the physical requirements that would allow the state to do that
      4. Eliminate GST as it’s regressive
      5. Kiwisaver is delusional – along with capitalism in general
      6. Turn all businesses into cooperatives run by the workers. Present shareholding to be turned into loans with interest rates equal to the OCR

    • KJT 18.2

      Kiwi saver is simply privatisation of superannuation.

      It does nothing to ensure adequate resources are there, to look after old people, or anyone else, in the future.

      Only State investment into innovation, sustainability, education and infrastructure can do that.

    • The Chairman 18.3

      Kiwisaver has exacerbated inequality and produced in excess of $300 million in fees for providers last year alone.

    • Sumsuch 18.4

      Quite reasonable Sanctuary.

  18. Thinkerr 19


    1. A small tax on foreign speculation of the New Zealand dollar.

    2. The proceeds from 1 to be used to help exporters of those products where NZ has a competitive advantage.


    A – its ok for the government to pick winners (independent research). No country is good at everything.

    B – Its ok to bring back the S word. Subsidy. I recall, when Roger Douglas was busy telling us that subsidies were the work of the devil, Winston Peters said NZ was running to be first in the slowest race in the world. In other words, removing subsidies actually disadvantaged our exporters. However, there’s a difference between subsidising something that’s good for the country, export-wise and propping up a failing industry. I’m only taling about the former.


    Please, an end to banana republic, vested interest politics. I want to elect a government that has a realistic strategy for getting this country firing on all cylinders again, not making useless referehdums and Emperors New Clothes style diversion of things that are really happening out there. Is that too much to ask?

    • Jenny Kirk 19.1

      How about just looking up Labour’s announced policies to date, Thinkerr et al.

      You want to elect a government that has a realistic strategy to get this country firing on all cylinders again. Others want Labour to be less cautious. And others want Labour to talk about how to make NZ rich again.

      And how about you all actually go out and listen to Andrew Little speaking, and perhaps join the hordes of Labour supporters who are working to get Labour into a coalition government – and how about you all start saying something positive about Labour for a change, instead of having a grizzle non-stop.

      I’m surprised at Mickey endorsing Dean’s opinion piece. He knows full well what Labour is actually doing, and he knows full well that we have not yet started the campaign proper.

      • The Chairman 19.1.1

        “I’m surprised at Mickey endorsing Dean’s opinion piece. He knows full well what Labour is actually doing, and he knows full well that we have not yet started the campaign proper.”

        What Labour are currently doing isn’t securing traction in the polls, thus they’re going to have to kick it up a notch and get a little radical when fully campaigning as doing more of the same (of where they are currently positioning themselves) is failing to widely resonate.

        Therefore, you shouldn’t be surprised.

      • Louis 19.1.2

        I like ^^ this @jenny

      • KJT 19.1.3

        Then Jenny. I look at the senior MP’s in Labour. Apart from Little perhaps.

        A bunch of uninspiring career apparatchiks who could have equally well fitted in National.

        The only thing that gives me hope are some of the young people. Labour and Greens. Mostly women, as it happens. Even the young Nats have come out in support of 350 org.

        • Tautoko Mangō Mata

          There are some excellent young people becoming involved in politics as well as the increasing numbers of young people taking part in protests over the years. I would like to see any TV ads for Labour using some of the younger candidates to front the vision, particularly on climate, education, the environment, housing, etc.

          • Michael

            “There are some excellent young people becoming involved in politics” Then Labour can be guaranteed to drive them away and permanently alienate them. I’ve seen it do this many times over the years; all it wants are soulless apparatchiks and clones within its caucus.

        • weka

          Mahuta, Williams, Sepuloni, Wall… can’t see them in National. Nor Little, Ardern, or even Curran.

      • Thinkerr 19.1.4

        Hello Jenny,

        Have a careful look at my comment. If you find anything negative about Labour, put it up.

        Mickeys article seemed to me to be a long-awaited chance for people to feed up what ideas they’ve had.

        No-one expects their idea to necessarily become policy, but many have gone for a long time without a chance for their views to be canvassed.

        Thanks, Mickey

  19. Sanctuary 20

    “… He knows full well what Labour is actually doing, and he knows full well that we have not yet started the campaign proper…”

    And I am sure Wenck’s spearheads are approaching Berlin, but when I take a peak out of the bunker it sure looks unfriendly.

    The election is less than 100 days away. Labour is languishing at 26.5% in the average of polls. Or, to put it another way, AT THIS MOMENT 80% OF POTENTIAL VOTERS INTEND TO EITHER NOT VOTE OR NOT VOTE FOR LABOUR WITH THREE MONTHS TO POLLING DAY.

    Quite why this fact hasn’t occasioned an absolute state of panicked emergency in Labour HQ I have no idea.

    The most likely scenario to me for this election is for the Green vote to be very bad (I will predict it now – 7-9%) on the back of the hippy vote staying at home because it doesn’t like James Shaw, lack of a ground game and complete lack of punch at the top, and NZ First to surge to 15-18% plus. In that situation, if Labour’s vote were to hover around 26% then they face electoral catastrophe – a media narrative of decline and internecine decadence would mean the very real prossibility they’ll be replaced by NZ First as the second highest polling party.

    Labour has to stop pretending everything is going swimmingly on the Eastern front. There are Soviet tanks impertinently nosing about just around the corner. Labour has got nothing to lose by being radically bold, and a shit ton to gain.

    The question is, does it have the wit as a party to accurately assess it’s strategic position and cajones to to be bold, or will it simply manage itself into oblivion, leaving it to some colourless careerist to finally switch off the lights some time next decade?

    • Enough is Enough 20.1

      Thank you for saying this.

      It frustrates the hell out of me how everyone on here arrogantly thinks that the left are going to walk into power in September.

      From where I am sitting we could not be in a worse position. National has been in power for 3 years and still has amazingly high support, and will only need to throw Winston a few bones to stay in power.

      The road to the beehive for Little is in my view near impossible at this stage.

      • weka 20.1.1

        I can’t think of anyone here who believes that the left is going to walk into power in Sept.

    • Louis 20.2

      Lots of right wing memes in there

      • Ed 20.2.1

        Why is it right wing to suggest the Labour Party offer radical solutions?
        We’ve just seen the UK Labour surge from 25 to 41% on the back of genuine socialist policies. Post election they continue to rise and our polling 46%.
        And here the Labour Party languish in the 20s because they remain wedded to centrist thinking…..

        • Louis

          Thats not the right wing memes I was referring to. And yes I know but as I said before UK Labs still lost. Next early election they wont tho.

          • Ed

            So adopting radical policies increases your vote.
            Shouldn’t Labour do this?

          • alwyn

            I don’t think the Conservatives are going to call another early election.
            Not after that fiasco anyway.
            They can probably carry on for another 250 weeks before there need be another election.
            And, as attributed to at least a dozen politicians, even “a week is a long time in politics”.

    • Michael 20.3

      “The most likely scenario to me for this election is for the Green vote to be very bad (I will predict it now – 7-9%) on the back of the hippy vote staying at home because it doesn’t like James Shaw, lack of a ground game and complete lack of punch at the top, and NZ First to surge to 15-18% plus. In that situation, if Labour’s vote were to hover around 26% then they face electoral catastrophe – a media narrative of decline and internecine decadence would mean the very real prossibility they’ll be replaced by NZ First as the second highest polling party.”

      I agree, except that I think you overestimate Labour’s Party Vote share. I think it will score below 25% but somewhere above 20% – although I’m hopelessly optimistic when it comes to Labour these days.

  20. KJT 21

    Parliamentary Labour simply ignore their membership and carry on with the Tweedledum Tweedledee, entitled political class, turn about in Dictatorship, with National.

    The Greens, which I am a member, appear to be overtaken by BAU, with only the well off middle class able to go to the national conference and influence policy.

    The Budget Responsibility Rules was an abdication to Neo-liberal framing. Disappointing, i think, to members of both parties.

    We could do what the right wing did since the 80’s and 90’s. Break all the promises and principles that were voted on before the election. But I don’t think we want to go there?

    Which means Labour/Greens must “frighten the horses” or what is the point!

    “Still breaking your leg, but with anesthetic” still seems to be Labour’s aim. (tip D.C.)

    • Enough is Enough 21.1

      Agree 100%, and as we are this close to the election now I can’t see anything changing.

      I can’t see us winning without Winston (in fact I will bet my right leg on it), but with the Budget Responsibility Rules that have been agreed, how can fundmental reforrms be made.

      The lessons from the US and UK is people are willing to reject the status quo, if a politician is bold enough to stand up an offer a real alternitive.

      There is noone in this campaign that bold, so win or lose the staus quo will continue

  21. Sanctuary 22

    “…Parliamentary Labour simply ignore their membership and carry on with the Tweedledum Tweedledee, entitled political class, turn about in Dictatorship, with National…”

    You know, people on the left are not asking for much. All they want is some crumb, some little sign, some teensy indication, that Labour is actually left wing, rather than just another party of the radical neoliberal centre. It just offers to tinker… It can build houses somehow better than National because, you know, it cares. Well, I want to hear that it is going to get the state mobilised to build houses, not that it accepts the fetters of neoliberalism so all it can do is feebly push around a few bits and pieces with a more concerned look on its face.

    I think this recently upwelling of dissatisfaction can be squarely placed at Jeremy Corbyn’s feet… Labour supporters here have been reminded that it doesn’t have to be tweedledum and tweedledee. When you see the cool kids shiny new red toy, your tatty, faded, pastel pink one with a broken horn and no wheels is suddenly looking like it is only good for the bin.

    • Ed 22.1


    • Jenny Kirk 22.2

      “Well, I want to hear that it is going to get the state mobilised to build houses….”
      says Sanctuary. He also wants a few “crumbs” to show that Labour is left wing.

      Part of Labour’s housing policy is to build 1000 state houses each year until the need for state rentals is met. At the same time, stop sale of state houses and make HNZ properly responsible for their upkeep, and stop taking dividends from HNZ .

      Immigration – stop sale of houses to foreign speculators, make student courses have a high quality outcome, stop overseas students from using their courses as an excuse to get NZ residency.

      End secondary tax.

      Three years free tertiary education ….. as a starting point – especially for re-training
      Increase the minimum wage, start bringing all workers up to a Liveable Wage – starting with state sector workers.

      Swimmable rivers within one generation (for those who are unfamiliar with this concept that’s a huge amount of work to be done in a very quick time-frame).
      Reduce dairy herds. Charge commercial users for water use such as irrigation.

      I haven’t even touched on the “crumbs” of education, health, jobs, or the economy that Labour is offering. But the “crumbs” I’ve managed to come up with are NOT anything like what the National Party and other neo-libs want to see.

      • Louis 22.2.1

        Thanks Jenny for bringing some balance into this discussion.

      • Bill 22.2.2

        “Part of Labour’s housing policy is…”

        Thank you for acknowledging that number Jenny. It seemed to have been covered up and consigned to the memory hole of late.

        So in the space of a mere 100 years, Labour will oversee the building of the same number of rental houses as “first time buyer” foot on the property rung houses it intends to see constructed.

        I know you’re kind of keen on NZ Labour. But do you really see much overall difference between them and the UK Labour of Miliband?

        • weka

          Where does the hundred years thing come in?

          • Bill

            A commitment to build 100 000 high quality, affordable homes over 10 years versus 1000 state houses each year.

            • Louis

              Thats the starting point, what if the polices are built on ? So howz it going with the Nats then?

              • Molly

                I’m with Bill. If that is the starting point, why the hell would I wait around for the race to finish?

                And we are asking for solutions that provide housing for all NZers, not just policies that are “better than” National? Why is that considered a reasonable response.

                Here is an idea that won’t cost much to include in policy:

                Regeneration of old unhealthy NZ housing stock:
                1. Do not engage in a private partnership policy with developers aka Tamaki redevelopment.
                2. Engage with current residents to see if they would like to remain in the community as owners or renters. Ensure that any resulting redevelopment accommodates those choices.
                3. Get preliminary estimates on how much new residentials units can be put on the site, with best planning practices being used to promote community.
                4. Offer half those extra units to the market to provide housing to owner/occupiers at a perpetual price offer. Housing NZ to take the remainder.
                5. Use the co-housing model to develop the site, and provide development resources and loans to get the development done until commercial mortgages can be secured.

                1. Mixed diversity housing.
                2. Private ownership within the community avoids future governments coming along and selling whole development.
                3. Eliminates the design and building of houses for investment purposes only, builds community while building houses.

                Another radical idea, probably ahead of it’s time: Secure state housing for tenants regardless of change in circumstances. This requires secure housing to be seen as a benefit to NZ’s individually and as a whole. The government is in the position to benefit financially if this is the case, and they should state it unequivocally.

                • Louis

                  Isn’t Labs already suggesting that with its housing polices? I was referring to the number of state houses which I thought was what Bill was talking about. How do we know those numbers wont increase as the building program gains momentum? Unlike National that promises the heaven and the earth and never delivers, I can understand why Labour wont promise more at the outset.

                  • Bill

                    You’re a noble apologist Louis. I’ll give you that.

                    But is it your intention to jump beneath every. single. comment that expresses any dissatisfaction with NZ Labour with these plastic sword ripostes?

                    Because if that’s your mission, you’re going to need lotsa drugs to keep you going, aye?

                    • Louis

                      Thank you Bill and not my intention at all coz if I jumped beneath every. single. comment I would need more than just lotsa drugs.

                  • Molly

                    “Isn’t Labs already suggesting that with its housing polices?

                    ” I was referring to the number of state houses which I thought was what Bill was talking about.
                    I was proposing how state housing could be improved and increased also. I’m guessing you didn’t bother to read my comment before replying.

                    “How do we know those numbers wont increase as the building program gains momentum? “
                    … or diminish as the energy levels deplete when it becomes apparent that the proposed solution continues to be outstripped by the growth in housing insecurity? You are asking for a lot of suppositional trust.

                    “Unlike National that promises the heaven and the earth and never delivers,
                    … what?, at least we are “not like National” again?

                    “I can understand why Labour wont promise more at the outset.”
                    With housing, I am looking for clear support for all NZers to be accommodated in secure, healthy housing – whether rented or owned. Labour don’t provide that.

                    I’m also looking for innovative solutions, not promises, promises that involve more of the same. It is apparent that the same is not working – enough already.

                    • Louis

                      all NZers to be accommodated in secure, healthy housing – whether rented or owned. Is the part of your opinion that I agree with, which incidentally is what Labour and Greens want too.

                    • Molly

                      ” Is the part of your opinion that I agree with, which incidentally is what Labour and Greens want too.”

                      But their policies will not achieve that, and I’m not seeing in either policy a commitment to “genuinely affordable” housing for all NZers, whether rented or owned.

                      They are still coming from the perspective of home ownership, and state housing is still left as unsecured tenancies.

                    • Louis

                      Should they get an opportunity to govern their polices will achieve a lot more than you care to admit.

                    • Molly

                      “Should they get an opportunity to govern their polices will achieve a lot more than you care to admit.”
                      I am trying to engage you in conversation, not play tennis.

                      I don’t even feel like you respond to the content of the comments I take time to write to you, and that is one of the primary reasons I find it hard to connect with such overt Labour cheerleading.

                      You are cheering so loud, it appears that you can’t listen.

                      A simple, – “the difficulty with…” , or “good idea but…”, would be more honest than a repeat of ” O Labour, Labour ” to the tune of White Stripes.

                      Active listening, should be a minimum baseline for all political party advocates. It would achieve much more than wasted time for all participants, and might actually persuade a change of vote.

            • weka

              Are you saying we need 100,000 new state houses on top of existing stock?

              • Bill

                Quite clearly I’m saying that for Labour to construct the same number of homes for rent as it intends to build for first time buyers in the next ten years, and given they will only build 1000 per year, that they are looking at a 100 year programme.

      • Michael 22.2.3

        Andrew Little told a public meeting earlier this year that a first-term Labour-led government wouldn’t actually build any social housing until almost the end of that term; even then, it would build very few. Instead, the government would be busy establishing the new Ministry and/or Department responsible for social housing, hiring bureaucrats, designing websites and letterheads, all those vital steps that needed to be taken before the first nail was driven into the first piece of gib-board.
        Little also confirmed that “social housing” built on his watch would be offered for sale to first-home buyers at the bargain price of $600,000 (plus inflation), although the amount that needed to be mortgaged was “only” $480,000 (plus inflation, bank interest and other charges) because purchasers would have to stump up with a deposit of 20% (or $120,000, plus inflation) before banks would even look at them. It’s just as well nearly every average wage earner has that sort of money just lying around, isn’t it?

  22. Jenny Kirk 23

    Here’s a few more “crumbs” from Labour –

    Within the first 100 days in Government, Labour will:

    • Restore fairness rights for employees by replacing National’s 90 day ‘fire at will’ law with a fast, fair, and simple system.

    • Introduce 26 weeks paid parental leave to ensure that families are provided with vital support at a crucial stage in their children’s lives.

    • Restore reinstatement as the primary remedy when a worker has been unjustifiably dismissed.

    • Restore the right to rest and meal breaks at work.

    • Restore protections for vulnerable workers in cases where the sale or transfer of business is contemplated, or where outsourcing of jobs is proposed.

    • Ensure that New Zealand employment law applies to everyone working in New Zealand, including foreign workers working for foreign companies.

    • Louis 23.1

      22.2 & 23 all sound pretty good to me Jenny and I bet that’s not all either. Labour’s offering a hell of a lot more for people than the same ole’ punishing crap National have got going.

      • Ed 23.1.1

        Yes it is better than National.
        It’s just it could be so much more visionary and bold.

    • Bill 23.2

      Restore, restore, restore, restore with one introduce and one ensure.

      Not exactly shooting for the moon then.

      Oh. And some of those ‘restores’ aren’t even taking things back to a state of affairs as existed before National got started.

        • Ed

          11 massive and brilliant things in the UK Labour manifesto


        • Jenny Kirk

          Hey Ed – you’re comparing apples with oranges.

          The UK Labour Manifesto is 128 pages long.

          NZ Labour’s Vision that you quote above is NOT its policy manifesto. It’s just one page long.

          And our Policy Platform on which our policies will be based is only 64 pages long. Labour’s policy manifesto for the 2017 election has not yet been released.

          Meanwhile here’s an extract from our Policy Platform :

          Our vision of a just society is founded on equality and fairness. Labour believes that social justice means that all people should have equal access to social, economic, cultural, political, and legal spheres regardless of wealth, gender, ethnicity, or social position. Labour says that no matter the circumstances of our birth, we are each accorded equal opportunity to achieve our full potential in life. We believe in more than just equal opportunities—we believe in equality of outcomes.
          We value our diversity as a nation. We value that we are all equal before the law and all enjoy the same fundamental rights. We owe each other and our community the same duties, and we are all worthy of the same respect. An equal society is one that is built on inclusion, respect for diversity, and co-operation.

          • Sumsuch

            You make good points about Labour’s policy but we want to overthrow ‘ 84. Couldn’t someone say that. More likely, roar it. Even in the quiet voice of MJ Savage.

      • Jenny Kirk 23.2.2

        well, Bill, currently quite a large number of workers (the people who generally vote Labour) are more-or-less treated like slaves by their employers – no decent tea breaks, long hours, minimal wage, and no security in the job.
        You mightn’t think its important that these matters get fixed up, but I do – and so do a large number of Labour supporters.

        • Bill

          You may think that I mightn’t think such matters are important. But you’d be wrong.

      • Louis 23.2.3

        But if the Labs did shoot for the moon it still wouldn’t be enough would it?

        • Bill

          If they shot for anywhere beyond the horizon of their own fucking “focus group informed” navel it would be a vast improvement Louis.

    • The Chairman 23.3

      @Jenny Kirk

      An yet (despite all that) here’s the kicker, no traction in the polls.

      Which brings us back to the point of this thread. It seems Labour require to become a little more radical if they want to get over the line.

      • Jenny Kirk 23.3.1

        Hah – Chairman – you’re being fooled by Hooten’s constant refrain that Labour remains at 25% – say it often enough, and people might believe it.

        Labour is tracking well in the polls – the polls that have some integrity behind them, – not the ones that go up/down/all over the place.

        AND the campaign proper has not yet started. I think you and people like Hooten are trying to catch chickens before they hatch properly.

        • Thinkerr


          I can’t speak for The Chairman in this response, but if his/her feedback is coming from the same place mine is, which is how I read it, then what you seem to be perceiving as opposition is actually frustration at being ignored for so long. How do you expect people to feel, given your opinion in 23.2.2

          Not necessarily frustration at Labour, but just frustration. They are looking for, wanting a change of government, but living at the grassroots they dont see the groundswell of change that your polls appear to be telling you is happening.

          • Jenny Kirk

            As a matter of personal opinion, Thinkerr , I’m fairly sure The Chairman is a Nat supporter.

            However, I will accept that you’re feeling some frustration at not seeing much from the NZ Labour Party – which is experiencing the same sort of media blackout which Corbyn’s Labour Party also experienced. So the UK Labour people went out to the grassroots, used social media, and had meetings/rallies – which is just what NZ Labour is also doing.

            But the constant refrain from seemingly left supporters on The Standard that NZ Labour needs to be more like Corbyn’s UK Labour is totally unfounded.
            Our policies are similar.

            Here is an example. These words have been taken directly from the UK Labour policy manifesto, and from the NZ Labour Party announced policies website. If you go through them carefully – you’ll see there is a huge similarity between these policies.

            UK Labour
            Secure homes for all. Home is at the heart of all of our lives. It’s the foundation on which we raise our families, the bedrock for our dreams and aspirations. But for too many people, the housing pressures they face are getting worse not better. Britain has a housing crisis – a crisis of supply and a crisis of affordability
            UK Labour will :
            • invest to build over a million new homes. By the end of the next Parliament we will be building at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year for genuinely affordable rent or sale
            • establish a new Department for Housing to focus on tackling the crisis and to ensure housing is about homes for the many, not investment opportunities for the few.
            • will build thousands more low-cost homes reserved for first-time buyers
            • introduce new legal minimum standards to ensure properties are fit for human habitation

            NZ Labour
            New Zealanders don’t ask a lot, but there are some things that make us who we are and define our place in the world. We call it the Kiwi dream. It’s a home to call our own. Opportunities for everyone’s kids to succeed, no matter where they live.
            NZ Labour will :
            • build 100,000 high quality, affordable homes over 10 years . immediately stop National’s state house sell off
            • commit to substantially increasing the number of state houses.
            • require all rental homes to be warm, dry, and healthy.
            • ban foreign speculators from buying existing homes
            • tax property speculators who flick houses within five years

            • The Chairman

              “I’m fairly sure The Chairman is a Nat supporter.”

              As is often spoken whenever Labour feel threaten. And, of course, is totally incorrect.

            • Molly

              There is a big difference in those housing policies Jenny, and I can see it.

              UK Manifesto: “Secure homes for all. …By the end of the next Parliament we will be building at least 100,000 council and housing association homes a year for genuinely affordable rent or sale
              They are looking at housing from a perspective that it is a requirement for all British citizens to positively engage in society – whether owned or rented.

              NZ Labour is stuck with the “affordable homes” for purchase perspective.

              Unfortunately, in NZ, housing is synonymous with “retirement fund”, “investment”, “high capital gains”, “passive income” and neither the Labour or Green policies I have seen so far, get away from that perspective.

              UK citizens can still remember, and have experience of long-tenancy council and social housing, and the community that can take place when state housing is secure.

              Labour’s policy does nothing to address the issues of the unaffordability of living in NZ, whether or not you aspire to own a house. Particularly provide nothing to you if you do not.

              And the level of state housing build is pitiful given the current crisis.

              • Jenny Kirk

                You didn’t read this bit, Molly

                NZ Labour will
                • commit to substantially increasing the number of state houses.

                this is in addition to the building of affordable homes for new buyers, in case you hadn’t connected to this, as well.

                • Molly

                  I did read that.

                  “commit to substantially increasing the number of state houses”

                  “substantially increasing” is a subjective term. Labour’s idea of substantial is likely to be entirely different from mine, especially given your comment referring to a specific number of “affordable homes”. It shows priorities of purchase over renting. No mention of protecting current state housing communities either.

                  Once again – pointed out to both you and Louis – No commitment to “genuinely affordable homes” for rent or purchase. The current use of “affordability” makes the term meaningless.

                  Also, no secured tenancies for state housing, which would go towards rebuilding community as well as removing desparate tenants from having to pay ever increasing rents to private landlords.

                  No innovation, just more of the same.

                  None of this will improve the current situation, will just apply brakes slightly on the acceleration of the crisis.

                  • Jenny Kirk

                    Look – Molly. Go and read the policy yourself. I should not have to spell it out to you.
                    To me “substantial” means many. 1000 state houses being built every year until the need is fixed sounds many to me.

                    Stopping the sale of state housing indicates to me that this means retaining security for the remaining current state housing renters.
                    Maybe you have a different way of reading plain English – what does “stopping the sale of state housing” indicate to you ?

                    Oh, by the way, you do know the English Parliament sits for 5 years, don’t you? And they have a much greater population than NZ does.
                    So in comparison NZ Labour’s commitment to 100,000 affordable homes in 10 years is good going.

                    • Molly

                      ” 1000 state houses being built every year until the need is fixed sounds many to me.”

                      National has reduced the number of state houses by 2,500 and so the current Labour goal is to increase number owned by the state in 2008 by 500 after the first term. Given any measure – that is not substantial – it is inadequate.

                      Especially, given the number of people that are currently in housing crisis.

                      “Stopping the sale of state housing indicates to me that this means retaining security for the remaining current state housing renters.”

                      To me, it does not. State housing is not secure if you have a change of circumstance, invite another person to share expenses, or just fail to continue to meet the criteria for eligibility.

                      Stopping the sale of state housing, is the not a full solution in itself. It is a small foundational brick, in a very large wall. Small kudos for small brick, if that is what you are requiring.

                      “Maybe you have a different way of reading plain English “
                      Nice. I’m actually reading your comments and taking time to consider them, perhaps you could do the same.

                      “Oh, by the way, you do know the English Parliament sits for 5 years, don’t you? And they have a much greater population than NZ does.
                      So in comparison NZ Labour’s commitment to 100,000 affordable homes in 10 years is good going.

                      Is every justification going to relate to a third party?
                      “Genuinely affordable” and “affordable” as it is spoke in NZ, are two different values being expressed in policy. One I can wholeheartedly support, one is so wishy-washy I don’t see what to support about it.

                      If housing provided is not able to be accessed by the most vulnerable and impoverished in NZ, then the number of homes provided is moot isn’t it?

                      The benchmark being used for “affordable” housing in NZ, is ridiculous and does nothing to provide for those currently living in crisis, and also nothing to ensure that accessible “genuinely affordable” housing (rented or owned) is a long-term priority.

                    • rhinocrates

                      Indeed Molly, the foundations of a better New Zealand should be the aim of a prospective Labour-led government, not fiddling with a few details. ‘Marginally better than National’ is not good enough. The first Labour government saw a crisis and admitted it was one and then it got to work dealing with it. Now those state houses are being sold off and Labour promises a few swaps here and there. The absolute guarantee of decent housing, healthcare, education, jobs and environment available to all is what Labour said it was all about. I would consider a devotion to those things basic patriotism.

                      New Zealand is a special place, it deserves a government with a vision to implement, not mere tinkering.

                      As a specific example on the issue of social welfare and housing, as you point out, state housing is not secure at all. The clawbacks on housing and welfare kick in fast and viciously, acting as strong disincentives to climb out of poverty. Part-time work can be worse than no work if your benefit or accomodation supplement is cut right away and if you’re deemed no longer eligible for your state house if you manage to get a short-term job. This is what economists call a ‘perverse incentive’ – one that encourages people to stop looking for work or to conceal their earnings. A paternalistic ‘tough love’ welfare system with strictly limited and short-term means-tested access works against its own declared intentions. Labour promises more of this, just rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

        • The Chairman

          “Labour is tracking well in the polls”

          I certainly hope Labour aren’t so complacent as to believe that.

          “AND the campaign proper has not yet started.”

          Bringing us back to the initial question, will Labour be bold enough to make some radical moves?

          Moreover, do they believe they require too?

          There seems to be a voter appetite for them to do so.

          • Jenny Kirk

            Well, Chairman – people on the Standard seem to think NZ Labour should be following the UK Corbyn’s Labour lead on “radical moves/policies”.

            I’m saying this is what NZ Labour IS doing. Bold, radical policies to make NZ a much fairer and more equitable place in the future.

            • marty mars

              so you’re saying little is already doing what corbyn did? Or nz labs are already doing what the uk labs did? Do you think those two sentences are the same or that one is more important than the other?

              • Jenny Kirk

                Frankly, marty mars, I have no idea when the UK Labour announced their policy manifesto or decided it.
                But I do know that NZ Labour announced its comprehensive housing policy months and months ago (it might even have been some time last year). So maybe its the UK Labour following NZ Labour on housing >??@?

                What I am really pointing out is that all the negative posters on the Standard are saying NZ Labour should be following Corbyn’s lead, and I’m saying NZ Labour has very similar policies to Corbyn’s – where it is relevant – and its more than time that the Standard posters realised this !

                • it’s a bit more than policy though isn’t it – I get that most people are crying out for some inspiration like corbyn gave them – maybe you think that is happening here already, I dunno. Not long to the election though…

            • The Chairman

              “Well, Chairman – people on the Standard seem to think NZ Labour should be following the UK Corbyn’s Labour lead on “radical moves/policies”.


              “I’m saying this is what NZ Labour IS doing.”

              Yet, many disagree and expect more.

              At the end of the day, it comes down to whether or not Labour will deliver more?

              If they take your position, we can expect more of the same. However, from the vibe I’m getting (and which the polls confirm) it won’t be enough to get them over the line. As can be seen all over the net, many on the left aren’t impressed.

              • Louis

                Where’s your vibe coming from? Are the polls accurate? National has pretty much been on as losing streak since 2014 election, even John key did a runner.

                • The Chairman

                  “Where’s your vibe coming from?”

                  Friends, associates, and the general public I engage and converse with.

                  • Louis

                    Yet the vibe I’m getting from friends, associates, and the general public I engage and converse with is saying differently from you, they have had it with National and want to see the back of them. What about the other question?

                    • The Chairman

                      “Yet the vibe I’m getting from friends, associates, and the general public I engage and converse with is saying differently from you”

                      That may be so, yet I doubt it. Moreover, the polls don’t confirm it.

                      No poll claims to be 100% accurate, yet they’ve shown (past elections) to be close on the day.

                    • Louis

                      That may be so, yet I doubt it, so which one is it? So I am to believe you but I’m instantly discounted based on questionable polls?? As pointed out National has been on a losing streak since the 2014 election, the mighty John did a runner, so how accurate are they really? Funny how the pollsters seem to do a swifty readjustment with its numbers at the election.

                    • The Chairman

                      The fact the polls reflect the sentiment I’m hearing makes me question the feedback you’re receiving. Nonetheless, it may be you mix in small circles.

                      “So how accurate are they really? “

                    • Louis

                      Maybe its you that mixes in small circles, can the general public be regarded as a small circle? NBR? not exactly impartial and unbiased.

    • Michael 23.4

      Thanks Jenny
      I’m off to a Labour meeting on employment tomorrow and will take these promises with me to raise as examples of Labour’s chronic inability to tell the truth about anything.

      For now, I’ll pick on one of these policies: “Restore fairness rights for employees by replacing National’s 90 day ‘fire at will’ law with a fast, fair, and simple system.”

      The promise does not say Labour will retain the right of employers to dismiss new employees during their first 90 days of employment for no, or any, reason at all. Nor does it say that employees dismissed under these “fast, fair, and simple” provisions will remain unable to file personal grievances, or take other forms of legal action available to (almost) every other person in the country. But that’s precisely what the “new” policy means.

      Just like Labour’s cunning plan in 1998 to substitute the word “relations” for “contracts” in the Short Title of the statute governing employment matters, after calculating that most workers were too stupid to notice, and their union representatives too self-interested to care, so Labour in 2017 continues to believe that slapping a few coats of lipstick on the neoliberal pig will once again deceive the proles from figuring out they’ve been shafted by the political organisation formed to defend them from predatory capitalism.

  23. rhinocrates 24

    Marketing specialists estimate that it takes a minimum of 4 years to turn around negative brand perception. This has less to do with advertising than people think and more to do with word of mouth. Advertising has to be at least somewhat credible, otherwise people will be cynical about slogans and even policy. They have to believe that a party is willing and able to deliver on what it promises.

    Neoliberal economics is based on the myth of the fully-informed purely self-interested rational consumer who closely resembles a psychopath. That theory has so obviously failed to acknowledge externalities and emotional intelligence. People make emotional judgements about parties based on how they perceive their personalities and confidence, and that emotional intelligence is not unsophisticated simply because it’s emotional.

    Gurning awkwardly like Wallace in publicity photos under an anodyne slogan won’t shift perceptions overnight… or ever. When I’ve criticised Labour MPs and activists directly, they’ve turned into snobs who say ‘Well maybe you’re not the kind of person we want to attract,’ as if they were some sort of exclusive club (I got that one from Curran). That’s idiotic. Entitlement is not The Force – it will not deliver votes.

    I think that things have improved somewhat in matters of internal discipline for Labour, helping their perception of competence a little… but it’s an uphill battle and it will take time. In any case, Little has succeeded in silencing the leakers by appeasing and promoting them, and that means that he’s only succeeded in internal management.

    Labour has work on building a solid foundation to its external reputation as a credible government in waiting with exciting alternative policies with dynamic younger people dedicated to making them work instead of looking like the queue for the Bellamy’s all-you-can-eat buffet. Aspiring activists and would-be MPs see a dam holding them back, people who would vote Green probably see that they’re going to be blocked from being effective in government by that great beige fatberg.

    Example: Mallard’s expecting to be Speaker. Bloody Hell, that’s just embarrassing.

    At the very least it should be putting younger faces in front of the news cameras instead of pandering to vanity of nonentities who think that their ‘spokesperson’ posts are simply prizes for being there a long time and still having a pulse.

    Everyone promises nice things. So what? Can Labour be seen as a party willing and able to deliver them? To me, no. I don’t trust Labour. I expect to be thrown under the bus the moment some focus group says my ‘demographic’ is less important than my landlord’s and Little caves in – as he usually does. That is what I’ve learned over the past years with that smarmy Rogernome shit Goff, the ridiculous Shearer, the betrayed Cunliffe and the dull, timid Little.

    Jeremy Corbyn has integrity and crucially, persistence. He stays true to his principles and I would say that he’s radical, but really he’s pretty conservative compared to many Scandinavian politicians. I suppose that in the UK’s and in our context that is radical. Labour here needs to emulate him, not useless, entitled Miliband again.

    • rhinocrates 24.1

      Addendum: They’re damned lucky they have Billshit on his party’s third term as an opponent.

      • Louis 24.1.1

        John key had clearly already lost favour with the public, it is one of the reasons he ran off wasn’t it?

    • Thinkerr 24.2


      The other big problem is that the left has waited for (in NZ case) 30+ years to distance itself from being what others have described as neoliberal-lite.

      That means that, for a large slice of the voting public now, neoliberalism is all they know. Everything else is as the saying goes – if you want to discover new shores, you have to leave your homeland for a long time.

      Its a real shame neoliberalism wasn’t vocally opposed by the left after 1996, when MMP came in.

      • rhinocrates 24.2.1

        This, I think, is a clue, considering a recent discussion on The Grauniad:


        On George Monbiot’s belated admission that Jeremy Corbyn may in fact have more to say about what people really want than a few elitist Guardian columnists:

        His column argues that the Guardian and other liberal media failed to recognise “the most dynamic political force this nation has seen for decades” because of organisational flaws. Their staff – all middle-class graduates – are unrepresentative of the wider population, and the journalists operate in herds, inevitably making them susceptible to groupthink. In short, he argues, journalists reflect their class interests and their reporting becomes an echo chamber.

        But this is to mistake the symptom for the cause. The way the media is organised is far from accidental. Over the past century, the corporate media became gradually “professionalised” – making it a career choice for the middle-class

        The public face ‘The left’ has been appropriated by the Russell Browns of this world who are self-interested and timid, averse to biting the hand that feeds them. They’re articulate and well-connected to media outlets and the Labour party has given a few of that species stable career paths. They got suburban bungalows and started listening to Genesis and Dire Straits and worst of all, each other. Labour has become the Phil Collins of politics and it – and the media – needs punk.

        “Used to be nice, now you’re twice as nice. Used to be good, now you’re too good.”

    • Jenny Kirk 24.3

      Hey rhinocrates ” and the dull, timid Little. Jeremy Corbyn has integrity and crucially, persistence”.

      You said the dull timid Little – who has been leader barely for two years. Corbyn has integrity and persistence in your view. Corbyn was in the UK Parliament for decades before he made his move. That’s a bit of a slow snail IMO ! (But I like Corbyn).

      You haven’t seen Little on the road, or at meetings – he ain’t dull or timid. He’s done a massive amount of work to bring the Labour caucus around to a united being, and its not a dull or timid dullard who immediately fronts up when something goes wrong with the inner workings of Labour – as Little did over the Intern mix-up.
      (Unlike the dullard Blinglish who doesn’t know what being honest is, if he fell over it).

      And as for putting “younger faces in front of the news” well – that’s happening too.

      • Louis 24.3.1

        I like ^^ this well said Jenny.

        • Jenny Kirk

          Thanks Louis. And I appreciated your other comments above.

          I’m getting a bit fed-up with the negativity being spouted about Labour – as no doubt you’ve guessed!! It’s like none of these seemingly intelligent, articulate people who post on The Standard can read anything except the twaddle produced by Nat-sponsored media sycophants.

          • rhinocrates

            Nat-sponsored media sycophants.

            Well that’s ironic, considering that Labour’s focus groups seem utterly terrified of the disapproval of Farrar and Hooton.

            Said of ‘Bomber’ Harris, he mistook ‘advice with interference, criticism with sabotage and evidence with propaganda.’

            Fine, if that makes you feel good about yourself, go ahead. We voters just aren’t good enough for you, are we? I’ve already heard that one.

            Do your fucking job and stop complaining about how you’re the victims. If you want a friend, get a puppy.

            You want our votes? Work for them. You are entitled to NOTHING. Is it going to take you three fucking elections to realise this?

            • adam

              They will lose this one too, and learn nothing.

              If the activist inside labour have not realised yet they onto a dead duck, how the hell do you expect the leadership to give a rats.

              That’s the thing with wet liberals – they know all the right words, and get shocked when people see through, then call them on the crap they are trying to peddle.

              • rhinocrates

                I’m really struggling to come to terms with yourself and Bill disparaging ‘liberalism’ since I interpret the word as a broad label while Bill, and you, apparently, consider it as being token progressivism within the matrix of capitalism. However, when someone like Jenny Kirk shows up and finally resorts to ‘you’re just not good enough for us’ again, then I start to see your point of view.

                My mother grew up in a tent during the Depression and people are living in cars now. Mickey Savage was determined to do something about that by giving government a purpose to serve the people of New Zealand first and last. If you mention this to the latte-slurping representatives of the current party, they get upset because we’re being mean to them.

                I’ve got this for Kirk: Do your job. Represent us. If you can’t do that, then… well, I don’t care: quit if it’s too much for you and make way for someone who will do the work. If you want a friend, call the SPCA.

                • Bill

                  Just wanted to say “Welcome back!”. I’ve seriously missed you and your very ‘on point’ and entertaining comments. (And yeah, I know for a fact I’m not the only one)

                  Anyway. Liberalism.

                  Freedom from the Kings and the Popes and royal decrees and what not and welcome to our new world of liberty before the market as an individual, and equality before our law, and our property rights, in our grand world where us particular men, who are born equal, get to enjoy the fruits of our well taken opportunities that are safeguarded by our system of governance. Yeah, – not the non-wealthy, the indigenous or black nor women ffs, Get real! When we said “equality”, well there’s them’s of us who are obviously equal and them’s of you who must fade or just suffer (Not really) sorry.

                  Ranty take on liberalism over.

                  There was a goodly number of liberatory strands of thought came from the Enlightement – anarchism or/and socialism among them. But the one that gained ascendancy by wedding itself off to the concept of liberal capitalism – the one we have to deal with today – that was and is a howling con.

                  • rhinocrates

                    Heh. Let me warn you, I’m an unreliable ally: I’m too alcoholic, melancholic and autistic to be constant. I’m going to drop in and out of discussion on The Standard as other projects and obsessions take up my time – I’m going to disappear for long periods without explanation, but that doesn’t mean that I won’t be reading with interest.

                    That said, you highlight an important discussion that we should have here, as evidenced by reactions to your earlier posts. That is, what do we mean when we say ‘liberal’?

                    I am used to thinking of the word as denoting quite broadly an openness to divergent needs, whereas you seem to place it within the matrix of a practise of capitalism that will accommodate variety so as to allow its continued hegemony.

                    I think that this would be an excellent topic for a discussion here, but I’m afraid that I personally can’t commit to initiating and managing it. Time, energy, addiction and all that. Can someone bring it up?

                    There’s great potential there, and I think that it can aid in the development of left theory and practice in the coming years. On one hand, evolutionary psychology indicates that there is a ‘human nature’ that cannot be completely altered by ideology, but on the other hand, nothing investigated by humans is free of current cultural prejudices – so how are we to guard against this? Marxism assumes an informed, rational citizen and even Friedmanite neoliberalism is ‘Marxist’ in the sense that it assumes a ‘rational consumer-citizen.’ In fact we’re still bald apes, so where does that leave us?

                    My reticence in accepting radicalism has been due to my friendship with many marginalised individuals and my own condition as an autist who have been dismissed as proponents of ‘identity politics’ but have in effect have been told to move to the back of the bus while the real revolution goes ahead. ‘Wait your turn’ has always been abhorent to someone as neurodivergent as myself, and that’s put me off radical leftism as I’ve understood it.

                    That’s a discussion deserving in part its own thread anyway to give it the depth that it deserves. I have to say, I’m finding myself to be a reluctant radical. I’m angry about Labour because it’s meagre policies will not improve my material circumstance, and ideologically, I sadly now find the party of Michael Joseph Savage that so helped my mother’s generation… irrelevant. It has nothing to say, it has no solutions.

                    • Bill

                      You’ll be heartened to know that rough sketch drafts for posts on “Liberalism”, “Social Democracy” and “Socialism” are all sitting on my hard drive. Of course, it wouldn’t be the first time that such drafts remain as drafts. (Big topics, small word count).

                      I’ve never been one for this “class” versus “identity politics” divide and will be more than happy if these posts (should they eventuate) help to drive a huge bus through all that divisive smash.

                      Psychology can’t be completely altered by ideology, but it can be shaped or moulded depending on what behaviours and traits any particular ideology nurtures and promotes.

                      Is it worth noting I’m no Marxist? His basic observation on the economic nature of exploitation in a capitalist economy is bloody valuable (not invaluable), but beyond that, his contribution can tend to veer between the questionable to the downright ridiculous.

                      Those authoritarians who took his work and abused it for their own ends have a hell of a lot to answer for in my mind. By my reckoning they put “the left” back by about 100 years.

          • Louis

            Know what you mean Jenny and its pretty hostile and depressing to say the least. You tried, no matter what you put up it was always going to be unceremoniously dumped on, that much is clear. They dont want to know, dont want to see further than the right wing memes. Just look at the reactions, insults, sworn at, lynch mob springs to mind. Leave em’ to it.

            • Bill

              Are you 10?

              • Michael

                I’ve read Louis’ posts in this thread and believe you may over-estimate his maturity. His posts are always brutish, nasty and short, although impeccably in favour of the Labour Party hierarchy.

                • Jenny Kirk

                  You guys – Bill and Michael – are really getting personal now. Which indicates to me that you’re running out of steam. Good !

                  • Louis

                    They gave themselves away there.

                    • Michael

                      Not when responding to Louis’ mindless cheerleading. I put you in a different category, Jenny Kirk, as it appears you have at least absorbed Labour’s propaganda – or possibly written it yourself. The problem is that no one believes it outside a very small circle of Labour insiders – and I suspect some of them don’t believe it either (I know this to have been the case in previous campaigns that Labout duly lost). Accordingly, Louis is not worth engaging in debate – but you are, at least at present. And my message to you is that it’s now too late to save Labour from its fourth defeat in a row (arguably it’s fifth if the results of the 2005 election are correctly interpreted). It may even be impossible to revive Labour’s credibility in time for the 2020 election (in which case, it’s prospects are terminal). But if Labour wants to remain a political force in this country it must change. Over to you and your comrades.

      • rhinocrates 24.3.2

        He showed us ‘Angry Andy’ for a moment. That was what I meant. I like angry – to quote Mr Nancy, angry gets shit done… but in this case, it didn’t last. Apparently Hooton and Farrar disapproved.

        Fronting up over the utter shambles of the interns was honourable, but cynically facilitating racist immigrant-bashing isn’t. If it’s really about infrastructure, then talk about infrastructure, not the Yellow Peril. With Little it always seems to be one step forward and another step back.

        I will admit that he deserves credit for dampening down the revolts of the worst troughers, easing Shearer and Goff out, but Parker and Robertson are on the front bench (in Robertson’s case, probably because no-one in their right mind would let that compulsive backstabber sit behind them). It’s hard work… but that just highlights the endemic problem of the Labour party itself. It’s a refuge for talentless careerist chair-warmers and the leader is going to put all his effort in appeasing them. That’s internal politics. It’s good, but good isn’t good enough.

        Do those younger talents you speak of see a career path to cabinet? Well apart from the photogenic but so far ineffectual Adern and the sycophantic toady Hipkins (hardly an example to follow), no. Let’s see how long they last before getting disillusioned and finding more productive careers elsewhere. David Cunliffe could find another job, but who would employ Mallard, Robertson et al as anything but compost? They’re the ones getting promises of senior positions.

        Meanwhile, O’Connor, a misogynist authoritarian rape culture apologist, is selected for Ohariu and aspires to be Minister of Police. Once again it’s one step forward and another step back. A Labour party that selects a man who protects rapists is not my Labour party.

        Honestly, I want a coalition in government that will pass genuinely socialist, progressive legislation. I want a change of government, not new letterheads on the stationery. Good luck to Little if he has sincere intentions, but he needs to get angry again and dare to frighten the horses because he really knows that National is hurting people and it bloody matters to him personally. The rest of the caucus needs to start thinking the same.

        • KJT

          A Chinese immigrant once told me. “In China you can change the policy, but not the party. In the West you can change the party, but not the policy”.

          I’ve since heard the same repeated elsewhere.

          Both Chinese and Western Governments will not allow Democracy, for the simple reason that the rest of us may then demand our fair share of the “Elites Wealth”, that we have worked for, for generations.

          • Louis

            But what makes up a party? People. So depending on the people its possible to change the make up of the party and policy.

  24. Molly 25

    “Honestly, I want a coalition in government that will pass genuinely socialist, progressive legislation. I want a change of government, not new letterheads on the stationery. Good luck to Little if he has sincere intentions, but he needs to get angry again and dare to frighten the horses because he really knows that National is hurting people and it bloody matters to him personally. The rest of the caucus needs to start thinking the same.”

    I agree. I have no hesitation in saying that a coalition government is one that I would prefer. We have effectively had a four-party coalition for the last two terms, and look how many changes have been made. A progressive coalition could achieve just as many changes – but for the better.

    (Sorry, meant to be a reply to rhinocrates above)

    • rhinocrates 25.1

      I was being realistic rather than idealistic, assuming that no party could achieve an absolute majority. However, now that you point out that, I understand that the point of an MMP parliament is to ensure a breadth of representation that will necessarily require coalitions, taking power away from cabinet and individual parties while allowing members of the coalition to have specialist expertise and advocacy.

      I’d like to see the MoU between Labour and the Greens be put into practice actively allowing a Green influence on government, not just a few token gestures. To that end, I’ll be voting Green to help them get the numbers to have an influence on a the makeup of the next government.

      I’m not a NZF supporter by any means, but their old-fashioned conservatism does appeal to a sector of society that I acknowledge and I hope that they can find an accommodation. I at least find their cultural conservatism more honest than a Labour party that claims to be everything to everyone and makes liberal gestures and then selects someone like O’Connor as a candidate. Spanning that gap, they’re only going to split their pants. Best they look to their deep, real heritage of Mickey Savage, Peter Fraser and Norman Kirk.

  25. Incognito 26

    Wow, almost 200 comments; that’s saying something.

    From Andrew Dean’s article:

    In environments of high dissatisfaction, the middle ground contains fewer and fewer voters – and winning it will come at the cost of alienating many.

    I do agree that levels of dissatisfaction seem to relatively high, also or perhaps particularly in the middle ground, but despite this the middle ground doesn’t seem to move (much). Quite possibly because they’re not quite as ready as some would like them to be; you cannot force voters to see (or do) things your way; all you can do is to provide them a choice and ideally a real alternative that is ‘palatable’.

    My impression of the middle ground is that of a group of (dissatisfied) people knowing that something is up but waiting for an external signal, from political parties, to know what it is that might happen next. At the same time, political parties know that something is up with the middle ground and they’re waiting for a signal, from the middle ground, to respond to. In other words, a dance of the veils mime with the lights dimmed; bloody confusing and frustrating to watch at times.

    At this very moment in time I want this government gone more than I want Labour-Green in the next new government. It’s voting against a negative rather than for a positive and this sums up my current view of the Opposition parties. At the same time I have to declare that I have not been following anything directly (ignorance!) from any political party so I am not wedded to my views.

    • Molly 26.1

      “At the same time, political parties know that something is up with the middle ground and they’re waiting for a signal, from the middle ground, to respond to. In other words, a dance of the veils mime with the lights dimmed;”

      Thanks, incognito for that unwanted mental graphic of our politicians and the dance of the seven veils.

      • Incognito 26.1.1

        You’re welcome Molly. At least you get to pick your own politicians for your imagery 😉

    • Draco T Bastard 26.2

      I do agree that levels of dissatisfaction seem to relatively high, also or perhaps particularly in the middle ground, but despite this the middle ground doesn’t seem to move (much).

      IMO, the problem is the politicians and how it’s reported. the politicians aren’t moving and the journalists aren’t getting the right info as they tend to ignore the majority of people. It’s takes a lot of effort to actually speak to a lot of people instead of just asking a few people some set questions with set answers.

      The ‘centre’ has never been as far right as it’s presently presented by the politicians and the MSM.

      • Incognito 26.2.1

        I agree.

        The communication/PR can definitely be improved but for some reason many journalists are not picking up the right and/or even accurate information. How do you get the right info to the people if not through journalists and MSM? You cannot speak to that many people and cover (and correct) everything; you don’t even know what’s on people’s minds, what’s relevant or important to them except from what you get from aggregate ‘sources’. IMHO the right politician speaks for him/herself rather than trying to second-guess what his/her audience wants to hear. I believe this is the only way it can be done and anything else is fake and won’t last (long).

        The perceived lack of movement/momentum is getting on some people’s nerves. I say this as a ‘typical’ voter albeit exposed to (and thus influenced by) TS.

        Jenny Kirk said somewhere that the campaign hasn’t yet properly started so I hope to see some movement soon; just a hint of dynamism and passion would help IMHO. People don’t get turned off more than by dull, boring, and predictable – how to bring back the spark in your sex life is a regular column nowadays and the advice (AFAIK) generally isn’t to keep ignoring or dropping your partner or to buy (!) expensive items 😉 (NB to take this analogy one step further, non-voting isn’t a solution either; it’s a cop out and defeatist)

  26. Craig H 27

    The Labour constitution makes complete policy overhauls comparatively slow and generally sees policy being made democratically from members’ policy remits at regional conferences. I appreciate some people are frustrated by that, but that’s the membership’s wishes, and it avoids shocks like Rogernomics. I personally like it because it means I have a say in it and a way to influence it, which was a big factor in my decision to join Labour after the last election (rather than another party). Personally, I think people would be better off joining Labour or the Greens and changing things from the inside rather than ranting about them, but that’s just me.

    Still, I think it’s great that people vent here – random voters aren’t going to come across the site, so it avoids poisoning voters against Labour. So, please, keep raging into the abyss if it makes one feel better.

    • rhinocrates 27.1

      They sentenced me to twenty years of boredom for trying to change the system from within. -Leonard Cohen

      Labour has embraced neoliberalism, so then it has to measure itself by the neoliberalist yardstick.

      Does it have a product or service that people want to buy? Does it have a Unique Selling Proposition (USP)? Does its brand have credibility? Can its agents deliver the service that they advertise?

      So what if criticism of them is ‘negative’? They promise to represent the poor and disadvantaged. Very well then, let them show that they are sincere and capable. The onus is on them to convince us voters of that. We owe them nothing, they owe us their dedication and competence in exchange for our votes. Political parties are servants of the people and they should never be allowed to forget that. National knows that very well – they have served their voters superbly. It’s time for Labour to remember that they have claimed to serve all New Zealanders and should therefore do so.

    • Stuart Munro 27.2

      You know, we’re not really venting. Is it so much to ask, that our parties sincerely represent us? If it is, it shouldn’t be.

      • KJT 27.2.1

        The rot set in when all politicians unilaterally decided they were “Managers”, not representatives!

      • Craig H 27.2.2

        My personal experience (which is just anecdotal, so I acknowledge it is not statistically relevant) is that Labour sincerely represents me, and my MP genuinely listens to my suggestions and opinions (as do other MPs and candidates when I get the chance to have a chat). My working life has been better because of Labour and under the 5th Labour government, and when I did briefly end up on the dole, Work and Income were much friendlier than anecdotes I have heard under National governments.

        Others will no doubt have other experiences, but those are mine.

    • Jenny Kirk 27.3

      + 100% Craig H (and to Louis above – yep, leave the grizzlers to themselves ! There are better things to do with one’s time – like changing things from the inside as Craig says).

      • Incognito 27.3.1

        I wrote a recent Guest Post on changing things from within: Prefigurative politics: being the change you want to see. It takes time, patience, and perseverance.

      • Louis 27.3.2

        Hi Jenny. With CraigH too. Liked the venting ranting and raging into the abyss bits. Very appropriate. He’s onto it, joining, getting active and changing things from the inside. Thats the way to go. Interesting that a number of people here seem to see a party as a separate entity from the people when its the people that make up a party.

    • Louis 27.4

      I like ^^ this @CraigH that sums it up for me.

    • Michael 27.5

      “The Labour constitution makes complete policy overhauls comparatively slow and generally sees policy being made democratically from members’ policy remits at regional conferences.” What a joke. In the Labour Party, policy is made from the top down and notice is only taken of anything proposed from the grassroots when the elite find it expedient (the first paid parental leave policy is a case in point). If only Labour’s hierarchy actually took its grassroots members seriously it might be more popular than it is (at least, it would have a cadre of activists to get the word out without having to depend on right-wing news media). But it doesn’t so it isn’t.

  27. The Chairman 28

    Looks like Labour may have missed the opportunity (of becoming radical) as the Greens may beat them to it.

    Greens appeal for the progressive vote

    The Greens want all progressive voters to vote for them to ensure they are the strongest party (representing the progressive voice) in a new Government.

    And they’re promising more progressive policy to come in their coming campaign (stated on Q&A today).

  28. Jenny Kirk 29

    Labour has a good, a very good, water policy Chairman. But it is just possible – maybe quite possible – that because the Greens are seen to be the environmental party that Labour has stepped back out of the limelight on this particular issue to give a potential coalition partner the kudos.
    (I’m assuming you’re referring to the Green’s water policy announced today).
    There is more to political leadership than playing top dog, or top showman all the time.

  29. Sumsuch 30

    Jeez, Micky Savage, the numbers on here say everything. Yet no hope among Labour and Green, twisting ever in the the wind for a fair breeze, like a yacht race. You and all our talkers need to step up. If the shy stutterer Bruce Jesson could succeed …

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