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I agree with Josie Pagani, mostly

Written By: - Date published: 10:19 am, December 9th, 2016 - 36 comments
Categories: labour, national, Politics, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: ,

I never thought that I would type these words but in this post John Key world things are getting pretty strange.  [Snip] Josie Pagani has posted something a lot of which I agree with.

In the past I have been rather critical of Josie, another description would be scathing as I struggled with her triangulation approach to politics and her thought that Labour just had to be more mediocre to be electable.

Looks like things may be changing.

She has posted this article about her friend Nick Leggett where she disagrees with his decision to switch to National.

The article does not start well.  She talks about how Nick Leggett’s defection is a bad thing for those who think it is a bad thing for Labour to be part of a left block with the Greens.  This sort of comment drives me wild.  Between 10 and 15% of the population are people who are really dedicated to saving the planet and the environment and have determined that supporting the Green Party is a logical extension of these beliefs.  I know many of the local members.  They are fine people.  I would be proud to have a government of which the Greens are an integral part.  The quality of decisions made would improve if they had a voice at the highest echelon.

Pagani then says this:

Nick Leggett’s decision to go to National is an embarrassment for those in the Labour party who agreed that Labour needs to stick to being a Labour party and not dilute its historic mission by becoming a left block with the Green party.

Historic missions are important but so is environmental protection.  Most members of the Labour Party would agree with emphasis being given to both goals.

She then says this:

His defection says he wants Labour to look more like the National party, when Labour’s real challenge is to look more like a Labour party.

There is no escaping the fact that Nick now has a ticket to the back benches of parliament, most likely in a fourth term National government led by someone who isn’t even the popular John Key. No-one knows what the post-Key National party will look like. How does someone who claims to still have Labour values fit into the National party of Judith Collins?

Her prediction that there will be a fourth National Government is something I disagree with.  All bets are off given the events of this week.

And in her justification she realises and recognises some of the core values of Labour that is what drives many of us to do our best to get Labour elected.

Her article concludes with these paragraphs:

The historic mission of Labour is to be on the side of wage earners so that they get their fair share of national wealth, and the child of a cleaner gets the same chance to succeed as the child of a company director. It’s not that National always disagrees with that, but it’s not its reason for being. It was formed to stop the Labour party doing too much of that.

Today, National struggles to reconcile their liberal, internationalist and pro-freedom instincts with its conservative roots where ideas of God, King and Country hold sway.

Nick is a liberal and an internationalist. That strand is in control in the National party today, but it may not be by Monday. The authoritarian nationalists could re-assert themselves. How’s Nick going to feel in that National party?

You don’t have to be loyal to the Labour party for the sake of it. It doesn’t have a god-given right to exist. But if you don’t want to be called a careerist you should be loyal to your principles, which you can’t do by joining a party that is opposed to them.

Apart from leaving out Labour’s other historic mission, to provide for those most in need, the statement is a reasonable synopsis.  Well said Josie.

Update:  Following a spirited twitter discussion with Phil Quin I have deleted a reference to him which I am willing to accept did not describe his thoughts on the matter.

36 comments on “I agree with Josie Pagani, mostly ”

  1. Craig 1

    “I would be proud to have a government of which the Greens are an integral part. ”

    I would be worried if I was a Green MP / member of being part of a coalition with Labour. Labour’s history of coalition is one of screwing their coalition partner for as long and as hard as they can, claiming the partner’s victories as their (Labour) own, and kicking them at election time. Labour’s history shows they don’t like coalitions; they want total control of the whip. As far as I can see there is nothing to indicate this has changed. If I was a Green MP I wouldn’t consider going into coalition with Labour. Give them confidence and supply by all means, based on a clear set of policy agreements and timings for them. Make them sweat for aforementioned confidence and supply. Make them work for it. Don’t make the same mistakes that the Alliance/Jim Anderton made.

    • Brigid 1.1

      The Alliance made no mistake; Jim Anderton didn’t either, as far as his own career was concerned.
      The Alliance’s alliance with Labour and Jim Anderton’s career ambitions were mutually exclusive.

  2. Puckish Rogue 2

    And thusly was Josie, the prodigal daughter, welcomed back into the warm, loving embrace of the Labour party (and The Standard)



  3. Guerilla Surgeon 3

    “The historic mission of Labour is to be on the side of wage earners so that they get their fair share of national wealth, and the child of a cleaner gets the same chance to succeed as the child of a company director. ”

    That’s the problem right there. It’s a HISTORIC mission. And they’ve forgotten all about it today.

    • Anthony Rimell 3.1

      Guerilla: I think now is the opportunity to return to that historic mission. I dont agree that Labour has forgotten. Some in Labour had, and they held too much sway. But now is the time to return to this foundational viewpoint.

      Housing, health, and hope. I’m hearing a lot about these from a growing number of Labour people. I’m delighted, because its at just the moment the Emperor (National) is being revealed as having no clothes.

      I do appreciate your cynicism. You have every right. But let’s take it forward, not stay in the (admittedly legitimate) pain of the recent past.

  4. Yeah, I read the original article too, and was super surprised when I checked and saw it was by Josie Pagani. It’s got to be the most reasonable thing she’s written in a decade. Other than aiming an unnecessary kick at the Greens, you almost couldn’t tell she was the one who had written it.

  5. tc 5

    meanwhile outside the beltway……

  6. Josie seems she knows something the rest of us dont…

    She must have have been outdoors last night sniffing that fresh breeze and realizing there’s going to be a few changes around here now the ponytail puller is gone…

    Or is she just realigning her ducks in a row to be on the right side of history?…

    • Anne 6.1

      Or is she just realigning her ducks in a row to be on the right side of history?…

      Imho, chances are…

      Or to be more correct… she’s hedging her bets because there might be a change of government. Perhaps she has her eyes set on a Quango or two?

      Where Ms Pagani is concerned I’m afraid my cynicism continues to abound.

      • Jenny Kirk 6.1.1

        + 100% Anne. Of course, that’s what its all about – Ms Pagani looking for a quango.

  7. swordfish 7


    The historic mission of Labour is to be on the side of wage earners so that they get their fair share of national wealth


    Apart from leaving out Labour’s other historic mission, to provide for those most in need, the statement is a reasonable synopsis. Well said Josie.

    Pretty sure Josie’s omission there was deliberate, Micky. Beneficiaries and their children are of little consequence to a Paganista Labour Party (except where their demonization might aid such a Labour Party’s electoral fortunes among wage earners).

    • Chris 7.1

      Shearer said around the time of the sickness-beneficiary-on-the-roof palaver that “Labour has always been the party for the workers”. The question is, though, who are “the workers” now? Fairly recent history would suggest he meant those with a job.

    • Sacha 7.2

      Does “wage earners” also exclude those like tradies and the casualised/contracted precariat? Many no longer have a smoko together, let alone a class consciousness. Where’s Labour’s place?

      • miravox 7.2.1


      • mickysavage 7.2.2

        Good point.

        The right has spent 30 years attacking the trade union movement and trying to move everyone away from thinking in terms of class. They want everyone to be consumers instead and think like this when they vote.

        The forces doing this are exceptionally strong. I don’t think the left have worked out how to properly respond, even now.

      • Chris 7.2.3

        Same as most unions.

    • Cricklewood 7.3

      Sure but will that change under Andrew Little? The last two labour govts have done very little in fact nothing to address beneficaries and their children.
      I was extremely disappointed that the Helen Clarks govt didn’t undo Ruth Richardsons cuts and then proceeded to widen inequality by excluding the children of beneficiaries from working for families.
      Time will tell if there will be real change rather than lip service.

      • Chris 7.3.1

        And they abolished the special benefit, made forcing people into jobs part of the statutory purpose of social welfare and supported government war-on-the-poor legislation in 2014. Labour’s got a lot to answer for, and we’ve got no idea whether Little’s going to do anything different because all talk of Labour’s policy on social welfare benefits is a no-go zone.

    • mickysavage 7.4

      Pretty sure Josie’s omission there was deliberate, Micky

      I think so. I thought that she should be praised for at least telling Leggett he was an idiot.

      • Antonina 7.4.1

        why waste your energy on a post about Pagani??

        • tc

          Agreed, giving the distraction crew oxygen here when IMO they should be ignored as the owned shills they are singing for their supper.

          She’s hedging her bets in case the restaurant managers change, no more no less.

  8. red-blooded 8

    So guys, I’m not sure how you get a sense that the Greens are being criticised in this paragraph:
    “Nick Leggett’s decision to go to National is an embarrassment for those in the Labour party who agreed that Labour needs to stick to being a Labour party and not dilute its historic mission by becoming a left block with the Green party.”

    Note, she says it’s an embarrassment for a group within Labour. She doesn’t endorse that group’s view. In fact, she goes on to say that Labour has to be a “broad church” and that implies working with others in a collaborative way. She’s repudiating the view of the anti-MOU faction and implying that they, like Nick Leggett, should be embarrassed by their position on this issue.

    Nick Leggett is clearly more committed to his own political career than to anything else. Josie Pagani gets a lot of criticism from people on this site (and I’m sometimes among them), but she does have some reasonable insights and she does have a place within the broad church of the Labour Party.

    • Anne 8.1

      … she does have some reasonable insights…

      Problem is red-blooded, they are invariably insights which have already been expressed by numerous people, and I have to wonder whether they are really her own or she has picked up on them and decided to also fly with them.

      I will endeavour to say no more on this subject… fearing criticism for being too harsh. 👿

    • Her adoption and seeming support for the potential for far right wing neo liberal policy’s veiled under the cloak in her constant advise for ‘ Labour to move to the centre’ does her no favours.

      Clark spoke about the centre , but not in this way… although I never was a Clark fan at all for almost the same reasons.

      People like Pagani set themselves up in opposition to the core values of Labour when Cunliffe made his early speeches when he became Leader of the Opposition. That hasn’t been forgotten.

      As such , – she has far more in common with the neo liberals that to a large extent still remain in the Labour caucus including the ABC brigade .

      I wouldn’t trust her one bit.

      And the only reason she would have published this in an article was because she was compelled to do so because if she didn’t , – she would have been seen to be an outright supporter of National.

      Leggit is just a convenient excuse and opportunity for being seen to be supporting ‘core’ Labour values – yet not at all and getting off scott free from any criticism.

      • Sacha 8.2.1

        There seems to be a vacant space on our political spectrum for a liberal party to the left of the Nats. Maybe someone can persuade Ms Pagani, Mr Nash, et al to set that up rather than drag Labour to the right?

    • swordfish 8.3

      She’s repudiating the view of the anti-MOU faction and implying that they, like Nick Leggett, should be embarrassed by their position on this issue.

      Shouldn’t have thought so. Pagani’s very much part of the anti-MOU Labour Right faction. She’s simply distancing herself (and others in the anti-MOU faction) from Leggett and trying to minimise fallout (ie from being tagged as a closet Tory, just like the slippery Leggett).

  9. Morrissey 9

    Why is Josie Pagani still here? Shouldn’t she be in Syria, fighting with ISIS?

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