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I’m sorry, I’m out

Written By: - Date published: 2:00 pm, April 16th, 2011 - 68 comments
Categories: disaster, labour - Tags: ,

Every country that has ever sleepwalked from democracy to dictatorship has done it in the belief that it was taking extraordinary, temporary measures in response to an emergency. They all arrogantly believed that these circumstances were exceptional and normalcy would be restored, notwithstanding the lessons of the past. Our Parliament has shown exactly the same arrogance and dismaying ignorance.

Of course special legislation needed to be passed to create a rebuilding commission like the one that was created for Napier and Hastings in 1931. But CERA allows Brownlee to override nearly any law, take away any land, and demand any information. This is not the normal response to disaster in a democracy. It is a blueprint for dictatorship. There is no justification for this. There is nothing that makes this risk worth taking.

Labour should have said: ‘we want special legislation and a commission for Christchurch but this law is a naked power grab beyond any justification. We have been lied to repeatedly through out this process, so we do not feel we can trust Brownlee with these powers. If the following amendments are made (give amendments limiting the power to override legislation to only specified Acts, putting power in Commissioners’ hands not Brownlee’s, and establishing proper rights of appeal) we will vote for this law. Otherwise, in good conscience, and as representatives of the people of New Zealand entrusted by them to defend their democracy, we cannot.’

I don’t know why that didn’t happen.

And finally, lets look at the politics of the thing. A read of the media told you that the jourmos would have gotten behind Labour opposing CERA. All those articles about National’s abuse of Urgency were an open invitation for Labour to stand up against this attack on democracy.

Can you imagine National meekly signing over Parliament’s sovereignty to a minister, all the while complaining that the minister had lied to them and that the powers were unjustified? Of course not.

The millions of Kiwis who are suffering under National need a Labour worth voting for. Every time Labour lets itself be tripped up by petty squabbles, by indecision, by fear of standing up and defending its principles, it is we New Zealanders who lose. CERA is just one example.

I desperately, desperately want a Labour-led leftwing government at the end of this year. It fills me with dread to think what Christchurch and the rest of New Zealand will look like if National is allowed to plunder it for another three years. But I can’t go into battle for the Left’s ideals every day when our parliamentary representatives go and do this to us. I’m going to take a break from national-level politics and this blog, and get more involved in activism in my community, especially Transition Towns. I’m more and more convinced that communities can do a lot to ready themselves to weather the age of peak oil, and that strong communities are the guarantors of a sustainable and democratic society.

Ever since I was invited on board, I have been incredibly proud to be part of The Standard. It is, I really believe, the premier political news source in the country. It was before I joined and it will continue to be without me. Its strength is the community it represents. You make The Standard what it is. Through your readership, your comments, your guest posts, your tips and advice, and the high standards you demand of us.

It is up to you, dear reader, to take up The Standard now. Especially, those of you who know economics and stats. Send in your guest posts. Become an author. I need a break.

68 comments on “I’m sorry, I’m out ”

  1. Eddie 1

    fair enough mate.
    after about a thousand posts in the past two years, i reckon you’ve earned it.
     
    captcha – thus
     

  2. ianmac 2

    The battle is not yet lost Marty. “Your country needs you,” he growled pointing a fore-finger hopefully.
    The Labour leaders are not stupid and I can only imagine that they are picking their shots and lining up to run a campaign between now and November. After all the electorate has a short memory.
    I hope that when the election campaign does hot up, you find a bit of time to return after a bit of a rest. Thanks anyway.

  3. higherstandard 3

    “I’m going to take a break from national-level politics and this blog, and get more involved in activism in my community, especially Transition Towns.”

    Good for you bud, better for the mind, better for the soul ……

  4. Olwyn 4

    Have a good break Marty, I miss your meticulous work already. Labour’s compliance with CERA fills me with dread: I do not know whether they actually agree or whether TINA II is driving both main parties, with Labour consoling itself with the thought that it might be able to blunt some of the hard edges if elected.

  5. outofbed 5

    Anyone else feel the same ?

    • Deadly_NZ 5.1

      Yep but the Greens aint got the numbers, and probably never will.  And the fact they said they could work with the NATS, well yeah we all have seen what happened to the Maori party when it cosied up to them. Internal wrangling and implosion probably orchestrated by the NACTS.  and as bad as the labour party is they will have more numbers than the greens.  so I suppose that we are all hoping that the NACTS keep stepping on their Cranks and hand the election to the opposition.  Well here’s hoping

  6. prism 6

    Marty G always comes up with incisive comment and some good stats and ‘decorations’ of informative graphs etc.   Very good to see and will be missed.
    Labour is limited by its groupthink that puts loyalty to the leaders before Labour ideals and vision if any, and before standing up for better policy to support the people of NZ    If only they weren’t like a scratch sports team out for a run. There are stakes to be fought for, the cup to win of a thriving NZ working for us all that we can be proud of.  There is nobility in going for principles in politics and not being mealy mouthed and just getting by.  Seems that Goff and King are second-raters looking for their time in the sun like UK Brown after Blair.

  7. tc 7

    Spot on prism…..goff and king were next in line rather than deserving of the role as a clean break from Clark/Cullen was required that would’ve made a win in 2011 easily achievable.

    Saving grace for NZ is sideshow, blinglish, ayatolley etc are making a complete mess with no direction or talent…..goff needs a slap but has value whereas kings always been a liability IMO

    • prism 7.1

      ayatolley  oh that’s so 😀
       
      antispam  wonderful

    • prism 7.2

      tc – I like Goff occasionally but giving him a run in the team a

      • prism 7.2.1

        Something happened to my comment so here is what I intended in the first.tc – I like Goff occasionally but giving the ‘juniors’ a chance to shine in the team and relegating some of the older players is justified in these difficult times. Thinking in sporting terms in this country might be the best way of explaining the solution.

        As for Shonkey he spends too much time running round the field waving to the crowd. And he dives too often, he’s performing but not the job, too much theatre and too little sweat-a.

  8. Herodotus 8

    A beautiful song with a sting as a warning, even if it does relate to Spain and so dramatically dipicted in Guernica.
    But the abuse is not isolated to one spectrum of the political divide – as the Spanish civil war so unfortunately illustrated: Communists or Fascists 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cX8szNPgrEs

    • Armchair Critic 8.1

      “…monuments put from pen to paper turns me into a gutless wonder…”
      Yeah, good on Marty G, it’s time for real action too.

  9. ianmac 9

    ayatolley” Yes. Wonder if the Principals Assoc. of NZ used it when they called on BOT to reject National Standards today?

  10. Marty – vote Green.
    You’ve done as Nandor has done and ‘gone to ground’.
    Flax-roots is the solar plexus of community <i>but</i> once you have trained as a political commenter/observer/activist you can’t just ‘take up the hoe’ and watch as the screws are tightened. I suggest you relax, rethink and regroup, then return revived.
    And vote Green. Hone recommends it to his nearest and dearest.

  11. todd 11

    Your contribution will be missed Marty G. I must say though that the main 8 or so right wing bogs are rather inept at dealing with the left blogs of around twice that number 🙂 Feel free to tag back in at anytime.

  12. Jenny 12
    Marty, speaking for myself, (and many others I am sure), I will miss your reading and analysis of current events and political and economic trends. With your attention to detail and careful fact checking, sometimes backed up with revealing tables, you have often laid bare seemingly complex matters, exposing the deliberate obfuscation and even the downright lies of the right.

    Marty, glad to hear that you are staying involved in political activism. 
    On your proven track record any future project that you give your energies to, will be the greater for it.

    I especially would like to hear your take on the Transition Towns movement.

    As the saying goes, “Thinking globally, acting locally”

    Going by this maxim, I am sure that you are not abandoning the macro level issues completely. 

    Be lucky e hoa.

     

  13. Pete 13

    I’ve been reading The Standard for 6 months or so and I’ve always considered Marty’s work to be very informative. Thankyou for your efforts.

  14. Have a good rest from it all, MartyG….whether the rest is a day, a week or a decade. 

    Been there.

  15. Dean Reynolds 15

    Marty – I can understand your reaction, but you are one of the most insightful commentators I’ve ever encountered. I’ve printed & kept  your tables & graphs because they’re so precise & well reasoned. You’ll be sorely missed from The Standard – any chance of a return before the election, once you’ve re-charged your batteries? If not, the Left will be the poorer for your absence.

  16. Lanthanide 16

    Will be very sad to see you go, Marty. The amount of effort you’ve put into collecting data and creating graphs, with analysis, is simply staggering. We’ll all be worse off without them.

  17. Tanz 17

    It’s them against us. All a bit EFA isn’t it, all a bit 2008 Big Brothers/sisters equals both the incumbent and the Opposition. Demoralising.

  18. Key selling off NZ 18

    Vote for the greens if you are sick of real politik and spinelessness Marty. The Labour Party under Goff has no backbone, just neoliberal pragmatism. Until he goes and the party gets nerves of steel, you will see a lot more rhetoric without substance.

  19. As many an exMP has said, the real parliament – the place where real leadership happens is on the parliament of the streets. See you there Marty.

  20. RedLogix 20

    Marty.  I can well understand your reaction. It’s pretty much how I feel almost all of the time… indeed these day’s I can barely conceal my cynicism and contempt of what is passing for the political and media scene in this country. I’ve been willing to wait for Goff to turn the metaphorical corner for a long time now; but this completely wrong vote confirms for me that he’s not ever going to.
     
    But there is no doubt you have inspired me with your posts that have not been not afraid to let the numbers tell the story. Almost all the media these days make the patronising assumption that their entire audience is functionally innumerate and run a mile screaming if they are presented with even the most elementary graph.  By contrast Marty you have lifted the game in a way few other public intellectuals in this country have been able to.

    Which is all on top of a prodigous output that has left me amazed, week in, week out.
     
    My sincere thanks. And very best wishes.
     
    PS.. it’s a total coincidence that I’ve just managed to put up the first post of my own in ages, although I suspect if The Standard were to rely wholly on my contributions, it would fast save on Lynn’s bandwidth indeed.
     
    There are plenty of regulars here whose comments tell me that they are more than capable of putting up quality posts. It does not need to be an onerous duty; if a dozen or so of us were making three to four new articles month in addition to the existing core of loyal authors… there would be no shortage of diverse and intersting material.

  21. Benjamin B. 21

    You always got tough pieces of information across in a very concise and easy to understand way. Thanks for all your posts. Hope you’re back one day.

  22. toad 22

    Thanks for all you have done here MartyG.  I’ll miss your contributions, and especially the wonderful charts you have produced to help explain economic issues simply.

    But, as others have pointed out here, we still do have an effective left Opposition.  It is called the Green Party – albeit with a hiccup over the first Canterbury Enabling Act.

    The Green MPs got a real bollocking from the party membership, including me, over that.  And with the Green list ranking democratically determined by the membership on a one member – one vote basis, sitting Green MPs were effectively on notice that any repeat of that unfortunate performance may well see them demoted to unelectable positions behind other candidates.

    It is a pity that Labour doesn’t have a democratic list ranking process like the Greens do.  If they did, their MPs too may be more accountable to their membership.

  23. MrSmith 23

    Sorry to here your packing it in. The Standads loss will be some-ones gain, and good luck for the future Marty you have made a difference.

  24. illuminatedtiger 24

    Yeah fuck you Labour. Your support for CERA and the Copyright Ammendment Bill has shaken me too. You shall not be receiving my vote this year.

    PS: Your willingness to censor criticism from your supporters on Red Alert is noted.

    • Deadly_NZ 24.1

      Yeah I got banned for telling trevor mallard he was useless in the house as he had only stepped up 3 times in about a fortnite result banned for god knows how long. and when they unban me I will then Accuse the whole top of the labour list as being incompetent,  should get me banned for life.  Just for telling the truth they are F&^%ing Useless!   And they are the reason that this country will be raped and pillaged for the next 4 years, lets hope that makes them happy.

      • illuminatedtiger 24.1.1

        That sort of loutish behaviour would warrant a ban. All I did was tell them that if they didn’t make repealing the changes made to the Copyright Amendment Act an election issue I would be voting for someone who would.

      • Lanthanide 24.1.2

        Consider it from their perspective. The blog is their creation, their work, and you’re invited to it. You show up and start swearing at them.

        It’s no different from someone inviting you into their home, and then you swear at them there. Do you think they’ll let you stay there, or show you the door?

        Constructive criticism != insulting.

        • Deadly_NZ 24.1.2.1

          I did not swear at them I just told them a few home truth’s like they were useless and lazy in the house and that Mallard had not even said anything to a topic of the day. and I told them that they would lose the election because of the fact that the whole of NZ thinks they are a joke..  And they are. I am sorry to say.

  25. Carol 25

    I will miss your posts, marty.  Hope the local activism goes well for you.  i too am EXTREMELY p**sed at the Labour Party voting for CERA & the copyright law.  I will again be voting Green, but Labour’s position doesn’t help with the much needed opposition to this disgraceful, brutal, undemocratic and elitist government. The Greens have been a bit weak lately, but I’m hoping they will pick up after voting against those 2 bills this week.  I would never vote for Winstone, but is there no one else who will stand up and make a clear and blunt message of the evils of NAct?

  26. Drakula 26

    Marty I will miss your posts and I know how you feel, betrayal is a hard kick in the guts.

     I am dealing with it on the local level when the Selwyn District Council has just decided to build a 14million ++++ swimming pool and charge rate payers extra for earthquake damage. GO FIGURE?????????

    I will back Toad 100% because I was really fucked off when they (Green MP’s) voted the 1st CERRA, but now I have just down voted a couple of MP’s and I think that they are getting the message.

    So it is really important for any party to have an internal democracy with a constitution.

    I hate to say it i think the Labour Party left it’s principles out the door long ago and it is about time the Greens take the lead in the next government.

    If the Greens do an about turn then there is no other alternative but a revolution!!!!!!!

  27. Tell me, how out of so much
    waking and sleeping
    came the music of your mind,
    the words I’ve grown accustomed to,

    your thoughts, long shadows
    blue lines and red, crossing
    crossing and recrossing on the page.

    – Joan McBreen

    Strewth, another bloke’s moved me to quote poetry. I’d better… ahh… have a beer and go shear some sheep 😉

    Damnit Marty, one of the reasons I read blogs is to learn something, yet rarely do I come close. And not because I’m a genius, alas. Your posts almost always contained something worth finding a spare synapse to store away.

    But I quite understand. You either refocus, or you grow old railing against the slow encroachment of the tsunami of stupid. And take it from me, the latter’s no fun.

  28. QoT 29

    You’ll be really missed, Marty.  There are obviously plenty of things you and I don’t agree on but your breakdowns and explanations of scary economic stuff have been fucking invaluable.
     
    But there’s a feminist/social justice maxim:  “Self-care is a radical act”.  You don’t owe us, much less Labour, any more pieces of your mental spoons than you’re willing to give.

  29. IrishBill 30

    It’s sad to see you go bro.

  30. ChrisH 31

    Marty – Sorely to be missed indeed, but you are right to recharge. It’s easy to get burned out in NZ battling the “Tsunami of Stupid” (Rex on 27) and you don’t want to be the next person that happens to. This kind of race has to be a relay.

  31. belladonna 32

    Surely Labour should be concerned when their supporters are bailing out in droves.  It makes me so sad.

    • Tanz 32.1

      No, it doesn’t seem so. Seen the latest post re this on Red Alert? As if Labour ever listens to the members, the voters, or the general public. We know best, even if National lies to us.

      Leaving in droves, alright.

  32. lprent 33

    ditto to r0b’s comment at 28 but I can understand the feelings of not only having at the NAct’s innate daftness, but also pushing at the parliamentary Labour parties outright sluggishness…

    That is going to be a hell of hole to fill. http://thestandard.org.nz/author/Marty-G/ (now I know how to fix that pesky author link in the theme). But as you say, the site isn’t dependent on any single person (not even me – I have backups on the tech as well). The joys of having a coop.. And remember that like previous authors you keep your login access – so you can write here again if you ever feel the urge.

    922 (&) posts since your first on May 13th 2009 http://thestandard.org.nz/author/Marty-G/page/30/ (30 pages of mostly* excellent posts). Many of which concentrated on the numerical analysis that the left desperately needs to undermine some of the outright billshit that the politicians of the right like to feed the credulous journo’s and their other lazy supporters. I’m sure we’re going to keep referring to these for some time to come.

    Still, this does leave room for more posts from others in election year. So keep those guest posts incoming. 

    Coincidentally, I just bumped ChrisH from guest posting to contributor (#) yesterday – I was tired my having to put his steady stream of posts up on site. Now he can do it himself.

    * no-one writing blog posts is perfect. 

    # If anyone is interested in the differences. Contributors can edit their posts but not publish or schedule them. This means that their editor mentors can check that they don’t have any obvious flaws (like missing links, paragraphs in heading3, etc) in the posts before publishing them. When we’re sure that they can do that, then we make them an author who can schedule and moderate their posts. The few editors can modify others posts and have more moderation facilities. 

    & Which makes you the person with the highest number of published posts on the site.

  33. felix 34

    Like everyone else I’m sorry to see you go,
    like everyone else I understand why you have to,
    and like everyone else I wish you well and hope you come back sometime.
     
    Thanks for all your work, I’ve learned a lot.

  34. rosy 35

    I looked forward to your reading your posts and appreciated your timely take-downs of NAct rubbish. If any people will be cheering to see you go it will be them and that would mean job well done. From me, thank you.

  35. Kia ora MartyG.

    I have always enjoyed your posts. You and I/S are the two most analytical, perceptive and principled bloggers I know.

    I wish that my party (Labour) did not vote for CERRA. If people want to know why they did the process went something like this:

    1. The Christchurch MPs who live in the thick of it think that emergency legislation is an absolute must.
    2. They live in areas where people are just coping and surviving day to day and do not want to argue about the niceties of constitutional principle.  They just want their politicians to get on with the job of rebuilding. The MPs wished to respect the view of their citizens.
    3. The rest of the caucus deferred to their world view.

    This is not an apology, just a description of how it came to be. The Nats sensed this and I suspect loaded the legislation as much as they could with stuff that Labour hated. It was the ultimate dead frog. Hearing Brownlee gloat at the beginning of the third reading of the bill was for me one of the most obnoxious things I have heard in Parliament.  

    I think however that more than ever a Labour Green government is required.  You can bet that if they were in charge urgency would not have been abused and the more draconian elements would have been trimmed.

    All the best and I hope you recharge your batteries and return to blogging.

    Kia ora.
     

  36. nadis 37

    Yes of course Mickey, it’s Nationals fault, not the spinelessness and expediency of politicians in general, and Labour who have it particularly bad right now.
    This was the ultimate free option for Labour, and for them not to realize that fact, really makes you wonder at the nous of the leadership and their advisors.
    The reality is CERRA was gonna pass.  Labour could have thundered on about how wrong it was and what should be improved, but rolled over like day old puppies.
    I typically vote right and will again this year – but I’d love to see some effective opposition and accountability on issues like CERRA, the tuhoe no jury trials, internet policy and financial regulation.
    Effective opposition makes Government better (left or right).
     
     

  37. nadis 38

    And on the issue of media bias.  I really dont see it.
    I think what we are seeing is a response by the media and people in the street to labour’s grey-ness.  People don’t care.
    Nobody is owed media coverage, you have to earn it.  I am asked for comment occasionally in various media, mostly print.  I was taught very quickly to say something relevant, interesting and sound-bitey.  No point being grey – the media won’t come back.  It is not an equal opportunity game.

    • todd 38.1

      People earn media coverage… as in an exchange of funds like that seen with the Mediaworks con. It’s relevant that a one sided argument is particularly disgraceful when it has been achieved through a bribe.
       
      Each side of an argument deserves as much time as the other. I believe the public is rather sick and tired of the propaganda machine and media bias. Those with enough brains to see it for what it is, have resorted to other means of information dissemination, such as blogging.
       
      Being that there are around twice as many left blogs as there are right blogs should tell you something.

      • Draco T Bastard 38.1.1

        Each side of an argument deserves as much time as the other.

        Incorrect. When one side of the “argument” is pure delusion and can be proven incorrect with empirical evidence then it deserves, and should get, no time at all. This applies to 90% of what NACT say.

        • todd 38.1.1.1

          However in a democracy each side of the argument should be allowed as much time as the other, no matter how deluded the debaters might be.
           
          We currently have a disproportionate amount of delusional/incorrect information and a lop sided debate in mainstream media in favour of Nact and their business interests.

          • Draco T Bastard 38.1.1.1.1

            The only reason why the “debate” about climate change is still going on is because the delusional climate change deniers were reported with the same  amount, if not more, time and respect as the scientists. The same is true of what NACT say.

            • todd 38.1.1.1.1.1

              Yep! The dynamic as it exists is definitely in favour of financial interests. However everybody gets a vote and as such a denialist argument is relevant. It only becomes an issue when there is no argument to refute a delusional debate, which is what we all should be concerned with in New Zealand.
               
              It appears that the denialists are all but dead, if the google allerts on climate change are anything to go by. I hate to think of how much damage their funded argument has done though.

  38. LynW 39

    Will miss your posts MartyG. Always so very therapeutic for me to read at a time when I am so disheartened by what is happening to NZ. After the last election I felt such disappointment and anger that fellow NZrs could vote in a party piggybacking on most of Labour’s policies but ‘lead’ by a hollow money man who was marketed so skillfully. Finding the Standard with you and the other contributors was a lifesaver! Please know how very much your articles have been appreciated and have helped me personally to be even more sure of where I stand on so many important issues. Thank you MartyG and also thanks to the other contributors who will carry on.

  39. Anne 40

    I couldn’t agree more about the therapeutic nature of The Standard LynW. There have been times when it has helped me to maintain my sanity. The anger at what this govt. is doing to our country is hard to bear at times.

    May I add my disppointment at your decision to ‘have a break” MartyG. It’s understandable, but I will so miss your informed and insightful commentary. Let’s hope you see your way clear to coming back in the not too distant future.

  40. ak 41

    Relax and enjoy your break Marty, you most thoroughly deserve it.  You’ve contributed magnificently and your sterling work has been inspirational and informative to many thousands, some of whom will now valiantly attempt to rise to the incredible er.. standard that you have set.   A pity I don’t know your real name, it would forever be up there in lights in this and I suspect many other households.  All the very best to you and your loved ones son, in whatever you do.  

  41. Jim Nald 42

    Thank you very much, MartyG.
    Your posts have educated and informed me.
    Your analysis have taken my thinking and understanding up a few notches.
    Of course, people have to take time out from time to time. And others will benefit from your new commitments.
    But I hope that you are, in effect, taking an open-ended period of sabbatical from The Standard and general blogging.
    Hope to see you around at some stage in the future, and a guest post .. or two, now and then.
    Thanks again and take care.

  42. Gary 43

    Please come back closer to the election, we’ll be needing all the help we can get on this one!
     

  43. fermionic_interference 44

    Many thanks for your tireless efforts and quality analysis of our political environment Marty.

    You are appreciated and will missed 

    Ake Ake Kia Kaha

    Forever and ever be strong

  44. a sorry loss for the left and the Standard – you’ve been an amazingly prolific contributor of well researched material, but i certainly understand.
    best wishes Marty, hope you return soon

    • joe90 46.1

      And that clown has an arms license!.

    • Pascal's bookie 46.2

      Good lord. Mg and SPs writing styles were chalk and cheese.

      Seriously, go back and read some SP posts.

  45. Colonial Viper 47

    yep do your magic in your local community Marty G, it’s great that they will now have the benefit of your energy, intelligence and presence as we have had the benefit of it ourselves for so long now. We will miss you.

    And to Labour: time to stand up so there isn’t an inch of daylight between you and your principles, and generate a serious ruckus.

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