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Jin An – Why I am running for Labour

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, May 9th, 2017 - 30 comments
Categories: election 2017, labour, Politics - Tags:

Last week the Labour list came out. As one of the candidates I have met many of the others and it was fantastic to see the list filled with such great talent and energy.

As candidates, one of the questions we get asked all the time is, “What made you decide to run? To pursue politics?” To tell you what made me decide to run for Labour is to, in a way, tell you my story and what drives me.

At our campaign college last month, I was able to share such stories with candidates from all over the country. Despite how each one of us has a different and unique background, I realised there was one thing that was common to us all; a feeling.

Hannah Arendt said that to pursue politics is to pursue freedom. That freedom is raison d’etre of politics. We don’t really see “freedom” appear often in New Zealand politics.

What is freedom? I think it’s a person’s ability to construct their life as a well and healthy individual. But it’s not about being able to do absolutely whatever you want. I think freedom does come with strings attached, as being a person involves living as part of society: humans being social animals and all.

But when people are working overtime to just make ends meet; or left to suffer in sickness due to a deficient medical service; or languishing in visibly worsening traffic week after week, I don’t think you can say that people of that society are truly free. Our ‘rock star economy’ is not visible in the lives of everyday Kiwis yet our government has repeatedly denied the existence of these problems.

And I think that was what tied all of us candidates together. Each of our political drives may have been different but we were all pursuing freedom in one way or another: a truer and better kind of freedom than being left out on the street to scrap for oneself.

Perhaps spending time in Saudi Arabia as a child may have contributed to my “fervor” for freedom; or being an eldest daughter to conservative immigrant parents; or growing up in the thriving multicultural city of Auckland during the colourful 90s.

In law a person is presumed to have the freedom to do as they wish and is made responsible for their actions. But working in criminal courts and community law centres made me realise that people often have to make the best decision out of a terrible set of choices and that some of us are freer than others.

And that is why I’m running for Labour: to help create a freer society for New Zealand: one where options are available for us, and everyone has the material security and health to pursue the life they want.

Jin An

Labour Party Candidate for Upper Harbour


30 comments on “Jin An – Why I am running for Labour ”

  1. Ad 1

    If a Labour candidate can start quoting Ayn Rand and make a case for furthering the realm of freedom, she deserves a vote.

  2. Nick 2

    I thought she was quoting Nelson Mandela.

  3. The decrypter 3

    First time I’ve heard of “Campaign college”. How does that all work?

    • mickysavage 3.1

      Group meeting of all candidates where they are taught techniques and get to know each other. Everyone I know who have been to one recommends them.

      • Anthony Rimell 3.1.1

        Yes, I went to one as well, and do thoroughly recommend them. A really good opportunity to build relationship with other candidates and identify our shared values.

  4. JanM 4

    Thoughtful – looks like a really worthy candidate, especially as she may be able to reach some of the people in what she describes as the ‘conservative immigrant’ population who may not have done much analysis of the politics of New Zealand

  5. Al 5

    Ayn Rand’s version of freedom relates to freedom of choice (for those who can afford it) rather than freedom in general terms. Neoliberal freedom is always bound by being able to fund it and includes other key tennets, such as individual responsibility, individual accountability and a raft of other individidualist concepts – with no understanding of how we all integrate into a society (which, of course, was famously refuted as existing by Ms Thatcher). Human being operate in a range of systems, and while individual factors do influece outcomes – there are a number of factors outside individual control which impact on outcomes for individuals.

    • Molly 5.1

      Haven’t read Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, but did make my way to the end of The Fountainhead a couple of years ago, and found it to be a really prescribed and farcical story, with the Roark character held up as an icon of greatness. Basically a man with a “pure” vision, – he was written strong because he did what he thought was right, and listened to no-one.

      Even worse, there is an explicit rape scene, involving the main character and his adoring acolyte, which puts the discussion of consent back around two hundred years.

      (May one day make it to Atlas Shrugged, but it will require a bit of psychological bracing beforehand.)

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.2


      That isn’t what refuted means. She asserted it. In today’s terms she was a society denier 🙂

  6. One Two 6

    I think freedom does come with strings attached, as being a person involves living as part of society..

    Nope. Freedom does not come with strings attached!

    Not much thinking in that statement…

    • The Fairy Godmother 6.1

      My grandmother used to say “freedom is a choice of bond”. She was an educated woman one of the first to be trained as a deaconess in the Methodist church in New Zealand working as a social worker in the 1910s and 1920s.
      I think this is true today because there is such a thing as society and freedom is having a choice in what part we play in that. Having basic needs met is a big part of that.

    • 1,2 – freedom is nothing other than a ball of string with strings attached galore.

    • Bill 6.3

      The limits on freedom are those rightfully imposed by society. (The ‘rightfully’ is important in that statement and leads to a huge discussion that doesn’t belong here)

      My first impression of I think it’s a person’s ability to construct their life as a well and healthy individual was, and is, that it’s angling off down a nasty little path of individualism. I note that a caveat was necessary to prevent charges of naked Randism (But it’s not about being able to do absolutely whatever you want.)

      Unfortunately, there’s no indication as to what might constitute a proper limitation on the individualistic concept of freedom she moots.

      • marty mars 6.3.1

        Your second paragraph is nitpicking madness. The statement is bland politically, as it should be – this is good politics imo because it leaves lots of wriggle room and for a general post on a blog that makes sense to me. Bill, arent you reading all your own stuff into it. Seriously you have nuked a stone.

        • Bill

          The comment’s primarily in response to ‘One Two’ asserting that “Freedom does not come with strings attached”

          I’m merely saying that freedom has limits. Always.

          What those limits are or should be and how they are set is a huge topic and I’m not going there today.

          My second para was only expressing my first impression of reading Jin An’s post – not nitpicking. Do I read Jin An as couching an opinion in the contexts of “opportunity” and “individualism”? Yes. Are my impressions guided or informed by my broader thoughts/beliefs? Yes.

      • One Two 6.3.2

        Individualism is misunderstood

        Nothing nasty about it…

        Freedom in this temporal world does come with limits, which are also not understood, as the tools of imagination supression they are

        Limits are at the core of why humanity is facing severe problems

        Limits will prevent the raising of consciousness, which truly free beings experience

        No limits!

        • Bill

          Sure thing One Two – you’re free to flap your arms and fly. And you’re free to do whatever you want around me and mine.

    • weka 6.4

      absolute freedom with no strings is the preserve of tyrants. We are social and tribal beings who for most of human history have organised around reciprocity and respect.

  7. What is your opinion of climate change and the effects of that likely to stymie economic growth in the near/mid future?

    Our calleous disregard for others including the fauna and flora have reduced our choices and freedoms because of climate change. What are you ideas around this massive issue.

  8. David 8

    Becareful jin an. Labour is anti-Asian. You need speak against racism within the party to get my respect.

    • the pigman 8.1

      In the same way that the anti-Corbyn group in the British LP claimed Labour was anti-Semitic, sure David. You’re definitely not an opportunistic concern tr011 trying to foment division.

    • DoublePlusGood 8.2

      David, would you like to put some more weight into your statement and opinion, or would you prefer just to shit-stir?

    • simonm 8.3

      Bugger off Farrar – you’ve got your own blog for writing nonsense like this.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.4

      Some astroturf is almost soft and comfortable to lie on, but this astroturf is especially itchy and probably requires the attention of a competent gardener fibber.

      David, you’re fired.

  9. the pigman 9

    Great to see you out here Jin An.

    I thought I recognised your name, and if my memory serves me right, you were doing a stint at the Auckland FC registry around the time I left NZ (early 2010). It would be great if you could do your part in ensuring it’s a place worth returning to.

    • Jin An 9.1

      Hi Pigman!

      I was at AKL DC Criminal Registry for a while and at Waitakere Prosecutions. Family Court Reform has turned FC into (more of) a nightmare. Wouldn’t recommend going back to FC…

    • mickysavage 9.2

      Speaking as a day to day consumer of the service the people are great but the gutting of the system and centralisation of family court services has resulted in a terrible reduction in the quality of service.

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