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Key could still win and here’s why

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, October 19th, 2016 - 163 comments
Categories: john key, national - Tags:

Key blighted future

What makes this government popular, deep into its third term?

What makes it so hard to corrode their popularity?

There’s no conspiracy to it. This is no ordinary small-or-large c conservative government. This is a very clever government. And in order to win the people, it is very important for an aspiring alternative government to admit to what they are doing well.

A standard leftie electoral campaign platform, for the last three elections, has been to propose massive public welfare programmes to help the poor. Worthy aim. And to do it, raise those taxes on the richest. Who except the richest would object? But proposals to raise taxes on those with the very highest incomes to fund programs for lower-income people, haven’t generated much enthusiasm from those whose incomes have not grown as expected, and who may be doing less well than their parents.

That is a key test. In this barbeque season, you will engage a lot more with your relatives. You should be able to tell, reviewing all of them, which government they did better under, and which ones slid them backwards. Are they doing less well than their parents?

The people who can’t see they’ve improved their collective lot from their parents, won’t like the sound of another proposed handout even if it might help them; they aspire to achieve their own worth by working and earning a good income. Yet in the current economic conditions in so many countries, that prospect eludes them.

If people don’t have that sense that the struggle of ordinary life is worth the grind, they will get resentful. In Europe, Britain, and the U.S., they continue to lash out at those who they see as gradually taking away from the opportunity that they thought was going to be theirs: immigrants. The left both here and worldwide has to face immigration and commit to controlling borders harder.

An aspiring alternative government has to squarely face rising inequality, rising immigration, and weak economic growth. If these trends continue across the developed world, we may see more unhappiness, more disenchantment, and more political disruption. Substantial fiscal stimulus might be helpful, but it is often blocked. Further direct welfare is too often resented even if it helps people.

One of the secrets to the popularity of this government is that its public welfare programmes have been indirect; they have been put into water, transport, and increasingly housing infrastructure, and less into direct social welfare transfers. Indirect. Particularly through the rebuild of Christchurch – uneven and unambitious as it is – it has used public debt for the right reasons. It’s subtle, and it works.

The second element an alternative government has to face is this: reducing taxes is far more attractive to the public than more expensive welfare programmes. Making the tax system progressive enough to break the trend towards even greater income inequality has for too long been put into the leftie too-hard basket, yet it may be the best option we have.

This makes the New Zealand situation stand in stark relief against almost all European countries who chose to respond to the GFC of 2007 with austerity measures which cut public spending including public sector employment, public works, and social welfare such as pensions. Austerity economics and immigration resentment have together caused a long, wide, slow rolling wave of political instability.

If an alternative leftie government is going to do more than wait for the housing market to usher this lot out, it needs to admit to what this government has done really well. It needs to address immigration levels. It needs to address the income tax levels even more boldly than the current government. It needs to socialise wealth subtly, rather than through resented higher direct social welfare transfers. It also needs to figure out that people will find them attractive if overall they believe they and their descendants will do better.

Key gets this, and because of this he could still win another three years in 2017.

163 comments on “Key could still win and here’s why ”

  1. Tory 1

    I don’t agree it will come down to tax cuts verses spending, it will come down to Winston Peters and his demands.

    • Ad 1.1

      Peters is the immigration part.
      Important.

    • Takere 1.2

      BREAKING NEWS! Hekia Parata’s been sacked or asked not to make herself available next year? Haha!
      Code speak for. You’re not on the list for next years election! Haha! NomorePay!

      • Ma Rohemo 1.2.1

        No more pay? She will have done her nine years and will qualify for a lifetime parliamentary pension.

        What a short working life for such a rich reward.

  2. Draco T Bastard 2

    An aspiring alternative government has to squarely face rising inequality, rising immigration, and weak economic growth.

    1. Growth, to become bigger, isn’t actually the answer. What we need is development, to increase the diversity of what we produce rather than producing more of the same.
    2. That weak growth that we have is still two or three hundred times the long run average. We may have had such high rates of growth for a couple of centuries but it’s still only short term blip.

    One of the secrets to the popularity of this government is that its public welfare programmes have been indirect; they have been put into water, transport, and increasingly housing infrastructure, and less into direct social welfare transfers.

    Which is why all the benefit is going to the private contractors rather than the people.

    Making the tax system progressive enough to break the trend towards even greater income inequality has for too long been put into the leftie too-hard basket, yet it may be the best option we have.

    Actually, it’s really easy – introduce a UBI. Leave the tax system as it is and a UBI automatically makes it more progressive.

    Would have to stop the private banks from creating the nations money but that would be all good. Unfortunately, Labour seem to be shying away from doing that even though it’s what’s needed.

    A UBI has one other major advantage – it’s universal and so won’t be resented by the majority the way the piecemeal benefits are.

    And don’t go on about needing to afford it either. That’s a load of crock. If we can’t afford to have everyone out of poverty then there’s something seriously wrong with our economy.

    We can afford it. In fact, the UBI would be the funding, the driver, for most of the economy.

    • Ad 2.1

      UBI is a very, very small part of it. Matters only for the worst off 5%.

      • gsays 2.1.1

        good post, lot’s of food for thought.

        with respect ad, i disagree a ubi benefits only 5%.
        obviously this is dependent what size the ubi is.
        lets say $250 a week funded by a ftt.

        yes, that will massively improve those at the bottom of the heap.
        it will also free up folks to persue education, hobbies, community work, volunteering.
        more importantly if people a bit further up the pile have a little more disposable income they may spend it back into thier local economy.

        according to nick hanuer (he of ‘the pitchforks are coming’ ted talk), the driver of the economy is the middle class spending.
        currently the middle class is shrinking and isn’t spending like it could.

        i agree an alternative government needs to portray a bright vision for the future as opposed to campaigning on cgt, changes to super etc. (these need to be addressed but not on the campaign trail.

        • Anne 2.1.1.1

          government needs to portray a bright vision for the future as opposed to campaigning on cgt, changes to super etc. (these need to be addressed but not on the campaign trail.

          I sincerely hope Labour has learnt it’s lesson about campaigning on such topics as CGT and Super. No informed person doubts the accuracy of the need for action on both counts, but you tackle them AFTER you become the government – not before. I believe those two policy planks were the prime reason why Labour did so badly in 2014. It was demoralising to see the Nats smirking with joy at having that election served to them on a platter.

          Don’t do it again Labour.

          • gsays 2.1.1.1.1

            yes it is kinda like eating brocolli, we all know its good for us, but when you describe what’s for dinner, brassica isn’t in the first three sentences of the description.

            • Anne 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Oh, I dunno. If you cover it up with a delectable looking cheese concoction then the negative impact becomes almost non-existent.

              Are you listening Labour?

              • gsays

                re cheese, true, although i have shudders from recently having pressure cooked brocolli served up to me.
                the smell is still in the cutains, kinda like an increased age of entitlement to super.
                some things are hard to forget.

          • The Chairman 2.1.1.1.2

            Slipping in undesirable policy once in power runs the risk of being seen as shitting on your supporters. Losing voter trust and support going forward.

            • Sacha 2.1.1.1.2.1

              Nah, just set up a carefully-handpicked ‘commission’ with sufficiently narrow scope and reluctantly implement their recommendations. Better still, make it a concession from forming your parliamentary coalition.

              • The Chairman

                Lockwood inadvertently gave away that technique (setting up commissions) some time ago with his infamous dead rats comment.

                And ACT and National have woken most voters up to the other (making it a coalition concession).

                Therefore, most voters will see right through it and a number won’t be impressed.

                • b waghorn

                  if labour get in the people that put them there would have to have not been paying attention if they think the nats bright line test isn’t going to morph into a full cgt.

                  • The Chairman

                    Paying attention to what?

                    Do you have anything to back your assertion?

                    • b waghorn

                      ”Tax property speculators who flick houses within five years

                      Labour will extend the bright line test from the current two years to five years. This will target speculators who buy houses with the aim of making a quick capital gain. Current exemptions from the bright line test will continue”
                      http://www.labour.org.nz/housing

                  • The Chairman

                    Right, I see.

                    Sorry, I thought you were implying National were going to expand it.

                    Nevertheless, main homes are exempt.

            • Anne 2.1.1.1.2.2

              @ The Chairman
              I’m not suggesting “undesirable policy”. I’m suggesting a bit of pragmatism because the horses are easily frightened. The Nats have done it for decades – introducing policy they never heralded in advance. History in fact, is littered with them.

              Edit: as Ad mentions below, it’s how you sell a policy that often counts. Labour need to learn to be better salesmen/women.

              • The Chairman

                You did mention Super, Anne.

                A number of Labour supporters found Labour’s plans for that undesirable.

                Moreover, they wouldn’t be impressed if Labour slipped it back in once in power.

                Whereas, National tend to slip in what most of their supporters want, therefore any negative blow-back from their supporters is minimal.

                I concur, how policy is sold is also vital.

                • Anne

                  A number of Labour supporters found Labour’s plans for that [Super} undesirable.

                  Indeed they did. Some of it was based on self preservation and some based on a lack of understanding of what Labour was proposing. A good example of a badly sold policy.

                  Wait until you are in government then set up the nation-wide conversation on Super and… how are we going to fund it in the future? No Commission of Inquiry which means nothing to ordinary folk. Just get everyone talking about it and then when the ‘conversation’ is over, cobble together a policy that is broadly acceptable to most citizens. Easier said than done perhaps… but what is the alternative?

                  • weka

                    Just get everyone talking about it and then when the ‘conversation’ is over, cobble together a policy that is broadly acceptable to most citizens.

                    Interesting idea Anne. How would you see that happening?

                    • Anne

                      Labour/Green (and NZ First if they’re in the equation) ministers could use their media interviews to highlight the need to have such a conversation. They would also need to use their websites and other internet sites to push for the conversation. They could put forward various options on how the cost of Super could be resolved for future generations and ask people to comment on those options. At some point, public meetings could be held around the country. It didn’t work too well with the flag debate but this is something that affects everybody so they should be well attended.

                      The idea would be to make ‘Joe and Mary Bloggs’ feel part of the conversation and help them to understand the problem of affordability in an increasingly ageing society. So, when the time comes for decisions to be made, they will feel they have contributed and, hopefully, will be more positive about the final outcome – whatever it may be.

                      Perhaps I’m being overly optimistic because the subject matter has been so hotly debated for decades now, but something has got to be done or else future generations will miss out altogether.

                    • weka

                      I like it. The reason the flag ones didn’t work was because the govt was blatantly trying to manipulate the country. For it to work with the L/G they would have to give up their own policies I think. Many people (myself included) are cynical about consultation. But if it was a genuine engagement, perhaps with a referendum at the end of after a time?

                      I could be being naive though. In the age of dirty politics is this even possible now?

                      I’m thinking the MMP education process might be worth looking at.

                  • The Chairman

                    Alternatively, some saw it for what it was.

                    Effectively Labour were telling voters their plans for growing the national wealth was insufficient, hence they would have to increase the age of eligibility to cut costs.

                    The alternative is having policy that will sufficiently grow the nation’s wealth so not only will one be able to lower the age of eligibility going forward but will also be able to increase the rate at which pensioners are currently paid.

                    Which of the two sounds more like a vote winner?

      • Colonial Viper 2.1.2

        UBI is a very, very small part of it. Matters only for the worst off 5%.

        Not quite. I think the number is up to 30% to 40% of the population. Let me explain why.

        A UBI will make a big difference to the bottom quartile of working families, whose household incomes only sit in the $40K to $50K pa range. Two adults in a household getting a UBI worth $5K pa each is a massive boost to their household income.

        And even for many households above that income level a UBI will enable one person/one parent in the household to quit their shitty low paid part time job and stay at home to look after the kids/grandkids.

        IMO a UBI, even one set at $100 pw, is a game changer for Kiwis lives.

        • Ad 2.1.2.1

          Sounds good.
          If it can be sold like a tax cut I’m all for it.

          Won’t be anywhere near enough to win, but sounds like one element.

        • There’s also a ton of other ancillary benefits, like income security, (it’s a lot easier to plan things if you can expect the UBI to remain relatively consistent) hours reduction, valuing unpaid and volunteer work, (like your example of caring for the (grand)kids) increased ease of self-employment, etc….

          Any UBI is indeed a game changer, although I think there are several thresholds that make it a game-changer again compared to a low UBI.

          • Ad 2.1.2.2.1

            Call it a benefit and you may as well crucify yourself.

            Call it a tax cut and you’re on the starting block.

            “UBI” just sounds like more leftie policy wank.

      • Draco T Bastard 2.1.3

        Nope, a UBI is a huge part of it. It’s the basis of changing the entire financial system from private bank created money to sovereign money.

        And once we do that we can actually deal to poverty and the rich.

      • AmaKiwi 2.1.4

        UBI does nothing to re-build dying rural communities.

  3. Sam C 3

    Very sensible post and bang on the money.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Was there anyone here who didn’t seriously believe that John Key and National still have a clear advantage in terms of next years election? They want their record breaking fourth term and they are angling very hard to get it.

    And as I have said before, if National find a way to co-opt NZ First, they will have a path clear to 5 terms in power.

    • Puckish Rogue 4.1

      I don’t want to get into the whole which way Winston will go thing because theres good reasons for him to go either way and theres no point speculating until after the election but I do feel its more likely Winston will go Nationals way

      However if the polls between National and Labour (not Lab/Green) close up then all bets are off

      • You’re absolutely wrong to say that the polls shouldn’t be viewed in terms of Labour and the Greens against National, as if the two get close enough to 50% that they can command a majority of seats together with a minor support party like the Māori Party, then what New Zealand First wants becomes completely irrelevant. If National shrinks down to a level comparable to Labour, Labour has outright won as National has no natural support partner with any significant share of the party vote, and even if NZF do favour the Nats, the Greens do better than they do.

        It is reasonable to consider that despite NZF’s current positioning on policy and politics, they might do a turn and pick National rather than working with Labour and the Greens if they control the balance of power. I would consider this the less likely option, but it’s still a competitive bet at this stage IMO, and there’s no way they’re going to release any hint of their plans until after the election.

        • Puckish Rogue 4.1.1.1

          Its more that one of the things Winston has always said is its his intention to go with the largest party and the MOU between Lab/Green ends at the election

          So the closer Labour gets to National the more likely it is Winston will go with Labour but if its not close (irrespective of how well the Greens do) then hes more likely to go with National

          Of course its Winston so no one really knows which way he’ll go

    • 1) Record-matching. We’ve had four-term governments before, (eg. the first Labour government, the second National government) it’s merely above average. It’s five terms that’s unprecedented, four terms simply hasn’t happened in the modern political era. (specifically, the last defeat of a four-term government was in ’72)

      2) I think you’re right on what happens if New Zealand First goes with National, with the proviso of “if they can keep the coalition from falling apart.” NZF has had a single coalition with National and it didn’t go well.

      3) I’m not sure at this point who I’d give the advantage to. National are clearly a government whose best days are long behind them, but at the same time they have a successful electoral candidate and a leader whose popularity is remarkably high for a third-term Prime Minister. I wouldn’t count them out even though the current polling trends look like the best likely scenario for them is a coalition government that relies on NZ First, as they have a well-oiled marketing machine behind them, wheras Labour still doesn’t look united, and is leaning on the Greens for credibility. (in terms of policy depth and moral authority, not in terms of polling numbers)

      This election should be Labour’s to lose based purely on National’s performance, but they’ve proven quite adept at losing elections to National lately, so…

      • red-blooded 4.2.1

        A reasonable comment, MW, but why do you say “Labour still doesn’t look united, and is leaning on the Greens for credibility”? Little has done a bloody good job uniting Labour, and in the eyes of many (in the political mainstream) it’s the Greens who need Labour to look credible, After all, which of these two parties has experience in government?

        Labour certainly have to think carefully about strategy and messaging, and I agree that it’s going to be a real competition next year. It may not be what most on this site consider to be desirable, but they do have to target the swinging voters – ones who have voted Nat for the last few times but aren’t solid, committed tories. Policies like the CGT and Super age make sense, but they don’t win over many hearts, and people do vote with their hearts, not just their minds. Labour has to project a sense of hope, but they also need to be seen as sensible, grounded, and capable. That’s what most people are voting for when they vote Nat.

        As for the missing million; all votes are worth chasing, I guess, but personally I think this has been part of the failed strategy of the last few elections. People who are currently disengaged might feel more included and more motivated to protect that sense of inclusion (and any improvements in their daily lives) once a left-leaning government is in place, but if they didn’t vote against Key and Co last time, I don’t see many of them doing so this time. Let’s all remember, this bunch were in disgrace at the time of the last election, but people voted for them anyway (or stayed home). They didn’t see Labour and the Greens as a viable alternative. This time, we need fewer distractions and more tactical thinking.

        • I’m not sure if I buy that the divisions between the ABCs and the members are gone, it’s just that they’ve been put aside under Little because there’s a certain amount of leadership change fatigue so everyone’s settled for someone who isn’t ideal. (with the ABCs presumably dissatisfied that he’s not far enough to the right, and everyone else dissatisfied at the fact that he comes off as a robot half the time)

          The Greens may not have experience actually being in the cabinet roles, but Labour has essentially been adopting more moderate versions of their popular policies for several elections now, so I don’t expect them to have any issues. The Greens are the ones who, for practical purposes, are providing the policy and political leadership in the coalition arrangement, even though they’re not the larger party.

          I’m not sure we can rely on expanding the vote at this stage, as people are more growing tired of National than they are getting enthusiastic about Labour.

          • Colonial Viper 4.2.1.1.1

            If Labour lose in 2017 Little has near-zero chance of staying as Leader. GR2020.

            How’s that for unity.

            • Leftie 4.2.1.1.1.1

              It says nothing really, becasue what you wish for hasn’t happened yet Colonial Viper. But isn’t that politics? Nat leaders get rolled for losing elections too. Mind you, Helen Clark remained as Labour’s leader after she lost the 1996 election. Until whatever happens happens, it’s all just supposition.

          • Leftie 4.2.1.1.2

            Disagree MW, I think Red Blooded has it right.

    • mosa 4.3

      5 terms has always been my expectation CV.
      4 terms not achieved since Kiwi Keith in 1969.

      • Colonial Viper 4.3.1

        Interesting. I think the NATs could do it if they can get their right wing ideological bullshit out of the way over the next 12 months.

        But I’m not sure if they can get a leader quite as skilled at being popular as the inimitable Mr Key mid 4th term.

        • mosa 4.3.1.1

          They could go bold and try Nicci Kay.
          If education goes to Bennett she may be heir apparent in 2018-19 ?

          All the rest as as exciting as a wet weekend in Greymouth.

          • Colonial Viper 4.3.1.1.1

            I think Kaye and Bennett are both in the running. However, in the meantime I hope Kaye recovers well.

            • mosa 4.3.1.1.1.1

              Apologies Kaye is misspelt.

              Yes in fit and fine health Kaye would be the one to watch.
              I am sure she will make good progress.

    • Takere 4.4

      To simplify things …. the left need to turnout the vote. The “missing million” voters.
      Or are they in the “Too Hard Basket” and can’t be fucked to bother with them though they’re the ones in most need besides the poor sellout middle class?
      Are kiwi’s more engaged or not compared to the last 3 elections?
      Is voter apathy still a thing?

      A coalition government isn’t the issue right now though it is important.
      Giving the people something to believe in, that a different government will bring a better life & conditions for them. Bread & Butter issues still matter I think?

    • b waghorn 4.5

      what do you think a nzf/nats party would do to nz?

  5. Puckish Rogue 5

    I’m not disagreeing with your reasoning but most likely it’ll come down to who gives Winston the most is who’ll be the next government

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      Why do you RWNJs always think that Winston’s in it solely for the baubles of office?
      Why do you always think that people only ever act from purely selfish ideals?

      The majority (~80%) of people almost always act from altruistic reasons.

      • Enough is Enough 5.1.1

        Yeah but Winston is in that 20%

        • Draco T Bastard 5.1.1.1

          I don’t think so. He’s conservative through and through but he does appear to be acting for the good of the country which is something that the present National Part simply doesn’t do.

          And Winston knows that as well.

  6. reason 6

    Conspiracy is a very tainted word but there sure as hell is some strange stuff going on in our media when it comes to reporting on the nats ………….. straying over into outright dirty politics collusion on numerous occasions ……….

    But what I have found very very weird is the total lack of reporting on the excitement and drama of when John Keys Large investment in his old firm merrill lynch was doing a Lehmanns brothers…… leading the charge into bankruptcy at the start of the GFC …… and his good fortune in being bailed out by the citizens of the u.s.a who each paid over $5000 to rescue and save the banks of wall st ….

    How this story of Key showing the skills of a South Canterbury Finance investor and tax payers rescuing him to the tune of millions never got reported on or thought worthy of mention anywhere seems rather strange to me …..

    If it were not for our Parliaments register of pecuniary interests you’d never ever know about Keys Bank of America shares and how he got them.

    I’d like to know how much in dollar value was key personally bailed out for …… and how many american tax payers at $5000 each did he take from ??

    Also most new Zealander seem unaware that keys work in Ireland centered around helping large corporations and others escape from paying tax where they make their profits …………… Apple are probably the most famous company for this at the moment …. stiffing New Zealand and every other place they make sales in http://www.radionz.co.nz/programmes/first-person/story/201776580/first-person-with-john-campbell-apple's-high-ideals-and-low-tax-bill
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10873068

    ……………………………………………………………

    At present there is a battle going on in the world between those who build and use tax havens and the shadow banking networks …. and those who want to stop their legalized thievery where the rich steal from the poor ….

    ” “Tax rulings granted by Ireland have artificially reduced Apple’s tax burden for over two decades, in breach of the EU state aid rules. Apple now has to repay the benefits,” Vestager told a news conference. ”

    It is quite clear to me that if the effort to make corporations operate fairly and root out the use of tax havens and dodgy tax vehicles is succesful Key will be gone………

    Because he is working for the wrong side when it comes to building and expanding the tax haven/shadow banking network.

    The best election move against John key would be a consumer movement against Apple or other companies whose Brand is more vulnerable than politicians and political parties ………

    Bring the corporate tax dodges into focus and key the millionare bail out boy who takes charity from the poor starts getting very exposed …..

    • Ad 6.1

      There is no conspiracy.
      It is logical, common, and part of the modern world.

      Address the post.

      • reason 6.1.1

        What is logical, common, and part of the modern world Ad ???

        Not reporting the prime minister getting lucky on his terrible investment and being bailed out for millions ???

        Does it happen all the time or something ?????????

        I find it quite interesting and revealing ……. when facts and actions contradict spin and image .

        John Key the millionaire took millions in charity from u.s.a taxpayers for being a greedy useless investor …… thats a fact .

        New zealand ( and other countries ) who are getting stiffed by Apple and other rich corporations tax dodges are suffering from the industry that key helped build in Ireland ……….. and is still building and expanding it now …… thats a fact.

        Address that …………… along with your attitude….

        Rude obscure git …………. 🙂

    • gsays 6.2

      hi reason, i have a fair bit of empathy for your position and the lack of traction this information gets.
      however we have a teflon don as dear leader and the last few years have shown he is largely untouchable. like trump, he could strangle kittens on the steps of parliament and not lose a vote.

      i reckon the way forward is to inspire voters with a vision that unifies and has future generations in mind.
      a big ask, i know, in this age of my kitchen master housewife block and disengaement from voters, but that is what these political strategisits are on the big money for.

      they have plenty of examples of what will not work- disunity in caucas, cgt, having a tutu with super, enjoying hospitality in the sky corporate box when trying to score points against the nats and their dumb deal making.

      • reason 6.2.1

        Hi gsays thanks for the comments ………….. your right in trying to inspire as there is a shocking lack of proper leadership on things like climate change or housing which are crying out for it at the moment …

        And its really just a side issue …. or one of many issues

        But I do feel that the link between large corporations like Apple, google, Microsoft Facebook, etc etc stiffing Nz for Billions in tax revenue …….and the resulting shortfall being paid for in things like ‘voluntary school fees’ , underfunded hospitals, student loans etc etc …… is easy to make with real negative consequences felt by the little people who end up paying …..

        Rich corporations and cheating accountants directly taking money away from education and health budgets is an issue of fairness ….. Good policy addressing it and closing down other areas surrounding money laundering and financial crimes would be vote winners …

        Obama summed up the political message …. and what he said regarding the u.s.a applies to NZ ……

        ” They will just pay less in taxes – and to a foreign government, often Ireland or the Netherlands.

        These tax turncoats have drawn the ire of President Obama. “I don’t care if it’s legal,” he declared this summer. ….. “It’s wrong.” …… These inverted companies, he said, “don’t want to give up . . . all the advantages of operating in the United States. They just don’t want to pay for it.” ……

        Thats what Obama says on the subject ….. I wonder what he says to Key while they are playing golf …………….. seeing as Key was doing “wrong” while working for merrill in Ireland.

  7. “bang on the money”
    Military and monetary.

    Elegant summation of all that is awry.

  8. repateet 8

    The likelihood of Key’s mob not being in Government after the next election is minuscule to non-existent. Unfortunately.

    • Ad 8.1

      As the Onceler said: “Unless……..”

    • Bearded Git 8.2

      @repateet

      If you believe the current polls Key’s mob are already gone. Even kiwiblog (David Farrar) polling says:

      Lab/Gr/NZF 52.3% versus Nat/ACT/MP 47.0%

      Winston will not go with the man who tried to destroy him in 2008.

      • Colonial Viper 8.2.1

        What if a guarantee is given that THAT MAN is leaving Parliament 18 months into the next term?

        Which won’t be a hard guarantee to give as I think that’s what Key is planning any way if he wins.

        • Tory 8.2.1.1

          Exactly, the only think predictable about WP is he is unpredictable. Offer him enough and all his principals go out the door, remember “baubles of office”?

          • Bearded Git 8.2.1.1.1

            @CV and Tory

            I can see the beads of sweat on your foreheads……it is always the Right that comes after me on TS when I say Winston will not go with Key …….you know I’m right.

          • David C 8.2.1.1.2

            Near 100% that neither Key or Peters will be in politics by 2020 so there is plenty of room to do a deal.

          • Colonial Viper 8.2.1.1.3

            I think that’s oversimplifying Peters a little bit, especially now that he is approaching the end of his political career and already well set up personally.

            Here’s what I think will hook Peters:

            1) A commitment from Key that Key will be gone 18 months into the next term.
            2) Major enhancements of Gold Card type benefits for seniors, including guarantees around NZ Super.
            3) A lock down on immigration.
            4) A major programme to upskill young NZers and sort out student debt.
            5) Cabinet and Sub-cabinet positions for NZ First: DPM for Winston, and Winston becoming PM in the latter part of the term??? LOL

            • Leftie 8.2.1.1.3.1

              I reckon there is nothing John key can say that will hook Winston Peters.

              Winston Peters is no fool to John key and his lies Colonial Viper.

              • red-blooded

                Let’s not forget that Winston also campaigned really strongly on the idea that the only way to get rid of the Bolger government was to vote NZF, only to go into coalition with them after wheeling and dealing with both them and Labour. Yes, I know it was a long time ago, but Winston is still Winston.

                • Leftie

                  Yes and he apologized for that 2 years later in 1998. Winston Peter’s hasn’t supported the Nats since, he has however, supported a Labour government.

      • Farrar’s metapoll is actually a little generous to the Left, ironically. My own private one currently (the maths currently fluctuates over time as I control for how old a poll is) spits out a 51.8% share of the Party Vote for Labour + Greens + NZF, or 52 seats for Labour + Greens, 55 for National + ACT, 11 for NZF and 3 for Māori Party and UF, although I have tweaking to do before I’d routinely publish it.

        • Bearded Git 8.2.2.1

          Interesting….closer but does not alter the conclusion though Matthew.

          • Matthew Whitehead 8.2.2.1.1

            Agreed, there’s no difference yet, it’s just a matter of disputing where the centre point should be. I’d be cautious of being too optimistic about the trend going our way at this stage, (even though it is) especially as we’re looking at NZ First deciding the government at this stage. The only poll that isn’t trending down for National is Colmar Brunton, although they’re generally within spitting distance of the trend for now, so I’d be expecting them to start reflecting a loss of support for the Govt. soon. The only poll that runs acceptably often is RM anyway, so Colmar Brunton is of disputable utility.

            Everything else basically makes it look like the government is shedding a point every month.

      • Leftie 8.2.3

        +1 Bearded Git.

  9. Brendon Harre 9

    Here is my thought about tax cuts, immigration and housing/infrastructure deficits -it comes from the Habitat 111 meeting in Ecuador.

    Planning academic Solly Angel (Whose thesis is about Making Room for a planet of cities and is author of the book -Planet of Cities) has a comment about the ‘anti-planning movement’.

    Angel says. “They’ve taken the easy way out, all the people that want to stop sprawl. It’s kind of an anti-planning movement–saying ‘we don’t want expansion, we’re not going to plan for it.’” But that doesn’t stop the city from expanding, Angel says, and because it’s unplanned, the expansion will be disastrous.

    I believe this anti-planning movement is a kind of institution ‘ism’ -say like institutional racism or sexism. Either through a lack of empathy or ignorance, decision makers and the wider public who elect them accept disastrous outcomes of exclusion in our cities. Homelessness and housing unaffordability demonstrates that structurally our planning system is such that exclusion of the lower incomes and the less wealthy from the benefits of city life is acceptable.

    We know the other side of the political spectrum will do nothing about this problem. Having loaded up the country with hundreds of thousands of new people -they have no intention of addressing infrastructure deficits or planning mechanisms to ‘Make Room’. John Key prefers to play the tax cut strip-tease dance instead….

    P.S Here is some links
    http://unhabitat.org/making-room-for-a-planet-of-cities-shlomo-solly-angel-stern-school-of-business-new-york-university/

    http://qz.com/798961/environmentally-and-human-friendly-city-sprawl/

    https://medium.com/@brendon_harre/reciprocal-intensification-property-rights-fd15d7a12d06#.n3rtfwejm

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Encouraging Auckland to keep growing while towns throughout our provinces empty out and slowly die is a pretty stupid kind of plan, if you ask me.

      • Brendon Harre 9.1.1

        Where did I say I was encouraging Auckland to grow? I am from Canterbury -it is growing too -lots of places are growing.

        FFS NZ has one of the fastest growing populations in the OECD.

        Planning could be cost neutral -those areas which are growing should be allowed mechanisms to ‘Make Room’ for that growth -regional petrol taxes etc.

        Some planning and setting aside resources has to be done to allow for that growth or else the obvious happens -homelessness and housing unaffordability and an overload on all our public services.

        CV not to plan -is the equivalent of allowing a group to be mistreated on the basis of race or sex and not doing anything about it.

    • Ad 9.2

      What’s your point?
      Less immigration?
      More housing?
      More infrastructure?

      How does this relate to the post?

      • Brendon Harre 9.2.1

        Ad -this government has had economic growth due to a boom in immigration -this has driven the improvement in government finances -the Nats have finally produced something that they can sell as a ‘surplus’. This allows John Key to play the tax cut dance.

        But the problem is this increase in immigration has contributed to the housing crisis by exacerbating the infrastructure deficit and housing shortage. So to avoid social breakdown from segments of our society being excluded from basic economic necessities like warm, dry shelter then as a society we need to invest in infrastructure and housing.

        John Key is trying to alter kiwis sense of egalitarianism and the fair go. He is doing this by not acknowledging the above social breakdown and saying that what kiwis want is to individually pay less tax.

        Ad the questions for the next election for me are;

        Are kiwis and John Key on the same page re tax cuts and individuality being the most important thing.

        Or do kiwis realise that to maintain social bonds of an egalitarian and fair go society, then NZ needs to invest public resources into infrastructure, housing and public services like previous generations did.

        • Ad 9.2.1.1

          I don’t see that as a quandary for this government.
          Their accounts are on track to be able to afford massive spending on all kinds of infrastructure, AND tax cuts.

          An alternative government needs a different tune than the usual false binary. National have that angle well covered.

          • Brendon Harre 9.2.1.1.1

            I call BS on the view that National have the housing crisis well under control. It is a weeping sore which no matter what tinkering efforts they make they have not been able to fix. The public knows it tòo.

            The reality is Auckland and our other centres will need more of their taxes back so NZ invests in housing and infrastructure like we did in the 1930s. To think we can fix a generations worth of infrastructure and housing deficits plus give tax cuts is naive.

            Good luck(not) to John Key if that is the BS he wants to sell to the public.

            • Ad 9.2.1.1.1.1

              I would not claim that he housing issue is under control.

              Key has been “naive” so far and done exactly that. Do you forget the large tax cut in the first term? Then huge motorway and irrigation expenditure?

              We are at the end of their third term, and they are openly planning to do exactly the same thing that won for them in 2008. They don’t need anyone’s luck for that.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.3

      I believe this anti-planning movement is a kind of institution ‘ism’ -say like institutional racism or sexism. Either through a lack of empathy or ignorance, decision makers and the wider public who elect them accept disastrous outcomes of exclusion in our cities. Homelessness and housing unaffordability demonstrates that structurally our planning system is such that exclusion of the lower incomes and the less wealthy from the benefits of city life is acceptable.

      Anti-planning has multiple sources.

      There’s the Cold War and the anti-communist aspect. You can still hear the derision that people feel towards the 5 year plan of the old USSR and today’s North Korea and China (Yes, China still has 5 year plans). These people will go to work where there’s a multitude of plans for short, medium and long terms. Usually around 5 years for the latter.

      Apparently businesses should have plans but government shouldn’t.

      Then there’s the classical/liberal economic model that tells us that governments shouldn’t do any planning and that free-markets will sort it out.

      Which, of course, means that Angel is wrong. The anti-planners are the result of the market system and these people generally tend to like unplanned sprawl as it makes them lots of money and the costs get dumped on other people. In other words, they tend to vote National

      The people, like me who want to stop sprawl, tend to think we need plan better to make sure that right infrastructure is in the right place when it’s needed. Instead of sprawling Auckland out more we should be planning and building a new city that utilises all new technology to be as self-sufficient and as sustainable as possible.

  10. Keith 10

    3 things they have done well.

    1. Isolate the bad news, like no other government possibly in the history of NZ or most other countries and accentuate the positive.

    Simply refused to comply with OIA requests and even when eventually forced to comply redact as much of it as possible. Whilst holding on with Official Information releases plan forward with timed good news stories. distractions and counter lies so when the story finally hits the headlines there is a whole lot of other things going on. That’s if it is even still relevant.

    When the media get on to something, simply refuse to front, just like Paula Bennett, Hekia Parata, Key and other Nats do on Checkpoint with John Campbell for example. Do media releases by twitter or a press statement but never ever front. But always front to friendly sycophants like Hosking and Henry because at that point it’s infomercial time anyway.

    Which leads us to the media. Somehow having all those hundreds of millions collectively and the influence that goes with it, the National Party have more or less taken over the media landscape. They essentially bought Mediaworks with our money and this was one of the most genius moves any government has ever made if not one of the worst conflicts of interest I have ever seen a government minister involved in and that is saying something for this ethically and morally bankrupt government. Even better was to appoint a National Party man to run it to get rid of questioning journalism and leave it with the desert that exists today. Some may think Weldon failed, he didn’t, he achieved everything they could have hoped for and more.

    2. Dirty Politics. It derailed Labour more than once in the life of this government. Straight out slander and lies released at critical times, enough to take the wind out of Labours sails. It is still hard to believe that this was running out of Keys office and who was involved but it didn’t harm them at all.

    3. Image making/Spin/PR/Lies

    Starts off with the leader, rags to riches John Key, ordinary Kiwi bloke, great to have a beer with at a barbry, a good bastard. A manufactured image as genuine as a $2 shop Rolex and just as hollow as the Waterview Tunnel, complete with with the falsely certified steel.

    Stat manipulation/rigging,juking has gone off the scale with this government. Ministers want stats to drop off or rise as suits and their heads of departments are under no false impression that it will happen as commanded and their minister doesn’t give a fuck how it happens, or else. Oh and by the way there is more than enough space between them and the minister for that ministers plausible deniability when rigging is suspected. We are Rockstars with surpluses and lowish unemployment. Yeah right but you can’t deny the good news story’s even if they dont hold up to scrutiny!

    Another example is you might have thought National have put together a package of initiatives to deal with Auckland’s housing bubble. They haven’t. What they did do was put together a package of initiatives to make sure everything remained exactly the way it is but done in such a way as to make the average 3 second attention span voter think they care about inflated housing prices. They don’t. Everything done for appearances to satisfy polling and focus groups.

    And the lying, oh my God it is so bad. They just make shit up from the PM down. But it appears Nat voters love it. Maybe more than anything Nationals ethics and morals reflects your average Nat voter.

    • reason 10.1

      well put Keith and you reminded me of the originator of “the rock star” quote …

      HSBC….. A bank that laundered billions for cocaine cartels … and big player in the tax haven money laundering circuit …… first the rock star nose candy money laundering operation …

      “Despite the fact that HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), Breuer and his Justice Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank, opting instead for a “record” financial settlement of $1.9 billion, which as one analyst noted is about five weeks of income for the bank.

      The banks’ laundering transactions were so brazen that the NSA probably could have spotted them from space. Breuer admitted that drug dealers would sometimes come to HSBC’s Mexican branches and “deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, in a single day, into a single account, using boxes designed to fit the precise dimensions of the teller windows.”

      and then there’s the tax havens and other HSBC associated business ….

      “HSBC profited from doing business with arms dealers who channelled mortar bombs to child soldiers in Africa, bag men for Third World dictators, traffickers in blood diamonds and other international outlaws,” ICIJ reported.” ….

      But they liked what key was doing ………. hhhmmmm

    • Venezia 10.2

      Yes. Exactly. I agree.

  11. roy cartland 11

    Why couldn’t the left campaign on tax cuts too? As in, tax cuts for most, increases for the wealthiest? Close the CGT loophole, etc etc, but just highlight the extra wealth the individual is getting. They could even aggressively repo the shares in the national assets from those who hold them, which are essentially a tax on the govo earnings. Call that a tax cut too.

    • Ad 11.1

      Absolutely.

      Cullen was too little too late on that.

      Tax cuts win elections.

      • Brendon Harre 11.1.1

        Wrong Helen Clark government got elected in 99 because of voter frustration with cutbacks in core public services such as health and education.The same dynamic could happen again but the public concern about core public services now includes housing and the infrastructure which supports housing too.

        • Ad 11.1.1.1

          Agree with the reason for Clark’s first win.

          But 2017 is not 1999.

          There’s little upwelling protest anywhere, other than in nice contained sectors like junior doctors.

          • pat 11.1.1.1.1

            there wasnt that much public protest in 99 from memory either….certainly no more than is currently appearing

    • Stuart Munro 11.2

      A party could certainly promise to get very punitive with tax-evading foreign trusts without losing an atom of voter sympathy.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 11.3

      Roy Cartland: An excellent idea! One of the problems is explaining a progressive view in ways the public like and understand – the neoliberals have been much better at getting their views across.

      Increasing tax on the uber wealthy can be presented as a tax cut for the vast majority – which it reality it would be (LOOK!! TAX CUTS EVERYBODY!!!).

  12. save nz 12

    I don’t agree that this government is very popular at all. I’d say the present government is actually very unpopular but the reason they are in power is that the opposition has failed to offer a scenario better to voters.

    The National party and its voters are probably more in a relationship like The National party and The Maori Party. In this sense most of the National party views are different but because the Maori party feel they have more of a grudge against Labour and they are getting bribes to go with National they grudgingly vote with them.

    Failing to understand the relationships being set up between voters and right wing governments is one reason why the centre left are struggling. The centre left are also struggling because of their legacy is so checkered and so voters don’t trust them.

    Blaming the voters in Europe, Britain, and the U.S.,” they continue to lash out at those who they see as gradually taking away from the opportunity that they thought was going to be theirs: immigrants. ” is wrong. A subset of that group may blame immigrants but they vote hard right normally.

    Instead the traditional left voters are more likely to despise Labour like parties for the neoliberal policies that they have bought in, such as NAFTA in the US, Blairs Iraq War, PPP’s, Rogernomics in NZ. Immigration is more to keep the ideology working for low wages and less jobs or from their foreign policy like the refugees fleeing the wars in the middle East.

    Without some sort of truth and reconciliation of the left, with a good hard look at themselves, the left politicians and their advisors seem to struggle with these ideas and are completely out of touch with how their ex and current voters receive them. The need to accept what they did that made voters so angry that they don’t vote or cut off their nose to spite their face and vote right.

    • nukefacts 12.1

      superb post, right on the money

      • Ad 12.1.1

        Cheers!

        • nukefacts 12.1.1.1

          sorry, I was agreeing with SaveNZ

        • roy cartland 12.1.1.2

          So you reckon if we could engage a Corbyn-like figure (or Trump albeit in his crazy, gropey, lying, phobic way), someone who deviates from biz-as-usual, we’d get the support? Trash the whole capital economic model?
          Would kiwis ‘get’ it?

          • save nz 12.1.1.2.1

            Nope Andrew Little is fine as opposition leader in a coalition with Greens and support of NZ First and hopefully Mana and maybe The Maori Party.

            The point I’m making is that Labour seems to think it’s voter issues are because National is so popular – they need to look at the past, learn from it, look at the future, look at the rise of inequality under globalism and make policies to suit.

            Being clearly anti TPPA is a vote winner. Even Clinton is walking away from TPPA before an election. But the left have had schizophrenic policy. Wanting more immigration, more trade agreements at the expense of local workers, supporting multinationals with sweet tax deals and so forth, supporting Blair and his illegal war in Iraq, supporting spying with the US on NZ citizens no questions asked etc etc

            These are National policies that are unpopular, but Labour has no clear cut messaging against it as soon as they do and voters believe them, their will be a change of government.

            • BM 12.1.1.2.1.1

              and voters believe them

              That’s the crux of the issue right there.

              The voter doesn’t trust Labour.

              • save nz

                @BM – and the MSM is working day and night and dirty politics in god knows how many other ways to install that distrust in Labour for the voters.

    • red-blooded 12.2

      This comment entirely misses the point. Why?
      1) The mainstream voters have been voting for a Party which is entirely committed to exactly the policies that you claim they’re punishing Labour for.
      2) Labour and the Greens have been campaigning against these policies for the last few elections. The Greens oppose them entirely, Labour has a more nuanced approach. Result? The Greens have a smaller percentage of the vote.
      3) The more open Labour is in its denouncement of these policies, the lower their support.

      The fact is that a left-leaning government is a possibility, but not a hard Left one. That might not be what you or I want, but it’d still be better than what we’ve got.

  13. Chooky 13

    +100 Good Post …young New Zealanders have to get politically organised and active …because they are the most disadvantaged under jonkey Nact

    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/10/18/new-stats-show-nz-is-the-youth-suicide-capital-of-the-world-where-is-the-reaction/

  14. Observer Tokoroa 14

    .
    . Hi Advantage

    . The points you raise are useful and important. The Government is populist and popular. It’s theme is basically very simple. Vote National and you will become wealthy.

    In other words, “A Brighter Future”. This chimes in well with the great shift in the 1980s from “fair go for common man” to the Thatcher, Reagan, Greenslade and Rand ideology of “Greed Is Good”. There is no such thing as society or community or the Common man.

    Get wealthy no matter how you do it. Pay no tax. Leave income tax on the silly shoulders of the dummies who have no say over tax because of P.A.Y.E.

    Our current Government has swathed itself in the glow of easy money, by borrowing massively. Happy to leave the debt on the future dummies who pay tax because of enforced P.A.Y.E.

    They are happy to place serious financial burden on Students. Proceeding with their eyes shut, the Greed Government has now dumped vast numbers of New Zealanders into the kindly hands of National Party Landlords. Excessive rents are so Beautiful..

    At the same time they have made sure that there is no living wage within NZ. ” Keep the workers on low wages” Struggling is good for workers. Keep them competing.

    Our Popular Government may well face an angry response in a year’s time. Also, they may find a friendly, happy mob unaware that wealth goes to fewer and fewer people. Happy as can be with their high rents and low wages.

    .

  15. Sabine 15

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11731848
    “Education Minister Hekia Parata is retiring from politics.

    In a shock move Parata announced today she will not be contesting the next election.

    She said she advised Prime Minister John Key of her decision earlier this year.”

    too much of an issue the lady is? who is next, Pullya Benefit? 🙂

    Frankly i don’t worry to much about next years election. There is another winter coming, house prices will not go down, our 40.000 homeless will morph into 60.000 homeless filling up our ditches and shrubs, our mentally ill will stay ill without recourse to help, our suicide rate will continue to climb, and even the rich eventually will be too poor for another several years of this National Party led Bullshit.

    So why don’t we just wait a bit before we worry ourself silly.

  16. rsbandit 16

    It should be so very simple for the workers party. Focus on the ***aspirations*** of workers. Everything else is noise.

    Focus. Labour is a complete mess of beltway side issues few people care about.

    There is no point – politically – focusing on beneficiaries. There are few votes supporting more handouts. Leave that to the Greens.

    Bang on about “the poor”, lose elections.

    • Ad 16.1

      Show me the money!

      Show me the money!

      • rsbandit 16.1.1

        Yes.

        It’s what money represents. Choice, privilege and comfort. Who doesn’t want those things?

        Nobody.

        There will be some moral grandstanders demanding other people have more of their money taken off them by moral grandstanding politicians, but there are no votes in it.

        Obviously.

  17. rsbandit 17

    SaveNZ couldn’t be more wrong.

    That’s beltway thinking. The voters are not thinking about “neoliberalism” or any other ideological chattering class noise.

    They are thinking about:

    How much money is in their pocket
    How much is left over at the end of the week
    If they feel reasonably safe and secure
    They can relate to the person in charge (with Key, they can)

    That is why National will win. Again. Easily.

    • save nz 17.1

      @rsbandit, I agree with you that many people are concerned about how much money they have left in their pocket. That is why they don’t like their low wages and insecure job under National. But I don’t think that Labour have nailed an alternative message to the low wage economy National are making us. Increasing taxes is not a message that employees and employers want to hear.

      Taxation is a big issue. Last election concentrating on increasing taxes on the middle class and so called rich and increasing the age of super was a bad move by Labour.

      Labour need to put these wage figures in against the cost of buying a house in Auckland and see how much money someone has left (and also after paying their student loans) to see that someone on $150,000 or whatever is not rich when looking at the cost of living.

      Add to the fact that most of the rich listers don’t even pay the top tax rate and multinationals don’t either – then middle Kiwis wage earners understandably don’t want to subsidise them and also have taken similar measures to avoid tax.

      Likewise immigration with elderly parents who never paid any taxes but the local aging tax payers were told to work longer and harder under labour. A capital gains taxes was needed but it was denied that it had anything to do with foreign and recent migrant activity, trusts were exempt. Voters did not agree with it and voted or did not vote accordingly.

  18. McFlock 18

    The thing about the post is that it focuses entirely on policy. Voters do not.

    Other factors are also considered, some vacuous and some more indirect but nonetheless reasonable. It is no coincidence, in my opinion, that the opposition’s support has increased as it has become more stable – both within and between party relationships. Similarly, pr merchants have carefully cultivated key’s leadership image, maintaining a feeling of legitimacy and confidence. And then there’s the low voting rate – how many people are so alienated from society that they no longer even try to change things with a vote? Some are happy and complacent, but I suspect that more than a few just don’t feel it’ll change a damned thing for the better.

    Policy counts, but I’m not sure that it’s the most important factor in determining an election at the moment.

    • Ad 18.1

      Mostly it focuses on money.
      People love to vote for money.

      They will be voting for: tax cuts, immigration cuts, and a way for their descendants to get wealthy.

      The image and the campaigning is another post.

      This really is a policy post.

      • McFlock 18.1.1

        For most of this year I’ve been trying to nut out a post on what I mean, but lack the words.

        As soon as one starts talking about non-policy motives for voting, it tends to slide into “stupid reasons people vote” or “it’s all a dark pr job that sucks in the gullible”, and that’s not what I’m trying to figure out how to articulate.

        A lot of people vote because of money, or health policy. But the same voters might also include whether it’s a “time for change”, or the leader “looks confident”, or whatever, and it all gets thrown in the blender and the blender spits out a voting form, two ticks placed upon it according to the relative blend of considerations.

        The visceral has an impact that’s probably greater than the intellectual – that’s why candidates can say outrageous policies with no repercussions, but as soon as a dick pic comes to light their career is on the line.

        • weka 18.1.1.1

          That would be a good post to read and discuss.

          The blender theory and the visceral one are what I tend to think. People vote for all sorts of differing reasons, and for multiple reasons. I think we are doomed to fail to comprehend when we try and pin groups of people down to voting because of X or Y.

          I’m also mindful that there are people who vote who don’t really pay attention to detail e.g. they hear the news in passing and don’t read the paper or internet. They’re just not putting the time in to understanding. Again I think the way they vote varies and is influenced by multiple factors, but I do wonder if those people are more inclined to vote on the visceral, or even the thing that catches their eye e.g. a couple of their work mates wax lyrical about a politician or party and they think yeah that makes sense and it’s just easier than doing anything further.

          I take voting pretty seriously, and this last local body election I chose to not vote for certain positions because I didn’t know the candidates. In the past I’ve voted for people based on what I read in the booklet that came with the papers. That really is the lowest form of democracy.

          • rsbandit 18.1.1.1.1

            Most posters on here are likely in the “overthinking it” camp.

            People don’t change
            There is no new silver bullet
            There are limited votes in “the poor”. And Lab/Green already has them.
            Focus on the big basic themes that never change – jobs, earnings vs cost of living, aspirational

            And get a likeable personality to front.

            Put everything else on the backburner, and behind closed doors.

            One thing that certainly has changed is the amount of noise in the balkanized media channels. Only the big messages have a hope of getting through today, so:

            Jobs, earnings vs cost of living, aspirational
            And get a likeable personality to front it.

            That’s what National do. And they win.

        • red-blooded 18.1.1.2

          True. And yet Key and Co looked sleazy and tired last time. It’s just that we looked disorganised and distracted, with Internet Mana and Kim Dotcom (adored by many on this site at the time) muddying the waters and making the left seem like gullible sell-outs.

        • ropata 18.1.1.3

          McFlock, there’s also a tendency for voters to vote against things they don’t like. Labour is still hated by large % of the electorate

  19. save nz 19

    It think Labour needs to focus on a fair go for all. Not get too caught up in rich/poor/working/unemployed/homeowner/renter/old/young.

    They need an inspirational message and they need to use social media and their own website and blogs like this to share it. They will get nowhere in MSM. The other day there was an article about the Poi-E song and John Key has a cameo. The Natz are already electioneering. How can you hate a guy that appears in a Poi-E song? That’s why Key is still in power.

    The opposition need to get all the artists, muso’s, new media people out there, join with charities like Greenpeace and Salvation Army, and spread the message of a change of government and it can be both joyful in song, but also satire about the terrible job the Natz are doing.

    Get Bradford on board to get the beneficiaries to vote. Put out the olive leaf to all, and get a movement going to change the government. That’s what you need to change the government. Unity and a movement.

    • rsbandit 19.1

      But “changing the government” is not a problem the people have
      That’s a problem the Labour Party has
      The people couldn’t care less about the problem the Labour Party has

      “A fair go for all” is something the poor demand. It’s spoken from a perspective of either paternalism or poverty. It’s not a problem most people have – i.e. they do not say “I have a real lack of fairness in my life”

      The problem most people have is specific:

      Not enough money left at the end of the week

      Solve that problem, and you’ll win.
      (No, not just by taking more off people and handing it to “the poor”)
      Deal in specifics

      • save nz 19.1.1

        Sorry but the ‘workers party’ approach you are advocating is not a winner because there are so few jobs there are less workers and the wages are so low that people now have multiple ways to make a living. People have little inspiration to get a waged job especially if you are under 30 (you want to be an entrepreneur or famous, preferably both) – we are in the age of pluralism.

        I’m not the only one advocating a more ‘moral’ approach by political parties. Bryan Gould has been giving this advice to Labour for a while – would have the link but his site is not working for some reason.

        • rsbandit 19.1.1.1

          An entrepreneur is a worker.

          To clarify, I’m using “work” in the broadest possible sense. People aspire to better things and work is the way they get there.

          The problem with “moral” approaches is that everyone has a different view on what is moral. You’re only going to ever talk to those who agree with your definition or morality, whereas work, and the benefits or work, are near universal.

  20. save nz 20

    From http://www.bryangould.com/what-more-can-labour-do/

    “So, what more can be done? We should not assume that Labour MPs are necessarily best-placed to provide the answer. This is not because they are ill-equipped to do so, but because of the demands that our parliamentary system places on them.

    As I know from my own experience as an MP (admittedly in the British rather than the New Zealand parliament), parliamentarians work long hours and are dragged in a dozen different directions at once. There is little time to reflect on whether the best use has been made of the available time.

    The danger is that this leads to a focus on day-by-day events rather than new strategic thinking. It can lead to the conclusion that each new issue requires a new and immediate policy response…..

    ……This may be where Labour is falling short. They have perhaps failed to grasp that what they are really up against is a hegemonic force – a neo-liberal revolution – that has shaped political attitudes in western democracies across the globe for more than a generation and that now represents a norm so powerful that it is not even recognised as such by those who might be expected to oppose it.

    This hegemony cannot be changed or challenged just by nibbling at the edges – by attacking short-term policy failures on specific issues, or by sharpening up campaigning techniques. What is needed is a fundamental statement of what the Labour party stands for, and a persuasive account of why it will produce a better and more successful society than has been delivered by the current neo-liberal orthodoxy.

    Many of those who might consider voting Labour do so precisely because they are looking for a different set of values than those demonstrated by our current government and than are reflected in today’s New Zealand. The National government makes no secret of its belief that the market – which they see as the mainspring of economic activity and as an infallible moral arbiter of what is and is not worthwhile – must always prevail.

    Many of our more thoughtful fellow-citizens, however, do not want a society where the bottom line is all that matters, where the market decides who prospers and who is left behind, where social and environmental issues take second or third place to the drive for profit.

    They want to see a society which is stronger, happier and healthier because we have learned all over again that we are all better off if we look after each other. They are ready to learn the lesson, increasingly reinforced by experience around the world, that we do not have to choose between market efficiency and social justice – that those societies which fairly share the fruits of economic success also produce the better economic outcomes.

    Labour should, in other words, be braver in taking on their opponents on these big issues – the ones that matter most. Yes, personal competencies, the correct policy options, campaigning effectiveness, all have a role to play, and Labour owes it to their supporters to get those things right.

    But voters will feel more confident in voting Labour if they are convinced that a Labour government will approach individual issues from a consistent viewpoint – one that will give priority to the values of tolerance, mutual respect, compassion, care for each other, and a recognition that “we’re all in this together”.

    It’s not that values are all that matter. The voters will still want to know what a Labour government might do, in practical policy terms, about particular issues, such as the housing crisis. But they will be more receptive to those policy proposals, and will understand them better, if they can locate them within a moral framework, if they are not just a solution to a particular problem but are an expression of a different and potentially superior view of how a successful, happier and healthier society might function.”

    • Ad 20.1

      “Hegemony”, “society”, “neo liberal orthodoxy”, “moral framework” = leftie zzzzzzzzzzzz snore zzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzz

      Gould is the worst leftie luvvie we have. He had nothing concrete to say at all.

      Immigration limits.
      Lower taxes.
      Weather family.

      It’s not hard really.

    • rsbandit 20.2

      Yawwwwwwnnnnnnn.

      Does anyone seriously think this is how voters think?

      Stop listening to those wedged too far down some tragic political hole to ever see sunlight. “hegemony”, “neo-liberal orthodoxy”, “they are looking for a different set of values”…..it’s not 1982.

      Look, forget values, other than the broad human values of “happiness”, “health” and “well-being”. Everyone has different values. If voters don’t share your values, you’ve lost them, so when talking values – stay inclusive and broad.

      Think like marketers. Figure out what the biggest group of swing voters want – it’s not flippin’ hard, I’ve outlined it above and it’s the same thing they always want – and deliver it in words, actions and policy.

      • save nz 20.2.1

        Well, voters don’t say those words but that is what they think. And Gould has been right about many of the election losses of the left. The Blairite approach no longer works for Labour.

        Vote Positive is total marketer speak – and look how that turned out last election.

        Authenticity is what voters want and real Change.

        • rsbandit 20.2.1.1

          A chimp could have predicted the last three Labour losses. It was obvious why those losses occurred – they were unlikeable, disorganised, confused and made the National Party appear brilliant.

          It’s not “Blairite” to stick to the big, bold basics. It is essential. It’s why Key and National, as boring as they are – keep winning.

          “Vote Positive” is utterly meaningless. Besides being non-specific, it’s not true. What is positive about Labour? They spend most of the time moaning. Marketing is not a slogan. It is finding out what people want and convincing people that you can deliver it.

          What they want is obvious to National, but not Labour.

          “Wanting change” is what the Labour Party and their voters want. The voters who matter do not i.e. the swing. People don’t like change for the sake of it, they need concrete reasons – and Labour do not offer any. National offer a track record of stability for those voters. Those voters are doing just fine.

          There will be no revolution.

          • Red 20.2.1.1.1

            What you are saying to labour is stop listening to your activist base which simply won’t go down well here, no matter that you are 100pc on the mark with your comments

            • rsbandit 20.2.1.1.1.1

              I guess they can remain pure and righteous – and lose.

              Or do what the most people want, and win.

  21. b waghorn 21

    Instead of a tax cut the left should just do a tax shift, get rid of keys gst raise and lower the tax on the first $40 k and up the top bracket by enough to cover it , poor people spend everything so it would stimulate the economy .
    Also work on lowering costs to those at the bottom ,that will help more than higher benefits .

    • Ad 21.1

      Slightly better.

      GST would be a lot to lose for social programmes, but as an indirect tax doesn’t give fresh money into our bank.

      Remember the cut GST on veggies debacle?

      • b waghorn 21.1.1

        ”Remember the cut GST on veggies debacle?”

        It has to be on every thing ,anything else is just plain silly.
        key payed for his tax cuts by raising gst (one of his early lies) so take it back off the wealthy , heel it’ll probably help cool the housing market as well.

  22. One Two 22

    Without open sincere discussions rooted in ‘reality’ regarding monetary and fiscal policy and ‘funding’ in general, tip toeing around the well guarded perimeter will be the best any ‘opposition’ could muster

    Until people are losing their bank ‘deposits’ there is unlikely to be any such discussions

    Essentially leading to a continuation of the current regime until the wheels have fallen off and the cart overturned to such a degree it can no longer be spun, smeared or ignored completely

  23. xanthe 23

    Because “identity politics” has made the opposition incoherent ? And no before you ask its not trolling, or mysogeny, or racisism . Simply empirical observation. If there is some other rational interpretation lets hear it. But if we serious about seeing key off we damn well better have a polite and productive discussion about the impact of identity politics on our electability

    • weka 23.1

      Observation perhaps, but I could equally claim empirical observation tells me the opposite 😉

      My favourite theory is the lprent hypothesis. NZers like competency first and foremost and until Labour gets its shit together it won’t be seen as fit to hand the treasury keys to.

      But as I say to McFlock elsewhere, I think people vote for a variety of multiple reasons and trying to pin it down to one dynamic is a fool’s game.

      But if we serious about seeing key off we damn well better have a polite and productive discussion about the impact of identity politics on our electability

      That will never happen so long as what you are proposing is telling women, non-whites, disabled people, queer people, etc etc to get in behind with what they think is important. We’re well past the point of that being possible let alone desirable.

      • xanthe 23.1.1

        Well I was not proposing any of that and there was nothing in my post to suggest I was, Do you want to try and figure out some common ground or not?

        Why do you think then that Labour is unable to “get its shit together”

        • McFlock 23.1.1.1

          Well, how would you have legalised same-sex marriage without it being regarded as an “identity politics” issue?

        • weka 23.1.1.2

          There is a substantial history in The Standard of arguing over identity politics that includes exactly what I just said. I’m letting you know the context that any new conversation is likely to happen in 🙂

          “Do you want to try and figure out some common ground or not?”

          If you are not intending to argue in favour of getting rid of identity politics, then of course! Depends on what you mean by identity politics too, and what your argument is.

          I don’t think identity politics has made Labour (or the Greens) incoherent to some. I think neoliberalism and dirty politics have done that. Neoliberalism being the thing that transformed Labour from a working class-based party to whatever it is now.

          IMO it’s the neoliberalism within Labour that has prevented it from sorting itself out and presenting as competent (or the left/right split). All that bullshit that went done over leadership prior to Little being a prime example.

          I do think it is getting its shit together slowly. I don’t know if that will be in time for the election, but slow and steady can win the race.

          The Greens are one of the most coherent and competent parties in parliament. I don’t think competency is their problem, nor identity politics. I think NZ just isn’t ready yet to take that leap.

          • xanthe 23.1.1.2.1

            You are correct that labours problem is that they cannot shed neoliberalism

            Neo liberalism and identity politics are closely linked.

            Neoliberalism holds that competing economic units should act in their own interest and the “invisable hand” of the market will guide to the best outcome.

            identity politics holds that different demographic interests should each have representitives working in their interest and somehow the outcome of those competing efforts will produce the best outcome.

            Identity politics IS neoliberilism applied to the process of democracy .
            To eschew neoliberalism labour must also eschew identity politics

            • weka 23.1.1.2.1.1

              That’s not how lefties I know who work with identity politics define identity politics. You asserting your own definition of identity politics doesn’t make it true. I also can’t see how that definition doesn’t in fact support what I said earlier about telling women, non-whites, disabled people, queer people, etc etc to get in behind with what they think is important. If they can’t organise around their own experience how will those experiences be part of any solution? How would we even talk about such things if they are deemed an evil?

              Feminism for instance predates the neoliberalism you are talking about by centuries, and to make a gross generalisation, it aims for equal rights for all. To suggest that it is a silo working solely for the people in its own grouping is to grossly misunderstand what it is.

              Plus, intersectionality basically undercuts what you have just said. I think you were given a link the other day. It’s not about competing efforts, it’s about collaboration and mutual understanding, solidarity. That doesn’t mean that groups of people don’t get that wrong sometimes – feminism has had some pretty strong challenges from within and without around heterosexuality, ethnicity, gender binaries etc, but it does in general have an expanding capacity to grow and deal with those things over time.

              The other big problem I have with your analysis is that I suspect it is grounded in the idea that economics is god. We just have to solve the economic structures and all will be well. But people with a different political identity than that one inform us that their issues are not solely or even sometimes at all economically based. The only way you can work with the analysis you just wrote is if you write those people off.

              I’d also like to hear you answer McFlock’s question – how would you have legalised same-sex marriage without it being regarded as an “identity politics” issue?

              • xanthe

                Remember that this discussion has a specific context ie why there is still a very good chance that the national govt will continue.

                In this context the point is not how ” lefties I know who work with identity politics define identity politics. ” but how we are percieved by the public. I offer my observation that in general identity politics is seen as a competitive model. I have just spent a few hours re-reading the link you mention and also various writings on indetity politics and intersectionality. One fact that really jumped out to me is that identity politics has been used to hold onto the margins of support while pushing forward the hard right neoliberal agenda. This applies both to new labour in UK and the labour party in nz. This supports my suggestion that identity politics and Neo liberalism are actually Just different aspects of the same competitive model. in any case they are compatable. Whether this is the “one true” meaning of identity politics is irrelivant. In this context it is what NZ voters think.

                If you can convince me that identity politics is actually a co-operative model and its proponents understand the importance that it be so and the need to protect that image then the question changes to how can we get that message across to the electorate. (Because right or wrong i believe the public perception of identity politics makes lab/grn unelectable)

                I do not think economics is god . I simply believe that the neoliberal doctrine is a disfunctional economic one

                Same sex marriage’s time had come , like feminism its roots go a long way back in history

                • weka

                  In this context the point is not how ” lefties I know who work with identity politics define identity politics. ” but how we are percieved by the public. I offer my observation that in general identity politics is seen as a competitive model.

                  But you’ve just said that identity politics are inherently evil like neoliberalism, and that they are in fact neoliberalism, so it’s disingenuous to then argue that the context is how the public perceive it, because you are laying a foundation for saying that the politics of many people are to not just be put aside but actively rejected.

                  Also please don’t talk about the public as an amorphous lump. I get the criticism of IPs (like I said, these are not new convos here), that they are seen as harming the cause because some voters feel like their own needs have been sidelined because of IPs. I think the solution to that is to address the needs of those people (e.g. white working class men), rather than suppress the needs of others (women, Māori, disabled people, queers etc).

                  I seriously doubt that many people outside of the political commentariat think about IPs as competitive so much as they just want their own voices heard and they’re attacking what they can. It’s akin to horizontal abuse. They can’t do anything about the real problem (that neoliberalism and Labour has fucked them over) so attack the easier targets. That combined with some of the people actually having their own politics around others not having rights, although I think they are in the minority. It’s unconscionable that some lefties actively encourage this.

                  I have just spent a few hours re-reading the link you mention and also various writings on indetity politics and intersectionality. One fact that really jumped out to me is that identity politics has been used to hold onto the margins of support while pushing forward the hard right neoliberal agenda.

                  Would be interested to know what you read beyond stargazer’s post.

                  Neoliberalism and capitalism will make use of whatever they can. This is not news. Feminism has been dealing with this for all time. It’s not that IPs are pushing the hard right neoliberal agenda, it’s that neoliberalism is quite happy to have pro-neoliberal feminists. You are conflating the two things.

                  There is an irony here too, because if feminism is about equality for all people, then it will allow within its own frameworks that same value. No-one runs feminism, so we have hard right feminists. Can’t do anything about that without becoming authoritarian. There are other solutions though, including solidarity and intersecionality.

                  This applies both to new labour in UK and the labour party in nz.

                  Both of which are organisations that have co-opted identity politics, or assimilated them, or perhaps colonised them. They don’t own them, they didn’t invent them and they don’t have the patent. Labour aren’t a good example of identity politics, and again you are confusing things. Labour abandoned its working class roots and constituency in the 80s. It also took on the things that were progressing in society due to identity politics, anything that wasn’t fundamentally against neoliberalism. That’s why you have women’s rights somewhat advanced within Labour, but not in any great way beyond some isolated gains.

                  This is reflected across society. HRC can be president but the needs of poor black women are still at the bottom of the pile. That’s not feminism’s fault, it’s the fault of the US political system, neoliberalism, and all the people who’ve supported this system, and it’s also a consequence of white supremacy which a change in economic model alone will never solve. You have to remember you are talking to someone who has always voted to the left of Labour, so believe me, I see the co-option and the bullshit, I just lay the blame elsewhere.

                  This supports my suggestion that identity politics and Neo liberalism are actually Just different aspects of the same competitive model. in any case they are compatable. Whether this is the “one true” meaning of identity politics is irrelivant. In this context it is what NZ voters think.

                  Again, please don’t lump all voters into one amorphous mass. To understand what people think about feminist gains in NZ, or Māori rights, or disability rights we’d have to look at evidence. I’d suggest research, but also the extent to which the general public now accept something as normal. Homosexual law reform was controversial when the act was passed, it’s not now. If you did a survey and said should we not have passed that legislation I”m pretty sure it would show most people support it.

                  Beyond that I think you are asserting a theory that is interesting politically, but is your assertion. If you can demonstrate were large groups of people think this or support it, please do.

                  If you can convince me that identity politics is actually a co-operative model and its proponents understand the importance that it be so and the need to protect that image then the question changes to how can we get that message across to the electorate.

                  Try talking to the many people on ts who work within IPs. I’m one of the main people on ts who actively argues against the anti-IP politics, and my politics are grounded in the wellbeing of all people. I don’t feel qualified to argue for white working class men, but I am on record as supporting their right to have their particular needs met. It’s not people like me who are promoting an image of competitiveness. The people who promote it the most in the public political sphere are generally the people who have the most to lose in terms of power if IPs were taken seriously. That’s because our political system supports people who value the white, male dominance model.

                  (Because right or wrong i believe the public perception of identity politics makes lab/grn unelectable)

                  I disagree. I think there are people who are so disenfranchised that they don’t bother voting. The solution to that is to have politics for those people, not suppress the politics of others. There are others who hate Labour and won’t vote for them again, not because of IPs but because of what Labour did to them and their families in the 80s. Yet others still who are always swing voters, some who see National as better for them personally (the self-centred ethics), others who see Labour as not competent enough, and on and on. Sure there will be people who complain about Labour wanting gender equity in its caucus or promoting gay rights, but it’s a superficial analysis if they think that Labour not doing those things will solve their problems. It won’t.

                  Same sex marriage’s time had come , like feminism its roots go a long way back in history

                  That doesn’t answer the question though. Please answer it, because it’s very pertinent to the context you want to discuss, e.g. the left and the next election.

                  • xanthe

                    Another interpretation that fits the availiable evidence is that identity politics is the result of the colonisation of various social movements by neoliberalism

                    In which case the question re same sex marriage becomes: How could this movement best have avoided the fruits of its long struggle being appropriated by identity politics ?

                    • weka

                      Which evidence? It’s quite a shift in theory btw. I did talk about that in my comment, but you seem to think it’s in an absolute sense. So all feminism is now colonised by neoliberalism. Try running that past anti-capitalist feminists and see how far you get.


                      In which case the question re same sex marriage becomes: How could this movement best have avoided the fruits of its long struggle being appropriated by identity politics ?

                      That doesn’t even make sense. The long struggle and the movement IS the identity politics. Maybe you could say what you are meaning by ‘identity politics’ because I want to make sure we are talking about the same thing.

                    • xanthe

                      Absolutely not a shift of theory, identity politics remains another side of neoliberalism as postulated (the theory has simply “gelled” a bit as the resilt of the reading that this discussion has prompted)

                      well the anti capatilist feminists of my aquaintence are just as appalled as i am at the appropriation of feminism to further the neoliberalist capitilist power elite

                      The human rights movement predates “identity politics” as it now manifests under the wing of neoliberalism

                    • weka

                      well the anti capatilist feminists of my aquaintence are just as appalled as i am at the appropriation of feminism to further the neoliberalist capitilist power elite

                      And they consider themselves neoliberalists, because feminism = neoliberalism? good to know.

                      Just to be clear. You stated that identity politics = neoliberalism. I said that neoliberalism had co-opted identity politics to the extent that it suited its agenda.

                      As an anti-neoliberalism feminist, amongst other identities, I also have a strong critique of neoliberalist feminism. But that’s not my feminism and it is by no means all feminism. You give away a huge amount of power when you align and equate feminism with neoliberalism in this way, and that is why I started entered this conversation by saying there is no common ground to be had when you throw the rest of us under a bus.

                      Can you please say what you mean by identity politics because I suspect we are referring to different things and your comments aren’t making sense to me now.

                    • xanthe

                      1. i do not conflate feminism and identity politics
                      2 many feminists are opposed to identity politics

                      This conversation has a context of “why key could win” (otherwise its thread drift which is bad!) So can i ask that we use the term identity politics in that context of “the campaigning and processes directed at the “group identity” of various groups by the left” that is the context of this thread and i am to respecing that. I happen to think that such campaigning is fraught and has been untertaken without understanding of the very real risks and harm (and often in support of a neoliberal agenda) and the left is now paying the price of that.

                      My intention in all this is not to attack feminism but rather a very genuine desire to see a left wing government in 2017. I think a prerequsite of that is open discussion that acknoweleges the part identity politics has played in our current plight and some ethical plan to unravel that which needs to be put right.

  24. UncookedSelachimorpha 24

    “A standard leftie electoral campaign platform, for the last three elections, has been to propose massive public welfare programmes to help the poor. Worthy aim. And to do it, raise those taxes on the richest. ”

    This is a very worthy aim – but if this was what the left parties were offering, they didn’t make it at all obvious to me – was swept under the carpet if it was there. Seemed they either didn’t believe it, or didn’t believe anyone would vote for it.

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