Labour. Horse. Water.

Written By: - Date published: 5:45 pm, June 11th, 2015 - 97 comments
Categories: labour, political parties, thinktank, uk politics - Tags: , ,

During the Labour leadership contest I had the opportunity to share a few minutes and a couple of thoughts with Andrew Little. One thing I asked him, nay urged him to do, was to pay attention to the situation of the SNP and the Labour Party in Scotland. I admit he looked at me a bit askance…Scotland, and therefore any lessons that might be learned from the situation there, just didn’t seem to be on his radar. Now okay, I think it’s reasonable to assume that UK Labour and England are on the NZ Labour radar. But the thing is, there is nothing to learn from UK Labour in England just as there’s nothing to be gained from UK Labour’s woeful lack of understanding around the party’s demise in Scotland.

Since I don’t want to repeat myself, but in light of all the guff coming in the shape of this ‘Labour Progress’ think-tank, here’s a wee bit of a heads up, straight from the horse’s mouth as it were, on the strategy the SNP adopted in the recent UK election that sunk Labour in Scotland. (The full interview)

 John Stewart: -David Cameron is the head of the Conservative Party. You have brought…first of all, demolished Labour. Ed Miliband and the Labour Party, are they angry at the SNP or are they more disappointed in Miliband? Did you outflank them? How did that happen?

Nicola Sturgeon:- Well, they’re disappointed in Miliband but they’re expressing that by being angry at the SNP. So, it’s easier for them to blame the SNP for the fact they got demolished in the election that actually face up to the reasons why they got demolished. What did the SNP do to beat Labour so comprehensively? We started acting more like people expect a Labour Party to act like, so we stood up against austerity. We said, ‘You know what? We don’t want to spend a hundred billion pounds on new trident nuclear missiles. We’d rather do something really radical and invest that in health care and education – in giving kids the best start in life’. You have to back ten or twenty years, these are the things Labour politicians used to say in the UK, but not any more. They’ve just tried to ‘out right-wing’ the Conservatives and… it hasn’t worked for them.

See, it seems pretty clear to me that if Labour want to enjoy levels of support way in excess of what National have, then they have to look at what worked in Scotland insofar as what didn’t work in Scotland also didn’t work in the rest of the UK. NZ Labour then simply need to draw the parallels and learn the lessons. It isn’t rocket science…

Meanwhile, looking at the crop of hopefuls in UK Labour’s leadership contest, it seems the idea is to keep with same tried and tested formula for failure and hope that some obscure law of probability kicks in to change the outcome to one of success…a bit like ‘Progress’ then?

Firmly back to NZ Labour just so I can reiterate a question I’ve already posed directly to two leadership candidates during the contest that Andrew Little won. When is Labour going to unreservedly apologise for 1984 and signal an unequivocal break from that legacy? It isn’t, as you like to tell yourselves, ‘irrelevant’. 1984 and the fourth Labour Government isn’t ‘forgotten’ by the electorate or merely some dimly remembered something-or-other from ancient history. Everyone knows it impacted on their family and on Helen Clark’s government and still courses like a toxin in the veins of the Labour political beast.

Again. Scotland. You think it odd that Mhaira Black – SNP mp in Westminster –  rails against Thatcher and the social devastation of Thatcherism when she wasn’t even born during the time Thatcher was in power? It’s not odd. Some historical events don’t lend themselves to carpet sweeping. Thatcherism is one. Rogernomics is another.

In summary. Two simple and necessary steps to deliver success for NZ Labour and a huge level of relief for many of us living on these islands. Apologise for 1984. And then do as the SNP have done, and (re-)claim the mantle, values and voices of Labour’s recent past.

97 comments on “Labour. Horse. Water.”

  1. Belladonna 1

    +100. Quite agree Bill.

  2. Paul 2

    It’s really that simple.

    • Tom Gould 2.1

      Apologise for 1984? Hilarious.

    • dukeofurl 2.2

      Its a myth that the SNP is more progressive and anti austerity than UK labour.

      The free university tuition is maintained by cuts to Further Education ( FE) like National has done here.
      Scottish universities maintain their social exclusivity and poorer students have had their grants cut under SNP.

      SNP were elected to get rid of Council tax: Reneged.

      Write off student debt: Reneged

      Maintained the use of PFI/PPP: Whitewash

      And now unemployment is rising there while continuing to fall in the rest of UK.

      Its all very well to make Trident a ‘red line’ but they arent looking after their cooking in the kitchen

  3. Karen 3

    Absolutely spot on, Bill.

    Please send this to every Labour MP. May be some of them will listen.

    • Paul 3.1

      Too many will only learn once they lose their jobs…like the Scottish Labour MPs

      • Ron 3.1.1

        Which is good reason why we need to ensure that such MP’s are not selected for 2017. Just because an MP has spent many years in an electorate should not guarantee that they will be re selected for next election. We need a good strong team of candidates not tired hacks

  4. Raf 4

    Brilliant. That would be so inspiring.

  5. Current stirrer and disloyal former Lab staffer Phil Quin blusters self-servingly in public, again:
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11463051

    • Sacha 5.1

      Rob Salmond likes Quin’s current initiative: http://polity.co.nz/content/progress

      • Ron 5.1.1

        Do you think Rob was really saying he liked it or was he just being ironic?

      • Colonial Rawshark 5.1.2

        LOL, you don’t say, Rob Salmond likes this right leaning initiative. His mention of Labour looking for 40% of the vote is perfectly indicative of how lost from reality the Thorndon Bubble and their coterie of advisors is.

        • dukeofurl 5.1.2.1

          Salmond has left Sturgeon with all the problems.

          Unemployment is rising sharply in Scotland in 2015

          “Unemployment in Scotland rose by 9,000 in the three months to February and now stands at 167,000, according to official statistics.
          It was the second rise in a row, following an increase of 6,000 in the previous set of figures.
          http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-scotland-business-32348656

          It had been falling from about late 2013.

          • Colonial Rawshark 5.1.2.1.1

            There’s a Tory government running the UK and the Exchequer. What do you expect. BTW that’s not the Salmond I was referring to.

            • dukeofurl 5.1.2.1.1.1

              Really. If you look at the figures the Scots unemployment rate while being slighty higher than UK rate has tracked it down with it.

              has Scotland got MORE austerity than Britain? Nope.

              I too would love there being some magic sauce that SNP has found. But the world doesnt work that way. One, you dont have control over all the levers, as Scotalnd has an open economy.

              Perhaps you should reconsider your attraction to SNP as they arent socialaist enough according to this:

              “The SNP government has abandoned plans to scrap the widely despised council tax, which was one of its key flagship policies and, moreover, a policy that played an important role in their election victory in May 2007. Alongside reneging on the promise to write off student debt in Scotland and the resurrection of PFI/PPP to build some public infrastructure projects – despite promises to scrap (in reality, modify) the use of private finance – the largely phoney radicalism of the SNP is being exposed.
              http://www.socialismtoday.org/126/scotland.html

  6. Colonial Rawshark 6

    Nice one Bill.

    • left for deadshark 6.1

      Thanks Bill, nicely put , but very few of them have the “balls” so to speak, too think outside that box they are stuck in.

    • weka 6.2

      +1, and the interview is very good too.

      btw, I think it’s Jon Stewart not John.

  7. millsy 7

    To be honest, I dont think they will.

  8. Chooky 8

    Good Post …and good advice to Andrew Little….mind you as he comes from the union movement he shouldn’t need this advice….but given the nature of Cabinet maybe it is difficult advice to follow.

    ..this is why a think tank is necessary ….but a think tank in line with the SNP…

    • Anne 8.1

      … a think tank in line with the SNP….

      Exactly. And the Pagani/Leggott/ Quinn thing is a recipe for a future annihilation of Labour just as its proving to be in Britain. Its the Thorndon bubble effect (courtesy of CV) just like the Brit LP is suffering from the Westminster effect.

      We don’t want to spend a hundred billion pounds on new trident nuclear missiles. We’d rather do something really radical and invest that in health care and education – in giving kids the best start in life.

      What is supposed to be wrong with that aspiration? Its called principles and values. We used to have it once. Remember the 50s, 60s and 70s. Did rampant nuclear armament make one tot of difference to World peace? No, it didn’t. It was nothing more than a big boys game… where the East and West competed with each other to have the most number of war toys. Dangerous and horrendously stupid! And they’re at it again.

      Thanks Bill.

  9. Charles 9

    Grant Robertson has been saying “Labour things” loud and clear for the last few months, take for instance his speech to the Future of Work Conference.

    http://campaign.labour.org.nz/grant_robertson_speech_to_future_of_work

    also his pre-budget speech was similary “Labour stuff” as people generally think it to be. His talk immediately springs to mind – nothing against Little – and he holds Finance. Pagani et. al. aren’t as high up the ranks as Robertson and Little and have nowhere near as much influence.

    • Sacha 9.1

      “and have nowhere near as much influence”

      except with media and therefore public.

    • Weepus beard 9.2

      If you’re used by Slater, Larry Williams, and 1ZB in general as a left winger they think speaks sense, as Pagani, Nash, and Kelvin Davis are, they you are not socially conscious at all.

      These people have lost their social soul in order to join the fight.

      • Karen 9.2.1

        Actually, I don’t think Kelvin Davis belongs with that lot.

        • Anne 9.2.1.1

          Neither do I Karen.

          • Colonial Rawshark 9.2.1.1.1

            Regardless, Kelvin Davis is definitely not on the economic left wing of the party.

        • newsense 9.2.1.2

          But he seems to be one of their mates…or his campaign has been mentioned with them around it…are they mates with Dover Samuels and Shane Jones who still have authority in that electorate? This is with completely no knowledge…

      • David H 9.2.2

        Don’t forget Davis sold his soul to god knows who, and with their help, stabbed Hone in the Back. They don’t have a Social soul they just want the $$$ and the Baubles of office.

        • Karen 9.2.2.1

          This is absolute crap.

          Kelvin Davis fought for the seat because had he not he would not have got into parliament because he was too far down the list. That was not Davis’s fault. All donations to his campaign made by rightwingers were donated to charity.

          Hone lost his seat because he teamed up with Kim Dotcom and didn’t spend enough time campaigning in his electorate. The timing of the Moment of Truth in the last week of the election robbed Labour, IMP and the Greens of votes – Hone himself has acknowledged this. Hone was against it happening that week but Kim Dotcom insisted.

          Dover Samuels backed New Zealand First in the general election, and he and Shane Jones were at Peters by election party.

          • Rodel 9.2.2.1.1

            Well said Karen- Davis stood as a candidate, urged people to vote for him and they did. What else would you expect a candidate to do?
            Hone stabbed himself in the back.(or shot himself in the foot.)

          • David H 9.2.2.1.2

            And if they had been Smart Davis would have got in on the list, Hone would have won his seat and the Nats would be in opposition. The people backing Davis are NOT looking to Labours best interests.

            Instead of being smart and winning using MMP, Labour played the Dumb game FPP and got creamed.

            The question NO ONE has ever answered is why did everyone suddenly get so scared of KDC that they had to use every dirty trick in the book and invented even more to undermine him. (he didn’t help himself at the end) but the smear tactics came out from day 1. So instead of letting the people decide out came the smear people in force. And Davis is tied up in all that.
            So NO it’s not crap!

            • dukeofurl 9.2.2.1.2.1

              Davis was on the list. He was at 18.

              You have this fantasy about Hone winning , and putting National in opposition.
              Its all fantasy.

              Hone lost because he ruined his reputation and teamed up with KDC.

              The opposite would have been true, if Hone had listened to Sue Bradford and co, not teamed up with KDC. Internet -Mana wouldnt have existed and national might have lost.

              The deal Hone ‘could’ have made was with Labour in Waiariki, to support Annette Sykes who could have put Maori Party out and with that went two Mps.
              Hone was sick of parliament anyway , Anette could provide a new leader and if Hone came in on the list as part of the deal with labour. Instead he went for the doomed KDC and look how that turned out

              • DoublePlusGood

                Mana did however increase their share of the party vote. So there were people who moved to Mana, it was just that Harawira’s supporters in Te Tai Tokerau deserted him.

                • dukeofurl

                  The electorate has more voters now to west and north of Auckland. Hone didnt seem to put much effort into that. Hes really a far north person.

        • Rozgonz 9.2.2.2

          How the hell did Davis stab Hone in the back. OMG, what an absurd view!

  10. Olwyn 10

    Well said Bill. A heartfelt apology for 1984 would help to back-foot those on the right, who seem to be trying to position themselves as play-makers, and would set the tone for reaffirming Labour’s core values.

  11. peterlepaysan 11

    Hear bloody hear!
    !984 – 1990 is an unhealed ulcer.
    The LP caucus wonders why what remains (I nearly said what is left) of LP membership do not trust caucus leadership choices.
    Based on fish and chip meetings letting the likes of Douglas and Prebble lay waste to everything Labour ever stood for would be a good place to start.

    The pesky bloody membership got them their MPship in the first place might be another point worth considering, provided their precious egos did not get in the way (fat chance).

    During those years Labour betrayed the trust of its membership.

    The Clark reign did not do very much to assuage the pain and distrust of that betrayal. Not that I think it was in a realistic place to do so.
    The fact that it gained, and retained, power for as long as it did is highly creditable.

  12. DS 12

    As much as I would *like* to agree with the sentiment of the post, a few things need to be kept in mind.

    – The death of the Alliance showed that there simply isn’t room for a viable party to the left of New Zealand Labour (and no, I don’t count the Greens as inhabiting that niche).

    – Scotland is special; you’re dealing with a situation where anger is being fuelled by the imposition of a “foreign” Westminster government ruling only for the interests of South-East England. We don’t have that sort of divide in New Zealand. As such, I’m not sure how applicable the example of the SNP is – especially when the Welsh Nationalists (Plaid Cymru), who have a much better record at left-wing nationalism than the SNP, had a mediocre night in Wales.

    – To have an adult memory of New Zealand in 1984, you would now need to be approaching 50 years old. Sad as it is, you are now dealing with multiple generations for whom the world created by Rogernomics is the norm, and who can’t understand why Labour insists on re-fighting that particular fight. It’s worth remembering that UK Labour attacked the SNP for helping install Thatcher in 1979 – that too was considered ancient history.

    Don’t get me wrong. I would love it if it were as simple as “return to being the party of democratic socialism”. But it isn’t that simple, and looking around the world at the moment, NZ and UK Labour are not the only social democrats in this predicament.

    • weka 12.1

      “The death of the Alliance showed that there simply isn’t room for a viable party to the left of New Zealand Labour (and no, I don’t count the Greens as inhabiting that niche).”

      How so?

      I think point is that no-one is occupying that space that Labour had pre-80s and that’s why so many people don’t vote or vote out or self interest. If there’s not a democratic socialism that would support people’s lives, they may as well vote for the party that’s going to give them the best deal personally. Or not vote at all.

      • DS 12.1.1

        The Alliance got 18% in 1993 under FPP, which demonstrates the degree of popular discontent with National (who had just given the country three years of Ruth Richardson) and Labour (who ran on a we’re not Ruth Richardson platform, but still had the likes of Prebble, Caygill, et al in their caucus).

        Then MMP came in. Votes for small parties now mattered… so had there been a market for democratic socialism, you would have expected the Alliance to build on that 18%. But they didn’t. They declined at every subsequent election, before vanishing altogether.

        In other words, Helen Clark’s semi-repudiation of Rogernomics was sufficient to win back the left: those voters drifted home from the Alliance from the mid-1990s onwards. I very much doubt that there’s anyone out there who refused to vote for Helen on the basis that she wasn’t left-wing enough who might conceivably vote Labour in 2017.

        • Descendant Of Sssmith 12.1.1.1

          No but there are some of us who saw hope in Clark’s government but by the end of 9 years saw that she didn’t move to the left as much as she could and were incensed in the end about the refusal to lift benefit rates after lifting NZS.

          Since then we’ve seen Labour’s shambolic moves to the right even further with the occasional left stutter.

          The year of the manifesto, which turned into the year of keeping your powder dry, which turned into the year of mainly neo-liberal policy, which turned into the year of losing my vote, which turned into the year of losing the election was just bonkers.

          If Labour stands for the workers and the oppressed who the fuck would know?

          Saying you do is no longer enough for voters.

          Demonstrating you do by articulating solid left wing policies (actual left wing policies like the historical ones they love to highlight on their website in a my grandad was an All Black fashion) is not evident in any way shape or form.

          Remind you once again of the dignity with which the benefit system was talked about in the 70’s. If only our current politicians had such a vision.

          1977 Yearbook.

          MAIN FEATURES OF SOCIAL SECURITY SYSTEM—The present system cannot be characterised according to any single principle, theory, or formula. As already stated, it has evolved from changing needs and experience in dealing with them. For example, it looks like a form of community insurance, but is not financed, funded, or administered on an insurance basis. It is financed from general taxation; but a person’s benefit bears no relation to his tax contribution. While basically income-tested and selective as to need within classes of benefit, it is also universally applied without regard to other income or means in three main cases (superannuation, family, and medical benefits) and in the lesser miners’ benefit. It transfers income from the more to the less affluent mainly on the basis of greatest help for those in greatest need. It reflects the traditional humanitarian, egalitarian, and pragmatic approach of New Zealanders and, most importantly, reflects an acceptance of community responsibility for social welfare.

          The main features of the system are:

          Eligibility for benefits (other than emergency) is based on residence for varying qualifying periods and not on the amount of tax paid.

          Benefits (other than family, miners’, superannuation, and medical benefits) are subject to an income test with the amount of benefit being reduced if other income is over a prescribed level. Emergency benefits and additional benefits are subject to tests of both income and property.

          In paying superannuation and family benefit without any tests of income or need it is assumed that for everybody over 65 years (60, under the new national superannuation scheme) and for all families with dependent children, a community-financed income supplement is necessary and desirable, irrespective of actual financial need or resources. Miners’ benefit is not income tested, on the accepted assumption that if a person is disabled by disease arising from mining he needs to be compensated for losing income and enjoyment of life and that the income loss does not require to be established or tested.

          The concept of the family as the fundamental economic and social unit is recognised by the payments made in respect of the otherwise ineligible but dependent wife and children of a beneficiary; and the taking into account of the income of the husband or wife (legal or de facto) of a beneficiary when assessing the amount of those benefits subject to an income test.

          Contribution under a graduated income tax system and payment of benefits at a flat rate irrespective of contributions (that is, taxes paid) distinguishes the New Zealand system from many of those of other countries.

          The cash and medical benefits give a comprehensive coverage of need.

          Beneficiaries are given incentives to self-help and to work. From the start, amounts payable from standard benefits have been set below the average wages of low-earner groups; and small incomes, and most property, have been disregarded in assessing an individual’s benefit. Conversely the income-tested age benefit for men over 60 years and some women over 55 years, superannuation for people over 65 years, and the benefits for widows with dependent children or over a prescribed age recognise these people’s right to stop working if they want to.

          Funding is through taxation. The right to “contract out” on the grounds that the individual may not need, or qualify for, public aid is denied in the community interest, as it is with other State services such as education, defence, police.

          The Social Security Commission has wide discretionary power to grant, withhold, or reduce benefits, and a general power of direction is given to the Ministers of Health and Social Welfare.

          With certain exceptions no person is entitled to more than one analogous benefit from either New Zealand or overseas.

          Standard rates with supplements, rather than differential rates according to the class of benefit, relate benefits to need rather than to the cause of need.

  13. Heyegg 13

    I’ve been banging this drum a while, Labour must apologize or at least give up the name Labour. Rebrand as the liberals and let someone else pick up the mantle.
    And I was 3 in 1984.

    • Colonial Rawshark 13.1

      YEP

    • David H 13.2

      I was 28 in 84 And i agree they must apologise. 84 was folly not seen since Muldoon canned Labours super scheme

      • Rudi Can't Fail 13.2.1

        I am sorry for been a Labour (man). See how that works?

      • gnomic 13.2.2

        Apologies aren’t worth the paper they are written on. At the very least they are a cheap way of making amends. There will always be some who hold out, who don’t care to apologise. As i heard a granny say, better not to behave in a way that requires apology.

        But you touch on the vital point, when that ‘bag of puss’ [quote Trevor Mallard albeit probably not in Hansard) Muldoon demolished the super scheme brought in by the last genuine authentic Labour (TM) government. The argument being that the state should not control too much capital, money that the wide boys of capitalism could use so much better. Don’t forget the Dancing Cossacks. Crosby Textor would have been proud. Free super for all. Brilliant.

        And following Dulmoon there had to be some changes. And following the first ‘energy crisis’ aka ‘oil shock’ lest we forget which may well have brought down the Rowling government in favour of the dynamic dwarf. Heh heh heh as he used to say.

        And that’s why the National Party ought to be permanently discredited already. Slavish obedience to NZ’s Mussolini, perhaps also the last socialist. Not to menion their current malfeasance.

        Never complain, never explain.

  14. peterlepaysan 14

    Hear bloody hear!
    !984 – 1990 is an unhealed ulcer.
    The LP caucus wonders why what remains (I nearly said what is left) of LP membership do not trust caucus leadership choices.
    Based on fish and chip meetings letting the likes of Douglas and Prebble lay waste to everything Labour ever stood for would be a good place to start.

    That the pesky bloody membership got them their MPship in the first place might be another point worth considering, provided their precious egos did not get in the way (fat chance).

    During those years Labour betrayed the trust of its membership.

    The Clark reign did not do very much to assuage the pain and distrust of that betrayal. Not that I think it was in a realistic place to do so.
    The fact that it gained, and retained, power for as long as it did is highly creditable.

    Had it won another term (and walked into the GFC) is something to dream about. I doubt that tax cuts for fat cats and gst increases would have been on the agenda, given Cullens surpluses.

    The Key/ English Nat/Act party are gambling addicts playing a pokie machine called “the market” and neglecting the fact that only the machine owners win (read bankers).

  15. Macro 15

    Frankly Bill I don’t think an apology is enough. You actually have to have policies that will undo the damage done, and that is not going to be easy. Far too much damage has been wrecked upon our society and it will take years – as the 1st Labour govt also took years to overturn the abuses wrought on the people by the privileged classes. When you read the impressive list of what was enacted in the first few years – it is mind boggling.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Labour_Government_of_New_Zealand#Significant_policies
    and reading them one is struck by the fact that many of them could/should be re-inacted today.

  16. Jim in Tokyo 16

    Nuke it from orbit and give us a Nordic Soc Dem party. Actually the Green’s are pretty much there now; as you were.

    • Sable 16.1

      Yes the Greens do look a lot like the Soc Dem Parties in some Nordic countries (excluding US sell out Sweden).

  17. Wayne 17

    I hope that Labour follows this advice. Going to the left of the Alliance is a sure fire winner.

    • Colonial Rawshark 17.1

      Then its win-win isn’t it Wayne.

    • Jim in Tokyo 17.2

      I have a sincere question for Wayne – surveying the current state of democracy around the globe, which country / countries do you think have the best quality of life? The best balance of economic stewardship and social cohesion? The best future?

      Should we be looking at the UK for guidance? The US? Australia? Germany? The thing that shits me most about NZ politics is the sense of constantly having to reinvent the wheel.

      It’s all been tried before, from Serco run prison systems to comprehensive social security. Somehow NZ manages to take in 200 years of global experience, run it through some kind of cryptic algorithm, and come up with the answer “cows, casinos and convention centres”.

    • Anne 17.3

      Grow up Wayne.
      The basic premise in Bill’s post is to restore the egalitarian society we once had – albeit refined for modern day living. You know, the values that Michael Savage, Peter Fraser, Sid Holland, Walter Nash, Keith Holyoake, Jack Marshall, Norman Kirk, Bill Rowling and Rob Muldoon (in a kind of a way) all espoused by way of policy implementation and general governance.

      Arrgh no says the mindless Right – that’s awful Far Left stuff. Never mind the country prospered under it for more than five decades. Indeed if it wasn’t for that “awful Far Left stuff” you wouldn’t have had the education that helped you to be where you are today – and you were also able to do it without clocking up horrendous student debt.

      • McFlock 17.3.1

        Damned straight.
        Wayne, Key, and their ilk love to pretend that anyone less than neoliberal is in lala land.

        But this dream worked for decades, and gave them the education and even the healthy homes that put them in a position to steadily dismantle everything that the previous generations built, not just a community-driven welfare state but even the 40 hour week.

        This generation of tories have taken everything that was given to them and then stolen what they should have passed on to those that followed. Then they lie so people won’t call them “scum”.

      • DS 17.3.2

        Sid Holland was the closest this country ever came to fascism. Please don’t list him with the others, even Muldoon.

        • millsy 17.3.2.1

          Key’s government is a lot like Holland’s in some ways…

        • adam 17.3.2.2

          Sid Holland walked out on the government in the middle of the war (WW2). I never understood why labour never used that against him.

        • Anne 17.3.2.3

          Sorry. So busy listing all the PMs in chronological order I didn’t reflect on their over-all contributions. Holland, from all accounts was a nasty coon but at least he didn’t dismantle the former Welfare State.

          • Karen 17.3.2.3.1

            Watch “1951”, Anne. It is one of the NZ on Screen documentaries listed on the Standard.

            • Anne 17.3.2.3.1.1

              I’m well aware of 1951. My father, who loathed the man, used to talk about it. It was a shocking episode in our history. As I said Holland was a nasty coon. Note to self: don’t comment late at night when tired.

          • Macro 17.3.2.3.2

            He did his damnest to wreck it though – but the previous Labour govt had not opened the door to unfettered Capitalism – unlike the 4th.
            Holland made it was a criminal offence to give an ice cream to the child of a watersider on strike for god’s sake!

            • dukeofurl 17.3.2.3.2.1

              Not really the case. Thats putting it in dog whistle context. The laws were certainly were used to prevent people supplying food to strikers.

              While the strikers ( who were less than 10% of workers when you include those that went out in sympathy) were capable of violence as well.

              A railway bridge at Huntly was dynamited.

              • Macro

                It bloody was the case! The Waterfront Strike Emergency Regulations under the Public Safety Conservation Act, granted the government powers to fight the NZWWU.These regulations restricted the NZWWU‟s ability to fight the strike by criminalising picketing, rallies, marches, union propaganda, donating money or food to the union or to locked-out workers; giving police powers to enter people‟s homes without a warrant; and allowing the state to de-register unions and confiscate their funds.
                So a railway bridge was dynamited. The physical and psychological violence perpetuated by the Government on the 22,000 who were standing up for their rights and the rights of their families was worse.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  Remember, it is always acceptable for force to be used by the upper classes upon the lower classes. It is NEVER acceptable for force to be used by the lower classes upon the upper classes. This is an inviolable rule of western empire.

              • Karen

                The railway “bridge” was over a culvert on a siding. Sleepers were placed to prevent any train crashing.
                It was industrial sabotage, which seemed fair enough IMO.
                And by the way the wharfies were locked out, though other industries did strike in support.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  And it only takes 5% of people to rebel and engage in passive or active peaceful social resistance to bring an elite establishment down.

      • Tracey 17.3.3

        Yup, we pay him over 200k to be a law commission, it i clearly a very part time role.

  18. Shona 18

    Good on ya Bill. But yeah , nah , don’t hold your breath. I have absolutely no faith in the current leadership of Labour. No vision, no cojones, no understanding of who they are or what they did to NZ in 1984. The country will continue to get very much poorer, much more violent and desperate before anything will change for the better. After Labour’s appalling display of petty spite and treasonous disloyalty during the last election it will be a cold day in hell before I will even consider voting for that bunch of scumbags again.

  19. Labour is still a problem for the ruling class, and their Blairish chatterers like Quin.
    They know their grip on NZ’s fragile economy can only begin to fail as the world economy deteriorates. Imagine the popular discontent when our Bonapartist leader completely looses his grip as NZ troops begin to fall to IS and Obama pushes through some bastardised TPPA. The left of Labour will rise from their back sides and get out into the streets.
    No wonder Quin has to shaft Cunliffe yet again. He after all went on record saying he stood for repudiating Labour’s neoliberal past.
    Quin’s nightmare is the the ghost of Cunliffe wandering the back benches.
    He wants a Blairish thinktank to exorcise it.
    As for a leftwing thinktank, thats a sign of diehard bureaucracy on the left. Labour has branches, elections, conferences, remits blah blah. The Left in Labour needs to take their fight to the branches and the constituents and reactivate the working class to think and act as a political force.
    Some of the political arousal that was shown in Scotland against British vulture capital in Westminster can be reproduced here as resistance to Washington and Beijing vulture capital swallowing us up.
    We will need that as the other force that did for Labour in Britain was the UKIP and its hatred for foreigners eating into the hearts of British workers.

    • The Lone Haranguer 19.1

      “Labour is still a problem for the ruling class………….,. The left of Labour will rise from their back sides and get out into the streets”

      No they wont Dave Brown, they wont even get up off their arses on polling day and vote out a Government which you and they claim is shafting them big time.

      I mean, what more motivation do they need to get out and vote?

      And think tanks to the right, and think tanks to the left wont get them up and voting either if to date, self interest hasnt.

    • Colonial Rawshark 19.2

      Dave Brown – quite right.

  20. lurgee 20

    I’d like it to be that simple, but I’m not sure it is. The electorate in Scotland has always been leftwing. I don’t think the electorate in New Zealand is at all the same.

    Still, I’m open to being convinced I’m wrong, as I seem to have been wrong on just about everything since about the middle of last year, at least.

    • dukeofurl 20.1

      Not really. While the Clyde river heartland would be, the rest of Scotland is either Liberal or Conservative heartland.

      In the late 50s or early 60s, the Conservatives under the name of their Scots party , Unionist won a majority of seats.

      • lurgee 20.1.1

        Yup, but have since been decimated. These changes take time. Back in the 80s, there might have been a social-deomcratic majority in New Zealand. But 30 years of neo-liberalism has put paid to that. It’s a different world now.

        Scots politics has always been a bit weird in its own way. The (until last month) uncharacteristically strong performance of the Lib Dems in Scotalnd wasn’t due to an abiding interest in electoral reform in the Hebrides, but a result of even stronger pathological loathing of all the other parties. The good conservative folk of the highlands wouldn’t vote for the Conservatives (too English) or Labour (too radical) or the SNP (too Nationalist) and thus voted for the Lib Dems (or the SDP-Liberal Alliance). Quite how the SNP managed to win over this constituency is one of the more abiding questions of the election.

        • Macro 20.1.1.1

          “Quite how the SNP managed to win over this constituency is one of the more abiding questions of the election.”

          They gave the people hope! Money for Scots will be spent by Scots – for Scots in the areas Scots want it spent. Not on Trident subs for the English, or Roads for the visiting Lairds on their summer hols, but on education and health. These are the things that matter to the large majority and they were inspired by people young and old who had some vision. Let’s hope now they can continue to deliver as they have in the past.

          • lurgee 20.1.1.1.1

            Doubtful. Where I grew up, trident wasn’t hated – it was all keeping our town afloat.

            And Scots have always had a very sceptical attitude towards hope. “Och, it’s nice an aw, but i’ll no work.”

            If it was all down to hope-peddling, I think it would be much more transferable. I suspect it is all down to some dark alchemy in Scottish politics, that will defy efforts to unravel it or repeat it elsewhere.

            • Macro 20.1.1.1.1.1

              I have both a Scottish and a NZ heritage. I don’t share your view that a clear vision is unnecessary for political success. Nor do I concede that NZers lack any desire for social justice. The non voters don’t vote for a good number of reasons – but the primary reason is that they have no trust in politicians who do not inspire them, and offer no hope whatsoever. What has Labour to offer the kid out of work and on the street? What has Labour to offer the single mum with 3 kids who’s partner has left her for the 3rd time? Really? Why vote for them – it only encourages them.

  21. maui 21

    I would like this to be the answer, but I’m not sure if NZ is ready for this yet. People would be voting for the Mana Party in droves now wouldn’t they? We would need to be in a Greece like situation to really get people engaged in their politics. Then again I wonder what would happen if Labour launched just one “out there policy”, just as a testing ground. Like “Free doctors visits for all”, and see what the response is..

    • Mana’s problems went a lot further than “it was too left wing”.

    • Policy Parrot 21.2

      Labour in 2014 – did have exactly that style of policy – schools that stopped asking for donations would be given $100? per student.

    • Policy Parrot 21.3

      Labour needs to find its “Orewa moment” – i.e. the moment in 2004 – that Don Brash took National from the 20s to the 40s and kept it there or there abouts until Key took over. Stand for something.

      Now this is not suggesting in any way that it should cynically play the race card to bring over talkback land support, but:

      – Find a slow burning issue where the government is vulnerable.
      – Announce a radical, if risky, silver-bullet style policy to fix that issue that National could/would not do.
      – The Government and its schills will attack you for being “outrageous”, but this will only reinforce in the minds of those won over the policy’s appeal.

      Maybe something like a huge housing scheme to build cheap housing for renters and owner/occupiers to bust the excesses of the Auckland property market.

      Something relevant to every day life, and easy to understand – fits into a soundbite.

      • Colonial Rawshark 21.3.1

        Brilliant – this is courageous strategic thinking which Labour so far has shown precious little of.

  22. saveNZ 22

    +100 Bill
    It really is that simple.

    TPP is case in point, why does Labour just say no to TPP? Instead it is similar to dear leader John’s claims that prescription charges will not go up, (like no asset sales, Kiwis not fighting in Iraq, no mass surveillance, etc etc)

    Labour equivalent is the call for “John Key to guarantee that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement won’t affect Pharmac’s ability to provide medicines to New Zealanders”.

    Hello Nat Lite, first nobody trusts John Key, Secondly nobody trusts the NZ government to guarantee anything under TPP as they can be sued,

    Thirdly, what about charter schools, private prisons, private social security, the environment etc etc, off shore jobs, all under thread with TPP?

    Fourthly would anyone trust Grossly arrogant Grosser with anything?

    Labour seem to just mimic the Nats with the ‘lighter’ touch.

    The voters disenfranchised are the left voters, not the right – so the shift needs to satisfy the left not the right! (While not putting up taxes which will disenfranchise the workers the Labour party are supposed to represent).

    Simply put, just dial back Labour policies prior to Rogernomics, end ideological neoliberalism and Labour are back in action.

    • Sable 22.1

      The UK comparison is interesting as the Labour equivalent in the UK are acting in much the same way as our mob. Both Labour(s) back the TTPA/TTIP (I think I have it right). Both seem to hate what should be natural alliance partners, Greens/NZFirst, SNP, etc and have done a great job of alienating them. Neither look anything like the Labour party they started out being. Focused on middle class and workers rights. Now just conduits for the policy needs of the well heeled and wealthy.

      There is only one conclusion. The same interests who have bought National went the whole hog and picked up Labour as well. Net result doesn’t matter which way you vote, same outcome. Its going to be a slow process as people take time to change but hopefullt we will see an increase in the trend away from Labour towards truly inclusive left leaning parties.

      I think any expectation that Labour will ever return to its roots is, at best, a forlorn hope.

      • Colonial Rawshark 22.1.1

        There is only one conclusion. The same interests who have bought National went the whole hog and picked up Labour as well. Net result doesn’t matter which way you vote, same outcome.

        Absolutely. Look at the USA – who are you going to vote for: the Bankers Party, or the Other Bankers Party?

        And a lot of Kiwis get what you say – and so they don’t vote. The thing is, many of those people are dyed in the wool Labour voters, but they will not vote for Labour given the state that it is in now, and they will never vote for anyone else (esp the hippy Greens or the unemployed trouble makers in Mana).

  23. Tracey 23

    Great post Bill

    I don’t agree that Labour has to become more like National to win back the Treasury benches. Like you I think they have to believe in something, or some things. And do so passionately and without apology.

    MOST NZers have a big heart. They do care about other people, but they are being manipulated and conned into thinking that not caring is caring.

    I have written this before, but IF a Labour Party leader stands up with passion for the vulnerable, and names who they mean…

    The family man who just lost his job, the solo parent whose partner has died or left her and started a new family, the person born with cerebral palsy, the person diagnosed with motor neuron, the person injured in a workplace incident (and give the figure of how many are in that country every year)… the student, working hard to better themselves, for 3-5 years and having to work minimum wage jobs during study to live and after study til they get a job befitting their qualification. These are not “beneficiaries”, they are fellow kiwis who have landed on hard times, temporarily or if through birth or illness or injury suffered it.

    Speak to the HEARTS of people, with passion and sincerity and repeat it, in small variations, over and over and over, no matter what question you are asked.

    And when asked where the money will come from? You say …. ta on foreign buyers (non permanent resident) purchasing property (based on their sale price) – either they stop buying or the government gets additional revenue with which to address supply in other ways. And other ways. And you keep it brief… always…

    and when you get attacked… brush it off. That you don’t want to engage in the myths just the facts that you know NZers care about each other and do not want people punished for suffering accidents, illnesses, birth defects, marriage break ups, job losses….

    Which NZer doesn’t want a helpin ghand if their life circumstances change? Cos it could happen to any of us at any time. A redundancy, a job loss, a relationship break up, and so on…

  24. Chris 24

    I haven’t read through the preceding comments, so if I am repeating someone else, I apologise, although I suspect that won’t be the case.

    I think you are half right in what you say, and I think Nicola (Sturgeon) is being a little disingenuous in her comments on The Daily Show. I’m also commenting from the perspective of a number of friends/acquaintances who are either Labour (including the current Labour deputy leader in Scotland) and Green (who did well in this last election but due to FFP got no traction in Scotland – come the Scottish MMP elections they are predicted to get 10 seats).

    The real reason the the SNP thrashed Labour (and the Lib Dems for that matter -two former leaders of that party in the last decade held Scottish seats) was because many Scots felt betrayed by the referendum on Independence. The fact that Labour and the Lib Dems worked with the Tories on the No campaign harmed Labour far more in Scotland than any ideological battles; indeed, knowing the people I know, many of my SNP contacts are far more socially conservative than their Scottish Labour counterparts.

    If Scottish Labour do want someone to blame, they should look at Cameron. He pulled off a masterstroke in political conniving, allowing a referendum on independence, which his major UK opposition would have to cooperate with him on, and knowing that any betrayal felt by voters after the ‘great promise’ turned out to be a bit of a damp squib, would be taken out on that very opposition, not him (after all, no one trusts a Tory in Scotland anyway, and they had bugger all to lose).

    That being said, the 50% you are right is the stuff on ideology, and I agree that its a lesson that NZ labour, UK labour and Scottish Labour need to heed (so if you ever read this Kezia, listen up!). We need to provide a viable alternative that doesn’t go against our history and values, that means people and society should always come before the market and profit. It doesnt mean you dont support and aid those aspects, but only as a means to your social good ends, not as an end in themselves. And that’s the crux of where we have gone wrong in the past and go wrong again and again. We fall into the trap of focusing on the commerce instead of the social – as we did in the 1980s and new Labour did in the UK in the late 90’s and 00’s. So yes, I am as disgusted as you by the prospect of “Progress’ (an oxymoron if ever there was one).

    • Colonial Rawshark 24.1

      Thanks for the comment

      Btw I struggle to visualise Kezia Dugdale ever getting the best of Sturgeon in a campaign or campaign debate.

  25. Brutus Iscariot 25

    Labour’s (and the Left’s generally) stocks will rise when an economic crisis strikes New Zealand. That’s when people will look hardest for changes and solutions. They’re not “dead”.

    In the meantime, with the vast majority of the electorate comfortable with the state of New Zealand, new ideas are a harder sell as the electorate just doesn’t find them necessary, and will continue to plump for the non-confronting status quo.

    Before someone tees off on that, i mean “generally happy”. There are always gripes with any government, even from supporters. What the polls show currently is that despite those gripes, the electorate still thinks that the current mob are doing a reasonable job of overseeing the ship of state.

    However, that’s not a permanent state of affairs.

    • Colonial Rawshark 25.1

      The onset of GFC 2 and the dairy crash is going to help National, not Labour. You can’t risk the economy by going with Labour, you know. Neither Little nor Robertson have more than a shred of private sector economic or financial market experience between them, you know.

  26. SMILIN 26

    Labour has to start getting tv time that’s how Key keeps himself in everybody’s face its the old status war literally you need to shit on everything National does get dirty, intimidate show the country what a sellout prick Key is tie up the courts in defamation make Key prove you wrong do them every day
    does any listen to the tone of National in parliament its a load of pseudo sophisticated rhetoric supposedly professionally creditable but in fact its biased undemocratic lies
    But we still get sucked in by Keys lies basically the things that affect NZ DIRECTLY never get to the table because thats Keys strategy
    He should never have been allowed to close the Hillside workshops he couldn’t prove they were a financial liability He’s a bloody Fascist and we should let him know that but its like the whole Nation is on P the faster they can run from the truth the better until the drug blows your whole system to pieces
    Key believes the masses owe the cost of the nations debt
    BS its people like him who do those who control the money
    Austerity is nothing but a get of jail free card for the corrupt policies/doctrines of Greenspan and co and the all those who have empowered the GREED

  27. gnomic 27

    Sorry Bill, apologies mainly mean nowt. Especially on behalf of political entities. I wouldn’t give five cents for one. If i could by coin.

    A promise to behave better in future might work.

    Bur scarcely likely to be forthcoming from ‘Labour’.

    Anybody in the Labour caucus who has spent years in a demanding trades job? Or low-paid occupation? Any fitters and welders, draughtsmen, mechanics, gasfitters, miners? People who actually laboured, weeded or picked a row? Maybe even the odd woolpacker or agricultural labourer. Someone who made clothes when NZ had clothing and footwear factories, even large potteries? Someone who worked in the bacon factory alongside the common people?

    Perhaps someone can enlighten me with the facts on this? I surmise the answer is zero %.

    Yup the answer is definitely a Blairist thinktank. But what the devil was the question?

    The real problem is that we are all screwed by ecological debt. Thanks Wikipedia.

    ‘Ecological Debt has been used to describe the consumption of resources from within an ecosystem that exceeds the system’s regenerative capacity.[4] This is seen in particular in non-renewable resources wherein consumption outstrips production. In a general sense, it can be used refer to the overall depletion of global resources beyond the Earth’s ability to regenerate them. The concept in this sense is based on the bio-physical carrying capacity of an ecosystem; through measuring ecological footprints human society can determine the rate at which it is depleting natural resources. Ultimately, the imperative of sustainability requires human society to live within the means of the ecological system to support life over the long term. Ecological debt is a feature of unsustainable economic systems.’

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