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“Labour values” are more than a talking point

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, July 10th, 2015 - 162 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, labour - Tags: ,

If there’s a sure bet in New Zealand politics (besides “don’t rule out Winston”) it’s this: when a Labour candidate wants to reassure a Labour audience that they’ve got the right stuff, they’ll say one thing: “My values are Labour values.”

It sets the bar. It works for anyone vaguely Labour-affiliated. The problem is that’s because it’s empty.

The first issue is the gutting of language in the age of spin doctors. Words like “fairness” have lost all clarity. A leader of literally any political party can say “I believe the government has a role in providing housing to the poorest families” and it could mean anything from building 10,000 state houses to public-private partnerships to privatising almost everything – and they usually don’t explain. It’s about the soundbite.

Obviously no one wins in the game of thick policy documents at ten paces, but there’s no point speaking plain English if you still sound like every other player on the field.

Besides, “Labour values” is an amorphous thing, thanks to its colourful background. How do you nail down any foundational, enduring ideology for a party which gave the country Michael Joseph Savage and Roger Douglas?

You can play No True Labour, rejecting the bits which don’t fit your Platonic party image, but I think it’s much easier to acknowledge that Labour has screwed the pooch in the past – and needs to define itself for now and the future.

There’s an argument that “Labour values” don’t have to mean something concrete. Plenty of people think the important stuff, “what voters really care about”, is a vision, and a set of policies to get you there (or screw the vision, people just want policies, and vice versa.)

I disagree. Everything – vision, policies, even how the party functions and who holds key roles (and who wants to be a member of your party, or stand as its candidate) – must rest on a strong, clear idea of why you’re actually here. Or you’re flailing from day one.

Plus, it means there’s no such thing as a side issue. There’s one direction and one driving force, and every little bit builds the picture of who you are.

If one core value is that government has the power and duty to support people against the exploitative power of the market, it doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the Living Wage, health and safety, skills training or benefits people can survive on.

If one core value is that life-long access to education is a human right which cannot be undermined by the pursuit of profit, you can talk about free tertiary education, rural mobile libraries, or subsidising early childhood education.

Even policies which only directly benefit a small group “matter” when they show you’re driven by well-defined principles.

Voters don’t have to check where you stand on any particular issue when they know what’s at your core. We don’t have to ask which way ACT or the Greens will fall on any particular issue. We just know who favours tax cuts and who’ll save the dolphins. (National is a weird exception at the moment, torn between rightwing true-believers and poll-driven power-for-the-sake-of-power types.)

Labour hasn’t got its core sorted out. The policy platform is a good first step – but it’s too long, and separates out the economy and social development and education as separate things, developed by separate working groups, without a checklist of assumptions and principles to tie it all together.

So, where do we start? Even awful corporate mission statements take a lot of work to develop (unless you cheat.) How do you refine and condense a huge set of ideas – the very government of our country – into a simple, unequivocal set of principles?

I don’t have all the answers. But I think we could do worse than start with a speech given by a certain aspiring Labour man just last year:

It is about justice. In fact it is about injustice. I cannot stand injustice. And when I talk about injustice I am talking about when the powerful take advantage of the weak. And we have a society and a country where increasingly we are allowing the powerful to take advantage of the weak, the economically powerful, the privileged taking advantage of those who don’t have that privilege and that power.

And it sticks in my craw and it is wrong and it is against every Labour principle that we all know.

My values – and I hope, Labour’s values – are about standing with the disempowered against the powerful. Rebalancing the scales. Challenging the systems that oppress us. What are yours?

162 comments on ““Labour values” are more than a talking point”

  1. John Shears 1

    Getting back to a society that looks after people as though they are family, helping them when they are down, exposing those that cheat on the system, applauding those who take a risk and make things work for the good of the nation.

  2. Tautoko Mangō Mata 2

    Right in the nail, Stephanie.
    “My values – and I hope, Labour’s values – are about standing with the disempowered against the powerful. Rebalancing the scales. Challenging the systems that oppress us.”

    I challenge the TPPA- because leaks show that it will disempower NZer from being able to make decisions in the best interests of the people and the environment.
    I oppose mass surveillance because it is designed to oppress the people and inhibit people from speaking out against abuses of power.

    I want to hear and see Labour standing up against these issues. Why have we not seen a big Labour presence in public demonstrations against the TPPA? Is this because Labour have been too wishy washy in their opposition? Why couldn’t they have marched under a “No text, no TPPA!” or similar simple campaign. Instead Labour members have largely protested as individuals rather than as a united Labour group.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Labour are dead quiet about what they will do, if anything, when National signs the nation up to the TPPA.

      • Chris 2.1.1

        Labour is dead quiet on all things they agree with keys and his shonky government on, and that’s a lot of things. We have no Opposition in New Zealand, and keys and his bandits have no opposition, either. There’s much of the problem right there.

  3. Macro 3

    Yes it’s more than just talking. It’s actually about doing. Walking the talk, and acting out the talk, making sure that actions and policies, and voting in Parliament, and all that one does actually gives truth to fighting the injustices that are now so endemic in our dysfunctional society.

  4. Karen 4

    This is a wonderful post, Stephanie. I love your 2 examples of core values, and I hope Labour start talking about core values like these. I know the policies are being reviewed currently, but core values can be talked about now.

    Most people don’t read policy documents, but if Labour can convince them that all their policies are in line with their core values, and people know what these core values are, I think Labour will do much better with all those people who think the biggest 2 parties are the same so their vote doesn’t matter.

  5. JanM 5

    This is an excellent, well written piece, Stephanie and clarifies very well what has happened to Labour and its ‘values’. Living down Rogernomics is going to take a long time and much more clarity around what the party really stands for on the part of apologists.

  6. Anne 6

    Andrew Little has got it right. The key word is “injustice”. The Labour movements from around the world were born out of injustice. Its the reason NZ Labour came into being early last century. Its the reason why countless thousands of people became involved in the Labour Party. Its the reason I first joined the Labour Party in 1972. Its still the reason people join the Labour Party – to right the wrongs and try to stop them from happening again.

    Nothing has changed in 100 years. The same injustices. They just manifest themselves in different ways. I have every trust in Andrew Little delivering the needed reforms, but we can’t expect him to be able to do it on his own or overnight. The corollary of injustice is patience. We’re going to need oodles of it over the next few years, so we had better start stocking up on patience right now. That’s the hard part.

  7. Sacha 7

    A more basic left/right distinction is we vs me. I believe our collective success matters. I want to see that reflected in political party conduct on all levels.

    • coffee conn 7.1

      Left vs right is not ‘we vs me’ no matter how much you or anyone else would like it to be.
      If you want it in that context it is more We vs We.
      ‘We’ being the working and increasingly middle class vs the other ‘We’ being the wealthy shareholder class.
      Left vs Right is about one model of wealth redistribution vs another. Thats a more basic distinction.

      It is also the same old tired thinking without any real plan for the future beyond the 3 year election cycle that has brought us to where we are today.

      If we want to fix the problems in society we actually need to change our thinking and not simply apply the same tired old thinking we always have.

      What is Labour’s short, medium and long term plan for our country?
      How would things be vastly different under that plan?

      What is any parties short, medium and long term plan?
      What? you don’t know? That’s because none of them have one.

      And yet they expect us to vote for them.

  8. Scintilla 8

    Aren’t the Principles the statement of LP values?

    Principles

    Or are you seeking to build on/amplify these?

    • … All I can say is that until you pointed those out, I wouldn’t have been able to locate them on the party’s website!

      They’re a pretty good set – but that raises a few questions in turn: why the heck don’t we hear more about these? Do we think the party has met them in recent years? Would people say they can see principles like “the state must ensure a just distribution of wealth” or “all people should have equal access to all … spheres [of life], regardless of wealth or social position” reflected in the party’s positions?

      • Lanthanide 8.1.1

        “why the heck don’t we hear more about these?”

        I’ve only partially skimmed your article, but you’ve hit the nail on the head here – if they’re such a principled party, why don’t we hear about it?

        Why doesn’t Little say, in an interview on any topic at all, “Labour thinks the government should do XYZ in this instance, because it’s in line with our principle of ABC”.

        If he (and others in Labour) did this in every single interview, the public would hear what their principles are, and importantly, what they mean *in practice*.

        • greywarshark 8.1.1.1

          @Lanthanide +100

        • weka 8.1.1.2

          I assume the reason they don’t do that is because they’re not one party. Until the Rogernome/ABC/neoliberal issue gets sorted it’s going to be very hard to Labour to function as a coherent party.

          • Colonial Viper 8.1.1.2.1

            Yep. As Rhinocrates (IIRC) once described it: Labour remains a crawling mass of class contradictions.

      • left for deadshark 8.1.2

        Another very good post SR 🙂

      • Scintilla 8.1.3

        Yes, they aren’t obvious and i think it’s a worthwhile discussion to have, ie: are principles and values the same thing? Is one a deeper and more complex iteration than the other?

        • Scintilla 8.1.3.1

          And if the LP are up for a quick spot of introspection (rather than the long-winded consulting talkfests they seem to indulge in), an honest fact match of how their policies and actions reflect their Principles would be worthwhile.

          • Colonial Viper 8.1.3.1.1

            almost all of caucus supported raising the Super age to 67. That’s the Labour Party we have today.

            • te reo putake 8.1.3.1.1.1

              Caucus isn’t the LP, CV. You and I are.

              • Colonial Viper

                And Labour Party delegates to Conference 2013 including the unions voted to give caucus discretion over increasing the super age, which caucus duly used. As I said, that’s the Labour Party we have now.

      • The principles are word-for-word Clause 2 of the Constitution of the Labour Party.

        • Scintilla 8.1.4.1

          Do you consider the Principles to be equivalent to “the values” of the Party, Deborah? Or are we talking about two similar, but different things? Are LP values implicit or explicit?

          • Colonial Viper 8.1.4.1.1

            And I suspect clause 2 of the Constitution was exactly the same back in the 1980s. Didn’t stop Roger Douglas and co.

        • Kiwiri 8.1.4.2

          Thanks, Deborah.

          I have just found that and the Labour Party Constitution pdf (https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/nzlabour/pages/1487/attachments/original/1423790840/2014_Constitution_(1).pdf?1423790840).

          From Clause 2, can you or any others explain what the NZ Labour Party thinks about “democratic socialist”?

          How is that different from values or principles of a social democrat? Or are they the same thing?

          Any comments from you or others here would be appreciated.

      • Firstly: Your article was excellent and hit the nail on your head. Policy, rhetoric, vision, process- it all contributes to what makes a party successful, and every issue you take on should fit back into your principles.

        The sad reality is that Labour has not been a party of principles for a long time. It has some people who genuinely disagree with its principles as key members of the party and of caucus, it has become focused on the vision of the leadership and has no mechanism to hold those leaders accountable to the principles they are supposed to represent, and it won’t be a strong party until it figures them out.

        Helen Clark had principles- they weren’t exactly all traditional Labour principles, but she articulated them clearly, did well with them, and moved the country in a positive direction, even if she wasn’t much of a reformer on the economy and a reluctant reformer of social norms.

        The reality of how a healthy democratic party works is that the members hold the caucus and executive true to their principles, and the caucus and executive work out how to square that with electability and technical requirements. Labour has no mechnaism to check the power of its caucus, who are running amock. They need to work out a fair and accountable process, ensure they actually all agree with their principles, and require anyone who can’t agree to both the principles and the process to resign from the Party. But good luck ever getting THAT to happen. Most likely it’ll just be a matter of holding out until the political winds blow left again, and then rallying to whoever they think can lead them into government, like they did for Helen.

  9. J Bloggs 9

    Fantastic Comment, Stephanie – May I also add that what is needed after determining your core is Coherence ( that your messages, to all witnesses, are logical and follow on from your core), Consistency (that you are saying the same thing to all people, not one thing inside the hall, and another outside it), and Crediblity (that you have done your homework and you KNOW what the numbers are, BEFORE you are asked by the media, or the opposition and that you’ve considered out how the oppostion are going to attack your message, and have worked out your counter-arguments).

    In other words, look organised, knowledgeable and sincere – things that were lacking in 2014

  10. mikesh 10

    I think Labour should work at ensuring the economic surplus benefits everybody.

  11. Bill 11

    I guess the problem with ‘standing with the disempowered against the powerful’ is that it can mean anything between ‘holding their hands as they get chopped’ through to positioning yourself as a ‘white knight’ through to empowering the disempowered.

    Unfortunately, no Labour Party anywhere has championed moving anywhere beyond positions one and two.

    If the latter position is adopted – and to my mind that position has to be adopted- , then it stands in conflict with the two former positions, as those advocating the former positions have become a part of the powerful who ought to be stood against.

  12. Old Mickey 12

    Great comment, especially re “injustice’, and I agree with the sentiment The devil is in the detail, and what I struggle with what seems to be the follow belief by most labour people I know, that just because someone is powerful they take advantage of the weak, and if they are powerful they only became so by taking advantage of the weak. And just because someone is taking advantage of the weak does not make them powerful.

  13. Scintilla 13

    I think you’re right on the money viz: language. We are too often talking past each other, even when we think we are on the same page. To have a truly meaningful conversation means establishing what the vocabulary we are using actually means in the first place. Then we are talking the same language.

    My impression of how the LP communicates generally: they appear to have a very limited perception of how they come across to the people. Does their comms team ever put themselves in the shoes of a typical not-very-engaged-voter and consider just how much space the LP have got (not much) to make an impact? They waste that space.

    Labour are way too wordy, they ramble on – in person, on paper, their website – their last campaign was a perfect example. We live in a shallow age, they need to tell a short, pithy story that hooks people in. Have no more than 3 MPs do all the talking in the media.

  14. “If one core value is that government has the power and duty to support people against the exploitative power of the market, it doesn’t matter if you’re talking about the Living Wage, health and safety, skills training or benefits people can survive on.”

    I see this as almost fundamental to Labour; using government to redress the “exploitative power of the market”. The problem is that Labour has always read this to mean “exploitation and power inherent in the market” which can be corrected by regulating the market. State intervention, nationalisation, public works etc all flow from this; doing what the market will not or cannot do.

    But such intervention has been unable to realise its objectives. That is because “exploitation” and “power” do not reside in the market, rather in the ownership and control of the means of production which is masked by the market which presents capitalism as as potentially equal based on equitable factor shares.

    The market presupposes existing relations of production that determine the share of value produced between the value of labour power (that produces the wealth) and the surplus value (exploited by the capitalist) that is the basis for profit.

    These production relations determine which class controls state power as a basis for defending private ownership of the means of production by regulating labour, redistributing income etc. and always subordinates social reforms to the needs of capitalists for profits.

    So the early Labour Parties ‘value’ of ‘socialising the means of production, distribution and exchange’, long since dropped, cannot be realised by state intervention. All Social Democratic governments that have not sold out to neo-liberalism have failed to achieve this objective and as a result are in the process of decline if not demise.

    Yet this ‘value’ should be restored as the basis of any genuine Labour Party program because it puts up for discussion exactly why ‘socialism’ is necessary, and how it can be achieved in today’s conditions.

    • mikesh 14.1

      “The market presupposes existing relations of production that determine the share of value produced between the value of labour power (that produces the wealth) and the surplus value (exploited by the capitalist) that is the basis for profit.”

      I think you mean the surplus value pocketed by the capitalist, rather than “exploited” by the capitalist.

      However this is only partially true these days since much of the surplus value these days is commandeered by administrators through bloated remuneration packages.

  15. adam 15

    Again, another wet liberal piece from you Stephanie Rodgers.

    When you can be so dam wonderful on feminism, when you rise up with spirit and vigour. The you sink to an almost morbidly defensive position when it comes to the labour party, and social democracy. Who want’s a rehash of failed third way politics?

    Not me, and I’ll think you will find very few people want that, white, middle class, hand wringing ideology in their lives at all.

    Labour has its core just fine – it’s white, middle of the road liberalism. Its the third way. It’s do enough to keep the activist in line, but not enough to change peoples lives for the better. That’s labour that I see – if you can’t see a labour party as the sick old MAN of Aotearoa politics – please take a few minutes and have a look at the history books. Because I think you will find there was a party who looked about the same – oh about 100 years ago.

    [Speak to the issues in the post, Adam, not the author. First and only warning. Same applies to anyone else who wants to negatively critique on a personal level. TRP]

    • I’m honestly confused as to how you can read this piece as “morbidly defensive”, or advocating a “rehash of failed third way politics”. If anything I’m criticising the Labour Party, and third-way politics is the epitome of not having a clear set of principles to build your policy on.

      If you just want to have a go, at least respond to the post everyone else is reading.

      • weka 15.1.1

        While I was reading the post I was thinking this is one of the more critical of Labour posts I’ve seen from you Stephanie.

        It’s a good post too.

      • adam 15.1.2

        Sorry if it felt like a personal attack Stephanie Rogers, that was not my intent at all. And as such, I’ll apologise for that.

        I found you stuck well within a liberal paradigm with you analysis and comments. And as such, I interpreted it as very much a rehash of third way politics. That I believe is one of the main problems with the third way, argument, it looks radical – but is nothing more than a liberal rework. Liberalism is something I dislike, as you may know from my comments.

        Again, my apologies I did not want to do a personal attack – just a heavy criticism of your working inside liberalism.

        • Again, I don’t know why you assume I want to “work inside liberalism”. I don’t take it so much as an attack as a very confusing reading of my post, because it’s not often I’m told I’m “not radical enough”.

          I didn’t really hammer my colours to the mast here – the post was already getting plenty long – but my idea of a good, clear set of solid Labour principles must involve emphasising the role of government (and government alone, none of this PPP rubbish) in rebalancing the established power structures in our society. That’s got to include actively redistributing wealth, removing the power of markets and speculators to wreak havoc on people’s lives, and guaranteeing every single member of our society a basic standard of living. And it definitely doesn’t involve embracing the language of capital (“personal responsibility”, “prudent economic management”)

          Ironically as Scintilla has pointed out, you can already read many of these things into Labour’s existing statement of principles.

          • Scintilla 15.1.2.1.1

            I wonder, Stephanie, how Labour are going to reconcile their stance (when they figure out exactly what it is ) on the TPPA with their Principles? I won’t copy them here, but these are some relevant pluckings: “honour the Treaty”, “People are always more important than property”, “natural resources should be managed for the benefit of all, including future generations”, “state must ensure a just distribution of wealth.”

            I’ll watch the developments over TPPA with great interest, because for me, signing up to that crock of shit is treason. Rowing our own boat is one of my core values.

  16. Penny Bright 16

    In my view – Labour’s policies need to be based upon the following:

    “It’s time to ROLL BACK ROGERNOMIC$!

    Rogernomic$ neo-liberalism was founded on the myth and mantra that ‘public is bad – private is good’ – without any form of cost-benefit to support this mantra, either before or after this model of economic was forced upon us.

    The underpinning legislation upon which Rogernomics was based, was left basically intact under the nine years of the Helen Clark Labour Government.

    Rogernomics has seen billions of taxpayers and ratepayers public monies transferred to the private sector – in legislatively enforced ‘corporate welfare’.

    It’s time for war on the undeserving rich – in my opinion.

    The key is transparency, and democratic accountability.

    The public majority should benefit from public monies at local and central government level!

    Open the books!

    Cut out the contractors!

    (For starters ….. 🙂

    Penny Bright

    • Rosie 16.1

      “It’s time to ROLL BACK ROGERNOMIC$!”

      Yes!

      Start afresh and true.

      • SHG 16.1.1

        Yeah, roll back Rogernomics. I miss the days of having to apply to the Post Office for a replacement telephone and then waiting three weeks for one to be allocated to our household. Yep, those sure were the good old days.

        • tc 16.1.1.1

          Yup and todays privatised telcos are doing such a bang up job /sarc

        • Colonial Viper 16.1.1.2

          SHG, not sure why you keep repeating disproven BS like a stupid person. You seem quite intelligent otherwise.

          • SHG 16.1.1.2.1

            I remember waiting three weeks for the Post Office to replace “its” phone at my home. If you have data to disprove that I remember it, I’m all ears.

            • Colonial Viper 16.1.1.2.1.1

              Jeeeezus mate just ask around for stories of people waiting for weeks to get their broadband internet connection properly changed over etc.

              • tc

                Or how long before some less affluent parts of akl get fibre or even the streets not done within the build area as indicators of the brighter future as that’s 100% nationals doing under Joyce and co.

              • TheContrarian

                Don’t be fucking daft CV. There is no doubt things were extremely inefficient in the pre 1984 days. That isn’t to suggest rogernomics was a good thing, only that the old process was ass backwards and inefficient.

                Your comment about waiting for broadband is irrelevant and only enforces the point that SHG makes.

                • Descendant Of Sssmith

                  Nah things were extremely physical.

                  It wasn’t simply a matter of flicking a switch or changing a setting on a computer.

                  It’s one of the reasons the private sector wanted their hands on telecommunications across the world – they knew the massive decrease in physical limitation was coming and they could extort profit from it.

                  They then did this, and eventually somewhat openly – eg admitting the deliberately confusing pricing packages in order to maximise profit.

                  The billions of dollars that have been extorted by private companies, the duplication of infrastructure, the high executive salaries.

                  I have no doubt that if the state had retained ownership we would now have a much more efficient, lower consumer cost, integrated telecommunications system.

                  If you add up the wastage being spent on duplicating infrastructure advertising and management, etc by having lots of competing providers and the other wastage on profit costs would be greatly reduce.

                  The fact is is the state built the infrastructure and the state continues to subsidies it. The state however didn’t reap the benefits of the technological improvements that came as they should have. That benefit went elsewhere, including to overseas shareholders.

                  No different in the electricity industry.

  17. Colonial Viper 17

    Where is careerism, self interest and buttering up the top 10% in society as well as keeping the banks, the corporations, oil/coal interests and the markets happy, in the list of Labour values.

    When I read things like

    -Co-operation, rather than competition, should be the main governing factor in economic relations, in order that a greater amount and a just distribution of wealth can be ensured.

    -All people are entitled to dignity, self-respect and the opportunity to work.

    -All people, either individually or in groups, may own wealth or property for their own use, but in any conflict of interest people are always more important than property and the state must ensure a just distribution of wealth.

    from the Labour webpage, I wonder, does this wonderful party even exist, other than as an historical concept?

  18. whateva next? 18

    “Rebalancing the scales” shifting the fulcrum back to the middle ground, so that the middle classes can thrive, AND by so doing, support those at the far ends. The “elite” can disappear up their own a****, doing the “vast majority of Nuzillanders” a favour

  19. Rosie 19

    Geez! I was half way through a heart felt spiel about my perception of Labour’s values, why I became a member and where I have conflict with Labours values that I don’t hold. (The retention of Rogernomics era policy, eg, GST) and I was even going to end it with a fabulous song AND then I brushed against a key that made it all disappear.

    I don’t have time to re write so may have to revisit this post in the weekend. It’s worth discussing, it’s important and thank you for raising it Stephanie.

  20. rhinocrates 20

    Excellent post, and a superb quote to illustrate and focus the point.

  21. Ad 21

    God I just loved this.

    Steph do me a fat favour and stand for Parliament.

    If any of Labour’s top 5 could write like this, I might even support them.

    Meantime, I’d love to see you run.
    Fuck I’d donate.

  22. Atiawa 22

    Not every musician or vocalist can sing or play the “Blues”, which doesn’t mean that we can’t all have empathy for Blues music.
    The “Blues” and “feeling blue” are expressed in songs whose verses lament injustice or express longing for a better life and lost loves, jobs and money. Blues is also a raucous dance music that celebrates pleasure and success.

    Labours values are expressed in policies that lament injustice, that express a longing and a means for a better life and lost loves, jobs and incomes. Labour is also a political movement that is unafraid to celebrate success and the pleasures derived from our collective interests and endeavours.

  23. Olwyn 23

    Voters don’t have to check where you stand on any particular issue when they know what’s at your core. We don’t have to ask which way ACT or the Greens will fall on any particular issue. We just know who favours tax cuts and who’ll save the dolphins.
    This sums up the problem perfectly, and National is not really divided, they are simply following the current script – to leave Labour very little room to move if they are to stay in appeasement mode, and then to take as much of that space as they can as well. And to hammer the hell out of them if they dare to deviate from the status quo – in fact the term “hard left” now describes the tamest deviation.

    When Helen Clark was PM, it was possible to think that we were in a maturing market economy, into which a level of social justice could be brought without scaring the horses too much. But not any more – not since 2008 – the people who are not among those National needs are now forced to live defensively, not sure whether they will still have a job, a house, a benefit etc, in a month’s time, and not able to trust any of our institutions. To remain relevant Labour now has to convince people that it is willing to put up a fight for them against the injustices of the market economy and the hubris-ridden triumphalism with which the powerful now operate.

  24. Philip Ferguson 24

    The party that gave us Michael Savage *and* Roger Douglas?

    Well, I think people need to look a bit more closely at Michael Joseph Savage. He was, for instance, [Deleted]. Among other things, he fretted about the development of a [Deleted].

    After WW1, the early Labour Party was absolutely gung-ho for the White New Zealand policy (I know, my PhD was on it). The early Labour MPs were [Deleted]

    They were so awful they even invited the head of Massey’s Cossacks, the rightwing militarist Andrew Russell as special guest to their 1919 conference to discuss ways of working together against the ‘yellow peril’. At the time Ruissell was the leader of the fascist-like National Defence League. He told the Labour Party conference that he would turn out the Massey regime if they went soft on racial purity.

    Moreover, after the first Labour government ended in 1949 (among its final actions being the deregistration of the Auckland Carpenters Union and the introduction of peacetime conscription), the richest people in NZ had a higher share of the national income than they did in 1935.

    And on and on. . . .

    Here’s a history of the NZ Labour Party: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2011/12/02/the-truth-about-labour-a-bosses-party/

    [Unsubstantiated allegations about Savage and the NZLP deleted. Adding you to moderation. TRP]

    • Anne 24.1

      Well, I think people need to look a bit more closely at Michael Joseph Savage. He was, for instance, an appalling anti-Chinese racist. Among other things, he fretted about the development of a “piebald nation” in NZ due to ‘race’ mixing.

      That entire generation was like that Philip Ferguson. The “Yellow Peril” was a precursor to Cold War paranoia and it was based on ignorance. To suggest that Savage is guilty of wilful racism for his belief is no different to accusing our ancestors of being criminally ignorant for believing the Earth was flat. They knew no better.

      • Bill 24.1.1

        Anne, all your espousing there, wittingly or not, is the liberal myth of linear progress where ‘we’ are better and brighter than our ancestors. It’s all a crock.

        My grandfather, were he still alive, would be ample proof that the statement “That entire generation was like that…” is false. And if it’s false, then anyone from back then who was racist is in exactly the same boat as any contemporary racists. They’re racists. -end –

        • Anne 24.1.1.1

          No Bill. I’m not espousing we are better and brighter than our ancestors. Far from it. But they could only respond to the information available to them at the time.

          • Bill 24.1.1.1.1

            And the response to any ‘Yellow Peril’ propaganda could have been one of rejection…same with cold war rhetoric and on and on.

            But you stated in your original comment – “That entire generation was like that…” and so denied the possibility of rejection.

            • Anne 24.1.1.1.1.1

              Ok. I guess that was a generalisation. I don’t know about your grandfather but my parents were British born (early 1900s) and they were ignorant of Asian and Pacific countries. The “yellow peril” was a propagandist tool that went down well in Britain in those days. After they came to NZ in 1939 their attitudes rapidly changed.

      • SHG 24.1.2

        During the Savage Labour government all public radio broadcasts of any sort were controlled by the Prime Minister’s office. Every word spoken on air literally required the approval of the Prime Minister. Savage’s famous quote of the regime was “The government is going to be the master of publicity”.

        Savage took over as Minister of Broadcasting, wrote and approved his own speeches praising the Labour Government and its policies, and made it mandatory for all radio stations to broadcast them in full. “Propaganda of a controversial nature” was banned from the air for the public good, and surprise surprise the definition of “propaganda of a controversial nature” officially included anything said or done by the Opposition.

        Labour values.

        • Anne 24.1.2.1

          You conveniently forgot to mention the First Labour government’s predecessors did exactly the same thing!

          • SHG 24.1.2.1.1

            No, Anne, they didn’t. These were new policies implemented by Savage, who assumed control of broadcasting in NZ by naming himself Minister of Broadcasting and abolishing the NZ Broadcasting Board put in place by the previous government, and who made it literally illegal for NZ broadcasters to report on anything said or done by the Opposition.

            You won’t believe me of course because if it were true that would mean that John Key’s National Government is a bunch of altruistic free-speech hippies in comparison. For the pure and noble Michael Joseph Savage to have been a Stalinist control-freak propagandist is unpossible.

            Gregory, R. J. “Politics and broadcasting : before and beyond the NZBC”, 1985.

            Hall, J. H. “The history of broadcasting in New Zealand, 1920-1954”, 1980

            Cull, Nicholas J; Culbert, David; Welch, David. “Propaganda and Mass Persuasion: A Historical Encyclopedia, 1500 to the Present”, 2003

            Debrett, Mary. “Reinventing Public Service Television for the Digital Future”, 2010

            • Anne 24.1.2.1.1.1

              How come well known 1ZB broadcaster, Scrimegour was sacked for daring to publicly support the Labour Party opposition of the time?

        • Macro 24.1.2.2

          Isn’t that what happens now? Only Key is not so open about saying it.

        • DS 24.1.2.3

          As opposed to National values, which consisted of jamming Scrimegour’s radio show just before the 1935 election. Or using their full domination of the press to defame everything Labour-related (c.f. the NZ Herald on the eve of 1938 talking about the last free election in NZ).

          The less said about further displays of National values in 1951, the better.

          Stop digging.

      • Philip Ferguson 24.1.3

        No they weren’t all like that Anne. There was a whole layer of left-wing people who weren’t.

        And no, it wasn’t a precursor the Cold War. I’m talking about 1880-1920, when the door was finally closed on the Chinese.

        People believed the earth was flat 1,000 years ago when they had no means of discovering otherwise. Savage was [Unsubstantiated accusation deleted. TRP]

        Your defence of [Deleted] is duly noted, however.

    • Colonial Viper 24.2

      😯

    • “He was, for instance, an appalling anti-Chinese racist. Among other things, he fretted about the development of a “piebald nation” in NZ due to ‘race’ mixing. ”

      Got a citation for that, Philip?

    • In addition to TRP’s request for a citation – and sorry, I’m not interested in an article about “a bosses’ party” – I must point out that nowhere did I state that Michael Joseph Savage was saintly and infallible. There is a clear contrast between his values, in terms of society and the role of government, and Roger Douglas’.

      This thread has been going really well so far and I would appreciate not having it derailed.

    • DS 24.5

      Savage (unlike John A. Lee) did, however, care about Maori.

    • Bill 24.6

      Not quite understanding all the deletions being applied within comments here. If it’s accepted that the Labour Party at one time supported a ‘White NZ’ policy – and that does seem to be accepted insofar as references to that haven’t been deleted, then it would follow that Labour Party leader’s thoughts were in accord with that racist policy.

      Given that a focus of historical racism in NZ was articulated through ‘Yellow Peril’ propaganda, and given that it appears to be accepted that the Labour Party indulged in that tripe, then to suggest that a given Labour Party leader had ‘concerns’ (can’t remember the original terminology) about inter-marriage would…well, it would be odd to claim or suggest the opposite, no?

      Also, to demand that every fucking thing that causes discomfort be cited when a simple logical or reasonable extension of thought would suggest that the comment causing the discomfort was more than likely correct is real dead hand stuff.

      I’ll put it this way. Given that Labour had racist policies, it would be a piece of cake to find pronouncements by Savage or any given leader repudiating those policies…if they were ever repudiated by Labour Party leaders of the time in question. But to find cited instances of what may well have been regarded as ‘self evident truths’ of the day? Nah.

      edit – and for the sake of black band censorship (if that, as it seems, is the way you want to go), you really should go through all of the replies that have pasted the original comment with the intention of challenging/debating the point. But then what you’ll wind up with is a pile of nested comments that make no sense whatsoever because they’ll have had all context ripped out of them. Or you might allow for the possibility that adults can think their way through stuff, evaluate others’ comments and come to their own conclusion/opinion.

      • te reo putake 24.6.1

        Thanks, Bill. Philip made a quite specific allegation about Michael Joseph Savage, including a direct and (very racist) quote. He also claims to have done a PhD on the subject so it should have been easy for him to back it up. He hasn’t done so, despite continuing to comment in other threads on the same post. Basically, I think he made it up.

        I did a search, including google scholar and the Massey uni online library and found exactly no evidence whatsoever that confirmed his position. So I removed most of the bullshit allegations, but left enough so that people could understand what he was being challenged on. That doesn’t mean anything he has written is ‘accepted’. It’s not.

        • Bill 24.6.1.1

          So if some stuff within a comment is censored (noting that’s entirely different from moderation in its effect), and if the stuff being censored isn’t being done for some legalistic reason or because quite obvious bounds of taste/language have been crossed, then the censor implies that anything not censored within whichever comment is acceptable.

          Putting aside the obvious authority issues with censorship, I’d suggest that if you ask for something to be cited (and that may or may or may not be a reasonable request on any given comment), then the fact that no citation is offered is in and of itself speaking volumes to the point in question.

          No need to enter the hoary, somewhat impossible world of targeted censorship and plenty of reasons to not go there.

          • te reo putake 24.6.1.1.1

            There wasn’t any censorship, Bill, but there was some moderation. Some bullshit was removed, but the sense of the comments remained.

            • weka 24.6.1.1.1.1

              Well I’m a bit confused, both by the gaps in the thread, but also as to whether criticising a dead person and/or the Labour Party is a problem for the running of the site. Or even telling falsehoods about them (I spend a fair amount of time here correcting shit that people make up about the GP, that shit doesn’t get removed by moderators). Philip made a claim about Savage’s beliefs, and the ensuing conversation is very interesting. Asking him to back that up seems reasonable, and I hope he comes back and says more, but isn’t it possible that Philip hasn’t seen the moderations yet (and where are they exactly)? It was only dinner time last night that he made the comment about racism and I don’t think he’s commented in this thread since last night.

              • weka

                The making of the White New Zealand policy: Nationalism, citizenship and the exclusion of the Chinese, 1880-1920

                Authors: Ferguson, Philip

                Issue Date: 2003

                Abstract: In the last two decades of the nineteenth century and first two of the twentieth century NZ passed a series of increasingly restrictive Acts directed primarily at the Chinese. By the early 1900s this exclusionist policy was specifically referred to as constituting a ‘White New Zealand’ policy. To this day, not one book, or even thesis, has been written covering this 40-year period. A range of postgraduate work deals instead with particular pieces of legislation or, at most, covers segments of the period. Moreover, existing analyses tend heavily towards the descriptive and narrative.

                This thesis adds to knowledge, then, in several ways. Firstly, it provides an account of the whole period in which the exclusionary legislation is enacted and intensified, until it becomes a coherent racial and nationalist policy aimed at securing a ‘White New Zealand’. Secondly, while existing explanations for the White New Zealand policy are both rather scanty and tend to fall between explaining it as a result of either economic competition or racism, this thesis suggests neither of these explanations is adequate. Instead this thesis draws upon historical and sociological theories to suggest a framework for analysis, rooting the development of the policy in a combination of social, political, economic and ideological factors. In particular it sees the development of the New Zealand nation state and the emergence of nationalism and concepts of citizenship as critically important. Nationalism and citizenship defined idealised types and sought to exclude those who were not, or could not be made into, such types. This in turn showed the impact of racialised thinking, eugenics, moral reform and other inter-related ideologies and social movements on the development of nationalism and citizenship.

                The thesis also investigates how and why, among the disapproved of types, the Chinese became the particular focus of attention and exclusion. Thirdly, rather than seeing the development of the policy as being merely cumulative, with early hostility to the Chinese naturally expanding until they were the object of a rigorous racially exclusive policy, the thesis suggests two rather different periods. The first, from the arrival of the Chinese until the 1881 legislation, sees periodic, localised and unsuccessful anti-Chinese campaigns which are incidental to the political life of the new country. The period from the early 1890s onwards sees a clearly identifiable politics of White New Zealand coming into existence as a national and hegemonic ideology and set of legislation. The 1880s is the decade of transition between the two. Material from the labour movement, middle class groups, the upper class represented in the Legislative Council, the parliamentary debates, major intellectual figures (Reeves, Macmillan Brown and Stout), newspapers of the period, and a wide range of secondary sources are drawn upon.

                http://ir.canterbury.ac.nz/handle/10092/4589

                • Adele

                  Kiaora, Weka

                  Thank you for taking the time to source this material.

                  It amply explains why Philip Ferguson was not able to cite his sources. Because as it states in his thesis – nothing existed before he wrote about it.

                  The thesis probably is an uncomfortable read for the morally high minded but we Maoris instinctively get it.

                  • weka

                    Kiaora Adele, my first instinct to the whole sub thread has been that given how overt and extreme Pākehā racism (including institutional racism) was against the Chinese in Savage’s and his forebears’ lifetimes, it seems reasonable to assume that racism probably existed in that govt than to assume it wasn’t. I’d still like to hear Philip’s response to the criticisms, but in any event an issue worth raising.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I was aware that Philip Ferguson is a bit of an expert in this area (amongst others) and appreciated him sharing. I understood fully though if he hadn’t wished to cite his own academic publications as “evidence.”

                    • weka

                      good point.

                • Philip Ferguson

                  Cheers Weka. I deal with the period after WW1, including Labour anti-Chinese racism, in chapter 9.

                  At present the first seven chapters are up on Redline; go to: https://rdln.wordpress.com/2015/02/07/pieces-on-the-white-new-zealand-policy/

                  I’m in Australia at present. When I get back I’ll be putting up chapter 8 and then 9.

                  All the evidence, of course, comes from what Labour MPs said in the parliamentary debates on the 1920 Immigration Restriction Act (readily available in the official Hansard/NZPDs) , LP conference reports, articles in ‘The Maoriland Worker’ and letters by Labour MPs.

                  A few more people have written very briefly about this in recent years. Ann Trotter in ‘New Zealand and Japan: the impact of WW2’ cites some of the same sources as me. See, for instance, pp14-15 of her book: https://books.google.com.au/books?id=l6kVAgAAQBAJ&pg=PA15&lpg=PA15&dq=michael+savage+white+new+zealand+piebald&source=bl&ots=yADFy4wBM5&sig=tzXy2jqHY9ihFeRYpj3I3_DDskU&hl=en&sa=X&ei=aI-gVbDzCcvnuQSYwbGQBg&ved=0CB0Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=michael%20savage%20white%20new%20zealand%20piebald&f=false

                  It does neither TRP nor this blog any credit that he/she hide behind a pen-name to call me a liar, saying I stuff like “He also claims to have done a PhD on the subject”, “Basically, I think he made it up” and claiming my “allegations” are “bullshit”.

                  Perhaps TRP should be on moderation.

                  [Removing you from moderation. Banned until you come up with evidence that Michael Joseph Savage was a racist and that he said anything about a “piebald nation” in NZ due to ‘race’ mixing. Or until withdrawal of those claims. TRP]

                  • weka

                    Thanks Philip, I appreciate that. Hopefully your comment will be restored.

                    It does neither TRP nor this blog any credit that he/she hide behind a pen-name to call me a liar, saying I stuff like “He also claims to have done a PhD on the subject”, “Basically, I think he made it up” and claiming my “allegations” are “bullshit”.

                    Perhaps TRP should be on moderation.

                    Pen-names aren’t a negative on ts. I use a pen-name and it’s not about hiding behind it when I talk to people here. Many people use them for very valid reasons, trp included, and we have as much right to expression online as the people that are privileged to use their real life names. The behaviour to criticise is not the use of a pen-name.

                    I think trp made an error of judgement in this moderation, and I’ve said before I think the removing of content is not a good direction for ts. I also think he was hasty in judging you. But it’s still up to the moderators/authors to do what they see fit given it’s them that keep the place running not us. There’s a fine line between expressing an opinion about a moderation and telling the people that run the place what to do (which is against the rules).

                    It’s often helpful to have a look at the rules from time to time,

                    Policy

                  • Adele

                    Kiaora TRP

                    Are you kidding!!

                    You are banning Phillip Ferguson.

                    Savage has been dead for some time. Dead people cannot make a claim under defamation. Dead people can’t sue. The most a dead person can do is come back and rattle a few bones and go boo!

                    Phillip Ferguson is adding new knowledge and insight into historical figures and providing a wider view as to their thinking in the context of their times.

                    There are historians out there all the time rewriting the biographies of historical figures based on new research and contextualising. This ban is wrong.

                    [The claims insult the living as well. He’s an expert, so it won’t be hard to prove them. Or, alternatively, withdraw them if they are false. TRP]

                    • Bill

                      Ridiculous trp. I get that Philip’s comment upset you. But then, neither the blog nor the comments nor the posts are about you.

                      Nice bar you’ve set on your banning by the way. So now the exact phrase ‘piebald nation’ must be found to be attributable to Savage? Sheesh.

                    • Nope. The exact phrase “piebald nation” must be found. That’s Philip’s claim. Let him back it up.

                    • Philip Ferguson

                      I did already supply this.

                      I posted the link to Ann Trotter’s book. The phrase used by Savage was ‘piebald New Zealand’.

                      Weka posted a link to my PhD; I pointed out that the relevant material is in chapter nine. Anyway can click on the link and see it.
                      on what page she cites Savage.

                      AS I said in the post above, my PhD evidence all comes from Labour Party conference reports, speeches made by Labour MPs in parliament, letters, and other primary sources.

                      It is quite bizarre that TRP continues to say I haven’t presented evidence!

                    • Bill

                      Seeing as how it’s the standard you impose on commenters (refer the ban you hit CV with), when you provide a citation (not some-ones opinion) for Philip being “an expert”, then you’ll resume commenting again from your self-imposed ban?

                      And TRP, saying that someone fretted about the development of a “piebald nation” in NZ due to ‘race’ mixing. is not claiming that the person used those words.

                      Anyway. I guess, as ever, you’ll ignore everything anyone is saying, even when it’s designed to be helpful, and continue making a pigs ear of things while ‘happily’ pissing off a fair proportion of all and sundry.

                      edit. sheesh – a footnoted source has already been provided in the link he provided in the comment where you placed your ban.

                  • lprent

                    I replied to some of the accusations by philip

                    //—–

                    I was recently banned from The Standard blog for raising Labour’s involvement in the White New Zealand (anti-Chinese) policy-making of that era. I was accused of “bullshit allegations” and “making it up”.

                    Bullshit, you were banned because you were selectively quoting to spinning a phrase from the past without context. In short, you were lying.

                    From what I read about it, you’d claimed that Micheal Joseph Savage was a racist because he’d used the phrase “piebald nation” in his maiden speech. You referenced it based on something in a book by Anne Trotter. That was frankly damn stupid of you because that isn’t online, and not something that everyone has accessible. We have a standing policy of challenge for links in the policy, that is often enforced by moderators. This stops people simply making crap up, misquoting it, or selectively interpreting it.

                    TRP challenged you and said, put up or shut up.

                    Eventually other moderators had a peek. r0b for instance commented this in our internal forums yesterday…

                    I haven’t been following this and I don’t have an opinion on the banning.

                    Savage does seem to have used the phrase “piebald New Zealand” which clearly appears in the link to “pp14-15 of her book” in Ferguson’s comment here (the one that started all this):
                    http://thestandard.org.nz/wp-admin/comment.php?action=editcomment&c=1041629

                    However, I don’t believe this was evidence of racism on the part of Savage. Here is another reference to it:
                    http://salient.org.nz/2008/07/the-waste-land/

                    In his Maiden speech to parliament Michael Joseph Savage expressed the opinion that he did not want a piebald New Zealand. He did not want a country segregated by colour and says “We are very much concerned about our race. We never seem to appreciate the fact that the other race is just as much concerned about theirs.”

                    In other words we should all be concerned about one another and love our fellow man.

                    Savage appears to be saying that he doesn’t want an apartheid type NZ, but that we should all be concerned about each other equally.

                    In short, I believe that Ferguson was correct about the use of that phrase, but wrong in his interpretation of its meaning.

                    Which in essence was what TRP was saying that you were doing.

                    If you have access to a paper copy of Hansard for the next house sittings after 17th December 1919, you may be able to actually read the speech you appear to have grossly misinterpreted.

                    I’d suggest you apologize to TRP. In my view he acted correctly because in effect you were not only promulgating bullshit, you were also unwilling to lift off your lazy arse enough to check it yourself.

                    It appears that you didn’t do enough research, but instead went off half-arsed in the pursuit of your bigotry. Some of your other recent posts here seem to show the same traits.

                    I will post this comment next to the one that got you banned.

                    BTW: I lifted the ban at Bill’s behest, mostly because conditional bans like the one TRP imposed are meant to have expiry limits on the condition. I’d suggest that if you want to make similar assertions of fact in the future that you exert yourself a bit further than you did this time.

                    If I see you lying about our site again, I will personally ban you, and I may start noticing what you are writing about. It looks to me like you could use some critical analysis to raise your skills.

                    //—–

                    I’d suggest the same to everyone around here. I can see several references on the net from people quoting “piebald New Zealand” and attributing it to Savage. The problem is that there are several links on the net to this. Most appear to be circularly-referential in that they are by other people attacking Labour for one reason or another and not giving a lot of context. Classic signs of lying into myths…

                    For instance http://www.nzjh.auckland.ac.nz/docs/1968/NZJH_02_1_04.pdf and a pile of links from people quoting essentially the same thing, some attributing the derogatory meaning to Savage rather than the watersiders or other users. https://www.google.co.nz/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=%22piebald+New+Zealand%22

                    There is a reason why the policy says

                    What we’re not prepared to accept are pointless personal attacks, or tone or language that has the effect of excluding others. We are intolerant of people starting or continuing flamewars where there is little discussion or debate. This includes making assertions that you are unable to substantiate with some proof (and that doesn’t mean endless links to unsubstantial authorities) or even argue when requested to do so. Such comments may be deleted without warning or one of the alternatives below may be employed. The action taken is completely up to the moderator who takes it.

                    I’m afraid that providing a link to webpage about a book which doesn’t contain the referred text is about as unsubstantial and useless as could possibly be imagined. This is an online community. If you want to grab something out of a book, and there is no online source, then fully quote it. Tell us when quotes were made. Whatever..

                    Basically Philip caused a bit of a flamewar both front and backend because he was too lazy to do the work to sustain an argument where he was quoting “authorities”. To me it looks more like he was relaying popular myths and fiction.

                    If someone has access to the actual maiden speech by Savage, it’d probably be worth publishing again.

                    • Philip Ferguson

                      Lynn, there are so many factual inaccuracies here it is difficult to know where to start.

                      1. It turns out that I was right about what Savage said. You begrudingly admit this, then claim that Savage meant something different to what he said – and your ‘evidence’ is an opinion expressed by a student in a throwaway student paper. Not anything for a serious, peer-reviewed publication, not anything academically-supervised and interrogated.

                      That wee piece in ‘Salient’ reads like a young student who admires Savage, does a bit of research and finds something really unpleasant. They can’t question their admiration for Savage so they bizarrely suggest that Savage’s concern about a possible ‘piebald nation’ is really some kind of anti-apartheid and is advocating the love of all humankind!

                      I’m amused that you think that strange wee article in a student trumps a PhD thesis, closely supervised by two professors, diligently marked by three senior academics and then, as is the case with all doctoral theses, subjected to an oral defence.

                      The professorial supervisers very closely monitor the PhD thesis because their reputations are at stake depending on the validity of the facts, evidence and interpretations in the thesis. The examiners examine everything and then also subject the doctoral thesis writer to a couple of hours of questioning re facts, evidence, interpretations.

                      You’re being foolish in suggesting that the opinion in a throwaway student paper trumps this academic rigour.

                      It’s also odd that your comment includes the part of the moderation policy which says “doesn’t mean endless links to unsubstantial authorities” when your “authority”, the opinion of a student in a student paper, is pretty, er, “unsubstantial”.

                      2. TRP says below, “Philip commented 3 or four times afterwards. I asked again in reply to him in a related thread and Stephanie mentioned it too. I wouldn’t have dropped him in moderation if it wasn’t obvious he was ducking the question.” In what you’ve written you seem to agree with TRP. But anyone can check back through this thread and see that TRP banned me *after* Weka had posted the url to my PhD and *after* I had mentioned the chapter in the thesis where the evidence was. Anyone could, and still can, click on the url provided *before* I was banned. So the chronology is clear. Anyone can check it.

                      3. You also comment on my referencing to the Ann Trotter book and say, “That was frankly damn stupid of you because that isn’t online, and not something that everyone has accessible.”

                      But, I *posted the url* to it. So, of course, it is on-line. Anyone could click onto the url and since I had also said what pages were relevant in her book, anyone could both click on to the url and scroll down to pp14-15! So it seems rather foolish – I’ll avoid the words “frankly damn stupid” or “too lazy” to click on a url – in relation to you saying what you did about the (un)accessibility of that book.

                      I was in an old-age pensioner’s house in Melbourne at the time and had no trouble clicking into the url for the Trotter book (which I don’t own and didn’t have in front of me). So anyone reading that thread would have been able to access it.

                      4. My – as it turns out – correct citing of Savage is, moreover, only one of a number of things he had to say on the subject. And other Labour MPs had further edifying things to say about the Chinese. If you had bothered to click on the link provided by Weka, it would have taken you a mere few seconds to find them.

                      For instance, Savage and two fellow Labour MPs (Bartram and Parry) telegrammed Reform Party prime minister Massey in April 1920 asking that “steps be immediately taken to deal with (the) menace” of an “alarming influx of Asiatics and other classes of cheap labour. . .” The Labour figures argued that this influx inevitably involved “the lowering of the living standards of our people, as well as the probable deterioration in the physical standard of all races mixing indiscriminately. . .”

                      Perhaps you can find a student writing in ‘Salient’ who will suggest this is some kind of display of anti-apartheid sentiment and/or an expression of the love of all mankind.

                      Or how about Dan Sullivan, the Labour MP for Avon, speaking in parliament in the debate on the new legislation to restrict Chinese entry to NZ. Sullivan said:

                      “What I want to say quite definitely to the House is this: the Labour party is just as keen as any member of this House, or as any person or party in the country, to maintain racial purity here in New Zealand. There can be no question at all about that. . . I desire to say further, in connection with the discussion, that the Labour party are wholly in accord with the desire to reduce Asian immigration to this country; we are satisfied that there is too much of it already.”

                      Now, are you going to dispute the actual Hansard record? Suggest Hansard are making it up? The speeches of the Labour MPs on that legislation are, after all, there in NZPD vol 187, 1920.

                      Or are you going to tell me that Sullivan and the other Labour MPs who *explicitly* stated their support for the White New Zealand policy and for ‘racial purity’ were really making anti-apartheid speeches and showing their love for all humankind.

                      And on and on it goes. . .

                      5. You know Lynn, Labour supporters had two choices when confronted with the fact that the early New Zealand Labour Party supported, and advocated the extension of, the White New Zealand policy.
                      One option was to say something like, “Jeez, I didn’t know that, that’s awful, it’s wrong, they shouldn’t have, but y’know what, it was 100 years ago, and that was then and this is now. . .”
                      The other, and very unwise option, was to accuse the person with actual expertise on the subject of lying and you folks making the decision to simply deny the historical record.

                      There are now two moderators at The Standard who chose the second option.

                      I’ve seen your post to the comments section of Redline as well. It’s so personally abusive it is currently in moderation. It’s funny that you post a much less abusive version of your comment here.

                      I’d suggest, Lynn, that you simply stop digging yourself, and The Standard blog, into a deeper hole.

                      Meanwhile, anyone can make it is welcome along to the public talk I’m giving on the early Labour Party and anti-Chinese racism. Details will be up on Redline in the next day or so.

                      Phil

                    • lprent []

                      You got banned for specifically for asserting that MJS phrase “piebald New Zealand” was a racist statement. You then couldn’t or didn’t say where that was said, nor the context. That is classed on this site as lying because it meant that others could not go back to test your work and workings. For that matter, even Anne Trotter didn’t say where she’d dug it out from.

                      When I got around to looking at it, what I found was ‘scholars’ doing a throw away line about MJS in the same paragraph where they refer to something that watersiders said? To me this has about as much validity as evidence as a scam artist saying another scammer is honest.

                      I come out of science,business, and engineering. They are based on being able to reproduce results and evidence – not bloody useless incestuous scholarship. They work on reproducible results or primary evidence. Hearsay is for liars.

                      I have little or no time for many scholars of the old style for precisely this reason. They appear to think that because they read it somewhere, that it is correct. All they usually manage to prove in my view is that the main feature of incestuous relationships is their ability to produce poor genetics.

                      It appears to me like at some time back in the past one of ‘historians’ cocked up between a phrase in a maiden speech and the same phrase being used in a manifesto by watersiders for the complete opposite argument. My bet is on the P O’Connor article in the NZJH. Since then we have had ‘scholars’ repeating the same bullshit without ever verifying it, including Anne Trotter.

                      BTW: I know all about how dissertations are made. I’ve helped out on a few while avoiding going beyond a masters. The problem is that they are often not particularly rigorous

                      I’d suggest that you dig out a 1920 copy of Hansard (or whatever was used then) and look at the maiden speech, or find an speech where MJS used the phrase to establish context. Because as it stands your ‘proof’ has no value as evidence.

                      Similarly, I’d note that you have continued with two quotes. One is completely a completely unsourced telegram (that actually reads like a letter rather than a telegram and makes me suspicious on its origins), that doesn’t say why it was sent and on behalf of. Prior to entering parliament Savage appears to me to have had a budding career representing others. That usually, as any lawyer or PR person will tell you, means that you speak for them. In which case context is everything, and even a ‘scholar’ such as yourself should be aware of that.

                      The second is purportedly a section of the parliamentary record, which doesn’t refer to the page number, just a volume number in what are usually weighty tomes. Did you read it, or merely read what someone else wrote about it?

                      To me what this tends to indicate is that you are playing the part of a lazy scholar again. Quoting the words of some other ‘scholar’ without context, is pretty useless for any kind of debate. It just show you to have been a lazy arsehole and not checked their sources.

                      In case you hadn’t realized it by now, that may satisfy some of the less advanced academic areas who don’t test their work. But it hardly constitutes evidence or substantiation. It just raises questions about your technique.

                      //————

                      Now I realize that this is probably hard for you to understand. But if you go back to the start of last century, it would be frigging hard to find anyone who wasn’t racist by current standards in ANY country. That includes in the Labour party or in the local Chinese community of the time or anyone else who as here. Racism was as common there as technical illiteracy in programming is now.

                      Hell, the standards that I grew up with as a child in the 1960s would today be seen as quite racist. It doesn’t mean that I was ever interested in or ever used them as my standards. And yet that is effectively what you are arguing about current members of the Labour party who could be my children.

                      Quite how you jump from people who would have been my great great grand parents to inferring what I think or anyone else thinks is strange.

                      I’d have to describe it as an exercise in profound bigotry that is rather hard to overstate. You sound like a raging stupid bigot unable to use your brain. In short, you are to me the epitome of a scholar. A lazy fool who never checks sources.

                    • “1. It turns out that I was right about what Savage said.”

                      Phil, I don’t particularly want to drag this out, but you provided no evidence at all to back up your claim, then or now. There appears to be no record whatsoever that Savage used the phrase “piebald nation”. Like others have noted, he seemed to be the very opposite of a racist, pleading for tolerance and unity rather than bigotry.

                      Linking to another academic (Trotter) who doesn’t actually use the phrase as a direct quote proves nothing. If you’ve got some genuine proof that he did use the phrase, as you claimed, now would be a good time to provide it.

                      Otherwise I’m of the opinion that Savage was not a racist and you are merely a blowhard.

                      For reference, here is your claim, still unproven:

                      “He was, for instance, an appalling anti-Chinese racist. Among other things, he fretted about the development of a “piebald nation” in NZ due to ‘race’ mixing. ”

                    • Bill

                      On the understanding that I have absolutely no emotional or nostalgic connection to NZ Labour of old or to dead Labour politicians, what immediately jumped to my mind when I read the phrase “We are very much concerned about our race. We never seem to appreciate the fact that the other race is just as much concerned about theirs.” was an image of some white (usually US based) segregationist trying to sound reasonable.

                      Just saying.

                      Anyway. If the actual maiden speech comes up somewhere, I’d be well interested insofar as it might offer up further insights into the mind set of a leading politician of the day.

                    • lprent []

                      That could be. It could as easily be the other way as well. Between the (to our ear) stilted speech of the 19th century and a complete shift in many parts of the vernaculars, small quotes taken out of context, words attributed to people could be correct or incorrect.

                      However, it’d be easy enough to find out. The full speech is likely to be pretty damn definitive.

                      But at a more basic level, consider this argument.

                      Philip is obviously cannibal. The thought of this perverted lips sucking on human flesh like his ancestors appals me.

                      1. Everyone alive has cannibalism in their ancestry because it was endemic in the anthropological and historical records in all existing branches of humanity, just as racism was.

                      2. Should present day people be judged on what their ancestors did?

                      philip is acting like a complete dickhead because that is the underlying basis of his argument about Labour. He deserves no respect.

                      FFS: you do realise how easy it would be to make an even more cogent argument about a marxist and they way that people following that religion have acted in the past.

                    • Bill

                      You’re dead wrong Lynn.

                      As Philip commented “One option was to say something like, “Jeez, I didn’t know that, that’s awful, it’s wrong, they shouldn’t have, but y’know what, it was 100 years ago, and that was then and this is now. . .”
                      The other, and very unwise option, was to accuse the person with actual expertise on the subject of lying and you folks making the decision to simply deny the historical record.

                      There are now two moderators at The Standard who chose the second option.”

                      His original point was simply that Douglas and Savage weren’t so far apart by way of any ‘white hat/black hat’ dichotomy….nothing to do with judgement of contemporary Labour.

                      Now, are you really asking me to consider leftist cults because why? Is it because I don’t ever criticise such cults (Leninist/Trot/ Stalinist/Maoist etc) in comments? And there was me thinking I was the only author and moderator who did! Here’s the thing though Lynn. I’m fucked if I’m going to differentiate between (somehow) acceptable and unacceptable cults…there are no grounds for any such differentiation.

                      And as far as context for the quote goes, the full part of his comments to Parliament have been provided at the bottom of the thread.

              • Philip commented 3 or four times afterwards. I asked again in reply to him in a related thread and Stephanie mentioned it too. I wouldn’t have dropped him in moderation if it wasn’t obvious he was ducking the question. However, Philip’s in Oz, apparently, so his net access might be patchy. No doubt he’ll get back to us eventually.

                I’m still not sure how to best moderate comments like this, weka. If someone makes a claim that injures the reputation of someone, living or dead, I think it’s reasonable to ask for evidence. And if that evidence is not forthcoming, I think the slanders have to be removed. So, I left it for a while to see if Philip would reply and then took a few words out. I didn’t want to destroy the thread, or the broad sense of what Philip was writing by removing entire comments, but I missed the repetitions of the comments in the replies, so the editing was far from successful. However, it was near midnight, so I’m not going to beat myself up about it!

                Ironic thread, btw, given this morning’s developments!

                • weka

                  Thanks. What do you mean by this morning’s developments?.

                  I agree it’s reasonable to ask for someone to back up their claim. But it hasn’t even been 24 hours yet. If Philip has commented elsewhere in threads it doesn’t follow that he’s seen the request. I read the original comments as they happened, but coming back into the thread today I just found the whole thing confusing. I also know that I often miss replies to comments I make for a whole bunch of reasons.

                  In terms of removing content, I wonder if it would be less problematic if redacted phrases were replaced with something so the meaning of the comment isn’t as disrupted. I know that’s more work for the moderator though.

                • Bill

                  A deputy PM of NZ, three times and on two separate occasions in public told a white person to go back where they come from.

                  That’s xenophobic, right?

                  And here’s the thing. If you asked me to cite it (his xenophobia), I couldn’t do it.

                  Now go back pre-internet – all the way back to the turn of last century – when most stuff wasn’t recorded and records of people reflecting ‘self evident truths’ could be well nigh impossible to find: that doesn’t mean they didn’t endorse or reflect (say) widespread racist attitudes.

                  On the contrary, and as suggested elsewhere in this thread, in the absence of a record showing those attitudes being challenged (something that would be far more likely to have been recorded) it would seem reasonable to assume any person in question probably endorsed such a widespread, but currently not so accepted, viewpoint.

            • Bill 24.6.1.1.1.2

              If redaction isn’t censorship, then I guess we’d have to say that no letters sent home from war were ever censored and that no government papers released under OAIs with text blacked/blocked out are censored.

              Regardless of split hair definitions, my suggestion, that an overly fraught – even impossible – scenario unfolds if redactions are made off the back of anything other than fairly narrow and well defined bounds (eg – legal considerations) is, surely, worth reflecting on and acting intelligently on?

    • swordfish 24.7

      Getting into too much wild generalisation there, Philip.

      While I acknowledge your specialist knowledge (PhD on the White New Zealand policy) and accept what you’re saying up to a point, I would argue – as someone who studied New Zealand (and Comparative) Labour History through to Honours level – that (as Bill implies) views were a little more diverse and nuanced than your depiction.

      Let’s remember, for instance, that the NZLP always (right from 1916) espoused an independent (Liberal-Internationalist) foreign policy based, first and foremost, on universal human rights. Labour was an early advocate/supporter, for instance, of Samoan Independence and Indian Independence. True, in Government, it didn’t always live up to its progressive rhetoric (particularly during the Second (Nash) Labour Administration), but, by the same token, it often did.

  25. Philip Ferguson 25

    I’m in Australia at present and yesterday a friend took me to the Uniting Church to meet an acquaintance of his there, a guy who is ex-US Army and prominent antiwar activist. When this guy, Chip, was told I was from NZ he said, “Oh you folis have got a National Party government that is to the left of our Labour Party.”

    At present the Labour leader in Australia, Bill Shorten, is being investigated for receiving payoffs from various business interests when he was the leader of a rightwing union. Shorten seems to have achieved notoriety for doing deals that made his members worse off than they were before he entered into ‘negotiations’.

    I’ll be doing a piece on the ALP for Redline blog, so watch out for it.

    Phil

    [Stephanie: This is seriously off-topic on a post about the New Zealand Labour Party. Please take discussion of the Australian Labor Party to Open Mike.]

  26. G C 26

    Ideally Labour should be about ‘giving people a fair go’? To me that that means:

    – Recognising human rights
    – Having liveable wages
    – Supporting the family unit
    – Promoting good values?

    Labour should be about reshuffling the deck when it’s stacked too in favour of a minority.

    • The problem is that “giving people a fair go” is another one of those phrases which would be just as comfortable in John Key’s mouth. Ditto “promoting good values”, and unfortunately “supporting the family unit” has been used in the past to justify any number of horrific abuses.

      • G C 26.1.1

        I thought you might say that. After I posted, I reread your article and noticed you listed ‘fair’ as one of those words/phrases.

        However, it’s more of an idiom. It strikes at the heart. ‘Fair Go’ is even a show. When you tell a child to give a child a ‘fair go/turn’ we all know what that means.

        Though terms often loose their meaning, it’s ture that they ALSO gain the meaning we give them. Idioms are wonderful for expressing ideas. ‘Fair’ by itself becomes subjective and worn out…

        ‘Giving people a fair go’ is a title, even a topic sentence. People understand this idiom. After the topic sentence you list your policies, repeat again and again.

        • G C 26.1.1.1

          Sorry was talking smack – it’s a colloquialism. An ‘idiom’ is a colloquial metaphor.

          • Stephanie Rodgers 26.1.1.1.1

            I understand what a colloquialism is. The difficulty is that in our modern political environment, Labour says “we believe in giving people a fair go, that’s why we have policy (x)” and then John Key says “we believe in giving people a fair go, which is why we have policy (y)”.

            Then in all likelihood, the only bits which get reported are “Labour and National both say they want to give people a fair go, but John Key says Labour’s policy would destroy our economy.”

            Then voters will either go with the party whose leader they like, or make a reflexive decision on policy, or just say – and this is a big problem for us – “oh well they all say the same thing, no point even voting.”

            We have to differentiate ourselves from National – and we can’t do that if we’re using language which is identical to the language of our opponents.

  27. tc 27

    IMO labour are a nice concept but sadly as a parliamentary entity its been gutted out by Rogernomics with its junior disciples still hanging around shoving 2 fingers to the wider party and troughing it up large.

    Key and Joyce look across and see nothing much to beat and probably back themselves to do it again in 2017 and with Goff/Key/Cosgrove/mallard who can blame them as they paid their dead wood off for sock puppets like Barclay/Kuriger etc.

    • Colonial Viper 27.1

      IMO the Labour hierarchy believes more than ever that it must appeal primarily to the aspirational middle and upper middle classes, in order to win in 2017, and that any move back to ‘cloth cap’ leftism would be anachronistic and a failure. It appears that the blame for the last 3 election defeats has been partially ascribed to being ‘too left’.

      I presume we will hear more out of the new Labour ‘right wing think tank’ before too long.

      Of course, this strategy will likely lead to a fourth consecutive defeat for Labour, and a record 4th term for John Key.

      • Olwyn 27.1.1

        Helen Clark recently said on TV that to win you need to bring the middle over to your way of thinking. (I don’t know how to find the link but I am sure others will have seen it). What that means is framing your position in such a way that many of the middle class will see its value, not resigning yourself to timid centrism. The former involves shifting the Overton window, the latter involves trying to squeeze yourself into the existing one.

        • Colonial Viper 27.1.1.1

          these are political abc’s, Helen Clark mentored half the MPs in there, and you should not have to explain it to the professionals in Labour’s offices in Wellington. Unless they do not believe in any need to shift the window to the left.

          • rhinocrates 27.1.1.1.1

            A friend of mine once used the term “aspirational voting” to refer to people who were voting National against their own interests because national represented the class they’d like to be in even though they weren’t. It appears that the Labour hierarchy are practicing aspirational campaigning.

      • Philip Ferguson 27.1.2

        Holyoake won four elections (1960, 63, 66, 69). Holyoake is also the NZ politician Key most admires.

  28. fisiani 28

    • Loyalty to our country, its democratic principles, and our Sovereign as Head of State
    • National and personal security
    • Equal citizenship and equal opportunity
    • Individual freedom and choice
    • Personal responsibility
    • Competitive enterprise and reward for achievement
    • Limited government
    • Strong families and caring communities
    • Sustainable development of our environment

    Thought you might be interested in the values of most New Zealanders which just happen to concur with those of John Key and Bill English

    [Stephanie: you have been previously warned that I do not find your insincere trolling amusing. I will not tolerate this thread being derailed by dishonest sneer merchants.]

    • Weepus beard 28.1

      This has been a party political broadcast by a National party volunteer.

      Stay tuned, more soon.

    • Colonial Viper 28.2

      Loyalty to our country, its democratic principles, and our Sovereign as Head of State

      so why is John Key going to let foreign corporations sue NZ for hundreds of millions of dollars through the secretive TPPA?

      • fisiani 28.2.1

        Do you not realise that there are similar provisions in most of our existing Free Trade deals. Why are you so paranoid? The sky is falling said Chicken Little.

        [Stephanie: This is not a thread to discuss the details of free trade agreements. Take it to Open Mike.]

  29. Im Right 29

    Like it or not, I suspect the latter!, Aussie unions are in a heap of trouble, corruption..corruption…and um, corruption. Bill Shorton is a gonner and Gillard/Rudd are once again up for a commission ‘please explain’. If the NZ MSM were half the ..I’m sorry, have to use the J word here,,,Journalists!, Little has many questions to answer, and we all know McCarten had/has been a failure in running Unite and taking workers contributions and not paying tax/kiwisaver but siphoning it off (to labour?)…ohh my, if National had the same kinda worker in their back room engine room you guys would be screaming from the roof tops!, worst result in 2014 since 1922 and McCarten is STILL there, kinda makes you wonder if he knows where the bodies are buried within the Labour party as he is STILL THERE!

    [Stephanie: Woefully off-topic. Phillip has already been warned about this particular derail. Take it to Open Mike or take a holiday.]

    • Im Right 29.1

      ?…My first comment on The Standard, and I’m being told ‘off topic’, how is it off topic, the topic is ‘Labour Values’. I’m pointing a finger at Andrew Little as head/leader of EPMU for a number of years, and Labor in Oz are being shot down one by one for Union corruption, you may think NZ is squeaky clean, but I have seen the returns (public awareness and availability in all documents) and 3 million is ??? it’s a fact, and the truth hurts!!

      • It’s off-topic because this post isn’t about Andrew Little, much less the Australian unions, and you made absolutely no effort to connect your rambling series of personal attacks to the content of the post.

        If you are new to this blog you may want to familiarise yourself with our policy, available at the top of every page.

      • Im Right 29.1.2

        Matt McCarten stealing workers $$$, and protesting outside low wage places of work…hypocritical?, McCarten saying all bosses/work owners were/are parasites on the workers…(it’s all on record, he said it multiple times) but when he came to run a business, Unite, he stole and F*cked the most vulnerable of society, but it’s OK as he is of the left eh?

        [Nothing was stolen by anybody. A subsidiary of Unite came to an arrangement with IRD to clear tax arrears, just like kiwi businesses and individuals do pretty much every day. That’s it. Any further groundless accusations and your first visit here is going to be your last. TRP]

  30. Adele 30

    Kiaora Koutou,

    I’ve read Labour’s Principles and as with fisiani’s set of virtues – what a load of indigestion.

    The only reason Labour is able to write such verbiage is that ages ago a few natives signed a fricking document called a Treaty. That dog-eared and yellow boned piece of paper established the first set of principles which have yet to be realised.

    How does one claim the moral high ground on a step ladder built with injustice and deceit. So screw Labour principles and think about winning instead.

    • I appreciate your point about the Treaty, but I don’t see how Labour can win without presenting a coherent face to the voters of NZ. As I said in the post, that rests on a foundation of clear, concrete principles – instead of scrapping about “side issues” and developing terribly ponderous policy documents.

      We’ve tried “thinking about winning” for two elections since becoming the main party of Opposition and our efforts so far clearly aren’t winning any votes. I suggest trying something new.

  31. Adele 31

    Kiaora Stephanie,

    All I am saying is that whatever coherent face Labour decides to present to the public don’t let it be bathed in principles.

  32. Heyegg 32

    I posted a week or so ago wondering why ideology had become a dirty word. It seems having a set of principals and sticking to them, as has been suggested here. Is another way of calling for an ideological stance.
    But Andrew Little thinks a policy can be dismissed but simply calling it “pure ideology” as he did on RNZ.

  33. Jenny Kirk 33

    Terrific post, Stephanie – and interesting comments worth thinking about seriously – until all the Nat trolls started. Pity about them …. they tend to turn people off totally !

  34. Malcolm 34

    “If you have access to a paper copy of Hansard for the next house sittings after 17th December 1919, you may be able to actually read the speech you appear to have grossly misinterpreted.

    I’d suggest you apologize to TRP. In my view he acted correctly because in effect you were not only promulgating bullshit, you were also unwilling to lift off your lazy arse enough to check it yourself.

    It appears that you didn’t do enough research, but instead went off half-arsed in the pursuit of your bigotry. Some of your other recent posts here seem to show the same traits.”

    So says lprent, addressing Philip Ferguson above. The way Philip has been treated by this blog in the thread above is an absolute disgrace. The Standard owe him a full and sincere apology for the abuse shown to him, in response to which, he has been remarkably patient and polite.

    Here are Michael Joseph Savage’s comments from which the ‘piebald New Zealand’ quote was taken, verbatim, from Hansard (NZ Parliamentary Debates) volume 186, June 24th to August 5th 1920, p. 216.

    “I have heard some mention tonight of the yellow peril. I think it was the honourable member for Waitemata who referred to this subject. I want to express the opinion that this is one of the biggest questions of the age – a problem that has never been faced in this country so far as I am aware. We have to face the facts as they are. We have teeming millions practically within a stone’s throw of Australasia. Without going into such comparatively up-to-date countries as Japan or China, there are still teeming millions in the archipelago to the north of Australia. Does the House seriously believe that it is going to settle this problem by establishing forts at Auckland or Wellington? It is a bigger problem than that. It is a problem that has to be faced, all the same. It is a problem that involves the intermixing of races and the very law of life itself. It is a problem not for parliamentarians, but for experts – for scientists. Parliamentarians might very well take the advice from the scientists of the various countries involved and see if a solution of this problem cannot be arrived at. I do not think we want a piebald New Zealand any more than India wants a piebald India. We are very much concerned about our race. We never seem to appreciate the fact that the other race is just as much concerned about theirs. Anyway, there is no one going to deny the fact that the indiscriminate introduction of Asiatics to this country is not going to be in the best interests of this country.”

    Malcolm Deans

    • philip Ferguson 34.1

      And, of course, anyone here – including ‘TRP’ and Lynn Prentice could at any time have clicked onto the url thoughtfully provided by Weka. Canterbury University library digitalised my PhD, so it is available on-line. Weka provided the url, I thanked him/her and pointed out that I deal with the LP in chapter 9.

      I pointed this out several times, so anyone could click on and scroll down and they’d find that reference and the context – it was during the debate on the 1920 Immigration Restriction Act.

      [[I did click on the link and it proved nothing. The above quote from Savage, which you could have provided at the time if you weren’t such a pompous git, doesn’t seem assist your argument that he was a racist in the least. It actually seems to suggest he was thoughtful and ahead of the times, even if he used the language of the times. So, for wasting a shit load of my time and for disputing the right of the site to moderate, you can piss off. Six months ban. TRP]

      Moreover, the parliamentary debate in 1920 involved a number of Labour MPs speaking and the other day I gave the year and volume number of the NZPD that contains the relevant speeches in parliament. Anyone can go and check the relevant volume. NZPDs are available not just in university libraries but in a bunch of city libraries as well. Once you get that volume it would take only a minute or so to get to the relevant speeches.

      The fact that two moderators here have kept up a tirade of abuse while denying the simple historical record brings not only those two individuals into disrepute but also raises questions about the integrity of the blog – for instance, who moderates the moderators?

      Phil

      [I did click on the Trotter link and it proved nothing. There was no direct quote from Savage, and now that we can see the actual passage, (thanks, Malcolm) it doesn’t appear to assist your argument that he was a racist in the least. The actual speech from Savage, which you could have provided at the time if you weren’t such a pompous git, actually seems to suggest he was reasonably thoughtful and ahead of the times, even if he used the language of the times. So, for wasting a shit load of my time and for disputing the right of the site to moderate, you can piss off. Six months ban. Read the policy before you come back. TRP]

    • Grant 34.2

      Hear Hear! Expect lots of ranting, abuse, and special pleading from prentice and TRiPe and some bannings to ensue. A classic case of intolerant authoritarian right wing labourites gunning for the radical left.

      • Bill 34.2.1

        That (A classic case of intolerant authoritarian right wing labourites gunning for the radical left.) would the point at which ‘the standard’ as a broad left forum dies.

        Oh look! 🙁

        • Realblue 34.2.1.1

          Disappointing to ban a person with peer reviewed facts. (Silly dick waving and ad hominem deleted). Sadly censoring due to a lack of intellectual horsepower to argue with facts and the foaming at the mouth (ditto) has been to the detriment of the left. BTW I (More of the ‘My daddy’s bigger than your daddy and I don’t like you very much’ nonsense deleted). This used to be fun.

      • Realblue 34.2.2

        (lot’s of the same as in the last comment) I’m going back to the Dailyblog,(as was this)

        Christ! I better not be going to these lengths for 5/8ths of fuck all reason Realblue!

        [On the one hand I understand passions running high and people getting more than a little fucked off. On the other, absolutely quit with the ad hominems. There is a potentially very serious discussion to be had around the undercurrents of this latest round of, what I’d characterise as, destructive nonsense. You gonna cut out the personal attacks? ] – Bill

  35. Malcolm 35

    “now that we can see the actual passage, (thanks, Malcolm) it doesn’t appear to assist your argument that he was a racist in the least. The actual speech from Savage, which you could have provided at the time if you weren’t such a pompous git, actually seems to suggest he was reasonably thoughtful and ahead of the times, even if he used the language of the times.”

    I’m seriously gobsmacked that you can interpret that as not being racist! I’m even more gobsmacked that you are so scared of any serious critique of the Labour Party that you have handed out a 6-month ban to Phil. Really? What a joke.

    For anyone who is actually interested in the history of the labour movement in this country and how it continues to influence the class struggle in the present I recommend reading the debate on the Immigration Restriction Amendment Act in Hansard.

    As for this simply being a matter of the ‘language of the times’, it is patently untrue that the whole of the labour movement succumbed to racialist ideology and supported anti-Chinese bigotry. As as an example I have easily to hand you can read here about the anti-racist organising of the IWW in South Africa and the USA:

    http://libcom.org/history/crossing-color-lines-crossing-continents-comparing-racial-politics-iww-south-africa-unit

    Malcolm Deans

    • Colonial Viper 35.1

      Yep, clearly an utterly racist statement by Savage as recorded in Hansard. Now Savage may not have been a racist – but in that statement he certainly was pandering to a populist streak in the electorate that was. The exact shades of what Labour has done again, very recently.

      Just changing the original Savage quote from

      Anyway, there is no one going to deny the fact that the indiscriminate introduction of Asiatics to this country is not going to be in the best interests of this country.”

      to

      Anyway, there is no one going to deny the fact that the indiscriminate introduction of Jews to this country is not going to be in the best interests of this country.”

      makes it crystal clear what the prejudiced thrust of the statement was really about.

  36. Realblue 36

    Yes Macolm, its staggering to interpret in any other way unless the reader is intellectually challenged. It’s intent was racist, it’s a dog whistle sadly repeated recently.

    • Bill 36.1

      Please see above and in the interests of having an adult conversation that I think is absolutely necessary, ask that I delete the personal attacks and participate in that conversation, before some-one less lenient comes along with a banning stick.

      Cheers.

      On second thoughts, I’m deleting the bullshit. Now engage intelligently or cop a ban for having me waste my time to no avail.

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  • Greens welcome huge new investment in sustainable projects
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  • New Zealand First demands answers from Meridian Energy
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    5 days ago
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    6 days ago
  • Click-bait journalism at its worst
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  • Week That Was: Getting people into jobs
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  • Coalition commitment establishing Mental Health Commission delivered
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  • Shane Jones calls out those holding drought-stricken Auckland ‘to ransom’ over water
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  • New Navy vessel Aotearoa to arrive in New Zealand
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    2 weeks ago
  • Green Party seek amendment to ensure all prisoners can vote
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    2 weeks ago
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    2 weeks ago
  • Ground-breaking on NZ Post depot
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  • Statement on passage of national security law for Hong Kong
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