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Lessons from Brexit

Written By: - Date published: 3:08 pm, June 27th, 2016 - 40 comments
Categories: capitalism - Tags:

Post Brexit some on the left are applying the analysis that it was the result of the masses acting out of uneducated racism.

That’s an analysis that’s not just wrong, and a little classist, but – if it is the final analysis social democratic organisations fall back on – extremely dangerous.

With the Brexit referendum the Government foolishly gave the nation the opportunity to raise a middle finger to a political and financial establishment that they have been systematically estranged from. And the nation took that opportunity.

Much as they took a similar opportunity when they voted Corbyn in as Labour leader, and much as their brethren across the Atlantic did in voting up Trump as a candidate and in getting a septuagenarian socialist within cooee of taking the Democratic candidacy.

In a smaller way there was an element of that reaction against the establishment in the election of the last two Labour leaders here in New Zealand – neither of whom were caucus’ first choice.

These are lessons it’s important for the establishment to learn. Particularly the social democratic establishment. Representative democracy fails to maintain legitimacy when it is no longer representative of the people. And in an interconnected world in which the most successful businesses and movements are those that give voice to their customers and members, the insular paternalistic liberalism of late 20th century social democracy no longer provides enough sense of such voice.

The Brexit failure of David Cameron notwithstanding, the right have generally adapted better to this new electoral environment, perhaps because it reflects an atomised and individualised customer environment they have been dealing with through business for some time, perhaps because they take a more cynical and expedient approach to politics than your average wonky lefty.

The danger is that by not taking this lesson on board, and instead dismissing the electorate as ignorant or racist, social democratic organisations in particular would move further away from their traditional base and cede even more ground to the right. Because people can sense when you don’t like them and they don’t support people who don’t like them.

An even more dangerous situation would be these organisations mistaking the symptoms – anti-immigration and other reactionary positions – for the cause and trying to regain currency by triangulating these positions. That would be a serious error – the electorate is extremely clever, not in a delving-into-debate-about-policy-detail way (really, who has the luxury of time for that kind of thing?), but in their ability to recognise when people are being inauthentic. And there are few things as inauthentic as a triangulating social democrat.

A much better reaction to Brexit and to what now appears to be a wave of anti-establishment reaction across western democracies, would be for social democratic political parties to look for ways to reengage with the electorate, and particularly the working class, on progressive issues.

That means seeing the parliamentary left not as leaders of the debate but as an equal part of a broader progressive movement. It means giving more authority to rank and file party members (it’s no coincidence that people joined NZ Labour and UK Labour in droves when they had a meaningful opportunity to make a choice of leader), it means working alongside democratic organisations like unions and NGOs as a parliamentary cog of the progressive movement rather than acting as defacto leaders of it.

Ultimately it means acknowledging that representing people in the 21st century means opening the doors to them, not just “looking after” them from within the inner sanctum. That shift was what Corbyn was signalling when he let the people have his parliamentary questions to Cameron, it’s what Sanders was showing with his mass rallies and campaign advertising focused on other people’s stories, and it’s what has worked best for New Zealand Labour when they have done it.

Even in opposition, social democratic parties and non-parliamentary organisations have incredible opportunities to make change. If there’s one thing they should learn from Brexit it’s that they need to work with the electorate as equals to do it. That’s how you re-engage people, and it’s how you build the trust that allows them to feel you are fit to lead on their behalf.

 

Rob Egan is an ex-senior advisor to two Labour leaders and co-owner of public relations firm Piko Consulting

40 comments on “Lessons from Brexit ”

  1. Kevin 1

    The link to Boots Theory takes me to a WordPress log-in page.

  2. r0b 2

    That’s a very useful and important post – thanks for it!

  3. Greg 4

    I’m surprised that somehow, the red communists got left out of whose fault it all was.

    Aint It all good news for the kiwi economy in exporters, the dollar is falling,
    interest rates not changing,according to Key order, opps press statement,
    Kiwi travelers buying up cheap as chips British Pounds,

    sure kiwisaver funds have taken a hit, they are a gamble,

    Where does the Treasury top up its credit card from?
    hey look its come down,

    http://www.nationaldebtclocks.org/debtclock/newzealand

  4. Glenn 50 5

    ” This is the most frightening period for the left in generations”

    Hilary Benn’s “sacking”, a dubious description seeing as the shadow foreign secretary constructed his own dismissal, was followed by the self-sacrifice of no fewer than 11 shadow cabinet ministers by late evening on 26 June, a run of career suicide bombs all detonated with the single aim of forcing Jeremy Corbyn out, just nine months after the leftwinger secured an almighty mandate from party members, taking more than thrice the votes of any of his three rivals, from the party’s centre and right.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jun/26/the-guardian-view-on-post-brexit-politics-perilous-times-for-progressives

  5. Colonial Viper 6

    One of the best write ups on this topic since the BREXIT vote.

    And yes, the Establishment could listen to what the masses are saying, but The Establishment is pretty confident that they know better, and has had this hubris for a very long time now.

    • AmaKiwi 6.1

      CV

      + 1

      In my regular conversations over many years with some highly placed Labour MPs, I think the chance of getting them to convert from their elitism to taking advice from constituents is as probable as convincing a gay man to become straight.

      • Colonial Viper 6.1.1

        The culture of elite superiority amongst these MPs also affects who they select as lieutenants, staffers and new candidates, and so the attitude perpetuates itself deeply into the organisation through both selection and socialisation.

        Which is why IMO Labour (NZ or UK) is never turning around at this point.

        • AmaKiwi 6.1.1.1

          CV

          Sadly I must agree with you 100%.

          It’s precisely the Jeremy Corbyn situation. The people want a say but the “tribe” (i.e. NZ Labour caucus) will destroy anyone who tries to let the people decide. The tribe call it “populist” and treat it like dog shit they accidentally stepped in.

          So we can watch the UK Labour party destroy itself and see what we are in for.

  6. Olwyn 7

    If there’s one thing they should learn from Brexit it’s that they need to work with the electorate as equals to do it.

    Indeed, but that is easier said than done – beginning with working out just who the electorate includes, and what it supports, opposes, and suffers from. And importantly, who or what its enemy is. To me, the core enemy is a financial sector that demands fealty from everyone, is not answerable to anyone beyond itself, and thinks that those it doesn’t need can be safely kicked to the kerb. It did not gain its dominance without allies. The first ally, soon to be dropped, was the manufacturing sector – “we’re on the same team, we both hate unions”, to be quickly replaced by salaried liberals – “we both hate bigoted, uneducated rednecks.” Its most permanent ally is the speculator. However, not all liberals are neoliberals. The young people supporting Corbyn and Sanders are for the most part liberal – their politics now extend from liberalism to socialism in the way that politics of seventies’ youth extended from socialism to liberalism. The working class who have been kicked to the kerb, however, mistrust liberals, with very good reason. It might not be easy for these two groups to find common purpose, but it has to happen. If we cannot achieve it, the neolibs will go on swapping allies while we get ever weaker. You do not get anywhere without allies.

    • Rob Egan 7.1

      This is a good point. I take the view that a social democratic organisation (note: not just parties but any progressive-leaning organisation that seeks to act as a political/civic player) should be looking to build relationships based on common-cause with other organisations.

      On the matter of working class youth v.s. liberal youth I’m less sure – I think the young working class are generally quite socially liberal. At least that’s been my experience.

      In one of her Brexit pieces Polly Toynbee described strong unions as “the glue that held together that postwar coalition of intelligentsia and working class.” I’d add to that indigenous movements, in our case Iwi, and a well-funded and intellectually independent education system.

      Social democratic parties need to recognise that they are there to enable progressive organisations rather than just legislating legal minimums that, although perfectly worthy in terms of alleviating social ills, remove agency from civic institutions and individuals, and are ultimately vulnerable to a change of government and the subsequent stroke of the legislative pen.

      The payoff for social democratic parties that take this approach is a series of campaign and discursive networks that have a clear stake in ensuring these parties’ electoral success.

      • Olwyn 7.1.1

        I think the young working class are generally quite socially liberal. True, but it doesn’t follow that they trust the liberals in public life to represent their concerns. Take the Blairites in the UK Labour Party, for example. Those who supported austerity were certainly not representing the concerns of working class youth. In my opinion support for an austerity imposed only on the poor should be grounds for expulsion from any Labour Party. The Labour Party was formed to defend those who must sell their Labour to live, as opposed to collecting rents or profits from investments. It is good that it has broadened its scope, but when that evolves into a radical change of focus it cannot assume working class support.

        I agree that we need to basically reinvent or rediscover a glue that will hold us together, and it should include progressive movements as a whole, and not just the facilitators at the top. That is what I think Bernie is trying to achieve – an electorate that is able to expect its claims to be taken seriously, as the business sector does automatically.

        • Rob Egan 7.1.1.1

          I agree – I think the conflation of social liberalism with economic liberalism has been incredibly costly for the parliamentary left internationally. One is progressive the other is certainly not.

  7. Bill 8

    …it means working alongside democratic organisations like unions and NGOs as a parliamentary cog of the progressive movement rather than acting as defacto leaders of it.

    Almost, but not quite. Most unions and NGOs are structured so that they inevitably produce an organisational elite or clique that determines what issue gets prioritised, what issue gets dropped, what strategy is pursued and so on. In other words they offer up a mirror image to political parties and the detachment that always threatens to afflict them after a given period of time. In coalition, the problems magnify or intensify as the orgs with most financial resources inevitably dominate any agenda settings.

    Any movement can only succeed and persist when the domineering structures of NGOs etc are absent. For political parties then, their only way to ensure relevance is to encourage the formation and growth of movements, but to never be an integral part of them. As particular issues gain prominence and traction from the level playing field of a genuine movement (ie – not as a result of any coalition negotiations between different NGOs or whatever orgs), then a parliamentary party can choose to give those issues some expression within parliament, and maybe increase their vote or relevance as a result of that.

    Ultimately, politic’s home is in society, not parliament. But while (if) movements take root and flourish, political parties can tap them, both for reasons of enlightened self interest and the common good, before they and the particular narrow parliamentary definition of politics they practice is subsumed and left behind by politics grounded in society rather than institutions.

    And yes, I’m fully aware that the usual dynamic is for ‘institutional’ politics to contain and harness what it can from any groundswell in social politics while simultaneously seeking to consign it back to the margins. It won’t necessarily always play out that way though.

  8. weka 9

    An even more dangerous situation would be these organisations mistaking the symptoms – anti-immigration and other reactionary positions – for the cause and trying to regain currency by triangulating these positions.

    Can someone please explain what that is?

    • Greg 9.1

      How Fascism gets into power, =currency of hate and fear, always blaming someone else for social problems, rather than a failed system, or leadership.

      hmm maybe?

      • Richardrawshark 9.1.1

        The end part Weka talks about, means using the symptoms of the Brexit vote to gain power by whipping the public up and faking a few things to inflame it even more for political power..

        Hitler used this trick, willingly/knowingly or not, he fed the hatred, fear, Hatred for the rising inflation and blaming the jewish bankers, fear of communist socialist, taking over a excellent example of this was his own bombing of the Parliament, blaming the communists and increasing his powers demanding joint presidency/ whatever Frau Merkel calls herself,

    • Rob Egan 9.2

      Sorry – it’s a little bit too much political jargon. I mean working to find a way to accommodate those positions by shifting toward them – i.e. shift right to find a mythical sweetspot between what your base believe and what you think is the reactionary politics of your target vote.

      • weka 9.2.1

        So for instance, UK Labour thinking that the Brexit vote was about anti-immigration/racism instead of concern about the state of poor people and their communities in the UK, and thus Labour shifting its policy away from pro-immigration/anti-racism to something closer to UKIP policy in order to chase perceived votes? The triangle being between Labour, the working class concerns and the UKIP-esque policies?

        Is one corner of the triangle always a myth or not necessarily so?

  9. Richardrawshark 10

    Not one of the Labour lot who’s resigned looked like they had ever done a proper days work in their lives to me, as in labour work, boring, mundane shite, no, these were champagne socialists I thought. Fresh from University all good but where is the knowing, it’s liken they skip floor sweeping and went straight into management.

    We need wise elders leading, and idiots learning AFAIC.

  10. joe90 11

    The economy, stupid.

    The forces driving those populist uprisings, both against E.U. bureaucrats in Brussels and elected officials in Washington, are complex and intertwined. They include long-simmering racial tensions and increased political polarization. But across the West, the economist Branko Milanovic argues, the rise of populism corresponds to a decline in the income share held by the broad middle classes of those countries.

    Milanovic has studied global inequality trends extensively, and is the creator of a semi-famous chart showing how the rise of global trade boosted incomes for the poorest and very richest workers in the world — everyone, really, except for the working class in the West. In a recent blog post, Milanovic writes that in the United States and other rich countries “populism is rooted in the failure of globalization to deliver palpable benefits to its working class.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/06/25/great-britain-just-killed-globalization-as-we-know-it/

  11. Steve Bradley 12

    While the elites are worried about Brexit, the masses are worried about breakfast.
    Whoever acknowledges that will garner support from ordinary working people.

  12. Incognito 13

    I think this is a very good post but I disagree with some of the statements.

    The electorate is ignorant insofar as they get fed a real dog’s breakfast from politicians, economists, journalists, columnists, etc., by and through the media.

    The electorate is irrational and easily manipulated through emotive messaging.

    The electorate is extremely clever in self-deception and denial; it can take years before they admit anything and act on it accordingly.

    Raging against the establishment is all nice and well but the vacuum often gets filled by the far-right because TINA.

    I would applaud engagement on progressive issues but I suspect that right now many people would prefer some sense of stability, security, calm, and control; this is not the time for revolution but for transformation or better even, a wee pause. Then you start forming those long-term meaningful relationships that are built on trust.

    • Wainwright 13.1

      You should read paragraph 8 again.

      • Incognito 13.1.1

        This one you mean?

        The danger is that by not taking this lesson on board, and instead dismissing the electorate as ignorant or racist, social democratic organisations in particular would move further away from their traditional base and cede even more ground to the right. Because people can sense when you don’t like them and they don’t support people who don’t like them.

        Would you please state your point or argument rather than just telling to re-read paragraphs; I am no mind reader nor do I have time to second-guess people.

  13. Jenny 14

    Great Post Rob.

    I have just read a list of the UK Shadow Cabinet resignation emails.

    http://indy100.independent.co.uk/article/17-of-the-most-ouch-comments-from-the-labour-shadow-minister-resignation-letters-to-jeremy-corbyn–ZkUm3SWJrZ?utm_source=indy&utm_medium=top5&utm_campaign=i100

    All the anti-Corbyn Labour MPs were ‘Remain’ supporters, angry at Corbyn’s less than enthusiastic support for the cause.

    To my mind this showed that Corbyn was more deeply in touch with the British people and in particular the British working class than he was with the elites they were rejecting.

    A common theme of the emails is one the one of the “Unity” argument the Right have always used to smother debate, and impose their rule without having to see it challenged by open debate and honest political contest. I perceived, (though it was not stated), the oft stated refrain here “That Labour is a broad church”.

    “That Labour is a Broad Church” is what we hear in this country excusing the Roger Douglas’s and Richard Prebble’s and their heirs inside the Labour Party.

    All power to Corbyn. To his credit he has stuck to his guns and not buckled to this Right Wing Pressure. In my opinion the British Labour Party will be made stronger to see the back of these plotters.

    I hope to see Corbyn making no concessions to these right wingers and instead the coming weeks will see him promote and cement into place a crop of young and progressive new Shadow Cabinet MPs more in touch with the people they are supposed to represent.

    I hope that Andrew Little will take the same hard line against those Labour MPs here who he has allowed to support the TPPA, and instead accept their resignations if they don’t back down.

    TTIP*, Central Bankers EU imposed austerity, global corporate power and even the TPPA have all been seriously weakened by the Brexit.

    See for instance the call by Podemos of Spain for the end of EU imposed austerity, coupled to the threat to leave the EU if their demands are not met.

    The lessons for New Zealand are clear, those who want to sell out our sovereignty to foreign and more importantly unaccountable (foreign) interests need to be given the swift boot.
    No, “But Labour is a broad church” excuses should be accepted from these quislings by Andrew Little.

    *What is TTIP?
    http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/what-is-ttip-and-six-reasons-why-the-answer-should-scare-you-9779688.html

    • miravox 14.1

      “See for instance the call by Podemos of Spain for the end of EU imposed austerity, coupled to the threat to leave the EU if their demands are not met.”

      I don’t share your positivity.

      In the last few days before the election the support on the left drained away. Although the People’s Party still didn’t achieve a majority, Rajoy feels confident enough that that he can form a government.

      Meanwhile it seems the Labour Party chaos in the UK has absolutely taken the heat off the Conservatives. All day the new has pictured them come across looking all statesman-like after being AWOL in the weekend. I blame the Blairites for this. No question.

      A final act in the Blairite opera that ends the Labour Party? Not necesarily a bad thing in the big scheme of things, the factions going their separate ways, but it means the Torys once again get away with destruction.

      This whole referendum, a Tory ego project, is ending in disaster for the left.

      • Jenny 14.1.1

        “This whole referendum, a Tory ego project, is ending in disaster for the left.”
        miravox

        I disagree, the referendum on the Brexit was granted by the Torys through gritted teeth, after a rash promise was given to do so, and only in the misplaced arrogance that they would win it.

        What I think, is that the Brexit referendum, mirrors in some ways the referendum for MMP in this country. The MMP referendum was wrung out of the Bolger National Government, also after a rash promise was given to do so, after a campaign spearheaded from the Left by Rod Donald. And which the Right had confidently assumed that they would also win.

        We can see the dissarray on the Right who campaigned for the Brexit who now are trying to backpeddle, and go back on their promises.

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-eu-referendum-nigel-farage-nhs-350-million-pounds-live-health-service-u-turn-a7102831.html

        http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/nigel-farage-admits-wont-extra-8271594

        • miravox 14.1.1.1

          “What I think, is that the Brexit referendum, mirrors in some ways the referendum for MMP in this country”

          Hmm… we’ll have to agree to disagree on that. My understanding is that this was the result of a powerplay between Cameron and Johnson after Cameron said he’d got concessions from the EU in 2013. Boris ridiculed him and this was widely considered a powerplay for leadership of the Conservative Party

          Labour had nothing to do with it at all. It was a Tory private members bill that enabled the legislation for the referendum to be held before the end of 2017. Initally Labour opposed it (but along with the Lib Dems) eventually allowed the legislation to enable the referendum to pass after losing the 2015 election.

          Nothing like NZ MMP

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Union_Referendum_Act_2015

          I agree that they never expected an exit to happen. Which pretty much underlines the Johnson power play.

      • Jenny 14.1.2

        This post was titled “Lessons from Brexit”

        So what can we learn from the Brexit?

        How can the Left benefit from the Brexit?

        The cleaning out of all the conservative influences in the UK Labour Shadow Cabinet is a good start, replacing them with younger more Left and more in touch MPs would build on that.

        The next thing Jeremy Corbyn could do would be to take a lead from the New Zealand Labour Party and reach out to the British Green Party, who are generally considered to be to the Left of British Labour. What form this outreach could take is up to UK Labour to decide. But there could be some definite advantages as has been shown in New Zealand where polls have shown the electorate reacting favourably to the MoU between the NZ Green Party and the NZ labour Party.

        https://www.greenparty.org.uk/

        Corbyn should also reach out to the Scottish people and promise them that a Labour government would give them them a second referendum. As the Scottish First Minister has noted under the rules agreed to at the last referendum a new referendum could be triggered if there was any major change among the parties. She argued that the Brexit is that major change that requires (under the rules) for the independence referendum to be revisited.

        I imagine that a promise from UK Labour to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence would see a huge swing of support towards UK Labour from the Scottish electorate.

        A benefit might come that if Scottland did vote for independence and then stayed in the EU, that Britain could with the open land border between Scotland and England gain the best of both worlds.

  14. Jenny 15

    This is one of the most interesting posts that I have ever read from a Labour Party advisor. (Labour need to take him back on board again.)

    What I particularly appreciated was Rob’s faith in the electorate.

    “The danger is that by not taking this lesson on board, and instead dismissing the electorate as ignorant or racist, social democratic organisations in particular would move further away from their traditional base and cede even more ground to the right. Because people can sense when you don’t like them and they don’t support people who don’t like them.

    An even more dangerous situation would be these organisations mistaking the symptoms – anti-immigration and other reactionary positions – for the cause and trying to regain currency by triangulating these positions. That would be a serious error – the electorate is extremely clever,….”
    Rob Egan

    And I agree the electorate are not stupid. Though the Xenophobic Right have managed to hijack the Brexit debate, this was in part due to the Left’s inconsistency and unclarity, which saw them sideline themselves throughout the debate.

    Of course EU membership has several and progressive advantages, not least is the Schengen Agreement, that broke down internal borders. And I can understand the Left’s inconsistency on EU membership.

    But at the heart of the EU is the rule of central bankers and the corporates which act mainly to the benefit of the European Elites. (including the British Elite).

    In my opinion, and many others, it is this unaccountable and remote control that the British electorate have reacted against.

    • locus 15.1

      In my opinion, and many others, it is this unaccountable and remote control that the British electorate have reacted against.

      No it’s not

      It’s the lies and bullshit about the EU that was fed to them by unscrupulous politicians and fanned by the tabloid press that motivated many of the 52%

      “David Cameron has reaped a crisis of his own making, assisted by a virulently right-wing press and a dearth of strong leadership in all political parties. Since the start of Cameron’s leadership in opposition he has indulged anti-EU sentiment in the media and on his own benches, unleashing forces that ultimately he could not control. His attempts at negotiating better deals within the EU were undermined by politically expedient rhetoric which both insulted EU partners and raised expectations at home that he was never going to be able to meet.”
      https://www.opensocietyfoundations.org/voices/taking-stock-brexit

      • Jenny 15.1.1

        The Irony Lady.

        Tory hero and EU Remainer Margaret Thatcher, in 1975 wears a knitted jumper emblazoned with the flags of the EU, manufactured in a now defunct woollen mill in Scotland, no doubt sunk by cheap imported synthetics.

        https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/shortcuts/2016/jun/22/margaret-thatcher-pro-europe-jumper-perfect-referendum-day-fashion

        How far we have come.

        (And not in a good way)

        In 1975 the British Labour Party campaigned against membership of the EU, today the right wing neo-Blairite caucus of the British Labour Party are trying to sack the membership elected Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn for not campaigning to stay in the EU hard enough.

        https://www.totalpolitics.com/articles/news/jeremy-corbyn-admits-he-%E2%80%98no-lover-eu%E2%80%99-during-candid-defence-remain

        • Jenny 15.1.1.1

          David Cameron comes in behind the neo-Blairite Labour Party Caucus trying to oust the membership elected Labour Party leader.

          Echoing his political soul mates in the Labour caucus Cameron stated that having the Left Wing Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party “is not in the national interest.”

          http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-36663181

          The best Prime Minister we never had.

          All this reminds me strongly of the ABC dominated caucus who pressured the membership elected David Cunliffe out of office.

          Unfortunately Cunliffe didn’t have the steel to stare down his right wing, that Corbyn seems to have. And instead, David Cunliffe caved into the pressure from the neo-Liberal, neo-Rogergnomes, and resigned without letting it go to a membership vote as he should have.

          • Jenny 15.1.1.1.1

            The question must be asked; Who’s national interest?

            Prime Minister David Cameron has told Jeremy Corbyn to resign as Labour leader, claiming it is not in the national interest for him to continue.

            During Prime Minister’s Questions, the PM criticised Mr Corbyn’s efforts during the EU referendum, telling him: “For heaven’s sake man, go.”

            A challenge to Mr Corbyn’s Labour leadership is expected following a no-confidence vote by MPs.
            The Labour leader says quitting would betray all the members that back him.

            Allies of Mr Corbyn, who has strong support among the party’s members, have called on his critics to trigger a formal leadership contest.

            http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-36663181

            Who’s national interest is it to remain in the EU? The People’s, or the Elite?

            Who’s national interest is it to sign up to the TTIP? The People’s or the Eiltie?

            Who’s national interest is it here in NZ to sign up to the TPPA? The People’s or the Elite?

  15. Anno1701 16

    “we never lived before the EU and havent known life outside in any capacity, and barely turned out to vote”

    “But you gotta listen to us and vote how we want because thats how democracy works”

    ….. Millennial , some where in Hackney 2016

  16. Colonial Viper 17

    The Saker reports that the Anglo elite are now determined to use their ‘Colour Revolution’ tactics on the UK in order to undermine the BREXIT referendum result and totally halt the exit of the UK from the EU. This includes various NGOs popping up campaigning, polls asking to ignore the result, pressure on the financial markets, etc.

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    2 days ago
  • Australian Foreign Minister to visit Aotearoa New Zealand
    Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today that Australian Foreign Minister Hon Marise Payne will visit Aotearoa New Zealand for the first face-to-face Foreign Ministers’ Consulations since the COVID-19 pandemic began. “Australia is New Zealand’s closest and most important international partner. I’m very pleased to be able to welcome Hon Marise ...
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    3 days ago
  • Border exceptions will see more families reunited
    Hundreds more families who were separated by the border closure will be reunited under new border exceptions announced today, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said. “The Government closed the border to everyone but New Zealand citizens and residents, in order to keep COVID-19 out, keep our economy open and keep New ...
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    3 days ago
  • “He Taniwha He Tipua, He Tipua He Taniwha – The Dragon and the Taniwha”
    Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Foreign Minister 8.30am, 19 April 2021 [CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY] Speech to the NZCC Korihi Pō, Korihi Ao E rongo e turia no Matahau Nō Tū te winiwini, Nō Tū te wanawana Tū Hikitia rā, Tū Hapainga mai Ki te Whai Ao, Ki te Ao Mārama Tihei Mauri ...
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    3 days ago
  • Backing sustainable wool carpets to create a compelling yarn for New Zealand’s strong wool sector
    The Government is supporting a new project with all-wool New Zealand carpet company, Bremworth, which has its sights on developing more sustainable all-wool carpets and rugs, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced.  The Ministry for Primary Industries is contributing $1.9 million towards Bremworth’s $4.9 million sustainability project through its Sustainable Food ...
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    3 days ago
  • New Zealand provides support to Timor-Leste for flooding and COVID-19 surge
    New Zealand is providing further support to Timor-Leste following severe flooding and the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. “Our thoughts are with the people of Timor-Leste who have been impacted by the severe flooding and landslides at a time when the country is ...
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    4 days ago
  • WHANAU OF MĀORI BATTALION SOLDIERS REUNITED WITH MEDALS
    A ceremony has been held today in Gisborne where the unclaimed medals of 28 (Māori) Battalion C Company soldiers were presented to their families.   After the Second World War, returning service personnel needed to apply for their medals and then they would be posted out to them.  While most medals ...
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    5 days ago
  • Reducing barriers to breastfeeding
    The Government is committed to increasing the number of mothers who breastfeed for longer to give babies born in New Zealand the best start in life. The Ministry of Health recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed for the first six month but only about 20 percent of children at this ...
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    5 days ago
  • SolarWinds compromise attributed to Russian state actor
    New Zealand has today added its voice to the international condemnation of the malicious compromise and exploitation of the SolarWinds Orion platform. The Minister Responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau, Andrew Little, says that New Zealand's international partners have analysed the compromise of the SolarWinds Orion platform and attributed ...
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    5 days ago
  • Queenstown roading project given fast track approval
    An expert consenting panel has approved the Queenstown Arterials Project, which will significantly improve transport links and reduce congestion for locals and visitors in the tourism hotspot.   Environment Minister David Parker welcomed the approval for the project that will construct, operate and maintain a new urban road around Queenstown’s town ...
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    6 days ago
  • Screen industry secures landmark project
    Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash says a landmark deal has been agreed with Amazon for The Lord of the Rings TV series, currently being filmed in New Zealand. Mr Nash says the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) secures multi-year economic and tourism benefits to New Zealand, outside the screen ...
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    6 days ago
  • Report into review of health response to lead contamination released
    The Government welcomes the findings from a rapid review into the health system response to lead contamination in Waikouaiti’s drinking water supply. Sample results from the town’s drinking-water supply showed intermittent spikes in lead levels above the maximum acceptable value. The source of the contamination is still under investigation by ...
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    6 days ago
  • NZ Upgrade Programme revs up economic recovery
    Transport Minister Michael Wood today marked the start of construction on the New Zealand Upgrade Programme’s Papakura to Drury South project on Auckland’s Southern Motorway, which will create hundreds of jobs and support Auckland’s economic recovery. The SH1 Papakura to Drury South project will give more transport choices by providing ...
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    6 days ago
  • Speech releasing the Digital Council's report 'Towards Trustworthy and Trusted Automated D...
    CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY  E ngā mana, e ngā reo, e ngā karanga maha o te wa, tēnā koutou, tēna koutou, tēna tātou katoa. Ki ngā mana whenua, ko Ngāi Tahu, ko Waitaha, ko Kāti Māmoe  anō nei aku mihi ki a koutou. Nōku te hōnore kia haere mai ki te ...
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    6 days ago
  • Green light for 10 minute e-bus to Auckland Airport
    Transport Minister Michael Wood today marked the completion of upgrades to State Highway 20B which will give Aucklanders quick electric bus trips to and from the airport. The State Highway 20B Early Improvements project has added new lanes in each direction between Pukaki Creek Bridge and SH20 for buses and ...
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    6 days ago
  • Review into greyhound racing announced
    The Government is putting in place a review of the work being done on animal welfare and safety in the greyhound racing industry, Grant Robertson announced today. “While Greyhound Racing NZ has reported some progress in implementing the recommendations of the Hansen Report, recent incidents show the industry still has ...
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    6 days ago
  • Road safety boosted by increased penalty for mobile use while driving
    The infringement fee for using a mobile phone while driving will increase from $80 to $150 from 30 April 2021 to encourage safer driving, Transport Minister Michael Wood announced today. Michael Wood said too many people are still picking up the phone while driving. “Police issued over 40,000 infringement notices ...
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    6 days ago
  • Pacific mental wellbeing supported across Auckland and Wellington
    Pacific people in New Zealand will be better supported with new mental health and addiction services rolling out across the Auckland and Wellington regions, says Aupito William Sio.  “One size does not fit all when it comes to supporting the mental wellbeing of our Pacific peoples. We need a by ...
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    7 days ago
  • Fresh approach proposed to Smokefree 2025
    New measures are being proposed to accelerate progress towards becoming a smokefree nation by 2025, Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall announced. “Smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke kills around 12 people a day in New Zealand. Recent data tells us New Zealand’s smoking rates continue to decrease, but ...
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    7 days ago
  • Govt expands Mana Ake to provide more school-based mental wellbeing support
    More children will be able to access mental wellbeing support with the Government expansion of Mana Ake services to five new District Health Board areas, Health Minister Andrew Little says. The Health Minister made the announcement while visiting Homai School in Counties Manukau alongside Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Associate ...
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    7 days ago
  • Record Number of People Move Into Work
    The Government’s COVID-19 response has meant a record number of people moved off a Benefit and into employment in the March Quarter, with 32,880 moving into work in the first three months of 2021. “More people moved into work last quarter than any time since the Ministry of Social Development ...
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    7 days ago
  • Significant global progress made under Christchurch Call
    A stocktake undertaken by France and New Zealand shows significant global progress under the Christchurch Call towards its goal to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.  The findings of the report released today reinforce the importance of a multi-stakeholder approach, with countries, companies and civil society working together to ...
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    1 week ago
  • New chair of interim TAB NZ Board appointed
    Racing Minister Grant Robertson has announced he is appointing Elizabeth Dawson (Liz) as the Chair of the interim TAB NZ Board. Liz Dawson is an existing Board Director of the interim TAB NZ Board and Chair of the TAB NZ Board Selection Panel and will continue in her role as ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government to phase out live exports by sea
    The Government has announced that the export of livestock by sea will cease following a transition period of up to two years, said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “At the heart of our decision is upholding New Zealand’s reputation for high standards of animal welfare. We must stay ahead of the ...
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    1 week ago
  • Workshop on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems – opening remarks
    WORKSHOP ON LETHAL AUTONOMOUS WEAPONS SYSTEMS Wednesday 14 April 2021 MINISTER FOR DISARMAMENT AND ARMS CONTROL OPENING REMARKS Good morning, I am so pleased to be able to join you for part of this workshop, which I’m confident will help us along the path to developing New Zealand’s national policy on ...
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    1 week ago
  • Inter-prison kapa haka competition launched
    For the first time, all 18 prisons in New Zealand will be invited to participate in an inter-prison kapa haka competition, Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis announced today. The 2021 Hōkai Rangi Whakataetae Kapa Haka will see groups prepare and perform kapa haka for experienced judges who visit each prison and ...
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    1 week ago
  • Government takes step forward on counter terrorism laws
    The Government has introduced the Counter-Terrorism Legislation Bill, designed to boost New Zealand's ability to respond to a wider range of terrorist activities. The Bill strengthens New Zealand’s counter-terrorism legislation and ensures that the right legislative tools are available to intervene early and prevent harm. “This is the Government’s first ...
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    1 week ago
  • Carbon neutral government a step closer
    Coal boiler replacements at a further ten schools, saving an estimated 7,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next ten years Fossil fuel boiler replacements at Southern Institute of Technology and Taranaki DHB, saving nearly 14,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over the next ten years Projects to achieve a total ...
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    1 week ago
  • Appointment of Chief Parliamentary Counsel
    Attorney-General David Parker today announced the appointment of Cassie Nicholson as Chief Parliamentary Counsel for a term of five years. The Chief Parliamentary Counsel is the principal advisor and Chief Executive of the Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO).  She is responsible for ensuring PCO, which drafts most of New Zealand’s legislation, provides ...
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    1 week ago
  • Emissions report shows urgent action needed
    Every part of Government will need to take urgent action to bring down emissions, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw said today in response to the recent rise in New Zealand’s greenhouse emissions. The latest annual inventory of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions shows that both gross and net ...
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    1 week ago
  • NZ becomes first in world for climate reporting
    Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark says Aotearoa New Zealand has become the first country in the world to introduce a law that requires the financial sector to disclose the impacts of climate change on their business and explain how they will manage climate-related risks and opportunities. The Financial ...
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    1 week ago
  • Awards celebrate the food and fibre sector employer excellence
    Exceptional employment practices in the primary industries have been celebrated at the Good Employer Awards, held this evening at Parliament. “Tonight’s awards provided the opportunity to celebrate and thank those employers in the food and fibres sector who have gone beyond business-as-usual in creating productive, safe, supportive, and healthy work ...
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    1 week ago
  • Tourism Infrastructure Fund now open
    Applications are now invited from all councils for a slice of government funding aimed at improving tourism infrastructure, especially in areas under pressure given the size of their rating bases. Tourism Minister Stuart Nash has already signalled that five South Island regions will be given priority to reflect that jobs ...
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    1 week ago