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National’s factional problem

Written By: - Date published: 9:18 am, November 28th, 2021 - 91 comments
Categories: chris bishop, Christopher Luxon, farming, liberalism, national, religion, same old national, Simon Bridges - Tags:

It is clear this week that National has a major factional problem and resolution of this issue will require National to do some soul searching and work out what it actually stands for.

It’s basic problem is that it does not really stand for anything.  It stands against trade unions, workers, collectivism, intellectualism, social liberalism and change.  At different times it has stood against Maori, Pasifeka, Homosexuals, and Women.  It had to be dragged kicking and screaming around to the realisation that these are actually good people and deserve our arhoa.  And it only did this when it recognised that there may be political benefit gained by respecting these groups.

It does not really stand for anything.  Except individual benefit for its participants and supporters.

It has cobbled together this really awkward coalition which when you look at it is internally contradictory.  At different parts of its history different factions served a useful purpose.  But now they just fight each other.

The factions are irreconcilable.

The urban liberal faction, highlighted by Chris Bishop, Nicola Willis and Erica Stanford are superficially not too dissimilar to distinguish from their urban Labour equivalents.  Except for a hatred of trade unionists and an unerring belief that they are superior to the rest of us.  They recognised the benefit in respecting the rights of women, ethnic minorities and gender diverse people a while ago and have been solid supporters of at least some progressive ideals.  And when it comes to issues such as climate change they tend to respect the science, at least to a degree.

The christian conservative faction is currently in the ascendancy and includes MPs Simon Bridges, Chris Luxon, Simeon Brown and Chris Penk.  They find the idea of supporting women’s rights, particularly in relation to rights over their bodies, problematic.  And they tend to rely on the old testament guidance when it comes to dealing with homosexuality.  And when it comes to climate change they again seek guidance from the old testament and are happy to leave handling of the issue up to god. It is hard to imagine what they have in common with the urban liberal faction and the bruising debate National went through when the End of Life Choice bill was going through Parliament highlighted how little they had in common with the urban liberal faction.

And then we have the country faction.  Good old salt of the earth farmers who over recent years have increasingly sold out to farming conglomerates.  People thinking that in the face of the pending global environmental catastrophe we should do nothing, that the old way is the best way.

A major part of the problem is the way the factions have conducted relationships between each other.  There is no sense of behind the scenes discrete discussions to try and find a middle ground.  Instead they still seem to be drinking from the Dirty Politics kool ade.  Leaks and media briefings are the methods most used to conduct inter faction negotiations.

When you boil it down the only thing that National MPs have in common is a belief they have a god given right to rule.  With no faction in dominance the chances of a continuation of its current internal war are inevitable.

91 comments on “National’s factional problem ”

  1. Phil 1

    They other thing that bands them together is worshipping money and those that have a lot of it. Socially they might have different policies but economically perhaps not.

  2. Alan 2

    Which will make it all the more galling for you when they win the next election.

    • Ad 2.1

      2027 is their first look-in.

      At that point more of the farmers and rural towns have slid to Act, the rural local government base has been gutted into powerlessness, evangelical Christians are an even smaller part of New Zealand than now, National and Act are around even, but between them they struggle to muster 40%.

    • Mark Craig 2.2

      Is that you Mr Wilkinson,come out now do not be shy.

  3. Tricledrown 3

    National have been bogged down in their own quagmire of Dirty Politics.Until they ditch all those players .National will continue to wallow in polls.

    Shane Reti is the leader who comes across as straight up and honest.

    With the pandemic no where near run it's course Reti an highly educated Doctor can bring his Medical knowledge to the debate at will.Making it easy for him to rebutt the govts response not sounding like a politician regurgitating spin.

    Plus he is likeable unlike the career politicians and spin doctor's.

    • Dennis Frank 3.1

      Reti is the dark horse in this race (just fishing for pc gone mad reactions from readers).


      Reti is a medical practitioner, a Harvard graduate, a musician, and most recently a Covid-19 vaccinator. He’s been leading the charge in the health portfolio during the pandemic but a couple of months ago decided his skills were better used out in the field in Northland, returning to his turangawaewae to vaccinate his people in the North. It’s an admirable thing to do and came naturally to Reti, who is a trained GP and spent 17 years caring for his community in Whangarei before entering Parliament in 2014. He is of Ngāti Hine, Ngāpuhi and Ngati Wai descent


      Smart money will be on this dark horse! However the natural idiocy of the Nat caucus is likely to defeat him – unless Key intervenes, and tells them it's too soon for Luxon. I expect Simon to defer to Shane (but he may not be smart enough).

      • Graeme 3.1.1

        It may be that Reti is the only one they can get agreement on, again.

        I had a mate who's a long time National member explain that this was the case with Collins as well, she was the only candidate who could command the support of a majority of caucus at that time. The other options would have split the party.

        How successful Reti will be at banging heads together and building a cohesive party may be another matter.

        • lprent

          In a lot of ways National splitting is something that Labour should probably hope doesn't happen.

          As separate parties, the factions of the National party will have to learn how to work together in coalitions rather than competing in dominance games. Otherwise there is no real probability that any one part would large enough to coalesce a government.

          Currently the christian conservatives are providing the focus of the disruption and a lot of the energy, cash and momentum at a party level. That is largely because after the successive failures to build their own party over decades, there has been a clear intent for them to take over National.

          The problem is that it disrupted the existing coalition that was National between conservative urban business and conservative farming that went all the way back to the 1930s.

          The problem is that Labour also has centrifugal forces. A breakup of National is likely to cause a Nationals urban liberals to start looking for their political dose in Labour. Last time that happened it caused a wholesale spilling off to the left as Labour occupied the centre.

          As a party that would be good for Labour vote and their coffers to be come the natural party of government. However it is likely to slow the country as National's urban liberals are noticeable for who little they really do when dealing with social and economic headwinds.

          Personally while I'm a economic right, social liberal and a natural for that centrist position. I also recognise that there a butt-load of changes and the challenges associated with it coming down the line in the coming decades. I don't think that a comfortable type of government like the National of the 1960s is useful under those circumstances.

          If National fractures – then that is the type of government what we'd get from dominant centrist Labour if they had a even more useless fragmented opposition. They'd get in the incoherent dithering position of Federal Lib/Nats in Aussie that is costing that country so much and slowly spiralling the country towards disassociation.

          As it is National and Labour in recent decades have both stood centre-right and centre-left and pretty much the same on all the other political axes. That has been that there has been careful changes with both trying ideas out in legislation and with associated parties. Some of those have been as crap and stupid as the 3 strikes legislation – and weeded out when the political shifts happen. Some have gotten embedded and modified.

          But there has always been useful adaptive change rather than the political head stuck firmly up the butt and living in a mythical past that we saw throughout my youth. To get out of that we wound up with a revolutionary period in the 80s and 90s that caused far too much damage.

          Personally I prefer the evolutionary and continuous adaption approach – which unfortunately is what is at risk if the christian conservatives manage to fragment National from their rather small voting base. They are too embedded into living in the past to be politically useful fro the bulk of our citizens.

          • Dennis Frank

            christian conservatives

            Luxon's achilles heel? He's probably intelligent enough to discern that niche as a political liability. Recall how Key down-played his jewish origin so well it became almost invisible. Since the gfc alerted everyone to the old `jew financiers controlling the world' trope, he was a sitting duck. Finessed that challenger rather well, I thought!

            Looks like Key has abandoned caution & decided his man is a goer, coming ready or not. Makes him frontrunner I guess. Well, to media & commentariat, at least. If I was Luxon I'd play the moral guidance card along with the team leader thing. It would mean pointing to the utility value of residual christianity. No need to tell the truth, as in "Hey, the antique belief system is just a useful tool in conservative politics." That would spook the horses. Followers would get the right message without needing to be told.

            Reti would either retain deputy or be given consolation prize of a senior ministerial role or two. If Key's mana generates the numbers…

            • lprent

              I suspect that Luxon will like to do exactly what you're talking about. It allows a political party to represent the broadest range of the voting public. However I don't think that he will get a particular choice. His primary responsibility is as the manager of the National party caucus and being able to try to form a government.

              In my view the freedom to do that to represent large groups of the population is steadily being constrained the number of National MPs who rely upon the fundraising, legwork, and organising of very small population groups in organised fundamentalist conservative religious organisations.

              This isn't just any particular sect of christians or indeed christians exclusively – they just happen to be the largest set of religious political groups in NZ. Because political religion is such a minority in NZ, they tend to concentrate on influence rather than voting.

              Think of the support that Don Brash got in 2005 from the relatively tiny non-voting exclusive brethren. Of the obvious moral self-justification basis that Cameron Slater used for his reprehensible actions from whatever religious group he was involved with (7th day adventists as I remember it).

              I would expect that we will see similar political pushes from other religious groups if this kind of political influencing is perceived to be a successful strategy in NZ.

              To ensure the success for minority influence peddling, I’d also expect strong pushes by those same groups to discourage voting. As you can see The LibNats doing in Australia right now) in Scott Morrison’s proposals to de-register vulnerable groups of voters – following the example set by the GOP in the US. Or even in the continual attempts to make politics look at dirty and as filthy as possible. That probably explains some of the really stupid candidates that National has been trying to put into government recently.

              • Dennis Frank

                Yeah, I get where you're coming from. Use of activists for leverage is always a thing. Using them as dupes is another level up from that too. smiley

                Could be Luxon is capable of working on that upper level and/or has advisers who are already doing so.

                But the main thrust of your argument draws upon the proven effectiveness of political action committees in the USA and downward cascading of that model into Oz & here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_action_committee

                Without the US rules structure, I mean, just the generic design – presumably to do for the right what unions once did for the left.

                I agree that the Nats are susceptible to this type of thinking and current poll ratings would ramp up their tendency to use it.

                • lprent

                  .. presumably to do for the right what unions once did for the left.

                  Still do. However the volume of people involved is significantly different even now.

                  Ummm…. https://www.companiesoffice.govt.nz/all-registers/registered-unions/annual-return-membership-reports/

                  Based on the returns received by the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment, total union membership as of 1 March 2020 was 380,659. This represents 16.42 percent of employees in the labour force. Total union membership increased by 2.0 percent compared to the previous year.

                  Compare that to the number of people in political parties even with the bloat that comes from party practices like the National parties "buy a raffle ticket for a few bucks and become an automatic party member" or the Labour party affiliated union associate membership – both of which inflate membership.

                  For instance National claims

                  National is made up of over 30,000 hard-working members and supporters who want to make a difference and help shape the future of our country.

                  Pretty small numbers compared to some organised groups.

                  It isn't as easy to get the numbers of people involved in the active political religious communities. But you can infer a bit from what religious groups don’t do political activism

                  The best data is probably the census data which this "Losing our religion" is pretty good summary

                  In the 2018 Census, 2,264,601 people in the census usually resident population count reported they had no religion.


                  In 2018, although the largest response group was those who stated they had no religion, the people who did report an affiliation were a very diverse population representing 157 religious affiliation categories.

                  Generally the largest discrete groups, Anglican (314,913), Roman Catholic (295,743), Presbyterian (221,199) aren't noticeable for activist group politics.

                  And of course the various christian parties votes have been pretty pathetic over the years.

      • Gezza 3.1.2

        Reti would be onegood option, the more I think about it. He might only caretake for one term but if he performed well he could perhaps be persuaded to stay in the role.

      • Patricia Bremner 3.1.3

        It appears Key does not want Reti. He wants Luxon….Why? There has to be a reason.

        • Dennis Frank

          Capitalism is the short answer. National no longer represents nationalists – the ideology of nationalism was rife here when I was a kid but evaporated a while back.

          So I think Key assumes Nats represent business folk – which includes farmers, and is happy to include any subservient employees to make up the numbers. Luxon is a suitable role model for this prescription, has proven good at fronting in the media with sincerity & straight talk in the past. He just needs Key to train him in how to do `aw shucks' blokey stances…

          • bwaghorn

            The modern national is more globalist than nationalistic.

            It's a tough transition for a country to go down ,because when you become globalists the the people that just want a simple little life become tenants in their homeland.

        • georgecom

          that guy from Botany being the great white hope for National. If however that guy mucks things up in his first few months then he is effectively shot as the panacea to their problems, he becomes another muddler trying to make his way as leader. That's a bit of a gamble. The smart approach will be to wait for that guy to learn parliamentary craft and come through post 2023. If he jumps in now he might be successful, but if not it leaves National absolutely no where to go, no leader in waiting. Other options, either bridges to bumble through to 2023, more of the same shit and then that guy from botany takes over. A smarter game, give it to Reti. Let him bring in a period of calm, take some of the venom out of the caucus and have a low key run up to electoral defeat in 2023. Present a nice picture to electors which the Botany guy can build on.

          • bwaghorn

            Reti would be my pick , if he can get 10% off labour ,its on come election time, labour is covid damaged , and to be honest I'm getting sick of some of the other shit , like not kicking scum tenants out,

            • mickysavage

              The last time that politicians were tough on state house tenants involved Paula Bennett kicking out tenants for dubious drug tests. Politicians should not get involved in these sorts of issues. Set the rules and then let the public service handle it.

        • Anne

          “Key does not want Reti. He wants Luxon….Why? ”

          Because they are mates and their political views align. According to a senior Air NZ Captain I know he was a ruthless Air NZ CEO. On a par by the sounds of it with the John Key money-broker of yesteryear who was nicknamed "the assassin".

      • Hanswurst 3.1.4

        Are you sure Luxon really needs to learn that from Key? He already presents himself far better than Key ever did, and what ever Key apparently had, I'm not sure whether it's the sort of thing that can be readily learned, or whether the largely instinctive and inarticulate Key would be capable of coaching it if it could.

    • Ad 3.2

      More fool Labour for not snagging him early.

    • Bettysinclair 3.3

      Dr Reti was clearly not able to assist Judith Collins with her clearly discernible mood swings which affected her having good health . Medicine is his discipline but not his leaders

  4. Anker 4
    • Same stuff was happening in Labour with factions (remember the ABCs?), leaks. and commentators asking what does Labour stand for?
    • One difference though is National/Collins/Keys association with Cameron Slater. Another difference is their candidate selection. Their propensity to attract entitled young men who engage in dubious, to say the least, behaviour is one thing they need to look at.
  5. Anker 5
    • Yes Denis, I thought it showed Reti in a very favourable light, when he went out and started vaccinating people.
    • garibaldi 5.1

      Bit of a no brainer really. What would you rather do? Stick around and be Judith's lap dog or get out and do some good ( and get some brownie points)?

      • Peter 5.1.1

        If Reti gets the role he'll win the Whangarei seat. The Three Waters thing will see to that.

        If there was 'Three Waters for Dummies' information which everyone in Whangarei got or had someone directly explain to them, Emily Henderson might have a chance.

        Of course there is a visible anti vaccination mob in the electorate but since Reti supports vaccination they'll likely not go for him but go for one of the mental defective parties.

  6. woodart 6

    the choice of leader really comes down to two things. who can bring in the most money, and who is the least dislikeable . dr shane easily wins the second question. as for the first, well, big corporates will always win out over any other sector, so luxom,er luxton, whatever.

  7. AB 7

    [National] does not really stand for anything…

    It stands for not imposing obstacles to private wealth accumulation and retention. These obstacles are usually in the form of calls for environmental/climate protection, public health, social equity, etc. Historically this has been a very powerful shared ideology that united the various superficially different identities in the party – and there's no real reason to think that this will change.

  8. Anker 8

    Agree AB 100%

  9. What they actually stand for is the entrenchment of the economic privileges of the power elite. This is an interesting counterpoint to weka's post on oppression. Because the Nats absolutely support material oppressions, and somewhat lean towards race oppression, but they are not too bad on women's rights.

    As for the 3 factions within National, that is perceptive. If the party manages to stay together, the one that brings in the most votes and the most money will probably gain ascendancy. My guess is the urban (neo)liberals will team up with the farmers and try to sideline the christian conservatives.

    Who knows which way the cookie will crumble. I have a tiny bit of sympathy for the Christians in National, some of them may actually be there with sincere motives, but they are sadly misguided of they think the God of the Bible holds anything but contempt for the capitalist status quo.


    • RedLogix 9.1

      Yet without this 'capitalist status quo' you speak so contemptuously of – you would not be so much as alive, much less here to whine about it.

    • Patricia Bremner 9.2

      "Not too bad on women's rights" Though no woman has been put forward for consideration.

      • Obtrectator 9.2.1

        Who is there to put? Too many of their capable women were placed low on the 2020 list and missed out.

      • Corey Humm 9.2.2

        Unless you didn't know, the outgoing leader is a woman, nationals had two female leaders, could have had three had Nikki Kaye stayed on and if identity really gets you going the nats have had one Maori leader, one Maori deputy prime minister and two Maori deputy leaders, Labour have had one Maori deputy leader and he's not even deputy prime minister when the party has a sole majority. A lot of the experienced female candidates and experienced candidates in general like Paula , dildo dude, Amy Adams Finlayson , Nikki Kaye etc resigned at the end of or during the previous term.

        It's genuinely crazy how the middle class left always brings up a lack of "diversity" as an insult to the right when the right has done more of the diversity crap that gets the middle classes excited… Labour/Greens idea of "diversity" is just having rich centers lawyers of different genders, sexualities etc who all have the same opinions as mps national atleast had a kid who grew up in a working class state house environment and a working class Maori and Maori woman who was on dole become leader we just elect old white dudes named David, financially privileged union bosses and economically privileged female leaders who grew up in die hard Tory families as our leader….

        Atleast national has factions btw….

        We have like a middle class moderately woke social liberal economically moderate to conservative group think unifaction of lawyers and academics who think class is dead despite 50% of nzers owning 2% of the wealth and would rather break us down into smaller and smaller boxes of groups rather than dealing with universal issues like poverty, right to housing from a class aspect because they aren't from the class the party they are in was formed to represent and whose electorate mps refuse to disagree with leadership even if the electorate may vote the mp out over an issue.

        And no I'm not defending national but if you like identity politics over class politics nationals had slightly more diverse leaders than Labour.

        We've had a lot of white dudes named David and two female leaders who grew up in Tory families in Waikato. We're not much different than them on that count yet we keep attacking them for lack of "diversity"

    • Anne 9.3

      " … they are not too bad on women's rights."

      That's because women make up 50% of the adult population and they need their votes. 😉

  10. Ad 10

    Sir Jim Bolger of the rural faction wants us all to 'reimagine capitalism'.

    Former prime minister Jim Bolger denounces capitalism, says National Party 'disappointing' – NZ Herald

    Anyone with a memory about what he did against our sovereign wealth and against beneficiaries and unions can tell him what he can do with his imagination.

    • Dennis Frank 10.1

      He can't help being born Irish. Happened in Opunake tho so can call on Taranaki roots too. Herald: "Jim Bolger says the "disappointing" National Party has to reimagine capitalism because social inequality is pushing countries towards revolution."

      The Nats will respond `hey, we got a better idea: let's wait until push comes to shove.'

      A sure bet, gambling on legendary kiwi complacency, eh?

      Bolger said Labour was not seriously addressing social inequality

      Why would they? Doing so would mean changing the system – which was designed in the 19th century to institutionalise inequality. Labour got elected to manage the system. It didn't campaign to change it.

      Fortunately the Greens are supporting Labour in reinforcing the status quo. Having awoken to this necessity, they do so while being woke.

      So nobody is likely to rock the boat of democracy by shoving society towards progress. There is no evident political force working to reduce inequality here. Nor is there one evident elsewhere, despite various simulations using smoke & mirrors.

      • RedLogix 10.1.1

        Nor is there one evident elsewhere, despite various simulations using smoke & mirrors.

        Taking it seriously:

        • Dennis Frank

          Yeah, but the path out of this conundrum was formed a long time ago.

          Most of its workers are partners, meaning they own the company. Though the 96 cooperatives of the Mondragón Corporation must produce profits to stay in business — as any company does — these businesses have been engineered not to lavish dividends on shareholders or shower stock options on executives, but to preserve paychecks.

          The concept of the cooperative may conjure notions of hippie socialism, limiting its value as a model for the global economy, but Mondragón stands out as a genuinely large enterprise. Its cooperatives employ more than 70,000 people in Spain, making it one of the nation’s largest sources of paychecks. They have annual revenues of more than 12 billion euros ($14.5 billion). The group includes one of the country’s largest grocery chains, Eroski, along with a credit union and manufacturers that export their wares around the planet.

          “Mondragón is one of the landmarks of the social economy movement because of its scale,” said Amal Chevreau, a policy analyst at the Center for Entrepreneurship at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris. “They show that it’s possible to be profitable but still act on social objectives.”

          In a world grappling with the consequences of widening economic inequality, cooperatives are gaining attention as an intriguing potential alternative to the established mode of global capitalism. They emphasize one defining purpose: protecting workers.


          Strangely, even the establishment is getting wise to a better world:

          Last year, 181 members of the Business Roundtable, a leading group of chief executives, pledged fidelity to a new mission statement in which they promised to run their businesses not solely for the enrichment of shareholders, but also for the sustenance of other so-called stakeholders — workers, suppliers, the environment and local communities.

          Pragmatism at Mondragon incorporates a reduced differential to incentivise:

          In the United States, the chief executives of the largest 350 companies are paid about 320 times as much as the typical worker, according to the Economic Policy Institute in Washington. At Mondragón, salaries for executives are capped at six times the lowest wage.

          • RedLogix

            but also for the sustenance of other so-called stakeholders — workers, suppliers, the environment and local communities.

            I think I first saw that idea sometime back in the 80's. It's not without merit. At that time I worked for a very capitalist US based company that did a genuine 10% profit share among all non-executive staff – one year I think I saw $8k lump sum – which was decent money then.

            But the Mondragon concept – the idea of taking the 'socialism of a nation' and changing it to the 'socialism of a factory' does not really address the underlying constraints that Peterson is speaking to above. Even within this factory Prices Law or something like it will still operate.

            A few years back I worked for small company that employed about 140 people worldwide – and yes I could count the 12 or so people who really added at least 50% of the value. (And no I exempted myself from that list.) It's not that the rest of the company didn't work hard – but that these 12 or so were the ones who innovated and had the competency and experience to deliver on tough projects. It's much the same everywhere you look in any productive domain.

            Nor is there one evident elsewhere, despite various simulations using smoke & mirrors.

            My problem with much of the left is that it doesn't take the nature of inequality seriously enough. Sure there's a lot of self-interested posturing, virtue signaling and purity point scoring – and on this I guess I agree with your point above.

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              My problem with much of the left is that it doesn't take the nature of inequality seriously enough.

              Agree 100% – systemic inequality is utter folly bedevilled by "self-interested posturing, virtue signaling and purity point scoring". Remember PM Bill English's 2017 election campaign commitment to address child poverty in NZ?

              Paediatrician Dr Renee Liang's compelling essay on the effects of child poverty in NZ is about as far from "self-interested posturing, virtue signaling and purity point scoring" as one could get – well worth a read, imho.

              Why poverty in New Zealand is everyone's concern
              Liang describes poverty as a "heritable condition" that perpetuates and amplifies through generations: "It is also not hard to see how individual poverty flows into communities and society, with downstream effects on economics, crime and health, as well as many other systems. Loosen one strand and everything else unravels."

              A Kete Half Empty
              Poverty is your problem, it is everyone's problem, not just those who are in poverty. – Rebecca, a child from Te Puru

              There are many opinions on the best ways to ameliorate inequality/poverty, and it's effects. Redistribution – education – health; why not get on with it?
              Why not indeed.

              1.5-Degree Lifestyles: Towards A Fair Consumption Space for All [PDF; 2021]
              1.3. Worsening inequality
              An indictment of the current unsustainable economic development paradigm is the clear narrative showing the ever growing gap between the rich and the poor, magnified by the perversity of the poor paying a higher price (literally and metaphorically) than the rich. There is inequality among countries, inequality within countries, inequality across races and between genders, and inequality across generations. And there are multiple expressions of inequality: of income, of health, of access to natural resources and public services, of participation in decision-making processes, for example, and notably in terms of inequality of carbon emissions. Calls for climate justice are already growing loud; these tensions will only get worse as competition heightens over the shrinking carbon budget to stay within sustainable limits. Equity is central to ensuring sustainable lifestyles.

            • roblogic

              "My problem with much of the left is that it doesn't take the nature of inequality seriously enough."

              Hard agree. We should nationalise the accursed banking system so it actually works for the people, rather than extracting economic rents from everyone, in the form of fees and interest..

              • RedLogix

                Go back to the video linked above. It's not long.

                The basic argument is that in any productive domain, after repeated trades a tiny minority will end up with almost everything and the vast majority will stack up at zero. In every political system inequality arises as soon as you lift the standard of living above hunter-gather. The cause of this is not greed, or some 'structural bullshit' – it's the inevitable outcome reality at work.

                This of course is not an argument to justify unconstrained extremes of wealth and poverty. But until you understand why inequality arises you cannot effectively grapple with the root causes.

                • Drowsy M. Kram

                  Taxation is a broadly accepted means of redistributing wealth – since inequality is increasing, maybe various tax settings are in need of adjustment. Our government has taken timid steps in this regard – not nearly enough to counteract "the inevitable outcome", but they’re a start.

                  If greater acftion to rein in inequality isn’t taken, then we will only have ourselves to blame for the inevitable outcomes.

                  1.5-Degree Lifestyles: Towards A Fair Consumption Space for All [PDF; 2021]
                  1.3. Worsening inequality
                  Research shows a strong correlation between income and emissions, and a pattern of a highly unequal global distribution of consumption emissions between people of high and low income. The UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2020 (UNEP 2020) presents the following data to highlight the link between inequality and consumption. The emissions share of the 10% richest, highest-emitting individuals ranges from 36-49% of the global total, while that of the poorest, lowest-emitting 50% of the world’s population ranges from 7-15% of the total. This disparity is particularly pronounced at the top of the global income scale — the emissions share of the top 1% highest income earners is greater than the total emissions of the bottom 50% combined — and may be twice as high, according to some estimates. Around half of the consumption emissions of the global top 10% and 1% are today associated with citizens of high-income countries, and most of the other half with citizens in middle-income countries. Oxfam estimates that to reach the global average per capita emissions level by 2030 consistent with limiting global heating to 1.5˚C, the per capita consumption emissions of the richest 10% of the global population should be reduced to about a tenth of their current level, while those of the poorest 50% could still increase by two to three times their current level (Oxfam 2020).

                  Yet this inequality trend is growing bigger. During the COVID-19 pandemic, billionaires and millionaires have gotten even richer while poverty has deepened among lower income groups (Parolin et al. 2020). This contrast was manifest in the United States, for example, when 40 million Americans filed for bankruptcy as billionaires saw their wealth rise by half a trillion dollars (Woods 2020). This disparity is present in both industrialised and developing countries, where a rich class is emerging with lifestyles similar to their Western counterparts.

                  • RedLogix

                    The first part of this response is encouraging because I'm interested in solving the puzzle – but please spare me the quotes that restate the problem without adding value.

                    Yes I agree taxation is one part of the solution and always will be. But it one sense all it does is recycle money from the top, to the bottom where it quickly cycles back to the top again. For the moment this may be the best we can do.

                    But what else might work within this conceptual framework? What are we missing and how do we take into account human motivations and desires? Genuine question.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Yes I agree taxation is one part of the solution and always will be… For the moment this may be the best we can do.

                      Excellent; if this may be the best we can do (for the moment), then why not do (more of) it while wiser heads seek better solutions? Redistribution of limited resources via taxation and other government policies could help to counteract the 'inequality drift' that seems hard-wired into human civilisations.

                      And yes, those 'inequality drivers' may push back, necessitating further adjustments – the 'system' must evolve in order to survive the 'pressure cooker conditions' we've created. Not expecting perfect solutions – natural evolution is all about adequate design.

                      But what else might work within this conceptual framework? What are we missing and how do we take into account human motivations and desires? Genuine question.

                      No idea, and tbh I'm not sure it's a productive line of enquiry. If the drift to inequality is hard-wired (for whatever reasons), then increased continual redistribution would be a reasonable solution to the misery that inequality and poverty engenders. Most people instinctively know what's fair, and what's not – one of the crowning achievements of human social evolution, imho.

                      1.5-Degree Lifestyles: Towards A Fair Consumption Space for All [PDF; 2021]
                      1.3. Worsening inequality
                      In India, for example, just 1% own 58% of the total wealth of the country (Oxfam 2017). The UN Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that global hunger increased to 811 million undernourished people worldwide in 2020, and the number of people living with food insecurity, a lack of year-round access to adequate food, rose by 318 million, to 2.38 billion (FAO et al. 2021). In Peru, a country that had made progress and halved poverty over the last two decades, national data shows that poverty jumped from 20% to 30% in a year (FAO et al. 2021). If not addressed, the effects of climate change will be far worse than the pandemic, and these inequalities and their impacts will get even more dramatic as provisioning systems, social safety nets, and natural capital all get compromised.

                      Keeping regional inequality in check in Sweden [PDF, Nov. 2021]
                      Healthy public finances are allowing the government to increase its support to municipalities and regions to adjust to demographic developments and local operating conditions. Beyond this effort, keeping regional inequality in check will require upgrading the sub-national government fiscal framework, enhancing public service efficiency, especially through digitalisation, and promoting regional convergence further, especially by strengthening the role of universities in regional knowledge and innovation networks.

                    • RedLogix

                      Anything titled Toward 1.5deg Lifestyle feels like pretty much an admission of defeat. I had a quick scan of it – looks like a fancy version of 'shrink and share' that delivers equitably distributed misery for all. But I could be wrong.

                      Excellent; if this may be the best we can do (for the moment), then why not do (more of)

                      Well yes – but last time I strongly supported an intelligent and well constructed CCT here – it got dumped on because it wasn't a Labour or Green party idea. Oh well.

                      The next question I want to ask is – if inequality is baked into the system, and imposing equal outcomes is a nightmare – then how do our sensibilities around what is 'fair' arise? Why do we tolerate differences in some circumstances and not others? How much inequality can we accept before the social gradient becomes too steep?

                      Are the drivers here primarily economic, social or psychological? Clearly all three aspects are in play – but how do they relate?

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Why do you (apparently) believe that "shrink and share" will deliver "misery for all"? Genuine question.

                      Well yes – but last time I strongly supported an intelligent and well constructed CCT here – it got dumped on because it wasn't a Labour or Green party idea.

                      Not dumped by me – such a shame the PM (pragmatically) ruled out the recommended CGT, and the Green's wealth tax. Oh well.

                      "Imposing equal outcomes" on a society-wide scale doesn't seem feasible to me, but it can't be beyond the wit of those who want this iteration of civilisation to prosper in the long term to at least keep inequality in check – can it?

                      You ask some good questions – I would simply ask that we don't delay the urgently needed increase in resource redistribution while wiser heads seek answers.

          • Gezza

            Mondragón sounds awesome! Why aren’t 10s of thousands of businesses operating like this?

            Because we don’t even know they fracking exist & have a socially responsible business operating model that turns a profit & freakin works! That’s why. Our corporate-model media-“star”, shallow-as-a-puddle msm letting us down big time again – focussing on parochial news, fluff, & Women’s Magazine lifestyle content!

            I get the impression some iwi have used some of their Treaty Settlement cash compensation to set up co-operative enterprises along similar lines, feeding profits & dividends back into the iwi, hapu, nga marae, as well as funding scholarships in traditional & STEM fields of study for their rangatahi (youth).

      • mac1 10.1.2

        "He can't help being born Irish." As my dear old Irish teacher once chastised me, "There are some things we don't joke about."

    • bwaghorn 10.2

      He has said they went to far, I believe

    • Patricia Bremner 10.3

      Yes Ad, I have not forgotten Bolger's snide "A lunch is two pieces of bread and something on it" or words similar when he was told children were turning up hungry at school. People calling him a Statesman can p… off.

      Paul East was another out of touch poly, who used to turn up to present the fundraiser cheque to the food bank as a photo op. His daily allowance was $80.00, and that was what a widower with two children got for all their expenses for a week. Big difference between $80.00 taxed and $560 untaxed for incidentals. At that time beneficiaries were labelled bludgers. That was what I thought he was!!

    • Foreign waka 10.4

      MMP was introduced under him, Ruth Richardson and her budget of spending cuts, Treaty settlement program… these are the main points I can remember.

      Given the almost feudalistic approach by both major parties, the Bolger Government looks tame in comparison these days.

  11. swordfish 11


    It (National) stands against trade unions, workers, collectivism, intellectualism, social liberalism and change.

    Oh yeah, Labour & the Greens really stand for 'workers' … LOL.

    They really look after the neighbours of ruthlessly violent, out-of-control, uber-anti-social Kianga Ora tenants.

    Casually dump walking-talking horror stories on the elderly poor, then demand they endure the endless violence, intimidation & enforced chronic sleep deprivation evermore … because … well … spare a thought for the violent criminal dysfunctional prick’s “complex needs”.

    And, yeah, the violent underclass Male Māori terrorizing streets & neighbourhoods like my Parents are all "actually good people and deserve our arhoa (sic)".

    The Labour Party, built by people like my Grandparents, now captured & transformed into an Upper-Middle Vanity Project … ostentatious moral posturing, reputational enhancement & consolidating your own power 7 financial privilege, while viciously scapegoating low income outgroups., most of them long-term Labour Voters.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 11.1

      Spare us your crocodile tears.

      Theres always been issues with a small minority of Kianga Ora tenants. In the 90s I lived in an old house divided into flats which was adjacent to a 1950s built area of state houses. I wasnt an immediate neighbour but you got to know about it.

      • RedLogix 11.1.1

        I'm not sure what you mean here – that this is all OK?

        • ghostwhowalksnz

          For some it only becomes a problem when theres a labour government, the added vitriol come from other longstanding…..issues

          Some would call it concern trolling

          • Anker

            Have you read what Swordfish has written on his blog about his 90 year old parents experience? Link on SF comment below?

            You are comparing it with your experience of living across the road from what would have been Housing NZ flats "you got to know about it". So that implies to me you didn't experience it, you heard about it.

            I would urge you to read what Sword fish has written and re-think your comment. To me and it is only my opinion, it shows a lack of empathy for these elderly people's situation. And they are not alone so all the other people who are housed in Kainga Ora flats. The poor and the most disadvantaged people who don't have the luxry of moving on and therefore have to live with fear, sleep deprivation and intimation. Its a disgrace that we let this happen

            • ghostwhowalksnz

              His rant has just confirmed he is a concern troll and hijacking the post on 'nationals factional problem' for his personal issue over Kianga Ora housing.

              I follow this blog closely anymore but once these off thread comments were moved to the daily general topics but I suppose people have better things to do with their time.

              As for reading his own blog, pleeese . [Better to spend my time helping a friend of a friend who does live in K O flat on his own and has had sudden medical problems- no phone, no doctor etc]

              Im the chair of the body corp for the 16 closely spaced townhouses were I live. All are privately owned but 1/3 have tenants. We have had similar issues with 1 or 2 houses over the last 5 yrs. loud parties, blocking access for cars , intimidation. One of the direct neighbours a single mother she called me and asked for support to shut the noise down. However theres not a lot that we can do either, as the landlord is stuck with the tenants for various reasons or the landlord doesnt want to know as they pay the rent and the place is looked after.

              Only a moron would think the 'labour government' can click their fingers and solve his/her problems. Its no different than the rich prick who thinks the housing system is there to serve them personally so they can land their helicopter on the front lawn

              • Anker

                Well it sounds like you do a lot of work caring for others, which makes you righting off Swordfishes parents situation a bit of a puzzle. But maybe what you are attempting to do is defend the Labour govt and you are entitled to want to do that.

                Swordfish first wrote about his parents situation some years ago (2018ish?) and it seems that the policy of not evicting state house tenants is a Labour one. I think under National this tenant would have been gone (remember that false P test stuff, that saw a lot of state house tenants lose their tenancy)?

              • swordfish



                You're a total Creep … like I said, a spineless little sadist.

                Zero morality in that pompous little skull of yours.

                Hoping the Nightmare my elderly parents have endured for the past 4 years happens to you in old age … that'll be genuine social justice.

                BTW … up until its final 2 or so years, the Key Govt did indeed move & evict violent, anti-social tenants … the current Govt has effectively banned evictions since 2018 …the only imbecile here is you … cowardly, sadistic, utterly perverted morality, & by no means the brightest spark in the tool shed.

          • swordfish


            I very rarely employ the F-word in real life … but I'll make an exception for you … You're a Fuckwit. A cowardly, sadistic little fuckwit … the antithesis of what you try to project with all your self-indulgent moral posturing … fake as a two-bob watch, total fraud … seems to be a defining characteristic of the narcissistic Woke.

            Latest story on this on-going Scandal:

            Kāinga Ora: The human cost of living next to neighbours from hell – NZ Herald

          • weka

            You're way off here, ghostwhowalksnz. Swordfish is a lifelong Labour voter, his parents (Labour members) are basically living in a situation akin to torture and government policy is protecting the person doing the torture. Labour need to be held to account for their failure.

            • SPC

              Sure. Labour adopted a policy of responsibility for being housing provider of last resort (thus a no evictions approach) but without considering how to then manage bad neighbour issues. So in effect they have protected those behaving badly and left others with no where else to go (only a transfer to another Kainga Ora property).

              That said the idea that the white working class is being abandoned by Labour's urban liberal woke narcissists pandering to Maori reminds me a little too much of past decades of attacks on beneficiaries and Maori criminals.

    • swordfish 11.2


      Kāinga Ora Scandal

      Brief outline of my Parents' experience (though it doesn't even remotely encapsulate the full enormity … it's a multifacted nightmare that goes beyond the prolonged violent intimidation):

      Kianga Ora Scandal: My Parents Situation (sub-zero-politics.blogspot.com)

      • Pragmatist 11.2.1

        I just read your blog Swordfish.

        words can’t really describe how this makes me feel. I feel so sorry for your parents who should be enjoying these final twilight years, not subject to this shit from clearly a psychopath (and I mean that in its defined meaning).

        it’s nuts no one is able to do anything about this – well they can. But there you go.


        these are the stories we read fleetingly in the news before moving on to the next click bait though -“ male discovered deceased by police responding” and the backstory such as yours is never in the story.

        that’s my fear for your parents here. Is it only a matter of time before one of these episodes goes that tiny step further. Because it is only a small tiny step from all his acting out to something tragic. And it’s obvious to everyone else around the situation. We read it everyday.

        I only hope the best for your folks.

        • weka

          I removed the middle paragraph, it was unclear exactly what you meant but we have a blanket ban on TS on advocating violence.

    • Mark Craig 11.3

      Swordfish I totally agree with you ,I have a small settlement on my back boundary and noise and mayhem prevail.I do not have to put up with gangs tho.The question is what to do with them,where do they go .I am a staunch 3rd generation labour supporter ,ex branch secretary and union delegate for 1000 members at the glass works in Auckland.I truly believe that this and all govts have been too soft on the gangs.The social misery ,drug dealing etc etc means they are unfixable.The return of the 501s from Oz has compounded the problem.Society would be better off if they were incarcerated en masse,no more pussy footing around.Decree them proscribed organisations and send in the army,other wise society is doomed to wretched miserable death by 1000 cuts .

      • swordfish 11.3.1

        Thanks Mark.

      • Foreign waka 11.3.2

        Somes Island would be perfect.

        • Anker

          Actually that’s not a bad idea Foreign Waka, as long as they leave the tuatara alone.

          old quarantine facilities there for shelter. Weekly drop of groceries. Drug treatment for those who want it. Patrols needed to stop potential rescuers. Leave then to it.

          They can be as anti social as they like. Go for it

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          Why are there so few prisoners in the Netherlands?
          We don’t treat people with just depression – it’s people with psychotic vulnerability, autism, severe learning difficulties, often in combination with severe personality disorders, addictions, financial problems, no good home or links with family, and often they are traumatised.

          Nobody would approve of the crimes or violence they have committed, but there is a very sad world behind them. If you want to mend all this, it will take a long time.

          And who has the patience/resources for that. Just lock 'em up – problem solved?

          Where New Zealand stands internationally: A comparison of offence profiles and recidivism rates [July 2018]
          With a high prison population rate, it is clear that some features of crime and justice in New Zealand are problematic. One of these areas is the disproportionate number of people in prison for interpersonal violence. Understanding what drives this requires more research. It may be due to the nature of our judicial settings, it could mean there is a concerted effort to tackle normally under-reported violence, or it may be as a result of some feature of the nature of crime in New Zealand.

      • Peter 11.3.3

        At least you offer what you would do if you were in charge of the country.

        There is plenty of "the problem should be sorted out".

        Those words are easy. Tenants in Kainga Ora housing upsetting neighbours? Their doors are knocked on, they are told "This is your only warning." The next time it is the knock and, "You will be out of here tomorrow. A team of people will be here at 1pm. Anything in the house will be put out on the street."

        Is that how it goes?

        Incarcerating gangs? We regularly read of gang members in court facing charges. How can that be speeded up?

    • Foreign waka 11.4

      Swordfish, I feel you. So sorry that your parents have to go through this. Having contributed to the country no doubt and now facing this terror in their old age. Despicable and even worse if constant excuses are found for extreme anti social behavior. Is NZ a civilized country or not I would like to know.

  12. Anker 12
    • Agree with you Swordfish. It kind of gives the game away that they don’t give a dam about people like you parents
    • swordfish 12.1

      Cheers Anker … affluent narcissistic Woke capture of Social Democrat parties … subverting core Left principles into a self-serving Vanity Project.

  13. georgecom 13

    Key helping the guy from Botany it seems

  14. Stuart Munro 14

    It is hard to imagine what they have in common with the urban liberal faction


    Madoff and Key,

    And young Jamie Lee

    are sisters accomplices under the skin.

  15. Dennis Frank 15

    Gordon Campbell predicts:

    Bridges as leader, and with Luxon holding both the deputy leader and finance roles. http://werewolf.co.nz/2021/11/gordon-campbell-on-omicron-and-the-bridgesluxon-dilemma/

    At this point, the problem for National is that 95% of New Zealanders do not think that the future of the country depends on the vision and the wisdom of either Simon Bridges or Christopher Luxon. At this point, the National Party is a minority sect in steep decline.

    Presuming his stat is a take on the latest poll, we need to factor in how magic works in politics. If Key makes Luxon winner tomorrow, magic will transform perceptions of the future in a large number of kiwis. The following poll would then measure the aggregate shift – likely around 30% down from that 95%.

    You'll be wondering if Gordon is right to predict a Bridges win. He's a leftist, so I'd be surprised. If his prediction of the one/two combo proves correct, the Nats will be seen to have marginalised two critical political groups: women & maori. Are they that stupid??

  16. Stuart Munro 16

    Perhaps it's time National moved beyond old-fashioned monolithic leadership and became an autonomous collective…

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