NZ First: We could and should be doing better

Written By: - Date published: 8:58 am, October 20th, 2017 - 15 comments
Categories: greens, jacinda ardern, labour, national, nz first, same old national, winston peters - Tags: , , ,

RadioNZ video. It really does state exactly why NZ First decided to go with Labour.

What was really interesting is that NZ First chose to be inside Cabinet in a full coalition.

I’d rather expected that they would choose to be in a confidence and supply agreement as they did with Labour back in 2005, and as the Greens have done in their C&S deal with Labour yesterday. A C&S gives a political party a lot more opportunity to differentiate from the government of the day, but it also conversely means that there is a lot less opportunity to get fully involved in all of the cabinet strategic decisions and directions. These only happen in the areas that any C&S ministerial portfolios lie.

The subtext of going into a full coalition is that there is both a high degree of confidence with the NZ First MPs and board with the new leadership of the Labour party, and that NZ First is feeling confident enough in their primary support in provincial and rural NZ to take the risk.

On the latter point I suspect that they are right. While NZ First had a lot of polled support shaved off them with Jacindamania (which in itself shows the preferences of their crossover soft vote) they also had strong support from their bastions of support. This was a lot more sticky than after the National sponsored trumped up charges back in 2008.

But probably just as important is that several rounds of Labour leadership have never shown the kind of bitter malevolence and outright demonisation that the National party operators have inflicted on NZ First and Winston Peters over decades.

The resulting mythology amongst our conservative and obviously more superstitious citizens has been an interesting demonstration that the lynch mob mentality is not just confined to 18th century. I always find the contrast to be stark when you’re bouncing politics around with people. When the subject of Winston Peters and NZ First comes up with National party supporters there is an obvious bristling and they start reaching for their conversational pitchforks and scythes.

When I discuss why, the amount of complete bullshit and straight out lying is pretty obvious. Quite simply, the nefarious treacherous behaviour that is often attributed to Winston Peters and NZ First is quite simply untrue, and generally the people stating it with certainty are unable to even give any actual examples. In fact they usually seem to wind up talking about how Winston doesn’t respect their favourite journalists and/or their particular heroes inside National while they simultaneously spew irrelevant gossip about NZ First or Winston Peters.

My usual take from such people is that they have fuckall idea about what politics is really about. I tend to get the impression that they are less concerned about how things actually operate amongst the whole of our population, than how things look from a nice clean mythological surface. They are more interested in the gloss than the reality. Matthew Hooton is a particularly fine example of this tragically absurd style of limited superficial thought.

By contrast, the attitudes of Labour and even Green voters are far more nuanced. They are usually far more concerned about the conservative social values that NZ First party espouse. Some in the business community are a bit aghast at the conservative economic policies. But generally there is way less of the demonising. There is also respect for the way that NZ First has actually operated in government when given the opportunity while at the same time decrying that he didn’t decide to work with Labour back in 1996. However bearing in mind the way that the Alliance fractured when in government in 2000, that may have been a wise move on their part.

The C&S agreement with Labour in 2005 cemented that basic opinion. It is incredibly hard to point to a damn thing that they did that was a false step right up to the point where National manufactured a bullshit charge of corruption and got their Act minions to push it. It was pretty obvious to me that lazy party accounting was a sign that NZ First needed to work on their party organisation that the electoral commission needed to rap their knuckles over. But it sure as hell wasn’t the kind of deeply suspicious and possibly corrupt behaviour as way that the anonymous money was being funnelled into the National parties Waitemata Trust from the election before.

Personally I’m not that interested in the PR of politics. I’m interested in needs, constituencies and representation. Back in 2008 while the shallow waders of politics, like many of our story hunting political media, were busy predicting the demise of NZ First. I was stating that NZ First had a constituency and that they’d be back. And they are.

Like the myth of their support being mostly amongst the elderly who could still remember Muldoon. I’ve always been aghast at this line of stupidity. It just begs the question about how Duncan Garner and Patrick Gower seemed to think that such people were immortal.

Sure, NZ First’s demographic doesn’t tend to have too many spring chickens. But they have a steady replenishment of support amongst the middle aged and new grandparents. That is where their policies target. These are the kinds of people that the advertisers who fund most of our political talking heads don’t target and have limited information on. They tend to ignore PR and media bullshit and aren’t that interested in doing anything apart from making up their own minds and voting accordingly.

I am sure that both NZ First and the Greens will be subjected to more Dirty Politics and that our flighty and shallow political commentators are going to go to town on them. I have to say that will just give us at this little site an awful lot of new targets.


15 comments on “NZ First: We could and should be doing better”

  1. francesca 1

    Winston laid it on the line(his comments on capitalism) in a way that was far less cautious and weaselly than the Greens and Labour. Winston isn’t afraid to frighten the horses
    And the mood for change is in Europe as well, so we wouldn’t be a lonely little outlier if we ditched neoliberalism

  2. Agora 2

    It won’t be boring. Bill was starting to sound like a tired undertaker repeating the same old lines.

  3. gsays 3

    For me, what politics in Aotearoa has lacked has been vision.

    No notion of where we are headed, no idea of what the sacrifice of stalled wages, housing inaffordability and growing inequality is in aid of.

    No more blah blah economy, blah blah average wage ($49,000 or $24.50 an hour)…

    Ditching of the neo liberal religion.
    Organic Aotearoa by 2025.
    Investment in r and d.
    Improving wages and conditions, thereby creating a tide that lifts all boats.

  4. Well ,… it may seem corny or cheesy but many moons ago when I was a young dude attending massive meetings at the Auckland town hall conducted by an awesome New Zealand evangelist called Barry Smith , … he rounded on the audience amid a ton of activity in the front of the stage and said ,…” I don’t usually do this and I don’t wish to influence anyone but if you want an honest politician , consider Winston Peters ”…

    Now Barry Smith was an amazing man . And the prophetic Biblical message he conveyed was virtually always pin point accurate ( he was a school teacher of the ‘old school’ , – the three ‘R’s ‘ so to speak , – so dealing in facts was second nature to him). And so was his laser like insight into the neo liberal motivations of the mid 1980’s. And , – more importantly , – the very culprits responsible. He wrote a series of books and named those individuals.

    Turned out to be accurate to a tee.

    And he was correct in regards Winston Peters , – Peters has always been opposed to neo liberalism. And hes suffered much misplaced criticism because of that and what he was trying to achieve by working inside those camps.

    If you read today’s Stuff articles they are full of cynical Peters / Labour bashing.

    There are powerful business / lobby groups in this country who have now declared war against Labour , Adern , .. and Peters / NZ First. There is going to be an economic melt down. Peters has said it , economists are saying it , and Adern agrees with it.

    Small wonder English and his Nat MP’s looked smug in their defeat.

    How contemptuous.

    But ,… there is ample on how Adern and Peters are going to ‘ change the way this economy is being run both economically and socially ‘. And this is where it gets interesting. There is talk of reversing the way the Reserve Bank operates,… bringing it under more direct govt control… large cuts to immigration…large scale housing builds and so much more…

    So the combined forces of Labour / Greens and NZ First are meaning what they’ve been saying,…its as if they are ignoring the petty media detractors… treating them like annoying sandflies and just going to bulldoze ahead. Its amazing to watch.

    But behind all this antagonism against the Labour led coalition govt are the unseen players who are really fearful . Groups such as the NZ Initiative .These are the real artists in skulduggery ,… those with the power , wealth and connections and the only way to close them down is to just do it. This is the true responsible govt we have been needing all along , they are preparing for the looming economic crisis as a proper govt should. And they are not even in power yet.

    This certainly holds a mirror up to the plastic , throwaway ,do nothing exploitative and incompetent ‘govt’ that we’ve unfortunately had to endure for the last 9 years.This election happened just in the nick of time .

    We are so very , very fortunate.

    • Patricia Bremner 4.1

      I read this post with a huge smile of relief. You said you might “take off your blogging shoes”

      So very pleased to see you realise we have won the first battle but not the war.

      Our opponents are not used to losing and will try every dirty trick to undermine.

      We need to swiftly review the way broadcasting has been captured, and TV. Joyce out!!!

      We need to recognise the attack lines and quickly shut them down, drowning them with positive action.

      We need to gather all our supporters and celebrate them, so they get ready for 2020.

      Most of all, we take the hope faith trust and pride in being Tangata whenua,Kiwi nzers, and make life better for all without apology. As a right!!

  5. jamiep 5

    Nice article, “the times they are a changing”, makes me laugh to see the mainstream media saying it won’t work, as you rightly point out, Winston has made it work in the past and their policy align, what a way to start labour weekend. My vote for the greens counted.

  6. Skinny 6

    Very good wrap up put together there Lenny, well done cob, good reviews have been few and far between this morning most of the know nothing msm shills predicting Bill English would get up again have taken an early long weekend to lick their wounds.

    I guess a few like BM will eventually slink back in here once Bill English has made his retirement call and some other mug is wheeled out after a bit of blood letting.

    • The choice of either Judith Collins or Paula Bennett.

      Either which would ensure the Nats are kept out for years and years… neo liberalism is dead.

      It is propped up by a skeletal remnant of the ACT and National party.

      Your sons and your daughters have a new lease of life.

      For the times they are a changin’. And they are heeding the old battle call.

      New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?

      Bob Dylan The Times They Are A Changin’ 1964 – YouTube

  7. savenz 7

    I think the country is in very safe hands.

    Jacinda, Winston and Shaw are all people of integrity who actually care about this country and the people in it. They have different skills and personalities which creates representation for diverse groups of people and the ideas they represent. If they all work together as It think they will, they will be a dream government and hard times are coming so we need them.

    They even were pretty polite about Bill English and signalled a collaborative not adversarial approach to running this country and improving it, not just horse trading power and careerists amongst themselves that the National party had become known for.

  8. cleangreen 8

    Bloody good article LPRENT,

    Concise and to the heart of the beast.

    National only know one way to deal with oppostion Parties and you have nailed it.
    “the nefarious treacherous behaviour that is often attributed to Winston Peters and NZ First is quite simply untrue”

    I was like many as I thought that Winston was just a scoundrel until my son came home to live from 11rs in Germany and joined NZ First, as we were tradional labour/green then so I was surprised and my 31 yr old son said ‘come to a Hastings meeting tomorrow and hear what NZ First are all about’

    That was my first surprise but listening to the leader and other MP’s I was astounded as they were mild and gentle, not the snorting bulls National and the media had portrayed them as.

    So your take is exactly correct. well said.

    I watched radio NZ this moring and listened to Kathyn Ryan till 11am about the coalition rection with her and hooten and got turned off.

    Then I turned on the BBC and heen clark’s smile welomed me as she was being interviewed in UK by BBC!!!,

    Well the whole thing was sweet and soothing, with no combatant moody stuff like I had seem earlier on Radio NZ, so we really need to radically change our very poor media performance in NZ today.

  9. CHCOff 9

    When it comes to PR it is all PR – that is the natural order of things.

    All media is an expression of proprietary effort and points of view, directly or indirectly, with associated interests converging small or large and that is fine. The democratic approach to government loses objectivity though by the orthodox convention that media content, and philosophically, knowledge itself, is and should be entirely objective. This is at odds with everyday living.

    In alignment to that, i don’t think it would do any harm having the parties in parliament present themselves in regards to PR every Wednesday and Thursday on the main television channels. Lab 50 mins, NZF 30 mins, Gr 20 mins one night – the governing parties. Nat 40 mins, Act 5 mins, another, the non governing.

    From day in the life stuff of their partys at some level, to issues and aspects of NZ society and community that they have focus on in someway or relationship. Whether it be more direct party branding, to individual day in the life stuff to canvasing issues in communities, to directly swipping at other partys, the style and balances of approach would be up to the individual partys to determine as it would be up to the viewers overtime as to what they deem good television in regards to the regular slot options that they can tune into.

    Just an idea anyhow.

  10. DH 10

    I’m quite relieved that Peters went with Labour, it has the potential to at least last the distance. Helen Clarke affirmed that Peters was loyal to his last agreement and worked well with others, a fact we all knew but which has been ignored by many.

    IMO National is a repeat of ’96 with English as Bolger and the backstabbers sharpening their knives, I couldn’t see a Nat/NZF coalition lasting and I wonder if Peters saw that too.

    • The problem is with a Nat / NZ First coalition is that ideologically and policy wise regarding economics they are chalk and cheese. That is where the friction lies. Peters being more or less an old time conservative pre neo liberalism. That is the source of contention which would dog such an arrangement from the get go.

      The current incoming govt is the most compatible ,… as I said before,.. we are so very fortunate ,and this incoming govt is going to be a dynamic one. People may feel politics seems far away from their everyday lives but it is the leaders that set the tone and flavour of a country so to speak.

  11. Sparky 11

    The real problem for any left government in this country in my opinion is not the opposition its elements of the MSM. Their inability to be fair and moderate almost always favouring the right even when claiming otherwise is the real issue that is well past being addressed. New laws are needed with a code of conduct that ensures excessive bias and what amounts to deception is curtailed. Of course the usual bleating about censorship will pop up but really a failure to be fair and transparent by so called jurno’s amounts to that anyway.

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