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Partisan politics

Written By: - Date published: 7:12 am, September 26th, 2011 - 45 comments
Categories: john key, leadership, national, political alternatives - Tags: , ,

John Key is a very partisan politician. He is ridiculously negative on seemingly any proposal raised by a perceived political opponent. Key infamously called Working For Families “communism by stealth” (his government now supports it). Key made a fool of himself ranting that Labour’s capital gains tax was “a dagger through the heart of the economy” (every credible economic commentator supported it). Just recently Key dismissed Labour’s policy for rebuilding Canterbury, “put the brakes on” Len Brown’s proposals for Auckland rail, while the Nats rubbished the (otherwise well received) Green jobs plan and rejected calls for a fairer pension system.

Why so relentlessly negative?  It’s not like National have many ideas of their own to offer (witness the Jobs Summit).  It’s not like the recycling old ideas from the 90’s (austerity and privatisation) is working out well.  So why not be open to ideas from elsewhere?  Ridiculous statements like “a dagger through the heart” just make it that much harder for Key and the Nats to back down and adopt policies that could be highly beneficial.

Time to lose the arrogance and the reflexive negativity.  The Nats need to take good ideas wherever they come from, and involve opposition parties in the process. Labour are showing how it’s done, as John Armstrong writes:

Consensus politics an intricate game to play

Contained within Labour’s thoughtful and thought-provoking recovery plan for earthquake-shattered Christchurch is what might appear to be a rather generous promise. .. Among the list of unashamedly interventionist measures flagged by Phil Goff last Monday to speed Christchurch’s revival is a commitment that a Labour government would take a bipartisan approach “by offering the Opposition a role in the rebuilding process”.

Labour’s point is well made. Once the scale and likely duration of the recovery effort became obvious, National should have found some official means of allowing the major Opposition party to play a constructive role, not least because Labour MPs represent most of the city.

National risked making a very big rod for its own back by not doing so. Christchurch’s four Labour MPs could have really gone to town and made life very difficult for Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee.

They have not done so. Presumably that is in part because the city’s plight dictates that MPs mute the normal level of political noise and because those MPs see some real value in a bipartisan approach.

That suggests Labour’s offer is not a hollow gesture. …

Labour is offering to take Christchurch out of the political football game. Excellent. Planning for superannuation and foreign policy are two other obvious candidates for a bipartisan consensus, I’m sure you can think of more. But is Key capable of such politics? I don’t see anything in his record so far that suggests that he is, or that he is even interested in trying. And that is bad news for NZ.

45 comments on “Partisan politics ”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    Nothing more than the appearance of bipartisan consensus will be possible. National will always force Labour too far right towards its own position in order to achieve a ‘consensus’ which National will abrogate anyway whenever it is convenient for them.

    The process will leave Labour looking weak, ineffectual and compromised.

    The Left always believes that bipartisan consensus can be honest and productive – after all that is how it prefers to do things internally – but when you look at the politics of the US it is clear that the Right will simply do what it wants to do anyway, leaving the grassroots Left stranded as its leadership lurches rightwards.

  2. The phantom 2

    whereas The Standard is consistently even handed in its assessment of John Key’s ideas? Come off it. I cannot recall a single positive comment on Key or his Government from any of you guys. This post smacks of the sort of hypocrisy which is a hallmark of this site. If you guys dropped the strident negativity and blanket dismissal of your dissenters as RWNJ’s you might find more people willing to engage in the sort of honest debate and discussion you purport to encourage.

    [Hey Phantom – want to donate $10 to The Standard for every time we’ve said something nice about the Nats? See comment 8 below… r0b]

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      Not interested in debate with hapless RWNJs, only throwing them out of office.

      whereas The Standard is consistently even handed in its assessment of John Key’s ideas?

      ROFL…which of Key’s ‘ideas’ are you talking about here? Tourist cycleways for jobs? NZ as the next Irish ‘Financial Hub’? Putting Brownlee in charge as royal dictator of Christchurch?

      Gimme a break, loser. Commentators on The Standard have been extremely ‘consistent’ with the treatment of Key’s lameass, PR scripted ‘ideas’.

      • Joe Bloggs 2.1.1

        C’mon CV, time to lose the arrogance and the reflexive negativity.

        Ironically Labour had the opportunity to participate in some concensus politics at the time of the Christchurch earthquakes, and to stand alongside National in a show of unity and support for the plight of Cantabrians.

        Labour chose not to.

        • Colonial Viper 2.1.1.1

          Fuck you using the PR ‘arrogant’ line last pulled out by NATs on the last Clark Government.

          Please note, Labour voted with the highly undemoractic CERA and put His Highness Brownlee in charge, tell me what more you wanted Labour to do to stand by Key and Brownlee’s shit handling of Christchurch reconstruction?

          • Joe Bloggs 2.1.1.1.1

            …using the PR ‘arrogant’ line last pulled out by NATs on the last Clark Government.

            Er no. That line was last pulled out by R0B at 7:12am this morning. Evidently the irony of using that line on this blog site escapes you, CV.

        • kriswgtn 2.1.1.2

          hha another cockmaster in action dumbass

          no the labour MP’s in CHCH have been workin non stop making sure their constituents actually are looked after considering the constituents in those suburbs have been left to fend for themselves

          stand together

          ahhahahahah there is only room for one person in the photo shoots and thats Key

    • Campbell Larsen 2.2

      Shonky doesnt have any ideas of his own, he is just a mouthpiece for the ideas of others.
      He is a rather effective show pony though.

      Even handed enough for you?

    • I cannot recall a single positive comment on Key or his Government
       
      There have been many positive comments about the John Key memorial cycleway.  The problem has been that this is the only think the nats have done which deserves praise.
       
      Strident negativity?  Maybe we should talk grandly about how the country will be catching up with Australia any time soon.  BTW how is that going?

      • aerobubble 2.3.1

        You cannot recall a single positive comment about Key. WTF are you deaf.
        Key has always structured his statements in singular positive light even when
        liaring his pretty face off. It would be hard not to have noticed that.
        So of course when all Key does basically is declare his policy ‘balanced
        and fair’ what else are people to criticize him on, he has nothing substantial
        about which to talk about.
        Geez, how can you not understand something so simple, if the emporer has
        no clothes, how else can you be… but negative, how naked he is.

    • kriswgtn 2.4

      “whereas The Standard is consistently even handed in its assessment of John Key’s ideas?”

      He dont ever have any of his own

      Own ideas hgahahahahhahahahahahahah wot a cock

      its got nothing to do with negativity
      its called having a do nothing clueless Trophy Prime mincer who basically apart from photo shoots does sfa

      job summit the cycleway were not his ideas

      next

      • mik e 2.4.1

        Don’t forget all the holidays in Hawaii that was his idea.
        Photo ops everywhere and any where has he been on shortland st yet
        Mumbling when he lies
        The cat walk

    • lprent 2.5

      Phantom: Perhaps you should point to these ideas by John Key? I can only really recall the rather silly cycleway that was no fit for purpose. I can recall ideas by other National and Act ministers, but John Key appears to not be a thinker.

      Perhaps the reason he is so eternally negative of other people’s ideas (including those of his caucus) is because of a simple jealousy?

      • Lanthanide 2.5.1

        What about NZ being the Celtic Tiger of the South Pacific? That financial hub mumbo-jumbo?

        • Joe Bloggs 2.5.1.1

          reminds one of a certain knowledge wave conference from 2001… if one recalls there was a certain co-chair of the conference, who started by calling for ideas and claiming the Government was listening.

          But by the finish of the conference was obstinately stating that the Government would not change its taxation policy.

          This despite being told that New Zealand had the highest corporate tax rate in the Pacific region and had effectively zero chance of keeping knowledge industies onshore.

          • Lanthanide 2.5.1.1.1

            So you couldn’t think of any ideas that John Key came up with either, then.

          • mik e 2.5.1.1.2

            JB what BS other countries businesses have huge land taxes cgts pay roll and other taxes we don’t have a myth spread by ACt .Cullen lowered them, savings was identified cullen set up the cullen fund [National would be stuffed without it]kiwsaver.R&D was another area identified cullen set aside several billion dollars for that only for National cut and cut.Fix infrastructure cullen set up an infrastructure planning committee.JB you Baffle us with BS every time you blog .Tell the truth not a small part of the truth.Another area identified by the 2001 conference was unnecessary competition between universities that was cut out by cullen now we have it back under petrol head Joyce where universities are Wasting time and money on competing again and a recent report shows our universities are rapidly declining in academic performance again.Get your head out of your gumboot bloggs you are a bad hang over from the past.

            • McFlock 2.5.1.1.2.1

              Maybe JB was pissed that we didn’t copy Ireland doing tax cuts for multinationals. He doesn’t realise that a knowledge economy needs an educated populace, otherwise it becomes the turd in a dutch sandwich and still goes kaput.

      • ianmac 2.5.2

        How about insisting on a “Party Central”? But it is very hard to know just what Mr Key believes in. He really does say what he thinks his audience wants to hear, but with enough ambiguity to satisfy a variety of positions. From one set of comments therefore, two extremes of belief can be satisfied by what they hear from his words. Now that takes talent. (A good second hand car salesman?)

  3. Scotty 3

    Phantom,
    Care to highlight any specific policy from National, that you think warrants bipartisan praise.?
    just wondering

  4. randal 4

    National got in because the print media and Radio Squawkback shreiked long and loud that it was Nationals “TURN”. Well they have had their turn and accomplished preciely nothing in three years. It is time they were shown the door and good riddance.

    • marsman 4.1

      @ randal. National have achieved a lot in three years BUT it’s all been negative for the majority of the population BUT very ‘rewarding’ for a few. And yes they need to be shown the door and BOOTED out.

  5. Afewknowthetruth 5

    Why would Key want to change tactics when the long term strategic goals -of increasing the gap between the rich and the poor, increasing the control global corporations have over NZ society, transferring NZ wealth overseas, increasing the level of debt slavery, and in the long term establishing of a neo-feudal society (whilst keeping the general populace oblivious, confused and distracted) -are being achieved so well?

    After all, the best kind of slave society is one in which the slaves votes for slavery. Key has achieved that. NZers continue to vote for their own destruction via the fabrications and delusions promoted by Key and his cronies.

    What is interesting overseas is that the British got thoroughly sick of Tony B Liar, the Clown and the other ‘Labour’ saboteurs, and voted for something worse. Americans got thoroughly sick of Bush and the Republican saboteurs and voted for something worse.

    The only people who seem to have made any notable progress in recent years are the Icelanders, who threw the international money-lenders out, and told them to ‘fuck off’ when they threatened to come back for their ‘pound of flesh’. And Turkey seems to be doing tolerably well in the short term, now that the Eurozone is in meltdown.

    The crux of the problem in NZ is that there has been no significant difference between National and Labour for decades, both have been pro-money-lender, pro-coprorate-control, pro-globalisation, pro-destroy-the-environment parties.

    So. Do we need a bipartisan approach on such policies? Are we not being screwed fast enough already?

    • coolas 5.1

      Spot on. ‘After all, the best kind of slave society is one in which the slaves votes for slavery,’ is exactly what Key is achieving for his Corporate masters by convincing middle enzed that his wealth and charm are the saviour in these tough economic times.

      I despair at how many freedom loving people support John Key. They seem enamoured by the story of poor boy made good, and they refuse to see how they’re giving away their freedoms, one by one, because that nice Mr Key says we should if, ‘we’re to build a brighter future.’

  6. tsmithfield 6

    “John Key is a very partisan politician. He is ridiculously negative on seemingly any proposal raised by a perceived political opponent.”

    Yeah, right. So what do you say about the fact that he adopted the Greens insulation proposal then?

    • ianmac 6.1

      Pragmatic and cynical?

    • The Voice of Reason 6.2

      He didn’t perceive the Green’s policy as coming from a political opponent, TS, but as an opportunity to shore up his new Government by co-opting them with a memorandum of understanding. Same with the MP’s Whanau Ora; just a sop to engender goodwill.
       
      It’s a different story 3 years on, however and the post is right, he is increasingly partisan in his approach.

    • mik e 6.3

      No he cut the labour greens proposal and only wealthier New Zealanders can afford the new program.

  7. randal 7

    well he will need an asbestos suit to deflect the blowtorch of this general election.

    • Afewknowthetruth 7.1

      randal.

      That would only be the case if Labour were prepared to expose the fraud that is inherent in the money system …. indeed the fraud that the entire economic system is founded on.

      There is no indication anyone in Labour is prepared to risk the assassin’s bullet that inevitably comes with speaking the truth (Lincoln, Garfield, Kennedy, Lennon etc.).

      I therefore expect that Labour will continue to campagn on being ‘lite National’, offering slight tweaking of a system that is bringing about destruction of everything of value, a system which is falling apart as I write this.

  8. r0b 8

    Phantom asks if The Standard ever has anything nice to say about Key and the Nats.

    Well the need doesn’t arise very often, but yeah, we do.  We even have a tag for it, so some examples are here

    • McFlock 8.1

      Contributors to The Standard found half a dozen good things about the nactoids?
        
      They collectively deserve an award for investigative journalism. Maybe now the local nactoids will have something other than “Labour did [an extremely pale comparison of] it, too!”

  9. JS 9

    He’s the ‘product-placement’ prime minister. Anyone who has seen Morgan Spurlock’s movie ‘POM wonderful: the greatest movie ever sold’ will be able to see just how cynically he is being used to lure and trap consumers (ie the public).

  10. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 10

    You are right, of course. Especially when no two parties in Parliament are more alike than Labour and National.

    • Lanthanide 10.1

      Um, I’d say National and Act share more alike than Labour and National. Similarly Progressives and Labour are closer than Labour and National.

      Act is now led by the former National leader!

      • McFlock 10.1.1

        Yep – ACT and nat have similar policies, similar demographic appeal, and their membership lists share the same names (just in different timeframes).

  11. aerobubble 11

    Another day in TV land, and yet more discourse about
    how welfare is failing to sustain the wealthy in the
    life they have come accustomed too.

    Its official, on the smarmy Holmes program
    a ex-ACT MP admits openly that they are
    authoritarian when it comes to anyone they
    don’t like, and libertarian toward anyone
    they do. Which turns out in the world of
    extreme rightwing negative politics means
    their whole policy regime is authoritarian.
    When did you last hear ACT quote a
    libertarian principle, for it would apply
    equally to those they like and those they don’t,
    leaving them to explain the contradiction
    or leave them looking they they were protecting
    criminals.

    Didn’t Hitler do that, he was defending liberties of
    Germans except from threats he personally felt needed
    a good kicking.

    • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 11.1

      “Didn’t Hitler do that…”

      Could you be more boring?

      • aerobubble 11.1.1

        The rule of law requires that all are equal before the law, so having a
        minority party in the governing coalition which openly states that
        those who they dislike will be treated in an authoritarian way, is
        anything but boring, its damn disturbing. Especially in the week
        when the National party tried to push in legislation that would
        have undermined basic rights won in the Magna Carta. That
        laws thrownout by courts is a reality in a democracy
        whereas retrospectively refitting them typical practice of
        authoritarian states. National should just suck it up, that’s
        what we have high court judges for, too throw their slimy
        laws out and get them to make better ones.

  12. Muzza 12

    Havin to listen to people including friends glow about Key , how he has done so much for the country , how a successful businessman is ideal to be in charge blah blah. People just get their views from reading the herald etc, no reading details or policy & when asked about pre election renegeging , the all answer , it’s down to the mess Labour left behind. Why do people so badly want to feel like their vote matters, Nz has not improved under any govt for the past 40 years or more, do people not get it yet , it is not our country anymore , the govt is not working for the country & it matters not who is in charge. So far as JK goes , simple body language analysis give all you need to know about the liar he is. The guy is a walking load of BS, as are most the polys which cost taxpayers over 1bn every year, who get richer while most of Nz get poorer , kids are murdered and go hungry. Wake up Nz your inaction is a disgrace. A vote does not relieve you of responsibility !

    • Lanthanide 12.1

      If anyone gushes about Key being a businessman, just tell them he isn’t. He’s a banker, a money trader. He’s never actually run a business.

      • Jenny 12.1.1

        If anyone gushes about Key being a businessman, just tell them he isn’t. He’s a banker, a money trader…….

        Lanthanide

        Absolutely Lanth, read what the normally conservative Scientific American thinks of such people:

        Scientific American exposes the sort of ‘work’ that John Key used to do in his day job as a money trader and speculator when he worked in New York.

        A study reviewed in the highly respected science journal, Scientific American, accuses financiers the likes of John Key of “silent mass murder”

        The study was released by Marco Lagi, Yavni Bar-Yam, Karla Bertrand, and Yaneer Bar-Yam of the New England Complex Systems Institute in Cambridge, Mass. Financial speculation made possible thanks to market deregulation ultimately caused the collapse of mortgage and stock markets in 2007 and 2008.

        “Commodity Traitors: Financial Speculation on Commodities increases Global insecurity”

        http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/primate-diaries/2011/09/22/commodity-traitors/

        “This analysis,” conclude the study’s authors, “connects the bursting of the US real estate market bubble and the financial crisis of 2007-2008 to the global food price increases.”

        Following this collapse many investors shifted their assets into “index funds” that allowed them to bet on the likelihood that commodity futures would increase. These index funds would be purchased by commodity traders and then repackaged as derivatives to be resold for twice or three times the initial purchase price. According to data from the United Nations, this investment rose from $13 billion in 2003 to $317 billion in 2008 (pdf here). This flood of cash caused intermittent bubbles as prices increased under artificial demand only to crash because there was no consistency in actual supply and demand (see Figure 1 below). In other words, as the price of food shot upwards many people were unable to buy the food that was actually grown.

        According to Bar-Yam and colleagues, by September 2010 there was 140 million metric tons of grain sitting unsold in storage facilities around the world, an amount that would normally feed 440 million people in a single year. In the face of widespread global hunger, playing with food prices as if it were a casino pushed them beyond the ability of people to pay in regions of the direst need.

        Jean Ziegler, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, has called this “a silent mass murder,” entirely due to “man-made actions.”

        “We have a herd of market traders, speculators and financial bandits who have turned wild and constructed a world of inequality and horror. We have to put a stop to this,” he said.

  13. Muzza 13

    Havin to listen to people including friends glow about Key , how he has done so much for the country , how a successful businessman is ideal to be in charge blah blah. People just get their views from reading the herald etc, no reading details or policy & when asked about pre election renegeging , the all answer , it’s down to the mess Labour left behind. Why do people so badly want to feel like their vote matters, Nz has not improved under any govt for the past 40 years or more, do people not get it yet , it is not our country anymore , the govt is not working for the country & it matters not who is in charge. So far as JK goes , simple body language analysis give all you need to know about the liar he is. The guy is a walking load of BS, as are most the polys which cost taxpayers over 1bn every year, who get richer while most of Nz get poorer , kids are murdered and go hungry.

  14. Jenny 14

    Key and the Nats are the political representatives of the rentiers, those who gain their living by the exploitation of other people, (and the environment), of course they won’t work with anyone who advocates for fairer more saner less exploitative policies. For the Nats to do so would be to commit political suicide, all their corporate buddies would abandon them for some other party that more represented their interests.

    Maybe Labour should give up trying to seek bi-partisan arrangements with the Nats and instead of trying to destroy them, try and work with other parties in the political spectrum who may more share Labour’s social and philosophical outlook at least on some issues.

  15. Jenny 15

    Forget trying to work with National. When it comes to the right Labour needs to be more partizan.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2011/08/08/1003532/-Debtpocalypse-deferred!

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