Polity: Reductio…

Written By: - Date published: 2:56 pm, June 22nd, 2015 - 29 comments
Categories: labour, national, spin - Tags: ,

Rob Salmond at Polity



DPF and Chris Bishop have conspired to come up with a new canard-of-distraction de jour. Today’s trope: “Labour are the conversatives, National the progressives, and Labour is the party of No.”

At the risk of a conviction for discharging a firearm in an aquaculuture container, here are some highlights,with my responses.

Labour is now the real conservative party – fearful of innovative social policy, afraid of new ideas – in short, the party which says “No” to everything.

And which party fought so hard for the Marriage Equality Bill, and brought New Zealanders their full quota of holidays, and lead the parliamentary charge against zero hours contracts? Also, which party actually has the ideas on Auckland’s housing crisis? You know, the ideas National keeps trying to water down and implement badly? Labour every time.

The party has nothing to say about the social investment approach to policy, nothing to say about better public services targets and little to say about Whanau Ora.

First, I have applauded the social investment approach publicly before, although I’ll admit I am concerned it loses some of its benefit when applied to healthcare issues. But the bigger point here is: how on earth is accusing Labour of saying nothing consistent with the idea it is “the party that says no to everything. Internal consistency: fail. Duh.

You won’t find many press releases from Labour on these important social reforms, or many Parliamentary questions.

Yes, shame on Labour for filling its fixed allotment of questions with the multitude of issues where the government is failing New Zealanders. Imagine the temerity of doing that! I hear the internal Labour meeting to allocate these questions is getting longer and longer, just because there are so many serious failings where the government needs to be held to account.

If Labour does have something to say, it often reverts to tired and trite clichés.

As any observer of question time know, if you replace “Labour” in that sentence with the words “John Key” it would become much more accurate.

On the new social impact bonds, Labour wailed about people “profiting” from social services. Profit already exists throughout social services.As Eric Crampton of The New Zealand Initiative has pointed out, private hospitals profit by providing publicly funded surgery, private pharmacies profit by filling Pharmac scripts and private medical device manufacturers profit by developing better replacement hips for publicly and privately-funded operations.

Do Labour want to nationalise all pharmacies, all GPs, all midwives?

There’s the DPF we know and love: old Slippery Slope Dave! If you’re opposed to social bonds, *obviously* your next move is to nationalise midwives! I can hear his inner monologue now: “…then they’ll own all the farms, and we know what that’s called, don’t we?”

Bishop’s argument is pretty specious, too. He’s saying, for example, that if someone makes money from baking bread that prisoners eat, that’s a good enough reason to privatise the whole prison. Perhaps he should google “Serco” to see how that one is working out.

These days, National is the party of progressive, equitable, social reform. Labour is the real conservative party – saying no to everything, opposing for opposing’s sake and uninterested in new ideas.

Where to start. First, I’, sure glad to see Bishop defining “conservatism” as “saying no to everything, opposing for opposing’s sake and uninterested in new ideas.” I’ll remind him of that in the future. Second, it’s great to see National, rhetorically at least, rejecting conservatism and embracing social democracy. It’s just a pity they aren’t very good at it (People’s Exhibit A: Nick Smith). Third, it’s a mark of how deluded National is becoming that they think they can stuff Labour into “no ideas” box, given the history. Both in the last few years, and over longer history, the major pieces of progressive social reform generally come from Labour, not National.

29 comments on “Polity: Reductio…”

  1. dukeofurl 1

    “little to say about Whanau Ora.”

    Thats what the Auditor general said too:

    “We wanted to clarify for Parliament and the public what Whānau Ora is, where the funding has gone, and what Whānau Ora has achieved after four years.
    It was not easy to describe what it is or what it has achieved.

    Where funding has gone : no idea
    What its achieved : No idea

    And Lyn Provost was bending over backwards in saying that. Any previous AG would have ripped them a new one.

  2. Skinny 2

    There will be no distraction in the house this week when Judith Collins embarrassedly resigns or gets fired over Kauri smuggling allegations by her offsider. A very angry man threatening people I hear.

  3. adam 3

    More Tory spin of bullshit and jellybeans. I’m no fan of the labour party – but even I say that is absolutely pathetic set of suggestions from DPF and Chris Bishop. Some could even argue, it’s that old chestnut of neo-fascism, with it’s complete dishonesty about it ideology, and how it’s being played out.

  4. Colonial Rawshark 4

    Interesting line the Tories are trying out, designed to box Labour in further and frame the debate as the electoral cycle wears on. They haven;t quite got it fine tuned, but I see where they are heading with it.

  5. dukeofurl 5

    Interesting background to Bishop

    Chris holds a first class Honours degree in Law and a Bachelor of Arts from Victoria University, and has been admitted to the bar as a Barrister and Solicitor.

    Chris worked as a researcher for National in opposition before spending two and a half years working as a Ministerial Advisor to Hon Gerry Brownlee.

    Doesnt seem to have practiced as a lawyer but gone straight into ‘research’- No wonder he is thick as thieves with DPF.

    • Hateatea 5.1

      Someone once told me that you weren’t a lawyer just because you have a law degree, you need to have been admitted to the bar. Chris Bishop would appear to have a claim to being a lawyer but has not, in fact, practised as one. Anyway, being a qualified lawyer does not preclude the telling of lies, big or small!

      • dukeofurl 5.1.1

        Another one of those who have ‘only worked in parliament’, and not having any ‘real world experience’, which is a terrible thing according to DPF.
        Sabbatical in public relations doesnt count, as the real world

        Todd Barclay is another one .

        • Tracey

          Bill English was a public servant for Treasury and then an MP, so no real world there either.

      • Colonial Rawshark 5.1.2

        I thought the passage above said Chris was a barrister and solicitor.

      • Tracey 5.1.3

        a “lawyer” is a term only legally able to be used by those who have a current practising certificate from the NZ Law Society.

        “The practice of law in New Zealand is governed by the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 (LCA). Only lawyers (that is people holding current practising certificates as barristers or as barrister and solicitors) and incorporated law firms may call themselves ‘lawyer’, ‘law practitioner’, ‘barrister’, ‘solicitor’, ‘counsel’, and other terms – see s21 of the LCA”

        to be a barrister and solicitor or barrister you must have a law degree AND passed the “professionals exam” which grants admission to the bar.

        • dukeofurl

          Wonder what is the occupation that qualifies you for the orifice that is corporate affairs at Philip Morris ?

          Is it the job that dare not speak its name!

  6. Atiawa 6

    There is nothing progressive about regressive policies.

    What makes numerous changes to employment law, for example, that restrict workers right’s to negotiate in their collective interest’s, progressive?
    What is progressive about removing the legislative right to have a tea break at work?
    How would any of us define the removal of the $1000 Kiwi Saver kick start?
    Progress or regress?

    • Colonial Rawshark 6.1

      The kick start? Irrelevant. Irrelevant to being able to afford an Auckland home. Irrelevant to compensating for raising the Super age. Irrelevant to being under-paid $200 per week.

  7. maui 7

    A whole heap of creative writing from the Nats, but they do have one point. They see themselves as left of Labour now (when they feel like it), and if they can convince other people of that then watch out. It’s like the Blue corner has got Labour trapped on the ropes, and the only way for Labour to get off them is with a left uppercut! They have to punch left or they’ll be sitting ducks.

  8. Tracey 8

    This is why I laugh at hose who post here about how Farrar might be a nat, and a paid pollster for the Nats but he tries to be impartial. he is only impartial if you use WO as your yardstick.

    WO is on one extreme so KB can still be away from the centre (marking impartially) and just LOOK impartial. This is a crock of distortion from Farrar, The only explanation that allows him to be labelled as, tries to stay impartial, from this post is that he is not very bright.

  9. Save NZ 9

    Unfortunately I do think Labour are too conservative. The problem with Dirty Politics is that they take a half truth and repeat it again and again.

    Labour do seem to lack vision and creativity. I say that because I want them to pick up the ball.

    The big lie is that National are the progressives – more like Crooks!!! Social reform read privatisation.

    The best thing the left could do is recruit John Campbell is any capacity. He’s at least seems to have some interest in the people of this country, something our politicians seem to have distanced themselves from apart from in a ‘research’ capacity.

    JC is more popular than anyone else in this country. He has integrity and it shines through. If you can’t be popular at least recruit someone who is.

    Ha Ha the last laugh to MediaWorks too.

    • Colonial Rawshark 9.1

      Unfortunately I do think Labour are too conservative. The problem with Dirty Politics is that they take a half truth and repeat it again and again.

      Labour do seem to lack vision and creativity. I say that because I want them to pick up the ball.

      Labour is hamstrung by a number of factors:
      1) They have bought into the same option limiting economic and monetary paradigm as National (market led neoliberalism).

      2) They have an organisation full of Thorndon Bubble office careerists with an internal culture that is well out of touch of mainstream NZ.

      3) There is no appreciable understanding that we are heading into a very different world than the last century and the best answers of the 20th century (e.g. organised labour, state housing) are necessary, but also at the same time wholly insufficient.

      That’s the big picture stuff. The small stuff like having no idea of MMP, how to cultivate support parties, how to campaign for the party vote, how to get big donors on side, etc. there’s just a long list of that stuff.

  10. Sanctuary 10

    Who reads Kiwiblog anymore? It is just National press releases these days, whilst the towering intellect of it’s poisonous comments sections appears to be old whats his face Garret.

  11. Charles 11

    In the NBR article, Bishop does a great job of pushing people to vote Greens. Chris Bishop is a Green Sleeper Agent!

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