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Rabblerave: New Zealand’s Next Top Model Politician

Written By: - Date published: 10:00 am, December 6th, 2015 - 33 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, global warming, sustainability - Tags: , ,


Reprinted with permission from Invisiphilia’s blog Rabblerave 

In 2006 Ben Elton wrote a novel called Chart Throb. It was a hilarious send-up of the all too familiar reality TV show series format in which little-known yet potentially talented individuals get to make their big debut. Sadly I only know one other person that’s read it, so to date Elton’s clever musings have remained mostly locked up in the mental archives of my book club of one.

Elton’s book came to mind when I was reflecting on a couple of political events of last week. Internationally, Climate Change finally got cemented into the mainstream as the big issue of the 21st century.  Sadly, the COP21 delegates assembled on the shadows of the recent terrorist actions by Islamic State fundamentalists. Yet Parisians rose to the challenge, working within security restrictions to create an awe inspiring protest action based on shoes. The shoe installation was arguably a work of high art, with an X factor which brought to our attention that CO2 emissions are not only a major threat to the environment, but also to international security by virtue of the fact that it’s an issue that can’t be confined to state boundaries.

The good news is that essentially we’re entering a new era of collective responsibility. As this notion is so out of step with neo-liberalist philosophy, it means that the reality show of NZ politics that 99 % of us are currently enduring through gritted teeth is soon going to experience a drop in ratings. Those of you who missed the irony of NZ being awarded “fossil of the day” for our inaction on reducing NZ’s transport, energy, and agricultural emissions the day after the rearrangement of the New Zealand Labour Party might want to start paying attention.  Andrew Little’s brutal reshuffle is a political manoeuvre designed to capitalise on the fact that there will be whole new generation of voters enrolled at the next election.  The demotion of David Cunliffe to the backbenches is a sad indictment on the culture of NZ politics, rather than the man himself, which Chris Trotter rightly describes as “the unwarranted triumph of spiteful Fives and Sixes over a much-maligned King of Hearts”.

Shamefully, under the current government, NZ Politics with a capital ‘P’ has become a game between those aspiring to emulate the narcissistic lifestyles of the rich and notorious and those on the outside looking in. In Parliament, members bills aimed at improving people’s circumstances constantly score a frustrating 61-60, thanks to David Seymour and Peter Dunne. The National Party treats it’s detractors with about as much respect as the snivelling rejects in Elton’s book who wail “but I’ve wanted this all my life”, while in the  media, wall to wall male ‘personalities’ scrap over the smallest morsel and create controversy in place of real and intelligent debate.  Fortunately for the author, a source close to home provides regular Tumblr and Facebook updates which indicate that Youth with a capital “why?” are tired of seeing Mum and Dad struggle to pay the bills.

The best thing that came out of last week was the hope that the ridiculous and worn-out image of  Greenies as nothing but sandal wearing, mong bean eaters was finally given a decent burial. However, unfortunately for those of us on the left, we still have another 2 year walk in hand-me-down shoes before we can lie on the couch and allay the ghosts of elections past.  Stay tuned and remember, politics happens while you’re busy making other plans.

33 comments on “Rabblerave: New Zealand’s Next Top Model Politician ”

  1. weka 1

    Sorry, not quite getting what you mean. Labour rearranged itself to suit its careerist ambitions, but we should have hope for 2017? Or do you mean that Ardern being promoted is chasing the younger vote and might be enough to give Labour the election?

    I agree things are changing, and that our best hope is outside of parliament and that parliament will then have to follow.

    • AmaKiwi 1.1

      Weka, that is always true throughout history and across all cultures.

      Legislators are always the LAST to know something needs to be done. By then it’s usually too late.

      Trust the people to know.

      • Invisiphilia 1.1.1

        Hi Amakiwi,

        Thanks for your comment. I’m not sure whether legislators are always the last to know. I think it can fall a few ways…under the current govt we’ve seen the serving of big business interests and with the Climate Change issue it’s reached the point where it’s basically insane to support unsustainable practices and there needed to be a clear signal back to the markets that it was no longer acceptable…money talks.
        There is a theory that every reaction has a reaction and my hope is that we are beginning to experience the reaction to neo-liberalism at a level that will reallly bring about change.

    • Hi Weka,

      I have a personal interest in the lack of voter engagement among youth. My point really was just that the Nats will have been in control of the govt for 9 years by the next election. Essentially this means that there will be an entirely new generation of voters at the next election who have been affected by National Party Policy. Teenagers and young adults have their own world with their own rules so I think it made sense for Little to bring in some faces that are more appealing to youth. Sorry for the delayed reply BTW. I haven’t been published on this site before and forgot to check!

      • weka 1.2.1

        Cheers Invisiphilia. I agree with what you have just said, and I hope that Labour changes its selection processes to encourage more younger candidate in the coming years.

  2. Tautuhi 2

    Unfortunately in NZ MSM are still madly in love with John Key and the NACT Parties, JK is still the most prefered PM ever and is still regarded as a Rock Star leading a Rock Star Economy, however I have seen little evidence of this where I live.

    The only way I can see a certain change is for Labour, Greens and NZF to show some maturity and send a message to the voters that they can work constructively together to form a functional working Government, like MMP is designed to do. Last election they shot each other in the foot. The only other alternative is a National/NZF coalition however that is unlikely to happen after National and Jenny Shipley hijacked NZF after the 1994 Election and a number of NZF MP’s abandoned NZF and sided with National, note these people are no longer in politics.

    They will inherit $105 Billion Debt from NACT and a number of problems to tidy up, however better sooner rather than later.

    • RedLogix 2.1

      The only way I can see a certain change is for Labour, Greens and NZF to show some maturity and send a message to the voters that they can work constructively together to form a functional working Government, like MMP is designed to do.

      And until then John Key will remain PM until he gets terminally bored. This is the hidden weakness of MMP; that a bloc consisting of multiple parties, however close they may appear on paper – will always appear weaker than an opposing bloc united under one name.

      Combine this with the power of the Establishment owned media to screw the scrum, and there is zero chance any actual left-wing govt will ever be elected in NZ. Just waiting for the public to ‘give the other guys a turn’ will only ensure a right-wing Labour govt warms the Treasury benches just long enough to enact some modest reforms — and then the Establishment will put the ‘natural party of government’ back into power. This is the pattern of NZ politics since WW2. We should have spotted it by now.

      Looked at from a cold rational perspective, there are few good options to break this deadlock. The only one I think is accessible relies on two observations:

      1. The MSM has never been so financially weak, fragmented and struggling with falling numbers of eyeballs as ever before.

      2. The Labour Party has no money. It depends entirely on a loyal band of activists to keep it going.

      Work it out from there.

      • greywarshark 2.1.1

        That last point you made might be the tipping point for Labour. Little and Robertson should say clearly that NZ under National has now $105 billion debt and growing, which makes us very vulnerable to any downturn in the world. BUT they are still here for NZs. Say the truth that they paid down debt when last in government, and if elected will continue to reduce it slowly to prevent the country having a recession.

        They should say if elected they will keep NZ growing, but ensure that low-income and unemployed have better opportunities and conditions, while at the same time they will slowly reduce both historic debt and current borrowing. They will have a message.that appeals, not to 99%, but the thinking and hurting 75% (my rough estimation).

      • Invisiphilia 2.1.2

        Hi Redlogix,

        Thank you for your comments. In regards to solving numbers 1 and 2 I would say that social media stands a good chance of having a large role to play in the next General Election.

    • Hi Tautuhi,

      I know for a fact that certain members of govt on the left have done a massive amount of soul searching after the last election… we need to ditch the idea that they aren’t a united front as that’s just rehashing the MSM’s gleeful agenda. The local Council elections in 2016 in Auckland are going to provide an interesting forerunner to the General Election.

  3. greywarshark 3

    The best thing that came out of last week was the hope that the ridiculous and worn-out image of Greenies as nothing but sandal wearing, mong bean eaters was finally given a decent burial.

    By triumphing about this sort of put-down finally being put down, you are repeating the unreasoning prejudice and conformity of the style-and-appearance fashion-following, wealth-worshipping, pleasure-seeking, me-first chattering classes.

    Eating mong beans and wearing sandals as daily dress, is not my style, but one of the best people I know fits this description. And when a local primary school took on an ambitious conformist principal of the above description, she weeded out this teacher who didn’t power-dress and conform to her particular principles. He wasn’t up-market and object-oriented enough for her. I think she wanted the business look and possibly a tie, and better tick-boxing to meet her targets.

    And while mentioning teachers I heard on RADIONZ that the government have changed the designation of teachers from public servants to state servants which must have some effect on their roles and treatment.

    • ropata 3.1

      So, teachers will be required to further the NACToid Corp(tm) agenda, against the interests of their community… Iooks like another attack on teachers and a step towards turning schools into another SERCO “success story”

    • Hi Greywarshark,

      I absolutely meant no offence. I actually meant that I’m tired of people dismissing environmentalists as having no value to society. I find the other type of people to be dangerously narcissistic. I just found it interesting that the direction to accept that Climate Change is THE issue has finally come from those who are the “power dressers” of this world. If it makes you feel any better I was a founder of the Hemp Store 🙂 Thanks for your comment.

      • greywarshark 3.2.1

        Did I get agitated? How unlike me. Actually I find my nerves a bit raw as each passing day shows further sly slimy omission or commission from those who are charged with doing things of value to the country. And on top of dislocation and disruption of good values in NZ, being drawn into dastardly wars on spurious grounds of long term value etc. etc.

        We are into civil war territory here, with a division developing between friends, between family members. This echoes the one between the carers and watchers and ethically motivated, and the complacent pussies making hay while the sun shines, and shines, and gosh there is a drought, now a torrent and a mudslide, now…. Being able to say I told you so won’t give me any satisfaction at all. Those thoughts explain any little fumarole that I erupt!

        By the way I have read great things about hemp. When are we going to produce it on an economically registering scale and get some grass from the weed, with all its range of uses?

  4. Tautuhi 4

    I guess where this thread is going is that Schools are going to corporatised, where everybody is put into boxes of one size fits all. Next thing we will be following some American type educational model and we will be hiring some American Corporation to run our schools.

    This country has steadily gone downhill since the 1970’s, we used to produce highly skilled tradespeople until we threw out the Apprenticeship Schemes, we had quality education and healthcare, full employment, we owned our State Assets and households could live comfortably on one income. Where did NZ go wrong?

    • RedLogix 4.1

      The failed pig farmer and his enablers.

    • greywarshark 4.2

      I don’t think NZ has ever got over the taste of honey after WW2 when I think it was, our wool that was in much demand. We had a glimpse of being wealthy then. But then Britain had to make up its mind whether to join the European Common Market. They still had pretensions of the colonies then. It was hard enough to make the decision to join – France didn’t want them. They couldn’t bring us in with them, as France did with its territories.

      So our PM rushed over and buttered them up and reminded of how we had fought and died for them over there, to the extent that we were exposed ourselves and the USA had to ensure that we didn’t fall to the enemy along with our lovely deep water sheltered ports. (Or we migh have been like Syria, being bombed to hell to save us from the enemy.) We have been going downhill since then. Intelligent economic advisors like Sutch got drowned as we wallowed in anti-communist bogs.

      And then the unions seemed to be wanting to take over and run business down with strikes and demands. So the business leaders decided they could do that better and got their subversives to undermine Labour, and labour, introduced the slavery system again, with a free market and the bully boy of restraint on trade challenge for anything that approached humane treatment of working people,and called it by a flash new name neo liberalism.

      And here we are today, happy as can be, all good friends and jolly good company as we approach the yuletide season, followed by New Year and clasping of hands in the traditional Auld Lang Syne.

      So that’s a potted history of latter day NZ as I see it. Where did we go wrong? Choose your own tipping point. There will be others that will come to others’ minds.

      • ropata 4.2.1

        where we went wrong

        1970s oil crisis. piggy muldoon thinks a bit too big for his boots. wage/price freezes. strikes all over NZ. country paralysed

        1980s currency crisis. lange sucked in to shilling for GST and rogernomics (mike moore had a go as well), student loans

        1990s great helmsman Bolger limply did nothing as ruthanasia annihilated the working class (scary madam Shipley foments mutiny but is widely hated). employment contracts act, benefit cuts, asset sales

        1999 political scientist Clark gamely tried to steady the ship. public debt goes to zero but housing bubble ensures huge growth of private debt

        2008 money man Key and his dirty politics gang lurch economy to starboard again. housing bubbles and asset sales and disaster capitalism. economy pillaged by the one percent. unprecedented propaganda machine allows the kleptocrats to operate with impunity

        • Tautuhi

          Good analysis. So where do we go from here ?

          Interested to know National’s plan for NZ is ? As we are running out of things to sell, and the debt keeps climbing ?

          I guess National hopes we will strike oil somewhere like Jed Clampett did on the Beverly Hillbillies ?

          • Pat

            a million or two immigrants, preferably in the investor class?…oops,sorry ..you meant a NEW plan?

          • ropata

            National’s plan for “A Brighter Future” was literal.

            The plan is to brighten our lives by destroying the ozone layer and pumping CO2 like there’s no tomorrow. NZ will benefit from the “Greenhouse effect” because all our crops will grow faster. Also, masses of climate refugees can only help improve Auckland property prices. (Also, all “eco friendly” low-power lightbulbs will be outlawed. SuperBright 1000W bulbs only!)

            What could go wrong with that?

          • greywarshark

            The Beverly Hillbillies and Key sitting up on the cart with his stack of corny phrases and flash house. Poor kid, done good. About right.

        • greywarshark

          Ropata you identified major points I did broad brush.

          Muldoon had everyone hypnotised as has Key. Is that NZs achilles heel? Could we have got together and talked business to labour and got something more beneficial than inflation and wage rises to match it pushing inflation higher?

          • ropata

            we could have strengthened unions and stimulated demand by raising wages and benefits and investing in public works. investing in education and training and recognising and supporting work that is currently unpaid would have given a massive boost to domestic demand and fixed some of the glaring problems of inequality. but the main thing that is wrong nowadays is housing, there needs to be a serious rethink of tenants’ rights and landlords’ obligations.
            and finally: to really build a fair society we need land value tax… !!

            Pittsburgh is #1 in affordability. Unlike Detroit #2, it's thriving, dense, safe, educated Thanks to 100 yrs of #LVT pic.twitter.com/0qa1cL0it0— Nate (@iddqkfa) December 6, 2015

          • ropata

            you are right that NZ has a national weakness for “strong” authoritarian bastards and they easily gain a cult following among the more thuggish / anti-democracy / regressive elements of the electorate… could be a major worry if we slide towards Trump like idiocy

            • greywarshark

              Having a program of instituting infrastructure and long-term resource investment training and employing the young to do it, and enabling older unemployed with retraining and different skills that took them away from their home turf and introduced them into a different location and people, would have had multiple benefits. But it had to be become automatic at certain trigger points in the economy, and if attempted it would have been done as a stop gap, a sort of pilot scheme despite knowing that there are cycles in the economy which would need time to recover from, and that training schemes and work after would result in an energised, skilled workforce ready to go in new business and enterprise as soon as there was an upturn.

              But the short-term views and lack of commitment to the people and the country of politicians would never let them commit to that level of practical schemes. They could have carried them out, explaining to the country what they hoped to achieve thus providing them with enough backers so they could continue in government, and to guarantee an uproar if another Party tried to reverse such intelligent economic handling.

      • Tautuhi 4.2.2

        And we all lived happily ever after.

  5. I am not convinced. The Republicans are managing to stymie stuff in the U.S. and the Liberals are in government in Australia. These are two parties that fundamentally refuse to acknowledge the existential environmental crisis the world is plunging into at a rate of knots that is truly terrifying.

    One day there will be another Republican President. It could be as early as 20 January 2017 if American paranoia about terrorism lets them be governed by scare mongering rather than reason. If that happens, nothing useful will happen for a decade unless they bury the Tea Party and Freedom Caucus.

    Australia has an even worse problem. Whereas many Republicans are quietly wringing their hands with despair over the Tea Party, the Liberal Party to the core is fundamentally munted.

  6. greywarshark 6

    They have to take courses in Ultimate Fighting over there. That’s why it’s hard for females to get to the top. Too much musclepower, in the ring. The weights aren’t balanced.

  7. Smilin 7

    and we get the govt we all deserve that deals with the way life is for the majority and with real grounded hope built on need and not the BS desires and security for the rich who manipulate our political system for undeserved political bias for themselves and non admittance of their deceit of the people and the peoples right to question and expectancy to be taken notice of to a full and just end
    This has to come to be as this present govt has done the opposite to the people of this nation and we are all paying the price of their abuse of power

  8. Thank you all of your amazing comments. I’m so happy to have been the catalyst for it. Arohanui to you!

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