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Should The Left Do Authoritarian Populism Like The Right Does?

Written By: - Date published: 10:17 am, June 21st, 2017 - 54 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, International, Jeremy Corbyn, uk politics, us politics - Tags:

Another election for UK Labour, another (close) loss. Sigh. But wait! There’s France’s Macron! Can’t he be the leftie anti-Trump? He now has as big a majority in his government as Trump’s Republicans do.

So what if the left had an authoritarian populist in power and got some stuff done?

Why can’t the left generate candidates like Donald Trump who upset diplomatic orders, dominate public discourse, and set out an alternative view for an advanced rule-based democracy?

With climate change, environmental degradation, property crises, poverty crises, and decades of vision-free national policy, isn’t real force necessary? Can the left yearn for executive authority?

Or is this just wrong to imagine? Jeremy Corbyn, for example, appears to be a Labour leader without demagogic capacity, preferring detailed policy prescriptions retold in his trademark grey-whiskered scruffy style for public consumption.

Part of the answer is in the history of the left over the previous century. It’s been really easy to tar the left as being on a continuum that supported spectacularly bloodthirsty revolutions in Russia, China, eastern Europe, central Asia, central Africa, south-east Asia, and beyond. We don’t need another Stalin. Too few of the left foreswore revolution, so that tarring has been easy. So why does a leftie Trump seem so hard to imagine, so off-putting? Isn’t this the kind of scale of disruption that the world needs, from the left?

The first answer is, of course, no-one needs a leader as rude or ignorant. Successful politics is about more than making omelettes with eggs. It’s possible to achieve really useful stuff diplomatically, and it’s hard.

The second, is that every country is different. National leadership matters because countries still matter. Each historical and social context demands a different response, within its own democratic framework.

But it’s easy to feel frustration. With the comprehensive economic and societal restructures that New Zealand has gone through, there’s a real question about why we have not seen the rise of more radicalised populist parties. Moderate policies over 6 elections here have generated very moderate results here. What we are seeing across many developed economies is a politics responding to sluggish or declining growth, resistant high real underemployment, no wage and salary growth, declining regions, and whole manufacturing economic bases of social life simply shipped out. Worse than here.

What is being observed through much of Europe, the UK, and the USA are manifestations of a rising tide of right-wing populist politics that really is taking power. And the left, to be honest, is being left behind in every country I can think of.

In little old New Zealand, rather than observing New Zealand First rise to pre-eminence here, they remain between 9-12% and have never been a challenge to the largest two parties. Why?

Let’s look at a couple of comparators.

Singapore is about the same size in population, and is like us a very young nation with a sensitive local population significantly displaced by immigrants. Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party won the country’s general elections, but earned its lowest percentage of the popular vote since coming into power more than half a century ago.

Lee Kuan Yew, father of modern Singapore, could be seen as a populist authoritarian leftie. His policies about media influence, housing ownership, state ownership, and highly prescriptive economic policies have formed a different kind of society than that which we could imagine or countenance here, but it is strong, dynamic, and filled with public ownership.

But their elections are getting more competitive. There are signs of political liberalisation and maturity. Their context for elections is a paternalistic and technically rational administrative state, reasonably credited with the republic’s remarkable success and largely insulated from political pressures, united by one leader with immense charisma and drive who determined to stay the course, crush opposition, and embed his political successor and his policies. So “populism” in that sense really means a much stronger democracy than they have yet had.

Singapore – clean, meritocratic, pragmatic – has had its origins set down a particular form of democracy and state that is different to the liberal democratic trajectory.

And then there’s France. Macron is no hard leftie. He wants a harder, stronger, more self-reliant Europe. So does Trump. But Macron once taught philosophy and can cite Moliere from memory – doesn’t that make him at least bourgoisie-sympathetic? Hmmm. He’s certainly supportive of climate change: “Lets Make The Planet Great Again”. But that’s comparing him to Trump’s refusal to deal in facts. Macron’s economic policies on employment would fit pretty well with those of Prime Minister Bill English – although that’s comparing to the still highly regulated labour conditions found in France. Macron’s first bill will be aimed at “moralising” French politics by imposing term limits and barring MPs from hiring family members or working as consultants. You could almost describe it as … draining the swamp. I also suspect that the United States and United Kingdom will no longer be able to effectively outsource foreign policy to Merkel’s Germany with a more assertive Gaullist in France.

There’s still some small hankering for a Trump of the left: a great roaring charismatic figure rising up the unwashed and downtrodden, dominating and reviving the fortunes of the left. That is, do what the right have done better. I still hear assumptions that the hard left will rise again as leftist party machines get their ideological mojo back on track. Instead the world is demonstrating that there will be more countries who are run by centrist pragmatists with strong personalities and outsider status parties.

Since 1990, our own Prime Ministers have been exceedingly well mannered and only mildly clever even when pushed on the international stage, and also very careful to implement societal change through technocratic means not force, supported by MMP coalitions that widen their social mandate.

The historical memory of the left is more sensitive to charges of authoritarianism than the right. Maybe that’s just for old people. I also have a sneaking suspicion that the left needs its leaders to always obey the system they have created: the rules-based order of the state must function more perfectly for the left than the right, because they need the restraining force of the state’s legal instruments against the market a whole bunch more than the right does. Because the left needs the system more, the leftie leader must always defer to the system more. Perpetual taming.

But there are looming crises that the left cares about that are particularly hard to solve without really discomfiting paradigm-smashers like Donald Trump. If Trump succeeded as Lee Kuan Yew did by bluntly smashing norms to sweep aside the paralysis of ideological and political deadlock, and installed a technocratic government focused on performance and results, upon which actual legitimacy of popular support are staked, then that question of “the leftie version of Trump” will arise again.

54 comments on “Should The Left Do Authoritarian Populism Like The Right Does?”

  1. mordecai 1

    “But wait! There’s France’s Macron! Can’t he be the leftie anti-Trump?”
    It seems authors on this blog are having a bad week with facts. Macron is not a ‘leftie’. He was a member of the Socialist party of France until 2008, but has recently distanced himself from any connection with socialism. Macron is pro-business, pro-trade, and a self described centrist.

    • Ad 1.1

      OMG I spent a full paragraph explaining all that, and in more precise detail. I even compared his parallels with Trump policy positions. Read the damn post.

      • mordecai 1.1.1

        You claimed macron is a leftie. He isn’t. Oh, and BTW, the socialists got trounced in the French elections.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 1.1.2

        You’re wasting your time. Mordecai doesn’t do English Comprehension. He’s now fixated on the “fact” that you said Macron is a leftie and no amount of explanation will change that.

        You can spell it out in tiny words, point out that the question “But wait! There’s France’s Macron! Can’t he be the leftie anti-Trump?” is what we hu-mans call “rhetorical”, whatever.

        None of this will make the slightest difference other than to provide an ongoing illustration of the Dunning-Kruger effect.

        • McFlock 1.1.2.1

          He’s pretty funny though.

          He’s a bit like Trump’s lawyer referring to the investigation, then accusing the interviewer of putting words in his mouth when the interviewer simply repeats what the guy said. Complete refusal to reflect on self. And when all else fails, pretends to lose any knowledge of the English language 🙂

  2. greywarshark 2

    Jonathan Pie might like the idea of forcing something useful to people through.
    Papering over Poverty – one of his good rants with good points.

    • Ad 2.1

      Jonathan Pie is just Bomber with even less governance experience.

      • Lara 2.1.1

        Oh no, come on now. Jonathan Pie is entertaining. Bomber, with all his “comrade” BS is just annoying.

        And Pie does tend to make rather a lot of sense really.

  3. McFlock 3

    There be dragons.

    Thing is, for every Mandela who steps down constitutionally, there are a dozen Mugabes or whomever. Authoritarianism can end well, but almost never does, and I also think that the “good” authoritarians have likely been fondly remembered as the bad they did is oft interred with their bones, papered over by the bumper-sticker “made the place tidy and built up the economy”. Be interesting to see the opinions of people who got on the wrong side of them.

    • Ad 3.1

      Can a future leftie government go far further than Helen Clark or other incrementalist governments while not resorting to non-authoritarian means?

      I think the first question before you get into government is: what can you achieve within the limits of the powers you have?

      Then figure if you have appetite and will to achieve even more by getting even more power.

      • McFlock 3.1.1

        The Triumph of the Will is all well and good, but I think that above a certain level the strength of will and what that enables one to sacrifice in order to achieve your ends becomes inconsistent with the nominal ends you had when you started that journey.

        The left is about cooperation, socialism. Not about dictation. “What I say, goes” is inconsistent with “liberty, equality, fraternity”.

        • Ad 3.1.1.1

          God I just wish that had been true in the history of the lefts’ governments across the last century, I really do.

          I even wish that had been true of social democrat governments.

          I would like to think there were definitional limits that ruled out the human will to power, capitalised or not. We are all too human. Left or right.

          This is the right debate to have though.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1.1.1.1

            I think you’re missing a fundamental feature of social democratic governments: they have to survive against the forces that would tear them apart.

            The opposition isn’t supine when the left is in government. Far from it.

            • Gosman 3.1.1.1.1.1

              This is the excuse most totalitarian leftist governments use to excuse their oppressive policies. “We had to protect the revolution from the reactionary forces arrayed against us”.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Really? How fascinating.

                Meanwhile, I was talking about social democratic governments. That’s why I said “social democratic governments”, to give readers a hint that that was what I was talking about.

                You really are fucking useless at reading, as well as being a lying hypocrite.

          • In Vino 3.1.1.1.2

            Consider also that the field was always slanted, given Capitalism’s hostility to the very idea of socialism/communism. And a determination to stamp it out.

            Socialism/communism was only ever tried in poor countries, never in the industrialised rich countries. (Russia was big enough to have industry, but on income per capita, always remained a poor country.) (And don’t quote Argentina, which, like NZ, was rich from primary industry for a while. But primary industry provides only a temporary window. Rich countries need heaps of heavy industry.)
            Secondly, Socialism/communism has never been tried in a country with democratic traditions. Russia had a history of despotism under the Czars, and it is well argued by some that Stalin was the most recent of the great Czars. Despots took over and destroyed the socialistic ideals of all those revolutions.

            No fair trial ever held. Right wing rednecks who claim that socialism/communism is a proven failure are simplistic morons who have no depth of historical knowledge.

            • RedLogix 3.1.1.1.2.1

              Socialism/communism has never been tried in a country with democratic traditions

              Exactly. Look at how long it took to get from the Magna Carta to the modern Westminster democracy. And how much blood got split along the way.

            • dobby 3.1.1.1.2.2

              the latest attempt in Venezuela hasn’t worked either. What’s the excuse there?

              • Stuart Munro

                Perhaps you should have a look at the failures of non-socialist states to give you some perspective. In principle Venezuela should resemble Saudi, with significant oil-financed social spending. But instead a corrupt elite decided to contest ownership of the oil assets – resulting in simmering instability.

          • McFlock 3.1.1.1.3

            It’s not that the will to power is inconsistent with any definitional limits, it’s that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

            So some people who might have started out with noble causes, like Mugabe, lose all their original principles after being in total power for a while. That’s why Mandela is so spectacular: he achieved his goals and walked away.

            To continue the theme, once you look into the abyss of power through force, the abyss looks back into you…

  4. gsays 4

    the reason we don’t see these people is that they are worn down by the status quo then torn apart by fellow comrades for not being right on enough.

  5. One Anonymous Bloke 5

    Corbyn suggesting requisitioning private property in response to the centrist mass murder at Grenfell. He’s quite capable of wielding authority if you ask me.

    • Ad 5.1

      Aye well, let’s see when he’s actually in power.
      I’ve seen plenty talk poetry on the hustings and hear it go straight prose when in power.

    • Incognito 5.2

      Hmmm, are authority and leadership one and the same?

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    First Dog on the Moon was addressing this question or a related one just the other day.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/20/who-is-australias-socialist-atheist-saviour

    • Ad 6.1

      Yup that’s pretty awesome cartooning.

      When Winston Peters can still look like the Tom Jones of politics, there’s something missing.

  7. AB 7

    Occasionally for amusement I read comments on the Daily Telegraph. A number of people commenting there see Corbyn as a rabble-rousing, populist Marxist. Whereas I would have thought he lacks the rhetorical and verbal firepower to be a traditional populist of that sort. I’m thinking for example of the speech that landed Eugene V. Debs in jail during WW1 as a contrast to Corbyn’s polite, reasonable meanderings.
    However he does seem to be popular if not ‘populist’ – perhaps when the ‘rabble’ is ready to be roused it takes only a light touch. So maybe we shouldn’t typecast our populists so much, I think they might come in many forms.
    On authoritarianism – a primary goal of the left should be to limit the unaccountable private power of one citizen (or corporation) over other citizens. This makes left wing ideology anti-authoritarian in its purpose. But if private power can be broken only by state power, how do you avoid becoming the thing you oppose? In reality though, most ‘left’ governments don’t even get to run up against this dilemma because they are so timid when it comes to challenging private economic power due to the damage that can be inflicted by disinvestment and capital flight. I don’t see this situation changing any time soon – even a Corbyn-led government would be very, very cautious on this front.
    So a populist left- yes, but an authoritarian left just isn’t a possibility right now.

    • Ad 7.1

      Yes I would agree with you generally – what I am pointing to is a democratic dilemma. The crises are growing in force, but it appears as if only the right has the will to seize and break power structures.

      I don’t agree that this statement: “a primary goal of the left should be to limit the unaccountable private power of one citizen (or corporation) over other citizens” means that left wing ideology is anti-authoritarian in its purpose.

      It is leftie governments formed the modern instruments of state, together with its massive and grinding Leviathan of coercive instruments. And for the left, it is the state that needs the power and the courage to challenge markets and regulate them to rebuild coherent society again. The left have had plenty of authoritarian governments that have done this.

      • McFlock 7.1.1

        Authoritarianism works in countries that have systems which support monolithic party blocs, parties that can have a majority without coalition or compromise.

        The “left” tends to shun monolithic blocs, fracturing into a thousand pieces on the continuua of incrementalist to revolutionary and authoritarian to acentric. Tories like monoliths more.

        A left-wing government thats authoritarian just enough, but not too much, is a very rare beastie indeed.

        • Ad 7.1.1.1

          I’m not sure about that first point. Corbyn and Sanders come from pretty different political cultures. I’m not sure bloc formation is the ground for authoritarianism. The ground for authoritarianism is fertile whenever there are both sufficient crises to warrant a population willing to take commands, and when charismatic leaders rise who can play with these crises towards popular command of a singular public agenda.

          We definitely have a personality deficit on the left in New Zealand. Winston still looks good, and that’s a pretty low bar. Joyce looks interesting, English is looking coherent, Little just appears little.

          I still don’t trust a future Labour-Green government to have the will to wield the instruments of power that are still available. Even in housing, where they are making the largest promises. In fact after this amount of time I don’t think there are public servants left who can remember how to really crack heads across Departments.

          • McFlock 7.1.1.1.1

            Corbyn and Sanders both work in variations of FPP systems where it largely comes down to Party A vs Party B, rather than having to find common ground between any mixture of Parties A through F on an issue by issue basis.

            Labour and the Greens recognise that it’s not a case of them having a single will to wield power, it’s a case of everybody’s different wills working together to push the mass in a different course. It’s not as efficient as one propellor, or all propellors pointing in the same direction, but that’s the reality of politics: some party propellors point more left or right than others, and it’s the combined force that determines the eventual direction.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.2

        …leftie governments formed the modern instruments of state, together with its massive and grinding Leviathan of coercive instruments.

        The coercive instruments were there long before that; cf: The Code of Ur-Nammu, Magna Carta etc… no-one expects the Spanish Inquisition either.

        • Ad 7.1.2.1

          Let’s stick to the postwar state for clarity of discussion please.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 7.1.2.1.1

            Why?

            If you insist, I’m pretty sure Nixon, Thatcher, Pinochet, Reagan, Bush, Bush, Milosevic, Netanyahu and Howard had something to do with the formation of the modern instruments of state too.

            That is to say, they took paradigms that have existed for millennia and chose the ones that suited them best.

      • AB 7.1.3

        “leftie governments formed … grinding coercive instruments”
        I think it’s useful to distinguish authority that is based (even distantly) on democratic processes, from authority that isn’t. They are different in nature even if it may not feel like it if you are on the receiving end.

        “it appears as if only the right has the will to seize and break power structures.”
        I think the will to do so may come from having the power to do so. Easier to break structures that you are already a member of (e.g. Trump)

  8. Stuart Munro 8

    I think a moderate authoritarian left government would play rather well right now – the problem is more the crowding out of such possibilities by other parties who style themselves left.

    The rationale that was used to loot assets like rail and electricity generation has proven to be utterly false; these could be renationalized without a murmur except for the whining of far-right bloggers.

    • Ad 8.1

      Could you imagine a Rogernomic-force and Rogernomic-speed government of the left?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.1

        Sure. I can also imagine how stupid and disruptive such a government could be unless it took great pains to keep its head well pulled in.

        Democracy actually works if you apply it. Consultation produces far better decisions than diktat.

      • Stuart Munro 8.1.2

        Yes – but not among contemporary parties as I see it at present.

        The market at all costs movement is clearly a failure, so a streamlined version of what we had pre-Rogergnomics would presumably provide measurable gains.

        However, the appeasement of significant monopolist interests by major parties, seafood and road transport for example, suggests that they would struggle to find the political will however blatant the need.

        Labour is not producing reformist/economist leadership, so a clear template for that kind of reform is not coming from them.

        The Greens have many excellent policies, but not a raising grassroots prosperity tide driver like Rewi Alley’s Gung Ho.

        Winston would be amenable to such a process so long as he is in the driving seat (It’s good to be the king!) but plays his cards too close to his chest for any predictions to be made.

        The Gnats are simply too corrupt to function at all, much less contrive a coherent reform.

        ACT is merely a flaccid vesicle of adipose tissue – it’s reforming days are behind it.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 8.2

      There might be a bit of capital flight too, unless said return of stolen and fenced property was managed very carefully.

      • greywarshark 8.2.1

        We would have to be mot careful. Chile was big gungho and was taken out by its generals with USA assistance, as their interests had much to lose and wouldn’t stand for it. The USA will be back for another practice run of possible intervention here in October.

  9. BM 9

    MMP rules out NZ ever having to suffer the trump like fuckwitteries America is facing.

    Left or right, any asshat who wants to be a dictatorial wanker is pushing shit uphill, our political system and ratios doesn’t allow it.

    Which is NZ has been so centric for the last 20 years, that’s all you can be in an MMP environment.

    • Stuart Munro 9.1

      Rubbish – Key was every bit as irresponsible as Trump, he just didn’t tweet his meltdowns to the whole world. Both equally worthless – no governance happened.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.2

      MMP rules out NZ ever having to suffer the trump like fuckwitteries America is facing.

      We just had one such fuckwit retire.

    • Ad 9.3

      If that were the case, we would expect other countries with similar electoral systems to also have strong politicians like Trump from rising. I don’t see any evidence for this claim.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Zero Carbon: It’s not just a good idea, it’s the law
    Two years into New Zealand’s Labour-led government, the long-delayed Zero Carbon Bill became law on 7 November. Passed essentially unanimously, the lengthy public debates and political manoeuvring faded away until the final passage was even anticlimactic: Flipping through the @nzstuff @DomPost I was starting to wonder if I’d dreamt ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert McLachlan
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: What happens next?
    Now the Zero Carbon Bill is law, what's next? Obviously, the ETS changes currently before select committee are going to be the next battleground. But we're also going to get a good idea of where we're going, and if the progress the Zero Carbon Act promises is good enough, during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Climate change will fuel bush fires
    Grant Pearce The effects of the current Australian bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland (and also again in California) are devastating and far-reaching. To date, the fires have resulted in several lives being lost and many homes and properties destroyed. Here in New Zealand, the impacts have been only ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    6 days ago
  • Participation rates
    A passing comment in a post the other day about the labour force participation rates of older people prompted me to pull down the fuller data and see what we could see about various participation rates over the decades since the HLFS began in 1986.   As it happens, the ...
    SciBlogsBy Michael Reddell
    6 days ago
  • Not So Much “OK Boomer” As “OK Ruling Class”.
    Distract And Divert: The rise of what we have come to call “Identity Politics” represents the ideological manifestation of the ruling class’s objective need to destroy class politics, and of the middle-class’s subjective need to justify their participation in the process.THE RELIEF of the ruling class can only be imagined. ...
    6 days ago
  • Asking for it …
    "I saw a newspaper picture,From the political campaignA woman was kissing a child,Who was obviously in pain.She spills with compassion,As that young child'sFace in her hands she gripsCan you imagine all that greed and avariceComing down on that child's lips?" ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Poor Pandemic Preparedness According to the Global Health Security Index
    Dr Matt Boyd, Prof Michael Baker, Prof Nick Wilson The Global Health Security Index which considers pandemic threats has just been published. Unfortunately, NZ scores approximately half marks (54/100), coming in 35th in the world rankings – far behind Australia. This poor result suggests that the NZ Government needs to ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: Thank Winston
    The Zero Carbon Act is inadequate, with a weak methane target designed to give farmers a free ride. But it turns out it could have been worse: Climate Change Minister James Shaw was so desperate to get National on board, he wanted to gut that target, and leave it in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Illicit markets and Bali Booze
    The Herald reprints an Australian story on a couple of tragic deaths in Bali from drinking cocktails that had methanol in them.  The story argues that methanol is likely the result of home distillation. But what the young tourists were experiencing was far from a hangover. They’d consumed a toxic cocktail ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    7 days ago
  • This is not what armed police are for
    Last month, the police announced a trial of specialist roaming armed units, which would drive round (poor, brown) areas in armoured SUVs, armed to the teeth. When they announced the trial, they told us it was about having armed police "ready to attend major incidents at any time if needed". ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Spain’s failed electoral gamble
    Spain went to the polls today in the second elections this year, after the Socialists (who had come to power in a confidence vote, then gone to the polls in April) rejected the offer of a coalition with the left-wing PoDemos, and instead decided to gamble n a better outcome ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • The astroturf party
    National has finally rolled out its "BlueGreen" astroturf party, fronted by an array of former nats and people who were dumped by the Greens for not being Green enough. Its initial pitch is described by Stuff as "very business-friendly", and its priorities are what you'd expect: conservation, predator-free funding, a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • How to cheat at university
    A couple of days ago I attended (and spoke at) the University of Waikato’s “LearnFest” event. There were lots of talks and sessions on very diverse aspects of teaching, mostly at tertiary level. One was by Myra Williamson from Te Piringa Faculty of Law here at Waikato, on Contract Cheating ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    7 days ago
  • How NZ was put on world maps using a transit of Mercury
    There will be a transit of Mercury – the planet Mercury will pass across the face of the Sun – taking place at sunrise in New Zealand on Tuesday, 12th November. It was by observing such an event 250 years ago that James Cook and his scientist colleagues were able ...
    SciBlogsBy Duncan Steel
    1 week ago
  • Georgina Beyer: We need to be able to talk without being offended
    Since becoming the world’s first openly transexual mayor and member of parliament, Georgina Beyer has been recognised as a trailblazer for trans rights. Daphna Whitmore talks with her about where she sees the current trans movement We start out talking about legislation the government put on hold that would have ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The anti-fluoride brigade won’t be erecting billboards about this study
    If FFNZ really put their faith in “Top Medical Journals” they would now be amending their billboards to recognise new research results. Image from FFNZ but updated to agree with the latest research. ...
    1 week ago
  • Chosen To Rule? What Sort Of Christian Is Chris Luxon?
    National Messiah? Chris Luxon identifies himself as an evangelical Christian. If he is genuine in this self-characterisation, then he will take every opportunity his public office provides to proselytise on behalf of his faith. He will also feel obliged to bear witness against beliefs and practices he believes to be ...
    1 week ago
  • War of the worms
    I'm going to make a Reckless Prediction™ that the Tories have 'topped out' in the 'poll of polls' / Britain Elects multipoll tracker at about 38%, and in the next week we will start to see Labour creep up on them.In fact, we might just be seeing the start of ...
    1 week ago
  • Marvelly shows us how to be a feminist without feminism
    by The Council of Disobedient Women Lizzie Marvelly: “I may have missed this… has @afterellen gone all terf-y? Or am I reading something incorrectly? “ https://twitter.com/LizzieMarvelly/status/1191840059105742849 After Ellen is a lesbian website that is unashamedly pro-lesbian, as you’d expect. So why is Ms Marvelly so bothered about lesbians having their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Out of the past – Tories to revive racist laws from the 16th century
    Did you know there once was a time when it was illegal to be a gypsy (aka Romani) in Britain?That was between 1530, when the Egyptians Act was passed, and 1856, when it was repealed.Amongst other things, the act forbade the entry of 'Egyptians' into England, ordered those already there ...
    1 week ago
  • 1000 of these now
    Some days I sit and think, “what will I write…?” What do you say when you get to 1000 posts? Maybe you just start where you are, diverge to where this all began, then offer a collection of reader’s favourite posts, and a few of your own? (And throw in ...
    SciBlogsBy Grant Jacobs
    1 week ago
  • Has Shane Jones Just Saved NZ First?
    Counter-Puncher: The “activists” and “radicals” (his own words) from the Indian community who took such strong exception to Shane Jones’ remarks about Immigration NZ’s treatment of arranged marriages, may end up bitterly regretting their intervention. Jones is not the sort of person who turns the other cheek to his critics.SHANE ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: As predicted
    Yesterday, when National voted for the Zero Carbon Bill, I predicted they'd gut it the moment they regained power, just as they had done to the ETS. And indeed, they have explicitly promised to do exactly that within their first hundred days in office. What would their amendments do? Abandon ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Let this never be forgot
    In the spirit of Remember, remember the fifth of November, let's keep this in mind FOREVER.
    Oh dear. Extraordinary interview on PM with Andrew Bridgen and @EvanHD just now. Bridgen was defending Jacob Rees Mogg’s Grenfell comments. Evan asked him if JRM had meant to say he would have left ...
    1 week ago
  • Too Late To Change Capitalism’s Flightpath?
    Collision Course? In conditions of ideological white-out, the international bankers’ “Woop-Woop! Pull Up!” warning may have come too late to save global capitalism.WHAT DOES IT MEAN when international bankers are more willing to embrace radical solutions than our politicians and their electors? At both the International Monetary Fund and the ...
    1 week ago
  • Whooping cough vaccine works well despite its imperfections
    Pertussis (whooping cough) is a conundrum. It is a disease that was described hundreds of years ago and the bacteria that causes it (Bordetella pertussis) isolated in 1906. We have had vaccines for about 80 years but this disease is defiant in the face of human immunity. I wanted to ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Passed
    The Zero Carbon Bill has just passed its third reading, uanimously. In the end, National supported it - but we all know they'll turn around and gut it the moment they regain power. Meanwhile, I guess ACT's David Seymour didn't even bother to show up. I am on record as ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Retailing of vaping products – New NZ Research
    Dr Lindsay Robertson, Dr Jerram Bateman, Professor Janet Hoek Members of the public health community hold divergent views on how access to vaping products or electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) products should be arranged. Some believe ENDS should be as widely available as smoked tobacco and argue for liberal ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    1 week ago
  • Justice for Bomber
    When the Police were trying to cover up for the National Party over Dirty Politics, they went all-in with their abuses of power. They illegally search Nicky Hager's house, violating his journalistic privilege and invading his privacy. They unlawfully acquired Hager's bank records. They did the same to left-wing blogger ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Britain’s climate tyranny was unlawful
    Last month, in response to a wave of protests by Extinction Rebellion, the British government purported to ban their protests from the whole of London. It was a significant interference with the freedoms of expression and assembly, and another sign of the country's decline into tyranny. But now, a court ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • More crime from the spies
    Last year, the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security reported on significant problems with the intelligence warrant system. While they were unwilling to declare any warrant "irregular" (meaning unlawful) due to the recent law change, they were also not willing to give the system a clean bill of health. Now, they've ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Vaccination, compulsion, and paternalism for the lower orders
    The National Party has come out in support of encouraging greater vaccination uptake. But it sure isn’t the way I’d do it. National’s suggested docking the benefits of those on benefit whose kids aren’t keeping up with their vaccinations. Some in National have suggested extending that to payments under Working ...
    SciBlogsBy Eric Crampton
    2 weeks ago
  • Global Protests Rage On: But Slogans Are Not Plans.
    Feeding The Flames: It is simply not enough to demand an end to “corruption”, or “inequality”, or the overbearing influence of the authorities in Beijing. These are just “lowest common denominator” demands: the sort of slogans that pull people onto the streets. They are not a plan.WHERE’S THE PLAN? Across ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 11,000 employed under Labour
    The labour market statistics have been released, and unemployment has risen to 4.2%. There are 115,000 unemployed - 11,000 fewer than when Labour took office. In that time the minimum wage has gone up by $2 an hour, which shows that the right's fears about increases causing unemployment are simply ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Boycott this democratic fraud
    The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee has called for submissions on Andrew Little's tyrannical Terrorism Suppression (Control Orders) Bill. Normally I encourage participation in the democratic process. I am not doing so in this case. Instead, I encourage all of you to boycott this submissions process, and to post ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Why Mars is cold despite an atmosphere of mostly carbon dioxide
    Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change. If you have a question you’d like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz If tiny concentrations of carbon dioxide can hold enough heat ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Ban private jets
    Aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, and within it, one of the fastest sources is elite travel: billionaires flitting around the world in their private jets, spewing excessive pollution into the atmosphere just so they can avoid mixing with us dirty peasants. But in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Untold Suffering
    That's what we face if we don't stop climate change, according to a warning from 11,000 scientists:The world’s people face “untold suffering due to the climate crisis” unless there are major transformations to global society, according to a stark warning from more than 11,000 scientists. “We declare clearly and unequivocally ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • The left and violent misogyny
    by Phil Duncan Here’s just a few of the kind of threats issued day in and day out against gender-critical women – feminists, marxists, etc – overwhelmingly by MEN (albeit men identifying as women). “Kill all Terfs”. “Shoot a Terf today”. “All terfs deserve to be shot in the head”. ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and the iPhone
    This is the third of the synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016). The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Unlike the humble cup of coffee and t-shirt that we looked at in ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The freshwater mussel housing crisis: eviction by invasive weeds?
    Tom Moore Traditionally a food source and cutting tool, freshwater mussels/kākahi are now widely valued as water filters that help clean our waterbodies and maintain ecosystem health throughout Aotearoa. The improvement they provide in water quality can make it easier for other animals to live in streams and rivers, as ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Back it up Luxon: endorsing the destructive past is not actually the way forward
    And to think he gave all the potential goodwill away with that moronic, cult-like statement (repeated ad nauseam by many National hardliners) that Key is quite simply “the greatest PM we ever had”… Installation complete: this was nothing ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    2 weeks ago
  • Good riddance
    National MP and former Conservation Minister Maggie Barry will not seek re-election next year. Good riddance. Because in case anyone has forgotten, barry is a bullying thug who terrorised both public servants and fellow MPs. She is one of the people who makes Parliament a toxic workplace, and our country ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: D-Day
    The Zero Carbon Bill is back in the House today for its second reading. While this isn't the final stage, its still effectively D-Day for the bill. Because today, at around 5pm, is when we're going to find out if it has a majority, whether National will support it or ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Winston is right
    Winston Peters is in court today, suing a bunch of former Minister and civil servants over their pre-election leak of his superannuation repayment. He's characterised the leak as malicious, and said that it is repugnant that his information was passed on to Ministers to use for political advantage. And he's ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Media impartiality
    Sky's economics editor, Ed Conway has posted a Twitter thread responding to a claim that - as far as I can see - Labour never made:
    Are NHS operation cancellations at an all-time high? That's the impression you might have been left with if you read this story from the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Finish what’s on your plate
    Murray Cox Do I have to finish my favourite genome? That’s an often-asked question. Geneticists generally strive to produce high-quality genomes that sequence every last gene, making full use of the state-of-the-art technologies coming on stream. Sequencing DNA means determining the order of the four chemical building blocks – called ...
    SciBlogsBy Genomics Aotearoa
    2 weeks ago
  • Gainful Employment: A Cautionary Tale.
    Transformative Politics: The idea is to turn each recipient into an unwitting accomplice in their own transformation. From interested observer to hyped-up activist, sharing our messages promiscuously with ‘friends’. You’ll be part of an ever-expanding circulatory system, Jennifer, for the ideas that will win us the election.”JENNIFER SKITTERED her chair ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand should not fund bigotry
    Two years ago, the Cook Islands government announced that it was planning to join the civilised world and decriminalise consensual homosexual sex between men. Now, they've reversed their position, and decided to criminalise lesbians into the bargain:Two years ago, in a step welcomed by many people including the gay and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

  • Kiwis to have their say on End of Life Choice
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First backs the public to decide on the End of Life Choice Bill via a referendum at the 2020 General Election. The Bill, with New Zealand First’s referendum provision incorporated, passed its final reading in Parliament this evening. New Zealand First Spokesperson for ...
    4 days ago
  • Addressing miscarriages of justice
    Darroch Ball, Spokesperson for Justice New Zealand First is proud that a key Coalition Agreement commitment which will provide for a more transparent and effective criminal justice system has been realised. Legislation to establish the Criminal Cases Review Commission, an independent body focused on identifying and responding to possible miscarriages of ...
    5 days ago
  • Week That Was: Historic action on climate change
    "Today we have made a choice that will leave a legacy... I hope that means that future generations will see that we, in New Zealand, were on the right side of history." - Jacinda Ardern, Third Reading of the Zero Carbon Bill ...
    1 week ago
  • Tax-free deployments for Kiwi troops
    Darroch Ball, New Zealand First List MP A Member’s bill has been proposed that would provide income tax exemptions for all New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel while on operational deployment overseas. The Income Tax (Exemption for Salary or Wages of NZDF Members on Active Deployment) Amendment Bill proposed by New Zealand First ...
    1 week ago
  • A balanced Zero Carbon Bill passed
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, New Zealand First Leader New Zealand First is proud to have brought common sense to the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill, which passed its final reading in Parliament today. Party Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters says months of hard work went into negotiating a balanced ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Paramedics’ status to be recognised
    Jenny Marcroft MP, Spokesperson for Health New Zealand First has listened to calls to recognise paramedics as registered health professionals under the Health Practitioners’ Competence Assurance Act (the Act). Today, the Coalition Government announced plans for paramedics to be registered as health practitioners under the Act, and the establishment of a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Week That Was: 2,000 teachers in two years
    We began the week by commemorating the New Zealand Wars and celebrating a major increase in the number of teachers. Then, we were busy supporting offenders into work and getting our rail back on track after years of underinvestment. And that's just the start! ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Winning an election one conversation at a time
    In October I was sworn in as the Mayor of Lower Hutt. It’s the privilege of my life to serve Hutt people as their Mayor. There is something really special to be able to serve the community where I was raised, and where I live.   ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Closer cooperation with Korean horse racing industry
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Racing Racing Minister Winston Peters met with Korea Racing Authority Chairperson Nak Soon Kim in Seoul today to discuss closer cooperation between the New Zealand and Korean horse racing industries. As part of the visit to the Seoul Racecourse, Mr Peters witnessed ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Otago to lead digital creativity
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10 million to establish Otago as the centre of New Zealand’s creative digital industry over the next ten years, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “The initiative will bring us closer to the vision of ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Young Otago students encouraged to take on forestry careers
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)’s skills and employment programme will help young Otago people into long-term forestry careers, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. Te Ara Mahi will invest $63,000 in the 2020 school year to support eight 17 and 18 ...
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF backing Dunedin’s waterfront ambitions
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will support local plans to revitalise and stimulate economic development opportunities in Otago, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones has announced. The four Regional Economic Development Ministers have approved an in-principle investment of $19.9 million towards the region’s ...
    3 weeks ago
  • M. Bovis eradication progress welcomed
    Mark Patterson, Spokesperson for Primary Industries New Zealand First is pleased to have received the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) report on the Coalition Government’s Mycoplasma bovis eradication efforts, which shows significant progress in the fight against the disease. New Zealand First Spokesperson for Primary Industries, Mark Patterson, says the report’s findings ...
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF boosts Otago’s engineering and manufacturing sector
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development Hon David Parker, Minister for Trade and Export Growth The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing to support economic growth opportunities for Otago’s engineering and manufacturing sectors, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones and Trade and Export Minister David Parker announced today. Almost $20 million ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Minister Peters discusses Pacific challenges and denuclearisation in Seoul
    Rt Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs Foreign Minister Winston Peters and his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, discussed in Seoul today opportunities to work more closely in the Pacific and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. Mr Peters and Minister Kang confirmed New Zealand and the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF supports high speed broadband for marae at Parihaka Pa
    Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development  Hon Nanaia Mahuta, Minister for Māori Development The three marae in the historic Parihaka Pa complex in Taranaki have been upgraded to high speed broadband with the support of the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF), Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today. “Connecting the ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Advancing Pacific Partnerships 2019 launched
    Hon Ron Mark, Minister of Defence Minister of Defence Ron Mark will today launch the Advancing Pacific Partnerships 2019 Defence Assessment  during a speech at Te Papa.  The Assessment outlines how Defence will partner with our Pacific Island neighbours and invest in Pacific regional security architecture. The Plan aligns with the Coalition ...
    3 weeks ago
  • PGF funding could transform Gisborne company into “beacon of employment” in two years
    A new Provincial Growth Fund investment could create about 80 new jobs in Gisborne over the next two years, turning a local small business into a “beacon of employment” in the process. Regional Economic Development Parliamentary Under-Secretary Fletcher Tabuteau said the PGF’s Te Ara Mahi funding stream would provide $1.6m ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Fairer rules for tenants and landlords
    The Government has delivered on its promise to the over one million New Zealanders who now rent to make it fairer and more secure, Associate Minister of Housing (Public Housing) Kris Faafoi has announced today. Both renters and landlords will benefit from the suite of practical changes to the Residential ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Food industry asked to step up fight against obesity
         The Government is asking the food industry to step up work to tackle obesity including reducing sugar, fat and salt in their products, better information for consumers, and tighter restrictions on advertising to children. Health Minister David Clark and Food Safety Minister Damien O’Connor have responded to a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Modern emergency care for Queenstown area
    ew, modern emergency department and outpatient facilities at Queenstown’s Lakes District Hospital mean better emergency care for the growing tourist mecca’s visitors and locals, says Health Minister David Clark. Today Dr Clark officially opened the hospital’s redeveloped Emergency Department and Outpatient facilities. The new facilities include: •    An extended Emergency Department ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Contraception important for New Zealanders
    Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter says today’s release of sexual and reproductive health data reinforces the significance of the Government’s commitment to providing free or very low-cost contraception. The Ministry of Health today published statistics from the Ministry of Health’s 2014/15 Health Survey. “It is important people can make ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ medical staff and measles vaccines going to Samoa
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced that at the request of the Samoan Government, New Zealand will be providing further support to Samoa as it faces a worsening measles outbreak. “In response to a request from the people of Samoa, New Zealand is providing 3000 measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Disability Action Plan 2019 – 2023
    “The new Disability Action Plan 2019–2023 moves us towards the inclusive and accessible New Zealand that this government has committed to,” Minister for Disability Issues Carmel Sepuloni announced today.  “The Action Plan was designed by disabled people, their family and supporters, the disability sector and government agencies. It will ensure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Joint Statement – Third Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting
    Third Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting 14 November 2019 Joint Statement 1. Defence Ministers Ron Mark and Dr Ng Eng Hen today conducted their third annual Singapore-New Zealand Defence Ministers’ Meeting in Singapore. 2. Building on the Enhanced Partnership signed between both countries in May this year, this annual meeting ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Sexual Violence Legislation Bill has its first reading
    A Bill to improve the court system’s response to sexual violence has passed its first reading in Parliament today. Justice Minister Andrew Little says the Sexual Violence Legislation Bill will reduce the trauma sexual violence complainants experience in court, while maintaining defendants’ fundamental rights and making sure the trial process ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Streamlined business invoicing a step closer
    Streamlined payment practices are a step closer for Kiwi businesses with the formal launch of New Zealand’s e-Invoicing framework. Small Business Minister Stuart Nash says the government has now established the structure to enable automated and direct data exchange between the accounting systems of buyers and sellers. “The move to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • More frontline biosecurity officers protecting NZ
    Another 51 quarantine officers and four new biosecurity detector dog teams will help protect New Zealand from invasive pests and diseases this summer, says Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor. “The Government is delivering on its commitment to strengthen New Zealand’s biosecurity system and support our valuable primary sector “New Zealand’s flora, fauna ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NZ space economy worth $1.69 billion
    A new report has found New Zealand’s space sector contributed $1.69 billion to the economy in the last financial year and employs 12,000 people, Minister for Economic Development Phil Twyford announced today. The report by Deloitte was commissioned by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and shows New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Chair for Royal Commission into Abuse
    Judge Coral Shaw has been appointed as the new Chair of the Royal Commission into Historical Abuse in State Care and in the Care of Faith-based Institutions, Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin announced today. "Judge Shaw, who is currently one of the inquiry commissioners, is extremely well qualified for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Better mental health facilities for Palmerston North
    The Government has confirmed its third major mental health facility upgrade since the Budget, this time at Palmerston North Hospital. The Prime Minister and Health Minister today visited MidCentral DHB to announce that $30 million has been allocated to upgrade its acute mental health facility. It follows earlier announcements in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Bowel Screening hits halfway point
    The roll out of the National Bowel Screening Programme has reached the halfway mark, with 10 out of 20 District Health Boards now part of the programme. MidCentral DHB, which covers Palmerston North, Manawatu and surrounding districts, this week became the latest to DHB to offer free bowel screening to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • More vaccines for meningococcal disease
    The Government welcomes PHARMAC’s decision to fund a vaccine to protect young people from meningococcal disease from 1 December this year. “Meningococcal disease is a serious threat which people at higher risk should be protected from,” says Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter. “The combined pharmaceutical budget was increased by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Fisheries innovation projects supported
    Groups involved with innovative fisheries research projects are encouraged to apply for government support in the latest funding round from the Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures programme. Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash says the SFF Futures funding is designed to be flexible enough to support small or large projects across a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Government fixes culturally arranged marriage visa issue
    The Government has fixed an issue affecting how Immigration New Zealand has processed visa applications for culturally arranged marriages, which will now see a consistent process applied which ensures people with legitimate arranged marriages can visit New Zealand while also preventing any rorting of the system. Earlier this year Immigration ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Extension for Royal Commission into Mosque attacks
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