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Something big but not like that

Written By: - Date published: 7:45 am, March 23rd, 2021 - 41 comments
Categories: covid-19, election 2020, housing, jacinda ardern, poverty - Tags:

Chris Trotter and Martyn Bradbury have been running some interesting theories recently.

The theories are straight out of beltway, or at least a twisted part of beltway.

Chris reported in this post on rumours that that Jacinda was going to resign as Prime Minister.  The basis for his claim?  A usually reliable source.

Comrade Chris thought that Jacinda had recently been “out of sorts”, “morose”, “not her usual self” and speculated that she was pregnant.

He then chose to repeat completely discredited Colmar Brunton polling analysis where a change in polling technique suggested Jacinda’s popularity was waning.  Only if Judith’s is tanking.  Stephen Mills, who knows something about polling, was properly dismissive of the claim.

Piling hyperbole on top of hyperbole comrade Chris then said this:

In normal circumstances, this might have worked. But, from what I have discovered over the past 72 hours, these are not normal circumstances. Only last week, Robertson’s friend and mentor, Sir Michael Cullen, a man stoically succumbing to terminal lung cancer, is reported to have told a select gathering of Labour Party notables that: “It is not enough simply to win – you have to DO something.” Aware of how determined the PM is to “do” as Sir Michael advises; seized also, as his boss is said to be, by intimations of mortality, Robertson, “the reluctant radical” seems ready, for once, to throw caution to the wind.

From all sides, now, comes word of the imminence of “something big” being announced. The Labour caucus is said to be both “nervous” and “excited”.

And how did Comrade Martyn handle this disclosure?  Not very well:

Th[e] latest political rumour being feverishly spread through the back channels is that Jacinda and Grant are at loggerheads over a secret new policy programme to the point that Jacinda has threatened to resign if Grant doesn’t give it to her.

Now sure, there is a secret new policy programme and sure it is transformative, but the resistance to it isn’t coming from Grant, it’s coming from the Wellington Bureaucratic elites who are terrified that Jacinda intends to actually make them help the people.

Reporting on gossip, that is almost inevitably wrong, is not the basis for a sound policy discussion.

Coincidentally I saw Jacinda on Saturday.  She was out with Clark and her daughter.  They were clearly wanting to get some family time together.

After the past 12 months should she feel jaded?  Having guided us through a global pandemic that has brought many nations to their knees and winning a historic election result what do you think?

And she is probably getting pretty tired of the beltway demanding that she has regular drinks with them rather than spend time with her daughter.

Bradbury’s attempt to suggest that debt is the sticking point is strange.  Interest rates have never been lower, the economy is remarkably robust and the rather dire predictions for the economy have proven to be very conservative, and very wrong.  And the current debt trends suggest there is a significant amount of head room.

Today the Government will announce its response to the housing crisis.  I suspect that there will be some pretty radical responses proposed.  Which is a good thing.

But Jacinda announcing her resignation as PM?  Comrades Trotter and Bradbury should interview their laptops less.

41 comments on “Something big but not like that ”

  1. Infused 1

    That's an interesting read. The policy is likely right. Jacinda is looking tired but I doubt the rest is true.

    • Cave Johnson 1.1

      After reading Chris Trotter's article I wondered if the rumours of resignation could have been based on JA staking her position on getting the policy through cabinet. "Support me on this or I'm out."

  2. Visubversa 2

    Comrade Trotter is still sulking 'cos the Labour Party does not ask him to sing at their conferences any more.

  3. Tiger Mountain 3

    Some NZ Labour Party loyalists I have known for many years, and have friendly relations with, from unions, community boards, LECs, to even a handful of ex MPs, have been doing the long unthinkable, and being publicly questioning of the progress of the Arden majority Govt. on matters non COVID.

    Sue Moroney has been most forthright on social media calling for bold moves on benefits and housing in particular.

    I am not trying to negate Micky’s view of Mr Trotter and Mr Bradbury, unquestionably thorns in many sides for a long time, and poking in places not everyone likes to go. But where there is smoke…criticism of this unprecedented MMP majority Govt. does seem to be registering at top levels.

    I really think there will need to be generational change among voters for the biggest question of all to be faced–retiring structural neo liberalism. The working class of NZ desperately need a “visible hand” of intervention at the moment, not more banksters telling Jacinda and Grant “how it is”.

    • Adrian Thornton 3.1

      @ Tiger Mountain, " not more banksters telling Jacinda and Grant “how it is” unfortunately that exactly who Ardern and Robertson seek out for advice, along with all NZ MSM, thereby creating a closed loop of rigid thinking about the economy in both government and the general public…in other words, because there is never any alternative to the neoliberal ideology offered or even discussed anywhere by anyone, an alternative is never even considered.

      It seems pretty obvious to me that Labour NZ is directed by free market fundamentalists, not only would they never consider an alternative to neoliberalism, they obviously don't believe there is one…just look at their response to the housing crisis today… it’s like shifting seats on the Titanic.

      • Tiger Mountain 3.1.1

        I agree, neo liberalism is an entrenched, legislated, closed system. If the Govt. wants to appear to find something out–a report is contracted out to the private sector. People are paid hundreds per hour to put the slipper into beneficiaries, or if like the Welfare Experts Advisory Group, they recommend change, then their findings are ignored.

        The neoliberal Parliamentary consensus only responds to “disruption” of some kind–as at Ihumātao, or equal pay for carers. It takes organisation and action to achieve anything much against the Fifth Columnists at the top of the public service, and the Finance Capitalists that export so much in profits that should go to the NZ working class.

  4. lprent 4

    Jacinda is looking tired…

    Hardly surprising after the last year. I mostly just write code. After a year of zoom meetings often on weird time zones, delays in getting gear, the frustrations of remotely diagnosing faults, and lockdown sessions of trying to have two of us working in our 55 square metre apartment – I'm actually looking forward to getting some more holiday time.

    This is a bit of a shock to my system. Outside of visiting families, since this site started almost 13 years ago, I only have had one actual two week holiday. My holiday time usually gets chewed up with elections, server fixes, helping various organisations and people out, and playing with educating chunks of technology.

    Since covid-19 struck, I have had a week in a bus and a extended Waitangi weekend at a airbnb. Way way more than my usual holiday time – and all of it concentrated on winding down and hanging about. It turns out that I'm not that good at holidays – lack of practice.

    It has either been a hard year, or I'm getting older a lot faster that I used to.

    I may have to eat into my copious holiday time backlog more over the coming year. But locally. I have been going overseas a lot in the last 6 years for work. Flying is a waste of my time. I prefer to relax here.

    But I think that Chris Trotter and Martyn Bradbury are barking up the wrong tree. It has just been a really hard year for hard workers. Way harder for Jacinda than my little work stress. But she still looks more relaxed than I feel.

    • Rosemary McDonald 4.1

      Jacinda is looking tired…my guess she's losing precious sleep over what she must realise by now was the rather foolish promise of no Capital Gains Tax on her watch.

  5. tc 5

    Trotter sings for his supper fulfilling his role as the tame 'left' voice the msm require for 'balance'.

  6. GreenBus 6

    Bomber is very seldom wrong. Mr Trotter not so much. Propping up this useless Govt. must be exhausting, but since they all do sfa all, except covid covid covid, which I expect Dr Bloomfield does most of, why Jacinda so tired? Hard year my arse.

  7. Sabine 7

    Hard Year?

    Yeah, it was a hard year. For anyone who lost their jobs. For anyone who lost their business. For anyone who will lose their business, For anyone who is losing their job. For all those that can neither rent nor buy. For the women who don't receive unemployment benefits even tho they paid taxes during their working lifes. For the kids that go to school and then not.

    This year has been hard on anyone. The only ones that have had it nice as far as i can understand are the ones that suffered no income loss, that can work safely from home and for whom life has not changed a bit aside from working from home. The rest of us? Shit outta luck, every day a bit more – specifically women.
    here is a nice article of who did well during covid and who did not. Guess where the women are at.


    The difference between the PM and the rest of us, we can't actually quit. IF she wants to quit, give a week of notice like dear Leader John Key did, she could. She would not suffer loss of reputation, she would not suffer a loss of income, and she would surely land on her f eet.

    But i find it amusing that now that NZFirst ain't the blaming block anymore on which to chop heads, its Grant Robertson and the Burocrats.
    Maybe she could just muster all her courage, and ignore the risk averse person she seems to be, and maybe just hold a presser and lays out all the stuff she would like to do if others would let her. But she don't. And that is telling, and it is telling loudly.

    Maybe her tiredness is due to the change in season, maybe she is pregnant (which can be a issue), maybe she is just tired.

    The whole country is tired, more so these that have no income, try to live on begging benefits, and are trying to make go with air and a kind word of ‘not here to help’.

  8. Adrian Thornton 8

    "Interest rates have never been lower, the economy is remarkably robust and the rather dire predictions for the economy have proven to be very conservative, and very wrong. And the current debt trends suggest there is a significant amount of head room"….you do understand MS that an economy that can't house it's own citizens is an broken economy right?..or have you turned slowly over the years (maybe without even realizing it) into some sort of left leaning libertarian?

    • mickysavage 8.1

      You do understand that passage was to provide support for the Government to spend up on dealing with the housing crisis?

      And that straight after that passage I said this:

      "Today the Government will announce its response to the housing crisis. I suspect that there will be some pretty radical responses proposed. Which is a good thing"

      • Sabine 8.1.1

        there was nothing radical in it. Nothing Micky. Its actually a package that is 3 years to late.


        I read the whole thing, and it is nothing more then a testament to the inaction of the first term.

        Too little too late.

        • Enough is Enough

          I completely agree.

          Today's announcement shows they are totally out of ideas and don't know what to do. It is generally an extension of programmes and taxes that are already in place, but have had no effect to date,

          Its a mild tweak rather than anything radical.

          • Sanctuary

            The problem with the likes of yourself is you seem to have no idea of the political landscape. As Otto von Bismarck said — "Politics is the art of the possible, the attainable — the art of the next best." The property owning class, which constitutes both the main advertisers and main readers of the likes of the NZ herald and therefore underpin the entire NZME stable, will react with fury to this. National as the party of the rentier will fight this tooth and nail and they'll be able to count on a fair slab of the media to spread misinformation.

            Labour has done about as much as they can within political reason.

            • Sabine

              While mentioning hte Iron Chancellier you need to also mention that Germany has social housing, and welfare because of him. Why?

              The good man realised that if the unwashed, unhoused, lowly paid, generally abused mass of the poor left to nothing they will revolt. And thus under the Iron Chancellier germany got a few benefits health care benefit, accident compensation, retirement benefits.

              Jacinda Ardern is no where near the Iron Chancellier. She will never be anywhere near him, or Mr. Savage for that matter. Both knew that an unsupported, hungry, unhoused, neglected populace is not good for interal piace. And the Labour Party of our time seems to think that tinkering on the edegs will fix something that has grown unrestricted for a few decades now.

              'State Socialism (German: Staatssozialismus) was a set of social programmes implemented in the German Empire that were initiated by Otto von Bismarck in 1883 as remedial measures to appease the working class and detract support for socialism and the Social Democratic Party of Germany following earlier attempts to achieve the same objective through Bismarck's Anti-Socialist Laws.[1][2] As a term, it was coined by Bismarck's liberal opposition to these social welfare policies, but it was later accepted by Bismarck.[3] This did not prevent the Social Democrats from becoming the biggest party in the Reichstag by 1912. According to historian Jonathan Steinberg, "[a]ll told, Bismarck's system was a massive success—except in one respect. His goal to keep the Social Democratic Party out of power utterly failed. The vote for the Social Democratic Party went up and by 1912 they were the biggest party in the Reichstag".[4]



            • Enough is Enough

              I don't disagree with you. But you just get to the point of concluding what is the point of a Labour Government?

              It's National with a dusting of artificial kindness.

              We are 3.5 years into this government's reign, and really, what the hell is different from 2017.

              • Tiger Mountain

                Indeed, Enough is Enough. The Emperor has no clothes, but very few in the punditry or establishment will bring that to the public’s attention for some rather obvious reasons.

                Labour has made numerous incremental changes, and small projects via the Provincial Growth fund–which is appreciated in Northland. I mean who could not like free period products, cultural centres and start ups galore and the Kaipara set to become a marine highway again.

                But…the big stuff for working class people and the environment is just not happening and not likely to. They are still bricking themselves dealing with Dairy Farmers, so enjoy that nitrate with your glass of water for a while yet.
                Fair Pay Agreements? Not on Jacinda’s watch. Even my union friends have acknowledged it will take a strong campaign on that to get anything resembling the CTU concept of FPAs.

                Nothing will change for real imo, until there is a generational voter shift, and gen Student loan, and gen exploited renter become tired of paying NZ Super for all these know it all bastards with multiple properties and kick some arse at the polls.

                My pick is for the Green and Māori Party to hook up and get a strong vote for promoting all the things Labour was too timid to do!

                • Enough is Enough

                  I don't understand why they are timid.

                  Key and the Nats came in and just did whatever they wanted. They slashed taxes for the rich and sold state assets despite there being widespread disapproval of those two key policies. Their base wanted them so they delivered to their base.

                  Why can't Labour deliver to its base – working class New Zealanders. Why does it pander to the property owning elite?

                  • Tiger Mountain

                    While yours might be a rhetorical question…my reckon is…

                    a) NZ Labour is in effect an elite organisation with not much “rank and file” involvement, excepting election cycles. It is an election machine more than it is a community organising entity for social improvement. Māori Party and Green involve their membership more enthusiastically imo.

                    Labour has a strong brand, though little ideological grunt, following the 1980s clean out of leftists from the top level of the Party. One of the early things Roger Douglas did was sever links with the Trade Unions, by ending the Joint Council of Labour–where workers leaders met face to face with Labour Party leaders. Jim Anderton was virtually expelled also. Ultimately you cannot expect an at best centrist party, to act like a left party. But social media and perception counts for a lot these days, and people of many stripes were genuinely so appreciative of the PM’s COVID performance.

                    b) Technically for those into left politics, even Savage era Labour was characterised as “class collaborationist” by marxists, because they advocated class peace with Finance Capital and the captains of industry rather than open struggle. Neo Liberalism is probably the last stage of capitalism before authoritarianism proper, as Mr Trump demonstrated. Private capital is so ensconced in the NZ Govt. mechanism, and the Parliamentary consensus between Labour and National says that the Reserve Bank Act and all the rest MUST remain whoever the Govt. is, that change is very difficult. That explains much of their inaction on urgent matters.

          • Mat Simpson

            " Today's announcement shows they are totally out of ideas and don't know what to do "

            There are trapped in the market driven neo liberal world that their predecessors created.

            They want to deliver but can't due to the market constraints and powerful vested interests.

            Until someone has the real courage and guts to stand against the current system and the oppressed demand their fair share nothing is ever going to change.

      • Adrian Thornton 8.1.2

        Exactly what was "some pretty radical responses"? that you would like to point out to us during this what is effectively a state emergency?

  9. Stuart Munro 9

    The housing announcement is significant. Of course it will not reverse the decades of injustice nor will it rapidly reform the housing situation. But Labour has finally broken with the presumption of ineffability of markets, and understood that speculators and productive investors are very different beasts. Not so long ago that would have been unthinkable for them.

    The upside is evaluating other neoliberal failures on their merits is suddenly on the cards – it becomes possible to return to pre-Rogergnomic norms of good governance. Too late for our generation, but worth doing nevertheless.

    • Shanreagh 9.1

      The upside is evaluating other neoliberal failures on their merits is suddenly on the cards – it becomes possible to return to pre-Rogergnomic norms of good governance. Too late for our generation, but worth doing nevertheless.

      Including, I hope, a recognition that good governance is NOT only found in the company business model with its rigid short term ROR. How do you value the return on an investment in housing for instance – using business models? I don't think so!

      The return is incalculable when looking at the benefits of stability for children so they can be educated, have warm houses etc. Neo-libs were known for “knowing the price of everything and the value of nothing”(Oscar Wilde)

      I guess the acolytes of the first wave of neo-libs of the Chicago school may still be in govt departments may still be with us in the PS, sadly. Without some intervention it becomes a TINA (there is no alternative) option when recruiting for public sector CEs.

      Perhaps some work could be done to model the best store of knowledge, exposure to concepts that we expect from a CE – perhaps a working knowledge of triple bottom line accounting "people, planet, and profit." with a greater emphasis on the last of the Ps people and planet. Or incorporating well being as an aspiration or measure.

      The triple bottom line (TBL) is an accounting framework that incorporates three dimensions of performance: social, environmental, and financial. These three facets can be summarized as "people, planet, and profit." https://www.investopedia.com/

      Also as Ad said in 'Covid Zeitgeist'

      Related to this – my concern is that the single biggest insight delivered by the pandemic is going to be rapidly stuffed down the rabbit hole of amnesia. It's that an economy is a tool created, managed and refined by humans to serve the needs of every citizen. An economy can be put in suspended animation for 6 weeks to stop lots of people dying, and governments who control their own currency can create money out of nothing when they really need to. An economy has no independent existence from the society it serves. To say as some people did at the start of the pandemic, that 'the economy' requires that we let the virus circulate in the community, is to create a genocidal abstraction.

      "After such knowledge, what forgiveness ?" There will be a major effort to eradicate the knowledge and withhold any forgiveness.

      We need to see the understanding in the PS that the economy is a tool of the people not some sacrosanct abstraction called 'the economy' that cannot be altered and exists outside of everything.

  10. mikesh 10

    The announcement has been made:

    The Brightline Test is to be extended to ten years;

    It looks as if interest is to be no longer deductible from rental incomes; and

    Caps on first home buyers' grants are to be increased.

  11. Ad 11

    Ardern looked in fine form rolling out big policy this morning.

    Good to hear a little policy ambition tension in the joint. Its needed.

  12. Sanctuary 12

    Ever heard a jet engine spooling up? it makes a whine that sounds like the property owners lobby group…

  13. Booker 13

    Chris Trotter is more and more taking over from Whale Oil these days. Just ignore him.

  14. Sanctuary 14

    Chris Trotter's main sin is he lives in the past.

  15. Siobhan 15

    "After the past 12 months should she feel jaded? Having guided us through a global pandemic that has brought many nations to their knees and winning a historic election result what do you think?"

    I'm not sure that "winning a historic election"..is a valid excuse for feeling 'jaded' and doing stuff all about pretty much everything ..apart from, as you say, closing the borders of an island on the arse end of the planet in a pandemic.

    I’m really not sure that todays announcements fall into the ‘radical’ category…they seem more like housekeeping (if you’ll forgive the pun), though, the reaction of Landlords is ‘radical’ but then it always is, so nothing new to see here folks..

  16. millsy 16

    I read both articles. I think the proposals that Jacinda wanted are bigger than these, and will not be revealed till the middle of year.

  17. Jacinda has condemned NZ to being a society of property owners and renters (homeless).

    What a great caring society she has fostered.

  18. " From all sides, now, comes word of the imminence of “something big” being announced. The Labour caucus is said to be both “nervous” and “excited”

    What an utter joke , the Social Democrat caucus have no idea how compromised that entire party and government is in delivering anything remotely close to what really needs to be done.

    Only a real Labour party would already know and be carrying it out.

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