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The battle lines for the next election

Written By: - Date published: 8:31 am, April 18th, 2022 - 79 comments
Categories: Christopher Luxon, covid-19, greens, housing, jacinda ardern, labour, national, poverty - Tags:

With the next election less than 18 months away and with National receiving a recent boost in its polling get ready for a really tense and fascinating election year.

National’s tactics are already clear.  Continue to pronounce loudly and aggressively that this Government is a failure and a shambles.  And concentrate on its areas of strength.  Perception is far more important than reality when it comes to politics.

It is a tried and tested technique.  I can recall National doing the same in 2007 when an increasingly tired Labour Government started to drop the ball on matters and National had a field day.  Every single press release seemed to include the word “shambles” in it.

This technique jars though.

For instance National’s response to Covid has been an eyeopener.  If ever we needed a bipartisan approach devoid of petty politics it was on this issue.  Instead we have had a mess with a significant minority of the population now thinking that scientifically sound covid responses are evidence of a takeover by the world government and that the Government’s response has been a disaster, even though the body count suggests strongly otherwise.

And National delights in highlighting supposed Labour failures in areas that you know if National was in power it would either do nothing whatsoever about or make things considerably worse.  And it has no scruples.  Truth and honesty in advertising are just nice to haves.

For instance child poverty.  This tweet from Max Rashbrooke sums the situation up well.

From the Stats NZ report linked to by Max:

In the year ended June 2021, 13.6 percent of New Zealand children (156,700) lived in households with less than 50 percent of the median equivalised disposable household income before deducting housing costs. This was a decrease over three years from 16.5 percent (183,400) in the year ended June 2018. The intermediate target of a reduction to 10.5 percent for this measure was not met.

That is 26,700 fewer kids living in poverty compared to a reduction goal of 66,700.  The result is positive, fewer kids’ lives being blighted by the scourge of poverty.  Sure it did not meet the goal and further work is needed but the all consuming need to deal with a one in one hundred year pandemic ought to give the Government some latitude.

And the same is with benefits.  I know that there has been considerable expressions of concern that Labour has not moved things quickly enough but look at the graph above.  There has been a discernable increase in all of the core benefits the level of which has not happened in decades if ever.

It is the same with housing.  There is right now a correction of the market occurring and prices are stable or in decline.  Kiwibuilt has not lived up to the overambitions phrasing, what is it with the figure 100,000, with 1,300 houses built and a further 900 in the pipeline.  But the number of Kaingaora managed houses has increased from 63,315 as at December 2017 to 68,549 as at December 2021, a gain of 5,234 houses.

And National kept selling state houses off when it was in power and the signs are clear that if they regain power they will do so again.  The oldest figures I could find were from September 2015 when there were 67,198 state owned or managed houses.  Two years later National had decreased that figure by 3,883 houses.  This was during a surge in the country’s population where more, not less, state houses should have been built.

Can and should Labour do more?  Of course.  But National saying that a smaller than hoped for increase is a bad thing is ridiculous when you see that its intent is to reduce.

This is why National’s attacks are so frustrating.  Criticising the Government for not improving things as quickly as it had hoped for while at the same time planning to make things worse requires the level of mental dexterity few can manage.

My anticipation is that the two areas where the next election will be fought are in tax and in leadership.

In tax my view is that National has made a massive Paul Goldsmith quality mistake.  Using rhetoric to appeal to greed is one thing.  Calibrating your tax cuts so that only the really wealthy get significant cuts while at the same time preparing to remove measures that will make housing affordability even worse is nuts.  Even John Key steered away from the level of tax cuts for the rich that National is currently proposing.

As for leadership day in day out Jacinda Ardern continues to outclass Chris Luxton.  And Luxon continues to make really basic blunders the sort of which would sink the leadership aspirations of any other party.  National’s only hope is to play the misogyny card.  As said by Gordon Campbell in this must read post:

The double standard involved here is breath-taking. If a female politician said something as laughable as Luxon’s proposal on transport subsidies and defended it on the basis that she hadn’t thought about it too deeply, she would never survive the fallout. She would be roundly damned as a scatterbrain and a show pony, and deemed plainly unfit for higher office.

Yet because Luxon is a man in a suit, and because [he] is the leader of a National Party that has always been suspicious of conspicuous intelligence, he is being enabled to continue on his bumbling way. Jacinda Ardern on the other hand, is held to a different standard. Obviously, there is and should be a range of opinions on whether her government is doing the right thing. Even people who routinely vote Labour criticise it on the details and pace of change it is currently overseeing.

However, much of the most vehement criticism levelled at Ardern has little to do with policy detail and a lot to do with her gender. Her competence – which includes a command of detail across the whole range of government activity, and an ability to communicate the details succinctly – is commonly held against her.

His conclusion is also spot on and comments on the increasing Americanisation of local political campaigns:

Like most of the rhetoric that characterises the anti-vaxx movement, the gun lobby and other parts of our public discourse, these extremes of politicised misogyny have been imported here from the United States – a country where religious beliefs permeate the perceptions of what are seen to be the appropriate gender roles.

I’m not implying that this alarming trend – and the double standard it entails -is the fault of Christopher Luxon. But he is definitely a beneficiary of it. Because if politics was a level playing field, Luxon wouldn’t be standing a chance against Ardern. On every conceivable measure of ability, he simply isn’t in her league.

Get ready, this is going to be interesting.  Unlike some on the left I believe that this Government has performed well, extraordinarily well when you think how the rest of the world has fared dealing with Covid.

And if you do not like what Labour has done then support the Greens.

But this suggestion by some that because in their view Labour has not done enough therefore we should support National is magical thinking.  If you are dissatisfied with the rate of change and then support National I am quietly confident that the rate of change will alter quickly.  From things are gradually getting better to things are getting worse really quick.

79 comments on “The battle lines for the next election ”

  1. The Big Lie technique was practiced consciously by the Nazi Party, particularly by the Minister of Propaganda, Joseph Goebbels in the 1930s. It has been used by many politicians since, most recently by Donald Trump.. The National Party in New Zealand is a regular practitioner. They really have no choice in a way because if they said in public what they really believed almost no one would vote for them. Thanks Mickey and Max for calling them out.

    • Anne 1.1


      No time at moment for a proper critique except to say micksavage and Campbell have said what needs to be said in a nutshell. But wait for the naysayers who – like the anti Covidites, the CC deniers and the world conspiracy nutbars – will arrive here soon to distort and spin their false conclusions with weasel words and lies.

      DukeEll where are you.

      • DukeEll 1.1.1

        Right here you old misogynistic apologiser

        interesting that 18 months out from the election the labour turd polisher in chief is trying to draw battle lines, when all experienced Polly watchers in NZ know that covid has left and the minor parties are back.

        it’s going to be interesting to see jacinda bat off the allegations by Winston, her former partner in crime in the pursuit of power, over three waters and co governance.

        meanwhile Anne will sniffily try to castigate every sub-50 female in opposition or competition to Jacinda Adern as hormone dependent and therefore can’t be trusted.

    • Patricia Bremner 1.2

      Excellent article. It is a pleasure to go on PM Jacinda Ardern's Facebook page since those two horrible young Nats Bryce Beattie and Jessie MacKenzie, were outed. The comments are mainly supportive now and the language is far more moderate from the very few antis.

      That "tracking back and outing" misogynists should happen more often. imo

      I'm hoping Grant Robertson considers taking GST off the final sale of food from markets. That would lower costs hugely for the poor. Let us see Luxon reverse that.

  2. Stuart Munro 2

    We need a counter campaign. The Australien Honest Government Ads may be a place to start:

    National – we put the 'n' in tax cuts.

    • Brilliant Stuart.

      Hope some cutting edge comedians in NZ have seen this and are working on a Kiwi version. Luxon has already supplied the material…tax cuts for the rich……hatred of public transport…..chronically pro-business covid response at the expense of health….anti maori 3-waters response….

    • Patricia Bremner 2.2

      Stewart exactly.100%

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    Bit early for battle lines for the next election – best not to rule out the possibility that Labour may yet surprise us with something substantial which would change those lines.

    Re incrementalism, I agree Labour's track record is better. However it may not suffice for wavering centrists who are being underwhelmed by Labour's performance. Like market players who Lange called reef fish, these mainstreamers see the Nat/Lab differential as more of a mood-driven interface than a difference of substance. They'll shift decisively if they get a trigger during the election campaign.

    So while National has given them no good reason to shift at present, the current poll differential in their favour is evidence that voters feel Labour has dropped the ball. That cannot be changed by an organised pretence that Labour remains on track to deliver. We need evidence. Would anything suffice to bolster Labour in the interim while we wait for that? Yes, the PM could provide suitable leadership.

    Announcing her agenda in the new year for the year ahead would have prevented the vacuum from emerging. Too late? She's abandoning ship – taking off for Singapore & Japan. Apparently our trade is languishing so much she needs to front as a cheerleader for revival…

    • mickysavage 3.1

      The evidence is in the post. Significant benefit increases, a reduction in child poverty and a major increases in Housing Corp stock.

      If National was elected I can confidently say, based in historical data, that these statistics would go backward.

      Please address the data or tell me why the data is wrong.

      • Dennis Frank 3.1.1

        Well, you wrote it. "Perception is far more important than reality when it comes to politics." I thought I ought to address the perception of that crucial group in the middle who tend to produce our election outcomes.

        So none of what I wrote had any intent to suggest your data is wrong. I didn't even suggest your reading of it was wrong! Instead, I outlined factors which suggest reasons why it may not be as relevant as you (perhaps) believe – factors likely to have more of an influence on those swing voters.

        Perception of the current state of play by those who self-identify as centrist will always differ from the current perception of leftists. Their group belief system tends to not warp views as much…

        • Incognito

          I’m going back to bed.

        • mickysavage

          Let's play this out. Say there is a developing phenomenon that if left unchecked will decimate the world's environment. And that it occurs only because it is in the interest of a certain industry that they be allowed to continue to operate.

          The left says it is wrong and we need to do something. The right, flush with money from the industry sector, says there is no problem and everything is fine.

          Is centrism the solution? Shouldn't all political leaders demand action?

          And your comments about Jacinda are weird. This is all part of the right wing Fox News playbook. Whatever she does say it is wrong.

          • Dennis Frank

            Too hypothetical for me, but if you are actually referring to climate change, yeah it's terrific that the left have been on board since HC had her late change of mind. No, centrism wasn't the solution to that.

            Shoulds don't get anyone very far in politics. Realpolitik tells us that they serve their sectional interests. That's why so many players are partisan. Then there's the fact that rep democracy warps politicians into binary polarising due to parliamentary structure, by design. Action produced by moralising really hasn't got a chance in that context.

            Your comment about the PM is weird. She has freedom of choice at all times. She isn't automatically wrong. We know she was right in her pandemic supervision for a couple of years. We know she was right in her Christchurch call before that.

            I'm confident she can do appropriate leadership if she gets her head into the big picture again. Flogging the dead horse of neoliberalism via leading trade delegations overseas is a waste of her valuable time…

      • DukeEll 3.1.2

        I’m sure the 40,000 children left in poverty thanks to covid appreciate the covid response.

        like the 160000 aspiring home owners who haven’t benefited from kiwibuild appreciate the 5,000 extra state houses.

        • Anne

          Really good of you to prove my point @1.1.

          • DukeEll

            Compassionate of you to think that 5,000 extra state houses equates to helping the extra 25,000 families on the wait list.

      • Craig H 3.1.3

        I agree with you in terms of data and other accomplishments – it's crystal clear that Labour is preferable.

        However, in the past 3 elections (2014-2020) 25% of the electorate swung back to Labour and 21% away from National. 2017 in particular showed that CGT and potentially other similar taxes are quite a factor as Labour dropped from being even with National in the polls to 37% and 44% respectively at the election after Ardern suggested that any outcomes of the Tax Working Group would be implemented before the 2020 election (a change from Andrew Little's original announcement).

        Unfortunately, that's the tightrope Labour have to walk to remain in office.

        • Nic the NZer

          Ardern and the tax working group seem to have got one over the country then. The brightline test going to 10 years is clearly a CGT on housing speculation, but apparently if its not pronounced CGT it goes un-noticed and doesn't influence the polls.

          • Craig H

            It was certainly a lot more politically palatable to target second houses rather than capital gains more widely (which arguably fall under NZ's tax definition of income in many cases anyway, but enforcement of 'arguably' is difficult, hence the original reason for a bright line test).

            From my own anecdotal experience, a lot of people didn't understand CGT, so that didn't help – one misconception I personally came across a bit was that CGT was a stamp duty, and another was that it was 100% of profit. Not surprisingly, both are very damaging politically, even though they are obviously wrong.

            Not sure how the TWG got one over anyone – they put forward a full CGT and it was shot down. That didn't surprise me – I was at the Labour Regional Conference where the Tax Working Group proposal was originally passed as a policy remit (2015 in Ashburton) to push to the NZ conference, and it was adopted as a way forward to find a new set of tax proposals as CGT had failed in both 2011 and 2014, and it was time to find something else more electorally acceptable. The list of tax policy remits was rather long and varied, so a working group was agreed as the way to sweep them all into one place and find the best options (and also to move the debate onto other topics…). The TWG then coming back with CGT was a real shame to me.

            • Nic the NZer

              Well the basic reason I think someone is getting policy over the public is that I don't understand any particular difference between a 10 year brightline test and a CGT (except for the name). I think John Key expressed this accurately when saying NZ does have a CGT (though it was a 2 year test at the time).

              I would not expect a CGT to include family homes as thats political suicide, so I don't see that as a serious distinction either. I also expect the brightline test would be replaced on introducing a CGT.

              And I think the public has been fooled because I see regular expressions of NZs housing crisis will be fixed by the introduction of a CGT, despite NZ having one on the housing market already (if not by name).

              So my summary of understanding is

              1) the govt has introduced a CGT without paying a price politically.

              2) people saying a CGT "fixes things" don't put it that way because then they would need to explain why the brightline test hasn't fixed those things.

              • Craig H

                Agreed that we have a CGT, or something that resembles one enough to do the job people assign to CGT, and as you say, arguably NZ always had income tax on capital gains if capital gains were an intention of the purchase of the asset – the devil was in the detail of whether capital gains were intended.

    • mac1 3.2

      Yeah, she's jumping ship, like troops going ashore from landing craft in Normandy jumped ship.

      "Line of duty" sort of thing….

    • "She's abandoning ship – taking off for Singapore & Japan". WOW.

      I've heard it all now.

    • Patricia Bremner 3.4

      That is misogyny. She is leading a business delegation. That is typical of your recent posts. It appears that she's dammed by you if she does and dammed by you if she doesn't.

      She is abandoning ship.

      That is the worst kind of unsupported rubbish.

      Stop being a stirrer.
      We have a Pandemic, food shortages looming world wide, a megalomaniac invading another country, climate change.
      and you are creating problems with nasty digs.

      • Dennis Frank 3.4.1


        Hey, any male PM doing it would be just as guilty of inappropriate behaviour. We don't need yet more antiquated crap from the 19th century. We need a resilient economy instead.

        • Patricia Bremner

          Our economy is resilient, and the contra view is political nonsense. Public debt is low compared to other countries, employment good, support during covid very good, and if people game the system with property debt, then that is their choice.

          We bring materials in as manufacturing was decimated by the last government, but recovery during a pandemic is amazing, so many aspects starting up again and even exporting.

          The speculative areas are having to rethink their settings, as are some tourism businesses which were parasitic rather than symbiotic. A review of value was well overdue, as being "the Switzerland of the South" was a construct for the rich.

          We require a home building programme, which is trucking along, a health system for all, education for all and fair work agreements. Those are in the pipeline, producing steady outcomes.

          Those who say nothing is being done, go on the Labour Party Facebook, and read all their achievements.

          Someone less old but tech savvy will be able to produce the charts.devil

  4. pat 4

    In an electorate such as NZ where the options are essentially Labour or National it is inevitable that dissatisfaction with the encumbent leads to the election of the other.

    The problem is the preeminence of those two.

    • Doesn't have to be Pat…the Greens are polling a steady 10% at the moment and could move higher with CC as a key issue….in fact NZ has one of the better electoral systems for allowing new political parties to succeed….take a look at the UK dinosaur system.

      • Incognito 4.1.1

        ….in fact NZ has one of the better electoral systems for allowing new political parties to succeed….

        I beg to differ. How many new parties have ‘succeeded’ since the introduction of MMP?

        • Bearded Git

          NZF would not have succeeded under FPP but in reality was a force for many years under MMP.

          ACT and the Greens would have either no seats or one freaky electoral seat under FPP. Take a look in the UK where the Greens have one electoral seat.

          And look at the results of the Values Party in NZ that under FPP got 5.2% in 1975 and no seats-it would have had 6 or 7 under MMP.

          TOP may well have got 5% but for its anti-cat policy and other flaky policies and leaders

          The point is that, under MMP, there is scope to set up a party that picks on an issue(s) that resonate with the electorate and get 5% and become a presence in parliament. This doesn't happen under FPP.

          • Incognito

            I’d love to quibble (e.g. NZF achieved success in the 1993 general election, i.e. the last FPP election), but not under this Post. Of course, success is relative. Some would say the NZ political system (aka representative democracy) is stable, as intended, and consider this a good thing. I’d argue that NZ doesn’t quite have the optimal balance – the lack of political diversity in NZ Parliament is not reflecting let alone representing NZ society, which has changed considerably in make-up over the last couple of decades (in fact, it has been changing since forever). Despite Party contortions (e.g. ID politics) to paint some genuine representation in Parliament, political power and control is still very much in the hands of a few. I’ll leave it at this smiley

            • Bearded Git

              Fair enough-we can agree to differ.

              But I have to quibble with your NZF example. Your argument here does not stand up-in fact it backs up my argument. In 1993 Peters won Tauranga and Tau Henare won a Maori seat, so NZF won 2 seats, but NZF go 8.4% and would have won 11 seats under MMP.

  5. Hunter Thompson II 5

    Gordon Campbell is right – never underestimate the power of the suit (the Age's Leunig has also noted this in the context of court appearances).

    ACT and the Natz will probably wheel out co-governance as an election issue too.

    He Puapua has given them grounds for alleging Labour has a secret agenda for constitutional change. That will spook many voters.

    • Yes but with Labour and the Greens taking a high proportion of the women's vote that actually makes it pretty hard for the Nats to form a government…Luxon risks looking and sounding like an out-of-touch '60's politician with his suit and pro-car anti public transport policies.

      • arkie 5.1.1

        Never underestimate people’s ability to vote against their own interests. Voting has a high emotional component, and often the feelings don’t care about the facts.

  6. Incognito 6

    As always, the Oppo will use a megaphonic magnifying device to exaggerate all the stuff that has not (yet) happened, and will or was never going to happen (allegedly), that has gone wrong or badly wrong (allegedly), et cetera. It will never point to anything that might even vaguely resemble an achievement. Ironically, the Oppo is more than happy to claim credit for ideas and changes in a rather immature manner of lazy political point-scoring and one-upmanship. In their zest for finding fault with the Government they may poke and unearth holes of enormous proportions to force Government to cover them up and explain them away. The pig-fuckers will have a field day and they’re already getting warmed up.

  7. Stephen D 7

    The role of the media over the next few months is going to be critical. Social media is important, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Tik Tok. But don’t underestimate the effect the 6 o’clock news has on hearts and minds. Their framing of the news of the day, and how critical they are of National’s “policy” will win or lose a lot of votes.

    • Patricia Bremner 7.1

      If we wait for Simon Dallow , aka 'Mr. Shallow' of the "Like him or Loathe him" comment on Ashley Bloomfield's retirement…. we will be waiting a lifetime for "balanced" comment.devil

  8. tsmithfield 8

    I think the slide in the polls for Labour is fairly predictable. To be fair, if National was in power at the moment, I think they would be suffering the same predicament. To be fair, I think they have done a reasonably good job with Covid, although some notable mistakes. I would give them a B+ for that.

    Also, there probably isn't a lot they could do about the current situation with inflation. I agree a lot of that is imported. And although some is the result of money printing and borrowing inside NZ, I think National would have done pretty much the same.

    I think there are a number of factors to do tend to affect political parties that are in power, especially for any length of time.

    Firstly, the tendency for political parties to create the impression that they can control outcomes. However, very often they can't, especially in the case of global trends. Yet, because they try to create that impression, voters tend to hold them responsible when they are unable to take effective action, as is the current case with inflation.

    Secondly, the tendency for political parties to make mistakes. The more time in power, the more mistakes tend to be made, just as a consequence of trying to get things done. This gives opposition parties the opportunity to draw public attention to the mistakes, and emphasise the mistakes in the public mind. I think doing things well in government can be a bit like cleaning. No-one notices when it is done well. But the certainly notice when it isn't.

    Thirdly, the tendency for political parties to over-promise and under-deliver.

    The classic example for this government was the outlandish promise to build 100000 houses, which can only be seen as a colossal miss. To be fair, I am not sure Labour actually expected to be in power at the time of making the promise, so probably thought they would never be called on it.

    Another example was the promise to be the most open and honest government NZ has seen. However, very often they seem to have been acting in the opposite manner, and sometimes appears to be actively trying to prevent access to information.

  9. Visubversa 9

    Just wait until the "Relationships and Sexuality Education " guidelines recently issued by the Education Department hits the public awareness. Children are being taught downright nonsense at the behest of Gender Identity idealogues. The glossary of terms declares that the assumption there are only two genders (sexes) man/woman is incorrect, and that there are three sexes — male, female, and intersex. That is an absolute lie. Gay people are described as same gender attracted, another lie – and one which is creating real problems for lesbians and gays who are same sex attracted. We don't permit religious indoctrination in schools, so why is this new religion getting all the levers of the State to spread its homophobic and misogynist dogma in schools?

    • Dennis Frank 9.1

      The reason I favour is neocolonialism: public servants are still unaccountable to the public. So when they do bad behaviour, they get away with it.

      You may think departmental heads would rectify that. Obviously in this instance of yours the head agrees with the reasoning. So you get wrongdoing ramped up by likemindedness. You may think the minister is in charge. A popular delusion, eh?

      So if the minister's attention is drawn to the errors, will he/she see them as such? Labour, so unlikely. Nobody has ever accused Labour party ministers of being clever enough to spot departmental errors, right?

      So the answer to you question of why the shit happens is systemic. Blame democracy & I won't argue, but best to go deeper than that. Process dysfunction.

      • Visubversa 9.1.1

        I prefer to blame institutional capture and big $$$$$$$$$. I am sure that the Minister is just as captured as the Department. It will be interesting to see her responses to this on the campaign trail in Tauranga. As much as I deplore "Family Fist" they are all over this like a rash.

      • Stuart Munro 9.1.2

        A prime example of that unaccountability is the corruption around building permits. Councils are no longer reasonably inspecting, but demanding ludicrous engineering reports (liquifaction in the driest county in NZ for one), and delaying and rentseeking on new builds like an incompetent mafia. Bloke I know has had $120k added to his costs, and over ten months delay thus far, on a relatively modest and (should have been) straight forward build. It is shameful.

        • RedLogix

          Wow – why does that not surprise me.

          Some years back when we were getting our last inspection done on our the last build we did I recall the inspector – a decent guy who was very helpful – tell me 'very rare for owner builders like you to get through the system these days. And you only made it through in time, the rules are only going to become more onerous and expensive'.

          The silly part is that most owner builders are generally motivated to over-specify to compensate for their lack of deep experience – and generally do a very good job. But the system is now totally stacked against them.

          • tsmithfield

            And all this extra red tape at the time we have a housing crisis, when getting houses built quickly should demand less not more red tape. Go figure.

            • Obtrectator

              …. and once we've had the red-tape bonfire? Just as surely as night follows day, there'll be another leaky-homes type scandal.

    • Anker 9.2

      Thanks for the update about this Visubversa.

      I don't believe the majority of NZ parents will be happy about this.

      More denial of science in the schools curriculum

  10. Alan 10

    The election will be fought over inflation and three waters/ co- governance

    • Patricia Bremner 10.1

      Or new things in the May Budget?smiley

      • tsmithfield 10.1.1

        What money will they have in the budget that doesn't involve more borrowing? I am not so sure that there will be a lot to play around with there.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          Might be sensible to delay deploying the budgetary 'big guns' until election year – many voters seem to have such short memories (witness @8.1, and "Tax Cuts"), which have likely shortened further during the pandemic.

          Tbh I doubt the fabric of Kiwi society could survive another dose of National party 'leadership', although based on past outcomes some will do just fine.

          • tsmithfield

            I think a cunning trap is being laid by the Nats so far as spending is concerned.

            They have already been making a case that government spending is stoking inflation, though I think the claim is way over-egged.

            If inflation and cost of living is still a major issue around the time of the election, as I think it will be, then National will simply claim that spending promises by Labour are extravagant and simply going to make things worse.

            So, I think Labour, as a socialist party, are going to be in a tricky position so far as the next election goes.

            • arkie

              Labour, as a socialist party

              As long as the Nats can keep trotting out this canard, on their own or through their proxies, they will be able to use the largely imported hostility to anything claimed to be 'socialism'. And so the ratchet moves right.

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              Socialism, à la the healthy, wealthy and wise (NZ-sized) Scandinavian countries, would get most Kiwis just so far – if the Nats, under leader Luxon, try to sell the bright future and security of owning a home (or 7) to all Kiwis, then they'll tie themselves in knots pleasing landlords too.

              NZ is a wealthy country, but lifting all Kiwi boats to the level of personal wealth enjoyed by Luxon might require 100 trillion dollars. Would such a goal be worthwhile? Maybe – but the pursuit of wealth is not for me.

              Spaceship Earth's limited capacity to support the unprecedented scope of civilisation's capitalist drives has been clear for some time – and on we go.

              Apocalypse Right Now [1 April 2022]

              To cast climate destruction as a human issue is misguided. It is behavioral.

              Certain logics and forms of social organization have driven harmful engagement with the world over the past several centuries. A particularly potent concentration of these behaviours and patterns is capitalism, the primary driving force behind ecological degradation.

              Over centuries, pan-European logics have established patterns of behaviour, highly intensified in colonialism and capitalism, which rely upon extraction and the exploitation of land and life. These patterns have propelled environmental degradation and species eradication to levels unprecedented in the history of human existence.

              After progress: Experiments in the revaluation of values

              Much progress has been of value, but there are limits.

    • Stuart Munro 10.2

      Not to speak of scalphunting incelebrity journalists vying for the space left vacant by the departed political "journalist" who is not to be named.

    • Belladonna 10.3

      The 3 waters is becoming a major election issue at the local body level – and Labour are coping a lot of flak over it – even from very much left-leaning local body politicians.

      Now, grain of salt time: this is a local board politician (my local board, in fact, which I why I'm reading it), and this is, no doubt, part of his electioneering campaign – but it doesn't read well for Labour support.

      Labour should realize how bad the optics of this are going to be because the screaming question will now be: how will a local board team or Auckland City Councillors who have run on a Labour ticket be able to oppose their local Labour MP or the Labour Government on any of the many central government issues and policies that have a direct impact on councils, local boards and their communities? The answer is: they won’t, which means they will not be able to advocate for and represent their communities with a truly independent voice.

      So reform is needed. National water standards are needed. But concern over the further retreat of democratic accountability into some centralised bureaucracy is also warranted.


      Coming from Auckland, we (both politicians and ordinary hoi polloi) have little faith in bureaucratic empires, uncontrolled (apparently) by anyone – and making a a mockery of 'public consultation' (do a survey, then carry on doing exactly what they planned to do in the first case)

      There is real unease at the grass-roots level over 3 waters – just from the bureaucratic side, and setting-aside any co-governance proposals.

      I don't see this going away, any time soon.

  11. tsmithfield 11

    Cost of living is definitely going to be a major issue at the next election because prices for food are going to be through the roof by then.

    The reason the cost of living is not going to decline any time soon is due to the global collapse of agriculture that is on the doorstep right now. This video is definitely a good investment of 8 minutes to watch.

    There is a lot of famine and starvation coming to the world very soon I think. I am glad to be in New Zealand which is a major food producer. Though I expect food prices will sky-rocket here. But at least we will have good supplies of food available, unlike a lot of countries.

    One of the major issues for us will be a shortage of fertiliser due to the war in Ukraine and sanctions on Russia affecting the supply of potash, and the shortage of wheat for the same reason.

    I don't know how good a substitute for agriculture that seaweed fertiliser is. Someone here may know. But at least we should be able to have plenty of that due to our large coastline.

    • Poission 11.1

      Inflation is a self fulfilling prophecy,if it is accepted that others will raise prices they will as well.

      food prices in nz are a game of two halves,the staples which are mostly produced here such as milk,butter potatoes etc,and exotic imports such as tropical fruits.The latter having the external freight cost,the former having prices adjusted to overseas demand.

      Here with seasonal crops being available in local supply,it pays to shop around with supermarkets having a premium on fresh fruit and veg,buy from a veg shop or market.

  12. Ad 12

    Ardern herself is still the asset most likely to give Labour a chance.

    I dont view that as a ringing endorsement of 2 terms.

    Politics has such a tiny pace in NZ life beyond reflex cynicism that it's hard to see a useful framing for the next election beyond tax and inflation.

  13. Tiger Mountain 13

    NZ Labour remain whimpish when it comes to tooting their own horn re implemented policy and many useful reforms–unless you are on a media list or a social media follower you could be quite oblivious.

    The Labour Caucus quite staggering decision to not act aggressively on a once in a generation MMP majority to do all manner of things is what will haunt them on election nights 2023 and 2026. Fer crissakes, boomer voters numerical superiority is about to expire–go in for the kill I would have thought. But no, neo Blairism runs too strong in NZ Labour. They still believe in the market and will not retire the neo liberal parliamentary consensus with Natzos. So, no state house mega build, and no booting all the fifth columnists in the top ranks of the public service.

    Sure Micky, Natzos and ACT are being their usual ugly selves, raising loot, adopting Fox media tactics, and the media channels have been piling on Jacinda Ardern as never before. Given NZ National’s motley crew antics during 2020 with MP “dick pics”, Boag breaching COVID privacy, Woodhouse “homeless man”, Hooton and the Muller meltdown and all the rest…

    It “woz Labour wot dun it to utself”, will likely be history’s judgement if they are off the treasury benches or accomodating Green & Pāti Māori in a big way (latter position is a good thing in my view of course).

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