The implications of UK Labour’s success for NZ Labour

Written By: - Date published: 10:48 am, July 7th, 2024 - 79 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, International, labour, political parties, poverty, uk politics - Tags:

Watching from afar the UK election results were an interesting thing to witness.

The take away is that Labour had a really good night. When you win 412 seats and double the number of seats that you hold many would think that this was a particularly good night.

However there are a few takeaways which suggest that a degree of caution should be exercised. First up Labour gained 33.8% of the vote. Opinion polls regularly had Labour’s vote at over 40% so the drop is somewhat startling.

The Conservatives were absolutely hammered. The exit poll suggested they would win as few as 131 seats. They actually won only 121 seats. And there were some big scalps amongst the losers with Penny Mordant, Jacob Rees Mogg and Liz Truss losing their seats. Truss added to the strong sense that she does not know what she is talking about by suggesting that the Conservatives had not undone enough of what Labour did when it was in power, some 14 years ago. To the end of her career as a politician she continued to be a blithering idiot.

There was clearly a significant amount of tactical voting and this website clearly contributed. This would explain how the Liberal Democrats only increased their share of the vote from 11.6% to 12.2% of the vote but increased the seats gained from 11 to 71.

Reform scored 14.3% of the vote and five seats. The Greens scored 6.8% of the vote and four seats. The United Kingdom really needs MMP.

Independents did remarkably well.

Despite hints during the count that the result could be close, Jeremy Corbyn romped home in Islington and gained 25,000 votes.

And Labour’s stance on Palestine clearly hurt it.

Corbyn and four other pro Palestinian candidates won seats, including a shock defeat of front bench Labour MP Johnathan Ashworth who won his seat last time by 22,000 votes. Labour’s Jess Phillips only just held on. Starmer’s claim that Israel had the right to cut off food and water to Gaza, later “correctred” to state that Israel had a right to defend itself, clearly hurt.

What lessons are there for New Zealand?

You could argue that NZ Labour’s approach is similar to that of UK Labour. They are presenting a small taget, have engaged in what Chris Hipkins has described as a listening process and have still not been definite in what they will seek to achieve.

Hipkins said this week:

The issues that New Zealanders are focused on in 2026 are likely to be different to the issues that they were focused on 2023.

I think those who try and repeat their previous campaigns, and refine them, and improve them generally don’t tend to do well.

This is an unusual view to take. Because the issues are the same.

Climate change, environmental devastation, child poverty, the housing crisis, crumbling infrastructure, and inadequately resourced health and education systems continue to be our most pressing problems

And the solutions generally do not change. Renewable energy and transport systems, public transport, increased benefit levels, public housing construction, resourcing Local Government adequately, and raised health and education budgets through an increased tax take and through diversion of resources. There is room for new and innovative policies, but the core solutions are still the same.

Hipkins also extolls the virtue of rebuilding the Labour movement. The problem with the small target strategy is that it does not tug at the heart strings of activists, and this is what you have to do to engage with them and to persuade them to give you the benefit of their activism.

Again the United Kingdom gives us an indication of what can be achieved. Under Jeremy Corbyn in 2017 Labour’s membership was 564,000 and the party gained 40% of the total vote.

UK Labour’s membership has since dropped to 367,000 in March 2024 and the low turnout in the latest election suggests that a lack of activists as well as a lack of enthusiasm were factors.

I agree with Max Rashbrooke that UK Labour’s win does not present a blueprint for NZ Labour. In this Spinoff article he says:

The election was lost through Tory incompetence more than it was won by excitement about the prospectus Labour offered. The latter will need a decade to undo the Conservatives’ wanton destruction. But if Labour cannot govern competently, it will have little to fall back onto, little to generate enthusiasm and loyalty, when it tries to retain voters. 

Overall turnout in the election, what’s more, appears to have been painfully low. Labour’s win masks a swathe of problems, and – unless it proves more radical in power than on the campaign trail – the party risks having neither the answers to the problems Britain faces nor a strategy to ward off ugly nationalism. These risks should give pause to anyone in New Zealand looking to take a leaf from the Starmer playbook.

Having an inclusive and progressive response to increasing ugly nationalism as well as setting out a blueprint for addressing poverty and enviromental threats has never been more important. And by doing this activism will be increased. Now should be the time to start setting out that blueprint. My personal view is that to have a proper discussion with New Zealand about its future more than just listening is required.

79 comments on “The implications of UK Labour’s success for NZ Labour ”

  1. Dolomedes III 1

    Rashbrooke doesn't deserve any plaudits for pointing out the bleeding obvious – the UK election wasn't won by Labour, it was lost by the Tories – a party who now seem to have no idea what they stand for.

    But I'd be interested to know what sort of "wanton destruction" Rashbrooke thinks the Tories engaged in. Does he mean the way immigration continued to rise on their watch, despite their promise to the contrary?

    I’d also like to know what MickySavage means by “increasing ugly nationalism”. Is he talking about the behaviour of The Māori Party?

    • tWig 1.1

      Not a nationalist ideology in a colonised country like ours with an indigenous minority, but a colonist mindset. Whities are mighty by righty.

    • SPC 1.2

      Gaslighting is the action of repetitively (and often brazenly) lying to someone to manipulate, and ultimately control them and the relationship. It could be divided into four different types: outright lying, manipulation of reality, scapegoating and coercion.

      We all know that neither Rashbrooke or Savage suggested anything of the sort. And you used the ruse of the question to misrepresent their point and pose an alternative reality.

      • Dolomedes III 1.2.1

        Oh dear. I hope that YOU are merely gaslighting, and don't actually believe what you've just written. Rashbrooke accuses the UK Tories of "wanton destruction", when their actual crimes are incompetence and failing to deliver on a key promise – curbing immigration.

        Gaslighting? See the previous government's ads promoting 3 Waters, showing green water coming out of a tap.

        • Anker 1.2.1.1

          100% Dolomedes 111.

          BTW good article thanks Mickey. The UK could sure use MMP.

          Interesting the results for the SNP. I think after their hate speech law, which badly back fired, they deserved a pummelling

          • tWig 1.2.1.1.1

            Scotland has its own devolved 5-y parliament with an SNP majority still, that sets social spending and will have the most impact on day-to-day experience of Scots. Next election in 2 years, with a 2 vote electorate + list, voting age of 16.

            The SNP in the UK Commons was significantly restricted in its speaking time in the last Parliament. Its motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza here was overturned by Hoyle, the Tory Commons Speaker, and handed to Labour. Hoyle remains Speaker after re-election.

            Scots electors probably decided that pissing inside the Labour tent is better than facing another term with the SNP in an unfair political wilderness within the UK Commons.

    • Rodel 1.3

      ‘the UK election wasn’t won by Labour…..’That’s silly.

  2. aj 2

    I fear that ugly nationalism, once petrol is poured on it, is a very, very difficult fire to control.

  3. Ad 3

    Rashbrooke and others are fools to keep looking at vote % in an FPP system. Just so tiring.

    And could we please stop pandering to Corbyn. He's as relevant as the UK Greens. Labour has a whopping majority so just stop.

    Here's a starter for how serious Labour are:

    – Richard Hermer KC appointed Attourney General. He's not in Parliament, and it's a move that says unlike the previous lot there will not be decisions that are slightly legal. The legal profession just woke up and went live on X.

    – Sir Patrick Vallance, Minister for Science and Technology. Again not in Parliament. Appointed an actual expert in science to lead science. Actual experts are back and valued.

    – James Timpson Minister of Prisons. Now this is almost like appointing the Salvation Army to run social welfare. This is the UK's leading prison and corrections reformer. He has a track record of actually hiring a lot of people out of jail.

    – The former Health Secretary Alan Milburn will be leading the upgrade of the NHS.

    – Jacqui Smith from Gordon Brown's Cabinet is Minister for Education.

    There's a few more. It's clear Starmer is not simply appointing those who were shadow spokespeople throughout the campaign. He's going for proven talent in their fields, not necessarily politicians who talk politics. And they to each make a major difference.

    It might be counterintuitive, but the UK doesn't need charisma right now. It needs proven high performers to lead, based on merit.

    As for Hipkins well I have no time for him. I'd join any protest if there was one I could believe in. I'm a lot happier volunteering for Forest and Bird than I am a political party, because the proof of my work is fast, collective, and clear.

    Any time Hipkins wants to show he's the leader of a movement, not the manager of a committee, I'm happy to listen.

    • mickysavage 3.1

      Yep I am a fan of Corbyn’s progressive stance on issues but some who know UK politics much better than me have suggested to me that his actual performance and competence left a lot to be desired.

      It is not a binary however. I look forward to having a principled centrist who will not triangulate issues and engage in small target politics. My preference is that we have someone who will energise and expand the base.

      • Dolomedes III 3.1.1

        Starmer may be a centrist on economics, but not on culture. I think we can expect him to continue Blair's cultural revolution.

        Here's Sir Keir chatting to Sadiq Khan: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84W1BIu-Gr0

        It gets interesting from 1:27 onwards, when Starmer raises concerns about "Islamophobia". He goes on to say "I think there's more we can do in government" (about Islamophobia). It sounds to me like we can expect the Labour government to criminalize "Islamophobia" – in effect, bringing in a blasphemy law by stealth. Let's remember this is a man who "took the knee", and who seemed to have great difficulty working out what a woman is and isn't. A centrist?

        • tWig 3.1.1.1

          Gosh, that's a big stretch. Starmer is married to a British Jew with family in Israel, which explains the vehemence of his initial response in supporting Israel's attacks aginst civilians in Gaza.

          Maybe the point Starmer was making a more general one about the moral indefensibilty of rabidly-expressed English racism?

          • Dolomedes III 3.1.1.1.1

            No stretch at all – they were talking about Islamophobia, not "racism".

            But "racism" is of of course the contemporary left's biggest single obsession.

            As for your "moral indefensibilty of rabidly-expressed English racism", according to the Washington Post, the UK is one of the most racially tolerant countries in the world:

            https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2013/05/15/a-fascinating-map-of-the-worlds-most-and-least-racially-tolerant-countries/

            Kemi Badenoch thinks so too, and she should know, being black. Of course there is a degree of racism in England – preferring one's own is innate. But Western countries have enacted laws to prevent those innate preferences from prejudicing people's chances of employment and advancement etc. In fact, Western white liberals are probably the only demographic on the planet that favours OTHER ethnicities.

            • SPC 3.1.1.1.1.1

              Are you arguing that rules against discrimination, is a favour to ethnic minorities and one that is only supported by white liberals?

            • tWig 3.1.1.1.1.2

              Sure, the UK is not a racist nation, except in real world outcomes like eg, employment:

              According to UK government stats 2023

              "Persistent ethnic inequalities in the labour market can play a major part in the high poverty rates among ethnic minority groups."

              "the difference in the employment rate between white people and people from ethnic minorities (excluding white minorities) was biggest among 16 to 24 year olds – 58% of white people and 39% for people from ethnic minorities were employed"

              And a US paper rating other countries on racism? Gotta laugh.

              I do admit that racism is not the sole purview of people with white skin, though.

              • Dolomedes III

                So you think inequalities of outcome can only be the result of discrimination? Can you not think of any other factors that might be involved?

                In both Europe and North America, Jews are overachievers in many fields of endeavour. This despite facing discrimination in the USA, and outright persecution in Europe. But they're not overachievers in ALL fields – not in sports, for example. Could not different hierarchies of priorities contribute to inequalities of average outcome between different ethnic or cultural groups? The Ottoman Empire provides a clear example of cultural priorities driving inequalities of outcome. Despite facing legal, political and financial discrimination, Christian Greeks came to dominate business and finance in the Ottoman Empire. Muslim attitudes to business and finance were a big factor in this disparity. The Greeks also had higher rates of literacy than Muslim Turks, due to the priority that they gave to education.

                You quote figures on employment of white and "ethnic" youth in the UK, but does that comparison factor in possible differences in educational qualifications?

                As for the claim that “ethnic inequalities in the labour market can play a major part in the high poverty rates among ethnic minority group”, it’s more likely the other way round. If some (not all) ethnic minorities underachieve educationally, they’re struggle in the labour market.

        • SPC 3.1.1.2

          Blair's cultural "revolution"

          Do you mean, reform of the House of Lords, devolution and the end of the blasphemy law in July 2008?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law_in_the_United_Kingdom

          The same month Starmer (a human rights lawyer) was appointed head of the Crown Prosecution Service.

          There were a number of decisions that Starmer got right. He was appointed by Labour but spent half his time in office under the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition. There, he defended the Human Rights Act against Conservative proposals to repeal it. Rightwing MPs briefed against him. Starmer deserves recognition for taking that stand.

          https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/feb/16/keir-starmer-past-scrutiny

          Taking Brown's advice?

          https://labour.org.uk/updates/stories/a-new-britain-renewing-our-democracy-and-rebuilding-our-economy/?utm_source=substack&utm_medium=email

          remember this is a man who "took the knee"

          Support for black lives matter

          https://news.sky.com/story/george-floyd-death-labour-leader-sir-keir-starmer-takes-a-knee-in-support-of-black-lives-matter-movement-12003611

          Are you referring to this leading to dangerous radicalism such as

          Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer, has announced plans for a draft Race Equality Act, aiming to extend equal pay rights to Black, Asian, and minority ethnic workers. This proposed legislation, following consultations with business groups and unions, would also cover disabled people. The new law would treat equal pay claims based on ethnicity and disability on par with existing protections for women.

          https://raceequalityfoundation.org.uk/news/labour-unveils-race-equality-act-plans/placing

          • Dolomedes III 3.1.1.2.1

            Yes, that's what I mean by Blair's cultural revolution. Blair was attacked by class leftists for being too "centrist" in his economics, but he was anything but centrist when it came to culture. He was the archetypical modern leftist. Blair effected a revolution of comparable scale to that wrought by Clement Attlee. But whereas Attlee's legacy was largely positive (the NHS meant working class Brits got decent healthcare for the first time), Blair's has been overwhelmingly negative.

            Blair destroyed the sovereignty of the British parliament. Goodness knows why. Devolution? By its fruits you shall know the tree. And Blair's devolution has given Britain Alex Groper Salmond, Wee Krankie, and Humza "They're all white!" Yusaf. How is Scotland or the UK better off as a result of the SNP's antics?

            But Blair's most nefarious creation was probably the "Equalities Act". Racial discrimination in employment had been illegal since 1976 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Race_Relations_Act_1976), so why was this act needed? Unnecessary legislation is bad legislation. Modern leftists uncritically interpret inequalities of outcome as evidence of discrimination, and the Equalities Act gives them the perfect tool to impose equalities of outcome come across different demographics. You want to know why the NHS is failing? It might have something to do with ambitious (or fearful?) managers' interpretation of the Equalities Act. My brother unfortunately has frequent dealings with the NHS, on account of his health problems. Last time he was hospitalized, my sister (who is a doctor) had to deal over the phone with people whose knowledge of both English and medicine seemed precarious. You can thank Blair's Equalities Act for that.

            Contemporary "progressives" seem unable to contemplate the 2nd or 3rd order consequences of their social engineering policies. The impact of the Equalities Act on the functionality of the NHS gives a future neoliberal government a social license to privatize healthcare in the UK. Do you want that? I sure as hell don't.

            The link you provided to Starmer's planned Race Equality act didn't work, but I'm puzzled – is this another equalities act?

            Starmer's taking of the knee was craven and disgusting. BLM, for all its flaws, was a response to a US syndrome of police heavy-handedness, in a country where ordinary policemen carry firearms. UK policing practices are very different – far from perfect of course, but perfection doesn't happen anywhere except in progressives' imaginary utopias.

        • SPC 3.1.1.3

          You seem oblivious to the difference between an incitement to hate crime against Moslems and a blasphemy law suppressing free speech.

        • SPC 3.1.1.4

          The issue for the reasonable centrist is this.

          There are three categories of birth sex. Biological sex male and female and neither/both/intersex. Those in the third category are given a designated birth sex/gender by others (male or female), and sometimes they wish to change it.

          Those born biological males and females are of the female and male gender (unless they change this by managed process or self ID), and those intersex choose one, or the other, or neither.

          We allow people to have a passport with male gender or female gender, or X. And a drivers license with male or female gender, or gender diverse. And we allow (via self ID) change to birth certificate to male sex, female sex, or non binary.

          In the UK, they were required by the European Court of Human Rights to legislate – a Gender Recognition Act. This they did in 2004 (and chose the managed transition approach).

          Then in 2010 there was the Equality Act (a gathering of various earlier legislation). It used the term "sex", not gender.

          In 2017, Minister for Equalities Greening considered reforms to the Gender Recognition Act to de-medicalise the process, with the principle of self-identification. One of Greening's successors, Mordaunt, affirmed that the consultation on the Gender Recognition Act would come from the starting place that "transgender women are women".

          In a June 2020 report, the European Commission classified the legal procedures for gender recognition of 28 European countries into 5 categories based on the barriers to access. This placed the Gender Recognition Act 2004 in the second from bottom category with "intrusive medical requirements" that lags behind international human rights standards.

          In September 2020, the UK government published the results of the public consultation which showed wide support for all aspects of reform, including 64% in favour of removing the requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and 80% in favour of removing the requirement for a medical report.

          However, the UK government decided not to change the current law, which was described as "a missed opportunity" by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_Recognition_Act_2004

          There was a reaction against the move from managed transition towards self ID. And a campaign against "medicalisation" of health care for body dysmorphia/gender dysphoria (especially for youth).

          To the point that there was activism to secure "safe" places by seeking to reform the Equality Act – something the Tory Party of Greening and Mordaunt – via Kemi Badenoch said they would do. But did not, hoping the issue would divide the Labour Party, so they could stay in power (no one told Farange).

          Keir Starmer, a human rights lawyer and former head of prosecutions has noted the EA already says sex (not gender). Some feel it has to re-termed biological sex.

          Here we have the Human Rights Act, it is often updated to reference other legislation and identify exemptions etc.

          This is the detail of law, that applies. As it does in the UK.

          Those who want reform can pick a side in a social media performance theatre/cultural war now provided for them (the art of distraction from the class war all around us). But the "practicalities" are elsewhere.

          https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2024/07/03/starmer-refuses-rewrite-equality-act-despite-trans-u-turn/

          We have exemptions from law for religious groups, these should occur here (lesbian groups and women's refuges and sports being able to exclude those not biological women if they see fit – sports also already do this to a degree via fair competition or safety rules). Part of the agenda of UK Labour is decentralisation, I suspect this is where it would be enacted over there.

          There other problem is in the wider health and social services area. They can give directions to place women's safety as a priority and direct workplaces and unions to resolve any issues.

          • ghostwhowalksnz 3.1.1.4.1

            The Safety in womens spaces furphy is nothing like the sports situation

            If you lived next door to a inner city lesbians bar , like a friend of mind used too, the punch ups outside after closing time were a regular thing. So the idea of excluding men to make them safe is nonsense.

            I lived next door to an inner city synagogue instead

            The same safety arguement was used in US to restrict blacks in housing and the idea for 'womens spaces' has come from the same right wingers in US

    • DS 3.2

      "A whopping majority" that derives not from love of Labour, but from hatred of the Tories and SNP. And from massive vote-splitting on the Right.

      It's a majority built on a foundation of sand. And might well get knocked away in 2029.

      • Ad 3.2.1

        Jesus who cares. Inhale into a brown paper bag.

        • DS 3.2.1.1

          Silly me for thinking about the next election.

          • SPC 3.2.1.1.1

            Support agreements now, with LD and Greens, is the way to show an ability to work with others. It sort of makes re-election deserved, rather than the consequence of right wing division.

            That should include SM seats.

        • Mat 3.2.1.2

          [deleted]

          [You cannot make suggestions of harm towards people here, and especially not authors. You seem to have not learned from previous moderations and bans. 12 month ban – weka]

      • SPC 3.2.2

        The term is washed away.

        However if Oswald Farange, to nationalism what the Ferengi are to capitalism, is true to his world to build a movement, the Tories cannot win the next election.

        He is the hater and wrecker Starmer needs to stay in power for a second term, as Hamas was to BN's (of Likud) second period in government.

        In FPP, all that is required, is no alternative. A low bar.

    • SPC 3.3

      You've just labelled Starmer as the manager of a competent ministry committee. And inferred all FPP requires is an opposition waiting for a government to lose support.

      Are you arguing that MMP requires something more?

    • Tiger Mountain 3.4

      I love it how a cycle riding internationalist with an allotment still winds certain people up. Mr Corbyn thrashed Labour in Islington. Labour originally put him up as a sop candidate, he won the leadership, increased the membership–but made crucial mistakes.

      Jeremy is who he portrays, when he should have gone in hard, cleaned out head office of technocrats and crawlers, and deselected a number of right wing Labour candidates. The other thing was Brexit–all he had to do was say…“we will respect the voters decision on Brexit, and implement re-nationalisations and our For the Many not the Few Policies”.

      All history now. But still, a class left MP in a bourgeois Parliament is nice to see.

  4. Mike the Lefty 4

    One thing is obvious.

    UK's First past the post system is not serving the needs of the people. When a governing party gets 34% of the popular vote but wins 64% of the seats there is clearly something wrong.

    Why are the Brits so opposed to a more proportional voting system for Westminster? After all they have mayoral elections done by preferential voting and the regional parliaments in N. Ireland, Wales and Scotland all have systems other than FPP.

    The answer is that FPP suits both Labour and the Conservatives very nicely. It has meant that between them they have had a near monopoly on power for nearly 100 years and they aren't going to give that up easily. Large swathes of the country have been ruled almost continuously by one of the major parties and they would hate the idea of having list MPs from another party having the same rights as them to represent the people in THEIR fiefdoms. The regional parliaments don't matter to the Westminster MPs so they don't care about the elections systems they use.

    Much the same kind of thinking existed in New Zealand until the early 90s when the movement for electoral reform begin to gather pace.

    • Kat 4.1

      MMP has plenty of negatives….just look at the three headed monster elected negotiated here in NZ…..

      • Mike the Lefty 4.1.1

        But that's not the fault of the voting system, its the fault of the con artists in those parties who duped the voters.

        • Kat 4.1.1.1

          I would argue it is the voting and the system of govt that is at fault, tribal party politics being at the root of it.

          • tWig 4.1.1.1.1

            Democracy in action.

            • Stephen D 4.1.1.1.1.1

              And a media complicit by not looking at the he then opposition parties policies in detail .

              • James Simpson

                Which one of their current policies were you not aware of. They are doing what they promised to do, which is what we were warning people about throughout 2023.

                What further detail did you need?

                This is basically exactly what I expected from the negative policies they put forward at the election.

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  They are still working on the 'sneaky ones' to be introduced later .

                  Maybe public hospitals having private patients like they do in Australia ?

                  Dont worry they will be coming, its in their nature and other election promises are 'cracked' for the time being – to avoid being called broken- as the time lines are pushed out … and probably pushed again

                  Waikato medical School was a specific promise thats now very cracked and effectively broken

        • Anker 4.1.1.2

          Keep going with the duped the voters idea. Insulting the intelligence of people who voted against the left is really going to win them over in 2026

          • Dolomedes III 4.1.1.2.1

            Too right Anker. The self-righteousness of the contemporary left is a massive turn-off.

            • ghostwhowalksnz 4.1.1.2.1.1

              havent heard Chris Bishop and Nicola Willis speak have you

              • tWig

                When Willis talks about delivering for those 'who SUPPORTED us' her words, she doesn't mean those who 'ELECTED us'. She means those who PAID FOR OUR ELECTION'.

              • Dolomedes III

                I try to avoid listening to Bishop and Willis.

          • weka 4.1.1.2.2

            Keep going with the duped the voters idea. Insulting the intelligence of people who voted against the left is really going to win them over in 2026

            Just because you made an informed choice, doesn't mean others weren't duped. But I agree with your general point, it's not a winner for the left to make out that voters are stupid.

            • Dolomedes III 4.1.1.2.2.1

              Fair point, assuming you're open to the possibility that some voters might have been duped by Ardern and friends in the previous election.

            • Anker 4.1.1.2.2.2

              "doesn't mean others weren't duped". I think all three parties in the coalition made it pretty clear what they were going to do e.g tax cuts, cancelling Three Waters etc, and have done most of what they said they would…….So can't really say people were duped.

              An example of people being duped at an election was 1984 when Labour gave no hint they were going to bring in neo liberal policies

              • weka

                I would see the duping as saying they can afford the tax cuts and then it turns out they can't and are scrambling to find the money. Most people don't have the time or focus to read the fine print, they rely on parties' manifesto precis and media releases and how the MSM reports them.

                • weka

                  Duped isn't a word I would use, because it implies the person being duped was naive or stupid or had one put over them. I agree that the three parties were relatively up front about some policy. I just think there's a distinct element of not being truthful.

              • SPC

                Sort of. The party manifesto gave no indication of the direction planned – it was a caucus coup in that sense. But the Douglas alternative budget of 1983 was well reported and Lange chose him as Finance Minister.

                I wrote to Douglas about it – he explained that he preferred an assets tax to a CGT, but did neither in office. So those whose income tax rate went from 66 to 33 cents could do well speculating for CG – only the estate tax and gift duty we had would mitigate it. Bolger/Richardson got rid of estate tax and Key/English removed the gift duty (so parents could gift children their equity for a home deposit). Thus was built the most unfair tax system in the OECD (mitigated only by the WFF tax credits that National/Brash opposed but Key/National realised might keep the electorate passive to the growing wealth inequality).

      • Dolomedes III 4.1.2

        By your logic, the 2017 Labour-NZF coalition (with confidence and supply from Greens) was also negotiated, rather than elected. After all, it was the Nats (led by celebrity pizza chef Bill English) who won the most votes and the most seats on election night. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2017_New_Zealand_general_election

      • alwyn 4.1.3

        True. Labour, New Zealand First and the Green party weren't a great success after the 2017 election.

  5. I was surprised to learn that the Conservative and Reform vote received 38% of the votes from those who voted. 60% of the population voted and only about half of those voted Labour.

    Reform were the architects of Brexit.

    Personally I think that result is a little grim, when I looked at the details of it.

    • mickysavage 5.1

      Yep FPP has masked the overall trend. I agree that four out of ten voting for continuation of Conservative policies is really disturbing. And Labour normally wins by an increase of turnout and this did not happen here.

      • aj 5.1.1

        It's very easy to see a majority Tory – Reform government being formed if Labour screw up over the next 5yrs, or events conspire to screw them up more likely.

        Labour only won because die-hard Tories couldn't stomach their own government and disliked Labour even more.

        • SPC 5.1.1.1

          Not under FPP.

          • James Simpson 5.1.1.1.1

            Agreed. That can only happen if the Tories and Reform merge. Otherwise they split the vote on the right and Labour comes in the back door every time.

            Farage is a disrupter. He doesn't want to be in government. He just wants to unsettle the way things are done.

            So long as he hangs out to the right of the Conservatives, I can't see the Conservatives winning power under an FPP system.

      • Graeme 5.1.3

        I suppose we'll eventually get a study that breaks down the motivations of the Reform vote. I suspect there will be a bitt of tactical voting, and a lot who did it to say FU to the current Conservative Party, probably with the full knowledge that they were putting Labour into government.

      • Craig H 5.1.4

        I think there was a lot more tactical voting than usual. I have no real evidence, just guesses, but the performance of the Liberal Democrats suggests that since that's their one of their main pitches in a lot of electorates.

  6. A Forest Dweller 6

    I have a sense that some of the things I may write below may not land well among everyone – I don't know. However, for me, one critical and remarkable statement stands out from Starmer’s first speeches, concerning how he describes the claimed shift in his party’s approach:

    Country first, party second’.

    This is not just a message for NZ Labour to please quit thinking that its separate and specific identity as a party is the really special thing. Here, I struggle to see among its stated values https://www.labour.org.nz/party_info more than the basic understandings that a sane community shares about how a healthy society needs to function. Yes, of course the ‘Labour movement’ has been a meaningful force. However, this term may mean nothing to many thousands of people right now who are deeply concerned about the abuses of power and serious threats emanating from almost every ministerial domain of this three headed monster of a government, all of which impact on society. And if people who vote Labour in the next election because they want a good government, have never even heard of the ‘Labour movement’, frankly we should not give a damn.

    Starmer's words – 'country first' – are also a crucial message right now to start behaving as an effective Opposition party, and not (as appears to be the case) viewing these years out of power as some kind of sabbatical in which to do nothing but put party first, dissect the reasons for losing the election and contemplate future party policies – which reportedly, was the big thing that the Labour party was doing while the coalition introduced its first set of laws under urgency. I am still aghast at this.

    The notion that the opposition role is the ‘worst job in politics’ is not only self indulgent rubbish, it also steals from New Zealand the duty that is needed now – which is to hold the government’s feet to the fire – and the duty of every party that is not currently in power. The critical priority now is still to serve the country. Nothing changes about this. To consider that this opportunity is closed, and that the only power lies in 'being in power' is nonsense. Rather, Labour must point out roundly, clearly and loudly, on billboards, chat shows, and in community halls if necessary, where the government is failing to serve the country and the very grave dangers of this.

    This coalition government is doing profound damage to NZ, societally, environmentally, culturally and economically. If some of us can write pages of rhetoric opposing one Parliamentary Bill alone, then surely Labour is not short of ammunition to shoot, and I cannot accept that it has no capacity or influence at all by which to get its voice heard. Meanwhile, I’m still looking for more than one visible public statement by Labour about Kainga Ora which is not simply a press release that seems not to have landed.

    And this is not about ‘opposing everything, proposing nothing, and bringing the government down’. To do that is to put party first, country second. And indeed, this was what the Nats tried to do relentlessly and irresponsibly during Labour’s last term. I rarely heard news of a Labour govt initiative, however brilliant or virtuous, without hearing an accompanying statement from Luxon condemning it.

    Rather than the worst job in politics, being in Opposition is one that holds very great responsibility – and which cannot be left to the people themselves, or particularly, the NGOs to do, as seems to me right now to be the case. The only Labour MP I am seeing speak out sufficiently against the coalition government’s actions is the noble Rachel Brooking. If there are others, I confess that they are invisible to me right now.

    If Chris Hipkins thinks Labour will win in the future on the basis of rebuilding the Labour movement – even party identity – he is frankly, dissociated. And of course, like the UK Conservative Party, this coalition government's impacts by the conclusion of this term of office may well have so obviously disabled us as a nation that any alternative may look good. But if Labour has even a passing thought of sitting back in self pity and allowing it to do so in order to get the Labour party back in power, then words would fail me on how to describe such abandonment of duty.

    I can only quote a dead Conservative Prime Minister – the Canadian John G. Diefenbaker speaking in 1949 (emphasis added), and I do so because I think what he said is timeless:

    The reading of history proves that freedom always dies when criticism ends.”

    Parliament will only remain the guardian of freedom and our free institutions so long as His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition is fully responsible and effective in the discharge of its functions.

    If Parliament is to be preserved as a meaningful institution, His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition must fearlessly perform its functions. When it properly discharges them, the preservation of our freedom is assured.

    The reading of history proves that freedom always dies when criticism ends. It upholds and maintains the rights of minorities against majorities. It must be vigilant against oppression and unjust invasions by the Cabinet of the rights of the people. It should supervise all expenditures and prevent over expenditure by exposing to the light of public opinion wasteful expenditures or worse. It finds fault; it suggests amendments; it asks questions and elicits information; it arouses, educates and molds public opinion by voice and vote. It must scrutinize every action by the government and in doing so prevents the short-cuts through democratic procedure that governments like to make

    countries cannot be fully free until they have an organized Opposition. It is not a long step from the absence of an organized Opposition to a complete dictatorship.

    Kia kaha . . .

    • feijoa 6.1

      I agree with you Forest dweller

      First, Labour need to decide if they are a Socialist party. If they aren't, well we need a new party.

      If they are, this is their opportunity to speak to the public about what is wrong with the policies of the COC, why it's bad for ordinary people, and get the message out there, week after week. Fine, get your policies out in two years, but surely, right now, you know what's right and what's wrong.

      AND they must grow some balls and tax the rich. If they don't tax the rich we are fucked.

  7. ghostwhowalksnz 7

    Truss is a careerist- starting out as a teenager on CND marches with her mum to Liberal democrat ( Oxford Lib Dems President) then a Caring Cameron Conservative in the commons into the hard right nut of today

  8. Wei 8

    Starmer is a Zionist shill who ousted Corban using smear tactics.

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  • Come on Darleen.

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  • The Kākā's Chorus for Tuesday July 16

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  • Can we air condition our way out of extreme heat?

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    11 hours ago
  • Sir Don to travel to Viet Nam as special envoy

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    13 hours ago
  • Grant Illingworth KC appointed as transitional Commissioner to Royal Commission

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    13 hours ago
  • NZ to advance relationships with ASEAN partners

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    14 hours ago
  • Backing mental health services on the West Coast

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    15 hours ago
  • NZ support for sustainable Pacific fisheries

    New Zealand is committing nearly $50 million to a package supporting sustainable Pacific fisheries development over the next four years, Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This support consisting of a range of initiatives demonstrates New Zealand’s commitment to assisting our Pacific partners ...
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    15 hours ago
  • Students’ needs at centre of new charter school adjustments

    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says proposed changes to the Education and Training Amendment Bill will ensure charter schools have more flexibility to negotiate employment agreements and are equipped with the right teaching resources. “Cabinet has agreed to progress an amendment which means unions will not be able to initiate ...
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    15 hours ago
  • Commissioner replaces Health NZ Board

    In response to serious concerns around oversight, overspend and a significant deterioration in financial outlook, the Board of Health New Zealand will be replaced with a Commissioner, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti announced today.  “The previous government’s botched health reforms have created significant financial challenges at Health NZ that, without ...
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    1 day ago
  • Minister to speak at Australian Space Forum

    Minister for Space and Science, Innovation and Technology Judith Collins will travel to Adelaide tomorrow for space and science engagements, including speaking at the Australian Space Forum.  While there she will also have meetings and visits with a focus on space, biotechnology and innovation.  “New Zealand has a thriving space ...
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    2 days ago
  • Climate Change Minister to attend climate action meeting in China

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Oceans and Fisheries Minister to Solomons

    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is travelling to the Solomon Islands tomorrow for meetings with his counterparts from around the Pacific supporting collective management of the region’s fisheries. The 23rd Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee and the 5th Regional Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Honiara from 23 to 26 July ...
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    3 days ago
  • Government launches Military Style Academy Pilot

    The Government today launched the Military Style Academy Pilot at Te Au rere a te Tonga Youth Justice residence in Palmerston North, an important part of the Government’s plan to crackdown on youth crime and getting youth offenders back on track, Minister for Children, Karen Chhour said today. “On the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Nine priority bridge replacements to get underway

    The Government has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has begun work to replace nine priority bridges across the country to ensure our state highway network remains resilient, reliable, and efficient for road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“Increasing productivity and economic growth is a key priority for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Update on global IT outage

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    4 days ago
  • New Zealand, Japan renew Pacific partnership

    New Zealand and Japan will continue to step up their shared engagement with the Pacific, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “New Zealand and Japan have a strong, shared interest in a free, open and stable Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.    “We are pleased to be finding more ways ...
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    4 days ago
  • New infrastructure energises BOP forestry towns

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    4 days ago
  • 'Pacific Futures'

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Delivering 24 hour pothole repairs

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Consultation opens for the Emissions Reduction Plan

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    6 days ago
  • Benefit stats highlight need for welfare reset

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    6 days ago
  • School attendance continues to increase

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    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway

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    6 days ago
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    6 days ago
  • Funding to support use of NZ Sign Language

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    7 days ago
  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery

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    7 days ago
  • Experts to advise Minister on Oranga Tamariki

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    1 week ago
  • Expectations set for improved medicines access

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    1 week ago
  • Regional Development Minister to host summits

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    1 week ago
  • Government delivers new school for Rolleston

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    1 week ago
  • New speed camera signs to improve safety

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    1 week ago
  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship

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    1 week ago
  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality

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    1 week ago
  • 4000 more job seekers to get case managers

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    1 week ago
  • Trade Minister to attend G7 meeting in Italy

    Trade Minister Todd McClay will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Trade Ministers meeting in Reggio Calabria, Italy next week. This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to join the event, which will be attended by some of the world’s largest economies and many of New Zealand’s ...
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    1 week ago
  • Ministers reveal consequences for unruly Kāinga Ora tenants

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    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California

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    2 weeks ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO

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    2 weeks ago
  • District Court judges appointed

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    2 weeks ago

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