The power of positive campaigning

Written By: - Date published: 2:42 pm, December 31st, 2019 - 123 comments
Categories: election 2017, election 2020, internet, jacinda ardern, labour, Media, twitter, uncategorized - Tags:

There has been quite a bit of recent twitter angst about the left and tactics. 

It was started off by the Turnardern campaign.  This site pretty well ignored it.  The only post I can find where it was mentioned was mine pointing out that National’s social media team were deleting MPs tweets on Christmas day and the common feature was that these were tweets featuring prominent turnarderners.

But then Ani O’Brien had a piece published in Stuff and accused the left of acting hysterically.

From Stuff:

What should have been a flash-in-the-pan, barely noticed protest has now made not only national headlines but it has also been featured in international press.

This is thanks to the characteristically hysterical response of the increasingly militant and intolerant section of the Left who are determined to attribute the most horrendous of social crimes to anyone who holds opinions contrary to theirs.

The founder of the #TurnArdern movement has had his private and business information published online, been threatened, and – along with all who have participated – been labelled a misogynist, racist, white supremacist extremist.

Now, I do not know the people involved with the protest, but as far as I can tell turning books around is about as benign as political objection can get.

While her complaint about the nature of the protest itself is fine, her other claims need some further analysis.  The founder’s name was published in the Herald, someone tweeted information about him obviously obtained from the Companies Office records and there was a bit of holiday to and fro over twitter.  This was hardly a concerted campaign by the left.

True he was labelled as a misogynist, racist, and a white supremacist extremist but this was because his own twitter history, since deleted, clearly showed that he held views which could accurately be categorised as such.

And there was quite a nuanced debate on twitter about the subject, at least amongst the left.

O’Brien however described the left’s response as a “hyperbolic response” which is interesting because it is the same response I had to her article.  Grand conclusive statements based on a twitter pile up is I thought was a perfect example of one.

She also said this:

Handing victory to populist right and centre-right parties by steadfastly ignoring the experiences of the working class and scolding them for their failure to adhere to the new cultural demands of middle-class, university-educated liberal elites.

The Left – of which I reluctantly remain a part – must reflect on to what extent the new values and rhetoric they’re espousing are no longer compatible with those who have been their core voters.

Politicians on the Left must be aware that parroting the neo-academic liberalism of their pals on Twitter will inevitably alienate those for whom economic stability and traditional values are most important.

If we learn one thing from our international counterparts it should be that you cannot spend election year insulting the working class and calling them bigots and then expect them to turn around and vote for you.

And here I have to admit that her comments deserve further consideration.

Because internationally the left has allowed the right to drive wedges through areas of our traditional support.

Over the holidays I have discovered Brave New Words, a series of podcasts by Anat Shenker-Osorio.  She has received some attention on this site in the past.

I was very impressed with her after seeing her on Television in 2015.  She had advice for Labour which looks like a tailor made description of the 2017 election.  She thought that to win Labour needed …

… to come back to a focus on what New Zealanders need, what New Zealanders want. And … to paint a bright future and stop portraying yourselves as the losing team and speaking about everything as a disaster and as the Titanic.

People are sick and tired of being sick and tired. And if you keep having your leading message being “we are losing we have lost, we lost again our opposition is so strong, they are so powerful”.  Nobody wants to be on that team.

And so basically it is a fake it until you make it moment …

You and I know that what matters to Kiwis is the well being of our families and the well being of our land and the cleanliness of our water.  You and I understand that in order to have the best country possible for people for our children we need to take care of ourselves and each other.

Kiwis understand that and they are always going to pick a brighter future over a dirtier less equal unfair society.

The six podcasts cover a variety of different successful progressive campaigns including Labour’s 2017 campaign and talks about the importance of positive simple branding and ideas being the cornerstone of any successful campaign.  The basic theme is that to win progressives should not move to the middle but should instead seek to persuade through progressive and uplifting campaigns.

She interviewed respected progressive and former Labour Chief of Staff Neale Jones about the New Zealand campaign and he gives some interesting descriptions of what happened during the election year when what looked like potentially an unmitigated disaster became a success.  Neale said this about Ardern:

She was positive.  She was able to frame the challenges in terms of what we can do together as opposed to just sitting there complaining about it.  People don’t want to hear what’s wrong, they want to hear that you have a plan to fix it.”

Other campaigns that Shenker-Osorio covered include:

  • The Australian campaign against the Government’s brutal treatment of refugees using campaign themes based on fairness and doing the right thing.
  • The Irish pro abortion campaign that succeeded in getting the Constitutional ban on abortions reversed by listening closely to target audiences and rewriting the playbook on how abortion was described and the people who have them.
  • The Minnesota campaign shortly after Trump won the State’s presidential vote where a coalition of grassroots and labor groups found a narrative that speaks to both race and class concerns.  The campaign was themed “Greater than Fear” and resulted in outstanding Democrat successes in 2018 including the election of Illhan Omar to the House of Representatives.

The basic themes of each episode are that inclusive language, a good ground game and most importantly a positive uplifting campaign based on core shared values is the way to win.

So while I do not necessarily agree with Ani O’Brien’s description of current local left behaviour I agree whole heartedly with her about the importance of messaging.

Happy new year to you all.  Next year we should be sure that our principles are sound, our language inclusive and our progressive campaigns successful.

123 comments on “The power of positive campaigning ”

  1. Aaron 1

    Just like in the past educated people continue to look down on working class people. The difference in this (neo-liberal) era though is that educated people identify mostly as leftwing but still look for reasons to dislike the working class.

    These days we have more sophisticated arguments about what is wrong with these 'other' people – we talk about how terribly racist/sexist/homophobic they are – but the urge to see something wrong in them (and therefore right in us) is just the same as it has always been.

    To be clear; the urge to demonise the other is the same whether it comes from a person who doesn't like brown people or whether it comes from a person who doesn't like people who don't like brown people. We're just pointing our hatred in a different direction and working class people can feel it even if they can't articulate it using academic style arguements.

    • Incognito 1.1

      This criticism has been thrown around a lot and although there’s an element of truth in it, it is also over-egging things IMHO and more an assumption than fact. How many well-educated people from working class background do you think are past and present Authors on and of this site? Do you think they use an ‘academic style’ to the point of excluding working class people?

      I think we all know our roots. However, when fighting for a common cause we don’t all talk necessarily a common language. All sides on and of the same team need to understand and respect each other. I don’t think that ‘Chardonnay socialists’ look down on working class people. More likely, they misunderstand each other, talk past each other, or don’t talk at all. Obviously, this needs to change.

    • solkta 1.2

      Just like in the past educated people continue to look down on working class people.

      I've actually found the opposite. Anti-intellectualism has been a cornerstone of male culture in this country.

    • McFlock 1.3

      To be clear; the urge to demonise the other is the same whether it comes from a person who doesn't like brown people or whether it comes from a person who doesn't like people who don't like brown people. We're just pointing our hatred in a different direction and working class people can feel it even if they can't articulate it using academic style arguements.

      Frequently the difference between good and bad is their target, rather than their methods.

      But the thing that irks me about the "working class vs liberal" idea is that col the bricklayer probably has earned more than me for most of his bigoted life. The class system is fuzzier these days – for every doctor there are many people who do work in the same pay region as customer service folk, degree or not. Ivory towers are surrounded by the capitalist shanty towns of precarious employment, harshly-fought wages, and long hours.

      And many "working class people" aren't any more racist than anyone else: "liberal vs working class" is a falsehood used to defend the indefensible.

      • Psycho Milt 1.3.1

        But the thing that irks me about the "working class vs liberal" idea is that col the bricklayer probably has earned more than me for most of his bigoted life.

        Yep. Journos tend to have no idea about class so make it a matter of whether the person went to university or not, or what their parents did for a living. Any socialist would be tearing their hair out at such a shit concept of class analysis, and yet we see in the media all the time. I doubt this guy is "working class" in any genuine meaning of the term, eg "bricklayer" could well mean "owns a bricklaying business."

        • Sacha

          Apparently he does own the business, yes.

          What does it say about us if we equate working class with bigoted?

    • Blazer 1.4

      Modern Capitalism has 2 classes ' of people…'winners'…and…'losers'.

    • Billy 1.5

      Didn't you know, social faux pas form the backbone of modern fascism. The working class – ah hem, I mean, the Patriarchy – don't know how to properly set a table so one can hardly expect them to address one with the appropriate pronoun or title. Fascist pigs! Keep the pen stocked with scraps and pay them no mind. One most focus on those one has a chance of convincing, in the galleries and cafes; on those with whom one shares a natural solidarity.

      • Billy 1.5.1

        True socialism is lived through the chastisement of the uneducated for having the gall to assumptively address me without deference to my title.

        Once upon a time one had no such difficulties with a Baldrick ahead of one’s horse; a salve now only available to progressives on tour with third world NGOs.

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    I'd go further than positive. Focus on problem-solving is required. Obviously nobody in their right mind would expect Labour to choose problem-solvers as candidates – that would be too radical, and seen by members as a break with tradition.

    So to keep faith with the `muddle through the middle' Labour ethos, a culture of crowd-sourcing solutions ought to be the focus. Those focus groups Labour is notorious for ought to be directed to churn out a useful product instead of navel-gazing. The method ought to be consensus politics. The rapidly-depleting number of GP practitioners who have proven competence ought to be asked to volunteer as facilitators, in the spirit of coalition (presuming nobody in Labour knows how).

    • Incognito 2.1

      I’d go as far as to say we need both problem-solvers and communicators.

      Your second paragraph I could not understand. Do you want more or fewer working groups, submissions (e.g. to Select Committees), more or less citizen engagement? Whose job is it to “to churn out a useful product” (i.e. have impact)? How is consensus politics different from how the CoL Government operates currently? What or who are “GP practitioners”? I have a feeling that you are not meaning family doctors.

      • Dennis Frank 2.1.1

        Sorry, I often use GP = Green Party. Essential because when using Greens, some people interpret it as GP without thinking. Because I've been part of Aotearoa's Greens since '68, I'm aware that the broader group is around 10 to 100 times the size of the GP (at a guess since I doubt anyone ever did the counting).

        I'm aware the GP captured the brand in the early '90s in the intention of representing it, since I was part of that endeavour – nonetheless precision messaging to distinguish the two groups is necessary. I led the first successful political consensus-building endeavour in Aotearoa (as far as I know) as convenor of the GP Standing Orders Committee and Constitution Working Group. Consensus was defined as unanimity or only a single objector – everyone else agreeing. When we had two or more, we workshopped them to resolve their problems, amending the text of the resolution to get consensus. Since I got all the essential documents through the process successfully, I know how to do that.

        I can't comment on how the three parties in the current govt get consensus since I'm not participating. I was just giving advice here on topic to help point Labour in the best direction forward (altruism).

        • Ad

          1968! Crikey.

          What a year.

          • Dennis Frank

            You bet! There've been a bunch of books written about it & I've bought several. Not read them yet due to nostalgia being uncompetitive with current stuff. Perhaps when I get old enough… wink

  3. weka 3

    Good end of year post micky. We definitely need a clear focus in the coming year and I agree about the positive framing (am thinking the same about CC). Maybe it's a matter of taking some of the strategies on offer and running with them. I'm mindful of the tension between that and people's disappointment with the govt this term (thinking about the negative reaction to a post I did about the Ardern and Colbert video). I'm not in the never say anything negative camp, but maybe it's a matter of balance, and more nuance. What's the ratio of being real about the problems to being proactive about solutions within a framing that leaves people feeling good L(again, leftwing/election year, and CC).

    I think increasingly people are going to want to feel good (and without getting into the whole twitter saga, I think this is central there too. Various factions aren't and are responding from that).

  4. Stuart Munro 4

    Well said Mickey. The recent example of Corbyn – a very promising leader who allowed himself to be mired in fallacious accusations and apparent indecision instead of foregrounding his positive message should be a warning.

    Pointing out opponents feet of clay may not go amiss however – their false positive messaging should not be allowed free passes.

    Reich has a few ideas about what needs to be covered.

    • Siobhan 4.1

      "Corbyn – a very promising leader who allowed himself to be mired in fallacious accusations"

      allowed himself ? I think you'd be better off mulling over why the multi millionaire media owners, ' each and every one, with no exceptions, possibly united for the very first time in the modern age of UK politics; and Corbyns political adversaries, both within and outside the party..and their financial supporters..would be so opposed to having Corbyn in power as to go full nutz with the 'fallacious' accusations..

      • Incognito 4.1.1

        Can you please explain to me why there’s a comment in Pre-Moderation apparently coming from your device but with a different user name and e-mail address?

        • Siobhan

          thats my son..home on the holidays..which is nice..though, you know, its always a relief when they go again..

        • Siobhan

          plus, different device, hes on his mean same IP?..because this is already a thing..Adrian Thornton and I are always on the same internet. Its like a whole family of us..

          • Incognito

            Ok, thanks for clarifying and apologies to your son for the delay caused by the system; I’ve released his comment.

      • Stuart Munro 4.1.2

        While what you say is entirely fair, it is not a matter of fairness.

        If one let's one's opponents dictate the grounds of a conflict, one cedes a considerable advantage.

        Had Corbyn rebutted the antisemitism claims originating from Israeli intelligence campaigns, expelled the traitor Blairites, and taken a clear and unequivocal stand on Brexit early enough to count, England might well have avoided a term, possibly multiple terms, of gross misrule.

        • McFlock

          Documenting and actually addressing complaints within the party might have been an idea, too.

          But that's all by the board… Britain's fucked now.

          • Stuart Munro

            Much more flailing Tory bullshit and Boris may get what Maggie got. The Poms do throw governments out – if only NZ had learned to do as much.

        • Siobhan

          "expelled the traitor Blairites, and taken a clear and unequivocal stand on Brexit early enough to count, England might well have avoided a term"

          ..this I agree with whole heartedly..tho I suspect the endless references to 'purges' that would have ensued would have been problematic, to put it mildly. Not to mention, there's nothing nastier than a Blairite on the lose with no political party to keep them vaguely in line.

          I suspect The Blair Institute, at the time in negotiation for a contract with the EU, would have rounded them all up and formed a new centrist party.

          Which, is something that probably should happen..but I suspect the immediate result of the split would have also led to a Tory victory.

          • The Al1en

            Those traitorous Blairites who knocked out a generation's worth of tory governments with a giant landslide, that not only took with them the red wall Corbyn lost but also swathes of Scotland and middle England, then did it again with an almost equally spectacular super majority, even winning a third election despite the gulf war shit blotting the copy book.

            Even Gordon Brown made a fight of it, with only the Daily Mirror backing labour, picking up 258 seats in the house and forcing Cameron into a coalition agreement.

            Damn, those bad old days 🙄

          • Stuart Munro

            The Blairites would probably have run to the Lib Dems – where they would likely have proven a poison pill of massive proportions.

            • The Al1en

              And yet it was Corbyn who proved to be the enema of unelectable

              • Stuart Munro

                By all means tell us who would have led the Left to victory in his stead.

                • The Al1en

                  Considering the scale of his defeat, it would be easy to say apparently anyone but him, but going forward, I'm definitely in the Lisa Nandy camp.

              • Adrian Thornton

                No wrong…I would hardly call Labour's results in 2017 the result of an unelectable leader.

                "Jeremy Corbyn increased Labour's vote share more than any of the party's leaders since 1945"


                • The Al1en

                  And still the worst result since 1935, and held against the mess of May/Johnson, totally unelectable and the British people knew it.

                  • Corbyn in 2019 got more Labour votes than Labour did in 2010 and 2015.

                    It was the SNP and the useless FPP system that caused the poor seat haul. (Though Brexit and the incessant media attacks on Corbyn played a part).

                    Under MMP Corbyn would be PM.

                    Corbyn would have been PM in 2017 but for the incredibly popular Ruth Davidson in Scotland who saved the Tories bacon…just.

                    • The Al1en

                      Yeah yeah, woulda, coulda.

                      Fact is, Blairites won 3 elections and got more seats in a loss than comrade Jeremy under his momentum manufactured leadership, and all under fpp, and never once lost the red wall, not even a hint of it.

                      If you want to spin that as a victory for the hard left, go right ahead.
                      The UK public know different.

                    • Siobhan

                      "Under MMP Corbyn would be PM."


                      That's the thing that's been driving me nuts for months..the number of NZ Labour supporters who look at UK Labour like its a total train wreck, a warning to them of the perils of being seen as too Left, too Socialist, yet their (UK) popularity/support is basically the same as NZ Labour..without Winnie we wouldn't have Jacinda..and, if reports are to believed, its was Corbyns perceived dithering around brexit was the turn off for voters..not his other policies so much..

    • Anne 4.2

      Pointing out opponents feet of clay may not go amiss however – their false positive messaging should not be allowed free passes.

      Exactly. And if some of us use the Standard platform to highlight these false and disingenuous messages because the MSM are so pitiful at doing it themselves, then so be it.

      Part of the eventual downfall of the Clark-led govt. and the subsequent Labour Opposition was because they did allow false messaging a free pass. The trick is to balance the negative and positive in more or less equal measure.

  5. Felix 5

    And so basically it is a fake it until you make it moment …

    So smile and wave while we drift over the proverbial cliff face, while we fail to address child poverty, while home ownership rates drop below 50% and the environment erodes past the point of return…

    I doubt our current moment could be more sharply misread, as the reality of our situation becomes more clear for more and more of the population, our voter and political apathy might quickly turn to voter anger and rage, the left needs to be ready to run with that, and harness it from the victim blaming it will no doubt be, to a constructive force for change. If we face away from the problems that plague our society, as they worsen and fester, then we open the door for someone like Trump, who will speak to those people with a language that acknowledges they're suffering and pain and turns it to negative ends.

    Now in the shadow of Corbyns defeat we need to ask our self's, what do we stand for. I know that I'd rather stand for what's right, and lose, then join in with whats wrong, just to have power.

  6. RedLogix 7

    A good post mickey. And there is indeed a lot to be positive about. The activist left, particularly the educated middle class lefties the post mentions are very prone to not only insulting the very people they want to persuade, but also addicted telling everyone just how awful everything is. But this is a thin and sour message; instead:

    If you had to choose one moment in history in which you could be born, and you didn’t know ahead of time who you were going to be — what nationality, what gender, what race, whether you’d be rich or poor, gay or straight, what faith you’d be born into—you wouldn’t choose 100 years ago. You wouldn’t choose the fifties, or the sixties, or the seventies.
    You’d choose right now.

    ~Former President Barack Obama, 2016

    However, around the world vast numbers of people are escaping poverty, gaining access to advanced healthcare, paid work and banking, clean water, cleaner air, more nutritious food, electricity, education, and much more. Today the life expectancy, healthcare, nutrition, available resources, and standards of living in the world’s poorest countries largely exceeds that of the world’s wealthiest countries at the onset of the Industrial Revolution. On the morning of January 1, 1800 in Britain, life expectancy was 36.6 years and GDP was just $3,430 per capita. Today, life expectancy in Zambia, one of the world’s poorest countries, exceeds 50 years, and GDP per capita is greater than $3,800.

    The DNA of left wing people is written in strands of idealism; and daily the world reminds us of how much more remains to be done. Yet we do ourselves no favours, like the whining relative at the family dinner for whom nothing is ever good enough, when constantly press the 'outrage of the day' button.

    Yes the world has many pressing problems, perhaps at this most potent moment in our long history, things could go very well or very badly for us. But the whole purpose of politics is to persuade people with different values and interests to engage in a common cause. Yet the age old tools of fear, shame and coercion are no longer useful to tackle the vastly more complex challenges we must now address. Shame will stop someone from doing something you don't like, and violence will coerce someone into dumb obedience, but neither will inspire the new and sophisticated behaviours needed for the new world must build.

    • Adrian Thornton 7.1

      "If you had to choose one moment in history in which you could be born, and you didn’t know ahead of time who you were going to be — what nationality, what gender, what race, whether you’d be rich or poor, gay or straight, what faith you’d be born into—you wouldn’t choose 100 years ago. You wouldn’t choose the fifties, or the sixties, or the seventies.
      You’d choose right now.

      ~Former President Barack Obama, 2016"

      Except if you were in one of the many countries that the US and Obama have turned into hell holes…as always the a colonialist American can only view/explain history (even recent history) through their own sick and distorted self centred prism.

      I am proud to be Socialist and an idealist and I will be to the day I die. Lefties defending status quo 'Left' liberal third way incrementalism has gone on long enough, too long, and I can guarantee you one thing Red, your liberal Labour will never, ever be able to seriously challenge climate change or poverty or the housing crisis, that is just a plain fact ( they will of course tickle the outsides of these problems, like all recent Labour govts do) no, their own free market ideology would never allow them to unleash the visionary,the radical, the transformative and long term changes that are needed in this moment…and even if they governed by themselves with a huge majority they sadly couldn't and wouldn't do what is needed even then..and I am sure deep inside you know that too.

      Turn Labour Left!

      • RedLogix 7.1.1

        You need to update some of your assumptions.

        • Adrian Thornton

          Firstly I think it is you who might need to vet your sources a little more closely, as I personally wouldn't put too much stock in any research conducted by an organization funded by the Cato Institute unless you are also a climate change denier, which I am pretty sure you are not? (well I hope not)?.

          OK, so lets keep this local to keep it more focused shall we..

          In my life time in New Zealand I have seen with my own eyes, homelessness become an National shame, the cost of having a secure home when you can get one become become so expensive it's an obscenity and a disgrace, I have seen low and middle wage job security all but disappear, and even if you get plenty of work in those categories the work loads are often extreme through the relentless search for "productivity", just ask the shelf packer in your local super market, fruit picker or bus driver. I have seen local manufacturers large and small along with all the excellent and secure jobs that they once offered, all but disappear in the face of free market liberalism, and for what? so we could sell our moral and ethical compass down the hole for the sake of cheap goods and products that we all knew/know are made by exploited and often slave labour.

          And lastly I have seen this unending consumer culture driven on relentlessly and remorselessly by the free market liberal ideology you seem to love and defend so passionately destroy our very planet…as I keep on saying there are no, and never will be any answers to these issues that can come from an extractive ideology that is solely sustained by a doctrine of endless growth, nothing but one huge ponzi scheme that has now reached it's natural end if you will…

          • RedLogix

            Unable or unwilling to refute the data, you resort to discrediting the source. You're free to question their motives, but that does not invalidate their argument unless you can provide a counter.

            In the past decade I have had the privilege of working in a number of different countries (over 20 at last count) and the experience changed my views. While NZ remains one of the top 10 or so best places in the world to live, it's clear that the rest of the world is catching up fast. In 2016 fully half the human race achieved middle class living standards (by local measure) for the first time in human history. Absolute poverty is now largely confined to just two big countries, India and Nigeria. Seeing this with my own eyes made me realise how often we remain stuck with assumptions formed decades ago, assumptions that need updating.

            This is the big story of the last decade; that globally the human race has made such dramatic strides in solving the poverty problem. Unless the left can acknowledge this reality, we will consign ourselves to tilting at obsolete windmills of our imagining, irrelevant to the modern world. A fact reflected in election results of the past few years.

            As for climate change; we know that while the world continues to increase it's CO2 fossil fuel emissions, it's wrong to assume that it's only the developed nations responsible:


            • Blazer

              This is not India or Nigeria…a country with over 100million people.


              • RedLogix

                200 years ago this was the nature of life for almost all of humanity. Yet in the past few decades we have been moving rapidly away from this; most of humanity is now middle class … a complete fucking miracle the left totally ignores.

                Does this mean we have arrived at nirvana? Of course not … and your video above is one small dot point of evidence for this. But demanding perfection is another common left wing tactic that does nothing to help.

                • Incognito

                  Nothing wrong with aiming high, really high, for the sky. It is how you frame it, for yourself and for others, whether you set up for ‘success’ or ‘failure’. Striving for better and higher is human nature and although we must start with small baby steps, the intention should be to take larger steps and jumps even, maybe even fly one day. Too much (political) timidity and fear leads to incrementalism at best, or status quo or regression and resulting apathy, hostility towards and distrust with the system (and each other – the opposite of social cohesion because lack of common cause). You can call that Utopianism, Nirvana or whatever but that’s what got us where we are (AKA our predicament) and it is what will get us out of it too. Unless we fuck (it) up badly …

                  • RedLogix

                    In my youth I climbed a lot of mountains in the Southern Alps. You could say I was aiming high. Yet most of the time my gaze was fixed on the two or three steps immediately in front of me.

                    • Incognito

                      The difference between journey and destination. Enjoy the experience, be in the moment, and share it around.

                    • RedLogix

                      Yes and no. On steep or difficult ground it was fucking up my very next step which was going to kill me.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      "Yet most of the time my gaze was fixed on the two or three steps immediately in front of me."

                      Quite reasonable – you're not alone. But unless reasonable people can join the dots (between the "complete fucking miracle" of massive proliferation of people living middle class lifestyles, and the self-made 'global warming chickens' coming home to roost), and then act on that clear cause-and-effect knowledge, we're stuffed.

                      Greta "You are not mature enough to tell it like it is. You are failing us" Thunberg gets it, but I'll give up my middle class lifestyle when you pry it from my charred, dead hands. I like my supermarket roast chicken with sage and onion stuffing.

                      Brain biases

                      We lack the collective will to address climate change because of the way our brains have evolved over the last two million years.

                      “Humans are very bad at understanding statistical trends and long-term changes,” says political psychologist Conor Seyle, director of research at One Earth Future Foundation, a programme incubator that focuses on fostering peace long-term.

                      “We have evolved to pay attention to immediate threats. We overestimate threats that are less likely but easier to remember, like terrorism, and underestimate more complex threats, like climate change.”


                      “Cognitive biases that ensured our initial survival make it difficult to address complex, long-term challenges that now threaten our existence, like climate change,” says Seyle.


                    • RedLogix

                      Why does this have to be a choice? Getting up a mountain demands at least three types of thinking; a grand vision 'lets climb this thing', a strategic plan of a route that we think we can succeed at, and the tactics of the immediate steps in front of us.

                      All three are necessary in the right mix. Neglect one and you fail.

                      But unless reasonable people can join the dots (between the “complete fucking miracle” of massive proliferation of people living middle class lifestyles, and the self-made ‘global warming chickens’ coming home to roost),

                      A point I’ve made before. At this moment in time we have the top ‘golden’ 1b of humanity living at or just beyond the U$10k pa threshold considered sufficient for a comfortable, modern life. The next 3b are fast closing in on this, and the remain 3b cannot be told that ‘it’s not for them’. In order to do this this next 6b people must do it better than us; they have to leapfrog us into the middle class, jumping straight to low/zero carbon economies.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      Why does this have to be a choice? Getting up a mountain demands at least three types of thinking; a grand vision ‘lets climb this thing’, a strategic plan of a route that we think we can succeed at, and the tactics of the immediate steps in front of us.

                      Getting up a mountain demands more than just thinking – a really large number of people must be willing and able to climb (or leap).

                      "In order to do this this next 6b [6,000,000,000] people must do it better than us; they have to leapfrog us into the middle class, jumping straight to low/zero carbon economies."

                      Those 6b better get a wriggle on – the next 1,000,000,000 will be nipping at their heels before you know it. Seems what's needed is a leap of faith (all 6b jumping at the same time) – a miracle perhaps?

                      Meanwhile, I'm nearly ready to choose to cut back on my international travel – just not yet, OK?

                • Blazer

                  Very generous of you to give the right the credit for all and any advances in living standards over the last 200 plus years.

                  They did all the inventing,made all the discoveries and were responsible for the new technologies and goods available today!


                  I guess you could say…'hey even the poor can afford Maccas these days'!

                  • RedLogix

                    Very generous of you to give the right the credit for all and any advances in living standards over the last 200 plus years.

                    I look at it like this; liberal minded people tend to be good at new ideas, innovation and a desire to improve things. Yet of the many ideas we have not all of them will be good ones. Some will be catastrophically bad, eg marxism.

                    Conservative minded people are typically good at operating proven systems, they keep the lights on, food on the supermarket shelves and run all the complex rule driven systems the modern world depends on to function daily. Yet they can be very bad at recognising new threats, eg climate change.

                    Now this is of course a simplistic model, but it suggests that 'giving the right all the credit' is deeply insufficient. Humanity has long struggled out of a deep abyss of poverty and brutality, we have made much progress and those of us who survived should look about in gratitude and extend the hand of welcome to each and all of us.

                    Kindness if you will.

                    • Blazer

                      Conservative people like to maintain the status quo imo.

                      Most enlightened policies spring from an apposite perspective,usually associated with real liberalism and inspiration.

                    • RedLogix

                      There is nothing terribly wrong with 'maintaining' the status quo. It's what feeds, clothes and protects you each and every day. It's why the power is on, the water comes out of the tap and your shit vanishes.

                      Of course conservative prefer it because they are the people who make it go.

                      As for 'enlightenment'. Tell me what this means? Does it mean that every damn fool idea a leftie has is a good one?

                    • Incognito []

                      Status quo = scorched Earth.

            • Adrian Thornton

              Firstly I am not going to bother refuting the any data that comes from anyone who is funded by two of the vilest and most dangerous men on the planet..if you are happy to accept their data, well good on you, but it's not for me.

              "This is the big story of the last decade; that globally the human race has made such dramatic strides in solving the poverty problem. Unless the left can acknowledge this reality we will consign ourselves to tilting at obsolete windmills of our imagining, irrelevant to the modern world. "

              So in other words you seem to be suggesting that homelessness, lack of housing and job security and mindless wasteful consumerism etc that is a huge and growing problems in many western countries is like some sort of ying and yang thing that somehow off sets the supposed growth and "so called" upward mobility in the third world?..'suck it up you lefties, this is what progress looks like!', is what you mean?…

              It kind of sounds like that is what you are saying.

              I must remember to stop tell that bunch of homeless people who sleep outside our local newspaper that although it's seems bad for them, to not feel bad at all, because the third world is catching us up, it’s the big story of the last decade, didn’t you know?…so maybe stop fucking moaning and get some gratitude, haven't you lot heard how nice our Jacinda is, maybe she might even come over and give you all a big hug, wouldn't that be nice?

              lastly I still haven't seen you suggest the ways in which your beloved global free trade, market driven liberalism is going to solve climate change in the next few years?

              • RedLogix

                Firstly I am not going to bother refuting the any data that comes from anyone who is funded by two of the vilest and most dangerous men on the planet

                Are you saying it is wrong? Or are you just shooting a messenger you don’t like? I only use this source because it's presentation was particularly clear. The exact numbers depend heavily on how you define 'middle class', but there's plenty of data if you care to look. One easy source:


                But like so many ideological left wingers with their heads stuck in the 70's and 80's I suspect you won't.

                And yes I agree the working and middle classes in the developed nations have in some measure paid for this … even when they were never asked about it. This was exactly one of the trends that has driven Brexit and seen Trump elected. And as you rightly point out, locally NZ has not been immune either.

                Still the solution cannot be to tell the rest of developing world that they have to go back to poverty. For a start they rightly would tell us to fuck off, for another it's a deeply racist assumption. (And I use that r-word very precisely in this context.) Nor can a small trading nation like NZ plausibly retreat back into economic isolationism as the American's are trying to do right now. What we will get is an unstable mix of trading bloc’s as a medium term arrangements of convenience.

                The only path that makes sense to me is to understand the globalisation process far better, and develop far better strategies at managing it in order that the whole of humanity feels both engaged and benefited by it. Not a simple matter, but honestly in the long run I see no other vision that makes sense.

              • RedLogix

                Here is another data point. The number of people connected to an electrical grid according to this staid World Bank report:

                Following a decade of steady progress, the global electrification rate reached 89 percent and 153 million people gained access to electricity each year.

                That's a staggering 420,000 people per day!

    • Blazer 7.2

      'GDP was just $3,430 per capita. Today, life expectancy in Zambia, one of the world’s poorest countries, exceeds 50 years, and GDP per capita is greater than $3,800. '

      Completely irrelevant stats…you need to look at the buying power of a dollar then and…now.

      • RedLogix 7.2.1

        Why do you assume the dollar units have not already been corrected for time?

        • Blazer

          Because I'm a cynic…and why do you assume…they have?

          • RedLogix

            Cynicism does not always serve well. Correcting for time is a basic requirement and is absolutely routine for such comparisons. Otherwise they would obviously make no sense over even quite short time spans. Besides the comparison passes the reasonableness test.

            But if you want to insist otherwise go for it, I've linked to my source, you're welcome to provide something demonstrating otherwise.

            • Blazer

              I agree with your comment about cynicism,mind you the same applies to optimism…etc…

              Your link does not confirm your 'basic requirement'.

              As for the author…a prolific writer and an advocate for U.S Capitalism.

              Noted this piece of his work and just rolled my eyes….In Defense of Share Buybacks

              • RedLogix

                Now you are flailing … address your point.

              • RedLogix

                I can also demonstrate the reasonableness of the comparison you are objecting to by assuming the converse … that the author had failed to correct for time.

                If we took the figure used in the article of around U$3500 GDP per capita figure for the UK in 1800 … this would translate to around U$74,000 of relative inflated worth in today's terms.

                Clearly Britain was not that wealthy in 1800, which falsifies your claim that the figures were not correct for inflation.

                • Blazer

                  You may accept the propaganda of a 'progressive growth exponent'…I don't.

                  What is the equation you are using to convert these sums from over 200 years ago to today's figures?

                  The relentless specious arguments on the lines of …'you never had it so good' are quite tedious and are based on very selective measures.

                  The real question is why has $3500 turned into $74,000,and why was a pint of milk 4c 50 years ago and now is $2.40?

                  Why have suicide rates exploded in Western society if things are so rosy?

                  I prefer the analysis of David Stockman and Joseph Stiglitz regarding the capture of Govts by bankers ,to explain the devolution of prudent policies that contribute to the well being of all citizens,rather than the uber wealthy trying to justify their ponzi scheme.

                  Rutger at Davos got it right….millionaire msm commentators spreading the misinformation of their billionaire masters.

                  • RedLogix

                    What is the equation you are using to convert these sums from over 200 years ago to today's figures?

                    Click on the link provided. It's a fancy internet thing.

                    Why have suicide rates exploded in Western society if things are so rosy?

                    As I've stated many times before here, while the modern world has made huge strides in solving the absolute poverty problem (which is a largely material and economic challenge) … we have yet to properly understand the relative poverty problem (one that is more weighted to social and psychological challenges).

                    Conflating the two issues is a mistake. Suicide is rarely if ever associated with absolute poverty, the root causes are far more complex and varied than just 'capitalism'. In my view a loss of sense of moral purpose lies at the heart of this scourge, while overwhelming personal problems with no obvious good solution are the trigger.

                    I do agree that well being should not be measured by GDP per capital alone. Therein lies a materialistic madness that neglects our true social nature, it erases our need for belonging, for acceptance and purpose. Science, technology and capitalistic economies have provided for our material needs remarkably well, but they are a very hollow god.

                    Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs is a useful model to point to here; while the data shows we are well on the way to solving our fundamental physiological needs for the majority of humanity, it points to how much more we need to be thinking about if we are to truly address our collective well-being. On that we agree.

                    However it also suggests that kicking out the bottom layer by 'smashing capitalism' is going to be counterproductive.

  7. Peter 8

    The whole scenario is all a bit 'fake news.' The right want to treat people like shit. When there is a response they then complain that the responders have lost it and others claim that responding in any way is playing into the hands of the scumbags.

    They despise the notion of Ardern wanting a 'nicer way' to do politics. They want Turnardern, and they expect Turntheothercheek.

    Maybe O'Brien wouldn't feel she has to accuse the left of acting hysterically if she and her colleagues reacted reasonably to the first hits. Picking on those who retaliate is cheap and easy.

    • Billy 8.1

      There's an invisible elephant here.

      The woke left are primarily in the business of demanding respect. Who has demanded respect, historically?

      A proper socialist is concerned with showing respect in the way they address others, rather than how they are addressed: "comrade", "sister", "brother". This has been a conscious effort done in contrast to and against class hierarchies.

      Going further to this point, those demanding respect are typically university educated to MA level and have some form of office job, whereas those of whom respect is demanded don't. They are usually entirely unfamilar with the language of the former's hermetic order.

      And then the latter get accused of oppression! Apparently, a product of ignorance, or lack of proper education.

      Well, I'd rather be a brute.

      No good socialist, whatever their station, should go around demand respect in this manner; and a socialist who goes around demanding deference and respect beyond what is due to an ordinary citizen in every day life, in a way that is incomprehensible to them, is probably not, at heart, a socialist.

      Surely, the solution is education. I recommend the Thai model, which involves memorizing the correct epithets, titles, grammar and syntax with which one must address their betters – or else.

      • Peter 8.1.1

        The solution might be education.

        It would be good if enough were educated to enough of a level to see some southerner saying (paraphrased) "the PM is spending all her time posing for magzine photos not doing any real Prime Ministerial stuff," as an ignorant, sorry 'ill-informed,' clod.

        If enough were educated to enough of a level the call would be he doesn't know how the PM spends her time.

      • Sacha 8.1.2

        The woke left are primarily in the business of demanding respect.

        How do you get from demanding justice for others to demanding respect for themselves?

        • Billy

          Intersectionality is for people who find it difficult to sympathize with classes of people without reference to themselves, somehow, as either members of the same class (women, a racial group) or a class that they have decided shares the same characteristics as their own class.

          Material circumstances and the difference between people’s material circumstances, the proper cause for demands for economic and social justice, don’t necessarily come into it.

          Intersectionality sees people, often, taking personal affronts as affronts to the entire class of people they identify with, or classes of people, and taking complaining about that on Twitter as activism and solidarity.

          They think demanding respect for themselves is demanding justice for others.

          And demanding justice in this way can apparently include demanding special respect and consideration from someone with much reduced material circumstances, and then using your more powerful platform in society to punish them if they don’t understand or see as valid the titles or epithets demanded by you their moral overlord. And we are told this is all done in the spirit of socialism.

          Some observations.

          • Sacha

            Material circumstances and the difference between people’s material circumstances, the proper cause for demands for economic and social justice…

            I believe you are making your position clearer, thanks.

    • RedLogix 8.2

      The right want to treat people like shit.

      Conservative people typically put a higher weight on values such as fairness, loyalty, duty, sanctity and authority. Liberals tend to place higher weight on empathy and care.

      As a result we often misinterpret each other's motives; usually this is not helpful.

      • Blazer 8.2.1

        You're on a roll with quite selective generalisations today RL.

        Did you learn them by…rote?

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            "Conservative people typically put a higher weight on values such as fairness"

            Red, while I can understand why you might wish that particular generalisation to be true, it is incompatible with my reality and experience.

            Purely in the interest of fairness (and accuracy), here's the relevant section from the Wikipedia article that you linked too.

            "liberals are most sensitive to the Care and Fairness foundations, while conservatives are equally sensitive to all five/six foundations. Joshua Greene argued however that liberals tend to emphasise the Care, Fairness and Liberty dimensions; conservatives the Loyalty, Authority and Sanctity dimensions."

            Just to be clear – NO mention (in that Wikipedia article) of conservatives having a particular sensitivity to 'fairness' (opposite of cheating); indeed it would seem that, in general, sensitivity to this particular foundation/dimension is a more a liberal attribute.

            • Incognito

              My view is that discussions about fairness, for example, are just academic exercises about a fairly [pardon the pun] abstract concept.

              Everyone has different views on what’s fair/unfair depending on the context.

              Is it fair that famers have to pay to clean our waterways?

              Is it fair that beneficiaries who smoke have to accept a fairly steep increase in tobacco tax?

              Are progressive taxes fair?

              Et cetera

              • Drowsy M. Kram

                Agree that a 'sense of fairness' (the sixth sense?) is individual, subjective and context-dependent. Nevertheless, I believe (without evidence) that there are some actions that most (not all) would agree are unfair, potentially making 'fairness' a useful concept for consensus building, at least in some instances.

                A couple of examples of generally unfair actions would be deliberately presenting false information for personal advantage, and kicking someone while they're down. An example of an unfair action leading to a fair(er) outcome might be forcibly depriving someone of food (causing them to go hungry) in order to feed another who is starving to death – an extreme example of the fairness of sharing. Others will be able to come up with their own, much better examples.

                More academic material (apologies); still interesting and (maybe) relevant.

                "Rawls's theory of "justice as fairness" recommends equal basic rights, equality of opportunity, and promoting the interests of the least advantaged members of society. Rawls's argument for these principles of social justice uses a thought experiment called the "original position", in which people select what kind of society they would choose to live under if they did not know which social position they would personally occupy."

                • Sacha

                  Those who believe ends justify means will tell you that
                  all is fair in love and war.

                • Incognito

                  Thanks for that and I agree with your comments. The point I was trying to make is that in everyday parlance the concept (of) fairness, which essentially means free of bias, is not necessarily free of bias per se. For example, check out “fairness heuristic theory”; people expect a fair hearing in court but they may not always perceive the outcome as fair.

            • RedLogix

              Fair point. 🙂

              I probably should have used the word 'justice'. Similar but a different connotation.

  8. I didn't agree with Ani O'Brien's OP. Firstly on the basis that I question whether the "#turnardern" arsehole is working class on any definition of the term that doesn't involve identity politics (as in "Hey, I may own my own business and employ people but I identify as working class, OK?"). Secondly on the basis that you can't expect people on Twitter to see #turnardern arsehole's tweets, go and look at his profile and find a shitload of misogynist, racist shit on it, and then decide "But I'd better not call him out on it because what if people decide liberal intellectuals are ganging up on a good old salt-of-the-earth working class bloke who's just saying what everyone's thinking?"

    That said, right-wingers aren't even remotely troubled by ethics when it comes to propaganda, so yeah any responses to the guy will totally be spun that way. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

  9. Ad 10

    Jones and Ardern going "positive and uplifting" just stopped us getting creamed like 2014.

    It didnt win us anything. Nothing.

    Winning was down to NZFs political analysis of a commercial and social deal.

    Don't let these columnists over-egg your pudding Mickey.

  10. millsy 11

    People have gotten the terms "working class" and "reactionary petty bourgeois" mixed up. Col Wilson is definitely in the latter category.

    • Billy 11.1

      Lol. It is the woke who are petty bourgeois

      • millsy 11.1.1

        Do you really think Col Wilson would cross a picketline? I think yes.

        • Billy

          Petty bourgeois don't work in factories and never encounter picketlines (but might retweet one).

          I don’t know much about Col Wilson. I know he is said to be oppressing the Prime Minister and that he is a bricklayer.

          I suspect the debate around him is symptomatic of a national politics that has lost sight of people’s actual status and power in society in relation to each other.

  11. Billy 12

    Happy New Year, Mickey Savage!

    American DNC operative Anat Shenker-Osorio was evidently quite influential on Labour prior to the last election. I know she came out to train Labour. Was that a paid role?

    She also apparently inspired the formation of the Workshop. She's part of a more general American style campaigning shift in New Zealand political culture. That's what interests me. Because we have claims of populism or Trumpism in the National Party, but it looks more like the strongest American influence on New Zealand political culture is from the DNC.

    And Anat is not alone. Most civil society activists in New Zealand in prominent positions are first put through training and workshops at the John Podesta funded Centre for Australian Progress. The DNC seems to have come to exert considerable power over New Zealand politics over the past few election periods. I was pleased to read this blog post of yours, being the trainspotter that I am, because it had gone largely unremarked on.

    As I and others have noticed, the influence of the DNC here on the Labour-Greens coalition has also seen DNC-aligned billionaire funders pumping money into superPAC type political groups; most prominently, ActionStation, the employees of which all went through the DNC-aligned CAP, with many spending time actually working in the United States with MoveOn and for/with related campaigns. Rock Enroll, of course, has a similar history. Looking at the NZ CAP fellows, many of them have had internships in Washington.

    Imagine if the CCP was grooming political activists in the same way, through a similar process of internships and fellowships abroad, and then funding those people to run organizations in NZ via the philanthropy sector. And note: some of those funders are partners of regime change wonks the National Endowment for Democracy and, yes, the CIA.

    I content that these bodies/groups/political operatives have influenced how certain issues are presented by civil society groups and the media (which has also received money from the very same DNC-aligned funders).

    Again, this has mostly gone unremarked on by the usual political commentators. This is curious, lax, unfortunate given many in the media and academia have been wringing their hands over foreign interference in New Zealand's political system over the past year, with a Justice Committee inquiry being held (and not picking up on this at all, it seems).

    I've flagged potential problems with the above before. We are talking about people and groups closely associated with a foreign political party exerting influence and paying for influence here in New Zealand. And these people do seem to have a strong bias towards on side of our political spectrum. It's not lost on me that these American organizations started popping up around the time people first started voicing concerns about the CCP's influence on the National Party. I am perturbed at the prospect of the next election being in some form a US backed coalition vs a CCP backed National. Kiwis are very keen to reframe NZ as primarily a Pacific state for lots of good reasons but it would be sad to see NZ politics reduced to an iteration of a wider geopolitical tussle.

    "The basic theme is that to win progressives should not move to the middle but should instead seek to persuade through progressive and uplifting campaigns."

    Anat says this but it is interesting to review how she says it and the ways in which her acolytes repeat this advice. I've noticed that it is used as reason to dismiss those who disagree with anything Anat says or they say.

    And we return to the root of the problem with American progressive attitudes: thought leaders like Anat define the bounds of dignified behaviour and then are ruthless in cutting off and dismissing anyone seen to be behaving outside those bounds. Sometimes, merely, for uncouth behaviour or speech… and they are cast out of the tent, held to be without dignity and not worthy of respect. The strange cognitive dissonance inherent in the push for "inclusion" rears its ugly head. Doubtless George Bush jr's "with us or against us" was inclusive too, if you were prepared to run into his open arms.

    As for the other important matter in relation to Anat, her hair… I'd like to take to it with a lawnmower.

    [It is obvious that you have an issue with Anat Shenker-Osorio. You have made multiple demeaning references about her hairstyle ever since you appeared here on this site (AKA ‘the tent’) and now this seems to be spreading 🙁 To me, this suggests that you might be a pathetic bully possibly with a slight misogynistic lean – other comments by you tend to support my suspicion. In fact, your whole commenting history here makes me feeling uneasy but I’ll wait and see how the TS commentariat deals with it – I’m a Moderator but not a Curator or Censor. However, next time you make demeaning comments about a woman’s appearance (“uncouth behaviour or speech”, if you prefer) you’ll be “cast out of the tent” without warning and subsequent (!) bans will escalate, also without warning. Oh, and please spare me another of your smart arse replies; I did not have enough sleep last night – Incognito]

    • Ad 12.1

      OMG the DNC is not the same as the CCCP.

      Get a paper bag and inhale a few times.

      • Billy 12.1.1

        cool with the NED and the CIA?

        • Stuart Munro

          You need to be a little more context specific about the CIA – sometimes they've got up to mischief it's true – but they also spent getting on for thirty years persuading the KCIA to abandon torture. The KCIA were duly gobsmacked when W invaded Iraq & signed off on torture.

          Not so long ago, before the US president went on the FSB payroll, their defence against foreign incursions was also valued.

          • Billy

            democracy needs the CIA like JFK needed a bullet in the head.

            • Stuart Munro

              In a world that includes the FSB and the MSS, democracy does indeed need the CIA. But naivete sure is charming.

    • Sacha 12.2

      Sometimes, merely, for uncouth behaviour or speech

      Has that happened to you? Trying to understand where you are coming from on this topic.

      • Billy 12.2.1

        My point is that, in practice, we have bourgeois lefties like Michelle Duff claiming to be part of a class, which includes the Prime Minister, that is being oppressed by the symbolic protest of a bricklayer.

        Conversations about power on the left rarely give any consideration to people's actual material circumstances anymore, and that's a problem if you are a socialist.

        It’s also a big, big problem come election day if you don’t understand what I’m pointing out. Ordinary people aren’t the predicable and otherwise ignorant Pavlovian dogs that some of the laughable and offensive left wing campaigning literature from the US I have been reading supposes with its diagrams of brains and references to discredited behavioural science with weird clapbacks to Freud and advertising.

        Pepsi don’t mind woke. In fact, corporates love woke rhetoric. I wonder why? Because it’s not actually threatening to institutional power, that’s why. This helps to explain the Spinoff.

        In response to another post I elaborate on this point (8.1).

        I'm interested to know whether you understand what I am getting at.

        • Sacha

          This Colin guy owns/owned a bricklaying business and has spent years having a go at certain groups of people online. Deleted thousands of tweets now though so maybe not so proud of his record there.

          Differential power is a perspective I've always strongly applied. However this seems nothing more than the rantings of an old bigoted man confronted with a changing world where women and brown people might have as much power as he has been gifted by accident of birth.

          • Billy

            If the analysis doesn’t take into account material circumstances it is not socialist. But I take your point about this guy.

            But with intersectionality we end up with absurd situations where wealthy sometimes famous people demand freedom from criticism on the grounds that criticism directed at them is oppression by reference to this or that class they belong to by birth or adoption. That becomes dangerous when they are politicians or others whose primary business should be accountability, like the PM. She doesn’t need to be shielded from criticism and I doubt she wants to be. It’s a little condescending to jump to her defence, actually. She’s shown us to be quite capable of handling herself.

            • Sacha

              She doesn’t need to be shielded from criticism and I doubt she wants to be. It’s a little condescending to jump to her defence, actually. She’s shown us to be quite capable of handling herself.

              Totally agree. A failure of low expectations, like people expecting workers to be racist or sexist.

              • Billy

                Quite hard to be an active racist when all your colleagues on the shop floor are from different cultural backgrounds. Still, some manage, from what I recall from my forklift driving days.

                more generally, people had less time for dissembling, and we’re generally more tolerant of the odd racially-based insult, typically recognizing it for what it was, which was, typically, an expression of anger or frustration and not any deeply felt racism of any sort. Still, we are better without casual racism. Elevating it to a capital crime is daft though.

        • Psycho Milt

          …bourgeois lefties like Michelle Duff claiming to be part of a class, which includes the Prime Minister, that is being oppressed…

          Er, yes – the sex class "women." Are you rejecting their claim to be women?

          …by the symbolic protest of a bricklayer.

          Or, possibly by the symbolic protest of a small business owner, with the term "bricklayer" being used as camouflage to make him sound working class. EDIT: as Sacha points out, he owns/owned a bricklaying business.

          • Billy

            Okay. So a small business owner is oppressing the Prime Minister…

            And I accept that Duff and Ardern are women wholeheartedly.

    • Imagine if the CCP was grooming political activists in the same way…

      I'm trying to do that. There used to be cooperative exchange between overseas communist parties and local ones, the same as the cooperative exchanges between overseas social democrat parties and NZ Labour, so maybe there still are. However, you seem to be claiming that cooperative exchanges between NZ Labour and one particular overseas social democrat party is the same as the CCP's United Front activities and channeling of donations through local ex-pats. That claim has a pretty steep burden-of-proof hill to climb.

    • Incognito 12.4

      See my Moderation note @ 7:38 AM.

    • Billy 12.5

      She’s a very influential person. She shouldn’t be immune from criticism. She’s been quite influential on Labour and this is a political blog, often concerned with the future of the Labour Party. There’s some dissent about that, and there’s been some discussion about how dissenters feel there’s not room for them in the tent.

      I feel Anet and her colleagues influence on the Labour Party should be more limited. I see her as part of the problem with contemporary Labour the world over. Really, I am holding back.

      Should she be immune from mockery? Arguably not for the same reason. Should she be immune from mockery because she’s a woman?

      • Incognito 12.5.1

        Let me spell it out for you, and for anybody else who reads this, because you seem to have a problem with some very basic concepts.

        Mocking a woman for being a woman or for her appearance is demeaning and I’d call it misogynistic. When arguing about somebody’s professional work, the sex of that person is almost always completely irrelevant. At best, it is (like) attacking the messenger. At worst, it is being sexist. Either way, it is a pathetically weak attempt to gain the upper hand in a discussion.

        I find it telling that you appear to defend this behaviour of yours and pretend this is, in some way, valid criticism of Anat Shenker-Osorio’s work. Imagine she would use a neutral pseudonym; you would have nothing to attack her with or on. It makes you look weak and pathetic in my eyes.

        Regardless, my primary concern is (your) behaviour and language on this site and to make sure it is not excluding (putting off) other people, women in particular. Within this confinement, commenters are free to express their opinions inside ‘the tent’ and criticise whomever or whatever they like and as long as they read and follow the site’s policy:

        Her name is Anat.

      • Drowsy M. Kram 12.5.2

        You appear to be attempting to justify your mockery of Shenker-Osorio for her appearance. Is that a correct interpretation? You're obviously clever, but Yes or No, if you can.

        "Anat Shenker-Osorio’s advice is best not taken too seriously, in my opinion, but she could prove useful if you need to clean a big chimney."

        "As for the other important matter in relation to Anat, her hair… I'd like to take to it with a lawnmower."

        "Her hair is so big that, if a construction worker was to push her off a site, she'd bounce down the street."

        "You all need to stop listening to that American woman with the frightfully big hair."

        Recall (from recent times) a high-profile NZer with a history of ‘hair horseplaywink

        • Incognito

          If he is clever, he will use your invitation to repeat his misogynistic sophistry. If he is not clever, you have given enough rope to hang himself with.

          • Drowsy M. Kram

            No real need for my loaded question, and comment summary @12.5.2, but didn't notice 12.5.1 (which was all that was needed) until I'd replied, and was 'invested' in 12.5.2 by then.

            Too many comments from me today blush Happy New Year to all The Standard authors, commenters et al.

        • Billy

          I’ve taken things too far, haven’t I? There could be all sorts of reasons for that do: health reasons, even environmental ones. My apologies. She could be safe-harboring an entire species of rare parakeet in there.

          [Disappointingly, but somewhat predictably, you continue with your mockery of a woman’s hair. Today, you also made some “observations” about respect. However, it is obvious from your behaviour and language here that you do not respect moderation or Anat Shenker-Osorio for the way she looks. For instructional reasons you are banned for two weeks – Incognito]

          • Bill

            Happy New Year to all most bad hair peeps, an big hair peeps, an baldy headed peeps. And not forgetting poor endangered parakeets, that might be hair today and gone tomorrow.

          • Psycho Milt

            There could be all sorts of reasons for that do: health reasons, even environmental ones.

            Or it could be that you have a variation on short man syndrome in which premature baldness generates a dislike of people with big hair. You must have hated the B52s…

          • Incognito

            See my Moderation note @ 5:06 PM.

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  • PMs Luxon and Lee deepen Singapore-NZ ties
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon held a bilateral meeting today with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. While in Singapore as part of his visit to South East Asia this week, Prime Minister Luxon also met with Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and will meet with Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.  During today’s meeting, Prime Minister Luxon ...
    9 hours ago
  • Antarctica New Zealand Board appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has made further appointments to the Board of Antarctica New Zealand as part of a continued effort to ensure the Scott Base Redevelopment project is delivered in a cost-effective and efficient manner.  The Minister has appointed Neville Harris as a new member of the Board. Mr ...
    9 hours ago
  • Pet bonds a win/win for renters and landlords
    The coalition Government has today announced purrfect and pawsitive changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to give tenants with pets greater choice when looking for a rental property, says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “Pets are important members of many Kiwi families. It’s estimated that around 64 per cent of New ...
    12 hours ago
  • Long Tunnel for SH1 Wellington being considered
    State Highway 1 (SH1) through Wellington City is heavily congested at peak times and while planning continues on the duplicate Mt Victoria Tunnel and Basin Reserve project, the Government has also asked NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) to consider and provide advice on a Long Tunnel option, Transport Minister Simeon Brown ...
    18 hours ago
  • New Zealand condemns Iranian strikes
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Foreign Minister Winston Peters have condemned Iran’s shocking and illegal strikes against Israel.    “These attacks are a major challenge to peace and stability in a region already under enormous pressure," Mr Luxon says.    "We are deeply concerned that miscalculation on any side could ...
    1 day ago
  • Huge interest in Government’s infrastructure plans
    Hundreds of people in little over a week have turned out in Northland to hear Regional Development Minister Shane Jones speak about plans for boosting the regional economy through infrastructure. About 200 people from the infrastructure and associated sectors attended an event headlined by Mr Jones in Whangarei today. Last ...
    3 days ago
  • Health Minister thanks outgoing Health New Zealand Chair
    Health Minister Dr Shane Reti has today thanked outgoing Health New Zealand – Te Whatu Ora Chair Dame Karen Poutasi for her service on the Board.   “Dame Karen tendered her resignation as Chair and as a member of the Board today,” says Dr Reti.  “I have asked her to ...
    3 days ago
  • Roads of National Significance planning underway
    The NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has signalled their proposed delivery approach for the Government’s 15 Roads of National Significance (RoNS), with the release of the State Highway Investment Proposal (SHIP) today, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Boosting economic growth and productivity is a key part of the Government’s plan to ...
    4 days ago
  • Navigating an unstable global environment
    New Zealand is renewing its connections with a world facing urgent challenges by pursuing an active, energetic foreign policy, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “Our country faces the most unstable global environment in decades,” Mr Peters says at the conclusion of two weeks of engagements in Egypt, Europe and the United States.    “We cannot afford to sit back in splendid ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ welcomes Australian Governor-General
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced the Australian Governor-General, His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley and his wife Her Excellency Mrs Linda Hurley, will make a State visit to New Zealand from Tuesday 16 April to Thursday 18 April. The visit reciprocates the State visit of former Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy ...
    4 days ago
  • Pseudoephedrine back on shelves for Winter
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour has announced that Medsafe has approved 11 cold and flu medicines containing pseudoephedrine. Pharmaceutical suppliers have indicated they may be able to supply the first products in June. “This is much earlier than the original expectation of medicines being available by 2025. The Government recognised ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ and the US: an ever closer partnership
    New Zealand and the United States have recommitted to their strategic partnership in Washington DC today, pledging to work ever more closely together in support of shared values and interests, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “The strategic environment that New Zealand and the United States face is considerably more ...
    4 days ago
  • Joint US and NZ declaration
    April 11, 2024 Joint Declaration by United States Secretary of State the Honorable Antony J. Blinken and New Zealand Minister of Foreign Affairs the Right Honourable Winston Peters We met today in Washington, D.C. to recommit to the historic partnership between our two countries and the principles that underpin it—rule ...
    4 days ago
  • NZ and US to undertake further practical Pacific cooperation
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced further New Zealand cooperation with the United States in the Pacific Islands region through $16.4 million in funding for initiatives in digital connectivity and oceans and fisheries research.   “New Zealand can achieve more in the Pacific if we work together more urgently and ...
    4 days ago
  • Government redress for Te Korowai o Wainuiārua
    The Government is continuing the bipartisan effort to restore its relationship with iwi as the Te Korowai o Wainuiārua Claims Settlement Bill passed its first reading in Parliament today, says Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith. “Historical grievances of Te Korowai o Wainuiārua relate to 19th century warfare, land purchased or taken ...
    4 days ago
  • Focus on outstanding minerals permit applications
    New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals is working to resolve almost 150 outstanding minerals permit applications by the end of the financial year, enabling valuable mining activity and signalling to the sector that New Zealand is open for business, Resources Minister Shane Jones says.  “While there are no set timeframes for ...
    4 days ago
  • Applications open for NZ-Ireland Research Call
    The New Zealand and Irish governments have today announced that applications for the 2024 New Zealand-Ireland Joint Research Call on Agriculture and Climate Change are now open. This is the third research call in the three-year Joint Research Initiative pilot launched in 2022 by the Ministry for Primary Industries and Ireland’s ...
    5 days ago
  • Tenancy rules changes to improve rental market
    The coalition Government has today announced changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to encourage landlords back to the rental property market, says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “The previous Government waged a war on landlords. Many landlords told us this caused them to exit the rental market altogether. It caused worse ...
    5 days ago
  • Boosting NZ’s trade and agricultural relationship with China
    Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay will visit China next week, to strengthen relationships, support Kiwi exporters and promote New Zealand businesses on the world stage. “China is one of New Zealand’s most significant trade and economic relationships and remains an important destination for New Zealand’s products, accounting for nearly 22 per cent of our good and ...
    5 days ago
  • Freshwater farm plan systems to be improved
    The coalition Government intends to improve freshwater farm plans so that they are more cost-effective and practical for farmers, Associate Environment Minister Andrew Hoggard and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay have announced. “A fit-for-purpose freshwater farm plan system will enable farmers and growers to find the right solutions for their farm ...
    6 days ago
  • New Fast Track Projects advisory group named
    The coalition Government has today announced the expert advisory group who will provide independent recommendations to Ministers on projects to be included in the Fast Track Approvals Bill, say RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Regional Development Minister Shane Jones. “Our Fast Track Approval process will make it easier and ...
    6 days ago
  • Pacific and Gaza focus of UN talks
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters says his official talks with the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in New York today focused on a shared commitment to partnering with the Pacific Islands region and a common concern about the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.    “Small states in the Pacific rely on collective ...
    6 days ago
  • Government honours Taranaki Maunga deal
    The Government is honouring commitments made to Taranaki iwi with the Te Pire Whakatupua mō Te Kāhui Tupua/Taranaki Maunga Collective Redress Bill passing its first reading Parliament today, Treaty Negotiations Minister Paul Goldsmith says. “This Bill addresses the commitment the Crown made to the eight iwi of Taranaki to negotiate ...
    6 days ago
  • Enhanced partnership to reduce agricultural emissions
    The Government and four further companies are together committing an additional $18 million towards AgriZeroNZ to boost New Zealand’s efforts to reduce agricultural emissions. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says the strength of the New Zealand economy relies on us getting effective and affordable emission reduction solutions for New Zealand. “The ...
    6 days ago
  • 110km/h limit proposed for Kāpiti Expressway
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) will begin consultation this month on raising speed limits for the Kāpiti Expressway to 110km/h. “Boosting economic growth and productivity is a key part of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and this proposal supports that outcome ...
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand Biosecurity Awards – Winners announced
    Two New Zealanders who’ve used their unique skills to help fight the exotic caulerpa seaweed are this year’s Biosecurity Awards Supreme Winners, says Biosecurity Minister Andrew Hoggard. “Strong biosecurity is vital and underpins the whole New Zealand economy and our native flora and fauna. These awards celebrate all those in ...
    7 days ago
  • Attendance action plan to lift student attendance rates
    The Government is taking action to address the truancy crisis and raise attendance by delivering the attendance action plan, Associate Education Minister David Seymour announced today.   New Zealand attendance rates are low by national and international standards. Regular attendance, defined as being in school over 90 per cent of the ...
    7 days ago
  • World must act to halt Gaza catastrophe – Peters
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has told the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York today that an immediate ceasefire is needed in Gaza to halt the ongoing humanitarian catastrophe.    “Palestinian civilians continue to bear the brunt of Israel’s military actions,” Mr Peters said in his speech to a ...
    7 days ago
  • Speech to United Nations General Assembly: 66th plenary meeting, 78th session
    Mr President,   The situation in Gaza is an utter catastrophe.   New Zealand condemns Hamas for its heinous terrorist attacks on 7 October and since, including its barbaric violations of women and children. All of us here must demand that Hamas release all remaining hostages immediately.   At the ...
    7 days ago
  • Government woolshed roadshow kicks off
    Today the Government Agriculture Ministers started their national woolshed roadshow, kicking off in the Wairarapa. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay said it has been a tough time for farmers over the past few years. The sector has faced high domestic inflation rates, high interest rates, adverse weather events, and increasing farm ...
    1 week ago
  • PM heads to Singapore, Thailand, and Philippines
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon will travel to Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines this week (April 14-20), along with a senior business delegation, signalling the Government’s commitment to deepen New Zealand’s international engagement, especially our relationships in South East Asia. “South East Asia is a region that is more crucial than ever to ...
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister launches Government Targets
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has announced further steps to get New Zealand back on track, launching nine ambitious Government Targets to help improve the lives of New Zealanders. “Our Government has a plan that is focused on three key promises we made to New Zealanders – to rebuild the economy, ...
    1 week ago
  • Natural hydrogen resource should be free of Treaty claims entanglement
    Natural hydrogen could be a game-changing new source of energy for New Zealand but it is essential it is treated as a critical development that benefits all New Zealanders, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones is seeking to give regulatory certainty for those keen to develop natural, or geological, ...
    1 week ago
  • Government responds to unsustainable net migration
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand on stage at global Space Symposium
    Space Minister Judith Collins will speak at the Space Symposium in the United States next week, promoting New Zealand’s rapidly growing place in the sector as we work to rebuild the economy. “As one of the largest global space events, attended by more than 10,000 business and government representatives from ...
    1 week ago
  • $4.9m project completed with marae reopening
    A significant marae has reopened in the heart of Rotorua marking the end of renovations for the Ruatāhuna Marae Renovation Cluster, a project that provided much-needed jobs and regional economic stimulus, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones was at the official reopening of Mātaatua ki Rotorua Marae today. ...
    1 week ago
  • Pure Tūroa Limited to operate Tūroa ski field
    Ko Tahuarangi te waka – Tahuarangi is the ancestral vessel Ko Rangitukutuku te aho – Rangitukutuku is the fishing line Ko Pikimairawea te matau – Pikimairawea is the hook Ko Hāhā te Whenua te ika kei rō-wai – Hāhā te whenua is the fish (of Māui) whilst under the ocean ...
    1 week ago
  • Methane targets to be independently reviewed
    Rebuilding New Zealand’s economy will rely on the valuable agricultural sector working sustainably towards our climate change goals.  Today, the Climate Change and Agriculture Ministers announced that an independent panel of experts will review agricultural biogenic methane science and targets for consistency with no additional warming. Agriculture Minister Todd McClay ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ and Nordics: likeminded partners
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has highlighted the strong ties that bind New Zealand and the Nordic countries of Northern Europe during a trip to Sweden today.    “There are few countries in the world more likeminded with New Zealand than our friends in Northern Europe,” Mr Peters says.    “We ...
    1 week ago
  • First New Zealand C-130J Hercules takes flight
    The first New Zealand C-130J Hercules to come off the production line in the United States has successfully completed its first test flights, Defence Minister Judith Collins announced today. “These successful flights are a significant milestone for the New Zealand Defence Force, bringing this once-in-a-generation renewal of a critical airlift ...
    2 weeks ago

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