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The power & the pressure

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, October 14th, 2014 - 115 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, greens, labour, mana, poverty, sustainability, Unions - Tags:

NZ and the world needs a new green left direction, now and for the future.  And this new direction needs to embrace some original core, left wing values, principles and processes, while being adapted to 21st century realities. Politically in New Zealand/Aotearoa this could mean a future Labour-Green coalition government.  Such a government could also include a re-invigorated Mana Party.


The NZ Labour Party arose out of wider and highly energised labour and union movements.

The NZ Green Party arose out of the Values Party. Current Green Party values, principles, processes and policies can clearly be seen in the original 1972 manifesto of the NZ Values Party.

Values Party

Values Party leader Tony Kunowski (right) and deputy leader Margaret Crozier, party secretary Terry McDavitt, 1978. [From Te Ara]

The NZ Labour and the Green Parties have the necessary core values that could lead to adopting the new direction many on the left have been looking for.  However, there are various powerful and reactionary social, electoral, cultural, and mainstream media pressures: ones which could interfere with the ability to put relevant and necessary green-left policies into practice. These two parties, and Mana have overlapping, but slightly different core constituencies and organisational bases.

Alex Mitcalfe Wilson has an excellent article on the Pantograph, in which he examines the original manifesto of the NZ Values Party: “New Horizons, Other Futures: Looking back on the blueprint for New Zealand“.

This manifesto is undeniably left wing, even though it takes a different starting point from the original NZ Labour Party.

The Values Party had as its main platform a total change in approach to politics, in which the starting point is the whole of society, which includes, but is not centrally focused on, industrial relations. Wilson spells it out:

Looking back from 2014, the Values Party’s original platform is still a challenging assessment of our social realities, all the more startling when considered in its context. It’s an unprecedented amalgamation of social justice, conservation, peace and human rights ideals, a document which outlined a path that prefigured future progressive groups of all strains.

The manifesto signaled a broad and deep culture shift within society:

Rather than trading off the resources and safety of the future to meet the material desires of the present, the Values Party asked New Zealanders to identify a mode of life that can be sustained indefinitely and to pass up the temptation of individual luxury in doing so.

It advocated for a different role and motivation for business:

Instead of inventing new goods that increase profit, the manifesto asks business people to create products and services which help their local communities and place minimal strain on the environment.

While the Values Party have had a long reaching influence on NZ politics, many of the damaging, unjust, and unequal conditions they wanted to get rid of, still remain. Wilson explains:

Economically, New Zealand is a highly unequal society, where the gap between rich and poor has widened faster than in any other wealthy economy over the last two decades. It is a place where many people live in substandard homes, struggle to access medical services, and are unable to feed their children. Racism, sexism and homophobia also remain visible on our streets and in our political debates.

As with the original Values Party, the current NZ Green Party have as their goal, a livable and sustainable society for all: their policies are designed to be interlocking parts of their whole approach.  Consequently, it includes among other things, policies for fair employment laws, an increase in state housing, and a decrease in income and wealth inequalities.

The Mana Party had begun to add some grunt to organising those on the lowest incomes at a flax roots level. They focused on practical actions like feeding the kids, and stopping sales of state housing, while Sue Bradford worked with Auckland Action Against Poverty in supporting and advocating for beneficiaries. If Mana manages to survive the lack of seats in the House this term, they could contribute to the broad movement needed to forge a new direction for a green-left movement.

The original broad-based and highly active labour movement delivered the political power required to counter the damaging, profit-led approach of organised capitalists of their time. It harnessed the organised power of working people.  This delivered the power and pressure to provide living wages, in working conditions that were unsafe, and life-damaging.  It also delivered extensive social security provisions, available for all.

Today, in negotiating with these powerful forces, there is the risk of compromising in ways that undercut each party’s core values.  Working together could help to counter this risk, enabling them to weave a cohesive coalition, fit for government, and supported by a broad and diverse swathe of the population.

A coordinated combination of truly left wing parties could be political dynamite, and set us in the much needed new direction.  With the active, well organised and motivated support of their party members, they could engage large numbers in the wider electorate. This could result in shifting politics and society in a new sustainable, democratic, inclusive and more egalitarian direction, actively supported by diverse people and organisations across society.

115 comments on “The power & the pressure”

  1. “there are various powerful and reactionary social, electoral, cultural, and mainstream media pressures: ones which could interfere with the ability to put relevant and necessary green-left policies into practice”

    You mean, there are some people – probably the majority – who disagree with you. And you think their involvement in politics in NZ is “interference” rather than democratic participation.

    • adam 1.1

      You back on the sauce Bro – that was a punch drunk cynical response.

      • karol 1.1.1

        Ad hominems really don’t help with making your point.

        • adam

          I sorry Karol, but I’ve worked with drunks and Mr Hooton argues like one. See below the lie of left wing bias in the media – no facts, no check into reality, just a bare faced lie. Then twisting and turning in a desperate attempt to be right. It is not a good idea to encourage this behaviour.

          The only way to help people with a drinking problem is to be honest and brutal with them.

    • karol 1.2

      No, I’m talking about undue influence of right wingers on the media, which interferes with democratic processes.

      • Well I believe the MSM has a left bias. But even setting that argument aside, you say that “social, electoral, cultural … pressures” also “interfere” in what you see as democratic process. You sound very much like someone defining democracy as that which delivers the outcome you prefer – with any outcome being one you don’t like being the result of “undue influence” by shadowy forces.

        • Chris

          Yeah, a real left bias, all right. Like RNZ and national tv continuing to have you sit there on the moral high ground to provide commentary on the very same filth you yourself are up to your neck in as if you had and continue to have absolutely nothing at all to do with. You are incredible.

        • Tracey

          you are someone who gets paid, and volunteers, to manipulate the electorate, at times to deliberately mislead them, so you and your political mates can claim a democratically won victory when in fact the outcome is a result of deliberate strategised and well funded con to get the outcome your paymasters and ideological masters prefer.

          • marty mars

            Tracey that is a masterful paragraph that sums it up very well indeed – thanks.

          • Chooky Shark Smile

            +100 Tracy….well said!

          • Chris

            Hooton’s like a little child with chocolate all over his face shouting “wasn’t me, it was him”, then runs away. He really is a pathetic man.

          • Matthew Hooton

            That’s not true at all.

            • blue leopard

              lolz, yes it is.

              I am guessing you would also be ‘quite comfortable’ stating that you rarely lie and/or deceive, Mr Hooton.

            • Tracey

              you see the problem though matthew…

              you supplied a street name of someone who had exposed exactly what i wrote above about you e ( in hollowmen) to someone suggesting they wanted to harm said person

              you said on rnz before the election that dotcom was “paying” people to vote… it would have stood except ryan corrected you to the truth which was that he was paying for buses to the booths in certain electorates

              there are loads of others matthew…

              and you say you are not involved in deliberate manipulation of the electorate but because you lie as often as you speak the truth, you saying something is not true could just as easily mean it is true.

              • Chris

                It’s sickening the way hooton says stuff then when corrected never responds, Crosby-Textor rulebook style. He disgusts me.

                • She hasn’t said nor “corrected” anything. There is nothing to respond to.

                  • blue leopard

                    Bit pointless anyway, I am sure you, along with most people, have read “The Boy Who Cried ‘Wolf'” and understood the message in it.

                  • Chris

                    She pointed out how your denial was wrong.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Death threat trader in whinging maggot denial, read all about it.

                    Choke on it, Matthew, you aren’t just wasting your talents, you’re betraying them. Intelligent Quislings are the worst of all. Have your experiences with Princess Pinko, Greasy and Smile-and-Wave taught you anything other than self-loathing?

                • Tracey

                  he is right in that he hasnt denied the two examples I used… he could have said “that is not true” but that would be lying, so he responded with nothing, as is his right.

                  that he sees no correlation between my two examples and my statement at doesnt mean there is not.

            • left for deadshark

              But Matthew,Have a look in the mirror,you haven’t wiped it off,just smeared it all over.Please take Adams advice,,seek help,think of it as helping yourself,not us.We need better wing-nuts,your soiled man.

              • Tracey

                the thing is if you tell yourself often enough

                its marketing
                everyone does it
                its a white lie
                no one expects you to be straight
                its politics
                its spin
                i mispoke
                it could be true if you torture the words

                you start believing it. that whole thing about once you can successfully fake sincerity you have won…

            • Chris

              Of course it isn’t. Now run along, Matthew, run along.

        • karol

          “Neoliberal” capture, sicnce the 1980s, has been multi-pronged, infiltrating all major social and political spheres.

          David Harvey explained it in “A Brief History of Neoliberalism

          • aerobubble

            Indeed true. But I think the general problem with the thread is the negative attitude. Sure, the media is plagued by rich pricks who got a huge bonus when Key gave them a tax cut. However, its the narrative that everyone is against us, woe is us, that is such a great turn off.

            Take specifics, the recent walk out of bank staff over short working, where some neo-liberal manager thought it would be great advert for their company to incentivize employees to work till they drop or else lose wages, which would make them go in with a fever. aka at worst Ebola,
            So what makes companies push for every cent saved, despite there being high technology that can re-purpose staff during down times to do other work.
            But do we hear that from Labour, how bad harsh employee changes is bad for business, no. No one peep out of Labout about how poor mine oversight…

            So get back to us when you can find positive ways of moving Labour forward, and stop exposing your rear for Matthew Hooten to spin off.

            As a Green voter I would love you to have Cunliffe fall on his sword, leave parliament, cause a bi-election and just fight for one second for actual integrity, doing the right thing, by seen doing the right thing. Cunliffe could have remain leader had he raised the party vote from last election, he failed to, he should leave in disgrace.

            • Colonial Viper

              Why should Cunliffe leave in disgrace when he is the only front bench MP who has taken personal responsibility for the party’s failure on election night?

              And all the other front bench MPs are humorously pretending that they were no where near the bridge of the Titanic all this time – like Grant Robertson, like deputy David Parker.

              So quite opposite to what you have suggested – Cunliffe is the only one so far who has showed true integrity, and shown everyone else what it means to take responsibility like a man and like a leader.

              • aerobubble

                Cunliffe lost the election.
                Cunliffe lost heavier than in 2010.
                Cunliffe strategy of going left has seen the centre right take over, NZF is a center right party. Lab+Greens=? mid 30s.
                Cunliffe failed to grasp that its about connecting to voters, its not about explaining – that’s losing, its about connecting so people know what you mean, what it means for them.
                Cunliffe failed because the get out the vote failed.
                Cunliffe failed because even in defeat he did not resign from parliament, politics is about doing the unexpected. Take Churchill, jump party, jumped right over to the other side.
                Cunliffe should have stayed if he had raised the number of MPs.
                He failed, Labour needs to start demanding failure means a swift exit. Goff, Shearer and now Cunliffe, all should just leave, there’s more to Labour than personalities.

                • karol

                  Now your comments are all pretty negative.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    And all about one guy: Cunliffe.

                    Where is the detail about Grant Robertson shouldering responsibility, as a front bench MP?

                    Where is the detail about David Parker, shouldering responsibility, as Deputy?

                    It doesn’t exist, does it. These Officers are humorously pretending that they were no where near the bridge of the Titanic. Someone elses fault, not theirs, no sirreee.

            • karol

              My post isn’t particularly negative. It’s about a positive new direction that works for all society.

              And my post isn’t just about Labour.

              Hooton focused on one critical aspect of my post. But it is necessary to identify the pressures that will hinder the left moving to a new direction.

              • Ecosse_Maidy

                The Power & The Pressure???
                Whos Power, Whos Pressure?
                I have read your article with great interest and take on board some of the salient points.
                Yet what your advocating this “Political Dynamite” of a pact/alliance/tactical voting of Labour/Greens/Mana in order to further the aims of the broad left is admirable yet guess what?
                We have tried this over the past few elections and more & lets have a wee guess at the result, yep, abject failure & opposition for 3 more years.
                I happen to believe the opposite of what your offering.
                Perhaps it would be in True Labours interest as they start afresh (again) to state it is their intention to aim for a majority, and form a majority administration at the next General Election.
                Over 600,000 of our citizens whom were registered to vote, did not at the last election, why? We can only theorise here, yet my dollar is on, Labours policies aped & mimiced Nationals and were shit. Also many potential voters and those that did vote, cant differentiate between Green, Green/Labour, Labour with tinges of Green, Labour with Green fringes of Bloody Purple or of some such nonsense. I tend to think we take the electorate for granted, when we talk of “Labour/Green/Mana” broad alliance, tactical voting, its like we have decided what we are going to do before we attain power.
                So what are we going to do?..how about this Karol.. rather than the same old, same old & perpetual oppostion.
                True Labour states, it will form no loose alliance, with The Greens either formal or informally before any election & that goes for other minor parties too. Labour opens a Green wing of True Labour for those of The Green Hue that may wish to join..and says to The Greens, time to fly solo, all the best, no hard feelings.
                This way. The electorate can be in “No Doubt” whom they are voting for and no doubt that no deals have been done prior to an election and taking their Votes for granted & will not hand free ammunition to The Neo Facsist Nationals.
                True Labour needs to reflect not project its ideals and polices to the electorate. It needs to reach out and engage with the dis enfranchised, those that think our democratic system is broken and sometimes only serves those with more and prefer to not Vote, even though they know it means another 3 year kicking from National. If True Labour can reflect in policies these people fears, hopes, dreams in say core values of Affordable Social Housing, High Educational standards for all and not the few, Employment & a living wage…plus Social Justice for all. Hopefully come the next election, these people will feel engaged, connected enough, that it is worth Voting True Labour, as they are Voting for themselves, their families, their fellow Kiwis.
                This may not be what you want to hear as a Green Voter Karol.
                Yet what you are proposing in your article is just a rehash of the past. If we, and more particular True Labour follow that policy, they will be rightly destined for retirement in the margins of New Zealand political history. I don’t want that for my country and I hope you don’t too.

                • karol

                  We have tried this over the past few elections and more & lets have a wee guess at the result, yep, abject failure & opposition for 3 more years.

                  Sorry, this has not been tried at all. Labour rejected working in alliance with the Greens and dissed IMP. The Greens also dissed the IP.

                  Labour tried the same old soft neoliberal approach as they have since the end of the 20th century.

                  • Ecosse_Maidy

                    We have tried this over the past few elections and more & lets have a wee guess at the result, yep, abject failure & opposition for 3 more years.
                    Sorry, this has not been tried at all. Labour rejected working in alliance with the Greens and dissed IMP. The Greens also dissed the IP.
                    Labour tried the same old soft neoliberal approach as they have since the end of the 20th century.

                    Implicity or otherwise in the aftermath of the last debacle of an election, a reasonable amount of people thought Red was Green or Green was Red, so much so their votes went in that direction accordingly.
                    Although True Labour ruled out a direct pact, alliance, deal, coalition, marriage of convenience prior to the election with The Greens, this was subject too, as you know much debate within the political sphere/caucus as too, if it was true, would Labour go it alone, that even some voters got mixed up in the confusion.
                    So True Labours position should have been made clearer. So next time round, no deals, no alliance, no tactical voting, needs to be reinforced with the potential electorate, so there is absolutely no confusion at all.
                    True Labour should issue an aim to govern alone in 2017 and or be the largest Party. ie: No Confusion to either electorate and therefore, No free ammunition to The Nat Fascists.
                    True Labour needs to reach out to its core and the dis enfranchised, to connect & engage with them, and to reflect not project its ideals on them.
                    True Labour needs to issue a core concept of say four pillars of policy ie:
                    Affordable Social Housing, Decent Education for the many and not the few, Employment policies which promote jobs and encompass the living wage & Social Justice for All.
                    If True Labour Can Do This, to truly reach out to those & The Missing 600,000, who Fear for a roof over their head. Fear, for not being able to put food on the table. Fear, for their employment or the nightmare of unemployment. Fear that the society they live in does not represent them at all. Fear for their childrens education. If we can confront those Fears and bring into actions real policies that reflect these concerns of our fellow citizens, they will vote for it, simple as.
                    Their lives are a million miles away from navel gazing as too whether to cut CGT/GST, Polling Info, MSM, …A Latte Tax Or trying to understand what the Twitterati are warbling on about…They simple do not have the time or the means.
                    These people, our fellow citizens deserve better from those that have the time and resources, ie us, than to delve into the past glories about pacts/agreements/alliances…those days are past and that’s where they should stay..
                    Days where a Green tail, controlled The Red Administration and dictated terms, no more.
                    True Labour needs to stand on its own proud two feet and represent, protect, serve those that have either been dislocated from the democratic process or have yet to be convinced that True Labour Reflects Them!

                    • karol

                      You still seem to be living in a FPtP world.

                      Alliances are strengths not weaknesses, especially in today’s highly networked world, and in an MMP context.

                      The biggest problem the left faces is the two track attack politics. That derailed any positive messages of left parties. And it did as Lusk intended: puts of a lot of potential left wing voters from voting.

                      The left needs to be less fragmented and to have more solidarity to counter such right wing poltics of deception.

                      Labour, The Greens and MANA, while overlapping, do appeal to slightly different constituencies:

                      eg Labour should rebuild the strength of the unions, and support from working people.

                      The Greens also appeal to some of those people, but have major environmental campaigning groups that can provide support, plus those into local community organisations, etc;

                      Mana has a strong constituency among the politically disengaged, the un and under-employed, those struggling to survive with unaffordable housing, etc.

                      Working together would mean maximising the support and campaigning networks available.

                  • Ecosse_Maidy

                    Thank you Karol for telling me where I am living, politically in the world, “FPtP”
                    In the MMP context as you put it, its a Fact, that today, One Party has a majority per say and governs, Fact.
                    So even through the constraints of MMP, a working majority is a possibility, Fact.
                    The reasons for this are deep & complex. Labours inability to connect and bring to the fore public facing policies. The confusion of Red=Green, Green=Red, Green=Whomever, The Missing 600,000. Fascist Nationals ability whether we like it or not to get out their core vote and others. We can also blame the MSM, Polls, Big Business yet these are things we cant effect. So tis “proven” that even in the MMP context, One Party can attain a working majority and govern. Fact.
                    Labour at the moment are in danger of freefall to the position of a fringe party and imploding. I don’t wish this to occur as many don’t. I would wish True Labour to engage with the electorate, connect, bring to the fore policies that would convince the electorate to Vote True Labour. I believe in time if there is the will and the policies, this is achievable, perhaps not over a three year period yet of a couple of terms. (please see my previous posts on this topic)
                    I am sure if it were so, you would wish for a Green Party administration. Well even in your wildest, from “The Flax Roots Upwards” dreams, know that will never occur. The only way for say The Green Party or other smaller parties to wield influence & too put into place Green Policy, is in an alliance, coalition, pact, accommodation with another or other parties, whether that be under FFtP, MMP, AV or any Electoral System. Fact.
                    The alliances you seek for the power & pressure of your article are on the face of it admirable. True Labour has to aspire to more.True Labour can’t afford to confuse the electorate with talk of alliances even before any vote. Its takes the electorate for granted & there are other issues that take priority in True Labours re building. You talk of the possibilities of an Alliance. Yet is this scenario beyond the bounds of comprehension, A True Labour/Green/Mana form an administration. Let’s say the Greens/Mana/Whomever don’t get their pet polices adopted in full or enough Cabinet representation they feel they deserve and threaten to leave and and bring down A Govt and throw out their Flax toys.
                    No Alliances means No Hostages To Fortune and also not taking for granted, confusing and even betraying the electorate.
                    So part of your drive for Alliances can be viewed as well meaning and encompassing all yet on the flip side its a political calculation from a party like the Green Party to try and gain influence. It’s the only way A Party Like The Greens/Mana/Another Smaller Party, can punch above their weight.
                    I believe that True Labour has a bigger reach than the fringe parties it’s currently on a par with. Those parties including The Greens have reached their zenith and the only way for them to achieve more or tread water, is on the back of another party. I put it to you, that this is part of your cognitive thought, in advocating alliances as it’s the only way the Green/Mana and with a cold harsh mathematical calculation, that The Greens & other parties can achieve a certain amount of what they wish & the best time to suggest and advocate this is whilst True Labour is in flux & distress!
                    So No Alliances, No Hostages To Fortune, No Taking The Electorate For Granted.
                    Build A True Reflective Labour, end of, rather simple, really.
                    We agree to differ, so only time shall tell.

                • miravox

                  Good points, I think escosse maidy.

                  A couple of articles in The Guardian relating to the UKIP/Labour conundrum make good attempts to deconstruct the fallacy of producing a vision that will appeal to some stereotypical ‘core’ Labour voter who doesn’t have time for identity politics.

                  The first article addresses the similarities between the major parties

                  …the “political cartel” while peddling policies the entire political elite agree on, quibbling only on scale and detail: tax cuts for the rich, privatisation, slash-and-burn austerity, curtailing workers’ rights. They are the lone critics of immigration – leaving aside, of course, the Sun, the Daily Mail, the Telegraph, the Times, the Tories and, oh, the Labour leadership too.

                  …it has been abundantly clear what the political elite has been becoming for quite some time. Technocratic, rootless, soulless; a professionalised morass of time-servers who see ministerial posts as springboards to nice little earners on corporate boards; manoeuvring constantly not on the basis of political principle but for shameless self-advancement.

                  …for a generation, politicians have surrendered democratic power to the market. In postwar Britain, the promise was that citizens would be provided with a secure job, an affordable home and publicly owned services and utilities to support them. What is left for politicians to promise but the odd tinker here and there, as well as cuts and yet more surrendering of power?

                  The answer is not finding the votes of the ‘white bloke’ by selling out other socio-economic demographics to produce a Labour party of the likes of UKIP. It’s about finding common ground and yes, ”True Labour needs to reflect not project its ideals and polices to the electorate. .

                  the second article suggests Labour needs to

                  …rebuild membership of local parties and be present in voters’ lives. … campaigning on local issues and sorting out local problems.


                  … [It’s a] mistake is to see working-class voters as a single mass that can be shoved about the political landscape like battalions on a map table (the lump of Labour fallacy, as it were). The working class is fragmenting. According to the BBC’s recent study of the class system, only 39% of voters conform to the old class divisions of upper, middle and working class. Others fall into new groups like new affluent workers, technical middle class and emergent service workers.

                  … These “new working class” voters are the future. As Ipsos Mori has shown, Generation Y is more liberal for its age than any previous generation. It is more relaxed about identity politics, more likely to have grown up among immigrants or their children, more likely to have travelled abroad, more urban and better educated

                  The approach to the concerns of the white bloke appear so crudely theorised by the likes of Shearer and Cosgrove I don’t know why Shearer’s next press conference is not with a Pirelli calendar backdrop, a beer in hand and a lightening of the mood with a ‘3 men walked into a pub’ joke.

                  • karol

                    Agree it’s about engaging with multiple types of constituents, and not falling back on some 20th century stereotypes.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      And what organisations/leaders on the left has the skills to do this kind of engagement?

                      Most of our Labour MPs appear to have focussed their skill development on Wellington Palace Politics.

        • DoublePlus Good

          You’re so far right though that the ACT party must seem like they’re full of communists.

          • Tracey

            lets not forget another ACT person is now before the courts for fraud on the revenue. alex swny ran for ACT in Tamaki, and for mayor against banks.

            now he stands charged with not paying tax for a decade totalling 1.8m. garret, awarere-huata, banks… swny… and these are just the ones who got caught. THATs the future hoots supports when he supports ACT

          • aerobubble

            But ACT are. Communists got beat bad, so they decide why not get rich and cause capitalism to fall over like Karl Marx said. 2008 caused right wing media, politicians and wealthy to break the terms of revolutionary conservatism and bail out the market. If you wanted to destroy and undermine society, ACT would be the place to be, their narrative, their eating away at the stabilizing forces with society, attacks on courts, government, etc all suggest a desperate fifth column. Its should surprise nobody that Murdoch was originally a communist.

            • karol

              The idea of a “free market” and “small government” was only the front for the revolutionary conservatism, as David Harvey shows. In practice, all along the way the “neoliberal” proponents did whatever was necessary to maintain the power of the elites, while shifting wealth and power in their direction.

        • Paul

          What a load of bull.
          The media …left wing?
          You been drinking or on some other stuff?

    • Olwyn 1.3

      You need also to remember that even with the media howling for Cunliffe’s head and turning KDC into a Bond villain, 45% of those who voted did vote for change. It was not enough to get them over the line, but it is still a significant portion of the population.

      • karol 1.3.1

        And left parties don’t help if they collude with such attacks. The attacks work to divide and rule in the interests of the right wing parties, and to turn off many potential left wing voters.

        The left will be stronger in the parties work to support each other.

        • Olwyn

          +1 Wholeheartedly agree.

        • Kenat

          Someone better tell Bomber. It doesn’t appear people like him are willing to learn the lessons from the disasterous IMP campaign.

          • Colonial Viper

            What would you know about the “lessons” to be learnt from the IMP campaign?

            I can think of one main one: spend more time and money in Te Tai Tokerau, in anticipation of the other parties ganging up you on E-day.

            • Kenat

              What I know is what anyone should have been able to see, that Mana hooking up with one of the most unpopular people in NZ was going to have a very predictable outcome. Many did say this and advised against and they were wrong only in that they didn’t go far enough in predicting the disaster that occurred on election night. Even Dotcom could see in the end that he had the opposite impact to what he wanted and if Mana has a hope of coming back (and if the left has a hope of ever being elected), they need to admit it too.

              It’s understandable to feel outraged by the unfairness of the media, other parties ganging up, etc, but if all you do is complain about that, you are pretty useless to a movement that has to learn how to operate within a specific political context like everyone else. Mana just had a lesson in realpolitik that it could have avoided but didn’t choose to. Now that it’s had its arse handed to it, Mana better at least learn the difficult lessons and make sure this never happens again.

              • adam

                But, don’t you see one of the knives in the back, actually a biggest knife in the back, was labour. So what mana and KDC did, was an odd show – but the real politic was labour got into bed with the right wing and stabbed the whole left in the back.

                It’s good to ask for left unity, and goodness knows were bloody good at factional fighting. Plus we really need some unity. But, whilst a large section of the left is infested with liberalism as an economic principle – there can be no unity.

                Because the social democrats are now the destructive ones, it use to be the anarchist and communist who were the splitters and fighters. But, liberalism has made many people who call themselves social democrats, vicious, mean spirited, egoists. And until social democrats can sort out their sick love affair with liberalism – unity is a dead on arrival.

                • Kenat

                  Labour would have done what it did with Mana no matter who was leader and no matter how left or right they positioned themselves, because Labour has to capture votes in the centre to become govt and Dotcom was poison, as he’s admited. Do you really think that even a left positioned Labour party would welcome someone setting up a circus and making it all harder to achieve? (And just because Labour would have lost even if IMP never existed is beside the point.) If the Greens new not to touch them with a barge pole, Labour sure as hell wasn’t going to. Again, this was predictable. The only surprise is that Cunliffe waited so long to disown them and that some on the left don’t understand why even now.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    At least the Right Wing are smarter than you. Way smarter, in fact. They know for instance that in an MMP environment you have to cultivate allied parties like the Conservatives and ACT, no matter how inexperienced or extremist they are.

                    You really are a fool.

                    • Kenat

                      People know National would completely dominate in govt, so there was no reason to worry about Craig or Seymour. When Labour are as stable and popular as National, then they may have enough political capital to spare some on sideshows. They have a long way to go. It is totally naive to compare them to National in almost any way.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      How can National “dominate” in Government when they have a minority of MPs. Afraid you are dreaming again. National courts extremist, inexperience and it will bite them in the arse.

                    • Kenat

                      “bite them in the arse”? You were just saying how smart they were and that Labour should cultivate their own extremists. National dominate govt because they have 60 MPs and all of Cabinet. Their lackies have one MP each and the Maori Party only two and they can turn to any of them for support. So the agenda is 99% theirs which their voters knew would be the case.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      I’m glad you understand the National Party strategy so well.

                      “bite them in the arse”? You were just saying how smart they were and that Labour should cultivate their own extremists.

                      You’re smart but shallow. National were smart in MMP campaigning. Its the governing with the right wing extremists which is going to bite them in the arse.

                    • Kenat

                      It’s not about National’s strategy, it’s just how politics works. People understand MMP means they need a few partners and their voters will excuse what they see as a few minor irritations knowing that their party is the one really calling all the shots.

                      National survived John Banks and now wholely owns ACT. The left has been saying Key is one step away from disaster for six years, while where he is really is closer to a historic 4th term than anyone for for generations. If we on the left don’t stop shooting ourselves in the foot, we’ll just help bring it about, as we did his 3rd term.

                      PS Why can’t you engage without personal attacks? We have enough problems without your ad hom.

            • karol

              For me the lesson of IMP was that, KDC should have buried his ego and desire for control. He would have been better to give his support to the existing Mana Party, and to take more of a back seat.

              Putting himself front and centre with the IP, made him a high profile target.

              The IMP approach, which essentially was gaming the system, opened the door to others to game it against Hone in TTT.

              Having said that, it also wasn’t helpful for other lefties, in or out of parliament, to spend their time bagging and undermining the IMP in the election period. It just played into the right wing divide and conquer strategy. it played into the Lusk agenda of turning potential left wing voters off via attack politics.

              • Kenat

                See above. No established party is going to welcome with open arms a predictably major disruptor just because we’re all happy lefties. If the left doesn’t care about being in govt, it can do what ever it wants. If it wants to take govt, it has to be credible and organised, and yes, appealing even to some of the centre. One thing that means is not starting up new parties in election year and particularly not with the money of a deeply unpopular person. If you can’t deal with this reality, don’t be in Parliamentary politics. Better to focus on activism. It’s a democracy, so political parties can only go as far as the public allows as we keep having demonstrated for us. Civil society activism is needed to make political space for change. If the space is created, parties will move into it. There’s a problem when people start to think that civil society action and Parliamentary party activity are the same thing. They are not.

                • karol

                  Pretty much agree with most of that, Kenat.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    Kenat still advocates dumb centre leaning MMP politics, though.

                    Did destroying IMP help Labour one bit in its own results? Did holding the Greens out at arms length help Labour one bit in its own results?

                    Obviously not. As I said above – the Right Wing are way smarter at MMP than the left.

                    • karol

                      I agreed (with Kenat @ 10.49pm) that it was folly to start up a new party so close to an election, and with it being so closely identified with KDC. And that there needs to be a ground swell of public opinions/support in order for a party to be able to move forward on many issues.

                      I also didn’t see any point in spending a lot of time dissing IMP during the election. A better approach was to focus on any of the positives from that alliance.

                      Don’t agree with much else said by Kenat above.

                      Mana had been doing well at building an identity and way of operating. I wish they’d held faith and stuck to it. I hope they get back to that. And Labour and the Greens need Mana, or a party like that, to keep them a a strong left direction. The Greens and Labour would be best to work with them.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Mana’s results would have got both Harawira and Harre into Parliament.

                      That would have been a massive game changing win.

                      Instead look at Seymour and co. prancing around. Still pretty bitter about all this.

                    • karol

                      I would have been happy with Hone in the House. He had more chance of that without IP. The gamble really wasn’t worth it.

                      And Harre would have been better to stand for an existing party.

                    • Kenat

                      Someone has to get you to 48% if you want to be in govt. Between elections, we need to try to shift the centre to the left. During elections, we need to deal with where ever the centre happens to be. If that’s too far right to make govt worthwhile, fine, just don’t pretend their votes don’t matter.

                      I don’t think Labour should have gone after Hone, but they had to rule IMP out of Cabinet. That the Nats saw Dotcom as a gift from Heaven should be all you need to know why. So put your bitterness to good use and deprive them of such gifts next time.

                      And of course they should have worked with the Greens, that was just stupid. The Greens are stable and credible (not to mention more than happy to work with Hone and Mana), just the opposite of IMP.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      You’re slowly shifting your positions and rationale to something a bit more sensible. But it’s still pretty Dumb MMP politics you were advocating.

                    • Kenat

                      I haven’t shifted anything. You just assume too much.

        • Chris

          This is the point where Hooton runs away…

        • aerobubble

          Yes. The left would be stronger if they were positive and have the conviction to defend themselves from negative attacks rather than implicitly agreeing with the sense. And voters read weak and voted accordingly. Whereas Key grabbed the center, Labour continues to fail to speak to the center right which according to the election is now the center. Peters is a center right politician, ahead of a center right party NZF. Less people voted for the ‘left’ than they did in 2010, that’s why Cunliffe needs to resign and leave parliament. That’s why Shearer should resign and leave parliament. And even Goff. Its getting like the Labour party is full of leaders.

    • Chooky Shark Smile 1.4

      @ Hooton…interesting!….first off the mark! ( watching the Left wing blogs surreptitiously eh!…even although your mates in the msm say they take no notice)

      …obviously a united Left is very threatening for you and your right wing agenda!…and not so easy to manipulate and pick off

  2. NeutObserver 2

    Preach that message and such “coalition” will be soon be on its route to oblivion. Go ahead, permanent opposition awaits you.

    • Chooky Shark Smile 2.1

      well you would say that wouldnt you?

    • Tracey 2.2

      a mere 2-3% swing of a few nat voters and cooperation from the left… and there will be a new govt. its not as big a mountain to climb as some are smugly claiming. bearing in mind that matthew et al are well funded and trained to lie to the electorate, it only takes a few to realise the con. to win back govt, the left dont need all right wing voters just a small number OR non voters.

  3. Te Reo Putake 3

    The hardest part of the equation is resurrecting mana. Without the money, resources and publicity being in Parliament brings, most parties whither and die. NZ First is the only one to buck the trend and they started from a much higher base of popularity than mana currently enjoy.

    My advice to mana would be to target the next round of council elections. Firstly, to keep the activist base energised and functioning. Secondly, because there is a chance of getting candidates, including Hone, up on council or community boards. Any public profile, no matter how modest, keeps the flame alive.

    They could adopt your line of reasoning and do that in loose coalition with the Greens. Run progressive slates or just support worthy individuals. The strategy in the last election of finding a partner to maximise the vote wasn’t flawed in itself. Mana simply chose the wrong partner.

    • You raise some very good points TRP.

      I wonder if the Mana Movement base of activists somewhat offset the lack of popular support – I certainly hope so!

  4. Chooky Shark Smile 4

    +100 Great Post karol….gives detail to what many on the Left have been saying!

    ..ie there needs to be a coordinated, cooperative Left federation of individual Left Parties if we are to win the next Election

    .(..united we stand …divided we fall)

    …and I think it should also be loose enough to be open to Winnie’s NZF…with many left policies eg stop State asset sales , stop outside speculation on NZ land and housing etc

    ….a priority concentration should also be put on the development of new media outlets …because the existing media…radio and newspapers and tv is infiltrated and captured by the right wing and is biased

  5. fambo 5

    The only answer for the Left IS to work together and I know the Greens want to work with Labour but a good part of the Labour leadership just don’t seem to understand that they will never be in power again without working with the Greens. I’d like to see Labour, Greens, Mana and other groups building strong relationships right now at a grass roots level.

    • Chooky Shark Smile 5.1

      +100 fambo ….and I think most of the ordinary Left voters would agree!

      …it is only once you get up the hierarchies to the professional and careerist politicians with their insular egos that this concept becomes a problem

      ….and we are all the losers

  6. SeanExile 6

    The only problem with that thought is that the NZ voters don’t want Labour/Manainternet/Greens. Left wing activists want that. We tried going left this election and the result was the worst election result since 1922.

    We cant continue down this path, we need to listen to the voters and return to the place where we were when our results were close to 40%. Not close to 20%.
    If Labour is to succeed we need to return to a party such as it was under Helen Clarks early years. We need to shun Internet/Mana like the plague. That party is completely unelectable and any whispers of cooperation with them will cost us thousands of votes.
    We need to prevent a vision that appeals to normal middle class kiwis and not just to activists. Its either that or face being a 15%-20% party. My Labour don’t aim for 20% nor do they think that when we made a disastrous election its time to turn further to the left and embrace what the voters strongly rejected.

    • karol 6.1

      Except, Labour at the last election didn’t go any further left than they were under Clark. And they shunned IMP.

    • Tracey 6.2

      what percentage of voters didnt vote national, act, or cp?

    • boldsirbrian 6.3

      @ SeanExile (6)

      I do not think that we really went through a Labour.Greens,Mana combined campaign at all. In what way do you think we tried that this election? The left was very fractured in promoting this concept.

      I am not so pessimistic as you are about some approaches being unelectable.

      A couple of points, just for food for thought:

      1. In 1972, and especially 1975, the Values Party formed with a very “socially aware” manifesto (refer original post). Looking back in hindsight, one may suspect that the votes that were received would have been skimmed off Labour. But in actual fact I remember analysis at the time saying that Values attracted votes from both Labour and National, with slightly greater percentage from National.

      2. The Party that supposedly is the “most left” of all parties (Actually according to the Vote Compass algorithm ….not sure how they determined it…… the Greens and Mana shared the left almost equally. Their main plank is alleviation of poverty ….and yet National (presumably as a result of polling) ….is now at least making noises about poverty issues. Such a “left” policy is not necessarily a route to oblivion. Even many on all shades of red and blue, can understand fairness. (Perhaps for some it has to be right before the eyes before it is seen!)

      Mr. Botany (B.)

    • Colonial Viper 6.4

      It seems to me that you have no idea of what the values of the Labour Party are, SeanExile. Nor why so many long time Labour Party voters have walked from the party over the last 10 years.

      It also seems to me that you have no idea of the MMP realities that Labour is struggling to cope with.

  7. philj 7

    Hooton, seriously, what are you smoking?!! “MSM has a left bias!” You’ve been too long on planet Key.
    Probably reflects your preoccupation researching what the opposition Is thinking. Pay well do they?

    • srylands 7.1

      ““MSM has a left bias!”

      I am astonished that you can claim that this is in doubt. It is ridiculous to claim otherwise. The way the media lapped up the KDC circus, recited the “Dirty Politics” (sic) mantra to the point that it almost derailed National’s election campaign. The list is endless.

      Just an example from today – lead story on nine-to-noon on RNZ. An interview with a left wing Australian lawyer compalining about Australia’s anti terror laws.

      The MSM is both left biased and just plain awful.

      • blue leopard 7.1.1

        The MSM coverage of politics throughout the year swung the election for the right and you know it.

      • Colonial Viper 7.1.2

        Hey Shitlands. You’re very funny.

      • TeWhareWhero 7.1.3

        And I am astonished at your astonishment Srylands. You are either so right wing that the presence of the few liberal voices in the media is sufficient for you to claim there’s a bias in favour of the left, or you are making absurd and inflammatory statements to wind people up.

        I do agree with you that on the whole the media is ‘plain awful’ – but it’s awfulness lies in the fact that it’s dumbed down, right-wing populist and controlled by commercial interests.

      • Chooky Shark Smile 7.1.4

        srylands is defending Hooton and radionz nine-to-noon which employs Hooton to be a political commentator.. ooops… right wing political spinner

        ….so srylands is now defending nine-to-noon….interesting!

      • Paul 7.1.5

        Please return to that left wing blog of Slater’s
        You are a joke,

      • Murray Rawshark 7.1.6

        When an idiot like you, SSLands, thinks that ACT is a moderate centre party, of course the MSM will appear to have a slight left wing bias. You’re funny and should stay around as an example of just how delusional Don Brash’s mates are.

  8. Tracey 8

    thanks karol

    revisiting values party was educational. as a kid my parents and friends were derisive of it.

  9. boldsirbrian 9

    @ karol (The Power and the Pressure)

    A coordinated combination of truly left wing parties could be political dynamite, and set us in the much needed new direction

    I agree. It’s what Labour was itself in FPP days. It’s what the Left has to be in the new environment of MMP. Even John Key recognises the importance of building sustainable coalitions on the right.

    I see the possibility of the Left Parties campaigning vigorously for the policies of their own parties, while presenting the prospect of a strong coalition with each other, regardless of the percentage won by each Party.

    The prize?
    (a) Government
    (b) A greater share of that Government depending on the distribution of votes within the coalition movement.

    It may even be permissible to join two or three like minded parties, even if it is only possible to vote for one at election time? Why not?

    Perhaps I am in the minority. I would like to see either a strong Labour led government, or a strong Greens led government, with either strongly influenced by all parties on the left.

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      The current Labour caucus is not interested in sharing power or Cabinet seats with other parties. Some can barely tolerate their own membership.

      • Chooky Shark Smile 9.1.1

        lol…oh dear…maybe Rhinocrates’ double face palm is in order


      • boldsirbrian 9.1.2

        @ Colonial Viper (9.1)

        Which is why unifying the factions is so important. Someone who can get everybody going forward without anybody losing face.

        So that policies can be worked out in cooperation within the party, which as difficult as it may sound from discussions here, will be much much easier than the task of cooperating honestly with coalition parties, which will also have to be achieved.

        Mr. Botany (B.)

        • Colonial Viper

          “unifying the factions” in caucus is quite unlikely, sorry. Fratricidal disintegration, a la NZ Liberal Party, over the next 10 years is the most likely outcome.

          • boldsirbrian

            @ Colonial Viper (

            I’ll continue to be hopeful Colonial Viper. Everything is possible. Even the two of us are talking civilly to each other, on this post ~wink~

            I think (I hope?) that all three candidates have the aim to make unification work. I think (I hope?) almost all in the Caucus will both recognise the need, accept the need, and act to achieve the need for a unified caucus, once the election is complete.

            Almost all changes of Leadership appear to be really messy affairs, when they happen. The perspective of time will help. The threat to subject them all to a three day intensive with Graham Henry, will the killer blow to any hint of disunity.

            Mr. Botany (B.)

  10. boldsirbrian 10

    @ karol (The Power and the Pressure)

    Thanks karol for the trip back in time to the early 70’s

    They were stirring times. The Values Party forming within weeks of the 1972 election, and the momentum that was maintained through to the 1975 election, and lesser extent the 1978 election.

    The results were significant. This was FPP times ….when every vote for Values was clearly a “wasted” vote in terms of electoral “success”. But Values never saw it that way, and saw the implementation of changing policies by either Red or Green as “success”. The Party presentation was that Labour and National were “as bad as each other” …… fighting for economic “growth” at the expense of the environment and a sustainable future.

    Tracey recalls her parents and friends being derisive of it. And that was certainly true of many people. The important thing that did happen was setting Green philosophy firmly in the minds of all New Zealanders. The big parties (Labour and National) both scrambled to get part of the action …… by shading their manifestos with some sort of token green colour (in much the same way that Key is probably now trying to take “ownership” of poverty.

    For the young, these were times of the confidence of Youth. A time of political awareness for youth that has never since been equalled. It came from movements such the anti war movement, the anti apartheid movement, the feminist movement. The mix was a saturated solution waiting to crystallise politically. And the seed for that crystallisation came with a book. A single book called “The Limits to Growth” (not well acknowledged in your article, or the resources behind it??). A book, that was not up there with “Dirty Politics” but must have sold thousands in NZ in a few weeks in late 1972, and 1973.

    The predictions of that book were inaccurate in their level of preciseness (and influenced a degree of discrediting later in the 70s), but if the time scale was wrong, there was little wrong with the general conclusions. It was an IDEA, that until that time was not in the public consciousness. Until that time, who would have thought that the ocean or air could be polluted? Inconceivable! ~smile~

    Both Labour and National fought against MMP. I’m glad the public had their say. It has cemented in the Greens as a long term force.

    Mr. Botany (B.) (A one time Values candidate)

    • karol 10.1

      yes, I left a lot out of the post. My first draft was much longer – way too long. So I decided not to repeat most of what had already been said in Wilson’s post on the Values Party Manifesto. The link to that post is in my post, for anyone who wants to read up further on the context, and supporting sources, such as “the Limits of Growth”.

      There’s a link in Wilson’s post to wikipedia on “The Limits of Growth”, which, in turn has links to further relevant sources.

      Of all those movements that the Values Party tapped in to, it’s probably the green movement that has remained the most well organised and strongest.

  11. everything else is just auto-eroticosm until the progressive parties learn how not to cannablise each other..and to split the vote..

    ..and thus allowing the likes of dunne to waltz thru to victory..

    ..if they don’t sort that..work out some complimentary formula…

    ..serial defeats are their/our future..

  12. wekarawshark 12

    thanks for this karol, it’s a good thing to focus on at this time all things considered. I grew up with a mother who voted Values so appreciate the historical contextualising too.

    Some assets we have at the moment:

    The two things I would say that the GP bring to the table apart from their policies are this. One is the democratic nature of the party, and the other is the ability to organise differently, esp in how to build co-operative relationships. This comes directly from the Values party, and there has been an intentional development on how to step out of conflict-based politics. This is why the GP already know how to work with parties who have different policies. In co-operative models, there are specific goals and processes that lead to working together rather than having to compete. There is great potential here if other parties can get on board.

    My concerns at the moment are also twofold. One is that the GP has been trying for a long time now to effect change, and while I think they have been successful under difficult circumstances, I also think they’ve been knocked back too many times. We have a window of opportunity, but I think it’s closing faster than we realise and that if something doesn’t happen soon then the GP is in danger of morphing into a power and control party like the others. This is intimately tied up with what is happening with Labour

    The other concern is that Norman both in the week before the election and the weeks after has been going too off piste. He looks a bit rogue and it worries me that as leader he is speaking so freely from his own opinion rather than what the party wants. I have no idea what is happening internally, but I’m guessing that the pressure will be on to change post-election in ways that aren’t necessarily best for the party. The whole slagging off IMP thing is very disappointing, and seems to be coming from Norman rather than the party. It’s a critical point for the Greens, and I fear that if the members don’t step up and argue for inclusiveness on the left then the GP will eventually end up in the same mess that Labour is in.

    I think another asset on the left is in Mana and its ability to bring Māori values and processes around working together. In particular Māori have different ways of doing dissent than Pākehā, and a much higher ability to tolerate dissent and still be on the same side or work together. I think NZ has a lot to learn from this.

    Not sure where we go from here, but there seems to be an opportunity in creating some solidarity amongst left leaning folk on social media who also have ties to the MSM. I still think that supporting the MSM journos who are getting it right is crucial, we should be naming and praising them. There’s a whole bunch of rhetoric about how social media is a left wing echo chamber, but I take heart from the fact that Shearer had a go at the standard. I also see the effects that other blogs and twitter are having eg the boycott on WO advertisers. Social media isn’t perfect by any means, but I think we shouldn’t underestimate its influence and I think this will increase over time (we also need to support grass roots movements, not to deny that).

    edit: here’s the thing that stood out for me about IMP post-election. Following some of them on twitter, they were all talking about how to be kind, how to take stock and learn from mistakes, how to connect and build. A remarkable absence of the blame and shame shit that was going on elsewhere. That’s values in action.

    • karol 12.1

      I’ve never totally been a Norman fan. He did seem to improve over time. However, he does at times seem to be too conciliatory with the dominant groups. I’m much more of a Turei supporter.

      From my experience volunteering, there are diverse types within the GP. Some are more new agey type environmentalists. Others are more solidly into a broader green-le`ft politics, with a strong focus on issues of poverty, income/wealth inequalities, etc. However, a cooperative wide-ranging green-left could draw strength from those diverse networks. And yes, from the cooperative MO.

      I had mixed feelings about Norman’s soundings off post-election. He went too far. However, I also shared his anger at the whole setting up of the IP so close to the election, and with such a strong KDC identification. I thought from the getgo it would be damaging to the left generally and just wasn’t politically clever.

      Once the election got under way I held back from being critical, and focused on the positive things they said and did. But, in my gut I felt very unhappy with the whole IP thing. (Actually, underneath I was very angry, but I tried to contain/suppress that anger). The IP really didn’t give much consideration in how to work in alliance with other left/progressive parties. There was a lot of grandstanding.

      I was much more supportive of the gradual building of Mana that had been going on. I would like to see the Mana movement get back to that, and the likes of Harre to get involved with such a movement.

      • wekarawshark 12.1.1

        Yes, my concern about Norman isn’t what he thinks or feels (he’s certainly entitled to be pissed off), it’s that he seemed to be speaking for himself and to the detriment of the party IMO. I’ve not seen anything from the party that supports that, but in general the party run a pretty tight ship and having a co-leader go a bit rogue was a surprise. Probably all the Labour stuff making me nervous.

  13. Karen 13

    Thanks for this post and the links to the analysis of Values Party policies. I brought back memories of a time when I thought the world would soon be a better, fairer place. Such great ideas! My first ever vote went to the Values Party. I was in a safe Labour seat so I was able to support this new, exciting party. Now here we are no closer to achieving anything like what was proposed over 40 years ago and, while I live in the same suburb, now it is a National electorate.

    If only Labour, the Greens and Mana could forget self interest and egos and find a way to work together, then maybe there is still a chance of a cleaner, greener, fairer New Zealand.

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  • Speech to Labour Party Congress 2020
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