This Bloody Vote.

Written By: - Date published: 11:53 am, July 7th, 2017 - 212 comments
Categories: act, democratic participation, election 2017, elections, greens, labour, liberalism, mana, maori party, national, nz first, social democracy, TOPS, united future - Tags: , , ,

If you want to diminish the influence of Liberalism in government, then don’t vote for ACT, National, NZ Labour, United Future or TOPs.

If you reckon Maori issues need more prominence, then maybe vote for Mana or The Maori Party.

If you want to boost a social democratic influence in parliament then vote for New Zealand First ,or maybe for the Green Party.

The hesitation or qualification by the Green Party is because they haven’t coalesced around a definitive platform. There are obvious strains of social democracy to some of their policies, but it would be a huge stretch to say they are fighting from a social democratic platform. I’m saying that on the premise that there are only two possible platforms within the context of capitalism that seeks to preserve some degree of representative democracy – ie, social democratic and liberal (with a whole pile of triangulated or “third way” smash sitting between).

So putting aside ‘Winston the old school Tory’ (because really, who wants Muldoon Mk II?), a longer term and damned good reason to vote for the Green Party, is that if there is ever going to be a “Momentum” type phenomenon affecting NZ’s parliamentary politics, then it’s going to have to exert influence on and through the Green Party.

Unfortunately, NZ Labour is locked down. I wrote about this before. My honest opinion is that the only decent thing to do now, is fashion a shroud and have a memorial service befitting a party that once did great things.

Maybe it’s time to join the Greens. and vote Green. For reasons signposted above, September probably won’t see a major breakthrough for the party. But September can mark a beginning – the posting of a ‘notice of intent’ as it were.

Original version slightly edited for the sake of some clarity. The opening line originally read “if you want to diminish the liberal influence of…” 

212 comments on “This Bloody Vote.”

  1. Sigh 1

    Reality is only a party vote for Labour, helping them poll around 34% or higher will change the government. Any other scenario is National + NZ First.

    You may not like it, but it is what it is.

    • Bill 1.1

      Aye, very good Sigh. And the post was about challenging Liberalism, not just swapping out its caretakers. I guess you missed that bit?

      Note to self. Must write less subtle posts. /sarc

      • weka 1.1.1

        I think so 🙂 and I know we disagree on this, but for the wider readership, clarifying that by liberal you mean the broader context that neoliberalism sits within, and not liberal as progressive might have been useful too.

      • left_forward 1.1.2

        Here you go again Bill – liberalism is too broad a term for the context you are using the phrase – in contemporary usage it incorporates a wide spectrum of possibilities and visions.
        You surely mean – neo-liberalism!

        • Bill 1.1.2.1

          No. I mean Liberalism. There is no philosophical or political difference between Liberalism and Neo-Liberalism. None.

          • left_forward 1.1.2.1.1

            OK Bill – we have to continue to make the adjustment when we read your articles.

            But for the record, this helps to define the distinction as I see it:

            https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/oct/03/liberalism-still-alive-neoliberalism-problem-free-trade

            The idea behind free trade was to protect the poor against the rich. Yet neoliberalism and the monopolies it has encouraged have led to the opposite being achieved

            • Bill 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Monopolies form under liberal capitalism. They aren’t some unique feature of some neo-liberal variant of liberalism.

              You’ll notice that in his article Boyle claims that free trade was all about the ‘liberation’ of the poor to challenge the rich and the powerful and whatever, but that he gets very vague on how that challenge was mounted?

              The reason is because at the heart of liberalism there is the idea that individuals all stand equal and free with their ‘opportunities’ at hand before “the market”, and that the market acts as a neutral or impartial arbitrator of their rationally conducted affairs.

              Marx blew that bullshit right out of the water with his economic analysis of capitalism and the introduction of class. But then as now, Liberalism rejected the notion of class and of exploitation being an inherent and systemic feature of capitalism.

              Nothing’s changed by way of liberal thought/ideology.

              • left_forward

                So Bill, you do not see validity in the notion of a hybrid between liberalism and socialism that supports individual liberties such as freedom of speech, freedom of religion, civil rights, and gender equality, and at the same time can still advocate for wealth redistribution and a limited form of utilitarian market control?
                If not, please be more specific – are you advocating removal of individual freedoms / rights and absolute market control?

                • Bill

                  Why would socialism be …fuck (exasperation!)

                  Socialism is the meaningful alternative to liberal capitalism. By alternative I mean an actual alternative as opposed to its opposite – which is what state capitalism is (eg Bolshevism)

                  And being that we’re talking about socialism, there is no market.

                  Do you imagine that Liberalism has some kind of monopolistic claim to liberty? Or understand that Liberalism only ever offered up faux freedom – (ie – freedom before the market, meaning no kind of freedom at all)?

              • mikesh

                As I understand it, liberals wanted freedom. Not freedom from government, which is what neoliberals seem to wish for, but freedom from rentier interests, ie freedom from oppression by landlords and usurers.

                Probably the closest thing we have had to a true liberal party in NZ would have been the old Social Credit party with its advocacy of interest free lending.

      • McFlock 1.1.3

        Well, even swapping out a diligent caretaker for one that isn’t so diligent in that matter would help run down that particular school of thought.

        That’s the nice thing about fighting economic zealots: when they say “the sky woll fall if you try anything else, even a little bit”, and you try a little bit of something else (e.g. ramping up the minimum wage despite Garth Morgan’s warnings), if what you try improves things then maybe people will have more confidence to go further afield.

    • james 1.2

      If NZ First go with National – 34% aint going to change anything.

  2. I think the answer to Labours woes is the left-wing of the party need to rise up, take over the leadership and steer it away from the centre that it does not belong to. It is no more a centrist party than National is.

    The conservative wing of National just like the socialist wing of Labour are probably quite disappointed at the centrist drift of their party and are probably quietly pleased that a staunch Catholic is leading the party.

    Labour is a SOCIALIST party. Take it back to its socialist origins and perhaps I will vote for it again. But right now in some respects New Zealand First is a better representation of the left wing when you look at their work on railways, the environment, education, health and a plethora of other areas – a lot of it is precisely what I hoped Labour would be doing.

    • Jenny Kirk 2.1

      Robert Glennie – have a real good look at NZ First and Labour policies, please.
      And then look at the people who represent NZ First and Labour. Markedly different.

      One Party relies on showmanship and rhetoric – the other (Labour) relies on research, hard work and careful policy-making to bring NZ into the 21st century, and to look after its people.

      Take just one policy. Water. Labour has a comprehensive water policy (not all of it yet announced) – the basics being charges for commercial use of water, reduction of dairy herd size, fencing and vegetation around all streams and rivers and lakes to reduce nitrates and pollution, and research into improved dairying methods – also to reduce nitrates going into soil, and waterways. That’s the start-up to cleaning up fresh waterways.

      For sale of water rights, Labour will put a substantial royalty charge on while at the same time look into how to tighten up the regulations to stop the sale of our spring waters overseas.

      • garibaldi 2.1.1

        Jenny is correct Robert. Whilst Labour is not yet true to it’s roots, it is not a populist one man band like NZF,

    • alwyn 2.2

      “Labour is a SOCIALIST party”.
      I suspect that the last real Socialist in the New Zealand Labour Party was John A Lee and he got kicked out in March 1940.

    • Ed 2.3

      Labour is a SOCIALIST party. Take it back to its socialist origins and I will vote for it again
      +100

  3. Jenny Kirk 3

    “If you reckon Maori issues need more prominence, then maybe vote for Mana or The Maori Party”

    The reality, Bill, is that the ONLY Party to ever do anything for Maori is Labour – and Labour currently has six of the Maori electorates with their MPs all working their butts off for Maori throughout NZ.

    And you might not have noticed it yet, Bill, but liberalism has gone from NZ Labour. Most of the old neo-libs are gone, or going at the end of this term of Parliament – and there is a new bright younger team of Labour candidates coming in, ready to take over. 50% of them women.

    Labour has a comprehensive policy to overturn the damage done by neo-libs in recent years. Maybe its time you had a look at it – although not all of it has been announced yet – but many of the basics are up on the Labour website.

    • DoublePlusGood 3.1

      Plenty of new neo-libs in Labour – Robertson, Ardern, Clark, Nash…

      • left_forward 3.1.1

        Nonsense – you are either a troll or someone far from understanding the term.

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1

          DPG is correct.

          • left_forward 3.1.1.1.1

            Ardern?

            • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.1.1

              What about her? She’s just as neo-liberal as John Key.

              She may be nicer and not a psychopath but still holds on to the neo-liberal economic ideal.

              • left_forward

                So please supply some examples and reasons why you make such a bold statement.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  I went to a meeting held by her and some economists and they were spouting the same economic lines.

                  • McFlock

                    She wasn’t promising to print billions more dollars out of thin air, then?

                  • left_forward

                    So she wasn’t advocating redistribution of wealth and increasing social spending on housing, health and education?

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      She was promising to keep the system the same with minor adjustments.

                    • Louis

                      Yes you are right left_forward thats what she is advocating.

                    • The Chairman

                      “So she wasn’t advocating redistribution of wealth and increasing social spending on housing, health and education?”

                      Apart from housing, Labour admits it will be years (and not in their first term) before the health budget is restored and their free three years education won’t be fully implemented until their third term, if they get 3 terms that is.

                      These shortfalls are largely due to their Budget Responsibility Rules.

              • OncewasTim

                It depends on whether you think neo-liberalism is an ideology or a religion or culture.
                Adern’s grown up knowing and experiencing fuck all else.
                Neo liberalism is now so entrenched that it is cultural, religious and even nationalistic in nature.
                Lange picked up on that whilst trying to have a cup of tea.
                It’s so pervasive (and damaging – in that EVERYTHING is commodified and up for sale and trade) that it’s even usurped the way human beings communicate with each other (going forward).
                Lets have a conversation
                I’M DOING a piece of work
                I’d like someone to provide some wraparound services for me
                Etc etc etc
                There is history of course behind it and it wasn’t very pretty.

                • Stuart Munro

                  Popper’s test shows that neo-liberalism is a cult, not a policy position.

                • Anne

                  Lets have a conversation
                  I’M DOING a piece of work
                  I’d like someone to provide some wraparound services…

                  Example of typical political speak in today’s world:

                  “Having moved on in a proactive way, we are now addressing the issues as we perceive them to be by looking at a range of options as soon as they become available.”

                  Translation?

                  We intend to do f…k all.

                  Minus the translation, can’t you just picture Amy Adams saying it in her best elocution trained voice.

            • SpaceMonkey 3.1.1.1.1.2

              Yep

      • Siobhan 3.1.2

        +111
        and the fact that so many Labour Party members/supporters can’t see that is a real worry.

    • The Fairy Godmother 3.2

      Very true Jenny. You only need to look at the nrw candidates to see the change. Right winger Sunny Kaushal who is currently throwing an anti-labour tantrum on his Facebook page was soundly beaten for the Papaura nomination by Jesse Pabla a young man of Indian descent with strong Labour values. Sunny quit after the list was announced. I think the Labour party us truly clearing out the right wing garbage and renewing itself. Anyone who wants to support this process should join and get involved.

    • I know you disagree Jenny, but I would point out that Māori’s relationship with Labour is more complicated than that.

      I would like to see the Māori Party working with a Labour government. I would rather have them in a coalition than New Zealand First, even with the sorts of compromises they have willingly signed up for in order to bend the ear of the National government, there is a legitimate argument that a lot of the political consensus around Māori and Māori representation not being such a bad thing we now have even on the right-wing of Parliament is due to that deal, so I can’t entirely begrudge them their decision to try to soften National on race relations.

      As for neoliberalism, the one thing that Bill and I are likely to agree on is that Labour ending neoliberalism is like a watching a puppy trying to eat a sheep. You know that dog has to grow up a bit and get more dangerous before it’s going to have any effect. Right now Labour buys into half the assumptions that are causing the problem, and is unwilling to take drastic enough action to solve even some of the issues that it actually agrees are bad.

      • RedLogix 3.3.1

        I know you disagree Jenny, but I would point out that Māori’s relationship with Labour is more complicated than that.

        It seems quite simple:

        When National are in power they suck up because they know they don’t give a rats unless someone can make money. All quiet deals and trades to make sure the right people do well.

        When it’s Labour they protest for all it’s worth knowing the left will cave instantly. The right people know they’re on hold for a while, so the activists get wheeled out instead.

        • I mean that while there is large support for Labour among Māori, I wouldn’t presume that means that the vote is enthusiastic rather than just a reluctant, default reach for the Labour Party. Assuming that what’s been delivered is good and there’s been no hard feelings about the times when Labour has turned on Māori to shore up other constituencies would be a mistake, and that’s part of why the Māori Party is still around. It is good that Māori have choices that aren’t just the same parties as all the rest of us have, and I hope whatever the Māori electorates decide on the MP’s record, that continues in some form in the future.

        • marty mars 3.3.1.2

          Ugly comment red and totally your stuff. I thought you’d grown up around this stuff a bit but obviously not. Sad.

          • RedLogix 3.3.1.2.1

            I know you don’t like it, but blind freddy can’t miss the political pattern.

            Seabed and Foreshore … hikois and huge ruckus.

            Water Ownership and Pricing … silence, muted grumbles at best.

            It was a certain rather well known Maori leader who explained the underlying logic of this to me many, many years ago.

  4. Bearded Git 4

    Maybe you should have waited to see the manifestos before writing this tripe.

    NZF can hardly be described as “liberal”.

    Agree with Sigh above. The only real chance of a progessive government is Labour 34 Greens 15-this can happen (with TTT’s Hone added).

    The so-called Maori Party needs to be put out of its misery.
    United Future ditto.
    TOP will crash and burn when people see its manifesto.

    But you get one thing right-nobody should vote for English’s venal mob.

    • Bill 4.1

      And maybe you should have read the post before writing your tripe?

      Where was NZF described as Liberal? Oh, that’s right! They weren’t..

      • Bearded Git 4.1.1

        mmm sorry you are right ….I should have said “NZF can hardly be described as social democratic.”

        ….but I notice you only address the error and not the core of the comment.

        • Bill 4.1.1.1

          NZ Labour are not progressive. What fundamental structural or systemic change are they offering? (tumbleweed blows through) They’re only offering a less harsh execution of liberalism.

          If you want to vote for that, or think that’s worth voting for, then by all means go ahead and cast a vote for NZ Labour…or maybe TOPs who also offer less harsh Liberal policies than National (and arguably softer than what NZ Labour has on offer).

          Otherwise, cast your vote elsewhere.

          • McFlock 4.1.1.1.1

            Actually, I’d say that committing to the idea of a living minimum wage (tied to a proportion of the average wage) is a pretty fundamental systemic shift away from the status quo. Same with the idea of using government resources to shape the entire housing market.

            What they’re not offering is immediate, revolutionary, within-a-hundred-days-we’ll-flip-the-world change. Which I actually quite like, because the faster the revolution the more people get squished. Yes, it does make the promises more airy-fairy, with phrases like “as economic conditions allow”, but the existence of the principle is a dramatic change from the explicit rejection such ideas get from nact or top.

            • Bill 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Raising the minimum wage is all good. Pegging it to the average wage is better. Greatly re-empowering unions so that the average wage rose at a clip would be better still. Doing all of that while bringing into question the whole notion of exploitation would be promising.

              But raising the minimum wage and pegging it to whatever, while banging on about ‘opportunity’ is a great big deep hole of more or less nothing in terms of progressive politics.

              • McFlock

                “Raising the minimum wage is all good. Pegging it to the average wage is better.” is pretty much Labour’s policy, just with no timeframe. So I figure even by your standards Labour reaches the second rung of policy appreciation, rather than being a deep hole of more or less nothing.

                But even without looking at other Labour industrial relations policy, I think that the concept that the minimum wage should be enough to live in dignity on rather than something that you endure in order to “encourage” you to be “aspirational” is an outright rejection of the lib/neolib idea that workers are peons who should be grateful for the crumbs and employer throws their way and that if they wanted more than humiliation they need a 4 year qualification.

                • Bill

                  Still got plenty of woefully inadequate welfare entitlements for the “undeserving” poor that provides “encouragement” enough to be “aspirational” 😉

                  • McFlock

                    aye, they’re incremental, not revolutionary, although their future or work thingamee might be interesting from a benefits perspective (UBI maybe?).

                    You wanted some fundamental structural or systemic change they were offering – I think their living wage policy counts.

            • The Chairman 4.1.1.1.1.2

              “Actually, I’d say that committing to the idea of a living minimum wage (tied to a proportion of the average wage) is a pretty fundamental systemic shift away from the status quo”

              While I tend to agree, the problem is this shift away from the status quo doesn’t seem to be large enough to produce the traction (in the polls) Labour require.

              One may argue that they have gone too far (as a number of employers have done) but as Bill has highlighted, a number out there feel it falls far too short. Thus, fails to entice their support.

              • McFlock

                Which is a classic example of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”.

                I don’t really give a shit about the employers’ perspective – they’re the natural enemy of labour and Labour.

                But no matter what the policies are of any party, it’ll be too much for some and not enough for others.

                As for translating policy into polls, not sure whether there’s a huge relationship for specific policies rather than the full package of policies, leadership, competence, and perceptions of opponents.

    • Bill thinks Liberal isn’t a good thing, that’s why he’s pro-NZF, as he’s not bothered by their conservatism so long as they actually implement a left-wing agenda. Bill would have to tell me if he is in fact a straight cis pakeha man, but I get the impression that’s behind some of his comfort with NZ First. As a queer guy, I am deeply invested in intersectional politics. Labour gets that, but it’s not far enough left. Mana isn’t opposed to that, but Hone tends to just see things through the lens of race alone. The only party that even tries to approach my politics is the Greens, and other than their agreement to limit tax raises if they’re in government and a few quibbles about messaging, I’m pretty deeply agreed with their approaches. (I also don’t understand why Bill doesn’t find the Greens social-democratic enough, given that they’re by far the party that wants the most social-democratic policies, even taking into account measures like NZF’s “free”* tertiary education)

      And yes, I agree with you that the approach should be shooting for a Labour-Green minority government that can flex between New Zealand First, the Māori Party, and maybe even Mana for its remaining votes.
      (Also, if Labour and the Greens get 49% between them, that’s a Labour-Green majority government if there’s any significant amount of wasted vote, which there normally is. They actually only need about 47% or so to make it to a minority govt)

      * It’s free if you stay in New Zealand, otherwise it’s six times more expensive than it is now. Hope you or your kids/nephews/nieces/etc… never need to take an overseas job offer if they actually get that policy in as advertised!

      • Bill 4.2.1

        Absolutely no idea where you’re getting this nonsense about my supposed ‘comfort’ with NZF from Matthew. Did you even read the post? Or did you just come straight into this thread off the back of ‘Bearded Gits’ bullshit comment?

        • I read the entire post, (I always do before commenting, even if I end up addressing a comment I reply to more than the OP- usually if I am directly discussing only the OP I will start a new, top-level comment) and I read it in the context of our previous discussions. You seem to think that NZF is more social-democratic than even the Greens, which is a bit of a laugh. They are a bunch of reactionary slightly-left-of-centre conservatives, and have usually been reigned in by Labour in past coalition governments, with the exception of that one time they went with National and it was disastrous for both parties.

          I’m not exactly pleased that it looks right now like we’ll need them to change the government, but I can accept the political reality. What astounds me is that there are people actually advocating a vote for them, and I would be very curious to hear your detailed reasons why you’ve joined that, which you don’t get into in your post, especially when they have not publicly committed to changing the government, so they are precisely as risky as voting for the Māori Party in that regard.

          • Bill 4.2.1.1.1

            From the post Matthew.

            So putting aside ‘Winston the old school Tory’ (because really, who wants Muldoon Mk II?),…

            Do you get that NZF are “old school Tory” only because they never abandoned the broad economic settings parties adhered to before ’84 in NZ? That defines them as ‘social democratic’ as opposed to ‘liberal’. But in no way whatsoever does it suggest “old school Tory” is worth a vote….unless you’re of the opinion that National were a viable option at the ballot box before Lange.

            • weka 4.2.1.1.1.1

              I’m confused. Are you suggesting that for people that want to move towards SD and away from (neo)Liberalism, that a vote for NZF makes sense or doesn’t?

              • Bill

                I’m merely observing that NZF are social democratic. I’d have thought my dismissal of them was clear enough.

                • weka

                  Let me put it another way. Do you believe that NZF in govt will move NZ towards SD?

                  • Bill

                    If they had enough numbers to moderate a government’s liberal economic prescriptions, then I think they would.

                    • weka

                      I’m doubtful. Much more likely is that they’d gain the ground they want and then hold it there and actively prevent NZ shifting towards SD.

                    • Bill

                      Their economics are social democratic. So if they achieved any of their economic demands, it would be a shift away from liberalism.

                      Of course, on the flip side, there’s the threat of “work for the dole”, longer prison sentences, a renewed “war on drugs” and whatever else pre-Liberal Tories might hanker for.

                      And I’m not sure NZ Labour wouldn’t quite happily embrace aspects of a reactionary NZF social agenda…possibly by way of a trade so that NZF economic demands are diluted or dropped?

                      Whatever. Don’t care. Don’t want them near government benches and if they are, well…that’s a bridge we cross or jump from I guess 🙂

            • Matthew Whitehead 4.2.1.1.1.2

              Was having issues replying to this comment, but now it’s working, so sorry about the delay.

              Firstly, I pay a lot of attention to the order you say things, and your first comment about NZF is:

              If you want to boost a social democratic influence in parliament then vote for New Zealand First ,or maybe for the Green Party.

              That is, you endorse NZF ahead of the Greens, which if you are looking for Social Democracy is simply backwards. NZF are old-school tories, who believe in economic policies that are broadly social-democratic married with conservatism. I wouldn’t call them social democrats so much as centrist conservatives personally, but YMMV and names are very subjective.

              Telling people to vote for New Zealand First if they want social democratic influence in the next government can’t be read as anything except an endorsement, even if you qualify it later that you don’t want Winston. You should certainly have said “the two parties we have to consider are New Zealand First or the Greens” and then went on to evaluate them. But no, you endorsed first, and evaluated second, so it reads a lot like you’re saying “I don’t like Winston, but man are New Zealand First some social democrats.”

              If that’s not what you intended, I suggest editing your post to clarify the language, as contradicting yourself in the post doesn’t mean everyone will understand that you intended them to read the latter meaning not the earlier one. I certainly took away the earlier meaning and assumed you just had issues with Winston but wanted to give NZF your Party Vote despite that.

              As for the Greens- the membership largely contains the sorts of people you would expect to find in NZ’s Momentum, it’s a matter of how Caucus and the exec is steering its rhetoric that doesn’t seem to be selling well with the more radical left parts of NZ at the moment, but the policy is the closest thing to the social-democratic (or in my case, outright socialist) direction we probably want the country to head in. The only thing I have trouble with is the tax cap that Shaw committed us to in the budget responsibility rules, which I missed at the time.

              • weka

                Presumably Shaw didn’t do that on his own though, it would have been a caucus decision?

                Is there any reason why the BRR can’t be revisited after the first term?

                • Yes, they can be revisited.

                  Shaw and the executive can sign up to agreements with other parties, but if they want to enshrine them in policies they have to go through the members. I don’t think the BRR actually are in the party policies, but I’ll go check.

                  *is off in another tab for 5 minutes or so*

                  Ah, the economic policy is still being updated for 2017, (you can tell because they currently link the 2014 policy) so no, the BRR aren’t finalised as policy we’re requiring caucus to advocate yet, so technically the policy committee could still tell Shaw he has to break his deal with Labour. (it’s unlikely to undermine him that way, but it’s possible)

                  I would expect that if the BRRs don’t play well in Term 1 or if the government wins the election, then they’ll be completely up for debate in 2020. Personally, I think most of them are good, I just absolutely oppose the idea that there’s a fixed percentage of GDP that tax should never exceed, it’s all about whether the tax burden is being placed on those who can afford it and whether it’s creating the right economic incentives. (eg. you want tax set up so that money goes in to businesses and costs more in tax to take out of them, so that people invest in productive enterprises, but you might also want things like a carbon tax or tobin tax to discourage pollution or speculation. Both of those are examples from the 2014 Green economic policy, btw)

                  • weka

                    I’m interested in why you call is Shaw’s deal. Do you mean it really is something that he did rather than the caucus?

                    I was meaning not that the members would tell the caucus/exec to break the BRR deal, but that I saw BRR as a way of establishing L/G as reliable to give them a term. After that, if they have a better way of organising the economy then why not put that to the electorate?

                    And yes, that the tax reforms that both the Greens and Labour want would be part of that process.

                    • Well, it’s entirely possible Caucus voted on it. My point is that this sort of deal between the Greens and Labour is something that the leaders, caucus, and the exec initiate, but ultimately the members are the ones in charge, so they can decide to tell any of those three they’re wrong and according to the party structure they are supposed to listen.

                      The convention, however, is that all of those groups try to work closely together so that everyone agrees and nobody gets too far out in front. I doubt there’s going to be a dramatic re-think on the BRR, but I’d love to see them leave out the bit that essentially limits tax raises under ordinary conditions, because I don’t buy the idea that you can easily define “overtaxing” in terms of percentages of GDP. “Overtaxation” instead happens either when voters feel like they’re not getting good value for taxes, when they feel like other taxpayers aren’t paying their share, or when you induce perverse incentives with tax policy.

              • Bill

                No. I didn’t endorse NZF at all, and the only reason for the written order was that I wanted to talk about the Greens. If it genuinely reads as though I did endorse NZF, then that’s a fuck up in writing style and nothing else.

                I edited the first line of the post within five minutes or so for the sake of clarity. It’s been up for some hours now, so will just have to stand ‘as is’.

                • Sure, that’s fair enough. Re-reading it now I can absolutely see what you intended to say and it makes internal sense this way, so hopefully I’m the only one who misunderstood.

        • left_forward 4.2.1.2

          Absolutely no idea Bill?

          If you want to boost a social democratic influence in parliament then vote for New Zealand First ,or maybe for the Green Party.

          • Bill 4.2.1.2.1

            NZF are a social democratic party. As such, they exert a social democratic influence. That’s an observation.

            You want to take that as an endorsement of NZF in spite of my unequivocal dismissal of them in the main body of the post where (somewhat incidentally to you I guess) I make the case for voting Green, then that’s up to you.

  5. JanM 5

    For crying out loud, if you don’t all vote strategically we will have another 3 years of this lot, and even if there are still a lot of quibbles about Labour it is better by some degrees than National. I have a professional background in education, and if I and my education colleagues have to put up with another 3 years of this shit because people are too precious to make compromises, we will be good and mad!!!

    • weka 5.1

      One strategy that could be taken from the post is to vote Green 🙂

      • JanM 5.1.1

        True enough, and that’s what I’ve been doing for some time, but it does depend to an extent on your electorate – pity me – I’m in Whangarei!!

        • weka 5.1.1.1

          I agree there’s not much strategy to be had in National dominated seats, although I consider the electorate vote to be largely irrelevant unless one is on the Māori roll or in Epsom or Ōhāriu. Trying to think if I’ve ever lived in an electorate where the vote has been close enough to matter.

          • JanM 5.1.1.1.1

            I was in Auckland Central for a long time – that mattered then. And the great unknown now is what ‘the battle of the Shanes’ is going to do – it could potentially split the right vote, so it could matter. The Green Party does not really seem to feature here at all

          • Matthew Whitehead 5.1.1.1.2

            There’s precisely three electorates where a “strategic vote” in terms of actually influencing party seat numbers is possible this election.

            From our perspective, that is:

            Voting for Greg O’Connor in Ōhāriu. (-1 for UF)
            Voting for Paul Goldsmith or his replacement in Epsom. (-1 for ACT)
            Voting for Hone Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau. (+1 for Mana)

            The Māori Party is likely to go into government with whoever’s looking likely to win, and we have no real indication as to who their actual preference is, so I won’t judge whether to vote for them or not.

            Any other electorates, your Party Vote is really the one that matters, and you shouldn’t really be “strategic” with that, because it matters which Party is strongest in a coalition, so you should give it to whoever you most believe in. There are a few electorate-only candidates that you might want to give the nod to if you’re in their neighbourhood if you’re a Labour supporter to any degree, and there will be both a strong Green campaign and a strong Labour campaign in Nelson, thanks to an anonymous Green donor whose funds were contingent on being used for the Nelson electorate, so it’ll be interesting to see whether that results in Nick Smith being unthroned, and exactly how three-way that race ends up being.

            The electorates where to my knowledge Labour is running electorate-only candidates are:

            Hauraki-Waikato, Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, Tāmaki Makaurau, Te Tai Hauārau, Te Tai Tokerau, Te Tai Tonga, Otaki, and Waitaki.
            Presumably there will also be electorate candidates for East Coast Bays, Epsom, and Hamilton West given Little’s announcement that they’re running in every electorate, but I didn’t find any selection announcements when Labour announced their list, so either three of the candidates I had assumed were list-only will run there, or they’ll also have some electorate-only candidates.

            • weka 5.1.1.1.2.1

              “Any other electorates, your Party Vote is really the one that matters, and you shouldn’t really be “strategic” with that, because it matters which Party is strongest in a coalition, so you should give it to whoever you most believe in.”

              Yes, although people who don’t prefer one party or another can make a choice based on strategy. If the values (what one believes in) are around progressive/left wing politics then people who have traditionally voted Labour might consider voting Green for strategic reasons rather than the Greens being the best fit for them personally.

              • If those people want Labour to be further left, they’re probably closer to Green policy anyway, so I’m not sure I’d call that a strategic party vote so much as a pragmatic one. Strategic would be voting for the Greens because smaller parties get assigned more seats than larger ones, lol.

                • weka

                  There’s this whole cultural fit thing that appears to stop some people from voting Green otherwise. Also the environmental stuff is a barrier for some. So I think there are people who would vote Labour if Labour were being actually left wing, but who can vote Green as strategy even though the Greens aren’t their natural home. I would say the same to BLiP below going the other way.

            • JanM 5.1.1.1.2.2

              Do you really not think it could matter in Whangarei? With Shane Jones standing for NZF when his electorate is completely encircled by Winston’s Northland electorate and the current Shane Reti being something of a wet week, is there not potential for serious splitting of the right vote which makes the local vote more significant?

              • I think it’ll be basically irrelevant in Whangarei as I expect Jones to be high enough on the list he’ll get in either way, so it’s just a vanity exercise as to who wins.

                Unless there’s an electorate candidate that’s a real plonker who you might be able to unseat and who’s not in a winnable list position, the electorate vote is pretty irrelevant when it’s Labour-vs-National.

              • The Fairy Godmother

                It won’t affect the total vote count. Labour National and NZF are all going to get in. Whoever gets Whangarei will get one less list seat. This means if Dunne, Seymore and Flavell lose their seats National lose four support party votes in Parliament . I would say Hone Harawira is a bit unpredictable to be honest and Kelvin Davis has done an excellent job but let’s say Harawira is going to stick with the left block that would mean an extra seat for the left if he wins.

                • In practice, I don’t expect Seymour to lose his seat, and it’s difficult to call what’s going to happen with the MP anyway.

                  There’s a real chance Dunne will go this election, which might even spur him to retire, (in which case, Greg O’Connor’s tenure in Ōhāriu is likely over next election, so as long as he’s not stupidly promoted up the list for managing not to screw Ōhāriu up when he never should have been selected there in the first place, he’ll probably leave Parliament in 2020) but it’s a real open question as to whether Labour shot itself in the foot and handed Ōhāriu back to Dunne by putting a more conservative-oriented Greg O’Connor in one of Wellington’s more liberal electorates, and one where they needed crossover votes from the Green Party in order to win, and having been in the Ōhāriu Green Party, they’re a pretty liberal bunch, some of them not even feeling Charles Chauvel was sufficiently liberal to vote for. Basically, Greg’s odds depend entirely on how willing liberals are to hold their noses, and I know several Labour voters, including my own family, who are very conflicted about the idea of voting for him and don’t know what they’ll do with their electorate vote. (And in one case, this is coming from someone willing to vote tactically for Richard Prebble in order to try and avoid Winston being kingmaker. Voting for Greg O’Connor is a harder call than for Richard bloody Prebble.)

                  I’m also not making a call on the Māori Party because they have never been particularly clear on who they’d work with if they held the balance of power. They sometimes position themselves with the government and sometimes against it, so right now they actually look like independents, unlike, say, Peter Dunne, who would choose National any day of the week despite having worked with Labour too. People in competitive Māori electorates between Labour and the MP should make their own calls, especially as it’s not my community and I don’t understand all the context, it would be rude of me to assume too much.

                  Harawira may be unpredictable, but unlike Kelvin Davis, he would represent an extra seat, wheras if Davis gets elected, he just displaces someone from the Labour list. He also authored bills aiming to fight child poverty, so even if you don’t always like or agree with him, (I find his style like a less charismatic version of Peters, personally) his heart is undeniably in the right place if you think economic injustice and racial equality are priorities.

                  If your thing is voting tactically and you live in TT Tokerau, you should seriously consider giving your electorate vote to Mana. Yes, you’d lose Davis, but it was his choice not to run on the Party List to try and dissaude voters from giving electorate votes to the independent Māori parties, so it’s up to you whether you think that decision deserves rewarding or punishing. If I qualified for his electorate, (and I don’t on either criteria, lol) I would definitely vote for him.

    • Bill 5.2

      As far as the formation of a Green/Lab government goes, does it matter whether a person votes for NZ Labour or the Green Party? No.

      Does it potentially make a difference to how that government operates (what priorities it has and what policies it pushes)? Yes.

      So the strategic vote that would potentially deliver the biggest dent to the Liberal consensus of these past 30 years is a vote for the Green Party. But if you don’t see a problem with a softer Liberalism being given free reign, then sure, vote NZ Labour.

      • weka 5.2.1

        “As far as the formation of a Green/Lab government goes, does it matter whether a person votes for NZ Labour or the Green Party? No.”

        Maybe it does. The more MPs the Greens have the more likely a L/G coalition than a L/NZF one.

        • McFlock 5.2.1.1

          Only if the greens and nz1 can each, individually, take labour over the line.

          But a vote for greens would increase their influence in the next government, and maybe significantly altering policy direction.

          • weka 5.2.1.1.1

            I was thinking about if the Greens had significantly more MPs than NZF then there would be a natural tendency to expect Labour to form govt with them.

            • McFlock 5.2.1.1.1.1

              I reckon that the Greens are likely to do better than NZ1 anyway. My concern is that even if there is a lab government come october, it’ll probably be a triple alliance. Labour need about ten more points in 4 weeks for it to be a solid labgrn government. Doable, but I think that Lab6 is much more likely to be a three-way if it happens this time.

              • James

                How can it be doable in the last few weeks – when they haven’t been able to do it in years?

                • McFlock

                  Blinglish might get caught fucking a sheep, Andrew Little saves a kindergarten full of children on “puppies and ducklings day” from a runaway steamroller, all on live tv? I dunno. Stranger things have happened.

                  I did say the threeway was “much more likely”.

              • weka

                “I reckon that the Greens are likely to do better than NZ1 anyway.”

                But imagine the difference between G on 12% and NZF on 10%, and G on 15% and NZF on 8%.

                “My concern is that even if there is a lab government come october, it’ll probably be a triple alliance. Labour need about ten more points in 4 weeks for it to be a solid labgrn government. Doable, but I think that Lab6 is much more likely to be a three-way if it happens this time.”

                I still reckon we should be going for L/G alone, and I also think it’s doable.

                L/G combine needs those extra points, not just L (so it would still work if it was the Greens that picked them up).

              • Voting for Labour is actually the least effective thing to do in terms of turning your party vote into seats, as the Sainte-Laguë method used for seat distribution advantages smaller parties. So you should only be voting for Labour if you believe in Labour’s brand of centrist, racism-lite rhetoric and neoliberal-lite policy. (Which I suppose you’re welcome to do *shrug*)

                If it’s really about getting the most seats, you should vote for whoever you expect to poll lowest out of the Greens or NZF, assuming you trust NZF will actually go with Labour. (I think it’s likely but not guaranteed) If you don’t trust NZF and it’s about bang for your vote, then it’s the Greens.

                The extra votes to cross the line don’t need to come from Labour. They can also come from the Greens or NZF, again, if you trust them.

                I think a minority Labour-Green government probably isn’t in the cards unless the National vote really collapses ahead of the election. The problem is that Labour isn’t really making an effective push for votes, it’s just trying it’s usual Sensible Shoes approach which has never worked from opposition. They need to take advantage of the fact that people are angry with the nats and feeling screwed and actually convince the average kiwi they’ll be fighters for them, but almost none of the current bunch have that fizz we need. Every once in a while Little shows a bit of it, but he’s backed off from being angry, and it’s not a good idea IMO. I would rather have an Angry Andy and a mean Jacinda that people will think are going to go after dodgy employers, bank schemes, real estate profiteers, and the people generally screwing over the country than I would that sad bloke in a navy shirt talking about ping-pong.

                The Greens have an excellent policy mix but a lot of the left that support them are getting tired of the softly-softly rhetoric they’ve been using to reel in centrist environmentalists who like their focus on fresh water but don’t want to hear about supporting immigrants or raising benefits for starving families or what have you, so they’ve got a bit of a left-wing flank problem in the campaign at the moment that urgently needs addressing. They did well on that with immigration, but they need to do it on the economy now too, and that probably means that Meyt is gonna need to front-foot some of the parts of the campaign she’s been leaving to James.

      • JanM 5.2.2

        It’s not a case of ‘if you don’t see a problem’, it’s the lesser of two evils. As I see it, we either have a change of government and work on them (hopefully with a good solid representation of the Greens) or we have a revolution, and I don’t think the Trevs are quite that exercised yet!

        • james 5.2.2.1

          Given that the majority of people seem to think that the country is heading in the right direction, and that the most popular party (by poll results) by quite some way is National, and that the PM is leading the Preferred PM polls (with Little coming third) – I think talk of a revolution is a little premature. Comments like that make you sound like Bomber.

          • JanM 5.2.2.1.1

            And taking me literally makes you sound not too crisp in the IQ department

            • weka 5.2.2.1.1.1

              “I don’t think the Trevs are quite that exercised yet!”

              That was a great turn of phrase.

              • McFlock

                Made me think of Fred Dagg running the revolution. Although by now he’s probably converted to dairy and has a side-gig of saffron, wine, and coach tour events. 🙂

                RIP the great man…

    • Siobhan 5.3

      That is actually the main reason I will vote Labour this year, maybe.
      National education policy is destroying our children’s ability to ‘Think’ largely through NCEA and the fetish for ‘good results’ whether they have any real substance.
      If things go on this way the future is bleak.
      And while I don’t see any great vision for undoing the damage wrought, Labour are more likely to give Teachers a greater voice, and that’s a start.
      But again, its all so timid and vague, it seems more a case of voting for the sake of limiting damage, rather than any great positive step forward.
      On second thoughts, if Educational Policy is my bottom line…TOP are probably more ‘on point’ policy wise….haaa….

    • Bearded Git 5.4

      @janM +100 Exactly. The combination of policies offered by a Labour/Green bloc is a quantum leap from the soul-destroying technocratic tax-reducing obsessed administration we have been stuck with for 9 looooong years.

      Just as one example, look at English’s reaction to the Ruataniwha decision. FU, we will change the law then. (=Federated Farmers have told me what they want). Not a Green bone in his Double-Dipton body.

  6. Fortunately, the number of people who’d like to see an illiberal government running NZ seems to be fairly small. Unfortunately, a significant proportion of them seem to be on the left, which doesn’t bode well for changing the government this year.

    • weka 6.1

      Can you break illiberal down by party?

      • Psycho Milt 6.1.1

        I don’t pay much attention to the small parties, but I assume we still have a Conservative Party and various communist or religious parties. Not sure about NZ First, but they do seem to have that interest in nationalism and strong leaders, combined with uninterest in individual freedoms, that characterise overseas illiberal governments.

        I was also tempted to include National, given Alfred Ngaro’s recent comments about the punishment to be dished out to groups that don’t support them, but that would be overly-partisan.

    • Bill 6.2

      Can’t really see how the small disparate bands of Trots and Leninists who remain in NZ can really make any kind of impact on the election result to be honest. But hey…

  7. BLiP 7

    Now that I’ve given up on the Greens, my political views will not be represented in the next Parliament. Who do I vote for? Might as well vote ACT because, at the moment, it seems there are not enough people suffering the effects of neoliberalism for there to be any movement large enough to drive any party to break free of it. At least ACT is ruthlessly dedicated to creating suffering which will, eventually, result in the required critical mass.

    Alas, my conscience won’t allow me to vote for ACT. The only realistic vote I have is to make a considered decision to not vote. Why participate in a system which cannot represent my views. As the old saying goes: don’t vote, it only encourages them.

    Russell Brand was right.

    • Can I ask what made you give up on the Greens?

      • BLiP 7.1.1

        My main turn off is James Shaw. As far as I can tell, he’s a closet neoliberal and overtly incompetent politician. The final straw was when the Greens voted for the Budget. The plaintive excuse is pathetic, the vote betrayed the “no surprises” agreement with Labour, and it gave National Ltd™ room to preen. I knew then that the Greens do not speak for me.

        • weka 7.1.1.1

          Are you saying that the Greens didn’t tell Labour what they were doing?

          • BLiP 7.1.1.1.1

            That is my understanding. I would be pleased to have data which proves I’m wrong.

            • Ed 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Sadly most MPs are career politicians and career politicians care more about their jobs than ideals and principles.

            • weka 7.1.1.1.1.2

              I can’t imagine it personally. What would be the point of the Greens withholding that?

              • BLiP

                Dunno. On the surface, there appears no point. I could speculate, though. Were the Green MPs signalling to the base that “we are not subordinate to Labour”? Were they just giving Labour a reminder that “we are our own party”? Bit of both? Some kind of too-clever-by-half deal with National Ltd™ to be paid-off down the road? Was there a concern that if Labour was advised in advance it would leak the MSM have a field day? One thing’s for sure, it simply never crossed James Shaw’s mind to make a point of mentioning it to Andrew Little himself.

                • weka

                  In the absence of evidence that the Greens went against the MoU and didn’t tell Labour, I think it makes more sense to assume they did.

                  There would be no signal to the base because such a conversation would happen behind closed doors.

                  They don’t need to break that part of the MoU to position themselves as their own party, because the MoU specifically says that they are independent and can do what they like politically without getting an ok from the other party.

                  Afaik there is no way that the Greens can form a coalition with National or support them on confidence and supply unless the exec overrules the membership and ignores the inbuilt processes for coalition negotiations. Which wouldn’t be shooting themselves in the foot so much as shooting themselves in the head. It would blow up the party.

                  Why would Labour leak it in advance?

        • OK, while I accept that those could be really off-putting, I will correct a few things:

          1) Shaw isn’t a neoliberal. No, seriously, he’s completely in line with Green beliefs, it’s just he specializes in trying to sell them as practical and not-scary to businesses and therefore often to neoliberals, so he talks that language fairly often. I can understand that putting you off though, but there is some political strategy in not having big business and their captive “financial commentators bagging the party the entire election campaign.

          2) The Greens didn’t vote for the Budget. They voted for two specific bills seperated out from the main budget that settled a gender pay discrimination case and that increased WFF, and they made the call that while they didn’t like the approach, it was better to vote for a bill that provided a meagre increase to working people than to oppose it because you wanted a larger raise done a different way. They opposed the rest of the budget. You don’t have to like that distinction, but it is definitely a fact, not an excuse, and you can go watch the footage and compare what was actually being debated with the laws available on legislation.co.nz. The Greens did not, and never would, vote for a National budget in its entirety, however it is normal practice to have some elements of the budget split out into seperate bills, and the Greens treat each bill on its own merits, even when their political opponents have proposed it.

          3) There was an attempt to communicate with Labour around the positioning on these bills, but apparently there were some crossed wires and the message didn’t get to everyone, so certainly some Labour MPs were surprised. (but I understand it did get to SOME people in Labour) Hopefully this has been sorted out now, but I think you are blowing this issue up a bit because the idea of the Greens supporting a National budget is understandably upsetting. These sorts of crossed wires do happen in any sort of workplace without any actual malice being involved.

          I accept those might not change your mind, but the Greens are definitely after a more left-wing government than even Labour is offering, they’re just contending with the usual pushback that being left-wing means being “loony” or “bad on the economy,” so are being careful with their messaging. I’m not sure I agree with that strategy, but I’m not in charge of that sort of thing and they’re pretty invested in it right now.

        • Carolyn_nth 7.1.1.3

          The link to the GP statement says this:

          The Green Party did not – and will not – vote for “the Budget”.

          The Budget is what allows National to govern. If National failed to pass the Budget, all its legal ability to tax and spend would dry up and the Government would fall apart. There is no way we would vote for the Budget, because that would be supporting the National Government and its agenda.

          Budget time often brings other legislation too, which gets debated under urgency. This year, there were two such Bills:

          *The first was a Bill giving effect to the settlement of the high-profile gender pay equity case for people in the caring profession, brought by Kristine Bartlett.
          * The second was a Bill changing Working for Families and income tax thresholds.

          We voted in favour of both of these.

          My bold.

          ie The GP did note vote for the budget, but for two related bills.

          • BLiP 7.1.1.3.1

            Yes, I saw that statement. I linked to it in my comment with my opinion of it.Yet how odd that, according to Hansard . . .

            TAXATION (BUDGET MEASURES: FAMILY INCOMES PACKAGE) BILL

            A party vote was called for on the question, That the Taxation (Budget Measures: Family Incomes Package) Bill be now read a third time.

            Ayes 86

            New Zealand National 58; Green Party 12; New Zealand First 12; Māori Party 2; ACT New Zealand 1; United Future 1.

            Noes 31

            New Zealand Labour 31.

            How odd, too, that prior to the Statement, James Shaw described the Budget as a “highly flawed piece of legislation”, yet acknowledged the Greens voted for it “on the basis that when it comes to people who are on low incomes, something is better than nothing”. Oh what fun Steven Joyce has had since then, chuckling at every possibility – and there have been plenty – to praise the Greens for supporting the Budget. “Something is better than nothing” has been the National Ltd™ debating chamber catch-cry since.

            The Greens’ vote for the Budget made exactly zero difference because the poor were always going to receive a pittance instead of nothing but, hey, why pass up a chance for virtue signalling even if it means the perception is the Greens now support National Ltd™. Thanks James,

            • Carolyn_nth 7.1.1.3.1.1

              What you are referring to is a related bill, not the budget itself.

              THE GREENS DID NOT VOTE FOR THE BUDGET ITSELF. That was a separate vote.

              This is not the budget itself: TAXATION (BUDGET MEASURES: FAMILY INCOMES PACKAGE) BILL

              • BLiP

                Oh, okay. So the Green MPs didn’t vote for the Budget, they voted for a couple of Bills they supported. So, those Bills would have become Acts. Would you please tell me the Titles of those Acts?

              • weka

                Might help to have the exact name of the Budget bill?

                • Carolyn_nth

                  Seems to be the Appropriation Bill. Took me a while to work out why I couldn’t find a final vote for the Budget.

                  Hansard on the second reading of the Appropriation Bill:

                  Gareth Hughes in his speech said:

                  I am proud to rise and oppose strongly these bills, the Appropriation (2016/17 Supplementary Estimates) Bill and the Imprest Supply (First for 2017/18) Bill. For those who mischaracterised the Green Party’s position during the Budget that we were supporting the Budget, you will see us in this debate voting against the Budget. We voted for the pay equity and the Working for Families threshold changes, but we oppose this Budget—we oppose this Budget loudly, strongly, and passionately, just like we oppose this National Government loudly, strongly, and passionately. After 9 long years, the environment is still being failed by the Government, our families are still being failed by this Government, and our economy is still being failed by this Government.

                  And the vote at the end of the second reading:

                  A party vote was called for on the question, That the Appropriation (2016/17 Supplementary Estimates) Bill and the Imprest Supply (First for 2017/18) Bill be now read a second time.

                  Ayes 62

                  New Zealand National 58; Māori Party 2; ACT New Zealand 1; United Future 1.

                  Noes 57

                  New Zealand Labour 31; Green Party 14; New Zealand First 12.

                  • weka

                    Thanks, that’s pretty clear. Good reference for when this comes up again too.

                • BLiP

                  Ahh – just found this very informative post.

                  So, my understanding of how Parliament promulgates the Budget legislation isn’t great. Trusted sources are providing new information which I can verify for myself.

                  Oh, fuck! Beginning to wonder, have I fallen for MSM / Dirty Politics blog spin? If so, it still sucks like gravity to see the Greens supporting National Ltd™ like this, but it may not be a grievous as I have been led to believe.

                  Gonna double check. BRB.

                  • weka

                    Have to say, the week it happened I was kind of shocked how little I knew about how the whole budget process works. I’ve got pretty good online research skills and I found it hard going figuring it out.

                    • BLiP

                      Check this out . . .

                      NZ Herald 1 – Greens Vote For Budget

                      NZ Herald 2 – Greens Vote For Budget

                      NZ Herald 3 – Greens Vote For Budget

                      Newshub – Greens Vote For Budget

                      Otago Dail Times – Greens Vote For Budget

                      TVNZ – Greens Vote For Budget

                      Radio NZ Greens Vote For Budget

                      The Daily Dribble Greens Vote For Budget

                      . . . plus all the Dirty Politics Usual Suspects blogs.

                      The Greens – No We Didn’t

                      I know, I know – not all the links provided here use the exact phrase “Greens Vote For The Budget” but they all bolster that narrative. The Green’s decision to vote for National Ltd™’s tax changes and family assistance has allowed a few of the MSM scumbags to create an unhelpful “Labour and Greens Feud” narrative. That will be because the Greens didn’t give Labour a heads-up before supporting National Ltd™’s budget package. Audrey Young is clear about that, a couple of others just hint. I heard it personally from two Labour MPs, a Green MP, and a journalist in a position to know.

                      Turns out that the Taxation (Budget Measures: Family Incomes Package) Act is the one which puts in place the legislation to allow all the changes which constitute National Ltd™’s idea of supporting families. The Appropriations legislation is simply the legal mechanism which allows for tax payers’ money to be spent on the so-called family support. To suggest that the Appropriations legislation is “The Budget” is disingenuous. That legislation has yet to have its third reading and it would be ridiculous for the Greens not to vote for it. By not voting for the Appropriations, they would be saying “lets resolve a pay equity issue and increase subsidies for accommodation costs but NOT make the money available to do so”.

                    • weka

                      I don’t think that’s how the Greens see it though. Pretty sure they categorically said they wouldn’t be voting for the Budget. That means a no vote.

                      Yes, here’s Turei (first link),

                      The Greens and voting on the Budget

                      Green Party position on National’s 2017 Budget

                      The Greens on record

                      I don’t know if the Greens gave Labour a headsup (it would be weird if they didn’t), but I wouldn’t consider Young a reliable source on that at all. I didn’t see any sign of a feud. In fact if it’s true, all credit to Labour for keeping any reaction in house and choosing to provide an evenhanded response to the public.

                      (edited)

                    • BLiP

                      CORRECTION: Ooops, my bad. No Green MP told me Labour had not been informed in advance of the decision to vote for the Budget measures. It was a Green Party official who told me. And, no. I will not name names in a public forum. So, yes, my comment will amount to many as just the “say so” of some random anonymous left-wing blog ranter. So be it.

                    • weka

                      All good, I wouldn’t expect you to name anyone in that situation.

                  • Carolyn_nth

                    Well, I learned afew things tonight, too. Basically, the third reading of the Appropriation (Estimates) Bill [ie The Budget], usually happens by the beginning of July. But it does not yet seem to have happened.

            • Carolyn_nth 7.1.1.3.1.2

              Has the third reading of the budget actually happened yet? the system is somewhat confusing.

              Explained here, when the budget was introduced to the House in May:

              When the House resumes on Tuesday, 30 May the Budget debate will continue. This is effectively the Appropriation (2017/18 Estimates) Bill.

              There were a lot of committees examining various aspects and bills related to the budget. The Greens vote for 2 of those related bills.

              It looks like there’s so far only been two readings of the budget ie the Appropriation Bill.

    • McFlock 7.2

      Russell Brand was wrong, and stupid. Nobody cares if you don’t participate, they’ll just keep doing what they’re doing.

      There’s always the social creditors or mana, if you really want to send a message but can’t abide voting for any of the likely 5%< parliamentary crowd. A surprisingly good failure can be almost as change-making as a victory – just look at Corbyn. Mana or social credit get 10k more votes than expected, you'll see a twitch further left from the Greens and Labour.

      • BLiP 7.2.1

        Abusing Russell Brand without addressing his position doesn’t help your case. What I like about Russell Brand is that he articulated a subversive alternative which is more likely to result in positive change than any political party is currently offering, especially in New Zealand.

        If its true that “they” don’t care if I do not participate, you might want to let Labour know its wasting resources chasing the missing million (missing million-and-one, now). Of course, that assumes Labour was telling the truth when it said was keen about engaging with us.

        • McFlock 7.2.1.1

          How the hell is not voting “more likely to result in positive change”? The thing about the “missing million” is that you’re all, by definition, a blank slate. Oh, there are lots of theories about what will appeal to you, but nobody knows for sure because nobody’s managed to do it. That’s why you’re “missing”.

          Brand also, at the last minute, encouraged people to vote Labour in 2015. But people who had followed his earlier proclamations were too late to register as voters to follow his later proclamations. He fluffed it.

          So actually the natural response is to go for the “floating voter”, who gives some indication of what appeals to them – and if you get the missing million along the way, it’s a happy coincidence. Unfortunately, that indication is nat-lite. This is why Labour has had a problem with mps not wanting to look too progressive, because it takes away from the floating voters – who do vote.

          • BLiP 7.2.1.1.1

            How the hell is not voting “more likely to result in positive change”? . . .

            Because not voting is only a small part of it. I’m not refusing altogether to engage with a system which cannot represent me – rather, my engagement with it will be with the intent to to tear it down.

            • McFlock 7.2.1.1.1.1

              Right, so because you can’t effect gradual change you reckon you’ve got a better chance of destroying the entire thing? Good luck with that.

            • ropata 7.2.1.1.1.2

              Another handy side effect of dirty politics — turning people off ALL politicians in disgust

              https://reprog.wordpress.com/2017/04/22/politics-the-end/

            • Stuart Munro 7.2.1.1.1.3

              The legal term is ‘Volenti Non Fit Injuria’

              A consenting person cannot complain of injury. People have an instinctive understanding that our current political system is designed to screw them, and thus an aversion to participating. The trope is of course cynically cultivated and encouraged by villains like Crosby Textor and the current government.

              • McFlock

                Funny thing about voting – silence is consent.

                • Stuart Munro

                  I’d probably put it as assent – but the rejection of a corrupt status quo is healthy – the ‘inspirational dissatisfaction’ that can lead to the search for better alternatives.

                  Why has providence given us such a corrupt, non-performing government?

                  • McFlock

                    Even if it’s assent, it’s not a rejection.

                    This government didn’t come from anything supernatural, it came from the electorate. If you want to reject the entire system, not voting will merely ensure it gets worse. And tories are pretty damned good at fucking the people just under the limit of revolution – and even if they fuck up, they’re even better at getting back in control.

          • Molly 7.2.1.1.2

            “Brand also, at the last minute, encouraged people to vote Labour in 2015. But people who had followed his earlier proclamations were too late to register as voters to follow his later proclamations. He fluffed it.”
            Actually, he just interviewed Ed Millibrand, he didn’t tell voters to support him. If anything, he was more enthusiastic about Caroline Lucas – the Brighton elecorate MP for the Green Party.

      • Russel Brand’s terminology is wrong, sure, and I personally think there’s absolutely no influence to be had as a voter in not voting, but you have to remember it is incumbent on politicians to inspire voters. No voter “owes” a party their vote, that is essentially trying to bully people into supporting you rather than actually convince them on your merits.

        BLiP has a right not to be convinced by the Greens or anyone else he’s considering voting for, and if he genuinely doesn’t believe in giving his vote to anyone this election, while it’s a choice I would never make, I absolutely support his right to not vote, or to spoil his ballot paper, or whatever. I hope he’ll reconsider the idea of ever voting for ACT given how disastrous they are on education, health, and the economy, or even come around to the Greens again, but that’s ultimately his choice, and nobody else gets to make it for him. All we can do is try to offer a convincing argument.

        • The Chairman 7.2.2.1

          “I personally think there’s absolutely no influence to be had as a voter in not voting “

          Exactly!

          Which is why we need further political reform.

          A voter system that encompasses a NOTA (none of the above) option is required.

          Having a NOTA option on the ballot paper will provide a way for the disenfranchised to have political influence, thus strengthening our democratic system.

          For example, if the NOTA vote won, it would result in another election being required, forcing political parties to adapt their policy (to better appeal) to ensure a win.

          The link below provides a little more info on NOTA.

          • Matthew Whitehead 7.2.2.1.1

            While I agree that would be a good thing to put on ballots so that people are formally recorded as protest voting, you already have a similar option: you can go in and spoil your ballot by writing “none of the above” all over the other candidates. 😉 It will be recorded as a “spoiled ballot,” but IIRC they maintain sub-categories for people who clearly intended to cast a valid vote, cases where it’s not obvious, and cases where the spoilage was clearly deliberate. There are people like me who keep an eye on these statistics and will kick up a fuss if there are sudden raises to spoiled ballots and will want to know what it means in order to assure the health of our democracy.

            It’s also much more effective at getting people to value your vote to show up and spoil a ballot, as you get recorded in the demographics as having voted. One of the reasons that politics involves so much inter-generational theft nowadays isn’t necessarily because it’s deliberately thought out, it’s because voter demographics tilt heavily towards older citizens. If you seriously believe there’s no party that represents you even enough to reluctantly vote for them as your least worst choice, you should still show up and spoil your ballot so that the demographics show that people like you care about voting and want someone to run that they can believe in. Even if you’re working on election day, you are legally entitled to enough time off to vote as long as you ask for it. (I would be smart and ask in advance so your employer can make plans and doesn’t feel ambushed, but that’s just being polite and practical)

            If 50,000 demotivated voters show suddenly and spoil their ballots, and someone in the media goes digging, or people pick up that a blogger has already gone digging and found some of them, you can bet those 50,000 people are suddenly going to have a lot of political parties trying to come up with policies and rhetoric that convince them to vote their way. I know the Greens, for instance, would be all over the opportunity to pick up 50,000 new voters, and would be ethusiastic to hear what they had to say, as that would exceed their goals to grow their vote. They’re trying to guess at how to go after those votes without losing the ones they already have, but without being told exactly what the voters want, it can be hard to sort it out.

            The other thing you can do is actually write to the parties to say you’re currently not planning on voting for anyone, but you’d like them to change your mind, and you are an x, y, and z who cares about a, b, and c. I would be very surprised if none of them said anything convincing. Remember, this is the time of our government when ordinary citizens have the most power- you are doing them a favour even talking to them, as they will want every single vote they can get.

            • weka 7.2.2.1.1.1

              Did the first flag referendum have a higher than normal spoiled vote count?

              • Actually it had about 1/10th of the “informal votes” that the MMP referendum in 2011 had. I expect most of the people who disliked the process didn’t bother voting.

                (2011 MMP referendum: 2.7% informal votes. Flag Referendum Stage one: 0.22%. Stage two: 0.2%. (this figure may be rounded) )

            • The Chairman 7.2.2.1.1.2

              Spoiling the ballot by writing “none of the above” doesn’t have the same impact as having it officially on the ballot, thus formally acknowledged and counted.

              Instead of voters being forced to compromise for the lesser of two evils, it presents us with another official option.

              Having it officially recognized and counted gives it the power to lead to political policy becoming more palatable to the wider voter audience.

              • I am just saying that it is the closest thing that exists to doing so and it has much more impact than not voting, because you are recorded in voter demographics.

                • The Chairman

                  Yes.

                  Nevertheless, as highlighted, we can improve upon the current system.

            • alwyn 7.2.2.1.1.3

              You say that
              “It will be recorded as a “spoiled ballot,” but IIRC they maintain sub-categories for people who clearly intended to cast a valid vote, cases where it’s not obvious, and cases where the spoilage was clearly deliberate”.

              Where are these figures available?
              I have looked on the Electoral Commission and all I see is the count of Informal Votes, plus the votes disallowed.
              Where did you find the breakdown you mention?.

      • Molly 7.2.3

        Russell Brand’s stance was that there was no difference between the policies of New Labour and the Conservative party, and due to the nature of FPP, your vote meant little in the scheme of things.

        Given the change in the last election with the release of Corbyn’s manifesto – he actively promoted getting on the electoral role and voting. Because your vote now was able to be made between easily understood value perspectives and choices.

    • Now that I’ve given up on the Greens, my political views will not be represented in the next Parliament.

      Well, they may be. Probably will be, in fact. Your political view effectively is that the government shouldn’t be changed at this election, and that will probably happen.

      • Actually, no, not voting just means you’re abdicating any influence in what the government ends up being. If there’s a mood for change he gets change. If there’s a mood for more of the same he gets that. It’s more like throwing away five dollars than it is like supporting the Nats by default.

        • Psycho Milt 7.3.1.1

          I disagree. The only prospect for a change of government is voting Labour or Green (NZF is more likely to continue the current government than change it). A person on the left who decides not to vote Labour or Green has effectively decided not to try and change the government. That effect is the same as an active decision to retain the current government and those making the decision should be aware of the effect.

          • Karen 7.3.1.1.1

            +1 Psycho Milt.

            If you want a change of government then you should vote Labour or Greens for your party vote. If you are at all left then you should vote for either of these parties. Staying home because they aren’t left enough is a selfish indulgence IMO.

            If you are on the Māori roll you should vote for the Labour candidate if you want a change of government. If you live in Epsom you should vote for the National candidate. Vote Labour or Green for your party vote.

          • Matthew Whitehead 7.3.1.1.2

            I agree with you that Labour and Green votes are where any change comes from, and I agree with you that not voting is indeed a deliberate choice that people can be held responsible for.

            I’m saying two things about non-voters. The first, which I said to you, is that you’re only actively working against that if you vote National. If you don’t vote, you’re throwing away your chance for a better government, and you don’t really have a leg to stand on in complaining about who gets elected, but it’s not precisely the same thing as voting for National is.

            The second is that attacking non-voters as propping up National is not the way to inspire them to vote. Even “there are more non-voters than Labour supporters” doesn’t help. They want someone they believe is for them, and apparently polling isn’t saying that that’s Labour or the Greens- yet. It is up to activists, candidates, and other people working with those parties to come up with a positive message that will inspire these people to vote. It’s only appropriate to go on the counter-attack if they then go on to criticise people who did work to change the government. You don’t get to do that if you’re not even willing to vote for the party closest to your views, even if they have no chance of getting into Parliament.

    • JanM 7.4

      So when the Nats get in again w can blame you and those like you?

      • BLiP 7.4.1

        If National Ltd™ is returned, I expect there will be plenty of blame going on, just as there was after the last election, and the one before that. And, just like after the last elections, the blaming will prevent any real effort going into designing and offering a viable alternative. I can see the 2020 election offering already – will you have Coke or Pepsi?

        • Gristle 7.4.1.1

          Ideological purism and social media only get you so far.

          I really dislike the Key/English managerial pragmatic approach to politics. Even though I would like a more social democratic government I will support Labour/Green to be a government ahead of a National government.

          It’s a re-run of the Clinton – Trump argument. Both may be shit, but Trump is demonstrably more/bigger/worse shit.

          As far I do make financial contributions to both and I do grunt work for Labour, even though I am not a member or either. Having viable opposition parties is a necessity for democracy. People get out to vote (hopefully informed) is also a necessity. I will spend my efforts doing that.

          • BLiP 7.4.1.1.1

            If my current thoughts about this election were driven by a concern for ideological purism and social media, you might have a point. At this stage, its more about having had a guts full of the unified pretense that there is more than one ideology on offer, even if it does come in different flavours.

            The Trump/Clinton argument only served as a distraction from the observation that both were offering the US the same thing. Any difference was more a matter of style than substance. In some respects, Trump’s victory is a good thing. It is an international display of the lie that the US has anything to teach the world about democracy. That’s starker now we see that the much treasured Constitutional checks on power are, when push comes to shove, worthless. Clinton would have kept those secrets and, at best, only slowed down the rate at which inequality and injustice are imposed. If National Ltd™ = Trump, and Labour/Greens = Clinton, the only question which arises is: when do you want New Zealand fucked, this generation or the next?

            I used to financially support both Labour and the Greens, although my grunt work was expended on the latter. That money and effort is now suspended for a period of reflection.

        • JanM 7.4.1.2

          I take it, then, that not only do you not have any connection with the teaching community, you are not in the least concerned about the dreadful state education has got into under this government

          • BLiP 7.4.1.2.1

            I care deeply about education, and health, and the environment, all sorts of good things. I ache in the realisation that all those things are going to have to get worse before the foundation required, first to stabilise and then to build, can be laid. That’s because, from my perspective, Labour/Greens may slow down the rate at which they are decaying but are refusing to deal with the decay itself.

            That’s a bleak perspective, I know. I could hope in my heart of hearts that Labour/Greens are currently in stealth-mode, sorta seeking to lure the electorate into giving it a turn in power which, if granted, will be seized upon as licence to actually do what’s required. Alas, for that hope to be sustained I would have to ignore the lessons of history.

            • McFlock 7.4.1.2.1.1

              Except the lessons about whether the ends justify the means.

            • marty mars 7.4.1.2.1.2

              But you are still immersed within the system I’d imagine so what’s the point of doing nothing – it’s a double negative.

            • Karen 7.4.1.2.1.3

              You do realise that some people will die and many more will suffer terribly if this government is allowed to continue to rule for another three years?

              I share your frustration with the policies of treading carefully adopted by both Labour and the Greens, but I am very aware that life for many, many people will become even worse than it is now if there is not a change in government. There is real suffering out there and it cannot be allowed to get worse because of a vain hope that a real left wing party may emerge if every body on the left stops voting.

            • Anne 7.4.1.2.1.4

              That’s because, from my perspective, Labour/Greens may slow down the rate at which they are decaying but are refusing to deal with the decay itself.

              Could it be BLiP they have every intention of dealing with the decay itself, but they are saving the details until after they become the government.

              We have seen numerous examples in the past 10 years how the MSM and C/T National have twisted and distorted policy planks from both parties to their respective disadvantage. There is no doubt in my mind Labour made a big mistake revealing their intention to raise the age of superannuation entitlement. We know that it was going to take 20 plus years to kick in and no-one was going to be ultimately disadvantaged, but didn’t the MSM and the Nats have a ball convincing people otherwise. It may well have been the over-riding issue which cost Labour the election.

              Some things are best kept under wraps – including radical and progressive policy details – until the election brouhaha has died down… then introduce them to the voters and explain where and how they will be so much better off than they are now.

              • Louis

                Thats how I think & feel too Karen and Anne.

              • BLiP

                Could it be BLiP they have every intention of dealing with the decay itself, but they are saving the details until after they become the government.

                I would love for that to be true. I note that Labour says it is committed to eliminating charter schools. If that comes to pass, it would be a positive signal. Eliminating those dodgy private tertiary education provider degree-mills would, IMO, be evidence of its intention to deal with the decay. It won’t be easy and it won’t popular, might even be painful, but so too is a rotten tooth.

    • Ethica 7.5

      Russell Brand has changed his mind and advocates voting for the left – in the UK for Corbyn,

  8. ianmac 8

    I am supporting the Labour Party and yet hope that within the next month or so the Leadership will blast out with significant and radical position on for example taxing of the rich. If we the voters were given the option of voting for a party that sets a significant goal of getting better health and education, then declare
    the money to come from increased taxes many would say Yay!
    Prevention of problems not patching as afterthoughts.
    Edit:Oops should have read Mickey’s post first.

  9. tc 9

    High turnout will remove this govt, I am focused on opening peoples eyes to the bs the msm and shills keep peddling. With jordan williams and the oily orca getting primetime soapboxes its going to another mud slinging event.

    My worry is the usual one with labour. They give the average voter too much to consume rather than a simple message folk can relate to and vote for.

    • Ed 9.1

      Here’s a simple message.
      ‘For the many, not the few.’

    • James 9.2

      Unless that high turn out votes in proportion to the polls – not all non voters are lefties.

    • Anne 9.3

      My worry is the usual one with labour. They give the average voter too much to consume rather than a simple message folk can relate to and vote for.

      Indeed. And they also give the voters too much credit for rational comprehension of the issues, and around 50% of them have neither the inclination and/or the ability to comprehend anything much at all. A good example was their Superannuation policy in 2014.

  10. Ovid 10

    Wiki:

    Social liberalism is a political ideology that believes individual liberty requires a level of social justice. Like classical liberalism, social liberalism endorses a market economy and the expansion of civil and political rights and liberties, but differs in that it believes the legitimate role of the government includes addressing economic and social issues such as poverty, health care, and education.

    This is where I find myself on the political spectrum at present. I’m sure I share this view with others here. I guess I’m not quite on the same page as Bill, but there is a diversity of opinion here.

    • Andre 10.1

      I’d put a few caveats around that market economy bit too. Where there’s low barriers to entry as a producer, it’s easy to substitute between different products, and there’s not a big disparity of information or power between buyers and sellers, then markets work well. Clothing, furniture, food being good examples.

      But there’s other things that really are natural monopolies and it’s an absolute nonsense to pretend there’s benefits in “making them competitive like the private sector”. Like ports, airports, infrastructure, water, electricity. I’d much prefer these remained directly under government control without the pretense of corporate structures.

      • left_forward 10.1.1

        Thank you Ovid and Andre, these two comments articulate my perspective well and improve on my attempts to critique what I consider to be Bill’s narrow view on liberalism raised earlier in this thread.

  11. Stunned Mullet 11

    Good grief no wonder the leftish side of politics in NZ is such a shambles..

    • Ed 11.1

      What a troll you are…

      • Stunned Mullet 11.1.1

        oh the irony

        • Ed 11.1.1.1

          ‘In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory,extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion, often for the troll’s amusement.’

          Sounds like you.

    • BLiP 11.2

      How’s the National Ltd™’s unity in Clutha-Southland these days, all good or more a reflection of the caucus?

  12. James 12

    for all you unhappy folk – you could always vote national. Most of the voting public seem to prefer them to any other party – and the majority of kiwis think they have the country heading in the right direction.

    Personally I think they are the only sane choice.

    But it is interesting to see so many lefties unhappy with their choices in NZ politics.

  13. patricia bremner 13

    No-one should promote a no vote. People died to get us this right, and to squander it is to vote for the right!!!

  14. BM 14

    The only way you’ll see a complete change in direction from Labour is if it totally decimated at this year’s election.

    Any Lefties who want serious structural change within Labour need to vote National.

    • McFlock 14.1

      Damn you, using the marxist theory of complete structural collapse to precipitate revolution against us! 🙂

      Yeah, it’s a nice theory, but you guys are a bit worried if you have to come up with ways to get lefties to vote for you.

      • BM 14.1.1

        Lol, there is no cunning ruse going on here, just being a thoughtful, caring citizen and offering good sensible advice.

        Hopefully, you guys take it on board, see sense and go with it, short term pain, long term gain.

        • McFlock 14.1.1.1

          Beware of tories feigning thoughtfulness and caring who come offering advice.

          Sometimes ends with indentured labour and morals policing.

    • marty mars 14.2

      Yes comrade we must kill the people to save the people that is the answer!

    • Bill 14.3

      Giving a huge ‘leg up’ to The Greens as part of some grassroots “Momentum” type effort could conceivably push structural change in NZ Labour. Which would all be by the by, because the real aim has to be a re-set of politics in NZ – ie, no more Liberal twaddle.

      And whereas I struggle to see how NZ Labour plays a role in that shift, I can clearly see that National simply don’t. But I think you should carry on voting for them BM.

      • BM 14.3.1

        Giving a huge ‘leg up’ to The Greens as part of some grassroots “Momentum” type effort could conceivably push structural change in NZ Labour. Which would all be by the by, because the real aim has to be a re-set of politics in NZ – ie, no more Liberal twaddle.

        The promotion of James Shaw to the position of the leader with a penis has rather killed off any chance of that happening.

        After this year’s election, I expect to see Turei retire and be replaced by Genter this cementing the transition of the Greens away from the socialist side of politics and more to an urban-focused centric position within the political landscape.

  15. geoff 15

    Liberalism vs Social Democracy? That’s irrelevant to me.

    Ultimately I want a more equitable NZ.

    The only realistic possibility for a more equitable NZ is incremental change at the moment because the electorate clearly has no appetite for big change. If it did then National would be polling much lower than it is.

    For that reason I don’t think I could vote for Winston because I believe he will go with National who clearly don’t want an equitable NZ.

    • JanM 15.1

      Ahhh – the voice of common sense 🙂 (not that there appears to be anything common in common sense!)

  16. I have not read through more than a fraction of the responses to this piece, and apologise if what follows has already been put by someone else. I wonder whether it is time to consider and to try out ways of running the country that get round the limitations of parties and of professional politicians. Talking participatory and deliberative democracy of course, using sortition to replace election. It is possible to start off by introducing participatory budgeting to demonstrate that citizens can make valid decisions on their own without the potentially distorting filter of elected bodies. I don’t know whether any of the parties favour handing some power directly back to the citizenry (why would turkeys vote for Christmas?) but if there were, I would vote for them. Changing the way we run things is a long term project, not suited to triennial election advertising campaigns, and not likely to be included in the information we are given prior to the few seconds we spend marking our voting papers

    • Incognito 16.1

      Interesting comment and I just discovered your (?) blog, which also looks interesting and I will try to find some time to ‘get acquainted’ so to speak.

    • Draco T Bastard 16.2

      I don’t know whether any of the parties favour handing some power directly back to the citizenry (why would turkeys vote for Christmas?)

      Political parties and the rich like things the way they are as it keeps a few people in power rather than distributing the power to the people. In fact, it was designed to prevent democracy.

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