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Twelve long months

Written By: - Date published: 9:03 am, September 20th, 2015 - 103 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, crosby textor, election 2014, greens, john key, labour, Minister for Photo-ops, national, privatisation, same old national, slippery - Tags: , , ,


John Key billboard selling New Zealand

Twelve months ago today New Zealand experienced the 2014 election. It was a bitterly disappointing day.  It provided an insight into the sophistication of National’s campaign apparatus. Despite dirty politics and National wanting to sell off much of the remaining state assets they were returned to power.

It is clear that National has huge resources that they can spend on a campaign. They use these resources to poll and focus group deeply into the Kiwi psyche to decide on what will work. Last time it was not the relative merits of the left verses the right but the perception that under National there would be calm and order while under a broad left coalition there would be chaos and mayhem that determined the result. The similarity to the tactic used in the recent UK election where the Scottish National Party was demonised to wedge English voters against Labour is unmistakable.

The campaign also highlighted National’s weakness. When Dirty Politics first hit National was in disarray, not knowing how to respond. It took a couple of days of focus grouping to work out that the best line was that Labour did it too and there was nothing to see, all at the same time.

Ever since then I have noticed a similar hiatus when National faces a rapidly changing situation. For instance during the recent refugee crisis Key’s initial response was to refuse to increase the quota. After a few days of excruciating delay he, along with Abbott in Australia and Cameron in the United Kingdom changed tack and allowed more refugees in.  Clearly the focus group results had spoken.

When a crisis erupts National looks messy. It takes a few days for them to take soundings and work out what politically is the best line to take.

This also describes National’s second problem. They look like they are opinion poll driven fruit loops. Everything seems to be on the table as long as it may be popular as opposed to right. This is obviously causing angst to the principled right, people like Matthew Hooton who decry such things as corporate welfare which this Government is keen to hand out.

And their third problem is that they are suffering a major case of third termitis. In portfolio after portfolio they have problems. The most important perception is not being left or right, it is being competent. And National’s competence is now being questioned.

National’s problem areas include:

  • The circumstances surrounding Mike Sabin’s resignation. This helped to cost National the Northand by election and still has the potential to cause major damage to National.
  • #Sheepgate. Setting up a sheep station in the middle of a Saudi desert can never be rationally explained.
  • Ponytailgate. Some will never look at Key in the same way.
  • Serco. Kelvin Davis has caused immense damage to National’s intent to privatise the provision of Corrections and social services by pointing out how bad Serco is at fulfilling its contractual terms.
  • Housing. As Housing needs increase National’s only policy response seems to be to sell those houses for unquantified and frankly illusory gains. And recent news that National is strip mining capital out of the Housing Corporation as quickly as it can underlines its complete lack of interest in addressing this most important of issues.
  • Education. The Government’s charter school policy is throwing up embarrassing anomalies. And David Cunliffe’s recent work on tertiary institute behaviour including the enrolling of tutors to bolster grants is particularly embarrassing especially since one of National’s MPs was on the board of one of the institutions involved.

And even the often predicted surplus appears now to be an illusion.

There are some more fundamental problems facing National. It seems to be utterly incapable of making meaningful change. There is no game plan. Reform of the RMA was the last remaining change and National is unable to get this over the line. Instead of this we are subject to debates about the flag and photo ops with the All Blacks and convention centres built on the back of problem gambling.

TPPA is the only big policy they have advanced. But the deeply undemocratic nature of the negotiations and the terrifying potential changes that may occur are resonating badly with much of the community. And besides TPPA’s future is by no means certain. If it does not succeed then National faces a huge amount of egg on its face. If it succeeds and any of the concerns prove to be true then there will be a backlash.

And meanwhile you get the feeling that National’s caucus is not the happy group of people that it used to be.  Judith Collins is clearly stirring up dissent and the watering down of the health and safety legislation shows that some are happy to sacrifice proper policy for support from the base.

And Labour?

Well things are going rather smoothly right now. The Caucus is now united and far more disciplined. Andrew Little is growing in the role of leader and Annette King is performing an important role as deputy. Activist enthusiasm is now rising after an understandable hiatus caused by the election loss and the leadership campaign.

Labour relationship with Greens is quite good and it appears they are moving to a position where there will be a public common agreement. Every time the media notes National is well ahead of Labour it ignores the reality of MMP. The Greens are performing a very important role and are here to stay and in my personal opinion are well worth the 15% they scored in the latest Roy Morgan poll.

So we have had twelve months where the Government has become worse and the opposition has improved.  For the sake of the country this term has to be National’s last and this is looking more and more likely.  If this is not its last the damage that will be caused does not bear contemplating …

103 comments on “Twelve long months ”

  1. Bearded Git 1

    Well down in Bernard Hickey’s Herald article today is a stunning statistic:

    Only 49% of 18-29 year olds voted in 2014.

    That is a number for Labour and the Greens to ponder-get more of these people out in 2017 and the election is won.

    • Atiawa 1.1

      How many of that 49% would have had mum or dad coming home from work talking about the pay increase their union negotiated for them or the reason why their union was affiliated to the Labour party?
      My interest in politics was developed around the dinner table. We learnt the importance of having rights in the work place, of bargaining collectively for our share of the economic pie, of involving ourselves in the political process and having a say. I knew my vote cancelled the local Tory MP’s.
      Of course not every family of my era had the same conversations and learnings, and my peer group didn’t all share my views of the world, however 49% of a demographic I was part of in ’72 not voting………..

    • Chooky 1.2

      +100…very important point Bearded Git….”Only 49% of 18-29 year olds voted in 2014″

      Labour has to bite the bullet and wipe student debt….loans and interest….this would get the young out voting…together with outlawing foreign buy up of New Zealand housing

      …at the moment young people are not motivated to vote because they can not see anything/enough in the major Left parties which will help them make their way in life

      apprenticeships and guaranteed internships/jobs for New Zealanders under 30 would also be a draw card ( young people should not be forced to stay at high school where they disrupt classes for those who want to learn)

      • Neil 1.2.1

        I think making student debt interest free would be the best way to go, as it will not discourage many from using it to get better qualifications & from having that huge burden of having to pay interest when first entering into their chosen profession where they are often starting out on minimum wages.

    • Thinker 1.3

      What about the ones from this group who voted for Dotcom? Where will their vote go next time?

  2. mike 2

    After thirty odd years of Thatcher/Reaganism and it’s complete destruction of the levelling power of the New Deal welfare state, we’ve reached a place where all social democratic ideals and ideas are ridiculed and sneered at by opinionators.

    Beneficiaries of New Deal policies have become implacable enemies of the very policies that lifted them out of serfdom, and those who have most to gain from progressive political action have turned against any discussion of it?

    A glance back to the world before the great crash of 1929 shows a mirror image of todays set up, before the New Deal set us free from it. Then, as now, big business owns everything, and uses a brownshirt bunch of wannabes to inflict damage on any opposition.

    It’s a dictatorship of salesmen. They are uneducated because they never wanted to be, and they are unreasonable because of it. Their lust for game-playing and the competitive scrum to grab every possible buck has killed their empathy. And their ideas of what makes good government are simplistic, self-serving and destructive.

    Yet in the tsunami of their back-slapping jokerish culture we appear to me to be drowning amid the stench of their rapacious inanity.
    It’s horror.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      +1

    • Clemgeopin 2.2

      +1 Great comment.

    • Macro 2.3

      If you were to ask a person under the age of 30 what their concept of Social Justice was, in many cases they would think that it had something to do with the courts. At least that was the experience of one lecturer who noticed that when lecturing on a topic relating to Social Justice he noticed most of his students had that rather vacant look which lecturers know only too well. Notice these were university students (in the usa) and the topic was ultimately about Social Justice so one would think that they had some appreciation of the matter. So he asked the class what they thought Social Justice was. The answers were almost all that it had something to do with the Criminal Court – nothing to do with the just distribution of wealth, opportunities, and privileges in society.
      (From Prof Marcus J Borg)

    • RedLogix 2.4

      @mike

      Beautifully and eloquently expressed.

      It’s a dictatorship of salesmen. They are uneducated because they never wanted to be, and they are unreasonable because of it.

      Pure gold.

    • Olwyn 2.5

      +1. Well said mike.

  3. wyndham 3

    Micky, you neglect to mention the Federated Farmer’s concern about the sale of Lochinver Station which resulted in the nats turning down the sale on the grounds that not enough jobs would be created !
    Interesting that it was necessary for Upston to be alongside Paula Bennett when she announced the “no” decision – – – Upston is the MP for Taupo and in whose electorate Lochinver falls. Smooth operators these nats.

    • mickysavage 3.1

      Yep I was typing this up as I was watching the Japan v South Africa replay so I was a bit distracted …

      That is another decision the free market purists will hate but the base will love.

    • aerobubble 3.2

      Key runs scared when polls go against him. The Nation panel say this is Key listening, but really it show how keys is anchored poorly, that it costs money to jerk voters, foreign investors, or whomever gets a half measure of justice rung out of Key slimy slippery skin. Snakes natural shed skin, yes even when they are hitting.

      A candidate in the US declares the rich can’t have everything. Even the richest know this leads to disaster, so why is fan club Key stacking the TV panels and talk shows. Because, not as you make out, that there is some conspricy, but simply a lot of people, a herd if you will have come to the myth that growth means more neo lib policies, and that’s final.

      Until we have a opposition that can say we got the china free trade and would of gotten the Korea one too but it doesn’t make us xenophobic to stand our ground, or wait pathetically for polls to force our hand.

      Tories are stupid herd animals that destroy the economy, planet and soceity,.

  4. BM 4

    Another 24 months to go, which more than likely will be followed by another 36.

    Little, if he’s still around will probably get a go in 2020, as John Key will have departed the NZ political scene.

    • Draco T Bastard 4.1

      You’re dreaming BM. People really are waking up to the fact that National only governs for the rich which means screwing down everybody else.

      • infused 4.1.1

        you and oab keep saying that… pretty sure people we going to be waking up in 2008, 2011 and 2014… it’s like the rapture all over again.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1.1

          I keep saying that do I? Does the fact that you’re wrong so often ever sink in?

          • adam 4.1.1.1.1

            No point, pointing that out One Anonymous Bloke. infused, can’t think beyond got ya moments. So you would be better off talking to a brick wall.

  5. Red Delusion 5

    “So we have had twelve months where the Government has become worse and the opposition has improved. For the sake of the country this term has to be National’s last and this is looking more and more likely. If this is not its last the damage that will be caused does not bear contemplating “…And then mickey woke up and realised just because he pontificates in a blog it does not make it so……..

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      You and the rest of the RWNJs are the ones refusing to leave Planet Key and come back to reality.

  6. Draco T Bastard 6

    If this is not its last the damage that will be caused does not bear contemplating …

    The damage already done is bad enough. The new government will have to undo a lot of it early on to get it to stick.

    They’ll have to be hard on home owners rather than catering too them as National have done. They do have to ban offshore ownership at least of housing but preferably an outright ban as it’s only bad for the people who actually live here.

    They going to have to stop worrying about the deficit too much although they should also be putting taxes up on the rich. After thirty years of tax cuts for the rich we now know that they don’t work as promised and, in fact, make things worse. Muldoon’s top tax rate of 66% is looking better every day.

    Push renewable energy which is going to mean renationalising power and the government building a huge amount of renewable generation up to and including building the necessary factories and extraction processes to support them. Shut down all fossil fuelled generation within 5 years and start to electrify all trains and public transport.

    We have much that needs to be done and we really can’t afford to have people unemployed while we do it. This is the major difference between us getting in and doing stuff compared to ‘free-market capitalism’. Capitalism requires unemployment so that it can screw down wages and thus allow the bludgers to steal more from the workers.

    • BM 6.1

      So,1 term Labour/Greens followed by at least 4 terms National.

      I like your thinking.

      • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1

        Hell no. The first term would cement Labour in place for at least three, and more probably, four terms. National would then get one term as they try to destroy everything again.

  7. weka 7

    Everything seems to be on the table as long as it may be popular as opposed to right.

    And a big part of why the left is struggling is the people who are still positioning themselves on the left but who believe in popular over right/ethical/good (the Pagani effect).

    This is obviously causing angst to the principled right, people like Matthew Hooton who decry such things as corporate welfare which this Government is keen to hand out.

    I agree about the principled right, just not sure that Hooton fits in there.

    Labour relationship with Greens is quite good and it appears they are moving to a position where there will be a public common agreement.

    Where do you get that perspective, micky? From the outside it doesn’t look like that.

    • Wayne 7.1

      weka,

      Actually from the right that is how it looks. Labour and the Greens look to be twinned in the sense that Labour/Green is the combination that is always put up against National whenever polls are announced.

      There is no longer any talk that the Greens could do anything other than go with Labour. That is pretty much what every Green MP says, as indeed do most Labour MP’s. In part that is a function of National now being a third govt. It is hard for parties that could conceivably go either way to back a fourth term govt.

      That is why I tend to put NZF with the left group. What he may have done in 2014 is much less likely in 2017. Though if the results were similar to 2014, with Labour under 30%, then he might sit on the cross benches and allow a minority govt dependent on his support. Or he could demand the PM’s role from Labour as the price of power. Quite conceivable if he was anywhere north of 12%.

      On that point Labour could always stiff the Greens much as Helen Clark did in 2005, knowing that the Greens would back her anyway.

      • weka 7.1.1

        Thanks Wayne, but not really interested in what the commentariat are saying so much as what Labour and the GP are doing. Can’t say I’ve noticed much from the MPs, but concede that there may be internal processes going on that haven’t been made public.

        Neither Labour nor the GP has had any intention of forming govt with National, so not quite sure what you are on about there.

        And yep, Peters is always a wild card, not to be trusted by the left.

        • Clemgeopin 7.1.1.1

          ” Peters is always a wild card, not to be trusted by the left’

          I am not sure why you would say that. He is not only an excellent politician and a clever tactician, but has the courage of his conviction in his principles as he has shown while leaving National party and during the wine box affair. He opposes assets sales and has advocated many caring and wise policies.

          While in coalition with Labour he not only was an excellent minister, but also fulfilled his part of the deal with loyalty and good faith.

          He does not owe any favours to the left nor to the right. This is MMP. I think you have been unkind and unfair to Peters.

          • weka 7.1.1.1.1

            “He does not owe any favours to the left nor to the right.”

            Another good reason not to trust him.

            The wine box and leaving National were a long time ago. Longer ago than him betraying the electorate and him manipulating MMP, setting it up early on to be beholden to macho politics.

            NZF have some good policies. My comment was about Peters himself. Whether NZF follow in his footsteps or go down a path of integrity is up to them.

    • Karen 7.2

      Weka, see this interview with Shaw yesterday where he confirms the improved Labour/Greens relationship.

      http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1509/S00261/lisa-owen-interviews-green-party-co-leader-james-shaw.htm

      I know it is something Andrew Little wanted to work towards, which was why I was annoyed at Shaw’s anti Labour Party remark during his acceptance speech.

      However, I have heard that there has been positive work between the parties since then.

      • weka 7.2.1

        Thanks Karen, link to video below.

        I know it is something Andrew Little wanted to work towards, which was why I was annoyed at Shaw’s anti Labour Party remark during his acceptance speech.

        Labour need to pull finger IMO. Watching Shaw what I see is him keeping the door open but not willing to step through the door and find that yet again the GP are in the meeting room on their own.

        If the parties are working in private to sort things out, great, but at some point they’re going to have to show the public, including the activists, that something constructive is being done. And not leaving that until the lead up to the next election.

        http://www.3news.co.nz/tvshows/thenation/interview-green-co-leader-james-shaw-2015091910

  8. Clemgeopin 8

    Well written article.

    I am astonished that Key has been able to fool so many people so easily for so long!

    This is a government that has been primarily working for the benefit of the wealthy. But to mitigate that, has simply copied many of the social policies of the last Labour Government, while also undermining them subtly and quietly.

    They have destroyed the Adult Community Education Night Classes that were costing only a small amount of about $13 million. These unique classes were doing enormous good for people and to society all over the country, especially in the rural areas. What a small minded, unenlightened nasty move by this narrow minded government!

    This government has also diluted and damaged the excellent Kiwi Saver programme and incentives.

    Key got into power with the promise to help the ‘under class’ as he called them and to reduce the income gap. He did nothing of the sort. Instead, the lives of the poor, the non privileged, the under employed, the unemployed as well as the ordinary people has become much harder. After 8 years in office, it is only now that they have promised to give families on benefits with children a $25 extra while-low income working families will get about $12.50 a week extra. Though that was announced with great PR, it is only applicable from April next year, one year after the announcement! I bet their own pay increases don’t take that long!

    How can one call this a rock star economy when there there are so many people who are homeless, hungry and in poverty, and beggars on the streets?

    This government has built up a HUGE debt with the excuse of the GFC (in spite of which they gave 2 billion dollars worth of tax cuts EVERY year which benefited the wealthy the most and has cause reduction in government services to the people) and the Canterbury earthquake excuse (which is supposed to have cost about 15 billion dollars). Yet this govt has amassed about $103 billion of debt in just 7 years for our kids and grand kids to pay off. [The INTEREST alone is $159 per second or $9,500 per minute or $572,000 per hour or $14 million per day or $5 billion per year!]

    We have a stupid government with sweet talking, foolish and dodgy leaders in charge. Clark and Cullen would never have allowed such mismanagement of our country.

    • Atiawa 8.1

      It take’s awhile for people to realise that the $89.99 power drill on special at the Warehouse is never going to perform to the same consistent high standard as the $399 high performing model with the reputable name and guarantee.

      • weston 8.1.1

        The problem with people patronizing BIG SHEDS at the expense of small local business,es is not the fault of any particular goverment but that of you and i

        • Atiawa 8.1.1.1

          The analogy I attempted to make is that voters must like what Key is selling and when he gets wind of rejection or backlash he changes or improves the product. When governments operate under those circumstances, when they have no long term plan and where a quick fix will suffice – like the inferior Warehouse power drill – there comes a point in time when consumers/voters realise that the cheap and nasty is not the bargain they thought they had.
          The ambulance at the bottom of the cliff is no substitute for insuring, that child poverty for example, a contagious disease of parent poverty – low wages, insecure work, low skill’s base, higher living costs – is remedied by a longer term approach to,say, and as an example, up-skill the work-force through education and training and to invest in people and their communities rather than being reliant upon overseas investment.
          The initial early costs may seem high and prohibitive but like the $399 power drill the long term pay back will prove to be where the real value lies.

          • b waghorn 8.1.1.1.1

            “The analogy I attempted to make is that voters must like what Key is selling and when he gets wind of rejection or backlash he changes or improves the product. ”
            This approach of government will be the norm in the future so for those that want change, to a point they’re wasting their’ effort approaching polititians directly when they wouild be better of trying to change the attitude of Joe public.

            • Atiawa 8.1.1.1.1.1

              Joe certainly holds the key. However I have faith in Andrew Little’s abilities to operate in a more inclusive and transparent manner. He will use those abilities to advantage in the remaining period of this electoral cycle. A huge point of difference.

              • Clemgeopin

                +1. I agree.

              • BM

                if he’s going to continue to be a negative nelly all the time, he’ll end up doing worse than Cunliffe.
                Little needs to really start showing another side, otherwise the perception of him being a angry misery guts will be far too ingrained in the publics psyche for him to even have a chance of winning.

                Nobody votes negative.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  “the public”

                  You don’t speak for anyone. You can barely express a coherent opinion for yourself.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  The only people I’ve seen being negative are the RWNJs – Key, English, BM, etc, etc…

                • Peroxide Blonde

                  Robertson wants to be leader as much as ever. He has been involved in subtle ways in the appointment of many in the offices of parliament and in Willis St. He has had Tim Barnett’s successor primed for a while.

                  Robertson will be as useful to Andrew Little’s career as he has been to Phil Goff’s, Hapless Shearer, and David Cunliffe.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.1.2

          I have a soft spot for the big red shed, given its provenance and employment practices. Probably not the best place to buy powertools but 😉

          Plus everything Atiawa said.

          • weston 8.1.1.2.1

            i must be old fashioned or something cause my pet hates include ALL the large opperations like the warehouse wal mart shopping malls discount sheds the whole bloody lot and the phlosophies and infrastructure arround them like offshore banks and the use of credit cards few things irk me as much as waiting in a queue while someones fucking arround with their bloody card pay cash or face becoming a total slave to all of the above i reckon .Small is beautifull in the sense that its perfectly possible to be happy with a lot less than BIG so to speak

            • One Anonymous Bloke 8.1.1.2.1.1

              Saying you hate all large operations like Warehouse & Walmart is a bit like saying you hate all countries like Denmark and North Korea.

    • save NZ 8.2

      +100 Clemgeopin

      Also in my view the $25 extra for low income workers will be immediately swallowed up by their increased power bill under assets sales and increased rents under state houses being sold off and higher house prices, meaning higher rents.

    • weston 8.3

      Hear Hear Clemgeopin

  9. rhinocrates 9

    Hoots on the “principled right”? The admirer of Thatcher, protector of paedophiles? The lobbyist for tobacco companies? Whose every word is disingenuous? Who faps to fantasies of having his critic murdered, and actually conspired with his money-launderer friend to achieve it?

    Is this some new use of the word “principled” that I’ve not been aware of?

    It’s like Farrar, who serves up potentially underage girls at his “Princess Parties” for alcohol-facilitated rape and thinks dressing as Jimmy Saville is a jolly lark being described as “affable”.

    Slater at least in his sole honest statements describes himself as a despicable person.

    Don’t ever give these people a free ride based on their own phoney presentation.

    • tinfoilhat 9.1

      This is horrible Rhinocrates – you should go to the authorities immediately and report Farrar.

      • rhinocrates 9.1.1

        Both cases have been covered in Dirty Politics already (and Hoot’s lobbying for cancer merchants in The Hollow Men). It’s public domain knowledge. It’s up to the police to investigate… and surprise, Nicky Hager’s house is ransacked by cops and Hoots’ isn’t, while regarding declared intentions to commit rape, they’ve done fuck all. Just like Roastbusters. The police know who they serve.

        • weka 9.1.1.1

          I think saying he conspired to have his critic murdered is overstating the case, and while I enjoy your no holds barred comments I think the hyperbole on that one has run its course (by many people).

        • tinfoilhat 9.1.1.2

          Hi Rhino

          For public domain knowledge the only thing I could find apart from your comments was farer discussing this in the NBR ?

          http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/how-hager-got-it-wrong-princess-party-ck-161308

          I’d suggest that accusing someone of organising parties and getting underage persons drunk with the intention of raping without any evidence is indefensible even if that person is someone you clearly despise.

          • rhinocrates 9.1.1.2.1

            If Farrar feels that he’s been defamed by Nicky Hager, then he can sue him and have the matter examined in court.

            It would be a matter of public interest for young women and their parents to know if they are safe in the company of Farrar and his mates given that it’s a matter of record in the emails in Dirty Politics that one boasts of his intention with drunk girls. To have sex with someone whose judgement and ability to give consent has been inhibited by alcohol is rape.

            If someone boasts of their intention and Farrar facilitates it rather than taking steps to prevent it, then that is what is called rape culture – the passive complicity at least in allowing it to occur and support of attitudes that perpetuate it.

            Even if what he says is true – and I have more reason to trust Nicky Hager than him – Farrar in that article is entirely interested in covering his arse I see, having no interest whatsoever in prospective victims. That says a lot about his character.

            I don’t think that it’s hyperbole to point out how casually rape is both tacitly facilitated and dismissed as “just a root with a bit of booze” in this country. Our statistics for both drinking and sexual violence in this country are shameful, and there have been far too many cases of a “nothing to see here, move along” attitude and people have to be forced to give up excuses for ignorance or passivity.

            • Muttonbird 9.1.1.2.1.1

              Agree.

              The other day he was defending the right of a sex shop to exist next to a school. For this guy, like all right wing scumbags, the rights of business (any business) stand well above the welfare of children and their communities, and young people and their families.

              It’s no surprise to me that he is childless. His narrow and selfish anti-social views on the world reflect this again an again.

              • Rosie

                “it’s no surprise to me that he is childless. His narrow and selfish anti-social views on the world reflect this again an again.”

                Hi Muttonbird. It’s true. David Farrar is a sociopathic f*ckwit.

                But can you please not confuse those who choose not to have children as such? I don’t know what David Farrars reasons are for not having children are, or whether he chose not to have them or actually can’t have them.

                We made a choice to be child free. Neither of us consider ourselves to have a “narrow selfish anti social view”. In fact one of us is a CD volunteer and the other is is bit too fragile to help in emergency situations but helps others where possible.

                Child free is the term by the way. “Childless” refers to those who for whatever reason can’t have children. Less = loss, hence childless. This implies grief. Those who are child free never lost anything to begin with.

                Helen Clark went through this judgemental conservative 1950’s “childless” bullshit. She was child free and did a pretty good job at what she had to do.

                Annoying to hear that kind of BS still continues.

                • Muttonbird

                  Apologies if you found what I said upsetting Rosie. I did not mean for that to be the case.

                  I’m not sure about the term child free. It suggests you got away with something those with children didn’t.

                  🙂

                  • Rosie

                    Thanks Muttonbird. Sorry I got a bit ranty and reactive.

                    What I was trying to get across that people without children have, in the past been painted as selfish and self concerned. It’s a stereotype that couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s a stereotype that dates back to less socially progressive days and is mired in all sorts of ignorance and prejudice.

                    As well as Helen Clark getting demonised for choosing to not have children, other Labour women have also been attacked. Maggie Barry once had a crack at Jacinda Ardern in the house over her personal choices and indicated she was less of a woman as a result.

                    As for the term child free, I didn’t make it up. It’s not the best but is more relevant that child less, for me personally anyway. For instance, I’ve never been in the position where I’ve met new people and said “Oh hey folks, I’m child free!”. When people ask about my family life I simply say “I don’t have kids”.

                    The term child free is used internationally by social groups for child free couples and singles. For example the social group “No Kidding!” There is a little background on the terminology here:

                    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_Kidding!

                • Grant

                  Hey Rosie. The suffix ‘less’ actually means ‘without’ as in feckless, witless, merciless etc. It is probably a more neutral and less loaded term than ‘child free’ as Muttonbird suggests.

                  However, to each their own and totally up to you what words you choose to describe your choices.

          • weston 9.1.1.2.2

            yep id have to agree also tfh getting a bit carried away in fact im supprised lprent hasnt had something to say witch hunts are awfull things and its other peoples jobs to decide who erered and what the price will be not that the justice system is perfect i still remember poor old peter ellis getting shafted by it all those years ago

  10. rhinocrates 10

    Two big landmines in Key’s path however:

    The coming trial of “The prominent New Zealander”. Their identity and the crime of which they are accused is New Zealand’s worst-kept secret – only Pete George doesn’t know.

    Certainly virtually everyone in Northland knew and that affected the by election.

    National’s attempts to shove this under the rug were desperate and, to mix a metaphor, Winston Peters handed them a spade to dig a deeper hole by introducing a bill to relax name suppression on paedophiles and they did him the favour of shooting it down in parliament. He’ll certainly bring this up when the trial occurs and start asking questions as to why they wanted a certain prominent New Zealander protected. They’ll all be tarred with that brush.

    It doesn’t matter that the MSM won’t be able to report the Prominent New Zealander’s name. Social media’s already done its work. The cat’s already out of the bag, the gate can’t be shut after that horse has bolted. Winston Peters just has to point to the connection at the right time to jog memories and let people make their own minds up.

    The flag. Key’s bungled this and he knows it. If, as Andrew Little suggests, we have the Yes/No referendum first, polling universally shows that it will tilt strongly to No, humiliating Key. He has attached his ego to this issue and can’t back away from it and can’t afford to have a No vote. Therefore he’s attaching conditions to having the popular Red Peak added, particularly to ensure that the Yes/No referendum remains delayed, antagonising Andrew Little with his most abrasive manner and “man up” phrasing to goad him into losing his temper and setting terms that make any negotiation look like a backdown by Labour. He can’t have a No that looks inevitable now, so he will continue to drape himself in the flag as long as possible – “L’etat, c’est moi” style in the vain hope that he can turn opinion around. This will fail. Draping yourself in the flag is vulgar and obvious, and draping yourself in an imaginary flag that nobody likes is ridiculous.

    • Rosie 10.1

      Too right rhinocrates. 2016 could shape up to be a bad one for Key, coming down to flag fail, the resulting humiliation, and Prominent NZer’s trial. That’s what I’m counting on at least.

      The second part doesn’t hold any gleeful attachments however as at the centre of this case are victims, victims of Prominent NZer, and their justice has been delayed for so long now.

      On a lighter note, and a note in the margins to the bigger issues for Key in 2016, there is a NZ drama in production, the title of which escapes me. The story lines are about excess wealth and the behaviour that goes with that. It will be set in Auckland. The writer said they will be doing an episode on Key’s ponytail issues. This will be a good reminder of Key’s abusive side, for those with fish like memories.

      Hopefully the show will bring a little extra glow to Key’s 2016 red face.

      Finally, 2016 is Labour’s 100th Birthday. A good time for them to come back into the spotlight and make some noise and remind voters they exist.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.2

      The flag. Key’s bungled this and he knows it. If, as Andrew Little suggests, we have the Yes/No referendum first, polling universally shows that it will tilt strongly to No, humiliating Key.

      Key and Co knew that from the get go which is why they put the choosing the flag first rather having the choice of choosing to change first. It was the pure manipulation and Dirty Politics that we’ve come to expect from National.

      • b waghorn 10.2.1

        The thing about the flag referendum that I’ll find very interesting to see, is how people who want change but who’s flag is not selected for the face off against the original vote in the second referendum.
        As there is only one of the four that I would consider I would vote status quo if its not the one.

    • weka 10.3

      “Draping yourself in the flag is vulgar and obvious, and draping yourself in an imaginary flag that nobody likes is ridiculous.”

      The Emperor’s new clothes!

  11. Ad 11

    Whaleil fully agrees with you this morning, especially re the brittle support for Key on which the entire structure holds.

    • BM 11.1

      His opinion carries about as much weight as any one else.

      Slater had his time in the limelight, but those days seem well and truly over.

      • b waghorn 11.1.1

        “His opinion carries about as much weight as any one else”
        Unless no one is reading his blog that’s a load of bs

        • BM 11.1.1.1

          You ever read his blog?
          These days, It seems to consist mainly of anti Muslim stories and articles reposted from news sites with a couple of words added giving his opinion.
          The comment section is utter crap as well.

          • b waghorn 11.1.1.1.1

            No I went there when I first got blog aware about 1¹½ years ago and found it a very fucked up place and moved on quickly.
            But if he’s still got legions of unthinking angry small minds reading his blog then his opinion carries a lot more “weight” than mine .

  12. Rosie 12

    Good read thank you Mickey.

    Yep, a year ago today was a very bad feeling. I remember it well. I remember actually feeling sick, nauseous, on the Saturday night, nothing to do with the wine, that was only two miserable little glasses over the whole night, it was to do with the despair.

    It hit SO hard.

    • Clemgeopin 12.1

      Yes, an unbelievable result, in spite of all the crap behaviour and policies of this National government. I felt like a death in the family.

      It is a disgrace that National won. It is a disgrace that the people let them win.

  13. “This is obviously causing angst to the principled right, people like Matthew Hooton”

    lol I don’t think he is part of the ‘principled right’, not even close.

    • mickysavage 13.1

      Matthew always says what he thinks and is not afraid to criticise his side.

      • weka 13.1.1

        Back in the day Hooton would have been at the sleazier end of the spectrum within the right simply because of his day job. He only looks principled when put alongside Key and co. He’s not principled in the way that some old school conservatives are though. His involvement in dirty politics and telling porkies for a living make that an impossibility.

  14. Penny Bright 14

    Rather historic coverage – for the first time mainstream media have published a photo which alerts the public to the TRUTH – that NZ Prime Minister John Key is a shareholder in the Bank of America?

    http://www.parliament.nz/resource/en-nz/00CLOOCMPPFinInterests20151/8bb43d9064b110c1

    (Page 29)

    Rt Hon John Key (National, Helensville)
    2 Other companies and business entities
    Little Nell – property investment (Aspen, Colorado)

    Bank of America – banking
    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    Media coverage of the Auckland TPPA – WALK AWAY! protest Friday 18 September 2015 outside Titirangi Golf Course

    http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11515195

    TPPA activists vocal outside Key, Groser function

    Friday, 18 September 2015
    The New Zealand Herald

    Protestors wearing masks ready to greet PM John Key and Trade Minister Tim Groser in New Lynn. Photo / Alex Mason
    By Alex Mason

    Anti Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement protesters have turned up to a function in Auckland where the Prime Minister John Key and Trade Minister Tim Groser are due to speak.

    A small but vocal protest at the Titirangi Golf Club is underway, with protesters wearing masks and waving placards.
    ______________________________________________________________________________________

    Would LOVE some HARD questions to be asked in the House about the, in my considered opinion, arguably corrupt ‘conflict of interest’ of NZ Prime Minister John Key, advocating for the TPPA, from which he may personally profit – being a shareholder in the Bank of America?

    Given that the BIG banks are tipped to benefit from the pro-corporate TPPA?

    Penny Bright

  15. One Anonymous Bloke 15

    As Blabbermouth Lusk let slip, the purpose of the National Party is to provide lucrative business careers for its MPs.

    No wonder they’re a little bit shit at everything other than dissembling.

  16. gsays 16

    Thanx mickey,
    great food for thought and some good ideas for framing conversation.

    Thank u too, macro. A lovely tribute to Marcus borg. kind of appropriate for a Sunday.

    Excellent comment from mike, “rapacious inanity! dictatorship of salesmen!” primo.

  17. Muttonbird 17

    I was unfortunate enough to be working at Sky City this morning and I saw a couple of things which made me stop, stunned.

    One was the bingo game in the Sky City Theatre. This is a 700 seat theatre and it looked at least 3/4 full. Full of old people, it goes without saying, but interestingly again 75% Polynesian.

    Another thing which made my skin crawl was the somewhat biblical procession of the cash boxes from the Baccarat room to some other unknown place within that building. The procession was lead by a middle aged Polynesian woman striding through the corridor with a two way radio as a staff and weapon. Following her was a fenced trolly about the size of a small car pushed by two young Polynesian men. This was filled on every shelf with what looked like ammunition boxes. At the end of the procession was another middle aged Polynesian woman holding her radio at the ready.

    It was a horrible thing to see because it highlighted to me anyway the elevation of money to some sort of sacred station. Also quite obvious to me was the use of low wage labour and very high prevalence of low income people doing the gambling.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1

      The strong prey on the weak. Unless the stronger stop them. Personally, I’m all for stopping them, and shutting down Cabinet Club so they can’t simply buy the National Party the way they do now.

    • Paul 17.2

      Casinos should be barred from civilised societies.

  18. Matthew Hooton 18

    I think you have the wrong election with this sentence: “Despite … National wanting to sell off much of the remaining state assets they were returned to power.”

    The share float promise was made in 2011. National’s promise in 2014 was there would be no further privatisations.

  19. Thinking Right 19

    It appears the TV3 Poll sprays a little water on your optimism Mickey.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/political-poll-support-low-for-flag-change-2015092016#axzz3mGkq386F

    The Nats on 47% up .03 and Labour/Greens swapping 1.5%.

    The flag results will bring some hope to the nay-changers – if the change does fail, John Key will need to scratch around for some new policy to implement.

    If John Key was feeling ruthless, he would suggest to Peter Dunne to consider an early retirement (perhaps with a title thrown in) have a by-election and then get a more guaranteed vote back in Parliament to push through some RMA reform.

  20. Ad 20

    Excuse the sacrilege, but National and the All Blacks are very similar right now.
    And both Key andMcCaw get this.

    – both exceedingly successful leaders
    – both teams incredibly well managed
    – tonnes of eager replacements in the wings
    – incredibly well resourced
    – understand the need to appear humble, but ruthlessly play the nationalist card
    – both incredibly well researched about every opposition, for every game
    – likely to retire on a huge set of wins as leaders, and go to greater things

    They also understand their need for each other, both as teams and as leaders.

    And there is very little their opposition can do, except wait for time and entropy and statistical likelihood to enable their side to be beaten once they retire.

    They know defeat for both All Blacks and Natioal is inevitable, but will use all they posess to make sure their legacy is secured, their future pathway built, their leaving on their terms.

    They’ll probably wake up in ten years realising that in public profile, this was the best they ever had, but in terms of global influence it was their escalator.

    Nothing wrong wil recognising a player of a generation, but even they know it’s time.

    • Smilin 20.1

      The difference is one is a game and a business the other is the progressive future of the nation and the preservation of democracy
      The game will go on as it so long as we are on the earth but the other may not which is always a possibility with liars running the govt- Dirty Politics

  21. Smilin 21

    Key is such an egocentric twerp that he thinks governing the country is all about him and his polling day by day so CT spends huge money keeping the media focused on the little things that national does to keep the severity of the major issues becoming matters of public concern
    State housing
    Green house gas emissions
    Agricultural damage to the ecosystem
    WATER and all that is damaged thru misuse
    Cost of fuel and power
    Transport
    The national debt and who is responsible
    WAGES and employment
    Education and youth crime
    We have to dig deep to get information on whats happening these issues
    Govt subversion

  22. Ad 22

    Hey Smilin, they are both a game and a business.
    Rugby has greater GDP globally than New Zealand, and higher public participation rates.

    The All Blacks, like Fonterra, carry New Zealand’s interests and values out to the world far more effectively than the entire New Zealand diplomatic effort.
    They both spearhead our brand and flag a whole lot more effectively than the state’s instruments, such as the armed forces.

    So in commercial, social, and political terms, the All Blacks are more effective at spreading New Zealand’s version of democracy than the “official” version. Glory of a weak state.

  23. millsy 23

    It could be a lot worse folks.

    But for a few percentage points, Christine Rankin and Garth McVicar would have been in Parliament now. They might even have junior ministerial portfolios.

    Need I say more?

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