When the Bubble Pops.

Written By: - Date published: 1:57 pm, September 22nd, 2017 - 95 comments
Categories: election 2017, elections, labour, Left, liberalism - Tags: , ,

Arguably, what we’ve had is an internal party coup followed by Jacindamania hype. And NZ Labour Party fortunes have bubbled and risen on the fuzzy warm updraught of it all. But it is a bubble. The question as to whether or not we’re seeing that bubble pop mere days out from the election seems to  open to conjecture, but that will be ‘put to bed’ soon enough.

Timing aside, it will pop. And the reason it will pop is that NZ Labour is not offering any shift from the Liberal status quo that any ‘mood for change’ is demanding – if not quite articulating. Under Jacinda Ardern, NZ Labour is running on the same “tinker around the edges” policies it was running with under Andrew Little.

And that, or so it seems to me, is NZ Labour’s fundamental problem – NZ Labour politicians have been attempting to coat their fundamental Liberalism with a veneer of Progressive rhetoric; squeeze a round peg into a square hole; essentially sell a section of the NZ public a dummy, that if they’ve twigged, will be defaulting votes back into the hands of “honest” Liberalism.

By way of a short list of illustrative examples – and note!I’m not saying there are not some good elements contained in some of the following policies, but part of what NZ Labour is proposing is …

  • an immigration policy I criticised at the time as chiming with the tone of UKIP immigration policy, that has ‘cut and paste’ elements from UK Tory immigration policy that even Theresa May’s own back benches are giving her grief for – eg, including international students in immigration numbers.
  • a house building policy that favours houses for sale over houses for rent by a ratio of 10:1 in spite of thousands of people being homeless and thousands more living in garages or packed into houses like sardines – thousands who will not ever be in the market for buying a house.
  • an industrial relations policy that leaves the fundamentally anti-worker settings of the Employment Relations Act in place.
  • a water policy that presumes to propose legislation without any prior consultation with Maori in spite of The Treaty of Waitangi.

I could go on (TPP, ETS etc) but my point is a simple one. I know there are arguments that would justify the aforementioned policies – ie, their priorities and settings. But I don’t know of any left or progressive arguments that do.

Look. Throwing up Jacinda Ardern as a totem of change instead of offering substantive change, and then pushing her as the latter has absolutely worked in the short term – albeit on a somewhat fragile and superficial level. And it could carry NZ Labour through the election. (I sincerely hope it does btw.) But the ghastly fug of disillusionment is unavoidable, and now there’s just the question of when it will descend.

What happens to NZ Labour after political reality pops the bubble of voter expectation? Well, that will be somewhat shaped by whether or not NZ Labour have managed to form government beforehand.

But regardless, the aftermath ain’t going to be pretty or easy for the party to deal with. And yes, it is just possible that it won’t survive given that caucus is empowered to act as a structural lock-down on change.

95 comments on “When the Bubble Pops.”

  1. r0b 1

    I don’t think the “bubble” is popping. Farrar’s poll of polls have Labour and Nat identical on 39.7, and the word from Labour’s internal polling seems good.

    As to the mood for change – I’m not at all sure that the public’s mood for change is as specific and as strong as yours! We might see a very popular and stable Labour led government out of this. And one that will do a lot of good.

  2. Ad 2

    Bill it really takes someone like you to write off an entire party at 37% while supporting a party who at best in the entire planet can only get 7% and has never, ever held a cabinet seat or even been part of a cabinet decision in this country.

    Labour people have been in and out of power often enough – and done more in power over a century than the Greens ever will – to handle the ups with the downs, the losses and the wins. We wear our scars with pride, and they are scars of achievement.

    While not just pull back from your keyboard for 24 hours and trust the people to vote according to their conscience.

    • lol like he’ll listen to that – there is a major malfunction arguably

    • lprent 2.2

      I have many of the same issues with Labour as Bill has, albeit from a totally different position. I have few ideological positions.

      I can’t see this Labour caucus doing more than tinkering around the edges. Sure they will be more competent than National just because they look ahead a few years rather than downwards to the next election all of the time.

      But I don’t think that they’re capable of doing the level of change that we require. Quite simply in my opinion Labour have become grey bureaucrats. Worth having around to make sure everything currently functions well and for trying to make sure that everyone gets a chance.

      Frigging useless at looking out at the 20 year horizon, making decisions for what needs to be done then, and then holding the course to make sure that they get done.

      I mean, think about the political courage that Cullen and Clark did in putting up investing forward in the Superannuation Fund during the 1999 election (and the classic dimwitted short-term stupidity of National still pushing out the date each year to when they will resume paying into it). Or going into the election in 1999 saying simply that they were going to raise the top tier of taxes to help reduce the government debt that had been piling up since Muldoon. Or any numbers of things that they did that government.

      Sure it is easy to argue that a lot of them were wrong or didn’t go far enough (and I’m sure that Bill can say what those are). But at least there was forward momentum.

      For instance during the previous National government, it was crippling hard to try to build hitech companies in NZ. That is why there was only a piddling number of exports from them. Labour made a big concerted effort to make that industry work by removing a whole pile of blockage points and encouraging small businesses to grow. And it did. It is now nearly as large as our whole dairy industry and growing at about 12% per year – virtually none of which is due to National (Steven Joyce just likes turning up at industry events and claiming that they did it).

      I simply don’t see any of that political courage in the Labour of today. To me they appear to be just playing the same game that National does promising short-term fixes like tinkering with the ETS without really doing much. Which probably means that like National, they won’t do much on the important stuff. They will just tinker around the edges.

      At least the Greens have a demonstrated political courage of their convictions. Something that I don’t see from this current pile of Labour politicians.

      • weka 2.2.1

        If we get a L/G coalition do you see it being possible that the Greens will increase their vote at the next election? Or will the coalition hamper them from moving forward? I guess what NZF do over that time will be a factor too.

        • lprent 2.2.1.1

          Figure it this way. The Greens aren’t like the fragility of Alliance in 99 or NZF in 96 who fell apart internally in public and rather viciously because of severe internal political flaws. Even their splits like the MPs this year tend to be relatively civilised with the exception of that one back when they were still the Values party.

          Like NZ First they have the kind of nationwide party organisation and experienced politician(s) who are capable of handling the vicissitudes of politics – which will happen. In fact they have a lot of experienced politicians including ones who have retired rather than losing their seats which puts them one up on NZ First. That gives them the kind of political persistence that is so clearly lacking in United Future (too small party), Act (too dependent on a few donors and paid workers), and I suspect in the Maori Party (they don’t seem to have spent effort on their party once they gout into government).

          That is why both of those parties can withstand those blasts of negativity directed their way that National and some of the stupider Labour MPs send their way. It strips away their soft voters but only for a short while before it bounces back – the the visible annoyance of their detractors

          Sure, they aren’t going to pick up core votes from National, who has cornered the market in the self-interested narcissists who are only interested in their back pocket.

          Their performance in picking up centrist swinging votes especially those with kids will largely depend on how well they are perceived to work in government at effecting change without it being too radical.

          But there is a pile of the ‘left’ vote that does want change and would be grateful to get some.

          …the Greens will increase their vote at the next election?

          I see it as being distinctly possible. Just depends on how they handle being in government

          Fortunately I see NZ First and the Greens as having a whole lot in common across of a broad spectrum of their positions along with a number that they strongly disagree on. That is one of the main reasons that they irritate each other – they are competing for the many of the same voters.

          Once they wind up in government together I suspect that they will cooperate pretty well together while also grumbling about each other.

          Personally I’m more worried about the remaining highly disruptive Labour MPs that still like to see politics as a two way race.

          • Ad 2.2.1.1.1

            Oh you have got to be kidding me LPrent.

            It was less than 2 months ago that the Greens announced massively bold policy on social welfare, and within days their deputy leader had to foreswear getting into cabinet ever, and then quite as leader and foreswear even being on the ticket, and then they lost two sitting Members of Parliament. That is the very definition of fragile, and they hadn’t even got into government and face any policy or political test at all.

            As for “highly disruptive Labour MPs that still see politics as a two way race”, consistent polling for over six weeks has shown that this really is a two way race, and it will stay that way until one of the minor parties can show that they are more than minor.

            • McFlock 2.2.1.1.1.1

              That’s the thing though – the Greens were fucking pummelled by tories who ignored every other threat in the campaign in order to mount the sustained assault. Sure, they lost an incredible valuable co-leader and had a dramatic hit in the polls while the pressure was on, but they still recovered almost half their losses before the election. And they’re still moving forward, with gusto.

              By 2002, the Alliance was being fucked by it’s nominal leader, who cleaved the party apart by arbitrarily dictating conservative policy – supporting the war on terror was just the final straw. And we never recovered.

              So the greens are pretty damned robust as a party, and if they don’t get back to >10% this time they’ll do it next time.

              • tracey

                More pilloried than Joyce or English for their proven lies. MCCully and Key may have retired but none hounded about lying about paying 11m under legal advice. Dont forget English was Finance Minister and wrote that cheque.

                Labour needs another party, at least. Greens know they cannot govern alone.

                • McFlock

                  In MMP, everyone needs a couple of seats that someone else holds.

                  As the last appendices of the FPP adjustment (like united and act) disappear, the media will have to figure that out.

            • weka 2.2.1.1.1.2

              Fragility isn’t having bad things happen to you, it’s whether you can manage them. The Greens managed some pretty hefty stress extremely well. Despite the stressors, they’re still working very well as a team and doing what is necessary in the campaign. I think they’re a working definition of anti-fragility (they get stronger as the deal with the stressors). Do you look at what they actually do rather than just what gets reported in the MSM?

              And National had to announce a poverty reduction target when it obviously didn’t want to. That’s thanks to the Greens. Not to mention the emerging welfare movement.

              Your timeline is wrong btw. Turei withdrawing from cabinet posts happened 3 weeks after the original speech. You might want to re-examine your rhetoric.

              Snap McFlock.

            • lprent 2.2.1.1.1.3

              …consistent polling for over six weeks has shown that this really is a two way race, and it will stay that way until one of the minor parties can show that they are more than minor.

              So apparently the Labour party can become the government in MMP with less than 45% of the vote? Sure it is possible – as a one in a million type chance. It is just very highly improbable.

              Any government under MPP is likely to be a coalition and every coalition reflects all of the parties that are in it to one degree or another. For that matter any party over the size of a phonebooth is a coalition of factions. Just ask anyone who has been in any policy discussions in them. Every MPs caucus is a demonstration of it as well – ask Mike Smith who has had to be in a few of them.

              That is the very definition of fragile, and they hadn’t even got into government and face any policy or political test at all.

              I really can’t alleviate or help your political naivety. I think that you are mistaking public opinion for party process.

              The point about fragility refers to the fact that neither their caucus nor their party members had any particular issues showing up either in public or even in here about either incident. The MP who had the publicity issues left of her own accord, the two MPs who disagreed with the caucus left without any significiant fuss by members and the party closed up with discipline and carried on with the campaign.

              When you consider the stupid dumbarse shit slinging that has gone on when the Labour MPs have similar disagreements (Chris Carter and his envelopes under the door of journos comes to mind as an extreme example), this was a massive display of civilised and disciplined process. And there wasn’t a National party sized retirement bribe in sight

              • Ad

                No, the Labour Party isn’t going to be governing by itself. You’re not making any point.

                Your original point that the Greens were more stable than they were in the Alliance is demonstrably untrue from but 6 weeks ago. The rest is just explaining that all but insiders care about. They fell apart, and Shaw was the first to admit it.

                Bill is trying to sow division on the eve of the potential to form an historical coaltion and you are simply too blind too see what he is doing. It is the standard tactic of refusing to believe that government is possible, when ideological purity is preferable. You are simply falling for it.

            • tracey 2.2.1.1.1.4

              Ad if that is your definition of fragile, Labour are in pieces… until 5 weeks ago.

              • Ad

                And thrick from an experienced party is to learn and get better.
                Which is what Labour did. The Greens are still margin of error. That makes Labour resilient, and Greens as expected.

                • tracey

                  What did they learn? Change the face?

                  • Ad

                    They learned how to have both coherent policy and how to be popular enough to win.
                    Labour needed to re-learn that lesson after 18 years.

                    The Greens just learned how to survive. Personally if that’s all you can expect from your vote, you should expect more.

                • weka

                  For you it’s all about the institutional power and winning. For the Greens it’s about values, kaupapa and effecting change. If the Greens can get change from the margin of error, all power to them. What doesn’t make so much sense is why you continue to talk them down so much.

                  • Ad

                    You are a passive member of the Greens trying to tell me you know about the parliamentary Green Party’s aspirations. I am sure you can give me chapter and verse about their “pillars” and their values and their feelings. No one gives a damn.

                    At this point in proceedings it comes to this: do you want to form a coalition or do you not.

                    Because unless you know what James wants, you don’t have a clue. It’s the moment where the representatives you vote in take over, and they decide whether they want to shit or get off the pot.

                    • weka

                      All I can take from that is that you really do have a serious agenda going on here. Not sure what it is exactly, but I guess it’s just that you want politics to be on your terms. Sorry, but it doesn’t work like that. It’s obvious that you don’t give a damn, but it’s ridiculous to claim that no-one else does.

                      I know the internal processes, because they’re available to the members and because I research and pay attention. I trust Shaw and the rest of the caucus because I’ve seen them demonstrate commitment to the Charter again and again and again. I can see why you might struggle with this but that has meaning.

                      Shaw doesn’t get to dictate what happens next and if you truly believe he does then that marks you as absolutely clueless about the GP. Which isn’t to say he doesn’t influence in what happens, people are going to pay attention to what the co-leader says, but not in the way you are implying.

                      “At this point in proceedings it comes to this: do you want to form a coalition or do you not.”

                      No, those are your values, and from what I can tell they’re pretty authoritarian. I get that you don’t like that there other ways to play the game, but denial really isn’t a good look Ad.

                    • Drowsy M. Kram

                      I give a damn – I must be no-one. And as ‘a no-one’, Labour won’t miss my vote. Labour needs better Advocates.

                • McFlock

                  geez, AD, that’s some mighty spin.
                  Much as I love them, Labour weren’t sparking under Little. His gift to the party was to crack down on all the caucus and membership game-playing bullshit, but they were getting nowhere, and frankly handing over the leadership was a hail mary shot that paid off against all odds.

                  It wasn’t a “learned” response, it was a 2017 concession and a hope for something in 2020. But for some reason Ardern managed to light the fire. Fucked if anyone knows why – like everyone I have my theories, but nobody knows.

                  I actually hope the nats try the same technique in 2020, with a tory version of the Judean Peoples’ Front Crack Suicide Squad. Without the je ne sais quoi that happened this year, a more politically orthodox outcome is likely.

                  • Ad

                    Timing needs to be perfect in comedy as well as politics.
                    Sometimes the right person doing the right thing at the right time comes along, and it works.

                    Who would have thought Jeremy Corbyn?

                    • weka

                      Lots of people, but obviously not you.

                    • McFlock

                      Sometimes. But whether they do or not, it’s often just down to luck as to whether the thing floats.

                      It’s not skill or whatever, it’s doing the basics and despite doing everything right, you might still lose. And doing something wrong might result in victory.

                      Napoleon used to ask about prospective generals “is he lucky?”. Not just his competence or bravery or whatever, but whether the guy was lucky on the battlefield.

                      Resilience is sticking together as much as possible even through the bad times. Labour gained that under Little. The Greens did well under their recent over-pressure test, and are recovering.

                    • I really don’t get why people are packing on you. I think your view about the change within labour is correct. It starts with vision and hope and movement which is what that talented person Jacinda has given us. This is a fucken fact. Your view on the greens i don’t agree with. Yes they have eaten humble pie and I like that and in government that are going to eat more of it AND they are the most resilient party worthy of trust and deep respect. Capulet and Montague stop fucking around eating each others fucking fingers.

        • UncookedSelachimorpha 2.2.1.2

          A big difference Greens / NZF of course is that NZF is likely to suffer a major crisis when Winston departs – whether they can survive at all post-Winston is not a given.

          The Greens are not nearly so dependent or synonymous with any individual person and represent a certain political viewpoint. NZF has been a vehicle for Winston Peters to a large extent.

          • McFlock 2.2.1.2.1

            NZ1 strikes me as being basically United Future, but with a leader who is interesting and likable.

            • In Vino 2.2.1.2.1.1

              I agree. I think NZ1st will die the minute Winston goes, but the Greens have a solid culture and firm backing from people who like the principles. NZ1st appears to have none as far as I have seen – only the political competence of Winston.

    • gsays 2.3

      Hi ad, perhaps lots of that 37% lack the knowledge, experience or imagination to ‘get’ another way of doing things.
      I would also take issue with the idea that the greens have achieved little, plenty of their ideas/policies get used by other parties.
      Also I reckon the greens are ahead of the curve.
      Follow the hippies.

    • mikesh 2.4

      If Bill believes the Green Party has the best policies he should support them. Democracy, I think, works best if everybody votes according to their own values and perceptions instead of trying to engineer some mix of inferior parties on pragmatic grounds. I will be voting for the Opportunities Party, who are by far the most progressive party in the entire lineup. I have believed, since I first started voting just over 50 years ago, that this is the most moral way to vote.

      • Ad 2.4.1

        Indeed it does, and it’s fine to be competitive in an election while people are voting.
        It’s supposed to be competitive.
        Your conscience is your own guide.

        But I have had many from the left and the right rubbish Jacinda as a token.

        It’s the standard sexist trash I’ve seen whenever Labour gets a female leader.

      • Tracey 2.4.2

        I agree

    • Bill 2.5

      First up I haven’t written them off in electoral terms.

      You got a link or full quote in context that would suggest otherwise? No.

      And something I’d have to look up, but what level of support do you think Scottish Labour had in the election prior to their almost complete collapse in the 2015 UK general election (ie, going from 41 seats down to 1 seat)?

      The %age support at any given point in time has got nothing to do with the potential for a political sea change to leave a party high and dry.

      • Ad 2.5.1

        “The question as to whether or not we’re seeing that bubble pop mere days out from the election seems to open to conjecture, but that will be ‘put to bed’ soon enough.”
        You describe Labour’s support as a a bubble, which is kind of rich coming from a Green supporter. The Greens had a chance for the first time in a decade to expand into a full revival, but instead popped their own bubble so badly. Take a moment and learn a lesson from your own party before trying to critique Labour.

        Do another post when the Greens have formed a coalition government, operated at cabinet in a successful Labour-Green coalition and have actual cabinet positions with actual cabinet delivery of their policy to talk about. Anything before that from you is just complete air.

        No one gives a fuck about Scottish Labour, or any other futile purity contest you would like to imagine. You are voting for the Greens, so the best thing you could do is stick up for them right now.

        • Bill 2.5.1.1

          Roight. So the fact that NZ Labour rocketed in the polls with no meaningful policy changes is indicative of something substantive?

          You know (or should know by now) that although I will throw a vote at election time, that I’m no “supporter of” representative parliamentary politics. But carry on imaging politics to be akin to football teams supporters shouting on “their side” and projecting that perspective onto others if you must.

          And if you’re incapable of learning anything from situations where Labour Parties have been consigned to the wilderness for hanging onto Liberalism, and think the drawing of any such parallels is “purity”, then I guess you’ll just carry on somewhat doggedly. Which is your prerogative.

          Maybe you should buy the scarf, the season ticket and the stone tablets, aye?

          • Ad 2.5.1.1.1

            Call be when you’ve formed a successful government.
            Learn a lesson or two from the party you support.
            Your entire group of words is otherwise meaningless.

            I learn great from politics – I’m from the Labour Party, where lessons are learned the hard way from actually practising governance not wanking on about it. like you do.

            • marty mars 2.5.1.1.1.1

              Pretty good point that. You get fit for tramping by tramping. You get fit for governing by governing. The greens are in for their biggest roller coaster ride ever and they will thrive on it.

        • tracey 2.5.1.2

          BS. A combination of viscious villifying of Turei and election of Ardern saw prior Labour suppirt return. Most people who saw Green poll at 15% thought two things;

          Wait til election day and
          See if Labour get their shit together.

          As long as you yearn for FPP you remain part of the problem for pulling people out of poverty, rebuilding health and education etc…

          • Ad 2.5.1.2.1

            See if Labour get their shit together is kind of rich coming from a Green supporter that fucked up wholesale 6 weeks ago from 12% to on 7% with risk of going out of existence, critiquing a party on 37%.

            You are doing a sad splitting act when you should be looking for reasons to form an active coalition and it is pretty damn weak.Grow up and get ready to form a coalition.

            Because governance – not campaigning – is where the actual work is.

            • In Vino 2.5.1.2.1.1

              Ad – Labour is on 37 or whatever because of the Jacinda effect. Policy has been to my mind a two-edged sword. Many want decent funding for Health and Education, but equally many have listened to the nats’ lies about tax, etc. I struggle to find any party that has its shit together in this election, but I will party vote Green because they are the ones with best-principled policies.

    • Today’s Labour is a great example of where ‘experience’ is counting against it. That experience will have them continuing to do the same rather than making the changes necessary.

      That’s one of the reasons I vote Green. We need the people with not only the desire to change the system but also the inexperience that will allow them to forge that new path because it’s not hidden from view behind ‘experience’ in the status quo.

  3. Keepcalmcarryon 3

    How about those all blacks eh.
    Im pretty sure labours polling would be better if the boks had won.
    Seriously tho – to change the government, labour has to poll well, putting people off them before the election would be pretty self defeating, no?

  4. Zorb6 4

    if National prevail again…it will be a bitter Bill…to swallow.

  5. Carolyn_nth 5

    Thought this post would be about when the housing bubble bursts, and/or when the next impending GFC hits.

    those are my big concerns. I’ll wait and see how Ardern’s LP performs, before writing them off completely.

    • weka 5.1

      There’s also the TPPA. Maybe we’re making a list of things that Labour will need encouragement on.

      • Carolyn_nth 5.1.1

        Yes. The TPPA is a major concern as Labour seem set to support the ISDS, more restrictive patent and copyright laws, etc. I also see Ardern as part of the managerialist approach of many in parliamentary Labour, and don’t have big hopes for them.

        There are major problems ahead for NZ and the planet. The GP needs to be a strong force in a direction that will help us best deal with that – and it needs a government for all Kiwis, not just the middle and upperclass “haves”.

        And we all need to be putting on pressure on the issues that matter. Democracy and politics does not begin and end with elections.

        • weka 5.1.1.1

          I thought they were against the ISDS (one of the things they want to renegotiate). But the fact that two politicised NZers have different ideas about Labour’s intentions is a symptoms of Labour’s poor handling of this.

          • Carolyn_nth 5.1.1.1.1

            It’s hard to know for Ardern-led Labour. Under her leadership they’ve only talked about not supporting TPPA-11 if they are not able to restrict foreign buying of NZ homes.

            This from It’s Our Future – must have been completed some time this year as it mentions the election “this year” , and TOP.

            On Labour and ISDS:

            No Investor State Dispute Settlement… Agrees in principle, but no clear commitment

            At the launch of the It’s Our Future campaign on 10 August 2017, Labour’s trade spokesperson David Parker MP did not directly address the 10 It’s Our Future bottomlines. Mr Parker did, however:

            Confirm that Labour would not support the TPPA in its current form;

            Criticise the secretive manner in which the TPPA was negotiated;

            Support the current Treaty of Waitangi exception in the TPPA;

            Emphasise that the Labour Party, while supportive of bilateral and multilateral trade and investment agreements, would not cede the ability to restrict overseas ownership of New Zealand house and farms, to control non-humanitarian immigration; to tax overseas investors or to operate state-owned enterprises;

            Indicate that the Labour Party would prefer not to include Investor – State Dispute Settlement provisions in future trade and investment agreements (although he stopped short of clear position on this point);
            and

            Advocate for greater support for the diversification of the New Zealand export market.

            My bold.

      • Pat 5.1.2

        ‘Figure it this way. The Greens aren’t like the fragility of Alliance in 99 or NZF in 96 who fell apart internally in public and rather viciously because of severe internal political flaws.”

        Odd example to use…esp. given the Greens were part of the Alliance and were the first party to leave

    • Bill 5.2

      I’ll wait and see how Ardern’s LP performs, before writing them off completely.

      So although I expect nothing much besides Liberal nonsense from NZ Labour, and some resultant fall-out as sign-posted in this post, I nevertheless keep remembering something Corbyn said of Miliband in an interview he gave.

      Apparently Miliband’s strategy was to under-promise and over-deliver.

      It crossed my mind often enough that Little was following that same strategy, with the advantage being he could use the presence of The Greens in parliament to overcome hostility to any over-delivery on NZ Labour’s campaign positions.

      But Ardern unnecessarily throwing Metiria under the proverbial bus, and the party’s first two post-Ardern policy announcements being triangulated Green policy led me to think that if that had been the strategy under Little’s leadership, it certainly wasn’t the strategy under Ardern’s leadership.

      But maybe I give too much credit to AL, too little to JA – or visa versa 🙂

      • Carolyn_nth 5.2.1

        I did think Ardern’s response to Turei was probably indicative of the kind of leader she’ll be. However, I’ll wait and see how she develops.

        I’m not overly optimistic – but, it’ll probably partly depend on how strong the GP vote is.

        • weka 5.2.1.1

          I rewatched that no cabinet announcement yesterday, and it’s true she was being hardarsed. There was an opinion piece about this in one of the MSM this week. It’s possible that Ardern thought Labour were fighting for their life and was thus willing to do what it took to gain power. Which isn’t to say that she couldn’t have been more accommodating of the Greens and presented it better. But it doesn’t necessarily follow that she’s out to do wrong by them either. And yes, time will tell and I agree it will come down to how bit the GP vote is and how small the NZF one is.

          • Carolyn_nth 5.2.1.1.1

            Agreed – mostly. However, it also looks to me that Ardern is most comfortable addressing the middle class – eg journalists. I haven’t seen a lot of her talking to low income people.

            Her phrasing of her response to Turei seemed condescending and patronising – something about it being sad or words to that effect. So doesn’t fill me with confidence in Ardern really having low income people as a strong priority… but we shall see,

            • weka 5.2.1.1.1.1

              My expectations are probably set lower than yours in the sense of I’m not thinking Labour would do that well by the underclass. They have to earn my trust on that one and I’m not holding my breath.

  6. weka 6

    While I disagree somewhat on the framing (and I’m still in two minds about the coup idea), I think posts like these serve TS community and NZ democracy well.

    If Labour isn’t as Bill says, then it should be robust enough to withstand some criticism. If it is as Bill says, then it’s important that we talk about this as we go, not leave it for later down the line.

    I’m not as pessimistic about it as Bill, because I want to see what effect the Greens have should they make it into government. Which isn’t to day that Labour will be moved left (they may or may not), but I think the potential is for NZ to be moved left. In that sense I’m also glad that Labour and Ardern got us to where we are.

    I’ll be writing later about the Greens critical role in that, so just noting for now that the Greens set the scene for this election several times, and were willing to give up some power to do so. Having power isn’t the only way to effect change.

    • weka 6.1

      Also want to say that while I agree somewhat with the point about the rise of Labour and the effect of Ardern, I think there are excellent people in Labour (caucus and party). I still want to do a post at some point about the caucus and where they sit in the neoliberal/social democracy scheme of things. I’m more willing to believe that change is possible than Bill is, because I think some of those newer people are in a different frame of mind than the old bunch.

      • s y d 6.1.1

        Agreed weka, I’m looking at our two local candidates – Jan Tinetti and Angie Warren-Clark and to me, they represent a real change from previous elections where the party would simply parachute in some party operative. These are local people, working really hard on local and national issues and only too well aware of what is happening in our communities.
        Fingers crossed that both give us parliamentary representation in the BOP, beyond Simon, Todd & Clayton..

    • lprent 6.2

      I tend to not view the Greens as being ‘left’. I view them as being middle class centrists with a particular ‘obsession’ about environmental issues.

      What I find interesting about them is that their obsession, leads to many of the same conclusions that I came to a long time ago because people who are too poor don’t care about the environment.

      It is the exact inverse about why I started supporting Labour in the days of FPP. Reduce depravity of being at the bottom of society and too poor to do anything except pay immediate bills and you can work on the longer stuff like the environment.

      Fortunately environmental viewpoint also works to extend their focus out past the limited electoral cycle. Which means that they should be able to work well in government with Labour making them think about it as well..

      • Carolyn_nth 6.2.1

        I view them as being middle class centrists with a particular ‘obsession’ about environmental issues.

        maybe true of some, but not what I saw in Otara last weekend – also Catherine Delahunty; Marama Davidson; jack McDonald….

      • Stuart Munro 6.2.2

        They also find themselves opposing the same corporate groups that immiserate the poor – the people who cheerfully exploit the poor for money are unlikely to have scruples against exploiting the environment.

    • alwyn 6.3

      You are obviously far more in touch with Green Party thought than I am.
      Would you be willing to answer a hypothetical question?

      You say “Greens set the scene for this election several times, and were willing to give up some power to do so. Having power isn’t the only way to effect change”.
      If the only way to change the Government was for Labour to go into coalition with NZF, and Winston’s price was no Green members of Cabinet, do you think that the Green Party would go along with that as they did, or at least tolerated, in 2005?

      If you actually are an office holder or something in the Party, rather than an outsider, I do not expect you to answer. You are not being asked to commit the Green Party to any such proposal and I certainly don’t think anyone holding any official role should even hint at accepting such a request from the old fellow from Northland.

      • weka 6.3.1

        I’m an inactive member of the Greens.

        I’m in the process of researching what the GP party coalition decision process is. It goes something like this. The Party has negotiation teams who talk to various parties. They then go back to the members (meetings) who reach some consensus on what the party should do. This is taken by delegates back to the exec. In other words, the members have a lot of say.

        As a member, your question doesn’t really make much sense to me because it’s too vague.

        “If the only way to change the Government was for Labour to go into coalition with NZF, and Winston’s price was no Green members of Cabinet, do you think that the Green Party would go along with that as they did, or at least tolerated, in 2005?”

        If by that you mean Labour can’t form govt with the Greens, but can form govt with NZF, I’m not sure what decision there is for the Greens there, or what you mean by ‘go along with’.

        I still believe that the MoU means something and that if NZF with less MPs tried to blackmail Labour to force the Greens out, that Labour and the Greens would work around that by working with Peters. I haven’t seen him say anything in this campaign that would lead me to think he would make that a condition, but I guess it’s possible. I do think Peters will be going for all the power he can get though.

        If what you are asking is should the Greens support a L/NZF govt on C and S when that coalition came about by Peters blackmailing Labour, then my answer is I don’t know. It’s such a weird hypothetical, but honestly I think it would come down to how the coalition negotiations went, where the good faith if any was, and what the numbers were. For instance is this a minority L/NZF govt? Would the Greens be bound into anything else if they gave C and S? Too many variables.

        I can tell you one thing though. The Greens won’t be supporting a National govt. I also think it’s extremely unlikely (nigh on impossible barring things we don’t know yet) that the Greens would force a new election. So if the National don’t have the numbers I expect Labour to form a govt to the best of its ability. Whether they do right by the Greens is the test still to come.

        • alwyn 6.3.1.1

          Thank you for the reply. I was thinking of the case where Labour and the Green Party alone couldn’t form a Government but that either Labour, the Greens and NZF could OR that National and NZF could. The case if the latest polls actually were reality.
          I am a cynic as far as Winston goes. I think he could go either way depending upon what is in it for Winston. I can’t see him being happy to be number 3 in a Troika though. It wouldn’t be called blackmail of course. He would say that it was only in the interests of New Zealand getting a stable Government.

          • weka 6.3.1.1.1

            I totally think that Peters could choose National and have been saying so all year, including in posts. I just don’t think it will be the Greens fault if he does.

            “It wouldn’t be called blackmail of course. He would say that it was only in the interests of New Zealand getting a stable Government.”

            Depends on the numbers. Pretty hard to present it as stability instead of blackmail if NZF are the smaller of the 3.

            • alwyn 6.3.1.1.1.1

              “Pretty hard to present it as stability”.
              Not where the Right Honourable Winston Raymond Peters is concerned.
              Winston has had nearly 40 years of practice at presenting black as being white and white as being black.
              To think, he first entered Parliament in 1979. He alone is enough to make me think favourably of term limits for MPs.

              Oh well, Only about 28 hours and we will know the possible options.

              • weka

                Nah, the MSM didn’t buy it this time, partly because Peters was off his game, and partly because the Greens broke the spell at the start of the campaign by calling him out as racist and then saying that if NZers want a progressive got they need to not vote NZF.

                That RNZ interview did him in, I just don’t think he’s going to get away with that stuff now. Plus the whole costings fiasco. Everyone can see the Emperor’s new clothes and their bored.

                “Oh well, Only about 28 hours and we will know the possible options.”

                Or not. Votes that were done on the same day as enrolling won’t be counted tomorrow but with the specials and so won’t be known for a few weeks.

  7. Tracey 7

    Interesting post Bill. If Labour and Greens do not form the next government they need to find a way to dismantle the “me first” attitude entrenched amongst half the populace. No mean feat. The soft voters want 15 bucks a week more ahead of better hospitals, mental health, aged care, decent evidence based education, etc… and I keep asking myself which NGOs are suffering today because 11m went to a wealthy businessman without just cause

    • Carolyn_nth 7.1

      I did talk to someone recently who just seems to fear change – not so much about paying less taxes even. Just not a very good idea of the bigger picture.

      • Tracey 7.1.1

        Nats have the money to get people tapping into people’s fears. Marketing… advertising have used psychologists etc for years to work this stuff out. Despite people saying health is the most important election topic, leaving aside those with health insurance and the wealth to keep paying after 65 who dont give a shit about health, the remainder will vote for a party that have been destroying it

  8. McFlock 8

    Firstly, I think Labour’s policies are much more progressive than you give them credit for, especially when you look at their preferred coalition partner. Why would we bother looking beyond Labour’s manifesto? Because Labour realise they don’t live in a vacuum. They need coalition partners, and those coalition partners need to occupy a complementary space, not a competing one. They made the MoU with the Greens, not with winston.

    Secondly, despite the hype I think the “jacindamania” thing is more about leadership providing energy and invigoration to the party, rather than being a cult of personality “Jacinda will save us” thing. Labour will live without Jacinda as leader, unlike Alliance or NZ1.

    Thirdly, for those who are hero-worshipping, yes there will be deflation. But it won’t be the death of Labour, or even a pop.

    Fourthly, “internal party coup”? Doubtful, given Little’s polling. Who would want that poisoned cup? But either way, you can’t argue with the fact that the leadership change worked – I expected Labour to be maybe even twenty points lower than they are now.

    • lprent 8.1

      I’m less inclined to view as a coup now that I have gained more feedback. It sounds like Little had been toying with the idea and speaking to others about standing down earlier. Which in political terms is roughly the equivalent of handing out the knife and exposing the throat.

      I still think that it was outright luck that it actually worked.

      • red-blooded 8.1.1

        Outright luck? Presumably he knew Ardern’s strengths and qualities better than most of us who comment here. I for one knew little about her and was even a bit disparaging at first. Resigning when he did was certainly a risky strategy, but he clearly knew he would lose badly and that there was a better alternative who could be encouraged to come forward if needed. Good on him – and good on her.

        • lprent 8.1.1.1

          Sure. Little would have known her strengths and weaknesses better than I did.

          I’ve been around Jacinda in the electorate and rate her very highly as well. Something that is very rare for me (ask Helen Clark 🙂 ). However I have also been around several MPs placed in leadership positions and know just how frigging easy it is to make a single election or party turning mistake.

          Starting off being placed in that position for the first time without even having had any ministerial experience a few weeks before the election is simply a unexpected bladder failure idea. Even when it isn’t me having to work directly to support them.

          I’m not even going to mention the numbers of times when that same late stage strategy has been tried overseas and completely failed disastrously with far more experienced politicians.

          It was a gamble that paid off even before we see any results because she hasn’t put a serious foot wrong, and I’m pretty sure it is going to be one that goes down in the record books and the political studies case studies.

          It was still outright luck. I suspect that the only reason it worked was because of the sheer surprise on Nationals part. They had never considered it as an option and so didn’t have any working strategy to deal with the change in primary target. And that showed in how inept their first weeks of attack were. So Jacinda got a foothold and didn’t screw up enough to lose it.

          I can guarantee that National will never again be caught flatfooted like that again. Labour should start thinking about it as well as a tactic that could be used against them.

          • Ad 8.1.1.1.1

            You should hold the Greens leadership to the same high standards.

            Some call it luck.

            The rest call it the right person at the right time with the right skill doing the right thing. And you already know her name.

      • patricia bremner 8.1.2

        What is missing in your summations is the decency of the two people concerned.

        Andrew Little is an upstanding reliable person, not a sacrificial lamb.

        Jacinda is genuine and it shows, people get it. Together they managed the changeover.

        We have been soured by dirty politics and tend to anticipate plots.

        As for the Greens, Metiria gave msm ammunition, and Labour no warning.

        Jacinda’s move to stop the bleeding will always rankle with some.

        However I’m sure she will work well with any groups to form a government.

        I’m amazed at the bitter tone tonight. The Greens have their best chance to be part of a progressive government.

        Are you pleased.?? No, just snotty as usual. Some of you making bridges for rivers we haven’t reached yet.

        The use of words like bubble tinker superficial veneer say it all.

        No trust, no belief, just bitter old baggage. For the people, move on.

        I’ll probably be told I’m way out of line, but boy I’m bloody angry!!

        Those people have worked for us, and it still isn’t enough!!!

  9. roy cartland 9

    Was thinking a similar thing Bill, but more along these lines:

    We’ll never win. Even if we do, it won’t be good enough. Not because we’re miserable pessimists, but because we care enough about others to keep the struggle up until EVERY last person has what they need in terms of love, justice, fairness, health, wealth and happiness. Utopia, in other words.

    Yes it may be a mirage, but it’s like Zeno’s paradox: we can always get that bit closer even if we never arrive. It’s the trying that makes us us.

  10. To me the doomers are never correct – in politics or life. Too often judgments are made with little or no information or that the future will always be like the past. You look at the past to move to the future means the opposite of being bound by the past – it is a freeing up not a tightening down.

    For me – I have really disliked labour for years since the foreshore and seabed and other bits and bobs. I too like many here have poo pooed their efforts and have minimised their attitude and their intention.

    Jacinda has given me hope – in fact with all of the green supporters disgustingly ripping into labour on this site I seriously considered voting for them. The attitude of scarcity is not actually the way I see the world. The morose “we are all doomed” stuff is not how the world works – it is just a reflection of despair.

    I am confident that the future will occur and it will be filled with things I can and cannot imagine. Now, I want the gnats out. On Sunday if they aren’t out I am placing the blame squarely where I think it rests.

  11. But I don’t know of any left or progressive arguments that do.

    Reality tells us that we need to limit immigration. Something that even progressives need to take into account.

    We cannot afford to have millions of people suddenly immigrating here. Hell, we don’t even know how many people that the country can sustainably support.

  12. Incognito 12

    Labour has some good policies but I don’t regard them as particularly bold or progressive – they don’t really have to be. They changed horses very late in the race and surprised everybody including themselves. They may surprise us again and more, who knows.

    Labour, the Caucus and the Party, will have to make choices (as we all do) and they may decide to follow the ‘winds of change’ or actively resist these and desperately cling to status quo like National does.

    It won’t end on 23 September 2017 and New Zealand cannot be seen in isolation – similar forces are at work all over the world. Dame Anne Salmond said that we shape the future. I don’t think this is wholly accurate; we change our ‘stories’ as we go, as story tellers and as story characters.

    This comment didn’t come out quite as nice as I would have hoped but this is the gist of my thinking (and hope).

    Very good post, BTW.

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