Why Labour is not shifting to the centre

Written By: - Date published: 7:59 am, March 20th, 2012 - 55 comments
Categories: david shearer, labour - Tags:

Surprising title given the discussion of here and elsewhere? Yeah, I know.

But I want to contribute two things to the discussion. First, Shearer’s speech did not signal a shift in policy to the centre. Second, Labour does not need to shift to the centre in policy.

I think assertions that Labour needs to shift to the centre mischaracterize the problem. The problem wasn’t the policy; it was the salesmanship and messaging.

Labour allowed itself to be painted by the Nats as for minorities and the vulnerable. Absolutely we are. But we are also for everyone. An overwelming majority of New Zealanders don’t earn enough to live fulfilling lives. Labour is for them also: well we should be. Did we sound like we were in the election campaign?

What needs to change is not the policies but how we sell them.

We need to talk about growing wages: of which the $15 minimum wage is part.

We need to talk about increasing secure, stable work and heading  towards full employment: of which increasing the family benefit and changing employment laws is part. If we want to catch up to Australia- shouldn’t we adopt their industrial relations policy?

One set of messages is inclusive. The other, great policy, but not going to get enough people to vote for you: people who perhaps don’t reflect on politics much; or are disengaged from the process; or swing vote.

I think Shearer’s speech was more about narrative building than necessarily a policy shift.  The policy wasn’t the problem. The caucus, council and membership support the policies (for the most part). Shearer just needs to sell them better. I think the speech was about constructing the basis for a shift in messaging- not a shift in policy.

Or am I young and optimistic?

55 comments on “Why Labour is not shifting to the centre”

  1. Gosman 1

    Some real comedy gems here.

    “The problem wasn’t the policy; it was the salesmanship and messaging.”

    One step away from blaming the media but even given that what exactly was wrong with the way the message was presented? All of those points you raised were also raised during the election campaign.

    “An overwelming majority of New Zealanders don’t earn enough to live fulfilling lives.”

    Kind of a patronising tone there. Maybe that is what is wrong with the way Labour’s message is being presented.

    “If we want to catch up to Australia- shouldn’t we adopt their industrial relations policy?”

    Perhaps, or perhaps we should adopt their mineral extraction policy. Certainly there is no evidence that I have seen that suggests just adopting a more structured industrial relations policy alone leads to better outcomes.

    “Or am I young and optimistic?”

    There are a few other words that spring to mind as well.

    • Jimmy Reid 1.1

      Um, Gosman. Ok. Read into it what you like.

      “One step away from blaming the media but even given that what exactly was wrong with the way the message was presented? All of those points you raised were also raised during the election campaign.”

      No I rather explicitly blame Labour’s campaign. It was appallingly messaged and had no narrative. That’s Labour’s fault. No one elses.

      “An overwelming majority of New Zealanders don’t earn enough to live fulfilling lives. Kind of a patronising tone there. Maybe that is what is wrong with the way Labour’s message is being presented.”

      How so? It’s a factual statement. NZers are increasingly working longer for less and where is the time for “a life”. Work isn’t a life; its part of one.

      And, Gosman, if you think the minerals is the reason everyone across all industries earns more then you need to have another look.

    • Spratwax 1.2

      I agree with Gosman- better to not be straight up with the voters when revealing policy and direction and just leave out your real intentions- the stuff voters won’t want to hear- until you get voted back in for a second term.

      Question: If Australia was the same size as NZ, and had the same type (and amount) of mineral wealth as us, would they have the same mineral extraction policy? Brainless RWNJ dickheads like Gosman would say ‘Yes’.

        • Spratwax 1.2.1.1

          Mining 500-1500kms from the nearest cities/large populations (Aus)as opposed to 20-100km in seismically active terrain, barren land vs land with native flora/fauna, strictly regulated (safety) industry vs the ‘wild west’ regulations of nz (remember Pike River?). Economists aided and abetted the economic meltdown the world experienced -and is still experiencing- give me a break! Idiot!

          • TighyRighty 1.2.1.1.1

            Worst spin response ever. Are you still saying that Australians are all rwnj dick heads? Or did you look at an atlas and think your ability to understand scale somehow trumps my economic commentary?

            • Puddleglum 1.2.1.1.2.1

              Sadly, some academic economists were up to their eyeballs in the events and causes of the financial crisis. Many took the trouble to write the arcane formulae for the derivatives used while others took it upon themselves to justify the practices (including writing reports recommending various forms of financial liberalisation).

              If you want to see ‘stellar’ academic economists thoroughly embarrassed on this issue by excellent interviewing techniques you should watch ‘Inside Job‘ (as I’m sure you have).

        • Jackal 1.2.1.2

          Considering the problems Australia is currently having, both environmentally and politically because of their mining policies, no we should not follow their lead that is promoted by idiotic trickle down theories. Our clean and green New Zealand is worth more than a hole in the desert.

        • fisiani 1.2.1.3

          They don’t want to read such eminent good sense. Every reasonable person knows that the Centre-Right policy being pursued here borrows good ideas from Australia such as getting more value from under the ground and letting parents know how good the local schools are. Both policies are not Right they are just right.

  2. Gosman 2

    Anyway it has been nice visiting you guys. Must take a break.

  3. just saying 3

    Or am I young and optimistic?

    Yes, but those are good things to be.

  4. If_you_see_Kay 4

    The election was mismanaged and many of the Labour Party advisors need to be replaced with younger and/or smarter versions. Perhaps you, Jimmy?

    Poor old Phil never stood a chance when his support crew was selected from the moron hordes of the Wellington pseudo-Left mediocracy.

    • shorts 4.1

      Labour needs a leader that doesn’t listen to the support crew full stop – they seem to be the problem

      not the parties policies…. the constant flip flopping… the mimicking of National… all seem from my outsiders perspective to be driven by faceless morons who don’t live in the same country nor world those who have given up on Labour do

      lead… don’t follow and who knows the country might actually support the party

  5. Squirrel 5

    Great to hear someone on the left talking about narrative. The right is masterful at creating narratives which selectively use the truth to make the left look bad. Nanny state, dole bludgers, bad parents, bad teachers.

    I think the left needs to build its own set of narratives eg, low wage economy, nats can’t manage the economy, poverty is not the fault of the individual. And we need to push these messages through the media and our marketing. We need to work over the medium to long term to move the debate to the left. The public like what we stand for eg high quality health care, eradicating poverty, decent social services, we just need to remind them what we stand for and how we differ from the nats.

    I think Shearer’s speech was weak and unappealing. And frankly I don’t have much confidence he has the vision or drive to revitalise the Labour party.

    • aerobubble 5.1

      I agree. But why would Nat-lite want to alienate big money and lose a chance at a nice boardroom job come time Labour loses power. Labour MPs are ‘selected’ not by the rank and file, or constituencies, they are chosen like Shearer, then given a list placing, on to find themselves MPs in govt.

      List seats need to be chosen by the voters, NO! NO! not like they do in Australian with a horrendous list choosing full single finger salute to the Ozzie voter, no. List rankings should be decided by the number of votes received at the election.

      But then the problem of the upper chamber, because MPs won’t have expertise (the list was supposed to put experience individuals into parliament to make up for the loss of a upper chamber), we’d need to reintroduce a upper chamber NO!NO! not like Australia, we need one like the UK with worthy sitting citizens.

      So nothing is going to change, we will continue to get the odd Mr 50,000, no, 100,000 as PM, who followed the Labour pm who stopped NZs getting benefit in Oz.

      And what a complete frak up, National gave us deregulated housing, now we get leaky strata polluting out under water acquifers for generations to come. Does parliament have any checks and balances, NO! Because if would require NZ to actually fund a parliament by having two chambers and then making sure they are forced to work by fear of a back bench revolt. Not going to happen.

      So what’s a citizen to do? Well what are NZers doing. They leave, they piss about, they corner a local monopoly and go hunting, who gives a toss about poverty, or leaky homes, leaky substrata, earthquake prone cities, etc.

      And why, at the emotional core of every NZ is they hate themselves for living in such a bueatiful country, its a surviver type guilt thing.

      • Australians do not choose list seats, they vote in STV elections for each electorate.

        Voting directly to determine a party’s list is called an “open list” system, more specifically, it’s a “most open list” that’s directly determined during the election.

  6. Tom Gould 6

    I think you are correct to characterise the speech as the start of shifting the narrative. Take the recent announcement of local government reforms for example. This is characterised as limiting rates rises and excessive salaries, and focusing on basic services first, messages that will resonate with a great number of people. The outcome may be different, the motivations may be ideologocal, but the messaging will connect. These Tories seem to get that they are primarily politicians whereas too many in Labour seem to think they are in a perpetual policy workshop.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      These Tories seem to get that they are primarily politicians whereas too many in Labour seem to think they are in a perpetual policy workshop.

      This.

  7. Con 7

    If you haven’t read Giovanni Tiso’s latest, you should.

    This is what the abdication of leadership – both political and moral – will achieve over time.

  8. Blue 8

    We can’t say for certain that Labour is shifting to the centre until we see some policy. But the noises Shearer has been making so far do sound decidedly centrist.

    It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Labour is a centre-left party. It all comes down to the policy. That’s when we will find out what’s really going on.

    • Con 8.1

      But if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck …

    • Colonial Viper 8.2

      It’s not necessarily a bad thing. Labour is a centre-left party. It all comes down to the policy. That’s when we will find out what’s really going on.

      The version of “centre left” you are talking about would have been considered Right Wing Radicalism just 30 years ago.

  9. Peter Pumpkinhead 9

    We already have a centre left party – the Nats, and two communist parties, the Greens and you guys.

    Do what you will, it is all irrelevent and what’s worse, immoral.

    If you are aiming for politics, Jimmeh, its worth noting that you have described your target audience as being distinctly:

    “Labour allowed itself to be painted by the Nats as for minorities and the vulnerable. Absolutely we are. But we are also for everyone. An overwelming majority of New Zealanders don’t earn enough to live fulfilling lives. Labour is for them also..”

    You are saying you are for minorities, the vulnerable, and the poor?
    How are these things defined?

  10. KJT 10

    It would be nice if Labour did shift back towards the centre.
     
    Instead of, further, towards the radical right.

  11. ad 11

    The speechwriter John Pagani has a lot to answer for, principally in lost opportunity, because the speech largely forgot to address:

    (a) the current Government’s:

    – Comprehensive reform of the entire state sector
    – Absence of a political plan or an economic developmetn plan
    – Inability to make a visible difference in anyone’s lives, particularly in tax cuts
    – Poor response to Christchurch recovery and rebuild, particularly with a Japanese comparator from the same time

    (b) the purpose of Labour government within the state and the country:

    – The role of business within Government, and Government within business (other than the usual platitudes about innovation), and the limits to this
    – The purpose of an engaged social democracy, as against turning the country into one giant cost-focussed business
    – In the absence of a vision that’s he’s so afraid of, at least the time horizon for making a visible difference to New Zealanders’ lives
    – The role of cities, since they dominate how most of New Zealand lives
    – His ability to work with the Greens, since they are permanent feature in the political landscape now
    – Whether in fact he can lead a Labour Party without any organised labour, without the teachers, and without beneficiaries (collectviely better known as the core voting and activist and funding base of the entire party), since he spends most of his time alienating them

    (c) Any recognition that he stands on the shoulders of giants of previous Labour administrations the foundations of which actuallu built most of what is positive and progressive in New Zealand.

    The left-right debate is immaterial when set against whether it was a speech that asserted clear and bold leadership that excited people across the country. That’s the immediate measure of success.

    I await the next round of polls for that measure.

  12. Kevin 12

    Text of David Shearers March 15 speech:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/6580075/David-Shearers-full-March-15-speech.

    In his speech David indicated a desire to move on from an earlier Goff promise of a $5000 tax free zone, that in itself signals that Labour is refocussing from a tax driven stimulus package onto a more centrist philosophy of improved educational opportunities and greater self determination ie less welfare dependence.

    • Colonial Viper 12.1

      a more centrist philosophy of improved educational opportunities and greater self determination ie less welfare dependence.

      How is having more degree qualified unemployed people with big student debts going to reduce welfare dependence?

  13. fatty 13

    “Or am I young and optimistic?”

    Optimism sounds like aspiration to me…which is also too close to Paula Bennett’s sickness of delusion for me.
    Its time to be critical, and that means being critical of Shearer, being critical of centrism and being critical of our society in general.

    You don’t fix a broken car by improving the parts that are working.

  14. fatty 14

    ***Although don’t be too critical of David Shearer…my last post got deleted and now I have to prove I am not a robot in order to post my opinion***

    Perhaps my next post should mention how Shearer is a nice guy and has a smile and wave that is up there with John Key’s…

  15. Macro 15

    No Labour doesn’t need to shift to the centre –
    They are already there! They ceased to be a party of the left long ago.
    They had the opportunity under Helen Clark to more back to their roots – made a feeble attempt when first elected (and when they truly had a mandate to do so). The rest of the time they spent trying to stay in power.
    What a load of apologetic tripe.

  16. queenstfarmer 16

    Why Labour is not shifting to the centre

    That’s the title of your post, but you don’t seem to have actually provided any reason why it isn’t.

    Labour under Shearer is clearly moving to the centre. He’s walked back the high-earner tax, the CGT-as-a-cash-cow tax, signalled that CGT revenue could be used to lower other taxes, dropped the $5,000 tax free idea, dropped the GST-free vegetable nonsense, continues to refuse to clearly side with the wharfies, signalled a focus on teacher performance and suggested a tightening of welfare policy. All good things that clearly evidence a move away from ideologically left positions.

    So on what basis is there not a clear shift to the center?

  17. coolas 17

    I’m with Macro and others on this – Labour no longer champions the working class as evidenced by its silence in the POA dispute. This is an issue of capitalist destruction of workers. But the polls probably show support for management. I wish they’d stop making up policy through polling and have some ethnic. As Warren Buffet famously said, ‘there’s a war going on (between haves and have-nots) and we’re winning.’ Labour should be firmly the party of the working class which means a graduated scale of high taxation of excess individual wealth and a program of re-distribution in health, education and training, and meaningful job creation by direct investment in industry and manufacturing.

    Shearer’s much awaited speech was a mish-mash of platitudes and so like John Key’s ‘aspirational’ diatribe I can’t help thinking the Labour boffins have adopted his approach as the winning formula.

    ‘Young and optimistic?’ Lucky boy! I’m old and pessimistic that Labour have sold their soul for the price of power.

  18. George D 18

    Prove it.

    • coolas 18.1

      POA dispute. You show me where Labour is defending the workers against ‘contracting out’ which breaks the power of collective bargaining; a fundamental tool in securing better working conditions, hard fought for by early Labour Governments. Workers rights should be the ‘soul’ of the Labour party but anti-unionism is popular right now so Labour are silent. Get it. Policy by popularism not principle.

      • Jimmy Reid 18.1.1

        Yes because this is anti-worker. We’re not helping unions at all with this policy:

        As a minimum, Labour will extend the right to organise and collectively bargain to contractors who are primarily selling their labour, as well as ensuring an effective and cheap disputes resolution procedure.

        An Industry Standard Agreement will be a collective agreement representing the employment „standards‟ in the particular industry, agreed in the first instance between unions and employer organisations in the defined industry. Through the Industry Standard Agreement, these standards would be „extended‟ to all workers in the industry, providing a set of minimum pay and conditions, based on genuine negotiations in other parts of the industry.

        Labour will repeal the National Government‟s unfair laws where workers can be fired without cause in their first 90 days of employment, and the restrictions on the access for workers to their unions in the workplace.

        Labour will restore reinstatement as the primary remedy when an employee has been unjustifiably dismissed, along with the test of justification.

        Labour will amend the Holidays Act to 2008 settings to protect the rights of workers to time off for rest and recreation and ensure that all NZ workers have access to 11 days off on pay for recognised public holidays, including Anzac and Waitangi Day.

        Labour will strengthen collective bargaining by amending the Employment Relations Act to provide greater legislative support, including multi-employer collective bargaining.

        Labour will enable unions and employers to set up systems in which all workers contribute to the benefits of enterprise and multi-enterprise bargaining.

        Labour will defend decent jobs against outsourcing and reduced terms and conditions by providing for the right to strike when a collective agreement is in force where the employer makes a significant proposal for restructuring or outsourcing that in effect renders the collective agreement ineffective.

        Labour will provide certainty for employers and employees in situations of redundancy by implementing the recommendations of the 2008 Ministerial Advisory Group report on redundancy and restructuring.

        Labour will ensure that workers employed in precarious forms of employment (such as labour hire, casual employment and contracting) are given similar rights to those in more traditional forms of employment.

        Labour will also investigate and implement best practice statutory support and legal rights for dependent contractors, including minimum wage protection and other rights.

        Labour will repeal the National Government‟s changes to the Employment Relations Act in regard to workers in the film and video production industries.

        http://www.interest.co.nz/news/54333/election-2011-party-policies-industrial-relations

        • coolas 18.1.1.1

          ‘Labour will extend the right to organise and collectively bargain to contractors who are primarily selling their labour’

          Am I missing something here?

          Contracting is the creation of a ‘market-place’ for employers to pick and choose labour on demand – workers as just another resource to be got at the lowest price. Do you really think an employer will choose a worker who belongs to an organisation that collectively bargains over one who does not?

          Show me where Labour intends to make it compulsory for all workers to join organisations that collectively bargain, because only then can you say Labour sincerely represents the best interests workers. Otherwise Labour are supporting the ‘divide and rule’ attitude towards workers, amply demonstrated by the POA dispute.

          All I’m saying is stick to the principles/ethics. There’s a war going on between rich and poor and I want to see the Labour party unequivocally come out on the side of the poor, not this softly, softly, let’s not upset the middle class, swing voters, who aspire to be rich approach.

        • KJT 18.1.1.2

          Where is the restoration of the right to withdraw your labour, including in support of other workers.

          A freedom the parties of “individual freedom” were very quick to remove
          Without that, all the other stuff is a waste of time.
           
          Fixing the fuckups of the last 30 years will not happen by tinkering around the edges!

          You are correct. Labour is not moving to the right.

          They are already there!

        • rosy 18.1.1.3

          Hate to say it Jimmy… but that is so last year. It’s what they’re going to go into the next election that we need to know. Shearer has indicated that all policies are up for grabs, so at the moment we can’t say where Labour stands.

  19. Populuxe1 19

    Labour is shifting to the centre – not an impartial ideological centre, but the populist centre. National’s victory in the last two elections show’s that what the electorate considers “mainstream” has taken a big step to the right. I don’t like it, but it’s Realpolitik.

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      The electorate hasn’t taken a big step to the Right. This is not about a change in peoples’ politics.

      Its about a change in who participates in politics. And who doesn’t, any more. And basically the working class and the underclass cant be fucked turning out for Labour any more.

      • Populuxe1 19.1.1

        Is your understanding of political theory really that naive? People’s politics change all the time depending on their circumstances (hint: not everyone is a dogmatic classical Marxist supported by their wife’s money). Society is in constant flux. Especially in uncertain times of crisis, people instinctively (if irrationally) move to the Right. The vast majority of the electorate are ideologically in the vicinity of whatever is perceived to be the centre and very few are rabid ideologues like you, or ACT.

        And basically the working class and the underclass cant be fucked turning out for Labour any more.

        Au contraire – their lack of engagement will lead to them being fucked like they’ve never been fucked before.

        • Colonial Viper 19.1.1.1

          I’m supported by my wife’s parents’ money thanks. Details are important.

          Especially in uncertain times of crisis, people instinctively (if irrationally) move to the Right.

          During the Great Depression the NZ people voted Savage in.

          • Populuxe1 19.1.1.1.1

            …And Germany voted Nazi when their economy collapsed and the Soviets threatened. And Thatcher and Reagan were largely boosted to power by the Cold War.

            • Colonial Viper 19.1.1.1.1.1

              So were you referring to German politics or UK politics? I personally thought we were talking about the character of the NZ people in desperate and uncertain times, so I gave you a NZ example.

              • Populuxe1

                Why would we be any different? Are you so addled that you think us to be closer to the angels than the beasts? But have it your way: Muldoon.

            • Con 19.1.1.1.1.2

              During the Great Depression the French got rid of one government through civil unrest and elected a radical left Popular Front in its place.
              In the United States, the New Deal was clearly a dramatic turn to the left.
              Note also that in Germany the Great Depression saw the rise of the extreme left PKD as well as the Nazi Party. The Nazis never obtained a majority popular vote; they first led a minority government, and later established their dictatorship through a coup d’etat.
               
               
               

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    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    5 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    5 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    5 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    6 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    7 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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