Why UK Labour lost? Part 6: New Labour & Blairism

Written By: - Date published: 10:39 am, January 15th, 2020 - 10 comments
Categories: Austerity, Brexit, Jeremy Corbyn, politicans, Politics, uk politics - Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

In 2017 Tony Blair, Alistair Campbell and those in Labour who had never accepted Jeremy Corbyn being elected party leader had their speeches prepared. Worst defeat since 1983. “Look, this just shows that Labour can’t get elected if you move too far to the left. You need to have a leader who is moderate, sensible and can win the centre.”

On election night in 2017, UK Labour’s vote increased significantly, getting it to within a stones throw of government. The 9% increase in Labours vote was the largest in the Party’s history, and got Labour to within a percentage point of the Conservatives. The Blairites were in total shock.. Those sanctimonious, condescending speeches about the virtues of centrism never got made. Not on election night. But those who opposed Corbyn, still never accepted him as leader, and used every tactic they could to undermine him. Even tactics that would do long term harm to the party. 

December 13 2019. Labour is defeated in the general election. As the election results come in Alistair Campbell is on the BBC saying this is a defeat not “just for Corbyn, but for the politics he represents.” Campbell’s analysis does not explain Labour’s increased vote in 2017. Nor does he show any atonement for the fact that he and his allies were the primary advocates of Labour taking a more remain position on Brexit.

A few days later Labour Tony Blair made a speech saying Labour had become “a glorified protest movement” with no chance of being elected to government. He added that Labour would be replaced as an electoral force if it didn’t change. This was nothing new from Blair. Again he failed to acknowledge the increase in votes in 2017, and the fact that even in 2019 Labour won more votes than the Party had under his leadership in 2005. Blair’s critique of Corbyn and Labour’s indecisiveness on Brexit is justified. However the remain position Blair advocated Labour take on Brexit was not one that Labour could ever win on. 

 

For those who had been part of the New Labour project, the election of Corbyn never made any sense. In fact for most MPs, or people who had held leadership positions in the party prior to 2015, Corbyn’s leadership and the change within the Party was treated with distain.

The 3rd way crew within Labour had an agenda to push. Since Corbyn’s election they have been working overtime to get rid of him, but more importantly the political change he represented.  The 2019 election loss has given this wing of the Party an opportunity to repeat their tired message with renewed vigour. But their analysis wilfully ignores the 2017 election result, or the impact the 2nd referendum position had on Labour’s vote. After an election people often interpret the results the way they want to interpret them. But to judge the 2019 result without atoning for the 2017 outcome, their arguments lack credibility.

Fact is that the world has moved on from the 1980s and 90s. Politics certainly has. The types of 3rd way or centre/centre right positions that Blair and Campbell think will win just won’t anymore. Change UK, formed by 3rd way MPs from both Labour and Conservative Parties sunk like a stone after being formed in early 2019. The Liberal Democrats result in December 2019, though increasing in votes, was still a very distant 3rd place on 11.4%. And in terms of seats the Lib Dems lost ground, with Party Leader Jo Swinson losing in her own Constituency.

Labour need to accept that after an election they got things wrong and things need to change. But there is little evidence that going back to pre 2015 Labour/New Labour policies and tactics will work. If anything, it’s that which would really harm Labour’s viability as an electoral force.

As a major political party in a democracy, it is normal that there are differences of opinion within Labour. Further there is a place for those more centrist members within the party. However that many of them have showed a) an inability accept the 2015 leadership result and b) have undermined both the leader and party policies do also shoulder much of the blame for the election loss.

In particular, former deputy Labour Leader Tom Watson spent the last few years acting like the faction leader for Labour First, and not a deputy. It was fine for Watson to support a stronger remain position within Labour. It was fine for him to hold different views to Corbyn on various issues. It was not ok for the Deputy leader to act as a faction leader rather than do his job. But thats what he did. Watson recently did an interview with the Guardian talking about the pressure he was under, causing him to leave parliament just before the election. In particular he talks of a death threat he received. Nobody should have to go through that. However, Watson acted in a divisive manner as Deputy Leader and upset and demoralised many Labour supporters.

Image result for Tom Watson

Labour’s former Deputy Leader Tom Watson

Progress and Labour First factions within the Parliamentary Labour Party need to accept they contributed to the loss, as much as Corbyn and his allies. They have been unable to adapt or evolve their politics to the realities of 21st century Britain.

They have failed to understand how a decade of austerity has meant the aspirational or radical centre positioning of the 1990s won’t work. Specifically for younger voters who are now considerably worse off than their parents generation, a social democratic or Keynesian manifesto has considerably more appeal than the 3rd way. They still cannot understand the youth-quake of 2017, nor indeed the strong support for Labour with voters under 40 in the 2019 election. 

The 3rd way factions of Labour have also failed to understand the rise of English Nationalism. Specifically, that the positions they have advocated regarding membership of the European Union have been rejected by the electorate. 

Progress and Labour First MPs and members in the Party are as much to blame for Labour’s fortunes as those on the left of the Party. But Momentum, and those on the left of the party who predominately backed Jeremy Corbyn, also made a number of mistakes which contributed to the loss. The next post in this series will look at this.

Previous posts in this series

Why UK Labour Lost? Part 1: Historical Context

Why UK Labour lost? Part 2: UK Labour’s strange loyalty to First Past the Post

Why UK Labour lost? Part 3: Its Brexit Innit

Why UK Labour lost? Part 4: Oooo Jeremy Corbyn

Why UK Labour lost? Part 5: Antisemitism

10 comments on “Why UK Labour lost? Part 6: New Labour & Blairism ”

  1. Climaction 1

    Part 6 in what really should be called why it’s everybody else’s fault but Corbyn.

    It’s hilariously naive to point fingers at factions within labour as part of the reason why labour lost and Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t able to govern. If he can’t govern his party, which is aligned with Corbyn against the opposition and which obviously wants to win elections as a whole, how can he govern a country where more than 50% of the population prefer someone else governing?

  2. Dennis Frank 2

    As a dispassionate kiwi observer, I view Labour factionalism as a genuine phenomenon. We ought to keep in mind that the Russian Social Democrat Party split in 1903, and leftist politics has been schismatic ever since. Here, in the 1970s, we had the Values Party schism, and then Labour had its own schism post-Rogernomics in the late '80s.

    Expecting Corbyn to corral leftist splitters into one herd is therefore unrealistic. That would only be possible to the extent that faction leaders agreed to collaborate on the basis of common ground. Did they? If not, why not? If so, can anyone spell out the consequent political program in a single sentence?

    If nobody does so in response, you can all draw the conclusion that lack of consensus in Labour resulted in lack of a competitive alternative to `get Brexit done'. Labour had no succinct concise position, right? If you can't summarise it into a sentence, how the hell are you ever gonna distill a winning electoral slogan??!

    Anyway, I'll recycle this link that was posted to Open Mike since it is a superb analysis and essential reading, imo: https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2020/01/13/the-center-blows-itself-up-care-and-spite-in-the-brexit-election/

    First, check out the vote by age graphic from YouGov! Then regional Brexitism: " For many working-class Northerners in their sixties, the first vote they ever cast was in the Common Market referendum of 1975, in which a majority of Britons declared in favor of the European project. Most experienced the next forty or so years largely as a sequence of disasters. In 2016 they turned against the “Eurocrats,” then watched in dismay as the entire political class proceeded to engage in endless and increasingly absurd procedural ballet that appeared designed to reverse their decision."

    "The UK is currently home to roughly 312,000 accountants—an extraordinarily high percentage of the working population. (Together with the nearly 150,000 British lawyers, they constitute a significant portion of the total workforce.)" Revenge on the nerds?

    "This simultaneous embrace of markets, and of rules and regulations, represents the soul of what’s sometimes called “centrism.”" Maybe in Britain, but here we call it neoliberalism. The writer seems unaware that the Greens invented progressive centrism in the early '80s, via their slogan `neither left nor right, but in front'. Or maybe he's trying to tacitly assert, in a passive aggressive way, that British politicos were too stupid to get it at the time and have remained inadequate ever since…

  3. Gosman 3

    If the analysis here is reflective of what the UK Labour party will go through in their post mortem of the 2019 election then they won't learn anything useful from it. All the major problems either are the fault of external forces like Brexit or because the Labour party wasn't united enough. This is fine by me as it means they will continue to make the same mistakes again.

  4. Dennis Frank 4

    Worth pointing to the culture change in Labour: "The problem was that the party quickly began to change, as tens of thousands of older leftists who had quit the party under Blair and hundreds of thousands of young people began to swell the ranks of local chapters known as “Constituency Labour Party” (CLPs)—inspired by the call from Corbyn and his circle to turn the party back into a social movement. This meant making local CLPs forums of democratic debate, and imagining ways to coordinate between the “extra-parliamentary left”—the peace movement, the housing movement, the climate movement—and those working within the system. It was, in short, an attempt to move away from the politics of personality to one of bottom-up, grassroots democracy."

    "As such, Corbyn’s own lack of conventional charisma was an asset. Suddenly the left was not only teeming with ideas and vision—four-day work weeks, new democratized forms of public ownership, green industrial revolutions—but there was also a feeling that at least some of these things might, for once, actually happen." https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2020/01/13/the-center-blows-itself-up-care-and-spite-in-the-brexit-election/

    Given the huge demographic shift that's happening, and the historical momentum in the pipeline that it provides, I can't see Labour centrists prospering from their factionalism! "Centrists, after all, consider themselves pragmatists. For forty years the center had been drifting steadily to starboard. So what if it jumped a ways to port? It might have been abrupt, but it’s not as though anyone was proposing the abolition of the monarchy or the nationalization of heavy industry. They could adjust. A handful even did. The panicked reaction of the majority, however, only makes sense if the threat was on a far deeper level."

    "Most sitting Labour MPs had begun as Labour youth activists themselves, just as most centrist political journalists had begun their careers as leftists, even revolutionaries, of one sort or another. But they had also risen through the ranks of Blair’s machine at a time when advancement was largely based on willingness to sacrifice one’s youthful ideals. They had become the very people they would have once despised as sell-outs."

    The gamble of third-way fakery seems to have been that no authentic alternative could emerge within Labour, and a combination of trickle-down and paternalism would make the sham effective.

    "Insofar as they dreamed of anything, now, it was of finding some British equivalent of Barack Obama, a leader who looked and acted so much like a visionary, who had so perfected the gestures and intonations, that it never occurred to anyone to ask what that vision actually was (since the vision was, precisely, not to have a vision). Suddenly, they found themselves saddled with a scruffy teetotaling vegan who said exactly what he really thought, and inspired a new generation of activists to dream of changing the world. If those activists were not naive, if this man was not unelectable, the centrists’ entire lives had been a lie. They hadn’t really accepted reality at all. They really were just sellouts."

    "One could even go further: the most passionate opposition to Corbynism came from men and women in their forties, fifties, and sixties. They represented the last generation in which any significant number of young radicals even had the option of selling out, in the sense of becoming secure property-owning bastions of the status quo. Not only had that door closed behind them; they were the ones largely responsible for having closed it. They were, for instance, products of what was once the finest free higher education system in the world—having attended schools like Oxford and Cambridge plush with generous state-provided stipends—who had decided their own children and grandchildren would be better off attending university while moonlighting as baristas or sex workers, then starting their professional lives weighted by tens of thousands of pounds in student debt."

    "If the Corbynistas were right, and none of this had really been necessary, were these politicians not guilty of historic crimes? It’s hard to understand the bizarre obsession with the idea that left Labour youth groups like Momentum—about the most mild-mannered batch of revolutionaries one could imagine—would somehow end up marching them all off to the gulag, without the possibility that in the back of their minds, many secretly suspected that show trials might not be entirely inappropriate. This, at least, would help explain the unrelenting nature of the hostility to Corbyn and the youth movement he represented."

    You bet. Labour politics as Game of Thrones melodrama via intergenerational betrayal and exploitation. Eat the young instead of eat the rich. Now Corbyn ought to grandfather himself: take a back-room role & mastermind the relegation of those guilty – not to a gulag, but out to pasture.

    • Ad 4.1

      The article concludes:

      – that the Party policy platform was pushed by internal extremist idiots but was far to the left of anything the public could cope with;

      – the leadership had no capacity to bring internal factions together and mismanaged it to make those divisions worse;

      – had no ability to cope with opposing parts of the press and nothing to convert the press that could be;

      – was shit at Brexit from day one and Corbyn himself made it worse;

      – had nothing to unify its disparate supporters;

      – chose a radical, naive, incompetent and feckless leader who couldn't manage his way out of a paper bag;

      – completely lost its base through gross political incompetence and don't look like they will get it back …

      … but instead the article says that's all the fault of the "centrists", whatever they are.

      Corbyn ought to have done what he should have done right after the election: resign, clear out all the wretched staff who were with him, and apologize to every one of the electoral volunteers who slogged their guts out for Labour.

      • Dennis Frank 4.1.1

        Those seven items you list seem to be your own subjective take. I took a second look at the author's conclusion and found nothing there corresponding – had to scan up till I found his critique of Corbyn and even then it was ambivalent.

        "Corbyn has been widely criticized for maintaining a “wishy-washy” or indecisive position on Brexit, but from the point of view of the larger movement he represented, his position was about the only one he really could take. The Labour Left, after all, was trying to bring about dramatic social reforms, in much the way Attlee had in 1945 when he called for the creation of the NHS."

        "Ultimately, they were revolutionaries: they aimed to set the ball rolling in the direction of the democratization of all aspects of British society. But they also knew this could only happen if they came into power in informal alliance with more radical, “extra-parliamentary” street movements pushing them ever further to the left. Taking a hardcore Remain position would mean even if they did come into power (which was by no means guaranteed), it could only be in alliance with politicians who ardently opposed this larger project, and, if Brexit was indeed reversed, that they would also be faced with radical street movements not of the left but of the right—outraged Brexiteers and outright fascists pushing in exactly the opposite direction."

        "The last thing Corbyn would ever want was to be forced into a position where he would have to send in riot police to control protests against the suppression of a democratic decision. This was the real reason for the initial dilemma. But eventually he had to come around to support a second vote."

        Sounds to me that, despite the mass Blairite departures, there's still a large rightist faction within, and as leader he had to accommodate them. You may call them centrists. You may even be right to do so!

        But blaming him for not being strong enough as leader to get them into consensus is doing a Gosman. Yesterday I ended up conceding his point (to a degree) but realpolitik must always prevail over splitting (to succeed) – as with Greens/Labour here, collaboration instead of competition. I'd only fault him for being somewhat inept in managing media/public perceptions. No reframing expertise!

        • Ad 4.1.1.1

          I was concluding using his points with his shellac of self-serving cant removed.

          You're long enough in the tooth to know what Blair went through inside the Party to get to Number 1. Not only in the internal faction-building, but also massive policy platform changes, and constitutional changes.

          Corbyn and his team objectively didn't have what it takes.

  5. Ad 5

    Only successful Labour Prime Minister since Attlee was Tony Blair for 3 terms.

    He rebuilt the party. 14 years in power. Lost with the GFC in 2010.

    Labour need to learn from the winning governments, not from the perpetual political losers.

  6. pat 6

    The move to the 'Left' re policy was a non factor in the UK election result. While the policies prescribed may have appealed to many (and upset others) they were not front of mind to the overwhelming majority as they entered the polling booths (those that bothered),,,,the overwhelming factor was Brexit and everything else was subservient to that

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    TL;DR: The podcast above of the weekly ‘hoon’ webinar for paying subscribers last night features co-hosts and talking with:The Kākā’s climate correspondent talking about the National-ACT-NZ First Government’s release of its first Emissions Reduction Plan;University of Otago Foreign Relations Professor and special guest Dr Karin von ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #29 2024

    Open access notables Improving global temperature datasets to better account for non-uniform warming, Calvert, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society: To better account for spatial non-uniform trends in warming, a new GITD [global instrumental temperature dataset] was created that used maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) to combine the land surface ...
    5 days ago
  • We're back again! Join us for the weekly Hoon on YouTube Live

    Photo by Gabriel Crismariu on UnsplashWe’re back again after our mid-winter break. We’re still with the ‘new’ day of the week (Thursday rather than Friday) when we have our ‘hoon’ webinar with paying subscribers to The Kākā for an hour at 5 pm.Jump on this link on YouTube Livestream for ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • Gut Reactions.

    Trump Writes His Own Story: Would the “mainstream” media even try to reflect the horrified reaction of the MAGA crowd to the pop-pop-pop of the would-be assassin’s rifle, and Trump going down? Could it even grasp the sheer elation of the rally-goers seeing their champion rise up and punch the air, still alive, ...
    5 days ago
  • Dodging Bullets.

    Fight! Fight! Fight! Had the assassin’s bullet found its mark and killed Donald Trump, America’s descent into widespread and murderous violence – possibly spiralling-down into civil war – would have been immediate and quite possibly irreparable. The American Republic, upon whose survival liberty and democracy continue to depend, is certainly not ...
    5 days ago
  • 'Corruption First' Strikes Again

    There comes a point in all our lives when we must stop to say, “Enough is enough. We know what’s happening. We are not as stupid or as ignorant as you believe us to be. And making policies that kill or harm our people is not acceptable, Ministers.”Plausible deniability has ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    5 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy today are:The inside stories of KiwiRail’s iRex debacle, Westport’s perma-delayed flood scheme and Christchurch’s post-quake sewer rebuild, which assumed no population growth, show just how deeply sceptical senior officials in Treasury, the Ministry of ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    5 days ago
  • What's that Jack Black?

    Ah-rah, deeSoo-guh-goo-gee-goo-geeGoo-guh fli-goo gee-gooGuh fli-goo, ga-goo-buh-deeOoh, guh-goo-beeOoh-guh-guh-bee-guh-guh-beeFli-goo gee-gooA-fliguh woo-wa mama Lucifer!I’m about ready to move on, how about you?Not from the shooting, that’s bad and we definitely shouldn’t have that. But the rehabilitation of Donald J Trump? The deification of Saint Donald? As the Great Unifier?Gimme a bucket.https://yellowscene.com/2024/04/07/trump-as-jesus/Just to re-iterate, ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    5 days ago
  • June 2024: Earth’s 13th-consecutive warmest month on record

    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Jeff Masters and Bob Henson June 2024 was Earth’s warmest June since global record-keeping began in 1850 and was the planet’s 13th consecutive warmest month on record, NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, or NCEI, reported July 12. As opposed to being focused in ...
    5 days ago
  • Connecting the dots and filling the gaps in our bike network

    This is a guest post by Shaun Baker on the importance of filling the gaps in our cycling networks. It originally appeared on his blog Multimodal Adventures, and is re-posted here with kind permission. In our towns and cities in Aotearoa New Zealand, there are areas in our cycling networks ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    5 days ago
  • Webworm Down Under Photos!

    Hi,I wanted to share a few thoughts and photos from the Webworm popup and Tickled screening we held in Auckland, New Zealand last weekend.In short — it was a blast. I mean, I had a blast and I hope any of you that came also had a blast.An old friend ...
    David FarrierBy David Farrier
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:30 am on Thursday, July 18 are:News: Christchurch's sewer systems block further housing developments RNZ’s Niva ChittockAnalysis: Interislander: Treasury, MoT officials' mistrust of KiwiRail led ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Thursday, July 18

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Thursday, July 18, the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day are:Verbatim: Climate Change Minister Simon Watts held a news conference in Auckland to release the Government’s Emissions Reduction Plan, including ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • The politics of managed retreat

    Climate change deniers are now challenging the Government over a key climate change adaptation policy. That begs the question of whether New Zealand First will then support Government moves to implement processes to deal with a managed retreat for properties in danger of flooding because of sea level rise and ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    6 days ago
  • Some changes are coming

    Warm welcome again to those who are here. The Mountain Tui substack was officially started on the 2nd of July. I wrote about what led me here on this post. Since then, it’s been a learning to navigate the platform, get to meet those in the community, and basically be ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    6 days ago
  • About fucking time

    The US Supreme Court has been rogue for years, with openly corrupt judges making the law up as they go to suit themselves, their billionaire buyers, and the Republican Party. But now, in the wake of them granting a licence for tyranny, President Biden is actually going to try and ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: False accounting and wishful thinking

    National released their draft 2026-2030 Emissions Reduction Plan today. The plan is required under the Zero Carbon Act, and must set out policies and strategies to meet the relevant emissions budget. Having cancelled all Labour's actually effective climate change policies and crashed the carbon price, National was always going to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • The Enemies Of Sunshine And Space.

    Our Houses? The Urban Density debate is a horrible combination of intergenerational avarice and envy, fuelled by the grim certainty that none of the generations coming up after them will ever have it as good as the Boomers. To say that this situation rankles among those born after 1965 is to ...
    6 days ago
  • Still the 5 Eyes Achilles Heel?

    The National Cyber Security Centre (NZSC), a unit in the Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) dedicated to cyber-security, has released a Review of its response to the 2021 email hacking of NZ members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC, … Continue reading ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    6 days ago
  • Britain's Devastating Electoral Slip.

    Slip-Sliding Away: Labour may now enjoy a dominant position in Britain’s political landscape, but only by virtue of not being swallowed by it.THE BRITISH LABOUR PARTY’S “landslide victory” is nothing of the sort. As most people understand the term, a landslide election victory is one in which the incumbent government, or ...
    6 days ago
  • Gordon Campbell on why right wingers think all governments (including their own) are incompetent

    Since open denial of climate change is no longer a viable political option, denial now comes in disguise. The release this week of the coalition government’s ‘draft emissions reductions plan” shows that the Luxon government is refusing to see the need to cut emissions at source. Instead, it proposes to ...
    WerewolfBy lyndon
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy this morning are:Chris Penk is set to roll back building standards for insulation that had only just been put in place, and which had been estimated to save 40% from power costs, after builders ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    6 days ago
  • Open Letter to Pharmac

    All this talk of getting oldIt's getting me down, my loveLike a cat in a bag, waiting to drownThis time I'm coming downAnd I hope you're thinking of meAs you lay down on your sideNow the drugs don't workThey just make you worse but I know I'll see your face ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    6 days ago
  • A blanket of misinformation

    Two old sayings have been on my mind lately. The first is: “The pen is mightier than the sword”, describing the power of language and communication to help or to harm. The other, which captures the speed with which falsehoods can become ingrained and hard to undo, is: “A lie can ...
    Greater AucklandBy Connor Sharp
    6 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 7:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 are:Scoop: Government considers rolling back home insulation standards RNZ’s Eloise GibsonNews: Government plans tree-planting frenzy as report shows NZ no longer ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Wednesday, July 17

    TL;DR: As of 6:00 am on Wednesday, July 17 , the top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day were:Simon Watts released the Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan (ERP), which included proposed changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 days ago
  • “Shhhh” – National's 3 Waters is loaded with higher costs and lays a path to ...

    This is a long, possibly technical, but very, very important read. I encourage you to take the time and spread your awareness.IntroductionIn 2022, then Labour Party Prime Minister Jacinda Adern expended significant political capital to protect New Zealand’s water assets from privatisation. She lost that battle, and Labour and the ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    7 days ago
  • Plugging a video channel: Dr Gilbz

    Dr. Ella Gilbert is a climate scientist and presenter with a PhD in Antarctic climate change, working at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS). Her background is in atmospheric sciences and she's especially interested in the physical mechanisms of climate change, clouds, and almost anything polar. She is passionate about communicating climate ...
    1 week ago
  • Some “scrutiny” again

    Back in 2022, in its Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the government promised to strengthen scrutiny of Official Information Act exemption clauses in legislation. Since then they've run a secret "consultation" on how to do that, with their preferred outcome being that agencies will consult the Ministry of Justice ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Crashing New Zealand's health system is not the way to prosperity, Prime Minister

    Another day, and yet another piece of bad news for New Zealand’s health system. Reports have come out that General Practitioners (GP) may have to close doors, or increase patient fees to survive. The so-called ‘capitation’ funding review, which supports GP practices to survive, is under way, and primary care ...
    Mountain TuiBy Mountain Tui
    1 week ago
  • Closer Than You Think: Ageing Boomers, Laurie & Les, Talk Politics.

    Redefining Our Terms: “When an angry majority is demanding change, defending the status-quo is an extremist position.”“WHAT’S THIS?”, asked Laurie, eyeing suspiciously the two glasses of red wine deposited in front of him.“A nice drop of red. I thought you’d be keen to celebrate the French Far-Right’s victory with the ...
    1 week ago
  • Come on Darleen.

    Good morning all, time for a return to things domestic. After elections in the UK and France, Luxon gatecrashing Nato, and the attempted shooting of Trump, it’s probably about time we re-focus on local politics.Unless of course you’re Christopher Luxon and you’re so exhausted from all your schmoozing in Washington ...
    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    1 week ago
  • How the Northwest was lost and may be won

    This is a guest post by Darren Davis. It originally appeared on his excellent blog, Adventures in Transitland, which we encourage you to check out. It is shared by kind permission. The Northwest has always been Auckland’s public transport Cinderella, rarely invited to the public funding ball. How did ...
    Greater AucklandBy Guest Post
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā's Chorus for Tuesday July 16

    Luxon has told a Financial Times’ correspondent he would openly call out China’s spying in future and does not fear economic retaliation from Aotearoa’s largest trading partner.File Photo: Lynn Grieveson / The KākāTL;DR: The top six things I’ve noted around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy on Tuesday, ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s Pick 'n' Mix for Tuesday, July 16

    TL;DR: My pick of the top six links elsewhere around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day or so to 6:00 am on Tuesday, July 16 are:PM Christopher Luxon has given a very hawkish interview to the Financial Times-$$$ correspondent in Washington, Demetri Sevastopulu, saying ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The Kākā’s Journal of Record for Tuesday, July 16

    Photo by Ryunosuke Kikuno on UnsplashTL;DR: The top six announcements, speeches, reports and research around housing, climate and poverty in Aotearoa’s political economy in the last day to 6:00 am are:BNZ released its Performance of Services Index for June, finding that services sector is at its lowest level of activity ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    1 week ago
  • The second crisis; assumption was the mother

    Late on the night of July 16, 1984, while four National Cabinet Ministers were meeting in the Beehive office of Deputy Prime Minister Jim McLay, plotting the ultimate downfall of outgoing Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, another crisis was building up in another part of the capital. The United States ...
    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    1 week ago
  • Can we air condition our way out of extreme heat?

    This is a re-post from The Climate Brink by Andrew Dessler Air conditioning was initially a symbol of comfort and wealth, enjoyed by the wealthy in theaters and upscale homes. Over time, as technology advanced and costs decreased, air conditioning became more accessible to the general public. With global warming, though, ...
    1 week ago
  • Review: The Zimiamvian Trilogy, by E.R. Eddison (1935-1958)

    I have reviewed some fairly obscure stuff on this blog. Nineteenth century New Zealand speculative fiction. Forgotten Tolkien adaptations. George MacDonald and William Morris. Last month I took a look at The Worm Ouroboros (1922), by E.R. Eddison, which while not strictly obscure, is also not overly inviting to many ...
    1 week ago

  • Charity lotteries to be permitted to operate online

    Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden says lotteries for charitable purposes, such as those run by the Heart Foundation, Coastguard NZ, and local hospices, will soon be allowed to operate online permanently. “Under current laws, these fundraising lotteries are only allowed to operate online until October 2024, after which ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Accelerating Northland Expressway

    The Coalition Government is accelerating work on the new four-lane expressway between Auckland and Whangārei as part of its Roads of National Significance programme, with an accelerated delivery model to deliver this project faster and more efficiently, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “For too long, the lack of resilient transport connections ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 hours ago
  • Sir Don to travel to Viet Nam as special envoy

    Sir Don McKinnon will travel to Viet Nam this week as a Special Envoy of the Government, Foreign Minister Winston Peters has announced.    “It is important that the Government give due recognition to the significant contributions that General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong made to New Zealand-Viet Nam relations,” Mr ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Grant Illingworth KC appointed as transitional Commissioner to Royal Commission

    Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden says newly appointed Commissioner, Grant Illingworth KC, will help deliver the report for the first phase of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into COVID-19 Lessons, due on 28 November 2024.  “I am pleased to announce that Mr Illingworth will commence his appointment as ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • NZ to advance relationships with ASEAN partners

    Foreign Minister Winston Peters travels to Laos this week to participate in a series of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-led Ministerial meetings in Vientiane.    “ASEAN plays an important role in supporting a peaceful, stable and prosperous Indo-Pacific,” Mr Peters says.   “This will be our third visit to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Backing mental health services on the West Coast

    Construction of a new mental health facility at Te Nikau Grey Hospital in Greymouth is today one step closer, Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey says. “This $27 million facility shows this Government is delivering on its promise to boost mental health care and improve front line services,” Mr Doocey says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • NZ support for sustainable Pacific fisheries

    New Zealand is committing nearly $50 million to a package supporting sustainable Pacific fisheries development over the next four years, Foreign Minister Winston Peters and Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones announced today. “This support consisting of a range of initiatives demonstrates New Zealand’s commitment to assisting our Pacific partners ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Students’ needs at centre of new charter school adjustments

    Associate Education Minister David Seymour says proposed changes to the Education and Training Amendment Bill will ensure charter schools have more flexibility to negotiate employment agreements and are equipped with the right teaching resources. “Cabinet has agreed to progress an amendment which means unions will not be able to initiate ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Commissioner replaces Health NZ Board

    In response to serious concerns around oversight, overspend and a significant deterioration in financial outlook, the Board of Health New Zealand will be replaced with a Commissioner, Health Minister Dr Shane Reti announced today.  “The previous government’s botched health reforms have created significant financial challenges at Health NZ that, without ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister to speak at Australian Space Forum

    Minister for Space and Science, Innovation and Technology Judith Collins will travel to Adelaide tomorrow for space and science engagements, including speaking at the Australian Space Forum.  While there she will also have meetings and visits with a focus on space, biotechnology and innovation.  “New Zealand has a thriving space ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Climate Change Minister to attend climate action meeting in China

    Climate Change Minister Simon Watts will travel to China on Saturday to attend the Ministerial on Climate Action meeting held in Wuhan.  “Attending the Ministerial on Climate Action is an opportunity to advocate for New Zealand climate priorities and engage with our key partners on climate action,” Mr Watts says. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Oceans and Fisheries Minister to Solomons

    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is travelling to the Solomon Islands tomorrow for meetings with his counterparts from around the Pacific supporting collective management of the region’s fisheries. The 23rd Pacific Islands Forum Fisheries Committee and the 5th Regional Fisheries Ministers’ Meeting in Honiara from 23 to 26 July ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government launches Military Style Academy Pilot

    The Government today launched the Military Style Academy Pilot at Te Au rere a te Tonga Youth Justice residence in Palmerston North, an important part of the Government’s plan to crackdown on youth crime and getting youth offenders back on track, Minister for Children, Karen Chhour said today. “On the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Nine priority bridge replacements to get underway

    The Government has welcomed news the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) has begun work to replace nine priority bridges across the country to ensure our state highway network remains resilient, reliable, and efficient for road users, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.“Increasing productivity and economic growth is a key priority for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Update on global IT outage

    Acting Prime Minister David Seymour has been in contact throughout the evening with senior officials who have coordinated a whole of government response to the global IT outage and can provide an update. The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has designated the National Emergency Management Agency as the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand, Japan renew Pacific partnership

    New Zealand and Japan will continue to step up their shared engagement with the Pacific, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “New Zealand and Japan have a strong, shared interest in a free, open and stable Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.    “We are pleased to be finding more ways ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New infrastructure energises BOP forestry towns

    New developments in the heart of North Island forestry country will reinvigorate their communities and boost economic development, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones visited Kaingaroa and Kawerau in Bay of Plenty today to open a landmark community centre in the former and a new connecting road in ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • 'Pacific Futures'

    President Adeang, fellow Ministers, honourable Diet Member Horii, Ambassadors, distinguished guests.    Minasama, konnichiwa, and good afternoon, everyone.    Distinguished guests, it’s a pleasure to be here with you today to talk about New Zealand’s foreign policy reset, the reasons for it, the values that underpin it, and how it ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Delivering 24 hour pothole repairs

    Kiwis and freight operators will benefit from the Coalition Government delivering on its commitment to introduce targets that will ensure a greater number of potholes on our state highways are identified and fixed within 24 hours, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Increasing productivity to help rebuild our economy is a key ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Peer Support Specialists rolled out in hospitals

    Five hospitals have been selected to trial a new mental health and addiction peer support service in their emergency departments as part of the Government’s commitment to increase access to mental health and addiction support for New Zealanders, says Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Peer Support Specialists in EDs will ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Consultation opens for the Emissions Reduction Plan

    The Government’s draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows we can stay within the limits of the first two emissions budgets while growing the economy, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. “This draft Emissions Reduction Plan shows that with effective climate change policies we can both grow the economy and deliver our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Benefit stats highlight need for welfare reset

    The coalition Government is providing extra support for job seekers to ensure as many Kiwis as possible are in work or preparing for work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “While today’s quarterly data showing a rise in the number of people on Jobseeker benefits has been long ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • School attendance continues to increase

    Provisional school attendance data for Term 2 2024 released today has shown more students are back in class compared to last year, with 53.1 per cent of students regularly attending, compared with 47 per cent in Term 2 2023, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. “The Government has prioritised student ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • $22.7m of West Coast resilience projects underway

    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed news of progress being made by the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) on the first of several crucial resilience projects underway on the South Island’s West Coast.“State highways across the West Coast are critical lifelines for communities throughout the region, including for freight and tourism. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Migrant school leavers to get part-time work rights

    The coalition Government is providing migrant school leavers with greater opportunities, by increasing access to part-time work rights for those awaiting the outcome of a family residence application, Immigration Minister Erica Stanford has announced.  “Many young people who are part of a family residence application process are unable to work. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Funding to support use of NZ Sign Language

    Seven projects have received government funding totalling nearly $250,000 to maintain and promote the use of New Zealand Sign Language (NZSL). Initiatives that received an NZSL Board Community Grants this year include camps that support the use of NZSL through physical and sensory activities, and clubs where Deaf people and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Inflation data shows progress in economic recovery

    Today’s Consumer Price Index data which has inflation at 3.3 per cent for the year to July 2024, shows we are turning our economy around and winning the fight against rampant inflation, Finance Minister Nicola Willis says.  “While today’s data will be welcome news for Kiwis, I know many New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Experts to advise Minister on Oranga Tamariki

    The Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board has been re-established by the Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “I look forward to working with the new board to continue to ensure Oranga Tamariki and the care and protection system, are entirely child centric,” Minister Chhour says. “The board will provide independent advice ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Expectations set for improved medicines access

    Associate Health Minister David Seymour says he has set clear expectations for Pharmac around delivering the medicines and medical technology that Kiwis need.  “For many New Zealanders, funding for pharmaceuticals is life or death, or the difference between a life of pain and suffering or living freely. New cancer medicines ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Regional Development Minister to host summits

    Regional Development Minister Shane Jones will hold a series of nationwide summits to discuss regional priorities, aspirations and opportunities, with the first kicking off in Nelson on August 12. The 15 summits will facilitate conversations about progressing regional economic growth and opportunities to drive productivity, prosperity and resilience through the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers new school for Rolleston

    The Coalition Government is addressing growing demands on Canterbury’s school network, by delivering a new primary school in Rolleston, Education Minister Erica Stanford says. Within Budget 24’s $400 million investment into school property growth, construction will begin on a new primary school (years 1-8) in Selwyn, Canterbury.  Rolleston South Primary ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New speed camera signs to improve safety

    The Government is welcoming the rollout of new speed camera signs for fixed speed cameras to encourage drivers to check their speeds, improving road safety and avoiding costly speeding tickets, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says. “Providing Kiwis with an opportunity to check their speed and slow down in high crash areas ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • NZ, Korea strengthen relationship

    New Zealand and the Republic of Korea continue to strengthen their relationship, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.   “New Zealand and Korea have a long history – from New Zealand soldiers fighting in the Korean War, through to our strong cooperation today as partners supporting the international rules-based order.    ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Investing for future growth in tourism and hospitality

    The Government is moving forward with recommendations from the Tourism Data Leadership Group, beginning with establishing a Tourism Data Partnership Fund says Tourism and Hospitality Minister Matt Doocey. “The Tourism Data Partnership Fund is funded through the International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy (IVL) and will provide up to $400,000 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • 4000 more job seekers to get case managers

    A new over-the-phone employment case management service will see thousands more job seekers under the age of 25 supported to find work, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston has announced. “MSD case managers provide valuable support to help people into work, but less than a third of those receiving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Trade Minister to attend G7 meeting in Italy

    Trade Minister Todd McClay will attend the Group of Seven (G7) Trade Ministers meeting in Reggio Calabria, Italy next week. This is the first time New Zealand has been invited to join the event, which will be attended by some of the world’s largest economies and many of New Zealand’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Ministers reveal consequences for unruly Kāinga Ora tenants

    Ministers are pleased to see Kāinga Ora taking a stronger approach to managing unruly, threatening or abusive tenants, Housing Minister Chris Bishop and Associate Housing Minister Tama Potaka say.    “For far too long, a small number of Kāinga Ora tenants have ridden roughshod over their neighbours because, under Kāinga ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister wraps up US visit in California

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has finished a successful four-day visit to the United States with meetings in California on his final day focusing on innovation and investment.  “It has been fantastic to be in San Francisco today seeing first-hand the deepening links between New Zealand and California. “New Zealand company, EV Maritime, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister leads Indo-Pacific Four at NATO

    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today chaired a meeting of the Indo-Pacific Four (IP4) countries – Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand. The IP4 met in the context of NATO’s Summit in Washington DC hosted by President Biden. “Prosperity is only possible with security,” Mr Luxon says. “We need ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • District Court judges appointed

    Attorney-General Hon Judith Collins today announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges.   The appointees, who will take up their roles in July and August at the Manukau, Rotorua and Invercargill courts, are:   Matthew Nathan Judge Nathan was admitted to bar in New Zealand in 2021, having previously been ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago

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