Young Labour and sex change ops

Written By: - Date published: 10:04 am, May 20th, 2015 - 274 comments
Categories: making shit up, Media, national, same old national, sexism, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: ,

Sometimes for “fairness” and “balance” on a particularly bad day for the Government the media will try to gotcha Labour MPs into providing a sound bite or a headline which can then be spun into a story of disunity.

Yesterday was one of those days.  At a time when John Key’s credibility was on the ropes as he tried to say that a tax change that meant that an increase in capital value is taxed is not a capital gains tax and on a day when the Government’s wrecking of Relationships Aotearoa had become evident elements of the media came up with a new story.  Labour supported gender change operations.  Such a story has elements of sex and homophobia and feeds into the “Labour activists are completely out of touch” meme so it was bound to run.  After all who would even think of funding these sorts of operations?

Young Labour has proposed at different conferences that hormone replacement therapy and gender reassignment surgery are available and publicly funded.  This made Health Minister Jonathan Coleman get into a real lather.  He could not contain himself as he declared the concept as being “absolutely nuts” and “shows just how disconnected from reality the Labour Party is“.  This comment was amended a few hours later to the concept being nutty.  I suspect the change of language was because Coleman learned that these operations are already being publicly funded.  There is currently a hiatus because the surgeon who used to perform the procedure has retired but these operations have occurred and there is a publicly funded waiting list.

Get that?  Labour is being attacked because Labour Youth is proposing proper funding for an operation that is already being conducted and funded by the public health system.

Andrew Little’s response was appropriate.  He said that he had not given it a great deal of thought and that he was happy with his gender.  He also said that it is a complex issue and not an issue that he would make a policy up on on the hoof.  Fair enough.

David Shearer and Stuart Nash walked into the trap.  Nash in particular had a rather silly comment belittling the proposal.

Three News has rather breathlessly suggested that it is evidence of division in Labour’s ranks.  I was at the Auckland Conference on the weekend and saw no evidence of any division caused by the remit.  I was happy to support the proposal and will continue to do so.

This incident reminds me of my own Labour Youth days back in the late 70s and early 80s.  Back then we were putting up all sorts of nutty proposals such as homosexual law reform, establishing a nuclear free Aotearoa and ending Apartheid.  We used to get the same lectures about how we were being far too radical and our proposals would be electoral poison.  With the benefit of hindsight …

Good on Young Labour for raising these issues.  May the tradition of Young Labour raising cutting edge contentious issues continue.


Updated:

274 comments on “Young Labour and sex change ops”

  1. Sabine 1

    Frankly MS, please talk to the labour boys and girls, young and old, that really no, we don’t need this right now.

    We need housing, we need money to feed kids, we need jobs, and we need healthcare accesible for all regardless of their ability or their parents ability to pay for it.

    When and if Labour gets into power, and when we have something resembling an actual budget that is based on math and not faith, then go ahead and provide free gender assignment surgery to those that need it. We can then also provide free dental care to anyone earning less then a 1000$ per week, we can then provide free medical check ups to anyone earning less then 500$ per week, we can provide free orthopedic implants to those that need it, free free free free anything free once we have a proper budget.

    and maybe someone remind the young labour that free is not free, it is paid for by the taxpayer – and the taxpayer be they blue, red, purple, green or any other colour are running out of money.

    Priorities….Labour, get your Priorities straight.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      Hi Sabine the operation is funded now. Kelly Ellis makes a strong case here (http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/05/20/trans-bashing-nats-costing-us-all/) for the operation to be funded based on the cost of ongoing mental health issues.

      • Sabine 1.1.1

        It is diversion MS, it takes away from what are the issues of the day.

        Frankly, i am happy for people to get the operation, hormone treatment and other services they need to be the person they could and can be.

        However, this discussion about further extending the services, is currently not on my or many others top list.

        I want Labour to focus on what is on the top list.

        Housing services for homeless youth
        housing services for homeless elderlies
        school feeds regardless of anything
        free school essentials regardless of anything
        Housing services for young couples that would like to get married and start a live
        Housing services for single parents
        Job Opportunities for all
        Preventive Dental Care for all regardless of the ability to pay
        Preventive Health Care for all regardless of the ability to pay
        public infrastructure that is affordable (15 $ one way to get from South Auckland to Central)

        oh and free counseling services for victims of sexual assault, of domestic violence, of schoolyard or office bullying etc etc etc

        But this, I can see the Herald and all the other Fishwraps go on and on about it, while what ever else Labour might have to say will get drowned out.

        Priorities MS, and please remember there is a time and place for anything…is it the time and place for this now?

        • weka 1.1.1.1

          Then tell Labour to get their shit together on those policies. Don’t tell Labour Youth to stop working on their own priorities. Transgender people are some of the most vulnerable in our cultures. Any youth, housing, poverty policy you want made more important, is going to be an additional issue for people that are dealing with trans issues in a society that is still largely transphobic. Put this in the category of women getting the vote and see how it plays trying to push it to the back of the queue.

          • Tigger 1.1.1.1.1

            +1 Weka. Very proud of Young Labour for putting this forward. Nash needs a swift kick to remind him Labour is a broad tent and we all need each other.

            • Colonial Rawshark 1.1.1.1.1.1

              Labour is not a “broad tent”; fewer than one in five registered voters voted for them in 2014. Labour in its current incarnation are not seen as representative of the values and culture of most NZers.

              • weka

                That doesn’t mean Labour isn’t a broad tent, and, MMP.

                • Rob

                  Ok, a small tent with one of everything?

                • Actually based on current demographics of Labour voters I’m pretty sure it’s not a broad tent. It may be running a broad tent strategy, but it’s not currently succeeding.

                  • weka

                    Is the reasoning here that Labour gets a lot less votes than in the past, therefore Labour is not a broad church? Because there are other reasons for Labour not getting the same votes they did historically.

                    Likewise, if the demographics of current Labour voters is narrower, is that a reflection of Labour itself (membership, MPs, party), or a reflection of Labour policy, or a reflection of something else (or all those things)?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Intellectual rationalisations are nice weka, but an overwhelming majority of enrolled voters (4 out of 5) don’t feel that Labour truly represents (or is able to represent) their interests, their goals and their values. Those are the facts.

                      You also infer that Labour support is lower than it has been historically ‘because MMP’. That makes sense to me. Former Labour voters now have a choice of many other parties which suit their values and their goals better.

                      Also, don’t forget the hundreds of thousands of former Labour Party supporters who will never ever vote Labour again after the 1980s. Those people would be worth 5% to 10% in an MMP election. Many of these people have gone to NZ First or to the permanent non-vote.

                      For these and other reasons, the tent is simply not as broad as the marketing brochure says it is, or as many Labour insiders believe it to be.

                      Witness the stunned demeanour of UK Labour and Scottish Labour presently. Scotland, the ideological and philosophical home of the Labour movement and the Labour Party, have disowned them.

                    • weka

                      Sure, and I don’t disagree with much of that. But there seemed to be this idea that if Labour were broader then people would vote for them (although your last comment suggests you don’t believe that. Neither do I).

                      I still think Turei summarises this best the other day on TDB. The problem isn’t so much about the broadness or not of the church, it’s about the very large numbers of people who no longer fit in the traditional left/right spectrum of politics i.e they don’t consider church to be meaningful or relevant. The left (at least here on ts) tends to focus on the need for real left wing politics (come on Labour!), but Turei is suggesting that we listen to the disenfranchised people and learn from that instead of trying to figure out how to get them to like us again.

                      Your strategy of running round punching out the parts of the left you disagree with is not going to change that, and IMO is just making it much worse because it undermines any relationship building that might otherwise happen. You appear to claim to know what all the disenfranchised people want, but I think they are far broader than you acknowledge in these conversations, and so I think your generalisations about them are always going to fall flat. This is why so called identity politics is useful. If you want working class men to be helped specifically, then talk about their issues. This in no way precludes working on general or core socioeconomic policy. If you don’t want to talk about specific needs, that’s ok too, just don’t monkey wrench the people that do.

                      And for gods sake, stop blaming us for Labour’s fucking up the left over the past 30 years. That they’ve latched onto certain aspects of identity politics that suits them and serves the neoliberal agenda is commentary on them not on the needs of diverse people. Get the right target in your sights.

                    • I wouldn’t say that labour doesn’t have some diverse support, but there’s not the same depth there as there once was.

                      Labour has been struggling on several levels that have led many of its peripheral supporters to abandon the party.

                      One is simple division and divisiveness. The party hasn’t presented a united front with itself, nor looked like the leader in a potential new Government. For the largest party in a coalition agreement this is a must. This ranges from caucus’ sabotague of David Cunliffe to the refusal to the public snub to the Greens’ offer of pre-election coalition and cooperation. It’s a bad look all round. This has gotten better under Little, but the underlying problem is still there.

                      One is that caucus members are too big for their boots. It is a perennial problem for Labour that members make good decisions and are undermined by caucus, that electorate seat-squatters replace genuine talent in the party, and that caucus thinks it is the only part of the Labour party that matters. This is simply not true. Caucus are representatives and leaders, and they should be doing one or the other. Leaders don’t quash other people’s opinions, they listen and either convince people or disagree in a constructive fashion.

                      You can see both of the above issues in how certain caucus members went off on potentially increased funding for gender confirmation surgery.

                      Addressing those cultural problems will help with the demographics, as they will allow the party to deal with the smaller problems they face elsewhere.

                      That said, I think a significant part of the problem for Labour is honestly that the Green Party is just resonating as a more effective option on the left, that people like their pragmatic approach, like that they take parliament seriously, like that they’re not negative, and that they’re edging Labour out of the left, which to be honest they’ve abandoned by and large anyway in favour of the centre and, from time to time the right, since the 1980s.

        • DoublePlusGood 1.1.1.2

          Your argument is predicated on a political party only being able to address one issue at a time. Labour should have policy about all of those, and transgender healthcare. All of these things are priorities, and yes, there is sufficient funds to do all of these things, if we want to.

          • Colonial Rawshark 1.1.1.2.1

            there are enough funds?; but this is the Labour Party which still firmly (and incorrectly) believes that we cannot afford to keep Super at 65 years old.

            • the pigman 1.1.1.2.1.1

              +1 and exactly.

              The public buy the fiscal restraint narrative. So the right wing strawman (you only get cancer treatment for your relative or gender reassignment surgery for <100 NZers currently suitable for the operation) works a treat.

              We all want to live in an egalitarian paradise who those that feel imprisoned by their sex can change it, BUT

              Many, many, many more people know someone with cancer on a waiting list or receiving treatment they regard as less than ideal. Many many more people than those who know a potential gender reassignment patient.

              So rather than reducing this to a homophobic debate, apply some critical thinking and electoral maths.

              OR fade away into a set of tiny special interest groups each advocating for their own reform.

              • While I like that you support gender confirmation surgery and don’t see issues that actually matter to people’s lives as a “distraction”, I may need to language police you just a little bit to elevate the level of debate here, if you’ll excuse me. Two things- firstly, discrimination against transpeople isn’t homophobia, it’s transphobia. They’re similar but distinct things in that both are caught up with perceptions around gender, sexuality, and sex.

                Secondly, just keep in mind that for some people on the trans and genderqueer and intersex spectrum, they may not actually feel “trapped” in their body, they might be comfortable with themselves and their body but not how other people perceive them, or they might want to stop at hormones, or they might be a transman who is comfortable stopping at “top surgery” or breast reduction.

                Men and women have all types of bodies. Just because someone’s body has atypical genitals for their gender doesn’t necessitate surgery, especially when it can be costly and have potentially large complications beyond just the usual risks of surgery, so we should be careful when advocating for people who do want surgery not to imply that everyone who thinks they are or might be trans or genderqueer or intersex will need it, because that’s not the case.

                Gender confirmation surgery should be an option and it should be one that taxpayers bear the cost of, given how beneficial it is to the lives of people who need it, and that humanist standpoint is really all we need to justify it given how incredibly small an addition the proposed costs would be to the health budget.

        • whateva next? 1.1.1.3

          agree 100% Sabine

        • Ron 1.1.1.4

          Well I disagree. I was at conference and voted for it because I believe that it is Labour’s duty to support all social services not just the ones that some people like. Don’t forget this still has to go to National Conference and I would hope that it sails through. It is right thing to do.
          In the words of Hillel the Elder: “If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And when I am for myself, what am ‘I’? And if not now, when?”

          Priorities MS, and please remember there is a time and place for anything…is it the time and place for this now?

      • DoublePlusGood 1.1.2

        Unfortunately, she goes politic and excuses the behaviour of the four Labour MPs that spoke to the media. Which is a shame, as she is the best-placed person to call them on them not doing their job properly here in failing to properly consider issues with a bit of research before mouthing off to media.

    • McFlock 1.2

      if the NZ queer community didn’t have such a high suicide rate, you might have had a point.

      • Colonial Rawshark 1.2.1

        Older white men are the ones who kill themselves at a high rate. Up to a couple hundred of them a year.

        • weka 1.2.1.1

          [citation needed]

          • Colonial Rawshark 1.2.1.1.1

            Although youth have a much higher suicide rate they still account for less than 1/3 of suicides.

        • DoublePlusGood 1.2.1.2

          The suicide rate for trans people is much higher than that rate. At least as far as limited studies can determine.

          • Colonial Rawshark 1.2.1.2.1

            Much higher than a couple of hundred suicides a year? Explain.

            • weka 1.2.1.2.1.1

              Pretty sure you know the difference between % and absolute numbers CV.

            • McFlock 1.2.1.2.1.2

              Do you even know the difference between a rate and a raw number?

              See Stephanie’s comment re: the waiting list for the procedure and the life expectancy of trans people.

              edit: lolsnap weka.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Yeah I had meant to say that by far the largest group of suicides in NZ are men in the 25+ age group; the youth suicide rate per capita is the highest however – but they comprise significantly less than 1/3 of suicides overall.

  2. dukeofurl 2

    National had a regional conference the other day.

    Do we know of any remits proposed by delegates ?

    Any at all ?

  3. Colonial Viper 3

    Sabine is quite right. This stuff is an utter distraction from the guts of how and what Labour should be positioning with the electorate. Euthanasia, abortion, gender change, etc. Oh all these Young Labour hopefuls of being the next generation of Labour staffers and MPs.

    • Lanthanide 3.1

      +1

    • same could be said of your pet little projects couldn’t it – only difference is YOU think they are important – sheesh

      • Sabine 3.2.1

        so housing for all – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, creed, race, age and ability to pay for it, is a pet project?

        so healthcare for all – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, creed, race, age and ability to pay for it, is a pet project?

        so dental care for all – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, creed, race and ability to pay it, is a pet project?

        quality of education for all – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, creed, race, age and ability to pay for it, is a pet project ?

        access to counseling services for all – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, creed, race, age, mental and physical abilities and ability to pay for it, is a pet project?

        safe streets at night and day time for all – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, creed, race, mental and physical abilities, age and an ability to pay for it (gated communities anyone?), is a pet project?

        safe food for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, creed, race,mental and physical abilities, age and the ability to pay for it, is a pet project?

        safe drinking water for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, creed, race, mental and physical abilities and age and an ability to pay for it, is a pet project?

        job opportunities for all, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, creed, race, mental and physical abilities and age is a pet project?

        to be free from discrimination for all ,regardless of gender, sexual orientation, creed, race, mental and physical abilities and age is a pet project?

        If we focus on what keeps us alive first and foremost, i.e. food, housing, healthcare, jobs and the likes, we are doing good not only by us but also the transgendered community. As they too need housing, food, jobs and healthcare.

        So really, I don’t think that this is the burning issue of the day. If and when Labour gets into power again, if and when Labour sets the budget, then the young Labour could/should demand monies to be set aside to extend an already existing service.

        But I said that already above

        • weka 3.2.1.1

          so housing for all – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, creed, race, age and ability to pay for it, is a pet project?

          so healthcare for all – regardless of gender, sexual orientation, creed, race, age and ability to pay for it, is a pet project?

          The only way that you can advocate for housing and healthcare for all is to address issues of gender, sexual orientation, creed, race, age alongside issues of poverty, housing, health, access etc. Otherwise you are just setting up systems that favour the dominant culture.

        • marty mars 3.2.1.2

          Yes that is a nice wide range of ‘pet projects’ – which one is your favorite and which 3 are you going to ignore?

          • Colonial Rawshark 3.2.1.2.1

            Face it MM, most left leaning voters would see that list of issues as far more critical, politically.

            • Tracey 3.2.1.2.1.1

              was this the only matter raised at the conference CR? Cos if it was, I agree with your indignation.

              If other matters were raised you and Sabine are beating a drum that despite your protestations below reads like

              “why won’t they just do all the things I want and then they can be in Government”.

        • Tracey 3.2.1.3

          Are you saying that at the conference policy and or remits addressing those matters weren’t determined and that the whole conference only discussed the Young Labour issue of transgender medical support?

          I am absolutely floored if only one matter was discussed at the conference, no wonder Labour can’t challenge national.

          Vote Green where they can hold two thoughts simultaneously over a whole weekend.

        • Ron 3.2.1.4

          Housing for all? Not as long as we allow groups like Salvation Army to take over Social Housing

      • Colonial Rawshark 3.2.2

        Bullshit MM; my concerns around peak energy, peak financialisation, peak fertiliser etc. are issues which are going to shake NZ to its core over the next 20-30 years.

        And another difference: I couldn’t care less if you couldn’t care less about them.

        • marty mars 3.2.2.1

          yep the old “let’s work as a team and do it MY way” line – I do care more than less about these issues you put up but i also care about individuals and their unique, difficult inequalities that they face – that’s the difference between us mate, I’m not abstract as a distract.

          • Colonial Rawshark 3.2.2.1.1

            *Shrug* like I said I have no particular concern or investment over whether or not you prioritise my particular political priorities.

            • marty mars 3.2.2.1.1.1

              but you don’t like when others priorities don’t match yours? For the good of the left at its widest? because the main/most important issues don’t get the attention you think they should get?

        • Tracey 3.2.2.2

          Seems odd that you keep attending LP meetings then, given they don’t show any sign of addressing those issues.

          • Colonial Rawshark 3.2.2.2.1

            Indeed, that would be unusual given your premise, wouldn’t it.

    • weka 3.3

      “Sabine is quite right. This stuff is an utter distraction from the guts of how and what Labour should be positioning with the electorate. Euthanasia, abortion, gender change, etc. Oh all these Young Labour hopefuls of being the next generation of Labour staffers and MPs.”

      Leaving aside the anti-identity politics stuff, my reading from the outside is that this is largely about the cumbersome nature of Labour’s internal organising. It always looks to me like Labour is a full of disparate sections who do what they want when they want and the result is the media and NACT can pick out the bits that they want to focus on. You don’t see this often with the Greens, they are much more cohesive in how they present to the public and I think this is a reflection of internal organisation and processes.

      Would Labour Youth have talked to the rest of Labour before talking about this issue publicly? How would that have happened and how would it have been taken into account in the larger policy development and release of priorities to the public?

      I’m guessing that telling Labour Youth what they should be doing is counter-productive. Beyond that, read Meteria Turei’s post on TDB the other day where she talks about so many people under 40 existing outside the traditional party political culture, and that listening to what they want is crucial for the left. If you want Labour Youth to be different, perhaps that’s the place to start.

      • Sabine 3.3.1

        this.

        thanks.

        Labour, old and young need to get their priorities straight.

        One goal, one voice, one way. Not a chirping about what I want, you want, they want, he wants and she wants.

        One goal, a more inclusive society. One voice, a spokes person that is the only one to do speaking. One way, once the goal setting and the speaking is done, everyone ty theire shoes and of we go walk the talk.

        and then we win.

        and not before.

        • weka 3.3.1.1

          Well as a GP member I would have to say I am more in favour of processes that are inclusive and that enable multiple people to have a voice. This is how the GP operates, you can’t really have only one spokesperson. I think the big difference between Labour and the Greens on this is that the GP generally talk internally and arrive at a decision before they go public. Labour don’t seem to have processes that enable that kind of consensus.

          • Ron 3.3.1.1.1

            Pity they (Greens) don’t select their leaders the same way. Over the last week there have been several comments in news media that the leadership race is down to two contenders. No idea how anyone could state that when some branches had not even met at that time. Wonder who issued that media statement. There were too many sources quoting it to be a media beat up
            Hope it was not the Party itself trying to seed the vote

            • weka 3.3.1.1.1.1

              Ron, your comment would hold more water if it was backed up by a link.

              What makes you think it was a media release from the GP? Sounds like a Goweresque play to me.

              It’s also doesn’t match GP process. The leader doesn’t get chosen until the AGM at the end of the month, so there is no way it can be down to two at this stage.

              What you’ve said looks more like someone in the media speculating.

              “Hope it was not the Party itself trying to seed the vote”

              Hope it was not the MSM itself trying to seed the vote.

              fify

              “There were too many sources quoting it to be a media beat up”

              It only takes one person to start a rumour. But well done on continuing it.

        • Ron 3.3.1.2

          Hell if that is the sort of party you want join National. No problem there everyone does as they are told. No messy problems with people daring to have opinions.

          One goal, one voice, one way.

      • Karen 3.3.2

        Labour Youth did not go public. They put up a remit to be discussed at regional conferences by party members, which is democracy in action.

        Somebody (unknown at this stage) has chosen to go through the remits and pull out something that could be seen to be controversial and fed it to the media. The response from Stuart Nash was predictable, although I personally was also disappointed by Little’s jokey initial response.

        Where Labour has fallen down IMO is not having a comms person ensure all Labour MP are kept informed of any remits that are likely to be used in this way, and get an agreed response (preferably showing more empathy than yesterday).

        • weka 3.3.2.1

          Thanks Karen, that confirms my outsider view that the problem here is with organisation. I was also disappointed by Little’s response, too casual for such an important issue.

      • Tracey 3.3.3

        “Would Labour Youth have talked to the rest of Labour before talking about this issue publicly? How would that have happened and how would it have been taken into account in the larger policy development and release of priorities to the public? ”

        I agree that this is the real issue, not that such an issue of medical support for gender transformation was raised but how it was then publicised.

        OTH LP does tend to operate more transparently than other parties (particularly those on the Right) and accordingly probably release all their remits to the public/members. That this one is singled out is a reason to be less transparent, like, say the Board of ACT or NZF or Nats conferences (where dissenters once were thrown down stairs)??

        Youth wings are there to provide their particular insights, not to just be younger replicators of the 40+ section.

        • mickysavage 3.3.3.1

          Labour youth does not work this way. Back in my day …

          There is no, absolutely no centralised organisation of remits. Members and branches are allowed to recommend whatever they want. Presuming things have not changed Princes Street has a party and then a huge dump of remits to conference to see what happens.

          One of the funniest I can remember was the remit to remove Don Brash from the $5 bill put up a few years ago.

          These people are young and passionate about politics. They do not parse their remits and think about who may be upset. They put these resolutions up so that their ideas can be debated.

          Good on them.

    • DoublePlusGood 3.4

      All of those things are issues that can and should be addressed. That the electorate is scared of these issues is a pathetically weak reason to avoid important issues.

      • Colonial Rawshark 3.4.1

        If you want to be a pressure group then be a pressure group. If you want to be a major electable political party, be a major electable political party. They are not the same thing. But before praising gutsy leading edge thinking on gender change, lets check and see where the gutsy leading edge thinking on unconditional basic incomes, secure affordable housing and underemployment is. Where is it?

        • weka 3.4.1.1

          This isn’t gutsy leading edge thinking on gender issues, it’s mainstream and is pretty well matched to the level of radicalness in Labour’s other policies.

          • Colonial Rawshark 3.4.1.1.1

            Oh it’s mainstream, so there’s no problem with it being headline news then and the NAT spinners have misjudged this one.

            • weka 3.4.1.1.1.1

              Don’t be daft, that’s just the right wing spin machine. We’re talking about mainstream health policy that’s already in existence, and sorting out the funding on it. That’s not anymore radical than Little’s nod towards a UBI, less radical in fact.

              What you are highlighting is NACT’s willingness to use transphobia for political gain. But this isn’t something like the 1980s with the Homosexual Law Reform (which was radical). It’s just normal health policy. The reason NACT gets away with this shit is because too many people on the left agree with them that trans people are less valuable.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                It’s not about “transphobia” at all, that’s just what the activist Left (mistakenly) thinks its all about. Here’s a clue – while the activist left thinks that NZ politics orbits around gender and sexuality as two of the major suns of the political solar system, ordinary voters do not.

                This is 100% about framing the Left as being utterly disconnected from solutions affecting the vast majority of Kiwis struggling day to day. Gawddamit, how is it that Right Wing pollsters and strategists are so much smarter than the so-called intellectual left?

                • Tracey

                  Perhaps you could join the Nats and be a mole within

                • swordfish

                  + 100 CV. Spot on.

                  Problem is: a section of the activist Left will always choose (1) very loud heroic grandstanding on gender/sexuality issues over (2) simple electability.

                  Apparently without realising that a Labour Party that doesn’t scare the friggin bejesus out of the horses in the run-up to an Election can, once elected, actually achieve real progress on these very issues. It’s a matter of intimately understanding (as opposed to trying to wish away) the more conservative aspects of NZ society and strategizing intelligently on that basis.

                  This is all naïve, loudly wearing-heart-on-sleeve territory. And it plays entirely into the popular meme that Labour is simply a Party exclusively concerned with minorities and Identity Politics.

                  • McFlock

                    It doesn’t matter what you wear on your sleeve – if you respect it then other people learn to respect it, too.

                    If you act ashamed of it, or mock it, or disgrace it, people will learn from that, too.

                    That goes for organisations, as well as individuals.

                    • miravox

                      +1

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      It doesn’t matter what you wear on your sleeve – if you respect it then other people learn to respect it, too.

                      Of course, Labour can go ahead and run with gender and sexuality policies “on their sleeve” as per your recommendations, and I am sure that over a bit of time, people will learn to respect that.

                    • Ron

                      One hopes that Andrew Little reads your missive.
                      Rushing into print with stupid comments is not a good look for anyone even a leader

                      It doesn’t matter what you wear on your sleeve – if you respect it then other people learn to respect it, too.

                      If you act ashamed of it, or mock it, or disgrace it, people will learn from that, too.

                      That goes for organisations, as well as individuals.

                    • McFlock

                      Of course, Labour can go ahead and run with gender and sexuality policies “on their sleeve” as per your recommendations, and I am sure that over a bit of time, people will learn to respect that.

                      oh, there’ll always be a few small-minded bigots who will never understand that “standing up for everybody” actually means “standing up for everybody“. But that just means they have more in common with the tories than they do with socialism.

                  • weka

                    “And it plays entirely into the popular meme that Labour is simply a Party exclusively concerned with minorities and Identity Politics.”

                    No, Labour does that by not having its shit sorted out (and it gets helped by people like CV). Why is it that the GP can support identity politics issues, but its main focus is the environment and child poverty? It’s Labour’s lack of left wing policies that is the real problem here.

                    • weka

                      and btw, these knock down politics will never work because too many identities have power within the dominant culture now. There’s no going back. Both you and CV have the capacity to write posts on core Labour policy and where it should be heading, so why not do that instead of taking over threads about other issues? This is the thing I simply don’t get. You can promote core leftwing policy without taking other people down, so why don’t you?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Why is it that the GP can support identity politics issues, but its main focus is the environment and child poverty?

                      Does it work though? The Greens can do whatever they like, but they remain confused as to why their vote stagnated in 2014 when they thought 15% was within realistic reach.

                    • weka

                      If you look at the party vote over the lifetime of the GP, it’s still increasing. It’s always progessed slowly, but surely. I don’t see the vote as stagnated in 2014. Again, there were complex reasons for why the GP got the vote it did in 2014, and suggesting it might be something to do with identity politics is facile. GP voters support idenity politics by and large, and don’t see them as being a hindrance to socioeconomic equity or environmental protection.

                      The other thing is that the GP exists primarily for and from its members. It’s values based, and policy and practice extend from that. It’s not about changing its values to get more votes, it’s about sticking to its principles and having NZ change to reflect that. In that sense it has been very successful (look at the shift in NZ around the environment, climate change, even something like MMP, during the time the GP has existed). This doesn’t mean it doesn’t want to grow its vote, but far more than Labour it understands that it doesn’t have to sacrifice its principles to do so. They want change not power.

                  • locus

                    Reality is: activists are critically important to the vitality of political discussion

                    Reality is: sweeping generalisations and statements of absolutes about Left wing activists reflect a dangerous drift towards justifying prejudices

                    Reality is: the activist Left doesn’t want to ‘intimately understand the conservative aspects of NZ society’

                    Reality is: McFlock has captured the essence of this topic – ‘respect’

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    This is all naïve, loudly wearing-heart-on-sleeve territory. And it plays entirely into the popular meme that Labour is simply a Party exclusively concerned with minorities and Identity Politics.

                    Yep. You’re describing smart politics and the way to get real change through for your constituents. Smart politics requires understanding the nature and the culture of the electorate. To date, National has shown itself more capable of smart politics.

                    • tracey

                      “Smart politics requires understanding the nature and the culture of the electorate. To date, National has shown itself more capable of smart politics.”

                      And look what “Smart Politics” gets us… you want more of the same but with a smile?

                      What you call smart politics I called deceptive and manipulating.

                    • weka

                      Me too. Adopting National tactics will just give us a left wing govt devoid of humanity and expert in consolidating power. Haven’t we already tried that?

                • weka

                  “It’s not about “transphobia” at all, that’s just what the activist Left (mistakenly) thinks its all about. Here’s a clue – while the activist left thinks that NZ politics orbits around gender and sexuality as two of the major suns of the political solar system, ordinary voters do not.”

                  Oh fuck off CV. That’s all about your shit about gender, is a projection (a deliberately manipulative one) and is a complete misrepresentation of what is happening here. It’s one small policy suggestion from a part of Labour. Your insistence on making out this is a tragedy for Labour and the left is what’s keeping this gender headlined thread at the top of the main left wing blog in NZ all day.

                  “This is 100% about framing the Left as being utterly disconnected from solutions affecting the vast majority of Kiwis struggling day to day. Gawddamit, how is it that Right Wing pollsters and strategists are so much smarter than the so-called intellectual left?”

                  The person who promotes this framing most on ts is yourself. If Labour are disconnected address that, but if you think this is about identity politics instead of neoliberalism, you’re an idiot. It’s not the small focus on gender that’s the porblem, it’s Labour’s capture in the 80s.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    Oh fuck off CV. That’s all about your shit about gender, is a projection (a deliberately manipulative one) and is a complete misrepresentation of what is happening here. It’s one small policy suggestion from a part of Labour.

                    Don’t try and disown and distance yourself from your own characterisation of the problem as transphobia. That’s 100% you. And I am saying that your characterisation is completely wrong.

                    • tracey

                      Are you stating that only one remit was passed at the Conference, and that was the one put forward by YL about medical support for transgender transformation?

                      If that is NOT the case then you are indeed indulging in the characterization of the entire party policy on the basis of one remit. You have agreed with others that poverty and housing and other issues matter, but were they not also discussed, raised or remitted?

                      Now, who does that sound like? The Right? The MSM, who you usually attack for such dishonesty.

                    • weka

                      CV, are you suggesting that National were unaware of the fact that much of NZ doesn’t understand transgender issues, and thus relied on people reacting from a place of ignorance? That beggars belief. If YL had put up a remit about hip operations needing better funding, National wouldn’t have been able to use that against them.

                      My comment about your comment about gender was nothing to do with that of course. It was telling you to fuck off with projecting your own gender issues onto activists you disagree with. Nice try at deflection, but a fail.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      weka – you characterised the problem as transphobia. I characterised the problem as National demonstrating Labour being out of touch with the concerns of 90% of the electorate. I think I’m right and you think you’re right.

                      tracey – these are regional conferences. Each regional conference deals with its own policy remits.

        • DoublePlusGood 3.4.1.2

          Sadly absent! I do not mean to imply that Young Labour should avoid thinking on those vital issues, rather, that Young Labour should not shy away from things just on the basis that voters are uncertain or opposed to them. A UBI is another example of something that voters would likely be uncertain about, but that shouldn’t stop people considering the issue.

        • Tracey 3.4.1.3

          Yea, why the hell doesn’t Young Labour just be a younger version of what the older Labour Party members want… we could call them the

          “Younger members who want and think everything that the older Labour Party members want.”

          The YMWWATETTOLPMW

          • Colonial Rawshark 3.4.1.3.1

            Here’s a radical idea, how about a Young Labour which represents what a broad cross section of NZ youth inside and outside of university want?

            • miravox 3.4.1.3.1.1

              Here’s another radical idea – how about older Labour tell the media that Young Labour are quite welcome to explore any number of political and social issues as part of developing their political awareness and we’re quite comfortable with that.

              How difficult is that? What a bloody beat up.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                So the idea that Young Labour should seek to represent the interests and views of a broad spectrum of Kiwi youth, including those outside of university, and those living outside of the big cities of Auckland and Wellington is just too difficult?

                Sounds like the broad tent just got narrower.

                • miravox

                  What part of what I said leads you to think I think young Labour should not represent a broad spectrum?

                  I just think old Labour should be comfortable that YL will explore solutions to issues that concern them. It’s part of developing awareness.

            • Ron 3.4.1.3.1.2

              Um CV I think they already do represent a broad cross section of NZ society
              Maybe it’s you are are out of touch with the rest of NZ

              Here’s a radical idea, how about a Young Labour which represents what a broad cross section of NZ youth inside and outside of university want?

            • tracey 3.4.1.3.1.3

              Surely they are obliged to represent their membership?

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Yes. So that answers several questions.

                • tracey

                  would you be surprised or even condemning if they put forward ideas from those young people voting ACT or national as a form of gazumping to get their votes?

    • Keir 3.5

      This is bizarre. This wouldn’t be a story if Nash and Shearer had held their tongues and referred requests for comment to Annette King, who actually knows something about this issue and could have given a measured, reality-based response.

      If you want to get angry at people providing distractions, get angry at Stuart Nash.

      • McFlock 3.5.1

        yup

        • Sacha 3.5.1.1

          Still waiting for Labour’s leadership to make an example of MPs and party officials who mouth off on issues not within their delegations. Or the same old lack of unity will nobble yet another election for the rest of us too.

          • McFlock 3.5.1.1.1

            Well, if we compare it to the days of chris carter’s anonymous mailings or duncan garner telling us he’d seen the letter and that the coup was in less than two weeks… at least things are improving.

      • Karen 3.5.2

        +1 Keir

      • Tracey 3.5.3

        Yup, Nash is in the wrong party…

        • Sacha 3.5.3.1

          Maybe someone can show him the door?

          • Colonial Rawshark 3.5.3.1.1

            The right wing, and the right wing of Labour, want Nash up on the front bench. He has been identified as leadership material now that Goff, Shearer, etc. are history.

            • Sacha 3.5.3.1.1.1

              There’s no room in a caucus in need of rebuilding for someone who can’t zip it for the greater good.

            • te reo putake 3.5.3.1.1.2

              Bullshit, CV. Nobody much likes or trusts Nash, not even the conservative elements within caucus. And he has no chance of winning over the membership and affiliates. An iconoclast like yourself would probably have a better shot of getting a tick from the likes of Goff and Shearer; middle class attitudes, hatred of just about everything Labour stands for, wishes the wimmin and teh gayz would just shut up etc.

      • Ron 3.5.4

        +100 Keir
        I see in papers that Nash was not present when his region voted on this subject. Come to think of it I don’t remember Shearer being present at region one conference either.
        Also interesting the fact that many of Labour MP’s were missing from region one Saturday Dinner. Wonder why.

    • Tracey 3.6

      Those caring young bastards…

      Perhaps the remits relating to the things you think Labour should be doing had already been raised and passed?

      Are you able to travel with more than one idea at a time? I am sure Labour can too.

  4. Can’t reply to Sabine directly as I’m on a tablet! But this is a serious issue. The current waiting list for gender confirmation surgery is longer than the average life expectancy of trans people. It is literally life saving. It allows an extremely marginalised group of people to drastically improve their quality of life.

    The government, which is spending $26 million on a flag referendum no one wants, could spend just $1.5 million to clear that waiting list immediately. It’s a trifling cost in the and scheme of things and it would save lives,

    The only reason this gets treated as a negative against Labour is because people flock to back down and not scare the horses. If we stood up as a movement and said yes, we can care about more than one thing at a time, and we do care about saving vulnerable people’s lives, and we’re not afraid to stand up for what’s right, the result would be very different. People might actually know that Labour stands for justice and equality even when it doesn’t affect the narrow, white, middle class stereotype we have of working people.

    • Zorr 4.1

      Can not +1 this enough

      It’s always amazing how various supporters of the Left seem to think that progressive policies that assist the most vulnerable in our society and are implemented to provide a more equitable society for all, are distracting from the real issues.

      Some of us can walk and chew gum at the same time… as well as provide support to implementing progressive policies *and* fixing the current state of our economy.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1

        Some of us can walk and chew gum at the same time.

        This.

        A more balanced view of what they (Young Labour) consider priorities can be found on their Facebook page. Recent updates on the budget, cuts that have made life harder for students, Gallipoli, zero hours contracts…

        The only remarks about gender reassignment surgery were made after the media decided to make a story out of it.

        It’s a pity that Sabine and CR seem intent on supporting the false media narrative.

        • Colonial Rawshark 4.1.1.1

          Had enough of seeing gutsy strong progressive leading edge discussions on gender change, abortion and euthanasia, juxtaposed with utter timidity on orthodox monetary policy, underemployment, unconditional basic income, unaffordable housing, energy depletion and climate change.

          • weka 4.1.1.1.1

            Maybe you should take your blinders off then. OAB just pointed out what Labour Youth focus on, and then pointed to the fact that this is a media beat up. What you are proposing is complete silence from Labour on many issues of inequality. Can’t see how that would work tbh, either at an organisational level, or a political one (controlling what people can say?).

          • Keir 4.1.1.1.2

            Firstly, over the past three years, Young Labour has campaigned internally on action on climate change. Young Labour was one of major drivers of the Healthy Homes Guarantee within the Party. Young Labour has pushed for action on child poverty, including embedding child poverty reduction targets in legislation. When I was Young Labour’s representative on Policy Council, I was strongly supportive of efforts to deal with unemployment, climate change, affordable housing, sustainable energy use. I am pretty sure every YL representative has been equally staunch on those issues.

            We can do those things and fight for the right to choose, the right to receive medically required surgeries, and the right to die – it’s not an either/or.

            Secondly, mate, you don’t get to tell people what their activism should be about. If you want to organise about issues, put remits up at regional conference, try and get them passed, you are more than welcome to do so. But don’t tell other people what issues matter, what issues they “should” be focussing on.

            • Bill 4.1.1.1.2.1

              Thing is Keir, that without the solid foundation Labour used to stand on, all the remits in the world are a bit like refugees bobbing up and down on the waves. Who’ll get seen? Who’ll get picked up?

              Once upon a time it was dry feet and plain sailing with a destination in mind.

              • Keir

                Isn’t this one of those solid foundational issues? Every one has the right to the healthcare they need, whether or not they’re wealthy enough to get it down privately, whether or not the judgemental bigots of the world approve? That’s a sentiment straight from In Place Of Fear, isn’t it?

                • Bill

                  The solid foundation in this instance would be a 100% publicly funded health service that’s committed to catering for everyone’s health (both physical and mental) for free and on a basis of need.

                  • weka

                    Yep, In addition to the remit process, Labour needs to have core policy in place that will ensure fairness, and it doesn’t yet. Getting trans people into equitable access to a dysfunctional system is an important step, but why not sort the system itself?

                  • Keir

                    Yeah. OK, that’s great, and I fully support that – although, it should be said that in the NZ public system, access to surgery is already generally free and needs based. It’s mostly the primary care sector that suffers from cost-based barriers to accessing care. But gender reassignment surgery is (a) capped at a very low level, and (b) not available in NZ because the surgeon that used to do it has retired.

                    Building that universal system will take time and money, and it’s a hard sell to a party that feels it has to be fiscal credible. I think we should do that, but I’m not willing to commit to a pure vision in place of concrete realistic changes we can make. I think that, as Nye Bevan once said, you can be pure but impotent, and I don’t want to do that.

                    So here and now, one simple and easy way to give more people access to the healthcare they need is to increase funding for gender reassignment surgery. Everyone should have access to the care they need, whether or not they can pay for it. At present, that’s not true for people in need of gender reassignment surgery, and so we should fix that. Solid socialist principle leading to a solid socialist policy.

                    This should be a no-brainer for a socialist – if someone needs health care, they should get it. Sure, make the argument for universal provision, but don’t use that as a way of stopping real people getting care here and now.

                    • Keir

                      And I remember making the case, with other members of Young Labour, for universality at the Christchurch Conference before the last election. I don’t particularly remember getting a huge amount of support from the rest of the party, who tended to prefer Annette King’s vision of targeting healthcare spending to particular groups. So yeah, maybe it’s not YL that needs to be told about the wonders of such a universal system?

                    • Bill

                      …access to surgery is already generally free and needs based.

                      Afraid that just ain’t so. First question anyone needing anything done is asked is ‘Do you have insurance?’

                      So, for example, I need spinal surgery. ACC washed their hands. Now on public waiting list of….years – with all the added potential for complications.

                      Neighbour had a prolapse. Simple and necessary operation. No insurance. Will likely be dead before anything’s done.

                      And it goes on and on and on.

              • McFlock

                I actually think it’s YL who have the destination in mind.

                I have nothing against the LP MPs, but during Lab5 they lost direction and lost vision, most of their main gains were from the other non-tory parties in the house and “fringe” elements within the party. To a certain degree the caucus are still struggling to regain that cohesive vision, although they have learnt a bit (Nash less than most, it seems).

                But this particular rehash of the eternal debate isn’t even about direction: the same people who put forward this remit probably put forward or supported other remits about minimum incomes and other “left wing” issues cv might actually agree with. I.e. it’s part of a cohesive and developed programme.

                The key take-home from this instance is that if someone is presented with a policy proposal that isn’t in their immediate sphere of interest, making it all about themselves just fuels the tory distracto-spinner.

        • Sabine 4.1.1.2

          no we are calling out precisely what happened.

          no one speaks about the other stuff.

          i want to speak about the other stuff.

          i don’t want to give any ammunition to the nzherald and its assorted stenographer.

          i am at the point were I would like to win.
          So that we can actually do something about something.

          If you read what I have actually said, you will see that I say something about Time and Place. We are in a Time and Place where no matter what we say will get deconstructed and distorted. So, why do I have to continue their game? Why can I not give them something they can froth about (and they will froth about transgender reassignment surgery, the same as they did with same sex marriage etc. ), and instead just call out the government on the larger issue.

          Access to Healthcare according to ones needs. Need a bypass, of the hospital you go. Need reassignment surgery, of to the hospital you go.
          In a perfect world, with Healthcare accessible to all this would be modus operantus. Alas, it is not.

          Half of NZ is on a waiting list. They are all equally deserving. NO?

          • weka 4.1.1.2.1

            Yep, this just puts trans people on the same footing as the rest of NZ.

            If you think funding gender operations equals less hip operations, then you really have no idea how the health budget works.

            • Sabine 4.1.1.2.1.1

              If you have a person needing a re-asignment surgery and has his/her doctor refer that person to the hospital for that surgery than I want that person to be given that surgery.
              If you have a person needing a hip, and his/her doctor refer that person to the hospital for that surgery, than I want that person to be given that surgery.

              Healthcare is Healthcare, and should be provided once needed. Is that so hard to understand?

              • weka

                Then why are you arguing against policy to ensure trans people have access to healthcare?

          • Tracey 4.1.1.2.2

            “no one speaks about the other stuff. ”

            Can you list the LP Conference remits for us?

            • Ron 4.1.1.2.2.1

              Yes i could but not sure of the propriety. If you are a labour member you will get a copy if not then it’s probably nothing to do with you till it becomes part of LAbour Policy after the National COnference

          • Ron 4.1.1.2.3

            Sabine
            Region one had 100 remits covering a wide range of subjects. Feel free to comment on any of those other 99 remits

          • Ron 4.1.1.2.4

            Sabine
            Region one had 100 remits covering a wide range of subjects. Feel free to comment on any of those other 99 remits

        • Tracey 4.1.1.3

          +1

    • Sabine 4.2

      Stephanie,

      we are having people on waitinglists for everything and nothing.

      Literally, we have old ones waiting for knees, we have young ones waiting for cancer treatments, we have transgendered waiting for surgery.

      Why is that?

      The system is broken for all that are not affluent enough to afford decent healthcare. All of NZ, that is not part of the monied class has issues with access to healthcare, dental care, mental healthcare.
      Heck, try to get counseling as a vicitim of sexual violence. Last I tried some 20 years ago, i was charged $ 140 per 45 min session, i only went once.

      An elderly lady, mother of a friend of mine, tried to commit suicide so as to not be a burden on her family.
      Another friend of mine went to OZ for his surgery and charged it on the CCard, he is still paying it off.
      And we all have these stories.

      I am not against the funds being made available, I just call out the timing of the demand, and the larger issue of health care, dental care, and mental health care that we have in NZ and it is frigging dire.

    • felix 4.3

      “Can’t reply to Sabine directly as I’m on a tablet!”

      lolz it’s a bit early for most of us but you’ve got to do something with your wednesday mornings I suppose 😀

    • Rosie 4.4

      Beautifully put thank you Stephanie.

    • mickysavage 4.5

      Thanks Steph. Exquisitely well put. The policy is about compassion and there are people in our community grappling with issues that means that some state help can make a huge difference.

      I have tried to avoid the identity politics arguments (of which there have been a few) but I have always thought that compassion should be a starting point.

  5. mac1 5

    I recall a bit of wisdom that Lprent wrote about giving to a younger person. Set aside some thirty years to allow for change to be worked for and to happen.

    I have just attended the Grey Power Annual General Meeting, that fount of generational wisdom and acumen.

    We managed to get one very good speaker talking on advocacy. Amongst other things he spoke about visibility and credibility. This needed time to be taken, for the advocacy to be measured to be credible. Homework had to be done, and information given. Views had to reflect what the community says.

    In terms of change, Young Labour have met the conservative reaction machine chugging out resistance to change, even if change is already happening.

    Mickysavage instanced change that has happened since his young days in the late seventies. I go back a little earlier to debates about drinking ages, voting ages, Vietnam and nuclear weaponry.

    My father’s generation debated the introduction of the Welfare State and my grandfather saw the introduction of Old Age pensions. All these were opposed by the forces of reaction.

    The forces of reaction lost them all.

    What we see instead is incremental clawing back of these reforms by more insidious and long term actions of these same forces.

    Sabine is addressing the second issue- the loss of gains already won, and mickysavage is talking about the process of change over new issues. It’s the same old tension- pragmatism versus the visionary.

  6. Puckish Rogue 6

    Personally I’d rather see more funding for bariatric surgery as opposed to this but each to their own

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      Oh, is it a binary decision? What is it about those that gets you Righties so excited?

      • Puckish Rogue 6.1.1

        Oh please, thats just silly and you know it but if we’re talking about publicly funding more operations then I’d want more weigh-loss surgery for people as I’m guessing theres more people in NZ morbidly obese than there are wanting gender reassignment surgery

        Also more weight loss surgery now means there’ll be less people in future needing medical help for obesity related issues which would probably eventually save money

        • felix 6.1.1.1

          So let’s do that as well.

          But oh noes, you keep voting for governments that will do neither!

          • Puckish Rogue 6.1.1.1.1

            Whats Labours position on Bariatric surgery and geneder reassignment surgery funding?

            • felix 6.1.1.1.1.1

              Why do you care what Labour’s policy is? Are you thinking of voting for them?

              Is bariatric surgery suddenly the crucial fucking issue for you in choosing who to vote for?

              No?

              Well fuck off and lobby the govt you support then if you actually give a shit.

              p.s. I saw a report somewhere about how the youth wing of the Labour Party were promoting funding of gender reassignment surgery. Can’t remember where though.

              • Puckish Rogue

                You say I keep voting for a party that only funds a few operstions so I ask what Labours position is and you respond with fuck off

                Pretty much sums up the left really

                • felix

                  “You say I keep voting for a party that only funds a few operstions”

                  No, I didn’t. Take your strawman and continue fucking off.

                  If you really give a shit about some specific aspect of health funding, then go and harass the government about it.

                  Presumably you knew their policy on this issue-of-utmost-importance-to-you when you voted for them.

                  • Puckish Rogue

                    Unlike you I’m not a single-issue nutter

                    • McFlock

                      I agreee – you’re more of a broad-aspect tosser.

                    • felix

                      Aww, poor Puckish Rogue. It must me awful to host such a fancy derailment and have no-one turn up.

                    • Puckish Rogue

                      Being that all the people of NZ will remember about this is that Labour want to spend more money on sex change operations I’d be more concerned about Labours chances in 2020

                • Tracey

                  you don’t know how to type labour party policy into a search engine? Cos that is all it takes to get your answer?

                  Off the top of your head, and with no googling name me the top five remits passed at the last National Party Conference, and ACT?

        • Psycho Milt 6.1.1.2

          Bariatric and gender reassignment surgery are both wastes of the public health system’s resources on problems that don’t involve illness or injury. It’s annoying that we publicly fund them at all.

          • Puckish Rogue 6.1.1.2.1

            I disagree, bariatric surgery is shown to be effective at weight loss which means there are less complications further down the track meaning less cost to the tax payer

            • Psycho Milt 6.1.1.2.1.1

              People who’ve undergone bariatric surgery have a higher death rate (in the short term – death rate for humans is always 100% over the long term) than obese people. They suffer a wide range of unpleasant side effects or complications that the public health system has to deal with, and the only reason it works is that the physical restriction of their stomach requires them to eat a high-protein, low-carb diet to stay healthy – which, if they’d been eating like that in the first place, would have spared them the obesity and the need for the surgery. It’s pointless and stupid, and is an issue only because of chronic incompetence in the fields of epidemiology and nutrition.

          • Lanthanide 6.1.1.2.2

            I don’t see how gender reassignment surgery is any less therapeutic to someone’s mental health than treating depression or suicidal thoughts etc. Those things are publicly funded.

            • Bill 6.1.1.2.2.1

              Going along with gender reassignment as a mental health issue, then the question is whether mental health is afforded the same level of importance as physical health. I suspect it isn’t. Which is yet another way Labour MPs could have dealt with the question. (comment 9)

              This bullshit of everything being sliced and diced into hopeless single cause issues is, I believe, a result of big picture, progressive politics being buried under a tombstone engraved with the date 1984.

              • Tracey

                Being a man effectively inside a woman’s body strikes me as a little more than a mental issue… and vice versa, but that’s just me.

          • weka 6.1.1.2.3

            “Bariatric and gender reassignment surgery are both wastes of the public health system’s resources on problems that don’t involve illness or injury. It’s annoying that we publicly fund them at all.”

            How about abortion? Infertility? Health promotion?

            • Psycho Milt 6.1.1.2.3.1

              Unwanted pregnancy’s a problem that can only be fixed via medical intervention (unlike being obese or not being happy with the body you were issued with). Don’t get me started on public funding of infertility treatment. Health promotion is largely another waste of resources.

              • weka

                I probably agree with you re fertility treatments. I don’t see abortion services as different than gender surgery. Both solve significant problems.

                We will be probably be diametrically opposed on health promotion (although I have some steep critiques of how we do health promotion). But, you know, sex education? Cervical screening? Plunket?

                • Hmm, true – I was thinking about health promotion as I experience it (You drink too much! Do some exercise! Diabetics are at risk of X, Y and Z! Eat this shit food! Don’t eat that perfectly healthy food! And so on), rather than health promotion overall.

              • Tracey

                I agree with you regearding fertility treatment.

          • Rosie 6.1.1.2.4

            Tell that to my friend who underwent female to male gender reassignment surgery Psycho Milt. For him being stuck in the wrong body created an illness for him. He felt alien to his true self and suffered much mental torment. That IS mental illness.

            That his life could change, and that he could then flourish as his true self and that this could happen because he had access to surgery made me feel proud that in NZ we fund gender reassignment surgery, that we don’t marginalise people by excluding them. Thats a sign of a progressive and fair society.

            • Tracey 6.1.1.2.4.1

              I agree. If I were born with 3 arms or 2 heads it would be seen as physical and on another level a mental health issue. Gender entrapment is similar.

  7. Tigger 7

    My question: why is our Hearh Minister using an internal discussion by another political party on the health of very vulnerable people to score political points?

    Coleman’s actions are gutter politics. He’s a disgrace as Minister.

  8. Charles 8

    1) Little’s response is good, could have been improved by adding a comment of general support for Young Labour as an organisation, but as-is is good.

    2) Younger-than-thous talk. What’s the big deal?

    3) Labour is generally “progressive” in its thinking. To whom does that come as a surprise anymore?

    4) Who would propose (continued) funding for such things? People who are totally in-touch with reality. Saying the reality doesn’t exist or should be ignored is like saying there are no sheep on our farms because wool is scratchy.

    5) Politics 101 is always in effect. No excuses for senior MPs fluffing this media stuff. Time for a “Come to Jesus” meeting.

    6) Personal opinion. As above re: “walking and chewing gum”. Walking is obvious, chewing is usually a quiet activity. Governments do many things at once. That’s why there’s more than one MP per cabinet.

    7) Ops already funded. See 4) + 5).

    • Colonial Rawshark 8.1

      6) Personal opinion. As above re: “walking and chewing gum”. Walking is obvious, chewing is usually a quiet activity. Governments do many things at once. That’s why there’s more than one MP per cabinet.

      Well, Labour hasn’t sorted out which part it wants to show off to the electorate – the stride of the Labour movement or the chewing with its mouth open part.

      What do you think the electorate wants to see from Labour for 2017?

    • DoublePlusGood 8.2

      Ops are not already funded. The funding is for 1-4 per year, with a waiting list of something like 80 meaning that the waiting time is effective lifetime.
      Furthermore, the (incompetent) surgeon previously doing it has retired, and as such there is no one in New Zealand to do those surgeries at current. So no ops are being funded currently.

      • Molly 8.2.1

        Pertinent information.

        Proves the point that the whole truth needs to be shown for it to be “true.”

  9. Bill 9

    Gender reassignment versus particular cancer treatment versus (insert condition of your choice).

    It’s a lose/lose/lose situation. Now, if the Labour Party had social justice and fairness sitting at its core, then its mps could have simply and naturally responded along the lines of…”We believe in the public ownership of our health system, and for the health service to be free for all at point of use according to need.”

    They could have added caveats around available funding and voiced a commitment to increase said levels of funding year on year, while acknowledging the reality that no health service could ever hope to treat absolutely every condition.

    • Colonial Rawshark 9.1

      well, actually, a health service can treat most conditions and very quickly too, if it were to be correctly resourced and be an actual health service, not mainly a sickness service.

      • Bill 9.1.1

        Well, yes. But I did say ‘absolutely every condition’ not ‘most conditions’ 😉

        Massive public funding of preventative social measures alongside funding curative measures existing within a context of an absolute commitment to public ownership of all aspects of health and care.

        See Labour running for cover? See them stand before their smiling business masters telling us about ‘modernism’ and (haven’t heard this term in NZ yet)…how they occupy the radical center?

        • weka 9.1.1.1

          radical center, jeeze, who is using that?

          • Bill 9.1.1.1.1

            UK Labour.

            • Colonial Rawshark 9.1.1.1.1.1

              Yeah it’s going to be a Tory election come 2020.

            • te reo putake 9.1.1.1.1.2

              Not actually correct, Bill. It was the Lib Dem’s Nick Clegg who coined that phrase.

              • Bill

                Dunno who coined it but I first heard it on a Newsnight item from a UK Labour talking head (John Hutton). So Labour have claimed it? Whoops.

                • Whoops! UK Labour haven’t claimed it. A former Blairite Lord has used it in an interview. Nothing to do with UK Labour, actually.

                  • Bill

                    – clippety clop – Y’know your hopeless penchant for noble defense is, well… someday soon you’re going to run out of those coconut hooves. 😉

                    A Labour peer from the house of commons, speaking in an interview on behalf of the Labour Party, in light of their electoral disaster used the term. (linked) But sure. Nothing to do with Labour.

                    • Speaking on behalf of himself. So nothing to do with Labour, as you say.

                    • Bill

                      If he was presuming to speak for himself, he would have naturally used the term ‘I’ – as in ‘I think’ instead of the constant ‘we’ refrain – as in ‘we, Labour’ that he employed through-out.

                      Anyone in UK Labour slapped him down for going on a flagship BBC programme and saying things he ought not to have said? If not, then hey…

                    • D’oh! I use the phrase ‘we’ all the time. Am I a spokesperson for Labour? Sorry Bill, but your argument’s piss weak. It wasn’t Labour’s phrase, it was the Lib Dems. One old duffer from a bygone era doesn’t validate your sneering in the first comment.

                    • Bill

                      Them’s robust coconuts you got there!

                      Habitual use of ‘We’ usually either denotes an unhealthy sense of personal boundaries of identity, or royalty (same thing really), or an attempt to elevate oneself in the eyes of others..a claim to authority – that may or may not be justified insofar as it has granted or not.

                      btw, I didn’t make any claim as to the genesis of the term. I merely, in response to a question, passed on where I first heard it used.

      • dukeofurl 9.1.2

        ” health service can treat most conditions and very quickly too”

        Is this something you know about ?

        Or is it just a platitude about wellness and getting around those nasty medical people and having you approve everyones diet

        • Colonial Rawshark 9.1.2.1

          Did you see the report which said that 500,000+ people die in western countries every year as a result of psych meds which in most cases may have very little benefits? And that clinical trials of those drugs under-report suicides associated with those trials? And you wonder why people are cautious about conventional drug heavy western medical approaches?

          • Bill 9.1.2.1.1

            The question should be couched against the backdrop of the profit motive that distorts and corrupts research; not treated in isolation.

            • weka 9.1.2.1.1.1

              I think that’s part of CV’s point. We have a system that is driven by things other than health.

              As well as the profit motive, there is some pretty heavy duty ideological bias in the current psychiatric model. That’s probably as hard to change as the capitalist issues.

              • Tim

                What heavy duty ideological bias do you mean Weka?

                • weka

                  That mental illnesses are distinct diseases with chemical origins and can therefore be best managed via pharmaceuticals. That belief dictates much of what happens within mental health services, and causes a lot of damage.

    • weka 9.2

      Yep, that’s the one Bill. They can promote fair health care for all, without having to put certain issues on the waiting list. Transphobia will still be an issue because the health budget is finite and there will always be prioritising, until the left start standing up for everyone.

      • Colonial Rawshark 9.2.1

        The left is not perceived as standing up for everyone but instead only for a few people; that’s why only 1 in 4 voters voted left in 2014.

        • marty mars 9.2.1.1

          are you still left?

          • Colonial Rawshark 9.2.1.1.1

            I’m just someone telling a few bloody obvious truths

          • Bill 9.2.1.1.2

            If I may…yes he is.

            I was reminded of the tension CV creates, particularly around matters of gender, when I was reading a feminist website the other day that wanted equality for women and men. Now putting aside the missing genders, their approach struck me as far more accommodating of humanity and generally progressive than many.

            Of course, most of what was referenced pertained, rightly and obviously given society’s make-up, to women’s issues and rights. But what they implicitly allow space for is some of the stuff CV highlights, and the possibility to bring those men’s issues (shorter lifespan, suicide rates or whatever) under an expansive and uncompromised feminist umbrella committed to equality for women and men.

            Food for thought?

            • weka 9.2.1.1.2.1

              Feminism (in general) has been committed to equality for all people for a long time. People who get their understanding of feminism from the MSM usually miss that and instead go with messaging from the backlash against feminism.

              The problem with CV’s approach is he wants to address men’s issues by undermining feminism. Women didn’t get things like gender specific health care handed to them on a plate, they got out and organised it (and worked bloody hard). If men do the same I’m pretty sure they will get supported by women. If instead they focus on removing identity politics, or undermining feminism, then obviously women are going to react badly to that.

              There is plenty of space on ts to talk about men’s issues around things like suicide or early deaths. But I’m noticing a trend of those issues being brought up in discussions about other people’s issues (feminist, trans etc). It’s a bad strategy IMO.

              (btw, most feminists have men in their lives, often boy children or partners, as well as other male relatives and friends, and are well aware of the need for their issues to be addressed. It’s not women that are stopping work on pan gender approaches).

              • Bill

                You’re speaking to the converted here 😉

                But it did strike me that an aspect of the feminist movement was essentially, and effortlessly, claiming ownership of men’s issues. I was heartened.

              • Tracey

                YUP

                It is opponents of the issues raised by feminists that choose to frame feminists as anti-men.

                many women are mothers to males, it makes sense they give a shit about male issues.

        • McFlock 9.2.1.2

          Doesn’t “standing up for everyone” mean standing up for everyone, including groups we regard as unimportant or otherwise marginalise?

          • Colonial Rawshark 9.2.1.2.1

            As I said, the Left is perceived as standing up for only a few people; which is why only a few people voted for them.

            • McFlock 9.2.1.2.1.1

              So to be perceived as standing up for everyone, the left must not stand up for queer folk, women, and anyone else whose needs you regard as unimportant.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Hey shit dude, if you really think the Left is on to a winning formula at the moment, it should keep doing what its been doing.

            • dukeofurl 9.2.1.2.1.2

              Detailed policy only makes up the minds of a small number of voters.

              Look at Northland, one minute they voted a majority for someone on the Team key, 6 months later it was someone going to shake up team key.

              The real clincher was publicity: for once a non national party candidate got around equal air time.

              Case closed

              • Colonial Rawshark

                The real clincher was publicity: for once a non national party candidate got around equal air time.

                Do you really think the Labour Party candidate would have won Northland if only they had gotten “around equal air time”? I don’t think so.

    • felix 9.3

      + a million Bill.

  10. Michael 10

    Social issues are important too. Having economic equality and fairness is worthless if there is no social equality and fairness. i.e. ensuring no one lives in poverty is just as important as ensuring no one is marginalised because of their sexuality or gender identity.

    For example, even if we provide a UBI, on a societal level it’s worthless unless we also ensure no one is discriminated against because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. Progressive govts should not just promote progressive economic policies but progressive social policies, as in my opinion, the two are not mutually exclusive when talking about true progressive change.

    Props to Young Labour on this. I agree with Andrew Little that it’s not a pressing issue at the moment that will help Labour win an election, but it’s definitely an important policy to support and implement when in Government.

    • weka 10.1

      +1 Very well put.

    • Tracey 10.2

      I find it hard to believe the LP only discussed the medical support for gender transformation at its conference…

    • Colonial Rawshark 10.3

      For example, even if we provide a UBI, on a societal level it’s worthless unless we also ensure no one is discriminated against because of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.

      This is very nice sounding but its absolutely false.

      A substantial UBI changes the lives of 200,000 to 300,000 children who live in poverty even if zero else changes in terms of descrimination due to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity etc.

      And of course, the true power of something a substantial UBI is that it empowers ordinary people against very common economic forms of descrimination due to race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc.

      • DoublePlusGood 10.3.1

        Yeah, exactly! Thanks for saving me having to write something epic with your nice concise response…

        • Colonial Rawshark 10.3.1.1

          It’s like the Left has forgotten how to really change society and all it can do now is tinker with this and that.

      • Michael 10.3.2

        Being left-wing means you “support social equality and egalitarianism, and are often in opposition to social hierarchy and social inequality”.

        Left-wing economic policies cannot be mutually exclusive with progressive social policies. There exists many sorts of oppression – class, race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, etc. It is important to reach equality in *all* areas of society. I wouldn’t vote for a left-wing party unless it was both left-leaning on economic issues AND progressive on social issues.

        Both neoliberalism and social conservatism are equally bad. We need an inclusive society – and that doesn’t mean just being inclusive of the poor. That means including ethnic minorities, sexual and gender minorities, women, immigrants, etc.

        Labour – and no left-leaning party – should not just be a party for white males. It needs to be inclusive and supportive of every type of person, especially minorities and those who face oppression including the poor, ethnic minorities, and the LGBTQ+ community. Funding surgery for trans* people is just as important as reducing child poverty.

        You cannot call yourself left-wing without being progressive on both social and economic issues.

        • Psycho Milt 10.3.2.1

          The question of whether or to what extent a particular elective surgical procedure should be publicly funded isn’t a matter of ‘progressive’ or ‘not progressive.’

        • DS 10.3.2.2

          “You cannot call yourself left-wing without being progressive on both social and economic issues.”

          Where, exactly, does that leave those who are economically left-wing and socially conservative?

          Actually, we know what happens: given that formerly left-wing parties have become part of the neoliberal mainstream or otherwise content themselves with tinkering around the edges, economically left/socially right people stop focussing on economics, and start voting on social issues. You thus end up with poor people voting Republican in the US, or UKIP in Britain, or National in New Zealand. Because the traditional parties of the Left are so hell-bent on middle-class issues.

        • DS 10.3.2.3

          “Labour – and no left-leaning party – should not just be a party for white males.”

          Labour got 25% of the vote in 2014. Given that (these days) more women vote Labour than men, male support for Labour would thus be less than 25%. In the early 20s.

          Then consider that Pacific Islanders, of whatever gender, vote overwhelmingly Labour, and that Maori and South Asians (while nowhere near as Labour as Pacific Islanders), vote more Labour than Pakeha.

          The percentage of white New Zealand males voting Labour is thus probably around 1 in 6. And that’s before factoring in the proportion of those who are university educated…

          Why don’t poor white males vote Labour? Why are they either not voting, or voting National?

          • weka 10.3.2.3.1

            I would have thought that was obvious. The betrayal of the left in the 80s and since, and Labour being primarily a middle class party now that is more interested in holding onto power than holding onto its own founding principles. None of that has much to do with the politics of people with other identities though.

            • Colonial Rawshark 10.3.2.3.1.1

              In this case, gender inequality (amongst Labour voters is not a major concern).

              • weka

                I suggest you go ask women Labour voters how they would feel about losing access to abortion services and see how you get on. Or whether cervical screening is important. Or midwifery services. You think we just got handed that stuff on a plate, or did we have to act politically to get those things?

                Women or Māori or people with disabilities or elderly people, Labour has some of all of those and none of their issues are the problem. You can take those issues out of the picture completely, and you are still left with a party that’s lost its way and that too many people don’t trust.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  As I said, the noticeable shortfall of men voting Labour is of no concern to some.

                  • McFlock

                    Maybe you should start your own political party that campaigns solely on “the end is nigh” and “peak financialisation”.

                    You’d be prime minister in 2017…

  11. SHG 11

    Given that this was obviously going to become a media topic, you’d think that Little, Nash, et al would have received a briefing on the proposal and have planned answers in advance.

    • Why was a remit at a regional conference obviously going to become a media topic?

      • SHG 11.1.1

        Because “Labour wants to make sex changes free” is a headline. After the “Labour wants to cut benefits for non-voters” fiasco you’d think they’d have a plan for this stuff.

        • te reo putake 11.1.1.1

          You may have misunderstood the question, SHG.

          Why was a remit at a regional conference obviously going to become a media topic? What was obvious about it? Are all regional conference remits obviously going to become a media topic? Should Labour brief every MP on every remit to regional conferences, no matter how obscure or how unlikely they are to become policy?

          • SHG 11.1.1.1.1

            No, they should be briefed on remits based on how likely it is that the issue will turn into a headline if they’re NOT briefed and then get put on the spot about it. Because you know that will happen.

            Why was a remit at a regional conference obviously going to become a media topic?

            Seriously, if you need this explained you must be living under a rock.

            • te reo putake 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Nah, mate. You’re obviously bullshitting or know bugger all about remit processes at political conferences. The actual answer is for MP’s to STFU FFS.

              • Tracey

                yup….

                or have a deflection ready…

                what remits did the ACT board pass or nzf or national. come back with a list and we can discuss them with our transparent ones

    • McFlock 11.2

      maybe not. But Little had the nous to not comment on the remit, off the cuff, based on what the reporters were telling him.

      Nash should learn how to do that.

      • SHG 11.2.1

        “I’m quite happy with my gender,” he said.

        Smooth.

        Jesus, if that’s “having the nous to not comment off the cuff” I’d hate to see what “saying the first thing that came into his head without thinking” looks like.

    • Keir 11.3

      Nash did receive a briefing on the proposal – he was at the regional conference it was discussed at. He chose to grandstand out of self-interest.

      • McFlock 11.3.1

        Another test for Little, then.

      • Karen 11.3.2

        I am a bit suspicious about Nash’s role in this story.

      • Ron 11.3.3

        I wonder if Nash voted against remit

        Nash did receive a briefing on the proposal – he was at the regional conference it was discussed at. He chose to grandstand out of self-interest.

  12. I have queer and trans* friends who’ve heard old Labour say for years “We’re throwing you under the bus to demonstrate to National voters that we’re safe… but don’t worry, we’ll give some something down the line when we’ve been in power a while. Vote for us now.”

    Imagine their gratitude, and their trust.

    The message they hear is not “We’re not nutty”, it’s “Shut up and sit down.” Then Labour canvassers come around demanding their votes and wonder why they get doors slammed in their faces.

    The fact is, Labour does this over and over again, it sees the Right whipping up the reactionaries and promptly makes a show of distancing itself from those scary environmentalists/women/maori/LGBT/beneficiaries… and pretty soon those “minorities” start adding up until, strangely enough, it’s the minority of straight white men is left untouched.

    Yes, I happen to be a straight white man, but the “solidarity” so often used to bludgeon minorities is supposed to mean each standing by each and that works both ways. In any case, I’ve found out that I too can be fitted into a minority that Labour was happy to throw under the bus.

    • weka 12.1

      Minority votes aren’t real votes apparently, and minorities aren’t real NZers.

      • Colonial Rawshark 12.1.1

        You’re talking about a Labour Caucus which doesn’t have a single South Asian, South East Asian or East Asian member. That’s half the worlds peoples and 12% of NZ’s which hasn’t been represented.

        • weka 12.1.1.1

          No, YOU are talking about that Labour Caucus. It’s your party not mine.

          I was talking about your continual referral to ‘most NZers’, as if they’re some amorphous group who all believe what you do that identity politics are unimportant and that solving economic issues is a panacea.

        • Ron 12.1.1.2

          Well it did have several on the list in region one but you have to do better than 25% to get them elected.
          The list is the vehicle that is used under MMP to ensure there is a fair gender and ethnic balance.

          • Colonial Rawshark 12.1.1.2.1

            OK, so Asian candidates can take their turn at the back of queue. Put another way: to be ethnically balanced out of 32 Labour MPs 4 should be of ‘Asian’ background. Instead, there are none and we should wait until Labour get back up to say 30% of the vote to get some.

            • Ron 12.1.1.2.1.1

              You are being duplicitous. If you are suggesting that Asian candidates should have been selected for electorate seats then that is surely up to the LEC’s Did your LEC put forward an asian candidate?
              I agree that Parliament should reflect society but the method for ensuring that we have a wide range of ethnicity is the party list. I know in our area we had several asians reasonably high on list. But we need to get a good party vote to fulfill that aim. As it was from memory only one person came off the list to make up our numbers. I just hope that your electorate was not one of the ones that did not campaign for party vote deliberately.
              Fortunately from what we now know of the Post Election 2014 review it will be harder for individual electorates to campaign only for electorate in future elections. I am all for that change.

    • Colonial Rawshark 12.2

      I have queer and trans* friends who’ve heard old Labour say for years “We’re throwing you under the bus to demonstrate to National voters that we’re safe… but don’t worry, we’ll give some something down the line when we’ve been in power a while. Vote for us now.”

      Could you be specific about the policies or government decisions over the last 10 years taken by Labour which has thrown your queer and trans* friends under the bus please.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 12.2.1

        policies or government decisions

        Can you be clear about whether your strawman is because you’re mendacious or just a fuckwit?

  13. Stuart Munro 13

    The best defence against this kind of gratuitous MSM beatup is to have a line of attack ready to roll out in response to the question. So when Gower or some other cynical self-serving media flake asks about gender reassignment, the answer is that you don’t want to talk about it until you’ve heard the National position on name suppression for parliamentary paedophiles.

    This was a distractor for a transparently hopeless budget. Seems to have worked.

    • SHG 13.1

      The best defence against this kind of gratuitous MSM beatup is to have a line of attack ready to roll out in response to the question.

      Being prepared for a question? Come on mate, this is Labour we’re talking about here

  14. vaughan little 14

    Identity politics is the left hook of neoliberalism.

    I’m tired of the self righteousness of the identity issues crowd that has hijacked the left since the 1980s.

    they’ve dominated the left in precisely the exact time period that inequality has exploded. so if you turn down the sound of what they say, and just look at what they do – they promote inequality, they don’t reduce it. they promote poverty, they don’t reduce it. they talk so much about identity issues because they have capitulated on economic ones.

    this movement has had about 40 years to prove that it can walk and chew gum. after about 40 years, it simply has no mana.

    how the hell did a movement of workers with a vision for the nation and a track record to boot get taken over by parochial urban liberals anyway?

    • Colonial Rawshark 14.1

      they talk so much about identity issues because they have capitulated on economic ones.

      this movement has had about 40 years to prove that it can walk and chew gum. after about 40 years, it simply has no mana.

      how the hell did a movement of workers with a vision for the nation and a track record to boot get taken over by parochial urban liberals anyway?

      Yep. What the identity politics types don’t get is that the weaker the Left gets at addressing core socioeconomic issues, the less liberal and the more inward turning society will become. Those who are already on the margins of society are the ones who will do absolutely the worst in this environment.

      The parochial urban middle class liberals and intellectuals watched nearby blue collar neighbourhoods get eviscerated by neoliberalism, found that their own toys and holidays got cheaper while their homes became worth much more, and had better things to get on with.

      Identity politics is the left hook of neoliberalism.

      clever

      • weka 14.1.1

        “What the identity politics types don’t get is that the weaker the Left gets at addressing core socioeconomic issues, the less liberal and the more inward turning society will become.”

        Stop telling lies CV. We all get that. You’re the one promoting a false dichotomy here of identity politics vs socioeconomic equity. The people who want inclusivity are quite capable of working with equity issues across the board. The people really dragging the chain are the neoliberals in Labour. As per usual, you’ve picked the wrong target on this one.

    • the pigman 14.2

      +1

      I’m as much an atheist as the next manperson, but God Save the Left.

      In fact, part of that atheism entails an acceptance that the labour movement (remember that being what The Standard represented?) can’t be all things to all people. Primarily, it should be for the workers. To do that, it needs to be utilitarian, and stand for a majority, rather than getting sucked up in top-down social reform (precisely the perception that was used to sabotage and bring down Labour5).

      Have we learned nothing?

      • weka 14.2.1

        I agree, which is why Labour need to get with the whole MMP thing. They’re never going to be able to represent a wide cross section of NZ. Whether they can become a working class party again is debatable though.

      • Charles 14.2.2

        Would it be constructive for a “workers party” to breed a class of “non-workers” (of any gender, sex, race or class) at a faster rate than their policies rebuild a traditional working class? If that is the case, then “workers” was always a euphemism for an elite group.
        The problem with the ideas of the old Left, is that they never really got to grips with the people they excluded as being “too difficult or unstable to educate towards revolution”. Thankfully, most everybody is a little more enlightened/informed since then, whether they choose to ignore it is something else.
        The easiest way around this matter for people who don’t like the idea of identity politics is to understand that if people are being discriminated against socially, culturally, they’re less likely to be “workers”. And if those people of the old Left like the idea of exclusion, then they’re just that – The Old Left.
        At present we have two choices in NZ: The Left, who (at least in theory) say to anyone on the fringe, “Yeah Ok, we’ll see how we can include you.” And the Right, who say to anyone outside the mainstream, “Fuck off and die, painfully as possible.” If we accept that most everybody needs to make a living, and have some sort of freedom in social connection, then everyone is a potential worker, and what is good for workers is good for everyone.

        • the pigman 14.2.2.1

          “And if those people of the old Left like the idea of exclusion, then they’re just that – The Old Left. At present we have two choices in NZ: The Left, who (at least in theory) say to anyone on the fringe, “Yeah Ok, we’ll see how we can include you.” And the Right, who say to anyone outside the mainstream, “Fuck off and die, painfully as possible.”

          You could give lessons on strawmen and false dichotomies.

          Imagine this: it’s Budget Day. Your party and the broader Left has been caught completely off guard by a budget announcement carefully stage-managed to rip into your electoral Heartland. You now have two choices: keep harping on about funding sex change operations or…

          • Colonial Rawshark 14.2.2.1.1

            The left wing are sitting ducks for National’s strategists. By targetting a few hundred million dollars worth of socio-economic spending in key high profile high need areas, National will get carte blanche from the electorate to keep gifting the serious billions to the 1%. If I looked at that business case from the standpoint of John Key and Bill English, it’s a no brainer.

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