Saturday 2 January 2016

Orbiting A Dying Sun?

A Dying Sun?  Perhaps one hundred years of Labour is enough.
AS THE OLD YEAR shuffles towards the wings of the political stage, the Infant Year arrives garlanded with many questions. For those who position themselves on the left of the political spectrum, the biggest of these questions concerns the future of the Labour Party.
Love it, or hate it, Labour is the sun around which all the other progressive parties and institutions of New Zealand’s political life must orbit. It’s gravitational pull being inescapable, Labour’s fate, and the fate of the Left in general, are inseparable.
Significantly, 2016 marks the centenary of Labour’s birth.
In July 1916, in the midst of a monstrous war whose gargantuan appetite had already consumed thousands of young New Zealand lives, representatives of the “democratic public” arrived in Wellington determined that Government plans to conscript men must be accompanied by plans to conscript wealth. The delegates were also seized by the effects of the hitherto all-conquering Liberal Party’s inability to any longer honour its mandate as the democratic public’s principal standard-bearer. Progressive New Zealand was in the mood for something new.
The temptation to compare and contrast the Labour Party of 1916 with the Labour Party of 2016 is irresistible. And, no matter how hard the party’s supporters try to convince progressive voters that the opposite is true, it is not an exercise from which Labour emerges with any credit. In 1916, Labour was led by heroes. One hundred years on, perhaps predictably, it is led by colourless political careerists: men and women lacking the character, courage and creative intelligence to be genuine revolutionaries – or even effective reformers.
Labour in 2016 is a party dominated by Members of Parliament who seem to be simply waiting their turn to form a government. Labour’s view of politics is, at best, instrumental. Her advisers argue that if the voting public can no longer be inspired (a proposition with which they heartily concur) then it must be manipulated. Cynicism on this scale, however, is only ever successful when backed-up by copious quantities of cash – and the Labour Party of 2016 is broke.
Accordingly, about the only thing 2016 has in common with 1916 is the growing sense among progressive voters – the democratic public – that the hitherto all-conquering Labour Party has lost its way.
International trends in progressive politics provide considerable encouragement for this point of view. In Europe and the United States there is growing evidence of the emergence of a new progressive paradigm: one which takes as its starting point the necessity of challenging and defeating the dominant neoliberal worldview.
2015 began with the stunning electoral victory of the radically left-wing Syriza in Greece, and ended with the much-better-than-expected showing of the equally radical Podemos in Spain’s general election. In September, to the consternation of just about everyone, the radical leftist, Jeremy Corbyn, was elected Leader of the British Labour Party. One month later, the first Democratic Party presidential candidates’ debate in Las Vegas was dominated by the self-proclaimed “Democratic Socialist”, Senator Bernie Sanders, and an at least rhetorically radicalised Hilary Clinton – who promised, incongruously, to “save Capitalism from itself”.
Not that the news has been all good for the Left. Syriza’s, and by democratic extension, the Greek people’s, brutally enforced submission to the European Union’s financial diktats offers a terrifying object lesson about the very real dangers inherent in challenging the neoliberal world order. As does the vitriol directed against Jeremy Corbyn, not only by his Tory opponents and the right-wing press, but also by members of his own Labour caucus!
Mention Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders, Syriza or Podemos to the New Zealand Labour Party, however, and you will be met with a mixture of impatience and hostility. As if New Zealand is in any way comparable with the UK, the USA, or Europe! As if this country has ever before fallen victim to political trends originating in these utterly alien cultures!
The year following the Labour Party’s foundation, revolution erupted across the Russian Empire. Labour’s leaders in New Zealand were excited, enthralled and inspired. That dour Scot, Peter Fraser, who was later to become New Zealand’s 24th Prime Minister, proudly proclaimed that: “If I was in Russia, I’d be a Bolshevik!”
Can anyone imagine Andrew Little proclaiming: “If I was in Greece, I’d be a member of Syriza!”
Perhaps one hundred years of Labour is enough?
This essay was originally published in The Waikato Times, The Taranaki Daily News, The Timaru Herald, The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Saturday, 2 January 2016.


Kat said...

Nine months of labour is enough!

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I think someone has said this before, but it bears repeating. Politicians these days are mostly members of a privileged class. Entitled semi-aristocrats who don't have much contact with ordinary members of the public. And who have largely never held a "proper" job. They are in essence professional politicians. And once they reach ministerial status they're chauffeured around in a bubble. How can we expect them to understand our problems, to empathise with our situations, or to show proper leadership?

Anonymous said...

You may well be correct Chris.
And the left is leaving it all to the abysmal torries to do what the want.
The situation is not good enough.

As Bob Hawke described, when talking about his fall out with Keating recently, which was about the federal political system in Australia when, he was advocating getting rid of the state parliaments in favour of one federal govt, because the state system was a place for many to place their bums for life on the public tit.

What is different here in NZ ?
Not a lot if you look at the make up of our politicians and labour has more the their share of those.
But they are not alone.
Politicians only have to perform for a few weeks every three years, that is just before an election, promise the earth and produce nothing.
They are a useless bred.

We need people to enter parliament with a view of neither political left or right, just some plain bloody common sense for a change and work towards the betterment of the country and most important, all its people.

Andrew Nichols said...

growing sense among progressive voters – the democratic public – that the hitherto all-conquering Labour Party has lost its way.

That's why I'm a Green.

If Corbyn can survive the unprecedented hysterical largely adhominem attacks esp from the Bliarist faction and start gaining serious momentum from the vast numbers that dont bother voting anymore it will have great significance for NZ politics. Some similar genuine progressive may well arise and tell Littles lot they have no clothes and to stand aside. Yeah Right!

The Greens are the future.

Anonymous said...

A well written and thoughtful article;

I cannot see Labour winning at the next election simply because they are not good enough. My take on them;

Little=bureaucrat= risk adverse. Robertson=plagiarist=yapper. Twyford=racist=untrustworthy. Ardern=glamourpus=sly= modest abilities.. Hipkins=treacherous=deceptive. Davis=thick. King= par. Shearer= frightened. Goff= next mayor Auckland. Parker= beaten. Nash =side-lined. Curran=Robertson's dump bin. Mallard, Cosgrove, O'connor, Dyson= all retired, troughing and drinking. Cunliffle=deeply and grievously humiliated.

I am putting these thoughts together whilst still in the warm glow of Xmas and New Year. I hope my opinions are wrong and I do accept this truism.

"It ain't what you don't know that's gets you into trouble.
It's what you know for sure that just ain't so.
Mark Twain.

Though on reflection I still believe I am correct.

peteswriteplace said...

You just don't let up, do you? The Labour Party made a big cock-up in the 80's with neo-liberalism jammed down the throats of Labour by Roger Douglas and his fish n chip brigade. But neo-liberalism was a new religion pushed by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. I had already noticed a change in Labour in early 80's Labour conferences - the emergence of the me attitude. I never did sign-up for Labour again, although I supported Labour after a brief stop-over with Jim Anderton's New Labour. Jim, one of the best presidents Labour ever had.
There is no alternative to labour on the LEFT. The vulnerable, the poor and working poor and the retired seniors need Labour to look after them. If I had the energy, I'm nearly 72 yrs old, I would come back and tell a few home truths to a number of people, including you Chris. You snipe from the sidelines but won't make a commitment to come and help within the tent.

Anonymous said...

Alternatively, the New Zealand Labour Party has been defying gravity this past quarter of a century. Unlike Australia, where unions are still a viable political force, New Zealand has been a thoroughly de-unionised country for a generation, and so for a major party to still use the name Labour is an excellent example of institutional inertia.

(I strongly suspect anyone starting up Labour in 2016 would not use that name - Democratic, perhaps, but not Labour).

jh said...

I bet 'mouse believes immigrants don't push up house prices (unlike the Savings Working Group, Gareth Morgan, Treasury paper 14-10, The Landlord Says)?

Anonymous said...

Time for something new.

Anything new, so long as it's new.

I wonder how that worked when the new thing was the Maori party.

jh said...

The Labour Party made a big cock-up in the 80's with neo-liberalism jammed down the throats of Labour by Roger Douglas and his fish n chip brigade.
And they started the foreign invasion.

Rod Stroker said...

Its not just Labour that is populated by career politicians. Dont forget Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyne were career politicians living on the outskirts of their parties for many years. I think I'll keep an open mind and be prepared to support good leftist candidates no matter where they come from.

Anonymous said...

The recent demise of Labour can also be attributed to the fact that there are far more left/centre left parties in New Zealand than are right/centre right parties.In fact if you exclude the seats gifted in Epsom & Ohariu/Belmont then the right spectrum of politics is purely the domain of National.
When you consider that Labour has to contend with more parties for votes, i.e NZ First,Greens,Mana,Maori Party, then its share of the vote will naturally decrease as it is in competition for the same votes as those parties.
Also what is overseen are that one third of New Zealand voters never voted in the last election or that many kiwis living in Australia have no idea if they are eligible to vote at all.
Many of these are former Labour voters.
However the biggest challenge for the Labour party is that it has lost touch with its grass roots and embraced the neoconservative agenda with many voters having become disillusioned after feeling abandoned.
A case in point would be employment laws, the Clark government had ample opportunity to strengthen laws towards workers, but instead focussed on appeasement to groups such as the Business Roundtable & the Taxpayers Union.And look where it has gotten them, 9 years out of government and a party in tatters.
I only say in tatters because they are slowly running broke & their support base are either being bled dry by employers or are locked out.
And where is the Labour Party for these people?
Nowhere to be seen

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"And they started the foreign invasion."

No JH, foreign invasion began much earlier than that. I tend to date it to 1806 when the first Pakeha women arrived in New Zealand. :-)

Stephen Keys said...

Amazing that both Labour and National labeled Mana and to some extent the Greens " radical" for proposing policies they both believed in up to the mid 80's. As far as they and an ignorant media are concerned, history started in 1984. An appropriate cliché.
A mixed economy served NZ well for a 100 years. Sure it needed reform but what replaced it was so deeply flawed, socially and intellectually, it defies belief that Labour especially still clings to its fundamentals. Stupid or gutless, you choose.

Anonymous said...

JH 21.33.
I do believe that rich immigrants push up house prices, In 2008 the then Labour Government ( Helen Clark )did a free-trade agreement with China and amongst other terms the Labour Government signed over that Chinese citizens had the unfettered right to buy and sell property in NZ.
The racist attack by Twyford and Rob Salmond on people with Chinese surnames was a scandal and Andrew Little's subsequent support for Twyford and Salmond was disgraceful leadership from a major political party.
I have seen to much racism in my time,it ruins and destroys people because of their skin colour or ethnic origin's. Twyford ,Salmond and Little should be investigated by the police and race relations conciliator.
Chris, your question about 'Labour for the future' ?, I say that they are headed in the right direction to become totally irrelevant to the unemployed, homeless poor and ill educated folk of this fair country.
The present Labour party is bludging and troughing off Labour's good name in the last 100 years and people are aware of the rort.
The truth is that National are not the answer, but they are a better answer than the present Labour party.

Anonymous said...

One hundred years of Labour is not enough, but Labour does not know that and seems to be determined to disprove and tarnish the glorious history of the Labour party in NZ. The present Labour party MPs are only interested in safe seats, putting cushions around themselves, pensions and perks. They speak in headline, slogan and monotone about how they will govern NZ. They are seen as BS merchants by many people in our communities.
Arising from large donors the Green party leadership have been told to do a "Maori Party". Stop ferking about and get your feet under the table, Metiria and James have been told to pull finger and follow Tariana and Peter. James has taken the message on board. There is now a blue hue in the green.
Pacific Island leaders want to put their feet under the table and many are now scornful that Labour will ever be able to offer them anything but platitudes, under National they see their feet on grass, not the present sand.
Labour need to get serious 'points of difference', or they will wither further.


Anonymous said...

I was watching the wonderful "8 out 10 Cats" last night and they were reviewing the most talked about topics in 2015. Naturally the election, and the stunning Tory victory was one of them. The graphic described this as, "Lib and Left Die". Perfect.

Jigsaw said...

Quite agree Anon. at 13:32 and I see Chris with his usual flair for it noted the victories of the left but few of its considerable defeats around the world. No matter the truth is that with identity politics at the very centre of what they do( I wonder what Fraser & Seple and the rest would make of that!?)- the current Labour party are almost completely irrelevant....I am pleased to say. Perhaps Sue Moroney is the answer
- well you have to have a sense of humour.

Kat said...

Crikey guys....(where are all the female comments gone?).......seems like a revolution is being called for, rally around the flag in all. Its all pretty clear isn't it...."don't follow leaders and watch your parking meters."

Labour in 1916 was a happening, a movement, there is no happening going on now except a whole lot of moaning. What is needed is a happening, a happening relevant to now, 2016.

Chris, it seems to me you want to see that happening kicked into gear and quick. If this blog helps then I will sing along with the chorus "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows"

And as far as tents go, well, I always make an effort to go outside to take a pee.

manfred said...

Labour have risen roughly 5 percentage points since Little has taken over, that is not insignificant achievement and is significant in an MMP environment. I think we should wait until Labour come out with their policies, which they will do this year, before we dismiss them as gutless and right wing.

Charles E said...

I think your last few lines are very telling. It's a 100 years since the Russian revolution kicked off and the NZ Labour Party too.
So how's the former going then? And you think Labour has issues! What a disaster Russia has been. Truly a tragedy. Plenty foresaw that as it started in 1916, but not Labour, you confirm. From an outsider's point of view that makes perfect sense, as does the state of both today. Both looked forward in 1916, but in the wrong direction (too far left), yet now today both are stuck looking backwards, which again is in the wrong direction.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

But of course, the Russian disaster has been caused by the issues of crony capitalism and theft of public property. If you want to look at the natural result of extreme right-wing governments, perhaps we should look there. Of course the main difference is that they are much more open about it than they are in the US and Britain.

Brendon Harre said...

Chris there was a time when your blog was free of trolls. That is not the case now. I think this is a sign that you have lost your way. You have been listening too much to the likes of Rodney Hide who also uses suspect arguments to make a case that Labour is down and out. I had to write the following about his lies that Labour + Greens is 10 points behind National.

"Rodney cannot add. Labour and Greens combined total is around 43% (Labour 31%, Greens 12%), compared to Nationals 47%. That makes them 4% behind at half time, according to the respected Colmar Brunton polling. Other polls don't seem to be much different.

Labour have steadily rebuilt from their worst electoral defeat since 1922 just a year ago when they received 25% of the vote. The left are genuine contenders. That is not to say the left will win the next election but that at half-time the game is still wide open."

With regard to Andrew Little not being Jeremy Corbyn. The main reason Jeremy has been successful has been his willingness to challenge the UK orthodoxy that it is ok to impose austerity on the ordinary person while shovelling printed money at the London banksters. In NZ inequality is rising through a different route -we don't have quantitative easing -not yet anyway.

Inequality is rising in NZ because less than 20% of NZ, these being the property owners of Auckland (43% of adult Aucklanders) are making more money from property than the ordinary worker can from their 40 hour week (if they are lucky enough to have a steady 40 hour a week job).

Andrew Little and his team, which includes Phil Twyford are willing to challenge this inequality. The right see the danger -that is why they troll. They know they are doing sweet F A because it is their constituents and donors that is benefiting from this rise in inequality. Instead the orthodoxy here in NZ defends itself by other means, perhaps even more successfully than in the UK.

Chris when the public hears the message from the likes of the Eaqubs who published the book -Generation Rent and Professor Phillipa Howarden Chapman who published the book -Home Truths whose side will you be on? The top 10% or with the rest of us?

peteswriteplace said...

Some good comments, and some real rightwing influenced bull. There is no alternative to Labour,right or wrong, at this stage. If Little can't string a coalition together, there will be a revolution here; in the streets too.

Anonymous said...

Brendon, 9.43,you are plain wrong,

Andrew Little, Grant Robertson and the ABC's are tenors who are off key to New Zealander listener's.

Twyford is a racist, face and read the 2008 FTA facts and then compare his attacks on the Chinese people.

Chris Trotter has not lost his way ,you have.

Labour needs a revolution, it will come, but you will be still sitting and farting.

Anonymous said...

peter petterson "and some real rightwing influenced bull":

is not what you say, they are a true expression of the disgust and helplessness that much of Labour folk and our communities feel.

Little and the ABCs are not trying to string anything, let alone a coalition,

there will not be a revolution,

there will be a party at National party headquarters.

Labour will blame anyone but themselves, safe seats will be genuinely and passionately fought over, pensions made safe, positions allocated, junkets approved, issue's like kid's health, welfare, jobs, refugees, casino's, waterways and human rights etc: will become their mantle and the charade will continue,

Pretending and troughing will continue, big time.

We need a Jeremy, urgently.

Robert M said...

Although Chris Trotter may not have noticed and is obviously terribly disappointed about it, National and Labour changed places in the mid 1980s and Labour became to quote Rod Donald 'the new National' and National has gradually downgraded and downmarketed towards becoming Judith Collins 'prole, peasant and police party'. While Labour in the recent past was a party dominated by union, rainbow, maori and feminist factions under Cunliffe, Parker and Little it has returned to being led by mainsteam provincials and its essential positioning is to the right of National as is its support. Labours economic policy and defence policy is really very much of Nationals and has been for a long time. There is quite a lot of talented centerists in Labour notably Little, Parker, Nash and some of the old timers particulary Trevor Mallard are still talented. The National cabinet is devoid of real talent. Key, English and Joyce are do nothing politicians and Paula Bennett, Anne Tolley , Brownlie and most of the rest are devoid of talent. The new women National MPs are largely decorations and are really just professional secretaries, managers and accountants. The National Party is no longer a political party its just implements a long long planned programme based on dairy, broadband, motorways, police, 'respect ordinary opinion', 'dont frighten the horses' and obey the past mantras of the left that China is the future and the 1960s liberal ideology is unchallengable, ie the Palestine cause, gays are okay and natural and where anti war. The problem is the whole National position and setting was out of date, twenty years ago and the new reality of Trump and Cruz, that maybe nobody is interested in 45 year old Fox commentator Megan Kelly and maybe Obama care just means the dictatorship of third rate socialist doctors and maybe the whole 1935 Labour package of the insulated state rejected by the US in the 68 and 72 elections was a bad idea that took us back a century.

Loz said...

Very good piece Chris.

Roy Morgan's last opinion poll of the year shows the government sitting comfortably on 49% of the vote - unchanged from its polling at the start of 2015. Labour finished the year on 28.5% after starting 2015 on 29.1%. The Greens are the only major party to show any polling movement that can't be dismissed as a polling error (growing from 9.3% in January to end the year on 13%). Of more relevance is the revelation that 59% of New Zealanders are saying the country is 'heading in the right direction'. It is hard to interpret Labour's standing in an optimistic light.

There is a political narrative that has provided an orbit for more than two centuries. The idea that owners and investors, if left unregulated and free of the troubles of tax and unions will create a dynamic economy where all can be better off through the growth of trade and innovation. It's an orbit into which the once great Whigs and Liberal Parties also slipped before eventually becoming irrelevant. When all is said and done, Labour remains unable to free itself from the simple ideas that led to its forerunners destruction.

Anonymous said...


jh said...

here's what counts Chris

jh said...

Inequality is rising in NZ because less than 20% of NZ, these being the property owners of Auckland (43% of adult Aucklanders) are making more money from property than the ordinary worker can from their 40 hour week (if they are lucky enough to have a steady 40 hour a week job).

Andrew Little and his team, which includes Phil Twyford are willing to challenge this inequality. The right see the danger -that is why they troll. They know they are doing sweet F A because it is their constituents and donors that is benefiting from this rise in inequality. Instead the orthodoxy here in NZ defends itself by other means, perhaps even more successfully than in the UK.
Twyford will have a battle on his hand as many on the left refuse to see a link between migration and house prices (eg Sacha at The Standard). If you can't touch migration that leaves sprawl or flag houses and high rise next door -no thankyou.

Olwyn said...

The big question is not whether Labour will survive, but whether the have-nots and the precarious-haves are able to either wrest real representation from the current system, or find what is needed to change it. The thing is, you cannot represent anyone unless you are part of the establishment, and you cannot be part of the establishment and represent Labour's traditional constituency. Moreover, the levers for negotiating on behalf of a Labour constituency are systematically kept out of reach - union power is compromised where manufacturing is off-shored, and rent strikes and the like are hard to achieve in a housing shortage. Meanwhile, Rebstock takes up CYFS and stories appear in the press about neglected children, just as stories about stupid, badly behaved HNZ tenants appeared to accompany HNZ sell-offs. And as you have earlier pointed out, English is better placed to publicly express compassion for the poor than anyone in Labour, because those who matter know he does not mean business, whereas Labour just might. Under these conditions, which also apply in the UK, Corbyn may fare no better than his more compromised colleagues, but at least he is putting pressure on the establishment's rules. And you only have to look at the widespread abandonment of TV3 to see that people will use a lever if only they are able to get hold of one. The real challenge is getting hold of one that is able to make a real difference.

greywarbler said...

Robert M
A mixed salad of opinions and factoids. Fusion political opinion without form or substance!

Loz and Chris interesting viewpoints that seem to shine through that red haze in the image. The dynamic economy when motoring along has the propensity to kill and maim people who are in its way and caught in its cogs and machinations.

Labour has been unable to foster that 'peasant' economy, the word referred to disparagingly by Robert M. An economy where people are busy making things and trading locally, then reaching out to nearby and eventually distant communities when they have prime skills and desirable goods that enable local hubs of excellence to grow. Then imports don't destroy and mean substitution for the economy. It sounds simple but it would make for a strong, though not flashy (flash-in-the-pan) economy and make efficient use of available resources, labour and earning power.

Instead Labour now seems to regard itself as the responsible broker in economics. Watch it adopt austerity to solve the country's financial problems, bring in user pays, limit the social security systems, adopt authoritarian slogan-driven or utopian ways of limiting assistance to people with needs, (bootstrap-raising, community-driven, neighbourhood-support), raise the age of old age pensions (the word superannuation as a sop to the middle class who consider themselves too fine and superior to be classed as pensioners).

Anonymous said...

Labour claims to be a democratic socialist party.

It is neither. If it cannot reform itself ASAP, it deserve to die.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Deep state article. Interesting.

jh said...

In 1916, Labour was led by heroes. One hundred years on, perhaps predictably, it is led by colourless political careerists: men and women lacking the character, courage and creative intelligence to be genuine revolutionaries – or even effective reformers.
Things aren't black and white. Right/wrong can be a fuzzy line. It is alright to have bold ideas but as Angela Merkel is finding out actions have consequences.

It could be that Labour is now suffering from it's revolutionary boldness: wasn't the attempt to build a superordinate national identity bold enough (and someone has to own the perceived consequences)

jh said...

Anonymous said...

The racist attack by Twyford and Rob Salmond on people with Chinese surnames was a scandal and Andrew Little's subsequent support for Twyford and Salmond was disgraceful leadership from a major political party.

No it showed that ethnic Chinese are buying houses way out of proportion to their numbers. Sometimes the truth is racist.

I have seen to much racism in my time,it ruins and destroys people because of their skin colour or ethnic origin's. Twyford ,Salmond and Little should be investigated by the police and race relations conciliator.

If you go back to Dr Greg Clydesdale's Growing Pains paper and NZ Firsts Mr Brown the racism was aimed at populations and the effect on the well being of the local population. In hindsight many of the claims Brown made would stand up and Dr Clydesdales claims are easy to validate.
The Race Relations Office does not look at issues visa vie the effect on the local population. By default any criticism of a migrating population is racist. It and the HRC are a bridge for non citizens to cross the border. They are the result of an ideology that doesn't believe in borders.

Ethnocentrism is normal and is what glues a community together (family, tribe, nation). It is as late as 2011 that experiments showed the role of oxytocin in ethnocentrism. That is not to say we don't adopt and nuture outsiders, but if there is going to be a mass movement there has to be some sort of reciprocity (you play in our yard, we play in yours) or economic gain (other than the migrants and a select few of National supporters).

It is the snake oil salesmen who peddle diversity who should be investigated by the police.

Anonymous said...

tears our being,our care.

manfred said...

What I really don't get, Chris, is why there's so much rhetoric on this blog against Labour, but no one's come out with a clear definition of what Labour politics mean today. We can only judge the party, as it is configured, based on their policies.

The party is going to release policy sometime this year. When that happens, we will be given some real data on which to base our judgements of the Labour party.

Why don't we reserve judgement until then?

Anonymous said...

These days people wont be easily swept up as people are more skeptical. A lot of water has passed under the bridge in the last 100 years and whether or not people understand economics they understand the behaviours of the actors. Today you have to get through the analyses of a Gareth Morgan or Paul Krugman when it comes to redistributional economics. But on another front Labour is hampered by it's open border advocates, "anti-racists" (etc). These people never won a popular vote, they made their way in through an activist base and their legitimacy is based on the fact that their ideas emanate from our universities where they are deemed to have proved their worth through scholarship. Unfortunately they are like religious beliefs: you get it or you don't (and the public don't).

Unknown said...

Stratfor on reforming the banking system. They recommend taking the power to crat money from private banks|39fac972-1937-4ab4-831f-618bcc921924

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Another interesting if slightly off topic article.

Anonymous said...


Hard to disagree with you ,though the 2008 FTA with China give the Chinese the same rights as NZ citizens to buy property, ( Helen Clark, Labour PM ).

All political parties in NZ preach 'diversity' so where do the police start ?.

What about Parliament!.

David Stone said...

Everyone please read Unknown's reference.
This is the crux of western capitalist democracy's flaw in serving societies needs and can be fixed.
Cheers David J S

jh said...

Chris Trotter, I always wondered how/why places like Canada can so "successfully" adopt "multiculturalism".
“Vehement opposition to immigration, particularly from Asian countries, in New Zealand from an ill-informed and xenophobic rabble persists despite overwhelming evidence that immigration will improve our long term economic prospects. John Carram 1996

As revolutions go, it could hardly have been quieter. I don’t recall the government making a dramatic policy announcement to the effect that New Zealand would be opening its doors to the world. There was no great debate, no public meetings. It happened incrementally and largely without fuss.

A few questioning voices were heard. Veteran Auckland journalist Pat Booth wrote a controversial series of articles in 1993 warning of an “Asian invasion” and Winston Peters’ New Zealand First Party tried, without much success, to make political capital out of the inflow of “non-traditional” immigrants in 1996.
More recently another journalist, Deborah Coddington, provoked outrage with a magazine article about Asian crime in New Zealand (which is undeniably an issue, although many of Coddington’s critics would have had us believe otherwise).

By and large, however, New Zealanders have absorbed the newcomers without conflict or tension, confirming our reputation as generally tolerant, easy-going people.

Now some quotes from: The Social Psychology of Social (Dis)harmony: Implications for Political Leaders and
Public Policy
Luisa Batalha, Katherine J. Reynolds & Emina Subasic
Australian National University
This work thus suggests that for multiculturalism to succeed identities need to be transformed. And, importantly, as Kymlicka suggests, this transformation applies not only to the minority but also to the majority.

In a multiethnic/multicultural society, the shift from an exclusive to an inclusive definition of the national prototype requires the emergence of new and consistent discourses about who ‘we’ are (see Kymlicka, 1995). Discourses that do not appeal to ethnic heritage and traditions but to civic values. It is in this context that the role of political leadership comes into place in changing the discourse and creating a consensual view of the national prototype such that it becomes shared by the members of a polity (see Uberoi & Modood, 2013). Moreover, there needs to be an institutionalisation of the public discourse as in line with terms outlined by Parekh (2006).

So a certain correctness defines your membership and right to the resources of an institution and those institutions proliferate. The "xenophobic rabble" fight from small yachts while lavish resources provide battleships to the correct position and we finish with an array of propaganda institutions. The middle classes are doing well and off to Europe for the winter.; the "xenophobic rabble" who don't get "diversity dividend" (rather see invasion) are suffering from a "political psychopathology" (Spoonley). There is only one side to the story: but is that healthy?

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Before you read unknown's reference, you should probably read these – among other things :-).

Robert M said...

In reply to greywarbler high sophistication manufacturing in NZ that was competitive internationally was possible in the l950-2000 period Fisher and Paykel is an example, A & G Price in Thames was an internationally competitive rail constructor who went out of fashion after the Labour Government went into office in 1935 and was not used much for new construction. However even at the end of the 1960s A & G price in cooperation with UK corporate AEI could have built the diesels which dieselised the South Island railways and completed North Island dieselisation at costs more than competitive with European, UK, GM or GE if not Japan. However Mitshubushi and Gm were selected by Lake, Holyoake and McAlpine without complaints from Kirk or the FOl because it would have exposed the totally uncompetitive nature of the railways own government workshops. Much of the reason why competitive industry was not much established here in the 20C is that the governments were never prepared to shut out the 20 % of the least able and inefficient from employment the essential methodism of KIrk, Sutch and Muldoon meant hard heavy industry and competitive labour market and industrial practice was rejected here because soft inefficiency was desired here on the myth that agriculture would continue to provide for all and support. insultated economy. Greywarbler seems to be proposing a old Cuban or North Korea type economy amazing how unpopular it is with the Cubans as distinct from NZ socialist doctors. In American terms I would be pretty sure that more than 60% of the NZ male workforce could never earn more than $20,000 in a competitive world market and I don't believe that sophisticated manufacturing except in niche areas like Yauchts and farm machinery is no longer an option as general manufacturing will be monopolised by rising nations and those with ruthless industrial practice and hgue domestic markets like China, Brazil and Mexico.

peterlepaysan said...

Labour is broke, like it needs money, lots of it.
The wealthy in NZ rarely support labour. Roger Douglas disenfranchised labour's supporters, Richardson, Shipley ensured taht they remained disenfranchised.

All the blogosphere rhetoric does not fill labour's coffers.

Forget policy, vision etc. No money = no party.

Anonymous said...


The quicker the alleged left wing parties in this country ( Labour / Greens )accept that they made a massive mistake in negotiating a FTA with China in 2008, which allowed unfettered right for Chinese people / investors to buy property in NZ the better for every-ones sake.

Sovereignty was sold by Labour and the selling was embraced by every-one in NZ that counted, except Joe Muggins, his wife and children.

jh said...

On The Standard
10 January 2016 at 12:37 pm

Typical moaning from the Left. Someone points out growth and there’s an immediate Yeah, But. Actually not even a Yeah. Skilled young Kiwis have always left. They are now returning in droves. It’s a beautiful day, employment is at an all time high. The economy is growing at 2.2%. Wages are easily outstripping inflation. Enjoy the good times.

None of the bus drivers in our company break $20/hour. Even with the (odd) tips and the commission there is no way in hell that we would come close. That is fairly standard throughout tourism. Back in the 1970's a driver for H&H in Invercargill made more than he does now and Red Buses was a highly paid job. We are now outnumbered by Chinese. Tourism is a big employer.
So who is getting the wage rises?

It looks as though the government has deliberately sacrificed a section of the workfore for the property /construction sector. They can do this because the left are out of touch and obsessed with racism (migrants push down wages).

Anonymous said...

Chris, I couldn't agree more about the grey men and women who are the MPs representing the Labour Party. It's sad. I have no optimism. I am waiting for some fireworks.

greywarbler said...

Robert M
On paper no doubt that seems the best plan looking at the figures objectively under our present economic hegemony.

Definitely there needed to be innovation in business and restraint and pride from unions in the 1970s and 80s. The system that replaced what we had is not working for people, some are doing okay but embracing the service economy with some paid $13 an hour and some $130 is not what ordinary people envisaged as a goal. There are hard times now, and more can be done about matching jobs with projects that would be of value to NZ. And encouraging local business, and local trading. Everything is skewed away from that, there needs to be a reset from imported, and our precious powdered milk dollars being spent on bringing another million china mugs, skirts and tops into the country, (how many in a year overall?)

Just looking down your nose isn't acceptable as an effort at imagining better future policies. They should allow for reasonable living conditions and a level of self-command and enjoyment of life, friends and family, not being at some firm's beck and call and whim. What they did in Cuba was impose one rigid approach then their nearest consumer nation USA put the freeze on them. We should be able to do better than Cuba but our nearest consuming nation is full of spit and vinegar. We're not in Cuba's shoes - yet.

jh said...

Recently one of the Hong Kong book sellers was picked up in Thailand. Will we become another Thailand (thanks to self-interest and a left-wing obsession with racism)?

ANS. No because if (say) house prices shot through the roof there would be a public outcry and the politicians would act.

greywarbler said...

jh You seem to be angry with everyone. Which is a reasonable outcome of the policies that both major parties have pursued and introduced.

But when it comes to Chinese they will be a mixed blessing. Hard working, astute, entrepreneurial, showing NZrs up as laggards and putting vitality into business here. At least the politicians now think of something other than milk powder. China having an interest in this country is bringing money into this economy. But it also arouses interest by the USA who have tied and bound us to them and their ilk with FiveEyes, and in TPPA excluding China.

The politicians are determined to bring about the scenario hinted at in the subtle curse 'May you live in interesting times'. I thought it was a Chinese quote but Wikipedia says different. However their own saying does express well our situation.
Despite being widely attributed as a Chinese curse, there is no equivalent expression in Chinese.[1] The nearest related Chinese expression is "宁為太平犬,莫做亂离人" (nìng wéi tàipíng quǎn, mò zuò luàn lí rén), which is usually translated as "Better to be a dog in a peaceful time, than to be a human in a chaotic (warring) period."[2] The expression originates from Volume 3 of the 1627 short story collection by Feng Menglong, Stories to Awaken the World.[3]