Tuesday, 12 May 2020

The Crowd That Booed.

Social Distancing: Student protesters make their way carefully around the working class. Dunedin 1994. Photo Otago Daily Times.

IT WAS THE LARGEST CROWD I had ever addressed – and it booed me. In 1990 the Labour Government of Geoffrey Palmer (look him up!) announced that university tuition fees would rise from $129.00 to $1,250.00 per year – an eye-watering 969% increase! Unsurprisingly, the news was not well-received by New Zealand’s 100,000 university students. When Labour's policy was first floated the year before, the then Education Minister, Phil Goff, was mobbed by hundreds of angry students at Victoria University who followed him all the way down Wellington's Terrace hurling abuse. In Dunedin, students from the University of Otago turned out to protest Labour’s fee increase in unprecedented numbers. I was one of a large number of people invited to address them.

Why? Because only a matter of months before Goff's announcement the Labour Party had split. Jim Anderton, followed by thousands of others, had abandoned the party of Rogernomics to form the NewLabour Party. The students’ association wanted to know NewLabour’s policy on user-pays education – and I – naïve fool that I was – told them.

It started well. There were cheers when I told them that the NewLabour Party was committed to providing a free tertiary education to every young New Zealander who wanted one: that Goff’s hated $1,250.00 fee would be scrapped. A more sensible aspiring politician would have stopped right there. For better or for worse, however, I did not fall into that category. Promising to abolish tuition fees was only part of the story, I told the assembled thousands. In order to fund free tertiary education for all, New Zealand would have to re-introduce the sharply progressive income tax which the Fourth Labour Government had dismantled. To make the first promise without making voters aware of the second would be dishonest. Zero student fees could only be paid for by higher taxes.

That’s when the booing started. I quit while I was behind – a sadder but a wiser man.

I was 34 years-old in 1990 – roughly fifteen years senior to the crowd in front of me. People were just beginning to refer to these youngsters as “Generation X” – Jacinda Ardern’s and Grant Robertson’s generation. Many of these kids would fight the good fight against user-pays education with energy and dedication right through the 1990s. Grant, himself, was elected President of the Otago University Students Association in 1993 and would go on to co-lead the national student organisation three years later. That said, I couldn’t forget those Gen-Xers’ cheers for free education, nor their boos for higher taxes. Neither, it would appear, could Grant.

Few economists and even fewer political journalists are predicting that Thursday’s Budget will feature a sharp rise in taxes. Envisaged instead is a massive increase in Government borrowing. Some younger commentators have worked out that the burden of repaying the enormous foreign debt this government is racking-up will be borne by them and their children – and they’re not happy about it. There is talk about extracting at least some of the repayment from older New Zealanders. After all, they argue, all of this uniting against Covid-19 has been for their benefit. The least they can do is give something up for the generations who will bear the brunt of the economic crisis which combatting the virus has precipitated. One of the Aussie bank economists has even, in the finest Shock Doctrine style, called for drastic action on superannuation, the retirement age, and untaxed capital gains.

Not wanting to provoke the election-compromising boos that such measures would elicit – not least from New Zealand’s most assiduous voters, the Over-60s – Grant is most unlikely to do any of those things. He, at least, is not so naïve as to waste all the election-victory-enhancing cheers which his Thursday promises to spend whatever it takes to get New Zealand out of trouble are certain to produce, by idiotically going on to explain how he intends to pay for them! Instead, he will reassure us of just how much scope for borrowing his prudent fiscal management of the New Zealand economy has provided. And there’s plenty of money on offer! In the immortal words of John Clarke (aka Fred Dagg) “If we stand in the queue with our hats on, we can borrow a few million more.” Verily, we don’t know how lucky we are to have such a government.

Few New Zealanders see as clearly as John Minto what will be sacrificed to pay the vastly expanded mortgage that Grant is negotiating with overseas lenders. All the fine ideas about overcoming child poverty, humanising the welfare system, building state houses, tackling mental illness and doing something real about global warming will, to use Grant’s own words: “be put on ice”. If politics is the language of priorities, then almost without exception it speaks with a middle-class accent.

Because, in the subsequent hours and days – and years – in which I relived the humiliation of that booing crowd, I was finally blessed with the consoling insight that, big as it was, it represented only a very narrow slice of the New Zealand population. Moreover, it was not a slice that was ever going to welcome the news that its parents and, eventually, itself, would be called upon to pay, and pay handsomely, for the maintenance of the sort of society that offered all its young people a free tertiary education. That consolation came when I remembered that I was not the only speaker to be booed that day. The young Maori woman who spoke of the needs of her people, and of their just historical claims upon the resources of the Pakeha nation – they booed her, too.

The bourgeoisie, you see, has always been extremely keen on getting into heaven; but it’s damned if it’s ever been willing to die to get there. Always, that’s been somebody else’s job – somebody poor.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Tuesday, 12 May 2020.

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is there any country which has addressed the social problems outlined by John Minto? Is there a working model?

Geoff Fischer said...

Kia ora Chris
I am guessing that the whole crowd did not boo. A part of it may have. Perhaps a large part. Perhaps the majority. But there would have been some in that crowd which could look beyond self-interest to see and respect the principle of social equity which was the basis of your and New Labour's policy on free tertiary education.
Having said that, the reaction was predictable. Labour and the left generally had spent decades encouraging class interest. That quickly reduced to the interests of sub-classes - the interests of state sector unions, private sector unions, and within the private sector unions the interests of individual occupational groups. This process culminated in the naked appeal to individual self-interest of the Labour government under David Lange (a man who I knew personally and for whom I have a lot of respect) and Roger Douglas (who more truly represented the political and philosophical ethos of the Labour Party).
Thirty years ago you absorbed the rude lesson that "this is the way people are". There was another lesson you could have taken on board: that this is the end result of politics as we know it, as practiced by the Labour movement, a politics that encourages and feeds on anger. There is nothing like an angry crowd to send a shot of adrenelin through the veins of a political junkie, nothing that better carries the scent and promise of victory. But one has to be of a very cynical character to build a life around successfully exploiting the greed, anger and self-interest of others. Phil Goff had no difficulty. You couldn't manage it because your political "realism" was hamstrung by a residual old-world idealism. Torn between the part of you that wanted to preach the true faith, and the part of you that wanted to come to grips with the world "as it is", you quite appropriately ended up as a journalist, neither one not the other.
You are still the man in the middle. While your colleagues at "The Daily Blog" are sensing that there is political capital to be found in anti-Chinese racism, promoting a "strong state", idolizing "leadership", denigrating the rule of law and condemning political censorship while practicing it themselves, you seem uncertain about which way to go.
It is not that people are bad (though they may be) but that certain kinds of politics bring out the worst in people, and in 2020 as in 1984 there are people in the Labour Party who are will use this present crisis to entrench the rule of corporate capitalism and colonialism. Jacinda will have her part to play unless or until she, like David Lange before her, calls for "a cup of tea and a breather".
Kia kaha.

Harbinger said...

I recall those demo's against fees in Dunedin in 1990.

I spent several hours making a placard I could hold up.

It read: Fuck off,
Goff

As an English Lit student, to this day, I'm proud of the rhyme.

Probably more so than the sentiment.

Anonymous said...

Chris - I think you have given a good example of why everyone wants a free lunch, as long as they don't have to pay for it. However, that realisation hasn't come to many people nowadays. Many people still don't know you can't get ought for nought. The retrograde taxation where the poor subsidise the rich are even worse. The best current example of this is the electric car subsidies paid for by petrol taxes. That is a really evil practice.
Chris Morris

Patricia said...

New Zealand issues its own currency. We can only pay our taxes in that currency. Where do we get that money from in the first place? From the New Zealand Government of course. We do not need to borrow it from anybody. If we do then that is just corporate welfare by paying interest to those lenders who lend us New Zealand dollars...The only thing that we need to worry about is inflation. Just issuing your own currency does not cause inflation. inflation is caused by lack of resources. Now if New Zealand exports, let’s say, all its meat then we will have inflation in the price of meat. It will go up. It really isn’t rocket science.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Dammit Chris, I was just thinking "everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die." – And then I read the last paragraph. If I could actually get in a quote – to paraphrase HL Mencken "No one ever went broke underestimating the greed of the middle classes."
Labour has constantly made promises to close the loopholes in taxation. Result it seems to me – zero. We need a capital gains tax. We need a graduated income tax. Maybe a wealth tax. We need to get rid of the sales tax. And we need to stop people being able to put their money into family trusts and evade taxes that way. And we certainly need to make businesses like Amazon and Facebook pay their fair share. Not to mention some of the larger firms here.

Jens Meder said...

Hi Chris.
It is great we agree that someone must save (or have saved) for anything to be achieved apart from the happy-go-lucky hand-to-mouth life-style of the eternally poor.
There just is no way to more education, housing, retirement reserves or whatever - i.e. prosperity - than through saving and PROFITABLY investing for it, and you might have been more successful in 1990 when instead of saying the rich will have to be taxed at higher rates, you would have said - AND WE ALL HAVE TO PARTICIPATE IN TIGHTENING OUR BELTS TO MAKE IT HAPPEN IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY.... and even if the young students might not have grasped the egalitarian reality and fairness of that, I am certain the rich and the bourgeoisie would be more sympathetic to that approach, because isn't that the way they built up their prosperity ?

With participation by the poor, might not the rich also become enthusiastic to participate in the extra effort of personal and national wealth ownership CREATION ?


Anonymous said...

"but one has to be of a very cynical character to build a life around successfully exploiting the greed, anger and self-interest of others. Phil Goff had no difficulty." So true.

Jens Meder said...

Hi Geoff Fischer (and Patricia) or anyone -
Can you please give us a practical example or a theoretical explanation of how you get anything creative done - apart from feeding yourself hand-to-mouth - without capitalism, i.e. saving and investment ?
Perhaps we need John Minto to come up with an answer to that ?

If you or John Minto are not able to do that - then is it not time to acknowledge this basic physical reality and adjust your socio-economic thinking accordingly?

Sam said...

The difference between real investors and fake investors.

Question: what were you doing last night.

Jens Meder: "It is great we agree that someone must save (or have saved) for anything to be achieved apart from the happy-go-lucky hand-to-mouth life-style of the eternally poor.
There just is no way to more education, housing, retirement reserves or whatever - i.e. prosperity - than through saving and PROFITABLY investing for it, and you might have been more successful in 1990 when instead of saying the rich will have to be taxed at higher rates, you would have said - AND WE ALL HAVE TO PARTICIPATE IN TIGHTENING OUR BELTS TO MAKE IT HAPPEN IN A SUSTAINABLE WAY.... and even if the young students might not have grasped the egalitarian reality and fairness of that, I am certain the rich and the bourgeoisie would be more sympathetic to that approach, because isn't that the way they built up their prosperity ?"

A real invester: chilling

David Stone said...

Hi Geoff
An intriguing mixture of insight and utter bull's shit here. I wonder if you are actually perfectly clear in your own mind as to which is which. And are providing the insight to the plebs to sell the bull's shit.
As to your assessment of Chris's conflict though, " You couldn't manage it because your political "realism" was hamstrung by a residual old-world idealism. Torn between the part of you that wanted to preach the true faith, and the part of you that wanted to come to grips with the world "as it is", you quite appropriately ended up as a journalist, neither one not the other." He does not have to be conflicted within himself in order to have a realistic view of the world (which he clearly has to an exceptional degree) , and seeing how it could and should be improved, and trying to effect some improvement.
Personally I think he makes a greater contribution as a writer than anyone makes as a politician, and the "failure " to withhold the other side of free education is a part of his nature that as you both imply is a disfunction in a successful politician. Namely honesty.

Cheers D J S

Nick J said...

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. Fooled again? Jury is out.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"Having said that, the reaction was predictable. Labour and the left generally had spent decades encouraging class interest."


As opposed to conservatives who had spent centuries doing exactly the same thing but lately at least, denying it.

"Can you please give us a practical example or a theoretical explanation of how you get anything creative done - apart from feeding yourself hand-to-mouth - without capitalism, "

Feudalism.

Geoff Fischer said...

Kia ora David
I don't mind "old-world idealism". In fact I feel quite at home with it. I also believe that Chris Trotter, and his late colleague Bruce Jesson, contributed more to New Zealand society as journalists than they could have as either career politicians or left wing political evangelists.
When I say that Chris could not manage "successfully exploiting the greed, anger and self-interest of others" because of his "old world idealism" I am not actually attacking his character. I am giving an explanation (which you or he are free to contest) as to why he is now a journalist rather than a leading member of the coalition cabinet.
Having said that I regret that Chris has not more clearly defined the line which separates himself from the NZLP. I think that you would find the explanation in his sense of "political realism". He seems to genuinely believe that there is no alternative to the NZLP.
I make no judgement on whether he should have proceeded from "free tertiary education" to "progressive taxation". Honesty is essential. Candour is desirable. In that situation it seems he went beyond honesty to candour, and paid a price for it. There is no disgrace in that.
As for the "bullshit" in my comment, if you can be more specific I will take a look and see if there is something I should retract.
Nga mihi

Jens Meder said...

Sam - so you suggest it is "chilling for a real invester" to be faced with the prospect of everyone becoming an investor?
Relax - because investors are also consumers, and does not the successful investor actually become a much bigger consumer than the "hand-to-mouth" living poor, because:
1. In addition to daily consumption needs for survival, an investor participates in the construction and purchase of capital goods !
2. With an increase of income through profitable investment, the investor becomes a potentially even bigger consumer of consumables than the careless "happy-go-lucky hand-to-mouth" reveling poor.

So - there is no need to become concerned if the latter have to spend some of their income on investment and cannot consume it all right away - because ultimately more widespread investment will lead to greater consumption potential !
Cheers - Jens.

Sam said...

I reckon in New Zealand if you pay over NZD50,000 in tax you should be allowed to opt out of paying taxes to the Health system so that Jens will have to pay for his own respirator. Under that Jens pays his own way and can stop bludging off the rest of us. Over that you have to go private if opting out. Fairly straightforward to implement.

Patricia said...

Jens. To understand what can be done you have to understand how the monetary system actually works right now and then you can make comments on what and how things can be done. Any political system has to have a lot of elements and that includes capitalism, socialism and even communism to make it work for all people. Not one of them can and has ever worked on its own. And every system has to adjust to the times in which people are living.

Geoff Fischer said...

Guerilla Surgeon:
Over the past half century no political party with significant representation in the New Zealand parliament has openly advocated for class interests. A few rumblings from the left "What about the workers?" and from the right "What about the farmers?" but nothing of any substance. The orthodox view is that everyone is a worker, and everyone either is or can become a capitalist. Therefore through the lens of politics New Zealand is a classless society in which the interests of the individual are paramount.
This remarkable consensus owes as much to the historical influence of the left as of the right. In fact I believe that the left can take the greater part of the credit, because it was the left that taught the working class to put the interests of the individual first and to become capitalists themselves. The point I was making is that the left came to this position by degrees. First advocating for the working class as a whole, then devolving to "my union" (representing a discrete section of the working class) and finally for "me, myself and I" (courtesy of Douglas, Prebble et al).
It was an entirely predictable transition.
The lesson for me is somewhat paradoxical: If we want a truly fair society then explicit advocacy for the interests of the underprivileged or the working class is not the way to go, because by taking that route we will end up right back where we are now.
Jens Meder: If you don't have capitalism you can have some other kind of system. We don't have capitalism within the whanau, or, as a rule, within the hapu. I don't care which system of production you choose for yourself. That is your business. But as I have said before your efforts to force capitalism upon people who don't want it and can't afford it are futile. And it seems that you have no other suggestions to make. You just continue putting forward the same proposition while refusing to answer the questions which would expose the flaw in your logic.

aj said...

Three words - Financial transaction tax.
It's time has come.

Anonymous said...

Hi Geoff
I was a bit harsh there wasn't I. If you are not clearly conscious of which is which then my comment was a miss.
I believe Chris has previously alluded to being expelled from the NZLP. I expect he caused offence in going with Jim Anderton when he left to form the NLP. I actually joined the labour party a year before the formation of the NLP because I percieved that the only clear opposition in the country to Rogernomics was Jim Anderton's voice and I imagined that he must have a solid group of likeminded traditional labour members around him within the party that would constitute the opposition to that movement. No one else was speaking out against it at the time. Muldoon had lost his mojo . I rang him to see if he would talk with me about it at the time but Mrs Muldoon who answered consulted with him and came back with " He doesn't want to talk to anyone about asset sales.
It turned out that the vast majority of the NZLP were going with the new plan , even Helen Clarke to Jim's huge disappointment.
What were you doing in those days?
Anyway I think that that era is when Chris and the NZLP parted company on a permanent basis . The traditional NZLP philosophy left the NZLP with Jim Anderton, who had incidentally just completely resurrected that organisation from near oblivion to a 100 000 membership. When it returns to that philosophy perhaps Chris will be allowed back. In a sense it is just like
the honesty of having to tell the whole story that got him booed. It's the belief's that he is true to not any individual.
Cheers D J S

greywarbler said...

I know who Anonymous is. It's someone from Treasury, the Maxim Institute, The NZ Initiative, or someone who is a retired financial advisor or no-lib economist, or conservative Christian. All the comments seem to come from the same hymn book.

I'm wondering if there is some similar homilies that have been set to music which might be quite fun. There is one singing/chanting the weather report. This sort of information will be of more value than listening to the advice from the rightwing financial seers -
there is about 3 minutes of this.
What a shower!
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4z2jwDcb9wI

Or the UK Road Rules:
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qngi_jSaXlI

Chris Trotter said...

To: Anonymous @ 17:01

No, I never alluded to being expelled from the NZLP, because it never happened.

I resigned from the NZ Council of the NZLP and from my membership of the party - along with Jim Anderton and thousands of others - in May 1989.

Jens Meder said...

Guerilla Surgeon - Olden time pre-industrial feudalism was - at some stage - enforced royalty based plutocratic monopoly capitalism, in principle not much different from recent time slave labour based large scale plantation farming.
Without the capitalism necessary to raise and arm armies there would not have been feudalism (nor not much else of human creation), Guerilla Surgeon -

unless you come up with a better example - or explain how feudalism came into existence and kept going without capitalism.
Capitalism is a much more basic and universal economic function than what the Marxian ideology has led many of us to believe and accept.

kiwidave said...

Geoff:
"We don't have capitalism within the whanau, or, as a rule, within the hapu. I don't care which system of production you choose for yourself. That is your business".

Fair enough and it's a credit to our liberal ethos that folk are free to operate/cooperate as they choose. A great example is the successful Gloriavale community in Westland. Their own culture and values, no private property and all for the collective; works for them.
They seem to have largely resolved the issue of interaction with the outside community. It is a potential problem; what rules of engagement apply, what is the basis for civil contracts or, indeed, crown law.

They have been relentlessly criticised (presumably such criticism will be illegal if Little gets his anti speech laws through) but I don't know if they have been studied properly, much to learn I would have thought.
A couple of things are apparent; it is quite tyrannical (albeit largely socially enforced) and constrained and is probably around the right size. One wonders how functional it would be with ten times the population - perhaps enforcement would necessarily become more prescriptive, institutionalised and tyrannical as the social and familial bonds become diluted.

The similarities to pre European Maori social structures are obvious; care to comment?

Cheers,
David George.

Jens Meder said...

Guerilla Surgeon - what is the question I refuse(d) to answer or discuss ?

If the whanau wants to build a meeting house, they practice communal capitalism by asking for contributions to be invested in it - and good on them , as long as they don't insist on contributions from outside of their commune nor complain about poverty.

Patricia - the monetary system serves primarily for keeping track of - and just accounting for, not creating - values.

What is the secret of the monetary system I don't seem to have understood?

The fact is, that Socialism and Communism are both govt. capitalism monopolies based on the self-deceiving Marxist idea, that productivity has to be for needs, not for profits.

Yet isn't it clear, that anything unprofitable is unsustainable without being subsidized by profits or savings from somewhere else ?

Therefore it is more safe for a govt. to privatize industries where there is public pressure for cheaper prices, which may need those industries be subsidized and make the govt. unpopular when it needs to raise taxation to subsidize those industries.

Private enterprise or capitalism delivers a stronger economy because it does not survive without being needed enough to be profitable.

David Stone said...

Hi Chris
My apologies for that mistake. I must have misinterpreted the wording of a reference you made in a long ago article to your departure from the NZLP. It registered with me at the time because though it was no surprise you had parted I was surprised by the notion that you would be pushed .
I don't know why I turned up "Anonymous" at 17:01 . I always enter my name.
Also my last sentence should read " It's the belief's that he is true to not any individual , but to that philosophy."
Cheers Keep up the good work

D J S

Geoff Fischer said...

No worries David. Criticism is welcome.
A lot of people had great hopes for the New Labour, and believed that in coalition with Labour it could bring the NZLP back on track.
There are many on the left who still believe that Labour is the best hope we have which is why the Green Party, Chris and most of the pundits on "The Daily Blog" have fastened their colours to Jacinda's mast.
Jacinda has done well in containing the Covid-19 epidemic. Vietnam and North Korea went much earlier and harder with equal or greater success, but they are authoritarian socialist regimes which are better positioned to control an epidemic and to manage its economic consequences.
Compared to western states, the New Zealand government has done well, but as most people acknowledge, the second act will be the harder one in a free market economy.
The government is approaching the economic challenge as it approached the epidemic, with exhortation and moral suasion on the one hand and a very large stick in the other. That is par for the course. All states do it.
But just as one section of society bore most of the risks and costs of containment of the epidemic (front line health workers, supermarket workers etc) so the costs of the second phase will be unevenly distributed. Exhortation will fail if there is a perception that outcomes are too inequitable, at which point the government will have to resort to force. That would also fail.
I am not prejudging. I will wait to see how things progress. Meanwhile community initiatives ("the five million"?) will continue on the basis of manaakitanga and mana motuhake. That is where I am pinning my hopes.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Jens – I'm sorry but your concept of feudalism and the raising of armies is wrong. In my youth I wrote pages and pages about this in order to pass examinations I'm not going to do so now.
I'm not quite sure what you are referring to with questions you haven't answered. Perhaps you mistook me for someone else? Or perhaps I've just forgotten in my old age.
But I do know that feudalism was not some sort of proto-capitalism, at least not in the sense that I understand it. Perhaps you have a different idea of what capitalism is.

Geoff – operative word "openly". I think you should probably read Bruce Jesson, he explained it far better than I could. The National party has always governed with the interests of farmers and business people in mind. They are really lucky that it was the Labour Party that took away agricultural subsidies. And of course they didn't replace them, but they did escape much of the blame. Conservatives are brilliant at projecting their own weaknesses and problems onto others. "Identity politics" is a fine example of that.

David Stone said...

Hi Geoff
The coalition was spent by the time Jim went back into labour and my sense at the time was that he was about spent too. It was an unrewarding career he had had, he felt I'm sure from things he said that his family life and his family itself had suffered from his lifelong preoccupation with trying to save an ungrateful and unthinking NZ public from the mess his party had placed them in. The suicide of his daughter didn't help, and it didn't help to know that the labour party would never have been in a position to make those changes that Douglas made without his enormous effort to rebuild it.
I think in joining up with Hellen Clarke's government he was opting for a well paid ease into retirement and to resurrect what was left of his family life. Leaving the electorate to enjoy the future they deserved.I don't think he expected to change labour's direction at that stage.
It's pretty hard to be sure what's happening in north Korea, but we could certainly have acted earlier, however geography and luck have been on Jacinda's side through this but she has done her part admirably as well.
The assistance package the govt. has put in place and enacted in very short order to tide people over amounts to infinitely more real assistance/participation than is covered by exhortation and moral suasion . It was certainly going hard and early compared with the assistance implemented by any other country as far as I have read. I think they are putting their money where their mouth is and I don't see that much evidence of the big stick. Can you explain?
The front line workers were at risk of infection to some degree but they kept their jobs in organisations that will not suffer from the lockdown, longer term , and especially as the virus has been contained so the risk did not in all but very few cases materialise , It is those workers in marginal enterprises including the working proprietors of them that are at risk or have folded now. as the lockdown is eased in re the pandemic what are we now being forced to do? I'm puzzled by that statement.
The opportunity now exists for some real social advances, some of the noises are hopeful for the future.

Cheers D J S

Geoff Fischer said...

Kia ora David George
You have obviously thought about Gloriavale with an open mind which suggests to me that you may have already answered your own question, but still I will give my own perspective on it.
Tatou tohunga maori see order in chaos and the model they sometimes use to illustrate this is the mikimiki. A dense almost impenetrable ball of spiky branches known to European botanists as a divaricating shrub. Growth proceeds by one shoot dividing into two divergent shoots of equal length, each of which grows and then divides again in the same way and so it goes on until you have a tangled ball of spiky shoots, each of which can be followed back to the original "tipu" (tupu) or shoot, hence "tipuna" (tupuna) or ancestor.
Maori looking back to the tipuna find others who trace their whakapapa back to the same tipuna, and are therefore whanaunga to themselves.
Ideas, systems of belief and communities develop in the same way as the mikimiki, all shoots being connected to their original source or tipu.
So Hahi Katorika and Hahi Mihinare co-exist easily in te ao Maori. They are after all whanaunga to each other, whereas in European thought they might be seen more as orthodoxy and heresy, correct and incorrect.
Gloriavale, on the other hand, has grown out of that European concept of a right and wrong path, with the right path leading to heaven or an earthly utopia. That is why it is, as you put it, "tyrannical". Dissent can only be tolerated between narrow limits if everyone is to get to heaven.
When Maori return to the land in community they are not advancing to heaven by a predefined right way. They are returning to the tipuna. Therefore they have arguments and disagreements. They may re-live the splits and divisions from their whakapapa and korero purakau. But they carry on, because life does not preclude difference.
Life, like the mikimiki, is about taking different directions while still being part of a whole and respecting the common origins of life. There is no need to be separatist or sectarian, no need to stand any further apart than the distances imposed by the last point of divergence.
To tohunga these mikimiki points of divergence are the essence of thought and not necessarily a sign of error. G F Hegel thought of them as thesis and antithesis, but Hegel, being a European modernist, saw the dialectic as working forward into a visionary future, not back to the reality of the tipu as the tohunga do.
To be frank, the European or Gloriavale approach to community has practical economic advantages. On the surface it provides order, whereas disorder can be the normal state of our communities.
But when you look beneath the surface at Gloriavale you may see disorder lurking in the deep, while despite the disorder, internal frictions and apparent chaos of our community everyone does pull together when the need arises - as at the present time.
Yet somewhere in the mikimiki of life there is a point where Gloriavale and our own community share a common tipu. Let us not forget that.
Naku noa

Geoff Fischer said...

Kia ora David Stone
It is generally acknowledged that Jim Anderton's great political success was KiwiBank, a battle he won fighting against great odds, and it is an example of what can be achieved by staying inside the political tent - if you can. People appreciate that and respect him for it. It is an important part of his political legacy. I don't agree with everything Jim did, but if you are going to judge someone (even a politician who by definition invites judgement) then you have to judge the whole person and Jim Anderton does not fare too badly in my estimation.
I hope that Jacinda succeeds in her own fight even if it goes no further than a return to the status quo ante. "Transformation" if it is to happen will have to come from "the five million". Politicians cannot drive that kind of change. At best they can only go with the tide of the popular will, and if Grant Robertson's budget comments mean anything at all, they show that the government is aware of the public desire for a socially fair, rational and harmonious outcome to the present crisis.
The big stick is the emergency legislation.
In my younger days I had to deal with an offender who had been causing alarm in our neighbourhood. One night I went out to apprehend him, carrying a broom stick with a large hole drilled through the middle. He was a big fellow, and when I caught up with him I presented the stick and ordered him to the ground. He submitted, but after the community had tried and sentenced him he confessed that he had only surrendered because he thought I was carrying an iron bar - not a wooden stick that could have been broken on the ground by a four year old. The moral is that sometimes a stick is useful so long as it is not used.
We feel we have done well so far, and we also feel that the New Zealand government has done well. At the same time, we know that we are in a privileged position. We have not wanted for anything. For many of those who live in the cities this crisis has presented very real challenges and we would like those people to resume their lives without unnecessary suffering. We want Jacinda and Grant to manage the next state kindly, compassionately and effectively.

David Stone said...

Hi Geoff
I would not criticise Jim Anderton. By the time he joined up with labour again it was obvious that the horse had well and truly bolted. He had done all he possibly could to bring the country back on course but the country was persuaded to give the experiment a go and he was never going to get the support he needed to change that.They would not listen ,They'r are not listening still, Perhaps they never will . It had to run it's course. He did indeed do some less dramatic but good stuff within Labour once he rejoined in coalition , but that was the end of the fight.

Cheers D J S

John Hurley said...

I'm reading a phd thesis. New Zealanders on the Net: Discources of National Identities in Cyberspace.
Phillipa Karen Smith

I remember you saying I and someone on the standard were talking past each other. That is an understatement. We simply have no paradigm to argue with the left. Hobson's Pledge and others can argue about points of history but that wont make a difference.
Meanwhile NZ On Air pour out caustic material designed to break the dominant narrative and only they understand why. Apparently we are supposed to become aware of our nakedness as the dispossessers of Maori and grovel in the dirt. We enter a holy realm of unracistness and migrants from all over join us. We will all sing songs of joy - no body will fall over each other. You only need one ancestor to play the Maori role of the aggrieved. Since when did society become so technical?
Something like that anyway.

John Hurley said...

It is a battle of paradigms Chris - the Anna Penn Affair. The official paradigm is not the public paradigm. It has never been won but has all the backing of the cultural elite and taxpayer funding. Identity is negotiated.