Friday 11 March 2022

2023: The One To Lose.

Drive Towards The Dawn: Labour should present the voters with a bold and radical vision of their country’s future. A future founded on a political economy of equity and justice. Labour and the Greens will lose, naturally. But, with the economy tanking, and the international situation going from bad to worse, the 2023 General Election looks more-and-more like the election the parties of the future need to lose.

BRYCE EDWARDS, in this morning’s (10/3/22) edition of his excellent NZ Politics Daily, writes:

“There is still a chance that the Government will back down on Three Waters. If opinion polls continue to narrow between the left and right blocs, then Jacinda Ardern will start to look at what areas of the Government reform programme are eroding public confidence. Three Waters, or at least the co-governance model, is likely to be identified as a roadblock to re-election in 2023.”

But, a back-down on Three Waters could only eventuate following a direct and successful attack upon the largest and most powerful faction in the Labour Caucus – the Māori Caucus. Given the political beliefs of most of Labour’s non-Māori caucus members, however, is such an attack even conceivable? It would represent not only a rejection of the orthodox interpretation of te Tiriti o Waitangi, along with the co-governance model it is said to mandate, but also the wholesale repudiation of the only political principles the current generation of Labour MPs take seriously.

Now the cynics might chuckle and point to the number of sitting MPs who stand to lose their seats if Labour’s fast-falling level of electoral support is not arrested. Having just entered Parliament, are these politicians really prepared to be swept out of it on the highly contentious proposition that co-governance really is the wave of the future?

Isn’t it more likely that these MPs will suddenly discover that co-governance formed no part of Labour’s 2020 Election Manifesto? Or, that co-governance is full of constitutional fish-hooks that the likes of Nanaia Mahuta and Willie Jackson have not been entirely up-front about? Some may even decide to read He Puapua from start to finish, and end up wondering how the Labour Cabinet could just wave it through.

On the other hand, nobody has ever gone broke betting on the propensity of white liberals to fold like tents when subjected to an uncompromising assault by people of colour. Are Labour’s current crop of luvvies really tough enough to face down the bitter accusations of racism and colonialist betrayal which would undoubtedly be hurled at them by the Māori Caucus’s staunchest spokespeople?

Is Jacinda?

And are the Non-Māori majority of the Labour Caucus really willing to call the Māori Caucus’s bluff if it threatens to refuse the Whip? Could the Labour leadership be sure of holding on to at least three or four of Willie Jackson’s team in the event of a walkout? (Always assuming that the Greens do not walk away from their agreement with the Labour Government in solidarity with its Māori members.)

It is very hard to see how scrapping co-governance and provoking a walkout of Labour’s Māori caucus could happen without provoking a snap election. With the Greens and the Māori Party tearing into Labour’s left-flank, it is even harder to see any other outcome apart from a resounding National/Act victory. Which would, of course, mean the scrapping of Three Waters and co-governance.

Better, perhaps, to go down with the Tino Rangatiratanga flag flying? Paradoxically, going to the country on a platform of constitutional and cultural transformation – and getting thrashed – could well be the best way of keeping Labour and the Greens in the long-term political game.

Because, one thing is for certain: the genie of co-governance is well and truly out of its bottle and it is doubtful whether the New Zealand state any longer possesses either the strength or the will to stuff it back in. Were a right-wing government foolish enough to try, the resulting convulsions in the body politic would make the recent dyspepsia manifested in Parliament Grounds look like a delegation of Plunket mums.

This time the wretched refuse of the colonial capitalist economy would not attract the scorn of middle-class Pakeha social-liberals. This time they would be pitching their tents right alongside them. This time the New Zealand ensign flying alongside the Tino Rangatiratanga flag would not be at all confusing. This time it would be: “One flag for tauiwi; one flag for tangata whenua; and te Tiriti over all.” This time Labour and the Greens would not be scorning the occupation. This time they’d be taking the demands of the protesters directly to the floor of the House of Representatives. This time they would not be speaking for the state. This time they would be speaking for the future.

There was a time – not so very long ago – when Bryce Edwards’ speculation about Labour stepping away from Three Waters and co-governance would have represented nothing more nor less than the conventional wisdom. But, times have changed. Aotearoa-New Zealand faces unprecedented challenges, and it is becoming clearer with every passing year that our current constitutional arrangements are unlikely to prove equal to the task of meeting them.

As Bryce himself notes:

“The alternative is that the Government gets out and actually sells the reforms to the public. This is what has been sorely lacking (beyond the infamous [Three Waters] propaganda ad campaign). But that will require more than disparaging co-governance critics whose arguments are resonating widely with the public.”

Indeed it will. And, if Labour has retained even a shred of historical consciousness, it will go the electorate with more than just Three Waters on the bill-of-sale. It should present the voters with a bold and radical vision of their country’s future. A future founded on a political economy of equity and justice. A future in which everyone can win, and where losing isn’t predetermined by the colour of your skin. Labour and the Greens will lose, naturally. But, with the economy tanking, and the international situation going from bad to worse, the 2023 General Election looks more-and-more like the election the parties of the future need to lose.

The vital objective should be to win the votes of the young. The challenges that loom will be theirs to meet and overcome. Above all, Labour should not allow itself to be spooked by a solidification of frightened conservatism among the over-60s. Let the dead bury their dead.

The trick, in these circumstances, is to make sure that you leave office with a bang – not a whimper. With great things still left to do. In the immortal words of Scarlet O’Hara in Gone With The Wind: “Tomorrow is another day.”

Let the Right inherit the whirlwind that’s coming.

This essay was originally posted on The Daily Blog of Friday, 11 March 2022.


Odysseus said...

There is no basis for "co-governance" in the Treaty which promises equal civil and political rights for all. It is a fanciful agenda promoted by the elites with virtually no public support. The idea that the representatives of 15% of the population can effectively dictate by power of veto every aspect of the lives of the other 85% has nothing to do with "equity". It is racial supremacism. The Labour-Greens should hang their heads in shame that their leadership is trying to inflict such a perverse, unjust and highly unstable future on this country. They must be removed from office in 2023 by a crushing defeat.

CXH said...

'Let the Right inherit the whirlwind that’s coming.'

Don't you mean shit all over the place, then step back and let someone else try and clean up the mess?

Not quite the behaviour I would expect from an elected government, especially one that will have had a majority for 3 years. A majority that allowed it to implement serious changes for the good of all.

Now you recommend that they just throw a grenade into the middle of our society and walk away. Sad.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

It shouldn't be difficult to sell the reforms to the public, given the shocking way that local bodies have looked after our water in the past. It's noticeable that Hawke's Bay – one of the bodies that opposes the proposals is precisely that body that had a hand in the shocking quality of water that caused death and illness in the past.
Of course there are vested interests and they make a lot of noise, but that yapping should be countered by government telling people the advantages. I said it before and it bears repeating, I'd much sooner have Maori looking after my bloody water than most local bodies given the terrible job that at least two of them have made of it.
But of course there will be the tired, knee-jerk repetition of those cries of separatism and racism and what have you from vested interests and those that listen to them. I sometimes despair that a government – which I don't particularly like TBH – which has been so good communicating with the New Zealand public about Covid, is so poor at communicating about just about everything else.

Kat said...

"Let the Right inherit the whirlwind that’s coming.............."

The notion of inflicting the absolute mess a National/Act regime would quickly bring just to avoid some hard decisions and a political fight is not what this Labour govt is about. Mr Luxon may have received some lift in the polls at this time, however, lets see how he does in debating the important issues face to face with the PM.

A tune for the post:

David George said...

What a legacy for a government to leave!
An ethnicity based governance structure (something that's been a significant failure or major disaster wherever it's been tried) or, what amounts to, civil war. Take your pick says Chris Trotter. Thanks Jacinda.

Anonymous said...

You mean a greasy double dealing government, totally out of touch with reality, that rides rough shod over all and sundry, amazingly requires those that they booted from the North Cape to the bluff to give them another chance. You must be bloody joking.

Communicating .....bloody Norah, who the F... with.

They must be believing their own press. You don't have go far get the alternative truth.

Barry said...

There is a saying that goes 'Its darkest just before dawn'. But theres another similar one -'its darkest just before it goes completely black'.
The Greens are more 'maori' than either the maori party or the maori caucus. So Labour is in a tight spot.
Its starting to look like no matter what they that they will be destroyed from within or from without.

If they upset the greens etc then the internal fighting will get them and there could well be a walk out and the maori party might come to their senses and recall that theyve only ever got anything from national.
But if they give into co-covernance and 'partnership' then the tide will continue to go against them.
I would not bet against them staying with co-governance etc because they cannot see the long term problems with race based governance- even thought our legislation says it illegal.

Chris Slater said...

“…frightened conservatism”? Hardly. The worst of these reforms, and other appalling ‘progressive’ ‘reforms’ are unlikely to affect us. What we’re offering is conservative leavening to the impulsiveness of the PMC and the clerisy who think of themselves as educated, yet unaware of the ideology that has directed their thinking. The departure of the Left from utilitarianism and consequentialism, the abrogation of its principles, its distortion of the institutions of civilisation, and the succour given to the world’s most conservative, patriarchal and regressive agencies, indigenous culture and Islam, will affect the civilisational values of generations hence. Not ours. We're the Cassandras of our time.

sumsuch said...

Co-governance with you and 'the woke' with Martyn. Viruses, I have to say among the ineffectual Left talkers. Rightist viruses. Isn't Bernie the ideal?

David George said...

"where losing isn’t predetermined by the colour of your skin"
Is that how it works, brilliant, that explains all those successful North East Asians (Koreans, Chinese) their pale, European level lightness of skin tone. Hang on, what about the Indians, they're pretty dark, how come they seem to be making a go of things.

I was talking about this very thing with an Indian chap - amazing what people will say if you let them speak. I'm sure Chris wouldn't print all he had to say but he felt, and I agreed, that success is complicated but very much tied up with values. Perhaps there's a problem with the critical race theory, perhaps success isn't "predetermined" by skin colour, perhaps things are way more complicated than that. Perhaps it might not be a good idea to radically alter our governance structure and bin core democratic principles on the basis of a theory that's so obviously nonsense.

David George said...

ACT are unequivocal:

"I'd work with anyone to change this Government, but let's be clear about what the Māori Party means: it means working with people who believe that there should be two different types of political rights in New Zealand depending on your ancestry," Seymour told Newshub.

When asked if he would consider changing his position if he heard Te Pāti Māori out, Seymour said: "No."

"We've heard what they've got to say. The simple facts are there's not one example of a country that's succeeded by having different political rights based on birth but there are many examples of terrible failure as a result of that kind of discrimination."

"Unfortunately it's often the Māori Party that engages in racist rhetoric where they think people should have different rights based on birth. That's incompatible with a modern, multi-ethnic society," Seymour told Newshub.

"Some people think it's racist to want everybody to have the same political rights and somehow it's not racist to want different political rights based on ancestry. People can judge that for themselves."

We all know NZF's position on these issues and now Seymour has opened the door to working with them in government so the possibility of a right wing coalition dumping the entire He Puapua agenda looks highly likely, as does "the resulting convulsions". Strangely, for all the talk about far right extremists, Alt Right even, Chris hasn't mentioned the possibility of a convulsion from that side of the fence. He's probably correct, the Maori ethno nationalists and their sympathisers look more likely to be a serious problem, some even now probably relishing the prospect of an uprising, civil and not so civil.

With the He Puapua agenda likely to be a major election issue, a resounding defeat for it's proponents would be a clear mandate from the people for it's demise - with a few concessions maybe. It's a pretty clear binary at the moment but will that be the end of it, will the defeated jack it in and just get on with their lives. Certainly wars have been fought for much less than is at stake here. Is history calling us to stand up or lie down. .

Guerilla Surgeon said...

""where losing isn’t predetermined by the colour of your skin"
Is that how it works, brilliant, that explains all those successful North East Asians (Koreans, Chinese) their pale, European level lightness of skin tone. Hang on, what about the Indians, they're pretty dark, how come they seem to be making a go of things."

Oh Christ on a crutch not this again. The model minority – just as racist as negative stereotypes. And pretty much untrue the way it's embraced by racists anyway.

" Immigrants are often well-educated. Asian-Americans have in fact been a uniquely hyper-selective migrant group. The share of well-educated Asian immigrants is in fact higher than the American population average. This alone is likely to influence outcomes, since there is a clear connection between parental education and the education achievement of their children."

Let's forget that Maori have had their culture pretty much destroyed and the economic base taken away. Let's forget that black Americans were not educated immigrants, but slaves. Who had also had the culture destroyed, and were forbidden literacy let alone education.

You know, human disasters have results that can last for hundreds of years. Those areas of Spain that suffered under the Inquisition, are still economically more backward than those that didn't. And that was 500 years ago.

This whole argument is getting tired. You've had it explained exactly how you are wrong in this several times David and yet you continue to spout this nonsense. If someone doesn't change their beliefs when they get evidence to the contrary they are an idiot.

The Barron said...

One poll comes out, and everyone immediately fills in the gaps and decide it is primarily because of their pet issues. Most of those theorists were part of the minority that did not vote Labour or Greens last election. It is amazing how people decide that issues regarding Maori must the the cause of all woes. Or, Three Waters, as if local government issues have ever swung a general election. Of course local body elections come first, and if there is a care about water care, it is likely to show then. It won't.

I will offer a quick counter narrative. The first being how tragic National was to have ever named Judith Collins leader. She was never popular amongst the public, and any 'to know her is to love her' theory that her polling would improve in the job had clearly been devoid of having watched her career. Dead cat bounce for Luxon simply being credible.

Point two, the economy stupid. International inflation is always going to hit trade dependent NZ. Keynesian projects take time to filter into the economy. Labour have not acted to strengthen benefits. Petrol causes uncertainty. A number of things are impacting, the interesting thing will be how the government react, whether it will be (hopefully) to defend the low income base or succumb to business lobbyists. It should be noted: NZ has lost both tourism and international student industries completely, but has maintained the infrastructure for these to reignite. There is no major part of the pre-Covid economy that is not in a position to recover. Meanwhile, the government accounts are far healthier than any predicted, and in comparison with other economies. People feel insecure, but Labour have mitigated the worst of Covid economically.

The third point is we are in the middle of a pandemic that creates uncertainty. This is natural and expected. If NZ again out performs globally, the government will get credit. At the moment, there is a sense of foreboding. If the provinces get through as Auckland may have, then there can be analysis of the measures taken.

Luxon has realized that attacking Grant Robertson will get him more traction than Ardern. That won't get him through an election in which he will be one-on-one. He has also tried the tactic of pronouncing division every opportunity in the hope of naturalising the concept. Again, this is a short-term strategy. His interviews show he has been prepped on certain phrases, but hasn't been tested off script yet. It is early days. I remember many self-styled commentators beatification of Collins when she took the leadership.

sumsuch said...

Not only well-said but utterly well-said. They're not up to it of course. Day to day technicians. Labour exploded on the picture in '35 because of long thinking and suppressed energy.

Why do I not have too much time for Helen Clark? The poor commissioner at the UN. I don't care as much about her CV as she does.

80 to 90 % of our political leaders are out and out egotists, those are the cards we play with. No worries.

Archduke Piccolo said...

I keep telling them at the office - and have done for years: identity politics is a luxury we can no longer afford. If 'Three Waters' is a good plan that needs doing, let it be done. If it is a bad idea that ought to be ditched, then ditch it. If it requires some repair work or some kind of compromise to deliver the most desirable result for the most people, then why aren't they being thrashed out already?

Politics is the art of the possible, my spies tell me. So let's see some progress beyond crayons and stick figures shall we? No I'm not talking platitudes. Sometimes things are simply that simple. Note that I didn't say 'easy'.

Ion A. Dowman

David George said...

The government know, without doubt, that the idea of race based governance is hugely unpopular, despicable even, to an overwhelming majority. A little tilting of the playing field is one thing; allowing one race a different set of rules and it's own referee something else entirely. The suggestion above that a concerted, government funded and directed propaganda campaign will convince the public, the dumb schmucks, to go along is disgusting.

Chris earlier (4th February) laid out the reality of what is at stake:

"it is equally impossible to avoid the conclusion that those elements of the political class, academia, the judiciary, the bureaucracy and the news media; all the allies of the new Māori middle-class and the neo-tribal capitalists they serve; are equally aware that their plans to restore “Aotearoa” can only be imposed by dismantling “New Zealand” – and subduing all who still believe in her.

The proponents of co-governance have no genuine intention of sharing power with those who refuse to accept their understanding of the Treaty of Waitangi. Their purpose is the same as the Crown’s and the settlers’ armies that invaded the Waikato in 1863: to wield power.

Now we have this "Let the Right inherit the whirlwind that’s coming."
Perhaps you need to temper your partisan glee, it's not a game and there will be no winners - least of all the divisive and deluded proponents of He Puapua.

David George said...

Graham Adams with a very good summing up of the He Puapua problem and, in particular, the obscuration from the media. It appears the propaganda campaign is well underway, willingly promoted by our spineless and clueless media. Paywalled unfortunately but here are a few choice points:

"One of the main reasons the public doesn’t have a firm grasp on what is happening to New Zealand’s democracy is of course because the mainstream media won’t help point their audience’s gaze in the direction of what is hiding in plain sight.

The mainstream media certainly won’t join the dots for voters so they can see clearly that giving matauranga Maori parity with science throughout our education system, handing 50 per cent control of our water infrastructure to mana whenua via Three Waters and allowing iwi roadblocks (as an expression of rangatiratanga over traditional territories), are all part of the same co-governance agenda that relies on a radical interpretation of the Treaty as a 50:50 partnership.

In fact, journalists have actively worked to prevent an overview of the legislative programme becoming manifest, not least by their reflexive accusations of racism against those criticising the ethno-nationalist programme.

Stuff’s political reporter Andrea Vance wrote a column last November that did exactly that: “[Three Waters] has allowed some of the worst political impulses to leak out — one of which is a nasty undercurrent of racism. The other is a misinformation campaign.”

Vance named several groups including the Taxpayers’ Union and Opposition parties National and ACT, which, she said, “are all happy to play the race card” over Three Waters.

Extraordinarily, Stuff wouldn’t publish a response by Taxpayers’ Union executive director Jordan Williams to this slur and wouldn’t even allow the union to take a paid half-page ad to offer his defence to the public.

Among many salient points about Three Waters, Williams asked: “To what extent will iwi have control over water pricing and investment under a model that confers iwi half the votes, while the other half are given to councils that are themselves introducing co-governance through Maori wards?”

Another dismal incident occurred at a stand-up press conference with Judith Collins at Parliament last May after Maori Party co-leader Rawiri Waititi had stormed out of Parliament in objection to what he saw as the Leader of the Opposition’s “racist” questioning of the Prime Minister about He Puapua and co-governance.

The gaggle of journalists surrounding Collins repeatedly demanded to know if it was fair to “upset” the Maori Party and whether she was “race-baiting”.

Trying to keep her obvious disdain for this line of questioning in check, Collins replied that it was a “lazy categorisation”, and that she would “not stop asking in Parliament about any constitutional changes the government might be making”.

“Parliament is about asking questions. There are clearly major changes going on and New Zealanders need to know… This is not talking about Maori. It’s about constitutional changes the government is clearly talking to Maori about, and other New Zealanders need to know.”

DS said...

I'd suggest that this sounds rather like encouraging a re-run of the 1990 election.

But the real issue is that outside a handful of nutters, there simply isn't any appetite for constitutional change in this country. People are more worried about Covid and petrol prices.

sumsuch said...

If this is any help, I once said to a Maori woman we aren't one people but we certainly aren't two. But these 180 years of war on Maori suggests such. '84 was in effect a renewal of this war against Maori. Our decision not to carry along everyone with us. And this Labour's decision to leave off giving anything to these people for 4 years. Cos of, you know, focus groups. Leading from behind got them this far ... and Luxon's tax reductions suggest it can go a little further. I hope there's a little leadership soon, however. But from where? Those quiet old social democrats who've helped us in the last few years? We leave the room for these recent fascists (though it will never go through here) because of the lack of the fury for the people of the original 35ists.

David George said...

Thanks for the link GS, the huffing and puffing not so much.
Like I say, the reasons for success are complicated. Success itself has many dimensions but the WaPo essay chose to limit itself to education and income and somehow ended with the conclusion that differences could only be explained by racism. If all you've got is a hammer?

In the New Zealand context Michael Reddell's (Croaking Cassandra) research showed that our more recent immigrants (primarily Asian) were less qualified than the general Kiwi population, it's also apparent that those qualifications were often not transferrable or not in demand - the proverbial rocket scientist driving taxis. The majority of immigrants were engaged in unskilled or semi skilled occupations - retail, restaurants and takeaways, aged care and so on.

So why are some people more successful (however you define it) at life? There is good research on that, even down to how tall and good looking you are apparently.
Perhaps education and qualification, intelligence, conscientiousness, a willingness to sacrifice for the future, aspirational and focused, a stable, loving family background with a father on the scene, low propensity to criminality and substance abuse, good physical and mental health and sheer good luck have a lot to do with it. Is it not inconceivable that at least some of those things are more prevalent in some groups, that there are many factors that contribute to success rather than it being "predetermined by the colour of your skin"

That woeful Wapo essay ended with this:

"Asian Americans — some of them at least — have made tremendous progress in the United States. But the greatest thing that ever happened to them wasn't that they studied hard, or that they benefited from tiger moms or Confucian values. It's that other Americans started treating them with a little more respect."

Now why would that be? Why would they be respected more?
Perhaps a willingness to get on with life rather than wallowing in resentment and indulging in infantilised whining might have something to do with that.

BTW I don't think that assuming people that don't agree with you are idiots is helpful, to you or anyone else.
"Always assume that the person you are listening to may know something you don't." Jordan Peterson.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

David, please explain where I said that anyone who doesn't agree with me is an idiot.
And you've avoided the major point that someone who's had their culture destroyed and their economic base taken away will not turn out to be a model minority.
As far as I know, the major reason for success is luck and choosing good parents – at least the research I've seen. Surely even you would admit that there is no level playing field for kids starting out today?
I've no idea why Asian people started being treated with more respect. I doubt you have either. I suspect it probably because they didn't threaten white ideals of how to behave – although in the 19th and early 20th centuries they obviously were accused of doing such.
And I never said that success is predetermined by the colour of your skin. But it's certainly a factor, and research is shown that people of equal qualifications in the United States will not get equal treatment in the job market. The resumes of people with "black" names are more often junked for instance.

He is a much better quote from Jordan Peterson – crazy, but not anodyne.

"You know when Hitler died, he committed suicide in a bunker way down below in Berlin whilst Berlin was on fire, and Europe was burning. You know it is like, as far as I can tell that was, what Hitler was after right from the beginning."

sumsuch said...

Replying to the blurb, the whole thing of Labour is putting those problems into a far-off to-do list. Can these same people actually 'do' things (the pandemic has made them stronger mentally)? Unlikely, despite their performance during the pandemic, which was easy for intelligent people. Let alone the easier time promises of National which have had such sway in the polls.

We'll go off to hell with Clarks, Keys, Arderns and Luxons. Because of the sharp coup for the rich in '84 we want the quiet above all. Many other factors in our non-response to crisis of course.

We need a Sanders now if we are not to get a Trump 10 years down the track.

sumsuch said...

My previous response was meant for 'Fork in the Road'.

sumsuch said...

Beware my people, the lower middle/upper working class, unless they have ideas they don't have the thinking to work through the gripes that inevitably come their way. Nazis in the making, as per the medium of the Nazis in Germany. Nitwits dissatisfied.

Chris prudence said...

Disingenuous Chris...