Friday 16 February 2024

Iron In Her Soul.

“Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

TELEVISION NEW ZEALAND is to be congratulated for inviting Chloe Swarbrick onto its Q+A current affairs show. The Green MP for Auckland Central is the odds-on favourite to become the next co-leader of the Green Party, making her a vital player in the trio of left-wing parties (the other two being Labour and Te Pāti Māori) that together constitute our alternative government. Allowing the public to get to know Swarbrick a little better was a sensible editorial decision.

There will be many Green members and supporters, however, who, having watched Q+A’s Jack Tame interrogate Swarbrick, may be wondering whether accepting TVNZ’s invitation to be interviewed was as shrewd as issuing it.

Tame is an exceptionally talented broadcaster whose boyish good-looks mask a daunting interrogative talent. If there are weaknesses in any given political persona, Tame may be relied upon to find them. Last Sunday (11/2/24) he found Swarbrick’s – and goaded her into revealing them, live, on free-to-air public television.

The weakness Tame homed in on was Swarbrick’s political inflexibility – a flaw which has only grown as her time in Parliament has lengthened.

When she first burst upon the political scene, as an independent candidate for the Auckland mayoralty in the 2016 local body elections, the clarity of her thought and expression was Swarbrick’s greatest asset. Here was a young woman who was capable of presenting her ideas forcefully, without prevarication, and then supporting them with a truly intimidating army of facts and figures.

Swarbrick’s campaign may have been run on a shoestring, and mostly on social media, but it made sufficient political impact to leave her the third-highest-polling candidate for Mayor. Clearly, this diminutive, articulate and courageous young woman was destined for great things. That Labour and the Greens set out immediately to recruit her, surprised nobody.

With the benefit of hindsight, it is possible to observe that Swarbrick’s choice of the Greens may not have been the best one. While, on paper, the Greens’ determination to arm their politics with the weaponry of reason and science made it a perfect fit for the serious, almost scholarly, Swarbrick, there were risks. The currents of unreason that were flowing with ever-increasing force beneath the surface of Green Party politics were bound to end up battering her core intellectual and political principles.

Swarbrick’s candidacy for the Greens’ co-leadership was prompted by the departure of James Shaw. In spite of an impressive record of political wins – most obviously the Zero Carbon Act – Shaw has found it increasingly difficult to make his colleagues understand that their electoral success depends on voters seeing them as the only party dedicated to combatting global warming effectively. Shaw’s implied warning: that a Green Party which cares less about climate change than it does about fighting the culture wars will end up bleeding away its support (a proposition confirmed by the latest Curia poll) went unheeded.

The politician who emerged from Tame’s interview with Swarbrick cannot replace the qualities the Greens are losing with Shaw. Her six years in Parliament appear to have diminished her faith in democracy as the most effective political system. Swarbrick has observed politicians of all colours tapping into the raw emotional power of ignorance and prejudice, and it appears to have hardened her and made her brittle. There no longer seems to be as much “give” in the Swarbrick of 2024, as there was in the Swarbrick who entered Parliament in 2017. Iron has entered her soul.

Swarbrick’s declining faith in representative democracy is reflected in her conviction that “the people” possess a power that overmatches the tawdry compromises of professional politicians. In her pitch to Green members Swarbrick hints that this power may be sufficient to bring the whole rotten, planet-destroying system crashing down. That, with the masses at their back, the Greens can build a new and better Aotearoa.

How many times has revolutionary zealotry offered this millenarian mirage to an angry and despairing world? How many times has it all gone horribly wrong? And how sad is it that a politician as talented as Chloe Swarbrick now finds herself wandering this arid trail?

Many have praised/condemned Jack Tame for identifying Swarbrick’s unflinching defence of the Palestinian cause as the most effective means of exposing her zealotry. But, to those who once saluted Swarbrick’s political promise, Tame’s uncompromising interview proved profoundly depressing.

This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 16 February 2024.


Wayne Mapp said...

A very perceptive item. I too was struck by her inability to admit the tiniest amount of error. That whatever she had stated had to be defended no matter what. She could have, for instance, acknowledged the statement was problematic for some Israelis, but what she intended is that all people between the river and the sea should be free.

My last post about her new role was whether she could be flexible enough to appeal to some part of the middle, or was she wedded to only appealing to the core Green support, which probably has a maximum level of 15%. Her impressive ability to articulate her views won't have cut through, if the message itself is unappealing. Going by the interview, she will have her work cut out to appeal to a broader range of voters. This is not to say she can't do it (she could), but it would require more insight than the Q & A interview displayed.

David George said...

Jack Tame missed (or was afraid to pursue?) an obvious question in that interview.
After Chloe extolled the value and importance of the voice of the people above politicians a natural response could have been "so you will be supporting the referendum?". I would have loved to hear the reply to that one.

CXH said...

Why do people continually label The Maori Party as left. The are a Me Only Party with zero interest in the poor or disadvantaged. Their aim is for the power and enrichment of those at the top of a tribal system.

LittleKeith said...


Chloe is the student radical, still frozen in her 18 year old self. And one assumes she will push this point of difference especially given the Greens are free of a sensible leader.

I actually voted for her as mayor because she wasn't affiliated with political parties and because I liked what she proposed. But I suspect it would have been a mistake on my behalf had she been elected because having lived through the Ardern era of a quite similar communicator, what candidates like them say and what they deliver are two very different things.

You're right, the more left you go the more authoritarian it gets, they don't do dissent which is so ironic given they represent "diversity", of appearance anyway, not thought!

I wonder if Swarbrick will go down the radical rabbit hole with no one in the party to temper her, or don the cloak of manipulation that the Green activist left possess and do what Ardern did, sell her soul and hide what she really intends to do?

Either way, I wouldn't trust her!

Max Ritchie said...

Swarbrick stuck to her guns. She is not capable of reaching across an aisle. If someone talks about the final solution it means only one thing and it’s not solving crosswords. From the river to the sea also means only one thing - no more Israel. She is a rigid ideologue and a rather unpleasant one at that.

Brendan McNeill said...

With the loss of James Shaw the Green party has become little more than another hard left Marxist cabal. They have nothing to offer New Zealand beyond immiseration and victimhood.

Wayne, have you read the Hamas Covenant? The ‘river to the sea’ chant does not mean “that all people between the river and the sea should be free”. It means October 7 must be endlessly repeated until all the Jews are exterminated. It’s the kind of naivety expressed in your statement that threatens the liberty of the free world, be it Israel or the next infidel affront that stands in the way of the global caliphate.

They don’t call America the ‘great satan’ for nothing.

Hamas see themselves as the sword of Allah, executing vengeance on the earth against all that is offensive to Islam starting with the Jews. You cannot reason with these people, they do not want what we want, when they say they will win because we love life and they love death you should believe them. Their reward is in the next life, in eternity. Death in Jihad is the gateway to eternal paradise.

There will be no two state solution, Hamas don’t want it and neither does Israel. It’s a western fantasy. Israel’s future is a perpetual defensive war footing. It has a peace treaty with Egypt, but Iran and its proxies are the problem.

Egypt doesn’t want a single ‘Palestinian’ refugee, neither does Jordan. Why is that do you think? Why are their Muslim brothers saying ‘no’ to the Palestinian Hamas? I understand Scotland might be interested however, and probably Chloe would take a million into New Zealand if she had the opportunity. Just be thankful she has zero influence and pray God it stays that way.

new view said...

Tame's interview will have woken Chloe to what she will face if she becomes the other greens co leader. Her ideology comes with that inflexibility Chris talks of. Along with inflexibility comes irrationality. It is irrational to not see and try to reason both sides of an argument, and if you believe in your argument in an uncompromising way you shut out any thought that you maybe wrong. Clever experienced politicians leave that door open incase their political future depends on it. Chloe will have to learn diplomacy if she is to have a meaningful future in politics. Chloe would have gone into that interview thinking her self righteous simplistic views on world politics, and politics in general were above reproach. She has learned she has an opinion and that's all it is.

The Barron said...

Swarbrick will always have the problem that she is in a party with a dysfunctional constitution and structure, little political acumen and an excitable, if not eccentric, membership base. While I personally like most individual Green Party members, when there is a copse Of Greens (came up as a collective noun on google) it dumbfounds me.

Lewis Hamilton may be the greatest driver there has been, but put him in a Ford Cortina he is not going to win F1.

oneblokesview said...

Brendan, I take issue with your injecting your opinion in to the Hamas Covenant 2017 re the River to the sea et al.
What it auctually says is.

16. Hamas affirms that its conflict is with the Zionist project not with the
Jews because of their religion. Hamas does not wage a struggle against
the Jews because they are Jewish but wages a struggle against the
Zionists who occupy Palestine. Yet, it is the Zionists who constantly
identify Judaism and the Jews with their own colonial project and illegal

I would also take issue with your(commonly misunderstood) question why Egypt and Jordon dont want refugees.
The obvious response is why should they.
Why would they be complicit in achieving Israels goals of removing all the Arab population from Palestine.

Secondly, why would they want 2 million people spilling over their boarders.
Have we not learnt the tragic American lesson of the effect of millions streaming over the border..

Unfortunately, in todays world, opinion tribalism is rife in modern western society. ( Refer back to the intransigent views during the interview)
ie you are with us or against us. Rational thinking and attempting a reasoned solution seem to have gone out the window.

Luckily I am reaching the end of my life, however I do worry about the lives my grandchildren are currently embarking on.

Anonymous said...

Chloe Swarbrick is an antisemite

greywarbler said...

@Max Ritchie
It appears that your brain has got stuck on one thought. That's a shame as agile ones that can see around corners and through dense smoke and flame to rescue people at risk are what is needed in these troubled times. Or are we losing the fine values we have tried to instil at the same time as we have become 'modern'?.

LittleKeith said...

People who join political parties so young are always destined to give the rest of us headaches. Analysis of why Labour failed so badly by failing to take the people with them, or deliver anything is also exemplified by Chloe Swarbrick.

She represents politicians who mean well, filled with the new left woke ideology, fresh from pointless years at university and practically unemployable as they have no practical skills or life experience to offer.

If Swarbrick had actually worked for a living and participated in the daily grind like raising a family, like Norman Kirk, or Lange, or even Key or Luxon at the other end of the spectrum, she may be able to analyse the way things are a hell of lot clearer and most importantly in reality than via her stoned uni common room fashionable causes imagination could muster.

Interestingly Wellington's voters have just concluded as much. The WCC by-election just gone saw the Greens rejected with no Labour candidate standing! Geordie Rogers, a male version of Chloe, resplendent in greenstone fishing hook, beard and age, similarly full of vague wooley large world view ideology of "Aotearoa" got beaten by an ordinary businessman. The winner even had the audacity to say the continual unrealistic minimum wage rises forced the closure of one of his stores. And yet he won! Rogers on the other hand wanted WCC to reject any connection with Israeli businesses and build more bike lanes. Geordie did not realise or care such a basic as their fresh water system failing an issue. This man is not a freak, he is stereotypical left with his head firmly up his arse. To lose in a city that has embraced woke left world views more than virtually any other should concern the Greens.

And better than none, Swarbrick represents this Don Quixote model politician that plague the left currently. Were it not for Ardern, we may have been charmed by her naive repertoire but she's offering sweet FA to solve any problems because she has no idea what they really are, or why or how!. And there can be no question, given the way the Greens operate, they won't for a moment consider Swarbrick to be exactly the wrong person for the job.

David George said...

"Hamas affirms that its conflict is with the Zionist project not with the

No Brendon is correct; they just want to kill Jews, well Jews first anyway. Their claimed fight for freedom is just an excuse to satisfy their useful idiots in the West. They don't even believe in freedom.

Senior Hamas official Fathi Hammad in 2019: “But our brothers [in the diaspora] are still preparing. They are trying to prepare. They are warming up. A long time has passed with them warming up. All of you 7 million Palestinians abroad, enough of the warming up. You have Jews everywhere and we must attack every Jew on the globe by way of slaughter and killing, if God permits. Enough of the warming up,” he added.

The Islamist doctrine demands that non Muslims submit or be put to the sword. Did you ever stop to wonder what happened to the Armenians, Buddhists, Berbers, Christians, Druze, Hindus, Jews, Kurds, Yazidis or Zoroastrians from the middle east and North Africa?

David George said...

Sub Saharan Africa as well. 2023 was a bad one for Nigerian Christians, 8000 slaughtered.

“The combined forces of the government-protected Islamic Jihadists and the country’s Security Forces (NSFc) are directly and vicariously accountable for hacking to death in 2023 of no fewer than 8,222 defenceless Christians – covering a period of 13 months or Jan (2023) – Jan (2024),” said the report, signed among others by the Director of Intersociety, Emeka Umeaglalasi.

The killings were carried out by a range of factions, including Jihadist Fulani Herdsmen who were responsible for at least 5,100 Christian deaths, Boko Haram and their allies with 500 deaths, Jihadist Fulani Bandits with 1,600 deaths and “Islamic-inspired” security forces with 1000 Christian deaths."

Anonymous said...

Re the interview;

Clearly Swarbrick did not consider for a moment the sheer hypocrisy of her opening statement that she feels politicians have caused all the many the problems now afflicting this country.

Alienating, ostracising" (white boomers ring a bell Chole? Cis white males?) and "decisions that impact and saturate our daily lives" (te reo, tikanga and te tiriti Chloe?).

Then she went on about greatest inequality we've ever seen on record... and polarisation!

Not once did I hear Ms Swarbrick speak out against a government she was part of that were actively behind ALL of those things.

Otherwise it was all empty rhetoric with key words and boxes boldly ticked. Very Ardern!

Jesus wept lady, you're are nothing but an egotistical stereotypical politician.

The Barron said...

A week is a long time in politics.
I think you will find the Green Party candidate has won the Wellington Council by-election.

Politically Homeless Commie Weirdo said...

Iron in her soul? I would say woke nonsense, confusion and inchoate rage in her soul.

Ian said...

It is instructive that many here that decry Chloe Swarbrick as inflexible and unable to see the point of view of the other side show a similar tendency themselves.