Friday 25 November 2016

Sixty Four Shades Of Grey

Bright Sunlit Morning - Or Grey Rainy Day? In the final days of the US presidential election some Trump supporters waited in line for 11 hours to see their champion. Eleven hours! Forgive me for being harsh, but honestly, I can’t see too many Kiwis being willing to wait in line for 11 minutes to see Andrew Little.
IS OUR LABOUR PARTY capable of learning anything from the US Democratic Party’s stunning electoral defeat? Andrew Little’s recent string of lacklustre media performances offer few reasons for optimism.
Donald Trump won the White House because he made politics exciting. Newshub’s Paddy Gower was in the US for the final days of the presidential campaign and interviewed Trump supporters who’d been waiting in line for 11 hours to see their champion. Eleven hours! Forgive me for being harsh, but honestly, I can’t see too many Kiwis being willing to wait in line for 11 minutes to see Andrew Little.
And that unwillingness is not entirely attributable to the Labour Leader’s complete charisma by-pass. Possessing the wit and movie-star good-looks of Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, certainly wouldn’t impede Little’s political career, but it is not enough, on its own, to guarantee Labour’s electoral success.
Bernie Sanders is hardly what you’d call a matinee idol (more like the voter’s cranky old uncle) but that didn’t prevent him from electrifying huge crowds of young Americans. What lured all those millennials away from their I-Pads had nothing to do with what Sanders looked like. What made them “Feel the Bern” were the things Sanders said.
And even Justin Trudeau could not have become Canada’s PM solely on the strength of his illustrious parentage and pleasing countenance. Indeed, his Conservative Party opponents regarded his sense of political entitlement and youthful good looks as powerful negatives to be exploited.
Canadians, they argued, had no need of a pretty, upper-class dilettante with nothing more to offer them than a famous name. And if that had been all Trudeau offered Canada, then the centre-left New Democrats would have won last year’s election. What finally sealed the deal for the Canadian electorate was Trudeau’s strategic flair and the boldness of his party’s policies. These, combined with the Trudeau family’s indisputable lustre, were what gave Justin and his Liberals their historic victory.
No, Little’s lack of glamour is not Labour’s problem. What’s crippling his leadership – and his party’s chances of winning next year’s election – is that neither he, nor his colleagues, seem capable of inspiring the slightest enthusiasm or excitement in the electorate.
Labour either can’t, or won’t, commit to the sort of hard-and-fast policies its supporters want to hear. Like Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, Little and Labour are deaf to the cries of those who find themselves on the food-supply side of the dog-eat-dog struggle which now passes for life in the neoliberal West.
What Labour’s electoral base is presented with, instead, is wonkism. For nearly two years Grant Robertson and his Future of Work Commission have being toiling away. Their final report was released earlier this month at Labour’s centennial conference. Presented for our perusal were no fewer than 64 recommendations – none of them meriting, even slightly, the description of bold or exciting.
There wasn’t a single policy recommendation to match Trump’s in-your-face promise to build a wall to keep out illegal Mexican migrants. Nothing that came anywhere close to Sander’s promise to abolish student loans. Labour’s policy proposition in 2017 isn’t 50 – but 64 – shades of grey.
The worst thing is, Little and his advisors flatly refuse to see this as a problem. They have only the coldest disdain for the sort of wild-eyed populism which has swept across the United Kingdom and the United States in 2016, and which, in 2017, threatens to wreak equal havoc among the political classes of Italy and France. It’s simply not the way the shell-shocked party pulled together by Helen Clark, Michael Cullen and Steve Maharey cares to do business. When asked whether he would have voted for Jeremy Corbyn, the present, British-born, President of the NZ Labour Party responded curtly: “No.”
In morbid conformity with the limp “Third-Way-ism” which still engrosses them, Little and his people – like Hillary and hers – have placed all their eggs in one technological basket. The mysterious algorithms of their data-manipulating, voter-identifying wonks will do what thousands of committed followers – apparently – cannot. They will locate all the shy, centrist voters Labour needs to win. That these same mysterious algorithms singularly failed to deliver the White House to Hillary has not shaken their confidence in electoral mechanisation.
To paraphrase Talleyrand’s celebrated dismissal of the Bourbon dynasty: Labour has forgotten everything – and learned nothing.
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 Friday, 25 November 2016.


Wayne Mapp said...

Can Labour offer exciting, or at least appealing policies without looking like it wants a revolution. Which for many, if not most, is a rather unsettling prospect.

Looking at National in 2008, one of the more important strategic policy choices was the guarantee not to raise the age of Super. The policy was singular to National (and to be fair NZF). It was hugely important for a large number of people who were suspicious of National and who also had a proven propensity to vote.

There must be comparable things in Labour's lexicon. Helen Clark found it in 2005 with Interest Free Loans. Instantly appealing, but not a portend of upending the whole world.

Earnest documents, like "The future of Work" will never do it. A 1000 extra police is just business as usual. People will say "oh yea, good on you" but it won't change their vote.

So if Labour wants one or two (or three) energising policies, they have to be on things that really cut to the quick of people's (or at least a key group) fundamental concerns, they have to be simple, but they should not forecast a revolution. Too many New Zealanders in the "right direction/wrong direction" poll say that NZ is going in the right direction to want a revolution.

One of Trump's skills was simple slogans that were deeply evocative of feelings or of an issue. "Make America great again", spoke to all those working class people who recalled when they had real good jobs making the best cars in the world for ordinary people. For instance the 1965 Mustang; it is no coincidence the latest model is designed to look like the 1965 model. Or when the US could say we will land a man on the moon within a decade and actually do it. They can't do it now, in fact they have to hitch hike on Russian rockets. For many patriotic Americans that would be pretty galling.

Similarly "Build the Wall" talks directly to the concern of uncontrolled immigration with its depressive effect on employment for relatively low skilled working class people. It does not say "no" to all immigration from Mexico, but it does say we want to control our border. Similarly with Howard and his boat people police. Incidentally I suspect Trump will get a contribution from Mexico by offering Mexico an extensive work visa programme, which presumably Mexico would see as better than uncontrolled migration.

mikesh said...

It should not be forgotten, though, that in actual numbers Hillary did win.

Unknown said...

Nice summary of things Chris. There doesnt seem to be any acknowledgement of the problems for Labour with Andrew Little, someone who has failed to inspire people of new plymouth twice to vote for him, will have at the next election. The leaders debates arent going to be good viewing for Labour

polly said...

A good article of politics, your comparison's with the overseas political parties, their political agenda's,risk taking and leadership is telling to the bereft of Labour.
National, in the last few years, have been caught with their eye off the ball in regard to housing, Labour have failed miserably to capitalise on National's negligence.
Labour have absolutely fluffed the housing this crisis by making extravagant promise's about the number of new house's they will build and the price of such house's, industry experts dismiss their numbers and costing's. NZ believe the industry practitioners.
Labour came out with policy regarding youth employment, subsequently they admitted their costing's were only over 4 months instead of the claimed 6 months, they then blamed the journalist for pointing out this major error.
There are other examples, their polls are dismal including their own pollster numbers.
The Labour party seem to think they can pull fast ones and then somehow finesses the election with Winnie and the Greens as partners.

Here's a Little tip for Little and Co, the NZ electorate can see through your shallowness, grow up, stop being lazy and do your homework.

Sanctuary said...

64 points? To paraphrase Georges Clemenceau, God Almighty himself only gave mankind ten!

Souvlaki said...

Disclosure : I am in no way a supporter of the left, but this column lucidly lays it on the line (hows that for alliteration? ;-) ). The truth is the whole lot of Labour are intellectual pygmies. Dumber than the proverbial sack of hammers,and lacking any honest insight to boot !They are "munted "

Pitchfork said...

Little could go to Gore, Gisbourne, Greymouth, or Grey Lynne and nobody would recognise him or know what he stands for.

Little is a dullard; politics on one level is inspiring people and on that front he fails.

I can predict the 2017 NZ election result now: National by an (unprecedented)increased majority not because they are any good but because Labour are so rudderless.

JanM said...

So it should be bread and circuses for the great unwashed, do you think? A selection of sound-bites for the instant-fix-it brigade? It's very easy to make exciting promises, but if you have any integrity you then have to carry them out if you win, don't you? Or doesn't that matter any more? In any case, I thought the perceived wisdom was that governments lost elections, rather than oppositions win them. No?

Pete George said...

It should not be forgotten, though, that in actual numbers Labour lost in 2008, they lost by more in 2011, they lost by even more in 2014, and they look no closer to success now.

"Labour has forgotten everything – and learned nothing."

Sadly that looks quite accurate.

Labour looks like a lost cause, in it's leadership, in Parliament and in the ranks. It seems like they have driven away anyone who might inspire something that looks like it could succeed.

Rob said...

"They( meaning Labour) have only the coldest disdain for the sort of wild-eyed populism which has swept across the United Kingdom and the United States in 2016, and which, in 2017, threatens to wreak equal havoc among the political classes of Italy and France. ...

that line in your article is the key to the Labour lacklustre hideousness....the object of the exercise in modernday politics is to concentrate on getting into power and then wheel out your deeper policies after that...everybody is talking bullshit prior to electing and Trump has been a classic case...Labour need to get exciting and dangerous and then we may take notice....but as they are now , other than the diehards like saxby and petterson, i doubt anyone but those within their own echo chamber, bother to even listen or read when Little and co bang on..

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Labour got no vision. National got no vision. People will probably go with National as a safe pair of hands. Why bother changing when you just get more of the same.

"Best cars in the world"? Gotta laugh Wayne. In the early 1960s when they were making them, people like me couldn't get them. Only my dad's boss could get them, because he had overseas funds. And when they did get them they were rubbish :). Couldn't go fast, couldn't go round corners fast, and couldn't stop. Same with that bloody stupid Harley Davidson motorcycle someone tried to sell me then. I think we have some rose coloured spectacles in our case somewhere. :) Best cars in the world my fat backside. In British cars weren't much better. Underpowered, under suspensioned, – apart from the E-type Jag which was actually brilliant but effing dangerous. And bits fell off them. Still do.

Anonymous said...

My reading is that Labour lack the talent required to create decent policy. In fact the only thing they are absolutely adept at is ensuring that they are sufficiently up the list so as to keep their jobs.

My prediction: labour will loose 2017. Gracinda will make their move and public will realise how useless Ardern and Robertson are and Labour will loose again in 2020. At this point the party will implode.

Jens Meder said...

What about Little announcing with conviction "to make NZ great again" by changing his critique of freely consumable tax reductions into a bold announcement of even raising taxes to resume contributions to the universal wealth creative NZ Super Fund, if necessary -

and re-introduce the $1000.- Kiwi Saver incentive to all who did not receive it or qualify for it so far - "from cradle to grave" - as a "seed grain" for personal retirement wealth ownership growth in addition to state guaranteed NZ Super ?

It is clear that if we want New Zealand to catch up with Australia and the Nordic countries (and Singapore), we have to at least double our capital ownership per head of population, and through the NZSF and Kiwi Saving that will be achieved in a more egalitarian way with participation by all, and not leaving it to a capitalist elite or government monopoly capitalism alone.

Charles E said...

I'm no supporter of him but I think you are a little harsh on a good man who maybe perhaps is looking four years ahead, not one. After all, he surely does not want to form a govt with just a few seats more than awful partners like the sanctimonious Greens, Winston racist Peters, and know it all self-publicist Morgan the cat killer. He hopes for National to falter in the next parliament, propped up by Winston taking baubles again, Key retiring and some novice leader as his opponent, so then Labour can become the sensible and competent replacement for National. That will always get a majority in sensible NZ.
After all this natural, responsive, representative National government is unbeatable currently, and looking at another great year to come I bet. Probably the best gov we have ever had with clearly the most popular leader for 50 years or more. They are not done yet at all. I bet they throw a heap of cash at infrastructure next, with a new SI H1 for starters.
So your itch to have us in some parallel turmoil like the US or Europe, will not happen. Because we do not have their issues. The opposite, we are in good shape and well led. Those others are not, so they are heading for trouble. Which will only make us look more sensible and well governed.
Stop wishing bad things on us. It does you no credit. You’re at risk of being no different from Peters who is desperate for trouble, like race riots. Hear him recently so excited by the gift of a racist misogynist pig of a Muslim preacher. Pity for him the sod was given the boot the next day.

Nick J said...

Cogent argument Wayne. A choice between a rotten snapper and a rotten cod.. two rotten fish. The answer a fresh catch. New fishermen required by both sides methinks.

peteswriteplace said...

Your article deserves some very rude comments. But I won't be rude, I offer you a challenge to put your money where your very expanded mouth appears to be, to offer the Labour Party your journalistic experience and point the way for Andrew Little too. You appear to know it all Chris; you must help create policies, rhetoric,and publicity to help, the poor, the vulnerable, the young and the aged, that you claim Labour isn't doing. Not to do this would prove you are a hypocrite after all. Will you accept my challenge?

peteswriteplace said...

And what would you know anyway Souviaki? Apart from being a closet Tory.

peteswriteplace said...

Labour hasn't blown anything yet. They haven't created policies, just ideas.

peteswriteplace said...

The revolution will come if Key is reelected in 2017.

David Stone said...

@Peter Petterson... Clearly Chris would like to see labour succeed as much as would anyone in the country.

All Andrew Little needs to do to access his council is to follow Bowalley Rd.

Who would do Chris's job if he became labour's full time advisor ?
Cheers D J S

Blagger said...

For all that is distasteful about Trump, he did 'speak' to people who, in turn, voted for him.

Simple targeted messages that equated to votes.

If that means to a white, uneducated, working class male in the Rust Belt states that Trump is going to Washington to sort it out for him (ie get manufacturing up & running again, get his heathcare costs down etc)then that equates to a vote.

On one level, politics is a counting exercise: get the most votes & you've won.

Trump's campiagn slogans were effective: 'Drain the swamp', 'Lock her up', 'Crooked media', 'Rigged Washington' and the main one 'Make America Great Again'.

Sharp Tack said...

I think I've said it 10,000 times on this blog comments section:

Little is surrounded by beltway halfwits masquarading as 'advisors' that don't know what's going on in families/households the length & breadth of NZ.

A cardboard cut-out has more personality than Little.

Bernie Sanders presented himself as the kindly uncle that was going to put things right for people; someone on their side; who has their back.

The reality is that in politics you have to stand for something: I don't know what Labour stands for yet I have been a Labour party member & follow politics closely in NZ.

tony ricketts said...

When Andrew little was elected leader National and their friends had a problem. They were faced with someone of considerable intelligence, widely recognised competence, undeniable integrity, and a clear mandate to rebuild and reunite the Labour Party, and set about improving the country. Their obvious, possibly their only, option was to portray him as dull and uninspiring.

Most of the media have taken their lead and purveyed this story. The mainstream newspapers who pay you, Chris,(and I know everyone has to make a living) will undoubtedly be happy when you join the others in this effective campaign. I just feel sad that the man who can write so powerfully about MoW2 the other day, will contribute to the reelection of a government that will never implement it, or anything like it.

jh said...

Donald Trump won the White House because he made politics exciting.
No he broke through political correctness. He gave the media and multiculturalists the bird.

aberfoyle said...

Yes,it is a sore feicht,that Labour,are as the Scottish, bard would say,a timorous beastie.For a while now i have been on the correct side of political prediction.Picked Trump,to win the primary and election,no glory in both those.Also picked the Howard,Aussie win,no glory in that also.Picked the Brexit outcome,and also
picked the Scottish,independence referendum,and for sure no glory in that,Corbyn,also,although a blind mans dog could have picked that one.Yet a great mate of mine political sporting and just general Labour slaves,have a name for Andrew,not a pleasant one yet appropriate,The Gormless One.

To hear and see Labour perform in parliament,is a shame turn away.Although battle hardened some,others young going to be professional politicians,their vim and viguer is sorely lacking,like a timorous beastie.

The one they had in their ranks, who like Trump,will take no prisoners when confronted by the under performer was Cunliffe,and he scared the shit out of them,so like all politicians that feel the threat, what do they do to their like,back bench ostracize,no more apparent when seeing at Helen Kelly!s tangi,all Labour, parliament members if not speaking, sitting in groups,and Cunliffe ,walking in on his own.

Next,election,no matter who is going to lead Labour,they are going to lose,and our present Prime Minister,shall have done like Maori Keith,for his party,won a fourth term.Xmas,is rapidly approaching and in that time come the new year in the political game,is when the knives are sharpend to carve the Turkey,and appoint a new leader,in truth,within their ranks,the only one that could spark resemblance of hope,they already had back stabbed.Cunliffe.

P.s.i said to my mate give you a chance to win back all those ten dollars i have won.What,Scotland will beat the Kiwi league team,safe bet for a punter supporting the Kiwi.Eh!.

aberfoyle said...

.Well Labour are dog tucker,the one they had any hope with was Cunliffe,and what did the cardre do to him.

Come this election they will lose,with or without what me and my mate,both long time Labour, call Andrew,The gormless one.

Labour,are as the Bard of Scotland would say,A timorous Beastie,and if their Parliament rank decides over the xmas period to sharpen its political knife to carve up the present in charge turkey,their is only more turkey to pick from.

Forty year Labour supporter,even aided some getting into the big house,what a dire state they are in.

manfred said...

What groundswell for 'revolutionary' ideas do any of you see beyond a significant (but electorally insufficient) portion of Left supporters and assorted constituents?

The main thing people are calling for is action on the housing crisis, and Labour have great policies on that.

Anonymous said...

Labour is a dead man walking. They are a 20th century party seeking to solve the ills of the 19th century. They are a dog chasing a parked car.

A tectonic shift in politics has occurred which has rendered the Left completely befuddled.

Labour abandoned the working class decades ago. Few in the Labour movement know any real workers anymore and don't represent them. That role is now owned by the Alt Right.

The common man is tired of saccharin-sweet Political Correctness in all its many forms. Multiculturalism, Affirmative Action, Safe Spaces, 3rd wave feminism and BLM.

The election of Trump drew a line in the sand over uncontrolled immigration to the US. It undermines wages and poses a terrorist threat. Just watch Marine Le Pen win the French election!

We have had enough of well-intentioned but stupid welfare schemes which have left over 70% of Black Americans and over 40% of Maori effectively fatherless because they're brought up by solo mums...and many times more likely to be ruined as a result. Boys need dads, despite what the progressives tell you. The stats are clear: Children born to solo mums are more likely to be criminal, drug addicted or suicidal.

If Labour wants a chance at the next election they need to take a hard look at their own policies. No amount of charisma will paint over those cracks!


jh said...

The immigration policy review in 1986 was part of a much larger agenda for change in New Zealand (Bedford 1996). It was not essentially a change in state policy with a primary focus on one region of the world, as Parr (2000:329) suggests, although clearly through the 1980s and 1990s
immigration from countries in Asia was a highly topical issue for both politicians and the public. The attitudes of New Zealanders in the mid-1990s towards immigration may not have reflected the positive perspective on the value of diversity in our society that is contained in the Review of
Immigration Policy August 1986. But this does not mean that the globalisation of immigration to New Zealand was an “unintended consequence of policy changes in 1986”. It was a deliberate strategy, based on a premise that the “infusion of new elements to New Zealand life has been of immense value to the development of this country to date and will, as a result of this Government’s review of immigration policy, become even more important in the future” (Burke 1986:330).
This process of population replacement is occurring at a time when natural increase amongst all components of the New Zealand resident population is falling. International migration is thus playing an increasingly important role in changing the ethnic and cultural composition of the population,

The Globalisation of International Migration
in New Zealand: Contribution to a Debate

jh said...

Labour cannot call it's people. It's people have lost the scent. Labour's people are One World Order internationalist leftists.

China today is extraordinarily homogenous. It sustains that by remaining almost entirely closed to new entrants except by birth. Unless someone is the child of a Chinese national, no matter how long they live there, how much money they make or tax they pay, it is virtually impossible to become a citizen. Someone who marries a Chinese person can theoretically gain citizenship; in practice few do. As a result, the most populous nation on Earth has only 1,448 naturalised Chinese in total, according to the 2010 census. Even Japan, better known for hostility to immigration, naturalises around 10,000 new citizens each year; in America the figure is some 700,000 (see chart).

jh said...

Wayne Matt says:
Similarly "Build the Wall" talks directly to the concern of uncontrolled immigration with its depressive effect on employment for relatively low skilled working class people. It does not say "no" to all immigration from Mexico, but it does say we want to control our border.
It also distinguishes them and us ; it is othering. It says Americans belong here and Mexicans belong there.

Compare that to the current official meme promulgated by the western elite that migrants are a blessing

Anonymous said...

Good comment, Wayne. I wouldn't say that Americans made the best cars though...

Chris, how sure are we the "missing million" would vote Labour anyway? I think Peter Petterson proves your point if he thinks this article deserves rude comments!

Monique Watson said...

It's KISS innit it? Keep It Simple Stupid! Four or so platforms rather than dickering with the details like that Future of Work bullcrap.
1.) The one surety about the future of work is that no matter the improvements to technology and automated processes, economies will always be dependent on manufacturing or the Production of Things; there'll always be labour required on the shop floor and unions to protect their rights. God if Labour doesn't believe in the future of unionised labour and just tinkers around the edges, how are they going to sell the need to protect workers rights to New Zealand as a whole?
2.) State Housing. That Kerre McIvor wrote a great column in today's Herald about the need for state housing. Labour could adopt it right into their playbook. It's feckin' obvious even where from I'm sitting (California) that you need an entity to start constructing pockets of state houses near the earthquake afflicted areas around Canterbury and the areas where the need will be greatest in the future; North of Wellington and East Coast; Wairoa, Gisborne etc. No need to bash landlords or developers either. Plenty of this room in this space for both and it's all good for the unemployment rate. Jobs for labourers and hope for small town NZ. It'd get the youth suicide rate down I'd bet.
3.) Education. National should always be held to account for the introduction of student Loans. No shame in emphasizing the social contract to provide every Kiwi with a free tertiary education (with a cap)
4) Motivate Labour voters with National pride rather than Nanny-statism. What with the earthquakes and National's underwhelming response, and the travesty that is sealing up Pike River, there is plenty of work there. You'd get some traction campaigning on getting the miners out is my bet.
You know? All stuff right out of the Savage playbook. Let's hope they somehow start to own the narrative before the next election because if nothing else, it's boring watching National smugly romp home without any real challenge.

pat said...

read the above link another ask yourself..."how can any political party be so inept as not to be able to expose that for what it is?"

As Monique has noted , it IS boring ( and destructive) watching National smugly romp home without any real challenge.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"No he broke through political correctness."

By being a corrupt, sexist, racist prick who boasts about sexually assaulting women. But that seems fine with you. I just hope you don't have too many women in your life. Because I wouldn't leave my daughters alone with this man.
And again, once you say the words political correctness, you've lost the Internet. It's just a lazy excuse for racism and sexism.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"The common man is tired of saccharin-sweet Political Correctness in all its many forms. Multiculturalism, Affirmative Action, Safe Spaces, 3rd wave feminism and BLM."

And you know this how? I'd like to see some evidence. Because if it is true, the common man is a corrupt, sexist racist prick, just like Donald Trump. And I don't believe it.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"It also distinguishes them and us ; it is othering. It says Americans belong here and Mexicans belong there."

Yes it does, but the only problem is that Mexicans have been in the US for longer than most Europeans. So they are in fact not the other. And othering seems to me to be the slippery slope to concentration camps. Not saying that America doesn't have the right to control its borders, but what you are saying is close to racism. Not to mention that building a wall ain't gonna happen. Too expensive, very difficult in engineering terms – among other things.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"God if Labour doesn't believe in the future of unionised labour and just tinkers around the edges, how are they going to sell the need to protect workers rights to New Zealand as a whole? "

Haven't got time to comment on the other stuff, but this is spot on. New Zealand is rapidly becoming a "right to work" state as in the US. Research shows that people in unions tend to have higher wages than people who aren't. Union membership seems to be the biggest indicator of a decent wage in Western societies. In US states where unions have been demolished, wages have plummeted.

Unknown said...

The Property Council Announces
Stars And Stripes
40pct of Christchurch state houses to be sold
Should make it 100% and wash their hands of this scourge once and for all.
The icing on the cake would be if all the tenants were shipped out to the tropical paradises of Nauru or Manus Island for some R&R as well.
12  2
Log in to Reply
November 24, 2016 10:40am
And not only are there state houses. There are also council houses.
Not only does a huge % of your tax go to paying bludgers but a huge % of your rates too!
17  1

Wayne Mapp said...

Guerilla Surgeon

The cars made in America were not made for young NZ'ers. They were made for Americans. And yes, back in the 1960's a young American on a pretty average wage could buy a new V8 Mustang. And compared to cars available to working people elsewhere in the world?

Well, in the UK you could get a Mini, in Germany a VW Beetle, Italy a Fiat Bambina. Compared to any of those cars, a Mustang was a mile ahead. And in fact in Europe, or NZ or Australia, young people could not buy new cars, they simply did not have enough wages.

When I was young (1970's) I went to Canada for a year. Their living standards were miles ahead of New Zealand. But today that is no longer true.

That nostalgia trick, based both in myth and in truth is what Trump was appealing to.

David Stone said...

Wayne Mapp..... Between your opening comment and your rejoinder to G S, you give a vivid comparison between the circumstances of an average young american in the 60s and now. And it seems much more like truth than myth.
What do you see as being the reasons for that change ? Why is the average american so much worse off now?
Cheers David J S

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Wayne. Yes they were cheap enough to buy. I have known that for some time, ever since I watched this:

But they were not the best cars in the world. Simply adequate and cheap. And quite soon to be overtaken by Japanese cars, which if nothing else were reliable.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

Oh, and I forgot – you seem to have forgotten that it wasn't so much the wages thing that stopped people from buying new cars in New Zealand, it was the fact that you had to have overseas funds. Can't quite remember when that was overturned, but it certainly stopped my dad from getting one. He had to be content with a 1949 Morris Minor.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

I wish people would stop cutting and pasting incomprehensible stuff into their posts. At least if you are going to cut-and-paste stuff could you try to leave out all the confusing stuff that is not necessary, like "login to reply."? I'm an old man, I haven't got the years left to try and decipher all this crap. I'm not Bletchley bloody Park.

Guerilla Surgeon said...

And how many people today can afford to buy a new car? I only know one person who has bought a new car – ever. I never have. My son, who works in a minimum wage job despite his qualifications – thanks to your government – can't actually afford a car, let alone a new car. Mmmm feeling a bit dyspeptic this morning.

Bushbaptist said...

@ Wayne Mapp; Mate you live in a bubble! Here's an idea - step outside and take a deep breath of fresh air (if you get such a thing in the pollution of Auck!).
As GS put it is his usual eloquent and erudite way; you needed OVERSEAS FUNDS to buy anything new that was not made in NZ in the 60's. I bought my first car in 1960 after a year of hard saving, it was a 1924 Chevy Capitol Roadster that I paid 45 pounds for. It was probably the most reliable car I have ever owned!

I did buy a near new GTHO Falcon (6.5lt Shelby V8) in 1976, 6 months old at the time for $2500.00.

In regard to your comment about Mustang V8's, you're quite right bearing in mind that workers in the US at that time were union protected and overtime was paid at penal rates. By working lots of OT many people could get ahead unlike today.

Like I said get a good dose of reality.

Monique Watson said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
greywarbler said...

@GS 28/11 at 7.11
I'm right there with you on that. When 'they' announced brightly that in a changing world we would have to re-educate ourselves all the time I didn't realise that I would have to learn new computer program skills each two years just so I could keep communicating on the fantastic on-line highway.

And there is a sort of Pitmans shorthand phrase thing with the alphabet and widely used acronyms that people use that have to be learned. Soon it will be possible to publish a biography of an esteemed person in 20 pages of code. IMHO

BlisteringAttack said...

Here's something:

Today I spotted Little & Twyford in the Koru Club at Auckland airport.

They looked like a couple of scared cats.

They didn't engage with anyone and left within minutes.

I've seen John Key with a Minister 'working the Koru Club room' generally chatting to people, shaking hands, and taking selfies etc

If Twyford is the master of the Labour campaign - God help us!

jh said...

Maori can thank Labour for the fact that Ngati Han are now the countries largest and richest Iwi.

Richard McGrath said...

G S, I have bought two new cars in my 55 years. I reckon it's a mug's game. The two we currently have at home cost 10k in total. Perfectly adequate for our needs as we aren't badge snobs. As I now work abroad much of the time I'm thinking of selling one of them and renting privately via Yourdrive when I'm home. Car driving can be very inexpensive these days.