Monday 5 February 2024

Bunching Up.

Shoulder To Shoulder: With Labour only 8 percentage points away from descending into what most political scientists encouragingly call the “death zone” – i.e. a poll result under 20 percent – the instinct, like raw recruits under fire, is to bunch-up alongside the other parties of the Left.

STRATEGICALLY-SPEAKING, the Labour Party has positioned itself in the wrong place, at the wrong time, with the wrong leader.

The Prime Minister, Christopher Luxon, uncomfortably sandwiched between the Treaty revisionists of Act and NZ First, has precious little room in which to manoeuvre. Labour should, therefore, be taking full advantage of Luxon’s discomfort by presenting itself as the only party capable of leading New Zealand out of the Badlands of racial disharmony and conflict. This it cannot do, however, because it has positioned itself alongside the Greens and Te Pāti Māori at the uncompromisingly radical end of the political spectrum.

The reasoning behind Labour’s eagerness to present itself as every bit as radical as the Greens and Te Pāti Māori isn’t difficult to grasp. Having secured just 26.91 percent of the Party Vote in the General Election, seen six of the seven Māori seats fall to Te Pāti Māori, and watched the Greens rack up their largest share of the Party Vote ever, while holding Auckland Central and picking up the former Labour strongholds of Wellington Central and Rongotai, Labour’s strategists are keen to keep as little daylight as possible between themselves and their left-wing competition.

They are terrified that any attempt to distance Labour from the positions carved out by the Greens and Te Pāti Māori will only encourage more desertions. When your (supposedly major) party is only 8 percentage points away from descending into what most political scientists encouragingly call the “death zone” – i.e. a poll result under 20 percent – the instinct, like raw recruits under fire, is to bunch-up.

Which only makes it easier for your enemies to shoot you down.

Labour needs to put as much daylight as possible between itself and their radical comrades as possible. Especially when it was the electorate’s negative reaction to what seemed to be Labour’s wholehearted embrace of the same ideological positions that have, for years, kept Te Pāti Māori and the Greens trapped in the Death Zone, that drove thousands of former Labour voters into the arms of National, Act and NZ First.

This is not only necessary for Labour to have any chance of recovery, but also for the Greens and Te Pāti Māori to have the slightest hope of ever being in a position to pull the big levers of government. Holding six of the seven Māori seats is all very well, but what can Te Pāti Māori’s MPs do with them except engage in performative Pakeha-baiting on the floor of the House of Representatives? Pumping-up the Green vote to 11.6 percent is similarly unavailing if its only effect is to increase your party’s presence on the Opposition benches. For the minor parties to be effective, they must attach themselves to a major party.

But, that’s the question – isn’t it? Are New Zealand voters convinced that Labour will ever again be regarded as a “major” party? Or, do they see Labour, the Greens and Te Pāti Māori joining together in some sort of ideologically polyamorous commune at the “left-wing nutters” end of the political spectrum?

Any half-way decent political leader of a centre-left party would by now have recognised the intensifying debate over te Tiriti o Waitangi as a golden opportunity to stake out a position close enough to the concerns of Non-Māori voters to make them very glad that Labour is, at long bloody last, talking sense; while remaining close enough to Māori voters for them to feel reassured that Labour is not preparing to consign Te Tiriti to the dustbin of history. Something along the lines of: “If Te Tiriti is to remain a living document, then all New Zealanders – not just Māori, judges, and academics – need to feel confident about what the document actually meant in 1840, and what it should mean in 2024.”

Sadly, Chris Hipkins and his Labour caucus are unwilling to risk the wrath of Te Pāti Māori and the Greens by shifting their party out of its woke comfort zone. Instead they are still hurling accusations of racism and white supremacy at the political parties which attracted a majority of the votes cast in the 2023 general election.

Oblivious, apparently, to the inherent unwisdom of branding the citizens whose votes you so desperately need if you are to have any chance of ever again forming a government – racists and white supremacists.

This essay was originally published in The Otago Daily Times and The Greymouth Star of Friday, 2 February 2024.


EP said...

Oh puh-leeze, do come off the grass. Labour? the secret releaser of He Puapua as soon as Winston was safely out of the way? That Labour Party? The wise and balanced ones who have left the country in a complete shambles? Strewth!

Anonymous said...

It isn't a coherent position to stand with the increasingly radical position that leftists have taken in alliance with maori activists. The media, which is entirely filled with liberal leftists who think they gain moral authority from these positions, is rendering itself irrelevant. Look into polling on TV engagement, it is entirely the geriatrics consuming this media.

You can't claim to be for workers and unions when you deliver literally nothing for most of your six years in office, forcing through fair pay agreements but no industrial awards, no mandatory overtime pay, no increases in kiwisaver matching minimum or even requiring employers to pay kiwisaver contributions if the employee doesn't etc. The labour party showed an immense pleasure in crushing anyone to the right of the milquetoast liberal faction of the National party, unleashing open media doxxing of wrongthinkers, scorning at the peasant uprising in february 2022 while lecturing us on the evils of trad wives. All the while, imposing a cultural revolution focused on Te Reo as some sort of unifying national language and bringing all media in line with the same narratives.

The Labour Party can't claim to be for raising workers wages while giving into the capitalist demands for cheap labour, approving visas for thousands of foreigners with almost no oversight. Wages skyrocketed during the period of closed borders, this was not remarked upon or even analysed as improving the conditions of workers.

The Establishment (specifically the Sycophantic Media which was Stuff, Spinoff, Herald, TVNZ and RNZ) has a legitimacy crisis. You can not displace the legitimacy crisis by simply telling people to shut up, eat it and then moaning about the angry majority voting for parties which promise to use parliamentary supremacy to overthrow the undemocratic forces of the Treaty Agenda imposed through Judicial rulings and activist legislation. The reality is, the bully pulpit is falling apart and coercing the reader mass to a coherent position in an age where you pick your own media consumption is not going anywhere

Labour has also not selected for anyone worth the light of day. Other than McAnulty, there is no viable replacement leader. The pool of talent is effective NGO activists, former journalists, medical professionals (who don't have a good track record as health ministers), teachers, solicitors and pol sci graduates. The self licking ice cream cone of professionals who depend on the state for their salary, moving to govern the state in their own favour has transformed the party from the party of workers to the party of petit bourgeoisie.

The party is so hated by a very large portion of the population that Jacinda can't even live in the country anymore and seems to be living in exile in the Land of the Great Satan.

The appropriate answer is for Labour to select a new talent pool. Pick up some Engineers, Programmers, Accountants, maybe a few people who actually work for a living? A Carpenter or Electrician or anything like that. Come out with some coherent policy set, the cult of personality around Jacinda was a core reason for the absolute hatred of her now. Find a Charismatic young white or mixed maori guy with a pretty wife and 2.5 children to sooth the nation. Or disappear into history.

greywarbler said...

Something that sits at the back of my mind - everything done to now has led to this mess that isn't working for us. So we absolutely have to make careful changes, thought through and examined to see that the changes made are the right ones and needed, done fairly and effectively, using remaining assets of value, using the skills and commitment of good-thinking honest in intention and practice citizens, likely to yield semi-permanent satisfactions, open to be trialled at a minor level then advanced, etc.

But change must be made or we go entirely mad. While we can still hold our minds together and be rational and humane, just not pragmatic, we owe it to our past heroes who have devoted, sometimes sacrificed, themselves to the world's betterment. Or are we just users and abusers, the detrimental unwisely nurtured, selfish scions following an old path already observed and written about. Let's use our knowledge to guide our future!!!!!!!!!!!

Why wealthy families lose their fortunes in three generations?
Yet among the most compelling causes are younger family members who are ill-prepared or unwilling to shoulder the responsibility of wealth stewardship. They have grown up with plenty of money and are a step or two removed from the work ethic and drive of the people who made it for them.

26 Jan 2017 Why wealthy families lose their fortunes in three generations › article33757468

What is the rule of 4 generations?
The Strauss-Howe* generation theory describes a recurrent cycle of same-aged groups with specific behavior patterns that change every 20 years. According to this theory, an 80-year cycle is crucial, when every four generations is associated to a crisis that impacts the ongoing social order and creates a new one.

*Wikipedia isn't quite happy about the content correctness, but offers this background to the Strauss-Howe theory.

Gary Peters said...

It's sad when a political party has to resort to insults and epithets because it's incapable of leading or even adding to a coherent adult conversation.

As I have said, they are a political corpse stumbling around looking for a coffin to lay down in.

David George said...

Chris: "the inherent unwisdom of branding the citizens whose votes you so desperately need if you are to have any chance of ever again forming a government – racists and white supremacists"

To say nothing of "Pakeha Spiders" (Kelvin Davis) or wanting to "lift my gun, I let the shots do the talking" (Peeni Henare). Are Chris Hipkins & Co OK with all that? I haven't seen any sign of admonishment or contrition.

The Labour party are so far away from being, or being seen as, a voice of unity and reasonableness that there's probably no way back.

pat said...

Labour are in a cleft stick (of their own making)...the commissioned He Puapua but lacked the courage to attempt to sell it, so they implemented it by stealth. unfortunately He Puapua is incompatible with a liberal democracy so now labour has the unenviable task of seeking democratic support for the death of democracy.....not an easy sell.

They deserve to be relegated to minor party status.

The Barron said...

22 April 1936 TW Ratana sealed the alliance with the Labour Party. 2024 the Ratana movement gave clear direction to this incarnation of that party. Labour is a party dependent upon election turnout, this election the Maori and Pasifika vote did not turn out. I would take issue with Chris' view that the best way forward is betrayal of the base. Those that made the decision to give their vote to NZ First should not try to hide the shame by suggesting that their contentious and limited populism becomes adopted by Labour.

We now have a clear division in NZ politics. National weakly drawn by NZF and ACT lead a platform of harm to Maori, to Pasifika, to the working class, to the poor and the environment. They are a block that abuses the law, using it to protect the powerful and resourced, and excluding developed rights of those outside of their electoral base. Labour, the Greens and Te Pati Maori must be seen as the protectors of labour, of Te Tiriti, of our diversity and our future.

There is not way to fain support for any one party of the governing triumvirate as their coalition agreements have shown a cross pollination of vicious indifference to the well-being of the disempowered. Labour must look at its constituency and declare an attack on one sector is an attack on all.

I see no pathway for Labour being in anyway suggestive that the legally evolved interpretive principles of the treaty are anything other than a robust legal guideline. I have suggested elsewhere, the principles of natural justice are understood legal principles of courts operating, and the Treaty principles are similar in Crown - Maori relations.

I remind what the Courts, including the Privy Council, have accepted as the Principles of ToW - reciprocity, active protection, partnership, equity, equal treatment, to act reasonably and in good faith, the right of remedy, and consultation for the State to make informed decisions. Most of these are procedural and the way the state should act with any citizenry. The only difference is that Maori have the right to look to these through a Maori lens.

No matter how many time Chris or the 14% that voted NZF or ACT may cry division, their real fear is that there is a change in NZ that is showing a naturalization of recognition of the need for Tiriti led biculturalism, our place in the Pacific, multiculturalism, sexual and gender identity and other changes. Like the Republicans in the States, this is seen as a last chance to interfere and delay social change and acceptance. If the triumvirate fail, the change is naturalized through social evolution. If I was advising the Labour Party I would be telling them to show leadership with the Greens and TPM in understanding the inevitability of that change.

LittleKeith said...

Poor old Labour. The aging student radical shtick that they now represent is in a crowded market place of never ending grievance/race/sepratism and young student radicals who are told their middle-class privilege is a hate crime. Talk about pitch to the minority of the minority.

Labour would do well to leave the borderline personality disorders and depression targets to the Greens and TPM but they are locked in their own nightmare. The Hipkins Robertson iron grip with its own Wellington encryption speak of race, gender and treaty is proving harder to reform than Putins Kremlin.

I see no light, no lessons learnt, no threat of a putsch, no murmurings of disagreement, just a politiburo like hold on dissension of the central committee. It is barren ground to replant an institution that imploded through utter blindness to the requirements of the vast majority of New Zealanders, especially when it had a never to be repeated majority. It should rue the day it ran a dual caucus model!

Frankly, I don't see an exit for Labour's woes, much less an exit strategy.

CXH said...

So why the refusal to allow any discussion? Surely your 'naturalization of recognition of the need for Tiriti led biculturalism' would obviously carry the day with ease. So why the threats of violence at the thought of open debate. Change at the barrel of a gun is never a good change.

greywarbler said...

On natural rights I found some thoughts about it. Don't know if they are helpful but show different views.

“To defend a doctrine of natural rights today, requires either insensibility to the world's progress or else considerable courage in the face of it. Whether all doctrines of natural rights of man died with the French Revolution or were killed by the historical learning of the nineteenth century, everyone who enjoys the consciousness of being enlightened knows that they are, and by right ought to be, dead.
The attempt to defend a doctrine of natural rights before historians and political scientists would be treated very much like an attempt to defend the belief in witchcraft. It would be regarded as emanating only from the intellectual underworld.”
—Morris R. Cohen, Reason and Nature, 1932

“To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.”
—Teddy Roosevelt, 1907

“Men speak of natural rights, but I challenge anyone to show where in nature any rights existed or were recognized until there was established for their declaration and protection a duly promulgated body of corresponding laws.”
—Calvin Coolidge
(I think this is sophistry as all our systems and ideas are mental constructions for use by us if we so decide, to which he refers. Of course natural rights could be traced back to our genesis when we needed a working system to guide how to live; something like what Dian Fossey found amongst gorilla and Jane Goodall amongst chimpanzees.)

New view said...

Labour haven’t distanced themselves from their quirky coalition mates because they don’t believe they did anything wrong. They believe in their deceitful hidden agendas of three waters and co government and the fact that the larger chunk of NZ doesn’t agree with them is immaterial. The flagging economy was bewildering and a nuisance because they now couldn’t justify spending more on their expensive social policies and they couldn’t see their own lack of support for business and exporters had got them into this position. In short they are arrogant and incompetent. Their plan will be hoping the economy doesn’t improve because it makes National look good. They will be hoping National self destruct on the Treaty and Maori issues. They are useless. Chloe thinks she can run the country and TPM want Maori to run the country with them leading it. God help us,

The Barron said...

Two different issues. The first is that voting participation may still allow the populist right power today. Hence the attempt to legislate against social change. As an own goal, ACT & NZF may have activated and organized a voting block that had not been turning out to vote.

The second issue is that the Treaty is a bilateral agreement and should not be changed without informed consent of both parties, what is proposed is unilateral imposition of change. Within that, the principles are derived by the courts from the body of the Treaty as matters of factual interpretation. It us not the role of Parliament to readdress court findings if fact. Therefore, any discussion is a disingenuous process.

David George said...

Update: Chris Hipkins is perfectly happy with Peeni's "I lift my gun, I let the shots do the talking". A harmless metaphor apparently.

No chance some hotheads will take it literally and let their actual guns do the talking Chris?

Gary Peters said...

What a tedious conversation based on ignorance. No-one is suggesting changing the treaty yet that is all the numpties on the left can parrot.

The treaty has been manipulated and altered way past the original intention and while I believe it is time to scrap it and move forward as a nation the current proposal is that we clearly define the original intentions and enshrine them in legislation to prevent further expansion in the realms of stupidity.

It does not surprise me that many on the left want to continue the descent into stupidity as that seems their preferred environment.

David George said...

"the principles are derived by the courts from the body of the Treaty as matters of factual interpretation."

"Factual interpretation"? Not really Barron. The Treaty of Waitangi Act (1975) apparently an "Act to provide for the observance, and confirmation, of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi" doesn't actually define said principles so God knows what basis the courts are using.

It's as lose as can be; it and the subsequent judgements need to be abolished or re-written by Parliament with "one law for all" as an inviolable basis.

The Barron said...

All you are showing is that those braying do not understand the law. Like the US constitution or principles of natural justice and other legal concepts, the judiciary are charged with drawing modern applications from existing law and legal concepts.

Prendergast did this and was overturned as to the Treaty. Note that not only NZ courts are in agreement as to the factual interpretation, but in 1996 the Privy Council was clear, any international courts have agreed [in relation to Crown obligations], and other nations have drawn from NZ jurisprudence.

Anonymous said...

Labour’s death spiral into inconsequence cannot come soon enough. They are totally lost to our modern thinking and don’t really represent anyone in particular. If they don’t completely disappear they have been neutered to the point where they will be irrelevant for the next 6 to 9 years. By staying linked with the pretend socialist Greens and the radical Māoris, they will remain unelectable.
Perhaps a totally new party will evolve from this shambles, but Chippy and his followers will need to be booted out first.
Good riddance.

Tom Hunter said...

Note that not only NZ courts are in agreement as to the factual interpretation, but in 1996 the Privy Council was clear, any international courts have agreed [in relation to Crown obligations...

Peter Cresswell nailed that nonsense solidly here with, Robin Cooke's Treaty Principles

the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi were not written in stone on an ancient tablet brought down from the mountains. They were instead written in 1987 on yellow legal pad by one Robin Cooke, then president of NZ's Court of Appeal, and later to be canonised as a justice, gonged as a Lord, and then again as a Baron.

Heh. The High And The Mighty, and in the case of this blog, delivered by an appropriate pseudonym no less.

Geoffrey Palmer should have moved Parliament in the late 1980's to define the principles since that's their job in the world of Parliamentary Sovereignty but the useless sot decided to leave it to the courts to fill the vacuum, which they did with glee.

It was he, for example, who decided that our courts should move away from following the common law of the Commonwealth, founded largely on precedent and the protection of property rights, and move instead towards creating new rights based on United Nations declarations and on judge's subjective and oft unpredictable notions of "fairness."

He who declared, without the guidance of a constitutional foundation here, that it would nonetheless be the courts who would decide whether or not give effect to parliament's written law.

He who decided that it is "the duty of the courts ... to ascertain the democratic will of the people."[3] He who can be considered "the instigator of judicial activism on the Treaty."[4]

He who so interspersed decisions with political statements that parties had to page through carefully in case one missed the actual judgement.

And as far as international opinion is concerned...
He who so merged the common laws with that of equity that it attracted the ire of Australian legal commentators for his "unprincipled decisions.""The blame," for the destruction this caused in law, even over the Tasman is, said some of Australia's leading judges, "largely attributable to Lord Cooke’s misguided endeavours." [5] Slating his disregard of “learning and principle,”[6] they deplored "that one man could, in a few years, cause such destruction exposes the fragility of contemporary legal systems and the need for vigilant exposure and rooting out of error.”

To be fair those were in response to some of his other legal decisions, but it might as well have been about the TOW "principles", since the same thinking involved in their derivation applies.

Tom Hunter said...

... their real fear is that there is a change in NZ that is showing a naturalization of recognition of the need for Tiriti led biculturalism, our place in the Pacific, multiculturalism, sexual and gender identity and other changes. Like the Republicans in the States, this is seen as a last chance to interfere and delay social change and acceptance.

Chuckle. It's as if the Whig Party never died.

This strange view of history as ever moving forward to sunlit uplands never collapses no matter how many times it blows up in the faces of the believers. It's like Foucault and the Iranian Revolution or like almost every commie revolution that produced backwardness and barbarism while touting a glorious future.

Here in the 21st century West it's part of the Left's drumbeat since the great "Youf" revolutions of the late 1960's, when Baby Boomer Barrons first had their hearts set fluttering at the thought. Of course by the 1980's it hadn't worked out like but hey ho. I still laugh at the identical boasts made after the 1984 election where Labour voters like me were held to be shining examples of the future. Poor old Labour activists; little did they know why so many of us "youf" had voted Labour that year.

Anyway, just on the Trans issues alone (or to use the phrase that The Barron loves, "liminal gender roles") it seems even the godforsaken NYT has realised the tide is turning with their recent article on the sad and terrible stories of people who were sucked in by Trans con artists and greedy doctors and are now trying to de-transition, As Kids, They Thought They Were Trans. They No Longer Do.

Even six months ago I doubt the NYT would have published that, let alone three years ago.

The Barron said...

Always amazes how you can extrapolate Tomster. I use the term liminal gendered identity because I consider it the correct term for what I am saying. Liminal meaning a fluidity between boundaries.
At no time have I either suggested or rejected body transformation. This because many obsess on genitalia as a signifer of gendered identity. For some people in liminal spaces this could be extremely important. In some cultures a certain type of tattoo is their choice of signifier. Others clothing. Other's still it is an identity that does not require external signifiers. For those born intersex, it is a matter often of simply accepting they have the right to their own gendered identity. Historically, eunuchs is a term for many types of gender identity that have varying origins.
Really not sure why you believe isolated examples of genital reassignment has relevance over time and cultures. The only conclusion is you have an odd obsession with the genitalia of those outside your view of the norm.