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February, 2011

  1. Lefter 33 ~ The Battle Lines

    February 3, 2011 by emweb

    John Key has announced the election already, for November. That’s a long lead time for anyone – why did he do it?

    I think, psychologically, it was to make people choose sides.

    And the evidence is pretty compelling over which side to choose. While at the moment, it looks like Soft Left or Soft Right (yeah, the twain have virtually met), there’s evidence that both are morphing into their truer selves. The core of National, behind Prime Minister Key’s smirking anyway, is already much more right wing than he likes them to appear, but even Key’s façade is starting to slip.

    The local building industry is running at 6 billion (billion!) dollars less than at its peak just a few years ago.

    Meanwhile, unemployment rose to 6.8 per cent from 6.4 per cent in the three months to September, as the number of people in work fell and the number unemployed rose. In response, Key’s message was that New Zealanders ‘shouldn’t lose confidence’ in the job market despite an increase in the unemployment rate in the December quarter.

    Does anyone actually have any confidence?

    And should we lose confidence when families can’t afford to buy milk? Which would sound more reasonable if we were importing this from across the sea, but for goodness sake, it’s one of NZ’s primary products! Milk used to feel like a birthright. Now it’s a luxury. One generation from now, only New Zealand’s upper middle class and wealthy will have decent bones and teeth. Thanks, John Key.

    So when are we supposed to lose confidence, exactly? When we notice more beggars in the street? It could be interesting to find out.

    I reckon it’s when we admit we’re just serfs, and just tug the forelock when the wealthy swan by. Who needs votes anyway?

    Key intimates that selling off New Zealand’s assets is ‘possible’ (read: probable.) His excuse is that NZ ‘mom and pop’ investors will buy them and it will be good for everyone.

    So let’s get this straight: mom and pop New Zealanders can’t afford to build houses or even buy milk, and unemployment has grown, but you’re saying it is they who will buy NZ assets?

    This confirms my summation all along that Key and co are all about class protection. It’s tribal, and their tribe has the wealth, and the greed to want more wealth at any price. There’s nothing remotely patriotic about these people. They just want more wealth. Cost irrelevant.

    Of asset sales:

    1/ It has proved disastrous wherever it’s been tried. Examples are legion, from all over the world – but what the hell, New Zealand pretty much pioneered this crap under Roger Douglas.

    When the NZ government sold Telecom, rich people bought shares and took dividend payments while it was allowed to run down. Same with Air New Zealand.

    2/ When they really become disasters, they had to be bought back to make them workable again. Governments are supposed to work for the people, remember? Governments are supposed to run things for the country.

    People like Allan Gibb and other key ACTors may have benefited twice from all this asset to and fro, but ‘mom and pop’ New Zealanders paid twice for years of national services being run down purely for the double benefit of the wealthy. And besides, who will but NZ assets? Gibb and his henchmen. Wealthy New Zealanders who patently don’t care one jot for Key’s ‘mom and pop’ New Zealanders. Plus overseas investors who really have no stake in New Zealand’s people.

    Labour claims, by the way, that the National government is borrowing 300 million a week just to cover the tax breaks it granted its rich cronies while screwing everyone else with the GST rise.

    Nice one, Mr Key.

    Meanwhile, the ‘left’: my contention remains – Labour is so ‘nice’ it has to lose an election to get rid of Goff.

    This is bullshit, frankly. A party worth its salt would face up to the challenges facing the country, move Goff aside with whatever dignity is left him (and here I imagine him riding off into the distance on a motorbike) and remanifest itself as a left wing party willing to fight – genuinely fight – for the people of New Zealand. And nail that to its masthead.

    I’ve met lots of people who think Goff’s a really great guy.

    I would maybe believe them if he’d set up a succession strategy. But wait – the first inklings he has even considered this may be evidenced by the reshuffle, which puts some good keen people closer to the top. People with some ideas.

    Meanwhile, is Hone Harawira destroying the Maori Party to strengthen the left?

    I don’t think so. (Much as I’d like to think that the present disingenuous prop to National might dissolve, I would mourn the loss of a voice for Maori – but hey, I’m already there.) I think Harawira is just being true to his own principles and to his constituency. That’s laudable, in an MP. Perhaps the more so for its rarity.

    Chris Trotter reckons there’s no legs to rumours that a new left wing party might coalesce around Harawira, Matt McCarten, Sue Bradford and others … I think he’s right, but since Chris Trotter has been considering running for Labour, on present evidence, how ‘left’ is that, these days? It may just mean Trotter has become a conservative, and that’s what he’s voicing.

    (Hopefully, he’d disagree.)

    Labour, you have ten months. We, thereafter, will most likely get another term of National which will clearly perpetrate right wing and destructive things on New Zealand. Meanwhile, Labour will finally get its house in order with Goff unceremoniously dumped as a result.

    Thanks a lot. Labour, can’t you just bite the bullet and get your house in order now? With dignity? I mean hell, bright-eyed boy Shane Jones wore the porn-buying thing, and he’s already looking good again. That’s quite a feat. Goff has done nothing as daft or stupid as that. He’s just not going to win an election. But he could set up a better Labour Party. That would be quite a legacy.

    National is giving Labour the ammunition it needs already. For the first time in a long time, it looks like the battle lines could be drawn clearly enough that Labour might actually have a shot at fighting an election on its own terms, instead of just reacting to National’s salvoes.

    Unlike what Labour did in the last three.

    It’s an opportunity.

    Don’t squander it.