Or should that be ‘fight’? I’d certainly prefer that.
The Green Party of New Zealand has a singular advantage over the Labour Party: one unified aim. You might be a left Greeny, a right one or ‘Aqua’, an eco warrior or hell, just a hippy, but no matter where you came from and how you exercise your Green ambitions, you all have the same aim as the other Greenies: you want a more ecologically sustainable New Zealand that protects its current stock of natural attributes.
Of course, lots of left wing voters and even some right wing voters want that too. (Most right-wing voters can’t see beyond pure exploitation of anything in reach). For the left, it’s more a matter of what comes first: a better environment in which to live, or a better way to live within that environment.
National Party and Act supporters also have one aim – self enrichment.
But Labour does not have one aim.
Once upon a time, in the Labour heyday, the aim was more rights and better pay for workers. This is no longer tenable. For one thing, there aren’t many workers left. The wealthy, thanks to neo-liberal might and wiles, crush jobs, robotise, off-shore … anything to avoid giving any kind of quality of life to what workers there are left. If you think your job will never be done by a robot and/or computer, you’re wrong. The wealthy have the money to invest in these things. You may have seen the New Zealand dairy farm that was on TV a few months ago: while the couple who owned it slept-in, their cows were herded automatically into pens, suction cups attached themselves, the milk was taken and the cows robotically compelled back out into the fields. The couple insisted the cows were happier – perhaps they could only think this as they were themselves, with no more early rises to mess with their days, and no more staff to look after.
Meanwhile, there’s the working poor who can’t afford rent, food and childcare anymore, being worked into early graves, and the ever shrinking middle tier of ‘workers’ who are tax-paying paper-shufflers (this category includes academics and teachers these days). They only ever seem to get more paper to shuffle in their increasingly mindless jobs.
I’ve said it before and, wearyingly, I imagine I’m going to be saying it again: the New Zealand Labour Party doesn’t know what it believes in any more. There’s no vision for the future. The people who have stopped voting Labour either vote for National because they think ‘at least I might get some more money’ (ha ha, more fool you); vote Green coz hell, none of us want to die of pollution or tainted food; or they just don’t vote out of disgust.
Which leaves the 24% or whatever it was that voted Labour last time. These are, increasingly, people who vote for nostalgia reasons, or so I cynically surmise. And this category appears to include Andrew Little. Labour was great once … well, so was Rome.
We need a new vision, Labour. We need you to come up with a vision that’s worth voting for. You need to be able to articulate it, sound-bite it and back it. We need something to believe in – and then all the different factions in the left won’t matter.