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  1. Lefter 50 ~ The Good, the Bad and the Down Right Ugly

    November 27, 2011 by emweb

    Like a lot of lefties, I’m probably not having the best day after the stunning victory for John Key.

    But there are some good things.

    Then we’ll get onto the bad.

    Labour ran an excellent campaign. We now know what Labour stands for. This is a huge relief, as it’s all good things we can believe in.

    But there remains a lot work to do to spread those beliefs. The campaign was too short, thanks to rugby. At least Labour now has three years in which to establish (and sell) its values.

    Phil Goff really proved his mettle. It may have been too late, and he may have looked like he was doing it all alone at times, but at least the party political broadcasts showed a broad spectrum of Labour types, speaking on a broad range of left wing values. I thought they were excellent, compared to John Key’s solo efforts as the mumbling poster boy for New Zealand greed. My admiration for Phil Goff has risen dramatically. Shame the Labour Party once again let National call the shots, letting the Rugby World Cup stop a decent pre-election run. Labour even failed to capitalise on the tea incident. This shows a lack of gumption, frankly – and look what some gumption did for Winston Phoenix – I mean, Peters.

    The Greens did really well. They deserved to. The country deserves some eco sense. Good for them. I am still troubled by Russel Norman’s entertaining of notions of working with National, but they deserve to celebrate.

    However, it’s clear which message most New Zealanders bought.

    No message, essentially – as long as it starred John Key.

    Labour is currently down to 34 seats against National’s daunting 60. Throw in the utterly politically useless John Banks and Peter Dunne, and that’s 62 for the right. A slim majority, for a 120 seat parliament. Hardly comfortable.

    Clearly on the left, we have a bloc of 48 seats, comprising 34 for Labour, 13 Green and 1 for Mana. This may rise to 49 or even 50. Christchurch Central may tick over to Labour after the specials are counted. The tally is currently set at 10,493 votes each for Labour’s Brendon Burns and National’s Nicky Wagner, but 3700 special votes remain to be counted, with a lot of (hopefully) Labour supporters being out of their electorates due to the quakes.

    There are other marginal seats – fingers crossed.

    New Zealand First gained a staggering eight seats out of nowhere. NZF didn’t really figure in anyone’s calculations even three weeks ago. Philosophically, NZF is – well, effectively centre, due to an odd mix of left wing ideals and right wing conservatism. The only good thing about NZF, really, is Peter’s disgust at John Key. This adds a volatile element to the next three years and makes things unpredictable. At least it adds interest.

    The Māori Party has only three seats, but will most likely go back into formal coalition with National. But that’s still a fairly slim majority. Sixty-five seats out of 120. But it’s a majority. The Māori Party has been punished for its dalliance with National and its spurning of Labour and, more divisively, of Hone Harawira. Support for The Māori Party has virtually halved and while Tariana Turia has already stated the Māori Party needs to go back to the people for direction, the most likely outcome is no curb to National’s highly dodgy and unpopular asset sales, but rather an Iwi share in the spoils.

    While this will dilute what National can do with the loot, it doesn’t stop the reprehensible sale of our assets from happening. Which in turn will make Māori look even worse. With Sharples and Turia set to step down, by the next election I predict the curse of coalition with National will be complete (just look at United Future and ACT). Māori will evaporate.

    Tariana must have been blinded by her position in parliament, even as her party ebbs away around her. She said “You can’t make gains unless you’re sitting at the table of the Government” on TVNZ’s Q + A. Really? Māori started out strong. Look at you now.

    This is a shame. When The Māori Party first gained some votes, I thought it a very positive development for New Zealand. Those hopes have been systematically undermined under the seduction of ‘power’-sharing (actually, power-curbing) with National, for whom Māori aspirations are largely irrelevant accept as impediments. Keep your enemies closer, indeed.

    The good for Labour includes Phil Twyford’s decisive win in Waitakere (well done!), a very strong showing in South Auckland (huge Labour majorities in  Manukau, Mangere and Manurewa), the retention of the West Coast despite Damian Connor’s outbursts against the Labour machine, and gains in the Māori seats.


    But there’s lots of bad

    Amongst the bad is the fact that we live in a country where half the population voted for a wealthy, glib trader of the ilk of the people who caused the global recession.

    All they can see is that Key made lots of money. This has been held up as a good thing. So they voted for a wealthy man, fronting an otherwise almost faceless party with no substance and no real policies except for selling some of our assets. This has proved that we live in a country where the majority of people really are stupid (or at least, vote for stupid reasons), and unfortunately also disproving Muldoon’s racist comment that New Zealand immigration to Australia was raising the IQ of both countries.

    With Labour’s failure to elevate young talent far enough up the list, Kelvin Davis and Stewart Nash and others have lost their positions in parliament.

    A real loss.

    Jacinda Adern failed to take Auckland Central back for Labour. As a Grey Lynner, I find this particularly galling. Grey Lynn was Labour from the early 1900s until Nicki Kaye, but the changing demographic of the inner city has favoured National. I hope Adern can soldier on. She ran a good campaign with a great team, and she’s an asset to Labour. (In fact, only 535 votes separates Kaye from Adern.)

    John Banks is in parliament. When you consider David Parker got around the same amount of votes as the margin that separated Banks from National’s Goldsmith, you have to wonder if this was a serious misstep for Parker – and for Labour.

    However, Parker did achieve his personal objective of ousting Brash, for which we can all be truly thankful.

    Labour, every defeat is a lesson. So please take the lesson.


    The Down Right Ugly

    National has been given a mandate to really rip into the country now. To all you fools who voted for National: you deserve it.

    But I don’t. Anyone who cares about people does not. One in five New Zealand children living in poverty do not deserve it.

    Poor schools don’t deserve it. Schools will now be rewarded for ‘achievement’ – this is shorthand for ‘well resourced schools will now get more money’, as all National’s measurements favour white wealthy kids in well resourced schools. It’s going to be bloody hard on lower-decile schools, as if things aren’t hard enough for them already, with many having to feed and even clothe their kids before trying to teach them.

    Also ugly is what might happen in Labour now. Biblically, one little David beat one big Goliath. Now Labour has three little Davids who may well engage in slaying each other instead of that (very aptly) ‘giant Philistine warrior’: John Key.

    I don’t know which one I’d support – David Shearer is a Goff protege. Shearer doesn’t have the long-term Labour experience of the other two, but this may not be a bad thing. Mike Williams thinks this makes him a non-runner, but I’m not sure.

    Of the other two, I admire Cunliffe’s incisive intelligence but a lot of people find him threateningly nasty when he’s in full flight. It doesn’t make him very likeable. And the dumb voters obviously want ‘likeable’, even though I personally find it incredible that anyone finds Key even remotely appealing.

    David Parker is likeable, but I think his participation in Epsom was a mistake. People say he’s on the right of the Labour Party, as was Goff. If this is so, I don’t think this is where Labour should be heading. National is going more right; Labour does not need to. And it has certainly done Labour no favours in the past.

    Is there a non David in the wings?

    OK, being National under a Labour banner worked for a while, with three terms in a row, but Labour has had to differentiate its brand as its identity steadily evaporated. This has now been redeveloped pretty clearly.

    Now Labour has to sell it.

    I feel really critical (as I have often stated) that Labour wasn’t doing enough to promote young talent three or even five years ago. Yes, that’s you, Helen. This has not been good for Labour. We don’t see enough of the progressive and proactive younger Labour people, and we should have. And we should do.

    But there are many good people there. I think the campaign was very good. Just too late, and perhaps not fully supported within the party, despite appearances.

    I would have started last Christmas. I think people fearing the recession but still being motivated by their personal greed when it came to voting has been very detrimental to New Zealand’s prospects.

    But Labour now has three years to sell an excellent message while the world falls apart and National redirects the economy to favour the wealthy even more, while it further dismantles New Zealand education, cultural and social development.

    If Labour can just get its shit together without terrible and acrimonious splits from leadership upheavals, things could go well.

    Labour needs to examine where people who voted for Key got their information.

    May I also suggest a substantial rebranding of the unions to engage with people as they suffer even more from the predations of National (ie the business, land-owning and farming classes).

    In short: To work!

    And here’s a slogan for you: ‘New Zealand Back in the Black’.


  2. Lefter 47 ~ The Reality

    November 8, 2011 by emweb

    John Key says Phil Goff needs to ‘focus on reality’; that there’s been a global recession and an earthquake.

    Yet we went into his term of office with a big surplus and full employment. Which was rapidly spent on rewarding the wealthy – once that was gone, the reaction was to cut benefits, education, healthcare and anything else they could think of.

    Unemployment has spiralled out of control, the rate of people leaving for Australia (a key election plank for National) has gone up dramatically, and the gap between the wealthy and those who do productive work has widened so dramatically that the poorest of New Zealand’s workers are now lining up at the food banks with beneficiaries. Even more so, the gap between wages here and in Australia has also worsened – another key election plank of National.

    A socialist government would have got us through this recession, like Labour did for us in the 1930s.

    So to me, this current government looks inept verging on larcenous.

    But I think we should give John Key his due. He has largely succeeded and stayed true to form.

    He was a successful man in his own right, with a massive personal fortune from currency speculation and trading – and that’s what people thought ‘we’ needed at the helm. Well, he has succeeded – Key has continued to stay wealthy despite the recession, despite the earthquake and despite the misery and depredation in the rest of the country. Well done. He’s the 1% you hear about. And far too many of the 99% voted the silly prick into office.

    The mistake people made was in thinking that since Key could amass wealth for himself, he’d do the same for anyone else. He’s rewarded his class of greedy speculative arse holes, sure, and that was done quick-smart with an ill deserved tax cut for them almost immediately, but that’s a small proportion of the population of the country.

    He’s done it by demonstratively widening the gap between them and everyone else – despite, or in spite of, the recession, which would have been a spur to action for anyone who actually cared about their country. Now his mates can get cheap labour they can fire when the fancy takes them – well done, John Key. They call this ‘labour force flexibility’.

    The next step after that is called ‘slavery’.

    It never ceases to amaze me that we teach our children to share and that greed is bad – and then we are upbraided as adults for knocking the ‘tall poppies’, who are inevitably those who have made it by being greedy and not sharing.

    The tall poppies are taller than ever, towering over the masses, smiling smugly, congratulating themselves, and laughing at us behind their hands for giving them such a mandate.

    These people are hardly patriots. Rather the opposite.

    And we voted for it. And we’re about to do so again.

    Promising New Zealand a blighter future.

    God help us.


  3. Lefter 42 ~ Here comes dystopia

    August 22, 2011 by emweb


    Apart from my revulsion at the fact that so many New Zealanders actually profess to like John Key, I honestly thought Labour could win the next election. Or at least, I did think that, a month ago. But it seems Labour just can’t mobilise itself to do … anything much.

    Despite being continuously handed ammunition on a platter, Labour has fundamentally failed to capitalise on any of it. We’ve seen some sporadic sniping, but it has all proved ineffectual against National.

    One has to wonder why Labour has failed to capitalise. To me, the two major parties seem two empty shells. Except one has a leader.

    As for Labour, Goff has stated he will go when he’s ready, and you can only assume he will be ‘ready’ after a crushing election defeat. And that seems to be the consensus in the ranks – that the forthcoming election failure is the only real way to replace Goff.

    As for his successor, there’s … nobody.

    For who would replace Goff? There’s a colourless bunch to draw on. If there was a successor in the wings, they should now be trying to show some life, but so far, we haven’t seen anything like that. Even Shane Jones seems to have had the life sucked out of him. Goff must have some kind of hold on the ministers that we can’t discern.

    Why has their been no cohesive resistance to National? Labour’s just not ready. Labour gave itself a moral and social mandate with the capital gains tax, and actually stole headlines from Key and left National floundering, then … what? Nothing. I maintain that Labour doesn’t know what it stands for anymore. If Labour doesn’t know, how can we?

    National has become so emboldened by Labour’s patent inability to engage that it’s even been announcing punitive measures against New Zealand’s poor and disenfranchised, for next year, and still, there has been very little reaction.

    While this once again demonstrates a fundamental difference between left and right (the left looks for the good in people, the right assumes people are bad so need punitive measures and strictures to keep them in line), the measures also offer something worth resisting. Not only that, National has handily helped define the constituency Labour needs to engage with.

    And Labour has done … nothing.

    National has even announced it won’t be campaigning till after the Rugby World Cup. Labour has reacted by doing … nothing. It’s so worried at looking unseemly in public, as with the Christchurch situation, Labour has gone for ‘pathetic’ instead of unleashing … anything.

    You have to wonder why. To me, it looks like the principal Labour members are failing to support Goff in any effective political way (not that he’s giving them much to support) because they are too intent on lining up their personal ducks for a Labour comeback in three years time. Which would mean personal ambition is trumping collective aspiration. For, and I hate to say this, while you might be a suffering beneficiary who’s going to find life really difficult until at least 2015, those Labour ministers are receiving bloody good wages for themselves. What do they care about you? Not much, by the looks of it. And we need to think they do care.

    If this cynicism is true, how does it make you feel about Labour? It makes me feel sick. If true, it’s malicious, and to the detriment of the classes that are supposed to be Labour’s core constituency.

    I hope I’m wrong.

    I suspect I’m not.

    So we will get inflicted with another three years of National because of one man’s vanity combined with the inability of Labour members to rise above their own personal ambitions for the good of their electorates, condemning us to another term of an increasingly oppressive dystopia that is using a recession and an earthquake to justify anti-humanistic, culture-quashing policies.

    What are the alternatives for us? Mana looks like a left-wing party, but it’s seemingly not for the general New Zealand left-winger. Much as I like Hone Harawira’s gumption and honesty, when he talks about his constituency, he can’t even bring himself to mention Pakeha. He has Sue Bradford on side, and I think she has some credibility, but John Minto? He has unfortunately become the rent-a-protestor he was unfairly accused of being in 1981. He might be there as a sop to the Pakeha left, but many of us on the Pakeha left just find him embarrassing.

    Makes you want to vote Green, doesn’t it?

    [You can follow lefter on Twitter: look for ‘lefterNZ’ . Note the initial ‘l’ is lower case.]

  4. Lefter 39 ~ Capitol Gains

    July 8, 2011 by emweb

    Here’s my take on the Te Tai Tokerau byelection.

    Mana won – this is a good thing if only because Hone Harawira deserved to win. As I have noted previously, all he did to get railroaded out of the Māori Party was to tell some, albeit hurtful, truths about it. They should have been heeded.

    I could say the Māori Party’s showed a lack of political acumen and experience, but to be fair it’s no more than the sort of behaviour their supposedly much more experienced peers in the two major parties regularly stoop to. Only the Greens seem to be able to rise above it, generally.

    But there is lots to learn from Mana’s win. Labour’s strong showing pointed out something very clearly: not just a Māori hankering for a Māori Party that is not National’s patsy, but also a clear indication that northern Māori, at least, is still pro Labour in principal.

    And although that’s surprising, after some categorically awful gaffes in that regard by Labour over the last few years, it’s an important point that should not be left begging.

    Of the Te Tai Tokerau result, Key said the byelection was a waste of money. He should know: he’s an expert at wasting money.

    But how many votes did National get, in this election? None – unless you count the few votes for the Māori Party, since they have become National’s project to nullify Māori aspirations. National didn’t, officially, contest the election but its coalition partner did. And it all failed miserably by anyone’s measure.

    All in all, we have seen a realignment in the north that might spread throughout the country: Māori want a strong party that truly, honestly represents Māori aspirations – and since this is a fundamental part of New Zealand’s sovereign and cultural identity, we should all understand and laud this.

    But the other realignment is a Māori yearning for a party that has a social conscience – and this used to be Labour.

    Labour could be due for renaissance with Māori and it has some genuinely admirable Māori MPs. But the future is not, currently, separate from the fundamental concerns of Māori as a people. The policies Labour creates and the alliances it’s open to could not be more important. So act advisedly in this regard.

    But if Labour starts courting the Māori Party now, look forward to more dissolution and another term of National (which must be champing at the bit and hating having to be cautious) to really do some damage to ordinary New Zealanders.

    Oh, and Pita? Your seats are not safe. From your partners or from the rest of the country.

    Christchurch is a challenge that good government would rise to anywhere in the world, but National has not managed this well and disquiet swelled while John Key hid in India. (How insulting and naive to call India ‘the new China’!)

    From where I sit, Labour – for the first time in ages – has a shot at winning the election. National has been passing the ammunition across No Man’s Land. This has, for the most part, been squandered. Is it going into an arsenal for future use? One can only hope so, but good lord, don’t wait too long.

    But a shot has been fired – and it was a more like a fusillade! Thank goodness for the (‘leaked’?) announcement on plans for a Capitol Gains Tax! Finally, a point of difference that’s left even John Key gasping like a landed fish.

    And finally, we have something worth fighting for – as I have written here before, everyone knows it’s the right thing to do, whether they like it or not. This makes it hard to front a valid resistance to without looking like an ingrate.

    Nice one, Phil Goff. Whoever, ever (if anyone did) told you to act like a big man  … well, they should be fired. New Zealand doesn’t need another dumb Kiwi bloke in these difficult times. A smarmy liar and concealer. We have a surfeit of those, with the prime chump at the tiller.

    We need an academic. Please, Mr Goff, keep doing what you know.

    We like it.


  5. Lefter 37 ~ The Road Ahead

    April 24, 2011 by emweb

    I appear to have created some disquiet with my last Lefter.

    For which I don’t apologise. Sincerely.

    But a couple of criticisms deserve addressing. One is that people working in the Labour Party are finding it hard enough, thank you very much, without my criticisms.

    The other is that it’s easy to criticise; what alternatives do I offer?

    OK, the first one: I have a fundamental problem with any party that has one voice that everyone has to agree with. This is not democratic. It’s what sunk the Alliance Party as Anderton degenerated into He Who Must Be Obeyed, and it’s what led to the Maori Party completely mishandling Hone Harawera when it should have honoured him for the gift he offered (the truth).

    Personally, I refuse to hew to any party line I don’t agree with, in life or work. It’s got me into trouble before and that’s OK – it’s a principle worth fighting for.

    I don’t think anybody should be expected to go along with a pronouncement made by some figurehead. Members should be able to say: So and so said this, and I don’t agree with it. And we are working together towards a solution we can all believe in.

    Coalitions group together different interests. That’s what a coalition is. A party is essentially a coalition of interests that share a similar general principle. They should all be represented as different interests, working towards a common goal. Since Labour no longer has a clear stance or manifesto, the ground keeps shifting anyway. If Labour can’t enunciate what it means, how do you expect anyone to act unified? Yet Labour does. The cracks are appearing, and the wall paper being applied to hide them is not a good look.

    In World War Two, it was pretty damn clear that Russia and England and the US didn’t agree on everything. Well, on much at all. But they didn’t demand each be the same to fight Hitler, did they? That would have been ridiculous. The losers, of course, did do this. Nazism had an archaic structure based on feudalistic ‘figurehead knows best’. This can be spectacularly successful, but only for a short time, and it always ends in bloodshed and disaster. It’s the same in business (perhaps without the bloodshed). The Third Reich had a dramatic rise, a dramatic (and revoltingly destructive) impact, but if you look at it from a distance, it was all gone in 12 years,wrecking most of Europe, Asia, the Pacific and North Africa in the process.

    However, some business leaders and geographic despots still see fascism as an excellent model, for in that potentially truncated time frame, they can be incredibly powerful. Why would a left wing (albeit increasingly nominally) even begin to look like it’s following the strictures of anything even faintly resembling Nazism?

    Labour’s archaic structure demands that whatever the leaders says is ‘agreed to’ by everyone else. This is the sham of ‘caucus unity’.

    Why pretend? Encourage dissent. Encourage freedom of speech. It’s laudable and it makes you look like a group worth supporting. Goff pronounces things that Labour’s caucus doesn’t always sanction, to the surprise of some, and yet Labour then has to act, in public, as if it’s unified. Since very few have any genuine faith in Phil Goff any more, we all suspect there’s a storm gathering to displace him, to the detriment of the next election and to the country. This turns off voters even more.

    So here’s some advice to you, Mr Goff: Stop acting like the know-it-all leader. You are not. Nobody (but you, apparently) thinks you are. Look around. The majority overrules you. It’s time you saw it. Open your eyes. If you really want to become a good leader, marshall a flock instead of ramrodding it into the breech. This is heading for a misfire and you risk losing even your most faithful supporters.

    Instead, become a wise leader guiding an unruly flock to a result worth waiting for. We like unruly flocks. We also like Border Collies. We note they are clever. This is New Zealand.

    You can gather the supporters who are getting turned off because they don’t agree with you personally by giving their figureheads voices within the party.

    And Labour, for god’s sake rewrite your operating procedures!

    Look progressive. Act progressive. Be progressive. It’s bloody obvious, if you don’t mind my saying so. As I keep saying, we all want something to believe in.

    Meanwhile, The Greens are looking like the displaced lefties’ alternative to Labour by doing just this. The Greens have social policies, they can enunciate their beliefs, and they do seem to embrace different voices within the ranks without acrimonious fallouts and the public spectacles they engender. In a nutshell, their structure is more modern and more flexible.

    The Greens would make an eco-friendly New Zealand as a cornerstone of both looking after its people and economic gain. It’s a clear, laudable, achievable and easy-to-understand platform with lots to like.

    There’s nothing at all like this coming from Labour. (And if there is, as I’ve said before, why don’t we know about it? The election is just a few months away.)


    Ok, second criticism. Here’s how to sort the country out, from an uneducated commentator. I can’t believe Labour, with its specialists, economists, unionists, business leaders etc, can’t make these work or come up with even better solutions – but we have yet to see any real evidence of this. So here you go:

    1/ Use Christchurch. It needs rebuilding. New Zealand did it with Napier in 1932, and the whole country got behind it. Rebuilding Christchurch rebuilds New Zealand. It gives us something to believe in, it gives us something to be proud of, it gives us work and sacrifice for a good cause and it internalises the economy to an extent. Plus it’s something that desperately needs doing, and doing properly. Everyone likes a rebirth story. This is ours. Labour should be taking the lead, unlike National’s Minister for Disaster.

    2/ Tell everyone right now that you’ll tax the rich more. You’ll lose a few rich voters. You’ll gain back a lot – a lot! – of poorer voters. You want the Maori vote back? You want the working class suburbs back? Announce it.

    The rich don’t need tax breaks, and they’re doing sweet fa for the country anyway. Besides, they vote National and worse. Make a stand, nail your colours to the mast and get over it. People out here on the street don’t care one jot for the wealthy you’re trying to placate. Many of the middle classes know they didn’t need that last tax break – they’re looking for direction from the Left and they’re not getting it. They, too, need something to believe in. Their taxes will go up for the good of Christchurch, the economy and the country. Big cheer.

    3/ Capital Gains Tax. We all know we need this to rein in house prices. We all know owning three properties is bad for the country and stops people getting into houses, keeping the prices high for speculators. But Labour’s too scared. What, Labour, you’re going to lose voters? What voters? Look at the polls, for goodness sake. Make a stand. It’s easy to convince everyone that a Capitol Gains Tax is needed, because it is clear that it is needed. Have the balls to campaign on it. In the long run, it’s a winner. Take the stand of righteousness.

    4/ Point out all the crap National has foisted on us. Many still don’t know. Examples are legion. Go for the jugular. Set an attack dog like Mallard onto it – but this only works if you do the above at the same time. One doesn’t work without the other.

    5/ Finally, this has been unsaid until now, so I’ll say it: Patriotism. We want something to believe in, something to brag about when we’re overseas. Like we did when we stood up to America’s nuclear ships. Like when we were the first country in the world to give women the vote. The first with a proper welfare system.

    Some New Zealanders lament the lack of patriotism we show, and that’s because we’re ashamed of what we have done to our own country, and of the fact we let wankers like John Key, Gerry Brownlee, Bill English and even Rodney Hide walk all over us. We deserve this shame. We’ve been stupid patsies.

    It’s time for a change, because these figureheads are not good New Zealanders. They’re obsessed with money and personal power and they don’t care about the general population except as a cash cow.

    It’s time to displace this regime. Prove them wrong.

    That’s my two cents worth. It’s hardly rocket science, and plenty of people have said it before me, so I honestly don’t get why Labour is still faffing about.

    And if you don’t like commenting and want to talk to me personally, email my alias: (no, it’s not my real name).

  6. 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.

  7. Lefter 32 ~ The Right, Honourable MP Harawira

    January 20, 2011 by emweb

    The right honourable Hone Harawira (‘right’ as in ‘correct’, and honourable above and beyond the call, unlike most New Zealand politicians) was 100% right, telling the truth in the Sunday Star Times (January 17th 2011). I agreed with every single word of ‘Crunch time for Maori grumbles’, and I read it with the hope that the Māori Party would take notice.

    And the Māori Party did take notice – completely in the wrong way. Instead of taking what Harawira wrote as a perceptive tract written in good faith, the party took umbrage. Instead of accepting a clear manifesto to improve things, the Māori Party had a hissyfit – albeit one cloaked in ‘due process’, legal advice and its constitution, which seems to have been copy-and-pasted from the Pakeha parties.

    So congratulations to the The Māori Party – you have become what you set out to counterbalance. A kow-towing minor party that suppresses dissent in its own party and constituency and which lets emotion rule politics in that time-honoured, petty Kiwi way that also infests our business class while the major parties rule. Key – and worse, Brownlee and co – must be capering with glee. In fact, Key has already been on the radio. Crowing, essentially.

    Shame on you, Sharples and Turia, for supporting this ‘disciplinary’ motion. You are stifling dissent just like National and Act – and Labour’s the same, for that matter. In these parties, MPs are supposed to toe the party line whether they agree or not, voting with the majority.

    What rubbish! I completely disagree with any structure that insists on obedience against personal better judgement and/or beliefs.

    Why? Take it to its extreme, and you get the ‘I was just following orders’ excuse.

    Which served the Nazis so well.

    I’ve said it before and no doubt I will say it again – the Māori Party made a pact with the devil when it went into league with National. It’s losing its way. As Harawira wrote, between 2005-08 the Māori Party voted 30% with National and 70% against. In the period 2008-10, the Māori Party voted 60% with National and 40% against.

    What does that tell you?

    It’s quite possible the same criticisms would have come to have been levelled if the Māori Party had gone into league with Labour – and I would have been as critical. But the Māori Party and Labour would clearly have been a more natural fit, despite the stupid Foreshore and Seabed legislation.

    But pettiness and small-minded stupidity ruled this out, too. (Probably, to be fair, this was on both sides.)

    Even so, I am gobsmacked that Pita Sharples has descended to this level. I used to respect him.

    Good on you, honourable Mr Harawira. You enjoy strong support in your own electorate and you totally deserve it. If you go out on your own, I hope you continue to enjoy strong support – but this is all helping in the dissolution of current Māori aims.


    Harawira has exposed his colleagues for what they have become, to the detriment of New Zealand.