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‘Pacific’ Category

  1. Lefter 56 ~ The New World, or the New World Order

    July 12, 2012 by emweb

    The Right is dead, the Left is dead. Well, not exactly, they’re just boring to the people who want a new political landscape, and this group is expanding. Definitely, Nazism gave the Right about as bad a name as you could get, and Stalin and Mao worked hard to foist a very similar repute upon the left. Certainly, doctrinaire positions from the Old Left and the Old Right look increasingly redundant, and even many with some doctrinaire beliefs nowadays shy away from being tarred with those old Left/Right brushes.

    I’ve never been a doctrinaire lefty myself – even when I was a teenager it was pretty clear to me Communism was far from a good system, as reliant was it was on controlling every body and every thing, and as subject to the same kind of right-wing opportunistic narcissism as any other system that became  thoroughly imposed over a population.

    Systems resembling Socialism are more what I’ve ended up voting for over the years, but even there I find the positions of moribund unions within their structures annoying, along with the insistence of following party lines. So I’ve not joined these parties. Unions have been sadly crippled in New Zealand, yes – so why do they still have so much power in Labour? It’s redundant. And generally, I’ve always maintained that I have enough thought process to choose my own pathways, thank you very much, and I insist on my freedom to do so.

    So where to from here? It’s not difficult, actually. You can distill what’s good about the left fairly easy, just as you can distill what’s still attractive (albeit not to me) about the right. The new poles are:

    Humanitarianism verses Authoritarianism.

    Humanitarianism takes the place of the left and keeps all that’s good about it, and authoritarianism is essentially what any Tory regime you can think of boils down to. And as alien as it seems to me, some people actually hanker for a society that controls them and tells them what to do – it makes them feel ‘safe’, even though it’s at the expense of any claims to actual human intelligence. Right thinking invariably embraces punishment over rehabilitation, promotes more and more rules and laws and even proposes strictures on how people should look (banning the burkha springs to mind) and act (learn our language if you want to live here, buddy).

    Left wing social agendas promote difference, acceptance, education, cultural awareness and rehabilitation.

    The actual shade of each position … well, that’s up to the parties and cultures. But it does give us easy platforms to develop.


  2. Lefter 55 ~ No Man’s Land

    June 3, 2012 by emweb

    Despite National continuing to pass the ammunition across No Mans’ Land to its opposition, those recipients are still failing to fully capitalise on the unexpected bounty. Meanwhile, the landscape continues to shift as Labour deals with internal problems (I’m guessing here – but if not, what is Labour doing?) while the Greens gradually raise their silhouette. Meanwhile, Mana … actually, haven’t heard much from Mana. Have you?

    Auckland students may have seized the initiative, but they seem a lonely group.

    I said years ago on this blog that National is effectively fighting a class war. Everybody else might think that’s old and irrelevant politics and truthfully, it should be – but National seemingly hasn’t absorbed that message.

    There’s no other explanation for National’s policies: effectively taking money from the poorer with a GST hike, while passing on tax breaks to the wealthy was the first major step and every little move after that has been to recreate, then cement that division. The latest policy of stopping student allowances beyond four years effectively prevents those without independent incomes from getting advanced tertiary qualifications. In other words, only those who can pay their way – the wealthy and privileged – can benefit from what our once free-access university system offers. Only those already in the privileged classes can stay there, happily boosted into high income territory to earn high wages, simultaneously paying lower taxes.

    When you consider that there’s a substantial shortage of work,  a lot of young people have turned to tertiary education since they can’t find low-skilled low-wage jobs to start saving anyway. If they can’t get jobs they should be lauded for attempting to up-skill. But no, National chooses to punish this instead.

    But why can’t we face the real issue here? Which is: how does this policy create jobs? Actually, how have any of National’s policies created jobs?

    There’s one certified and genuine way to get through a recession and one way only, once you discount unlikely and/or environmentally damaging windfalls like discovering mineral wealth or oil, or borrowing more which has lately proved so disastrous. And that’s to create jobs.

    On this score alone, look at National’s record.

    Good luck with that. There isn’t one.

    But on this score I had high hopes that the Greens would promote policies that also created jobs. However, the Greens seem to want to simply raise taxes across the board, in many new ways.

    No! The country is hurting. Nobody wants that – OK, that’s not strictly true: please raise the taxes of the wealthy, at least back to where they were. That would immediately redress some monetary and societal imbalances and most of the country would applaud.

    On the tax question, I wish a party would seriously look at a more radical approach like Gareth Morgan’s. I might note here that I don’t really trust the guy as 1/ he’s made himself wealthy, which to me spells that he must operate under at least a level of greed, and 2/ I find the whole idea of independent benefactors worrying, as to me that should be the domain of good government: judicious spending of the revenue gathered from us, for our benefit.

    But my personal misgivings don’t mean Morgan doesn’t have good ideas, and you could imagine he would have the trust of at least some like-minded (ie business and entrepreneurial) people. But in these trying times, all parties seem afraid of radical ideas no matter how sensible, and National in particular won’t touch anything that doesn’t reward its class of inhumane and self congratulatory cronies.

    Inhumane? State schools will get less teachers per student; nurses remain underpaid and understaffed, with some so under-resourced that they are even expected to supply their own equipment; most aged care workers are paid minimum wage; National carries on stigmatising beneficiaries to the point where it has entered the beginnings of a eugenics program to sterilise them, which totally beggars belief.

    Before the last election, I recommended to some Labour people that they anonymously placed ‘National hates you’ stickers in bus stops in lower decile areas for people to stick where they would.

    It was considered too risky, controversial, confrontational and potentially dangerous to the party.

    But oh dear Lord, it was – and is – so true.


  3. Lefter 51 ~ The culture of cringe

    February 24, 2012 by emweb

    New Zealand has always fascinated me. I choose to live here (I was not born here). That said, I arrived when I was 5, so I’m pretty inculturated. But I have lived elsewhere, and I can live elsewhere.

    New Zealand has always had the capacity to be a paradise. It has a temperate climate, a surfeit of arable land, ample water (and sea, for that matter), an enviable social history in many ways, a relatively acceptable western education system, reasonably good internal communications considering the large empty tracts we have, and lots more to be happy about.

    You know, like beaches.

    And at least one day of summer a week at this time of year …

    But somehow we never even come near our potential.

    For what we hardly ever have is sophisticated leadership. Our record of sophistication in leadership is far from stellar.

    Am I the only one who was embarrassed by the Kim Dotcom spectacle? The authorities seemed to have let him in simply because he had loads of cash. Going by his record, convictions and activities and probably even his diet, he sure as hell didn’t have anything else going for him.

    But as always, wealth is all it really takes to beguile our leadership.

    The fact that we then let the German national pay for a public fireworks show makes us look like any other garden or basement banana republic. “The authorities can’t afford it, but a dodgy fat German wants to shout one … great!”

    Good lord, that’s so embarrassing.

    To me, though, much more cringeworthy is the fact that our august leader John Key felt he had to go on television to not exactly explain how this guy was let in here – but rather to point out the ‘discrepancies’ that allowed him to move here, spend up large, but then not buy one mansion. But allowed to rent another? Sure, no problem: just show us the money.

    What business is it of our country’s leader to discuss this on TV? Oh yeah, that’s right: Key loves being on TV.

    And it really doesn’t matter what for.

    Sophisticated, huh?

    That Dotcom was ‘captured’ on behalf of the FBI, despite living in plain site, made the vulgar stupidity of our leadership even more embarrassing on the world stage.

    Nice one.

    Just like all this fuss about the Crafar farms being sold to Chinese. I have always thought the issue should be about selling farms to offshore interests, not about who to, specifically. A Sunday Star Times article pointed out that even tiny Lichtenstein – literally a single Alpine valley you can easily cross on foot – has bought more land in New Zealand (ten times more than any Chinese) and the Americans have taken such huge amounts it makes the Chinese purchases look utterly Lilliputian by comparison.

    So why the fuss?

    Racism, actually.

    Who is leading the charge against Chinese ownership? A rich white guy who owns his own island off the Coromandel. Rich from profiteering over ordinary New Zealanders and manipulating those in power to his own ends.

    Anyway, we still have to go forward. Some sterling friends of mine have questioned why I seem so strongly in favour of Labour. I’m not, as it happens. I’m strongly in favour of a left wing government in New Zealand. No matter how nominally left-wing Labour is in actuality, it’s infinitely preferable to me that Labour is in power instead of those cynical, greedy pakeha rich folk who pull the strings in National.

    However, Labour is in crisis. The unions (of which, more in a later Lefter) appear to have too much power inside Labour.

    Well, it’s the only place New Zealand unions do have any real power any more, unfortunately. Misplaced as it is.

    Labour needs to engage with ordinary New Zealanders. For this it needs a new face, a new stance and, most importantly, a new ideology New Zealanders can actually relate to.

    For people like me, who often vote Labour despite powerful reservations, it’s too tainted with entrenched recidivist ideologues who have sucked up too much old fashioned and redundant Communist crap and can’t let it go; by too many union blocs who do nothing for Labour until candidate selection time; and by the ghastly spectacle that the Lange Labour government inexplicably descended into once it was gifted the reins of power.

    Parties like the Greens and Mana are rapidly satisfying the needs of those who want a real left while Labour sits on its hands, too scared to put a head over the parapet.

    For honestly, I think Labour is scared of the real left; in a union hammerlock; and full of dead wood that already resents new boy David Shearer.

    Lots of work needs to be done. Sigh.
    Stay tuned.

    [I actually wrote this weeks ago but the whole blog was down for ages, sorry – something to do with the provider.]


  4. 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’.

     


  5. Lefter 49 ~ Left, right, Left! Our children suffer

    November 23, 2011 by emweb

    In the last Lefter, I wrote about how confused I was as to who to give my party vote to.

    Actually, in some ways, the choice is easy. I have to vote left.

    So do you.

    Anyone who saw TV3’s Inside New Zealand documentary, ‘Inside Child Poverty’, should think the same. One in five New Zealand children live in poverty. POVERTY. Schools are trying to feed kids – which is outside their mandates – because many are not fed at home. Schools are even having to clothe some kids. Meanwhile, diseases that have virtually disappeared in civilised countries are running rampant through cramped, damp, cold, poverty-stricken houses – and we’re supposed to be living in a successful western democracy with the benefits of a subtropical climate.

    Now if you don’t think these figures are thoroughly, profoundly reprehensible and terrible, you need your morals examining. If you have any.

    But hey, you’re going to be voting National, or worse, ACT, anyway, right?

    There are fundamental differences between the left and right philosophical positions. Basically, the left believes in ‘we’, the right believes in ‘me’. The right is about individuals prospering, and this is invariably created by making sure other people don’t. Its driving force is greed, and it sells the possibility of satisfying that personal greed as its pathway to a better future.

    The right is also about punishment of transgressors, since transgressors are invariably a threat to people to whom the personal financial bottom line is the primary concern, no matter that the crime. You’ll notice it’s the rich – almost by default, right wingers – with the big fences and security gates around their houses.

    I talked about these philosophical differences at greater length way back, if you’re interested in a longer discourse.

    One thing I find strange about National’s criticism of Labour’s plan to borrow to finance getting New Zealand back on my feet is that it’s an acceptable facet of business – to borrow to foster enterprise. As long as it’s done within limits – the massive worldwide debt crisis is a result of not staying within limits. But in itself, it’s hardly strange or dangerous. It’s how we all buy houses, for example.

    As the aforementioned documentary pointed out, Sweden looks after its kids. It feeds them and provides medical care. Swedish authorities say this produces a medical and health cost saving at a factor of four – it’s four times cheaper to look after kids than to put them into the health system after they get sick. Here, authorities – particularly the National party – continually complains about the cost of health. Meanwhile, it plans to cut those on benefits by … cutting people off from benefits.

    But letting poverty-driven disease, obesity and malnourishment run rampant through our primary resource – our kids – is not just a crime, it’s financially stupid. And with wages driven down and no plan to raise the minimum wage, it’s also workers’ children who are suffering these days with lack of decent food and respiratory and skin conditions.

    Any person with any morals at all could not countenance such a position, and the most incredible thing to me is that we are letting this happen – and we have let this happen – in a major food-producing nation.

    But the people who run our agri-business prefer to sell their produce overseas at a premium, while our children go hungry. That’s why milk is unaffordable.

    Would you call these people patriots, I wonder?

    Labour, to be honest, had a hand in producing this situation in the first place, with various privatisation measures starting 1984 – but National has made things a lot worse whenever it has been in office. Plus National has rescinded Labour’s attempts to put things right every time it has had the opportunity.

    And it was Labour in the first place, remember, back in the 1930s, that set up the welfare state that made us so prosperous in the 1950s and ’60s.

    Basically, National’s intent is to drive down conditions for the poor and to keep their wages low. This produces a captive market prostrating itself for low-wage jobs, coupled to the chance of summary dismissal at the whim of those intent solely on their own personal fortunes.

    A proper left wing government sees infrastructure – transport, education, health, municipal services – as investments in the population. In turn, this is an investment in the society, culture and economy of the nation. A healthy, well-educated population stays in the country, makes work, is well paid …

    Why would you live in a country that doesn’t care about its kids?

    Indeed, record numbers are leaving.

    Key reckons he’s produced 63,000 jobs.

    Does it count that they are in Australia?


  6. Lefter 48 ~ I’m so confused!

    November 20, 2011 by emweb

    I am so conflicted right now. With only a few days to go, I can’t decide who to vote for.

    Let me lay it out for you.

    I am much more left than the established left. Broadly speaking, I want more equity for everyone. I am not too left to vote, however – I may believe that nobody has power over me except me, but I choose to drive on the same side of the road as the law mandates for both my own safety and for the safety of others.

    I’m pragmatic.

    But for me, the crucial part of the above statement is ‘I choose’. And I choose to vote, too.

    I was happy when Hone Harawira criticised the Māori Party, as a representative (then), as I thought every word he said was true and they would take heed and improve things.

    Instead they spat the dummy and acted like angry children. More fool them.

    This led to a breakaway and the forming of the Mana Party, which at first sight looked like a nationalist Māori party but that rapidly took on the trappings – and some of the figureheads – of the real left.

    Yay, but … I can’t help feeling it’s not the party for me. Hone cannot help himself, being first and foremost an advocate for Māori and a lefty second, and much as I admire both, I think if the unthinkable happened and Mana gained real power, the ‘left’ part would be subsumed. So much as I support this, it doesn’t make me want to vote Mana. (But perhaps I should go along to a couple of meetings and spend more time working it out.)

    I don’t want to sound critical; if I was Hone I dare say I would be exactly the same. But I’m a white, born-in-Europe lefty. And as much as I have admired John Minto in the past, to me he has become the rent-a-protester he was unfairly accused of for so long. Protesting against a lone tennis player because she happened to be Israeli (she was not representing Israel in the match) a few years ago was unforgivable grandstanding in my view, and persecution of an individual that was unfair, unwarranted and completely out of order.

    After the official launch of the election campaign, my thought to vote for Jacinda Adern in Auckland Central and maybe Green in the party vote went out the window. The Greens’ opening salvo was so lame and hokey, it put me right off. Meanwhile, though, Labour did what I’d long been advocating – a return to old-time Labour values and a clear statement of Socialist intent.

    I was sold. My vote would be Labour-Labour.

    But now, after a few weeks of campaigning … not enough has been done to strike National with their failures over the Rena grounding, and/or over the Christchurch earthquake aftermath. It seems to me that a lot of anger both near Tauranga and from a groundswell of angry Cantabrians has not been capitalised on by Labour. This is crazy.

    So it looks to me as if Goff is still pissing in the wind, and I think that’s due to his own party’s machinations as much as his own personal lack of popularity with the general voter.

    I have to hand it to Goff. He’s been a trooper, battling hard. I admire that. But he’s in a wholly unenviable position. How often does he seem to be battling alone? I may be completely wrong on this, but I suspect his losing the election is the only way to create the succession some Labourites think is needed, and, cynically, I reckon that’s what various members of his caucus are counting on. And that’s despite committing the rest of the country to another, and much more damaging, term under that smug trader and his greedy henchmen.

    And if you want a glimpse of what is really (or may be) going on inside Labour, check this post out.

    But imagine if Labour could form a government, and National could not? It would not have majority support; it would be due a coalition with the rising Greens. Labour would be a minority government run by an unpopular leader with a strong Green lobby. That might possibly be good for the country, if they can make it work, and if Labour MPs can keep their secret anti-Goff daggers sheathed … but with more recession woes looming, how effective could this possibly be under considerable internal and external pressures? A minority Labour alongside a fresh party, newly in actual political coalition … scary.

    Worse, imagine if the Greens went into coalition with National? The very entertaining of this thought puts me right off the Greens. How could they?

    And if my party vote did go to the Greens, how betrayed would I feel?

    Hugely! How about you?

    But worse, apart from any social and moral conundrums this throws up, coalition with National would, in all probability, effectively finish the Greens.

    Don’t believe me? Look at the Maori Party, United Future and Act. They all expected more power than they would otherwise have. They are now all effectively in tatters. Want the Greens to dissolve? Have them form a coalition with National.

    However, and despite all, I do not want National in power. Much as I relish having something to bitch about and hate, I vote for the party I think will do best for most people in New Zealand – and needless to say, that’s not rich people.

    So where does that leave me? Anxious.

    And really confused.


  7. 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.

     


  8. Lefter 46 ~ Balls

    November 1, 2011 by emweb

    Back in April this year I set out a way Labour could win, or at least genuinely fight, this election. I am very pleased to say Labour has now largely embarked on much of what I proposed.

    I’m not taking credit for it. I have only a few thousand people reading this blog. But it’s very pleasing to see that some others at Labour have been on the same page, and for the same reasons, and that some decent acton is finally being taken.

    Did you see the opening Party Political Broadcasts? National’s was boring verging on turgid, featuring John Key almost exclusively in the full knowledge he’s actually the only thing National has going for it. As ridiculous as that is. Key then answers fake questions from a fake audience. It’s kinda bizarre, considering how much money National has to spend on this kind of media, that it’s such tripe. In the forthcoming ‘ulluctions’, Key mumbles about investing ‘bullions’ into ‘newzillanders’. Crikey, that’s rich – he’s been cutting right, left and centre. I struggled to stay awake through it, although his argument that selling New Zealand’s assets will lead to having more assets woke me up a bit.

    Labour’s Party Political Broadcast was moving, direct and interesting.

    The Green’s one was so hokey, it made me want to put my party vote with Labour. And that’s a breakthrough.

    And then we had the first head-to-head debate between Prime Minister Key and Labour leader Phil Goff.

    It’s amazing to me that the more conservative commentators decided John Key came out better in the opening televised debate. To me Key looked like a gloating, smug schoolboy one minute, and an errant schoolboy being reprimanded the next.

    Also, while it was unfortunate that at times they talked over each other (if only for the sake of audio clarity) I thought Phil Goff showed some balls. And thank god for that. It was such a pleasant surprise. Goff took it to Key on most issues and, in my household, there was cheering.

    Some people said Goff didn’t present enough policies, but I think that’s rubbish – Labour’s policies came out well. And they’re about the tough decisions we need to take now, both to correct National’s mismanagement and also because of the recession. And now, with foreshadows of an even tougher recession to come, I’m even more scared that National will get a second term. By the end of it, we’ll be squarely third world.

    As for the exchanges between the two, if something on TV is called a ‘debate’, they should be debating directly, and I reckon that’s what TVNZ should have been fostering. I was annoyed they weren’t allowed to develop their exchanges more. I suspect Key would have been showed up even more for his lying and evasion, and that’s what TV One was trying to avoid.

    The questions from the panel and from the video submitters were pretty irrelevant and a distraction, and I have to wonder how and why they were chosen at all. Guyon Espiner could have carried the whole thing by himself, introducing topics that seemed representative of such input rather than screening the clunky home videos and the distracting questions from the panel of misfits. This would have allowed more time for real debate – and Mark Sainsbury’s input was not needed at all.

    As for Dr Jon Johansen and Dr Claire Robinson, the ex Private Secretary to Jenny Shipley got to lead that commentary too, and Johansen only asserted himself in the post match briefing much later on that night. So anyone missing that later commentary might take Robinson’s queue that Key was the better in the debate, which was far from the truth.

    Afterwards, in a text poll, 61% of people said Key impressed them the most in the debate in a text poll, compared to 39% for Goff. That looks bad, but considering Goff was on (I think) just 14% as preferred leader, that’s actually a dramatic rise. But the poll is hardly scientific.

    The biggest thing in National’s favour now is the short electioneering window forced by the date set in the full knowledge that the Rugby World Cup would effectively hijack the nation’s attention. That, coupled to Key’s popularity – but last night we saw Key’s smug veneer begin to crack.

    So keep the hits coming, Labour.

    We need a left wing government.

    It’s now becoming a question of saving the country.

    Afterwards, reported the NZ Herald, Key again took exception to being called a liar. “It’s a very strong term and I don’t believe I’ve ever used that about Phil Goff. I’m not a liar.”

    Well, that’s a lie. And what does this presuppose; that Key gets to lead with the terms of abuse? Bullshit.

    But the reason you’ve never used the term about Phil Goff is that Goff is not a liar, actually, Mr Key.

    You are.


  9. Lefter 45 ~ Before you vote for John Key, look at these other turkeys

    September 26, 2011 by emweb

    I can’t begin to understand why anyone actually likes John Key, I admit it. To me he’s a mealy-mouthed, glad-handing buffoon, utterly entranced by his own completely inexplicable popularity.

    He loves being centre stage and in the limelight to the extent he’s been going too far. Case in point: Key said the Pike River families asked him to step in and sort things out for them. The Pike River families, two days later, fessed up that he had actually gone to them. What an ass.

    Anyway, if you love Johnny and waste your vote on him, check out what comes with Mr Smiley:

    Bill English is Deputy Leader – he’s the enemy Key is keeping even closer. Bill wanted to lead National; he’s the conservative South Island farmer who’s steadily been tightening the reins on fiscal policy as minister of finance.

    Do you trust him? I sure as hell don’t.

    By the way, it was Julius Caesar who famously said ‘Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer’. I don’t think it’s good advice, considering Caesar’s friends and enemies duly gathered around – and stabbed him to death.

    Then there’s Minister for Disaster Gerry Brownlee – he’s been beavering away making a complete cock-up of the reconstruction of Christchurch. He’s another South Islander, but not one enjoying much Mainland love at the moment. His motto on National’s web page is ‘Building better public service’ – to serve who, Gerry?

    Simon Power is a hawk, but that’s fitting: he’s Minister of Justice. He’s the one championing retrospective law changes to justify things that have been done unlawfully by the authorities in the past.

    Oh, and he’s another South Islander.

    Nick Smith comes from a construction business family. He has a PhD in landslides! Rather hilariously, Key chose to make him Minister of the Environment.

    OK – He’s from North Canterbury and he’s been in every National government for the past two decades. Memorably, right?

    (I have nothing against the South Island, but two thirds of the population lives in the North Island. So why are they running the country?)

    Tony Ryall is from the North Island, at least, and he’s ‘building a safer New Zealand’. He’s Minister of Health, State Services and State Owned Enterprises – in other words, with National in power, he’s a prize cutter.

    Judith Collins is minister of Police, Corrections and Veterans Affairs. At least she has a degree in law. Collins campaigned on behalf of Vietnam Vets over Agent Orange. Could be worse.

    Anne Tolley is Minister of Education – so all you students out there and those working in education should have a lot of faith in her, right? If you can remember her name.

    Paula Bennett, gawd, where do I begin? She’s the worst type of ‘made it on the bones of my arse so why can’t you?’ righty. Solo mum, benefit recipient, sympathy for no one. Sounds a bit like Key himself – his mother was a refugee from Nazi Germany yet he pronounces against refugees, and he grew up in a state house but hasn’t time for public schools and state assistance.

    At least Bennett is a hard worker. If only she wasn’t, though.

    Steven Joyce is another colourless bloke – I admit he is working hard for better broadband, as Labour’s Cunliffe did before him.

    Murray McCully is Minister for the Rugby World Cup. You might think this is good.

    I think it’s good … for a third world banana republic. For New Zealand, it’s embarrassing. He’s embarrassing. When he’s not pretending to ‘sort out’ Auckland’s transport mess, which is largely the fault of National’s policies anyway, he’s gadding about in the Pacific, being feted by those who get New Zealand aid money and use it to buy new cars.

    Tim Grocer is the only truly scary person here, because he’s actually clever. Cleverness harnessed to right wing ideology is always a dangerous thing. Shame – what a waste.

    I could go on. But let me conclude: think about what your MP has done for your area, and for your needs, before you vote.

    Think about this bunch of no hopers riding on John Key’s coat tails before you vote. Coz you cop the lot.