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Not Quite An Act Of War: Analysing Australia’s Push-Back Against Jacinda’s Manus Island Outreach

By   /  November 18, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  No Comments

YOU HAVE TO GO BACK A LONG WAY to find anything remotely resembling Australia’s current treatment of New Zealand. For a supposedly friendly government to deliberately inject inflammatory disinformation into the political bloodstream of its supposedly closest neighbour is an extraordinarily provocative act. Not quite an act of war, but the sort of intervention that can all-too-easily provoke a catastrophic loss of trust.

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Darkness At The End Of The Rainbow?

By   /  November 16, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  16 Comments

The more sharp-eyed and ruthless members of the Liberal and National party rooms will have noticed that of the 17 federal electorates which voted “No” to marriage equality, fully 11 of them are held by the Australian Labor Party.

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Constructive Engagement With Jacinda’s Government? Or, Shouting Anti-TPP Slogans From The Side-Lines? The Left Must Choose

By   /  November 14, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  25 Comments

It is very easy for the traditional Left to call for grand gestures of defiance against the prevailing geopolitical realities: living with the consequences of such calls when you are in government is much harder.

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Democratic Engineers, Or Neoliberal Mechanics?

By   /  November 11, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  7 Comments

If our new Cabinet Ministers are working independently of their “officials”, then that is not, automatically, a bad thing. On the contrary, in a democracy: the spectacle of officials working for politicians, who are, in their turn, working for the people; offers welcome proof that the system is working exactly as it should!

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Settling The Stardust: The Grim Logic Behind National’s Opposition Tactics

By   /  November 9, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  43 Comments

WHAT WAS HE THINKING? When Simon Bridges pulled his little parliamentary stunt and extracted his procedural pound of flesh – what was he thinking? Was it no more than a spur-of-the-moment bluff? Did Labour’s Chris Hipkins give in too readily? What would have happened if the Government had been prepared to call his bluff? We’ll never know. We never do.

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Australia: Seeing What We Have To See.

By   /  November 7, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  8 Comments

What Jacinda saw when she arrived at Kiribili House on Sunday was what she wanted to see. Our good friend and ally, the Australian prime minister. She comported herself accordingly: joshing and joking; and reporting (politely) on her Government’s response to Australia’s latest policy decisions.

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Is The Government’s TPP “Solution” Too Good To Be True?

By   /  November 2, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  26 Comments

The ISDS provisions of the TPP are the ones permitting foreign investors (a.k.a huge multinational corporations) to sue the New Zealand Government for imposing legislative and/or regulatory restrictions on their existing or proposed investments. Such litigation to occur not in a New Zealand courtroom, in front of a New Zealand judge, but before an international tribunal staffed and adjudicated by the sort of lawyers more usually to be found working for – you guessed it – “huge multinational corporations”.

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Who Is Craig Renney, And What Is He Advising Grant Robertson To Do?

By   /  October 31, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  39 Comments

But what, exactly, does that mean? Is Craig merely putting flesh on the bones of Grant’s, and the Labour Policy Council’s, ideas? Or, are Grant and Labour merely repeating ideas and policy positions fed to them by Craig? And, if it’s the latter, then what are the ideas and policies our new government is being asked to swallow?

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Socialism and Populism: The Party is Just Beginning!

By   /  October 28, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  67 Comments

ZACH CASTLES is sitting, gutted, in a café overlooking the Thames. The former “National ministerial adviser”, no longer having any National ministers to advise, has clearly relocated himself to a more promising political marketplace. Even so, our brave young capitalist has taken the time to share his thoughts with The Spinoff. (Who else!) And, oh, comrades, what thoughts they are!

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Strategies Of Right-Wing Resistance: It Can Happen here

By   /  October 26, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  21 Comments

CAN WE REALLY DO THIS? As the euphoria of victory wears off, and the sheer enormity of the challenge confronting progressive New Zealand reveals itself, it would be foolish not to feel just a little bit daunted. We face an economic system without the slightest idea how to solve the problems created by its discredited […]

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Dark Transactions: Winston Peters Decision To “Go Left” Has Already Set His Enemies In Motion

By   /  October 21, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  76 Comments

IN ALL ECONOMIES, and in every political system, there are roped-off areas of shadow and hidden places swathed in deliberate darkness. In these light-starved locations all kinds of disreputable economic and political transactions take place.

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Winston’s Dream Can Only Be Realised By Putting New Zealand Second

By   /  October 19, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  9 Comments

WHAT DOES NZ FIRST WANT? More than anything else, NZ First and its leader, Winston Peters, would like to reconstruct the New Zealand economy of the 1950s and 60s. Given that these were years of extraordinary economic and social progress, during which more and more New Zealanders were lifted into relative affluence, and the country’s […]

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The Maker Of “Men” – Masculinity and its Origins

By   /  October 16, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  37 Comments

WHO MAKES “MEN”? With the behaviour of movie magnate, Harvey Weinstein, dominating the headlines, the nature and origins of masculinity have become a hot topic. At issue is whether all expressions of masculinity are to a greater-or-lesser extent “toxic” – or only some? And, whether the ultimate liberation of womankind is contingent upon the unequivocal elimination of the culturally constructed beings we call “men”?

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Dainties and Chains: Progressive MPs and the “Wellington Bubble”

By   /  October 14, 2017  /  Martyn Bradbury, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  20 Comments

EVEN IF WINSTON VEERS LEFT, the progressive New Zealand community still has a problem. Their new political representatives: the people upon whom so many progressive voters have pinned their hopes for meaningful change; will soon discover that the speed at which they, themselves, are being transformed is far outstripping any changes in the wider world. […]

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Talkin’ ‘Bout A Revolution – Or Not?

By   /  October 12, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  27 Comments

“THESE TALKS ARE ABOUT A CHANGE in the way this country is run. Both economically and socially.” That is how Winston Peters characterised the government formation negotiations currently drawing to a close in Wellington. But, what could his words possibly mean, in practical terms?

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The Hallelujah Song

By   /  October 10, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  37 Comments

In the absence of the Left’s uplifted voices, Winston will take what he can get from the Right. Better to deal with people who have never known that such transformational music exists, than be disappointed by Labour-Green politicians who no longer consider the Hallelujah Song worth singing.

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