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Sins Of Admission – critiquing John Armstrong’s attack on Metiria

By   /  July 22, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  No Comments

Metiria is guilty of a crime – but not the one John Armstrong rails against. Her transgression was to break ranks with the socio-political formation that has kept Richardson’s and Shipley’s welfare cuts bleeding and raw for more than quarter-of-a-century.

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“Let’s Get Together”: National’s Campaign Video Ticks All The Boxes

By   /  July 21, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Media Watch, Most Recent Blogs  /  39 Comments

George Orwell argued that power is defined by the ability to inflict pain. It is, therefore, vital that those who wield decisive power in our society be insulated from the social pain that secures it. To preserve their dominance we, the vast majority of citizens, must be persuaded that the people in charge are just like us – ordinary, decent Kiwis. And that all will be well in our beloved country so long as enough ordinary, decent Kiwis “get together” – and vote for the National Party.

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A Cautionary Tale From Canada

By   /  July 19, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  13 Comments

With Winston exhaling anger, and Metiria Turei breathing hope, Andrew Little and Labour need to offer the New Zealand electorate something more than a deflated ideological balloon.

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The Bright Sunlit Uplands of Radicalism: Metiria Turei and the Greens set the 2017 Election on fire

By   /  July 17, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  34 Comments

METIRIA TUREI has rescued the 2017 General Election from the timidity and moral squalor into which it was fast descending. In a speech that brought tears to her listeners’ eyes and cheers to their throats, the Greens’ co-leader carried her party out of the shadows of moderation and into the bright sunlit uplands of radicalism that have always been its natural habitat.

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The Boxer

By   /  July 14, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  34 Comments

At this point in the electoral cycle, Bill English should be staggering across the ring like a bloodied, punch-drunk boxer desperate for the salvation of the fight’s final bell. Instead he’s still up on his toes and trading punches with an opposition that seems incapable of laying a single glove on his up-tilted prime-ministerial chin.

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Is Barry Coates Serious? Are the Greens really willing to trigger a second election before Christmas?

By   /  July 12, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  51 Comments

HOW SERIOUSLY should New Zealanders take the words of Green MP Barry Coates? In a recent post to The Daily Blog he said: “The memorandum of understanding with Labour is the foundation for building the next government. However, if we were not part of the coalition, we would not accept a Labour-New Zealand First government and certainly not a National-New Zealand First government. Neither will be acceptable to the Greens.”

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Neither Principled, Nor Pragmatic. What’s Eating The Greens?

By   /  July 10, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  60 Comments

In light of the Greens’ recent ideological contortions on the subject of immigration, it is possible to interpret Metiria’s attack on NZ First as being driven by internal – not external – considerations. It is possible that the immigration issue has become a symbol of the increasingly bitter divisions that have opened up between idealists and pragmatists within the Green Party. If so, then NZ First has been made the whipping-boy for offences much closer to home.

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A Tale For The Times

By   /  July 8, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Media Watch, Most Recent Blogs  /  30 Comments

WHY IS “THE HANDMAID’S TALE” so bloody scary? The movie was bad enough, but the television series is so chilling I find it hard to watch. And what, exactly, is the raw nerve which the story is touching this (it’s third) time around?

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Morbid Symptoms: Neoliberalism’s Room for Manoeuvre Keeps Shrinking

By   /  July 6, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  35 Comments

TWO BIG ANNOUNCEMENTS TODAY. The first came from the New Zealand Initiative and purported to be about improving our education system. The second came from the Supreme Court of New Zealand and had the effect of stopping the Ruataniwha Dam in its tracks. On the face of it these two announcements have nothing whatsoever in common. What links them, however, is the way in which both demonstrate how dramatically Kiwi neoliberalism’s room for manoeuvre has shrunk.

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Revolution or Resignation? Responding to the “Rigged Game” of NZ Politics

By   /  July 5, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  42 Comments

OKAY, so the game is rigged. Well spotted. Now, what should be done about it? That’s the $64,000 question. Because understanding that one lives inside a corrupt system does not automatically lead to political action. Indeed, it’s as likely to lead to resignation and despair as it is to anger and revolt.

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Letter from London 2 – Chris Trotter blogging election from UK

By   /  June 12, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  16 Comments

The Tory base may be larger than Labour’s, but its vision of Britain’s future is limited, backward-looking and profoundly hostile to all claims of social solidarity and progress. By contrast, the Corbyn-led Labour Party’s radical manifesto, and its direct campaigning style, has drawn tens-of-thousands of young and formerly disillusioned voters into the thrilling business of pursuing political, economic and social change.

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Letter From London – Chris Trotter blogging from UK election

By   /  June 8, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  20 Comments

Seeing London, it is easier to understand why the United Kingdom finds it so hard to let go of the expectations of greatness. The idea that Britain still counts – still has a role to play – must be hard to give up when its leaders drive to and from their offices in what feels like the world’s most elaborate movie set.

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Yes We CAN? Labour launches its Community Action Network

By   /  May 9, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  23 Comments

PEOPLE ON THE LEFT bang on and on about “community”. It’s a nice safe word that allows Labour centrists to express ideas that are vaguely collective in nature, but without resorting to that awful, unspeakable word – class. That said, it is difficult to drive into an ageing state-house suburb like Otara, in Auckland, without the word “community” popping into your head.

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Inflicting Pain Without Flinching: Jenny Shipley Talks To Guyon Espiner

By   /  April 30, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  75 Comments

IT IS NEVER ADVISABLE, when writing political commentary, to get angry. Powerful emotions distort our judgements and make the already difficult job of political analysis even harder. Sometimes, however, giving vent to our anger is the right thing to do. Sometimes, maintaining a calm and dispassionate analytical posture serves only to give despicable behaviour a free pass. Some people are only deserving of the most forthright and unequivocal condemnation.

Jenny Shipley is one of those people.

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Not Dead Yet: A Response to Rachel Stewart’s Musings on Democracy

By   /  April 28, 2017  /  Chris Trotter, Most Recent Blogs, Setting The Agenda  /  24 Comments

I’M A BIG FAN of Rachel Stewart’s writing. Her column in the NZ Herald has quickly become one of those “must-read” contributions to the national conversation. She’s to be admired for her courage, too. Anyone who takes on Big Dairy in this country knows exactly what to expect – and it usually arrives. This weeks contribution, however, on the subject of democracy, was not one of her best.

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Moving Beyond Good and Evil: Can Gerry Brownlee Get Past America’s Moral Absolutes?

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

Notorious among journalists for his tendency towards tetchiness, the words “Gerry Brownlee” and “diplomat” seem particularly ill-matched. The truly great foreign ministers of our history have all been thoughtful, measured and principled individuals.

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