Okay! Okay! I’m Un-Surrendering. Replace Shearer.

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IS IT POSSIBLE to “un-surrender” yourself?

On 18 April, in a posting on The Daily Blog, I wrote:

“For the past twelve months I’ve been saying: ‘Not David Shearer!’ Everything he’s said and done up to this point made me either wince with embarrassment or howl with rage. The things he should’ve (but didn’t) say and do produced similar reactions. A niggling suspicion took root in my mind that the guy was a neoliberal: that all his hesitations and misstatements were born of a determination to mask his true beliefs until it was too late; that we were heading for a replay of 1984.”

What happened on 18 April that change my mind? Well, that was the day Labour and the Greens announced their energy policy. A single buyer of electricity and gas, NZ Power, would re-regulate the New Zealand energy market – lowering the cost of power to every Kiwi household.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

Labour had actually managed to surprise me.

“[A]fter today’s announcement, that analysis [Shearer’s a neoliberal] is beginning to look a little shaky. Unlike Labour’s poorly developed plan for affordable housing (offering houses that were neither affordable, nor available, to the Kiwis who needed them most) “NZ Power” is set to make a real and progressive difference to the lives of Labour’s people. If David Shearer’s persuaded his fractured caucus to get in behind a policy this good, then, surely, there’s a reasonable chance he’ll persuade them to get in behind others?”

On 18 April, that “reasonable chance” seemed worthy of a bet. So, putting aside a lifetime of bitter disappointments from the Labour Party, I once again put all my money on Red.

And then, as a further gesture of good-will “to friend and foe alike, in Labour’s fractious caucus”, I ran-up the white flag:

“Okay! Okay! I surrender. Shearer stays.”

What a fool I was!

Two months on, and the hopes generated by the Labour-Green energy policy have well-and-truly dissipated.

It turned out that, far from being the product of close collegial collaboration between David Parker and Russel Norman, Labour’s and the Greens’ energy policies had been developed separately. It was only the prospect of the Greens releasing their plans ahead of its own that bounced Labour into authorising the joint announcement of 18 April.

As the full dimensions of NZ Power began to emerge, the hurried and ad-hoc nature of that crucial joint press conference quickly became evident. It had been so many years since Labour had released anything even remotely challenging to the neoliberal status-quo that nobody in the Leader’s Office had foreseen – let alone prepared Shearer – for the firestorm of criticism which erupted immediately from the Right.

Genuine leftists had grasped instantly the policy’s transgressive nature – it’s why they were so thrilled. At last!, they thought, Labour is pulling away from the neoliberal dock to which she has been moored since 1984. It simply never occurred to real social-democrats that the early announcement of Labour’s energy policy had been made in a spirit of tactical partisan one-upmanship; or that no clear thinking had been devoted to a) how the policy would be received, and b) how it would be defended, and c) how it fitted in to Labour’s emerging 2014 manifesto.

Grant Robertson’s statement of 24 April made everything much clearer. According to Grant the energy policy was a one-off, and the business community could rest easy that far from being the harbinger of Labour’s wholesale repudiation of neoliberal ideology, the energy policy was an aberration. No other deviations from the norm were planned, purred Robertson:

“Labour makes no apology for stepping in to fix problems in the electricity sector. But this is not a signal that Labour is going to intervene elsewhere in the economy. As we said on the day we launched NZ Power, we have no plans to intervene in any other markets.”

“As we said on the day”. With those six little words Robertson signaled to anyone who was paying attention that there were some in Labour’s caucus who most certainly had grasped the magnitude of the heresy that was NZ Power. But, far from welcoming it, these MPs were determined to quarantine it in a side-bar all of its own. This cautious little cabal (presumably led by Robertson) knew how contagious unchecked policy radicalism could be. They were not about to let it spread.

This need to calm things down, restore order, bring everything back under his control is crucial to understanding Robertson’s political style. At its core, the man’s political vision is one of quiet, efficient and, if possible, humane government management. In the Robertson playbook, change is something to be taken in small mouthfuls, well-chewed to ease digestion and avoid the risk of choking, and never in excessive quantities. It’s a Sir Humphrey vision: bureaucratic, paternalistic and, essentially, bi-partisan.

Within a fortnight of the energy policy’s release someone was briefing the Press Gallery that, from a practical perspective, NZ power wasn’t really doable. At least 18 months would be required for the drafting alone, and then there was the select committee process. Honestly, the whole project would likely take longer to put in place than the government’s three-year term of office. On winning power, whispered the briefer knowingly, Labour might decide that the NZ Power-game was no longer worth the candle.

But this was merely the illusion of control. Once out of its bottle, the genie of NZ Power could not be stuffed back in – for the very simple reason that the Right would not permit it. From the perspective of New Zealand’s neoliberal establishment, the Labour-Green energy policy was proof positive of its authors’ utter incapacity for responsible government. No matter how many reassurances Grant Robertson might scatter before their eyes, the truth of the matter was clear: the parties of the Left could never be trusted not turn feral and start eating the rich.

Had David Shearer been any kind of a real Labour leader he would have understood this intuitively and immediately – and he would have doubled-down on his party’s bet. If National, the business community and the right-wing news media were going to brand him anyway as some sort of North Korean communist, out to nationalize everything and shoot any bugger who complained, then he had very little to lose by going along for the ride.

New Zealanders are not natural radicals, but once persuaded that radical change is necessary and can no longer be avoided they can be very radical indeed. Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble understood this – and transformed their nation. Shearer showed a glimmer of understanding it when he held up the example of the Finnish prime minister, Esko Aho. Big change is better than little change, was what Shearer seemed to be saying. The problem was, none of those responsible for getting him the Leader’s job agreed.

Douglas and Prebble had the likes of Graham Scott and Bryce Wilkinson to rely on, Shearer had John Pagani, Fran Mold, Julian Robbins and Mike Smith. That wouldn’t have mattered if Shearer possessed the leadership qualities necessary to attract the sort of advisers he needed to succeed. But Shearer has never been that sort of man. He has always gone where he was sent, and worked with what he found there. Fine qualities in a UN troubleshooter. Massive drawbacks in a political leader.

That’s why he’s got to go. That’s why I’m un-surrendering.

Labour’s purpose is to make a difference for all those who lack the personal and/or communal resources to make a difference on their own. Doing that successfully has always demanded radicalism – allied to an intellectual and emotional leadership capable of convincing enough New Zealanders that only radicalism will do.

It takes time to win that argument. Inevitably, there will be losses along the way. But when that sort of Labour leader does eventually win power, radical change happens.

The very worst thing a Labour leader can be is a winner who changes nothing.

35 COMMENTS

      • I really like Manas Financial Transaction Tax, their radicalism, their housing policy as long as they add the other 10,000.00 homes for everyone else to the 10,000.00 exclusively for Maori. They need more representatives, more cohesive policy, more partners and to aggressivley promote them…then I will vote for them again! 🙂

        • Hi Kath,
          I’m also impressed with Mana’s policies, especially their housing policies. Unfortunately the media have misrepresented their latest announcement – there is 5 key parts to the policy, however only one of those relates only to Maori, and this was the only one focused on by the mainstream media.
          The 5 key parts are:
          1. housing warrant of fitness
          2. fill the empty state houses
          3. build more state houses
          4. health related issues from our poor housing
          5. bring back the Maori Affairs Housing Loan Scheme

          As you have pointed out, the 5th point refers to the 10,000 houses for Maori – this scheme was introduced in 1935, but was killed off by Labour in 1989.
          I agree with you that more housing needs to be provided for all Kiwis – and that is what the 3rd point aims to deliver: ” MANA wants to build 10,000 state houses a year, 500 immediately in Ikaroa Rawhiti, as a first step to ensuring that every whanau that needs a home can get one, either to rent or to own”

          You can read Mana’s housing policy release here.

          I hope that answers your wish Kath! I think state housing is the way to go. As a Pakeha who cannot afford a house, I want my rent profits to be redistributed throughout society, rather than sitting in a landlord’s bloated bank account.
          I also agree with you that Mana needs more representatives, more cohesive policy, more partners and to aggressivley promote them…that’s why I have just become a member. I went to a local Mana meeting last week and found it inspiring, it’s great to finally be part of a political movement that represents me.

    • Just don’t think they can get over the fact that pouring resources into the world economy which is just another rort is worse than dealing with the environmental issues NZ faces will take hands on action here…not just money or more taxation. Im sad they are so hopeless in all the areas that matter to NZers as well. I haven’t heard anything constructive from them on critical matters concerning NZ.

  1. The Labour Movement needs to recapture the party back from its caucus, which has hijacked its values for 30 years.
    The parliamentary party affected a coup against the movement under the Douglas clique and their ideology has never been abandoned by the caucus.
    An internal revolution is necessary.

  2. There is nothing there.

    People either understand that basic truth about David Shearer, or they let wishful thinking override daily evidence.

    It’s been so sad watching so many people – many of them good Labour people – try and project something onto nothing. “We want National out, therefore we must Believe in Shearer”. That is their mantra, but like all articles of faith, repeating doesn’t make it true.

    Between now and the election Shearer will announce policies (i.e. read out badly whatever has been written for him) and Labour’s hopes will briefly flicker from time to time. Perhaps Chris Trotter will even surrender again. It won’t change a thing.

    For the good of his party he should go. For himself and his clique, he will stay. Shame on them all.

    • Labour need more than a new leader! In fact who?? I would like to hear some solutions from Chris Trotter rather than just critiques…which are easy…come on give the public some ideas…not to mention the politicians! 🙂 Winston is becoming the Kingmaker again…horrors!!

      • I agree with your comment Kath. The problems facing Labour run deeper I believe than David Shearer. As Chris pointed out in his article on David Bain, people look for individuals to blame in contradiction to the evidence.

        It has been most interesting that leadership has been roundly blamed throughout the western world as the reason for the failure of the left. If only Obama had more guts, Hollande should grow a spine, etc . . Why is there such a problem finding reliable progressive leadership?

        I now get to play Devils advocate ^_^ . What if the reason that the progressives are failing is because their policies based on their economic theory, primarily Keynes. Do not allow them to propose any alternative to capitalist relations, and current capitalist forms. They cannot break things such as monopoly capital because any attempt to do so would create an economic crisis that would bury reforms and see them out of power so quickly that it would be political suicide. This would suggest that their economic theories are wrong.

        But we also know that the economic theories of the right are wrong as well. Liberal economics has lead to spiralling costs of living plunging wages and repeated attacks on workers rights as well as a list much longer than our collective arms of other issues. I believe most on this blog would agree with this, at least.

        Perhaps what is needed is not necessarily a shuffle of leadership twice or three times every term. But a serious review, debate and modification/change of economic theory. If the things we ask of our leadership are scientifically impossible, it will be expressed through repeated crisis of leadership and betrayal. As, going out on a limb, I believe we are seeing globally. If correct, blaming shearer or anyone else is unconstructive and seeing the encroachment of competing and equally bankrupt theories into the party, to be expected.

        This has been a serious, I will say again SERIOUS, problem within progressive politics since at least 1984 as Chris rightly points out though perhaps as early as the 60’s. 30 years people, 30 years of bashing heads against a scientifically bankrupt approach, 30 years of exhausted activists, recalcitrant leaders and misery. We need to look hard at this, not just whinge, and be prepared to look at ideas new and old in a fresh light.

        Thank you.

        • But a serious review, debate and modification/change of economic theory.

          Modern economic theory isn’t economic at all as it ignores the distribution of scarce resources and focuses solely on money. And even then it misses the fact that the private banks are the ones that control the money which removes any possibility of democracy from the distribution of the states resources.

          Following such a theory (much more accurate to call it a hypothesis) while the private banks have such control will inevitably result in increasing poverty for the majority while a few get immeasurably richer. Exactly as we’ve been seeing worldwide over the last 30 to 40 years.

          Democracy needs to be brought to bear upon our economy as well.

  3. And, D. Shearer can take with him, the other Labour MPs who considered it “appropriate” to avail themselves of Skycity’s hospitality, in said corporate box at Eden Park for the All Blacks v. France test.

    Bon voyage!

  4. Since corporations and money-lenders are in control of all the political parties it really makes little difference which is in power.

    Anyway, Shearer going (or staying) will make no difference whatsoever to the outcome at this late stage of the game. All the components for economic and environmental meltdown have been put in place; it’s just a natter of time now; probably October this year for the economic meltdown, but it may be held off till next year. The environmental meltdown is on-going and is accelerating.

    • I so hope you’re wrong about those coming meltdowns, but I fear you may be right. With any luck we may have a little longer than you predict so I can stuff some more Memphis meltdowns down my throat before melting away. I scream.

  5. The politicians should learn from Mr. Trotter that there’s no shame in admitting one has made a mistake, unfortunately most of them aren’t big enough to do it. Fessing up is often the best option – just ask David Letterman.

  6. Shearer was chosen as leader by a caucus cabal.

    LP voters have not voted for that cabal for some time now.

    The growing absence of LP voters ought to alert the ego centric cabal.

    Apparently not.

    The LP has a script based on the works of Lewis Carrol.

  7. David Shearer has given politics a go, but clearly it’s not his thing, its time for him to repatriate his US dollars (hey the timings good, its down to 0.77), and go home, relax and play his guitar.

    You get the feeling that he would be happier doing this, most of the Left would be happier…perhaps the only unhappy lot would be the Right.

  8. “The growing absence of LP voters ought to alert the ego centric cabal.” If there was only 1 voter left, as long as they voted for them, they wouldn’t care!

  9. Shearer must GO!

    I absolutely agree, Chris, and I am relieved you are seeing the light again.

    We all make rushed decisions and misjudgments, so you can be forgiven.

    Indeed the Greens seem to be smarter and better organised in many ways as present Labour. They have ideas and bring out some policies that are rather well researched and that appeal to wider groups in the population now.

    Their housing policies make more sense than Labours, and yes, they seemed to be having a similarly thought out plan for a reform of the electricity market. So Labour got uneasy, that is the leadership, and they rushed to reign in the losses in support to the more and more appealing Greens.

    If Labour had been as committed about NZ Power, it would have been announced at a time that Shearer would have been in the country to sell it. But he did not. It was also announced to upset the issue of Mighty River Power shares.

    Robertson soon revealed that Labour would not take risks to upset voters they are trying to win from the Nats.

    But the whole strategy does not work, nor will it work. Labour should rather focus on getting a good share of the 800,000 that did not vote last election.

    At present we are half way through another year, and we have had only that one major policy announcement, together with the Greens, while this was supposed to be the year Labour hammers out new policies and in part reveal them. But what do we get? Nada!

    Shearer is trying to outsmart the fox John Key with questions during question time, but instead he leaves himself open to ridicule, e.g. with his “forgotten” New York bank account, with a too daring claim about Key and GCSB staff having been filmed when Key visited, with now trying to claim that National are losing support, while the Nats laugh about him, because the latest poll shows it is Labour losing support.

    Shearer is not up to it, will never be, no matter how much media training. It is not just that he is right of centre and tries to be seen differently, it is also that he cannot lead in a strong and convincing manner, is awkward in front of media and so forth.

    Only a brain transplant would solve some issues with him, but as far as I know, medical surgical development is not quite there yet. And then most would still associate the face and body with past negative impressions.

    No, give Helen a call, David, and she may assist with a tidy retreat and another job opportunity in New York, or for the UN in the wider field.

    David Cunliffe’s time is coming. He is not really that much to the left either, we must accept, but he can at least reach out to the left, can certainly speak, is good with the media, can lead, can improve his leadership and team skills, and he is the only one now, who could turn the tide and possibly get the votes in 2014 that Labour needs to sweep this present cunning lot out of government!

  10. Shearer and the rest of the dead wood do not care weather they win of not. They still get their comfy offices and their great salaries, sure it would be bettor if they won but it aint the end of the world for them. They need to be totally reliant on the membership voting them in to their respective positions or there is never going to be any accountability. Why do we have such incompetent dicks in the top jobs? If I performed as poorly as they do in the front bench, I would of been fired years ago.

  11. The reinstatement of Kevin Rudd at PM in Australia, must have some (admittedly minor) effect on New Zealand Labour leadership question.

    • In itself, the Aussie situation means nothing – they are still wallowing in the adversarial environment of FPP, where the ruling party is a dictatorship and its undemocratic hierarchy is all-important.

      Symbolically, you have a very smart, very able politician in Rudd who is also an egotistical maniac and an autocrat getting ditched by his very own party. Then attempting coup after coup only for the chance for revenge before he plunges into the electoral abyss. Replacing a competent but highly un-charismatic alternative.

      Cunliffe is not a Rudd-style maniac but he does have an ego problem which has lead to his rejection by his own party. They know that like Rudd he’s got all the skills except for the most important one – teamwork. So either he has learnt his lesson and is prepared to work with them or someone else must be found who can (who?). If Cunliffe had Shearer’s humility he would long ago have won over the caucus and squeezed all sorts of left wing policies out of them…

      • They know that like Rudd he’s got all the skills except for the most important one – teamwork.

        Well how come that in his own electorate he has no problem working with his team? They love him and the feeling is reciprocated. I think you might find that this so-called lack of teamwork is more the figment of the ABC Club’s imagination than a reality.

  12. Ah yes . But what about the Great New Zealand Institutionalized Lie Chris Trotter ?

    That’s where all our political nightmares emanate from .

    ‘ What is this lie you ask ? ‘

    According to the Department of Statistics ;

    At the time of the 2006 census , 51,897 people derived their income off the land as farmers . ( Personally , I’m surprised that , that figure is so high ) 5,952 were employed as farm workers .

    There were 4,027,947 people living in New Zealand back in 2006 so that leaves 3,970,098 New Zealand people living off farmer generated welfare and not directly involved in the shit kicking , cow punching , sheep shagging , flesh eating , rugby playing , Holden driving , fierce wind flinching , murderously expensive , dangerous , thankless , miserable and financially uncertain business that is NZ farming .

    Sure , there are days of sunny fields and all frolicking with the lambs and calves ( And glared at enviously by lawyers from their high rise office windows ) but I’ve also seen suicides , domestic violence , murder and bankruptcies , all directly related to pressures applied by money lenders and banksters .

    You too roger douglas ? You’ve seen a bit of that too haven’t you ? I’d like to invite you to dinner with my mum and dad . I know they’d love to meet you . They’ve been dead for quite a few years now .

    We should in fact stop sipping our Lattes and give the New Zealand Farmer a round of applause for so diligently working so hard under conditions no Hi-Viz vest could protect them from and for so long , for you and me !

    So , what do you do with 3,970,098 people not directly involved with earning the money via exports for the costs associated with running a country . Even a small country like ours . And don’t forget ! We had a pretty sweet ride there for a while .

    Well , it’s simple really . You take advantage of them .

    [ They ] build about us a complex myth of lies wrapped in truths . [They] involve both sides in the myth , that there are some sort of opposing political ideologies and then since we non farming New Zealanders could never compete with our export customers on the Industry front , they borrowed money to support cities full of otherwise unemployable people then set about to harvest them of their time and energy by using borrowed money , leveraged against farming generated export earnings .

    In the between time [they] developed a strategy to play the Farmer off against the beastly Trade Unions and in so doing , created terrible disharmony between the two sectors of New Zealands people .

    They City People versus The Country People . [ They ] simply divided then conquered .

    ( My father , a farmer , understood this and publicly argued for NZ farmers to join into the New Zealand Trade Union movement and move away from the laughable Federated Farmers organization for the toothless neoliberal lap dogs they are to this day . There is no other NZ organization more eager to kiss the feet of their oppressors . My father discovered to his great dismay that there was a massive ground swell of interest from other farmers for the idea of combined Union protection against a cabal of increasingly rich Wellington cronies . Country halls were left with standing room only outside , news papers were publishing alarming support through letters to the editor , Television cameras were present in our farm house near Mataura ! Panic must have been running rampant through the Halls of Parliament .

    A farming program made for the NZBC interviewed my father about his political beliefs back in about 1968 . In that interview , my dad went on to express his grave misgivings for New Zealands future generally and for the future of farming particularly . I remember as a kid sitting in the back of dads old Ford in Invercargill and outside the Broadcasters studio when a man came out and leaned into the passengers window and said past mum . ” Jack , I’ve been told by Wellington that if I broadcast the interview I’ll lose my job . ”
    Then in came the confederates and infested the Farmers Union movement with discontent and created in-fighting . Dads popular New Zealand Farmers Union movement was murdered and buried . There was a modest uprising back in the late 1980’s to that effect . Exactly the same methodology was used then by confederates to destroy the impetus for a collective and compulsory Union umbrella for farmers to protect them against the same oligarch that’s wrecking such havoc on all New Zealanders today . )

    Vast wealth was created , from about the 1880’s when the first exports of canned meat and wool to the UK occurred then when refrigerated shipping was invented here to get our meat to our EU markets , even more money came pouring into NZ . We Kiwis were on our way to becoming a New Land . Of almost unimaginable wealth per head of population and of the very best quality and of the very best kind . Food , clothing material etc etc . And take time to ponder the fact that here we are ! A land of huge food production capabilities and perfectly positioned to take advantage of being in the southern hemisphere so as to be able to supply a rich UK/European winter market with fresh produce !

    So , you had a few farmers thinly spread over a large area of land producing world class consumables including food stuffs which was being railed to the waterfront then shipped to the UK and the EU for excellent returns .

    It wouldn’t have taken long for a fellow with an eye for an easy dollar to pick up on the opportunities there .

    To make a long and fascinating story short . [ They ] fucked us over more decisively , more catastrophically and more enduringly than any other con in modern history . )

    It’s the view of this writer that all the negative , contemporary political machinations stem from those early years of deceit and theft . It’s handed down from generation to generation , just like all abuse .

    New Zealand will require a politician with a strength of will and determination of Herculean proportions to fix the shit we’re in . Think Ed Hillary , Burt Munro , Norman Kirk and David Lange on P with a gun in each hand .

    We have Auckland with a bloated population well beyond reason and living on an interest owing ,false economy . We have a media lapdog organization which is over paid and under thunk and who’re not much more than side show clowns touting business for the creepy fortune teller who constantly lies and misleads the innocent .

    New Zealands undoing has always been it’s beauty and richness . The undoing of New Zealanders has been their good luck to always have a full belly and a warm hearth .

    Who ever the fuck wrote ‘ The price of freedom is eternal vigilance ‘ knew a thing or two about the in-human condition .

    If we are to ever see a political renaissance , we need to unpick the corruption that’s rife within New Zealands political infrastructure .

    Some months ago I wrote a letter to QE 2 . In that letter , I expressed me views and concerns , as one does and she replied via her assistant who told me that the she , the Queen had seriously considered my letter and had sent it on to the NZ Governor General for his attention . I expect to be IRD audited any day now . Perhaps worse !
    Just after that , the Queen attended thatchers funeral .

    There was a royal blue sticker on the back of the envelope . It reads
    ” Royal Mail . The sender of this item applied insufficient Airmail postage , so we diverted it to an alternative service . This may have caused delay . ”
    Is that funny , is that sad or is that really fucking scary ?

    • Wow, Countryboy, while I may disagree with some aspects of your post, hey, this is refreshing and gives me much reason to think. I come from a farming background myself, and i know what bloody hard work is involved in farming.

      Yes, it is something worth thinking about, what lobby groups there are, and why we do not have the connectivity between the alienated urban centres and the districts. Unity can only be achieved by working together, which necessitates understanding each other from the start.

      I have always thought it would be great if we would have equal schools, abolish private, privileged schools, and treat all fairly, also have school kids go onto farms for some real life experience once a year, to put in some real physical effort and learn the basics about what this country still largely lives off.

      But I fear no PC obsessed government will dare expect the pampered kids from Remuera, or the “neglected” ones from Manurewa, to go onto farms, to see real cows, chickens, pigs and whatever, let alone learn to milk and dig some grounds.

      NZ needs to revive and resurrect itself, at all fronts, with all skills, land and city, to improve and grow, we are not getting it, are we?

    • I partly agree with this. Certainly Peter Elworthy was one of the greatest disasters to ever befall NZ. Living in Auckland for the last 3 and half years I am always gob stopped by the local claim that the City of the Sails is the productive heart of NZ which earns the nations bread. To me, Auckland as first stop off the cab for boats arriving in NZ from the 1880s was building up too large a population of unskilled working class types, who from the 1930s were supported by the disastorous John A Lee import license protecting jobs, which meant several hundred thousands of NZers since the 1930s have been engaged in pointless effectively minimum wage work creating generations of social deprivation and progressively poorer quality humans. In places like Invercargill and Timaru most working class jobs on the docks and freezing works and in other fields was at semi professional pay level and a partly civilised society existed in the provinces, destroyed post 1985 by the civil war in the countryside, Douglas and the computerisation in the banking and insurance industry.
      The problem however is how do you introduce the economic approach of Reagan or George Osborne and cut government and health expenditure in half. Also in Auckland large pockets of post industrial economy exist, nb if you wander thru the belt south of K Road, thru Grafton. West of Upper Symonds and the fringe of Mt Eden. Modern UK or California greenfield does exist their a bit, which is interesting.

  13. I have to confess I’m tiring of the level of faith or optimism many of a leftist inclination have in Labour, the faith this party will be the nation’s salvation once the party experiences an epiphany or the arrival of a messiah. Waiting for what can seem a miracle can take forever, till then life goes on sitting on hands waiting with bated breath isn’t going to clean off the political crud accumulated over time afflicting our lives especially of those most vulnerable.

    Sure the Labour of old stood firmly by its leftist values and vision but like any organization over time it can be corrupted by those viewing it as a vehicle to hijack and advance their deviant aims. Restoring its integrity can be tough perhaps it may be beyond repair (optimists vs. cynics).

    Perhaps on the political left in this country there’s room for another party to increase the influence of the left in parliament/government where voters aren’t satisfied with Labour, Greens or Mana. Fair share of difficulties there though, perhaps of similar magnitude to Labour seriously reconnecting with its original values.

    Have to wonder how influential leftist politics on a national level are anymore with neoliberalism empowering the financial sector and super-wealthy elite globally at the expense of democracy and national sovereignty. Without major changes the left will be nothing but fleeting moderation to an advancing neoliberalism. The absence of any innovative and solid alternative to neoliberalism isn’t helpful. Likely there would have to be international cooperation amongst the left to turn the tide on neoliberalism.

    Without major demonstrations here, the populace must be somewhat comfortable today with a naïvely optimistic outlook that tomorrow will be as today regardless of the coming challenges. Those concerned with tomorrow, patiently waiting for a saviour says much about how responsible we are. Without any action, how long will it be before even the most remotely leftist idea will be considered a utopian one?

  14. Send that article to every member of the Labour caucus, Chris. Shame about the flip-flops, though. Nearly everyone else outside the caucus room has known for ages that Shearer is not the man for the job and is only keeping the seat warm until one of the barons reckons he’s got the numbers to roll him. FWIW, I reckon Andrew Little’s the man, with Grant R as Number 2 (someone’s got to know how to order room service in the Beehive). David P as Finance Minister and Silent T at MBIE (or whatever he wants to call it), playing the role of Mike Moore with an MBA.

  15. We now have a Rudd(er) in Oz, Julia (inevitably) rolled, and we have similar tensions arising in Noo Zild, with UN Shearer being fidgety, looking over his shoulder, awaiting the second coming of …. Cunliffe. The symmetry of it all! Ha!

  16. Went Green months ago, can’t see me coming back. However, if there is a Labour leadership change, I would choose Parker. That won’t happen though, so guess I just have to love Russel (somehow) Shearer is a nice guy and he would have done well in the 1970’s even 1980’s (early) but a party Leader needs something different now. He certainly needs to be able to best the PM in debates.

  17. Having been around since the last time the earth cooled it never ceases to amaze me how the “left” internationally goes feral. France/Italy being the worst examples of in-house, infighting and leadership challenges, losing elections because of their shenanigans!
    How can Key have such support in the polls when, excluding the Douglas-Prebble era, we have the most dangerous PM in NZ history. I might spend time counting the number of times Shearer licks his lips at the end of every phrase totally distracting me from what is being said, but that is nothing compared to the the number of lies Key comes out with and have lost count. Of course Shearer is not up to the demands of leadership of a political party, nice chap, non feral, lacking background in the history of Labour politics and government. Key only manages to persuade the electorate by having 30 PR – Paid Liars – in the PM’s department writing the script leaving him to swan around smiling and being Mr Nice Guy and head up Uncle Sam’s arse and dread where that will take us eventually, when TPPing comes home to roost. Cunliffe it is then, but what about Andrew Little ? Intelligent, knows the concerns of Labour and how they are being shafted by the Natz, that surely will put some fire in the gut if he was opposition leader. Robinson good in parliament but a newby brought up in a neoliberal environment, lacking Labour background of old. It is to be hoped Shearer himself will make the right decision to stand down rather than a coup……thus giving smart arse Key more ammunition to mock as he turns to wait for the compulsory laughter and clapping from his caucus. Theatre of the absurd.

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