Why Key’s cult of no personality works in NZ and how the left beat it


NZers like their fascism, the way they like their racism – casual. The “feeble and passive-aggressive New Zealand culture” Passionless People have given birth to a User Pays culture politically adrift in an ocean of selfies.

The NZ working class and upper classes who had bleed, fought and died shoulder to shoulder in World War One and Two built an egalitarian country that declared everyone deserved equal share from the harvest just as they had equally suffered and sacrificed on battlefields far from home. The universality of our experiences have shaped us as NZers and it is that universality of experience that the Left draw so much strength from.

Nobody benefited more from that universality than the Baby Boomers who boomed on universal state assistance. The terrible irony is that so many baby boomers who have fought and changed society from the Vietnam protests, nuclear free protests and Springbok protests, have not ensured that the universality of State support has been kept for everyone. That universality has been replaced by a user pays culture, the offspring of whom have zero idealogical compass.

They pay and get used.

Gen Xers and Gen Y have to pay for their own education, save for their own retirement, while also trying to save for a deposit on a house in a property market speculated out of reach by Baby Boomers.

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The anger at this generational inequality has political power but no voice. The first Party to tap it could win the election.

John Key’s easy laid back cult of no personality, dorky Dad routine helps dissipate the Kiwi little brother complex. ‘He’s a dick like me’ is the low threshold of acceptance we aspire to.

He’s a politician who doesn’t like that boring old politics stuff and it’s difficult to engage the plight of 270 000 children in poverty when the Prime Minister is doing the Harlem Shake while planking, derping and photobombing Paddy Gower dancing Gangnam styles.

The cultural fetishism of the individual above all is a necessary addiction for neoliberalism and combating narcism with solidarity is a culture fight the next progressive Government must be serious about tackling.

If you want to build pride in egalitarianism you exemplify by doing. Better Public Broadcasting. Civics classes for students and new migrants. Lower the voting age to 16 to expand the democratic franchise. Reintroduce universal Student Unions. A Digital Bill of Rights for the internet. Feed all children in decile 1-4 schools. Capital gains tax to help our propertied Baby Boomer generation give a little back. Mandatory public holidays including a new mid-week public holiday called ‘Kiwi Day’ where everyone volunteers for a day to do some good community deeds.

The next progressive Government intends to challenge the neoliberal economic structure, they must also be prepared to seed cultural changes by providing universality of services to give the next generation an opportunity as good as the boomers.

If the left can’t encourage cultural universality, this is the future…

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  1. In the cold hard light of day, after the after party, anyone with a student loan, a friend or relative with a student loan, anyone considering taking out a student loan, would be well advised to read:
    As far as I can tell, this legislation has been passed by royal assent and imho is the most draconian, punitive and uncharitable piece of legislation in recent history considering most of the select committee members looking at this bill will (most probably) have had a free education.
    The problem of unaffordable housing for Gen X and Gen Y pales into insignificance next to this trap.
    As of last year,
    no matter how little you earn, student loan is deducted on top of paye tax, taking the minimum wage down between 30-40% of gross earnings, unless you apply for an exemption every 3 months.
    Now you can be arrested at the airport if you are deemed to be behind on your repayment and rushing back to whatever rat race you work at.
    I say it’s draconian because of the way the act is worded, there is leeway for interpretation and the ‘at the discretion’ styling means, hell, you just gotta hold your mouth wrong / not have a rich daddy and hey presto!
    wham bam etc….
    Ironically, National say ‘personal responsibility’. (Sad picture says it all….)

    • “Now you can be arrested at the airport if you are deemed to be behind on your repayment and rushing back to whatever rat race you work at. I say it’s draconian because of the way the act is worded, there is leeway for interpretation and the ‘at the discretion’ styling means, hell, you just gotta hold your mouth wrong / not have a rich daddy and hey presto! wham bam etc…. ”

      Yes, an abysmal piece of legislation, but a close look at the Social Security Act 1964 will also make for depressed reading, after it was amended yet again so many times last year.

      From the cradle to the grave, that now means nothing much “care” and “wellbeing”, it means “enslavement”, “harassment” and “punishment”, nothing else.

      I see many graduates with high loan debt now think carefully. If they cannot get a decent enough job within a year or two after finishing their studies, they will be off to Australia, the UK, Canada and the USA, and some other places, and the incentive to ever come back will be even less than it is already for many, earning well overseas.

      But it is not only the academics, many ordinary workers have also left and rather work in Australia, where they can often earn substantially more than here, and where some living costs are lower.

      So expect for yet more gaps in staffing in the health and other sectors, more immigration to replace the ones leaving, and more exploitation also of migrant labour.

      I cannot believe that this government still gets the poll support that we get presented. It is unbelievable, how many seem to be so damned short sighted, shallow and not just poorly informed, yes downright ignorant. There is no other explanation for it.

      A change of government is overdue, but that seems to depend on the media doing some serious analysis and balanced reporting, which I see far, far too little of. Ill informed voters make for a poor democracy.

  2. “Feed all children in decile 1-4 schools.”

    I admit I don’t fully understand the the whole “decile” system/calculation. Is it true that ALL parents with kids in decile 5+ schools wouldn’t need any assistance, simply from the very fact their children are going to a decile 5+ school? i.e. “You’re in a decile 5+ school, so you MUST be rich”? Is that what you’re saying? Please enlighten me. I thought schools in NZ were ZONED, which wouldn’t guarantee an income level for any family who happens to live in that zone. Am I wrong?

    • Here in Korea, all schools provide lunches. So do businesses. It might be a good move to renormalise the bottom line that NZ children are not to go hungry no matter how tempting the latest neo-liberal pipe dream may be.

      The neo-libs should presented with a bill: all this destructive change was ‘justified’ by a promised surge in growth that, because they used readily corruptible mechanisms, never eventuated. The short answer is to take our assets back. Occupying power companies might be a good start.

  3. The left needs to cope with Key’s buffoonery and baiting by ignoring it and talking policy rather than personalities. Whether we like it or not, Key is the master of media manipulation and no-one from the left can touch him. The only answer is to focus on policies completely. While Key is the leader of the National Party that party doesn’t need to concern itself with policy because hardly any journalists are interested in asking what that party’s policies are. They are more interested in what stunt the PM is going to pull for today’s amusement. Hopefully people will eventually become bored with his PR stunts and silly faces and start asking what the National Party plan to do if they win the next election, and then they will be in a spot of bother because it seems they have no idea.

  4. This is a magnificent, concise, summation of how our egalitarian society, so admired by other nations, has been destroyed and plundered by the baby boomer generation. This ‘me’ centered generation won’t let anyone else have, let alone play with their spoils, but who still live, astoundingly, without any awareness of the damage they have caused their own children’s generation, let alone their children’s and the environment, something they hate, and love to neglect, hack at, and destroy.

    But baby boomers dont think outside of their own concerns, and sandpits. This requires ‘socialist’ thinking, that is – considering others outside of their financial trust encrusted portfolio’s and gated nature-free, concrete mansions .

    Unfortunately due to their protected health and lifestyles in warm, dry, colloseum based mortgage free homes, and debt free lives, based on free education, they will most likely continue to dominate our economic and social systems for what, at least another 2 decades, due to their extended health.

    Some days when I am forced to encounter yet another one of them moaning about their ‘bad tenants’, or the poor families priced out of ever owning a home, and who are paying for their 5th rental investment, I just wait for the days when their generation inevitably dies out. However now I’m so used to their control and dominance over my and other people’s lives perhaps they will even cheat death, and of course if they did, they would monopolise and control it, so only the rich would benefit.

  5. Don’t buy into Key’s game he is an egotistical buffoon.

    Just ignore his childlike wit and stick to the facts, the general public are sick of the nonsense.

    The neo liberals have had a Field Day in the past 30-40 years raping and pillaging our State Assets, they haven’t had the ability to build businesses of their own.

    And then we Knight them for services to the business community-Joke!!!

  6. C.S You are terribly myopic, and generalising. Scroll back in time to the infamous “1980’s Reforms.
    THAT was the downward turning point, when Life in NZ was irrevocably changed ..
    Yes it happened DURING when “Babyboomers” were adults . But was NOT instigated by them per se.

    You surely are aware of the game of Deception & Manipulation in politics, especially when backed by the power of $$$, and ESPECIALLY when the Media is subject to financial interests and therefore control..- he who controls the Media, controls the public mind..especially today..
    – If not, you are clearly young ignorant & naive. Go and do your frigging homework C.S. = many hours to try & catch up)
    You should eventually discover the truth –
    That it is the IMF… who hold EVERY country to ransom, and it is THEY who orchestrate and implement via “political parties” the New policies
    ( eg forcing State Asset sales..& then >> “user pays”,) that have resulted in hardship for most people-
    so as to reap monstrous financial profits for themselves…

    Meanwhile, on another note, did anyone notice the nauseatingly obvious – National’s subtle pre election publicity ploy….John Keys with dear Bronagh, on front page of NZWW (and on Nth Sth Magazine just recently Paula Bennett).

    • As a PS ..I should add that “Baby Boomers” were only young adults , in their late 20’s/early 30’s, at that time, an age when one is still easily MANIPULATED by powerful outside forces beyond one’s psychological capacity/ life experience to see through..- and thus NOT to blame!!!

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