GUEST BLOG: Pat O’Dea – Unity in Action


Yes the Left have taken a drubbing, but never mind, time to pick ourselves up off the floor, patch up our wound pride, dust ourselves off, cast around for our friends and allies, and re-enter the fray.

Lots of work for us to do, no more time for the factional fighting that has proven so destructive for the Left.

In the spirit of new badly needed Left Unity…..

The Left opposition needs to start setting the agenda

First up: Hone Harawira’s ‘Feed The Kids’ bill. This bill to address childhood poverty is still live on the floor of parliament and is likely to be one of the first things on the order paper.

With the departure of Harawira from parliament, this bill will have to be lobbied and fought for by the other parties of the Left and Centre, NZ First, Labour, The Green and Maori Party, and if possible United Future.

The government will counter that there is no money for such a program, however within a short time will announce New Zealand’s support for the endless war in the Middle East. The link needs to be made between the fact that there is never any shortage of money and treasure for war, but never any money to feed hungry children, or lift them out of poverty. On behalf of the 100,000 children that struggle to learn on an empty stomach, it is incumbent on Te Ururoa Flavell to pick up this dropped Taiaha, and spearhead this campaign in parliament.

Second up:

TDB Recommends

For the second time the government is again bailing out the technically insolvent Solid Energy, this week the government announced another $103million bail out \on top of the $150million the government gave them last year.

It is not often I agree with the Taxpayer’s Union, but I find myself agreeing with them this time, when the Executive Director of the TU, Jordan Williams says that all parties need to commit to abolishing New Zealand’s culture of corporate “Corporate Welfare”.

But more than just being an act of corporate welfare this is also a chilling climate crime.

Despite the huge continual endless bailing out of Solid Energy, the continuing stream of heartless redundancies of mine workers with little compensation, show that the time has well past for the government hear the call made by Gareth Hughes last year, that this money would be better spent paying for a just transition to jobs that don’t fry the planet.

“Coal is not going to be the fuel of our future if we are to stabilise our climate.

“New Zealanders and Solid Energy workers need a just transition into more sustainable jobs – jobs that don’t fry the planet.”
Gareth Hughes October 1, 2013

And on Thursday the government announced another $8million of the public’s money will be given to help make it easier for people to invest in oil and gas exploration. No doubt this other piece of corporate welfare will have been written at the behest of the fossil fuel industry, worried at the growing international fossil fuel divestment movement.

This subsidy of the oil company investors using tax payers money is an open slap in the face to the international divestment campaign.

Business As Usual needs to be opposed

As John Key declares, “Business As Usual”.
In response, the combined Left need to make a big showing at the march for the climate in Auckland today. The New Zealand March For Climate is held being in conjunction with similar marches being held in 88 other countries.

Details Here

On Monday, the world leaders conference on climate change is being held in New York, unfortunately for us, New Zealand will be embarrassed before the world by being represented at this conference by the National Government.

The point needs to be made, (here and in New York), that by actively opposing the international divestment movement, New Zealand, from being a world leader on environmental and peace issues, has on climate change, become a world scab for the fossil fuel industry.


  1. What is most relevant to all Kiwi’s, start there!

    Most people don’t care about climate change, they should but they don’t, they are trying to get through the day that they’ve been told is booming. And its understanding what happens in their day is what needs to happen.

    They don’t believe that there are starving kids and furthermore if there are it’s the parent/s fault and so what can they do.

    Whatever the perceived issues were before this election they didn’t rate with over half the voters including Colin Craig’s vote and or they certainly didn’t think the left could deliver it.

    They vote with their pockets or what is happening in their world, they take next to no notice of what is happening in politics or next door much less the next suburb and they listen to sound bites on the car radio or headlines in some format or another for direction and information if at all.

    They don’t think much of the left, its divided, it bickers, it openly distrusts each other, it has policies that mean well but have no idea how it will be funded and because of poor party funding it doesn’t communicate well. If the left don’t like the left how the hell will anyone else support it who aren’t dyed in the wool supporters?

    They think NZ is headed in the right direction because the headlines and vested interests tell them so, they think John Key can be trusted even though he tells quite a few lies and they are happy with being manipulated and anyway all politicians do it. And the people of Christchurch are obviously very satisfied with what his happening in their city.

    The left MUST get their act together, it must be a real functional alternative. No more hostility, a focus on what can pragmatically be delivered without scaring the horses but it may take an economic implosion to do it.

    Whoever leads Labour must have the support of the caucus and not have someone placed in parliament as leader who the caucus don’t want because this failed abysmally. That leader must appeal to most, be articulate, must constantly thinking ahead and methodically strategise Its far too late to acknowledge mistakes and blunders after you have made them as we have seen from day one of this leaders tenure. Any important policy must be soundly spelt out because the 100,000 houses in a decade did not sound achievable and worse Labour couldn’t explain how they would anyway, 2 years later. And leaving tax experts to sort out the Capital Gains Tax after the election was the death of that policy. How do you sell people a new tax when you don’t even know how it will work?

    So this term National won’t be worried about Labour or the Greens, they’re mere sideshows. They will be praying that someone in NZ strikes oil, or in the alternative will accept another GFC to hide their economic stupidity behind, which has fooled New Zealanders before. Or maybe another natural disaster to make hay from. Why, because our economy is not a rock star, it’s going backwards, it has terrible debt, a dangerous housing bubble in Auckland and with all issues no ideas how to deal with it.

    With business as usual we are set to go nowhere fast.

    • The problem isn’t that Labour had a leader that wasn’t supported by the caucus, the problem was that the caucus won’t listen to the will of the party. I honestly think that Labour needs to confront this issue head on and not be afraid of the results.

      If someone came up with the idea of trying to make an organisation that was a combination of ACT and the unions we’d say they were mad but that’s exactly what Labour is at the moment – so if it means splitting the party in half they need to do it because we’ve had three decades of Labour trying to cope with an internal compromise and it hasn’t been good for the country.

  2. Excellent article Pat. The right have successfully employed an Orwellian narrative that claims a desire for small government, whilst government’s presence in controlling society is becoming ever larger. Welfare dependency is toted, whilst the ranks of the left behind swell as corporations become increasingly dependent on tax payers money. We face a huge democratic deficit and can only evolve by getting smarter and smarter in our messaging techniques and simplification of narrative in order to achieve mass appeal. The left haven’t won an election in the UK since 1976. I do not consider Tony Blair’s pact with Rupert Murdoch and the US Neocons, nor his disemination of neoliberal policies, to comprise a left wing government. Similarly, I don’t think that NZ can achieve a successful progressive politics whilst the Labour Party comprises people like Goff and Shearer and Cosgrove (and others), with their love of the TPP. Likewise, the Greens must stop standing candidates in places like Ohariu, Auckland Central and Christchurch Central. Cunliffe knee-capping Hone etc. We’re far from ready for 2017. However, I am senses an immediate and urgent realisation of a call to arms following the disaster of Saturday.

    • Well……….maybe some on the Left could consider an apology for aiding and abetting the knee capping IMP and Hone. That would do for starters.

      And along with all the other issues raised, we still have what seems very much like corruption and lies regards mass surveillance.

      So what of it ???!!! so what about that ???!!!

      Do we now relegate all that to yesterdays bloody news?

      There ‘s two LARGE issues for a start that shouldnt be buried under the carpet.

      And lets not forget that the guy whose bill is before parliament about feeding the kids is the same guy who was damn well beaten collectively up on by both RIGHT and LEFT!!!

      So what of it !!!??

      Out of sight , out of mind !!!???

      So what of it !!!???

  3. Pat, I’d like to add TPPA and TISA to the agenda. We have to fight these otherwise we may as well say goodbye to any sovereignty this country has to sort out any of the above mentioned in the article. And we have to fight it under the eye of GCSB and NSA. Stand up Aotearoa!

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