One Party State

By   /   September 24, 2014  /   61 Comments

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In years to come this election will be seen as a historic turning point towards one party rule.

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In years to come this election will be seen as a historic turning point towards one party rule. I don`t mean this literally, absolute single party dictatorship is not in prospect. In the New Zealand context though, one party has entrenched its dominance over the  others. On the election night numbers National gained a Parliamentary majority, achieved twice Labour`s share of the vote and looked well placed for a fourth term. The conventional electoral cycle whereby centre right and centre left coalitions govern more or less alternately looks to be over. As National rules supreme, the left part of the party political spectrum has either fragmented or disappeared. The real situation here is actually worse than the election results suggest.

Let me explain.

I have argued previously that `National and Labour are not separated by  a left right dividing line. Instead, this line runs down the middle of the Labour Party` (`Right versus Left` Daily Blog Jan. 16 ,2014). Objectively,  the Labour right, in Caucus and outside, has served as a fifth column for the National Party. Just look at the record. Back in late 2013 the Labour right worsened internal party strife by obstructing constitutional reform. After David Cunliffe  became leader they undermined his position by leaking to the media and a well known right wing blog. During the election campaign they conspired against Hone Harawira on behalf of Kelvin Davis and wiped out Internet-Mana`s small but significant percentage of the anti-Key vote. National`s strategists must have been jubilant, they had willing accomplices acting entirely on their own initiative. Incidentally, New Zealand First`s role in the Te  Tai  Tokerau assassination will live long in ignomy. Winston Peters is genuinely committed to the principles of national economic sovereignty, yet he undermines another political leader with the same outlook. Does he not see that an economic nationalist platform cannot be built without inter-Party discussion which includes Internet-Mana, the Greens and Labour ? Narcissism won out in the end, to National`s great advantage.

One party rule requires a cult of personality. The leader must pervade popular culture, the media domain and everyday life. During the election campaign anybody driving from Wellington to Auckland along state highway one would have seen John Key`s billboard image continually flashing by. The leader is enthusiastically endorsed by prominent sports people including Daniel Carter, Jonah Lomu, Israel Dagg along with gold medal rowers Eric Murray and Hamish Bond. Photos of All Black captain Richie McCaw next to John Key have been widely published. On election day Lomu, Dagg, Murray and Bond tweeted for John Key and/or National. These flagrant breeches of the Electoral Act will never be prosecuted by the Electoral Commission, another sign, perhaps, of one party rule. John Key himself turns up in many places on many occasions often with a TV camera in attendance. Historically, his public profile exceeds that of Robert Muldoon and Helen Clark. They were  pre-eminent in their time but  John Key simply crowds out all other political figures. Many of the growing number of immigrant voters born outside of New Zealand can name no other politician. National is the only party they care to vote for. Exceptions to this rule have no political leverage as the election night figures show.

Of course dominant political personalities don`t last forever; National may well experience succession problems when John Key  leaves the stage. Of more concern is the structural dominance of the National Party as such. Compared to opposition parties National is wealthy and generously funded, by corporate backers whose primary motives are wealth defence, profit maximisation and the freedom to exploit workers. Consequently, a formidable political machine has been assembled and built. Its interlocking components include  constant market research into voter preferences, feelings and concerns, real time survey data provided by National aligned polling companies in response to unfolding political events and a slick communications management operation which positions John Key as a national icon above the political fray.

The other, crucial component is `dirty politics` whereby political opponents and other anti-Party figures are personally ridiculed and attacked on right wing blogs (with assistance from government operatives close to the Prime Minister). Nicky Hager has exposed this component of the machine; it will be put into storage for now, to be re-calibrated when the furore goes away.

One party states require a compliant media. New Zealand is performing well in this regard. Newstalk ZB, Radio Live`s Sean Plunket and TV 3`s Paul Henry  operate like mini-Fox news outlets reproducing the neo-liberal outlooks and prejudices of the Party. The rest of the mainstream commercial media, subservient to ratings figures and advertising revenue, are of no worry to the government. Remaining  outposts of critical journalism commentary on public radio and Maori Television  are vulnerable to  political and funding pressure. On the subject of prejudice another thought comes to mind. One party states require targets of vilification. Of late , Kim Dot Com has been that target. In my view his flaws and shortcomings pale into insignificance compared to the bloggers, public relations practitioners and government operatives mentioned in Nicky Hager`s book. Former directors of our failed finance companies who have cheated New Zealanders out of millions receive only occasional media scrutiny. The wealthiest of them have escaped legal sanction.  Dot Com`s vilification also reflects deep seated anti – German sentiment. Stereotypes originating from Hogan`s Heroes and World war Two Commando comics were spread like muck throughout the Te Tai Tokerau electorate. The same prejudices also reside within the mainstream media and our one party state.  The illegal invasion of Dot Com`s home and property was disproportionate to the alleged offences. Financially benefitting from anothers  intellectual property  is central to the business models of all social media corporations. They are too powerful for the traditional film and media companies  so it is the Megauploads of this world that are targeted. In any case Kim Dot Com has performed a major service for his newly adopted country. Without his technical expertise we  would not have seen the testimonies of Edward Snowden and Julian Assange concerning  mass  surveillance of New Zealanders  courtesy of the NSA and our newly empowered GCSB. In part,because of this contribution to democratic debate, Dot Com is positioned as an enemy of the state, a one party state whose arrogance knows no bounds.

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61 Comments

  1. Tiger Mountain says:

    Excellent piece Wayne. One party states can indeed be built by manufacturing, influencing and enforcing consent in the ways you succinctly describe.

    National has long practiced cultural hegemony originally more in rural areas. Through the networks of sports clubs, lodges, business and farming associations, tradies, local media, police and fire stations and patronage for work. We’re blue around here mate–whaadddarrrryaaa?

    I will be watching the next digi poll with interest to see if dear leader has hit 97% popular support yet. This whole approach was caught in one with XKeyScore on the front page of Rugby News masquerading as the new captain.

  2. Marcus says:

    My God! I am now feeling more depressed than ever after reading your well written and well argued, but very disheartening article. Is it our fate that we undeserving Kiwis who didn’t vote National have to put up with a corrupt and inactive government headed by a Homer Simpson impersonator for another six years? Australia just became a lot more attractive all of a sudden.

    • Ovicula says:

      Nope. Have a look at Abbott and the microcephalic idiots on his front bench.

    • Dennis Dorney says:

      Yes it is our fate that we undeserving Kiwis who didn’t vote National have to put up with a corrupt and inactive government. Do the arithmetic. 50% vote for a right wing government (plus hangers on) because it is to their advantage. About 14% voted for the Conservatives and NZ First, neither of them Left wing. Half the Labour vote (say 13%) according to Wayne are really right of centre leaving about 23% including Green who can be regarded as left of centre.
      The Labour portion is unreliable anyhow – I just dont believe that the destruction of Internet Mana Party could be carried out only by a right wing Labour fifth column: Cunliffe spoke the words that gave Labour’s endorsement. And the 23% is exagerated by the fact that 700,000 didnt vote at all. That brings the Left wing vote down about 15%. Where are we to get the extra 35% to win an election?
      The reality is that NZ is a very conservative, politically naive country and democracy is really lost on them.

      – See more at: https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/09/24/one-party-state/#sthash.ehXiZqyR.dpuf

  3. raegun says:

    One party state? My first thought when it was reported the Key was making moves toward Winnie.
    I think it is time to dump the whole left right thing, separate it off and define what it really is which is right for the individual and left for the collective and applies only to things economic.
    For me a mixture of the two is desirable, my example things like electricity supply should be owned by the collective, flipping burgers should not.
    I think Labour could steal the individual high ground actually by helping people to understand that the corporatisation of just about everything is kind of collective (or as some want to call is socialist). Socialism and corporatism work very very well together.
    People need to start thinking about what is going on these days and how corporations are more and more controlling their lives, look around you, how many truly small businesses are there nowadays, I challenge you to go into any mall anywhere and find me one small, one off business, just one.
    Our lives are being homogenized and corporatised by the day.
    There you go Labour start with that, it won’t be easy, but if you can start people thinking you might get somewhere.
    Mind you if the TPPA gets signed it’ll be illegal LOL in that nervous way.
    If you are going to make a quantum change in ideas you will need to make a quantum change in people, although I reckon David Shearer could actually get away with it, not sure why I do

    • Daniel Venema says:

      That’s idiocy. People who talk of putting the left/right “thing” aside, do not understand politics. Please go back to school.

      • raegun says:

        Look, left and right only apply to things economic. You can add to either libertarianism or totalitarianism to either, so that on one hand you can have Libertarian left, and there you would find names like Jesus Christ and Mahatma Gandhi or totalitarian right where you would find someone Augusto Pinochet. Go to http://www.politicalcompass.org. Do the test before you look at anything else, then study how the political spectrum is not a straight line but more like a piece of graph paper and you may begin to understand, it opened my eyes that;s for sure.
        One of the first things that struck me, was that the person we call Jesus Christ is mainly idolised by people who find themselves polar opposites to where you can clearly see where he would have fallen. It now causes me endless amusement
        One of the things that p’s me off bigtime is how we have been fooled into thinking that libertarianism is the exclusive preserve of the right wing so that anything that smacks of totalitarianism can therefore be attributed to the left and the left alone.
        You may then be able to see how you can structure a political movement by abandoning the whole left/right thing without losing any of your social conscience

      • Dennis Dorney says:

        I think it is possible, and necessary, to put Party’s aside. Wayne Hope has demonstrated that Party politics is incompatible with democracy. So is giving each voter just one vote every three years.
        With the level of communication we have today it ought to be possible for citizens to debate and resolve issues on the internet as they arise, and have a parliamentary system that can respond to this form of interaction.
        This provides little room for the right wing press, or lobby groups to intervene. And maybe citizens will become more savvy politically by their participation. Those who would sooner go fishing can.

    • Dirk says:

      We have had class warfare for centuries. The unions struggled throughout the early and mid 20th century only to find themselves out maneuvered.

      The left are those of us opposed to the corporate state run by and for the elites.

      Labour is a captive party of the elites and they are now consolidating their control with the purge of Cunliffe and his supporters. Conveniently the media have managed to paint the Greens as a wholly unacceptable alternative.

  4. FreeManNZ FreeManNZ says:

    A very good article. Seeing as the majority of New Zealanders didn’t vote for the National Party (52% Party Vote for non-National parties), I’d personally like to see some real solidarity. A Left Block Alliance that combines all parties other than National for the next election.

    It seems to me that it is the fragmentation of the Left that is allowing this one party dominance by National. Supported by the new media proposed here (happy to volunteer time to the effort by the way) I think this would provide the basis of a solid strategy to remove those with too much money and too little morals from power.

    • seagull says:

      FREEMANZ…agreed!

      “I’d personally like to see some real solidarity. A Left Block Alliance that combines all parties other than National for the next election.
      It seems to me that it is the fragmentation of the Left that is allowing this one party dominance by National”…..

      …..i think this is the only way New Zealanders will be inspired to fight back..in a concerted way against right-wing media journalists, msm outlets, corruption, spin , manipulation …greed, loss of sovereignty and human rights, poverty!

      I am very keen on a Dotcom radio station for just a start

      The Left message has to get out and there must be a concerted campaign and eternal vigilance against corruption of our country

      • One Pissed Of Liberal says:

        How about we ask the Green Party why they did not the Labour Candidate in Ohariu, the Labour Candidate in Auckland Central and why on earth they did not support the National Candidate in Epsom?

        that is the one question that no one wants to answer for me.

        Was it just selfish voting on the idea that the Greens would gain 15% and be superstar? Was it just oh well Dunne and Kaye aren’t that bad afterall?

        Or was it a case of dOH well we worked well with the last National government and we will work well with the current National Government.

        Because if that is the case, then Labour should simply not work with the Greens and finally grow some balls and put the labour back in the Labour party.

        • seagull says:

          actually Labour refused to go into a partnership deal with the Greens well before the Election..where they would have coordinated their Electoral strategy….

          however I agree the Greens should have pulled their candidate to maximise votes for Anderson and get rid of Dunne…just as Labour should have pulled Davis in TTT…Hone Harawira’s seat.

          ..there were a number of other seats that the Left needed to work together on in order to get in a Left candidate and thwart Nactional

          These are reasons for the need for an Umbrella Left group like the CTU to coordinate strategies, education, media etc

        • Shrubbery says:

          Except that Labour threw the Greens under the bus repeatedly in the first place. If Labour had just said “Yes, we want to form a government with the Greens, NZ First and Mana” and said it repeatedly, maybe then they could have come to some electoral accommodations.
          After all, your argument equally applies to why on earth would Labour stand candidates in Te Tai Tokerau or Waiariki?

          • Dennis Dorney says:

            Dead right. We have had a National/Labour duopoly for years. They claim to oppose each other but when a third party appears and looks dangerous their priority is to destroy that party.
            Labour never supported the Greens in this election, but the Greens are big enough to survive the snub. National, the right wing press and Labour set out to destroy Internet Mana … and succeeded.
            For Labour it was almost a tactical victory; they simply didnt allow the possibility that National would win a clear majority or that its tactics would put off so many to not vote, thats all.

        • Michal says:

          Don’t be silly, part of the problem is that Labour still are in FPP mode, why should the Greens stand their candidate down. Cunliffe has admitted that he should have worked closely with the Greens to have a united front. Their banner on their billboards said it all ‘ONLY a vote for Labour will change the government’ garbage!

          They should also stop fighting and boot out Mallard, Goff and King et al.

          How could they be in a left block with anyone, they believe in deep sea oil drilling and numerous other disgusting things.

  5. Denise Smith says:

    Excellent writing Wayne,
    Should be published in the right wing herald.

  6. Joceje says:

    Well done Wayne.your analysis is spot on.

  7. Barri Leslie says:

    Gaining fair political representation for ‘left’ voters
    The left needs to restructure to stop splitting the vote
    A. The Problem:
    Splitting the left vote is the problem rather than incompetent leadership
    Eg. Auckland Central:
    National/Kay 10040
    Labour/Adern 9393 + Green/Roche 4584 = 10930
    Lab/Gr Candidate wins by 890 votes

    Nat Party Vote 9799
    Lab PV 4758 + Gr PV 4584 + 9342
    Lab/Gr vote only 57 short … (NB. Mana gained 384)

    The pattern is repeated in other electorates creating a false impression that there was a major swing to the right.
    The large block of voters who value sustainability and wellbeing are being cheated of representative government by an outmoded party structure.

    B. The Solution:
    Restructure in some form to consolidate the Labour/Green + vote

    C. Suggestion:
    Go as far as forming a new umbrella party
    Rationale:
    The 20th Century “labour v capital” divide no longer captures all the issues (e.g. considerable amounts of capital are being consciously directed into green, sustainable, non-exploitative investment). Consequently Labour is confused from within.

    The 21st Century organizing principles are “sustainability & wellbeing” [GDP v GNH]
    According to the UN, the Gross National Happiness Index “takes the view that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards progress and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of well-being”. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11222624

    “Creative Destruction” needs to occur before new growth & progress can occur:
    https://www.google.co.nz/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=Creative+destruction

    Collaborative Labour/Green meetings need to begin urgently, with a focus on the areas of agreement around sustainability and wellbeing:
    • People: workforce, families, children, education, etc
    • Economy: GDP or GNH, employment, capital, corporations, etc
    • Environment: land, air, water, etc

    A new umbrella party needs a new name: start a brainstorming process
    • Labour-Greens: Logical but not exciting
    • The Sustainability Party: Too clumsy
    • AgreeNZ … AGREENZ … AGREENZ … AGREENZ: Has possibilities
    • Etc

    • Fern says:

      This is just what we need, some excellent and positive suggestions.

    • cleangreen says:

      What an excellent blog Barri leslie ”

      “The left needs to restructure to stop splitting the vote”

      Yes Mr Cunliffe listen up here or we perish.
      As a labour voter it was so off-putting seeing him discount forming alliances pre election. He lost a lot of support here.

      “to the UN, the Gross National Happiness Index “takes the view that sustainable development should take a holistic approach towards progress and give equal importance to non-economic aspects of well-being”.

      This is what Denmark is all about and has been voted worlds happiest place in the world to live, for 40yrs now by UN.

      • Andrew R says:

        Is the Labour failure to come to an agreement with Greens over some level of joint campaigning Cunliffe’s fault or is it the result of whiteanting by Labour’s right wing neoliberal MPs.

    • seagull says:

      Barri Leslie…great points!…a new umbrella party

      ( however the mistakes of the Alliance need to be examined in order to be avoided)

      ..personally i see this umbrella party organisation as a bit like the CTU( where individual unions are affiliated but do not lose their individual identity)

      …hence individual parties eg Greens could be affiliated to this Left Alliance Umbrella Party.

      … the Umbrella Left Alliance would 1)coordinate education, (eg give scholarships to MA and PhD students,grants to researchers ) and support 2.)media outlets/events (eg radio station) 3.) facilitate and coordinate investigative journalism into corruption…4.) conduct campaigns/networking on behalf of the affiliated parties….

      …really it seems to me that we are going full circle back to the origins of the Labour movement…now to to counteract advanced cronyist international capitalism ( at its most virulant against populations and on its death throes for the planet)

    • mary_a says:

      @Barri Leslie – Brilliant post.

      We need to get away from fragmentation of the ‘left – left/centre block’. Some cohesive collaboration is needed here between Labour and the Greens, such as that you suggest, otherwise this past election result will NOT be a one off!

      However, I fear Labour will be the stumbling block, because its major problem seems to be not wanting to progress! The Greens did approach Labour prior to the election suggesting the two parties campaign in the form of an alliance, but was rejected by Labour. David Cunliffe has said that was a big mistake on Labour’s part.

    • Ariel says:

      Hi Barrie – agree with your analysis. So where do we go from here? How to do this? Start with a name – something that implies cohesion, unity, progress, green and clean plus economically sound! Should be easy 🙂

    • Johnno says:

      A unified Left in Coalition with the bi-partisan micro parties could turn the country around. AGREENZ is a very good beginning. idea+meaningful label=”a hopeful future???
      MMP as it stands is designed to support which ever party is currently in power, particularly when that Party can influence electoral boundaries to minimize votes opposition parties.
      Further given the relatively sparse offering of “Right” minded parties and the diversity of the “wrong” headed left, each person on the Right has two effective votes, while on the left vote splitting reflects normal peoples diverse interests, and reduces the effectiveness of the left voters ballot. Oddly enough the “right” minded right often have no well considered political position, but rather are happy to be sheeple (sheople) and vote as they are told by their Leader.
      A unified left, that as a matter of principal accepted internal diversity would be unstoppable as it on average deliver a better outcome for all Kiwis rich, poor, and muddling along. Particularly if some of the historical and contemporary critiques of Neo-Liberalisms failings were actively promoted from now. Labors failing was that they started late, forgot the message, and didn’t comprehend the degree to which they were being gamed by National.

      It is unquestionably so, that the present government is tirelessly and single mindedly dismantling the New Zealand Dream – what strikes me as odd is that they as yet do not realize that it is their children that will reap the benefits of a society in which government agencies must hide behind security guards, where begging is normalized, and beaches, and forests are filled with homeless desperadoes, and the streets are filled with angry parents. Perhaps National’s job creation scheme involves an additional 150,000 security guards to defend the privilege of having a job?
      History shows in many ways that the neo-liberal i.e., National agenda reduces wellbeing, destroys economies, reduces living standards and generates bleak outlooks for an ever increasing proportion o the community. this evidence is not too hard to find, however National as a matter of habit systematically seek to make such evidence harder to find by laying of governments own researchers, and avenues of desemination as most often this research would highlight the National government policy failures.
      A number of economists have predicted a further crash in the NZ economy in 2015-16 (earliest of these was made in 1979 by John robinson who correctly predicted 2007-8!). So a dire future may very soon destroy any suggestion that National’s assumed mandate to destroy NZ society is valid.

    • Geoff says:

      Totally agree.
      Labour has to split, as the left and centre is patently no longer tenable.
      Green Party is also no longer the standard bearer of all things green.
      Create The Liberal Party.
      Own the centre.
      Merge with the Greens.

  8. Wild Katipo says:

    In my view , Mr Dotcom has been a true visionary….as has Hone , and Laila…

    It speaks volumes for the propaganda machine of National that the public cannot tolerate in-depth analysis of what is fact and what is fiction…the magnitude of what was brought at the moment of truth seems to escape them.

    Which begs the question ….why?

    And what conditions were artificially created to enable this dangerous new era? How was this achieved ?

    And what can be done to break this monstrous artifice?

    The whys and the hows are answered in the above article.

    Which leaves us with the ‘what ‘ question. To do that we have to analyze and understand what tools were used to achieve it. Then develop the counter to it.

    First off …The use of two pronged attacks.

    1) Simply ,regards media…it consists of a compliant media , which deliberately OMITS as much as it INCLUDES. Presenting always their benefactors in a positive light. This bias is spread evenly across all forums , from blogs , radio , newspapers and visual- TV, and from managers to front line presenters , the circle is complete.

    At one time stuffing people with inanities as an anesthetic , ignoring issues of import,…at others when encountering political opponents….slanting stories, taking out of context, reporting of opposition events and leaders in a derogatory demeaning way ,or simply ignoring – in short – a program of constant discreditation.

    There is cross over with the two pronged attack methods being used here . To all intents and purposes – the Right uses ADVERTISING techniques -as does both party and compliant media.

    The aim being ‘to sell a better bar of soap’ than the competition.

    2) With the first stage in place (compliant media ) , the stage is then set for the second prong of attack, the actual tactics used by the party itself. We have seen this been demonstrated well this last election.

    You will have noticed the lack of ‘ policy ‘ from the incumbents. The classic tactic here was DEFLECTION . This consists of utilizing the fact that there were three parties contending on the Left. This makes the job easier. By drawing attention to differences in policies…it was easy to make it appear as if there was ‘division’. Individually , leaders could be mocked ,spoken over aggressively ,marginalized.
    By sowing seeds of doubt using dubious data , using the ‘stuck record’ technique , reinforcing loaded terms eg : ‘stability’ -and the most infamous ,…deflecting an original claim of corruption ,unethical methods of dubious legal standing , essentially – of dirty politicking back onto the accuser….that it was easy in that environment to create in the public’s mind that of a divided , desperate Left that was employing underhanded methods to sway public opinion.

    Particularly when serious but complex issues for our very democracy were at stake.

    There are several misconceptions about the invulnerability of these techniques. It does have inherent weaknesses.

    First off, …it is vulnerable to hard facts. Secondly ,it is even more vulnerable to the truth. Just like the advertiser who tries to sell you that bar of soap.

    So….how do we achieve this? First off…it is a long term project requiring cooperation between all party’s of the Left to avoid the divide and conquer ploy.

    A biannual cross party forum between leaders would be required to achieve a number of goals which would include , strategic plans for electorates, a consolidation of commonly held policies , whilst maintaining strongly held positions which clearly differentiate between them , a greater understanding of common objectives. This would be the start of creating a’united front ‘.

    The second is media…this is an area which is sorely lacking to which the Right has utilized fully against the Left.

    Radio…has several advantages :

    It can create an environment which is more easily controlled to prevent intrusion and corruption of the forum by Right wing media.
    It can be multi faceted , at once a news , discussion ,including political leaders, experts in areas such as economics,political science, and can be used to disseminate vital and complex issues. Sports , weather , music ,- all the things of radio.

    It was the complexity of recent issues that the public couldn’t grasp…that and the fact it was so easily marginalized,..whereas those same issues can ‘NORMALISED’ into everyday conversation…this would entail a prolonged , protracted timeframe to achieve those results. Such groups as teachers, trades, workers, public sector groups would find it invaluable to get their views across unhindered.

    The advantage with radio is it can reach the older sector who may not be computer literate , as well..it can be portable- on ones way to work , on the worksite , it is cheap and affordable. In time , even the MSM can have articles inserted to destabilize partisan , biased , monopolization of the media.

    In relatively short time – it would become well known and acceptable for those who wish to find other ‘takes’ on events and alternatives to unpopular govt policies.

    Funding could possibly be attained through small businesses , organic produce suppliers, advertising fees, donations. In time, these same principles can be added to other forms of media once the initial stages have outgrown themselves.

    A strategic , sensible , and practical approach is needed to loosen the grip of a neo liberal monopoly that has held sway for over 30 years and has become not only entrenched and embedded in so many facets of New Zealand society but shortly ,…..may become that much more difficult to deal with if not near impossible when the TTPA is signed.

    We are indeed approaching a dangerous era in New Zealand politics , and now is the time to seriously consider the shortcomings and weaknesses of the Left.

    • seagull says:

      i see radio as particularly reaching youth who were contaminated in this last election by the likes of Sean Plunket and Paul Henry…and there have been many other msm journalists of various shades in between

      …it would be great to have a television station as well

    • phil says:

      Thanks. Interesting analysis and thoughtful action points.

  9. raychch says:

    Good article Wayne. Gore Vidal described the US Republicans and Democrats as two wings of the same party. The British haven’t elected a left wing government since 1976. I believe that Russel Brand’s don’t bother voting comments make more sense in the UK’s first past the post system. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that we need to look beyond parliament for democracy. However, the investigative journalist Nafeez Ahmed has highlighted how, in the absence of any action in addressing climate change by the US corporate elite, countries citizens will become more active in challenging the status quo, and that the principal function of the five eyes network will be to identify individual citizens and groups that are moving towards direct action threats to the hegemony.

    • seagull says:

      unfortunately amongst the well educated trendy young things…”Russel Brand’s don’t bother voting comments”….also have a great resonance here!…i know this from personal experience

      …young people are very cynical

      …they see their votes don’t count

      …political parties are irrelevant to the lives of young people…young people dont matter to politicians

      …they see major political parties as being the same ( under advanced capitalism)

      …they see political parties on the Left scrapping and knee- capping each other

      ….Russel Brand is not only extremely successful and COOL…he says it brilliantly like it is! ( unfortunately)

    • JonL says:

      “The British haven’t elected a left wing government since 1976” The Scots referendum showed that, there are no real differences between any of the 3 main parties in Britain. Some members of the labour party would be happy to have that here!

  10. Phil Mason says:

    I don’t know about this thesis. Thoughts go back to the 2002 election… Also, Trotter and McLaughlin have a point when they say that Labour needs to stop alienating the socially conservative working class in favour of radical feminists and the like. The man ban, and the apology for being a man were seen as piss weak pandering to special interest groups by the average bloke, and shows the disconnect between the liberal urban sophisticate and the bulk of NZers. Did Cunliffe do any polling before making these gaffes? I don’t think so. Jeeze. Just to clarify, I have a lot of respect for Cunliffe, and think he should stay on, but he needs to make more use of PR specialists, and build up some political capital before spending it on unpopular policy anouncements (as Key has done). The PR blunders just go on and on…

    • seagull says:

      Sean Plunket, Paul Henry and other so called ‘journalists’ gave Cunliffe and the Labour Party hell on these issues….where as in Scandinavia they would be norm…no big deal

      Really this again emphasizes the need for an umbrella Left owned and run radio station and other media outlets …in order to educate and get the “socially conservative working class” really thinking on these issues …instead of blindly accepting the indoctrination shit that the right wing PR hate merchants put out

  11. Priss says:

    “Winston Peters is genuinely committed to the principles of national economic sovereignty, yet he undermines another political leader with the same outlook ”

    Peters is a sell-out. His tactics with TTT showed us his true colors as a man without integrity and willing to lie with the dogs.

  12. Priss says:

    Dotcom = Enemy of the State. Very, very true.

    And soon we will see the first detention centers set up for dissidents or “potential dissidents”. Some will be incarcerated for their “own good”.

    I can see it coming. The likes of Plunkett, Gower, Henry, will no doubt cheer this on as a necessity to “protect the people”.

    Fascism does not always require a uniform. A business suit will do just as nicely.

  13. PeterH says:

    Interesting how business owners came out just before the election to say that they had no confidence in David Cunliffe as a prospective Prime Minister – adding their weight to the National Re-election campaign at just the right time and their comments received plenty of exposure from the news media.

  14. Maria says:

    Halle bloody lujah. Thanks for this article Wayne. Cheers

  15. Nick says:

    Nothing wrong with the analysis, I guess, but what is needed is a way forward.

    Let me suggest, tentatively, that the causes of the ills of which you write are far more likely to be ignorance, laziness, complacency and woolly thinking within the electorate and the media, than some evil conspiracy. Sure some Right-wingers plot to cement their privilege, some may even buy into the philosophies of the neo-liberal revolution, but most voters are not in the loop.

    It is we Losers who must reinvent ourselves and re-imagine our vision for the future. We must find common cause with the Greens and other sympathetic forces. We must reforge a meaningful strategy. If you think the whole problem can be sheeted home to outrageous fortune and the outrageous fortunate, you are kidding yourselves.

    Voters will not go out to vote against a government until things get so bad that the poison affects enough voters. The only way to get round this is to propose a vision which appeals more than the status quo. With the best will in the world this is hardly a description of the campaign.

  16. Pat O'Dea says:

    “the Labour right, in Caucus and outside, has served as a fifth column for the National Party. Just look at the record. Back in late 2013 the Labour right worsened internal party strife by obstructing constitutional reform. After David Cunliffe became leader they undermined his position by leaking to the media and a well known right wing blog. During the election campaign they conspired against Hone Harawira on behalf of Kelvin Davis and wiped out Internet-Mana`s small but significant percentage of the anti-Key vote.”

    Wayne Hope

    No doubt as you say Wayne, the Labour Right saw Internet/Mana as a greater threat than National, in Auckland pouring more resources into West Auckland to unseat Harawira in Te Tai Tokerau, than they put into the whole of the rest of the city.

    But this was not their only service to the National Party.

    The Labour Right talked up New Zealand First, as a coalition partner in opposition to the Green Party. The stupidity of this strategy was self evident. Though it was never to be, if Winston Peters had found himself in the position of King Maker, it was very clear he would have chosen National over Labour.

    The other service they performed was keeping Cunliffe out of the way during most of the campaign only letting him be wheeled out for the Leader’s Debates. Other than that, the reins were tightly held by the right.

    This was shown most clearly in the Climate Voter debate, which Greenpeace had billed as “A Leader’s debate”. The Green Party’s Russel Norman was the only Party leader to honour this request.

    Fronting for National Tim Groser at least was the Government’s spokesperson for climate change.

    Instead of David Cunliffe, the Labour leader, or Moana MacKey their climate change spokesperson, Labour put up, mine it, drill it, frack it, fanatic David Parker. A close personal friend and admirer of climate change denier Shane Jones. David Parker said this of Labour’s policies on fossil fuels:

    “I don’t think we are much different from National,”

    “They’ve continued on with the programme that we started in respect to oil and gas,”

    Labour says views on mining close to Govt’s
    NZ Herald, July 27, 2012

    By contrast both Cunliffe and MacKey had in past came out very strongly on climate change. Cunliffe in his famous Dolphin and Dole queue speech and MacKey in particular had come out against deep sea oil drilling only to slapped down by the right dominated Labour caucus headed by Parker.

    The disgrace of all this is, thatwhen the drought in California is now looking to be permanent and the polar ice cap is looking to be the smallest ever and our Island neighbours are being battered by super storms and rising seas Labour could have had a real point of difference to the Nats. Labour could have thrown in with the Greens and said to the voters the Greens are right, we must do something. Instead they played up the more conservative NZF party.

    • e-clectic says:

      “Government’s spokesperson for climate change”

      That would be the Government’s dissembler for climate change.

  17. Save NZ says:

    Totally agree. These are scary times. However mainstream media itself can be attacked. By making itself so right wing and not allowing other discourses it is open to being made marginalized and obsolete. We live in a digital age now where for very little money people can set up their own news or blog sites. This shifts people off mainstream media. TV in particular is dying. People spend more time online and are increasingly using other outlets on the internet to get information. This means that sites and publications like the Herald in NZ are dwindling. There needs to be an alternative site to the Herald that presents a more central view of the news. All is not lost. I used to read it, but have given up, as it is just full of stupid discourse in particular about Labour leadership. If people leave the Herald for another more central alternative then the Herald itself will either go more center or become less relevant for many NZers. Also the left use scary discourses too, i.e. rich pricks, dirty foreigners, polluting farmers, big business etc If the left was itself a bit more tolerant then they would be more tolerated by the center. For example denigrating foreign business companies for NZ gives an insular idea to the left. Instead using we the discourse we value all businesses whether foreign or NZ that pay decent wages and care about the environment and communities in NZ should be used. Start saying and living that and you become less marginalised. Kiwis still believe in social justice – but if the left fight amongst themselves – lets just say that is not a vote positive message its a message ‘don’t vote’.

    • Geoff says:

      A Huffington Post equivalent in NZ would certainly garner support.
      NZ Herald & Stuff are fast becoming irrelevant as their centre-right philosophies are pandering to an audience who pays the bills and alienating those who listen and matter.

  18. mikesh says:

    National scored only forty-eight point something percent on the night, with a reduction of that percentage in the offing once the specials have been counted. With a fair electoral system National would not be able to govern alone, and probably have to deal with either the Conservatives or NZ First.

    • e-clectic says:

      Certainly the Epsom and Ohariu adjuncts are a naked rort of MMP.

      Each gets 0.83% of representation in the House on less than that nationally. This particular loophole was missed by the Royal Commission.

      • mikesh says:

        If we had gotten rid of the threshold Hone and Laila would now be in parliament and the “ganging up” on Hone would have achieved nothing. Disallow overhangs and Peter Dunne would be off to the job centre first thing Monday morning. After all, if Ohariu voters voters voted honestly he probably would not be in parliament anyway.

    • Geoff says:

      … and they may well be down to 47.1% after special votes – history favours the left-wing in specials ….which would make their percentage …. exactly the same as 2011! I wonder what will the right-wing media will say then….

  19. e-clectic says:

    Astute analysis as ever Wayne.

    “a slick communications management operation which positions John Key as a national icon above the political fray.”

    That was the core thesis of Dirty Politics and, I believe, the bone we should continue to pick.

  20. countryboy says:

    Dr Wayne Hope . I’ve been drinking and I’ve been thinking so I might delve into the abusive . Not at you certainly . But at my fellow country people , not that you’re not one of us . ( They tell us that driving is dangerous under the influence . They know nothing . Try thinking then writing while drinking ?
    I will expect you to not allow my rant / diatribe / evacuation of my spleen here . I understand if you delete . Me .

    Having said that …

    I knew my year would be shit when I worked on a great project at its beginning , with amazing people in an outstanding location for excellent money ( I work , occasionally in the film industry . )
    I knew , as is my Irish genes would dictate , to be slaughtered by fate . The sins of my father etc . I injured my back on that job and now ACC … God ,occasionally of Gods , has decreed that I have a ‘ Disease ‘ of the spine . A ‘ D.I.S.E.A.S.E. ‘ of the spine . I am unclean ! Big Gristly Judy was minister of the ACC portfolio at that time . Before she got dumped for being caught out swindling . ( I love the word ‘ swindle ‘ . A Martyn Bradbury word x . Dear Martyn . I hope you’re ok . ) A pre existing condition , so no . No claim mate . No feeling in my left hand and I occasionally shit myself , but no claim mate .

    Then , I meet an amazing woman . She was tall , elegant and erudite . And a nutter so it transpired . ( In my view of her . She , may well have had an equally valid , and opposing point of view of me . And I would hope so . I try to leave an impression . And no . I never shat myself in her company . )

    Then the election . This , most recent election was held on the anniversary of my fathers death in 1998 . He died , mercifully , on 20 September 1998 after a long and lingering death , of some kind of old persons curse . Dementia ? Stroke ? Who knows really . I do know , though , that his demise would have been shortened and entertained by a more Human approach to that moment when our physical envelope wears out . If it’s beyond repair , load it up with good drugs and celebrate it’s flash and sparkle as it releases that spirit and soul to God knows where .

    But I digress .

    I floundered in a morass of grief on Sunday . I did . Literally flounder . I was so beside myself with a level of deep depression that I played a PS 3 Game all day with the curtains drawn to avoid the stark reality of the result . Then I opened a bottle of Ron Brierly Brain Death , or wine , and mused upon the morrow .

    I realised that I must , for my own safety and mental security , emigrate .

    There in lies the rub .

    Has it ever occurred to you wonderful people . You well educated , well informed , those of you with an abiding , albeit amateur intellectual curiosity , with an innate sense of Greater Things for Greater Days , the artist in you , the lover in you , the empathetic in you , the generous in you …. ? That we keep the company of reptilian swine . ( No disrespect to actual pigs or lizards . Ever scratch a pig ? Try it . They seem so grateful . Cure pig itch . You’ll make millions . However , never try to scratch a lizard . No good will come of it . )
    You’ll make millions curing pig itch because it’s the swine that have the money . And they pay well , to be scratched . As we can see from these election results .

    ( Am I jabbering yet ? Once I get to this stage I really do lose my perspective so I need all the help I can get . )

    We Humans ( Warm blooded , soft and squishy ) are in the minority . We Human Beings are without political representation clearly . We Humans are the losers here . The non humans , or as Kelly Ellis so eloquently pointed out , reptilian’s are the winners , because they are the most ‘ economical ‘ in their habits .
    Jonky-stien and his minions were re elected by fellow economical reptilian swine .

    ( I hasten to point out that I am speaking metaphorical )

    They are now the dominant species . They have won . We must accept that . That’s why I’m fucking outa here .

    See ya . Wouldn’t wanna be ya .

  21. mike says:

    I would suggest that if this article is what the left believes are the reasons for their trouncing in the election, the National Government are safe for the next election as well.
    You are trying to tell people that the Government is operating to protect wealth and the wealthy and allowing the exploitation of workers. For the majority of Kiwis in the workplace this is not their experience and for the majority over the last 6 years of National Government their life has improved. Admittedly only incrementally but to try and convince people otherwise is to fly in the face of reality and invite another similar result in 2017. NZers are much smarter than you are giving them credit for, and will never respond well to baseless scaremongering.
    If the left want to get into power they need policies that are designed around what the electorate wants not what the left tells them they need.

    • e-clectic says:

      “NZers are much smarter than you are giving them credit for, and will never respond well to baseless scaremongering.”

      Don’t tell John Ansell’s clients that, you’ll put him out of business.

  22. dave brown says:

    Wayne, I think the ‘one party state’ and ‘dirty politics’ are symptoms of a deeper process going on.

    First, the global economy is in an existential crisis because it cannot draw on peak energy or defeat mass resistance to restore profits or escape the climate catastrophe. Moreover, the fight over diminishing returns is taking the form of a dangerous rivalry between the declining US power bloc and that of the rising China Russia bloc.

    Second, capital in NZ is also battering down the hatches for a showdown. As a declining semi-colony (some would say de facto state) of the US, with its economy dependent on China, there is a ratrace to grab NZs resources before they are destroyed or expropriated by the impoverished worker/peasants.

    Third, to hold the fort and keep the people at bay requires the Bonapartising the state – that is pulling parliament, the bureaucracy, the judiciary and inevitably the media – into the orbit of Cabinet, and that is what allows the natural party of capital to turn itself into the dominant, one party state. The trampling on democracy, corruption, dirty politics, media capture etc are all symptoms of this Bonapartism of the state.

    Trotsky described this well during what he thought was the final crisis of capitalism in the 30s as a concentration of power in the hands of a “Bonapart” figure or institution – Key and the NACTs qualify – in preparation for a situation where the working class mobilises against the state forcing the ruling class to resort to its final solution – fascism. Fascism defined as the ruling class openly demonising the working class as Reds, as aliens etc. to divert the angry middle classes facing economic oblivion to mobilise against the working class.

    So in the light of this, it is defence of democratic freedoms that are the key political question right now.

    Bonapartism leading to fascism can have only one response from any party that claims to represent the poor and oppressed and that is active defence of these freedoms as a precondition for any social justice.

    None of the Left except Internet/Mana picked up on this and brought the fight for internet freedom (democracy) together with feed the children (social justice). The rest of the Left including Labour fell for the narrative of the Bonapartist state of sacrificing democracy (Cabinet whitewash commissions of inquiry) for the sake of business as usual (slow growth for trickeldown) and joined in demonising Internet/Mana on the basis of envy, racism and chauvinism.

    At the class polarisation deepens Labour will split and out of its ashes will come the working class party or parties that are needed to defend workers and oppressed people from the destruction of economic and climate collapse caused by the historic decline of capitalism.

  23. Kathy Lafferty says:

    Thank you Wayne for your incisive and relevant points.
    When you referred to the right wing media, I couldn’t suppress a shudder. But what can we do?

    Everything you wrote was inarguable, you’re totally right, and it was well written, easy to read, and you don’t write to impress, you write to inform, there’s a vast difference.

    I look forward to all of your future articles.

  24. rogermorris says:

    So which part of my writing offended you? Recognizing that major conspiracies are being hidden because people won’t look, talk or think of them? or that National are a gumboot on a fencepost?