Here Be Dragons: The Ika Seafood Bar & Grill’s First “Table Talk” Looks At The Year Ahead – Through Right-Wing Eyes.

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Dragon

I LEFT the first Ika “Table Talk” for 2016 feeling very down – and I know I wasn’t the only one. The panel discussion, on “The Year Ahead”, could have been an enlivening rehearsal of the challenges facing the New Zealand Left in 2016 – but it wasn’t. Instead Ika’s patrons endured an hour-long demonstration of the Right’s remarkable skill at kicking the Left’s ass.

Moderated by broadcaster Lisa Owen (of TV3’s The Nation) the panel was made up of the ubiquitous far-right political commentator, Matthew Hooton (proprietor of Exeltium Public Relations) arbiter of all-things-Auckland, Simon Wilson (Editor at Large of Metro Magazine) and Maori educationalist, Dr Ella Henry (AUT Faculty of Maori Development).

Dr Henry adopted a position of wry detachment from her “bourgeois” audience of mostly inner-city leftists. Her comments throughout the evening suggested that she regards “Table Talk” as little more than an additional course which Laila Harré has tacked on to Ika’s menu. A heaped ideological platter in which, this time, the sour easily overpowered the sweet.

Only once did she cut through the relentless conservative discourse of her fellow panellists and that was in relation to the forthcoming local government elections. Her uncompromising description of the world inhabited by West and South Aucklanders: Maori, Pasifika and immigrant; was as compelling as it was unsparing. Intruding, as it did, a jarring note of brutal social reality to the proceedings, Dr Henry’s intervention was easily the most uplifting of the night.

There was a period in Simon Wilson’s life when he mixed almost exclusively with the sort of people who attend the Ika Seafood Bar & Grill’s events. As the Editor of the Victoria University Students Association’s newspaper, Salient, and later, as the Maoist President of NZUSA, Wilson’s youth was an emphatically left-wing affair. The journey he has undertaken since then, from the Left to the Right, has been a slow one. The Maoism he ditched early in favour of the well-mannered leftism of the Wellington liberal intelligentsia. It was only when he bade farewell to Wellington, and Consumer magazine, to take up the editorship of the yuppie gourmand’s glossy guidebook, Cuisine, that the shift to the Right began in earnest.

Wilson has a newshound’s nose for a shift in the political winds. As a Metro writer, he’d correctly predicted John Key’s comprehensive electoral victory in 2008, and two years later used his new position as Metro’s Editor to deftly reposition the magazine as the voice of the socially liberal, economically conservative and aggressively acquisitive Auckland middle-class. Nowhere was this repositioning more in evidence than in his choice for Metro’s political columnist. Where the magazine’s founder, Warwick Roger, had turned to New Zealand’s best left-wing journalist, Bruce Jesson, for political commentary, Wilson’s choice was the National Party’s leading ideological skirmisher, Matthew Hooton.

Those skirmishing skills were displayed to considerable effect from the get-go on Tuesday night (9/2/16) when Hooton accused the writer of seeing the 4 February anti-TPPA demonstrations as “the beginning of a revolution”. It is precisely this acidic mixture of smile and sneer that makes Hooton such a formidable opponent. That, and his ability to master a complex political brief very quickly and then fashion it into a political argument that is at once simple and subtle. Hooton, when he’s in control of himself, is both a superb manipulator of the truth and a master at identifying his opponents’ weak spots.

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Out of control, Hooton can be rabid. One of the reasons the numbers were down for Ika’s first Table Talk for 2016 was that many people simply refused to be in the same room as the man who has constantly and viciously impugned the integrity of Professor Jane Kelsey. This penchant for abusing progressive New Zealanders publicly has turned Hooton into something of a hate figure, and it seriously undermines his political credibility. If he ever learns to control it, he will instantly become an even more deadly opponent of the Left.

As it was, the Good Cop/Bad Cop routine of Wilson and Hooton was deflating enough. Between them they succeeded in making their left-wing audience wince, sigh, squirm and shake their heads in disbelief. A different set of panellists may have blunted some of the worst thrusts from Hooton, but the one we “bourgeois” leftists had to endure on Tuesday night left Lockwood Smith’s political adviser; the man who makes RNZ’s Kathryn Ryan sound like a moderate; in undisputed possession of the field.

Now the more hard-headed leftists amongst us would no doubt say that Tuesday’s Table Talk was an important wake-up call for the Left. Unused to the punishing performance that Hooton excels at delivering, an hour-long pistol-whipping at his hands might be exactly what the Left needed if it is to muscle-up and become politically competitive.

But if the only way to defeat a dragon is to become a dragon oneself, then what’s the point? What distinguishes the Left from the Right is its belief that the world should be – and can be made – a better place. Against all the contrary evidence that the cynics and trimmers delight in throwing in their path, the world’s progressives must somehow continue to muster the faith, hope and love to continue fighting. That’s why Laila Harré’s gatherings at the Ika Seafood Bar & Grill are so valuable. They provide an opportunity for the beleaguered Auckland Left to recommit itself to a more just and equal future. The cause that Simon Wilson long ago abandoned, and Matthew Hooton openly despises.

So, Laila, please. No more dragons!

33 COMMENTS

    • (Me, me – look at me!)

      Livestream was up, it often takes a while for the video to be posted. So, don’t fret Matthew – you will have your public exposure no doubt.

    • A video is not the most efficient way to analyse your efforts, Matthew. An annotated transcript and a psychiatrist’s couch is perhaps the best way.

      A eighteenth century aphoristic question posed the dilemma: “Is it better to be a Fool surrounded by Knaves, or a Knave surrounded by Fools?” You clearly see yourself in the latter role. But it is very easy to puncture the pretensions of those desperate to find a way to create a better world. A splash of the cold water of some putative “realism” can be hurled with almost no risk to yourself. Why would you even feel the need to do such a thing?

      But your kind of cynical manipulation will carry you only so far. It is in the end self-defeating. And I mean REALLY self-defeating. Like: Is it better to try to create a better world while occasionally naively failing or to hide behind your cynicism hurling Molotov cocktails of disdain and never even try?

    • If there was a prose or song that summed up what you have done and been a willing participant in, it would be this one :

      The Beatles.

      ………………………………………………………………………………………..

      I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping
      While my guitar gently weeps
      I look at the floor and I see it needs sweeping
      Still my guitar gently weeps

      I don’t know why nobody told you
      How to unfold your love
      I don’t know how someone controlled you
      They bought and sold you

      I look at the world and I notice it’s turning
      While my guitar gently weeps
      With every mistake we must surely be learning
      Still my guitar gently weeps

      Well…

      I don’t know how you were diverted
      You were perverted too
      I don’t know how you were inverted
      No one alerted you

      I look at you all see the love there that’s sleeping
      While my guitar gently weeps
      Look at you all
      Still my guitar gently weeps

      Something happened to you Mattew a long , long time ago… and it wasn’t good.

  1. Interesting point of view from M. Trotter. If I remember, he previously derided another IKA event which came off as too self congratulatory and lacking the other perspective.

    I think it was a brave thing to invite a right-wing commentator into the “den.” And that he was fairly reserved, although not afraid to share his opinion.

    Sadly, the truth hurts; the Left is in a pretty bad state and it will take a major overhaul for them to get across the line in 2017. It’s by no means impossible, and hard questions at the right time might help.

  2. I don’t know why anyone feels the need to try to be ‘balanced’ and bring in people like Hooten. You might as well invite the devil himself to appear if the impression of balance is what you’re looking for.

    Not that there is much difference.

    The fact that he is a skilled debater is all the more reason to keep him out. I learnt long ago that you can be wrong and still win a debate.

    I also learned that that the truth is not always in the middle between two extremes. At the moment it’s a fight between the corporate world and the rest of us – and things are so skewed that the truth is positioned roughly around Hone Harawira’s end of the scale while Hooten and what passes for the right wing these days are waaay down the other end of the scale representing forces that are basically ‘evil’.

    After 30 years of evidence I can’t think of any other word for people who want to continue with a system that is causing so much misery while also destroying the planet.

    • It’s a crying shame the late David Lange has shuffled off to the glorious debating chamber in the sky. Lange would feed Hooten his own entrails.

  3. I wouldn’t despair at all Chris.

    In every war there are highs and lows. And literally and figuratively we bring yet again another of Sun Tzu’s excellent tactics to the fore :

    Treat your enemy spies, use them and encourage them , then turn them against your enemy. The case may be that Hooton /Wilson may never turn.

    That is irrelevant. What is relevant is the insight into their thinking. From that we glean much. And that is as good as having a counterspy’s information . And so we see now unwittingly Hooton and Wilson have provided information already.

    If anyone is impressed by what they had to say.. if anyone is so easily led and swayed by so short a contest of ideas begs the question …. were they really informed /convicted of their stance in the first place.

    Empirical evidence over a 32 year span of time would tell us otherwise of the inaccuracy’s and … deliberate lies of the neo liberal far right in NZ.

    If in fact … a 6 hour expose of the failings and corruption of neo liberalism were to be held documenting the last 32 years, and led by retired historians, political commentator’s and the like… we would soon see the likes of Hooton and co diving for cover … simply because of the sheer building of hostility among the listeners.

    If we would really care to reacquaint ourselves with the neo liberal agenda, and the destruction of our economy and democratic system as we know it today – then we have no further to look than ‘The Standard’ – and there we will find documented fact in documentary form of the insidiousness and deceit of the neo liberal takeover of this country.

    You will find those documentary’s on the right side , there for all to view.

    You will find also the origins of apologists such as Mattew Hooton. Basically ,.. nothing more than a hired gun to rewrite history.

    You will also find that issues that Hooton deals in today are but merely the symptoms of the very ideology that enables people such as himself to exist in business…. strip away the framework that enables types such as Hooton… and you will see them cast adrift…as the very extreme, radical opportunists and subversive elements that they really are.

    In essence… all points of view seem right until the other point of view is put forward… and in the neo liberals case…when those opposing views are put forward and we see the fallacy’s of neo liberalism… it engenders at once both a mindset of indignity quickly followed by outrage.

    And in order to destroy the Hootons of this world there needs always to be a backdrop provided with which to measure as a yardstick any claims these people would make.

    Know your history and from that you will recognize falsehood.

    In the simple case of IKA, for example ,… there should not have been three chairs , but six.

    AND THOSE OTHER three chairs should have contained a Prof of Political Science familiar with recent NZ history , a Prof of Economics and Law in favor of Keynesian theory and Social Democracy , and a Prof of Sociology familiar with the destructive social impacts neo liberalism has caused in NZ.

    ANS PREFERABLY ALL THREE would be retired and have lived long enough to see the lies and destruction of the original Rogernomics era and its negative social impacts.

    We need to LEARN to bring back these grey haired learned academics who have served long in NZ and are BEYOND the threat of funding cuts of the Key led govt and who have grandchildren now of their own . AND THERE ARE MANY who have NOT sold out to the neo liberals in this country.

    AND AT THAT POINT… mid/low level commentators like Hooton would have been torn apart publicly and served up as the next course and dismissed as the irrelevant apologist for the neo liberal con job that he is.

  4. The trouble with the left Mr Trotter, and you yourself can testify!
    How many opinion pieces have you written that show how the state of affairs on the left side of politics actually is, the actual reality that no one has been listening nor interested since 2008. And how much bile and spite did you cop from your so called ‘bretheren’ about being a sellout/Key Shrill/a disgrace to Labour and the left/owned by National…well the list goes on and on and I’m sure you have read them and shook your head in disbelief. It seems TDB, and to a lesser extent TS, viewership is really more interested in posts that cover ‘Key=evil’, ‘TPPA=We are all doomed’ posts, actual posts/opinion pieces that show how dire the left’s position in reality (in truth!) is neither wanted nor indeed received well. I see the same postings on both TDB and TS saying exactly the same rhetoric as I read before 2011 election and 2014 election, and I suspect I will read the same next year when the left lose again (would that be worst defeat in 100 years by next year as opposed to 92 yrs in 2014?)

  5. “What distinguishes the Left from the Right is its belief that the world should be – and can be made – a better place.”

    This is the core message, and one that can never be repeated, illustrated and brandished often enough.

    The Left should be in government because the Left believes in government’s power and duty to improve the country for all it’s citizens.

    So, actually do most of the population.

    Until this fact and the concomitant assertion that the Right is lost in a thin, short term financial cynicism, is the continuous message and until the daily procession of news events is routinely used to illustrate and evidence that assertion, we will be lost in the weeds of stories presented today and forgotten tomorrow.

    The labelling of the Left as spendthrift, do-gooding Nannies has served Matthew Hooton in particular, and the Right in general, well. It is time the Nat’s planless, unprincipled pursuit of Jam Today at the expense of so many of our people, our reputation and our environment be put in front of the voting public for long enough that even that complacent demographic can’t ignore it.

    It is also time that someone stand up as counterbalance to Hooton. What are you doing the next couple of years, Chris?

    • The only flaw in the plan being, whenever the left does gain power, it always ends up as a dystopian nightmare – Soviet Russia, Communist China, Pol Pot, Venezuela and, now, Sweden.

      • – fascist Spain, Nazi Germany, Pinochet’s Chile..opps those are on the ‘right’.

        And obviously NZ was a cesspit of evil socialism in the 70’s. Hmm you know what they say about a onetrack mind..?

  6. Another simple practicality.

    The seating arrangement. There should be distance between both ideological camps if it is to be contentious. The chair should be in the middle, and two tables provided – opposite each other.

    This would not detract from the assumed ‘ informality ‘ of the occasion – but clearly not disadvantage any one group. The issues of Social Democracy and neo liberalism are diametrically opposed, therefore there is no and never will be , any common ground.

    So don’t bother looking for any.

    This is not a time to be laid back and only there for a cosmetic going through the motions of some kind of semblance of casual middle class political debate.

    We are at war with these people and there are serious issues at stake now. It should be treated as such.

    You may talk of the idealism of the Left in peace, love and change to make the world a better place… but the reality is these neo liberals waged a war against the NZ public that started in 1984 and hasn’t let up since.

    We are not dealing with a people that can be reasoned with , bargained with or be encouraged to change their perspectives.

    And as long as the Left is content to pontificate around with the ideal world and not getting down to the serious business of checking these people, the neo liberal right will be more than happy to let the Left remain in their ideals.

    This is not a time to feel sorry for ourselves… that in itself is pathetic and disgusting.

    This is a time for brute force assessing of where we are now and going to war. And that takes exhaustive planning, it takes unification of former antagonistic political groups and party’s… and the will to put it into action.

    If you think for one bloody minute that the Veit Cong and NVA didn’t do all these things to bring down the most powerful country on earth and defeat them without doing all these things and just dreamed about the day it would all just fall in ‘ their lap’….

    Well mate, you got another think coming.

    And so it is with the NZ Left, except that we fight a war of facts , realistic presentation to the public , and an ideological war to contest the vote. What the Left lacks now is centralization. I’ve said it before countless times.

    And that unification necessitates a summit meeting of all party’s of the Left and Center Left. A 3 monthly meeting to compare notes, to advance common objectives , to report back and ensure no one party advances any movement that jeopardizes the common objective.

    If the Left truly wanted to get rid of Key or any other neo liberal they could have easily done it by now. But not by pussyfooting around but being the exact opposite – ruthless .
    Just like the neo liberals were to the Left. But by using truth and fact – not lies and constructs. And that way you retain your integrity. Unlike the neo liberal Right.

    I don’t often disagree with you but this sort of dejected resignation disgusts me .

    Stand and strengthen yourself again,

    Prepare yourselves.

    ………………………………………………………………………………………..

    NB : it is an interesting fact that Che’ Guevara observed that there were the urban communists who were viewed as nothing more than ‘useful pontificating tools’ who were gutless and only advocated to act when ‘conditions ‘ were right…

    And then there were the direct action communists who simply got on and did the heavy lifting , utilized the ‘ urban tools’ and dismantled the Batista regime. While Guevara enlisted the services of both he had the most contempt for the ‘ urban tools’…and praise for those who went past mere ‘idealism’ and got the job done.

    And in an analogy to the Social Democratic Left … I would often think the urban Left appears to me as how Guevara viewed it…as pontificating idealistic tools only acting when ‘conditions are right ‘….

    And I’m sure there were many who went to their deaths in Hitlers death camps who regretted their lack of proactivity as well… just to ram the point home.

  7. Another simple practicality.

    The seating arrangement. There should be distance between both ideological camps if it is to be contentious. The chair should be in the middle, and two tables provided – opposite each other.

    This would not detract from the assumed ‘ informality ‘ of the occasion – but clearly not disadvantage any one group. The issues of Social Democracy and neo liberalism are diametrically opposed, therefore there is no and never will be , any common ground.

    So don’t bother looking for any.

    This is not a time to be laid back and only there for a cosmetic going through the motions of some kind of semblance of casual middle class political debate.

    We are at war with these people and there are serious issues at stake now. It should be treated as such.

    You may talk of the idealism of the Left in peace, love and change to make the world a better place… but the reality is these neo liberals waged a war against the NZ public that started in 1984 and hasn’t let up since.

    We are not dealing with a people that can be reasoned with , bargained with or be encouraged to change their perspectives.

    And as long as the Left is content to pontificate around with the ideal world and not getting down to the serious business of checking these people, the neo liberal right will be more than happy to let the Left remain in their ideals.

    This is not a time to feel sorry for ourselves… that in itself is pathetic and disgusting.

    This is a time for brute force assessing of where we are now and going to war. And that takes exhaustive planning, it takes unification of former antagonistic political groups and party’s… and the will to put it into action.

    If you think for one bloody minute that the Veit Cong and NVA didn’t do all these things to bring down the most powerful country on earth and defeat them without doing all these things and just dreamed about the day it would all just fall in ‘ their lap’….

    Well mate, you got another think coming.

    And so it is with the NZ Left, except that we fight a war of facts , realistic presentation to the public , and an ideological war to contest the vote. What the Left lacks now is centralization. I’ve said it before countless times.

    And that unification necessitates a summit meeting of all party’s of the Left and Center Left. A 3 monthly meeting to compare notes, to advance common objectives , to report back and ensure no one party advances any movement that jeopardizes the common objective.

    If the Left truly wanted to get rid of Key or any other neo liberal they could have easily done it by now. But not by pussyfooting around but being the exact opposite – ruthless .
    Just like the neo liberals were to the Left. But by using truth and fact – not lies and constructs. And that way you retain your integrity. Unlike the neo liberal Right.

    I don’t often disagree with you but this sort of dejected resignation disgusts me .

    Stand and strengthen yourself again,

    Prepare yourselves.

    ………………………………………………………………………………………..

    NB : it is an interesting fact that Che’ Guevara observed that there were the urban communists who were viewed as nothing more than ‘useful pontificating tools’ who were gutless and only advocated to act when ‘conditions ‘ were right…

    And then there were the direct action communists who simply got on and did the heavy lifting , utilized the ‘ urban tools’ and dismantled the Batista regime. While Guevara enlisted the services of both he had the most contempt for the ‘ urban tools’…and praise for those who went past mere ‘idealism’ and got the job done.

    And in an analogy to the Social Democratic Left … I would often think the urban Left appears to me as how Guevara viewed it…as pontificating idealistic tools only acting when ‘conditions are right ‘….

    And I’m sure there were many who went to their deaths in Hitlers death camps who regretted their lack of proactivity as well… just to ram the point home.

  8. The summation of the evenings debate / discussion is about as cunning and clever as you can get!
    Anyone who’s lived a little , travelled a little, mixed with a wide variety of people from all walks of life a little and read a little , can pick a con man from 1000 paces whilst facing the other way!
    Hooten is about as predictable as they come . We even have bets to guess what he’s going to say next and 9 times out of 10 we’re right.
    Nobody that predictable can be classed as formidable!
    And so what we have here is some one who has taken the bait , hook, line and sinker!
    Well done Laila for dangling the hook and inviting him. After all, it is a
    seafood bar.
    His massive ego would not have allowed himself to miss it.
    And so , there he was on display for all to see . A legend in his own mind . Lying , bullshitting and manipulating a la RNZ and Radio Live ‘panel discussions’.
    And now, the beautifully masked cynicism of Chris’s glowing tribute that is a joy to behold .
    Poetry …..pure poetry.

  9. Chris: “What distinguishes the Left from the Right is its belief that the world should be – and can be made – a better place.”

    This is where you and most others on the Left, go wrong.

    Those of us in the centre and centre-right (there is no right wing in NZ) want exactly the same thing as you.

    The key difference between us, is in the methods we wish to employ. We think your left wing methods are outmoded and ultimately do more damage than good.

    We believe that hard work and self discipline are preferable to cradle-to-grave welfare handouts.

    We believe that private ownership makes for better stewardship than state ownership or tribal ownership.

    We believe in the right of individuals to contract their labour in a free market rather than a union controlling the workplace.

    We believe people have a right to retain most of the money they have earned rather than having it stolen off them and mishandled by government.

    We believe free trade is ultimately good for all because it keeps us competitive.

    We believe Maori are just as smart and capable as anyone else and pandering to outmoded tribal entities demeans Maori, as does welfare. As a result we think it is the left that are really the racists. Patronizing ones.

    • All sounds pretty good until you compare this degraded minimum wage user pays country with real models of success , which coincidentally happen to be the Scandinavian country’s…

      Which just so happen to be Social Democracy’s with a modified KEYNESIAN ECONOMIC MODEL.

      And to which up until 1984 the same sort of model New Zealand also had developed and to which also during the late 1960’s we were – per capita of public and private wealth – near the top of the worlds wealthiest nations…

      And from which when in 1984 when Roger Douglas introduced neo liberalism we plummeted from our former status to not so long ago be ranked 32nd place globally – behind that of Mexico.

      That’s where they ( the cynical USA movie industry were told ) got the saying ” New Zealanders are like Mexicans with cell phones ” from…

      At times we have also been compared with the poorer eastern European bloc country’s …

      So that pretty much destroys the whole premise of what you claim despite what you say you believe.

      And if you continue to claim these bogus ideals it only shows you haven’t read what people more educated on these matters have been continuously telling people like you or that you have vested interests in having a low wage minimum economy.

      The low wage , minimum wage economy is in itself a direct indictment and repudiation of your far right wing theories.

      The very fact that it exists at all is proof positive that your neo liberalism is bogus and a complete failure.

      Have a nice day ,… and don’t forget to pay your workers a realistic and adjusted for inflation / cost – of – living ‘living wage ‘.

      Then you might have a leg to stand on.

      PS: Tell your buddy’s to start doing the same. Then you might be listened to.

      • WK:

        You arm wave toward “Scandinavian countries” but you’ve never been there. Each is a unique proposition:

        Denmark has a slightly higher unemployment rate than ours thanks to acess to the EU and much lower corporate tax rate than ours.

        Norway’s economy is almost entirely propped by oil revenue. With the oil price having collapsed (how’s that Peak Oil for you?) they are dipping heavily into their reserves to pay for social services. This cannot go on forever. The unemployment rate is low but rising.
        http://www.bbc.com/news/business-35318236

        Finland is in a hell of a mess. It has a very high unemployment rate and rising. They have cut corporate tax down to 20% in order to try and resuscitate their economy.

        By 1990 Sweden’s famous comprehensive social welfare system had nearly bankrupting them. The Krona collapsed and their was massive unemployment. A conservative social democrat government came into power and since then has slashed benefits and company taxes. Sweden’s economy is now doing just fine thanks to free trade polices, transparent government and lower corporate tax than NZ.

        • Empirical evidence is as empirical evidence does – and it is obvious you ( conveniently ) have ignored how wealthy this country was in global terms BEFORE the introduction of neo liberalism.

          That was when this country enjoyed a high standard of living under social democracy – with a Keynes based economy – since 1984 we have seen an increase in earnings disparity’s across the board with the result we now have the term – ‘the working poor’. And even that state is now starting to impinge on the middle classes.

          I could go on and others would add to it. But seeing as there is none blinder than the blind – I will leave this post with the question to you… that in citing these so called ‘facts’ … just who is it that really represents those statistics who are now more well off in the Scandinavian country’s?

          Because if its anything like what has happened to this country – God help them and God help the normal wage earner.

          • WILD KATIPO: “and it is obvious you have ignored how wealthy this country was in global terms BEFORE the introduction of neo liberalism.”

            Making two fundamental mistakes there WK.

            Firstly, neo-liberalism, as introduced by the Lange government, was implemented because New Zealand was close to complete financial collapse at the time. They had no choice! Isolationist Socialism had slowly but surely ruined the place. Please read up on the history of those times so you get a better grasp of the issues they faced. You may look back on the 60’s and 70’s with rose tinted glasses but the hard fact is that it was unsustainable.

            Secondly you make the logical error of assuming that correlation equals causality. Many millions of jobs have been automated and the value of brute labour reduced as a consequence. This is a global trend that no country, especially a tiny one like NZ can fight. It has nothing to do with liberalism or any other politics. It is part of an unstoppable tidal wave of technological advance that will change all our lives for better or for worse.

    • For crying out loud – ACT is NOT a centralist party. It is ideological – idealogs are never centralist because – if you went up to the majority of citizens of NZ – or anywhere else and said “How about you take care of ALL your healthcare, education etc financially yourself, and you don’t have to pay any tax. But you DO have to pay with your own money, by yourself ” they would say “NO!!” If these policies really were “centralist” don’t you think ACT would have gotten more votes?

      • CAGEY:

        ACT is a Libertarian party. It is not right wing.

        It is however vehemently anti-socialist because socialism results in collectivism and the loss of individual rights and responsibilities to the group.

        If you wish to know more, read this:

        http://www.politicalcompass.org/

        and take the test (top right of screen). It’s quite interesting.

      • Umm… Act doesn’t believe or promote those views. The party supports State funded free universal education and health care. You have just created a strawman argument.

        • “The party supports State funded free universal education and health care.”

          Really, Gosman? Your own party says differently;

          ACT believes that the government should state the service levels that it will provide in a transparent way and introduce greater funding contestability wherever possible in order that these levels are met more efficiently. Performance should be better monitored and made more available to the public. Where they have the ability to pay, consumers should be required to make co-payments in order to ration the use of care.

          Ref: http://www.act.org.nz/policies/health-0

          “Required to make co-payments” is not “State funded free universal … health care”.

          As for “State funded free universal education…” Whilst your party makes a reluctant concession toward free primary, intermediate, and secondary education, you advocate privatisation by stealth by turning education into “an asset of the parent and child, to be used at a school, public or private, of their choice” . In other words, a voucher system.

          ref: http://www.act.org.nz/policies/education-school-and-pre-school

          Your committment to “universal state funded education” collapses completely when it comes to tertiary education;

          ACT advocates steps that would increase the incentives for students to make sound choices and increase the return on investment that taxpayers receive. These steps include the removal of price controls that distort educational choices, and more contestable research funding on the non-teaching side of tertiary education and putting interest on student loans.

          ref: http://www.act.org.nz/policies/education-tertiary

          Which is curious, to say the least, as ACT accepts the premise that “education at this level is an investment in human capital
          (http://www.act.org.nz/policies/education-school-and-pre-school). ACT does not explain why education in primary, intermediate, and secondary is an “investment in human capital” – but not when it comes to tertiary education? What is the difference? Education is either an investment, or it is not.

          Regardless, ACT’s commitment to “State funded free universal education and health care” is questionable. I doubt you even fully understand what “free universal education and health care” really is.

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