MUST READ – Blurred Vision: Why Labour Isn’t Trusted To Govern New Zealand



STEPHEN MILLS, from Labour’s pollsters, UMR Research, today confirmed that Labour’s support has slipped back to just 30 percent. He also informed RNZ’s listeners that Phil Goff is leading his nearest rival for the Auckland Mayoralty, Victoria Crone, by 33 percentage points. This is, of course, the same Phil Goff who, as Labour’s leader, failed to squeeze more than 27 percent of the Party Vote out of the New Zealand electorate.

It’s a grim parade of statistics for those of us hoping for a change of government at next year’s general election. And what it’s telling us is this: Labour isn’t trusted to govern. Phil Goff may be trusted to lead the country’s largest city – overwhelmingly trusted. But, Andrew Little is not trusted to lead the country.

This lack of trust is crippling. If it’s not addressed, and soon, it will produce yet another electoral defeat. Whether Labour can sustain a fourth rejection by the electorate – especially if it turns out to be worse than the 25 percent 2014 result – is highly debateable. A century-old party can only go on losing for so long before it simply fades away.

It is the privilege of historians to pinpoint the causes of an institution’s malaise, even when they have little to offer by way of immediate solutions.

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In Labour’s case, the origins of its malady are easily discerned. The embrace of what were then called “free-market policies”, in the late-1980s, destroyed Labour as a mass party. Splits, first to the Left, and then to the Right, further weakened the organisation. That Labour survived at all as a viable electoral force was due, almost entirely, to the iron will of Helen Clark. All that has happened to the party since her departure in 2008 only confirms her pivotal role in delaying Labour’s disintegration.

What Clark was unable, or unwilling, to do, however, was the one thing that might have breathed new life into the Labour Party. To rebuild Labour as a trusted and decisive political force, it was necessary for someone to stand up and publicly repudiate Rogernomics.

This needed to be more than simply a half-hearted owning up to “mistakes”. It had to be a root-and-branch condemnation of the entire exercise – accompanied by a process of “rejuvenation” that completely denuded the parliamentary caucus of all its Rogernomes.

This latter exercise is crucial. Indeed, the repudiation of Rogernomics can only proceed successfully when the Rogernomes themselves are gone Any attempt to reassert democratic-socialist values and policies while convinced neoliberal MPs remained in caucus can only result in the most vicious kind of public political blood-letting – with all the inevitable electoral damage that such disunity entails.

What, then, do people see when they look at the Labour Party in 2016? The answer, sadly, is a blur. In the absence of a clear repudiation of its Rogernomics past, Labour can only present itself as an indistinct, ill-defined political notion. This is especially true of Labour’s parliamentary caucus where – believe it or not – there may still be found remnants of the David Lange-led, but Roger Douglas-controlled, Labour Government of 1984-1990!

With these veteran politicians, and their younger allies, still in place, even David Cunliffe’s relatively mild attempt (when compared to Jeremy Corbyn or Bernie Sanders!) to dislodge the party from its neoliberal past provoked the most extraordinary backlash. Andrew Little, has striven mightily to avoid his predecessor’s fate, but only at the cost of ideological prevarication and policy confusion. Labour’s stance on the TPPA, for example, gyrates wildly between opposition and grudging support. Meanwhile, Phil Goff (the most senior remaining Rogernome in caucus) gets a free pass to vote against his own party.

Auckland’s voters have rewarded Goff’s undeviating ideological clarity by making him their runaway favourite for the Mayoralty. And why not? When it comes to leading a monstrous neoliberal artefact like the Auckland Supercity, it’s difficult to think of anybody better qualified for the job.

But, for those of us who not only want to get rid of the National Party-led Government, but also the dangerously unequal neoliberal system that it supports, Labour’s blurred outlines and indistinct values inspire only disappointment and mistrust.


  1. Cunnles should have another crack. It’s becoming clearer now why the rumours about him being ‘unlikeable’ abound – he is true to the LP values that the ABCs have abandoned.

    Recent politics in the (western) world has proven there is appetite for a real leadership that works on behalf of the citizenry, not the corps.

    I know NZers like to follow rather than lead these days, but wouldn’t it be great if we elected the Sanders/Corbyn figure more quickly than them? Perhaps even set the stage for a native woman!

    • David Cunliffe is still a fine leader for the left. He must stay, we need his leftness…..with appreciation for DC!

  2. Embracing free market policies in the 80’s didn’t do Labour any harm. Labour won the 1987 election with a 5% and 2 seat increase in their vote. What destroyed Labour was firstly the abandoning of those principles by a gutless leadership, and then the ‘nanny statism’ and arrogance of Clark’s reign. It will be many more years yet before Labour regain the Treasury benches.

    • Wtf. Labours he only reason National can go on about its D minus it currently receives for economic management is because it’s so much better than the F under Muldoon

          • Please excuse my typos in my first reply.

            About that neoliberalism. How’s it going in places like Argintina, Peru, Brazil?

                • So there are only two political systems to choose between; neo-liberal corporatism (“the merger of state and corporate power”) or Stalinist corporatism (the merger of industrial and state power)? This is a black-and-white fallacy. Also, given that you’d struggle to find anyone in the 21st century left whose vision of a post-capitalist world bears any resemblance to the Soviet Union, it’s also a strawman fallacy.

                  • No fallacy, because I didn’t make any such claim. But with a choice between those alternatives, neo-liberalism wins out. Socialism destroyed an entire group of nations, and is rapidly destroying the ones who still have the misfortune to be victims to it’s constraining ideology.

                • @IR, you would have a point if the FED hadn’t shut down the derivatives exchange last Friday

                  And in Europe Eurex stopped trading cause they couldn’t handle the bears.

                  That’s shame.

                  • Then you simply don’t understand free market economics. FME permits those actions, that’s why it doesn’t fail. Socialism, on the other hand, has failed.

                    • Is that the same “free market” that crashed the world economy in 2008; required billions in bail-outs by tax-payers in UK, USA, New Zealand, and elsewhere, IR?

                      Nice try at parroting cliches. But you are undone by recent history.

                      As for “socialism has failed” – when is the last time you availed yourself of free hospital care?

                    • To carry on Franks point. Suspending trading is not free market economics. That’s just a bunch of very untalented people in very important positions trying to telly graph to the markets to stop speculating that currency pairs will go on a bear run to zero.

    • When the 1987 election rolled around, people were still blissfully unaware of the long-term trajectory that the nation was on, thanks to Roger Douglas. More of what is making you sick is not going to cure you.

    • More Labour bashing when our focus should be on who dictates to our PM and to some MPs. Who owns the lawmakers and which lobbyists control which politicians. We the people are not in control, the criminal banksters and greedy corporations are dictating and the UN is not our friend. All of you who have given us so many negative ticks consider learning a bit more about just why things are as they are and who is really in charge.
      We here in NZ can be pretty myopic and insular when it comes to politics.
      Instead of killing off the messengers, why not get better informed.

    • Actually, “IR”, you recollection of events in the late 1980s is a bit askew.

      You’re right that Labour’s electoral support increase from 1984 (42.98%) to 1987 (47.96%).,_1984,_1987

      But it collapsed in 1999 (35.14%) after privatisation was implemented post 1987. As a Treasury document shows, Labour’s state asset sales didn’t start until after the 1987 general election.

      So your claim that ” What destroyed Labour was firstly the abandoning of those principles by a gutless leadership, and then the ‘nanny statism’ and arrogance of Clark’s reign” is false. It is little more than a weak attempt to reframe recent history.

      On top of which, ever single opinion poll has shown New Zealanders to be opposed to State asset sales.

      So claiming that Labour’s support collapsed because of “abandoning of those principles by a gutless leadership” is akin to hardline Russian marxists asserting that that Soviet system collapsed because it wasn’t “communist enough”.

      It’s all bollicks.

      Otherwise ACT wouldn’t be consistently polling under 1% in poll after poll. That’s where those Rogernomics “principles” ended up.

      • “But it collapsed in 1999 (35.14%) after privatisation was implemented post 1987.”

        Labours economic direction was well established in 1987 Frank. And every Government elected since has followed largely the same economic direction. It was the ‘cup of tea’ in 1988 that destroyed Lange’s Labour.

      • Frank

        The National Govt won the 87 election by the largest majority ever recorded under FPP, the dissatisfaction was overwhelming, but I suppose you could not realistically be surprised, with Prebble and Douglas holding the riens, poor Labour, infiltrated and taken over by extreme RW idiotology.

        • National DIDNT win the 87 election . it was the 2nd term for the first ACT govt. Under Lange and Douglas

        • No. The Lange Labour government overwhelmingly won the 1987 general election 57 seats to Bolger’s National Party 40 seats.

          Your point “Prebble and Douglas holding the riens, poor Labour, infiltrated and taken over by extreme RW ideology” is correct though.

      • And support for Labour only held up in 1987, despite widespread disillusion with Rogernomics, because of the nuclear ships policy.

    • You obviously forgot how Labour got their butt kicked in the 1990 election – their reward for galloping inflation, rising unemployment and selling off state assets.
      It was their “up yours” attitude to their traditional supporters that cost them in 1990 and will cost the National Party in 2017.
      You can fool some of the people some of the time.

      • If you had read what I wrote, you would see that I addressed that. Labour’s 1990 loss was the result of the ‘cup of tea’ in 1988. They abandoned what was, and is, widely acknowledged as the appropriate course because Lange lost his nerve.

  3. Who’s side are you on ?
    It seems you are on a subtle / quiet mission to get the Natz back in though you preach otherwise. Again – some of us are disappointed in you and your lack of awareness and intentions.
    Phil Goff and Helen were and are ! UN backed people on a mission called Agenda 21 and the N.W.O. so we are no longer fans of theirs. (Do more research) It is far from good for Auckland if Goff wins. If you are such a fan of goffs why not look into his connections with the UN and their hidden agendas. He is not the saint you want to depict and neither is David Shearer. There are some very fine and intelligent MP’s on the Labour ( and Green ) sides who are not puppets of the UN. Why not focus on them more ? Why not stop with all your unnecessary bashing and negative focusing on the only party that can take us into a brighter and healthier future and get this disgusting ( out of touch ) govt. FINALLY out of power ?

    Please — if we are to get rid of this horrific govt. we need to get behind Labour and though they have their faults, they and the Greens , for the most part, are a good team with some very good plans and agendas. Even the title of this above article is very negative and will do damage and is it necessary ? Please consider the impacts of your writing.
    Why not focus on what they are doing right and good and stop with all you Labour bashing that many of us do not appreciate. It is getting predictable and very boring. Also – why do we rarely hear anything good and positive from you about the Greens and NZ first ? Who is the one to be or not be to be trusted here ? Sorry but again we disagree with you and your intentions. You are the one who is disappointing Chris, not Labour. Get familiar with why David and Phil are so close with the U.N. and why ? Helen jumped right in bed with them – dig deeper.

      • Spot on – agree completely. Many are missing the point here about the UN and most are unaware of any that you or I write about. We get side tracked on this politician vs. that politician or this party vs. that party when we need to broaden our scope. Most governments are owned and dictated to by the very globalist multi national – corporations and upper 1 % ers who are now slowly committing suicide and being put in prison and disgraced with the truths coming out. The UN is the mother ship and the world needs to wake up about what they are really all about. Thanks for your short and true comment and I hope that others will stop reacting and stop burying their heads in the sand with their lack of awareness and negative ticks.

    • Oh please the same old tired, a cut off at the knees argument to get national out of power. “It’s better to have the half mad prince, than a power mad one.” argument is trite, and you know it.

      Plus you had the gall to say to write “Please consider the impacts of your writing.”

      Anything else silly you want to add?

      Pleas for more censorship, or prison time for people that ask questions?

      “Never be deceived that the rich will allow you to vote away their wealth” Lucy Parsons

      • Disagree with you as well. No one wants any power or mad leader at the helm. We need someone who is not so corporate connected and not a puppet for the elite. Seems I hit many nerves here. Frankly Adam – your comment does not make much sense and your quotes seem out in left field. Talk about silliness.

    • Blake, you need to read more carefully. It’s clear from this article that Chris is no fan of Goff, and pointing out Helen’s role in holding Labour together is just a statement of fact, not an endorsement of Helen or her unreformed neo-liberalism.

      BTW Sharing links from Fox News here is laughable. Do you know who owns Fox, and whose interests they represent? As for the paranoid, US-centric, anti-communist ravings from “ForbiddenKnowledge”, please don’t waste our time with this garbage.

        • So, do you just want him to be a cheerleader for “the left”, whatever that is… or do you want some informed and intelligent input? Then “the right” would just accuse him of what many people accuse the msm of; bias and lack of balance. You don’t have to agree with everything he writes, but I agree with what he says here.

      • Daniel, sorry but I disagree – Chris states that that Phil is qualified for the job so he does support him. I am no fan of Fox, I never have been and clearly they are biased usually and all of us realize what a disgusting media outlet they are but they are hitting the nail on the head regarding the UN.
        The UN ( and Phils connection ) are the issues and focus here and their hidden agendas that we do not need. This relates to how Phil Goff will govern as well. The UN Security Council was a mistake for us to be associated with. There are tons of links about this and the messenger’s are not the target – the truths are the issue here and to defend our association with the UN and the MP’s who covet them needs more scrutiny and more research.
        Did you read any of the two links I put up or did you just dismiss them right away ?

        • Blake – I saw Chris’s endorsement of Goff as ironic, if not sarcastic – ie, a neo-liberal is a must for the super-city dog’s breakfast… Are you sure that you have the superior understanding?

          • I’m sure he/she doesn’t have much understanding at all. The left is so demoralised that it has become a loose confederation of conspiracy nutters. This may be the ultimate victory of Rogernomics.

            • Intellect ; brain power and compassion and an understanding of well-being for all – not your strong points. Do they exist much at all for you ?

        • I admire your passion Blake, but with respect, you need to look a bit deeper into what you’re advocating here. Yes, I skimmed the articles your links pointed to. The Fox News one claims that the UN is filled with “thugs, genocidal maniacs and other freaks” because it isn’t uncritically supporting Israel’s cryptofascist treatment of the Palestinian people. I am familiar with this kind of anti-UN criticism from US conservatives, and I fail to understand why you or any other kiwi would take it seriously, or waste our time with it.

          The UN has its flaws but its at least guided by ethical principles (the Declaration of Human Rights), and respects the sovereignty of its member countries, who are able to vote as equals on its General Assembly resolutions. Imagine if the NZ state worked the same way, as a voluntary federation of autonomous local governments, and that those local governments worked the same way as voluntary federations of neighbourhood assemblies. It might actually function as something resembling a democracy.

          Contrast this with the WTO, for example, and the Investor-State Disputes Settlements mechanism in globalization treaties like the TPPA. The only ethical framework they are guided by is “greed is good”, and they exist to overrule democratic governments for the benefits of corporations. The same corporations whose right to render everything on Earth into “property” for their enrichment your anti-UN conservatives on Fox News etc enthusiastically support.

        • How about down with the treasonous, corrupt key National government and their anti kiwi and worker legislation?

            • If you ask me the current crop of MPs (all of them) are very untalented. I may give Garreth Hugh’s a pass, but on second thoughts he lost the leadership race.

              The one moment that brings it all home for me is when the trains failed during the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

              No dairy prices.

              New Zealand has ticked up north of a hundred billion since key took office.

              Iv just had it up to here*** with all the talk. We are all to blame.

              Until a generation of children emerge that is less retarded than the last. I’ll just keep spitting venom

              • Thanks for your response. NZ hasn’t “ticked up north of a hundred billion since key took office,” it’s the inept corrupt Key National government that couldn’t manage their way out of paper bag that has done that.

                I blame those who keep voting for the Key National government to sell us out, drown us in poverty and debt and for making us tenants in our own country, just so the well heeled parasites here and offshore can get richer.

                • Well it’s the second time National has done that (ticked up a billion/hundy billion.

                  Fool me once. Shame on you. Fool me twice shame on me. Fool me three times and I’ll pull the pitch forks out and sharpen my guillotine

    • Agree with much of what you say.

      BUT, as an Aucklander there is practically nobody to vote for for Mayor on the left.

      The reason Goff is doing well, I think has more to do with the lack of opposition rather than his policies. The right like him because he is pro asset sales and student loans, the left give him a grudging vote because he is Labour.

      As for why Labour is dropping in the polls and the public. They just are not engaging with the public and have a war of ideology within their own party. We have Nash publicly saying he will lose their principals to win, Goff and Shearer being pro TPPA and the division of ideology putting off potential Labour voters who traditionally vote labour.

      Labour and Greens need to start using social media to engage with their voters outside of MSM.

      Just looked at Andrew Little’s Facebook page, personally didn’t know any of that stuff he’s been doing which sounds great although not much policy – or engagement in responses. Just would take 2 seconds to reply to question etc or to engage with hecklers for fun.

      Social media is how busy people, families with kids and young people engage now. The opposition will not win enough support by doing it all 6 months before an election – they need to start now! Social media is free and sustainable.

      Checked out James Shaw fb – he has managed to engage but not much policy or support – come on folks – like him Green supporters!

      Metiria Turei – has zero engagement at all of FBl! No posts. This is the party that is supposed to be trying to get the youth votes…. hmmm

      Winston peters has better FB talking about TPP, land sales and where he has been… No engagement I can see, but his looks the best so far in terms of mix of policy with his personal movements.

    • Blake

      Good points, we all need to stop bashing the ones that have the potential to rid us of the current regime, “no govt pleases all the people all the time”, we need to accept warts and all, purist’s will never be satisfied because of self defeat.

  4. part of the malaise is the current class composition of NZ after 30 years of ‘Rogernomics’ and ‘Ruthanasia’, we are riddled with reactionary conservatives, farmers, retired doing well plus super, self employed and SME owners that put baches and HSV Commodores ahead of all else

    many peoples thinking has shifted from the collective to the individual, a new rentier group whose parents were raised in state houses now buy them to rent to the denied younger generation, a million NZ born reside overseas, a neo ‘swamping’ via immigration has happened to bewildered older kiwis

    so why would the unfortunate remains of the NZ Labour Party run by managerialists at best, be of interest to the above group when the Nats refuse to jettison Labour/Alliance policy such as paid parental leave and WFF?

    there was a glimmer with Internet Mana but the bloody Labour Party helped strangle that too with its bent placing of resources into the West Auckland end of Te Tai Tokerau

    so the future really lies in mass movements like that against the TPPA that may eventually take organised political form

    • I agree except that I think Internet/Mana extinguished the glimmer of hope. Mana swapped some of their best activists for less than the price of an average Auckland house. Now they look like a bunch of conspiracy theorists. Some of them may even be posting Agenda 21 garbage above.

      • @Ovicula

        The results show that the Internet Mana tie up doubled their party votes last election.

        What stopped them getting into power was Labour for whatever reason they seemed desperate to keep them out and the massive smear campaign launched by MSM and National.

        For me, this also made a huge loss for Labour – it confused the Labour voters, by being so obviously against Internet Mana it looked like Labour was desperate to keep marginalised groups being represented in Parliament. Hone bought in the food for Schools bill etc. It also was against natural justice. Dotcom has not been convicted of any crime (we still have innocent into proven guilty in this country and even Sony Lawyers have said they would not prosecute as no guarantee he will be found guilty, similar cases against Google failed) and there was clearly a government witch hunt against him when he stood up to Key. That in itself should have made Labour back off and be neutral on the issue. It was also completely hypocritical when National is the one who get all the donations NON transparently and put policy and laws together for their lobbyists.

        Dotcom and Internet Mana were smeared continually as was Cunliffe – instead of making that the issue, Labour kept quiet and in some cases it was members of Labour that were doing the smearing.

        Disaster again for the left.

        • >> The results show that the Internet Mana tie up doubled their party votes last election. <<

          Thanks for pointing this out. The news media carefully focused on percentages to avoid discussing the actual gains/ losses in vote numbers for particular parties and candidates. My personal experiences with both Mana and Internet parties post-election have left me disillusioned with them, but I don't regret writing a guest blog for TDB supporting the shared ticket. Defeating the neo-liberals in both National and Labour requires a broad grassroots opposition movement including the socialist left, the radical left of tangata whenua, open source freedom technologists, and left libertarians. Internet Mana was only the first experiment in how that movement might look, and I'm hopeful it won't be the last.

          Hey TDB moderators, why did you publish Blake's "Natz loving right wing troll"? comment? It added nothing to the discussion, consisting entirely of ad hominem attacks on another commenter. Isn't this exactly the sort of comment that moderation is meant to weed out to increase the quality of the discussion here?

          • I have also called out Blake a number of times for his right wing trolling. I suppose that’s all we can do cause he isn’t really doing anything wrong. He knows just enough to through out links with out actually understanding what the links are or just miss representing them as not a conspiracy theory. Which is annoying because it forces us to do a bit of actually work.

            That’s why I just call him a right wing troll now. If it isn’t obvious to him, it should be to every one else

      • So, you Natz loving right wing troll, Agenda 21 got you worked up into a frenzy lather which shows how little you know about the truths and the real hidden agendas. Keep your head in the sand, it suits your bottom trolling intellect and massive game playing denial.

        Your understanding about what was behind Internet/Mana ( and Kim ) and what they stood for and wanting for this country is about enough to fit on the head of a very tiny pin.
        How much are they paying you ?

        • If you would stop misrepresenting right wing satire as journalism you might not come across as such a condescending ass whole

  5. Chris: “In Labour’s case, the origins of its malady are easily discerned. The embrace of what were then called “free-market policies”, in the late-1980s, destroyed Labour as a mass party.”

    Your thinking is upside down.

    NZ does not stand alone and in isolation. It is a small island in the South Pacific which has to trade to survive. Its current relative prosperity is due solely to its liberal, open borders and free trade approach to business.

    So the real problem with Labour is its failure to modernise: To accept that liberalism, open borders and a flexible workforce are the only games in town and to make the best of it. The thing that has killed off Labour is the intransigence of hard left ideologues who still think it’s 1948 and Clement Atlee is the PM in Britain.

    In this respect, you’re part of the problem Chris.

    Labour had ample opportunity to move into the space now occupied by the Key government. Unfortunately the hard left stabbed the modernisers in the back and reverted to form.

    With dinosaur union bosses now dominating the voting process within, it seems the party has been given the kiss of death.

    • >> NZ does not stand alone and in isolation. It is a small island in the South Pacific which has to trade to survive. <<

      Andrew, please explain what we need to import in order to "survive"? Water? Nope. Food then? Absolutely not, we already produce far more than our population needs and could do better with diversified organic production for lcoal needs. You can't import housing, so it can't be that. Clothing? We used to produce that ourselves, and could again. Fossil fuels? Maybe, but we do have our own supplies, and we need to be transitioning off them anyway (climate change, peak oil etc).

      So please enlighten us, what do we need trade for? Computers, ok, luxuries like these are nice to have, but they are hardly essential to survival. They certainly not worth giving up our political-economic sovereignty, dismantling our democracy, and allowing corporations and their investors to control the lion's share of our resources while working people live in vehicles and rely on food banks to survive.

      • Daniel:

        Regarding your ‘diversified organic production’, I hope you’re not wanting to use any tractors, harvesters or other heavy equipment because we don’t make them and we also don’t make the fuel that drives them. So the logical conclusion of your green dream is somewhere close to that of a medieval peasant, barely scraping an existence off the land with their bare hands.

        We don’t make:

        The fuel for our cars
        The cars themselves
        Batteries for anything (will you allow whale oil lamps?)
        Light bulbs
        Light switches
        The switchgear, cables, transformers and turbines for our electrical grid
        The modern drugs and apparatus we require for the health service (so it’s holistic organic cures in your dream world)
        The bitumen for our roads
        The appliances in our kitchens
        Everything IT related

        However we do make toilet paper (a win!)

        Dream on pal!

        • Andrew this is your worse nightmare. Yes peak bloody everything is real. Daniel might sound extreme but that’s the future. We might be better to work out what should be saved and how it can be done on a severely curtailed energy and resource budget. The good news is that we have some time to work it out unless we go dreaming of technology fixes.

        • Are you ruling out greater self reliance.

          Out industries have been decimated but that does not mean we can’t meet more of our needs and build up the means to do so.

          Some are wed to and addicted to more of the same.

          Long term it aint going to continue.

          • Nick & John:

            Self reliance has its merits for sure, but the problem is lack of efficiency. In a small market like our we cannot make large volume consumer products to a competitive quality and cost. If you want a classic example of this, take a look at the Aussie car industry. It was propped up for decades at great cost to the taxpayer and produced cars of dubious quality that in the end even the ultra loyal Aussie car buyer didn’t want. It died and few mourn its demise.

            Nick, if I were you I wouldn’t be so concerned about Peak Everything. We have a 500 year history of everything getting less expensive and our quality of life improving. I see nothing at present that is going to change that. Each time the doom mongers make a prediction they’re proven wrong: The latest of which is Peak Oil. Life is good! Enjoy it.

            • Andrew, I acknowledge there are *sometimes* economies of scale in specialized production, and producing larger quantities of things in one place. I’m not advocating that each household manufacture their own toilet paper from scratch 😉 However, there is an upper limit to economies of scale, and the energy gains from increased efficiency have to be compared with the energy losses of transporting products over long distances to really get a proper cost/benefit analysis.

              >> We have a 500 year history of everything getting less expensive and our quality of life improving. <<

              Even accepting this bold claim at face value, 500 years is a *very* short timescale compared to the hundreds of thousands of years humans have lived on this planet. This 500 increase in "quality of life", by which I presume you mean "range of commodities available for those who can afford to buy them", has been powered by spending the natural capital of fossil fuels as if they were income. Even if the planet was a hollow sphere filled with oil and coal, this couldn't go on for ever, despite wishful thinking to the contrary.

              It's well accepted that extraction rates of conventional oil peaked in about 2006, and its only fracking, tar sands etc that has been concealing the start of oil decline. The result is increased volatility in oil, coal, and gas prices, with the overall trend being upwards, see economist Jeff Rubin's book 'Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller'.

              • I know a whole lot of oil, gas and oil producers who wish to see some of that volatility!

                Mining and energy prices are now at lower prices than we’ve seen for decades, to the extent that a significant slice of producers will go broke.

                There are those in the industry who say that oil may NEVER recover because the transport industry is ploughing billions into EV technology which will undermine the price in the long term. Maybe forever.


                As someone once said: The stone age didn’t end because they ran out of stone.

                • Re oil price? It’s an over supply problem based on maintaining a market share battle for the Middle East, between the Saudis and there money printer (Oil production) vs Americas money printing FED reserve.

        • We don’t make:

          The fuel for our cars

          Oh, really?

          So pray tell, what does the Marsden Oil Refinery produce? Knitted beanies?

          Your knowledge (or lack of) is eye-opening, Andrew.

          • The Marsden Point refinery produces premium and regular petrol, diesel, automotive fuels and kerosene for the New Zealand market. It also produces jet fuel, fuel oils (LFO, HFO and HBFO) and bitumen.

          • It refines & repackages.

            I suppose its better than nothing.

            If we had an oil industry, then and only then would we be producing fuel.

            • It’s storage capacity is only 5 million barrels a day. Marsden can riding a lot more than its storage capacity.

              It’s just National, (If labour had been in gov for the last 8 years I’d say them) refuse to invest in port and rail infrastructure that is key to producing a sound professional work force capable of achieving anything in all situations such as oil spills.

    • “So the real problem with Labour is its failure to modernise:” – and that’s no error.

      There is still that air of patronage for the ignorant workers. That ‘we know better’ – and they don’t.

      By the time of the 1980s the influx of working class Poms had just about dried up – and the union movement they’d brought along went the way of dinosaurs. Leaving the field free for the sharp-elbowed lower middle class mass of curtain twitching ‘naice’ people who work in shops and offices and secure employment and own businesses. The likes of them don’t need unions (imagine lots of scorn). Oh dear, no. They are Responsible and Decent, and ride on the coat tails of others.

      Wages have fallen, or failed to rise. Surprise? No. But there are not enough freezing works people or stevedores to fight for an increase that flows on (trickles over) to the ‘naice’ people. Karma…

      That’s why Labour is always bleating about ‘the middle’ – the traditional lower middle class ‘naice’ people who are probably more voter material for National and NZ First. The ones who went to ‘varsity or polytech. Courting people like themselves, more’s the pity.

      And Labour’s lost the plot, lost the raison d’etre, lost the people who really knew the reasons why workers needed to band together and keep on fighting for advances.

      I wouldn’t want to stick a target on his front at all – but Cunliffe’s brand has so many of the elements needed for a way forward. He can sound scathing, for true, yet he’s a persistent fighter with vision and insight.

      However, I’ll lobby again for an addition to the ‘Who would you vote for?’ poll – ‘None of the above’. Why? They’re simply variations on a theme to suit the small aspirations of the comfy middle. Meh.

    • @ Andrew ! You’re a bottomless pit of logical fallacies ! You’re trying to keep the truth at bay ! OMG ! You really are one of them.
      Things generally must be getting pretty dire if people like you start to bubble up to the surface when usually you may feel more comfortable doing damage control by stealth and manipulation. Wow ! Things are beginning to look interesting for a change.

    • “Dinosaur union bosses”?!

      Andrew, are you referring to a species that was spectacularly successful ,on an evolutionary/geological scale, and would still be dominant on this planet had it not been for a wayward asteroid, 65 million years ago?

      Well, I guess you could call Rogernomics a “political asteroid” that destroyed much of what was good in our once-egalitarian society…

  6. Well said.

    ‘Labour’ is distrusted because it is not Labour and has not been for decades: it is just another party that promotes the global-corporate, money-lender agendas of looting and polluting and exploiting, with perhaps a few more crumbs falling off the corporate feasting table if you’re lucky.

    And having had personal dealing with Andrew Little, I can say in all honesty that I have found him to be unfocused, unreliable and cowardly.

    It won’t be ‘Labour’ that will bring an end to the reign of terror that ‘neoliberalism’ unleashed: it will be resource depletion, environmental collapse, social collapse and unravelling of Ponzi economics and Ponzi finance that will do the job. The unknown factor is the degree of conflict between the increasingly fascist USA and the anti-fascist Russia and China.

    However, until the system collapses, those who are currently benefitting from the ‘neoliberal’ agenda will undoubtedly attempt to morph NZ into an increasingly fascist police state in order to hold on to what they have.

  7. National still represents the one million+ who voted for them, “everything’s fine thanks!” They have a charismatic leader in John Key. They have softened on some issues compared to say Bolger or earlier. This is not to excuse the many poor choices, such as rampant privatisation, harsh reforms and inane personality politics.

    Labour tries to appeal to everybody, but I think it’s time to admit that they have now lost the middle class permanently. The average voter can find no good reason to vote for them that they don’t already get in National. They don’t have a frontsperson to match Key. If Labour was to return to its roots, mobilise the underclass and get them voting they will have a shot. But this is a difficult task when so many are disaffected by the whole process.

      • He’s also basically the most popular PM ever. This is a left-wing blog; I don’t need to explain to you how this can be with all of the gaffs and scandals that would normally sink somebody, the complicity of the mainstream media etc.

        It’s like the black community getting behind Clinton in the USA. They would get a better deal through Sanders, but she is a brand name and is also associated with the first black president.

        • Rubbish – there were potraits of Savage on mantels in thousands of NZ houses – Key is more common on dartboards.

        • Key is a product of MSM spin and bullshit sponsored by those who know well how to manipulate the compliant masses.

          Nothing to do with good of the country or ability to manage with intelligent solutions.

          • Finally some words of wisdom. We label the Labour party with such disdain and wrong judgments yet there are some shining lights in their camp so the whole family and its history should not be thrown out so quickly. Well-being and compassion for all should be the word of the day and not all this Rogernomics BS rhetoric. Sure there are idiots in the Labour party but they are not all idiots and there are many more with their heads on straight.

            Who is going to get out this horrific govt. ? – it will be the family of Labour; Greens and NZ First. Stop believing the Natz trolls here who only want to mis-judge and vilify the Labour party at all costs. They think that the Labour party is dead and that is a propaganda lie. Wake up voters and smell the deceit and mind manipulating lies coming from this horrific Natz govt and its paid trolls.

        • No . He his not the most popular PM ever.
          That is a myth and a theme that has been perpetuated by a very well funded marketing machine and a compliant propaganda media.
          You could have put a gorilla in a pinstripe suit and given it the ‘John Key treatment and got the same poll results!
          Sir Keith Holyoke and Norman Kirk were way more popular than Key and that was before Facebook, selfies, propaganda polls and a corrupt media raised their ugly heads.
          Do you remember the affectionate song written about Kirk called ‘Big Norm’.
          I’m not hearing any affectionate songs about Key. Just a lot of booing.
          By the way, if you want a good example of charismatic , try the late David Bowie!!

        • Himsee – there have been many popular demogogues in human history. Some, like Hitler and Stalin you wouldn’t want as your leader.

          Nixon got re-elected in 1972 despite increasingly damning revelations that he had knowledge of the Watergate break-in.

          And Robert Muldoon was a very popular leader here in New Zealand, even as he ran our economy into the ground and used the 1981 Springbok Tour for selfish political aggrandisement.

          So what’s your point?

        • First, you don’t have to convince me otherwise. I would never vote for him. But if you want a different government, you have to convince a large part of those 1 million voters. And basically none of them read this blog. Everyone gets exactly one (party) vote, and even if you hate John Key very very much this doesn’t change the magnitude of your vote.

          At the moment, National rides on the popularity of John Key. That’s why praise and criticism alike are mainly levelled at one person. It’s extremely effective in deflecting any bad press away from poorly performing ministers. It also sends a message of “strong, stable government” (remember that line? and the rowboat analogy?). Even if there is some dissent in the caucus, their subservience ensures they’ll keep their jobs with little to fuss about.

          “Rubbish – there were potraits of Savage on mantels in thousands of NZ houses – Key is more common on dartboards.”
          — but still 1 million votes.

          “No . He his not the most popular PM ever….”
          — you’re right, Holyoake was around for four terms. It’s looking like it could go the same way for this lot.

          “Key is a product of MSM spin and bullshit sponsored by those who know well how to manipulate the compliant masses.
          Nothing to do with good of the country or ability to manage with intelligent solutions.”
          — agree in part, but people have bought into the message. Because he doesn’t get worked up about scandals, nothing negative sticks to him. What’s weird is when the angry warmonger comes out nothing changes…

          “Himsee – there have been many popular demogogues in human history. Some, like Hitler and Stalin you wouldn’t want as your leader.
          Nixon got re-elected in 1972 despite increasingly damning revelations that he had knowledge of the Watergate break-in.
          And Robert Muldoon was a very popular leader here in New Zealand, even as he ran our economy into the ground and used the 1981 Springbok Tour for selfish political aggrandisement.
          So what’s your point?”
          — I never said popular leaders are necessarily good, just that people tend to vote for them. Which is a pretty good measure of popularity, no? People tend to buy into leaders that represent some ideal they want to achieve (like wealth), even though for 99% of them it will never be obtainable.

        • I don’t think “popular” and “charismatic” mean the same thing. A politician may be popular if he seems to preferable to other politicians; but to be charismatic he would need to have some special power that attracts followers.

  8. There’s an elephant in the room which urgently needs a date with the left’s constable Eric Blair and his Winchester .50: the UN. Shoot that elephant, and the root of that fecklessness can be dug right out. The link between Labour and globalist neoliberalism is the UN.

    When else did the left ever believe that the likes of Churchill, Stalin, FDR, De Gaulle, and Chiang Kai Shek could sit down and agree on a framework for a global power order and have any good come of it?

  9. Chris do you have any friends left?

    A week or two ago you were taking a crack at Martyn Bradbury.

    This week it is Phil Goff, Andrew Little and everybody else in the Labour Party because they do not satisfy you, with the required number of Party expulsions.

    Whose head is on the Trotter chopping board next week?

  10. Brilliant. I found it hugely comforting to read your above Post @ Chris Trotter.
    When my feeble and poorly educated mind meshes nicely with your erudite self I know I’m on the right path when I make my bold and sweeping generalisations based usually on nought but instinct.
    You are, of course, dead right. In all things above.
    I’ve just had some hale and hearty fellows visit me. We six got drunk-ish and fell into a rabble around the dinner table. As we bellowed our opinions and while the table lamp wobbled and my dog ran for it, we , generally concurred and without coming to blows.
    One of the topics of conversation that came up was Norman Kirk’s life and times. Ah, how we remembered Big Norm. A huge, gentle, lovely fellow with a spear sharp mind … and do you know what? When I went down stairs to box-up and tidy I found a paper back magazine on Norman Kirk ! What are the odds ? It’s a ‘ Herald Book and cost one dollar. Published by Wilson and Horton in 1974. ” For a decent and humane society. ”

    On page 30 there’s a black and white photograph of Norman Kirk sitting with Sir Denis Blundell and Hugh Watt.
    Up at the very back, second from the left, there’s a little man with beady eyes. roger douglas. Roger douglas, a cockroach in a suit. No disrespect to actual cockroaches.
    And there are others too. Basil Arthur, ron tizard, colin moyle….
    Here’s the thing. Call me old fashioned if you must.
    Norman Kirks Labour Party was doomed at the get-go because it threatened to destabilise the dirty status quo. A status quo built upon a select few well used to swindling off with easy farmer money. A swindle so lucrative and entrenched into the Good Old Boys network that no do-gooder like Kirk was going to derail that particular gravy train.
    What has changed ? Nothing. Nothing has changed. Our economy relies on farmer money. Our politicians are just as crooked. Just more, shall we say, ‘sophisticated’ in the way things are done.
    There are one or two NZ politicians who believe Norman Kirk was assassinated. Most, who believe that, believe he was murdered by the French.

    Paul white wasn’t murdered by the French.

    The Paradise Conspiracy. Ian Wishart

    A death, missing computer disks, a wine-box full of secret files, a tax haven, alleged extortion, arms dealing, corruption, coverups and criminal fraud, billion dollar deals, kidnap attempts, espionage, secret military operations, death threats, break-ins, a maverick politician…and an investigative television team’s battle to expose the truth Follow The Paradise Conspiracy on a journey to a country you never knew existed, that politicians would still have you believe doesn’t exist, a place one diplomat called ‘a dirty little country’. Using a New Zealand Government bank as their flagship, they sailed the seas of global high finance under a tax haven’s Jolly Roger, their victims the taxpayers of an unsuspecting world. This is the story they spent two years and a million dollars trying to muzzle, but the biggest secrets are about to be told. The Paradise Conspiracy – the explosive true narrative behind the wine-box investigation that embroiled New Zealand, Australia, the US, Japan, the UK and tax havens across the planet – from the award-winning journalist who cracked the wine-box code – it doesn’t read like a tax story, it reads like a crime story. — The Paradise Conspiracy by Ian Wishart was a #1 bestseller in its home market and quickly spread around the world, notching up 40,000 copy sales and inspiring a movie, ‘Spooked’ WHAT THE CRITICS SAY: “It is the closest thing to a John Grisham novel, but it is the real thing” – Waikato Times “A Watergate-type tale” – NZ Listener magazine “Sensational stuff and hard to fault. Wishart is a professional” – The Republican

    Dirty little roger douglas. The ‘man’ who brought NZ to it’s knees then stuck it like one of the pigs he ‘farmed’.

    • I was right with you until you started promoting Wishart’s (cough, cough) journalism.

      • @ Richard Christie. Yes, but have you read the book? The Paradise Conspiracy ‘ ? Have you read it? If not? Then read it and get back to me. With respect.
        Further to that, I have to say, I do refer to ‘The Paradise Conspiracy’ more as a metaphor from time to time. And I do respect Ian Wishart, having said that. Why should I not ?? Serious question. What have I missed ??

        You know ? Sometimes, the only way to describe preposterous goings on is preposterously.

        The only thing here that amazes me is that I spelled ‘preposterous’ correctly the first time.

        • Yes I read it. Years ago, in the 1990s sometime. I even enjoyed it, but thought its follow-up volume PC2 was a load of crap.

          However, since then, I’ve “wised” up to Wishart’s modus operandi in regard to his writing.

          You see, Wishart starts with a conclusion, and then he trawls sources for anything he can glean, spin or twist to support it. He ignores examining or exposing his readers to anything that contridicts his predetermined conclusions. Even if an article, writer or source concludes the opposite of what Wishart is trying to spin he will extract, with no shame, the smallest thing he can quote and spin the opposite line in order to support his own agenda.

          In effect he is a liar, both by omission and deliberate misrepresentation.

          This allows him to cook up all manner of conspiracy.

          The trouble for him is that by indulging in such practises he destroyes his credibility across all the subjects he writes about, not just his obviously lunatic conclusions about climate change and creation.

          He is simply not a credible source.

          • @ Richard Christie. x
            Well, no body’s perfect.
            I admit. I was surprised to learn that he’d embraced God unto his bosom and he does seem a little eccentric at times but does that mean the substance of his book ‘ The Paradise Conspiracy ‘ was, by and large, incorrect?
            That SIS people raided Paul Whites business? That Paul White ultimately died in a car crash under suspicious circumstances? That Citibank was embarrassed when its chummy relationships with NZ Big Business was revealed? That clammy fisted, pasty skinned, money fiddlers got sunburned lounging in the Cook Islands? You might rightly exclaim “ I don’t give a fuck what you do “ I might reply “ Fucks” They’re a dime a dozen.
            It’s interesting that you react with some urgency when Ian Wishart is mentioned? I think I might ask him to join in on this conversation?
            I do also get vilified by others who have no patience for one such as I for daring to hypothesise on certain things but I don’t care. It opens things up. If I’m wrong? So be it. The important thing is to always enquire. To always question. To never take things at face value. To never be afraid of being thought the fool. Weirdly? I’ve discovered that fools contain a lot of truths. Perhaps it’s because they’re too stupid to maintain a lie?
            Ian Wishart clearly put a huge amount of energy into that book, as did venerable others. Was he, and those others, entirely wrong then? Never mind, for a moment, that he likes to believe in an invisible flying wizard or doubts that cow farts fuck up our ice?

            @ Richard Christie? What if Ian Wishart was, in that instance, right?

            • I don’t know if he was right or wrong in regard to his conclusions in the Paradise Conspiracy. My personal political bias would like to have me believing his conclusions.

              I do know he is both a liar and an unreliable source. My rational mind makes me run a mile from putting any store whatsoever in his conclusions, without undertaking considerable research to check his sources against his spin.

      • @ Cagey. But is it so unrelated?

        And thank you for thinking of me 🙂 Clearly, your husband has excellent taste x
        ( was that just a paul henry moment ?? )
        A vital part of The Great Institutionalised Lie is that we, all of us , must be kept wanting for information so that they can give us their information, for their benefit, I.e. to mislead us when we insist on truth and clarity the loudest. I was going to use the old and tired ‘ In the dark ‘ metaphor but even when it’s commonly darkest there’s always a light to be had. That’s why it’s important to be kind to smokers. They always have a light.
        The kind of darkness the neo liberals brandish is one so dark that it remains so , no matter how much logical light is shed on the fallacy that it is. There in lies its cunning.

        There’s only one way to defeat those whom promote logical fallacies and that is by using common sense. The least common of all the senses.

        So. Look around? What do you see?


        Size of UK .

        UK population?

        60 mil +

        NZ Population ?

        4.3 mil

        NZ Resources ?

        Quite a bit.

        NZ’ers per hectare as per law of proportionality ?

        Bugger all

        Kiwi Arse ?

        Bones of …

        Ahhh….. ???

        • I’m always reminiscent of the wife in ‘Farenheit 451’ – clinging to her cathode ray ‘family’ while the bomb drops.

  11. “…the future really lies in mass movements like that against the TPPA that may eventually take organised political form…”

    I agree with Tiger Mountain on this point. Syriza shows us that even a mass movement is not a guarantee of instant success, but it does present a position from which to keep the battle alive.

    Clark’s government had one big thing in their favour – the “shareholders’ democracy”, in which we were all to end up shareholders, was still in play as a neoliberal justification. This allowed them to make progressive moves within the permitted framework. But that option is now only available in a nuanced and narrow form, which does not extend beyond the interests and concerns of the securely middle class. So it is hard to come up with anything that will stir the troops without at the same time raising fears of financial punishment.

    Internally, Little needs to straddle a contradiction – he can only bring about real change by somehow increasing the size of his caucus, starting from a small, entrenched base, many of whom seem to fear change. And he also needs a mass movement pushing from behind, willing to change their allegiances if their demands aren’t taken seriously and big enough for this to matter.

  12. Goodness Chris! I realise that political analysts and etudiants work at a different speed and depth to the rest of the nation, but any blue collar worker or welfare dependent citizen (senza degree or edumacation) could have told you all this as early as two years after the fall of Helengrad!

    While you observe, analyse, and ruminate on these matters (albeit prolly very deeply indeed), we are the poor sods who have had to actually live this grinding experience and continue to do so, indubitably.

    May I recommend meeting some of these desperate, non-represented people? It may help you to focus better.

    Lots of vitamins B and C are good for speeding things up…

  13. Labour under Andrew Little is only marginally improved; it’s still a neoliberal wolf wearing socialist sheep clothing. They fail to make a stand against the worst of National’s unjust legislation and they haven’t given any indication they’ll undo the disasters that have already come.

    What voter suffering at the bottom of society would be stupid enough to vote Labour???

    • and a vital measure for the likes of Jeremy Corbyn, Bernie Sanders or a resurgent NZ Labour Party, if that ever happens, is to emphasise the likely reaction from the “forces of reaction” as us older lefties say

      people need to be prepared for threats of “capital flight” and SME owners etc going “on strike” and community organisation set up to counter

    • it’s [Labour’s]still a neoliberal wolf wearing socialist sheep clothing

      Dead right.

      Labour continue to refuse to commit to renationalising stolen assets, Labour have had ample opportunity to roll back the excesses of Ruth Richardson’s ECA, but didn’t while in power and offer no future plan to do so.

      – and Labour’s opposition to TPPA is paper-thin to illusionary, anybody trusting them on score must have been born yesterday.

  14. Yes bring back REAL LABOUR where they USED TO respond to emails we USED TO send asking them for help, as Clarks Government did then.



    • Agree Cleangreen. And that can only happen under a strong, decisive leader, willing and able to take Labour back to it’s egalitarian roots of core values and fairness, giving the party some positive direction.

      Despite being treated shabbily by msm (prompted by NatzKEY) and his own party during his last tenure as leader, leading to his demise, I still believe David Cunliffe is the person to achieve this. He endorses Labour’s core values and has the experience to take Labour forward. That is after having a massive purge of the neo liberal parasites clinging to the monstrous spectre of Rogernomics, drawing the lifeblood from the party, leaving it corpse like!

      • He has admirable qualities, but unfortunately, because people perceive him as conceited and high handed, he will continue to be intensely disliked. He would need a personality transplant.

      • David Cunliffe was voted leader of the caucus by the labour party. Anyone with reasonable intelligence knew very well what
        Cunliffe meant, but to allow J Key to ridicule him by pretending to be a man wearing that silly apron, and not defending him, was disgraceful. Roger Douglas and Prebble had the decency to quit the labour party. The remaining neoliberals, who refused to accept David Cunliffe, also should also quit or be asked to do so.

    • I agree Cleangreen. I FB-messaged Labour on about 6 crucial issues on 6 different occasions, that I thought would certainly bring them up in the polls, beyond the 0.8% (just better than the margin of error they are languishing under).

      Not a peep! Not a ‘thank you we are taking your points under consideration!’ Nothing! Nada! Zilch!

      I’ve canvassed and helped distribute pamphlets in the past, but now I can’t be shagged. Frankly, Labour, you haven’t listened to good ideas I handed you on a plate, I can’t be bothered listening to you. Until you get rid of the neoliberal scheisters still clinging on by their fingernails in your party, I’ll vote Green or NZ First.

      Obama got into power in the USA by using the power of social media, unless Labour do something about social media, they will be on the opposition benches for another 9 years.

      Get someone other than neoliberal FB staff to pass on good ideas to the heirarchy.

      BTW Chris, I’m not too sure about your motives either. Surely Andrew’s performance is as hamstrung as David’s were, because of the neo-lib faction still within Labour, that gnaws at any healthy socialism left in Labour Party, like a cancer

      “But, for those of us who not only want to get rid of the National Party-led Government, but also the dangerously unequal neoliberal system that it supports, Labour’s blurred outlines and indistinct values inspire only disappointment and mistrust.”

      Are you a true socialist Labourite who wants a purge of all remnants of neoliberalism? YES or NO will do.

      • Yes for sure Winnie,

        We will only survive by equally sharing in this country’s wealth not being robbed by the elite as is now happening now under Neo-cons.

        Bring back the egalitarian state Labour or loose.

        Cunliffe tried to do this and was crucified by the NatZ controlled MSM so we know who our real enemy is now don’t we?

  15. I had hopes that the selection of Andrew Little might inject some spark into the Labour Party. But alas, it’s more insipid and diluted going nowhere fast, than it was prior to David Cunliffe becoming leader.

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again. Cunliffe is the answer to bringing Labour back to its core values of egalitarianism, which he and his supporters endorse and it’s possible this is the reason he is described as “unlikable!”

    Unlikable to who?

    Definitely not unlikable by the impoverished, the dispossessed, the low and fixed income earners, or those Kiwis with a strong sense of social justice.

    But certainly unlikable to the rogergnome neo libs still infecting Labour, who are the problem, preventing the party from progressing, keeping the sordid status quo in power.

    Cunliffe also was crucified mercifully by the NatzKEY dominated msm at every turn, possibly because he was seen as a threat to FJK at the last election.

    Labour’s only hope at the present time, is for David Cunliffe to challenge the present leadership. If this doesn’t become a reality soon, preferably this year, then Labour might as well turn up its toes and give itself a reasonably dignified burial, because that’s all it’s good for!

    • Totally agree Mary A, bring back the highlander!
      David Cunliffe is awesome he makes Key look like the little flea he is. Cunliffe, Sanders, and Corbyn now we’re talking. The war is on! The people are amassing behind Sanders, change is in the air. If they lose now we all lose, it is that serious, we just have no time left for anymore right wing bullshit. Bring back David Cunliffe!

    • Inclined to agree, MARY A … I suspect that the neo liberals in Labour’s caucus work in closely with the NZ Initiiative and such groups .. it would be so easy to apply pressure to manipulate any leader by suggesting that support would be compromised if any leader tried to break down the neo liberal viral disease in the Labour party…

      As for you Mr Trotter, … well said… but its nothing that many of us have not said for years now.

      A purge is needed. An uncompromising , relentless purge of the neo liberal wretches from that party. And they are wretches.

      In fact the root causes of that party’s anemia since 1984 has always been obvious to anyone with half a brain. Imagine a dynamic leader who was utterly uncompromising in purging these viruses…and in fact ,… don’t think it cannot be done… it was done once before way back in the 1970’s , no less…

      It is recorded that Roger Douglas wanted to implement these very same Milton Freidman / Chicago school of Economics/ Mont Pelerin Society policy’s and economics way back in the 1970’s…. and when he asked Norman Kirk ,.. Kirk rounded on him and said….

      ” IF YOU EVER bring up those policy’s again I will have you EXPELLED from the party”….

      So don’t think it cannot be done – it already has been.

      We need a man or woman like Kirk running this country again. And to do that – there needs to be a very deliberate and uncompromising axing of neo liberal politicians from the Labour party . Its that simple.

      THEN…. we can have that repudiation of neo liberalism. Actions first , -words later.

    • I don’t dislike Cunliffe but he was an accident prone stuff up during his tenure as Leader of the Opposition. He simply didn’t do his homework when opening his mouth on so many occasions, be it in Parliament or on the hustings. To mock Key for living in a mansion in Judges Bay when he lived in one in Herne Bay was ludicrous and a good example of that.

      There’s a place for him but leading ain’t one of them.

  16. WE use the term Neo-liberal way too lightly. We may just as wall scream “Fascist” or Corporations or “Wall Street!”

    Let us try to define our terms. What exactly are Neo-liberals? Now with that definition in mind, who are card carrying members of the fraternity? Who are fellow travellers? Who are misguided facilitators? Who are the saints fighting for the true cross. And what would victory for the latter look like.

    In my view the blame piled at the door of impenitent Rogernomes for the failure of Labour to turn the polls around is way overstated.

    No one really imagines that Labour is a seething cauldron of Act sympathisers, just waiting for the chance to throw the working class back in chains. No one outside these pages, that is.

    Labour doesn’t gain traction because the majority of Kiwis don’t hear their own voices, their own concerns and their own dreams and aspirations reiterated by spokespeople for Labour. They also don’t feel drawn to Andrew Little, no matter how efficient he may be. Nor do they particularly admire him. Nor are they inspired by him. It is pretty much as simple as that. I certainly don’t dislike him, but is that enough to hang an electoral revolution on? It doesn’t seem likely, I’m sorry to say.

    No one from the Opposition will change hearts and minds without some way of gaining traction. Often this is cased by some disastrous missteps by the governing party, combined with an attractive and eloquent leader in waiting. This continues to be the case.

    New and desirable policies come way, way down the list. You won’t even look at policies, unless it is a massive personal bribe, like the modification of student debt under the last Labour administration, until you are ready to look at a party for entirely non-policy reasons.

    However, it is true that sooner or later these conditions will be met and an alternative administration will come to power.

    A responsible new government will see that after nine or twelve or fifteen years of willful ignorance along with the distribution of a little red meat for their right wing backers (yes, neo-liberal to their eyeballs, no doubt), there is so much that is wrong that the only path is fairly draconian restructuring. So much, in fact, that the population, now used to years of sloth under National will take fright forcing the Left-oriented government to cling on to power by their fingertips.

    Neo-liberalism doesn’t really come into the equation.

    This is not to say that my understanding of neo-liberalism (for me, the clearing out of all impediment to individual enterprise with the concomitant rise of utter selfishness and the endless enlarging of the gap between financial winners and losers) is not a problem. Clearly it is. But that problem can and should be separated from the inability of a particular party to gain traction.

    Labour is not doing well because they do not have a particularly charismatic leader, because they have failed to sound the right notes for the public and because of the incremental approach to policy-change by the Nats. There is still a market, I believe, for a public-spirited government. But unless something is done to improve performance in the first two area, nothing much will change between now and the election.

    Anyone who believes that by simple embracing the policies of Sanders or Corbyn, power is only a motion away, should reacquaint themselves with the real world.

  17. There’s a lot of shooting the messenger going on above, Chris merely states the problem.

    The answer is equally simple, as Chris mentions it is to repudiate Neo Liberalism. And that is to announce policies that mean something to “Labour” people. To show some balls, and announce with rockets and neon lights that Labour stands for:
    Excellent free public education to all levels
    Excellent free healthcare for all
    Full employment policies with a living wage for those who cant find or are unable to work.
    Affordable and healthy housing for all
    A fair and decent society with equality of access and opportunity for all.

    Its not exactly rocket science, it worked for Mickey Savage. Recently it got Corbyn the UK Labour leadership when he presented those as his policies.

  18. A depressing summary that misses out a key factor on all of this, the National Party.

    Labour are up against a foe like they have never seen, a party awash with money, backed by the very wealthy to ensure they stay that way. These are people who buy, lie or fry their opponents. I would say going by the PM they have few scruples and even less morals or ethics. Their goal is clear, personal wealth creation.

    They have connections in all the right places at the moment, in every board room of the commercial media and they know how to buy favours and wave the big stick when required. And there are countless “journalists” who work in a dying industry who will do what it takes to keep their jobs.

    These millionaire quite simply own people and from there on in propaganda is an easy thing.

    Look at the appalling media smear campaign recently for the women who went to parliament to raise the Keytruda drug issue. Who in this country do we know who specialists in smear campaigns when it comes to politics? Dirty Politics ring any bells?

    Labour aren’t trusted yet they ran a far better economy that was infinitely more inclusive than the rotten corruption that exists now. We have not run a surplus in nearly a decade save the massaged highly dubious one English managed late last year. Our debt is stratospheric yet you read Fran O’Sullivan chiding the need to post surpluses. Fucking ironic really!

    There are storm clouds on the horizon and a lot going wrong despite all the right we read about.

    So Labour may not be trusted to some extent but not because of the doom and gloom – the end is nigh reasons you claim, it’s more of the highly effective slick conditioning program put on for the voters on a daily basis by the National Party. And to read this post it’s working!

    • After 8 years of treasonous sell outs and abject failures of monumental proportions people trust the lying Key National government ?

      • Words said,
        After 8 years of treasonous sell outs and abject failures of monumental proportions people trust the lying Key National government ?

        With the relentless brainwashing persuasion of the all powerful neo-con MSM of course remember-“Words”.

    • Going by your logic XRay we should pack up and go home because millionaires rule the media. What’s new?
      Years back we printed our own propaganda and posted it in letter boxes. Knocked on doors. Spoke to people. We didn’t have the benefit of social media. I bet you come to this site in preference to the MSN. They are yesterday’s medium.

      As I said the answer is distinct policy people want. Owning the Nat lite extreme centre is a waste of space.

    • Sad to say it Xray you are right,

      Labour need a charismatic leader to shake us up, as the leadership is not doing the job sadly.

      Shake the Lib – Dems off and return us to Kirk like leadership “of the people for the people.”

  19. This is a good article.

    It sums up my difficulty with Labour. But I would go further and add that from my point of view Labour (and the left in general) do not seem to factor into their policy making the realities of the world we live in now and will live in in the future.

    For instance the world is global, whether we like it or not. Globalisation is driven by technology. For NZ to prosper now and in the future we need to be players in this technologically driven global market place. We need to trade. And yet what we get from labour is equivacation and confusion about where it stands on trade treaties such as TTPA and free trade in general. We get xenophobic housing policy directed at, in particular, the Chinese ( a major trading partner). We get union influenced inflexible labour market policy, when, to prosper, flexibility is increasingly important. We get promises of ‘free’ tertiary education, which comes across as an intellectually lazy idea created to address a non existent problem.

    Labour does not project itself as a party of the future. At the same time It seems confused and even embarrassed by its past (especially the Rogernomics era.). Maybe it should just fade away.

    I won’t be voting for it in its current state.

  20. This is a good article.

    It sums up my difficulty with Labour. But I would go further and add that from my point of view Labour (and the left in general) do not seem to factor into their policy making the realities of the world we live in now and will live in in the future.

    For instance the world is global, whether we like it or not. Globalisation is driven by technology. For NZ to prosper now and in the future we need to be players in this technologically driven global market place. We need to trade. And yet what we get from labour is equivacation and confusion about where it stands on trade treaties such as TTPA and free trade in general. We get xenophobic housing policy directed at, in particular, the Chinese ( a major trading partner). We get union influenced inflexible labour market policy, when, to prosper, flexibility is increasingly important. We get promises of ‘free’ tertiary education, which comes across as an intellectually lazy idea created to address a non existent problem.

    Labour does not project itself as a party of the future. At the same time It seems confused and even embarrassed by its past (especially the Rogernomics era.). Maybe it should just fade away.

    I won’t be voting for it in its current state.

    • I don’t think you would ever vote for Labour anyway. So how do you feel about Labour forcing National to ditch their anti worker legislation and end zero hour contracts then?
      After 8 years has National factored into their policy making the realities of the world we live in now and will live in in the future? Does National project itself as a party of the future?

      Labour is the only party discussing the changing nature of work and what it will mean for the workers in the future.

      I see National stole another Labour party policy of making a Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.

      • Words,

        “I see National stole another Labour party policy of making a Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary.”

        True that. We must be suspicious at National for this.

        Are they really doing this as a help for the environment?

        Why are national destroying our rail system and spending big to cover the country in tar seal so they can cram our environment with monster trucks??????

        Latest closure last week was mothballing of the Northland rail so NatZ are encouraging trucks and killing rail when the global efforts are being made to increase rail as it is 12 times more freight energy efficient to move one tonne one km and pollute the environment 5 to 8 times less than road freight.

        NatZ are dirty polluters pundits not environmental savvy pundits.

  21. Chris you are like some boring bloke who can’t talk about anything except his failed marriage. Nobody else cares whether Labour issues yet another repudiation of Rogernomics. It is all ancient history. Anyway Douglas already repudiated Labour ages ago when he left and founded ACT so what is the point. Nobody thinks you guys are together any more. I do get that you wish you’d repudiated him first but it is a bit late now. We make mistakes; we have regrets. But you’ve just got to put it behind you, wipe off the shoe and move on.

    Dwelling in the past like this just isn’t healthy. You’ll never get a new man in your life until you stop obsessing about your ex.

  22. It’s incredible really, Labour did a great win for the workers and there’s been a systematic attack against them today. Strange.

  23. You know what really fired people up? – “Cut the Crap!”. You know what confused us – Labour’s stands on stuff like TTP (which has come across as “well it’s not that we don’t like free trade but NZ’s land shouldn’t be able to be able to be sold to foreigner so we don’t like it but we’ll let one of our members cross the floor which may get it through but..” . FFS Labour, this kind of crap is really making it hard to keep up. The reason Corbyn and Sanders are doing so well is they come across as GENUINE because they ARE! If the party can’t figure where they stand – just a muddy stumble – they ARE stuffed. I focused back on Labour because of what David Cunliffe was saying. Look I’m still delivering Labour pamphlets because I really believe what our local MP says – but get your bloody crap together Andrew, don’t let your people down!

  24. why dosnt anybody have the guts to stand up and say sorry ..oohhh i know why, annette king still rules caucus and heaven help anyone that decides to question her

    • Sorry for what? Will it change anything? Will John key say sorry for what he and his corrupt government have done against the country and it’s people over the last 8 years? Will John key apologize for all the previous National governments gutting this country for itself then leaving it in economic shambles every time?

  25. Show me a GENUINE POLITICAN again Labour and I will vote for you. Show me SOME DIRECTION again Labour and I will vote for you.
    Show me you will DITCH THE TPPA AT WHATEVER COST and I will vote for you Labour.
    Show me a DECENT FUTURE FOR THE NEXT GENERATION and I will vote for you Labour.
    I have NO LOVE FOR NATIONAL so WIN MY VOTE…and hurry up about it!

  26. The real reason why Labour cannot gain traction with the electorate can be explained by the very next article below this one.

    Labour is viewed as the electorate wing of the Watermelon party. The party that’s green on the outside and red all the way through. Labour needs to distance itself completely from the greens and go back to its grass roots – the working man. Policies that support those who work for living, irrespective of race, sex or sexual preference, and not those that have gender quotas or place beneficiaries ahead of workers.
    Oh, wait…. That’s what National are doing. … And why I am an ex labour party member.

  27. To get the change Labour need I fear they need to get rid of nearly half their existing MPs, who are either too scared and ambiguous, and thus try to please both left and right of centre voters, and others are simply rather uneffective, untalented, lacking spirit and capabilities.

    As Labour can hardly afford this shake-up, they will continue to muddle through, hoping that a miracle will give them a 40 percent plus win one day, so that more needed fresh blood can enter Parliament.

    But 40 percent will not be achievable, not now by the 2017 election, again, unless a miracle happens, the present course is indeed not that thrilling and voter exciting.

    So again a new party may be the best solution, but who would dare start it, who would have the numbers and the talented people to counted in?

    Goff is only getting support in Auckland, because he does actually appeal to many that otherwise support the Nats. And as so many Aucklanders cannot even bother voting in local body elections, that support that UMR presented is only of the 17 percent of all polled persons, who actually supported Goff from the start. Nearly 60 percent are undecided or will not bother, the poll showed, now what do 40 percent of 17 percent tell us, and what do the 3 or 7 percent for Miss Crone mean. It all means stuff all, as Aucklanders have in too large numbers no clue anymore what their Council actually does, and they also have little clue about what the PAUP stands for.

    The MSM have been going on about the “revolt in the suburbs”, the Council stuffing up and losing power to push through their Unitary Plan, and so forth, but most Aucklanders do not really know what is is all about, hence the absolutely shockingly low interest in candidates and the marginal support even for Goff.

    We have the blind leading the blind and the dumb preaching to the dumbed down, nothing else.

      • You do understand that the Labour “ROOTS” now make up a much smaller proportion of the population than in the days of Micky savage or even Norman Kirk. Society is riven with endless faults. The simple concept of going back to the good old days of Union -backed electoral success is not a flier, even if it were desirable.

        Every successful policy setting will inevitably be some kind of not-very-sexy mixture of all the elements that make up public policy. It will never be all or nothing, no matter how attractive that idea might be to the angry and frustrated. The mixture formula is part of the key, but the main path to success is going to be the way a party gains the attention of the public, excites the imagination and provides the image of a path we want to travel.

        In my view you contributors to The Daily Blog are a little harsh on the members of the Labour caucus. Largely journeymen and wonks and, admittedly, some time-servers or revolutionaries of now-dwindling flame, they may be sometimes a bit uninspiring, but where were the brilliant firebrands when the time came to stand for selection? The crop we have got are products of that old saying: “an ebbing tide ground all boats.” (Or if it isn’t it should be.) Some should doubtless stand down. And I don’t necessarily mean the oldest. One of the oldest members of the caucus has consistently been among the best performers. You know who I mean.

        At present, Andrew Little’s speeches and interviews don’t just get lost in the weed, they are nothing but weeds. His background as an employment lawyer is always to the fore: worthy but uninspiring and boring to the majority. He can leave all that stuff to his Trade and Industry spokesperson. What he should do is firstly excoriate the government at every opportunity – even if he plans to ultimately support legislation (like the zero-hours bill now passing – he should underline how the Nats were dragged kicking and screaming into the modern world, not that now he is happy to support the new law). He should be especially hard on the TPPA as it stands, even if there are bits in it he can stand. There are endless other bits that will hurt New Zealand. So his job is to learn which are the bad bits and hammer them for all he is worth. His job is not to be fair. His job is to be effective. When some underwhelming bit of legislation is introduced to add $2 to the benefit, he should thunder against the injustice of it, not just say “it’s better than nothing” and support it. No one is keeping score in Heaven. Just here. His second job is to seize every opportunity to paint the big picture: why Labour is different from National, why New Zealand can finally become a progressive enterprising paradise when the Left are finally in power and why, when New Zealanders think back to what makes them most proud to be Kiwis, somehow those things were almost always achieved under a progressive, socially engaged administration.

        If he feels unable to play that part, he is part of the problem, not the solution.

        It is true that the current batch of parliamentarians are a bit short on big-picture people or they would probably already be at the helm. But that doesn’t mean they are not to be found. The Drafting of David Lange offers a formula to be considered. Maybe someone should pick up that glass slipper and hit the road.

        Or maybe, just maybe, Andrew Little can learn.

  28. For all you Labour supporters who haven’t quite grasped Chris’ point, perhaps their predictably waffley and unprincipled reaction to the suggestion that the GCSB be allowed to spy on NZers might enlighten you.
    Spying on the citizenry has become an increasingly important weapon in the corporate war on democracy. As such it is part and parcel of the ever-adapting neoliberal agenda. I have yet to see Labour take a stand against this. So no, they can’t be trusted.

    • What and National can be trusted? When they are ones ramming through this undemocratic legislation with the support of the Maori party, Act and UF?

      • Great to read all these posts, riveting stuff.
        Donna isnt saying she trusts the treasounous National Party. The point i think she is making is that if Labour actually made a clear decisive stand against undemocratic legislation, TPP,GCSB powers etc, they would then perhaps have a greater following.
        They don’t, so inreality replace Key Jong un with Little and the same ideology will prevail. You could shove a rizla paper between the two major political partys in NZ.
        Democrats and Republicans are the ultimate example.

        • Labour have come out and publicly stated they are against the TPPA. They are not supporting it. No other opposition party including the Greens are saying they will pull out of it. All of the background documents have NOT been released. No one knows the extent of the fish hooks that National has signed us up to. Labour have and are standing up to the Key National government’s undemocratic legislation and msm and the likes of CT ensures they get shat on. Look at how msm were framing Labour’s stance against National’s zero hour contracts for example. And people just love to have a go while giving National a free pass. To some Labour are damned if they don’t and damned if they do. Read the latest how National and their supporters are trying to rig the flag referendum for John Key? Will Labour get the blame for that too?

          Labour Say No To The TPPA

  29. The best summary of the crisis this country faces for a long time, thanks Chris Trotter !

    In my view, it was absolutely tragic that Cunliffe quit when he did. This in itself handicaps Andrew Little. Little also portrays the perils of seeking to stay in power / get elected ie be loved by the most people, for the sake of staying there. It is not meritous to stay in opposition ! And it really sticks in my craw that National will be voted in again because there is in fact no evidence of social democracy in action from the Labour Party.

    It will be interesting to see how the other career political parties get on without their trojan horse.

  30. I’ll vote for Labour when they unequivocally ditch neoliberal values, and aggressively support democratizing the workforce, universal basic income, aggressively attack income in-equality, empowering community-led grass-roots movements, and pushing for participatory democracy.
    These are among the things I feel that the Labour of the hey-day, if sustained, would be doing today.

    Labour as it stands today is just “National lite”.

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