An earthquake separates John Key and ‘The Iron Lady’, Margaret Thatcher





In October 1987, British Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher – apostle of Britain’s neo-liberal, free-market “reforms” – was famously quoted in an interview saying;


And, you know, there is no such thing as society. There are individual men and women, and there are families. And no government can do anything except through people, and people must look to themselves first. It’s our duty to look after ourselves and then, also to look after our neighbour…


Twenty-nine years later, as much of New Zealand is ravaged by a 7.5 earthquake, John Key makes an appeal to the people of Aotearoa on Radio NZ’s ‘Morning Report‘;


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The one thing I’d we’d just say to New Zealanders at the moment is stay close to your family and friends. Make sure you listen to the radio and listen to the best information that you’re getting. And if you do have certainly older neighbours or family, if you could go in and check up on them that would be most appreciated. Because there will be people feeling genuinely alone.


Far from decrying Key’s sound advice, I would applaud him for giving it at a time when the country is rattled by ongoing,  severe,  seismic activity.

But it illustrates one fact with crystal-clarity;  Thatcher was wrong. There is such a thing as ‘society’.  We are our Brothers and Sisters Keepers; and functioning solely and purely  for our own Individualistic and immediate Familial benefit is not to our  advantage.

For without it, we are very much alone and left vulnerable to the immense, implacable, forces of nature.

Which is why the dictates of neo-liberalism – the so-called “invisible hand of the free-market” and selfish Cult of Individualism –  is doomed to failure. That is why the international  arm of neo-liberalism – globalisation – is  being rejected from country to country.

Because at the end of the day, when this country is hit by earthquakes that tear apart our roads, bridges, offices, community facilities, factories, ports, schools, and our own homes – I don’t see the “Invisible Hand of the Free Market” coming to our assistance, “invisible” or not.

Only people, working collectively for the greater good, can achieve mutual support – quite often for no personal benefit or gain.

Defenders of the neo-liberal/free market/globalisation ideology should stop and consider; we cannot have the Primacy of the Individual in good times, and then seek sanctuary within the strength of society in bad. People acting together as a community is either within us all the time, or not at all.

It is time for the leader of New Zealand’s free-market, pro-neo-liberal, political party to understand this simple truth.





Margaret Thatcher Foundation: Woman’s Own – interview – 31 October 1987

Radio NZ: Morning Report – John Key urges New Zealanders to look out for their neighbours








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  1. I’m sure everyone picked up on the email Hillary sent warning her “mates” visiting NZ of the impending ChCh quake … and the fact that the world’s biggest seismic testing blast ship was lying just off the coast at the time of the Kaikoura quake:

    Overseas war ships carrying aid? Convenient?

  2. yes this is an interesting point, why are we all in “this” together only some of the time?

    hardened politicos and activists probably know the answer but many in the generations born since Rogernomics and Ruthanasia certainly do not, some have previously called it the atomisation of the working class whereby collectivism mutates into individualism via all pervasive neo liberal ideological framing and structural measures

    I call it the “together alone syndrome” people are surrounded by other people, shuffling through the mall zombie like, going to the Boxing Day Sale, yet in essence are alienated from what is happening all around them

    so our glorious leader can turn co-operation on and off much easier than in say Muldoon’s time when there was fierce debate and resistance to the Nat govt. the last thing the capitalist class wants is widespread community action from “all good kiwis” demanding equal pay for women or a UBI!

  3. And next we will probably see the TransNational Capital Party candidate take Mt. Roskill in the bye-election… with the significantly higher level of immigration here compared to both the UK and US… “we” should arrive at a non-society Mogadishu-style point within a few short years… awesome

  4. “when this country is hit by earthquakes that tear apart our roads, bridges, offices, community facilities, factories, ports, schools, and our own homes – I don’t see the “Invisible Hand of the Free Market” coming to our assistance, “invisible” or not.”

    I applaud your humanity here Frank as it is the epitome of why we are here dwelling together.

    Not for ourselves, but to serve others who need our help.

    I am a Christian because I was sent to Sunday school at 11am and church at 7pm every Sunday as a child.

    Something from this time carried me through life feeling this need to help others, and never did it leave me alone.

    Whether Christianity is real or just a hoax, is not the issue here, but to believe in being a society is what matters firstly here, and caring is a special feeling I cherish dearly.

    great work Frank you are a real gem mate.

    I am very disappointed with John Key as we in our Community group fighting to save our Gisborne rail line disaster washed out by a “natural disaster” as devastating as the Quake did this to us in 2012 but after 105 emails we sent over two yours asking for a meeting with john Key was never answered even though Mr Key’s chief office staffer Wayne Eagleson sent us a email confirmation that Mr Key received all 105 emails of pleas from us, so if he is pouring his heart out now just over Kaikoura now, is he a hypocrite or should he also now care equally for our Gisborne people long suffering now after four years of ignoring our East coast community pleas in the some way?

  5. Firstly. There was a fabulous fellow on RNZ recently talking about just why it was that the current species of human, that is you and me, were so successful to get so far and up to our present position. We can, if we so chose, buy pink fluffy synthetic slippers then wear nothing else but them and think we’re gorgeous within the privacy, and safety, of our own homes. That, is how far we’ve come.
    The reason, he posited, was our unique ability to stick together because we felt ‘ empathy’ toward each other. We, in effect, love each other at an instinctual level. A Sheep, on the other hand, does not feel ‘ empathy’ and as his/her sister is mauled until dead will then watch on while eating re-vomited masticated grass, the maulers eat his/her sister/brother.
    It’s interesting to this writer that the tactic of the neoliberal is to persuade us to be ‘ individuals’. To graze on while our brothers and sisters are ‘ individualised’ to then be devoured by the predator.

    Secondly. You’re a fabulous fellow too @ Frank Macskasy. Well done you.

  6. Key doesn’t want a strong society – a strong society would throw him in jail and audit him thoroughly. He would not survive it.

  7. Frank: thank you for sharing the last cartoon. I’ve been hunting for it for ages.

    (Last seen in the early 1990s)


  8. The National Party are in the pockets of the road transport lobby. They hate railways. I’ll bet they find an excuse not to restore the SI North Line.

  9. In 2012 the Key government removed the provisions of the Local Government Act of 2002 that related to the welfare of the community and replaced them with ‘build infrastructure’.

    (This website is now impossibly slow and unresponsive. Frequent messages ‘TDB not responding, recover website?’)

  10. Interesting points raised, Frank. You’ve identified the precise contradictions of an Individualistic creed versus that of community action.

  11. And now Key is flying kites for further tax cuts??? The man is grossly irresponsible!!

    Whatever happened to his promises to reinstate payments to the NZ Super fund once the Nats got back to surplus???

    As usual, Key’s promises are worth nothing.

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