GUEST BLOG: Paul (the bloke The Standard banned for 3 years) – Why NZ urgently needs to invade Berlin


In the past few weeks, we have been in touch with a close friend who lives in Berlin, having moved there from New Zealand several years ago.

It was interesting to compare through her experience, the differences in the quality of life for millennials growing up in that German city to what life looks like for a 20 to 30 year old in Wellington or Auckland.

Renting in Berlin is a totally different experience to that endured by tenants in neoliberal New Zealand. Strict rules apply to the conditions of apartments lived in and tenants are protected by law from rent increases.

She would be crazy to return to New Zealand to have a child, she says. In Germany, a mother gets 12 months maternity leave. And the father can take a year’s paternity leave at any stages in the first eight years of a child’s life.

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Her job does not stress the need to be a workaholic and her managers trust her. Sick pay is extraordinarily comprehensive and as a consequence people don’t abuse it. It’s almost frowned upon to work long hours. Work life balance is actively encouraged.

Sure her tax bill is higher than it would be in New Zealand and she see the benefit of paying her share in many ways. First and foremost, there is generous state retirement which relieves the need for buying secondary properties to create a secure life as you grow old. Public transport in Berlin is cheap and many people cycle to work, safe from vehicular traffic. Her taxes pay for genuine investment in infrastructure, as opposed number shuffling that occurs under Stephen Joyce’s watch.

Initially, she found the German manner a little brusque, yet as she has adapted to life in the country, she sees much of this as people opening confronting antisocial behaviours rather than, as she described it, the passive aggressive way New Zealanders handle such situations.

The Germans also confront their past without fear. Whereas in New Zealand, we ignore the reality of the colonial takeover of an indigenous people and paint a false picture of our military involvement in Turkey and Palestine, Germans remind themselves of their past so history won’t repeat itself. Berliners keep remnants of the wall and place plaques on the footpaths showing where Jews were taken to the death camps. When you brush the past under the carpet, three year olds get killed in Afghanistan.

Michael Moore’s film ‘Where to invade next’ explored the ideas the U.S. could take from other countries around the world. As our environmental record degenerates further and as our levels of social deprivation and inequality increase, maybe we should look at other models than Trump’s neoliberal hellhole as our ‘aspirational’ guide.

Berlin would be a good place to start.


Paul is a Political Blogger with a focus on the neo-liberal economy, climate change and the western media’s slavish support of the US neo-con narrative. He was banned from The Standard for 3 years for suggesting the Left, Liberals and Progressives should work together to change the National Government.


  1. Good article Paul.

    Your comment {“Her taxes pay for genuine investment in infrastructure, as opposed number shuffling that occurs under Stephen Joyce’s watch.”) says much truth about Joyce as being a maniac for building roads not supporting rail as we all see here daily as rail closes everywhere we see now, Gisborne/Wairoa, Taranaki, Rotorua, North Auckland all closed by him effectively for truck freight and one wonders if he is an agent for the(RTF) The (Road Transport Forum)

    My Son lived in Germany for 10yrs and learned his trade (Electrician) there, and still is yet to receive his NZ certification as the system here is corrupted by Joyce and his mega employment agency MBIE who is making a mess of the trade & apprenticeship certification system entirely.

    We simply need a change of Government this year and Winston and NZ First is the best bet to reform the NZ system to make it better for us all I feel as he has real policies to fix these issues.

  2. Three years ban, for suggesting that the Left, Liberals and Progressives should work together to change the National Government?

    I was given a lifetime ban by Lynn Prentice, for suggesting the very same thing.

    Specifically, in practice for the Northland by-election.

    I had suggested that the Labour Green and Mana Candidates could make common cause over opposing the government’s plans for deep sea oil drilling in Northland, in the bi-election. Deep sea oil drilling being a hot button topic at the time. It was my opinion, that a united Left opposition to deep sea oil drilling could have seen the Left making big gains, and a sharp point of difference between the Left and the National and New Zealand First Parties, which both also vehemently support deep sea oil drilling.

    Despite there being no votes in supporting deep sea oil drilling:

    (Polls show that 80% of New Zealanders are opposed to deep sea oil drilling.)

    Despite there being no jobs in supporting deep sea oil drilling:

    (The deep sea oil drilling workforce are all from off shore.)

    Despite these facts, the Labour Party authors at The Standard were extremely hostile to the idea that the Labour Party unite with the wider Left around opposing deep sea oil drilling.

    For merely raising this idea, I was publicly named and accused by Standard author, Stephanie Rogers, of being a child exploiter.

    The one big issue that the Labour Party refuse to countenance, or discuss, is their full blooded support for deep sea oil drilling off New Zealand’s coast.

    The Labour Party and their (mostly) pseudononymous spokespeople at The Standard, have made it very clear, that a Labour led government’s support for deep sea oil drilling is non-negotiable.

  3. Good work Paul, thank you. I used to agree with you on the Standard. Labour still has too many neo libs in it for my liking. But what to do? No party excites. Mana is now cozy with The Maori party. And the Macgillacudys are no more.

  4. He was banned from The Standard for 3 years for suggesting the Left, Liberals and Progressives should work together to change the National Government.

    You may have been banned but there’s no way that you were banned for that. You would only have been banned if you broke policy consistently and egregriously.

    You mentioning it now just shows that you haven’t learned the lesson that was taught.

    Really, putting it in the title was a bad idea.

    • Hi Draco

      Unfortunately of all New Zealand political parties the New Zealand Labour Party is the most narrowly sectarian. Especially when it comes to working with the wider Left. Although I am not acquainted with the details of Paul’s blacklisting for calling for Left unity. I can well believe it.

      I was definitely blacklisted by The Standard for advocating that the Left, including Labour, should campaign on a common platform of opposing deep sea oil drilling in Northland. You mightn’t agree with my opinion, and that is your and anyone else’s right, but to accuse me exploiting a child and then dishing out a life ban for it, openly shows the Labour Party’s intolerance of the idea of Left unity.

      With Labour it is ‘My way, or the Highway. Just as it was with Labour and the Alliance over the invasion of Afghanistan.

      Just as it was with Maori and the Seabed and Foreshore.

      And so it is now with the Greens over deep sea oil drilling.

      (And before that, Genetic Engineering).

      As Chris Trotter once said: “Labour would rather keep control of the losing side, than lose control of the winning side.”

      Without changing tack, Labour will again through the election to the Nats.

      The fact is Labour need the support of the Left, (especially the Greens), if they want to beat National, this should give the Labour sectarians pause for thought. I hope so.

      To show good will, the first thing that Labour need to do, is drop their fanatical support for deep sea oil drilling.

      I mean how hard could it be?

      There are no jobs in it, there are no votes in it.

      The only possible reason why Labour holds so strongly onto this policy, is Labour’s refusal to break with the ideas of neo-liberalism, and with neo-liberalism’s slavish support of big business, in this case big oil.

      So how about it, Draco, Should Labour be seeking unity with the Left, or with big oil?

      What’s your view?

      • “You mightn’t agree with my opinion, and that is your and anyone else’s right, but to accuse me exploiting a child and then dishing out a life ban for it, openly shows the Labour Party’s intolerance of the idea of Left unity.”

        The Standard is a blog. The Labour Party is a political party. You aren’t the left.

        That you can’t understand those simple facts might be part of the reason you can’t write accurately about your banning, Pat.

        • Hi TRP. Why not let the readers follow the links to the source material that I put up and let them make their own decisions?

          I realise that this puts you at a disadvantage because you put up no links to back up your statement, that I can’t write accurately about my banning.

          Unfortunately I can’t help with this, because facts are stubbourn things.

          And unfortunately for you, you can’t rely on censorship and banning to silence dissenting fact and opinion here.

          ‘The Standard’ as you quite rightly pointed out TRP is not a political Party it’s a blog. And of course just as you also correctly pointed out the Labour Party is a political Party.

          Thank you for pointing out the blindingly obvious.

          But I must disagree with you that I am not Left.

          I know that the authors, and Labour Party members, at ‘The Standard’, such as your good self, share with the Labour Party, the idea that the Left starts and ends with the Labour Party. Ergo, if you are not in the Labour Party then you must be Right Wing. (or, in the case of the Greens, more Right than Labour members).

          My view is that the Labour Party has not encompassed the whole of the Left at least since Rogernomics, and definitely not since Labour’s rip off of the seabed and foreshore to allow deep sea oil drillers and seabed miners despoil our waters with out being troubled by legal challenges based on native title and Kaitiakitanga.

          • Pat, very little of what you write makes sense. The Standard is not a Labour Party blog. There are only two regular writers who are Labour Party members. Most writers are not members of any party, more’s the pity.

            I never said you weren’t left. I said you weren’t “the left”. Big difference.

            Your fantasy paragraph about what the Labour party thinks is terrific evidence of why you got banned. It’s political party, not the Borg.

            Pat, as you know, you were banned for repeating this same kind of fact free waffle despite being warned to focus. You couldn’t let it go, got banned and you’re still playing the martyr years later.

            Maybe it’s time you looked in the mirror, took responsibility for your own actions and moved on. You aren’t helping your glorious struggle for left unity by being isolationist and sectarian.

            Anyhoo, cheers to Paul for a great post. I hope to read more of his writings here at TDB and if TS is still around in 3 years, maybe back there too.

            • I would counter TRP, that what you write hardly makes sense. I have never claimed to be “the left”.

              Please try to avoid making false claims or putting words into others people’s mouths.

              I have never claimed to be “the left” as you have asserted?

              This is just as ridiculous as claiming that the Labour Party and the ‘The Standard’, are “the left”. Which I guess is what you are trying to say, by falsly accusing me of claiming to be “the left”, just because I disagree with the political views of The Standard authors.

              TRP you claim that I was banned for not heeding a warning “to focus”.

              Focus on what?

              Focus on the four legs good two legs bad, National vs Labour, ultimately sterile debate, that The Standard want to narrow all political discussion down to?

              The Standard demand that commentators focus on what they think is important, and ban any political discussion that strays outside that narrow band.

              Compared to this, it is notable that The Standard allow all sorts of Right wing comment, (even Far Right comment), that they can easily bat away, while banning commenters and comments to the Left of Centre.

              (Particularly comments that call for Left unity).


              Or talk about things that The Standard and the Labour Party don’t want to talk about.


              I would put it to you TRP; That if The Standard is not a Labour Party vehicle, why to they put up posts aimed only at Labour Party members, and attacks those who try to widen that narrow “focus” to the Left in general?

              look I apologise Stephanie if we got off on the wrong foot.

              Let’s start again.

              From your post I took it that you were asking the wider Left and the Greens to get behind a Labour candidate without Labour agreeing to making any concessions at all to the Wider Left or the Greens. And instead for Labour to go it alone.

              My suggestion is that a combined Left campaign would do better.

              [Stephanie: Nope, I was talking about Labour and addressing a Labour audience. Maybe you should check before being a condescending dick in future.]


              • Thanks for putting the link at the end, Pat. If folk are at all interested, it shows exactly how Pat’s condescending attitude led to his banning. Pompously telling an author what they should have written is always going to end badly for anyone foolish enough to do it. That’s common to just about every blog, not just TS.

                Unity is not built on ‘I know best’ lectures and hectoring, Pat. As I suggested earlier in this thread, your failure to get any traction despite a lifetime of honest endeavour is something you need to address yourself.

                You are part of ‘the left’ Pat. However, you’re not building unity by grimly hanging on to old grievances.

                Can I suggest you re-read Left Wing Communism – an Infantile Disorder?

                Or at least peruse this summary:


                Left perfectionism is a dead end. Better to be with working people and understand where they are at, rather than stand on the sidelines sniping.

                • Aren’t you that sanctimonious little jerk who claimed originally that my story on the POM and the Waitress was probably not true because I had wrote it and it appeared on The Daily Blog?

                  And you are here now lecturing on unity?Fuck you Standardistas are just unbelievable.

                  • @te rodeo. You bath far to hard in the glory o the standard. Lprint is old and angry. His articles he put out about russian hacks, US elections ect where pretty detaile and wrongd. Lprint was wrong to claim Assad had ordered a chemical hit, he was also wrong in his analysis of the chemecal agents used and delevery system and he had no idea the UN and America had been suppervising Syrian elections and WMD draw down.

                    But LPrint still banned peeps based on his opinion and butt hurt.

                    GG. Rest in oeace standard

                • Hi, TRP,I thought your bringing up a comparison of the Labour Party to the Borg was hilarious.

                  I have only ever glimpsed part of one episode of Star Trek, New Generations once while channel surfing, and yes it was one where the Borg made an appearance. I thought they were rather imaginative fictional villains.

                  After doing a google search of “the borg” to inform myself. My hilarity grew. It seems that the mission of the Borg is to assimilate all civilisations they encounter into their hive mind.

                  The Borg’s favourite saying is “Resistance is futile”.

                  Sound familiar?

                  Left perfectionism is a dead end. Better to be with working people and understand where they are at, rather than stand on the sidelines sniping.

                  Te Reo Putake

                  And who is the person who stands on the sidelines sniping at working people?

                  Wasn’t it you, who under another pseudonym, “The Voice Of Reason”, attacked the Maritime Union for fighting against de-unionisation and contracting out at the Ports of Auckland?

                  While the Labour Party’s Len Brown played Pontius Pilate, while dissing the union.

                  “The issue is, there is a huge temptation for me to throw myself into the middle of this, and I could.
                  As the mayor of this city I’ve got a mandate and we certainly have the power
                  because the company is 100% owned by our council on behalf of you all, and so I could get in amongst that.”

                  Len Brown

                  Council Transcript PDF

                  Mr Brown said he expected the stoush between Ports of Auckland and the union to be resolved soon.

                  “I would encourage them to do everything they can as loyal Aucklanders to resolve this issue without any further unnecessary time wasting,” he said.

                  Mr Brown – a member of the Labour Party who received a $2000 donation from the Maritime Union towards his 2010 election campaign – yesterday said the board and management of the 100 per cent council-owned port company had his full confidence but he refused to express confidence in the union, which he was not responsible for.


                  • Hi, Pat. It’s been pointed out to you many times that I was totally supportive of MUNZ, both on the Standard and more, importantly, in real life, where I took practical action to support them. You need to let this rubbish go, brother.

  5. Belin is also known for it’s creative edge. Education is free there also.
    Belin has an educated population.

    Sadly NZ seems to be going in the opposite direction with a view to getting low skilled, labourer type workers for our low wage economy and offshore property investors Bill English dreams about (already here by the looks of it) and our best minds have few challenging work or opportunities in NZ and have to move to places like Germany to get intellectual satisfaction.

    To go from NZ to Germany, many ideas have to change. I don’t think it is impossible – as I think we started at the same ideological stand point of social democracy.

    It’s a mind set here in NZ, that we have to change and to upskill our population not just to become low level cooks, burger king managers and low level IT support workers (three of our top 5 high skill shortages according to immigration) but to aim a lot higher into the new economy and actually not think we always have to have ‘help’ with overseas ‘partners’ paying for it and providing ‘help’, but to roll up some sleeves, get back to the pioneering mindset of a generation ago, and actually plan to do it ourselves with our own tax payers dollars!

  6. It’s my belief that neo liberalism, now for the want of a better and perhaps more detailed description, is a deadly thing to the way the human mind operates emotionally. Particularly over a long period of time and I see that, after more than thirty years of neoliberalism, is transmissible like a virus to the unsuspecting progeny of the previously ‘infected’. One can also catch it from the News, from popular culture, from cinema and from advertising within those medias particularly.
    In short. Neoliberalism will make you barking mad.
    An element of that madness is narcissism. Narcissism is a learned insanity and once in its grip, one finds oneself able to do all manner of awful things to others with the smug sanctimony of a serial killer. “ I kill for fun because I’m wonderful and beautiful and deserving of the pleasure of it and after all, my targets are frankly deserving to die and perhaps even eaten raw with a nice red.
    The mostly witless, talentless and frankly mind numbingly boring idiocy of main stream Tee Vee bears that out. If my neighbour plays the Tee Vee too loud and set to Married at First Sight? I’d kill and eat him. Here’s a good one! Christian evangelists followed by ‘ Infomercials’ for gizmos to occupy the single brain cell of any Right Wing voter. A perfect excuse for breaking out the barbi right?
    Psychiatrically, we’re a bit fucked. I know. I dated a psychiatrist for a little while and we used to talk about it ( neoliberalism) a lot. Sadly, she figured me out, made quick notes while studying me closely as she inched to the door then ran screaming. I cried and called for her to come back as I threw hatchets at her.
    In short. Perhaps if we’re to become more Germanic? We need to see ourselves for who we truly are. And our true place on our lands.
    I think that Bank peddled via-advertising-media-narcissism has to be discussed.

  7. Ah, I Iove Berlin. It’s a fantastic place. Almost unlimited personal freedoms, as long as you’re not impacting on others, and excellent governance including sensible, cost effective housing which the writer talks about.

    It’s also remarkably affordable for a large European city, and it has a well supported and vibrant arts and cultural scene. In short, it’s pretty much the antithesis of what we get here in Auckland and NZ.

    • Hi Simonm

      I absolutely agree with your view and experience of Berlin. And yes, Auckland is an utter shambles in comparison. A total embarrassment.

      As for the Standard, it detests Labour. It exists for right wing childish Trolls. As such it does a good job.

      The two or three Labour supporters permitted to write are informative and balanced – within what is day and night, a woeful asylum.

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