Talkin’ ‘Bout A Revolution – Or Not?

By   /   October 12, 2017  /   27 Comments

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“THESE TALKS ARE ABOUT A CHANGE in the way this country is run. Both economically and socially.” That is how Winston Peters characterised the government formation negotiations currently drawing to a close in Wellington. But, what could his words possibly mean, in practical terms?

“THESE TALKS ARE ABOUT A CHANGE in the way this country is run. Both economically and socially.” That is how Winston Peters characterised the government formation negotiations currently drawing to a close in Wellington. But, what could his words possibly mean, in practical terms?

If seriously intentioned, Peters’ call for economic and social change would have to encompass the thorough-going “de-neoliberalisation” of New Zealand. And, yes, the obvious reference to the “denazification” of post-war Germany is quite deliberate. Between 1945 and 1947 (when a resurgent American Right began insisting that Soviet communism posed a far greater threat than the tens-of-thousands of National Socialists who were quietly re-entering German society) the Allied occupation forces undertook a serious attempt to identify and exclude all those who had facilitated the most appalling crimes in human history.

A well-organised campaign to root out neoliberalism from all of our economic and social institutions would signal that Peters’ was serious about changing the way this country is run. And for all those who pretend not to know what the term neoliberalism means, let me spell it out. I am talking about all those who seek to intrude and entrench the logic and values of the marketplace in every aspect of their fellow citizens lives.

These people have been hard at work in New Zealand society since 1984 and the damage they have inflicted upon practically all its institutions is enormous. So, how would a Labour-Green-NZ First government that was serious about redefining good government in new Zealand begin? Well, it could start by inviting Max Rashbrooke to undertake a root-and-branch reform of the State Sector Act. Bryan Gould could be asked to revise the Reserve Bank Act. Matt McCarten, Robert Reid and Maxine Gay could be given the job of beefing-up the Employment Relations Act. Claudia Orange, Annette Sykes and Moana Jackson could be tasked with fully integrating the Treaty of Waitangi into the New Zealand Constitution being drafted by Sir Geoffrey Palmer. Metiria Turei could be given a blowtorch and sent into the Ministry of Social Development.

It’s only when you starts thinking in these terms that the awful implausibility of Peters’ statement strikes home. Putting to one side the ingrained provincial conservatism of NZ First’s electoral base, there is simply no possibility of anyone in the senior ranks of the Labour Party endorsing even a pale imitation of this “de-neoliberalisation” agenda. Maybe Willie Jackson and a handful of his Maori and Pasifica colleagues, but no one else. Only the Greens could advocate seriously for this sort of root-and-branch reform – which almost certainly explains why there are no Green Party negotiators seated at the table with Winston and Jacinda!

But, if New Zealand is not going to be de-neoliberalised in any meaningful way. If neither NZ First nor Labour would entertain for a moment any of the individuals mentioned above, in any of the roles mentioned above, then what of any lasting worth could a Labour-Green-NZ First government achieve?

More importantly, perhaps, what would be in it for the Greens? If Peters’ very public characterisation of the Greens as a powerless appendage of the Labour Party, with no role at all in the government formation talks, is an accurate reflection of his attitude towards the party, then not only do the Greens have no way of influencing the shape and policies of any new centre-left government, but they will also have no place within it. As Newshub’s Lloyd Burr so succinctly put it, they are being “shafted”.

It is possible, of course, that Peters is talking-up his disdain for the Greens in order to avoid spooking his core supporters in the countryside; and that, privately, he is right behind the eco-socialists’ radical policy agenda. Except, if that is the case, then he must surely be bitterly disappointed by Labour’s extreme policy timidity. Is the sort of party that invites Sir Michael Cullen and Annette King to join its young leader at the negotiating table, really the sort of party that is getting ready to throw its weight wholeheartedly behind “a change in the way this country is run. Economically and socially”?

By this time next week, Winston willing, we’ll have an answer.

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27 Comments

  1. countryboy says:

    “That is how Winston Peters characterised the government formation negotiations currently drawing to a close in Wellington. But, what could his words possibly mean, in practical terms?”

    What do wee winnies words mean? Fuck all.

    NZ has a tiny population on a land area the size of the UK, give or take.

    NZ grows foods and finds fishes in plentiful supply.

    NZ can’t help but prosper given the above. And by that I mean that despite iBaubles and AI and The Internet and the promise of Self Drive cars, to take away that particular responsibility from morons, we humans still need to eat, and most of us want to eat, and live, well. Without anxiety, stress, fear, uncertainty etc and blah.

    So what’s the fucking big deal man?

    Why can’t a cadre of dopes in suits get their shit together and make good things happen for us, the people who work to pay tax so as our politicians can cut killer deals for us by utilising an export sector who could out perform literally any other in their chosen field anywhere at anytime.

    The de-neoliberalising of our country should be thought of as de-fleaing the cat. Grabbed forcibly and dunked in dip.

    peters and his motley crew are not not going to hop from this old tom cat anytime soon. They’re on a gravy train that stretches across the plant.
    Talking out our expectations is like shouting at the TV. Feels good but achieves nothing.

    We need action. We need a Leader. We need someone who will kick fucking annette king and greasy little micky cullen down the steps of parliament.
    Tell them to fuck off or else!
    We need someone who can unite farmers with non farmers and spread our cities into the countryside. We need a leader with wit, good humour and imagination to get their knuckles bloody if needs be and wrest our country back out of the grasping, bloodstained hands of foreign banksters.
    Not, a giggling, titter brigade of crooks and expensive, hand wringing $nuggle kittie$.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Good post .

      … ” Why can’t a cadre of dopes in suits get their shit together and make good things happen for us, the people who work to pay tax so as our politicians can cut killer deals for us by utilising an export sector who could out perform literally any other in their chosen field anywhere at anytime.

      The de-neoliberalising of our country should be thought of as de-fleaing the cat. Grabbed forcibly and dunked in dip.We need a leader with wit, good humour and imagination to get their knuckles bloody if needs be and wrest our country back out of the grasping, bloodstained hands of foreign banksters ” …

      It really is that straight forward, to be honest.

      Which only leads us to the inevitable conclusion , – the will isn’t there. And that then leads on into the next question : why?

      And the answer is ‘ vested interests’.

      COUNTRYBOY has been busy screaming the reasons why from the rooftops for a long while now , – as have many others .

      Far too many of these ‘leaders’ have far too many ‘ vested interests’. Epitomized by National and ACT , – yet Labour certainly doesn’t get out alive on that score historically , either.

      Its been going on for a long time but reached its most frenetic pace in 1984 and thereafter. Yet the pressure is on , … with the advent of leaders such as Jeremy Corbyn and his ‘ for the many , not the few’ slogan and his manifesto of social democracy and a more ‘Keynes’ based economy.

      Yet even under that arrangement we will still have the opportunist and the plunderers. They will always exist . But at least we can mitigate much of their number and their destructive avarice within such a system far more easily .

      Yet that is precisely what the far right wing will fight the hardest to put down before it grows. We have seen that in dramatic ways throughout the western economy’s .

      And it wont be until what COUNTRYBOY says that we get a ‘leader with wit, good humour and imagination to get their knuckles bloody if needs be and wrest our country back out of the grasping, bloodstained hands of foreign banksters ‘ that we see effective change , – such as Corbyn.

      There is going to be much pressure on Adern if Peters forms a govt with Labour to move in this direction. Whether they are all up to it is another question.

  2. WILD KATIPO says:

    Tough stuff , Mr Trotter , and you could be quite right , … but there’s another aspect,…. and that is this neo liberal thing has had 33 years so far to entrench itself both in NZ and in the greater part of the western economy’s.

    And even if there was only going to be tentative changes initially , done little by little , and in keeping with stealth,… the process would have to begin somewhere, and every step would need an initial ‘ assault ‘ ,… and then a quiet interlude of regrouping before the next assault.

    The reforms of the 1980’s took several years to kick in , then the steamroller really started in earnest reaching its zenith under Bolgers govt . After that , it slowed down and was added to little by little, by increments , then slowed right back under Clark, picking up again under Key.

    And the real economic and social driver behind Keys govt policy’s wasn’t Key but English. Key was just the stage act.

    I suspect the big thing holding Labour back is fear and a sense of the magnitude needed to embark on the road to ‘deneoliberalize’ NZ.

    If Labour does get in , with NZ First / Greens , … there will be far more activists coming out of the woodwork to effect and demand change.Their hand will be strengthened by that change. But it would be the catalyst for encouraging step by step , issue by issue advances.

    Boldness is the key. And a willingness to endure media, political and much public criticism.

    Exactly the same conditions that Douglas , Richardson , Shipley and others endured.

    These three loathsome individuals cannot be praised for much if anything at all , – but one thing they can be praised for was their bold ( arrogance , belligerence , presumptuousness , elitist quality’s aside ,) steadfastness in the face of major civil unrest and demonstrations against their agenda.

    It is the same with any radical ideologues.

    Boldness , … and never backing down , … is a character trait of these types, – no matter they were the early Union activists , women’s rights activists , civil rights activists , – Or neo liberal activists. They all had one thing in common, – boldness and tenacity.

    And that’s whats needed here.

    Even if it is done over time , step by step. It can be done , should be done, – and if Peters really means what he says , – will be done.

    It all depends on how bold , how tenacious , Shaw , Peters , and Adern are .

    And also how sincere they have been with us all along.

    And unlike the protagonists of neo liberalism in this country , – the above have tens upon tens upon tens of thousands already backing them to do it , – after experiencing the negative , destructive effects of an ideology designed for the few , not the many.

    And possibly in the near future , – the warnings , admonitions and insights of Hugh Price (Hugh Price Publishers ) will finally be heeded and used for the constructive critique it always should have been :

    New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
    http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

  3. Marc says:

    Good points made in a good post by Monsieur Trotter!

    “More importantly, perhaps, what would be in it for the Greens? If Peters’ very public characterisation of the Greens as a powerless appendage of the Labour Party, with no role at all in the government formation talks, is an accurate reflection of his attitude towards the party, then not only do the Greens have no way of influencing the shape and policies of any new centre-left government, but they will also have no place within it. As Newshub’s Lloyd Burr so succinctly put it, they are being “shafted”.”

    I will not even bother quoting the last section, it will prove largely irrelevant in the end.

    This is what some dreamers here better wake up to. The Greens are not really going to be part of any government, that is not in an effective, truly participatory form!

    That is why Winston and his ‘team’ of negotiators do not want to meet with James Shaw and others from the Greens.

    Winston is only interested in what he can achieve for NZ First and their voters, and for himself, whether for personal gratification, or for pleasing his voter base, or both.

    That is why we have these revolving door ‘negotiations’, it is all about pressing the most concessions out of either of the larger parties, of which Labour is the smaller one.

    So how can be even seriously entertain a ‘progressive’ government in the making with NZ First, when Winston does want to keep the Greens as far out of any deal, as he can? That means he is not accepting the joint Labour-Green vote, even though it is only 1.2 percent behind the total National vote share. Winston is not sincere, when he goes on about ridding the country of neoliberalism, that is sloganeering, little else, it is a catch call he has used for years, simply to gather more disgruntled voters, those that were somewhat tired and disillusioned with Labour and others on the left of centre.

    As with Labour, as we have them, there is NO indication that Grant Robertson, the new ‘economic wannabe Guru’ of the party, and his younger friend Jacinda, who he consults with, will move far away from the status quo we have.

    Once again, those truly left have been hood winked, enticed into voting Labour, while they will offer some tweeks on the edges, but will offer NO real substantial change at all to the economic and even social realities in this country.

    It is like with the complicit, dishonest (shit) media, who only report on the downtrodden when they can do it by focusing on individual stories of sadness and/or horror, but with that only appeal to the humble empathy of society out there, to ‘help’ the sufferer, so things get ‘mended’.

    They are also NOT interested in systemic change, as it would not serve the mostly commercially, ratings driven interest of their owners of the MSM.

    That is also why Bill English can lean back, even if Winston should do the unthinkable, in his view, and go with Labour, and tying in Greens as ineffective, mostly irrelevant hangers on and desperate survived support party.

    English knows, the Greens will have little say, Labour will not depart all too far away from the present system, and with NZ First they will sooner or later bicker amongst themselves and fall out, so next election, Nats will come back with a landslide of selfish and divide and rule following voters who will follow their individual selfish aspirations, thinking the Nats are the better ‘economic masters’.

    And if Winston goes with the Nats, if anything goes wrong, after a humble deal, with some baubles for Winston, it will be NZ First’s and Winston’s fault, and National will survive it, while NZ First will be out of Parliament next election.

    The Greens are under James Shaw and the melt down during the campaign nothing but glad to still be in Parliament, and to have survived, they are eating humble pie now, they are praying and hoping, but even their days may be numbered.

    Meanwhile the misinformation and conditioning by the MSM, by spin doctors and propagandists of the big parties will continue, so to bury any hope for real change in future, so that neoliberal style capitalism will stay here to rule, until the global system stuffs up and collapses at some time in the future. Then NZ Inc will follow the rest of the world in picking up the pieces, and follow the trend set elsewhere, it will NOT be set in little, humble pie, globally irrelevant little NZ Inc, which is for the powerful nothing but a private refuge, should the shit hit the fan over in USA, Europe and East Asia.

  4. Nick Morris says:

    The Greens, once a Government is formed “of the Left”, would have exactly the same power as NZF.

    The power to destroy.

    Labour knows this and although this dirty little secret is on the table, I’m betting that Labour won’t raise it.

    It is true that a root and branch attack on the structural status quo is not likely, this does not mean it is business as usual for the Neo-Liberal world.

    John Key taught us one thing: heat the water slowly and the rats will keep swimming. Do it with a smile and they will whistle your version of Dixie, too.

    Much is needed, but let’s get it as right as possible, given the opportunity, not just as quick as possible.

  5. CLEANGREEN says:

    National = stealth & secrecy.
    Labour = slowly slowly catchie monkey.
    NZF = drive to change.
    Greens = drive radical changes.
    Result we need all opposition parties to sit inside a padded cell room and settle their differences for New Zealand and all her people, as they as Politicians who are ‘civil servants’ paid by us to do what is in the best interest for us all.

  6. Steve King says:

    The longer this goes on, the more the sinking feeling in my stomach intensifies. Since the election I have been pulled in every direction and despite my personal desire for a change in the style of government, I can’t be confident that that will happen with NZ First anywhere near it, nor am I confident that any Lab-Green-NZF arrangement can last the three years. It might be better for those on the left to suck it up (again) and wait three more years, (or fewer, given that there is a good chance a coalition with NZF won’t last). Trouble is, so much damage has been inflicted upon us, what will the state of the country be in three years time under three more years of National?

    • Pete says:

      Regardless of anything else more than 40% who voted, voted for National.
      Regardless of why, or what motivated them more than 40% voted for National.

      There are a lot of tragic things about that.

      • Steve King says:

        It’s like that scene from Trainspotting… except it’s “choose selfishness. Choose greed. Choose inequality. Choose homelessness. Choose environmental degradation. Choose lies and a feckin’ big fiscal hole. Choose more bloody roads. Choose fossil fuels. Choose foreign ownership. Choose corruption. Choose insanity”

      • Michelle says:

        But how much of that 40% of those who voted for National Pete are new immigrants how does this matter it actually matters a lot.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Hang in there , matey , wars are won by those who dare.

  7. Pat O'Dea says:

    New Zealand First billboard, “Had Enough?”

    The decision has been made.

    To anyone with any political nous, It should be pretty clear by now that Winston Peters has done a Jim Anderton, and sacrificed the unity, and probable continuing existence of his party for a few policy gains from the Nats. Just as Anderton did with Labour. Just as Tariana Turia and Te Ururoa Flavell did, also with National.

    The only reason we are going into extra time is so that Winston Peters can sell this obviously unpopular decision to his board.

    Good luck with that Winston. Behind close doors you can probably browbeat and bully the board to go along with your decision, but you might have a bigger problem with your membership, after all you campaigned on a policy of change.

    “Had enough?”

    Yes we have.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Well you might be chewin on raw kippers and uncooked spuds if he indeed forms a govt with Labour / Greens and makes a success of it yet , – so shut yer mouth til then !

      With all due respects.

      🙂

    • Danyl Strype says:

      If you’re wrong, we get rid of National. If you’re right, NZ First will get crucified at the next election by their left-leaning voters, the ones who expect them to “keep Labour honest”. Anyone who wants to get rid of a 4th term National government, winded after a 3-legged race with Winston, will know exactly who they need to vote for (and not vote for) in 2020. It’s a win-win for the left.

    • Jerko says:

      I agree with Pat. The but or butt of this joke would be that it will definitely be a monumental f up for Winston and his cronies. Hubris will catch up with him sooner rather than later.

  8. David Stone says:

    proportional representation is always likely to require a negotiated administration ; among the elected representatives. But who the hell voted for Michael Cullen !
    D J S

  9. Michael says:

    Something needs to happen to see the left bloc become the majority so we can see true change. We aren’t quite there yet. The middle class needs to experience genuine hardship. I think serious economic dispair is what is required before more people jump from the National Party wagon.

  10. Andrea says:

    Anyone born before 1974 can probably remember a different NZ. Not ‘better’ – different. We don’t want those times back, unless all the nastiness is strained out. Carry forward only the best. Thank you.

    The neo-liberal hoohah – an extension of the hippy revolutions of the sixties. Hopefully, we’ve got that gotta be, gotta do, gotta have rigmarole out of the collective system and culture (apart from a few anachronistic banana oil sales people).

    So: not back. Not continue the current nearly-ended game of beggar my neighbour.

    Something very different that will give us the framework and resilience for the challenges ahead – without resorting to the diversions of war or the divisions of varieties, cultures and creeds. Something that calls on the collective unity, diversity and power in Us.

    If you please.

  11. CLEANGREEN says:

    Steve

    “It might be better for those on the left to suck it up (again) and wait three more years”
    Anyone who advocate this path is happy to see NZ sold as in three years under TPPA with its protectioons for global interests to take all we have will be beyond saving by then.

    Steve wake up for NZ’s sake man!!@!!!!!

    NZF willl be the driving force for best changes we need by klimiting any further damage to our loss of our public assets. and changes to the ‘Reserve Bank Act’ that will ensure we all have equal sharing of our commonwealth.

  12. not given says:

    Green, that’s pro-environment, pro-working cohesive society, not necessarily left. Politics after all is about taking people with you. Left right schism is a first order approximation that can be correct, but other times…

    So I’m on the left at the moment, as National exploits people, community, environment and future generations. I do not fear Peters uninspiringly jumping for National, as it still complicates National and exposes NZF as essentially a right of National party.

    I do not expect Peters to, I think that’s his last option. Either cross benches or Lab-Green. If Greens dont see any advantage for them with Lab-NZF then they might go cross benches, or gouge National for supply, politically harmful but if Peter muffs it up…

    I do however find it striking how lame the process is, like Peters is waiting on polling. Which would be a mistake since media has been so poor at reporting potential outcomes.

    Nat-NZF, Nat-Lab, Nat-Green, Nat-Nzf-Green (mess with English having him build consensus between Nzf-Green to get anything pasted), some our side supply with Nat and one of the three. My personal favorite, grand opposition, Nat need two of the three opposition parties to agree. Go back to the electorate. And finally, the Lab-Green-Nzf govt most likely as it gives Peters most, being at the start of a new administration, most aligned policy wise, most voted for not Nats. Sure, Peters could force Greens onto the margin, or even supply Labour outside cabinet, but don’t see that.

    There was a significant swing against the right, so it’s hard to see how National, the party who don’t directly get perks as govt, want English marching left to keep in power. No, Peters is wanting time to choose between cross benches backing lab-Green or full partnership. That’s my guess.

  13. Barry says:

    Labour shouldn’t contort it’s self to accommodate Winston. If Winston sees no place for the Greens as serving in government, then let Winston choose National to effect NZF demise.
    Polls supposedly taken of NZF supporters suggest 70% prefer a coalition with Labour and the Greens.Winston’s talk of a change in social and economic direction may will be all talk,for I think we all know his chances of National playing Winstons game is highly unlikely.

  14. mosa says:

    Once again Peters has shown he is not serious about real change otherwise the Greens would have, should have been part of the Lab-NZF talk fest about the future of the country for the next three years.

    Instead once again they are sidelined despite Labour whispering in their ear about what Winston might want or expect.

    With Winston’s obvious dislike for the Greens being anywhere near the table in my view does not bode well for a constructive , stable progressive alternative.

    It is time the Greens were given some respect as their seats in parliament are not much less than NZF who are calling the shots here.

    It looks like as Burr put it , the ” Greens shafted again “

  15. Afewknowthetruth says:

    ‘These people have been hard at work in New Zealand society since 1984 and the damage they have inflicted upon practically all its institutions is enormous’

    The pace of destruction is accelerating. And as long as NZ is beholden to banks (and their Ponzi monetary system that requires continuous expansion) and corporations (that are legally required to make profits via exploitation) the pace of destruction will continue to accelerate.

    I have no faith in any politician. Not one has the guts or will to take on the banks and corporations. Business-as-usual will continue and everything that matters will continue to be made worse until the system collapses.

  16. Iain Mclean says:

    Chris;

    Welcome home Chris.

    It’s time MSM is truly exposed for what it is. Then we can get change.

    It is happening overseas.

    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2017/10/14/nz-companies-complicit-in-culture-of-violence-intolerance-and-oppression/

    Cheers.