MUST READ: Letting In The Light

By   /   April 20, 2018  /   48 Comments

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The position of Jacinda’s government is not made any easier by elements within the news media who act as if the Right’s suspicion and resentment is, in some unexplained way, justified. In spite of the fact that the Labour-NZF-Green government has been in office barely six months, and ignoring the almost daily revelations of the previous government’s extraordinary derelictions and mismanagement, they lash Jacinda’s ministers as if they alone are responsible for the fact that the country’s infrastructure is, quite literally, rotting away.

IT’S IMPOSSIBLE for fair-minded Kiwis to be anything other than immensely proud of their prime minister. Watching Jacinda Ardern interact with the likes of Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Justin Trudeau, one is repeatedly struck by her easy familiarity and personal warmth. That she has captivated these leaders is obvious to all but her most hardened opponents.

According to the latest One News/Colmar-Brunton opinion poll, the Labour-NZF-Green government continues to be the clear choice of a comfortable majority of the New Zealand electorate. The same survey puts Jacinda an embarrassing 27 points ahead of the Leader of the Opposition, Simon Bridges, in the preferred prime minister stakes. There is a strong sense of purpose about this government which is keeping the electorate on-side. Its supporters should be feeling confident and relaxed about the future.

So why aren’t they?

At the core of their uneasiness is a sense that Jacinda’s government is seen by an alarmingly large number of New Zealanders as something akin to the sort of puppet regime an occupying army might impose on a conquered population. They look at Jacinda and her ministers through narrowed eyes – suspicious of everything they do.

Even when the measures this government announces are for the benefit of themselves and their families – like the winter energy subsidies soon to take the sting out of cost of keeping their houses warm – there’s a sullen refusal to be impressed. As if the payment was nothing more than a bribe.

This deep-seated cynicism towards Jacinda’s government has its origin in New Zealand’s very own Dolchstoßlegenden. (Stab-in-the-back myth) Just as the German Right refused to believe that Germany’s armies had been beaten decisively in World War I: preferring instead to believe that they had been betrayed by treacherous left-wing politicians and shadowy Jewish influencers in the rear; the New Zealand Right is firmly convinced that the National Party was kept out of power by the self-interested (and probably unconstitutional) machinations of Winston Peters.

That a government which does not include the party receiving the largest number of votes can nevertheless be accepted as legitimate by the “liberal elites” is, for the Right, a mystery reeking of treason.

The position of Jacinda’s government is not made any easier by elements within the news media who act as if the Right’s suspicion and resentment is, in some unexplained way, justified. In spite of the fact that the Labour-NZF-Green government has been in office barely six months, and ignoring the almost daily revelations of the previous government’s extraordinary derelictions and mismanagement, they lash Jacinda’s ministers as if they alone are responsible for the fact that the country’s infrastructure is, quite literally, rotting away.

These alarming displays of the media’s mendacity have lately acquired a much more sinister tone. It’s as if every editorial office in the country has received a memo from somewhere deep inside the Five Eyes’ national security apparatus that “Russophobia” is the order of the day; and that, for failing to follow its orders with sufficient enthusiasm the Ardern Government must be brought to heel by unrelenting media pressure.

We are thus treated to the spectacle of Newstalk-ZB’s Mike Hosking taking Jacinda to task for putting her faith in diplomacy and the UN Charter – as if the doctrine of “Might Makes Right” has not, over the course of the last 104 years, turned the world into a charnel house and made possible the worst crimes in human history.

It was the American journalist, Upton Sinclair, who remarked that “it is very difficult to make a man understand something when his salary depends upon him not understanding it”. The near unanimity now prevailing in the New Zealand news media that the West must “stand up to Russia”, coupled with its refusal to subject the claims of the United States, the United Kingdom and France to even a modicum of critical interrogation, speaks to a level of hysteria which, in the past, has been the prelude to war.

This is the bellicose atmosphere in which Jacinda, with all her openness and warmth, has been determined to represent her country’s long-standing allegiance to the UN Charter and her own transparent preference for a peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis. Her courage and honesty are contagious: as may plainly be observed in her colleague Megan Woods’ steely determination to bring the EQC into line; and in Andrew Little’s fulfilment of Labour’s promise to open the Pike River drift.

It is the illumination which this government’s actions continue to generate which explains the rising level of hostility to its policies. For nearly ten years this country was kept in the dark. In that darkness, tragedy and failure could be kept hidden: and what too many eyes refused to see, too many hearts declined to grieve over. But now a majority of New Zealanders’ eyes are open, and they can see the decay, destruction and delay that are John Key’s and Bill English’s true legacy. For the 44.5 percent of the nation who voted for National, the shame of its legacy is hard to bear. Much easier, is to translate that shame into hatred for the people who forced them to feel it.

In a country where darkness and deceit allowed the lucky to grow fat undetected, while others less fortunate suffered unseen, a government determined to bring light and uncover truth will always, by some, be regarded as the puppet regime of an occupying army.

The question facing New Zealanders now is: “Do you intend to fight that army – or join it?”



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  1. Francesca says:

    I’m afraid I find that the new Labour led government is all too keen to follow the dictates of our 5 Eyes partners
    Jacinda’s comments overseas matter
    Her “fun” meeting with Merkel does not give me any confidence in New Zealand’s independent foreign policy

    Here’s an example of the forthright Naples mayor standing up for peace against the illegal air strikes in Syria which Jacinda meekly “accepted
    A pity this sort of courage is never referred to in our totally compliant media
    We might as well be living in Pravda times

    • Sam Sam says:

      It’s an extremely challenging question. More challenging than I think a lot of people realize. The two not only have different means but also different ends. You’re basically asking “is this Bridges better at rugby than Jacinda is at netball?”

      In that spirit, I would say both are good at their respective games. Jacinda recognizes that all NZ needs to do is very broad status quo maintenance, and not overreact to terrorism. Patience and quiescence behooves her/us. The biggest difficulty is really that Bill English demonstrated rather dramatically that we aren’t egalitarian, and now there’s pressure on Jacinda to prove that no, wait, actually we are. But we aren’t, and commercial media does well to avoid trying to prove we are, because doing so is only going to underline that we aren’t. It’s a conservative policy, which is obviously the correct one for the greatest acculturation of power.

      Simon Bridges is coming from the opposite end. National Party list is far weaker than pre election but a little stronger than it’s been since the John Key resigned, so he can make a big splash and pump up Nationals soft power by making mismanagement seem competent (none of several of which have also been well-executed); he gets to leverage the great advantage of low expectations.

      But I think Jacinda would be right to say that Putin is acting out of weakness, in Syria as in Ukraine. He fears a color revolution and he fears a backroom coup, both of which are staved off through daring foreign gambits. Putin’s greatest strategic achievement is two-fold: first, pulling off such gambits, and second, reaping benefits from them with the Russian people, the siloviki, and foreign observers to boot. He’s getting multiple birds with each rock. It’s only more impressive that he’s done so given that he was forced into them by strategic defeats abroad: Assad on the ropes and Yanukovich on the run with a pro-Western government in Kiev. But Russia’s economy never truly recovered from WW2 with America around. Ukraine as a whole is further from Russia’s orbit than it’s ever been before, and if Putin can’t actually accomplish something concrete in Syria (or at least appear to) that will also become a liability.

      To the extent that they’re playing the same game at all, Jacinda is playing a strong position well, and Simon is playing a weak one well. The latter is more exciting and looks more impressive. It may even be more impressive. But it’s still the weak position.

      Besides. Andrew Littlengot beat by a girl. Bill English got beat by a girl. Simon Bridges is surrounded by girls. How long can Simon maintain his position?

    • Win Win says:

      Absolutely agree. Ardern’s behaviour on the world stage is bowing down at its best, and sychophant at it’s worse. Apparently we should be proud of Ardern’s Theresa May impersonation, ie everything is ‘highly likely’ and yes we should bomb the Syrians because chemical weapons are so BAD. Worse than carpet bombing, bombs in general, missiles and even machine guns. Much worse! Her behaviour is disgusting;, brown-nosing those lying, corrupt evil toads. In the vein hope that NZ might get some trade deals mmmmm sometime in the future. I for one am totally ashamed.

    • David Stone says:

      Pertinent links Francesca.
      The tiny equivocation in Jacinda’s endorsement of the missile attack on Syria was completely erased in the Merkel meeting linked. Would she could have found the courage and naivety of the little boy who declared that the emperor had no clothes .
      She didn’t need to go beyond what anyone should accept. No military action should be taken without UN approval, and no Military action should be taken without the appropriate UN specialist chemical weapon’s group ascertaining that a war crime has been committed , and proof of who committed it. Proof that can be revealed to the public, not proof we have to accept because it’s from secret sources.
      There’s a huge programme of “manufacturing consent” going on to the western governments overthrow of the Syrian government and it’s leading us all into war with Russia. And everyone on earth will loose that war and Russia will not have been the cause of it. It would be a big ask for Jacinda to be the one to call for truth and reason when none of her peers have the courage, but someone among them has to .

    • Francesca says:

      Merkel’s own parliamentary jurists have found the coalition strikes on Syria to be illegal
      Merkel, while not joining in the fun, called the strikes”necessary and appropriate” …but gosh, isn’t it great how good Jacinda’s getting on with the Mutti and the Queen?
      Don’t get me wrong, Jacinda’s 10x better than Key, but lets not get too starry eyed, our messiah has not come

      It now seems the OPCW, with security supplied by the Russians , has now entered Douma and can begin their investigation…


      According to the US, Russia is busy scrubbing the evidence away
      I think the Russians should be deployed to Salisbury if they’re so fiendishly clever.
      Thats going to cost the UK millions of dollars and months to decontaminate,after having assured the public that a good warm laundry wash and baby wipes would do the trick
      The new world we live in eh..attack first, don’t worry about the evidence later, the media will take care of the cover up, and we’ll all nod our heads agreeably because no one wants to be cut loose from the pack

  2. Castro says:

    And yet, so many on the so-called “left” continue to slag off “wacist” Uncle Winnie. The Wage Slave Labour Party is of the right; those to the right of Labour deserve (and many will receive, as the ‘country’ comes apart at the seams) a noose or machete to the back of the neck. Economic Marxism and economic nationalism are the foundational bedrock of anything genuinely left-wing. The concept of the nation state is going nowhere anytime soon, and, if it does, the faux left as well as the hard right traitors will wish that it hadn’t.

  3. let me be frank says:

    sun shining this morning where you are Chris?….good piece.

  4. Andrewo says:


    You’re a strange person.

    One day you can write the most perceptive article and then the next you write something like this.

    Today’s report card says “Can to better!”

    • countryboy says:

      @ andrewo
      You know that back passage of yours that you talk out of? Also a perfect fit for your report card.

    • Mjolnir says:

      “One day you can write the most perceptive article and then the next you write something like this.”

      You something insightful and truthful, Andrew? Is that what you mean? Its hard to know what you’re on about…. the noise of a wrecking ball about to demolish a rotting hospital at Middlemore is drowning you out.

  5. Liminal says:

    It probably is a shock to many NZers on the Right side of the political spectrum to have the light shone into their hero John Key’s legacy. To me, as a relative outsider, it looks like a deep national characteristic: to be highly sensitive to criticism – NZ is Godzone, we are blameless, uncorrupt, the most moral and upright of nations etc etc ad nauseum – with the inevitable backlash, often violent. When this is harnessed into a political campaign, eagerly taken up by a right-wing press, then what we are seeing is quite expected – and to be resisted by calm and measured dialogue and reporting.

    • Aaron says:

      “…we are blameless, uncorrupt, the most moral and upright of nations…” except for the fact that the nation is founded on the theft of Maori land!

      Your comment makes me wonder if this is what’s behind the intentional blindness – once you acknowledge one injustice you must acknowledge them all – even the injustice upon which our nation is founded.

      Far easier (and very human) to want to remain in the dark.

  6. Michelle says:

    thank you Mr Trotter

  7. Kim dandy says:

    New Zealand’s MSM is rotten to the core! The coalition government has the power to shake it up into something that resembles better and fair broadcasting, media etc. I am not sure why they haven’t started making the moves to do so already.

    • WatchingNZ says:

      Yes, yes, yes, the sooner the better. Possibly even balanced reporting.

    • OCON says:

      Its presumably because as a democracy we believe in the freedom of the press – and the right to free speech – even if we disagree with what is being said. Liberals generally consider this is to be one of the fundamental values of our type of society.

      You’ve picked up on a theme that Trotter hints at in his article, which is that we should have a government controlled media similar to those that existed in the soviet union and the former iron curtain countries.

      Perhaps your problem is that the new government and its fellow travellers don’t have the strength of argument to persuade almost 50% of New Zealanders to their way of thinking. And thats even with one of NZ’s met effective broadcasters on your side; the left leaning Mr Campbell The lesson is to do better in your communication; not to advocate for a government controlled propagandist media sector.

  8. countryboy says:

    Great work @ CT.

    The Right Wing depend entirely upon closed minds to manipulate. ‘There’s nothing as sure as a closed mind.’ someone said.

    This is a bit cool. Given the number of banker parasites and sundry minions attached to our primary industry, both past and present, this might give the bastards a sleepless night or two.
    ‘Taste the difference’: Farm-to-fork movement takes off in urban Flanders’

    Didn’t jonky pass a law or two under urgency to regulate the sale and marketing of food seeds which are now regarded as a ‘controlled substance’ ? Effectively hobbling farmer markets i.e. direct-to-public sales?

    Foods, cannabis in all it’s fabulous permutations and wool. That’s NZ/AO’s financial future.
    Or, given how our earth’s tanking, could be finance and banking?
    One could argue, you can eat bankers and financiers? Remove toxic waste into your one end and produce bland compost out your other.

    Jacinda Adern MUST prise open the closed minds of our skeptical farmers.
    If she could steal away with farmers, that’d be the humiliating death of national and the withering away of the Right Wing bias supplanted by Them into our MSM. Then, we’d see NZ/AO flourish unimaginably.
    As it once did.

  9. ababy says:

    vassal state sycophant

  10. WatchingNZ says:

    Agree Chris, liked the article.

  11. Jack Ramaka says:

    John Key and Bill English forgot about Infrastructural Requirements when they decided to let an additional 90,000 people a year into New Zealand ?

  12. Jack Ramaka says:

    John Key and Bill English forgot about Infrastructural Requirements when they decided to let an additional 90,000 people a year into New Zealand ?

  13. e-clectic says:

    Indeed, it’s up to us to ensure that the Letters pages in our dailies and the comments in online papers and elsewhere show support and rebut the fallacies of the detractors.

  14. orbital panda says:

    Congratulations on your PhD Chris (when did you come out?)-or am I twenty years behind the times?
    Is it a Phd in “exposing the rotten underbelly of NZ politics?”
    I would rate this as one of your finest works.Your unique mix of symbolism, humour, theatre, latin and history makes you a NZ taonga.
    Here is my effort.
    I think the media response has been so biased it has been illuminating. The veil has been lifted to expose their (insert Latin word for true belief)
    The media have (insert latin phrase meaning playing ones hand too early). A bit like selling a dummy in rugby when you are 10 metres away from the defender-just never worked for me.
    I am working on my own PhD in my mind on a public policy framework for the future. A set of principles to ensure policy benefits the people and protects the environment. Somewhere along the way we lost the idea that governance is for the community, the village. That we organise our unique skill sets to benefit us all in our village and that we have a sense of belonging and role to play.
    It’s a bummer if your unique skill set is to dig the toilets!

  15. Mjolnir says:

    Excellent piece, Chris! I’m reminded of the person who told another friend that her husband was cheating on her. The friend revealing the deception is more likely than the errant husband to recieve the friend’s wrath.

  16. Wanman says:

    I read both left and right leaning blogs and am amused to almost always find that the commentators believe the msm are biased toward the other side

    • Steve King says:

      I do agree generally with you there, I have often observed the same thing. But I think what the msm are attracted to is sensation or the sniff of blood in the water, and the resultant feeding frenzy might blind them to the more important, but less sensational, story happening off to the side. But having said that, can you imagine the media if it was Andrew Little who was Prime Minister and who repeatedly pulled a waitress’s ponytail then tried to shut her up with a couple of bottles of his personalised wine? And the media have never acknowledged their role in the “Dirty Politics” (still waiting for the lawsuits, guys) machinations while National were in office. And has anyone EVER tracked down Jason Ede?

    • Andrea says:

      It is funny.

      And we don’t really know how many people still buy/read the papers or listen to soundbite news now.

      I put this prejudice down to confirmation bias. Not too many people are willing to do the “hang on a minute! This sounds flaky!” step, or actively seek out the opposing view, so all most people see is what they already believe to be true.

      And, in the case of the MSM – they serve up what suits the prejudices of their readers. Keep ’em sweet and buying.

    • e-clectic says:

      But they are!!!

  17. Sanctuary says:

    Never forget that even after Labour was being vindicated by the success of it’s policies between the 1935-38, 40% of Neww Zealanders voted National.

    The narrow minded Tories have always been with us.

  18. Cassie says:

    WHEN YOU SEE NZ ‘s so called “Leaders” cohorting with overseas CRIMINALS
    EG John Key playing golf with Obama ..(in past)

    Obama coming to NZ (lately) (HE had thousands killed in Pakistan with Drone strikes. He also signed an “Executive Order to allow anyone to be indefinitely detained (=imprisoned) on mere “suspicion” of being a “terrorist” (ie You & me)
    And now currently-
    Adhern going to Germany for a meeting with that Communist Traitor Merkle

    (who has allowed that nation to be destroyed with “her” (dictated to her) policy of inviting HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS of African & Muslim (mostly MALE) migrants to FLOOD that nation,
    -resulting in sky rocketing Rapes/Sexual assaults & other crimes upon native citizens)….and general CHAOS .. (all of which is NEVER shown in MSM here)..

    The FACT that Adhern (who is a young “nobody” in NZ history) is going there to meet
    Merkle (a member of Communist Party in her youth..)..and traitor to Germany


  19. Ike says:

    I have a measure of sympathy for Jacinda having to keep NZ’s trade interest in mind while she hobnobs with the nest of vipers in the UK. She does need to keep her feet on the ground. Condemning chemical weapons is fine but talking about a “rules based System” when the UK is clearly breaking the rules with covert operatives in Syria assisting the rebels to carry out a false flag chemical attack. As for blaming the Russians for hacking attacks, no doubt briefed by her Five Eyes spooks. Here is a map of internet attacks in real time and as you can see, at least while I watched it, most attacks came from the USA with China second with about half the USA’s total. Russia didn’t really feature. Maybe the time of day affects this.

    The UK has really laid it on for Jacinda, The Times calling her one of the most powerful women in the world, an audience with the Queen and all the other hoopla.
    Methinks they are desperate to get any support they can. Their financial problems underpinning a drive to war with Russia and China These two nations being the leaders of the financial renaissance underway in the East. NZ better be careful it does not cut off its nose to spite its face

  20. Historian Pete says:

    “Jacinda’s courage and honesty is courageous”.We have just had three countries commit a war crime in breach of international law by attacking Syria. At no time were the three countries at risk of an attack from Syria.They were not in possession of clear evidence that Syria had performed a chemical attack. So her response should have been a clear and unequivocal denunciation of The U.S.Empire, Britain and France.That would have been honest and courageous.I am reminded of Neville Chamberlain’s response to the invasions of Nazi Germany. Basically he grovelled to Adolf Hitler, and.Jacinda has shown herself to be just another groveller.The West is indulging in unhinged aggression to multiple countries.A reasonable comparison can be made between the behaviour of The U.S. Empire and Nazi Germany. The very existence of Western Civilization is at stake.This is the time for men and women of intestinal fortitude to stand up to this bizarre belligerent behaviour we are witnessing.Here all I can see is a chronic failure to stand up for the principles that the West falsely claims to adhere to.

  21. Christine says:

    The Key-English govt made no pretense of being egalitarian, it was a Nazi type philosophy – insofar as there was any philosophy -of and for persons who believed, wrongly, in their own innate superiority, and whose supporters are now gnashing their teeth fairly unselectively. Decay, destruction, and delay, impact far less on those who have health insurance, health plans, access to private education, money, and all the other buffers against life’s bruises. It was tribalism and has impacted very harshly on too many outside the tribe.

    Don’t forget that last year we had a govt actually denying that there was a housing crisis as it flogged off state houses and people hunkered down in their cars. Or in doorways. Or got WINZ grants for tents.

    • bert says:

      Extremely apt description of the National party Christine. Very well worded’

      “their own innate superiority”

  22. Ike says:

    So Jacinda met Teresa May in the UK, but not Jeremy Corbyn. I think we can read where this government is going right there.

  23. savenz says:

    While Labour is 1000 times better than National they deserve the distrust by signing TPPA as one of their priorities.

    It’s not the first time they screwed up, Labour bought in student loans and Rogernomics and are loyal followers of 5 eyes foreign policy.

    Best thing to do with MSM – don’t read it, don’t click on it.

    Yes Labour are better than National but they are hardly the people’s party either. Jacinda is the darling of the international media because she is selling the same free trade global message but to a younger audience.

    That global message bought the US Trump and has helped China gain huge political power through trade and Chinese money and influence.

    I don’t particularly want to live through either the rise of Trump or Xi Jinping like thinking in NZ, nor May or any of the others.

    NZ should be less of a basket case that the rest of the world, but sadly as we fail to be able to build a house or pick an apple or even wait tables at a restaurant and feel the need to import in people to do that for us as well as speculate on property/asset investments and farms, you can’t help wondering what the fuck’s going on in government thinking.

  24. R.P McMurphy says:

    Jacinda Ardern will win the next one too. New Zealand really needed a leader and not just some crummy head hunted c.e.o.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Are you meaning John Key , – the Forex trader who colluded with Andrew Kreiger to conduct the biggest Forex heist in history against the NZ Kiwi and almost crippled our economy?

      Or John Key the shower pissing , ponytail pulling catwalk mincer who overhauled our Health and Safety laws and concluded Worm Farms were a high risk occupation after 29 men lost their lives in Pike River mine?

      Either way ,… Mr ‘ GET SOME GUTS ‘ Key still needs to be looked into for signing off on Operation Burnham.

      And wrecking our infrastructure and creating poverty and homelessness the like we have not seen in this country since the Great Depression.

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