What They Do In The Shadows: Winston Saves Labour From Itself

By   /   June 12, 2018  /   26 Comments

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THANK GOD FOR WINSTON PETERS! The decision of the NZ First Party to torpedo the Labour Party justice minister’s proposal to scrap the “Three Strikes” legislation came in the very nick of time. Andrew Little may be a good man, and Sir Peter Gluckman a powerful advocate for evidence-based decision-making, but neither of them would appear to possess Peters’ gut instinct for what is – and is not – politically possible.

THANK GOD FOR WINSTON PETERS! The decision of the NZ First Party to torpedo the Labour Party justice minister’s proposal to scrap the “Three Strikes” legislation came in the very nick of time. Andrew Little may be a good man, and Sir Peter Gluckman a powerful advocate for evidence-based decision-making, but neither of them would appear to possess Peters’ gut instinct for what is – and is not – politically possible.

The leader of NZ First is looking at the dark and rock-solid mass of National Party support ranged against the Labour-NZF-Green government, and he is drawing some pretty gloomy conclusions.

The first and most obvious of these is that the Nats smell blood. At both the parliamentary and grass-roots level of the National “movement” (for want of a better description) the opinion that, whatever this government may do it is most unlikely to win a second term, is rapidly solidifying into a right-wing conviction.

The second is that Jacinda’s “stardust” only works on the “woke”. If you’re young and following the right people on Twitter and Instagram; if you’re middle-class and well-credentialed; if you’re a working couple living in your own home and raising a young family; well then, Jacinda’s bloody marvellous. In the grim ghettoes of deprivation and despair, however, Labour’s promises of kindness and transformation have yet to evoke a measurable political response.

Peters knows exactly what that means in electoral terms. Labour is failing to grow its vote out of anything other than the support bases of its own partners. The non-voting poor and marginalised – who should be their target – have yet to hear anything from Jacinda and her team compelling enough to distract them from the grim business of day-to-day survival.

For a few magical moments in 2017, Metiria Turei caused a number of them to lift up their heads – just long enough to witness her brutal political destruction. But who’s giving hope to beneficiaries and the working-poor in 2018? Certainly not Carmel Sepuloni!

The third – and the gloomiest – conclusion Peters is likely to have drawn is that this is not an era of political sunshine. He is old enough to remember the early 1960s when, for a few brief years, both here in New Zealand and around the Western World, there was a public willingness to embrace social solutions founded in compassion, bolstered by science and delivered by political parties temporarily freed from the encumbering baggage of traditional conservatism.

Full-employment and steadily rising living-standards had emptied communities of the fears and anxieties to which, throughout history, they had been prey. The sunshine of empathy shone into places usually cast in the shade of envy and prejudice. To an electorally significant number of citizens the world seemed to be getting better and better and they were willing to vote for politicians who promised to make it better still. Social-democracy and progressive liberalism made common cause against all manner of social evils: prisons built to punish not rehabilitate; birching and flogging; the death penalty.

Peters is also old enough to remember the Third Labour Government and how its sunniest ministers – the most outstanding of which was the Justice Minister, Dr Martyn Findlay – attempted to press ahead with ever more liberal and progressive reforms. He’d remember, too, the souring of the New Zealand electorate in the wake of the hugely inflationary oil-shocks and Kirk’s tragic death.

Peters will recall how fear and anxiety returned to the nation’s communities as unemployment rose and living-standards began to fall. Watching all this, that much younger Winston Peters observed how easily National’s leader, Rob Muldoon, turned it all to his advantage. How traditional conservatism – momentarily outshone – once again cast its pall over the electorate. How Dr Martyn Findlay and his liberal reforms were unceremoniously cast aside – along with the rest of the Labour Government.

Peters knows exactly what is going on in the minds of that dark, rock-solid mass of National Party voters – there was a time when he stood in the shadows among them. Labour, he knows, must be saved from itself. Andrew Little will have to wait.

 

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26 Comments

  1. esoteric pineapples says:

    What’s the point of having power, if you are just going to do what the other party would do any way?

  2. Booker says:

    It’s exactly this kind of thinking that gets us to having the 2nd highest incarceration rates in the world, second only to the US, despite low crime levels. We have an outdated, punitive system fueling prison numbers. I’m with Gluckman – we need evidence-based policies, not just doing what you think might work and closing your eyes to the consequences.

    • Tamati Tautuhi says:

      Why wasn’t he pushing that narrative for the last 9 years ?

      To busy sucking on the cows hind tit ?

      • phillip ure says:

        gluckmans’ silence on the meth-testing bullshit-narrative – when he walked/worked for the tories – renders his heartfelt concerns now a tad hollow..

        wasn’t that his job of work at the time..?..to go oi! about bas-science such as this..?

        didn’t he notice all the evictions happening..?

        gluckman gets a special late-to-the-party-award..

    • D'Esterre says:

      Booker: “It’s exactly this kind of thinking that gets us to having the 2nd highest incarceration rates in the world, second only to the US, despite low crime levels.”

      You’re dead right.

      • Tamati Tautuhi says:

        Evidently crime has been going down here in NZ over the past 5 years ?

        • phillip ure says:

          it’s a global trend – attributesd to reasons as varied as the ageing of baby-boomers – and the removal of lead from petrol..

          but it is definitely a global-trend – despite what the hysterics in the sensible sentencing trust and their attendant clowns claim..

  3. Mjolnir says:

    I guess what Trottrr is trying to say is, “baby steps, people, baby steps!”.

    • Marcu Morris says:

      Sadly I have to agree with Chris. Politics is the art of achieving the possible. The National Party is a past master of working on perceived fear – the most bazaar and scurrilous of these being Muldoon’s Dancing Cossacks campaign. I support totally what Andrew Little is trying to do with respect to much needed criminal justice reform but the Three Strikes Rule is not huge – in fact, as was pointed out yesterday, John Key himself had a clause inserted where judges were given discretionary powers. However there is no doubt that self styled criminologists such as Garth McVicar and his ilk would have made huge political capital from this move had it gone ahead and they would have received unreserved support from the Nats.

    • Siobhan says:

      Labour, the so called Left, have been practicing Centrism for the last 30 years, basically putting more effort into winning the ‘soft’ National voter and Business, than their traditional base; the minimum wagers, the life time renters, beneficiaries, the strugglers.
      Call it Baby steps if you like.
      And yet here we are.
      Stuffed.
      And guess what…so called ‘soft National voters are still 100% loyal to National.
      And business still spits the dummy, even though they do very well thanks to Labours policies that are basically providing wage and rent subsidies that allow National voters to increase profits in their various exploitative business models..
      Baby steps while being run down by an ogre, why even bother.

      • Gadfly's Dad says:

        Spot on Siobhan! Unless Labour wake up to the truth of your words which is known by every progressive, this Government is going to be a one trick pony!

  4. cleangreen says:

    And now we appluad Winston as he takes National MPs to couart in their attempt to silence him with “leaked information”

    We hope Winston takes a hard stand to punish both National toxic MP’s Anne Tolley & Paula Bennett to show how bad these both were complely now because both of these have damaged very many of our citizens in their reckless actions as careless MP’s.

    We in HB/Gisborne all knew about Anne Tolley’s previous lack of care for her consitiuents while a deputy Mayor of Napier City Council, and after that was a National Party Candidate,

    In Gisborne she was named as “No show Tolley” for very good reasons, so these two are very toxic MP’s.

  5. D'Esterre says:

    “He is old enough to remember the early 1960s when, for a few brief years, both here in New Zealand and around the Western World, there was a public willingness to embrace social solutions founded in compassion, bolstered by science and delivered by political parties temporarily freed from the encumbering baggage of traditional conservatism.”

    So am I. The picture presented here is just wrong, in almost every respect; it isn’t at all what I remember from that period.

    It was in the 1970s and later, that many liberal reforms were enacted. The DPB legislation; the establishment of the Waitangi Tribunal; the growth of the anti-apartheid movement from where it was in the 1960s; abortion law reform (such as it was); homosexual law reform in 1986. The anti-Vietnam war movement really ramped up at the beginning of the 1970s.

    “Andrew Little may be a good man, and Sir Peter Gluckman a powerful advocate for evidence-based decision-making, but neither of them would appear to possess Peters’ gut instinct for what is – and is not – politically possible.”

    Patronising and defeatist. As demonstrated by our history of social reform here from the 1970s on, politicians need to be bold, and to have the courage of their convictions. Make a case for change: advocate for it, for heaven’s sake! If we can’t rely on evidence-based decision-making in respect of policy development and legislation reform, there’s no hope for any of us.

  6. Tony Delista says:

    Sorry. But I don’t see how keeping a law only introduced to generate a revenue stream for private prisons is helping anyone, least of all those forced to crime because they can’t afford to eat or live indoors.

  7. Castro says:

    I am still not sure what the daily blog is thinking when they give oxgygen to trotter, the right-wing whaleoil contributor. He is right in that the Natzi Party will romp in in 2020, bolstered by the impotred foreign colonist vote. He should ponder what happens when peters retires 😉 every day a step closer to civil war 😉

    • Castro, ya gotta lay of that over-proof vodka. It’s doing your head in.

    • Tamati Tautuhi says:

      600,000 Asian immigrants brought in in the last 10 years to shore up the Tories voting base, meanwhile no new housing, hospitals & schools.

      Social Engineering ?

  8. Tamati Tautuhi says:

    600,000 Asian immigrants brought in in the last 10 years to shore up the Tories voting base, meanwhile no new housing, hospitals & schools.

    Social Engineering ?

    • Marc says:

      Yes, of course, Labour did it when they were in power before, under Helen Clark, many Asians and other immigrants were welcomed here, and it happened also under the Nats after 1991, as I do well remember.

      Laissez faire immigration. Labour were also compassionate with many from the islands, allowing family in for years, and so it goes around, both the big parties used immigration to get new favourable voters for themselves, again and again.

  9. Marc says:

    “In the grim ghettoes of deprivation and despair, however, Labour’s promises of kindness and transformation have yet to evoke a measurable political response.”

    Absolutely, Chris, that is true.

    They may in Parliament now talk so nicely and answer to set up questions by their own, the Labour ministers, praising the winter energy payments to start on 1 July.

    Nobody has the gust to admit, that the increase in Accommodation Supplement only helped a few, as those in greatest need, those that also require Temporary Additional Support or Special Benefit to survive, they learned by now, that the increase from 1 April was soon taken off them again, after their first review of benefit (3 monthly for TAS, 6-monthly for SB).

    So the government gave with one hand and let WINZ take it again with the other, as the abatement regime for those extra top up supplements for the poorest has not been changed.

    They do not even understand the benefit system, the ministers and MPs it seems.

    Let us hope the winter payments will not lead to abatements.

    • Cag says:

      The whole problem is that Labour’s promises of kindness and transformation were not there: much like the Blairites and Dems they are wimping out again. If you want the politically disenfranchised to vote you’ve got to be bold – yay, we’re banning microbeads but we couldn’t ban the export of water in the first 100 days? Give us a break!

  10. Jack Ramaka says:

    Also Labour, Greens & National Pro 1080 ?

  11. Jack Ramaka says:

    Also Labour, Greens & National Pro 1080 ?