Go Hard, Jacinda. More Importantly, Go Early!


JACINDA ARDERN’S Covid-19 formula: “Go hard, go early” has proved a resounding success – at least in public health terms. Success on the economic front will not be so easy. The number of foes arrayed against her is formidable – all of them doing everything they can to erode the admiration she has won both at home and abroad for her handling of the crisis. That being the case, might it not be time for the Prime Minister to consider whether the slogan “Go hard, go early” has more than one application?

Waiting until 19 September to go to the polls, while constitutionally admirable, invites political disaster. Certainly, the National Opposition is convinced that electoral victory has become a simple waiting game. Waiting for the unemployment numbers to swell beyond anything experienced by any New Zealander under the age of 90. Waiting for upwards of a third of New Zealand’s small businesses to fail. Waiting for the levels of fear, anguish, resentment and despair to rise beyond the ability of even the most empathic of prime ministers to assuage.

And, while National is waiting, the mainstream news media will be doing everything it can to magnify the voters’ sorrows and incite their rage. The business community, still eager for every bit of assistance the Ardern-led government can be bullied into offering, will nevertheless damn it with faint praise: strongly suggesting that a considerably more competent alternative government is ready and waiting to put things (or should that be move things) right.

Yesterday (13/5/20) in a moving pre-Budget speech from the Beehive Theatrette, Jacinda told her compatriots: “New Zealand is about to enter a very tough winter.” The challenge she faces, politically as well as economically, is how to navigate the next four months so that they do not become “the winter of our discontent.”

The Prime Minister’s plan, as set out in her speech, is to pivot from health to economics without losing her “team of 5 million”.

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First and foremost her government’s intention is to keep New Zealanders working. That, says Jacinda, cannot and will not mean embracing the grim doctrines of austerity: “[T]he notion that at this time of need we would make cuts to the essential services so many New Zealanders need more than ever is not only immoral, it is economically wrong.” These words offer not only reassurance to New Zealand’s most vulnerable citizens, but they also deliver a stinging slap to the faces of National and Act.

In her own words:

“Now more than ever we need our schools and hospitals, our public houses and roads and railways. We need our police and our nurses, and we need our welfare safety net. We will not let our team of 5 million fall when the times get tough, instead we will strengthen the blanket of support the Government can provide. We are rebuilding together, not apart.”

Stirring sentiments! But, as they say in the Ginsu ads: “Wait, there’s more!” The Prime Minister was not content to leave the electorate with nothing more than the standard government promises to single-handedly rescue the nation from its woes.

“In the coming month the Government will launch a comprehensive engagement programme that will pose a simple proposition – look what our team of 5 million achieved together in beating the virus, now what can we do together to get our economy moving again, to look after our people, and rebuild in a way that make things better than they were before. That will of course include the business community, but it will be broader too.

“If anything,” Jacinda continued, “the last few months have shown that united we are a formidable force. When we channel our energies into a goal collectively we are stronger for it. Prior to the virus we faced serious long term challenges – persistent inequality and poverty, the threat of climate change, the need to diversify the economy, low productivity, limited domestic manufacturing and an abundance of low paid jobs. Do we return to those settings or is now the time to find a better way?”

It is difficult to overstate the radicalism of the Prime Minister’s “simple proposition”. In effect, what she is saying is that the way out of the Covid-19-induced economic crisis must be determined by more than the usual business suspects. She is inviting everyone: from the corporate CEO to the hero on the supermarket check-out; from the bank economist to the welfare beneficiary; to have their say about the shape and purpose of their country’s “new normal”.

No prime minister in my lifetime has ever placed such an opportunity before the New Zealand people. We cannot afford to let it slip through our fingers. Jacinda’s offer must be taken up: by every union, every charity, every NGO, every church, and every citizen with a reason to want the New Zealand which emerges from this crisis to be better than the New Zealand that went into it. The Beehive needs to be bombarded with the submissions of the “democratic public” – that great choir of New Zealand’s better angels to which the nascent Labour Party first appealed for support more than a hundred years ago.

And we need to do it fast – as fast as we possibly can – so that Labour can compile the “people’s manifesto” with maximum speed. We must make sure that Jacinda and her colleagues can not only “go hard” for the progressive electorate’s support, but also, and much more importantly, “go early”.


  1. This piece is a tremendous lift to the spirits Chris.
    As I said to Sam in the comments of your previous piece “The Crowd That Booed”, when he wondered how we might change the direction of a democratic machine (although many would question it’s efficacy thus far, and that has been the topic of many insightful TDB pieces over the years).
    It’s time to hear the voices of the workers.
    Everyone (minus essential workers) has had many weeks compulsary break away from the rat race to ponder Life, the Universe and Everything so to speak. Let’s hear what sort of society THEY want post-Covid.

    I suspect it will be different to the world Govt. advisors like Rob Fyfe et al would like to see (re)implemented!
    What’s to come I wonder? Certainly change. It must, in the face of continuing catastrophic climate change and ecosystem disintegration, mass unemployment, fiat currency collapse and the rise of precious metals/bitcoin perhaps and a new economic system, perhaps even social unrest and war.
    The latter I fear, is becoming a rising possibility as the old guard desperately seek ways to hang on to power.

    Really enjoy your writing Chris. Might not always agree with it 100% but its always very insightful and thought provoking. Thank you.

    • Hmmhmm. Well I’d like to see some of these emmisions reductions carried over into these so called “new normal.” Yknow driving to none essential services? That can be done by cheap public transport like way cheaper than it is now and free services for under 5yr olds and free services for over 65yr olds.

    • …’ It’s time to hear the voices of the workers ‘…


      That one sentence IS the litmus test of any healthy , functioning and prosperous society. It is loaded with meaning. When the workers are heard in an unbiased fashion , and pragmatic solutions are put forward,- with new found freedoms to choose that are based on economic security
      and prosperity, societal advancement is ensured.

      It is PRECISELY that which came from the ashes of society after the century’s of the Black Death that enabled the break from medieval oppression into the age of the Renaissance. It was not caused by military strength or power, but by political expediency found vested in the new powers of working people set free by century’s of servitude ( serfdom ) which eventually enabled the rudiments of democracy we enjoy today.

      And although it also unleashed some of the most destructive civil wars Europe had ever known century’s later, – the march towards democracy, civil rights and freedoms had begun.

      In a way , neo liberalism represents a more potent yet more ‘ polite’ form of the original serfdom. And while we as the ‘peasants’ no longer consider a daub and wattle hut and tilling the field with hand tools as adequate housing and job security’s for our family’s, – we have been trapped into servitude through debt , exorbitant prices and poverty limiting our freedoms to choose.

      The most prosperous times ever for working people , their right to choose their destiny’s freed from the shackles of economic concerns were in the Keynesian years of the late 1930’s to the mid 1980’s, – for NZ , – 1984.

      That all ended in 1984 with ‘Big Roger’ and his regressive little neo liberal games. One thousand years of political and economic advancement , yet retaining the facade of the privileges of ‘modern living’ , yet rein-enslaving working people through economic and political means , …simply written off by the stroke of a pen using guile , deceit and political misrepresentation.

      Do we dare to dream again ?, could THIS govt dare to change the current neo liberal status quo? Is THIS the govt that dares to overturn the accepted ‘unorthodox’ dogma of the last 35 years?

      So powerful is the statement of yours … ”It’s time to hear the voices of the workers” …

      • I’d settle for TOPs suit of UBI proposals but if TOP doesn’t get in then a Tax free threshold of some kind and maybe a CGT to make the government budget 30% of GDP.

        • That would probably take pressure off a large sector of our needy society , yes.

          The problem being, would those who should have always been paying their fair share of tax but don’t ie: large corporate body’s,…because of ‘Big Rodgers’ little neo liberal games, raise up a stink and a ruckus?

          Of course they would.

          The UBI would be the better option to silence the

          They would have to be overruled, which would be a good thing…because in doing so , the question would need to be asked….

          Whose f@ckin show is this?

          The majority of citizens in this country or just a small minority of elites?


          ”So find out what time is f@ckin smoko, – what time do we knock off, and I’m busting for a f@ckin shit so wheres the thunderbox,- and do we really get our rolly weed and six cold cans of piss, – and can anybody tell me,- WHO’S F@CKIN SHOW IS THIS ?

          The Kid (He Swears a Little Bit)

        • TOPS hitting the family home with tax plus the flat tax idea floated smells of neoliberal avoidance of taxing more from those who get more wealth from society.
          The UBI concept appears a sound basis for addressing support of the community.
          But the details of how wages will be affected and employers meeting any wage reduction due to UBI being a contribution to govt a bit like ACC.

  2. “… time to find a better way?”

    Gosh, no-one’s ever been trying to do that before! Why didn’t governments think of doing this before now?
    I blame neo-liberalism.

        • Ada: “Ha! Irony doesn’t translate well on a page…”

          I got it, Ada, I got it! Though I did describe it as sarcasm.

          Some commenters here are too earnest for their own good. By “earnest” I mean “humourless”.

      • Popsicle: “The denarius has dropped !”

        You do realise that Ada was being sarcastic, don’t you?

    • @Ada…
      I read somewhere that ‘neoliberalism’ is merely a budget advertising agency which I think is a brilliant analogy.
      Neoliberalism has turned a country, namely ours, into a business that sells commodities and we’re merely forced labour to [it] and we must serve [it] out of raw necessity.
      The down side is that we, as a people, can’t shop elsewhere, can’t move away ( Australia? / Yeah right) and can’t revolt because we have to pay the essential bills neoliberalism has us trapped within. I.e. The more we try to play by neoliberalism’s rules, the further neoliberalism pushes us down thus to become ever more stuck thus to become ever more subservient, reliant and subservient.
      Neoliberalism has us a bit fucked really.
      While I think most people know this, there are many more still who won’t, don’t or can’t comprehend the abstract nature of the polite fascism the neoliberalism is .
      The servants to the masters of neoliberalism know that all too well while the victims of neoliberalism still struggle with the mists and vapours of the grand Kiwi swindle.
      And that’s why FUCK LABOUR! I’d shout that louder but I can’t find bigger capitals.
      But don’t get me wrong, I loath the natzo’s more than boring Kiwi television.
      But it was Labour, our trusted socially democratic political machine designed to take care of our most at rick first that enabled roger scunthorpe douglas and his greedy minions to get their suckers into our beautiful little paradise and suck it dry of our resources and amenities. They, roger and his clones knew they’d never have been able to do what they did, and do, by trying to come in via the Natzo’s because we’d a seen them coming. Instead, they Trojan Horsed our arses within the parasitised Labour Party. ( A dire warning… They’re still in there…)
      Labour’s hugged, cooed and wooed us by using gun shots and disease to polish our hearts but has Labour actually changed it’s underwear? No. It hasn’t. It’s still wearing dirty little roger’s filthy little Y fronts.
      Labour? Shame on you and now fuck off !
      @ Chris Trotter? Come back to us when you have something new and revolutionary to write.
      ( It hurts me when I write that because I have great respect for your writing, as you know. )
      ( In writing*, N.B. is an abbreviation of the Latin phrase nota bene [NOE’-tah BAYE’-nay], which when translated into English means “note well.” It is used in formal writing to call the reader’s attention to a sentence or passage that accompanies it in the text.)

      Just to dally on Labour for just a moment longer…But don’t worry. I’m wearing political PPE.
      Labour is spending money on housing and domestic abuse etc in attempt to win us over prior to September. On the face of it, noble causes, of course albeit it cynical in the extreme but that’s not actually dealing with the disease that is neoliberalism which caused our societal problems to begin with. Those problems will remain. Nothing will change unless Labour drags neoliberalism out into the light of day.
      Labour must admit to being the carrier of the disease and Labour must initiate a royal commission of Inquiry to hunt down the rogernomes and their minions and disassemble then within a public inquiry.
      We, the people of AO/NZ, the enduring victims of neoliberalism, MUST be able to come face to face with our abusers.
      And they, in turn, must pay for what they did to us.
      ( You young people whom might think that neoliberalism is a boomer conundrum? Think again. Phil goff was Minister of Education back when horse faced Jeff palmer increased tertiary education costs from about $125.00 a year to almost $1000.00 a year. Was that you @ CT who posted that info recently?)

      • Nice rant there, countryboy.

        Let us understand why Jacinda Adern is a great communicator, but is awfully weak when it comes to anything scientific or relating to REAL economics (as opposed to the phony stuff foisted on us by so-called economists and financiers).

        ‘She then attended the University of Waikato, graduating in 2001 with a Bachelor of Communication Studies (BCS) in politics and public relations.’

        She was an ardent supporter of the notoriously lazy and incompetent Harry Duynhoven, locally known as Harry Do-nothing, except when imposing his dysfunctional philosophy of getting fossil fuels out the ground and burning them quickly so corporations could make profits from raiding the commons whilst polluting the commons. Harry ensured New Plymouth went down the blind alley of overdependence on fossil fuels, overdependence on road transport and tourism, at the expense of coming generations. The last time I was there the city frequently experienced gridlock (traffic lights green and no one able to move), with well-beyond-safe levels of pollution (only concealed by placing monitoring points well away from the near-ground-level pollution, such as on top of the council building, something like 112 metres above ground level and remote from the major sources of pollution).

        ‘Ardern was brought into politics by her aunt, Marie Ardern, a longstanding member of the Labour Party, who recruited the teenaged Ardern to help her with campaigning for New Plymouth MP Harry Duynhoven during his re-election campaign at the 1999 general election.’

        Not to be overlook is the fact that she worked in a unit under Tony B Liar (weapons of mass destruction, uranium cake and “we’ve got to bomb the shit out of the country to save it” even if our war breaches international law).

        ‘Ardern moved to London where she became a senior policy adviser in an 80-person policy unit of then-British prime minister Tony Blair’

        (careful if you click that link, you’ll be confronted by an image of the war criminal weasel, who promoted ‘the third way’…which amounted to into his pocket or bank account).

        Also of note is that she served under the promoter of neoliberalism Phil Goff, often referred to as Fuck Off, and Helen Clark, noted for her dictatorial style of government and for her refusal to renounce neoliberalism, leading to the electoral rejection of Labour and the return of National to power.


      • Actually, I think ‘Neoliberalism’ wasn’t widely used as a term until after the Soviet Union fell.
        After that event, complaining about Capitalism made the writer/speaker look somewhat hopeless – fighting for a pointless cause so to speak.

        So ‘Neoliberalism’ was the new term.

        • Ada. More of your over-simplification here – trying to link Neoliberalism to
          the fall of the Soviet Union makes a writer look somewhat hopeless. (Sigh.)

          “English-speakers have used the term “neoliberalism” since the start of the 20th century with different meanings,[17] but it became more prevalent in its current meaning in the 1970s and 1980s, used by scholars in a wide variety of social sciences[18][19] as well as by critics.[20][21] The term is rarely used by proponents of free market policies.[22] Some scholars have described the term as meaning different things to different people as neoliberalism has “mutated” into geopolitically distinct hybrids as it travelled around the world.[23][24][5] As such, neoliberalism shares many attributes with other concepts that have contested meanings, including representative democracy.[25]

          The definition and usage of the term have changed over time.[6] As an economic philosophy, neoliberalism emerged among European liberal scholars in the 1930s as they attempted to revive and renew central ideas from classical liberalism as they saw these ideas diminish in popularity, overtaken by recognition of the need to control markets, following the Great Depression and manifested in policies designed to counter the volatility of free markets, and mitigate their negative social consequences.[26]:14–15 The impetus for this development arose from a desire to avoid repeating the economic failures of the early 1930s, which was identified to be created by the economic policy of classical liberalism.”

          • Snow White: ” More of your over-simplification here – trying to link Neoliberalism to
            the fall of the Soviet Union makes a writer look somewhat hopeless. (Sigh.)”

            What Ada wrote was: “Actually, I think ‘Neoliberalism’ wasn’t widely used as a term until after the Soviet Union fell.”

            That’s probably about right. My recollection of the Douglas years is that his brand of economics was called “Rogernomics”, rather than “neoliberalism”. The latter term did come into wider use after 1990, during the years of the National government.

      • Countryboy: Ada was being sarcastic/ironic.

        Your response is a bit of an over-egg, really.

        Inter alia:

        As I recall, it was Phil Goff who was responsible for the massive increase in tertiary fees.

        Geoff Palmer’s sins are vastly greater – if it were possible. All of us alive at the time remember what he did with the Treaty. The consequences of that still reverberate through our society.

    • You blame neo liberalism in a tongue in cheek sort of way ?

      Then in all your medieval court jester methodology , – you would be correct! Humour is a great way to speak the truth to the powerful.

          • Snow White, Wild Katipo and Issa: For heaven’s sake: lighten up! Enough with the humourlessness….

            Ada isn’t wrong: read and respond to what’s written, rather then what you think is written.

            • There’s much open hostility to the rapine that is neo liberalism. 35 years of rape and plunder whereby whole family’s were shredded. The hostility is justified, it is not a laughing matter to those who have lost so much because of it . And there are many of us – including loss of income, inheritance, family relations.

              Therefore one must tread very cautiously and make their intentions very clear that they are only joking.

              As far as I’m concerned, I believe I treated Ada with kid gloves and recognized it as a form of ironic humour. However , under the extreme circumstances we now face, which is not a laughing matter, and it is understandable that people are feeling more then a tad vengeful on those who were the original perpetrators that set the originally conditions of those major personal losses.

              It was more than just an assault on their personal economic security , – it was an assault on their person-hood.

              Akin to rape.

  3. We were …..all better off Chris before the virus got let in here.
    Labour would of won many hearts & minds IF it had actually dealt severely to things pre virus like the housing crisis etc which will now be exacerbated further.
    Calling an early election will look desperate and cynical.
    Take off the rose tinted glasses man

      • There are the Mark Richardsons and the Mike Hoskings of this world whom it would not matter one iota if Labour gave them all they wanted, they will complain for the sake of complaining. They are entrenched National people and so when they complain about Jacinda it is tribalism, they don’t know her, have not done their history on her, but they dislike her by default, why? Because she’s Labour. Hosking is ready on the trigger every morning to shoot the P.M. But I know you know this already Charlie.

      • LOL, funny I thought everyone on here whingers!
        Were incredible promises made Charlie or not at the last election by Labour?

        YES…there were, I retain the pamphlets that were posted to me!

        Sorry mate for wanting our so-called “leaders” to actually back up their words of “delivery”

        Integrity…heard of it?

        As a voter….I believe I have a right to complain. Guess not ….”comrade”

        • You might also have a sense of appreciation for the initiatives now taken and that will be taken in future.

          Until then , you could perhaps ply us with an alternative and initiatives aside from just being a poster child for the impotent National party.

          So , – lets have at it !- what have you got to offer? Lets hear it !

    • …’ We were …..all better off Chris before the virus got let in here ‘…


      ROFL !,… unless you have a background in microbiology perhaps, … you would not notice the folly in those words, the Adern govt acted with what little accurate information as it came to hand and what did come to hand was not looking good. To think otherwise would be to act like King Canute being advised to ‘hold back the sea’ at his command. And of course King Canute chided his sycophants for suggesting he could.

      Canute was a wise man.

      As was Adern and her govt, – and bold enough as well.

      And that is precisely the sort of bold govt we need at this hour,… not some flighty, untested National party leader shrieking from the sidelines what should be done like a football teams supporter who hasn’t played the game for sixty years.

      The simple truth that everybody knows is that you cannot prevent something as virulent reaching our shores without sufficient information as it comes to hand regards to mode of transmission , which by then it is usually too late, ( Spanish Influenza a good example and govt’s denial during the war years to boot ) or , – by hiding your head in the sand and simply hoping for the best and doing nothing.

      This govt can be accused of neither under the circumstances .

      Both in this pandemic and during the century’s of the Bubonic Plague those towns and city’s and country’s that severely limited access, trade and travel in and out usually suffered far less than those that did not. Isolation techniques are one of the cornerstones to stop a virulent pathogen from spreading. It is standard operating procedure. And this govt acted accordingly as information came to hand,- furthermore it acted boldy and decisively in doing so.

      Most people recognize this .

      • Wild Katipo: “….unless you have a background in microbiology perhaps, … you would not notice the folly in those words….”

        Good grief: another one. Did you actually read what Ross Mathews wrote? He’s right: we WERE all better off, before that bloody virus got in here. I’d have thought that this was blindingly obvious.

        He’s also correct in his observation that, in the years since its election, the current government could have acted with much more dispatch and determination on the social ills besetting our country, notably – but not exclusively – the housing crisis. Indisputably, it did not.

        • The truth is that Ross Mathews sits on the sidelines throwing shit and bricks like Simon Bridges and not even being honest enough to acknowledge that this govt did what it could, when it could and in the smallest possible time after it received information, – and even then , information that is ongoing and changing as data comes to hand.

          Any idiotic moron can produce a statement such as Ross Mathew’s does in cynical hindsight – OF COURSE WE WERE ALL BLOODY BETTER OFF BEFORE THAT VIRUS GOT HERE!

          For Petes Sake’s !

          So was every other damn country!

          Any moron can state that , – but Ross Mathews goes a step further and uses the situation to extrapolate as a means to merely criticize this govt’s every move. He’s always done it. And never to date given any viable , creditable alternative options of his own.

          Have you not noticed that?

    • Ross Mathews: “Labour would of won many hearts & minds IF it had actually dealt severely to things pre virus like the housing crisis etc which will now be exacerbated further.”

      My view as well, and the main reason why I won’t be voting for this lot come the next election.

  4. Firstly Chris, suggesting that Adern bring forward the election for her own political gains is as immoral as Bridges suggesting it is delayed. The die have been cast and Adern should be prepared to live with the consequences of he choices over the last few months.

    Secondly, you seem to still be clutching at the pipe dream that this Government can be transformational or even competent. Adern practically represents this Governments only asset. Almost everything they have tried to achieve has turned to absolute shit. KiwiBuild, KiwiTree, etc.

    Clark may not have been as remotely likable as Adern seems to be, but she was a LOT LOT more competent at achieving outcomes.
    I will miss precisely fuck all about this Labour Government. The fact that they will (at some point) be replaced by National is proof that “You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t”.

    • Some seem to still be clutching at the pipe dream that any Government can be transformational.

      Over years I heard it and I saw it written again this week how John Key was our ‘greatest Prime Minister.’ So, he was brilliant, he hd electoral support over a long period, how transformational was he and his lot?

      They did have a flag referendum. They did have a ‘National Standards’ assessment system in schools. (New Zealand results in International studies went down. The present Government got rid of the system and the world hasn’t ended.)

      Transformational? Not enough people want transformation. And what you see and want as transformation, your neighbour doesn’t want and vice versa.

      The ‘unity’ is paper thin, ephemeral. Maybe at the moment even that provides more scope than ever for a PM.
      If Ardern is bold and goes for it you can be sure she’s the dictator from hell. If she doesn’t take the bull by the horns she’s weak.

      Another tiny tiny wee consideration is the role of the leader. Is the leader the one who has all the ideas? Is the leader the one who carries the philosophy? Is the leader the one whose ideology has to be carried by others? Is a leader one who gathers the collective thoughts and dreams and fashions them into something which is carried ahead?

    • I don’t think there is anything immoral about holding an early election. In fact, if a party has a program it wishes to implement, particularly one which may be controversial, then to seek a mandate from the people would seem to be a very moral thing to do.

    • You like others seem to have this disconnect that this govt could achieve those aims under the current neo liberal framework when neo liberalism is hostile to big government and govt led large public works and initiatives.

      None of the foundational infrastructure which we have enjoyed today was ever brought about by either neo liberalism or its predecessor, Laissez-faire.

      It was made possible by Kenesianism.

      Which was the accepted consensus between both National and Labour for around sixty years. Until Big Rodger came along with his little neo liberal games and we started back into the long regressive slide back into poverty, – both in public and govt. There’s reason why we are in the place we are now and why successive govts seem paralyzed into inaction and that reason is the neo liberal ideology.

      Change that , – and the machine gets rolling again. And in part, I suspect there is a hint in that in what the PM is alluding to,… how much so , is the critical factor.

      So perhaps ‘going hard and gong early’ is the right approach, but to do that and bring us straight back to Big Rodgers divisively destructive neo liberal footing will mean nothing can be changed.

      And that only leaves……………?

      And that counts National out if that’s what your’e thinking.

  5. Ardern’s government offers us a “simple proposition”, while Bridges’ would present more of a “modest proposal”.

    • “modest proposal” from the Mt Perelin Society. Look it up .douglarse and richardson were flag bearing members. key attended bilderberg by invitation joining the arch parasites

      • Here’s what people are looking for to explain the theft of the NZ commons. Exposes ‘Big Roger’ and his little neo liberal games as it pertains to the NZ experience.

        newrightfight.co.nz › pageA
        Who are the New Right? – New Right Fightnewrightfight.co.nz › pageA

  6. The undying optimism of the left. Whatever we may hope for and envision for NZ as Labour and left leaning voters there is only about 25-30% of the electorate that will support a radical new economic approach. This was shown by Corbyn in the UK and Sanders in the US Democratic primary. Where large numbers of ordinary voters (predominantly old because the young don’t turn up to vote) dutifully voted against their own economic interests to protect the status quo.
    Those in the working and middle classes who keep their jobs in NZ will want a return to the status quo ASAP. Low taxation, low wages, subsidies for asset owners (rental subsidies, business loans) and an unnecessarily cruel Welfare system – high unemployment will provide the necessary drivers for all of these. The opportunity to lay off staff and drive down wages will be at the top of the agenda for NZ’s investment community and business owners. NZ’s aspiration obsessed voters will do what they’re told as they nod their heads in agreement to talk radio and NZ Herald articles.

    • I strongly doubt it. Wages cannot get any lower than they are currently regards the cost of living. People will be expecting a far better deal than that which we’ve had to endure for the past 35 years.

      The borders are now effectively closed with less cheap immigrant labour pouring in on a seasonal basis, – which means that NZ workers also now have the freedom to choose , especially in the rural sector… which also means rural employers in the agriculture / horticulture must up their game if they don’t want to go under…

      The same also apply’s to urban industrialists.

      The vise-like grip these disgusting neo liberal capitalist monopolistic opportunists have had on the NZ working public for the past 35 years has been wrenched from them and is now under perusal. It is time for them to start paying their way, start paying their taxes and start paying realistic wages and salary’s.

      And those Australian opportunistic banks who have bled this country dry for so long and caused a housing crisis in this country ?

      Their turn is coming as well.

  7. Labour’s electoral chances will be enhanced or diminished by what the budget will announce today.
    People will know whether the government has a strategic plan to get us through the rest of the health crisis and on the road to a recovery, hopefully a social as well as an economic recovery.
    From the hints that Jacinda Adern has given, they are looking at what could be described as a modern version of Frankin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal”.
    What will also be interesting is if National has any real alternative, I mean REAL alternative and not just saying we should be giving more more more….. but actual plans, figures and where the money would come from.
    When you hear National saying more money should be handed out you immediately know you are listening to b….s.

    • A couple of days ago I heard Bridges of Magic radio. He deplored the belief that labour would finish up with a 100B debt, criticised them for not being more generous in supporting the economy through this crisis, and than condemned the idea that they might increase taxes on the rich to pay for it. He did not explain the how they should avoid all three errors, understandably enough .

      D J S

  8. There is no way that PM Ardern will bring the election forward : (a) Given that she appears to be a woman of integrity, I doubt that she would compromise herself in such a fashion (b) She is too astute a politician to be unaware that this could be regarded as utilising the pandemic for political purposes (c) She is going to be too busy.

    With the onset of winter, and moving into level two, spikes in coronavirus cases are almost inevitable. The medical profession and the police are acutely aware of this. Hopefully everyone is.

    Successfully containing the initial outbreaks has allowed the medicos and the hospitals to move into a greater degree of preparedness than may have been possible sooner, given the dreadful rundown state of so many health facilities after so many years of deliberate underfunding with the National govt pursuing a policy of privacy by stealth. This still does not mean that we will ever return to the previous status quo, and
    that major future change or shock may not happen. There is no such reality as, “after the virus.”

    But yes, it does give the people an opportunity to tell the government what societal change is necessary to benefit the whole community – and planet earth – rather than merely benefit the myopic few, and if the few are fretful then that is nothing more than the self-indulgence of the dilettante – there are far more important issues on the road ahead.

    • L0L ! , – Then you can thank your lucky stars I’m not your PM !- not only would I be ruthless enough to call an early election to capitalize on popularity , – I’d have all those grubby little Milton Freidmann sycophants in court by lunchtime and in the lock up by 2pm for treason! That ONLY after commandeering all their ill gotten gains from the last 35 years they stole from the NZ commons!

      No apologies, btw.

  9. Roll on September. I’ve never voted for the right in my entire life but in my view this govt makes a mockery of democracy. Something I simply wont accept.

    • I had already been leaning towards ACT because they are the only lot taking civil liberties seriously.
      I think this has cinched it.
      I find this makes it impossible to vote for Labour this time.

    • But presumably you will accept police illegally raiding people’s homes because they disagree with the current government and cabinet ministers using parliamentary privilege to shame people who have no means of answering back. You want to vote for the right go ahead, they deserve the votes of people like you and you will deserve the boot up your arse that they will give you if they win.

        • Where’s Jason Eade ? Hiding down the south coast disguised as smelly seaweed with golf club. When I see him I tell him that it’s still not safe to come out, and by golly, he hasn’t.

    • The government’s handling of the pandemic seemed to have something like 80 to 90 percent support. This seems to indicate a very democratic state of affairs.

      • mikesh,


        Our democracy is working as it should despite the protestations of the vested interest anti-Ardern brigade. Who will they have replace this Government? Simon Bridges? Yea right.

  10. Go hard go early is not an option when it comes too asking the governor general for an early dissolution as the date has already been announced earlier this year following in the footsteps of the last National led government who took the extraordinary break with convention by announcing the date at the start of the year.
    By doing the same the PM has denied herself the opportunity of assessing the political and economic environment at any given time through the election year too decide on when is the best time too go to the country with a more than reasonable chance in regaining the treasury benches.
    As Helen Clark did in 2002 with our first winter election since 1984 and 1987 albeit in very different circumstances too 2020.
    There is the argument of certainty which a fixed date would provide but it denies the government of the day of going early and making the most of its political opportunities when circumstances require it , like a month or so after today’s budget which would mean a poll around the 27th of June.
    If Jacinda had wanted too be bold and was able too convince her colleagues such a move was warranted an early election would have been a possibility with a campaign extending the virtues of a ” peoples manifesto ” and safeguarding the team of five million from any further shocks.

  11. Nice fluffy article Chris Trotter but I didn’t see anything remotely like change in the wind. All I heard was GROWTH and AUSTERITY and BACK TO NORMAL. Peter Bradleys horrible comments above I have to agree with, as much as it disgusts me. I think Peter wrote them with some relish but I could be wrong.

  12. We haven’t heard from Jane Kelsey for a while. Where are you Jane?
    It would be good to know what the framework imposed by international trade agreements is that we have either to work within or break.
    Then for my submission I would suggest the most important action will be to reestablish control of our currency and our banking system. The government needs to control much more closely where new money is issued and for what purpose. Obviously creating funding for housing for a start.
    In fact I don’t think theres any need to go into any detail. If the constraints imposed by international trade agreements can be ignored the simple needs of the people of New Zealand and the resources we have to respond to them are obvious to all. It is purely a question of having the courage to take back control of the economy and make it work for everyone and resisting the propaganda we have been sold for the last35 years that only the market and international corporations and finance can run things properly. That idea has run it’s course . The International corporations and financial institutions now require an impoverished public sector to save them from extinction but they have grown “too big to fail”. Well the truth is they have grown too big for the rest of society to save them and the rest of society working through their elected representatives needs to start looking after itself just as we have done through the lockdown.
    D J S

  13. As to the election timing ,Jacinda is going the be the Prime Minister afterwards whenever it happens and whatever motley crew is she has to drag along with her .

    D J S

    • Indeed, however, motley crews can be a good thing,…so many times in history has an objective been achieved by a so called ‘ragtag and motley crew’… NZ SAS and the NZ Desert Rat components come to mind.

  14. ‘She is inviting everyone: from the corporate CEO to the hero on the supermarket check-out; from the bank economist to the welfare beneficiary; to have their say about the shape and purpose of their country’s “new normal”.

    I am reminded of people like Copernicus (What! The Earth going round the Sun! Don’t be ridiculous; everyone knows the Sun goes round the Earth!), Galileo -died under house arrest after challenging the incorrect thinking of the day

    Galileo was found “vehemently suspect of heresy” (though he was never formally charged with heresy, relieving him of facing corporal punishment[97]), namely of having held the opinions that the Sun lies motionless at the centre of the universe, that the Earth is not at its centre and moves, and that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture. He was required to “abjure, curse and detest” those opinions.[98][99][100][101]
    He was sentenced to formal imprisonment at the pleasure of the Inquisition.[102] On the following day, this was commuted to house arrest, which he remained under for the rest of his life.[103]
    His offending Dialogue was banned; and in an action not announced at the trial, publication of any of his works was forbidden, including any he might write in the future.


    and particularly Semmelweis

    ‘Despite various publications of results where hand washing reduced mortality to below 1%, Semmelweis’s observations conflicted with the established scientific and medical opinions of the time and his ideas were rejected by the medical community. Semmelweis could offer no acceptable scientific explanation for his findings, and some doctors were offended at the suggestion that they should wash their hands and mocked him for it. In 1865, the increasingly outspoken Semmelweis supposedly suffered a nervous breakdown and was committed to an asylum by his colleague. He died a mere 14 days later, at the age of 47, after being beaten by the guards, from a gangrenous wound on his right hand which might have been caused by the beating. Semmelweis’s practice earned widespread acceptance only years after his death, when Louis Pasteur confirmed the germ theory, and Joseph Lister, acting on the French microbiologist’s research, practised and operated using hygienic methods, with great success.


    In other words, you can be the ONLY person who is right amongst thousands, even millions who are wrong, and yet your ideas will be rejected because they do not conform to the mantra of the times you live in.

    Thus, we can safely bet that, whatever evidence is presented to demonstrate that the current economic system is leading to absolute disaster, and has no long term future, Jacinda will implement policies that will appease those who shout loudest or want to maintain dysfunctional arrangement a long as possible while making everything that matters in the long run (over-urbanisation, over-consumption, Planetary Overheating, Ocean Acidification, loss of biodiversity etc.,) worse.

    For the record, the only strategies that have ANY HOPE of keeping the Earth habitable for humans beyond a few decades are powerdown (using substantially less energy per capita), permaculture (low-energy-input food production based on recycling and retention of nutrients) and population reduction [via limiting births rather than actually killing people].

    I’m not holding my breath for any of those to be implemented because they are ‘heretical’ ideas and do not provide profits for corporations and banks.

  15. The PM will be know for her anguish and hand wringing and her earrings.
    Sure she is great in a crisis but frankly, housing, child poverty, beneficaries, the working poor…. these are the real crises.

  16. Just more words and promises of things will get better eventually even though we’re not going to change anything fundamentally in the way we govern.
    It does not make any sense to me going about this Crisis in a business as usual sense. Even though she didn’t say it, it is what she is saying.

    The budget is nothing more than a acknowledgement of the pain that is coming or should I say is knocking on your door and the people are going to wear most of it because the machine needs to feed.

    The political bloodbath thats about to ensue is going to take away any good that is in this budget and turn it into a weapon to be used in the scrap for the championship contest for who is to govern the country post 19 September.

    Its a slippery track with a predictable gale howling. Its gunnah be a bumpy ride all the way to September and beyond.

  17. With Police not enforcing Level 4 and 3 rules, now not even Level 2 rules, who believes the govt?

    • Police DID enforce Level 4 and 3 rules, the question really is,… who can believe the Opposition? All they’ve done is rant and rave from the sidelines and been as impotent as brewers droop. We need a HARD govt, not a soft flaccid one in these times…

  18. … uprooting GDPeacounters, Growth Fetishists, Political Jubilants of the Status Quo…

    There are times with good reasons one may best foster leadership through a collective; the poet, the physician, the farmer, the scientist, the philosopher, the craftsman… and all the other twelve.

    An intellectual cadre with mature experience of life in its many colours and diversity.

    A communicative outreach with guidance on a single theme: system change for climate resilience.

    Profound reflection and guarded action.

    Ecological, socialist, historical, radical and civilian affinity.

    Organization is everything.

    …..voting for what exactly? No time to loose.

    Future of human climate niche.

  19. A very robust and interesting thread. Thank you all. Jacinda knows the right words. Unless she gets to the financial roots of the global melt down, she is a potential Don Quixote. Australian banks extract how many billions from NZ annually, 6 billion? With a 3x multiplier effect, that could be 15 – 20 billion p.a. When do you hear any NZ government make this point and encourage our own Kiwibank to grow? If she is to prevail, she needs to identify, and ‘correct’ the neo liberals in her own team. Quite the opposite to my present observation, where the corporates are whispering in her earinged ears. Is this media lunch break?

  20. The last of the social democrats born and bred to it are still here. Now is the last chance for a govt for the people of all the willing. Of course I don’t include Labour in that. Misled rats. Trotter is only 63 or so, even Marilyn Waring is just 68. All the greats who’ve sacrificed everything for the NZ ideal of fairness and equality and the universal ideal of the rule of the people. If shy Bruce Jesson could do it why not the best of the last Old New Zealanders. Who, after them? Chris, remember old Sir Joseph summat, bart, who won the election in ’28 with the promise of the 70 million pound loan?

    This is obviously impractical but I get tired of hoping and voting. We all know the Greats. They have proved themselves through these decades of proving.

    The young don’t know what politics is anymore , with their surround sound media. Ours is the last generation that knows enough to do the biz if we are willing to leave behind slack personal comforts. We were horrified at the older generation’s sale of our heritage, they not knowing the value of it. Jacinda and Grant are a thin-walled vestibule of our trust. Why do we have to guess?

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