The Judith Collins-Led National Party: Be Scared – Be Very Scared.


WHOEVER E-MAILED MARK RICHARDSON on Wednesday morning’s AM Show was right: Judith Collins scares me. For the first time since National’s caucus replaced Don Brash with John Key, the party has chosen a leader who can win. The new Leader of the Opposition is a clear-sighted defender of the neoliberal order who is prepared to give when she needs to give, and takes no prisoners when she doesn’t. Collins is articulate, shrewd and possesses a disarming (if somewhat cruel) sense of humour. Those on the left who dismiss her as a major electoral turn-off will, almost certainly, be proved wrong. She has what it takes to manoeuvre Jacinda and Labour onto the defensive. And, as everybody knows: explaining is losing.

Like Act’s current collection of strategists, Collins understands that delivering neoliberalism straight leaves voters with a sour taste in their mouths. It goes down much better when fizzed-up with lashings of law-and-order rhetoric – along with generous splashes of “culture wars” liqueur. That Collins, herself, happily owns up to being a “social liberal”, only adds an extra kick to her political cocktail.

It’s this political ambiguity that makes National’s new leader so dangerous. Collins does not belong to the crazy Christian Right faction of her caucus, but neither is she a member of the Nikki Kaye, Amy Adams, Chris Bishop “soppy liberal” wing of the party. (Although she may, from time-to-time, be found voting alongside them.) For a long while now this ambiguity has constituted an unhelpful obstacle to her advancement. With the right rejecting her as too left, and the left dismissing her as too right, she has fallen repeatedly between the two stools. But now, with both factions severely discredited, being a little bit country and a little bit rock-n-roll has proved to be no bad thing at all.

When pitted against Jacinda, however, it’s Collins’ neoliberalism which is likely to prove most deadly. Labour’s leader has never been that strong on economic issues, and of late she has taken to including a few anti-neoliberal flourishes in her keynote speeches. Collins and her propaganda team will seize upon these as proof of Labour’s reversion to type, and will do everything they can to cast Jacinda as an old-fashioned borrow-and-spend socialist. That the Prime Minister has never been anything of the kind will only make it harder for her to present a clear alternative to Collins’ orthodox economic prescriptions.

In debating terms, governments are required to present the affirmative case. It’s their job to sell an argument to the audience. Opposition parties have it a lot easier. As the negative team, all they have to do is rip the government’s case apart. If that case isn’t a strong one to begin with, and if the person making it fails the passionate commitment test, then guess who wins the debate? (Hat-tip to Prof. Wayne Hope for this analogy.)

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Up until now, Labour’s strategists have thought it wisest to offer only the broadest of policy commitments. While National was led by Simon Bridges and Todd Muller this was a sound strategy. Jacinda’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis has elevated her to the status of national saviour, and with Bridges and Muller idiotically concentrating their fire on Covid-19-related glitches for which the Government could hardly be held responsible, Labour’s lead over National in the polls remained substantial. In the glow of Jacinda’s success, a detailed manifesto seemed unnecessary.

The election of Collins as National’s leader renders Labour’s broad-brush strategy politically untenable. She is far too clever to repeat Bridges’ and Muller’s mistakes. Labour and its leader will not be faulted for their handling of the public health emergency precipitated by Covid-19’s arrival in New Zealand. Instead, Collins will concentrate her fire on Jacinda’s alleged failure to present a coherent and detailed recovery plan for a New Zealand economy devastated by the impact of the virus. She will attribute this “failure” to the weakness of Labour’s team, contrasting the Ardern-led Government’s paucity of talent with what she will insist is her own stronger and more competent government-in-waiting. All of Collins’ cruel humour will be unleashed on Labour’s lesser vessels. Social media will be flooded with painfully funny memes and attack videos.

Jacinda and Labour can counter Collins in one (or both) of two ways. The first relies upon the Prime Minister’s superlative communication skills. If the Prime Minister can parry Collins’ attacks by making the voters laugh at her, then the Opposition’s strategy will fail. Rather than become angry or defensive in the face of Collins’ jibes, Jacinda needs to make fun of the thinking behind her criticisms. If she can expose the emptiness of National’s claims of superior competence and strength, for example, or make a joke out of her own government’s failures (KiwiBuild!) then the Leader of the Opposition will herself become an object of mirth and scorn. If Jacinda is able to embarrass her opponent severely, then there is every chance Collins will reveal her dark side. That would be “Game Over”.

The second way to counter Collins’ attack-lines is for Labour to give Jacinda a comprehensive and popular recovery package to defend. The Prime Minister is a quick study and, as she demonstrated during the Level 4 Lockdown, has an impressive ability to master voluminous and complex detail. Properly briefed, and personally committed to the message she has been asked to deliver, Jacinda performs magnificently. Indeed, those occasions when her performances have tended towards the less magnificent, are those occasions when she has been given too few details to work her magic with.

Of course, if Jacinda was able to laugh Collins off the stage and argue passionately for a Jeremy Corbyn-style “For the Many, Not the Few” election manifesto, then Labour’s leader would be unstoppable.

Herein lies the problem which Collins (who has already demonstrated her leadership qualities by doing what Todd Muller lacked the guts and gumption to do – sack Michael Woodhouse and replace him with Dr Shane Reti) is bound to exploit throughout the election campaign. Confronted with a whole host of critical policy choices (most particularly on the future shape and direction of the New Zealand economy) Labour has proved itself woefully indecisive. In almost every circumstance, the party simply defaults to the orthodox Treasury line. Boldness and imagination is not to be expected from this government – and Judith Collins knows it.

Throughout its term, Labour has failed to do what Michael Joseph Savage’s government did: introduce radical and comprehensive changes and then spend every waking political hour for the next three years explaining to the voters why they were worth keeping. It’s a bloody big ask to set Jacinda the task of selling even a mildly radical recovery plan in just 6 weeks – although if anybody can do it, she can. With considerable justification, however, Collins is betting that such a recovery plan is beyond the capacity of the 2020Labour Party. Presumably, that is why she told RNZ’s Kathryn Ryan that National has some “mildly radical” plans of its own.

You can bet your bottom dollar they will not be mildly radical left-wing plans! Which is why we should all be scared of a Judith Collins-led National Party – very scared.


  1. And Collins will not allow Jacinda to get away with answering any questions, that all interviewers seem to accept, with her usual ‘I’ll get back to you on that’, ‘We will have to have a discussion on that’, ‘I don’t have the numbers in front of me’.
    When not working off a prepared script she just bumbles her way through questions with no answer….go get her Judith, she’s already on the hook, start reeling her in!

    • Would you rather she made it up as she goes along than acknowledges when she does not know the answer or when it is not in her power to make the call. Those answers you have exemplified are just the simple truth so rare in a politician .
      D J S

      • Didn’t the Prime Minister already do that with the Oil and Gas exploration ban and the ‘we’ll take a 20% cut’ promise (which clearly was a lie, that will bite her in the butt later on)?

    • So, you don’t like the honest answer of “I don’t know but will find out” and prefer the bullshit-and bluster-my-way-through approach of providing an instant answer, even if it is totally wrong, in the pretence of being in control.

      Nice one, ‘Im right’.

      May I suggest to you that you are going to be LEFT in the water to drown when the Titanic [that the National Party is] sinks in its own sea of lies.

    • Thank Christ, we’re not Americans. Better still, we can plainly see how political ignorance, ignorance in general, and just plain, old fashioned stupidity can give a voter the donald trumpsternator.
      Check this out if you’ve got the nerve for it.
      It’s a time lapse of the spread of c-19 showing America just how deeply and lowly fucked it allowed the trump to drag it down too.
      Watch COVID-19 cases go from 0 to 10 million in this shocking time-lapse
      We, us AO/NZ’ers showed just how ‘together’ we can be when we need to be. The only way to deal with c-19 was to lock up the borders, stay at home and wait until c-19 burned itself out here while rolling out clear and direct measures to help keep us safe during that time while being kind and understanding in doing so.
      Jacinda Adern orchestrated that. She and her government acted immediately and in our best interests. In other words, Jacinda Adern behaved in a manner befitting our prime minister.
      I’ve not seen that in many, many years. Not since Norman Kirk sent a frigate to Mururoa Atoll to protest against French nuclear weapons testing there.
      (And some still argue, to this day, that, that act cost him his life. Some say he was poisoned. A modern-technology autopsy might prove interesting.)
      There are, of course, small pockets of banal, stupidity left in AO/NZ. There always will be. There will always be mean, cruel, stupid, spiritually ugly little people occupying dull little towns of their own making but I can tell you, as a locations scout in the film industry who gets around, those people in those places are in a tiny minority. ( A real problem with that, however, is with those farmers who must encircle those dumb, ugly little towns. They are, of course, infected by popular opinion within their local governments and of their peers at the pubs etc. For those farmers, there’s no getting away from that. Otherwise, they become alienated and vilified. That’s why it’s absolutely vital that Labour must now win the farmer away from odious national and its new leader, the clearly dumb yet cunning collins hiding behind her carefully selected hit-squad, fascist, money fetishists.
      Don’t let Puff The Magic Windbag that is the commentator @ ’I’m right’ fool you with its warped logical fallacies.
      Is he, she or it a Machiavellian confederate plant sent out to spread dis-ease amongst us here at TDB? To me, it certainly looks like it from experience. I’ve literally seen and heard them within local council meetings. Disrupting questing, belittling people etc.
      But if so, then who cares? We’ve seen what Adern and her government can do. We’re safe and more connected to our politic than we’ve been in generations.
      I had my doubts about Labour and Adern and I expressed them on more than one occasion and I’m not going to apologise for that.
      Instead, I’ll admit that I’m warmly and honestly happy that she and her able government ministers are here and now. And now that sadistic collins and her minions are stumping about within OUR parliamentary buildings I’m more than relieved that Labour has such a significant margin over awful national’s despicable lot.
      collins, her minions, her confederates and her lap dogs can just fuck off and we AO/NZ’ers shouldn’t be shy about saying so, if and when the opportunity allows.

      • Thanks for that, countryboy.

        I ‘loved’ the video, and the synopsis of the state of NZ.

        Of course Covid-19 cases are now around 15 million globally (that’s the ones actually counted) and rapidly headed for 20 million. And then, with ‘complete idiots’ in charge and populations consisting of a large proportion of ‘idiots’, we will presumably witness 30 million, maybe 50 million before this year is over.

        If (as seems to be the case) the virus has mutated to a more transmissible form, and if (as seems to be the case) antibodies decline rapidly after recovery, we may well see 100 million cases globally this year.

        Of those who have recovered, a significant portion report continuing medical problems and discomfort, and there is evidence of permanent organ damage. That is on top of a society that has never been so sick long-term and so dependent on medication and other interventions.

        ‘And now that sadistic collins and her minions are stumping about within OUR parliamentary buildings I’m more than relieved that Labour has such a significant margin over awful national’s despicable lot.
        collins, her minions, her confederates and her lap dogs can just fuck off and we AO/NZ’ers shouldn’t be shy about saying so, if and when the opportunity allows.’

        My sentiments entirely.

  2. I think Crosby Textor will already be planning a National campaign based on the b.s that Collins is really a nice person underneath and that being Prime Minister will bring out her best qualities.
    If so, Labour’s strategy should be like you say, Chris, basically try to trip her up and annoy her enough so that unleashes her true character in front of the nation.
    She will focus on the economy. Whatever else is wrong will be fixed by having a strong economy. There will be little about social welfare, the environment or health. I agree that this might create problems for Labour because Labour’s post COVID-19 recovery plan tends towards more localised specific projects rather than the overall broad (but less detailed) plan that National will tout.
    However I think Jacinda will have the advantage in head-to-head debates because Jacinda is a seasoned debater who does not lose her cool under duress. Labour should focus on National’s hidden agenda that will be the same as National’s hidden agenda at any time: let the minimum wage stagnate to insignificance, sell off assets, reduce social welfare benefits, bring in another horde of migrant workers, and tax cuts for the rich. National will be loathe to be too specific, so Labour should try to force it out of them.
    The election is likely to be a livelier affair now.
    Question is: Will the nation re-elect someone we know we can trust or someone who has previously shown contempt for rules and common decency?

  3. “With the right rejecting her as too left, and the left dismissing her as too right, she has fallen repeatedly between the two stools.”

    Two stools, indeed. Collins is as attractive a choice as a candidate as inviting a roaming wild dog to live in your house. If you saw the bollocks written in about who is and who isn’t Labour/National voters, written by a delusional NZ First staffer, it’s pretty obvious there is no central leadership left to NZ government. While some people don’t want riches and simply want to see the world burn, I’m beginning to think NZ is long overdue or a major meltdown. Labour still think BAU is a viable option in the face of COVID19, and their best policy for adaptation is localised lockdown.

  4. Absolutely brilliant @ Chris Trotter.

    You know , in a strange way , I am glad Collins has risen to leadership. I’m glad Gerry Brownlee has too. I am glad Brownlee stands proud and staunch behind Collins in the photos. They both have earned it. They both have stood the tests of time, John Key who sent Collins to the back benches but could not endure the boo’s and hisses at rugby league matches is long gone, – yet She has risen to be Nationals leader.

    It shows tenacity.

    Likewise with Gerry Brownlee.

    And that shows an important and higher value, – that of a strong opposition to uphold the principles of democracy , – no matter how much we hate it. An incumbent that grows lazy, arrogant or blaze’ is not a healthy government.

    I cannot think of a better foil to Adern than Collins.

    Collins with her Muldoon- eques bull-dog-ishness, despite her Dirty Politics recent history,…will easily be the perfect and most logical choice to challenge Adern. I do not like Collins and her values system,… and I abhor the free market neo liberal sentiments,…but I can respect Collins dogged survivability , her capacity to hold her own counsel when needed, to turn on the charm when suits , her Mussolini type ability to sniff the winds of political change…

    The main thing we can expect with Collins and Brownlee is that this will force / leverage both Adern and Labour, – and whatever COL partners they have ,… to seriously pursue policy’s that enhance and garner the majority vote from all spectrum’s and to stop playing around with the periphery,… and that will precipitate the glaring differences between Collins free market dogma ,…. and the up til now,… more supposedly ‘Keynesian’ emphasis of the Adern led govt.

    What this will do is make the Adern led govt more honest, more clear, more circumspect in just what they actually believe in, just what they are trying to sell us, and just what direction they propose to lead this country in.

    And to do that?- it is only good that Collins and Brownlee have now risen to leadership in the opposition to be the ‘kicks against the pricks’ to force Labour to reexamine their core beliefs.

    • They tried to sell us the world last time around. And the masses bought the bullshit. Some 100,000 are waiting for their affordable house- which wasn’t going to be affordable at all. Many poor kids are waiting to not be poor anymore. Who is in charge of that? Jacinda!
      We deserve performance for our taxes. The way it’s going this country will become a money-borrowing basket case. There is so much proof of incompetence with this govt that it’s scary. Another three years of this govt…be scared. Very scared.
      PS…has Jacinda taken her much hyped salary cut…NO! You’d know about if she had.

        • no, duh, she said “let them eat cheese!”
          “how much for a 1kg block of cheese?”, asked the interviewer, (now probably redacted)
          “oh, four or five dollars, for the tasty, we like the tasty…”
          “oh, I’d like to shop where you shop! haha”
          I think 1kg of tasty cheese was $4 or $5 somewhere around, let’s see, ***1970***
          Let’s dig up the Rt Hon Keith Holyoake for a comment, shall we? maybe he was partial to the odd mousetrap mid sub-division; or the Rt Hon Robert Muldoon.. I’m sure Dame Thea kept a tab on her shopping trolley, not to do so would be reprehensible.

    • How nice they’ve risen from the dross of their lack of ethics to where they are. The party with no second chances for ordinary folk, no tolerance for ill-deeds, no way back now have this terrible twosome as some sort of talismans for resurrections. Puke making.

    • I very much like what you have written because Labour have very much been ‘playing around with the periphery’ and we are at the point of the greatest discontinuity in human history.

      Any policy formulated on the assumption that the future will in any way be like the immediate past is doomed to failure before it even gets announced.

      I don’t see any evidence that Jacinda is even in possession of the facts, let alone having policies to deal with them; I suspect she is being barraged with business-as-usual bullshit from Treasury and MBI.

      I must go, and continue my preparations for the financial-economic meltdown which is now ‘thundering up the beach like a tsunami’.

      • I like and salute, -despite my dislike for Collins, Brownlee and co and their predilection for free market neo liberalism, – the fact that both politicians will inadvertently , advance the cause for democracy and people thinking through whats on offer.

        And that’s what its all about when we boil it all down.


        So this is good. There is a Bible verse that says.- ‘iron sharpens iron’. It is a true saying. If you want a strong democracy, you need a strong opposition.

        It is not a western military paradigm whereby the strongest army wins by attrition and the complete annihilation of the enemy and by strength of numbers…this is a modern democracy whereby we determine the leadership through the sophistry of the vote, of dialogue and of convincing argument.

        Far more Athens and way less Sparta.

    • Remember the origin of the nickname: During her early years in parliament Collins developed a reputation for tough talking and in 2009 was nicknamed Crusher Collins when she proposed legislation to ‘crush’ the cars of persistent boy racers.

  5. A takeover by China might be the most worrying development for most New Zealanders that Judith could be expected to enable. This might be a line of defence .
    A problem with advancing a radical and necessarily protectionist economic policy as an electoral policy is that though it might be in the back of the mind of Jacinda , and in the forefront of the mind of Winston as he outlined in his speech when he put Jacinda in place, it’s necessity has not yet become apparent to the majority of the public. This is not surprising as the MSM constant commentary on the state of the economy, and by central bank statements and the economists that get reported widely no one would ever know that the current system is in crisis, that massive QE to keep it all afloat is not normal and not sustainable in the long term.
    If Jacinda and Grant do have a plan to implement comprehensive enough and transformative enough to deal with what Micky Savage’s government had to deal with they are right to be keeping it under wraps for now save for the hints they have given to date.
    I think it will work best to apply the former strategy suggested here and deflect inquiry into exactly what the strategy on recovery will be on the perfect reality that it can’t be determined without reference to what the rest of the world is doing and how the rest of the world reacts to the multitude of extraordinary things that are going on out there. Isolation which might become unavoidable (economic and otherwise) would not win votes right now.
    There might be a poetic justice in an extreme neoliberal administration getting into power now, to inherit the world they have created.
    D J S

  6. So much fear, scared of country people, scared of guns scared of Judith Collins. Calm the farm.

    Judith Collins is especially able to cut through the layers of woke PC dribble increasingly infecting this government and also the public service :
    it was an eye opener for me visiting te papa (our place?) recently and seeing revisionism and emotion overtaking science there. It’s a symptom.

    I am not a fan of Collins or her party- she is too nasty, but if she can throw some of the divisiveness of the equally nasty identity politics crowd back in their face, she may do better than expected.

  7. The comment I made on the other thread seems so much more appropriate here I’ll paste it below.

    The fact is, all politicians are detached from reality, but National are so detached from reality it truly is scary -especially since, as you say, Collins is no weak-willed Muller and is prepared to aggressively push completely suicidal [for the nation] policies in the name of [utterly failed] dogma which is founded on the worst aspects of human behaviour….arrogance, entitlement, selfishness, greed, disregard for the common good, and, in some ways most disturbing of all, complete disregarding of the facts; indeed, utter contempt for the facts! (especially scientific facts!!!).

    The National Party strategy of never allowing discussion of evidence has worked very well for them in the past. If you never mention a topic (even if it is fundamental the the entire financial-economic system) you don’t have to have a policy to deal with it!

    The other thing about scientifically illiterate sociopaths (as well as their inability to empathise with those in different circumstances) is their inability to process facts that don’t match their view of the world; when confronted with inconvenient facts that confront their view of the world they able to set up rationalisations as to why the facts are wrong and why their opinions carry far more weight. There is a peculiar capacity [I don’t have] of holding two mutually-exclusive ideas in ones mind at the same time and believing in both. This is best exemplified by: “We are committed to protecting environment; we need economic growth [so New Zealanders can increase the carbon footprint of the nation and cover more of the land in concrete and asphalt].”

    But now the consequences of never allowing discussion of evidence, of promoting mutually-exclusive concepts and of having no policy on fundamentals are about to hit everyone very hard in the face, like a 100×50 -the old 4 by 2- swung at high speed straight at the proboscis.

    ‘I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: ‘The ‘Age of Entitlement’ is over and we are living in ‘The Age of Consequences’.

    We are suffering the severe, and in many cases life-threatening, effects of overpopulation, overuse of energy -especially that derived from fossil fuels- and overconsumption in general.

    We are suffering the effects of detachment from Nature and opposed to being part of Nature and having great respect for Nature.

    We are suffering the dire consequences of allowing (encouraging) the charging of interest on loans -unknown in many non-Christian societies and admonished as usury in medieval Christian times, and totally abhorrent in gift societies.

    We are suffering the dire consequences of disconnecting promissory notes from actual reserves to meet the ‘promise’ (Fractional Reserve Banking).

    We are suffering the dire effects of plundering the oceans and using them as a sewer -both intentionally and unintentionally- to the point of wrecking the biological and chemical balance that existed for eons before humans mastered the conversion of fossil fuels sequestered by geological processes tens of millions or hundreds of millions of years ago.

    We are suffering the dire consequences of perfecting the conversion of metal ores -especially iron and aluminium- into metals by the billion tonne per annum.

    We are suffering the dire consequences of establishing a ubiquitous plastics economy -having gone way past the capacity of the Earth to provide natural resources such as cotton, leather, rubber, linseed oil, even copper and zinc to make brass.

    We are suffering the dire consequences of allowing corrupt politicians, of both red and blue variety and who really had no idea what they were doing -other than setting up systems for short-term self-enrichment- to decimate and corrupt public broadcasting and morph it into a propaganda system for the sale of goods and services no one needs and which in many cases cause considerable harm to the purchaser: no Open University for the promotion of knowledge, thank you; no ‘high culture’ ballet, opera, classical music concerts, thank you; we’ll just have consumption consumption, consumption…buy this, go there, eat that, and corporatised sport which sucks humungous quantities of fiat money out of the bank accounts of the ‘proles’ and into the bank accounts of corporations and opportunists.

    None of that seems to have penetrated the brains of National at all, and most of Labour are apparently firmly welded to the systems that make everything that matters worse.

    So, the answer to the question: ‘Has the National Party Become a Threat to National Security?’ Is no! They haven’t BECOME a threat to national security; they always have been! It’s just that in the past there was enough of the natural world still left intact for National’s loot-and-pollute and transfer-wealth-from-the-poor-to-the-already-wealthy policies to provide a facade of success. Now there isn’t.

    So, as we proceed through the inevitable ‘meltdown’ of overpopulated nations where people live cheek by jowl, precariously crammed into brick/concrete/wooden boxes and moving precariously from place to place in metal boxes, unable to connect with Nature and now subject to ‘her’ wrath, we have talking heads on the television telling us the way forward is via more consumption!!!??? As we proceed through the collapse of industrial societies predicated on a continuing war with Nature (via industrial agriculture, mining, processing of metal ores, conversion of limestone into concrete, burning of fossil fuels etc.) we are told by politicians and want=to-be politicians that we need to
    progress towards a better, brighter future.

    Pardon me for declaring them to be insane. After all, what would I know about the intricacies of ‘sound economic management’? I’m ‘just’ a scientist.

    And so, we must expect the consequences of the bizarre and counter-productive policies promoted by those still living [in their minds] in ‘The Age of Entitlement’ to backfire very nastily over the coming months, as the manifestations of The Age of Consequences become ever more dire.

    For the benefit of anyone feeling a bit despondent after reading that, I have some good news: debts and deficits don’t matter; the Earth generates oil as fast as we use it; if it were not for the gallant efforts of the motor racing community etc. we would be headed for an ice age.

    Back in the real world:

    • Superbly written as always. We are hurtling towards our demise and like an alcoholic we refuse to admit we have a problem.

  8. Question for David Seymour:
    Would you seriously consider (IF it came about) a potential coalition with this backstabbing, lying sociopath? Is the short term gain of gettng your party onto the Govt benches worth the long term effects of a close relationship with this toxic and dangerous old hag?

    After all, just look what she’s done to her own Party, whilst lurking in the background, in order to eventually attain power.

    • Question to Jacinda Ardern. Would you consider going into coalition with a party that defends genocide enablers?

  9. And one last thing as it comes to mind… despite recent NZ political changes, Id like to honour Johhny Cash and by association with that empathy and deep social awareness, Chris Trotter a tribute….

    Chris has many years to serve us yet,… but when his time comes,…Id like to see him remembered in this country as exactly the same tall status…my 24 year old son loves Cash and his messages.

    Johnny Cash – His Final Live Performance 2003

    • Yes indeed. They have never ever left that shit behind. They will never do any big things ‘dealing with inequality’ etc. because big business is who they listen to. Both tarred with the same brush.

      • And yet this is precisely where a strong opposition is needed to thrash out where all these party’s stand…Judith Collins and Gerry Brownlee are a magnificent opportunity to do exactly this…

        We could not have asked for better.

  10. Labour just need to focus on the border, keep this virus out of our communities. Improving the border should be ongoing. It looks like the current government has already started to plan for the virus getting through and why not as we have to be realistic. Let the NZers come home first, they are the guinea pigs. I believe once the border is sorted we need a plan to bring in people safely. An open and safe border is money and jobs for our country and people. It won’t be easy but has any other country managed this yet? if so what did they do? Yes we will have debt we are not the only ones. The world has already been through a depression. We need to work together. Many of the comments above I find them to be miserable.

    • Miserable though they may be, the art of compromise is an important tool in the diplomats arsenal. Apart from that 100% in agreement regards your post.

  11. Well Collins is NZ Trump in a skirt, full of bluster but no substance. Review her press interviews and discover she is totally void of any political ingenuity, but can manage some odd barbs which, as with Trump exhilarate their base. I am not sure NZ have enough deplorables for her to make it to the treasury benches, she would need to scare with race issues and immigration which seems unlikely to succeed. It is her party that ran a immigration Ponzi for nine years,, it would be a political suicide. Efforts to label Labor as a government that have done nothing and achieved nothing wont wash, Problems with Kiwi build (which can be blamed on the failures of the private building sector and core building blocks of the housing ponzi National promoted that still need to be eradicated), light rail and capital gains tax (Winston and his trickery) wont stick. Seems that NZ First was the weak link in the coalition and it seems on current polling NZ can look forward to a better future without the need of trickery.

    Furthermore, Judith was a core part of Nationals nine years of neglect and do nothing government and with Bill’s excellent miser skills deprived the country of any meaningful progress and growth. They racked up $80 billion in debt for something insignificant if compared with the Covid crisis and now protest Labor’s efforts to keep things going. Collins is already signalling National will spend less, yes, but silent on what. And now miss do little and much noise want to be prime minister, nah Kiwi’s are smarter than what she wish for.

    Never forget that Collins desperate efforts to project a strongman image, as with Trump, is a cover for their insecurities and effort to take the attention away of their lack of personable skills. Remember how she cowered under all her scandals in 2014, and needed stress leave to recover! Under all the bluster hides a very fragile person. Her constant efforts to fabricate humorous barbs is irritable to most, but her blusterous style will please Nationals base, It is usually a small group of people, +/-30% of the uneducated population that can relate to such behavior and find it attractive. I cant see NZ going all deplorable, but it is true we should be scared she will destroy NZ for the sake of her ego.

    I know somebody capable of exposing Judith’s bluff and bluster, she not only made NZ proud, but she made NZ world renowned, and she will do it with kindness and compassion!

    • Very good commentary , using a cross between actual realities and those less tangible forms, – but yet no less important,… the emotional and spiritual. The latter is where we draw such things as values, ethics and morality. Thank you for your post.

  12. That was a good post Chris, thanks

    Collins is indeed a formidable opponent. I expect she will seize on Labour’s recent track record of not being able deliver anything of substance other than failure and ‘working groups’. She won’t promise lower income taxes but will promise to get better value out of the crown revenue.
    She will also play on capability of the cabinet behind Jacinda. Or lack of it – there are signs of desperation when Chris Hipkins is landed with three portfolios because she doesn’t trust the rest.

    Before you count on Jacinda’s communication skills, so far she’s had a very easy ride: It’s easy to look good in interviews by fawning liberal reporters and as a solo act on a stage, but how will she fare in a rough & tumble debate with Judith? On the few occasions Simon put her under real pressure in Parliament she fell apart.

    • No, Jacinda has not had either an easy ride nor a typical ride. And she is extraordinary. Three major crises have afflicted her time of PM in as many years. No PM has really had to deal with as much turmoil as Adern and yet she has handled each crises with aplomb , empathy and decorum.

      And no , when under Bridges ‘pressure ‘ she shined.

      So it was none of these.

      I will agree, – but only for democracy’s sake, – that it is a good thing Collins ( and Dep PM Brownlee ) have arrived. That is only fitting and shows the strength of this country. We should be proud. But it also will show the weakness of neo liberalism for all to see. I would not rush too fast to expose neo liberalism under the public’s gaze if I were you.

      I would tread carefully. Very very carefully in fact.

      And despite Collins so called ‘formidable ‘ reputation,… this can oh so easily be unraveled in a matter of minutes under the microscope of public perusal come pre election debates , – regardless of any quotes of statistics or wishful thinking to spark up the economy…

      All it takes is the specter of a few tens of thousands of dead elderly New Zealanders paying the ultimate price for opening up the economy for the benefit of the 1 % for the rotten vegetables and eggs to start being thrown…

      Think about it.

      And when your done thinking? , – maybe its Collins that needs to be scared.

      Very scared.

    • You must be beside yourself with joy that Mistress Collins is finally having her day in the sun, Andrew. Just one piece of advice: don’t “bash the Bishop” too hard – you’ll go blind.

      • Actually I have been ‘bashing the Bishop’ recently. 🙂

        I have openly criticized Chris Bishop online for being wet and told him to get on with the job we’re paying him for.

        The recent change in leadership in National is the party returning to its roots, flushing out all the woke who thought they were smarter than they really were. Even if National loses this election, they will have created a formidable opposition that will give Ardern grey hair in three years.

  13. If National were ever to Govern under Colllins, then we would would have the removal of the RMA.

    A million more cows on the Canterbury Plains and the Mackenzie Basin
    More dirty and polluted rivers.
    They would open up the oil industry to overseas drillers again.
    The Coal mining industry would be in full swing again.
    There would be logging in our native timbers in our national parks, west coast south island.

    A huge influx of immigration ( again from National ) mainly from China.
    An ever increasing housing shortage.
    The running down of our health system , again by National.
    A lack of funding in education.

    All of this, just for starters
    But on the flip side, roads and more bloody roads Again from National.

    • I think you are correct and I’m guessing more imprisonments, harsher penalties for trivial offenses, even worse healthcare…the list goes on….

    • Whilst I agree with much of what you have said this is not JUST their fault.

      The running down of our health system , again by National.

      Both major parties have run down health over 30 years by billions of dollars. You cannot separate the two in this area.

      How many politicians have health insurance?

      • …’ Both major parties have run down health over 30 years by billions of dollars. You cannot separate the two in this area’…


        A true enough statement.

    • OMG…shock fucking Horror!!!!! If that happened we would be self-sufficient!!!! Can’t have that! We must be poor and grovel with other countries to hopefully get stuff cheap enough so we can afford it. Also, let’s be dependent of the govt and handouts forever…what a nice feeling.
      Norway drills oil amongst other things, everyone’s got plenty money, we could be like that.

      • Just one problem, Herman. None of that is true.

        With the world going rapidly broke and consumption falling off a cliff, the price of oil is languishing around $40 [US] a barrel and all the oil majors are struggling to survive, whilst many of the minor players have already given up the ghost.

        Norway’s sovereign investment fund is seeing short-term overvaluation, as central banks pump mega-billions, almost mega-trillions, into the system to stay-off an immediate implosion in the face of rapidly declining earnings throughout most of the corporate sector.

        Needless to say, with out-of-control Covid-19 demolishing what is still left of the world economy, expect the last pillar of the financial fraud system -the stock markets- to collapse some time this year, in all likelihood sooner rather than later.

        For your information, self-sufficiency is all about not being dependent on corporatised food systems or corporatised transport systems but has a lot to do with growing vegetables and recycling nutrients.

  14. “With the right rejecting her as too left, and the left dismissing her as too right, she has fallen repeatedly between the two stools.”
    And now that Jude is Queen of the Tories, it’s appropriate that Gerry is Groom of the Stool doncha know

    • Just so long as there is no blood in the stools, that is what we want to see.

      Bloodless stools. This is what we want. And a way forwards that enhances everyone, – from the WORKING CLASS upwards.

      Emphasis on the word upwards in terms of the working class. Then you know you have picked a winner.

  15. There is little chance of National winning and in my opinion even less chance with Collins in the lead. I for one would never vote for any party that planned to align themselves with a National govt led by her. Not now not ever.

    The real tragedy is the lack of alternatives. The majority of parties in this country are neo liberal so for many of us its a choice between “bad and worse” which is really no choice at all.

    I’ll be sitting this one out come Sept and that will be my position going forward until by some miracle we get real Socialist parties dedicated to people not corporate greed and averice.

    • …’ There is little chance of National winning and in my opinion even less chance with Collins in the lead. I for one would never vote for any party that planned to align themselves with a National govt led by her. Not now not ever’…


      Your motives are good. However you do no service to your cause or thinking by not voting. In fact you work against the very things you profess to believe in . Vote you must.

      Animals – Don’t let me be Misunderstood

      • The trouble with voting is that it perpetuates the [corrupt and dysfunctional] system, and politicians see votes as an endorsement of their bizarre opinion-based (as opposed to fact-based) policies.

        The best thing that could ever happen is that the politicians hold an election and no one votes because none of the candidates are worthy of our votes.

        That would never happen, of course, because the masses have been trained to believe that voting makes a difference, and there is all that “They died so you can vote” nonsense; they died protecting the privileged positions of the ‘1%’.

        The other aspect of voting is that the policies of some parties are so truly awful people feel compelled to vote for the lesser of two evils, on the basis that they have to keep the psychopaths out of power. Which is very much what we are witnessing right now.

        Many studies have demonstrated that ordinary have ZERO INFLIUENCE on official policy…which is because policy is ultimately determined by banks, corporations and opportunists, the agents of the real ‘masters’ -the Rothschilds, Warburgs, Rockefellers etc. They don’t go away just because the government changes. They just lean harder on socialist governments that conservative governments.

        The public submission process that councils regularly go through is an utter sham, designed to provide the facade of public involvement in decision-making, while all along the decisions were made months or years before the pubic hearing on the basis of who is going to get the contract or work the rort.

        Pardon my cynicism; I’ve seen to much and opened doors most people don’t even know exist; and behind most of those doors people don’t even know exist is usually something very ugly.

      • If enough people refuse to vote they can’t continue to play the game of diminishing returns. Unless we see new parties on the horizon I see it as the only way of enacting real change.

  16. Nothing to be afraid of here Chris-Big announcement on Friday from Aunt Lydia
    National right now today are like a boxer in the early stages of a title fight with a cut eyebrow (MOH Scandal). That cut eyebrow should be exploited in further rounds to open the cut up . More to come out next week on MOH leaking Scandal , Im guessing.

  17. Adern has many many flaws which Collins will likely expose to good effect.
    But this will not be enough to prevent a 2nd term for Labour.

    • True that is Jays..

      But as the saying goes; -“Better the devil you know”; – is appropriate here.

      And we know Jacinda’s track record as PM under the terrible issues she had to navigate; she excelled.

      But under the same pressure with cow disease, virus, earthquakes, and a global pandemic I believe Collins and co would not have been able to handle those events.

      Collins and co are not up to the task. – Forget them.

      • Judith Collins is flawless???
        No non no!! she treats climate change as a joke; see here; ENVIDENCE;

        Five things Judith Collins has said on climate change
        Olivia Wannan06:20, Jul 16 2020

        RNZ’s podcast, The Detail, discusses Judith Collins’ background and the cut-throat arena of politics.

        ANALYSIS: As Judith Collins takes the helm of the National Party, Stuff revisits some of her recent comments on climate science and policy. While former leader Todd Muller negotiated on National’s behalf to pass the Zero Carbon Act, Collins was reportedly set to cross the floor to vote against the Bill (though she didn’t).

        On the School Strike 4 Climate NZ protests: “They are very earnest and very truthful in what they believe. I don’t know what they’re going to do in 12 years’ time when the world has not actually led to a mass extinction of humans. I’m sure that they will have found something else… Another generation will come. Every generation has its thing.”

        CONTEXT: Collins was speaking to the AM Show on the morning of the September 2019 climate march.
        It’s unclear who Collins is referring to when she speaks of the belief humans would be dying in vast numbers by 2031. But the comment appears to be confusing or conflating several scientific findings: that the world had 12 years to reduce emissions before it becomes impossible (or at least really challenging) to meet the Paris Agreement goals; that catastrophic climate change increases the risk that plants and animals will go extinct in the coming decades; and that global warming will make life increasingly uncomfortable for human societies, as health-threatening heatwaves, famines and infectious disease outbreaks arrive more frequently as the century progresses.

        * Judith Collins, the new leader of National Party, promises to ‘crush’ the Government
        * Will the rangatahi save us? Generation Z: Unapologetic. Uncompromising
        * Zero Carbon Bill passes with near-unanimous support, setting climate change targets into law

        On the 1.5 degrees Celsius Paris Agreement target: “The world will not end if we pass 1.5 degrees Celsius (1.5C) of warming. The children marching in the street with signs saying ‘You will die of old age, I will die of climate change’ have been needlessly exploited by an increasingly fanatical Green lobby…

        “Scientists expect the impacts of 1.5C warming to be lower than 2C. But the same statement is true for the difference between 2.0C and 2.5C… The costs of global warming are real, but there is no indication they are insurmountable. And there is nothing magically different that happens at 1.5C that doesn’t happen at 1.6C.
        “Assuming the IPCC models reflect the relationship between carbon dioxide and global warming, there is almost no chance the world will avoid 1.5C.”

        CONTEXT: A few weeks after the September school strike, Collins outlined her thoughts about climate change more fully on Facebook, prompting accusations that National had its own climate crisis.

        Although it’s true that the world won’t end after 1.5C of warming and that the challenges rise as the mercury does, it’s wrong to imply that temperature thresholds don’t mean anything. Some aspects of the climate system have tipping points, beyond which researchers believe the effects of heating get dramatically worse.

        As an example, an award-winning team of Kiwi scientists concluded, if we don’t limit global warming to 1.5C, the melting of Antarctic ice and the inundation of coastal cities may be supercharged. Worldwide, hundreds of peer-reviewed studies helped the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reach the conclusion that a 2C warmer world will be a much more unpleasant and costly place to live in than a 1.5C one.

        It’s also misleading to suggest society can easily absorb the estimated $20 trillion cost of exceeding our 1.5C target by half a degree.

        Collins’ questioning of the link between carbon dioxide and global warming veers into climate denial territory. The link was first established 150 years ago. Studies show climate models have been remarkably accurate over recent decades – though they’re not perfect, and scientists are working to improve them all the time.


        New National Party leader Judith Collins plans to make major changes to the Zero Carbon Act if she wins the election.
        On Covid-19’s impact on climate action: “As a nation we will be changed… We will wonder why the government that talked so much about housing development decided to add climate change into RMA decisions by local councils and we will wonder how that could happen without adequate public consultation. We will be ready to embrace infrastructure on a scale not seen since the ‘Think Big’ days.
        “And when anyone mentions Greta, we will ask: Who?”

        CONTEXT: Collins wrote this op-ed for the Sunday Star-Times, 11 days after the country went into lockdown. She mentions the Resource Management Act amendment bill, which allows resource consents for emissions-intensive projects (such as coal mines) to be refused. Hundreds of submissions were received during public consultation last year. Collins also refers to Greta Thunberg, the 17-year-old activist who sparked the global School Strike For Climate movement, which moved online after the pandemic outbreak.

        MORE FROM

        On New Zealand’s emissions: “[The country] contributes around 0.03 per cent of the world’s carbon emissions. So instead of flagellating ourselves and you know, putting a hair shirt on – we should be saying: Who are these big emitters?

        “I’d rather have New Zealand producing milk and dairy products and meat and wool than countries that don’t take any notice at all… I just think that the Greens and Labour and New Zealand First have been happy to go and throw New Zealand farmers under a bus.”

        CONTEXT: Collins, speaking to radio show The Country last year, had her figures wrong. The country’s actual contribution – 0.17 per cent of global emissions in 2014 – is more than five times larger than the stat given. New Zealanders’ per-person emissions are some of the highest in the world, though our emissions profile is unusual – methane contributes comparatively more to our footprint. Our household emissions also continue to rise.

        A few months after this interview, the coalition Government announced a partnership with farmers to measure and price on-farm emissions. The He Waka Eke Noa programme has been making steady progress.

        On the Zero Carbon Bill: “What we need to do is to amend this [Zero Carbon] Bill once it becomes an Act and once we’re in Government… We will be changing these: the target for biogenic methane reduction to be recommended by the independent Climate Change Commission. Otherwise, why bother having it?

        “We will have stronger provisions that consider the level of action being taken by other countries and allow targets to be adjusted to ensure we remain in step with the international community. The bill that we will be putting through will ensure that the commission considers the economic impacts when providing advice on targets and emissions reductions.

        “The bill will also see the emissions budgets being split between biogenic methane and carbon dioxide, as recommended by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment. And the bill will also include a greater commitment to investment and innovation and research and development to find solutions for reducing emissions.”

        CONTEXT: During the third reading of the Bill in 2019, Collins outlined her concerns and changes the National Party would make, should it be elected this year.

        The Zero Carbon Act contains split targets, requiring the country to cut biogenic methane by 10 per cent by 2030 and between 24 and 47 per cent by 2050. All other greenhouses gases must be net zero by 2050. Both targets were set by the Government, but Climate Change Minister James Shaw has since asked the Climate Change Commission for advice on the methane target.
        To get us there, the legislation requires a series of emissions budgets to be set, the first by Government, with all future budgets set by the independent Climate Change Commission. Economic analysis of the impacts of different ways of cutting emissions – and the pace of emissions cuts – is part of the commission’s job description.

  18. I have a serious question…
    How does big blimp brownlee wipe his bum?
    He’s grotesquely obese and his arms are so short. He reminds me of a Tyrannosaurus Rex in a cheap suit.
    I know one can, if one’s unlucky enough to have to, buy a device like a ball-thrower for the pup. But instead of a cup like arrangement, it has a pad to which one can attach toilet paper. You wouldn’t leave that kind of thing lying around the house, would you? It’s bad enough leaving one’s nose hair trimmer out.
    Perhaps brownlee simply uses a dog ball thrower and scratches away?? Someone should ask him? I’m intrigued?

  19. Well sean if you don’t vote then don’t moan. We are in a much better position than many other countries. We need to stand on our own feet. Our allies are struggling, we cannot look to them for leadership as we did and have done in the past. We have a chance to lead and share our wins for the betterment of all. Now is not a time for change it is a time for us preparing ourselves and building on our gains. Let do this !

  20. i say we give labour a hand. start publicly tearing down the neoliberal myths about the economy.

    Bring back Bill. no not that Bill….

    yes it looks like election could be won or lost over economic issues. and middle NZ has always believed that National are better at keeping debt and deficits down.

    see Stephanie Kelton (2020) The Deficit Myth.

    and someone send Jacinda BERL’s contact details.

    we can do this!

  21. Labour will form a government with the Greens next election. A majority of Kiwis will not tolerate going from Jacinda to Judith as leader.

  22. Since becoming Nat leader, I have watched and listened to Judith Collins’ interviews and statements. What I’m picking up, is she is trying hard to be seen as fair and amiable at this stage, but behind that false “fairness and amiability,” I sense the hidden venom will rise to the surface, ready to spit forth in the not too distant future! The politician Collins won’t be able to keep it under control for much longer.

    • 100% correct mary-a
      Collins is a ‘viper’ – who ‘prays nicely’ first to catch the prey before devouring them.

  23. I like to break things down to the comedic and the simplistic to illustrate a basic point. To the ‘point’ that even children understand it. Less brain strain.

    I like the fundamental points laid bare in The Lion King.

    Its called Be Prepared.

    I think we need to be prepared with the new Judith Collins caucus line up with her as leader.

    She’s Scar.

    Pay attention.

    Just do it.

    The Lion King – Be Prepared

  24. no, duh, she said “let them eat cheese!”
    “how much for a 1kg block of cheese?”, asked the interviewer, (now probably redacted)
    “oh, four or five dollars, for the tasty, we like the tasty…”
    “oh, I’d like to shop where you shop! haha”
    I think 1kg of tasty cheese was $4 or $5 somewhere around, let’s see, ***1970***
    Let’s dig up the Rt Hon Keith Holyoake for a comment, shall we? maybe he was partial to the odd mousetrap mid sub-division; or the Rt Hon Robert Muldoon.. I’m sure Dame Thea kept a tab on her shopping trolley, not to do so would be reprehensible.

  25. One of the first tasks Collins has highlighted is is will get rid of the RMA.
    How many investment properties does she own again?

  26. Building on that theme , ‘ be prepared’ is another good and graphic fictional classic,… Predator 2 . Much can be gleaned from the principles involved…

    Predator 2 – King Willie vs The Predator

    I love the way King Willy says in his thick Jamaican accent … ‘Prepare yourself’ to the cop…and then heroically defends himself knowing he cannot succeed against pure evil…but what is the evil here?… it is the resurgence of neo liberalism , a strong leader and the possibility of forever changing this country for the worst…

    Therefore,… ‘ Prepare yourselves ‘.

  27. It doesn’t matter who the leader of the National Party is. National Party supporters would vote for a donkey if it was wearing blue—in fact they have got a history of this. Oh, that was Johnkey.

  28. One thing for sure is that we can bank on Brownlee to be say gormless things. Unfortunately there are plenty who’ll be sucked in by that. Fortunately if the RNZ interview was an indication the crap will be challenged. Good to hear people of Christchurch getting run touch calling out the BS and talking of the real Brownlee.

  29. Does Gerry know where Finland is now?

    If we can get Judith Collins and her style of politics out of our collective psyche and system – the ‘strong’ parent who ‘manages the budget for good children’ – then we might start growing again as a nation. And wouldn’t that be great!

    Whether she can hold Labour’s toesies to the fire is another matter. They certainly need a touch of the BBQ on environment, housing, and something a whole lot smarter than ‘pick and shovel jobs for the blokes’. Plus working co-operatively for the good of all – without all the nanny state BS we usually get from both miserable parties.
    We shall see…

    • Remember Andrea, that we need a good opposition to keep the government in line and call it to account. Good opposition is not digging dirt or being rude and Muldoonish or ad hominem attacks. That just lowers the tone of the House and works the Speaker too hard. Opposition is questioning the government’s decisions if necessary. After a disaster, a government frequently railroads through nasty draconian laws without question. That must be moderated. Judeath would be likely to do that sort of malarky if PM and it would be disastrous for the environment again and our kids’ kids will be paying for it.

  30. The tactic of not acknowledging the new leader is wise. It has already riled Collins that she hasn’t been ‘afforded’ time from the Government. Keep it up next week in parliament.
    Even today Collins was visibly irritated by some of the reporters questioning. Let’s see how she fairs after weeks of it and drops her bundle.
    Will be interesting to see how much Act’s vote drops in the next few polls.

  31. Over-, under-, by-passing your column, yep, certainty and force and the bill of bad faith put off til later, the old Right lame-o stuff. Will the immense free speech of this time find enough ignorant people or will it utterly destroy ignorance in a last hurrah for our old NZers and first hurrah for our young? We aren’t America, thank ‘God’.

  32. Chris writes:
    “Throughout its term, Labour has failed to do what Michael Joseph Savage’s government did: introduce radical and comprehensive changes and then spend every waking political hour for the next three years explaining to the voters why they were worth keeping. It’s a bloody big ask to set Jacinda the task of selling even a mildly radical recovery plan in just 6 weeks – although if anybody can do it, she can.”

    Well, that is what many of us have been waiting for the government to do, to actually DELIVER transformational change. And that can be done by creating a truly sustainable New Zealand economy and society, by leading the world in regenerative, green and clean technology, and by perhaps inviting the high tech and agriculture innovators of the world to come here and set up business here. Alternative energy, CO2 emission reduction, methane emission reduction and jobs that do not rely on polluting and wasting and ripping our soil, water and air apart.

    Now it is time to take action, Labour and Jacinda, I fear though, you may indeed not be capable to jump over your small shadows.

    • 100% right Mike; Jacinda it’s time to come out of the shadows now.

      Remember you captured us with “CLIMATE CHANGE IS OUR GENERATIONS NUCLEAR MOMENT”

  33. Agree with you Peter Ness ignoring her (judeath) is a very good tactic she might spit the dummy soon. Yes also agree with Acts polling numbers dropping, we all know they got disgruntle national supporters votes.

  34. Now that I’ve read your post I agree about being scared of her. She’s been softening her positions in recent years. Having now read her mental-casery about climate change, and given the Ozzy Right victory, there is now a clear passage for her success. Which is putting off the costs til later. Always a winner. And the Left only required when the bill is delivered. Doesna ‘quite’ work at the end of time. Or the deliverance of the industrial revolution bill.

    Not that I’m maudlin. That’ll happen in 10 years or so, sooner rather than later. I enjoy this brilliant life for my borderer grey morality ancestors. Even the Presbyterian side. But anyone younger than me is a full-proofed fool.

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