Dr Liz Gordon: Labour is in trouble


What a difference a week makes!  From unelectable, it now seems like we will be facing a resurgence in National’s chances under Judith Collins.  The thoughtful, consultative, kind and effective policies of Labour, all that good leadership, is likely to be damaged, possibly severely, possibly terminally, by the populist Collins, popping out bold and authoritarian policies like lights on a Christmas tree.

We saw this in Sunday’s media, with National’s new policy that people should pay $3,000 towards the costs of their quarantine as they come back into the country. This will be cheered by people all around the country, many of whom were considering supporting Labour. It is dangerous.

Never mind that the amount is peanuts. Never mind that the legal context of trying to force people into quarantine and make them pay for it is iffy and might be defeated by judicial review. There is that little corner of New Zealander’s hearts, perhaps captured or enhanced by 30 years of neo-liberalism, that insists that users must pay, no matter what.  

Gerry Brownlee today affirmed that this policy will breach the Bill of Rights Act (clause 18(2)) which reads: “Every New Zealand citizen has the right to enter New Zealand.” Geez.  Their very first detailed policy breaches the Bill of Rights. Dirty politics indeed.

I criticised Todd Muller because his only contribution was to pop up at every corner saying “shambolic blah blah”. The only policy I recall him releasing was a new road from Christchurch to Ashburton. And that was released in the middle of a huge scandal, such that the media had no interest in the policy.  In politics timing is everything.

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I do not expect Labour to try to match National’s populism. I hope that the party has left its populist policies way behind it (visions of Roger Douglas and flat taxes still populate my nightmares). It is also not enough to be the steady hand on the tiller, although that is crucial.

I think Labour needs a three-strand strategy.  The first is to extend its excellent Covid management approach to embrace the next three years. Key messaging is that the Covid is not going away anytime soon, that the priority is always to keep New Zealanders safe (and the safest way is no community transmission) and that the only party you can trust to do this is Labour.   This is easy peasy and, by default, is the current stance.  When Jacinda says she is too busy managing a crisis to think about the election, she is by default purveying this message.

The second strand is to develop an economic plan to work with, alongside and in and through what may be at least three more years of Covid infection. How this is done is crucial.  The plan needs to be a multi-sector, whole of society approach that blends economic goals with improving the economic opportunities of the people and reducing inequalities. 

This will include flexible work, supporting a range of industries and especially local manufacturing (by New Zealand for New Zealand), further building the mana of our nation into economic opportunities for export, especially of food but also other things and so on.  Can’t we do something fantastic down south with the amazing water/electricity resource that will shortly be vacated by Rio Tinto.  Not another aluminium smelter, but something that works with our own resources and our own people to create things that we and the world need.  This might be multiple somethings.  There is no need to think big, just think broadly.  Every opportunity needs to be harnessed within a people and environment friendly way.

We need a vision for the future that shows we do not have to put our country at extreme risk in order to recover economically. Now is the time for economic nation-building, for big picture thinking.  You get the gist.

The third strand is policies around our society. We must come out of Covid (if coming out is ever possible, assuming things have not changed forever, and here I am referring to the research on how the overpopulation of the planet has made us ever more vulnerable to doomsday viruses), with a better, smarter, fairer and more equal society. People will have to come first. There will be a focus on developing New Zealand for New Zealanders.  Kindness and consideration for others will be the key. Policies for the people first, and profits will follow.

Labour’s manifesto does not need to go into enormous detail, but simply to show a way, a vision, an alternative route to Collins’ populism.  National can only ever offer policies for the one, the best, the winner.  Labour can provide a vision for the team of five million moving forward, Covid free, people first, fair and safe.

Let’s hope the party is tuned in next weekend to the Alternative Aotearoa event in Wellington and on a podcast near you. Let’s hope those of us advocating for an alternative can see it come to fruition at the election.

Dr Liz Gordon is a researcher and a barrister, with interests in destroying neo-liberalism in all its forms and moving towards a socially just society.  She usually blogs on justice, social welfare and education topics.



  1. “Labour is in trouble”???
    If polling at over 50% eight weeks out from an election is being in trouble Liz, I’d hate to see your headline if it drops a few percentage points!
    Yes, National have panicked, and let a sociopath loose, but the Collins-thing will repulse any normal thinking human being.
    As evidence, we’ve all seen the horrendous damage pyschopaths & narcissists like Trump, Johnson, Bolsonaro et al have wrought overseas.

    • @ Jase.
      I think you’re dead right.
      Dr Liz Gordon?
      You, or rather your Post reminds me of an interview with Mat Damon once where the interviewer asked Damon what his worst fear was and he replied ” I’m not going to give it a name.”
      In my opinion, we’ve given collins enough name time. Anymore about collins is undeserving and dangerous, depending on how one feels about collins. ( Unless, of course, it’s useful dirt we can throw on her dubious career.)
      I remember an interview with the inimitable Kim Hill when she had her freedoms at RNZ, and a women writer who’d published a book on ‘industrial’ psychopathy.
      ‘The women writer’ who’s name escapes me as does the title of her book ( sigh) , cautioned about the effects of negative advertising with regard to cigarettes, as an example. She went on to say and I paraphrase ” One can write all day about the dangers of smoking, we can interview doctors and surgeons and addiction experts about how deadly smoking is but all people hear is ‘cigarettes, cigarettes, cigarettes.’
      Collins will be finding ways to capitalise on any condemnation we can heap on her, tempting as that is.
      When your three year old has a tantrum? What do you do? You put on your headphones and listen to Swedish death metal. Must more relaxing.
      Try this?

    • Add to your post that Nat ministers are leaking information like sieve to Peter’s, such is their own distaste for Collins.

  2. Wonderful article – and a position we can indeed attain if we communicate, and seriously share all sorts of possibility’s for our people and nation.

    • Oh ffs!
      Unless Labour reintroduce capital gains tax and promises to hike other taxes, they will sleep walk their way to victory.

      • Early days yet, … through political expediency and pressure via the release of Australian banks setting interest rates, and the necessity of increased taxation on the very wealthy,… you just may get what you are seeking for.

        Just don’t buy that investment property quite yet…

  3. The policy of charging for quarantine is truly stupid.

    1. a cost barrier would not be legal so would have to be waived for some
    2. the cost of determining whether people can afford to pay would not be worth it, for $3000 – its a waste of resources (better used in reimbursment of wage subsidy money to those outside the rules)

    The PM’s first instinct that its only a charge for those who leave for a holiday since we establihsed the quarantine is where this should stay.

    • Exactly. These people are not going to have the money. They might be criminals and are supposed to have large quids of cash and good assets, but they won’t be reachable by us from Oz. We would be better off investing the $3000 in guidance, group therapy, accommodation, upskilling and seeing if they then are prepared to do all that’s required and then see if they would like a job for which the employer would be subsidised for a period during which they could gain the experience required to either remain or get similar work elsewhere.

      Any call to do something else like charge them for being forcibly sent home! – that’s crazy and shows National and its supporters haven’t got a brain or skills enough to run the country, except into the ground. We are on a downward slide already socially, we have climate change playing with us like a mentally unstable parent, erratically dropping rain on us one day, or blinding us with sunlight for a month. We have Covid-19 to manage our way through. We can’t afford to turn from our obvious problems to try and nurse the country through ills produced by a lazy and inadequate bunch of poseurs from that second rate bunch of secondary schools we have in this country, called Warts Academies which get all those who couldn’t make it into Hogwarts!

  4. Lets talk about Oriveda shall we, Milk powder deal, water bottling plant and I do remember seeing an FYI.org OIA request looking into a certain KAURI RUAKAKA LIMITED previously known as ORAVIDA KAURI LIMITED and their involvement in the damage done to a certain pipeline to Auckland Airport.
    Judith doesnt work for New Zealand, she works for her husband – David Wong-Tung

    • Judith doesnt work for New Zealand

      Very true. They are exploiters of Aotearoa and I believe, thieves and liars (regarding our ancient kauri treasures).

    • If we had a decent unbiased media in NZ ,,, then there would be no way Judith Collins could show her face in Parliament ,, let alone be leader of the opposition.

      Her Career has been marked by deciet, greed, failure, malice and arrogance ,,, seeing as our dirty media cover up and partake in Dirty Politics , I will give a little memory refresher , no doubt I will miss some of her misdeads ,,, as she had that effluent touch ,,,, just about everthing she did was shitty.

      Crusher Collins adopted the crusher name,, for her ‘tough on boy racers’ self promotion ,,,, the media and talk back red necks backed her all the way ,,, but the policy / laws were all piss and wind…. Judiths baby was a failure and resulted in SFA cars being crushed ,,, Later she had Cameron Slater try and edit away this bit of her history on Wikipedia ,, using the name ‘Judith Collins press secretary’.

      Slater showed why Wikipedia is quite shit for anything political or controversial ,,, because Pricks like stroke face Slater rewrite history on Wikipedia.,,, and he’s not the only one https://www.sarawakreport.org/2018/04/more-of-najibs-foreign-pr-contractors-caught-up-in-global-black-ops/


      Collins was a Minister when the Nats did a full spectrum dirty politics hit in favor of the booze industry when our laws were being reviewed with the aim of lowering NZ’s high Alcohol abuse ,, and all the the harms that go with that abuse, like domestic violence and, child abuse etc etc ,,, the Nats scuttled it ,,, Ironically Judith and the Nats passed incoherant Alcohol laws,,, like they were pissed or something,,, buck shifting with the bare bare barest minimum of measures

      Despite rooting over and doing a dirty politics hit job on Alcohol reform,,, she pretended to be baffled how New Zealands violent crime and child abuse rates remained so ‘stubbornly high’ ,,,

      Deputy Commissioner Bush acknowledged the five drivers of crime: guess what got top billing ….alcohol …

      “Both alcohol abuse and dependence disorders are more common among younger people, males, Mäori and Pacific people, and people who have fewer qualifications, lower household incomes and who live in areas of higher deprivation”….”

      Child Abuse : “Detective Sergeant Kylie Schaare has dealt with some of the most horrific cases the unit has seen in the past 12 months.

      Alcohol was a major factor ……. which was apparent in a lot of physical and sexual abuse cases the unit dealt with, Mrs Schaare said.”.

      ““Meanwhile, history will judge those MPs who wilfully planned and led the wasted opportunity to do something to help the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders being harmed by weak alcohol laws. Their failure is seen in the Bill due to be passed in Parliament today – of particular note: Key, Dunne, Borrows, Joyce, COLLINS and Power”. https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2019/08/11/10-years-of-governments-avoiding-alcohol-law-reform-alcohol-action-nz/

      Corrupting the police ,,,, “Judith Collins, police minister at the time, has serious questions to answer after the Herald on Sunday’s disclosure that hundreds of burglaries were taken out of crime statistics over a period of years in part of the Counties-Manukau police district. ”

      “A police internal investigation found that about 700 burglaries in the Counties-Manukau south area had been recoded as incidents that would not appear in crime statistics from 2009 until 2012.
      Judith self promoted loud and long about how great and effective she was on these false numbers ,,, She was very quiet on putting the record straight when she found out the stats were fraudulent bullshit.

      Judith was a shit police minister …from her time : ” If you look at the stats around calls for service, they’re the phone calls that police receive in communications centers, etc, and just an example, family violence, domestic disputes; up by 10% a year pretty much, and across the board, 20% increase.So it’s the calls for service, to the extent that the communications centres couldn’t manage last summer.

      Judith like our rivers and enviroment is full of crap ,,,, which bring us to Oravida, a company of which her husband was / is a director ,,, https://fmacskasy.wordpress.com/tag/oravida-ltd/ ,,, Judith does special favours for them ,, and calls it ‘having a cup of tea’ ,,,

      She also values dollars ,,, much more than any care for our environment ,,, https://publicaddress.net/envirologue/swamp-monsters-the-looting-of-northlands/

      Is this perhaps a reason for Judith wanting to be in government ,,,, legalise the looting ,,, exploit Northland and cash out https://www.google.co.nz/maps/@-35.8685501,174.4656126,207m/data=!3m1!1e3

      Judith seemed to wish Prison rape on a young Autistic man who had already been beaten up while handcuffed by the police ,, his ‘crime was taking a couple of light-bulbs from a condemned building after the Christchurch earthquake … apparently he was a looter ,,, and she is not http://norightturn.blogspot.com/2011/02/question-for-oral-answer-id-like-to-see.html

      Roastbusters ,,, A world famous New Zealand disgrace involving bad teenage males , the most common date rape drug,, Alcohol,, and ongoing victimization by dishonest failures from the police, facebook ,,, and Judith Collins….. Judith told a pack of lies to push through legislation whose purpose seems to be to protect the reputations of people like Judith Collins ,,,and hide their dirty deeds. Just ask Martyn https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/08/20/the-daily-blog-will-be-the-first-target-of-the-new-harmful-digital-communications-bill/ ….

      … ” the Roastbusters scandal has been consistently referenced by media as a justification for the passage of the anti-Troll legislation.” ….. ” Asked if Labour is backing the Harmful Digital Communications Bill, Collins said “only a moron” wouldn’t give support’”

      “This 30 June 2015 NZ Herald article describes the legislation as “wide-reaching” and continues:

      The legislation was drafted after the so-called Roast Busters case, in which teenage boys boasted on-line about sex with drunk and under-age girls. But it wasn’t at all.

      It was drafted in APRIL of 2013 and the Roastbuster scandal did not enmerge until NOVEMBER 2013

      April of 2013 and the Roastbusters scandal did not emerge until November 2013. .. https://www.spinbin.co.nz/grotesque-hypocrisies-behind-new-zealands-anti-troll-legislation/

      “Judith Collins shelved recommendations by the Law Commission to make the legal system less traumatising and revictimising for sexual abuse survivors in 2012.” https://nzfvc.org.nz/news/responses-roast-busters

      Despite looting Northland ,,, and protecting the booze industry ,, and increasing Poverty ,,,, Judith rejected any responsibility when a Northland police officer said most of the criminals he dealt with had been brought up and come from impoverished damaged communities ,,, failing families living in appalling conditions , often combined with Alcohol abuse, violence and neglect.,,,,,,,Judith Collins:”I see a poverty of ideas, a poverty of parental responsibility, a poverty of love, a poverty of caring.”

      I’ve written enough for now, Despite missing out on tons of Judiths effluent actions such as ,,, her DP attack on the Serious fraud Office ,,, her Pike river mine quotes ,,, her incorrect revenge leaking of Public servants details ( she was wrong about him ) ,,, her own chapter in Nicky Hagers Dirty politics book, along with her flatulent threat to ‘sue’ over it ,,, her recognition of failed coup thug juan Guaido and the plans of Trump / Eliot Abrhams ,,, etc etc etc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IrcT3GJuh0A&t=4s

      Judith is our Pauline Hanson https://www.startpage.com/av/proxy-image?piurl=https%3A%2F%2Fi.prcdn.co%2Fimg%3FregionKey%3DtqeIQM585uIZBjeSTtfI4w%253D%253D&sp=1595371125T7b6159ed9f149974c3d18747568b448cbb7bd837a8b12046a6caf4d0d2658439

  5. The plan should be to build on our COVID gains. We need to focus on keeping the Covid out and to do this we need to spend the money on tracing, communications, security, alternative quarantine options, create specialised Covid multi skilled teams. Provide specialised training for security companies, the police, airport and airline staff, health workers, hotel staff basically anyone dealing with front line stuff. By keeping Covid out we can then look at bringing more people in safely, this will bring money and businesses to our country and help booster our economy. Yes we need roads but not 31 billion worth of roads. If Covid isn’t contained the roads will be a waste of money.

    • Tuibelle
      What’s that about. Please elucidate – that means state clearly what you mean I think. Are you having a tanty?

  6. The plan should be to build on our COVID gains. We need to focus on keeping the Covid out and to do this we need to spend the money on tracing, communications, security, alternative quarantine options, create specialised Covid multi skilled teams. Provide specialised training for security companies, the police, airport and airline staff, health workers, hotel staff basically anyone dealing with front line stuff. By keeping Covid out we can then look at bringing more people in safely, this will bring money and businesses to our country and help booster our economy. Yes we need roads but not 31 billion worth of roads. If Covid isn’t contained the roads will be a waste of money.

  7. Liz – I like to think you’re being just a wee bit pessimistic here ! Yep, Collins is one loud woman, but even the Nats I know don’t like her. She may be brightening the lives of the media, but who watches television any more? As far as I know, mainly rest home elderly parked in front of big screens in the day room after their breakfast, and littlies watching technically amazing cartoons.

    Collins is coming across as a bit erratic, and looking more smart-arsie than Winston Peters – who’s singing his swan song, as she probably is too. National is imploding. Something else will happen. They’re leaking more than my copper colander with the broken handle which I bought in Petticoat Lane circa 1975.

    Climate change denial like hers, is a national disaster, and I think the pandemic has gotten through to ordinary folk, that we’re in it right now, and the PM needs to up the ante on this pronto. That’s the issue. Whether the MSM will be permitted to address it as such, is a separate issue.

    Jacinda Ardern still has a credibility which many politicians never attain, no matter how many lies they tell.
    NZ’ers are quite chuffed that Ardern has achieved global stature in the midst of catastrophic crises, and no-one likes bully-persons. (See how PC I am ?). I’ll probably vote Labour now that the Greens haven’t lived up to my expectations, or my hopes for our children’s children’s future.

    A great pot-potpourri of ideas here, especially recycling the Rio Tinto facility – and your calls for kindness.

  8. Another Nat MP leapt off their ship today (Falloon), also citing “mental health” reasons! There has to be something quite horrible there, to leave them all so terrified.

    • Update on Falloon – He is yet another example of the predatorial culture that is rife among the “treat her bad” National MPs.

  9. “The thoughtful, consultative, kind and effective policies of Labour…”

    Were you drinking when you wrote that?

    Because the last thing I would call this government is ‘effective’, because it has squandered hundreds of millions of taxpayers dollars on ‘working groups’ that don’t work. Few houses and trees delivered and more homelessness than before.

  10. The last thing labour wants to talk about is a 3 year covid plan. People will just think vote labout at get 3 years of covid. They’ve got the high ground on being responsible about covid. That’s enough.

    If they want to win votes they want to reduce people’s fear. Given New Zealand’s low debt to GDP ratio they could just say: If you can’t pay your mortage we’ll pay your interest and force the banks to suspend your mortgage. Or to put it more snappy: Under labour you won’t loose your house. In a single policy (probably best announced late in the day) labour will get the entire middle class vote.

    They should have some kind of back up for when National try to steal it: Something like ‘Where Labour Leads National Fails to Follow’ with a list of them giving promises that were lies.

  11. Hear! Hear!
    Squeaky bum time for Labour. With no Green party to rely on this time around, it looks like they have to play nice with koro Winston even though he’s just warming up the hot pokers in the fire!

  12. Neither party is being upfront about the future regarding CV19.

    The harsh reality is that NZ will be economically crippled if we maintain isolation, so whoever wins the election is going to have to have an adult conversation with the NZ population and say the borders have to open at some point, the virus will probably get in and then we go through the same process as all other countries until we have herd immunity.

    • “NZ will be economically crippled if we maintain isolation”

      It will only be a short term problem whilst those in tourism move to other sectors of the economy. Current financial performance stats would suggest that more Kiwi’s having a stay-cation had a positive impact in some tourism sectors., eg Taupo had higher occupancy rates that the prior years. Some tourism operators have already adapted and diverted their focus to the local market. There will be an impact. but far less than expected. The good thing however it forces NZ to diversify its economic activity and move away from its dependence from tourism. Smart investment in technology could be far more rewarding than the destruction and debilitation of high high level of tourism. The adverse environmental impact of the latter is obvious and not in the interest of NZ in the longterm. The longer the border is shut, the better, it will force us to move on to more sustainable activities.

      To disappoint you, herd immunity is fiction, Covid19 mutates and current indications are that a vaccine could be a pipe dream. The best outcome we can expect is a plasma treatment to boost the body’s defense against the virus. As with flu injections, it might help immunity over the short term, but redundant within months. The US, Sweden and the UK is a classical examples of the failed concept of herd immunity. Those countries will see far worse economic outcomes as their performance will be far more impaired as result of a sick population and the financial strain as result of medical costs. We will be privileged to see the devastation of those countries in slow motion from a safe distance. So keeping the borders shut till clinical treatment is available makes perfect sense and would give us the best economic rewards.

    • Thank god Andrew. someone with a brain. If labour’s zeolites believe winning the election is better than euphoria I believe they will be disappointed. The reds might hate National but at least National will do something. Anything. They mightn’t get it finished but they’ll get it started. Jase says any normal human being would reject the Collins effect. jase feels he is human and most likely 35%+ of the voting population isn’t. Yeah you’re superior Jase.

  13. @ Pierre
    The best way to boost the body’s defence against the virus is to increase your vitamin C intake. Most gardens lack Magnesium which plants need to synthesise vit. C. Your dog &/or cat & most other animals synthesise multiple grams vit. C in their bodies. We humans can’t do that. In brief, I’ve taken 20,000 mg down to (now) 15,000 mg vit. C in divided doses every day since August 1983. I’ve not experienced one episode of flu nor one cold since 1983. There’s more than ample info re the benefit of much higher intake of vit. C on the Internet. Read about Dr Fred Klenner & vit. C for starters. Doctoryourself.com is another valuable website for relevant info. It is stupid for “doctors” to say that men need 90mg/vit. C daily & women need 70mg vit. C daily. A goat a bit heavier than me makes at least 13,000mg vit. C in its body every daily when it’s peaceably nibbling grass in its’ paddock. When nasty youths throw green grapefruit at it, its vit. C synthesis rapidly rises to 100,000mg in response to the animal’s stress.
    I am a very knowledgeable NZRN – nurses aren’t taught anything re above. Nor are doctors, who know only to write on a piece of paper Rx & name of a toxic, poisonous chemical called a “drug”!

    • Thanks for the advice, but it does not do it for many. Make contact with the medical staff in the US. Every possibility exhausted and people of all ages are now dying all over the place. THe worst it leaves permanent scars or damage to organs and tissues which on current indications will never recover. Scary

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