The danger of Jacinda’s NeoKindness – What does Labour’s staggering win mean for the Left?

34
2011

With Jacinda Ardern, we have reached peak Mother of Dragons with the mildest dragons ever.

She has won the mandate of an epoch with the most timid nothing policies in the world.

10 days sick leave? Who at the CTU mixed the weakest nothings on earth with hollow wishes, divided it, watered it down and then came up with 10 sick days as a response to the pandemic?

I mean, duh, yes 10 sick days, but that should have been the starting point, not the end.

The Green Party result doesn’t show support for the Greens, it shows Labour voters appalled at how timid Labour policy was.

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Last term Jacinda defined ‘transformative’ as whatever Winston allowed her to do, this term let’s see how Jacinda defines ‘mandate.

Most academic research into psychology tells us that human beings, in moments of crisis, regardless of being right or left, become immediately altruistic.

It’s like a switch goes on in our brains, a reset, where we reach out and help one another.

The reason no one in NZ punditry appreciated the power of this solidarity from the universal unique event of the lockdown is because the 35 year neoliberal experiment in individual uber allas culture (fractured a billion more times by identity politics and the grim wheel of intersectionist grief) made us forget what solidarity actually felt like.

The self sacrifice many felt by the lockdown played out differently. For the vulnerable, it was the first time the State had reached out to actually help them and for the middle classes they felt that vulnerability for the first time ever.

The vulnerable welcomed the housing, the wage subsidy and public kindness while the middle classes marvelled at their own courage as akin to storming the beaches of Gallipoli.

This solidarity has forged a loyalty with Jacinda that has reset the psychology of the electorate in a tectonic fashion.

If you ask the average Kiwi who is voting Labour this year to name just one Labour Party policy, I would put money down on the vast majority of them answering with, ‘Jacinda saved NZ?’

When your policy platform is seen by the vast majority of people as ‘saving our lives’, you have built an emotional 20 lane multi level motorway suspension bridge towards a mandate that demands use.

The structural reforms that need to be embarked upon within the neoliberal State will face immediate and toxic resistance, the next Government must over run that resistance by dramatically expanding the size of the State and drowning out toxic public service workers with a huge influx of a new culture.

Much of the neoliberal free market hegemonic structure is a threat to us now, not just a false promise. This first wave of pandemic is a startling insight to the climate crisis future of instability we face, Labour are about to be rewarded with a mandate that they have no choice but to build from.

The Greens and Labour need to have a summit after the election with the Māori Party and thrash out a 100 day plan that will see a raft of reforms and upgrades that are passed immediately to begin building that new future.

This is a once in a generation event, we must have a once in a  generation response.

Anything less is a vile betrayal of that political loyalty.

The huge win is a fundamental shift in the psychology of the NZ electorate – Labour won back all the female vote they lost to Key for 9 years and the younger demographic dynamics have ended Boomer control of NZ elections.

Jacinda and Grant are cautious politicians whose achievements have been woeful. We can’t replace neoliberalism with neokindness!

 

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34 COMMENTS

  1. The temptation for Labour will be to be overly cautious out of fear of losing the National votes they have gained this election

    • From your link
      “These assumptions are critical. In many countries a holding period of less than 5 years results in capital gains being taxable. But a longer holding period often results in no capital gains tax being payable. For more details see the Data FAQ”
      If you buy and sell a house within 2 years in NZ (not 5) you are deemed to be a property dealer and taxed on the deal at the current rate of income tax. The difference is only in the name of the tax.Ie we already have a CGT if you analyse it .
      D J S

  2. Yes indeed to all of the above, but as noted, with Labour gaining a ‘govern alone’ status, it makes things harder for the Greens and Maori party to bargain. Labour is in a dangerous position if they do not enact transformative change…. unless as some have said they can use the Greens as they did NZ First as a scapegoat. The difference now is it is the Greens who will be pushing for that transformation, so there can be no excuses. As others have said Labour would be wise to bring both the Greens and Maori party to the table to prevent dissidence from those party’s.

    Originally , I disliked Robertson and Adern because I thought they smacked of the Blairite ‘third way’. Well, I have changed that position in regards Adern at least. She has a winning personality, a clam demeanor under crisis and gives people hope.

    So too did Tony Blair at his height.

    But there comes a time when hope must be translated into practice . And promises made to be delivered on. Even covid19 is no excuse as all govts around the world are coping with it. We are not unique in that regard. Therefore, vital issues such as homelessness and inadequate numbers of housing stock, unrealistic wages which fall far short of the costs of living, core infrastructures, legislation such as the Reserve Bank Act, and the appalling lack of workers in having no collective voice because of decades of neo liberal legislation designed to destroy trade unionism,…must be on the table and taken seriously. These are but a small smattering of urgently needed reforms. There are many , many others.

    Racketeering such as Australian banks here on our soil must also be looked at, with taking our a whopping 6 billion per year in profits, – profits that should have stayed in our economy and gone towards financing our own domestic needs, – with the creation of an exclusively NZ bank that enable people to get into and buy homes, for Kiwi’s by Kiwis.

    In short, – the steady dismantling of a system called neo liberalism that has impoverished this country and delivered that wealth to offshore interests. It is our wealth, and not the preserve of a small group who think it is their right to parcel it out to their overseas friends and colleagues.

    Whether the Labour govt has the spine to call ‘time out’ to these rort’s is yet to be seen. But if they don’t, – the disillusionment generated by promises never intended to be honoured will soon find its way to the ballot box in 2023.

  3. Maybe some of that or even all of it, but the international money-lenders, corporations opportunists are still in control, and will remain in control until:

    1. the NZ government takes direct control of the local branch of global finance (probably about a 0.1% chance of that happening)

    or

    2. the system continues its increasingly-rapid implosion and collapses to the point of nothing much working any more (100% certain, though the timing is not 100% certain), after which the current insanity will end rather abruptly.

    3. enough people abandon the system to cause it to not function any more (possible, but unlikely, given the current level of ignorance and complacency).

    I see the Arctic ice cover has reached a new record low level for the time of year, with catastrophic ramifications.

    • “1. the NZ government takes direct control of the local branch of global finance (probably about a 0.1% chance of that happening)”.
      Maybe the issuance of fiat money by the RB the Govt. is said to be borrowing to tide us over the lockdown and loss of the tourist industry is breaking the ice in this .(Not the Arctic ice).
      It is a very significant departure from business as usual and is in effect having our RB create some of our money for us instead of the private banks creating it as a debt. I don’t think owing it to our own reserve bank counts as a debt, and some of it is being issued as wage subsidies so is getting close to a UBI.
      The need for money being created and put into the hands of those who need it will only increase and become more obvious as the system develops.
      Your perceived imminent financial crash which does indeed seem inevitable but if the reaction of the powers that be continues to be ever greater issues of QE (Which the RB facility is our example of) then it might not crash so much as erupt , as some of the QE money starts eventually finds it’s way into the real economy, or as with the wage subsidy scheme is applied directly to the real economy, and causes hyper inflation as in Venezuela or Zimbabwe.
      D J S

  4. Happy to see Jacinda’s epic win. Voted for Rimmer myself, because I had a gut feeling Labour was on course for a major victory and so wanted to have as strong as possible opposition (a requirement of a healthy democracy is holding the Government to account).
    Hopefully Jacinda doesn’t follow through on her Orwellian threats to stifle free speech.

    • The Government needs to be held to account across the board. Being held to account in education by an outfit whose intent is to sell education off as a mere commodity will be fun.

      Act want charter schools, no school zoning, voucher education so I guess any criticisms they have to schooling will have answers in their grand plan.

      I guess Act voters are all for those things aren’t they, they wouldn’t be that thick they just voted for them for gun reasons would they? Hell if they did maybe it’s because of the education system they came through.

    • So great no one has noticed it, Davis is useless. The only reason that he will continue to be the deputy is the fact that he is Maori.

      I fear for what will happen over the next 3 years. I voted Green they have sound good policies on moving people out of poverty. Frankly the chances of Ardern moving from hand wringing to actually make transformational change are zilch – the ‘cost’ of covid will be the reason they say it can’t happen this time round.

  5. Firstly congrats to Jacinda Ardern for winning this monumental victory. The best woman and party won on the night. Legendary. And for Judith Collins, please resign and vanish, your day, your tactics, morals and ethics and your ilk should be consigned to the cesspool of history.

    However…a heap of people I know have all said the same. They have this time, given Labour their very conditional and at times reluctant vote.

    They were pissed that Labour had utterly failed on housing as it is way too important to pussyfoot about with and do very little and just hope for the best. Our housing is now beyond crisis and worse than under National. Its a patient in intensive care in a critical condition. Housing as it stands equals growing poverty, stress and an ever-growing risk of financial implosion. It’s now propped up by cheap money, greed and gambling the bubble won’t burst. Dearer housing equals an inability to afford rent let alone buy anything else and to ever get ones own place and hope to retire when you can no longer work without fearing the street is where one is destined. Dearer housing equals inequity and suffering. From the reprehensible loathsome real estate industry to greedy investors, the entire model needs tearing down and starting again. And Labour, you cannot ever build enough state houses the way our busted market is going!

    Also a lot of disappointment in transport failures, the worst being light rail. Didn’t start that promise, just gave up. So how about showing as much loyalty to your voters as the PM has done with hopeless Phil Twyford and deliver!

    And that feeds into climate change. Practically no leadership from government shown for this generations “nuclear-free moment”.

    Labour has been given a second once-only chance to deliver. Voters will turn their backs if last terms timidness and failures to deliver takes hold again.

    And a message to the Greens. Stick to core your business. You only got back in because of Jacinda Ardern and in spite of your bumbling fuckwittery that you mistake for politics, that you lot think you are above. You owe her big time!

    • Your last para Xray, applies to all of us. People have bought into the Right-wing narrative, which is disappointing. The bigger picture is different again. We’re all being given a fantastic opportunity. The more we understand this and appreciate it, the more we’ll be able to fulfil our roles in bringing about significant, lasting change.

  6. Why is your go to position: expand the state?

    Yes, we need greatly expanded institutions to achieve social and economic goals but you are implying, if you mean more government institutions of the type we have now, expand bureaucratic hierarchy and expand power over people not power of people.

    Your “go to” would be more consequential and long lasting if it was a call to move rapidly to much greater democracy and much greater local democracy.

    For example, by all means set up a neo-Ministry of Works to tackle housing but set it up with full industrial democracy so that it takes its orders directly from its workers and the communities they live in, and only with reference to government policy goals. Whatever the result, it couldn’t be worse than anything attempted already to improve affordable housing. Not that I’m saying that the housing problem is a supply issue – you know it isn’t when 10% of NZ houses are unoccupied at the last census.

    Similarly, change the “state sector” to eliminate bureaucratic hierarchy and to operate according to some model of industrial democracy.

    At the same time, set up a Ministry of Industrial Democracy and a Development Bank to build a worker cooperative sector up to at least 30% of the NZ economy.

    If we did these things, we would fend off the present neoliberal orthodoxy for decades to come.

    If Labour just expands government without fundamental change, it will be rolled back soon enough. You know that.

  7. In the election speech there was a purposeful shoutout to her “new (National) voters”, and about needing to see everyone’s point of view etc etc. This sounds more centrist than revolutionary. I expect the next 3 years to be more tweak, tinkle and selective sprinkle than revolutionary change.

    If they are serious about fixing housing there are things they could do RIGHT now with the swipe of a pen. They have the numbers!! Will there be more excuses??

    1. Change the Reserve Bank mandate, and pronto!
    They could change NOW the decades long Neoliberal Reserve Bank mandate to only target CPI inflation but leave asset price inflation (in particular land) unabated. In fact current Adrian Orr policy is pouring jet fuel on asset price inflation while the current govt merrily watches on.

    Lending practises need to change from too much lending to investors for property and not enough for productive business.

    LVR restrictions for property investors has been completely removed by Adrian Orr under this governments watch. This has to change pronto!

    Journalists need to be asking the question of Grant and Jacinda.
    Will they keep in place the RB’s current mandate which is clearly driving up house prices. This question never came up at all in the leaders debate. Asset price inflation needs to be part of the RB mandate along with CPI, and also who the banks are lending to, and what for.

    2. Restrict property investors to new build houses, NOT existing housing stock!

    Existing housing stock should not be available to investors and speculators. They should only be allowed to invest in new houses. Again this could be changed with a stroke of a pen. They have the numbers!! Will there be excuses??

    Journalists need to ask why we continue to allow our limited existing homes to be bought up by investors and speculators with easy credit afforded by the Reserve Bank. This question never came up in the leaders debate.

    3. Tax Ghost houses.

    Ghost houses should not be allowed in the cities. Tax them like they are doing in Canada. We have a rental crisis, investors and foreign offshore owners should not be able to have housing sitting idly empty appreciating from tax free capital gains, while we have homeless, rents going through the roof, and expensive ambulance at the bottom of the cliff motel accommodation.

    This could be changed with the stroke of a pen. Will Labour do anything? They have the numbers!! Will there be more excuses? Journalists will you ask the questions?

    This was not brought up by journalists in the leaders debate. Journalists need to be bringing this up continually. Supposedly there are almost 40000 ghost houses in Auckland alone. This is rediculous, what is Labour going to do about it?

    4. Immigration.

    Immigration got very lightly touched in the leaders debate.. We can’t have a repeat of the last two decades of out of control immigration for short term “GDP” sugar hits. “Temporary” work and overseas student visas has now grown to a 300,000 annual “norm”. We have a rental and housing crisis. We have stagnating wages while housing costs are going through the roof.

    The above is all “paper” policy and can be done quickly, and would have fast and immediate effect, but will they do any of it? Will they be challenged to do any of it? Or will they make more excuses?

    The longer fixes are what they tend to talk about of course.

    5. State and community houses. Build, build, build.
    Yes state housing needs to be ramped up. Build, build, build. This should be the number one “infrastructure priority. Get some smart people in to look at new innovative ways to get building faster and more efficiently.

    Let’s keep moving! Yes, from the current crawl, and no more excuses??

  8. Beware of the the myth – the propaganda on behalf of elite wealth and power – that the Ardern Labour government in NZ is socialist. It’s not by any definition. It’s hardly social democratic and only barely “nanny state”ish. It sits squarely in the neoliberal capitalist orthodoxy of decades that is exacerbating gross inequality, destroying the environment, and eliminating any chance that humanity and other species on Earth have of a decent future. (As it happens, that economic orthodoxy was ushered into NZ by an earlier deceptive so called Labour government, under the influence of the Chicago school of Economics, while pretending to be independent of the US empire with its anti nuclear stance.) Do not be fooled by Ardern. She is no Authoritarian and, judged by her actions in government, she is also no socialist, communist or Marxist to anyone who knows what these words mean. You will not see any kind of system change under this government.

  9. While we are polar opposites on the political spectrum.

    I agree with your sentiments.
    No is the time to actually DO something for NZ!!!
    She has the mandate
    Unfortunately I dont belive she has the leadership ability to “”get things done” if the past 3 years are anything to go by.
    To much feel good and dont rock the boat.

    As a true leader you have to focus on the goals and not get distracted by “”you poor things”” who pop up all over the place with their pet beefs.

    As I said. Good article

  10. Labour has total power and control. The Greens won’t get a look in. I expect more of the same with some arrogance thrown in. Jacinda will look after those middle voters that switched to Labour, all the rest will be tinkering. If we want change it will have to be bottom up. Using the Unions is a no brainer.

  11. It was a well deserved win by Labour . I am interested to hear from a Labour supporter how they feel about Kelvin Davis. His speech seemed strange and being aware of Mullers mental stay unbecoming for a deputy leader of a party with the power to rule alone .

  12. Well I’m ‘rapt’ even though in all modesty I’d predicted just such an outcome.
    But what I’m hoping most is that Labour politicians recognise that now the “handbrake” of NZ1 is “goneburger” in that space going forward, the handbrake that is big portions of a neoliberal MUDDLE/SENIOR public service still exists.
    AND that the relationship politicians have with senior public servants is something quite DIFFERENT from the relationship MUDDLE/SENIOR public servants have with its “public”. (Your know… … that “public” they’re there to serve. The hint should really be in the name – call it ‘civil servant’ if you wish). I also hope that they realise there are existing processes and procedures to weed out the worst of them, even though they’re being undermined.
    (There are people that should have gone a long long time ago based on things like engaging T&C to spy, demographic profiling, OT failures, ……. etc., etc., etc.,).

  13. One step back, two forward to make it correct. We are now two steps forward, no mistake, these forward are going to be educated, how come we should have half walked back.
    Liked the music, of the fool leader, with hard line beliefs about Capital, that would rapture all god inclined profit selfishness, act, for deed,WAGNER, did they choose that as a intro, or did some casual exploited worker at the Tele station do. VERY Hitlertarian, clever if it a..

  14. Well that was fun y’all.
    See you all in three years. In the meantime I look forward to the completion of all those Shovel Ready projects which are of course ready right now to put the shovel in….or not.

    • Good luck with ACT, Herman. I’m guessing Frank’s wishing he’d done the same as you did. He’s still in recovery out there somewhere 🙂

  15. Labour was never neoliberal. It was nationals Machiavellian confederates who infected Labour who were neoliberal.
    Roger douglas was never ‘Labour’ nor was prebble, moore etc. They were Blue-as money fetishist natzo’s
    It was a national party crony plot to get their hands on our shit and leave the very party who, by tax payer contributions, built up the capital in our aforementioned shit in discredit so the Natzo’s and their cronies cooked a win-win plan. Once inside labour they could scheme to get our stuff and things, make off with them then leave their host political party hollowed out and bereft.
    It’s taken over 36 years for that truth to come out and for us to figure out what it was that they did to us. And they must NOT be able to waltz off with our money while leaving a trail of societal destruction in their fat, greedy wake.
    And do you know why that is? It’s simple. We have nothing left to pillage. They’ve got it all.
    Apart from ACC and a couple of third rate assets the likes of fay, richwhite, gibb, chandler, kiddy porn brierly, hart and others can’t be arsed to chase because they’re now old and decrepit and are as rich as fuck anyway.
    A true post neoliberal labour will chase those scum down. The next three years should see inquiries and arrests. It will see a revitalised SFO now free of Pin Stripes Peters the anchor dragging it down and we should see where our money’s gone and why we have poverty and homelessness in ever sharpening focus.
    As for farming, my favourite axe forever on the grindstone.
    Farming will flourish. Farming will become organic and regenerative and we’ll feed anyone who’s got the money to buy agrarian product without being rorted by every bankster, liar, lazy opportunist lawyer, accountant and supermarket cartel. And since nearly 8 billion people globally need to eat a couple of times a day at least, our farmers should do very, very well indeed.
    However:
    There is one thing left that the natzo scum can, and will sell if left to their own devices.
    The very ground we walk on.
    The gaping hole that Peter theil strolled through must be plugged and the fucker/s who enabled that must be given a decent kicking.

    • Remember though CB that the whole labour parliamentary wing including Hellen Clarke but excepting Jim Anderton closed ranks around that group and the programme. Not the party itself so much but you couldn’t get a discussion with the party top brass either. Jim once described the third degree he was given by the whole of the MP lineup to try to force him into going along with the programme. They were all guilty in the top echelon.
      D J S

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