What the activist Left need to do right now in the wake of Labour’s mighty win


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.

The National Party campaign was a train wreck dumpster fire that collided with a school bus that exploded next to a pet store.

It was a disaster night for the Right.

With NZ rewarding Labour with a majority Government, Jacinda not only has a mandate for change, but she has an obligation and responsibility for change.

The pandemic is the first wave of unstable late stage capitalism where the biosphere simply breaks down and causes enormous damage.

TDB Recommends NewzEngine.com

The climate crisis is in acceleration mode. It only gets worse with every passing month.

The pandemic is a symptom of that climate crisis. It is generated by species transfer due to over crowding and habitat destruction.

Radical change is required, I know that is frightening, but we have no options now and if Labour have been entrusted with a Democratic Majority, then that transformative change requires an immediate harvest to sustain it.

People are frightened, people are stressed out, change is uncomfortable and painful for many.

Kindness has been our strength.

We have an urgent need for kindness right now.

With Labour gaining a democratic majority, the rest of the activist Left have to move right now to exert pressure on Labour to pass some immediate change in their first 100 days.

If it doesn’t happen in the first 100 days, the neoliberal State stymies the change.

The activist Left need to gather for a Summer Hui of Hope, agree on a platform and demand Labour push it through.

Here are some ideas.

-Lower Voting Age to 16
To strengthen the franchise of democracy we need to expand it to 16 year olds. They will live with the realities of the climate crisis, they need a voice at the table. The naked truth is that Political Parties will only listen to their concerns when there are votes in it. At a time when our democracy is going to be stressed most, we need young peoples drive and vision to consistently challenge the foot dragging.

-Double Welfare Payments
We have been kind to the newly unemployed by providing them with a welfare payment that is twice that f the ‘normal’ benefit. This has painfully reminded everyone of the hurt being unemployed generates. We must be kind right now. This pandemic isn’t ending until there is a vaccine, and that’s not going to be until the end of 2022 – and that’s the best case scenario. We need to lift ALL benefits to the higher level until there is a vaccine universally available. We can not pretend this economic downturn doesn’t damage the poorest amongst us hardest. We must support them during this pandemic or the social damage will be explosive.

-Free mental health counselling services
The stress that is rupturing throughout our communities comes on top of a mental health landscape that is blighted by some of the worst stats. We simply need to expand counselling and make it free. Not targeted. Free. It is incredibly important that these services are all universal because that’s the only way to ensure the need is being met. Free counselling services are one of the ways the State can safeguard the mental health of the nation during this crisis.

-Free Public Transport for registered Hop Cards
One of the problems with the public transport system during the current lockdown is that unregistered hop cards provide no info to the track and trace teams. Make all public transport free but only with a registered Hop card. This would reduce costs to public transport users while providing essential information during an outbreak.

-Overstayer Amnesty
We have over 11 000 overstayers and tens of thousands more migrant workers and tourists currently in NZ. Until a vaccine is available, we must have an overstayer amnesty, we can’t have effective track and trace if people are too frightened to come froward. Just pass an amnesty for everyone currently here. It’s not right to force people out of a country that doesn’t have Covid into a world full of it. That’s not us as a people.

-30 000 new green State Houses plus rent to own options for state tenants
The only way the failed rental market can self correct is if the desperation is removed from the bottom of the market. Remove beneficiaries and the working poor out of the private rental market and the slumlords will be forced to upgrade their slums. Provide a State House for life with a means to own that house via rent to own methods and we could lift an entire class of NZers out of poverty. Building the state houses in the most sustainable way is an immediate need.

-Freeze on all rents until a vaccine is available
The amputation of vast chunks of our economy can’t be ignored. Expecting renters of commercial or residential properties to pay more in rentals is free market capitalism at its most broken. This moment requires an agreed understanding that the rents don’t go up until a vaccine is available, and when I say agreed, I mean the renters. Landlords will get told what we’ve agreed to.

-Carbon neutral with agricultural emissions included by 2030
The current plan to be carbon neutral by 2050 is a mockery of the problem we face with the climate crisis. I appreciate the climate crisis is an issue in of itself, but the urgency that it demands requires a change of gear expressed in the first 100 days. Bring it forward to 2030. Include agricultural emissions. History is watching.

-Feed the Kids – free breakfast and lunches across all schools
Feed all our children healthy food that will provide them with the best fuel to learn while building community with the breaking of bread daily. It is obscene that we aren’t doing this already. This isn’t about letting parents off from feeding their children, it is providing the basic level of kindness we extend to all our children.

-Remove GST from fresh fruit and vegetables
This truncated economy and elongated hardship requires changes that are immediate and long lasting. Removing GST from fruit and vegetables is a way of making good choices at stressful times easier. That’s what the State is supposed to provide. Reward people for making better choices.

-Sugar Tax
These sugar pimps who push an addictive and lethal drug must be hit with a 20% tax. Everyone has to help pay for the damage they do and it’s time Big Sugar paid for their damage.

-Free Dental for all children & beneficiaries
This is urgent and needed now.

-Digital tax on Facebook/Google used to fund NZ Journalism
We have seen an explosion of conspiracy theories damage the credibility of our democracy. This is being driven via Facebook and Google, two international entities that currently gut the mainstream media’s revenue streams. We must join with Australia and hit them with a media tax which is ring fenced and ploughed into NZ journalism alongside a major boost for public broadcasting including a youth radio station and 24hour TV News service.

-Financial Transaction Tax
The wealthy speculate off the exploitation of greed. Tax them with a Financial Transaction Tax, bring in huge sums of revenue from those who speculate so we can afford these social programs and actively attempt to rebalance the inequalities.

-Immediate expansion of State capacity
35 years of amputation under neoliberalism has left a state barely able to function. The NZ public sector employs 295 800, the pandemic has highlighted what that shortage of capacity does. We need a wholesale boost to the capacity of the State so that we can handle this ongoing issue and have the capacity to deal with the next crisis.

-10 sick days
Just do it.

History is watching. The Left need to force Jacinda to implement change or it will be another 3 years of tepid policy that does nothing transformative.

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  1. There will be no radical ‘transformation’, Jacinda is terrified of being unpopular. Tinker around the edges will be the MO for next 3 years.
    Remember, she doesn’t NEED the Greens, they will be invited in as a courtesy not a necessity and as such are in no position to demand policy, if the Greens had any integrity they should sit on the cross benches, but they won’t.

    • The benches equal crossfire and you end up dead. The only place for minor parties is on the outer edges. The Greens have the most integrity of any party. They ARE a left wing party, like or lump it, feel free to lump it

        • The money was not for the school as such, it was to provide a project that could provide people with work building it. Shaw acknowledged it wasn’t a good look, bet it would not have ruffled one feather if it was some other project.
          Got anything else?

      • Fold Art: Davidson et al telling the traumatised Muslim community that white New Zealanders were responsible for the terrible Mosque massacres, integrity ?
        Far from it. Not even true.

        Since when was hijacking the grief of others for political purposes, and unnecessarily adding to their massive anxiety, an indication of integrity ? Not now, not ever. It stank.
        Not the politics of kindness.

      • The fact that she ruled out capital gains tax and wealth tax is all the proof you need that she is interested only in the baubles of power.
        She is simply a more popular version of Winston Peters.
        Disgusting but unsurprising and certainly not what any of us hoped we would get.

        • “Disgusting but unsurprising and certainly not what any of us hoped we would get.”

          Such a ridiculous statement. You are in a small minority of voters so in fact this is exactly what MANY wanted.
          The use of the word disgusting can be attributed to National, just think Michelle Boag and the Jamie Lee Ross tapes.
          I understand your disappointment but look internally and you’ll find the answers to Nationals catastrophic loss.

          • Just look at Nationals policies and how much of our public assets have been privatised for greedy off shore investors.
            National have been instrumental in creating the economic divide and poverty.

  2. a good win from Labour and Jacinda this time round

    and preferred , not because of anything outrageously ‘ transformative they’ve done but because i got sick of National – barking , dog whistling , smearing – was gross to see and a useless waste of time

    well b4 Covid hit they should have come out with good economic polcy , any policy but refused to , Simons obsession’s with Jacinda got in the way .

    nice of the Dalai Lama to offer his congrats but he needs to turn his attention back to his troubled nation and NZ needs to get on with it , the problems here aren’t getting any smaller .

    also a good charge leading up to this election from – TDB

    • turn his attention back to his troubled nation

      ?? “His nation” was invaded and overrun, remember?
      (By the same lot who would take us too if we gave them half a chance.)

  3. “Jacinda not only has a mandate for change, but she has an obligation and responsibility for change.”

    Such wishful thinking. Jacinda has an absolute majority because she’s won over the swing voters who voted for Key year after year. They voted for her because they believed she would continue the Clark-Key-Ardern era of “progressive” neoliberalism, and because the Nats are currently such a mess. Sad but true.

    As for your list of demands of the new government, strangely absent is a general roll-back of user-pays neoliberalism. Lower the voting age to 16 is just daft (wasn’t it you just the other day pointing out that adolescents’ brains aren’t fully developed?). Doubling benefits isn’t “transformational” – it’s just propping up a system that doesn’t work. A tick for free public transport, and another tick for dropping GST – but why not just drop GST completely, as it’s a tax that disproportionately hurts the poor. But as the coffers are empty, GST would need to be replaced by upping income tax on high earners – plus maybe a capital gains tax.

    • Yes – Let’s transform the lives of the poor and drop GST completely – GST on a child’s one pair of shoes is disgraceful.

      The urgent and the unknown needs of climate change and current environment degradation will need paying for.

      The urgent needs of a national health system upgrade will need paying for too.

      Buying back a few of our income generating assets will also need a bit of paying for.

      How about a CGT, family home exempt ? What’s the problem with that ? If it is the word that is unkind, they can find another way to word it.

      How about unconcealing the wealth hidden in trusts and off-shore payments, and extracting a bit of that ?
      That’s not tax, it’s rationalisation.

      Trains on rails instead of trucks on roads worked well in the past and would work well again too.

      Cooking and nutrition classes for kids in schools. That worked well in the past and would also work again too.

      These things can be done.

    • it’s just propping up a system that doesn’t work.

      I agree that the Dept – Ministry of Social Development it is euphemistically called, – should be attacked with a wrecking ball – demolished – thrown out and replaced with something much simpler and more user-friendly, easier to understand and to apply. It is an antiquated, convoluted, multi-headed monster at the moment, a relic of a bygone era.

  4. Well Martyn, still no mention on your list of PERMACULTURE AND POWERDOWN, the only strategies that are going to make any real difference to emissions and to feeding the populace healthy food, as the global financial-economic system slowly (or quickly) collapses.

    Charles Hugh Smith has produced yet another outstanding article (he’s managing two or three outstanding articles a week at the moment!)

    ‘Whether we realize it or not, we’re responding with passive acceptance of oblivion.

    You’ve undoubtedly heard rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic as an analogy for the futility of approving policy tweaks to address systemic crises. I’ve used the Titanic as an analogy to explain the fragility of our financial system and the “glancing blow” of the pandemic:

    Why Our Financial System Is Like the Titanic (March 15, 2016)

    Coronavirus and the “Unsinkable” Titanic Analogy (January 29, 2020)

    But there’s a powerful analogy you haven’t heard before. To understand the analogy, we first need to recap the tragedy’s basic set-up.

    On April 14, 1912, the liner Titanic, considered unsinkable due to its watertight compartments, struck a glancing blow against a massive iceberg on that moonless, weirdly calm night. In the early hours of April 15, the great ship broke in half and sank, ending the lives of the majority of its passengers and crew.

    Of the 2,208 passengers and crew onboard, 1,503 perished and 705 survived. The lifeboats had a maximum capacity of 1,178, so some 475 people died unnecessarily. Passengers of the Titanic (wikipedia)

    The initial complacency of the passengers and crew after the collision is another source of analogies relating to humanity’s near-infinite capacity for denial.

    The class structure of the era was enforced by the authorities–the ship’s officers. As the situation grew visibly threatening, the First Class passengers were herded into the remaining lifeboats while the steerage/Third Class passengers–many of them immigrants–were mostly kept below decks. Officers were instructed to enforce this class hierarchy with their revolvers.

    Two-thirds of all passengers died, but the losses were not evenly distributed: 39% of First Class passengers perished, 58% of Second Class passengers lost their lives and 76% of Third Class passengers did not survive.

    Rudimentary calculations by the ship’s designer, who was on board to oversee the maiden voyage, revealed the truth to the officers: the ship would sink and there was no way to stop it. The ship was designed to survive four watertight compartments being compromised, and could likely stay afloat if five were opened to the sea, but not if six compartments were flooded. Water would inevitably spill over into adjacent compartments in a domino-like fashion until the ship sank.

    What did the authorities do with this knowledge? Stripped of niceties, they passively accepted oblivion as the outcome and devoted their resources to enforcing the class hierarchy and the era’s gender chivalry: 80% of male passengers perished, 25% of female passengers lost their lives.

    The loading of passengers into lifeboats was so poorly managed that only 60% of the lifeboat capacity was filled.

    What if the officers had boldly accepted the inevitability of the ship sinking early on and devised a plan to minimize the loss of life? It would not have takes any extraordinary leap of creativity to organize the crew and passenger volunteers to strip the ship of everything that floated–wooden deck chairs, etc.–and lash them together into rafts. Given the calm seas that night and the freezing water, just keeping people above water would have been enough.

    Rather than promote the absurd charade that the ship was fine, just fine, when time was of the essence, the authorities could have rounded up the women and children and filled every seat on lifeboats.

    Of the 1,030 people who could not be placed in a lifeboat, 890 were crew members, including about 25 women. The crew members were almost all in the prime of life. If anyone could survive several hours on a partially-submerged raft, it would have been the crew. (The first rescue ship arrived about two hours after the Titanic sank.)

    Would this hurried effort to save everyone on board have succeeded? At a minimum, it would have saved an additional 475 souls via a careful loading of the lifeboats to capacity, and if the makeshift rafts had offered any meaningful flotation at all, many more lives would have been saved.

    Rather than devote resources to maintaining the pretense of safety and order, what if the ship’s leaders had focused their response around answering a simple question: what was needed for people to survive a freezing night once the lifeboats were filled and the ship sank?

    I think you see the analogy to the present. Our leadership, such as it is, is devoting resources to maintaining the absurd pretense that everything will magically re-set to September 2019 if we just print enough money and bail out the financial Aristocracy.

    Whether we realize it or not, we’re responding with passive acceptance of oblivion. The economy and social order were precariously fragile before the pandemic, and now the fragilities are unraveling. We need to start thinking beyond pretense and PR.’

    And so it has been with the Adern government -all pretence and PR, and no substance (National being the same but worse, of course.)

    So here we are, as passengers on the ‘NZ Titanic’, with the captain and crew refusing to accept that the ship is sinkable (and indeed already taking on massive amounts of water) and insisting we continue on the course that has got us into so much trouble, i.e. rampant consumerism, and industrialism in general, whilst kowtowing to banks, corporations and opportunists.

    All we can say is, it’s just as bad or worse throughout most of the world.


    • AFKTT I find solace in much of your comments. To add further to the Titanic analogy, that cruise liner sunk because the bulkheads did not go fully to the top, in other words, they cut corners in the design and build processes. This allowed the spill over from one compartment to the next. The forward compartments flooded, spilling over to the adjacent compartments, the bow sunk, the stern raised high out of the water until the super structure broke in half and sank into the murky depths of the Atlantic.
      If the Titanic is neo liberalism, with all its design flaws, and the belief it is unsinkable (too big to fail), and the bow and stern represents the great divide of inequality, we are seeing the neo Liberal Titanic take on too much water (debt), to stay afloat, not enough life rafts (bailouts) to save everyone, not enough buoyancy (resources) to keep it afloat and the stern sinking (financial crisis/stockmarket crash) and the bow rises up out of the ocean (civil unrest, riots, uprisings) and the whole thing snap in half (for example, civil war in America) and the entire system sunk with few survivors.

  5. Adern is still the same useless, weak twit she was last term.
    She has neither the proverbial balls to attempt all this nor the intelligence to enact it.

  6. Congratulations to all those Labour and Green supporters . I hope for all of you and the whole country that the support and trust you put into Jacinda and her party come to fruition .

  7. Congratulations to the politicians who won and those who also fought for what they believed in. Interestingly the left success comes with a virtually closed off border which shows the influence that was being exerted on NZ democracy via ‘NZ” media and paid for campaigns (if the $100k ‘donations” for list MP seats in Natz, and free overseas trips for Mayors giving out resource consents and selling off council assets, was not enough to work out that there was strong influences at work).

  8. Jacinda and Labour seem to have found a happy spot for Kiwi’s (which Chris Trotter astutely describes as “Jacinda will keep us moving to the same place”).

    Yes the same place could be better but when NZ politicians seem to go for massive transformative changes things go wrong for Kiwi’s (Rogernomics followed by Bill & John’s low wage economy) so maybe nearly 50% of voters now just want to vote to stay where they are, not actually be worse off that easily happens when a politician goes in a radical direction in NZ.

  9. Final thoughts on the 100 days.

    Nothing for the environment.

    Some of these ‘wish lists” seem more like an echo chambers of woke such as allowing illegal immigrants an amnesty. Yep this illegal immigrant just killed a baby, https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/revealed-social-worker-downgrades-cyfs-response-weeks-before-baby-royal-killed-by-surender-mehrok-in-tauranga/KVZIXNAAATWICCPUDST67GSQIU/ but the woke are more interested in his rights! Crazy!

    We deserve decent people to settle in NZ to create a safe environment here for all. We also need to spend our energy on those criminals already in NZ that need rehabilitation and housing and jobs, not a tick box culture to increase criminal demand, led by exploiters, that seems to be encouraging the worst types to come to NZ and then we can’t get them out again.

  10. Or just demand some real socialism – such as the development of a clean green democratic worker coop sector using government loans with a target of it being 50% of the economy by 2030.

  11. None of that will happen. Ardern will not want to upset the large numbers of former National voters who have gifted her a majority. She will straddle the middle hoping to hold onto those voters for the next few elections. Unfortunately for her National will rise again and we on the left will be in a similar position to Nationals current calamity. It’s just how it works in NZ, the tide comes in and out. So I say use your majority now before it inevitably disappears, she won’t though. Labour is bedded to neoliberalism and incrementalism and if you are all honest, you know it too. Another term of National lite…

    • Sadly, I agree. The Greens might be unprofessional and have potty mouth, but I’m sure they would at least try and do something about the Housing crisis and Poverty and all the rest. Not so Labour and National. It’s just dumb and dumber.

  12. National will only rise again if they rid themselves of the dirty politics style, the horrid internal fighting, power at all costs and arrogance. The world has changed from that style of politics and we will see this again at the upcoming USA elections, that I have no doubt.

    • They will rise again no matter what. Ardern is currently just the flavour of the month. Let’s face it she hasn’t won this through policy delivery.

      • And what did Key divery in his first 3 years Mickey? And are you saying he was only reelected because of the Christchurch earthquake?


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