Shaken and Stirred: The Left Reacts To Judith Collins’ Race-Based Politicking.


THE REACTION to Judith Collins’ speech to National’s Northern Regional Conference (1/5/21) was always going to be instructive. It would signal just how seriously National’s opponents took both Collins and her race-based politicking. A flat line on the political seismograph would indicate complete indifference: proof that the National Party leader’s strategy was out of time, and that she, as Leader, was running out of luck. Were the seismograph’s needle to flutter, however, National would know that it was on to something.

And flutter it did. Not wildly, admittedly, but enough to register something large and dangerous shifting deep underground. To give the Prime Minister credit, she was careful to let Collins’ speech pass without comment. While undoubtedly registering the seismic shock, her instincts told her to pretend that she hadn’t. Prime Ministers have surrogates to do that for them. Dutiful as ever, Kelvin Davis let loose the necessary slings and arrows – as did Jacinda’s Pavlovian poodles in the Press Gallery. Given the quality of Collins’ speech, they really had no choice.

Because that was the “problem” with Collins address: its totally unexpected moderation. This was no bilious outpouring of racial hate – quite the reverse. With a degree of political subtlety and tactical agility that did both Collins and her speechwriter, Michael Forbes, credit, the speech left Labour with nothing but questions to answer. Difficult questions about the contents of He Puapua, the report of the secretive, Cabinet-appointed working group established to develop a plan for bringing New Zealand’s state institutions into conformity with both te Tiriti o Waitangi and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

“The Prime Minister needs to explain why Labour has been busy implementing He Puapua’s recommendations one by one”, Collins stated in a follow-up media release, “without sharing this wider plan with New Zealanders.”

This is clever politics. We live in an age of mistrust. Fewer and fewer citizens have much faith in their country’s political institutions anymore. Fewer still have faith in the reliability of the nation’s news media – as a study released last week by AUT’s Centre for Journalism, Media and Democracy makes clear. Plant a seed of doubt in the voters’ minds about the Labour Government’s secretive “wider plan” for New Zealanders and watch it grow into a thornbush of paranoia.

Collins knows that Jacinda’s only hope of preventing that seed from sprouting is to dismiss He Puapua as just another of Labour’s many, many working party reports; and to reassure New Zealanders that any changes to New Zealand’s core constitutional structures will only ever be undertaken after they’ve been endorsed by a binding referendum. Except, even these undertakings offer Labour only the most fragile of defences. It was, after all, Helen Clark and Margaret Wilson who abolished appeals to the Privy Council and established the Supreme Court of New Zealand without holding a referendum. Moreover, it was precisely because referenda kept quashing attempts to set up Maori wards, that Jacinda’s government rushed through legislation denying local voters that option. On these matters, the public has every right to be sceptical.

Collins also knows, or, at the very least, suspects, that throwing He Puapua over the side of Labour’s waka might prove to be a great deal harder than it sounds. If Labour’s Maori Caucus’s “Plan A” was a full-scale assault on the homelessness, joblessness, ill-health, incarceration-rates and general despair of so many of their people, then it has failed. Both Jacinda and her right-hand man, Finance Minister Grant Robertson, made it clear, very early on, that the rapid “transformational” effort required to move the dial on Maori deprivation was a fiscal bridge too far for them to contemplate. That made the slower, but much deeper, transformations set out in He Puapua, the Maori caucus’ “Plan B”. If Jacinda, bowing to pressure from National and Act, tosses He Puapua overboard, then Te Paati Maori will invite the Maori electorate to, once again, draw their own conclusions about the wisdom of expecting a Pakeha party to prioritise Maori concerns.

The truth is that Labour, just like the St Peter, does not wish to be caught denying the messianic He Puapua, just as David Seymour and Judith Collins commence crowing.

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If anybody knows this, then it’s Jacinda’s former Chief-of-Staff, and the current Director of the lobbying firm Capital Government Relations, Neale Jones. Sitting alongside his fellow Wellington insider, Brigette Morten, on this morning’s (3/5/21) Nine-to-Noon “Political Panel”, it was Neale who finally indicated exactly where on the Richter Scale, Collins’ political earthquake registered. And it was high. High enough, in fact, to thoroughly rattle Mr Jones who, unlike the identically named hero of Bob Dylan’s Ballad of a Thin Man, knows exactly what’s going on here.

Which is why, presumably, from the moment host Kathryn Ryan asked him for his take on Collins speech, Neale started throwing bombs. The Leader of the Opposition, he insisted, was guilty of “racist fearmongering”; engaging in a “toxic form of politics”; and had concocted her very own “conspiracy theory”. This is not the sort of language your average capital city insider generally uses to describe a political event of no impact or importance. On this occasion, I think it’s fair to say that the man licenced to kill Labour’s foes (at least rhetorically) was both shaken and stirred.

Perhaps the most disturbing element of Neale’s critique was his characterisation of any attempt to critique the rangatiratanga agenda of He Puapuaand its ilk as illegitimate and sinister. It was difficult to avoid the conclusion that if Neale had his way this kind of “toxic” politics would be impermissible: a form of “hate speech”. As a line of argument, it is chilling: conveying the impression that some kinds of politics – most particularly the politics of Maori-Pakeha relations – should be considered “out-of-bounds” and strictly controlled.

Listening to this morning’s “Political Panel”, I found it impossible not to imagine Brigette Morten sitting in the RNZ studio with a grin as wide as a Cheshire Cat’s. Seeing, as we, the listeners, were hearing, Neale’s discomfort, Morten must have recognised just what a winner Collins has picked.

The National Party leader’s May Day address, unlike Brash’s Orewa Speech, will not be a sky-rocket – hauling National’s poll numbers up into the electoral stratosphere. No, He Puapua and all it stands for will be a slow-burner, spreading underground like a peat fire until, finally, it surfaces in clouds of acrid, choking smoke.

In the immortal words of Rachel Hunter: “It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.”


  1. I heard that nine to noon slot and you’re completely off-base. It was dismissed as desperate and pathetic but there was a genuine anger at the attempt to play racial politics. This is horrible stuff that stirs up the worst elements of our society.

  2. Both National and LINO are increasingly irrelevant in the rapidly collapsing world we live in; irrelevant when it comes to doing anything useful but highly relevant when it comes to making everything that matters worse faster.

  3. “If Labour’s Maori Caucus’s “Plan A” was a full-scale assault on the homelessness, joblessness, ill-health, incarceration-rates and general despair of so many of their people, then it has failed.”

    If all divisions of the Labour party, or anyone supporting them, had a plan A that included halting the trend of homelessness, joblessness, ill-health, incarceration-rates and general despair of so many people, then it might make some headway. Just some headway, would that be unrealistic? Just a start, even? No need for big sweeping tsunami of change all at once that carries all kinds of ideological pollution with it from over the seas? If everyone else, from Judith Collins to Neale Jones to your great Uncle Bert were at least 7/8 honest about what their problem is, they could also get what they want, at least for the period of their lifetime – maybe longer – if they actually realised what they were holding on to. If they all want to do it the hard way, then Te Pati Maori become the political winner. I’m assuming that’s unacceptable? If National and their friends keep pushing this angle they’ll have to build new structures to inhabit, and by the sounds of things, those new structures will be less palatable than the existing offerings.
    Cease fire, pause: Ill-health, homelessness, incarceration-rates, joblessness, autonomy. Heaven forbid, they might even be able to start some of those things at the same time. This is called, The Everybody Poops Approach. Anyone interested in a more sophisticated description can read the AAAP’s posting for today.

  4. “The truth is that Labour, just like St Peter…” That is the best sentence I have read, and you Chris Trotter are a steely eyed political and social commentator.

  5. They are all fake and liars I learnt this last year. Only care about rich investors. Even LINO. No point voting.

    • @ TB? ” No point voting” Are you sure about that? Are you really, really sure about that? Or would you like to try living in a country where voting isn’t an option?
      We’re in this general cluster fuck because good people who can vote don’t.
      The Natzo’s have ruled our roost since the late 1930’s. They formed as a collaboration of two lessor parties. Wikipedia.
      “The National formed in 1936 through amalgamation of conservative and liberal parties, Reform and United respectively, and subsequently became New Zealand’s second-oldest extant political party.[11] National’s predecessors had previously formed a coalition against the growing labour movement. National has governed for five periods during the 20th and 21st centuries, and as of 2015 has spent more time in government than any other New Zealand party.[12][13]”
      Interestingly, I see that the mention of the two sub parties of which national was comprised of were quoted as being ‘ money lenders and bankers’ has been amended. Who did, one might ponder?
      “… has spent more time in government than any other New Zealand party”
      Firstly, the natzo’s had free, sequestered farmer money to bank roll any spin that could be imagined to obfuscate and blinker any budding alternatives . Latterly, of course, they infected Labour by stealth and the Natzo parasite, douglas, got in under Labour’s skin and ate it alive from within. The rest, as they say, is history.

      • I disagree entirely. Voting just encourages them and makes no difference to the trajectory we are on because ALL the political parties are full of professional lairs and ALL are committed to keeping the crucial issues of the times OFF the agenda.

        Voting makes as much difference as pissing into the wind during a hurricane because ‘the government’ isn’t the government at all, and is just the public face (facade) of the totally rotten system run by banks, corporations and opportunists, whom governments serve.

        Betrayal has been the byword of politics since the early 1970s, if not before.

        The good news is, the system is now collapsing as a consequence of several decades of betrayal, ineptitude, looting-and-polluting and exploitation.

        And don’t look to the government when the shit really hits the fan; politicians are primarily concerned with their own welfare, but always have in the back of their minds the protection and maintenance of dysfunctional systems -especially the Ponzi financial system- -that have been ruining everything from the atmosphere and weather systems to the seas and oceans, and everything between,

        • “The good news is, the system is now collapsing as a consequence of several decades of betrayal, ineptitude, looting-and-polluting and exploitation”.
          It is @AKTT.
          Which is exactly why voting is worthwhile. From memory I think even Russell Brand ended up changing his stance ( not that I’m advocating for Russell Brand as some sort of sage )
          Try and deliver Labour, or Greens, or whoever you think needs the kick up the arse that’s warranted. It’s way better than the alternatives (in this space, going forward). Fuk ’em. So far, I think we can be fairly sure the election process has not yet been corrupted.
          If ever there was evidence Labour (for example) is getting a bit worried about the immediate future, it’d be the recent news that DPMC has decided that an ‘implementation team’ is necessary. It is – even if it is the Grunter getting worried and they’ve provided Hey Jude a legitimate opportunity for criticism.
          They cudda shudda wudda. But at least there’s an awakening and a realisation that somethink’s up.
          If you lay back with the attitude that we shouldn’t encourage them – they’ll go on doing what they do. Some of them are in fear – or at least they should be
          Actively challenge them, and at every opportunity.

  6. The more National go down the Maori bashing path, the deeper the grave they are digging for themselves. NZ people are changing Mr Trotter with a lot more empathy towards Maori problems and the obvious help required. Most of societies main troubles are caused by the older generations who also have this racist attitude in spades. With the older generations are fading into the distant background with the younger and far more understanding generations coming through which will put this nonsense where it belongs – in the rubbish, along with National.

    • Even the most cursory reading of history suggests that you are wrong, Greenbus.

      Even as the Settler Government, backed by 12,000 imperial troops, marched into the Waikato, there were Maori who considered it prudent to align themselves with the invaders. Some historians suggest that these kupapa Maori may have represented close to 50 percent of the indigenous population.

      If naked Pakeha aggression could not unite the tangata whenua in 1863, what possible grounds do you have for believing that every New Zealander under 55 will rally around the co-governance programme laid out in He Puapua in 2023?

      • What happened in 1863 is not relevant. Back then the crown referred to native Maori as savages. This is now racist talk that’s not permitted, as it should be. To use naked Pakeha aggression to bring into line people of any race is outdated tactics and largely ineffective, by force in other words. None of this applies today. But attitudes from Pakeha toward Maori are changing, slowly and I hope surely toward a more bi-cultural society that shares equally the spoils of our white mans economy. I can see that many Pakeha still have a problem with that and think they are better than Maori (probably because they have more money) and it is definitely weighted toward the oldies, which is why I said so. The younger generations just don’t have this old attitude of us and them. It’s not an issue and just get on with each other battling together against all the crap we have left them to live with. As a disclaimer I point out not all people of older and younger generation fit this mould and is a generalisation, and when votes are counted in the future, well time is not on side of the old rednecks.

      • A very large proportion of pro European conscripts were in fact from
        New South Wales.
        Perhaps the settlers were getting along much better in the Waikato?

    • NZ are just doing what the racist OZ policy was, which is put in more cheaper (increasingly foreign) workers mostly new to NZ, in charge of vulnerable people many Maori, aged, kids, sick etc whether prisons, justice, social work, administration, youth/social/support workers, health care, aged care, MIQ… etc … So while slowly NZ taught two generation of Kiwi kids and tertiary students about the treaty, recent migrants are mostly thinking the old view points on indigenous races and actually who cares, just come to NZ to get residency.

      Find out their cultural norms of treating troublesome ethnic groups of our favourite migrant groups and it’s pretty grim.

  7. Agree with you GreenBus and would like to add what has happened to judeaths Te Reo lessons was this just an aspiration.

  8. Yeah, but hang on a minute…?
    You, yourself @ CT are the one giving credit where it isn’t due to national.
    They’ve fucking awful people.
    ” This is clever politics. ” No, it’s not. It’s natzo bullshit. Anyone can say and do anything at anytime and to some people it will seem like many truthful and logical things. Stop with the quasi-logical fallacy head fuckery @ CT.
    “We live in an age of mistrust.” Do we …!? I thought the voting AO/NZ’er was to be congratulated for trusting the Labour party banner that had destroyed AO/NZ in its parasitised form as The Gaul Natzo. The Labour party that fucked our country wasn’t labour. It was a natzo clone party specifically infiltrated to create this very environment when it inevitably became obvious that it was in fact the Natzo’s under Labours skin what did us in. And the natzo’s in its current hideous form are doing it again. They’re twisting like well oiled snakes. They use their significant resources to fool us yet again. DON’T BE FOOLED.
    Natzo’s ranks are packed with greedy lawyers, accountants, bankers, cops and seasoned shadow-politicians no doubt whispering in Grisly jude’s wee shell pinks to protect them and her.
    “ Dutiful as ever, Kelvin Davis let loose the necessary slings and arrows – as did Jacinda’s Pavlovian poodles in the Press Gallery. Given the quality of Collins’ speech, they really had no choice.”
    That, right there, is a merciless string of logical fallacies loaded with bias @ CT.
    Kelvin Davis should be dutiful and he should ‘let loose’. As for Jacinda’s Pavlovian poodles in the press gallery? What? As opposed to the natzo’s ferocious, mindless, throat ripping pit bull terriers. I’ve not forgotten the merciless and soulless garbage shat out of jonky’s little playing, cameron slater.
    @Tory Blair above reckons ” No point voting.” That, is precisely the opposite of what we must do and that is equally precisely what the natzo’s hope we won’t bother doing.
    The greedy, divisive, calculating, crafty, fucking natzo’s don’t give one little flying feathered fuck about Maori. Or anyone else for that matter. They just want power, money and egomaniacal status. Typical of small people. Tiny little flies. DON’T BE FOOLED.
    The natzo’s are callously using a ‘new found’ Pakeha sympathy and genuine attemps at the understanding of Maori simply as a numbers based tool to get voted back in to power so they can renege on their promises, as they’ve always done, and to continue to lay waste to us all for their greed.

  9. “Pavlovian…” I thought the word might have something to do with a sugary, whipped cream stuffed cake-thing best avoided if stoned unless hyperglycemic induced sugar-spews while high-as are your thing. ( Don’t ask how I know that.)
    But no. Damn you, piss poor education.
    “Pavlovian [poodles]”
    “Classical conditioning (also known as Pavlovian or respondent conditioning) refers to a learning procedure in which a biologically potent stimulus (e.g. food) is paired with a previously neutral stimulus (e.g. a bell).”

  10. When you start selling list MP seats for $100k donations and call your own MP’s fucking useless and need to go, you tend to lose the moral high ground with the Hoi Pollio, your own party and society. Judith can try all levers but Natz got caught out, and Labour can afford to do little and keep in power, just like the Natz did under John Key.

    The way for a right victory is probably only through ACT joining Natz and chipping away at voters tired of being sold out by politicians and woke speak and the anti farmers. It is possible that Labour and Greens lose more of their voters who stay at home as they continue their woke war on homeowners and pakeha, landlords sell up while more people flood into NZ needing housing and health care. A decent percentage of the 35% of renters find themselves in emergency housing with the media running stories hot off the press. NZ homeowners face 20% council tax rises with increasingly poorer services, more traffic congestion on it’s way and it’s clear that the much touted 10% petrol tax was not spent wisely, health care waiting lists and Health quality decreases as the restructure looks like a paper exercise and people notice they are not getting their operations, more foreign pensioners and families are happily getting free superannuation and medical care, schooling and ACC from the Kiwis on the back of laughable and poorly paid skills, the rich listers continue getting zoning changes and government money for their land zoning changes to the detriment of everyone else not getting the infrastructure money in populated areas where it is needed, wages and job decline further, and the utopia of the warm, dry, safe rental the Greens and Labour told renters it would be, proves to be fake news, because their old rental was the utopia compared to social housing and emergency housing that they are on a waiting list for. Oh and if interest rates start rising, big disaster. Obviously if we get a India/Italy situation with Covid overrunning our meagre hospital beds, then anything could happen.

    The iwi vs kiwi is old news, as while not clear with the botched census, Maori are now the third or fourth ethnic group in NZ and losing voter power as we move to the ‘multicultural’ bums on seats, neoliberal model.

  11. One night In Māori Language Week in September 2020 Collins accompanied by a group of colleagues featured in the news on tv. Gerry Brownlee made some smart arse, flippant comment about the Manukau Harbour (which suggested he’d just heard it existed or that out wasn’t important.)

    What stood out starkly in a climate that week of people acknowledging Te Reo and its pronunciation was the bold ‘Man-a-cow’ pronunciation by Collins of a place which borders her electorate. She deserved her party’s election result.

  12. Chris may I be so bold and re-write your headline:
    This will cause big trouble for Labour and rightfully so.

  13. As the most transparent government ever they have a duty to Kiwis to discuss what is being proposed, not obfuscate.
    Opposition parties and politicians in general have a responsibility to bring matters of great public concern to the attention of the wider audience, NZers.
    If such interventions are ‘divisive’, we need more, not less of them. Kneejerk reactions on partisan grounds are not conducive to informed public debate.

  14. Maybe. Just maybe Collins intended for her comments to be viewed as attention seeking.

    The usual dribble/drivel of ‘look at ME(Collins)!!!!! Aren’t I important???!!!!” attitude that doesn’t do National any great favours in the long run.

    Lets face it but ONLY those who are National Party supporters are likely to make nasty and racist comments because it gives them a false sense of feeling strong and powerful when in actual fact they come across as absolute twats.

    But what has stood out is the typical usual response by her fellow MPs and especially those more sycophantic towards Judith Collins of accentuating upon her comments within 24 hours of her obviously Maori bashing behaviour.

    One in particular sycophantic National MP is what I will refer to as the Collins-Echo. Within hours of his beloved and dearest Judith Collins saying something that is quite obviously nasty(as is wont of Judith Collins)and ill-considered he hops onto the Maori bashing bandwagon of claiming to come down hard on gangs in his electorate. It’s like he just cannot think for himself in a more intelligent and merit-worthy manner. He wants to charm Collins because his ultimate intent is probably to rise through the ranks quickly but confirm to the voters in his electorate as to how bloody useless and self serving he truly is.

    He is the sort of MP you really don’t want being a representative of an electorate that probably has gang problems but the gangs he is focusing upon are the Maori gangs eg the Mongrel Mob, Black Power. And so he, like most National Party MPs and supporters, will have selective amnesia to gangs that are not Maori in entity but from say China and Asia and have donated to the NZ National Party over the years.

    I am not inferring that National are open to bribery and corruption. But what stands out is the preparedness National give to bashing gangs with Maori members rather than looking also at the overseas gangs that now have a foot hold in NZ.

    Would Simeon Brown be ‘ganging up’ against say the Roast Busters or would he ignore that gang due to say a National Party link through a son of a former MP to that gang???!!!

    But he is a reflection of all that is wrong with National. Such MPs are not what that Party needs. The sycophantic ones need to be weeded out but I doubt National have the guts to do such a thing. Right now they are in a mess. But they will naturally blame others for their mistakes without looking in the mirror and admitting what and where they are now isn’t what they should be but is due to THEIR mistakes.

    At the rate of decline National are in they will be lucky to even see 2023 as a political party.

    They have become arrogant over so many years and admitting failure as well as mistake is alien to them. It doesn’t bode well in long term existence for a political party that has lost touch with reality and behaves in the stupid way of blaming others for THEIR mistakes.

    They miscalculated the electoral votes last election. They have a leader and some MPs who are just not worth considering for vote at any future election. If they cannot see what is clearly before them then they render themselves unworthy of votes in 2023 and in the following years.

    NZers don’t want to vote for failures and that is what National are coming across firmly as RIGHT NOW.

  15. Something in my waters told me minority empowerment was beginning to get on ‘normal’ pakehas’ tits. Your waters is a good tell.

    When I say ‘waters’ I mean I was beginning to get irritated by the endless media, a ’35 social democrat. The 1789 and 1848 revolutionaries got it right too but they disturbed too much and there was a popular reaction.

  16. Chris Trotter: “Moreover, it was precisely because referenda kept quashing attempts to set up Maori wards, that Jacinda’s government rushed through legislation denying local voters that option. On these matters, the public has every right to be sceptical.”

    I assume that you’ve read this?

    I had wondered at the provenance of the lightning raid on our democratic rights to object to any reorganisation of wards by our local authorities (not just Maori wards). Having read about half of the above document, now I know. Everyone commenting here should read it: you won’t hear about it from our “transparent” government. Note in it the suggested timeline for government action.

    Ditto the provenance of the proposed Maori Health Authority: with proposed veto rights over the general health budget.

    I listened to Collins’ speech. Don Brash it surely wasn’t! It was measured and moderate in its tone.

    The Opposition has, not just the right, but the obligation to question everything the government proposes and does. That’s the Opposition’s job.

    If the Opposition can manage to call out the government over He Puapua, and – a fortiori – stop any further work of the sort proposed in that document, it’ll have earned its keep.

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