Dr Liz Gordon: Should we stay or should we go?


Responding to Chris Trotter:

Should we stay or should we go?

Chris has raised again the question of whether those of us who left the Labour Party with Jim Anderton should have stayed and fought the good fight inside the party.  It is worth debating.

I was on the National Executive at the time of the ‘big spilt’ along with the late wonderful Neville Taylor and three others whose names I have forgotten. That final week we were subject to immense pressure by Labour (largely Tony Timms, from the Party perspective) to stay, to be loyal, to continue to work in the party.  

By this stage Lange was barely functioning, the government’s programme was completely indefensible (and my own very public opposition to the ‘Tomorrow’s Schools’ education reforms was making it hard for me to be in the party, especially in such a position) and the question became -what am I staying for?  

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Jim’s position was completely untenable, really, and there was huge public support for him to act, and huge Labour Government hatred of him inside…. In short, for many of those who left, it was impossible to stay.  I think it was a bit different for the unionists, who were fighting their own battles re stay in/ leave. 

So it kind of did not feel like much of a choice, and when Jim provided an alternative pathway, it felt right to take it. Bloody good, actually!  I was living in Palmerston North at the time, an impoverished PhD student, and Jim flew me down for the big launch.

I dug up the picture at the top of this blog out of my newspaper archives. It was great, so full of hope after the hate and despair of the Labour years.

Many of the harms have healed over the years. I consider some of the Labour people from that time as my friends now, whether or not they left.  I even (famously) voted Labour at the last election, not really with the sense of home-coming, but with new hope in my heart of a decent future for politics in this country.

So far the score-card is mixed on the future, but I can say with certainty that, at the time, we chose the best road.


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. You did the right thing Liz and Alliance policies that were implemented have stood the teat of time. Parental Leave, Kiwi Bank to name two. Anderton’s ego was the weak link in the end and there was no one to steer him away from his mistakes, the death of the Alliance was the death of progressive politics for NZ.

  2. It’s kinda reaching that point again.

    Jacinda’s Labour government is a polite version of National but adheres strictly to the same economic model that is continuing the worsening situation of those who have and those who have not.

    Both she and her team lack the real world experience, passion and the courage to make the necessary changes to housing (to name just one area) in order to prevent what is surely a catastrophe in NZ.

    Jacinda’s timidness and her base neo liberal political instincts are holding us back. She needs that crutch of another party to blame to get some courage, like NZ First were, to actually do what is needed. A New Labour if you like!

    • Jacinda will never do anything that needs doing. She is a front for the turds who are calling the shots. Lot like the Labour government of 1984. Popular PM bunch of greedy stupid arseholes in the backroom running things to suit themselves, and besides she has her career on the world’s stage to think of.

      • You’re not wrong there Shona. Anyone that thinks that Jacinda (or almost any other political leader for that matter) is anything more than a figurehead in the bigger game is delusional. At the very least, gender struck or captivated by her apparent genuineness. She may be the successful brand of the current Labour Party but nothing more. Granted, she may have a modicum of agency on some matters, and may at times present a dissenting voice, but has little agency on things that really matter. On those she sings from the hymnbook.

  3. The single biggest, most catastrophic mistake the Labour party is making, as I write, is that they refuse to engage with the bloody farmer.
    I understand why the labour party of post neoliberalism didn’t. It was because the national party, who WERE AND STILL ARE the neoliberalism that infected Labour by stealth all those years ago so the last thing the natzo’s wanted was for the primary industry gravy train to suddenly comprehend just how invaluable it was at delivering the gravy lest it might dawn on the trains of gravy just how much power it had.
    No train = no gravy. Aye Billionaire Boys? You wretched fucking crooks!
    Why doesn’t a Labour party who’s all about inclusion, equality and empathy complete with sobbing hanky wavings can’t comprehend that a Labour party with farmer money in collaberation with their down stream urban service industry numbers would not only destroy national and all that’s plainly and clearly evil about their machinations would wither into a scary story told to school children at bed time.
    The farmer is where the money’s at so why doesn’t Labour make engaging with our primary industry their primary objective?
    Is it because the truth is simply just too terrible to countenance? Or is it that Labour and its innards lack the guts?
    Or is it that Labour, the new Labour’s almost indistinguishable from the scurvy natzo’s and is waiting at the station for the gravy train to pull up while we must helplessly peer through the fence, beaten back by the banksters?
    I personally believe that labour’s as crooked as the natzo’s and the reason I believe that is because they keep doing natzo shit. They’re just a little more polite and less aggressive about the way they do.
    While the Planet’s melting and there’s soon to be millions if not billions displaced the zionists are on their way thanks to a corrupt OIO by buying into our agrarian primary industry. There. Fuck it. I’ve written it here before and I’ve written it again and all the while labour, which is the socialist and collective ‘US’ is fiddling while the world burns down.
    “US buying up our primary industries”
    “United States citizens and companies are buying up New Zealand land for farming, forestry and wine-making, an RNZ analysis reveals.
    During the 11-year period almost 460,000ha – a little under the size of the Auckland region – shifted out of New Zealand control through purchases, leases or rights to take forestry. For simplicity’s sake, this is referred to as bought land throughout this article.
    More than 70,000ha of land was bought for dairying operations and more than 100,000 for farming other types of animals, such as beef, sheep or deer.
    Control of another 178,000ha of land was sold to international buyers for forestry operations and around 8000ha was sold for wine making.
    An additional 53,000ha, not included in the farming or forestry totals, was sold or leased to people intending to reside in New Zealand. These ranged from areas smaller than a hectare to 40,000ha in Canterbury, which included the lease of 39,000ha of crown pastoral land.”
    We’re well on our way to becoming a mere slave-service workforce to foreign owners.
    “Who’s eating New Zealand?”
    “If you imagine New Zealand’s sheep meat as a plate of 10 meatballs, Kiwis would get to eat half of a meatball. So where’s the rest going? In the first story in a new series, Farah Hancock crunches more than 30 years of data to find out who’s eating New Zealand.”
    Well, I have more than 60 years of agrarian related data and I can tell you who’s fucking AO/NZ.
    Our farmers are for their lack of direct action and city people are for their woeful ignorance of their duty of care of our beautiful AO/NZ.

  4. Or…!?
    Fresh foreign ownership might highlight just how corrupt and greedily unhinged our riche, politically parasitic lot were . ( And still are.) As our farmers became entombed in debts that could never be repaid they became, in a sense, sweatshop labourers to the banksters and their hangers on and in so doing tore families apart and turned what should have been vibrant and productive agrarian hinterlands into cultural waste lands who’s farmer populations were not much use for anything else but being targets for derision, scorn and blind and simple hate propagated by well educated Machiavellian confederates who, by devious and selective means, trickled down to become the scandalous liars and the gleefully cruel political lot we have today and in both parties too, it should be written.
    Has foreign interests well and truly bought the OIO just like peter thiel did with our immigration office.


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