Dr Liz Gordon: Our road to mediocrity

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“We have a choice: a choice between our current road to mediocrity, or a pathway to a more confident, aspirational and prosperous future” – Christopher Luxon MP.

Roads, and travelling, and seeing things with a different view, pepper the literature of many cultures.  The notion of setting out on a journey is quite an appropriate metaphor for a new leader of a political party.

The key to a political road-poem is having three elements:  a way to go, the right attitude in getting there, and a destination.

The following poem has two important elements but is rather alarmingly lacking in the third:

The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say. 

That may do very well as a metaphor for Bilbo Baggins, signalling the eagerness with which the Hobbit sets out on his journey, and the likely new things he will encounter along the way.

But it is a terrible one for a new political leader, for whom having a command on the seminal event (taking the leadership), the attitude (hopeful, perhaps a bit fundamentalist, leaderishness) (oh yay, haven’t had a neologism for weeks) and a known destination are equally important.

Not for Christopher Luxon the joys of a carefree heart, which may explore the paths and errands with abandon and hairy feet.  No, Mr Luxon’s task, as he clearly outlined in his opening speech, is to reset the National Party.

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One can ponder all the moments that need resetting, perhaps using the structure of Bilbo’s timeless song:

The Road goes ever on and on,
And some will fall along the way
They seek the glory of the trail
But end up lost in disarray.
Scandal, sex and mouthy men

And prayerful moments on one’s knees

And hubris and vainglory then

‘Til one gives back those hallowed keys.

Well, yes, we can agree I am no Tolkein, but to be fair I have abandoned work to have my say on the week’s events. This is not a paid position, you know!

What spurred me on to write this blog was Mr Luxon’s speech. Not the scandal issues or the Christian right wingness of it all.  Actually, I was most interested in his statement that New Zealand was following a path to mediocrity and that he wanted to make us all more aspirational and ambitious.

It struck me how very old-fashioned the language of personal aspiration was.  I was brought up, mumble years ago, on the notion that you could do anything you wanted if you only did your best and worked hard.  Meritocracy was a really big thing in my middle-class English childhood, but has not been so much in more recent times. 

(And avid readers will know that both my aspirational parents succumbed to the ambitious delights of unlimited alcohol, thus destroying, through their own successful travails, all they aspired to).

The reason for that is that we have recognised, and have shown through the work of people such as Max Rashbrooke and Susan St John, that there are barriers all over the place that prevent people, most people, from achieving all or often even some of their aspirations.

This does not mean that the majority of us who are in that position consider ourselves mediocre.  If Christopher Luxon views people who do not scale the heights of running Air New Zealand as being swathed in mediocrity, then I have a real problem with him.

So Christopher Luxon’s end goal is to make people more ambitious and aspirational, just like him.  He holds his own career up as a shining light: “you too could be like me if you tried”.  The question is whether he is prepared to enter into the battle of removing the barriers that lead people into the dark halls of Shelob’s lair – the road to mediocrity.  The poverty, oppression, cultural error, sexism, violence, harassment, pay inequity, unequal education, lack of good housing, environmental degradation and oh dear, the list goes on and on.

Because without that plan, he may set out with hopeful heart and purpose in his step, but even if he overcomes the forces in his own caucus, the ravages of Covid and the many pitfalls of opposition, the chances of his journey there and back again being successful, meeting his own aspirational goals for the nation, are very, very slim.

 

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.

121 COMMENTS

  1. It’s surprised me how quickly the knives in mainstream media, and now alternative blogs are out for Luxon.

    It suggests a kneejerk reaction that is revealing. The public discourse in NZ is horrendously Left-tilted even a fairly centrist like me finds most of it dreadful and obvious.

    The author tries to dismantle bedrock Liberal principles like meritocracy with assertions. As if meritocracy pretends there is no barriers – it doesn’t, it tells us that breaking through barriers and achievement will be recognised and is possible – but requires work, not eternal reliance on victimhood and entitlement.

    The mindset of the new activists (and journalists) is NZ is racist, sexist, everything-ist and its my job to discover and “educate” the public. Cue Stuff pushing the idea Reti was rejected because National can’t elect a Maori. (Bridges, like Maori anti-mandate protestors, is clearly the wrong sort of Maori to truly count as such.)

    Personal ambition, personal intelligence, personal choices, personal anything, or even cultural values (such as tall-poppy syndrome) that negate ambition is rejected. If only all that gosh darn Right-Wing oppression would disappear then everyone would be equal and prosperous in a land of milk and honey.

    Just like the Soviet Union was…not.

        • BNZ Bailed, Air NZ Bailed, NZRail run into ground then had to be bought back. Privatize the gains, socialize the losses a game big capital’s played for decades.

    • What balls.
      I see right wing influencers have hit the ground running this morning.
      Don’t trip over your guff now will you?

      • Amazing how right-wingers like James all pretend, or even genuinely believe, that they are moderate centrists – not right-wing at all. Duplicity or ignorance?

        • Amazing how left-wingers like In Vio all pretend, or even genuinely believe, that those who don’t fully subscribe to left-wing views or don’t steptoe in conformity are all therefore right-wing. Duplicity or ignorance?

          • When I ask many of these so-called Centrists what the difference is between Communism, Fascism, Socialism, Marxism, Leninism, Nazism, etc, they usually can’t explain enough to show that they actually know the difference between Right Wing and Left Wing. No knowledge of history, how the terms came about or anything. Small wonder they don’t even know that they are right-wingers.

            • In Vino Please ! Yes, our knowledge of history is abysmal, and it is deeply depressing when displayed by politicians, but not supporting an issue doesn’t necessarily mean that one is opposed to it – a position I first found myself in with my mother-law half a century ago. It’s very biblical ( oh no) ‘he who is not for me is against me ‘ but one can have no view , or not agree with anything under the sun, without being against it.

              This damn pigeonholing of people is counterproductive, lazy, and likely of the reasons why many may be inhibited about speaking publicly and semi-publicly about issues.

              I’ve been called an incel on this site, and thought it delicious when a commentator suggested that all politicians were incels at a time when many of them appeared to have a plethora of femmes – in and out of wedlock.

              Nor does an absence of commas or pronouns invalidate the essence of what somebody may be saying.

            • to rightists these aren’t political terms but religious ones in the same vein as ‘satanic’ ‘the devils work’ ‘hell and damnation’ because they have no concept of language they can only use half baked and 1/4 understood wet noodle barbs.

    • I think the Left have realised they now have a fight on their and winning the next election is not a forgone conclusion. The best way to win a fight is to hit your opponent with everything you have, preferably before they are ready or even aware that you are there. Luxon & Seymour are definitely contenders, while Ardern is looking battered & on the ropes. Things are going to get interesting.

      • “I think the Left have realised they now have a fight on their and winning the next election is not a forgone conclusion.”
        let’s fucking hope so! But so far, I’m not sure they’ve ekshully clicked in that space, going forward, rhubarb rhubarb.
        I’m pretty sure they haven’t even identified who their adversaries are. They’re there in plain sight mostly.
        So be it though. The longer they let the bullshit rip, the more likely democratic decay goes on, and a more violent an outcome will be.
        And currently they have an unprecedented fucking mandate (under MMP) that’s being squandered.
        I think it was @Covid is Pa, or one of those other sages that suggested maybe JA will resign before ’23. Not a silly possibility. Since she backed herself into a corner on the basis of a glib remark, and since she’s got a stubborn streak; a student of the POLS and MARKETING demographic – it might be the only way forward.
        There are headwinds ahead. So far their fundamentals are intact with a tribal undercarriage prepared for a suicide mushin.
        I reckon their best option is to just get on and do stuff – even though they’ll probably get over ’23 because the alternative is just SO fucking horrific

        • you’re right tim, labs only viable option for re-election with a decent majority is to extract the digit
          ….mind you a slim majority will do LINO just as well
          ‘I’d really really like to be kind to people but my hands are tied’
          whilst retaining the baubles of office…cos access to the trough is the real ideology

        • Tim Don’t forget that the virus has majorly screwed things, and that we were already a mediocrity.

          Our kids are failing in maths and science, our world leading infant mortality rates have vanished, we have a violent underbelly. How much of our
          pre-neolib quality of life and egalitarian values can be clawed back is a moot question. Hard when so many politicians have known nothing different, and consumerism rules.

    • Suck it up James we thought the same when National was in for 9 years. Also Luxon said Maori did well under National and yes some did but the majority didn’t cause when we look at mortality and morbidity data we are over represented as we are in in many other negative statistics like home ownership, educational achievement suburbs where we live and employment etc etc If he wants to be our PM he needs to rule and act for all not the few at the top.

    • all hail the new flesh….

      oh no my mistake it’s just the same old wrinkled baggy national meat sacks we’re used to.

    • “If only all that gosh darn Right-Wing oppression would disappear then everyone would be equal and prosperous in a land of milk and honey.” You are putting your own spin on Liz’s article.
      Her main point is that Luxon is misleading when he uses himself as an example for others while ignoring the obstacles that hold so many back.

    • If Luxon manages to lift National to mediocrity he will have done a great job.

      How confident are you that any fresh ideas will come from this?

      So the leopard grew a new head, so what?

  2. Liz
    Ever heard the saying “Debt makes the world go round”? No it’s money. NZ (and its citizens) needs to make money, lots of it, in the next few years. Simple as that. In your case, debt doesn’t pay for research or barrister advice. Money does. This govt, and Jacinda in particular, is hopeless at that.

  3. If we were just heading toward mediocrity I wouldn’t be so worried for New Zealand.
    What I’ve seen in the last four years is a grossly mismanaged nation heading toward failure. A needlessly divided nation with an opaque, incompetent and authoritarian government.

      • Been shopping this morning Bert? You’ll find real separatism in all its ugly manifestation operating at your local mall. The type of separatism that Jacinda Ardern was denying she would implement four months ago.

        • Anne with an E (She/Her) what would Nationals shiny new boy have done?
          I’ll bet he would have had more restrictions, mainly rich vs poor.

        • Go shopping most day. Another day AnniE but same shit from you. Until you finally recognise that it is Seymour, was Collins promoting separatism . Seymour voted against the Maori Party having speaking rights on the P.M.s budget address. Do your research and don’t be lazy enough to fall for propaganda like you clearly have.

        • Spell out ‘what’ separatism, give us detailed examples, Anne with an E. I think the words that are appropriate are stirrer and sour lemons, and you promoting the idea of separatism. Get some new glasses dearie.

          • Grey Warbler Yep. What is this alleged separatism ? I want to know that too.I visit my local mall most days and I have not seen any separatism.
            If Anne is knocking the security guards, she should step back, I much admire them and the shop staff, and I often tell them so.

    • Where were you the previous years, Andrew ? Never ever forget that it was a small-town father of boys who rejected other people’s sons as all useless, so let’s import cheap exploitable labour, and a rich guy hair puller who screamed like a Billingsgate fishwife to get some guts and send other people’s offspring to fight other people’s wars and who labelled the documenter of dirty Nat tricks a conspiracy theorist. Consider reading a couple of Nicky Hager’s books before blaming the current bunch for our divided society, it wasn’t that simple.

      The Green’s divisive identity politics has been that party acting as, and being used by what used to be called the establishment, and being too dim to realise that they’re just pawns too- albeit well paid pawns.

    • In reply to Andrew: This ‘authoritarian’ Govt is also being accused of being soft on gangs. Can you clarify this matter please/ An authoritarian Govt cannot be soft on gangs, can it.

  4. I really don’t know why critics are getting so hung up on his so called religious beliefs either. He is not going to bring that to the fore and being a Christian is hardly earth shattering.

    Where he has lost it for me is his naive greed is good philosophy. But there are an ironic few in Labour with their property portfolios who think that way too, eh Willie!.

    What this country needs is an opposition that connects with voters because anything less let’s Jacinda get away with doing next to nothing whist at the same time letting some her governments more wooly social liberal thinking go unchallenged. The good people of West Auckland have probably never felt less safe whilst the gorillas take over with what appears to be our governments kindness blessing.

    Luxon is clearly stereotypical nouveau riche National, with all the arrogance and entitlement that goes with it. But I truly hope he puts the frighteners on our current government because as our ever worsening housing crisis proves, they need it!

    • Aaron. Thanks for that. I thought it was about Tolkien, New Zealand’s answer to papal infallibility from people who read more than Harry Potter and phone books. Robert Frost does it better and TS Eliot. Baxter.

  5. James, did Stuff really say that that the Nat’s can’t elect a Maori ? I think that Stuff have their own wishy- washy agendas anyway, but that’s ridiculous – and how many Kiwis watched one of the most ghastly classless Maori women in New Zealand, Paula Bennett, being anointed by consecutive National Party leaders?

    What’s happening here is happening everywhere, so much so that one could almost take cheer from a white heterosexual male being “ chosen” to head ( The head ! the head ! Sorry, it’s just I find the guy aesthetically
    repelling) the rag bag Nats.

    The best sociological comments so far seem to have come from Chris Finlayson about the type of dialogue which must be sustained with Maori, to address the ever growing gaps between the haves and have-nots. I’ve been groping for a word to describe the state of being one step below mediocre, and I can’t find one, but the the dumbing down of the education system, has to have played a huge part in producing a country of abject clowns – toss the whole Education Dept into Wgtn harbour where they can nestle in the rusting supermarket trolleys, but alas, it is too late to abolish television.

    Is Mike Hosking really left wing ? I know that he’s very influential, but I’ve only heard him for less than 60 secs, by accident. I guess that some of those Herald writers must be jolly clever at concealing their left-wingedness too. Golly.

    • Yes, Stuff had multiple articles and a major opinion yesterday all so confused why National wouldn’t pick Reti. Suddenly he’s the most wonderful chap and we’ll we can say it outloud, but we know – wink wink – why National didn’t choose him because the Whitey can’t stand a Maori in power. Fortunately, the comments open allowed everyone to pile on how it was pure racism.

      I shouldn’t be surprised, this is Stuff after all – the home of everything is racist, sexist, transphobic, etc and our job is to hammer this in every day like an angry Sargent Major. The NZ Herald is not much better.

      But sure, Mike Hoskings is popular, but he’s part of a few centre-Right mostly hidden behind paywalls and very narrow confines of conversation. Step out too much from the proscribed box and you’re done.

      The Left dominates everywhere – especially on social issues it’s a virtue signalling orgy of a Single Truth. Radio NZ, One News, Stuff, NZ Herald, Spinoff, the list goes on. The mass spending and funding by Govt to prop up these media, including being required to uphold their interpretation of the Treaty has made it worse. I get more critiques of vaccine mandates and other Covid policies from the famously Left UK Guardian than any NZ media. Government comms are now a vapid Left-wing identity politics machine.

      On Luxon, I’m unsure. I need to see more to make a judgment. Never liked John Key much but I’ll look at Luxon’s words and deeds rather than kneejerk angst.

      • James, I’ve been boycotting the Dom Post for a few years now, and the only Stuff I see is online, I don’t Twitter or tweet, only see second-hand ramblings. So if they really believe that Reti missed out because he’s Maori, then they must be seriously deluded -or dumb.

        But currently they are predicable on almost everything, probably dangerously so, but the people they could most likely influence may not be print word readers. I don’t see them as left, the way that the Dominion newspaper used to be very right, I see them as tiresome pc, simpletons, jumping on every USA bandwagon, again possibly dangerously so, but I am too tired to elaborate – except that they do make accusation or cast aspersions without providing evidence, which greatly irks me. Really, it may be that serious journalism and reporting has been largely replaced by not terribly bright people paddling in the shadows – and few of them, anywhere, know their history.

        The Treaty is inarguably important, but when you get not just every taxi driver, but partisans of the Wellington City Council producing their own version, and staff required to take a course based on a councillor’s mates’s interpretation, again, it is dangerous.
        Ditto some workplace requirements.

        I don’t like Luxon – including because it all looks like a John Key set up, and the less said about him and the Fairfax girls worshipping him the better – now it’s Nicola Willis glowing gazing at the domed one like the Adoration of the Magi at Christmas.

        • You are right – they are deluded or dumb. That wouldn’t be a major problem except….except they are the ones with the media and institutional megaphone.

          I don’t want to harp on about about Treaty, it’s not the key point. But it’s a good example. I agree it is hugely significant…. and being used to blithely justify all kinds of major changes. Which is exactly why we must be having virgorous debate about it’s meaning, not terrified whispers least our employer/social media/Meng Foon find out we have a different view.

          I ask myself how on earth can we have a vigorous public debate when most of our social, academic, and media institutions are now captured by an American-inspired applied CRT approach (any challenge, any difference, equals racism – see the Royal Society for just the latest example) and where the Government require media to subscribe to their radical Treaty interpretation to access slush funds. It’s destroying public trust in the media.

          I lived right through Covid-19 in London, and survived, and came back to NZ and boy, I wasn’t prepared for the utter relentless near-propoganda pumped out by the media here. (And no, I’m not an anti-vaxxer).

          When you add poor quality journalism to an almost hegemonic Left-leaning activist journalism you get piss-poor public debate, decision-making, and democracy. We seem to be stuck in a spiral on this.

          • James. Culture shock ( I came back too after living the best part of 10 years in London, including during the IRA bombings). It was hard.

            The New Zealand MSM was on a downward spiral well before the coalition govt was elected. Perhaps the most telling example was their mental inertia with Nicky Hager’s various revelations about dirty politics. The training of journalists may also play a part, with the on-the-job apprentice type training with experienced mentors going, just as it did with nurses paid while training in fairly demanding hospital regimes then tossed into Polytechs and told to pay for themselves – with a student loan. Electronicisation ( my word) has probably paid a big part with journos. I recall being told when the NBR was sold years ago, that the new owner wanted to know what sub-editors did – they had a whole roomful of them beavering away at a big table down off Courtney Place there, and the best clipping service in New Zealand, I think.

            But the media in the UK is questionable now too – Piers Morgan lost his job fairy quickly for querying Meghan Markles’ veracity, and that plonker from the BBC with a disgraceful record ( ex-Independent editor)
            of recklessly trashing royalty – wanting to throw stones at Kate Middleton – could find himself out of his current position now also.

            I agree with you about the American inspired approach; some of it here is plain lazy, and some very opportunistic with divisive agendas which haven’t been thought through very carefully, unfortunately. If Stuff folds it will be no great loss – but it’s hard to know who owns New Zealand now anyway, or who is going to.

            The whole identity politics dynamic has almost certainly silenced many people who do need to hang onto their jobs, and that has been unbelievably myopic, but possibly also part of a divisive agenda plugged by unwitting fools. Cheers.

        • Sure as shit they’ve come a long way from them there olden days when there wes a reading room a proofers (most of the time off their faces, and most of the time who went on to far better things – including things loik the Sydney Morning Herald)
          Funny ‘ole whurl eh @SW.
          EEEE by gum, the answer loise in the soil. It’s all changed now ain’t it. Pushing shit up hill is apparently now a worthwhile occupation. I can’t be fucked with any of it.
          Emotional energy is a finite resource, just as with most things.
          Hopefully Counryboy will be letting us know before too long where the decent escapist activities can be found.

      • They might be to the left of you buddy, but that doesn’t make those media left wing. You would make Attila the Hun seem palatable.

        • Or fucking horrible right wing Hosking opinion + Du + Three and her uncle/dad/husband Soper, yes Attila the Hun does seem palatable.

      • james son. if you think ‘woke’ is left wing, you are wrong, if you think ‘the grauniad’ is left wing you’re double wrong.

        • If you think gargarin isn’t a stereotypical pre-programmed woke leftist incapable of seeing beyond his/her/their incredibly narrow narcissistic viewpoint, you are wrong.

        • It’s a good question, and something I’ve pondered. I use to have sympathy to views like Bomber that woke is neo-liberal.

          But it’s not. The neo-liberals may now have partially adopted woke signalling in a facile and exploitative manner but they did not produce it.

          Woke is 100% a Left-wing ideology. Borne from Left-wing academics and neo-Marxist theories, promoted by far Left activists. I get that significant chunk of the (materialist) Left dislike woke, but it is firmly entrenched in contemporary Left thought and was enabled all on the Left who sat by coddling this thought-disease in unions, in art, in Labour parties, in universities – all Left-dominated institutions.

          The pretend exculpation of classical Left-wing thought from the excesses of woke identity politics is a joke. The neo-liberals may now be starting to eat some of the whacky woke cake, but they didn’t bake it. For better or worse, woke is firmly ensconced in the Left-wing.

          To disclaim The Guardian as Left-wing is to call the Daily Telegraph socialist.

          • James I’m not sure if what you’re saying would apply to the universities, they may have, sadly, been dumbed down to a limited sort of focus on skills trading, rather than their raison d’être being, in the words of Aquinas, the intellect for the intellects sake. That luxury has gone forever, and is incompatible with govt greed to see all these institutions as money spinners.

            Woke would almost certainly apply to government departments though, and bandied about often cluelessly among the rank and file, and as a type of bullying, and not necessarily with the full agreement of sometimes perplexed senior management who nevertheless play along. In New Zealand I thought it all emanated from looney Greens, but I no longer know.

  6. If everybody wanted to be a CEO, who would dig ditches, hold lollipops and keep the sewers running?
    This is typical National bullshit. Dr Liz is quite right to point out Mr. Luxons ambitions that might very likely only favour those at the top. Again, National mantra. Ordinary people to be ignored. Despised?
    Anyway, I wish him well and don’t give two hoots about his religious beliefs.

  7. X-ray. I think the agitation about Luxon’s religious beliefs comes from his association with a secretive sect; some of the far-right sects have connections with USA extremists, who may have been directly involved in other political issues in New Zealand, including possibly providing funding. A shiny-faced Presbyterian or seasonal Anglican wouldn’t cause so much bother.

    If he can jolt the government into action, great. I’ve not heard him mention child poverty, although he seems to have an interest in the acquisition of houses. If he starts shouting that the best investment a country can make is providing all children with the best possible start in life, who’s going to be listening ?

  8. Strange how there is no mention of the New Apartheid rolled out today in NZ. It seems like it is a non event for the anointed ones

    • The Apartheid being rolled out is to the advantage of those with the sense to get vaccinated from those that are happy to put the others in danger due to their selfish attitude. Unlike the Apartheid in South Africa where you could not choose which side you were on in NZ you can .
      GET A LIFE GET VACCINATED

    • because it’s not ‘apartheid’ you are self selecting group , black south africans were not..invest in a dictionary.

    • Andy New apartheid – you mean gangs v the rest. Gangs are people who have decided that they only care about their particular members welfare. That’s what anti-vaxxers think and feel, so they are just another gang of people to be wary of. Then of course there are politicians. investors, speculators and builders owning the housing market,g and right wing bureaucrats who don’t care about people who can’t find a place to live although they are okay tenants. Their interest is just in themselves. So use the word apartheid carefully.

      • You seem to think that by pointing out that there is now segregation in NZ based on (in some cases) informed medical choice, that I’ (a) part of that group and (b) I only care about myself.

        Actually I care about all the people who may get side effects, possibly a long time in the future, from these largely unknown medical interventions. I also care about the people who tune into MSM every day and have been driven into a state of fear. So I actually care about a lot of people other than myself. I care very little for corporate pharma and their media pushers, who appear to be lacking in any moral framework whatsoever.

        I hope that clarifies my position

        • Andy your care won’t cure my covid if I catch it, or it catches me, whatever is the case. Words, words, words – I’m so sick of words (from film of My Fair Lady – Audrey Hepburn.)

  9. What is it with the hairstyle? What’s missing from the pic is that fellow who does the bacon ads on free to air TV.

  10. That was an excellent and interesting Post @ Dr LG.
    Firstly, can I beg? Enough with photographs of clean, pink, rich, smiling, bald headed politically inclined white men. And I use the term ‘men’ cautiously.
    Every time I see luxon with his row of gleaming gnashers out I have to go outside and roll on my compost heap. His purity? His virginity? His perfectness? His hot line to God? His empty ‘High Gleam’ head-polish bottles clattering around in the boot of his car? I bet he smells like a department store? You know that smell? Of warm plastic, polyester and cash money.
    But would he be as beautiful as he clearly thinks he is if it were not for the fact that he’d a still been, say, a domestic spider proofing guy if it were not for us giving him a wee leg up as the multi millionaire Grand Poo Bah of Air NZ?
    Let me remind you that Air NZ was ours.
    Wikipedia:
    “Air New Zealand originated in 1940 as Tasman Empire Airways Limited (TEAL), a company operating trans-Tasman flights between New Zealand and Australia. TEAL became wholly owned by the New Zealand Government in 1965, whereupon it was renamed Air New Zealand.”
    Here’s the kicker…
    “Air New Zealand was privatised in 1989, but returned to majority government ownership in 2001 after near bankruptcy due to a failed tie up with Australian carrier Ansett Australia.”
    So? Roger ‘Swine Fever’ douglas and his cronies are up luxon. And luxon, by returning favours, will be up roger. Eeeeewwwww…..!
    And if one were to rise high enough without escaping gravitational effect and perhaps mercifully float out into space just to get that wider view, one would see those fine, smiling, shiny heads standing on farmers, one foot on the back on their primary industry necks as douglas and luxon, by extension, and all their baldy-mates go through our farmers pockets.
    Democratic Socialism please? Royal Commission of Inquiry into past and present relationships between sad little Kiwi-As corporations and OUR politicians spanning decades pleas?

    • You will have to apply directly to the chief blog-herder, Martyn B, re pictures – he takes great editorial delight in selecting good piccies. So you are over pink men? Or is it hairlessness in general that offends? Thanks for your comments in the sea of right-wingery that has populated my blog today.

      • But they believe they are centrist, not right-wing. This bothers me: a few educated people die, and our country will barely have a political spectrum.

      • Dr LG.
        Ha !
        Pink hairlessness barks of faux purity.When men-males in positions of power sport it, it usually means, to me anyway, prepare yourself!? Here comes bleached bullshit.
        I’m certainly not offended by hairiness. I’m something resembling a bi-pedal horse blanket myself. I am offended by lying wankers and if they were hairy? Perhaps not so much so…It’s difficult to be angry at a fluffy man-person.
        Were right wingers too swaddled?
        Something about blood circulation?
        Is that why national is blue?

        • It’s difficult to be angry at a fluffy man-person.

          Insanely funny – Don’t spill the coffee, reading…

  11. “The question is whether he is prepared to enter into the battle of removing the barriers that lead people into the dark halls of Shelob’s lair – the road to mediocrity”.

    How can he, even with best intentions? Luxton and his team of neoliberalites are doomed to do what every young boy is taught not to do when facing a head wind. Mediocrity may well entail some absence of personal agency but widening disparty, poverty, the long tail of educational achievement, lack of good AFFORDABLE housing, oppression, even environmental degradation are all structural.

  12. The last four years has been everything, but not mediocre!! Jacinda started out quite softly after being elected in 2017, and rather aimlessly considering there was the state housing shortage to work on as well as a revamp of both the education sector and the health sector. Mental health too, having been neglected by nine years of having John Key at the helm, saw the closure of some facilities and the reduction in the budget of others. Then at the end of 2019, the pandemic, which has occupied Jacinda Ardern and her Labour caucus ever since, along with the odd meatball meal of dishonesty (pushing new and controversial abortion laws through Parliament at the height of the pandemic).

  13. “We have a choice: a choice between our current road to mediocrity, or a pathway to a more confident, aspirational and prosperous future” – What this means is that Luxton is going to pursue the same Neo-Liberal policies as were started by Labour in 1984 and have been going on ever since. A determination to make New Zealand a kiwi version of American free market capitalism.

  14. OMG! luxon DID get driven across the street to gubbimint buildings in a fucking limousine!
    That’d a been right past the crowds of homeless people begging for change in Capital City !?
    That’s outrageous. Even for me, who’s levels of what I consider outrageous are quite extreme.
    What.A.Wanker.

  15. Isn’t the reality that the world to a large extent actually relies on the ‘mediocre’ population to function; those who are quite content to get up each morning, do their job for a reasonable pay, and provide for their family. The section of society that is below ‘mediocre’ is the one that needs addressing.
    It is those that have been ‘confident’ and ‘aspirational’ that have turned Ao/NZ into what we are today, a serfdom for foreign financiers.

  16. There have been and there always will be politicians who have close links or involvement in a wide range of religious thought.
    Also, naturally, wealth and politics for some go hand in glove therefore it would be unusual for a conservative right wing party to overlook a candidate like Christopher Luxon who ticks many of the boxes.
    The next scheduled election on !3/01/24 gives Luxon and Willis time to mount a serious challenge against the Labour government and conversely the new team will go under the magnifying glass.
    The inherent privilege and expectation that oozes from the lips of Christopher Luxon so easily is both a strength and weakness depending on who is listening and how that translates on election day.
    Thank you Dr Liz.

    • Really National didn’t have a lot of choice than to elevate Luxon prematurely but after hearing his big speech lets see if his policies can deliver what he says. Politics is a very different beast than running a business. And can he tame the beast starting with his unwieldy party, we will have to wait and see.

  17. Nationals shiny boy would have let thousands of people die to save businesses and appease the already rich.

    • Covid is pa. True. But they were too stupid to realise that, practically speaking, the creaking hospital system which they had been hell-bent on privatising, couldn’t cope with the bods. People don’t just climb into beds, lie down neatly and die. They linger, often in great pain, often struggling to breathe.

      Sago Lane in Singapore is known as La rue de mort. In the old days, with a shortage of hospital beds, people who were terminally ill and discharged from hospital were sent to ‘hospices’ in Sago Lane. They were left there, very often without any medical or nursing care, waiting to die, in grim Spartan surroundings. This is the way things could have panned out under National’s scenarios, and still could.

  18. 4 years of under delivery we had 9 yrs of the same under John and despite all the crap currently being thrown at Jacinda we have the lowest death rate from Covid. And thousand of our Maori and PI people would be lying in the urupa right now.

  19. Setting out with a hopeful heart. That sounds like a line from The Pilgrim’s Progress written in tbe 1600s and which I have a hardback copy printed in about 1918 I think. An admirable book, and very interesting in these uncertain ages, to study and think about purity in life and wonder, is it the answer? Anyway I think it is about striving for purity, I will read from it FTTT. I keep it beside my little copy of the New Testament with my birth father’s signature in it, probably put when he was in his teens. He died when the Lancaster bomber he was piloting was shot down in 1944, and only one crew member survived.

    His heart was reasonably pure I think. And his parents were good practical, practising Christians. …“you too could be like me if you tried” would be a precept he would have taught me if he had lived. But I have grown up without him, a bit hopeful and a bit cynical, and see things a different way than they are presented; what is behind the facade? Thought must go into precepts; I think ‘you too could be like me if your tired’ would be my rallying call today. I am reading illustrated highlights and discussion of Slavoj Zizek’s thinking, and seeing whether it could be called polemics. I think our education has not prepared us for this slick 21st century, so I am reading, thinking, and adding new words to my vocab; like ‘polemics’. Mr Luxon has a name that fits a character in an ongoing series about a political leader in NZ now; the name is right, the background also, he has arisen in a time of need of the National Party, and Labour to retain an identity will be forced to act more in keeping with its original social beginnings, or just join in a notional fascist hegemony with National. The Greens will have to hold severe navel-gazing workshops going forward and delving deep enough to draw blood.
    (There are presently copies of inexpensive, graphic ”Introducing Slavoj Zizek’ in NZ – a good read for delving even for odd minutes.)

  20. Ha Ha Ha all the fascists’ run for cover when Country boy appears. Its like a incantation from the Grimoire of Cornelius Agrippa used to disperse a crowd of puritans at a witch burning. Country boy you are an elixir. Thank you sir.

  21. I thought luxons first policy announcement was bang on!
    Raising the minimum wage to $28/hr!
    Who’s going to argue with that!
    Can’t for more progressive working class policy’s like this.
    Whereas Labour just feed off the working class for their vote.

      • As that famous propagandist once said, “Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth”, is a law of propaganda Nazi Joseph Goebbels.

    • DT Was that meant to be truth about $28? Not liikely, so /sarc would be good indication, in case you ever pause the hyperbole.

  22. Lets face it with the National Party White Right Plight males and that is they are only in the job for themselves and what they can get out of it ego-wise for themselves.
    Most are opportunistic self servers and troughers who whilst will deem themselves utter perfection upon the planet just don’t give a toss about whom they discard along the way to their Ego ridden opportunities.
    And quite a number have opportunistic white males who have encouraged them to do what they can for all the purpose of making more money and creating more ego and arrogance along the way. And so there will always be alot of John Keys and Chris Luxons in history because when all things considered these sort of people will always look after Number One i.e themselves.
    For them to truly care about others is an alien concept for them because THEIR GOD is MONEY, GREED and of course EGO.
    Lets just watch the sycophantic NZ media be at their beck and call whenever they are seeking that attention they think is so lacking in their short lived lives when all things considered.

  23. Let the turd go around a few times before laying into him. I thought there was excessive vitriol for Key on the Left blogs. ‘Don’key and all. Reality is our friend unlike the Right. Yes, he is wrong but being born a NZer of Savage and Ballance he can’t help being a little right. Not that the fuck knows where his rightness comes from.

  24. From the word go Luxon started to lie.He has skeletons in his wardrobe. He lied about Bridges being promised the Finance portfolio and there are still questions about Air New Zealand’s involvement with Saudi Arabia.
    James you are a right winger whether you know it or not. Deny it all you like – we know better.

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