Luxon vs Ardern: Is this the best we can hope for?


If anyone was in doubt at the political malaise which grips Aotearoa New Zealand this will be dispelled at the prospect of a Luxon Vs Ardern election next year.

The media are polling flat out and breathlessly telling us who could be PM, what coalition options look like and who could be kingmaker or queenmaker. It’s tedious and silly this far out but it underlines just how hopeless are the current electoral options. 

For almost 40 years Aotearoa New Zealand has been in the grip of a National/Labour economic consensus which means the rich get relentlessly richer at the expense of middle and low income workers and their families. The practical policy differences between Labour and National are fine shades of beige.

Labour and National are dominated by a neo-liberal consensus which has ironed out any significant differences in their policies. Labour is just as likely to be on the right of National on any issue and the Labour and National tribes loath each other more than any passion they may have for the welfare of the people.

Labour’s promises of transformation are no longer even an eye-rolling joke.

Just two Labour ministers – Andrew Little and David Parker – have any sort of drive or ambition in their portfolios – most of the rest are nice people but that’s all.  

Particularly feeble have been Megan Woods in housing and Carmel Sepuloni in social development. Under their watch the numbers of families struggling has ballooned. The state house waiting list has reached 25,500 (up from 5,000 when Labour came to power in 2017) and Woods is delivering funding for just 1600 new state houses each year. Hopeless. And while Carmel Sepuloni was good on a loudhailer railing against National before she got her feet under a ministerial desk, she has appeared inert since.

Under this Labour government the rich have got immeasurably richer – a trillion dollars richer – at the expense of the rest of us. 

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Die-hard Labour supporters will claim Covid has prevented transformation. Untrue. Covid provided the opportunity and justification for transformation in health first following by change across the board. But Labour wasn’t interested. It gave up looking out for low and middle-income earners long ago. Labour has neither the desire, the policy nor the political determination to bring meaningful change. They are comfortable fiddling at the margins.

Meanwhile the Greens these days look too comfortable. They have neutered themselves in Labour’s shadow. They are not hungry enough nor outraged enough to drive for meaningful change. What campaigning they do seems lacklustre – just going through the motions.

Is there time to build some better political option before the 2023 election? 

We should give it some thought.


  1. I don’t know anyone else but Effiso Collins and Matt McCarten that posses the minimum required by ingredients and even then at the very least should be aiming for a 1 or even a 2 Infront of there polling. A 3 then hopefully they’d have nurtured at least one as to continue on in the leadership role.

    I mean there’s always a leader, deputy and and apprentice. When the leader steps down the choice is always obvious because our of the deputy and apprentice one is always older while the other is younger.

    This process is important because if you don’t you just wast all campaigning and polling. What a wast if it just dies with one leader.

    • Matt McCarten – you are kidding, a man looking for a home. Full of talk.

      Efeso yes yes yes. Ridiculous that they put Jenny Salesa who did not perform as a minister in to the fold of Labour rather than Efeso, but then could they ‘control’ efeso.

  2. John
    I think the Greens are even more disappointing than any of Labour’s most shameful ministers. They have shaped themselves into a 2nd Labour party with just a bit more outrage factor. If only they focused on the environment and were pragmatic about being in coalition with any party -for the sake of their environmental policies! – then they would be a 15 or 20% party. There is a lot of goodwill and a big economy in being green. They just don’t get it.

    • As an ex member I think the Greens are pathetic on every front. They were never ever just an environmental party, their kaupapa talks about social justice and many other things. But they are useless getting caught up in all sorts of gender stuff that is (sorry) on the periphery of what they should be doing.

    • Sour Kraut Agree. The Greens – what a misnomer – are a massive disappointment, and quite a tragedy for the environment, but as you say they just don’t get it. This could change if they could somehow grasp the vision and ideals of previous leadership – dump their identity politics shenanigans – dunno.

    • Yes the NATZ dirty politics team is active and using the right wing followers/commentators to try and reduce the greens votes to below 5% or rid them from parliament so their beloved tories can win parliament. NZers across the board have more to gain with a social democratic coalition Labour/Green government rather than a greed focused right wing tory Natz/Act coalition.

      • LOL As if the Greens need any help from “right-wing followers/commentators” in discrediting themselves. But don’t worry Nikorima, there’s no chance of the Greens falling below 5 %. Plenty of Zoomers and Millenials who will vote for them no matter what, including some of my own workmates.

  3. A new party is badly needed, not one that scares the horses but a conservative socialist left of centre would do me.

    “Inert”. That is the best adjective ever for the Arden 2017-2023 government, ever.

    And yep, the Greens have disappeared through the looking glass and are indulging with whatever the gender non specific caterpillar is smoking from they hookah pipe.

    • ” “Inert”. That is the best adjective ever for the Arden 2017-2023 government, ever.”
      Ain’t THAT the truth!

    • UK politics is very interesting at present. The Johnson-led Tory government has “stolen Labour’s clothes” as one wag put it, while Labour struggles to decide what is and isn’t a woman. So despite Johnson’s personal dysfunctionality, the Tories are still a better option than LINO in terms of policy priorities. The Thatcherite faction of the Tories is of course unhappy with Johnson’s big-spending interventionism, but if they know what’s good for them they’ll stick with him.

      • interesting though that many of the ‘red wall’ councils that didn’t go tory were the ones proposing re-nationalising of local council functions.
        plus the tories got a bit of a spanking in the recent locals probably more associated with borises clown show than actual policy though. let’s face it starmer is like jacinda he doesn’t ‘do’ policy.

  4. I think voters would prefer ‘nice’ labour to

    David Parker who is a neoliberal.

    Andrew Little used to have a lot more spine before he was bought to court repeatedly in the Hagaman debacle. Now he is trained not to speak out against corruption due to our legal systems love of hiding it.

    How many cases has the criminal cases review committee overturned or completed, have they asked for more budget while no justice it seems yet.

    21 million on consultants for 3 waters which nobody seems to want as another lawyer of bureaucracy doesn’t seem to solve labours problems with housing and tertiary and health care.

    3rd taskforce on health waiting lists – do government really need another task force give them more reports or could they spend the time and money on more doctors and nurses in the hospitals and retaining qualified people – instead of flooding hospitals with more non medical or non qualified health workers in the system to ‘make up the numbers’.

    • Yes a neo liberal still – aren’t they all.

      I think Parker has done more than any minister. Limiting super phosphate is a huge step frankly.

      Little has got the poisoned chalice which is health which has been underfunded by $30 billion over 30 years according to Phil Bagshaw who is himself the real deal and one of the starters of the CHCH charity hospital.

      I would love to know who in parliament does not have health insurance. Most of them don’t have a stake in public health services.

    • People will vote for them because people like to vote for one of the main parties and don’t want the Nats to get in. They also don’t see an alternative. The Maori Party will probably get my vote, I want to see their tax policy first.

    • I voted Labour to get Helen Clark back in power as Labour was far more business friendly than National .Because they were Labour they seemed to be able to get moves past the unions that if National had tried there would have been big strikes .Jacinda’s government is on the same path but I would rather not have them in power as they are unpredictable. If National get back we may be able to get the oil and gas drillers back and earn some money now Russian oil is to be blacklisted

      • The oil gas drillers would rather keep the money to themselves and not share it with NZers.

        Also, the fact that you want wages slashed, shows what sort of a person you really are

        • if we went with the ‘norwegian model’ for extraction industries…trev might have an argument but asset stripping by foreigners who export profits helps nothing….but trev never mentions that in his aussie extraction industry fuelled rants does he? mmmmmm……

    • You can reduce that by 15-20%. All NZers got richer by 1 Trillion not just the property speculators. If a hapless get rich quick leader like Luxon gets in and invites the property speculators back in and tax cuts for his rich followers (not those who think they are rich) the Trillion will look like chicken feed.
      NZ has the lowest unemployment, lower inflation rate, built more new and social houses than tories, despite the greatest global crisis in 80 years – the GFC was not as severe as this current crisis’ yet Key borrowed as much as Labour has done and didnt pay it back, built no houses and relied on property speculators for his rock star economy. That was Keys legacy.

  5. Yes John. I’ve been reading more about the New Right, that’s what we need here – less identitist, globalist, corporatist, socialist bull shit would be good.
    “This New Right is heavily populated by people with graduate degrees, so there’s a lot of debate about who is in it and whether or not it even exists. At one end are the NatCons, post-liberals, and traditionalist figures like Benedict Option author Rod Dreher, who envision a conservatism reinvigorated by an embrace of localist values, religious identity, and an active role for the state in promoting everything from marriage to environmental conservation. But there’s also a highly online set of Substack writers, podcasters, and anonymous Twitter posters—“our true intellectual elite,” as one podcaster describes them. This group encompasses everyone from rich crypto bros and tech executives to back-to-the-landers to disaffected members of the American intellectual class, like Up in the Air author Walter Kirn, whose fulminations against groupthink and techno-authoritarianism have made him an unlikely champion to the dissident right and heterodox fringe. But they share a the basic worldview: that individualist liberal ideology, increasingly bureaucratic governments, and big tech are all combining into a world that is at once tyrannical, chaotic, and devoid of the systems of value and morality that give human life richness and meaning—as Blake Masters recently put it, a “dystopian hell-world.”

  6. Yes, these two overpaid and over rated clowns is hte best this country can bring forward as ‘representative of the people and for hte poeple’ Lol.
    As for the non binaries…..what ever they smoke i hope its legal.

  7. This reads to me like a rallying call to arms, for the ‘real’ left to make a return to centre stage!?

    It is appealing.

    • Denny you must be with the Kingitanga/TPM faction of Ngati Paoa and salivating over the appointment of luxon and the probability of Te Pati Maori/Kingtanga going with him and the NATZ again. Whats happened to Tuko Morgan? Nanaia will hold the Waikato seat.

  8. Not one, but TWO new parties John.
    As Xray says, “not one that scares the horses but a conservative socialist left of centre” party. This needs to be party that will break free of the ‘baked in’ neoliberal framework that nullifies any efforts at meaningful social beneficence. This gives a political home to the disillusioned Labour middle class latte sipping vote. It needs to be a party that actually upholds many of the stated goals that the current pseudo-Labour preaches but fails to address.

    The second party needs to be an unabashed Eco-socialist party. This should represent the more forthright views of the Left, with a clear focus on Climate Change mitigation, and NEW sustainable ways of organising society, instead of trying to make capitalism work, as the current so-called Green Party does. This would give a political home for disaffected Green voters, and those for whom a deeper more profound structural change is required to plot humankind’s future survival and prosperity. It would be the “ACT” party of the Left, and fulfil the role that Nationals pet poodle party of Rogernomes and gun cultists does in promoting more extreme ideas that, in the first instance, “frighten horses”.

    Then, and only then, will the ENORMOUS vacuum on the Political left in this country even come close to being filled. The current Labour & Green parties have been successfully infiltrated and assimilated by the neoliberalists – they are both no longer fit for purpose. Neither of them are the future of NZ’s political Left.

  9. WHERE IS THE PHARMAC final report ?
    Apparently the only ones allowed to see it are crown stakeholders !!!
    The 112,000 Pharmac review Petition signers along with the other 100,000 petition signers on 10 other petitions in 2019/2020 and review submitter’s have not been allowed to see it and Andrew little is refusing to release it publicly.
    Andrew little and crown stakeholders have had it for 3 months so why hasn’t it been released.

    Lets remember Labour did not want a Pharmac review and they blatantly refused to have the funding model as part of the review.
    Obviously Labour and Andrew Little don’t like what it says.
    They sure as hell did not like the preliminary report.

  10. This link to Russell Brand talking about;
    ” As Barack Obama now joins the calls for internet speech regulation, what’s behind the sustained push to expand Big Tech’s power while limiting yours? ”
    ; is worth a listen while having a cuppa and a bickie.
    National, Labour, ACT, The Green Party, The Maori Party are the same ‘thing’.
    Let that sink in while you swirl your tea leaves.
    Now. Look around? I’m being serious. Look around?
    Four of our largest, now foreign owned banks, take more than $6 Billion dollars out of our country in net profits every year.
    Housing affordability is at an all time critical mass of despair. Homelessness is rife and there are kids with their parents living in cars.
    Supermarket cartels are making record profits, the price of fuel is soaring, rental accomodation is unaffordable and National, Labour, ACT, The Green Party and the Maori Party are the same ‘thing’.
    Our democracy is crippled and they crippled it. Our politic is a tattered lie and we’re at its mercy and it clearly has no mercy.

    • Thanks for that link CB, it changed my concept of Russell Brand. In the past I I found his style off-putting, but that video is a remarkable dissection of 21st century politics.

  11. Really John, you are right about Sepuloni being a waste of space but Chris Hipkins and Grant Robertson have been solid performers as has Michael Wood. Unlike you I prefer to be a party member and change things from within. Anthony Albanese has proposed that the state takes on 40% of a first home buyer’s liabilities and NZ should look at that. After all we did have a State Advances Corporation once.

    • Sepuloni is 10 times better than that nasty looking Upston who couldnt give a shit about the poor, Maori, children. Robertson 20 times better than the other nasty looking Willis. Hipkins runs rings around Bishop. Little trumps Dr ICU Reti. Poto beats Mitchell hands up – hes a bumbling fool who gets easily bamboozled which is not good when a protest is happening.

    • why…should I subsidise a private asset? tax for public housing is one thing, socialism for the bourgeoise is another thing

  12. I recall some of the policies regarding taxation that were introduced under the Clark Governments as being dangerously near the far left. Her three terms in power were between 1999 and 2008. Benefits were increased which helped the poor immeasurably, resulting in improvements in numeracy and literacy amongst children from low socioeconomic households. The Working For Families package was introduced, so families on low to median incomes were better off. The implementation of the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, which was also known as the Cullen Fund, along with initiatives which were pioneered by NZ First Leader Winston Peters, made finances considerably easier on retirees.

  13. ” Is there time to build some better political option before the 2023 election? ”

    YES John and Sanders and Corbyn although neutered by corporate and neo liberal forces within and outside of their prospective parties have shown that when mobilised with a serious alternative to the current status quo people will respond and get in behind a credible alternative with strong bottom line policy and an effective direct approach that cuts through the media bullshit. I know that setting up a party is often fraught with difficulties but with dedicated supporters and funding it can be done. The Alliance and Internet Mana can provide enough examples of what to do and what does not work !

    Its time for a real serious progressive alternative that can contest the general election but it will take time to evolve and will be prepared to play the long game. POLICY is where the debate is needed without the diversion of ” woke ” stupidity.

    I supported the Greens at the last three elections because they had excellent policies and I expected them to have more authority to implement at least some of them but the reality is the current parliament is captured by the neo liberal disease and any prospective progressive candidate would have to be totally focussed on representing the people whose hope for something better and have their voice’s be heard.

    John if a serious , credible movement was able to really offer something better I would join and support it any way I can.

    No one in the current parliament or political parties offers anything apart from the current consensus so every three years its a wasted vote for people like me who are never represented in parliament or government.

    John YES its time.

    • Greb
      Like…as in merge as a couple? Imagine the offspring…totally bald and totally transparent….what an image!!! Alien V.

    • They could quite easily with a Commerce Commission rubber stamp.
      See you back here in a few years to see who gets custody of the kids and other property

  14. Well said, Minto. Captures the picture.

    I’m thinking of voting Maori Party. It’ll be like when I without doubts voted Alliance. Know zilch-ous about them except their fire.

  15. Is Labour any different to National now?
    Bunch of reviews and does nothing about the results, fuel, electricity, poverty and supermarkets and nothing.
    Covid hits and Labour is handing out money like its going out of fashion to support businesses, even a benefit worth twice the unemployment benefit where partners could earn up to 3 grand a week! while regular beneficiaries got a lousy 20 bucks which was then taken off other allowances meaning their raise was just on paper, looks good in the news though.
    Seems thats all Labour does now, tell the media one thing, do something different behind the scenes.

  16. Sepuloni is 10 times better than that nasty looking Upston who couldnt give a shit about the poor, Maori, children. Robertson 20 times better than the other nasty looking Willis. Hipkins runs rings around Bishop. Little trumps Dr ICU Reti. Poto beats Mitchell hands up – hes a bumbling fool who gets easily bamboozled which is not good when a protest is happening.

  17. Don McLean has written some good words in his time.
    His ‘Jump’ seems to fit our Now,.

    JUMP Album: Prime Time
    Well you better jump, jump, jump,
    If you wanna’ live at all.
    Yes you better jump, jump, jump,
    Even though you’re bound to fall
    Cause’ they’re gonna’ make you sorry gonna’ make you cry
    If you don’t jump, jump, jump, into the seat by and by.

    Well, you jump for joy and happiness,
    You jump when things go right.
    You jump when you’re asleep
    And you hear a strange voice in the night.
    Sometimes we get to use to things, they don’t mean what they did.
    I know that what make my floor, make another fellows lid.
    Well, I’m always on the lookout,
    For somethin’ fresh and new.
    Like bein’ on a cookout with a crazy Kangaroo.
    Just when I think I’ve found a place where I’m sure I wanna’ stop.
    My body won’t quit cookin’ and my mind begins to hop.
    Well, I’m thinkin’ about a thousand things,
    I’m a losin’ lots of sleep.
    I’m glidin’ on my inner wings, I’m gettin’ set to leap.
    I’m ridin’ on my pony, I’m lettin’ out my rope.
    I’m lookin’ for an idea like a big bar of soap.
    Well, one man was cold and hungry,
    One man was rich and well.
    One man stood at the window, as the crowd began to yell.
    While the poor man prayed to Jesus and the rich man made a deal.
    One man was standing naked yellin’ do what you feel.

  18. “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.”
    ― Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

    Oh that were so in NZ! The reality is NZ is a venal money trench for the elite and petit bourgeoisie, a neo liberal state in legislation and reality, so no revolution just yet. But change is a coming…one way or another.
    The Convoys and Groundswells had their go at being that change, but have blown their bags as far as can be seen, they had their chance.

    A new political movement (not just Parliamentary Party) is certainly needed to challenge and retire neo liberalism. But given all the requirements to register new parties and do community organising and activism, that should probably be kicked out to the 2026 General Election. There are ultimately few ‘organisational solutions to political problems.’

    But for 2023 certainly the Greens and Te Pāti Māori should be the target for pressure to support working class friendly policy in case they are able to form a Government with Labour. A combination of tactics–turn Green and Māori left as possible, and strategy–keep the dirty filthy natzos out, as the ground is prepared for a generational break through in 2026.

    Countryboy is right that all the main parties have signed up to the neo liberal state, so a prime poltical job is to split off the most useful groups. Or we could always just talk shit on blogs…

  19. Thinking John of each geographical area gathering together people who fit a written set of beliefs etc. Get together, form a Trust, apprentice themselves to the Council, accountants, business interests with practical ideas, plan an informed, democratic group but everyone has had to study some government political set of papers. Keep under scrutiny of all to make sure no treason or white-anting. The people are from all groups and interests, all informed, those representing the poor understand them, people not vicious but demand firm decisions not just self indulgent..,. blah blah.

    This is in train, still thinking about it. But democracy has not worked with everyone having the option of an equal say yet with no knowledge or experience very deep outside their specialty. Business people only know about starting s business. People who don’t want to be bothered
    don’t join but come along to meetings and put their concerns forward and can be on working committees looking at the problem etc. People involved. We have practised equality along class lines, voters think that they are ‘the bosses’ of politicians, expect everything, but only the slick and clever workers get what they want. Crazy.

  20. As the government has contracted out its duties and concerns to quasi agencies and business it is opportune for citizens to form themselves into the sort of professionals they would like to be carrying out this work themselves. It would be particularly suitable for youthful and capable retired men and women. A way of putting something back into the country that has nurtured them in some ways since being born and of which we always had high expectations and pride. It is time for the reality of the old saying – ‘Now is the time for all good men, and women, to come to the aid of the party’.


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