Tough day culturally for everyone who loves The Spin-off & why Greens need to be meeting now with Maori Party to save Labour


Tough day culturally for everyone who loves The Spin-off.

The only reason you should ever read The Spin-Off is for there remarkable Danyl McLauchlan and his most recent explanation as to why Labour can’t get anything done mirrors the criticism that TDB has been making since the 2017 election, that the Wellington Bureaucracy runs this country, not the Government…

Labour began this term with unprecedented popularity and two very strong assumptions. The first was that the government should give money to people who need it. The second was that it should invest in the public sector, especially education and health. The 2021 budget was a very confident implementation of those values, but the last 12 months have called them both into question. Because if the government increases benefits and minimum wages, but that contributes to inflation, which wipes out the value of the increases, then they haven’t really helped anyone.

And the modern day public sector is very far from the one Michael Joseph Savage built, or even the walk-shorts and glide time stereotypes of the 1970s. It’s an amalgam of public and private entities: departments and ministries and commissions co-existing with law firms, consultancies, public relations companies, NGOs, corporations and other private sector providers. It’s carefully optimised to redirect vast amounts of public spending into private hands, and this is a problem this government struggles to confront. Which is why its ministers routinely find themselves being torn apart by interviewers like Corin Dann or Tova O’Brien, struggling to explain why some previously announced multi-million dollar policy has only helped a tiny handful of people, or failed to build any houses, or to translate into real-world action at all.

…I say this is culturally tough for the lovers of the Spin-Off because the vast majority of the Woke Wellington Twitteratti are all employed by the very same Wellington Bureaucracy that is the problem. They are with Public Sector Unions, NGOs and State Agencies themselves and can’t fathom that they are the baddies.

What most NZers don’t understand about NZ politics, winning power is VERY different from managing power. If you don’t arrive on day one with with a clear legislative agenda and enough mana to intimidate the Wellington Bureaucracy, you get nothing done.

Representative Democracy in NZ is a masquerade so that you will participate and give it legitimacy, the truth is that the Wellington Bureaucracy runs the country and their middle class neoliberal pandering decides policy implementation, not the feckless and easily manipulated Ministers.

Labour didn’t expect to win 2017 and they didn’t expect to win an MMP majority in 2020, so they’ve had no real 100 day legislative agenda to ram through and as such have been stymied ever step by the Wellington Bureaucracy.

TDB Recommends

Jacinda may be kind and she may really want transformative change, but if you don’t come to Wellington with a clear plan as to how to force the Bureaucracy to implement your manifesto, then transformative change becomes a virtue signal of aspiration rather than actual policy.

Kindness becomes Neo-Kindness that aggrieves rather than inspires.

The Māori Party and the Greens need to meet and form a panel that can agree on a shared list of policies that would be passed within the first 100 days of the next Government.

Only a Labour Green Māori Party Government could be transformative.

With economic turmoil around the corner and the shifting generational dynamics now at play, Labour fear most an attack from the Left.

For Labour, they would want a coalition Government. 2023 is a generational shift in NZ politics when for the first time, Gen Xers + Millennials outnumber Boomers at the ballot box. The time to build a broad coalition Government tailored for this shifting dynamic is now.

The negotiating team for the Greens & MP meeting Labour should be Nandor, Sue Bradford, Laila Harre and a representative from the Maori Party.

The most aligned policy platform in the MMP spectrum is the Greens and Māori Party.

The Rubiks cube of MMP could produce a Labour+Green+Māori Party Government which would be the most progressive government in our lifetime.

I’ve previously argued what the 10 possible Green/Māori Party bottom lines could be:

Free Public Transport – poor people pay an enormous percentage of their weekly wage on public transport, making it free would put money directly back into their pockets while making roads more efficient.

Free Dental Care – poverty prevents many people seeking dental care and because oral health is a pre-indicator of health issues, free dental care would save lives.

GST off fresh fruit and vegetables – anything that makes healthy kai cheaper should be adopted.

Sugar Tax – Big sugar continues to get a free pass without paying for their health damage.

Mass State House build – we need green homes that are warm and safe for life.

Minister for Sustainable Growth – We need to start considering what a post growth economy looks like.

New competition in Supermarket duopoly – If Labour are too frightened to make real change in this space, the Greens and Māori Party can and will.

Compulsory Te Reo in Primary Schools – If the seed is planted early, it has the best chance of growth.

Free Internet via schools, Marae and libraries – The digital divide keeps locking many poor people out of a part of life that has become essential for everyone else.

Solar panels on every school, Marae and public building – Secure the energy supplies of tomorrow with big vision ideas.

If the Left doesn’t have a clear 100 day policy in 2023 to ram through change before the Wellington Bureaucracy can kill it off, we are fucked as a movement and the Professional-Managerial Class (PMC) will keep their glass palaces and neoliberal fiefdoms…

The PMC is distinguished by the role it plays in mediating Capitalism’s relationship with its most injured victims. Without the PMC army of lawyers, probation officers, social workers, health professionals, teachers, journalists and “communications specialists” to extinguish the fires ignited constantly by economic exploitation and social exclusion, the whole of capitalist society would soon be engulfed in flames.

The PMC is what you create when the price of relying exclusively upon police officers, judges, jailers and soldiers to keep the bottom half under control grows too high. It’s the velvet glove that Capitalism pulls on to hide and soften its iron fist. For this subterfuge to work, however, the PMC has to believe that it knows much better than Capitalism’s casualties what’s good for them. There is one very simple reason why a government comprised overwhelmingly of members of the PMC will find it almost impossible to understand what the bottom half of New Zealand society needs: because it is supremely confident that it already does.

…the Political Left have one last chance to prove they can do more than alienate with identity politics by putting forward a platform of universal measures that make people materially better off rather than middle class virtue signals.


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  1. Bro surely you’re old enough to know NOTHING in life is free,

    If the Gov says it is free it just means your paying for it further up the chain with your taxes or debt

    • oh shit straight man can’t you come up with something better than ‘nothings free’ it’s the oldest tiredest and least effective argument against govt spending ever.

      • That might be true, but the money does come from somewhere and it is coming from the taxes that are collected from the tax payer, be they civilians or businesses.
        WE could state that the Govt could just print money, as we have our own currency, but that would be a different story altogether.
        But fact of the matter is Jacinda and her dudes and non dudes are as spendthrift as the other options, and have as little to show for that money as the other options.
        The problem in this country and many other western country is not that we don’t spend enough money on stuff that is nice to have, but that they spend it to be seen as doing something rather then just hanging our and fiddling thumbs and all. And the result is a lot of debt for no discernable change.

  2. Compulsory Te Reo in Primary Schools – If the seed is planted early, it has the best chance of growth.

    Why? I’d rather my kids learnt something useful!

    • x-x Why don’t you spend more time thinking before you write. You write like a teenager. Little kids minds are very plastic, or most are, and languages are learned most easily when young and supposed to help expand learning power. And learning about the people and things around you is the most useful thing you can do – at the end of the day it will help in finding a way to cope with you when you are old and more out of it than you are now.

        • personally I question the value of a language spoken by a minority on a small pacific island as a tool in the job market but if you’re not concerned by it’s resale value and want to speak it go for gold…just be aware chinese will probably prepare children for the big world…
          and yes violin lessons and latin are probably of equally low utility in the modern world.

    • XstraightXedgeX: if a language has utility, people will use it. If the Maori language had utility, it wouldn’t be on life support, as it obviously is.

      Teaching the language – compulsorily or voluntarily – in schools, won’t save it. The Irish found this out. For language survival, native speakers are needed: people who have a language as their first and only language for the first few years of their lives: until they start school, preferably. This applies to all languages, not just to Maori. If the Maori language becomes a second language for native speakers of other languages (mostly English in NZ), it won’t survive. At best, it’ll become like Latin. A language with no native speakers is a “dead” language. That’s the status of Latin. As far as one can tell from census data, there are now no native speakers of te reo, which makes it also a dead language.

      If the government wants to help with revival of the language, making it compulsory in schools won’t help. The only people who can revive the language are Maori themselves. And they can do it only by making sure their babies are exposed solely to the language, at least until they’re about three or four years old, so that it’s the first language they learn to speak. The rest of us can’t help, no matter how keen we may be to see the language survive and thrive.

  3. Any Government that includes the incumbent Labour bunch will be unable to achieve the 10 bottom lines
    In 5 years they have achieved nothing and in fact made everything worse.

    • You might be surprised to find that Covid, high inflation, unaffordable housing & Russia invading it’s neighbours is happening to the rest of the world. Not just NZ.

    • “Labour bunch will be unable to achieve the 10 bottom lines. In 5 years they have achieved nothing and in fact made everything worse.”

      In the same way that the debt ceiling is increased, the bottom lines could be lowered. Relative progress!

  4. The only success I see in a combination of Labour Greens and Maori Party is a success in changing a fair to middling economy into a complete disaster and with the wages and work that will be on display in Australia it will be the brains and the brawn going over the ditch .The only ones left will be the crimes who cannot get in and the old who they do not want.

    • The brains and the brawn have been going to Aussie for years Trevor. Hell even Bill and John promised to close the wage gap with Aussie. Some will say that was a lie, others will say it was never achievable, others will say it was another election bribe by National(similar to tax cuts).
      If you take notice of the Greens or Maori party policies you will actually learn they want a better wage economy rather than the platitudes of the National party. At some point you need to recognize National were a disaster in this area.

    • Tell you what, a LGM goverment, will have high wages, better health care, better working condition and a society focused on human need and well being, not profit.
      TIme rich pricks like you started paying more tax to stop homelessness.

      • I would hazard a guess that I have paid more tax in my working life than you and have created more well paid jobs when I was self employed and as part of a growing company that I was part of for last 17 years .
        Homelessness has been worsened over the last few years. It was a weakness in Nationals last year’s but Labour have done little to solve it despite many promises . They have attempted to hide the problem by using motels and while that is better than a car it creates it own problems .
        My feeling is that as government have access to the cheapest money they should buy houses and rent them out at cheap rents that covered costs which would push those on the margins to sell and so the rents would move down . High rents are they biggest problem solve that and the rest will work itself out .
        NZ is a low wage country dragging in more tax will not solve problems just create them

        • Actually Trevor the housing of the homeless came about by getting them off the streets during the first covid lockdown so it was never about “hiding” the problem as you suggest.I sincerely believe they are trying to get the homeless into housing by new builds alongside Kainga Ora.
          The other driver has been the year on year increase of migrants into the country without anything being done to match the population growth with property, infrastructure and employment. Hardly surprising we see more homelessness and more of virtually everything.
          I do like your suggestion of Government buying housing and renting cheaply in the shorter term until sufficient new builds are complete.

          • I enjoy our exchanges. I think we both care about people but I see them finding a path to success under a National government and you see them getting there by a Labour one .We are both under no illusions that everything they do is without fault and done for other than helping those that need help .
            Having just survived covid I am glad of the fact we are in a country blessed with a good medical system .

            • Wonderful to hear of your recovery and again I concur with everything you say. There does not need spite to get you perspective across. Go well Trevor.

        • You do realise that tax pays for social services like health and education right?
          If we do not increase tax for rich pricks, our schools and hospitals are further starved of funding and our health system will become American-ised?
          National closed scores of hospitals in the 1990’s to pay for tax cuts for rich pricks like you? and you want more tax cuts?

        • no worse than shovelling money at motel owners and at least the houses would be assets rather than liabilities…now about those ‘ghost houses’

    • Even Don Brash urged the Natz in 2008 to raise NZ wages/salaries to try and match the aussies. So what did John Key do – borrowed $2bn and gave the rich tax cuts then invited the property speculators in to create his hillbilly rock star economy. Property prices doubled between 2012-2017. This is what Luxon and Natz are proposing for 2023 and with Act dictating financial policy NZ will be a cot case under NATZACT – 30% unemployment, 19% inflation.

      • while right now we have a low unemployment rate thanks to counting people who have signed a contract as casual not being a ‘jo0b seeker ‘ anymore. Never mind that the under utilization rate is over 10% for men and women, and the numbers of people on benefits up too.
        Inflation, lets check in again come mid winter and then again in Dec. Overseas in Europe it is already well over 10+% and that in countries with so-called ‘progressive’ governments.
        If anything any Govt / Coalition other then L + G + TPM, will inherit the inflation born madness that was the Labours Party politics during the Covid Pandemic.
        I am not for a tax cut, i am for a review of our tax bracket and a no tax part on the first 25 grand – as 25 grand is a min cost annually for rent. But you know what, i am not gonna get that from labour nor national, cause neither one of it would really benefit from it. And that is the issue, these people don’t reign to better the country they reign to better their statuses and earning prospects in the ‘free’ and ‘private’ or ‘charity’ business world where they would like to find high paying jobs are leaving parliament.

        • the figure for ‘underemployment’ would be illuminating, as well as those receiving assistance because their earnings are so low…bet that wouldn’t be a ‘success story’

  5. It doesn’t matter if Labour have a clear 100 day plan, no one will believe they’re capable of implementing it based on 6 years of ineptitude and these type of excuses.

    Think about it. Excuse 1. Didn’t expect this win in 2017 so apart from the achievements NZ First brought them, who also were no shoo in either, they achieved sweet FA.

    And they were definitely looking like a one term government prior to Covid. Recall the “year of delivery”? Cancelled! Recall NZ First were a “handbrake”? They weren’t as it turned out, timid Labour were!

    Excuse 2, they didn’t expect to win a majority in 2020. So once they did, they did next to nothing insofar as policy went. What the actual fuck? No handbrake excuses now!

    And to extrapolate that one more step, they surely can’t expect to win in 2023 so they’ll fail again and so why would anyone vote for a government like this who are so useless? They just don’t get it! They never will.

  6. Martyn if you are so sure that the tenderfoot politico is mincemeat and needs to wise up then yourself and the other guardians of democracy thinking and communicating out there, need to host a weekend workshop for the newbies that is run by the wise owls, and a month later there would be another run by those of the newbies who want to test themselves in getting their point over and seeing their projects carried out. after discussion as to difficulties, cost and outcome. They would listen to this excellent and humorous short tute on handling the media:

    Also other features like the idea at a meeting on priorities of bringing up an expensive investment by government after discussing a contested point like whether to have a new gardener’s shed and where it should be, people haven’t the heart to decide on whether a bomb laboratory is required or not after that and the chances are it will be approved. (I probably got that out of Yes Minister which is another thing for newbies to study, read and watch youtube. It isn’t a bag of wind – those writers spent a lot of time around pollies and their haunts and were not greenhorns themselves.)

    Serious measures: (this explains the proper way to use consensus for decision making and there is an image of a 2011 seated street crowd at an Occupy meeting, very different to my memory of the NZ circus.)

    Decision making – there needs to be a protocol on getting heard and not have an all-inclusive consensus but with disagreement noted, and briefly why. That’s so you can say I told you so later. And a time limit on holding forth. (MontyPython Example of meeting in action:

    Decisions need to be made on how decisions are to be made. Very important to go through basic five points. I wonder if everyone does this. And also that all briefing and background papers have been read and understood, there should be a run through as to the general understanding of what it’s all about, and the need for it.

    It is required that a certain understanding of three-syllable jargon should have been obtained, but no-one should be embarrassed about asking for explanation but should note these in decipherable writing and not have to ask again, also all those who didn’t have the guts to ask.
    Then there is this:

    A way of getting caught in theoretical methods is to spend too long thinking about the johari window but it helps to know about it and provided that practical thinking isn’t totally abandoned so you change to fit into a box then it can be illuminating.

    There is so much to be learned about how to do things and why and whether it is a good idea – No why, Yes, to what level of investment and timing etc. Who says? And it would be very easy for newbies to be bamboozled by bureaucrats with uni training, who have never mingled much with the hoi polloi to whom they are going to administer the policy either helpful, just bearable or a coup de grace. If you are arguing with a technology titan you may feel that you’re a dwarf against a heavyweight. The overarching approach might be of that old saw – The wise old owl sat in the oak, The more he saw the less he spoke, The less he spoke the more he heard.

    However that is not what a politician is paid to do and why you should organise teaching and familiarisation sessions apart from anything that their Party sets up for them. And to which the newbies could come and be prepared to learn or go after lunchtime so that serious ones can get some practice at thinking and explaining, and feinting, and jabbing too.

    Give them some practice role-modelling, say empty-chair work to refine one’s ideas providing clarity for decision making. It might never have been used in NZ before and give us some renown and amusement from less innovative, thoughtful associates. Also get newbies to read further –

  7. Some good ideas there Martyn but we now need to go hard on somethings , not tinker…Remove GST completely and return to a 67% top rate from $200,000…..And let’s renegotiate…How many workers in New Zealand had their top rate nearly halved…not many , if any……But the wealthy in 1986 did just that…How did Douglas pay for that…the masses paid for it …10% on everything….at the moment anyone who spends all their weekly income , and there will be many , they are spending 15% on GST…this added to their top rate means it’s higher than a wealthy person….Don’t spend anymore on climate change until we include our native forests , greenery into our carbon absorption equation and then compare with our emissions…ETS classes New Zealand as a desert…It’s not fit for purpose and we probably are carbon neutral now , and for decades to come…All that South Island forest and bush not being included….honestly….Give the Māori language stuff a rest for a moment…I’m Māori languaged out…It’s a great thing and should have been preserved long ago. If someone wants to learn it , all means make it available..but making it compulsory in schools is not learning it’s indoctrination….stuff like that drives votes to ACT….I’m afraid until a Norman Kirk type of person comes along we are stuck in this nightmare….I think we might be waiting awhile….time to turn the lawn into a vege garden I think…

    • Mature Forrest is a carbon sink Rob but it is stable in respect of taking additional carbon out of the atmosphere. It is putting the same amount back as it is taking out , some of it as methane. It is only conversion of bare land or pasture to forrest that is possibly a net reduction in the atmosphere , though I don’t think the amount af carbon taken out by pasture growth is properly accounted for. If it were being cut and stored a hay or silage I think it would head off the forrest cover by a wide margin.
      As it is grazed about a half to a third is converted to meat which we eventually fart and breath back into the atmosphere. Planting agricultural land in forrest is collecting carbon instead of feeding someone somewhere. Morally great as long as you are not actually deciding who goes without food or where they live.
      D J S

      • Thank you David for your reply…Most appreciated. I have asked this question many times and don’t seem to get much interest….Yes it seems mature trees are carbon neutral but the forests and bush and scrub land are not mature…much is still growing…I can compare photos of my place and surrounding area taken in 1978 with the view today and the place went from bare pasture trees , bush as far as the eye can see….I would think this is the same nation wide . Even city neighbourhood plantings are growing…go and look at a twenty year old suburb and see the growth…..The Amazon rain forests are held up as the lungs of the world but our native forests and greenery are classed as mature trees and carbon neutral….The only research I can find on the subject was a government paper saying our forests could be absorbing up to 60% more than thought previously….Anyway…thank you again David for your reply….I might have sent another reply to you as well…not sure..I’m not that good on these iPad things…still learning….

    • Mature Forrest is a carbon sink Rob but it is stable in respect of taking additional carbon out of the atmosphere. It is putting the same amount back as it is taking out , some of it as methane. It is only conversion of bare land or pasture to forrest that is possibly a net reduction in the atmosphere , though I don’t think the amount af carbon taken out by pasture growth is properly accounted for. If it were being cut and stored a hay or silage I think it would head off the forrest cover by a wide margin.
      As it is grazed about a half to a third is converted to meat which we eventually fart and breath back into the atmosphere. Planting agricultural land in forrest is collecting carbon instead of feeding someone somewhere. Morally great as long as you are not actually deciding who goes without food or where they live.
      D J S

  8. Continual recourse to centralised beaureaucratic structures is obviously neither forward-looking nor necessarily Green. Power to the people means widening democratic accountability not reducing it.

    Greens ought to have enough discrimination to prefer, for example, the Hokianga Health Services Trust model over the centralised Maori Health Authority. Green 3 waters would distribute infrastructure funding the way highways are funded – more public resource to areas with low rating income – and then let the local Councils and Maori assume responsibility.

    But no we’re going to get new PMC beaurocracies for this and they can’t be voted out. That’s neo-liberal – and typically Labour since the Rogernomics takeover.

    You know, between Bruce Jesson, Jane Kelsey, Moana Jackson, Geoff Park, Max Rashbrooke, Danyl McLachlan & Paul Fuemana there’s a deep, deep Green economic and political manifesto to fight this way of thinking. But is it enough to break the stranglehold of the PMC?

    You’d have to wonder. Danyl’s identified how self-consciously brainy, strategic, witty & well-groomed mightn’t these people are – so mightn’t they just co-opt such a manifesto and carry on their class accumulation of money and political power regardless?

    Definitely a shit sandwich – and not one to be contemplated only by some Greens, but by individuals in all political parties. The spicy relish is supplied by demands for conformist thinking across a range of triggering issues; hate speech, gender & sexuality, vaccine hesitancy etc.


  9. I would prefer a National Act coalition, than letting greens/Maori anywhere near power. The mess the woke would make would be catastrophic for NZ.

    Btw, I have voted labour all my life.

    Corey Humms brilliant post a week or so ago summed it up perfectly for me

    • You do realise that National and ACT will impost USA style health, welfare and a Chinese style labour market?
      Permanently low wages for the rest of your life. How does that sound.
      Under Labour workers got decent payrises for the first time in 40-50 years. DO you want to take that away?

      • Decent Payrises. That is by all standards the most pathetic statement.

        We have over 10% of people under utilised – aka 0 hour contracts, casual hours, or temp work of 5 hours + , 30 hours worked is considered ‘fulltime’. And yet everyone needs foodaid, accom supplement, wff, and any other benefit to continue to pretend that we have a rock star economy, and yet no one is able to afford a 21 NZD block of processed gunk mimicking cheddar cheese and Milk is at almost 4 NZD and butter at 7 NZD. Never mind, electricity, public transport, and so on. Non of that is affordable without government paying for some of the costs, and if govt don’t pay for it, you just don’t have it, or in Andrew Little parlance, you don’t have ‘access’ to these services.
        You need a new script, and you need a walk in the park as your fear of the other is blinding you to the reality that is right in front of you. Poverty and hunger is an every day occurrence under Labour/Green. And other then throwing a few morsels at a focus group here and there they have done nothing meaningful to address the inequality in our country. In fact they made it worse by pretending that equity = equality.

      • Labours approach to the Health system will see us with many, many high paid consultants esp Earnest and Young types, a wonderful new Health Authority, replete with Koro designs and pro nouns, we will have wonderful Coms messaging and it will be the envy of ????? , until you go to book a GP appointment and find out your GP has retired and you have to wait four weeks to be seen, or you are discharged too early from your in patient psych ward into a holiday park. Such a perfect, politically correct health system but no staff! They have all left because of the pay and conditions….hint Andrew Little, the re-structure will achieve nothing but will cost a lot. Every sent on health should go to medical and allied staff, pharmaceutical and hospital equipment. A merge amount for the rest. ok for Andrew L who I understand went to a private hospital recently……
        It’s very unfortunate about minimum wages, but I think my best strategy would be to join Act or National and lobby hard to have this change. At least I know what I would get if I voted Act and they got in. Labour is sneaky and dishonest. I worked hard for them and donated a lot to them for last election and they kept a big part of their agender secret from voters and party members (of which I am one)

  10. I had an interesting thought (well interesting to me) the other day watching some incompetent uk tory pollies in carcrash interviews…before media coaching pollies actually had personalities and were smart…you might not like norman tebbit but he was ‘norman tebbit’ same for tony benn etc etc…it seems media training just creates cardboard cut outs and facilitates the rise of the dim…which results on the few occasions media challenge in the most timid and minor ways they complete collapse fumbling their under rehearsed spiel.

    maybe the LINO should grasp media training may have been useful in the past as a tool but today it’s counter productive..what the pollie thinks is ‘warm open gestures’ what the public sees is ‘ANOTHER FAKE’

    LET’S HAVE PERSONALITY AND CARACTER BACK even if it is repellent it’s better than bland-out

  11. Ah hah!
    An entirely new system of thought is needed, a system based on attention to people, and not primarily attention to goods. . . .
    E. F. Schumacher

  12. Another from E Schumacher

    That soul-destroying, meaningless, mechanical, moronic work is an insult to human nature which must necessarily and inevitably produce either escapism or aggression, and that no amount of ‘bread and circuses’ can compensate for the damage done –
    these are facts which are neither denied nor acknowledged but are met with an unbreakable conspiracy of silence-because to deny them would be too obviously absurd and to acknowledge them would condemn the central preoccupation of modern society as a crime against humanity.
    E. F. Schumacher


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