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.
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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