Dumb and Dumber. Who’s who? Labour or the Green’s centrists?

Grant Robertson, and James Shaw are economic centrists destroying their own parties chances of being reelected. They are damaging the need for urgent transformational work on the economy, climate, and social change.
Ironically to try and save the general election the best way to get centrists to modify, is to not vote Labour or Greens in the local body elections (at least in Wellington – sorry Tory Whanau your ‘affordable’ housing policy is National/Act party bumpkin that simply won’t work. Why would I vote for their policies?).
Why I say they are destroying reelection chances? E.g. in both Health and Education the crises are in a significant part because Mr Robertson has never given adequate pay settlements for teachers and nurses, etc. This make it difficult to retain experience and attract trainees. So we push people to other sectors, or to Australia, etc. Consequentially we import people thus putting pressure on housing and infrastructure. Centrists are making their own problems rather than fixing them.
By being stingy Labour kept on simmer the irritation and disquiet in these sectors leaving a sense they are no better than National. A good settlement all those years ago would be remembered as logical and fair. Instead voters recall the ignoring of good arguments, and betrayal. Look at Andrew Little currently in the health sector having to carry the can for Mr Robertson’s and his, oh so sensible centrist economic policies. Look at how quickly things come to a boil when you leave it on simmer. Dumb.
But dumber still, centrists love spending on infrastructure while they trash the professions; when these people can be a significant voter base for Labour/Greens. National don’t trash their voters they break the bank for them. To hide it they leave large infrastructure like warships or ferries, delayed or buy low quality. Look at how National previously ran the health service into the ground. Costs are left so Labour has to spend on essential infrastructure, reducing the scope of Labour/Green progressive policies (I suspect this was Steven Joyce’s budget hole idea). There are strategies to avoid this.
And so dumber still, centrists want to get problems fixed so if you push a big infrastructure idea its the sort of thing they might buy, the latest is light rail. Fantastic idea but their proposals won’t work.  In Wellington the distances and time savings are too small. In Auckland heavy rail is existing infrastructure almost to the airport, and it’s a major cargo hub, not just passengers. Heavy rail improvements have to be done at sometime to make it a proper regional multi-purpose asset, low carbon transport option e.g overland from Onehunga. The massive cost of light rail is a gimme to National. In government they just cancel the light rail and presto they have a huge fund in the books for spending on their mates, or tax cuts as they wish. Just like they did with the Cullen fund contributions.
But wait, centrists are dumber still.  Quality affordable housing is a central ethical pillar for any society. It is not a stand alone issue, but is foundational to help fix our:
  • mental health crisis,
  • health crisis (e.g. Rheumatic fever),
  • lowering education achievement for children, (providing a secure environment),
  • poverty crisis,
  • domestic violence crisis,
  • skills deficit,
  • high accomodation allowance costs on government. And only going to increase with ‘build to rent’.
  • high housing/rent costs for working/middle class  — which frees up income that can be spent in the wider economy — creating economic growth that supplies the wants and needs of New Zealanders, (‘affordable’ meaning you don’t spend huge a amount of your pay on one essential item, rent).
  • etc
Affordable housing has to be done properly and that means understood properly. Affordable is a relative to income concept. Because so many live on low incomes the government has to provide the housing to keep the costs down and if they don’t they will be hostage to accomodation allowances, with National party landlords creaming it.  Knowing this; why are the centrists of the two major left parties actively working to make affordable housing harder to get?
Not just by — welcoming excessive business driven immigration, open door tourism (housing is needed for e.g. AirBNB), overseas students — all needing housing and infrastructure. Centrists encourage this excessive demand to get back to the pre covid economic growth model that helped cause the problems. Fix the problem first. Dumb.
And not just by, the new rules for housing densification/intensification which will remove sun, privacy, greenery; while destroying local democracy rights, beautiful historic outer suburbs, and the overall liveability of our major cities. In the very parts of the cities where lots of Labour/Green supporters live! And they justify this on the absurd pretext that these people might own a property so they can falsely accuse them of being rich cavorting boomer millionaire’s.
No, the central problem is centrists are entrusting this essential provision of affordable housing to the very business people who’s inherent and essential interest is to drive up prices to maximise profits. And developers are facilitated in this by banks who are willing to loan ridiculous amounts of money to buyers to maximise their bank profits. And renters suffer the same logic; trapped renting by high rents. The affordable housing crisis can’t be fixed the way centrists are trying to do it. Dumb.
Centrists know demand for housing is inelastic so the opportunities to push profits are huge. As evidenced by the existing high prices. Yet here they are pumping up the parts of the economy that will invest in housing and keep prices high. They are not fixing the problem they are exacerbating it. Dumb. If you don’t understand read my prior articles ‘Affordable housing for Dummies’ and ‘6 steps to fix the affordable housing crisis’.
But wait, unfortunately there is more. The centrists crave respectability, and credibility as the way to win elections. Believing a lack of criticism will show consensus and therefore their abilities as pragmatic realist leaders. Rubbish. E.g. both Roosevelts had to fight like hell. Millionaires planned a coup against FDR. This centrist strategy of moderation is the very one that got us into all these crises. For centrists being bold is grovelling to the profit ethos while punching down on their own progressive supporters; because where else can progressives go. Helen Clark treated the Greens quite poorly at times. This is a key part of the process that helped lead to the climate crisis which threatens that very profit ethos. Dumb.
Worse. Centrists simply don’t have a vision and a desire to take on the people who hold money and power (FDR did). They don’t lead; they only try and work alongside them. The people responsible for the problems aren’t held accountable for them. Problems are not fixed. People get sick of it.  They start to look round for more populist options. Thus centrism encourages the rise of extremist parties, (Act on 10%, like MAGA in US or hard right in Italy). So the middle shifts right rather than left, because things aren’t being fixed. And this impacts minorities and civil rights. Centrist approaches actually damage the social fabric. Dumb.
Our affordable housing crisis is a clear failure of private enterprise. But centrists listened to developers violin tales of poorly designed and ill conceived  property developments knocked back by the local democracy of the RMA. So centrists punch down on democracy rather the doing proper urban planning.  They dumbly never questioned the zoning permission framework that encourages inefficient use of central city land; a zoning system built with heavy business involvement.  They don’t look outside the box or even at it. Dumb.
Labour/Greens are castigated by National over failure to deliver affordable housing while at the same time it is National’s private enterprise policies that suit their voters that are being pursued to fix the problem. National win both ways. Centrists brought National onboard to prevent criticism. Look how that blew up in their face. Dumb.
And all around the businessmen, snicker, they mock them with – No ideas Robertson. Directionless Robertson. Our little toddies doing what we want. And they will never vote for Grant or Labour, or David or the Greens, and they will never help them win an election. Perhaps a very visible $10,000 ‘donation’ here and there. Crumbs from the table.
It’s not me mocking the centrists, I’m just holding a mirror. My voice is drowned out by the snickering guffawing of the centrist’s property council ‘friends’. I don’t know who is dumber, Labour or the Greens centrists. Tough one to answer; but its got to be one of them. Centrists you’re dragging your parties to defeat.


  1. FDR would have been another Truman without being forced to act otherwise. He only did anything good economically and socially because of the dual threat of communism from the left and distributionists like Father Coughlin that would have completely destroyed the American capitalist empire.

    We can learn from this. There need to be serious political forces threatening to completely wreck these centrist neoliberal traitors. At best we will gain power. At worst they will at least be forced to give concessions.

    • as I frequently say to rabid rightwingers FDR wasn’t a socialist, he was the one who ‘saved’ capitalism.
      …the question is do we have any politicos of his calibre?

      • We have plenty of unprincipled types who would do as he did if backed up against the wall, perhaps less skillfully. I just hope we can find the revolutionaries to force them to at least give the working class a few crumbs.

  2. I agree, Labour Greens getting booted out of councils would send a message of sledge hammer proportions that even dumb Labour hierarchy would understand.

    Thing is, would they know what to do to turn the ship around? Evidence from their 5 year tenure suggests not!

  3. Same Pea, same Pod.
    Both are equally stupid and useless. but they make for good kabuki theatre and their performative care are an Oscar worthy effort.

  4. oh, man Comrade, really. They are dumb and dumber and they are from the same pod. Stupid is as Stupid does and it pays there bills.

    • Yes it pays their bills.
      That’s their reason for being there.
      Meanwhile back at the UN.
      Meanwhile back in Rotorua.

  5. We’ve had a decade of shite government.

    I think NZders need a break. Could we have a term of self governance by referendum?

    To sort out all this shit. Prioritise all the important stuff and have a discussion about whether we become a Republic and what that is and set in stone plans to build some fuckn houses and restructure our economy to enable us to do the list of things on the list of priorities.

    Then after that term of governance by referendum we elect the party who can do that or we don’t if we’re not confident there is a party that can, we carry on with the list of priorities that were the result of the term of referendum, ay?

  6. It’s not necessarily true that there is sufficient space in CBDs for higher density housing; CBDs, as well as suburbs, also need “green” spaces. And not everyone wants to live in a CBD; we need affordable housing in suburbia as well; and that would often mean building up rather than out. No doubt, though, you would prefer to see people sleeping in cars if it allows you to hang on to your precious sunshine.

    What we need to do is replace part of our income tax burden with land taxes, as this would encourage more efficient use of land in both CBDs and suburbia.

    • Reply to Mikesh at 10.15. Your argument falls on its face when you say I would rather ‘see people sleeping in cars’. A straw man argument, classic conservative technique to extremise your opponent, as I never said this and never would and it can’t even be inferred from my article. I have suggested in other articles that transport routes could be used so it is not simply CBD sites that can be built. And in Wellington there really is plenty of CBD space to build mid rises.

        • Reply to Mike’s 9.24am. Over car yards in Kent terrace. At the back of Cuba street over the huge car parks. Along Victoria street tween ghuznee and Vivian and up. Existing business has to stop and once built they come back into the ground floor. Being tough on business because that is where people want to live. Don’t stuff over community rights, adapt business property rights. They still have their property.

          • Your suggestions seem unlikely to eventuafe. If I had to make a suggestion, I would say: get rid of the Basin Reserve, but I cannot see that happening anytime soon either.

    • Many people just want a place to live. Many cities have many parks. Many cities are in the middle of nowhere surrounded by greenery. Many cities have transport option to take people from their apartments to parks, beaches and other facilities within these cities.

      • We need a good transport system to take people from suburbia to the city areas, to work and to make use of its various amenities. This would enable us to make better use of expensive suburban residential land instead of the even more expensive city land.

  7. Ever since the 1930s and 1940s, pragmatic social democrats have always prioritised affordable housing, on the grounds that without affordable housing a wide range of social problems are essentially out of control, whereas with affordable housing they can be managed. It is good to see you making this point.

    • you only have to look at europian countries who have varying degrees of ‘social democracy’ and compare to the neo-lib failures like us, the UKand the US which has officially fallen to ‘developing country’ status

  8. They both believe most votes sit in the middle and winning the election is their only concern.
    I’m hopeful they have read the room wrong and get punished for taking the electorate for granted.
    Meanwhile back in Rotorua.

  9. Stephen did you not get the memo from Do Little there is no crisis according to him all is under control just trust us

  10. It’s a real pleasure to see you’re no longer stifled by the constraints of being an ethical long-standing public servant @ Stephen and that you are now able to really let rip.
    And you are correct – the best way to deliver a message to the current highjacked Labour Party (and Green Party) is probably to deliver the message they need at the local body erections. I’m not yet sure though whether I hold out much hope when you look at Mayoral, Councillor and local body candidates, but we’ll see.
    More fool me! I didn’t really expect Grant and Alf would have become so captured, but their record speaks for itself, as does the top ranks of the Gweens.
    A bit of a tradge really. Beyers parked up and done over in Kilbirnie surrounded by struggling two-job people; doyens of the LGBTIXYZ community propping up supermarket corporate shills with some pretty ugly pressures on the most vulnerable of their wee-boi AYSHUN staffings; the capture of movers and shakers thinking the answer merely lays in marketing and rebranding’; Bery Germ cheerleaders on sites such as this acting tribally.
    NO! they need a fucking shock. So far it looks like that’ll have to be delivered the hard way unfortunately.

    (I bumped into some1 the other day who was active in the Tramways union when people like Tollich and Kelly and others were active. He now operates in the medical ‘space’, going forward and is equipped with a loverly inner city apartment – even tho’ it is a leaky build. Stubby little fella. He accused me of being hard left ffs! Extremely nice bloke but I thought WHAT.THE.FUCK.Happened to you?. Needless to say I’d never left the Labour Pary – the Labour Party has only just left me – MORE FUCKING FOOL ME)

    Roll up roll up. The sooner the better

  11. A country with such low productivity cannot afford nice things.

    In both local and central government, we piss away enormous amounts of money on ridiculous vanity projects. Even worse, we piss away enormous amounts of money JUST STUDYING ridiculous vanity projects that we don’t build!

    A billion dollars spent on consultants last year and 17,000 more bureaucrats in Wellington – that’s where the teachers’ pay rise went Stephen.

    So, this isn’t about centrist economics; it’s about sheer bloody incompetence.

  12. Don’t let Andrew Little off the hook. Wasted millions and millions on health NZ. How is the nurses settlement going Andrew.

  13. The author’s blinkered tribalism leads him to miss the point. We spend mind-boggling amounts on useless wokeries; and as someone else has pointed out above, the current government has hired thousands more bureaucrats and comms specialists. Yet apparently can’t afford to fund schools, universities, hospitals or ambulances properly.

    NZ has seen half a century of mismanagement, and that’s why we’re a poorer and more screwed-up country than Australia.

    BTW, I’m not sure what’s “centrist” about this government’s interest in:
    – gerrymandering the justice system in an effort to get more men convicted of rape
    – bringing in tougher hate speech laws
    – turning NZ into an ethnostate

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