Jacinda’s Manic Ministry


LOOKING BACK over the five years this government has been in office, it’s hard not to feel depressed. Given the mess the Baby Boomers made of New Zealand between 1984 and 1990, it was assumed that the first Generation X government would, at least, know what not to do. Having learned their trade at the feet of Helen Clark and Michael Cullen, Jacinda Ardern, Grant Robertson and Chris Hipkins should have been immune to the allure of grand ideological schemes; and known better than to make promises they couldn’t keep.

“Under-promise, and over-deliver.” That was Helen Clark’s mantra for the 15 years she led (that is to say utterly dominated) the Labour Party. In a nation still enthralled to neoliberalism, the formula made perfect sense. Full-on social-democracy, as the Third Labour Government discovered, was verboten – even in the hey-day of Keynesianism. Thatcher and Reagan made social-democracy even harder.

In its essence, Rogernomics represented Labour’s complete capitulation to the new economic and political order. Henceforth, the best social-democrats would be able to offer were limited programmes which, while mostly making life easier for capitalists, occassionally scattered a few crumbs in the direction of the poor.

By under-promising and over-delivering, a Labour government could present itself as both sensible and competent. Not much might be on offer, but if you said you were going to deliver – and you did – then your voters weren’t just grateful, they were impressed. The days of big dreams might be over, but Clark’s clear-headed grasp of her own and her party’s limitations, made it possible for some of the people’s smaller dreams to come true.

What was it that persuaded Jacinda Ardern to exactly reverse Helen Clark’s strategy? Even with the winds of history at your back, over-promising the electorate is a silly thing to do. No government should ever attempt to defy Murphy’s Law, especially in circumstances where its supposed servants feel morally obliged to wreck any attempt to change the status-quo. If anything can go wrong with an unorthodox left-wing government’s policy, its neoliberal public servants are going to make damn sure that it will.

It is astonishing that Ardern, Robertson and Hipkins never appreciated how many of the Fifth Labour Government’s achievements required only a modest reconfiguration of already existing administrative machinery. Clark and Cullen avoided, wherever possible, projects that required a major reshaping of the physical world. They would never have been so foolhardy as to promise the construction of 100,000 “affordable” houses. Who was going to build them? More to the point, who was going to pay for them? Neoliberalism had shut down the active state, it wasn’t about to start it up again.

And yet, Ardern and Robertson did nothing but raise expectations. New Zealand was going to be “transformed”. Kindness and wellbeing were going to replace neoliberalism’s watchwords of “effectiveness” and “efficiency”. Poverty, itself, was in the Prime Minister’s cross-hairs. After 30 years of the dismal science’s overcast skies, the sun was poised to break through. It was going to be a beautiful day! Labour’s whole front-bench seemed to be on Ecstasy.

But just as Labour’s big promises were on the point of being revealed as hollow, effectively scuppering the Government’s chances of re-election, big events intervened to restore its fortunes. It is hard to come up with a better example of ill winds blowing a floundering government so much good. Certainly, Ardern’s response to the Christchurch Terror Attacks, and then to the Covid-19 Pandemic, drove Labour’s failures from the public mind.

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The Government’s performance was aided immeasurably by the neoliberal playbook being uncharacteristically thin on how to deal with terrorist horrors and killer viruses. In extremis, Ardern and her advisers fell back on ideas and responses inimical to the radical individualism of the neoliberal ideology. People were suddenly introduced to the spiritual and material benefits of collectivism and solidarity. “They are Us” proved mightier than the Aussie gunman’s semi-automatic. It felt good to be part of a team of five million.

Ardern, Robertson and Hipkins, with their colleagues holding on for dear life behind them, rode these mighty exogenous tidal-waves all the way to an absolute parliamentary majority – which turned out to be just about the worst thing that could have happened to them. Absent Winston Peters and his white-knuckle grip on the political hand-brake, Labour lost little time in showing the country just how important NZ First’s restraining influence had been. Over the next two years, convinced they were ten-feet-tall and bulletproof, Ardern’s government proved itself unsafe at any speed.

At the heart of Labour’s political delinquency was its conviction that the events of 2019 and 2020 had conferred upon the party’s leadership an unchallengeable moral authority. That the groups it was marginalising and (in their own eyes) persecuting: conservative Pakeha males; the militantly unvaccinated; traditional feminists; fundamentalist Christians; believers in freedom of expression; supporters of the National and Act parties; homeowning Baby Boomers; just might, together, add up to a majority of the electorate, did not slow them down.

Indeed, the refusal of these deplorables to acknowledge the Government’s moral superiority made its members very angry. Labour found the anti-vaxxer occupation of Parliament Grounds in February-March 2022 especially confronting. The naked hatred and contempt directed at them by some of the protesters left many parliamentarians convinced that such people needed to be silenced. The defenders of free speech were allowing crazed conspiracy theorists and the spreaders of misinformation and disinformation to poison the public wells. A line needed to be drawn.

More rational, but equally problematic, was Labour’s Māori Caucus’ determination to take advantage of the party’s parliamentary majority to quicken the pace of decolonisation and indigenisation. This was necessary, they told their Pakeha colleagues, if the party was serious about forging a credible partnership between Māori and the Crown. Unwilling to risk accusations of racism, most of Labour’s caucus acquiesced. Any misgivings they may have harboured about co-governance, Three Waters, He Puapua and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, remained unacknowledged and unvoiced.

Only Labour’s steady decline in the opinion polls offers the slightest hope that the almost manic quality of its parliamentarians’ behaviour might be recognised for what it so clearly is: electorally suicidal. If not, then Roger Hall’s description of the Labour Party in his 1977 stage play, Middle Age Spread, may yet be applied to the bizarre mixture of febrility and fortitude that characterised Jacinda Ardern’s manic ministry:

“Honestly the Labour Party remind me of a documentary I saw on television about sleeping sickness. All these people who’d been half asleep for twenty years were given this new wonder drug and they all came alive and sang and danced around for a bit … and then the drug wore off and Zap! Back to sleep for another twenty years.”


  1. Outstanding Chris.

    Three irony is that I should be Labour through and through. Both parents were working class Labour voters, and I’m concider myself working class, I’ve spent more days on factory floors than probably the entire Labour list of MPs combined.

    I’ve worked hard, got educated and saved for my future because I was told to look after yourself and don’t rely on handouts by my parents. Yet I’m a white middle aged male, what’s worse is I own a few rental properties (as mentioned to protect myself in old age, not to rely on someone’s handout). Nearly everything despised by the labour party.

    I’ve done this on relatively low wages because my wife and I are extremely frugal. Then we look at the govt wastage, laughing off tens on millions on a failed bridge project, salaries of bureacrates that make our eyes water and decisions based only on retaining power and we weep. These decisions are not based on making NZ better…full stop.

    We have created a society where everyone is aware of their rights, but none were aware of their responsibilities. Had too many kids so can’t feed them, don’t worry someone else will. Don’t want to work because got hurty feelings, don’t worry someone else will pick up the tab. Got too fat because you’ve spent the 25 years stuffing your face with takeaways, get someone else to pay for your gastric bypass.

    Have you noticed that the more that the govt handouts the more we have people in demand?

    • BG
      Reading what you stand for and what you have achieved, why should you be Labour through and through? I don’t get it?

      • I thought Labour supported working people?

        I might get banned again but it seems to me from the outside that Labour is full of Middle class academic wannabes. There’s none in Labour that represent the likes of myself: very humble beginnings making a good first fist of it. Sort of what Chris alluded to many years ago when he correctly identified the Waitakere Man.

        If you don’t think I belong in the Labour party, well then, that sort of confirms my ascertain that don’t want a part of me. Just be aware I would imagine I’m not a small demographic

        • You’re not. With only 2 exceptions I voted Labour since Norman Kirk, including the last 2 elections. Never again (fool me once, etc).

        • Let me suggest to you, and to others wholly disillusioned with Labour (especially in coalition with the off-the-rails woke extremism of the Greens — not that Labour itself isn’t woke enough) that you think seriously about NZ First. Look into NZ First’s stands on key issues facing us. And note that it is a party which is NOT beholden to dogmatic neoliberalism or doctrinaire so-called solutions to the nation’s problems. It is a pragmatic party with a pragmatic and dynamic leader. And, to me vitally crucial, Winston and NZ First do not think in generalities about what certain ethnicities (or other social groups) want or “should want” according to the know-it-all current government.

      • Because one can do well for oneself and still believe in the principles of what used to be the Labour Party.
        The issue with this current lot is that they are not a ‘working class’ party, nor do they ‘represent’ the working class. They are technocrats, useless academia that is silo building as it needs jobs in the future. And the working class is there to give them votes and a very thin veneer of being ‘for the working’ people while they are actually for the bureaucrats such as themselves. This Labour party has destroyed what little was left of the ‘workers party’ and as such it deserves nothing but scorn from workers be they well off or not.

        • They are certainly not ‘academic’. Look at the contempt with which they treat academia by forcing it to accept that Matauranga Maori is science when it fails at the first test – nothing is sacred.

        • “They are technocrats, useless academia that is silo building as it needs jobs in the future.”

          ‘technocrats’? That is giving them way too much credit. Technocrats have degrees in hard majors (engineering, science, medicine, economics, accounting) etc. ‘technocrats’ are the sort of people who run countries like Singapore or China.

          Whereas we have a PM with a communications studies degree, and cabinet ministers with degrees almost exclusively in the arts.

          • Technocrats are not necessarily technical or scientific. Technocracy refers to seeing the issues to be solved as technical and therefore solved by technique and method. Political issues are supposed to be solved by bureaucratic technocrats. Disaster awaits.

          • A Holmes. Fair enough, and I’m not anti- university per se, but I don’t know whether the late Norman Kirk had any tertiary education, and he’s generally acknowledged as a good Labour leader. Ditto John A Lee, respected now as another man of the people, whose deprivations in fact may have endowed him with the humanitarianism woefully lacking in Labour, the nutty Greens, the useless Nats and ACT.

            That’s the crunch. The lack of knowledge of, and empathy for the have- nots, and their disconnect about the brutality of life at the bottom, and what a terrible waste of human potential, and how cruel it is for others to lead hard lives devoid of hope often through no fault of their own.

            Ardern’s degree in communications, makes her a reasonable communicator, nothing more, and more is needed, and they don’t know it, because they lack the reference points, the knowledge, the concern. Too many enter Parliament with their own ‘woe is me, another victim ‘ story. That’s not what they’re there for, ergo, they have to shape up, or go.

            The current scenario with the country seemingly held hostage to the Mahutas, is both surreal and absurd.

            • Bob the first. They have to listen to the voices of the people, that’s what, and they refuse to. Their staggering deafness to those wanting to keep the Commissioner for Children defies rational explanation.

              Their wilful dismissal, and worse, of the Parliamentary protestors was equally bad, and they didn’t care about what collateral damage this caused innocent others while they watched safely from a balcony. Remember small children were also present being subjected to the water and noise tormenting, and nobody spoke up on behalf of those unfortunate kiddies.

              • Agree, similarly on 3 Waters. We know better and we care so much, we are going to turn the country upside down in our quest for Utopia. And you will like it.

      • Because he’s working class. Because Labour USED to be about picking the working class up and making sure they had opportunities and the chance at a good life. Now they’ll only do so if you’re the right colour…

    • “A few rental properties?” And it is pretty much a guarantee that those renters are passing on a rental subsidy, which is welfare for the established rich. Good on you for taking advantage of what should have been made illegal- And creating a future for young people in which they will own nothing and eat bugs.

      • Not to bag RG but i don’t believe you can be Labour and own Rental properties (Leastways, not when it meant something to be Labour). My husband and I were both brought up in state houses but by virtue of education, we have been high earners for many years. We now live in a nice house and we dont skimp on food or family stuff.

        As Labour supporters for ever, we have not avoided tax or invested in property etc. Not because we couldnt but because every rental property costs a poor person somewhere (the cost of property speculators increase the value of housing by 37%) and it is our responsibility to pay tax.

        You can be a champagne socialist but you need to be a socialist at least. I think RG is more a centrist than anything but he raises a good point. NZ has few centrist parties, maybe NZ First and Top. Because Need or Greed always prompts voting, centrists are not well served in our system. ie: Most voters vote to get something for themselves. They dont vote for a fair and reasonable society,

    • So you think that US-style health care should be imposed? Or your fellow workers should have payrises withheld? Or pensions should be gotten rid off?

      I bet you charge your tenants over 70% of their income in rent, which means they will be unable to get all the goodies that you have.

      YOu probably own shares in the power companies, which means you are double dipping.

    • excellent BG. Similar story myself. Well done you.

      Once again Chris, thanks for a clear critique of labour. I was a loyal party member and our family has been as well. The beginning of my disillusionment was the gender self id bill. The Labour women on the select committee treated women who were questioning the bill from a women’s rights perspective (think right to single sex change rooms, prisons and sporting competitions) with utter contempt. They showed themselves to be utter fools by unquestioningly accepting gender ideology proponants of which maintain sex is a social construction and gender identity trumps biological sex.
      That was just the start for me. The more I paid attention, the more I began to find Labour an elitist group who would trash anyone who disagrees with them. Thus “the river of filth”. While I am fully vaxed and thought some of the unscientific beliefs around the vacinne were absurb, I felt Labour treated these people with contempt and went out of their way to treat them in the most negative light possible.
      This govt have been almost without exception, a complete failure. They lost my vote early in 2022

    • Our media attempts to make people ill-informed,,, knobbling attempts to solve problems or fix things, because we approach them from a position which is Worse than ignorance and not knowing ,,, we look at them from a position of prejudice and falsehoods.

      Dis-information and the Corruption it enables,, are the biggest problems we face in Nz and the world

      Our media is hopelessly corrupted when it comes to providing balanced and factual reporting ‘,,,, But our Govt’s are also fakers and liars, as they now pretend to fight against disinformation/misinformation….

      ….How can they or the dis-info experts/organisations who front for them possibly claim to care for truthfulness, honesty and accuracy in the information we receive ,,,,, while they ignore or even help those who persecute and seek to destroy Julian Assange?.

      Julian Assange is the greatest and most successful fighter against disinformation in our lifetimes ,,, fighting disinformation should mean championing those who tell us the truth and reveal the lies… Instead Our media smears him and our Govt helps those who persecute him, ie Peter Thiel

      .. That our Govt and media are largely against him tells you all you need to know about their commitment to the truth ,,,,, that our disinformation experts are not raising merry hell about the abuse of state powers used against him shows they are not fighting what they pretend to be……

      The biggest problem facing the people of the world,,, including in AoNz, is Corruption…..

      The Govt of John Key plugged us into the shadow banking/tax haven network ,,,, this oils the wheels and facilitates most of whats bad in the world today , such as … wars, arms trafficking, people trafficking, deforestation, Russian Oligarchs, Ukraine Oligarchs, Chinese Billionaires, NZ Billionaires Drug trafficking, environmental destruction, and every form of corruption you can think of etc etc ,,,

      …. Most of the big corporations not paying taxes in the countries they operate in and extract profits from use them ,,, including in NZ,,,, causing Billions in lost Govt revenues, resulting in ‘artificial austerity’ as Govt services are cut back.

      The Labour Govt of Ardern signed the TPPA in one of their very first actions as the new Government of AoNz ,,,,, This is the true Co-Governance of our country ,,,, Corporations can sue our Govt, meaning us/our society, in overseas courts/tribunals,,,,, for making or enforcing NZ laws which hurt corporate profits in a manner that breaks the TPPA rules,,,

      Tppa rules which SUPERSEDE our laws,,, but only once we signed our sovereignty away ,,,, Labour just did that,,,, and National would have too ,,,, both of them corrupt as.

      The Nato engineered proxy war in Ukraines is based on lies, corruption and Geo-politics ,,,, Labour got us involved in that needless slaughter , but National would have to…… and it’s all as moral as supporting Iraq/Saddam in the Iraq Iran war of the past ,,, which the west largely did.

      Getting bribes/donations out of politics/elections is the only way to make our political parties less corrupt ,,,it’s the only way to make them act for the wishes of voters,,, instead of the interests of donors/bribers, as they currently do. ,,, “money may be (is) a means for powerful narrow interests to exercise undue influence, resulting in inadequate policies that go against the public interest.”

      Based solely on funding the Greens are the least corrupt party in AoNz ,,,,, Corruption and tax havens are behind environmental destruction, pollution, deforestation and the obscenity of oil company not paying taxes while making record profits.,,,, ie, “ExxonMobil’s tax dodging in Australia is part of a much bigger heist from governments around the world. Exxon is stealing funds needed for essential public services such as schools, hospitals and social services in dozens of countries.

      In late December 2017, Australian newspaper headlines claimed that Exxon was the “poster boy” for corporate tax dodging, with $25 billion in revenues and not one cent in corporate income tax.”

      Corruption is an environmental issue so the Greens should drop the identity bullshit and focus on the environment and corruption ,,, It would make them popular.

      Fighting corruption is the best thing AoNz could do to meaningfully help us here at home ,,,and also people all over the world.

      Somehow it is not an election issue,,,, yet.

  2. I definitely view our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, as a very hard worker who has achieved some very positive results for this country in some areas. I think that John Key was similar to this, and Helen Clark at times too. It’s simply the fact that these PM’s deliver in different areas.

    What people misunderstand about Clark was that she actually delegated a lot, and took a lot of credit for a very hard-working caucus. For example, Michael Cullen, her Finance Minister, spearheaded the Cullen Fund and saved Clark’s bacon on at least four budgets. She promised a lot, you see, not the little amount people are now saying she promised, and Michael Cullen had to find the finances to fund it all.

    The issue is that Ardern appears tired and over it all. At times, rather grim. We see the resemblance to a defeatist attitude. If she doesn’t really want a third term, then she shouldn’t campaign for it.

    • Clark had people worth delegating to, Ardern doesn’t. Clark was economically literate Ardern isn’t, Clark had years of cabinet experience Ardern didn’t, Clark was well educated Ardern isn’t.
      This is an arrogant stupid government full of arrogant stupid people.
      I could go on. This is a weak incompetent government lacking real world experience and a manifesto. Identity politics is toxic and destructive. The protests on government’s lawn earlier in the year are nothing compared to what these drongos have created in a once functioning world leading society.

      • Shona. Guilty of understatement again, bless you. They’re intellectually illiterate, rationality illiterate, and the Greens, overtly anyway, are worse, and too consumed with cancerous resentments to be allowed anywhere near the corridors of power.

        How much of this is due to the deliberate dumbing down of the education system, and the prostitution of the universities is probably no longer a moot point, and comparable to the flagellation of workers with the infamous Employment Contracts Act designed to kneecap ok people, keep them powerless and divided.

        We did once lead the world with enlightened social welfare, low infant mortality rates, a vacuum of third world illnesses and poxes, an education system that enabled children to learn, and to think, and to set goals, and problem solve, and a health system which didn’t biff new mothers out within hours of birthing and helped establish breast feeding and good life starts, because every child counts All gone, and none of it was wrong – except insofar as we didn’t accept what a pernicious destructive malefactor William Shakespeare was, wreaking havoc in the colonial gardens of the primitifes.

        • Thank you Hollyhock, almost poetic! Hard to raise the passion for such rants these days! Anger supersedes all other feelings now.

          • Hollyhock and Shona you are the shining lights on the TDB.
            Thankyou for sensible intelligent comments.

          • Shona I don’t know how I forgot to mention their unashamed kneecapping of the Commissioner for Children. Had I not already dumped Labour, this would have done it for me.

            • It was certainly the final nail in the coffin for me.
              They’ll have blood on their hands because of it, but their egos and self-indulgent crap is obviously more important.
              And that’s aside from things like immigration policy that’s been an exercise in enabling worker exploitation and ensuring we’re in for a health system that now isn’t just in crisis, but that is likely to become an emergency. Incidentally – they already have blood on their hands in a couple of cases I know of. (People who’ve lost land and their livelihood to be taken advantage of by bullshit education, policies that have changed half way through the game, and bullshit ‘officialdom’ this gummint continues to have “complete faith in”.
              And it’s now too late for me to change my mind – after a lifetime as a Labour Party suppota.
              Fuck ’em and all who sail in them. They’ve had plenty of opportunities to mend their ways and it’s only now they’re secretly showing signs of panic.

        • “consumed with cancerous resentments”

          Nailed it there Hollyhock. MMP has flooded NZ’s parliament with spiteful mutants.

      • Nailed it again Shona. Cunliffe I think was a fullbright scholar. Clark’s Labour party was incredibly competent. As is Clark herself. Now the entire party is full of complete meatheads with one or two exceptions and the same is true across much of the public service.

        Its what happens when you do away with meritocracy and replace it with identity. The reason the Govt cant get anything done is not just lack of ability at the top but also lack of ability all the way through much of the Public Service. State Services are being held together with bits of string and chewing gum. Very few seriously experienced public servants have survived this Labour Govt and we are lucky that a handful still remain.

    • Daniel Lang. Michael Cullen was a different generation from Ardern, much better educated, and more intelligent than most of today’s intake. Not as likeable or up on the PR jargon, but in retrospect more palatable compared to the present patronising preachers wondering why we’re not bowled over by them.

      • Cullen refused to increase benefits, build more state houses, or even try and reverse some of the damage that National did. He kept spending down and refused to expand public services.

      • Yes. The downside in appealing to a younger demographic is that you may not be equipped enough or have enough support to gain a third term. This is why I simply don’t understand why Ardern didn’t change tack once elected, and start appealing to a wider demographic.

  3. It’s hard to disagree with anything Chris has said. When labour came to power, Jacinda’s oratory skills glossed over her, and her Governments political immaturity. Career politicians who had been a government in waiting but just cruising on the tax payers money To excite and give the people hope they promised everything. The people bought it, Labour believed they could change everything for the good but it took three years to realise governing is hard. Changing stuff is hard. Getting houses built is hard. Getting anything done is hard. Maybe labour now understands it could lose power next year maybe they are hellbent on initiating their ideology on co governance and state control knowing it would be hard to reverse, and as a legacy to their time in power. If that is true it’s misguided, like most of the other decisions they’ve made.

    • What they have hermetically sealed themselves from knowing is that charm is for charming times. They and their acolytes may be feeling economically safe, but when the majority isn’t, it’s time for a boring member to lead. Time to work on the ‘meat and potatoes’ and stop titivating the sauce. Time for substance. Appearances are supposed to grease the wheels. This is not the time for more ghastly Ardern emoting.

  4. Another day another Labour Bash on TDB.

    One wonders what some of you are going to post if the dirty filthy Natzos attain office in 2023–I suspect many of will simply slink away, your work done.

    Some of us still battle for working class solidarity, union strength and in community organising and direct action when necessary. Rare is the day when writers on TDB call for a fighting central labour organisation or the reboot of a united NZ Communist Party–two essentials if progress is ever to by made by the boomer successor generations.

    The political position of NZ Labour is well documented and evidenced by the party’s actions in Govt. Not News. News would be doing something about it rather than being passive moaners, just along for the ride.

    • I accepted the hideous reality of a National /Act government almost a year ago I have been preparing for it ever since. Labour only have themselves to blame and do not deserve to survive as a political party.
      None of this makes me even remotely happy. But it is what it is. I will continue to help the less well of in my area as I have always done.
      I expect violence, more heartbreaking tales of Dickensian abuse of our young and gross arrogance and wankery and generalized theft by the new government. I will vote for whoever offers to represent my electorate with diligence and respect for it’s constituents. And sure as hell ain’t the Labour Party.

      • Heh, indeed Shona. We have rain water tanks, solar, gardens, fish across the road and a drone rig, so we will get by, but that is hardly the point if you give one about how others are doing.

        The dog eat dog society since 1984 has always needed winners & losers, especially the latter. I have not voted Labour since ’84, going for New Labour, Alliance, Internet Mana, and Green. Prob Green in ’23 or maybe TPM.

    • How do you know the Nats are dirty and filthy – have you examined their bath water? And as for the direct action you keep harping on about – occupy vacant houses and office buildings, I have yet to see you lead the charge. Post a picture when you’re in your first unoccupied house, otherwise, Like Labour, you’re just spouting words…..

    • A fair critique, TM, but the objection I would raise is that some (many?) of those venting their spleen on TDB have tried “doing something about it”.

      They walked away from Labour in the late-1980s alongside Jim Anderton. The worked hard for NewLabour and then the Alliance. Or, they simply voted for them, which is, after all, the point.

      Unionists tried hard to keep the spirit of resistance alive, but were forced to watch their smaller, fighting unions swallowed-up by the likes of Andrew Little’s “moderate” Engineers Union.

      You know all this, mate. Hell, you were there!

      When the cupboard is bare of flour, eggs and sugar, it isn’t all that helpful to demand a cake. What is forgivable, however, is veteran leftists’ fury at a Labour Party which threw out the ingredients – and, to this day, steadfastly refuses to replace them.

      • Yes, he said ruefully…I started out my political career during Norm Kirks brief reign, castigated with mates in front of the school for protesting outside Mt Albert ANZAC ceremony re Vietnam war, and then…well we soon enough had RD Muldoon and Robs Mob. I was hoping to not still be fighting Torys in my gold card years, but so be it and I will!

        With anonymous online debates I guess you don’t really know who is as you describe Chris, those that may have done their bit previously for the left, and those taking the Michael, or snooping…

        The are little victories though–the first Far North District Council Māori Mayor–young Moko Tepania, he did not win without a number of Pākehā supporting him. And that is the hope, that new gens will come through and boot Rogernomics.

    • Labour deserve “bashing” or to be more precise the current Labour lot deserve bashing! I’ve voted Labour eight times but am unlikely to vote Labour in the future. Chances are that National would represent aspiring home owners, wage & salary workers and small business owners better than Labour going forward. Current Labour are too consumed with ideology and seem incompetent. They have also become “Orwellian” and make black mean white. e.g. we will be the most “open and transparent Government ever” etc. I am very uneasy about the authoritarian streak they possess which manifested itself for all to see during covid.

      • National will never represent the interests of workers.

        Indeed they constantly smear low wage workers as lazy, and useless,opposing every single attempt to protect them or lift their wages

        (see all attempts to get Fair Pay Agreements/UI through).

        They also want us to pay more for healthcare.

  5. Labour has not been labour since 1984.. this current iteration is even worse than the 4th labour govt… Douglas and the fish and chip brigade sold NZ down the river but at least they were smart. Todays politicians on both sides are total idiots.

    labour has long ceased being representative of the working class. They are completely all about the middle class woke academic class. They are driven by bureaucrats who hate the working class, and are all about stoking their little culture wars than addressing real problems or formulating proper policy.

    They use Māori as their virtue signalling instrument to cut through any political obstacles in order to get them further down the road to …. nowhere, they have no common sense they have no solutions.. and now it’s clear … they have no morals.

    To be given a majority and unparalleled support labour has wantonly destroyed themselves and this country all for … nothing. I have never witnessed a more comprehensively stupid government as this in NZ before.

    Winston Peters is going to Hoover up a whole bunch of disaffected labour voters, and I and I think many others will be very comfortable with that.

    • The working class decided that it wasnted to become more reactionary, and tax cuts mattered more than across the board pay rises.

      I can tell you this right now, the white working class doesnt care about solidarity anymore. They would throw their brothers and sisters in the services sector under a bus if it meant a tax cut.

    • Pity we can’t give upticks for comments in this forum! I could add that Winston (and NZ First of course) will probably do a lot better in the next election than most commentators expect. If he acts as a handbrake to either side then that’s not such a bad thing in my opinion.

    • kirk28 You have provided a supreme summary of our present dilemma. Now if JA stepped back, could Labour get up in the polls with a person who has some charisma and old Labour nous and values? And would know of some wormhole in the policy and implementation galaxy to flash through and carry out an obvious helpful government action supporting the masses! Might have to break through the time-space quantum barrier etc to do so.

      From my Brit graffiti book –
      The only good Tory is a lavatory.
      Short, succinct. What catchphrase would apply now to Labour?

  6. When Chris and his followers trot out their preconceived ideas, they are noticeably not informed by anything to do with the conception and development of these ideas which are well documented.
    Labour today is living out its life span in much the same way that it was conceived in 1916 as the antidote to an organised and militant labour movement.
    As that labour movement has been tamed over the generations, by the escape of wage workers into self-employment and middle class expectations, it was always accompanied by the Labour party and its philosophy of NZ as the property owners paradise reconciling classes out of existence.
    But capitalism is subject to periodic booms and busts and and a long-term decline that means that class conflict never goes away.
    The end of the post-war boom meant that Labour had to face a growing economic decline expressed as a crisis of falling profits after the 1970s.
    It was Labour that under Douglas and Co launched the neo-liberal counter revolution to open up NZ to the chaos of the global market.
    Ironically it was Muldoon who fought the nationalist rearguard action against it.
    Labour had become the party of open counter-revolution and has never repudiated the logic behind its historical destiny.
    Under Clark and her pupil Ardern Labour settled for a liberal centrism managing NZ capitalism.
    But this Blairite thirdwayism was always a hopeless utopia as since the 1990s economic stagnation, global warming, and then pandemics, disrupted economies and exhausted the capacity of states to regulate stability.
    Despite a massive transfer of wealth to capital at the expense of workers over this period, capital is in crisis and demands more and more profit to prevent the devaluation of its piling up of wealth and debt.
    The NACTS openly advocate a naked market driven state so that the propertied gentry can milk every last dollar before the planet burns.
    Labour is trapped in its anachronistic Blairite liberalism and is a barrier to NACTS rip shit and bust future.
    At the same time it piously performs the best practice US dollar dominated world order that is plunging into imperialist wars.
    Today’s impasse was already laid down in NZs history of colonisation and the inevitable demise of capitalism as a social system.
    The institutions of capitalism including its bourgeois state are now bankrupt and redundant.
    We need a revolution that understands the fundamentals of human social evolution so that we can create the conditions for survival by collective, democratic, will and action, rather than to give in to chaos and submit to extinction as a species.

    • Good summary of the shit creek we are collectively up. Rich and poor alike cannot escape climate change. An issue as always is the ratio of reactionary forces to those supporting a progressive future. “Groundswell”, anti vaccinationers, and white supremacists will, going by history, attack organised workers and anti imperialists well before they ever take on the capitalist class.

      Most self employed and farm workers are actually working class! SMEs are under the thumb of the Australian and other banks, their aspiration, and ‘be your own boss’ methodology obscures their class reality of exploitation.

  7. I would say that this labour government is indeed a politically left government. They’ve proven that with the rises in benefits. They have a socially liberal agenda which has always served this nation well. Jacinda Ardern has represented the country well, too.

    The reason I often mention the Prime Minister’s apparent tiredness and lack of vision is not personal. They are real observations. Clark and Key both displayed these during their last days in their respective second terms. Clark had money available to fund promised tax cuts. Key had his ongoing popularity. What does Ardern have?

    She does have experience now and the support of her caucus, many of whom are considered long serving MP’s now. But is it enough? We simply cannot ignore the fact that this Prime Minister looks absolutely wiped out of energy reserves due to the various crises she’s faced while in government.

  8. Transformational change from neoliberalism wasn’t assisted by well known left wing commentator wringing his hands and decrying any actual propositions or moves for change, frequently asserting that they’re too radical or threaten to spook the electorate, leading to an election loss.

    How to have your cake and eat it.

    • Which transformational changes, aimed squarely at neoliberalism, did this government put forward that I and other left-wing commentators decried as too radical?

      Was it their proposal to renationalise the energy sector? Or restore compulsory unionism? Perhaps I was out of the country when they advanced their plans to ditch the disastrous State Sector Act.

      Do let TDB’s readers know just how radical this government could have been, if only Chris Trotter’s posts hadn’t prevented them – a party with an absolute parliamentary majority – from practicing the democratic socialism still enshrined in the Labour Party’s constitution.

      Honestly, I can’t decide who is sillier – Richard, or Christie.

  9. i am considering voting for Winston after he called out the woke nonsense of NZ Sport allowing the possiblity of trans women (ie. male bodied people ) competing in women’s sport. Good on ya Winston

  10. Beautiful historical political essay of the Times Chris.

    An essay to refer to for all political and history students now and into the future.

    I think it’s a very accurate and encompassing record of what happened and what the ‘thought’, hope, motivations, delusions and mistakes of those involved were.

    And still are at the moment it seems!

    Thanks Chris – Great mind, thinker and writer!

  11. I despise NZ “elites” which is why I cannot vote for their protectors…. Lab, Nats, Greens, Maori Party only care about themselves. NZ needs a working class party, what Labour was supposed to be before turning rogue.

  12. I really like this from Shona: ‘I expect violence, more heartbreaking tales of Dickensian abuse of our young and gross arrogance and wankery and generalized theft by the new government.’ The only consolation from this jeremiad is that watching Luxon as prime minister will produce exquisite comedy. Watching the American satirists trying to ply their trade when Trump was in office was awkward. Both the satirists and the television audiences knew that they couldn’t be as funny as Trump himself, who parodied buffoonery far more convincingly than the satirists’ script writers. Luxon will be superb television/internet farce. Small consolation I know, Shona, but it’s all we’ll have.

  13. …And 3 waters had just passed it’s 3rd reading, it only now needs the rubber stamp from the GG.
    Listen, Labour faithful, can you hear that bell tolling in the distance?

  14. Yes, they were headed for defeat in 2020 for sure, until the mysterious Covid came along and our government, with soothing tones, locked us safely away from the threat. But that was pre Omicron that just 3 months after the election trashed the government’s response. Then came Aucklanders locked away from the world for nearly 4 months in an act of futility and unjustifiable overreach and the wheels completely fell off. Covid you say? The PM dare not mention it!

    They are headed for defeat now but it looks like it will be an election day number that makes David Cunliffe look like a superstar in retrospect. Not only the entrenched non achievement across the board but the massively divisive ideological 5 Waters law they have passed without giving a flying shit what the majority think.

    I don’t think I’ve seen a government so inept as this or so hell bent on, as you say, electoral suicide and possibly electoral destruction. The electorate is unhappy for a multitude of reasons, cost of living being a large part, and crime another, blind ideology yet another, but as an ineptness coup ďétat, they’ll whack taxes back on fuel just the same as yet another and possible final example of how they totally fail to read the room. And voters will then throw Labour to the wolves.

    And to think I voted for these idiots!

  15. It’s all about money. Everything, everywhere is about money. While AO/NZ flails about trying to squeeze out a genuine tear, whether it’s about the victims of a mass shooting, a sick person dying of a novel virus or some other mimicked, faux emotion in an attempt to remember what it was like to be human, it’s really all about the money. Money. Good ol money aye? The real virus that’s going to see the end of humanity in.
    We’ll scrap and war about, and over, money, until the last living thing makes its last living gasp.
    Every politician in our dreary parliament is about money. They get paid a lot of it in comparison to what the lowest paid get, the lowest paid are fuel for derision and hate and when the have kids, which is natures way, those kids stand a better chance than ever of ending up us victims of too little money. It’s all about the money.
    Money, money, money, money. It’s not about you or you, is it? Nope. Adern’s a little flea in the scheme of things. roger douglas is even lessor so. The flea upon the flea.
    I have a question for you @ Chris Trotter. Who’s money was and is it?
    The Natzo’s formed out of a gruesome political gruel after sniffing the bitter yet arousing stink of someone else’s money.
    “National formed in 1936 through amalgamation of conservative and liberal parties, Reform and United respectively, and subsequently became New Zealand’s second-oldest extant political party.[7] National’s predecessors had previously formed a coalition against the growing labour movement. National has governed for five periods during the 20th and 21st centuries, and has spent more time in government than any other New Zealand party.[8][9]”
    Our politics and our economy and our very lives depend upon money, but who’s money was and is it? Who’s money is it? Tourism? In 1936? A lot of it was gold but that soon ran out due to gold becoming uneconomical to find.
    Who’s money is labour, the natz, that fucking dodgy creep winnie the roger douglas ball-bag cupper, the seedy greens, and the skin tags on the arse hole of AO/NZ, the act party. Who’s money do they scoop up and spend.
    Instead of dissecting the in’s and out’s of what must be the most boring cadre of useless politicians left anywhere on earth, lets talk about where our money comes from? Who makes it. Who spends it.

    • Countryboy, you are the shining lights on the TDB.
      Thankyou for sensible intelligent comments, unlike the pathetic Bob’s limited intellect.

      Bob, the silliest one liner boy on this site by a country mile, give it a rest.

  16. I’m personally over the biblical lengths of the self appointed expert comments by a country boy
    Please give us a break.
    You’ve become a silly person if indeed you haven’t always been silly.

    • Here’s an idea, if you don’t like it, don’t read it. But the narcissist in you can’t help it, you self obsessed protagonist.

  17. I find it as difficult to follow your line as Labour’s. Which can’t be good for a propagandist.

    Liked the first half.

    • Both are Klaus Schwarb grads, along with Macron and Justin Trudeau, use the same jargon from his mission statement, and Ardern is I understand committed to the WEF principles. These principles include zero home ownership, which apparently will make everyone happy, this happiness I think deriving from being devoid of the responsibilities pertaining to having a home of one’s own. Markle’s manipulative narcissistic destructiveness appears a kind of madness to me.

      • Klaus Schwab – this from an online article –
        Ubiquitous, mobile supercomputing. Intelligent robots. Self-driving cars. Neuro-technological brain enhancements. Genetic editing. The evidence of dramatic change is all around us and it’s happening at exponential speed.

        Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, has been at the centre of global affairs for over four decades. He is convinced that we are at the beginning of a revolution that is fundamentally changing the way we live, work and relate to one another, which he explores in his new book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution.

        I’ve bolded the bit that everyone has experienced.
        It seems to me if we are to have a deliberate life, one we have decided on and along with others at the same level, we have to think something out that enables us to be mostly self-controlling and have the semblance of freedom for as long as is reasonable and possible. Or just go with the flow and fill our minds with tv when we aren’t working. No thought, no self! Are we laboratory mice to be played with by those with powerful ways?
        Cogito, ergo sum – Wikipedia
        wikipedia.org ·
        https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Cogito,…
        The Latin cogito, ergo sum, usually translated into English as “I think, therefore I am”, is the “first principle” of René Descartes’s philosophy.

        Descartes spent a lot of time thinking, and time on his own making up his own mind, thinking deeply and widely.

  18. meh – the unionists are reliant on the bourgeoise for their existence as is the “working class” – you’re all baked in to the system
    Debating team blue or team red is just re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic

  19. Jacinda Ardern just won the hearts and minds of all intelligent women in NZ. She is truly a heroine!

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