Progressive voters have only one sensible place to put their vote in 2023

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It’s hard for any progressive voter to get excited about Aotearoa New Zealand politics in 2023.

The various branches of the media, as a way to keep as many eyeballs on their screens as possible to maintain their advertising revenue, will breathlessly tell us every couple of weeks who is in front in the latest poll, who is in front in the preferred PM stakes and which parties could or could not form a government. It will be politics by media distraction rather than by policy.

We are heading into our sixth year of Labour-led governments and Labour will continue to do the least they think they can get away with for those on low and middle incomes while doing its best to look the other way from the catastrophic lack of quality, affordable housing for people on low and middle incomes.

Provided there is not rioting in the streets, Labour will be content to wring its hands on housing. As it enters its sixth year, the government of transformation – it was always just a slogan – has presided over the greatest transfer of wealth from the poor to the rich since the Labour government of the 1980s. The government blames covid of course – we will hear a lot blamed on covid before the year is out.

The only truly significant policy change under Labour is the legislation for fair-pay agreements which could genuinely result in transformative change: this is the reason employers are so hostile to them.

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Progressive voters will of course be assailed by tribal Labour supporters who will paint National/Act as a horror show – “you mightn’t like Labour but National/Act would be dreadful”. Yes, they would. But more awful than Labour? Could three years of National/Act have increased inequality as much as Labour has?

Under MMP of course we could consider the Green Party but, tragically, the Green MPs now look comfortable and complacent – happy with virtue signalling – but no strategy to drive real change despite their supposedly ideal position to hold Labour to account. Their co leaders in particular, Marama Davidson and James Shaw, look contented, telling us they have had a marvellous year in 2022. Just awful. Marama once had a political edge. Like Carmel Sepuloni, who was great on a loudhailer when National was in government, Marama in government has been lethargic. The fire has gone out in the Greens, leaving just a few warm embers.

The Māori Party, with the best environmental and social policy of any party in parliament, deserves much closer attention from progressive voters. It’s always easy to find reasons to dislike a particular party but we shouldn’t let side arguments detract us from using MMP to its best advantage to help shove Labour and the Greens along.

As things stand, If we want a coalition government with at least a reasonably progressive political outlook then the Māori Party is the only sensible place for a progressive to put their vote.

62 COMMENTS

  1. Vote for the party that thinks Maaori DNA is superior, and that pakeha are “an archaic species”? Good one from the great anti-racist, John Minto.

    As for “progressive” policies, no thanks. We need restorative policies – restoration of equality of opportunity.

    • @ pee pee. Spoken like a stupid racist. Stupid, because you’re so stupid you have no idea you’re being racist.
      “… restoration of equality of opportunity….” My God, you’re stupid. Socks? Do you need instructions? I bet you do. I bet a dissection of your brain would reveal tangled strands of dead ends.
      Great Post @ JM.

    • For the last 5 years there has been discrimination of the poor by the Ardern Labour Government.
      Restoration of equality of opportunity is what need,as put by Pope.
      We need to end discrimination based on ethnicity,stop dividing our country otherwise it will end in tears.
      Despite colour,ethnicity and religion we should show maturity and live as one.(probably the pendulum has been swung too far by the Labour Government for that to happen)

      • Judging by some of the comments above, “restoration of equality of opportunity” seems to have served as a Rorschach test. What I meant was restoring equality of opportunity by rolling back the user-pays policies brought in during the 80s and 90s. In particular, funding universities properly instead of charging tuition fees and trying to shovel as many students through as possible. Clark and Cullen had 9 years to tackle the problem, and now Ardern and Robertson have had 5 years to do so. Legal aid also needs to be funded better to get anywhere near equality of opportunity in the court system.

        But your point is good too – LINO’s focus on radical identity politics has also undermined equality of opportunity, in a different way.

  2. John, you say we need to use MMP to “help shove Labour and the Greens along.” True, but in what direction would the Maori party “shove”? What useful policies would such a government advocate? In my opinion, there would be even more virtue signalling and minor, largely irrelevant, surface changes — more Maori words. Or do you mean towards “equity”? Now that is a word so ill-defined as to be frightening. The Three Waters proposals, for instance; is that their purpose… to bring about “equity”?? (Actually, speaking cyncially, I think it, I think it is to take away local powers and create yet another expensive, intrusive, power-mad centralised government bureaucracy, but let’s imagine for a minute equity is the purpose). But we CANNOT undo the wrongs done in the distant past, for we CANNOT re-write history (at least not if we want to live in a realm where sanity and truth prevail or have any real meaning.) Do the people running the Maori party speak for what all Maori want…does it even make sense to say “what all Maori want” as if racial/ethnic/cultural background makes a group of people all the same thing. What we need to do is focus on what works on improving material life, equality, freedom and fairness in the here and now. I see you in do not mention NZ First in your scanning of the political landscape. Why not? NZ First offers a different outlook on how to handle the economy. It focuses on what works in practice. I agree it is not socialism — but none of the parties with a chance of making it into Parliament offer that.

    • Get off your knees and stop salivating and getting aroused at civil war and rioting Castro…that drum has been beaten to death by you for 6-7yrs now….
      Stick to being xenophobic it suits you better.

    • Don’t wish yourself away Richard S. With that sort of remark you place yourself in the middle of the nonsense.

      • We’re in the middle of the nonsense, ACT seems to be offering the only way out.

        As to Richard Slade, this will be his last post as the heavy censorship here means that his comments no longer get through much of the time. So I will no longer waste my time posting as him. Auf wiedersehen.

  3. New Zealand is the name of our country. Not Aotearoa New Zealand. I used to love the name Aotearoa, now I despise it. Key had the decency to hold a referendum about our flag, where’s the referendum for the name change of our once great nation?

    • National put Aotearoa on passports in 2011 .Maori is an official language so it deserves to be there . There are far greater problems being created by this government and its divisive actions in other fields like health and education.

  4. Why no mention of TOP – the most economically progressive party in NZ by a big margin. For some reason they are ignored by the left in NZ.

    • Maybe it’s a credibility problem. They seem unable to gain any real mass following, regardless of how interesting their ideas may be.

      • In 2017, in terms of the percentage of votes cast, TOP finished 4th, well ahead of both ACT and the Maori Party. In 2020, due probably to the perceived tightness of the race between Labour and National, they bombed out. 2013 r3mains to be seen but I suspect that the same thing may happen again unless one of the main parties collapses – Labour probably. The still have the best policies, at least as far as housing and taxation are concerned.

    • ” For some reason they are ignored by the left in NZ ”

      Maybe their profile will lift when their high profile candidates stand in LINO electorates and not just true blue ones.

    • Interesting thoughts from Gordon Campbell at Scoop:
      …Suggestion: Directly or indirectly, it could offer an electorate deal to Raf Manji and TOP in Gerry Brownlee’s old seat in Ilam, much as it did years ago to the ACT Party in Epsom. On current polling that would get three TOP MPs into Parliament. They would be considerably to the left of where National and ACT currently sit on the political spectrum. Bingo! National suddenly looks centrist, with potential partners on either wing.

      This outcome would have the bonus effect of reducing any lingering need to rely on Winston Peters post-election. Plus, it would pull across some “soft left’ votes to boot. In some ways, TOP is the ideal package: Reliably conservative on the economy, but fetchingly liberal on social issues. In short, it is the ‘blue green’ combo that National has strived so hard before to grow in a barn but which, in the shape of TOP, has grown up all by itself, free range. Could TOP now be ripe for an investment in its future that might enable it to significantly expand its market reach? ACT is electoral poison, even though it may take a term in government to make that perfectly clear. TOP looks like a more palatable prospect, longer term.
      https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL2301/S00012/on-nationals-fraught-journey-back-to-the-centre.htm

  5. ” Key had the decency to hold a referendum about our flag, where’s the referendum for the name change of our once great nation? ”

    Key never had any ” decency ” he only advanced the whole idea to give himself a lasting legacy. At least the Canadians got it right and chose the maple leaf with a simple design that identifies them as a nation without the agenda of a narcissistic buffoon.

    I do agree about a referendum if any change is going to be adopted regarding our countries name but it seems to have already changed without asking anyone like other noticeable changes that seem to have little public consultation.

    • Yes I too was surprised and disconcerted to find the words and “Key” and “decency” in the same sentence. What an utter shyster that man was, and the less said about his rigged flag referendum the better.

      • Pope Punctilious 11. # Me too. Just another slippery immigrant who did very well out of this country and had a nerve wanting to change our flag after being here five minutes. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

    • Mosa. Agree 100%. New Zealand’s sneaky name change creeping in all over the place makes one wonder what other unknown secret agendas the Labour government has besides He Puapua; they can’t fob off this one off as just an “aspiration” when it is being so dutifully espoused by MSM and the public service.

    • Canadians originally hated their Maple Leaf flag, but they learnt to love it. I have very close Canadian friends and one of them joked that she hoped we didn’t adopt the Silver Fern, because then our flag would be cooler than theirs.

      Pity Little politicised the flag (even though it was in the Labour Party manifesto)… Nah it was only Key playing politics hey?

  6. Wow so much underlying racism in most of the answers here.
    Very little actual engagement with the article, just the usual Minto doesn’t know what he is talking about.

    • Michal. Settle down. I deliberately refrain from referring to dirty John Key as a ‘Pommie’ immigrant so as not to appear racist, and in any case am a bit of an Anglophile, but I daresay that’s racist too, and what’s more we’re all allegedly suffering from unconscious bias nowadays, and racism tends to be an accusation mainly flung around by racists, to counter different thinkers. It’s a soiled word.

    • Read it, recognize it and ignore it unless you can think of something that might change some ones view point. Tolerance and understanding to all people is the best answer to the intolerant.

  7. The choices are all terrible.

    No plan for returning to true Full Employment, no plan for bringing the high wage jobs back through industrialisation, no plan for rebuilding the collapsed transportation system, no plan for energy independence, no real solution on housing.

    Mr. Minto had the right idea back when he started up his labour movement newspaper. So did Martyn when he was producing a labour movement television show.

    If the labour movement does not have its own press, nobody will ever hear about genuinely progressive candidates, or even know the truth about all of the issues.

    This may require some new people to start winning in union leadership elections. The unions are still shackled to the Labour Party, who would likely sink any attempt to do this.

    • Agree it is the union movements shackling to the Labour party that is a huge problem.
      Full properly paid full employment. It is not like there aren’t thousands of jobs to be done around the motu.

    • There is no plan for bringing back the high wage jobs back through industrialisation because industialisation has moved beyond what New Zealand can ever do or make, and not at a cheaper cost to the rest of the world.

      • The population has only grown, increasing the economies of scale.

        The idea that import substitution manufacturing was possible in the 1980s (when we already had satellites, international computer networks, and cellular telephones), but isn’t possible now, is just pure bunk.

        In electronics, AWA were building Hitachi and Pye were building Philips models, amongst many others. In automotive, cars from over 30 auto marques were produced, including Ford, GM, Mitsubishi and Honda.

        Nobody cares that shoddy t-shirts are on sale at K-Mart for $3. It means nothing when you now live in a pathetic rust belt economy, and your living standard has collapsed.

        The media cannot touch this subject, because they would have to admit that nearly all the country’s industry was destroyed on purpose.

        • Your examples are of simply putting components together that in most instances were of the CKD variety. There was a lot of protectionism then. Trade has moved on.True industrialisation is making the product from scratch. As I alleded to, the complexity of today’s products (electronics and vehicles especially) is such that if even brought in as a CKD item, would the price to the consumer be any better than simply imorting the whole article?

          • CKD is better than nothing. The next stage would be bilateral deals with the great industrial powers — replacing imports with direct investment in local production, as more factories are built.

            The point is not cheap unit cost. You are trying to rapidly build an industrial base from a low starting point, in order to become a more advanced economy.

            Eventually you will have the capacity to build advanced finished goods for export. High-end items from places like Switzerland and Sweden are very desirable.

            Trump brought back tariffs, exposing the lie that ‘protectionism can no longer work’. Import substitution has been returning to Russia for some years now.

  8. The difference between Labour and National is not just the fair pay agreement legislation …

    food in schools, the higher pay for nurses, the end of mortgage interest deductability for landlords, the increased base benefits/indexed main benefits to average wage growth/introduced the Families Package, the biggest boost in household income in a decade for thousands of families, the higher MW (now beyond $20 an hour and rising), the winter power bill income supplement, increased the number of public and transitional homes (14,000 claimed), made targeted trades training and all apprenticeships free, increased Pharmac funding, permanently halved the price of public transport for Community Service Cardholders, delivered more than 90,000 insulation and heating retrofits in low-income homes through Warmer Kiwi Homes, introduced Healthy Homes Standards, to ensure all rentals are safe, warm and dry

    others at

    https://www.labour.org.nz/our-record

    • Well SPC given the degree of severity after six years of many of the poverty statistics and other damning evidence that all is not well in the shire I guess this is the transformation Adern and Robertson had in mind all along even with an unprecedented majority in FPP terms as the biggest landslide since 1935 and that was to apply a band aid without actually making the structural changes that are so overdue and pressing.

      The goodwill has evaporated and with good reason.

      • They should have maintained the rent freeze of March-September 2020 for two more years (rents peaked around then) – as much of the assistance has moved onto landlords.

  9. John you know darn well that if it asked to join a coalition they will capitulate and not push for what is needed to assist any of the people you mention here and like during 2008-2017 will only take the crumbs of the table and be told to be grateful. I can’t think of one memorable thing they carried out in all that time that would have made a real difference to those always left out and carry the burden of only enriching the top and privileged white and brown.

    And that benefit rise was all smoke and mirrors so Key could show he ” cared ” and most of that money was clawed back and did nothing to ease the deeply ingrained poverty that exists

    Many of the existing problems have been exacerbated by their time in government and carried on by the existing cabal of LINO and the Greens who should change their party color to yellow to symbolize their cowardice in standing up for the same people LINO promised to stand for in 2017.

    Anyone who thinks that somehow the NZLP is going to do an about turn and march in the other direction are simply deluded and need to reassess their reality.

    ” Progressive voters will of course be assailed by tribal Labour supporters who will paint National/Act as a horror show ”

    The real horror show is uncontested neoliberalism and all of the political parties in government that blindly adhere to this as the carnage of these policies continue unabated every three years of the electoral cycle and promising the people transformation which is unregulated capitalism for an anti transformational program marketed as one.

    Desire to keep the status quo and using known and internal sponsors.
    Lack of focus and dedication to the planned objectives.
    Poorly defined scope.
    Improper time management.
    Poor allocation of resources.
    Lack of debate and scrutiny of the current economy normally advanced by public media.

    • “A brighter future” oops that was Nationals slogan, but their music was Eminems.
      “Plagiarism and dirty politics” Nationals new slogan.

  10. Is this the same Maori Party that propped up the Key/English government for nine years, which everyone (including them) seems to have forgotten about? No thanks, John.

    • No it is nOT THE SAME MAORI PARTY. they know they made a colossal mistake back then and that won’t happen again.

  11. Thank you John Minto. Great post. We need realists in the here & now, for who is not tauiwi in some form or another? Don’t forget, people, it is Andrew Little who has put those unintelligible government-maori language posters on the dank walls of the slaughterhouses.

  12. Your truth is a solid — never stirred nor shaken. The progressive talkers either can’t talk or have been moved from truth by forty years of defeat and the shite ‘art of the possible’. I’m willing to think about the Maori Party.

  13. A bitter sweet passing shot from one who’ll soon be moving on. The song below, written by yours truly, an obscure, life long fringe dwelling political animal & artist way back in 1986, just gets more topical by the day.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9WbTqw5cQw

    It was recorded as a demo in west Berlin in 1987. Later on, in the 90’s the writer came back to Godzone with outrageous dreams & plans for a very different NZ to what most kiwis would ever envisage. Sadly, most of his attempts at making a difference failed miserably & NZ continues to slide further into oblivion with every passing day. This disillusioned writer fled back to Europe many times since the 90’s, but some perverse kind of radical calling always drew him back to these windswept shores.

    Finally, after almost 3 score & 10 this writer has finally written NZ off as an infantile, unimaginative uncourageous lost cause (failed state) nation. Have we not always been a conformist nation of followers of foreign dictates, socio-economic experimentation & fades, he muses?. Have we ever had the guts to blaze our own unique trail in the world, or even, heaven forbid, take radical, innovative steps towards self sufficient resilience & dare to lead the world in exemplary fashion? No, nein, kahore, non!!!!

    Today, our nation is nothing more than empty shell of a self that should have been locally defined, legalised & independently realised decades ago. Yes, we’re floundering around in a no-mans land swamp; so as long as we allow ourselves to be led by a shallow, woke, inauthentic, virtue signaling, globalist elite propped up by an equaling slickening civil service & fourth estate, nothing will change for the better. Where’s the big picture vison that will inspire, motivate & enable us to make the transition from adolescence to mature adult nationhood? Will we ever see it shine forth from the murky, self righteous corridors of power? I doubt it.

    There’s been no half measures with me, I’ve loved & hated NZ with equal passion. That said, my energetic love & anger have waned, so I can no longer muster the energy to fight for a better NZ, drift along in the hope that a truly great leader will emerge to spark a turn around, or live in fear that I may snap & lash out against myself or others.

    So, what’s left then for a creepy, stale, pale male like me who once again finds himself confronted with the extremely challenging flight or fight dilemma? In my case its, jettison all my processions, reduce my life to a backpack again & flee this soul destroying, Mikey mouse land forever.

    All the best to all long suffering kiwis, John.

    I have my doubts if this long winded epitaph, or should that be eulogy, will see the light of day here, but who knows, a miracle may just happen?

  14. Hi Guy,
    Its great you are real, and have enough courage energy and hope left to post this comment. Thank you. Thanks also to Cowboy whose comments are always a thrilling read.
    Every free trade agreement we sign seems to be another nail in our freedom coffin.
    We are gifted by nature to be an island nation, not threatened or cowered by a bully neighbour which we can’t avoid, and can pick and choose with intelligence, pride and courage the policies to make our lives freer and improve fulfilment and health for most if not all.
    Instead we are now lazily enslaving ourselves to the so called “free market” which is so corrupted compared to what Adam Smith had in mind. Slavery, to the 1% and DAVOS clicque. Slavery to United Nations resolutions that other states ignore and (still remain members). Norman Kirk may have been the last true hope, but his untimely passing snuffed that out. Why was there no security posted at the facility where he was recuperating? Great material for conspiracy theorists.
    May be the Maori Party could bring such flower as Big Norm to burst upon us again? I can’t see one as yet, but here’s hoping if they get more support. Another Big Norm arriving today would not likely get a chance with present LINO, and not a Greens type.

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