Captain’s Call


IT WAS THE AUSSIES who came up with the “Captain’s Call” tag, and we Kiwis have followed along behind. In the context of sport, the term has a rough and ready legitimacy. After all, our national teams are not democracies, so the idea of allowing the team captain (instead of the team coach) to make the occasional decision on strategy, tactics, and/or personnel, seems entirely reasonable. Otherwise, why bother to have a captain at all?

But political parties are not sports teams. No matter how often politicians and journalists talk about “the team”, politics is not a sporting fixture. Indeed, the more a nation’s politics comes to resemble a sporting fixture, the more certain you can be that nothing important is riding on the outcome of the “game”.

In the past, people joined political parties to change the world. It is a moot point as to whether this is still the case. What is certain, however, is that a political party whose only objective is to beat the other team/s has long since degenerated into something else. The members of such a party might well accept a “Captain’s Call” as the end of the story, but only because they’ve forgotten how to make decisions for themselves.

That the New Zealand Labour Party has meekly accepted the Captain’s Call of its Leader, Chris Hipkins, that his government will not introduce either a Wealth Tax or a Capital Gains Tax (CGT) while he’s the one in charge is deplorable. Given the centrality of tax policy to everything a political party seeks to accomplish when in office, the decision to rule out key instruments of revenue gathering without consultation, debate, or a vote – not even around the cabinet-table – indicates that tangible accomplishments are no longer on the party’s agenda.

When political leaders issue a Captain’s Call, they are effectively inviting their parliamentary colleagues to either back them or sack them. They are signalling that key policies, key decisions, are no longer to be decided democratically by Cabinet, Caucus and/or the wider party; but from above, by the Leader and his/her closest advisors. Where democratic leaders are content to let the party determine policy, seeing themselves as simply the chief salesperson of its policies to the electorate; autocratic leaders have no interest in discussion or debate. It is their judgement, their will, which alone determines whether a policy lives or dies. This sort of leader, once they have made their “call”, can no longer be persuaded, or outvoted. They can only be deposed.

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What has led Chris Hipkins to this crucial Captain’s Call on Labour’s taxation policy? That he was the unanimous choice of his colleagues to lead Labour into the 2023 General Election suggests that Hipkins and, at least, the parliamentary party were on the same political wavelength. His bonfire of Labour’s unpopular policies also seemed to have the blessings of the caucus, and was well received by the voters. Hipkins seemed on track to win his party a third term.

But, somewhere amid the havoc unleashed by storm and cyclone, the bonfire went out. The Māori caucus refused to countenance the jettisoning of co-governance, and so fiercely were a clutch of expensive pet projects defended by their originating ministers, that it seemed prudent to leave them in place. Even more troubling, from the new Prime Minister’s perspective, was the news that policy development on radical tax reform targeting the super-wealthy was well advanced. Hipkins, who had introduced himself to the country as Mr Bread-and-Butter (with positive results in the preferred prime minister stakes) was not at all keen on being re-branded as Mr Fire-and-Brimstone.

Hipkins’ colleagues, Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Revenue Minister David Parker, found it impossible to persuade the Prime Minister that their tax reform plans were a plus, not a minus, for the Labour Party. Nor could they convince him of the wisdom of their time-line. Robertson and Parker wanted to introduce their tax package in the May 2023 Budget, but delay its coming into force until 2024. By explicitly seeking a popular mandate for the reforms, Labour could set the tone of the forthcoming election campaign: pitching hope and fairness against fear and greed.

Hipkins wasn’t convinced. His advisers warned him that the focus-group reports suggested a radical tax policy would be a very hard sell. More to the point, all of Hipkins personal political experience told him that most of the privately-owned news media, and all of the interest-groups representing the big end of town, would wage an unrelenting campaign against Labour’s tax package. A campaign loud enough to drown out the Government’s message of hope.

It is also likely that Hipkins feared the consequences of unleashing such a left-populist campaign. Temperamentally, Hipkins is ill-at-ease with the sort of politics that mobilises too many ordinary people. Ever since the political divisions unleashed in the 1980s, the strongest factions in the Labour Party (which Hipkins has been careful to cultivate) have thought it wiser to keep control of the losing side in the class war, than lose control of the winning side.

Hence Hipkins’ Captain’s Call from Vilnius.

That there were public servants in Treasury and IRD willing to tell National’s Nicola Willis exactly what questions to ask and which documents to seek in relation to Robertson’s and Parker’s tax plans, had already put the government on the back foot. If the tax package had been released in the Budget, as planned, Labour might have avoided looking shifty and secretive on tax. But, Hipkins had put a stop to that. And, now, he would put a stop to this.

The upshot of all this political caution is that Labour will go into the election with very few achievements to boast of, and with next to no policies bold enough to persuade the electorate to overlook its many failures. Hipkins’ refusal to risk his own and his party’s future on a policy platform that would’ve helped to make New Zealand a fairer and more hopeful country, coupled with his refusal to let the Greens and Te Pāti Māori make the same promises with any credibility, have made the victory of fear and greed a near certainty.

It was a chance for Captain Hipkins to show his quality and, sadly, he has.



  1. Hipkins wants to win the election at any cost hence his “Captains call.”
    Labour Party principles are pushed aside by Chippy in pursuit of victory at the election.
    I think “Captains calls” run contrary to democratic policy decision making.

  2. It’s a perfect time to roll the PM and the Labour party too!
    Perform an exorcism! Cast out the demons and neoliberal monsters that have plagued the party since giving birth to Act!

    Do it now!

  3. Too true, but we are finding more about litte capitalistic Chippie every day. Who knew the cunning little fellow who leads a party that condemns the owners of multiple properties actually owns three houses. Makes all attacks on Luxon look a tad hypocritical doesn’t it. WHY of why do we keep on shooting ourselves in the foot.

  4. Labour still have Te Pati Media on their side.

    On that note, I wouldn’t be surprised if the state media’s ‘Leader Debates’ garner lackluster attention.

    I for one won’t be watching.

    • What possible use could TPM be to Labours chances? The voting public are a distribution with the majority in the centre. Pulling Labour further left may make the vocal minority happier but will lose them the election.

      • What exactly is the point of winning the election?

        This is the point I believe Chris was making, a point that I and evermore ordinary people have been desperately shouting. This isn’t sport.

        It’s like not understanding the idea of a ship going somewhere, as if simply being at sea, in and of itself, is the point of a ship, the whole reason for its existence.

        If Labour cant be Labour for fear of losing the election that is a reason they must lose the election. Democracy is blocked, there is no possibility of leadership, just more directionless movement far from shore until the vessel runs out of fuel.

  5. How do all these taxes that Chippy has apparently torpedoed “help to make New Zealand a fairer and more hopeful country”

    No one can tax their way to prosperity

    Labour have a spending problem, not a revenue problem

    • The education and health systems are a dismal failure. It would be nice to think more money would fix the problem – and even National proposed a third medical school.

      • Labour has spent more money, by far, than any government in history and have almost without exception made everything worse: cost of living, housing, crime, etc.
        This is proof that Labour not only having a spending problem, but additionally a competency problem.
        Labour under Helen Clark generally spent too much but they did achieve outcomes.
        This Labour government couldn’t achieve its outcomes even if a trillion dollars fell out of the sky. They are just 100% incompetent, there’s nothing they have done right.

        • Jay’s, do you really believe it would have been any different under Natz? It’s rather sad watching them all do as they are told whilst pretending to be different.

          • The Nats are equally as guilty for placing us under house arrest. However, the current government is without any precedent when it comes to incompetence.
            The Muldoon government was wildly successful compared to this lot.
            At this point, their failure is so egregious that I support killing them and their descendants to ensure their blood lines come to an end.

    • “No one can tax their way to prosperity”.

      That’s catchy. But I’m not sure if prosperity is precisely the term. It’s as CW says about helping to make New Zealand a fairer and more hopeful country. Its only going to get worse for a good many. And there’s some pretty big infrastructure challenges on the horizon. But you could be right Yeti about the amount of wasteful spending in some areas.

    • Back to the backwoods for you yeti – the name says it all. NZ/AO has a distribution problem really. Knowledgable, responsible management of tax and expenditure in the right places on the things that will last well, and suitable structures for things that we know will not last. that’s the way forward, that’s the ticket!

      But costly infrastructure, what can be avoided by using other means. Climate change will warp steel, floods will sweep away concrete, CTV engineering will collapse and kill. So don’t build an Auckland Harbour Bridge, use ferries, so manouvrable, and won’t be as detrimental and costly in debt for an impoverished future as a bridge would. People would have to pay to travel by sea – a reasonable toll level, organise their lives so they live closer to their jobs.

      Thinking up measures to provide for thinking people, and also help the unthinking so they can manage – and all done without their realising that someone planned and implemented things they take for granted. That is the problem with democracy, people like children not involved in actual provision, taking responsibility for short-term debt paid within one generation is possible. Wanting the cherry on the cake, when many can’t afford bread today till the next handout which is needed because the economy has been fractured, the jobs vanished in the solvent of the free market, the wages dropped, along with the benefit system that must be kept lower than wages.

      Our economy a child’s playground with skewed physics, unscientifically run – the see-saw of money in and money out, work done and wages spent, should needs better balance. Have cash flow available to everyone though different strata levels but at the base, the ground floor downwards but to a life not totally degrading. By all means enable people to help themselves to conquer hopelessness and addiction. Help is needed for many in our once vital country who sink to ‘grinding misery’ while the comfortably off look on with equanimity.

      We need to regard our communities working and helping each other to be strong, supportive and having camaraderie as important infrastructure. Spend money on the people wisely and it will show a human dividend!!

        • Ta JC it came straight frm the heart. How long have we all been searching, writing, looking for results to no avail. Now the wiords slip out already polished a thousand times.

    • 100% Yeti. As Damien Grant points out on Stuff today, – tax take has doubled under this government – and yet we have worse outcomes – who would have thought!!!! We collect more than enough tax in this country we are just HOPELESS on focusing it on priority groups (like the homeless, and nurses and kids) instead we waste vast amounts on an ever-fattening bureaucratic Beltway and consultants (people who think an introspective history curriculum and a ‘science free’ science curriculum are what the country need and then charge vast amounts to come up with such BS). The problem is a dearth of Priorities not a lack of Tax .

    • Wealth through thrift is a conundrum for Labour who know only how to spend other people’s money.

  6. “By explicitly seeking a popular mandate for the reforms, Labour could set the tone of the forthcoming election campaign: pitching hope and fairness against fear and greed.”

    Last time Labour had any semblance of hope & fairness was in 2017. Their true colours of fear & greed have hallmarked the last 3 years.

    • Last 6. They didn’t come through for the neediest despite spouting about it simultaneous to not doing it.

  7. One of your favourite political posters is from 1938 asking people to vote to reelect Labour because:
    Everybody – Yes, everybody, will be better off with Labour.

    The implication being that even the stupid RWNJ’s would be better off, even if they didn’t like it because it was Labour delivering the good times.

    But you can’t say that now, and the fact is that you need to before getting excited about more tax. When Helen Clark became PM in 1999 – and I voted for her – our state expenditure was (from memory) $33 billion. Now it’s $155 billion, a 350% increase. Our population hasn’t increased by 350% in that time – actually more like 35%. The number of pensioners, including their health care needs, hasn’t increased by 350%.

    Moreover, is Public Health, Public Education and Public anything, better than it was in 1999? Not so far as I can see, even before diving into the depressing statistics.

    So you want spending at $200 billion per year? $300 billion? Where’s the evidence that such a massive increase on the back of huge tax increases and new taxes would deliver anything better?

    • Public services provided to the average NZ is better than ever.
      But that, unfortunately, does not make for a better society.

      Matching income with expenditure and rolling out care where care is required efficiently is required to improve society. After six years we have a report card.

      It could have been so much better!

      • That is dangerously untrue.
        Public services, including essential services, are grossly underfunded. That means death, or destruction for many people. It scares me to think anyone could believe this.

        • There is no danger in understanding that stats tells us.
          Not understanding….. now, that is a problem!

      • How are they better than ever?
        Health system is in chaos, likewise education and crime is out of control.

        • Crime seems to become “out of control” for a few months every three years and absolutely completely out of control whenever National is running for office whilst in opposition.

      • The change in percent then from 33 billion to 115 billion when rounded is 250% not 350% then. Still a massive increase!

  8. Chris – Hipkins is now the enemy of NZers, by screwing over Labour voters…if lucky, he will lose his seat over this.

  9. Few achievements? I can name them. The single use plastic bag ban. Simple, effective, successful.

    Everything else promised? Not so much!

    • decent minimum wage increases, increased free childcare, winter energy cost supports, changes in entitlement banding for income support, strong management of one-in-a-hundred-year crisis. Trying to manage internationally created inflation, the Ukraine/Russia ‘war’ ….

      …. but the slamming closed of the CGT door, after Jacinda’s similar comment stupidity, is massively aggravating. I am now wondering if Chippy does have the ‘balls’ to be in charge – seems like too much of a follower?

  10. Grant’s demeanour, when fronting the press, said it all. This captains call is not popular with labour policy “geeks”.
    Hipkins will flip on this one also. He has form.
    And that will be a good thing for NZ. At least we will then have a contest of ideas. Will it win the election for labour in October? Probably not!

    We desperately need a serious contest on taxation at this election.

    We need to rebalance taxation to build a better society.

  11. “….made the victory of fear and greed a near certainty.” CHRIS TROTTER

    That’s for sure

    Chris Hiipkins is just a place holder till the election.
    Immediately after the election delivers a National Party led administration.
    Chris Hipkins will resign as leader, his job is done.

  12. Oh dear! A politician betrays the general public for the very first time in history.
    What shall we do?

  13. captains call is fair enough if hipkins is prepared to accept the consequences of his cowardice on kiwis

    • He has fallen out with 2 of his most senior ministers,David Parker and Andrew Little.
      Will they go quietly?

  14. Given the centrality of tax policy to everything a political party seeks to accomplish when in office, the decision to rule out key instruments of revenue gathering without consultation, debate, or a vote – not even around the cabinet-table – indicates that tangible accomplishments are no longer on the party’s agenda.

    Couldn’t agree more. This should have been addressed at the time of the last election where the Labour party could actually honesty say that they had a ‘mandate’ to act. So what do they do? SFA to nothing for most – although nice the young families are being supported through changes to free childcare. But – the opportunity is lost and with another leading Labour politician stating “not on their watch” I do sometimes wonder where Labour and National are actually different. They have the same or similar views on many things … and it seems the hegemony of the property owner is set to continue. But eventually this will fall because the tyranny of the majority will always get it’s way … and currently only 41% of kiwi’s own their own property. This is unlikely to narrow under either Labour or National – the LabNat “middle”.
    Where is the justice or fairness in a scenario where lesser and lesser are able to access the property ‘ladder’ and the the benefits this bestows?
    Most kiwi’s seem to think any vote outside of LabNat is wasted, but MMP is a great leveler and ALL votes are critical. The ONLY chance for the left in this coming election is for the youth vote to mobilise. There seem to be a number of younger people who beleive the voting age should reduce to 16 – go on then, show us how well the 18-25 block turn out to vote next election. A good overall turnout is helpful for Labour, although as alluded to above, I am having increasing difficulty in seeing a point of difference … apart from some of Luxon’s ranting.

  15. Spot CT on on a couple of counts. No longer it seems that any individual or political party has aspirations to ‘change the world’, even though at a rough count plenty could be up for change. Tinkering around the edges comes to mind, slogans the call of the day. And, so very true that the major players are risk adverse in terms of policy, especially taxation – even if everyone in the game knows that changes would, in your own words, help make New Zealand a fairer and more hopeful country. Sad really that the status quo rules.

  16. The job of corporate place holder politicians like Chris Hipkins is to ensure that progressive parties like the Greens and the Maori Party are never in the position to ever influence government policy.

    “….the Labour Party (which Hipkins has been careful to cultivate) have thought it wiser to keep control of the losing side in the class war, than lose control of the winning side.” CHRIS TROTTER

    When Chris Hipkins gets up on stage to concede the election to Christopher Luxon. Some wag needs to have hung a banner at the back of the stage behind him, reading; “Mission Accomplished”

  17. Has Hipkins denounced Labour’s one time traitor finance minister and the architect of ACT, roger douglas, as being the deviant, lying, greedy scum bag he is who’s all but single handedly wrecked our AO/NZ?
    If the answer is no then vote for whoever you like, or not at all, because Labour’s unapologetically still the same thing. They’re still neo-liberal. Anyone who can cage pigs in windowless buildings then artificially fertilise them to then sell their artificially fattened babies to be killed then eaten is capable of anything.

  18. Do you really think that Hipkins made this call on his own? Unlikely. Labour isn’t Labour anymore. Time to wake up.

  19. I think many Labour voters will want Hipkins to walk the plank on his tax call . I am a National voter so think it is the right policy but it is not what I would have expected from a Labour government especially going into an election that will probably mean they will have to should tap Green and TPM to retain the treasury benchs.

  20. I hope Labour will campaign on both a wealth and capital gains tax, because they will be permanently consigned to the political recycling bin where they belong.
    What you and your I’ll have still failed to answer is:

    1) What moral justification is there to strip people who have done nothing wrong of their assets?
    2) What moral justification is there to then turn around and give those assets to people who are either incapable of unwilling tondo what is necessary to provide for their own existences, many of whom are criminally minded.

    Until you can explain what the people in group one have done so wrong and what the people in group two have done so deserving, you probably need to shut up.

    Hard working people are sick of being viewed as a tax pinata, forced to fund the lifestyles of lazy, stupid and often violent people.

    However the most egregious act being committed here is the perpetuation of dependency be removing the need for these people to get off their lazy arses.

    • I am seriously thinking of moving to aussie to work and live because I am sick and tired of waiting for these political clown parties to grow a brain. Maybe you should consider the big move to Jay. Me and plenty of others I know around me are weighing up the options and more than a few I know have already jumped over.

      • Yep… morally bankrupted by subservience to the lord baron. It seems Jay’s is worried about the rats stealing some of his crumbs and remains blissfully ignorant of where the cake has gone.

  21. Labour cannot be rewarded with another 3 years for the mess this country is in on any metric you care to look at. I never though I would say this because it has always been my reason for keeping National out but my strategic vote will be to keep Labour out in 2023.

    • Look on the bright side. The dumb National candidate in our electorate will get in.

      Then, given what he’s said, crime will be fixed, education will be fixed, our roads will be fixed and new ones constructed and hospital waiting lists will be fixed. Things are going to be sooooo sweet.

    • Well I wouldn’t vote national either.
      Whilst they are vastly more competent than Labour or the Greens, they aren’t fantastic.
      Vote ACT if you can stomach it. Otherwise abstain.
      Where’s McGillicuddy Serious when you need them?

      • NZF gave us Malibu Cindy.
        Aside from that, Winston’s only in it for himself even more than any other MP.

  22. Chris Trotter
    And there is the rub: “taxing to help to make New Zealand a fairer and more hopeful country”. There is only one way to make NZ more hopeful – making money!!! We don’t make serious money. Taxing is not MAKING money! Seven tourists and selling a pound of cheese and a bail of wool is not money! Paying our countries for some ‘phoney climate guilt cop-out system’ is not making money. Commodities is money. Our own oil is money, our own gas, our own coal, minerals, mass beef and meat, high volumes of everything, that’s money. Industry is money. We could have all that but we have woked (not worked so no typo) ourselves into bankruptcy corner. We want it all, everything, the lot, as long as other countries get themselves dirty. But hey, not us.
    Chippie should have captain-called a major state-owned resource exploration industry with 50,000 jobs, including re-opening that refinery, to eliminate the need for high taxes – he’d be heading towards 40% now, with my vote in there.

    • Drill it , frack it, crack it, and that’s just your head dumb German.

  23. Yes, gutless all round, an absolute majority & afraid to take on the big end of town, gone are the days when they were supposed to stand up for the working class!
    To quote Paul Keating… “He simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up.”

  24. Labour have thrown the election wide open for other parties to win. There are so many frustrated labour voters out there, that labour will really crash in seats after the election. I expect the greens , Te Pati maori party and NZ first to pick up considerable disenfranchised labour voters. National are in the same boat as labour with a lot of their voters and previous labour voters voting for act.

  25. Jack same. I will be voting to keep Labour out. They are completely incompetent and have all but ruined the country.

    Seymour, Van Veldon, Stanford, Reti, Penk they are at least competent. And I believe Stanford will reverse the disastor that education has become. Reti too with health.

    I will wear the rest of what they bring for that alone

    • Anker. The bottom line has to be a sound education system, then theoretically, everything else will fall into place. Education is not just a disaster under Labour, it is pro-actively damaging children. National were no better, the dumbing down has been progressive – for want of a better word.

      Peters has made a start addressing the genderID ideology being forced upon children in the school system, but even before this, our students were already lagging behind globally in basics like numeracy and literacy skills where we once did well, and which they need. Clearly Labour, National, and the hopeless Greens cannot be relied upon, and may be complicit; NZ First is looking a good option at this stage.

  26. The reason he made his ‘captains call’ is that he is informed enough to know that a wealth tax would be a stupid idea. In general, only income is taxed. In the case of CGT we would still be taxing income, but a wealth tax is a tax on assets, not income. Questions:

    1.How would they value those assets? it would require a whole new bureaucracy of valuers and lawyers to put a value on assets and then fight the court cases when the owners presented alternative values. Valuation is a very complex business with many interpretations, and that would open the door to endless litigation.

    2. How would the wealthy react to such a tax? Many would liquidate their assets and take themselves and their wealth offshore. Along with them would go their personal income and business activity, which is taxed and provides much of the treasury’s revenue. Thus, leaving NZ all the poorer.

    The fact that a large % of voters favour such a tax tells us a lot about their financial literacy.

  27. This decision by Chippy is the result of the MMP election design, which Chris T wanted so badly because it was ‘more democratic’.

    And what would Labour do with higher taxes and hence more revenue? Based on the last three years, the revenue would be wasted and no improvements delivered.
    Remember the extra $1.9 billion for mental health that delivered a few extra counseling sessions?

  28. Is anybody really surprised? This decision confirms what we already knew about LINO – they’re not a social democrat party any more. Their shtick now is middle-class identity politics. I mean just look how middle-class their caucus is!

  29. “What is certain, however, is that a political party whose only objective is to beat the other team/s has long since degenerated into something else”.

    And again, you have described both Labour and National.. They will do anything for power, lie, connive, obfuscate, non deliver, stitch up democracy etc – all to hold on to power and likely, personal perks.

    Again, we must find a better and more democratic system of government. More about communities and tasks and priorities set by NZers in full possession of the facts.

  30. Just doing what the clandestine plutocracy commands.
    As every political party and every politician in NZ ultimately does and has done for 39 years.
    So it all depends if you want Luxon’s or Judith Collin’s face leering at you most nights on the news rather than Chippy’s.
    Can’t avoid the choice, and I know which i prefer.

  31. “That there were public servants
    …… willing to tell National’s Nicola Willis what questions to ask and what documents to seek……” says it all really.

  32. Lord Baron von Chippie has his slice of the sausage roll. Be thankful for the crumbs, peasants.

  33. “That there were public servants in Treasury and IRD willing to tell National’s Nicola Willis exactly what questions to ask and which documents to seek in relation to Robertson’s and Parker’s tax plans, had already put the government on the back foot”
    A shame Hipkins’ public service ‘reforms’ have amounted to little more than window dressing.
    Combine that with politicians too gutless to stand up to it when needed (and there are mechanisms to do so), and we’ll always have inertia.
    As the useless Faafoi said in his last STUFF piece :
    ” Sometimes departments don’t do what is asked of them. Sometimes it’s deliberate, other times it’s a mistake. Sometimes they forget. Sometimes they tell you something is wrong, other times they don’t. Sometimes you predict something will go wrong, but you’re assured it won’t. And then you’re proven right. Tut tut. ” While we shouldn’t expect perfection from them, we should reasonably expect a lot better and to put public service before self serving arrogance, obfuscation and incompetence.
    And then there’s Janet Wilson’s latest:
    That should have brought about one or two resignations at least!

  34. I think Chris Hipkins needs a new look. With his close cropped hair style he looks like a keen prefect crossing all ts, dotting i’s. And he is spouting stuff he has learned since he left school while mingling with the cognoscenti and firming up about how to win in politics.

    Well now is the time to really grow up as well as stand tall Chris. You can change your hair style for a start, don’t grow a beard, or only round your chin if you must. Let your hair grow and a bit fall over one eye like a guy who isn’t completely prissy but is a can-do dude. UKs PM Boris Johnson won hearts and minds with blonde hair like a haystack though he’s actually so bad he’s better forgotten. But be less buttoned down, be daring and adopt some new ways and be prepared to go against the views of your financial advisors. You know – those in Treasury and the BB+BB (which starts off Big Business but you can make your own short slogan for the rest); also any complacent mates!

    We desperately need new ways from Labour; a gambit with more thought than the grittiness and insouciance of 1984. You tried something new then, it wasn’t the right thing to do, now try again with a bit of hindsight to guide you all in Cabinet. By the way it needs to be a Kitchen Cabinet where you take off your coats and sit round with cups of tea, healthy nuts to sustain on the table, and jugs of water to keep hydrated. No alcohol but occasional breaks of 5 minutes for relief, walking a bit. And big pads and lots of pens and short notes with keywords for you which you note yourself – put the name of the idea’s patron down. Think man, you are holding the baton and carrying it towards the future. You could hearten and help us voters and genuine citizens who care about others in this diminishing country.

    Are you genuine like that Chris Hipkins? Or is it fame and talking to other world leaders that excites? They may reach out with their sticky fingers, shake your hand, and then hold onto it, but we need you to stand tall like a sturdy totara. Why did we elect Labour do you think? Why did we fight and die last century in wars do you think? We thought it was to help us and not so that later you could make a present of us to the world while you took a percentage as agents.

  35. So….. Who looks to be the person to replace him after they win? Who would be deputy PM?
    As, putting aside the puerile projection of the reactionary classes, it can be assumed on reasonable grounds, that the PM is a highly intelligent, rational, and focused individual, then we must of necessity look towards the changes he must know need implementing, and actioning while there is still a representative government grouping in power…
    Can this be classified as a long range feint?

  36. Interesting, this has become the breakpoint, Chris, ’40 years on’, as we sung in school. 40 years of Labour deferring to the powerful and now it can’t go further.

  37. Last 6. They didn’t come through for the neediest despite spouting about it simultaneous to not doing it.

  38. TBH I sometimes wonder if labour plan lose this election and it’s part of someone above thems big strategy to continue the Neo liberal journey as it were.

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